BM 705 Mini Axis-Lock - First Impressions


Gold Member
Oct 12, 1998
I just purchased a Benchmade 705S mini-axis lock pre-production knife. Here are my first impressions, I'll compare it to the 710.

Blade: 2.9", thinner than the 710 and is NOT recurved. Very nice stain finish with the new Benchmade logo ("Benchmade" written through the buttefly). Sharp, but not shaving sharp out of the box. It only took a few minutes to put a hair popping edge on it.

Handle: Same design, the stainless liners are just slightly thinner and the G10 slabs appear to be the same thickness. Overall just slightly thinner than the 710. It is smaller,(sized like the mini-AFCK) so my pinky is off in the middle of nowhere, but this is the case for me with all smaller knives.

Clip: Is a modified clip. They shortened it so that it wouldn't interfere with the lock mechanism. And the clip covers up a little bit of the corner of the lanyard hole.

Fit and Finish: Are superb, I can't find anything cosmetically wrong with it.

Overall: Very smooth operation, solid lock up. Very comfortable to carry in the pocket. This will be my new daily carry knife.

I'll try to post a follow-up that actually includes some cutting tests once I get a chance to use it.


It looks like a toy! Why would anyone need such a strong lock on that small of a knife? What's next, the M-2 705...

If you like small knives, you'll have to get one, otherwise I'd pass.

I have always believed that a folding knife was just a compromise between two extremes: strength (fixed blade) and utility (you can carry a folder where a fixed-blade would be unwelcome, for many reasons). I welcome any lock on any length folder that brings its strength closer to the ideal of a fixed blade.

For me, large folders, despite the clip, have less daily utility than small ones, though I recognize that others have different views and needs. I find that the handiness of a small blade (one to three inches) is much more useful than the large 4-inch blades on my tac folders. Among all my knives, my most-carried is my old-style slipjoint Puma (no lock), with two blades, one two and a half inches, and the other one and a quarter.

My next purchase will likely be a Microtech Mini-SOCOM manual, and by the time its glow wears off, the supply pipeline should have a suffiency of 705s, which will be the purchase after that. (The 710 tempted me, but I couldn't get past that recurved blade.
) If it works as well as wkrafft indicates, I expect one or the other will finally replace my Puma.

[This message has been edited by Walker (edited 20 May 1999).]
I feel very strongly that all the emphasis on lock-strength can really make you go astray. What I love so much about the axis lock is its RELIABILITY. Unlike lockbacks, which sometimes unlock themselves on you when you squeeze the handle hard, and liner lock, which unlock themselves on you if you look at them cross-eyed, the axis lock so far has not shown itself very vulnerable to accidental release. The fact that the axis lock is also incredibly strong is also a nice feature. But don't get hung up on strength -- there are much MUCH worse problems than strength with other locking formats out there.
I've gone through lots of knives in the 3" blade range over the last year trying to find one I really like. (baby SOCOM, mini-AFCK- left-handed, native, delica, and others) but the mini axis lock is my favorite. It is very - very smooth opening, is completely ambidextrous (I'm left handed), one hand opening and closing, and the carry is very comfortable, plus the bonus of lock strength and I paid less for it than my baby-SOCOM (although it doesn't look as coooool). The bottom line is if your looking for a knife with around a 3" blade you should definitely check out and handle the 705 mini-Axis.

Oh! and I didn't mention in my review that the spacer on the pre-production is G10, and upon further measurements I believe the stainless liners are the same thickness as on the 710.

I certainly understand your preference for reliability, and I value it too. One might argue, however, that a fixed blade knife is simply a folder with a relatively strong locking mechanism that always "fails safe."

I don't believe the Axis lock has had sufficient time in the market to pursuade me about its long-term reliability, let alone its "fail-safe" properties, though its ergonomics are certainly promising in the accidental release category. I'm somewhat concerned about the two small springs; yes, I agree that they're redundant, but that just means that they'll take a little longer to fail than one spring would, and probably at the time I've finally begun to trust the lock. I've never had a slip-joint close on me, but I don't do those things (thrusting, etc.) that force the blade in the closed direction.

