IR - Benchmade 580 Barrage Knife - Gail
- Hello Mystery Monitor,
Here is my IR for the Benchmade Barrage. Thanks in advance for your edits! Gail
580 Barrage Knife
Test Series by: Gail Staisil, Marquette, Michigan
Initial Report - September 8, 2009
Field Report (NA)
Long Term Report (NA)
September 8, 2009
Name: Gail Staisil
Height: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
Weight: 145 lb (66 kg)
Location: Marquette, Michigan USA
Email: woodswoman 2001 AT yahoo DOT com
For the last 19 years, backpacking has become a passion. I am a four-season backpacker and an off-trail navigator. Although I do take yearly trips to the American West or Southwest, the majority of my trips are in Michigan and Canada. My pack weight varies considerably but my base weight is below 18 lb (8 kg). I am primarily a tarp camper who averages more than 50 nights a year backpacking in a huge variety of weather conditions including relentless rain, wet snow and sub-zero temps.
Model 580 BK Barrage
Blade Style and Material
Plain edge, drop point, 154CM Stainless Steel
420J Stainless Steel
Manufacturer's Blade Length/Thickness (verified by tester) 3.6 in (9.14 cm) , 0.121 in (3.07 mm)
Manufacturer's Overall Length (open), verified by tester
8.35 in (21.21 cm)
Manufacturer's Overall Length (closed), verified by tester
4.75 in (12.07)
Manufacturer Weight 4.2 oz (119 g)
Tested Weight 4.3 oz (122 g)
0.2 oz (5.67 g)
Model Year 2009 Made in the USA
MSRP $145.00 US
Initial Impressions and Product Description
The Benchmade 580 BK Barrage arrived in mint condition with a user care manual (for maintenance). It was encased in a small silk-like sack. A consumer catalog with the entire line of knives was included.
I looked over the knife carefully and my first thoughts were related to how do I open it? For backpacking, I currently used a fixed-blade knife as well as a small pocket knife that has a simple safety lock. The 580 Barrage looked a bit more complex compared to them. I found the sliding lock on the side of the knife but didn't realize at first that I was trying to open the knife with the lock in the closed position. I tried to pull the blade open manually and it wouldn't budge.
I looked at the diagram on the website (and which I later found in the consumer catalog) but it still wasn't clear to me). Well after a few embarrassing moments I learned how to open the knife. I'm only pointing this out because not everyone has prior experience with the type of mechanism on this particular knife.
After unlocking the knife, the blade will start to open with the thumb stud and then the coil spring engages and it powerfully pops open (AXIS-ASSIST). It can be a bit intimidating at first. It can definitely be a one-handed operation and after a few times I was confident to open it with one hand. The knife has ambidextrous thumb-studs so it can be opened in either hand.
The 580 BK Barrage Knife has an AXIS-ASSIST mechanism. This allows the knife to snap open for quick action. I'm still getting used to the power of the coil spring assist and have manually pulled the knife open as well (after unlocking it). What is neat about this knife is that it can be safely locked in the open position as well.
According to Benchmade, the "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, spanning the liners and 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 it’s inertia to engage the knife tang, and as a result the tang is wedged solidly between a sizable stop pin and the AXIS bar itself".
The 580BK Barrage belongs to the "Blue Class" of knives by the manufacturer. As stated in their consumer catalog, "These USA made products are designed and built for the individual who appreciates the difference that a high-quality cutting tool can make." The 580 Barrage comes in a variety of styles. It can either possess a plain edge (580 or 580 BK) or a partially serrated edge (580S or 580SBK). The BK in the title of the knife I am testing refers to the black matte coating that according to the manufacturer has a higher scratch resistance and provides excellent corrosion protection.
The knife also has a reversible carry-clip (about 2 in/5cm in length) on its handle. This can be unmounted and re-positioned on the other side if desired. The carry clip is reportedly called a "Reversible Bright Split Arrow Clip" design. Since I normally carry my fixed blade in a sheath and my small knife on a lanyard, I will try using the clip to see if it works with my style. However sheaths are available for purchase for this style.
The drop point blade is made out of 154CM Stainless Steel which is considered a premium stainless steel. It reportedly is corrosion resistant, has excellent toughness and edge quality. The black coated blade of the knife has the designer's name "Osborne", the Benchmade symbol with the butterfly, and the grade of steel is also imprinted. The liners of the knife are made out of 420J Stainless Steel for corrosion resistance.
The Valox handle of the 580 BK Barrage is molded out of reinforced resin that reportedly has excellent stiffness, strength and dimensional stability. The handle has eleven parallel ridges for grip on each side of the handle. On the lower half of the knife there are four grooves on each side. There is also a lanyard hole near the bottom edge of the knife.
The workmanship on the Benchmade 580 BK Barrage is no less than excellent. There is an extensive description with the warranty for the knife. What stands out most for me is to only use the knife as a cutting tool and not for other purposes!
I look forward to using the knife during the next four months of backpacking. I already took it out on a short backpacking trip but I will report on that in the field report due in two months.
Pros So Far
* Quality workmanship
* Can be locked open or closed
* Ambidextrous thumb-studs for hand preference
Cons So Far
* The force of the opening can be a little intimidating until practiced
Thanks to Benchmade and BackpackGearTest for this opportunity to test the 580 BK Barrage Knife. This concludes my Initial Report. The Field Report will be appended to this report in approximately two months from the date of this report. Please check back then for more information.
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