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Review of My Benchmade Knives

Roddy has more knives than he can count, including knives that have caught admiration from enthusiasts and collectors across the globe.

When you see this logo on your knife, you know you've made a great choice.

When you see this logo on your knife, you know you've made a great choice.

The Benchmade Knife is a Wonderful Choice in Cutlery

While I have been a knife enthusiast since I was a boy, few folders have truly caught onto that enthusiasm quite like Benchmade knives. For most of my childhood and well into my adult years, fixed-blade knives were the better blades while folders were something I tolerated. I had a subtle fondness for the various Swiss-made pocket knives (until the Leatherman came along) and grew up with the Buck 110, but for me, the fixed blade was where knives became art. Folders were tools you used and abused because good knives weren’t subjected to that sort of torture. Not just that, but the inherent weakness in a folding blade simply zapped any serious consideration for approval. But once I caught my eye to various folders over time, such as the economical yet functional Schrade, Gerber, Kershaw, and even SOG and Spyderco, I was hooked, yet nothing really sang to me like the Benchmade knives. Benchmade was the first high-end folder to truly capture my imagination and attention.

I dipped my toe into the waters through Benchmade’s website, with their Build Your Own, and I purchased my first Benchmade that way. Now, I had looked at several before that one via some of the dealers in the neighborhood, but I decided I’d test those waters with what appeared to be the most common of the bunch, which was the Griptilian. I assumed that since this model was the classic in a sense, the everyday of everyday, it would speak volumes about what might come after that. I made my choices, with a s30v tanto blade and sand colored scales, and once it arrived in the mail, I was generally impressed. At first, this sort of purchase at this price was daunting, since I’ve commonly bought folders at the truck stop or such for about twenty bucks and found them suitable enough. M-Tech and Tac-Force were good enough for something I didn’t really care about. Wow, but did I get snooty fast.

I am a you-get-what-you-pay-for guy as much as possible. I have a tactical pen because that’s what guys do, but my primary pen in my pocket is a Mont Blanc. So when it came to this, the Griptilian just sang to me. It felt good and I could tell right away this was superb for everyday carry (EDC) use. But it was a tease. A tease partly because I got my hands on a Benchmade catalog, filled with so many beauties and goodies, and because the guy at the dealership (here in my town, the dealer is Ace Hardware) knew that should I touch a few of the knives, I’d be back. Not only was he right, but I couldn’t get them out of my mind. I. Just. Wanted. More.

Tax time rolled around and I splurged on an Infidel. It was my first OTF auto and, honestly, the name caught me more than the mechanism, what with my personal demeanor on that subject. Besides, it was such a clever toy and rather well done. I could see it was mainly a weapon over any other claim, but it harbored high in the cool-factor. But I wasn’t done yet, oh no. As I mentioned above, my big love in knives has been in fixed blades, so I wanted that Fixed Contego ever since I saw it, and eventually made that happen. The Fixed Adamas didn’t impress me much, but the Osbourne design of the Contego was too awesome to let go by. Now, since I have a thing for EDC stuff and various gadgets, I wanted another EDC knife that wasn’t overdone or too pretty, and grabbed my fourth Benchmade with the very nice Volli. It felt great in my hand and I was impressed with the ease of the assisted opening and the safety lock on it.

At this point, you can gather, I reached a point where I pumped some serious money into this. Now I know some guys have dozens of these and keep getting more, but I have responsibilities and two teenage daughters. I have to prioritize the funds, you know. That is, until I saw the Adamas folding auto. I just couldn’t put it down, so I ended up handing over my card. I have to say I just adore the Adamas folder. While I often keep the Grip or Volli on me during everyday things and when around town, I promised the Adamas it would be my working knife until my passing. Besides, I wasn’t used to its heft at first and it went to slip from me, and in a moment of impulse I tried grabbing it and it opened up my finger nicely. It has my blood on it. It is mine forever. In fact, I hope that with the passing of a few years some feeling might come back into my right index finger tip. I really should have gotten a few stitches to close the cut, but my old school demeanor got better of me. It healed eventually.

