Benchmade Model 5 Rescue Hook (5) $33
This tool was designed for EMT use but is equally applicable for use by the recreational fourwheeler or adventure rider. The razor-sharp hooked blade will slice through clothing, seat belts, recovery straps, rope, and a multitude of other fibrous or pliable materials. The scalpel-sharp edge is shrouded from exposure and the finger treads on the spine provide positive grip even with gloves. The Rescue Hook comes with a molded snap-fit sheath and utility lanyard for multiple carry options. The Model 5 Rescue Hook is made entirely in the USA and comes with a lifetime warranty.
Benchmade Mel Pardue 520 Presidio Satin PlainEdge AXIS Folder (520) $153
This knife is a collaboration between Benchmade and custom cutler Mel Pardue, and is the non-automatic version of the 5000 Auto-Presidio. A drop-point Bowie shape blade of 154CM stainless steel delivers cutting power for a variety of applications. The exclusive AXIS locking mechanism makes blade function safe, simple, and truly ambidextrous. The hand settles naturally over the patented bi-directional handle tread design, which provides unmatched grip but without being abrasive to the hand or pocket lining. A steel carry clip is movable to either side of the handle and a lanyard hole is added for extra security if desired. The Model 520 Presidio is made with Benchmade's usual higher standard of manufactured quality for the ultimate in form and function over a broad range of applications. The 520 is made entirely in the USA and comes with a lifetime warranty.
Benchmade Mel Pardue 551 Griptilian Satin PlainEdge AXIS Folder (551) $85
This knife is a collaboration between Benchmade and custom cutler Mel Pardue. A modified drop-point Bowie shape blade of 440C stainless steel delivers cutting power for a variety of applications. The exclusive AXIS locking mechanism makes blade function safe, simple, and truly ambidextrous. The hand settles naturally over the palm swelled shape and it's textured skin. A steel carry clip is movable to either side of the handle and a lanyard hole is added for extra security if desired. The Model 551 is made with Benchmade's usual higher standard of manufactured quality for the ultimate in form and function over a broad range of applications. The 551 is made entirely in the USA and comes with a lifetime warranty.
Benchmade Mel Pardue 551S Griptilian Satin ComboEdge AXIS Folder (551S) $85
The 551S is identical to the 551 in every respect, except that the rear portion of the blade features a serrated edge. The 551S is made entirely in the USA and comes with a lifetime warranty.
Benchmade Mel Pardue 553 Griptilian AXIS Folder With Tanto Plain Edge (553) $85
This knife is a collaboration between Benchmade and custom cutler Mel Pardue. A modified tanto blade of 440C stainless steel delivers cutting power and great tip strength. The exclusive AXIS locking mechanism makes blade function safe, simple, and truly ambidextrous. The hand settles naturally over the palm swelled shape and it's textured skin. A steel carry clip is movable to either side of the handle and a lanyard hole is added for extra security if desired. The Model 553 is made with Benchmade's usual higher standard of manufactured quality for the ultimate in form and function over a broad range of applications. The 553 is made entirely in the USA and comes with a lifetime warranty.
Benchmade Mel Pardue 553S Griptilian AXIS Folder With Tanto ComboEdge (553S) $85
The 553S is identical to the 553 in every respect, except that the rear portion of the blade features a serrated edge. The 553S is made entirely in the USA and comes with a lifetime warranty. (553S shown with 553 for illustration purposes only; 553 is sold separately.)
Benchmade Bill McHenry 3300 Infidel Double-Action OTF Automatic (3300) $383
The Benchmade 3300 Infidel is a collaboration between Benchmade and custom cutler Bill McHenry, and is Benchmade's first OTF (Out The Front) automatic. The patented double-action mechanism makes deploying and retracting the blade very simple and intuitive. Simply slide the selector forward with your thumb and the blade will spring forward with blurring speed and lock into the open position. Pull the selector backward with your thumb and the blade will retract with the same blurring speed and lock into the closed position. The Infidel's blade locks into both the open and closed positions, and with a negligible amount of blade play. The Infidel's blade is 3.95" inches long and constructed of D2 tool steel hardened to 58-61HRC. The blade design is that of a double-edged dagger with a fuller on both sides. The Infidel's aluminum handle features the bi-directional tread pattern of the proven 520 and 5000 Presidio models, but only on the selector side of the handle. The other side of the Infidel's handle (the side to which the pocket clip is attached) is smooth for maximum indexing in the hand.
This is a restricted item. AFO Automatics are not sold on the Internet and are limited to Shop sales to active military and law enforcement personnel only.
Benchmade Mel Pardue 5000 Auto-Presidio Satin PlainEdge AXIS Folder (5000) $200
This knife is a collaboration between Benchmade and custom cutler Mel Pardue, and is a triumph of functional synergy. The 5000 Auto-Presidio is a single-hand, ambidextrous, automatic, AXIS Folder. Positive blade release is achieved with either hand by drawing the AXIS bar backward. To close, simply draw the AXIS bar backward and fold the spring-loaded blade closed. A drop-point Bowie shape blade of 154CM stainless steel delivers cutting power for a variety of applications. The exclusive AXIS locking mechanism makes blade function safe, simple, and truly ambidextrous. The hand settles naturally over the patented bi-directional handle tread design, which provides unmatched grip but without being abrasive to the hand or pocket lining. A steel carry clip is movable to either side of the handle and a lanyard hole is added for extra security if desired. The Model 5000 Auto-Presidio is made with Benchmade's usual higher standard of manufactured quality for the ultimate in form and function over a broad range of applications. The 5000 is made entirely in the USA and comes with a lifetime warranty.
