Today, we’re looking at the Rift, automatic folder from Benchmade knives. The Rift is proudly made in the United States of America and is from the black box line– a working line of knives for professionals. I remember when I first started writing about knives. I was a freelance field editor for Knives Illustrated magazine. I contacted Les d’Asis at Benchmade and requested a sample to do an article on. This was more than 22 years ago, and Benchmade has continued to keep me supplied with samples for articles.
Benchmade knives are always in demand. A good number of our military personnel use Benchmade knives, as well as many folks in law enforcement. Benchmade Knife Company is a leading manufacturer of automatic folding knives. Even though Benchmade has been producing automatic folders for a number of years right here in Oregon, there are large numbers of law enforcement officers who do not know they are legal to own in Oregon.
The Benchmade Rift model number 9555S is a reversed Tanto blade for toughness. It also has a large belly blade for utility cutting, and its textured G10 handle scales help you get a firm grip in any situation. There is also a manual safety on top of the handle scales, for locking the blade in the open or the closed position. The blade is manufactured out of 154 CM stainless steel with a Rockwell hardness of 58-61. The knife can be carried in the pocket with the reversible pocket clip for a tip up carry only.
The blade length is ideal at 3.67 inches; the blade thicknesses is 0.114 inches. Its handle thickness is 0.556 inches. What is unique about the Rift is that it has the Axis locking system, which releases the blade with either hand by simply sliding the axis pivot point to the rear. Overall, the length of the knife is a 8.27 inches; closed its length is 4.60 inches.
The model 9555, Rift, can be had in several different versions. You can get it either satin finished blade or a black coated blade with a plain blade or partial serrations and a blade. The sample I received is the satin finished blade with partial serrations, which are very handy when cutting wet rope, rubber, or cardboard and many other tough materials.
The textured G10 handle scales are black, and the texturing is just in the right places on both sides of the handle to assure you a firm and secure grip in all kinds of weather conditions. At the top of the handle scales, there are friction grooves for proper thumb placement in the fencing grip. Additionally, on the bottom of the handle there are also friction grooves, once again, for a sure grip in any position that you hold the knife. G10 is one of toughest materials you can use for handle scales on a knife or handgun grips.
During my testing of the Rift, I used it for chores around the house, including chores in the kitchen as well as outdoors on my small homestead. The blade came shaving sharp out-of-the-box, which is typical of all Benchmade knives. During my testing, over a period of several weeks, I did not have to touch up the blade one time. It held the edge.
For the past several years, I’ve carried an older model Benchmade folder that has long been discontinued, yet is one of my favorite folders. However, the new Rift is making headway and fast becoming a favorite. It may replace my old discontinued model that I’ve carried for so many years.
The Rift is one of those knives that you will have a hard time putting down, once you pick it up. It just feels like a natural extension of your hand, no matter which position you hold the knife in– fencing, reverse, hammer, et cetera. The Rift just feels great in the hand. I also like the fact that the Axis locking mechanism is self-adjusting. As the blade/handle wear over the years, the Axis will keep the blade firmly locked when opened, without any wiggle.
I’ve toured the Benchmade plant several times over the years, and I’m always amazed at the growth they have experienced and how much the product line has expanded. To be sure, Benchmade, during my last tour, was working two shifts, and they would work three shifts if they could find enough qualified people. Benchmade takes pride in hiring the best of the best. Also, it is of interest that Benchmade doesn’t have many knives in-stock. They go out the door just as fast as they can produce them, which says a lot. Another reason why Benchmade knives are always in short-supply is that we keep buying them as fast as they are made.
Now, for those who don’t live in areas where automatic folding knives are legal, Benchmade also produces a manual opening version of the Rift, and it opens pretty fast with the thumb stud. The Rift 9555S sample I tested retails for $250. Remember, you are getting a near custom, if not custom knife from Benchmade.
I really like the Rift, and if you are looking for a new EDC (Every Day Carry) folder, take a close look at the Rift. Shortly before this article was done, I somehow lost or misplaced my Rift sample. So, when funds permit, I’m going to get another one, and it will more than likely replace my well-worn and abused older Benchmade folder that I’ve been carrying in my right front pocket for about six years. That says a lot, in my book. I test a lot of knives, but for my everyday carry folder, I’ve stuck to my older Benchmade folder, which may just get replaced…soon! – SurvivalBlog Field Gear Editor Pat Cascio