September 26, 2022

Spotter Up

In Depth Tactical Solutions

Spyderco Canis — Designed by Kelly McCann for Personal Protection

8 min read

Spyderco Canis

The Canis™ is a recently introduced folder from Spyderco® that was designed by former US Marine Corps Special Missions Officer Kelly McCann for personal protection  He brings over 35 years of operational and training experience to its design. During his time on active duty, he was responsible for training all counter-terrorist forces and for standardizing all hostage recovery tactics and equipment for the Marines.

McCann is a recognized subject matter expert (SME) and Master High Risk Environment (HRE) Instructor. He is a SME in close combat for the US Marine Corps; close quarters battle for the Office of Naval Research; protective services for the US Department of State; apprehension avoidance for the Joint Personal Recovery Agency, and HRE tactics, techniques and procedures for the Department of Defense.

McCann is a widely published author in his field, also writing under the pen name Jim Grover. He is the co-founder and Principal of Kembativz Brand Security Specialists and the founder and former owner of Crucible Security Specialists. 

The Canis features a satin finished 3.43-inch cryogenically treated CPM S30V stainless steel blade and Spyderco Trademark Round Hole. The blade combines a straight Wharncliffe-style with narrow bevels, a reinforced tip, and a weight-saving mid-blade swedge.

Named after a genus of the Caninae subfamily, which contains wolves, dogs, coyotes and jackals, the Canis is designed as no-nonsense folding knife optimized for personal protection.

Although fixed blade knives have some key advantages over folders for personal protection, including ease and speed of deployment utilizing only gross motor skills, and no locking mechanism to potentially fail, folders have some pluses that may override other considerations. Folders are socially acceptable and legal to carry in more places. They’re smaller and more convenient to carry than a fixed blade of comparable size. And, with the blade closed, a folder can provide less lethal options..

The Canis features a 3.43-inch (8.7 cm) cryogenically treated CPM® S30V® stainless steel blade with a satin finish. The PlainEdge™ blade combines a straight Wharncliffe-style with narrow bevels, a reinforced tip, and a weight-saving mid-blade swedge that provides optimal balance and also maximizes strength and cutting power. The blade is 0.118-inch (0.3 cm) thick. It has a fairly shallow hollow grind. The grind on the Canis provided to me is clean and even, as expected from Spyderco. The hollow grind yields a very sharp edge. The Canis came hair shaving sharp out of the box.

Popularized for defensive applications by Michael Janich of Martial Blade Concepts, the Wharncliffe can actually be traced back to 1820s England and Colonel James Archibald Stuart-Wortley-Mackenzie — the first Lord Wharncliffe — who commissioned a gentleman’s folder with this blade design. The blade pattern itself can be traced back to the 11th century Viking Seax, a small sword / fighting knife.

According to Janich, McCann’s inspiration for the Canis came when he gave him a first generation Yohimbo as a gift. McCann immediately saw the advantages of the Wharncliffe-style blade, rightly comparing it to the cutting power of box cutters and other common street weapons. However, McCann expressed concern over tip strength, as his style of knife tactics is more thrust oriented.

The spine of of the Wharncliffe-style blade meets the straight edge of the blade at an acute point giving full cutting power the entire length of the blade and excellent piercing capability. The major weakness of this style of blade is a weak tip, something the reinforced tip of the Canis is designed to address. The reinforced tip also enhances penetration, much like the armour piercing reinforced points of ancient Persian daggers.

The tradeoff with the reinforced tip is that it creates slightly more drag in cutting, although from a practical standpoint it is imperceptible The Canis has excellent slicing capabilities. I could not notice any difference between the Canis and Yohimbo in cutting capability. Both Wharncliffe-style knives are superb cutters.

The Canis features peel-ply-textured carbon fiber/G10 laminate scales with stainless steel liners and has a four-position stainless steel pocket clip. It has excellent ergonomics and feels good in the hand.

The performance of the Canis is further enhanced by the use of CPM S30V. The CPM in CPM S30V stands for Crucible Particle Metallurgy. The proprietary CPM process produces not only superior quality tool steels, but also allows the production of higher alloyed grades which cannot be produced by conventional means.

CPM S30V is a premium-grade  martensitic (hardened) powder-made (sintered) wear and corrosion resistant stainless steel. Developed by Crucible Industries specifically for knives, CPM S30V performs like a high-end tool steel with better corrosion resistance than 440C. It has superior edge retention to D2 and 154CM.

CPM S30V is high chromium stainless steel that also contains molybdenum and vanadium. Its chemical composition promotes the formation and even distribution of vanadium carbides, which are harder and more effective at cutting than chromium carbides. The vanadium carbides give it a very fine grain. It takes a fine, consistent edge. The performance of the steel is optimized by Spyderco’s heat treatment and cryogenic hardening process, considered among the best in the industry.

