A number of years ago I took a Defensive Folding Knife class from Insights Training Center. While there isn’t one specific knife that works, without question the Spyderco Delica comes out as about the ideal knife for such application. As a result of that class, I’ve carried 2 Delicas every day ever since.
Recently I’ve been looking at alternatives to the Delica. The main motivation? Recent life changes may influence my every day carry (EDC), and it’s possible I could find myself in an unexpected situation that requires loss of the knife (e.g. I have to suddenly throw it away, or stash it and risk being unable to recover it). While the Delica isn’t the most expensive of knives ($70-ish), having to replace 2 ($140) is something I’d rather avoid if I can.
I have looked at other brands and styles of knives, but over the years I really haven’t found myself liking many other options on the market. There are a lot of things I like about Spyderco knives, but the biggest thing is the big opener hole. For me, nothing else works as well to facilitate one-handed opening. Most other manufacturers use pegs, and while pegs work they just haven’t worked as well. There’s leverage issues, slop issues (e.g. if you don’t hit it “just right”), gloves, etc.. The opener hole works nicely. That said, I recently play with a Benchmade 550 and found it acceptable, but again it was the hole vs. the peg. I digress.
In looking for a Delica alternative, a natural choice was the Byrd Meadowlark. This knife is the “cheap clone” of the Delica. And at about $25, replacing 2 at $50 – vs. replacing even 1 Delica at $70 – is a little easier to stomach.
Obviously Spyderco had to make a lot of manufacturing choices to meet that price-point. The steel isn’t as good, but it’s still a pretty good steel. The profile and overall form factor is more or less the same as the Delica, but if you notice there is a finger choil on the Meadowlark. In the hand, the Meadowlark does feel “cheaper” than the Delica, but overall still feels quite serviceable and switching between the two knives generally feels the same (the choil throws me off a little bit, but no big deal).
Of course, the opener hole is a big issue for me, and this being my first Byrd knife I wondered if the gimmicky “bird” profile of the hole would be an issue. So far it hasn’t!
For sure, the Meadowlark isn’t as refined a knife as the Delica, but so far I have no qualms about it. While I don’t need to carry the Meadowlark right now, I am so I can look for any issues in carrying it and daily use. And yes, that even means things like opening letters. I know some people frown upon using “self-defense knives” for daily chores but I have no problem with doing so; in fact, I prefer it because it gives me repetitions at working the knife. So the blade gets dull: that’s what a sharpener is for. Yes, some knives I carry are geared towards specific purposes and I keep them for just those purposes. But a knife like the Delica or Meadowlark? That’s a useful tool with many potential applications, so I have no qualms about using it.
If anything, getting this new Meadowlark has shown me how worn out my Delicas are.
We’ll see where the Meadowlark goes, but initial impressions as an inexpensive daily carry folder are positive.
Special thanks to Vita Felice Photography for taking the pictures of my knives. Vita Felice Photography is Daughter’s photography business. Check it out! 🙂