Spyderco Clipit ProGrip SS Folding Knife

By Chuck Hawks

Spyderco Clipit ProGrip SS
Spyderco Clipit ProGrip SS. Illustration courtesy of Spyderco, Inc.

Spyderco's C13PS ProGrip SS is a versatile lock blade folder that can be clipped unobtrusively inside the pocket or waistband of your pants and carried in place of a pocket knife. It can, of course, also be carried in a pocket, fanny pack, or purse. Construction is entirely of stainless steel, except for the rubber textured gripping area in the right side handle and on the Clipit pocket clip (hence the "ProGrip" moniker).

The machining and finish of this knife are excellent; it is a very precisely made folder. The Clipit is secured by three tiny Phillips head screws so that the clip can be removed if desired. A lanyard hole is provided in the end of the grip. All pins and fasteners are concealed, contributing to the knife's sleek appearance.

Folded it measures 3-7/8" long and open it measures 6-5/8". The hollow-ground blade is 2-7/8" long overall with a useful sharpened edge of 2-1/2". The latter is serrated for the inner 7/8" and sharpened conventionally for the remainder of its length. The heavy duty blade is made from stock 3mm (0.12") thick.

This knife has a drop point and a fair amount of curvature. It would be adequate for both field dressing and skinning game, as well as a myriad of more mundane tasks. The latch to free the blade for folding is conveniently located on the back of the handle. Like all Spyderco knives the ProGrip SS comes extremely sharp right from the factory in Seki-City, Japan.

Like all Spyderco folding knives, the blade features a hole intended to make opening the knife with one hand easy. The signature Spyderco hole does, in fact, accomplish its purpose, but it may be overkill. I've never had much trouble learning to open the blades of folding knives without the hole and the hole can be unsightly. At worst it weakens the blade, because it removes steel. On the other hand, it will never loosen or fall off, as thumb studs can, and it provides better opening leverage than a nail notch or thumb studs. All of which is mostly a matter of preference.

The ProGrip's blade is made from 3mm thick VG-10 steel, so it is plenty strong, even with the hole. VG-10 is a top quality "super steel" made in Japan. It was originally designed for Japanese chefs' knives, but was popularized by Spyderco, who uses it in a number of their top quality knives. VG-10 is a high carbon stainless steel used in premium sports cutlery. As a blade steel, VG-10 is generally classed with such premium stainless steels as 154CM, 440C and CPM S30V in edge retention, overall performance and desirability. CPM S30V would probably garner the most first place votes among knife aficionados, but practically all experts agree that VG10 is a top quality cutlery steel.

Kudos to Spyderco for clearly stating the actual steel alloy used in all of their knives, not just some phony trade name or a generic classification such as "stainless steel." (Any steel incorporating around 12%--or more--chromium in its composition is commonly deemed "stainless.")

I have been carrying this Spyderco clipped inside the waistband of my trousers on my right hip on a daily basis since I received it. It has replaced my usual pocketknife, making one less item to carry in my front pocket. The Clipit system really works, holding the knife securely yet keeping it available.

Due to its all stainless steel construction, including the slender handle, the ProGrip is heavier than folding knives of similar size with a polymer or aluminum grip. However, the extra weight is quickly forgotten after the knife has been carried for a while. Certainly it is not burdensome and stainless steel is stronger, on a volume basis, than polymer or aluminum.

The only drawback to the ProGrip SS is that it has been discontinued and is no longer available from Spyderco. It was an expensive knife, with a 2006 dealer cost of $62.40 and a retail price nearly twice that amount, which may have contributed to its demise. Due to its innate quality, used prices are high for ProGrip knives in good condition.

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Copyright 2007, 2015 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.