Benchmade 2551 Mini Reflex II Knife Review

Benchmade 2551
Benchmade 2551 Mini Reflex II Knife

The Benchmade Mini-Reflex II introduces a new, improved, and updated edition of the enduringly popular Benchmade Mini-Reflex, Benchmade’s best selling automatic knife. Within the Benchmade Black Series, aimed at professional and those who treat a knife as a serious investment in everyday utility, the Mini-Reflex II can excel at tactical tasks as well as serving as an everyday carry.

 

Blade Profile

 

The Benchmade Mini-Reflex II continues the subtle drop-point blade profile of the original Mini-Reflex. The name “drop-point” signifies the curve that runs, or drops, along the spine of the knife toward its point. The convex curve of the cutting edge of the blade strengthens it at the same time that it produces the belly that expands the amount of cutting surface. With a tip that runs thicker than that of a comparable clipped-point or slant-point blade, the drop-point offers more strength at the expense of reduced piercing capability. The single flat-ground edge makes quick work of both push- and draw-action cutting and carving tasks.

 

Benchmade offers two variations on the blade profile of the Mini-Reflex II. Model 2551 uses a straightforward drop-point shape. Model 2551S includes a series of serrations placed on the left side of the blade behind its belly and just in front of the handle. This placement near the handle increases your ability to bear down and apply leverage when you use the blade. Also called rip teeth, these serrations come in handy when you tackle chores that involve sawing or cutting through fibrous materials such as wood, paracord, or rope.

 

Blade Finishes

 

When it comes to blade finishes, the Benchmade Mini-Reflex II offers two choices that constitute separate models. Model 2551 includes no blade coating, whereas model 2551BK sports a black coating. This finish reduces glare off the knife and can be a critical consideration in some usage settings.

 

In addition to models of the Mini-Reflex II with a blade coating, Benchmade also offers model 2551S, with an uncoated serrated blade, and model 2551SBK, with a serrated and black coated blade. All told, the Mini-Reflex II comes in four model choices.

 

Both the coated and the satin-finished versions display the knife’s model number on the left side of the blade directly below the distinctive Benchmade butterfly logo, with the 154 CM blade steel identified on the opposite side of the knife. The Benchmade Mini-Reflex II ships sharpened and ready to use. Thanks to its outstanding edge retention, you may find yourself able to set your whetstone aside for longer periods of time between sharpenings. Keep in mind that Benchmade’s LifeSharp warranty qualifies every purchaser of a Mini-Reflex II (and all Benchmade knives, for that matter) to ship the knife back to Benchmade for a complete reconditioning that also includes a fresh factory-quality sharpening. The LifeSharp service does not apply to the serrated portion of Mini-Reflex II models 2551S and 2551SBK. You’ll find the warranty information inside the box in which the Mini-Reflex II ships from Benchmade.

 

Blade Steel

 

The Benchmade Mini-Reflex II uses the same American-made steel as its predecessor, the Mini-Reflex. Crucible Industries’ 154 CM stainless steel qualifies as a high-carbon alloy with more than enough chromium to add hardness and tensile strength along with corrosion resistance. Manganese also promotes hardness and tensile strength, adding wear resistance at the same time. Molybdenum helps the Mini-Reflex II demonstrate excellent edge retention and high-temperature strength. Silicon adds to the blade’s hardness and gives it resistance to pitting.

 

Even stainless steel blades, including those with high degrees of corrosion resistance, can fall afoul of the ill effects of exposure to moisture in your environment. Benchmade ships the Mini-Reflex II with a coating of oil, enclosed in a plastic bag inside a microfiber pouch with a quick-opening bead on its drawstring. These protections help guard against the potentially corrosive effects of humidity. Drying your knife immediately after any task that gets it wet, and oiling the blade lightly on a periodic basis, can help protect the Mini-Reflex II from any hint of corrosion.

 

Handle Materials

 

Like other Benchmade products that feature the design creativity of master Alabama knife maker Mel Pardue, the Benchmade Mini-Reflex II features a handle crafted from black anodized 6061-T6 billet aluminum, the same material incorporated in the handle of its predecessor, the Mini-Reflex. The handle wears beautifully because unlike paint, its finish becomes an actual part of the aluminum itself in the course of the electrochemical process that converts the surface of handle parts into an integral layer of aluminum oxide. At the same time, the matte surface of the anodized aluminum helps increase grip on the handle and prevent slippage with wet hands. Unlike the handle finishes on other knife brands, Benchmade’s finish avoids the chalky feel that makes a knife uncomfortable under the fingers, without any hint of the surface slickness that could make the Mini-Reflex II difficult to grip.

