Benchmade 101BK Follow-Up Knife Review

Benchmade 101 Back-Up

The Benchmade Knife Company is a knife manufacturer run by Roberta and Les de Assis in Oregon City. Its products are geared toward many niche markets, such as outdoor sporting cutlery, rescue, law-enforcement, martial-arts, and military. The company has collaborated with a number of custom knife makers since its inception.

Benchmade started in California in 1979 as Bali-Song, changing its name in 1988 to the Pacific Cutlery Corporation. In 1990 the company moved to Clackamas, Oregon. In 1996, the company moved to a 144,000 square foot facility in Oregon City. Benchmade became known primarily as a manufacturer of butterfly, or Bali-song style knives, which it continues to manufacture. These knives have been so identified with the company that Benchmade has registered “Bali-Song” as a trademark and logo. Benchmade’s original Bali-Song design by Jody Sampson was awarded Blade Magazine’s knife of the Year Award in 1979.

As of February 2009, the company was employing approximately 150 people. Benchmade has had several years of growth and has expanded both the variety of knives it produces and the facility itself.

Blade steels such as 154CM, D2, CPM S30V steel, CPM S90V, CPM 20CV, N680 and M390 are used on many models. Benchmade is one of the few manufacturers to have offered high speed M2 and CPM M4 tool steels in a production knife.

Benchmade receives a significant amount of revenue from selling restricted-sales knives to the military and law enforcement. Benchmade produces a diverse selection of auto, or switchblade knives, along with a range of hunting, fishing, utility, and miscellaneous knives, however balisong’s remain a core product.

Benchmade has three different classes when it comes to their knives. The first class is the Blue Class, also known as the Recreation Class. This type of Benchmade knife is made for typical use by the everyday person. The next class is the Black Class, also known as the Professional class. This type of Benchmade knife is made for military, law enforcement, and public safety workers. They are knives made for more challenging work. The last class is the Gold Class, also known as the Collector Class. This class of Benchmade knife is made for collectors and are limited edition.

Benchmade also has a long tradition of incorporating knife design form noted custom cutlery makers into their production models. These include Jody Sampson, Ernest Emerson, Allen Elishewitz, Mel Pardue, Bill McHenry, Mike Snody, Jason Williams, Warren Osborne, and Bob Lum. Several production Benchmade models based on the work of these designers have become influential within the industry.

Today we will be discussing their brand new knife, the 101BK Follow-Up.

 

The Blade:

The blade on this Benchmade knife is made out of CMP S30V premium stainless steel. This steel hardness to a 58-60HRC level. This steel is made and designed by Crucible steel industries specifically for knives. This steel is a martensitic stainless steel that is designed to offer the best combination of toughness, wear resistance, and corrosion resistance. Crucible says, “Its chemistry has been specially balanced to promote the formation of vanadium carbides which are harder and more effective than chromium carbides in providing wear resistance.” CPM S30V also offers a higher improvement in toughness over other high hardness steels that are similar, such as 440C and D2. One of the biggest things that this steel can offer is its high corrosion resistance; it can resist rust with ease, which significantly cuts down on maintenance time. Crucible also explains the CPM process, “the CPM process produces very homogeneous, high quality steel characterized by superior dimensional stability, grindability, and toughness compared to steels produced by conventional processes.” CPM S30V steel is known for having the perfect balance between edge retention, hardness, and toughness. This is a tricky balance to get down, because normally the harder the steel is, the less tough it is. One of the only drawbacks to this steel is that because of the high hardness, it does prove to be tricky to work with.

The steel of the blade has been finished with a black coating. There are a variety of benefits to having this blade coated, ranging from it prolonging the life of the blade to simply giving this knife an aesthetically pleasing look. First, a coating works to prevent corrosion. This is because the coating is an actual layer that lays between the steel and the environment. Because of this layer, it is harder for the effects of the environment, such as humidity, to reach the blade. Next, a coating also eliminates shiny surfaces, which can become a necessity if you are using this knife in the field or for tactical reasons. The coating also cuts down on wear, because anything that happens to the knife will happen to the coating before it gets the blade. That being said, one of the biggest drawbacks to a coated knife is that all coatings are going to scratch off eventually. This can be caused because of high amounts of use or just really heavy use. But as soon as the coating is scratched off, it has to be recoated to provide the same protective qualities.

