Spyderco Swayback review is going to be yet another unique review under the hood of Spyderco. It is also one of a kind, which looks less like a folding knife and more like a regular knife. Its profile is straighter than most of Spyderco knives, with a smaller thumb-hole that does not protrude out when closed.

Spyderco Swayback is the result of yet another collaboration between Spyderco and custom knife maker Marcin Slysz. A prior collaboration between the two resulted in Slysz Bowie, also made in Taiwan with an R.I.L locking mechanism.

You can buy Spyderco Swayback at lowest price online from here..! If its at much lower price in USA, do let me know, I ll mention it here as well.

Spyderco Swayback in Hand, Spyderco Swayback Review

Spyderco Swayback Review

Spyderco Swayback is one of a kind – C249TI inspired by the 19th century English Jack knives with a stylish pattern and functional cutting tool. It is indeed a big knife as it seems, extending up to 8.04” with 4.51” of length when closed. That makes up the blade length of 3.53” and an edge length of 3.31”.

The handle material of the knife is titanium, while that of the blade is CTS XHP. The hollow-ground Plain Edge Wharncliffe blade comes with a stonewash finish. The reverse side scale forms the foundation for the R.I.L (Reeves Integral Lock) system with stainless steel interface. The pocket clip is Tip-Up with ambidextrous clip carry position with stainless steel finish.

Key Specifications of Spyderco Swayback

Spyderco Swayback – First Impression

Unlike many Spyderco knives that come in a box, Spyderco Swayback came in a Spyderco pouch, which was a unique touch to the knife. Most of the premium knives do not come with a pouch, so Swayback’s uniqueness was further unfolded in our first impressions.

Spyderco Swayback Case
Spyderco Swayback full, Spyderco Swayback Review, Spyderco SwayBack

The knife looked in person just like it did virtually – in a good condition right out of production with shine and fine finishing and everything.

I especially like the handle size, as it fits nicely in my hand. It is not too small and not too big – it’s just right.

If we assess the back side of the knife, it is very neatly assembled with a smooth textured and contoured handle bar for an easy grip. Although, it does seem like the size of the blade is smaller for its overall size, we will be sure once we assess its performance.

Spyderco Swayback Locking mechanism

The stainless steel liners inside the bar are perfectly aligned pair with the blade that stands perpendicular to it. When closing the knife, there is absolutely zero blade play, and the blade fits perfectly inside. When open, it stands sturdy without moving from side to side, which is another positive impression.

The opening action of the blade is just as swift, with the R.I.L lock working smoothly. Although, the thumb-hole opening is not as smooth on Swayback as we expect on the rest of Spyderco knives. The thumb-hole opener has always been the most reliable switch action, until we see one on Swayback. It is mostly because the hole hides behind the handle when closed.

Spyderco Swayback deployment

As you can see, the hole is protruding out only from one side of the handle, making it challenging to open from the left hand. Although you can open it using your left hand by flipping the knife over, which isn’t the most convenient mechanism

Spyderco Swayback handle & ergonomics

The finger choil, on the other hand, is almost non-existent on Swayback. Although it is not as sharp from the spine of the blade, so it can be used as a finger choil for precision cuts. I believe that at this price point, the choil should be a clear part of the design.

CTS XHP Blade of Spyderco Swayback

The CTS XHP steel blade is probably one of the top-shelf blade materials in the Spyderco blade inventory. It is known for its edge retention and corrosion resistance. It is high in carbon and chromium components, which makes the blade hard. If we test the hardness of this steel, it comes out to be 440C or 63HRC, or an equivalent of D2 tool steel with high corrosion resistance.

The 16% chromium, combined with 1.6% carbon makes it a high-end stainless steel. Alternatively, if we calculate the edge retention of the CTS XHP on Swayback, it comes out to be 63HRC. The high corrosion resistant steel makes it suitable for use in wet environments, which includes food preparation. It should work well with acidic foods, without causing too much rust if left unwashed

Carbon 1.6%
Chromium 16%
Molybdenum 0.8%
Manganese 0.5%
Silicon 0.4%
Vanadium 0.45%
Niobium 0.35%
Spyderco Swayback blade & Origin

The niobium combined with vanadium makes the CTS XHP guaranteed against wear.

Consequently, the hardness of the blade makes it challenging to sharpen. But the Plain Edge of Swayback should make it easier. The hollow grind also allows for a thinner, sharper and more precise edge with a back spine for an inspiring EDC knife choice.

Handle & Ergonomics of Spyderco Swayback

The titanium scales can be a bit slippery when it comes to ergonomics of a folding knife. Moreover, the weight of the handle and the blade do not balance out the knife profile. The handle feels a bit heavier in proportion to the blade, when it should have an equal weight spread out throughout the knife. The internal milling does act as weight reduction milling, it has the steel lock bar inserted as internal stop pin races. These stop pins install via torx screws on the blade, and the pockets of the lock bar to run on inside the handle scales. However, there is lack of pivotal brushing with two standoffs that keep the scales in place. It does add rigidity to the scales though.

Spyderco Swayback handle & ergonomics

Although, titanium makes for a great wear resistance, corrosion resistance, longevity and strength. I have never felt right with just the titanium scales on my pocket knives. A bit of texturing would have helped more with the grip. Instead, they are stonewashed and rounded over broad sides. That makes the end of the handle pinch into the palm of a small hand. Although it is not uncomfortable, it may be a deal breaker when it comes to the price.

Compared to Slysz Bowie, Swayback’s ergonomics are not so fine.

