So you are in the market for an excellent folding knife, but don’t have a lot of money to spend. No problem at all. Let me introduce you to the Spyderco Tenacious. In my early days of carrying a knife, the Tenacious is one that got by far the most pocket time in my EDC lineup. To give you some perspective, I have absolutely beat the hell out of this knife, and can say with confidence that I have put it through its paces. It has been camping in the woods, thrown in the sand on the beach, and it even came with me to South America (read: high humidity environment) for a year. It still cleans up great! In any case, I’ll skip the rest of the life story and get right into the details as to why I think this is one of the best folding knives for the money.
To start with, the broad blade is leaf shaped and sports a full flat grind, which is ideal for slicing. The blade is a shade south of 3.4″ long, and the steel is 8Cr13MoV. 8Cr13MoV is a steel produced in China that has properties very similar to AUS8. I have found it to be extremely corrosion resistant, and I have also found that it takes a great edge. If I had one complaint, it’s edge holding capabilities don’t quite live up to those of some of the more high end steels such as S30V, but I find that the edge wear is pretty darn good compared to other knives at this price point. The blade sports a hole, affectionately dubbed the “Spydie-hole” by Spyderco enthusiasts, which allows you to deploy the blade easily with your thumb and a quick wrist flick. Lastly, the blade has a nice thumb ramp with decently aggressive jimping so you have great blade control when cutting.
As for the handle, the knife has steel liners with black G10 scales. Spyderco occasionally does sprint runs, so the Tenacious can be had with scales in other colors, such as blue. The locking mechanism is a liner lock, which consists of spring steel that slips into place as you deploy the blade. The liner lock is tried and true and requires minimal grip change to disengage. The jimping is excellent on the lock, so your thumb can easily grip even when wet. The handle features a four way interchangeable polished clip, allowing tip up carry and tip down carry for both left handed and right handed configurations. The clip is held on with three screws, so you avoid clip loosening issues as the screws tend to stay in place. The handle has a large lanyard hole, which is easily big enough to pass paracord or leather lace through.
Finally, the blade and handle are mated together with a pivot that contains phosphor bronze bushings, which provide extremely smooth operation and low maintenance. All you have to do is occasionally put a drop of gun oil on the pivot and work the blade a few times, and it will stay smooth as silk. The blade also weighs 4.1 ounces, which is middle of the road but light enough to to still be considered as a backpacking knife.
The fit and finish on this knife are just downright awesome. Spyderco does a really great job of overseeing their quality operations and as a result, even their knives produced in China are top notch. On mine, the knife had an even blade grind, a shaving sharp edge, and a well centered blade relative to the handle right out of the box. The torx screws are of high quality, and don’t strip if you take the knife apart to clean it. The scales have great and even texture. In all honesty, I don’t have a single complaint about the build quality of this knife.
Spyderco paid a great deal of attention to the refinement of the ergonomics on the Tenacious. The knife fills my hand perfectly without being bulky. The thickness is spot on and makes the knife feel solid. I have average sized palms with slightly short fingers. Additionally, the curvature on the belly of the blade allows you to use the entire length while maintaining maximum cutting power since it doesn’t taper off too quickly.
Now for value, which is indeed what makes this knife so impressive. At the time I am writing this, you can get a Spyderco Tenacious on Amazon.com for pretty cheap with a plain edge! I have had many similarly priced knives with failing locks, edges that don’t stay sharp, etc. The fact is, if Spyderco wrote “S30V” on the blade instead of “8Cr13MoV”, they could probably triple the price of the knife considering the quality and it would still sell reliably. You can find other knives with the same level of build quality, but I haven’t really encountered anything else this good at the price point.
Overall this knife is excellent on its own merit, but when you consider price it becomes the best of the best. As reviewed on the main site, the Spyderco Tenacious gets 8.3 out of 10 stars as reviewed by 16 different people. By this site’s standard with that many reviewers, that is extremely high. As an added bonus, if you are currently thinking that the Tenacious is a little too big, check out the Spyderco Persistence which is in the same family with the same quality and price point, which can be had on Amazon.com by clicking here. Additionally, you can check out the Ambitious for another even smaller knife in the same family. And if the Tenacious is a little bit too small, there’s also the Resilience of course.
In the end, the Tenacious is one of the best folding knife values out there and I would feel guilty to give it anything but a glowing review. Whether you are new to knives and looking for a good first knife, or a long time knife guy who is looking for a cheaper knife to add to his collection, this one fits the bill.