Easily one of the most anticipated products in Spyderco’s history, the Para 3 is the latest generation of their immensely popular Paramilitary family of folding knives. It traces its history all the way back to the first-generation Paramilitary model, which was introduced in 2004 and even further to that knife’s inspiration: the iconic Military Model.
The original design intent of the Paramilitary was to provide the same proven reliability and cutting performance of the Military but in a more compact, easy-to-carry package. The design also showcased Spyderco’s patented Compression Lock—a high-strength lock mechanism housed in the spine of the handle that offered a number of significant advantages over the Military’s liner lock.
In keeping with Spyderco’s deep commitment to Constant Quality Improvement (C.Q.I.), in 2010 the Paramilitary was redesigned to yield the Paramilitary 2. This second-generation design incorporated an improved lock detent, refined ergonomics, countersunk handle and pivot screws, and a four-position clip that supports all possible carry configurations. These enhancements quickly established the “Para 2” as one of Spyderco’s most popular and in-demand models and, to many end users, the “perfect” folding knife. While it was significantly smaller than the Military Model that inspired it, for some customers it was still larger than what they could comfortably or legally carry. Based on that feedback, Spyderco went back to the drawing board once again to distil all the features, benefits, and performance of the Paramilitary 2 into a “sub-compact” package built around a three-inch blade. The result is the Para 3.
Although clearly based on the Paramilitary 2, the Para 3 was not named the “Paramilitary 3” because its smaller size qualifies it as a different knife design. Similarly, the “3” in its name actually reflects its three-inch blade length rather than identifying it as a third-generation of the Paramilitary design. While its pedigree is unmistakable, the Para 3 (and its model and SKU number) has its own distinct “identity” as a Spyderco product.
With that said, the Para 3 does faithfully retain all the defining features of the best-selling Paramilitary 2, but in a smaller, even handier package. Its three-inch blade is precision machined from premium CPM-S30V particle metallurgy stainless steel and features a full-flat grind for superior edge geometry and low-friction cutting performance. Its oversized Trademark Round Hole proudly announces the knife’s pedigree and is easily accessible from either side to allow swift, ambidextrous, one-handed opening.
The lightweight, open-backed handle is built on a framework of stout stainless steel liners nested within textured G10 scales. This refined construction style maximizes both structural strength and ergonomics while keeping the handle slim and pocket-friendly. It’s also the foundation of the knife’s patented Compression Lock mechanism, which provides exceptional lock strength, yet allows easy one-handed closing without placing your fingers in the path of the blade’s edge. A streamlined four-position hourglass clip and a generously sized lanyard hole round out the design, offering a choice of left or right-side tip-up or tip-down carry and allowing the easy attachment of lanyards or fobs.
The Para 3 is a remarkably refined folding knife with a distinguished history. It’s also a shining example of our tireless quest for perfection and our deep commitment to meeting our customers’ needs.