Benchmade Foray Knife Review

Benchmade Foray
Benchmade Foray

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 tsp in the process. We use the best materials and equipment. We make world-class knives for world-class users and this is how.”

The first step in every blade is laser cutting, because every blade begins as a sheet of steel. A 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. The blanks are measured to make sure they meet specifications. Measurement are taken every step of the manufacturing process to guarantee an impeccable knife and streamline production. Benchmade says that if a part isn’t up-to-spec, it doesn’t become a Benchmade.

The second step is surface grinding. This is where the blank is ground to its precise width. Benchmade has a surface grind technician place each blank in its rack by hand and each side is ground to its specified thickness. After grinding, the technician checks the thickness of each set of blanks. At this point in time, tolerances are within the width of a human hair. Benchmade says that their knives have no room for error, which means that neither does a blade’s thickness.

The third step is milling, which is where blade holes, handles, and grooves are cut on high-speed mills. One of the holes that is cut at this step is the blade pivot, which is crucial to the folding mechanism. The pivot tolerance is .0005 inches, because the slightest deviation there becomes exponential at the blade’s tip.

Fourth is beveling. Now the blade really starts to take shape. Up to this point, 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. Of course, a 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.

Next is back sanding, which is where the back of the blade gets attention. The back sanding technician sands the back of the blade until it is smooth. Finishing is what gives the blade a more refined look. The finishing technician stone-washes the blades in a ceramic medium to remove any burrs and give the blades a clean, polished appearance. When the blade is cleaned up, it is taken to laser marking to receive its one-of-a-kind Benchmade mark.

Last is assembly and sharpening. Every Benchmade knife is assembled by hand. A sharpening technician puts a razor edge on the knife using a sanding belt sander. Each blade is sharpened to a targeted 30-degree inclusive angle, 15 degrees on each side. Benchmade says that the knife is sharp enough when it can cut through ultra-thin phonebook paper effortlessly without tearing.

Today we will talk about one of the newest Benchmade knives, the Foray.

The Class:

This is a Gold Class knife. Benchmade says that a Gold Class knife is more than a knife. They say, “Go ahead and show off. Gold Class knives are a rare combination of materials, design and artistry. A knife this fine is hard to come by.”

 

The Blade:

The blade is made out of Loki pattern Damasteel that has been hardened to a 58-60 HRC. The traditional Damascus patterned steel is produced by welding two types of steel in typically seven layers. Then one forge out and fold the piece repeatedly until one gets over one hundred layers in their piece. Damasteel Steel Industries holds the international patent to manufacture Damascus patterned steel at Damasteel via modern powder metallurgy, which is a method with many advantages. This steel has high hardness, durability, and strength. Damasteel says, “This steel is created with gas atomization, which is a process to manufacture high quality metal powders. During the gas atomization process, molten steel is atomized by inert gas jets into fine metal droplets, which cool down during their decent in the atomizing tower. Metal powders obtained by gas-atomization offer a perfectly spherical shape combined with a high level of cleanliness. After the atomization process, powders are collected in a capsule, which is sealed and then compacted by Hot Isostatic Pressing. This is a process to densify gas-atomized metal powders, through the combination of high gas pressure and high temperature. The HIP process takes place in a HIP furnace where the gas pressure acts uniformly in all directions, hence providing isostatic properties and 100% densification.”

This Damasteel has a Loki pattern. After the rolling or forging the patterns are finished off by either twisting and or coining, the patterns will be visible after etching. This pattern is a unique pattern that you won’t often find.

The blade has been carved into a drop point blade shape. The drop point blade style is one of the most commonly found blade shape and it is popular for a reason. This is a tough and versatile blade shape. The style is formed by having the spine of the blade run straight from the handle to the tip of the blade in a slow, curving manner, which creates a lowered tip. The lowered tip gives you the ability to perform fine detail work while also giving you more control. The tip on this knife is also broad, which is where the strength of the drop point style blade comes from. This is such a versatile blade because the belly is very large. This belly is going to make slicing a breeze.

 

The Handle:

The handle on this knife is made out of marbled carbon fiber. Carbon fiber is a term that refers to a material that has been made of thin strands of carbon that have been tightly woven then set in a resin. This material is going to be tremendously strong, but still lightweight. Unfortunately, because of the labor that does go into it, it does tend to be pretty expensive. And while it is a strong material, it is definitely not indestructible and does tend to be pretty brittle. This is because all of the fibers in carbon fiber are woven together in a single direction. So while the material is entirely strong in that specific direction, as soon as they are stressed in a different direction they begin to break apart. And because it is a brittle material, it can crack if it is hit on a hard or sharp object. Because of the way that they weave carbon fiber, you can get an incredible wide array of options with how the handle is going to look. The pros of the carbon fiber handle are that the handle is going to be strong, not heavy, and have a unique look to it. The cons are that it is going to be extremely expensive and the handle is still known for being brittle.

On this specific knife, the carbon fiber is a dark grey and a lighter grey. The fibers have been woven together to look like the material is actually a marble. This look matches the mother of pearl inlay in the middle of the handle. Mother of pearl is a smooth, shining iridescent substance forming the inner layer of the shell of some mollusks, especially oysters and abalones, used in ornamentation, according to dictionary.com. The mother of pearl does gleam and have a unique pattern to it, which matches the handle and the swirled damasteel of the blade. The look of this knife is unique and classy—definitely a high class knife.

The handle itself has a pretty simple design to it. The spine of the handle is pretty straight, although still comfortable to hold. Towards the end of the spine, it curves to create a rounded butt. There is a slight finger guard to protect your fingers from slipping. There is also an average sized finger groove to comfortably hold onto this knife. The belly of the knife swells and falls to match the ergonomics of a palm. The Foray has been designed as an everyday knife and the handle does not lie—it will be very comfortable to use. And, it will draw some attention when you do use it.

 

The Pocket Clip:

             The pocket clip on this knife is a tip-up pocket clip that is attached on the traditional side of the handle. This does reduce its ability to be a great ambidextrous knife. However, it is a deep carry pocket clip, which allows you to go about your day without worrying about the knife sliding out of your pocket.

All of the hardware is a dark grey. All of the hardware pieces have been coated with a diamond-like-carbon coating. This is a nanocomposite coating that has unique properties of natural diamond such as low friction, high hardness, and high corrosion resistance. And while most coatings do scratch off after long periods of time or even just heavy use, a DCL coating is one of the toughest coatings on the market and will take a lot more than just time or heavy use to come off.

 

The Mechanism:

This is a manual knife that has been equipped with an AXIS opening 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 knife has also been equipped with a thumb stud to help you open the knife. The thumb stud makes for an easy and common operation used to open up a folding knife. The thumb stud sits on the side of the blade near where the blade pivots on the handle. It makes for a comfortable way to use on hand to open the knife. However, it does put your hand very close to the blade itself when you are opening the knife. Keep this in mind and be cautious while you get used to opening the knife with a thumb stud. There have been plenty of stories of people moving too quickly and slicing their thumbs while they are opening their knife. One of the other complaints when it comes to a thumb stud is that because it does extend out of the blade, some people feel that it gets in the way while they are trying to use their knife. The thumb stud on this blade has been coated a bright blue, which does contrast with the neutral tones that the rest of the knife sports.

 

The Specs:

The blade on this knife measures in at 3.22 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.137 inches. The handle on this knife has a thickness of 0.56 inches. The overall length of this knife measures in at 7.34 inches long. The Foray weighs in at 3.46 ounces.

 

Conclusion:

Benchmade says, “Producing high-quality, handcrafted products is a collaborative enterprise; marbled carbon fiber, mother of pearl, custom anodized accents, diamond-like-carbon coated hardware, and an exclusive Loki patterned Damasteel blade are brought together to form a beautiful and unique addition to our Gold Class line. “You can pick up this brand new Benchmade knife today at BladeOps. This everyday knife has a classy look that you won’t normally find in an EDC knife, but it still has the toughness, durability, and strength that you expect out of one.

 

Benchmade 15085-2 Mini Crooked River Knife Review

Benchmade has a rich history that dates back over 30 years. The current company 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.

In 1979, the Benchmade adventure really began. 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, that he had played with when he was a child. He used his high-school shop skills blueprinting his dream knife before eventually meeting Victor Anselmo, who helped him grind the first ever pre-Benchmade Bali-Song prototype. Les paired this with handles that he had sourced from a small machine shop in California. He assembled and finished his first Bali-Song in his own garage. He was proud enough of his creation, so he took this first Bali-Song into a local gun store, where the owner asked him, “Could you build 100 more?”

The next year, he incorporated as Bali-Song, Inc. and rented a small shop in a second story mezzanine in California. He used the basic technology available to him at the time and began building handmade custom Bali-Songs, along with Jody Sampson, who ground all the blades. Over the next seven years, the company expanded its product offerings into fixed blades and conventional folding knives, and evolving its name form Bali-Song, Inc. to Pacific Cutlery Corp.

A few years later, he filed for bankruptcy and the company was dissolved. In 1988, the company was reintroduced with a new version of the famous Model 68. This new company needed a perfect name. He recognized that there was “handmade” and “factory-made,” it was really “Benchmade” that described the quality of Les’ product. He was building and 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.