 

Unalloyed aluminum offers the lightness you want in a knife blade handle, but the metal runs too soft for heavy use. The 6061-T6 aluminum alloy in the Benchmade Mini-Reflex II handle exhibits strength, toughness, and corrosion resistance thanks to its magnesium and silicon content. Benchmade machines the handle parts for the Mini-Reflex II out of billets of aircraft grade aluminum alloy. Unlike casting processes, machine fabrication gives these parts their crisp lines and precision surfaces.

 

Handle Design

 

At 4.16 inches long, the handle of the Mini-Reflex II incorporates a forefinger groove into which your index finger naturally slips when you hold the knife with the blade facing forward. At the same time, grooves on the sides of the handle increase grip and leverage regardless of the position in which you wield the knife. Front and rear quillons help hold your hand in place and prevent it from sliding off the blade, either to the front, with the attendant risk of injury, or to the rear. These curved quillons also bracket the hand friendly shape of the underside of the handle, which many users point to as an emphatic plus of the design. Of course, if you reverse your grip to place the blade into a downward striking position, the forefinger groove now becomes the location for your little finger and your forefinger stops next to the rear quillon. The finger grooves also provide a safety feature during field use, helping protect your hands from cuts caused by your own blade and the prospect of fluid transfer into those cuts. This consideration holds special importance for law enforcement personnel who find themselves tasked with extracting an injured stranger from a vehicle.

 

If you’re accustomed to hearing Mini-Reflex owners talk about how well the knife favors and fits into the hand, expect to hear the same kudos from owners of the new Mini-Reflex II. Both men and women emphasize this design advantage, which underscores the knife’s suitability for people with hands of virtually all sizes. Because your forefinger fits into a single-digit depression and the remainder of your fingers float between the forefinger groove and the rear quillon, the Mini-Reflex II provides comfortable, secure service for a wide range of users. With the blade closed and the knife held in a reversed position, the end of the handle can serve as an impact tool in some situations. To carry the Mini-Reflex II outside a pocket, Benchmade incorporates a hole near the end of the handle through which to string a lanyard. You also can insert a dummy cord through the hole to make the knife easier to find and harder to lose.

 

Benchmade doesn’t machine the pattern of notches, crosscuts, or cross hatching known as jimping on the spine of the Mini-Reflex II or on the back of its blade. Not to be confused with filework, which adds decorative patterns to blade or handle and can require an artist’s touch to design and apply, jimping aims solely at the practical objective of increasing grip and leverage. In the case of the Mini-Reflex II, the balance and grip of the knife itself eliminates the need for other design features to make the knife feel secure in the hand and eliminate slippage. If you’re accustomed to blades with thumb wraps, you probably won’t miss that feature on the Mini-Reflex II because of its outstanding balance and feel.

 

If you’re right handed, the Mini-Reflex II makes an easy choice as a tactical knife with EDC characteristics or vice versa, provided, of course, that you either live in a state that allows you to use and carry an automatic knife, or you’re an active member of the U.S. Armed Forces or law enforcement with appropriate identification credentials. Some states allow you to carry an automatic knife if you’re also licensed to carry a concealed weapon. Check your state’s laws, and any applicable local regulations, to determine whether the Mini-Reflex II makes a good fit for you.

 

Knife Dimensions and Weight

 

Updating and improving the Mini-Reflex to produce the new Mini-Reflex II resulted in slight changes to the dimensional and weight specifications of the knife. Overall length increased by three one-hundredths of an inch in the Mini-Reflex II, from 7.32 inches to 7.35 inches. At 4.17 inches, the closed length measures one one-hundredth of an inch greater on the Mini-Reflex II. The blade length and handle thickness also increased by one one-hundredth of an inch to 3.17 inches and 0.48 inches respectively. At the same time, the overall weight of the knife decreased by 0.12 ounces, from 2.70 ounces in the Mini-Reflex to 2.58 ounces in the Mini-Reflex II.

 

Updated Push-Button Automatic Package

 

Benchmade has introduced an improved spring-loaded push-button automatic blade deployment package for 2016, and the Mini-Reflex II becomes a beneficiary of this updated mechanism. Even the previous design showed no signs of blade movement in the open position, and the Mini-Reflex II continues that unyielding ability to lock tightly open. The blade deployment mechanism triggers the blade instantaneously, at a speed in excess of 15 miles per hour.

