Back in September Will Stewart had a chance to check out the Syderco Manix 2 in its basic black trim. Just in time for Easter, Associate Editor Tim Stetzer rolls in with a follow up on the festive spring Blue G-10 variant of the knife!
Alright, I already knew the Manix 2 was a great knife. I’d read Will’s review back in the fall and I’d had a chance to handle it myself a couple times since then. US made, pemium steel, and a ergonomic handles fitted out with G-10 scales. How could they possibly improve upon that? By making it blue! At the SHOT Show this year I was immediately drawn to the latest version of the Manix 2, and this one was outfitted with bright blue G-10 scales. Spyderco is doing a lot of work with colors this year and I have to admit that the blue really calls to me.
Okay, I know the tactical guys are all scratching their heads looking at my bright blue knife and thinking I’m nuts. Why blue, when you can have classic, basic black? After all, black goes with everything right? It sure does! Like rocks, dirt, foliage and other things you’re likely to find out in the woods. Anyone who has ever dropped a knife knows how fast black can fade into the surroundings when you’re looking for it. Plus, the more expensive the knife the quicker it is to hide from you when you drop it. I’m pretty sure that’s somewhere in the list of Murphy’s Rules for Outdoorsmen. Black is cool and I have a lot of black knives, but I have to admit I prefer something a little brighter colored when I head for the woods. I like something that when I set it down, or if I drop it, I have a good chance of seeing it quickly and recovering it before it gets kicked under some leaves or the wood gnomes come and secret it off to their lairs. So why not fluorescent orange you might ask? You see lots of outdoors knives with bright orange handles, and I have a number myself. It’s not bad choice at all. Orange stands out well against greens, and browns, and white in the winter. The problem comes in during the Fall, when I do much of my camping. As bright as that orange might be, you will find that shade, or shades close to it on the ground come fall. I’m not saying orange is a bad choice, but I think blue is better.
Now, next time you hit the woods, take a look around you. Do you see much blue out there? Probably not. How about nice, bright blue? Well, unless you’re in the jungle somewhere and have stumbled across some poison dart frogs, you’re not likely too. As good as orange seems to stand out, blue does it better, especially in the Fall of the year. It’s a bright color that you don’t commonly see in nature and your eye is naturally drawn to it. Over the years I’ve used a wide variety of tools with a variety of handle colors. Black, brown, green, red, yellow, and yes orange. Above all of those I’ve found blue to stand out the best. I’ve gravitated towards it for a fair number of my woods tools and its always amongst my top choices when I have a choice for handle color on a knife, axe, or machete. If you were to take a look in my collection you’ll find bright blue Moras, custom G-10 handled Swiss Army Knives and custom fixed blades, blue handled Estwing axes and some of the blue handled Condor machetes. It works for me, so I tend to stick with it. If you talk to some of the custom makers and reps from the production knife companies you’ll likely see them cringe at my coming as I tend to proselytize the virtues of the blue to anyone who can’t get away quick enough. What can I say? I’m a convert and something of a zealot on the issue.
Day to Day Blues
Okay, so the blue is a miracle color in the woods, but what about for every day carry? You might be surprised to find I like it just fine for that too. Then again, that might not be so surprising… In a world where everyone’s clip folder tends to be black, it’s nice to be able to pick yours out or a crowd. While your desk in the office, the company lunchroom, or the workbench might not be as insidious about hiding your blade as the treacherous forest can be, you still can lose your shank in the crowd if you aren’t careful. Especially in a job like mine (law enforcement) where every Tom, Dick, and Harriet is carrying a black, clip equipped folder. When you lend out your blade and see Sid from accounting start to pocket it, you can tell right away that its yours. The blue also stands out nicely against the filthy crack house floor that you’re serving a warrant on too. So wherever your workplace takes you, the blue is still a bonus. Orange will stand out in these urban settings as well, but personally I think it stands out too much in some cases. Blue, while different, is a common color in the urban jungle. While it still is easy to see, and is different from what other folks are using, it isn’t glaringly out of place when you don’t want folks paying close attention to your shank. Hunter Orange is accepted in the woods, but is going to possibly raise some eyebrows on the office. Blue seems non-tactical and non-redneck, so it might well be a good stealth color for the town and city. Odd how it can stand out, yet appear unassuming at the same time, isn’t it?
Back to the Bug
So, now that you all understand the glory of the blue, lets get back to the Spyderco. Aside from being fitted with the gloriously blue tinged scales, the Manix 2 is a darn good EDC blade in its own right. As Will found out in his review, you really do get a custom quality blade when you pick up one these knives. With superb fit and finish, top quality materials, such as the CPM S30V blade found on this version, and Spyderco’s self adjusting ball bearing lock, there’s a lot to like no matter what color Manix 2 you prefer. There’s even a new Forest Green G-10 version out if you don’t want black and still haven’t seen the light on blue! Check out some of the other Spyderco models for 2010 like the new flat ground Enduras and Delicas for more blue, as well as shades of gray, green, brown and purple. I know I’ll be keeping an eye out for those models and they shouldn’t be hard to see with shades like those!