Spyderco’s Native has been one of my favorite carry knives since the first version. The Native 5 is a great continuation of that tradition, and yes, it’s still a favorite. I like the feel in the hand better than Spyderco’s other great EDC folder, the Delica. And for the record, this isn’t a 5th edition of it, because there’s practically a countless number of Natives out there with a myriad of handle and blade materials in just about every combination you could think of.
This version is designed to be a light weight version with easy of carry and great EDC properties. Such as a 3″ Blade, and overall length of 6.8″. The weight is only 2.4 ounces. And the blade steel is the delicious CPM S35VN steel. Which is one of the most ideal blade steels out there.
Size wise, the Native has always been a perfect pocketborne companion. Something you could just always have on you. And in the pocket, clipped properly, it still leaves you a pocket you can use for other things, such as car keys. And you wont get any new scars when you reach in to get those keys.
I got into Spyderco when I was going through my Police Academy getting my Colorado POST certification. That was a long time ago. The Spydercos tend to be simple lockbacks, with good blade steels and absolutely wickedly sharp cutting edges. The Native 5 is very very very sharp. One of the very sharpest blades I’ve ever felt. I’ve always liked the way one can open and close the blade one handed without much shifting in the hand.
The Clip isn’t the lowest or deepest carry. But it is reversible and changeable for tip up or tip down carry, left or right hand carry. Whichever way you want to carry it. And through the hole in the clip and scales… You can run a cord for whatever reason you feel like you need tassels on it.
One thing I found on the Native 5 that I didn’t like at first, but have come to appreciate it… is the molded in texture. It’s a directional pattern than allows it to slide in one direction and really grip and lock-in, in the other direction. So while it’s a tough carbon reinforced nylon type polymer… it is strong, and it’s not going to slip around at all in the hand.
The #1 Rival to the Native would probably be the Benchmade Buckout. As you can see they are similarly sized, with the Bugout being a little slimmer, and a little lighter, and carries deeper.
The Bugout is anywhere from 20 to 40 bucks more depending on your retail outlet… And while slimmer and lighter and deeper, I don’t know if it’s actually worth any more money. Because the Bugout is also a bit more delicate, and can flex too easily when you go to use it for anything more heavy duty than slicing open snacks or throats. The Native for it’s small size, isn’t actually a light duty knife. You can really use it for some serious work. The finger grooves really allow you to grip the hell out of the knife. So taking away Benchmade’s Political SNAFU and comparing both knives on their own merits… I think the NATIVE 5 is the better buy. You’re getting more knife for less coin, and most gun owners won’t give you stink-eye when they see you’re packing a Benchmade.
In 1964 Buck Knives introduced the Model 110 Folding Hunter. The knife that became not just a classic, but the most popular folding knife ever made. It has handsome lines, and sharp looking brass bolsters with wood scales. And the blade locked, which was practically a novelty then. The knife proved to be a strong and reliable tool that every outdoorsman wanted. The problem that it has though, is that it’s rather heavy unless you carry it in the belt sheath… Because you had to. Some years ago, Buck made a Ecolite version, which was much lighter and better suited for everyday carry. But some guys didn’t like the Paperstone scales, and it didn’t have a clip. I for one love the Ecolite and wish they still made them.
Buck has now released the Slim Hunter Pro version which takes even more weight out of the knife, and adds that Pocket Clip we’ve been waiting for. And the name is quite fitting… The knife is very slim, and very light, and it works incredibly well for the purpose of packing every day and all day. It also adds something we’ve wanted all along too. Thumb Studs for easy one handed opening.
Now, I know someone in the comments will say that you could always open a 110 Folding Hunter one handed, easily. By gripping the blade and flicking the handle down. Yes. And I’ve also seen guys flick that knife across the room when they lost their grip doing just that. I’m talking about safely and securely opening the knife. And I love the way it opens too… With an authoritative snap when the lock engages. It’s satisfying in the same way a pump action shotgun is satisfying when you rack the slide. It gives you that feedback and confidence that work is about to get done.
