Benchmade 484-1 Quick Review

Benchmade 484-1            Made in the USA

With the Benchmade Nakamura, the saying “you get what you pay for” has never been truer. The quality of manufacturing, materials and construction are all completely top-notch. Featuring gorgeous carbon fiber handles for lightweight strength, S90V blade steel for optimal resistance to wear and electric blue barrel spacers and pivot pin for a pop of color, this knife strikes the perfect balance of strong performance and detail in design.  All this care and attention to detail make this knife not only functionally flawless, but also pleasing to the eye and to the touch. For an EDC tactical folder like this, where details can make all the difference, these special touches make an already great knife truly exceptional. Carrying this knife every day for a year will cost less than $0.75/day, and will continue to perform year after year. The very definition of good value, grab the Benchmade Nakamura 484-1 today to know you are carrying only the very best from Benchmade in performance, functionality and design.  Pick it up on our website here.

Benchmade 484-1

Benchmade 484-1

Posted in benchmade, Quick Knife Review | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Knife Terminology Glossary

Knife Terminology Glossary

Updated 10.15.15

Anodization– The process by which the oxide surface layer of a metal part is made thicker by electrolytic passivation to make it more resistant to corrosion and wear as well as for aesthetic or cosmetic purposes

Balisong- Commonly referred to as a butterfly knife, this knife has two rotating handles that move around the pivot pin and, when closed, hide the blade in between them. These knives are often used in martial arts.

Bead Blasted– Altering the finish of a metal surface by “blasting” it with particles, usually glass bead, sand or aluminum oxide to achieve a dull, non-reflective matte finish

Belly (of the blade) – The belly refers to the curving section of the blade beneath the point that is ideal for slicing

Bevel– This refers to the angle and shape ground onto the blade’s edge. Beveling gives the blade sharpness and cutting strength.

Bolster– The bolster is the thick joint between the blade and the handle that offers a smooth transition, balance, blade strength and control.

Carbide- A combination of carbon and a less negatively charged element to form an extremely hard material used for cutting or sharpening other very hard materials

Carbon Fiber– Commonly used material for knife handles, this is a resin laminate prized for its appearance, toughness and lightweight.

Chisel Ground– A flat or hollow grind only on one side of the blade

Choil– Pronounced “CH-oyul”, this refers to the unsharpened part of the blade, where it meets the handle. Often shaped to accept an index finger for more finely controlled use of the blade for intricate cutting tasks

Clip Point– Favored among dagger style knives for its narrower tip, this style blade refers to a “clipped off” portion of the blade towards the tip as seen most commonly in Bowie knives

Combo– When the knife’s blade is partially serrated, offering the user both plain edge and serrations

Convex Ground– The bevels are ground to form a convex radius

DLC– Stands for “Diamond Like Coating” or “Diamond Like Carbon”. Basically an amorphous carbon material that shares many of the usual properties of diamond. It is applied to knives primarily to increase hardness, resistance to wear and slickness.

Double Edge– Having a cutting edge on either (both) sides of the blade

Drop Point– Common with hunting knives, this denotes a blade style where the spine of the blade has a convex slope along the spine from the handle to the tip, allowing the spine to continue to the tip which reinforces its strength.

EDC– Stands for Every Day Carry, referring to the all-purpose knife that a person uses in their day-to-day routine

Ergonomics– Describes the relationship between a tool (knife) and the human body designed for ideal interaction, such as a contoured knife handle fitting seamlessly in to the user’s hand. Designed for comfort, ease of use, safety and efficiency.

Flat Ground– Beginning at the spine, flat bevels are ground in to the blade all the way down to the tip

Frame Lock- An offshoot of the liner lock, a frame lock uses the frame as a spring making for a very secure lock.

FRN– Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon, common handle material that is very tough and conducive to texturing for firm handle grip

G10– Similar to Micarta and Carbon Fiber, this material is a resin laminate often used in handles for its moisture imperviousness, ease of use and color options

Gut (Game) Hook– This is a blade feature where a small sharp half-circle is ground in to the spine of the blade and used to field dress game

Hawkbill Blade- An elongated, downwardly curved blade that resembles the bill of a hawk

Hollow Ground– Bevels, spanning either the full width or a section of it, are ground in to the blade to form a concave profile

Jimping– Small notches and grooves, typically on the choil or spine of the blade, that are used to ensure grip and prevent slippage when using the knife.

