Spyderco Paysan review will be different from other Spyderco knives reviews because it is one of a kind, expensive, and resembles its competitors more than its own knives. It looks more like a fixed blade knife than a folding knife because of its profile. It also only comes in a single variant launched in 2019.

It’s another collaboration knife I’m reviewing here, as previously I have reviewed Spyderco Gray Bradley 2, then Spyderco Mcbee and now Spyderco Paysan which is designed & collaboration with Peter Rassenti. It was first revealed at SHOT Show in 2018 pre-release to get it hyped up among knife enthusiasts. It is a limited edition custom knife collaboration with limited supply. Mostly, you find it out of stock.

Before going further, I thank once again, a friend and knife collector of mine who gave me 600$ knife to use for review purpose.

Spyderco Paysan Review

Although the knife designer Rassenti is a Canadian custom knife maker, the name ‘Paysan’ is French for ‘peasant’ or ‘farmer’ and pronounced as pie-zaan. It has a highly sophisticated design with a sheepsfoot blade shape, saber ground, and CPM S90V (420V) steel blade material. The AISI 420 signifies high level of vanadium carbides making the blade harder and wear-resistant.

As Rassenti specializes in Integral Frame lock flippers, he added the R.I.L locking mechanism to the knife. It’s the same mechanism which was also seen in Spyderco Swayback. Anyways, this knife is also bigger in size compared to standard pocket knives, extending up to 8.72” when open. Its closed length is 4.88” yet weighs only 4.8 oz. which falls under normal folding knife weight category.

The handle material is that of titanium with right and tip-up pocket clip carry position. However, it has one-handed ambidextrous opening mechanism with the trademark round hole. The blade of the knife pivots on the ball-bearing washers for a smooth action. The lock placed in the stainless steel interface means it can work for a long time.

Key Specifications of Spyderco Paysan

First Impression of Spyderco Paysan

The fact that Spyderco Paysan is a highly unique and limited edition knife made it very attractive for me to buy. I was very curious about it and wanted to know for myself how it worked. It looked like a decent knife, so I ordered one for myself. Another motivation behind me buying this knife was that I like Peter Rassenti knives creation.

First Impression of Spyderco Paysan

Just to be clear, I did not receive the knife in this case. I bought it separately with the Spyderco label on it. It is easy to carry your knives collection

First Impression of Spyderco Paysan - front side
First Impression of Spyderco Paysan – front side

It looked exactly like it did in the pictures. Its blade and handle were both clean and tarnish-free right out of the box. However, when I disassembled it, I could see that it needed thorough cleaning before use. It had some factory gunk inside that required cleaning.

First Impression of Spyderco Paysan - reverse ide
First Impression of Spyderco Paysan – reverse ide

I especially liked the size of the knife as I prefer a slightly larger one as it provides enough room to perform various cutting tasks. The finishing is also good and tarnish-free. The stock compatibility between the blade and the handle seems perfectly in balance.

The price of Paysan makes the knife technically superior in terms of the materials used and is only the second fully integral folder knife by Spyderco. That places this knife on the premium spectrum of folding knives.

The finger choil is smooth, but the ergonomics of the handle aren’t that great. It slips the finger forward towards the choil even if we do not want to. It is because of the titanium steel handle. However, if only the finishing was better on the scales, this would not happen.

First Impression of Spyderco Paysan 1

The hollow and narrow area between the liners also get in the way of the knife grip. That would make continuous tasks challenging for this knife.

The thin back end of the knife also makes it difficult to hold from the back, making the grip challenging. It lacks friction between the hand and the scales.

When trying to close the knife, the lock bar gets in the way of the finger. That makes the knife less secure, as there is blade play involved. Considering the blade material, hardness and sharpness, it is not the safest. Although, you can still use the thumb hole to open and close the knife, the R.I.L lock makes it less susceptible. It can be disappointing, especially when you’ve invested so much in the knife. I expected it to work perfectly, but unfortunately, it did not. However, it is not uncomfortable to hold. I can still hold the knife and perform tasks easily, but it is probably not the best bet for the price.

First Impression of Spyderco Paysan 2

Moreover, I found the blade thickness of 0.157” to be too much to handle. Although that makes it super for heavy cutting tasks, it may be comfortable to handle during EDC tasks. It makes me realize that the knife would work better with a hollow grind rather than the saber grind. The hollow grind would be easier to manage on a thick blade than the saber grind. The two do not bode well together.

The Spyderco Paysan Pocket Clip

The pocket clip was another disappointing thing about this knife. Although it is well positioned with good finishing, it only supports one-handed, specifically right-handed action. This opinion is again motivated by the price point. For a knife as expensive as this one, it should have 4-point ambidextrous clip supporting both hand action.

I also believe that the pocket knife should have been longer for easy carry. There is ample space on the handle due to its size for a bigger pocket clip.

Overall, the Paysan is a good knife for EDC tasks. However, it is not worth the price. Therefore, my first impressions for the Spyderco Paysan review are not as I expected them to be.

The Blade of Spyderco Paysan

The CPM S90V (420V) is a unique tool steel with AISI 420 modified with high vanadium. The vanadium and carbon work together for added wear resistance. It makes the blade perfect for continuous cutting tasks without inducing wear and tear for extended period.

It is superior to 440C and D2 along with some other high chromium tool steel blades in terms of wear resistance. The carbides make the steel harder with added edge retention.

Chemical composition of CPM S90V (420V)
Carbon 2.30%
Chromium 14%
Vanadium 9.00%
Molybdenum 1.00%
Blade of Spyderco Paysan

The stonewash finishing pattern further adds wear resistance and minimizes the appearance of scratches.

The sheepsfoot blade shape is also less present in Spyderco knives, but the upheld sturdy position of the blade works better.

