BENCHMADE Pinnacle model 750 - review

Nov 25, 1999
<center><h3>BENCHMADE Pinnacle model 750</h3></center>
<center><h6>part 1 of 2</h6></center>
Recently I can observe a tendency of departure from common back lock and liner lock towards stronger, more reliable and less sensitive to abuse new locking devices. It is quite understandable - the single thing, which prevents the blade from folding onto user's fingers, is locking mechanism and like each mechanism it can fail. Although I never experienced any really dangerous lock failure with my lockbacks and linerlocks I have no objections to have my fingers even safer.
I'm not quite sure is the BENCHMADE Mono-Lock really new kind of locking device or it is deeply modified liner lock where locking liner's role plays resilient part of titanium scale. This shoulder is several times thicker than traditional locking liner and as result much more stable and resistant against being bent along when lock is loaded. This bend is the nastiest disadvantage of traditional liner lock and in certain circumstances it can cause lock failure sliding locking liner on one or another side from it's place on blade tang. Also knife twisting sometimes can cause locking liner unintentional disengagement and lock failure.
The Mono-Lock is free of these liner lock's disadvantages. Thick shoulder keeps it's shape very stable even under quite abusive load.
Strong grip on the handle tightens the lock and makes lockup even stronger and securer. The unintentional lock disengagement as result of tight grip is out of the question!
So let's look onto the BENCHMADE knife, which utilizes this locking device - Model 750 Pinnacle.


Knife dimensions, strength and shape allow to call it "tactical knife". Maybe I'm putting a bit widened sense into this term. For me "tactical knife" means a knife I can rely on in wide variety of dangerous situations, when my or another person's life or health is depended on knife fast and efficient use, no means is it defensive or rescues action. In my opinion Pinnacle matches these requirements by all means.

Versatile shaped 3.60-inche long and 0.115-inche thick drop point blade is made of ATS-34 stainless steel hardened to 59-61 HRC. Mine has BT2 coating on the blade - BENCHMADE proprietary coating based on black Teflon polymer and offering additional corrosion protection especially valuable if the knife is used in an aggressive environment. Sometimes reading Internet discussions I have impression that this kind of protection is quite underestimated. Maybe the reason is that very most of urban knife users are using their knives hard pretty rarely and can't imagine how fast blade can be destroyed by non-steel-friendly environment, for example high air humidity, heat and frequent contact with oceanic water. I agree, being scratched coated blade looks ugly but here you have to decide what is more important for you - knife "pretty" look or real readiness to work?
The false edge reaches the half of blade length. Pronounced belly in the first (from the tip) half of the edge allows making precise shallow cuts and the slight reversed curve on the rear part provides powerful cutting on heavy and fibrous materials. I could use my Pinnacle equally comfortable cutting both single paper sheaths along the ruler and heavy three-layer wave cardboard or 1/2-inch wide plastic packing straps.

The handle machined of 6AL-4V titanium with bead blasted finish is anodized in graphite-gray color and comfortable to hold. The locking shoulder in forefinger area, the blade ramp and handle spine under the thumb and the rear part of handle spine are checkered pretty aggressively to increase grip security but at the same time remaining comfortable to hold during hard cutting chores. All outside edges are nicely ground; my hand found no pinch points I could want to grind out.

<center><h6>to be continued</h6></center>

[This message has been edited by Sergiusz Mitin (edited 07-14-2000).]
<center><h3>BENCHMADE Pinnacle model 750</h3></center>
<center><h6>part 2 of 2</h6></center>

Knife is well balanced, the center of gravity is placed directly in forefinger placement area. During both heavy and precise cutting I found accurate blade pointing very intuitive and not tiring.

Black non-glare steel pocket clip is designed for tip-down carry and can't be moved onto the handle's opposite side. Knife seats quite deeply in the pocket, no more than 1/2-inch of handle stays above pocket upper edge.

Three clip-mounting screws are screwed into steel inserts, but not directly into titanium scale.

No one thing is completely free from disadvantages, the Pinnacle also. The most important disadvantage I found is the single-sided opening stud. It is a lot of situations when even true right-handed user can be forced to reach his knife with the left hand and what is the problem to make the opening stud ambidextrous?

The most important part of each folding knife is the locking mechanism.