 

The Series:

This knife is part of Benchmade’s HUNT series. Benchmade lists some of the competitive advantages to using a knife from this series. For stares, edge retention is one of the most important features while field dressing an animal, and they make sure that the CPM S30V blade will deliver. Second is durability. They say, “A powdered metal steel, the durability of CPM S30V outperforms other blade steels thanks to its uniform grain structure. Third is corrosion resistance and because CPM S30V steel is a true stainless steel, it requires little maintenance and out performs other steels such as D2 by 619%. With a Benchmade HUNT knife, you know that you are getting all of the qualities that you need to succeed and survive.

 

The Blade:

The blade is made out of CPM S30V stainless steel that has been hardened to a 58-60 HRC. This steel is made by US based Crucible specifically for high-end premium pocket knives as well as expensive kitchen cutlery. Crucible knew what they were designing this steel for, so they made sure to pack it full of all the qualities that you want out of your knife blade. For starters, it resists rusting and corroding with ease. It also has excellent edge retention. The two of these characteristics make for an excellent hunting knife, because it keeps maintenance time down. This is especially important if you are going on a long hunting trip and don’t want to long a sharpener and all of your cleaning supplies with you. To keep this steel in top shape, wipe it down, make sure it’s dry, and oil it occasionally. Crucible added vanadium carbides to bring extreme hardness into the steel alloy matrix. The vanadium carbides help this blade steel have the perfect balance between edge retention, hardness, and toughness. Unfortunately, because of the extreme hardness, it does prove harder to work with and sharpen. This should not be a major issue, but if you are a beginner sharpener, don’t expect to get a pristine edge on it.

The blade is finished satin, which is the most common blade finish on the market today. The satin finish is created by repeatedly sanding the blade in one direction with an increasing level of fine abrasive, usually a sandpaper. This finish gives a classic look by showing off the bevels of the blade while showcasing the fine lines of the steel. This finish also reduces glares, reflections, and increases the ability to fight rusting and corrosion. Hunting knives usually have a more classic look to them, so the satin finish was the perfect option for this knife.

The blade has been carved into a clip point blade shape. This is an all-purpose blade shape. The shape is formed by having the back edge of the knife run straight from the handle before stopping about halfway up the knife. At this point, it turns and continues to the point of the knife. This cut-out portion is curved and is known as the “clip” of the knife, which is we=here the blade style got its name from. Because of the clip, the knife looks as if the spine has actually been clipped off. Another thing that the clip creates is a lowered point, which gives the user more control when they are using the knife. This characteristic is key when looking for a hunting knife, because you need all the control that you can get when you are field dressing an animal. You do not want to slip and nick an organ, which would ruin the meat. The clip point especially excels at stabbing, because the tip is controllable, sharp, and thinner at the spine. These features let you stab quicker with less drag. Lastly, a clip point blade is versatile because of the large belly that it has. The belly is the slicing edge and the larger the slicing edge, the easier it will be to slice. Out of all the great features, the clip point does have one major drawback. Because of the relatively narrow tip and how sharp it is, the tip does have the tendency to be weak and break fairly easily, especially when used on harder objects.

Like all great hunting knives, the blade has a plain edge. The plain edge gives cleaner cuts and slices, is easier to sharpen in the field if needed, and lets you take on a wider variety of tasks.

 

The Handle:

The handle of the Mini Crooked River is made out of contoured stabilized wood. Wood is one of the materials that have been used for knife handles since knives came into existence. When you have a quality wood handle, like on this knife, the knife is going to be durable and attractive. One of the other benefits to a wood handle is that it adds so much personality and beauty to the knife but it is still an inexpensive material.

Stabilized wood is wood that has been injected with a chemical stabilizing solution. The stabilized wood can be worked with normal wood working tools. So it doesn’t make it any trickier to create a knife handle. Stabilizing the wood is going to make it more durable and less prone to warping or cracking compared to natural or untreated wood. This is especially important in a hunting knife like this one, because it is going to be around plenty of fluids.

To stabilize the wood, it is placed in a container with the stabilizing solution. It is then put under a vacuum and then high pressure to ensure that the solution completely penetrates the pieces of wood. After the wood has been injected with the stabling solution, it is heat cured, which turns the liquid stabilizing solution into a solid.

The handle on this knife is curved to fit comfortably in your hand no matter how long you have to use it. The wood attaches to a steel bolster for durability. There is a deep finger groove which not only gives you a more comfortable grip, but it also gives you a more secure grip on this knife. The spine of the knife bulges outward in a shallow curve, which also works to provide you with a very secure grip. On the butt of the handle, there is a lanyard hole. The biggest advantage that you can use with the lanyard hole is to wrap the lanyard around the handle to give it more texture while you are in the thick of dressing your game. This will give you extra texture so that you don’t slip and cut yourself.

 

The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip on this knife is designed for tip-up carry only, but it is reversible for either left or right handed carry. This is a benefit because it allows the user to carry the knife more comfortably throughout their hunting experience. The pocket clip is a split arrow clip, which means that it is shaped like an arrow. The arrow shape helps the clip to cling more securely to your pocket, adding an additional element of security inside of your pocket. The clip is slightly skeletonized, which is why this style of clip is known as the split arrow.

 

The Mechanism:

This is a manual knife that has no mechanical assist. It is equipped with both a thumb stud as well as Benchmade’s AXIS lock.

Because this knife is a manual knife, you don’t have to worry about the strict knife laws that would accompany an automatic knife. While a manual knife won’t open as smoothly or efficiently as an automatic knife, the maintenance will be a little bit easier. While there are still moving parts inside the handle, there is not a spring that can wear down and ruin the mechanism of the knife if it falls apart or breaks down.

The thumb stud is a simple mechanism to get the hang of. It was designed to replace the nail nick that is used on older and more traditional knives. This is a small barrel that extends off of the blade. You use your thumb to push on this barrel until the knife swings open and locks into place. While you can open the knife with only one hand, it does place your fingers in the path of the blade. Make sure that you practice carefully opening this a couple of times while you get the hang of it. One of the other common complaints with this opening mechanism is that the stud gets in the way because it does extend off the blade.

Benchmade says, “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.” This locking mechanism is known for being strong, durable, and crazy reliable.

 

Benchmade 15085-2 Mini Crooked River
Benchmade 15085-2 Mini Crooked River

The Specs:

The blade on this knife measures in at 3.4 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.114 inches. The handle has a length of 4.50 inches long with a thickness of 0.52 inches. The Crooked River weighs in at 3.29 ounces. This Benchmade knife is made in the United States of America.

 

Conclusion:

Benchmade says, “The standout Crooked River now in a smaller, everyday carry size. Featuring the same traditional profile, modern technology, and style that pushes the preconceived notions of what a hunting knife should be.” You can pick up this brand new knife today at BladeOps.

Benchmade 4300BK CLA Auto 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 ship skills, he blueprinted his ream knife before eventually meeting Victor Anselmo, who helped to grind the first ever pre-Benchmade Bali-Song prototype. Paired with handles that Les sourced forma 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 created 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 tis name from Bali-song, Inc. to Pacific Cutlery Corp.

In 1987, the company 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 positon in the market—even to this day.

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

Today we will be discussing the Benchmade 4300BK CLA automatic knife.

Benchmade 4300BK CLA Auto Knife
Benchmade 4300BK CLA Auto Knife

The Knife:

The blade on this knife is made out of 154Cm stainless steel. This is a high end steel that is relatively hard. It is considered an upgraded version of 440C through the addition of Molybdenum. This achieves superior edge holding compared to 440C while retaining similar excellent levels of corrosion resistance despite having less Chromium. It has decent toughness good enough for most uses and holds an edge well. This blade steel is not too difficult to sharpen when you have the right equipment.

The blade has been finished with a black coating. This not only creates a very sleek look that blends in well with the rest of the knife, it also creates a layer between the steel and the environment. Because of this, the blade is much less likely to rust and maintenance time is cut down considerably. Because of this, the blade life span is significantly prolonged. One of the disadvantages to this coating though is that it will scratch off after prolonged or heavy use. Once this happens, you do lose out on the benefits of a coated blade and the blade will have to be re-coated at this point.

The blade has been carved into a drop point blade shape. This is one of the most popular blade shapes that is in use today. This is for good reason, because it is a fanatic all-purpose blade shape that can take on even the heavy tasks. You can find this blade shape on almost any style of knife, anything from hunting knives to tactical knives, to everyday knives. The blade shape is formed by having the unsharpened edge of the knife run 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. Because of this tip strength and the ability to hold up to heavy use, drop point blades are popular on tactical and survival knives. And because the tip on the drop point blade is easily controllable, drop point blades make a great hunting knife, as well as a great knife for anything that you might need to perform any detail work. One of the reasons that they are so versatile is because they feature a large belly that is perfect for slicing. The drop point knife does have one major drawback, and that is that it does have a pretty broad tip. This means that you aren’t going to have many capabilities for slicing. But, the broad tip is the reasons that the drop point knife has the strength that you aren’t going to be able to find on clip point knives. Overall, this blade shape, and thus this knife, you will be prepared for almost any situation that you encounter.

