Benchmade Barrage 581

            Benchmade has added a new addtion to their collection of knives. The new version of the Barrage 581 recently came out this year, 2011. At first glance it appears to be a well rounded knife. The handle features G10 and aluminum with M390 super steel. The handle is also very thick and has a soft, smooth texture to it, which helps give you tighter more firm grip.

            The bolsters near the handle are very durable and is made of aluminum. It seems to be covered with a protective or decorative oxide which helps to avoid any scratches or scuffs from something rubbing on. The blade features a plain edge and a satin finish. Just by looking at it you wouldn’t know the spring would be strong. But actually this spring assisted models combine speed and strength with just one attempt of opening it. 

            The Barrage has a safety on the back that can either lock up when the blade is open or closed. Personally I do not recommend this kind of lock because it has a rugged feel to it. Moving it up and down after every use makes your finger sore after. This knife also comes with a reversible tip-up pocket clip for easy carry. The blade between the polished liners is small but does not rub against anything and has an even smooth lock up and no blade play.

Benchmade Specifications:
Overall Length: 8.35″
Blade Length: 3.60″
Blade Thickness: 0.121″
Blade Material: M390 Super Steel
Blade Hardness: 60-62HRC
Blade Style: Drop-Point; Ambidextrous Thumb-Studs
Closed Length: 4.75″
Handle Thickness: 0.65″ Weight: 5.20 oz.
Clip: Reversible Tip-Up Clip
Lock Mechanism: AXIS-ASSIST Lock
Made in USA

Top 3 Spring Assist Knives

Top 3 Spring Assist Knives

Benchmade 913 Nitrous Stryker

If we are doing a list of “top knives” in any category Benchmade is sure to be in there somewhere. I am not a huge fan of Benchmade automatics of any type but I think they actually got their spring assist knives right. They have several assisted knives in their quiver: 340 Aphid, 470 Emissary, 580 Barrage, 790 Subrosa, 890 Torrent and the Nitrous Stryker.

Pros: This knife is fast. The first thing you’ll notice when you take out the Nitrous Stryker is the speed at which it fires. It beats any Benchmade auto of any type, hands down. It’s also smooth, which you would expect from any Benchmade. Besides the “at-home” feeling in the hand, my
favorite thing about this knife is the spring mechanism itself. The expectation with powerful spring-loaded knives these days is that you need to update your life insurance policy before you attempt to close them. This knife is as easy to close as it is to open. The ease is due to a rotating cylinder on the top of the leaf spring. I have a hard time really liking a lot of Benchmade knives, contrary to popular belief. This knife however, is up there with the greats.

Cons: There aren’t many cons to speak of and they are pretty subjective at that. There is no option for any other type of carry (clip) except right handed, tip-up. It can still be fired lefty but the clip is going to be on top. The blade is D2 tool steel which is going to be more brittle and less
stainless than the alternatives. That being said, D2 does have good edge retention, but for me the bad outweighs the good.

Kershaw Leek

Could there be a more quintessential spring assisted knife company? Kershaw is king when it comes to assisted openers, and for good reason. The Leek specifically has a long reputation as a great EDC (every day carry) knife.

Pros: This knife is as well suited on the farm as at church. The ultra slim design allows for minimal intrusion while carrying and yet still possesses a comfortable grip when in use. It utilizes a flipper and a thumb-stud deployment for quick firing. The frame lock is a solid and smooth option for repetitive tasks. The Leek also comes in a plethora of colors, blade types and materials to suit any need and aesthetic.

Cons: As with the Stryker, the Leek only has one option for carry (tip-down/right handed). Though this knife is certainly at home in a variety of situations the blade is a little thin and narrow for heavy-duty tasks (check out the Kershaw Shallot for a bigger alternative). The only other problem with the Leek would be that you cannot easily adjust the pivot screw for cleaning or tension preferences.

Zero Tolerance 300 Series

Zero Tolerance knives live up to their namesake. The 300 Series specifically packs a lot of heat and what else would you expect? The 300 Series has models that incorporate Strider Knives ingenuity to make them all the better if you prefer. The quandary of if there is a spring-assisted knife that can take heavy abuse is over.

Pros: This knife is ready for anything you throw at it. The thick, leaf-shaped blade is ready to be put to work. The S30V blade steel will ensure the best of toughness and edge-retention. The flipper makes firing the knife quick and the strong spring puts all worries to rest. It comes in great options for Strider model or standard G10. The clip is moveable for any of the four carrying combinations. This is about the most comfortable knife to use due to precision milling and a secure frame lock (optional Strider locking mechanism).

Cons: This knife is big and really lacks the tactile ability for detail oriented tasks. The thumb studs are basically non-functional because of the flipper swinging into your hand. Also, at a price tag of $200.00+ for the Strider version it gets a little hefty on the wallet.

Levi Jackson
Chief of Conversions and Knife Repair

Introduction to Kershaw Spring Assisted Knives

Introduction to Kershaw Spring Assisted Knives

In 1974 Kershaw Knife Company was born, and they made an immediate impact by producing affordable, yet high quality knives. At the forefront of this production was their line of spring assisted knives such as the Leek, the Scallion, and the Shallot. These knives were designed with simplicity, durability, convenience and affordability in mind.
With their easy to open blades, these knives have become very useful for many purposes. They are very easy to open, and operate one handed. With most having an ambidextrous thumb stud. Also, they are equipped with Kershaw’s patented Speed Safe technology. This technology is in the torsion bar. Which means when the knife is closed, it helps keep it closed and prevents it from being opened by gravity. However, when it comes to opening the knife, just apply manual pressure to the thumb stud to overcome the torsion bar. Once the blade is out of the handle, the torsion bar engages and opens the blade the remainder of the way at amazing speed. Most of the knives are also equipped with a safety near the tip of the blade so that the knife does not open by mistake. And with their ability to maintain a good edge, it makes them ideal for an everyday utility, or multipurpose knife

Gerber Covert Review

 If money is a little tight and you’re on a budget or if you’re into knife fighting or law enforcement then the Gerber Covert is my top recommendation. It’s one of the more afforable qualily models you can get. The Covert  retails for about $90 but you can find them online in the $50 range.  

The Covert is a great assisted opening option.  A few of key points: The Covert  is definitely a tactical fighting knife and primarily marketed toward Military and Law enforcement  The handles are G10 and the knife is very comfortable to hold (personally I don’t feel that it feels like a knife fighting grip).  The action is great and the 440A blade gets any job done with ease. The serration on the blade is almost an inch an a half.  The blade is nearly 3.75 inches long (this could be a problem with regard to carry in some states).  

A little break down on the Gerber Covert stats:

Overall Length: 8.75″  
Blade Length: 3.75″ 
Blade Steel: 440A
Handle Material: G-10
Weight: 5.0 oz.  (it is heavier than most knives of comparable size because of the G10 handle).

As I previously mentioned this knife is focused towards the military and law enforcement.  Personally I enjoy Filipino Martial Arts and I’m  into knife combat training and I finnd that the Gerber Covert is a perfect fit. While I can’t necessarily recommend this knife as an EDC I can vouch for it’s overall quality and ruggedness.  The only gripe I have is that the knife is right side tip down carry only and I’m not accustomed to this. I like knives to have a little more flexibility where the carry clip is concerned.   Overall its a handsome piece.