Here is a Spyderco Folder designed by a Massad Ayoob the famous gun instructor and destined to be a Self Defense folding knife. An ineptia as far as I am concern. Any screwdriver could be used the same way, the rest is just marketing in a country with a huge personal arm market.
Not for me.
But if I were wrong ?
Massad Ayoob is an established authority, LEO (Law Enforcement Officer… a Cop) and a writer on firearms and (sometimes) on knives. For more than four decades he has also taught defensive knife and firearm programs and appears frequently as an expert witness in trials involving edged weapons.
(taken form his bio in https://www.backwoodshome.com/massad-ayoob-bio/)
He was the director of the Lethal Force Institute (LFI) in Concord, New Hampshire from 1981 to 2009, and he now directs the Massad Ayoob Group (MAG).
Should I need to review a SD knife when I have already written that, in my humble opinion, self defense with a knife is the worst use you can do of that sharp tool ?
It’s not the same problem for professionals, those, in the line of duty, who are confronted to knife attacks, cops and soldiers to name a few. But lambda civilians learning to defend themselves with a short blade tool (not “from” a blade) ?…. well this would be a very last solution of a very messy situation which certainly could have been avoid in the first place.
Better than any edge tools to cut in ribbon an threat are “awareness” and mobility.
As a design, I always loved the C60 especially the ergonomy. Certainly not as a edge weapon but as a cutting tool. It functioned so well as a kitchen and general work knife. In fact the C60 was ranked as one of the best baguette opener in my folder world. Especially with my serrated version. Even when knowing the C60’s blade was especially made to fit between the ribs and penetrate deep into the human chest cavity, lacerating lungs, heart and other vital organs… (Puncturing weapons are legion if you look at any tool from wood chisels to crowbars, thrusting weapons are all around us. So I was never impressed by those marketing quotes especially when a wider blade can be turned at 90° to pass between the ribs… Oh well, tools of violence are as old as Abel’s murder by Cain.)
Spyderco is no stranger to that self defense niche: Canis, Matriarch, Carahawk, P’kal, Chinook, Civilian, Yojimbos…
Blast from the past.
Back in the 90’s, I had the chance to be one of the first European reviewers of the Master of Defense’s knives back in the 90’s.
Jim Watson, James Keating, Massad Ayoob, Graziela Casillas and Michael Keating were the five instructors being part of that venture.
Massad Ayoob was the only one providing a fixed blade: the MoD Razorback. The quick draw from its kydex sheath in reverse grip was its main asset. Massad was also timing himself to show how quick he could draw his knife. I actually love that fixed blade concept but its was all marketed and designed as a thrusting weapon, not a cutting knife. This is something which is also found on the C60: more penetrating than slashing compared to a Yojimbo 2 which is as pointy as slashy, 50%/50%.
The Razorback prototype is pictured in the middle and Michael Janich’s Tempest is on the right bottom, featuring his Filipino Grip.
Back on the Sprint Run, Michael Janich has written about the C60:
“From a utilitarian standpoint, the negative angle of the blade definitely increases cutting power and leverage, allowing the user to maintain a straighter, stronger wrist orientation. Similarly, for piercing, it does align the blade with the axis of the forearm, allowing for a direct transfer of energy. If those qualities allow it to work better for your individual needs, I understand and respect your appreciation of the design. While you’re waiting for a Sprint Run, I also strongly encourage you to invest in a Schempp Bowie, as it offers all the same qualities for all the same reasons.”
That odd pistol angle:
of the C60 was explained by its designer Massad Ayoob in those terms: “With a typical knife, thrusting lifts the blade’s point above the line of the forearm, like a boat prow going through water. The faster, harder or more resistance encountered, the higher the prow rises deviating the blade off course from its original target which can mitigate the depth of the cut.”
Its grip angle that is more comfortable and familiar to handgun shooters. That design is trying to be as much of a push dagger as possible without being a push dagger. The “dropped” handle design which is also a signature feature of many Ed Schempp designs also added power to the cut.
Let me tell you something: this pistol grip makes great steak knives ! 😉
Quoting Massad Ayoob:
“The C60’s radical angle brings the blade into line with the long bones of the forearm, channeling the body’s force directly behind the line of the cut resulting in minimized blade deviation and maximized accuracy.
