710 or Military?

Jun 14, 2001
I posted a thread a little while back (under the name Professor X), asking the somewhat whimsical question - "What am I looking for...". I received a lot of really helpful replies, and I am getting ready to buy a knife based on those suggestions.

Essentially, I am 95% sure that I want to get a 4". I believe it is OK in the state that I live in (FL), and my concerns about the sheeple have now been reduced to...F*** 'em :) I've got a smaller knife I can use anyway if necessary :rolleyes:

So, with that in mind, if you had to choose between a Spyderco Military and a BM 710, which would you choose? I plan to make this my primary cutter, even though I am really just an urban utility user. My job sometimes requires that I cut through some hard plastics and maybe the occasional wire, but nothing overly demanding.

Of course, I am sure I will change my mind again about a 4" knife before this thread is over, but hey, let's just assume that I can be decisive about this :)

Thanks all!

I had to make this very same decision about a year ago. I researched everything and played with both. In the end I got the 710 and I'm thrilled with it. Best production knife ever, in my opinion.

That said, the Mil is right behind. If it had an Axis lock, it'd be a tie. I just can't get past how good the Axis lock is.

Add to that the fact that the 710 is available in M2, and you have an even better reason. Either way, though, I'm sure you'll be happy.
I have often asked myself the very same question. I had to buy one of each, well two Militaries and one 710.

By rights the 710 in M2 aught to be the clear winner. Think about it. The Axis is stonger and smoother than a liner lock. However appart from that, the Military is a better knife in every way. The full flat ground blade, the SpyderHole, the handle, the list goes on and on. The liner lock on the Military has never been a cause for concern either.

Out of the steels involved you have three choices.
1. 710 in either 154CM or M2
2. Military in CPM 440V or ATS-34

For wire cutting etc, get the M2 710. I simply don't thing CPM 440V is a good choice for this. However, I have used mine for this when I worked in an electrical store, no damage at all.

The telling thing is that my Military is in my pocket, my 710 is in its box... I have said before that IMHO both these knives represent some of the best knives in the world, but given the choice, I would carry the Military. If I was to use it in a 'silly' way or really abuse the knife, I would carry the 710 M2. Only because of the M2 steel.

Get the Military, you won't regret it!
General -

If I was to use it in a 'silly' way or really abuse the knife, I would carry the 710 M2. Only because of the M2 steel.

That was one point in favor of the 710 for me - I am a relative newbie to knives, so I frequently use them for things I probably shouldn't. I thought that the 710 M2 might be a little more "forgiving" of stupid things that I might do.... Is that the same as "silly" or abusive use?
I have to admit that the SpyderHole is the clear winner over other opening methods. The flat grind/saber grind debate will continue forever.

Just get both.
Just get both

Hehe wish I could :)

I thought that the 710 was a flat-grind. In the previous thread mentioned above, I had asked for suggestions on a good flat-ground blade, and the 710 was among those mentioned.

Does the 710 have a saber grind?
I pesonally preffer, BM over Spyderco, and I have heard reports (this could be total BS but I have only HEARD of this) that if you open the Spyderco too quickly, you can knock out the pin that catches the blade. Sorry, but I can't be more specific becuase I dn't know what the part is called.
The Military in CPM 440V is super cool! I have never handled the 710, but I have heard lots of good things. The military has a really ergonomic handle, and the blade is an excellent cutter. Just an all around great knife.
The 710 is not a full flat grind. Try to find a closeup pic online. That said, the blade shape is probably the all-around best there is, and many people will agree with me there.

More importantly, anything you hear about Spyderco's QC being behind Benchmade's is, in my opinion, plain wrong. And I have my share of Benchmades, which I like a lot. Spyderco consistently has the best quality of *any* production knives. The Military, in particular, is bombproof.

Lots of people have held a basic $40 Spyderco and they've come away unamazed. Well, first of all, the QC on that knife kills the QC on most other $40 knives. But Spyderco will be happy to blow you away if you compare apples to apples. Go pick up a Military, Wegner, Lum Chinese, Gunting...The list goes on and on as long as you stay in an equal price range.
I have a Military in 440V and happen to like the 710's enough to own 3.

The 710 is a flat ground primary blade grind (as opposed to hollow or convex ground).

The 710 is also a drop point blade, the spine is gradually curved down to a point that is less than 1/2 way to the other side. The point is not symmetrical (point at center like a dagger) or it would be a "spear point".

