Tuesday, June 7, 2011

EDC GEAR: Benchmade 943, First Impression

     My Benchmade 943, Osborne design folder, came in the mail today.  Thought I would throw up some photo's and my initial impressions of the knife as well.  Hope you enjoy, as I'm sure to enjoy carrying this one.

     S30V stainless steel blade (58-60HRC)
     AXIS locking mechanism (ambidextrous)
     Black anodized 6061-T6 aluminum handle
     Ambidextrous thumb stud
     Stainless steel liners
     Reversible pocket clip
Initial impressions:
     The first thing I took note of when unboxing the knife was the packaging.  The knife comes in a somewhat standard looking knife box, until you open it.  Inside you find foam padding and a cloth bag containing your new blade.   

     Initially the handle of the knife does feel a bit dry to the touch.  I have heard others explain it as powdery, but I wouldn't call it that, it feels similar to a very smooth sandstone.  The surface texture offers a semblance of grip, but I would not consider it grippy.  The knurling at either side of the top of the handle and protruding pocket clip on the back provide plenty of grip providing a confident grasp of the knife.

     Since the blade of the knife itself is the next thing I noticed, namely the tip, I'll go there next.

     The Benchmade 943's clip point blade is 3.4" long and made of S30V Stainless steel.The finish is very much a satin finish, I would not call it flat as it has a sheen to it.  I find it to be an attractive finish that isn't overly flashy like I find a polished blade to be.  I'm glad I ordered the satin finish over the black blade.

     Of course the first thing I wanted to do was cut something with it.  Well the first thing I found was the LA Police Gear invoice that was in the packaging box.  It's fairly thick paper and the knife pushed through it from tip to bolster without tearing, however wasn't overly easy.  It will shave, but it's no razor.  The 943 removed some hair from my arm, but not most (I have fairly fine arm hair).  The next thing that I noticed was when I closed the knife. What I observed was that the tip was quite sharp and that one should not let the meaty part of one's hand get between the handle and the tip.  It will cut you.  Lesson learned. 

     I'm unable to comment on edge holding as of this time, but I will be sure to check back later with a report on that.  From what I understand the S30V should have a pretty decent edge holding ability.  The claimed HRC of 58-60 supports this claim, but I am always a little leery of stainless steel and edge retention. 

      The AXIS locking mechanism seems to work quite well.  The blade locks up rock solid from in the direction of swing.  There is slight side to side play if you apply pressure to the tip of the blade, but it is hardly noticeable.  I'm quite pleased with the lockup, Benchmade didn't disappoint. 

     The lock is easy to manipulate single handed, with either hand and I wouldn't consider myself to be ambidextrous by any means.  The knife can be opened with either the thumbstud or by slightly depressing the AXIS lock and giving the blade a little flip.  Releasing the AXIS lock at the top of the motion leaves the blade locked firmly in place.  After familiarizing myself with the system I don't mind one bit that this is not an assisted opening knife.  The blade swings smoothly and seems to be balanced quite well in the hand, all in all a solid feel.

The blue anodized titanium spine is really starting to grow on me.  Just enough flash.

     In closing, I can't wait to clip it into my pocket tomorrow.  It will be a bit strange going from my little 2" bladed SOG Blink to a 3.5" blade like this, but it's thin and light so I think we'll get along just fine.  Thanks for stopping by the blog, check out my downloads page.

Keep Shooting,

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