A Brief History of Benchmade Knives

Benchmade Knives
Benchmade Knives

The Benchmade company started in California in 1979 and was known as Bali-Song. This all began when company founder Les de Asis wanted a knife that had a higher quality than the ones he used as a kid. His goal was to use the newest materials and manufacturing technologies to replace the poorly made butterfly knives, or Bali-Songs, that were found on the market at that time. As the company’s logo and first name reflected, Benchmade was primarily known for manufacturing butterfly or balisong-style knives. To this day, the company continues to manufacture their patented Bali-Song butterfly knives. His goal became a reality when, after using his high school shop skills, Les went to the local gun store with his prototype. After a pleasant response from the owner asking him to make more, the company began. From this humble beginning, the company went on to become known as the Pacific Cutlery Corporation.

 

-Fact: Bali-Song was the first company in the United States to manufacture the butterfly knife. This claim to fame is one of many that Benchmade can claim.

 

It was during this time that the Pacific Cutlery Corp found themselves in some trouble. Though the company under this name was short-lived, the company reorganized and launched themselves under a new name and with a new knife. Renamed as “Benchmade” the company now had the quality control of a “factory-made” product while maintaining the personalized care of a “handmade” knife. Benchmade had redesigned the knife that started them off in the first place. The Model 68 gave the company just what they needed to boost them into the powerhouse of a company they are in the knife industry today.

 

-Fact: The Benchmade Headquarters is located in Oregon City, Oregon.

 

Benchmade is made up of several different product lines that serve different purposes. Over the years, they have included the Red class, Blue class, Black class, Gold class, Hunt series and H&K knives.

Though no longer in existence, the Red class was primarily made overseas and featured more affordable knives. The most popular knives of this class found their way into the different classes and are still available for purchase.

Benchmade describes their Blue class knives as being “like your best friend.” This class contains typical everyday carry knives. As far as Black class knives go, you will find those equipped onto the belts of the professionals. This professional class is favored by policemen, emergency response teams, and others because of the quality of this class.

Next is the Gold class. This royal class features some of the rarest materials and often come in unique designs. These knives are primarily meant for show and tell. You wouldn’t want to take these beauties into the woods. What you would want to take into the woods is a knife from the Hunt series. According to Benchmade, these knives are “built from advanced materials usually reserved for spaceships and surgical equipment.” These hunting knives are built for durability and reliability while out on the hunt.

Last and certainly not least is the H&K knives. For more than a half-century, Heckler and Koch (H&K) has been a leading designer and manufacturer of military, law enforcement, and civilian firearms. Their commitment to quality, innovation, and safety makes them an industry leader in reliability and technology. Their partnership with Benchmade has been a great asset for both parties.

 

-Fact: Benchmade has produced a unique type of locking and firing mechanism called the AXIS lock. This can be found on several models of knives.

 

Of the several different knife classes by Benchmade, there are many which are notable for their quality, performance, and design. One of such is the Benchmade Infidel. The Infidel is an Out the Front auto that many find favorable. With its unique design, this powerhouse of a knife is a great choice for professionals and for everyday use. Another popular knife is the Griptilian. This model has many variations that give a wide variety of people to enjoy this knife. Similar to the Griptilian is the Barrage, another popular Benchmade product.

 

After many hardworking years by this company, you are within reach of a high-quality product. You cannot go wrong with owning a Benchmade knife. It will last you a lifetime. Here at BladeOps, we always highly recommend getting one of these beauties. So what are you waiting for? Get yourself a Benchmade today.

 

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Benchmade Valet Titanium Gold Class Knife Review

Benchmade started over 30 years ago, and like any good story, it did not start off as the knife dynasty that it is today. In 1979, Les de Asis wanted a knife that used the newest materials and manufacturing technology to create a fantastic butterfly knife. Every butterfly knife that he had previously owned and played with was not a high quality knife. Les had been to a high school shop class, so he blueprinted what his dream knife would be. Eventually, he met Victor Anselmo who helped him work to grind this first ever prototype of a Benchmade knife. Les finished the very first knife in his garage. Les was proud of this new knife, so he took it to a local gun store and asked the owner if he could build 100 more. This was the birth of Bali-Song, the first company that would later transform into Benchmade.

By the time that Benchmade came to be Benchmade, they were producing knives other than the traditional Bali-song style that they had begun with. Les chose the name Benchmade because there were “handmade knives” and “factory-made knives”. The knives that this company was producing was different than both of these. The factory would make the precision parts, but the products were finished by hand.

While Benchmade is known to have the top butterfly knives, their other knives have the same high quality and attention to detail. Recently, the Valet has been revamped and reborn in an exclusive, limited unlimited, Titanium Gold Class knife.  The limited, unlimited designation means it will be produced to demand for all of 2017, after the end of the year, no more units will be produced.

