sumo, ergo bloggum (delta)

September 12, 2006

Benchmade vs. Emerson Folding Knives

Filed under: Miscellaneous,Tools — Rob @ 5:56 pm

I just got a Benchmade 551SBK Griptilian knife (Mel Pardue design) with a 3-3/8″ black BK1 coated 154CM stainless steel ComboEdge blade with thumb studs, 4-5/8″ black Zytel handle, super smooth and strong “Axis” lock, and black stainless steel reversible pocket clip (right or left hand, tip up carry).  It’s a very impressive piece of work — opens with just a flick of the wrist.

But I have to admit I was (still am, in fact) considering getting an Emerson Commander (or Mini-Commander) with the “Wave” feature.  Aside from design/style, I think the only differences may be blade thickness and length, locking mechanism, handle material and cost.  I really like the deep finger notch on the underside of the handle.

Am wondering if anyone can offer any insight about which knife might hold up better through so-called “hard use” and why the Emerson’s are a bit more expensive. 



  1. The reason the Emerson is more expensive is because Emerson knives are designed by Ernest R. Emerson himself so basically you are paying for a custom knife and the Emerson name. The biggest difference between the knives are the handles and locking mechanisms. Emerson uses titanium for their liner lock whereas Benchmade does not specify what material they use for their Axis lock. The handles of Emerson knives are made from Kydron. “Kydron is a proprietary formula of a polyester based elastomer, with Kevlar fibers added for stiffness and increased strength modulus” ( This handle “molds” to your hand and is great for wet environments.
    But as you say, the Benchmade is great and I think the Axis lock will hold up to more abuse than the Emerson liner lock IF Benchmade uses good material for the Axis lock.
    If you have any comments for me please email me!

    Comment by marinus — September 23, 2006 @ 9:38 am | Reply

  2. I’m a 62 year old Navy veteran. I’ve carried a knive as long as I can remember.
    I have both Emerson and Benchmade folding knives. I carried Benchmade until I bought my first Emerson several years ago.
    Emerson is not only the best knife ever made but they stand behind their product 100%.
    And, I know knives!

    Comment by Tony L. — September 24, 2006 @ 11:23 pm | Reply

  3. Marinus and Tony, thanks for your opinions. I’m still very happy with my Benchmade but now wish I’d gotten the “mini” version of the knife I purchased. Sometimes I feel a little self-conscious pulling out a ~3.5″ blade for a mundane chore. I think I’ll pick-up an Emerson Mini-Commander for day-to-day carry and reserve the Benchmade for hiking, etc.

    9/27/06 update: Ooops, I just learned the Mini-Commander also has a ~3.5″ blade. In fact, few of Emerson’s knives seem to have a blade length of less than 2.9″. Might have to check out the Benchmade “minis”.

    Comment by Rob — September 26, 2006 @ 11:53 pm | Reply

  4. Dear Rob

    I do not know when last did you check the Emerson website, but they have a new model. Snubby CQC-14. You said the Mini Emersons blade is to long, but have alook at the Snubby its 2.7″ long with full sized handles. Maybe you would like the knive.


    Comment by Marinus — November 5, 2006 @ 7:06 am | Reply

  5. Marinus,

    Thanks for alerting me to this. The CQC-14 BTS is exactly the knife I’m looking for.


    Comment by Rob — November 7, 2006 @ 4:49 pm | Reply

  6. Check out the cqc 7 mini. It has a 2.9 inch blade. Very nice knife.

    Comment by John — November 21, 2006 @ 9:05 pm | Reply

  7. Well, I’ve checked out both the CQC-14 and CQC-7 Mini and, of the two, really prefer the Snubby. I don’t much care for tanto blades so that rules out the CQC-7 for me. However, I also don’t feel like paying $160 (eBay) for a Snubby for what I would use it for (nothing special).
    So I think the knife I’ll actually buy is the Benchmade Mini-Griptilian with the combo black-coated blade (about $60 on eBay). It hasn’t got the blade thickness of the Emerson but in terms of strength and reliabiity is probably more than I’ll ever need.

    Comment by Rob — November 22, 2006 @ 1:09 am | Reply

  8. Dear Rob

    Just a friendly request: Could you maybe post some photos of your knives? It will be interesting.

    PS!! I recently discovered a cool website. They do some knive tests etc on knives and if you click on the forum link there are some nice discussions on knives. you can also become a member.

    Kind regards

    Comment by Marinus — November 25, 2006 @ 8:27 am | Reply

  9. Marinus,
    I really haven’t got all that many knives and there are plenty of great photos at the online knife stores. Still, it might be fun just to do it for inventory purposes. But I can’t promise when I’ll get to it. Might be several months. Heck, I have all I can do just to write the occasional post. 😉

    Comment by Rob — November 27, 2006 @ 5:06 pm | Reply

  10. I have a benchmade 970 emerson used but not abused can anyone tell what its worth

    Comment by steve — March 4, 2011 @ 9:44 am | Reply

  11. I dont disagree with this blog…

    Comment by PR 10 site — November 18, 2011 @ 10:25 am | Reply

  12. What a really good post.

    Comment by Product Placement — December 16, 2011 @ 2:25 pm | Reply

  13. Hey I think it would be nice if you added some more photos to your reviews but you know its up to you!

    Comment by Researching hunting knives — November 12, 2012 @ 3:46 pm | Reply

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