With 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. This is the story of Benchmade.
In 1979, the Benchmade adventure began when Les de Asis wanted a knife that reflected the latest in materials and manufacturing technology to replace the cheap butterfly knives, known as Bali-Songs, he played with as a kid. Using his high-school ship skills, he blueprinted his ream knife before eventually meeting Victor Anselmo, who helped to grind the first ever pre-Benchmade Bali-Song prototype. Paired with handles that Les sourced forma small machine shop in California, he assembled and finished his first Bali-Song in his own garage. Proud of his creation, he took this first Bali-Song into a local gun store and the owner asked, “Could you build 100 more?”
In 1980 Les incorporated as Bali-Song, Inc. and rented a small shop in a second story mezzanine in California. The original equipment was purchased from the owner of a manufacturing operation who was looking to retire. Utilizing the rudimentary technology available to him at the time, Les began building handmade custom Bali-Songs, along with Jody Sampson, who ground all the blades. The success of these custom Balis spurred the created of the first production Bali-Song: The model 68.
Over the next seven years, the company expanded its product offerings into fixed blades and conventional folding knives, and evolving tis name from Bali-song, Inc. to Pacific Cutlery Corp.
In 1987, the company filed for bankruptcy and was dissolved. In 1988, Les reintroduced a new company and new version of the Model 68; this time with a drive to produce product in the US and an even stronger commitment to product availability, quality, and customer relationships. The company now needed a new name.
While there was “handmade” and “factory-made,” it was “Benchmade” that described the quality of Les’ product. He was building an operation that made precision parts, but with hand assembly on the finished products. This was a “bench” operation and Les wanted the name to reflect the marriage of manufactured and custom. In short, it describes Benchmade’s positon in the market—even to this day.
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.
Today we will be discussing the Benchmade 4300BK CLA automatic knife.
The blade on this knife is made out of 154Cm stainless steel. This is a high end steel that is relatively hard. It is considered an upgraded version of 440C through the addition of Molybdenum. This achieves superior edge holding compared to 440C while retaining similar excellent levels of corrosion resistance despite having less Chromium. It has decent toughness good enough for most uses and holds an edge well. This blade steel is not too difficult to sharpen when you have the right equipment.
The blade has been finished with a black coating. This not only creates a very sleek look that blends in well with the rest of the knife, it also creates a layer between the steel and the environment. Because of this, the blade is much less likely to rust and maintenance time is cut down considerably. Because of this, the blade life span is significantly prolonged. One of the disadvantages to this coating though is that it will scratch off after prolonged or heavy use. Once this happens, you do lose out on the benefits of a coated blade and the blade will have to be re-coated at this point.
The blade has been carved into a drop point blade shape. This is one of the most popular blade shapes that is in use today. This is for good reason, because it is a fanatic all-purpose blade shape that can take on even the heavy tasks. You can find this blade shape on almost any style of knife, anything from hunting knives to tactical knives, to everyday knives. The blade shape is formed by having the unsharpened edge of the knife run straight form the handle to the tip of the knife in a slow curved manner, which creates a lowered point. This lowered point provides more control and adds strength to the tip. While the tip on a drop point is not as sharp as the tip on a clip point, it is much stronger. Because of this tip strength and the ability to hold up to heavy use, drop point blades are popular on tactical and survival knives. And because the tip on the drop point blade is easily controllable, drop point blades make a great hunting knife, as well as a great knife for anything that you might need to perform any detail work. One of the reasons that they are so versatile is because they feature a large belly that is perfect for slicing. The drop point knife does have one major drawback, and that is that it does have a pretty broad tip. This means that you aren’t going to have many capabilities for slicing. But, the broad tip is the reasons that the drop point knife has the strength that you aren’t going to be able to find on clip point knives. Overall, this blade shape, and thus this knife, you will be prepared for almost any situation that you encounter.
The handle on this Benchmade knife is made out of black G-10. G10 is the common term for a grade of fiberglass composite laminate, which is a cloth material with a resin binder, that is used in a number of everyday carry, and more generally, gear applications. Though they are made quite differently; it is not entirely different form carbon fiber when it comes to properties. It is immune to corrosion and rust, it is easily textured and thusly offers excellent grip, and it can come in any number of different colors or patterns, in this Benchmade knife—black. Also, like carbon fiber, G10 tends to be on the more brittle side and does not resist impact well. And while it has little to do with functionality, G10 does not pack the same allure and looks as some other material because it resembles plastic both in appearance and feel.
