U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- At SHOT Show 2019, Spyderco had a few new models on display. One of them that caught my eye was a Spyderco Mantra 3. My first thought was a carbon fiber Delica model, but it is really so much more under inspection.
The Mantra Model may be a few years old, but this model featured a carbon fiber/G-10 laminate material as handle scales instead of titanium, which makes for a lightweight and attractive pocket knife. Particularly if you are looking for a new EDC (Every Day Carry) knife for some reason and don’t want to break the bank or worry about scuffing titanium handles or bolsters.
There have been a few other changes as well to this new model, besides the handle material. The first is the leaf-shaped blade that has a small almost recurve shape toward the rear of the cutting edge. After examining it I deduced that this had to be ground this way in order to work with the compression lock and the flipper tab.
A slimline reversible wire clip secured by a single screw replaces the three-hole clip that used to be used on all Spyderco models. Some collectors do not like this type of clip, but as someone who uses and carries knives, I honestly prefer it. Spend an afternoon in a gun shop, sporting goods store or on the range and start counting pocket clips. Sometimes you can even identify the knife in question. The wire clip blends in better and can more easily be mistaken for a pen or other innocuous device in the pocket if it is even noticed at all.
I have been seeing this clip appear on more and more knives from Spyderco in the past few years. All I can say is that whoever came up with it is a genius.
The Mantra 3 can pe opened in two ways. The first and most obvious is by using the trademarked Spyderco round hole in the blade. This was designed by Sal Glesser, the CEO of Spyderco and has appeared on every model in one form or another ever since its debut nearly 40 years ago.
Option two for opening the Mantra 3 is (as we mentioned above) by means of a blade flipper. In testing the flipper (because my biggest pet peeve is a flipper that does not flip!) I found it smooth and extremely consistent This has to do with specially designed ball bearing washers between the blade and the stainless-steel liners.
Spyderco probably could have made millions of these in either a lock back or liner lock form and people would have gobbled them up. However, in this case they installed their compression lock system on the spine of the handle. This lock captures the best aspects of the liner lock and the standard back lock that has been in use for nearly a century on most pocket knives.
For the blade, Spyderco chose a 3.24″ leaf-shaped full flat ground blade made from high-performance CPM S30V particle metallurgy stainless steel. It is razor sharp out of the box and is one of those steels that most enthusiasts seem to prefer these days.
I have to say, when it comes to materials in a factory knife, it is hard to go wrong with carbon fiber/G10 laminate and S30V steel. These are typically used by custom knife makers instead of factories where knives are mass-produced. In this regard, I might have preferred to see full carbon fiber scales instead of the carbon fiber laminated on top of the G-10. Although this would have added to the cost of the knife.
That being said, while S30V is good steel that was designed specifically for knives, it is not my favorite. I prefer the various tool steels for my knives, but I live in a desert and do not have to worry about rust and corrosion the way some people do. If you are going to go with stainless steel in your knife blades, S30V makes for a good one.
If you run into the same problem that I have with regard to S30V and resharpening, my advice is to maintain it on a regular basis a bit more often than you think you may need to. One of the best ways is to invest in a Spyderco Tri-angle sharpening system and touch up the edge a bit. I have been doing this on all my S30V blades the past few years and it makes all the difference in the world.
Hopefully the slight recurve toward the rear of the edge does not get in the way of smooth sharpening!
- Model Number: C233CF
- Model Name: Mantra 3
- Weight: 2.9 oz.
- Blade Length: 3.24″
- Cutting Edge: 3.24″
- Closed Length: 4.17″
- Overall Length: 7.26″
- Blade Thickness: 0.118″
- Blade Material: CPM S30V Stainless Steel
- Blade Grind: flat
- Blade Edge: Plain
- Blade Style: leaf-shaped
- Handle Material: Carbon Fiber/G-10 laminate
- Locking Mechanism: Compression Lock
- Pocket Clip: Tip-Up, ambidextrous
- Country of manufacture: Taiwan
- MSRP: $240 (street price closer to $150)
- Website: https://www.spyderco.com/catalog/details/C233CF/1154
About Mike Searson
Mike Searson’s career as a shooter began as a Marine Rifleman at age 17. He has worked in the firearms industry his entire adult life as a Gunsmith, Ballistician, Consultant, Salesman, Author and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1989.
Mike has written over 2000 articles for many magazines, websites and newsletters including Blade, RECOIL, OFF-GRID, Tactical Officer, SWAT, Tactical World, Gun Digest, Examiner.com and the US Concealed Carry Association as well as AmmoLand Shooting Sports News.
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