Benchmade Foray Knife Review

Benchmade Foray
Benchmade Foray

Benchmade says, “Our knives are made of many things: steel, aluminum and titanium, to name a few. But perhaps the most important part of a Benchmade knife is expertise. We carefully measure every part at every tsp in the process. We use the best materials and equipment. We make world-class knives for world-class users and this is how.”

The first step in every blade is laser cutting, because every blade begins as a sheet of steel. A laser cutting technician programs the laser to cut the steel into blanks, giving the blade its basic profile. The blanks are hammered out of the sheet by hand, and for the first time, the steel begins to look like a knife. The blanks are measured to make sure they meet specifications. Measurement are taken every step of the manufacturing process to guarantee an impeccable knife and streamline production. Benchmade says that if a part isn’t up-to-spec, it doesn’t become a Benchmade.

The second step is surface grinding. This is where the blank is ground to its precise width. Benchmade has a surface grind technician place each blank in its rack by hand and each side is ground to its specified thickness. After grinding, the technician checks the thickness of each set of blanks. At this point in time, tolerances are within the width of a human hair. Benchmade says that their knives have no room for error, which means that neither does a blade’s thickness.

The third step is milling, which is where blade holes, handles, and grooves are cut on high-speed mills. One of the holes that is cut at this step is the blade pivot, which is crucial to the folding mechanism. The pivot tolerance is .0005 inches, because the slightest deviation there becomes exponential at the blade’s tip.

Fourth is beveling. Now the blade really starts to take shape. Up to this point, the two sides of the blade are essentially flat. A blade beveling technician bevels the knife blank one side at a time, and one of the most critical tasks here is to make sure the sides match perfectly. Of course, a technician measures the blade to verify that it meets the specified tolerances. An imprecise bevel can hamper the blade’s balance, sharpness, strength, and mechanism function.

Next is back sanding, which is where the back of the blade gets attention. The back sanding technician sands the back of the blade until it is smooth. Finishing is what gives the blade a more refined look. The finishing technician stone-washes the blades in a ceramic medium to remove any burrs and give the blades a clean, polished appearance. When the blade is cleaned up, it is taken to laser marking to receive its one-of-a-kind Benchmade mark.

Last is assembly and sharpening. Every Benchmade knife is assembled by hand. A sharpening technician puts a razor edge on the knife using a sanding belt sander. Each blade is sharpened to a targeted 30-degree inclusive angle, 15 degrees on each side. Benchmade says that the knife is sharp enough when it can cut through ultra-thin phonebook paper effortlessly without tearing.

Today we will talk about one of the newest Benchmade knives, the Foray.

The Class:

This is a Gold Class knife. Benchmade says that a Gold Class knife is more than a knife. They say, “Go ahead and show off. Gold Class knives are a rare combination of materials, design and artistry. A knife this fine is hard to come by.”

 

The Blade:

The blade is made out of Loki pattern Damasteel that has been hardened to a 58-60 HRC. The traditional Damascus patterned steel is produced by welding two types of steel in typically seven layers. Then one forge out and fold the piece repeatedly until one gets over one hundred layers in their piece. Damasteel Steel Industries holds the international patent to manufacture Damascus patterned steel at Damasteel via modern powder metallurgy, which is a method with many advantages. This steel has high hardness, durability, and strength. Damasteel says, “This steel is created with gas atomization, which is a process to manufacture high quality metal powders. During the gas atomization process, molten steel is atomized by inert gas jets into fine metal droplets, which cool down during their decent in the atomizing tower. Metal powders obtained by gas-atomization offer a perfectly spherical shape combined with a high level of cleanliness. After the atomization process, powders are collected in a capsule, which is sealed and then compacted by Hot Isostatic Pressing. This is a process to densify gas-atomized metal powders, through the combination of high gas pressure and high temperature. The HIP process takes place in a HIP furnace where the gas pressure acts uniformly in all directions, hence providing isostatic properties and 100% densification.”

This Damasteel has a Loki pattern. After the rolling or forging the patterns are finished off by either twisting and or coining, the patterns will be visible after etching. This pattern is a unique pattern that you won’t often find.

The blade has been carved into a drop point blade shape. The drop point blade style is one of the most commonly found blade shape and it is popular for a reason. This is a tough and versatile blade shape. The style is formed by having the spine of the blade run straight from the handle to the tip of the blade in a slow, curving manner, which creates a lowered tip. The lowered tip gives you the ability to perform fine detail work while also giving you more control. The tip on this knife is also broad, which is where the strength of the drop point style blade comes from. This is such a versatile blade because the belly is very large. This belly is going to make slicing a breeze.

 

The Handle:

The handle on this knife is made out of marbled carbon fiber. Carbon fiber is a term that refers to a material that has been made of thin strands of carbon that have been tightly woven then set in a resin. This material is going to be tremendously strong, but still lightweight. Unfortunately, because of the labor that does go into it, it does tend to be pretty expensive. And while it is a strong material, it is definitely not indestructible and does tend to be pretty brittle. This is because all of the fibers in carbon fiber are woven together in a single direction. So while the material is entirely strong in that specific direction, as soon as they are stressed in a different direction they begin to break apart. And because it is a brittle material, it can crack if it is hit on a hard or sharp object. Because of the way that they weave carbon fiber, you can get an incredible wide array of options with how the handle is going to look. The pros of the carbon fiber handle are that the handle is going to be strong, not heavy, and have a unique look to it. The cons are that it is going to be extremely expensive and the handle is still known for being brittle.

On this specific knife, the carbon fiber is a dark grey and a lighter grey. The fibers have been woven together to look like the material is actually a marble. This look matches the mother of pearl inlay in the middle of the handle. Mother of pearl is a smooth, shining iridescent substance forming the inner layer of the shell of some mollusks, especially oysters and abalones, used in ornamentation, according to dictionary.com. The mother of pearl does gleam and have a unique pattern to it, which matches the handle and the swirled damasteel of the blade. The look of this knife is unique and classy—definitely a high class knife.

The handle itself has a pretty simple design to it. The spine of the handle is pretty straight, although still comfortable to hold. Towards the end of the spine, it curves to create a rounded butt. There is a slight finger guard to protect your fingers from slipping. There is also an average sized finger groove to comfortably hold onto this knife. The belly of the knife swells and falls to match the ergonomics of a palm. The Foray has been designed as an everyday knife and the handle does not lie—it will be very comfortable to use. And, it will draw some attention when you do use it.

 

The Pocket Clip:

             The pocket clip on this knife is a tip-up pocket clip that is attached on the traditional side of the handle. This does reduce its ability to be a great ambidextrous knife. However, it is a deep carry pocket clip, which allows you to go about your day without worrying about the knife sliding out of your pocket.

All of the hardware is a dark grey. All of the hardware pieces have been coated with a diamond-like-carbon coating. This is a nanocomposite coating that has unique properties of natural diamond such as low friction, high hardness, and high corrosion resistance. And while most coatings do scratch off after long periods of time or even just heavy use, a DCL coating is one of the toughest coatings on the market and will take a lot more than just time or heavy use to come off.

 

The Mechanism:

This is a manual knife that has been equipped with an AXIS opening mechanism. A patented Benchmade exclusive, AXIS® has been turning heads and winning fans ever since its introduction. A 100 percent ambidextrous design, AXIS® gets its function from a small, hardened steel bar that rides forward and back in a slot machined into both steel liners. The bar extends to both sides of the knife, spans the liners and is positioned over the rear of the blade. It engages a ramped tang portion of the knife blade when it is opened. Two omega-style springs, one on each liner, give the locking bar its inertia to engage the knife tang. As a result, the tang is wedged solidly between a sizable stop pin and the AXIS® bar itself.

The knife has also been equipped with a thumb stud to help you open the knife. The thumb stud makes for an easy and common operation used to open up a folding knife. The thumb stud sits on the side of the blade near where the blade pivots on the handle. It makes for a comfortable way to use on hand to open the knife. However, it does put your hand very close to the blade itself when you are opening the knife. Keep this in mind and be cautious while you get used to opening the knife with a thumb stud. There have been plenty of stories of people moving too quickly and slicing their thumbs while they are opening their knife. One of the other complaints when it comes to a thumb stud is that because it does extend out of the blade, some people feel that it gets in the way while they are trying to use their knife. The thumb stud on this blade has been coated a bright blue, which does contrast with the neutral tones that the rest of the knife sports.

 

The Specs:

The blade on this knife measures in at 3.22 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.137 inches. The handle on this knife has a thickness of 0.56 inches. The overall length of this knife measures in at 7.34 inches long. The Foray weighs in at 3.46 ounces.

 

Conclusion:

Benchmade says, “Producing high-quality, handcrafted products is a collaborative enterprise; marbled carbon fiber, mother of pearl, custom anodized accents, diamond-like-carbon coated hardware, and an exclusive Loki patterned Damasteel blade are brought together to form a beautiful and unique addition to our Gold Class line. “You can pick up this brand new Benchmade knife today at BladeOps. This everyday knife has a classy look that you won’t normally find in an EDC knife, but it still has the toughness, durability, and strength that you expect out of one.

 

Kershaw Strobe Flipper Knife Review

Kershaw Knives designs and manufactures a wide range of knives, including pocketknives, sporting knives, and kitchen cutlery. Kershaw is a brand of Kai USA Ltd., a member of the KAI Group, headquartered in Tualatin, Oregon, United States.

Kershaw Knives was started in Portland, Oregon in 1974 when knife salesman Pete Kershaw left Gerber Legendary Blades to form his own cutlery company based on his own designs. Early manufacturing was primarily done in Japan. In 1977, Kershaw became a wholly owned subsidiary of the KAI Group. In 1997 the U.S. production facility was opened in Wilsonville, Oregon. Due to an expanding market, the facilities were moved to a larger production site in 2003. Currently, Kai USA manufacturing facilities are located in Tualatin, Oregon with some goods coming from their Japanese and Chinese factories.

They had a founding mission to design and manufacture tools that knife users would be proud to own, carry, and use. This has meant that every Kershaw knife must be of the highest quality. Whether it’s a hardworking pocketknife, a hunting knife, or a special collectors’ edition, Kershaw always chooses appropriate, high-quality materials and is dedicated to intensive craftsmanship. Along with extremely tight tolerances and state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques, this ensures that Kershaw knives provide a lifetime of performance.

Kershaw also has a strong commitment to innovation. They pioneered the use of many of the technologies and advanced materials that are today standard in the knife industry. They say, “Our SpeedSafe assisted opening knives were first-to-market. We introduced the concept of knives with interchangeable blades in our Blade Traders. Recently, our Composite Blade technology, which combines two steels into one blade, gives knife users the best of both worlds by enabling us to use steel known for edge retention on the edge and steel known for strength on the spine. And we will keep on innovating, bringing new and better technologies and materials to today’s knife making industry and knife-using public.”

Kershaw says, “If this is your first Kershaw, be prepared. You just may be back for more. If it’s not your first Kershaw, welcome back. We’ve got some cool new blades to show you—along with a wide selection of your favorites. For design, innovation, quality, and genuine pride of ownership, Kershaw is the one.”

Today, we will be going over the Kershaw Strobe Flipper knife.

