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Spyderco Native 5

Discussion in 'Knife Reviews & Testing' started by Alberta Ed, Oct 11, 2018.

  1. Alberta Ed

    Alberta Ed

    Jun 29, 1999
    Picked up a Spyderco Native 5 Lightweight in CPM S35Vn this week and must say I am super impressed with this dandy little cutter. I’ve been eyeing the Native 5 for some time, both the G10 and the FRN (Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon) light weight versions. Might have gone for the CPM S110V light weight version if I could have found one, but that steel is a lot more challenging to sharpen (speaking of my Military in S110V). Of all the powder steels, I’d have to say S35Vn is my favorite – it seems like my favorite high carbon steel, 52100, in many ways: takes a very fine edge with little effort and holds it a long time; seems very fine grained. The Native family also comes in CPM S90V, CPM S110V, Maxamet (expensive!), DLC coated, plain, serrated or half serrated. Take your pick.

    The Native 5 Lightweight is the latest version of the Native, which was originally introduced in 1997, and has gone through several evolutions since. It weighs 2.5 ounces, practically disappears in my pocket. Benchmade’s Bugout is even lighter, and I had a look at one of those, too, but I have several Axis lock knives (all great!) and haven’t bought a new lockback for some time. I doubt that the half an ounce or so will make much difference.

    The FRN handle has what Spyderco calls Bi-Directional Texturing, and it does work well – I sliced up a soft peach, slippery stuff, when I got home with it and appreciated the good grip. Could have shaved that peach, too; the spear-point blade (full-flat grind, distal taper) came hair-pinging sharp. It is a superb slicer. Nice slight swedge, too.

    The Native has Spyderco’s patented four-position adjustable clip, which I left as is for tip-up, right hand carry, my usual preference, and a nice lanyard hole. The lockback is very smooth and seems extremely strong; it closes easily. There’s a well-placed index finger choil that allows for four finger grip and some useful jimping on the back for your thumb.

    Some people don’t care for so-called “plastic” handles, but FRN is anything but flimsy. If car bodies were made from this stuff a lot of auto body shops would go out of business. You could hammer on it all day and not make a dent. You can also get carbon fiber, G10, or FRN in pink – Spyderco donates part of the sales of its pink Native 5 models to Guardians of the Ribbon, a charity that provides direct support to women battling all forms of cancer.

    Overall, the Native 5 is a highly developed, very utilitarian knife that’s large enough for most everyday cutting tasks, small enough as to be unintimidating even to most sheeple, and light enough to carry just about everywhere. I just may have to pick up a few of the pink ones for the women in my life. My granddaughter’s coming up to the age where she could use one of these. Ten thumbs up.
  2. d762nato

    d762nato Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 16, 2009
    I've been looking at this model for a while. I'd like to have one with liners and cruwear possibly. It sounds like a nice knife though. I need to go and handle one in person as I've been looking for a smaller version to carry besides my old police. It is a little large for the sheeple when out eating and I need a smaller blade to cut a steak or something. Nice review Thanks,
  3. cbrstar

    cbrstar Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 7, 2015
    Really nice review. I'm in Alberta to, and I was wondering where you bought your knife from?
    I just recently bought a PM2 from house of knives and I couldn't be happier.
  4. Alberta Ed

    Alberta Ed

    Jun 29, 1999
    House of Knives in Market Mall in Calgary -- it was marked down. I usually shop at Cutting Edge at the North Hill Shopping Centre on 16th Ave. as they have a better selection and often good sales.
  5. cbrstar

    cbrstar Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 7, 2015
    Next time I'm in Calgary I will have to check out Cutting Edge. Edmonton used to have some great shops but they have all disappeared in the last couple of years.
    One nice thing about House of Knives is they price match. If you can find one cheaper in Canada on the internet they will do it. I got them to go down from $230 to $183 on my PM2 because I found one in Ont which was that much cheaper. I think they will re-price match for 30 days after purchase so if you can find a Native 5 cheaper then what you paid they will refund.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2018
  6. KnarfofSpam


    Oct 14, 2018
    I bought the orange one in S90 from Cuttleryshop (great price). I like the knife a lot. Some downsides: it seems to need some time to break in...even with adjustments to the pivot and nano oil and I hate the clip. It is too stiff and rigid and rides high in you pocket...shame for such a small And efficient knife overall. I ordered a deep carry from Ebay and that will make it perfect I think.
  7. spyderg


