Knife Review: Spyderco Street Beat

This is a discussion on Knife Review: Spyderco Street Beat within the Defensive Knives & Other Weapons forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Greetings fellow knife knuts, As I have stated before, I have recently had the distinct pleasure of purchasing a Syderco Street Beat designed by the ...

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Thread: Knife Review: Spyderco Street Beat

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    Senior Member Array psychophipps's Avatar
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    Knife Review: Spyderco Street Beat

    Greetings fellow knife knuts,
    As I have stated before, I have recently had the distinct pleasure of purchasing a Syderco Street Beat designed by the relatively famous Fred Perrin. Fred is apparently an ex-commando and some sort of super-fiend knife/FMA trainer with quite a following out there in the tactical knife world for both designs and technique. I can honestly say that it all shows 100% in the design of this fantastic knife.

    Overview:
    The blade itself is of the excellent Japanese-made Spyderco-standard VG-10 steel in a beefy full-flat ground 5/32" thickness and 3-1/2" length. The handle has black Micarta scales in varying thickness to form a slightly concave/convex gripping surface on both sides that varies between approximately 1/2" and 5/8" thickness with a non-choil height of around 1" and 3-11/16" length. Superb fit and finish on all counts and the blade comes with a G-Clip kydex-type sheath without any rattle and a good fit around the blade. At just under 7-1/4" overall, the knife is easily concealed and the excellent sheath helps in this endeavor as evidenced by my wearing it under a t-shirt without any comment while at school.

    The Handle:
    What? The handle is first in the review's main sections? What about the great looks? Maybe the super-hawt blade steel? WTH?!?
    Yes, I am gleefully tossing the typical knife-rag review sequence on it's ear in the interest of correctness. You see, the bestest steels, the super-flyinest looks, the greatest designer names don't mean squat if you can't get a good grip on the bloody thing while you use the knife to do what knives do, cut stuff.
    As stated above, the handle is concave/convex black Micarta scales around a full-tanged 5/32" blade with an overall width of around 1/2" at the top of the handle right behind the finger choil and the 3/4 mark widening to around 5/8" at the half-way and butt of the grip where the stainless steel mounting pins are placed. The height of the grip explodes to a full 1" or so right after the Hugh Jass finger choil and stays fairly constant until it tapers towards the end of the grip 3-11/16" behind the beginning of the finger choil.
    When I first gripped the knife after pulling it from the box, I admit to being a bit unimpressed. The redunkulous finger choil and the immediate jump to the 1" height of rest of the handle felt all wonky in my hand. The deep finger choil struck me as a direct pandering to the saber grip crowd, seemed to make my preferred edge-up/blade-forward grip all but impossible, and made the Pikal grip even worse. The Micarta scales seemed a bit on the smooth side and I was concerned about a good grip in my typically sweaty hands that make the classic American firm, dry handshake all but an impossibility for me. In other words, I jumped to conclusions like an idiot.
    Once I calmed down a bit about dropping $144.63 to have a POS knife that I hated shipped to me and really started messing around with it, my initial impressions changed drastically. That huge finger choil started to tilt the knife handle into the nest of my palm and the tall handle forced me to grip the handle more effectively with my last three fingers in the blade-forward/edge-down grip. I have found that my preferred Hammer Grip suffers a tiny bit in blade-forward/edge-down hold but the Modified Filipino Grip is absolutely fantastic, as expected from a FMA stylist designer. The concave/convex Micarta panels effectively kept the handle firm in my soggy grip in both blade-forward/edge-up and Pikal grips if I held the handle down just a tad and ignored the choil. Heck, the choil and tall handle even really locked the handle into my grip if I held the knife in the much-despised blade-down/edge-out grip. The rounded pommel fits my thumb perfectly in both blade-down grips. The overall balance of the knife is fantastic in all grips and the handle gives good purchase during transitions between grips. All in all, one of the finest handle designs I have had the pleasure to hold onto.

    The Blade:
    The knife is of full-tang construction to give great strength and support to the act of cutting with this blade. 5/32" in thickness with it's greatest height at around 1-1/8" and 3-1/2" in length, this blade will last as long as you don't do anything retarded with it. Full-flat grind keeps a constant blade geometry during even deep cuts and the mini-bowie clip point geometry just looks like it was made for thrusting. A very nice and uniform jimping extends for a full 1-7/16" from the grip panels and combines with the 5/32" width of the blade spine for a firm, non-slip grip with my thumb using a Modified Filipino Grip. The blade came out of the box shaving sharp and cuts just dandy while doing normal kitchen cutting chores. I don't see this blade ever failing you as long as you keep it's true purpose in mind and keep from doing anything phenomenally stupid with it.