Spyderco Swayback Choil

However, the good thing about this knife is that the chamfering, polishing and finishing is finely done. The scales hold the blade in place, and the pocket clip is comfortable and adjustable in all positions.

R.I.L Locking Mechanism of Spyderco Swayback

Unfortunately, I haven’t had a good experience with R.I.L lockup on Spyderco knives. Swayback has the same issues. The lock bar isn’t the easiest to access. The only thing that keeps the R.I.L lockup mechanism better is the blade design. If the blade was larger than it is, then it would’ve been more challenging to open and close the knife.

Spyderco Swayback deployment
Spyderco Swayback deployment

The thumb-hole has always been an easy access on Spyderco knives no matter the lockup mechanism. However, Swayback’s thumb-hole isn’t the easiest to access either. It is hard to reach and not reachable at all from the left hand, unless you twist your wrists the other way. It is not the most feasible lockup and opening mechanism of a folding knife. And it is definitely not worth the price. I would expect a better functioning closing and opening mechanism from a knife that costs above $200.

Spyderco Swayback full, Spyderco Swayback Review, Spyderco SwayBack

My Experience with Spyderco Swayback

Spyderco Swayback’s narrow profile, straight edge and thick stock make it challenging to use. The Wharncliffe blade presents its own challenges. For example, it is not the ideal knife to cut fruits and vegetables. Although the blade of the knife, CTS XHP is well-suited for food preparation, the ergonomics do not go with it. Cutting a 3/8” rope on a wooden workbench is also not a well-suited task for the Swayback. The knife keeps slipping from the hands and hardly remains sturdy. Your hand may even slip up to the blade. And I have to say it is disappointing. Why should we call a knife an EDC knife if it is unable to perform EDC tasks?

Spyderco SwayBack - my experience

Moving on, it did cut through a piece of cardboard finely. The edge retention and blade sharpness was great. It maintained its sharpness without the need to sharpen it for an extended period.

The pocket clip also wasn’t the best or the most comfortable either. It kept slipping, and I had to make a conscious effort to hang the knife on my pocket. The pocket clip raises a lot higher than other Spyderco knives. The clip also sways way far away from the knife profile. You can easily drop the knife and lose it when moving without even realizing it. And if you have paid the full price for it, you won’t be happy about it.

The worst part however, comes with the lockup. Here again, the lockup requires a conscious effort. When conducting tasks, it can be hard to focus too much on opening and closing of the knife. The thumb-hole is only a slightly better alternative; even though it is not the best either.

Comparing Spyderco Swayback with Sebenza

Swayback vs sebenza

The Spyderco Swayback is a lot similar to the Sebenza when it comes to the knife profile and size. However, the size proportion between the blade and handle on Sebenza is much better than the Swayback. Its manufacturing is more uniform and perpendicular to the blade, the the lockeup, the scales and the handle. However, Sebenza costs much more than Swayback, around $500.

The CTS XHP steel blade is much better on Swayback than Sebenza’s S45VN. Even though S45VN is a highly reoutable blade in the market, when it comes to performance, the CTS XHP exceeds S45VN. Its edge retention, corrosion resistance and toughness is quite close to S45VN.

Therefore, Spyderco Swayback does give the Sebenza 31 a run for the money when it comes to blade steel composition and functionality.

Comparing Spyderco Swayback with Spyderco SpydieChef

Swayback vs spydiechef

SpydieChef is a much better knife than Swayback. The SpydieChef with its LC200N steel blade is much better at performing food preparation tasks than Swayback did. Its frame lock is smaller but smarter than Swayback, with no blade play, making it safer. It is also cheaper than Swayback, has a unique cutting profile, and more for the hand than the eye.

Concluding Thoughts on Spyderco Swayback Review

Spyderco Swayback review started on a high note, but ended up not meeting our expectations. It has the potential to spike the hype due to its one of a kind nature and high price. And although its blade is tip-top, the handle and the ergonomics along with the pocket clip is not the best.

Spyderco SwayBack feature

When compared to other knives like Chris Reeve’s Sebenza 31 and SpydieChef, Swayback was unable to compete based on performance and price. And when experimented, the Swayback did not pass the test.

Therefore, we do not recommend Spyderco Swayback as an EDC knife, as it was unable to perform EDC tasks or live up to its potential.

When compared to other knives like Chris Reeve’s Sebenza 31 and SpydieChef, Swayback was unable to compete based on performance and price. And when experimented, the Swayback did not pass the test.

Therefore, we do not recommend Spyderco Swayback as an EDC knife, as it was unable to perform EDC tasks or live up to its potential.

Pros & Cons of Spyderco Swayback


  • Exceptional CTS XHP blade steel for superior edge retention, toughness, and corrosion resistance

  • Lightweight and durable titanium handle

  • Innovative and secure Reeve Integral Lock (RIL) mechanism

  • Compact and lightweight design

  • Versatile for a variety of tasks


  • Premium price tag

  • Limited availability

Frequently Asked Questions

Spyderco Swayback is a result of the collaboration between Spyderco and custom knife maker, Marcin Slysz.

Spyderco Swayback comes with RIL (Reeve Integral Lock) mechanism aka Integral Framelock. I personally did not like it as I have already mention above in my SwayBack review.

For sure not Spyderco Swayback. But if you still want it, you can get it for around 187$ + free shipping. I prefer you should buy Spyderco Para Military 2 or Para 3 as they are among the top Spyderco knives by knife enthusiasts, collectors, and Users.

Spyderco no longer manufactures and sells Para 2. Instead, it launched Paramilitary 2, which has been a great success in the knife industry.