Pros: Blade Material, Overall Quality, Handle Feel, Weight, Handle Material, Blade Sharpness
Great featherweight version of the G10 model
This knife is the exact duplicate of the Native 5, with one change: FRN handles instead of G10. The FRN handles make this thing light as a feather! No problem in a suit pocket. You forget it's even in your pocket! Is there some give in the FRN? Sure. Does it matter? Not at all. Same blade shape and steel, same backlock. And the texture of the FRN provides a fantastic grip--even better than the G10 model. Every other aspect is identical to the G10 model (S35VN steel). 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 some other Spydercos. 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). S35VN 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. You can get a black clip from Spyderco, and deal it out (I did). 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.