Today, Woods Monkey takes a look at a rock solid folder that was a result of collaboration between BM engineers and Shane Sibert. Known for his Hell-for-stout products, the new 755 MPR continues that tradition, but in a more portable package.
Have you ever noticed how when you talk knives there are some terms that are very specific and others that are more subjective? If you say that you have a knife that has a 4 inch spear point, parallel spine and edge, with a full grind this gives you a fairly good idea what sort of blade profile you’re speaking of. One could probably draw a picture of it and do a fair job in replicating it solely from this description. It may even be possible for 4 or 5 people to draw the same blade profile from the description within a small degree of error. Now, if we try the same exercise with blade terminology like bushcraft, tactical, EDC, or field blades, how many different designs would spring up? Probably a different design would come from each person’s interpretation. This is how I felt when I was given the chance to review the Benchmade 755 MPR (mini pocket rocket). I read some articles about its release and collaboration of custom maker Shane Sibert with Benchmade to design and produce this blade. To quote benchmade’s website this knife is “a stout titanium monolock”, a true description surely. However a great many details more went into Shane’s vision to produce the MPR.
Just one quick side note on the origins of this collaborative effort between Benchmade and Shane Sibert, if you aren’t someone who takes advantage of the audio section of woodsmonkey you may not be privy to the backstory. Be sure to swing by the audio section of Woods Monkey for the audio interview with Garrett Lucas and Les De Asis of Benchmade. Here you will find out many interesting details of the Benchmade back story and history, as well as a little bit about this knife’s designer Shane Sibert. From his humble beginnings as a teenager hanging around the Benchmade shop, being taken under the wing of some of the top makers there, and eventually becoming a full time maker of his own line. Les even discusses the unique challenges presented by branching into the steel used on the MPR. Stop by and take a listen.
Let’s jump right into it. Aside from the pictures here I’ll do what I can to better describe the form and function of this not-so-typical blade. When I received the package and opened it my first impression of the MPR was that it was stout, I dare say I thought it was a bit over built for a pocket folder. Holding it for the first time while still closed I took in the clean lines and fit. Hefting it in the hand the MPR is impressive but not overly heavy, weighing in at 5.5 oz. The fit of the handle material is very well done. Nothing gives away a poor fit like a right angle. In utter defiance instead we find right angle cuts and gimping across both handle materials; mostly decorative but it does show the skill of the fit. The cuts between the blue G-10 and titanium scale sections flow smoothly without any misalignment. Though the handle is ruggedly built and its appearance lends itself to strength and durability, the handle of the755 MPR is surprisingly comfortable.
Handle size and fit in the hand is a topic that is just about as subjective as it comes. I can tell you the handle felt good to me, that it filled my hand well, and gave me a good confident grip. That doesn’t mean a darn thing to you unless you have the same size hand as me and use the knife the same way. So let’s concentrate on the dimensions to give you an idea you can apply to the pictures. Handle length is 3.80” long and the thickness is a healthy .610” which gives you a wielding confidence that far surpasses most folders in this length. It also makes it a bit of a fat boy in the pocket. I won’t say it puts the knife out of what I consider a usable pocket knife but if you like to wear your trousers tight, you may struggle with this brute.
The jimping and texturing offer good purchase but not enough sharp edges to fatigue the hand unduly during use. I personally didn’t find the spine gimping on the thumb ramp all that functional; it was simply not sharp enough to offer a good lock up. The G-10 portions of the scales are cross checked, this provides a good grip when hands are slick or when wearing gloves. The titanium sections of the knife include the pocket clip and a portion of the clip side scale. This scale section also comprises the beefy titanium monolock. When engaged this lock system is unyielding to say the least, I couldn’t get it to fail under any scenario I put it through. The pocket clip is also built tough as well, thick and well contoured it really grabs well on a pocket rib. The only drawback of this rigid clip is it has less spring than a thinner clip would offer. This is just another trade off that the individual has to decide for themselves.
The knife doesn’t just slip into your pocket like a slimmer clipped knife would do but oh the security of the carry once you get it locked on. What does this mean to you and I? Well, I found it useful to put the knife on or in a cargo pocket further down my thigh. This position was awesome for when I was squatted down or kneeling. The carry position is point down with the spine forward in the right pocket. I found deployment smooth and it rode well in this position save for one thing. On two occasions while carrying the knife all day in the field for some serious woods bumming the blade jiggled open just enough to poke through my pocket. I believe this to be an effect of the weight of the blade and the smoothness of the action. A quick tightening with a torx bit is all it took to tune the action to a nice compromise of tension and speed while opening. To be perfectly fair the model I tested was a prototype and it is entirely likely that it has seen some prototypical usage. So to wrap up the handle we also have an unlined lanyard hole at the tail of the piece.
