Big Knives

EDC for CCW: Spyderco Titanium Military

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History

The C36 Spyderco Military was introduced in 1996, featuring full G10 scales, stainless liners, a liner lock, and CPM S30V steel. Seriously impressive for the time. Since then, the Military has earned a legendary status, for its design, quality, and durability. In  2010, a Titanium version was released featuring a Reeve Integral Lock, commonly referred to as a frame lock. I have a weakness for Titanium frame lock knives. Though I have not written a review for one yet, I have a few of them in my collection, and they seem to be multiplying. Not that I’m complaining (my wife may have other opinions…). So when it was time to purchase a Spyderco Military, the choice was easy. The C36Ti was the blade of choice.

There is almost too many variations on the original C36 Military to mention. Most were G10, with two Titanium variations: smooth and fluted. Over the years, there were almost a dozen steels used in the Military, but they were all based on the same foundation. Mostly unchanged since its inception, the Military is an absolute modern classic.

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The Steel

Crucible’s CPM S30v is a hardened, powered metallurgy steel, whose chemistry produces the formation and even distribution of vanadium carbides. This is notable because vanadium carbines are harder and more effective at cutting than chromium carbides.

S30v was developed by Dick Barber of Crucible in collaboration with Chris Reeve. Feedback on this steel was also received from Sal Glesser, Ernest Emerson, Tony Marfione, Phil Wilson, William Harsey Jr., Tom Mayo, Jerry Hossom, and heat-treat legend Paul Bos.

With 14% chromium content, s30v has very good corrosion resistance. This, combined with it toughness and cutting ability, leads to an expensive raw material. CPM S30v strongly effects the price of the final knife: not only from the steel cost, but the wear on tooling and belts due to the vanadium carbides. Despite this, it is considered by many knife companies to be one of the best knife steels available on the market.

The Blade

Long and lean, the Military’s CPM S30V blade has an impressive amount of belly. The other striking feature is the extremely pointy tip: that large belly curves up to a razor sharp pinpoint of a tip. The full flat grind yields excellent slicing performance. The spine is adorned with some trademark Spyderco gimping: sharp and effective. The base of the choil meets with a curve in the handle to make for a forward grip in which your index finger comfortably rests. Here, too, is more of that perfect gimping. The choil isn’t as pronounced as more recent releases of Spyderco’s work, but provides enough space for comfortable finger placement.

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Construction

The standard Military features G10 handles with stainless liners. In contrast, this version sports two very large slabs of Titanium, separated by a black G10 half back spacer. Working much like a liner lock, the Reeve Integral lock is cut into one of the scales. Lock up is extremely solid with a positive click as it actuates. One important feature of the lock bar, is the implementation of a steel lock face insert. This allows for a steel-on-steel lock interface, wish will wear much more durably as opposed to the actual titanium in the lock. The action becomes smooth after break-in, and the ‘middle-finger-spydie-flick’ is an effective opening technique. Though, I would imagine, might be more difficult for someone with smaller hands. I’ll discuss this a bit more indepth later on.

As I briefly mentioned, this design is a bit dated, when put into context with the rest of the current Spyderco lineup. Let’s compare this knife to the Paramilitary 2, wish has received a design refresh: the Military has a one-position pocket clip, and a small lanyard hole. This may seem like small quirks, but the ability to change the carry configuration from tip-down to tip-up is a much desired feature. I much prefer tip up, but I have adjusted to this knife quite comfortably. The other quip, the lanyard hole, isn’t a big deal to me, since I’m not a lanyard user. Though I’ll say, this knife is so large that a lanyard wouldn’t seem applicable in my eyes, the actual hole will probably only fit gutted paracord. In more recent designs, the lanyard hole are much larger.

Ergonomics

As one would expect, the ergos in this knife are solid. Bearing the name ‘Military’ the knife is oversized with a large amount of room in each handle section. The curves fit will in a bare hand, and seem to work well in a gloved hand as well. This seems to be one of the most impressive aspects of the ergonomics: the knife is comfortable to use bare handed, as well as gloved. In a gloved hand: the large spyderhole makes the blade easy to open, and the scalloping on the inside of the lock face, as well as the show side recess makes the lock easy to access. These ergonomics may change to a smaller, bare-handed user. As mentioned, I have much larger than average hands (long and skinny, if that helps) so this massive knife fits my hands well. Your mileage may vary.

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Favorite Feature

Like with my Manix review, I feel confident in the ruggedness of this knife. I have 100% confidence this knife will work well in the sandbox, in the forest, in the arctic. This knife is built to last.

Least-Favorite Feature

Tip-down carry only. This is the only knife I have in this configuration. If I had more, I don’t think it would bother me much. This is only a minor quirk, though. I really don’t mind at all. That’s how strong the knife is.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: Locking Folding Knife
Blade style: Modified clip point
Blade dimensions: 4″ x .145″
Steel: CPM S30V
Grip: Titanium
Overall length: 9.5″
Weight: 5.8 oz.
Price: $379.95 MSRP
Made in Golden Colorado, USA, Earth
Manufacturer’s Links:  Web

RATINGS (out of five stars)

Styling: * * * * *
Classic Spyderco looks with full Titanium

Blade: * * * * *
A huge chunk of razor sharp CPM S30V with a huge belly. Nothing wrong with that.

