In this Spyderco Yojimbo 2 review, I take a look at the new self-defense knife designed by Michael Janich.
The knife debuted at the 2011 SHOT Show with Spyderco founder Sal Glesser delivering a prototype the day before the show. Mr. Janich, a martial artist and Martial Blade Concepts innovator, gave us an in-depth look [scroll down for the exclusive video] at the design changes he made to the original Yojimbo to improve the new knife’s performance.
Recently, I purchased my own Yojimbo 2 folding knife. I wanted to share my thoughts about it in this review.
Is the Yojimbo 2 worth buying?
Bottom line: I instantly liked Yojimbo 2. It has an aggressively profiled blade, good ergonomics in the G10 handles, and a nice heft for a defensive folder. Further, it is very ruggedly constructed.
Blade preference is highly personal. If you like this style of knife, the Yojimbo 2 is a fantastic knife for the money. I paid full retail and have no regrets.
Let’s not waste any time and jump into the review.
What is the Yojimbo 2?
The Yojimbo 2 has a 3 ¼” Wharncliffe blade of CPM-S30V stainless steel, which is hollow ground. It wears black, textured G-10 scales and has Torx screw construction.
I’ve seen some online reports that Syderco used S90V steel for this blade. However, I’ve confirmed on two different occasions that the steel the company settled on for production is S30V.
The blade is well secured via Spyderco’s compression lock.
Spyderco announced the MSRP at $216. When I bought mine the day they started shipping, I paid full retail. While the prices have come down since I purchased the knife, these models still command a premium.
As Janich describes in the video below, the Yojimbo 2 is an evolutionary advancement from the original Yojimbo. The newer knife offers a number of ergonomic improvements including a shorter handle that can improve striking and gives it a different feel in the hand.
Janich stated he prefers a Filipino grip so he eliminated the rear serrations to eliminate thumb abrasion.
Additionally, the design has other performance improvements. One of them is that the blade has a hollow grind to improve tip strength. Spydrco improved the strength of the compression lock mechanism.
The Wharncliffe design is extremely powerful in a self-defense situation. The 3/4″ or so of blade farthest from the handle has an incredible cutting potential when wielded by someone with just a little bit of skill.
I own another Wharncliffe knife designed by Janich – the Blackhawk Be-Wharned – and it is formidable. When you make a slicing arc with the knife, the blade design can be devastating. It makes sense that Janich improved tip strength with the hollow grind.
One of the few things I would change about this knife is the use of a polished steel pocket clip. I prefer a matte black.
So, I swapped the Yojimbo 2 pocket clip for a black one from a Spyderco Delica 4. The clip holes are drilled to the same dimensions, but the Yojimbo 2 has English standard threaded screws, while the Delica screws have metric threading. Keep the same screws.
Mr. Janich posted on Spydercoforums.com that you can order a black clip and black screws for a Para-Military 2 and the whole shebang will fit on the Yojiimbo 2. I am personally hoping they do a black coated blade and black hardware version of this knife as a sprint run down the road.
- Overall Length – 7.55″
- Closed Length – 4.51″
- Length of the Blade – 3.11″
- Blade Thickness – 0.156″
- Blade Steel – CPM S30V
- Handle Material – Textured G-10
- Lock Type – Compression
- Weight – 4 oz
- MSRP – $216 (available at more than $50 off here)
Interview of Michael Janich
At the SHOT Show, I was able to catch up to Michael Janich at the Spyderco booth. Mike was a gentleman and spent quite a bit of time with me. He also consented to me shooting a video of him with the knife so that he could explain the knife’s features to you.
Randall: We’re talking to Mike Janich here at Spyderco. He’s going to talk to us a little bit about the Yojimbo 2.
Michael Janich: Okay, Yojimbo 2. Of course, the original version of this design was the original Yojimbo that was produced by Spyderco after about 2003 to about 2005 or so.
What I’ve got with this version of it is really try to incorporate some of the design features that I think will make an even better knife. Still has Wharncliffe design. You need the Wharncliffe is when you are moving your arm in an arc to cut, cutting full power on weighted point.
My preferred grip is Filipino grip, top on the back, this has really nice thumb purchase. We got rid of the chipping or the serrations on the back. So that way, I could just slide it on. I’m not going to cost any abrasion on my thumb.
It’s a hollow grind instead of a full flat grind which gives a little stronger tip.
The lock’s got a little bit better overall strength in the blade. Still, the compression lock mechanism is the strongest locks we have and spread it through the line-up.
The ergonomics of the handle overall were even more polished about here, so it feels like hollow on the palm when you grip it, as opposed to the more concave shape for the original Yojimbo design.
The handle is shorter. We’re kind of emphasizing the idea of striking with it. We don’t really need — There’s a longer tail on that handle when we had it before.
And also, can set up to four clips – on the right side of the area.
It’s really good trying to kind of tune-up the ergonomics making the handle a little better; get rid of the abrasive hutch spots and things like that to make it overall, it’s even more compact and it’s pro.
Randall: Thank you, Mr. Janich.
Fixed Blade Alternative
Since the introduction of the Yojimbo 2, Spyderco introduced a fixed blade knife called the Ronin 2. The Ronin 2 is not an exact fixed blade replica of the Yojimbo 2, but they are very similar in design and function.
While the folding Yojimbo 2 will make the more sense for police officers and others needing discreet carry, the Ronin 2 offers a lower price (less than $110) for those who can carry a fixed blade.
I like the knife designs coming from Michael Janich. They show a significant level of understanding toward the use of a bladed weapon for self-defense. The designs tend to include innovative features with solid construction technique.
The Yojimbo 2 will be part of my knife collection as soon as they go on sale (update: I purchased one the week they went on sale. I’m very pleased with it.) I was happy to get one well below the suggested retail price on Amazon.
The Yojimbo 2 reviewed in this article was purchased by the author for his own personal collection. Spyderco did not provide the knife. Other than the video demonstration we recorded at the SHOT Show, there have been no communications between the company and BlueSheepdog.com.
BlueSheepdog.com is a for-profit website. Instead of running ads, we use affiliate links. If you chose to use one of these links to make a purchase, I earn a small commission. I do not get to see what any individual purchases.