Benchmade Precipice OTF Knife Review

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

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

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

Benchmade 4700 Precipice
Benchmade 4700 Precipice

 

The Blade:

 

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

 

The shape that this blade sports is spear point style. The Benchmade PRECIPICE has a symmetrically shaped blade with only one sharp edge. Spear points are exceptional if you are trying to pierce or stab something. Spear points are very similar to needle point blades, however, spear points have a much stronger tip than a needle point tip would give you. The tip on this blade is lowered, so you have great control over it and can do delicate work with the tip. A spear point blade shape has a relatively small belly, but you can use it for some simple cutting or slicing. However, if you are looking for a knife to mainly use for slicing, this should not be your go to blade. This shape has a great balance between being able to stab and being able to slice. This shape maintains the strength that a drop point shape has, but it has a much sharper tip than a drop point. While you don’t have the belly that you would find on a drop point, you do have adequate slicing abilities.

 

 

The Handle:

 

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

 

 

The Pocket Clip:

 

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

 

 

The Mechanism:

 

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

 

 

The Specs:

 

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

 

Pros of the Benchmade Precipice:

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

 

Cons of the Benchmade Precipice:

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

 

 

Conclusion:

 

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

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

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