Benchmade 3320 Pagan OTF Knife Review

In 1988, Benchmade set out to make the best knives in the world—and that’s exactly what they did. They’ve grown a lot since then, and while they have expanded to provide tools for elite tactical operators, first responders, and even collectors, their goal remains the same: make the best knives in the world.

It was in 1979 that the Benchmade adventure first began. It started 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, that 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 forma small machine shop in California, he assembled and finished his first Bali-Song in his own garage. Proud of his create, he took this first Bali-Song into a local gun store and the owner asked him if he could build 100 more.

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

With its first ten years of manufacturing experience behind it, and by working with world-class custom knife makers like Mel Pardue and Warren Osborne, Benchmade perfected a business model that involved lending manufacturing process to custom knife designs; affording a level of innovation and quality to the largest market that was previously unavailable. This eventually led to Bill McHenry and Jason Williams approaching Benchmade with the AXIS lock. and the future of cutlery was born.

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

Today, we are going to be talking about the Benchmade 3320 Pagan knife.

 

The Blade:

The blade on this knife is made out of 154CM stainless steel. This is a higher end steel that is relatively hard and is generally considered an upgraded version of 440C through the addition of Molybdenum. This achieves superior edge holding compared to 440C while retaining similarly excellent levels of corrosion resistance despite having less Chromium. It does have decent toughness good enough for most uses and holds an edge well. This steel is not too difficult to sharpen with the right equipment. You will find a lot of quality pocket knives form top manufacturers like Benchmade using 154CM steel.

The blade has been finished with a stonewash finish. A stonewashed finish refers to tumbling the blade in an abrasive material. This finish easily hides scratches, while also providing a less reflective nature than a brushed or satin finished blade. There is a wide variety of stonewashed finishes based upon the abrasive shape, tumbling motion, and the type of finish the blade has before it entered the tumbler. A very positive benefit of a stonewashed blade is that they are low maintenance and preserve their original look overtime. The stonewashed finish hides the scratched that can occur with use over time. This finish also hides fingerprints pretty well, so the blade might not need to be polished as often as others with different finishes. Depending on the manufacturer, a stonewash finish can often look satin from a distance.

Benchmade Pagan OTF
Benchmade Pagan OTF

The blade has been cut into a dagger style blade shape. This is also known as a needle point blade shape. This style of blade shape has been created to enhance and accentuate the point. This is a double edged blade whose primary purpose is piercing and stabbing. It is made up of 2 symmetrical sharpened blades that taper to a very thing, sharp point, which pierces easily into soft targets. The two sharp edges reduce the profile of the knife and let it cut in on both sides equally. This makes it a favorite blade design for self-defense in close combat situations. Dagger blades are popular among military and police personnel because of their ability to be easily concealed (think of in a boot). However, there are some disadvantages to the dagger blade design. Because of the geometry of the blade, it does not have a belly and it does have quickly thickening edges, which means that it is not good for slicing or slashing. And, because the tip is very sharp and thin, it is weak and is prone to breaking when used on hard targets. If you are looking for a blade that is going to give you a good balance between stabbing and cutting, a better choice is the clip point blade. But, if you are looking for the ultimate blade designed specifically for piercing, the dagger style blade is exactly what you are looking for.

This knife does sport a plain edge. The plain edge is better than the serrated when the application involves push cuts. Also, the plain edge is superior when extreme control, accuracy, and clean cuts are necessary, regardless of whether or not the job is push cuts or slices. The plain edge will work better for applications like shaving, skinning an apple, skinning a deer. All of those applications involve either mostly push cuts, or the need for extreme control. And generally, the more push cuts are used, the more necessary it is for the plain edge to have a razor polished edge. A knife edge becomes more polished when you move to higher and higher grit stones. As a last advantage of a plain edge, it will offer you cleaner cuts than if you were using a serrated or combo edge.

 

The Handle:

The handle on this knife is made out of 6061-T6 aluminum. Aluminum comes in many grades. It has good mechanical properties and is one of the most common alloys for general purpose use. This material is typically anodized for extra protection and color, because hard anodized coatings offer superior scratch resistance. Since aluminum is already prone to scratches and dings, the anodization process is ideal. Aluminum is very durable and provides a solid feel without the extra weight. It can be formed to provide a very comfortable and secure grip. One of the biggest drawbacks to having a knife handle that has been made out of this material is that it has fantastic conductive properties, which will make it extremely cold during the winter months. If you are planning on working with your knife lots during the colder months, I wouldn’t recommend getting this knife because it will feel like it is biting into your hand. Aluminum is generally considered inferior to its stronger, yet more expensive brother Titanium which tends to be found on the more premium knives.

The handle has been anodized in two different colors. The middle of the handle is black, and the sides are dark gray. The handle has perfect curves to fit snugly in your palm. The top of the handle flares out, with two grooves cut out of each side. This is the perfect place to rest your fingers. Plus, these cut outs both sport jimping to really give you good control over your knife. The butt of the handle also flares out.

 

The Pocket Clip:

This is a deep carry pocket clip that is designed for tip down carry only. The back of the entire knife is black, but the pocket clip is a dark grey, which does make it stand out. Across the middle of the pocket knife, “Pagan” has been stamped in a lighter gray. This clip is kept in place by two small, black screws, which match the rest of the knives hardware.

 

The Mechanism:

This knife is a dual action out the front, or OTF, automatic knife. This is a pocket knife with a blade that opens and closes through a hole in one end of the handle. Contrast this with the majority of knives, which are either standard folding knives or are fixed blades. OTF only refers to the basic portion of the knife’s mechanical operation where the blade slides parallel with the handle to deploy. An automatic OTF knife blade travels within an internal tack or channel in the same manner as a manual slider or gravity knife. But the automatic main spring drive and button mechanism enclosed within requires a switchblade handle to be thicker or longer than a similar sixed gravity or sliding knife. This is a double action OTF knife. This means that it deploys and retracts with a multifunction button and spring design.

Despite popular belief and movie magic, double action OTF knives are not powerful enough to open when pressed against an opponent and then pushing the button. Double action sliding autos are only spring powered 10 to 12 millimeters. Afterwards, kinetic impetus slides the blade to full open.

Because this is an automatic knife, there are strict laws that do surround owning and carrying this knife. Make sure that you know your local knife laws before purchasing and carrying the Benchmade 3320 Pagan.

 

The Specs:

The blade on this knife is 3.96 inches long and the knife sports an overall length of 8.96 inches long. The handle of the Pagan is 5 inches long. This knife weighs in at 5.1 ounces and was made in the USA.

 

The Sheath:

The Pagan does come with a nylon sheath. Nylon is a material that is commonly used in knife sheaths. Just like their leather counterpart, nylon sheaths are also tough and strong. Unlike leather though, nylon sheaths are resistant to rot and mildew. They are also not as vulnerable to water as leather sheaths. Another great aspect is that nylon sheaths aren’t easily scuffed or torn. The best thing about this nylon sheath is that it is MOLLE compatible.

 

Conclusion:

New for 2015, the Benchmade Pagan OTF auto knife is a double action out the front model that is a more refined yet still powerful version of the classic Benchmade Infidel OTF auto knife. With smooth black anodized aluminum handle scales, this tried and true warrior delivers maximum blade control in an ergonomic and stylish shape. The difference in this knife lies in the blade steel and blade grind–D2 tool steel has been swapped out with American-made 154CM stainless steel, in a dagger style, with a chisel grind for improved blade penetration. Furthermore, the enlarged slide trigger is housed on the broad side of the handle scale allowing for better accessibility, even while wearing gloves. Due to the size, this knife comes with a nylon sheath and includes a MOLLE compatible malice clip for multiple carry options. The deep carry pocket clip is designed for tip down carry only. Pick up your Benchmade 3320 Pagan Double Action Out-the-Front Automatic knife today at BladeOps.

 

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The Benchmade Infidel Knives Reviewed

For over twenty-five years, Benchmade has been designing and manufacturing world class products for world class customers. When Benchmade was founded, the mission was to create something better; something exceptional. Today, they continue to innovate with the goal of taking performance and reliability to the next level. To exceed what is expected. Whether you are using a Griptilian for every day duties or taking the fight to the enemy with the Infidel, our knives are built to perform. When you choose to purchase a Benchmade, you do so because you want the best. You demand it. And programs like their LifeSharp Lifetime Service and Warranty are the foundation of our commitment to excellence. They live it and breath it, and they know what you mean when you say: It’s not a knife. It’s my Benchmade.

Benchmade builds knives for the most demanding customers, form special operations forces to elite backcountry hunters, and building for the best requires the best raw materials. They select premium blade steels and pair them with aerospace-grand handle materials to create premium grade knives and tools that provide great value for their customers.

The mechanics of opening and closing a knife are essential to its function. Is it easy to actuate? Can it be opened with one hand? Is it ambidextrous? Will it absolutely not fail when you need it the most? These are critical considerations when it comes to the mechanism.