 

The Blade:

The blade is made out of 8Cr13MoV steel. The easiest steel to compare this steel to is AUS8A. For everyday use, it is going to be complicated to tell the difference between a well-made 8Cr13MoV blade and a well-made AUS8A blade. Nevertheless, there are slight differences in the steel formula. While most other components are relatively equal, 8Cr13MoV has slightly more carbon for hardness and wear resistance and slightly less nickel. The key to blade performance for both of these steels is manufacturing quality. That’s where Kershaw’s expertise comes in. Kershaw precision heat-treats 8Cr13MoV steel to bring out its best high-performance characteristics: the ability to take and hold an edge, strength, and hardness. Kershaw says, “8Cr13MoV is top-of-the-line Chinese steel and, we believe, offers our customers an excellent value.” The steel on this knife has been hardened to a 57-59 HRC.

The blade on this knife has been finished with a stonewashed finish. A stonewashed finish is created by tumbling the blade in an abrasive material. This finish easily hides scratches, while also working to make a less reflective look than a brushed or satin finished blade. There are actually a wide variety of stonewashed finishes based upon the abrasive shape, tumbling motion, and the type of finish the blade has before it enters the tumbler. A very major advantage of a stonewashed blade is that it is going to be low maintenance and keep its look through time.

The blade on this knife has been carved into a clip point blade shape. This is a popular blade shape in the cutlery industry. It is created by having the spine of the knife go from the handle to about halfway up the blade before it turns and continues to the point of the blade. This section looks as if it is clipped out, and is named the clip, which is where the name of the knife shape came from. The clip can be either curved or straight, but on the strobe, it is straight. The clip creates a lowered point, which gives the user plenty of control over their cuts. The blade shape also has a very large belly, which makes slicing a piece of cake. One of the disadvantages of a clip point blade shape is that because the tip is fine, sharp, and narrow, it does have a tendency to break off or chip, especially when being used on hard targets. However, because of those same characteristics, the clip point is going to excel at stabbing.

 

Kershaw Strobe Flipper Knife
Kershaw Strobe Flipper Knife

The Handle:

             The handle on this knife is made out of 410 steel with K-Texture grip overlays. Steel is going to provide durability to the handle and knife as well as being incredibly resistant to corrosion. Unfortunately, it is not lightweight and is often slippery. The slipperiness of the steel is combatted on this knife with the K-Texture, which is an exclusive texture and pattern used on the handle of certain Kershaw knives. K-Texture provides an extremely secure grip. The overall benefits of a steel handle is that it is going to be strong, durable, and corrosion resistant. The overall cons of a steel handle is that it is going to be heavy and it can be slippery.

The handle on his knife is designed for a great grip. The spine curves slowly toward the butt of the handle. About 2/3rds of the way down, a row of extreme jimping starts. This jimping is going to provide the user with the ability to really have control when they are using this knife. The belly of the handle does have a finger guard that is enhanced significantly with the flipper when the knife is opened. There is a slight finger groove that also has jimping in it to give the user an even more secure grip. The belly of the knife bulges out before curving towards the butt of the handle. The handle is outlined in steel, because the K-Texture does take up the majority of the handle. The steel on this knife is satin while the K-Texture is black, which provides a very sleek looking contrast.


The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip is a deep carry pocket clip that is reversible. The pocket clip is black, which matches the middle portion of the handle. The clip has been slightly skeletonized at the top, which will cut down on weight.

This is a deep carry clip, which means that it is going to fit as deep in your pocket as it can. This is nice because you can move about throughout your day without worrying about the knife falling out of it. This knife is reversible for either left or right handed carry, which helps to make the knife ambidextrous. That being said, it is not reversible for either tip up or tip down carry. This knife has only been drilled for tip up carry. Some people do not like tip up carry, because if the knife accidentally opens in their pocket and they reach in, it is likely that they would slice their hands. However, this is a manual knife, so that is not going to be an issue for the Kershaw Strobe.

 

The Mechanism:

This knife is a manual knife which means that there is no mechanical assist, such as SpeedSafe, used to open the folding knife. This knife is going to open the classic, old-school way. That being said, it is equipped with the KVT ball-bearing opening system. The Kershaw KVT ball-bearing system makes one-handed opening of your knife fast and easy—without the need for a mechanical assist. While SpeedSafe assisted opening uses a torsion bar to help move the knife blade out the handle, KVT relies on a ring of “caged” ball bearings that surround the knife’s pivot. (“Caged” means the ball bearings are secured within a ring that surrounds the pivot. It keeps the ball bearings in place, while allowing them to rotate freely.) When the user pulls back on the built-in flipper, the blade rotates out of the handle as the ball bearings roll in place. KVT makes one-handed opening quick, easy, and smooth as butter.

This knife is also equipped with a flipper, which is a protrusion on the back of the blade that the user can pull back on, or flip, in order to move the blade easily out of the handle. A flipper helps to enable fast and easy one-handed opening as well as being ambidextrous. To open a Kershaw manual knife that has a flipper, Hold the knife handle in one hand with the butt end resting firmly in the palm of your hand. Place your index finger on the highest point of the flipper. Push down strongly and quickly on the flipper. The blade will move out of the handle and lock into place. (If you have trouble moving the blade fully out of the handle, add a slight flip of the wrist.)

This knife also has been equipped with a frame lock. In a frame lock knife, the knife handle—its “frame”—consists of two plates of material on either side of the blade. To ensure a secure lock up, one or both of these plates is usually metal. When the knife is opened, the metal side of the frame, the lock bar, butts up against the backend of the blade (the tang) and prevents the blade from closing. To close a frame lock knife, the user pushes the frame to the side, unblocking the blade, and folds the blade back into the handle. Like locking liner knives, frame locks are manufactured so that the locking side of the frame is angled toward the interior of the knife, creating a bias toward the locked position. Both the blade tang and the lock bar are precisely angled so they fit together for a secure, reliable lockup. The thickness of the frame material blocking the blade open makes the frame lock extremely sturdy.

 

The Specs:

The blade on this knife measures in at 3.3 inches long with a handle that measures in at 4.25 inches long. The overall length of this knife measures in at 7.5 inches when it is opened. This knife weighs in at 4.6 ounces, which is a good weight for a knife that you can have with you at all times. This knife is not going to be too heavy to have with you, but it is going to give you the heft that will get you through your tasks.

 

Conclusion:

When Kershaw is describing this knife, they say, “Knife users who love the look of Kershaw’s Diskin Hunter—but would love it even more in a manual folding knife—now have their wish.

The Strobe takes the sweeping lines of the Diskin Hunter and turns them into a smaller, folding pocketknife. The clip-point blade offers a deep belly and opens with a handy flipper.

Thanks to the Strobe’s KVT ball-bearing opening system, the blade opens smoothly and easily; just pull back on the flipper. A washer with caged ball bearings surrounds the pivot joint and the bearings rotate as the blade moves out of the handle to ensure quick, one-handed opening. A frame lock provides secure lockup.

The blade is heat treated to Kershaw’s demanding specifications to bring out the best qualities in the steel, then stonewashed. The slim handle is characteristic of a Diskin knife and fits the hand securely. K-Texture™ handle overlays in glass-filled nylon provide additional grip.

The pocket clip is reversible for left/right-handed carry. Even better? It’s a deep-carry pocket clip so that it rides comfortably down in the pocket.” You can pick up this knife today at BladeOps.

 

 

 

 

Benchmade 15085-2 Mini Crooked River Knife Review

Benchmade has a rich history that dates back over 30 years. The current company is the product of many dedicated employees, a never-quit demand for excellence and the de Asis family’s vision and total commitment to culture, service and innovation.

In 1979, the Benchmade adventure really began. Les de Asis wanted a knife that reflected the latest in materials and manufacturing technology to replace the cheap butterfly knives, known as Bali-Songs, that he had played with when he was a child. He used his high-school shop skills blueprinting his dream knife before eventually meeting Victor Anselmo, who helped him grind the first ever pre-Benchmade Bali-Song prototype. Les paired this with handles that he had sourced from a small machine shop in California. He assembled and finished his first Bali-Song in his own garage. He was proud enough of his creation, so he took this first Bali-Song into a local gun store, where the owner asked him, “Could you build 100 more?”

The next year, he incorporated as Bali-Song, Inc. and rented a small shop in a second story mezzanine in California. He used the basic technology available to him at the time and began building handmade custom Bali-Songs, along with Jody Sampson, who ground all the blades. Over the next seven years, the company expanded its product offerings into fixed blades and conventional folding knives, and evolving its name form Bali-Song, Inc. to Pacific Cutlery Corp.

A few years later, he filed for bankruptcy and the company was dissolved. In 1988, the company was reintroduced with a new version of the famous Model 68. This new company needed a perfect name. He recognized that there was “handmade” and “factory-made,” it was really “Benchmade” that described the quality of Les’ product. He was building and operation that made precision parts, but with hand assembly on the finished products. This was a “bench” operation and Les wanted the name to reflect the marriage of manufactured and custom. In short, it describes Benchmade’s position in the market—even to this day.

To this day Benchmade continues to focus on innovation, customer needs, responsible business ethics and operations to bring the highest quality products to the world’s elite.

 

The Series:

This knife is part of Benchmade’s HUNT series. Benchmade lists some of the competitive advantages to using a knife from this series. For stares, edge retention is one of the most important features while field dressing an animal, and they make sure that the CPM S30V blade will deliver. Second is durability. They say, “A powdered metal steel, the durability of CPM S30V outperforms other blade steels thanks to its uniform grain structure. Third is corrosion resistance and because CPM S30V steel is a true stainless steel, it requires little maintenance and out performs other steels such as D2 by 619%. With a Benchmade HUNT knife, you know that you are getting all of the qualities that you need to succeed and survive.

 

The Blade:

The blade is made out of CPM S30V stainless steel that has been hardened to a 58-60 HRC. This steel is made by US based Crucible specifically for high-end premium pocket knives as well as expensive kitchen cutlery. Crucible knew what they were designing this steel for, so they made sure to pack it full of all the qualities that you want out of your knife blade. For starters, it resists rusting and corroding with ease. It also has excellent edge retention. The two of these characteristics make for an excellent hunting knife, because it keeps maintenance time down. This is especially important if you are going on a long hunting trip and don’t want to long a sharpener and all of your cleaning supplies with you. To keep this steel in top shape, wipe it down, make sure it’s dry, and oil it occasionally. Crucible added vanadium carbides to bring extreme hardness into the steel alloy matrix. The vanadium carbides help this blade steel have the perfect balance between edge retention, hardness, and toughness. Unfortunately, because of the extreme hardness, it does prove harder to work with and sharpen. This should not be a major issue, but if you are a beginner sharpener, don’t expect to get a pristine edge on it.

The blade is finished satin, which is the most common blade finish on the market today. The satin finish is created by repeatedly sanding the blade in one direction with an increasing level of fine abrasive, usually a sandpaper. This finish gives a classic look by showing off the bevels of the blade while showcasing the fine lines of the steel. This finish also reduces glares, reflections, and increases the ability to fight rusting and corrosion. Hunting knives usually have a more classic look to them, so the satin finish was the perfect option for this knife.

