Benchmade has become the dynasty that they are because for over twenty-five years, Benchmade has been designing and manufacturing world class products or world class customers. When Benchmade was founded, the mission was to create something better; something exceptional. Today, they continue to innovate with the goal of taking performance and reliability to the next level. To exceed what is expected. Whether you are using a Griptilian for every day duties or taking the fight to the enemy with the Infidel, our knives are built to perform. When you choose to purchase a Benchmade, you do so because you want the best. You demand it. And programs like their LifeSharp Lifetime Service and Warranty are the foundation of their commitment to excellence. They live it and breathe it, and they know what you mean when you say: It’s not a knife. It’s my Benchmade.
Benchmade builds knives for the most demanding customers, from special operations forces to elite backcountry hunters, and building for the best requires the best raw materials. Benchmade selects premium blade steels and pair them with aerospace-grade handle materials to create premium-grade knives and tools that provide great value for their customers.
The mechanism that Benchmade uses are also some of the best mechanisms. The mechanics of opening and closing a knife are essential to its function. They take into considers like, “Is it easy to actuate? Can it be opened with one hand? Is it ambidextrous? Will it absolutely not fail when you need it the most?” Because they know that those are the critical considerations when it comes to the mechanism.
The Benchmade factory employs modern laser cutters and CN C machining centers that offer control and tolerance commonly found in the aerospace industry—often tolerances half the width of a human hair. Their commitment to modern machining techniques and rigid quality control has allowed Benchmade to bridge the gap between custom and manufactured.
It was in 1988 that Benchmade 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 operators, first responders, and even collectors, their goal has remained the same: to make the best knives in the world.
This May, BladeOps is celebrating Benchmade month. Today, the knife family that we are focusing on is the Proper Family. This family of steel is a simple yet modern take on a classic gentleman’s knife.
The blade on this knife is made out of CPM S30V steel. This is a premium steel that was made by US based Crucible. Although the full name of the steel is CPM S30V, it is often referred to as just S30V steel. This steel formula was designed in the US and is typically used for the high end premium pocket knives and expensive kitchen cutlery. Crucible brought out the extreme hardness in the steel alloy matrix by adding vanadium carbides. Dollar for dollar, this is generally regarded as one of the finest knife blade steels with the optimal balance of edge retention, hardness, and toughness. This is one of the harder balances to find. One of the only drawbacks with this formula of steel is that it is hard to sharpen.
The blade has been finished with a satin finish. This style of finish is created by repeatedly sanding the blade in one direction with an increasing level of an abrasive material, which is usually sandpaper. The main characteristic that you are going to find with a satin finish is that it showcases the lines of the steel. This finish is one of the more traditional finishes that you are going to find, which makes it the perfect option for a gentleman’s knife.
The steel has been carved into a sheepsfoot blade style. In some cases, you want a knife that is perfect for slicing or cutting without worry about controlling the point. To avoid an accidental stabbing, a sheepsfoot blade is the perfect solution. The main purpose of a sheepsfoot blade is for cutting and slicing while minimizing the chances of anything accidentally being pierced by the point. The design of a sheepsfoot knife includes a straight edged front blade and a dull back spine that curves down to meet the straight edge. The two blades meet at the tip to form a “false point”. The distinctive flat cutting edge is well suited to giving you a supremely clean cut, especially on flat cutting surfaces. Sheepsfoot knives are popular choices among emergency responders who use them to cut seatbelts and other restraints without injuring the victim with a sharp point. They are also popular among sailors who use them to safely cut rigging without the danger of piercing the sails. The only real disadvantage of a sheepsfoot blade is its lack of a sharp point, which also happens to be one of its advantages.
The edge on this knife is a plain edge. The Proper Family of knives have been designed to be everyday knives, so the plain edge is the perfect option for that. Plain edges are more equipped to take on a wider range of tasks. Knives with plain edged blades excel at push cuts, slicing, skinning, and peeling. Slicing is the task that you are going to be most grateful for when you are performing your everyday tasks. Another benefit about the plain edged blade is that it is easier to sharpen than a serrated blade because it does not sport any of the teeth. And, you can normally get a finer edge on plain edges. One of the last major benefits is that because it does not sport any of the teeth, you can use this knife to do some detail work.
