One thing that struck me when I first started getting into pocket knives was how much certain knives cost “because the blades are made from premium steel” like M390 or S35VN or Elmax. Large production brands like Benchmade or Spyderco were charging a premium for their knives and users justified the expense by saying they were made from premium steel.
Then by chance, a few months ago, I ran across the Asher Knives brand in a forum and people were talking about how this guy was making knives with premium steel at budget prices, under $100. Seeing that, I went to the site, and sure enough, the Nomad 3.0 with an M390 blade was only $90. WTF?!!! I wanted to get one then and there.
The only problem was that every single one of his knives was sold out. So I did the next best thing and signed up for an email notification. But as these things go, I didn’t pay too much attention to it, and frankly, completely forgot that I signed up.
Then last weekend, while I was perusing the knife forums and retailers, drooling over the great knives I was finding, knowing I’d never spend that much for a pocket knife, I remembered Asher Knives. So I went to the site, and lo and behold, there were a few Spiro’s available! And without hesitation, I sprung for a Black G10 with a stonewashed finish.
I was expecting it to arrive this coming Monday (6/27/22), but I found it in my mailbox yesterday! What a pleasant surprise! I’ve only used it minimally in the past 18 hours that I’ve had it, so this is going to be more of a “first impressions” article rather than a review. But thus far, I’m digging the knife! Here are the specs:
- Open Length: Approx. 7.4″
- Closed Length: Approx. 4.2″
- Blade Length: Approx. 3.2″
- Blade Type: Drop Point
- Blade Material: S35VN/Stone Washed Finish & Black Finish
- Handle Material: G10
- Spacer Material: G10
- Pivot Washers: Brass Caged Ceramic Bearings
- Fasteners: Stainless Steel
- Pocket Clip: Stainless Steel
- Thickness: .44″
- Blade Thickness: Approx .09″
- Price: $75.00!!!!!
S35VN for $75.00! That pricing goes against the flow of the entire pocket knife industry and at least to me, redefines the whole concept of “budget.” And to be clear, the build quality of this knife is insane, easily rivaling the build quality you’d expect out of the high-end production houses.
The blade is perfectly centered. The detente is perfect to me, holding the blade in place in my pocket, but still allowing easy deployment using either my thumb or a reverse flick. The contoured G10 scales have a great feel to them, and while the clip is a little on the tight side, it’s mounted for a nice, deep carry.
Not only that, the knife was super sharp out of the box and after I stropped it, became absolutely wicked sharp. The stone-washed finish really brings out the grain structure of the steel, and it’s super-fine.
As far as ergonomics are concerned, it feels great in my hand. The slight depression to access the liner lock provides lots of stability. Though there’s no jimping on the blade’s spine, I don’t feel as if my hand will slip. The handle size is perfect – at least for my hand – and it makes it so that the clip rests in the fold of my palm. No hot spots whatsoever. A really nice touch is how the clip mount is recessed into the body. But as the knife can be carried either righty or lefty, there is a plate that covers the unused side. It really cleans it up!
This knife would be twice the price if sold through a big name. In fact, other reviewers have likened the Nomad to Benchmade Bugout. While the Spiro doesn’t have the axis lock, it’s a similar shape to the Bugout. If you purchase directly from Benchmade, a Bugout with S30V and G10 scales lists at a whopping $175.00! As for the Nomad, its blade is made out of M390 and it only sells for a mere $90!!! It’s incredible to me that with all the justification for charging a higher price for the “premium steel,” there is a company like Asher that calls bullshit and charges super-accessible prices.
So how is Asher able to do this? From what I’ve heard Asher designs the knives here in the USA, then have the parts made in China. Once completed, they’re sent to the US where the knives are assembled by hand. This is all done by one guy. Frankly, I don’t care where the parts are made, or for that matter, whether or not the knife is assembled in the USA. All I know is that I have in my possession an excellent tool!
Is it perfect? Of course not. Nothing is. But it’s good. Damn good!. The only nit I might have is the grind at the butt-end of the blade. If you follow the plunge grind down to the edge, you can see how the bottom of the blade curves down, ever so slightly, almost like a bit of a recurve. I don’t know if that was intentional or not. But from a functional standpoint, it shouldn’t be a problem.
After I received the knife, I watched a few review videos and one guy grounded out a sharpening choil at the bottom of the plunge because he deemed that recurve a manufacturing flaw. But as with all the knives I get, I run them on my fine and extra fine stones and give them a strop with three different compounds. I can tell you this: That slight bit of recurve presents no problem at all. So maybe it was intentional. All I know is that the knife is frickin’ awesome!
If I had my druthers, I’d love to see this knife – or the Nomad – with a 3.5″ blade. I know that for many their sweet spot is 3″ for an EDC pocket knife. But there’s something about that extra 1/2″ for me, which is why my Civivi Elementum Button Lock has become one of my favorites. This takes nothing away from the Spiro. Purely on its merits, it’s an absolutely excellent knife and one I’m going to enjoy for years to come!