A Nice Option for Summer Carry: Spyderco Positron – Knife Review

The Spyderco Positron.

When it comes to purchasing a firearm for every day carry, my boss always says, “Buy the gun you will actually carry.” What does he mean by that? Just that. Buy the gun you will actually carry not one that’s too big, too bulky, too uncomfortable. You don’t want to feel like you’re lugging around an anchor all day.

Makes perfect sense. The same philosophy holds true for knives. Buy a knife that you will actually carry — one that’s comfortable, easy to conceal and, of course, gets the job done. However, since knives are considerably smaller and lighter than guns, most knives are easy to tote. Or are they?

The answer to that question depends on what you wear. During spring and summer — down here in Kentucky — I wear shorts instead of jeans. That includes gym shorts with an elastic waistband. What I quickly discovered is that my typical EDC knife, a large Chris Reeve Sebenza, is too big and too heavy to put in the pocket of my running shorts. Between the knife, my keys, my cell phone and my wallet, it was just too much weight. I couldn’t take more than a few steps without running the risk of losing my shorts and exposing myself. Some changes needed to be made.

You can see the size difference between the Chris Reeve Sebenza and the Positron.

So, I put away the Sebenza for the summer and brought out the Spyderco Positron. Coming in at just 2.6 ounces (compared to the 4.70-ounce Sebenza), it’s incredibly light and easy to carry. I also bought a lanyard for my keys, so I could wear them around my neck instead of putting them in my pocket. That too, helped, lighten the load.

The changes worked. I can walk around with my phone, wallet, keys and knife without worrying about mooning anyone. What about my gun? Where does that fit into the equation? Well, that’s a subject for a different day.

Specs

  • Overall Length: 7.02″ (178 mm)
  • Blade Length: 3.05″ (77 mm)
  • Steel: CPM S30V
  • Closed Length: 3.97″ (101 mm)
  • Edge Length: 2.95″ (75 mm)
  • Weight: 2.6 oz (74 g)
  • Blade Thickness: 0.118″ (3.0 mm)
  • Handle: Carbon Fiber
  • Carry: Tip Up
  • MSRP: $289.95

The Positron

The drop point blade has a length of 3.05 inches.

You can’t talk about the Positron without talking about the designer, custom knifemaker Brad Southard. Like any elite knifemaker, Southard’s blades are in high-demand, and, as a result, are costly. They’re beautiful knives. You can check them out here.

In teaming up with Spyderco, Southard was able to create an offering that was both affordable and based on his unique designs. The Positron, derived from Sourthard’s “Ion” folder, features a full-flat-ground drop point blade made from CPM S30V, the go-to steel for many knifemakers today due to its stain resistant qualities, solid edge retention, and overall durability.

The Positron is a flipper. That is, to deploy the blade all one has to do is engage the flipper tab with an index finger and, ta-da!, out flies the blade! The flipper tab also serves as a mini handguard when the blade’s deployed.

The design is really simplistic. Essentiallly, a blade sandwiched between two slabs of carbon fiber.

The handles of the Positron are made from, the material du jour, carbon fiber and not only contribute to the blade’s aesthetic appeal but it’s light weight as well. Within the twin carbon fiber scales are skeletonized stainless steel liners that make up the knife’s liner lock mechanism. The handle also houses ball bearing washers that ensure the blade deploys like butter.

Last but not least, the knife has a reversible, “deep-pocket” wire clip so southpaws can carry it on their dominate side with no problem.

Utility

The Positron is advertised as a full-service flipper. Now, for some, a full-service knife is tantamount to a hard-use knife. From my vantage point, the Positron is more of an urban EDC knife as opposed to a catchall workman’s knife. What I mean is that it’s a knife for the office, not a knife for the workshop, a knife for a businessman, not a knife for a tradesman, a knife for a hobbyist, not for a hunter. Put another way, it wouldn’t be my first choice if I knew I was going to be stripping shingles off a roof or gutting a mule deer. I’d go with a larger, heavier knife.

The Spyderco Positron has an MSRP of $289.95.

But real world prices come in around $170.

But for day-to-day summer carry, for those little odd tasks that you encounter here and there (opening mail, cutting boxes, slicing plastic ties, the Positron, removing tags, etc.) the Positron is the perfect companion.

Drawbacks

The liner lock can be a bit sticky when it comes time to fold in the blade.