Benchmade Valet
Benchmade Gold Class Valet

 

The Blade:

 

The steel on this blade is made out of Ladder Pattern Damasteel. This type of steel is often compared to Damascus steel, but there are differences between them. Damasteel is also the name of the company that produces this steel; they are located in Sweden and have a history of forging Damascus steel. The process to create Damasteel is a patented manufacturing method. The blade starts out with a billet, which is one single piece of solid steel. They actually create their own billet with a very unique process. They pour stainless steel into a tall tower, while the liquid passes through a nozzle, it is dispersed into droplets with blasts of gas. By the time that the droplets get to the bottom of the tower, they will have solidified into a powder. After the powder is collected, it is compacted with a cold press which allows for the subsequent HIP at high temperature and high pressure. After this whole process is done, there is a solid piece of steel with the perfect structure left over. Each pattern on a Damasteel blade is handmade by Damasteel’s blacksmiths. They take special care to guarantee the highest quality and perfect receptiveness of this pattern. Damasteel is a true work of art. Damascus steel is famous for the strength, durability, and artistry that it possesses. However, Damasteel is a more quality option if you want a high performing, stainless quality to it. Another difference between Damascus and Damasteel is the patterns. Damasteel goes through the HIP process, creating a totally different set of patterns. Damasteel is a fantastic steel option with a great aesthetic that you aren’t going to be able to find anywhere else.

The shape of this blade is a drop point style. A drop point style blade is one of the best shapes for an all-purpose knife. This style of knife can stand up to almost anything and is one of the most popular blade shapes on the market today. The back, or unsharpened, edge of the blade runs from the handle to the tip in a slow curve, which creates a lowered point. Having this lowered point allows you to have more control when using the tip, so you will be able to do delicate work. The lowered tip also adds strength to the point. The tip on this blade shape is also stronger than a clip point, but a clip point shape would be sharper. Because this shape has such a strong tip, you can use this knife for heavy duty, tactical, or survival use. Another excellent characteristic of a drop point style is that it sports a large belly—making it perfect for slicing. While it seems like there are no drawbacks to this shape of a blade, there is one: it has a pretty broad tip, so it is not going to excel at piercing or stabbing. Some people consider this to be a pro though, because you can work with it and not worry about nicking any sensitive areas, especially when skinning something. A drop point blade shape gives you great balance, control, and strength. This is truly one of the most versatile knife shapes, which is why it is such a great option for your everyday carry knife of choice. This is a blade that will be able to do it all.

 

 

The Handle:

 

The handle is made out of billet anodized titanium. This means that the titanium was carved out of only one piece. Titanium is a lightweight metal, but it is heavier than aluminum. However, it is so much stronger than aluminum, so the extra weight is definitely worth it. Titanium has the highest corrosion resistance out of any metal. Something that is unique to titanium is that it actually has a warm feel to it. This means that if you are working in cold environments often, the metal isn’t going to bite into your hand like aluminum would. The titanium on this handle has been anodized. One of the most obvious benefits of anodizing the titanium is that it adds color the material. On this specific handle, a blue violet color has been added. The anodizing creates this color naturally, so you don’t have to worry about a dye running off or it bleeding. Because it is natural, the titanium is able to retain its high corrosion resistance and its ability to withstand high temperature environments. Unfortunately, titanium does have its drawbacks. First of all, this is a relatively expensive material. The cost of this knife will be higher than a knife without a titanium handle. Most people think that the extra cost is worth it, but if you are on a strict budget for purchasing your knife, this might not be the best option for you. Another drawback to titanium is that it is prone to scratches. While the anodizing does help prevent some scratches because it adds strength and durability, it cannot protect the handle from all of its scratches. And, because of the color, these scratches will show up. One last thing to keep in mind is that even though the titanium has the highest corrosion resistance out of the metals, it is not going to be completely stainless. This handle will still need maintenance.

The liners on this handle are stainless steel, with a Diamond Like Coating. The stainless steel liners are a great addition because they will need a little less maintenance. Especially after they have a Diamond Like Coating, to add strength and durability.

 

 

The Mechanism:

This knife sports the Benchmade AXIS lock. This locking mechanism was introduced in 1988. This system works by using a small, hardened spring loaded bar that moves back and forth in a slot that has been etched into both of the stainless steel liners. This bar is positioned towards the butt of the blade and it extends onto both sides of the knife, crossing the liners. This locking mechanism was innovative and allows for an ambidextrous operation. There is a common weak link found in many folders and the AXIS locking system works to strengthen this link. The AXIS locking mechanism increases the safety and integrity of a folding lock up mechanism.

 

 

The Pocket Clip:

 

The pocket clip on this knife is a deep carry, reversible, tip up clip. Its reversible, so you can carry it left or right handedly. But, the knife has only been drilled to carry it tip up. It’s a deep carry pocket clip, so you know that this knife will be secure in your pocket. A deep carry clip also helps you conceal your knife better than a regular clip. The pocket clip has also been treated with a Diamond Like Coating. This coating helps protect the steel and adds strength to it.

 

 

The Extras:

 

The Benchmade Valet Titanium Gold Class knife has a few extras on it. For starters, it has a Damasteel back spacer. Second, it sports a matching anodized titanium thumb stud that sits near the rear of the blade.

