Benchmade Mini-Reflex II Automatic Knife Family Review

The Benchmade Knife Company is a knife manufacturer run by Roberta and Les de Asis in Oregon City, Oregon. 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 Samson was awarded Blade Magazine’s Knife of the Year Award in 1979.

In 1996, Benchmade moved to Oregon City. Apart from some Red Class products, which were produced in their “off shore facilities,” Benchmade has produced more than 90% of its knives in Oregon City, and has succeeded in bringing others back to home production. Since 2010, all red Class production knives have been discontinued, and as such, every Benchmade labeled knife is made in the United States.

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,” which is a strong, spring operated locking mechanism that is used in both automatic and manual action models.

Today we will be talking about the Benchmade Mini Reflex II Automatic knife family. This family features many different options that you can choose from, so you can get the blade that is most comfortable for you and what you are going to be using your new Benchmade knife for.

 

The Blade:

The blades on any of these knives are made out of 154CM steel. This is a high end steel that is relatively hard. This stele is considered an upgraded version of 440C through the addition of Molybdenum, which helps achieve superior edge holding compared to 440C while retaining similar excellent levels of corrosion resistance despite having less Chromium. It has decent toughness good enough for most uses and holds an edge well. This steel is not too difficult to sharpen when you have the right equipment.

There are a couple of finishes that you can choose from with this family of knives. The first option is a satin finished blade. To create this finish, the blade is sanded in one direction with increasing degrees of a fine abrasive, which is usually sandpaper. A satin finish shows the bevels of the blade, showcases the lines of the knife, while also reducing its reflective glare. The finer the abrasive and the more even the lines, the cleaner the satin finish blade looks.

The second option for blade finish that you have is a black coated finish. A coating finish reduces the reflection and glare while also reducing wear and corrosion. However, ALL coatings can and will be scratched off after continuous heavy use, and at that point the blade would have to be recoated. Coatings do work to prolong the life of a blade by preventing corrosion or rust.

All of the versions of this knife also feature a drop point blade shape. This is an all-purpose knife that can really stand up to almost anything. This is also one of the two most popular blade shapes that is in use today. It will be easiest to find this blade shape on a hunting knife, although it is used on many other types of knives as well, from your small EDC knives to larger Swiss army knives. To form this blade shape, the back edge of the knife runs straight form the handle to the tip of the knife in a slow curved manner, which creates a lowered point. This lowered point provides more control and adds strength to the tip. While the tip on a drop point is not as sharp as the tip on a clip point, it is much stronger. It is because of this tip strength and the ability to hold up to heavy use that drop point blades are also popular on tactical and survival knives. One of the main reasons that the drop point blade is so popular on hunting knives is because the blade is easily controllable. This lowered, controllable point makes it easier to avoid accidentally nicking internal organs and ruining the meat. Drop point knives also feature a large belly area that is perfect for slicing. There is one main disadvantage to the drop point blade and that is its relatively broad tip, which makes it less suitable for piercing than the clip point. However, the broad tip provides point strength that is not found on clip point knives.

With this family of knives, you can also choose between a plain edge and a combo edge blade. The plain edge is going to give you cleaner cuts than the combo edge.  The plain edge is also more suited to take on a wider variety of tasks, especially those tasks involving push cuts. However, the serrated edge is designed to give you the best of both worlds. The combo edge has the upper 2/3 plain edge and the lower 1/3 serrated. With this, you are able to do fine detail work with the upper portion, as well as getting the cleaner slices. And with the serrated portion, you are able to saw through thicker materials. Some people feel like the combo edge really does give them the best of both worlds, while another group feels like both portions are too small to really work with. It’s all personal preference, just be aware of the pros and cons of each before making your decision.

 

Benchmade Mini-Reflex II Automatic Knife Family
Benchmade Mini-Reflex II Automatic Knife Family

The Handle:

The handle on this family of knives is made out of 6061-T6 aluminum. Aluminum is a very low-density metal that is often used in knife making. This metal is very corrosion resistant. Since it is such a soft metal, it is primarily used in knife handles and sometimes hard anodized for aesthetics and wear resistance. A fun fact is that aluminum is also the most abundant metal in the earth’s crust. This knife is made out of the aluminum alloy 6061-T6, which means the type of aluminum is 6061 and it is T6 tempered. 6061-T6 aluminum has one of the highest yield and tensile strengths of all aluminum alloys. This aluminum is also used extensively in aircraft, and is often referred to as aircraft aluminum, although that is nothing more than a selling ploy. Aluminum alloy is cheaper to machine and produce than titanium, and is lighter, weaker, and less resistant to wear. For the most part, Aluminum is an inferior metal to Titanium aside from its lightness. However, when producing complex knives that require a large amount of CNC machining, such as the case with automatic knives, aluminum is much cheaper to produce and the material costs less.

The handle has been anodized black. Anodizing is an electrolytic passivation process used to increase the thickness of the natural oxide layer on the surface of aluminum. The process is called anodizing because the part to be treated forms the anode electrode of an electrical circuit. Anodizing increase resistance to corrosion and wear, and provides better adhesion for paint than bare metal does. Anodic films can also be sued for a number of cosmetic effects. Aluminum alloys are anodized to increase corrosion resistance and to alloy coloring. Although anodizing increases the durability and corrosion resistance of the aluminum, it does not increase the strength. The anodized aluminum layer is grown by passing a direct current through an electrolytic solution, with the aluminum object serving as the anode. The current releases hydrogen at the cathode and oxygen at the surface of the aluminum anode, creating a building up of aluminum oxide. This process is usually performed in an acid solution.

The handle on the Mini Reflex II has a deep finger groove, which also creates a thick finger guard to keep your fingers safe. After the deep finger groove, the handle has a slight belly that will make your grip on it slightly more comfortable. The butt of the handle is angled and it does sport a lanyard hole, which is the perfect addition that allows you to keep your knife close by without it being in the way.

Across the face of the handle, there are a couple of grooves carved in. These are to provide you with a more secure grip, because aluminum can be slippery.

 

The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip on this knife is made out of the same aluminum that the handle is and is designed for tip up carry only. On all versions of the knife, the clip is black, matching the handle and is held in place by three small black screws that match the rest of the hardware on this knife.

 

The Mechanism:

The Benchmade Mini-Reflex II is an automatic knife, or switchblade. Automatic knives have strict laws surrounding them and are not legal in all states, cities, or areas. Make sure that you know your local knife laws before purchasing and carrying this Benchmade knife. You are responsible for any consequences, not BladeOps.

An automatic knife is a style of knife that has a folding blade contained in the handle which is opened automatically by a spring when a button on the handle is activated. This Benchmade family of knives features an enlarged firing button. This knife also features an integrated safety on the spine near the location of the firing button.

Because it is an automatic knife, it is going to open more smoothly and quicker than if it were a regular manual folding knife.

 

The Specs:

The blades on all versions in this family of knives measure in at 3.17 inches long. The handle on these knives measures in at 4.18 inches long. When the Mini-Reflex II is opened, it measures in at an overall length of 7.35 inches long. These knives weigh in at 2.6 ounces. These knives are made in the United States of America.

 

Conclusion:

The best-selling original Benchmade 2550 Mini-Reflex automatic knife was slightly modified in 2016–producing the new and improved Benchmade Mini-Reflex II auto knife. With increased reliability and improved access to the enlarged firing button, this true utilitarian tool certainly doesn’t sacrifice function for form. This Benchmade black class model features a drop point blade style in either a satin or black coated finish or black anodized 6061-T6 handle scales with an integrated safety on the spine near the location of the firing button. This classic automatic knife aims to please with its American-made 154CM stainless steel and the handle offers a slim profile and ergonomic grip. The pocket clip is designed for tip up carry only. Come pick your perfect combination of finishes and edges to get the perfect EDC knife. Pick up one of five options today at BladeOps.

 

Benchmade Precinct Knife Review

The Benchmade adventure began when Les de Asis wanted a knife that reflected the latest in materials and manufacturing technology to replace the cheap butterfly knives, known as Bali-Songs, he played with as a kid. Using his high-school shop skills, he blueprinted his dream knife before eventually meeting Victor Anselmo, who helped to grind the first ever pre-Benchmade Bali-Song® prototype. Paired with handles that Les sourced from a small machine shop in California, he assembled and finished his first Bali-Song® in his own garage. Proud of his creation, he took this first Bali-Song® into a local gun store and the owner asked, “Could you build 100 more?”

Les incorporated as Bali-Song®, Inc. and rented a small shop in a second story mezzanine in California. The original equipment was purchased from the owner of a manufacturing operation who was looking to retire. Utilizing the rudimentary technology available to him at the time, Les began building handmade custom Bali-Songs, along with Jody Sampson, who ground all the blades. The success of these custom Balis spurred the creation of the first production Bali-Song®: The model 68.

Over the next seven years, the company expanded its product offerings into fixed blades and conventional folding knives, and evolving its name from Bali-song®, Inc. to Pacific Cutlery Corp.

Due to its inability to control quality, price and delivery, Pacific Cutlery Corp. filed for bankruptcy and was dissolved. In 1988, Les reintroduced a new company and new version of the Model 68; This time with a drive to produce product in the US and an even stronger commitment to product availability, quality and customer relationships. The company now needed a new name.

While there was “handmade” and “factory-made,” it was “Benchmade” that described the quality of Les’ product. He was building an operation that made precision parts, but with hand assembly on the finished products. This was a “bench” operation and Les wanted the name to reflect the marriage of manufactured and custom. In short, it describes Benchmade’s position in the market- even to this day.

To this day Benchmade continues to focus on innovation, customer needs, responsible business ethics and operations to bring the highest quality products to the world’s elite.

Today we will be discussing the Benchmade Precinct.

Benchmade Precinct
Benchmade Precinct

The Designer:

Butch Ball developed a passion for knives at a very early age. After building a few fixed blades in the early ’90s he decided in 2000 to begin a true custom shop. Butch starts each knife as a prototype, which he then tests, recreates and tests again. At each stage in this development process, he is thinking of ways to improve the design, whether mechanical or ergonomic. The results of this process are designs that are as robust as they are innovative.

 

The Blade:

The blade on this knife is made out of 154CM steel. This is a high end knife steel that is relatively hard. This steel is usually considered an upgraded version of 440C because of the added molybdenum. The molybdenum helps the steel to have superior edge holding, especially when compared to 440C while also retaining similar excellent levels of corrosion resistance. This steel has a good toughness that will get you by when it comes to most uses. The steel is also capable of holding an edge well. Speaking of edges, with the right equipment, this steel shouldn’t be too tricky to sharpen.