 

The Handle:

The handle on this Benchmade knife is made out of black G-10. G10 is the common term for a grade of fiberglass composite laminate, which is a cloth material with a resin binder, that is used in a number of everyday carry, and more generally, gear applications. Though they are made quite differently; it is not entirely different form carbon fiber when it comes to properties. It is immune to corrosion and rust, it is easily textured and thusly offers excellent grip, and it can come in any number of different colors or patterns, in this Benchmade knife—black. Also, like carbon fiber, G10 tends to be on the more brittle side and does not resist impact well. And while it has little to do with functionality, G10 does not pack the same allure and looks as some other material because it resembles plastic both in appearance and feel.

The material is created by taking layers of fiberglass cloth and soaking them in resin, then compressing them and baking them under pressure. The material is extremely tough, hard, very lightweight, and strong.

The handle has been texturized to look like wood, with a grain pattern going cross the face of the handle. The handle does have a finger groove and finger guard, which creates a comfortable and safe grip while using this knife.

On the butt of this knife, there has been a lanyard hole carved into it. This will come in handy in a wide variety of different reasons. If you use a lanyard on your knife, you will be able to draw it out from your pocket much quicker than if you just used the pocket clip. Also, if you are using this knife in a more humid or messy environment, you can wrap the lanyard around the face of the handle which will add an extra element of texture and thus grip. Plus, although this has nothing to do with functionality, a lanyard can help add a touch of your own personal style to your knife.

 

The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip on this knife is deigned or tip up carry only but is eligible for a left or right hand carry option. The clip is sleek black and is held in place by a small black screw, that matches the rest of the hardware on this knife. On the pocket clip, there is a butterfly logo stamped in the middle near the top.

 

The Mechanism:

The Benchmade 4300BK CLA is an automatic knife. This means that it is not legal to own, carry, or use in all states, cities and areas. There are a strict set of laws surrounding automatic knives in the United States due to a tumultuous history. Because of this, it is fully up to the user to know your local laws. BladeOps does not take responsibility for any of the consequences that accompany the user’s choices.

An automatic knife is a type of knife with a folding or sliding blade contained in the handle which is opened automatically by a spring when a button, lever, or switch on the handle or bolster is activated. Most switchblade designs incorporate a locking blade, in which the blade is locked against closure when the spring extends the blade to the fully opened position. 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.

This is a push button automatic knife, which means that when the silver button on the handle is activated, the spring pushes the blade out where it will lock it into place. Right underneath the oversized firing button is an integrated safety, which ensures that this knife won’t accidentally go off while it is in your pocket.

 

The Specs:

The blade on this knife measures in at 3.4 inches long, with a handle that measures in at 4.45 inches long. The overall length of the knife measures when opened measures in at 7.85 inches long. This knife weighs in at 3.5 ounces. The Benchmade 4300 CLA knife was made in the United States of America.

 

The Pros of Benchmade CLA Automatic Knife:

  • The high end steel is relatively hard, which means that it will maintain its edge for long periods of time.
  • This steel has high corrosion resistance properties.
  • The blade is not too difficult to sharpen when you have the right materials.
  • The steel has been coated with a black coting, which prolongs the life of the blade.
  • The coating finish also cuts down on glares and reflections.
  • The coating finish provides a sleek, black look to the blade.
  • The drop point blade shape is tough, durable, and can take on almost any task.
  • The drop point blade shape has a large belly that makes slicing a breeze.
  • This is the perfect combination of steel and geometry for a perfect every day carry blade.
  • The tip is controllable, which is perfect for fine detail work.
  • The G10 handle is tough.
  • The G10 handle is light.
  • The G10 handle is durable.
  • The finger guard prevents your fingers form getting sliced in case of slipping.
  • The handle has comfortable ergonomics for long periods of use.
  • There is a lanyard hole carved into the butt of the handle.
  • The push button is oversized, so even if you are wearing gloves, you can easily trigger the blade.
  • There is an integrated safety.

 

The Cons of the Benchmade CLA Automatic Knife:

  • The coating finish can and will scratch off after long periods of use or heavy use.
  • The broad tip on the drop point blade means that you don’t have many stabbing capabilities.
  • The G10 handle is very brittle.
  • The G10 handle does not have very much personality and does lack elegance.
  • Because it is an automatic knife, this knife might not be legal in all states, cities, or areas.

 

Conclusion:

The Benchmade 4300 CLA (Composite Lite Auto) side open automatic knife is Benchmade’s first Black Class auto to feature G-10 handle scales. This mid-sized knife features a slim profile design and contoured handle scales for quick and easy pocket deployment. Thanks to the recessed over-sized firing button and integrated slide safety, you can remain confident that this knife is just as safe as it is effective. This model, the 4300BK, features smooth black handles and a drop point blade in a black finish. The pocket clip is designed for tip up carry only but is eligible for a left or right hand carry option. Pick up this fantastic knife today at BladeOps.

 

Benchmade 162-1 EOD Bushcrafter Fixed Blade Knife Review

Benchmade knows that to make a good knife, there are a few key elements. They say, “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.”

The very first step in a blade’s life is at laser cutting. Each Benchmade knife begins as a sheet of steel. A 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. The blanks are measured to make sure they meet specifications. Measurements are taken every step of the manufacturing process to guarantee an impeccable knife and streamline production. If a part isn’t “up-to-spec”, it doesn’t become a Benchmade.

The second step in any knife from Benchmade is surface grinding. This is where the blank is ground to its precise width. A surface grind technician places each blank in its rack by hand (racks vary by the number of blanks they can hold at one time), and each side is ground to its specified thickness. After grinding, the technician checks the thickness of each set of blanks. Benchmade says, “Tolerances are within the width of a human hair. Our knives have no room for error, and neither does a blank’s thickness.”

The third step in the knife making process is milking. Blade holes, handles and grooves are cut on high-speed mills. For every job (or batch), the blade milling technician programs the mill and measures the blade or handle to make sure it meets our precise tolerances. Blades and handles differ from knife to knife, so the technician gathers a specific set of measuring tools for each job. One of the holes that is cut here is the blade pivot, which is crucial to the folding mechanism. The pivot tolerance is .0005 inches, because the slightest deviation there becomes exponential at the blade’s tip. Handles require the same precision in order to fit the liners and blades properly and ensure a smooth mechanism.

The fourth step is beveling. Now the blade starts to really take shape. Up to this point, 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. 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.

Fifth is back-sanding, which is where the back of the blade gets special attention. Since the original laser cutting, the back has been mostly untouched. Along with back-sanding is the finishing step. Finishing is the step that gives the blade a more refined look. When the blade is cleaned up, it is taken to lasermarking to receive its one-of-a-kind Benchmade mark.

The final two steps is assembly and sharpening. Each Benchmade knife is assembled by hand. Benchmade says, “It takes longer to master blade sharpening than any other skill. A sharpening technician puts a razor edge on the knife using a standing belt sander, and this step takes extraordinary concentration. Each blade is sharpened to a targeted 30-degree inclusive angle, 15 degrees on each side. The knife is sharp enough when it can cut through ultra-thin phonebook paper effortlessly without tearing. And only then is it truly a Benchmade.”

Today we will be discussing the 162-1 EOD Bushcrafter knife.

Benchmade 162-1 EOD Bushcrafter Fixed Blade
Benchmade 162-1 EOD Bushcrafter Fixed Blade

The Blade:

The blade on this knife is made out of CPM S30V steel. This steel is made by US based steel company, Crucible Industries. They are known for making high end steels. Crucible even designed and made this steel with high end knives and kitchen cutlery in mind, which means that you are going to get all of the best knife qualities that you could ask for. For starters, this steel resists rust effortlessly, which is significant for this outdoor and survival knife. You are going to want a knife that you don’t have to worry too much about when you are in the outdoors, and CPM S30V steel maintenance is going to be low. Second, this steel maintains an edge very well. This steel is known as having the best balance between hardness, toughness, and edge retention. This is a tougher balance to achieve than it seems like it would be, because the harder the steel is, the less tough the steel is going to be. Crucible could achieve this balance because they added Vanadium Carbides into the steel, which brings the extreme hardness out of the steel matrix, but doesn’t reduce its toughness. This steel does have one major drawback, which is that because it is so hard, it is going to be tricky to sharpen. This shouldn’t be too big of an issue, but a beginner sharpener is probably going to have a tough time with this steel.

The blade has been finished with a satin blade finish, which is one of the most common blade finishes you are going to find in today’s cutlery industry. The finish is create by repeatedly sanding the finish in one direction with an increasing level of an abrasive, which is normally a sandpaper. The finish is used to show off the fine lines of the steel while also showcasing the bevels of the blade. This finish is going to give you a very traditional look that will never go out of style. The satin finish cuts down on glares, reflections, and even some corrosion.

The blade has been carved into a drop point blade shape, which is one of the two most popular finishes in the cutlery industry. The shape is created by having the spine of the edge go from the handle to the point in a slow curving manner. This creates a lowered point, which is what is going to give you so much control over your cuts and slices. The point is not only lowered, but also wide, which is what is going to give you the extreme strength from this knife. The broad tip allows the knife to take on tougher tasks, which is what makes the drop point blade shape a great option for a survival or tactical knife. Because the tip is broader, it is able to withstand things that the other blade shapes would not be able to. The drop pint knife is also very versatile, because of the large belly that makes slicing a breeze. The larger the belly, the easier it is going to be to slice. The drop point blade shape really only has one drawback, which is because of the broad point, it is not going to be super capable of piercing and stabbing. This usually isn’t’ too big of a drawback, because you do get so much extra strength from the broadness of the tip.

