Benchmade says, “For over thirty 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. We lie it and breathe it, and we know what you mean when you say: It’s not a knife. It’s my Benchmade.”
So what does make a Benchmade so spectacular? I would say that it’s the detail that goes into each and every Benchmade knife starting with the materials and ending with the manufacturing.
Benchmade builds knives for the most demanding customers, from special operations forces to elite backcountry hunters, and building for the best requires the best raw materials. Benchmade selects premium blade steels and pair them with aerospace-grade handle materials to create premium grade knives and tools that provide great value for their customers.
Benchmade knows that the mechanics of opening and closing a knife are essential to its function. They ask themselves if it is easy to actuate? If it can be opened with one hand? Is it ambidextrous? And especially, “Will it absolutely not fail when you need it the most?” These are the critical considerations they go through when it comes to the mechanism, which makes it such a high quality knife.
The Benchmade factory employs modern laser cutters and CNC machining centers that offer control and tolerances commonly found in the aerospace industry—often to tolerances half the width of a human hair. They say, “Our commitment to modern machining techniques and rigid quality control has allowed Benchmade to bridge the gap between custom and manufactured.”
Today we will be going over the brand new Benchmade 133 and the 133BK Fixed Infidel.
The blade on either version of this knife is made out of D2 tool steel. D2 is one of the higher performing steels available for knife making, but since it is a tool steel it is more susceptible to corrosion. This steel does have a somewhat high chromium content that gives it slightly better corrosion resistance than most tool steels. Because of the slightly better corrosion resistance that this steel has, D2 tool steel has earned the label of being a semi-stainless steel. This steel is known for good wear resistance, its strength, and its ability to offer some resistance to corrosion. This steel can be hardened to around a 60-62 HRC. Some of the drawbacks to this steel is that it does not polish well while also having being tricky to put a good finish on it. D2 tool steel is also more difficult to sharpen than similar steels, but because of the extra hardness, it will hold the edge a little longer. D2 tool steel does have a fairly course grain structure, so getting a fine edge on this steel is going to be a little bit trickier.
When it comes to the finish, you have two options. The first is a satin finish. The satin finish is created by repeatedly sanding the blade in one direction with an increasing level of an abrasive, which is normally a sandpaper. Satin finish is used to show off the bevels of the blade as well as the fine lines of the steel. With certain knife manufacturers and steels, the satin finish can look close to a polished finish. Because this is made with D2 steel, the satin finish is going to be a little bit rougher and course. The satin finish cuts down on glares, reflections, and increases the corrosion resistance.
The second blade finish option that you have is a black coated finish. This gives the knife a sleek look because the handle is also black. Coated finishes increase the life of the blade because it protects the steel. Unfortunately, because the coating is on the steel, instead of altering the steel, it can and will scratch off with hard use or long use. And again, because this is a D2 steel, the coating will probably scratch off a little bit sooner than if it were on a different type of steel.
The blade has been carved into a spear point blade style. The blade style that is most similar to the spear point is the needle point, because they are both really good at piercing. However, the spear point blade style is known as a hybrid, so it is really a combination of all the major blade shapes. The spear point blade is a symmetrically pointed blade with a point that is in line with the center line of the blade’s long axis. Both edges of this blade shape rise and fall equally to create a point that lines up exactly with the equator of the blade. The blade does differ than a needle point because the needle point has a very sharp, but very weak point. A spear point on the other hand has a strong point that is still sharp enough for piercing into many things. The spear point blade does have a slightly lowered point, which makes the blade more easily controlled, as well as being useful for fine tip work. One of the main hybrid characteristics of a spear point blade is that it does have a small belly that can be used for some cutting and slicing. But, because this is a hybrid blade shape, if you choose to compare the belly to that of a drop point or even a clip point, the belly is going to seem extremely small. Overall, this knife has a very good balance between a lot of the features that you want out of a knife. You get both your piercing and slicing ability from the belly and the point, but you also still get the sharpness of a dagger without worrying about it being weak, because it tends to be pretty strong.
The handle on this knife is made out of black anodized 6061-T6 billet aluminum. According to CPM Industries, a billet is a solid block of aluminum. The size varies, but usually depends on the size of the handle to be made. A billet handle is created by removing excess material from the billet, which means that the entire part is carved out of solid aluminum. This design is going to make the handle extremely strong, because there is no part of the handle that is going to be weaker than another part of the handle.
