Benchmade 15400 Pardue Hunter Knife Review

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. We live it and breathe it, and we know what you mean when you say: It’s not a knife. It’s my Benchmade.”

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-grand knives and tools that provide great value for their customers.

Benchmade knows that the mechanics of opening and closing a knife are essential to its function. They ask, “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?” They know that those are all critical considerations when it comes to the mechanism.

When it comes to manufacturing, the Benchmade factory employs modern laser cutters and CNC machining centers hat 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.

Benchmade 15400 Pardue Hunter
Benchmade 15400 Pardue Hunter

The Class/Series:

This knife is in the HUNT series. Benchmade chooses to describe the HUNT series by saying, “Research projects, R&D lab tests and many miles of field research provided the foundation for the design and development of Benchmade HUNT. Built form advanced materials usually reserved for spaceships and surgical equipment, these technologically advanced hunting knives provide refined performance and rugged durability.”

When it comes to edge retention in the HUNT series, edge retention is one of the most features while field dressing an animal, and CPM-S30V blade steel delivers.

With durability, “A powdered metal steel, the durability of CPM-S30V outperforms other blade steels thanks to its uniform grain structure.”

And lastly, when it comes to corrosion resistance, “A TRUE stainless steel, CPM-S30V requires little maintenance and out performs other steels like D2 by 619%.”

 

The Blade:

The blade on this knife is made out of CPM-S30V steel, which is true to the HUNT Series. This steel was designed by Crucible Steel Industries with knives in mind. Crucible is a steel company that is based in the United States, so not only do you know that you’re getting a good product, you can be proud to own a blade with a Crucible blade. Crucible chose to add in vanadium carbides, which brings high hardness into the steel alloy matrix. This steel is known for having one of the best balances between edge retention, hardness, and toughness. This balance is hard to achieve because the harder the steel is, the less tough it gets. CPM S30V steel also resists rust effortlessly, because it was designed to be on expensive kitchen cutlery. When it comes to your hunting knife, you are going to want a blade steel that isn’t going to rust when it comes in contact with blood and fluids when you are dressing your game. The only drawback to this steel is that because of the high level of hardness, it does prove to be tricky to sharpen. If you are a beginner sharpener, I do not recommend trying to sharpen this knife.

The knife has been finished with a satin finish, which is the most popular and traditional blade finish in the cutlery industry to date. This finish is achieved when the manufacturer repeatedly sands the blade in one direction with an increasing level of a fine abrasive. A satin finish is designed to show off the bevels of the blade while also showcasing the fine lines of the steel. It also reduces reflections and corrosion. Because Benchmade has such a fine satin finish, it will increase the cost of the knife slightly, because of the time and labor, but it is also worth the additional cost.

The Pardue Hunter has a drop point style blade. The drop point blade style is known as an all-purpose knife that can stand up to almost anything. It is also one of the most popular blade styles today, for good reason. The most common place that you are going to find a drop point blade shape is on hunting knives, such as this one. The shape is formed by having the back edge of the knife run straight from the handle to the tip of the knife in a slow curved manner, which creates a lowered point. The lowered point is where the blade style gets its control and strength. The controllable aspect is what makes this style such a good hunting knife, because it is easier to avoid accidentally nicking internal organs and ruing the meat. One of the other reasons that the drop point blade style is such a popular option for a hunting knife is because of the large belly that it sports. The belly is the slicing area, so the bigger the belly, the easier it is to slice. And when it comes to hunting, you are going to rely on slicing pretty often. The drop point blade does have one big drawback, which is its broad tip. Because of the broadness, it is not as sharp as the clip point, and therefore, not as good at piercing. However, when it comes to your go-to hunting knife, many people can overlook the broad tip in exchange for the strength it provides.

 

The Handle:

The handle of this knife is made out of Micarta. This is a popular option for a knife handle material. Micarta is a fabric reinforced phenolic laminate, which just means that it is created by soaking linen cloths in a phenolic resin and then pressing them together. The creation process of Micarta and G-10 is similar. However, Micarta does end up looking a little bit classier and full of character than G-10. Because of how this material is made, Micarta actually has no texture and is extremely smooth or slippery. It takes a lot of hand labor to carve some texture into the material, which does increase the cost quite a bit. Also, because of how texture is create don this knife, there is a myth that Micarta can easily be scratched. This is not reality. Micarta is difficult to scratch because of how hard it is. Micarta is lightweight, strong, and was originally introduced as an electrical insulator which means that it is one of the best plastics out there for knife handles. Overall, Micarta is going to be tough, light, and durable. However, it is brittle and it is expensive.

This Micarta handle has been finished to look like it is a wood handle. This gives the tradition of a wood handled hunting knife, but it also gives you the strength and durability of a modern material. The belly of the handle curves in slightly to fit more comfortably in your hand. There is a row of jimping near where the blade and handle meet to give you extra grip when you are in the thick of it.

The butt of this handle does have a lanyard hole carved into it, so you can always keep this knife next to you. Also, if you are in the middle of dressing your game and you feel like everything is getting too slippery, you can wrap the lanyard around the handle of the knife to give you some added texture. Slipping the lanyard around your wrist while you are dressing the game also ensures that the knife does not slip out of your hand.

 

The Mechanism:

This hunting knife is a fixed blade. Some of the benefits to a fixed blade is that they are big and strong. Plus, the blade on a fixed blade is usually longer than a blade on a folding knife. This is because the blade does not have to fit inside of the handle. Plus, because there is no internal mechanism or even moving parts on a fixed blade, they don’t break. The blades are thicker, the parts are stronger, and there are no pieces that can rust or break down over time. The last thing you want is for your knife to fail you in the middle of a big hunt. The Benchmade Pardue Hunter is not going to fail you—ever. Also, because of the strength, a fixed blade can be sued for more than just your typical slicing; it is strong enough to be a survival tool. You can cut, dig, split wood, use this as a first aid tool, prepare food with it, hammer (using the handle), and some people even pry with their fixed blades, although I would not recommend doing the last one. The biggest advantage to a fixed blade for your hunting knife is the ease of maintaining it. You don’t have to worry about cleaning each individual piece, because it is essentially all one piece. All you have to do is wipe down the blade and handle and oil it occasionally.

Of course, a fixed blade is going to be harder to conceal and not as easy to keep with you all the time.

 

The Sheath:

The sheath that comes with this knife is just as classic as the knife itself: leather. Leather is one of the traditional materials that is still used to make a knife sheath. It is rugged, tough, and strong. Plus, it is not going to break down like plastic eventually does. And because leather is sewn, if the stitches start to loosen or come out, it is easy to mend or replace them. Another benefit to having a leather sheath is that once it is broken in, it will fit your knife exactly. The absolute best advantage for a leather sheath for your hunting knife is the fact that it is silent. You can easily pull the knife out and put it back in without making a sound and spooking the game that you are hunting.

Of course, every material does have its disadvantages as well. For starters, leather is not waterproof, and if exposed to water or humidity too long or too often it can start to rot and mildew. Also, if it is exposed to extreme heat it can start to dry out and the sheath will crack. Both of these can be avoided if you oil your sheath from time to time.

 

The Specs:

The blade on this new hunting knife measures in at 3.48 inches long, with a blade thickness of 0.132 inches. The handle on this knife has a thickness of 0.57 inches. The overall length of this knife measures in at 7.96 inches long. This knife weighs in at 5.08 ounces. This is a truly American knife, made in the United States of America. This means that you can feel proud to own, carry, and use this knife for all your hunting needs.

 

Conclusion:

This knife is the first custom collaboration in the Benchmade HUNT line. Mel Pardue brings years of hunting experience and practicality to the design of the is all-around hunting fixed blade with Bushcraft in its blood. This knife features an S30V drop point blade. The steel resists rust easily, which makes maintenance a breeze—especially when you are in the field. The drop point lade style is perfectly suited for hunting; providing you with a strong tip and a large belly. The satin finished blade and the leather sheath give this knife a traditional feel. The Micarta handle is tough, lightweight, and has been finished to look like a wood handle, which brings in the traditional look that this knife sports. Because it is a fixed blade, this knife is tough, strong, durable, and easy to maintain. The Pardue Hunter is the perfect option for you. Pick up this brand new Benchmade knife today at BladeOps.

Benchmade 917 Tactical Triage Family Review

Benchmade has a history that dates for over three decades. They have gotten to the point where they are today with the help 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.

The story began in 1979 when the founder of the company, Les de Asis, wanted a knife that reflected the latest in materials and manufacturing technology to replace the cheap butterfly knives he had used as a kid. All he knew about the process came from his high-school shop skills, which he used to blueprint his dream knife.

Their history includes three name changes and one bankruptcy, but was finally settled on Benchmade. Les felt that while there was “handmade” and “factory made,” it was “Benchmade” that descried 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. Even to this day, the name still describes Benchmade’s positon in the market.

Today, 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 917 Tactical Triage Family.

 

The Blade:

The bale on each of the three versions of this knife family is made out of CPM S30V steel. This steel is designed by Crucible Steel Industries, which is a United States based steel company. When they designed and created CPM S30V steel they designed it specifically with knives in mind, especially high end pocket knives and kitchen cutlery. This means that they designed it to have some of the best steel qualities that can stand up to lots and endure through plenty of different environments. Crucible set this steel apart by adding in vanadium carbides to bring the steel extreme hardness without being brittle. Overall, this is considered a premium steel that you can get at a reasonable cost because Crucible did later update the steel in CPM S35VN. CPM S30V steel is known for having the best balance between edge retention, hardness, and toughness. This is a complicated balance because often times the harder the steel, the less tough the steel is going to be. And the softer the steel, the worse the edge retention is going to be. Crucible really nailed it with this steel. Lastly, CPM S30V steel can resist rusting and corrosion with ease, which means that the maintenance time on this knife is not going to be incredibly taxing.