The Benchmade factory employs modern laser cutters and CNC machining centers that offer control and tolerances commonly found in the aerospace industry—often to tolerances half the width of a human hair. Our commitment to modern machining techniques and rigid quality control has allowed Benchmade to bridge the gap between custom and manufactured.

Benchmade knives are all supported through a team of skilled technicians.

Benchmade Infidel
Benchmade Infidel

Their only function is to ensure your Benchmade is in optimal working condition for your entire life. This service is called LifeSharp, which is a name that speaks for itself. When you send your knife to the Benchmade LifeSharp team, the knife is completely disassembled and all worn part are tuned and replaced. The knife is then lubricated and reassembled, a sharpener applies a factory edge to the blade and the knife is shipped back to you. This is all at no cost to you.

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

Over here at BladeOps, we are some of Benchmade’s biggest fans. So we decided to celebrate this May as Benchmade month. We are hoping that you will celebrate with us.

 

The Blade:

The Infidel family has its blades made out of D2 steel. This is a high end tool steel that is often referred to as a “semi-stainless” steel. This is because it falls just short of the required amount of chromium to qualify as full stainless yet it still provides a good amount of resistance to corrosion. On the other side, D2 steel is much harder than other steels in this category such as 154CM or ATS-34 steel and as a result holds its edge a little better. That said, this still is not as tough as many other steels and exponentially tougher to sharpen. In fact, you will really need to be a master sharpener to get a fine edge on this steel formula.

With this family of knives, you can choose between two different steel finishes. The first finish that you have the option of is a satin finish. This finish is created by repeatedly sanding the blade in one direction with an increasing level of an abrasive. This abrasive material is usually a sandpaper. The main characteristic that you get with this blade finish is that it shows the bevels of the blade very well and it also showcases the lines of the steel. The satin finish is going to give you one of the most traditional blade finishes that you are going to come across. The satin finish works to cut down on glares and reflections, but is also nowhere near matte.

The second option of a blade finish that you get with the Infidel family of knives is a coated finish. The coated finish is black and reduces the reflection and glare while reducing wear and corrosion. However, ALL coatings can be scratched off after continuous heavy use and the blade would have to be recoated at that point. With a coating finish, the harder the finish, the more resistant to wear and the more expensive to add to a knife. Coatings 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.

Benchmade Mini Infidel
Benchmade Mini Infidel

The blades on this family of knives has been carved into a double edge dagger shape. The dagger blade shape is all about the point. This shape is also known as a needle point blade. It is a double edged blade whose primary purpose is piercing and stabbing. This blade shape is composed of 2 symmetrical sharpened blades that taper to a very thin sharp point which pierces easily into soft targets. The two sharp edges reduce the profile of the knife and let it cut in on both sides equally. This makes them a favorite blade design for self-defense in close combat situations. Dagger blades are popular among military and police personnel because of their ability to be easily concealed. However, there are also disadvantages to the dagger blade design. Because the geometry of the blade lacks a belly and contains quickly thickening edges, it is not good for slicing or slashing. Also, because the tip is very sharp and thin, it is weak and has a tendency to break when used on hard targets. This blade shape is the perfect option for knife owners who are looking for a blade design known for piercing.

Because it is built to be a stabbing knife, both edges of the blade have a plain edge. The plain edge provides you with cleaner cuts than if you had a serrated edge.

 

The Handle:

The handle on this family of knives is made out of 6061-T6 Aluminum. This is the most common type of aluminum that is used today and it has tremendous tensile strength. This is a very durable material for knife handles. It has a low density metal that provides for a nice, hefty feel to the knife without weighing the knife down. When an aluminum handle is properly texturized, and aluminum handle can provide a reasonably secure grip that is also comfortable and easy for extended use. On the downside, if you use your knife quite a bit during colder winter months, you might find the handle uncomfortably cold given its conductive properties. Aluminum is generally considered inferior to its stronger, yet more expensive brother Titanium which tends to be found on the premium knives. The aluminum handle has been anodized black for hardness and protection.

The handle has a wide flare and the top and butt of the handle. This helps with grip and to protect your hand from slipping. In the palm of the hand there are tight grooves going across the width of the knife.

 

The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip that is attached to the Infidel family of knives is dark sliver, deep carry pocket clip. It has “the Infidel” stamped across the length of the clip. This is a MALICE CLIP, which means that it is MOLLE compatible. This knife has been designed to attach the pocket clip tip down only.

 

The Mechanism:

The Infidel is an Automatic opening Out the Front knife. This style of knife is also known as an OTF, sliding, or telescoping knife. This is a style of pocket knife with a blade that opens and closes through a hole in one end of the handle. Contrast this with the majority of knives, which are either standard folding knives or are fixed blade sheath knives. OTF only refers to the basic portion of the knife’s mechanical operation where the blade slides parallel with the handle to deploy. An automatic OTF knife blade travels within an internal track or channel in the same manner as a manual slider or gravity knife but the automatic main spring drive and button mechanism enclosed within requires a switchblade handle to be thicker or longer than a similar size gravity or sliding knife. The Infidel is a double action out the front knife. Double action OTF knives deploy and retract with a multifunction button and spring design. Although movie magic often shows double action OTF automatic knives being powerful enough to open when pressed against an opponent and then pushing the butt, in reality, they are not strong enough to do that. You can chalk that idea up to movie magic. Double action sliding autos are only spring powered 10 to 12 millimeters; afterwards, kinetic impetus slides the blade to full open.

The firing button sits toward the top handle. It is slightly oversized for easy access. When you push the button, the blade snaps out quickly like you would expect forma Benchmade. When you slide the button back down, the blade closes tight and quick. This double action OTF knife is built tough and ready for action.

 

The Purpose:

The family of Infidels has been designed as a series of tactical knives. This is also considered a fighting knife which is a knife with a blade designed to inflict injury in a physical confrontation or between two or more individuals at very short range. Fighting knives were traditionally designed as special purpose weapons, intended primarily if not solely for use in personal or hand to hand combat. This singularity of purpose originally distinguished the fighting knife form the field knife, fighting utility knife, or in modern usage, the tactical knife. The tactical knife is a knife with one or more military features designed for use in extreme situations, which may or may not include a design capability as a fighting or combat weapon.

 

The Specs:

The blade on this knife measures in at 3.91 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.118 inches. The open length of this family of knives is 8.91 inches long and it has a closed length of 5 inches long. The handle thickness on this knife is 0.59 inches. The Infidels weigh in at 4.9 ounces. These knife has been made in the United States of America and is MOLLE compatible. The sheath type of this knife is Cordura.

 

Conclusion:

When Benchmade describes this knife they say, “In addition to the incredibly stable, fast action and the rugged, pure tactical nature of the knife, the Infidel has a cool factor that is hard to describe without physically experiencing it.” The Benchmade Infidel double action out the front automatic knife, designed by McHenry & Williams, is a favorite amongst law enforcement and military professionals around the globe and is praised for its rugged construction, solid durability, and an X factor of pure awesomeness that one can only experience when owning one.  The design of the black anodized 6061-T6 aircraft grade aluminum handle boasts a milled “step” design that transitions seamlessly into the design of the slide trigger. On the black dagger style blade, you will find a blood groove that runs the length of the almost 4″ blade on both sides that further enhances the already aggressive nature of this black class model. Furthermore, the enlarged slide trigger is housed on the broad side of the handle scale allowing for better accessibility, even while wearing gloves. This model features a black aluminum chassis, a dual-edged dagger style blade in a black finish and the deep carry pocket clip is statically designed for tip down carry only. Due to the size, this knife comes with a MOLLE compatible nylon sheath and malice clip for multiple carry options.
Come celebrate Benchmade month today at BladeOps and pick up your favorite Infidel today.

 

 

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Benchmade Loco 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.

 

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 an 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.

Benchmade Loco Knife
Benchmade Loco Knife

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.

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Benchmade APB Automatic 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 guns tore and the owner asked, “Could you build 100 more?”

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

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

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

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.

This May, we are celebrating Benchmade month over here at BladeOps. To celebrate today, we are going to go over the Auto APB family of knives. This family of knives has a variety of different options that you get to choose from and we will be going over those today.

 

The Blade:

The blade on this family of knives is made out of 154CM steel. This is a high end steel. This is also a relatively hard steel which 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. It is not too difficult to sharpen with the right equipment. You’ll find a lot of quality pocket knives from top manufacturers like Benchmade using 154CM steel.

You are presented with two different blade finishes for the Auto APB family of blades. The first option is a satin finish. This finish is created by sanding the blade repeatedly in one direction with an increasing level of an abrasive. This finish works to show the bevels of the blade and also to showcase the lines of the steel. This is one of the most traditional blade finishes that you are going to come across.

The second option that you have with the blade finish is a coated finish. This is a black coated finish that works to reduce the reflection and glare while reducing wear and corrosion. On the flip side, ALL coatings can be scratched off after continuous heavy use, and the blade would have to be re-coated. Coatings can prolong the life of a blade by preventing corrosion or rust. A quality coating can add cost to a knife but provide more corrosion resistance, less reflection, and require less maintenance.

