Though they may be one of the premier knife manufacturers of the moment, Benchmade’s history is completely inauspicious. It began in 1979 with Les de Asis trying to make a better cheap butterfly knife, known to many as Bali-Songs. He designed and created the first of his blades in his garage, and it was soon a hit among the local population. Thus he created Bali-Song, the company that would one day become Pacific Cultery Corp. PCC would later fail due to issues of quality, delivery, and price, but from those ashes would rise Benchmade, named as a description of the way these knives were produced: with factory-grade machining and hand finishing.
Once Les and his team expanded from their Bali-Song roots and began making traditional knives of all kinds, they exploded into the knife world. Able to create precision parts mechanically that were then assembled and inspected by hand, Benchmade created a whole new way of manufacturing knives that brought in the best of both worlds. Blazing trails as the first company to use a laser cutter and employ steels too hard to stamp, they’ve revolutionized knifemaking. To celebrate them, we’ve found the 7 best Benchmade pocket knives for EDC.
Pro: Stud and hole versions available
Con: Textured handle tends to grate your hands when riding in your pocket
Constant Companion: Perhaps one of the most popular Benchmade knives in production, the Griptilian is beloved for its various options as well as the the injection-molded handle that is nearly impossible to drop and gives the knife its name. Ambidextrous opening and the ability to swap carry sides without incident gives the Griptilian the ability to work for anyone with hands, and probably those who just use their feet. Ranking a 58-60 on the Rockwell, this is plenty tough for all your everyday chores and can hold an edge for ages.
Benchmade 531 Pardue
Pro: 0.090 inch blade is one of the lightest around
Con: Standard clip rides very high
Operator: As with all the Benchmade knives, this has the Axis locking mechanism, which is one of the most reliable ways to keep a blade in place. It’s especially important in the 531 because the straight body of this knife is meant to provide plenty of leverage for doing hard labor, be it at your quaint little campsite or in the thick of battle. The G10 handles have a nice herringbone pattern that is good for grip but also handy for EDC since it isn’t as rough when brushing up against your hands while in pocket. Still, this is better on a belt due to the raised perimeter. We like the modified drop point dagger style, and it adds utility, but is also likely to spook a few average folks if you whip it out in mixed company.
Benchmade 275 Adamas
Pro: Good for larger hands or use with gloves
Custom Feel: Looking at the tactical drop-point blade, this has a distinctly aggressive look that belies how utterly useful the knife is for average duties and EDC. The holes set into the G10 handle give you a pressure grip for your fingers that feels incredible and adds to the precision of using the knife. Designed in part by an Army Ranger and equally beloved by civilian blademasters and military servicepeople, this is like a personalized off-road vehicle: It goes anywhere, tackles every challenge, and will stand up against the worst conditions you can find. It certainly bears a bit of bulk for an everyday knife, but that is the girth that comes with true grit and substance.
Benchmade 810 Contego
Pro: Very easy to open despite the size
Con: Uncomfortable during extended use
Hard-Nosed: One of the nastiest knives Benchmade has ever produced, the Contego runs deep into the Rockwell hardness scale with the CPM-M4 steel ranking in the 62-64 HRC range. A true tactical folding knife from the mind of Warren Osborne, there’s no room on the thin body for anything but the barest of essentials; giving it ideal balance and the ability to deploy quickly. On the pommel is a glass breaker for smashing out windows and safety glass. When open it’s bigger than 9 inches, so you get all the advantages of a large knife though the handle is only a hair over half an inch thick to save on storage space.
Benchmade 940 Osborne Design
Pro: Gorgeous construction
Con: Clunky pocket clip
Thintimate: Sleek and slender with a blade that is only 0.114 inches thick, this reverse tanto will simply disappear into your pocket. For both holding an edge and simple sharpening on the go, the S30V steel acquits itself gloriously. If that doesn’t tickle you, then you can choose from Benchmade’s plethora of varieties, including one that has a CPM-S30V steel makeup. An anodized aluminum handle gives it a sense of sturdiness while backed by stainless steel liners, but also keeps the weight under 3 ounces, nearly unheard of for a knife of this pedigree.
Benchmade Barrage Straight Edge
Pro: Spring assist never deploys accidentally
Con: Unlocking mechanism tends to stick
Standard Issue: Literally required for many police and military personnel, the Barrage is a true weapon that is geared for fighting rather than standard work, though you’ll find it more than equal to the task of hacking through paracord, slicing wires, or opening your mail. G10 scales on the side sunk into an aluminum bolster make the handle a heavy-duty piece of hardware that is only eclipsed by the M390 super steel blade. That material is made with a huge amount of Chromium, which makes this comparable to a premium socket wrench when it comes to surviving in the elements.
Benchmade 761 Titanium Monolock
Pro: Nearly impossible to break
Con: Attracts knife thieves
Chosen One: An M390 steel blade with a utility drop point all wrapped up in sandblasted and oiled titanium, the only reason you shouldn’t buy this knife is because you need to save money for your mother’s surgery. It’s barely more than 4 ounces yet is an heirloom piece that will be cutting and shaving long after you die. It’s not only extremely functional and capable of keeping keen day after day, it’s also a flashy bit of pocket bling that will draw eyes and envy every time you pull it out. Easy to use, easy to maintain, comfortable for long cutting sessions, and big enough to give an assailant pause, just pay the money and say Hallelujah.
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