Liner– The metal plate inside a knife handle that supports both sides of the handle, the bolsters and blade pivot. Sometimes the liner will have a lock integrated in to it, cleverly referred to as a “liner lock”

Lockback– Refers to a knife style that uses a locking spring bar with a tooth at one end. When the tooth falls in to the notch cut in to the blade tang, the blade is held together with spring tension. A cutout in the spine houses a release button for the lock. This style of knife requires two hands to operate the locking mechanism.

Matte– A non-glossy, duller finish


Micarta– Brand name for a modern high pressure laminate commonly used in knife handles

Nail Nick– A small notch in the blade of folding knives used in conjunction with the fingernail to manually open the knife

OTF- Stands for “out-the-front”, where either a single or double action mechanism stores a blade within the handle of a knife and upon activation, the blade shoots out of the front of the knife.

Pommel– A piece of metal that forms the “butt” or end of a knife handle. It is both for appearance and functional, as it protects and strengthens the handle

Powder Coating– Used primarily for protection, anti-glare and striking looks, powder coating involves applying electrically charged powder coat to oppositely charged knife parts, then placing them in an oven to bake, melt and seal in to a tough protecting coating

Quillon– From the French, a straight or curved guard on a knife that is designed to protect the hand.

Ricasso– Portion of the blade just above the handle that is unsharpened either for aesthetic purposes, for reinforced strength at a critical part of the blade or to be gripped to enable more precise fine-tuned cutting procedure

Rivets– Cylindrical metal bolts or pins used to fasten the handles to the tang of the blade

Rockwell Hardness Test– A scale used to measure the indentation hardness of a material, invented by the Rockwell brothers

Sabre Ground– The flat bevels begin at the halfway or center point of the blade and are ground from there to the tip of the edge

Satin-The most common knife finish, with moderate shine and corrosion resistance

Scales– Made from any number of materials in modern knives, these are mounted to the sides of full tang knives. Durability and ergonomics are key here as scales are in contact with the human hand.

Scrimshaw– Engraved or etched artwork designs etched on to the handle of a knife

Sheepsfoot Blade– A blade style with a straight edge and straight dull back that curves downward towards the tip. Originally made to trim the hooves of sheep, they offer superior control of the blade and protection from puncture with a flat tip

Spine (of the blade) – Refers to the thickest part of the blade, along the top ridge of the blade, opposite the cutting edge. Reinforces the strength of the knife much the same way as the spine supports the human body, it supports energy transfer from handle to blade as well as supporting the butt.

Stiletto– A stiletto refers to a long slender blade with a sharp needle point that is efficient for stabbing, as evidenced by its history in self-defense and warfare. Often generically refers to the style of Italian “switchblade” or automatic opening locking knives that were imported to the United States in large numbers during the 1950’s

Stonewash– A metal finish where the blade is rolled and tumbled with pebbles and then smoothed. Gives a worn, broken-in appearance that hides scratches and fingerprints well

Swedge- A bevel grind on the back edge of the blade, its purpose being both aesthetically appealing and to make the spine of the blade thinner so as to improve its cutting ability. On slip joint knives, the swedge also allows blades to freely pass each other when opening and closing and provides access to the nail nick.

Tang– The protrusion or continuance of the blade steel in to the handle of the knife. There is both full tang and partial tang, but generally speaking a full tang knife will be sturdier than a partial or half tang knife.

Tanto– Great for piercing hard materials, this style blade does not have a belly so it’s not ideal for slicing, but this sacrifice is made to ensure the strength of the tip for repeated piercing tasks

Tip Down- Refers to the setup of the knife’s clip when carried in the pocket so that the tip of the blade is pointing downwards

Tip Up- Refers to the setup of the knife’s clip when carried in the pocket so that the tip of the blade is pointing upwards

Walk & Talk– Colloquial term that refers to the action of a folding knife. The “walk” refers to the travel feel of the blade as it’s opened along the spring, and the “talk” refers to the satisfying snap heard when it is closed. Smooth blade travel while opening and strong snap while closing make for good “walk & talk”.

Posted in BladeOps | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Life and Times of Blade Steel

When choosing a knife, be it for everyday multi-purpose use or for a specific task, it helps to have an understanding of the properties of various blade steels because in many ways it’s the steel you are actually buying when selecting a knife. However, manufacturer finishing and techniques such as heat treatment will play a large role in the overall performance of any given steel. Also, to be completely fair, most steels will perform for most people in most situations. When choosing a knife based on steel, the number one consideration will be its intended purpose. But for the more technical among us, or where a specific task is best suited to a specific steel, or for the person like me who simply wants to know what they’re using and why, here is a guide to understanding steels commonly seen in the knife market.