 

 

Pros of the Benchmade Valet Titanium Gold Class:

 

  • Benchmade is a fantastic company with an excellent reputation.
  • The steel is made out of Damasteel—a unique steel.
  • The blade is made out of a single piece of titanium, so there are no weak spots on it.
  • Damasteel is strong, durable, and a true masterpiece.
  • Damasteel is a work of art, with a unique pattern that you will only be able to find on Damasteel.
  • The drop point blade shape is one of the most versatile blade shapes.
  • The lowered tip gives you better control and a stronger tip.
  • The drop point shape sports a big belly with ample cutting room, so you have plenty of room for slicing.
  • The handle is made out of a single piece of titanium, so there are no weak spots in it.
  • Titanium is a lightweight material, but extremely strong.
  • Titanium has the highest corrosion resistance out of the metals.
  • Titanium actually feels warm to the touch, so you can have this knife with you in cold environments and not have to worry about it biting into your skin.
  • The handle has been anodized to add a blue violet color.
  • Sports the AXIS lock.
  • Comes with a reversible, deep carry pocket clip.

 

 

Cons of the Benchmade Valet Titanium Gold Class:

 

  • Because Damasteel is such a time consuming, skill needed task, this is going to be a more expensive blade.
  • The drop point blade has a broad tip, so it is not going to excel at stabbing or piercing.
  • Titanium is prone to scratches.
  • Titanium is a more expensive material, so the cost of the knife is going to be upped because of this.
  • The pocket clip has only been drilled to carry it tip up.

 

 

Conclusion:

 

Benchmade has a great reputation for creating excellent knives. Even though they started out making solely butterfly knives, when they branched out to creating regular folding knives, they promptly created some of the best. They recently made a limited addition of the Valet. This is the Valet Titanium Gold Class edition.

To create such a fantastic knife, they started out with some of the best knife steel that there is. They chose the Damasteel, which is similar to Damascus except purer and perfect. Another difference between the two, is that Damasteel will have different patterns than a Damascus steel. For this knife, they chose a Ladder Pattern Damasteel. To finish off the perfect blade, Benchmade decided to carve it into a drop point shape. This is one of the most versatile shapes that can stand up to almost anything. This is such a beautiful blade, so it might pain some people to use it as their everyday knife, but this knife has been designed as the perfect everyday carry knife. To carry on with this perfect knife, they chose the handle to be made out of anodized titanium. The anodization process on this particular knife created a blue violet color. The anodization process will also limit the amount of scratches that the titanium will develop, even though titanium has been prone to scratching. They also added a deep carry, reversible, tip up pocket clip. As a cherry on top, they incorporated a Damasteel back spacer and an anodized titanium thumb stud that matches the color of the handle.

Benchmade Knives chose to use the highest quality materials to create a perfect special edition knife. With the anodization process and the Damasteel pattern, this knife looks like a piece of art.

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Types of Steel

When considering a knife to purchase, one of the biggest determining factors what knife to get boils down to what blade steel the knife utilizes. There are an unlimited amount of uses for a knife, but different steels specialize in different areas of work. Occasionally there are some outliers that are very different. However, the assortment of blade steel can basically be categorized into three separate groups: Stainless steel, Carbon steel, and Tool steel.

 

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is a steel alloy that contains a minimum of 10.5% to 13% chromium. Be aware that the term “stainless” isn’t fully accurate. Any steel alloy will show some corrosion over long exposure to the elements, especially in corrosive environments including saline environments; such as coastal areas where regular exposure to sea salt is common and areas where de-icing salts are common during winter. Of the different types of steel, stainless steel requires the least amount of care. Though it still needs regular maintenance, it isn’t as intense as carbon steel or even tool steel.

Some of the best uses for a stainless steel are for everyday carry situations, and for those situations where the knife will be exposed to the elements. It can handle events such as hunting and fishing, deep sea diving, and cooking.

Listed here are several common stainless steels that are ranked in overall quality from least to greatest: 8Cr13MoV, AUS-8, 154CM, CPM 154, CPM S30V, CPM S35VN, and Elmax.

 

Carbon Steel

Carbon steel is a popular choice for rough use knives. Carbon steel tends to be much tougher and much more durable, and easier to sharpen than stainless steel. They lack the chromium content of stainless steel, making them susceptible to corrosion. The carbon content of carbon steel is in the range of 0.12–2.0%. It does well in rough-handling situations that call for a tough, durable blade. Its lack of chromium makes it more susceptible to rust unless it’s oiled or coated.

One of the best uses for a carbon steel blade is for survival situations because of its rough use and ability to be sharpened easily.

The most popular carbon knife steel is 1095 High Carbon Steel.

 

Tool Steel

Tool steel incorporates tungsten, molybdenum, and other elements for hard-working, durable tools. Typically semi-stainless, tool steels contains anywhere between 10% and 13% chromium and 0.5% to 1.5% carbon. It is a good combination between the two other steels. Tool steels are used for cutting, pressing, extruding, and coining of metals and other materials. Their use is essential due to their resistance to abrasion.

Tool steel is best used, as the name suggests, as a tool. Garden and yard work, industrial use, and other heavy duty projects would all benefit from the use of a tool steel bladed knife.

D2 is one of the well-known steels that handles quite well as a blade steel.

 

Top Items

Here are some popular knives that feature the different blade steels above.

Knives to Consider
Steel Type Product Overall Length Blade Length Handle Length Weight
Stainless Steel
Aus-8 Boker Kalashnikov 74 7.50″ 4.25″ 3.25″ 3.60 oz.
S30V Spyderco Para-Military 2 8.30″ 4.82″ 3.43″ 3.75 oz.
Elmax Microtech Ultratech 8.30″ 4.84″ 3.46″ 3.30 oz.
Carbon
1095 Carbon TOPS Knives

Wild Pig Hunter

13.00″ 7.56″ 5.44″ 14.20 oz.
Tool
D2 Benchmade Infidel 8.96″ 5.00″ 3.96″ 5.00 oz.

