The Spyderco Para 3 knife, which I posted about here, is an EDC knife I can highly recommend, as it has a decent blade and is reasonably sized.
The Para 3 is priced over $100, and while that’s appropriate for what you get, such pricing will of course limit its appeal and affordability.
Spyderco has recently announced a new lower-priced version of the Para 3, called the Para 3 Lightweight (model C223PBK).
There are 3 main differences between the new Spyderco Para 3 Lightweight knife and the previous base-level-priced Para 3.
First, and perhaps most important, the Spyderco Para 3 Lightweight is launching with a street price of $91, which is $42 less expensive than the standard G-10 model. As for the knife itself, the handle scale material and blade steel are different, and there is indication that the locking mechanism is slightly different as well.
The Spyderco Para 3 Lightweight features FRN (fiberglass reinforced nylon) handle scales, and a streamlined version of Spyderco’s Compression Lock mechanism. At this time, there is no clarification of how the locking mechanism might differ compared to that of the G-1o-handled Para 3 knives, but I would assume it’s comparable in terms of function and strength.
Spyderco says that this black FRN-handled Para 3 is almost 30% lighter than the G-10-handled versions, which will surely give it a different feel.
It will feature a CTS BD1N blade with full-flat grind. CTS BD1N is described as a nitrogen-enriched high-carbon chromium steel that offers a balance between high hardness, edge retention, and corrosion resistance.
For Enthusiasts: CarTech CTS BD1N Alloy Technical Datasheet (PDF)
Like the other Para 3 knife versions, the Para 3 Lightweight is made in the USA.
- 2.92″ blade length
- 0.145″ blade thickness
- FRN handle
- 7.21″ overall length
- 4.29″ closed length
- 2.4 oz (68g) weight
- Compression lock
- Ambidextrous wire pocket clip for tip-up carry
Street Price: $98
A serrated version (C223SBK) will also be available.
See Also(Para 3 Lightweight Serrated via BladeHQ)
(At the time of this posting, both versions are only open for preordering with a $5 deposit.)
I am not familiar with CTS BD1N, but from online readings, it’s not considered a premium blade steel. That’s an observation, not a criticism on my part. At the least, that usually means that edge retention won’t be as long-lasting as more expensive knives that feature premium-steel blades.
I own several Spyderco knives with FRN handle scales, and it’s a good material. The texture feels great and grippy, and FRN knives are also typically light in weight. The downside is that, while FRN is a strong and tough material, it can feel like cheap plastic.
Spyderco FRN knives are highly functional and comfortable to use, and I’m not the only one who holds this opinion.
The Spyderco Para 3 Lightweight will bring many of the benefits of the Para 3 size, style, and design to users who aren’t ready or able to spend more than $100 on a pocket knife. $91 is more than I was willing to spend for my second “real” knife, but if this came out years ago, it might have been my third knife and first Spyderco.
Looking online, CTS BD1N blade steel seems to be commonly found in mid-priced kitchen knives, and so it’ll take some time before its pocket knife performance is tested and compared on enthusiast forums.
What I like about Spyderco is that their more popular knives are available with different combinations of handle materials and blade steels. The Para 3 Lightweight is their most affordable Para 3, and there are pricier options for those with different handle preferences or performance needs.