I must mention the sixth Benchmade I bought, and it is an Osbourne 940-2. I’ve had my eye on the 940 series since I began looking at this knife maker, but just somehow couldn’t make the leap. This, for a lightweight EDC is rather pricey, likely because this knife is widely considered the quintessential EDC folder amongst Benchmade enthusiasts. Now, the one I liked was quite pricey, what with the carbon fiber scales and exemplary steel, but approaching $300 bucks was more than I wanted to spend on a knife not built to withstand everything. The common 940 is awesome but I’m not up on the green (the only color choice) on the aluminum scales, so I’ve been hesitant. But recently Benchmade brought out the 940-2, with black G-10 scales. I walked into a great deal on this and gave in. And my latest Benchmade, my Contego folder, was both a superb deal and a great knife. A satin finish M4 blade that I picked up for a supreme deal at a closing Gander Mountain. It retailed for about $200 and I walked out with it after paying about $125 after taxes.

Of course I recognize there are other production knives of great quality, with ZT, Kershaw, Microtech, Spyderco and on and on, but because I haven’t won the lottery yet and my money quickly drifts into the hands of its rightful owners (mortgage company, Uncle Sam, the wife and daughters), I’ll stick with Benchmade should I venture into yet another. Man, I have to say some of the auto folders sure are nice…

So, for those who are intrigued by Benchmade and have yet to make the leap, or for those who have been experienced in the brotherhood, I wanted to give my take on why I feel my entourage of Benchmade knives comes pretty close to filling my needs when it comes to cutlery. Sure, I have plenty of others and the old school guy in me will always have a deep love for Kabar (my short Kabar tanto is brilliant!), but these seven fill in all the right pegs for me.

This is my first Benchmade.

This is my first Benchmade.

The Benchmade Griptilian

The Griptilian will always harbor a special place in my heart, being my first Benchmade (we always remember our first), and while I doubt it could hold up to the rigors that would make the Adamas tumescent, it’s just fine for all-around cutting needs. It is attractive, well made, and unless I overtly abuse it I’m sure it’ll last for as long as I will. The high-end s30v steel means something to me even though I’m not the biggest metal snob going, because I like an edge that will last. I chose a Tanto with no serration (serration on a folding knife is usually for beaters, in my humble opinion, and besides, I carry a Leatherman Super Tool 200) because I want strength in the knife for the size. Further, the tanto style offers two cutting corners besides the main edge. This knife fits well into the hand but isn’t enormous clipped in my pocket, and those subtle curves seem ergonomically sound when handled. I must admit I don’t find the handle shape all that sexy, but it’s surprisingly cozy in the hand. No doubt that was the intent.

I have to say I think Benchmade was rather confident in this knife by making these Grip handles of this sort of plastic. It is just fine and meets the needs, but it just doesn’t feel like more than, to be honest, cheap. Looking the entire knife over, one can see the attention to detail and the overall quality, but this choice of light plastic at first seems to be a compromise. At first glance it does make the knife look cheap. So, for the novice or uninitiated, it would be easy to wonder what’s in the head of someone paying well over a hundred bucks for such a knife. But once you really feel it in the hand, this design does make sense. The plastic makes the knife light and, hence the name, easy to grip and hold, and that plastic is rather stout. You really would have to overtly abuse the knife to cause it real harm, and the easy feel of the plastic veers the knife away from appearing dramatic, which is helpful. After all, a balisong-style blade is really just a typical knife, those counter-rotating handles make some people wet their pants a little. The Griptilian doesn’t harbor any sort of paramilitary appearance or attitude. It’s a simple, subtle quality feel and it’s content with that.

One can obtain a Griptilian in numerous styles, with a mini available and a myriad of color choices, but the sandy color was right for me. It’s a light enough color that I should see it if dropped, but it isn’t a brightly colored thing, such as a hunter orange, although you can get that. I really like that Axis Lock system, which is a sort of bolt system lock that is quite reliable and secure. This is a typical manual open, with no assisted opening or clever safety lock, not that I don’t like those. My Volli is assisted opening, possesses a safety lock, and it even has a serrated section on the blade. I wouldn’t normally choose this, but I let it go for that knife.

It seems to me the first Benchmade many people choose is the Griptilian once they decide to tread those waters, and it really is a great place to start. Some will often choose the Barrage and I hear they’re nice, but I have yet to go in that direction. Judging from what I hear, the Griptilian and Barrage are siblings in a way, so I don’t feel as though I’m missing much. I would simply state to those starting here: don’t let that light feel fool you. This is a quality knife sure to outlast those who care for their belongings, and this knife isn’t just made to adore and display, but wants to get to work. So put it to work. Hey, you’ll still be happy when people notice your level of taste in quality.

Introducing the Benchmade Infidel.

When showing due respect, giving this knife the respect it deserves is the only acceptable reason to take a knee

When showing due respect, giving this knife the respect it deserves is the only acceptable reason to take a knee

The Infidel OTF Knife

The Infidel OTF Auto is just plain cool. I’ve seen some criticism here and there, with claims other OTF knives are better and more of this and that, but I’m not dissatisfied with it at all. The weapon fires well and draws the blade in securely. When the blade is sheathed, the entire tool just feels solid. It isn’t very big, which is a good trait for something meant to be tactical. Once the blade is fired and in place, it feels secure. This is a dual-edged dagger style blade made of D2 steel, meaning it is firm and strong. Now, I do not see this knife as one’s everyday knife used for various cutting and cutlery needs, but then I can’t really see why one couldn’t use it for that. I cannot say with any authority how many miles that firing mechanism can handle before the unit may begin to fail, but honestly, isn’t this the concern with virtually any folding knife? Any knife meant to be used is going to show some mileage. But I can say I’ve seen this knife broken down to the individual components, and by seeing this I feel more secure in believing this is a solid tool meant to last. This is designed to be a tactical blade and Benchmade is evidently proud of it. In fact, if you end up wearing it out and screwing it up, get it back into Benchmade’s hands. Hey, they’ll fix it for you, and that’s one of the main benefits of paying these prices. This is not an as-is company. They stand behind their stuff. So yes, the Infidel is comprised of numerous small pieces, but they have your back.

One feature I appreciate about this style of knife is that it is NOT a flashy knife until that blade is fired. I have seen video and pictures of where some have modified their knife to make it prettier, with engraving or some manner of modification, but I like this simple, flat-black look. If you didn’t know what it was, you might simply overlook it completely. But once the blade is fired, the purpose and disposition of this knife is glaringly clear. The long, slender dagger blade is quite impressive on its own, but knowing it is D2 steel makes it sing out quality. It doesn’t bother me to say Benchmade is quite proud of this model what with the cost and effort to make it known, and I have questioned myself on the expenditure, but yet…you just have to like it. It does seem clear the main idea was a quick-draw stabbing dagger-style weapon with the ability to offer multiple cutting needs, and that’s what you have here. D2 steel is a wondrous steel (and I’m sure you knew that if you read into this article this far) that takes a great edge and keeps it through a degree of duress. One should be a bit careful to recall this is not common stainless steel so some rust could occur if you’re not careful, but that isn’t a concern for most.

I was most intrigued by a video I saw of this being broken down to the individual components. I can say these double-action OTF knives are rather complicated in their design, along with being intricate. It isn’t as complicated as an automatic transmission, but it is really a mechanical device. I can also say I’m impressed with the safety aspect built into this complexity- the blade will disengage if one attempts to fire the weapon into something it is pressed against. I had heard this could not be put to someone and fired into them (mainly, a good thing considering a potential accident) so I experimented and tried firing into an empty cereal box. Now, that is cheap, thin cardboard (you know what a cereal box is) and the tip pierced in less than a quarter inch before slipping free. Gladly, it reengaged easily (I would have been heartbroken otherwise) and fired with no issues.

Honestly, I don’t carry this knife often. I really don’t have much of a use for it. I simply wanted it. And if I need a cutting edge, I always have my Adamas on me. Oh, just so you know, I may very well have three or more knives on me at any given time. I have my Benchmade Adamas clipped in my left pocket (I’m a southpaw) and it could be my Griptilian, 940, or Volli to my right. I often have a Buck 110 in a pouch on my belt, and one of my Ka-Bar knives when around my home property. But there are times I’ll put the Infidel on me somewhere where I can retrieve it quickly should I desire. It’s like my personal firearm; I don’t do much with it through the day but I’m glad to know it’s there. It’s something I can fidget with when not around polite or touchy company. One must suppose this isn’t something to play with while sitting in the waiting room at the dentist, but it does have a fidget spinner level of satisfaction.