 

There are literally hundreds of other knives available to choose from that have these different steel types. Dig around to see what you find. If you like it, get it. Many people say that a knife is much more than the blade and its steel. This is true, but if you have a poor steel that will not fit your needs, then what is the point of having the knife? Use this simple guide to help pick out your next knife.

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Benchmade 2551 Mini Reflex II Knife Review

Benchmade 2551
Benchmade 2551 Mini Reflex II Knife

The Benchmade Mini-Reflex II introduces a new, improved, and updated edition of the enduringly popular Benchmade Mini-Reflex, Benchmade’s best selling automatic knife. Within the Benchmade Black Series, aimed at professional and those who treat a knife as a serious investment in everyday utility, the Mini-Reflex II can excel at tactical tasks as well as serving as an everyday carry.

 

Blade Profile

 

The Benchmade Mini-Reflex II continues the subtle drop-point blade profile of the original Mini-Reflex. The name “drop-point” signifies the curve that runs, or drops, along the spine of the knife toward its point. The convex curve of the cutting edge of the blade strengthens it at the same time that it produces the belly that expands the amount of cutting surface. With a tip that runs thicker than that of a comparable clipped-point or slant-point blade, the drop-point offers more strength at the expense of reduced piercing capability. The single flat-ground edge makes quick work of both push- and draw-action cutting and carving tasks.

 

Benchmade offers two variations on the blade profile of the Mini-Reflex II. Model 2551 uses a straightforward drop-point shape. Model 2551S includes a series of serrations placed on the left side of the blade behind its belly and just in front of the handle. This placement near the handle increases your ability to bear down and apply leverage when you use the blade. Also called rip teeth, these serrations come in handy when you tackle chores that involve sawing or cutting through fibrous materials such as wood, paracord, or rope.

 

Blade Finishes

 

When it comes to blade finishes, the Benchmade Mini-Reflex II offers two choices that constitute separate models. Model 2551 includes no blade coating, whereas model 2551BK sports a black coating. This finish reduces glare off the knife and can be a critical consideration in some usage settings.

 

In addition to models of the Mini-Reflex II with a blade coating, Benchmade also offers model 2551S, with an uncoated serrated blade, and model 2551SBK, with a serrated and black coated blade. All told, the Mini-Reflex II comes in four model choices.

 

Both the coated and the satin-finished versions display the knife’s model number on the left side of the blade directly below the distinctive Benchmade butterfly logo, with the 154 CM blade steel identified on the opposite side of the knife. The Benchmade Mini-Reflex II ships sharpened and ready to use. Thanks to its outstanding edge retention, you may find yourself able to set your whetstone aside for longer periods of time between sharpenings. Keep in mind that Benchmade’s LifeSharp warranty qualifies every purchaser of a Mini-Reflex II (and all Benchmade knives, for that matter) to ship the knife back to Benchmade for a complete reconditioning that also includes a fresh factory-quality sharpening. The LifeSharp service does not apply to the serrated portion of Mini-Reflex II models 2551S and 2551SBK. You’ll find the warranty information inside the box in which the Mini-Reflex II ships from Benchmade.

 

Blade Steel

 

The Benchmade Mini-Reflex II uses the same American-made steel as its predecessor, the Mini-Reflex. Crucible Industries’ 154 CM stainless steel qualifies as a high-carbon alloy with more than enough chromium to add hardness and tensile strength along with corrosion resistance. Manganese also promotes hardness and tensile strength, adding wear resistance at the same time. Molybdenum helps the Mini-Reflex II demonstrate excellent edge retention and high-temperature strength. Silicon adds to the blade’s hardness and gives it resistance to pitting.

 

Even stainless steel blades, including those with high degrees of corrosion resistance, can fall afoul of the ill effects of exposure to moisture in your environment. Benchmade ships the Mini-Reflex II with a coating of oil, enclosed in a plastic bag inside a microfiber pouch with a quick-opening bead on its drawstring. These protections help guard against the potentially corrosive effects of humidity. Drying your knife immediately after any task that gets it wet, and oiling the blade lightly on a periodic basis, can help protect the Mini-Reflex II from any hint of corrosion.

 

Handle Materials

 

Like other Benchmade products that feature the design creativity of master Alabama knife maker Mel Pardue, the Benchmade Mini-Reflex II features a handle crafted from black anodized 6061-T6 billet aluminum, the same material incorporated in the handle of its predecessor, the Mini-Reflex. The handle wears beautifully because unlike paint, its finish becomes an actual part of the aluminum itself in the course of the electrochemical process that converts the surface of handle parts into an integral layer of aluminum oxide. At the same time, the matte surface of the anodized aluminum helps increase grip on the handle and prevent slippage with wet hands. Unlike the handle finishes on other knife brands, Benchmade’s finish avoids the chalky feel that makes a knife uncomfortable under the fingers, without any hint of the surface slickness that could make the Mini-Reflex II difficult to grip.

