Benchmade HUNT Hidden Canyon Knife Review

The Benchmade story began in 1979 when Les de Asis wanted a knife that reflected the latest in materials and manufacturing technology. He wanted this new knife to replace the cheap butterfly, or Bali-song, knives that he had played with when he was a kid. He had taken a high school shop class, so he used the skills that he had learned there to blueprint his dream knife. He later met Victor Anselmo, who helped him grind the first ever pre-Benchmade Bali-song prototype. Les paired this prototype blade with handles that he had sourced from a small machine shop in California. It was in his own garage that he assembled and finished his first Bali-song. He was proud of his creation and upon taking it into his local gun shop, the owner asked him if he could build 100 more. A year later, Les incorporated as Bali-song, Inc. and rented a small shop in a second story mezzanine in California. He purchased the original equipment form the owner of a manufacturing operation who was looking to retire. He utilized the basic technology that he had access to and began building custom Bali-songs. He built these knives along with Jody Sampson, who ground all the blades. It was the success of these custom Bali’s 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. Seven years later, Les reintroduced a new company and new version of the Model 68. The company would now need a new name. He recognized that while there was “handmade” and “factory made”, it was really “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 anted the name to reflect the marriage of manufactured and custom. Even to this day, it describes Benchmade’s position in the market.

Benchmade has a mindset of, “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, we continue to innovate with the goal of taking performance and reliability to the next level. TO exceed what is expected.” They have a commitment to excellence and as they say, “We live it and breathe it, and we know what you mean when you say: It’s not a knife. It’s my Benchmade.”

You can trust Benchmade knives and I know that you will love Benchmade knives. Over here at BladeOps, we are celebrating May as Benchmade month. Today, we are going over the Hidden Canyon Hunter knife. This is actually a family of knives, meaning that you can choose a variety of different options in the different features of the knife.

 

The Blade:

The blade on this knife is made out of CPM S30V steel. This type of steel is made by Crucible, which is a US based company. While the official title of this steel is CPM S30V steel, it is often referred to as just S30V steel. This formula has excellent edge retention and can resist rust effortlessly. This steel was designed in the United states and is typically used for the high end premium pocket knives and expensive kitchen cutlery. They can bring the extreme hardness out of the steel alloy matrix because they have added vanadium carbides. Dollar for dollar, this steel is generally regarded as one of the finest knife blade steels with the optimal balance of edge retention, hardness, and toughness. This balance is one of the hardest balances to achieve. One of the only drawbacks to this steel is that it is very tricky to sharpen. A beginner sharpener will not be able to sharpen this steel formula.

The finish on this steel is a satin finish. This style of blade finish is created by repeatedly sanding the blade in one direction with an increasing level of abrasive. This abrasive material is usually a sandpaper. The key characteristic that accompanies this finish is that it showcases the lines in the steel. This blade finish provides you with one of the most traditional looks that you can find in blades. The satin finish does help to cut down on some glares and reflections, but it definitely is not a matte finish.

The steel on this blade has been ground into a drop point blade shape. The drop point blade shape is not only a fantastic all-purpose knife that has incredible strength behind it, it is also one of the best blade styles for a hunting knife. And one of the most common places that you are going to find this blade shape is on hunting knives. To form this blade shape, the back of the knife runs straight from the handle to the tip of the knife in a slow curved manner, which creates a lowered point. It is this lowered point that is the first reason it is such a great option for hunting knives. The lowered point is easily controllable, which makes it easier to avoid accidentally nicking internal organs and ruining the meat. And the lowered point does create a stronger tip. Because of the tip strength and the ability to hold up to heavy use, drop point blades are popular on tactical and survival knives. This strength also helps to hold up to any hunting task that you might need to tackle. One of the next reasons that this blade shape is so great on a hunting knife is because drop point style knives feature a large “belly” area that is perfect for slicing. This belly will help skin and peel whatever you need. While there are so many benefits to the drop point blade shape, there is a disadvantage. The drop point has a relatively broad tip, which makes it less suitable for piercing than the clip point. When you choose a hunting knife that sports a drop point style blade, you will be equipping yourself with a tool that can assist you in any hunting situation, as well as almost any other situation you encounter.

Because this is a hunting knife, it does sport a plain edge. This is the more traditional edge that you will encounter and it is ideal for hunting. The plain edge excels at push cuts, peeling, skinning, and slicing: all things that you will encounter when you are trying to dress your game.

Benchmade Hidden Canyon Knife
Benchmade Hidden Canyon Knife

The Handle:

There are two different handle options that you can choose from with the Hidden Canyon Hunting knife. You have a G10 option and a Dymondwood option.