When it comes to this family, there are two different blade finishes that you get to choose from. The first one is a satin finish. This finish is created by sanding the blade in one direction with increasing degrees of a fine abrasive, which is usually a sandpaper. A satin finish shows off the bevels of the blade, showcases the lines of the knife, all while also reducing its reflective glares that can occur when it is not a matte finish.

The second option that you have in the Triage family is a coated finish. The coated finish is found on two of the three versions of this knife, both being black. A coated finish reduces the reflection and glare while reducing wear and corrosion. Unfortunately, all coatings can be scratched off after continuous heavy use, and the blade will have to be re-coated. Coatings do prolong the life of the blade, mostly because it prevents corrosion and rust. A quality coating can add cost to the knife, but it does provide more corrosion resistance, less reflection, and require less maintenance than a lower quality coating.

All three of the versions have been carved into drop point blade shapes. The drop point blade shape is going to be the most common blade shape that you can find in the cutlery industry today. This is because the drop point blade is an all-purpose blade shape that is tough and can take on almost any task that you throw at it. The drop point shape is ideal for the Tactical Triage because the drop point can be used for everyday knives and tactical knives, which are two things this knife has been specifically designed for. The shape of this knife has the back edge of the knife run straight from the handle to the tip of the knife in a slow curved manner, which creates a lowered tip. It is the lowered tip that gives the user more control when you are using the knife, which is ideal for when you are using this knife as a rescue knife and you don’t want to injure the person you are rescuing. The lowered tip is also broad, which gives the style of blade its characteristic strength. This strength is what allows the drop point blade shape to excel at being a tactical tool, because you don’t have to worry about the blade snapping right when you go to defend yourself. Because of the broad tip, the drop point is not as sharp as other all-purpose blade shapes, such as the clip point blade shape. This is really the only disadvantage to the drop point blade shape, because you won’t be able to pierce as well. However, the drop point blade shape is going to be more durable when you do use it to pierce. The drop point blade style allows you to take on any situation, whether it is the expected scenarios throughout your everyday life or the unexpected situations where this knife comes in handy such as tactical or rescue knives.

In this knife family, there are also two different edge styles that you get to choose from. The first is the typical plain edge. This is going to give you cleaner cuts and is more suited if you are choosing to use this knife as an everyday or tactical knife. The second that you get is the serrated edge, which is exceptional when it comes to using this knife as a rescue knife. This is because the teeth or serrations are going to allow you to saw through thicker and tougher materials such as rope or seatbelts, if it comes to it.

 

Benchmade 917 Tactical Triage Family
Benchmade 917 Tactical Triage Family

The Handle:

The handle on all three versions of this knife is made out of black G-10. G-10 is laminate composite that has been made out of fiberglass. This material has very similar properties to carbon fiber, except that it is slightly inferior, and because it is inferior, it can be made and bought for a much smaller 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. This process yields a material that is very tough, very hard, very lightweight, and strong. Out of all the fiberglass resin laminates, G-10 is the toughest. The overall benefits of a carbon fiber handle is that it is going to be tough, it is going to be light, and it is going to be durable. Unfortunately, it is a brittle material, and it does lack elegance. The handles can look plastic-y and generic, but you do get a crazy amount of durability from this material, so most people can overlook the way the handle looks.

The handles on the Triage’s are pretty basic, but that does not mean they aren’t exceptional. The handle is mostly rectangular, although it does curve inward slightly on the belly to give you a more comfortable grip. There is a finger groove, which comes in handy when you are using this knife as a tactical or rescue knife and can’t focus all of your attention on what your fingers are doing. There is plenty of checkering on the handle which provides enough grip to feel confident that the knife won’t slip, even if you do find yourself with clammy hands. Three grooves cut across the width of the handle further provide you with texture.

 

The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip attached is one of Benchmade’s signature split arrow clips. The split arrow looks just like it sounds; it has the shape of an arrow and it has a slot cut down the majority of the middle. The clip is reversible when it comes to tip up or tip down carry.

 

The Mechanism:

This family of knives are manual opening and employ the AXIS mechanism.

The AXIS mechanism is a patented Benchmade exclusive which has been turning heads and winning fans ever since its introduction. A 100 percent ambidextrous design, the AXIS gets its function from a small, hardened steel bar that rides forward and back in a slot machined into both steel liners. The bar extends to both sides of the knife, spans the liners and is positioned over the rear of the blade. The mechanism engages a ramped tang portion of the knife blade when it is opened. Two omega-style springs, one on each liner, give the locking bar its inertia to engage the knife tang. As a result, the tang is wedged solidly between a sizable stop pin and the AXIS bar itself.

There are a few advantages to having this Tactical knife being a manual opening knife. The first is that because it is a manual opening knife, it is going to be legal in almost every single state, city, and area in the United States. This allows anyone in the market for a safety, tactical, or just a simple EDC knife to own it and carry it. The second advantage is that you don’t have to worry about this knife deploying accidentally in your pocket. The third is that it has a simple mechanism, so while you do have to maintain the innards and keep them dry, you aren’t as bad off if one of the pieces breaks. There is no spring to wear down, so this knife is going to last a long time when you take care of it right. Unfortunately, in a tactical or rescue scenario this knife will take a little bit longer to open than if it were automatic. Because you have to manually open the knife, the blade cannot be brought into play as quickly as some would wish.

The knife does utilize a thumb stud, which is simple and easy to use.

 

The Specs:

The blade on this family of knives measures in at 3.48 inches long, with a blade thickness of 0.124 inches. The handle on this knife family measures in at 4.85 inches long with a handle thickness of 0.55 inches. When the knife is opened, it measures in at 8.33 inches long. The knife weighs in at 5.28 ounces, which is a pretty good weight of knives for your everyday carry knife. However, it still has the weight to use this knife as a rescue or a tactical knife. This knife is made in the United States of America.

 

Conclusion:

When Benchmade is discussing this knife they say, “Public Safety workers desire and deserve the very best equipment. The new Triage gives them the features they need, along with the best materials for their applications.” The S30V steel is going to give you a high quality blade that needs little maintenance because of how well it resists rusting. You can choose between a satin blade that will give you a very classic look to the Triage, or you can choose a coated blade that is going to give you a sleeker, yet still more rugged finish. The drop point blade shape allows this knife to excel at being an everyday carry, a rescue, and even a tactical knife. The G-10 handle is durable and low maintenance, with plenty of added texture so that this can stay securely in your hand. The AXIS mechanism and thumb stud work to make this a fully ambidextrous knife. You can pick up your favorite version of the Benchmade Triage today at BladeOps.

 

Benchmade 318 Proper Knife Review

The Benchmade story all began when Les de Asis wanted a knife that reflected the latest in materials and manufacturing technology to replace the cheap butterfly knives he had played with as a kid. He used his high-school shop skills and blueprinted his dream knife before he eventually met Victor Anselmo, who helped to grind the first ever pre-Benchmade Bali-Song prototype. Paired with handles that Les sourced from a 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-Songs, Inc. and rented a small shop in 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-Sons along with Jody Sampson, who ground all the blades. The success of these custom Balis spurred the creation 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 its name from Bali-song, Inc. to Pacific Cutlery Corp.

In 1987, due to its inability to control quality, price, and delivery, Pacific Cutlery Corp. 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. Les went with Benchmade, because while there was “handmade” and “factory made,” 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.

To this day Benchmade continues to focus on innovation, customer needs, responsible business ethics and operations to bring the highest quality products to the worlds’ elite.

Today we are discussing the Benchmade 318 Proper.

 

The Blade:

The blade on this knife is made out of CPM S30V steel, which is commonly found on Benchmade’s knives. This steel was made specifically for knives. This steel was designed by Crucible Steel, which is a steel manufacturer based in the United States. Because Crucible designed this steel specifically for high end pocket knives and expensive kitchen cutlery, you can expect all of the best qualities from it. When crucible is talking about this steel, they say, “CPM S30V is a martensitic stainless steel designed to offer the best combination of toughness, wear resistance, and corrosion resistance. Its chemistry has been specially balanced to promote the formation of vanadium carbides which are harder and more effective than chromium carbides in providing wear resistance. CPM S30V offers substantial improvement in toughness over other high hardness steels such as 440C and D2, and its corrosion resistance is equal or better than 440C in various environments. The CPM process produces very homogeneous, high quality steel characterized by superior dimensional stability, grindability, and toughness compared to steels produced by conventional processes.”

This modern gentleman’s knife has been finished with a satin finish. This finish is created by repeatedly sanding the blade in one direction with an increasing level of a fine sandpaper. This is used to show off the bevels of the blade while also showcasing the fine lines of the steel. This finish cuts down on glares and reflections, while also cutting down on corrosion. This finish does take time and manual labor, which does increase the cost of the steel. In terms of luster, this steel falls right in the middle; you are going to find finishes that are more reflective and finishes that are more matte. The traditional finish is perfect for such a classic knife.

