I purchased a Paramilitary 2 from a forum member last week. The PM2 arrived on Saturday, just in time for a short camping trip, and I did not hesitate to put it through some performance testing.
In sum, I was very impressed by the cutting and ergonomics of the PM2, and understand why Sal and Spyderco is held to such a high regard by so many knife enthusiasts. The quality of spyderco products speaks for itself.
However, I found that the PM2 did not have the same aesthetic appeal as other knives that I own, and the excessively tight detent and sluggish opening action on the PM2 knife will prevent me from EDCing it on a regular basis.
PM 2 Review
- Fit & Finish: 9/10
The PM2 arrived with an outstanding fit and finish. The lockup was tight, almost excessively, but almost every other aspect of the knife exuded quality. I could not notice any defects on the blade grind and the jimping was almost perfect in symmetry. Similarly, the G10 was spotless. I have heard an ample amount of praise regarding the quality of Spydie products (Sal appears to be a great guy from the customer interaction I perceived), and the praise lived up to all of my expectations. Well done! The PM2 looked even better when I changed it to my customary tip-down left-hand carry.
- Action & Lockup: 6/10
Disclaimer: I have been using Benchmade knives, almost exclusively, for the last few years. I'm a huge fan of the axis lock and refer to it as a benchmark for smoothness of opening and closing.
The tight opening and closing is my only major criticism of the PM2. The PM2 reacts fairly stiffly and possesses a -monster- detent when compared to my 710/950/940/810. I have attempted adjusting the pivot and blade stop screws and adding lube, but I have still not been able to get the knife to "spring" to life like an axis-lock knife. I do not intend to use a knife for self-defense, but I simply do not picture myself being able to open the PM2 under a stressful situation with the same speed and accuracy of my BM models. I hope that the lockup with loosen with more use, and my ability to open with a spydie hole will increase, but the sheer stiffness of the PM2 will likely keep it out of my EDC rotation temporarily. As of now, I still prefer traditional thumb studs.
With that said, the lock-up resembles a vault. I used the blade extensively while camping to carve woodchips (no batoning) and perform various tasks around the camp site. Unlike some of my BM knives, I could not detect even the slightest amounts of blade play, even when applying excessive force to the blade. In sum, the PM2 locks up better than almost any knife that I have ever used!
- Ergonomics & Cutting: 10/10
Ergonomics and cutting performance is where the PM 2 really shines. The flat-blade grind impressed me immediately when I began sheering through some fruits and veggies and making wood chips. The PM2 cuts like a monster out of the box, just as well as the BM's that I personally sharpen, and was still popping hairs off my arm after a solid hour of use. The blade geometry on the PM2 is a real work of art, and I loved using the functional tip to pierce through some veggies for fun.
The PM2 was almost disgustingly comfortable in my hand, even after extended use. The only thing tighter than my grip around its comfortable perfectly contoured G10 handle was the PM2's ridiculously tight lock up. I trust that the heat treat on Spyderco's S30V will make the steel hold up over time!
The PM 2 should be considered a top-performance slicing and cutting tool that provides industry-leading ergonomics.
- EDCness & Aesthetics: 4/10
The weight of the PM2 shocked me at made my BM 710 feel like an anchor in my hand. The PM2 carries like a much smaller blade and practically disappeared in my pocket. I was also surprised at how thin the knife felt in my pocket, but did notice how it ate up more horizontal pocket space than most of my BM EDC models. Again, due to the sluggish opening and monster detent, I do not see myself EDCing the PM2, but will gladly use it as a hard-use folder in outdoor settings.
Aesthetic appeal is a profoundly personal affair. The spydie hole, quite frankly, causes the knife shape to appear both fat and a bit clumsy. The knife also has a sort of "cheap banana" appearance in my eyes. My girl friend thought that the PM2 was the most "violent looking" knife that I own [even when compared to a BM 810 and Cold Steel Scimitar] due to the spydie hole. Thankfully, the cutting performance of the knife makes up for its questionable aesthetic appeal.
- Final Thoughts
The PM2 has lived up to many of its stellar reviews when it comes to sheer cutting performance and ergonomics. I am pleased with my purchase, overall, and may consider purchasing more spyderco knives in the future. Spyderco hasn't quite earned another loyal customer yet, but Sal & crew sure as hell have earned my respect.