Benchmade Phaeton OTF Knife Review

Heckler and Koch, or H&K, is the leading company of firearms today. They have a rich history that started with turmoil but a dynasty was quickly built. They have been producing many firearms for decades now. While they have the machinery and necessities to build great firearms, they wanted to broaden their supplies. They formed a collaboration with Benchmade because Benchmade has been creating fantastic knife designs for years. With these two leading companies, they created many innovative knives. Their collaboration contract stated that Benchmade could keep the designs that came out of it, but H&K got to put their brand name on it. This would widen their audience but provide an excellent knife. These knives were designed to be high quality, yet affordable knives for first responders, police, military, and the common citizen. These knives have gained a wide following.

Recently this partnership came to a conclusion.  Benchmade doesn’t follow the common quote, “Don’t fix it if it ain’t broke”, because the H&K Turmoil definitely wasn’t in need of fixing, but Benchmade decided to improve and upgrade18 it anyways. And I am so pleased that they did. The Turmoil was already an excellent knife that could meet the demands thrown at it. They switched up the blade and the handle and created a masterpiece. This new knife is called the PHAETON.

Benchmade Phaeton OTF Knife
Benchmade Phaeton OTF Knife

The Blade:

The steel of the Turmoil is D2 steel. D2 is a suitable steel. D2 can stand up to tasks. D2 is a semi stainless steel that is hard and tough. D2 is a great steel, especially if money is one of your biggest concerns when searching for a knife. The PHAETON has an upgraded steel of S30V steel. S30V is a premium steel used on high end knives. S30V is a hard and tough knife. It has actually been known to be tough on grinders, which means that it is going to hold a better edge than D2 will and it will hold its edge for longer than D2 would have. S30V steel was produced by Chris Reeve and Crucible Steel, which is a New York based steel manufacturer. This kind of steel as actually specifically produced for use on knives and is most commonly used in high-end premium pocket knives and expensive kitchen cutlery. This means that it is going to have high corrosion and rust resistant properties, making it an excellent steel for tactical and survival knives, because you never know what environment you are going to be in during these scenarios. This is a hard and tough steel that can definitely take a beating. This is a more expensive steel than the D2 is, so the PHAETON knife is going to be more expensive than the Turmoil is. However, this upgrade is worth every single dollar because S30V offers higher quality characteristics than D2 could ever give you. This new knife will be able to stand up to harder beatings, longer periods between sharpening, and more extreme scenarios than the Turmoil ever could have.

The blade is cut into a drop point shape. This is the most versatile knife shape around. Many people think that a drop point and clip point are very similar, however, a drop point blade is usually thicker, especially near the tip. A drop point blade has a very broad tip, so it isn’t going to be a great knife for piercing and stabbing. But, that is basically the shapes only drawback, so it’s a pretty great shape. But, even though the broad tip does not offer good stabbing abilities, it offers fantastic strength to the tip and knife. Because of this strength, the blade makes for fantastic tactical or survival knife. The shape sports a pretty solid belly, so slicing is going to be an easy task. The easy slicing makes for a great every day carry knife, because much of your typical tasks include quick slicing. This shape is often times found on hunting knives, because the lowered tip gives control, so it is hard to nick any of the organs. This shape is the perfect shape for all purpose knives, hunting knives, tactical knives, survival knives, and everyday carry knives. It can take a beating and can perform almost any task that you throw at it.

The blade on the Turmoil was a good blade, it could take on most tasks and was relatively durable. D2 was a softer steel, so there was more maintenance required. Benchmade kept the fantastic blade shape and upgraded the steel to give you a truly premium blade. This is a blade that is going to take on the tasks that are thrown at it and last you a lifetime.


The Handle:

The PHAETON handle is still made out of T6-6061 anodized aluminum. Anodizing is an electrochemical process that works to add color to aluminum. If the process uses higher voltage, the process gives you a darker color. If the process uses lower voltage, the aluminum will result in being a lighter color. Aluminum is commonly anodized to provide color to the aluminum. The PHAETON has been anodized in either a black or dark earth colored handle. Aluminum is also anodized to add for hardness and protection. This is a light knife, but it looks hefty, not cheap or plastic-y. The aluminum will give you the feel of being study without requiring all of the extra weight. This specific kind of aluminum is one of the strongest aluminums that you can purchase. However, if not properly textured, this knife is going to be extremely slippery. On the Turmoil. There were a couple of deep grooves on the top and bottom part of the palm section of the handle. For the PHAETON, Benchmade decided to switch this up and instead do a checkered texture pattern at the portion of the handle nearest to the blade. Aluminum is very resistant to corrosion, so this handle is going to take less maintenance than others. There are a few drawbacks to having an aluminum handle though. For starters, this is going to be a cold material. That means if you are usually working in colder environments, this handle can start to feel like it is biting into your hand. Another drawback is that even when it is properly texturized, it is not going to give you as solid a grip as some of the other knife handle materials. Lastly, while it is a strong material, it is not going to be as strong as a Titanium handle, which would be more expensive.


