I received my Smock last Thursday and have been carrying it exclusively since then. I was very excited for this one prior to its release, but I have to admit, I've had some mixed feelings about it since getting it in hand. Here are some of my thoughts, good and bad..
-Fit and finish are typical Taichung perfect.. no issues at all there.. centering, lockup, etc.. all perfect.. the Smock is a beautifully crafted knife and I don't think that anyone can argue with that.
-The action is smooth as butter right out of the box - deployment is easy via flipper tab* or thumb hole opener, and the button-compression lock seems to work great, allowing the blade to pretty well drop shut with ease.
-As others have mentioned, my Smock arrived with a surgical degree of sharpness right out of the box.. I expect all knives, especially Spydercos, to be functionally sharp out of the box.. but wow!.. the Smock is just impressively sharp!
-Carryability is great with the Smock - I put an MXGGear deep carry clip on my knife - it fits well. Because the overall profile of the knife is so narrow, it takes up very little space in the pocket, which is nice compared to something like, say a Manix.
- *one caveat to my "easy deployment via flipper tab" comment would be that I was very surprised to see that there were no jimping on the flipper tab. The finish on the flipper tab's surface is very smooth.. in practice, I haven't found this to hinder deployment as often as I thought it would, but I do feel that sometimes my finger slips off of the tab prematurely and the blade does not fully deploy; this is easily remedied by a flick of the wrist, as the knife's action is so smooth, but still, it is something that I've observed happen during use. If your hands are wet (rain, food prep, etc.) I imagine this would be more of an issue. I would have liked to have seen some jimping, or maybe even a just a more rough finish on that contact surface of the flipper tab to provide more purchase during deployment.
-I hesitate to say this, because it's something that is so subjective and I'm sure that others will have differing opinions, but.. in my opinion.. the Smock is among the least ergonomic Spydercos that I've handled. I have pretty large hands.. not crazy large, but L/XL glove size.. and find that the overall slim profile of the Smock's handle has a difficult time filling up my hand in a way that is comfortable to me.. but somehow at the same time, the section of the handle near the pivot is just a little bit too "blocky." I understand this is necessary to facilitate the positioning of the flipper tab, but it makes the handle feel lop-sided to me, being being thicker at the pivot and narrowing throughout its length rather than the other way around. My index and middle fingers feel ok against the pivot section (albeit a little blocky) and choil in the handle, but my ring and pinky fingers struggle to hold on to the narrow section of the handle beneath the choil because there is just not enough handle there to fill up my grip. I also think this happens because the handle is so straight.. if if was just a little bit curved, all of my fingers would be able to get a better purchase on it. Idk if I've explained that well enough for it to make sense to anybody or not.. Again, I suppose it's a very subjective thing.. feel free to tell me I'm a crazy person, I won't hold it against you..
- The "faux choil" in the blade - from a design standpoint, I get why this is here - it needs to be to accommodate the button-comp lock. But from a usability perspective.. the thing just scares me. I feel like its just a matter of time before I try to choke up my grip and get poked by the blade..
I do actually really like the Smock. It is undeniably cool and I like the looks of the knife a lot. For my gripes over the ergos, it's really not that bad to get a grip on and use safely.. it wouldn't be my choice for a hard/extended use knife, but for general edc use, it will certainly get the job done. It's just not as comfortable to me as other Spydercos that I own and will probably end up eventually getting bumped from my pocket for this reason.
I do appreciate the innovation that went into the this knife.. the compact flipper tab and button-comp lock are impressive, even at the expense of some added blockiness in the pivot section of the handle and diminished blade length. I have read often on this forum about Spyderco's "design in the dark" philosophy.. I feel like there were maybe some lights on in the room when the Smock was designed. To me, it feels like this knife was designed around the button-comp lock and flipper tab more so than the hands of the end user. Not to say this is a bad thing.. they are really neat features.. just maybe don't expect a knife that is as comfortable in the hand as a Manix or Stretch or PM2 or Para 3 or Delica or Native and so on, etc..
Anyways, this is getting a little long-winded.. Thanks all for entertaining my ramblings..
I hope you enjoy your Smocks!
..well, that escalated quickly..