Spyderco Paramilitary 2 Review: Unveiling a Modern Classic EDC Folding Knife

Spyderco Paramilitary 2 knife with digital camo handles on a burnt piece of wood.

I’ve carried a Spyderco Paramilitary 2 for well over 5 years now. I use it (Along with the Military) as one of my main edc folders.

I have carried and abused it at work. It has come with me on many backpacking and camping trips. And it has held up flawlessly over all that time.

The PM 2 easily garners attention in the world of everyday carry knives, a space crowded with numerous contenders vying for the top spot.

In my experience with the knife, it holds a reputation for reliability, durability, and superior design that places it frequently in recommended lists for both knife enthusiasts and those seeking a dependable tool for daily use.

Spyderco Paramilitary 2 Knife with S30V Steel On Burnt Log

The standard version comes with a premium CPM-S30V blade, and was designed with performance in mind. The standard G-10 handle ensures a robust grip while the compression lock mechanism offers security during heavy use.

Key Takeaways

  • The Spyderco Paramilitary 2 is a highly regarded tool known for its reliability and superior design.
  • My analysis confirms its practicality, focusing on the knife’s performance, ergonomics, and sharpness.
  • It maintains a strong reputation in the market, validated by extensive user feedback and my own detailed review.

Overview of the Spyderco Paramilitary 2

Historical Context and Evolution

The Spyderco Paramilitary 2, often referred to as the PM2, is a tactical folding knife that addresses the demand for a more manageable version of its predecessor, the Spyderco Military.

The PM2 was strategically downsized to two-thirds the size of the original Military model, a response to feedback highlighting the Military’s size as cumbersome for some everyday carriers.

Evolving from prior iterations, the PM2 was made in Golden, Colorado, and reflects Spyderco’s commitment to continuous improvement based on user feedback.

Different PM2 Versions

The original Paramilitary version released in 2004 (designated C81G) was made up until 2010 when it was modified slightly to narrow the handle, add the 4 way pocket clip feature, slightly lengthened the blade tip, added jimping tot he thumb ramp, implemented a new bushing system, and added a larger lanyard hole.

All small changes, but they added up to a level of refinement and attention that the original version lacked, imo. The PM2 Was born.

Over the years, there have been numerous different variations of steel and handle choices in the Paramilitary 2. The standard ones come with a S30V steel blade and G10 handles.

That said, since the revision in 2010, they all come with the same blade grind, compression lock, C81 factory designation, and the iconic PM2 shape and feel.

From here on out, I will mainly be talking about the PM2 with S30V steel and G-10 handles, unless specifically mentioning another version, or the chart below that shows the different blade steel and handle options over the years.

Chart Of All Known C81 Spyderco Paramilitary Variations

Key Specifications

The standard PM2’s specifications reflect a combination of carefully chosen materials and design elements optimized for superior performance:

  • Blade Material: CPM S30V Stainless Steel
  • Handle Material: G10
  • Blade Length: Approximately 3.4 inches
  • Overall Length: Approximately 8.3 inches
  • Weight: Around 3.9 ounces

These specifications solidify the PM2’s status as a durable, high-performance EDC knife suited for a variety of tasks. The PM2 features a full-flat grind, which enhances its slicing efficiency—a crucial attribute for an EDC knife.

The use of CPM S30V steel is particularly noteworthy, as it’s known for its exceptional edge retention and corrosion resistance.

The G10 handle scales not only provide a secure grip but also contribute to the knife’s lightweight profile, making it a preferred choice for those seeking a reliable and comfortable EDC option.

Design and Features

The Spyderco ParaMilitary 2 is a finely crafted tool that stands out due to its superior blade material, ergonomic handle design, reliable locking mechanism, and versatile pocket clip options.

Each feature is carefully considered to enhance the knife’s functionality and durability.

Blade Design and Material

The blade of the ParaMilitary 2 is a testament to thoughtful engineering. It features a 3.44-inch length and is constructed from CPM-S30V steel, known for its impressive edge retention and resistance to corrosion.

The shape is a refined modification of the classic Spyderco profile, with a full-flat grind that ensures a balance between strength and cutting efficiency.

Handle Design and Material

My grip is steady and comfortable thanks to the G-10 handle material, renowned for its durability and non-slip texture, even in wet conditions.

The handle houses stainless steel liners that contribute to structural integrity without excessive weight. The liners are nested within the G-10 scales, which reduces bulk and maintains a streamlined silhouette.

Locking Mechanism

An integral part of this knife’s design is the Compression Lock. Positioned on the spine of the handle, it provides a secure lockup while allowing for easy one-handed operation.

