First introduced in 1996, the Spyderco Military Model is one of the most iconic and recognizable knives ever produced. Created by Spyderco co-founder Sal Glesser, the original design was his answer to the question, “If your son was going into military service, what knife would you give him?”
Featuring a broad, full-flat-ground blade, lightweight, open-backed handle construction, and a user-friendly LinerLock mechanism, the original Military also included an oversized Trademark Round Hole for swift, ambidextrous, one-handed opening—even while wearing gloves. These defining qualities resonated with a broad audience of knife users and quickly established the Military as one of Spyderco’s signature designs.
Initial production of the Military featured ATS-34 blade steel and included both PlainEdge and fully serrated SpyderEdge configurations in satin and black-coated blade finishes. After Sal visited Crucible Industries to inquire about their powder metallurgy process, the Military’s blade steel was changed to CPM 440V, which is now known as CPM S60V. This groundbreaking move made the Military the first factory-made knife to feature particle metallurgy stainless steel and was instrumental in increasing Crucible’s visibility in the knife industry. Later, the Military’s blade steel was changed to another Crucible particle metallurgy steel, CPM S30V, which remains the current standard for this model.
As the Military gained popularity, it spawned several different aesthetic variations. Its original black peel-ply-textured G10 scales were joined by versions featuring digital camouflage scales. Both color options housed blades with either a satin finish or a non-reflective Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) coating. The knives’ handles also featured nested stainless steel liners that formed the foundation of a sturdy LinerLock mechanism and anchored a pocket clip configured for right-side, tip-down carry only.
For left-handed users, the basic satin-finished, black-handled version of the Military was replicated in a mirror-image, left-handed configuration. True to form, its pocket clip offers only left-side, tip-down carry.
In 2009, the G10-handled versions of the Military Model were joined by one with solid titanium scales and a Reeve Integral Lock (R.I.L.) mechanism. A year later, Spyderco added a second titanium R.I.L. version that showcased brilliantly colored solid titanium scales with a meticulously machined fluted texture pattern. Both these versions were ultimately discontinued and today are highly coveted collector’s items.
For steel aficionados and knife users seeking extreme edge retention and corrosion resistance, 2016 also marked the introduction of a Military Model featuring a blade ground from premium CPM S110V stainless steel. Like all members of Spyderco’s elite CPM S110V family, it features dark blue G10 scales.
In addition to its full-production versions, over the years the Military Model has also been a platform for many Sprint Runs, Exclusives, and other limited-edition expressions featuring distinctive handle colors and blade materials.
THE MILITARY 2
After more than two decades of dedicated service, the Military Model has clearly established itself as one of the most iconic and enduring folding knives ever produced. Although it has experienced a few minor design and engineering changes over its lifetime, its form has remained basically unchanged—until now.
At the 2022 BLADE Show in Atlanta, Spyderco unveiled the second-generation Military 2. Designed by company co-founder Sal Glesser and his son Eric, it incorporates many of the proven features of one of the Military’s offspring—the Paramilitary 2—as well as some subtle ergonomic refinements. The reaction to it was overwhelmingly positive and earned it BLADE magazine’s prestigious American-Made Knife of the Year award at that show.
Instead of the original design’s LinerLock, the Military 2 uses Spyderco’s signature Compression Lock mechanism. Although seemingly similar, the Compression Lock is mechanically very different from the LinerLock and offers much greater strength. Because it is located on the spine of the handle, it also greatly reduces the possibility of inadvertent lock release during hard use and allows the blade to be safely closed with one hand without ever placing your fingers in the path of the edge. To complement the improved lock mechanism, the Military 2 also features a precision-machined bushing to ensure exact alignment and tensioning of the blade.
The stainless steel liners that form the foundation of the Military 2’s lock are still nested within its peel-ply-textured G10 scales to keep the knife slim and pocket friendly; however, they are markedly larger than the liners of its predecessor. To reduce weight and allow easy cleaning, the liners are skeletonized and teamed with stainless steel standoffs to create an open-backed construction style. Together, these features trim the knife’s weight by 0.2 ounces (6g) and give it an exceptionally lively balance. The larger liners also enhance the knife’s structural strength and provide a solid anchor for its four-position pocket clip. Unlike the lone carry position of the first-generation model, the pocket clip of the Military 2 is fully configurable for left or right-side, tip-up or tip-down carry. This greatly enhances the versatility of the design and allows it to be fine-tuned to fit personal carry preferences.
Ergonomically, the Military 2 also features some subtle, but significant changes. Its 50/50 index-finger choil is slightly larger for improved control when the knife is held in a forward, “choked-up” grip. Both the forward and rear portions of the handle have also been narrowed slightly for enhanced comfort.
On the business end, the Military 2 features a full-flat-ground blade crafted from CPM S30V stainless steel. A long-time standard, CPM S30V has proven to be extremely consistent and predictable in Spyderco’s manufacturing processes. Over the years, Spyderco has also perfected the heat treating of this steel so, based on their extensive in-house testing, its performance equals or exceeds that of other steels. Like its predecessor, the Military 2 will likely evolve to feature other blade steels over time; however, in its inaugural form, CPM S30V will be the standard.
The Military 2 is a proud and highly evolved successor to a legendary design. For now, it will serve alongside its predecessor, which will remain in Spyderco’s product line for the foreseeable future. And like the knife that inspired it, it seems destined to become a canvas for a wide range of variations, Sprint Runs, and Exclusives highlighting the benefits of different blade steels, handle materials, and other defining features.
- Blade Length: 4.00″ (102 mm)
- Closed Length: 5.51″ (140 mm)
- Overall Length: 9.51″ (242 mm)
- Cutting Edge: 3.65″ (93 mm)
- Blade Thickness: 0.145″ (3.7 mm)
- Blade Material: CPM-S30V Stainless Steel
- Blade Style: Clip Point
- Blade Grind: Full-Flat
- Blade Finish: Satin
- Blade Edge: Plain
- Handle Material: G10
- Handle Color: Black
- Locking Mechanism: Compression
- Pocket Clip: Tip-Up/Down, Left/Right Carry
- Model Number: C36GP2
- Model Name: Military 2
- Weight: 4.30 oz. (122 g)
- Designers: Sal and Eric Glesser
- Made in the USA