M2 AFCK vs. Spyderco Military


Platinum Member
Feb 25, 1999
I've been thinking about buying a new folder for some time now. I've been leaning toward a Spyderco Military, but I just read a very complimentary review of the M2 AFCK (http://www.nwcutlery.com/review.html#m2)(I don't care for ATS-34, but really like high-carbons). Now I'm confused. Any opinions on ergonomics/performance?
Well, I have both knives, and I can honestly say that they are my 2 favorite large folders.

As far as ergonomics the AFCK fits my hand better than the Military, although the Military is thinner and fits in my pocket better.

Both liner-locks are great, I've never had any problems with either one.

The Military does have a flat grind which is fantastic and seems to hold an edge better.

I can't comment on any serious abuse since I've never put either knife through any torture.

I couldn't decide between the two either, so I just bought both.

This is another one of those dilemnas that isn't bad to have -- a choice between two excellent knives. If anyone tells you one is a lot better than the other, they probably haven't handled the other enough! I've find them fairly comparable.

I think the knives have small plusses and minusses versus each other. I know I'll think of more as I go...

- Handle: AFCK's handle is huge, the Military's is even bigger. You might like the bigger handle a bit if you wear big gloves, or might like the smaller handle if you clip it in your pocket and carry it all day. Both handles have excellent ergonomics, but for my hands the AFCK holds a slim edge. Military's handle flexes more, or at least used to.

- Blade steel: M-2 and 440V, how can you go wrong with either one? Both hold an edge extremely well, but 440V holds it a bit more. M-2 is tougher. The M-2 AFCK only comes in Black-T, something to consider if you do or don't particularly want a black blade.

- Blade shape: AFCK has a more conventional clip point with plenty of belly and a sharp point. Military has a sharp point too, and a bit less belly than the AFCK.

- Blade grind: AFCK has a sabre grind, Military has a full flat grind. Full flat grind is my fave. It is easier to sharpen in the long run and all things being equal performs better (but all things here aren't necessarily equal...)

- Cutting performance: excellent for both. The full flat grind on the Military makes it an excellent cutter. But the AFCK's sabre-ground blade makes up for the grind disadvantage in several ways. Most importantly, the forward rake on the AFCK makes it perform incredibly on slashes and even whittling. And the Military's excellent ergonomics and edge geometry make it a top performer.

- Clip: the M-2 AFCK has a high-mounted black clip (which I favor, as the clip disappears on you). The Military's clip is lower-mounted (more knife sticks out of your pocket) and plain-metal colored (ie., it grabs more attention).

- Lock: both knives user liner locks. My own feelings on this issue aside
, both these knives seem to have very well-done locks.

Like I said, minor advantages and disadvantages versus each other. Unless one of these small things is a major deciding factor for you (e.g., "I absolutely can't deal with a black blade", "I must have a high-mounted black clip"), I'd recommend you just go ahead and handle both knives, and see which one works better in your hand and in your pocket for you.

Oh, and just to make things tougher, bear in mind that EDI is coming out with an A-2 Genesis. Maybe my point-by-point discussion should have been a 3-way comparison? No way should you count out the A-2 Genesis!

Hey, what's the REKAT Carnivore's steel going to be?


Excellent comparison. I also own both knives (actually both variations on the CPM 440V Military and the 800HSS).

I would add that the Military is a breeze to open with a pair of driving or search gloves on due to very large opening hole. Also am able to close one handed while wearing this type of glove. This is a big plus for someone working outdoors in harsh climate.

Also, per Sal Glesser, there will be black clips available soon for the Military from Spyderco.

Also looking forward to the A2 Genesis. The original is a great knife.

After Joes comparison it may be hard to choose, so might as well get... a Spyderco Tim Wegner!:)^)


"To earn a million is easy, a real friend is not."
Auggghhh! Thanks for all your thoughtful responses. Now I'm probably going to have to get both. My poor wallet...
If you want the knife to be available now (3/8/99) so you can buy it now, the Military is the one to get. The M2 AFCK's were released in limited numbers last year, and never got into general distribution. They're expected to return as regular production knives in coming weeks or months.

Another thing to consider is that according to Sal over in the Spyderco forum there will be a new Military with either a SecureLok or Rolling Lock. Not sure how soon though.

I bought my M2 AFCK about a month ago from a local gun shop who it turns out is a Benchmade Distributor. They also have a storefront for walk-in traffic. Anyway, their
normal price for it is $99.95. Not bad at all.
I had to pay about $120 for my Military.

