Benchmade was founded in 1987, when they set out to make the best knives in the world. And that’s exactly what they did. They’ve grown a lot since then, and while they have expanded to provide tools for elite tactical operates, first responders, and even collectors, their goal has remained the same: make the best knives in the world.
The Benchmade Knife Company is a knife manufacturer run by Roberta and Les de Asis in Oregon City, Oregon, United States. 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, Oregon. Benchmade became known primarily as a manufacturer of butterfly, or balisong-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.
Blade steels such as 154CM, D2, CPM S30V steel, CPMS90V, CPM20CV, 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 has a patent on the locking mechanism used in most of the switchblades they produce. Benchmade additionally holds an exclusive license on use of the McHenry / Williams “AXIS Lock”, a strong, spring operated locking mechanism used in both automatic and manual action models.
Benchmade has a long tradition of incorporating knife design from noted custom cutlery makers into their production models. These include Jody Samson, 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 the Benchmade Triage.
The blade on this knife is made out of N680 steel that has been hardened to a 57-59 HRC. This steel is a fairly cheap type of steel that has some really good qualities to it. This steel contains about 20% nitrogen, which means that it is going to be extremely corrosion resistant. However, because of that, it is not going to hold an edge as well as some of the other steels on the market. Because it is an inexpensive steel, it is going to keep the overall cost of the knife down without bringing the quality of the knife down. In comparison, it is only a little more expensive than 420 or 44 steel. This steel does outperform 420 steel and it does keep an edge better than 420 steel as well as being more corrosion resistant than 420 steel. This steel also won’t take a whole lot of work to sharpen the blade, which is always a benefit. This steel can be so extremely corrosion resistant because during smelting, N680 is infused with nitrogen. The nitrogen interacts with the chromium inside the steel to give the chromium a little more space. This allows the chromium to defend the iron from reacting with oxygen better, which is how to prevent rusting.
The blade on this knife has been coated black. Not only does the coating give this knife a very sleek look, it also works to prolong the life of the blade. This is because it creates a barrier between any of the environments and the steel. This means that the coating is going to increase the wear and corrosion resistance of the knife, which is great for all three purposes that this knife has been designed for. It also cuts down on glares and reflections, which is ideal for a tactical knife. One of the drawbacks to a coated blade is that overtime or with heavy use, the coating is going to scratch off. This means that you will lose out on all of the great benefits until it gets recoated.
The blade on this knife has been carved into what Benchmade calls an Opposing Bevel blade style, but is basically a sheepsfoot blade. A sheepsfoot blade has a straight cutting edge and an unsharpened spine that curves down to meet the straight edge and makes a false point. The primary purpose of a sheepsfoot is for cutting and slicing where a point is not wanted or needed. This is the perfect blade shape for a rescue knife, because you can get very close to the situation without worrying about stabbing anything on accident. Some of the overall advantages to this blade shape is that it is going to give you very clean cuts, it is very controllable and no point exists. However, the lack of point is also one of the disadvantages of a sheepsfoot blade, because it means that the blade is not as versatile as it could be.
The blade has been carved into a combination edge, which is where the upper half is a plain edge and the lower half is a serrated edge. The idea behind this blade style is that you can get the best of both worlds with each different edge style. In this knife, you can use the plain edge for clean cuts and the serrated portion to cut through thicker materials, such as a seatbelt. One of the complaints about a combo edge is that because each portion is smaller, you can’t actually utilize either. With this rescue and tactical knife, that shouldn’t be a problem, because each portion is going to come in handy in their own way pretty often.
The handle on this knife is made out of black G10. G-10 is a grade of Garolite that is a laminate composite made of fiberglass. It has very similar properties to carbon fiber yet can be had for almost a fraction of the cost. The manufacturer takes layers of fiberglass cloth and soaks them in resin, then compresses them and bakes them under pressure. The material that results it extremely tough, hard, very lightweight, and strong. Out of all the fiberglass resin laminates, G10 is consider to be the toughest. This material is also thought to be stronger than Micarta, although it is more brittle. Checkering can easily be added to this material, which gives the user a solid and comfortable grip. Tactical folders really benefit form the qualities of G10 because it is durable and lightweight, but also non-porous, which means it is not going to absorb any of the fluids or liquids you come in contact with. The overall benefits is that it is lightweight, durable, and strong. The overall disadvantage is that it doesn’t look great and it can be brittle.
This knife has intense checkering across the entire handle, which will give plenty of texture to use in a rescue situation or a tactile situation. The spine of the knife is straight. The belly of the knife has a large finger groove, but the rest is completely flat.
The Pocket Clip:
The pocket clip on this knife is a deep carry clip, which is a major advantage. The knife has been designed as an everyday, rescue, and tactical knife, and the deep carry clip can benefit each of those styles of knives. If you are using this as an everyday carry knife, you can trust that it will be able to remain in your pocket while you go about your daily chores. If you are using this knife as a tactical knife, the deep carry clip is going to let this knife be more easily concealed in your pocket. If you are using this knife as a rescuer knife, the deep carry clip is going to keep it more secure in your pocket, you won’t have to worry about moving around a bunch, and it can be more easily concealed.
The pocket clip on this knife can only be attached for tip up carry, but it is a reversible clip for either left or right handed carry. The fact that it is reversible helps to make this knife fully ambidextrous.
The pocket clip, and all of the hardware, on this knife are black. This makes the 916SBK Triage an entirely black knife.
This is a manual opening knife that has been equipped with a thumb stud. In terms of legality, a manual opening knife is the way to go. It is not going to fall under the same strict laws that an automatic and even some spring-assisted knives are going to. If knives are legal in your area, it is almost positive that a manual opening knife is going to be legal. However, always know your local knife laws before buying or carrying one of BladeOps knives. BladeOps is not responsible for consequences. In terms of efficiency, the manual opening knife is not going to be as efficient as the semi-automatic or automatic options. Maintenance is going to be a little easier than with a spring assisted or automatic knife, because you don’t have to be as concerned about the insides. In the other two, you have to really take care of the spring, but there is not spring in a manual opening knife. The thumb stud allows you to easily open this knife with only one hand.
This knife has also been equipped with Benchmade’s AXIS lock. 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 blade on this knife measures in at 3.4 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.124 inches. The handle of this knife measures in at 4.85 inches long with a handle thickness of 0.45 inches. The overall length of this knife measures in at 8.25 inches long when the knife is opened. This knife weighs in at 5.24 ounces, which is on the heavier side, but not too heavy that people don’t want to have the knife with them at all times. This knife was designed and manufactured in the USA with Austrian Blade Steel.
When Benchmade talks about this knife, they say, “This Triage® knife has all of the great features of the original Triage and the added safety-utility benefit of the opposing bevel blunt-tip blade.” You can pick up this knife today at BladeOps.