The blade has been carved into a clip point blade shape. This is an all-purpose blade shape. The shape is formed by having the back edge of the knife run straight from the handle before stopping about halfway up the knife. At this point, it turns and continues to the point of the knife. This cut-out portion is curved and is known as the “clip” of the knife, which is we=here the blade style got its name from. Because of the clip, the knife looks as if the spine has actually been clipped off. Another thing that the clip creates is a lowered point, which gives the user more control when they are using the knife. This characteristic is key when looking for a hunting knife, because you need all the control that you can get when you are field dressing an animal. You do not want to slip and nick an organ, which would ruin the meat. The clip point especially excels at stabbing, because the tip is controllable, sharp, and thinner at the spine. These features let you stab quicker with less drag. Lastly, a clip point blade is versatile because of the large belly that it has. The belly is the slicing edge and the larger the slicing edge, the easier it will be to slice. Out of all the great features, the clip point does have one major drawback. Because of the relatively narrow tip and how sharp it is, the tip does have the tendency to be weak and break fairly easily, especially when used on harder objects.

Like all great hunting knives, the blade has a plain edge. The plain edge gives cleaner cuts and slices, is easier to sharpen in the field if needed, and lets you take on a wider variety of tasks.

 

The Handle:

The handle of the Mini Crooked River is made out of contoured stabilized wood. Wood is one of the materials that have been used for knife handles since knives came into existence. When you have a quality wood handle, like on this knife, the knife is going to be durable and attractive. One of the other benefits to a wood handle is that it adds so much personality and beauty to the knife but it is still an inexpensive material.

Stabilized wood is wood that has been injected with a chemical stabilizing solution. The stabilized wood can be worked with normal wood working tools. So it doesn’t make it any trickier to create a knife handle. Stabilizing the wood is going to make it more durable and less prone to warping or cracking compared to natural or untreated wood. This is especially important in a hunting knife like this one, because it is going to be around plenty of fluids.

To stabilize the wood, it is placed in a container with the stabilizing solution. It is then put under a vacuum and then high pressure to ensure that the solution completely penetrates the pieces of wood. After the wood has been injected with the stabling solution, it is heat cured, which turns the liquid stabilizing solution into a solid.

The handle on this knife is curved to fit comfortably in your hand no matter how long you have to use it. The wood attaches to a steel bolster for durability. There is a deep finger groove which not only gives you a more comfortable grip, but it also gives you a more secure grip on this knife. The spine of the knife bulges outward in a shallow curve, which also works to provide you with a very secure grip. On the butt of the handle, there is a lanyard hole. The biggest advantage that you can use with the lanyard hole is to wrap the lanyard around the handle to give it more texture while you are in the thick of dressing your game. This will give you extra texture so that you don’t slip and cut yourself.

 

The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip on this knife is designed for tip-up carry only, but it is reversible for either left or right handed carry. This is a benefit because it allows the user to carry the knife more comfortably throughout their hunting experience. The pocket clip is a split arrow clip, which means that it is shaped like an arrow. The arrow shape helps the clip to cling more securely to your pocket, adding an additional element of security inside of your pocket. The clip is slightly skeletonized, which is why this style of clip is known as the split arrow.

 

The Mechanism:

This is a manual knife that has no mechanical assist. It is equipped with both a thumb stud as well as Benchmade’s AXIS lock.

Because this knife is a manual knife, you don’t have to worry about the strict knife laws that would accompany an automatic knife. While a manual knife won’t open as smoothly or efficiently as an automatic knife, the maintenance will be a little bit easier. While there are still moving parts inside the handle, there is not a spring that can wear down and ruin the mechanism of the knife if it falls apart or breaks down.

The thumb stud is a simple mechanism to get the hang of. It was designed to replace the nail nick that is used on older and more traditional knives. This is a small barrel that extends off of the blade. You use your thumb to push on this barrel until the knife swings open and locks into place. While you can open the knife with only one hand, it does place your fingers in the path of the blade. Make sure that you practice carefully opening this a couple of times while you get the hang of it. One of the other common complaints with this opening mechanism is that the stud gets in the way because it does extend off the blade.

Benchmade says, “A patented Benchmade exclusive, AXIS has been turning heads and winning fans ever since its introduction. A 100 percent ambidextrous design, AXIS gets its function from a small, hardened steel bar that rides forward and back in a slot machined into both steel liners. The bar extends to both sides of the knife, spans the liners, and is positioned over the rear of the blade. It engages a ramped tang portion of the knife blade when it is opened. Two omega-style springs, one on each liner, give the locking bar its inertia to engage the knife tang. As a result, the tang is wedged solidly between a sizable stop pin and the AXIS bar itself.” This locking mechanism is known for being strong, durable, and crazy reliable.

 

Benchmade 15085-2 Mini Crooked River
Benchmade 15085-2 Mini Crooked River

The Specs:

The blade on this knife measures in at 3.4 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.114 inches. The handle has a length of 4.50 inches long with a thickness of 0.52 inches. The Crooked River weighs in at 3.29 ounces. This Benchmade knife is made in the United States of America.

 

Conclusion:

Benchmade says, “The standout Crooked River now in a smaller, everyday carry size. Featuring the same traditional profile, modern technology, and style that pushes the preconceived notions of what a hunting knife should be.” You can pick up this brand new knife today at BladeOps.

Kershaw Secret Agent Fixed Blade Knife Review

Kershaw knows that there is really nothing like a Kershaw. From award-winning technologies and advanced materials to the solid sound of the blade lockup, when you’re carrying a Kershaw, you know you’re carrying the real thing. The real thing means value and plenty of it. With Kershaw, you get incredible bang for your hard-earned buck. Even our inexpensive models are impressive. In fact, everything about a Kershaw is solid, crafted, and reliable. Kershaw says, “That’s why we can back each of our knives for the life of its original owner against any defects in materials and construction with our famous Limited Lifetime Warranty. And yes, people do own their Kershaw knives for a lifetime. (Although, occasionally, a Kershaw has been known to get accidentally left at a campsite, lost in the garage, or permanently borrowed by a friend.) The point is, you can always look to Kershaw for every day carrying knives that can tame any cardboard box and liberate any purchase from its plastic packaging, sporting knives that make hunting, fishing, watersports, and camping even better, work knives that won’t let you down, and tactical knives that ensure you’re ready for anything.”

Kershaw was founded in 1974 to design and manufacture tools that knife users would be proud to own, carry, and use. This has meant that every Kershaw knife must be of the highest quality. Whether it’s a hardworking pocketknife, a hunting knife, or a special collectors’ edition, Kershaw always chooses appropriate, high-quality materials and is dedicated to intensive craftsmanship. Along with extremely tight tolerances and state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques, this ensures that Kershaw knives provide a lifetime of performance.

Kershaw also has a commitment to innovation and has pioneered the use of many of the technologies and advanced materials that are today standard in the knife industry. They say, “Our SpeedSafe assisted opening knives were first-to-market. We introduced the concept of knives with interchangeable blades in our Blade Traders. Recently, our Composite Blade technology, which combines two steels into one blade, gives knife users the best of both worlds by enabling us to use steel known for edge retention on the edge and steel known for strength on the spine. And we will keep on innovating, bringing new and better technologies and materials to today’s knife making industry and knife-using public.”

Kershaw Knives is a brand of Kai USA Ltd, a member of the Kai Group. For over 100 years, Kai has been Japan’s premier blade producer. Kai takes an innovative approach to product development based on the close coordination of research and development, production, marketing, and distribution functions. While many of Kershaw’s quality products are made in their 55,000 sq. ft. facility in Tualatin, Oregon (just south of Portland), they also draw on Kai’s resources to provide the very best for the customer.

Today we will be discussing the Kershaw Secret Agent.

 

The Blade:

The blade on this knife is made out of 8Cr13MoV steel. You may have heard that 8Cr13MoV stainless is basically the equivalent of AUS8A. And it’s true. For everyday use, even a serious “knife knut” would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between a well-made 8Cr13MoV blade and a well-made AUS8A blade. Nevertheless, there are slight differences in the steel formula. While most other components are relatively equal, 8Cr13MoV has slightly more carbon for hardness and wear resistance and slightly less nickel. The key to blade performance for both of these steels is manufacturing quality. That’s where Kershaw’s expertise comes in. Kershaw precision heat-treats 8Cr13MoV steel to bring out its best high-performance characteristics: the ability to take and hold an edge, strength, and hardness. Kershaw says, “8Cr13MoV is top-of-the-line Chinese steel and, we believe, offers our customers an excellent value.” This blade steel has been hardened to a 57-59 HRC.

The blade on the Secret Agent has been finished with a black-oxide coating. Black oxide is a chemical bath that converts the surface of the steel to magnetite. Kershaw uses this coating on some blades and pocket clips, mainly for appearance, though it does add some corrosion resistance. Because it is a coating, it is going to work to prolong the life of the blade. This is because the coating creates a barrier in between the steel and the environment. This will increase the wear resistance of the blade as well as the corrosion resistance. It will also slightly help the blade cut a little more smoothly. The coating is also black, which creates a sleek look while also cutting down on glares and reflections which is crucial for someone in the field.

The blade on this knife is a spear point blade shape. A spear point blade is similar to the needle point blade because it is good for piercing. The difference between the two shapes is that the point on the spear point is stronger and it does contain a small belly that can be used for slicing. The spear point is a symmetrically pointed blade with a point that is in line with the center of the blade’s length. Both edges of the knife rise and fall equally to create a point that lines up exactly with the equator of the blade. The spear point contrasts with the needle point because the needle point blade has a sharper but weaker point, while a spear point knife does have a strong point that is also sharp enough for piercing. One of the other advantages to a spear point knife is that they do contain a small belly that can be used for some slicing and cutting. However, if you were to compare the belly to that of a drop point or a clip point, the belly is much smaller. The spear point is known as a hybrid blade design because it has a good balance between piercing and slicing. It also has the sharp point of a dagger with the strength of a drop point blade, while still keeping some of the belly that can be used for slicing.

 

The Handle:

The handle on this knife is made out of a rubberized co-molded handle. This is a textured rubber layer providing extra grip. The rubberized co-molded handle is black, making this an all-black look. Not only does this give your knife a very sleek look, it is also going to completely eliminate reflections and glares. Like I earlier mentioned, this is crucial in the field when you don’t want your positon to be given away.

The handle has two large finger guards, which will protect your fingers if you accidentally slip. The handle sides are symmetrical. After the finger guards there is a slight indent on both sides. This indent will provide you with a comfortable and secure grip for long term use. After the indent the handle bulges out, which will also work to give you a more solid grip.

The butt of the handle does have a lanyard section, which is wide enough for a variety of lanyards. This is especially important because you can keep your knife close to you without having to worry about it getting in the way. Plus, if you happen to need a little extra texture, you can easily wrap the lanyard around the handle before completing the task. This will provide the needed texture to get you through your chore safely. The lanyard can also be used so that if you happen to drop your knife, you can easily find it contrasting against the background. Plus, wrapping the lanyard around your wrist for safety can help in case of slippage, so that you will not lose or drop your knife.

 

The Mechanism:

This is a fixed blade, which means that there is not a mechanism. The knife does not fold close and is stored in a sheath for protection. Some people like to use a folding knife more because folding knives are more discrete and easier to conceal. Pocket knives can also be easily transported in your pocket. There is also a belief that a well-constructed folding knife blade is as tough as a fixed blade.