The blade has been carved into a clip point blade style. The clip point style of blade is an all-purpose blade and is one of the most popular blade shapes in use today. The blade is formed by having the unsharpened edge of the knife run straight from the handle and then stop about halfway up the knife. At this point, it turns and continues to the point of the knife. This cut-out area is straight, and is referred to as the clip, which is where the name of the knife comes from. Clip point knives look as if the part of the knife form the spine to the point has literally been clipped off. Because of the clip, the point is lowered, which means that you are going to have more control when you are using this knife. And because the tip is controllable, sharp and thinner at the spine, the clip point style blade excels at stabbing. This is because the blade has less drag during insertion and faster withdrawal. One of the reasons that a clip point knife is so versatile is because of the large belly that is perfect for slicing. There is only one drawback to the clip point blade, which is its relatively narrow tip. Because it is so sharp and narrow, it has a tendency to be weak and can break fairly easily. All this means is that you should not use it to pierce through tougher materials.

This blade features a plain edge, which is pretty classic for a gentleman’s knife.

 

The Handle:

The handle on this knife is made out of Micarta. Micarta is a material that is made out of the organic compound Phenol, which is a type of resin. To make this material, thin layers of linen cloths are soaked in a phenolic resin, which produces a product that is lightweight, strong, and has a little more character than G-10 does. Funnily enough, Micarta was not originally used for knife handles like it is now, but was introduced to the world as an electrical insulator.

One of the biggest drawbacks to Micarta is that it actually has no surface texture itself. Because of how the Phenol is made, the material ends up being extremely slipper and smooth. Because of this, it does require a lot of hand labor to produce and carve some sort of texture into the knife. Because of the time and manual labor, the material is pretty expensive, which means that the actual knife cost is going to be higher.

Because of how texture is added, some people feel that Micarta can be easily scratched throughout everyday use. This is not accurate. Micarta is extremely hard and is not easy to scratch at all. The handle will scratch if subjected to an extremely hard or sharp impact, but it will survive throughout your regular every day-to-day tasks.

The texture that Benchmade has added will provide plenty of grip when you are using this as an everyday carry knife. The handle, just like the rest of the knife, is very classic and traditional. The handle is mostly rectangular, although the spine of the handle does bulge out slightly and the belly of the handle does curve in slightly. This ergonomics are designed to give you good, comfortable grip on the knife while you go about your tasks. Another element that works to give you a secure grip is the butt of the handle that flares out slightly.

At the butt of the handle, there has been a lanyard hole carved out. Many people feel as if an everyday carry knife does not need a lanyard. However, because this gentleman’s knife does not have a pocket clip, the lanyard is going to come in handy. If you hang the lanyard out of your pocket, you can easily pull your knife out whenever you need it. Without the lanyard, you are going to have to dig around before you actually get ahold of your knife.

 

Benchmade 318 Proper
Benchmade 318 Proper

The Mechanism:

The Benchmade Proper is a fully manual opening knife that utilizes a nail nick to assist you in opening. The mechanism that this knife sports is a slip joint.

Nail nicks are one of the oldest forms of knife opening system that can be traced. It is still commonly used in production knives. They are simple to use, although most people do have to use both of their hands to really get this manual knife open.

According to Wikipedia, “A slipjoint knife consists of a handle with one or more folding blades. These blades are held in position by a strong ‘back spring’ which biases them towards the open or closed position. Contrast this with a penny knife, which has no locking mechanism other than friction, or locking knives which mechanically lock the blade in position.” Slip joint knives are one of the most popular styles of pocket knives that you can find.

The slip joint mechanism is really a classic mechanism, because they have been used for hundreds of years. This knife really gives you a sense of nostalgia that comes from the style as well as the locking mechanism. Plus, slip joints do not give a false sense of security. Because of how technology has advanced, especially when it come sot locking mechanisms, many people feel that their knife can take more of a beating than it actually can. Since this is such a simple and common locking mechanism, most people know exactly how much of a beating it can take. This means that you are more aware of how you are treating your knife and it will most likely last longer. Plus, one of the biggest advantages is that a slipjoint style knife is legal almost everywhere.

 

The Pros of the Benchmade Proper:

  • Very hard blade steel.
  • Great edge retention.
  • Even though it is hard, it is still tough.
  • The blade resists corrosion and rust effortlessly.
  • The satin blade finish is very traditional, going perfectly with the gentleman’s style.
  • The satin blade finish cuts down on glares and reflections.
  • The satin finish cuts down on corrosion.
  • Clip point blade shape is very sharp.
  • Clip point blade has a very controllable point.
  • The clip point blade is good for piercing.
  • The clip point blade offers a large belly that makes slicing a breeze.
  • Micarta is tough.
  • Micarta is lightweight.
  • Micarta is extremely durable.
  • Comfortable, simple handle.
  • Handle has a finger guard.
  • Handle has a lanyard hole in the butt.
  • Legal almost everywhere.

 

The Cons of the Benchmade Proper:

  • The clip point has a narrow and weak tip.
  • The blade is hard to sharpen and work with.
  • Micarta is an expensive material, which translates to an expensive overall knife.
  • Micarta is brittle, like many resin-based materials.

 

The Specs:

The blade on the Proper measures in at 2.82 inches long, with a thickness of 0.090 inches. The handle measures in at 3.85 inches long, with a thickness of 0.40 inches. When this knife is opened, it measures in at 6.65 inches long. The Proper weighs in at 2.28 ounces.

 

Conclusion:

This is a simple yet modern take on a classic gentleman’s knife, the Proper is a compact and convenient folding knife for everyday use. The CPM S30V steel is high quality and will resist rust effortlessly, which means you can take this knife with you throughout your everyday and not worry about it rusting. The clip point blade style allows you to take on a wide variety of tasks, complete with a large belly that makes slicing easier than ever before. Maintenance is a breeze with the combination of the steel and the Micarta handle. The Micarta handle is strong and tough, plus it gives you a handle that has plenty of character. The classic nail nick opening mechanism gives this brand new knife a feeling of nostalgia and the good old days. This knife looks like your grandpa’s rough and tumble knife, but it has the materials of a modern day one. You can pick up this new everyday carry Benchmade knife today at BladeOps.

Benchmade Steep Country Knife Review

Benchmade’s history dates back over 30 years. It has gotten to the point it has because of all the dedicated employees, a never-quit demand for excellence and the de Asis family’s vison and total commitment to culture, service, and innovation.

The Benchmade adventure really began when Les de Asis wanted a knife that reflected the latest in materials and manufacturing technology to replace the cheap butterfly knives that he had used when he was a kid. He had taken a high school shop class, so he utilized those skills and blueprinted his dream knife. Eventually, he met Victor Anselmo who helped him grind the first ever pre-Benchmade Bali-Song prototype. He paired the prototype with handles that he had sourced from a small machine shop in California. Then he assembled and finished his first Bali-Song in his own garage.

In 1980, Les incorporated as Bali-Song, Inc. and rented a small shop in California. The original equipment was purchased from the owner of a manufacturing operation who was looking to retire. Les utilized the rudimentary technology that he could get at the time and began to build handmade custom Bali-Songs, along with Jody Sampson, who ground each of the blades. The success of these custom Balis spurred the creation 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 its name from Bali-song, Inc. to Pacific Cutlery Corp.

In 1987, due to its inability to control quality, price, and delivery, Pacific Cutlery Corp. 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 position 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 Steep Country fixed blade.

 

The Series:

This knife belongs to the Benchmade HUNT series. Benchmade describes this series by saying, “Research projects, R&D lab tests and many miles of field research provided the foundation for the design and development of Benchmade HUNT. Built from advanced materials usually reserved for spaceships and surgical equipment, these technologically advanced hunting knives provide refined performance and rugged durability.”

One of the things that sets the HUNT series apart is that they exclusively use CPM S30V steel. This is for a few reasons. The first is the edge retention. Edge retention is one of the most important features while field dressing an animal, and CPM S30V blade is going to deliver that. The second reason is because of the durability. CPM S30v is a powdered metal steel, and the durability of it outperforms other blade steels because of its uniform grain structure. The last reason is the corrosion resistance. This steel is a TRUE stainless steel, which means that it requires little maintenance and out performs others steels such as D2 by 619%, according to Benchmade.

 

The Blade:

The blade on this knife was made out of CPM S30V steel, like all the Benchmade HUNT series knives are. This steel has been hardened to a 58-60 HRC. This is known as a high end steel that has one of the best balances between edge retention, hardness, and toughness. This is a complicated balance to achieve, because the harder the steel, the less tough it is going to be. Crucible has accomplished this by adding vanadium carbides to the steel. Crucible designed this steel specifically with high end pocket knives and kitchen knives in mind, which means that they designed it to have the best knife qualities that you can get. This steel is extremely rust and corrosion resistant, which is ideal for a hunting knife, because it is going to get pretty messy and come in contact with a lot of fluids. This steel has a high wear resistance as well, which helps to keep its edge sharp for such long periods of time. One of the only drawbacks to this steel is that because it is so hard, it does prove to be tricky to sharpen. This shouldn’t be a huge drawback, but if you are a beginner knife sharpener, you might want to steer clear.

The blade has been finished with a satin finish, which is one of the most popular blade finishes that is in use today. This finish gives you a more traditional look, which is common to find on a hunting knife. The finish is created by repeatedly sanding the blade in one direction with an increasing level of a fine abrasive, usually a sandpaper. The finer the sandpaper and the more even the lines, the cleaner that the overall finish is going to look. The finish is used to show off the fine lines of the steel while also showcasing the bevels of the blade. The finish also works to cut down on glares, reflections, and corrosion slightly.

