Benchmade Precipice OTF Knife Review

Heckler and Koch is the leading brand of firearms today. A while back, they decided to expand their product lines and start building knives. However, they knew to get the best knives they could imagine, they needed to collaborate with a knife company. Heckler and Koch joined forces with Benchmade to produce knives that were quality, yet affordable. They were designed to be used by first responders, police, military personnel, and any other person who needs a good every day knife.

The deal between the two was that Benchmade was to build them and would retain any rights to the designs after the collaboration ended. Heckler and Koch, or H&K, would put their brand name on the knife to expand the target audience. Recently, Benchmade decided to cut off the collaboration with H&K and focus on their own knife lines. The H&K knives have been huge hits though, so Benchmade decided to upgrade a few of the favorites to give us spectacular knives.

One of these knives that has been a huge hit is the H&K Epidemic. Benchmade renamed this knife the PRECIPICE. They kept the same basic design, but upgraded the blade steel, the handle design, and the trigger button. They have created an amazing knife.

Benchmade 4700 Precipice
Benchmade 4700 Precipice

 

The Blade:

 

The Epidemic’s blade was made out of D2 steel. This is an adequate steel that gets the job done. It is a cheaper and softer steel, which keeps the overall knife cost down. However, if you are looking for a high quality knife, you would not be looking at one made with D2. Benchmade’s focus with upgrading this specific knife is to give the audience a high quality, long lasting, superior knife. So they switched out the steel. They chose to use CPM-S30V steel. This is a premium steel, that is more expensive. Because of this extra cost, the PRECIPICE is going to be more expensive than the Epidemic was. But with the extra cost comes extra durability, strength, and toughness. S30V steel is a full stainless steel, which gives it higher resistance to rust and corrosion. Another benefit of having a fully stainless steel blade is that this blade is going to require less time and maintenance to keep it in good shape. This steel is stronger and tougher, making it less prone to breaking, even if you throw harder tasks at it. S30V is a harder steel to sharpen than the D2 steel was, but it will also hold a better edge for longer periods of time than the D2 steel would have. S30V steel was designed and produced by Crucible and it was actually designed to be specifically used in knives. This fact means that you are getting one of the most superior blade steels on the market today. Dollar for dollar, this steel is seen as one of the best blade steels with the perfect balance between edge retention or durability, hardness, and toughness. This steel is going to ensure you have a fantastic blade on your knife.

 

The shape that this blade sports is spear point style. Knife Depot explained this shape best when they said, “This blade is a symmetrically pointed blade with a point that is in line with the center line of the blade’s long axis. Both edges of this blade shape rise and fall equally to create a point that lines up exactly with the equator of the blade.” The Benchmade PRECIPICE is a double edged blade, which means that both edges of the blade are sharpened. If it was a single edged blade, only one side of the blade would be sharpened. Spear points are exceptional if you are trying to pierce or stab something. Spear points are very similar to needle point blades, however, spear points have a much stronger tip than a needle point tip would give you. The tip on this blade is lowered, so you have great control over it and can do delicate work with the tip. A spear point blade shape has a relatively small belly, but you can use it for some simple cutting or slicing. However, if you are looking for a knife to mainly use for slicing, this should not be your go to blade. This shape has a great balance between being able to stab and being able to slice. This shape maintains the strength that a drop point shape has, but it has a much sharper tip than a drop point. While you don’t have the belly that you would find on a drop point, you do have adequate slicing abilities.

 

 

The Handle:

 

The handle on this knife is made out of T6-6061 anodized billet aluminum. Anodizing an aluminum works to add color. In the PRECIPICE, they have anodized it to be black. Another big reason to anodize an aluminum is to add hardness and protection. When anodized properly, aluminum is an extremely durable material, especially for your knife handle. A big benefit to having an aluminum material is that it is a very light material. This gives you the look of a heavier material, instead of a cheaper plastic-y look, but it doesn’t weigh your knife down. This specific type of aluminum has extreme strength behind it. Unfortunately, this can be a very slippery material, especially in wet situations. To prevent this being too slippery, the aluminum is often texturized to give you a little bit of a better grip. The Epidemic had deep cuts across the palm of the handle to add grip. On the PRECIPICE, Benchmade got rid of these gashes to provide your knife with a much sleeker looking handle. To help with the grip on this sleeker handle, they switched up the shape of the handle very slightly. The aluminum has been cut with more exaggerated corners, providing a different ergonomic feel. Another drawback to having an aluminum handle is that it is a cold material. If you are working or living in a very cold environment, aluminum might not be the best material for your knife handle. It can feel like it is biting into your skin when it is freezing outside.

 

 

The Pocket Clip:

 

This knife comes with a deep carry, reversible pocket clip. This knife has been drilled so that the pocket clip can be carried for either right or left handed carry. However, this knife has only been drilled to be carried tip down. This is also a deep carry pocket clip, so the clip is longer. This means that your knife will fit deeply, snugly, and securely in your pocket. A deep carry clip makes it easier to conceal in your pocket, since none of the knife actually sticks out.

 

 

The Mechanism:

 

The PRECIPICE is a double action out the front knife. An out the front knife, or an OTF, is a knife that opens and closes through a hole on one end of the handle. This is different than the average knife, where the blade folds in and out of one of the sides. This is an automatic knife. So like always, make sure you know your local laws before you purchase and carry this knife. Automatic knives, or switchblades, are not legal in many states or areas. This is a double action automatic knife, so this means that the trigger will open and close the blade. A single action trigger would just open the blade. The HK Epidemic’s trigger was a red, plastic-y looking trigger. Benchmade decided to keep the look sleek, so they switched this trigger out. It is now a gray trigger.

 

 

The Specs:

 

The blade on the PRECIPICE is 3.45 inches long. The blade on this knife is 0.124 inches thick. When the knife is opened, it is 8.23 inches long. But, when it is closed, it is 4.78 inches long. This is a long knife when opened, but because the handle is made out of aluminum, it keeps the knife relatively light; the knife weighs in at 3.31 ounces. The handle is 0.47 inches thick. This is a great size for an everyday carry knife. This knife also has the size to back itself if you are using it for a tactical or survival knife. This knife feels like it can do it all.

 

Pros of the Benchmade Precipice:

  • This knife has a rich history.
  • Upgraded the steel from D2 to S30V steel.
  • The steel is stronger, more durable, and more resistant to corrosion and rust.
  • The edge on this steel is better and will last longer than the D2 steel would have.
  • Because of the upgraded steel, this knife can survive more extreme environments, harder tasks, and can be a tactical knife or a survival knife.
  • The spear point shape will provide you with excellent piercing ability.
  • The spear point shape still has strength behind it—in fact, it is almost as strong as a drop point shape.
  • The tip is lowered and strong, so you can do delicate work with it.
  • The anodized aluminum handle is strong, resistant to corrosion, and durable.
  • The handle has a much sleeker look than the Epidemic did.
  • The pocket clip is a deep carry pocket clip.
  • The pocket clip is a reversible clip, so you can carry it ambidextrously.
  • The knife is a double action knife, so the trigger does all the work for you.
  • Benchmade upgraded the trigger, so it has a classier, more conservative look to it.
  • This is an automatic knife, so it opens very quickly.