There are plenty of advantages to a fixed blade. For starters, they are strong and big. You can really find a fixed blade in whatever size that you want, but no matter which size you choose, they are going to be equally strong—especially the blade. Plus, fixed blades are not prone to breaking. This is because there are no moving parts on a fixed blade that can rust out or wear down with time. And, you don’t have to worry about a hinge or the insides being clean and dry for your knife to keep its quality. With this knife, all there is to it is what you see, which means there is really nothing to break. Plus, the blade can be longer and thicker because it does not have to fit inside of a handle, so the blade is not going to break either. Because of this, the knife is going to be easier to maintain overall. Like earlier mentioned, you don’t have to worry about the insides of the handle wearing down, because there are no insides of the handle. And cleaning is going to be incredibly straightforward. All you have to do is wipe down the blade and the handle and oil the blade occasionally and you are good to go.

One of the other major benefits to the Secret Agent being a fixed blade is that fixed blades are the superior tactical tool. This is because fixed blade knives can be brought into play faster than a folding knife during tactical situations. All you have to do is pull the knife out of your sheath and you are ready to go. With a folding knife, you would have to pull the knife out, open it, and then you could finally use it. With many tactical situations, every single second counts, so why waste seconds on opening a knife when you could purchase the Secret Agent instead?

Lastly, this knife can be used for a broader spectrum of things because of the durability.

 

The Sheath:

The sheath that comes with this knife is made out of molded dual-carry plastic. Plastic sheaths are some of the cheapest ones that you are going to find on the market. You do get what you pay for, so you shouldn’t be surprise that plastic sheaths are also the ones that are the cheapest quality. A plastic sheath is one of the more inhospitable home for your blade if it is going to be carried for an extended amount of time. This is because it locks in moisture which can cause rusting or corroding issues on your blade. The sheath that comes with the knife is MOLLE compatible, which is a major advantage.

 

Kershaw Secret Agent Fixed Blade Knife
Kershaw Secret Agent Fixed Blade Knife

The Specs:

The blade on this knife measures in at 4.4 inches long while the overall length of the knife measures in at 8.7 inches long. This knife weighs in at 3.1 ounces without the sheath and 4.7 ounces with the sheath.

 

Conclusion:

When Kershaw is explaining this knife, they say, “This boot knife’s mission is to offer both performance and value. The model number of our Secret Agent boot knife could be none other than 4007.

This updated version of the boot knife features a single-edged blade with a non-reflective black-oxide finish. The blade is heat treated to Kershaw’s demanding specifications to bring out the very best qualities in the steel. The black-oxide coating provides additional blade protection.

For a secure grip, the handle is glass-filled nylon with a textured rubber over mold. The Secret Agent has a dual-carry molded sheath with a clip for convenient belt carry and slots to add your own leg carry straps. For additional versatility, the knife comes with a lanyard hole.

Discreet and concealable for tactical use and personal protection, the Secret Agent is also viable for a variety of utility purposes.” You can pick up this knife today at BladeOps and have a new favorite tactical knife.

 

 

 

 

SOG Field Pup Fixed Blade Knife Review

Spencer Frazer is the man behind SOG. He says, “SOG started some 25 years ago in my apartment with a simple mission: To create innovative products that stand apart from the pack. While SOG has grown, our commitment to that original mission has remained the same. Today, it’s one of my greatest satisfactions to receive letters from SOG enthusiasts the world over, expressing the fact that our products have lived up to their highest standards. It inspires us to continue to build superior products that last… knives and tools that help you meet the challenges of a demanding world.”

Born in 1955, Spencer Frazer was a creative kid with a great curiosity for how things worked. As he grew older, while in the Boy Scouts, he gained an affinity for knives and axes. But it wasn’t until much later that this interest would be channeled into actually creating knives and tools.

After graduating from UCLA as a math and science major, Spencer started his own company in the professional audio industry, designing a whole new style of speaker system.

“I learned to work with many different materials as I built models and prototypes,” he says. Then Spencer went on to work in the aerospace defense industry – in the Top Secret Black Projects Division – as an R&D tool/die and model maker. He recalls, “I saw things there I still can’t talk about.”

At about that same time, while becoming involved in the modern art movement and meeting with top artists, Spencer learned a lot about scale and color. He went on to work in product development, creating toys and consumer products. All these life experiences converged the moment Spencer saw his first Vietnam SOG Bowie: “The knife was magical in how it looked and felt. You could see the history as well as the functional aspects of the knife.”

That single knife spawned the birth of SOG Specialty Knives & Tools, Inc. His one goal: to reproduce the mystical knife… the SOG Bowie.

“We started our company by having to sell a one-knife line at the very high price of $200 retail!”

Today, SOG is a true innovator in the knife industry. Having won many industry awards, SOG was one of the first companies to be synonymous with a high-tech modern image. “SOG was the first company,” says Spencer, “to produce a sculptural faceted folding knife. We called it the Tomcat. With the Paratool, SOG became the second company ever to produce a folding multi-tool. And we remain the only company that uses compound leverage in our multi-tools; the only company to have adjustable lock-on clips on our folding knives; the only company to employ one of the strongest locks in the industry with the Arc-Lock; the only company to use exotic BG-42 steel cost effectively in the production of our knives; and the first company in the world to offer an automatic opening multi-tool.”

But those are just a few of the landmarks Spencer Frazer has helped SOG achieve. “I design each one of our products,” he says, “to be functional and comfortable to use, as well as aesthetically pleasing. If I personally don’t like them or wouldn’t use them, they don’t make it into production.”

Today, SOG is distributed and sold throughout the world. Law enforcement specialists, military, hunters, outdoor enthusiasts, industrial professionals, and everyday carry knife enthusiasts have come to rely on SOG in the most extreme conditions. “We don’t settle for ordinary,” says Spencer. “We never did, and we never will.”

Today we will be talking about the SOG Field Pup fixed blade knife.

SOG Field Pup Fixed Blade Knife
SOG Field Pup Fixed Blade Knife

The Blade:

The blade on this knife is made out of 7Cr17MoV steel that has been hardened to a HRC 55-57. For the common man, a good hardness range is between 56 and 63. This means that this steel is going to be the perfect amount of hardness to really make a good steel at a low price. This steel is very popular steel for budget knives. Of course, the word “budget” does make people a little bit nervous, but this steel makes a budget knife worth having. Wikipedia describes this steel as a specially modified 440A stainless steel that contains more Vanadium than other steels. Vanadium helps to add increased overall strength, increased wear resistance, as well as increased toughness. This all means that with a 7Cr17MoV steel, the edge is going to last longer than you expect with a budget knife.

The blade on the Field Pup has been finished with a satin finish. To create the satin finish, the steel is sanded in one direction with an increasing degree of a fine abrasive. The most common abrasive that is used is a sandpaper. As a key, the finer the abrasive and the more even the lines, the cleaner the satin finish on the blade is going to look. The satin finish is one of the most common finishes that you are going to find on the market today. It gives a very traditional look that is going to stand the test of time. It is also a simpler look, so your knife is not going to steal the show. The satin finish shows of the bevels of the blade as well as showcasing the fine liens of the knife. The satin finish can also reduce the reflective glare of the knife and can sometimes even increase the corrosion resistance of a knife.

The blade on this knife has been carved into a drop point blade shape. A drop point knife is definitely one of the most popular blade shapes that you are going to come across today. While you are most likely going to find this shape on a hunting knife, it is also incredibly popular on almost every other type of knives. The shape is formed by having the spine of the knife run straight from the handle until it reaches the tip of the knife. It stretches in a slow curve, which creates a lowered point. The lowered point is more important to how this knife works than you would probably think. It is going to give the knife more control while also adding strength to the tip. The easily controlled tip helps people perform fine detail work with the Field Pup, because you don’t have to worry about losing control over the knife. The tip on a drop point is also very broad, which is where the characteristic strength comes from. The broad tip allows the knife to stand up to heavy use, which is why this knife is going to make such a great outdoors knife. Next, the drop point has a large belly, which is going to make slicing easy. This lets you take on more tasks than a smaller belly. The drop point does have one disadvantage—because of the broad tip, you are not as capable of piercing or stabbing.

 

The Handle:

The handle is made out of Kraton. This is a synthetic replacement to rubber. This means that the material is going to have a lot of flexibility, high traction, and will be able to resist heat, chemicals and weathering. Kraton is often used on utility knives because there is not a lot of character and there aren’t color options besides black. The advantages are that it adds grip, it will give your handle a more comfortable grip, it has high resistance to breaking down, and it is incredibly durable. The disadvantages of the knife are that it is not very aesthetically pleasing, because it is similar to rubber, it can slowly start to soak up some fluids, which means it is going to be a little harder to clean. And, because it can soak up those fluids, it can slowly damage the material, which will make it brittle and weaker.

This is a simple knife with a simple handle. The handle has a curve that goes from the blade to the butt. There is a large finger guard that will protect your fingers if there is ever accidental slippage. There are three finger grooves, which will give you a solid, comfortable grip on the knife. The face of the handle has been intensely texturized so that you can have a good grip even when things get a little messy. SOG has been stamped in the middle. As a bonus, there is a lanyard hole on the butt.

 

The Mechanism:

This is a fixed blade, which means that there is no mechanisms. There are plenty of good advantages of having a fixed blade, especially on an outdoors knife such as this one. For starters, they are very strong and don’t break. They don’t break because there are no moving parts on a fixed blade. This means that there are no hinges, screws, or springs to break down or corrode over time. And because there are no moving parts, a fixed blade is going to be easier to maintain. Ease of maintenance is a very high quality for an outdoors knife, because you probably aren’t going to have access to all of your maintenance supplies when you are in the field. All you really have to do is wipe down the blade and handle and make sure the blade is dry before putting it in the sheath. Lastly, this knife is going to have superior survival qualities because it is so strong and durable. You can use this knife for more than just cutting. Almost any challenge that comes your way when you are outside, you can achieve by suing this SOG Field Pup fixed blade.

 

The Sheath:

             The sheath that comes with this knife is made out of leather. Leather is one of the more common blade sheaths that you are going to come across while also being one of the most traditional sheath materials that you are going to come across. The leather dates back to the mountain men and cowboys. Leather is rugged, tough, and strong. It is not going to break like plastic can and even if the stitches come undone, they can easily be re-sewn. Plus, when a leather sheath is cared for correctly, it should only look better with age. One of the biggest advantages of a leather sheath is that it is going to provide a custom fit to the knife once it has broken in. And, leather sheaths are going to be silent. You can pull the knife out or put it back in the sheath without making a sound. This is very different than more modern materials such as Kydex, which is incredibly noisy.

Of course, leather is going to have its disadvantage. One is that it is not waterproof, which does make maintenance a little more complicated. Also, it is not going to do well in extreme environments. Both getting wet a lot or even high heat can dry out the natural oils and lead to cracking. Of course, if you oil it from time to time, it will help the leather last for much longer.

 

The Specs:

The blade on this knife measures in at 4 inches long and has a blade thickness of .13 inches. The overall length of this knife measures in at 8.5 inches long. This knife weighs in at 7.5 ounces. This knife was made in China.

 

Conclusion:

             The SOG Field Pup fixed blade knife features a high gloss satin finish that you normally only find on high end knives.  Just the right combination of size and weight, this outdoor sporting knife is comfortable to hold with its Kraton molded handle and is very strong.  The full tang blade features a standard edge.  The handle sports SOG’s trademarked finger grips as well as very aggressive jimping on the back of the blade to give you lots of control over the knife.  The Field Pup is a real working knife for those who need a knife that will perform in the outdoors. You can pick up this knife today at BladeOps.