Properties of Steel

  • Hardness: Hardness is “the ability to resist deformation”, according to Steven Roman’s book “A Primer on Folding Knives”. To “deform” is to bend.
  • Toughness: Refers to “the ability of the steel to resist chipping, cracking or fracturing” or steel’s ability to “bend without breaking”, according to Roman.
  • Edge Retention: Though somewhat abstract and therefore resistant to quantitative measurement, this refers to a steel blade’s ability to remain sharp over time despite usage.
  • Corrosion Resistance: Denotes a steel’s ability to withstand the effects of salt, humidity and moisture without the occurrence of corrosion (oxidization).
  • Wear Resistance: According to Roman, wear resistance refers to steel’s ability to “withstand abrasion due to the friction the blade encounters when it is used to cut abrasive material such as cardboard, wood or rope”.

How Steel is Made

Steel is iron ore that has had most if its impurities removed in a blast furnace and then had roughly ~1% carbon added for strength. Often, steel manufacturers will tinker with the formula of the steel, adding and subtracting different to achieve the ideal characteristics based on the steel’s intended use or purpose.

When a metallurgist is making a steel, it is often a process of balancing the above traits by adjusting the “ingredients” in the steel’s recipe to maximize its performance in one or more areas. This can often to a tricky proposition however, because increasing a steel’s performance in one category often comes at the expense of another. For example, as carbon is added to increase hardness and toughness, the steel also becomes more brittle as a result. Often it is a question of striking the correct balance or tradeoff when adjusting the formula to achieve the desired results.

As important as steel composition is, an often overlooked part of steel quality has to do with the heat treatment the steel is given. This process changes the grain structure of steel, sometimes forming new grains and modifying existing ones. The quality of this treatment has a large effect on the knife steel’s overall worth and performance. In basic terms, heat treatment involves the repeated heating and cooling of steel over varying periods of time, and the minor variances in time and temperature can have a large impact of the final outcome of the steel by affecting the grain structure. It is beneficial to know and understand some commonly seen steels in the knife market, but always bear in mind that the quality of the manufacturing process will dictate a steel’s performance perhaps as much as its composition.


Commonly Used Steels

1095 Steel– 1095 is a basic form of carbon steel commonly seen in various knife blades. Prized for its edge retention and sharpening capabilities, it can also be brittle when thin and be prone to rust.

440C Steel– A blade steel often seen in knives that is prized for its corrosion resistance

154CM Steel– A widely used production steel for knife blades, the performance of 154CM is largely favorable but will depend a great deal on the heat treatment from the manufacturer.

AUS 8 Steel– A Japanese stainless steel that competes with other mid-grade steels, the inclusion of vanadium improves the steel’s ability to hold a good edge and increase toughness and wear resistance

CPM S30V Steel- Considered a premium knife steel all-around and perhaps the ultimate steel in its class, S30V, though expensive, is prized for its combination of qualities including sharpenability, machinability, sharpness, toughness and a refined grain.

D2 Steel- This steel is highly sensitive to heat treatment and is highly resistant to abrasion/wear but is not as tough as other alloy steels

Elmax Steel- Produced using a powder-metallurgy process, Elmax steel its ideal combination of strengths including superior corrosion resistance, high wear resistance, and good dimensional and compressive strength.  Elmax steel’s unique composition lends it many of the qualities that are often elusive in a single steel.

H1- A precipitation hardened steel known for its ability to hold an edge as well as other premium steels but without any susceptibility to pitting, rust and/or corrosion. Due to this attribute, H1 steel is popular in knives to be used around (salt) water or any wet conditions where corrosion is a consideration.

VG-10 Steel- Another high-end stainless steel which contains vanadium for increased toughness, VG-10 is renowned for its ability to retain an edge and resist corrosion.

