Skip to content
Home » Blog » Spyderco’s Para 3 EDC Knife Turned Me Into a True Believer

Spyderco’s Para 3 EDC Knife Turned Me Into a True Believer

  • by

Photo by Sean Tirman

Every product is carefully selected by our editors. If you buy from a link, we may earn a commission. Learn more

Spyderco’s Para 3 EDC Knife Turned Me Into a True Believer

I didn’t care for the brand’s aesthetics, but getting hands-on with this folding blade proved me very, very wrong.


Deciding on a knife to carry is a highly personal decision and, ultimately, comes down to a variety of factors — including needs, taste and budget. So suggesting that there’s a perfect EDC blade to suit everyone’s needs is a fairly asinine conclusion, especially when you consider just how many options there are available.

That being said, sometimes releases come along that are so widely beloved that they transcend the myriad available EDC knives and become somewhat legendary in and of themselves. For Spyderco, that was the case with the brand’s Para/Military/Paramilitary series, which included the original Military, followed up by the PM2 (or Paramilitary 2), and now the Para 3. While the PM2 was a release beloved by huge swaths of the EDC world, I wanted to see for myself if its follow-up, the Para 3, lives up to its legacy. Here’s what I discovered.

Spyderco Para 3: What we think

Put plainly, Spyderco’s Para 3 is a knife that’s difficult to find fault with. While the iconic leaf blade shape and the brand’s signature oversized thumb hole (AKA Spyder Hole) are certainly a bit polarizing (and not for everyone), the overall construction is practically unimpeachable — especially when it comes to the ultra-secure Compression locking mechanism.

The smaller size and weight of the Para 3 (specifically when compared to the PM2) makes the Para 3 a much more EDC-friendly knife. And while the materials are not particularly unique or novel, they’re in line with what I’d expect from a knife at this price point and, especially when paired with the knife’s extremely tight tolerances, are sure to outlast my expectations. All told, I was not expecting to love this knife as much as I do — and I really love it a lot.


Spyderco Para 3

After the PM2, Spyderco had some big shoes to fill. Luckily, the Para 3 is definitely a worthy successor to its predecessor, if a bit less “tactical” and a bit more EDC-friendly. Overall, it’s smaller and lighter than its sibling, while maintaining the same high build quality and ultra-tight tolerances. This is a generational EDC knife that, while boasting a polarizing silhouette, belongs in every collector’s hands.


Blade Length

3.0 inches

Blade Steel


Handle Material


Locking Mechanism


Total Length

7.27 inches


Rock-solid construction

High-quality materials

Exceptional mechanisms


Silhouette/aesthetics aren’t for everyone

The style/design isn’t for everyone, but you can’t argue with the build quality

Admittedly, I was not a fan of Spyderco’s aesthetic. I understood that the brand was widely beloved in the EDC and knife worlds, but I just never much cared for the signature look. Unfortunately, that kept me from seeking out the brand’s offerings, despite how many positive things I had heard of them. This, in retrospect, was a huge mistake.

The moment I pulled my Para 3 out of its box, I could tell it was something special. For starters, it was much lighter than I had anticipated, which makes it a great EDC option for anyone who counts ounces. Despite its lightness, it felt very solid. The handle, which has G10 scales, has a pleasing, grippy texture and an ergonomic silhouette that just feels good to hold. And the CPM S45VN blade opens so smoothly, I was sure it would have some play in it — but it doesn’t wiggle a millimeter. Even the pocket clip was taught without being too tight to easily utilize.

The Para 3 is the perfect size for pocket-friendly EDC carry.Photo by Sean Tirman

While the silhouette isn’t for everyone, I loved the balance between the handle and blade.Photo by Sean Tirman

I own a lot of knives and I can say with near certainty that handling this knife was one of the most awe-inspiring experiences I have had with an EDC pocket knife. I’m not sure I’ve ever had such a wild swing from being a skeptic over to becoming a fanboy. Spyderco, I see you.

The thumbhole and compression lock take some getting use to, but they’re unbeatable

In all honesty, I’m quite partial to flipper knives. Opening them is speedy, convenient and satisfying. Similarly, I often find thumb studs and nail nicks frustrating — usually resorting to two-handed opening rather than fumbling to open them with one hand. So I was skeptical of the Spyderco signature oversized thumb hole … until I tried it.

The wide circumference of the thumb hole makes this perhaps the easiest-to-open non-flipper (and non-automatic) I’ve ever used. It’s a smooth, single motion to extend the blade and there’s that oh-so-satisfying click as the Compression lock slips into place. And that leads to my next point: I am head over heels for this locking mechanism.

The Spyderco Para 3’s action is super smooth, but the tolerances are also exceptionally tight.Photo by Sean Tirman

The placement and orientation of what is, essentially, a reversed liner lock make the lock incredibly strong and reliable. And when you want to close the knife again, it’s in a convenient and ergonomic spot, making the knife super easy to close (when and only when you want it to close), which is aided by the slick pivot (the blade swings into the handle smoothly and satisfyingly). I had heard lots and lots of praise for this lock but had never used one myself. Needless to say, I’m a believer.

I keep finding excuses to carry this knife over my many, many others

The truest sign of whether an EDC knife is exceptional or not is something I’ll call the pocket test. This is to say: does a knife inspire me to keep carrying it, even when I have other options at my disposal? The Para 3 passes this test with flying colors. I might even go so far as to say it is my new favorite EDC knife.

The thumbhole makes deploying the blade a simple, satisfying prospect.Photo by Sean Tirman

The Spyderco Compression lock, while simple in concept, is one of the strongest, most reliable locks around.Photo by Sean Tirman

That being said, I do still swap it out from time to time. Even as a newly-turned Spyderco fan, I still find myself drawn to the silhouettes of my other knives. I think that’s really the biggest polarizer for the brand — that perhaps-too-unique silhouette found among many of the brand’s offerings. Still, I have to admit (and courtesy of my time with the Para 3) that I’ve slept on Spyderco for far too long.