Benchmade Protagonist Knife Review

Benchmade Protagonist

Benchmade says, “In 1988, we set out to make the best knives in the world — and that’s exactly what we did. We’ve grown a lot since then, and while we’ve expanded to provide tools for elite tactical operators, first responders and even collectors, our goal remains the same: make the best knives in the world.

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.

They say, “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.”

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. Because of this 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.

The mechanics of opening and closing a knife are essential to its function. Some of the questions that they ask themselves are: 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.

When it comes to manufacturing 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. Their commitment to modern machining techniques and rigid quality control has allowed Benchmade to bridge the gap between custom and manufactured.

Today we will be discussing the Benchmade Protagonist.

Benchmade Protagonist
Benchmade Protagonist

The Blade:

The blade is made out of 154CM steel, which is one of Benchmade’s favorite steels to use. This steel is made by Crucible Steel Industries, which is a US based steel company. This is a relatively hard steel that is known to be an upgraded version of 440C through the addition of Molybdenum. Molybdenum helps achieve superior edge holding compared to 440C while still retaining similar excellent levels of corrosion resistance despite having less Chromium. This steel also has decent toughness that is good enough for most uses. This is an important characteristic of this knife because the Protagonist has been designed as an outdoor and a tactical knife. The steel also can hold an edge well and is not too difficult to sharpen when you have the correct equipment.

The steel has been finished with a coating. Coatings work to prolong the life of the blade overtime because they create a barrier between the atmosphere and the steel itself. Coatings cut down on wear, corrosion, and eliminate most glares and reflections. The elimination of glares and reflections is an important aspect for the Protagonist, because you will be using it in the field and won’t want your position given away. The biggest drawback to a coated blade is that the coating will scratch off after time or even just hard use. This means that you will lose out on all the benefits until it is recoated. Another disadvantage is that not all coatings are applied evenly, so sometimes there are bubbles are thicker places that mess with your ability to cut as evenly.

The blade has been carved into a tanto blade shape. The tanto blade shape has not been designed to be an all-purpose knife. Instead, it has been singed to do one thing and do that one thing extremely well. The tanto blade shape has been designed to excel at piercing through tough materials. This style of knife is similar in style to the Japanese long and short swords and was originally designed for armor piercing. In the 1980s, Cold Steel remade the tanto design and popularized it. The shape of the knife has a high point with a flat grind, which means that you get one of the strongest points you are going to find in the industry. This strong point is ideal for stabbing into hard materials. The thick point of the tanto blade contains a lot of metal near the tip, so it is able to absorb the impact from repeated piecing or hard piecing that most blade shapes cannot. The spine of the tanto and the sharpened edge of the tanto meet at an angle, rather than your traditional curve Because of this, the tanto blade does not have a belly, which is sacrificed to give the user the strongest tip possible. It is because of the lack of belly that makes it not a good option for an all-purpose knife. With the tanto blade, you are going to be prepared to take on any situation that happens to come your way if it means you are stabbing through tougher materials. This ability is absolutely ideal for outdoor as well as tactical knives, so Benchmade really nailed the design when it comes to the Protagonist.

The blade on this knife is a combination edge, which means that the upper 2/3 of it is a plain edge and the lower 1/3 of it is a serrated edge. The idea behind this blade edge is that you get the best of both worlds. You can use the plain edge for all detail work or tasks that need clean cuts. Then you can use the serrated portion on the thicker materials to saw through. While this seems like a really good idea in theory, a big complaint is that the sections of each blade are too small to actually use. Instead of getting the best of both worlds, you don’t get to utilize either portion. When it comes to the combo edge, people either love it or hate it.


The Handle:

The handle on this knife is made out of grivory. Grivory is an amorphous nylon copolymer with exceptional dimensional stability. When it comes to Benchmade’s’ Grivory, they have 50% or grater glass fill.

Grivory is durable, tough, strong, resistant to abrasion and bending, as well as being able to resist a lot of chemicals, which is perfect for an outdoor and tactical knife, because you never know what you are going to run into.

