Spyderco Delica 4 C11PBK Saber Grind Pocket Knife
A pocket knife is a must for any EDC enthusiast. They are versatile yet portable, allowing you to tackle numerous tasks the world throws at you without having to carry too many tools.
But to be able to put complete trust in such a small thing, you must get a reliable model from a reputed company, such as the Spyderco Delica 4. It's the newest version of one of the most popular and oldest pocket knife series on the market.
But can it live up to such a high expectation? Let's find out in our Spyderco Delica 4 review.
What to Consider Before Getting A Pocket Knife
1. Number of Blades
The biggest selling-points of single-blade models are their compact size and simplicity.
A single-blade pocket knife Via: Amazon.com
Unlike multi-blade knives, manufacturers only focus their effort on a single blade, resulting in a more sturdy design and a stronger feel when people hold them. They are equipped with locking and open mechanisms, which helps secure and open the blade in an easy yet safe fashion.
But of course, when you have just one blade in hand, this means a limitation in the number of applications.
These single-blade pocket knives are an ideal choice when you lack an all-in-one knife, but when you need a tool that can cover multiple purposes, consider other options below:
More blades mean, obviously, more things you can do with a knife. You can't know when you will need to cut through the wood in one moment and skin an animal in the next.
A multi-blade knife Via: Amazon.com
But you need to compromise a bit of durability or strength in order to get some variety.
Multi-blade models often have two, three, and even four separate blades. The two-blade knives are the most popular, featuring a combination of drop-point, pen, or spey blades.
You can say this is a subcategory of multi-blade knives. There are times you need more than just one or two blades.
A typical multi-tool Via: Amazon.com
Some multi-tools like the Swiss Army knives have managed to squeeze a lot of tools into a single package: nail files, corkscrews, scissors, can openers, tweezers, toothpicks, saws, or even magnifying glasses.
They are designed to help people prepare for a large number of tasks that a simpler pocket knife can't handle.
Models with simple, sharp edges are often viewed as better at making push cuts, giving you more accuracy and control. They are also easy to maintain. But on the flip side, you can do more complex tasks like pull cuts or saw with them.
This type of blade is kind of completely opposite to all the advantages and weaknesses of the plain edges above. With a fully-serrated edge, you will have an easier time cutting tough materials. But they are also clumsier to handle.
A combination - when manufacturers make a portion of the edge serrated while the rest is plain - is where you can have the best of both worlds.
This partially serrated edge allows both push cuts and rigorous cutting on it. But it's difficult to sharpen due to the serrated part.
Pocket knives are meant for portable carrying, and models with smaller blades are the best in this department. You don't need to worry about burdensome larger knives, which are also illegal in some places.
However, those short blades won't be versatile and strong as the larger models. Small pocket knives often use slip-joint blades, which also don't lock very securely in place.
When we say large, we mean blades that are longer than four inches. They have the same strong performance while easier to carry than large fixed versions.
But large pocket knives are still a significant burden. They are bulkier and sometimes even illegal under local laws.
You can go for anything between 2.5 and 4 inches to get the benefits of both small and large blades. They are portable yet powerful enough for most emergency tasks.
4. Blade Types
Newcomers are usually surprised when they learn that there are various types of blades in pocket knives, with each of them more suitable for a few specific uses than others.
For instance, clip point - the most popular blade design - has a sharp tip thanks to the more concave shape.
Pocket knives of this type are common for EDC (everyday carry), but you can also use them for hunting. The narrower point and deep belly in a clip-point blade make it a great tool to pierce and slice game.
Besides the shape of the blade, the material used to make it is the single most important factor determining the effectiveness.
When cutting hard materials is in your daily routine, consider a blade made from a more durable, wear-resistant alloy. And when you need your pocket knife in a humid environment, spend your money on stain-resistant materials.
6. Locking and Deployment Mechanisms
The blade is not the only thing affecting how you use your pocket knife. In fact, many people feel that they often get frustrated by a poor lock or the way the knife opens more than the blade itself.
Most pocket knives have a locking mechanism that keeps the blade open when in use. The most popular types are lever lock, ring lock, frame lock, mid lock, Lockback, slip-joint, and liner lock.