 

Cons of the Benchmade Precipice:

  • S30V steel is more expensive and harder to sharpen—both things that are worth it, but they are slight drawbacks.
  • The spear point does not provide a belly, meaning that slicing is going to be a trickier task. The shape can give adequate slicing ability, but nothing like a drop point.
  • Can only carry this knife with the tip down.
  • This is an automatic knife, so it is not going to be legal in all areas of the country.

 

 

Conclusion:

 

I’m drawn to knives with rich histories, because you know that the final version is going to be a truly spectacular knife. This knife started out as a good quality knife that used good materials to produce a knife that was affordable. When Benchmade decided to focus on their own blades and upgrade this knife, they wanted to take the same design and provide their audience with an exceptional knife. They upgraded their materials which is what gives you a superior knife. When they looked at the popular design, they decided that the first thing they needed to upgrade was the steel. By choosing a better steel, this new knife can now take on harder tasks, take harder beatings, keep its edge for longer, and because of its increased rust and corrosion resistance properties—this blade needs less maintenance. Benchmade kept the shape of the blade, a spear point, because a spear point keeps most of the strength that a drop point offers, but it provides the user with a much sharper point, allowing you to stab or pierce. Benchmade decided to keep the same aluminum handle, but they did change up how the handle looks. They got rid of the deep grooves in the Epidemic’s handle and gave us a much sleeker look. The pocket clip remained the same: a deep carry reversible pocket clip. And Benchmade also kept the double action mechanism the same as the Epidemic was.

This knife started off with a good, reliable, trusty design. The Epidemic was a popular knife for a reason. So with the new, upgraded knife, the PRECIPICE, you know that all of your wildest dreams can come true. When Benchmade decided to upgrade this knife, they created a masterpiece. The Epidemic was a good knife, and many of you might have owned and loved it. But the PRECIPICE is a fantastic knife.

Facebooktwitterpinterest
Facebooktwitteryoutubeinstagram

A Brief History of Benchmade Knives

Benchmade Knives
Benchmade Knives

The Benchmade company started in California in 1979 and was known as Bali-Song. This all began when company founder Les de Asis wanted a knife that had a higher quality than the ones he used as a kid. His goal was to use the newest materials and manufacturing technologies to replace the poorly made butterfly knives, or Bali-Songs, that were found on the market at that time. As the company’s logo and first name reflected, Benchmade was primarily known for manufacturing butterfly or balisong-style knives. To this day, the company continues to manufacture their patented Bali-Song butterfly knives. His goal became a reality when, after using his high school shop skills, Les went to the local gun store with his prototype. After a pleasant response from the owner asking him to make more, the company began. From this humble beginning, the company went on to become known as the Pacific Cutlery Corporation.

 

-Fact: Bali-Song was the first company in the United States to manufacture the butterfly knife. This claim to fame is one of many that Benchmade can claim.

 

It was during this time that the Pacific Cutlery Corp found themselves in some trouble. Though the company under this name was short-lived, the company reorganized and launched themselves under a new name and with a new knife. Renamed as “Benchmade” the company now had the quality control of a “factory-made” product while maintaining the personalized care of a “handmade” knife. Benchmade had redesigned the knife that started them off in the first place. The Model 68 gave the company just what they needed to boost them into the powerhouse of a company they are in the knife industry today.

 

-Fact: The Benchmade Headquarters is located in Oregon City, Oregon.

 

Benchmade is made up of several different product lines that serve different purposes. Over the years, they have included the Red class, Blue class, Black class, Gold class, Hunt series and H&K knives.

Though no longer in existence, the Red class was primarily made overseas and featured more affordable knives. The most popular knives of this class found their way into the different classes and are still available for purchase.

Benchmade describes their Blue class knives as being “like your best friend.” This class contains typical everyday carry knives. As far as Black class knives go, you will find those equipped onto the belts of the professionals. This professional class is favored by policemen, emergency response teams, and others because of the quality of this class.

Next is the Gold class. This royal class features some of the rarest materials and often come in unique designs. These knives are primarily meant for show and tell. You wouldn’t want to take these beauties into the woods. What you would want to take into the woods is a knife from the Hunt series. According to Benchmade, these knives are “built from advanced materials usually reserved for spaceships and surgical equipment.” These hunting knives are built for durability and reliability while out on the hunt.

Last and certainly not least is the H&K knives. For more than a half-century, Heckler and Koch (H&K) has been a leading designer and manufacturer of military, law enforcement, and civilian firearms. Their commitment to quality, innovation, and safety makes them an industry leader in reliability and technology. Their partnership with Benchmade has been a great asset for both parties.

 

-Fact: Benchmade has produced a unique type of locking and firing mechanism called the AXIS lock. This can be found on several models of knives.

 

Of the several different knife classes by Benchmade, there are many which are notable for their quality, performance, and design. One of such is the Benchmade Infidel. The Infidel is an Out the Front auto that many find favorable. With its unique design, this powerhouse of a knife is a great choice for professionals and for everyday use. Another popular knife is the Griptilian. This model has many variations that give a wide variety of people to enjoy this knife. Similar to the Griptilian is the Barrage, another popular Benchmade product.

 

After many hardworking years by this company, you are within reach of a high-quality product. You cannot go wrong with owning a Benchmade knife. It will last you a lifetime. Here at BladeOps, we always highly recommend getting one of these beauties. So what are you waiting for? Get yourself a Benchmade today.

 

Facebooktwitterpinterest
Facebooktwitteryoutubeinstagram

Benchmade 10 Year Anniversary Infidel Knife Review

The Benchmade 10 Year Anniversary Infidel

 

For over three decades, Benchmade has been producing exceptional knives. Benchmade began by a man named Les, who wanted a butterfly knife that used higher quality materials, while using the newer technology to create a great knife. He had taken a shop class in high school, so he put those skills to use and blueprinted his dream butterfly knife. He later met Victor Anselmo, who helped to grind the first ever Bali-Song prototype. Les himself finished it in his home garage and promptly took it to a local gun shop and asked if they could produce 100 more. For the first few years, this company focused on only making butterfly knives. Within the next seven years, they expanded their products to encompass fixed blades and the traditional folding knives.