This blade is a plain edge, which is going to allow you to take on a wider variety of tasks. The plain edge is also going to give you cleaner cuts and will be easier to sharpen. The fact that it is easier to sharpen is going to be an advantage if you are in the field and need to sharpen this knife with a rock.

 

The Handle:

The handle on this knife is made out of sand colored contoured G10. This is a laminate composite made out of fiberglass, just like many of the other common knife handle materials. This material is extremely similar to carbon fiber, except that it is a little inferior and can be made and bought for a fraction of the price. To make this material, 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 tough, hard, lightweight, and very strong. This process also makes it easy to add checkering or other patterns to the handle, which will give a very comfortable and solid grip on this outdoors knife. Outdoors knives especially benefit from this handle material because it is so durable, lightweight, and especially because it is non-porous, which means that it is not going to absorb any fluids that you happen to come into contact with. The overall benefits of this handle material is that it is going to be tough, light, and durable. However, it is going to be brittle and some people do fell like it lacks elegance.

The handle is a tan, sand colored. It is also very simple, with a slightly curving spine and a bulging belly. There is a large finger guard that will protect your fingers if things start to get messy. It also has an extended butt, which helps keeps your hands holding on to it. It has been skeletonized to cut down on weight with three round holes cut out of the middle. The last hole is a lanyard hole.

 

The Mechanism:

This is a full-tang, fixed blade knife. A full-tang knife is a knife that has the metal from the blade extending down into the handle. The G10 of the handle is going to cover the metal to make for a more comfortable and secure grip. This helps increase the strength of the knife because there is no part of the knife where the handle and the blade are melded together. Plus, if your handle scales happen to break, you will steel have the knife shape to work with.

This is a fixed blade knife, which means that there is no mechanisms that has the ability to break. Fixed blades are usually stronger, because the blade can be longer and thicker, as it does not have to fit inside a handle. Fixed blades also are easier to clean, because all you have to do is wipe down the blade and the handle and it’s good to go. You are also going to want to oil the blade when needed. However, you don’t have to worry about the insides of the knife or a hinge, like you would on a folding knife. Fixed blades also make for a better survival knife, because you can use it for a wider variety of tasks, instead of just cutting.

 

The Sheath:

The sheath on this knife is made out of leather. Leather is one of the more traditional materials that you are going to find on a knife sheath. Leather has been known as rugged, tough, and strong. Because it is flexible; it is not going to break like your plastic sheaths might. Plus, if the stitches happen to come undone, you can easily fix it yourself. This is also one of the few materials that is going to get better as it goes. Plus, leather sheaths will give your knife a custom fit once it has been broken in. This knife is an outdoor or survival knife, so the next benefit is a great one: this sheath material is going to be silent. You can easily pull the knife out of your sheath without it making a sound.

 

The Specs:

The blade on his 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. This knife is a heftier knife, weighing in at 7.72 ounces, with a sheath that weighs in at 1.86 ounces. This Bushcrafter knife was made in the United States of America.

 

Conclusion:

Benchmade says, “Originally a pure survival knife, the World’s foremost explosive ordnance technicians saw the value in this also as a knife for cutting plastic explosives and helped to modify the design to suit their needs.” You can pick up this knife today at BladeOps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benchmade 320SBK Precinct Flipper 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?”

In 1980, Les incorporated as Bali-Song, Inc. and rented a small shop in California. The equipment that he used at this time was purchased from the owner of a manufacturing operation who wanted 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 and was dissolved. Les was not ready to give up just yet though. The next year, 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.

Today we will be discussing the Benchmade 320SBK Precinct 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. 154CM is a high end steel made by Crucible Industries. Crucible is a US based steel manufacturer that often makes steels for the highest end knives. 154CM is a hard steel that is known to be an upgraded version of 440C. This is because Crucible has added Molybdenum to the steel formula, which helps to hold the edge better than 440C is able to. Although 154CM does have less Chromium than similar steels, it does have high levels of corrosion resistance. This steel should not be too difficult to sharpen when you have the right equipment. This steel does have a good amount of toughness that will be perfect for an EDC.

The blade has been coated black. There are a variety of benefits to a coated blade. The first is that it is going to prolong the life of the blade. This is achieved because it creates a barrier to protect the blade from the elements. The coating is also going to increase the wear resistance, which is achieved in the same way. The coating can sometimes help the blade cut a little bit smoother, which is nice, although not a huge advantage for an EDC knife. However, the issue with coatings is that it is going to scratch off after a series of hard use or even just with time. Once it does get scratched off, it is almost worse than a bare blade because not only is it not protecting the knife, but it is also going to cause more drag.

The blade on this knife has been carved into a drop point blade shape. This is one of the most popular blade shapes that is on the market and for good reason. Not only is this a tough blade shape, it is also incredibly versatile. The shape of the blade is formed by having the spine of the knife stretch from the handle to the point in a slow curve. The slow curve is going to give the lowered point that is beloved for its control. The point on a drop point is also very broad, which is going to give the knife its strength that it is known for. The broad tip has enough metal at the tip that it can take on those tougher tasks without snapping. The last reason that this knife is so versatile is because of the large belly that it boasts, which makes slicing a piece of cake. The one thing that you have to be aware of is that because the point is much more broad, you do not have all of the stabbing or piercing abilities that you would with a knife such as the clip point.

 

The Handle:

The handle on this knife is made out of black G10. G10 is a modern material that is very strong, but does suffer from being brittle. This is because all of the fibers that make it up are arranged in one direction. This creates a tough material in one direction, but it will begin to break apart when stressed in the other directions. This handle may crack if it is subject to hard or sharp impacts.

The handle itself offers plenty of grip and texture to be able to really perform with this knife. There is a pretty deep finger groove, which will give you a more comfortable hold. After the first finger groove, there is an elongated second one which stretches almost to the butt of the handle. This will also improve the comfort levels of the handle while making it more secure. The spine of the knife is a slow curve from the blade to the butt. The butt of this knife does have a lanyard hole carved into it.

 

The Pocket Clip:

             The pocket clip that is attached to this knife is a deep carry clip. This means that the knife will fit more snugly in your pocket, be less likely to fall out while you are going about your daily tasks, and can be more easily concealed. The only drawback (and it isn’t much of a drawback) is that a deep carry clip is going to take a few milliseconds longer to remove the knife from your pocket. Like I said, not too much of a drawback.

The pocket clip is also reversible for either left or right handed carry. This, as well as the flipper, help to make the knife fully ambidextrous. Unfortunately, the handle has only been drilled for tip-up carry, which is the more dangerous way to carry the knife.

 

The Mechanism:

This is a manual opening knife that employs a flipper to assist you as well as a liner locking mechanism.

Because it is a manual knife, it is going to be legal in more states, cities, and areas than either a fully automatic knife or even a spring assisted knife. This is because there is no mechanism to assist you in opening the knife; you do it all by hand. That being said, because you do it all by hand, it is not going to open as smoothly or as efficiently as if it were an automatic or a spring assisted knife. You will have to work a little bit harder to bring it into play. One of the benefits of this is that it is most likely not going to flip open inside of your pocket like the other two styles could. This is a good EDC, because throughout your day, you probably won’t have to rush to get your knife open.

The blade has been equipped with a flipper to help open the knife. This is a skinny triangular piece of metal that extends off of the blade. It extends out of the spine of the handle when the knife is closed. To open it, you grip the folded knife and use your finger to pull back on this piece of metal, which will then flip the knife open and lock it into place. One of the many benefits of a flipper is that once it is opened, it is going to act as a large finger guard. And, since it doesn’t extend off the blade, it is not going to get in the way when you are trying to open the knife. Also, it does not put your fingers in the path of the blade when you are flipping open the knife, which is different than a thumb stud and much safer. Overall, the flipper is a safer opening mechanism as well as being ambidextrous. It will take a couple of tries to really get the hang of this open mechanism.

Liner locks are one of the more common mechanisms seen on folding knives. This mechanism’s characteristic component is a side spring bar located on the same side as sharp edge of the blade, “lining” the inside of the handle. When the knife is closed, the spring bar is held under tension. When fully opened, that tension slips the bar inward to make contact with the butt of the blade, keeping it firmly in place and preventing it from closing. To disengage a liner lock, you have to use your thumb to push the spring bar “down” so that it clears contact from the butt of the blade. This lets you use your index finger to push the blade just enough so that it keeps the bar pushed down so you can remove your thumb from the blade path, then continue to safely close the knife. Some of the major benefits of this style of knife is that there are two true handle sides. This means that you can close the knife with one hand without switching or altering your grip which is perfect when you need both hands for the job. This knife locking mechanism is perfect for entry level knives as well as high end knives. However, you should know that it isn’t the strongest locking mechanism on the market. If you will have heavy-duty tasks to perform, this might not be the knife for you.

 

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 has a length of 4.48 inches long and a thickness of 0.48 inches. When this knife is opened, it measures in at an overall length of 7.78 inches long. This knife weighs 3.42 ounces, which is an ideal weight for an EDC. This knife was made in the United States of America.

