The Benchmade Knife Company is a knife manufacturer run by Roberta and Les de Asis in Oregon City, Oregon. Its products are geared toward many niche markets, such as outdoor sporting cutlery, rescue, law enforcement, martial arts, and military. The company has collaborated with a number of custom knife makers since its inception.
Benchmade started in California in 1979 as Bali-Song, changing its name in 1988 to the Pacific Cutlery Corporation. In 1990 the company moved to Clackamas, Oregon. In 1996, the company moved to a 144,000 square foot facility in Oregon City, Oregon. Benchmade became known primarily as a manufacturer of butterfly, or balisong-style knives, which it 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.
In 1996, Benchmade moved to Oregon City. Apart from some Red Class products, which were produced in their “off shore facilities,” Benchmade has produced more than 90% of its knives in Oregon City, and has succeeded in bringing others back to home production. Since 2010, all red Class production knives have been discontinued, and as such, every Benchmade labeled knife is made in the United States.
Benchmade receives a significant amount of revenue from selling restricted-sales knives to the military and law enforcement. Benchmade produces a diverse selection of “auto” or switchblade knives, along with a range of hunting, fishing, utility, and miscellaneous knives, however balisong’s remain a core product.
Benchmade has three different classes when it comes to their knives. The first class is the Blue Class, also known as the Recreation class. This type of Benchmade knife is made for typical use by the everyday person. The next class is the Black Class, also known as the Professional class. This type of Benchmade knife is made for military, law enforcement, and public safety workers. They are knives made for more challenging work. The last class is the Gold class, also known as the Collector class. This class of Benchmade knife is made for collectors and are limited edition.
Benchmade has a patent on the locking mechanism used in most of the switchblades they produce. Benchmade additionally holds an exclusive license on use of the McHenry/Williams “AXIS Lock,” which is a strong, spring operated locking mechanism that is used in both automatic and manual action models.
Today we will be talking about the Benchmade Mini Reflex II Automatic knife family. This family features many different options that you can choose from, so you can get the blade that is most comfortable for you and what you are going to be using your new Benchmade knife for.
The blades on any of these knives are made out of 154CM steel. This is a high end steel that is relatively hard. This stele is considered an upgraded version of 440C through the addition of Molybdenum, which helps achieve 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 steel is not too difficult to sharpen when you have the right equipment.
There are a couple of finishes that you can choose from with this family of knives. The first option is a satin finished blade. To create this finish, the blade is sanded in one direction with increasing degrees of a fine abrasive, which is usually sandpaper. A satin finish shows the bevels of the blade, showcases the lines of the knife, while also reducing its reflective glare. The finer the abrasive and the more even the lines, the cleaner the satin finish blade looks.
The second option for blade finish that you have is a black coated finish. A coating finish reduces the reflection and glare while also reducing wear and corrosion. However, ALL coatings can and will be scratched off after continuous heavy use, and at that point the blade would have to be recoated. Coatings do work to prolong the life of a blade by preventing corrosion or rust.
All of the versions of this knife also feature a drop point blade shape. This is an all-purpose knife that can really stand up to almost anything. This is also one of the two most popular blade shapes that is in use today. It will be easiest to find this blade shape on a hunting knife, although it is used on many other types of knives as well, from your small EDC knives to larger Swiss army knives. To form this blade shape, the back edge of the knife runs 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. It is because of this tip strength and the ability to hold up to heavy use that drop point blades are also popular on tactical and survival knives. One of the main reasons that the drop point blade is so popular on hunting knives is because the blade is easily controllable. This lowered, controllable point makes it easier to avoid accidentally nicking internal organs and ruining the meat. Drop point knives also feature a large belly area that is perfect for slicing. There is one main disadvantage to the drop point blade and that is its relatively broad tip, which makes it less suitable for piercing than the clip point. However, the broad tip provides point strength that is not found on clip point knives.
With this family of knives, you can also choose between a plain edge and a combo edge blade. The plain edge is going to give you cleaner cuts than the combo edge. The plain edge is also more suited to take on a wider variety of tasks, especially those tasks involving push cuts. However, the serrated edge is designed to give you the best of both worlds. The combo edge has the upper 2/3 plain edge and the lower 1/3 serrated. With this, you are able to do fine detail work with the upper portion, as well as getting the cleaner slices. And with the serrated portion, you are able to saw through thicker materials. Some people feel like the combo edge really does give them the best of both worlds, while another group feels like both portions are too small to really work with. It’s all personal preference, just be aware of the pros and cons of each before making your decision.