The Infidel is one of the knives that Benchmade has produced. And to celebrate the Infidel’s 10th birthday, Benchmade decided to revamp this blade. This celebration is a great opportunity for you to get your hands on an exceptional knife that will help you throughout your life–the 10th Anniversary Infidel OTF Auto.

BEN3300BK-1701
10 Year Anniversary Infidel OTF Auto Knife. BEN3300BK-1701

 

The Blade:

 

The originally Infidel rocked D2 steel, which is a good steel. D2 is a semi-stainless steel, because it provides you a good amount of resistance to corrosion, but it isn’t quite completely stainless. D2 is also not as tough as many of the steels that you are going to come across and is actually very hard to sharpen. In almost every single case, you will need a master sharpener to actually get a fine edge on a D2 blade. However, this steel is very hard and holds an edge pretty well because of that fact. To really celebrate this knife, Benchmade decided to upgrade the steel into CPM S30V premium stainless steel. This new steel really gives us something to celebrate. CPM S30V steel is made by Crucible and they designed this steel to be especially for knives. CPM S30V steel is mainly used for high end premium pocket knives or expensive kitchen cutlery. That gives you an idea of how great this steel is and how great your knife will be, now that it has this newer steel option. Crucible added vanadium carbides to help bring extreme amounts of hardness to the steel. Usually, when you get a crazy hard steel, it will lack on toughness, because the harder a steel is, the more brittle it will be. That is not the case with S30V steel. In fact, this steel is considered to be the perfect balance between hardness and toughness. The Infidel’s blade will be able to take on the toughest of tasks and you will not need to be worrying about whether it can take it or not, because it can. S30V steel has exceptional edge retention and resists rust very well. These two characteristics help cut down on maintenance. And, your blade will come out of the box razor sharp. Plus, you won’t be counting down the days until you need to sharpen your blade again, because it stays sharp for longer than you’ll believe. The steel on this blade has been finished with a black color.

The blade on the Infidel is a double edged dagger shape. This has also been called a needle point blade. This blade shape has been designed around it’s point. Its main purpose is to be able to stab or pierce. It is built by 2 symmetrical sharpened blades that taper to a very thin sharp point. The Infidel has been designed to be a tactical knife, which is a knife that is to be used in extreme situations. One of these extreme situations is that this knife can be used as a great fighting knife. And because of the two sharpened edges, this knife excels at fighting in close combat scenarios. Unfortunately, there are some drawbacks to this type of knife shape. First of all, the tip on this knife is very thin, it is going to be more prone to breaking, especially if you are using it on harder targets. Another one of the drawbacks is that there is absolutely no belly. This means that slicing is not going to be easy at all; it will actually be a challenge. A dagger point blade is going to be found the most on military and tactical knives. Since it is a flat grind, the blade might seem duller than it actually is sometimes and with the flat grind. To keep the edge razor sharp, you are going to have to take off a little extra steel while grinding it. Because of this, you will lose some of the durability that the blade once had.

 

 

The Handle:

 

The handle on this knife has been carved out of 6061-T6 billet aluminum. A piece of billet aluminum just means that the entire handle has been carved out of a single piece of aluminum. This benefits you because there are going to be no weak spots where two pieces of aluminum have been welded together. The 6061-T6 alloy is one of the most common aluminum alloys used today and it has incredible tensile strength. Aluminum has a low density, especially for metal, so while it provides you with a hefty feel, it is actually an extremely light material. Aluminum can be very slippery, unless it has been properly texturized. To help provide you with better grip, Benchmade has added grooves going down the center of the handle on the palm side. The first Infidel had its handle finished by an anodization process. This is one of the most common finishers for an aluminum handle. The original Infidel’s handle was black. This is where the handle gets switched up for this version. Instead of an anodized handle, they decided to dip the handle. This means that there is a coating instead of a chemical change. And instead of being black, like the first one was, this version is bright silver.

 

 

The Pocket Clip:

 

The knife is outfitted with a deep carry, tip down pocket clip. I prefer having a deep carry pocket clip because of two reasons. First of all, I feel like my knife is more secure in my pocket when it is carried this way. The knife lies further down in my pocket, so I know that in my everyday movements, I am not going to lose my knife. There is almost no way that it is going to slip out of my pocket. The second reason that I love having a deep carry pocket clip is because you can conceal your knife more easily. This especially comes in handy for my tactical knives, which this is. The handle has been drilled so that you can carry your knife tip down.

 

 

The Mechanism:

 

The Infidel 10 Year Anniversary Knife is an automatic knife. It has a double action, out the front mechanism. Like always, automatic knives are not legal in every state or area. Make sure that you know your local knife laws before purchasing and especially before carrying this knife. An out the front knife is also known as a sliding knife or a telescoping knife. Basically, it is a pocket knife that has the blade open and close through a hole in one end of the handle, instead of folding out of the side of the handle. There are two different types of automatic OTF knives: single action and double action. The Infidel 10 Year Anniversary knife is a double action OTF knife. This means that when you slide the button forward, the blade will be ejected automatically. And, when you slide the knife backwards, the blade will retract automatically. If it were a single action, the knife would only eject automatically, so having this be a double action is a bonus. The trigger on the original Infidel was silver, contrasting against the black handle. On the Infidel 10 Year Anniversary knife, the trigger is black, contrasting against the silver handle.

 

 

Extras:

 

This knife comes with a Commemorative Challenge Coin. On the front of this coin, there is the shape of the Infidel in the center. On the top, it reads “10th ANNIVERSARY”. On the bottom it reads, “THE INFIDEL”. On the left side, there is an engraved “2007” and on the right, “2017”. The back of this coin features the Benchmade Butterfly logo in the center. The top of the coin reads, “BENCHMADE KNIFE CO. The bottom of the coin reads, “USA PROUD”.

 

 

Limited Edition:

 

This version of the Infidel is a limited edition knife that has been individually numbered for 2017 only. Get it while you can. You won’t regret it.

 

 

The Specs:

 

The blade on this knife measures at 3.91 inches long, with a thickness of 0.118 inches. When the knife is open, it measures in at 8.91 inches long, with a closed length of an even 5 inches long. The handle on the Infidel is 0.59 inches thick. The knife weighs 4.90 ounces. This is a rather large knife that is going to get the job done when you are utilizing it.

 

 

The Pros of the Infidel 10 Year Anniversary Knife:

 

  • Benchmade upgraded the steel, so now it is a fully stainless steel blade, instead of semi-stainless.
  • The new choice of steel is easier to sharpen and holds a fantastic edge.
  • The steel is very hard and still very tough, which is not an easy combination to come by.
  • The steel resists corrosion very well.
  • This knife comes razor sharp.
  • The double edged dagger shape helps the Infidel excel at being a self-defense knife.
  • The point is super sharp and thin, so it will work great at stabbing your target.
  • The handle has been made out of billet aluminum, so there will be no weak spots where two pieces have been welded together.
  • Aluminum gives you a good, hefty feel, but is actually very light.
  • There are grooves running down the center of the handle to help with your grip on the knife.
  • Has a double action OTF mechanism.
  • Comes with a deep carry pocket clip.
  • Comes with an Infidel Challenge Coin.
  • This is a limited edition knife which makes it a fantastic knife for your collection.