 

Unalloyed aluminum offers the lightness you want in a knife blade handle, but the metal runs too soft for heavy use. The 6061-T6 aluminum alloy in the Benchmade Mini-Reflex II handle exhibits strength, toughness, and corrosion resistance thanks to its magnesium and silicon content. Benchmade machines the handle parts for the Mini-Reflex II out of billets of aircraft grade aluminum alloy. Unlike casting processes, machine fabrication gives these parts their crisp lines and precision surfaces.

 

Handle Design

 

At 4.16 inches long, the handle of the Mini-Reflex II incorporates a forefinger groove into which your index finger naturally slips when you hold the knife with the blade facing forward. At the same time, grooves on the sides of the handle increase grip and leverage regardless of the position in which you wield the knife. Front and rear quillons help hold your hand in place and prevent it from sliding off the blade, either to the front, with the attendant risk of injury, or to the rear. These curved quillons also bracket the hand friendly shape of the underside of the handle, which many users point to as an emphatic plus of the design. Of course, if you reverse your grip to place the blade into a downward striking position, the forefinger groove now becomes the location for your little finger and your forefinger stops next to the rear quillon. The finger grooves also provide a safety feature during field use, helping protect your hands from cuts caused by your own blade and the prospect of fluid transfer into those cuts. This consideration holds special importance for law enforcement personnel who find themselves tasked with extracting an injured stranger from a vehicle.

 

If you’re accustomed to hearing Mini-Reflex owners talk about how well the knife favors and fits into the hand, expect to hear the same kudos from owners of the new Mini-Reflex II. Both men and women emphasize this design advantage, which underscores the knife’s suitability for people with hands of virtually all sizes. Because your forefinger fits into a single-digit depression and the remainder of your fingers float between the forefinger groove and the rear quillon, the Mini-Reflex II provides comfortable, secure service for a wide range of users. With the blade closed and the knife held in a reversed position, the end of the handle can serve as an impact tool in some situations. To carry the Mini-Reflex II outside a pocket, Benchmade incorporates a hole near the end of the handle through which to string a lanyard. You also can insert a dummy cord through the hole to make the knife easier to find and harder to lose.

 

Benchmade doesn’t machine the pattern of notches, crosscuts, or cross hatching known as jimping on the spine of the Mini-Reflex II or on the back of its blade. Not to be confused with filework, which adds decorative patterns to blade or handle and can require an artist’s touch to design and apply, jimping aims solely at the practical objective of increasing grip and leverage. In the case of the Mini-Reflex II, the balance and grip of the knife itself eliminates the need for other design features to make the knife feel secure in the hand and eliminate slippage. If you’re accustomed to blades with thumb wraps, you probably won’t miss that feature on the Mini-Reflex II because of its outstanding balance and feel.

 

If you’re right handed, the Mini-Reflex II makes an easy choice as a tactical knife with EDC characteristics or vice versa, provided, of course, that you either live in a state that allows you to use and carry an automatic knife, or you’re an active member of the U.S. Armed Forces or law enforcement with appropriate identification credentials. Some states allow you to carry an automatic knife if you’re also licensed to carry a concealed weapon. Check your state’s laws, and any applicable local regulations, to determine whether the Mini-Reflex II makes a good fit for you.

 

Knife Dimensions and Weight

 

Updating and improving the Mini-Reflex to produce the new Mini-Reflex II resulted in slight changes to the dimensional and weight specifications of the knife. Overall length increased by three one-hundredths of an inch in the Mini-Reflex II, from 7.32 inches to 7.35 inches. At 4.17 inches, the closed length measures one one-hundredth of an inch greater on the Mini-Reflex II. The blade length and handle thickness also increased by one one-hundredth of an inch to 3.17 inches and 0.48 inches respectively. At the same time, the overall weight of the knife decreased by 0.12 ounces, from 2.70 ounces in the Mini-Reflex to 2.58 ounces in the Mini-Reflex II.

 

Updated Push-Button Automatic Package

 

Benchmade has introduced an improved spring-loaded push-button automatic blade deployment package for 2016, and the Mini-Reflex II becomes a beneficiary of this updated mechanism. Even the previous design showed no signs of blade movement in the open position, and the Mini-Reflex II continues that unyielding ability to lock tightly open. The blade deployment mechanism triggers the blade instantaneously, at a speed in excess of 15 miles per hour.

 

Because the design of the Benchmade Mini-Reflex II places the pivot screw and the automatic blade deployment button close together, plan on engaging in some blade-action practice if you’ll need to open the knife quickly without looking at it. Some users of the Mini-Reflex have pointed out that because of the small diemnsions of the knife handle, even experienced knife owners could mistake the screw for the button in a stressful environment without proper illumination, or in a situation in which you must wear gloves, either to protect your hands or to avoid contaminating work materials. If you carry the knife with you consistently and use it as your everyday carry, you can train your hand to identify the control button purely by feel.

 

Removable Pocket Clip

 

The Benchmade Mini-Reflex II features the same black-finished steel pocket clip found on the Mini-Reflex. The clip attaches to the handle of the Mini-Reflex II with three Torx screws and holds the knife in a tip-up position. Some Mini-Reflex owners have observed that the recurve on the end of the clip placed limits on how they could carry the knife. Attached to a right-hand pocket, the clip could become caught on a driver’s side seatbelt and impede quick access for use. Likewise, if they carried the Mini-Reflex in a pocket, the clip could scratch the face of a smartphone or other objects made of less hardy materials than the steel clip itself. These problems typify belt clip use in general, however, and aren’t unique to Benchmade’s design.

