Outstanding Design Reminiscent of the Classic Russell Sting
Fine little knife that has been in production for as long as I can remember. Actually it started out as the Mel Pardue 350 made by Benchmade, which I owned, and as the current product description reads, this is thinner, lighter and now comes with the Axis lock which by now seems to be well-proven.This isn't a sturdy little knife like the 2012 Cold Steel Voyagers, or the rugged Emersons. What it is, is an ultra thin (both blade and handle), ultralight, easy carry pocket knife that replicates much of the appearance and feel of a classic, small, fixed-bladed dagger. It's not for opening up cans of soup or prying. It is a simple, beautifully designed knife that can perform 95% of the functions of a utility pocket knife while feeling a whole lot more classy. Amazingly, it is made in America (well-made at that!) with beautiful craftsmanship and careful choice of materials.There are only two things I would change about it if I could. It is designed for "tip up" carry when clipped into a pocket; and I wish they could figure out how to move the clip screw holes closer to the top of the handle (so it would sit lower in a pocket).A note on tip up, vs. tip down, pocket carry. A clip pocket knife should always be carried in a pocket with the opening side firm against a pocket seam, to prevent accidental opening. When with drawing the knife, IF you have presence of mind, you want to make sure the tip of the blade, which is in the "up" position, isn't partial open or starting to open (usually by covering the tip of the blade, near the clip, with your finger. The blade on this isn't like to open from the thumb stud catching on fabric, since the stud is in an indent in the handle and it is actually closed pretty snug. But you still need to be aware. The advantage of tip down, is you can't poke yourself while pulling out a tip-down clip style pocket knife. The disadvantage is, you have to rotate the knife in your hand after pulling it out. Also, to the extent the knife is likely to shift in your pocket, the clip end is less likely to pull away from the pocket seam than the bottom end - so if the blade tip is down, there is a greater amount of space for the blade to open into, in the worst case scenario. You have to decide which style suits your priorities better.One really nice feature of Benchmade's packaging is that this pocket knife comes in a simple fabric pouch, much like the pouches some reading glasses come in. It has a toggle drawstring at the top is you want to keep the knife from sliding out (transiting airport security, pre-911, when you didn't want to call public attention to your pocket knife), or you can leave the drawstring open so you can relatively quickly slide the knife out of the slip pouch if you stow it in a jacket pocket (I usually sleeve my pocket knives in a short section of bicycle innertube to prevent any risk of accidental opening in my pocket.)While the handle material isn't G-10, it feels close, particularly with the nice patterning and finish. Everything is screwed together, not plastic welded, so you can clean it if necessary, or tighten it if necessary. The Axis lock has a similar "springiness" to a conventional lockback, which is to say, much more blade retention than an edge lock. The thumb stud could be frustrating if you are in a hurry - it is so low profile and buried in its indent - but the blade can be easily "flipped out."At significantly less than $100, this knife is a steal, and well-worthy of a place in your collection or as an executive letter opener.