As the name suggests, the Spyderco UK Penknife or UKPK is especially designed for the UK market. According to UK knife laws, it prohibits carrying folding knives or pocketknives, and does not allow carrying knives with blades over 3”. This law is to prevent acts of violence.

Therefore, Spyderco produced a UK Penknife as a slip joint folder, which is part of their SLIPIT knife series. The Spyderco UK Penknife review is going to be different from other reviews because of the fact that it was produced specifically for the UK market.

History of Spyderco UK Penknife/UKPK

The first version of the knife was introduced in 2004, and that was the G10 model. In 2005, Spyderco introduced the DKPK with a non-functioning Spyder Hole, keeping in mind much stricter Danish laws. Then in 2010, Spyderco launched its lightweight versions with FRN handle material instead of G10. They consisted of different handle colors and blade shapes: Plain Edge, Partially Serrated and Fully Serrated edges. By 2012, Spyderco had discontinued production of colored handles, and produced exclusively black handle models. In 2013, the grind switched from hollow and saber to full-flat one, because it was easier to sharpen.

Most of the previous versions of the UK Penknives had drop-point blade, as opposed to leaf-shaped in the relatively newer versions.

Spyderco UK Penknife/UKPK Review

Among the several UKPK variants that came over the years, Spyderco still has many regular and exclusive variants at fairly reasonable prices available on its official website and official retailers and distributors. There is a Blue Lightweight CPM Spy27, FRN Black Drop Point, Salt Yellow FRN LC200N, FRN Black Leaf-Shaped, FRN Dark Blue CPM S110V, and Green Salt.

The exclusive variants include Red G10 CPM S30V Drop Point and Red G10 CPM S30V. In the Spyderco UK Penknife/UKPK review, we will be discussing the FRN Black Drop Point. It has modified slip-joint locking mechanism with notched joint with a pocket clip and the trademark round thumb hole as the deployment. Made in the US and available in both drop-point and leaf-shaped blade, the knife costs just $115, and works best with the Plain Edge.

Both the versions have full-flat ground CTS BD1N stainless steel and has opposing jimping on the thumb ramp for a comfortable grip and index finger choil for good control and precision cuts.

Key Specifications of Spyderco UKPK

CTS BD1N Stainless Steel Blade of Spyderco UKPK Black FRN

As per UK laws, the blade length of UK Pen is just 3” with a drop-point blade shape and a full-flat ground plain edge. Its function supersedes its form and designed with slicing and push cutting in mind with very little resistance and wedging. The blade stock thickness of 0.098” makes it considerably thinner than the knives sold in the US. It also makes precision cuts easy to make, and makes it lightweight. You can also use it to cut smart shapes with thin slices easily. The jimping and the finger choil further make it easier to hold with a firm grip while being comfortable and not giving the hand a tough time. With the blade, the spine also gets thinner along the way. The tip and consequently, the edge retention on UK Penknife is considerably sharp.

The blade material CTS BD1N was manufactured by vacuum-melted stainless steel by a US-based company called Carpenter Technology. And it receives high-quality heat treatment and the steel performs really well, even though it is a lower end steel material.

Compared to AUS-8 and 8Cr13MoV, CTS BD1N’s has higher edge holding. It is also more corrosion-resistant because of the high chromium levels. It contains mid-sized chromium carbides that have hard and wear resisting particles. It takes the edge easily, but not as easy as on CPM 154CM.

Spyderco UK Penknife Blade

The performance of this steel blade is like a razor, with edges as sharp as those of AEB-L and 13C26. That, combined with the heat treatment and fine edge retention, makes it a great steel blade.

The Handle and Ergonomics on Spyderco UK Penknife FRN

The FRN is another common handle material used on many Spyderco knives. It makes the handle lightweight and easy to carry. The finger choil is also present on the edge of the handle, making it further easier to manage while using it.

The FRN was initially introduced by DuPont, an American chemical company, which makes sense as it is composed mainly of chemicals. A dominant substance used in its making is the Zytel, which is abrasion-free, super strong, resistant to bending, un-destructive and cheap. One thing it overrides and comes on top of G10 is that it makes the edges contoured and textured as it is injection-molded in multiple ways during the production process.