The Auto APB family of knives has been designed to be an everyday knife. To create a perfect EDC knife, Benchmade chose to carve the blade into a drop point style blade. This is a great all-purpose knife that can stand up to almost anything. This is also one of the most popular blade shapes in use today. The most recognizable knife that features a drop point is the hunting knife, although it is used on many other knives as well. To form the shape of this blade, the back or unsharpened edge of the knife runs straight form the handle to the tip of the knife in a slow curved manner, creating 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 sue, drop point blades are popular on tactical and survival knives. Because the point on a drop point blade is easily controllable, they are a popular choice on hunting knives. One of the last reasons that drop point knives make exceptional EDC knives is that they feature a large belly area that is perfect for slicing. The only real disadvantage of the drop point blade is its relatively broad tip, which makes it less suitable for piecing than the clip point. However, this broad tip provides point strength that is not found on clip point knives.

With this family of knives, you are presented with two edge options. You can choose from a plain or combo edge. Plain blades are one continuous sharp edge and are far more traditional. They serve a much wider purpose as their most useful application is what most of us think of when we think of using a knife: a strong, steady pressure. Another key advantage of a plain edge is that it doesn’t snag or fray when cutting through ropes, though with other ropes, particularly ones made of plastics or other synthetic materials, the blade may simply slip instead of cut. A plain edge cuts cleanly. A serrated edge are blades that have some kind of toothed or saw like edge ground into the cutting surface. These are intended to be sued much like a small saw, with a back and forth motion. They’re great for cutting through belts and ropes, fabric, and various other textured materials. Serrated blades also work great on substances that are soft, flexible, or can be crushed easily with downward cutting. The downside to the serrated blade is that especially with ropes and fabrics they can easily cause fraying. And when the blade dulls, it’s much more difficult to sharpen and requires specialty sharpening equipment. A serrated blade does not cut as cleanly as a plain edge knife. Often sharpening requires taking the blade to a professional sharpener, especially if the sharpening is long overdue.

Benchmade APB Auto Knife
Benchmade APB Auto Knife

The Handle:

The handle is made out of anodized aluminum. This handle is anodized black and aluminum is usually anodized for color, hardness, and protection. Aluminum is a very durable material for knife handles. It is a low density metal that provides for a nice, hefty feel to the knife without weighing the knife down. When properly texturized, an aluminum handle can provide a reasonably secure grip hat is also comfortable and easy for extended use. On the downside, if you use your knife quite a bit during colder winter months, you might find the handle uncomfortably cold given its conductive properties. Aluminum is generally considered inferior to its stronger, yet more expensive brother Titanium which tends to be found on the more premium knives.

The handle has a big finger guard to protect your fingers. There is also a large finger groove. The rest of the handle has been carved to fit comfortably in your hand even for long periods of use. Across the palm of the handle, there is a series of diagonal grooves to provide a secure grip. On the butt of the handle, there is a lanyard hole carved into it. This lanyard hole is a fantastic addition for your EDC knife. The lanyard will help you draw out your knife quicker, you can put the knife deeper into your pocket and just have the lanyard hole hang out, and it can help with a solid grip when you are taking on those tougher tasks.

On the very butt of the handle, there is a glass breaker.

 

The Clip Point:

Like most Benchmade models, the pocket clip is designed for tip up carry only but it is eligible for left or right hand carry options. This is a standard pocket clip.

 

The Mechanism:

This family of knives sports an ambidextrous push button automatic opening mechanism. Automatic knives are also known as switchblades and they do have strict laws surrounding them in many states and cities. Before you purchase an APB Automatic knife, make sure that you do know your local laws. This knife might not be legal for owning or carrying. 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 on the handle 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.

 

The Specs:

The blade on the APB automatic family of knives is 3.52 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.124 inches. The overall length of this knife is 8.64 inches long and it sports a closed length of 5.12 inches. The handles on this knife are 0.63 inches thick. This knife weighs in at 6.28 ounces. This family of knives is made in the United States of America.

 

Conclusion:

When Benchmade is talking about this series of knives they say, “The first ever ambidextrous push-button automatic. The APB features push buttons on both sides of the handle, because you don’t always get to choose which hand to use.” The Benchmade APB (Ambidextrous Push Button) fami.ly includes both spring assist and automatic models and offers a truly ambidextrous utility. This newly developed versatile design allow the blade to be fired as well as released with either of the oval shaped silver buttons found on both sides of the handle. The spine safety on this series has been elongated to make engaging and disengaging more user friendly—even with gloves.

The steel on this knife is 154CM stainless steel which is a hard, high end steel. This is one of the tougher steels that has exceptional edge holding properties. You can choose between a combo or plain edge, which both make for great EDC knife edges; however, they both sport different advantages. Both of the finishes work to prolong the life of the blade by cutting down on corrosion and wear. The handle is made out of aluminum, which is a very durable material and is also very resistant to corrosion. This is a phenomenal knife that will change the way you think of EDC knives. Come celebrate Benchmade month with us and pick up your favorite version of the APB Automatic family.

 

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Benchmade 470-1 Osborne Emissary Knife Review

For over twenty-five years, Benchmade has been designing and manufacturing world class products for world class customers. When Benchmade was founded, the mission was to create something better; something exceptional. Today, they continue to innovate with the goal of taking performance and reliability to the next level. To exceed what is expected. Whether you are using a Griptilian for every day duties or taking the fight to the enemy with the Infidel, their knives are built to perform. When you choose to purchase a Benchmade, you do so because you want the best. You demand it. And programs like their LifeSharp Lifetime Service and Warranty are the foundation of their commitment to excellence. They live it and breathe it, and they know what you mean when you say: It’s not a knife. It’s my Benchmade. Benchmade builds knives for the most demanding customers, from special operations forces to elite backcountry hunters, and building for the best requires the best raw materials. They select premium blade steels and pair them with aerospace-grade handle materials to create premium grade knives and tools that provide great value for their customers. The mechanics of opening and closing a knife are essential to its function. Is it easy to actuate? Can it be opened with one hand? Is it ambidextrous? Will it absolutely not fail when you need it the most? These are critical considerations when it comes to the mechanism. The Benchmade factory employs modern laser cutters and CNC machining centers that offer control and tolerances commonly found in the aerospace industry—often to tolerances half the width of a human hair. Their commitment to modern machining techniques and rigid quality control has allowed Benchmade to bridge the gap between custom and manufactured. When they were choosing a name for themselves, they realized that there was “handmade” and “factory made”, but it was “Benchmade” that described the quality of their product. Les, the owner, 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.

From Design Engineers to Finisher’s, Benchmade’s team is filled with hard working, passionate individuals committed to producing some of the highest quality products in the world. And that is why they are such a successful company.

Over here at BladeOps, we love Benchmade. We consider ourselves some of Benchmade’s biggest fans. To show our appreciation for the hard work that goes into all of their reliable tools, we chose to celebrate this May as Benchmade month. Today, we are going over the 470.1 knife, which is, of course, a fantastic knife.

 

The Blade:

The blade on this knife is made out of CPM S30V steel. This is a premium grade steel. This steel is made by US based Crucible, and 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. Which is actually a combination that proves tricky to accomplish. One of the only drawbacks to this steel is that it does prove tricky to sharpen. S30V has a slightly better looking brother in S35VN which is distinctly similar but easier for manufacturers to work with thanks to niobium. But still, S30V is pretty common these days.

The 470.1 knife has a satin finish on the blade. This finish is created by repeatedly sanding the blade in one direction with an increasing level of an abrasive. The abrasive material that is most commonly used is a sandpaper. The key characteristics that this finish creates is showing the bevels of the blade. The second key characteristic is that it the finish showcases the lines of the blade very well. This is one of the more traditional blade finishes that you are going to come across and is a pretty medium finish in terms of how reflective it is. There are more reflective finishes around, but there are also more matte finishes that you are going to be able to find. The satin finish does work to reduce wear and corrosion slightly.

This knife has been carved into a drop point blade style. This is the perfect blade shape if you are looking for a great all-purpose knife that can stand up to anything, and it is also one of the most popular blade shapes that is in use today. The 470.1 has been designed as an everyday knife and this blade shape makes for a fantastic everyday blade shape. To form the silhouette of the blade, the back, or unsharpened, edge of the knife runs straight form the handle to the tip of the knife in a slow curved manner, creating 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 sue, drop point blades also make a great option on tactical and survival knives. Because the point on a drop point blade is easily controllable, they do make for a popular option on hunting knives. One of the bigger reasons that this blade shape makes for such a great everyday knife blade shape is because the drop point style features a large belly area that is perfect for slicing. And slicing is one of the most common things that you are going to need to do during your everyday tasks. The only real disadvantage that a drop point blade has is its relatively broad tip, which makes it less suitable for piercing than the clip point. However, it is this broad tip that provides point strength that is not found on clip point knives. By choosing the 470.1, you are choosing a knife that is going to be able to take on almost any task, whether it is the expected that you are going to be encountering during your everyday life, or the unexpected things that also pop up during your everyday life.