Let us know what you decide and how you like it.
I have both and prefer the Military for the grip size/shape. The edge on the Military being a flat grind is thinner and seems to me a better slicer. I don't have much data on which would be stronger, I would suspect the AFCK because of the grind and thickness. I do like both companies, but have had better luck with Spyderco's Customer Service. Look at the 440V Native when they are available!!!
I will make this easy. After having both and using them alot. Get the Military in 440V. Personally I have not seen anything in the way of a BM that can touch this knife for edge holding. I keep hearing about tips being snapped off of the AFCK. I have never heared this about the military. I would suggest waiting for the next batch. That may rumor has it. Have the REKAT Secure lock. I personally do not think even the Axis lock can touch it for strength IMHO. I also have been hearing quality complaint for several months concerning BM especially the cheap G10 they seem to be useing.


Tom Carey
Tom -- you're not hearing about bad tips on the M-2 AFCKs! It's pretty easy to break the tip of an ATS-34 version of the AFCK or Military -- both have very sharp piercing tips, which can be fragile.

Anyway, assuming you're willing to wait a bit, I agree a Military with a Rolling Lock would be the top choice here. But wait! An M-2 AFCK with an Axis lock, *or* an Axis with an M-2 blade, both make the choice about even again. Both those options are rumored to be coming. For me the top choice would be an M-2 Axis, because the handle is so much smaller even though the blade size is the same.

What makes you think the Axis lock "can't touch" the Rolling lock for strength? They seem to be designed around the same principle -- the shear strength of the pin, or more likely the handle strength. My two thoughts on this are 1) one lock may be slightly stronger than another (probably due to material choices rather than design), but I'd be shocked if one "can't touch" the strength of the other, and 2) the spring is a strictly-theoretical weakness on both locks, but Benchmade has fail-safed the spring by adding a second one, the REKAT doesn't have a duplicate spring.

In any case, I think the "strongest" moniker is strictly for bragging rights at this point. Both locks appear to be so strong that it's unlikely I'd break either -- I figure both are "strong enough", and now I need to look at ergonomics, edge geometry, carryability, etc.

I too have both knives, both in plain edge. I go back and forth each week between which one I like better. The major points I find:

- Both are quick and easy to sharpen. Even though they stay sharp for quite a while, a few whacks on the sharpmaker and they are scary-sharp again.

- Both can take some serious abuse. To me the AFCK feels a little more planted in the hand, but I can't say that they Military has ever been a problem, but the lack of liners make it feel less solid.

- The G10 on the Military is more silky and smooth, the AFCK is more rough

- As Joe said, the clip makes it sit a mile outside your pants, which I really don't like. I don't mind the polished clip, but I don't like how high it sits compared to the stealth AFCK

- The Military has a very thin profile. Even thought it is a big knife, you don't really notice the size in your pocket because the thickness is quite small since it doesn't have any liners.

You probably can't go wrong with either one. Every week I decide that _this_ one is the best daily work knife, then I start using the other one...

Axis lock/Rolling lock comparison:

Both rely on a pin stopping the top of the blade.

Lock pin support on the Axis lock: lock pin goes all the way through the slot and both handle scales. Pin cannot become dislodged from the handle until the liners fail.

Lock support on the Rolling Lock: only a nub witha hole for the spring protrudes beyond the liner on the right side. If liner deforned about 3-4 mm, the pin could come out (very unlikely).

Axis lock pin strength: fully round pin.

Rolling lock pin strength: about half the ping is milled away to allow the blade to slide through.

Structurally, I would say the Axis lock is stronger if anything, but both are superb. I have three Pioneers now, and a custom Crawford Carnivor on order.

Looking forward to the M-2 710 Axis lock too, if it ever gets made.

I've owned the AFCK and I own the Military, and both were plain edge. The AFCK just didn't sit right in my pocket, hard to close with gloves on, and I had to sharpen it every day. I buy the Military and I hardly feel it in my pocket, easy to use, and i Wouldn't sharpen it for a week. Note how I said "owned" about the AFCK. I know you said M-2 steel, but after owning the Military, it's comparing a frozen pizza to PAPA JOHN'S. Hope I help,

If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail!

Military "Military" fans unite!!!
I just returned from a Durham gun/knife store with a new Military (440V). I would highly recommend it. I payed $120.95. This is my second Military, the first being an ATS-34 '96 model. I wasn't too pleased with the excessive handle flex, so I sold it. After reading everone's praise for the redesigned model I had to bite. The new Military is 100% better than its predecessor due to the minor improvements that Sal and Co. have implemented. There is no handle flex, the G-10 is much nicer, the clip is more secure, the liner on every one I looked at was correctly assembled, the screws that hold the handle together are improved, etc. This is a great knife! BTW, I recommend it over any AFCK, M2 or not. I've owned 4 AFCKs over the past few years (including a full size M2) and I have sold them all. I can say that Benchmade's QC has diminished on their liner locks. The G-10 on the M-2 AFCK and the Axis (yes, I own one-but that's another story) seems "cheaper" than that of the Military, in my opinion.

Burke, I beleive Ruffs Knives,has both of these in stock. Whichever you choose check him out.
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