Benchmade Emissary 3.5 Knife Review      

Benchmade has a history that dates back over three decades. They believe that they are the product of many dedicated employees, a never quite 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 really began. 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 a second story building in California. The original equipment that Benchmade owned was purchased from the owner of a manufacturing operation who was looking to retire. Les utilized the rudimentary technology that was available to him at the time and began to build handmade custom Bali-Songs. He couldn’t have done it without the help of Jody Sampson, who ground each of the blades. The success of these custom Bali’s 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.

Due to its inability to control quality, price, and delivery, Pacific Cutlery Corp. filed for bankruptcy and was dissolved in 1987. 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 Emissary 3.5.


The Designer:

The man behind this knife is Warren Osborne. He was raised in the farming and ranching industry, so early on he recognized the importance of a quality utility knife. He recognizes everything from how a knife feels in the hand over extended us, the blade design and edge configurations, and the types of materials used. He looks at each of these characteristics as mandatory considerations when it comes to an Osborne design.


The Blade:

The blade on the Emissary 3.5 is made out of CPM S30V steel, which is a premium blade steel made by Crucible Industries. Crucible is a US based company, if that is important to you. They designed this blade steel specifically with high end kitchen cutlery and premium pocket knives in mind, so you know that you are getting the best qualities for this everyday carry and outdoors knife. Crucible sets this steel apart by adding in Vanadium Carbides, which work to bring out extreme hardness in the steel matrix. These carbides make the steel extremely hard, which means that the blade is going to retain its edge for long periods of time. However, normally when a steel gets that hard, it becomes brittle. Because of how the Carbides work, the steel retains its durable structure. This steel is known for having the best balance between hardness, toughness, and edge retention. CPM S30V steel is also able to resist rust effortlessly, which means you can take it with you into the great outdoors and not have to worry about it rusting or corroding. Because of its ability to resist rust, the maintenance time is reduced. Of course, this steel does have a drawback to it. It is an extremely hard steel, so it will be a little bit trickier to sharpen. This shouldn’t deter you, but if you are a beginner sharpener, you’ve been warned.

The blade has been finished with a satin finish, which is created by repeatedly sanding the blade in one direction with a fine sandpaper. This finish is very classic. The finish is used to slightly reduce glares, reflections, and even improve its corrosion resistance levels. The finish is designed to showcase the bevels of the blade as well as showing off the fine lines of the steel.

The blade has been carved into a drop point style blade. The drop point blade style is one of the most popular blade shapes to date. This is because it is both tough and versatile, which means you can use it for truly almost anything. The blade shape is designed by having the spine of the knife run from the handle to the tip of the knife in a slow, curving manner. This creates a dropped point, which is where the blade shape got its name from. The lowered point also helps to give the user more control over their cuts while using this knife. The lowered point is also broad, which is where the drop point blade style gets its known strength from. Because the tip is thicker, it is able to withstand tasks that many other blade styles would not be able to withstand, especially when being compared to the similar clip point style. The toughness of the tip is going to most benefit you when you are using the Emissary 3.5 as an everyday knife. Lastly, the belly on this knife is large, which makes slicing a breeze. This aspect of the knife is going to most benefit you when you are using the knife as an everyday carry knife.  The drop point blade does have one major disadvantage. Because the tip is so broad, you do lose out on stabbing or piercing capabilities.


Benchmade Emissary 3.5
Benchmade Emissary 3.5

The Handle:

The handle on this knife has been made out of anodized aluminum. Aluminum is a very durable material, especially when used for knife handles. This is a low-density metal, so it is going to give you the heft to back you up, but none of the weight that gets annoying. When an aluminum handle is properly texturized, it will give you a secure grip that is also going to be comfortable for long periods of time, just like Osborne is worried about. That being said, aluminum has high conductive properties, so if you use this during the winter, it is going to feel pretty cold. The overall benefits of having an aluminum handle is that it is going to be strong, light, durable, and very resistant to corrosion. The overall drawbacks of having an aluminum handle is that it is going to be cold to hold, it can be slippery, and it is susceptible to scratches and dings.

Anodizing aluminum helps to add hardness and protection to the handles. The anodization also helps cut down on the scratches that it will accumulate over time, as well as increasing the handles corrosion resistance. Lastly, the anodization adds an even, sleek, black look to the handles.

The handle has a spine that curves towards the butt slowly. There is a unique finger groove as well as a finger indent above the groove to give you maximum comfort. After the first finger groove, there is a larger groove that lets you have a secure grip on this knife.


The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip on this knife is a deep carry pocket clip, which is almost always an advantage. The deep carry clip will allow you to store the knife deeper in your pocket so you don’t have to worry about it slipping out of your pocket while you go about your daily chores. This also assists you when you are using this knife as an outdoors knife, because you want to be able to focus on your adventure, instead of keeping your knife in your pocket. The deep carry clip also helps to better conceal the knife inside your pocket, which is an advantage if you feel uncomfortable with other people knowing you are always carrying a knife.

The pocket clip is a reversible clip, which helps to make this a more ambidextrous knife. This allows you to carry the knife as comfortably as you can. However, the pocket clip is only designed for tip-up carry.

The hardware is silver.


The Mechanism:

This is an assisted opening knife, which is a style of pocket knife that does have an internal mechanism such as an automatic knife, but the user has to partially open the blade before the internal mechanism will kick in. This means that the laws are not going to be as strict, because it is not fully automatic, which is one of its biggest advantages. Assisted opening knives are also going to be nearly as efficient as an automatic knife.

To assist you in opening this knife, the knife has been equipped with a thumb stud. The thumb stud is a small barrel in the same spot that a nail nick would be on a more traditional knife. This opening mechanism allows you to open the knife comfortably with only one hand. The thumb stud is also very easy to get the hang of when you first begin to use it. However, some people don’t like how the stud will always extend off the blade and feel as if it gets in the way.

The Emissary 3.5 has been equipped with the AXIS-Assist 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. When Benchmade is describing the AXIS-Assist, they say, “Easily opened, quickly and with one hand; this evolution of the AXIS® includes a spring that helps to fire the blade into the open position once the user pushes it beyond a certain point manually. The AXIS® lock also has the added benefit of “suck-back,” which encourages the blade to stay in the closed position. AXIS® Assist knives also feature integrated safety lock systems.”


The Specs:

The blade on this knife measures in at 3.45 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.100 inches. The handle measures in at 4.55 inches long with a handle thickness of 0.52 inches. When this knife is opened, it measures in at an overall length of 8.00 inches even. This knife weighs in at 3.95 ounces, which is lightweight for how large the knife is, as well as being a great weight for an everyday carry knife. This knife was made in the United States of America.



When Benchmade is describing this knife, they say, “Anodized machined aluminum handles and the patented AXIS® assist mechanism make this Warren Osborne knife a fantastic choice of every day carry or as a trail companion.” You can pick up this knife today at BladeOps and see for yourself just how fantastic it really is.