Spyderco Paramilitary 2 Review: Still A Cut Above The Rest

Spyderco Paramilitary 2 Review: Still A Cut Above The Rest
With a cult-like following, the Spyderco Paramilitary 2 remains a top-choice among higher-end EDC knives.

The Spyderco Paramilitary 2, simply known as the Para 2, is a part of the Military family of popular tactical folders in the Spyderco lineup. The Para 2 came about as a downsized version of the full-size Military model, answering the call from customers for a practical EDC option. 

Smaller it might be, but the Para 2 retains the essence of what makes the Military a popular working folder. And because of this, the knife has developed a cult following. However, it’s not simply a shrunken-down facsimile of its larger predecessor, having gone through several design improvements that have dialed in the knife to users’ needs.

In this article, we’ll examine exactly what has made the Spyderco Para 2 such a winner in the company’s lineup. And why, if you need a truly rugged everyday option—or just want a classic in your collection—the legendary knife more than fits the bill.

Para 2 Blade

To start things off, the blade of the Para 2 sports a useful clip point shape, enhanced with a full flat grind. Furthermore, the knife has a gradual distal taper from the tang to the tip, evident when viewed from the top. The length of the blade measures 3.4 inches long, enough length to take care of heavy work but short enough for comfortable carry in a pocket. 

Para 2 blade
A CPM S45VN stainless-steel blade brings toughness, excellent edge retenion and easy of sharpening to the game.

Constructed of CPM S45VN high-performance stainless steel, Spyderco picked the perfect material for a high-end knife. Compared to the gold standard of this class—S30V—S45VN proves a bit tougher, yet is remains easy to resharpen. That is if you have to. The blade’s toughness means it holds an edge extremely well, suiting it for long-haul work without interruption. A final point, S45VN is fairly renowned for its corrosion resistance, making the Para 2 excel in nearly any environment.

As those familiar with Spyderco can guess, the blade boasts the company’s trademark hole near the spine, at the rear. This has been the go-to deployment method for time immemorial on the firm’s knives. Rounding things out on the blade, there’s integrated chill formed by part of the blade and handle when the blade is opened. A choil permits the user to further choke up on the blade for extra control when needed.  

Para 2 Handle

Spyderco opts for a black textured G-10 for the handle, which endows it with a few assets. First, it keeps the knife nimble, cutting down on the Para 2 overall weight. But this isn’t at the expense of strength—G10 is tough as cut nails—and a solid purchase on the knife.

Paramilitary 2 handle
Dark, dashing and useful, the Para 2’s G-10 handled gives users a firm grip on the knife.

The handles are milled out, allowing the slightly undersized stainless steel liners to sit flush with the G-10. Nicely, this reduces the overall width of the handle but doesn’t sacrifice the lateral strength of the liners. Spyderco also turns its eye to weight reduction with the liners, porting them to further lighten the load—while not compromising strength. 

The handle shape itself is very ergonomic, like the full-size Military. There is an expanded, curved section that forms an integral finger guard to prevent your hand from sliding forward. The handle feels very secure in hand, and this inspires user confidence. 

Compression Lock

Compression lock
With an extremely strong lockup, the Para 2’s Compression Lock adds confidence to the system.

The Para 2 utilizes Syperco’s Compression Lock to secure the blade, a solid system that has several benefits. For those unfamiliar with the mechanism, it’s an in-house design that provides an extremely strong lockup. It operates by the lock bar wedging itself onto a ramp on the blade’s tang and a hardened steel stop pin. As an added benefit, the release is situated on the handle spine, just behind the blade within reach of the thumb and forefinger. Not only is the design ambidextrous, but it also facilitates fast and intuitive one-hand opening (with a bit of practice) and closing. 

Pocket Clip

A steel pocket clip is attached to the handle in the right-hand, tip-down configuration. However, Spyderco has what they call 4-way clip mounting with the Para 2. This means the handle is drilled and tapped to modify the clip’s position, thus the carry style. Again, this makes the knife lefty- and righty-friendly, as well as allowing for tip-up or tip-down carry. Understandably, this is another facet of the Para 2 has that a lot of fans. 

Para 2 clip
No matter how you carry or hand you use, you can move the clip to suit your needs.

The handle also has an open build, allowing you to effectively clean lint and other debris out of the inside of the handle by using either compressed air or tap water. The handle length is 4.8 inches, making the overall length of the Para 2 around 8.2 inches. I would consider any folder with an overall length of 9 inches to be large, so to say the Para 2 is a midsize folder is a stretch. It’s safer to say it’s on the upper end of being midsize. Still kind of compact, but large enough to handle some man-sized cutting jobs. 

Para 2 In Action

The flat ground blade with distal taper helps the blade sail through anything with ease. This is exactly the reason why the full-size Military is a favorite among knife users the world over. You’ll notice the blade bites in and does so aggressively and it just takes off. Shoot, I have even used my Para 2 and Military in the kitchen to aid in food prep at times. The Para 2 makes for an effective paring knife. 

Paramilitary 2 open
An all-time classic, the Para 2 offers users an option fit to tackle most jobs.

Outside of the kitchen, the Para 2 slices through cardboard, plastic edging, styrofoam blocks, and even strips wire with ease. Spyderco’s cutting edges out of the box are nothing short of perfect. The Para 2 can be put to work immediately without modifications to the edge. S45VN’s durability is out of this world. You’ll benefit from the enhanced edge-holding capability of this steel by not having to sharpen as often. However, all this depends on your frequency of use and that can vary from person to person. 

The handle ergonomics are very comfortable. The Para 2 didn’t leave any hot spots of any kind and is pleasurable to wield during extended periods of use. 

Final Cut

I think you will find the Para 2 to be an excellent daily carry choice for you, if you are looking for a working folder that is also a super comfortable EDC knife. As for how much the Spyderco Paramilitary 2 will set you back, the MSRP starts at $265.00 for the black G-10 handle/satin-finished blade as tested here. There’s also a camo handle for the same price, and black DLC coated versions for a bit more at $285.

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