Overview of the Spyderco Delica 4
Spyderco, a company based in Colorado, has been one of the leading companies in the industry since the 80s. Its founder - Sal Glesser - is also a widely respected figure who came up with the famous C01 Worker folding knife.
As you can see from any Spyderco Delica review, this series is one of the oldest lineups of Spyderco with the Delica 4 being one of the newest versions.
Spyderco Delica 4 Via: Amazon.com
It's a medium-sized, single-blade pocket knife that is available in both plain-edge or hybrid versions. In this lightweight tool, Spyderco wants to focus not only on the strength but also the ergonomics of the knife.
Though a little pricey, the Spyderco Delica 4 is a great choice for those who want a reliable, hassle-free EDC tool in their pockets.
Note: This Spyderco Delica 4 FFG review primarily deals with the Full Flat Ground blade, but most of it can apply to other versions as well.
● Blade length: 2.75-2.9 inches
● Overall length: 7.15 inches
● Material: Made-in-Japan VG-10 steel
● Weight; 2.5 ounces
● Lock type: back lock
● Grind Type: saber
● Incredibly sharp
● High-quality steel
● Ambidextrous design
● Easy to carry with multiple pocket and belt carry options
● Some find the look unattractive
● The optional coating quickly wears off
Spyderco Delica 4 Review
Design and Features
Sal Glesser is a master in knife design, and the Spyderco Delica 4 EDC bears testimony to that fact. This is a drop-point, full flat blade - a superb choice for dicing and slicing anything you have in your daily situations: from fruits and thick plastic, to cardboard.
The Spyderco Delica blade length is 2.875 inches for the plain version. This blade is razor-sharp, and you can easily maintain this level of sharpness by using the premium Sharpmaker Set from Spyderco.
You can't talk about a Spyderco knife without mentioning its Spyder Hole thumbhole, which makes it easier to open with one hand than more traditional thumb studs.
Some models have the optional titanium carbon nitride coating, giving them a cool black look.
The grinds of Spyderco knives are usually not exceptional. When having a close look at them, you can see that the second level is slightly uneven, and in some models, there are clearly some variations in thickness.
But luckily, in this flagship model, we don't find anything like that. The Delica 4 has immaculate grinds. Not only impressively even, but they are also polished and gleaming.
As we have mentioned, Spyderco offers both plain and combo edge options. In the later version, the blade also has sturdy, thick serrations.
Spyderco has used VG-10 steel to make the blade of the Delica 4.
This steel contains many common elements: iron, carbon, manganese, cobalt, vanadium, molybdenum, and chromium.
Made in Japan, the Spyderco Delica 4 stainless steel has a high degree of rust resistance but is also easy to sharpen. It's originally made for chefs in Japan but has quickly gained popularity as a pocket knife material thanks to its quality.
But compared to other stainless steels, the VG-10 doesn’t seem to hold the edge well. And if it's a tool you use daily, you may need to sharpen it about twice a month. Thankfully, this process is not a big hassle, once you have the right sharpening tool.
Spyderco has used FRN (fiberglass reinforced nylon) on top of the stainless steel liners with the liners being thoroughly nested and milled out. This results in a lightweight and slim handle.
These FRN scales also have bi-directional texture - a feature Spyderco has designed to achieve slip-resistance when you grip the handle at any angle. They extend from the back to the thumb ramp, locking the thumb nicely in place.
This handle has a smooth shape, comfortable in all grips, even when you have a large hand.
This black-coated pocket clip has a standard spoon design, offering multiple carry options. It is also truly ambidextrous - a nice feature for any pocket knife. The retention is great and allows the knife itself to ride low in your pocket.
There is a small issue though: the coating outside seems to wear off easily with use. But to be honest, this happens with most pocket knives on the market anyway.
The mid-lock back lock works as intended, and doesn't make up-and-down plays like other models using the same locking mechanism.
Compared to a liner lock, it makes the handle become thinner while still as great in keeping the blade locked securely in the open position. On top of that, the blade is centered perfectly between the liners and scales, while the knife has no horizontal play either.
