Benchmade Shipping Its First Slipjoint Ever

Modern traditional knives are a growing trend and Benchmade is entering the arena with a brand new slipjoint called the 319 Proper. Other Benchmade models like the discontinued Lone Wolf Tailout and the Summit Lake series also capture a traditional vibe but the 319 Proper is Benchmade’s first ever non-locking folder.

“[It] is definitely a callback to traditional slipjoints,” Benchmade’s Derrick Lau tells us. “This year is our 30th anniversary and we wanted to cover the whole map.” The Proper has a 2.86-inch S30V sheepsfoot blade, modified with a slight belly. Weighing 2.3 oz., it doesn’t have a pocket clip and is meant to be carried loose in the pocket, with or without a lanyard.

The Axis Lock has been Benchmade’s bread and butter for decades, but the Proper sees the company breaking away from locking knives altogether. Making a non-locking folder meant balancing ease of opening with back spring strength. A fuller works in place of a nail nick, and for added safety, Benchmade employed a half stop that catches the blade between the open and closed position. “Obviously it’s not like an Axis Lock but it’s pretty sturdy,” Lau says.

We have seen other companies incorporate slipjoint designs into their catalog to cater to global audiences. Spyderco has produced its UKPK series for years and introduced the Roadie in 2015. This year, SOG brought out the Terminus and Hinderer Knives announced the XM-Slippy, a slipjoint version of the legendary XM-18. Lau says that the Proper should have a similar international appeal. “[The slipjoint] is one of those mechanisms that’s so innocuous. This allows people who live outside the US where there may be laws against an Axis Lock to carry a Benchmade.”

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It should also draw in fans in the US who want a sleek gentleman’s carry or just something unique for their Benchmade collection. “It’s something new, something different,” Lau says. “But the hardcore fans will just think it’s a cool knife in addition to the fact that it’s not your grandpa’s slipjoint.” Is the Proper the only slipjoint Benchmade has planned? Lau says that could depend on how people take to this first effort in the months to come. “We’re definitely going to see how this one is received.”

The Proper will be available in either red G-10 or brown canvas Micarta scales. Limited quantities are already on their way to select dealers with more soon to follow.

Knife featured in image: Benchmade 319 Proper