Because this knife has been designed as an everyday knife, Benchmade chose to carve it with a plain edge. Plain blades are one continuous sharp edge and are far more traditional. They serve a much wider purpose as their most useful application is what most of us think of when we think of using a knife: a strong, steady pressure. Another great advantage to this style of edge is that it doesn’t snag or fray when cutting through some ropes, though with other ropes, particularly ones made of plastics or other synthetic materials, the blade may simply slip instead of cut. A plain edge cuts cleanly.

 

The Handle:

The handle is made out of 6061-T6 Aluminum. This is the most common type of aluminum that is used today and it has tremendous tensile strength. Aluminum, which is usually anodized for color, hardness, and protection, is a very durable material for knife handles. It’s a low density metal that provides for a nice, hefty feel to the knife without weighing the knife down. When properly texturized, an aluminum handle can provide a reasonably secure grip that is also comfortable and easy for extended use. On the downside, if you use your knife quite a bit during colder winter months, you might find the handle uncomfortably cold given its conductive properties. Aluminum is generally considered inferior to its stronger, yet more expensive brother Titanium which tends to be found on the more premium knives.

The handle has been carved into a comfortable shape that fits perfectly into your hand for extended use. While there is a finger groove, it is more like a finger dent that extends onto the handle of the knife. The butt of the handle is flat.

Benchmade Emissary Knife
Benchmade Emissary Knife

The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip on this knife is a deep carry pocket clip. The handle on this knife has been carved to attach the pocket clip tip up, but it is a reversible pocket clip, which does lend to making this knife more ambidextrous friendly.

 

The Mechanism:

This is an assisted opening knife that uses a thumb stud to help you assist when opening the knife. This is one of the most common one hand opening feature and is employed by many different knife manufacturers, especially Benchmade. A thumb stud essentially replaces the nail nick found on more traditional knives. The principle is pretty straightforward—grasp the folded knife, place the tip of your flexed thumb on the stud and extend your thumb to swing the bale through its arc until the blade is fully open. Knives with a thumb stud usually incorporate a locking mechanism of some sort.

The locking mechanism that the 470.1 sports is the AXIS Assist. This locking mechanism 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 positon once the user pushes it beyond a certain point manually. The AXIS lock also has the added benefit of “suck back”, which encourages the blade to stay in the closed position. AXIS Assist knives also feature integrated safety lock systems.

 

The Specs:

The blade on this knife is 3 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.090 inches. The overall length of this opened knife is 6.9 inches long and it sports a closed length of 3.9 inches long. The handle thickness on this knife is 0.45 inches. This knife weighs in at 2.2 ounces. This knife also was made in the United States of America.

 

The Designer:

This knife was designed by Warren Osborne. Being raise in the farming and ranching industry taught Warren early on what great utility a quality knife can offer. How a knife feels in the hand over extended us, blade design and edge configurations, and the types of materials used are all mandatory considerations of an Osborne design.

 

Conclusion:

When Benchmade talks about this knife they say, “Anodized machined aluminum handles and the patented AXIS assist mechanism make this Warren Osborne knife a fantastic choice of ever day carry or as a trail companion.” The Benchmade 470-1 Emissary is an Osborne designed AXIS Assisted knife.  This knife features a modified drop point blade with a plain edge. The drop point blade shape is the perfect style of blade for your favorite everyday carry knife. This is because it sports a large belly that is going to make slicing a breeze, which also means that it is going to make most tasks a breeze. The S30V premium stainless steel blade is built to perform. This steel has the perfect balance between edge retention, hardness, and toughness, which is a hard balance to find. When that balance is achieved, you should jump at any opportunity to use it.  Simple to open, the Emissary has a slide lock in a convenient position for one handed use if the need arises.  The blade has ambidextrous thumb studs for both handed users.  The Emissary also features a CNC machined billet high strength aluminum alloy handle that is comfortable to hold and use. The aluminum handle is durable and reliable; it can stand up to almost any challenge that you throw at it. The Emissary also sports a reversible tip up pocket clip.  This knife is built for those who want to carry quality.

We are hoping that you love Benchmade like we do and we invite you to celebrate Benchmade month with us by picking up your 470.1 Emissary or any other Emissary model at BladeOps.

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Benchmade Rift Knife Review

Benchmade knives are made of many things: steel, aluminum and titanium, to name a few. But perhaps the most important part of a Benchmade knife is expertise. We carefully measure every part at every step in the process. We use the best materials and equipment. We make world class knives for world class users. The first step in the knife making process is laser cutting. Every blade begins as a sheet of steel. In this first step, the laser cuts the steel into blanks, giving the blade its basic profile. The blanks are then hammered out of the sheet by hand. The second step in creating the perfect knife is surface grinding. This is where the blank is ground to its precise width. Benchmade says that their knives have no room for error, and neither does their blank’s thickness. The third step in the process is milling. This is where the blade holes, handles, and grooves are cut on high speed mills. The fourth step is beveling; this is when the blade starts to really take shape. Up to this point, the two sides of the blade are essentially flat. This is because an imprecise bevel can hamper the blade’s balance, sharpness, strength, and mechanism function. The next two steps are back sanding and finishing. The back sanding is where the back of the blade gets special attention. The finishing is where the blade gets a more refined look. The finishing technician stone washes the blades in a ceramic medium to remove an y burrs and give the blades a clean, polished appearance. The last two steps are assembly and sharpening. Every Benchmade knife is assembled by hand. An assembly technician receives all of the components—blade, liner, handle, hardware—and carefully pieces them together. The very last step is sharpening. It takes longer to master blade sharpening than any other skill. Each blade is sharpened to a targeted 30-degree inclusive angel, 15 degrees on each side. Benchmade considered the knife sharp enough only when it can cut through ultra-thin phonebook paper effortlessly without tearing.

Benchmade’s rich history dates back over 30 years. It is the product of many dedicated employees, a never quit demand for excellence and the de Asis family’s vison and total commitment to culture, service, and innovation.

At BladeOps, we are celebrating May as Benchmade month. Today’s celebration focuses on the Rift family.

 

The Blade:

The steel that this family uses is 154 CM steel. This is a relatively hard steel which is considered an upgraded version of 440C through the addition of Molybdenum. This addition achieves superior edge holding compared to 440C while retaining similar excellent levels of corrosion resistance despite having less Chromium. This steel has decent toughness good enough for most uses and does hold an edge well. If you have the right equipment, it is not too difficult to sharpen.

With this family of steel, you have two choices of blade finishes. The first option is the satin finish. This finish is one of the most traditional blade finishes that you are going to find. It is created by repeatedly sanding the blade in one direction with an increasing level of an abrasive material, which is usually a sandpaper. The satin finish does cut down on glares and reflections slightly.

The second finish option that you are presented with is a coated finish. This is a black finish that helps to reduce the reflection and glare while also reducing wear and corrosion. Unfortunately, all coatings can and will be scratched off after continuous heavy use. At that point, the blade will have to be recoated. Quality coatings do add cost to a knife, but provide more corrosion resistance, less reflection, and require less maintenance.

The steel has been carved into a reverse tanto blade style. This style of blade was popularized by Warren Osborne with his designs for Benchmade Knives. This is not a very common shape and does resemble a Spey blade. This type of reverse tanto is an American Tanto blade that is turned upside down so the angular side is on the top, making the knife look like it has a very drastic drop point. The thing about a tanto knife is that it isn’t an all-purpose knife, it is a knife that does one thing and does that one thing extremely well. The tanto blade shape excels at piercing through tough materials. The thick pint of the tanto blade contains a lot of metal near the tip, so it is able to absorb the impact form repeated piercing that would cause most other knives to break. One of the drawbacks to this blade shape is that it does not have a belly, because the belly has been sacrificed for a stronger tip. And because it lacks a belly for slicing, it is not useful as a general utility knife. However, because this knife family is actually a reverse tanto style, it does sport a belly. This comes in handy when you are working with your everyday tasks. When you choose a knife that has a tanto point, you will be choosing a knife that is specifically tailored to piercing tough materials.

You also have two options for your edge style. The first option is a plain edge. This is the more traditional edge that is tailored to perform a wider array of tasks. The plain edge excels at push cuts, slicing, skinning, and peeling. With a plain edge, the edge is easier to sharpen because you don’t have to worry about the teeth, and you can usually get a finer edge on the blade.

The other option that you have is a combo edge. This is where the bottom portion of the edge is a serrated portion and the upper portion is a plain edge. Serrated edges excel at sawing through some of the thicker materials, such as rope or branches. And one of the benefits to choosing a combo edge is that you have the portion of the blade to saw through those thicker materials, but you also have the plain edge to perform the push cuts and do all of the detail work.

