Spyderco Para Military 2 Review: Is It Worth The Hype?

Spyderco Para Military 2, fondly referred to as Para 2 or PM2 by its fans, is synonymous with the best EDC pocket knife.

The knife remains one of the most iconic pocket knives ever made— it has amassed huge, cult-like popularity since its first release in 2010. And slightly over a decade later, its popularity is still soaring upward.

Our comprehensive Spyderco para military 2 review below takes an in-depth exploration of this EDC to uncover what makes it so popular, how suitable it is for everyday carry, and answer the ultimate question:

Is Para 2 worth it or is it just a fad or a hype?

Spyderco Para Military 2 At A Glance

BEFORE we get into more details about PM2, it’s good to have background information of what exactly we’re dealing with.

As we have already mentioned, this is an everyday pocket knife. It is also worth noting that it is 100% made in the USA by the Colorado-based Spyderco factory. The folding pocket knife saw its first release in 2010 (that’s slightly over a decade!) as the successor of the Spyderco Paramilitary 1 model.

Spyderco Para Military 2

The key specs for Spyderco Paramilitary two are as follows:

  • Overall knife length: 8.24" (210mm)
  • Closed Length: 4.812 " (122mm)
  • Blade length: 3.44" (87mm)
  • Blade thickness: 0.141" (3.5mm)
  • Weight: 3.75oz (106.3g)
  • Handle material: G10 w/stainless steel liners
  • Blade material: CPM-S30V stainless steel
  • Deployment mechanism: Spyderco’s signature thumbhole (the Spydie hole)
  • Locking mechanism: Compression lock
  • Pocket clip position: full ambidextrous

Now that we have a clue of what type of knife we’re dealing with, let’s go deeper into more intimate details about the Para 2 EDC knife.

Materials

The legendary Spyderco knife is made using top-quality materials which makes it truly Spyderco-ish; they never compromise on material quality! You can easily the quality of this knife by how solid and durable it feels in your hands.

Spyderco Para Military Materials

These materials used are:

1. CPM S30V Stainless steel blade

That’s right, the blade is made from CPM-S30V—a premium stainless steel that takes the knife’s performance beyond that of a typical pocket knife.

Though s30v has been pushed down the list by its newer siblings like s35vn, s90v, and s110v, it has maintained a competitive edge thanks to its relative ease of sharpening, ability to take a nice and sharp edge, and long-term edge holding ability.

Not to mention, it offers excellent rust and corrosion resistance.

2. G10 handle 

The G10 is an ever-popular material for knife handles, and further improves the quality of this knife. Everything in the handle section is then nicely held together with firm screws. A lanyard loop exists on the edge of the handle to complete the knife’s top-notch construction.

G10 handle

3. Stainless steel liners

The handle is accompanied by quality stainless steel liners which are carefully crafted (or skeletonized, if you like it) to ensure they don’t weigh down your pocket knife.

Don’t like the choice of materials for Para 2?

No problem! As an owner of this knife, you’ll be treated to an extensive list of Spyderco Paramilitary 2 aftermarket parts which enable you to fully customize your PM2 knife to your liking. The parts range from different steel upgrades, handle scales, hardware (e.g. replacement screws, lanyard tube, handle screws, clip screws stopped), and even pocket clips.

Knife ergonomics

Believe it or not, one of the MAIN reasons PM2 gets a cult following is its great ergonomics. The G10 handle with scales offers you a solid and secure grip, so the knife won’t slide when working in wet conditions or when cutting something hard.

The handle comes designed in such a way that it's wider at the pommel and gets narrower at the grip position to offer you slip-resistant, fatigue-free handling.

The jimping on the thumb ramp offers you a spot to brace your thumb against when you’re involved in hard cutting tasks…or when you find yourself in a self-defense situation.

At the bottom end lies the forward finger choil which allows for easy choking on the blade—granting you great control when taking on finer cutting tasks.

Knife ergonomics

Para 2 will comfortably sit in your hands even when holding it in multiple positions. The handle will fit comfortably in hands of all sizes, whether large or small.

Great ergonomics make PM2 pure joy to use. The moment you start using the EDC knife, you’ll quickly agree that it is one of the best out there in terms of comfort and ergonomics.

Deployment mechanism

Deploying this knife is also a breeze! It comes equipped with Spyderco’s signature thumbhole— the Spydie Hole.

With a 14mm diameter, this hole is much bigger than what you find in other pocket knife models. This is a plus for you as it lets your thumb easily get in without struggling. You also won’t need to take off your gloves to use the thumbhole.