No knife will do you any good if you don’t have it with you when you need it. The Canis was designed to be slim and pocket friendly. The knife has an overall length of 8.125 inches (20.6 cm) and a closed length of 4.73 inches (12.0 cm). It has a handle thickness of about 0.44-inch ( It weighs 4.1 ounces (116.23 g). It features a lightweight, open-backed construction. The knife is also equipped with an oversized lanyard hole to allow for easy attachment of lanyards or fobs

The Canis has excellent ergonomics. It feels good in the hand. The handle features black, peel-ply-textured carbon fiber/G10 laminate scales with radiused edges for comfort. It has an attractive slip-resistant texturing that provides a secure grip without being hard on the pocket. The carbon fiber/G10 laminate scales look great too!. The blade has a jimped thumb ramp that transitions into jimping on the liners for added purchase and control for precise cutting tasks.

Stainless steel liners are nestled in recesses machined into the Canis’ scales to reduce handle thickness and provide rigidity and support for the knife’s patented Spyderco Compression Lock®. The liners are drilled (skeletonized) for weight reduction. Stainless steel Torx® (star) screws are utilized to attach the scales and pocket clip, and for the blade pivot screw. The handle has heavy-duty hourglass-shaped stainless steel spacers. 

The Compression Lock is one of the strongest locks available. It utilizes a leaf-like spring from a split liner in the handle to wedge laterally between the blade tang and stop pin. Think of it as an inverted liner lock. Developed by Spyderco, it first appeared in 2001 on the Spyderco Gunting, which was designed specifically for defensive tactics and close-quarters combat (CQC). It provides the extreme strength and ease of use necessary for CQC. The positioning of the lock on top of the spine requires minimal hand movement to operate. Another plus is that it allows you to close the knife without ever placing your fingers in the path of the blade. It is recessed to prevent the blade from being inadvertently released.

Compression Lock uses a leaf-like spring from a split liner in the handle to wedge laterally between a ramp on the blade tang and the stop pin (or anvil pin). Developed and patented by Spyderco, it provides extreme lock strength and ease of use. Illustration courtesy Spyderco.

Opening is via Spyderco’s patented Trademark Round Hole™ for one-handed ambidextrous blade deployment. Granted a utility patent in 1981, the Trademark Round Hole offers a larger surface area for greater reliability than studs, disks and other one-handed opening attachments and does not interfere with the cutting action of the blade. The Trademark Round Hole, along with Spyderco’s smooth bushing pivot design and phosphor bronze washers, make for swift, smooth blade deployment. Lock up is rock solid with absolutely no blade play. The blade came perfectly centered.

The Canis is equipped with a four-position stainless steel streamlined hourglass-shaped pocket clip, offering ambidextrous tip-up or tip-down carry. The clip is designed for low carry. 

If you want a true deep carry pocket clip, the LynchNW Spyderco Standard Short Deep Carry Titanium Clip is compatible with the Canis. It is available in a wide variety of finishes. MSRP is from $19.00. LynchNW offers Deep Carry Titanium Clips for other knives, as well. All LynchNW products are made in the USA and guaranteed for life.

Some interesting knife trivia Spyderco was the first company to equip a folding knife with a pocket clip. Spyderco introduced it in 1981 on its very first folding knife. The rest is history.

My Thoughts

The Canis is an outstanding folder that is well-suited for personal defense applications. It is a great utility folder, as well. A lot of thought went into the design. Materials, fit and finish are excellent. The suggested retail price is $275.00, but you can find it for significantly less if you shop around.

The Canis is made in Taiwan at Spyderco’s Taichung factory. The quality of Taichung-made Spyderco knives is every bit on par with those made by Spyderco in Golden, Colorado. All genuine Spyderco products come with the Spyderco Limited Lifetime Warranty.

.Active-duty military and law enforcement personnel and qualified first responders in the US may purchase Spyderco products directly from Spyderco at a substantial discount through the company’s online OpFocus™ Professional Purchase Program.

Spyderco Canis

Manufacturer: Spyderco
Model: Canis (C248CF)
Designer: Kelly McCann
Knife Type: Manual Folder
Blade Length: 3.43 in. (8.7 cm)
Blade Thickness: 0.118 in. (0.3 cm)
Closed Length: 4.73 in. (12.0 cm)
Overall Length: 8.125 in. (20.6 cm)
Weight: 4.1 oz. (116.23 g)
Blade Steel: CPM S30V Stainless Steel
Blade Finish: Satin
Blade Profile: Wharncliffe-style w/ Reinforced Tip & Mid-Blade Swedge
Edge Type: Plain
Grind: Hollow
Locking Type: Compression Lock
Handle Scales: Carbon Fiber/G10 Laminate
Pocket Clip: Ambidextrous Four-Position
Use: Tactical, Utility, EDC
Country of Origin: Taiwan
Warranty: Limited Lifetime
MSRP: $275.00



Kembativz Brand Security Specialists

Martial Blade Concepts


Material Disclosure

I received this product as a courtesy from the manufacturer so I could test it and give my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal or implied contract to give this product a good review. All opinions are my own and are based off my personal experience with the product.

*The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Spotter Up Magazine, the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.