Benchmade 530 Pardue Folding Knife Review

Benchmade 531BK Folder

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

It was the year 1979 and the Benchmade adventure was really beginning. Les de Asis wanted a knife that reflected the latest in materials and manufacturing technology to replace the cheap butterfly knives that he played with as a kid. Using his high school shop skills, he blueprinted his dream knife before eventually meeting Victor Anselmo. It was Victor who helped to grind the first ever pre-Benchmade Bali Song prototype. Paired with handles that Les sourced from a 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 him if he could 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 ho 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 Bali’s spurred the creation of the first production Bali-Song: The model 68. It was 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.

In 1987, due to its inability to control quality, price, and delivery, Pacific cutlery Corp 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. This company now needed a new name.

Les figure that 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 manufacture 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.

At BladeOps, we are celebrating May as Benchmade month. To celebrate, we are devoting our blog to Benchmade. Today, we will be going over whey the Benchmade 530 is such a fantastic knife.


The Blade:

The blade on the 530 has been cut out of a sheet of 154CM steel. This steel is a relatively hard steel which 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 and edge well. It is not too difficult to sharpen if you have the right equipment to do it. You’ll find a lot of quality pocket knives made out of 154CM steel.

The blade has been finished with a satin finish. This finish is created by repeatedly sanding the steel in one direction with an increasing level of an abrasive. This abrasive material is usually a sandpaper or something similar. The key characteristic of this blade finish is how it showcases the lines in the steel. In terms of how reflective this blade finish is, I would say that it is a medium level. A mirror finish is going to be much more reflective than satin, but satin is also nowhere near matte. The satin finish does work to cut down on glares and reflections that you are going to come across. This finish provides you with a very classic look that you aren’t going to find with other finishes.

The 154CM steel has been ground into a spear point blade shape. A spear point blade is very similar to the needle point blade in that it is good for piercing. However, its point is stronger and it does contain a small belly that can be used for slicing.  A spear point is a symmetrically pointed blade with a point that is in line with the center of the blades long axis. Both edges of the knife rise and fall equally to create a point that lines up exactly with the equator of the blade. Spear point blades are commonly found on throwing knives. In contrast to the needle point blade which has a very sharp but weak point, a spear point knife has a strong pint that is also sharp enough for piercing. However, a spear point blade is only good for piercing if both edges are sharpened. The lowered point is easily controllable and is useful for fine work. Spear point blades do contain a small belly which can be used for some cutting and slicing applications, however, the belly is relatively small when compared to drop point and clip point knives. A spear point knife is a great choice for the knife enthusiast who is looking for a good balance between piercing and slicing ability. IT combines the sharp point of a dagger with the strength of a drop point blade, while maintaining some of the belly that is used for slicing. Overall, this is a great hybrid blade design that is extremely functional.

The edge on this knife is a plain edge. This is the most traditional edge style when compared to a combo edge or the serrated edge. The plain edge is the easiest to sharpen because it does not sport any of the teeth that make it tricky. The plain edge is also easier to get a finer edge. The plain edge on this knife will excel at push cuts, slicing, skinning, and peeling, which are the majority of the tasks that you will be looking to complete in a regular day or even when you are in the outdoors, which are the two purposes that this knife has been designed to complete. Some people worry that with the plain edge, you won’t be able to get through the tougher or thicker materials that you would saw through with the combo or serrated edge. While that is mostly true, when you get a plain edge sharp enough, it does have the ability to tackle those other tasks.

Benchmade 530 Folder
Benchmade 530 Folder

The Handle:

The handle on the 530 is made out of black Grivory. Grivory has been called “the proven material for metal replacement”. There is a variety of different formulas of Grivory, depending on what exactly you are looking for. The formula in each version is varied by the semi crystalline polyamides with partially aromatic content. You can range from very stiff, to low warpage, to impact resistance, and even with good flow properties. All Grivory’s are characterized by their high levels of stiffness and strength, the little change in property values after absorption of moisture, the low dampness and water absorption, good dimensional stability and low warpage, good chemical resistance, good surface quality, and efficient and economical production. Grivory is an amorphous nylon copolymer with exceptional dimensional stability. Benchmade uses a formula that has 505 or greater glass fill.

To provide you with phenomenal grip, there are wide rows of grooves that go across the width of the knife in the palm area of the handle. To provide you with a comfortable grip, the handle has been shaped to mold with your hand so that you can use this knife for long periods of time. While there is no finger guard, the top of the handle does flare out of protect your fingers from slipping and getting sliced. The butt of the handle also flares out to give you a solid grip on your knife, even in the toughest of environments.

There has been a lanyard hole drilled into the butt of the knife. While you might not need to use a lanyard if you are using this knife for your everyday knife, attaching a lanyard is a great idea if you are spending most of your time in the outdoors. For starters, the lanyard will help you secure your knife against loss. Another great reason to attach a lanyard onto your knife is so that you can be safer while you are using it. If you are using the knife in deep snow, or where there is the potential for dropping it in water or mud, tie a longer cord to the lanyard. Then tie the cord to your belt or run it through a button hole. This could keep you from losing your knife. Another reason to use a lanyard on your outdoors knife is that it gives you better visibility. If you happen to put your knife down while doing some tasks, you may lose it or forget where you put it. The easy solution is to tie a piece of bright material to your lanyard, giving you a better idea of where you knife is.


The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip on this knife is a reversible pocket clip, helping to make this an ambidextrous friendly knife. However, the handle has only been drilled to carry your knife tip up.


The Mechanism:

This is a manual opening knife that uses a thumb stud to assist you in the opening. The thumb stud is one of the most common one hand opening features. A thumb stud replaces the nail nick which is found on more traditional style knives. You place the tip of your flexed thumb on the stud and extend your thumb to swing the blade through its arc until the blade is fully open.

The 530 sports Benchmade’s AXIS locking mechanism. This is 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 Specs:

The blade on the Benchmade 530 is 3.25 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.090 inches. The overall length of this knife is 7.42 inches long with a closed length of 4.17 inches long. The handle thickness on this knife is 0.37 inches. This knife weighs in at a small 1.88 ounces. This knife has been made in the United States of America.


The Conclusion:

The 530 Pardue series of folder knives is one of Benchmade’s lightest and one of the slimmest knives they offer–certainly making it the ultimate lightweight carry option. This Blue Class folder utilizes Benchmade’s AXIS system which provides fluid action and a rock sold lockup and is opened with the minimized ambidextrous dual thumb stud design. The handle is of a polymer nature, known as Grivory, which maintains its durability while minimizing the overall weight even with the incorporated stainless steel liners. This model, the 530, features a single edged spear point style blade in a satin finish as well as a pocket clip that is designed for tip up carry only but is eligible for left or right hand carry options. Come celebrate Benchmade month with us and pick up your Benchmade Pardue folding knife today. Happy shopping.


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