In Knife Reviews
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When it comes to quality EDC knives, few companies have managed to establish themselves as well as Benchmade. Offering made-in-the-USA craftsmanship, some of the highest-quality materials available, and a number of innovative design features, Benchmade’s knives have been impressing both experts and casual buyers since their introduction in 1988.

That being said, it’s important to note that Benchmade’s ultra-high quality knives come at a price, and the knife we’re going to be looking at today – the Benchmade 940 – is likely going to cause a bit of “sticker shock” among more budget-conscious buyers. However, according to the vast majority of satisfied customers, the ticket is well worth the price of admission, and the 940 remains one of the best-reviewed knives on the market.

Below, we’ll conduct a detailed, honest Benchmade 940 review, to see if this knife truly lives up to the hype.

  • 9/10
    Blade - 9/10
  • 8.5/10
    Handle - 8.5/10
  • 9/10
    Deployment & Locking Mechanism - 9/10
  • 9/10
    Quality and Features - 9/10
8.9/10

Verdict

You get what you pay for. If you pay for this knife design and this steel, you will likely be pretty happy with your purchase.

PROS CONS
This “quintessential EDC tool” was designed with function and simplicity in mind. Wear and tear will eventually show on the aluminum handle.
CPM-S30V is made in the USA and provides great edge-retention and resistance to corrosion. AXIS lock can occasionally be sticky.
Reverse tanto bade design can slice, pierce, cut, and slash with little problem. A highly-counterfeited knife due to its high cost.
The handle is 6061-T5 aluminum with a smooth satin grip. Perfect for all environments. Very expensive knife for an EDC flipper.
Features the AXIS locking mechanism – which offers easy, smooth open and close. QC issues have been reported by some buyers.

Some Tips to Keep in Mind when Buying a Folding Knife

Before you even consider whether or not the 940 is an investment you want to make, it’s a good idea to consider a few factors that might affect your purchase. While these have nothing to do with the knife itself, they can still drastically alter your satisfaction at the end of the day.

For instance:

Consider the Size: There’s no “perfect” size for a folding knife, but it’s fair to say that the average buyer has an idea what’s too big and too small for their needs. Blade size, handle size, and weight are likely the first things that you’ll want to look at when considering a purchase.

Know your Location: Not every steel, handle material, and mechanism is made to stand up to every type of environment. If the area you live in is overly wet, dry, hot, or cold, there may be issues of rust, corrosion, or additional wear and tear to consider.
Before you even consider whether or not the 940 is an investment you want to make, it’s a good idea to consider a few factors that might affect your purchase. While these have nothing to do with the knife itself, they can still drastically alter your satisfaction at the end of the day.

For instance:

Deployment Mechanism: Everyone’s needs will be different when it comes to their EDC knife. Some will want instant, one-handed deployment, and others would prefer a more reliable manual open to minimize the chance of any “accidents.” Still, others will want a deployment mechanism that’s somewhere in between.

Consider Portability: Along with the size and weight, how portable a knife is will determine it’s potential for EDC (every day carry). Things to consider here include pocket clips, multiple carry options, and how well the folded knife sits in the pocket.

Know Your Budget: In most cases, you pay for quality. However, you’ll want to be sure you know just how much “quality” you can afford, and consider if there are other similar knives that may better fit your budget.

It’s worth noting that many owners of the 940 rate it as the best EDC knife they’ve ever owned, praising its feather-light weight, it’s smooth – and somewhat “addictive” – open and closing mechanism, and its extremely high-quality components.

As for the above considerations, there should be few concerns about the size and portability of the 904, which is under 8” and weighs in at only 2.9 oz. Its steel is of amazingly high quality, is American made, and provides outstanding corrosion resistance and edge retention.

In the following sections, we’ll take a close look at each of the Benchmade 940’s components, and see if we can poke any holes in its stellar reputation, or if it genuinely is as flawless as its owners would have us believe.

Benchmade’s 940 Specifications

Handle: 4.47”
Blade: 3.40”
Closed: 4.47”
Overall: 7.87”
Steel: CPM-S3OV
Weight: 2.90 oz.
Thickness: 0.115”

Benchmade - 940 EDC Manual Open Folding Knife Made in USA, Reverse Tanto Blade, Serrated Edge, Coated Finish, Green Handle  The Benchmade 940 is a bit of a standout as far as EDC knives go. Though it’s measurements (4.47” handle, 3.4” blade, and blade thickness of 0.115″) are well “within the pocket” for everyday jobs, it really stands out due to its ultralight design, the AXIS locking mechanism, its aluminum handle, and its steel, which is considered among the best on the market.

