Benchmade Knife Company is a knife manufacturer run by Roberta and Les de Asis in Oregon. The company’s products are geared toward many niche markets, such as outdoor sporting cutlery, rescue, law-enforcement, marital arts, and military. The company has collaborated with a number of custom knife makers since the very beginning.
Benchmade started in California in 1979 as Bali-song, changing its name in 1988 to the Pacific Cutlery Corporation. In 1990 the company moved on to Oregon and then six years later moved to a new facility in Oregon. Benchmade became known primarily as a manufacturer of butterfly, or Bali-song style knives, which it still continues to manufacture. These knives have been so identified with the company that Benchmade has registered “Bali-Song” as a trademark and logo. Benchmade’s original Bali-Song design by Jody Samson was awarded Blade Magazine’s Knife of the Year Award in 1979. As of February 2009, the company was employing approximately 150 people. Benchmade has had several years of growth and has expanded both the variety of knives it produces and the facility itself. 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.
Benchmade has a long tradition of incorporating knife design from noted custom cutlery makers into their production models. These include Jody Samson, Ernest Emerson, Allen Elishewitz, Mel Parude, Bill McHenry, Mike Snody, Jason Williams, Warren Osborne, and Bob Lum. Several production Benchmade models based on the work of these designers have become influential within the industry. Many technological advancements were now possible and Benchmade became the first company to own and employ a high-power laser cutter, allowing for work with steels too hard to stamp. The company also became the world leader in automatic knife manufacturing and began to supply military units.
This knife company has a rich history dating back over 30 years, Benchmade is the product of many dedicated employees, a never quit demand for excellence and the de Asis family’s vision and total commitment to culture, service, and innovation.
When you purchase a Benchmade knife, you know that you are getting a quality product that is going to get the job done. You know that you are going to be able to rely on your Benchmade knife throughout your life and all of the challenges that you face. Benchmade is not going to let you down. Today, we will be going over the Benchmade Dark Grey Mini Coalition Automatic knife with black G-10 handles and a CPM-S30V black blade.
The blade on this knife is made out of CPM-S30V stainless steel. This steel is a hardened powder-made steel with outstanding resistant to wear and corrosion. This knife steel was designed and manufactured by Crucible Industries, which is an American company in collaboration with knife maker Chris Reeve. This steel was produced specifically for knives, so you are going to get all of the qualities that you desire form your blade. For starters, the chemistry of the ingredients promotes the formation and even distribution of vanadium carbides, which are harder and more effective at cutting than chromium carbides. These vanadium carbides give the steel a very refined grain, further improving the sharpness and toughness. This steel is a premium grade knife steel and is commonly found in higher-end and custom knives. This steel is considered to have the perfect balance of hardness, toughness, and edge retention. One of the only drawbacks to this steel is that it is one of the harder steels to sharpen. Crucible acknowledged that this was an issue and later released CPM-S35VN steel, which is much easier to work with. However, because S30V steel is so top-notch and less expensive, many people are more than willing to overlook the sharpening issue, because its honestly not that big of an issue.
The blade has been coated with a black finish. A coated finish reduces the reflections and glares while also working to slightly reduce wear and corrosion. Unfortunately, coated finishes are some of the lowest quality blade finishes, because they will scratch off after heavy use or continuous use. At the point where the coating has been scratched off, the blade will have to be re-coated if you wish to maintain not only the look of the blade, but the defensive qualities that the coating gives your blade. Coatings can prolong the life of a blade because it does add a barrier to the steel to prevent corrosion and rusting. Quality coatings do add cost, but also provide more corrosion resistance, less reflection, and require less maintenance.
The blade on this Mini Coalition is a drop point blade shape. The drop point blade shape is one of the two most popular blade shapes and for very good reason. This blade shape is tough, versatile, and great for everyday uses. The most common place that you are going to find this blade shape is on a hunting knife, but you will see it on plenty of other types of knives. The blade shape is formed by the back edge of the knife running straight form the handle to the tip of the knife in a slow curved manner, which creates a lowered point. It is this lowered point that provides you with more control, while also adding strength to the tip. Because of this tip strength, the drop point blade style is very common on tactical and survival knives. And, because the tip on this blade style is so easily controlled, it makes the blade shape a popular choice on hunting knives. The lowered, controllable point makes it easier to avoided accidently nicking internal organs and ruining the meat. Knives with drop point blades are so versatile because it sports such a large belly that is perfect for slicing. Slicing is needed in the majority of common tasks, from hunting to opening up a letter. If you are in the market for an everyday knife, you should be looking for one with a very large belly. If you in the market for any other type of knife, having a belly is definitely not going to be a con. This blade does have a plain edge.