 

 

The Cons of the Infidel 10 Year Anniversary Knife:

 

  • Because of the upgraded steel, the cost is going to be higher.
  • The new steel choice is easier to sharpen than D2, but still not easy to sharpen.
  • A dagger point has no belly, so you aren’t going to be able to slice.
  • A dagger point has a weak tip, which is prone to breaking when stabbing harder targets.
  • While the dagger point excels at one thing, it can really only do that one thing—this is not a versatile knife.
  • The pocket clip is not reversible, so it is not an ambidextrous knife.
  • The pocket clip has only been drilled to carry your knife tip down.
  • The aluminum handle is going to be cold if you live in a cold environment.
  • Because the handle has been dipped instead of anodized, it is going to be more prone to scratches and those scratches showing up.

 

 

Conclusion:

 

The Infidel has been around for 10 years now. During that decade, it has earned a fantastic reputation of being a reliable and trusty tactical knife. To celebrate the Infidel turning 10 years old, Benchmade created a limited edition revamped version. This version looks sleeker and uses higher quality materials. They started off by switching out the steel used on this knife. They chose to make it out of CPM S30V premium stainless steel. This steel is tougher, harder, and maintains an edge better than the previous steel choice. Plus, it’s fully stainless steel, which does cut down on some maintenance time. They kept the double edged dagger shape, because that is as good as it could get. They kept the handle material as billet aluminum, but decided to switch up the finish and color. They did a bright dip in a silver, instead of anodizing the aluminum to be black. They kept the pocket clip and double action OTF. They will include an Infidel Challenge Coin when you purchase this knife. This is a limited edition knife, so run, don’t walk to get your own.

Facebooktwitterpinterest
Facebooktwitteryoutubeinstagram

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
Facebooktwitterpinterest
Facebooktwitteryoutubeinstagram

Benchmade 3551 Stimulus Auto Knife — New Product Announcement

Benchmade 3551
Benchmade 3551 Stimulus Auto Knife

Based in Oregon, the epicenter of U.S. knife production, Oregon City’s Benchmade ranked second when Knife News conducted a brand-awareness survey of blade enthusiasts in 2015. Formulated and refined over Benchmade’s 30-year history, the company’s strategy applies state-of-the-art manufacturing and production processes to custom knife designs from industry-leading knife makers, making high-quality implements available to a larger customer base than previously could obtain them and at price points that reflect higher-scale production. Benchmade also elevates the standards applied to everyday carry knives, transforming production hardware into gear that meets the standards often applied to custom equipment.

 

Benchmade founder Les de Asis’ knife-making history began in 1979 when he embarked on an effort to improve upon the butterfly knives he had used in his youth. After some setbacks, he applied the Benchmade name to the second of his cutlery companies, reflecting the combination of handmade quality with precision-fabricated materials. Relocated from California to Oregon to take advantage of the acceptance of styles of knives that face legal restrictions in other jurisdictions, the company pioneered the use of laser cutters to work with steels that were too hard to produce with stamping equipment. Benchmade earned, and still holds, a world-leading position in the manufacture of automatic knives.

 

Among its products, Benchmade offers three separate hand-assembled knife series, each made in the U.S. and crafted to match the expectations of a differing group of users. Benchmade’s Blue Class targets the recreational knife enthusiast who needs a blade for tasks that qualify as light duty. Benchmade’s Gold Class consists of custom-made, limited-edition creations. The Black Class aims at professionals, including those who work in law enforcement, public safety, and the military. In establishing its product lineups, Benchmade has partnered with numerous master designers, including Mel Pardue of Repton, Alabama, the senior-most custom craftsman associated with Benchmade, with a 40-year career filled with outstanding knives. Pardue’s offerings through Benchmade highlight clean lines and upscale simplicity, along with a diligent focus on hard-working utility.

 

Within the Benchmade Black Class, the 3551 Stimulus is a Mel Pardue design that represents a refinement of the popular 3550 automatic knife that preceded it. With a new name and an enhanced feature set, the Benchmade 3551 Stimulus continues to constitute an everyday knife with tactical capabilities—or a tactical knife suitable for use as an everyday carry. The Benchmade 3551 Stimulus features the lifetime LifeSharp warranty coverage that accompanies all Benchmade products. Under this program, an owner can ship a Benchmade knife back to the company for a complete reconditioning process, provided at no charge by a technician team dedicated to this service. Each knife undergoes complete disassembly, after which a technician replaces or tunes up any parts that show signs of wear. Lubricated and reassembled, the knife receives a factory sharpening prior to shipment back to the customer.

 

 

Blade Profiles and Finishes

 

The Benchmade 3551 Stimulus continues the Benchmade 3550’s spear-point blade design. Spear-point blades offer a symmetrical profile that narrows to a tip positioned at the midpoint of the blade height. They combine much of the strength of a drop-point blade with some of the piercing ability of a dagger-like needle-point profile. A spear-point blade may not offer the expanding cutting surface of a blade with a large curved belly, but spear-points serve a specific need and purpose for users who want to combine cutting and piercing capabilities in a single knife.

 

Like the 3550, the 3551 comes in models with plain edges or with one partially serrated edge, and in satin or coated black finishes. It favors the right-handed user in the placement of its automatic controls.

 

Blade Steel

 

Benchmade’s 3551 Stimulus uses Crucible Industries’ U.S.-manufactured 154 CM stainless steel. Currently based outside Syracuse, New York, Crucible Industries traces its history back to late 19th-century England and forward to a merger among 13 crucible-steel companies at the turn of the 20th century. This merger produced a steel giant known as the Crucible Steel Company of America.

 

Crucible began creating steel for knife makers early in the 21st century. By this time, the company had invested many innovative decades in the creation of alloys for use in the manufacture of tools and automobiles. Crucible also excelled in the production of more-exotic materials, such as a titanium alloy for use in Robert Jarvik’s implantable artificial heart design. As the years progressed, the company’s fortunes reflected the ups and downs of the industries it served and the world economy as a whole, culminating in the emergence of what had been the Crucible Specialty Metals Division as Crucible Industries in 2009.