The blade is directly in line with the radius bone of the forearm when the average human wrist is in the “locked” position, which puts the middle knuckle of the hand directly in line with the axis of the forearm.
This is what gives the C60 its superior stabbing accuracy, and it also gives tremendously more penetration, because it aligns the skeleto-muscular support structure of the arm with the point (number one), and therefore with anyone who knows how to put his weight behind a punch, gets the entire body’s force going directly behind the point.“
In 2001, twenty one years ago, I had the chance to test the very first batch. The handle was made of aluminium coated in black and the blade got that short opening arc. It felt like some kind of sharp pistol and it balance made it very pleasant to use. That smooth thin handle curved handle was really pocket friendly.
But… it has a serious but. Its vertical play was unbearable. I mean, I try to enjoy it with it but eventually, it was drawing me back to small fixed blades, no mechanism, no blade play. I hate to feel the blade moving when I cut on a board.
Long story short: thet 2022 C60 Sprint Run got also some vertical play. But you need to push quite hard on a cutting board to feel it.
I first thought this “rocking lock” would ruin the experience but eventually it is not as dramatic as on the first batch in 2001.
As you can notice the 2001 version was a rivet construction with 3 rivets on the handle. It is not the case of the 2022 sprint run with an all screw construction on G10 slabs instead of aluminium.
How that almite coated handle has survived after 20 years of service ?
This is a picture from C60 #356 from my friend, Joyce Laituri, at Spyderco. Isn’t it a beauty in the patina departement ?I love well used tools and Joyce considers her C60 with serrated edge as her personal favorite Spyderco.
A forumite dream came true:
Actually this new C60 Sprint run has been made possible thanks to forumites from Spyderco forum especially JD Spydo.
His thread is already 143 pages and counting:
Even Massad Ayoob answered to them:
“…I‘m delighted to see the enthusiasm for the C60.Changes? I wouldn’t care to see it thicker: the comfortable ride in pocket or waistband was one of its signature features.
I’m partial to G10.
As others have noted, I think we got the overall design and blade configuration right the first time.
Steel? I’ve been very happy with the VG-10 in every respect after carrying the C60 for about 18 years now and using it daily. However, Sal knows WAY more about blade steel than I do, and if he has a supersteel he thinks will work better, I’ll defer to him...”
It is an immense success and the serrated version is even selling faster than the plain edge version. Go figure !
A Japanese Story:
The C60 is a knife all made in Japan (using now an American steel when the first batch was made in Japanese Steel VG10) Sal Glesser has also explain the story behind that whole C60 2022 project and the Japanese family in charge of it:
“We began working with this maker in 1988. At the time, they were considered by most experts, even in Japan to be THE premier quality knife maker in the world. It is/was a small family business consisting of the “Old Man”, who was the driving force. He had more than 80 patents on his designs and they produced a small number pieces.
The “Old Man’s” wife handled the office. There were two sons. One handled sales (#2 son) and one handled the factory with his father (#1 son). His wife also helped with the office.
Then one day, with no warning, the Father had a stroke and was no longer able to work. The Father’s wife had to stop working to take care of the Father. Now the sons are running the company with the Patriarch and the Patriarch’s Wife no longer involved. Very challenging, even devastating. They had one major lower quality customer (A Hardware chain) that carried the company. A few special customers like Spyderco and their normal consumer direct line.
Then “The Rains came”. In one year, the Father passed away. The Mother passed away. #1 son had a stroke, and #1’s son’s wife passed away. Now the Grandson is running the factory and he really wasn’t ready. Then the main Hardware chain found a less expensive supplier. The family was devastated.
We brought the Grandson to our factory in Golden to try to get him better trained and brought into the 21st Century manufacturing. Ir has been a long road and they are beginning to get back on track which pleases us and we’re helping…”
This is what I always loved in Spyderco and the Glesser family: the way they take care of their friends and how faithful they are in friendship.
This new Sprint C60 got his blade made of CPM Cruwear. This is a wonderful steel. Just click on the link to see all my articles about it but, really, this is a steel which is hard to stain, very hard to chip and very toothy even when strop. It is a tough alloy.
CPM Cruwear has been a benediction on thin pointy thin models like the SpydercoMillie and Paramilitary bringing strength to their tapered blade. It also found on Benchmade Adamas and Shaman Sprint Runs both hard users with a lot of lateral strength.
