So just a couple observations on this new CQI and some long winded random thoughts....
I started getting really paranoid about rust in the pivot and around the tang where I can't see it, so I decided to take it apart and give it a good coating of Tuf Glide. I had been dropping excessive amounts of TG into the pivot hoping that I get good coverage, but I decided to see for myself. I can live with spot rust on the blade, but the pivot and lock face need to stay squeaky clean.
First, the pivot screws are tighter than any knife screws I've ever dealt with. I don't know what thread locker they use in there but it took a pair of pliers holding the torx bit to carefully break it loose without stripping it. This made me very thankful for the larger screws. Once again I should have tried heating the screw up before hand, but I got it loose in the end. If you're having problems loosening your pivot screw, I would suggest trying to heat the screw a little bit with a soldering iron to help break the thread locker. At least with the screws being larger (I believe mine checked in at a whopping T15) they'll be less likely to strip.
On that note, it also appears to be the largest pivot screw I've seen in a Spyderco knife. They may have used larger screws in other knives like the Tuff or Tatanka, but I've never taken those apart so I can't say for sure. It definitely looked larger overall than the previous pivot, both in diameter of the actual pivot pin/bushing and in outside screws, but I also didn't take my other Military apart to compare. I know some are let down by the loss of the domed pivot because of aesthetic reasons, but this pivot is no doubt stronger than the previous design and that's never a bad thing. I'll take a stronger pivot over a prettier one any day.
The new liner design is very cool also. I didn't get pics because there are already some in this thread somewhere, but the non lock side looks completely updated and has a very large cutout to reduce weight. I'm impressed with that because these liners are already small for this size knife so going the extra mile to skeletonize them is a bonus. The liner design in this knife is what I wish we could see out of every knife made in the future...just enough to get the job done, but no more than that. There's no need to have a full scale-sized skeletonized liner, it's just excess material/machining/cost. This liner could very easily be extended down the rest of the length of the handle to allow for a tapping point for a 4 way clip option, and I really hope that's what we see in the Military 2 because if that knife has full liners like the Para 2, I'm going to be really let down. This iteration of the Military is about as perfect as it can get.
The floating stop pin is pure genius. I even like how it looks from the outside of the knife. I think this design would be perfect for a compression lock, because it could allow the pin to rotate with use, which could prevent sticky compression locks and possibly even extend the wear life of the compression lock.
Something about the larger scale screws and lanyard tube has changed the look of the knife overall. To me it looks much more balanced now. The handle doesn't look so huge anymore. I'm somewhat torn on the loss of the back spacer though. On one hand I think I will always prefer open construction knives, but on the other hand that spacer did serve a purpose beyond the construction of the knife...it gave your palm a more comfortable spot to press into when making hard cuts. On open back knives if you're really using a knife hard, you can end up with a hot spot from your skin pressing inside the knife and onto the sharp edges of the inside of the scales. That little back spacer was enough to create a more broad area to displace the pressure of your hand. What would really be cool is to design a G10 spacer that can snap in and out over top of the standoffs, so you could pop it out for cleaning and then snap it back into place for use.
Overall I'm extremely happy with this knife, both with the CQI changes and the steel. I'm in love with the steel...I've never experienced a steel that is so easy to sharpen and takes such a keen edge. As far as sharpening goes, I'm always open to the possibility that my experiences with one steel or another could just be my ever evolving sharpening skills, and the fact that I've never been able to get another steel as sharp as this could just be where I need to hone my technique with other steels, but there is definitely something special about this steel and the way it takes an edge. I know I'm far from an expert when it comes to sharpening, but I've been very happy with the edges I get and they are always sharper than anything I get from even the best factory edges, but what I'm getting on this steel is on another level. Again, this could just be my experiences and shortcomings when sharpening other steels and may have nothing to do with 52100 itself, but I also suspect that many people will have similar experiences as I'm having. I would be shocked to hear someone say they dislike how this steel sharpens and takes an edge.
SHARPEN IT LIKE YOU LOVE IT, USE IT LIKE YOU HATE IT