In 1988, Benchmade set out to make the best knives in the world—and that’s exactly what they did. They’ve grown a lot since then, and while they have expanded to provide tools for elite tactical operators, first responders, and even collectors, their goal remains the same: make the best knives in the world.
It was in 1979 that the Benchmade adventure first began. It started when Les de Asis wanted a knife that reflected the latest in materials and manufacturing technology to replace the cheap butterfly knives, known as Bali-Songs, that he played with as a kid. Using his high school shop skills, he blueprinted his dream knife before eventually meeting Victor Anselmo, who helped to grind the first ever pre-Benchmade Bali-Song prototype. Paired with handles that Les sourced forma small machine shop in California, he assembled and finished his first Bali-Song in his own garage. Proud of his create, he took this first Bali-Song into a local gun store and the owner asked him if he could build 100 more.
In 1980, Les incorporated as Bali-Song, Inc. and rented a small shop in a second story mezzanine in California. The original equipment was purchased from the owner of a manufacturing operation who was looking to retire. Utilizing the rudimentary technology available to him at the time, Les began building handmade custom Bali-Songs, along with Jody Sampson, who ground all the blades. The success of these custom Balis spurred the creation of the first production Bali-Song: The model 68. Over the next seven years, the company expanded its product offerings into fixed blades and conventional folding knives, and evolving’s its name from Bali-song, Inc. to Pacific Cutlery Corp.
In 1987, due to its inability to control quality, price, and delivery, Pacific Cutlery Corp. filed for bankruptcy and was dissolved. In 1988, Les reintroduced a new company and new version of the Model 68; This time with a drive to produce product in the US and an even stronger commitment to product availability, quality, and customer relationships. The company now needed a new name.
While there was “handmade” and “factory made”, it was “Benchmade” that best described the quality of Les’ product. He was building an operation that made precision parts, but with hand assembly on the finished products. This was a “bench” operation and Les wanted the name to reflect the marriage of manufactured and custom. In short, it describes Benchmade position in the market—even to this day.
With its first ten years of manufacturing experience behind it, and by working with world-class custom knife makers like Mel Pardue and Warren Osborne, Benchmade perfected a business model that involved lending manufacturing process to custom knife designs; affording a level of innovation and quality to the largest market that was previously unavailable. This eventually led to Bill McHenry and Jason Williams approaching Benchmade with the AXIS lock. and the future of cutlery was born.
To this day, Benchmade continues to focus on innovation, customer needs, responsible business ethics, and operations to bring the highest quality products to the world’s elite.
Today, we are going to be talking about the Benchmade 3320 Pagan knife.
The blade on this knife is made out of 154CM stainless steel. This is a higher end steel that is relatively hard and is generally considered an upgraded version of 440C through the addition of Molybdenum. This achieves superior edge holding compared to 440C while retaining similarly excellent levels of corrosion resistance despite having less Chromium. It does have decent toughness good enough for most uses and holds an edge well. This steel is not too difficult to sharpen with the right equipment. You will find a lot of quality pocket knives form top manufacturers like Benchmade using 154CM steel.
The blade has been finished with a stonewash finish. A stonewashed finish refers to tumbling the blade in an abrasive material. This finish easily hides scratches, while also providing a less reflective nature than a brushed or satin finished blade. There is a wide variety of stonewashed finishes based upon the abrasive shape, tumbling motion, and the type of finish the blade has before it entered the tumbler. A very positive benefit of a stonewashed blade is that they are low maintenance and preserve their original look overtime. The stonewashed finish hides the scratched that can occur with use over time. This finish also hides fingerprints pretty well, so the blade might not need to be polished as often as others with different finishes. Depending on the manufacturer, a stonewash finish can often look satin from a distance.
The blade has been cut into a dagger style blade shape. This is also known as a needle point blade shape. This style of blade shape has been created to enhance and accentuate the point. This is a double edged blade whose primary purpose is piercing and stabbing. It is made up of 2 symmetrical sharpened blades that taper to a very thing, sharp point, which pierces easily into soft targets. The two sharp edges reduce the profile of the knife and let it cut in on both sides equally. This makes it a favorite blade design for self-defense in close combat situations. Dagger blades are popular among military and police personnel because of their ability to be easily concealed (think of in a boot). However, there are some disadvantages to the dagger blade design. Because of the geometry of the blade, it does not have a belly and it does have quickly thickening edges, which means that it is not good for slicing or slashing. And, because the tip is very sharp and thin, it is weak and is prone to breaking when used on hard targets. If you are looking for a blade that is going to give you a good balance between stabbing and cutting, a better choice is the clip point blade. But, if you are looking for the ultimate blade designed specifically for piercing, the dagger style blade is exactly what you are looking for.
