Spyderco Ladybug 3 Review (Hawkbill Edition)

The Spyderco Ladybug 3 is one of our favorite knives here at the Daily Knife Slice.  This knife is small and lightweight (one of the smallest knives we’ve reviewed) but does its job well.  It comes in several variations, which we’ll discuss later. While this review focuses on the hawkbill/talon variation, most of it can be applied to the other variations the Ladybug 3 comes in.

Specs

  • Total Length: 4.313 “
  • Blade Length: 1.875 “
  • Blade Material: H-1
  • Blade Shape: Hawkbill/Talon
  • Deployment: Manual
  • Lock Type: Back Lock
  • Handle Material: Fiberglass-Reinforced Nylon

TL;DR

The Spyderco Ladybug 3 is a fantastic little knife.  It cuts through just about anything I need it to and hardly ever needs to be sharpened.

It’s very tiny, though, so keep that in mind.  About as big as your car keys, it’s easy to forget you’ve got it in your pocket if that’s how you carry it.  This is also a knife you don’t want to lose, as the price tag is a little higher than what I like to pay for such tiny knives.

Table of Contents

First Impression

When we first got our Ladybug 3, I was wondering how we’d ever be able to use it.  It’s so small, I figured the only thing it would be good for is opening packages.  There’s nothing wrong with that, and little knives you can carry around the office are great.  However, Sam got the hawksbill/talon edition, which I thought was a waste at first.  Why would you need a tiny hawksbill?  And when she insisted on taking it hiking with us, I think I literally facepalmed.

Boy am I glad my first impression was wrong.  This is a handy little knife.  It has a serrated, talon-shaped blade that is absolutely fantastic for small jobs while hiking on the trail or doing little things around the house.  For big jobs, you’ll need a larger blade, but I’ve never ever regretted buying the Ladybug 3.  It fits into any pocket, has a hole so you can attach it to your keychain, and you can even slip a rope through it and turn it into a neck knife if you’re so inclined.

These things will help keep you from losing the knife, which brings me to its one downside: the cost.  Yes, the blade steel is great and all, but I feel like I’m being charged more I normally would pay for this knife just because it’s a Spyderco.  Spyderco is a good, reliable brand, but I don’t pay for the brand name.

Yes, I’m one of those persons who would rather buy generic medicines and supplements than whatever branded thing is out there because there’s no difference between them other than price.  I don’t need to pay for the Spyderco name.

Blade

The first thing you’ll notice about this version of the Ladybug 3 is its blade.  The hawkbill shape is an interesting choice for a tiny knife, but it gets the job done.  It wraps around whatever you’re cutting and the curved beak keeps it from getting away from you.  It’s also serrated, allowing you to cut through tougher material than a tiny, straight-edged blade would allow you to.

While straight-edged blades on a tiny knife are fine for carrying around an office (and small enough on this knife to not feel threatening in the eyes of certain coworkers), they’re really only good for opening packages.  This thing can also cut through nylon, thin rope, and we’ve even cut some kindling with it on camping trips.

The Spyderco Ladybug 3’s blade is made from H1 steel.  The nice thing about H1 is that it manages to resist corrosion better than just about any knife out there while maintaining its hardness.  It’s popular in diving knives because it uses nitrogen to largely replace the carbon that normally gives steels their hardness.

Now, the harder the steel, the more difficulty sharpening.  But here’s the fun thing: I’ve never had to sharpen the Ladybug 3.  At least, I’ve never had to sharpen this variation of it thanks to the serrated edge that helps it retain its edge for longer while giving it more cutting power.

And, like all Spydercos that I’m aware of, the blade has a little thumb hole in it.  I’ve never deployed it single-handedly, but it’s not as hard to deploy as many multi-tools with tiny blades.

If there’s a downside to the Spyderco Ladybug 3 hawkbill’s blade design, it’s that it doesn’t slice well.  This isn’t a fault of this knife, that’s just the nature of hawkbill/talon knives in general.  If you need a tiny knife that can slice, there are other blade designs available, as you’ll see below.

Handle

The Spyderco Ladybug 3’s handle is made of fiberglass-reinforced nylon (FRN) and molded with bi-directional texturing.  This means that, unlike some other itty bitty knives we’ve reviewed, it doesn’t slip around in your hand.  The handle is also a bright yellow, something that would look garish on a larger knife but works well to help you spot this little knife when you leave it laying around somewhere.

There’s no clip, but there’s a lanyard hole so you can thread it through a keyring, thong, or piece of twine for use as a neck knife.  It can be carried loose in the pocket, but I don’t recommend you do that.  I mean, Sam might’ve included it in her 7 Best Pocket Knives for women post because it can fit in women’s pants pockets, but I would rather you hook it to your keychain.  It’s just too easy to lose.

Weight

As you can imagine, the Spyderco Ladybug 3 is light.  So light, in fact, that you probably won’t remember you’re carrying it.  Usually, this means that it doesn’t feel sturdy or that it can’t cut through much that a larger knife could, but the Ladybug 3 manages to avoid this.  For some reason, Spyderco can make tiny knives that feel like they’re just as durable as larger knives.

We’ve never had a problem with this knife feeling like the blade will detach from the handle due to the lightness of the knife.  The only downside is that, despite the bright coloring to make it easier to spot, its lightness still makes it easy to lose if you just have it stuffed into your pocket.

Carrying and Deployment

Since I’ve mentioned it several times, you’re already aware that carrying this in your pocket poses a hazard.  You could lose your knife and never realize it until you reach for it and it’s gone.

Luckily, it’s easy to remedy this by carrying it in other ways.  The little lanyard hole means it can be attached to your keychain easily, or you can wear it around your neck.  Mine is on my keychain, and when we’re on a hike, it usually is worn around Sam’s neck.  You won’t even know you’ve got it!

The blade deploys manually, too, so you don’t have to worry about it accidentally popping open.  No worries, though.  It’s not a pain to open when you need it.  Like all Spyderco knives, the Ladybug 3 has a thumb hole in the blade for deployment.

Variations

The variations in the Spyderco Ladybug 3 line are different enough to warrant mention.  We’re not talking about different colored handles or grips, we’re talking about different steels and blade shapes!

Most of this review can be said of these variations, but I thought I’d give you an idea of what’s out there.  These knives are actually made from VG-10 steel and feature different blade shapes.  VG-10 steel is a fine choice for an EDC knife; you don’t have to worry that the quality is any less than the hawkbill variation.  These examples are for people who don’t like or need the talon blade and would like something a little more practical for slicing or office use.

Final Thoughts

There aren’t many tiny knives better than the Ladybug series.  If you’re looking for a small but highly functional knife, then the Spyderco Ladybug 3 is for you.  Whether you choose the hawksbill shape or another shape, you’re sure to fall in love with it.  It’s the perfect EDC for the right person.

Falling in Love with the Spyderco Ladybug 3?

You can check it out on Amazon and grab a knife you can be proud of.
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