When Benchmade was founded, they were founded under the mindset to build world-class products for world-class customers. 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, they continue to innovate with the goal of taking performance and reliability to the next level. To exceed what is expected. Benchmade says, “Whether you are using a Griptilian® for every day duties or taking the fight to the enemy with the Infidel®, our knives are built to perform. When you choose to purchase a Benchmade, you do so because you want the best. You demand it. And programs like our LifeSharp Lifetime Service and Warranty are the foundation of our commitment to excellence. We live it and breathe it, and we know what you mean when you say: It’s not a knife. It’s my Benchmade.”
So what is it that makes a Benchmade so fantastic? Well, it all starts with the materials. 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. They select 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.
Next is the mechanism. Benchmade knows that the mechanics of opening and closing a knife are essential to its function. So they ask themselves a few questions to see if they have accomplished an excellent mechanism: Is it easy to actuate? Can it be opened with one hand? Is it ambidextrous? Will it absolutely not fail when you need it the most? These are critical considerations when it comes to the mechanism.
The next component of an incredible knife is the manufacturing. They say, “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. Our commitment to modern machining techniques and rigid quality control has allowed Benchmade to bridge the gap between custom and manufactured.”
The last thing that Benchmade has that makes excellent knives and an excellent company is their LifeSharp guarantee. Benchmade describes it by saying, “Benchmade knives are all supported through a team of skilled technicians. Their only function is to ensure your Benchmade is in optimal working condition for your entire life. This service is called LifeSharp®. A name that speaks for itself. When you send your knife to the Benchmade LifeSharp team, the knife is completely disassembled and all worn parts are tuned or replaced. The knife is then lubricated and reassembled, a sharpener applies a factory edge to the blade and the knife is shipped back to you. All at no cost to you.”
Today we will be discussing the Benchmade Fixed Contego knife.
The man behind this knife is Warren Osborne. Benchmade says, “Being raised in the farming and ranching industry taught Warren early on what great utility a quality knife can offer. How a knife feels in the hand over extended use, blade design/edge configurations, and the types of materials used are all mandatory considerations of an Osborne design.”
The blade on this knife is made out of CPM S30V steel, which was designed by US based steel manufacturer Crucible Industries. They designed this steel especially for knives, and not only knives, but especially for high end knives and kitchen cutlery. This means that they thought about each characteristic that is important for a knife to have and found a way to make it happen. This steel is regarded as having the best balance between hardness, toughness, and edge retention. This is one of the harder balances to achieve because often times, the harder the steel gets, and the more brittle it gets as well. Crucible accomplished this by adding vanadium carbides to the steel, which helped to bring out the extreme hardness while not compromising its toughness. This steel is also going to be able to resist rust effortlessly. CPM S30V steel is one of the more corrosion resistant steels that you are going to find. One of the only drawbacks to this steel is that because of the high hardness, it does prove to be tricky to sharpen. This shouldn’t be too big of an issue as long as you aren’t a beginner sharpener. Crucible explains the CPM process by saying, “The CPM process produces very homogeneous, high quality steel characterized by superior dimensional stability, grindability, and toughness compared to steels produced by conventional processes.”
The blade has been finished with a black coating. The coating is beneficial to the blade because it works to prolong the life of the blade. This is accomplished because it creates a barrier between the environment and the steel. The coating increases wear resistance as well as corrosion resistance. This knife is a survival and tactical knife, so the fact that the coating also reduces glares and reflections is very important. The coating cuts down on maintenance. However, coatings can and will scratch off after heavy use or after long periods of use. At this point, the blade would have to be re-coated to provide you with the benefits.
The blade has been carved into a reverse tanto blade shape. The tanto blade shape is designed to do one thing and that one thing really well. The tanto is able to pierce through hard material with ease. This style of knife is similar to Japanese swords and was originally designed for armor piercing. In the 1980s, Cold Steel altered the shape slightly and popularized it. While most tanto blade shapes don’t have a belly, because this is a reverse tanto, you do have a slight belly. This means that you will be able to slice a little bit with this knife. However, you still get the incredibly strong tip with a reverse tanto. The tip of a tanto is thick because it does contain a lot of metal near the tip, so it is able to repeatedly pierce through things that would cause most other knives to break. While this blade shape is not going to serve all your needs, when you need to pierce through something, this knife has your back.
