newbie needs help

Nov 17, 2000
Looking for info on choosing knife for outdoor use and self-defense.

Am looking for fold-out knife that I can open/close easily, keep an edge longer, easy to sharpen/maintain, durable. That narrows things down, doesn't it!!

1. what are pros/cons between liner locks vs. axis lock by Benchmade.

2. What are pros/cons of different type of metals for blades?

3. What are pros/cons of different handle materials. Looking for something that doesn't get slippery when wet/damp.

4. pros/cons of straight grip design vs. contoured to fingers

5. Any overlooked suggestions? Things to look out for and avoid?

This is also a chance for manufacturers to tell me what their companies do differently vs. their competitors.
Welcome Rebel. That is quite a broad range to cover in a single thread. Do try a post at the Tactics and Training forum as well.

Ok, I'll take a stab at this. Let's see, the axis lock is stronger than the liner lock and is very reliable. The axis lock is also
ambidextrous for people that are left handed, the liner lock is not. The pros and cons about the different blade steels could fill a book. I would recommend visiting the FAQ's here on this site, and read Joe Talamadge's article on steels along with his other articles. There are many kinds of handle materials ie: stag, wood, aluminum, micarta and G-10. The last one G-10 is a good all around handle material when encountering wet conditions. The best G-10 can do is look non-ugly when compared with some of the other materials mentioned. Keep in mind I didn't list anywhere near the available handle materials being used. You asked about curved vs. straight handle shapes, all I can say is try some out for yourself and decide. This is comes down to personal preference. The only other suggestion I can offer is not to get all caught up in blade steel and lock strength comparisons. Heat treat is as important or more so than the blade steel choice. Both the Axis Lock and Rollin Lock can withstand more force than a liner lock before failing. Keep in mind that a person can't really hold onto the knife for these locks to fail. So find a knife with the features that you like, a good blade steel, a well made and lock. You may also want to try a search, blade steel, lock types and handle materials
are always being discussed. Good Luck.
A good general purpose knife is the Benchmade AFCK, The axis locks are great but unless you are a really heavy duty user they are not necessary. A Cold Steel knife is a good bet for toughness, I like the medium and large blades. G-10 is my favorite handle material bar none.
I like contoured grips that narrow down towards the little finger.
I think that the straighter blades work better for general use. A clip point or drop point is the best general blade shapes, the thinner the blade the better. Don't try to get a folding knife to chop wood with! A folding knife shouldn't be asked to do so much. Get a hatchet or machete for the big jobs.
Remember a knife is a tool for CUTTING things.

Read the Joe Talmadge FAQ's first! There is a wealth of practical knowledge present in a concise easy to read format.

Stay Sharp,
Here's a link to Joe's tutorial on blade steels:
Very useful information.

1. What Easyrider said.
2. Any blade steel is a compromise. See the link above. Decide what you want to do with your knife, and what you expect of it. Different steels are better for different tasks.
3. IMO, G-10 is the best all-around handle material.
4. The best grip design is the one that fits YOU.
5. You didn't mention a budget. Whatever you do, buy quality. Don't go cheap on something you will use every day, and that your life may depend on. Don't trust manufacturer's claims. Choose the models that interest you, and do searches on them. Tons of info from actual users on this site.

"Am looking for fold-out knife that I can open/close easily, keep an edge longer, easy to sharpen/maintain, durable."
Check out the Benchmade 710HS. Sounds like it might fit the bill. I just ordered one, but don't have it yet. It has gotten a lot of good feedback.
Also, check out the manufacturer's forums here, and the links section.
Good luck. You hang around here long and you'll have a dozen new knives!-not a bad thing

[This message has been edited by OwenM (edited 11-24-2000).]