Benchmade Rift Knife
Benchmade Rift Knife

The Handle:

You have to options for the handle, but both of them are made out of G 10. G 10 is a grade of Garolite that is a laminate composite made of fiberglass. It has very similar properties to carbon fiber yet can be had for almost a fraction of the cost. The manufacturer takes layers of fiberglass cloth and soaks them in resin, then compresses them and bakes them under pressure. The material that results is extremely tough, hard, very lightweight, and strong. In fact, G 10 is considered the toughest of all the fiberglass resin laminates and stronger, although more brittle, than Micarta. Checkering and other patterns add a texture to the handle, which makes for a solid, comfortable grip. The production process of G 10 can utilize many layers of the same color, or varying different colors to achieve a unique cosmetic look on the G 10 handle. Tactical folders and fixed blades alike benefit from the qualities of G 10, because it is durable and lightweight, non-porous and available in a variety of colors. And 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 that is used in FRN handles. One of the drawbacks to the G 10 material being the handle is that it does lack elegance.

Your first G 10 option is gray and black. This has a more unique texture design than the other option. The black G 10 option has less intense texturing, and instead has deep grooves down the two sides of the width of your palm.

Both options of the handles provide you with fantastic grip that is going to stay secure in almost any situation. To give you a comfortable grip even after long periods of usage, there is a deep curve where you palm sits.

 

The Mechanism:

You have two different mechanism options. The first option is an automatic opening knife. Automatic knives are also known as switchblades, and switchblades are not legal in all areas of the country. Make sure that you know your local knife laws before you choose this version of the knife. An automatic knife is a type of knife with a folding or sliding blade that is contained in the handle which is opened automatically by a spring when a button, lever, or switch on the handle 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 positon.

The other mechanism option that you have is a manual opening Rift knife. The opening assist is a thumb stud. The thumb stud is arguably the most common one hand opening feature, and is commonly employed by Benchmade. A thumb stud essentially replaces the nail nick found on more traditional knives. The principle is pretty straightforward—grasp the folded knife, 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 also usually incorporate a locking mechanism of some sort. If the stud extends through the blade, which means that it protrudes on both sides, the knife can be opened with either hand. And the Rift manual opening knives does have the dual thumb stud, which helps make this knife an ambidextrous knife.

Benchmade Rift Auto
Benchmade Rift Auto

Both versions of the knife do sport locking mechanisms and both of them do sport the AXIS locking mechanism. This is a patented Benchmade exclusive, the 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 b lade. 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 length of the blade on the Rift family is 3.67 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.114 inches. The open length of this knife is 8.27 inches long, and it sports a closed length of 4.60 inches long. The handle thickness on this knife is 0.56 inches. These knives weigh in at 4.8 ounces. This knife was made in the United States of America. This knife family was designed to be an everyday knife or a tactical knife.

 

Conclusion:

When Benchmade is talking about this family of knives, they said, “This glaringly obvious warren Osborne design features a reverse tanto top for toughness, large bellied blade for utility and textured G 10 handle scales for secure grip. Made in the USA.” The 154 CM steel is a hard, durable, stainless steel. You can choose between a satin finish that gives you a very traditional look or you can choose a coated BK1 black tactical coated blade. The bonus about choosing the coated version for your tactical knife is that there are going to be no glares or reflections to give your position away. However, the coating will chip off over time or heavy use. The G 10 handle is durable, strong, tough, and still lightweight. This knife comes with a removable tip up, reversible pocket clip. So help us over here at BladeOps celebrate Benchmade month by picking out your favorite Rift family knife and purchase it today.  Find the AXIS-Lock Folder models here and the Automatic models here.

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Benchmade Proper Knife Review

Benchmade has become the dynasty that they are because for over twenty-five years, Benchmade has been designing and manufacturing world class products or world class customers. When Benchmade was founded, the mission was to create something better; something exceptional. Today, they continue to innovate with the goal of taking performance and reliability to the next level. To exceed what is expected. Whether you are using a Griptilian for every day duties or taking the fight to the enemy with the Infidel, our knives are built to perform. When you choose to purchase a Benchmade, you do so because you want the best. You demand it. And programs like their LifeSharp Lifetime Service and Warranty are the foundation of their commitment to excellence. They live it and breathe it, and they know what you mean when you say: It’s not a knife. It’s my Benchmade.

Benchmade builds knives for the most demanding customers, from special operations forces to elite backcountry hunters, and building for the best requires the best raw materials. Benchmade selects premium blade steels and pair them with aerospace-grade handle materials to create premium-grade knives and tools that provide great value for their customers.

The mechanism that Benchmade uses are also some of the best mechanisms. The mechanics of opening and closing a knife are essential to its function. They take into considers like, “Is it easy to actuate? Can it be opened with one hand? Is it ambidextrous? Will it absolutely not fail when you need it the most?” Because they know that those are the critical considerations when it comes to the mechanism.

The Benchmade factory employs modern laser cutters and CN C machining centers that offer control and tolerance commonly found in the aerospace industry—often tolerances half the width of a human hair. Their commitment to modern machining techniques and rigid quality control has allowed Benchmade to bridge the gap between custom and manufactured.

It was in 1988 that Benchmade set out to make the best knives in the world—and that’s exactly what they did. They’ve grown a lot since then, and while they have expanded to provide tools for elite tactical operators, first responders, and even collectors, their goal has remained the same: to make the best knives in the world.

This May, BladeOps is celebrating Benchmade month. Today, the knife family that we are focusing on is the Proper Family. This family of steel is a simple yet modern take on a classic gentleman’s knife.

Benchmade Proper Knife
Benchmade Proper Knife

The Blade:

The blade on this knife is made out of CPM S30V steel. This is a premium steel that was made by US based Crucible. Although the full name of the steel is CPM S30V, it is often referred to as just S30V steel. This steel formula was designed in the US and is typically used for the high end premium pocket knives and expensive kitchen cutlery. Crucible brought out the extreme hardness in the steel alloy matrix by adding vanadium carbides. Dollar for dollar, this is generally regarded as one of the finest knife blade steels with the optimal balance of edge retention, hardness, and toughness. This is one of the harder balances to find. One of the only drawbacks with this formula of steel is that it is hard to sharpen.

The blade has been finished with a satin finish. This style of finish is created by repeatedly sanding the blade in one direction with an increasing level of an abrasive material, which is usually sandpaper. The main characteristic that you are going to find with a satin finish is that it showcases the lines of the steel. This finish is one of the more traditional finishes that you are going to find, which makes it the perfect option for a gentleman’s knife.

The steel has been carved into a sheepsfoot blade style. In some cases, you want a knife that is perfect for slicing or cutting without worry about controlling the point. To avoid an accidental stabbing, a sheepsfoot blade is the perfect solution. The main purpose of a sheepsfoot blade is for cutting and slicing while minimizing the chances of anything accidentally being pierced by the point. The design of a sheepsfoot knife includes a straight edged front blade and a dull back spine that curves down to meet the straight edge. The two blades meet at the tip to form a “false point”. The distinctive flat cutting edge is well suited to giving you a supremely clean cut, especially on flat cutting surfaces. Sheepsfoot knives are popular choices among emergency responders who use them to cut seatbelts and other restraints without injuring the victim with a sharp point. They are also popular among sailors who use them to safely cut rigging without the danger of piercing the sails. The only real disadvantage of a sheepsfoot blade is its lack of a sharp point, which also happens to be one of its advantages.

The edge on this knife is a plain edge. The Proper Family of knives have been designed to be everyday knives, so the plain edge is the perfect option for that. Plain edges are more equipped to take on a wider range of tasks. Knives with plain edged blades excel at push cuts, slicing, skinning, and peeling. Slicing is the task that you are going to be most grateful for when you are performing your everyday tasks. Another benefit about the plain edged blade is that it is easier to sharpen than a serrated blade because it does not sport any of the teeth. And, you can normally get a finer edge on plain edges. One of the last major benefits is that because it does not sport any of the teeth, you can use this knife to do some detail work.

 

The Handle:

There are two different options when it comes to what you can choose for the handle material and color. The first option is a Micarta handle. The Micarta comes in a dark brown handle. Micarta is a popular branded example of phenolic—which refers to different substances made with the organic compound Phenol, which is a type of resin. To make this material, thin layers of linen cloths are soaked in a phenolic resin, producing a product that is lightweight, strong, and looks somewhat dressier than G 10. It was originally introduced as an electrical insulator and easily one of the best plastics out there making knife handles. Unfortunately, Micarta in and of itself has absolutely no surface texture, is very slippery and smooth, and requires quite a bit of hand labor to produce and then carve some sort of texture into the knife. This makes it pricey, which translates to a higher priced knife. Many people will tell you that Micarta can be easily scratched but let me assure you that this is not the case. Micarta is very hard and is not easy to scratch at all.