Posted in Blade Steels | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Knife Care, Maintenance & Safety


Wicked Edge Sharpening

Wicked Edge Sharpening System

With a little routine upkeep, a quality knife can provide decades of dependable service. First, let’s get some common sense points out of the way. To begin with, never use your knife for tasks other than its primary purpose: cutting. While different blade styles allow for all manner of piercing, slicing and sawing, it is generally best to confine the use of your knife to its intended purpose. This means refraining from gouging, prying, hammering or any other potentially abusive action that will, at the very least, shorten the longevity of your knife’s lifespan. Next, bear in mind that your knife is first and foremost a tool. Treating it with respect and care will ensure personal safety and continued performance over time. Always cut away from yourself and be sure to make precise and deliberate cuts. Keeping your knife clean, oiled and sharp will go a long way towards protecting your investment in a quality tool that has both practical everyday uses and possible lifesaving potential.

Moisture, fingerprints and debris are your enemy when it comes to keeping your knife in top form. Always pick a cool dry place for storage, wipe away fingerprints and moisture, and clean the pivot point (or other nooks and crannies) with a Q-Tip or air duster. A drop or two of decent oil to the blade will help prevent rust and corrosion, while oil, used sparingly, around the pivot area will help ensure good action and ease of movement. For knives that may be used for food purposes, mineral oil is a safe bet. Though it may evaporate relatively quickly, it is cheap, plentiful and will not impart any toxins or go rancid over time. If your knife should see use in a saltwater environment, be sure to rinse it thoroughly after use, allow it to dry completely and consider applying wiping it down with a light coat of oil to protect the steel.

As the old adage goes, a sharp knife is a safer knife. Though perhaps seemingly counterintuitive at first, experience shows us that a sharper knife allows for more exact cutting using less force and diminishes the opportunity for slippage. A sharper knife improves cutting technique by reducing the exertion required to perform the task. A sharp knife, used responsibly with fingers away from the business end and out of harm’s way, is actually a very safe tool.

As a simple reminder for knife care, remember DOCS:

Dry- The entire knife along with the blade

Oiled- Moving parts in particular

Clean- All pivot points and locking mechanisms

Sharp- To ensure effective and safe cutting


Should your knife require some service beyond general maintenance, virtually all reputable knife makers offer some kind of warranty or servicing policy. Since these guidelines vary from brand to brand, it is best to check directly with the manufacturer for the most accurate information. Unless very confident in your abilities, it is wise to allow any repairs, modifications or other service to be performed by a professional. Working on your own knife may void the warranty, as will any other actions considered misuse or abuse, including using the knife as a hammer, chisel, pry bar and screwdriver. Normal wear and tear is also not typically warrantied. Much like any other tool, if properly maintained and used within the parameters of its intended purpose, malfunctions are rare and a person can reasonably expect to rugged dependability.  If a new knife owner follows these guidelines and exercises caution and common sense, they will not only protect their investment but also have a trustworthy tool suitable for years and years of faithful service.

Posted in BladeOps | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Spyderco Autonomy Automatic Knife Review

Spyderco recently released the Autonomy automatic knife.  In production for several years, this knife has previously been available only to members of the US Coast Guard.

Spyderco Autonomy

Spyderco Autonomy auto knife, C165GSBBK

Several years ago, Spyderco was contracted to build an auto knife for the US Coast Guard rescue swimmers.  These swimmers have some pretty incredible standards of fitness that readies them for the wide variety of environments they operate within.  They must be able to do 50 shoulder width push-ups, 60 sit-ups, 5 pull-ups, 5 chin-ups, a 500 yard crawl swim in 12 minutes and a 25 yard underwater swim done 4 times as well as a buddy tow of 200 yards.  And to complement their incredible fitness, they need equipment that performs to the standards they operate at on a daily basis.

The Autonomy features an H-1 steel blade.  H-1 steel is nitrogen based and immune to saltwater corrosion–making it the perfect blade for Coast Guard rescue personnel.  The knife boasts a coil spring nested in a unique, removable shroud that allows for the spring to be serviced without taking the whole knife apart.

Built with open construction, the Autonomy is easy to clean and dry.  The black G-10 scales proffer a secure, solid grip even in the water.  And the firing button is designed so you can index easily even in the dark, when your hands are cold, or when you have gloves on them.  This ideal auto knife is perfect for those who operate in water environments.

The sheepsfoot style blade has full serrations which makes it perfect for cutting straps with minimal chance of cutting whatever is wound up in the strap or rope. In 2012, this knife won the “Most Innovative American Design” award at Blade Show.  Find it here on our website.

