Spyderco offers a renowned collection of knives, many of them carried by servicemembers, first responders, and everyday carry (EDC) enthusiasts alike. However, the premier US knife manufacturer also releases quite a few collaborations with custom knifemakers, many of which are popular novelties. One of the most peculiar ones I’ve come across recently is their Dog Tag Folder. Sypderco collaborated with custom knifemaker, Serge Panchenko, and originally released the first Dog Tag Folder in 2014. The knife went through several redesigns and the current Gen4 Dog Tag was released last year in 2017. As its name suggests, the Dog Tag Folder resembles a military dog tag, both in size and shape. At first glance, it may lack some practicality but the Dog Tag is not without its unique merit.
Spyderco Dog Tag Folder Gen4 Specifications
- Overall Length: 3.23″ (82mm)
- Blade Length: 1.18″ (30mm)
- Steel: CTS BD1
- Closed Length:2.05″ (52mm)
- Edge Length: 1.18″ (30mm)
- Weight: 0.9oz (26g)
- Blade Thickness: 0.118″ (3.0mm)
- Handle: Aluminum
- Lock Type: Slipjoint
- Grind: Saber
- Origin: Taiwan
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The Gen4 Dog Tag features aluminum handle scales with a blade made of CTS-BD1 stainless steel, a steel made specifically for Spyderco. CTS-BD1 is comparable to 154CM except that it is criticized for its edge retention. However, I don’t mind the steel choice at all as 1.) Spyderco has a superb reputation in their heat-treatment process, one they aren’t going to risk by manufacturing a subpar knife and 2.) I wouldn’t use this knife as my primary EDC or a work knife anyways, it isn’t designed to be one. Instead, the Dog Tag fills the role of a backup knife incredibly well.
What I like about the Dog Tag is its minimalist design. This is a folder that anyone can add to their loadout and no one is going to complain about the additional weight and space. Its best use is as a backup knife or your EDC in places where a little discretion is necessary. That’s it, simple, what you see is what you get. In a market overrun with ads about all the latest and greatest gear, there’s something to like about simplicity.
There are however a couple potential cons I noticed. The Dog Tag is a non-locking knife and is instead held in place by a ball-bearing detent. This means the detent will hold the knife in its open and closed positions, but slight pressure on the spine of the blade will force it closed. While it isn’t a dealbreaker, be wary that the blade can close on you. Aside from that, the only real con I can see is that the handle of the knife extends past the blade’s edge. Since the Dog Tag is already such a short knife, I would have liked to see the edge flushed with the handle to maximize its cutting efficiency.
The Dog Tag Folder may have piqued your interest because of its unique design but it may have also raised questions about how practical of a folder it really is. I’m glad to give you a little reassurance that the Dog Tag is a worthy consideration to your knife collection. In the Dog Tag Folder, you have a backup knife that doesn’t take up much room or add too much weight to your loadout. It’s a neck knife that doesn’t ever get in the way, one that you’ll hardly even notice it’s there. You’ll also have a hard time finding another folder that’s as concealable as the Dog Tag is, just based on how small it actually it is. MSRP for the Dog Tag Gen4 runs for $99.95, but as all knives on the market, you can find it for less from various retailers. It’s a fun novelty knife by Spyderco that most of us enthusiasts will enjoy.