The Spyderco Native Chief - An In-Depth History and Review
Back in the year of our Lord 1997, some guy you may have heard of before, Sal Glesser, founder and CEO of Spyderco Knives, introduced the Native Lightweight. When the Native Lightweight was introduced, it was like a child – young and naïve and not really sure what part it would play in the world. When the Native Lightweight was born, it was just a small everyday knife in a now very budget friendly non premium 440A blade steel. Little did it know that it would become a staple of Spyderco Knives and go through five generations, a “Lil” version, “Chief” version, and morph into its current Native 5 version with a CPM-S30V blade steel. To many, the Native 5 is considered an excellent everyday knife, but some found it to be too large or too small for their taste. In 2018, Spyderco answered many knife fanatics prayers and the Lil Native was born – a scaled down version of the Native 5 with the same CPM-S30V blade steel and a G-10 handle available in not only a Back Lock but also Compression Lock. Many were satisfied with this new iteration of such a legendary knife but others were still left hungry for a larger version of the Native 5. In the Spring of 2019, it finally happened. The Spyderco 2019 Reveal 2 Catalog introduced us to the Native Chief, a larger version of the legendary and well known Native 5.
The Native Chief not only answered the prayers of many die hard Spyderco fans, but also people who just wanted a large, dependable, well made, USA made based Back Lock that they could beat on and take on any task with. Its G10 scales feature Spyderco’s well-known semi-aggressive texture and allow the user to have a comfortable and controlled grip on the knife in virtually any situation. It also features the same great CPM-S30V steel that comes on the Lil Native, Native 5, and most other Golden, Colorado manufactured Spyderco knives such as the Paramilitary 2, Para 3, and Manix 2. Thanks to its forward finger choil, the 4.08-inch blade of the Native Chief can easily be choked up on for better control of the knife and performing more detailed cuts. In addition to that, it has Spyderco’s four position pocket clip that allows the user to be able to carry the knife in a tip up or tip down configuration and in a right or left side configuration. One thing that really surprised me about the Native Chief is how light it feels in the hand. It weighs in at a modest 3.90 ounces mainly because of its linerless handle, but carries the weight extremely well and to the point that it is almost as though you were holding a much smaller and lighter knife such as the Spyderco Delica or Zero Tolerance 0450.
Overall, I and everyone else here at St. Nick’s Knives have been more than impressed by the Native Chief whether it be just because of how usable it feels for almost any task big or small even though it’s a large knife or because the fact that so many people have been begging Spyderco for so long to finally make a larger Native and now we the people have it. If you are looking for a larger folding knife that is extremely well made and reliable or you have been in the crowd of people begging for a larger Spyderco Native, the Native Chief might just be the next knife for you.