 

Because the painted finish on the standard clip doesn’t offer the same degree of wear resistance as the anodized finish on the aluminum handle itself, some Mini-Reflex purchasers obtained a replacement clip from Benchmade, designed with an oxidized finish that resists chipping and fading. This replacement part ships at no charge as part of the company’s LifeSharp warranty.

 

Safety Mechanism

 

The Benchmade Mini-Reflex II incorporates a spine-mounted spring-loaded safety lock that holds the blade either securely open or securely closed. It features jimping grooves to simplify its use, requires significant pressure to engage or disengage, and operates with a ratcheting action that makes a clearly audible clicking sound. In response to the conscious action involved in activating or deactivating the safety lock on the Mini-Reflex, some knife owners preferred not to use the feature because the lock became an impediment to rapid deployment. If you work in law enforcement, public safety, or the armed forces, you may find that these considerations cause you to think twice about engaging the safety, even if you carry the Mini-Reflex II in your pocket.

 

Other Observations

 

In a tactical role, you may find the length of the Mini-Reflex II’s blade too short for some defensive uses, limiting the reach of sweeping or thrusting motions. As an everyday carry, the Mini-Reflex II may offer more blade length than you need in the types of controlled uses and movements that typify EDC use. Before you choose this knife for either or both of these roles, correlate the blade measurements with your expectations and your experience with other knives. Chances are that you’ll find it to be a high-quality, beautifully made, efficient compromise between the limits and extremes of other blade profiles, sizes, and types.

 

 

 

2550

 

2551

 

Weight 2.70 oz. 2.58 oz.
Overall length 7.32″ 7.35″
Closed length 4.16″ 4.17″
Blade length 3.16″ 3.17″
Blade thickness 0.098″ 0.097″
Handle length 4.16″ 4.17″
Handle thickness 0.47″ 0.48″
Handle material Anodized 6061-T6 billet aluminum Anodized 6061-T6 billet aluminum
Handle color Black Black
Blade material 154 CM stainless steel 155 CM stainless steel
Blade hardness 58-61 RC 58-61 RC
Blade style Drop-point Drop-point
Blade grind Flat Flat
Blade finish Satin (2550 and 2550S) or Black (2550BK and 2550SBK) Satin (2551 and 2551S) or Black (2551BK and 2551SBK)
Blade edge type Plain (2550 and 2550BK) or serrated (2550S and 2550SBK) Plain (2551 and 2551BK) or serrated (2551S and 2551SBK)
Pocket clip Black, removable, tip-up Black, removable, tip-up
Lock mechanism Auto open with safety Auto open with safety
Opener Push button automatic Push button automatic with larger button
Lock type Plunge lock Plunge lock
Sheath material Sheath sold separately Sheath sold separately
Benchmark product class Black Class Black Class
User Right handed Right handed
Best use EDC, tactical, law enforcement EDC, tactical, law enforcement
Manufacturer’s suggested retail prices 2550 and 2550S: $200 2550BK and 2550SBK: $215 2551 and 2551S: $210 2550BK and 2550SBK: $225
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Benchmade Gold Class Stryker II Knife

Just in is the newest Benchmade Gold Class offering–the 908-151 AXIS Stryker II knife.  This knife features a Chad Nichols Starfire Damascus blade.  The pattern on this Damascus is stellar.  The blade is hand convexed and polished .

Benchmade Styker II
Benchmade Styker II Gold Class Knife

The knife also boasts hand blended lightning strike carbon fiber scales.  The pivot ring and backspacer are matched to the handle.

This knife will instantly take center stage in any fine collection.  It uses the patented AXIS lock mechanism that also has blue anodized titanium accents.  Only 200 pieces were made and each bears the serial number on the back of the blade.

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Blade Length: 3.57″
  • Blade Thickness: 0.124″
  • Handle Thickness: 0.545″
  • Blade Material: CHad Nichols Starfire Damascus premium steel
  • Blade Style: Drop Point, Plain Edge
  • Weight: 5.52 oz.
  • Pocket Clip: Titanium
  • Lock Mechanism: AXIS
  • Overall Length: 8.29″
  • Closed Length: 4.87″
  • Class: Gold
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Benchmade Automatic APB Knife Review

Benchmade APB Auto Knife
Benchmade 6800BK APB Auto Knife

Benchmade continues to produce industry leading knives with the serious attention to detail that sets them apart from much of the competition.  The newest knife in their lineup is the APB or Ambidextrous Push Button knife.  This knife redefines the trigger on an automatic knife making it equally easy to reach from the right or left side–because cutting tasks don’t always come from the same side of life.

For the past seven years, the Auto AXIS mechanism has been a key component of many ambidextrous automatic knives from Benchmade.  This year, they unveiled their newest push button system, the APB.  There are two knives available with the APB system.  One is the 6800 series called the Auto APB and the other is the APB Assist and is the 665 series.

