Spyderco: Para 3 Lightweight - Black FRN - CTS-BD1N - C223PBK
Spyderco's best-selling Para 3 folding knife distilled all the key qualities of their time-tested Para Military 2 model into an ultra-compact, carry-friendly format. Now this groundbreaking design takes another quantum leap forward by incorporating injection-molded fiberglass-reinforced-nylon (FRN) scales and a streamlined version of Spyderco's patented Compression Lock mechanism to create the Para 3 Lightweight. Almost 30 percent lighter than its G-10-handled counterparts, the Para 3 Lightweight boasts linerless, open-backed construction and Spyderco's high-traction Bi-Directional Texture pattern for a secure grip. A stainless steel lock bar inset into the handle's interior forms the foundation of its sturdy lock mechanism, while keeping the overall weight to an absolute minimum. The knife's full-flat-ground blade is crafted from CTS BD1N, a nitrogen-enriched high-carbon chromium steel that offers a superior balance of hardness, edge retention, and corrosion resistance. The blade features a fully accessible Trademark Round Hole for quick, one-handed opening with either hand. A generously sized lanyard hole and a reversible deep-pocket wire clip round out its impressive features, providing discreet left or right-side tip-up carry and allowing the easy attachment of fobs or lanyards.
|Made in Golden, Colorado, USA|
|High-performance CTS-BD1N stainless steel with incredible edge retention|
|Deep-carry wire pocketclip|
Like the prior reviewer, I already had a PM2, but I found it rather too obtrusive and heavy for carry with business wear. When I heard about this, I knew it was something that should work for me. I normally dress in 'business casual' for work, and clipping larger, heavier knives just doesn't work with the pockets on these pants. That's where the Para 3 LWT comes in - the combination of FRN scales with the wire clip ensure two things: First, that your pocket won't be wrinkled or dragged down, and second, the fact you have a knife won't be immediately obvious to one and all. The para 3 is far more unobtrusive than the PM2, and I would surmise the standard Para 3 as well.
I've had it for about two weeks now, and I have to say that carrying it daily is a pleasure. The blade came perfectly centered, the grind is even, and the action is smooth and positive. The blade flicks out quickly and smoothly, and the lock is tight and rigid, with zero play.
Again, the blade came shaving sharp from the box, and so far, it has stood up to all of the light cutting tasks (opening bags and boxes, cutting up fruit etc.) with nary a bobble. Time will tell if the blade steel will hold up and how easy or tough resharpening will be, but so far, I'm impressed and can highly recommend this knife.
I'd been considering getting a Para 3 since it was first announced, to use on weekdays when my Para 2 is a bit too large to be polite in the office. Not that I'm short on sub-3 inch knives, or even 3-inch Spydercos (Sage 5 in hand). But none with compression lock. The cost of S30V, let alone S110V (like my blurple Para 2), was a bit too much just to get that 3-inch compression locker.
Then I got the notice from KSF that Spyderco was planning a lightweight budget version of the Para 3 in BD1N steel, with which I was already familiar. I got one of the Ken Onion Skinner/Hunter knives in BD1N that KSF had on sale over the holidays. Great knife, seems to be holding on to its edge despite frequent kitchen use. Actually, I grabbed two. One for me, one for the brother-in-law with whom I split a pair of Bravo Micros when KSF had them on sale a few years ago. He just keeps one-upping me with his blade collecting prowess (I still don't have an antique bayonet, darn it). But I digress.
I liked the BD1N on the skinner, and wanted a Para 3, Then this lightweight shows up under $100 with desirable steel, a new twist on the beloved compression lock, and weighing in at 2.4 oz thanks to the FRN handle. I've developed a lot of respect for Spyderco FRN. We equate light with "cheap" and heavy with "quality". FRN defies this weight prejudice with great hand tactility, rigidity, stability, and durability. I sense a Gilbert and Sullivan patter song coming on. But I digress. Again.
Then I got the email that KSF had them in stock. It was meant to be. I anxiously awaited arrival of the free-shipped package, which arrived way faster than I expected. I opened the box, took the knife out of its plastic bag, and... opened one of the smoothest out-of-the-box pivots I have ever experienced. Really. I couldn't believe it. It took months for my Sage 5 to get broken in, and this Para 3 was already smoother right out of the box. The blade had a clean, hair popping edge, and I just started grinning.
So, there it is - an amazing amount of knife at a base-level price point (especially if you have some KSF reward points saved up). Spyderco and KSF have another winner.