Something to touch on—drop point and clip point knives are often confused. This is understandable, but they serve a vastly different purpose. They are both very versatile and they are the two most popular blade shapes used on the market today. They do both sport a large belly which is perfect for slicing, and lowered tips which are perfect for your detail or fine work. However, the points on the two blade shapes are very different and serve very different purposes. The drop point blade shape is much broader and stronger. This means that the tip is not going to break if you are in a crucial situation, but it also means that you do lose out on many of the stabbing capabilities. The tip on a clip point is much finer, shaper, and thinner. This means that while you do have full stabbing capabilities, the tip is much more likely to snap or chip. If you know that you are going to be roughing it at any time, definitely look for a drop point blade shape.
The handle on this Benchmade knife is made out of 6061-T6 aluminum with black G-10 inlays. Aluminum is a very durable material for knife handles that gives you the hefty feel that you want without actually weighing you down because it is a low density metal. The alloy that is used in this knife is the most common type of aluminum used today and it has extreme tensile strength. When aluminum is properly texturized, it can give you a reasonably secure grip, unfortunately, aluminum is usually pretty slippery. Another drawback to aluminum is that if you are planning on using your knife during the winter months, you need to be prepared for how cold the aluminum is going to get; this is due to its conductive properties. Another one of the drawbacks to aluminum is that it is susceptible to scratches and dings. Some of the major pros to this material is that it is strong, it is light, it is durable, and it is very resistant to corrosion.
To combat the slipperiness and add a good amount of texture, Benchmade has added in G-10 inlays. G-10 is a laminate composite that has been manufactured out of fiberglass. This material is extremely similar to carbon fiber (slightly inferior) but can be made for a much smaller cost. The manufacturer will take layers of fiberglass cloth and then soak them in resin. After they have been soaked, they are compressed and baked under pressure. This material is so hard, tough, strong, and still lightweight. Unfortunately, G-10 is a brittle material and it does lack character and elegance. The good part about the G-10 inlays is that the G-10 has been checkered to add enough texture that will give you a secure grip in almost any situation. Another thing that Benchmade has added to help with your grip is jimping on three key parts of the handle. The first section is the spine of the handle near the blade, the second is directly across from the first on the bottom of the handle, and the third is on the butt of the handle. This jimping will give you a very secure grip in almost any situation.
The aluminum handle has been anodized a dark grey, which not only adds to the look of the knife, but also to the durability and corrosion resistant properties of this knife.
The Pocket Clip:
While the pocket clip is designed for tip up carry only, it is reversible, meaning that it is eligible for a left or right hand carry option. The clip is black, which matches the rest of the hardware on this knife. The only exception is the silver firing button.
This knife is an automatic knife, also commonly known as a switchblade. This is a knife with a folding or sliding blade that is contained in the handle. This knife is opened automatically by a spring when a button on the handle is pushed down and then it locks into place. The blade is unlocked by manually operating a mechanism that unlocks the blade and allows it to be folded and locked in the closed position. Because this is an automatic knife, you do have to be careful about purchasing and carrying it. Switchblades have a strict set of laws surrounding them in many areas of the United States. This means that they are not legal to purchase or carry in all states, cities, or areas. When purchasing this knife, you are responsible for the consequences that coincide with your areas laws.
The blade on this mini knife is 2.87 inches long. The handle measures in at 3.91 inches long, making the overall length of this knife 6.78 inches long. This knife weighs in at 2.63 ounces. The Benchmade Dark Grey Mini Coalition is made in the United States of America.
The Mini Coalition is one of several new mid-year released knives by Benchmade this year. This model features plenty of much-needed traction with G-10 inlays and the positive thumb ramp, integrated spine safety and integrated finger groove shows why this small tactical auto is capable of big things. This Black Class model, the 9750BK, features a dark grey anodized aircraft aluminum handle coupled with black G-10 inlays, a drop point style blade in a black finish and the reversible pocket clip is designed for tip up carry only but is eligible for a left or right hand carry option. Benchmade calls this knife “a big deal in a small package” and I would say that they have hit the nail right on the head. This knife has the strength and style, creating a mashup that is unfortunately not seen as often as we’d like. Pick up your Benchmade Dark Grey Mini Coalition today at BladeOps.