Ergonomics: * * * *
Whether gloved or naked, this blade is comfortable and stable in hand. One ding for the MASSIVE size. This knife may not work for everyone.

Ruggedness/Durability: * * * * *
Built to go into battle, this knife is practically bomb-proof.

Overall Rating: * * * * *
Given that you understand how large a 9.5″ overall knife is, and can get over the limited carry options, this knife will serve you well for years to come. It may be too large for many, but if you prefer larger blades, you cannot go wrong here.

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Discussion

15 responses to ‘EDC for CCW: Spyderco Titanium Military

  1. Looks like a winner. Couple of questions: are the spec ops guys using these in a salt water envinronment? If so how do they hold up from corrosion? I’m thinking that this would make a fine dive knife.

    • While S30v is no slouch in the corrosion resistance department, it won’t hold up well to long exposures in a salt water environment. That’s what the H1 steel is for.

      • Or titanium blade. I’ve got one but it doesn’t hold an edge worth a darn. I carried a Benchmade titanium for years outdoors.

      • My thinking was that since the blade is ultra sharp and strong it would be perfect for underwater applications such as freeing trapped divers or removing netting from trapped sea creatures. Too bad. I was willing to buy it for that reason. Thanks for the info.

        • Check out Spyderco’s serrated H1 series. Those stated applications are calling out for an Atlantic Salt

  2. This version of the Military has a lot of appeal, but also a couple of issues I don’t like.

    Pros: S30V steel, big 4″ blade, big 5.5″ handle, titanium frame-lock.
    Cons: $380 MSRP ($222 on amazon but they are out of stock), huge opener hole drilled in the blade where it needs to be the strongest.

    If this knife had a thumb stud or flipper instead of that hole drilled in the blade I would likely own one already. I think Zero Tolerance got it right in this genre. I do own the ZT0301.

    • I’ve never understood the argument about the opening hole weakening the blade. Are you referring to lateral forces acting upon the center region?

      I’m not trying to be argumentative. I’m looking to understand. My viewpoint is that it’s a knife, not a pry bar. If you are thinking that you will break the knife because if the opening hole, I don’t think a knife is what you should be using for that task. Maybe my view is short sighted?

      • Just a bias of mine, but I don’t like opener holes. Also, there is no way that a blade with a big hole in it is as strong as one without the hole. Who knows? maybe that blade would break in a knife fight if enough prying force were unintentionally or intentionally placed on it. In a military operation (and in similar fashion, a defensive knife use, or survival use) you won’t have the luxury of going back to the garage and getting a pry bar to do a job that has to be done immediately. So, while I agree on using the proper tool for the task, perhaps this knife is not the proper tool for a military/survival use scenario. It is however, named and promoted as “Military”. Maybe it is plenty strong even with the hole. I don’t have the answer and the answer has never been provided by Spyderco, to my knowledge. Has anybody else on here seen or done any testing on this issue? I didn’t find much solid info in my search.

        • No problems with weakness attributed to the opening hole, you are probably having trouble finding this information because it doesn’t happen. The tip snapping off is the most common breakage but a nice fine tip has many advantages also if used properly. Generally folding pocket knives are used for utility in the military, not combat. The Miltary is a great knife.
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MxCDbAW638

  3. Still have my G10 Military that I paid $100 for out the door of a gun show some years ago. Great knife but for whatever reason I carry the G10 Resilience more. I don’t like the way titanium scales feel so this one’s not for me but keep up the good work. There has got to be another Spyderco knife out there that I need.

  4. Undoubtedly an awesome blade, but I suspect it is a real pain to resharpen–or is it so hard that you never have to? In addition to the extreme price, I never have been a fan of the Spyderco eye hole in the blade design. (Just old fashioned, I suppose.) I don’t recall exactly what the length limit is by California State law, but I know this will not pass inspection in any of the major urban areas.

      • Have owned a G 10 for years, nasty sharp still shaves
        Only carry on dog daily walks social situations for last-ditch PD deterrent, rather carry a hand gun but living in CA pistol packing permission slips are few and far between
        EDC is 4″ Voyager Tanto

  5. Perfect for EDC and or a survival type knife. With its huge belly, and relatively thin, very sharp tip, this knife can easily handle any of your EDC needs. The titanium is very nice, but I prefer the fluted titanium as it adds some much needed purchase to the handles, not to mention the great looks it shows off with the “sea shell” type pattern of the fluting! Now if this beast of a blade came with M390 steel and a fluted titanium handle, this could easily become one of the MOST sought after blades currently offered for sale!

    Ps. This knife is relitively easy to sharpen. Wether a touch up via the Spyderco sharpener, or a full sharpening via my Wicked Edge sharpening system. This blade is heat treated to perfection, as evidenced by the sharpness this blade can achieve. It is easily one of my sharpest blades, in a stable that includes 4 Chris Reeve blades, Pacific, Sebenza, Umnumzaan, impofu, a Hinderer XM18, Strider SnG, SMF, various other Spydercos and Benchmades, Zero Tolerance 0301,0452,0350cf m390,0562, Medford Pratorian, and some various Microtech’s.

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