The blade has been carved into a drop point blade shape. This is a fantastic option if you are looking for an all-purpose knife that is extremely tough. This blade shape is extremely popular and one of the most common places that you are going to find it is on the hunting knife. The shape is formed by having the spine of the knife run straight form the handle to the tip of the knife in a slow curve, which creates a lowered point. The lowered point proves the control that you are going to get from this blade shape. Because the tip is lowered and controllable, the user can easily avoid accidentally nicking internal organs and ruining the meat when they are dressing their game. Drop points also have a very broad tip, which is where the strength comes from on this knife. Lastly, the drop point has a very large belly that is perfect for slicing or skinning. The drop point blade does have one disadvantage—because it has such a broad tip, you do lose out on piercing and stabbing capabilities.

 

Benchmade Steep Country
Benchmade Steep Country

The Handle:

The bright orange handle is made out of Santoprene. Benchmade describes this material by saying, “A thermoplastic elastomer that is molded to specification. It offers excellent flexibility with high tear strength and fatigue resistance. Resistance to many harsh chemicals. These features contribute to improved performance in a range of tough jobs.”

The bright orange color is the perfect option for your hunting knife. The handle is simple, but effective. The spine of the handle is pretty straight, and does have very thick and spaced jimping going across the length of the spine. This is going to give you a solid grip when things get messy—one of the most important features of a good hunting knife. The belly of the knife is also simple. There is a very thick finger guard, which is meant to protect your fingers throughout the whole process. There is a slight bulge in the middle of the belly of the handle, which will help the knife fit inside your palm a little easier. The belly has also been ridged across the entire length, which will give you a great grip. The face of the handle has been textured in a pebble shape, which will guarantee you grip throughout the whole process.

The butt of the handle does have a lanyard, which is important for your hunting knife. I think the best way you can use the lanyard is to wrap it around the handle when you know that things are going to get messy and slippery. This adds extreme texture and grip to the handle so that you won’t slip. And, you won’t use your knife when your hands are deep in the belly of your beast.

 

The Mechanism:

This is a fixed blade, which means that there isn’t a mechanism in the knife. This is also a full-tang knife, which means that the steel from the blade extends through the handle of the knife. Full tang knives are much stronger, because there is no spot where the handle and the blade have been welded together. Also, if the handle scales happen to fall off or break, you are still left with an entire knife shape that is perfectly functional.

Fixed blades have plenty of advantages, some of which benefit hunting knives especially. For starters, fixed blades are reliable because they aren’t going to break. This is because the blade can be thicker and longer because it doesn’t have to fit inside the handle, and there are no moving parts that could break. The blade is also going to be longer, because it does not have to fit inside the handle. This is beneficial to a hunting knife because you have more length to work with, while it is still easily controlled. Lastly, fixed blades are extremely easy to care for. All you really have to do is wipe down the blade and the handle, then oil the blade occasionally. This is ideal for those long hunting trips.

 

The Sheath:

The sheath that this knife comes with is made out of Kydex. Kydex is a thermoplastic material that is often used for making holsters and knife sheaths. This material has a few major advantages. For starters, it is waterproof and scratch resistant. This material will not stretch over time, which means that it will always fit your knife very well. However, it will also not create a custom fit, like leather will. This material is also pretty resistant to most chemicals, which means that it is going to hold up well over time. Kydex is very durable and can be exposed to a variety of different extreme environments. Lastly, because this is such a durable, long lasting material, the maintenance is not going to require much time.

Of course, Kydex is also going to have its disadvantages. For starters, this sheath material is not a quiet material. Since this is a hunting knife, you should be aware that you are not going to be super stealthy with it. Some people do like the “snap” that you get when you put your knife away, but for the most part, it is more of a disadvantage than an advantage. Plus, because it is going to be stretch proof, a Kydex sheath can sometimes be too loose or too tight for your hunting knife. You don’t want it to be rattling when you are trying to be stealthy in the woods on a hunting trip. The last, and probably biggest, disadvantage is that a Kydex sheath will probably dull your blade’s edge as you continually and repeatedly withdraw and replace your knife into the sheath.

The Kydex sheath that does come with this knife is black and pretty simple. The top of the sheath does have a lanyard hole on it.

 

The Specs:

The blade on this knife measures in at 3.5 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.140 inches. The handle on this knife has a thickness of 0.62 inches. The overall length of this fixed blade measures in at 7.65 inches long. This knife weighs in at 3.71 ounces. The Steep Country knife was made in the United States of America, so you can feel proud to own, carry, and use this hunting knife.

 

Conclusion:

When Benchmade is discussing this knife, they say, “This knife was designed to hit the dead-middle of hunter preferences for shape and feel of hunting knives and the materials used exceed the performance expectations.” You can pick up this knife today at BladeOps.

 

 

 

Benchmade 15200ORG Altitude Knife Review

The Benchmade story all began in 1988, when they set out to make the best knives in the world. And plenty of people feel like that is exactly what they accomplished. Benchmade has grown a lot since then, and they’ve expanded to provide tools for elite tactical operators, first responders, and even collectors. Throughout all of the expansion, their goal has remained the same: they still are working towards making the best knives in the world.

When Benchmade is talking about their Mindset, they have said, “For over thirty years, Benchmade has been designing and manufacturing world-class products or world-class customers. When Benchmade was founded, the mission was to create something better; something exceptional. Today, we continue to innovate with the goal of taking performance and reliability to the next level. To exceed what is expected. Whether you are using a Griptillian 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. We live it and breathe it, and we know what you mean when you say: it’s not a knife. It’s my Benchmade.”

Today we are talking about one of Benchmade’s newest knives, their orange Altitude.

 

The Blade:

The blade on this Benchmade knife is made out of CPM-S90V steel. This is a super-premium stainless steel that can be hardened to a 59-61HRC. According to Crucible Industries, the maker of this steel, “CPM-S90V is a unique tool steel made by the Crucible Particle Metallurgy process. It is a martensitic stainless steel to which vanadium and carbon have been added for exceptionally good wear resistance. This steel offers substantial improvements in wear resistance over 440C and D2, and other high chromium steels, with corrosion resistance equal to or better than 440C. CPM S90V’s high vanadium content favors the formation of hard vanadium carbides instead of chromium carbides for wear resistance, leaving more free chromium available to provide corrosion resistance. The wear and corrosion resistance of CPM S90V make it an excellent candidate to replace 440C, where increased wear is a primary concern.” The carbon content is very high, but like Crucible mentioned, it’s the quantities of vanadium that really set this blade apart. The quantities of vanadium are almost three times the amount that you are going to find in their other steel: S30V or even Elmax. This steel is going to be very expensive, but you get what you pay for and it is completely worth it. One of the drawbacks is that it is going to be hard to sharpen. Luckily enough, it holds an edge for long periods of time.

The blade has been finished with an orange coating. There are plenty of advantages to a coated blade. The coated finish prolongs the life of the blade by increasing the level of corrosion resistance abilities. This is because the coating creates a layer in between the steel and the environment. This is a powder coating, which is one of the most common and most popular types of finishes. Powdered coating is applied as a free-flowing powder in a completely dry form. This is almost like paint with the solvent part removed. The coating is applied electrostatically and then cured under the heat which causes it to form a kind of skin. This type of coating increases the durability because it is harder than conventional paint. This is also a cost effective finish, because it is not the highest quality finish that you can find. Lastly, this finish adds a bright orange color to the knife. One of the drawbacks to a coated finish is that it can and will scratch off after time and use.

The blade on the Altitude has been carved into a drop point blade shape. The drop point blade shape is an all-purpose knife that can stand up to almost anything. Plus, the drop point blade shape is one of the most popular blade shapes in the cutlery industry today. Tis blade is formed by having the back edge of the knife run straight from the handle to the tip of the knife in a slow, curving manner, which creates a lowered point. It is this lowered point that provides more control and adds strength to the tip. Because of this tip strength and the ability to hold to up heavy use, drop point blades are very popular on tactical and survival knives. However, because the tip is broader, the drop point blade shape is not going to have the same sharpness that you can get from a clip point blade shape. This means that the drop point shape is going to be less suitable for piercing than the clip point knife. But you do need to remember that although you don’t have the ability to pierce, you do have so much strength behind it. And because the point on a drop pint blade is lowered, it is easily controllable, which makes it easier to perform fine tip work. One of the other reasons that drop point knives are so popular and versatile is because of the large belly that they sport, which is perfect for slicing. The most common place that you are going to find this knife is on a hunting knife, which is exactly what the Altitude is. Because of the lowered, controllable point, it is easier to avoid accidentally nicking internal organ sand ruining the meat. Plus, the large belly will allow you to slice through the skin of your game with ease.

The blade on this knife is a plain edge. This will give you cleaner cuts and allow you to take on a wider variety of tasks.

 

The Handle:

The handle on this knife is made out of carbon fiber with G10 micro-scales.

Carbon fiber is a term that is used for materials that have thin strands of carbon being tightly woven then set in resin. This material is extremely strong, but still lightweight. However, because it does take a lot of labor, it does tend to be expensive. And even though it is so strong, it is far from being indestructible and does suffer from being brittle. This is because all of the carbon strands are arranged in a single direction. In that direction, it is crazy strong (stronger than steel), however, as soon as the material is stressed in a different direction, it starts to break apart. This is why it is brittle. This means that the material can crack if it is subjected to hard or sharp impacts. The carbon fiber is bright orange, matching the handle and guaranteeing that you don’t lose this knife when you are put hunting. Overall, carbon fiber is strong and lightweight, but it is expensive and brittle.

