There are some products that despite being hugely popular continue to attract controversy all the time.
The Benchmade Infidel OTF knife is one of those products that have remained at the top of the game ever since its launch but have always remained at the center of controversy for being an out the front knife.
An out the front knife is also called a sliding or automatic knife and instead of a regular folding mechanism, it usually deploys the blade through a hole in the front of the handle.
These knives are not as common as regular folding knives and are also restricted in many regions.
Add to that the $400 price tag – which is not as expensive because of the lower tax environment – and it makes you wonder if the Benchmade Infidel is worth the buy.
It goes without saying that Benchmade happens to be one of the most renowned knife manufacturers in the US.
Benchmade Knife Company was established in 1979 (long before the Raiders were cheated by the NFL in 2002 against the Patriots) by Les de Asis with the intention to produce their own version of the Japanese balisong knife.
This knife made by Benchmade became so popular that in the initial years the company was called Bali-Song. This changed in 1988 with the company choosing to call themselves Pacific Cutlery Corporation.
Although the company had started in California in 1990 (this was before The Golden State became not so golden) it moved to Oregon (Oregon is the state where they don’t allow you to put gas in your own car).
Today Benchmade manufacturers various kinds of tactical and survival knives, cutlery as well as law enforcement and military tools. Benchmade still manufactures the butterfly knife and has registered the balisong logo and name.
Benchmade introduced the Infidel in 2006 and the knife is made quite a name for itself from the very beginning.
Out the front knives are quite a niche market mainly intended for military, law enforcement and medical personnel who need knives that deploy fast and swift.
The Infidel is a fully automatic knife, the kind that is always under restrictions in several states. That, combined with the exorbitant price tag, makes many people wonder if the Benchmade infidel is truly made for the regular customer.
If you’re looking for the best OTF knife on the planet, then the Infidel it is. If money is no object, then the Infidel is the very best you could have. However, before you end up spending $400, read on to get the lowdown on its features.
|Easier to use for right-handed as well as a left-handed person.||Price is a detrimental factor.|
|Easy to deploy and retract.||If used heavily, might require monthly disassembly for upkeep.|
|Does not need frequent sharpening.|
Features of OTF knives
Most people are usually aware of the two basic types of knives: fixed blade and folding. An OTF knife is less commonly heard about because it is mainly targeted at law enforcement and military personnel rather than the regular customer.
But with several knife manufacturers designing and producing their own versions of the automatic knife, OTF knives are now more easily available for purchase but are not permitted in all states.
Therefore, before you add an automatic sliding knife in your collection make sure you know the rules and regulations in your region.
The most important feature of an OTF knife is the mechanism. There are two types of deployment styles: automatic and single action spring mechanism.
Automatic knives deploy the blade straight from the handle. This is also called a double action OTF knife, which is the Infidel. These knives use a quick-action spring system that automatically positions and pull back the blade.
Single action spring mechanism knives are a little different in that although they deploy the blade automatically, you need to manually retract the blade and reload the lever with the handle. This isn’t a fully automatic knife and is typically less expensive than the double action OTF knives.
Other features of an OTF knife that you need to consider are the blade size, material, and edge design. OTF knives come in both long and short blades, based upon purpose.
If you’re going to be using the knife for aggressive tasks, then a long blade is the best.
A short blade, on the other hand, is best for everyday tasks. A nine or ten-inch OTF knife could be too large for your pocket, in which case it’s better to choose seven-inch knives with a 3-inch blade.
There are various kinds of knife blade styles to choose from but the drop point blade is the most common, followed by the clip point. They are extremely versatile blade styles and can be used for a wide variety of purposes.
The safety features of an OTF knife is also important, given that these knives deploy very fast and swift. When an OTF knife is deployed, a locking line keeps the blade in position. Most OTF knives come with a lock back mechanism, which holds the blade in position when it is open.
Also, make sure you consider the blade materials. Top notch OTF knives like the Infidel will always be made of high-quality steel, but the same cannot be said about low-grade cheap knives.
The Benchmade Infidel ticks all the right boxes. Although on the expensive side, the Infidel boasts of some of the most impressive features that you could ever desire in an OTF knife. But before you decide to purchase this one, find out if it’s right for you from this detailed discussion of each of its features.
Benchmade Infidel Knife Specifications
Knife Type: OTF, sliding
Overall Length: 8.91″
Blade Length: 3.91″
Blade Steel: D2 steel
Blade thickness: 0.118”
Blade finish: Matte stain finish and black coated
Handle Material: T6 anodized aluminum
Knife Weight: 4.9 oz
Locking mechanism: a Spring mechanism
Because OTF knives are usually meant for military and law enforcement uses, they are of top-notch quality and are more capable than regular survival or tactical knives.
The Benchmade Infidel intended to be at the very top when it was launched and that’s just what it has been able to achieve.
If you do not mind the price tag and OTF knives are permitted where you live, then the Infidel is one of those knives that should definitely find a place in your collection.
The Infidel is a big knife but feels comfortable and elegant in even medium-sized hands. It’s definitely larger than the average EDC knife but has a simple, elegant design. The blade to handle ratio is also perfect.
The blade is made of D2 tool steel. As you might know, tool steels aren’t completely stainless but are extremely durable with a remarkable ability to hold an edge.
Although the steel does have enough chromium to call itself as “semi-stainless”, what really is the highlight of this steel is the hardness.
