I just bought a Spyderco Paramilitary II along with a Buck Vantage Pro because I was looking for a good every day carry (EDC) knife and I thought it would be interesting to compare the two. This was my first Spyderco, and based on the cost and online reviews I read, I expected it to be a lot nicer than the Buck. I wasn’t disappinted, the Paramilitary II is a really nice knife…
Blade – the Spyderco Paramilitary II has a full flat ground, drop point blade made from S110V stainless steel (it’s also available with an S30V blade). The cutting edge has a shallower belly than the Vantage Pro and a pointer tip, so it won’t be as good a skinner as the Buck. Also, the overall blade is thicker so it should be stronger and better for “tactical” uses. This makes sense given Spyderco’s history of making tactical (as opposed to hunting) knives. So which is better? I guess it depends on what you’re using it for… for hunting, I give the edge to the Vantage Pro. For more general cutting I think the blade on the Spyderco is better. My only regret on the blade is that after reading about the difficulty of sharpening S110V blades I wish I had bought the S30V version.
Handle/Clip – Both knives have handles (“scales”) made from something called G10. The scales on the Paramilitary II have a very grippy texture with squared edges. This isn’t quite as comfortable to hold than the smooth, rounded scales on the Vantage Pro, but make the Paramilitary II easier to draw than the Buck. The thinness of the scales and clip positioning and tension also help with ease of draw. The clip on the Vantage Pro holds really tight, maybe to the point of being just a little too tight. The Paramilitary II comes set for right hand, point down carry which I found to work really well. If you don’t like it, it’s easy to change to left hand and/or point down carry.
Opening/closing – The Paramilitary II lacks the back edge blade flipper of the Vantage Pro, but it’s not needed. The Spyderco opens very easily one handed using the large thumb hole on the blade, and unlike the Buck knife never needs a sharp wrist flick to lock the blade. The locking tab is on the opposite side of the blade slot, and so far I haven’t had problems with it “over locking” as sometimes happens with the Vantage Pro.
Overall impression – The Spyderco Paramilitary II is a really nice knife. I had to think long and hard before deciding to drop $150 on a pocket knife, but the build quality and smoothness of operation make this knife well worth the cost IMHO. As an EDC knife, I think the Spyderco is better than the Vantage Pro, but if cost is a consideration or you’re looking for something that will double as a hunting knife the Buck isn’t a bad way to go. The S110V blade should hold an edge very nicely, but it will be harder to sharpen other steels. If that is an issue for you but you like the Paramilitary II, you’re in luck because Spyderco also offers this knife with an S30 V blade. For a great price on the Paramilitary II with S110V blade, check here: