The Benchmade Narrows Resets the Engineering Bar

Benchmade got here out of the gate roaring in February with a lineup of knives that acquired higher and higher every time you flipped the web page of its 2023 product catalog. There are loads of up to date knives in there and a set of latest ones designed to outlast you and no matter you do. However there’s one knife that’s going to shake issues up, if not for its worth — its ultrathin profile: the Narrows.

The Benchmade Narrows is round 9/32 inches thick. For everybody who’s not an engineer or sucks at fractions as I do, that’s only a hair over ¼ inch. It’s additionally lower than 3 ounces, which traces this knife as much as go in opposition to every thing we’ve discovered about power and sturdiness in folding knives. 

To attain this skinny profile — with out sacrificing power and sturdiness — Benchmade needed to distill every thing right down to what was completely vital and construct again up from there. The Narrows is an train in each engineering and metallurgy. The result’s milled 6AI-4V Titanium deal with scales and a specifically engineered Axis lock that works inside the narrowness of the Narrows.

And I haven’t even instructed you about the entire electric-blue accents and the M390 drop-point blade.

  • OAL
  • Blade size
  • Blade metal
    Bohler M390
  • Blade form
    Drop level
  • Grind
  • Hardness
    58-61 HRC
  • Lock kind
  • Carry proper or left hand, tip-up
  • Weight
    2.41 oz.
  • Value

  • Premium supplies and construct

  • Ultrathin profile and minimal weight

  • General power and sturdiness

Design and Options

Measuring the Benchmade Narrows width on calipers
(Photograph/Nick LeFort)

At simply over ¼-inch thick the Benchmade Narrows is the thinnest knife Benchmade has ever made. To provide you an concept of how skinny that’s, the Narrows is 33% thinner than the Bugout. If you put this knife in your pocket, it nearly disappears. 

The place that facet is spectacular, the true wow issue right here is how effectively the blade slices via supplies. Bohler M390 metal is a premium metal recognized for its excessive corrosion and abrasion resistance in addition to honing to a razor-sharp edge. If you skinny it out, as Benchmade has executed right here, you get an uncanny slicing and chopping expertise.

How skinny is the blade? On the thickest a part of the backbone, the blade is 5/64 inches thick. That tapers right down to 1/32 inch on the tip. That’s roughly the thickness of a bank card. In drop level type, it turns into extremely efficient and straightforward to make use of.

If you wrap that with two slabs of milled Titanium, and anodize the {hardware}, thumb stud, pocket clip, and pivot bolt to be electrical blue, you’re left with one of the crucial spectacular manufacturing folding knives to hit the market within the final decade.

However, why would Benchmade cease there? The place it may have simply made this a frame-lock knife, it determined to reengineer its Axis, crossbar-style lock so it may match the skinny profile of the Narrows.

Ultimately, the Narrows could be one of the crucial well-thought-out and best-built knives in the marketplace for 2023. However you’re going to wish to drop over $500 to expertise it firsthand.

Benchmade Narrows First Impression

Benchmade Narrows up close
(Photograph/Nick LeFort)

I didn’t assume a knife could possibly be this skinny. Critically, the Narrows almost defies every thing you already know a couple of folding knife. North and south, east and west, it appears to be like like a premium folding knife. If you shift every thing and deal with the Z-axis and understand how skinny the knife is, it doesn’t seem like a knife you are able to do an entire bunch with it earlier than it snaps or a very good wind whisks it away.

However, after all, that’s not the case. 

This can be a Benchmade knife and regardless that it nonetheless falls contained in the confines of the Blue Class of its knives, it’s a high-end dynamo that would simply match into their Gold Class. Benchmade even had the audacity to lighten Narrows up by milling out the titanium deal with scales, as if being round 3 ounces was simply an excessive amount of. 

In all of this — the skinny body, the Bohler M390 metal, the electrical blue anodization on the thumb stud, backspacer, pivot bolt, pocket clip, and screws — it’s the brand new Axis lock that has me within the zone. I’m over right here in a daze, locking and unlocking it, letting the blade drop, after which firing it again in place. It’s an entire new tackle the crossbar lock that somebody ought to be getting an award for within the Engineering Division at Benchmade.

Within the Subject

Benchmade Narrows knife lock
(Photograph/Nick LeFort)

After almost a month of day-to-day use in work and play, I’m nonetheless overly impressed with the Narrows. It excels in type and performance and is produced from premium supplies, nevertheless it’s additionally a little bit of a speaking piece as a result of it’s so skinny. How skinny? I’ve knives with blades thicker than the Narrows.

Seems to be will be deceiving and when it will get down to really utilizing the Narrows. That’s while you understand you’ve been lied to your complete life. Cumbersome doesn’t all the time imply higher. Even at simply over ¼ inch thick, there’s no bending and bowing within the Narrows. You’re additionally not dropping something in the best way of gripping and holding, which is as a result of stylized, ergonomic profile.

Bohler M390 metal is from Austria. So is Arnold Schwarzenegger. He’s sturdy as hell. So is M390. Initially designed to make plastic injection molds due to its unbelievable put on resistance, the Narrows M390 offers you the proper alternative to place in a tough day of labor — in all circumstances. 

Contemplating the aforementioned, It goes with out saying that the Narrows is nearly nonexistent in your pocket while you’re carrying it. It carries deep, too, so you’ll be able to’t really feel it, and “they” can’t see it.

The one downside is that it’s costly ($580!), nevertheless it’s additionally going to be a chore to sharpen if it ever will get boring.

I don’t need to knock the Bugout anymore than I have already got, but when Benchmade constructed it the best way they constructed the Narrows, with these unbelievable titanium deal with scales, retaining the S30V for posterity, it could possibly be the proper pocket knife. However, alas, we’re getting a bit little bit of that taste right here with the Narrows.


Bechmade Narrows
(Photograph/Nick LeFort)

The Narrows from Benchmade is a plateau. Benchmade constructed the Narrows so effectively, but so skinny, that it units a precedent in what engineers can do with a folding knife to make it extra adaptable. 

The brand new wave of tactical people will like it for its skinny profile and hardwearing construct. So will the suit-and-tie crowd who desires to hold one thing important however can’t have something cumbersome of their costume pants. In the course of that’s the out of doors crowd and the working class who simply want a knife they don’t have to consider, however they will’t beat on like a bit brother.

I assume what I’m saying is that the Narrows is a really utilitarian EDC knife. It’s acquired one thing for everybody who wants a dependable folding knife. I personally would have made it a flipper, however I’m all about flippers today, so I might flip a kukri right into a flipper if it have been sensible. 

The $500+ price ticket is what’s going to hold individuals up and switch them again to the Benchmade catalog for one thing extra reasonably priced. That stated, I don’t assume that’s going to maintain the Narrows from gaining traction within the diehard knife-owner crowd.

On the very least, when it launches in June, see if you may get your fingers on one to mess around with. It would simply knock your socks off sufficient to warrant the funding.