 

 

 

Benchmade 4300BK CLA Auto Knife Review

With a rich history dating back over 30 years, Benchmade is the product of many dedicated employees, a never-quit demand for excellence and the de Asis family’s vision and total commitment to culture, service, and innovation. This is the story of Benchmade.

In 1979, the Benchmade adventure began when Les de Asis wanted a knife that reflected the latest in materials and manufacturing technology to replace the cheap butterfly knives, known as Bali-Songs, he played with as a kid. Using his high-school ship skills, he blueprinted his ream knife before eventually meeting Victor Anselmo, who helped to grind the first ever pre-Benchmade Bali-Song prototype. Paired with handles that Les sourced forma small machine shop in California, he assembled and finished his first Bali-Song in his own garage. Proud of his creation, he took this first Bali-Song into a local gun store and the owner asked, “Could you build 100 more?”

In 1980 Les incorporated as Bali-Song, Inc. and rented a small shop in a second story mezzanine in California. The original equipment was purchased from the owner of a manufacturing operation who was looking to retire. Utilizing the rudimentary technology available to him at the time, Les began building handmade custom Bali-Songs, along with Jody Sampson, who ground all the blades. The success of these custom Balis spurred the created of the first production Bali-Song: The model 68.
Over the next seven years, the company expanded its product offerings into fixed blades and conventional folding knives, and evolving tis name from Bali-song, Inc. to Pacific Cutlery Corp.

In 1987, the company filed for bankruptcy and was dissolved. In 1988, Les reintroduced a new company and new version of the Model 68; this time with a drive to produce product in the US and an even stronger commitment to product availability, quality, and customer relationships. The company now needed a new name.

While there was “handmade” and “factory-made,” it was “Benchmade” that described the quality of Les’ product. He was building an operation that made precision parts, but with hand assembly on the finished products. This was a “bench” operation and Les wanted the name to reflect the marriage of manufactured and custom. In short, it describes Benchmade’s positon in the market—even to this day.

To this day Benchmade continues to focus on innovation, customer needs, responsible business ethics and operations to bring the highest quality products to the world’s elite.

Today we will be discussing the Benchmade 4300BK CLA automatic knife.

Benchmade 4300BK CLA Auto Knife
Benchmade 4300BK CLA Auto Knife

The Knife:

The blade on this knife is made out of 154Cm stainless steel. This is a high end steel that is relatively hard. It is considered an upgraded version of 440C through the addition of Molybdenum. This achieves superior edge holding compared to 440C while retaining similar excellent levels of corrosion resistance despite having less Chromium. It has decent toughness good enough for most uses and holds an edge well. This blade steel is not too difficult to sharpen when you have the right equipment.

The blade has been finished with a black coating. This not only creates a very sleek look that blends in well with the rest of the knife, it also creates a layer between the steel and the environment. Because of this, the blade is much less likely to rust and maintenance time is cut down considerably. Because of this, the blade life span is significantly prolonged. One of the disadvantages to this coating though is that it will scratch off after prolonged or heavy use. Once this happens, you do lose out on the benefits of a coated blade and the blade will have to be re-coated at this point.

The blade has been carved into a drop point blade shape. This is one of the most popular blade shapes that is in use today. This is for good reason, because it is a fanatic all-purpose blade shape that can take on even the heavy tasks. You can find this blade shape on almost any style of knife, anything from hunting knives to tactical knives, to everyday knives. The blade shape is formed by having the unsharpened edge of the knife run straight form the handle to the tip of the knife in a slow curved manner, which creates a lowered point. This lowered point provides more control and adds strength to the tip. While the tip on a drop point is not as sharp as the tip on a clip point, it is much stronger. Because of this tip strength and the ability to hold up to heavy use, drop point blades are popular on tactical and survival knives. And because the tip on the drop point blade is easily controllable, drop point blades make a great hunting knife, as well as a great knife for anything that you might need to perform any detail work. One of the reasons that they are so versatile is because they feature a large belly that is perfect for slicing. The drop point knife does have one major drawback, and that is that it does have a pretty broad tip. This means that you aren’t going to have many capabilities for slicing. But, the broad tip is the reasons that the drop point knife has the strength that you aren’t going to be able to find on clip point knives. Overall, this blade shape, and thus this knife, you will be prepared for almost any situation that you encounter.

 

The Handle:

The handle on this Benchmade knife is made out of black G-10. G10 is the common term for a grade of fiberglass composite laminate, which is a cloth material with a resin binder, that is used in a number of everyday carry, and more generally, gear applications. Though they are made quite differently; it is not entirely different form carbon fiber when it comes to properties. It is immune to corrosion and rust, it is easily textured and thusly offers excellent grip, and it can come in any number of different colors or patterns, in this Benchmade knife—black. Also, like carbon fiber, G10 tends to be on the more brittle side and does not resist impact well. And while it has little to do with functionality, G10 does not pack the same allure and looks as some other material because it resembles plastic both in appearance and feel.

The material is created by taking layers of fiberglass cloth and soaking them in resin, then compressing them and baking them under pressure. The material is extremely tough, hard, very lightweight, and strong.

The handle has been texturized to look like wood, with a grain pattern going cross the face of the handle. The handle does have a finger groove and finger guard, which creates a comfortable and safe grip while using this knife.

On the butt of this knife, there has been a lanyard hole carved into it. This will come in handy in a wide variety of different reasons. If you use a lanyard on your knife, you will be able to draw it out from your pocket much quicker than if you just used the pocket clip. Also, if you are using this knife in a more humid or messy environment, you can wrap the lanyard around the face of the handle which will add an extra element of texture and thus grip. Plus, although this has nothing to do with functionality, a lanyard can help add a touch of your own personal style to your knife.

 

The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip on this knife is deigned or tip up carry only but is eligible for a left or right hand carry option. The clip is sleek black and is held in place by a small black screw, that matches the rest of the hardware on this knife. On the pocket clip, there is a butterfly logo stamped in the middle near the top.

 

The Mechanism:

The Benchmade 4300BK CLA is an automatic knife. This means that it is not legal to own, carry, or use in all states, cities and areas. There are a strict set of laws surrounding automatic knives in the United States due to a tumultuous history. Because of this, it is fully up to the user to know your local laws. BladeOps does not take responsibility for any of the consequences that accompany the user’s choices.

An automatic knife is a type of knife with a folding or sliding blade contained in the handle which is opened automatically by a spring when a button, lever, or switch on the handle or bolster is activated. Most switchblade designs incorporate a locking blade, in which the blade is locked against closure when the spring extends the blade to the fully opened position. The blade is unlocked by manually operating a mechanism that unlocks the blade and allows it to be folded and locked in the closed position.

This is a push button automatic knife, which means that when the silver button on the handle is activated, the spring pushes the blade out where it will lock it into place. Right underneath the oversized firing button is an integrated safety, which ensures that this knife won’t accidentally go off while it is in your pocket.

 

The Specs:

The blade on this knife measures in at 3.4 inches long, with a handle that measures in at 4.45 inches long. The overall length of the knife measures when opened measures in at 7.85 inches long. This knife weighs in at 3.5 ounces. The Benchmade 4300 CLA knife was made in the United States of America.

 

The Pros of Benchmade CLA Automatic Knife:

  • The high end steel is relatively hard, which means that it will maintain its edge for long periods of time.
  • This steel has high corrosion resistance properties.
  • The blade is not too difficult to sharpen when you have the right materials.
  • The steel has been coated with a black coting, which prolongs the life of the blade.
  • The coating finish also cuts down on glares and reflections.
  • The coating finish provides a sleek, black look to the blade.
  • The drop point blade shape is tough, durable, and can take on almost any task.
  • The drop point blade shape has a large belly that makes slicing a breeze.
  • This is the perfect combination of steel and geometry for a perfect every day carry blade.
  • The tip is controllable, which is perfect for fine detail work.
  • The G10 handle is tough.
  • The G10 handle is light.
  • The G10 handle is durable.
  • The finger guard prevents your fingers form getting sliced in case of slipping.
  • The handle has comfortable ergonomics for long periods of use.
  • There is a lanyard hole carved into the butt of the handle.
  • The push button is oversized, so even if you are wearing gloves, you can easily trigger the blade.
  • There is an integrated safety.

 

The Cons of the Benchmade CLA Automatic Knife:

  • The coating finish can and will scratch off after long periods of use or heavy use.
  • The broad tip on the drop point blade means that you don’t have many stabbing capabilities.
  • The G10 handle is very brittle.
  • The G10 handle does not have very much personality and does lack elegance.
  • Because it is an automatic knife, this knife might not be legal in all states, cities, or areas.

 

Conclusion:

The Benchmade 4300 CLA (Composite Lite Auto) side open automatic knife is Benchmade’s first Black Class auto to feature G-10 handle scales. This mid-sized knife features a slim profile design and contoured handle scales for quick and easy pocket deployment. Thanks to the recessed over-sized firing button and integrated slide safety, you can remain confident that this knife is just as safe as it is effective. This model, the 4300BK, features smooth black handles and a drop point blade in a black finish. The pocket clip is designed for tip up carry only but is eligible for a left or right hand carry option. Pick up this fantastic knife today at BladeOps.

 

Kershaw Fatback Folding Knife Review

Kershaw Fatback Folding Knife
Kershaw Fatback Folding Knife

Kershaw is known for a lot of things—all of which have to do with how innovative and quality their knives are. They were founded in 1974 to design and manufacture tools that knife users would be proud to own, carry, and use. his has meant that every Kershaw knife must be of the highest quality. Whether it’s a hardworking pocketknife, a hunting knife, or a special collectors’ edition, Kershaw always chooses appropriate, high-quality materials and is dedicated to intensive craftsmanship. Along with extremely tight tolerances and state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques, this ensures that Kershaw knives provide a lifetime of performance.

Plus, they have a serious commitment to innovation. Kershaw pioneered the use of many of the technologies and advanced materials that are today standard in the knife industry. They say, “Our SpeedSafe assisted opening knives were first-to-market. We introduced the concept of knives with interchangeable blades in our Blade Traders. Recently, our Composite Blade technology, which combines two steels into one blade, gives knife users the best of both worlds by enabling us to use steel known for edge retention on the edge and steel known for strength on the spine. And we will keep on innovating, bringing new and better technologies and materials to today’s knife making industry and knife-using public.”

Kershaw Knives is a brand of Kai USA Ltd, a member of the Kai Group. For over 100 years, Kai has been Japan’s premier blade producer. Kai takes an innovative approach to product development based on the close coordination of research and development, production, marketing, and distribution functions. While many of Kershaw’s quality products are made in Kershaw’s 55,000 sq. ft. facility in Tualatin, Oregon (just south of Portland), they also draw on Kai’s resources to provide the very best for the customer.

Kershaw says, “If this is your first Kershaw, be prepared. You just may be back for more. If it’s not your first Kershaw, welcome back. We’ve got some cool new blades to show you—along with a wide selection of your favorites. For design, innovation, quality, and genuine pride of ownership, Kershaw is the one.”

Today we will be discussing the Kershaw Fatback folding knife.

