Spyderco byte February 2024- Featured Product: MICROJIMBO™
C264GP / GPBK
MSRP: $245.00 - $267.00
Michael Janich is a world-renowned instructor and subject matter expert on all aspects of personal defense. The founder of the Martial Blade Concepts (MBC) and Counter-Blade Concepts (CBC) systems of self-defense, he is a member of Black Belt magazine’s prestigious Hall of Fame and co-hosted The Best Defense TV series on Outdoor Channel for its entire eleven-season original run. A prolific author, he also has dozens of books and instructional videos and hundreds of magazine articles to his credit.
Janich is also one of Spyderco’s most enduring design collaborators and, thanks to our shared commitment to “out-of-the-box” thinking, the pioneer of the “tactical Wharncliffe” genre of knives. His latest creation, and the newest member of this unique breed, is the MicroJimbo™.
Since the release of Janich’s Yojimbo™ 2 design in late 2011, it has earned a respected place in the Spyderco product line and legions of devoted followers around the world. It has also inspired spirited feedback from users from all walks of life. Some wanted the same performance features, but in a larger format. That led to the upsized YoJumbo™. Others, however, wanted the same design spirit, but in a smaller, easier to carry, and more discreet package. In 2021, members of the latter camp voiced their opinions on Spyderco’s popular internet forum. Spyderco co-founder Sal Glesser, a regular and very active member of that forum, took note and reached out to Janich to see if he would be interested. The wheels of the MicroJimbo were set in motion.
In designing the MicroJimbo, Janich wanted to do more than simply shrink its predecessor to a smaller scale—a mistake often made by other designers. He understood the critical importance of the knife’s “cockpit”—the dimensional relationships of the center portion of the knife, including the distances between the pivot pin, the blade’s Trademark Round Hole™, the stop pin, and the lock face. These define the knife’s user friendliness, especially the ease and reliability with which it can be opened one-handed.
Since Janich had invested considerable time fine tuning the cockpit dimensions of the Yojimbo 2, there was no need to reinvent that wheel. Moreover, he wanted to borrow a page from the firearms industry and their approach of producing full-sized, compact, and sub-compact guns with their own identical “cockpits.” Despite their size differences, their trigger reach, the location of the magazine release, and other critical ergonomic dimensions remain the same. Being the “hands-on” type, Janich’s approach was simple: He fired up his belt grinder, took a fully assembled Yojimbo 2 second, and started grinding.
One defining parameter of Janich’s approach was to achieve a 2.5-inch blade length. This length represents the legal limit in cities like Chicago and Boston—as well as the maximum allowed for government employees working in U.S. federal buildings. However, unlike the Spyderco/Kahr Arms project, which was based on Janich’s custom-ground Delica® 4 Lightweights, he decided the downsized Yojimbo 2 would also have a shortened handle. The reason for that was to serve the needs of his female MBC students, whose smaller hands and shallow pockets are better served by a more compact handle.
Janich’s first prototype achieved all these goals well. However, when he later learned that Spyderco was also working on the Lil’ Native® Wharncliffe, he compared the two and felt there was not enough differentiation. Undeterred, he put a fresh belt on the grinder, grabbed another Yojimbo 2 second, and went back to work.
Although his first attempt retained the deep hollow grind of the Yojimbo 2, Janich was also keenly aware of the feedback both he and Spyderco had received on that knife. Some users (and many vocal non-users) believed that the knife’s deep hollow grind left the tip vulnerable to breakage. Others were nostalgic for the flat grind of the first-generation Yojimbo. To satisfy both camps, he decided to opt for a full-flat grind.
Similarly, many Spyderco enthusiasts have expressed a preference for deep-pocket carry clips for discreet, low-profile carry. Janich’s MBC system focuses intently on high-speed knife deployment—a concept he calls “earning your draw”—so he has very strong opinions on clips. He believes that, for a folder to be readily accessible for a swift one-handed opening, it needs to have a proper balance of knife size, hand size, and height of carry in the pocket. Deep-carry clips can certainly support quick deployment, but only when the other two elements are well balanced. Since he was already committed to creating a knife with a shorter handle, a deep-pocket carry clip was a good fit. For ease of manufacturing and to ensure that it would be fully compatible with replacement and aftermarket clips, he opted for Spyderco’s time-tested rollover-style wire clip.
Janich’s second hand-ground prototype incorporated the full-flat grind and a profile more consistent with the angular details of the Yojimbo 2. He presented it to Spyderco’s R&D team with his explanation that the lock geometry and critical dimensional details of the design were identical to the Yojimbo 2. That greatly expedited the engineering and CAD design of the knife and made its approval a no brainer. All that remained was a suitable name.
Again, Janich borrowed from the firearms industry and its practice of naming sizes of handguns consistently as full-sized/duty, compact, sub-compact, and micro. Drawing from his previous career as a government linguist, he also wanted a name that “flowed” well when spoken aloud. He took “micro” and the “o-jimbo” of “Yojimbo” and combined them to yield the MicroJimbo.
Construction DetailsThe MicroJimbo’s satin-finished Wharncliffe-style blade is crafted from CPM® S30V® particle metallurgy stainless steel. Its legally friendly blade measures 2.45 inches (62mm) long and features a full-flat grind for enhanced tip strength. Despite its compact size, like all Wharncliffes, the blade’s perfectly straight cutting edge delivers full power all the way to the tip, enabling it to cut with both impressive authority and precise control. A fully accessible Trademark Round Hole allows easy one-handed deployment with either hand.
The blade is supported by a high-strength Compression Lock® mechanism, which is built on a platform of stainless steel liners nested within peel-ply-textured G-10 scales. This creates an easy-to-clean open-backed construction that also reduces the knife’s weight and ensures a quick, lively balance. Its deep-pocket wire clip ensures both a discreet signature and instant accessibility, and is reversible for left or right-side tip-up carry. Most importantly, even with the deep-carry clip, the distance between the interior of the clip base the blade’s Trademark Round Hole is virtually identical to the Yojimbo 2. That way, when either knife is drawn, the user’s hand is identically positioned for a quick, positive, one-handed opening using the full range of motion of the thumb.
For users who prefer the low profile of non-reflective blades, the MicroJimbo will also be available in an all-back configuration that features a stealthy Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) blade coating. In keeping with that spirit, the handle’s stainless steel liners, clip, and all other hardware will also boast matching black coatings.
Compact, discreet, and legal to carry in even the strictest jurisdictions, the Spyderco MicroJimbo is a pocket powerhouse. It is also the latest chapter in the book of the “tactical Wharncliffe”—a book proudly co-authored by Michael Janich and Spyderco.
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