The blade is a combo edge, which means that the upper two thirds of the blade is a plain edge and the lower one third is a serrated edge. The idea behind a combo edge is that you get the best of both worlds because you can still get clean cuts and use the plain edge to slice through things or perform fine detail work. Then, you can use the serrated portion to saw through thicker materials or even inflict more damage on your enemy. The biggest complaint with this edge style is that each portion is too small to fully utilize. Because this is such a large knife, that shouldn’t be too big of an issue. You should be able to have the best of both worlds with this combination edge on the Fixed Contego.
The handle on this knife is made out of G10. G-10 is a grade of Garolite that is a laminate composite made of fiberglass. This material has very similar properties to carbon fiber, except that it can be made and bought for almost a fraction of the cost. To create this material, the manufacturer takes layers of fiberglass cloth and soaks them in resin, then compresses them and bakes them under pressure. The material that results from this process is tough, hard, lightweight, and still very strong. Out of all the fiberglass resin laminates, G-10 is considered to be the toughest.
It is easy to add texture to the handle, which gives the user a more comfortable and secure grip. Tactical and survival knives really benefit from having a G-10 handle because it is so durable, lightweight, and non-porous. Because it is so non-porous, the maintenance is significantly reduced because it is not going to absorb any of the fluids you happen to come in contact with. Overall, the benefits of a G10 handle is that it is tough, durable, and won’t weigh you down. The overall cons of the G10 handle is that it can be brittle and it does lack elegance in certain cases.
The handle has been intensely textured so that the user will have a secure grip in almost any environment. It is a black handle. The spine has a slight bulge which gives a comfortable grip. The belly of the handle has a large, deep, elongated finger groove. This will allow you to more easily grip the knife when you are using it while also keeping your fingers a little bit safer because it creates a finger guard. After that finger groove, there is a second, very shallow finger groove.
This is a fixed blade, which means that there is no mechanism to break. There are a wide variety of benefits for a fixed blade, especially a tactical or survival knife like this one. The blade on a fixed knife can be longer and thicker because it does not have to fit inside of a handle. Because it is longer and thicker, the blade is less likely to break. The overall knife is less likely to break because there is no mechanism. When it comes to tactical knives, a fixed blade is more efficient. This is because all you have to do is pull it out of its sheath and it is ready to go. With a folding knife, you have to pull it out of your pocket, open it, and then you are ready to use it. When it comes to a survival knife, fixed blades are more beneficial because of all the other tasks it can complete. Survival knives are big enough and strong enough to use for cutting, digging, prying, preparing food, a hunting tool, a first aid tool, or even as a hammer if you use the butt of the knife. While fixed blades are not as discreet as a folding knife would be, for these purposes, the fixed blade is going to be more useful.
The sheath that comes with this knife is MOLLE compatible and has been made out of Injection Molded Plastic. Plastic sheaths are some of the cheapest sheaths that you are going to find on the. You do get what you pay for, so while it will do its job, this sheath is not going to excel at its job. A plastic sheath is one of the worst places to home your blade for long periods of time. This is because they house water and humidity, which will eventually corrode your blade if it is in the sheath for long periods of time. Plus, they are not as durable as they could be. The plastic may end up dulling your blade as well. Because the Fixed Contego does come with a plastic sheath, I would recommend finding a different sheath as soon as you can if you want your knife to remain in good quality.
The blade on this knife measures in at 4.97 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.164 inches. The handle on the Fixed Contego has a thickness of 0.62 inches. This is a beasty knife, with the overall length of it measuring in at 10.18 inches long. This is also a heavier knife, because of the overall size of it, weighing in at 7.14 ounces. The sheath that comes with this knife weighs in at 2.32 ounces. This knife was made in the United States of America.
When Benchmade is describing this knife, they say, “A tactical fixed blade from Warren Osborne. The fixed Contego has aggressive lines and a classic Osborne blade style that provide great tip strength and good all-around performance.” You can pick up this knife today at BladeOps.