This locking mechanism is highly regarded for its strength and reliability, making it a preferred choice among many knife enthusiasts.

Pocket Clip Options

The ParaMilitary 2 offers multiple pocket clip configurations catered to an individual’s carrying preference. It comes standard with a 4-position clip, allowing for left or right-hand tip-up or tip-down carry.

Additionally, aftermarket options, including deep carry clips, are available for those seeking a more concealed carry and reduced pocket wear.

Ergonomics and Handling

In my examination of the Spyderco Paramilitary 2, I’ve found that the ergonomics and handling are imperative aspects of this knife. Factors such as grip, weight, and the details of the handle directly impact its usage.

Grip and Comfort

The Paramilitary 2’s handle is constructed from G10, an exceedingly durable and grippy material that offers a secure hold in various conditions. This material, coupled with the knife’s intelligent design, ensures that I can maintain a firm grip even when exerting force.

The handle ergonomics are further enhanced with a well-designed finger choil that allows for a closer grip when precision cutting is required.

Weight Considerations

With an overall length of 8.28 inches, it manages a lightweight profile at just 3.75 ounces. The internal stainless steel liners are milled out, which contributes to this reduced weight without compromising the knife’s structural integrity.

This makes it an ideal tool for those who, like me, prefer their everyday-carry (EDC) items to be unobtrusive and easy to handle for extended periods.

Jimping and Thumb Ramp

Jimping on the spine of the blade near the handle provides additional tactile feedback and slip resistance, enhancing the overall control I have when using the knife.

The Paramilitary 2 incorporates a prominent thumb ramp for additional leverage, which I find particularly useful when applying pressure in cuts. This combination ensures that every motion I make with the knife feels deliberate and controlled.


In examining the performance of the Spyderco Paramilitary 2, I’ll focus on its blade sharpness, locking system, and overall cutting capability.

Each component plays a critical role in the knife’s functionality, proving it to be an exceptional tool for a variety of tasks.

Blade Sharpness and Maintenance

The blade of the Paramilitary 2 comes with a full flat grind, which offers excellent slicing performance. Its CPM-S30V steel composition is noteworthy for its balance of toughness, edge retention, and corrosion resistance.

This steel is known for keeping its edge for an extended period, which means I need to sharpen it less frequently. When maintenance is required, the flat ground blade is relatively straightforward to sharpen, despite S30V’s hardness.

Locking System Efficiency

A standout feature of this knife is its compression lock. I find it to be highly reliable, effectively securing the blade in the open position without any blade play. The compression lock is also quite easy to disengage when necessary.

What enhances the performance of the locking system further is the bushing pivot system, facilitating smooth and consistent blade deployment and closure.

Overall Cutting Ability

The Paramilitary 2’s blade measures in at a comfortable working length, not overly long but sufficient for varied cutting tasks. It’s designed with a practical belly for efficient slicing and a precise distal taper that aids in finer tasks.

The full flat grind contributes to its slicing ability, making it an adept cutter for both push cuts and slices. Additionally, jimping on the spine gives me increased control and pressure application when cutting.

Taking all these aspects into account, the Paramilitary 2 demonstrates high cutting performance suitable for everyday demands.

Versatility and Practicality

In my experience as an avid user, the Spyderco Paramilitary 2 (PM2) excels in everyday utility and adapts well to a variety of specialized tasks. Its design elements contribute to this dual-purpose functionality.

Everyday Carry Usability

I find the Spydie Hole, a signature feature of Spyderco, enhances the PM2’s ease of deployment. The enlarged thumb hole allows for quick and effortless blade opening, which is essential for tasks that require immediate knife access.

Coupled with the tip-up pocket clip configuration, the PM2 is always ready for rapid engagement. Here’s why it makes for an ideal everyday carry (EDC):

  • Quick Deployment: The Spydie Hole makes one-handed opening smooth and natural.
  • Secure Carry: The tip-up pocket clip, along with the lanyard hole, ensures the knife is secure and accessible.
  • Practical Blade: CPM-S30V steel provides longevity and ease of maintenance, critical for daily use.

Specialized Usage Scenarios

When it comes to specialized tasks, the PM2’s versatility is evident. Its ability to transition from an EDC to a knife fit for camping or tactical situations is where it shines.

The compression lock mechanism adds to its reliable performance, whether I am preparing kindling for a fire or cutting through heavy-duty materials. Notice the focus on practical features:

  • Robust Blade: The blade retains its edge even after heavy use, a testament to its practical design.
  • Ergonomic Grip: The G-10 handle scales provide a firm, comfortable grip under all conditions, allowing me to use the knife effectively in diverse settings.