Besides the traditional thumb method, you can also deploy the blade using other techniques like 2 handed and Spydie flick methods

Whicker method you use, the deployment feels soo silky smooth, you can help but keep playing with it.

Locking mechanism/Action

One of the problems knife users usually experience with most EDCs is cheaply made locking mechanisms. You get a knife with all the good features and characteristics, but the locking mechanism becomes the deal killer.

Para military 2 gives you the exact opposite experience of such knives with its compression locking mechanism. It delivers extremely strong and solid lockup and there’s no hint of play for the blade in any direction when you open your blade.

Locking mechanism

When you disengage the lock, the blade easily falls shut and you won’t have to force it to close with your hands—a snap-close is it is! And during the closing, your finger won’t need to come anywhere in the knife path, assuring you of your own safety.

Blade profile

Spyderco PM2 is full-flat ground. For starters, this is a wonderful multi-purpose blade style that tackles pretty much any task you encounter every day, including cutting, slicing, prying, stabbing, chopping, etc.—anything!

An added benefit of a full flat grind is that it creates a sharp tip, though thin and more fragile, that lets you do piercing tasks much more easily.

The s30v blade comes wicked-sharp out of the box, as it’s typical of all Spyderco knives. You can literally shave the hairs off your hand with it the moment you get it out of its packaging!

But I won’t lie to you, this blade steel takes time to get sharp. The good thing, however, is it holds a good edge and will take months before you can even think of sharpening it again. Just some stropping every now and then is all you need to bring your blade back to perfect.

Blade profile

The Spyderco Paramilitary 2 blade length of 3.4 inches combines with the full flat ground style to give you a powerful cutting tool for all your daily cutting tasks.

Blade thickness of 0.141" makes para 2 thicker than other EDC knives. This gives it a beefy feel and gives you confidence when using this knife knowing that you won’t injure the blade.

Pocket clip

For a knife meant for everyday carry, you’d be curious to know what type of pocket clip it comes with and whether it allows for easy carry.

The clip you get here is nothing beyond Spyderco’s standard, hourglass-shaped pocket model.  This is a Spyderco Paramilitary 2 deep carry clip and offers good retention, so you can rest assured it won’t easily leave your pocket unless you take it out yourself.

Pocket clip

But the best part about Para 2 clip is that it comes with up to 4 mounting positions (tip up, tip down, left, and right hand) meaning you can carry your knife in the comfiest position for you.

Don’t forget that the clip is also blackened, making Spyderco Para military 2 all-black and a great choice for discreet carry.

If you don’t like this factory-installed clip, you can easily get an aftermarket clip compatible with PM2 to suit your heart desires.

Fit and finish

The fit and finish score is quite high for this EDC knife from Spyderco. Everything is flawless and in line with what you expect.

The blade itself is well centered and doesn’t do those annoying side to side plays. The knife delivers ZERO wiggle in all directions.

Spyderco Paramilitary 2

You can get the pocket knife in a satin or black DLC (diamond like carbon) finish. Honestly, both finishes look quite attractive and seem to hold up for long. So, be ready to be getting compliments from time to time from your colleagues, friends, and others.

Remember, this knife comes in 4 varieties: black handle with a black coated blade, black handle with stainless steel blade, digital camo handle with stainless steel blade, and digital camo handle with black coated pocket clip and blade for an all-black appearance,

Spyderco Paramilitary 2 pros and cons:

Pros

  • Extremely lightweight
  • Solid locking mechanism
  • Exceptional ergonomics
  • Top-quality construction
  • Smooth, one-handed opening
  • Huge lanyard hole
  • Easy to maintain

Cons

  • Price is a bit on the higher side
  • Tip is fragile and not ideal for some applications
  • Lack of sharpening choil.

The absence of sharpening choil makes sharpening a bit challenging for this knife. The small notch that separates the sharpened and unsharpened metal offers you a definite sharpening line. While this is not a must-have feature, it’s great for a knife like PM2 that’s meant for long-term use.

Spyderco Paramilitary 2 test

Paramilitary II might look like just another pocket knife, but it will prove to be quite an asset when you use it in the field. It comes with capabilities beyond that of an EDC knife.

Its s30v blade will handle chopping and carving nicely without losing an edge. The locking system will remain tight and unshaken with the hard cutting tasks, with no side to side or front to back play.