Can you elaborate on the manner in which the search for lock strength can lead us astray?
Walker, just because it takes a lot of force to close a lock does not mean that it is a good lock. It is only one aspect the lock must be stable under actual working conditions. Lots of things can cause a lock to fail, Joe goes into this in detail in the FAQ.

If you focus on only the strength aspect you could easily end up with a lock that takes a lock of direct force to close it (which is good), but collapses easily when you try to use it. For example, the Spyderco Military I recently bought could take direct force on the handle well but the liner collapsed as soon as I exerted any grip pressure.


[This message has been edited by Cliff Stamp (edited 20 May 1999).]
walker -- Cliff basically answered that last question. Here's why I brought the subject up at all, ekaagan's quote: "Why would anyone need such a strong lock on that small of a knife?" Now I don't know exactly why ekaagan was asking that, but I have seen people make all kinds of comments like "a liner lock is plenty strong enough for me", and they often direct this at me and my liner lock rants. Well sure, I agree -- a well done liner lock is tremendously strong, and so is a lockback for that matter. A huge concern of mine is about reliability, not just strength. If you focus just on strength, you could end up with a strong lock that accidently disengages easily. That's what I meant by being lead astray.

As far as the axis lock's reliability, I'm somewhat in agreement with you. I've taken pains that I don't truly think the axis or rolling locks are totally proven yet -- just very very promising. It took me a few years to figure out that I didn't like liner locks, so I definitely want to continue giving the axis a workout for a while.

What I was getting at was this, in most cases, the knife must suit the task and small knives just aren't up to the task of heavy cutting, slashing, chopping, or splitting. Given that, the axis lock won't buy you anything over a standard liner lock. Now, I'm talking lock strentgh, not reliability, another matter. I agree that liner locks can fail, but I think that has more to do with the design than how it's used.

All I was saying about the 705 is that the locking mechanism isn't as important in a knife that size because it probably won't be put to the same chores as a larger folder. The Axis Lock seems like the best solution for next generation folders, but it still has to stand the test of time. The worst thing BM could do is to trademark the mechanism, that way no other knives will ever see the value of that style of lock.

Sorry to change the direction of this thread somewhat, but I figured this is really the most appropriate place...

I'm not sure if you've seen, but in the main forum, there's a thread on the heat treatment of BM's blades. Specifically, the person has had a problem with the axis 710 chipping when used to cut steak on a ceramic plate. I was wondering if any of you who have the knife have had any problems of this nature.

JP Bullivant
Ek :

All I was saying about the 705 is that the locking mechanism isn't as important in a knife that size because it probably won't be put to the same chores as a larger folder.

Sure, but if you can get it without losing anything why not? You always have the strength then if you ever need it.

Specifically, the person has had a problem with the axis 710 chipping when used to cut steak on a ceramic plate.

Chipping, as opposed to what? Rolling? Cutting anything on a ceramic plate with anything less than a ceramic blade, I think, will dull it quickly. Either through chipping or rolling. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to shoot the messenger.

I could believe that it would chip. I have heard several stories of ATS-34, in general, being almost prone to chipping. But, to be honest, I wouldn't be using my 710 to cut steak on a ceramic plate. That is what steak knives are for. I digress, I'm sorry. This is much longer a reply than needed...

In that case my beef has to do with cost. If the axis lock costs the same, than buy it as such, but I doubt it will. Demand is going to cause the price differential to be large at first (especially if BM is the only one using it).

The original intent of my reply was more along the lines of why the axis lock was used on that little-bitty knife in the first place rather than one of their larger folders?


[This message has been edited by ekaagan (edited 21 May 1999).]
Ek, value is a very personal thing. For me I would pay the extra few bucks for the better lock. My fingers are worth it. As for why it was used on that small knife, that's easy, it would be hard to make a mini-axis without it having an axis lock. When the Axis came out, it was not long after that people started asking for a smaller version.