Lightweight. Simple. Durable. Sharp. Four words that describe the Spyderco Delica to a tee. With a slim profile and incredible ergos, the Spyderco Delica has been a fan favorite for many years.
If you’re looking for a new everyday carry blade that you can depend on for a lifetime, keep reading!
Spyderco Delica Specifications:
|Specification Type||Specification Detail|
|Overall length||7.125 inches|
|Closed Length||4.25 inches|
|Blade Length||2.875 inches|
|Blade Thickness||.093 inches|
|Blade Deployment||Spyderco Round Hole Opener|
|Locking Mechanism||Back Lock|
|Pocket Clip Orientation||Tip-Up/Tip-Down, Right or Left Hand|
|Country of Origin||Japan|
In its three decades of production, the Delica has seen many variants and sprint runs. In addition to the current “standard” FRN scales and VG-10 blade, the Delica has been produced with stainless steel and G10 scale options with many premium blade steels such as S30V and M390.
There are a TON of aftermarket mods for the Delica as well. Let’s dive into some details!
As the name implies, the current series of Delica is the 4th configuration that Spyderco has released. In 1990, Spyderco first introduced the Delica with an FRN (Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon) handle and an FRN pocket clip.
Several years later in 1996 Spyderco released the Delica II with a stainless steel handle and pocket clip utilizing AUS-6 blade steel. After continued success, Spyderco updated the Delica again in 1999.
The third generation of the Delica went back to its famous FRN scales but kept the stainless steel clip from the Delica II. The Delica “3” as it were also added the option for left-handed users to flip the clip around for more comfortable carry.
Finally, in its current configuration, the Delica 4 features an FRN handle, a four-way reversible pocket clip, and updated steel. The Delica 4 was released in 2006 and has not seen an update since then (other than the very long list of exclusive sprint runs that is!)
Spyderco Delica Review
- Strong Lock.
- Extremely Lightweight.
- Spyderco Lifetime Warranty.
- Fits many different hand sizes.
- Comes in a multitude of color and blade combos
- The pocket clip can be better.
- Aftermarket parts can be expensive depending on the look you’re going for
I have owned my Delica for a couple of years now and this blade has never let me down. Most standard models of the Delica feature VG-10 blade steel, but there have been a large number of sprint runs produced by Spyderco that feature premium blade steels such as S30V, M390, and HAP40.
These models typically cost a bit more but maybe worth it to some.
VG-10 blade steel is enough for “most” users. Its corrosion resistance and ease of sharpening has made VG-10 a steel knife companies have used for decades. Edge retention and toughness ranks “medium” on the charts but unless you’re trying to chop down trees in the forest VG-10 will serve you well for a lifetime.
The Delica has been produced with several blade shapes and the option for partial serrations, but I chose the Full Flat Grind option when I purchased mine. “FFG” blades are known for their ease of slicing. They are also incredibly easy to sharpen due to a straight angle from the spine of the blade to the edge.
Many of my knives are primarily used for opening letters and packages, but my Delica has found its way to be one of my preferred food prep knives. The Delica’s full flat ground blade makes cutting up fruits and veggies a breeze.
Cleaning is also a not an issue due to the VG-10’s incredible corrosion resistance.
The Delica features an incredibly grippy set of FRN handle scales. FRN, or Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon, is lightweight and a great material for those looking for ultimate traction. Spyderco added its patented Bi-Direction Texturing onto the face of the Delica’s scales for added traction and boy are they secure in your hand!
Although somewhat difficult to see until you get up close and personal, Spyderco included milled stainless steel liners to the Delica for durability and rigidity. These steel liners do not add much weight but make the Delica that much more durable for those who are a little tougher on their knives.
For those who enjoy adding a bit of flair to their everyday carry pieces, Spyderco included a lanyard hole on the Delica. It’s a good thing that I’m not a huge lanyard guy because the Delica’s lanyard hole isn’t large enough for standard paracord to fit.
I’ve seen a handful of users add thinner cordage for lanyards but Spyderco definitely could have done a better job and enlarged the lanyard hole a bit to fit a wider variety of cordage options.
Thankfully, just about every piece on the Delica can be exchanged for custom parts including the hardware.
My personal Delica is still sporting stock scale screws and pivot, but many companies across the web have introduced custom titanium pivot and scale screws to add some flair to your new favorite blade. Utilizing the standard Torx T6 and T8 screws, swapping these out is a no-brainer for a simple mod!
Look, Feel & Ergonomics
I’ll admit that the Delica isn’t the best looking knife on the market. But it DOES look pretty damn good! There’s a beautiful simplicity to the Delica that I can’t quite explain. It’s a no-frills blade that you’ll use day in and day out.
As mentioned previously in the article the Delica’s handle scales are insanely secure in your hand. Spyderco’s Bi-Directional Texturing locks the Delica into your hand without being overly aggressive. There is also a jimping cut into the spine side of the scales which aids in traction as well!
I typically wear size Large gloves and the Delica fits my hand perfectly. There are two small “cutouts” in the scales without being dedicated finger grooves. For my size Large hands, my index and middle fingers fit into the first “cutout” while my ring finger fits in the second “cutout.”