  • length overall 8.625″
  • blade length 3.75″
  • blade steel H-1
  • length closed 4.875″
  • cutting edge 3.625″
  • edge type fully serrated
  • blade style Sheepsfoot
  • weight 5.35 oz
  • blade thickness .11″
  • handle material Black G-10 with Stainless Steel Liners
  • Push Button Automatic
  • Pocket Clip Tip Up
  • Made in USA
Posted in spyderco, spyderco knife, spyderco knives | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Knife Blade Steel Comparison Chart

Just worked up a small graph to compare different steels in three different areas including Edge Retention/Hardness, Corrosion Resistance and Sharpenability.  Let me know what you think or what steels you would like to see added to the chart.

Knife Steel Comparison Chart

Knife Steel Comparison Chart

Posted in BladeOps | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Kershaw Own It 4 Piece Set

Looking for a great deal–check out this 4 piece set from Kershaw.  Part of the Own It series, this Limited Edition offering includes four great items from Kershaw, all at an unbelievable price point.

In your set you get the 1304BW assist knife.  This knife opens smooth as silk with a tug on the flipper or a push on the dual thumb studs.  The tanto blade boasts a BlackWash finish that provides an extra layer of protection for the stainless steel blade as well as a fantastic look that doesn’t show wear and tear like many blade finishes.  The blade locks open with a sturdy framelock.  Comes with a tip down, deep carry pocket clip.

Kershaw Own It Set

Kershaw Own It Set

The kit also includes a fantastic LED flashlight that fits comfortable in your hand and can easily be attached to your go bag, your gear bag or anywhere else you want.  The kit has a handy pocket tool that can cut straps, open your favorite drink and even unscrew a stubborn flathead screw.  You also get a bead chain with a dog tag.

All in all, this is a fantastic set of tools for a deal of a price.

Posted in assist knife, Assisted Knives, kershaw, Kershaw Knife, Kershaw Knives | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

ProTech Desert Sand Tactical Response Auto Knife

ProTech Tactical Response 3.31

ProTech Tactical Response 3.31

The ProTech TR3.31 boasts the new desert sand anodized handle that ProTech has been producing over the past few years.  I picked up one of these ProTech knives with a tanto point about two years ago with the Desert Sand anodize finish.  At the time, it was a limited run offering.

Since then, I have carried the knife for about 150 days of hard, daily use.  It has performed beyond my high expectations.  I have purchased several ProTech knives over the past decade and have been impressed by each one–so my expectations were high.  The anodized handle is comfortable to hold even for long periods of use.

The drop point blade snaps open fast with classic ProTech speed and quality.  The blade is 154CM stainless steel with a black finish.  It is built for heavy use and will last a lifetime with proper care and maintenance.

If you are looking for a high quality auto knife that will perform exactly how a knife should–check out this fine offering from ProTech Knives.


  • Blade: 154-CM Stainless Steel
  • Blade Length: 3.5″
  • Blade Thickness: .125″ thick
  • Blade Rockwell: 59RC
  • Blade Finish: Black
  • Handle: T6-6061 Anodized Aluminum, Desert Sand
  • Open Overall Length: 8.0″
  • Closed Overall Length: 4.5″
  • Weight: 3.6 ounces
Posted in auto knife, auto knives, automatic knife, automatic knives, Pro-Tech, protech, protech knives | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Microtech Makora II OTF Knife

The automatic out the front knife known as the Makora II from Microtech stands tall above the competition–and not just because it is the biggest OTF auto currently in production in the US.  The Makora II features stunning carbon fiber inlays on both sides of the handle and a long, narrow blade built for heavy use.

The current iteration is available in OD Green, Red and of course–traditional black anodized aluminum.  The blade is a whopping 4.45″ long and the knife measures 10.5″ long when open.  This fantastic knife has fast double action.

If you are looking for a serious OTF contender–check out the Microtech Makora II knife.  You can find them here on our website.

Microtech Makora II

Microtech Makora II OTF automatic knife


  • Overall: 10.5″
  • Blade: 4.45″
  • Blade Finish: Black
  • Blade Edge:Both Combo Edges
  • Handle Material: 6061 T6 Aircraft Aluminum,OD Green Anodized
  • Weight: 4.3 oz
  • Made in the USA.
Posted in microtech knife, microtech knives, otf knife, otf knives, out the front knife | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Latest BladeOps Instagrams

Check out our newest BladeOps Instagram Post. Like what you see? Come follow us on Instagram.
Latest BladeOps Instagrams

Posted in Instagram | Leave a comment