Aluminum is known for being a durable material, especially when it comes to a knife handle. Plus, it is very corrosion resistant. Most knives that have an aluminum handle are made out of 6061-T6 aluminum, such as the Fixed Infidel. This type of aluminum is 6061 that has been T6 tempered. Out of all the aluminum alloys, this specific one has one of the highest yield and tensile strengths of all the aluminum alloys. Unfortunately, aluminum has very high conductive properties, so it is going to feel extremely cold if you are using this knife in the winter.
The aluminum handle has been anodized black. Anodizing actually changes the surface of the metal, so it cannot scratch or peel off like a coated finish could. Anodizing protects the surface of the metal while also making it more decorative, corrosion-resistant, and a little extra strength. Aluminum is also susceptible to scratches and dings. The anodization protects the handle from accumulating as many scratches, but it does not protect the handle from getting dinged.
One of the common issues with an aluminum handle is that it can be slippery if it has not been texturized properly. This is not an issue with the Fixed Infidel because Benchmade has added deep ridging goes down the length of the handle from the tip until the butt. The handle also has good ergonomics, with a reverse hourglass shape. This handle is going to fit comfortably in your palm, even if you are going to need to use this for long periods of time. On the butt of the handle is a steel lanyard hole.
The Benchmade Fixed Infidel is a fixed blade. Some people are hesitant to carry a fixed blade as a tactical knife because they are not as discrete or easy to conceal as a folding knife. Plus, a folding knife is not as convenient because it is going to be larger than a fixed blade. But, fixed blades are ideal for a tactical knife because they are stronger and bigger than a pocket knife. Because of this, the blade length is going to be longer than that on a folding knife. This is a benefit when it comes to a tactical knife because the longer the blade is, the more damage that you can inflict on your target. Fixed blades also don’t break. This is partly because of the size, but more because of the fact that there are no moving parts on a fixed knife. Fixed blades are also easier to maintain because you do not have to worry about the hinge breaking as you do with a folding knife. Cleaning is also more straightforward than the maintenance of a pocket knife because there are no inner workings. All you have to do is wipe down the blade and the handle when you are done with it and oil the blade occasionally. Lastly, a fixed blade has superior tactical use because a fixed blade can be brought into play quicker than a folding knife when you are in a tactical situation. All you have to do with a fixed blade is withdraw it from the sheath as opposed to a pocket knife where you would have to draw it out of your pocket, open it, and then you can use it.
The sheath is made out of Boltaron. Boltaron is a thermoplastic alloy that is going to give you high physical properties such as being able to withstand abrasion and temperature extremes. This material can exist in plenty of environments, because it can withstand such varying temperatures. The lanyard also has Tek-Lok clip, which is MOLLE Compatible.
The blade on this knife measures in at 4.52 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.144 inches. The handle on this knife has a thickness of 0.48 inches. This is a fixed blade, so the overall length of the knife measures in at 9.21 inches. This is a little bit heavier of a knife, weighing in at 5.11 ounces. And, like Benchmade does, this knife is made in the United States of America, so you can feel proud to own, carry, and use this knife.
When Benchmade is talking about this knife, they say, “Driven by the iconic tactical design of the Infidel out-the-front, the Fixed Infidel affords the certainty of a fixed blade for some of the uncertainty of the mission.” The D2 steel is tough, strong, has good edge retention, but does tend to be tricky to sharpen. You have your pick between two blade finishes—you can go for the satin finish which is very classic and last a lifetime. Or you can choose a black coated finish, which looks sleeker, but the coating will probably scratch off after a while. Either versions of this knife have been made with a spear point blade shape, which is a great hybrid shape. You get the benefits form all your favorite blade styles; you get the strength from a drop point, the piercing ability from the dagger, as well as getting a belly for slicing. The anodized aluminum handle is durable and very corrosion resistant. Because it is anodized, it is even more corrosion resistant and has a very sleek look to it. There is enough texture on the handle that you don’t have to worry about the knife slipping out of your hand—a key characteristic for a tactical knife. You can pick up either version of the brand new Fixed Infidel today at BladeOps.