 

Crucible’s 154 CM formula adds a mixture of carbon, chromium, manganese, molybdenum, and silicon to the iron that forms the basis of stainless steel. At 1.05 percent carbon, 154 CM qualifies as a high-carbon steel. The inclusion of carbon in a steel alloy raises the hardness and increases the wear resistance of the resulting metal at the potential expense of reduced toughness. At 14 percent chromium, 154 CM exceeds the minimum of 12 percent to 13 percent that qualifies an alloy as a stainless steel. Thanks to chromium’s ability to raise a blade’s corrosion resistance, stainless steels have become mainstays of knife production. Chromium also heightens tensile strength and hardness. Additionally, the 0.50 percent manganese in 154 CM fosters hardness, tensile strength, and wear resistance. With 4 percent molybdenum, 154 CM gains high-temperature strength and demonstrates improved edge retention. The addition of 0.30 percent silicon also helps increase hardness and ward off pitting.

 

Crucible’s 154 CM consists of a variation on the high-carbon martensitic stainless steel alloy called 440C. The terms “martensite” and “martensitic” reference a very hard crystalline structure in a steel produced by a diffusionless transformation, or phase change, that occurs when the molten alloy quenches rapidly enough to produce a metal that is supersaturated with carbon. The production of martensitic steel begins with austenization, a high-heat process that changes the crystalline structure of the alloy. The quenching techniques that produce martensitic steel follow this heating process. The corrosion resistance, wear resistance, and hardness of 154 CM exceed the equivalent properties of 440C, an alloy often used in knife blades because of its high level of corrosion resistance.

 

At 58-61 RC on the Rockwell HRC scale, a measure of hardness, the 154 CM stainless steel alloy in the Benchmade 3551 Stimulus blade offers the toughness and edge retention that combine to make a knife reliable in two respects: Resistance to chipping and other forms of damage that can plague overly hard blades, and the ability to hold a sharp edge well. The tougher the steel alloy, the more difficult it can be to sharpen, but the payoff comes in the durability of that edge sharpness. The Rockwell C measurement scale determines material hardness through a laboratory test that involves indenting the steel with a test instrument and measuring how far the instrument penetrates the surface of the metal.

 

The combination of noteworthy hardness and edge retention with good toughness have made Crucible’s 154 CM a popular choice in knife production, as well as in the manufacture of valve ports, bearings, and bushings. Along with the chemical composition of this alloy, the nature of the heat treatment applied during production makes or breaks its attributes and determines its suitability as a knife-making material.

 

To protect knives made out of 154 CM from the corrosion that can accrue on this alloy, keep your Benchmade 3551 Stimulus dry and away from humidity. Particularly in humid climates, periodically apply a light coat of oil to keep oxygen away from blade metal.

 

Handle Material

 

The Benchmade 3551 Stimulus features a black anodized 6061-T6 billet aluminum handle similar to the handle on the Benchmade 3550. 6061-T6 constitutes a heat-treatable wrought aluminum alloy that incorporates magnesium and silicon. It excels in applications that require both strength and toughness, additionally exhibiting high degrees of corrosion resistance in atmospheric conditions and in salt water. The suffix “T6” in the alloy designation shows that it was solution heat-treated and artificially aged.

 

In its pure form, aluminum displays too much softness to make it a viable choice for parts such as knife handles that see use in a wide range of ruggedly demanding scenarios. As an alloy, however, 6061-T6 offers the durability produced by the addition of other elements in a metal with a high strength-to-weight ratio that makes it ideal for use in aircraft and boat construction, heat exchangers, piping, tubing, and bicycle frames, as well as knife handles.

 

Perhaps the most famous application of 6061-T6’s lightweight strength came when NASA chose it as the material from which to craft the gold-anodized plaques for spacecraft that explored Jupiter, Saturn, and Venus beginning in the early 1970s. Launched in 1972 and 1973 respectively, Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 included plaques fabricated from 6061-T6, and engraved with pictorial representations of human figures, a diagram of the solar system, a drawing representing the Sun’s position relative to the center of its galaxy and 14 stars, and a chemical schematic, all drawn by Linda Salzman Sagan, then the wife of the late astronomer and astrophysicist Carl Sagan. In the event that the Pioneer spacecraft reached any destination that included intelligent life, the plaques were meant to serve as a pictographic introduction to the Earth, its location, and its dominant species. NASA used 6061-T6 aluminum in a far more exotic application than a knife handle, providing a testament to the lightness and durability that also make this alloy an attractive choice in more mainstream production situations.

 

As a billet aluminum part, the handle for the Benchmade 3551 Stimulus takes its shape not through a casting process but by machining the parts out of a bar of aluminum alloy. Billets are cast or extruded into flat and cylindrical shapes. Creating the handle from billet aluminum produces highly precise fabrication, smooth surfaces finishes, and greater structural strength than a cast part could offer. Benchmade uses CNC machining equipment and advanced manufacturing techniques to produce handles that display absolute adherence to specifications, beyond the fidelity that cast parts could accomplish. The Benchmade 3551 Stimulus also includes a lanyard hole positioned at the end of the handle.

 

The anodized black finish on the Benchmade 3551 Stimulus handle comes from an electrochemical process that adds a protective coating of aluminum oxide to the 6061-T6 aluminum alloy. This finish contributes to corrosion resistance and abrasion resistance. To apply an anodized finish, aluminum parts are immersed in an acid electrolyte bath through which an electric current passes. Oxygen ions from the chemical solution combine with the aluminum atoms on the surface of each part. Aluminum oxide runs thicker than aluminum itself, so the anodizing process actually adds fractionally to the dimensions of the part. The durably hard coating it produces neither peels off nor wears out. Because of its strength, the coating is applied only after a part is machined, reducing the amount of effort required for tooling and the potential wear and tear on production equipment. Ironically, this desirable finish actually constitutes a controlled form of naturally occurring oxidation, the chemical process that underlies the corrosion that all knife owners try to keep from encroaching on their blades.

 

Knife Dimensions and Weight

 

Like the 3550, the Benchmade 3551 Stimulus packs big performance into a small (and now a little bit lighter) package. Its lightweight handle and flat blade profile put a versatile tool in your hand without any excess weight or volume.

 

Slightly thinner and lighter than its longtime predecessor, the Benchmade 3550, the Benchmade 3551 Stimulus measures nearly the same dimensions as the 3550. Overall length stays unchanged at 7.1 inches, as does closed length at 4.1 inches. Blade length on the 3551 Stimulus runs one one-hundredth of an inch longer at 2.99 inches, and blade thickness runs two one-hundredths of an inch thinner at 0.088 inches. Handle thickness also decreases by one one-hundredth of an inch on the Benchmade 3551 Stimulus to 0.46 inches. Subtle changes in design dimensions put the 3551 Stimulus at 2.71 ounces, down from 2.8 ounces on the 3550.

