After the arrival and popularity of Paramilitary 2, PM2, or Para 2 in 2010, Spyderco introduced Para 3 in 2016. It brought many expectations from Spyderco knife users and everyone wants to know what is new in Para 3, and how different it is from Paramilitary 2.

Spyderco PM 3 blade before Cutting

Spyderco Para 3 Review

This review will focus on Para 3 G-10 Dark Blue CPM S110V. It falls under the high-end variant with a premium price point of $316 MSRP. However, Amazon and other retailers sell it at a much cheaper price.

One of the things that make Para 3 high-end is the CPM S110V blade, which is superior to the S30V. The textured dark blue G10 handle scales set it apart from other variants with a satin-finish clip point blade, also made from CPM S110V. It is also more compact and pocket-friendly. Its full-flat ground PlainEdge makes it highly wear and corrosion-resistant. Therefore, you may use it for an extended period, but it can be challenging to sharpen.

The ambidextrous clip position with Spyderco’s signature Spyder-hole opener makes deployment all the more smoother. Accompanied by a secure compression lock and soft G10 handle, Para 3 is safe to operate and carry along with its 4-point reversible clip position.

History and Background of Para 3

Spyderco Para 3 Black Blade 3″ SC223GPBK

Spyderco Para 3 Black Blade (3″)
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Spyderco Para 3 Compression Lock 3″ SC223GPDBL

Spyderco Para 3 Compression Lock (3″)
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Spyderco Para 3 Satin Blade 3″ SC223GS 1

Spyderco Para 3 Satin Blade (3″)
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Key Specifications of Spyderco Para 3

Spyderco Para 3 Review

I am trying my best to cover all aspects in my Spyderco Para 3 review. Spyderco Paramilitary 3 in different blade & handle materials, and also gives blade finish options as well.  The most common handle material found in most variants of Para 3 is G-10. Meanwhile, the blade material vary from CPM S30V, S45V, Crue-Wear to S110V. The price varies from USD125 to USD 250 depending upon blade material, handle material and even blade finish. Overall, Spyderco Para 3 series comes under mid rang to premium pocket knives.

It is important to note that Para 3 is not Paramilitary 3 as most would assume. Therefore, referring to it as ‘PM3’ would also be wrong, and it is not a third-generation Paramilitary knife. Its correct name is Para 3, which simply refers to its 3-inch blade. Since it carries most of the features from the Paramilitary line, Spyderco named it Para 3 but has an identity of its own.

First Impression of Para 3

My first impression of Para 3 the first time I opened it was that of high quality. The smooth surface and easy opening made me glad I bought it. It came with an instruction manual inside the Spyderco box and premium packaging that fit its contents.

The compression lock makes closing and opening the knife the smoothest operation. I could feel the dark blue G10 scales retain their smoothness and toughness just by gripping it.

The premium CPM S110V reflects its quality at one glance. It has a nice belly and enough surface area for smooth slicing and dicing action. As explained earlier Spyderco Knives has been working over this line for years while keeping their feedback retailers and most importantly their users.

At the back side of the blade, we can see its origin as Golden, Colorado USA, ‘Earth’, Hilarious! It’s witty. I like it. It gives the knife a personality.

Its closed length, or handle length, is around 4.27”. Blade length is around 3”. The overall length is 7.27”, which resonates the size of a medium-sized knife. It bodes well for enhanced grip, and you can either hold it from the front or back for lighter or aggressive cutting. Lastly, it weighs around 3 ounces, considered as a standard weight for a pocketknife.

A first glance it seems as if anyone can use it. Even if you are not a regular knife user, you can start by owning Para 3. Given its premium features and durability, you must make maximum use of it.

spyderco para 3 first Impression
Spyderco Paramilitary out of

The Blade of Spyderco Para 3

The blade’s thickness of 0.145” makes it sturdy and able to cut through larger objects. It is beefy with a pointed sharp edge. It has 2.62” cutting edge, making it legal to carry in States that restricts blade length to 3”, like Illinois, Chicago. Other States like Florida allows up to 4” of blade to carry. Similarly, you can check out the knife laws in the State where you reside before making a purchase decision.

