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Spyderco P’Kal

There are many knife manufacturers with folding designs that are utilized most of the time for every day tasks that can also be used as a defensive tool in a “worst case scenario.” On the contrary, there are extremely few folding knives whose primary task is to be implemented as a defensive edged weapon.

Spyderco is what I consider one of the top three knife manufacturers on the market today and they have been producing quality products for quite some time now. They have answered this dilemma by working closely with renowned self-defense instructor Craig Douglas (SouthNarc) and his company Shivworks to produce the Spyderco P’Kal.

Spyderco P'Kal, photo by Spyderco

Spyderco P’Kal, photo by Spyderco



  • Open Overall Length: 7.375 inches
  • Closed Overall Length: 4.375 inches
  • Weight: 3.6 ounces


  • Length: 3 inches
  • Thickness: .125 inches
  • Material: CPM S30V
  • Edge: Plain


  • Material: G-10
  • Lock Type: Ball Bearing Lock
  • Clip: 2-position (tip up, left/side carry)


The P’Kal, which in the Philippine Visayan dialect means “to rip,” is a fairly compact and ergonomic edged weapon that was designed under the close supervision of Craig Douglas to make it one of the most peculiar looking and deadly folding knives on the market today. After receiving the proper training and understanding its proper employment, the P’Kal can be easily deployed under extreme duress, and can be used to its full potential even if the user ends up being in unorthodox and less than desirable positions in a “worst case scenario.”


Adding to its many distinct features, the blade on the P’Kal is extremely specific to its purpose, which is to rip your threat’s extremities if situation dictates. The blade is a modified Wharncliffe so as to enable the blade to be somewhat “claw-like” in fashion. There is also an extreme point designed into the blade so the user is better able to penetrate whatever is necessary in the context of a violent encounter. As with some of the Spyderco line, the patented Emerson Wave is designed into the blade. Instead of the typical over pronounced hook that is used with all of the Spyderco folders that use the “Wave,” on the P’Kal it’s made into a solid post that is removable if the user desires. Pulling the blade out of the pocket with a positive action will lend the Wave to stick on the users pocket and deploy the blade in an extremely fast and efficient motion.

Handle and Locking Mechanism

The handle as well as the overall ergonomics of the P’Kal is very particular in nature, the knife is primarily designed to be held in the less known “reverse grip, edge in.” This usually comes as somewhat of an awkward type of grip, especially for people with no formalities in the aspect of edged weapon instruction. The user must understand that in the context of an extreme close quarters (ECQ) situation, using traditional forehand strikes that can only really be used if you have space, do not exist in an ECQ situation.

Instead, with a reverse edge grip you will be hooking and pulling with your Latissimus Dorsi in your back, which is a gross motor skill and extremely strong. Especially if the user doesn’t have space and can only drive the point of the P’Kal into the threat, having the blade in a reverse edge is extremely viable. There is also no extended pommel (bottom of handle) that will stick out so that the user can get a firm, tight grip on the knife.

The locking mechanism is only found on a few of Spyderco’s many products. Spyderco’s Ball Bearing Lock sits above and behind the blade, is housed in a piece of plastic and is accessible for both left and right hand opening. It is one of the strongest of Spyderco’s designs lending itself to a smooth opening and firm lockup each and every time.

Reverse Edge Methodology

Part 1

Part 2


The clip found on the P’Kal is a very simple wire clip that lets the folder sit nice and deep in the pocket, but is still very accessible. It is only available to be attached with tip up and left or right side pocket carry. I have bent mine on occasion by accident, but unscrewing it and bending it back straight is a quick fix.

Wrapping Up

The Spyderco P’Kal is a great purchase for someone that is willing to get proper edged weapon instruction as well as understanding the proper context of what its designed for. This is not a knife designed to open boxes, it is designed to be used as a lethal tool in a “worst case scenario.” I would highly recommend if the user wants practice with the P’Kal seriously, purchase the trainer as well. It is an extremely efficient folding knife that fits very comfortably in the hand and has amazing craftsmanship. Craig Douglas of Shivworks and Spyderco put a lot of work into this quality folding knife.

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3 Responses to Spyderco P’Kal

  1. Matt Watson July 29, 2013 at 1:57 pm #

    The rippin’ and the tearin’

  2. Simple Fix July 29, 2013 at 10:00 pm #

    Same thing has been done with zip ties. Just Check out YouTube.

    • Kyle7735 March 4, 2014 at 3:40 am #

      They’ve designed entire knives around the P’kal concept “done with zip ties.” Thats pretty special sir.