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.

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.

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.

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.

Why I love The Spyderco Para3 So Much:

Signature Round Hole: The Spyderco Para3 Lightweight features the iconic round thumb hole in the blade, which allows for easy one-handed opening and is a hallmark of Spyderco’s knife designs.

Ultra-Lightweight Construction: As the name suggests, the Para3 Lightweight is exceptionally light due to its fiberglass-reinforced nylon (FRN) handle scales, making it ideal for everyday carry without adding extra weight to your pocket.

High-Performance Steel: The blade of the Para3 Lightweight is crafted from CTS BD1N stainless steel, known for its excellent corrosion resistance, edge retention, and ease of maintenance.

Four-Position Pocket Clip: This knife features a versatile four-position pocket clip, which allows for both left and right-handed tip-up or tip-down carry, providing flexibility to suit your preference.

Compression Lock: The Para3 Lightweight employs Spyderco’s patented Compression Lock mechanism, offering robust lock-up strength and smooth one-handed closing with minimal risk to your fingers.

Nested Stainless Steel Liners: Although lightweight, this knife maintains structural integrity thanks to nested stainless steel liners within the handle, adding stability and durability to the design.

Precision Ergonomics: Spyderco pays meticulous attention to ergonomics, ensuring that the Para3 Lightweight fits comfortably in your hand with its well-designed handle shape and textured grip.

Compact and Versatile Blade: With a 3-inch blade length, the Para3 Lightweight strikes a balance between compactness and versatility, making it suitable for a wide range of cutting tasks.

Spyderco’s Trademark SpyderEdge Option: Some models of the Para3 Lightweight feature Spyderco’s distinctive SpyderEdge serrations, enhancing its cutting performance for tasks that require more aggressive slicing.

Easy Maintenance: The Para3 Lightweight is designed for easy maintenance, with a simple construction that allows for disassembly and cleaning, making it a practical choice for those who enjoy taking care of their tools.