My pinky sits perfectly on the last little bit of the scales. Due to Delica’s design, it is easy for those with large and small hands alike to fit the Delica comfortably.
In addition to the incredible jimping cut into the handle scales, Spyderco was generous enough to add jimping to the spine of the blade. Jimping is always hit or miss when it comes to pocket knives. There is either a total lack of jimping (boo!) or the jimping feels like an afterthought to the design.
Thankfully neither are the case on the Delica.
Due to the blade’s shape, there is a perfect ramp to add jimping to and Spyderco has got theirs down to a science. Sharp enough to add traction but not so sharp that you’re going to cut your thumb when using the knife.
Deployment & Lockup
Traditionally, the Delica utilizes the patented Spyderco Round Hole opening feature. First introduced in 1990, the Delica (and its bigger brother the Endura) was WAY ahead of its time. Spyderco was one of (if not the first) to introduce pocket knives that could be both opened and closed with a single hand.
If the Delica is your first experience with “thumb hole openers” it may take a little bit of getting used to compared to more traditional thumb studs or flipper tabs. My first Spyderco was the budget-friendly Tenacious many years ago.
It took me about a week to perfect the “Spydie Flick” but once I got it down pat I could open and close just about any Spyderco with lightning-fast speed.
The Delica features a traditional back lock design. I’ll be honest I typically prefer the Compression Lock found on more expensive Spydercos, but there is just something about using a back lock that makes me feel more confident when it comes to lock strength.
Knowing that it is nearly impossible to accidentally close the Delica during any day to day tasks is definitely reassuring.
Lockup on the Delica is excellent. Even after years of opening and tearing down packages and countless apples and oranges being sliced up, the Delica displays no blade play.
Once you get the knife broken in you can easily open and close the knife with one hand similar to Spyderco’s Compression Lock. There’s no need to worry about putting your fingers in the blade’s path when closing due to the Delica’s back lock!
Fit & Finish
As you would expect with any Spyderco you pick up, the Delica’s fit and finish is superb. Quality control and the best parts available on the market are all you will see on any form of the Delica you purchase.
Attention to detail is a major factor in the knife community. From the quality of the materials to the ease of use and ergonomics, Spyderco has been a long-standing household name for anyone who collects knives.
In its stock configuration the Delica’s clip is lacking for me. As a matter of fact most Spyderco clips are not for me. Thankfully, companies like MXG Gear make an excellent deep carry clip for many Spyderco’s including the Delica.
The stock clip on the Delica forces the handle to stick out a good ¼” above the pocket line of most pants which can cause the knife to fall out if you move around a lot or are wearing anything other than jeans. I try to find deep carry clips for all of my knives and the Delica was the first on the list to get a new one from MXG Gear.
Other than the knife sticking out of the pocket just a bit, there is nothing wrong with the quality of the stock Spyderco clip. Most of them have a nice matte black coating on them. I just prefer deep carry clips for just about every knife I own.
As mentioned previously the Delica can be outfitted with custom parts. Just about anything you need for your Delica can be found from MXG, Lynch, Flytanium, and custom makers all over the web.
I plan on getting some aftermarket titanium screws soon for some added flair and to personalize my Delica just a bit.
I have seen some cool Delica’s on the internet and options include Micarta and G10 handle scales, modified blades, and a wide variety of pocket clips. If you’re looking for a knife that won’t break the bank that you can be fully customized, look no further than the Delica 4.
What are The Alternatives to Spyderco Delica
The Delica 4 has been a long-standing competitor in the fight for primary pocket time for nearly 15 years. Newer and “better” steels have been introduced, a modest variety of handle scale materials, and innovative lock types have come to the market in recent years but the Delica has stood the test of time. That doesn’t mean it comes without some competition.
After the Delica 4 was released in 2006 it took Spyderco 10 years to release what everyone had been longing for since its big brother was released: the Para 3. The Para 3 takes everything users love about the classic Paramilitary 2 and shrunk it down by roughly 15%.
A Compression Lock, S30V blade steel, and G10 handle scales make the Para 3 a fierce competitor to the Delica for sure. However, its higher price tag and newer-to-the-market Compression Lock can be a turn-off for some potential buyers on a budget.
Don’t get me wrong, the Para 3 is a FANTASTIC blade, but the Delica will suit the bill for a larger variety of folks looking to get into the lightweight folding game.
A fairly new company compared to Spyderco, Western Active has formulated a steal of a blade called the Honey Badger. The Honey Badger comes in three sizes and comparable in both size and weight to the Delica. Notable differences include a less premium steel (8CR13MOV,) a dedicated finger choil and finger groove, and a flipper tab.
The Honey Badger is also a great competitor for those on an extremely tight budget, but it has not been out long enough compared to the Delica to determine if it is truly a worthy competitor in the durability and warranty departments.
Whether you are a life-long knife collector or looking to buy your first blade for everyday use, the Spyderco Delica 4 is a wonderful choice that will last you a lifetime.
With its lightweight and ergonomic handle and its razor-sharp Full Flat Grind blade, it will suit most people for anything in day to day tasks.
And if you’re not a fan of the pocket clip or want to change out the FRN scales to something more “you” there are plenty of options to customize it to your liking. From children to adults alike, the Delica 4 is a must-have for everyone.