This is a restricted item. AFO Automatics are not sold on the Internet and are limited to Shop sales to active military and law enforcement personnel only.
Benchmade AFO Armed Forces Only Automatic Folder (9050) $180
The 9050 Armed Forces Only (AFO) is an official issue item for United Stated Coast Guard rescue swimmers and is authorized for use in United States Air Force survival vests. The AFO was introduced in 1994 and has become one of the standards for both military and law enforcement personnel the world over. Its clip-point 154CM blade, machined aluminum handle make for a very strong and solid package. The AFO is an automatic that features effortless, single-hand, rapid- deployment of its 3.75" blade. The integrated safety is easily actuated to lock the blade open or closed. The steel carry-clip can be inverted to suit tip-up or tip-down carry styles. The 9050 comes standard with a hooded, ballistic nylon sheath for belt or lashed carry.
This is a restricted item. AFO Automatics are not sold on the Internet and are limited to Shop sales to active military and law enforcement personnel only.
Benchmade The Blue Box (981084) $20
Benchmade uses Torx screws exclusively throughout its entire knife line. This unique screw style offers a more controllable means of achieving tightness and minimizes stripped or mangled screw heads. Occasionally, users will want to adjust blade tension, reverse or remove the carry clip, or simply check for loose screws on their knives. Benchmade offers the Blue Box for these reasons. The Blue Box contains all of the requisite bits required to tighten or adjust the screws on every Benchmade knife. Warning: The Blue Box is intended only for adjustment of the screws and reversal of the carry clip; disassembly of your knife will nullify Benchmade's lifetime warranty.
Benchmade Tactical Pro Redi-Edge Knife Sharpener (983902) $25
The Benchmade Tactical Pro Redi-Edge Knife Sharpener is small enough to sit unnoticed in your field tool set, but is always ready in case you have to sharpen your cutlery in the field. The Redi-Edge features carbide blades set at a 60-degree inclusive angle (often referred to as a 30 degree angle) that will easily touch up the edge of your cutlery in the field, without removing unnecessary blade material. The back face of the Redi-Edge features a ceramic face for honing. The thin edge of the Redi-Edge features a ceramic V-notch for sharpening fishhooks or anything small and pointy. A must-have for maintaining your cutlery in the field.
The smallest item in our Benchmade line is the Model 5 Rescue Hook. This tool was originally designed for use by EMT personnel, use but is equally applicable for use by the recreational fourwheeler or adventure rider. The razor-sharp hooked blade will slice through clothing, seat belts, recovery straps, rope, and a multitude of other fibrous or pliable materials. The scalpel-sharp edge is shrouded from inadvertent exposure. The Rescue Hook's blade is made from 420HC, which has been heat treated to a 54-58HRC hardness.
The Rescue Hook features finger treads on the spine that will provide positive grip even with gloves. The Rescue Hook is normally held in the fashion illustrated above with the forefinger going through the large aperture. The large aperture doubles as a bottle opener. The small aperture is a wrench for oxygen tanks, which belies the origins of the Rescue Hook's design.
Each Rescue Hook comes with a molded Delrin snap-fit sheath. The Rescue Hook is easily the sharpest Benchmade factory blade. It is literally scalpel-sharp. This is definitely not a toy as it will easily cut a finger to the bone if one is not careful with this tool.
The sheath snaps onto the hooked blade of the Rescue Hook and securely holds the Rescue Hook. The sheath also prevents inadvertent cuts to the user from the scalpel-sharp blade.
The snap-fit sheath features a multitude of different loops and holes for different mounting scenarios. The snap-fit sheath can be located anywhere on the person or on the vehicle, always ready to be used if there is an emergency.
The Model 5 Rescue Hook is normally grasped with the index finger hooked through the tool's aperture. The thumb is normally placed on top of the spine where the finger treads are thoughtfully placed to provide a secure grip.
For EDC or field use, we recommend the AXIS folders like the knives shown above. A key feature of all of the field-use Benchmade folders that we carry is the patented AXIS Lock, which has earned rave reviews by knife authorities. The AXIS Lock is totally ambidextrous and allows for easy one-handed opening and closing of the blade without your fingers ever crossing the blade's path. The design is very intuitive to operate with little or no instruction needed on how the lock functions. As simple as the AXIS Lock is, perhaps its most important feature is its brute strength. In Benchmade's testing, the AXIS Lock supported a negative load of over 200 pounds without damage. When the lock does finally fail, the double stainless steel liners simply crack over the AXIS bar, but at no time in Benchmade's testing would the blade have closed on the user's hand. Is the AXIS Lock the strongest lock made? That is difficult to say with certainty. However, the AXIS Lock is certainly more rugged than the vast majority of the current lockback and liner-locking knives. The AXIS Lock is also very reliable and features two "Omega" shaped springs that provide functional redundancy. The springs are lightly stressed and Benchmade's tests show they should last indefinitely. In the unlikely event that one of the springs fails, the other will still operate the knife just fine.
The design of the AXIS Lock is innovative enough that it was awarded a United States Patent, number 5,737,841. Production models of the AXIS Lock are substantially simpler than the action depicted in the patent illustrations above. The current versions of the AXIS Lock consist of a simple round bar that slides forward and back to lock and unlock the knife's blade. The AXIS Lock is spring loaded via twin Omega-shaped springs that push the locking bar forward either to lock the blade in its open position or provide spring pressure to keep the blade closed. Unlike liner locks, the AXIS mechanism actually applies spring pressure to keep the blade closed (although the blade naturally is not locked in its closed position).