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I’ve developed a thought on these OTF knives, and my assumption is they’re the LCD flat-screen TV of 2005. They were bizarrely expensive while not seeming of the highest quality in televisions, but people paid the money. What I’m driving at here is I believe today’s OTF blade is the cost it is due to it being developmental in the present stage and those costs reflect a lot of R&D. OTF knives, if you didn’t know, are well, well, well into the hundreds and many tip their little toes into four figures, but they’re new and exciting. The LCD TV of ten to fifteen years ago was ridiculously expensive and nowhere near the quality of the smart TV one can get today for a small fraction of the cost of those back then. My God, some of those televisions then were approaching ten thousand dollars. Today you can get an awesome TV for well under a grand. My point is I believe the OTF, and in this case the Infidel, will eventually come down in price and go up in reliability. However, the Infidel of today and over the past decade will surely retain great value, both in function and collectible value. Besides, some things are simply dripping with cool, and this knife is exactly that. So if you have the cash and get a rush from cool things, you’ll be happy you bought an Infidel.

The Benchmade Fixed Contego


The Fixed Contego is a Great Knife

While this knife it very basic and simple other than being all S30V with handles, the design is smart and it feels great. It’s big enough for just about anything, but not gigantic. I wasn’t looking for a monstrous Bowie knife I couldn’t carry, but I was on the prowl for a tactical blade I could be proud of. Boom, there it is. This fixed blade is just big enough to do most anything but not so cumbersome that one wouldn’t know what to do with it. Now, I’ve said elsewhere in this article that my fixed-blade love primarily goes to Ka-Bar. I have three Ka-Bar fixed blades (One traditional, and two Tanto blades, with one being short) and I have two Ka-Bar folders. I really like the feel of those Ka-Bar fixed blades in my hands, but I have to say this Contego is quite well balanced and designed to feel comfy when held. The simplicity is not due to a lack of effort; the knife just doesn’t need more than what’s there.

The blade I chose is all fine edge with no serration, in a satin finish. I appreciate the smart design Osbourne put into this (R.I.P.) blade, since it isn’t without design. That reverse tanto style is both clever and functional, giving class and strength to the blade, which is a smart idea for a blade this size being made of S30V steel. After all, this sort of powder-made steel has developed a reputation of minor chipping when put to hard use and the thought of that irritates me. However, when doing some digging in on this issue, it seems the problem occurs with thinner blades pushed to perform tasks outside of their job description. And to go further, if this Fixed Contego had an option of D2 steel, I would have gone past the S30V just like that. But this knife seems very well balanced for what it is, which is a solid knife that doesn’t want to be too big. I can say I don’t think it’s for everyone, but I can see a soldier liking it quite a bit.

To be honest, I would have to get back with all of you on my opinion of the sheath. The sheath is not traditional at all, and doesn’t easily go on a belt, although some simple modification could allow you to place where you like. My bigger concern is how the knife fits in the sheath. There is a tension screw allowing one to adjust how it fits, tight or not so tight, and the whiner in me makes me wonder if this could end up with a lost knife. I simply don’t know. However, I would never let a sheath determine my choice when it comes to a knife, since today’s choices offer a plethora of sheaths from so many different directions. I can say I’m thankful this isn’t a traditional leather sheath, which is something I’ve never liked. That might have been the only choice at the Alamo, but today we can do better and this knife’s sheath has. Perhaps it’s just too new of a concept for me.

If you require a quality fixed blade that isn’t fancy and too pretty, you ought to give this knife a glance. It’s simple while being made of one of today’s exceptional steels, and that Osbourne design is both attractive and smart.

The Very Pretty Benchmade Volli

A very nice little knife for everyday use

A very nice little knife for everyday use

Volli is a Great Choice for the Discerning Gentleman

The Volli is really a great knife when you’re wanting something relatively simple but subtly elegant. My choice was all black with a serrated edge (I am not a major fan of a serrated edge, but this one works out okay), the handle design is attractive without extravagance, and the overall feel is warm and secure. This is not a beastly knife and doesn’t seem to be designed to impress and potentially intimidate like an Adamas or Contego could. It actually fits the everyday style of knife description nicely. Further, this is a knife I could have out without worrying some snowflake might feel concerned about it’s appearance. This doesn’t have the imposing presence of the Adamas or similar, but it does look and feel like a quality blade. In fact, the more I look at it the more I like it. I’ll go so far as to say this knife is underrated when it comes to Benchmade choices.

