1. Click here to enter the drawing for your chance to win an Ontario Knives Spec Plus SP8 Machete Survival Knife & Ka-Bar Dozier Folding Hunter, , Bladeforums.com swag or memberships!

    Be sure to read the rules before entering, then help us decide next week's giveaway by hitting the poll in that thread! Entries close at midnight, Saturday Sept 7!

    Once the entries close, we'll live stream the drawing on Sunday, Sept 8 at 5PM Eastern. Tune in to our YouTube channel TheRealBladeForums for a chance to win bonus prizes!

    Questions? Comments? Post in the discussion thread here

Spyderco - Paramilitary 2

Discussion in 'Knife Reviews & Testing' started by Herlock, Apr 2, 2016.

  1. Herlock

    Herlock

    841
    May 13, 2015
    Hi there. So, also after listening to some valuable suggestions from forum members here :thumbup:, sometimes ago, I got my second Spyderco (the first one being a black Pacific Salt PE): the Paramilitary 2. I am carrying this since three weeks now and I'd take the opportunity to share here my own thoughts, impressions and some pics, as week-end hiker and knives hobbyist, no expert at all :). This is a super popular and well known knife, it surely doesn’t need another “review”, but, hey, consider this just as an Average Joe user’s rambling and… we’re on BF :D. So, bear with me :).

    Frankly speaking, I bought this knife more to have my own direct experience about it and “test” its reputation (and hype :)) to my own parameters and standards, rather than because I really liked it. The PM2 is held in very high esteem by a huge number of knives community members and I wanted to understand first-hand what all this is about :p. But, as soon as I got it in my hand and pocket, also my aesthetical appreciation has changed. Really, the more I carry and use, the more I like it :thumbup:.

    Yes, I did quite much research and read/viewed a ton of reviews, technical papers, etc. and I have learnt a lot about this knife! It’s an hobby after all :)! A very short summary of all the infos and learnings I got, for the very few who, like it was for me, don’t know much about it:

    The PM2 is the successor to the original PM, which first debuted in 2004. I understood PM was developed following the inputs about the overwhelming size and lock type of the otherwise highly regarded Military model. The PM was released as a mid-sized version of the Military. It had a S30V blade and a G10 handle, sporting the first version of the compression lock. The PM2 can be considered the result of a Continuous Improvement program which, it looks, Spyderco is routinely running. The PM2 was born in 2010 and some key changes were implemented, for example, the handle has been slimmed down to improve ergonomics, the pocket clip has been given 4-way positioning and allows now a deeper carry. Liners have been “skeletonized”, the blade is a little longer and a little thinner and some jimping has been added. A new pivoting system with bushings has been added and the lanyard hole is larger.

    At the time of my purchase, the model with S30V steel was available only in four configurations: black handle with stainless standard blade ; black handle with black finish blade and clip; digital camo handle with stainless standard blade; digital camo handle and black finish stainless blade and clip. I opted for the latter :cool:.

    I consider the PM2 a mid-sized EDC, even if on my size limit for pocket-ability :). I’d define, a bit improperly, the blade shape a kind of “modified clip point” or “saber” shape, as most call it, which I personally don’t find aesthetically the most attractive, but I have to state it really works. It has a useful belly and I like this. The blade sports a beautiful, utilitarian full flat grind, in my version here manufactured out of S30V steel. The blade has a larger opening hole, with a diameter measuring 14.5 mm, making this knife “glove friendly”. I have another folder in S30V and one in S35VN and I find these steels perform very well for my use. The knife arrived razor sharp :thumbup:.

    For the few who doesn’t know, like it was for me, S30V is a powdered stainless steel that relies more on vanadium than chromium, which makes it a relatively hard steel, maintain its edge longer and will get a more refined and sharper edge. I find it possible now to sharpen to my needs with no major problem even though, with the Lansky system, I have to resort to the extra diamond hones I bought, rather than to the stones :D. It’s quite tough, but I found this one, on my PM2, also somehow unexpectedly “brittle”. I understood it is heat treated to get it rather hard, up to 60 HRC, but I was surprised when, after working (pretty hard :D) with whittling black locust wood (Robinia pseudoacacia), I saw a couple of micro-chips appearing on the blade :eek:. With micro, I really mean micro. I needed a magnifier to see them properly. I got an hint, out in the fields, because the sun light was reflecting differently on that portion of the blade, like shine, blackened, shine again. True the blade is super-thin at the edge, but I wasn’t expecting such a thing, frankly speaking. I was just whittling, not chopping and I did not hit anything, since I was standing up, cutting away from me. Nothing to cringe about, but still… anyway it was worse for me with the Fallkniven A1. Brand new, first day out, chopping some Alder… dang! Chipped the blade. Not so micro, in that case (would say mini at least :D)! I restored the PM2 edge with few passes on the diamond fine hone and some stropping with red compound. I think I have a more “toothy” edge now. Need to work on it a bit more :). Micro-chipping aside, the edge retention is very good for me.