Most other knives feature the ubiquitous liner-locking mechanism to lock the blade in the open position. On a liner lock, one of the liners springs sideways when the blade is open and locks the blade open. While this system works well enough, it does not work nearly as well as the AXIS Lock and it is not nearly as strong.
With a liner-locking mechanism, the user must push the liner laterally to release the lock on the blade. With the lock pushed laterally, the user can close the blade. Liner locking mechanisms work well enough but they suffer from four inherent problems, all of which do not exist on the AXIS Lock. The first problem is that the user's finger must cross the blade's path to unlock the blade and risk getting cut when the blade closes. This is not so with the AXIS lock, where the AXIS button is located on the handle and not in line with the blade's path.
The second problem is that the user's forefinger rests on the liner lock when he grips the hilt. Almost all liner locks have the lock located within the hilt's finger groove. If the user holds the knife tightly or if he applies lots of pressure to the hilt while using the knife, the substantial possibility exists that his finger could push the liner lock to the open position and the blade could close on the user's hand.
This problem does not exist on the AXIS Lock because the user's fingers do not contact the AXIS buttons when a normal grip is taken. The third problem is that the liner-locking mechanism exerts side pressure on the blade during the opening and closing movements and increases drag on the blade. Thus, liner locks do not and cannot operate as smoothly as the AXIS Lock. If the user pulls the AXIS button rearward, all spring pressure on the blade is released. This is why the AXIS folders can be flicked open and closed without even shifting one's grip on the hilt.
Finally, liner locks do not and cannot hold the blade in the closed position, which is why all or nearly all liner-locking knives feature a ball detent on the side of the liner lock to interface with the closed blade and hold the blade closed. The spring-loaded AXIS bar not only locks the knife in the open position, it also exerts spring pressure on the blade to keep the blade closed within the handle when the knife is not in use. AXIS folders can be shaken violently and the blades will still not open inadvertently.
The AXIS Lock can be operated in several different ways, including the conventional methods used with normal knives. Users familiar with liner-locking knives will probably use the thumb stud on the AXIS folders' blades to open them.
Place the thumb on top of your behind the thumb stud.
Push forward on the thumb stud and the blade will overcome the spring pressure exerted on the blade by the AXIS bar and the blade will swing open.
Just keep pushing the thumb stud forward with the thumb on top of your behind the thumb stud.
When the blade opens fully, the spring-loaded AXIS bar will spring forward to engage the locking recess on the rear of the blade and the blade will lock in the open position. Those accustomed to standard knives will find nothing strange about the operation of the AXIS Lock. However, the AXIS lock can also be operated in other, more dynamic ways.
Our favorite way of opening our personal AXIS folders is to put the thumb right behind the thumb stud and flick the thumb straight forward. Do not try to swing the thumb with the blades arc. Rather, flick straight forward. The blade will shoot out and lock open. We opine that this is the easiest and most elegant method of opening an AXIS folder.
Here is a 710 with the blade closed. The spring pressure on the AXIS Lock from the dual Omega Springs keeps the blade closed, even when the knife is shaken or flicked to the side. Flicking the knife with the AXIS button in the forward position will not permit the blade to open because of the spring pressure exerted on the blade by the AXIS bar and dual omega springs. Flicking the thumb stud straight forward overcomes this spring pressure and causes the blade to flick open hard enough to swing completely open and lock.
Yet another way to open the AXIS lock by flicking the entire wrist. Here the AXIS button is pulled backward by the user. Note how the tip of the blade is now sitting proud of the knife's hilt. Not only is all spring pressure and resistance on the blade released, but the blade is also tipped open slightly by pulling the AXIS button rearward.
With the AXIS button held back, just flick your wrist to the right and the blade will snap open. Let go of the AXIS button when the blade opens, and the AXIS mechanism will spring forward to lock the blade in its open position. This action is unique to the AXIS Lock because only the AXIS Lock removes all spring tension from the blade when the spring-loaded AXIS button is pulled backward. This is not so with liner-locking or lockback mechanisms. Opening the blade in this fashion does not even require a hard flick, which would put undue wear and tear on the knife. Just flick the knife toward the right and the blade will swing open smoothly. It is just as easy to close the knife in this manner. Make sure your fingers are clear of the blade's path. Pull the AXIS button toward you and flick the knife toward the left. The blade will swing closed. No other locking mechanism is as positive or easy to use as the AXIS Lock, including automatics. Most automatics have a safety on them to prevent inadvertent opening of the blade. This safety must be disengaged prior to opening the knife. The AXIS requires no such safety. The AXIS can also be closed with one hand in a simple flicking motion. In contrast, automatics have spring-loaded blades that must be closed with force. The locking strength of the AXIS is also far superior to the locking mechanisms of all current automatics (except, of course, Benchmade's 5000 Auto AXIS).
In addition to great strength, reliability, and ease of use, AXIS Locks also feature great longevity. The round AXIS bar remains free to rotate within the handle and thus any wear on the AXIS bar is evenly distributed to the entire circumference of the AXIS bar. The locking surface on the rear of the blades is also angled slightly to take up any and all wear in the blade's locking surface or the AXIS bar. As either component wears with use, the AXIS bar simply seats farther forward than it did when all components were factory fresh. If you look at the location of the AXIS bare on all of the AXIS folders pictured above, there is more than enough room contained in the AXIS folders' handles to permit their respective AXIS buttons to seat farther forward as wear increases. Practically speaking, the AXIS mechanism will never wear out.