As you can see, just like majority of my Spyderco Knives reviews, the blade’s shape is a clip point, full-flat ground and straight spine. It is the same as on PM2, but shrunken down to reflect Delica 4 to the naked eye.

The satin-finish and the oversized Spyder-hole is the same as PM2. However, I like the presence of the finger choil for forward choke up and easier sharpening. The full-flat grind is even, clean and sharp. It is useful when accompanied with needle pointed tip for precise cuts like opening up packages and chopping vegetables. It is also sharp enough to cut through meat that requires precision.

I quite like the blade of Para 3 better than that of Paramilitary 2 because of the superior blade quality that can perform more everyday tasks than PM2.

Spyderco PM 3 blade before Cutting

Handle Ergonomics of Para 3

The ergonomics on Para 3 are not as great as on Paramilitary 2, especially if you have larger hands. However, we really should not be complaining about the size, as a smaller pocketknife was demanded by Spyderco users. Para 3 has a finger choil, which makes the grip firmer yet comfortable.

The lightweight of Para 3 makes it easier to carry in pocket, accompanied by the pocket clip with its smooth edges. It can even fit in shallower pockets. Its narrow and streamlined design allows it to be easily concealed in the pocket, fulfilling another special customer request.

The four-position clip makes Para 3 easy to carry not just in the pocket but anywhere. You can attach it to your belt, pants, or anywhere you feel comfortable hanging it around yourself. The large lanyard hole offers additional carrying options in addition to tipping it up, down, left, or right.

It is less bulky and requires less effort in cutting. The G10 handle of Para 3 built around steel skeleton and textured scales allows non-slip ergonomic grip. The handle conceals a beefy blade for effective cutting, but the blade does not touch the steel. It retains the same blade thickness as of PM2, and yet it is lightweight, which is a win-win for me.

Deployment and Locking Mechanism of Para 3

Para 3’s compression lock accompanied by the oversized thumb-hole opener makes the deployment and lockup on this knife excellent.

Compression locks works like an inverted liner lock, accentuates the spine and locks the blade in place between the stop pin and tang. It works great because you can open it in two ways: coin flipping with your thumb or rolling it open using wrist strength. Both options work smoothly as the forward choil does not get in the way of the thumb. Opening it with your middle finger from the back works great for me.

Spyderco’s bushing pivot with washers located between scales and shoulder of the pivot pin opens the knife up more discreetly. However, the downside of the pivot busing systems is that it involves side to side blade play. If you tighten the screws on the washers, it pulls the body together rather than simply tightening the washers. Hence, it does not tighten the blade play out. However, this would only concern a regular knife user, and is not a big practical issue.

Another thing worth mentioning is that closing the Para 3 may require a bit more force. It has a flip close lock once opened and may not close with once fluid motion. It works fine for extended cutting tasks, but some may find it on the flipside.

My Experience with Spyderco Para 3

The first time I started using Para 3 I struggled a bit with the grip. It created a hot spot in my palm from extended usage. I was a little disappointed by it, which otherwise would have gotten a 5 star rating from me. I feel like it could be improved with the repositioning of the pocket clip or with a deep carry clip. The lanyard hole and the pocket clip mounting screws could be adjusted for seamless use.

I then took it for a field test chopping dry sticks. Although it did the job well, it required more strength and force.

However, the thing I liked was that the handle remained sturdy and clean, and did not sweat my hand, which can happen with such tasks. Moreover, the blade also remained sharp and edgy, and the full-flat grind did not get clogged with chopped wood pieces. If that happens, most people make the mistake of wiping the blade with their finger. Thankfully, I did not have to do that, and was able to use the knife safely.

Experiencing a smaller blade size could be different for everyone. As a regular knife user, I reckon that the ideal blade length should be 3.5” to comfortably carry out daily tasks. However, a 3” blade works fine for meticulous tasks.

I also found the forward choil great for a firmer grip, and the compression lock worked well for me. Although, the rounder edges on Para 3 would increase comfort and ease. Thumb jimping is also great and well placed on the spine, making the grip stronger. The curves underpinning the handle assists finger for comfortable grip.