My assessment of the Paramilitary 2 confirms its reputation as a knife that can handle the rigors of everyday carry and stand up to more demanding scenarios without compromising on practicality or functionality.

Durability and Material Quality

In assessing the Spyderco Paramilitary 2, I evaluate its durability and material quality by focusing on two key components: the blade’s wear resistance and the longevity of the handle.

Through rigorous analysis, these factors stand out as pivotal in determining the overall durability of the knife.

Blade Wear Resistance

The blade of the Spyderco Paramilitary 2 is crafted with CPM-S30V stainless steel, a premium material known for its significant wear resistance. This steel is enriched with carbon, which enhances its hardness and ability to maintain a sharp edge over time.

The composition of S30V steel strikes an ideal balance between toughness and wear resistance, making it less prone to chipping during heavy usage.

  • Hardness: The CPM-S30V blade offers excellent edge retention due to its hardness, reducing the frequency of sharpening required.
  • Composition: The incorporation of carbon and other alloys in S30V steel contributes to its resistance to wear and corrosion, allowing the knife to withstand rigorous tasks.

Handle Longevity

The handle of the Paramilitary 2 is constructed using G-10 scales, a composite material favored for its durability and resistance to environmental wear. G-10 scales are known for their resilience and ability to maintain structural integrity even under adverse conditions.

  • Material Traits:
    • Toughness: The G-10 handle is tough, withstanding impact and abrasion without showing significant signs of wear.
    • Maintenance: My analysis concludes that G-10 requires minimal maintenance, resisting wear from both mechanical stress and environmental factors.

Aesthetic Appeal

Best Pocket Knife Brands
Can you spot the PM2 Here?

In my examination of the Spyderco Paramilitary 2, I’ve found its aesthetic appeal lies in the deliberate blend of functionality with style. The knife doesn’t just perform; it also has a look that resonates with enthusiasts.

Visual Design Elements

The Paramilitary 2 carries the iconic Spyderco silhouette with its leaf-shaped blade and large thumb hole for easy opening.

The spine of the blade smoothly tapers to a fine, yet sturdy point, which along with a subtle jimping, gives it a distinctive visual appeal. Its scales feature a textured pattern, enhancing grip and complementing its overall design.

The digital camo version is particularly notable; it adds a layer of visual intrigue without sacrificing the knife’s sleekness.

Users will notice that the digital camo pattern on the G10 handle offers not only a unique look but also serves to obscure the knife in certain environments, melding aesthetics with practicality.

Color and Material Options

The Paramilitary 2 includes a variety of color and material options, allowing for personal customization based on one’s taste. Here’s a breakdown of the most prominent options:

  • Colors: Predominantly available in black, it also comes in a range of colors including earth tones, digital camo, and more vibrant selections.
  • Materials: The G10 handle is a constant, known for its durability and strength. G10, a fiberglass-based laminate, provides a reassuring grip while also contributing to the elegance of the knife.

Whether in standard black or the more niche digital camo, each color variant maintains the design ethos of the Paramilitary 2, which is to offer a visually appealing tool without compromising performance.

Spyderco Paramilitary 2 knife with custom electric blue handles made by Blade Protection.

Although there are a ton of different handle versions already, Blade Protection has started making custom handles for the Paramilitary2. They come in translucent blue, (shown above) translucent green, red, and clear too.

A great way to dress up your PM2 as your own and make a custom color for your EDC knife.

Market Considerations

In my analysis, the Spyderco Paramilitary 2 stands out in the market for its balance of quality and price, alongside its competition. I’ll be evaluating its cost-effectiveness and comparing it to similar models to equip you with clear insights.

Price and Value for Money

The Spyderco Paramilitary 2, commonly referred to as the PM2, often retails for around $130 to $150. When considering its features and reputation, I find this to be a competitive price point.

Its construction includes premium materials like the S30V stainless steel blade and G-10 handle scales, making it durable and reliable. The rating and recommendation from various sources consistently align with top-tier reviews, supporting its value for money.

Competitive Comparison

It’s crucial to assess the PM2 against its rivals and even its family line, such as the Para 3. When looking at alternatives available on the market, knives crafted with high-performance steels like Maxamet, M390, or CPM-S110V are worth considering.

These materials can impact the price, with some variants climbing significantly higher than the PM2’s MSRP.

On retailers like Amazon and BladeHQ, the PM2 competes vigorously, holding its own in terms of ratings and sales. The knife’s popularity is reflected in its frequent out-of-stock status, indicating strong ongoing demand.