Spyder Uk Penknife Handle
Spyder Uk Penknife Handle

It makes high volume production easier, making it cheaper and able to sell in bulk. It is basically wrapped around the handle, which can be managed with the hand and can be custom-built, leaving little machine error. The strands of the carbon fiber align in a single direction around the UK Penknife, making it smooth.

The best thing about Spyderco using FRN though is that it makes the best use of it compared to some of its competitors.

The handle of the UK Penknife further screws together with TORX screws. Its handle construction may be simple, but it is very sturdy with an ample grip and very little blade play, if any. However, it does not have any liners.

Spyderco Uk Pk Pocket Clip
Spyderco Uk Pk Pocket Clip

The pocket clip consists of a tip-up wire clip and easily hangs and balances inside the pocket or wherever else you want to keep it. It grips securely inside without making itself known. It is quite lightweight.

Another plus point of this handle is that you can grip it securely in any weather, whether your hands are sweaty or wet. It is also easy to grip with gloves. It resembles the composition of a G10 handle a lot. Therefore, the ergonomics on UK Penknife are excellent.

Deployment and Slip-It/Slip-Joint Lockup of Spyderco UK Penknife

The slip-joint knife lock is unlike most of the Spyderco knives that consist of either liner lock, compression lock, lock back, or ball-bearing lock, etc. The Slip-joint is rather new to us.

This lock works like a spring that holds the blade open and close. But unlike other locks, it works slower. The lock spring is adjusted along the spine and anchored toward the middle of the handle.

Spyderco UK Penknife Lockup
Spyderco UK Penknife Lockup

It lightly presses at the bottom of the blade tang to hold the knife in a closed position. As and when you pull the blade open, the spring flings upward. It’s all the game of the spring that opens and closes the knife, without it being a proper knife lock. A major reason for this is again the fact that it is specially made for the UK market for legal purpose.

Spyderco Uk Penknife Mechanism
Spyderco Uk Penknife Mechanism

The Spyder Hole deployment on this knife is hence also affected by a different locking mechanism. It doesn’t work as swiftly as on other Spyderco knives. Because the knife doesn’t open like a typical folding knife, the deployment on UKPK is dependent on the spring. That means it won’t fully open until the blade is fully upright. It also means that it cannot hold its pivot position.

Spyderco Uk Penknife locking mechanism
Spyderco Uk Penknife locking mechanism

However, that is not necessarily a bad thing. It works fine, but is different from typical Spyderco deployment. It may just take some getting used to. You can still open it using the thumb hole with one hand, and either left or right hand. A quick way to open it is to flick it with your wrist in one quick swift motion. It does not put much pressure on your wrist either. However, the fact that it is very lightweight can be off putting, as it can fly right out of your hand.

Fit and Finish of Spyderco UK Penknife

The overall profile and fit and finish of the knife is quite smooth and perpendicular to the blade and the handle. The metal back spacer meets the blade perfectly and in symmetry, despite the spring lockup.

The Spyder hole is also well-placed with the entire hole sticking out for smooth deployment.

However, when you first take it out of the box to flick it open and close, you will notice a slight blade play. However, it goes away after a while after using it for a certain amount of time. It is also because the slip-joint lockup takes some time to get smooth. Once it is used enough times, it gets smoother.

Spyderco Uk Penknife fit and finish
Spyderco Uk Penknife fit and finish

Moreover, the backward jimping skews a bit in the upward direction, but ensures secure knife holding because of its lightweight. The texture of the knife however, remains smooth right of the box, allowing for ample traction.

The blade comes with a smooth satin finish without any scratches on it from the manufacturing out of the box. None of the grind lines are visible on the blade as well. That is the sign of high-quality finish. If it does show scratches or grind lines, it may point towards easy wear and tear visible after short use.

Field Experience with Spyderco UK Penknife

You can consider Spyderco UK Penknife as an everyday carry knife and use it to cut paper and cardboard, open packages, cut fruits and vegetables, whittling, and cutting zip ties etc. Due to its thin profile and lightweight, it is best suited for low impact tasks.

It is also important to note that the knife does not lock open. Therefore, it is not well-suited for punching holes and stabbing it through paper or cardboard, as it can close up on you if you do not put enough pressure on the blade side.