Despite having a thin profile and slim (0.41”) handle design, most users report that the 940 feels great in their hands, offering solid control and a comfortable grip. Another notable design element here is the reverse tanto style blade, which is more suited to piercing than a drop-point (the go-to blade design for EDC knives). All of this, combined with Benchmade’s Lifetime warranty and LifeSharp service agreement, leave little for users to complain about.

Blade Design and Steel

The Blade

The blade of the 940 is designed for high utility and does a great job of delivering versatile cutting and slicing power. Made of some of the highest-quality steel on the market, the 3.4” reverse tanto blade is thin and light, but should more than stand up to the punishment of a day in the woods or in the factory.

It’s also worth noting that the blade of the Benchmade 940 is covered by both a lifetime warranty and Benchmade’s LifeSharp guarantee. If you do manage to damage it, they’ll sharpen it and sent it back or replace it entirely. This type of support is rare in the knife business, and it’s a welcome perk considering the high price point of this model.

Blade Design

As I mentioned above, the reverse tanto blade design of the Benchmade 940 is an excellent – if non-traditional – choice for an EDC knife. As the blade is quite thin, and not overly supported in the spine, the tanto blade (which forms a near-perfect spear point), will support piercing better than the traditional drop-point.

The only main downside to reverse tantos is that it can be a bit more difficult to sharpen than other blade designs. This doesn’t seem like a big deal at first, but as EDC knives are meant to be used – you guessed it – every day, sharpening the blade should be as easy as possible in my opinion. It’s also worth noting (as you’ll see below), that the steel itself can pose sharpening challenges. All in all, this puts a damper on otherwise near-perfect blade design.

The Steel

By now, most people are familiar with the CPM-S30V, high-quality stainless steel that was manufactured by Crucible Industries to maximize hardness, edge retention, and ease of sharpening. The makeup of the powder-forged blade contains carbon, molybdenum, and vanadium carbines to create a tough, sharp, and extremely wear-resistant blade steel.

The downside of the steel is the premium cost that comes along with its premium quality. It’s so expensive, in fact, that it is often the sole reason the knives that feature it are priced so high. However, aside from its tendency to be difficult to sharpen, most experts rate CPM-S30V as essentially flawless in terms of knife steel. Combine this with Benchmade’s commitment to keeping it sharp and functional, and many people see an investment worth making.

The Handle

At first, it may seem a bit perplexing for a company like Benchmade to choose anodized aluminum for a knife of this quality. That is, however, until you read the countless reviews of EDC knives that talk about G-10 scales getting “stuck” in their pockets or rubberized grips being impossible to retrieve in a pinch.

EDC knives spend the majority of their day being pulled in and out of pockets. If they get stuck, or you have to re-tuck your pocket lining every time, your patience is going to wear thin – FAST. The anodized aluminum solves that problem while still offering up a solid grip. The design of the handle is quite ergonomic as well, which supports the user’s hand and allows for some protection against forwarding slippage.

Downsides of this handle are mostly cosmetic, as the aluminum will take a beating from car keys, coins, and any other metal you might have in your pockets. Also – though the manufacturer claims the aluminum is “all weather” ready – there is likely going to be a slight loss of gripingness in extremely wet environments. If you don’t mind a few scuffs, however, and you aren’t using it on a crabbing boat, you should be pretty happy with how the handle performs.

Deployment & Locking Mechanism

By and large, the majority of users find the AXIS-Assist opening mechanism to be one of the most reliable, and most consistent EDC mechanisms on the market. A spring-loaded manual open, the AXIS system relies on a significant amount of thumb stud pressure to break the resistance but results in a lightning-quick deployment that is completely ambidextrous.

There is a manual locking switch on the external side of the knife to ensure that the knife doesn’t deploy by accident. Also fully ambidextrous in operation, it has held up well to rigorous field and factory tests, and there are very few reports of the lock failing or deploying in-pocket.

The only real downside to the AXIS-assist is that if the deployment does manage to break or corrode, the 940 won’t just “become a manual knife.” If anything, deploying the blade will either be a nearly impossible challenge, or it will be so loose as to be virtually useless.

Overall Quality and Features

It’s fair to say that the biggest problem facing the Benchmade 940 is making sure you get your hands on an authentic version that’s been rigorously quality controlled. Fortunately, both the manufacturer and all qualified sellers provide the protections necessary to ensure this. If it’s a dud – send it back. If it’s a fake – get your money back. How hard is that?