The G-10 micro scales lay where the blade ends and the handle begins. G-10 is a grade of Garolite that is a laminate composite made of fiber glass. To make this material, the manufacturer takes layers of fiberglass cloth and soaks them in resin, then compresses them and bakes them under pressure. G-10 is hard, tough, lightweight, and strong. Plus, because of how it is made, adding texture is easy and still inexpensive. The G-10 micro-scales are on the handle to add texture and help increase your secure grip on this knife. Because you will be using this hunting knife during a lot of messy situations, the G-10 micro-scales are a very important feature.

The handle is pretty typical. There is a large finger guard near the blade so that your fingers are protected, even if you do slip. The butt of the handle flares out to increase your hold on the knife. One other addition to increase your grip is the rows of jimping on the knife. There is a short row on the spine where the blade ends and the handle beings. There is another short row on the bottom of the handle where the finger guard is. And there are two short rows on the bottom and spine of the knife near the butt.

A major bonus to this knife is the lanyard hole on the butt of the handle. This allows you to always have the knife with you when you are out hunting.

 

The Mechanism:

This is a fixed blade, which means that there is no moving mechanism on the knife. Some of the advantages to a fixed blade hunting knife is that they are very strong and not likely to break. This is because there is no mechanism that can rust or break down over tie. Also, fixed blades can be a good survival tool. Because of their strength and size, you can usually get away with using this knife for more than just cutting. You can perform tasks with it such as cutting, digging, splitting, food preparation, hammering (with the butt), and even slight prying, although I wouldn’t recommend the last one. The biggest advantage to having a fixed blade as your hunting knife is that a fixed blade is easy to clean and maintain. All you really have to do is wipe the blade and handle down, make sure that is dry before you put it back in the sheath, and oil it every so often.

 

The Sheath:

The sheath that this bright orange knife comes with is made out of Kydex. Kydex is a thermoplastic acrylic-polyvinyl chloride material that is most commonly sue din creating holsters and sheaths. This is a modern material, which has a couple of advantages that natural materials such as leather don’t have. For starters, Kydex is waterproof, scratch resistant, and will not stretch or shrink over time. This Kydex sheath also remains unaffected when exposed to most chemicals such as skin acids. This is an ideal sheath for a hunting knife because of how durable it is. Plus, Kydex sheath’s do not require much maintenance or attention, so if you are on a long hunting trip, you won’t have to worry about looking after your sheath. Especially since your knife and other tools are going to get messy when you are dressing your game.

Of course, like any sheath material, there are its disadvantages. For starters, a Kydex sheath is very noisy. You cannot take the Altitude out of the sheath or put it back in without a snapping sound. This is not ideal for hunting because if you are trying to be stealthy, you cannot; the snapping sound will scare away animals. Also, if you are continually putting your knife in or out of your sheath, you do risk dulling your blade’s edge. While the Kydex cannot stretch or shrink, it can become loose, which means that your knife will rattle back and forth in the sheath. Again, this is going to be too noisy for stealth hunting. Overall, this is a very quality material for a hunting knife.

 

Benchmade 15200ORG Altitude
Benchmade 15200ORG Altitude

The Specs:

The blade on this knife measures in at 3.08 inches long, with a blade thickness of 0.090 inches. The handle on this fixed blade has a thickness of 0.35 inches. The overall length of this knife measures in at 7.38 inches, which is a pretty average size fixe blade, but is larger than your typical folding knife. This knife weighs in at 1.67 ounces. This knife was made in the United States of America.

 

Conclusion:

This knife is designed for a backcountry adventure. This knife is the perfect knife when you are hoping to be lightweight throughout your adventure and you happen to be counting each and every ounce. Benchmade says, “The ultimate lightweight hunting knife features the incredible edge performance for CPM-S90V blade steel and unique carbon fiber micro scales for dexterity and control not typically found in skeletonized knives. The Altitude continues to take hunting performance to new heights.” And now you can pick up this knife today at BladeOps. So come on down and get your new favorite hunting buddy.

 

Benchmade Foray Knife Review

Benchmade Foray
Benchmade Foray

Benchmade says, “Our knives are made of many things: steel, aluminum and titanium, to name a few. But perhaps the most important part of a Benchmade knife is expertise. We carefully measure every part at every tsp in the process. We use the best materials and equipment. We make world-class knives for world-class users and this is how.”

The first step in every blade is laser cutting, because every blade begins as a sheet of steel. A laser cutting technician programs the laser to cut the steel into blanks, giving the blade its basic profile. The blanks are hammered out of the sheet by hand, and for the first time, the steel begins to look like a knife. The blanks are measured to make sure they meet specifications. Measurement are taken every step of the manufacturing process to guarantee an impeccable knife and streamline production. Benchmade says that if a part isn’t up-to-spec, it doesn’t become a Benchmade.

The second step is surface grinding. This is where the blank is ground to its precise width. Benchmade has a surface grind technician place each blank in its rack by hand and each side is ground to its specified thickness. After grinding, the technician checks the thickness of each set of blanks. At this point in time, tolerances are within the width of a human hair. Benchmade says that their knives have no room for error, which means that neither does a blade’s thickness.

The third step is milling, which is where blade holes, handles, and grooves are cut on high-speed mills. One of the holes that is cut at this step is the blade pivot, which is crucial to the folding mechanism. The pivot tolerance is .0005 inches, because the slightest deviation there becomes exponential at the blade’s tip.

Fourth is beveling. Now the blade really starts to take shape. Up to this point, the two sides of the blade are essentially flat. A blade beveling technician bevels the knife blank one side at a time, and one of the most critical tasks here is to make sure the sides match perfectly. Of course, a technician measures the blade to verify that it meets the specified tolerances. An imprecise bevel can hamper the blade’s balance, sharpness, strength, and mechanism function.

Next is back sanding, which is where the back of the blade gets attention. The back sanding technician sands the back of the blade until it is smooth. Finishing is what gives the blade a more refined look. The finishing technician stone-washes the blades in a ceramic medium to remove any burrs and give the blades a clean, polished appearance. When the blade is cleaned up, it is taken to laser marking to receive its one-of-a-kind Benchmade mark.

Last is assembly and sharpening. Every Benchmade knife is assembled by hand. A sharpening technician puts a razor edge on the knife using a sanding belt sander. Each blade is sharpened to a targeted 30-degree inclusive angle, 15 degrees on each side. Benchmade says that the knife is sharp enough when it can cut through ultra-thin phonebook paper effortlessly without tearing.

Today we will talk about one of the newest Benchmade knives, the Foray.

The Class:

This is a Gold Class knife. Benchmade says that a Gold Class knife is more than a knife. They say, “Go ahead and show off. Gold Class knives are a rare combination of materials, design and artistry. A knife this fine is hard to come by.”

 

The Blade:

The blade is made out of Loki pattern Damasteel that has been hardened to a 58-60 HRC. The traditional Damascus patterned steel is produced by welding two types of steel in typically seven layers. Then one forge out and fold the piece repeatedly until one gets over one hundred layers in their piece. Damasteel Steel Industries holds the international patent to manufacture Damascus patterned steel at Damasteel via modern powder metallurgy, which is a method with many advantages. This steel has high hardness, durability, and strength. Damasteel says, “This steel is created with gas atomization, which is a process to manufacture high quality metal powders. During the gas atomization process, molten steel is atomized by inert gas jets into fine metal droplets, which cool down during their decent in the atomizing tower. Metal powders obtained by gas-atomization offer a perfectly spherical shape combined with a high level of cleanliness. After the atomization process, powders are collected in a capsule, which is sealed and then compacted by Hot Isostatic Pressing. This is a process to densify gas-atomized metal powders, through the combination of high gas pressure and high temperature. The HIP process takes place in a HIP furnace where the gas pressure acts uniformly in all directions, hence providing isostatic properties and 100% densification.”

This Damasteel has a Loki pattern. After the rolling or forging the patterns are finished off by either twisting and or coining, the patterns will be visible after etching. This pattern is a unique pattern that you won’t often find.

The blade has been carved into a drop point blade shape. The drop point blade style is one of the most commonly found blade shape and it is popular for a reason. This is a tough and versatile blade shape. The style is formed by having the spine of the blade run straight from the handle to the tip of the blade in a slow, curving manner, which creates a lowered tip. The lowered tip gives you the ability to perform fine detail work while also giving you more control. The tip on this knife is also broad, which is where the strength of the drop point style blade comes from. This is such a versatile blade because the belly is very large. This belly is going to make slicing a breeze.

 

The Handle:

The handle on this knife is made out of marbled carbon fiber. Carbon fiber is a term that refers to a material that has been made of thin strands of carbon that have been tightly woven then set in a resin. This material is going to be tremendously strong, but still lightweight. Unfortunately, because of the labor that does go into it, it does tend to be pretty expensive. And while it is a strong material, it is definitely not indestructible and does tend to be pretty brittle. This is because all of the fibers in carbon fiber are woven together in a single direction. So while the material is entirely strong in that specific direction, as soon as they are stressed in a different direction they begin to break apart. And because it is a brittle material, it can crack if it is hit on a hard or sharp object. Because of the way that they weave carbon fiber, you can get an incredible wide array of options with how the handle is going to look. The pros of the carbon fiber handle are that the handle is going to be strong, not heavy, and have a unique look to it. The cons are that it is going to be extremely expensive and the handle is still known for being brittle.

