Friday, January 20, 2012

Benchmade's SHOT Showing

Benchmade debuted or at least talked about a few blades at SHOT show.  An excellent booth review is found here:

The video is from, which has certainly become one of the premiere sites on the web for EDC gear.  They have a huge selection of stuff and have stepped up their videos.  I have no affliation with them, but I always browse their site and their videos for ideas of what to get next.

Here are some of Benchmade's offerings.

New Balisong

I never noticed this but Benchmade trademarked Bali-Song.  I am not sure who was the person asleep at the switch at the trademark office that let them do that (clearly this word is genericized, even with the hyphen in the middle), but they did.  As a traditional Filipino knife with a traditional Filipino name, I would have thought no TM was possible, or that if there were a TM to be handed out it would have gone to a Filipino maker.  What's next Benchmade?  How about the flash-light TM, or pocket-knife TM, or auto-mobile TM?  BTW I have started the process of trademarking Bench-made TM.  Two can play at that silly game.

Anyway, on to the knife.  It is a single edge balisong (or Bali-Song), with a T-Latch TM and stainless steel handles (what? is "stain-less" already TM'd).  It is heavier than the BM42 (Yay! heavier...good job) and will probably be expensive.  It is also illegal to carry almost everywhere, unless you are a special user (LEO, EMS, military...).  This is a stinky offering for the vast majority of people, but the flipper set will love its traditional shape, lines, and weight. 

Gold Class 940

These Gold class knives are a huge rip off.  They keep making them so one of two things must be true: 1) they sell like crazy to make up for the smaller margins due to the uber premium material; or 2) the "uber premium material" is not all that expensive so the margin on each unit sold is huge.  Something tells me that Benchmade is not selling 10,000 of these knives, given that they usually are north of $500, so I think it is the second idea--each knife is just slightly more expensive to make than the regular model and the margins are huge on each unit--that is the right one.

The 940 shown is pretty staid.  The handle is, ready for this, titanium.  That is really an exotic material, right?  No lightning strike carbon fiber, no rhodium, just anondized titanium.  Eh...The steel is equally disappointing.  M4 is a great tool steel, no doubt about it, but in an EDC knife, I'd like something more rust resistant.  How about Carpenter's stainless tool steel CTS-XHP?  Instead they go with M4 and lather it up with coating, a clear cerakote that is bead blasted.  Boring.  Save your money, this thing is the definition of a gilded lily and a waste of cash.  How about getting a nice custom from some small shop where the exotic materials are truly exotic and the finish is beyond nice? Want exotic materials?  Try one of these: BurchTree Bladesworks.  Given the pricing of most Gold Class knives, the true custom is probably not that much more.   

Two Handed Bone Collector

The Bone Collector line is something I have very little interest in as I am not a hunter.  Maybe a hunter can chime in on whether or not these products hit their intended targets.  The nail knick two handed knife is just really, really not my cup of tea.  The steel, D2, is okay, but again, why not try something better, like CTS XHP?  I can't get excited about this blade at all.  


I am not going to go into a whole lot of detail because this is not all that new.  DarkChild has a good review of his Adamas.  The knife is really big and thick.  I am not really excited by the design.  The knife is huge and the cut outs look like they would be dust magnets.  It also has more than a passing resemblance to the CRKT M16 and M21 knives.  The sheath may be the most interesting part of this blade, with its cool MOLLE attachment. 


This is probably my favorite knife in the line up at SHOT Show, but that is kind of like saying "She's the smarter of the two Hilton sisters."   One of them, by default, has to be smarter and one of these knifes I don't like has to be my favorite, even if I still don't like it.   I really do like the reverse tanto blade style, but again, this is just too big and bulky for me to carry everyday.  If I were looking for a big and beefy blade, though, this might be a good choice.  They didn't mention steel, so I don't know what the blade is made of, probably S30V or D2.  

Sheath Dagger

This ringed fixed blade is a strange offering.  It is clearly not intended for the knife as tool, EDC crowd so I am not going to comment on it more than I have.  

916 with Pry Tip

Another specialized blade, on designed for EMS folks.  Again, outside my realm of knowledge so I am going to pass.

There were a bunch of fixed blades show, but they were not all that interesting to me.  Overall, the Benchmade line up as a lot of specialized tools in it and very few general interest blades.  The only purely general interest knife in the line up was the Gold Class 940 which I think is just short of theft on Benchmade's part.  As such, for a guy like me that doesn't stab people (other than myself by accident) or gut deer, none of these blades were all that exciting.  I will throw out the caveat that I don't have a lot of working knowledge of these specialized blades so those people that do may be very excited.  One thing I can say however is that the choices of steels, M4 and D2, is really not up to par with Spyderco's or Kershaw's offerings.  The implementation of a truly STAINLESS tool steel, CTS XHP, in the Spyderco line up and the use of 14C28N and ZDP-189, among others, in the Kershaw line up, leaves Benchmade distinctly behind the curve in terms of steel.  M4 is really hard and tough, as all tool steels are, but its rust resistance leaves much to be desired.

And for all of you that think I hate Benchmade, here is the Mini Grip review, here is the shoot out of EDC blades that the Mini Grip WON, and note the blade I am giving away--a custom Mini Grip.  I like Benchmade knives, just none of the ones they had on display at SHOT Show.

I do not, however, like their overly litigious approach to everything.  Or should I say every-thing TM?