The blade has been finished with a satin coating. The satin coating is the most popular blade finish that you are going to find on the market to date. The finish is classic, giving any knife a very traditional look. The finish is created by repeatedly sanding the blade in one direction with an increasing level of a fine abrasive, which is normally a sandpaper. For reference, the finer the sandpaper and the more even the lines, the cleaner the finish is going to look. Because this is a Benchmade knife, you can expect your satin finish to look extremely clean. The satin finish is used to cut down on glares and reflections slightly, while also increasing the corrosion resistance levels of the blade.

The blade on the Precinct has been carved into a drop point blade shape. This is the most popular blade shape that is used in the cutlery industry today because of its high durability as well as the wide variety of tasks that it is capable of taking on. The shape of the drop point blade is formed by having the spine of the knife run straight from the handle to the tip of the knife in a slow, curving manner, which creates a lowered point. It is this lowered point that provides more control and even helps to add strength the to the tip. What adds the most strength to this knife is how broad the tip is. It is because of the tip strength and the ability to hold up to the heavier tasks that makes a drop point blade a great option for tactical or even survival knives. The lowered tip is also more easily controlled, which means that you are going to be able to perform fine detail work when using this knife. One of the biggest advantages to this knife style is how big the belly is. The large belly is also what makes this knife super versatile, because the larger the belly, the more capable the knife is going to be at slicing. The drop point blade does have one major disadvantage, which is the broad tip. This is because it makes it less capable of piercing than the clip pint is. You do need to keep in mind that it is this broad tip that gives you the strength that so many people look for in their blades. By having a drop point blade, you are going to be equipped for almost anything that comes flying your direction.

 

The Handle:

The handle on this knife is made out of black textured G-10. G-10 is a grade of Garolite that is a laminate composite made out of fiberglass. This material is similar to carbon fiber, in design and in properties, but it is slightly inferior. Because it is slightly inferior, it can be made for an almost a fraction of the cost. To make this material, the manufacturer takes layers of fiberglass cloth and soaks them in resin. The next step is to compress them and bake them under pressure. The material that you end up with is tough, hard, lightweight, and strong. Out of all the fiberglass resin laminates, G-10 is considered to be the toughest of all and even stronger than Micarta.

Tactical folders really benefit from this material because it is durable and lightweight, while also being non-porous which means that it won’t wear down easily. It also means that it won’t soak up any liquids that you happen to be working with. The overall pros to a G-10 handle is that it is going to be tough, light, and durable. The overall cons are that it will be brittle and it might lack elegance.

The handle tapers towards the butt. The handle is mostly straight, but does curve towards the butt slightly. The belly of the knife has two large finger grooves with the second one being more elongated. The knife does feature a lanyard hole.


The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip on this knife is positioned for only tip up carry. However, it is reversible for either left or right handed carry, which helps to make this a more versatile knife. Not only is it reversible, but it is also a deep carry clip, which means it is going to stay more snugly in your pocket. If you are suing this as an everyday carry knife, which is one of its designs, you won’t have to worry about going about your daily tasks and having this knife fall out of your pocket. On the flip side, if you are using this knife as a tactical knife, which is its other design, you can count on the deep carry pocket clip to better conceal your knife deep inside of your pocket.

The pocket clip is black, which matches the handle well. It is mostly rectangular and is kept in place by two black screws that match the rest of the hardware. Near the top of the pocket clip there is Benchmade’s Butterfly stamped into the metal.

 

The Mechanism:

This is a manual opening knife, which means that it is going to be legal in more places than an automatic knife would be. That being said, you should always know your local knife laws to see if this is a knife that you can have on you at all times. BladeOps is not responsible for any consequences that come from the law.

The Precinct does use a flipper mechanism to assist the user in opening their knife. The flipper is a piece of the blade metal that extends out of the spine of the handle when the knife is closed. The user can pull back on this extension, which will help flip the knife out of the handle and lock into place. The flipper on this knife is skinnier than your average flipper as well as being larger. Once the knife is opened, the flipper is set into place to work as a finger guard. Many people are fans of the flipper because it does not get in the way once the knife is opened, because it does protrude out of the blade, like a thumb stud does. People also love the flipper because it is an ambidextrous opening mechanism. The flipper paired with the reversible pocket clip helps to make this a fully ambidextrous knife. The last reason that people love the flipper mechanism is for safety reasons. Unlike a thumb stud, the flipper keeps your fingers out of the path of the blade when you are opening and closing this knife. This means that you won’t have to worry about slicing your fingers when you are opening your knife. However, the flipper does take a few practices to get used to using this mechanism.

The knife is also equipped with a liner lock. The liner locks are one of the more common mechanism seen on folding knives. The mechanism’s key component is a side spring bar that is located on the same side as the sharp edge of the blade, which lines the inside of the handle. When the knife is closed, the spring bar is held under tension. When the knife is fully opened, the same tension slips the bar inward to make contact with the butt of the blade, keeping it firmly in place and preventing it from closing. Liner locks are a great option because they allow a knife to have two true handle sides. This means that you can close the knife with one hand without switching your grip, making it an ideal knife for when you are using both of your hands for the job. That being said, liner locks are not as strong as other locking systems. The liner lock should be able to stand up to your basic tasks, but be careful when performing some of the heavier duty tasks that might come your way.

 

The Specs:

The blade on this knife measures in at 3.30 inches long, with a blade thickness that measures in at 0.124 inches. The handle on this knife measures in at 4.48 inches long with a handle thickness of 0.48 inches. The overall length of the opening Precinct measures in at 7.78 inches long. This is a pretty average weighted knife, weighing in at 3.42 ounces. This knife was made in the United States of America, so you can feel proud to own, carry, and use this knife.

 

Conclusion:

When Benchmade is discussing this knife, they say, “A compact flipper that marks the second designer collaboration with Butch Ball. The Precinct features thrust bearing washers and textured G10 combined with the finger relief handle design Butch incorporates to provide exceptional grip.” You can pick up this great every-day-carry knife at BladeOps today.

 

 

 

Benchmade 495 Vector Knife Review

Benchmade 495 Vector
Benchmade 495 Vector

The Benchmade adventure began when Les de Asis wanted a knife that reflected the latest in materials and manufacturing technology to replace the cheap butterfly knives, known as Bali-Songs, he played with as a kid. Using his high-school shop skills, he blueprinted his dream knife before eventually meeting Victor Anselmo, who helped to grind the first ever pre-Benchmade Bali-Song prototype. Paired with handles that Les sourced from a small machine shop in California, he assembled and finished his first Bali-Song in his own garage. Proud of his creation, eh took this first Bali-Song into a local gun store and the owner asked, “Could you build 100 more?”

In 1980 Les incorporated as Bali-Song, Inc. and rented a small shop in a second story mezzanine in California. The original equipment was purchased form the owner of a manufacturing operation who was looking to retire. Utilizing the rudimentary technology available to him at the time, Les began building handmade custom Bali-Songs, along with Jody Sampson, who ground all the blades. The success of these custom Bali’s spurred the creation of the first production Bali-Song: The model 68. Over the next seven years, the company expanded its product offerings into fixed blades and conventional folding knives, and evolved its name from Bali-song, Inc. to Pacific Cutlery Corp.

In 1987, due to its inability to control quality, price, and delivery, Pacific Cutlery Corp. filed for bankruptcy and was dissolved. In 1988, Les reintroduced a new company and new version of the Model 68; this time with a drive to produce product in the US and an even stronger commitment to product availability, quality, and customer relationships. The company now needed a new name.

While there was “handmade” and “factory-made,” it was “Benchmade” that describe the quality of Les’ product. HE was building an operation that made precision parts, but with hand assembly on the finished products. This was a “bench” operation and Les wanted the name to reflect the marriage of manufacture and custom. In short, it describes Benchmade’s position in the market—even to this day.

In 1990, Benchmade moved from California to a facility in Clackamas, Oregon and began producing knives there under the name Benchmade, Inc. This was a major turning point, as the company was now located in the epicenter for knife manufacturing. Many technological advancements were now possible and Benchmade became the first company to own and employ a high-power laser cutter, allowing for work with steels too hard to stamp. The company also became the world leader in automatic knife manufacturing and began to supply military units.

To respond to growing customer demand, Benchmade moved from Clackamas to the current location in Oregon City in 1996. With its first ten years of manufacturing experience behind it, and by working with world-class custom knife makers like Mel Pardue and Warren Osborne, Benchmade perfected a business model that involve manufacturing processes to custom knife designs; affording a level of innovation and quality to the larger market that was previously unavailable. This eventually led to Bill McHenry and Jason Williams approaching Benchmade with the AXIS lock… which meant that the future of cutlery was born.

To this day, Benchmade continues to focus on innovation, customer needs, responsible business ethics, and operations to bring the highest quality products to the world’s elite.

Today we will be talking about the 495 Vector.

 

The Blade:

The blade on this knife is made out of CPM-S30V steel. This steel is made by United States based Crucible, CPM S30V steel has excellent edge retention and resists rust effortlessly. This steel was designed in the US and is typically used for the high-end premium pocket knives and expensive kitchen cutlery. The introduction of vanadium carbides brings extreme hardness into the steel alloy matrix. 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. One of the biggest, and only, drawbacks to this steel is that because of the high hardness, it does prove to be tricky to work with. This shouldn’t be too big of an issue, but if you are a beginner sharpener, I would not recommend starting with this blade.

The blade itself has been stain finished. The satin finish is one of the most popular finishes in the cutlery industry to date. A big reason for this is how traditional it is. It is created by repeatedly sanding the blade in one direction with an increasing level of a fine abrasive, normally sandpaper. The finer the sandpaper and the more even the lines, the cleaner the satin finish is going to look. Because this is a Benchmade knife, you can expect one of the cleanest satin finishes that you can find. The satin finish is used to show off the bevels of the blade while also showcasing the fine lines of the steel. In terms of luster, the satin finish lies right in the middle, cutting down on glares and reflections. As an added bonus, the satin finish cuts down on rusting and corrosion.