The G10 comes in a gray and black combo. This G10 has been designed to look like it is wood. G10 is a grade of Garolite that is a laminate composite made of fiberglass. It has very similar properties to carbon fiber, but you can get it for almost a fraction of the 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 resulting material is extremely tough, hard, very lightweight, and also strong. G10 is considered the toughest of all the fiberglass resin laminates and stronger than Micarta. And 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. Some people are worried that this material lacks elegance, but that is not an issue when you are in the market for a hunting knife.

The next option is a Dymondwood handle. And because this material has a base material of wood, it is a dark and light brown. Wood handles have been used since knives came into existence. A good quality wood handle is durable and attractive and wood is a relatively inexpensive material for heavy duty knives. Dymondwood is a type of stabilized wood, which means that the wood has been injected with plastic. To make this material, the manufacturer will inject polymer resin and then compress the material under high pressure to create a very dense and durable material that still exhibits its natural beauty. The Dymondwood material stands up extremely well to long term use and messy environments.

Both handle materials are textured to provide you with plenty of grip during those messy situations. There is a deep finger groove to give you a secure grip and keep your fingers safe. The rest of the handle does mold to your palm so that you can take on those long tasks without becoming uncomfortable.

In both versions of the handle, there is a lanyard hole. This is a fantastic option to secure your knife against loss and to add extra safety while you are using it. However, one of the best purposes to use a lanyard on the Hidden Canyon Hunting knife is to add safety when processing a large animal. When field dressing a large game animal, there comes a time when you’ll reach inside the cavity to cut the esophagus so the intestines can be pulled out. This is a messy, blood situation, which makes the knife handle slippery. A lanyard around your hand or wrist can prevent  your hand form slipping down the handle onto the blade.

 

The Mechanism:

Both versions of the Hidden Canyon Hunting knife are fixed blades. There are so many benefits to using a fixed blade as your hunting knife. For starters, they don’t break. This is because there are no moving parts on a fixed knife. Fixed blades are also easier to maintain, you don’t have to worry about the hinge as you do with a folding knife. And one of the biggest reasons to use a fixed blade for your hunting knife is because cleaning is straightforward and simple. All you have to do is wipe down the knife and you are good to go. When you are constantly using this knife for messy situations, such as dressing game, you are going to want easy clean up. And not only can you use this when you are hunting, but fixed blades makes for a superior survival tool because they can cut, dig, split, hunt, hammer, and even pry.

 

The Sheath:

There are also two different sheaths that you can choose from: a leather sheath and a kydex sheath. The leather is a very traditional option that has great aesthetics. Leather is a well-known material that looks exceptional, feels nice in your hands, and even smells good. Leather is also very quiet when you are putting a knife in and out of the sheath. However, leather is a natural material and will eventually become unusable.

The kydex sheath is a thermoplastic material that’s used to make holsters and other items. The greatest aspect of kydex is its durability. It can even be submerged in salt water without breaking down. But, kydex is unreasonably loud when you are taking out a knife. And, after repeated taking out and putting back a knife, the edge will dull.

 

The Specs:

This knife has a blade length of 2.67 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.140 inches. The overall length of the knife is 6.32 inches long. The handle thickness on these knives is 0.58 inches. The G10 version of the handle weighs in at 3.53 ounces, with a sheath that weighs 1.38 ounces. The Dymondwood handle weighs in at 3.19 ounces and has a sheath that weighs in at 1.06 ounces.

 

Conclusion:

This knife is a compact knife for those who are looking to save space, it is truly about as much knife as you’ll ever need for processing your harvest thanks to the large applied blade radius that excels at skinning and meat removal. This knife is also made in the United States of America. Help us celebrate Benchmade month and pick your favorite version of the Hidden Canyon Hunting knife up today at BladeOps.

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Benchmade Adamas Folder Knife Review — Video Review

The Benchmade Adamas line of folders continues to stand out from the crowd.  Get one of these heavy duty folders that will last a lifetime here on our website.

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Benchmade H&K Turmoil OTF Knife Review

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

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

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

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Buy The Benchmade Turmoil

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Benchmade Turmoil Handle
Benchmade Turmoil Handle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Blade Length: 3.47″
  • Blade Thickness: .100″
  • Handle Thickness: .470″
  • Blade Material: D2 Tool Steel
  • Blade Hardness: 60-62 HRC
  • Blade Style: Drop Point
  • Weight: 3.43 oz
  • Pocket Clip: Tip Down, Black, Reversible
  • Lock Mechanism: OTF Double Auto
  • Overall Length: 8.10″
  • Closed Length: 4.63″
  • Class: Heckler & Koch
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Benchmade 477 Emissary 3.5 Assist Knife — New Knife Review

Benchmade 477 Emissary
Benchmade 477 Emissary AXIS-Assist knife

The Benchmade 477 is another great addition to the extremely successful Emissary platform.  The newest model, the Emissary 3.5, features the AXIS-Assist locking mechanism with a safety, an S30V stainless steel modified drop point blade, and CNC machined billet alumium handles.