 

The Blade:

The blade on this knife is made out of 8Cr13MoV steel. You may have heard that 8Cr13MoV stainless is basically the equivalent of AUS8A. And it’s true. For everyday use, even a serious “knife knut” would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between a well-made 8Cr13MoV blade and a well-made AUS8A blade. Nevertheless, there are slight differences in the steel formula. While most other components are relatively equal, 8Cr13MoV has slightly more carbon for hardness and wear resistance and slightly less nickel. The key to blade performance for both of these steels is manufacturing quality. That’s where Kershaw’s expertise comes in. Kershaw precision heat-treats 8Cr13MoV steel to bring out its best high-performance characteristics: the ability to take and hold an edge, strength, and hardness. Kershaw says, “8Cr13MoV is top-of-the-line Chinese steel and, we believe, offers our customers an excellent value.” This steel is hardened to a 57-59 HRC.

The steel has been coated with a black-oxide coating. The black oxide coating is a chemical bath that converts the surface of the steel to magnetite. Kershaw sues this coating on some blades mainly for appearance, although it does add some corrosion resistance. Because this is a coating, it is going to prolong the life of the blade because it is a barrier in between the steel and the environment. That being said, because it is a coating, it is going to scratch off after time or even just after some heavy use. Once the coating has been scratched off, you aren’t going to get any of the good benefits that come with a coating. You win some, you lose some when it comes to the coating on a blade. Lastly, the coating is a deep black that cuts down on all glares and reflections, which is great if you are in the field.

The blade has been carved into a modified drop point shape that has some dagger blade shape inspiration. The drop point is an all-purpose blade shape that is also super tough. This is also one of the most popular blade shapes that is in use today. The blade is formed by having the back edge of the knife run straight from the handle to the tip of the knife in a slow, curving manner, which creates a lowered point. This lowered point provides more control and also adds strength to the tips. Normally, drop points have a broad tip, but the Fatback has a finer point because of the dagger point inspiration that it does have. While a typical drop point is not as sharp as the tip on a clip point, this one is almost as sharp as a clip point, which means that you are going to be able to pierce much better. That begin said, because it is finer and sharper, it is not going to be as strong as a typical drop point would be. Lastly, a regular drop point has a very large belly, and while the Fatback does have a belly, it is not as large as your regular drop point blade.

This knife does have a plain edge, which is going to give you cleaner cuts. The plain edge is also going to be easier to sharpen, although it will need to be sharpened much more frequently. The plain edge also equips you to take on a wider variety of tasks than a serrated knife would.

 

The Handle:

             The handle on this knife is made out of Glass-Filled nylon, or GFN. This is a thermoplastic, synthetic material that is almost impossible to break. While GFN is similar in structure and characteristics to G-10, Micarta, and Carbon Fiber, it is much stronger and not prone to breaking. This is because in the other materials, all of the fibers are arranged in a single direction. This means that while the material is going to be strong in that direction, it is not going to be super strong in any other direction. This is where the brittleness comes in as well as the ability to bend the other materials. GFN has all of its fibers arranged haphazardly, which means that the handle is going to be strong in all directions instead of just one. This is why GFN is not brittle, and is resistant to bending and abrasion.

Plus, GFN is a cheaper material because it can be injection molded which means that the manufacturer can texturize the handles throughout the process and can produce a lot more all at once. This leads to a much cheaper material. That being said, some people do feel like it has a cheap plastic quality to it and it does not give as much texture as a G10 handle would.

To help with grip the belly of the handle has plenty of ridges. There is a large finger guard that is enhanced by the flipper which will create a safer grip on the knife.

 

The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip is black, which matches the hardware, the handle, and the blade on this knife. It is kept in place by two small screws. This is a deep carry knife, which is a great option for you to keep your knife deep inside your pocket. It also helps you to conceal your knife better inside of your pocket if you don’t want anyone to know that you have one.

This is also a 4-position pocket clip, which means that the user may position the pocket clip for tip-up or tip-down carry as well as for left or right-handed carry. This is the ideal option when it comes to pocket clips because it allows the user to use this knife in the most comfortable position possible.

 

The Mechanism:

This is an assisted opening knife that has been equipped with a flipper, a SpeedSafe Assisted Opening mechanism, and a liner lock.

The flipper is a protrusion on the back of the blade that the sur can pull back on, or flip, in order to move the blade easily out of the handle. The flipper enables a fast and easy one-handed opening as well as being ambidextrous, which makes this knife the most comfortable and the easiest to use for its users. To open this knife, Hold the knife handle vertically in one hand. Place your index finger on the top of the flipper or thumb on the thumb stud. Gently apply downward pressure on the flipper or push outwards on the thumb stud. SpeedSafe opens the knife quickly and easily, and the blade locks into place. Keep fingers away from blade edge while closing.

The SpeedSafe is a patented system that assists the user to smoothly open any SpeedSafe knife with a manual push on the blade’s thumb stud or pull back on the flipper. SpeedSafe is built into many of Kershaw’s best-selling knives. The heart of SpeedSafe is its torsion bar. Closed, the torsion bar helps prevent the knife from being opened by “gravity;” it creates a bias toward the closed position. To open the knife, the user applies manual pressure to the thumb stud or flipper to overcome the resistance of the torsion bar. This enables the torsion bar to move along a track in the handle and assist you to open the knife. The blade opens smoothly and locks into position, ready for use. SpeedSafe® was specifically designed for sporting, work, or everyday situations where one-handed opening is preferable and safer. It’s safe, efficient opening has made it a popular choice for hunters, fishermen, and those who require the one-hand opening function on the job-site.

The liner lock is the most common of today’s blade-locking systems. In knives with locking liners, the handle consists of two metal (usually steel or titanium) plates (the “liner”) on either side of the blade. Handle scales, which can be made from a variety of materials, such as G10, aluminum, plastic, or natural materials like wood or bone cover the plates. When the knife is opened, one side of the knife’s liner, often called the lock bar, butts up against the backend of the blade (the tang) and prevents the blade from closing. The lock bar is manufactured so that it angles toward the interior of the knife, creating a bias for the locked position. To close the knife, the knife user applies manual force to move the lock bar to the side so that the blade is unblocked and can be folded back into the handle. The liner lock provides a secure and convenient way to make using a Kershaw folding knife even safer.


The Specs:

The blade on this knife measures in at 3.5 inches long with a handle that measures in at 4.25 inches long. When the Fatback is opened, it measures in at 7.75 inches long. This knife weighs in at 3.6 ounces.

 

Conclusion:

When Kershaw is talking about this knife, they say, “No, the Fatback does not have a fat back. In fact, it has a rather slim handle. But to ensure you always have an extra secure grip, it does have some extra fat texturing on its glass-filled nylon handle. Actually, we call it the Fatback because it’s one very tasty knife. Like bacon.

The handsome blade is a modified drop-point with a dagger-like shape. The 8Cr13MoV blade steel, with Kershaw’s precision heat treatment, provides long-lasting edge retention, as well as strength and hardness. Black-oxide coating offers an additional measure of blade protection and non-reflectivity.

The Fatback opens with Kershaw’s SpeedSafe assisted opening for smooth, one-handed opening. The pivot is oversized and decorative. The handle is drilled to support our four-position pocket clip—so you can carry tip-up/down, left/right, whatever your preferred carry position. And finally, the Fatback’s deep-carry pocket clip lets the knife ride securely and comfortably low in the pocket.” You can pick up this knife today at BladeOps.

 

 

 

 

 

SOG Toothlock Folding Knife Review

SOG was named in honor of a covert US Special Ops unit that fought in Vietnam. That unit was known as Military Assistance Command, Vietnam – Studies and Observations Group (MACV-SOG). Its existence once denied by the US Government, it wasn’t until long after the war that the SOG story could even be told.

The following is excerpted from “US ELITE FORCES-VIETNAM,” an article by Leroy Thompson that further describes the nature of this specialized group and its secret missions:

Separate from “conventional,” unconventional operations of the 5th Special Forces Group were the clandestine operations of Military Assistance Command Vietnam/Studies and Observations Group (MACV/SOG). The Studies and Observation Group (SOG) was a cover name to disguise SOG’s real function, and the name “Special Operations Group,” as it was sometimes called, described its real mission more accurately. Activated in January of 1964, SOG was a joint services unit composed of members from all four branches of the armed forces, including Navy SEALs, Marine Recons, Air Force Special Operations pilots of the 90th Special Operations Wing, but predominantly Army Special Forces.

MACV/SOG’s missions included: cross-border operations into Cambodia, Laos, and North Vietnam to carry out intelligence gathering or raiding missions on the enemy’s ‘home ground’; gather intelligence about POWs and carry out rescue missions when possible; rescue downed aircrews in enemy territory (“Bright Light” missions); train, insert, and control agents in North Vietnam to gather intelligence or form resistance groups; carry out ‘black’ Psy Ops such as operating fake broadcasting stations inside North Vietnam; kidnap or assassinate key enemy personnel; retrieve sensitive documents from equipment lost in enemy territory or in enemy hands; and insert rigged mortar rounds or other booby-trapped ordnance in enemy arms caches (OPERATION ELDEST SON).

Excerpted from US Elite Forces-Vietnam by Leroy Thompson (Squadron/Signal Publications, June 1986)

Today we will be discussing the SOG Toothlock Folding knife.

 

The Blade:

The blade on this knife is made out of San Mai VG-10 steel. A san mai is a layered steel. This steel is going to contain a very hardcore steel that is encased in softer, more resilient outer layers. Keep in mind that there are many combinations of steel that can be used in san mai. The greatest advantage that san mai gives a blade is that it gives it an extremely hard edge, while still maintain the flexibility of the knife. VG-10 is a high end steel that is very similar to 154CM and ATS-34, although it does have slightly more chromium which leads to enhanced corrosion resistance. This steel also has vanadium, which the other steels do not, which does help to make this a tougher steel than the other two similar ones. This steel did originate in Japan, not too far back, and has been slowly introduced into the American market. This steel is a relatively hard steel that can get crazy sharp, while also giving you reasonable toughness.

The blade has been finished satin, which is the most common blade finish in the American cutlery industry to date. This finish gives a very classic look to the knife, while also adding a handful of other benefits. Plus, it is relatively simple to create. The manufacturer has to sand the blade in one direction with an increasing level of an abrasive (usually sandpaper). The finer the sandpaper and the more even the lines, the cleaner that the satin finish is going to look. The satin finish is used to showcase the bevels of the blade while also showcasing the fine lines of the steel. This finish also reduces glares and reflections slightly, while increasing the corrosion resistance of the blade slightly.

The blade has been carved into a modified drop point blade shape that more closely resembles the shape of a clip point blade. The drop point blade is the most popular blade shapes that is in use in the American market today. It is an all-purpose knife shape that can really stand up to almost anything. While the most common place to find the drop point blade shape is on a hunting knife, the shape is used on plenty of other knives as well, even including the Swiss army knives. The shape of the knife is formed by having the knife start out going straight, but quickly curve inward and downward. After the curve, there is a slight portion that is straight and angles towards the point of the knife. This is the section of the Toothlock that is modified. The rest of the knife is the same as a typical drop point. Because of how the spine is curved, it does create a lowered point. The lowered point is going to give more control while also adding strength to the tip. And, because the lowered tip makes the knife so easy to control, you can easily perform fine detail work with this knife. The tip is also broad, which is going to add even more strength to the tip, so that you can take on those harder tasks and not worry about whether or not the knife can even handle it. One of the last reasons that makes a drop point knife so versatile is the incredibly large belly area that is perfect for slicing. Of course, like any knife shape, the drop point is going to have its disadvantages. Because of its relatively broad tip, it is not going to be able to pierce as well as that of a clip point. Remember though, that it is that broad tip that gives the point strength that you cannot find on a clip point knife.

