Spyderco takes great pride in all the knives they make, but some are truly special. A perfect example of this elite breed is the Police 4 Lightweight—an incredibly functional working knife that combines the rich history of one of Spyderco's most revered designs with the time-tested construction style of the Delica and Endura 4 Lightweights. The resulting synthesis is a cutting tool that is far more than the sum of its parts.
The origins of the Police Model go back to the earliest days of Spyderco knives. When company founder Sal Glesser redefined the form of the modern folding knife back in 1981, some of the very first end-users to embrace their unconventional designs were law enforcement officers. They recognized the practical advantages of clip carry, high-speed one-handed opening, and the extreme power of a serrated cutting edge and quickly became some of their most devoted customers. Initially, officers were content with the performance characteristics of Spyderco's early models, but as word of their knives spread, they also began asking for a design that was tailored to the demanding needs of their profession. Specifically, they wanted a slim, easy-to-carry knife with a substantial blade that could function as both a hardcore utility tool and a serious back-up weapon to their handgun in an emergency.
Spyderco responded to that calling in 1984 with the first-generation Police Model. Crafted entirely from stainless steel, it featured a tapered, hollow-ground blade with a prominent swedge (unsharpened back bevel), a smooth, square-edged stainless steel handle, a stout back lock, and a three-screw clip that offered right-side, tip-down carry. Early production knives were stamped "Pride Integrity Guts" on the blade, but the markings were soon changed to "Police Model." To accommodate left-handed officers and those who preferred to carry their knives as off-side handgun-retention tools, mirror-image left-handed versions were also produced.
In the early 1990s, the second-generation Police Model was introduced, which incorporated chamfered handle edges, a revised lockback with a longer lockbar, and a simpler "Police" marking on the blade. Like the original version, the early second-generation knives had hollow-ground blades made from Gingami-1/G2 stainless steel. However, the redesign ultimately inspired many other variations on the Police theme, including models with ATS-55 and VG10 blades, stealthy all-black coated versions, and Police Models with handles crafted from aluminum, titanium, G10, and even carbon fiber.
While the second-generation Police continued its reign, in 2008, it was joined by the Police 3. Instead of the classic hollow-ground blade and swedge, this model had a broad, full-flat-ground VG10 stainless steel blade and an index-finger choil that allowed a forward, "choked-up" grip. Its handle also featured textured G10 scales, full stainless steel liners, and a four-position pocket clip that supported left or right-side, tip-up or tip-down carry. Although a significant departure from the established form of the "old-school" Police Model, the Police 3 also earned a devoted audience—and some spirited end-user feedback. That input ultimately inspired the Police 4, which incorporated a number of subtle ergonomic refinements and a very different choice of blade steel. Instead of stainless steel, the Police 4's full-flat-ground PlainEdge blade is precision machined from Böhler-Uddeholm K390. This high-alloy particle metallurgy steel is enriched with high volumes of vanadium, tungsten, and cobalt for exceptional edge retention and toughness; however, it is a true tool steel and therefore requires more diligent maintenance to protect it from corrosion. The knife's other features reflect a more refined version of its predecessor, including a textured index-finger choil and thumb ramp, skeletonized full stainless steel liners, a solid steel backspacer, textured G10 scales, a mid-positioned back lock, and a black, four-position hourglass clip that allows all possible carry preferences.
While the design refinements and enhanced blade steel of the Police 4 make it an outstanding cutting tool, they also made it more expensive and somewhat less suitable for its original audience—law enforcement officers. To remedy that, Spyderco created the Police 4 Lightweight. This knife's design profile is identical to the G10-handled Police 4, but takes full advantage of the construction style popularized by Spyderco's economical Delica and Endura Lightweights. Its handle is made with injection-molded fiberglass-reinforced-nylon (FRN) scales reinforced with skeletonized stainless steel liners. The FRN scales feature Bi-Directional Texturing for an ultra-secure, non-slip grip and provide the foundation for a four-position hourglass pocket clip that can be configured to support all possible carry preferences.
The blade of the Police 4 Lightweight is full-flat-ground from workhorse VG10 stainless steel, a material that offers a proven balance of edge holding, corrosion resistance, toughness, and ease of sharpening. Its fully accessible Trademark Round Hole allows swift, ambidextrous, one-handed opening and complements the knife’s high-strength back lock and four-position clip to make it equally friendly to both left and right-handed users.
The culmination of a rich, extremely distinguished history, the Police 4 Lightweight is both an evolution of one of Spyderco's most iconic designs and a proud tribute to it. We are confident that both old-school and neophyte Spyderco enthusiasts will welcome it.