Benchmade 940 Review

Last Updated: by Aiden Williams

The Benchmade 940 is a highly versatile folding knife.

This knife is an invention of the designer Warren Osborne. It is largely considered one of the greatest everyday carry (EDC) knives ever created.

At first glance, you will immediately see that it’s made with premium quality materials at a high level of craftsmanship and exhibits a unique elegance.

Say what you will about folding knives (folders), but one of the all-time best is the Benchmade 940-1. This compact model with a CPM-S90V steel blade, carbon fiber handle, and an axis lock will make your life much easier.

It can open packages, open cans, strip electrical wires, cut bait, and cut a seatbelt in an accident among other things.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, learn more about this amazing product in the following Benchmade 940 review.

Our Benchmade 940-1 Review

Benchmade - 940-2 Knife, Reverse Tanto Blade, Plain Edge, Satin Finish, G10 Handle

The Benchmade 940-1 is the younger brother of the Benchmade 940. This quintessential slim EDC knife from Benchmade was designed by the late Warren Osborne.

This model has a very sizable blade, but it is nice and narrow, which means it feels a little more precise than many modern, overbuilt folders. The materials used on this knife can be quite nice as well, making this model a great gentleman or executive knife.

This model features what Benchmade calls a modified reverse tanto profile. The blade steel is of high quality, and the axis lock is impeccable. There is a new edition of this product (Benchmade 940-2), and the 940-1 still seems to prevail in performance and versatility, regardless of the changes featured in the new version.

The Benchmade 940-1 can definitely help you, if you are looking for a compact folder that has the safest lock mechanism, premium blade and handle materials, most efficient opening system, a versatile knife profile that is best suited for most EDC, utility, and outdoor jobs.

But, it is sad to say that this is a folder; so, it isn’t the strongest choice for those with the toughest cutting jobs. This is especially true for most outdoor cutting jobs.

Features and Benefits

What makes the Benchmade 940-1 a great EDC knife? Let’s find out:

Axis Lock Mechanism

This is a proprietary patented mechanism in the Benchmade knife lineup. The Benchmade access lock is located on the bolster area. The axis bar is the locking feature of the knife.

It allows you to use the knife ambidextrously from either the right or left-handed side. The axis lock is really strong, which means it is not easy to break.

Another benefit is that you can open and close the knife without having to do any serious adjustments to your grip on the knife. It is also safer compared to a liner lock.

Manual Opening Action

One of the things that I have observed about folding knives is that the more moving parts a folder has, the more parts there are to break or ruin your knife.

The Benchmade 940-1 features a manual opening action, which has fewer parts. But you have to put some effort to open the blade.

High-Quality CPM-S90V Blade Steel

This is one of the premium blade steels on today’s market. This material contains 1 percent molybdenum, 9 percent vanadium, 14 percent chromium, and 2.3 percent carbon.

The incredibly high levels of chromium and vanadium improve corrosion and wear resistance. The initial sharpness and edge retention of this blade steel are remarkable.

Reverse Tanto Blade Shape

The reverse tanto blade style is most recognized for its distinct shape and Japanese style sword-like appearance. The upside-down tanto profile adds a significant amount of weight on the blade in the forward direction.

The reverse tapered, thick point resists breaking or cracking. The tip of this style is extremely strong, which is capable of piercing, cutting, and slicing. The durability of reverse tanto makes this knife a great choice for everyday carry.

Plain Blade Edge

The blade has a continuous cutting edge that is in the same plane as the motion of the knife. The key advantage of this type of edge is its ease of sharpening.

You can keep it sharp with just a few minutes of work, and may not require any special equipment.

While the plain edge may be somewhat inferior to a serrated one for cutting fibrous materials, a sharp plain edge will still cut through webbing and rope with ease.

Partially Serrated Edge

The Benchmade 940-1 is also available with a partially serrated blade. Unlike the plain edge, the partially serrated one is capable of slicing through thick material, such as thick canvas or leather.

Carbon Fiber Handle

This material is made from thin strands of carbon, which is great because it is featherweight. The strength of the carbon fiber scales come from the weave.

Normally, the handle is super strong and durable in the direction of the weave. The scales provide a strong, non-slip, and water-proof grip and traction.

Reversible Pocket Clip

I really like the reversible pocket clip carry that comes with the Benchmade 940-1 because it allows for tip-up carry on either side.

All you have to do is unscrew the clip and screw it on the other side. This makes it highly ambidextrous.

