Spyderco Mule Team is very different from other Spyderco folders and pocket knives. It was launched as a unique program in the commercial knife industry. Mule is a sample knife used for in-house performance testing, as described by Spyderco itself.

They differ in handle scales and heat treatment protocol. Spyderco also sells its handles and sheath separately, and is a fixed-blade knife. It does not come with a handle of its own, and is available in different blade types.

However, it does not contain the Trademark pocket clip unlike other folder knives. That is because it is not a foldable knife. You cover the blade with a sheath to carry it around. Its average size is around 7”, so it matches a regular folding knife, but slightly larger.

But Spyderco has discontinued the production of some variants of Mule Team. Among some of the available variants, we will be reviewing Spyderco Mule Team MT38 in M398 steel. Meanwhile, you have the option of choosing black G10 handle scales, with Boltaron Sheath.

Spyderco Mule Team Review

Spyderco Mule Team review is going to be different from other Spyderco knives reviews because it is a testing fixed-blade knife with handle material and sheath sold separately. Although, other Spyderco knives also come with the option to choose different blades, handles and pocket clips, they come with different variants altogether.

The Mule Team project is a highly customizable knife variant, perfect for performance testing using different blade and handle types. It comes with holes to make it easier to screw different types of components together.

Spyderco Mule Team
Spyderco Mule Team

So basically, this is how you dress up the knife to suit yourself.

Whether you are a knife enthusiast or a knife hobbyist obsessed with testing the limits of different knife blades and handles, Spyderco Mule Team is the perfect ‘kit blade’ choice for you with fixed blade in ‘mule’ format.

Key Specifications of Spyderco Mule Team

First Impression of Spyderco Mule Team M398

As you can see, the Mule is devoid of any scales, but leaves holes to screw and clip the scales in. However, it is not meant to be used as it is. Because when I held it for the first time, its scales were too thin to carry as is. It leaves room to add G10 scales, which you can get separately. That is why I got the scales and the sheath, along with tip protector.

The fixed blade was quite interesting to me in comparison to my experience with other Spyderco knives. The blade definitely held its own, was firm and sharp enough. Although, its carry would be different from other folding knives in the absence of a pocket clip. However, the sheath makes it easier to cover the blade for safety and carry it flip-side in your pocket.

I especially liked the fact that Mule Team comes with endless possibilities on the type of scales you want to add to the knife. The large holes on the handle indicate the different strategic placement points of different handle materials. You have the option to use leather or wooden scales as well. You can even get a 3D print of other handle materials to add to the knife.

Spyderco Mule Team M398 G10 handle scales
Spyderco Mule Team M398 G10 handle scales

Although I received green scales, I believe the best handle for Mule is black finished G10 scale sold separately. The bolt-on G10 handle kit has rounded and textured contoured scales that enables non-slip and comfortable hold. It comes with three stainless steel screws, which you can easily attach on the strategically placed holes on the Mule Team.

However, you will need to install a T-8 Torx driver (also sold separately) to attach the scales.

I like the idea of a customizable knife by Spyderco. However, it may be challenging for a layman to assemble the knife. You may have to visit a professional knife maker to assemble it for you. And the professional may charge extra. On top of that, you have to buy all the components separately. Although, some people may find joy in it as they can use it as a base for different blade and handle materials. Also, if you are not used to a fixed blade knife, it may take some time getting used to.

The Blade of Spyderco Mule Team

The Bohler M398 Microclean is an advanced martensitic chromium steel that underwent the powdered metallurgy process. It is a very fine-tuned alloy composition, and is sold directly through the Spyderco website.

Spyderco Mule Team Blade
Spyderco Mule Team Blade

The M398 is a stainless steel alloy with high wear resistance than M390. It contains 20% chromium, which increases corrosion resistance. It also has more carbon, vanadium and tungsten than M390, which provides it exceptional edge holding than any other stainless alloy. It also has a very high composition of carbides, with 25% chromium carbide and 5% vanadium carbide.

Spyderco Mule Team

The edge retention of M390 on Mule Team is better than S90V, but not as good as S125V. The hardness of M398 comes out to be 64 RC, which is a pretty balanced level for a carry-on knife.