I found BENCHMADE Mono-Lock very strong, reliable and easy to operate. When the handle is gripped firmly it is clearly noticeable how lock tightens itself. The first and foremost doubt I had is how easy would be to disengage the lock after this tightening? Doesn't the locking shoulder "stick" the blade tang? Titanium liners sometimes are pretty hard to disengage due to relatively high friction coefficient between steel and titanium. I was pleasurably surprised with the fact that lock disengagement is easy no matter was the knife opened calmly or violently and was the lock tightened with strong grip or not.
Locking shoulder has limited access when knife is opened, so you can disengage lock only when you want to do it.
I performed some spin whack tests hitting both wooden board and phonebook. This whacking have made no impression on Mono-Lock at all, I couldn't notice any locking shoulder movement to any side from it normal position. Also whacking anyway did not obstruct lock intentional disengagement.
Last but not least - knife retains closed position very firmly, when I tried to open it with wrist flip it was really difficult to do. In my opinion it's an advantage but no way drawback. Knife opening with a wrist flip is inefficient and quite dangerous in it's nature, especially in a tight space. It is practically uncontrolled violent movement with razor-sharp blade, which maybe open the knife fully or maybe not. Pinnacle's Mono-Lock doesn't predispose to this king of play and it is very good! On the other hand when the first resistance is overcame the blade pivots very smoothly and easily.

Conclusion: if the strong, reliable knife reasonably sized for heavy cutting chores and self defense in urbanized environment is required BENCHMADE Pinnacle is very suitable choice. This modest knife doesn't cause too much emotions when is looked, but it is worth each penny of it's price. I think that in quality/price competition it can easily outperform much more expensive production and custom knives.

Sergiusz Mitin
Lodz, Poland

[This message has been edited by Sergiusz Mitin (edited 07-14-2000).]
Great review !! Been wanting one for awhile, guess i'm gonna go ahead and get one .. sounds like a winner to me..Thanks again for the review !! Chaz

As always, a very nice review, Sergiusz. Do you have an axis-lock you could compare this to in terms of ease of use, reliability (in engaging), and security? I notice that Benchmade has come out with several Axis lock knives, but only one Mono-lock.
Like always, ur review is very comprehensive and helpful. The Pinnacle is easily one of the best BM knife, its simple yet incrediblely strong and lightweight, definitly a wonderful everyday knife. BTW do u think the Mono-lock is the strongest locking mechnism out there? how is it compare to the Axis? Being a tactical knife freak, i wish the blade is more aggresive, it looks too plain to me.

Great review!! Serg!! Looking forward to ur next one.
good review! I bought a BM 750 about four months ago and was very impressed with fit & finish (something I had heard Benchmade was not always good at), ergonomics, and elegant design.

My only wish--that BM would come out with a smaller (say 2.75"-3") version so I could have a matching pair.
I have to say that the Pinnacle is my favorite from BM right now. I have the BM Ares with Axis lock. It's okay. But I find myself carrying the BM much, much more. I like the recurve blade and the simplicity and reliability of this lock.


AKTI #A000356
Sergiusz said:

Strong grip on the handle tightens the lock and makes lockup even stronger and securer. The unintentional lock disengagement as result of tight grip is out of the question!

This is more true of the Sebenza than it is of the Pinnacle. I found I could partially disengage the lock on my Pinnacle by squeezing the handle and twisting the knife a certain way (counter clockwise, I believe). It never closed up on me, but I could feel a bit of looseness in the lock-up and it made me nervous. It has to do with the position of the clip. Because the clip is mounted on the pivot end, there is a gap between your finger and the integral lock spring, so actually you're not necessarily pressing the spring into the lock as you might imagine. Compare the Chris Reeve Sebenza, on which the clip is mounted on the butt end. With the Sebenza your finger actually does squeeze down firmly onto the spring. To test my hypothesis, I removed the clip from the Pinnacle and found that it was much less prone to twist-induced disengagement.

David Rock

AKTI Member # A000846
Stop when you get to bone.
Thank you for your appreciation, this is the nicest prize for me

I do not know what's the matter with one image (third one in the second part), it is not visible for me. Here I'll try to pull it out again.

Wow! Here it works

Burke, SharpEdge,
Yes, I have two knives with Axis Lock: Model 710 and Model 730 Ares and I like them very much. But it is quite difficult to compare so different mechanisms side by side for strength, especially without technically justified breaking test results. Some months ago certain Forumite made some kind of breaking tests on different knives. Although this test was not too scientific it can give some info on lock resistance against brutal abuse. Axis Lock was winner closely followed with Mono-Lock. Sorry, I couldn't find this thread. Could somebody point it?
In my subjective opinion Mono-Lock has some drawbacks and some advantages comparing with Axis Lock. I'll not explain them completely here, it's a topic for separate discussion. Shortly: main Mono-Lock disadvantage - it is not ambidextrous, main advantage - the simplicity and lack of small parts. The main reason why I'm evaluating for ex. Model 710 slightly over Pinnacle - because it can be operated equally with both hands but not due to lock design.