The material is created by taking layers of fiberglass cloth and soaking them in resin, then compressing them and baking them under pressure. The material is extremely tough, hard, very lightweight, and strong.
The handle has been texturized to look like wood, with a grain pattern going cross the face of the handle. The handle does have a finger groove and finger guard, which creates a comfortable and safe grip while using this knife.
On the butt of this knife, there has been a lanyard hole carved into it. This will come in handy in a wide variety of different reasons. If you use a lanyard on your knife, you will be able to draw it out from your pocket much quicker than if you just used the pocket clip. Also, if you are using this knife in a more humid or messy environment, you can wrap the lanyard around the face of the handle which will add an extra element of texture and thus grip. Plus, although this has nothing to do with functionality, a lanyard can help add a touch of your own personal style to your knife.
The Pocket Clip:
The pocket clip on this knife is deigned or tip up carry only but is eligible for a left or right hand carry option. The clip is sleek black and is held in place by a small black screw, that matches the rest of the hardware on this knife. On the pocket clip, there is a butterfly logo stamped in the middle near the top.
The Benchmade 4300BK CLA is an automatic knife. This means that it is not legal to own, carry, or use in all states, cities and areas. There are a strict set of laws surrounding automatic knives in the United States due to a tumultuous history. Because of this, it is fully up to the user to know your local laws. BladeOps does not take responsibility for any of the consequences that accompany the user’s choices.
An automatic knife is a type of knife with a folding or sliding blade contained in the handle which is opened automatically by a spring when a button, lever, or switch on the handle or bolster is activated. Most switchblade designs incorporate a locking blade, in which the blade is locked against closure when the spring extends the blade to the fully opened position. 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.
This is a push button automatic knife, which means that when the silver button on the handle is activated, the spring pushes the blade out where it will lock it into place. Right underneath the oversized firing button is an integrated safety, which ensures that this knife won’t accidentally go off while it is in your pocket.
The blade on this knife measures in at 3.4 inches long, with a handle that measures in at 4.45 inches long. The overall length of the knife measures when opened measures in at 7.85 inches long. This knife weighs in at 3.5 ounces. The Benchmade 4300 CLA knife was made in the United States of America.
The Pros of Benchmade CLA Automatic Knife:
- The high end steel is relatively hard, which means that it will maintain its edge for long periods of time.
- This steel has high corrosion resistance properties.
- The blade is not too difficult to sharpen when you have the right materials.
- The steel has been coated with a black coting, which prolongs the life of the blade.
- The coating finish also cuts down on glares and reflections.
- The coating finish provides a sleek, black look to the blade.
- The drop point blade shape is tough, durable, and can take on almost any task.
- The drop point blade shape has a large belly that makes slicing a breeze.
- This is the perfect combination of steel and geometry for a perfect every day carry blade.
- The tip is controllable, which is perfect for fine detail work.
- The G10 handle is tough.
- The G10 handle is light.
- The G10 handle is durable.
- The finger guard prevents your fingers form getting sliced in case of slipping.
- The handle has comfortable ergonomics for long periods of use.
- There is a lanyard hole carved into the butt of the handle.
- The push button is oversized, so even if you are wearing gloves, you can easily trigger the blade.
- There is an integrated safety.
The Cons of the Benchmade CLA Automatic Knife:
- The coating finish can and will scratch off after long periods of use or heavy use.
- The broad tip on the drop point blade means that you don’t have many stabbing capabilities.
- The G10 handle is very brittle.
- The G10 handle does not have very much personality and does lack elegance.
- Because it is an automatic knife, this knife might not be legal in all states, cities, or areas.
The Benchmade 4300 CLA (Composite Lite Auto) side open automatic knife is Benchmade’s first Black Class auto to feature G-10 handle scales. This mid-sized knife features a slim profile design and contoured handle scales for quick and easy pocket deployment. Thanks to the recessed over-sized firing button and integrated slide safety, you can remain confident that this knife is just as safe as it is effective. This model, the 4300BK, features smooth black handles and a drop point blade in a black finish. The pocket clip is designed for tip up carry only but is eligible for a left or right hand carry option. Pick up this fantastic knife today at BladeOps.