Spyderco Para3 Lightweight Knife Review

A Look At The Spyderco Para3 Lightweight

Once you start really getting into pocketknives, the name Spyderco will keep popping up.  If you do any time on the internet looking for knife reviews or videos, the Spyderco Para Military 2 will usually be at the top of many lists as the best all around pocketknife. I would also tend to agree with that, it’s an outstanding knife!

I get that some folks might not like Spyderco, or they are quick to point out that different models are crap because of where they’re made.  Perhaps you may think they’re quirky knives or perhaps you’re just an inherently unhappy person. You cannot deny the supremacy of Spyderco and their attention to detail, quality. Their constant innovation proves their dedication…heck, the company invented the pocket clip!

Before you get all up in arms, I agree that not every knife a company produces is a winner. Even Spyderco can make a knife that doesn’t appeal to everyone. When the PM3 came came out, I was really excited. I find myself in the camp that believes the Para Military 2 is pure greatness, so common sense would dictate that a smaller version would be just as great. Right? Well, when I got my hands on the PM3, I was very disappointed in it.

It has always been hard to pinpoint why I wasn’t crazy about it, but I did not agree with all the fanfare it received. I still carried mine on a consistent basis and went as far as to get a deep carry clip, but I just wasn’t in love with it. It was just a ho-hum knife to me.

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When the Para3 Lightweight was announced with a compression lock, that was something I wanted to see. Thanks to BladeHQ, I got one of the first ones. My initial impression has been pretty favorable, but I was tempered by the fact I was sent a full serrated blade. They are very difficult to sharpen without special tools and while I have previously purchased exclusively serrated, I’ve more recently switched to the straight edges. So I was a little bummed when I opened the box.

Should You Buy A Spyderco Para3 Lightweight?

Let’s get down to the real reason why you’re here and what I strive to do at Tech Writer EDC. Let’s answer the question, “Should I buy This?” The answer is yes.

If you like Spyderco’s compression lock and the Manix2 Lightweight, you will love this knife. The LW version took away the unnecessary bulk of the PM3, slimmed it down and made it a more usable knife that’s much easier to EDC on a regular basis.

I think my main dislike of the standard PM3 was that it was just too bulky for the size knife it was. Here, in the Lightweight version, all that’s gone and you have the addition of another one of my favorite features…the wire clip.

I can’t stand getting my pockets shredded from G10 and a bad clip, at least the wire clip goes a long way to saving that as well as being deep carry out of the box.

Speaking of pockets and G10, the PM3 scales are Fiber Glass Reinforced Nylon, just like the Delica, Endura, etc., but here, the edges have been rounded a little more and deeper reliefs cut into the side giving the knife an overall smoother outer feel. The bi-directional texturing is still there when you need to get down to heavy business, but overall, it has a sleeker feel. All this translates into a knife that slides into your pocket much easier.

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If You Are A Spyderco Nut, This Is An Obvious Choice

What else needs to be said? It came out of the box laser sharp, the compression lock is awesome after being broken in a bit, you can do the one-finger Spydie-flick to open it as well as close it, it has great blade steel and it’s good looking! After a few weeks of daily use the knife has impressed me even more than my initial impressions. I am always amazed how Spyderco can make a knife feel so lightweight, yet be able to be used on so many hard-use tasks. Like the Manix2, the PM3 Lightweight is a capable knife.

For those of you who don’t like the Endura or Delica, I think you may like the Para3 Lightweight and you should definitely try to get your hands on one. It has a much more refined feel and with the better blade steel, I think it will appeal to guys who want to use their knives in harder situations.

Talking about the steel, I am a huge fan of the CTS-BD1 used here. It may not be a super steel, but its easy to sharpen, takes a wicked edge, and has good retention under hard use.

One spot where there might be grumbling is that your only option with the clip is tip-up carry. I know some folks don’t like tip-up, but at least the clip can be reversed for left- or right-handed users. The blade length is 3″ making it the perfect size for most of the states with unfriendly knife laws. When opened, the overall length is 7.27″ with a weight of 2.4 oz.

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I’ve already said it, but if you made it this far, I will repeat the answer, you should buy this knife!

Update 11/29/2021:

I like to follow back on when I write a knife review to see if my original thoughts and impressions still hold true. In the case of the Spyderco Para3 LW, it sure does. This knife has easily become one of my most carried EDC knives this year. It even surpassed my Spyderco Sage5 which I didn’t think was possible.

The reason is simple, the Para3 is just a great knife. I use my knives very hard sometimes and the Para3 LW definitely has shown it’s meant for action. I was surprised how tough the lightweight version really was. I love my Manix LW but it does have a tiny bit of blade play from side to side. It’s a big knife and big blade so who can fault it.

However after more than another year of the Spyderco Para3 in the pocket, it hardly has any blade play…and I have used it a lot! Maybe the screw in the Manix just gets loose easy or maybe I wrenched on it too much, but I used the Para3 LW the same way and it never loosened up. It still flicks out easily even when grimy and dirty.

The blade has proven to be a beast as well. As stated above I am a big fan of CTSBD1 Steel. The Para3 has been super easy to sharpen and gets back to laser sharp with a few strokes on a sharpening stone.

The Para3 is a great knives at a fair price, you definitely pay Spyderco premium, but in this case it’s worth it.

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