The 710, as a drop point, also has what can either be described as a "sabre ground" point or a "swedge". Kind of a cross.

The Military is a fully flat ground knife, starting right at the spine and going right to behind the edge. It is also distally tapered... meaning thicker at base of blade, and tapering smoothly to a very fine point. That is one of the things I'd redesign in the Military if it were my custom design... it would have a beefier tip grind (it wouldn't be a true distal taper all the way to point).

Military, Pro's:
* big thumb hole opener
* CPM 440V is designed for slicing IMHO. Resists abrasion well. Fine grain structure, will take polished edge. Also takes a great toothy, grabby edge, so for what I typically do, I don't need serrations.
* comfortable, large handle
* light for it's size
* thin for it's size
* radiused tang on later models is excellent feature for a liner lock, makes it self adjusting over time to some degree

Military, Con's:
* blade to handle ratio is inefficient... it is just a bit too long for me to carry comfortably in my front jeans pocket when I sit (I'm 5'-11")
* tip grind is a bit too delicate for my tastes
* at the extreme, the liner lock doesn't seem as stout or resistant to accidental closing as the Axis.
* CPM 440V is not as tough as M2 at a given hardness. CPM 440V had to be taken down to Rc56-57 to avoid chipping, and so this means it'll be less resistant to edge deformation (under impact or hard push cutting, say through wire).
* blade grind could have provided more belly at no expense to tip pointiness.

710, Pro's:
* also comfortable handle
* I like the dual thumb pegs as well as the bigass Spydie hole, personally. Both are fine.
* enough index finger "guard" to be safe in stabbing motion, but I'd like more
* Dropped point w/ swedge is among my very favorite utility grinds. Enough belly.
* Like the recurved section at rear, could be a bit more pronounced.
* Axis lock is more resistant to accidental unlocking under force, IMHO, than is liner lock
* M2 is tougher than ATS34 or 440V at given hardness, and at Rc59-60 works well. M2 is also abrasion resistant... plenty of carbides (V, W, Moly)
* blade to handle ratio is great, very efficient
* about max closed size to be comfortable to carry in jeans pocket while seated

710 Con's ... no, desired Tweaks:
* If it were my design, I'd go another 1/32" to 1/16" on blade thickness, make the liners a hair thinner to compensate, and grind the tip a bit stouter. And I'd probably make the spring in the Axis a bit stouter.
* I'd add a bit more "cutout" for index finger in handle design.
* thicker than Military, but not overly thick.
Ah I see now what my confusion was. Looking at Joe T.'s FAQ, I realize now that a "full flat grind" and a "flat grind" are synonymous. I think. :)

I second your comments on Spyderco's QC and value - I have the Native, and I love that knife. One of the reasons I am looking to the BM 710 is for a little variety.

I should probably revise my comment above...I do have some concerns about the sheeple, just not too worried about it anymore. However, I have heard that the Military has a very commanding presence for its size. The 710 seems to be less imposing. I have seen neither of these knives up close, though. What are your opinions?

Originally posted by Starfish
Ah I see now what my confusion was. Looking at Joe T.'s FAQ, I realize now that a "full flat grind" and a "flat grind" are synonymous. I think. :)

Military is full flat ground, starting right at spine. I think "Full" means "starting right at spine".

On 710, it is flat ground, but not fully...i.e. they leave some full thickness material from spine down about 1/4" before they begin the actual edge grind (which appears to be flat)
Originally posted by Starfish
However, I have heard that the Military has a very commanding presence for its size. The 710 seems to be less imposing. I have seen neither of these knives up close, though. What are your opinions?

Military is a bigger knife. It looks noticeably bigger when you "whip it out". (shades of Blazing Saddles... "pardon me, while I whip this out...")

When closed the Military is:
5.5" OAL
1.6" from top of hole to other side of handle (tall profile!)

When open, the Military is:
1.2" from top of hole to blade edge (tall profile!)
9.5" OAL
4.1" of "silver" blade, from base to tip, 3.8" is sharp


When closed, the 710 is:
5.0" OAL
1.2" from thumbstud area of spine to handle (moderate profile)

When open, 710:
1.0" blade height
9.0" OAL
3.9" blade length, measured from centerline to point, nearly all of which is sharp

Suffice to say, the Military is a taller, longer knife. The "tallness" really adds to the apparent visual size of the Military.

