1.I am not a native English speaker, so please forgive me mistakes.
2.Both knives were modded somehow: on Chief I did some contouring on the handle and I added a sharpening choil. I added sharpening choil on P4 too.
3.In 2019 Police 4 G10 got discontinued, and that makes this comparison a bit useless.
Overview and construction
This comparison is not going to be a bunch of numbers and measurements. I want to give MY opinions on both models.
Both models are kinda large folders, but for me they are perfect size for EDC. Both have mid-lockback, black G10 as a handle and a ton of blade length crammed into the handle.
Chief has a linerless construction and a bit bigger hardware. P4 has full sceletonized liners and hardware that makes me think why they are using T6 screws on the handle. I would like to see bigger screws on P4 but oh well. In terms of quality, Golden made Chief is a bit nicer. P4 has a rougher grind, a bit worse blade centering and liners that are very rough on the inside.
Full liners on P4 looks cool, but I would like to see it in linerless G10 as a Chief. Upcoming P4 LW model is going to have FRN construction but I cant comment more on that model because I dont have it (if you want to send me one I´ll take it
Chief has a 4 inch and P4 almost 4,5 inch blade. Actual cutting edge is around 0,5 inch less. Both of them has a 50/50 finger choil for chocking up.
Apart from length, the biggest difference is that P4 has a hump on the blade and Chief is one continues curve from the handle to the tip of the edge. I think that humpless blade gives you a bit more option to hold the knife, because your thumb can sit pretty much everywhere on the blade and you are not going to feel crammed. Also using a choil is easier for me on Chief, because of the lack of hump.
Dont get me wrong, I like to rest my thumb against the ramp on P4, but I like the smooth blade on Chief a tiny bit better.
Oh yeah, and the choils are different too, Chief has a deeper one and P4 is a bit shallower. But for my fingers are both comfortable enough.
Both blades has a distal taper and fairy thin point and both have excellent characteristic in actual cutting things. I mean, there is really no point using a thicker stock then 3/3,2 mm on folders when your main job is going to be cutting and slicing things. And this is really what these two excel, precisely cutting everything you want, from cardboard to tomatoes.
In terms of steel, P4 has an excellent K390, which has scary aggression and keep that edge for a long time. Its not that hard to sharpen, but if you raise a big burr, you can be in trouble.
S30V on Chief is proven stainless and there is just nothing wrong with it. Its just not a flavour of the month anymore.
This is the point where Sal´s philosophy of designing in the dark really shines. Both knives has excellent handles with no hot-spots for me and they are comfortable even in longer cutting sessions. I cut a lot of cardboard and also whittled a lot of wood and I felt no discomfort.
What I don´t really understand is why the Chief´s handle is not rounded more from factory. You have that nice cutout where your index finger sits but the rest of the handle is pretty much squared. After I modded the handle is much nicer to hold.
P4 handle is very slim and less hand-filling, but I felt no discomfort in using the knife. It is also a bit longer, so I have some space left on the butt of the handle. Chief is really as long as my hand, so person with fatter fingers could prefer P4.
Opening, closing, carry
In opening the clear winner is P4. Larger hole that is not obscured by the handle is just pleasure to use.
When you want to close the knife, winner is clearly the Chief, mainly because the spring is a bit weaker and its not made from 1980 Toyota Land Cruiser rear leaf spring (really, P4 spring is THAT much bigger) and the lockbar is a bit wider. Also the blade drop free on Chief (to a certain point)- I think its because of the different pivots.
Both knives carried very well in tip up config. Chief has a less footprint in the pocket, but neither of them are that obscuring and I can comfortably carry ma phone and knife in the same pocket. Both are using standard spoon clip which could be reposition to left/right hand tip up/down config.
Which one is better? Well, I cant cay, because I like them both. If you want larger lock-back from Spyderco, these two are a perfect choice. Both have that classic Spyderco looks and they beg to be carried and used.
In the pocket: Chaparral FRN, Native Chief, Police 4 K390, Pacific Salt SE, Manix 2 G10 REX45
On belt: Waterway