Looking at the C60 new edition, we got a relatively thick blade. It sturdy. You feel it is a blade you could use to pry something without second thought. You would use that pointy blade to open a paint pot or pry letterbox. It is stepping on the Adamas hardcore class but in a thinner package.
That’s interesting because “Mas”, as a cop, has designed a tool with Law Enforcement Officers in his mind knowing how they use their knives on patrol for many more things than just cutting. They even use knives as screwdrivers, prybars or ID plate scrappers.
It is the same reflection I had about the Tatanka: a thick folder destined to be used hard and dirty even when applying lateral forces.
Back to my 2022 C60: its factory edge was sharp out of the box but it could not cut through a plastic bottle but. This is a pure geometry issue: a thick saber ground blade cannot perform like an Opinel blade. For better performance, reprofiling is mandatory and diamond (Spyderco Stuff 2) was used because CPM Cruwear loves diamonds even if it takes a lot of time to do it right without any backstand.
BTW CPM Cruwear is not easy on the Patina in my book. (Link provided)
I use this speciality alloy since the Military in Cruwear with zero pitting on the blade. To avoid that, my knives are often used in the kitchen and grease is always there to coat their blade.
Duck is a fat meat…
So we got that thick edge tough narrow blade…. Not my cup of tea actually. I prefer leaf shape full flat grind or razor sharp hollow ground wharncliffe. So I need to reprofile it and it will take some patience.
Also that Massad Ayoob design proposes no choil. I love choils since Sal Glesser has explained he was inspired by boot knives: you hold your folding knife by the blade and it is a great security for your fingers.
The absence of choil is not an absence of hot spots…
As you can notice the blade falls gently on the index finger when unlocked.
The action is smooth but that guard with beveled G10 and sharp liners is problematic. More on this later.
One thing which is remarquable is the choice of the lock.
” It has a notably strong lock-back with a David Boye style release lever that helps ensure safe lock-up. “
The lock-back allow also a very thin handle construction. Thinness means easy for a waistband carry. This is very thoughtful.
Smooth action thanks to bronze washers ? Nope. Who needs washers ?
Actually there is no washer. No bronze, no nylon: nothing.
The Moki factory is known for that washerless high tolerance constructions and the liners are providing some kind of “integrated washers”. Very impressive !
Without washers, well, there is no lateral play. The knife feels rock solid. And it is all screw construction with a steel backspace.
Quoting Massad Ayoob:
“The handle-to-blade angle puts much more force behind a slash as well as a stab. Instead of the blade “skimming” over the target as it hits hard resistance such as bone, the 90 degree angle of the blade when held in reverse grip (and KEPT there by a handle shape that allows the thumb to lock it at that angle) the C60 is more likely to shear directly through whatever resistance it encounters. Because of the design features, something very similar happens with a slash from the conventional saber or pekal grasp.”
The handle got bevelled grey G10 slabs. G-10 has been used instead of the previous 2001 aluminium. Mas actually said on “Glocktalk” that he preferred the G-10 handles to the original handle. Personnaly I prefer the original handle better as it was providing a pocket friendly solution. A smooth handle suits me but I understand it won’t suit from a “tactical” point of view.
To smooth it a bit, I have sanded mine (with 400 grit) especially under the clip to avoid any pocket destruction by filing them with such a coarse G-10.
Oh, there is another visible improvement of that Sprint Run: the possibility to switch the position of the clip: left or right, tip up or tip down. Nice touch.
To quote Massad Ayoob:
“As to the tip-down carry: I’m one of those early Spyderco fans whom Sal calls “Clipiteers,” who started their Spyderco experience with the original Police model, learned to open it with a pinch-snap, and discovered we could win bets beating guys with bali-songs and even “automatic knives” in opening speed. The pinch snap uses the gross motor movement of the closed hand instead of the more fine-motor skill of using the thumb to open the blade via the original design intent of the “Spyder-hole.
I’m one of Sal’s early “Clipiteers” who liked the speed of a momentum pinch-snap opening, and remain a big fan of tip-down carry for that reason. Wouldn’t hurt if Sal came up with a design offering the choice, it was already set up for ambi and more choices for the user is good.