Benchmade 319 Proper
Benchmade 319 Proper

The second option for a handle material that you are presented with is a G 10 handle. This handle material comes in a dark red color. G 10 is a grade of Garolite that is a laminate composite made of fiberglass. It has very similar properties to carbon fiber, yet can be had for almost a fraction of the cost. The manufacturer takes layers of fiberglass cloth and soaks them in resin, then compresses them and bakes them under pressure. The material that results is extremely tough, hard, very lightweight, and strong. In fact, G 10 is considered the toughest of all the fiberglass resin laminates and stronger, although more brittle, than Micarta. Checkering and other patterns add a texture to the handle, which makes for a solid, comfortable grip. The production process can utilize many layers of the same color, or varying different colors to achieve a unique cosmetic look on the G 10 handle. Tactical folders and fixed blade knives benefit from the qualities of G 10, because it is durable and lightweight, nonporous and available in a variety of colors. While this material is cheaper to produce than carbon fiber, it still has to be cut and machined into shape which is not as economical as the injection molding process used in FRN handles. One of the drawbacks to this material is that it does lack elegance.

Both versions of the handle will provide you with a secure grip for your everyday tasks. However, the Micarta handle is not going to give you a super solid grip in wetter situations. There is no pocket clip on the Proper family, but there has been a lanyard hole carved into the butt of the handle. Because there is no pocket clip, a lanyard will be the perfect option to attach easily, while keeping it out of the way, but also keeping it close by for quick grab. A lanyard can also be a fashion statement for your everyday knife. A third reason to attach a lanyard onto your Proper knife is to have it hang out of your pocket. Many people try to keep their everyday carry knife hidden completely deep in their pocket, so having a lanyard hanging out of your pocket will be inconspicuous but easy to draw out when needed.

 

The Mechanism:

The locking mechanism on this family of knives is not actually a true locking mechanism. These knives have what is called a slipjoint locking mechanism. This type of mechanism is most commonly seen in Swiss Army Knives. Typically, knives with this mechanism require two hands to open and close safely. The mechanism is made up of a spring bar and a specially shaped blade. To open the knife, you pull on the blade to overcome the pressure from the spring, snapping the blade into place. To close it, make sure your fingers are out of the way of the sharp edge, and push back down. One of the main advantages of these types of knives is their legality. They’re also nice to carry because they’re simple and easy to use. But, since they don’t have a true lockup, they’re not the best for heavier duty tasks.

The Proper knife family sports a nail nick opening mechanism. This type of mechanism is one of the oldest form of knife opening system that was widely sued in production knives and they still continue to be a popular opening method for high end interframe folders. Nail nicks aren’t commonly used on tactical folders because they are difficult to open one handed. IT is possible to open many nail nick folders one handed fi there is enough blade to grip onto when it is closed by performing a “Spydie Drop”, which is where you hold onto the blade and flick the handle open from it, usually with the help of gravity. The nail nick is exactly what it sounds like, a small divot in the blade that you can get your thumb into and push the blade out of the handle and into place.

 

The Specs:

The blade on this knife is 2.86 inches long. The overall length of this knife is 6.71 inches long with a closed length of 3.85 inches long. This knife weighs in at 2.3 ounces. This knife was also made in the United States of America.

 

Conclusion:

The Proper is one of many new folding models released by Benchmade this year and comes in 2 different handle colors and finishes. Each model embodies the typical classic gentlemen’s knife but this time with ultra-premium and modern materials. The Proper utilizes a slip-joint non-locking mechanism in which the blade is held open by spring pressure on a flat section on the back of the blade’s tang and is deployed with a classic nail nick opening feature. This Blue Class model, the 319, features a dark brown canvas Micarta handle, stainless steel liners, a sheepsfoot style blade in a satin finish and due to the nature of this knife, there is no included pocket clip design. Made in the USA. This is truly a simple yet modern take on a classic gentleman’s knife. So come celebrate Benchmade month this May at BladeOps and pick yours up today.   You can find the Dark Red model here and the Dark Brown Model here.
 

 

 

 

 

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Benchmade 3150BK Impel Automatic Knife Review

Benchmade has a rich history that dates back over 30 years. Benchmade came about as a result of many dedicated employees, a never quite demand for excellence, and the de Asis family’s vision and total commitment to culture, service and innovation. Benchmade really began in 1979 when Les de Asis wanted a knife that reflected the latest in materials and manufacturing technology to replace the cheap butterfly knives that he had played with as a kid. When Les was in high school, he had taken a shop class, so he put those skills to use and blueprinted his dream knife. He eventually met Victor Anselmo who helped him grind the first ever pre-Benchmade prototype. Les paired this prototype with handles that Les sourced form a small machine shop in California. Les actually assembled and finished his first Bali-Song in his own garage. He was proud of his creation and took it to a local gun store when the owner asked him if he could make 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 that this company used was actually purchased from the owner of a manufacturing operation who was looking to retire. Les utilized the rudimentary technology that was available to him at the time and began building handmade, custom Bali-Songs, or butterfly knives. He was building these knives along with Jody Sampson, who was grinding all of the blades in the operation. It was the success of these custom butterfly knives that spurred the creation of the first production Bali-Song: The model 68.

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

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

Les recognized that while there was “handmade” and “factory made”, it was actually “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.

Benchmade has a wide variety of quality tools. When you are carrying a Benchmade, you can count on your knife to be reliable and durable, no matter the situation. At BladeOps, we respect the high quality products Benchmade produces and are celebrating them during the month of May.

 

The Blade:

The blade on the Benchmade 3150BK Impel is made out of CPM S30V steel. This steel is made by Crucible, which is a US based company. This steel has excellent edge retention and resists rust effortlessly. This steel 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 of dollar, this is generally regarded as one of the finest knife blade steels with the optimal balance of edge retention, hardness, and toughness. One of the only drawbacks to this formula of steel is that it does tend to be tricky to sharpen.

The finish on this blade is a black, coated finish. A coated finish reduces the reflection and glare while reducing wear and corrosion. However, ALL coating can be scratched off after continuous heavy use and at that point the blade will have to be recoated. Coatings 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.

The blade on this version of the Impel has been carved into a drop point blade shape. This is a fantastic all-purpose knife that can stand up to anything. A drop point is one of the most popular blade shapes in use today. One of the most recognizable knife styles that features a drop point blade is the hunting knife, although it is use on many other types of knives as well. To form the shape of this style of blade, the back, or unsharpened, edge of the knife runs straight form the handle to the tip of the knife in a slow curve manner, which creates a lowered point. It is this lowered point that 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. And because of this tip strength and the ability to hold up to heavy use, drop point blades are popular on tactical and survival knives. Because the point on a drop point blade is so easily controlled, they are a popular choice on hunting knives. The lowered, controllable point makes it easier to avoid accidentally nicking internal organs and ruining the meat. One of the reasons that this style of blade is so versatile is because of the large belly area that is perfect for slicing. The Impel knife has been created to be an everyday knife, so the large belly is a huge advantage. When you choose this knife, you are preparing yourself to take on all the daily tasks that you expect to encounter, but also the twists and turns that life is known for throwing at you.

The edge on this knife is a plain edge, which is the perfect option for your everyday carry knife. The plain edge is designed to take on a wider range of tasks. A plain edge is going to excel at push cuts, slicing, skinning, and peeling. Many people do worry that without the teeth on a serrated edge, you aren’t going to be able to cut through the thicker materials, like branches and ropes. While this is mostly accurate, when you get a plain edge sharp enough, you will be able to tackle those materials. A bonus of the plain edge is that it is going to be easier to sharpen, because of the lack of teeth. And, you can usually get a finer edge on a plain edge as opposed to the serrated edge. Because this knife does sport a plain edge, your cuts and slices are going to be much cleaner.

Benchmade Impel Knife
Benchmade Impel Knife

The Handle:

The handle on this knife has been made out of 6061-T6 Aluminum. This is the most common type of aluminum that is used today and it has tremendous tensile strength. Aluminum is a very durable material for knife handles. It’s a low density metal that provides for a nice, hefty feel to the knife without weighing the knife down. This is a big benefit, because you want to feel like you have weight behind the knife that is going to be able to tackle your tasks, but you don’t want a crazy heavy knife. When it is properly texturized, an aluminum handle can provide a reasonably secure grip that is also comfortable and easy for extended use. On the downside, if you use your knife quite a bit during colder winter months, you might find the handle uncomfortably cold given its conductive properties. Aluminum is generally considered inferior to its stronger, yet more expensive brother Titanium, which tends to be found on the more premium knives.

To add texture, Benchmade has added a G10 inlay to the palm portion of this handle. G10 is a laminate composite made of fiberglass. This material is similar to carbon fiber, except that you can get it at a much cheaper cost. To make this material, the manufacturer takes layers of fiberglass cloth and soaks them in resin, then compresses them and bakes them under pressure. The material is very tough, hard, lightweight, and strong. It is very easy to add checkering or other patterns to the handle to provide you with sufficient texture.

The aluminum on the handle is a classic silver and the G10 inlay is a classic black. The handle has a comma shape to it, with the butt of the handle being much thinner than at the front portion. The Impel does have a finger groove, that is slightly more shallow than a traditional finger groove, but also slightly elongated. This works to give you a very comfortable grip, with the handle molding perfectly to your handle.