While the AXIS Lock is what separates Benchmade knives from all others, Benchmade knives do not rely on the AXIS Lock alone for their supremacy over other knives. There are many ways in which the AXIS folders are superior to those of other makes. One such way is that the AXIS folders are completely ambidextrous. The design of the AXIS Lock is such that it is equally suited for right- or left-handed use, without the need to convert the knife for a specific use. The twin thumb studs on the blade are equally usable by right- and left-handed users, and the AXIS buttons can be operated from either side of the knife.
In contrast, the liner lock is wholly unsuited for use by left-handers unless that specific knife was designed for such use and is a dedicated left-handed model. The vast majority of liner locks are not so designed, however, because five-sixths of the world's population is right-handed. Try doing the above maneuver with your left hand and you will see how difficult it is. Up to now, left-handed people have had to make do with right-handed knives. This is no longer true with the AXIS Lock, which is truly an ambidextrous design. Even right-handed people will benefit from the AXIS Lock in case they need to use their knives with their weak hand.
Each AXIS folder is fitted with a carry clip for convenient carry. But for the carry clip, both sides of the AXIS folders would be mirror images of each other.
The carry clips are, however, easily reversed to the other side of the handle to suit left-handers or other carry modes.
Here is a 710 in the right pants pocket. Most users will carry their knives in this fashion. With the reversible carry clip, the knife can be located elsewhere. For example, many people who carry concealed handguns like to carry their knives in the weak-side pocket. That is, right-handed pistoleros will carry their knives in their left front pocket. That way, if the gun hand is preoccupied with other matters, the weak hand can still be used to wield the knife.
The holes in the handles cover stainless steel liners that have already been tapped to accept the carry clip's three Torx screws. The AXIS folders' handles also feature a generous lanyard hole for those users who feel the need to retain their knives with a wrist lanyard.
Simply unthread the three Torx screws holding the carry clip and refit the carry clip to the other side. Because of the AXIS Lock's design, your knife is equally suitable for left-handed use.
The carry clip is easily removed using the Torx bit provided in the Benchmade Blue Box, which is described in more detail below.
In addition to the ambidextrous capability of all AXIS folders, Benchmade knives are made to a higher standard than other knives. For example, all AXIS folders feature bronze bushings on each side of the blade. The bronze bushings provide a level of smoothness unmatched by other knives. Play with an AXIS folder and you will experience a smoothness that simply cannot exist on any liner lock or lockback design.
Other knife manufacturers omit the bushings and let the blade drag against the liners or the handles, depending on the manner in which they are constructed. The omission of the bushings results in greater blade drag when opening and closing the blade and unsightly drag marks on the sides of the blade. These drag marks get progressively worse as you use your knife in dirty conditions and dust and sand build up inside your pocket and coat the knife's bearing surfaces.
There are no such drag marks on all AXIS folders, as the blades never touch the liners.
Most other knives are riveted together. Not so with with AXIS folders, which are bolted together with Torx screws. The bolted construction permits the owner to disassemble his knife when required and also permits him to replace broken components (warning: disassembly will invalidate Benchmade's lifetime warranty). If you have ever dropped your knife into something dirty, you will know how thoughtful a design feature the bolted construction is. Even when washed in a parts washer and blown dry with compressed air, a riveted knife that cannot be disassembled will never be the same once it gets dirty. While disassembling the Benchmade will invalidate the lifetime warranty, we opine that it is a decided advantage to be able to disassemble the knife if conditions call for it. We routinely disassemble our own knives to clean them and forego Benchmade's lifetime warranty on our own knives.
AXIS folders are also manufactured differently from other knives. Compare the Spyderco Wegner with the Benchmade 710 on the right. The 710 has double stainless steel liners while the Spyderco has only one. The 710's blade always remains centered between the stainless steel liners and no part of the blade touches any part of the liners whether the blade is open or closed.
The Spyderco's handle components were assembled and then ground flush with each other to mask the manufacturing flaws. This is perfectly acceptable on a knife that is riveted together and intended to be thrown away if a component breaks.
In contrast, the AXIS folders are simply assembled, without additional finish work. No finish work is required because the pieces are made to such tight tolerances. This is Benchmade's manufacturing philosophy on all of its AXIS folders. That is, make parts to such tolerances that only simple assembly (and no polishing or other hand fitting) is required. Other companies cannot or are not willing to do this because the manufacturing costs are necessarily higher.
All handles on all AXIS folders are simply bolted together, yet all of the pieces match perfectly. Even the holes for the lanyard and carry clip align perfectly. All screws are the Torx type to prevent stripping of the screw heads and permit disassembly of the knife.
Here is the blade from a 722S. There are very faint machine marks on the blade left by the CNC cutting equipment. However, there is no evidence of polishing or hand fitting. There are no rounded corners from polishing wheels and all edges are perfectly square. There are no shiny spots from hand polishing. This blade is in the same condition in which it left the CNC table.
Even the thumb stud was simply bolted on with a Torx bit. No hand fitting was required for the thumb stud either. This is how precisely the components for each AXIS folder are manufactured.
The same is true for all AXIS folders. None of these blades has been polished or hand fitted in any way to its handle, and yet each fits perfectly and operates with an oily smoothness that can be found only on an AXIS folder. In fact, it is possible to take a dozen different AXIS folders of the same model and completely mix and match every single component from each knife and suffer no compatibility problems. With complete interchangeability of every single component, replacement parts are easy to fit in the case of a breakage.
