When Spyderco released the Paramilitary model 2 (AKA the Para 2), it became a legend among knife enthusiasts, even making #1 on knifenews.com’s top 25 list.  The Para 3 that I’ve received is a refinement of that design, and scaled down a bit both for ease of carry and for legality in places where a blade longer than 3″ is verboten.  While the small design categorizes the Para 3 as a different knife family (and the “3” is referring to 3″), it is clear the design borrows heavily from the famed Para 2.

Spyderco Para 3 | Evolution of a Blade

Let’s take a look at some of the features that the Para 3 packs into its mid-sized frame.

  • The clip-point blade is 2.95″ long and the S30V stainless steel has a full, flat ground edge.  Of course it wouldn’t be a Spyderco without that trademarked round hole back near the blade’s fulcrum.
  • The handle is 4.29″ long and has stainless steel liners nestled in between the G-10 scales.  Those scales provide a remarkable amount of grip without feeling very aggressive, much like holding onto a very fine metal file.
  • The pocket clip has mounting points on both sizes of the frame, top and bottom as well.  All four methods of pocket carry are supported, so whichever side you carry on and whether you prefer tip up or tip down carry, you’re covered.
  • The Para 3 features Spyderco’s patented “compression lock”, which boasts both exceptional strength and the ability to release the lock with one hand without placing any fingers in the path of the blade.

Spyderco Para 3 | Evolution of a Blade

This knife quickly and definitively establishes itself as a solid refinement of the design that made the Paramilitary 2 so successful.  Besides the excellent texture on the G-10 scales, the other two things that immediately jumped out at me were the ergonomics and the wicked edge on the blade.  The index finger groove and the thumb ramp combine to keep the Para 3 comfortably in hand, while the cutting edge is shockingly sharp in the way that only a high quality blade can be.

Spyderco Para 3 | Evolution of a Blade

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The MSRP on the Para 3 is $199.95, while street price is closer to $120.