 

The Pocket Clip:

This is a standard pocket clip that is made out of stainless steel. The knife has been designed to attach the clip tip down.

 

The Mechanism:

This knife is a push button automatic knife. Automatic knives are also known as switchblades or flick blades. This is a type of knife with a folding blade that is contained in the handle which is opened automatically by a spring when a button on the handle 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. The ability to purchase or carry switchblades or automatic knives continues to be heavily restricted or prohibited throughout much of the world. In the USA, switchblades remain illegal to import from abroad or to purchase through interstate commerce since 1958 under the Switchblade Knife Act. But, in 2009, an amendment provides that the Act shall not apply to spring assist or assisted opening knives. This means that the Impel might not be legal to own or carry in your area, so make sure that you know all of your local knife laws before you purchase or carry this knife.

 

The Specs:

The blade on the Impel measures in at 1.98 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.100 inches. The overall length of this opened knife is 5.03 inches long and it sports a closed length of 3.06 inches long. The handle on this knife is 0.35 inches thick and the Impel weighs in at 1.39 ounces. This knife has been made in the United States of America.

 

Conclusion:

The Benchmade 3150BK Impel auto knife a push button design with an integrated slide safety. This Lerch design automatic knife has a plain edge blade of S30V premium stainless steel with a BK1 black tactical coat. The steel has the perfect balance between strength, toughness, and edge retention—which is a hard balance to achieve. The black tactical coat does cut down on glares and reflections while also prolonging the life of the blade; however, all coating finishes will be scratched off after periods of heavy use. The Impel also has a machined aluminum handle with black G10 inlay. The aluminum is hard and durable while the G10 inlay provides you with plenty of texture to have a solid grip on this everyday carry knife. The Impel comes with a removable tip down steel pocket clip. This small automatic knife falls in the Cali Legal class with a blade just shorter than 2″. The Impel has extremely fast action and tight lock up. Especially nice is the slide safety that is right next to the button. Makes for easier one handed operation. This is the perfect carry auto for the office but it’s solid construction makes it just at home pretty much anywhere.

Come help us celebrate Benchmade month this May at BladeOps and pick up your Impel knife today.

 

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Benchmade Torrent Spring Assist Knife Review

Benchmade has a rich history that dates 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. Benchmade really began when Les de Asis wanted a knife that reflected the latest in materials and manufacturing technology to replace the cheap butterfly knives. He used his high school shop skills and blueprinted his dream knife. He assembled and finished his first Bali-Song in his own garage. When it came time to pick a name for the company he recognized that 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 had 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.

For over 25 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. Whether you are using a Griptilian for every day duties or taking the flight to the enemy with the Infidel, their knives are built to perform. When you choose to purchase a Benchmade, you do so because you want the best. You demand it. And programs like their LlifeSharp Lifetime Service Warranty are the foundation of their commitment to excellence. They live it and breathe it, and they know what you mean when you say: It’s not a knife. It’s my Benchmade.

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 sue the bets materials and equipment. They make world class knives for world class users through an eight step process. The process starts at laser cutting, then moves to surface grinding and blade and handle milling, the next step is beveling, then on to back sanding and finishing. To finish the whole process off the knives they move to assembly and sharpening.

May is Benchmade month at BladeOps. To celebrate, we care going over different knives every day and today is the Benchmade Torrent Family of knives. With this family of knives, you have a wide variety of options to choose from with the different characteristics of the knives.

 

The Blade:

The blade has been carved out of 154CM steel. This is a high end steel that is relatively hard. This steel formula is considered an upgraded version of 440C through the addition of Molybdenum. This addition achieves superior edge holding compared to 440C while retaining similar excellent levels of corrosion resistance despite having less Chromium. This steel has decent toughness that is good enough for most uses and holds an edge well. 154CM steel is not too difficult to sharpen when you have the right equipment. You will find a lot of quality pocket knives that use this type of steel.

There are two different finishes that you can choose form in this family of knives. The first is the satin finish and the second is the coated finish. The satin finish is created by sanding the blade in one direction with increasing degrees of a fine abrasive, which is normally a sandpaper. The satin finish really shows the bevels of the blade, showcase the lines of the knife, while also reducing its reflective glare. The finer the abrasive and the more even the lines; the cleaner the satin finish blade looks. This is one of the more traditional blade finishes that you are going to find.

The second option of a finish is the coated finish. This is a black finish that reduces the reflection and glare while reducing wear and corrosion. However, all coating finish can and will be scratched off after continuous heavy use. At that point, the blade has to be refinished. A quality coating can add cost to the knife but provide more corrosion resistance, less reflection, and require less maintenance. The coating finish can also prolong the life of a blade by preventing corrosion or rust.

The blade shape on this family of knives is a drop point blade shape. This is a great all-purpose knife that can stand up to anything. A drop point blade shape is one of the most popular blade shapes in use today and the most recognizable knife that features a drop point is the hunting knife, although it is used on many other types of knives as well. To form the blade shape, the back, or unsharpened, edge of the knife runs straight from the handle to the tip of the knife in a slow curved manner, creating a lowered point. This lowered point provides roe 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 point on a drop point blade is easily controllable, they are a popular choice on hunting knives. The lowered, controllable point makes it easier to avoid accidently nicking internal organs and ruining the meat. One of the reason that a drop point blade shape is so versatile is because they feature a large belly area that is perfect for slicing. Drop point blades really only have one disadvantage and it is that the drop point blade is its relatively broad tip, which makes it less suitable for piercing than the clip point. When you choose a knife like the Torrent that sports a drop point, you will be choosing great all-purpose blade that can be used in man situations, whether they are expected or unexpected.

With the Torrent Family, you are also presented with two different blade edges. You can choose from a plain edge and a serrated edge. The plain edge is going to excel at push cuts, slicing, skinning and peeling. The plain edge is going to be the easiest to sharpen out of the two options. The serrated edge is going to be ideal if you are going to be working with thicker materials. The teeth of the serrated edge is going to be ideal for sawing through those thicker and tougher materials. But, the teeth make for a much more uneven cut. The cuts of a serrated edge tend to be a jagged cut.

Benchmade 890BK Torrent
Benchmade 890BK Torrent Assist Knife

The Handle:

The handle on this family of knives has been made out of G10. G10 is a grade of Garolite that is a laminate composite made of fiberglass. It has very similar properties, although slightly inferior, to carbon fiber yet can be had for almost a fraction of the cost. The manufacturer takes layers of fiberglass cloth and soaks tem 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. And 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 G10 is designed to look like wood, but it is black. There has been enough grip added that you will have a secure hold on it in most circumstances. On the bottom of the handle, there is a lanyard hole. This lanyard hole is very useful to tie on a piece of rope, leather, or some other line through to form a retention method. This also comes in handy for taking your knife out of your pocket. Since the Torrent family of knives is designed to be an everyday carry type of knife, the lanyard will really only come in handy to keep your knife close, have an easy withdrawal, and to add a little bit of personal style to your blade.

 

The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip is a deep carry pocket clip that has been designed to attach tip down.

 

The Mechanism:

This family of knives is a manual opening knife that uses a thumb stud to assist in your opening. The thumb stud is arguably one of the most common one handed opening feature. A thumb stud essentially replaces the nail nick found on more traditional knives. The principle is pretty straightforward—you grasp the folded knife, 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 opened.

This knife also features a liner locking mechanism.

This knife features a liner locking 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 towards the pocket clip so that it clears contact form the butt of the blade. This lets you sue your index finger to push the blade just enough so that it keeps the bar pushed down so you can remove your thumb form the blade path, then continue to safely close the knife. Liner locks are beneficial in that they allow a knife to have two true handle side, unlike a frame lock. You can close the knife with one hand without switching grip, ideal for when you need both hands on the job. You’ll find liner lock in both entry level and high end knives. It’s a lock type that appeals to both knife newbies and enthusiast alike. If you’ll be using your knife for heavy duty tasks, you should know that liner locks typically aren’t as robust as other locking systems. They’re still plenty strong, but because they’re typically made form a thinner piece of metal, they’re more prone to wearing out compared to a beefy frame lock.

 

The Specs:

The blade on this knife is 3.60 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.100 inches. The overall length of this knife is 8.2 inches long with a closed length of 4.60 inches long. The handle on this knife is 0.60 inches. The Torrent family weighs in at 3.5 ounces.

 

Conclusion:

The Steigerwalt design knife has a 154CM stainless steel drop point blade with a plain edge or combo edge and a satin or coated finish. The blade locks open with the modified locking liner. The modified drop point blade is simple to open, just push the thumb stud opener to get the blade started and the spring takes over and snaps the blade open nice and fast. The black G10 handles are comfortable to hold and look fantastic. The Torrent comes with a tip down pocket clip. It has a lanyard hole at the base of the handle. This family of knives will make you rethink what you want from your everyday carry knife. Celebrate Benchmade month and come pick up your Torrent today.