    The Sheath:
    This knife comes with a pretty nice G-Clipped Boltaron OWB Sheath. Boltaron is basically a product-improved kydex with superior toughness and other good bits that haven't really been explained to me so I'm taking it at face value. As I recently received a Spyderco Swick sheath made of the same stuff (and probably by the same maker if the style indicators are correct) and have been quite impressed. There were short area towards the bottom of the sheath on the top and bottom edges that were not uniformly pressed and melted together like the rest of the sheath but they don't seem to lead to any structural weakness. The G-clip is a simple polymer under hook that forms a tunnel for a belt but allows for unbelted mounting. Two diagonal lines of four holes form a "X" on the back of the clip and allow for the screws to be placed in a manner to allow for the full spectrum of eight vertical and diagonal carry angles without the bulk of a teklock. No rattles, no slippage, or other negative retention traits have been noticed.
    That said, I do have a single beef with the otherwise fantastic sheath and that is that it's too long in my opinion. The maker has designed the sheath with an extra 1/4" or so hanging off of the top so you can't get a good thumb thrust on the top of the sheath or your finger into a choil very well before you start to remove the knife from the sheath. I firmly believe that you need a good combat grip on the handle before you start to withdraw the knife in a conflict or during an emergency and the stock sheath really doesn't allow for this as well as it could. Of course, I was able to rectify this by simply taking this last 1/4" off the top with my buddy's band saw and some sand paper. Still no rattles or thumps and the knife deploys much better with a good grip now.

    The Straight Skinny:
    I am impressed as hell with this knife. It fits well in the hand and transitions easily into all the knife grips that I have trained with and use, it's made of great steel that came out of the box ridiculously sharp, it comes with a sheath that isn't perfect but is very easy to make closer to perfect, and can be found at a price point that is a bit high for some users but the sheer quality of the product should make them think that the extra scratch just might be worth it.
    I'm not an expensive knife guy. I have never spent more than $80+tax for a knife before this one. I am very glad that I spent a bit less than double that figure on the Spyderco Street Beat because it's as close to a perfect SD knife as I have found to date.
    Last edited by psychophipps; October 24th, 2009 at 10:15 PM. Reason: Adding and editting.

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    Senior Member Array psychophipps's Avatar
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    Thanks for the pics, QKShooter.

    I'll be making some of my own to add to a further post in a bit. Got busy getting everything ready for a friend's daughter's b-day party and had to cut it short.

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    Senior Member Array psychophipps's Avatar
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    Sorry about the hold-up on the pics here. Two album-ready sites gave me some security grief when I uploaded the pics.

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    Nice write up. That's a nice little fixed blade!

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    Senior Member Array psychophipps's Avatar
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    These are thumbnails. Click them to go to the full-size pictures.


    Modified Filipino Grip - It's pretty groovy and I'm playing around with it. Still prefer a Hammer Grip for now.


    Hammer Grip - My preferred traditional grip.


    Blade-Forward/Inverted-Edge Grip - My favorite grip.


    Pikal Grip - Good, but I don't like sticking out my elbow to stab forward. Ice picking is really nice with this one, though.


    Classic Trailing Blade Grip - I hate this grip sooo much!


    The Modified Sheath - I took the top 3/8" off of the stock sheath with a band saw and rounded the edges off with a bench grinder. Still has great retention and the sheath is much easier to draw from now. I keep it vertical and edge-back to help conceal it and because your first technique if you're backpedalling is to slash from what mercop has seen from his various courses. In a clinch my go-to blade is my cross-draw Swick so you don't need to worry, George.
    Last edited by psychophipps; October 29th, 2009 at 01:06 AM. Reason: Added thumbnail pics

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    Senior Member Array unloved's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by punk rocka View Post
    That's a nice little fixed blade!
    They are awfully pretty.

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    Senior Member Array psychophipps's Avatar
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    I find the looks to be a big bonus. I don't know about you guys, but I tend to find that the stuff that really works tends to look more like a tractor than a Ferrari.

    The fact that this Ferrari is a real working knife is a pretty dang cool. Add that the blades from Fred Perrin's actual workbench tend to look exponentially more tractor-like and I'm furthermore glad that Spyderco picked the design up and worked their magic on it.

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    Yes, this thread will quite possibly be the catalyst for the purchase of one of these. I just need to go count my wife's recent shoe purchases first, that way I am armed and dangerous when she asks about it

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    Ain't it just awful----so many NICE knives and so little time----"Doc"
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    VIP Member Array jbum's Avatar
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    SWEEEEEEET looking blade!!!

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    Senior Member Array psychophipps's Avatar
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    I know that I've been clubbing this horse for a bit now, but I just can't get over how well this knife was designed and manufactured. I have the joy of XL-length fingers and a L-width palm and this knife still fits my hands perfectly. Sharpness out of the box, top-notch steel construction, fantastic grip design and overall blade balance, good stock sheath...I just don't see how it's possible to do better than this at the same price point.

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    Member Array Kenny256's Avatar
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    How are you concealing that bad boy? or are you just walking around with it on your hip?
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    The Dalai Lama:"If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun."

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    Isn't that an illegal carry knife in WA?
    A traffic ticket is formal recognition of a lapse in situational awareness.

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    Senior Member Array psychophipps's Avatar
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    T-shirt down over the sheath is all I use for concealment unless I'm wearing an open-front button-up shirt like I was yesterday. I always tuck in my t-shirts when I have an over-shirt on so I only have one layer to worry about if I have to draw the knife.

    WA has no state-wide blade length restrictions but Seattle has a municipal one for fixed-blade knives with a blade of over 3-1/2". The Street beat is exactly 3-1/2" so it's legal to carry there (another reeason that I really like this knife).

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