By Matt Hecker
When I choose a knife to carry each day, the choice depends on what type of knife interests me the most at that time. Sometimes I prefer to carry a light, thin, relatively small knife, and other times I want a bigger, heavier knife. Most of the time, I’ll choose one knife that catches my attention and I’ll stick with it for several weeks or months. As I use it, I either grow fond of it or I realize it is just not a good fit for me. Throughout the years, I’ve carried a few knives for extended periods of time, and they’ve become part of my main “go to” collection. Right now, that collection consists of about 4 knives – my Spyderco Military in CPM-D2, my Benchmade 940 with an aluminum handle, my Benchmade 940 with a carbon fiber handle, and most recently, the Benchmade 808. I’ve spent a good amount of time with the 808, and I am very impressed with it. It is a strong, large, high-quality knife that has served me well over the past year.
How It Looks
With a black G10 handle that measures 4.94 inches in length, and a blade length of 3.68 inches, this model fits into what I would call the medium to large category. My particular model has a plain edge, uncoated blade, but Benchmade offers a partially serrated blade option and a black coating option. The knife weighs 6.56 ounces, and the handle is .67 inches thick. The blade is made of CPM-S30V, which is considered a high quality stainless steel. The stainless steel liners of the knife are skeletonized to help keep the overall weight down. The blade shape is called a reverse tanto, so the majority of the edge is straight, with a slight curve as it reaches the point. The deep-carry pocket clip is reversible, and it orients the knife with its tip pointing upward in the pocket. The 808 uses an oval hole as the opening mechanism, rather than a thumb stud or round hole.
There are several features of the knife that stand out immediately. The G10 scales are milled out so that the knife is thicker down the main line of the handle, but thinner near the top and bottom. They are also milled out near the AXIS Lock mechanism. The hardware on this knife is also unique. The tops of the pivot screw and the AXIS Lock pin are machined into a triangular shape that gives the knife a modern look. The handle itself is curved from one end to the other, making it feel reminiscent of a gun handle when held. Instead of having a plastic or G10 back spacer, this model comes with two wide, flat metal barrel spacers that add to the modernistic look.
How It Functions
With all these fancy features that catch the eye, I was curious to see if any of them actually had any functionality, or if they caused any issues.
The milled G10 scales provided extra grip that was definitely noticeable. There is no jimping anywhere on this knife, and the G10 is quite smooth. I happen to be a “jimping junkie”, so I would greatly prefer some simple jimping along the top of the knife where your thumb rests when cutting objects. I would also prefer some jimping on the lower portion of the handle where your pointer and pinky fingers would be when gripping the knife. In the absence of jimping, the milled-out G10 did provide extra grip. Also, the milled-out areas around the AXIS Lock did provide easy access to unlock the knife. So, the G10 provides good looks and functionality.
The triangular shaped hardware is mostly for looks, but I did find that the oversized AXIS Lock pin was easier to pinch and pull back with the triangular shape.
The curved handle is a bit more controversial for me. The first several months I carried the knife, I disliked the shape of the curved handle. There is a cutout for the pointer finger which worked well, but the slight cutout/pinky shelf at the end of the knife was not comfortable. It did not fit my hand, even though it was close. However, once I used the knife for a while, I found that if you grip it like a gun handle, it was much more comfortable than if you simply squeeze upward into the palm of your hand. This may sound awkward, but think of how you would squeeze a knife with a perfectly straight handle and compare that to how you would grip a knife with a curved handle. You squeeze back toward your wrist rather than up into your palm. Over time, I really grew to like the grip.
This knife is also very well made. The thick liners, thick blade, and oversized AXIS lock all make the knife extra sturdy. I dropped it, torqued it, cut soft material, hard material, tough rope, and generally just used the knife for over a year, and it still looks good and functions just as it did when it was new. I did not mind getting it scratched up a bit, and it became my main knife when I wanted a larger knife for daily carry. Sometimes, I feel the need to have a larger knife in my pocket for whatever I may come across.
The oval opening hole also worked really well. I have always preferred some type of hole to a thumb stud, and this one has inside edges that are just sharp enough to catch my thumb when opening, but not sharp enough to hurt me. I get excellent purchase with the oval hole.
The knife came to me very sharp, and the S30V steel was easy to sharpen on my Edge Pro Apex sharpening tool once it became dull. The grind was even on the edge and on the swedge. The lockup was solid with no vertical or horizontal play.
The deep carry pocket clip is not my favorite for a carry knife because frequently, the knife is too deep in my pocket. However, it does hide the knife considerably in the pocket. It worked fine, but each person will have their own preferences.
What I Think
Overall, the knife is great! I happen to love Benchmade knives, and I own about 20 or so. This one gets used every week, and it has been clipped to my pocket for many months. The heavy duty attributes help make this a great value knife, one that will last for a very long time. The knife can be found at various websites for about $204 to about $216, depending on what configuration you want.
For more info and to purchase the Benchmade 808 visit www.benchmade.com
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