 

Benchmade 320SBK Precinct Flipper Knife
Benchmade 320SBK Precinct Flipper Knife

Conclusion:

The Benchmade 320 Precinct is the second designer collaboration with Butch Ball who helped pioneer Benchmade’s first flipper–the Benchmade 300. The Precinct features a liner lock design and textured G-10 handle scales combined with Butch Ball’s finger relief handle design to provide exceptional grip. The action is very smooth thanks to the thrust bearing washers and the deep carry pocket clip is designed for tip up carry only but is eligible for left or right hand carry options. This specific model, the 320SBK, features a partly serrated black finished blade comprised of 154CM stainless steel in a drop point style. You can pick up this knife today at BladeOps.

 

 

 

Benchmade Vallation Spring Assist Knife Review

Benchmade 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.

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?”

The next year, 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 Vallation Spring Assisted Knife.

 

The Blade:

The blade on this knife is made out of CPM S30V stainless steel. This is a premium steel that is made by Crucible Industries, which is a US based steel company. Crucible is known for making steels for high end pocket knives and kitchen cutlery. This steel has excellent edge retention while also resisting rust effortlessly. This steel was designed in the US and is typically used for high end premium pocket knives and expensive kitchen cutlery. Crucible has added vanadium carbides to the steel matrix, which brings out the extreme hardness without effecting its toughness. When you look at this steel dollar for dollar, it is generally regarded as one of the highest quality blade steels. This is because it has the perfect balance between edge retention, hardness, and toughness. This balance is a complicated balance to achieve because the harder the steel gets, the less tough it usually gets. One of the only drawbacks to this steel is that it is a little bit tricky to sharpen. This isn’t too big of a disadvantage, but if you are a beginner sharpener, this is probably not the best steels to practice on.

The blade has been finished satin, which is a very popular blade finish choice at this time in the cutlery industry. The finish is a very classic finish, creating a knife that is not going to go out of style anytime soon. The finish is created when the manufacturer repeatedly sands the blade in one direction with an increasing level of a fine abrasive. The abrasive that is most commonly used is a fine sandpaper. As a key, the finer the sandpaper and the more even the liens, the cleaner that the satin finish is going to look. Because this is a Benchmade knife, the satin finish is going to look very clean. The satin finish is going to increase the level of corrosion resistance that this knife has as well as cut down on the glares and reflections that this knife might give off.

The blade on this knife has been carved into a drop point blade shape. The drop point blade is a good all-purpose knife that is able to stand up to almost anything. The drop point is one of the more popular blade shapes that is in use today. The shape is formed by having the back edge of the knife run straight form the handle to the tip of the knife in a slow curve, which does create a lowered point. It is that lowered point that is going to give more control to the knife while also adding strength to the tip. The drop point is so strong that it is actually a great option on tactical and survival knives. Drop point knives do feature a very large belly area that is going to make slicing cakewalk. Of course, the drop point does have one major disadvantage: because of its relatively broad tip, it is going to be less suitable for piercing than the clip point is going to be. You should keep in mind that it is that broad tip that is going to give the knife the point strength that you cannot find on other knives.

 

Benchmade Vallation Spring Assist Knife
Benchmade Vallation Spring Assist Knife

The Handle:

             The handle on this knife is made out of 6061-T6 aluminum. Aluminum is a very durable material for knife handles. This is a low density metal that gives a good, hefty feel to the knife without weighing the knife down. This is a benefit of such a big knife because you can have the needed size without the dreaded weight. The most common type of aluminum that is used is 6061-T6 alloy which has incredible tensile strength.

When the knife is properly textured, it will give you a reasonably secure rip that is comfortable for long periods of time. Aluminum does have a high conductive property though, so if you were going to use it in colder months, it can be uncomfortable to hold.

The overall benefits of an aluminum handle are that it is strong, light, durable, and resistant to corrosion. The overall cons to this knife handle material is that it is cold to hold, it can be slippery, and it is susceptible to scratches and dings.

The handle on this knife has a pretty straight spine with some jimping on it for better control. The belly of the handle has three finger grooves, the first is deeper, the second is pretty shallow, and the third is very shallow and very elongated. These shapes create a very comfortable grip. There is a finger guard that will protect against getting cut.

To create enough texture, there are some grooves in the middle of the palm of the handle which gives enough texture for a good grip on this EDC.

 

The Pocket Clip:

             The pocket clip on this knife is designed for tip up carry, but it is reversible for either left or right handed carry, which helps to make this knife fully ambidextrous. The pocket clip is also a deep carry pocket clip, which will keep your knife more snugly and more concealed inside of your pocket. The deep carry clip is a great option if you know that you will be moving around often.

 

The Mechanism:

             This is a spring assisted knife that uses Benchmade’s AXIS assisted mechanism as well as a thumb stud to help you open the knife. 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.

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, quickly and with one hand; this evolution of the AXIS® includes a spring that helps to fire the blade into the open position 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 position. AXIS® Assist knives also feature integrated safety lock systems.

The thumb stud is a small barrel that sits where the nail nick would if it were a more traditional knife. The thumb stud makes it easy for the user to open the knife with a flick of their thumb. The thumb stud is both ambidextrous (which, along with the AXIS makes this a fully ambidextrous knife) and easy to use. That being said, there are a few disadvantages to the thumb stud. One of the biggest ones is that it does put your fingers in the path of the blade when you are opening and closing the knife. There have been plenty of stories of someone trying to open their knife and accidentally slicing their finger instead. One disadvantage that does bother some people is that the stud does sit on the blade and protrude outward. This does sometimes get in the way when you are trying to use the knife.

 

The Specs:

The blade on this knife measures in at 3.7 inches long with a handle that measures in at 5.06 inches long. The overall length of the knife measures in at 8.76 inches long, which is a larger length for a folding knife such as this one. With the extra length, you can expect extra width, and this knife weighs in at 6.4 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, “A duty knife that can be carried every day, this tactical AXIS® Assist takes its styling cues from our legacy line of automatic knives. A stout handle with excellent palm swell provides ample grip and positive weight for striking with the carbide glass breaker. The unique Mohawk spine design on the blade allows for great control without aggressive jimping. This knife will be your new EDC on and off the job.”

The new Vallation is an entirely new tactically inspired spring assisted model design that gets its styling cues from the highly praised automatic models. The ergonomic handle sports a generous palm swell for extra blade control and the Mohawk spine design also promotes control without the use of jimping. Each Boost spring assist knife utilizes Benchmade’s AXIS® Assist mechanism which is a fully ambidextrous operating system utilizing a dual thumb stud design to deploy a premium CPM-S30V stainless steel blade as well as integrating a slide safety on the spine. This Black Class model features a black anodized aircraft-grade aluminum handle, stainless steel liners, incorporated carbide glass breaker, a drop point style blade in a satin finish and the reversible deep carry pocket clip is designed for tip up carry only but is eligible for a left or right hand carry option. You can pick up this new knife today at BladeOps.

 

Benchmade Mini Griptillian Folder Knife Review

Benchmade Mini Griptillian Folder Knife
Benchmade Mini Griptillian Folder Knife

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.

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?” This was in 1979.

The next year, 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 are going to be talking about the 556 Mini Griptillian folder knife.

 

The Designer:

The man behind this knife is Mel Pardue. Benchmade says, “The senior team member, Mel has been grinding sparks, making knives and creating a following for 25-plus years. His style has a class and simplicity all its own. The Pardue collaborations offer great utility to the everyday knife user while at the same time presenting an upscale distinction. Less is definitely more with Mel’s designs.”

 

The Blade:

The blade on this knife is made out of 154CM steel that has been hardened to a 58-61 HRC. This steel is relatively hard and normally considered to be an upgraded version of 440C. This is an upgraded version because of the added Molybdenum into the steel matrix. Molybdenum helps to achieve superior edge holding when being compared to 440C while still allowing the steel to keep its high levels of corrosion resistance. This is surprising because the steel does have less Chromium. This steel does have a decent toughness that is going to allow you to get the job done when it comes to your everyday tasks. Plus, because of the hardness, it does hold its edge really well. This steel is designed and made b Crucible Industries, which is a high end steel manufacturer that is based in the United States of America.

The blade has been finished with a satin finish. This finish is one of the most popular finishes in the cutlery industry today and for good reason. Satin will give you a classic look while enhancing the fine liens of the steel and showing off the bevels of the blade. This finish is created by repeatedly sanding the blade in one direction with an increasing degree of a fine abrasive. The fine abrasive that is most commonly used is a sandpaper. As a key, the finer the abrasive and the more even the lines, the cleaner the finish is going to look. Because this is a Benchmade knife, you can expect to have a very clean satin finish on the blade. This finish also cuts down on glares, reflections, and even a little bit of corrosion. However, this finish does take time and labor, so it can increase the overall cost of the knife.

The blade has been carved into a drop point style blade. This is a blade style that is going to stand up to almost anything while also being able to accomplish most tasks because of the versatility. This blade is one of the most used blade shapes on the market, and you can tell why. The spine of the knife is going to run straight from the handle to the tip of the knife in a slow, curved manner, which gives the blade a lowered point. Because the knife has a lowered point, you are going to have more control over the tip which means that you can perform fine detail work. Plus, the tip on a drop point knife is pretty broad, which is where the style gets all of its strength from. The Mini Griptilian has been designed as an everyday knife as well as an outdoors knife, so the strength from the tip is going to be ideal when you are using it as an outdoors knife. Drop points also feature very large bellies that make slicing especially easy. This belly is going to come in handy when you use this knife as an everyday carry knife. The most common task movement with this knife you are going to find yourself doing is slicing. The bigger the belly, the easier the slice. Drop point knives do have one major disadvantage which is how broad the tip is. This is weird, because earlier we listed it as a major advantage. Well, it’s both. It’s an advantage because you are going to get the strength that you wouldn’t be able to get anywhere else. It is a disadvantage because it does take away a lot of your piercing capabilities.