    Sep 28, 2014
    I picked one up a while back, s110v CF scales. Very nice knife, well made but that 110 is so chippy I just can’t carry it. It quickly became the workbench knife that gets used on stuff I dont want to wear my edge on.(it holds a sharp edge against things that dull other steels like cutting sandpaper strips, but chips like crazy on anything harder than soft wood). My other issue with it is the handle is just too small for my hands.(My hands aren’t huge, I have a wide palm though. I wear an lrg-xl mechanix glove for reference). If it wasn’t for the 110 being inadequate for my uses, I might have modified the handle to,fit my hand better,(I did just that with my Delica) but as it is, the Native 5 just isn’t for me. Oddly enough I have a Native 3 that I had got for my Dad that fits my hand better, not much a fan of the grind on it however.
  8. sodak


    Mar 26, 2004
    Glad to hear of your good experience. I picked up one in Maxamet a while ago, and also couldn't be happier. My hands are right on the border of medium/large, and it fits me perfectly, although I can see if your hands are larger that might not be the case.

    I like the FRN without liners also, very light and strong.
  9. Alberta Ed

    Alberta Ed

    Jun 29, 1999
    How do you like the Maxamet? I've read some reviews equating it with S110V (I do like that steel in my Military).
  10. bikerector

    bikerector Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 16, 2016
    Thread needed a pic. One of my favorite EDC's with a mini-grip and GEC 81 probably in the running for 1st. And I've tried a few 3" edc sized knives. 3" blade limit where I work but about where I like the length anyway for pocket-ability purposes.

  11. sodak


    Mar 26, 2004
    So far I like it, although I haven't used it enough yet to give a strong opinion. My unofficial cardboard testing shows excellent edge retention. I have always had trouble sharpening S90V and S110V, and I'm not sure why. I have a Spyderco in S110V that I'll try to compare it to in the next couple of weeks and get back to you on that.

    ------------ Time has gone by ----------------

    Well, me and my big mouth. I've pretty much run out of every cardboard box in the house and they both still shave arm hair with ease. I'm comparing a Native 5 in Maxamet and a Manix 2 (dark blue handle) in S110V. Is that Ankerson I hear laughing in the background?

    If I had to guess, the Maxamet is holding it's edge a little bit better, but both are with a factory sharpening, so I would have to re-sharpen both to the same level to make it fair.

    I should note that both knives have been used a bit before I started this. They "felt" about the same level of sharpness, but that's hardly scientific. What is scientific is that I went through at least 500 feet of cardboard with each knife and I can't hardly even notice the drop in sharpness.

    Last edited: Oct 31, 2018
  12. Alberta Ed

    Alberta Ed

    Jun 29, 1999
    Thanks, good to know. I'm very impressed with my Military in S110V; seems to hold an edge forever; on the other hand, it's a bit of a challenge to sharpen.
  13. FW JSB

    FW JSB

    Dec 28, 2012
    S110V is a royal pain in the arse to sharpen. I've sharpened a lot of knives in the 5 years I've owned my Wicked Edge, and this is the first time I've been unable to get a clean, razor-sharp edge on a blade, this after hours of working on my Manix 2 ltwgt. Very frustrating. Edge retention is great, but not at the expense of being able to keep the damn thing sharp,
  14. Alberta Ed

    Alberta Ed

    Jun 29, 1999
    Have to agree. I wound up buying a Diasharp Extra-Coarse (220 grit) so I could put a new edge on my Military.
    FW JSB likes this.
  15. Smaug

    Smaug Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 30, 2003
    I thought I was going to get one a couple weeks ago; I've had my eye on that model forever. It feels WONDERFUL in the hand, with that forward choil. Because of that, it has a full grip without too long of a blade.

    But when I got to Bass Pro, the Buck Vantage Pro was the one that spoke to me.

    Nice job on the review. If I may make a suggestion for the next one, less about the specs and shape and more about how it makes you feel, and about little things that you can't see in pictures or mfr. specs. Oh, and include photos.
  16. miles johnston

    miles johnston Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 21, 2018
    My every day carry S90v fluted Carbon. Love this thing

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