There are two different options when it comes to what you can choose for the handle material and color. The first option is a Micarta handle. The Micarta comes in a dark brown handle. Micarta is a popular branded example of phenolic—which refers to different substances made with the organic compound Phenol, which is a type of resin. To make this material, thin layers of linen cloths are soaked in a phenolic resin, producing a product that is lightweight, strong, and looks somewhat dressier than G 10. It was originally introduced as an electrical insulator and easily one of the best plastics out there making knife handles. Unfortunately, Micarta in and of itself has absolutely no surface texture, is very slippery and smooth, and requires quite a bit of hand labor to produce and then carve some sort of texture into the knife. This makes it pricey, which translates to a higher priced knife. Many people will tell you that Micarta can be easily scratched but let me assure you that this is not the case. Micarta is very hard and is not easy to scratch at all.
The second option for a handle material that you are presented with is a G 10 handle. This handle material comes in a dark red color. 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 is extremely tough, hard, very lightweight, and strong. In fact, G 10 is considered the toughest of all the fiberglass resin laminates and stronger, although more brittle, than Micarta. Checkering and other patterns add a texture to the handle, which makes for a solid, comfortable grip. The production process can utilize many layers of the same color, or varying different colors to achieve a unique cosmetic look on the G 10 handle. Tactical folders and fixed blade knives benefit from the qualities of G 10, because it is durable and lightweight, nonporous and available in a variety of colors. While this material is cheaper to produce than carbon fiber, it still has to be cut and machined into shape which is not as economical as the injection molding process used in FRN handles. One of the drawbacks to this material is that it does lack elegance.
Both versions of the handle will provide you with a secure grip for your everyday tasks. However, the Micarta handle is not going to give you a super solid grip in wetter situations. There is no pocket clip on the Proper family, but there has been a lanyard hole carved into the butt of the handle. Because there is no pocket clip, a lanyard will be the perfect option to attach easily, while keeping it out of the way, but also keeping it close by for quick grab. A lanyard can also be a fashion statement for your everyday knife. A third reason to attach a lanyard onto your Proper knife is to have it hang out of your pocket. Many people try to keep their everyday carry knife hidden completely deep in their pocket, so having a lanyard hanging out of your pocket will be inconspicuous but easy to draw out when needed.
The locking mechanism on this family of knives is not actually a true locking mechanism. These knives have what is called a slipjoint locking mechanism. This type of mechanism is most commonly seen in Swiss Army Knives. Typically, knives with this mechanism require two hands to open and close safely. The mechanism is made up of a spring bar and a specially shaped blade. To open the knife, you pull on the blade to overcome the pressure from the spring, snapping the blade into place. To close it, make sure your fingers are out of the way of the sharp edge, and push back down. One of the main advantages of these types of knives is their legality. They’re also nice to carry because they’re simple and easy to use. But, since they don’t have a true lockup, they’re not the best for heavier duty tasks.
The Proper knife family sports a nail nick opening mechanism. This type of mechanism is one of the oldest form of knife opening system that was widely sued in production knives and they still continue to be a popular opening method for high end interframe folders. Nail nicks aren’t commonly used on tactical folders because they are difficult to open one handed. IT is possible to open many nail nick folders one handed fi there is enough blade to grip onto when it is closed by performing a “Spydie Drop”, which is where you hold onto the blade and flick the handle open from it, usually with the help of gravity. The nail nick is exactly what it sounds like, a small divot in the blade that you can get your thumb into and push the blade out of the handle and into place.
The blade on this knife is 2.86 inches long. The overall length of this knife is 6.71 inches long with a closed length of 3.85 inches long. This knife weighs in at 2.3 ounces. This knife was also made in the United States of America.
The Proper is one of many new folding models released by Benchmade this year and comes in 2 different handle colors and finishes. Each model embodies the typical classic gentlemen’s knife but this time with ultra-premium and modern materials. The Proper utilizes a slip-joint non-locking mechanism in which the blade is held open by spring pressure on a flat section on the back of the blade’s tang and is deployed with a classic nail nick opening feature. This Blue Class model, the 319, features a dark brown canvas Micarta handle, stainless steel liners, a sheepsfoot style blade in a satin finish and due to the nature of this knife, there is no included pocket clip design. Made in the USA. This is truly a simple yet modern take on a classic gentleman’s knife. So come celebrate Benchmade month this May at BladeOps and pick yours up today. You can find the Dark Red model here and the Dark Brown Model here.