Putting all of that aside, it’s fair to say that this is one of the highest-rated knives on the market for a reason. It’s fast, dependable, light, and durable enough to be used every day for years at a time. A grippier handle and a more tightly-operated QC department, and the 940 would be virtually unstoppable in the EDC market.

Some Alternatives for the Benchmade 940

There are alternatives to the Schrade SCHF9 if you want to check out other options. Here is a look at some of the best ones.

#1 Benchmade 300

Benchmade - AXIS Flipper 300 Knife, Drop-Point If the Benchmade brand tickles your fancy, but the 940 just isn’t “robust” enough for you, take a look at the 300 series. A small, sturdy knife with a wide profile and huge drop-point blade design, the 300 is an excellent choice for those who are less concerned with finesse and control and more concerned with chopping and slicing.

Though it is double the weight of the 940, it has a smaller blade, a flipper opening mechanism (also by AXIS), an offers a better grip from the all-weather G-10 handle, which features some nice deep finger grooves to keep hands in place. If you’re looking for versatility an a little more “bang” for your buck, the 300 is a great alternative.

Benefits / Features:

  • Lower price and more versatility.
  • 154CM stainless steel (tough, rust-resistant, holds a great edge).
  • G-10 handle has a better grip, is impervious to moisture, and very durable.
  • AXIS Flipper 300 has the speed of the assist but with the convenience of a flipper.
  • Extremely comfortable.
  • Huge, thick drop-point blade is very versatile.
  • 3.18” blade, 7.36” overall, closes to 4.25.”
  • Small but with a full-sized feel.

#2 Off-Grid 220-S

Off-Grid Knives - OG-220S - Rapid Fire Camping & Hunting Folding EDC Knife, Cryo Japanese AUS8 Combo Blade with Tough & Grippy Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon (FRN) Handle & All-Position Mounting Clip If you want a serious folding knife that can handle pretty much any job, the 220-S from Off Grid is a great choice. This heavy-duty, large-bladed flipper offers rapid-fire ambidextrous deployment, multiple 3.75” blade options (with the ability to choose finish and serration), an ultra-grippy RFN handle.

The reinforced drop point blade of the 220-S is made of cryogenically-treated AUS 8 steel, a process which adds toughness, wear resistance, and a dramatic decrease in chipping and micro-fracturing. Whether camping, hunting, or just heading to work, this knife will seriously deliver.

Benefits / Features:

  • EDC designed for camping and hunting.
  • Cryogenically treated Japanese AUS8 steel.
  • Cryo process adds toughness, wear resistance, and decrease in chipping.
  • Rapid-fire quick blade ambidextrous deployment.
  • Opens with flipper trigger / dual thumb studs.
  • Serrated and non-serrated options.
  • 3.75” blade, 4.75” handle.
  • Weighs in at 5.68 oz.
  • RFN handle has a great grip and is all-weather ready.
  • 100% Money back guarantee.

#3 Tangram ACUTO 440

TANGRAM Folding Pocket Knife ACUTO440 Wharncliffe Sharp Blade Liner Lock G10 Handle Flipper Knife,Dirk Pinkerton Orion TG3007A2 With its tanto (non-reverse) blade and similar size and weight, the Tangram ACUTO 440 is a great budget-friendly alternative for those who love the Benchmade 940 but just can’t justify the investment. Saml, easy-to-use, an extremely durable, this flipper features ACUTO 440 stainless steel, quick one-handed deployment, and a reliable lock-back mechanism to prevent closure.

One of its best features, however, is the blade itself, which is almost like an exaggerated utility knife. Not only will this blade slice, but it will stab and pierce with the best of them. Controlling the fine-point is also made easy thanks to the textured G-10 handle.

Benefits / Features:

  • Small, easy-to-use, and durable flipper.
  • Quick, one-handed deployment.
  • Lock-back mechanism offers reliable strength and safety.
  • Textured G-10 handle provides a performance grip.
  • ACUTO440 stainless steel is very hard and corrosion resistant.
  • 3.35” blade, 4.07” handle, 7.42” total.

Conclusion

It’s safe to say that the Benchmade 940 is a highly-rated and best selling knife for a reason. Even under close scrutiny, it’s various components (steel, handle, blade design) all hold up quite well. If you want a knife that you can take anywhere and do practically anything with, this is a heck of a good choice.

For more details on the Benchmade 940, click the link below.

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