 

Updated Push-Button Automatic Package

 

The Benchmade 3551 Stimulus combines a slim shape with a flat profile and a responsive automatic blade action. Benchmade has updated the push-button automatic blade action on the 3551 Stimulus to offer greater reliability than the version found on its predecessor, the 3550. The new design enlarges the side-mounted pushbutton, making it easier to operate. The spine-mounted sliding plunge lock safety mechanism combines quick, smooth functionality with the security you expect on an automatic knife.

 

Reversible Pocket Clip

 

Mounted with a trio of Torx-head screws, the reversible, removable pocket clip on the Benchmade 3551 Stimulus accommodates tip-up or tip-down use.

 

The Long and Short of It

 

The Benchmade 3551 Stimulus evolves and refines the design and materials used in the company’s popular 3550 automatic knife. It may not appeal to the general-purpose knife user, but for the professional who needs its specific strengths, it can combine everyday carry adaptability with tactical functionality in a sleek, compact, lightweight package.

 

 

 

3550

 

3551

 

Weight 2.80 oz. 2.71 oz.
Overall length 7.10″ 7.10″
Closed length 4.10″ 4.10″
Blade length 2.98″ 2.99″
Blade thickness 0.09″ 0.088″
Handle length 4.10″ 4.10″
Handle thickness 0.47″ 0.46″
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 58-60 RC 58-61 RC
Blade style Spear-point Spear-point
Blade grind Flat Flat
Blade finish Satin (3550 and 3550S) or Black (3550BK and 3550SBK) Satin (3551 and 3551S) or Black (3551BK and 3551SBK)
Blade edge type Plain (3550 and 3550BK) or serrated (3550S and 3550SBK) Plain (3551 and 3551BK) or serrated (3551S and 3551SBK)
Pocket clip Black, removable, tip-down Black, removable, reversible, tip-up or tip-down
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
Benchmade product class Black Class Black Class
User Right handed Right handed
Best use Tactical Tactical
Manufacturer’s suggested retail price $200 $210

 

Interested in owning your own Benchmade Stimulus knife?  Check out our product page here and pick up one for your collection.

Facebooktwitterpinterest
Facebooktwitteryoutubeinstagram

Benchmade Automatic APB Knife Review

Benchmade APB Auto Knife
Benchmade 6800BK APB Auto Knife

Benchmade continues to produce industry leading knives with the serious attention to detail that sets them apart from much of the competition.  The newest knife in their lineup is the APB or Ambidextrous Push Button knife.  This knife redefines the trigger on an automatic knife making it equally easy to reach from the right or left side–because cutting tasks don’t always come from the same side of life.

For the past seven years, the Auto AXIS mechanism has been a key component of many ambidextrous automatic knives from Benchmade.  This year, they unveiled their newest push button system, the APB.  There are two knives available with the APB system.  One is the 6800 series called the Auto APB and the other is the APB Assist and is the 665 series.

Buy Now Button
Buy the Benchmade Auto APB Knife Now

The APB mechanism on the auto knife consists of a bar which spans between the two handle scales.  Riding on top of the bar and extending to the other side of each handle scale is a push button. One push button for each side. When pressed, the push buttons are guided along the bar and a ramped edge slides under the blade release.  This pushes the release up and releases the blade.  At this point, the spring takes over and snaps the blade out.  Either button or both buttons can be pressed to fire the blade.  This results in a true ambidextrous knife.

The blade on the Auto APB is a drop point style made from 154CM stainless steel.  At 3.52″ long and .124″ thick, this blade delivers heavy cutting strength, high durability and great corrosion resistance.  The choice of steel, while of critical importance to a knife blade, is not the only component that delivers maximum cutting performance.  Of nearly equal importance are the angle of the actual edge, in other words, your sharpening profile, as well as the shape of the blade.  Some factors to take into consideration are toughness, rust resistance, ability to take and hold an edge, toothiness and the actual process of manufacture.

Let’s take each of these factors into account as we review the Auto APB.  The blade is 154CM which is hardened to a 58-61 on the Rockwell Hardness chart.   154CM is an American made premium grade stainless steel which was originally developed for heavy industrial jobs.   It was developed by Cucible Industries (previously known as Crucible Materials Corporation) and is a modified martensitic stainless steel type 440C which has molybdenum added.  A martensistic stainless steel is one of the three main types of stainless steels which includes Austenitic, Ferritic and Martensitic.  The martensitic stainless steels are carbon steels usually tempered and hardened which delivers good hardness and high toughness.  The primary characteristic is a “body centered tetragonal martensite microstructure” originally observed by the German microscopist Adolf Martens.

154CM is composed of the following elements:

  • Carbon 1.05%
  • Chromium 14.00%
  • Silicon  0.30%
  • Molybdenum 4.00%
  • Manganese 0.50%

How does 154CM and specifically the Auto APB blade rank on the factors that make a great blade steel.  When producing a knife, the maker always makes a trade off between toughness and strength.  The tougher a blade is the more likely it will take impact without chipping or cracking.  As a knife maker increases the hardness of a steel, the toughness will decrease.  The actual process of heat treating helps determine the ultimate toughness of a blade.  With a HRC of between 58-61, the Auto APB boasts a blade that delivers a tough blade that isn’t so hard that it will be subject to lots of micro chipping.  And this takes us to the next factor–the edge.

The Auto APB blade will take and hold a superior edge.  Becuase it is relatively tough, the 154CM blade takes a nice, sharp edge.  It holds an edge well.  It is a bit tough to sharpen.  This doesn’t mean difficult, it just means you will spend a few more minutes putting an edge on the blade than you would a softer, less tough steel like a 440C or AUS 8 blade.  With the right sharpening equipment, this isn’t hard at all.  For instance, the Wicked Edge systems will make quick work of putting a great edge on a 154CM blade.  With practice, any of the Lansky systems would do a good job as well.

Toothiness is the characteristic you get on a cutting edge based on the sharpening.  Some blades seem to be more “toothy” than others.  Blade steels with a higher content of carbides generally will have more micro serrations or toothiness than blades with lower carbide content.  What you will find is that “toothy” blades hold their edge longer.  On the other hande, blades with lower carbide content can often be sharpened to a more razor-sharp edge.  A bit of a trade-off and 154CM falls between blades steels like AUS 8, with a lower carbide content, and S30V, with a higher carbide content.

Stain resistance or corrosion resistance is the next factor to take into consideration.  While 154CM is very high on toughness and edge retention, it scores a bit lower on the stain resistant chart.  This means that if you take poor care of your blade, it will pick up colorations and even some corrosion.  But that shouldn’t be a big issue for most of us, because we take proper care of our tools.  All this means is that if you get your blade wet, wipe it dry.  And maybe treat it to a light coat of blade oil once a month or so–depending on where you live.  If you live in a hot a humid area, this is really important.  If you live in a desert like I do, it isn’t quite as critical.