The blade has been carved into a spear point blade shape. The spear point blade is similar to the needle point blade because they are both good for piercing. However, while the needle point blade has been designed for piercing and only piercing, the spear point blade is stronger and does contain a slight belly that can be used for slicing. The shape of the spear point blade is made up of a symmetrically pointed blade with a point that is in line with the center line of the blade’s long axis. Both edges of the knife rise and fall equally to create a point that lines up exactly with the equator of the blade. One of the differences between a needle point blade and the spear point is that while the needle point blade has a very sharp but weak point, a spear point knife has a strong point that is also sharp enough for piercing. The spear point blade design does sport a small belly that can be used for some cutting and slicing applications. However, when you are comparing the belly with a drop point or clip point blade shape, the belly is tiny. The spear point blade has been known as a hybrid blade design because it has a good balance between piercing and slicing ability. Plus, it combines the sharp point of a dagger with the strength of a drop point blade, while also maintaining some of the belly that is used for slicing. All in all, the spear point blade is one of the more functional blade designs that you are going to find.

 

The Handle:

The handle on this knife is made out of black contoured G10. G10 is a grade of Garolite that is a laminate composite made of fiberglass. It has very similar properties to carbon fiber, but because it is slightly inferior, you can make it for a very small price, which means that the overall knife cost is going to be lowered. Although hat it 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 that is used in FRN or Zytel handles. To make this material, 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, lightweight, and strong. Out of all the fiberglass resin laminates, G10 is known to be the toughest.

Checkering and other patterns add a texture to the handle, which allows you to have a solid, comfortable grip on the knife. Every knife, even tactical knives, benefit from the qualities of G10, because it is durable and lightweight, non-porous and available in a variety of colors. This is a good attribute for your everyday carry knife because you will never know what life is going to throw at you throughout your days. Because it does not absorb any liquids, maintenance will be a breeze. Overall, G10 is tough, light, and durable. Unfortunately, it is going to be brittle and it can lack elegance or character.

The handle is pretty straightforward. The spine of the handle curves from the blade to the butt, which will give you a very comfortable grip. There is a large finger guard, so that even if you do slip, your fingers will be protected. There is one large, but shallow finger groove and then afterwards, it bulges out slightly. These ergonomics are different than your typical ones, but it will still be very comfortable to hold. Plus, you will have a secure hold on the handle at all times.

 

The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip can only be attached on the traditional side of the handle and only tip up carry. This is a drawback to left-handed people because it is not ambidextrous.

 

The Mechanism:

This is an AXIS Assist flipper knife.

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 AXIS Assist is easily opened, even with one hand. This evolution of the AXIS includes a spring that helps to fire the blade into the open positon one the user pushes it beyond a certain point manually. The AXIS lock also has the added benefit of “suck-back,” which encourages the blade to stay in the closed position. AXIS Assist knives also feature integrated safety lock systems.

The flipper is a small protrusion that extends out of the spine off the handle when the knife is closed. To open a knife with a flipper mechanism, rest your thumb on the handle and manually push back on the flipper, which will spring the knife opened. Not only does the flipper keep your thumb and hand out of the way when you are opening and closing the knife, it also increases the size of the finger guard, which adds an extra element of protection to this knife.

 

The Specs:

The blade on this knife measures in at 3.6 inches long, with a blade thickness of 0.100 inches. The handle on this knife measures in at 4.82 inches long, with a handle thickness of 0.60 inches. The open length of this knife measures in at 8.42 inches long. This knife weighs in at 4.11 ounces. The Benchmade Vector was made in the United States of America.

 

Conclusion:

G10, stainless liners and expressive styling take the AXIS Assist flipper in a new direction. The CPM-S30V steel is going to be strong, durable, and corrosion resistant which means that the maintenance time you have to put into it is significantly lowered. The satin finish is traditional, giving this knife a very classic look. The spear point blade shape is functional and a great hybrid, which is going to allow you to take on a wider variety of daily tasks. The G10 handle is durable and tough, which means that you can take on even the toughest of your daily tasks. The G10 handle is textured so that you will have a secure grip on the handle even throughout the more extreme daily environments. The AXIS Assist makes this knife easy to open and safe to use, locking the blade into place to safely use it. You can pick up this brand new Benchmade knife today at BladeOps.

Benchmade HUNT North Fork Folder Knife Review

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

In 1979, the Benchmade adventure began when Les de Asis wanted a knife that reflected the latest in materials and manufacturing technology to replace the cheap butterfly knives, known as Bali-Songs, he played with as a kid. Using his high-school shop skills, he blueprinted his dream knife before eventually meeting Victor Anselmo, who helped to grind the first ever pre-Benchmade Bali-Song® prototype. Paired with handles that Les sourced from a small machine shop in California, he assembled and finished his first Bali-Song® in his own garage. Proud of his creation, he took this first Bali-Song® into a local gun store and the owner asked, “Could you build 100 more?”

In 1980, Les incorporated as Bali-Song®, Inc. and rented a small shop in a second story mezzanine in California. The original equipment was purchased from the owner of a manufacturing operation who was looking to retire. Utilizing the rudimentary technology available to him at the time, Les began building handmade custom Bali-Songs, along with Jody Sampson, who ground all the blades. The success of these custom Balis spurred the creation of the first production Bali-Song®: The model 68.
Over the next seven years, the company expanded its product offerings into fixed blades and conventional folding knives, and evolving its name from Bali-song®, Inc. to Pacific Cutlery Corp.

In 1987 due to its inability to control quality, price and delivery, Pacific Cutlery Corp. filed for bankruptcy and was dissolved. In 1988, Les reintroduced a new company and new version of the Model 68; This time with a drive to produce product in the US and an even stronger commitment to product availability, quality and customer relationships. The company now needed a new name.

While there was “handmade” and “factory-made,” it was “Benchmade” that described the quality of Les’ product. He was building an operation that made precision parts, but with hand assembly on the finished products. This was a “bench” operation and Les wanted the name to reflect the marriage of manufactured and custom. In short, it describes Benchmade’s position in the market- even to this day.

To this day, Benchmade continues to focus on innovation, customer needs, responsible business ethics and operations to bring the highest quality products to the world’s elite.

Today we will be discussing the Benchmade HUNT North Fork.

Benchmade HUNT North Fork Folder Knife
Benchmade HUNT North Fork Folder Knife

The Class:

This knife falls into the Benchmade HUNT series. When Benchmade is discussing this series, they say, “Research projects, R&D lab tests and many miles of field research provided the foundation for the design and development of Benchmade HUNT. Built from advanced materials usually reserved for spaceships and surgical equipment, these technologically advanced hunting knives provide refined performance and rugged durability.” There are a few things that set their HUNT class apart, the first is the edge retention. They believe that edge retention is one of the most important features while field dressing an animal, and CPM S30V blade steel delivers.

The second is durability. They use CPM S30V in all these knives, which is a powdered metal steel, this steel outperforms other blade steels thanks to its uniform grain structure.

The third part that sets this series apart is the corrosion resistance. CPM S30V steel is a true stainless steel that requires little maintenance and out performs other steels like D2 by 619%.

 

The Blade:

The blade is made out of CPM S30V steel that has been hardened to a 58-60 HRC. This steel is made by Crucible Industries, which is a US based steel company. This steel is known for being a premium steel that was specifically designed for high end pocket knives as well as kitchen cutlery.

This means that the steel is going to have the best qualities that you could ask for from a knife. When Crucible is explaining this knife, they say, “CPM S30V is a martensitic stainless steel designed to offer the best combination of toughness, wear resistance and corrosion resistance. Its chemistry has been specially balanced to promote the formation of vanadium carbides which are harder and more effective than chromium carbides in providing wear resistance. CPM S30V offers substantial improvement in toughness over other high hardness steels such as 440C and D2, and its corrosion resistance is equal to or better than 440C in various environment.” One of the only drawbacks to this steel is that because of how hard it is, it does prove to be a little difficult to sharpen or work with. This shouldn’t be too big of a drawback, except if you are a beginner sharpener. Crucible explains the CPM process by saying, “The CPM process produces very homogeneous, high quality steel characterized by superior dimensional stability, grindability, and toughness compared to steels produced by conventional processes.”

The blade has been finished with a satin coating, which is the most common blade finish that you are going to find on the market to this day. It is created by repeatedly sanding the blade in one direction with an increasing level of a fine abrasive. The satin finish is used to showcase the bevels of the blade while also showcasing the fine liens of the steel. The satin finish does reduce corrosion slightly, although not in a way that would make a significant difference for the maintenance of this knife. This is a very traditional finish, which pairs perfectly with a very traditional knife.
The blade has been carved into a drop point blade shape. The drop point is a great all-purpose knife that really can stand up to anything. This is one of the most popular blade styles today, especially on hunting knives. The blade is formed by having the spine of the knife run straight form the handle to the tip of the knife in a slow, curved manner, which will give you a lowered point. It is this lowered point that provides more control and adds strength to the tip. And although the tip is not going to be as sharp as it would on a clip point, it is so much stronger. It is this tip strength that makes drop point blades a great option for tactical and survival knives as well as hunting knives. And because the point is lowered, it is going to be more easily controlled, which is ideal for a hunting knife. A lowered, controllable point is going to make it easier to avoid accidentally nicking internal organs and ruining the meat. The drop point blade style also has a very large belly that is ideal for slicing or even skinning. All in all, the drop point blade shape is the perfect blade shape for your hunting knife. One of the only disadvantages to the drop point is that because the tip is relatively broad, you are not going to have as many piercing or stabbing capabilities.

 

The Handle:

The handle on this knife is made out of Dymondwood, which is a type of stabilized wood. Wood has been used on knife handles since the time that knives really came into existence. When a wood handle is a quality wood handle, it is going to be durable and look great. Wood is also a relatively inexpensive material, even for heavy duty knives. Wood has the ability to add class and beauty to a knife, which is why it is a popular option on traditional and collectors’ knives alike.

When it comes to choosing which wood is best for your knife handle, it is best to first look at what your knife is going to be doing. If it is going to be getting wet, like this hunting knife is going to be, you should look to a stabilized wood, which means that the wood has been injected with plastic. Manufacturers inject polymer resin and then compress under a high pressure, which creates a very dense and durable material. However, this does not take away from its natural beauty, because it still looks like the wood that it was originally made out of.

The handle, like the rest of the North Fork knife, is extremely simple, yet very classy. The spine curves down from the blade to the butt in a slight curve. This will be comfortable in your hand because there is nothing extreme about it. The belly of the handle is also very simple. There is a large finger guard, which will protect your fingers from getting sliced. This is an important feature of a hunting knife, because it is likely to get extremely slippery at times. There is a medium sized finger groove. After that groove, the handle goes straight to the butt. As a complete bonus, there is a lanyard hole.

