Everyday Carry

Is the Spyderco Tenacious Worth It in 2019?

Jonathan Tayag
Is the Spyderco Tenacious Worth It in 2019?

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When it comes to making no-nonsense tactical knives that are perfect for everyday carry, Spyderco tops the list with high-quality designs made in a manufacturing language that is uniquely their own. There are plenty of everyday carry knives to choose from, but none cut quite the same look and perform the same in hand as a Spyderco. Unfortunately,  you usually have to spend a pretty penny to get your hands on one. But when Spyderco introduced the Tenacious, it turned that idea on its head. That's because the Tenacious was made to provide just about everything that made a Spyderco knife great for EDC at a much more accessible price point than many other Spyderco models. While it was a budget knife, it punched above its weight, making it a strong value for the money that was hard to ignore. But it's been a decade since its introduction, and we've seen a lot of changes in the EDC knife industry since then. So, is the Spyderco Tenacious worth it today? Read on to see whether it's still the choice to make, and how it holds up against the competition.

What Is It? Why Was It Popular?

Learn more about this EDC

For a budget knife, the Spyderco Tenacious offered plenty to be excited about. It started with the hallmark Spyderco leaf-shaped blade, available with a full-flat grind straight edge or a combination edge featuring aggressive serrations. At 3.39” long, the 8Cr13MoV edge gave you more than enough cutting power to act as your daily driver, and the use of that imported steel both made the Tenacious cheaper to own and easier to maintain compared to the more premium blades in their line. The moderate size of the knife is matched by the approximately 4.5” handle, big enough for you to get a firm grip on it during use and augmented with aggressive and grippy G-10 nylon scaling for the ultimate in control. To hold everything together, the Tenacious featured a strong stainless steel liner lock, with a large hole cut into the handle for easy one-handed access.

Is It Worth Buying One Today?


If you had your eyes set on buying specifically a Spyderco knife without spending too much money, the Tenacious is still a good buy in 2019. However, it faces significant competition against Spyderco's newest budget knife offering, the Efficient. There are a lot of similarities between the two: a similar blade shape, the same kind of blade steel, G-10 scaling on the handles, and a liner lock. The big difference between the two, aside from their relative age, is their size. The Efficient is built to be a smaller knife, it has a shorter 2.98 full-flat ground edge, and a shorter 4” handle. To get a full grip on the Efficient, you have to also grip the blade at its choke. A smaller footprint can also be more pocketable and certainly more light, but it does mean that they are different knives with different use-cases. And since both are set at similar price points, I'd recommend you pick between the two based on your size needs first and foremost.

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Other Options to Consider

But if you decide the Tenacious (or the Efficient, for that matter) doesn't meet your needs, you're in luck. There are a few options to consider as an alternative:

  • Spyderco Polestar: the Polestar is slightly more expensive than the Tenacious, but it makes up for it by upping the game by giving you a higher-quality CTS-BD1 stainless steel blade in return. CTS-BD1 is an American-made high-carbon (0.9%) stainless steel that's uniquely melted in a vacuum making for a premium cutting experience that's similar to 154CM. But it does this while still being a budget-conscious knife, able to be had for under $100 today. (~$65)

  • Spyderco Para 3: If you decide budget isn't your primary concern when picking up a great Spyderco EDC knife, the Para 3 should be your first stop. From its premium S30V stainless steel blade to its ultra-reliable and ambidextrous compression lock at the spine, this is the real-deal full Spyderco experience. (~$130)

  • OKC Rat I D2: If you're open to other brands but still want an excellent value budget knife at around the 3.5” blade length range, consider the Ontario RAT I D2. It's still hard to beat in 2019 at the 40 dollar range. It features a hardworking D2 stainless steel, lightweight FRN handles, and a familiar liner lock to secure its beefy blade while in use. (~$40)

Do you still EDC a Spyderco Tenacious? If not, did you upgrade? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!

Header image courtesy of Nigel in Brunei.