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Benchmade Freek Folder Knife Review

Benchmade was started because Les de Asis want to revamp the butterfly knives that he was used to playing with as a kid. He wanted butterfly knives to be made out of the latest materials and with the latest manufacturing technology. Les had taken a high school shop class, so he put those skills to work and blueprinted his dream knife. Later on in his life, he met Victor Anselmo, who helped him grind the first ever pre-Benchmade Butterfly prototype. Les finished this first knife in his own garage. Taking this prototype to a local gun store and asked the owner if he would build 100 more.

When Les started his first business, Bali-Song, Inc., he would build handmade custom butterfly knives, with Jody Sampson grinding the blades. These knives were wildly popular, evolving into the Bali-Song: The model 68. Throughout the next seven years, this company branched out and began design and producing fixed blades and regular folding knives. They also changed their name into Pacific Cutlery Corporation. Eventually this company filed for bankruptcy, but a year later Les introduced a new company: Benchmade.

Les chose this name because while there is “handmade” and “factory-made”, but he felt like his were in between these two groups. There were machines to make all of the parts, but Benchmade’s knives are put together by hand assembly. To this day, they keep up the Benchmade quality, so you know that each of your knives are getting attention. This is one of the key factors in why they are so great. Today, we will be talking about the Benchmade Freek.

The Blade:

The blade on this knife has been fashioned out of CPM S30V premium stainless steel. This steel was designed by Crucible to be specifically for knives, and not just knives, but for high end premium pocket knives and pricey kitchen cutlery. This means that this steel is going to offer all of the characteristics that you want out of your blade. For starters, this steel has fantastic edge retention. It also has high rust and corrosion resistance properties. Crucible added vanadium carbides to the steel, which help to harden the steel. Commonly in knife steels, if you get hardness, you lose toughness. Not with CPM S30V steel. It is surprising how much toughness and hardness that this steel actually has. Many people say that this steel is the perfect balance between edge retention, hardness, and toughness. When this steel first came out, it was definitely one of the most expensive steels that you could get. However, the market has expanded and newer steels have come out, so this price dropped considerably. I’m not saying that it’s a cheap option, but it’s cheaper than it once was. And you still get all of the great qualities that it offers. You can’t go wrong with CPM S30V premium stainless steel. One drawback to this steel is that it has been known to be tough on grinders. If this is going to be a problem for you, try searching for a blade made out of S35VN steel, which gives you all the same great qualities, but is a little bit easier to work with.

Benchmade designed this knife to be an everyday knife and an outdoors knife. The perfect blade shape to fit those two categories is a drop point style, so that is exactly what Benchmade did. Drop points are one of the most versatile knife shapes that you are going to find. They are strong, durable, and can take on almost any task that you happen to throw at it. So what exactly makes this shape so amazing? Let’s start with how it looks. The unsharpened, or back, edge of the blade run straight from the handle to the tip of the knife in a slow curve. This slow curve creates a lowered point. Because of the lowered point, you have much more control over your blade as you work with it. With this control, you can do more delicate work and not be worried about piercing whatever material you are working with. Another reason that you don’t have to worry about piercing anything is because the tip is actually more broad than other shapes, so stabbing is harder. Because the tip is broad and the point is lowered, the tip of this knife is going to be very strong. This makes it a perfect blade for an outdoors lover, because you are going to be encountering heavier tasks while camping, hiking, or just being in the great outdoors. This blade shape is also the perfect option for your everyday carry knife, because a drop point style blade has a large belly with lots of room for slicing. With premium steel and a versatile blade shape, you are going to be able to take on any challenge that comes your way, whether it’s expected or completely unexpected.

Benchmade 560 Freek
Benchmade 560 Freek

The Handle:

The handle is made out of warm gray grivory with a black Versaflex over mold. Grivory is a unique material. The scientific definition for grivory is “a subset of thermoplastic synthetic resins in the polyamide family defined as when 55% or more moles of the carboxylic acid portion of the repeating unit in the polymer chain is composed of a combination of terephthalic and isophthalic acids.” That definition might help some of you guys out, but when I read it, I am still just as confused. The simpler version is that Grivory is a form of fiberglass reinforced nylon. It is actually very similar to the FRN that Spyderco has developed. This material has a higher chemical resistance than other plastics and some metals. It also has a higher strength and keeps its stiffness at extreme temperatures. This material also has a higher resistance to warping than most materials that you are going to come across. Plus, Grivory is pretty resistant to absorbing moisture. Because it is less likely to absorb moisture, it is going to require a lot less maintenance. The Grivory on this handle has a black, textured over mold made out of Versaflex to add grip.

 

The Mechanism:

The Freek sports an AXIS lock. The AXIS lock was introduced to the world in 1988, having been designed by Bill McHenry and Jason Williams. Benchmade actually bought the rights of this mechanism and that is when it was named the AXIS lock. This locking mechanism has been patented by Benchmade, so you will only find the AXIS lock on a Benchmade knife. This type of locking system stands out because it is very easy to use with only one hand, and it’s totally ambidextrous. So how does it work? The lock has been made up out of a spring tensioned bar that can slide back and forth on a track that lies inside the handle. These tracks have actually been cut into the handles on the Freek. On the butt end of the blade, there is a flat sport that lets the spring-tensioned bar to lock into place when the knife is opened. To close this style of locking mechanism, you pull the bar back towards the knife and then fold the blade closed. Because this bar is accessible from either side of the knife handle, you can open and close it with either hand easily. There are some drawbacks to having this style of locking mechanism. One of these drawbacks is that there are lots of moving parts involved in the system, so it can be tricky to disassemble if you want to clean or maintain it.

 

The Pocket Clip:

The handle on this knife features a reversible, tip up pocket clip. This means that the knife has been drilled to carry the knife with either your left or right hand. The reversible pocket clip and the AXIS lock means that this knife is completely ambidextrous. However, the Freek has only been drilled to carry your knife tip up.

 

The Pros of the Benchmade Freek:

  • The steel on this knife is a premium stainless steel.
  • The steel on this knife has fantastic corrosion resistance properties.
  • The steel on this knife maintains its edge very well.
  • The steel on this knife has a great balance between hardness and toughness, which is harder to find than you would think.
  • This knife is designed to be an everyday knife and an outdoors knife.
  • The blade shape is drop point, which is one of the most versatile blade styles.
  • The drop point has a great belly, so slicing will be easy for you.
  • The tip is broad and lowered, so you plenty of strength behind it—you’ll be able to do the harder tasks.
  • The Grivory handle is strong, resistant to warping, and pretty resistant to absorbing moisture.
  • The handle has a Versaflex over mold to add texture and grip.
  • Sports an AXIS lock, which is completely ambidextrous.
  • The pocket clip is reversible, so the knife is totally ambidextrous.

 

The Cons of the Benchmade Freek:

  • The steel chosen for this knife has been known to be a little tricky to sharpen.
  • Although it is a premium stainless steel, you still are going to need to maintain your blade and make sure that there is no moisture when storing it.
  • The drop point shape is not great for stabbing or piercing.
  • The pocket clip is only drilled to carry your blade tip up.

 

Conclusion:

Benchmade has been a reliable knife company for many years now. Even though they started out only designing and producing Bali-Song, or Butterfly, knives, they quickly branched out to designing other styles of knives as well. These other styles of knives quickly excelled in the knife community. Benchmade has been around the block a few times and they really do know what they are doing when they design and create new knives.

Something that sets Benchmade apart from their competitors is that their knives are not handmade, nor factory made, but bench made. This means that the parts are made like a factory knife, but then each knife gets special attention while it is being assembled. This means that you can feel confident that your knife has been looked at and approved by a person, not just assembled in a line. Each knife has been finished to perfection.

Benchmade’s knife, the Freek, has been designed perfectly. To start out with their knife, Benchmade chose CPM S30V steel, which is a superior stainless steel that sports the perfect balance between edge retention, toughness, and hardness. This means that the steel will need less maintenance and steel retain its high qualities. To complete the perfect blade, Benchmade decided to pair the superior steel with a versatile blade shape, the drop point. This drop point blade has a great belly for slicing and a broad, lowered tip for strength and control. This means that you can perform heavier duty tasks and not have to worry about your tip breaking, but you can also perform intricate cutting detail while working with this blade. A perfect blade needs a perfect handle, so Benchmade chose to use Grivory as the base of the handle. This material is pretty resistant to warping, high temperatures, and absorbing moisture. But, not only that, but Grivory also is more resistant to chemicals than other materials and Grivory has a higher strength to it than most other materials, including not only plastics, but some metals. As a finishing touch to the handle, Benchmade chose to put a Verflex over mold to add texture and provide you with a more secure grip. To complete the handle, they added an AXIS locking mechanism. This mechanism is completely ambidextrous and reliable. However, it can be hard to dismantle if you are trying to clean or maintain it. To finish off this knife, Benchmade chose to use a reversible, tip up pocket clip. Because the knife has been drilled to carry either left or right handedly, the Freek is one hundred percent ambidextrous. Finding such a perfectly ambidextrous knife is harder than it would seem like.

Benchmade knocked it out of the park with this knife.

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