They are both sizeable folders, and if the sheeple factor must drive the decision, it would tilt towards the 710. You'll have to decide whether a black coated blade looks "meaner" than satin... the airport security guards think so.
Thanks rdangerer!

(I agree about the avatar. Love The Onion News!)

Sheeple factor is just that - one factor to consider. Certainly is not going to drive this decision (I'm tired of worrying about that :))

You stated that the Military is optimized for slicing. Two questions:

1) What do you consider to be slicing? Like slicing bread?

2) What is the 710 optimized for?
I like the 710 more, and not because I own 2 of them, one in each steel type. Personally I prefer my M2 710 to the ats-34 one since it is more resistant to damage from uh...creative use.

If I were to accidentally slash into a large metal packing staple while breaking up cardboard boxes I might make a small dent or cause minor edge damage to the M2 710's edge, while the ats-34 one will take about 50% more damage. Doing this with a Military will also cause more damage since the edge is thinner on it (which also makes it cut the box better). A 440V Military will end up with large sections on the blade chipped and/or torn out from doing this, as will any other 440V blade with a thin edge (like my Kershaw Ricochet).

Intangibles, the 710 is much more fun to play with. You can hold the Axis lock bar back and flip the blade open and closed in a flash. Really come in handy when I have to quickly close and put the knife away to avoid freaking out customers. Also great for killing time, other than a balisong or automatic its probably the most entertaining knife to "play" with.
Even though I am a hard core Spyderco man, I recommend the 710 over the Military. There is a 710 in my collection, and has a tight lockup, holds a good edge, and looks pretty damn mean.
I will preface this by saying that I dont have a 710, but I would recommend the Military. It is so thin and light. The 710 is too thick for my tastes. I went back and forth on getting one for quite a while because I thought it was too big. I am so glad I got it. The military wasn't too big, all my other knives were just too small. Get one, carry it for a week, and you'll be hooked. If you dont like it, I'm sure you'll have no trouble selling it on the exchange forum... (that, or you could send it to me. I need a spare...)

rdangerer's reply is pretty exhaustive, and I agree with a lot of the points.

Instead of telling you what's the best choice for you, I'll tell you why the 710 was the best choice for me:

- Carryability: the military's handle is positively huge, lengthwise. The 710 is a more carryable package for the same bladesize.

- Ergonomics: The Military's very long, very thin handle feels positively awkward in my hands. The 710's handle is secure and comfortable; in fact, for extended hard use, it's about the most comfortable I've ever used. That's my hands though; many people love the Military.

- Axis lock: No liner lock, not even a Spyderco liner lock, is in the same league as the axis. I'm very demanding on lock reliability. I'm confident of the axis.

After I got my 710, I found out more things. I really got to appreciate how much a recurved blade outperforms a regular blade for slicing. I also found out that if I used that if I used the knife for more extended cutting, the handle comfort let me cut more efficiently, longer.

So, for the above reasons, I went with the 710. I went with the 710 even though:

- I greatly prefer the Military's full flat grind over the 710's flat sabre grind.

- I greatly prefer Spyderco's opening hole over any other system, especially thumbstuds.

- I love the Military's blade shape, with that great sharp point.

You should definitely check out both and handle both if you get the chance. There are people who love or hate the ergonomics of either, so one or the other might really not work for you -- then that's your decision right there.
I would (and did) go with the 710hs for a few reasons.

I love the Axis lock. I like liner locks and frame locks, I really like the Rolling Lock, I can tolerate lockbacks, but I love the Axis lock. IMO it's the best thing out there. Once you've tried it, there's really no comparison.

And the recurve. I love the way recurved blades look and I love the way they cut.

I've heard rumors that Spyderco's 440V is either brittle or soft, depending on the heat treating batch. If it's brittle it will chip, if it's soft it won't hold an edge well. I haven't tested my 440V Native extensively, but it's held its edge well and I'm careful with the tip. Benchmade's M2 is very tough and wear resistant. I have stabbed my 710hs as hard as I can into wood and snapped the blade out sideways with no damage at all. I wouldn't even think of trying this with my 440V Native.

I have in front of me a dozen quality knives from BM, MT, Spyderco, Camillus, & REKAT and the 710hs is overall the most useful and versatile of the bunch, and the best cutter.