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Buy the Benchmade Auto APB Knife Now

The APB mechanism on the auto knife consists of a bar which spans between the two handle scales.  Riding on top of the bar and extending to the other side of each handle scale is a push button. One push button for each side. When pressed, the push buttons are guided along the bar and a ramped edge slides under the blade release.  This pushes the release up and releases the blade.  At this point, the spring takes over and snaps the blade out.  Either button or both buttons can be pressed to fire the blade.  This results in a true ambidextrous knife.

The blade on the Auto APB is a drop point style made from 154CM stainless steel.  At 3.52″ long and .124″ thick, this blade delivers heavy cutting strength, high durability and great corrosion resistance.  The choice of steel, while of critical importance to a knife blade, is not the only component that delivers maximum cutting performance.  Of nearly equal importance are the angle of the actual edge, in other words, your sharpening profile, as well as the shape of the blade.  Some factors to take into consideration are toughness, rust resistance, ability to take and hold an edge, toothiness and the actual process of manufacture.

Let’s take each of these factors into account as we review the Auto APB.  The blade is 154CM which is hardened to a 58-61 on the Rockwell Hardness chart.   154CM is an American made premium grade stainless steel which was originally developed for heavy industrial jobs.   It was developed by Cucible Industries (previously known as Crucible Materials Corporation) and is a modified martensitic stainless steel type 440C which has molybdenum added.  A martensistic stainless steel is one of the three main types of stainless steels which includes Austenitic, Ferritic and Martensitic.  The martensitic stainless steels are carbon steels usually tempered and hardened which delivers good hardness and high toughness.  The primary characteristic is a “body centered tetragonal martensite microstructure” originally observed by the German microscopist Adolf Martens.

154CM is composed of the following elements:

  • Carbon 1.05%
  • Chromium 14.00%
  • Silicon  0.30%
  • Molybdenum 4.00%
  • Manganese 0.50%

How does 154CM and specifically the Auto APB blade rank on the factors that make a great blade steel.  When producing a knife, the maker always makes a trade off between toughness and strength.  The tougher a blade is the more likely it will take impact without chipping or cracking.  As a knife maker increases the hardness of a steel, the toughness will decrease.  The actual process of heat treating helps determine the ultimate toughness of a blade.  With a HRC of between 58-61, the Auto APB boasts a blade that delivers a tough blade that isn’t so hard that it will be subject to lots of micro chipping.  And this takes us to the next factor–the edge.

The Auto APB blade will take and hold a superior edge.  Becuase it is relatively tough, the 154CM blade takes a nice, sharp edge.  It holds an edge well.  It is a bit tough to sharpen.  This doesn’t mean difficult, it just means you will spend a few more minutes putting an edge on the blade than you would a softer, less tough steel like a 440C or AUS 8 blade.  With the right sharpening equipment, this isn’t hard at all.  For instance, the Wicked Edge systems will make quick work of putting a great edge on a 154CM blade.  With practice, any of the Lansky systems would do a good job as well.

Toothiness is the characteristic you get on a cutting edge based on the sharpening.  Some blades seem to be more “toothy” than others.  Blade steels with a higher content of carbides generally will have more micro serrations or toothiness than blades with lower carbide content.  What you will find is that “toothy” blades hold their edge longer.  On the other hande, blades with lower carbide content can often be sharpened to a more razor-sharp edge.  A bit of a trade-off and 154CM falls between blades steels like AUS 8, with a lower carbide content, and S30V, with a higher carbide content.

Stain resistance or corrosion resistance is the next factor to take into consideration.  While 154CM is very high on toughness and edge retention, it scores a bit lower on the stain resistant chart.  This means that if you take poor care of your blade, it will pick up colorations and even some corrosion.  But that shouldn’t be a big issue for most of us, because we take proper care of our tools.  All this means is that if you get your blade wet, wipe it dry.  And maybe treat it to a light coat of blade oil once a month or so–depending on where you live.  If you live in a hot a humid area, this is really important.  If you live in a desert like I do, it isn’t quite as critical.

Next up is the blade shape.  The Auto APB features a drop point blade which means the blade slopes on the spine from the handle down to the tip of the blade.  This curve allows spine to continue as close as possible to the tip–which means you have more blade thickness and strength close to the tip.  This gives the drop point a serious strength advantage over many other blade designs.

NOTE:  Ever find yourself confused as to what is a clip point and what is a drop point?  A quick visual test will tell you which is which.  The curve on a drop point blade is always convex–meaning it curves outward like a hump as opposed to a clip point which is concave.

The tip of a drop point blade is lower than the back of the handle.  This delivers more control and precision to you as you make fine cuts.  As I mentioned earlier, the broad tip is also thicker, which means you have a tougher blade than most clip point knives.  The trade off is that it isn’t as ideal for piercing cuts.   The biggest advantage of a drop point blade is the large belly area that is ideal for slicing cuts.  Generally considered the all around, all purpose blade shape, the drop point allows you to perform a wide variety of cuts without sacrificing performance.  Unless you have some very specific reason to carry a different blade shape, in my mind the drop point is the best all around knife blade you can carry.  Which makes it ideal for the Benchmade 6800 Auto APB knife.

On to the handle.  The handle is built from two, black anodized, 6061 T6 billet aluminum scales atop full stainless steel liners for maximum strength.  6061 T6 aluminum is incredibly strong yet lightweight.  It is used in many hard use applications such as commercial aircrafts, AR15 uppers and many bicycle components including frames.  This tough and durable material delivers corrosion resistance as well.

