Knives Illustrated - - Contents - BY JOSHUA SWANAGON

The Spar­tan Blades Formido ex­em­pli­fies qual­ity crafts­man­ship and hard use cut­lery in this lat­est EDC of­fer­ing.

As tough as their name­sake.

When it comes to qual­ity, the name Spar­tan Blades has a way of ris­ing to the top of the list. Per­haps it is the clean, well thought out de­signs. Or maybe it is the fact that the own­ers—and gen­eral de­sign­ers—are re­tired spe­cial forces Green Berets and de­sign all of their prod­ucts based on op­er­a­tional ex­pe­ri­ence. Or it could sim­ply be that the prod­ucts are pur­pose built for ex­tremely hard use, and ev­ery time you pick one up you can feel the soul and strength of the great Spar­tan war­rior class join­ing you in that selec­tion. What­ever it is, one thing is for sure: When you pick up a Spar­tan Blade, you will feel the over­whelm­ing sense of se­cu­rity that you are ready for what­ever life throws at you. The com­pany’s lat­est EDC of­fer­ing, the Formido, is no dif­fer­ent. But, where many of Spar­tan’s skele­tonized EDC se­lec­tions are geared al­most ex­clu­sively for self-de­fense, the Formido is de­signed to han­dle both self-de­fense and ev­ery­day home and field chores—mak­ing for a well­rounded op­tion.

I have re­cently been car­ry­ing one and have been very im­pressed.

The De­sign Fac­tor

At first glance, the Formido has a very stream­lined form with clean lines and well-rounded de­sign cues. The Formido fea­tures a ro­bust over­all length of 8.75 inches, with a no frills, all busi­ness de­sign. The 3.875-inch, S35VN Cru­cible stain­less steel blade fea­tures a tanto tip, and fin­ishes at an over­sized choil, which helps to en­sure that you are able to sharpen the en­tire length of the blade, main­tain­ing an even and clean cut­ting edge from tip to choil.

The Formido that I re­ceived has the ZRN (Zir­co­nium Nitride)— flat dark earth—coat­ing, which is ex­tremely durable and gives the Formido a sheen that only en­hances the look of this al­ready great-look­ing blade. The ZRN

coat­ing pro­vides a smooth, drag-free op­er­a­tion dur­ing cut­ting tasks. The Formido can also be pur­chased in a black, Spar­ta­coat—pvd—tung­sten DLC coat­ing that is also very durable and drag free as well.

The skele­tonized han­dle is beveled around the en­tire ex­trem­ity and fits the hand well for com­fort­able, ex­tended use. The han­dle has a small chan­nel etched into ei­ther side with a se­ries of re­vers­ing tri­an­gles for weight re­duc­tion, bal­ance ad­just­ments and en­hanced grip. If you feel that the skele­tonized han­dle is just a lit­tle too nar­row for your hand, the tri­an­gles can also be used to help se­cure a para­cord lan­yard for a more palm fill­ing grip.

Just for­ward of the han­dle, on the spine, at the top of the ri­c­asso, is a thumb ramp with some medium jimp­ing for en­hanced thumb con­trol— used in con­junc­tion with the fin­ger notch in the han­dle this helps to se­cure a solid pur­chase of the Formido dur­ing heavy thrust­ing or stab­bing chores. The butt of the Formido also fea­tures jimp­ing around the bot­tom cor­ner for se­cure thumb place­ment dur­ing hard stab­bing tasks, along with a lan­yard hole—lan­yard in­cluded—to se­cure the hand for a slip free grip.

The Formido comes with your choice of ny­lon sheath—pre­fect for belt line carry, vest or pack—or heavy duty Ky­dex sheath with IWB (in­side the waist­band) loop. I went with the Ky­dex sheath for an EDC op­tion and am very glad I did. The thin pro­file of the Formido and sheath to­gether al­low it to vir­tu­ally dis­ap­pear in­side your waist­band while keep­ing it very ac­ces­si­ble. The sheath also fea­tures a se­ries of eye­lets for mount­ing other carry op­tions, such as molle loks or a Tek-lok.


would be ex­pected from a ded­i­cated self-de­fense blade, and there­fore did not de­liver quite as deep a cut as could be ex­pected. How­ever, it was still able to cut deep enough that I feel it would have ef­fec­tively im­mo­bi­lized an at­tacker’s limb and thwarted a fol­low up at­tack. I am quite com­fort­able in its abil­ity in the self-de­fense arena.