AXIS folders are extremely uniform from knife to knife. Note how the AXIS buttons stop at exactly the same position on all of these Pardue folders. From the diameter of the AXIS locking bar to the locking surface on the blades, all AXIS folders are manufactured to such tight tolerances that even without hand fitting, all of the components mate perfectly and consistently from knife to knife. Check several liner locks from other knife companies and see if the knives lock up as consistently as these AXIS Locks do. You will be surprised by the variance you see from one liner lock to the next.
On all AXIS folders, even components that are not patently visible are manufactured to a very high standard. The double stainless steel liners are not readily visible to the user, but the liners are still manufactured to the same tolerances as the other components. The stainless liners on all AXIS folders are laser cut to very precise tolerances from sheets of 410 stainless steel. Even though they are not hand polished, they have a very even and attractive finish. Benchmade goes even further and skeletonizes the liners of each knife to achieve a slightly blade-heavy balance that gives the AXIS folders a lively feel in the hand. Benchmade uses titanium liners on several of its knives but uses only 410 stainless on all AXIS folders because the stainless liners are stronger and support the AXIS bar better under heavy loads.
All AXIS folders have stainless steel liners on both sides, not just on one. Most other folders skimp and have one liner or even no liner at all. This is unacceptable as the liners are what give the handle its strength. Try holding open the locking mechanism and wiggling the blade sideways on a an AXIS lock. Then do it again on another company's knife. The difference is dramatic.
Benchmade has also provided a very thoughtful touch to its double-liner design. All AXIS folders feature serrated liners both top and bottom that form finger treads for additional grip. However, the serrations are slightly recessed, with the peaks of the serrations sitting flush with the edges of the G10 handles. The peaks of the serrations are also rounded and not spiked. Many folders with serrations that sit proud will abrade the linings of pockets or cut the user's hand when he inserts his hand into his pocket to reach for keys or coins. The recessed and rounded finger treads of the AXIS folders will do neither yet provide a very secure grip.
The recessed finger treads definitely increase the gripability of the AXIS folders' handles. While the serrations are recessed, the fingers are highly impressionable and there is definitely an increase in grip from the finger treads. Furthermore, the finger treads help center the knife in the user's hand more quickly and naturally, as the thumb and forefinger can use the finger treads as indices. These indices, combined with the ergonomic shapes of the AXIS folders handles, make for very quick and comfortable knives.
Benchmade uses primarily 154CM stainless steel for its blades. 154CM is a high-carbon stainless steel that is manufactured by Crucible Metals Corporation. The composition and carbon content of 154CM is similar to ATS-34, but 154CM is manufactured entirely in the USA and contains fewer impurities than ATS-34. Many custom cutlers also believe that 154CM is more uniform from batch to batch.
The 551 and 551 Griptilian models come with blades made from 440C stainless.
Most of our AXIS folders feature G10 handles. The G10 handles feature a textured finish that is very grippy yet comfortable to the hand. We believe the G10 handles provide a superior grip to that provided by aluminum handles and so we prefer to sell the G10 models over the aluminum models that Benchmade also offers. The textured surface of the G10 handles is much smoother and rounder than checkering or knurling, and will not abrade the hands when working with the knife or wear holes in pockets. For customers who prefer the aluminum handles, we can easily special order the aluminum-handled knives.
In addition to the overall textured surface, the G10 handles are also machined with very subtle grooves and shapes as to provide additional grip without giving the handles sharp edges or a rough finish. For example, the 710 McHenry & Williams on the left features parallel grooves cut into the G10 handles that provide additional grip without protruding from the handles. The 720 series Mel Pardue folder in the middle features handles with slightly raised flats that provide additional grip over the flat handles on the aluminum-handled 720 series. The 730 ARES features a recess surrounding the AXIS button and a ridge along the lower portion for the ring finger and pinkie to grab. All of these touches are very subtle yet add dramatically to the overall gripability of these knives when they are held in the hand. G10 is also textured by nature and has a very good feel in the hand without feeling abrasive. This grip is not lost when the hand is wet, as it would be with aluminum. Finally, the color of the handle material is in the material itself and will not wear away when rubbed against coins or keys inside the pocket.
Another fine choice in handle material is the Glass Fill Noryl GTX handle found on the 551 and 551S Griptilian Mel Pardue folders. Unlike the G10 handles, the Noryl handles are molded to shape.
Unlike the slab-sided G10 handles, the Noryl handles are molded with a decided bulge on the walls for a better feel in the hand. The Noryl handles also feature fine ridges along the top and bottom that add grip without being abrasive to the hand or pocket.
The sides of the Griptilian handles feature molded checkering.
Like the G10 handles, the Griptilian handles are fully ambidextrous. The carry clip can be removed and refitted to the other side of the knife. A lanyard hole is also provided.
The 551 and 551 Griptilians represent Benchmade's entry-level AXIS folders, and are designed for those who cannot afford or justify the cost the premium-level AXIS folders, or those who expose their knives to severe duty or high risk of loss. That is not to say, however, that the Griptilians are not superb. The economy Griptilian will still easily outclass even the premium models from other makers.
The 520 Presidio is a collaboration between Benchmade and custom cutler Mel Pardue.
This knife is a collaboration between Benchmade and custom cutler Mel Pardue, and is the non-automatic version of the 5000 Auto-Presidio.