Next up is the blade shape.  The Auto APB features a drop point blade which means the blade slopes on the spine from the handle down to the tip of the blade.  This curve allows spine to continue as close as possible to the tip–which means you have more blade thickness and strength close to the tip.  This gives the drop point a serious strength advantage over many other blade designs.

NOTE:  Ever find yourself confused as to what is a clip point and what is a drop point?  A quick visual test will tell you which is which.  The curve on a drop point blade is always convex–meaning it curves outward like a hump as opposed to a clip point which is concave.

The tip of a drop point blade is lower than the back of the handle.  This delivers more control and precision to you as you make fine cuts.  As I mentioned earlier, the broad tip is also thicker, which means you have a tougher blade than most clip point knives.  The trade off is that it isn’t as ideal for piercing cuts.   The biggest advantage of a drop point blade is the large belly area that is ideal for slicing cuts.  Generally considered the all around, all purpose blade shape, the drop point allows you to perform a wide variety of cuts without sacrificing performance.  Unless you have some very specific reason to carry a different blade shape, in my mind the drop point is the best all around knife blade you can carry.  Which makes it ideal for the Benchmade 6800 Auto APB knife.

On to the handle.  The handle is built from two, black anodized, 6061 T6 billet aluminum scales atop full stainless steel liners for maximum strength.  6061 T6 aluminum is incredibly strong yet lightweight.  It is used in many hard use applications such as commercial aircrafts, AR15 uppers and many bicycle components including frames.  This tough and durable material delivers corrosion resistance as well.

The stainless steel liners allow the Auto APB to maintain maximum strength.  The handle shape is a classic knife profile with a generous finger groove followed by a slightly tapering bellied inside edge that allows your fingers to get a rock solid grip on the handle when held in the traditional, forward grip.  It even does well in a reverse grip.  The open frame has an insert near the butt end on the spine with large jimping grooves that give your palm a nice grip point.  The front edge of the spine has matching grooves on the liners where the meet up with the blade and the grooves actually continue out onto the blade for about 1/2″ which gives your thumb a perfect control point for close up, precision cuts.

There along the top of the spine you will find the slide safety.  The safety has matching jimping grooves and to activate you depress it slightly and slide it forward.  It slides up to the APB bar and rests between the two handle scales.  In this position, you cannot depress either of the ambidextrous trigger buttons which means the lock can either lock the blade closed or open.  This handy and secure lock keeps you in control of the blade at all times.  At the butt of the handle is a carbide glass breaker and a tip up, right/left reversible pocket clip.

The entire knife weighs in at just 6.28 ounces which means it can be carried comfortably as an EDC knife.  It also will perform admirably in urban tactical or combat situations.

The knife comes in four variations–satin or black finished blade with or without serrations.  This tough, heavy duty tactical knife is certain to satisfy your tactical needs for decades.  With proper care, the 6800 will last a lifetime.  And with the new APB trigger system, it is certain to deliver high performance, ambidextrous functionality every day.

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Blade Length: 3.52
  • Blade Thickness: 0.124
  • Handle Thickness: 0.630
  • Blade Material: 154CM Stainless Steel
  • Blade Hardness: 58-61 HRC
  • Blade Style: Drop Point
  • Weight: 6.28 oz.
  • Pocket Clip: Black, Reversible, Tip-Up
  • Lock Mechanism: Auto APB
  • Overall Length: 8.64
  • Closed Length: 5.12″
  • Sheath Material: Sold Separately
  • Class: Black
  • Made in the USA

As an Authorized Premium Plus dealer we care the entire line of Benchmade Knives.  Follow this link to see our full line of in stock Benchmade Knives.

Facebooktwitterpinterest
Facebooktwitteryoutubeinstagram

Benchmade H&K Turmoil OTF Knife Review

Benchmade Turmoil
Benchmade Heckler and Koch Turmoil OTF auto knife, 14808

Benchmade has been producing H&K knives for quite some time.  The newest Out the Front automatic from Benchmade in the H&K line is the Turmoil.  Built to the exacting specifications of any Benchmade knife, the Turmoil boasts fast action, quality materials and seriously tight tolerances.

The D2 blade is built for heavy duty applications.  While the Benchmade website describes D2 as, “An air-hardened tool steel, which offers good corrosion resistance and excellent mileage in wear resistance. A good choice for hard use applications,”  I think we need a more in depth discussion of the benefits and properties of D2 tool steel.

Buy Now Button
Buy The Benchmade Turmoil

 

Tool steels are both carbon and alloy steels that have been designed specifically for heavy industrial tools.  They excel in this arena because of their hardness, resistance to abrasion, resistance to deformation at high temperatures as well as their ability to hold a cutting edge.  Many tool steels are highly resistant to corrosion as well because of high vanadium and or niobium content.  Most tool steels in general are used in a heat treated state.

Tool steels typically have a carbon content between .7% and 1.5%.  There are several grades of tool steels and each grade delivers different capabilities.  If you want a sharp cutting edge you need a different tool steel than one which is needed for hard impact or a tool steel that is needed to work under high temperatures.  Some of the main categories of tool steels are as follows:

  1. Water hardening types  (W)
  2. Cold working types
    1. Oil Hardening Types (O)
    2. Air Hardening Types (A) and (D)
  3. Shock Resistant Types (S)
  4. High Speed Types (T) and (M)
  5. Hot Working Types (H)
  6. Special Working Types (P), (L), (F)

Within each type or classification there are various grades of alloy and each one is given a numerical designation.  So you may see an A3 tool steel or in the case of the Turmoil knife a D2 tool steel.

D2 tool steel contains between 10% and 13% chromium and retains its hardness up to 425°C.  Most often it is used in industrial applications for dies.  Recently, many knife manufacturers began to use it for their knife blades because it is extremely wear resistant.  Many refer to D grade tool steel as stainless or semi-stainless steels although in actuality they are not stainless.

So we see that D2 tool steel gives your knife a keen edge, extremely high toughness, and wear resistance.  These advantages combine into one fantastic knife blade, that if sharpened correctly will give you an excellent edge that will last for a long time.

The Turmoil 14808 features a drop point, single edge blade.  Although not as “sexy” as a dagger edge, the single edge blade is more practical for an every day carry knife.  The blade measures 3.47″ long which is plenty of cutting edge for nearly every daily cutting chore you are going to run into.

The blade opens fast and lock up is very tight.  It has a sabre grind to the blade which is very similar to a “Scandinavian Grind” but with the addition of a microbevel at the very cutting edge of the blade.  Sometimes a sabre grind is called the V grind.  This style of edge gives you excellent hard cutting strength but will not excel for slicing cuts.  It also gives the blade extremely high strength because the blade is fully thick from the spine to about 1/3 the way down the blade (moving from the spine to the cutting edge).