On this specific knife, the carbon fiber is a dark grey and a lighter grey. The fibers have been woven together to look like the material is actually a marble. This look matches the mother of pearl inlay in the middle of the handle. Mother of pearl is a smooth, shining iridescent substance forming the inner layer of the shell of some mollusks, especially oysters and abalones, used in ornamentation, according to dictionary.com. The mother of pearl does gleam and have a unique pattern to it, which matches the handle and the swirled damasteel of the blade. The look of this knife is unique and classy—definitely a high class knife.

The handle itself has a pretty simple design to it. The spine of the handle is pretty straight, although still comfortable to hold. Towards the end of the spine, it curves to create a rounded butt. There is a slight finger guard to protect your fingers from slipping. There is also an average sized finger groove to comfortably hold onto this knife. The belly of the knife swells and falls to match the ergonomics of a palm. The Foray has been designed as an everyday knife and the handle does not lie—it will be very comfortable to use. And, it will draw some attention when you do use it.

 

The Pocket Clip:

             The pocket clip on this knife is a tip-up pocket clip that is attached on the traditional side of the handle. This does reduce its ability to be a great ambidextrous knife. However, it is a deep carry pocket clip, which allows you to go about your day without worrying about the knife sliding out of your pocket.

All of the hardware is a dark grey. All of the hardware pieces have been coated with a diamond-like-carbon coating. This is a nanocomposite coating that has unique properties of natural diamond such as low friction, high hardness, and high corrosion resistance. And while most coatings do scratch off after long periods of time or even just heavy use, a DCL coating is one of the toughest coatings on the market and will take a lot more than just time or heavy use to come off.

 

The Mechanism:

This is a manual knife that has been equipped with an AXIS opening mechanism. A patented Benchmade exclusive, AXIS® has been turning heads and winning fans ever since its introduction. A 100 percent ambidextrous design, AXIS® gets its function from a small, hardened steel bar that rides forward and back in a slot machined into both steel liners. The bar extends to both sides of the knife, spans the liners and is positioned over the rear of the blade. It engages a ramped tang portion of the knife blade when it is opened. Two omega-style springs, one on each liner, give the locking bar its inertia to engage the knife tang. As a result, the tang is wedged solidly between a sizable stop pin and the AXIS® bar itself.

The knife has also been equipped with a thumb stud to help you open the knife. The thumb stud makes for an easy and common operation used to open up a folding knife. The thumb stud sits on the side of the blade near where the blade pivots on the handle. It makes for a comfortable way to use on hand to open the knife. However, it does put your hand very close to the blade itself when you are opening the knife. Keep this in mind and be cautious while you get used to opening the knife with a thumb stud. There have been plenty of stories of people moving too quickly and slicing their thumbs while they are opening their knife. One of the other complaints when it comes to a thumb stud is that because it does extend out of the blade, some people feel that it gets in the way while they are trying to use their knife. The thumb stud on this blade has been coated a bright blue, which does contrast with the neutral tones that the rest of the knife sports.

 

The Specs:

The blade on this knife measures in at 3.22 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.137 inches. The handle on this knife has a thickness of 0.56 inches. The overall length of this knife measures in at 7.34 inches long. The Foray weighs in at 3.46 ounces.

 

Conclusion:

Benchmade says, “Producing high-quality, handcrafted products is a collaborative enterprise; marbled carbon fiber, mother of pearl, custom anodized accents, diamond-like-carbon coated hardware, and an exclusive Loki patterned Damasteel blade are brought together to form a beautiful and unique addition to our Gold Class line. “You can pick up this brand new Benchmade knife today at BladeOps. This everyday knife has a classy look that you won’t normally find in an EDC knife, but it still has the toughness, durability, and strength that you expect out of one.

 

Benchmade 15085-2 Mini Crooked River Knife Review

Benchmade has a rich history that dates back over 30 years. The current company 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.

In 1979, the Benchmade adventure really began. 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, that he had played with when he was a child. He used his high-school shop skills blueprinting his dream knife before eventually meeting Victor Anselmo, who helped him grind the first ever pre-Benchmade Bali-Song prototype. Les paired this with handles that he had sourced from a small machine shop in California. He assembled and finished his first Bali-Song in his own garage. He was proud enough of his creation, so he took this first Bali-Song into a local gun store, where the owner asked him, “Could you build 100 more?”

The next year, he incorporated as Bali-Song, Inc. and rented a small shop in a second story mezzanine in California. He used the basic technology available to him at the time and began building handmade custom Bali-Songs, along with Jody Sampson, who ground all the blades. Over the next seven years, the company expanded its product offerings into fixed blades and conventional folding knives, and evolving its name form Bali-Song, Inc. to Pacific Cutlery Corp.

A few years later, he filed for bankruptcy and the company was dissolved. In 1988, the company was reintroduced with a new version of the famous Model 68. This new company needed a perfect name. He recognized that there was “handmade” and “factory-made,” it was really “Benchmade” that described the quality of Les’ product. He was building and 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 position 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.

 

The Series:

This knife is part of Benchmade’s HUNT series. Benchmade lists some of the competitive advantages to using a knife from this series. For stares, edge retention is one of the most important features while field dressing an animal, and they make sure that the CPM S30V blade will deliver. Second is durability. They say, “A powdered metal steel, the durability of CPM S30V outperforms other blade steels thanks to its uniform grain structure. Third is corrosion resistance and because CPM S30V steel is a true stainless steel, it requires little maintenance and out performs other steels such as D2 by 619%. With a Benchmade HUNT knife, you know that you are getting all of the qualities that you need to succeed and survive.

 

The Blade:

The blade is made out of CPM S30V stainless steel that has been hardened to a 58-60 HRC. This steel is made by US based Crucible specifically for high-end premium pocket knives as well as expensive kitchen cutlery. Crucible knew what they were designing this steel for, so they made sure to pack it full of all the qualities that you want out of your knife blade. For starters, it resists rusting and corroding with ease. It also has excellent edge retention. The two of these characteristics make for an excellent hunting knife, because it keeps maintenance time down. This is especially important if you are going on a long hunting trip and don’t want to long a sharpener and all of your cleaning supplies with you. To keep this steel in top shape, wipe it down, make sure it’s dry, and oil it occasionally. Crucible added vanadium carbides to bring extreme hardness into the steel alloy matrix. The vanadium carbides help this blade steel have the perfect balance between edge retention, hardness, and toughness. Unfortunately, because of the extreme hardness, it does prove harder to work with and sharpen. This should not be a major issue, but if you are a beginner sharpener, don’t expect to get a pristine edge on it.

The blade is finished satin, which is the most common blade finish on the market today. The satin finish is created by repeatedly sanding the blade in one direction with an increasing level of fine abrasive, usually a sandpaper. This finish gives a classic look by showing off the bevels of the blade while showcasing the fine lines of the steel. This finish also reduces glares, reflections, and increases the ability to fight rusting and corrosion. Hunting knives usually have a more classic look to them, so the satin finish was the perfect option for this knife.

The blade has been carved into a clip point blade shape. This is an all-purpose blade shape. The shape is formed by having the back edge of the knife run straight from the handle before stopping about halfway up the knife. At this point, it turns and continues to the point of the knife. This cut-out portion is curved and is known as the “clip” of the knife, which is we=here the blade style got its name from. Because of the clip, the knife looks as if the spine has actually been clipped off. Another thing that the clip creates is a lowered point, which gives the user more control when they are using the knife. This characteristic is key when looking for a hunting knife, because you need all the control that you can get when you are field dressing an animal. You do not want to slip and nick an organ, which would ruin the meat. The clip point especially excels at stabbing, because the tip is controllable, sharp, and thinner at the spine. These features let you stab quicker with less drag. Lastly, a clip point blade is versatile because of the large belly that it has. The belly is the slicing edge and the larger the slicing edge, the easier it will be to slice. Out of all the great features, the clip point does have one major drawback. Because of the relatively narrow tip and how sharp it is, the tip does have the tendency to be weak and break fairly easily, especially when used on harder objects.

Like all great hunting knives, the blade has a plain edge. The plain edge gives cleaner cuts and slices, is easier to sharpen in the field if needed, and lets you take on a wider variety of tasks.

 

The Handle:

The handle of the Mini Crooked River is made out of contoured stabilized wood. Wood is one of the materials that have been used for knife handles since knives came into existence. When you have a quality wood handle, like on this knife, the knife is going to be durable and attractive. One of the other benefits to a wood handle is that it adds so much personality and beauty to the knife but it is still an inexpensive material.

Stabilized wood is wood that has been injected with a chemical stabilizing solution. The stabilized wood can be worked with normal wood working tools. So it doesn’t make it any trickier to create a knife handle. Stabilizing the wood is going to make it more durable and less prone to warping or cracking compared to natural or untreated wood. This is especially important in a hunting knife like this one, because it is going to be around plenty of fluids.

To stabilize the wood, it is placed in a container with the stabilizing solution. It is then put under a vacuum and then high pressure to ensure that the solution completely penetrates the pieces of wood. After the wood has been injected with the stabling solution, it is heat cured, which turns the liquid stabilizing solution into a solid.

The handle on this knife is curved to fit comfortably in your hand no matter how long you have to use it. The wood attaches to a steel bolster for durability. There is a deep finger groove which not only gives you a more comfortable grip, but it also gives you a more secure grip on this knife. The spine of the knife bulges outward in a shallow curve, which also works to provide you with a very secure grip. On the butt of the handle, there is a lanyard hole. The biggest advantage that you can use with the lanyard hole is to wrap the lanyard around the handle to give it more texture while you are in the thick of dressing your game. This will give you extra texture so that you don’t slip and cut yourself.