You don't need a long time to get the hang of this locking mechanism, even if you have gotten used to other popular styles like the liner lock.
Spyderco has used Torx screws to hold the blade and the body of this 4th-gen Delica knife. So when you need to disassemble it - for cleaning, for example - not much effort is required. (You can check out videos on how to clean pocket knives for more information).
Delica 4 is an amazing pocket knife, but it has its own weaknesses. And the most common complaint about this Spyderco product is the optional coating.
People have reported that they can easily scratch this black coating in their models. But the good news is the steel is not damaged at all, so this should not be a big concern for most users.
You can find various Spyderco Delica 4 colors from any store: from black, green, white, brown, to purple or blue. This is a small yet fun thing for pocket knife enthusiasts who want colors to feature in their collections.
Ease of Use
Grip and Carry
Being comfortable to hold has always been one of the distinguishing features that put the Delica series in a class of its own. You can get a grippy feel on the large handle of the Delica 4.
Thanks to the profile that becomes narrow behind the choil, this handle also makes the holder feel responsive despite its big size.
Since it's quite thin, this pocket knife can disappear into your pocket quickly even though it's not short at all. And thanks to the ambidextrous clip, you won't ever run short of carrying options.
Locking and Deployment
Like other Spyderco knives, the Delica 4 uses a 13-mm thumb hole - or Spyder hole as Spyderco calls it - as the deployment mechanism. Opening it is not much different from how to open pocket knives in general.
It works great for both bare and gloved hands. The deployment is smooth, and you can flick out your knife in a single motion with a little practice.
At the same time, you may need a bit more effort to do one-hand closing. But luckily, the back lock is easy to access - in the middle of the handle, and doesn't make any blade play.
If you don't feel this is the right choice for yourself, even though you love some of its features, consider one of the pocket knives below, which have the same features, quality, and price as the famed Delica lineup.
1. Gerber Hinderer CLS
The Hinderer CLS (Combat Life Saver) knife from Gerber has various useful features in an 8.5-inch length beside its unique look.
This design features an oxygen tank wrench, window punch, and a seat belt cutter. Though designed as a tactical knife, you don't need to be a rescue worker to get the most out of the Hinderer CLS.
The blade is partially serrated with a large thumb stud for one-handed opening. It's 3.5 inches long, a better choice than the Delica 4 if you prefer a larger option.
But as Gerber offers no other options other than the combination edge, it's not the choice for everyone. Many don't actually like the idea of sharing a portion in their knife blade with some serrations.
All things considered, the Hinderer CLS is a reliable pocket knife, not just for tactical or survival situations but also for utility work, or hunting and camping tasks.
2. SOG SlimJim Tanto (SJ33-CP)
In the SlimJim SJ33-CP, SOG has managed to put the spring-assisted mechanism in one of the most lightweight folding knives on the market. It's a worthwhile consideration as a portable and lightweight knife like the Delica 4, especially when you just need to pay around half the price.
The AUS-8 steel makes the blade rust-resistant. It's also quite thick considering the size of the overall body, making it a perfect tool for piercing, carving, and cutting.
However, SOG still has a lot of room for improvement when it comes to the hand. It seems to be slippery in many outdoor situations and wet conditions.
Still, the SlimJim SJ33-CP is one of the best pocket knives when your biggest concern is an easy-to-carry yet powerful pocket knife.
3. Cold Steel Voyager XL Tanto
Cold Steel has been a company that constantly offers well-designed, reasonably-priced pocket knives, and the Voyager XL Tanto is one of them. This is also a decent alternative for Declia 4 when you need all those awesome features at a bigger size.
Its blade design allows for perfect slicing, puncturing, and piercing. Made from CTS BD1 alloy, this blade has a stonewashed finish, making it comparable to the Spyderco Delica stainless steel - VG-10.
The biggest difference is the size, which goes as long as one foot when deployed. If you're not concerned about the legal aspect or portability, this can act like the upgraded version to the Delica 4 above.
From our Spyderco Delica 4 review, you can see that this pocket knife has lightning-fast deployment and innovative features in a reliable build. Though indeed having some flaws, it is never a bad recommendation that can help you prepare for any situation you may find yourself in.
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