Overall, I did not find any major problems with the blade. In fact, it is one of the best steel blades for a knife.

Spyderco Paysan blade
Spyderco Paysan blade

The Handle and Ergonomics of Spyderco Paysan

As mentioned earlier, the ergonomics on this knife are not great. Although the titanium handle is well polished, it must be laminated with G10 to add friction. The G10 works perfectly when held with sweaty or wet hands, or while wearing gloves. The titanium however, is not very water friendly.

The contoured and rounded edges of the handle make it less brassy, which is good. The overall shape and circumference of the handle is good for holding and carrying out cutting tasks.

The Handle and Ergonomics of Spyderco Paysan

The reversible pocket clip is not ideal. Firstly because it does not support 4-point ambidextrous carry, and secondly because it only supports right-handed action. It is also slightly shorter in size. However, you can replace the pocket clip if you like. But then again, we already paid so much for this knife that paying for extra components seems unfair.

Therefore, the handle, ergonomics, and pocket clip do not fulfill the expectations of a high-end knife and of a knife enthusiast.

The Spyderco Paysan Pocket Clip

R.I.L Locking Mechanism of Spyderco Paysan

Although the R.I.L on Paysan is installed by Rassenti, it is a kind of frame lock originally developed by Chris Reeve just like Spyderco Swayback and Spyderco SpydieChef. It is similar to the Walker Liner Lock, but instead of a leaf-like spring, it uses a lock bar inside the handle scales.

R.I.L Locking Mechanism of Spyderco Paysan

However, the R.I.L on Paysan has received a lot of criticism based on the fact that it is defective and disappointing. Some have complained that it requires two hands to operate, which is very off-putting for avid knife users. Spyderco has also received criticism for failing to perfect frame locks over the years.

R.I.L Locking Mechanism of Spyderco Paysan is not good

If only the lock bar was added at the back of the blade, maybe it wouldn’t be so challenging to open and close the knife. I was not expecting this manufacturing flaw to come from Rassenti, who appears to be an expert in this locking mechanism.

My Experience with Spyderco Paysan

Even though the impressions of this knife weren’t so great, I decided to use it for a couple of months before drawing my conclusion. Unfortunately, my opinion hasn’t changed. Here’s why:

  • Even though the blade showed high resistance, the poor ergonomics of the handle failed to deliver through the end of a cutting task. For example, cutting boxes itself was a tiresome experience, where my hands kept slipping. Although it did a fine job at paper cutting. But if I’m being honest, I was expecting this knife to do more than just paper cutting. I could cut paper with a $50 knife as well. So it was disappointing.
  • The locking mechanism was not entirely safe as I had suspected. So I had to resolve to use the thumb hole. The thumb action worked fine though. It worked smoothly and seamlessly. But then again that means that I overpaid for the R.I.L lockup mechanism.
  • The pocket clip also did not work according to my expectation. Although it retained its polish and shine, it was too small for comfort. It wasn’t exactly easy carry as a pocket clip should be.

Pros & Cons of Spyderco Paysan


  • Exceptional CPM S90V blade steel

  • Durable 420V liner

  • Smooth and reliable action

  • Lightweight and compact design

  • Versatile design


  • Limited availability

  • Premium price

  • 420V liner may not be as corrosion-resistant


Comparing Spyderco Paysan with Nirvana

Both Spyderco Nirvana and Paysan were created by Peter Rassenti with R.I.L lock mechanism, made in Taiwan, CPM S90V (420V) tool steel blade, titanium handle and right tip-up carry position. Their lengths are also exactly the same with the same sheepsfoot blade shape and the same weight.

Spyderco Nirvana Vs Spyderco Paysan

However, there is a huge difference between the prices. Although Nirvana is also a high-end knife, it priced at $739.95 MSRP compared to Paysan’s $920 MSRP.

Spyderco Nirvana Vs Spyderco Paysan - Closed

Until Paysan was launched, Nirvana was Spyderco’s highest end knife. However, users had some issues with Nirvana, which Spyderco tried to fix by launching Paysan.

Spyderco Nirvana Vs Spyderco Paysan - Pocket Clip Sides

They switched from polish clip on Nirvana to stonewashed clip, which improved the texture of the pocket clip.

Moreover, the Paysan came with a lanyard hole, which Nirvana was missing. However, it is too tight and closely placed for convenience. You may not even notice it at first sight.

Paysan vs Nirvana

Spyderco Nirvana also has a pure titanium lock bar without interruptions in locking mechanism. It is much safer than the Paysan lock bar, which comes with some blade play.

If we compare the two knives, Nirvana still comes out on top because it works better than Paysan at a much lower price point.

Concluding Thoughts: Spyderco Paysan Review

Spyderco Paysan review required less comparison with other knives and is one of a kind premium knife by Spyderco. Although I liked the size, shape and blade of the knife, the handle and ergonomics were disappointing. The handle could’ve been improved by adding a G10 laminate.

Similarly, the pocket clip and lanyard hole fell below the users’ expectations. When I tried using it for a couple of months, my suspicions stood corrected. The knife did not perform as well as it was hyped and priced.

Therefore, I would not recommend spending less than $1000 on a folding knife that does not equal or fulfill its value for money. You can easily get a $50 knife to perform like the Spyderco Paysan does, or even better.

Frequently Asked Questions

Spyderco Paysan is a high-end EDC knife produced as a collaboration between Spyderco and Peter Rassenti.

The Spyderco C238TIP Paysan is a one-piece titanium handle knife for increased durability and a strong R.I.L lock up.

Spyderco is working on upgrading many of its existing knives while introducing new blade and handle materials, including the company’s first balisong.

Spyderco’s founders are Sal Glesser and his wife Gail Glesser, two custom knife makers who launched their company in 1976.