The handle on this family of knives is made out of 6061-T6 aluminum. Aluminum is a very low-density metal that is often used in knife making. This metal is very corrosion resistant. Since it is such a soft metal, it is primarily used in knife handles and sometimes hard anodized for aesthetics and wear resistance. A fun fact is that aluminum is also the most abundant metal in the earth’s crust. This knife is made out of the aluminum alloy 6061-T6, which means the type of aluminum is 6061 and it is T6 tempered. 6061-T6 aluminum has one of the highest yield and tensile strengths of all aluminum alloys. This aluminum is also used extensively in aircraft, and is often referred to as aircraft aluminum, although that is nothing more than a selling ploy. Aluminum alloy is cheaper to machine and produce than titanium, and is lighter, weaker, and less resistant to wear. For the most part, Aluminum is an inferior metal to Titanium aside from its lightness. However, when producing complex knives that require a large amount of CNC machining, such as the case with automatic knives, aluminum is much cheaper to produce and the material costs less.
The handle has been anodized black. Anodizing is an electrolytic passivation process used to increase the thickness of the natural oxide layer on the surface of aluminum. The process is called anodizing because the part to be treated forms the anode electrode of an electrical circuit. Anodizing increase resistance to corrosion and wear, and provides better adhesion for paint than bare metal does. Anodic films can also be sued for a number of cosmetic effects. Aluminum alloys are anodized to increase corrosion resistance and to alloy coloring. Although anodizing increases the durability and corrosion resistance of the aluminum, it does not increase the strength. The anodized aluminum layer is grown by passing a direct current through an electrolytic solution, with the aluminum object serving as the anode. The current releases hydrogen at the cathode and oxygen at the surface of the aluminum anode, creating a building up of aluminum oxide. This process is usually performed in an acid solution.
The handle on the Mini Reflex II has a deep finger groove, which also creates a thick finger guard to keep your fingers safe. After the deep finger groove, the handle has a slight belly that will make your grip on it slightly more comfortable. The butt of the handle is angled and it does sport a lanyard hole, which is the perfect addition that allows you to keep your knife close by without it being in the way.
Across the face of the handle, there are a couple of grooves carved in. These are to provide you with a more secure grip, because aluminum can be slippery.
The Pocket Clip:
The pocket clip on this knife is made out of the same aluminum that the handle is and is designed for tip up carry only. On all versions of the knife, the clip is black, matching the handle and is held in place by three small black screws that match the rest of the hardware on this knife.
The Benchmade Mini-Reflex II is an automatic knife, or switchblade. Automatic knives have strict laws surrounding them and are not legal in all states, cities, or areas. Make sure that you know your local knife laws before purchasing and carrying this Benchmade knife. You are responsible for any consequences, not BladeOps.
An automatic knife is a style of knife that has a folding blade contained in the handle which is opened automatically by a spring when a button on the handle is activated. This Benchmade family of knives features an enlarged firing button. This knife also features an integrated safety on the spine near the location of the firing button.
Because it is an automatic knife, it is going to open more smoothly and quicker than if it were a regular manual folding knife.
The blades on all versions in this family of knives measure in at 3.17 inches long. The handle on these knives measures in at 4.18 inches long. When the Mini-Reflex II is opened, it measures in at an overall length of 7.35 inches long. These knives weigh in at 2.6 ounces. These knives are made in the United States of America.
The best-selling original Benchmade 2550 Mini-Reflex automatic knife was slightly modified in 2016–producing the new and improved Benchmade Mini-Reflex II auto knife. With increased reliability and improved access to the enlarged firing button, this true utilitarian tool certainly doesn’t sacrifice function for form. This Benchmade black class model features a drop point blade style in either a satin or black coated finish or black anodized 6061-T6 handle scales with an integrated safety on the spine near the location of the firing button. This classic automatic knife aims to please with its American-made 154CM stainless steel and the handle offers a slim profile and ergonomic grip. The pocket clip is designed for tip up carry only. Come pick your perfect combination of finishes and edges to get the perfect EDC knife. Pick up one of five options today at BladeOps.