 

The Pocket Clip:

The pocket on this knife is a standard pocket clip, which means that it isn’t a deep carry clip. This is a little bit of a drawback, especially in a hunting knife because you want it to be the most secure it can be in your pocket. The pocket clip can only be attached for a tip up carry; however, it is reversible for either left or right handed carry. This helps to make the knife ambidextrous, which is a huge advantage. With a reversible pocket clip, the knife can be as comfortable as possible.

 

The Mechanism:

This is a manual opening knife. In terms of efficiency, this knife is not going to be as efficient as a fixed blade or an automatic knife. In terms of legality, a manual opening knife is going to be legal in more states, cities, or areas than an automatic knife.

The blade has been equipped with a thumb stud. The thumb stud is one of the most common mechanism that is used for one-handed opening mechanisms. The thumb stud sits on the side of the blade near where the blade pivots on the handle. This makes for a comfortable way to open the knife with one hand without having to switch which hand you are holding it with. One of the drawbacks to the thumb stud is that it does put your hand very close tot eh blade itself. There are plenty of stories of people actually cutting themselves while opening the blade. If your thumb does slip, it might get sliced. Keep this in mind when you are quickly opening the knife. Also keep it in mind when you are first getting used to using this knife.

This knife has 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 Specs:

The blade on this steel measures in at 2.97 inches long with a thickness of 0.114 inches. The handle on this knife measures in at 3.90 inches long with a handle thickness of 0.53 inches. The overall length of this open knife measures in at 6.97 inches long. The knife weighs in at 3.16 ounces. The North Fork was made in the United States of America.

 

Conclusion:

When Benchmade describes this knife, they say, “A compact AXIS® folding hunting knife with a recurved blade to assist with processing duties. Keep one in your pocket and a fixed blade in your pack.” You can pick up this knife today at BladeOps.

Benchmade 595 Mini Boost Knife Review

Benchmade says, “Our knives are made of many things: steel, aluminum and titanium, to name a few. But perhaps the most important part of a Benchmade knife is expertise. We carefully measure every part at every step in the process. We use the best materials and equipment. WE make world-class knives for world-class users and this is how.”

There are a few steps that go into each of the Benchmade knives that help to make a Benchmade knife truly fantastic. The very first step is the laser cutting, because every blade begins as a sheet of steel. A Benchmade laser cutting technician programs the laser to cut the steel into blanks, giving the blade its basic profile. The blanks are hammered out of the sheet by hand, and for the first time, the steel begins to look like a knife. Of course, like with each step of the process, measurements are taken to guarantee an impeccable knife and streamline the production. If one of the blanks isn’t up-to-spec, it won’t become a Benchmade knife.

The second step in the birth of a Benchmade knife is the surface grinding. The blank from the first step is ground to its precise width. A surface grind technician places each blank in its rack by hand, and each side is ground to its specified thickness. After grinding, the surface grinding technician checks the thickness of each set of blanks. At this step, tolerances are within the width of a human hair. At this step, Benchmade says, “Our knives have no room for error, and neither does a blank’s thickness.”

The third step is milling. This is the step where blade holes, handles, and grooves are cut on high-speed mills. For each job, the blade milling technician programs the mill and measures the blade or handle to make sure it meets their precise tolerances. One of the holes that is cut at this step is the blade pivot, which is vital to the folding mechanism. Benchmade says, “The pivot tolerance is .0005 inches, because the slightest deviation there becomes exponential at the blade’s tip.”

The next step is beveling, which is the step when the blade really starts to take its shape. Up to this point in the process, the two sides of the blade are essentially flat. A Blade Beveling Technician bevels the knife blank one side at a time, and one of the most critical tasks here is to make sure the sides match perfectly. Benchmade says, “Once again, the technician measures the blade to verify that it meets the specified tolerances. An imprecise bevel can hamper the blade’s balance, sharpness, strength, and mechanism function.

The last few steps in the process is back-sanding and finishing. These steps are when the back of the blade gets special attention and finishing gives the blade a more refined look. Lastly, there is assembly and sharpening. Every Benchmade knife is assembled by hand. With the sharpening, a knife is sharp enough only when it can cut through ultra-thin phonebook paper effortlessly without tearing. The knife is now a Benchmade.

Today, we will be talking about one of Benchmade’s newest knives, the 595 Mini Boost.

 

The Blade:

The blade on this knife is made out of CPM S30V stainless steel, which hardness to a 58-60HRC. This steel is a martensitic stainless steel which is a specific type of stainless steel alloy. Stainless steels may be classified by their crystalline structure into three main types: austenitic, ferritic, and martensitic. A martensitic stainless steel can be hardened by heat treatment and gives high hardness and toughness. The steel is made by Crucible Steel Industries, which is based in the United States. This steel has very high edge retention qualities as well as resisting rust effortlessly. CPM S30V steel was designed in the US specifically for high-end premium pocket knives and expensive kitchen cutlery. One of the things that sets this steel about is that Crucible has added vanadium carbides, which work to bring hardness into the steel alloy matrix. This steel is commonly viewed as one of the finest blade steels because for how much you pay for it, you get a perfect balance between edge retention, hardness, and toughness. One of the only drawbacks to this steel is that because of how hard the steel is, it does prove hard to work with and sharpen.

The blade on this knife has been finished with a satin finish. This finish is created by repeatedly sanding the blade in one direction with an increasing level of a fine abrasive, which is usually a very fine sandpaper. As a key, the more even the lines and the finer the sandpaper, the cleaner the satin finish is going to look. Because this is Benchmade and Benchmade is a high quality knife company, the satin finish is going to look very clean. The satin finish is used to show off the bevels of the blade and showcase the fine lines of the steel. This finish also works to cut down on glares and reflections while also cutting down on corrosion. The satin finish is the most commonly found finish in the cutlery industry today and is extremely traditional. It gives the Mini Boost a classic look that will never go out of style.

The blade has been carved into a drop point blade shape. Just like how this knife has the most common blade finish, it also has the most common blade shape. The drop point blade shape is tough and versatile, which is what makes it such a popular choice in today’s world. The shape is formed by having the blade run from the handle to the point in a lose curving manner. Because of the slow curve of the spine, the tip on this knife is a lowered tip, which will provide the user with plenty of control over their cuts. The tip is also a broad tip, which is where the primary strength of this blade comes from. One of the reason that this blade is such a versatile blade shape is because of the large belly that it features. This knife has been designed as an everyday carry knife as well as an outdoor knife. The tough tip is the biggest advantage if you are using this as an outdoor knife, because you won’t have to worry about what you may come across, because this knife is going to be able to take on almost anything. The belly is the main advantage if you are using this knife as an everyday carry knife, because of how easily it makes slicing. The only main disadvantage to this knife is because of the broad tip, the Mini Boost is not going to have the piercing and stabbing capabilities that a finer or sharper tip will, such as the tip on a clip point. However, when it comes to EDC or your outdoor knife, you shouldn’t be too worried about not having that capability.

 

Benchmade 595 Mini Boost
Benchmade 595 Mini Boost

The Handle:

The handle on this knife is made out of Grivory and Versaflex. Grivory is an amorphous nylon copolymer with exceptional dimensional stability. With a Benchmade Grivory, it has 50% or more glass fill. Grivory has been known as the proven material for metal replacement. Some of the benefits of Grivory is that it has high levels of stiffness and strength, resists absorbing moisture, and has good chemical resistance. All of these characteristics make the material durable, strong, and has a long lifetime.

The handle on the Mini Boost has plenty of curves. The spine of the handle has a curved bulge, that makes for a comfortable grip on the knife. The belly of the handle curves inward, which also allows for a secure and comfortable grip. There is a slight finger groove and a finger guard. These two features make for a safe hold, because it protects your fingers from getting sliced if you do accidentally slip. The finger groove will also allow for a more secure grip because it adds a sort of texture to the belly of the handle. On the spine of the handle, there is a short layer of jimping close to the butt of the handle, that adds texture and control when you are slicing. On the dark grey grivory, there is a Versaflex overlay to give you enough texture and grip that you can easily use this knife as an outdoors knife without worrying about the environment.

This handle also features a lanyard hole that has been carved into the butt.

 

The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip is a Mini Deep-Carry clip. It is a mini clip, because the knife is a mini knife. However, when it is still going to allow you to carry this knife deep inside your pocket. Having a deep carry knife on your EDC knife is a big advantage because you won’t notice this knife as you go about your day-to-day tasks. The deep carry knife will also conceal your knife better, in case you are uncomfortable with people knowing that you are carrying a knife. The deep carry clip is a big advantage when it comes to your outdoor knife because when you are outdoors, you don’t want to worry about your knife flying out of your pocket. With this Mini Deep-Carry clip, you won’t have to worry about that happening. The clip can only carry the knife tip-up; however, it can be reversed for either left or right handed carry.

 

The Mechanism:

This is an assisted-opening knife that uses a thumb stud to assist you as well as being equipped with the AXIS Assisted opening mechanism.

An assisted opening knife is a type of folding knife that uses an internal mechanism to finish the opening of the blade once the user has partially opened it using the thumb stud. Because it is not considered an automatic knife, it does not fall under the same laws that an automatic knife does.

The thumb stud is one of the most common one-hand-opening features in the cutlery industry. A thumb stud replaces the nail nick that is found on more traditional knives. To open this knife, you hold the folded knife, then place the tip of your thumb on the stud and extend your thumb to swing the blade until it is fully opened.

The AXIS is a patented Benchmade exclusive. This is a 100 percent ambidextrous design that gets its function from a small, hardened steel bar that resides 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 AXIS Assist is easily opened, even with just one hand. This evolution of the AXIS includes a spring that helps to fire the blade into the open positon once the user pushes it beyond a certain point manually. The AXIS lock also has the added benefit of “suck-back,” which encourages the blade to stay in the closed positon. AXIS Assist knives also feature integrated safety lock systems.

 

The Specs:

The blade on this knife measures in at 3.11 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.1000/ the handle measures in at 4.07 inches long with a handle thickness of 0.63 inches. The overall length of the knife measures in at 7.18 inches long. The 595 Mini Boost weighs in at 3.31 ounces. This Benchmade knife was made in the United States of America.

 

Conclusion:

This is the mini version of the popular Boost. This knife features the same dual durometer handles the greatly increase grip performance while maintaining strength, mini deep-carry pocket clip, and the reliable, fast-action AXIS Assist mechanism. You can pick up this new knife today at BladeOps.