The previous Emissary, model 470-1, also used the AXIS-Assist locking mechanism but it had a slide safety positioned near the AXIS system on the side of the handle.  The 3.5 has the safety positioned on the spine of the handle.  I like the position better for a couple of reasons.  First, it is out of the way of my hand so I am not bumping into it when gripping the knife in a traditional grip.  Second, the safety is actually easier for me to operate on the spine.  Some spine safeties are fidgeting, finicky things that are difficult to slide.  This one is perfect.  Easy to depress and slide with the thumb, it slides smooth in its track and locks up with a nice, quiet click when in place.  I think it is the best spine safety I have ever used.

Benchmade Emissary Knives
Benchmade Emissary Knives

The nearly 3.5″ blade is S30V.  This stainless steel is going to handle every day life with ease.  It will tackle heavy duty cutting jobs with minimal fuss.  It will keep an edge and it will keep you cutting smooth and easy for a very long time.  When it comes time to sharpen the blade, you can do it yourself or send it in to Benchmade through their fantastic LifeSharp program so you don’t have to fuss and bother.  They ship it back to you with a factory edge back on the blade.

The AXIS-Assist system, if you haven’t had the pleasure of using it, opens fast and locks up very tight.  To open the blade, just give either of the ambidextrous thumb studs a push and get the blade started.  The assist takes over and gets the blade open the rest of the way.  To close the blade, just pull the AXIS mechanism towards the butt of the handle.  I do this by grasping the AXIS system with my thumb and forefinger.  You can easily do it with just your thumb if you prefer.  This releases the blade from the open position and you can close it with your other hand.  When the blade is open, or when it is closed, you can slide the safety mechanism into the locked position securing the blade in its current position.  It makes for an ultra secure open blade so you can make your heavy cuts with peace of mind.

The handle is CNC machined aluminum.  It has a deep finger groove for your finger and then a more shallow and wide spot for your other fingers to rest on.  The handle has several wide bevels for a very comfortable grip.  The knife has a deep carry pocket clip that is right/left reversible.  It also has a lanyard hole.

The 477 Emissary 3.5 Assist knife is perfect for those who want a full sized blade in a classic package with all the best of materials and mechanisms.  The knife carries comfortable and unobtrusive in your pocket which makes it perfect for the boardroom warrior.  Check out the Benchmade 477 on our site here.  Let me know what you think of yours down below.

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Benchmade 909SBK Stryker II Knife Review

Benchmade 909SBK Stryker II
Benchmade 909SBK Stryker II — folder knife built for heavy use.

The Benchmade Stryker series just got a new member–and the 909 is definitely a knife to be reckoned with.  A tactical folder built for the real world, the Stryker II features a tanto blade that locks up with the AXIS locking mechanism.  Textured G-10 handle scales provide a comfortable and secure grip.  The reversible (right/left) tip up pocket clip allows for flexible carry options.  And most of all, it performs.

The 154CM stainless steel blade has a black tactical finish on this model.  You can pick it up with a satin finish if you prefer.  Also available with a standard edge instead of the part serrated if that is the direction you lean.  The blade is just over 3 1/2″ which makes it perfect for heavy, every day use applications.  Whether you have some serious work to be done on deployment or just have a couple boxes that need to be opened, this blade will get the job done.  The 154CM stainless steel will give you a great edge that lasts.  It will also be relatively easy to maintain.  You open the knife with the thumb studs.  It locks open with the extremely dependable AXIS locking mechanism.  If you have never used a knife with the AXIS system–you are in for a treat.  Very secure, very simple, and truly ambidextrous.

The handle is built with textured black G10 scales on skeletonized stainless steel liners.  The handle is open construction with just the blade pivot screw, the AXIS lock and two barrel spacers between the two liners.  This reduces weight and has the extra advantage of making the 909 extremely easy to keep clean.  The liners have jimping while the G10 scales do not–which gives a unique jimping pattern that offers texture in the right places while at the same time being low key about it.  The G10 scales are beveled in all the right places for a very comfortable grip.  A lanyard hole offers alternate carry.

This instant classic folder knife is perfect for heavy use whether you operate in a tactical world or a world of glass and steel.  Check out the new Benchmade 909 Stryker II knives on our website here.  Let me know what you think down in the comment section.

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Blade Length: 3.57″
  • Blade Thickness: 0.124″
  • Handle Thickness: 0.470″
  • Blade Material: 154CM Stainless Steel
  • Blade Hardness: 58-60HRC
  • Blade Style: Tanto
  • Weight: 4.38oz.
  • Pocket Clip: Reversible, Black, Tip-Up
  • Lock Mechanism: AXIS
  • Overall Length: 8.29″
  • Closed Length: 4.72″
  • Sheath Material: Sold Separately
  • Class: Black
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