The exclusive AXIS locking mechanism makes blade function safe, simple, and truly ambidextrous. The steel carry clip is movable to either side of the handle and a lanyard hole is added for extra security if desired. A drop-point Bowie shape blade delivers cutting power for a variety of applications.
The 520's blade is constructed from 154CM stainless steel.
The hand settles naturally over the patented bi-directional handle tread design, which provides unmatched grip but without being abrasive to the hand or pocket lining.
For even greater traction, the 520 Presidio features finger treads for both the thumb and forefinger.
When folded, the 520 presents a very clean outline without sharp edges.
The Griptilian AXIS folders were designed by custom cutler Mel Pardue.
The Griptilians are available in four blade types: PlainEdge Drop-Point, ComboEdge Drop-Point, PlainEdge Tanto, and ComboEdge Tanto. The blades of all four models are 3.4" long.
The PlainEdge 551's blade is a modified drop-point design. The blade material is 440C stainless heat treated to 58-60HRC hardness.
The ComboEdge Drop-Point 551S's blade is identical but features serrations at the rear of the blade.
The 553 Griptilian features a PlainEdge Tanto blade. The Tanto blade design is centered around tip strength.
The 553S Griptilian's blade is identical in grind angles to that of the 553, but features a ComboEdge design.
A key feature of the Griptilian is its handle design. The handle is very "Pardue" in shape and is perhaps his best handle design to date.
The handle's axis does not run parallel to the axis of thrust, but rakes downward slightly at the rear. This is a decided advantage for slashing or chopping, as the user need not cant his wrist awkwardly to chop, slash, or cut.
The front of the handle is wide to prevent the user's hand from slipping onto the blade. Furthermore, the handle has a "waisted" shape with the center being narrower than the front or rear. This permits the user to hold the knife lightly yet still prevent the knife from shifting in his hand.
Like the other AXIS folders, the Griptilian features finger treads on the top and bottom to provide added grip and finger indexing.
The Griptilian handle also features small raised ribbed top and bottom, front and rear for additional grip without undesirable abrasive qualities. The sides of the Griptilian handle are checkered for additional grip and feel. The points of the checkering are rounded and do not feel abrasive.
The sides of the Griptilian's handle bulge outward and are not flat, as they are on the G10-handled AXIS folders. The bulged handle shape is decidedly more comfortable to the hand.
All of the design features of the premium AXIS folders are found on the Griptilian. The carry clip is reversible. There is a lanyard hole fitted in case the user feels the need to fit a lanyard for applications that involve a high risk of loss.
The Griptilians are superb knives. Don't let the "entry-level" tag dissuade you. These knives will easily outperform even the top-of-the-line models from other makers.
The 710D2 is one of the largest of the AXIS folders. The blade is 3.9" long, and the knife measures a full 8.8" long when open.
Most of AXIS folders that we sell are available in PlainEdge or ComboEdge. One is not "better" than the other and each design has various strengths and weaknesses.
The ComboEdge will obviously be better at cutting things like rope, seat belts, etc. for most people who do not keep their knives razor sharp. The serrated edges are ground much farther into the blade than the plain edges. A typical plain edge has a 40-degree edge to give the edge a reasonable amount of chip resistance, while most serrated edges have a very thin edge that cuts more easily through most natural materials. The serrated edges also alternate between large and small groove radii and can cut an object from several different angles in a single pass of the serrated edge.
The ComboEdged knives are available in several handle and blade styles to suit different users.
The PlainEdged blades are more suited to general tasks like whittling or peeling/cutting fruit or cutting everyday items like cardboard boxes. The PlainEdged blades are also much easier to sharpen. Many people find the serrated edges to be very difficult or even impossible to sharpen by themselves. Benchmade offers a LifeSharp Service where Benchmade will sharpen your knife free of charge, but such service does not include the serrated portion of the blade because of the difficulty involved. Many savvy knife users also poo poo the ComboEdge and contend that a PlainEdge, if properly maintained and kept razor sharp, will cut just as well or better than a serrated edge. This is true.
Our general recommendation is to purchase the ComboEdge, because we believe the ComboEdge is more suited for general-purpose use by users who do not keep their knives in razor-sharp condition. Both of us have chosen ComboEdged knives for our personal use. But preferences will naturally vary from user to user.
Others will naturally differ. Some will prefer the BT2 finish for its low profile, corrosion resistance, or simply its looks.
As you can see, no single knife will do it all. What Smith chooses for his knife will not necessarily suit Jones. Whichever model or blade design you purchase, you really cannot go wrong. All of the Benchmade AXIS folders are truly excellent knives that will serve you well.
Benchmade knives are also available in automatic models for qualified buyers.
The 3300 is Benchmade's first OTF (Out The Front) automatic.
The Infidel is a collaboration between Benchmade and custom cutler Bill McHenry, who designed the famous AXIS Lock.
The Infidel's patented double-action mechanism makes deploying and retracting the blade very simple and intuitive. Everything is controlled by the selector.
Simply slide the selector forward with your thumb and the blade will spring forward with blurring speed and lock into the open position. Pull the selector backward with your thumb and the blade will retract with the same blurring speed and lock into the closed position.
The Infidel's blade locks into both the open and closed positions, and with a negligible amount of blade play.
The Infidel's blade is 3.95" inches long and constructed of D2 tool steel hardened to 58-61HRC. The blade design is that of a double-edged dagger with a fuller on both sides.