Benchmade Turmoil Handle
Benchmade Turmoil Handle

The handle on the Turmoil is constructed from 6061 T6 black anodized aircraft aluminum.   6061 aluminum is a precipitation hardening aluminum alloy that contains magnesium and silicon as its main alloy elements.  The T in the name means it is a tempered grade of aluminum.  Specifically, 6061 T6 is solutionized and artificially aged yielding a tensile strength of 42,000 psi and a yield strength of 35,000 psi.  These psi strengths are the minimum acceptable levels and with many batches of 6061 T6 it is even higher.  6061 T6 is a heat treatable aluminum.  This type of aluminum is used in AR-15 upper receivers, bikes and many other hard use applications where a light yet extremely tough and durable material is needed.

The benefits of an aluminum handle then is its strength as well as its durability, corrosion resistance and the fact that it is incredibly lightweight.  These properties make it ideal for an every day carry (EDC) knife.

Typically, and specifically in the case of this knife, the aluminum handle is anodized.  Anodizing gives the  aluminum a color (in this case black) and it also adds another layer of corrosion resistance.  Anodizing also makes the knife handle scratch resistant.

The Turmoil handle is slightly asymmetrical.  The slight “bend” in the middle of the handle is a bit more like a small jag.  It gives your hand a much more comfortable hold and makes the knife more secure in your hand as well.  It adds grip security because your thumb muscle (one guy in our office calls this his “hand chub”) pushes up against the slight angled piece and keeps the handle from slipping when making heavy piercing cuts.  On the other edge, the matching angle is gripped by your fingers and when making pull cuts, your fingers push up against this angled piece and keep the handle from slipping as well.

The OTF mechanism on the Turmoil is a double action.  This means the blade can be opened and closed with the same slide trigger.  The truly ambidextrous slide is asymmetrical and grey anodized.  With serious jimping up the edge of the slide, it makes for easy thumb traction and the trigger isn’t overly difficult to engage.  It does require a minimum amount of pressure which acts as the blade safety.

One of the most common questions we get about Out the Front automatic knives is, “Won’t that fire in my pocket?”  Although it is a remote possibility, kind of in the range of there is a chance that scientists will actually agree on whether Pluto is a planet or not, I have never talked with someone who actually has had this happen.  The trigger on the Turmoil will slide about 1/3″ with increasing resistance.  And as you continue to slide it past this point, the blade engages and fires open rapidly.  This 1/3″ of increasing resistance makes the blade virtually impossible to open accidentally.

The pocket clip is wide and can be switched from right to left for ambidextrous carry.  It is tip down.

The Turmoil is a welcome addition to an already sparkling Heckler & Koch line of Out the Front Automatic knives.  Just a bit smaller in length than the Epidemic, and the same overall length as the Tumult the Turmoil has the addition of several traction lines across the front and back face of the handle for greater grip security.

To me, the Turmoil is the perfect EDC OTF carry knife for urban, urban tactical or combat situations.  It is reliable, built tough, and is extremely operator friendly.  Check out the Turmoil here on our website.

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Blade Length: 3.47″
  • Blade Thickness: .100″
  • Handle Thickness: .470″
  • Blade Material: D2 Tool Steel
  • Blade Hardness: 60-62 HRC
  • Blade Style: Drop Point
  • Weight: 3.43 oz
  • Pocket Clip: Tip Down, Black, Reversible
  • Lock Mechanism: OTF Double Auto
  • Overall Length: 8.10″
  • Closed Length: 4.63″
  • Class: Heckler & Koch
Facebooktwitterpinterest
Facebooktwitteryoutubeinstagram

Every Day Carry (EDC) Knives, by C.C.

EDC Knives
EDC Knives

Ever thought about the best option for an everyday carry knife? Or why not carry multiple knives for different uses? In my everyday life whether at home or work there are many different scenarios that I could find myself dealing with. Anything from cutting an apple, opening boxes, tightening a screw, or opening paint cans, I choose to be prepared for whatever I may come across. Because of this mindset my Everyday Carry is not one but three different tools. I carry a small fixed blade, an assisted opening folder, and some sort of knife with tool options (such as a screw driver). The following three are the particular knives I am carrying currently; an ESEE Izula 2, a Benchmade Mini Barrage, and a Camillus Military issue pocket knife.
First I would like to go over my ESEE Izula 2. I began buying ESEE products because of the awesome no questions asked warranty. I figured that if I was hard on the knife and it broke the ESEE company would replace the knife, which is exactly true because the warranty is for the knife, not the original owner of the knife but the knife itself. ESEE does not ask questions about purchase dates or receipts, if the knife breaks they will replace it. That being said I bought an ESEE Izula and loved it because it stayed sharp and could handle anything for its size. The one reason I personally got the Izula 2 was because it had a slightly larger handle and I have large hands. But seriously these little knives are users; I don’t believe there are many tasks that an ESEE couldn’t handle, even if that task was prying open a car door. I personally cut through some electrical wire with mine after I broke my wire cutters on the same wire, and to my absolute pleasure the knife was still sharp enough to use. Bottom line is that ESEE knives are absolutely great products and come highly recommended by many people.
Now I chose to carry the Benchmade Mini Barrage for some pretty simple reasons. I needed a nice quality folder because sometimes people get a little sheepish if a person pulls out a fixed blade knife no matter how small or big it may be. This knife has an ambidextrous thumb stud which makes it easy to open no matter which hand a person grabs it with, plus it is assisted open and let me tell you, it is lightning fast and locks up tight. The blade is 154cm stainless steel so if I’m cutting up my apples it is easy to clean and will not rust. Benchmade makes some of the nicest knives I have ever used and I have a few that I’ve owned for more than a decade and they are still going strong.
My option of a knife with some sort of tooling really just makes me feel a little better when out and about. I guess it is just the MacGyver side of me surfacing from child hood. But currently my Camillus knife is what I am carrying. This little guy was made originally for all branches of the military and came with a spear point blade, a screwdriver, can opener, and an awl. Plus it has a very sturdy ring for attaching it to key rings or whatever a person wanted to attach it to. I carry mine on my keys and use it regularly for little tasks like tightening screws or using the awl to get a stubborn knot out of a rope. I love mine because it gives me a little tool option and can easily be carried on my key ring. These can still be found in pawn shops or online for next to nothing and they are little tanks.
Well I hope this gives a little insight into a good EDC option for some people. Here’s to happy cutting and carving keep um sharp folks. Have fun out there fellow knife enthusiasts and always remember to play and work safe.

Facebooktwitterpinterest
Facebooktwitteryoutubeinstagram

Benchmade HK Entourage Drop Point Automatic Knife Review — Video Review

Facebooktwitterpinterest
Facebooktwitteryoutubeinstagram