In the world of gear the word "perfect" is taboo. It's like being an art critic and saying something is the best painting ever. You just don't do it. Nothing can ever be perfect because everyone has such different needs and there are so many different tasks, so the collective wisdom goes. Well, so much for collected wisdom.
The Dragonfly 2 in ZDP-189 (DF2 ZDP-189) is perfect. It does everything not just well, but with ease. I have been using and carrying this knife almost exclusively since I got it in May and it is awesome. Light, laser sharp, and made to fit your hand, there is nothing that I would do differently in designing this knife. Spyderco and Sal Glesser outdid themselves. And while $70-80 is not a cheap knife, it is a bargain at that price. When released it was the the lightest and cheapest knife in the production world to use ZDP-189. It has been displaced by another Spyderco knife, the Ladybug. Here is my DF2 ZDP-189:
Here is the product page for the DF2 ZDP-189. Here is a good street price for the knife. There are no customer reviews for the ZDP-189 version on Amazon.
The Dragonfly design has been around since 1994. There was a subtle change in the late 90s, moving the hole further away from the handle, widening the knife. Then last year, real upgrades came--the molded clip was retired in favor of a wire clip, the bodies soft edges were tightened up a little making the sides more crisply angled, and finally jimping was added to the choil and thumb ramp.
Fit and Finish: 2
Things are bit tighter on the DR2 ZDP-189. The wire clip, for instance, seems significantly stiffer than the wire clip on the Caly3. The blade on mine came perfectly tarnish free, which is not always the case with ZDP-189, which has a tendency to tarnish because of the uber-high carbon content. Also, the knife was more than razor sharp, it was insane, really.
With the addition of the jimping on the blade, the knife, which had a fine grip before, is now outstanding. If I could, I'd give it a 3, but doing so would ruin the scale, so 2 it is.
The DF2 ZDP-189 is still a wide knife, but it also kept is slim figure, tipping the scales at 1.2 ounces. The crisper edges have no impact on retrieval nor do they make the knife hard to carry.
ZDP-189 is really in a class all by itself in terms of steel. It has, by far, the most carbon (3%) of any regularly used steel on the market. It also has a huge wallop of chromium, 20%, to fight off rust that may be attracted to all that carbon. The steel is leaps and bounds better than S30V in terms of edge retention. I had to break my sharpening=review rule because more than a month of use after I wrote that article, the blade still pushes paper. It is probably going to be a bitch to sharpen, but if I only have to do it once a year, its worth it. Also, I have not babied this blade. I cut massively thick cardboard to make my son a fort from our grill box. I cut rope and twine. I cut extra thick rubber. Nothing stops this steel. It is simply the best I have ever used by a huge margin. Again, I'd give this a 3, but...
Blade Shape: 2
Same great shape, with maybe a slightly more acute angle from the handle. Great.
Perhaps the neatest and cleanest grind I have ever seen in a Spyderco knife. Excellent.
Deployment Method: 2
The crisp edges to the FRN handle make deployment even easier than before, not that it was a chore. The adjustable pivot is also nice, but I didn't need to use it. The pivot does seem a bit smoother or looser, but nothing that causes blade play.
Retention Method: 2
I love the wire clip. It is my second favorite clip design, after the Sebenza's double dip clip. It is perfect and aids in holding the knife.
Again, the lock seems a bit looser, but nothing that causes the blade to wiggle. Easy to use, basic, and simple. Great lock.
Total Score: 20 out of 20 (Perfect Score)
This is really a no-brainer. If the DFI with its molded handle and VG-10 steel is an 18, there is no way this knife, with its better clip, jimping, and truly superior steel is not a 20. The size of the DF is what makes it so appeal. It is non-threatening, easy to carry, and yet cuts like a lightsaber handling chores that seem appropriate only for much larger knives. I love this knife and all of the improvements made it...perfect.