Pros: Blade Material, Handle Feel, Handle Material, Overall Quality, Weight, Lock Ease of Use, Blade Sharpness
Cons: Pocket Clip, None
Better than expected
I'm a "knife guy"...lots of knives, predominantly folding, everything from zero tolerance all the way down to Chinese made no-names. I've never touched a Spyderco that I really warmed up to; compared to my ZT (and even some of my Kershaw) knives, they felt flimsy, not heavy-duty, not particularly appealing, and I've owned a few. Until now. This is a perfect EDC size; big enough to be useful, and small enough not to scare NKP (non knife people). This one feels solid, and the back of the blade maintains enough thickness far enough along toward the tip so that I do not have the fear of tip breakage that I have had with other Spydercos. The G10 feels great in the hand-textured, but not too rough-and the back lock is solid, solid, solid. Blade centering is good, and there's no slop, play or bouncy springback when the blade is deployed and locked into place, something that is sometimes an issue with backlock knives. There is some pressure upon opening the blade because of the tension from the backlock system, and it's not going to open like a Kershaw Speedsafe our even a CRKT nonassisted flipper, but it's still pretty easy to open with one hand using the iconic Spyderco blade hole. The blade seems a nice compromise between softer steels (say, the 8Cr13MoV on my CRKT M-16, easier to both dull and sharpen) and premium steels (say, the Elmax on my Zero Tolerance 770cf, holds an edge forever but tough to sharpen). The S35VN in this Native 5 reportedly contains a bit more chrome than the S30VN in many other middle to upper-middle range blades, supposedly making it a little harder and a little more resistant to corrosion. I'll take their word for it. In sharpening and use, I can't tell the difference between those two. The handle is surprisingly comfortable for me; I have very large hands (for instance, I love the handle and grip on my ZT0350ts, a bruiser of an knife for EDK). Smaller hands won't use the well-jimped finger impression in the choil, and will be happy with the handle alone. Nice ergonomic jimping under the thumb, too; add the G10 sides and it adds up to a great grip, even if the knife is wet. I'm frankly amazed that I've been carrying this as often as I have, but there's something about it...The right size, the right weight, and comfy in the hand. Hits the sweet spot for an EDC. Not really a tactical knife, but well enough designed and tough enough in build so that I'd have confidence in it for that use in a pinch. I abuse my EDCs at times, and so far, this cool little folder is up to it. It arrived pretty sharp out of the box, although I took that up a notch or two. The only niggle (there's always something, huh) is that the clip-which is secure on my pocket-is VERY shiny, and it's not small. A little attention-getting. I highly recommend the Native 5 in the G10 handle configuration. And I never thought that I'd say that about a Spyderco! And to boot, the blade's S35VN is Crucible steel, and the knife is made in Golden, CO--a completely American knife. Kudos to Spyderco for bringing it in at such a reasonable price, given the materials and the build.