The Mechanism:

This knife is a double-action out-the-front automatic knife. Like always, this is an automatic knife, or a switchblade. These aren’t legal in all states or areas in the United States. Before purchasing and most definitely before carrying, make sure you know your local laws. An out the front opening knife is a blade that opens and closes through a hole in one end of the handle. This is different than many knives where the blade folds out from the side of the handle. An automatic OTF knife has a blade that travels within an internal track, but it is released by a spring and button mechanism. A double action just means that the knife opens and closes with the button instead of a single action that just opens with it.


The Specs:

The blade on the PHAETON is 3.45 inches long. The blade is 0.112 inches thick. The overall length of this knife is 8.08 inches long, but when it is closed it is 4.63 inches long. The handle on this knife has a thickness of 0.47 inches. While this knife is pretty large, because of the aluminum handle, it only weighs 3.01 ounces.


The Extras:

This knife comes with a reversible deep-carry pocket clip. This means that you can carry your knife either left or right handedly. However, this is only a tip down carry. The deep carry means that it is going to be an easy knife to conceal in your pocket. It also means that it is going to be secure and snug in your pocket; you don’t have to worry about the clip slipping off and losing your knife. But, the deep carry also means that it is going to take a smidge longer to draw out of your pocket.


Pros of the Benchmade PHAETON:

  • The steel on this knife is extremely durable and will hold a fantastic edge for long periods of time.
  • The steel on this knife is very resistant to rust and corrosion, so it is going to take less maintenance.
  • This is a full stainless steel, instead of the Turmoil’s semi stainless steel.
  • The steel can take a heavier beating than most knives.
  • The shape of the blade is one of the most versatile blades.
  • The tip on the blade is broad, so it is stronger and can take a beating.
  • The tip on the blade is broad and lowered, so it is easily controlled.
  • The blade shape has large amounts of room for slicing.
  • This is a great knife for tactical, survival, and every day carrying.
  • The aluminum is a light material, keeping the weight of the knife down.
  • Can get the handle in black or dark earth color.
  • Aluminum is resistant to corrosion.
  • The handle is strong and tough.
  • Comes with a reversible, deep carry pocket clip—making it an ambidextrous carry knife.
  • Automatic knife, so it is going to open quickly.
  • Double action knife, so it opens and closes with the button.

Cons of the Benchmade PHAETON:

  • The steel is harder to sharpen than a softer steel.
  • Automatic knives aren’t legal in all areas, so this might not be a legal knife for you to carry.
  • This is not a tip up carry pocket knife.



While the Heckler and Koch Turmoil was a great knife, the Benchmade PHAETON is an exceptional knife. What started out as a great design got even greater when Benchmade decided to revamp this knife and make it a higher quality knife. The Turmoil was a good knife, but it was designed to be an affordable knife to reach the biggest group of people. The PHAETON is designed to be the best. Benchmade started by upgrading the steel from D2 to S30V. This makes it stronger, tougher, and more durable. The edge will last longer and the blade is going to be able to take a bigger beating than previously. Benchmade decided to keep the same blade shape, and I’m glad they did, because a drop point is one of the most versatile shapes you can find. The broad tip is strong and is not prone to easy breakage. There is enough room to make slicing a breeze. The whole blade is extremely strong because of the shape. The handle comes in two color options. Benchmade decided to revamp the texturing and changed it from deep grooves to a smaller checkered pattern. This provides you with a more secure grip. The deep carry pocket clip allows you to safely and securely keep your knife in your pocket. While the Turmoil did its job and would have been a good option for your everyday carry knife, the PHAETON is an exceptional knife that can be your tactical, survival, or everyday carry knife choice.  You can find each of the different PHAETON OTF automatic knives available on our site, right here.


Mini Out The Front Knives

Green Mini Out The Front Knife
Green Mini Out The Front Knife

Just in are our newest OTF automatic knives.  These mini OTF knives feature nice, tight action.  The blade slides out fast and the action is solid.  Each one measures just over 3″ when closed and they have a blade that is just about 2″ long.  If you have always wanted an OTF knife, these are a perfectly priced.