Benchmade 300S-1 Ball AXIS Flipper Knife Review

Benchmade 300S-1 Ball AXIS Flipper
Benchmade 300S-1 Ball AXIS Flipper

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

In 1979 the Benchmade adventure began when Les de Asis wanted a knife that reflected the latest in materials and manufacturing technology to replace the cheap butterfly knives, known as Bali-Songs, he played with as a kid. Using his high-school shop skills, he blueprinted his dream knife before eventually meeting Victor Anselmo, who helped to grind the first ever pre-Benchmade Bali-Song® prototype. Paired with handles that Les sourced from a small machine shop in California, he assembled and finished his first Bali-Song® in his own garage. Proud of his creation, he took this first Bali-Song® into a local gun store and the owner asked, “Could you build 100 more?”

Over the next seven years, the company expanded its product offerings into fixed blades and conventional folding knives, and evolving its name from Bali-song®, Inc. to Pacific Cutlery Corp.

In 1987 Due to its inability to control quality, price and delivery, Pacific Cutlery Corp. filed for bankruptcy and was dissolved. In 1988, Les reintroduced a new company and new version of the Model 68; This time with a drive to produce product in the US and an even stronger commitment to product availability, quality and customer relationships. The company now needed a new name.

While there was “handmade” and “factory-made,” it was “Benchmade” that described the quality of Les’ product. He was building an operation that made precision parts, but with hand assembly on the finished products. This was a “bench” operation and Les wanted the name to reflect the marriage of manufactured and custom. In short, it describes Benchmade’s position in the market- even to this day.

To this day Benchmade continues to focus on innovation, customer needs, responsible business ethics and operations to bring the highest quality products to the world’s elite.

Today we will be discussing the Benchmade Ball AXIS flipper knife.

 

The Designer:

The man behind this knife is Butch Ball. Butch Ball developed a passion for knives at a very early age. After building a few fixed blades in the early ’90s he decided in 2000 to begin a true custom shop. Butch starts each knife as a prototype, which he then tests, recreates and tests again. At each stage in this development process, he is thinking of ways to improve the design, whether mechanical or ergonomic. The results of this process are designs that are as robust as they are innovative.

 

The Blade:

The blade on this knife is made out of 154CM steel that has been hardened to a 58-61 HRC. This is a high end steel that is considered an upgraded version of 440C because of the addition of Molybdenum into the steel. The Molybdenum helps to achieve superior edge holding when being compared to 440C, but it still retains the high levels of corrosion resistance. This last characteristic is surprising because 154CM steel has less Chromium than 440C steel. This is a hard steel that has toughness that is decent enough to get you through your daily tasks. This steel also holds an edge well and when you have the right equipment, it isn’t too bad to sharpen. This steel is designed and made by Crucible Steel Industries, which is a US based steel company.

The blade has been finished with a satin finish. Knifeart.com says, “A hand satin finish involves sanding the blade in one direction with increasing degrees of a fine abrasive (generally sandpaper). A satin finish shows the bevels of the blade, showcasing the lines of the knife while reducing its reflective glare. Hand satin finish is generally done on upscale, high-end, collector-grade knives. The finer the abrasive and the more even the lines; the cleaner the satin finish blade looks. Satin finishes can also be used on the handle or fittings to enhance the look of the knife. A nice hand satin finish takes time and can increase the cost of the knife.”

The blade on this knife has been carved into a drop point blade shape. The drop point blade shape is one of the most common blade shapes in the knife industry today. This is because it is a very versatile shape while also being extremely durable. The shape of this knife is formed by having the spine of the knife run straight from the handle to the tip of the knife in a slow curving manner, which gives the style a lowered point. It is the lowered point that gives the drop point blade more control while also adding strength to the tip. In fact, the tip has so much strength and is able to stand up to some seriously heavy use, making it a great blade shape on any style of knife from hunting knives to even the toughest of survival knives. The lowered point also makes the blade more easily controllable, which allows you to use this knife for fine tip work. One of the reasons that this is such a versatile knife is the large belly that makes slicing a breeze. This AXIS flipper knife has been designed as an everyday carry knife, so the majority of what you will be doing is slicing. The large belly is going to make all of your tasks easy. Of course, like every blade shape, there is one big disadvantage.  Because of the broad tip, this knife is not going to be as capable of stabbing or piercing as the similar clip point blade shape.

The blade is a combo blade, which means the upper 2/3 is a plain edge, giving you the benefits from a plain edge such as clean cuts and ease of sharpening. The lower 1/3 is serrated, which will help you to saw through some of the thicker materials. Some people feel like the comb edge gives them the best of both worlds and some people feel like each section is too small to utilize well.

 

The Handle:

             The handle on this knife is made out of blue and black contoured G10. This material is a laminate composite made out of fiberglass. This material is similar to carbon fiber, although it is the inferior material and much more inexpensive. To make this material the manufacturer takes layers of fiberglass cloth and proceeds to soak them in a resin. The next step in the process is to compress them. The last step is to bake them under pressure. This process yields a material that is tough, hard, strong and lightweight. Out of all the fiberglass resin laminates, G10 is known to be the toughest and even stronger than Micarta. Although the stronger the fiberglass resin laminate gets, the more brittle it is going to get.

Because of how the material is made, the manufacturer can use varying different colors to achieve a unique look on the G10 handle. This is precisely what has been done on the AXIS flipper. The handle has a pattern that swirls between bright blue and black throughout the entire handle.

All handles benefit from G10 because it is non-porous, which means it won’t soak up many fluids, making maintenance a breeze. The overall pros to having a G10 handle is that it is going to be tough, light, and durable. However, it is also going to be brittle and some people feel like it lacks elegance because it can look a little too plastic-y.

The handle on this knife has been textured with ridges going across the width of the knife all the way down the length of the handle. This texture will provide more than enough grip for your everyday chores. The spine of the handle is curved towards the butt, which is squared off. The handle is definitely the most unique part of this knife, with the belly of the handle having three deep finger grooves. These grooves help the user to have the most secure grip when using this knife as well as providing a comfortable grip to use this knife for long periods of time. While the finger guard is not very large, the flipper is going to act as a large finger guard.

 

The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip is a deep carry clip, which means that it is going to fit more snugly in your pocket and conceal the knife a little bit better than a non-deep carry clip would. This knife has been designed as an everyday carry knife, so the more secure you can get it, the better it is. With this deep carry clip, you won’t have to worry when you are going about your daily business, because it is going to stay securely inside your pocket until you need it.

The pocket clip can only be attached for tip-up carry, but it is a reversible clip for either left or right handed carry, helping to make this knife fully ambidextrous.

 

The Mechanism:

This is a manual opening knife, which means that there is no internal mechanism or spring that assists or fully opens the knife for you. When it comes to legal matters, a manual opening knife is going to be legal in a larger amount of states, cities, and areas. However, a manual opening knife is not going to open as quickly or smoothly as a spring assisted or an automatic would.

This knife has been equipped with a flipper. The flipper is located on the spine of the knife as part of the blade. The blade is deployed by suing the index finger to pull back on it. This helps to keep your hands at a safe distance from the blade as well as giving the knife an extra finger guard once the blade is opened. This is because the flipper will swing up and around and end up where a finger guard normally would lie. This helps to make the flipper mechanism an even safer opening mechanism, especially when compared to a thumb stud. One of the last benefits when it comes to a flipper opening mechanism is that by its very design, it is ambidextrous. This helps to make the knife fully ambidextrous. Plus, the flipper comes off the side, instead of out of the blade, like a thumb stud would, so the flipper will not get in the way once the knife is opened. That being said, it is a little bit trickier to figure out how to use a flipper, so take a few practice runs before you get too cocky with it.

The AXIS flipper has been equipped with Benchmade’s AXIS-flipper mechanism. A patented Benchmade exclusive, AXIS® has been turning heads and winning fans ever since its introduction. A 100 percent ambidextrous design, AXIS® gets its function from a small, hardened steel bar that rides forward and back in a slot machined into both steel liners. The bar extends to both sides of the knife, spans the liners and is positioned over the rear of the blade. It engages a ramped tang portion of the knife blade when it is opened. Two omega-style springs, one on each liner, give the locking bar its inertia to engage the knife tang. As a result, the tang is wedged solidly between a sizable stop pin and the AXIS® bar itself.

 

The Specs:

The blade on this knife measures in at 3.18 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.130 inches. The handle on this knife is going to measure in at 4.25 inches long with a handle thickness of 0.59 inches. When the knife is opened, it measures in at an overall length of 7.36 inches long. The AXIS flipper weighs in at 4.68 ounces. This knife was made in the United States of America, so you can feel proud to own, carry, and use it.

 

Conclusion:

When Benchmade is discussing this knife they say, “The AXIS® flipper is relatively compact but has a full-sized feel thanks to the unique handle shape. Adding a flipper is just one more way to deploy the blade on what is already the most versatile locking mechanism on the market.” You can pick up this knife today at BladeOps.

 

 

 

Benchmade Nakamura Knife Review

Benchmade Nakamura
Benchmade Nakamura

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

The Benchmade adventure began when Les de Asis wanted a knife that reflected the latest in materials and manufacturing technology to replace the cheap butterfly knives, known as Bali-Songs, he played with as a kid. Using his high-school shop skills, he blueprinted his dream knife before eventually meeting Victor Anselmo, who helped to grind the first ever pre-Benchmade Bali-Song® prototype. Paired with handles that Les sourced from a small machine shop in California, he assembled and finished his first Bali-Song® in his own garage. Proud of his creation, he took this first Bali-Song® into a local gun store and the owner asked, “Could you build 100 more?”

Les incorporated as Bali-Song®, Inc. and rented a small shop in a second story mezzanine in California. The original equipment was purchased from the owner of a manufacturing operation who was looking to retire. Utilizing the rudimentary technology available to him at the time, Les began building handmade custom Bali-Songs, along with Jody Sampson, who ground all the blades. The success of these custom Balis spurred the creation of the first production Bali-Song®: The model 68.

Over the next seven years, the company expanded its product offerings into fixed blades and conventional folding knives, and evolving its name from Bali-song®, Inc. to Pacific Cutlery Corp.

In 1987, the company filed for bankruptcy. In 1988, Les reintroduced a new company and new version of the Model 68. This time, with a drive to produce product in the US and an even stronger commitment to product availability, quality, and customer relationships. The company was going to need a new name.

While there was “handmade” and “factory-made,” it was “Benchmade” that described the quality of Les’ product. He was building an operation that made precision parts, but with hand assembly on the finished products. This was a “bench” operation and Les wanted the name to reflect the marriage of manufactured and custom. In short, it describes Benchmade’s position in the market- even to this day.

To this day Benchmade continues to focus on innovation, customer needs, responsible business ethics and operations to bring the highest quality products to the world’s elite.