Plain edge, serrated edge, or a bit of each is entirely up to Sal. In the first production run, on my end the plain edge far outsold the serrated, but Sal of course has a better handle on sales nationwide than I do. Sal’s call, of course.
I’m hoping the sprint run happens. Thanks to all who requested it from Sal!”
There I will be agree with Massad Ayoob. Actually it seems like back in 2000, Mas was turned into a “Spyderdrop” fan and a Clipiteer like advertised on the original Military C36. It’s a fast way to deploy a blade even quicker than a switchblade or automatic knife. You just grab your knife inside the pocket by the opening hole and by a gentle flick of the wrist, you open it.
The spyderdrop just works great on the C36 as it was a liner lock with a big opening Hole. Once passed the detent ball nothing prevents the blade to open. Certainly Sal Glesser demo caught the eyes of Massad Ayoob who was much more a fan of a fiexed blade quick draw as on its previous design: the Razeoback.
On a backlock folder, though, there is a constant pressure from the spring and no need of a detent ball per se.
You need two things to get an easy spyderdrop: a heavier handle for the momentum and, a speciality of the C60 design: a short opening arc.
Something important to keep in mind, the 2001 version was a lower rider. Its clip was much higher on the handle making it disappearing in the pocket. this is less the case with the 2022 Sprint Run.
So, as the C36 is a game to open with just a flick of the major finger, thanks to its shorter opening arc and its negative angle.
It is fast. The jimping on the blade needs a little filing as it could wear the pocket, but the opening hole and the big hump, the stainless steel spacer assing more momentum ease the spyderdrop.
They are fast and reliable. The negative angle and its shorter opening arc could make it the queen of spyderdropping.
Handle wise, I have found the steel liners edges much too sharp. I have used some diamond file to smooth them but for a knife that price, it hurts… the fingers too. There is a real hot spot near the axis. In case of hard push cut the blade jimping is also another hot spot. It hurts that skin between the thumb and the pointer named the “first web space”. Again this is not a tool for bushcrafters. The C60 is a slick flat knife destined to LEO. It needs to get in action very fast.
The Police 4 is in the same category of knife. Flat, easy to carry, a little on the heavy side and solid but not the best for long cutting chore unless personal customization involving a file and some sandpaper…
I have changed the spoon clip to a deep carry one and notice the screws are not torx but crosstip. Very old school !
Just for those who want a taste of that Golden Era at the turn of the Millenium. The mark on the handle came from me sanding under the clip in tip up carry, which was not the best way to carry it.
Look at the shape of the C60:
There is Banana shape and a curve which is great when carried tip down inside my right front pocket. It leave a lot of place.
With a depp carry clip, you can notice only the “guard” is visible. It is very easy to reach the opening hole for a spyderdrop.
The mid lockback (with that wonderful old school Boye Dent) of the C60 is beefy even if thinner than a beefy liner lock, compression lock or beefy even integral lock, and is one of the sturdier locks ever designed. This one was ranked high on Spyderco’s standarts back in 2001. The original C60 lock was already rated as “hard use”. The 2022 Sprint Run should be rated as “Martial Blade Craft” level, the strongest in the Spyderco line thanks to their Constant Quality Improvement.
Again even with some “rock lock” or “vertical play” only felt when cutting on a board, backlocks are really hard to beat in term of pure strength, often the handle will break before the lock as shown on some tests made by Blade HQ:
Conclusion: this is a cutting tool oriented Self Defense, with fast deployment and sturdy blade and mechanism. It is not the best cutter, not the best ergos for long works without gloves even if it shine for quick response and tactical needs. I have read some users are using Massad Ayoob to filet some fish. In my book a filet knife is thin… Also I have found some hunters have used their C60 on games for skinning purpose. That knife is really not design for that but why not ? The hand is mightier than the tool.
For me the C60 is made to work hard anyway. It got a very sturdy penetrating blade which can find a lot of utility even for light prying. Also CPM Cruwear is tougher than VG10 (the 2001 version).
But more important, this Massad Ayoob folder reborn is also a nice symbol of trust between the Moki factory in Japan and the Golden factory in the USA. A trust which goes beyond continent, beyond civilisation. This “scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” involvement of the Glesser Family toward the Japan Family is a proof of their generosity toward fellow knifemakers and end line users. This is precious in those volatile times. Sal Glesser knows how to create “matter separators” but he is also able to build very solid bridges too.