Benchmade Knives - Choosing the Right Knife

The Right Knife for You

Benchmade offers one of the largest selections of knives on the market. Add blade steel, mechanisms and other variables and you have a knife to fit just about anyone's needs. This can also make the selection process complicated, but there is a system to help simplify it.

Four Critical Steps to Selecting a Knife

  1. What is the knife's intended purpose? Benchmade has various classifications and each knife falls into one or more of these categories:
    • Tactical TACTICAL - Designed for hard, immediate use, these high strength knives feature robust mechanisms for situations where performance is a must.
    • Rescue RESCUE - For critical situations. Gloved hands and the need to cut pliable materials are consideratins in the design of these knives.
    • Every Day EVERY DAY - Not obtrusive or uncomfortable in slacks or shorts; just convenient and well fitted to your general needs.
    • Outdoor OUTDOOR - From water to woods, backpacking trips to car camping, kayaking to fly-fishing; these versatile cutting tools can be used for many tasks.
    • Hunting HUNTING - Knives are a critical component of a successful hunt. These are the most advanced hunting knive ever made.
    • Survival SURVIVAL - Things can happen unexpectedly for any adventurer. Time and experience have proven the effectiveness of a rugged knife in life and death situations.

  2. What type of mechanism do you prefer? This pertains to how the knife opens and closes. Some mechanisms are illegal in some states (
    - General Terms -
    • MANUAL - "Manuals" must be opened 100% from the closed position to the open position by the user.
    • ASSISTED - "Assists" have a spring that encourages the blade into the open position once the user pushes the blade manually beyond a certain point.
    • AUTOMATIC - "Autos" have a button or other actuation switch that mechanicaaly fires the blade into the open position without the user directly manipulating the blade.
    • BALI-SONG - "Balis" or "butterfly knives" open and close by way of two handles that rotate around the front and back of the blade.
    • FIXED - These knives are permanently open and almost always come with a sheath to protect the edge.

    - Specific Terms -
    • AXIS - A 100% ambidextrous design, AXIS gets its functionality from a small, hardened steel bar that rides forward and back in a slot machined into both steel liners. The bar extends to both sides of the knife, spans the liners and is positioned over the rear of the blade. It engages a ramped tang portion of the blade when it is opened. Two omega-style springs, one on each liner, give the locking bar inertia to engage the tang. As a result, the tang is wedged solidly between a sizable stop pin and the AXIS bar itself. Available in manual, AXIS Assist or Auto AXIS configurations.
    • AXIS ASSIST - Easily opened quickly with one hand. This evolution of the AXIS mechanism includes a spring that helps to fire the blade into the open position once the user pushes it beyond a certain point manually. The AXIS lock also has the added benefit of "suck-back" which encourages the blade to stay in the closed position. AXIS Assist knives also feature integrated safety lock systems.
    • LINER LOCK - The basic principle is an integral locking bar within the knife liner being stress bent, enabling it to spring into position behind the rear tang of the blade when the blade is opened. The locking bar wedges against the rear of the blade, locking it open until you physically push it clear and close the blade (locking liners are right/left hand specific). And, with a modified locking liner you get a patented feature that helps to enhance the lock function. The success and failure of a locking liner depends greatly on how well it is made and also the quality of the materials used. With Benchmade you get both.
    • MONOLOCK - The monolock mechanism is basically a locking liner on steroids. The knife liner is one and the same as the knife handle and is designed and made to function as the locking mechanism. Subsequently, a thicker material is used to provide enough surface area to be a functional handle and in turn creates a larger surface area to lock the blade with. If executed properly, the monolock design rates very highly in strength and function.
    • NAK-LOK - Built from the framework of the locking liner with some innovative updates. The lock engages using tensile strength, compared to the compression hold of more traditional locking liners. With Nak-Lok, the possibility of personal injury is greatly reduced with the opening finger never crossing the blade's path.
    • NITROUS - As the blade is closed, the two torsion arms that run the length of the handle liners are secured in place and make contact with the blade tang. As the user opens the blade to a 30 degree angle, the torsion arms take over and continue the blade opening process on their own. The advantage of the Nitrous design over similar concepts is that the blade must be rotated beyond a 30 degree angle which offers added user control.
      • AXIS AUTOMATIC - Auto AXIS - Strong, reliable and fast this locking mechanism fires the blade open 100% mechanically when the AXIS bar is pulled downwards. Auto AXIS also features integrated safety mechanisms and the added safety of "suck-back".
      • AXIS DUAL ACTION AUTOMATIC - Dual action knives come in multiple forms, but only one group features the strength and ambidextrous versatility of the AXIS lock. The AXIS Dual Action automatic mechanism allows the user to open the knife like a regular AXIS, but there's a secret: Pull the AXIS bar down all the way and a spring takes over and fires the blade automatically.
      • PUSH-BUTTON AUTOMATIC - Push the button and the blade fires into the open position. Benchmade's push-button mechanisms are not only fast and convenient, they are extremely strong. Most also feature integrated safety mechanisms.
      • AMBIDEXTROUS PUSH-BUTTON AUTOMATIC - While push-button automatics have traditionally been single-sided, Benchmade produces ambidextrous push-button autos that feature push-buttons on both sides.
      • OUT-THE-FRONT (OTF) AUTOMATIC - Benchmade's OTF mechanisms are mechanical masterpieces. Slide the lock button towards the top and the blade fires straight out. Pull the button back to the bottom and the blade returns to the handle.