I can only think of two drawbacks with this knife. First, its liner lock is a bit difficult to disengage. It’s sticky; if that makes sense. Like, you really have to make sure that the lock is moved all the way to the wall of the inner scale before it will close. I’m not sure if it’s just this particular knife or if this issue is apparent in all Positrons. By no means is it a deal-breaker, but it’s worth noting.

And it should be said that it’s better to have an issue with the lock being a bit more difficult to close than a lock being too easy to close. One can rest assured that when the blade is deployed on the Positron, it’s not going to close on accident. The user is going to have to deliberately engage the liner lock to close this knife.

Second, I’ve seen other people complain about the wire pocket clip, saying that it’s chintzy or lacks quality or strength.  At first, I disagreed with that assessment and thought that the clip fit the minimalistic design of the knife but all that changed when I thought I lost the knife at Olive Garden.

Long story short, it didn’t slip out at the O.G. but in my couch at home where it got tangled into the blanket I was sitting on before we left for the O.G.  I had only discovered that it was missing at the O.G. when I was reaching for my phone to take a picture of my lasagne (Yes, I’m one of those idiots who likes to take photos of food on a smartphone).  I immediately got up and started frantically looking under the table and searching the crumb-filled cushions of the booth for those glimmering carbon fiber scales.  No fun.  When I didn’t find it, I thought I lost it for good.

The pocket clip is minamilistic.

But that minimalism comes at a price.

When we got back from the restaurant, I was sitting back on the couch and randomly moved the blanket and there it was! Yaaah! I was relieved to find it but at the same time, I recognized that the clip is a bit of a liability, particularly if you’re wearing anything but jeans, e.g. shorts or pants with a slim pocket lip.  I’ve decided not to use the clip and just carry the knife down in the pocket when I’m wearing shorts or pants.

Conclusions

The knife is super light and comfortable in the hand.

It’s funny, because if you asked my boss he’d say spending $167 on a knife is a giant waste of money. He’d say you’re better off going to Walmart and purchasing one of their $20-specials.

As a knife snob, someone who’s spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars on a single knife, I think $167 for the Sypderco Positron is a solid deal. You get an extremely lightweight, sleek-looking EDC knife that is great if you want to lighten your load for summer carry.  However, I’d caution buyers to be mindful of the pocket clip issue.

To learn more about the Positron, visit the Spyderco website.

To purchase the Positron (real world prices are around $170), visit Amazon.com.

{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Charles July 15, 2017, 7:57 am

    I don’t quite understand the love affair with these designer knifes you phony knife people seem to be enamered with. Apart from being stupid expensive they have NO use except to open envelopes. I don’t want a knife that’s “light weight” either. The reason for a edc knife is its ability to be a functional tool in your pocket in simple situations and in critical ones if necessary. Any knife under 3.5 to 4 inch blade with no mass is counter intuitive, my wife refers to them as Dress Knifes….Stupid

  • Greg Webb July 14, 2017, 3:13 pm

    So you panicked at OG when you realized you had lost your $170.00 knife? Really good EDC knives with AUS-8 or better steel can be had at less than $50 and you can buy 3-5 of these knives for what you paid for your knife. If you lose one you have replacements.You are going to lose knives that you carry daily and use.
    If your knife is so expensive that the loss almost makes you cry, then you are carrying too much knife.
    (Snob appeal aside)

  • Lee Elliott July 14, 2017, 11:26 am

    Any weapons set up is only as good as it\’s weakest link. Sounds like you need to invest in a good gun belt anyway! Try a Hanks and forget the mooning or exhibition!

  • Alan July 14, 2017, 11:11 am

    A liner lock SHOULD be “difficult” to disengage, unless you like to be called ‘stubby’.
    I have had to file liner locks to ensure full engagement, a minor issue compared to the slicing of ones fingers.
    I must admit that, at that price the damn thing should work well out of the box, but that’s life for ya.
    But I far prefer liner locks to lock backs, and many of the Spyderco knives I own are true ‘one handed’ operation.

  • Bob July 14, 2017, 10:02 am

    Nice knife and I like the blade shape….you always pay more for the carbon fiber handles too….I found a nice knife for around $100 that has the same S30V steel and a handle material and clip that sticks in your pocket very well…Benchmade Freek…I also like the axis lock better than a liner lock and it’s very light as well….

  • John July 13, 2017, 3:46 pm

    nice review! Not a bad knife and decent price

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