Review request, Spyde Civilian


Nov 9, 1998
I am thinking of getting the g-10 verson. What do you guys think of this knife. Is it strong enough for most defensive applications. Thanks for the help.
I own the Civilian with the aluminum handle with kraton inserts and I love it. The G10 is nice but I prefered the rounded edges and fuller feel of the scales. Besides, it looks better in my opinion than the G10. I have a Military in G10 and I it's really the only model except for the Police that I like in G10 (From Spyderco that is.)

Though the Civilian is not very practical, it cuts through anything (well, at least through paper, cloth and me). My understanding is that it was designed as a result of a conversation with a DEA (I think) agent. He was looking for a knife for undercover agents to carry when they couldn't carry firearms. He wanted something that would allow them to hit and get outside where the cavalry could come charging up. If you've seen the blade then you know that stabbing with it would take a little skill and effort to be effective though it slices through everything with ease. I know Spyderco doesn't really make knives with the intention of them being weapons and that's why it's not usually advertised anywhere by Spyderco.

Does that help or did I miss it completely?

- Triangleman

"Work is the curse of the drinking class."
- Humphrey Bogart

I have the metal one, as well.
I complained to Spyderco about the tendency of the pocket clip to not release smoothly. The rubber insert is just too grippy. They said that others had made the same comment and sent me a standard Spydie pocket clip.
Works fine, now.

Dunno why I bothered, though....not the sort of knife I am ever going to actually carry

Brian W E
I carry one in aircraft and autos for belt cutting.I like the grip of the clip.It needs to be there in the event of an off airport landing.There is a fixed blade on my leg as well.


DEV, for "most defensive applications" you might want a more conventional blade. There was a very good thread on Hawkbill Blades on the Mad Dog Knives Forum over a month ago. The URL is: (hope the address works, sorry I couldn't get it as an active one here). I especially enjoyed Scott Evans' and Joe S's positive comments, but don't know how accurately they'll translate to just the Civilian.

If you insist on having a hawkbill folder, perhaps as a secondary or tertiary knife, I have good experiences with the Spyderco G10 Harpy as a weak-hand reverse-grip thing. Of course it is small compared to the Civilian, but it conceals and works very well.

My two cents.



I'm surprised that you haven't had problems with getting the Civilian on aircrafts (commercial airlines?). Is it the serrated version? Has security ever seen it or do you keep it in your carry on baggage?

I have the alluminum handle. A technique for the large clip is to grap the clip itself with your fingers while the thumb wraps around the knife. The civilian is the only folder I know of that was used to incapacitate an attacker in one slash which is why I bought one.
The primary difficulty with a hawbill is when it isn't sharp. Then it is just a hook. So if you are going to use a hawkbill for rope or whatever, keeping it sharp is primary. Should a sharp hawkbill "snag", expansion would be needed at the rear of the handle to provide "pulling" purchase.
The "Harpy" & "Merlin" were both designed to be more efficient in cutting rope (line), especially synthetic lines used in commercial fishing. There was no expansion built into the rear of the handle. The rear of the "Civilian" has this rear expansion built into the design. It makes for a larger package, but in this case, I felt the extra size created by the rear expansion would would add to the function more than the increase in size would detract. Some thoughts to share.