At the same time, it has a high edge retention with dual finger choil and jimping. So you can use the edge for precise cutting tasks like preparing food. However, our field test shows that it cannot retain its edge for too long. As good as CTS BD1N is, its edge retention is behind VG-10 or CPM 154CM. But the edge length is long enough to complete a task.

It will not give out on a single task too soon. However, it does mean that you would need to sharpen it more often. And it is easy to sharpen. The length of the blade being 3” won’t take too long either. But that does signify the importance of UKPK’s maintenance.

Our CTS BD1N stainless steel did not disappoint. It is as rust-resistant as it initially promised. It does not oxidize easily, making it easy to breeze through food preparation tasks. And if the steel gets damaged, it is abrasion-resistant, but not as much as CPM S30V. But its overall performance is good.

Pros & Cons of Spyderco UKPK


  • Excellent edge retention (CTS BD1N steel)

  • Lightweight and compact

  • Affordable

  • Ambidextrous thumb ramp

  • Classic drop-point blade


  • Loose slip-joint lock

  • Not ideal for heavy-duty tasks

  • Requires practice for smooth opening and closing

  • Limited blade length (3 inches)

  • Can be challenging to sharpen (CTS BD1N)


Comparing Spyderco UKPK Drop Point with Leaf-Shaped Blade

Although both the knife profiles and blade shapes work great, we have had pretty good experience with the drop point. It also seems to be more versatile than the leaf-shaped and the blade is not as deep.

Spyderco Uk Penknife Drop Point Vs Spyderco UK Pk Leaf
Spyderco Uk Penknife Drop Point Vs Spyderco UK Pk Leaf

The one with the leaf-shaped is much cheaper, but is out of stock at the moment. Its blade length is also slightly smaller than the drop point, along with the overall and handle length. But the weight of the two knives is absolutely equal.

The leaf-shaped version however, would be suited for much lighter EDC tasks compared to the drop point. Therefore, the ultimate choice between the two depends on the nature of use. If you require lighter and infrequent EDC tasks, then leaf-shaped UKPK is good to go. But if you want slightly moderate usage, then drop point would be a better choice.

Comparing Spyderco UKPK with Spyderco Squeak

Spyderco Squeak is a very close alternative in comparison to UKPK. It can be considered as a smaller version of the UKPK, but with a different blade material and shape. Its blade material is N690Co with a leaf-shaped blade. The Squeak was produced with Danish knife laws in mind just like UKPK was made with UK laws. So the choice between the two would mostly depend on where you belong.

Spyderco UK Penknife Vs Spyderco Squeak
Spyderco UK Penknife Vs Spyderco Squeak

But if that is not a concern, then you must know that Squeak costs a lot less than UKPK and weighs much lighter. It is suited for much lighter EDC tasks than the UKPK. It also comes in a feminine pink handle color, and is made in Italy. Therefore, its construction and fit and finish is slightly different than the UKPK made in the US.

Concluding Thoughts on Spyderco UK Penknife/UKPK

The Spyderco UK Penknife is as good as it seems and meets its initial expectations. Although it is small in size and is very lightweight, it is good for light EDC tasks. And although it has a good edge retention, it is probably not the best for punching holes in cardboard or paper because of its loose lockup. It comes with a slip-joint lock, which is unlike other Spyderco locking mechanisms. You may need to get used to it before you start to feel comfortable with it.

The blade material is excellent and lives up to its expectations. The drop point is definitely better than the leaf-shaped blade. It is also close in comparison to Spyderco Squeak and Spyderco-DK. These were created with Danish laws in mind, just like the UK Penknife was created according to the UK laws.

Overall, the Spyderco UK Penknife is a great EDC knife, and you will definitely find it useful in everyday carry.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Spyderco UK Penknife is a knife produced by Spyderco in its US factory specifically for the UK market, with a blade length of 3” and a slip-joint lockup.

It looks a lot like a regular Spyderco knife with its trademark round-hole and overall profile. However, its lockup, design, and handling is different than other Spyderco knives. It doesn’t come with the typical Spyderco lockup, has a thinner blade, and is lightweight.

The Spyderco UK Penknife comes with a drop point blade shape and a leaf-shaped blade. The drop point is just one of the versions of Spyderco UK Penknife.

The Spyderco introduced a unique UK Penknife in 2004 for the UK market with a G10 handle and a premium lightweight stainless steel blade. Ever since then, it has introduced several versions of the knife.