I have owned and used my fair share of pocket knives. From the cheap knives you buy as a kid at the local army surplus or flea market to the mid-range quality knives that don’t break the bank or your heart when you lose them, and even hand-me-down knives that my grandfather and great-grandfather used, I have had many.
Awarded “Knife of the Year” by the Shooting Industry Academy of Excellence, the 585 Mini-Barrage is my first Benchmade and I am eager to see if it lives up to the hype and legacy that the brand has established for itself.
Product provided by Benchmade for review purposes.
|Blade material||154CM Stainless|
|Blade style||Mini-Drop Point; Ambidextrous Thumb -Studs|
|Pocket clip||Reversible Bright Slip Arrow|
|Lock mechanism||AXIS-ASSIST Lock|
The first thing to notice with the 585 Mini-Barrage is that the blade has a razor sharp factory edge. This is a big plus for me, because I have owned knives before that require a quick or even laborious sharpening before you can try your new gear out. Next, it must be noted that the 585 blade is not serrated. I often prefer a knife with a serrated edge because I find that it offers added utility to the knife especially on the trail when you need the extra sharp cutting edge. However, as long as the sharp edge is maintained on the blade, the lack of a serrated edge should be mitigated. The blade material is 154CM which Benchmade labels:
“An American made premium grade stainless steel originally developed for tough industrial applications. Known for its best all-around qualities, it offers great corrosion resistance with good toughness and edge quality.”
I will note the durability and longevity of the knife’s edge throughout the review process. There are many products on the market to sharpen your knife, however, if you are able to part with your knife and $5 to cover handling and return shipping, Benchmade’s LIFESHARP service will hone your blade back to its original factory edge.
One of the features that sets this knife apart is its locking mechanism. The 585 Mini-Barrage uses the Benchmade exclusive AXIS mechanism.
A patented Benchmade exclusive, AXIS® has been turning heads and winning fans ever since its introduction. A 100-percent ambidextrous design, AXIS® gets its function from a small, hardened steel bar which rides forward and back in a slot machined into both steel liners. The bar extends to both sides of the knife, spans the liners, and is positioned over the rear of the blade. It engages a ramped, tang portion of the knife blade when it is opened. Two omega style springs, one on each liner, give the locking bar its inertia to engage the knife tang. As a result, the tang is wedged solidly between a sizable stop pin and the AXIS® bar itself.
The AXIS mechanism complements the ambidextrous thumb studs on the blade to enable the user, whether right or left handed to both open and close the blade with one hand. The motion the springs used in the AXIS are very strong, a relief having assisted-opening knives whose springs become worthless after too much use. This, however, does make closing the blade with one hand more difficult as you have to counter the force of the springs. Initially, I was unable to close the knife in a fluid comfortable manner with one hand because of this, but with a little bit of practice I was able to close it with one hand in a way that was much easier.
Throughout the construction of the Mini-Barrage 585, Benchmade uses a 6-lobe headed screw for easy maintenance of the knife. The carrying-clip is initially placed on the non-logo side of the knife for users who prefer to keep the knife in their right pocket. The clip can be removed and placed on the other (logo) side of the knife for users who wish to store the knife in their left pocket. One difference that I noted as soon as I tried to use the clip is that it is placed on the bottom of the knife, opposite the pivot point of the blade.
Almost every knife that I have ever used that has a clip placed it on the same end as the pivot point of the blade. I find that it doesn’t take away from the usefulness or utility of the knife, it is just difficult to get used to at first. Like buying a car with the gas tank on the passenger’s side, you will pull the car in the wrong way once or twice at first, but soon you will always pull up to the gas station on the right side. The Mini-Barrage also features a locking mechanism on the upper spine of the knife.
Pushing the pin forward towards the pivot point of the knife locks the blade in place. The blade can be locked when it is close, or when the knife is open. The knife also has two small indentions on its sides of the body of the knife to ergonomically fit the curvature of your fingers.
