C12 Civilian

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Various C12 Civilians and Matriarchs

The Civilian is a knife with special qualities. It’s a collectors dream with all it’s variations, different steels, etc. Originally developed for self-defence the civilian is both beautiful with it’s Reverse "S" Blade and very useful if you have self-defence needs but no or little formal training. The C12 SKU is shared with it's little FRN Brother the Matriarch, which is also dealt with in this article.


Appearance in catalogs

The Civilian appears in the 2000 dealer's catalog[1], the 2001 dealer catalog[2], the 2002 dealer's catalog[3] and with the newer bladesteel (VG-10) in the 2003 dealer's catalog[4] The Matriarch appears in both the 2002 and 2003 catalogs.

Designer

Sal Glesser

History, mentionings from the forums etc.

A little info from Sal on Numbers of CF Civilians from the Spyderco- forum:

There is a change in the quantity of CF Civvies being made. From 500 to 1200. We learned when ordering began that 500 would not be enough. If 100 (half) collectors order all variations (4), that's 80% of the run. After Spyderco crew, there would not be any available for anyone else. I do not believe that this change will affect the long term value of the piece. Thank you for your kind understanding to this change sal[5]


A thread about the Matriarch on the Spyderco forums [6]

Oddities:

  • Phil Gibbs was supplied some blades from Spyderco of which he made a few custom double bladed Civilians. These pop up from time to time. [7]

Information from the Spyderco catalog on the web

"In the 1990s Spyderco was approached by a specialized branch of U.S. law enforcement about making a knife for their undercover agents. These plain-clothes LEOs found themselves in situations where they often could not carry a firearm but carrying a knife was not a problem. Most had no formal training in self-defense tactics or MBC but as a last resort could use a blade to protect or extricate themselves from a life-threatening situation. This was how the Civilian model came to be. The Civilian has a patented reverse "S" blade that's intended to be used like an oversized claw. The tip is ground to an ultra-thin profile. Deeply curved and full at the belly, the VG-10 hollow-ground blade excels in slicing and is available fully SpyderEdged. Because of its distinctly specialized features it is not intended or designed for general utility or everyday use. Curved in all the right places for ergonomic use and retention of the knife, the handle is black G-10. Mounted for tip-down carry with a custom curved black clip, the knife rides deeply and unobtrusively in a pocket. One of the most specialized CLIPITS in the Spyderco line-up, the Civilian is available in limited quantities."[8]

Variations

The Spyderco C12 Civilian and Matriarch is a Spyderco that has been made in several variations. The carbon fiber handled Civilian appears in many forms with pouch or box, numbered and unnumbered. In addition, there's also a slight difference in how the handles are put together on the CF variants. Some are all screw construction and some are partially screwed and pinned. It has not been possible to figure out why that is or where the change occurred. There seems to be no system to which is what. These are not listed as variants in the list here due to that.

All variations are made Seki City, Japan and have


Variations of the Civilian

SKU Handle Edge Steel From/To MSRP Note Number made Grind Clip Clip positions Collectors club
C12S Original first civilian in untreated aluminum with
Kraton inlay
SE GIN-1/G-2 N/A N/A N/A Hollow grind Kraton Civilian clip Main?
C12TUFS Tufram coated aluminum with Kraton inlay SE GIN-1/G-2 184,95 us $ (1994) Aluminum handle is 6062-T6 aluminum N/A Hollow grind Kraton Civilian clip
C12TUFS Tufram coated aluminum with Kraton inlay SE ATS-55 N/A N/A N/A Hollow grind Kraton Civilian clip
C12TUFP Tufram coated aluminum with Kraton inlay PE GIN-1/G-2 229,95$ N/A N/A Hollow grind Kraton Civilian clip
C12GS Black G-10 SE GIN-1/G-2 N/A No stainless steel liner N/A Hollow grind 3- screw old standard clip
C12GS Black G-10 SE ATS-55 214,95$ Made both with and without single stainless steel liner N/A Hollow grind Half- moon clip
C12GP Black G-10 PE ATS-55 N/A Extremely limited Japan only less than 100 Hollow grind Half- moon clip
C12CFP Black smooth glossy CF PE ATS-55 2001 $229.95 (2001) Right handed. ~540 Hollow grind Black Half- moon clip RH, TD/TU Variant
C12LCFP/C12CFPL Black smooth glossy CF PE ATS-55 2001 $229.95 (2001) Left handed. ~60 Hollow grind Black Half- moon clip LH, TD/TU Variant
C12CFS Black smooth glossy CF SE ATS-55 2001 $229.95 (2001) Right handed. ~540 Hollow grind Black Half- moon clip RH, TD/TU Variant
C12CFSL Black smooth glossy CF SE ATS-55 2001 $229.95 (2001) Left handed. ~60 Hollow grind Black Half- moon clip LH, TD/TU Variant
C12GS Black G-10 SE VG-10 late 2002- $269.95 (2009), $320.00 (2019) New tip design with thicker grind for added strength. Single stainless steel liner. N/A Hollow grind Black Half- moon clip

Variations of the Matriarch

The Matriarch was initially made by request from the South African importer as a small, light and affordable knife for women for self-defence. It is slightly smaller than the Civilian. The demand grew so strong in the US that there was a sprint run of grey Matriarch's before it came into regular production for the US market as well due to growing demand. The Matriarch was brought back in 2012, utilizing the newer Endura 4 handle design.

