Spyderco Civilian Review

8.5 score
[Editors rating (8.5) + Users rating (10.0)] / 2 = (TheGearHunt) score (8.5)/10

Editor rating: 8.5 / 10
User's rating: based on 1 user ratings
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Spyderco Civilian Review Review Facts

Most of us don’t look for a knife right away when looking for something to defend ourselves or our homes with, but when we do, we want to know it is legal, safe and easy to use. The Spyderco Civilian was designed with self-defense in mind, though it was originally for undercover police officers more than it was for the civilians it was named after. When looking at it now, it is a well-designed blade that is perfect for protection and built to be easy to use.

We feel it could also be a great addition for campers and hunters as well, as most of this company's blades are, but it is not meant for the smaller everyday tasks that some may initially be looking at it for. This blade is notably not a good shape for cutting open boxes, with its sleek ‘s’ shape it simply is not going to be easy to use as an EDC knife and it might be better to look elsewhere for it. If you’re a collector of knives however, you may want to keep reading and see if this one is something you want to slide in with all the others.

Editor's Pros & Cons

Unique appearance

High-quality blade

Durable handle

Great self-defense blade

Great lock



Fragile tip


Primary Use

As we mentioned earlier, this is a self-defense weapon which means it is not intended to be used, nor designed to be used, as an EDC blade. This means if you are looking for something to keep you safe from becoming a victim, and don’t want a gun, this may be a great alternative. With it being built for this purpose in mind, the things that might be considered poor for an EDC, actually makes it excellent in the original intent.

The history of this particular model was to be for undercover cops, but they needed it to not be a give away who those police officers were as much as they needed it to work in keeping the officers safe. This meant it needed to be a civilian weapon that was easily attainable, and Spyderco was more than happy to supply the need. Of course, this also means in many locations you may need a permit to carry- if its legal to carry at all. Some parts of the US, as well as other countries, may have this blade as off-limits to the public for anything other than display use.

When a knife’s design is specifically targeted to be a weapon, you will run into the legalities of carrying it and we suggest you check your township, county, city, state and country laws as to whether or not you can own it. It certainly won’t be permitted on public transits, so best be prepared to only have it with you at home for the most part, and maybe when hunting or camping.


This blade’s unique look is part of what it is intended to be used for. Instead of a straight edge, as with most common blades, or even the slight crescent moon shape of some others, it has what we mostly considered an ‘s’ shape.

The actual edge runs along what could be considered the inside curve of the blade rather, than along the outside, and gives that hook-like tip to it. This is the one weakness to the blade, it is not meant to stab, and its tip can snap off if too much pressure is applied to it, or if it gets snagged on something.

The blade itself is made of VG-10 steel and its full length is a little over 4 inches with about 3.75 inches of it being the actual cutting edge. VG-10 is seen mostly in high-quality kitchen knives and this is due to its main qualities which are to hold its edge, resist rust and the overall high durability. This metal is perfect given the use of the knife, and it also makes these knives something collectors would want to own.

The longevity of this metal combined with its reputation for being reliable and beautiful makes this blade an expensive buy. Thing is, anyone who knows about this high end, high-quality steel, will tell you that it is more than worth it to own. It simply is one of the best on the market to use and has a well-deserved reputation among those looking for outdoor equipment.


Due to its unique design, and the fact that it’s a folding knife, the availability for a sheath usually comes from custom sheath makers. The limitations on a folding knife, in general, make it rather difficult to find anything specifically built for the knife itself, but there are always a few basic things you can purchase from Spyderco and other knife shops that are good to have with any knife. A whetstone for sharpening your blade, for instance, is a commodity most owners initially want to have.

Another good idea would be to obtain the proper oil for the knife to keep everything clean and easy to use. A soft cleaning cloth is another thing that comes in useful so that you don’t end up ruining your blade's appearance while caring for it. Other more decorative items can be purchased as well, such as lanyards, pins, plaques, decorative beads, and knife care kits.

Of course, if you have never cared for your knives, whether because you simply never learned how or because this is your first, a good tip before buying any care kit is to do a little research to find out if you can take care of it on your own. Some brands of knives, like Spyderco, have certain restrictions on what you can d and can’t do with it without voiding the warranty.

Given the unique design of this one, we have to say that looking into the warranty first may be one of the best moves you can make, as it may require you to specifically use a dealer to care for your knife.