 

The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip on this knife is designed for tip-up carry only, but it is reversible for either left or right handed carry. This is a benefit because it allows the user to carry the knife more comfortably throughout their hunting experience. The pocket clip is a split arrow clip, which means that it is shaped like an arrow. The arrow shape helps the clip to cling more securely to your pocket, adding an additional element of security inside of your pocket. The clip is slightly skeletonized, which is why this style of clip is known as the split arrow.

 

The Mechanism:

This is a manual knife that has no mechanical assist. It is equipped with both a thumb stud as well as Benchmade’s AXIS lock.

Because this knife is a manual knife, you don’t have to worry about the strict knife laws that would accompany an automatic knife. While a manual knife won’t open as smoothly or efficiently as an automatic knife, the maintenance will be a little bit easier. While there are still moving parts inside the handle, there is not a spring that can wear down and ruin the mechanism of the knife if it falls apart or breaks down.

The thumb stud is a simple mechanism to get the hang of. It was designed to replace the nail nick that is used on older and more traditional knives. This is a small barrel that extends off of the blade. You use your thumb to push on this barrel until the knife swings open and locks into place. While you can open the knife with only one hand, it does place your fingers in the path of the blade. Make sure that you practice carefully opening this a couple of times while you get the hang of it. One of the other common complaints with this opening mechanism is that the stud gets in the way because it does extend off the blade.

Benchmade says, “A patented Benchmade exclusive, AXIS has been turning heads and winning fans ever since its introduction. A 100 percent ambidextrous design, AXIS gets its function from a small, hardened steel bar that rides forward and back in a slot machined into both steel liners. The bar extends to both sides of the knife, spans the liners, and is positioned over the rear of the blade. It engages a ramped tang portion of the knife blade when it is opened. Two omega-style springs, one on each liner, give the locking bar its inertia to engage the knife tang. As a result, the tang is wedged solidly between a sizable stop pin and the AXIS bar itself.” This locking mechanism is known for being strong, durable, and crazy reliable.

 

Benchmade 15085-2 Mini Crooked River
Benchmade 15085-2 Mini Crooked River

The Specs:

The blade on this knife measures in at 3.4 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.114 inches. The handle has a length of 4.50 inches long with a thickness of 0.52 inches. The Crooked River weighs in at 3.29 ounces. This Benchmade knife is made in the United States of America.

 

Conclusion:

Benchmade says, “The standout Crooked River now in a smaller, everyday carry size. Featuring the same traditional profile, modern technology, and style that pushes the preconceived notions of what a hunting knife should be.” You can pick up this brand new knife today at BladeOps.

Benchmade 4300BK CLA Auto Knife Review

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.

Benchmade 4300BK CLA Auto Knife
Benchmade 4300BK CLA Auto Knife

The 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:

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 Mechanism:

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 Specs:

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.

 

Conclusion:

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.

 

Benchmade 162-1 EOD Bushcrafter Fixed Blade Knife Review

Benchmade knows that to make a good knife, there are a few key elements. They say, “Our knives are made of many things: steel, aluminum and titanium, to name a few. But perhaps the most important part of a Benchmade knife is expertise. We carefully measure every part at every step in the process. We use the best materials and equipment.”

The very first step in a blade’s life is at laser cutting. Each Benchmade knife begins as a sheet of steel. A laser cutting technician programs the laser to cut the steel into blanks, giving the blade its basic profile. The blanks are hammered out of the sheet by hand, and for the first time, the steel begins to look like a knife. The blanks are measured to make sure they meet specifications. Measurements are taken every step of the manufacturing process to guarantee an impeccable knife and streamline production. If a part isn’t “up-to-spec”, it doesn’t become a Benchmade.

The second step in any knife from Benchmade is surface grinding. This is where the blank is ground to its precise width. A surface grind technician places each blank in its rack by hand (racks vary by the number of blanks they can hold at one time), and each side is ground to its specified thickness. After grinding, the technician checks the thickness of each set of blanks. Benchmade says, “Tolerances are within the width of a human hair. Our knives have no room for error, and neither does a blank’s thickness.”

The third step in the knife making process is milking. Blade holes, handles and grooves are cut on high-speed mills. For every job (or batch), the blade milling technician programs the mill and measures the blade or handle to make sure it meets our precise tolerances. Blades and handles differ from knife to knife, so the technician gathers a specific set of measuring tools for each job. One of the holes that is cut here is the blade pivot, which is crucial to the folding mechanism. The pivot tolerance is .0005 inches, because the slightest deviation there becomes exponential at the blade’s tip. Handles require the same precision in order to fit the liners and blades properly and ensure a smooth mechanism.

The fourth step is beveling. Now the blade starts to really take shape. Up to this point, the two sides of the blade are essentially flat. A Blade Beveling Technician bevels the knife blank one side at a time, and one of the most critical tasks here is to make sure the sides match perfectly. Once again, the technician measures the blade to verify that it meets the specified tolerances. An imprecise bevel can hamper the blade’s balance, sharpness, strength and mechanism function.

Fifth is back-sanding, which is where the back of the blade gets special attention. Since the original laser cutting, the back has been mostly untouched. Along with back-sanding is the finishing step. Finishing is the step that gives the blade a more refined look. When the blade is cleaned up, it is taken to lasermarking to receive its one-of-a-kind Benchmade mark.

The final two steps is assembly and sharpening. Each Benchmade knife is assembled by hand. Benchmade says, “It takes longer to master blade sharpening than any other skill. A sharpening technician puts a razor edge on the knife using a standing belt sander, and this step takes extraordinary concentration. Each blade is sharpened to a targeted 30-degree inclusive angle, 15 degrees on each side. The knife is sharp enough when it can cut through ultra-thin phonebook paper effortlessly without tearing. And only then is it truly a Benchmade.”

Today we will be discussing the 162-1 EOD Bushcrafter knife.

Benchmade 162-1 EOD Bushcrafter Fixed Blade
Benchmade 162-1 EOD Bushcrafter Fixed Blade

The Blade:

The blade on this knife is made out of CPM S30V steel. This steel is made by US based steel company, Crucible Industries. They are known for making high end steels. Crucible even designed and made this steel with high end knives and kitchen cutlery in mind, which means that you are going to get all of the best knife qualities that you could ask for. For starters, this steel resists rust effortlessly, which is significant for this outdoor and survival knife. You are going to want a knife that you don’t have to worry too much about when you are in the outdoors, and CPM S30V steel maintenance is going to be low. Second, this steel maintains an edge very well. This steel is known as having the best balance between hardness, toughness, and edge retention. This is a tougher balance to achieve than it seems like it would be, because the harder the steel is, the less tough the steel is going to be. Crucible could achieve this balance because they added Vanadium Carbides into the steel, which brings the extreme hardness out of the steel matrix, but doesn’t reduce its toughness. This steel does have one major drawback, which is that because it is so hard, it is going to be tricky to sharpen. This shouldn’t be too big of an issue, but a beginner sharpener is probably going to have a tough time with this steel.

The blade has been finished with a satin blade finish, which is one of the most common blade finishes you are going to find in today’s cutlery industry. The finish is create by repeatedly sanding the finish in one direction with an increasing level of an abrasive, which is normally a sandpaper. The finish is used to show off the fine lines of the steel while also showcasing the bevels of the blade. This finish is going to give you a very traditional look that will never go out of style. The satin finish cuts down on glares, reflections, and even some corrosion.

The blade has been carved into a drop point blade shape, which is one of the two most popular finishes in the cutlery industry. The shape is created by having the spine of the edge go from the handle to the point in a slow curving manner. This creates a lowered point, which is what is going to give you so much control over your cuts and slices. The point is not only lowered, but also wide, which is what is going to give you the extreme strength from this knife. The broad tip allows the knife to take on tougher tasks, which is what makes the drop point blade shape a great option for a survival or tactical knife. Because the tip is broader, it is able to withstand things that the other blade shapes would not be able to. The drop pint knife is also very versatile, because of the large belly that makes slicing a breeze. The larger the belly, the easier it is going to be to slice. The drop point blade shape really only has one drawback, which is because of the broad point, it is not going to be super capable of piercing and stabbing. This usually isn’t’ too big of a drawback, because you do get so much extra strength from the broadness of the tip.

This blade is a plain edge, which is going to allow you to take on a wider variety of tasks. The plain edge is also going to give you cleaner cuts and will be easier to sharpen. The fact that it is easier to sharpen is going to be an advantage if you are in the field and need to sharpen this knife with a rock.

 

The Handle:

The handle on this knife is made out of sand colored contoured G10. This is a laminate composite made out of fiberglass, just like many of the other common knife handle materials. This material is extremely similar to carbon fiber, except that it is a little inferior and can be made and bought for a fraction of the price. To make this material, the manufacturer takes layers of fiberglass cloth and soaks them in resin, then compresses them and bakes them under pressure. This process yields a material that is tough, hard, lightweight, and very strong. This process also makes it easy to add checkering or other patterns to the handle, which will give a very comfortable and solid grip on this outdoors knife. Outdoors knives especially benefit from this handle material because it is so durable, lightweight, and especially because it is non-porous, which means that it is not going to absorb any fluids that you happen to come into contact with. The overall benefits of this handle material is that it is going to be tough, light, and durable. However, it is going to be brittle and some people do fell like it lacks elegance.

The handle is a tan, sand colored. It is also very simple, with a slightly curving spine and a bulging belly. There is a large finger guard that will protect your fingers if things start to get messy. It also has an extended butt, which helps keeps your hands holding on to it. It has been skeletonized to cut down on weight with three round holes cut out of the middle. The last hole is a lanyard hole.