SKU Handle Edge Steel From/To MSRP Note Number made Grind Clip Clip positions Collectors club
C12SBK Black FRN SE ATS-55 N/A Original South African distributors model, no Boye dent. N/A N/A Barrel bolt clip LH/RH Main
C12SGY Grey FRN SE ATS-55 2000 N/A Bladeforums Sprintrun (300 produced for them). 500 [9] N/A Barrel bolt clip LH/RH Variant
C12SBK Black FRN SE ATS-55 2000 N/A Boye dent [10]. Available for U.S. LEO/Military members only.[11] N/A N/A Barrel bolt clip LH/RH N/A
C12SBK Black FRN SE VG-10 2001 N/A Regular run for the U.S. N/A N/A Barrel bolt clip LH/RH Variant
C12PBN Brown FRN PE VG-10 2010 99.95$ (2010) Sprintrun, boye dent. 600 Full Flat Barrel bolt clip LH/RH Variant
C12SBN Brown FRN SE VG-10 2010 99.95$ (2010) Sprintrun, boye dent. 600 Full Flat Barrel bolt clip LH/RH Variant

Variations of the Matriarch 2

  • 2nd generation Matriarch uses the Endura 4 handle
SKU Handle Edge Steel From/To MSRP Note Number made Grind Clip Clip positions Collectors club
C12SBK2 Black FRN SE VG-10 2012- 129.95$ (2012) Hollow Black 4-way Hourglass LH/RHTD/TU Main
C12BBK2W Black FRN SE Black TiCN coated VG-10 Mar. 2015- 1649.95$ (2015) Emerson wave. Black titanium carbonitide (TiCN) coated hardware. Hollow Black 4-way Hourglass LH/RHTD/TU Variant

Most collectible variation

The C12S in bare aluminum or the C12GP in G10 are the two variations believed to be most collectible Civilians. The Carbon fiber Civilians are of course collectors items as well.

The C12SGY grey FRN Matriarch is the one believed to be the most collectible Matriarch, although there might be few of the ATS-55 Black matriarch in circulation as well.


Questions regarding collecting the C12

Some interesting questions we are looking for an answer to:

  • Was there ever a G10 Civilian with the gin-1 steel and Boye dent?
  • Was there ever a G10 Civilian with the ATS-55 steel without Boye dent?
  • Who designed the Civilian?
  • How many made of the different knives?
  • The carbon fiber Civilian came in full screw construction as well as pinned with a pivot screw and lockbar screw. When did the changeover happen?

Questions with an answer:

  • Was there ever a Matriarch in Grey FRN with the VG-10 steel? No!
  • Was there ever a Matriarch with the ATS-55 steel with Boye dent? Yes![12]

Technical information

Typical measurements (mm and grams) of the C12 Civilian:

Length overall Length closed Length edge Hole Ø Blade thickness Weight
233 132 105 12 3 134

Typical measurements (Inches and ounces) of the C12 Civilian:

Length overall Length closed Length edge Hole Ø Blade thickness Weight
9 3/16" 5 3/16" 3 3/4" 15/32" 1/8" 4,5 oz.

References

  1. Spyderco's dealer catalog from 2000 is available for download here
  2. Spyderco's dealer catalog from 2001 is available for download here
  3. Spyderco's dealer catalog from 2002 is available for download here
  4. Spyderco's dealer catalog from 2003 is available for download here
  5. The entire thread containing Mr. Glesser's comment can be found here.
  6. Thread containing some information about the Matriarch can be found here.
  7. See this this thread on Spyderco forums for some more information.
  8. The C12 Civilian in Spyderco's online catalog
  9. Found here
  10. [1] Thread on Spyderco forums
  11. [2] Matriarch for LEO/Military members
  12. [3] Thread on Spyderco forums

Pictures

Some of the different C12 Civilians, in order of appearance: C12S,C12TUFP,C12TUFS, C12TUFS, C12GS,C12GS,C12GS, C12CFRHP (Unnumbered in box)
Two of the 3 known variations of the C12 Matriarch

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