I look forward to reviewing the Benchmade Mini-Barrage over the next few months. Please check back in a month for and update to the initial review.
The Mini-Barrage has traveled with me almost everywhere that I have been. From everyday activities where I have needed a sharp blade to open some type of package, to a few overnight trips and day hikes, this Benchmade knife has served me well. I have spent a month with the Benchmade 585 Mini-Barrage and many of the questions that I had about it in my initial review have been answered.
Let’s address some of those initial questions and reservations I had about the Mini-Barrage:
Lack of serrated blade: I was initially worried that the 585’s lack of serrated blade would underscore its utility that I have found so useful in many knives that I have owned. So far, the durability and superior edge of the Mini-Barrage has put those worries out of my head.
Closing the Axis locking mechanism: When I first handled the knife, I had problems closing the knife blade with one hand, but felt that with more use and more time, the task would become easier. After a month with the knife this is definitely the case. I can close the blade with ease and the assisted mechanism to open the blade has not lost any power in its springs.
Inverted carrying-clip: This was not so much a problem as it was getting used to the orientation of how to put the knife in my pocket. I thought that by this point it would be like second nature and that I wouldn’t have to fiddle with placing the knife upside down in my pocket. I guess you can’t easily teach an old dog new tricks because I still often try to use the clip upside-down. Not a big issue, but still an annoyance every once in a while.
As mentioned above, the blade has kept its edge with minimal upkeep and sharpening on my part. I did drop the knife on concrete and gave the tip a little nick, but I was able to use a sharpening stone to buff the abrasion out of the blade.
The knife has been very useful on the trail and I have been very pleased with how it has performed so far. Check back in a month to see my final update on the Benchmade 585 Mini-Barrage.
Since my last update I have been able to use the 585 Mini-Barrage in some different settings and environments that aren’t very forgiving for knives or their blades.
A recent trip to Beaufort, on the South Carolina coast tested the Benchmade knife to its limits. A friend of the family let us use their 17 ft center console boat for the week and we hit the marshes and creeks. One of the days I spent rigging lines to go “crabbing” as I have grown up calling it. All it takes are some fresh chicken necks, some twine, a few lead sinkers, and the constant fear of getting pinched by the claws of an Atlantic Blue Crab. At low tide we headed back to one of the saltwater creeks and I prepared all of my lines with the 585 Mini-Barrage. Between the sand, the thick marsh mud (pluff mud as we call it here in South Carolina), and the saltwater, the knife took a beating, and so did the crabs as I was able to haul in a few dozen in a couple hours.
With all of the sand and mud that were able to make it into the Axis locking mechanism, I was surprised to see that the spring was able to still open the knife with relative ease. The action of the auto-assist was not smooth (you could feel the sand and grit inside), however, the knife still opened easily. After rinsing the knife with clean, fresh water, I was able to wash out the sand and grid and the knife’s action was a smooth as the day I received it.
I found out that even stainless steel isn’t completely stainless. Saltwater can wreak havoc on a knife blade if you are not mindful to care for your blade after it has come into contact with saltwater. I left the knife in the boat for a few days after I had used it (my dad would tell you I was raised better than this) and so it had some small blotches of rust on the blade. All I had to do was take a small amount of oil and some steel wool and buff the rust spots out of the blade. This did the trick and the blade was back to its healthy condition.
I have had to sharpen the blade only twice in the past few months. The Mini-Barrage blade holds its edge remarkably well. The tip of the blade tends to lose its edge before the rest of the blade, but I attribute this to the way I have used the blade rather than any type of weakness in the steel.
Benchmade has created a great knife with the Mini-Barrage 585. There hasn’t been anything that I have thrown at it that it couldn’t handle. I have used it on backpacking trips at elevations of 6000 ft all the way down to the coast while crabbing. Some of the aspects of the knife took some getting used to; such as the pocket clip and Axis locking mechanism (see initial review). All that aside, this will be a knife that stays with me wherever my next outdoor adventure is.