Is The Spyderco Tenacious The Best Value, High Quality Knife Available?
This Spyderco Tenacious review will look at what make this knife so well loved among knife aficionados around the world.
Why did Spyderco step away from their previous proven models to create the Tenacious in China?
Can you really get the same quality knife that Spyderco is known for made in China or did they cut corners to lower the cost?
Are there any downfalls with this model compared to other Spyderco blades?
Is this knife tough enough to be your EDC blade? In this review we will answer all this and more so read on to find out.
Spyderco Tenacious Quick Overview
There is no doubt that the Tenacious is an amazing knife for the price. You get all the quality, style, and fit and finish you would expect with their other knives that are made in Seki City Japan but at a fraction of the cost.
While there are some small differences between the Tenacious and the rest of their knives that come from Japan, you would be hard pressed to really tell the difference if you didn't know before hand.
Like almost all other Spyderco knives it comes with the characteristic Spydie hole for quick opening. This visual cue and characteristic action also let it be known that this is a Spyderco Knife.
The Tenacious comes with the standard G-10 handle scales which can be had in a multitude of different colors. There are also various choices for different scales as well as a myriad of custom designs which can be had that we will get into later.
These G-10 scales are screw attached to a skeletonized steel liners which give these knives very good rigidity while still maintaining a decent overall weight.
The blade options are the standard smooth edge, Spyderedge Serrated, or the combo blade for the best of both worlds. You can get the blade in either the regular finish, satin finish, or the stealth black blade which give this knife a very cool look.
This is a full-size folding blade pocketknife with a liner lock and a 4-way adjustable pocket clip. the 4-way setup allows for versatility in carry positions as well as the ability to change it out with custom choices such as the deep carry clip which is a great addition to an EDC blade.
If you are looking for a slightly smaller Spyderco knife for EDC then you should check out our full review of the Spyderco Delica here.
The Tenacious has a blade that is just under 3 1/2" inches in length and weighs just a hair over 4 ounces. They have recently announced the Spyderco Tenacious Lightweight C122BK which comes with Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon (FRN) handle scales that shaves a little weight off and offers another style to this already popular knife.
At Blade HQ
- Signature Spydie Hole
- G-10 Handles
- Various Colors Available
- Skeletonized Liners
- Variety of Blade Edge Styles
- Smooth Edge
- Combo Edge
- 4 Way Pocket Clip
- Black Blade Finish Available
- 7.77" Overall Length
- 4.38" Closed Length
- 0.122" Blade Thickness
- 3.39" Blade Length
- 3.39" Edge Length
- 8Cr13MoV Blade Steel
- Full Flat Grind
- 4.1 Ounces
The Tenacious has been a well-loved knife since it's inception 12 years ago and with the new upgrades, consistent quality, considerable style options and choices this knife is sure to continue to be a staple in the Spyderco lineup for years to come!
Founded in 1976 in Redding California by Sal and Gail Glesser, Spyderco has become one of the most well-known high-quality knife makers around. Starting from Humble beginnings, Spyderco has grown by continuing to tap into the wants and desires of those who buy their products.
Right from the beginning, Sal has been known to listen carefully to prospective customers and strive to produce the products that they want in the way that they want them. Many companies produce the products that they think they can make the best margins on or they produce knives that they think their customers should have.
Sal has approached this the other way around from the beginning and was well known to speak at length with knife fans at shows and learn about what they wanted in a knife and what were the important details to focus on.
Sal is still very active with his customers and fan base and is a regular participant in the Spyderco forums discussing aspects of his business and products that i have never seen from any other major business owner. That connection with the people who buy and use his products is a big part of what continues to make Spyderco so successful today.
Early in 2008 the Tenacious appeared in their product catalog and sparked a bit of controversy and discussion from followers of the Spyderco brand. "Is it really true that they are making this knife in China instead of their usual Japanese facilities?" "Will they be able to produce a knife that stand up the usual high quality that Spyderco is known for?"
In the last 12 years of production I think it can easily be said that yes, this knife has lived up to the Spyderco reputation and has put all those questions to rest. Not only did they create a knife with the same qualities as their other blades, but they were able to do it in a way that won't break your budget.
Now, that isn't to say that this is the highest quality knife out there. Sure, if you put it up against some of their premium models and some of the newer high quality steels available today it will clearly stand out that this is a budget version compared to some of the other premium models out there.
The C122 Tenacious Model Variations
There have been very little changes to this model since it first came out. They have used the same handle style and material, the same blade style and material, the same clip style and mounting, and have had very little to change throughout the life of this model. A testament to the thought that went into this knife from the beginning.