This demand confirms my view that the PM2 is a significant player in its category, remaining relevant and sought-after years after its initial launch.

Innovations and Enhancements

PM2 with S110V premium Steel

The Spyderco Paramilitary 2 is lauded for its specialized advancements that refine its functionality and user experience. My focus will be on the proprietary technologies unique to the brand and the evolutionary steps the design has taken.

Proprietary Technologies

Spyderco’s Paramilitary 2 showcases my commitment to innovation, particularly with the patented Compression Lock mechanism. This lock system is designed for safety and efficiency, allowing for quick and secure blade engagement and disengagement with one hand, without the fingers crossing the blade’s path.

Phosphor bronze washers are employed in the knife’s pivot, ensuring smooth and reliable blade deployment. Utilizing phosphor bronze contributes to the longevity of the washers due to their low-friction and wear-resistant properties.

Moreover, the Spydie Hole, a trademark round hole, remains an integral part of the knife’s identity. It offers an ergonomic and non-slip means to deploy the blade, consistent with the brand’s tradition of user-centered design.

Evolution of Design

The design of the Paramilitary 2 reflects an evolution from its predecessor. Its design enhancements focus on increasing practicality and ergonomic comfort while using high-quality materials.

  • The blade length has been optimized for everyday carry, making it large enough for a variety of tasks and yet convenient to carry.
  • Handle ergonomics have improved with chamfered edges, providing a more comfortable grip without the aggressiveness of previous textures, preventing wear and tear on pockets.

The design approach aims to support the knife’s frequent use scenarios, ensuring it remains a top choice for its intended roles. With the Paramilitary 2, users benefit from a tool that undergoes continuous refinement, aiming for the perfect balance between durability, utility, and innovation.

User Feedback and Community Opinion

Paramilitary 2 and Mule Team knife with matching custom blue scales.

In my experience, the Spyderco ParaMilitary 2 receives overwhelmingly positive feedback from the knife community. Users regularly rate it highly, often bestowing upon it 5-star reviews. This consistent high rating underscores the trust and satisfaction users have towards this particular model.

When perusing through Twitter conversations and knife forums, I observe that the ParaMilitary 2 is frequently touted as an essential piece of gear, especially lauded for its USA-made quality.

Its reputation is strong among everyday carry (EDC) enthusiasts who value both function and form.

Here’s how individuals typically break down their feedback:

  • Blade: Users appreciate the S30V steel for its durability and edge retention.
  • Handle: The G10 handle scales are favored for their grip and comfort without being abrasive.
  • Ergonomics: The knife is generally cited for its excellent in-hand feel, balance, and ease of use.
FeatureCommunity Feedback
BladePositive; Durable steel
HandlePositive; Comfortable grip
ErgonomicsPositive; Well-balanced

I’ve noticed mentions of its price, which some users consider to be on the higher side. Nonetheless, the consensus seems to be that the value provided justifies the cost.

It’s clear from my research and observation that the Spyderco ParaMilitary 2 holds a cherished spot within the knife community, attributed to its thoughtful design and reliable performance.

Brand and Manufacturer

My focus here is on Spyderco as a brand and the manufacturing details of the Paramilitary 2 knife. Spyderco is a renowned name in the cutlery market, best known for incorporating innovative designs and a commitment to craftsmanship.

I find that this Colorado-based company has solidified its reputation through a blend of technological advancements and user-driven design philosophies.

Table: Attributes of Spyderco

LocationGolden, Colorado, USA
Known ForHigh-performance cutting tools
InnovationsRound Hole, Clip Design, Reliable Locking Mechanisms

Spyderco’s Military series, which includes the Paramilitary 2, is a collection of knives that are often lauded for their durability and utility. The Paramilitary 2 itself is a shining example of the brand’s military-inspired lineage, offering features that cater to high-stress environments.

Keeping in context with the USA-made ethos, I have confirmed that Spyderco manufactures the Paramilitary 2 in their Golden, Colorado, facility. This, to me, is a testament to the company’s dedication to maintaining quality by overseeing every aspect of the knife’s production domestically.

Ensuring that each knife meets their high standards of precision and excellence truly reflects their commitment to the ‘Made in the USA‘ stamp.

The blade steel, intricate locking mechanisms, and patented features like the iconic thumb hole, further establish the Paramilitary 2 as a product of a brand that both understands and sets the bar for what’s expected in a high-caliber folding knife.

Final Analysis and Verdict

After extensive usage and consideration of its features, my assessment of the Spyderco Paramilitary 2 is grounded in personal experience and corroborated by the opinions of fellow users. Below, I have outlined the key specs and my final thoughts to guide potential buyers.