I would like Baby Pinnacle also. At IWA'2000 gun show I asked Mr. Les de Asis are they going to work out smaller version? He said they are not going to do it so far. It was in March, maybe they could change their plans later... At least almost each BENCHMADE tactical oriented knife has "little brother", why Pinnacle should be exclusion?

I can imagine situation you are speaking about. To simulate this I have put my Pinnacle's blade into vise (using felt inserts, of course) horizontally in edge downward position. Now I tried to pull the blade out in vertical direction at the same time twisting the handle counter clockwise direction. This could simulate somewhat abusive but quite real situation when knife is bitten into some heavy to cut material and we want to pull it our, right?
In this situation I have found that lower edge of clip pretty noticeable bits my forefinger above second joint (counting from finger's tip). This is the unambiguous result of clip positioning when it slightly covers the locking shoulder. Maybe this problem could be solved slightly moving clip in spine direction...
But I didn't notice any Mono-Lock loosening. Maybe it is the question of hand dimensions and shape? Mine is quite average...

Could someone else do this simulation and share his impressions?

[This message has been edited by Sergiusz Mitin (edited 07-15-2000).]
Hi Serg,

I own both a prototype and a pre-pro of the Pinnacle and wanted to mention that my proto has dual thumbstuds as well as elongated slots machined into the handle. My pre-pro is just like the one in your pictures. I think if they had made the prototype I have in to regular production, it would have been a more user friendly knife. I still like the design, but it could have been better. I would have also mounted the clip for tip up carry.

If they made a baby Pinnacle with dual thumbstuds, handle machining, and tip up carry, I think I'd have the perfect using knife!

My hand is about a size 10, and I've never had any problem with the locks disengaging on either of mine. I don't see how it could happen anyway, even with the clip there, your still applying pressure to the exposed end of the lock?

Thanks for the review!
Even though they are two completely different locking designs, could you comment as to performance and application differences between the 750 Pinnacle and the 800 AFCK?

When I do really tough stuff, I like a fixed blade. I am looking for an easy carry, easy open tactical folder that also is suitable for tomatoes, cardboard, cheese, bagels and the everyday "stuff" knives are used for.
Thanks for the great review, Serg. Cost considered, I feel the BM750 is easily the best tactical/utility knife available. I would buy another one if it became available with a hollow ground blade in M2 or BG42. The axis lock is bullet-proof; but I have not found a model designed as well as the 750.
The main difference in performance between Pinnacle and AFCK is lock and entire construction strength. It is not necessary to break these knives to become convinced than Pinnacle is by far stronger: Pinnacle's locking shoulder is made of the same material (titanium) but it is several times thicker than AFCK locking liner! AFCK handle is a bit too flexible.
AFCK in my opinion also has some advantages comparing with the Pinnacle:
* I like Spyderco opening hole over single sided thumb stud;
* I like the grip on textured G-10 scales a bit more than on metal ones;
* AFCK fits my hand slightly more comfortable.
But first of all - I simply like AFCK, without any justification. It is my very favorite everyday carry folder among both Benchmades and all folding knives at all.
Here you can find more opinions (including mine) on this comparison.

However for food preparing - tomatoes and other vegetables and fruits, cheese (oh, cheese!), bread, smoked meats etc. I'm considerably preferring full flat grind like Spyderco Military (BTW my favorite kitchen knife

[This message has been edited by Sergiusz Mitin (edited 07-15-2000).]

[This message has been edited by Sergiusz Mitin (edited 07-16-2000).]
Originally posted by Sergiusz Mitin:
At least almost each BENCHMADE tactical oriented knife has "little brother", why Pinnacle should be exclusion?
I don't think it's easy to make it much smaller and retain all its qualities. Possibly it'd either not be as strong or require more force to close.

My guess is that they choose this size instead of one a little smaller and one a little bigger and never planned for two sizes of it.

Trying to imagine a smaller variant I'm not sure if I'd find it useful.

I think it wouldn't be a problem to make smaller version and to do not lose qualities. Of course smaller knife usually is somewhat weaker, but it also is usually intended for lighter cutting chores.