The handle is very simple. The spine of the knife curves slightly, but is mostly straight. The belly of the knife has a thick finger guard which is perfect for protecting your fingers. There is a finger groove as well, which gives you a comfortable and secure place to rest your fingers. Other than the finger groove, the belly is pretty straight, but it is still going to be comfortable to hold onto.

The Grivory has been textured to give you a secure grip in almost any situation or environment. When Grivory gets wet, you still have a secure grip on it; it does not lose its texture.

On the butt of the handle, Benchmade has added a lanyard hole. This allows you to keep the knife close by you without it getting in the way.


The Mechanism:

This is a fixed blade knife which has a lot of advantages. Some people prefer folding knives because they are more discrete and easy to conceal. Folding knives are also more convenient and can be easily transported within your pocket. But, there are a lot of advantages when it comes to a fixed blade. The first is that it is going to be strong and big. A fixed blade comes in a wide variety of sizes, but no matter which size it does come in, you get the same strength out of all of them. Plus, the blade is also usually longer on a fixed blade because they do not have to fit inside the handle. This means that you are going to be more capable of taking on the tougher tasks. Plus, the long blade is also thicker than your average folding knife, so you really don’t have to worry about it breaking.

Fixed blades also don’t break easily. This is because there are no moving parts on or inside a fixed blade. This also means that they are easier to maintain because you don’t ah veto worry about drying out the inside pieces or even worrying about the hinge. The best part about fixed blade and its maintenance is that cleaning is much more straightforward and simple. All you have to do is wipe down the blade and handle and oil the blade when needed.

Some of the biggest advantages that you get from the fixed blade for the Protagonist knife is that it is a superior tactical knife. All you have to do is pull the knife out of the sheath and you are ready to go. With a folding knife, you have to pull the knife out of your pocket, open it, and then you are ready to use it. When it comes to a tactical situation, every single second counts.

The other best advantage that you get from this knife being a fixed blade is that it is a super survival tool. A fixed blade offers more versatility for any number of tasks that are associated with so-called survival knives such as cutting, digging, splitting wood, using it as a first aid tool, food preparation, hammering, or even prying if you have no other option.


The Sheath:

The sheath that comes with this knife is made out of Ballistics Nylon. Nylon is a material that tis commonly used in knife sheaths. They are similar to leather, because of how often they are used, and because they are very tough and strong. Something that is different about nylon than leather is that nylon sheaths are resistant to rot and mildew. Plus, they are not as vulnerable to water as leather sheaths are. One of the bigger advantages to a nylon sheath is that they aren’t easily scuffed or torn.

However, like all sheath materials, nylon does have its disadvantages. Nylon does last as leather ones. Also, nylon sheaths get stretched out over time. This means that while your sheath will still work, your knife is not going to fit as snugly. Your knife is not going to be as secure, but nylon sheath is cheaper, so it isn’t a huge bummer to have to buy a new sheath after a while.


The Specs:

The blade on this knife measures in at 4.54 inches long with a blade thickness that measures in at 0.124 inches. The handle on this knife has a thickness of 0.54 inches long. This is a fixed blade, so the overall length of the knife measures in at 9.12 inches long. This is a heavier knife, but not too heavy to be annoying, weighing in at 4.23 ounces. This knife was made in the United States of America, so you can be proud to own, carry, and use the Benchmade Protagonist.



When it comes to the Protagonist, Benchmade says, “One for the good guys, the Protagonist was designed with military and law enforcement front of mind. The knife is available in both drop-point and tanto, features 2-color rubberized handles and is easily integrated with a vest, belt or pack.” The blade material is tough, durable, and strong. It is also very resistant to corrosion which cuts down on maintenance time significantly. The blade has been coated, which prolongs the life of the blade by creating a barrier in between eh steel and the environment. The Grivory handle is also extremely durable. The nylon sheath that comes with this knife is very resistant to water and molding. You can pick up this knife today at BladeOps.





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