The Elephant in the room though, is that pocket clip. It’s works fine, and gives a nice deep carry. It doesn’t make any hot spots really in the hand when you are using the knife. It’s a good clip functionally. The problem though is that it’s this huge fat thing that detracts from the simple elegance of the 110 design. If someone out there was in the business of making replacement clips, something that could replace this thing would be a winner product to make. Because I’d buy one in a heartbeat.
The blade is 3.75 inches long, with an overall knife length opened, of just over 8 inches. The steel isn’t the normal 440HC BOS. This stuff is the upper scale blade steel, CPM-S30V. Which is fantastic stuff without being too expensive. And then Buck takes that blade and gives it the BOS heat treat process which involves cryogenic treatment to improve the steel even more. The blade shape is reminiscent of the classic 110 Folding Hunter, but slightly different as it doesn’t have as much of a Bowie style recurve to the clip-point profile. So the knife doesn’t quite have as much of that needle point tip as the old school version, but is still a handsome looking blade.
Buck makes Slim Hunter Pro version of their 112 series as well… Which is just like this but with a shorter blade and even better suited for Every Day Carry than the full sized 110. The 112 version is a great option for those that are considering the Benchmade Bugout, but would rather buy something else due to Benchmade’s political SNAFU.
Both versions and different color options can be found at BladeHQ. Amazon, or other fine retailers. This is the knife I’ve been waiting for Buck to make for a very long time. 30 years? I’m glad it’s finally here. I recommend these knives highly. While they are a little spendy compared to the classic Folding Hunter, these knives are certainly better suited to our modern lifestyle and knife habits. Also, these knives are made right here in the USA so your money is going to support American families and not a foreign government that wants to bloody our nose and overthrow the world under their communist flag.
Some time ago, my friend Luke at Craft Holsters sent me a wonderful little bag to review, that I’m still using. He left me with an open invitation to review a holster. So when I finally acquired my Unicorn Pistol… I dropped Luke a line to send me one, if the invitation was still good. Well, it was, and so is this holster he sent me. The photos were taken immediately upon arrival, as I was excited to get this holster. It impressed me the moment I pulled it out of the bag.
I’ve been running this rig for about a month now, so I feel like I can give it a good shakedown. Overall, the holster is well made and the leather quality is very good. The thickness is enough to be sturdy, and over the month of use, it’s holding up very well and not showing signs of wear. The finish is good, with deep penetration of the dye and I’ve not had any problems with any dye seepage or staining clothes, and the holster didn’t have that acidic fresh tanned leather smell.
The stitching is well done, with a nicely contrasting colored thread. Double row as well. The brown leather with this stitching gives the holster a rich, classic look. It looks like it could be from Galco or DeSantis. The body side of the holster is smooth, and contoured properly to wear comfortably against the body. At the same time the holster holds the gun nice and tightly against your side to keep the gun concealed. Which is the whole point.
The boning work is done beautifully. Boning the leather does two things for a holster… One is cosmetic. It makes the holster more attractive, making it look like an actual holster instead of just a sheet of leather. And Two, it fits the holster to the gun. And this is an important aspect. You can do this boning process too much, with the result being a holster that you can’t get the gun in and out of. I think this might be a good time to mention just what Boning is. It gets the name from the tool. Leather workers would use pieces of actual bone or antler to press the leather into shape. This work was, and still is quite often, done by hand. Some companies might use a roller to imprint the leather, or others will steam the leather and then pressure fit it like kydex. This was done by hand, the old fashioned way.
An important part of an IWB holster is the reinforced mouth. This allows the firearm to be drawn when needed, and then reholstered when it’s not. Some holsters I’ve dealt with in the past, don’t reinforce the mouth, and so when the weapon is drawn, the holster collapses and you have to undo your belt to get the gun back in. This was not a problem with this Craft rig. Drawing and reholstering is not a problem. Also in part to the classic FBI Cant, which tilts the holster slightly forward. This angle helps your draw to be nice and smooth, while pivoting the grip frame forward enough to help keep the gun’s grip nicely concealed.
The Belt Loops were just wide enough for my gun belt, and I had no problem at all with my dress belt. The holster fits and wears comfortably, all day long and allows you to completely forget it’s there. You forget it’s there, you can draw when needed, and you can reholster when you like. It does everything that a holster should do, and it does it well while looking good doing it. For sixty bucks, you just can’t go wrong with it.