Today we will be discussing the Benchmade Nakamura.

 

The Designer:

             This knife was designed by Seiichi Nakamura. Engineering was his life’s work until he retired to focus his efforts on a passion for custom knife work. He specializes in small Japanese style folders, gentlemen’s carry and jewelry knives. His eye for artistry and mechanical engineering make him a perfect fit for the innovative Benchmade team.

 

The Blade:

The blade on this knife is made out of CPM S90V steel. This is an ultra-premium steel that is made by Crucible Industries. This is a US based steel company that is known for their high end steels. Crucible’s CPM S90V steel approaches the utmost levels of wear resistance and edge retention. In this steel, the carbon content is very high, but Crucible has also added extreme quantities of vanadium. The levels of vanadium in this steel are almost here times the levels that can be found in Elmax or S30V. This steel is extremely expensive, but worth every penny that you spend on it. This steel is also a total pain to sharpen but it holds an edge for so much longer than any other steel that you are going to come across. And, it withstands abrasion better than almost any other steel on the market. This steel is expensive and it is hard to sharpen, but all of the other extreme positive aspects of this steel outweigh the negatives. If you buy a knife with this steel, such as the Nakamura, you know that you are going to have a great blade that can take on almost any challenge.

The blade has been finished with a satin finish. While the satin finish is the most common blade finish you are going to find in the industry today, there is good reason for the wide use of it. The finish is traditional, classic, and helps to cut down on glares, reflections, and even corrosion. Satin finishes are created by repeatedly sanding the steel in one direction with an increasing level of an abrasive. The abrasive that is most generally used is a sandpaper. As a key, the finer the sandpaper and the more even the lines, the cleaner the steel is going to look. Because this is a Benchmade knife, you can expect the utmost level of quality of their satin finish; it is going to look very clean.

The blade has been carved into a drop point blade style, which is one of the two most common blade styles used in the industry today. This is for good reason as well; it is an all-purpose blade shape and it is also very tough. The blade is formed by having the spine of the blade curve slowly from the handle all the way to the point. This creates a lowered point, which is going to give you good control over your cuts. In fact, the drop point blade is commonly found on hunting knives because of how easy it is to control. Because of the control, you will easily be able to perform fine detail work with the Nakamura. The tip on the drop point style blade is also pretty broad, which is where the blade gets its renowned strength from. The drop point blade is popular on all styles of knives including tactical and survival because of how tough the tip is. The drop point also sports a very large belly, which is what helps to make this knife such an all-purpose knife. The larger the belly, the easier it will be to slice. And because the Nakamura has been designed as an everyday knife, slicing is going to be the thing you will be doing the most. The drop point blade style really only has one major disadvantage, which is that because of the broad tip, the knife is less capable of piercing or stabbing like a clip point knife would be able to.

 

The Handle:

The handle on this knife is made out of contoured carbon fiber. Carbon fiber is actually a pretty generic term that refers to a material made out of thin strands of carbon that have been tightly woven together and then set in a resin. This material is extremely strong, but also lightweight, so you can take on any task without feeling like you are weighed down by a bulky knife. Unfortunately, because of the manual labor that has to be put into making a carbon fiber handle, it is an expensive material to have, which means it is going to raise the cost of the knife considerably.

While this material is a strong one, it is far from being indestructible and does suffer from being brittle. This is because of the way that the fibers have been woven together. All of the fibers in the handle are woven in one direction, so when it is stressed in that particular direction, it is almost impossible to break. But as soon as it is stressed in any of the other directions, it is going to start to break apart or chip. And because it is brittle, it will break if it is subjected to sharp or hard impacts. The overall advantages of a carbon fiber handle are that it is going to be strong, lightweight, and eye-catching. The overall disadvantages of a carbon fiber handle are that it is going to raise the cost of the knife considerably and it is still going to be brittle.

The handle on this knife is one of the more unique aspects about it. The spine of the knife bulges outward to create a comfortable grip on the handle. The belly of the handle is where it gets funky. There are four finger grooves going down the length of the belly. Each of these grooves is pretty deep. However, these create a secure and comfortable grip on the knife.

 

The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip on this knife is not a deep carry clip, which is a drawback to the knife. While you can only attach the clip for tip up carry, the pocket clip is reversible for either left or right handed carry. This is a major advantage because it does make the knife more fully ambidextrous. The clip matches the handle in color.

 

The Mechanism:

This is a manual opening knife, which means that it is going to be legal in more areas than your assisted opening and automatic knives would be. In terms of efficiency, the knife is not going to be as smooth or as quick as an automatic or assisted opening knife would be. However, manual knives are a little bit easier to maintain because there is no spring that can rust out and ruin the opening mechanism. That doesn’t mean that maintenance is easy, because there is still plenty of hardware on the inside that needs care—just easier than an automatic knife.

The knife uses a thumb stud to help the user open the knife. This is a small barrel that sticks off of the knife. This barrel is positioned on the spine of the knife close to where the handle begins. This is a very simple mechanism to get the hang of—all you do is grasp the knife, and push on the stud with your flexed finger. The blade should swing open and lock into place after you do this. This is a very simple mechanism to get the hang of. There are a couple of complaints to this opening mechanism though. The first one is that the barrel is always going to come off of the knife. When the knife is closed, that shouldn’t be a big deal, but when the knife is opened and you are trying to use it, it sometimes does get in the way. The next complaint when it comes to this opening mechanism is that it is not as safe as a flipper mechanism would be. When you are opening this knife, it does put your fingers in the direct line of the blade. This means that you are going to have to be extra careful when you are opening the knife. There have been plenty of reports of people slicing their fingers while trying to open a knife with the thumb stud.

The Nakamura has been equipped with an 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 Specs:

The blade on this knife measures in at 3.08 inches long with a thickness of 0.114 inches. The handle measures in at 3.95 inches long with a thickness of 0.57 inches. The overall length of this opened knife measures in at 7.03 inches. This knife weighs in at 3.28 ounces. This knife was made in the United States of America, so you can feel proud to own, carry, and use it.

 

Conclusion:

When Benchmade is discussing this knife, they say, “The first Nakamura AXIS® brings the best of both worlds: detailed design and functional strength.” You can pick up this knife today at BladeOps.

 

 

 

Benchmade Rukus II Automatic Knife Review

Since we’ve gone over the overall history of Benchmade a couple times here on this blog, today I thought we’d start this Benchmade knife off with a brief history of the Benchmade logo.

The Benchmade logo is a big butterfly with their company name going through the middle of it. This logo seems very peculiar to people who don’t know Benchmade very well or don’t know the history of Benchmade. Why would such a hardcore company choose a butterfly to represent them? Well, when Benchmade was first founded, it was actually called Bali-Song, Inc. and they produced only Bali-Song, or butterfly knives. They reached a point where they were producing enough other products that it didn’t make sense for them to keep their original name. They cycled through a couple more before Benchmade stuck. And while their new name represents the quality of their knives—it’s not handmade, nor is it factory made, because the parts are factory made, but the individual knives are assembled completely by hand, their logo represents their roots and where they came from. Benchmade is still commonly associated with butterfly knives and do still make a phenomenal butterfly knife. And now you know why such a tough company chose to display themselves with such a delicate logo.

Today, we will be going over the Benchmade Rukus II Automatic knife with a CPM S30V black blade and aluminum handles.

 

The Blade:

The blade on this knife is made out of CPM S30V stainless steel. This steel was designed and manufactured by Crucible, which is an American company. They designed this steel specifically with knives in mind, so you know that you are going to get all of the best qualities from it. When Crucible is talking about this steel, they say, “CPM S30V steel is a martensitic stainless steel designed to offer the best combination of toughness, wear resistance, and corrosion resistance. Its chemistry has been specially balanced to promote the formation of vanadium carbides which are harder and more effective than chromium carbides in providing wear resistance. CPM S30V offers substantial improvement in toughness over the other high hardness steels such as 440C and D2, and its corrosion resistance is equal to or better than 440C in various environments. The CPM process produces very homogenous, high quality steel characterized by superior dimensional stability, grind ability, and toughness compared to steels produced by conventional processes.” This steel is thought to have the perfect combination of hardness, toughness, and edge retention. One of the only drawbacks to this steel is that it is not easily worked with, meaning sharpening a knife with this steel might prove to be tricky. This is not going to be a pain though, but if you are a beginner sharpener, this might not be the most ideal steel to start with. When S30V steel first was released, it was very expensive because it offered qualities that were near impossible to find elsewhere. However, now there are super steels on the market and S30V has an older brother that has been designed with the same qualities, except easier to sharpen. While this steel is still going to cost a decent amount, it won’t take an arm and a leg like it used to.

The blade on the Rukus II has been finished with a black coating. A coating finish serves a variety of purposes on a knife blade. The main reason that people prefer coated finishes is because they do help to prevent corrosion. The coating creates a layer in between the steel and the environment, preventing it from rusting. This means that maintenance time is reduced because you won’t have to worry about oiling your blade as often. A second reason that many people love coated blades is because it creates a matte blade. If you are going to be out in the field with your knife, a matte finish is crucial. One of the last reasons that people love a coated finish is because they look good and create a smooth finish. Unfortunately, with all of these good qualities, a coated finish is still not preferred by many people because after heavy or continued use, the coating will scratch off. When the coating scratches off, you’ll have to re-coat the blade to get the same benefits out of it. The coating can also be applied unevenly, which does reduce its ability to cut well.

This blade has been carved into a drop point style blade, which is the most popular blade style in use today as well as being one of the most versatile blade shapes that you can come across. The drop point blade style has a convex curve to the spine as it approaches the tip of the blade. Or, in simpler terms, the spine of the blade starts to drop towards the tip of the blade here it meets the curve of the belly of the blade to form the tip. This dropped or lowered tip is where the blade shape gets its name from. And, this lowered tip means that you are going to have much more control over your cuts and you will be able to perform detail work with this blade. This lowered tip is also what makes this blade shape such a positive option for a hunting knife—with the extra control you won’t have to worry about slicing into the organs and ruining the meat of the game that you are dressing. This blade shape is so versatile because it has such a large belly that makes slicing extremely easy. This large belly equips you from anything such as survival circumstances to opening a letter. One of the other big benefits to this blade shape is that it sports such a broad tip. This broad tip is what gives you so much strength behind the knife, allowing you to excel in survival and tactical situations. Drop point blades are often confused with clip point blades because they do sport a lot of similarities. The biggest difference between the two is their tips. The clip point has a fine, thin, sharp tip that allows you to effortlessly stab. However, the clip points tip is also much weaker because of how thin it is, meaning that you really won’t be able to do any tough tasks without it being prone to breaking and snapping. The drop point has a broad tip, which gives you the strength we previously talked about, however, it is also a draw back because you lose almost all of your stabbing abilities. You win some, you lose some in every blade shape scenario, but with the drop point blade shape, you win a lot more than you lose. No wonder it is the most popular blade shape in use today.

