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Let's start this off by saying that I love this knife. It is of excellent quality, excellent materials, and possesses excellent design. However, it is most certainly not above criticism. I have owned a few other high quality balisongs in the past including the revered Benchmade model 42 and some Bradley Kimuras. From tip to tang, this knife screams quality. S30V blade steel, titanium handle slabs, slim yet sturdy pocket clip, tight spring latch and fairly large pivots make this knife feel and operate as any $200+ knife should.
The best part about this knife by far is the blade. It is a broad drop point (nearly spear point) with a high flat grind. The false edge is also flat ground and brings the blade to a very, very pointy tip. This tip will penetrate your soft fleshy hands at the slightest contact. The high flat grind of the main bevel provides a very thin edge geometry, although the final bevel is a little steep out of the box. Even with the final bevel at a utility angle, this knife will slice incredibly well because it tapers down so thin before the edge. The S30V is heat treated a little at the hard end of the spectrum, but to a higher quality than other S30V Benchmades I have received (let it be known that this knife was manufactured by benchmade). This knife stays sharp for a very long time. I have owned the knife for several months now and have only had to strop it on the occasion to maintain it's edge. I have not experienced any micro-chipping of the blade through various cutting tasks and the thin geometry has allowed it to slice well even when the edge has begun to dull. The spine of the blade has been rounded off which is a very nice touch for a balisong, making it more comfortable to flip and use. This blade has had much thought put into it and is super functional.
Moving on to the handles, they are different from many other balisongs that you will find, because they are prominently curved. This makes the knife very comfortable to hold and use. The handles are well sculpted and rounded on the edges to afford adequate grip. Using this knife in a utility role is quite the pleasure, and is better under hard use than any other balisong I have owned. Although this knife is fantastic in many ways, there are a few things that bug me like no other.
My main gripe about this knife is that it pretty much sucks as a flipper. When it comes to speed, balance, predictability, and feel, this knife just does not cut it. Scratch that, It cuts your hands very well. The problem stems from those wonderfully curved handles. The bite handle is significantly longer, and because it has the pocket clip and the latch, it is significantly heavier than the safe handle as well. This is most noticable when doing arials. The knife spins on an odd axis and any mistake leads that that needle point driving right into your fingers. When performing moves while holding the bite handle, the safe handle does not spin with the momentum that you would expect and you are required to apply more force and speed to complete rollovers. Trying to do a smooth helix with this knife is almost harder than putting this knife in the drawer and leaving it there. My model 42 was tragically stolen about a year ago and the bradley makes me miss it even more because the 42 was an immensely better flipper. A good deal of practice and a box of bandaids later, and this knife will flip pretty well, but not before it shows you who's boss and gives you some nice slices. That said, i still can't manage to put this knife down. It's just too good for some curvy handles to turn me off so i practiced with it until i was happy with how i could flip it (mind you, i'm not the greatest flipper out there, not even close).
There is one more negative I have to level against this knife, and that is a function of the zen pin construction. The tang of the blade has this awesome looking, tooth like point. It is awesome, and it could do some serious damage, but when you are flipping, it has the nasty habit of biting your finger, and therefore forces you to choke down on the handles a little bit. This is a minor issue, and you get over it in about a day, but it's worth noting.
In conclusion, this knife rocks. It is a great user knife with great materials, and as a plus, it's a balisong. If it flipped as well as my 42 did, I wouldn't have to buy another knife ever again (although I probably would). If you are into balis at all, and would love a nice, light, well constructed user knife, buy one. You will not regret it one bit, just don't sell your 42 for it.

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Tags: 42, balisong, benchmade, bradley, butterfly, kimura, knife, mayhem

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