Please take into consideration that Chris Reeve makes his Sebenzas in three sizes (I'm counting the Umfaan like very small Sebenza, basically it is the same design). OK, these knives are falling into completely different price category than Pinnacle. Someone might say what can be done in price range $300+ not obviously be able to work at price range $150, right?
But Columbia River Knife & Tool makes their S-2 with the same handle materials (6AL4V titanium alloy) and in the same dimensions as small Sebenza and Umfaan. I haven't experienced any performance problems with S-2 with 2,87" long blade.

So I'm completely sure the technical limitations are not the issue here. I could justify the lack of Baby Pinnacle with for ex. 2,8-3,0" long blade with marketing and business matters only, but I'm not marketing specialist.
Originally posted by Sergiusz Mitin:
I think it wouldn't be a problem to make smaller version and to do not lose qualities. Of course smaller knife usually is somewhat weaker, but it also is usually intended for lighter cutting chores.
Sure, you and I'll understand that, but will everyone else? Especially now when there's the Axis lock. Unless Benchmade really likes to profile themselves as a company which always makes two sizes of the same model, I don't think a smaller Pinnacle makes sense from a marketing and economic point of view.

Urban Fredriksson
Latest update: A Russian hand made hunting knife

"I've always been fascinated by Scandinavian knives [...] they're simple, in an advanced way".
- Bob Loveless
My recent reading of this forum and the spine whack test inspired me to look at the folders that I carry on a daily basis. Last weekend, a friend and I pulled together our collection of folders, a workbench and an axhandle. Not claiming any scientific methodology, years in grad school cured me of that, the following are our observations. We simply opened the knives, held down the handle on the bench with the blade extended out, edge down, and whacked the spine of the knives with the ax handle. No, there was ax head attached to the handle and yes, we did gouge the bench up badly when the locks failed.

We started with conventional lockback folders - a delica and a CS medium length zytel model. Both locks failed with light spine whacks.

Next came the liner locks. A cheap Outdoor Design[?] Kit Carson: Great looking knife, but the lock failed easier than the conventional lockbacks. The Emerson Commander which I'm very fond of also failed. However, the lock failure was very inconsistent. The liner spring tension appears to be weaker than those on my BMs.

Monolock: Also failed, but took a harder whack. Since my friend put his BM to the test, I felt obliged to see how my relatively new Sebenza would fare. Let me preface by saying that I REALLY like this knife, but the obvious scar across my right forefinger from a folder lock failure makes me value my fingers over any knife. Seeing as how I broke his Pinnacle, I let him whack my Sebenza. The lock held on the first whack. So he choaked back further on the ax handle and swung harder, and the lock failed. I couldn't believe it. There was no obvious damage to the lock/handle, so we opened it up again and tried it again. Same thing happened. So, even though I really like my Sebenza, I now know its limits.

Finally the Axis lock: we only tested the Mel Perdue model with the alum body and 3.2" blade. The damm thing would not break. We gouged the bench top with the handle by the force of the strike and the most we managed to do is to dent the locking pin and bend the oval that it moves back and forth. The blade doesn't lock up as tight, but it works just fine.

Later that afternoon, my friend retired his Pinnacle and bought the Eliziwitz-design axis lock. I'm now carrying the Mel Perdue model, but still look at my Sebenza fondly.

Hope this helps you guys when you're looking at that next knife purchase.

what did you use to hold the handles down? Just your hands? A vice?

Has anyone tried a similar test with a heavy-duty lockback such as a Buck 110? I'm also very curious how a SERE 2000 or Spyderco Military would perform. (Or a number of fixed blades out there.)
Originally posted by Ray Z:
We simply opened the knives, held down the handle on the bench with the blade extended out, edge down, and whacked the spine of the knives with the ax handle.
This is of course interesting - and possibly useful for some of us - , but I'd be more intersted in tests which are more representative of how knives are mostly used, hard.

Like lots of repeated applications of force (let's say 200% of what a user reasonably could be expected to apply during hard work, but not as a "whack" like in chopping), where "lots" is at least a four figure number.

Like moderate sideways bending and twisting, also repeated lots of times.

And where the objective is to see if any blade play is the result, not finding ultimate strengths (although that could be interesting too).

Urban Fredriksson
Latest update: A Russian hand made hunting knife

"I've always been fascinated by Scandinavian knives [...] they're simple, in an advanced way".
- Bob Loveless