Multiple Finish Options

With Benchmade 940-1, you have two types of finish of the blade to choose from. They include:

  • Satin finish with a plain edge
  • Satin finish with a partially serrated edge
  • Coated finish with a plain edge
  • Coated finish with a partially serrated edge

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Review Summary

I would like to summarize our Benchmade 940 review by stating that right out of the box you will see a big difference when you compare the 940-1 to the original 940.

The biggest difference is the handle material. You get carbon fiber handles rather than those aluminum slabs found on the original 940. In fact, the 940-1 is really an upgraded material version of the standard 940.

The full open design with anodized aluminum barrel spacers is impressive. The brand took a light knife and made it even lighter. Not to mention that it comes in at 2.44 ounces.

The ergonomics of the knife are outstanding. The reverse pocket clip allows for either left or right tip-up pocket carry. The thumb studs are ambidextrous, but the manual action has to be approached from a vertical thumb flick instead of horizontal.

The blade itself has been upgraded as well. You are getting CPM-S90V steel rather than the CPM-S30V steel in the standard 940.

The axis lock is versatile and ambidextrous. You just need to pull the slider down to fold the blade. The blade has the famous reverse tanto tip for piercing, slicing, and cutting.

Pros

  • Blade has superior corrosion resistance and edge retention
  • Satin or coated finish on the blade improves durability
  • Available in more than one color/finish
  • Super strong reverse tanto tip is good for piercing, slicing and cutting
  • Ambidextrous thumb studs allow for easy left or right-handed use
  • Great grip and traction from carbon fiber slabs
  • Axis lock appears to be strong and safe

Cons

  • It’s quite pricey compared to similar design from other brands
  • Manual opening action isn’t incredibly fast as assisted opening
  • Could allow for a much quicker deployment with a thumb hole

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Our Opinion

In my opinion, the plain edge version of this knife is great for everyday carry, while the partially serrated one is perfect for tactical, emergencies, and rescue situations. But here is a roundup of what I like and what I don’t like about the Benchmade 940-1.

What I Like!

I have carried other blades, including ones from Benchmade, Kershaw, and Spyderco. But this particular knife, for some reason has really proven to be my go-to model when looking for an EDC and/or tactical model. In my book, it scores a rating of 10 out of 10.

As for the blade steel, profile, and grind, that would also be a 10 out of 10. The CPM-S90V blade steel is just incredible.

I mean, it has outstanding corrosion and wear resistance. The initial sharpness out of the box was exceptional, and the edge retention makes me love this knife even more.

The reverse tanto blade shape was stronger than I thought. Imagine! I could pierce through some tough materials in the wood. And when it comes to cutting and slicing, this thing is a work of art.

Even after all the piercing, slicing, and cutting, the edge is still there. Sharpening is required, but not as frequent as it is with ordinary blade steels.

The Benchmade proprietary axis lock is a big plus. The best rating I can give this lock system is 9 out of 10. Operationally, the axis lock is highly ambidextrous, making it the perfect choice for both right and left-handed users.

What I Don’t Like!

It goes without saying that the manual opening action can be a pain in the neck, especially in emergencies, combat, and self-defense.

You literally have to give the blade a manual push on the thumb stud to get it opened, which can be quite a challenge in some situations. Also, the manual action is quite slow to deploy compared to assisted action.

In my experience, every folding knife has some kind of moving parts, which automatically means it has a weakness. The omega-shaped springs the axis lock system depends on are bound to fail at some point. Only time will tell, but for now, it is the strongest lock mechanism I have come across.

The ambidextrous thumb studs are quite versatile and reliable. But I think the manual action could be quicker with a thumb hole because it is a bigger target. So, it is less picky about the direction or angle of deployment as long as your thumb fits in the hole.

The effort you need to put in a thumb hole to complete a manual opening action is much quicker. So, the thumb stud mechanism isn’t the best.

 

General User Impressions

On the positive side, the general impressions from the users of the Benchmade 940-1 are impressive. The strength of the reverse tanto blade makes most users see the blade as indestructible.

The S90V steel blade came razor sharp out of the box for most users, and the carbon fiber handle slabs provided the perfect balance of grip and traction.

Aesthetically, the knife has impressed many. Not to mention that the availability of different color/finish options for preference.

On the negative side, there are quite a few dislikes and disappointments from various users. Most people complained about the higher price range when compared to competing models from other brands, such as Spyderco and Kershaw.