#product-overview #knives #tenacious #spyderco #have-you-carried #edc-classics #spyderco-tenacious-moonglow #spyderco-efficient-vs-tenacious #para-3-lightweight-vs-rat-2 #spyderco-unique-value see all

Who Likes This (92)

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Discussion (11 total)

Goldthunder ·
Ahh.. the tenacious. First ever spyderco, found in a Walmart while on vacation in all places. I love the old girl, used it so much tons of wear. I still oil and clean her and stil has great action and I love the blade shape. I will admit still don’t carry it, to be honest I still have many spyderco knives but only carry PM2, excited for the PM3 mightweight. Anyhow, great entry spyderco, great price overall great knife. Make it made in USA, price increase but more guys will buy another. Trust me
Goldthunder ·
PM3 lightweight. Pre ordered not released yet
Edmond Cooley ·
Bought the Tenacious plain edge when it first came out and still carrying it today. I have since bought the Efficient and the Para3. I carry one of shorter knives when I travel to length-limited locales or need the smaller profile when wearing a suit (sans pocket clips for flatter profiles). The Tenacious is still the go-to for my EDC.
Angel Arsi ·
Carried my Tenacious since 2011, I can say is the longest I've carried the same EDC pocket knife. I love it, wouldn't trade it in for anything... Except maybe another Tenacious in another color lol. I've tried newer knives but I always end up switching back. It's like the Wave, it's the king of it's realm.
Richard Brown ·
In my case - my least expensive Tenacious is my favorite Spyderco overall of all of the ones I own. My dress Spyderco Serrated Viele has a too sharp point but a luxurious and unique set of non matching Micarta scales - the blade seems a bit too delicate for my typical use requirements so it sits in my safe ... although I did carry it every day for several years and still do when I'm forced to play dress-up. I also own an early Military and Police models which also are serrated and feature black G10 Scales. I still have my 1st purchased Spyderco known as the "STANDARD" which is a lock back and has spent decades in my car and I still use it routinely to open boxes etc... it too is also serrated which was what I favored earlier in my career. In search of a heavier and less expensive webbing cutter I spent a few years carrying a large S&W Wharncliff which was a workhorse brute of a knife that did its nasty harness destruction job without hesitation. I still have at least one new one in reserve but its simply too large for my needs today and moving forward because now that I have found the Tenacious I am done looking for my next knife. This is the one that 100% works for me. It simply fits exactly as I wish in every way but the fact that it was not made in Colorado. I have several in regular use at present and one new one in my safe but a special run of this exact blade shape made in the USA would get my vote and immediate purchase.
Aaron Spatz ·
Still one of my favorite EDC knives to date. It now lives in my firefighting gear after being replaced by a Microtech LUDT. But for utility purposes, it’s a hard blade to beat.
Nigel Ng ·
So stoked to have my first photo here featured in the header! That particular Tenacious was the only Spyderco I've seen being sold in Brunei. Knives are hard to order in, but a soldier from the Singaporean Army who was stationed for training in Brunei, managed to special order this knife in through one of the army supply stores. Unfortunately for him, he was called back to Singapore early, and didn't manage to get the knife. Fortunately for me, I did. I carry the tenacious often and it is one of my favorites!
Brian Dennis ·
Still carry it from time to time but i wish they would update the steel to add more value even if it made it a little more expensive
You should check out the Polestar mentioned above. It's basically a Tenacious with CTS-BD1 steel. The shape is a bit different, and it's only offered in the blueish-gray G-10 scales. I have one, and it's a great blade - especially for roughly $65. If it didn't say China on it, I'd have no trouble believing it was a Golden model.
Mark Gelineau ·
My first real EDC knife, and still my favorite to carry among my collection. Such a great inexpensive knife. Love it.
Ryan Credle ·
Dude, I’m pretty sure the tenacious is more than a half decade old....I’ve had one since my high school graduation in 2009. Just saying