View Full Version : Benchmade vs Cold Steel - My Take...

April 6, 2002, 10:41 PM
I was looking for a new carry blade. I did a lot of research on line at the knife companies web sites. I looked for prices online. I went to bladeforum, TFL, 1911forum, anywhere people might be discussing knives. I want a blade that I can use for utility if need be, but to have as an option in a self defense situation. It had to have a 3.5" blade or bigger, but not exceeding 4.5", it had to be a folder with a tanto-like blade, and it had to be under $100.

Went to a little shop not far from where I live. They carry just about every brand that you can think of and some I've never heard of before.

First thing I learned is that the pictures you see online can be deceiving. Like buying a firearm, there really is no alternative other than to handle them and try them out.
I finally made up my mind through my research to go with Benchmade, United Cutlery, or Cold Steel. They all had something that interested me.

United Cutlery - Heard good things about them, but the store's selection did not have what I wanted so they were disqualified.

Cold Steel - they got a lot of bad press on the online forums. I handled some of their stuff like the Recon 1 and the Voyager. The Voyager, although a nice price, seemed a little clunky in my hands. Was not impressed with it at all. The Recon 1 was nice.

Benchmade - I looked at the mini-stryker and the stryker. Well made, felt nice, not used to the liner lock, which seemed a little awkward. I'm used to the lockbacks.

After it was all said and done, I decided on the Benchmade 910S Stryker. Out of all three it felt the best to me. The Recon 1 was a close second, but I'm not big on the teflon coating and it seemed like it weight almost twice as much as the stryker. The price was nice as well, I got it out the door for the same price as the cheapest place online. The LifeSharp service was a big bonus as well. Can't beat paying S&H and getting a factory sharp knife when it gets dull. Anybody know if the other companies offer this?

I might re-post later as I run this thing through the paces. So far seems like a very nice, quality folder.


April 6, 2002, 10:50 PM
Can't beat paying S&H and getting a factory sharp knife when it gets dull.Sure you can. You can buy a few good sharpening implements and get the knife sharper than the factory does, whenever you want. ;)

My (personal opinion only) takes on Cold Steel and Benchmade are the following:

Cold Steel: a decent product at a decent price. I dislike knowing, however, that I am contributing to global warming by giving money to Lynn Thompson, and thus enabling him to spout even more hot air. Don't believe the hype...their products are good, but they're not that good.

Benchmade: a better product at a slightly inflated price. Their stuff is good, solid stuff. However, I think spyderco makes knives that are just as good, often in a similar 'style,' for a good bit less. That said, I carry a Benchmade AFCK more often than I carry my spydercos.


April 6, 2002, 11:49 PM
Learn to sharpen your own. Satisfying and cost effective. Become one with your blade.


April 7, 2002, 01:03 AM
You wont regret your Benchmade. I have a Benchmade AFO with combo blade, and I love it. I bought it at a gun show in NV when I was working there once. Of course since they are not legal in most states, I make sure and keep it in a legal state and just go visit it once in awhile. Wouldn't want to break the law now! :D They are great knives though!

Jody Hudson
April 7, 2002, 11:56 AM
Personally, my favorites were the Spiderco for years. When the large Voyager came out I started taking it with me everyday and everywhere. It has become my favorite of all time. It is not the best steel but very good. I like the size and handle design, especially that the handle is NOT larger than the blade. Most of all I like the weight, thinness and the nice pocket clip. Of all the knives on the market I like it best. However, I am always looking and like you say -- it has to be done in-person. I am unable to make an everyday knife decision without feeling it and checking it out in my hand.

I know there are other more popular knives but the usual DISqualifiers for me are too heavy, too large a handle, and too expensive -- in that order.

Inspector Callahan
April 7, 2002, 12:04 PM
I just purchased an Emerson Commander that I'm very impressed with. Great knife. However, I must brag a little on Spyderco. They take absolute care of their customers. Total customer satisfaction that's WAY above and beyond the call of duty. And they make great knives too! :)

In fact, they've really won me over with their stellar handling of a warranty issue. I will be buying Spydies from here on out.


April 7, 2002, 10:28 PM
I picked up a CRKT SRT with the carson flipper, gotta say I do like it. It is very fast and the quality seems to be up there with benchmade and spyderco, price wasn't bad.

April 8, 2002, 03:40 AM
I own the Benchmade AFCK myself. Liked it so much, I bought one for my buddy before he took off for the Navy. Had his name engraved on it, too, just in case it got "misplaced."

The liner lock is a helluva strong design. I play with mine all the time, so opening and closing it one-handed is a breeze. Like my hockey sticks, my knife feels like an extension of my arm. And I never use my AFCK for everyday stuff--got a SAK for that--so sharpening isn't much of an issue for me.

Hope you like your Stryker as much. ;)

April 8, 2002, 08:00 PM
Thanks, kun-POW!