However, the toughness of this blade is not so good, so the toughness and edge retention balance is also off. But it is easier to sharpen, especially with its full-flat grind, and can be done with sharpening stones, sandpaper and grinding belts. The lower amount of vanadium carbides also makes it easier to sharpen

G10 scales of Spyderco Mule Team Knife

The G10 is one of the best handle scales on Spyderco knives, given its texture, contouring, and a slip-free grip. The glass fiber and epoxy composite is very durable that comes in a variety of sizes and colors. Therefore, the customization of your Mule Team shouldn’t be difficult. It is also heat and pressure resistant, making it compatible with the hard M398 blade, enabling it to carry out heavy tasks. It is also available in block, rod and sheet format.

Spyderco Mule Team Handle
Spyderco Mule Team Handle

It is made up of glass-based epoxy resin laminate with layers of glass cloth that undergo extremely high heat and pressure treatment.

All of these things make the ergonomics of the handle very good. The size of Mule Team is big enough to plant the G10 laminate and hold it comfortably. Although, for a fine application, it is better to consult a knife professional.

My Experience with Spyderco Mule Team

I decided to test the M398 blade. And it turned out to an extremely sharp and corrosion resistant blade. I started off by cutting sheets of paper, and the process was extremely smooth.

Next, I tried cutting ropes with it, and that too was a smooth action. I started with cutting thin ropes, and it performed the action in one singular motion. So I decided to cut multiple layers of rope, making it thick. That too was a successful endeavor. Needless to say, the Mule Team did not disappoint.

These were two of the basic EDC tasks just to test the knife. Although, the blade is capable of much more. It also did not get too dirty too quickly, and I was able to use it even with sweaty hands. The G10 bars proved to be slip-free with excellent ergonomics.

I continued using the knife for multiple tasks including cutting pipes and rods, and it did not give way. It carried on working continuously without the need to sharpen it for a considerable amount of time.

Spyderco Mule Team field test
Spyderco Mule Team field test

It is made up of glass-based epoxy resin laminate with layers of glass cloth that undergo extremely high heat and pressure treatment.

All of these things make the ergonomics of the handle very good. The size of Mule Team is big enough to plant the G10 laminate and hold it comfortably. Although, for a fine application, it is better to consult a knife professional.

Cutting rope with Spyderco Mule Team M398
Cutting rope with Spyderco Mule Team M398

It also cut though wires effortlessly. It especially provided clean cuts, which I liked. However, for a better result, it is good to flatten out the edge of the wire so that the inner wires do not slip haphazardly.

Similarly, it also proved to be beneficial for food preparation. It could cut through apples, tomatoes, celery, and guava, etc.

This is how it looked like after use. It showed minimal signs of abrasion, which went away as soon as I cleaned it.

My overall experience was positive without disappointments. Plus, I was able to get a high-quality blade in lesser price as compared to a regular folding knife, which is good.

Pros & Cons of Spyderco Mule Team


  • Highly unique & customizable: Unlike any folding knife, swap handles & blades.

  • Ideal for handle & blade experimentation: Test G10, wood, titanium & more.

  • Lightweight & adaptable: Holes in handle for easy scale attachment.

  • Top-notch M398 steel: Excellent EDC performance & edge retention.

  • Great value: Versatile & customizable at its price point.


  • Assembly can be tricky: May require knife professional assistance.

  • Not for quick deployment: Customization takes time & effort.

  • G10 scales sold separately: Base price doesn’t include standard handle.

Conclusion: Spyderco Mule Team Review

The Spyderco Mule Team review suggests that it is a highly unique and customizable knife, unlike folding knife. It comes with a sheath and G10 scales separately. At the same time, it is ideal for testing of different kinds of handles and blades. But that may require a knife professional.

Spyderco Mule Team M398 sheath
Spyderco Mule Team M398 sheath

I also liked the flexibility of the knife in the shape of the holes in the handle and its extremely lightweight. It means that you can add wooden, titanium, G10, and other types of scales easily.

The thing I liked the most was the blade. It did not disappoint. Although it is capable of performing heavier tasks, I tried it by carrying out EDC tasks with exceptional ease. At this price, I think it makes for an excellent knife.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Spyderco Mule Team project is a specifically designed testing knife for different kinds of blade steels and handles sold separately. It is unlike a folding knife and does not have a pocket clip. Instead, you can buy a sheath as blade cover separately.

Spyderco Mule comes from the fact that the knife is in mule format. Manufactured in the US, it is highly customizable for knife hobbyists. You can shop many Spyderco Knives for Sale with lowest prices online.

Halpern Titanium Inc. initially made Mule Team handles back in 2009. The handle keeps growing and evolving over time.

Spyderco keeps bringing innovation in the knife industry, and the Mule Team Project is one of a kind.