on September 3, 2007
Any knife from Spyderco is going to be a great knife of course. They are one of, if not the, premier knifemakers around. I've bought a few Spyderco knives before, including one of the original Enduras and a little Ladybug pocket knife.
The Mini Manix is a higher-end knife than some of the others that Spyderco makes. The steel for the knife blade is a step up from some of the others and was made specifically for the manufacture of knife blades. It is very strong, which makes it particularly suitable for the abuse that a utility knife is likely to take. Out of the box, the blade is very sharp, as Spyderco is known for. A quick use of Spyderco's great triangle Sharpmaker brings the edge of the Mini Manix to razor sharpness.
The knife blade is a bit on the short side, which makes it legal to carry in many states (I live in Colorado where the legal maximum blade length for carry is 3 and a half inches -- at about 3 and a quarter inches, the Mini Manix falls neatly within this range). The knife appears bigger though because the blade is so broad and heavy; useful for prying on things.
The G-10 handle is more comfortable and has a more sturdy feel than the FRN handles of the lower-end Spyderco knives. The ergonomics is great and the handle just feels like it melts into my hand. From what I've read, the epoxy-based G-10 material is very nearly indestructible. The handle has dual skeletonized steel liners inside; which enhance the strength without adding weight. Overall, the knife just feels like there is no way you can hurt it; no matter how hard you try.
What really felt great to me about this knife though was the opening mechanism. The hole in the blade, a Spyderco trademark, is a great device on all the Spyderco knives. For some reason, on some of the knives, it feels like it takes a bit of leverage with your thumb to get the blade out. For example, I've played with my old Endura for awhile, and after a while my thumb gets a little tired and sore from trying to open the blade.
Not so with the Mini Manix. Perhaps it's the slightly shorter blade, I"m not sure, but the Mini Manix opens smoothly and easily with minimal wear and tear on the thumb even after opening it many times. The mechanism just feels very smooth and the hole in the blade is perfectly placed to make it easy for the thumb to rotate the blade all the way to the locked position.
The lock back snaps into place like closing a vault door. Once the knife is open, it's going to stay open. I've tried gripping the handle from many different positions, and even with the release right there on the back of the handle, it appears to be impossible to accidentally release the blade from a full hand grip. It takes a deliberate action of pressing the release down fully to release the blade and close the knife.
The Mini Manix has become "my" knife. It's in my pocket everyday. It's got some heft to it but is not at all uncomfortable to carry routinely in my pocket. The pocket clip on the Mini Manix can be located on any one of four positions on the handle, so it's convenient for right or left handers and for tip up or down carry. It's all up to your preference, unlike other knives that are limited in this regard.
The Mini Manix feels like it's made so well that it will last at least a century. Purchasing the triangle Sharpmaker will make sure that the blade stays sharp for decades to come.
It's just a great utility knife.