The Spyderco Mule Team Project is a unique program designed to get new and exciting types of blade steel into the hands of hardcore knife aficionados for real world hands on testing.
In the knife industry, a Mule is a sample knife used for testing the performance of new products. In the case of the Spyderco Mule Team Project, they are specifically testing a wide range of different blade steels, all with the same shape, dimensions, and design.
This allows for a very unique platform that gives a standardized blade blank where the only difference is the steel used. Each blade can exhibit different hardness, toughness, corrosion resistance, ease of sharpening, level of achieved sharpness, or other characteristics that can only be truly discerned by getting the steel into real knife users hands.
Mule Team History
The Spyderco Mule Team Project first launched in January of 2008 with the release of the MT01 blade in 52100 steel. The program continued fairly steadily with the release of two or three different blades each year until October of 2017 with the release of MT27 Micro-Melt PD#1. The PD#1 blades sat on the shelf for years and it looked like the Mule team Project may have been mothballed, until 2021.
Mule Team Popularity
The project was renewed in February 2021 with the release of MT28 in Spyderco’s new proprietary steel SPY27. With the revival of the Mule Team Project, and the release of 5 different blade steels in 2021, popularity has soared and all of the recent releases have sold out in record time.
Spyderco has begun to increase the quantity of Mules being produced, but it can take years from the beginning of the process of securing the steel, to testing and refining their manufacturing and heat-treating processes, to the final production of the blades. This has left Mule Team fans banging down the Spyderco servers on release day, and a hugely renewed interest in the program.
Mule Team Handles / Mule Team Scales
In an effort to keep costs as low as possible and get these amazing blade steels into the hands of as many users as possible, all Mule Team knives come without handles or sheaths. This has made for some amazing, custom-made, one of a kind, knives that have been created by members of the Mule Team Army.
Spyderco does sell pre-made black scales with a checkered diamond pattern for grip. They come with three 5/16″ barrel connectors and 6 matching screws with T8 Torx heads to connect them. These handles provide a nice solid grip and are slightly undersized which allows for the tang to sit slightly proud of the scales.
Some users like this as it provides great feedback and blade positioning in the hand. While other users prefer a more flush fit of the handle to the tang which gives an overall smoother feel and less potential hotspots during use.
Many Spyderco fans are using this platform as a starting point for creating their own custom handles. Everything from exotic woods to 3D printed Scales, and intricate paracord wraps. One of my favorite aspects of this program is the creativity of the Spyderco community and seeing all the amazing workmanship and uniquely finished knives.
Mule Team Sheaths
While the blade blanks do not come with a sheath, Spyderco does offer two different sheath options to be purchased separately.
The leather sheath dangles from your belt and the knife and handle sit fairly deeply into the sheath. Some users have mentioned that this configuration can get hung up when drawing the knife. Additionally, the pronounced finger guard and short steep thumb ramp can prevent the blade from seating fully into the sheath.
The Boltaron sheath is a pancake-style hard sheath with a belt clip attached by two screws. The clip can be repositioned to allow for right or left-side carry as well as scout carry options. I find that this sheath holds the knife firmly when stored away but still draws easily with a slight push of your thumb on the sheath edge when drawing.
List Of All Production Mule Team Blades
MT 01 – 52100 (MT01)
Released in January 2008 with an MSRP of $79.95.
MT 02 – CPM M4 (MT02)
Released in October 2008 with an MSRP of $69.95.
MT 03 – CPM S90V (MT03)
Released in February 2009 with an MSRP of $69.95.
MT 04 – ZDP-189 (MT04)
Released in July 2009 with an MSRP of $79.95.
MT 05 – 9Cr18Mo (MT05)
Released in October 2009 with an MSRP of $19.95.
MT 06 – CPM S35VN (MT06)
Released in January 2010 with an MSRP of $64.95.
MT 07 – Damascus / VG-10 (MT07)
Released in October 2010 with an MSRP of $84.95.
MT 08 – Aogami Super Blue (MT08)
Released in December 2010 with an MSRP of $79.95.
MT 09 – Cobalt Special (MT09)
Released in February 2011 with an MSRP of $84.95.
MT 10 – CTS BD1 (MT10)
Released in June 2010? with an MSRP of $69.95.
MT 11 – M390 (MT11)
Released in June 2011 with an MSRP of $74.95.
MT 12 – Cruwear (MT12P)
Released in September 2011 with an MSRP of $59.95
MT 13 – Elmax (MT13P)
Released in February 2012 with an MSRP of $64.95.
MT 14 –
MT 15 – CTS B75P (MT15P)
Released in September 2012 with an MSRP of $74.95.
MT 16 – CTS-XHP (MT16)
Released in December 2012 with an MSRP of $59.95 (MTXHP) Blemished MSRP $49.95.
MT 17 – K390 (MT17)
Released in July 2013 with an MSRP of $69.95.
MT 18 – CPM S110V (MT18)
Released in February 2014 with an MSRP of $89.95.
MT 19 – PSF27 (MT19)
Released in August 2014 with an MSRP of $79.95.
MT 20 – CTS B70P (MT20)
Released in February 2015 with an MSRP of $79.95.
MT 21 – 4V (MT21)
Released in October 2015 with an MSRP of $69.95.
MT 22 – RWL34 (MT22)
Released in April 2016 with an MSRP of $69.95.
MT 23 – CPM 20CV (MT23)
Released in December 2016 with an MSRP of $69.95.
MT 24 – Maxamet (MT24)
Released in August 2016 with an MSRP of $109.95.
MT 25 – LC200N (MT25)
Released in April 2017 with an MSRP of $69.95.
MT 26 – Micro-Melt A11 (PMA11) (MT26)
Released in August 2017 with an MSRP of $69.95.
MT 27 – Micro-Melt PD#1 (MT27)
Released in October 2017 with an MSRP of $69.95.
MT 28 – CPM SPY27 (MT28)
Released on February 12, 2021, with an MSRP of $50.00.
MT 29 – Z-Max PM (MT29)
Released on June 8, 2021, with an MSRP of $50.00.
MT 30 – Z-Wear PM (MT30)
Released on August 19, 2021, with an MSRP of $50.00.
MT 31 – CPM S45VN (MT31)
Released on April 22, 2021, with an MSRP of $50.00.
MT 32 – SRS13 / SUS405 (MT32P)
Released on February 17, 2022, with an MSRP of $75.00.
MT 33 – Release TBD
MT 34 – Release TBD
MT 35 – CPM MagnaCut (MT35)
Released on December 3, 2021, with an MSRP of $75.00.
Straight Spine Mule
Due to the renewed interest in the Mule Team Knives, Spyderco will be introducing a regular production Mule. It will have a slightly straighter spine than the standard mule, but retain the same handle dimensions and mounting holes. These new regular production blades will be made from Spyderco’s own SPY27 steel and are sure to be a welcome addition to the Mule Family.
The Spyderco Mule Team Project is an amazing gift to knife lovers and fans of the Spyderco brand. It is this amazing feeling of community and Spyderco’s drive to push the knife industry forward that makes them stand out from the pack.
The Mule Team project has built a great community of like-minded steel Afi’s that continue to push these new steels to their limits. They report back to the Spyderco forum to share their findings, both good and bad.
If you are looking to get your hands on some of the newest and most exciting steel in the knife world, without having to sell a kidney to do it, then check out the Spyderco Mule Team Project and keep your eyes out for the latest release!