You can also use your PM2 to baton some wood without encountering any problems. But this would be more of a Spyderco Paramilitary 2 torture test. Depending on how hard you’re batoning, your knife might develop some side-to-side play afterward. But the locking will still remain perfect. The edge will stay nice and sharp with hard use.

Spyderco Paramilitary 2 test

Overall, Para military two EDC folder will be a great knife for field use. Its edge will hold up pretty well for most outdoor cutting tasks. The closing and opening mechanism will not be much affected unless you’re using it regularly.

So, should you use your para II knife outdoors? You could if it was the only knife you have at hand at the moment. But keeping in mind that this knife isn’t intended for tackling these tasks, we won’t recommend subjecting it to such.

Watch this Spyderco Paramilitary 2 field test to see how nicely the knife holds up to chopping, batoning, and carving tasks.

How to spot a fake Spyderco Paramilitary 2?

When purchasing a new Spyderco Paramilitary knife, one of the things that could wrong is getting a counterfeit PM2.

It happens all the time to unsuspecting buyers.

a fake Spyderco Paramilitary 2

But knife users aren’t to blame for this since most fakes are heavily cloned to perfectly match the looks and design of the real product. Thus, it becomes quite hard to tell a fake Para 2 from a genuine one.

With this in mind, you should learn how to differentiate genuine Spyderco Paramilitary 2 from the Chinese-made replicas that don’t even come close to PM2’s quality, performance, or ergos.

Here are some quick, EASY methods to help you spot a fake PM2 knife:

  • Check the locking mechanism cutout: The shape of the locking mechanism differs between a fake and a real pm2. The cutout on the handle that lets you grab the lock is incredibly smooth and rounded for a real Spyderco product. For a fake product, you can feel the corners on the cutout if you were to drag your index finger through it.
  • Number of liner holes:  Fakes keeping featuring one hole on either side of their handles. But for the real model, you get two liner holes on the right side and one cutout on the left side of the handle. That’s an easy-to-tell variation between a fake and a real para 2 right there!
  • What’s the direction of jimping? Another way to easily spot a fake Spyderco pm2 is by closely looking at the jimping on the thumb ramp. For a fake knife, the jimping exhibits a larger angle and appears perpendicular to the ramp.However, real Spyderco jimping notches are more backswept (form a smaller angle relative to ramp). This helps keep your thumb in place when using your knife. The jimping for real pm2 also feels much sharper than that of a clone.
  • Test the blade steel: Companies cloning Spyderco will never use premium steel for their cheap products. Instead, they’ll go for cheaper steel which you can easily detect by testing the blade. Quality steel like cpm-s30v will take time to sharpen and will hold a working edge for quite along. Cheap steels will get wicked sharp without much effort, but they will not hold their edge for long; try cutting a few cupboards and the edge gets dull or even start rolling.
a fake PM2 knife

Other tips to spot a fake Spyderco paramilitary 2:

  • Genuine PM2 usually comes with tip down pocket clip position, but counterfeits come with the tip down clip position
  • The lanyard hole tube on the real Para 2 comes smoother and polished, but the one on most fakes feel dull and isn’t chamfered on the ends
  • All fake liners come in black coating while real Spyderco liners come in satin finish
  • Genuine para military II handle has straight-sided scales with small chamfer on the edge while fakies have rounded scales
  • The coating on counterfeits blades is painting rather than the actual DLC coating and tends to scratch pretty easily.
  • Digital camo handle for clones has a lighter shade in addition to light-colored circles around drilled holes on the handle

Is the Spyderco Paramilitary 2 worth it?

As we have seen in this Spyderco Para Military 2 review, this knife is well made and oozes quality right from the handle to the blade. It has great attention to detail. It offers you smooth and operation. It feels comfortable in your hands regardless of your hand size. Don’t forget the outstanding G-10 handle plus gimping.

The premium steel stays sharp for exceptionally long and isn’t the hardest to sharpen. The blade shape and style are also great and give the folder more power than that of a typical pocket knife.

On top of all, this knife feels extremely lightweight, which makes it comfortable to carry every day.

Spyderco Paramilitary 2

All these nice features and characteristics make para 2 worth every penny.

The main Spyderco Paramilitary 2 problem is that it is on the expensive side for most knife users.

You shouldn’t let this stop you from getting the knife, though. You’ll get your money’s worth if you consider the top-notch quality and performance the folding pocket knife offers you.

BUT there are great blades out there I can get at less than 50 dollars, why should I spend over a hundred bucks on Para 2? You can’t compare the quality of those knives with PM2. Their overall feel in your hands and how they perform is a difference you can actually feel.