 

The Mechanism:

This is a full-tang, fixed blade knife. A full-tang knife is a knife that has the metal from the blade extending down into the handle. The G10 of the handle is going to cover the metal to make for a more comfortable and secure grip. This helps increase the strength of the knife because there is no part of the knife where the handle and the blade are melded together. Plus, if your handle scales happen to break, you will steel have the knife shape to work with.

This is a fixed blade knife, which means that there is no mechanisms that has the ability to break. Fixed blades are usually stronger, because the blade can be longer and thicker, as it does not have to fit inside a handle. Fixed blades also are easier to clean, because all you have to do is wipe down the blade and the handle and it’s good to go. You are also going to want to oil the blade when needed. However, you don’t have to worry about the insides of the knife or a hinge, like you would on a folding knife. Fixed blades also make for a better survival knife, because you can use it for a wider variety of tasks, instead of just cutting.

 

The Sheath:

The sheath on this knife is made out of leather. Leather is one of the more traditional materials that you are going to find on a knife sheath. Leather has been known as rugged, tough, and strong. Because it is flexible; it is not going to break like your plastic sheaths might. Plus, if the stitches happen to come undone, you can easily fix it yourself. This is also one of the few materials that is going to get better as it goes. Plus, leather sheaths will give your knife a custom fit once it has been broken in. This knife is an outdoor or survival knife, so the next benefit is a great one: this sheath material is going to be silent. You can easily pull the knife out of your sheath without it making a sound.

 

The Specs:

The blade on his knife measures in at 4.40 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.164 inches. The handle on this knife has a thickness of 0.92 inches. The overall length of this knife measures in at 9.15 inches long. This knife is a heftier knife, weighing in at 7.72 ounces, with a sheath that weighs in at 1.86 ounces. This Bushcrafter knife was made in the United States of America.

 

Conclusion:

Benchmade says, “Originally a pure survival knife, the World’s foremost explosive ordnance technicians saw the value in this also as a knife for cutting plastic explosives and helped to modify the design to suit their needs.” You can pick up this knife today at BladeOps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benchmade 320SBK Precinct Flipper Knife Review

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 shop skills, he blueprinted his dream knife before eventually meeting Victor Anselmo, who helped to grind the first ever pre-Benchmade Bali-Song® prototype. Paired with handles that Les sourced from a 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 California. The equipment that he used at this time was purchased from the owner of a manufacturing operation who wanted 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 creation 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 its name from Bali-song®, Inc. to Pacific Cutlery Corp.

In 1987, the company filed for bankruptcy and was dissolved. Les was not ready to give up just yet though. The next year, 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 position in the market- even to this day.

Today we will be discussing the Benchmade 320SBK Precinct Flipper Knife.

 

The Designer:

The man behind this knife is Butch Ball. Butch Ball developed a passion for knives at a very early age. After building a few fixed blades in the early ’90s he decided in 2000 to begin a true custom shop. Butch starts each knife as a prototype, which he then tests, recreates and tests again. At each stage in this development process, he is thinking of ways to improve the design, whether mechanical or ergonomic. The results of this process are designs that are as robust as they are innovative.

 

The Blade:

The blade on this knife is made out of 154CM steel that has been hardened to a 58-61 HRC. 154CM is a high end steel made by Crucible Industries. Crucible is a US based steel manufacturer that often makes steels for the highest end knives. 154CM is a hard steel that is known to be an upgraded version of 440C. This is because Crucible has added Molybdenum to the steel formula, which helps to hold the edge better than 440C is able to. Although 154CM does have less Chromium than similar steels, it does have high levels of corrosion resistance. This steel should not be too difficult to sharpen when you have the right equipment. This steel does have a good amount of toughness that will be perfect for an EDC.

The blade has been coated black. There are a variety of benefits to a coated blade. The first is that it is going to prolong the life of the blade. This is achieved because it creates a barrier to protect the blade from the elements. The coating is also going to increase the wear resistance, which is achieved in the same way. The coating can sometimes help the blade cut a little bit smoother, which is nice, although not a huge advantage for an EDC knife. However, the issue with coatings is that it is going to scratch off after a series of hard use or even just with time. Once it does get scratched off, it is almost worse than a bare blade because not only is it not protecting the knife, but it is also going to cause more drag.

The blade on this knife has been carved into a drop point blade shape. This is one of the most popular blade shapes that is on the market and for good reason. Not only is this a tough blade shape, it is also incredibly versatile. The shape of the blade is formed by having the spine of the knife stretch from the handle to the point in a slow curve. The slow curve is going to give the lowered point that is beloved for its control. The point on a drop point is also very broad, which is going to give the knife its strength that it is known for. The broad tip has enough metal at the tip that it can take on those tougher tasks without snapping. The last reason that this knife is so versatile is because of the large belly that it boasts, which makes slicing a piece of cake. The one thing that you have to be aware of is that because the point is much more broad, you do not have all of the stabbing or piercing abilities that you would with a knife such as the clip point.

 

The Handle:

The handle on this knife is made out of black G10. G10 is a modern material that is very strong, but does suffer from being brittle. This is because all of the fibers that make it up are arranged in one direction. This creates a tough material in one direction, but it will begin to break apart when stressed in the other directions. This handle may crack if it is subject to hard or sharp impacts.

The handle itself offers plenty of grip and texture to be able to really perform with this knife. There is a pretty deep finger groove, which will give you a more comfortable hold. After the first finger groove, there is an elongated second one which stretches almost to the butt of the handle. This will also improve the comfort levels of the handle while making it more secure. The spine of the knife is a slow curve from the blade to the butt. The butt of this knife does have a lanyard hole carved into it.

 

The Pocket Clip:

             The pocket clip that is attached to this knife is a deep carry clip. This means that the knife will fit more snugly in your pocket, be less likely to fall out while you are going about your daily tasks, and can be more easily concealed. The only drawback (and it isn’t much of a drawback) is that a deep carry clip is going to take a few milliseconds longer to remove the knife from your pocket. Like I said, not too much of a drawback.

The pocket clip is also reversible for either left or right handed carry. This, as well as the flipper, help to make the knife fully ambidextrous. Unfortunately, the handle has only been drilled for tip-up carry, which is the more dangerous way to carry the knife.

 

The Mechanism:

This is a manual opening knife that employs a flipper to assist you as well as a liner locking mechanism.

Because it is a manual knife, it is going to be legal in more states, cities, and areas than either a fully automatic knife or even a spring assisted knife. This is because there is no mechanism to assist you in opening the knife; you do it all by hand. That being said, because you do it all by hand, it is not going to open as smoothly or as efficiently as if it were an automatic or a spring assisted knife. You will have to work a little bit harder to bring it into play. One of the benefits of this is that it is most likely not going to flip open inside of your pocket like the other two styles could. This is a good EDC, because throughout your day, you probably won’t have to rush to get your knife open.

The blade has been equipped with a flipper to help open the knife. This is a skinny triangular piece of metal that extends off of the blade. It extends out of the spine of the handle when the knife is closed. To open it, you grip the folded knife and use your finger to pull back on this piece of metal, which will then flip the knife open and lock it into place. One of the many benefits of a flipper is that once it is opened, it is going to act as a large finger guard. And, since it doesn’t extend off the blade, it is not going to get in the way when you are trying to open the knife. Also, it does not put your fingers in the path of the blade when you are flipping open the knife, which is different than a thumb stud and much safer. Overall, the flipper is a safer opening mechanism as well as being ambidextrous. It will take a couple of tries to really get the hang of this open mechanism.

Liner locks are one of the more common mechanisms seen on folding knives. This mechanism’s characteristic component is a side spring bar located on the same side as sharp edge of the blade, “lining” the inside of the handle. When the knife is closed, the spring bar is held under tension. When fully opened, that tension slips the bar inward to make contact with the butt of the blade, keeping it firmly in place and preventing it from closing. To disengage a liner lock, you have to use your thumb to push the spring bar “down” so that it clears contact from the butt of the blade. This lets you use your index finger to push the blade just enough so that it keeps the bar pushed down so you can remove your thumb from the blade path, then continue to safely close the knife. Some of the major benefits of this style of knife is that there are two true handle sides. This means that you can close the knife with one hand without switching or altering your grip which is perfect when you need both hands for the job. This knife locking mechanism is perfect for entry level knives as well as high end knives. However, you should know that it isn’t the strongest locking mechanism on the market. If you will have heavy-duty tasks to perform, this might not be the knife for you.

 

The Specs:

The blade on this knife measures in at 3.30 inches long with a blade thickness that measures in at 0.124 inches. The handle on this knife has a length of 4.48 inches long and a thickness of 0.48 inches. When this knife is opened, it measures in at an overall length of 7.78 inches long. This knife weighs 3.42 ounces, which is an ideal weight for an EDC. This knife was made in the United States of America.

 

Benchmade 320SBK Precinct Flipper Knife
Benchmade 320SBK Precinct Flipper Knife

Conclusion:

The Benchmade 320 Precinct is the second designer collaboration with Butch Ball who helped pioneer Benchmade’s first flipper–the Benchmade 300. The Precinct features a liner lock design and textured G-10 handle scales combined with Butch Ball’s finger relief handle design to provide exceptional grip. The action is very smooth thanks to the thrust bearing washers and the deep carry pocket clip is designed for tip up carry only but is eligible for left or right hand carry options. This specific model, the 320SBK, features a partly serrated black finished blade comprised of 154CM stainless steel in a drop point style. You can pick up this knife today at BladeOps.