The steel is S30V and a nice drop-point style. I like the fact that the blade is assisted, meaning it gets out there when prompted, but there’s a firm lock on the back of the knife that securely locks the blade closed, preventing accidental opening. This possesses Benchmade’s Axis-Lock System, but beyond that there are no significant frills, unless you consider the safety lock a frill. This is likely the knife I would keep with me when dressed nice and surrounded by pleasant company. I don’t see it bothering but the sappiest of liberals, and it would go well with a nice watch and quality pen. Yet, I’d be happy to have it clipped to dirty jeans and see it get dirty.

I like the Volli so much that I’ll make the claim that this knife is what everyone thinks the 940 series is supposed to be. Now, the Volli doesn’t have that sleek, unique blade design of the 940 line of blades, but rather a simple and relatively thin drop point harboring just a slight bit of belly. And it is a tiny bit bulkier than the very slim 940, but that doesn’t mean it’s bulky at all. As I said, this knife just feels really good and secure in the hands without trying too hard to be debonair. There isn’t too much of anything that doesn’t need to be there, but what you need in an EDC is right there with aplomb. Hey, it set out to look good but was smart enough to not go crazy with the eyeliner.

What else can I say to make the point that I find this to be an exceptional EDC knife? I am subtly surprised I don’t hear more Benchmade enthusiasts singing praises for it. Well, Benchmade is essentially a Passion Brand, and the Volli possesses a simpler and dressed-down feel, so maybe it’s that. The 940 blades would perhaps look a bit nicer with a tuxedo over the Volli, but if I have things I need this sort of knife to do, I will reach well over that 940 to get my hands on this Volli.

Man, What an Awesome Blade!

I have every confidence Chuck Norris and Gen. Mattis have one of these

I have every confidence Chuck Norris and Gen. Mattis have one of these

The Amazing Benchmade Adamas

Sometimes subtle and sweet isn’t the thing. There might be places you want to go but a sports car isn’t getting you there. Besides, there are times when a guy needs guy stuff. There are times when you want to just feel that bad boy in your hand. Where the Volli might be an everyday and everywhere sort of knife, the Adamas folder is for those who need something powerful, and this thing is the military Hummer of knives. Yeah, you could eventually kill it if you really tried, but in order to kill it that is what it’s going to take. You’re going to have to do it with intent. I have every confidence in saying that this would make Mad Dog Jim Mattis smile.

My particular Adamas Folder is Automatic with black blade and scales. In honestly, I go back and forth in my head whether the auto was the way to go (merely for legal reasons), but I can’t say I’m unhappy with it. When I pull that Axis bolt back- pow, there it is. And the blade comes into position with such force that the knife actually has a bit of recoil when opened. Open it without knowing that and it might kick away from you, potentially causing harm. But hang on to it and right away you have a knife wanting to do business and get things done. The D2 steel means I’m not as concerned with minor chipping with tough use (thanks, guys, for not turning to S30V with this, but M4 might prove worthwhile) and the edge will keep without disappointment.

One must suppose this is not the knife for pretentious company. Some of those within the imperious crowd might feel discomforted, but the hoi polloi are sure to ogle the rugged good looks. Like an assault rifle, this is designed to appear bad-ass. It’s thick, heavy, rugged, and possesses a hearty degree of swagger. One cannot but help to think it would be happiest when stained with dirt, grime, and perhaps a bit of blood. When one thinks of tactical folders, this is the the knife they imagined but felt too intimidated to create until now. I feel confident in say the Adamas is the Chuck Norris of folding knives and that confidence is bolstered when I have that knife on me.

So, one might assume the thing is just so tough and built up that it wouldn’t be suitable for everyday carry, but I’ve found it quite easy to keep on you. It’s a hefty thing but doesn’t consume the entire pocket, so I’m more than happy to keep it with me at any given time. It’s built for tough use but just fine with minor, subtle use, too. It is a great knife, pure and simple. Go get one. Do it now.

The 940-2

This is truly a great knife

This is truly a great knife

The Osbourne Designed Benchmade 940-2

I’m not exactly sure how the 940 series of Benchmade folders became the darling among collectors and buffs, but there’s no doubt this little knife is a sweetheart to behold. Sure, there’s the Benchmade quality and attention to detail, but that’s present in all of their products. Somehow, this knife became the Mack Daddy of folders for so many, so I’ll see if I can articulate my take on this.

