This is my fifth Spyderco, and as I make my way up the Spyderco food chain, I’m not only starting to get more exotic steels, but this is also the first one of their Golden, CO knives that I bought. It’s safe to say at this point that I’m a fanboy, so keep that in mind as you read the review. I bought this knife about 6 months ago, at the same time as my Delica.
My review sample was purchased from Amazon using our Prime account. It seems like the pocket knives usually get here in a day because they use the courier service for really small items like this. I’ve routinely ordered pocket knives and watches on a Sunday and had them delivered on Monday. But they won’t tell you in advance how they’re shipping, so it’s a little bit of a dice roll whether you can get it in just a day.
This is an EDC (every day carry) knife made in the USA from high end CPM-S30V steel. It also features a Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon (FRN) handle, which I’m a huge fan of. These FRN knives tend to be about half the weight of their G10 frame lock / liner lock counterparts.
Note that this knife is put together using pins, and cannot be taken apart by you the user. This might be a deal breaker for some people. It almost was for me, but then I got to thinking that Spyderco is known for good customer service, and every version of the Native has a good reputation. It seemed like a pretty safe choice. Sure, I would prefer screw construction, but not if I have to give up the FRN. Otherwise I would just buy the G10 version. So, the pinned construction is an acceptable trade-off given that this knife shows as 2.6 ounces on my scale.
Official Specs (From Amazon)
- Ambidextrous tip-up clip
- Weight reducing spine swedge-grind
- Spine jimping–small texturing on the spine of the blade create tactile resistance for purchase, traction, and slip-resistance
- Hollow-ground plain edge blade
- Boyle Dent
- Lanyard Hole
- Back Lock
- Overall length: 7 inches
- Length closed: 3.938 inches
- Blade length: 3.125 inches
- Cutting edge: 2.625 inches
- Blade thickness: 0.125 inches
- Hole diameter: 0.469 inches
- Blade steel: CPM-S30V
- Handle material: FRN Bi-Directional Textured
- Weight: 2.65 ounces
The blade is the heart of a pocket knife, and the heart of this blade is the S30V steel, made in the USA. Now, I’m a big fan of quality wherever it’s made. I own knives from all over the world, and this is about the best steel you can get in a pocket knife.
The handle is made out of the FRN material typical for this line of Spyderco knives. The texturing is a little different than their Japanese line such as the Dragonfly or Delica. It’s definitely less aggressive. Holding the Native in one hand and the Delica in the other, the Delica is definitely more grippy. But it’s also a little on the rough/unfinished side, so the Native feels a little more refined.
Again, the handle features non-removable pins instead of screws. But unlike a Delica, which has a pivot screw and 4 case screws, the Native only has a pivot pin and one case pin. So I guess there’s at least less hardware not to take off. The native also has much thicker FRN scales. Also unlike the Delica, the back of the handle is smooth and features no jimping. I would say the Native handle is slightly less ergonomic than the Delica.
The clip is of the deep carry type, and is removable using a flat head screw driver. The knife comes configured out of the box for right handed tip up carry. The clip can be moved left and right, but unlike most of their other knives, cannot be configured for tip down. But if you are paying 75 bucks for an American made pocket knife, then you are probably an enthusiast. And if you are an enthusiast, you probably couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to carry a knife tip-down anyway.
I’ve never been a huge fan of clips, but I do use the clip on the Native, and I do like it. It’s the same design as the Delica except slightly larger, with pretty much the same feel.
The Native uses a back lock design. To me, the American version of the lock feels much smoother than its Japanese cousins. It has the same authoritative “swack” that the Japanese models have; it’s just a bit smoother. As I’ve said in other reviews of knives from this line, the back lock design isn’t as strong as other designs. It sacrifices a little strength for a lot of weight. But in practice, this lock design is fine for every day carry. If you are stressing the lock, then you should probably be using a fixed blade.
Like all their lockbacks, the Native deploys one handed in a steady motion. It does not “flick” like its Chinese cousins such as the Tenacious. The “spydie hole” is a little bit inset on the Native, which is fine, but takes a little getting used to. The Native has a choil so you can choke up on it if you need to. I’m not a big fan of it, but if you are, it’s there for you.
Fit And Finish
Overall, excellent. My review sample is pretty much flawless except for the fact that for about the first week, the lockup felt terrible. I almost even returned it. I wasn’t going to give it much longer, but at some point it got worn in, and it’s been smooth as silk ever since. I’ve had this same type of experience with other Spyderco knives and it drives me nuts. Each knife seems like a pair of boots where you have to go through some pain before they are comfortable.
But all things considered, this is an excellent specimen. The blade is perfectly centered and has no noticeable imperfections in the machining or the grind, and no marks or scratches. Mine came with an almost perfect edge. I did notice in one of the pictures that the clip mounting screw looks a little rough. It doesn’t feel rough or snag on anything, and I never noticed it until I saw the picture.
|Blade centering right on the money|
|Closeup of the jimping on the back of the blade|
The Native isn’t something I use as a beater knife. I like to carry it, but even for medium duty tasks I’ll usually grab the Delica. For heavy duty tasks I will grab a heavier folder like the Tenacious and at some point a fixed blade knife. The Native is more likely to be used to filet a piece of chicken for the grill than break down a garage full of boxes.
But even though it’s just past the price point to where I’d use it for a serious, heavy duty task, it’s a nice feeling knowing that I could. I think that this thing would probably baton firewood if my life depended on it.
The edge on mine has held up well. In 6 months I’ve only drug it a couple times across my “coffee cup sharpening system. “
This is a well made knife in every respect. I am fairly abusive toward my equipment and the Native is so nice, it’s hard to justify abusing it. So what I do is carry it when I know I’m going to have an easy day, like on the weekends. The pinned construction does make me a little nervous, but I own other American tools that do that like the Leatherman Juice. I wish they would put screws on it, but I trust Spyderco, and neither company has given me a reason not to trust their USA made products.
The Native makes a great EDC, and in some ways I like it better than my other favorites, the Delica and Dragonfly. For example, the Native has a sharper point, and it’s better for some tasks like opening packages, especially ones that need to be pierced. It goes through paper and packing tape like it’s not even there.
|Typical Spyderco Packaging|
|The Native has a more traditional blade shape than most of their models|
|The laser etched Spider|
|EDC trifecta of awesome, From Top: Spyderco Delica 4, Spyderco Native, Spyderco Dragonfly 2|
|From Top: Nitecore EA4 Pioneer, Spydero Native, Spyderco Delica 4, Olight I3S|
|Pocket dump for a random Saturday|
|Only a tad heavier than its buddy, the Delica|
|Right about 7 inches|