 

Because the design of the Benchmade Mini-Reflex II places the pivot screw and the automatic blade deployment button close together, plan on engaging in some blade-action practice if you’ll need to open the knife quickly without looking at it. Some users of the Mini-Reflex have pointed out that because of the small diemnsions of the knife handle, even experienced knife owners could mistake the screw for the button in a stressful environment without proper illumination, or in a situation in which you must wear gloves, either to protect your hands or to avoid contaminating work materials. If you carry the knife with you consistently and use it as your everyday carry, you can train your hand to identify the control button purely by feel.

 

Removable Pocket Clip

 

The Benchmade Mini-Reflex II features the same black-finished steel pocket clip found on the Mini-Reflex. The clip attaches to the handle of the Mini-Reflex II with three Torx screws and holds the knife in a tip-up position. Some Mini-Reflex owners have observed that the recurve on the end of the clip placed limits on how they could carry the knife. Attached to a right-hand pocket, the clip could become caught on a driver’s side seatbelt and impede quick access for use. Likewise, if they carried the Mini-Reflex in a pocket, the clip could scratch the face of a smartphone or other objects made of less hardy materials than the steel clip itself. These problems typify belt clip use in general, however, and aren’t unique to Benchmade’s design.

 

Because the painted finish on the standard clip doesn’t offer the same degree of wear resistance as the anodized finish on the aluminum handle itself, some Mini-Reflex purchasers obtained a replacement clip from Benchmade, designed with an oxidized finish that resists chipping and fading. This replacement part ships at no charge as part of the company’s LifeSharp warranty.

 

Safety Mechanism

 

The Benchmade Mini-Reflex II incorporates a spine-mounted spring-loaded safety lock that holds the blade either securely open or securely closed. It features jimping grooves to simplify its use, requires significant pressure to engage or disengage, and operates with a ratcheting action that makes a clearly audible clicking sound. In response to the conscious action involved in activating or deactivating the safety lock on the Mini-Reflex, some knife owners preferred not to use the feature because the lock became an impediment to rapid deployment. If you work in law enforcement, public safety, or the armed forces, you may find that these considerations cause you to think twice about engaging the safety, even if you carry the Mini-Reflex II in your pocket.

 

Other Observations

 

In a tactical role, you may find the length of the Mini-Reflex II’s blade too short for some defensive uses, limiting the reach of sweeping or thrusting motions. As an everyday carry, the Mini-Reflex II may offer more blade length than you need in the types of controlled uses and movements that typify EDC use. Before you choose this knife for either or both of these roles, correlate the blade measurements with your expectations and your experience with other knives. Chances are that you’ll find it to be a high-quality, beautifully made, efficient compromise between the limits and extremes of other blade profiles, sizes, and types.

 

 

 

2550

 

2551

 

Weight 2.70 oz. 2.58 oz.
Overall length 7.32″ 7.35″
Closed length 4.16″ 4.17″
Blade length 3.16″ 3.17″
Blade thickness 0.098″ 0.097″
Handle length 4.16″ 4.17″
Handle thickness 0.47″ 0.48″
Handle material Anodized 6061-T6 billet aluminum Anodized 6061-T6 billet aluminum
Handle color Black Black
Blade material 154 CM stainless steel 155 CM stainless steel
Blade hardness 58-61 RC 58-61 RC
Blade style Drop-point Drop-point
Blade grind Flat Flat
Blade finish Satin (2550 and 2550S) or Black (2550BK and 2550SBK) Satin (2551 and 2551S) or Black (2551BK and 2551SBK)
Blade edge type Plain (2550 and 2550BK) or serrated (2550S and 2550SBK) Plain (2551 and 2551BK) or serrated (2551S and 2551SBK)
Pocket clip Black, removable, tip-up Black, removable, tip-up
Lock mechanism Auto open with safety Auto open with safety
Opener Push button automatic Push button automatic with larger button
Lock type Plunge lock Plunge lock
Sheath material Sheath sold separately Sheath sold separately
Benchmark product class Black Class Black Class
User Right handed Right handed
Best use EDC, tactical, law enforcement EDC, tactical, law enforcement
Manufacturer’s suggested retail prices 2550 and 2550S: $200 2550BK and 2550SBK: $215 2551 and 2551S: $210 2550BK and 2550SBK: $225
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