Key Specs:

  • Blade Material: S30V Stainless Steel
  • Handle: G10
  • Weight: Lightweight for its size
  • Lock Type: Compression Lock

My time with the Spyderco Paramilitary 2 has solidified my opinion of its capabilities. The S30V blade steel signifies a high-quality, sharp, and durable cutting edge that maintains sharpness after repeated use. The G10 handle scales offer a secure grip while being kind to my pockets, balancing functionality and practicality.

Given its ergonomic design, I found the PM2 to be comfortable during prolonged use, negating any fatigue that can often occur with less thoughtfully designed knives. In terms of functionality, the reliable compression lock mechanism has provided a sense of safety and assurance that is crucial during demanding tasks.

Recommendation: For those seeking a top-tier EDC knife, the higher price point of the Paramilitary 2 reflects its premium status and is justified by its performance and robust construction. It caters to enthusiasts and professionals who require a dependable knife for everyday tasks.

My verdict is clear: the Spyderco Paramilitary 2 earns its reputation. It’s a well-considered investment for anyone in need of a versatile and high-performing knife for everyday carry.

Care and Maintenance Tips

Proper care of my Spyderco Paramilitary 2 ensures longevity and optimal performance. The blade, made of CPM-S30V stainless steel, is known for excellent edge retention, but it still requires regular sharpening to maintain its razor edge.

I like my knives sharp. Like really fkn sharp. Scary sharp. Anything less is unacceptable.

When sharpening, I often use the Spyderco Sharpmaker with the brown rods on the 15 degree setting. After that, I will run a few passes on the white ceramic rods at the 20 deg setting to make a micro bevel on the very finest part of the edge.

Then, for regular every day cutting, it only takes a few passes on the strop to keep it shaving sharp until I decide it needs another trip to the Sharpmaker.

Blade Care:

  • Sharpen regularly with appropriate tools.
  • Clean after usage, especially when contacting acidic or corrosive substances.
  • Dry promptly to avoid rust or corrosion.

For internal maintenance, the Paramilitary 2 features phosphor bronze washers for smooth operation. I ensure these washers are clean and lightly oiled to maintain the smooth deployment mechanism of the knife. If I ever need to disassemble the knife, I make sure to fully dry and oil each part before reassembly to prevent rust and to ensure proper functioning.

Internal Maintenance:

  • Inspect phosphor bronze washers periodically; keep them clean and oiled.
  • After washing or disassembly, ensure complete drying before oiling and reassembly.

By adhering to these care and maintenance practices, I ensure my Spyderco Paramilitary 2 operates reliably while preserving its edge retention and overall integrity.

Frequently Asked Questions

Knife And Axe In Front Of Fire

In my experience, the Spyderco Paramilitary 2 is a prevalent choice for knife enthusiasts. Let’s address some common inquiries to elucidate its features and capabilities.

What are the differences between the Spyderco Paramilitary 2 and Paramilitary 3 models?

The Paramilitary 2 and 3 models differ mainly in size; the Paramilitary 3 is more compact. Another contrast is the lock type—both feature Spyderco’s Compression Lock, but it’s been slightly modified in the Paramilitary 3 for the smaller handle.

Which exclusive editions of Spyderco Paramilitary 2 are available?

Spyderco releases exclusive editions of the Paramilitary 2 featuring different handle materials and blade steels. Some examples include versions with carbon fiber handles or upgraded blade steels like S35VN, M390 or Spyderco’s newest steel SPY27

How does the Spyderco Paramilitary 2 perform for self-defense purposes?

The Paramilitary 2 is designed primarily as a utility tool, yet its durable construction and easy deployment make it reliable in self-defense situations if properly trained.

Are there any size considerations to be aware of when purchasing a Spyderco Paramilitary 2?

Yes, the Paramilitary 2 has a blade length of just over 3.4 inches, making it illegal to carry in some areas with strict knife laws. Always check local regulations before purchasing.

What steel types are the Spyderco Paramilitary 2 available in, such as K390 or S90V?

Spyderco offers the Paramilitary 2 in various steel types, commonly in CPM S30V, but exclusive runs may feature steels like K390, Maxamet, or S90V for enhanced edge retention or toughness.

How does the Spyderco Paramilitary 2 compare to the original Paramilitary and the Military models?

Compared to the original Paramilitary, the Paramilitary 2 offers improved ergonomics and a more refined design. The Military model is larger than both Paramilitary versions and is tailored more toward tactical use.