 

The Handle:

The handle on this knife is made out of 6061-T6 aluminum which has been anodized black. Aluminum is a very low density metal that is often used in knife making because it is so corrosion resistant. Aluminum is a soft metal, so it is usually only used in the handles on knives, instead of the blade or tool piece. It is often anodized not only for aesthetics, but also for its wear resistance. Most knives use 6061-T6 aluminum alloy, which means that the type of aluminum is 6061 and it is T6 tempered. 6061-T6 aluminum has one of the highest yield and tensile strengths of all aluminum alloys. 6061-T6 is used extensively in aircraft, and is often referred to as “aircraft aluminum”, but sometimes this is actually seen as a gimmick, because it doesn’t mean very much pertaining to the actual qualities of the steel. Aluminum alloy is cheaper to produce and machine than Titanium, but it is lighter, weaker, and less resistant to wear as well. For the most part, Aluminum is an inferior metal to Titanium aside form tis lightness. However, when producing complex knives, especially with automatic knives, aluminum is much cheaper to produce and the material costs less.

The Ruckus II aluminum handle has been anodized black. Not only does this add the black color that gives this knife such a sleek look, it also works to protect the metal better. This makes it tougher, harder, more durable, and more resistant to corrosions. The anodization process starts with a controlled oxidation to create an engineered surface layer. Then, an electric current is passed through the metal and the aluminum is dipped into an electrolytic acid bath. In this reaction, oxygen ions migrate from the electrolyte onto the surface of the aluminum—anodizing it. These ions build into a protective layer of oxide that is harder, more durable, and sometimes as much as 30 percent thicker than the pure aluminum.

The handle has diagonal grooves cut into the lower portion of the handle. There is jimping near the butt, on the spine, and on the finger groove to give you a very controlled and secured grip. To protect your fingers there is a light finger guard and to create a comfortable grip on this knife there are three finger grooves carved into the bottom of this handle. The butt of this all-black handle is squared off. On the butt of the handle there is a protruding glass breaker.

 

Benchmade Rukus II Automatic Knife
Benchmade Rukus II Automatic Knife

The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip on this is designed for tip up carry only, but it is eligible for a left or right hand carry option.

 

The Mechanism:

This is an automatic knife, so before we get into the mechanics off it, let me say this: automatic knives fall under a strict set of laws in the United States. They are not legal to purchase or carry in all states, cities, or areas of the country. You are responsible for knowing what your local laws are before purchasing or carrying this knife. You will be responsible for the consequences that follow if you choose to not be informed.

Automatic knives are also known as switchblades, pushbutton knives, and even ejector knives. This style of knife has a blade that is stored inside of the handle. Instead of manually flipping, or pulling, the blade out of the handle, you push the silver ejector button that sits on the face of the Rukus II. There is a spring inside of the handle that flicks the blade out automatically when this button is pushed and then the blade gets locked into place. The blade is unlocked manually by operating a mechanism that unlocks the blade and allows it to be folded and locked in the closed position. This knife features a button lock mechanism.

 

The Specs:

The blade on the Benchmade Rukus II measures in at 3.4 inches long with a handle that measures in at 5.1 inches long. The overall length of this knife when opened is 8.5 inches long. This knife weighs in at a large 4.94 ounces. This Benchmade knife was made in the United States of America.

 

Conclusion:

The Rukus II is one of several new mid-year released knives by Benchmade this year. Modeled after the popular H&K MP5, this model features an all-black aggressive design and been given an upgrade from 154CM stainless to industry-leading CPM-S30V for increased strength and edge retention. Not only that, but it will resist rust effortlessly while giving you excellent toughness and hardness. Great ergonomics, a protruding glass breaker and integrated slide safety make will really give you a tactical advantage–regardless of the task of where you are in the field. The handle has excellent texture to give you a very secure grip on your knife at all times. This Black Class model, the 9600BK, features a black anodized aircraft aluminum handle, a drop point style blade in a black finish and the reversible pocket clip is designed for tip up carry only but is eligible for a left or right hand carry option. Pick up your Benchmade Rukus II Automatic knife with a CPM S30V stainless steel blade that has been coated black today at BladeOps.

 

Benchmade 162 Bushcrafter Fixed Blade Knife Review

Benchmade 162 Bushcrafter Fixed Blade Knife
Benchmade 162 Bushcrafter Fixed Blade Knife

For over thirty years, Benchmade has been designing and manufacturing world-class products for 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.

They say, “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 our LifeSharp Lifetime Service and Warranty are the foundation of our commitment to excellence. We live it and breathe it, and we know what you mean when you say: It’s not a knife. It’s my Benchmade.”

So how do they get their knives so good? Well, it starts with the materials. 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. They select 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 next thing that makes their knives so fantastic is the mechanisms. When Benchmade is discussing the process they go through to get their mechanisms right, they say, “The mechanics of opening and closing a knife are essential to its function. 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? These are critical considerations when it comes to the mechanism.”

Lastly is their manufacturing. The Benchmade factory employs modern laser cutters and CNC machining centers that offer control and tolerances commonly found in the aerospace industry – often to 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.

Another thing that makes Benchmade so fantastic is their LifeSharp guarantee. When Benchmade is describing this, they say, “Benchmade knives are all supported through a team of skilled technicians. Their only function is to ensure your Benchmade is in optimal working condition for your entire life. This service is called LifeSharp®. A name that speaks for itself. When you send your knife to the Benchmade LifeSharp team, the knife is completely disassembled and all worn parts are tuned or replaced. The knife is then lubricated and reassembled, a sharpener applies a factory edge to the blade and the knife is shipped back to you. All at no cost to you.”

 

The Designer:

The man behind this knife is Shane Sibert. When Benchmade is talking about Shane, they say, “Since 1994, Shane Sibert’s goal has been to design and handcraft unique and functional knives that will invoke pride of ownership, while at the same time perform challenging tasks with exceptional ease. He’s established a reputation for making knives constructed to hold up to the rigors of various hostile environments. A life-long avid backpacker and hiker, Sibert draws inspiration from adventurous treks throughout the Pacific Northwest’s vast wilderness and from hobbies that have included Martial Arts and S.C.U.B.A diving.”

 

The Blade:

The blade on this knife is made out of CPM S30V steel. This is a premium steel that is made by Crucible, which is a US based steel manufacturer. This steel is able to hold its edge for long periods of time and can resist rust effortlessly. This steel was designed in the United States specifically for high-end premium pocket knives and expensive kitchen cutlery. This means that you are going to get all of the best characteristics out of it. Crucible added vanadium carbides into the steel alloy matrix to bring out extreme hardness without making it brittle. Overall, this steel is known for having the best balance between edge retention, hardness, and toughness. One of the only drawbacks to this steel is that it can be a little bit hard to work with and sharpen. However, you don’t need a master sharpener to get a fine edge, you just won’t want a beginner sharpener.

The blade has been finished satin, which is a very traditional look, matching well with the traditional leather sheath. The satin finish is created by repeatedly sanding the blade in one direction with an increasing level of an abrasive. This shows off the bevels of the blade while also showcasing the fine lines of the steel. The satin finish is known for reducing glares, reflections, and even cutting down on corrosion.

The blade has been carved into a drop point blade shape, which is one of the most common blade shapes on the market today. The drop point is going to be strong, durable, and extremely versatile. These characteristics are created by having the spine of the knife run form the handle to the tip of the knife in a slow curve. This creates a lowered point, which gives you plenty of control over your cuts. With this control, you can perform fine detail work including dressing your game. The lowered point is also broad, which is where this blade shape gets its characteristic strength form. Lastly, the drop point blade style has a large belly, which is a must for when you need to slice something. There is one major disadvantage, which is that the drop point blade does have such a broad tip. It seems funny to list this as a disadvantage, because it is through the broad tip that you get so much strength and durability. However, because it is so broad and not fine, like a clip point, you do lose out on a lot of your piercing and stabbing capabilities. This should not be a huge deterrent for a survival knife, when you are most likely going to want the durability over the ability to pierce.

 

The Handle:

             The handle is made out of green and red contoured G10. G10 is made out of fiberglass. The manufacturer takes layers of fiberglass cloth and soaks them in resin, then compresses them and bakes them under pressure. This process yields a material that is very hard, very tough, very lightweight, and very strong. Out of all of the fiberglass resin laminates, G10 is known to be the toughest. Plus, G10 is known to be stronger than Micarta, although with more strength comes more brittleness. This is one of G10s disadvantages—it does tend to be brittle. If it is subjected to a hard or sharp impact, it might crack.

The material is easy to add patterns or texture to, which is what gives the user such a solid, comfortable grip. And one of the biggest advantages of G10 for this specific knife is that it is a non-porous material, which means that it won’t soak up any fluids. This cuts down significantly on maintenance. Overall, G10 makes a great handle material because it is tough, light, and durable. However, it is brittle and it does lack elegance.

The handle on this knife has a pretty straight spine, although it will still be comfortable to use. It also has a very large and thick finger guard, which will keep your fingers safe. The belly of the handle does bulge out to better fit inside your hand for long periods of time. There are two large holes cut out of the middle of the handle to cut down on weight. There is also a smaller hole cut out of the butt of the handle for your lanyard. This is a wide enough hole to hold almost any type of lanyard. The lanyard is nice for your outdoors knife, because you can attach your knife to anything—your belt, your backpack, your boot. It will keep your knife close by without it getting in the way.

 

The Mechanism:

This is a fixed blade knife. Fixed blades have a few advantages, especially when it comes to a survival knife. For starters, the blade can be longer and thicker because it does not have to fit inside of a handle. You see this on this Benchmade knife, with a very thick blade. This helps to make it more durable and less likely to snap. These characteristics also help to add strength to a fixed blade knife, which is what you are going to want out of your outdoors or survival knife.

Fixed blades are also much easier to maintenance because you don’t have to worry about the hinge, the spring, or any of the internal mechanisms that you do with a folding knife. Nothing is going to get inside of the knife, because there is really no inside to get to. This means that all you really have to do is wipe the knife down, wipe the handle down, and oil the blade occasionally. This is ideal for your survival knife, because you are not going to want to be worried about drying out the inside of a knife when you are trying to survive.