  3. What blade style will provide the best cutting performance for the intended task?
    • Clip-Point CLIP-PONT - A classic shape with precision tip control and good versatility.
    • Drop-Point DROP-POINT - A well balanced blade shape often found on hunting knives and utility-purposed knives.
    • Reverse Tanto REVERSE TANTO - High tip strength combined with an edge radius that offers more general utility.
    • Sheepsfoot SHEEPSFOOT - This is typically a general purpose, good slicing shape.
    • Spear-Point SPEAR-POINT - This symmetrical style makes for good slicing and puncturing.
    • Tanto TANTO - Mostly tactical in nature, the tip strength is typically very high.
    • Weehawk WEEHAWK - Benchmade's classic bali-song blade style

  4. What is the best blade steel for the intended use?
    • M390 - Austrian powdered steel with a uniform microstructure that provides superior levels of edge retention, toughness and corrosion resistance. This steel is one of the most well-rounded premium steels in the world.
    • CPM-M4 - This American powdered steel is the toughest available. Able to handle virtually any task, it excels in edge retention and wear resistance, but requires cleaning to keep it corrosion free as it is not stainless.
    • CPM-S30V - American made premium powdered steel designed specifically for knives. Offering excellent corrosion resistance and superior edge qualities, this steel is perfect for everyday use or specialized outdoor activities.
    • CPM-S90V - Premium American made powdered steel with a uniform microstructure that provides substantial improvements over other American made steel in wear and corrosion resisance; an excellent high-end steel.
    • 154CM - An American made premium grade best all-around stainless steel that offers great corrosion resistance with good toughness and edge qualities.
    • D2 - Air-hardened tool steel developed to cut other steel. This American made steel offers fantastic toughness ad edge retention for hard use applications. It is, however, a semi-stainless, so care is required to prevent corrosion.
    • N680 - Austrian steel developed for extremely harsh environments like salt water, it offers the best corrosion resistance available, plus ease of sharpening and a keen blade edge.
    • 440C - An American made steel that is a staple in the cutlery industry. Widely used for its good balance of hardness and corrosion resistance. An excellent value priced steel for its performance characteristics.
    • DAMASCUS - Hand crafted specialty steel that uses layers of different metal and forging techniques to create a unique look. Used in special applications, this steel, while durable for everyday use, is specifically designed for its unique visual appearance.

Why Benchmade?

Five Key Reasons to Buy Benchmade - The 3M's + 2

  1. MATERIALS - Benchmade uses the highest grade knife materials available in the construction of the products.
  2. MECHANISMS - From Automatic opening to AXIS and AXIS Assist, Benchmade leads the industry in knife technologies.
  3. MANUFACTURING - All Benchmade parts and products are held to precise tolerances and exacting standards.
  4. BENCHMADE LIFESHARP - Benchmade's LifeSharp Service and Lifetime Warranty is unmatched in the industry. Benchmade offers free sharpening and tuning of your knife, for life. Just send the knife back to our service center and we will take care of the rest, no return postage needed. While the knife is being serviced we will also repair or replace any damaged components under warranty to ensure the knife is in excellent shape for the next adventure.
  5. CUSTOMER SERVICE - Benchmade's Customer Service Team is the cornerstone of our reputation. When you call in you will get a knowledgeable, friendly, real person to answer all of your questions. Give them a call at 1-800-800-7427 with any questions you may have.