This knife does sport a plain edge. The plain edge is better than the serrated when the application involves push cuts. Also, the plain edge is superior when extreme control, accuracy, and clean cuts are necessary, regardless of whether or not the job is push cuts or slices. The plain edge will work better for applications like shaving, skinning an apple, skinning a deer. All of those applications involve either mostly push cuts, or the need for extreme control. And generally, the more push cuts are used, the more necessary it is for the plain edge to have a razor polished edge. A knife edge becomes more polished when you move to higher and higher grit stones. As a last advantage of a plain edge, it will offer you cleaner cuts than if you were using a serrated or combo edge.
The handle on this knife is made out of 6061-T6 aluminum. Aluminum comes in many grades. It has good mechanical properties and is one of the most common alloys for general purpose use. This material is typically anodized for extra protection and color, because hard anodized coatings offer superior scratch resistance. Since aluminum is already prone to scratches and dings, the anodization process is ideal. Aluminum is very durable and provides a solid feel without the extra weight. It can be formed to provide a very comfortable and secure grip. One of the biggest drawbacks to having a knife handle that has been made out of this material is that it has fantastic conductive properties, which will make it extremely cold during the winter months. If you are planning on working with your knife lots during the colder months, I wouldn’t recommend getting this knife because it will feel like it is biting into your hand. Aluminum is generally considered inferior to its stronger, yet more expensive brother Titanium which tends to be found on the more premium knives.
The handle has been anodized in two different colors. The middle of the handle is black, and the sides are dark gray. The handle has perfect curves to fit snugly in your palm. The top of the handle flares out, with two grooves cut out of each side. This is the perfect place to rest your fingers. Plus, these cut outs both sport jimping to really give you good control over your knife. The butt of the handle also flares out.
The Pocket Clip:
This is a deep carry pocket clip that is designed for tip down carry only. The back of the entire knife is black, but the pocket clip is a dark grey, which does make it stand out. Across the middle of the pocket knife, “Pagan” has been stamped in a lighter gray. This clip is kept in place by two small, black screws, which match the rest of the knives hardware.
This knife is a dual action out the front, or OTF, automatic knife. This is a pocket knife with a blade that opens and closes through a hole in one end of the handle. Contrast this with the majority of knives, which are either standard folding knives or are fixed blades. OTF only refers to the basic portion of the knife’s mechanical operation where the blade slides parallel with the handle to deploy. An automatic OTF knife blade travels within an internal tack or channel in the same manner as a manual slider or gravity knife. But the automatic main spring drive and button mechanism enclosed within requires a switchblade handle to be thicker or longer than a similar sixed gravity or sliding knife. This is a double action OTF knife. This means that it deploys and retracts with a multifunction button and spring design.
Despite popular belief and movie magic, double action OTF knives are not powerful enough to open when pressed against an opponent and then pushing the button. Double action sliding autos are only spring powered 10 to 12 millimeters. Afterwards, kinetic impetus slides the blade to full open.
Because this is an automatic knife, there are strict laws that do surround owning and carrying this knife. Make sure that you know your local knife laws before purchasing and carrying the Benchmade 3320 Pagan.
The blade on this knife is 3.96 inches long and the knife sports an overall length of 8.96 inches long. The handle of the Pagan is 5 inches long. This knife weighs in at 5.1 ounces and was made in the USA.
The Pagan does come with a nylon sheath. Nylon is a material that is commonly used in knife sheaths. Just like their leather counterpart, nylon sheaths are also tough and strong. Unlike leather though, nylon sheaths are resistant to rot and mildew. They are also not as vulnerable to water as leather sheaths. Another great aspect is that nylon sheaths aren’t easily scuffed or torn. The best thing about this nylon sheath is that it is MOLLE compatible.
New for 2015, the Benchmade Pagan OTF auto knife is a double action out the front model that is a more refined yet still powerful version of the classic Benchmade Infidel OTF auto knife. With smooth black anodized aluminum handle scales, this tried and true warrior delivers maximum blade control in an ergonomic and stylish shape. The difference in this knife lies in the blade steel and blade grind–D2 tool steel has been swapped out with American-made 154CM stainless steel, in a dagger style, with a chisel grind for improved blade penetration. Furthermore, the enlarged slide trigger is housed on the broad side of the handle scale allowing for better accessibility, even while wearing gloves. Due to the size, this knife comes with a nylon sheath and includes a MOLLE compatible malice clip for multiple carry options. The deep carry pocket clip is designed for tip down carry only. Pick up your Benchmade 3320 Pagan Double Action Out-the-Front Automatic knife today at BladeOps.