The main changes to this model since it first came out have been the variety of different colors and a few material choices for the handles. Let’s take a closer look at some of them.
Tenacious Handle Scales
The Tenacious comes standard with G-10 handle scales and can be had in a wide array of colors. The first few years the handles were only available as black, although over the years you could get the Spyderco Tenacious G-10 scales in Black, Blue, Green, Light Brown, Red Checkered, Camo, Black Laminate, Orange as well as a myriad of aftermarket variations.
G-10 is a high-pressure fiberglass laminate that is used by many knife manufacturers for handle scales. It is made with stacked layers of fiberglass cloth and is then soaked in resin and compressed and heated until it cures. G-10 is very strong and impervious to moisture and for this reason it makes it a great choice for a tough and durable knife handle material.
G-1- also provides a very grippy surface when wet. It can be textured and shaped to provide a slip free and comfortable surface for your knife. One other characteristic of G-10 is that it has a very low thermal conductivity. This makes it a good choice for cold weather climates as the handle will not conduct the cold to your hand as readily as a metal handled knife would.
The Tenacious handle is milled and provides a solid grip with good ergonomics which allows for a solid grip which won't fatigue your hand when cutting.
Tenacious G-10 Blue Handle
The blue handle variety of the Tenacious was the first custom color to be released in May of 2012. This was a JB Distributor Exclusive Sprintrun and only a limited number of models were made. The popularity of this new handle color quickly paved the way for other exclusive colors and a few which have had more long-term availability.
Tenacious G-10 Camo Handle.
One of the more popular handle color varieties available now is the camo version. It is a digital camouflage that has a pattern that resembles the US army ARPAT camo. First produced in July 2017, it is still available today and with it's continuing popularity it will probably be available for a long time to come.
Tenacious G-10 Orange Handle
One of the more striking color combinations to come out for this knife is the bright orange G10 version. This is a great option for anyone who would carry this knife in the forest or when you are hunting as the bright color is sure to stand out anywhere you go.
Produced as an exclusive version for "The Cutlery Shoppe" starting in 2017, it is still being manufactured today. You can also get this orange handled version with the black blade and black pocket clip which (in my opinion) makes it one of the most visually appealing versions available.
Tenacious G-10 Green Handle
Originally produced as a "Blue Ridge Dealer Exclusive" and only available with the black blade and black hardware, this is a highly desirable and collectible version of this familiar knife style. Production started in May 2012 with another run in May of 2014 there were only 1200 models made in this version. If you can get you hands on one of these exclusive limited release versions, then grab it and hang onto it as it is sure to become more widely sought after in the years to come.
Tenacious Blade Shape
The Spyderco Tenacious blade shape has been a consistent design since it's first production in 2008. Made out of 8Cr13MoV steel with a full flat grind it has proven to be a reliable combination of quality steel with good edge retention and toughness, while still maintaining a lower price than their premium blades.
Spyderco describes their blade as being "leaf shaped". If you are familiar with their other knives, then you will immediately recognize this familiar shape. With a fairly long straight spine and an almost imperceptible drop to it the long and graceful cutting-edge curves up to the point with a decent belly for slicing.
The overall blade length of 3.39 inches makes it a decent size for an EDC knife. Big enough to handle all kinds of cutting tasks while still small enough to fit well in your pocket without being too bulky. The blade is 0.122 inches thick which is a good thickness that provides good strength while still being thin enough to make these knives excellent slicers.
Spyder hole opening
Towards the upper rear of the spine the signature "Spydie" hole resides. This is a very characteristic feature of almost all Spyderco knives and makes it almost impossible to mistake this as anything else. This Spyder hole allow for easy one-handed opening by either tucking the corner of your thumb into it or slipping the end of your index finger in and giving it a quick flick to open.
Unlike a more traditional thumb stud or "flicker" button, the Spydie hole does not have any protrusions that would stick out past the handle scale and help provide for the good carry ergonomics with this blade.
Behind the Spyder hole the back of the blade slopes down to the handle quickly which makes a very nice ramp with aggressive jimping to provide a secure grip for your thumb during difficult cutting tasks.
Cutting edge features
One of the more interesting and unique features of this blade design is the fact that the cutting edge runs all the way back to the handle with no choil or ricasso where the blade intersects the handle. This design makes for great ergonomics with a very long usable cutting edge on the full length of the blade.
