Knives are tools. However, a lot of people I know will spend hundreds and thousands of dollars on tools and equipment for their favorite outdoor pursuits while topping it off with a no name knife from your local purveyor of things made in China.
If you want to “step your game up” then you need to get a Benchmade. In my opinion, these are the best knives you can affordably purchase. Yes, the knives are expensive compared to the blister packed little lockbacks that are probably 5 for $10 on Black Friday. Yes, you can find handmade knives from folded steel recycled from Japanese swords with handles of thousand year old driftwood. However, when I head out into the wilderness or just try and drive across I-80 through Nebraska it is a Benchmade that I will be carrying.
The model that I am particular too is the 551 Griptilian:
I chose to forego the serrated blade in favor of a simple edge. Why? Sharpening serrated blades is difficult to impossible and the sharpening service from Benchmade does not include that portion of the blade. That is right; Benchmade will sharpen and “tune” your knife for the low, low price of $5. Does the low dollar knife in your pack look a little less shiny now?
The blade itself comes from the factory wicked sharp and I have never felt the need to sharpen a Benchmade myself. Made of 154CM stainless steel the blade should provide years upon years, if not a lifetime, of service with minimal care and maintenance.
The 551 features the excellent AXIS locking system which utilizes a small button near where your thumb would be placed to unlock the blade. It clicks with a noticeable thwack, but the action is smooth.
The other thing that sets a Benchmade knife apart from imitators is that the little details are taken care of. The liners in a locking blade knife are the metal which the plastic handles attach. In a lot of cheaper knives these will either be plastic—the horror—or cheap steel—the corrosion. In the 551 and other Benchmade folding knives the inserts are made from stainless steel.
In a world where we hear about nothing being manufactured in the United States, rest assured that every knife from Benchmade is made in America. It’s a little thing, but I like to think that there is still a place for making things in the United States.
Do yourself a favor and upgrade your knife to a Benchmade. Good things come in blue boxes.