The Infidel's aluminum handle features the bi-directional tread pattern of the proven 520 and 5000 Presidio models, but only on the selector side of the handle.
The other side of the Infidel's handle (the side to which the pocket clip is attached) is smooth for maximum indexing in the hand.
The 5000 Auto-Presidio represents a triumph of engineering. The 5000 Auto-Presidio is a single-hand, ambidextrous, automatic, AXIS Folder. It is probably the strongest automatic.
Positive blade release is achieved with either hand by drawing the AXIS bar backward. To close, simply draw the AXIS bar backward and fold the spring-loaded blade closed. A drop-point Bowie shape blade of 154CM stainless steel delivers cutting power for a variety of applications. The exclusive AXIS locking mechanism makes blade function safe, simple, and truly ambidextrous.
This knife is a collaboration between Benchmade and custom cutler Mel Pardue.
The hand settles naturally over the patented bi-directional handle tread design, which provides unmatched grip but without being abrasive to the hand or pocket lining.
The 5000 Auto-Presidio and 520 Presidio appear almost identical at a glance. Both knives are AXIS Folders but the 5000 Auto-Presidio is an automatic and thus is a restricted item.
Another difference between the 520 and 5000 is that the 520's blade features ambidextrous thumb studs whereas the 5000's blade does not.
The 5000 also features a safety while the 520 does not.
The 5000 Auto-Presidio is a restricted item. 5000 Automatics are not sold on the Internet and are limited to Shop sales to active military and law enforcement personnel only.
If you are qualified to purchase it, the 9050 Armed Forces Only (AFO) Automatic is a very nice knife. The AFO is an official issue item for United Stated Coast Guard rescue swimmers and crews, and is authorized for use in United States Air Force survival vests. The AFO was introduced in 1994 and has become one of the standards for both military and law enforcement personnel the world over.
Its clip-point 154CM blade, machined aluminum handle make for a very strong and solid package.
The AFO's aluminum handle features deep, longitudinal grooves for extra grip and to facilitate finger indexing on the weapon's handle.
The grip shape is very comfortable to the hand.
The AFO is an automatic that features effortless, single-hand, rapid- deployment of its 3.75" blade. To open the blade, simply depress the button and the blade will snap open powerfully. The integrated safety is easily actuated to lock the blade open or closed.
The AFO's steel carry-clip can be inverted to suit tip-up or tip-down carry styles, whichever you prefer.
The 5000, 9050, and 3300 represent the state of the art in automatic knife design.
If you love your Benchmade AXIS folder as much as we love ours, you will want to keep your knife in top working condition. For this purpose, we highly recommend the Blue Box.
The Blue Box contains all of the bits necessary to keep your Benchmade AXIS folder in top working condition. Benchmade uses Torx screws exclusively throughout its entire knife line. This unique screw style offers a more controllable means of achieving tightness and minimizes stripped or mangled screw heads. The Blue Box comes with all of the necessary Torx bits and a Phillips bit to tighten the carry clip on the Blue Box itself. The Blue Box and the bits contained therein are intended only for adjustment of the screws and for reversing the carry clip. The Blue Box and its tools are not intended for disassembly of the knife. Disassembly of your AXIS folder will invalidate Benchmade's lifetime warranty.
The Blue Box contains a modular shaft that is stored within, but can be fitted to the outside of the box. With the bit and modular shaft fitted, the Blue Box acts as the handle. The very wide handle permits very precise torque applications. This is very important because the small screws used on the AXIS folders will not handle severe amounts of torque.
If you use your AXIS folder a lot, you will eventually have to adjust the screw tension on some of the knife's screws. This does not mean Benchmade knives are of poor quality. Far from it. This means that Benchmade knives can be maintained in top condition throughout their useful life. With riveted knives, they are too tight when they come from the factory and they loosen gradually with use. Benchmade provides the user with the ability to keep his knife "tuned" from the first day of ownership until the user stops using the knife for whatever reason. This longevity is but one of the advantages of owning a Benchmade knife.
The blades on all AXIS folders spin on a hinge that is adjustable for tension. Some users prefer this hinge to be tight while others prefer it to be loose. The Blue Box contains the proper Torx bit to adjust the tension screw on the hinge pin to just the right amount of desired tightness.
One-sixth of the world's population is left-handed. Many left-handed people will want to wear their knives in their left pocket. Even many right-handed people prefer to wear their knives in their left pocket. Right-handed pistoleros often wear their knives in the left pocket so that they can access their knives with their left hand. The Blue Box contains the proper Torx bit to permit the user to remove the carry clip and refit it to the other side to suit different applications. Even if you never remove the carry clip, you can retighten a carry clip that has become loose with time.
The G10 handles on all of our AXIS folders are secured with small Torx-headed screws. The Blue Box contains the proper Torx bit for these screws as well.
Your Benchmade AXIS folder will be happiest when everything on it is adjusted to just the right amount of tightness. If you want a happy Benchmade, you need a Blue Box.
A happy Benchmade is also a sharp Benchmade. For keeping your Benchmade knives razor sharp, we recommend the Edge Pro Knife Sharpening System. The Edge Pro Sharpening System gives your cutlery you a precision edge that cannot be achieved using other sharpening methods. Edge Pro edges are even, exact and free of burrs, consistently, quickly, and easily every time. The Edge Pro's patented knife guide system does not clamp the blade like inferior sharpening systems, so the Edge Pro will easily sharpen any blade length or blade shape at precisely the same angle every time. Bevel angles are adjustable from a steep 35° to a razor-thin 10°. The effort to resharpen an Edge Pro'd knife is considerably less than with any other sharpening system, and the amount of material removed to achieve a razor-sharp edge is dramatically reduced compared to conventional sharpening systems. We use nothing else on our personal Benchmades.