The blade is slightly a combination blade. I say this because only the bottom quarter of the knife is serrated, instead of a larger chunk. The combo edge is designed to really give the user the best of both worlds. They can have the long, plain portion which will give them cleaner cuts, help them perform fine detail work, and be easier to sharpen. But, they do have a small serrated section that can be used to saw through those thicker materials that you may come in contact with.

 

SOG Toothlock Folding Knife
SOG Toothlock Folding Knife

The Handle:

The handle is made out of GFN with a stainless steel liner.

GFN or Glass-Filled Nylon, is a type of thermoplastic material that is strong, resistant to both bending and abrasion, and is almost indestructible. Something that is almost too good to be true is that it is also a very inexpensive material.

This is an inexpensive material because it can be injection molded into any desired shape while also being textured in a multitude of ways in the production process. These characteristics means that it is going to have high volume manufacturing and a low cost.

This is such a strong material because all of the nylon fibers are arranged haphazardly throughout, which means that it is going to be strong in all directions as opposed to G-10, Carbon Fiber, and Micarta. These other three materials have their fiberglass strands aligned in a single direction. That being said, many knife lovers did not like this material at first because they said that it felt cheap as well as hollow. They also felt (and do continue to feel) that G-10 is going to offer a more solid grip.

Stainless steel is going to prove the knife with excellent durability as well as being resistant to corrosion, which will cut down on maintenance. However, this is not a particularly lightweight material. Because it is just the liner, it does not create a major disadvantage. Instead, it can actually add heft to the knife without weighing it down, which is an advantage.

The handle, as well as the blade, is incredibly unique. The shape of the handle is relatively normal; it is the texture that SOG has added that sets it apart. It has rows of dashes going up and down the handle to add texture. In the middle of the handle there is a circle stamped into the material with two swords crossing each other. Also, this knife is more about angles than curves. There are some sections of extremely thick jimping at certain points on the handle. Above the jimping are indents to create a more comfortable section for you to place your fingers. Overall, this handle is designed to give texture and plenty of it. The knife does have a harsh look to it though.

 

The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip on this knife is silver, which matches the blade and contrasts with the handle nicely. It has been slightly skeletonized, with the bottom portion cut out, as well as the round section at the very bottom cut out. This pocket clip is reversible for either left or right handed carry, which does help to make this knife more comfortable for more people to use. However, it can only be attached for tip up carry, which is a definite disadvantage, as that is the more dangerous positon for it to be attached.

 

The Mechanism:

This is a fully manual knife, which means that it is going to be legal in more areas than an automatic or a spring assisted knife. This is a major advantage, because you don’t have to worry about the strict laws that surround those other types of knives. However, there are disadvantages to a fully automatic knife. They are harder to bring into play quickly and they are not as smooth as the other styles of knives.

To assist you in opening this knife, the blade has been equipped with a thumb stud. This is a small barrel that is attached around the portion of the blade where the handle begins. The thumb stud is one of the most common styles of opening mechanisms that is available on the market, especially when it comes to one-handed opening mechanisms. However, this is a harder mechanism to get the hang of and it does put your fingers in the path of the blade when you are opening it.

 

The Specs:

The blade on this knife measures in with a length of 3.1 inches long and thickness of .12 inches. The handle on this knife measures in at 4.30 inches long. The overall length of this knife when it is opened is 7.3125 inches long. This knife weighs in at 3.3 ounces, which is a great weight for a knife that you plan to have with you at all times. This knife originates from Japan.

 

Conclusion:

Built with an amazingly comfortable Zytel handle with all the right curves to make it fit your hand, the Toothlock knife has a reverse curve blade built of VG-10 stainless steel.  The TK-02 has a part serrated blade.  This knife sports a high performance piston lock but has the extra bonus of a kick start device.  Pull the lock down and the blade gets nudged out to start the opening journey.  From there, you can flick your wrist to open it the rest of the way, or go with the more traditional thumb studs.  The lock bar has two lobe geometry.  The Toothlock is not only innovative, it is one of the best new manual folder knives we have seen.  Good design, great materials, and high quality construction all combine to make the Toothlock folder knife a great SOG addition to your collection.

When SOG is explaining this knife, they say, “Thoughtfully designed for anything that comes its way, the Toothlock easily opens and closes with one hand. It combines preparedness with attractiveness while using SOG’s newest locking mechanism that allows for rapid deployment and a solid blade lockup. The aggressive grip pattern gives users a handle surface that is non-slip and easy to hold. It features a VG-10 san mai stainless steel blade that holds its edge for longer periods of time. The blade shape cuts effortlessly while maintaining a thick reinforced tip for power penetration. It can be carried conveniently with its reversible low-carry pocket clip.”

You can pick up this knife today at BladeOps.

 

 

 

Benchmade 162-1 EOD Bushcrafter Fixed Blade Knife Review

Benchmade knows that to make a good knife, there are a few key elements. They say, “Our knives are made of many things: steel, aluminum and titanium, to name a few. But perhaps the most important part of a Benchmade knife is expertise. We carefully measure every part at every step in the process. We use the best materials and equipment.”

The very first step in a blade’s life is at laser cutting. Each Benchmade knife begins as a sheet of steel. A laser cutting technician programs the laser to cut the steel into blanks, giving the blade its basic profile. The blanks are hammered out of the sheet by hand, and for the first time, the steel begins to look like a knife. The blanks are measured to make sure they meet specifications. Measurements are taken every step of the manufacturing process to guarantee an impeccable knife and streamline production. If a part isn’t “up-to-spec”, it doesn’t become a Benchmade.

The second step in any knife from Benchmade is surface grinding. This is where the blank is ground to its precise width. A surface grind technician places each blank in its rack by hand (racks vary by the number of blanks they can hold at one time), and each side is ground to its specified thickness. After grinding, the technician checks the thickness of each set of blanks. Benchmade says, “Tolerances are within the width of a human hair. Our knives have no room for error, and neither does a blank’s thickness.”

The third step in the knife making process is milking. Blade holes, handles and grooves are cut on high-speed mills. For every job (or batch), the blade milling technician programs the mill and measures the blade or handle to make sure it meets our precise tolerances. Blades and handles differ from knife to knife, so the technician gathers a specific set of measuring tools for each job. One of the holes that is cut here is the blade pivot, which is crucial to the folding mechanism. The pivot tolerance is .0005 inches, because the slightest deviation there becomes exponential at the blade’s tip. Handles require the same precision in order to fit the liners and blades properly and ensure a smooth mechanism.

The fourth step is beveling. Now the blade starts to really take shape. Up to this point, the two sides of the blade are essentially flat. A Blade Beveling Technician bevels the knife blank one side at a time, and one of the most critical tasks here is to make sure the sides match perfectly. Once again, the technician measures the blade to verify that it meets the specified tolerances. An imprecise bevel can hamper the blade’s balance, sharpness, strength and mechanism function.

Fifth is back-sanding, which is where the back of the blade gets special attention. Since the original laser cutting, the back has been mostly untouched. Along with back-sanding is the finishing step. Finishing is the step that gives the blade a more refined look. When the blade is cleaned up, it is taken to lasermarking to receive its one-of-a-kind Benchmade mark.

The final two steps is assembly and sharpening. Each Benchmade knife is assembled by hand. Benchmade says, “It takes longer to master blade sharpening than any other skill. A sharpening technician puts a razor edge on the knife using a standing belt sander, and this step takes extraordinary concentration. Each blade is sharpened to a targeted 30-degree inclusive angle, 15 degrees on each side. The knife is sharp enough when it can cut through ultra-thin phonebook paper effortlessly without tearing. And only then is it truly a Benchmade.”

Today we will be discussing the 162-1 EOD Bushcrafter knife.

Benchmade 162-1 EOD Bushcrafter Fixed Blade
Benchmade 162-1 EOD Bushcrafter Fixed Blade

The Blade:

The blade on this knife is made out of CPM S30V steel. This steel is made by US based steel company, Crucible Industries. They are known for making high end steels. Crucible even designed and made this steel with high end knives and kitchen cutlery in mind, which means that you are going to get all of the best knife qualities that you could ask for. For starters, this steel resists rust effortlessly, which is significant for this outdoor and survival knife. You are going to want a knife that you don’t have to worry too much about when you are in the outdoors, and CPM S30V steel maintenance is going to be low. Second, this steel maintains an edge very well. This steel is known as having the best balance between hardness, toughness, and edge retention. This is a tougher balance to achieve than it seems like it would be, because the harder the steel is, the less tough the steel is going to be. Crucible could achieve this balance because they added Vanadium Carbides into the steel, which brings the extreme hardness out of the steel matrix, but doesn’t reduce its toughness. This steel does have one major drawback, which is that because it is so hard, it is going to be tricky to sharpen. This shouldn’t be too big of an issue, but a beginner sharpener is probably going to have a tough time with this steel.

The blade has been finished with a satin blade finish, which is one of the most common blade finishes you are going to find in today’s cutlery industry. The finish is create by repeatedly sanding the finish in one direction with an increasing level of an abrasive, which is normally a sandpaper. The finish is used to show off the fine lines of the steel while also showcasing the bevels of the blade. This finish is going to give you a very traditional look that will never go out of style. The satin finish cuts down on glares, reflections, and even some corrosion.

The blade has been carved into a drop point blade shape, which is one of the two most popular finishes in the cutlery industry. The shape is created by having the spine of the edge go from the handle to the point in a slow curving manner. This creates a lowered point, which is what is going to give you so much control over your cuts and slices. The point is not only lowered, but also wide, which is what is going to give you the extreme strength from this knife. The broad tip allows the knife to take on tougher tasks, which is what makes the drop point blade shape a great option for a survival or tactical knife. Because the tip is broader, it is able to withstand things that the other blade shapes would not be able to. The drop pint knife is also very versatile, because of the large belly that makes slicing a breeze. The larger the belly, the easier it is going to be to slice. The drop point blade shape really only has one drawback, which is because of the broad point, it is not going to be super capable of piercing and stabbing. This usually isn’t’ too big of a drawback, because you do get so much extra strength from the broadness of the tip.

This blade is a plain edge, which is going to allow you to take on a wider variety of tasks. The plain edge is also going to give you cleaner cuts and will be easier to sharpen. The fact that it is easier to sharpen is going to be an advantage if you are in the field and need to sharpen this knife with a rock.

 

The Handle:

The handle on this knife is made out of sand colored contoured G10. This is a laminate composite made out of fiberglass, just like many of the other common knife handle materials. This material is extremely similar to carbon fiber, except that it is a little inferior and can be made and bought for a fraction of the price. To make this material, the manufacturer takes layers of fiberglass cloth and soaks them in resin, then compresses them and bakes them under pressure. This process yields a material that is tough, hard, lightweight, and very strong. This process also makes it easy to add checkering or other patterns to the handle, which will give a very comfortable and solid grip on this outdoors knife. Outdoors knives especially benefit from this handle material because it is so durable, lightweight, and especially because it is non-porous, which means that it is not going to absorb any fluids that you happen to come into contact with. The overall benefits of this handle material is that it is going to be tough, light, and durable. However, it is going to be brittle and some people do fell like it lacks elegance.