 

The Handle:

The handle on this knife is made out of Glass-Filled Nylon, or GFN, for short. This is the same material as FRN and is similar to the name brand material Zytel. This is a thermoplastic material that is extremely strong, resistant to bending and abrasion, and is almost indestructible. As a complete bonus, this is an inexpensive material.

It is an inexpensive material because it can be injection molded into any desired shape and textured in a multitude of ways throughout the production process. Because of this, the material can be produced and a high volume which equals the low cost.

This is such a strong material because all of the fibers are arranged in a haphazard manner, which means that it is going to be strong in all directions instead of just one. This material is similar to G10, Carbon Fiber, and Micarta, except that those materials have the fibers arranged in a single direction. It is that reason that makes the other materials so brittle and this material so durable and strong. When GFN is moved or stressed in any direction, it is not going to break apart.

There are complaints that it feels like cheap plastic because it does tend to feel a little bit hollow. Some people feel like this material does not offer much character. And some people are disappointed because G10 offers a more secure grip.

The handle is pretty simple. There is a row of jimping on the spine of the handle near the blade to give you ultimate control over your knife. IT then bulges out slightly as it curves towards the butt of the handle. Near the butt, there is another row of jimping. The butt is rounded, which gives this knife a very curvy look. There is a finger guard and a finger groove on the belly of the handle. In the finger groove, there is another row of jimping for added control. On the face of the handle, there is a middle portion that has added texture to give you a good grip through all of your tasks.

 

The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip is not a deep carry clip, which is a drawback. The clip can also only be attached for tip up carry. However, it is reversible for either left or right handed carry, which helps to make this knife fully ambidextrous.

 

The Mechanism:

The knife is a manual opening knife, which means that there is no mechanism to help open it. In terms of legality, this is a major bonus, because you don’t have to worry about any of the strict knife laws that surround automatic knives and some spring assisted knives. However, in terms of efficiency, it does prove a little bit harder to open quickly and efficiently. His shouldn’t be too big of a drawback, but it might deter some people. One of the other benefits of a manual opening knife is that you don’t have to worry about it accidentally deploying. The manual opening knife is much more traditional. While maintenance is not necessarily easy, it is going to be easier than with an automatic knife because you don’t have to worry about a spring wearing out or snapping.

To help you open the knife, the Mini Griptilian has been equipped with a thumb stud. This is a very common opening feature that you are going to see on pocket knives. The thumb stud also allows for easy, one handed opening. The thumb stud is easy to get the hang of and essentially replaces the nail nick that is found on many traditional pocket knives. That being said, there are its drawbacks. The thumb stud is a small barrel that extends off of the blade. Some people feel like this gets in the way, because even once the knife is opened, the small barrel is coming out of the blade. Another disadvantage is that when you are opening this knife, it does put your fingers directly in the path of the blade. There have been plenty of reports of someone trying to open their knife with a thumb stud and slicing their fingers on accident. This should not scare you, you should just be aware that you do need to be cautious when using this feature.

The blade has also been equipped with Benchmade’s AXIS locking 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 2.91 inches long, with a blade thickness of 0.100 inches. The handle on this knife measures in at 3.87 inches long with a handle thickness of 0.51 inches. The overall length of this knife when it is opened is 6.78 inches long. This knife weighs in at a mere 2.81 ounces.

 

Conclusion:

When Benchmade is talking about this knife, they say, “When it comes to all around functionality, you can’t beat the Griptillian®. There are more shapes, sizes and colors available in the Griptillian than any other product family from Benchmade.” You can pick up this knife today at BladeOps.

 

 

 

 

 

Benchmade Loco Family Knife Review

Benchmade started in 1979 and has since become one of the greatest knife companies around. Their 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. They carefully measure every part at every step in the process. They use the best materials and equipment. They make world class knives for world class users and this is how. Every blade begins as a sheet of steel, so the first step in the process is laser cutting. At this step a laser cutting technician programs the laser to cut the steel into blanks, giving the blade its basic profile. If a part isn’t up-to-spec, it doesn’t become a Benchmade.

The second step is surface grinding. This is where the blank 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. Benchmade knives have no room for error, and neither does a blank’s thickness.

The third step in the process is the milling process. This is where blade holes, handles, and grooves are cut on high speed mills. One of the holes that is cut here is the blade pivot, which is crucial to the folding mechanism. The pivot tolerance is .0005 inches, because the slightest deviation there becomes exponential at the blade’s tip.

The fourth step in the process is beveling. This is the step that the blade starts to really take shape. Up to this point, 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. An imprecise bevel can hamper the blade’s balance, sharpness, strength, and mechanism function.

The fifth and sixth step are tied together: the back sanding and the finishing. Back sanding is where the back of the blade gets special attention. The sides of the blade have been beveled and milled, but the back has been relatively untouched since the original laser cutting. The back sanding technician sands the back of the blade until it is smooth. Finishing gives the blade a more refined look. The finishing technician stone washes the blades in a ceramic medium to remove any burrs and gives the blades a clean, polished appearance. When the blade is cleaned up, it is taken to laser marking to receive its one of a kind Benchmade mark.

The seventh and eight steps are the last steps and are also tied together. This time, it is the assembly and sharpening. Every Benchmade knife is assembled by hand, and it’s no surprise that there are more hand operations performed at this point in a knife’s production than at any other stage in the process. A sharpening technician puts a razor edge on the knife using a standing belt sander, and this step takes extraordinary concentration. Each blade is sharpened to a targeted 30-degree inclusive angle, 15 degrees on each side. The knife is sharp enough when it can cut through ultra-thin phonebook paper effortlessly without tearing. And only then is it truly a Benchmade.

Today, for Benchmade Month, we will be going over the Loco family of knives.

Benchmade Loco
Benchmade Loco

The Blade:

The blades on this family of knives is made out of CPM S30V steel. This is a premium formula of steel that is made by US based Crucible. This steel has excellent edge retention and resists rust effortlessly. It was designed in the US and is typically sued 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. The only drawback to this steel is that it does prove to be pretty tricky to sharpen.

There are two different blade finishes that you get to choose from. The first is the satin finish, which is created by sanding the blade repeatedly in one direction. The key characteristic of this finish is that it shows the bevels of the blade while also showcasing the lines in the steel. This is a traditional finish that provides your knife with a very classic look. While it does work to reduce glares and reflections slightly, there are definitely more matte finishes.

The second finish option that you are presented with is a coated finish. This is a black coating that reduces the reflection and glare while also reducing wear and corrosion. Coating finishes can prolong the life of a blade by preventing corrosion or rust. Quality coatings add cost to a knife but provide more corrosion resistance, less reflection, and require less maintenance. However, ALL coatings can be scratched off after continuous heavy use, and the blade will then have to be re-coated.

The blade has been carved into a reverse tanto blade shape. This blade shape was designed by Bob Dozier and it actually resembles a reverse Drop Point style blade. This style of blade has no angular corners, but actually looks something like a Santoku. It does have a markedly different feel than other blade shapes. The point is much lower than the midpoint as with a spear point there are some differences as you would have better tip control than a spear point, but slightly less belly—like a halfway point between a spear point and a Wharncliffe blade. In general, there is no real rule with reverse tantos. Tanto blades have been made for excelling at piercing through tough materials. This was originally designed for armor piercing and was popularized by Cold Steel and is similar in style to Japanese long and short swords. While most tanto’s do not have a large belly, because it is a reverse tanto, there is a small belly that can work to slice a little bit. This family of knives has been designed as an everyday knife and also as a tactical knife. This knife shape makes for a good everyday knife option, because you do have the slight belly with the reversed tanto blade shape. But, it can also be a great tactical knife because the point is strong and sharp.

You have the option between two different edge styles. The first edge option is a plain edge. This is the more traditional edge option that you can go with and provides you with cleaner cuts than with a serrated edge. The plain edge is easier to get a finer edge and is easier to sharpen.

The plain edge excels at push cuts, slicing, skinning, and peeling.

The second option that you are presented with is a combo edge. This means that a portion of it is serrated and the other half is plain. The serrated portion is perfect for sawing through thicker and tougher materials. However, it will give you more jagged edges when you use it to cut. The benefits of a combo edge is that you have the serrated edges to get through the tougher things, but the plain edge for finer detail work.

 

The Handle:

The handle on the Loco family is made out of black G10. G10 is a grade of Garolite that is a laminate composite made of fiberglass. It has very similar properties to carbon fiber, yet it can be had for almost a fraction of the cost. The manufacturer takes layers of fiberglass cloth and soaks them in resin, then compresses them, and bakes them under pressure. The material that results is extremely tough, hard, very lightweight, and strong. In fact, G10 is considered the toughest of all the fiberglass resin laminates and stronger, although more brittle than Micarta. Checkering and other patterns add a texture to the handle, which makes for a solid, comfortable grip. The production process can utilize many layers of the same color, or varying different colors to achieve a unique cosmetic look on the g10 handle. Tactical folders and fixed blade knives benefit from the qualities of G10, because it is durable and lightweight, non-porous, and available in a variety of colors. While 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 used in FRN handles.

