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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Type: Locking Folding Knife
Blade style: Modified clip point
Blade dimensions: 4″ x .145″
Steel: CPM S30V
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.