The handle is a tan, sand colored. It is also very simple, with a slightly curving spine and a bulging belly. There is a large finger guard that will protect your fingers if things start to get messy. It also has an extended butt, which helps keeps your hands holding on to it. It has been skeletonized to cut down on weight with three round holes cut out of the middle. The last hole is a lanyard hole.

 

The Mechanism:

This is a full-tang, fixed blade knife. A full-tang knife is a knife that has the metal from the blade extending down into the handle. The G10 of the handle is going to cover the metal to make for a more comfortable and secure grip. This helps increase the strength of the knife because there is no part of the knife where the handle and the blade are melded together. Plus, if your handle scales happen to break, you will steel have the knife shape to work with.

This is a fixed blade knife, which means that there is no mechanisms that has the ability to break. Fixed blades are usually stronger, because the blade can be longer and thicker, as it does not have to fit inside a handle. Fixed blades also are easier to clean, because all you have to do is wipe down the blade and the handle and it’s good to go. You are also going to want to oil the blade when needed. However, you don’t have to worry about the insides of the knife or a hinge, like you would on a folding knife. Fixed blades also make for a better survival knife, because you can use it for a wider variety of tasks, instead of just cutting.

 

The Sheath:

The sheath on this knife is made out of leather. Leather is one of the more traditional materials that you are going to find on a knife sheath. Leather has been known as rugged, tough, and strong. Because it is flexible; it is not going to break like your plastic sheaths might. Plus, if the stitches happen to come undone, you can easily fix it yourself. This is also one of the few materials that is going to get better as it goes. Plus, leather sheaths will give your knife a custom fit once it has been broken in. This knife is an outdoor or survival knife, so the next benefit is a great one: this sheath material is going to be silent. You can easily pull the knife out of your sheath without it making a sound.

 

The Specs:

The blade on his knife measures in at 4.40 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.164 inches. The handle on this knife has a thickness of 0.92 inches. The overall length of this knife measures in at 9.15 inches long. This knife is a heftier knife, weighing in at 7.72 ounces, with a sheath that weighs in at 1.86 ounces. This Bushcrafter knife was made in the United States of America.

 

Conclusion:

Benchmade says, “Originally a pure survival knife, the World’s foremost explosive ordnance technicians saw the value in this also as a knife for cutting plastic explosives and helped to modify the design to suit their needs.” You can pick up this knife today at BladeOps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kershaw Buck Commander Green Antelope Hunter II Knife and Zip It Combo Pack Review

When it comes to quality knives, you know that you can rely on Kershaw. This is because they have award-winning technologies and advanced materials as well as solid sounding blade lockups. You know that when you have a Kershaw in hand, it is not going to let you down.

Kershaw was founded in 1974 to design and manufacture tools that knife users would be proud to own, carry, and use. This has meant that every Kershaw knife must be of the highest quality. Whether it’s a hardworking pocketknife, a hunting knife, or a special collectors’ edition, Kershaw always chooses appropriate, high-quality materials and is dedicated to intensive craftsmanship. Along with extremely tight tolerances and state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques, this ensures that Kershaw knives provide a lifetime of performance.

Kershaw also has a commitment to innovation and has pioneered the use of many of the technologies and advanced materials that are now the standard in the knife industry. Kershaw says, “Our SpeedSafe assisted opening knives were first-to-market. We introduced the concept of knives with interchangeable blades in our Blade Traders. Recently, our Composite Blade technology, which combines two steels into one blade, gives knife users the best of both worlds by enabling us to use steel known for edge retention on the edge and steel known for strength on the spine. And we will keep on innovating, bringing new and better technologies and materials to today’s knife making industry and knife-using public.”

Kershaw Knives is a brand of Kai USA Ltd, a member of the Kai Group. For over 100 years, Kai has been Japan’s premier blade producer. Kai takes an innovative approach to product development based on the close coordination of research and development, production, marketing, and distribution functions. While many of Kershaw’s quality products are made in Kershaw’s 55,000 sq. ft. facility in Tualatin, Oregon (just south of Portland), they also draw on Kai’s resources to provide the very best for the customer.

Today we will be discussing the Kershaw Buck Commander Green Antelope Hunting knife as well as the Zip It.

 

The Blade:

The blade on this hunting knife is made out of 8Cr13MoV steel. You may have heard that 8Cr13MoV stainless is basically the equivalent of AUS8A. And it’s true. For everyday use, even a serious “knife knut” would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between a well-made 8Cr13MoV blade and a well-made AUS8A blade. Nevertheless, there are slight differences in the steel formula. While most other components are relatively equal, 8Cr13MoV has slightly more carbon for hardness and wear resistance and slightly less nickel. The key to blade performance for both of these steels is manufacturing quality. That’s where Kershaw’s expertise comes in. Kershaw precision heat-treats 8Cr13MoV steel to bring out its best high-performance characteristics: the ability to take and hold an edge, strength, and hardness. Kershaw says, “8Cr13MoV is top-of-the-line Chinese steel and, we believe, offers our customers an excellent value.” This steel has been hardened to a HRC level of 57–59.

The blade has been finished with a satin finish. This finish is created by repeatedly sanding the blade in one direction with an increasing level of a fine abrasive. The fine abrasive that is most often used is a sandpaper. The satin finish is used to show off the bevels of the blade, while also showcasing the liens of the knife and reducing its reflective glare. As a key, the finer the abrasive and the more even the lines; the cleaner the satin finish blade is going to look. While the satin finish is going to look classy on this knife, it is a lower quality knife, so it is not going to give you the cleanest satin finish that you have ever found. The satin finish is one of the most common and most traditional blade finishes that you are going to find on the market. This is a perfect blade finish for a classy hunting knife such as this one.

The blade has been carved into a drop point blade shape, which is the perfect blade shape for a hunting knife. This is an all-purpose knife that can stand up to almost anything. The shape of the knife is formed by having the back edge of the knife run straight from the handle to the tip of the knife in a slow curved manner, which creates a lowered point. It is this lowered point that provides more control and adds strength to the tip. It is also because the point on a drop point blade is easily controlled that makes it such a popular shape on a hunting knife. This helps you avoid accidentally nicking internal organs or ruining the meat. Drop point blades also sport a very large belly, which makes slicing a breeze. This large belly is going to help you skin your game with ease. The drop point blade does have one major disadvantage: because of its broad tip it is going to be less suitable for piercing than the clip point blade shape would be. You do need to remember that it is that same broad tip that gives the drop point blades their characteristic strength.

 

The Handle:

The handle on this knife is made out of a molded co-polymer which is a rubber like plastic. This is not the highest quality handle material that you are going to come across, because the rubber is going to break down after a while. That being said, it is going to offer you much more texture than any other material is going to offer you. This comes in handy with a hunting knife because you know that the job is going to get messy and you are going to want a material that can get wet without losing its grip. This material is also not going to corrode, which is a benefit that many hunters can enjoy. Lastly, the material is easy to maintain and clean because it is not going to absorb any of the fluids that it comes in contact with.

The handle is built for a secure grip. The spine has a slow slope towards the butt of the handle. The belly features a very large finger guard in case of slippage. Then there are four deep finger grooves to provide a secure and comfortable grip on this knife. Down the length of the handle are thin grooves to provide the needed texture.

 

The Mechanism:

This is a fixed blade knife. Many people like having a folding knife because it is more discrete, easier to conceal, and easier to have with you at all times. However, there are so many big benefits to having a fixed blade knife. For starts, they are going to be bigger and stronger than a folding knife is. You can really find a fixed blade in any size, but you know that no matter which size it is, it is going to be incredibly strong. The 3.6-inch blade is large enough to get your hunting job done on most average hunting tasks.

Because they don’t have to fit inside of a handle, the blade is going to be bigger and longer. This means that you are going to be able to perform easier with this knife than you would of a smaller blade. This also means that the knife is not going to break. The blade can be thicker than it would be on a folding knife, which helps protect it against snapping if you are ever using it a little tougher.

Fixed blades are also less likely to break because there are no moving parts on a fixed blade. This means that there is no spring that can wear down or rust, no hinge that needs oiling, and no inner pieces that might break down over time. This characteristic also helps make the knife easier to maintain. The knife is going to be easier to clean because you don’t have to really get into the knife to clean it. All you have to do is wipe down the blade and handle and oil the blade occasionally.

Also, fixed blades are going to make for a superior survival tool. This means that if you are ever on a hunting trip, you will be able to use this knife for more than just hunting. Some of the tasks that you can perform are prying, digging, splitting wood, cutting things, using it as a first aid tool, using it to prepare food, as well as using the butt of the knife to hammer. Although, the butt on this knife is not going to be the best butt you’ve ever come across.

Overall, when it comes to a hunting knife, your best bet is going to be a fixed blade. It will allow you to take on more tasks and will be able to perform duties other than just hunting.

 

The Sheath:

             This knife comes with a leather sheath for storage and carrying. Leather is one of the more traditional materials that is still used to make a knife sheath. Many people view a leather sheath as rugged, tough, and strong. This material is not going to break like plastic is known to do and if the stitches happen to come loose, it is an easy fix. Not only is leather a quality material, it also looks and feels good. The older your leather sheath gets, the better it is going to look (when you properly care for it.) Also, once a leather sheath is broken in, it is going to provide a custom fit for your knife. One of the biggest advantages for a leather sheath for a hunting knife is that leather is going to be completely silent. You will be able to pull the knife out and put it back in without making a sound. This is one of the more unique characteristics that is mostly found in only leather.

Of course, leather also does have its disadvantages. Leather is not a waterproof material so if it gets wet often it can dry out the oils of the leather and crack. This cracking can also be caused by being exposed to extreme heat. You can prevent cracking if you oil your sheath from time to time. Just know that to get so many great benefits, you do have to take care of your sheath.

 

Kershaw Buck Commander Green Antelope Hunter II Knife and Zip It Combo Pack
Kershaw Buck Commander Green Antelope Hunter II Knife and Zip It Combo Pack

The Specs:

The knife has a blade that measures in at 3.6 inches long. The overall length of this hunting knife measures in at 8 inches even. This is one of Kershaw’s hunting knives, which means that it has been designed for the toughness, durability, and edge holding capabilities that your next hunting drip demands.

 

The Zip It:

             The Zip It gut hook is compact and lightweight. It is perfect or “unzipping” the skin without puncturing the gut sack. The Zip It handle is made out of steel with a non-slip insert. The blade on the Zip It measures in at .5 inches. The overall length of the Zip It hook is 3.75 inches long.

 

Conclusion:

When Kershaw is discussing this knife, they say, “This fixed-blade knife is just the right size for field dressing most game and makes an especially excellent deer knife—which is why the Buck Commander® Buckmen chose it as one of their go-to tools. The quality steel is designed to hold an edge longer, providing extended use without re-sharpening—even under heavy field use. You’ll also like how the Antelope Hunter II fits your hand. The finger-contoured handle let’s your hand lock into place for a solid, yet extremely comfortable grip. The co-polymer handle is grippy enough to be secure, even when wet, yet cleans up easily. This set also includes the Zipit gut hook. Compact and lightweight, the Zipit makes it easy to “unzip” the skin without danger of puncturing the gut sack and ruining the meat. Includes nylon sheath for the knife.” You can pick up this combo pack today at BladeOps.