Using VG-10 steel was one of the best moves that the company could have made when designing the Civilian, and the reason is for its durability. Not only is this steel one known to hold its edge much longer than many other knives, but it is one of the hardest to damage. These knives are easy to care for because they were made using a Japanese style of high quality, high endurance steel that you usually only find in high-end chef’s blades.

The only downside is its tip. Because of its oddly shaped blade edge, the tip is very thin and can be snapped off if you try to apply too much pressure to it. This isn’t the metal’s fault, but rather a flaw in the design of many hunting and protection-based knives where they thin out the tip to give it that refined and frightening appearance. This is still an intimidating though, as the tip could snap off inside of what it is used on, but it does make it necessary to be careful not to misuse it if you want the blade to stay intact.


This is a heavier knife than most that one would take with them, but again, its intent and size because of intent, means the weight is to be expected. With an overall length of just over 9 inches, the fact that it weighs 4.6 ounces came as no surprise to us. In fact, the weight in any weapon is expected to be a little heavier as it adds to the effectiveness of using it.

A lightweight blade would be less likely to help you in a life and death situation, more likely to snap off, or not have enough power to cut into or get deep enough to do the job. This is even true when you are using a knife for hunting reasons and need it to be able to skin an animal or cut it apart. A heavier knife evens out to be a better knife for such heavy work.

Add to that, the quality of steel tends to be much higher and more durable. While there are some lightweight steels and metals that are very powerful in use, more often than not, you will find that the best you can get for weapons and hunting will indeed weigh more. Since this isn’t intended to be used as an EDC knife, don’t let this be something to deter you from continuing to look over a knife well worth its excellent reputation.


The Civilian has what is known as a satin finish to give it the look that it has. This is mainly used on collectors’ knives to provide it with the appeal of having a high-grade shine without making it have the glaring reflections from lights. It is done on high-grade steel products along the lines of the knife to give the bevels even more of a prestigious look than they would with any other type of finish.

The best-looking satin finishes occur when the sanding tool used has a much finer grain, and the lines are followed more precisely. The finer tuned that the finish is done, the better it looks overall and often a hand-satin finish is one of the best you can get since a greater attention to detail is put into the work. It’s more likely this is not a hand satin finish, however, given the high number of Civilian blades that are produced.


The handle is not built with the same materials as the blade itself, which is an important factor to note, especially given its use. With any knife that is designed for use as protection or that you would take with you for use in the wild, you want to know that you can use it without losing your grip and ending up cut on your own blade.

With the Civilian, this is not a concern. Its G-10 handle scales your sure to have a firm grip at all times when handling.

Not only do you not have to worry about it slipping, but its shape keeps you from having a hand cramp up as well. When using this as it was intended, this is an extremely important factor, and we definitely did not want to leave this out.

Everyone who has used the Civilian has found it to be perfect for its intention and is left feeling that they won’t lose control either through slipping or getting it shoved out of their hand due to hands cramping up.


The lock on this particular model is known as a mid-lock back, and once it is in the locked position, there is no give. The knife won’t slide closed again until you press the release and slide it close yourself. Due to the unique spider hole mechanism used to deploy the blade and the ease in which you can push the lock aside, the knife is both secure and easy to use.

There are modifications that a few have used to make the knife open as they take it out, but most owners feel that such almost mocks the quality of this particular model and that it shouldn’t be done. It can be opened and closed one-handed already, and it doesn’t have a spring load-assist even- it's just that good of a knife.


This is not your run-of-the-mill blade, even when looking at others in competition with it. The high-quality metal, great locking mechanism, and firm handle make it well worth it to spend the extra dollars on. The price, when we researched this model, was around $208 USD and it does have the usual warranty attached to it as all their knives do.

Since this is one of their more expensive options, we suggest taking a good look at their warranty and understanding what it does and does not cover. Two things we mentioned earlier can end up voiding your warranty rather quickly. Any actual modifications were done to the knife that affects its use, and taking the knife apart in any fashion on your own are both ways that will end Spyderco’s warranty on your blade.

Key Features

Great lock
High-quality metal
Great grip

Bottom Line

If you need or desire to own a knife for protection, this is why the Civilian was designed and it definitely does its job. It’s easy to use, durable and has a great reputation well worth taking into consideration. It's even one of those knives that if you’re just a collector, you may want to have on your shelf due to its unique appearance.

However, if you are looking for an EDC, this is not it.