    About the DLC coating, I have to say I’m positively impressed :thumbup:. I’ve cut some stuff now, cardboards, plastics, been out in the woods and I can say, for general EDC tasks, it has held up nicely. To be very picky :D, I just noticed a slight bit of drag when slicing, that I normally don't feel with the uncoated blades or other types of coating. DLC wears very gradually and looks nice to me, well into the life of the blade, I don't mind character marks from usage, just the opposite :p! Also, when it looked like the DLC had been scratched, I wiped it with guns cleaning agents and it came back almost as new. It looks stronger than all the media I cut through so far. Amazing coating!

    I found this blade to be super effective at slicing, whittling and carving. The PM2 makes one of the best feather-sticks I have ever managed to get :thumbup:. I haven’t really put it through any hard stabbing and thrusting due to the fact that the tip is a little too thin for me and I don’t really have the need for such uses. The tip gets so fine and pointy it almost acts like a scalpel. I hit the tip once, with the back of my hand (while taking some pics :D). Holly molly, I got a small hole which needed a good Band-Aid. Also I haven’t chopped or batoned anything with it, in spite of the ever present YT guys showing they can :D, because, for me, this knife hasn’t the mass/size to be a chopper, it’s very thin at the cutting edge and it’s a pocket-knife after all, even if a rather sturdy one. I am not supposed to chop down trees with a folder, or :p? This knife also, for me, is nothing like a pry bar, although for EDC use is plenty tough and holds up exceedingly well. I myself put the PM2 into normal EDC use (as opposite of any claimed hard use :)), without sparing him any tasks, and it proved to be a good daily companion. I consider the PM2 right in the middle between a slicer and a light utility knife, making it very well-rounded in its possible uses. As side note, I have only seen some Russian guys on YT really abusing the PM2 and, besides the predictable ending of their “tests” :D, I was impressed about how well this knife held up.

    The G-10 handle has a texture rough enough to resist any slipping without feeling uncomfortable. I actually feel this is just the perfect grip for my EDC tasks, bare hands. For any extended cutting session, though, I had to wear gloves. The handle, though sizeable, it’s a bit “boxy” and too squared, for me, for prolonged use. About its size, it might even look “oversized” to some extent, making the blade/handle ratio a bit unbalanced, for those who care these things :). The small bias in handle length does make the balance point slightly handle-heavy, but all in all, the balance point is close to neutral. Honestly, I haven’t noticed any significant fatigue during rather extended use with wood whittling, even without the balance point being neutral and I don’t think the balance it’s really an issue in an EDC folder, but I’m here to chat a bit :D. With gloves or without; in the cold or wet, cutting different stuff, from food to polymers, from wood to cordages and textiles, in my EDC tasks, I always have a solid purchase on this knife. I also like the choil for a good forward grip in detailed work and the pronounced finger guard. Even in those few “tough cuts” I take, I am not worried about slipping forward and in all precision cuts the choil give me a good control. My thumb and index finger fall naturally at the thumb ramp and finger choil. Corners are sufficiently rounded and jimping is where I need it, on the thumb ramp, finger choil and the liners portion behind the thumb ramp. I find the jimping has a pleasant feel, grippy, but not too rough. All in all, it has fair ergonomics. The lanyard hole is big, to easily accept a doubled 550 paracord.

    The pocket clip is the common one :). In black colour, it’s not extremely visible, but still isn’t beautiful to my taste. The way it came mounted from the factory, tip down carry, for me it’s not comfortable at all. It really gets in my way, and, just after 20 minutes of carving and whittling wood, I developed a couple of blisters on the palm of my hand. The clip creates two major hot-spots. In EDC tasks it’s not a problem but, when working wood or during prolonged cutting sessions, it soon becomes a big one: I’d rather do without blisters to heal out in the woods. Also, in urban/working scenarios, I prefer real deep carry pocket clips. It is effective, though. Functionally, the clip works fine for me, it clamps very strong. No fear of losing the knife when pocketed. The whole thing is kept together using Torx screws and a thong tube in the rear (for the lanyard). I like its open pillar construction, super easy for daily cleaning and maintenance, I just blow some compressed air to remove the lint and a cotton swab to lube it a bit.