You can trust and rely on the S110V blade for effortless cutting operation. Its premium quality does not disappoint, and I could hardly see any scratches on it. I was relieved to see that.


Spyderco Para 3 vs. Paramilitary 2

Spyderco Para 3 vs para 2

A comparison between Para 3 and Paramilitary 2 is inevitable. If you have used Paramilitary 2, you would definitely compare Para 3 with it.

When it comes to the blade, PM2 has an edge in terms of length. However, PM2’s best blade material is CPM S30V, whereas Para 3 has a superior CPM S110V that performs better. Both knives have good edge retention though. Some people may find Para 3 better in terms of its lightweight and smaller size. However, I prefer PM2’s size, as it gives the flexibility to cut from the bottom or the top.

Both the knives have a G10 handle, which feels equally comfortable and ergonomically sound. However, I like the ergonomics on PM2 better because of the size.

Para 3 vs. Delica 4

Spyderco Para 3 vs delica 4

Para 3 is yet again a smaller and compact version of the Delica 4, making it comfortable to carry and handle. However, the larger bade of Delica 4 makes cutting action easier and more versatile than Para 3. Both knives shave most of the similar features and can carry out daily tasks with precision.

One of the differences between the two knives is that while Delica 4 has a back lock mechanism, Para 3 has a compression lock. The lock choice may vary between different knife users. In my opinion, a compression lock works better for regular knife users, while a back lock may feel comfortable for someone who seldom uses a pocketknife.

Para 3 has a superior ambidextrous thumb rest, while Delica 4 features FRN handle material and a mid-lock back mechanism. It also has a slimmer profile, making it less beefy than Para 3.

I would conclude by saying that Para 3 is better for heavier and frequent usage than Delica 4. Delica is better for people who prefer lightweight and a thinner blade.

Concluding Thoughts on Spyderco Para 3 Review

Para 3 has its pros and flaws, and depends on individual needs. The higher end version of Para 3 with CPM S110V and a fine-tuned version of Paramilitary 2 may be pricier than it needs to be. There are a few reasons for this.

Firstly, the ergonomics on Para 3 are not as fine-tuned as a regular knife user would hope for. The handle’s smaller size may not be adjustable in every hand, especially for larger and beefy hands. Although it is sturdy and supports firmer grip given the G10 handle scales, it should have more area for the hand to move around.

Secondly, I do not have any problem with the blade. It cuts nicely and precisely. It also remains sharp for longer. However, my ideal hot spot for blade length is 3.5”. At the same time, it also depends on your State knife laws.

Lastly, I love the locking mechanism on Para 3. Compression lock definitely works better than liner lock. However, some may find its deployment getting in the way of smooth opening and closing. It features an open lock, which is great for extended tasks. It may not be ideal for smaller and less regular tasks.

Cuts Paper neatlly as there is plenty of blade edge remaining on PM3
Cuts Paper neatly as there is plenty of blade edge remaining on PM3

Pros & Cons of Spyderco Para 3


  • Compact size and lightweight design

  • Excellent edge retention and corrosion resistance due to CPM S45VN blade

  • Secure and comfortable grip with G-10 or FRN handle

  • Strong and reliable Compression Lock

  • Tip-up or tip-down carry for both left- and right-handed users

  • Versatile knife that can be used for a variety of tasks


  • May be too small for some users

  • Expensive

  • Difficult to sharpen

If you prefer a lightweight and smaller-sized pocketknife with a single washer and little metal inside the handle, then para 3 is perfect for you.

Para 3 is different yet similar to PM2 in many ways. Both knives share the same features, but differ in length and weight. Para 3 came out as a refined version of PM2.

Golden, Colorado. Para 3 is a purely US made pocketknife by Spyderco, an American cutlery company.

Spyderco Para 3 is a premium folding utility pocketknife for everyday tasks. It comes in many variants and colors.

Sal and Eric Glesser are the visionaries behind the manufacturing of Para 3. Sal Glesser founded the company with his wife, Gail Glesser. He took Spyderco consumers’ feedback into account when making Para 3.