Classic Knife Review: Spyderco Police and Military Models

We all know them, we might not all have them. These two Spyderco classics (Police and Military) have stood the test of time and use, and are still current models – for good reason.
I refer to them as ‘Classics’ and Spyderco calls the Police model a ‘Signature’ model and the Military a ‘USA Made’ and/or ‘Save and Serve’ model. Both really qualify as a classic in my opinion and are worthy of being in your pocket.

Video Overview

This video is a detailed look at the Police and Military Models, from handling to technical measurements. Hopefully something for everyone and you should have a better idea if you should also pick up one or both.

A good look round the Police Model – Things to look out for here are:
Being of full stainless steel construction, and having brushed steel handles, to ensure you get it in new condition, the handle scales come with protectors fitted that you need to peel off.
The Police model has drilled and tapped holes in all four possible clip positions, so you can decide the very best clip position for your needs (personally I changed this to tip-up and right handed).
Being a long standing model it unsurprisingly uses a back lock.
With a rivet type of blade pivot, there is no adjustment or user servicing possible. The pivot rivet finishing is excellent and completely invisible.
This example is the part serrated version, but it also comes in a fully serrated or full plain edge blade.

A good look round the Military Model – Things to look out for here are:
Immediately unmistakably Spyderco, with the G10 handle scales, pocket clip and opening hole, the Military is a good sized folder.
Unlike the Police model, the Military can be taken apart, with the G10 handle scales bolted together and a pivot bolt. Also unlike the Police model, the Military has only the one clip position (tip-down right handed).
Recessed into the G10 handles are minimal steel liners and the Military uses a liner lock. Just to drive home that point about ‘minimal’ steel liners, this is what allows for the light weight yet still strong construction. The liner on the non-lock side just goes from handle bolt to handle bolt to the pivot (supporting the stop pin as well). The other partial liner is larger as it includes the lock bar.

The Blade and Handle – Detailed Measurements:
For full details of the tests and measurements carried out and an explanation of the results, see the page – Knife Technical Testing – How It’s Done.

An extra detail not in this table is the edge angle of the serration on the Police Model. One of the reasons the Spyderco serrations cut so well is that they are chisel grind (so only one side is sharpened) making the edge angle very fine – in this case just 17 degrees total inclusive edge angle (0 degrees one side and 17 the other).

The Factory edge up close – NEW FOR 2022!:

Followers of Tactical Reviews will know my views on factory edges, but to recap:

Anyone using a knife will need to sharpen it. That first factory edge is just like the first tank of fuel that a new car comes with (or first charge of the battery).
A good factory edge is a ‘nice to have’ but not a ‘make or break’ for a good knife, as you will be putting your own edge onto it soon enough.
The factory edge does however indicate the care a knife maker has put into the final finish.
It is for this reason Tactical Reviews measures factory edge sharpness and specifications, and includes this information in the detailed technical testing.

As a further look at the factory edge, this section has been added to include some high magnification photos of the factory edges.

In this case the serrated part of the Police model (the plain edge part was sharpened before the imaging device was ready) and the edge of the Military model.

These two edges are outstanding and will the standard by which others are judged!

What is it like to use?

Before going further with using them, a quick side by side (and one on top of the other) size and form-factor comparison.

Moving onto the two knives in the hand, and despite being very similar in size, they do feel very different when you hold them. The G10 handles of the Military make for a different weight distribution plus fill the hand more. Of the two, the Military is definitely the more comfortable and easy to have a very secure grip of. Conversely though this makes it harder to carry, taking up more pocket space. The Police model is very slim and even at the size it is, slips into your pocket so easily.

In terms of carry, the Police model also gives you all four possible clip positions (or five if you count – ‘no clip’) so there isn’t any limitation of the clip position. Although that said, this current version is missing a lanyard hole if you wanted one of these.
For my own purposes, I have moved the clip from the factory position to tip-up and right handed.

Of course for edge maintenance, especially considering the serrated edge on the Police model, the Spyderco Tri-Angle Sharp Maker (also pictured above) is ideal and easy to use.

Both the Police and Military models do have a very pointy blade tip, the Police being the slightly pointier of the two. It makes them very aggressive at penetrating, and for anyone more used to a drop point or other less eager blade tip might find them unwieldy or difficult to control. You certainly need to use great care where depth of cut matters, and the long blade can make this control all the more difficult. You will get used to it, but it does need care and consideration when wielding these super capable blades.

Review Summary

The views expressed in this summary table are from the point of view of the reviewer’s personal use. I am not a member of the armed forces and cannot comment on its use beyond a cutting tool or field/hunting knife.

Something that might be a ‘pro’ for one user can be a ‘con’ for another, so the comments are categorised based on my requirements. You should consider all points and if they could be beneficial to you.

What doesn’t work so well for me

Military –
single clip position.
clip/G10 abrasive on pocket edge.

Police –
no lanyard hole.
slippery when wet.

Things I like

Military –
Very light for its size.
Very ‘eager’ blade (full flat grind and sharp point).
Liner lock makes for very smooth opening.
G10 handles have excellent grip.
Spyderco high quality fit and finish
One of the best factory edges I have ever seen!

Police –
Slim design makes it easy to carry.
Pocket clip has four possible positions.
Spyderco serrations incredibly sharp.
Three options for blade (plain, serrated, part-serrated).

Hope to see you at IWA 2022 soon!

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