The Edge Pro will sharpen almost any knife. Here are some of our shop knives. From left to right are the Cold Steel Laredo Bowie, Cold Steel Stag Trail Master Bowie, two Henckels kitchen knives, Benchmade 710HS, Benchmade 710, and Victorinox SwissTool RS. Each of these knives presents various issues to sharpening, but the Edge Pro handles them all easily.
A key feature of the Edge Pro design is the lack of a clamp to hold the blade during sharpening. Once you use an Edge Pro, you will invariably find that the clamp is the problem with all the other systems. The clamp severely limits the size and shape of the knives you can sharpen. You can't do serrated knives, double edges, very large or small blades, flexible knives, and any knife that does not have a flat surface for the clamp. The clamp also limits the angles you can sharpen at. The Edge Pro can handle almost any blade length, blade shape, and bevel angle.
Paring knives like this Benchmade Prestigedges are not a problem at all for the Edge Pro. Paring knives usually do not meet bone and tough sinew and thus may generally be sharpened with shallower edge angles for better slicing performance.
Pocketknives like this Benchmade 710HS can present sharpening problems because of the blade's concavity in the rear section.
Blade recurve is not a problem for the Edge Pro. Simply place the blade to be sharpened on the Edge Pro's blade table and sharpen. When the stone goes through the recurve portion of the blade, it cuts only at the edges of the stone but this is not a problem at all. A smooth finish is the result.
The Benchmade 710's edge forms an S shape of sorts, but the Edge Pro edge is perfectly even from front to back and side to side.
Folders with ComboEdge blades. These blades are not a problem for the Edge Pro either. In the photo above, the top 721S features a very shallow Edge Pro edge while the 721S at the bottom retains its Benchmade factory edge.
The edge on the Edge Pro'd 721S was made very shallow and then polished for fine slicing. The Edge Pro handles these shallow angles easily.
The Edge Pro even handles compound-bevel edges. The blade of this Benchmade 710S features compound bevels. That is, the cutting edge is relatively steep for edge strength. The transition from the cutting edge to the sides of the blade is softened with the second bevel. The compound-bevel edge makes the knife slice more effectively as it reduces blade drag, and yet the cutting edge is kept relatively steep and not shallowed to the point that it will be susceptible to rolling and chipping.
The blade on Ho's 710HS features a compound-bevel, but in a different fashion. Look closely at the edge in the photo above. There appears to be a single, large cutting edge. But upon close inspection, there is a steeper cutting edge ground into the very edge of the cutting edge.
The compound bevel is more easily viewed from this angle. The relatively shallow large edge makes the blade glide through objects more easily, yet the cutting edge is kept steep for chipping and rolling resistance. Resharpening this knife is made easier by the compound bevel as well, as honing the edge requires only a scintilla of material removal to achieve a razor-sharp edge. This steep-then-shallow compound bevel is our favorite method of sharpening our personal Benchmades.
There are almost no limits the Edge Pro's versatility or sharpening performance. It really the only way to fly for achieving exceptional cutting performance from your Benchmades. Take your Benchmades to the next level with the Edge Pro Sharpening System.
We use and recommend the Edge Pro, but it has one problem. The Edge Pro is not a field tool. The Benchmade Tactical Pro Redi-Edge Knife Sharpener is small enough to sit unnoticed in your field tool set, but is always ready in case you have to sharpen your cutlery in the field.
The Redi-Edge features carbide blades set at a 60-degree inclusive angle (often referred to as a 30 degree angle) that will easily touch up the edge of your cutlery in the field, without removing unnecessary blade material.
The Redi-Edge is very easy to use. Just set the Redi-Edge on a flat surface, with the sharpening edges facing you as in the photo above. Set the knife edge between the carbide blades and draw the knife backward. Only light to moderate pressure is required. Take care to hold the blade perpendicular to the Redi-Edge. Repeat until your knife is sharp again.
The back face of the Redi-Edge features a ceramic face for honing your just-sharpened edge.
The thin edge of the Redi-Edge features a ceramic V-notch for sharpening fishhooks or anything small and pointy. Once stored in your field tool set, the Redi-Edge will not really take up any room, but it will always be there in case you need to sharpen your cutlery in the field. It's a must-have for the active outdoorsman. If you keep your knives maintained with the Edge Pro at home and the Redi-Edge in the field, you will always be ready.
Benchmade does not make large field knives. If you are looking for a large field knife rather than a everyday folder, we use and recommend the Cold Steel Laredo Bowie. A serious knife for serious knife users, the Laredo Bowie is the finest production Bowie available. The Laredo Bowie will easily outperform every other production Bowie and will even outperform the vast majority of hand-forged custom Bowies.
Benchmade does not make multitools. If you are looking for an excellent multitool, we highly recommend the Victorinox SwissTool. The SwissTools are to multitools what Benchmade AXIS folders are to pocketknives. Both represent the best of their type and are without peer.
A smaller alternative to the multitude of different Swiss Army multitools is the Swiss+Tech Utili-Key. The lightest and most compact multitool ever developed, the Swiss+Tech Utili-Key is lightweight, durable, and always with you.
The patented, quick-release design easily snaps to your key ring, and just as easily releases for everyday tasks. There is no more convenient way to have a multitool always with you.