A few people also complained about the centering of the blade, some say the knife arrived with the blade off-centered.

Things To Consider Before Buying Folding Knives

Why A Folding Knife?

Folding, folder or pocket knives are the solution to all your daily cutting problems. What makes them a great option for an everyday carry or an EDC is that most have a locking mechanism that keeps them from snapping closed.

Folding knives are great to have because they are readily available for daily cutting tasks, such as opening letters and boxes.

It is also good to have one on hand in the event you need a self-defense tool because many are designed to be opened quickly with one hand.

Who Is A Folding Knife Designed For?

Folding knives are ideal for EDC, utility, emergencies, survival, hunting, and tactical (combat and self-defense). If you regularly engage in the aforementioned activities, then a folder is the perfect knife for you.

This is so, since these knives are more compact compared to fixed blades, and are easier and safer to carry and deploy when needed.

But! folding knives, folders, or pocket knives aren’t the ideal choice for people who engage in very demanding cutting jobs that are hard-hitting in nature, such as puncturing, pounding, splitting hardwood, and the like.

For those, you need fixed blade knives instead, which are sturdier, less susceptible to failure, and capable of doing heavier cutting work.

What To Consider When Buying Folding Knives

Blade Material

You need to choose a folder with high-quality blade steel that has superior initial sharpness, outstanding edge retention, easy to sharpen, and surefire corrosion resistance.

Blade Shape and Grind

The functionality of any folder is basically defined by the shape of its blade. Popular shapes you can consider are: drop, clip, tanto, Sheepsfoot, and spear point. Most versatile blade grinds for a folder are: flat, hollow, saber, and convex grinds.

Size of the Knife

Choose a folding knife that meets your job requirement. Some folders are overly sized, which may not be the best for pocket or clip carry. I would recommend an open length that ranges from 5 to 8 inches.

Handle Design and Material

An ergonomic handle design and a strong, non-slip, waterproof material is a must for a folder to be easy to handle and control.

Opening and Locking Mechanism

Choose an opening mechanism that works best for you, whether it is manual, assisted, or automatic. Then, choose the safest and most versatile lock mechanism, whether it is axis, liner, compression, frame, or slip joint.

About The Brand

The Benchmade brand is an American knife company that is based in Oregon. The company has specialized in the production of everyday carry, tactical, military, martial arts, law enforcement, rescue, cutlery, and outdoor sporting edge tools.

As a brand, Benchmade stands out as one of the all-time best since its very beginning. The company has faced significant competition from other folding knife companies with their frame and liner lock models. But, the company has certainly prevailed with its proprietary Benchmade axis lock.

The brand’s latest news reveal its new Bailout features, particularly the new tanto style blade made of CPM-M4 steel. While the CPM-S90V is of great quality, the CPM-M4 is even greater with incredible corrosion resistance, edge retention, and edge toughness.

The Benchmade warranty only applies to the original buyer. The knife must have been purchased either directly from the company or from one of the brand’s authorized sellers. The brand can reject warranty claims from people who bought their knives from unauthorized sellers.

Product FAQs

Do I Need Any Special Skills And Disassembly To Clean The Knife?

Disassembly isn’t necessary when cleaning this knife nor are special skills. You can easily restore its aesthetic appeal with spot or deep cleaning. Only take the knife apart, if you believe you can put it back together.

Is The Knife Easy To Sharpen?

It depends on the type of blade you have. The plain edge is remarkably easy to sharpen, but the same cannot be said for the partially serrated edge. You would probably need special equipment to get the serrated edge sharpened.

What’s The Difference Between The Original 940 And The 940-1?

The original Benchmade 940 has a CPM-S30V blade and aluminum handle scales, while the 940-1 comes with a CPM-S90V blade and carbon fiber handle scales.

Final Thoughts

Most EDC knives nowadays don’t meet the demands of daily cutting jobs. Most ordinary models come with cheap blade steels that cannot hold an edge and they are pretty awful in terms of corrosion and wear resistance. But the CPM-S90V blade of the Benchmade 940-1 solves the problem.

The good balance of chromium, carbon, and vanadium in the CPM-S90V blade steel give the knife its high degree of wear and corrosion resistance. Also, it enables the knife to have good edge holding ability and ease of sharpening.

The Benchmade 940-1 is your go-to knife if you are looking for an everyday carry model with upgraded features. Click here to check the product out!

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