First, the blade design is more than attractive. Many knives might be of exquisite quality, but the blade shape and style may very well be like any other of its sort. The Osbourne design, however, and this refers to designs created by master knife-maker Warren Osbourne (a man who passed away early in 2016, but who will long be remembered for his contributions to the art of cutlery) is just unique and attractive enough to catch the eye. It’s one of the reasons I mentioned earlier that I have a twinkle for the Folding Contego (which I claim is the heavy duty version of the 940), which was also an Osbourne design. The blade has a slender, sleek appearance looking long and features what’s known as a reverse tanto point. There’s a subtle curve along the topside of the blade, giving some style to the blade rather than mere function. The steel is high quality S30V, which is perfect for a knife of this size. I have to say this steel is superb for knives of this size, but I cannot help but to wonder if it might not be best for larger blades, what with the hardness and potential for chipping. The Fixed Contego is this steel, but I don’t think I would choose this steel for anything larger than that. This might be due to limited experience, but I believe 1095 or D2 is better for a heavy duty multi-purpose knife that might see hard use.

This 940-2 is light. It’s really light and I seriously doubt it would hold up to what the tougher Folding Adamas would snicker at. But then, it isn’t made for tactical use, but everyday needs, thus the EDC label. But the mechanism is sure, with Benchmade’s Axis Lock bolt lock system. It is not an assisted opening knife, so it is entirely manual, but thumb studs are on both sides of the blade and the pocket clip is reversible, so it’s great for either hand. This version I have doesn’t have a deep-carry pocket clip- which is something I’ve come to prefer- but it does what it’s supposed to do. I’m still pondering the idea I might remove the pocket clip entirely and drop the knife in my pocket. We’ll see.

This is not an intimidating knife, and I like that. I have other knives that could prove frightening should it be required, so this one doesn’t have to. But it’s fair to say it says something about the person carrying it. It’s uncompromising in quality and appearance, and should an admirer inquire about it, the reputation of this model just might prompt that admirer to look into their own. Sure, there are those who simply aren’t going to drop this amount of money into something like this, but it’s somewhat surprising to see how many would do so in a snap. The high-end knife market is vast, you know, and this company has done well as a result. So much so that the 940 line offers a few choices for the inquiring mind.

I went for this particular one because the 940 is pretty with its green color and some of the others are lovely, but the 940-1 goes too far for my budget. This 940-2 gives me that 940 flavor without the green and the same S30V blade, but the lighter and darker colored scales are suitably subtle, so it comes together for me here. I am not paying that much for the 940-1 without a deal, although I’m intrigued by the S90V steel (but not that much). And I like the lack of flash coming with this knife, giving it a more practical taste which somehow gives it permission to make things happen. In short, I think they really got it right with this one.

The Folding Contego is Fantastic

The Contego is a supreme choice in personal carry

The Contego is a supreme choice in personal carry

The Benchmade Contego

While my eye was first caught with the Fixed Contego, I eventually turned to the folding Contego and just fell in love with it. I have to admit that it took touching the knife, but once I did, I couldn’t not touch it, anymore. Now, it’s a rough feeling knife, with those scales being so textured. The knife was obviously designed to be firmly held in the hand and be secure there. For those whose hands aren’t accustomed to more than their Cross pen, keyboard and coffee mug, this might prove rather uncomfortable and intimidating. There’s a reason for that. This is the big brother of the 940. This is the one that comes in and says, “Point to the one who pushed you down.”

I had to feel and touch the knife in order to like it because it’s unique design wasn’t appreciated without confirmation. At first I thought it was more of simply trying to be unique and not like the others, but there’s more to it than that. This knife was designed with proper ergonomics in mind, and was successful in that endeavor. It’s a heavy duty knife, complete with the reverse tanto point and obvious Osbourne design, but this one comes equipped with M4 steel, making it tough, hard, rugged and ready. This is a good thing since the knife is a heavy duty knife ready for hard use but it isn’t bulky like the Adamas. Rather, it is slim but built with rugged materials. The blade is rather thin but because it’s a tough M4 steel, it can accept a great laser edge ready to cut well. There are no frills beyond the typical Axis-Lock, so it doesn’t possess an assisted opening or other gadgetry. The Contego is a knife built to be a knife.