The Most Popular Spyderco Para3's On Amazon
Spyderco Para 3 Signature Folding Utility Pocket Knife with 2.95″ Stainless Steel Blade and G-10 Handle – Everyday Carry – PlainEdge – C223GP
  • The New EDC: The Para 3 distills all the features of that best-in-class folding knife into a more compact, carry-friendly package. Ounce for once one of the most capable folding knives ever made, the Para 3 is destined to be a classic.
  • Superior Quality: Machined from premium CPM S45VN particle metallurgy Stainless Steel, the Para 3 offers superior balance, edge retention, and low-friction cutting performance.
  • Pocket-Friendly: It features a lightweight, open-backed construction style and its Stainless Steel liners are nested into the textured G-10 scales. This reduces handle thickness and provides excellent support for the knife’s Compression Lock.
  • Reliable High Performance: The Para 3 traces its history all the way back 2004 to the introduction of the Para Military design. It offers the same proven reliability and cutting performance, but in a more compact, easy-to-carry design.
  • Easy-to-Use Lock: Located in the spine of the handle, the Compression Lock’s high-strength mechanism locks the blade securely open during use, yet allows it to be closed easily and safely with only one hand.
The Most Popular Spyderco Para3's On Amazon
Spyderco Para 3 Lightweight Signature Folding Utility Pocket Knife with 2.92″ Stainless Steel Blade and FRN Handle – Everyday Carry – PlainEdge – C223PBK
  • The New EDC: The Para 3 distills all the features of that best-in-class folding knife into a more compact, carry-friendly package. It proudly features all the key qualities of the Para Military 2 with a full-flat-ground CTS BD1N Steel Blade.
  • Superior Quality: Machined from premium CTS BD1N, a nitrogen-enriched high-carbon chromium steel, the Para 3 offers superior balance, edge retention, and low-friction cutting performance.
  • Pocket-Friendly: It features a lightweight, open-backed construction style and its Stainless Steel liners are nested into the FRN Handle. This reduces handle thickness and provides excellent support for the knife’s Compression Lock.
  • Reliable High Performance: The Para 3 traces its history all the way back 2004 to the introduction of the Para Military design. It offers the same proven reliability and cutting performance, but in a more compact, easy-to-carry design.
  • Easy-to-Use Lock: Located in the spine of the handle, the Compression Lock’s high-strength mechanism locks the blade securely open during use, yet allows it to be closed easily and safely with only one hand.
SaleThe Most Popular Spyderco Para3's On Amazon
Spyderco Para 3 Signature Folding Utility Pocket Knife with 2.95″ Black CPM S45VN Steel Blade and G-10 Handle – Everyday Carry – PlainEdge – C223GPBK
  • The New EDC: The Para 3 distills all the features of that best-in-class folding knife into a more compact, carry-friendly package. Ounce for once one of the most capable folding knives ever made, the Para 3 is destined to be a classic.
  • Superior Quality: This black blade knife is machined from premium CPM S45VN particle metallurgy Stainless Steel, the Para 3 offers superior balance, edge retention, and low-friction cutting performance.
  • Pocket-Friendly: It features a lightweight, open-backed construction style and its Stainless Steel liners are nested into the textured G-10 scales. This reduces handle thickness and provides excellent support for the knife’s Compression Lock.
  • Reliable High Performance: The Para 3 traces its history all the way back 2004 to the introduction of the Para Military design. It offers the same proven reliability and cutting performance, but in a more compact, easy-to-carry design.
  • Easy-to-Use Lock: Located in the spine of the handle, the Compression Lock’s high-strength mechanism locks the blade securely open during use, yet allows it to be closed easily and safely with only one hand.
The Most Popular Spyderco Para3's On Amazon
Spyderco Para 3 Camo Signature Folding Utility Pocket Knife with 2.95″ Black CPM S45VN Blade and G-10 Handle – Everyday Carry – PlainEdge – C223GPCMOBK
  • The New EDC: The Para 3 distills all the features of that best-in-class folding knife into a more compact, carry-friendly package. Ounce for once one of the most capable folding knives ever made, the Para 3 is destined to be a classic.
  • Superior Quality: Machined from premium CPM S30V particle metallurgy Stainless Steel, the Para 3 offers superior balance, edge retention, and low-friction cutting performance.
  • Pocket-Friendly: It features a lightweight, open-backed construction style and its Stainless Steel liners are nested into the textured G-10 scales. This reduces handle thickness and provides excellent support for the knife’s Compression Lock.
  • Reliable High Performance: The Para 3 traces its history all the way back 2004 to the introduction of the Para Military design. It offers the same proven reliability and cutting performance, but in a more compact, easy-to-carry design.
  • Easy-to-Use Lock: Located in the spine of the handle, the Compression Lock’s high-strength mechanism locks the blade securely open during use, yet allows it to be closed easily and safely with only one hand.
The Most Popular Spyderco Para3's On Amazon
Spyderco Para 3 Camo Signature Folding Utility Pocket Knife with 2.95″ CPM S45VN Steel Blade and G-10 Handle – Everyday Carry – PlainEdge – C223GPCMO
  • The New EDC: The Para 3 distills all the features of that best-in-class folding knife into a more compact, carry-friendly package. Ounce for once one of the most capable folding knives ever made, the Para 3 is destined to be a classic.
  • Superior Quality: Machined from premium CPM S30V particle metallurgy Stainless Steel, the Para 3 offers superior balance, edge retention, and low-friction cutting performance.
  • Pocket-Friendly: It features a lightweight, open-backed construction style and its Stainless Steel liners are nested into the textured G-10 scales. This reduces handle thickness and provides excellent support for the knife’s Compression Lock.
  • Reliable High Performance: The Para 3 traces its history all the way back 2004 to the introduction of the Para Military design. It offers the same proven reliability and cutting performance, but in a more compact, easy-to-carry design.
  • Easy-to-Use Lock: Located in the spine of the handle, the Compression Lock’s high-strength mechanism locks the blade securely open during use, yet allows it to be closed easily and safely with only one hand.
The Most Popular Spyderco Para3's On Amazon
Spyderco Para 3 CPM S110V Signature Folding Utility Pocket Knife with 2.95″ Stainless Steel Blade and Midnight Blue G-10 Handle – Everyday Carry – PlainEdge – C223GPDBL
  • The New EDC: The Para 3 distills all the features of that best-in-class folding knife into a more compact, carry-friendly package. Ounce for once one of the most capable folding knives ever made, the Para 3 is destined to be a classic.
  • Superior Quality: It is made of CPM S110V’s high carbon content, advanced alloy mix, and high volume of vanadium and niobium carbides significantly increase the steel’s edge-holding properties as compared to other particle metallurgy steels.
  • Pocket-Friendly: It features a lightweight, open-backed construction style and its Stainless Steel liners are nested into the textured G-10 scales. This reduces handle thickness and provides excellent support for the knife’s Compression Lock.
  • Reliable High Performance: The Para 3 traces its history all the way back 2004 to the introduction of the Para Military design. It offers the same proven reliability and cutting performance, but in a more compact, easy-to-carry design.
  • Easy-to-Use Lock: Located in the spine of the handle, the Compression Lock’s high-strength mechanism locks the blade securely open during use, yet allows it to be closed easily and safely with only one hand.