I've used it a couple of times around the office and it has worked admirable so far. Have to say that I am happy with it thus far.


April 9, 2002, 04:40 AM
I've had my Benchmade Eclipse 840 (now known as Ascent), for a few years now. Actually, I've had the 830 since my Junior year in highschool, but it was taken away from me. I replaced it with an 840, and it's great!

I'm not really in "need" of a new knife, but I've been looking at AFCK, which now has the Axis lock. I've been hearing about how smooth the knife opens, and how strong the lock is. Also, the steel is D2, but I'm not sure if that's any better or worse than the ATS-34 that my 840 is made of.

Should I switch to the AFCK for my daily carry, and regulate the 840 for "dirty" jobs? One can never have enough knives (or guns)!

April 9, 2002, 10:41 AM
Knives were my first love before I was old enough to carry (or afford) guns.

I own several Cold Steel's and Benchmades, and it's always the BM's I'm giving away as presents. I have an AFCK, the Dark Star, Nimravus Cub, the pretty Mel Pardue with rainbow titanium, and I gave Oleg an AFCK, a 910SBT Stryker, and have given away a mini Dark Star. I love those BM's.

I also have a Cold Steel Black Bear Classic, a Safe Keeper II (my "carjacker special"), the Triple Action (dagger blade version), and had a Voyager at one point but got rid of it because of the cheesy plastic pocket clip.

For more economical carry, I love the Spyderco's - they're a great balance on price and quality. I consider them to be more "work knives" that I don't feel bad scuffing up because I didn't pay an arm and a leg to buy it.

For now, I carry my teeny-weeny MOD Ladyhawk.

April 9, 2002, 03:57 PM
My everyday, everywhere knife is a Spyderco Jess Horn lightweight. It's so sharp it will take your breath away, and I literally can't feel it in my pocket. Based on my experiences with this one, I'll be getting more Spydercos in the future.

I also got a Benchmade Stryker as a birthday present. It's big and heavy compared to the Spyderco but man, what a knife. Benchmades are like Sigs in my opinion. Probably a little overpriced but you won't complain about the final product.

No experience with Cold Steel but I did just order an "El Hombre" from Smoky Mountain Knifeworks. I always liked the look and it was a $60 knife discounted to $20, so I couldn't resist. If size isn't an issue, check out the Gerber (Thumb) Stud Gator. For $30, it seems like a great deal.

Joe Demko
April 10, 2002, 09:16 AM
Whatever you choose, and I would highly recommend either Benchmade or Spyderco over Cold Steel, remember the words of Hermes the Persev from "Exposure":
[french accent] "Handle it until it is like an extension of your arm...cling to it like a new lover."[/french accent]

Don Gwinn
April 12, 2002, 11:55 AM
Spyderco makes great stuff, Benchmade makes pretty good stuff, but I hate trying to sharpen my 830 (which, to be fair, is a lower-priced model, but a thinner blade geometry wouldn't have cost anything.) I've never been disappointed with Cold Steel products, though for folders I can't justify going with anyone but Spyderco.

Just out of curiosity, where did you hear good things about United Cutlery?

April 13, 2002, 08:27 PM

Most of the press I received on the United Cutlery stuff was from guys at the shops. I don't know much about them, maybe they were just trying to get ride of them. Don't know.

April 13, 2002, 10:35 PM
You will like the Benchmade. I have two of the Elishewitz 9500 auto's. I love them.

I have been pretty abusive of mine and they have help up very well.

I still sharpen like a sissy though. I need to learn how to sharpen a freakin' knife better. It's irritating not knowing how to do that well.


April 13, 2002, 10:50 PM

that's one of the reasons that the Lifesharp service appealed to me. I know that I should learn to do it, but I honestly don't have the time and no one to teach me.

April 13, 2002, 11:08 PM
Buy a spyderco sharpmaker for around 30-40 dollars and watch the video that comes with it. If you do that you will be able to do the equivalent of a factory sharpening with no brain stress and no serious monetary outlay- and do it in about 10 minutes. Of course, getting something truly scary sharp would require more tools and more skills, but once you get to that point you could decide if it was worth it to you to develop them.

I used to think a Lansky rig was fast and easy. The sharpmaker is faster and completely brain-dead. An untrained monkey could do it.



April 14, 2002, 10:01 AM
Thanks, Coronach.

I'll look into that and see if this "brain-dead monkey" can do it! :D


George Hill
April 14, 2002, 10:00 PM
Another knife to consider is the SOG Vision.
I had one until money issues forced me to sell it. I consider it to be the rolls royce of folders for under 200 bucks.
The only problem is that it's SO NICE, you don't want to take it out and thrash on it.
Hence the newer G-10 scaled Vision... A lot cheaper in price, but not quality.

