Spyderco Native 5 – Folding Knife Review

Overall Value Build Quality Style Features and Usability
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The Spyderco Native 5 offers a truly portable experience, while still retaining the quality associated with the Spyderco brand. Spyderco’s decision to use CPM S35VM steel was a great idea, resulting in a blade that holds an edge and resists corrosion effectively. The Native 5 is small enough that there is no comfortable way to use the knife without using the finger choil, which may be a point of contention for some users. The Native 5 is a simple knife meant to leave the smallest footprint possible, meaning it lacks many of the extra features knife enthusiasts have come to love, but what it does it does well.


What I like: What I don’t like:
  • CPM S35VM steel is one of the best steels out there, so we’re glad to see Spyderco introduce it in the Native 5.
  • The Native 5 is so small you won’t even notice it in your pocket.
  • The 4-position ambidextrous clip means you’ll be able to move the Native 5 from pocket to pocket easily.
  • The knife is so small that you have to use the finger choil in order to get a good grip on the knife, which can be uncomfortable and foreign to some.
  • The lockback is strong, so you may have to apply more force than you’re used to in order to flick the blade open.
  • The hole in the blade can be a little sharp, so it is possible for users to cut their thumb or nail on it.

Review Summary

The Spyderco Native 5 is a knife with a very specific purpose.

If you’re looking for a small everyday carry that you can use for whittling, easy daily use, or protection when you need it – this is the knife for you!

Looking for something more powerful and useful for defense? Check out the Spyderco Delica instead.

Spyderco Native 5 Lightweight Signature Knife with 2.95" CPM S30V Steel Blade and Black FRN Handle - PlainEdge - C41PBK5
  • An Improved Classic - The Native model has been a mainstay of Spyderco's product line for years as a result of it's Superior Quality and affordability. The state of the art Native 5 is available in an array of handle choices and colors.
  • USA Made - Spyderco takes tremendous pride in every knife we make, but the ones crafted in our Golden, Colorado factory are special because we invest a piece of ourselves in every USA-Made knife we create.
  • Light and Durable - This Native 5 handle is fabricated with Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon. FRN is a polymer mixed with glass fiber that is injection molded and formed into a sleek textured handle, creating a lightweight yet high-strength knife handle.
  • Dependable - If you are looking for control and precision, look no more. This knife features our PlainEdge grind which is known for creating a smooth and exact cut.
  • High-Strength Lock - The Back Lock mechanism is known for it's high-strength and ease of use. The locking system is positioned on the back of the handle.

Spyderco Native 5 review

Review: the Spyderco Native 5 folding knife

The Spyderco Native 5 was designed to be a standard, but high quality, everyday carry knife.

The material is top notch, but the lack of features may leave users wanting more.

Who is this for?

Ideally, the Spyderco Native 5 is for the casual knife user.

It is a good choice for woodworkers and craftsmen who find themselves whittling regularly. The finger choil and small blade size allow users to exert more control over the blade, making it easier to carve more intricately.

The Spyderco Native 5 is also a good choice for the explorer trying to travel light. The knife itself weighs a mere 3.4 oz and when closed, the knife measures in at just 4 inches.

It’s so small that you might even forget it’s in your pocket!

Just don’t forget it when you do laundry…

What makes it good?

A lot!

The Spyderco Native 5 brings high-quality materials together into a tiny, easy carry knife.

The blade is made from nitrogen-hardened CPM S35VN steel. It’s the first of the Spyderco line to introduce steel with the addition of niobium carbides, meaning it will retain its edge and resist corrosion more effectively than other knives that only use chromium steels.

An excellent new feature, for sure!

In addition, the Spyderco Native 5 features a G10 knife grip, one of the best of its kind.

Made from woven glass fiber, the G10 handle is virtually indestructible. The handle won’t rust or oxidize, it won’t become brittle, and it won’t soften over time.

This is because G10 is completely waterproof, meaning no moisture will be able to make its way into the handle.

My review of the Spyderco Native 5 folding knife

What’s that mean for you?

This leaves you with a handle that requires no maintenance, is lightweight, and won’t expand or contract when it comes into contact with moisture or extreme heat.

Another bonus for lightweight enthusiasts and fans of minimal everyday carry is how small the Native 5 is.

The knife itself weighs 3.4 oz, making this one of the lightest knives in its class. Closed, the Native 5 is only 4 inches long, while the blade measures 3 inches when extended.

Big hands? Be warned:

This can be a problem for some because the handle is so small that it’s almost impossible to get more than a 3 finger grip on it.

Spyderco circumvented this problem by adding a finger choil onto the blade, but your mileage may vary. Some users enjoy the added control the finger choil gives, while others find it uncomfortable to put their fingers so close to the blade.

Is the Spyderco Native 5 right for you?

The Native 5 also features a traditional lockback, meaning you won’t have to worry about the knife popping open of its own accord.

Unfortunately, the lockback is so strong that many users have reported difficulty opening the knife. You’ll have to exert a decent amount of energy and even then, the knife opens in a slow, fluid motion rather than a quick snap.

So it might not be a great self defense weapon.

That’s ok – we like having great knives in peace time, too!

Additionally, users have also reported nicking or scratching their thumbs when using the hole located on the blade, so this may not be the best option for those of you with tender hands.

Main Features

  • CPM S35VN steel
  • Traditional lockback
  • Finger choil offers more control
  • Lightweight and small
  • G10 knife grip
  • 4 point ambidextrous clip
  • Anti-corrosion edge
  • Edge retention blade

Alternative Products

The Verdict

The Spyderco Native 5 is a great knife for those of you looking for a bare-bones utility blade that you can carry with you anywhere. Its small size can be a benefit, for a smaller EDC or to fit easily in a pocket.

However, if you’re looking for a full sized knife that you can easily use for multiple purposes, you may find the Native 5 lacking.

If the Native 5 is what you’re looking for, click here to buy one on Amazon, or read more reviews of this great knife here.

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