The handle has a deep finger groove to provide a secure grip, with a slight finger guard to keep your hand safe. After the finger groove, the handle curves until the butt of the handle, where it forms an angle to meet the spine of the handle. There is plenty of texture on the handle to give you a secure grip in most environments. The majority of the hardware on the handle is black, to match the G10. There is also a lanyard hole on the butt of the handle. This will come in handy when you are using the Loco as an everyday knife because it keeps it out of the way, but you have easy access to it. The lanyard will come in handy when you are using it as a tactical knife because with the lanyard, you can draw the knife out and into play quicker.

 

The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip on the Loco family is a standard clip that can be attached to the knife tip up.

 

The Mechanism:

This knife is a manual opening knife that uses a thumb hole to assist you when you are opening your knife. Since the 1980s, the familiar round hole has most often been associated with folding knives from Spyderco. Over the years, numerous other knife makers have adopted or adapted the feature, one of which is Benchmade. There’s good reason for this industrial mimicry—the thumb hole works. Opening a folder equipped with a thumb hole or slot is just like using a thumb stud. By its very design, its ambidextrous. And many knife lovers favor a hole, because unlike a stud, it doesn’t protrude from the blade.

The Loco knives also feature the AXIS locking mechanism. The AXIS lock is a proprietary mechanism you’d only find on Benchmade knives, but due to its ingenuity and popularity among EDCers, its definitely worth knowing about. It’s easy to sue with one hand, but also important, its completely ambidextrous. The lock is made up of a spring tensioned bar that slides back and forth on a track cut into the handles of the knife. The butt of each blade featuring an AXIS lock has a flat spot that allows a spring tensioned bar to lock into place when the knife is opened. To close the knife, you pull the bar towards the back of the knife, using the thumb studs, and fold the blade shut. Right handers and lefties can both appreciate how easy it is to sue this lock, because the bar is accessible form both sides of the knife handle. Because this mechanism has plenty of moving parts involved, it can be difficult to disassemble for cleaning and maintenance.

 

The Specs:

The blade on the Loco knives are 3.68 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.160 inches. The overall length of the Loco knife is 8.62 inches long with a closed length of 4.94 inches. The handles on these knives are 0.67 inches thick. This knife weighs in at 6.56 ounces. This knife is made in the US.

 

Conclusion:

Benchmade named the 808 the Loco because it is crazy how overbuilt the knife is. A truly robust tactical knife with the refined style of custom hardware. This knife has a unique styling. This Black Class model utilizes the Benchmade AXIS mechanism and uses an oval shaped cutout in the blade to open it. Even without thumb studs or a flipper function, this large blade opens extremely smooth and closes just the same. The beefy black G10 handle scales, with stainless steel liners, are contoured providing a comfortable ergonomic grip—even for prolonged periods of time. The Loco takes the unique factor to the next level by featuring a reverse tanto style blade that gives exceptional performance thanks to the S30V stainless steel as well as custom hardware fond on both the AXIS lock and pivot pin and even the back spacers. Come celebrate Benchmade month with us today and pick up your favorite version of the Loco knife.

Benchmade 482 Megumi 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.” They then go on to explain how they make their world class knives.

Each of their knives begins as a single sheet of steel. A 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. The blanks are measured to make sure they meet specifications. Measurements are taken every step of the manufacturing process to guarantee an impeccable knife and streamline production. If a part isn’t “up-to-spec”, it doesn’t become a Benchmade.

Next is surface grinding, which is where the blank is ground to its precise width. A surface grind technician places each blank in its rack by hand (racks vary by the number of blanks they can hold at one time), and each side is ground to its specified thickness. After grinding, the technician checks the thickness of each set of blanks. Tolerances are within the width of a human hair. Benchmade says, “Our knives have no room for error, and neither does a blank’s thickness.”

After that is blade and handle milling. Blade holes, handles and grooves are cut on high-speed mills. For every job (or batch), the blade milling technician programs the mill and measures the blade or handle to make sure it meets our precise tolerances. Blades and handles differ from knife to knife, so the technician gathers a specific set of measuring tools for each job. One of the holes that is cut here is the blade pivot, which is crucial to the folding mechanism. The pivot tolerance is .0005 inches, because the slightest deviation there becomes exponential at the blade’s tip. Handles require the same precision in order to fit the liners and blades properly and ensure a smooth mechanism.

Next is beveling, which is when the blade really begins to take shape.  Up to this point, 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. 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 next two steps are back-sanding and finishing. Back-sanding is the portion of the process that gives the back of the blade special attention. Up until this point, the back has mostly remained untouched. Finishing is the part of the process that gives the blade a more refined look.

Last is assembly and sharpening. Each and every Benchmade is assembled by hand. An assembly technician receives all of the components and carefully pieces them together. The technician checks the knife for blade play. The knife is sharp enough when it can cut through ultra-thin phonebook paper effortlessly without tearing. And only then is it truly a Benchmade.

Today we will be talking about the Benchmade Megumi.

 

The Class:

This knife falls into the Blue Class, which has the slogan “Day After Day.” Benchmade believes that a Blue Blass knife is going to be your best friend. It can always be with you. They say, “In fact it’s better, because your other friends aren’t made of steel.”

 

The Blade:

The blade on this knife is made out of S30V premium stainless steel that has been hardened to a 58-60 HRC. This steel is made by Crucible Steel Industries, which is a US based company. This steel was created with high end pocket knives and kitchen cutlery in mind, which means that it is going to have all of the best steel qualities for a blade. Crucible says, “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 environments.” This steel is regarded as having the best balance between hardness, toughness, and edge retention in the industry. One of the only drawbacks to this steel is that because of its hardness, it does prove to be a little tricky to sharpen. Crucible also explains the CPM process and its benefits, “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 finish, which is one of the most common blade finishes you are going to find in the cutlery industry. This finish is traditional and will always help make your knife look classic. The finish is created by repeatedly sanding the blade in one direction with an increasing level of an abrasive to show off the fine lines of the steel and also showcase the bevels of the blade. This blade finish is used to slightly reduce glares and reflections while also reducing some of the corrosion that the knife might be susceptible to.

The blade has been carved into a clip point blade shape. The clip point blade shape is a great all-purpose blade that is going to excel at piercing. This blade shape is one of the two most popular blade shapes in the market today. The blade shape is made by having the spine of the knife run straight from the handle and then stop about halfway up the knife. At this point, it turns and continues to the point of the knife. This area looks as if it is cut out and is known as the clip. The clip is also where the knife shape got its name. The clip on the Megumi is straight, although on some knives it can be curved. The point that is created is lowered, which gives the user more control when they are using the knife. And, because the tip is so controllable as well as being sharp and thinner at the spine, a clip point knife is going to excel as stabbing. One of the other reasons that a clip point is so versatile is because of the large belly that it has, which will make slicing a breeze. The clip point does have one major disadvantage, which is the narrow tip. Because it is so sharp and narrow, the tip does have a tendency to be weak and is prone to breaking. Overall though, the clip point is very versatile and will equip you to take on a very wide variety of tasks, especially when it comes to your everyday tasks.

Benchmade 482 Megumi
Benchmade 482 Megumi

The Handle:

The handle is made out of contoured cocobolo wood as well as carbon fiber.

Cocobolo is a tropical hardwood of Central America. When this wood is used in manufacturing, the heartwood is the only section used, which is the center of the wood. The heartwood from a Cocobolo wood is usually an orange or reddish-brown, with darker traces weaving through the wood. This is a very dense wood that can stand up well to repeated handling and even exposure to water. These characteristics make it a great option for a knife handle. While this wood is hard, finely textured, and dense, it is still easily machined. Wood has been used for knife handles since knife handles have been around. This is a very traditional look to a knife, which matches well with a satin blade. Wood is strong, durable, and gives a very traditional look.

Carbon fiber is a material that is made out of thin strands of carbon that are tightly woven together and then set in resin. Carbon fiber is a really strong material that is still lightweight. However, because of all the manual labor that goes into it, it does end up being very expensive. Although carbon fiber is strong, it is not close to being indestructible and does happen to be brittle. This is because all of the carbon fibers are woven together in a single direction. In that specific direction it is extremely strong, but when it is stressed in other directions it will begin to break apart. Plus, because it is brittle, it can crack when it is subjected to sharp impacts. The overall benefits of having carbon fiber in this handle is that it is going to be strong, lightweight, and looks nice. Unfortunately, it is going to raise the cost of the knife because of the cost and it can be brittle.

The handle on this knife is pretty simple, with a curving spine. The belly has a bulging middle, but overall curves slowly from the blade to the butt. There is a lanyard hole on this knife, which is an added bonus.

 

The Mechanism:

This is a manual knife. In terms of legality, a manual folding knife is going to be the most legal. If your area allows you to carry knives, a manual folding knife is going to be legal. That being said, always check with your local knife laws because BladeOps is not responsible for any consequences. In terms of efficiency, a manual folding knife is not going to be as efficient as a spring assisted or automatic knife would be.

The knife is equipped with a thumb stud to assist you in opening the knife. The thumb stud is one of the more common opening mechanisms on folding knives, especially when it comes to easy one handed opening mechanisms. The thumb stud replaces the nail nick that is found on more traditional knives. The thumb stud is easy to use and to get the hang of using. However, some people are frustrated because the thumb stud extends out of the blade and they feel like it gets in the way once the knife is opened. Sometimes, the stud will even catch on your pocket and flip the knife open, which is pretty dangerous.