If you opt for the cheaper options, you’ll save a good amount of money for now in the long run, you’ll end up spending more on those shitty knives that don’t last than you could have spent on this durable Spyderco EDC.

Overall, if you’re a knife lover and like carrying a pocket knife daily, we highly encourage you to save up for this Spyderco Para military 2 knife. The folder is a long-term investment that will last you a lifetime and some more!

Spyderco Paramilitary 2 Alternatives

Despite para 2 being a legend in knife users’ communities, it might not be the perfect choice for you. You might want something different than PM2, say with a longer blade, bigger handle, non-coated blade, blade with serration, a different blade style, or even something cheaper.

We looked around and found these few blades whose quality and performance are close to Paramilitary 2 EDC.

Spyderco Para 3

If you’re a smaller-handed user or want a more compact cutting tool for everyday carry, consider getting this Para 3 EDC knife as the best Para 2 alternative. The knife takes with it all the features and benefits of its predecessor, the PM2, and presents them to you in a more compact EDC knife.

Para 3 features a shorter blade length of 2.92 inches, which makes it a great choice for users who can’t legally carry PM2 or any other knife with a blade longer than 3 inches. It also features a shorter G10 handle than its predecessor which will sit well in users with smaller hands.

Spyderco Para 3

Needless to mention, the reduced blade and handle sizes make this folder lighter than its predecessor.

Despite the few changes that come with Para 3, it will still offer you all the features and benefits of Para 2.  If you love PM2, you’ll definitely love Para 3 as a more compact version for everyday carry.

Benchmade 940

Like Para 2, Benchmade 940 has also been widely recognized as one of the best pocket knives ever made. Both knives feature the same length and steel for the blade and their price tags aren’t much different.

Benchmade is super-lightweight (at only 2.90oz) and appears thinner than para 2. It features a stainless steel handle which is less likely to tear your jeans pockets compared to the sharp-scaled G10 handle of para military two folder. But the downside of the Benchmade handle is lesser grip compared to the PM2 G10 handle.

Benchmade 940

You get a reverse Tanto blade with this Benchmade. Spyderco, on the other hand, offers you the flat ground and extra belly compared to Benchmade which makes it better at cutting

Spyderco Manix 2

If you have a limited budget but want an EDC knife that brings you closer to the Paramilitary two knife, you might want to consider Spyderco Manix 2.

Both knives feel incredibly comfortable in your hands. Manix even offers you more jimping than PM2 which results in more traction. While PM2 pocket offers you up to 4 mounting options, Manix has only two carry options.

Spyderco Manix 2

Manix uses a ball lock mechanism which has received good reviews from previous users. But it still has nothing on the super-solid compression locking mechanism you get in Para 2.

Opening/closing paramilitary two with one hand will be much easier than Manix 2. The tip on Manix isn’t as delicate as that on PM2, which allows it to take more abuse easily.

Where to buy Spyderco Paramilitary 2?

The best place to buy is directly from Spyderco. Unfortunately, they sell you their knives at the MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price), which is 2x the price offered by internet knife stores for the same knife.

If not buying directly from Spyderco, your chances of getting a genuine product will become slimmer.

However, you can avoid falling for fakes by making sure you buy your PM2 from an authorized dealer.

Spyderco Paramilitary 2

Avoid places like eBay and knife forums as they’re filled with counterfeits.

Blade HQ is also a great place to get a genuine Para II knife.

Amazon is also a good place to buy a Spyderco paramilitary 2 knife but you need to make sure you’re buying from an authorized dealer. If the seller is based in China, that’s a red flag!

With the helpful tips we offered earlier on how to tell a fake Para military 2, you should have no issues getting a genuine knife from Amazon.

The previous user reviews, too, will come in handy when it comes to getting the real deal there.

Buying Tip: If you’re a first responder, military, or former military, then you can directly from Spyderco at 50% off the MSRP. This might not always be the best deal for you but it often counts.

Final verdict

Spyderco paramilitary 2 is doubtlessly a legendary knife and will keep coming in conversations about the best EDC knife there is in the market.

The folding pocket knife has everything you’ll ever need in an everyday carry pocket knife, from ergonomics high portability, and excellent blade performance for different cutting tasks. The knife might look pricey but you get what you pay for and PM2 is worth every penny.

If you want an everyday carry knife that does just about everything, para 2 is the best choice for you. If you get the Paramilitary 2 EDC knife today, you’ll find yourself using it a lot more than your current collection of pocket knives.

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