The blade is 440 stainless steel and will do a good job of small cuts and slices.  Some of the models come with a bead blast blade and others feature a two tone finish.  While the 440 will take a good edge, they will need to be sharpened occasionally to keep them nice and ready for whatever life throws at you.

They do not have a pocket clip, which keeps their thickness profile very small.  They measure just about 5/8″ wide and 3/8″ thick.  Great OTF knife for the price.


Baghdad and My Microtech SCARAB Knife, by W.M.

Location: Camp Victory – Baghdad, Iraq
Year : AUG 2005

Microtech SCARAB OTF Knife
Microtech SCARAB OTF Knife

I remember it as being hot and dusty, but that’s pretty much the definition of an understatement for Baghdad in the summer. Using an old school, wet bulb thermometer, we had recently registered a stunning 132 degrees so it was more than just hot. You know when you’re baking something in the oven and you open the door to check on it. Like a dummy you bend over to get a peek and that first wave of heated air makes you squint your eyes and pinch your face? Yeah, it was that kind of hot, only all day long.
We were assigned as firefighter/paramedics to protect the US military personnel assigned to Operation Iraqi Freedom. Looking back on it now, I think it was the most significant thing that I’ve done in my life. We had a motto that summed it up. Protecting Those Who Protect Peace. It was truly an honor to be the First Responder for those brave men and women as they rested on base in between combat missions.
But with that being said, it was also boring as hell. There’s an old saying in our industry that our days are made up of 99% boredom and 1% pure terror/adrenaline. That pretty much sums up the Iraq experience. From a firefighter’s perspective, our customer (the military) made for pretty good residents so we really didn’t have a lot of structure fires or cats in trees. In 2005 we had a lot of indirect fire coming at us from over the wire, but for the most part, we spent our days trying to keep busy and maintaining our training levels.
The one escape from the boredom, outside of calls to home, was mail-call.
A package or a letter from home was not only a break in the monotony, it was a reminder of why we were doing what we were doing, and why protecting our way of life is so important.

So there I was on that hot and dusty day in August of 2005, sitting in our Heavy Rescue unit outside of the US Army postal center at Camp Victory (adjacent to the Baghdad International Airport / BIAP).
I had small cardboard box in my lap and I was contemplating the irony of the fact that I needed a knife to open my box that contained a knife. I’d searched around on-line and found a really bad-ass OTF knife made by Microtech. I’d been eagerly awaiting its arrival for nearly three weeks and the time had finally come. Using the edge of a fireman’s axe, I sliced the tape from the box and unwrapped my new toy. The knife was everything I’d hoped it to be. Sleek, well made and with a hefty OTF spring that made a satisfying; “CLICK” when it sprang into action. For the next several days I abused that spring religiously. In and Out, In and Out. “Hey wanna see my new knife?” In and Out, In and Out.
As obnoxious as it was, it’s hard to resist the fun of playing around with good OTF knife. Even if it involves multiple band-aids from the self -inflicted “training” along the way.
When I think of good knives that I’ve had in my life, I think of that one and I see it in my head, with the sandy, dust filled light of a Baghdad sunrise in the background.


Benchmade HK Turmoil OTF Knife Review — Video Review

Check out the fantastic new OTF knife addition to the HK line from Benchmade.

If you want to know more, read our review on the Turmoil from a couple days ago here.


Lighting Out The Front Knife, by G.W.

This by far is the best everyday carry that I have ever purchased.The extreme practicality of this design is amazing. Simply slide the switch forward, make your cut, slide the switch back, return it to your pocket. As far as practical for tactical, it would not be my first choice. But how often is there the tactical threat? Yet a daily carry to cut open things is a real continous need. I would love to purchase a higher priced OTF when I can. This knife is a “no brainer ” entry level that you will treasure.


Joker OTF Knife

Joker OTF Knife
Joker OTF Knife

The Joker OTF Knife has been a popular out the front knife for over five years.  This single action OTF fires out fast and hard.  The lock up is solid.  And the price is unbeatable.  At under $30.00, this is a well built knife that is going to last for a long time.

Interesting notes about this knife, it was originally designed as a Special Forces combat knife.  It is also a clone of the knife that Heath Ledger used while playing the Joker in one of the Batman movies.


Lightning OTF Knives in Various Colors

So we just received the rest of our Lightning OTF knives into stock. These are in a wide variety of colors including red, tan, gunmetal grey and lime green. Of course we have the standard black also. Check out the full line of Lightning Out The Front Knives on our website. These are Taiwanese and have incredibly fast action and nice tight lock up. Easily one of our favorite low cost OTF knives.