Next, it was time to test the edge re­ten­tion and ca­pa­bil­i­ties, and I started by re­duc­ing a small rug into a bunch of much smaller rugs. Rugs can be a bit dif­fi­cult to cut some­times due to the weav­ing pat­tern through­out, which tend to pull out and tear, re­sult­ing in a rough line. The Formido how­ever, cut cleanly through every­thing and gave me rel­a­tively clean lines on all of the cuts.

I then moved on to a thick, old cat lit­ter bucket we had lay­ing around. The plas­tic on this bucket is very thick and solid, so I started by stab­bing into the side of the bucket and the tanto tip pen­e­trated the heavy-duty plas­tic like but­ter. Af­ter stab­bing into the side, I then pro­ceeded to press the knife down­ward for some very clean cuts. I re­peated this process un­til I had com­pletely opened up the en­tire side of the bucket. The blade cut through the plas­tic smoothly and cleanly, with no re­sis­tance or drag.

I live in an old farm­house, and years ago we had to tear down a barn that was on the prop­erty; this has left me with a lit­tle bit of old, sea­soned, very hard, barn wood. To test the tip of the


Formido, I drove it about an inch deep into that old sea­soned barn wood and it pen­e­trated deep into it with no is­sues at all. The tip shows a cou­ple, very small, flat spots on the edge, but it is very hard wood and was kind of ex­pected—the tip it­self main­tained its point.

I then moved on to a Goodyear tire and pro­ceeded to cut away the side­wall. I made sure to do it up near the tread


sec­tion, so I could be sure that I was get­ting some very thick rub­ber. The Formido did not dis­ap­point and cut away a large sec­tion of the side­wall with no re­sis­tance what­so­ever. All cuts were clean and fluid.

I fin­ished up my test­ing on an ice-block that I cre­ated for just this pur­pose. I started by stab­bing the tip into the ice-block and the tanto tip made very quick work of the ice. Once I had re­duced the block to a few good­sized chunks, I be­gan hack­ing at the in­di­vid­ual chunks with the edge. The Formido broke the ice up in rapid fash­ion and showed no sign of wear or dam­age to the edge or tip.

Com­fort­able Daily Use Blade

Spar­tan Blades has a name for qual­ity crafts­man­ship and hard use cut­lery, and the Formido only ex­em­pli­fies that rep­u­ta­tion. The Formido is an ex­tremely com­fort­able daily use blade in ev­ery way, from use to carry. De­signed by men who ap­ply ex­pe­ri­ence into ev­ery de­sign, the Formido demon­strates just why that is such an im­por­tant qual­ity in a knife.

Al­though the blade length is a bit long for EDC in some ju­ris­dic­tions, the Formido makes a for­mi­da­ble EDC com­pan­ion that dis­ap­pears when you don’t need it— and makes an in­deli­ble im­pres­sion when you do. Make sure to check your lo­cal laws con­cern­ing blade length; if the Formido falls within your le­gal limit you will thank your­self for pick­ing one up. If not, then you owe it to your­self to con­sider adding one to your bug-out bag. Ei­ther way, the Formido can make it­self an in­te­gral part of your bladed arse­nal. KI

Right: I was able to get some clean cuts on a small piece of rug and re­duce it to many smaller pieces of rug.

Above: I was able to re­duce a large ice block into a bunch of small chunks of ice us­ing both the tip and the edge, with no signs on the blade. The Formido fea­tures a ro­bust tanto tip, per­fect for max­i­mum pen­e­tra­tion.

Left:the tip sank eas­ily, an inch deep, into this old sea­soned barn wood.

My rapid slashes to Pork­man, my train­ing de­vice, pro­duced cuts suf­fi­cient enough to im­mo­bi­lize an at­tacker’s limb.

At the ri­c­asso the Formido fea­tures a thumb ramp with medium jimp­ing, a fin­ger notch for ad­di­tional grip and an over­sized choil for aid in sharp­en­ing.

The Formido has an over­all length of 8.75 inches.

Above: The Formido cut a large open­ing in the side­wall of this Goodyear tire with no re­sis­tance.

Right: The Formido moved cleanly through the thick plas­tic side­walls of this heavy-duty cat lit­ter bucket.

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