The Megumi is equipped with a Nak-Lok as well as a MIM back spacer. The Nak-Lok is built on the framework of a locking liner but has some updates. The lock uses tensile strengths, as opposed to the compression hold that a locking liner is going to give you. Also, when you are opening a knife, the opening finger shouldn’t cross paths with the blade.

 

The Specs:

The blade on this knife measures in at 2.48 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.110 inches. The handle on this knife measures in at 3.28 inches long with a handle thickness of 0.460 inches. The overall length of this opened knife measures in at 5.76 inches long. This knife weighs in at 1.85 ounces. This knife is going to be a tip up knife, which can be dangerous if it accidently opens in your pocket.

 

Conclusion:

The Benchmade 482 Nakamura designed Megumi Folder features an S30V premium stainless steel clip style blade. The steel is tough, durable, strong, and will maintain an edge for long periods of time. The maintenance time is reduced because of the premium steel used. The blade has been finished satin, which is extremely traditional and goes along with the wood handle well. The clip point is versatile and excels at stabbing, although it is prone to breaking because of the weak tip. The Built with the Nak-Lok® locking mechanism this knife also features a contoured cocobolo wood and carbon fiber handle. The Megumi boasts a MIM back spacer with a lanyard hole. You can pick up this knife today at BladeOps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benchmade 15061 Grizzly Ridge Knife Review

Benchmade says, “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, we continue to innovate with the goal of taking performance and reliability to the next level. To exceed what is expected.”

Benchmade has an edge on the industry that stems from a variety of different reasons.

For starters, there are 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 only select premium blade steels and pair them with aerospace-grade handle materials to create premium-grade knives and tools that provide value for their customers.

Next is the mechanisms. The mechanics of opening and closing a knife are essential to its function. They ask, “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?” They ask these questions because they know that those are critical considerations when it comes to the mechanism.

The third reason that they have the Benchmade edge is the 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 the human hair. They say, “Our commitment to modern machining techniques and rigid quality control has allowed Benchmade to bridge the gap between custom and manufactured.”

Today, we will be talking about the brand new Benchmade Grizzly Ridge.

 

The Series:

The Grizzly Ridge is in the Benchmade HUNT series. Benchmade says, “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.”

 

The Blade:

The blade on this knife is made out of CPM S30V steel. This steel is made by US based steel company Crucible Steel Industries. 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 balance dot promote the formation of vanadium carbides which are harder and more effective than chromium carbides in providing wear resistance.” This means that the steel will be extremely tough, especially when compared to other high hardness steel such as 440C and D2. Plus, it’s corrosion resistance is equal to or better than 440C in various environments. This steel resists rusting and corroding with ease. This quality is ideal in a hunting knife, because you don’t want to deal with maintenance while you are in the field. So while you will need to wipe it down, you won’t have to worry too much about rusting like you would if the steel rusts easily.  And, dollar for dollar, this steel is known for having the perfect balance between edge retention, hardness, and toughness. This is a surprisingly hard balance to maintain because the harder the steel is, the less tough it is going to be. The harder the steel, the better the edge retention. So what is CPM? Crucible says, “The CPM process produces very homogeneous, high quality steel characterized by superior dimensional stability, grind-ability, and toughness compared to steels produced by conventional processes.” This steel really only has one drawback, which is because of the hardness, it is going to prove hard to sharpen.

The blade has been finished satin, which is created by repeatedly sanding the blade in one direction with an increasing level of fine abrasive, which is normally a sandpaper. This is the most traditional blade finish and the most popular blade finish that is used today. The satin finish reduces glares, reflections, and corrosion.

The blade has been carved into a drop point blade shape. This is a great all-purpose knife that is able to stand up to anything. It is also one of the more popular blade shapes that are used in the cutlery industry today; the most common place that you are going to find this style of blade is on hunting knives. The blade shape is formed by having the back edge of the knife run straight from the handle to the tip of the knife in a slow, curving manner, which creates a lowered point. Lowered points give the knife more control and add strength to the tip. It is because of how controllable the drop point blade is that makes it such a good option on hunting knives, such as this one. The lowered, controllable point makes it easier to avoid accidentally nicking internal organs and ruining the meat. Another feature of the drop point style blade that it makes it exceptional for hunting is the large belly. The belly is going to make slicing a breeze, perfect for field dressing your game. The drop point blade shape does have one major disadvantage, which is the broad tip does reduce your ability to pierce or stab. This shouldn’t be a big deal when it comes to your hunting knife, but if you are looking for a knife that is going to excel at piercing, you should look for a knife with a clip point blade shape.

Of course, like all good hunting knives, the Grizzly Ridge features a plain edge.

 

Benchmade 15061 Grizzly Ridge
Benchmade 15061 Grizzly Ridge

The Handle:

The handle is made out of Grivory with a Versaflex inlay. This material is the proven material for metal replacement. Grivory is used in knives, especially hunting knives, because it has high levels of strength. This ensures that your handle won’t break when you are out in the field and cannot replace your knife. Also, Grivory is not known for absorbing liquids, which is ideal for when the job gets messy, as hunting jobs always do. Grivory also has good chemical resistance, so you don’t need to worry about the acidity of your game’s body fluids to compromise the quality of this handle. The Grivory used on this knife is a tan-gray. All of the components of this knife handle have been outlined in orange to match the Versaflex inlay. The inlay provides plenty of texture so that you don’t have to worry about slipping and injuring yourself.

The spine of the handle is relatively straight, as is the bottom of the handle. Although, the bottom of the handle does have a finger groove and a large finger guard. This guard is perfect for when things get slippery.

On the butt of the handle, a lanyard hole has been carved into it. The lanyard is a huge deal for a hunting knife for a couple of reasons. For starters, it allows you to tie this knife onto your belt loop, your backpack, or just tuck it into your pocket a little deeper. However, if you are in the middle of an extra slippery job and you are worried about how much texture you have, you can wrap the lanyard around the handle to provide a more solid grip. Lastly, if you loop the lanyard around your wrist, you don’t have to worry about losing your knife inside of the game that you are dressing if you do happen to lose grip on it.

 

The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip on this knife is a split arrow pocket clip, which means that it is shaped like an arrow and is mostly skeletonize. This helps the clip attach more efficiently to your pocket while also cutting down on weight because of the skeletonized handle. This is a benefit, because when you are out hunting, you don’t want to worry about what is going on with your knife, you want to be able to trust that it is securely attached inside of your pocket. Plus, every ounce counts when you are on a long hunting trip. By skeletonizing the clip, the weight of the entire knife is reduced—just for you. The pocket clip has only been designed to be attached for tip-up carry. The clip is also reversible for either left or right hand carry, which helps to make this knife more ambidextrous.

 

The Mechanism:

This is a manual opening knife that uses a thumb stud as well as Benchmade’s AXIS locking system. Because it is a manual knife, you don’t have to worry about the strict knife laws that are in your area and that surround automatic knives. Of course, always know your local knife laws regardless.

The thumb stud is one of the most common one-hand opening features that you are going to be able to find. It is used by a wide variety of knife manufacturers and designers, including Benchmade. The thumb stud has been designed to replace the nail nick that is found on more traditional knives as well as older folding knives. The concept is very straightforward—you hold the folded knife in one hand, place the tip of your flexed thumb on the stud and extend your thumb to swing the blade through its arc until the blade is fully open. Knives’ with a thumb stud will include a locking mechanism of some sort, in this case, the AXIS mechanism. Some people complain that the thumb stud gets in the way because it does protrude directly out of the blade. Another issue with the thumb stud is that your hand ends up in the path of the blade throughout the opening process, which makes it one of the less safe opening mechanisms. However, this is also one of the easiest opening features that you are going to find; you will be able to figure it out quickly. The pocket clip on this knife is bright orange.

A patented Benchmade exclusive, AXIS has been turning heads and winning fans ever since its introduction. A 100 percent ambidextrous designs, 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. A s 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 3.50 inches long, with a blade thickness of 0.124 inches. The handle measures in at 4.34 inches long, with a thickness of 0.58 inches. The overall length of the Grizzly Ridge is 7.84 inches long. This knife weighs in at 3.77 ounces. This Benchmade knife was made in the United States of America.

 

Conclusion:

Benchmade says, “Based on the highly regarded Grizzly Creek, the Grizzly Ridge brings the comfort and sure grip of a dual durometer handle, a blade designed for all around hunting utility, and unique orange accents.” The Blade steel is very resistant to rusting and corrosion, which means that maintenance is going to be a breeze—perfect for when you are on a long hunting trip and cannot worry about cleaning the blade well. The satin finish is classic. And the drop point blade shape is perfectly designed for hunting knives. The lowered tip allows you to expertly dress your game while the large belly makes slicing a breeze. The handle is durable, strong, low maintenance, and does not absorb liquids—the ideal combination for your new hunting knife. The Versaflex overlays add plenty of texture for when things get messy. The AXIS lock keeps this knife safe to use while also allowing for quick and easy one-hand opening. The thumb stud also lets you open the knife easily with only one-hand. You can pick up this brand new Benchmade knife today at BladeOps and have your new favorite hunting knife—the Grizzly Ridge.