So what did we come here for? A boring on going long winded explanation of a knife handle? Hell no! Bring on the steel baby. Let me explain, I am a 14 year veteran of the metals industry in my daily grind. From aerospace super alloys, to titanium, to carbon and stainless I’ve been from one end to the other and back. So what does a metallurgic geek think of the usage of a corrosion resistant martenstetic grade steel, one word – sexy. This steel grade is a fantastic compromise of many factors that knife users are looking for. M390 is a steel produced by Bohler-Uddeholm by powdered metallurgy process, primarily it is a tool steel used in applications that require high wear resistance. High abrasion injection molded plastics and thermo setting plastics are some of these applications. The chemical make up is as follows: C 1.90% Si .70% Mn .30% Cr 20.0% Mo 1.0% V 4.0% W .60%.
I can’t teach you to read ferrite potential, heat treat solutions, or much of anything else in the time and space provided here. What I can do is tell you a few key points. Metal is simple, each element has a form and function. Just don’t over think it. Why were the knives of old all made of carbon steels? Because they could form and hold an edge burr. The carbon content is directly related to the hardness potential and therefore wear resistance. If you compare this factor to a better known steel like the semi-stainless D2 which has 1.4% carbon and is known for it’s hardness you can see what kind of potential we have here. This knife boasts a reported hardness of 60-62 HRC. Abrasion resistance is achieved by the Manganese, Vanadium and Tungsten content. The 20% Chromium content pushes this grade into the Stainless category so it is very resistant to corrosion. There it is in a nutshell; a hard edge holder with the ability to resist corrosion.
How this equates to the edge is a fine working blade with incredible edge holding ability. In truth I never fully took the edge off this knife in the nearly 2 months I tested it. I sharpened it more to test how it performed sharpening than for any other reason. I have a 2’x72” belt grinder so this is my preferred means to sharpen a knife, but to be more in keeping with the norm I always try a few methods when testing. The knife stropped very well and brought a keen edge up with just medium effort. Stone sharpening proved disappointing, without diamond hones I don’t believe a truly finished edge could be achieved. The blade is simply too hard and resistant to wear.
The blade itself is marketed as a tactical clip point design. This is a great all around configuration, I found it to work well for any general EDC tasks. Box cutting, sawing through a hose in the shop, stripping wiring, or cleaning your finger nails. The blade profile is a midline saber grind with a thick topped false edge spine. Blade thickness is a robust .164”. Dual blood grooves, ambidextrous thumbstuds, drip notch, and spine gimped thumb ramp round out the details. As I said I personally didn’t find the thumb ramp gimping all that practical but the radius just forward of that proved to be quite useful. Power assisted and push cuts with either the thumb or index finger proved comfortable and controllable. The large sweep of the short clip point blade made carving chores a breeze. Tasks that let the knife shine and excel were ones where the forward mass could be utilized. Stabs for penetration and slash cuts are impressive for a knife only 6.90” overall. I did do some batoning with it more for the fact that I always baton with test knives than because it was built for it. The thickness of the blade and the width of the handle made it an easy bit of work, though I don’t think it much good for anything over 2.5” thick. You could however split some dry hardwood from each end if the crack was able to propagate. No matter if you either consider it a large pocket knife, a medium folder, an EDC, a tactical or personal defense blade, or even a cross over to larger tasks; this is a knife that can fill a lot of shoes.
There it is – the Benchmade 755 Mini Pocket Rocket from Sibert Designs. There can be no arguing the time, thought, skill, and craftsmanship that went into this piece. Add to that some of the top materials available in the business today. With G-10 and titanium scales as well as a new kid on the block in steel with the M390; the uniqueness of this knife stacks up fast. Its form, its function, its very intent at first glance make it a stand out piece. Now, with an MSRP of $235 the MPR isn’t going to find its way into everyone’s pocket. A quick search found prices as low as $200. But for those collectors that wish to have a unique piece this blade offers many innovative notions that make for strong arguments to buy. For those that need a reliable tactical blade to depend on there can be no compromise in a situation that could cost you everything. I talked a lot about subjectivity in this review; the truth is that the decision to own a 755 MPR is something that can only be answered by you. But to have a knife made by one of America’s lead manufacturers, designed by a progeny of the same said company, with state of the art materials – well, why wouldn’t you want to take a “rocket” for a ride?