The stainless steel liners allow the Auto APB to maintain maximum strength.  The handle shape is a classic knife profile with a generous finger groove followed by a slightly tapering bellied inside edge that allows your fingers to get a rock solid grip on the handle when held in the traditional, forward grip.  It even does well in a reverse grip.  The open frame has an insert near the butt end on the spine with large jimping grooves that give your palm a nice grip point.  The front edge of the spine has matching grooves on the liners where the meet up with the blade and the grooves actually continue out onto the blade for about 1/2″ which gives your thumb a perfect control point for close up, precision cuts.

There along the top of the spine you will find the slide safety.  The safety has matching jimping grooves and to activate you depress it slightly and slide it forward.  It slides up to the APB bar and rests between the two handle scales.  In this position, you cannot depress either of the ambidextrous trigger buttons which means the lock can either lock the blade closed or open.  This handy and secure lock keeps you in control of the blade at all times.  At the butt of the handle is a carbide glass breaker and a tip up, right/left reversible pocket clip.

The entire knife weighs in at just 6.28 ounces which means it can be carried comfortably as an EDC knife.  It also will perform admirably in urban tactical or combat situations.

The knife comes in four variations–satin or black finished blade with or without serrations.  This tough, heavy duty tactical knife is certain to satisfy your tactical needs for decades.  With proper care, the 6800 will last a lifetime.  And with the new APB trigger system, it is certain to deliver high performance, ambidextrous functionality every day.

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Blade Length: 3.52
  • Blade Thickness: 0.124
  • Handle Thickness: 0.630
  • Blade Material: 154CM Stainless Steel
  • Blade Hardness: 58-61 HRC
  • Blade Style: Drop Point
  • Weight: 6.28 oz.
  • Pocket Clip: Black, Reversible, Tip-Up
  • Lock Mechanism: Auto APB
  • Overall Length: 8.64
  • Closed Length: 5.12″
  • Sheath Material: Sold Separately
  • Class: Black
  • Made in the USA

As an Authorized Premium Plus dealer we care the entire line of Benchmade Knives.  Follow this link to see our full line of in stock Benchmade Knives.

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Two Kinds of People, by M.R.

Benchmade Presidio
Benchmade Presidio

There Are 2 Kinds of People in the World

“The world is divided into two types of people: those who love to talk, and those who hate to listen.” – James Thorpe

“There are two kinds of people in the world, those with loaded guns, and those who dig. You dig.” – Clint Eastwood, 1966, “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”

“There are two kinds of people in the world…Those who last — and those who fade.” –Dan Pink

6 years ago, my brother-in-law gifted me a knife. That gesture drew a line of delineation between all my days before that to all the days since. Now, I pick up 4 things in the morning. Keys, wallet, phone, and knife. My EDC is a Benchmade Presidio. I say there are 2 kinds of people in the world: Those who carry a knife, and those who don’t.

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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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Never Bring a Knife to a GunFight, by C.M.

Knife and Gun Fight
Knife and Gun Fight

We all have heard the saying ” Never bring a Knife to a GunFight ” maybe a better saying would be, Never bring ONLY a Knife to a GunFight! Here is why I think that is a better rule to live by…
In 1995 I found myself transplanted from the gun unfriendly state of New Jersey to the Great Wild West of New Mexico. Almost immediately, I applied and was accepted to work for the state and went to the state’s law enforcement academy in Santa Fe.
On one of the last Fridays during the academy, a fellow cadet named Marquis, asked if I could take him to Kirkland AFB in Albuquerque on my way home. Marquis was in the National Guard and his drill was at 0600 Saturday, so he wanted to stay in the bases lodging overnight to ovoid the early morning hour-long commute.
Being new to Albuquerque, I didn’t know that the area around the base was not a very good one. This area is frequently mentioned during the news due to the high violent crime occurring there.
After dropping off Marquis, I pulled out of the base and onto the main road to get back home. Unfortunately, before I hit the main road I had to stop for a red light. Not exactly paying attention to anything except the light I was waiting on, I did not notice the man coming up from behind my vehicle. He came up the side and hit me in the head with a brick through my open drivers window. I blacked out for maybe one or two seconds and came to finding myself in the middle of the intersection with blood in my eyes. As I’m trying to figure out what just happened, I start to get pulled by 3 men out of my window. I instantly tried to get to my pistol, a Glock 27 that I kept in my vehicle’s center console. But as hard as I was being pulled, I could not reach it! Then one of the men tried to open my car door to get me out. As he started to try to work my door open, I grabbed my Benchmade AFCK out of my pocket and slashed his arm. This gave me the opportunity to finally be able to grab my gun. I fired three shots at the men, and as I did, one of them slunk down. Instantly, all the aggression stopped and their main concern was to get themselves out of there! The two others half dragged the other guy back across the street to their car and took off! It was over! I called both 911 and my father who lives about 20 minutes away. Wouldn’t you know it, my father made it to me first and after looking at me, decided to take me to the hospital and have the police meet me there.
I recovered from a concussion and later learned that none of the men involved were ever apprehended! Just a lifelong lesson learned, to always be vigilant, pay attention to your surroundings, and ALWAYS carry a gun and a knife!

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