Military grade paracord is harder to find than you might think, given the number of suppliers willing to slap the "mil-spec" label on their cord without actually adhering to the standards set by the Department of Defense. But that begs the question: is true military grade paracord necessary for most applications?
The short answer is no; high-quality commercial paracord is often almost identical to true military grade paracord, and you'd only notice the difference in the most extreme situations, where you're pushing your paracord to its performance limits. Things are a bit more complicated than that when it comes to selecting paracord, though; cords aren't graded and regulated like steaks, so you have to grill your cord suppliers yourself to know what you're getting.
Buying true military grade paracord gives you the assurance that you're purchasing a high-quality cord. Asking the right questions about commercial-grade cord can accomplish the same thing. Either way, you need to make sure your paracord is manufactured to similar standards and in a similar fashion, because the low-grade commercial cord out there isn't worth the purchase at any price.
High-Quality / Military Grade Paracord Has the Inner Strength You Need
Lower quality paracords can be filled with a variety of materials, even something akin to polyester batting that hardly does anything but give form to the outer sheathing. Not only is such cord incredibly weak, it is also very prone to unraveling and fraying even when it isn't bearing any weight or tension—simply using it to tie two things together can be enough to cause the cord to come apart.
High quality paracord has multiple inner strands of poly yarn, each made from several individual fibers. Military grade Type III or 550 paracord has 7-9 individual yarns inside the outer sheath, providing real strength and preventing your paracord from falling apart when you actually need it.
Multiple Inner Strands Make Paracord Multi-Use
One of paracord enthusiasts' favorite features is the versatility high-quality paracord provides. The multiple inner strands of military grade and high-grade commercial paracord increase this versatility exponentially.
Not only can the full cord be used in a variety of applications, but the inner yarns of true paracord can be separated and used independently in other ways—fishing lines, nets, trip wires, and more—multiplying the number of uses your paracord can be put to and increasing the number of tasks a given length of paracord can perform at one time.
Mil-Spec and High-Grade Paracord Always Meets Expectations
Call it a personality quirk, but I like to know exactly what it is I'm buying each time I make a purchase, and I like to know I can count on the tools I'm pulling out of my pack every time I go to use them. With high-quality commercial grade paracord—and especially with tried and true military paracord—that's exactly what I get. Checking the specifications is easy when you know what to look for and what questions to ask, and you'll never be disappointed.
Of course, you could always take my word for it and buy your paracord from SGTKNOTS.com, where high-grade commercial and full-strength military grade paracords are all we keep in stock.