The last main feature of the blade to discuss is the full flat grind. While many other knife manufacturers use a hollow grind the Tenacious had always incorporated a full flat grind on their blades. Being slightly tougher than a hollow grind, the main feature of this style of grind is that it helps make the knives more effective for slicing tasks. It is generally a more expensive grind style for manufacturers to make and to find this full flat grind on knives at this price point is an impressive feature.
Tenacious Blade Edge Types
As with most Spyderco blades, the Tenacious comes in their three standard edge types. Some people prefer a standard smooth blade while others prefer the rugged Spyderedge serrated blade. Still other prefer the combo blade to get the best of both worlds. Each blade style excels at different tasks and is as much of an individual choice as the color of the handle.
Tenacious Plain Edge
The Spyderco Tenacious plain edge blade is the standard smooth edge that most people think of for a knives blade. This standard edge performs well on all manner of tasks and is a solid choice for an EDC blade. One of the more important considerations for this design is that is easy to sharpen and maintain which isn't to be said for the next two blade styles.
Tenacious Spyderedge Serrated Edge
The Spyderedge serrated blade has Spyderco's proprietary serration profile and is one of the most well known and functional serration patterns available. This type of edge gives the blade an aggressive serration which makes it much easier to cut through tough materials such as rope or cardboard. This also works very well for crusty materials like bread or resilient materials like rubber or plastic.
The one main drawback of a serrated knife is that it is much more difficult to sharpen than a standard smooth edge blade. It requires specific tools such as tapered diamond rods or slip stones that are rounded and shaped to get into the grooves of the serrations. While this is not a big deal to some people, it is an important consideration to keep in mind when thinking about purchasing a serrated blade.
Tenacious Combo Edge
The combo edge combines both styles into one multipurpose blade that has the advantages of both edges in one blade. It typically has the front half of the blade as the traditional smooth edge while having the back half closest to the handle as the serrated portion. This gives you the strength for cutting tough materials near the handle where it provides better ergonomics for tough cutting while still maintaining the razor-sharp tip portion for precise cutting tasks.
Tenacious Blade Steel
The Spyderco Tenacious is made with 8Cr13MoV steel and is the only blade steel that you can get this knife in. This was one of the main considerations for this knife when it was designed and is a major factor in its price point. While 8Cr13MoV is not a high tech "super steel" it is an excellent knife steel which has a good combination of hardness, toughness, and corrosion resistance.
8Cr13MoV has similar performance to Aus-8 and is a good mid grade knife steel. It does not really excel in any one area, but it has reasonable results in just about all areas that matter for a knife steel. This is probably one reason that Spyderco chose this steel for these knives.
Tenacious Black Blade
Although the Tenacious only comes in one steel choice for the blade it can be had in a black finish on the blade for extra corrosion protection as well as a unique style. When you put this black blade with some of the different colors you can make a very cool Spyderco Tenacious G10 combo.
Tenacious Locking Mechanism
The Tenacious comes with a standard Walker Linerlock. Invented by Michael Walker, the linerlock is one of the more popular locking mechanisms for knives today. It has the convenience of easy one-handed operation coupled with a solid lockup when open.
The liner has clean jimping at the notch which makes it easy to get a grip to close the blade. At the same time, the strength of this design locks the blade securely in place make sure it doesn't close on your hand when using it.
Tenacious Pocket Clip
The Tenacious comes with a 4-way hourglass pocket clip which allows you to customize the carrying position of your knife. It attaches with three screws and can be moved from side to side and end to end as needed. This gives you the option to carry it on your right or left side, tip up or tip down, and inside your pocket or outside your pocket.
The first pocket clips on the Tenacious were chrome but certain versions can come with the black clip, or chrome silver on the newer versions. Along with this you can get a deep carry pocket clip version as well as a few other aftermarket color and shape choices at a reasonable price for further customization.
Spyderco Tenacious Reviews From Other Real Owners
The Tenacious is one of the most well reviewed affordable knives we have reviewed. And, one of the best ways to see how it might work for you is to see what hundreds of other people are saying about it.
Want to see what other owners of the Tenacious have to say about it. You can check them out here.
Spyderco Tenacious G-10 Review Conclusion
There can be no doubt that the Spyderco Tenacious is a very solid knife for the price and that you will not be disappointed when you add one to your collection. It is one of the few knives we know where you can get the high quality of a premium knife maker like Spyderco at a price that won't break the bank.
There are a lot of different things that we like about this knife which we covered in this review. As well, there is not a lot that we don't like about the Tenacious. When you combine the solid ergonomics, high quality materials and design, and the backing of a solid company like Spyderco, when you get one, you know you have got a winner in your hands.