Because it isn’t overly bulky, it does fit well into the pocket despite being at the larger side of pocket knives. Where the Volli and 940 might not prove intimidating or dramatic, I have to admit the Contego could very likely be those things. It is a hefty handful even in a very large hand, so this knife may not likely be considered the typical EDC knife of choice. Yet, it doesn’t weigh you down and it does go well in the pocket despite the slightly larger size it has overall. Further, it’s the perfect companion for the 940 that might need a helping hand when things get heavy. But, it isn’t so much the tank that it needs a little brother when things are slight and subtle. It really isn’t too big for anything other than the smallest things. Honestly, if this was one’s only Benchmade and the only knife on you, you didn’t go too far. That’s how well-designed this knife really is.


In Summary

This wondrous collection provides me with just about everything I’m asking for in a collection of blades. There are three heavy duty and quite serious blades desiring hard use, two that look pretty and attractive with the urbane crowd, one (the Griptilian) ready for any given day, and a sleek and savvy weapon should the need arise. I have to be honest with both you and myself by readily admitting these aren’t likely to be my last Benchmade products, but if they are, I’m okay with that. I’m not the quirky sort to try and keep all of them on me all the time, but it wouldn’t be odd for me to have three of them simultaneously. I just feel better with the Adamas always in reach, but I’ll revolve the 940, Volli and Grip depending on my mood. And if I feel the urge, the Infidel just might be on me somewhere. And I want that folding Contego nearby.

Benchmade came onto the scene first as Bali-Song back in 1979, making the quite famous butterfly knives. Bali-Song is sort of like Frisbee or Crescent in the Crescent Wrench in that this name is associated with a certain style regardless of who makes it, but Benchmade has the trademark on the name. Even the term butterfly knife is less about the rotating handles- which many assume prompts the moniker- than it is the logo. In honesty, all of my knives are butterfly knives in this regard, although I do not own a Benchmade Bali-Song knife. Someday…

They offer knives for outdoor and survival use, law enforcement and military, and also first responders of all sorts. Their hunting line of knives are built for the task. In fact, their hunting line, Hunt, is one of the four primary lines of knives offered. My Volli, Griptilian and 940 fall into the Blue Class, or that of the everyday person with typical cutting needs. The Adamas, Infidel and Contegos are of the Black Class, designed for professionals, law enforcement and other first responders, and survivalists. There is also a Gold Class, featuring specialized blades (coming from any of the other classes but yet singular in construction and price) that are collector’s items and limited in production. Just so you know, you’re going to pay handsomely for one of these, but take care of it and it’ll retain its value and that value might climb in time. The company began in California but eventually moved up the road to Oregon.

I have kept a fixed eye on a few of the other Benchmade products, including the Bushcrafter, which didn’t appeal to me until I touched it. It doesn’t look like much, but man does it feel good in the hand. I have a tactical pen I like, but these pens offered by Benchmade keep calling my name. Benchmade is one of those passion brands which prompts a great love for the product despite the shimmering price tags, and this is largely a good thing. There is no way one is going to get me to pay hundreds for a Yeti cooler, but once upon a time I would have confidently said I would never pay that much for a pocket knife when I can get a suitable one for less than the cost of a decent lunch. As for those who still don’t get it, do you feel that way regarding what some will pay for a pair of sneakers? Even worse, look at what some will pay for a bottle of wine?

Benchmade is steeper in price, but the quality, passion and pride, and even the Americana in it make the price worth every penny. When a man owns a Benchmade knife, it says something about who he is. He knows he doesn’t have to have Trump money to be worthy and show it. A man with a 940 in his pocket demonstrates his panache and quick grasp on the situation. A soldier with a Contego or Adamas knows how to get it done and accomplish a mission. That guy with an Infidel on him knows himself well enough to know things aren’t always how they’re supposed to be. But overall, Benchmade is an American company Americans can look to with pride. This is made obvious by the fact that great Americans know and carry Benchmade, and that simpering others around the globe are tripping over themselves with the desire to counterfeit Benchmade at every turn.

I am so glad I found this fine name and line of products, only slightly disappointed with myself in that I didn’t come across them sooner than I did. But I’m here now, and I’m staying.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Andrew Beattie on March 28, 2018:

Great article! Just ordered my first Benchmade - the Infidel - yesterday, and can't wait to get it! Thanks for all the info. Think I have to get on Adamas now.

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