Pros: Blade Material, Blade Sharpness, Handle Feel, Weight, Ease of Opening
Very Flat & Light, Best Opening System, "Boye" Dent
I've always internally debated the relative merits of the Cold Steel Medium and Large Voyagers in their clip point configuration, VS. the Spyderco Delica/Endura. Both series are great knives, really light in the pocket with both "sheeple" and knife-nut lengths, efficient, relatively low cost (absolute terms!) and incredible modern bargains (in cost-to-quality terms!) and have been marketed for years and years - so that they have both passed the test of time in terms of consumer acceptance in a very competitive knife market, and in terms of "reports from the field" (validation by a lot of users). Recently, however, the Voyager series has moved in a new direction - much more massive handles, and a substantial (relatively speaking) increase in weight. So now the Delica4 and Endura are pretty much the remaining "flat and light" pocket knives. The Delica4, with pocket clip removed, is so flat it hardly leaves a silhouette in a jacket pocket - and it is so light it won't drag down your pocket. WIth the clip on, you can clip in inside a men's suit on the typical "checkbook" inner pocket and once again it is so light it won't drag down the pocket. Lockbacks are generally stiffer to thumb or flip open than liner-lock designs. Unfortunately for me on the former Cold Steel Medium Voyager, in order to open the blade with my thumb on the stud, I had to apply medium to heavy pressure which would cause the pad of my thumb to push down onto the actual edge of the blade, which made me nervous about thumbing the knife open in a hurry or under stress. (The current series Medium Voyager has a much wider blade and hitting my thumb pad on the blade is not a problem any more - the original Voyagers had much narrower blades.) Although the Spyderco Delica4 is a lockback with similar resistant to opening (probably closer to medium), I feel a lot more confident opening it with the PATENTED large opening hole. That's the reason you don't see other "hole"-based opening systems with the large round hole and Spyderco "hump" - because the design of the hole and hump are exclusive to Spyderco. I used to hate the exaggerated size of the opening hole on Spydies - the hole seemed unnecessarily big and the hump a deformity. But after playing with various designs over the years, I really appreciate the classic large Spydie with the large thumb whole - whether I hit the inner edge of the thumb hole with the tip of my thumb, or just land the fat of my thumb in the whole, opening is safe, secure, predictable, and quick. In other words safer when you are in a hurry. There is only one negative to the big hole. If you carry without the pocket clip, just lose in pant's front pocket, the hole is easy to catch on something and to begin to accidentally open the knife on withdrawal. For that reason I recommend either using the pocket clip and positioning the blade edge against a pant seam, or cutting off an old piece of bicycle tubing and sheathing the knife 3/4 of the way into the tubing. It will stay in your pocket (friction) when you pull the knife out of your pocket. Since the Delica has a removable pocket clip and screw holes on both ends and both sides, you can use the knife equally well left or right handed, in left or right, front or back, pockets. I like the pocket clip in the "stock" position because I don't have to flip the knife around in my hand to point it in the right direction for opening, and because I can curl my finger tips around the clip edge for a more secure grip when opening with one hand. The knife can also be snapped/flipped opened, holding EITHER the handle OR pinching the opening hole. The "Boye" dent is a slight depression in the lockbar which doesn't interfere with easy release for closing, but significantly reduces the risk of accidental opening due to a tight grip on the handle. The new Cold Steel Medium Voyager has a new Tri Ad modified lockbar system which greatly reduces the risk of accidental closing if the open and locked blade is "rapped" against a desk top (to test!) or hit on the back of the blade by a baton (escrima sparring with a taped blade). The Delica4 has a traditional lockbar system but passed my informal "rap the desk" test (with glove on!). There is little to no "flex" of the handle sides due to the addition of steel liners. Frankly I didn't notice much if any flex on the predecessor Delica design, and the steel liners might have been added to improve detectability through airport magnetometers in airports that don't use full body scanners. Finally I like the full flat grind (FFG) much better than the old hollow grind, and the new colors are really playful. The raised Volcano design on the handle is much grippier too. Overall the Delica4 is the "best of" thin and flat knives, with the Benchmade Pardue 530 being perhaps the only real, but much more tactical looking, competition.