This knife has been designed to be an everyday knife as well as a tactical knife; so the obvious choice for blade shape is the drop point—and that is exactly the one that Benchmade chose. The drop point blade shape is an all-purpose knife that is known for standing up to even the toughest of tasks; because of that, it is one of the most popular blade shapes that is in use today. The shape of the knife is formed by having the back, or unsharpened, edge of the knife run straight from the handle to the tip of the knife in a slow curved manner, which results in a lowered point. Lowered points add an element of control to the knife, which means you can perform fine detail work with the Follow-Up. The lowered tip is also very broad, which is where the drop point blade shape gets its characteristic strength. Because of the tip strength and the ability to hold up to heavy use, drop point blade are commonly found on tactical knives. The drop point blade shape makes for a great every day carry blade because of the large belly, or cutting edge, that makes it a breeze to slice with this knife. There is really only one major drawback to the drop point blade shape and that is because the tip is so broad, you are not going to be able to pierce easily.

 

The Handle:

Benchmade 101 Back-Up
Benchmade 101 Back-Up

This is a fixed blade knife, so the handle is also made out of CPM S30V steel. The handle has also been coated just like the blade has. The coating is going to prolong the life of the handle just like it is going to prolong the life of the blade.

To cut down on weight, because stainless steel is going to make a heavier knife, the handle has been completely skeletonized. Not only does this cut down on weight, but it also makes it easier to hold and provides you with a more secure grip. Another characteristic that gives you a more secure grip is that there is thick jimping along all of the edges of the knife. This jimping is going to add texture and let you have more control when you are cutting with this knife. The last aspect that gives you a more secure grip is that the knife sports a very large finger groove. As an element of safety, there is also a very large finger guard, which will prevent you from cutting yourself if you do end up slipping.

As an added bonus to the 101BK Follow-Up, the butt of the handle has been skeletonized to give you a very large lanyard hole. You can use a lanyard on this knife to wear it as a neck knife throughout your day-to-day work. Or using it as a neck knife could come in handy when you are using it as a tactical knife and want to have quick access to the knife. A lanyard will also let you attach the knife (and sheath) to whatever you want.

 

The Mechanism:

This is a full tang fixed blade. For starters, not as many people like fixed blades as they do a regular folding knife. This is because a folding knife can be more discrete and easier to conceal, which means that not as many people will know that you have a knife. Plus, folding knives are convenient and ca be easily transported in your pocket. However, there are plenty of other advantages to having a fixed blade; many that even rival the advantages of a folding knife. For starters, fixed blades are stronger and bigger than many folding knives. This is because the blade does not have to fit in the handle, so the blade can be longer than the handle and thicker than most of the blades that you are going to find on a folding knife. Folding knives are also less likely to break because there are no moving parts on a fixed blade. Because of the lack of moving parts, fixed blades are even easier to maintain. When it comes to cleaning it, you don’t have to worry about the hinge and cleaning is straightforward and simple. And, an advantage that is especially important when it comes to the Benchmade 1001 Follow-Up is that fixed blades have superior tactical use. Fixed blade knives can be brought into play faster than a folding knife during tactical situations.

A full tang knife means that the entire knife is made out of one piece of metal. This is a major advantage because there are no weaker parts of the blade or handle where it is going to break apart.

 

The Sheath:

The sheath that comes with this knife is a Bolatron sheath. Bolatron is a fire retardant, extruded thermoplastic alloy that offers extreme durability, chemical resistance, while also exhibiting exceptional physical properties. The sheath is going to be extremely strong and you won’t have to worry about it warping. This sheath is also not going to absorb liquids, which is ideal for this tactical knife. If you are in the field, you don’t want to worry about your sheath breaking down and leaving your blade unprotected. The sheath is a classic black with the Benchmade logo stamped in the middle. Plus, the sheath has plenty of holes and strap grooves to attach it to anything. However, because it is a plastic, and a very hard plastic at that, with repeated drawing of the knife and re-sheathing of the knife, the blade edge can get a little bit dull.

 

The Specs:

The blade on this knife measures in at 2.60 inches long, with a blade thickness of 0.140 inches. The overall length of this knife measures in at 5.99 inches long. The Follow-Up weighs in at 2.03 ounces and the Boltaron sheath weighs in at 0.62 ounces. This knife was made in the United States of America.

 

Conclusion:

Benchmade says, “This small convenient fixed blade is at the top of the curriculum in Self Defense 101, hence the numeric designation. It is a first option for a wide variety of EDC activities and an excellent last resort option for back-up and self-defense applications. LE and Security personnel will tuck it behind other belt mounted gear, while EDC users may elect to wear it as a neck knife for a quick, convenient access.” The CPM S30V steel is tough, durable, and extremely resistant to corrosion. The blade has been coated, which prolongs the life of the blade. With the steel and the coating, this blade proves to be a very low maintenance blade. The handle of this knife has been skeletonized to cut down on weight and give you a more secure grip on the knife. This Benchmade knife comes with a super durable Boltaron sheath. Pick up this Benchmade knife today at BladeOps.

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