    Fit and finish is good for me. Is OK, given the type of knife and its intended use. Really looking for it :D, I spot a micro burr here and there. Things only visible through a magnifying glass, though. I am not going to lose sleep for these very minor things. Micro imperfections like these of fit and finish can't really dent my overwhelming feeling that this is a good, solid blade. For me this is a working knife, built to work not primped over, be polished or kept pristine! This is not the beauty, rather it’s the beast :D, a cutting machine, a slicing tank. These few and micro fit and finish deficiencies are merely cosmetic and are nothing I couldn’t have caused myself with a normal EDC over few weeks. The blade centring was (and still is) perfect anyway and the grind (was) immaculate.

    Opening and closing is remarkable and deployment now is a pleasure, a complete breeze :thumbup:. Mine here now, it almost looks like an assisted opening knife :eek:. Easy and smooth. I think this is the largest Spyderco opening hole and it is effective. It is virtually impossible to slip out of the hole or not fully engage the knife. Thumb is kind of “locked in”. The compression lock left me positively impressed. When it’s locked up this thing is rock solid. No blade play whatsoever. I’m not an expert, as said, but as engineer, I understand this type of lock really has basically zero possibilities to fail under normal use. What I understood is it works like a combination of a liner lock and an axis lock. The only downside of this is my muscle memory, sometimes mixing up lock types and, for a second, I can be clumsy in trying to fold the blade :).

    About the carry, as said, this is a blade on the big side for my EDC. When hiking it’s not a big issue but in working/urban environment it is. This isn’t a dainty knife. Not really a “gentleman” knife. But it is light for its size. 100 g it’s nothing to really worry about; it disappears in the pocket. The nested liners also help to keep PM2 thin. A knife this size, being as light as it is and as thin as it is, it’s rather an amazing achievement. All of this combines to make a rather big knife, at least for me, feeling like a small knife in terms of its precision. About its impact on the public, well… it’s a knife. This version I have chosen also, somehow, screams “Paramilitary!” :D and it’s unfortunately perceived more as a weapon than as a tool. So I behave discretely and keep a low profile when doing my cutting stuff in working/urban scenarios. It’s outdoor where I get most of the satisfactions with it! One maybe interesting thing is this black blade looks kind of “slimmer” to me, when compared with the uncoated ones in similar size :).

    So, does the PM2 lived up to his reputation, according to me? Well, it does! What I really like is the very useful blade shape, the good locking mechanism, the easiness of deployment, good materials and an overall quality construction. What can be improved, for me, it’s the pocket-clip and overall handle ergonomics. Objectively, the PM2 is a well-rounded, multi-function user, and deserves his reputation as one of the best EDC in the knives world. Very trustworthy tool :thumbup:.

    Basic specs:
    Overall length: 8 9/32 in. - 210 mm
    Close length: 4 13/16 in. - 122 mm
    Weight: 3.75 oz. - 106 g
    Blade length: 3 7/16 in. - 87 mm
    Blade steel: CPM-S30V
    Blade thickness 9/64 in. - 3.5 mm

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  2. cut it out

    cut it out Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 11, 2010
    Nice review. I like mine also. Wicked slicer for sure.
     
  3. Nfd538

    Nfd538

    Jul 9, 2015
    Best food prep folder.
     
  4. dandan

    dandan

    84
    Mar 10, 2006
    I got my PM2 in camo with satin finish in December 15. Sharpest knife I own.
    I love the review and pictures , and can agree with the review.

    Cannot comment on battoning or tough use , as I have not used it in anger yet.

    It is my EDC now.

    Thanks
     
  5. Herlock

    Herlock

    841
    May 13, 2015
    Hi! Thanks for kind comments.

    @ cut it out: Yes, one of the best slicers I own!

    @ Nfd538: True! My folders are for good part of their time busy with food preps. The PM2 is really good at that!

    @ dandan: Thanks! My actual EDC also! Even if a bit on "the big size" for me, it hasn't left my pocket yet! Rotation is on hold :D

    Take care.
     
  6. FullMetalJackass

    FullMetalJackass Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 10, 2016
    Very good review for a great knife. IMO it's not that big tho! OK I carry a Tatanka sometimes.
     
  7. exracr

    exracr

    468
    Feb 7, 2016
    If you like S30V steel... you should try/do a review on the S110V steel PM2.... I LOVE MINE! :)
     
  8. Brr...

    Brr...

    31
    Oct 22, 2014
    Thx a lot for this great review !!!
     
  9. Stainz

    Stainz

    Jun 24, 2007
    Great review! I still like my PM2.
     

Share This Page