Don Gwinn
April 15, 2002, 03:20 PM
If you tell them that you're interested in Spyderco/Cold Steel/Benchmade/Boker* level of quality, and they're still trying to sell you United Cutlery, they're doing you a disservice. Most United Cutlery is badly heat-treated 420J "Surgical Stainless" junk. You don't want to try to keep it sharp, and you don't want to trust your fingers to their locks. They also have a bad habit of ripping off other makers' designs and making copies with inferior materials.

They're cheap, and for the average user, they're OK. The average user won't do anything more strenuous than open an envelope or clean his fingernails with one. But if there's the chance you might have to fight with it, or if you put it through more chores than the average bear, go with the better names. I'd say those dealers are just trying to sell what they have in stock. It all depends on the dealer. They almost HAVE to carry UC and other low-quality products, because people want 'em (just like gun shops almost have to carry Lorcins and such because a lot of people want to buy those.)

*Not a complete list, I know. Nobody crucify me for leaving out your favorite, OK?

April 17, 2002, 02:24 PM
I bought a Voyager way back when Cold Steel first made them. After many years of abuse the clip finally broke. I decided to buy another, but this time I got the smaller one. This one stood me in good stead for about a year until I received a Ken Onion Chive for a present. This little knife is my favorite EDC knife. You can read George Hill’s review of the same basic knife elsewhere on AF/CQC. Absolute great knife. Simply because I like a little spice and variety in my life I have been planning on going back the original Voyager, but I haven’t done so yet. I guess what I am saying is that all these knives are great knives, but I can find no fault with the Cold Steel and I am happy to have several.

Another knife to consider is the SOG Vision. What follows is only my experience. I had a friend slice his finger to the bone when the lock on his SOG failed. Granted it was being “abused” but I expect better out of a knife. After seeing that happen I decided I would stay away from all SOGs.

April 18, 2002, 09:21 AM
If you send the voyager with the broken clip back they will most likely send you the new one with the screw attached clip.


Nevada Fitch
April 18, 2002, 07:12 PM
I am very picky about the kind of knife I carry for every day use and selfdefence. My curent favorite is a Benchmade "OSBORNE" I prefer it to the linner lock knives. This knife is very fast to get into action from the pocket, and it is totaly amidestorious which is very important to me because I am left handed and most linner locks are not lefthanded friendly. They cost over a hundred dollars but IMHO it is well worth the exta money. The only thing I would change is I am not that fond of ATS34 steel, I would prefer it to be made from D2.

April 27, 2002, 12:44 PM
Hi all, first post here from a long time lurker. I was finally motivated to register and post to ask about the following:

What follows is only my experience. I had a friend slice his finger to the bone when the lock on his SOG failed. Granted it was being “abused” but I expect better out of a knife. After seeing that happen I decided I would stay away from all SOGs.

Which SOG model was it? And what kind of lock did it have? I know the older SOG Visions used liner locks, and liner locks seem to have the worst reliability of all folding knife locks. The newer SOG Visions use the ARC lock and I've never heard of an ARC lock failing. I carry a SOG Night Vision every day (in addition to 3 or so other knives) and I consider it to be the best folding tanto available. If it was one of these that failed I would be very interested to hear the details of what happened.

April 30, 2002, 10:36 AM
First of all Welcome to TFL!

Sorry I am just now responding to your question. I hadn’t followed this thread after I responded so I didn’t know you had asked me a question, didn’t mean to ignore.

First the situation was several years ago. My best guess is that it was between 5 and 10 years ago, so I don’t remember exactly what knife it was and even if I did it is probably a good bet that SOG has improved their line considerably since then. Anyway, the knife was some standard type of SOG, had no belt clip but did have a thumb stud. The lock style was not a linear lock. My friend was abusing the lock the way he was using it, the best way for me to describe it would be to say it was a “backwards slash”. To be fair to SOG, the way it was used was not in the way the knife was designed. On a whim I just asked my friend what he thought of SOG as a result of this situation and he said he didn’t think bad of them at all since he was abusing the knife. So take it as you will, for my money I want a lock that will take abuse, and however many years ago it was, a SOG couldn’t. I imagine they can now, but my view of them is tainted.

April 30, 2002, 06:06 PM
Thanks for getting back to me, and thanks for the welcome. FWIW some of the newer SOGs have the ARC lock, which I believe is really one of the best out there. It sounds like the one that failed was a lockback, which have been known to close inadvertently, especially when pressure is put on the back of the handle.

for my money I want a lock that will take abuse, and however many years ago it was, a SOG couldn’t. I imagine they can now, but my view of them is tainted.

As do I, which is why I've studied a lot of the available lock formats. I believe the Axis lock to be the best, and I put the Arc lock in second place. Liner locks and lockbacks go towards the bottom of the ladder. I can't speak for the quality of all SOG's knives, but the Arc lock Vision and Night Vision are top notch and should serve anyone very well.