New Benchmade Models Begin to Appear

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Benchmade has quietly added several new knives to its website. A new collaboration brings the multifunctional Vital custom to a production form, a fresh face joins the ranks of Benchmade’s bigger folders, and a new Black Class rescue knife introduces a new take on the Axis Lock. The Freek has also been upgraded with a new handle material and blade steel.

380 Aller
Patrick Famin and Eric Demongivert accrued many fans in 2017 with the release of the Vital. It was one in a long line of bite-sized custom knives, but drew away from the pack with its unique blade shape, snazzy flourishes, and multifunctional frame.

Benchmade managed to translate all of these feature into the Aller. Its blade, a (relatively, given the size) tall sheepsfoot, is made from S30V and scaled for minor cutting chores. On the backside is a screwdriver-combination-prybar with a bit slot into it, and a lanyard hole cut through the handle itself. A titanium clip imbues the knife with some custom feel and is also being touted as a money clip. When closed, the friction folder Aller’s extended tang can be used to open the knife, and it also works as a bottle opener; according to Benchmade’s count, that means this little knife has six different functions.

980 Turret
About as far removed from the Aller as it is possible to get, the Turret positions itself as a bruiser in the tradition of heavy duty Benchmades like the Adamas. Its burly drop point blade is 3.7 inches long and fashioned from – no surprise here – S30V steel. Across the board, the Turret’s focus has clearly been utility rather than innovation, with no major surprises in the handle, clip, or thumb stud opening method. It manages to maintain a reasonable (given the size) weight of 5.81 oz. Again in keeping with the Adamas connection, Benchmade promises that the Axis Lock on the Turret is among the strongest iterations of the mechanism they have ever built.

365 Outlast
More than most other makers, Benchmade pays attention to the rescue knife format. Their latest is called the Outlast, and while it was presumably not named in an homage to the popular horror video game series, the new Black Class model does aim to see its users through scary situations.

The major selling point on the Outlast is that it incorporates two separate blades into the same chassis: a plain edge drop point or a serrated, tipless safety blade. The plain edge is made from S30V, and the serrated from 3V, an increasingly common sight in the Benchmade corral. The blades are accessed and secured via the Option Lock, a modded Axis Lock that can open and close either blade as needed. Both cutting edges measure just over 3.5 inches long, and on the butt-end of the knife Benchmade included their seatbelt cutter and carbide glass breaker.

Freek Upgrade
Benchmade also gave the Freek model the same premium treatment it has latterly visited on its Griptilian series, among others. Gone are the Versaflex scales, replaced by open construction, two-tone G-10 ones, and the blade steel has been moved from S30V to CPM-M4. Currently, only the full size Freek has been bumped up; whether the Mini Freek will follow suit remains to be seen.


Knife in Featured image: Benchmade 560-1 Freek

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