Recently I asked for a C95 sprint run.
Some members were confused why I'd want to bring back the heavier version, with its thicker handle and 4mm blade stock. This post will compare the two versions of the Manix, and attempt to explain the magic of the C95 to those who have never handled one.
Note: If I say "Manix," I am referring to the full sized versions, not the Manix 2 or Mini-Manix
C95 Manix - https://www.spyderco.com/catalog/detail ... roduct=165
C95G2 Manix XL - https://www.spyderco.com/catalog/detail ... roduct=711
There are lots of great knives, lots of great Spydercos. Why the Manix? What's the appeal?
ergonomics in Spydercos line-up, extreme lock security, extreme grip security and incredibly efficient slicing abilities in a package compact enough to EDC.
Looking at the two models, there are many differences:
- Lockback VS Caged Ball Bearing Lock
- Subtle spine jimping VS jimping all over the handle
- 4mm blade VS 3.2mm blade
- Satin finish PE or CE VS PE in satin or DLC
- 4-way squared clip VS tip up hourglass clip
- 95mm blade VS 98mm
- More subtle thumb ramp VS sharper thumb ramp
- Thick G10 slabs VS thinner G10
- 6.1oz VS 5.2 oz
There are a few other minor differences, but nothing of note.
The XL has a slightly longer blade in a thinner, lighter handle.
The pocket clips reflecting the different eras of release.
In most cases I welcome weight reduction. It's one reason I prefer the Police 4 to the 3. However, I don't think every knife necessarily needs to be thin and light. The C95 won't be my choice for summer IWB carry in lightweight shorts, but I already have that role filled with the Pacific Salt.
Both types of knives have their place. Both the Chap and Shaman exist for a reason. Sometimes you want thin and light. Sometimes you want a thick, meaty handle.
The thing is, when I carry any
Manix, a big, meaty handle is what I want. The extra width enhances
the design. The Shaman wouldn't be the same knife with thinned out scales either. While I do prefer the trimmer weight of the XL, the thick handle on the C95 is ergonomically superior.
I would go as far to say that the C95, for my grip, is the most comfortable folding knife I have ever used.
Any era, any price, any company or maker, any size.
Today I received a C95 in the mail, after not owning one for a decade, and the instant I held it I understood why I missed it so much.
Comparing the C95 to the XL, here's why I find the former more ergonomic:
1. Handle thickness. As I recently learned comparing the Police 4 to the Police 4 LW, adding a little extra thickness to the handle makes it more ergonomic. The extra width of the C95 makes it more palm filling.
2. The lack of jimping. The jimping is pointless given the U shape of the grip. Your hand will not be at risk of slipping without it. Both knives have an ergonomic shape
, but the C95 feels luxurious while the XL feels mildly offensive due to excessive jimping.
3. Superior thumb ramp. It's wider. The horn of the ramp is more rounded. It is set at a more subtle angle. The overall result is less strain on my thumb. The thumb ramp on the XL always felt off to me in an otherwise ergonomic masterpiece. The C95 did it better.
4. Steel back spacer. While the open back construction of the second generation was instrumental in achieving a nearly 1oz weight reduction, I find closed back knives more comfortable.
Comparing the thumb ramps. NOTE: there was a CQI C95 that had finer jimping.
Comparing the jimping.
To the best of my knowledge, the Manix was the strongest lockback when it was released, and to the best of my knowledge, it still is. Spyderco developed a machine to break locks and record how much force is required to break them.
Sal reported that the lockback found in the original Chinook, which the C95 is built similar to, broke their lock breaking machine!
Look at how the C95 makes my Tasman Salt look like a toy when you compare their lock bars:
That is a stout
Here is a look inside:
Here is the C95 lock release compared to a Police 4 G10, Pacific Salt, and the Tasman Salt:
Let's talk about the locks.
Regulars here know I refuse to carry detent based locks. I only carry locks with a self close. The lockback and Caged ball bearing lock are two examples of locks with self closing action.
I enjoy both locks. Both are smooth, easy to operate one handed, and I feel confident they will stand up to anything a folding knife should.
Here are GIFs of how I operate both locks:
NOTE: Currently I am more fluid with the XL since I have carried it the past few weeks, and I haven't operated a C95 in a decade, but in time I'll be equally proficient
Both locks have their pros and cons.
I find the lockback has a smoother arc of travel, stronger self close, and the lack of CBBL release tabs make the handle a touch more comfortable. However the necessity of steel reinforcing the lockbar spring means the lockback adds to the weight, and there is mild lock rock.
The CBBL is easier to open (Con for me, plus for most), has a slightly weaker self close, exhibits zero play, and will appeal to the fidget crowd more. It can be fun pulling the tab back and swinging the blade open and shut.
Two concerns members here brought up in my C95 sprint thread were the weight and blade stock thickness. Let's discuss weight first.
Everyone has their own idea of what is too heavy for EDC. If I'm wearing a belt, my limit seems to be around 6.5-7oz. I find my Szabo Folder (7oz) and Leatherman Wave+ (8.5oz) too heavy to want to carry every day. I don't find my Manix XL (5.2oz), the C95 (6.1oz), or Police 3 (4.9oz) to be too heavy to carry daily.
For my preferences, the C95 is as stout as a folder can be without feeling cumbersome.
It strikes a great balance.
The C95 features a 4mm full flat ground blade of S30V with a full distal taper. I don't have the tools to give you specific BTE numbers, but I can tell you the knife cuts well. Both versions slice very efficiently, and I say this as a fan of thin blades and extra thin reprofiled edges. There has never been a time I've tried to cut something with either model and found their performance lacking.
You have to consider how tall the blades are. Coupling the blade height with a full flat grind means the cutting edge terminates to very thin dimensions.
Despite their thickness at the spine they'll still cut circles around most large one handed folders. In fact, my first Spyderco, a saber ground Delica, cut much worse. There's more to blade performance then one measurement may suggest.
For the record, I love both versions of the Manix. They each do certain things better than the other. But if I had to choose one, it would be the C95 hands down.
If I could mix features from each model, I'd have a C95 with a DLC option, the modern clip, and shave 1mm width from the blade while widening the G10 to keep the overall width the same (Assuming it doesn't increase the weight).
In conclusion, the appeal of the C95 Manix for me is that it is the most comfortable folding knife, with the strongest implementation of my favorite lock, in a package that cuts efficiently and carries comfortably. It is a knife that makes no comprises while not demanding you make any.
I sure would like to see a sprint!