When it comes to a survival knife, this knife is going to allow you to do much more than just cut. You can also dig, split wood, use this knife to prepare food or even as a hunting weapon, use it for first aid, use it to hammer. And lastly, you can use it to pry, although I don’t recommend doing this, because it is usually prying that causes a knife to snap.

This knife is also a full tang knife, which means that the metal piece of the blade extends all the way through the handle. This adds durability, strength, and if the handle scales happen to break, you still have a complete knife.

 

The Sheath:

The sheath that comes with this knife is made out of leather. Leather is one of the more traditional material that is used to make knife sheaths. This material is rugged, tough, and even strong. Because it is flexible, it is not going to break like plastic sometimes does. Plus, if the stitches should come loose, it is an easy fix. Leather sheaths are love all around because they fell and look good. Plus, when you care for your sheath as well as you can, it will only get better with age. One of the biggest loves that comes from having a leather sheath is that once it is broken in, your knife has a custom fitting sheath for itself. This means that it is going to be secure and won’t wear the edges of your blade out as much. This knife is designed as an outdoors knife as well as a survival knife, so this next benefit is a pretty big deal: leather sheaths are silent. You can pull the knife out and put it back in without making a sound at all.

Of course, with all of its great advantages, there are going to be a few disadvantages. Leather is not waterproof. Getting this sheath wet a lot or even exposing it to other extreme environments such as high heat can dry out the oils in the leather and cause the sheath to crack. This can be prevented by oiling it from time to time.

 

The Specs:

The blade on this knife measures in at 4.40 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.164 inches. The handle on this knife has a thickness of 0.92 inches. The overall length of this knife measures in at 9.15 inches long. The knife itself weighs in at 7.72 ounces. The sheath that comes with this knife measures in at 2.70 ounces. This knife was made in the United States of America, so you can feel proud to own, carry, and use it.

 

Conclusion:

When Benchmade is talking about this knife, they say, “A modern Bushcraft knife from designer Shane Sibert. The Bushcrafter is good looking and built for the trail.” You can pick up this knife today at BladeOps.

 

Benchmade Mini Coalition Automatic Knife Review

Benchmade Knife Company is a knife manufacturer run by Roberta and Les de Asis in Oregon. The company’s products are geared toward many niche markets, such as outdoor sporting cutlery, rescue, law-enforcement, marital arts, and military. The company has collaborated with a number of custom knife makers since the very beginning.

Benchmade started in California in 1979 as Bali-song, changing its name in 1988 to the Pacific Cutlery Corporation. In 1990 the company moved on to Oregon and then six years later moved to a new facility in Oregon. Benchmade became known primarily as a manufacturer of butterfly, or Bali-song style knives, which it still 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 Samson was awarded Blade Magazine’s Knife of the Year Award in 1979. As of February 2009, the company was employing approximately 150 people. Benchmade has had several years of growth and has expanded both the variety of knives it produces and the facility itself. To this day, Benchmade continues to focus on innovation, customer needs, responsible business ethics, and operations to bring the highest quality products to the world’s elite.

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 Parude, 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. Many technological advancements were now possible and Benchmade became the first company to own and employ a high-power laser cutter, allowing for work with steels too hard to stamp. The company also became the world leader in automatic knife manufacturing and began to supply military units.

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

When you purchase a Benchmade knife, you know that you are getting a quality product that is going to get the job done. You know that you are going to be able to rely on your Benchmade knife throughout your life and all of the challenges that you face. Benchmade is not going to let you down. Today, we will be going over the Benchmade Dark Grey Mini Coalition Automatic knife with black G-10 handles and a CPM-S30V black blade.

 

The Blade:

The blade on this knife is made out of CPM-S30V stainless steel. This steel is a hardened powder-made steel with outstanding resistant to wear and corrosion. This knife steel was designed and manufactured by Crucible Industries, which is an American company in collaboration with knife maker Chris Reeve. This steel was produced specifically for knives, so you are going to get all of the qualities that you desire form your blade. For starters, the chemistry of the ingredients promotes the formation and even distribution of vanadium carbides, which are harder and more effective at cutting than chromium carbides. These vanadium carbides give the steel a very refined grain, further improving the sharpness and toughness. This steel is a premium grade knife steel and is commonly found in higher-end and custom knives. This steel is considered to have the perfect balance of hardness, toughness, and edge retention. One of the only drawbacks to this steel is that it is one of the harder steels to sharpen. Crucible acknowledged that this was an issue and later released CPM-S35VN steel, which is much easier to work with. However, because S30V steel is so top-notch and less expensive, many people are more than willing to overlook the sharpening issue, because its honestly not that big of an issue.

The blade has been coated with a black finish. A coated finish reduces the reflections and glares while also working to slightly reduce wear and corrosion. Unfortunately, coated finishes are some of the lowest quality blade finishes, because they will scratch off after heavy use or continuous use. At the point where the coating has been scratched off, the blade will have to be re-coated if you wish to maintain not only the look of the blade, but the defensive qualities that the coating gives your blade. Coatings can prolong the life of a blade because it does add a barrier to the steel to prevent corrosion and rusting. Quality coatings do add cost, but also provide more corrosion resistance, less reflection, and require less maintenance.

The blade on this Mini Coalition is a drop point blade shape. The drop point blade shape is one of the two most popular blade shapes and for very good reason. This blade shape is tough, versatile, and great for everyday uses. The most common place that you are going to find this blade shape is on a hunting knife, but you will see it on plenty of other types of knives. The blade shape is formed by the back edge of the knife running straight form the handle to the tip of the knife in a slow curved manner, which creates a lowered point. It is this lowered point that provides you with more control, while also adding strength to the tip. Because of this tip strength, the drop point blade style is very common on tactical and survival knives. And, because the tip on this blade style is so easily controlled, it makes the blade shape a popular choice on hunting knives. The lowered, controllable point makes it easier to avoided accidently nicking internal organs and ruining the meat. Knives with drop point blades are so versatile because it sports such a large belly that is perfect for slicing. Slicing is needed in the majority of common tasks, from hunting to opening up a letter. If you are in the market for an everyday knife, you should be looking for one with a very large belly. If you in the market for any other type of knife, having a belly is definitely not going to be a con. This blade does have a plain edge.

Something to touch on—drop point and clip point knives are often confused. This is understandable, but they serve a vastly different purpose. They are both very versatile and they are the two most popular blade shapes used on the market today. They do both sport a large belly which is perfect for slicing, and lowered tips which are perfect for your detail or fine work. However, the points on the two blade shapes are very different and serve very different purposes. The drop point blade shape is much broader and stronger. This means that the tip is not going to break if you are in a crucial situation, but it also means that you do lose out on many of the stabbing capabilities. The tip on a clip point is much finer, shaper, and thinner. This means that while you do have full stabbing capabilities, the tip is much more likely to snap or chip. If you know that you are going to be roughing it at any time, definitely look for a drop point blade shape.

 

The Handle:

The handle on this Benchmade knife is made out of 6061-T6 aluminum with black G-10 inlays. Aluminum is a very durable material for knife handles that gives you the hefty feel that you want without actually weighing you down because it is a low density metal. The alloy that is used in this knife is the most common type of aluminum used today and it has extreme tensile strength. When aluminum is properly texturized, it can give you a reasonably secure grip, unfortunately, aluminum is usually pretty slippery. Another drawback to aluminum is that if you are planning on using your knife during the winter months, you need to be prepared for how cold the aluminum is going to get; this is due to its conductive properties. Another one of the drawbacks to aluminum is that it is susceptible to scratches and dings. Some of the major pros to this material is that it is strong, it is light, it is durable, and it is very resistant to corrosion.

To combat the slipperiness and add a good amount of texture, Benchmade has added in G-10 inlays. G-10 is a laminate composite that has been manufactured out of fiberglass. This material is extremely similar to carbon fiber (slightly inferior) but can be made for a much smaller cost. The manufacturer will take layers of fiberglass cloth and then soak them in resin. After they have been soaked, they are compressed and baked under pressure. This material is so hard, tough, strong, and still lightweight. Unfortunately, G-10 is a brittle material and it does lack character and elegance. The good part about the G-10 inlays is that the G-10 has been checkered to add enough texture that will give you a secure grip in almost any situation. Another thing that Benchmade has added to help with your grip is jimping on three key parts of the handle. The first section is the spine of the handle near the blade, the second is directly across from the first on the bottom of the handle, and the third is on the butt of the handle. This jimping will give you a very secure grip in almost any situation.

The aluminum handle has been anodized a dark grey, which not only adds to the look of the knife, but also to the durability and corrosion resistant properties of this knife.

 

The Pocket Clip:

While the pocket clip is designed for tip up carry only, it is reversible, meaning that it is eligible for a left or right hand carry option. The clip is black, which matches the rest of the hardware on this knife. The only exception is the silver firing button.

 

The Mechanism:

Benchmade Mini Coalition Automatic
Benchmade Mini Coalition Automatic

This knife is an automatic knife, also commonly known as a switchblade. This is a knife with a folding or sliding blade that is contained in the handle. This knife is opened automatically by a spring when a button on the handle is pushed down and then it locks into place. The blade is unlocked by manually operating a mechanism that unlocks the blade and allows it to be folded and locked in the closed position. Because this is an automatic knife, you do have to be careful about purchasing and carrying it. Switchblades have a strict set of laws surrounding them in many areas of the United States. This means that they are not legal to purchase or carry in all states, cities, or areas. When purchasing this knife, you are responsible for the consequences that coincide with your areas laws.

 

The Specs:

The blade on this mini knife is 2.87 inches long. The handle measures in at 3.91 inches long, making the overall length of this knife 6.78 inches long. This knife weighs in at 2.63 ounces. The Benchmade Dark Grey Mini Coalition is made in the United States of America.

 

Conclusion:

The Mini Coalition is one of several new mid-year released knives by Benchmade this year. This model features plenty of much-needed traction with G-10 inlays and the positive thumb ramp, integrated spine safety and integrated finger groove shows why this small tactical auto is capable of big things. This Black Class model, the 9750BK, features a dark grey anodized aircraft aluminum handle coupled with black G-10 inlays, a drop point style blade in a black finish and the reversible pocket clip is designed for tip up carry only but is eligible for a left or right hand carry option. Benchmade calls this knife “a big deal in a small package” and I would say that they have hit the nail right on the head. This knife has the strength and style, creating a mashup that is unfortunately not seen as often as we’d like. Pick up your Benchmade Dark Grey Mini Coalition today at BladeOps.