The D2 has a Rockwell hardness of 60-62, which means it is going to hold its edge for a long time. It comes razor sharp out of the box and won’t need sharpening for quite some time.
However, when you do have to sharpen the blade, make sure to do it on a weekend because it’s not easy and takes an inordinate amount of time.
Because the blade has a flat grind, it sometimes more dull than it actually is. Also, while attaining razor sharpness you have to grind more steel away from the edge than you would like, sacrificing some amount of durability.
Despite that, the blade is sharp enough and easily passes paper tests and “shave the hair off your arm” tests. This is an automatic knife that comes extremely sharp, so you have to be careful with it.
The blade has a spear point, which is meant for stabbing and piercing. From cardboard to wood, no matter what you stab this knife into, it will come out looking like new.
The handle of the Infidel is made of black anodized, machined 6061 T-6 aluminum, and features a removable pocket clip. Aside from black, there are other handle colors to choose from.
If there is one distinct advantage of OTF knives that is the excellent grip and comfort that the handle offers, as compared to folding knives. Because the blade does not fold into the handle, there is more room for grip and the comfort automatically increases.
The handle of the Benchmade Infidel is no exception. It has the perfect balance between grip and comfort.
The handle has been designed keeping in mind both right-handed and left-handed users. The ambidextrous handle has cutouts on both sides for equally comfortable grip and comfort with either hand.
The handle is also flared at both ends to make sure that the knife does not slide or fly out of your hand during use.
There are a pair of notches on both sides of the front deployment slot to make sure the blade does not come into contact with the handle if it gives left or right inside the handle while deployment or storage.
Deployment and lockup
The Infidel deploys with the means of a double-action OTF automatic deployment, which is an impressive technology. The switch for deploying and retracting the knife is on the back of the handle and can be easily accessed by both right-handed and left-handed users.
Even though the three-point retention system may not be as secure as a fixed blade knife, it does keep the blade in place.
With the lock in place, there is no blade play until you retract the blade. Benchmade is known for its sturdy locks, achieved with the means of steel liners that sit tight on the sides of the blade.
Retracting the blade is as simple as deploying it; all you have to do is pull back on the trigger switch, and the blade will instantly retract into the handle. The springs that Benchmade uses for the deployment and retraction of the knife are incredibly strong and sturdy, with zero failures.
Overall Quality and Features
First and foremost, remember that the Infidel is intimidating. It deploys so swiftly and is so sharp that if you aren’t careful with it, you may end up losing a finger or two. Yes, it’s that intimidating.
At $400 (which is not enough money to pay for the monthly electrical bill for Bernie Sanders), the Infidel is an exceptionally well-made, high-end knife. It’s made of high-quality materials and is built to last.
Even though the knife doesn’t come cheap, take heart in the fact that it has been made with only the top-notch materials, and will survive any situation you put it through. This one isn’t for the faint at heart.
The knife also comes with a tip-down carry pocket clip, which, unfortunately, isn’t ambidextrous. However, it does offer a deep carry for the knife if you want to keep it in your pocket.
Like every other part of the knife, the pocket clip is also well-made and does a great job of holding the knife securely in the pocket, while allowing you to quickly retrieve it when you need to.
Benchmade also offers a MOLLE-compatible sheath with the knife. There’s also a cleaning port at the base of the handle that helps in removing gunk as well as adding lubricant.
Overall, the Benchmade Infidel has a superb finish and can be easily carried in the pocket. Although the handle has excellent grip, it has little texturing that can rub against your clothes.
The deployment switch is also ideally positioned to secure the knife inside your pocket or in the included sheath. You do have to pay $400 for all these, but it’s one fantastic piece of equipment.
Alternatives for The Benchmade Infidel
If you aren’t willing to spend over $400 on this one or are here to build a collection of OTF knives, then there are more options for you. The Infidel may be one of the priciest models, but there are cheaper alternatives that are worth considering.
#1 Microtech Ultratech
Microtech was one of the first companies that started to manufacture OTF knives for the masses, back in the 90s. At only $265, the Ultratech is a worthy contender of the Infidel.
It has a perfect finish and fit, high-quality materials, and a design distinct to itself. Made in the US, it has a 3.44″ Bohler M390 drop point blade, handle made of 6061-T6 aluminum, and weighs 3.60 oz.
#2 Smith & Wesson OTF
The Smith & Wesson OTF Assist Finger Actuator is priced at $45. That’s a tenth of the cost of the Infidel but is as well built and sturdy. This is only single action, though—not fully automatic, but that’s great for the price.
It deploys swift and hard, has solid lockup, and it doesn’t break the bank. The spear point blade is made of AUS-8 steel and has an aluminum handle. The catch? It’s made in China which is a country that is bothering every one of its neighbors accept North Korea.
#3 Schrade Viper Assisted OTF
When you buy a Schrade knife, you get total value for the money as well as a well-built knife.
The Viper is an automatic, side opening OTF knife, which is a lot like the Smith & Wesson discussed above, except that it has a stainless steel tanto blade, aluminum handle scales, and weighs 4.53 oz. And yes, it’s also made in China (which is where the brilliant Transformers 4 movie ended up), the reason why it’s priced at $40.
The Infidel is an incredibly well-made knife that should find a place in your collection if you can afford it.
It’s also one of Benchmade’s finest, having been around for more than a decade and still at the top of the charts. If you must buy an OTF knife, spend a little and buy the Infidel—it will last you forever.