About a decade ago now, a Spyderco Endura 4 knife found its way into Afghanistan. To the best of my knowledge, it did not leave the country for years. Instead, it was passed down from one owner to the next as American forces cycled through the country. It has since survived years of hard use and abuse. Somehow, it endured.

Quality and Function

I’ve developed what some might call an unhealthy respect for affordable – yet practical – pocketknives. I have little interest in treating any knife I carry with the gingerness of a collectable, but I also don’t want to cry inside if I lose a blade. To that end, I’ve often found myself carrying various Spyderco blades. That all started with some hands-on experience with the Endura 4.

When I came across my first Endura 4, it was in rough but functional shape. The tip had been damaged slightly, most likely though an overeager attempt to use it as a pry bar. But the steel seemed to otherwise be in the same shape as the day it was made, and I was able to roughly reprofile the tip. The Endura 4 was never meant to be a bulky chisel-like blade or combat fighting knife. It’s a practical, daily cutter that gives you size without bulk. My gray-handled knife does, however, respectfully own a place as a previous warfighter’s knife.

Frankly, I can’t fault the knife for its condition. It was carried through enough hard use to be caked in sweat and sand. It also still takes a razor-sharp edge that rivals my brand-new black Endura 4 right out of the box. The lock on the spine of the grip is still tight, and that’s impressive given what this knife has been through. The option for mounting the carrying clip in four different positions or adding a lanyard is also appreciated.

Spyderco Endura 4 Folding Knife
I like serrations on a utilitarian knife like the Endura 4, but plain edges are also available. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)
Spyderco Endura 4 Folding Knife
The ability to adjust the carry clip to four different positions is another great feature. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)

Both of my Endura 4 Spyderco knives boast a half-serrated blade. I find this to be perfect for most of my utilitarian needs, and they are more than capable of slashing a seat belt or dicing a tomato. The blade geometry is excellent and holds an edge well. I enjoy the fact that the design is not overbuilt, and it is elegant enough for most kitchen needs. However, it is a bit wide if you want to make it pull double duty as a regular paring knife for hard vegetables like carrots. 

What I appreciate most is that the blade has been easy to carry and reliable. The VG-10 stainless steel has survived everything from deserts and mountains to ocean beaches. You can shave the hair on your arm with the new blade and, with minor resharpening from time to time, the abused old one does just as well.

This is by no means a small pocketknife, but it is deceitfully slender and light in the pocket. My scales put the Endura 4 at 3.6 ounces with a total length of 8.7 inches and a cutting blade length of 3.38 inches. You can compare that to my Cold Steel Recon 1 at 5.4 ounces and 9.25 inches or a mid-sized Kershaw Emerson at 7 inches and 3.9 ounces. Any way you cut it, the Spyderco blade provides a light, slender carry companion. My original still has a very grippy and positive handle. 

When I need something smaller, I often reach for my Spyderco Clip. That knife has been a fantastic go-to whenever I need to put on the fancy attire or just want a practical secondary blade. They come with various secondary tools, but I tend to favor the secondary serrated blade. Bottle openers are also available. Again, the blade geometry on these knives is great. 

Put my feet in a fire, and there is only one real complaint I could register against the Spyderco knives. To host such a sharp and pointed blade, the tips are also the weakest part of the blade in my experience. That should come as no shock, so just avoid using them like your father’s cheap screwdriver when you need to pry open a can of paint. 

Do I Carry a Spyderco Now?

Spyderco Endura 4 Folding Knife
The Endura 4 is by no means a small knife, but it is light and slender. (Photo: Seth Rogers/Guns.com)

If there is a test for a daily carry knife, the best one I can think of is asking yourself which one you put in your pocket when you leave the house. I do not always carry a Spyderco. There are simply too many practical blades that meet specific needs. A nice Swiss army knife is a fine companion when you want a corkscrew or a can opener. But I never feel like I am wanting for an effective knife when I clip on a Spyderco. 

They have a personal history that I appreciate. More than that, they carry well and have done everything I asked them to do over the years. I don’t want to lose or damage any of my knives, but I’m also willing to pull my Spyderco out for practical tasks that make it more than a hobby knife. That is all I ever really ask an everyday carry blade to do for me.

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