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UPDATE: Benchmade 940-2 First Impressions--and a Question

Discussion in 'Knife Reviews & Testing' started by 4mer_FMF, Feb 27, 2017.

  1. 4mer_FMF

    4mer_FMF Basic Member Basic Member

    Jun 9, 2016
    Updates in posts 7, 11, and 16. Comparisons in posts 17 & 18. Final conclusion in post 19.

    Hi members and lurkers.

    Last week I picked up my first Benchmade from a local retailer, the 940-2. The display model and two out of box were essentially identical in every way--I looked (& flipped) closely. I take that to mean the knife I bought is a fairly representative example.


    So you know my background, I've always had a few folders around (SOG's, old -school Bucks & Gerbers, SAK's, a clipit Delica 1), but in the last year I've pursued knives more seriously and picked up a few "modern" Spydies, ZT's, Kirshaws, CRKT's and CRK's. I'm not a "fanboy" of any particular brand; I just like what I like.


    I finally decided to pay the "butterfly-tax" and the 940-2 seems like it'll fill a niche for EDC. These are my impressions after a week of urban/suburban EDC.

    STYLE/DESIGN: Gorgeous. Sleek. Somehow it manages to look simultaneously aggressive and non threatening. I think it's probably due to the slim profile and reverse tanto. The milling of the G-10 and green standoffs keep things interesting without being overstated. I'll give it a well deserved "A" in this category.


    CARRY: Another "A" grade here. Slim profile, light weight, excellent pocket clip.


    ERGONOMICS: Solid "B." Respectably good, but still a ways from the top. Actually, if you take into account how slender the knife is, the ergonomics are better than that. A 4 finger grip is no problem, and there's a slight hump along the back of the scale that helps fill the palm. I really have no complaints about the ergonomics; it's just that there are some really ergonomically spectacular knives on the market.


    --See below for part 2...and more!--
    Last edited: May 31, 2018
    Mr.SATism likes this.
  2. 4mer_FMF

    4mer_FMF Basic Member Basic Member

    Jun 9, 2016
    --Part 2 of 2--

    SLICE-ABILITY: Very functional blade with a long flat and just enough belly. Good thickness at the tip with a full flat grind to about 3/4 of the way up. It slices way better than I expected, given the solid blade stock and relative thinness of profile. I'll give it "A-."


    FINISH: "B-." Out of the box, there are a few superficial imperfections in the G-10. Nothing tragic--It's gong in my pocket!--but noticeable nonetheless.


    The knife came plenty sharp, but there are pretty significant grind marks on the secondary bevel--like someone forgot to make a pass on the fine belt at finish time. The secondary bevel also gets a little wide at the belly-more noticeable on the show side and hard to photograph. Lastly, there is no real chamfering along the blade spine; it's a very abrupt, but not sharp corner; my guess is they just tumbled it along the way and called it good enough. “B-” is a grade that won't anger mom & dad, but they'll tell you they expect better next semester.


    FIT "C-" Out of the box, the blade dropped freely but had excessive side-to-side play. Talking with the shop owner (and having browsed the forum), I figured I could adjust the pivot to a sweet spot and life would be good. Well, after a few days of trying (with and without a bit of lube) that sweet spot just isn't there. Adjusted to a gratifying action, the side-to-side play is just too much for a quality knife. Right now I have the pivot adjusted for just-barely-detectable play, but it takes an overly zealous thumb to flick open. Likewise, to flip it closed takes more than a shake; I'd call it a whip. Half heartedly in either direction only gets the blade to half way. This is frankly disappointing.


    INITIAL CONCLUSION: This knife has fantastic design and cary-ability with some minor finish issues. Fit issues (out of the box) are more significant. I want to love this knife, but given the action vs side-play dilemma, I can only muster an overall grade of "C+," acceptable but still disappointing.

    Before you comment that the mathematical average of my grades is higher than C+, my final opinion takes into account the $170 price and the fact that I have a $20 CRKT Drifter that, after a few minutes of tinkering, flips awesome and locks up solidly with zero blade play.

    My review and closing statement are not meant to bash BM, and I really (REALLY) don't want to start a flame war or another "BM vs brand X" bashing thread. I really (REALLY) want to love this knife. In fact, my hope is that after a few weeks the washers and blade will smooth each other out and I'll be left with a solid lockup and a great action that opens easily and closes with a shake (I'm not after a fully free dropping blade).

    QUESTION: Those of you who are Benchmade veterans, are my break-in expectations reasonable, or should I send her in to the mothership?

    Hopefully I’ll be able to check back in a few weeks and announce that extra credit has brought my 940-2 up to an “A” grade! I REALLY want to love this knife!

    Thanks for reading and look below for updates that I'll post along the way.

    Updates in posts 7, 11, and 16. Comparisons in posts 17 & 18. Final conclusion in post 19.
    Last edited: May 31, 2018
    Drakul Mihawk and Mr.SATism like this.
  3. luke86


    Mar 29, 2015
    Seems to by my experience with all the 940's I have handled.
  4. Nfd538


    Jul 9, 2015
    The 940 is a great knife. I recently picked up a 940-1 and 1501 and they came dead centered with no blade play. Extremely useful and fun knives. I'd give it a sold B+
  5. palonej

    palonej Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Aug 5, 2015
    I would flick the snot out of it for a couple weeks. If you still can't find that spot, send it in. It will ALWAYS bother you.
    I have a feeling you'll find the sweet spot after couple weeks of fondling.
  6. Nfd538


    Jul 9, 2015
    Yup, flick that sucker. Try adjusting the pivot a bit.
  7. 4mer_FMF

    4mer_FMF Basic Member Basic Member

    Jun 9, 2016
    I've been flicking the crap out of this, and after adjusting today it's gotten a bit better! Both my thumbs have about given out on me though. [emoji16] I'm upgrading the overall grade to "B-." I'm optimistic about continued improvement in the lockup : wiggle ratio and will post another update in a week or two.
    One interesting note: out of the box, the knife barely favored the clip side. Over the last week it migrated further to the same side, abut 60/40 or a tiny bit more. Well during adjustment today I switched the right for left washer and its back to just barely favoring the clip side; it's close enough for me. [emoji6]
    This knife is an amazing carry piece, even more remarkable taking in to account the blade length. If I can repeat last week's improvement in the next week or two, I'll be a happy camper!
  8. palonej

    palonej Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Aug 5, 2015
    I bet you will wind up a very happy camper!!!
  9. Sonnydaze

    Sonnydaze Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 6, 2009
    I have owned several NIB 710's that were just fine. Never felt anything loose blade-wiggle or lock-rock, whatever. Have not owned the 940, although it seems to have a good rep.
    It's gotta be a pain to have a "better" model than the "basic" that is giving you less than 100%. And, from the earlier comments, it seems as though your problems are not experienced by most owners. If you could still return it, I'd do it NOW.
  10. Sonnydaze

    Sonnydaze Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 6, 2009
    I have owned several NIB 710's that were just fine. Never felt anything loose blade-wiggle or lock-rock, whatever. Have not owned the 940, although it seems to have a good rep.
    From the earlier comments, it seems as though your problems are not experienced by most owners. If you could still return it, I'd do it NOW.
  11. 4mer_FMF

    4mer_FMF Basic Member Basic Member

    Jun 9, 2016
    Well, I don't know how common it is or not on a large scale. I know the three I examined at my LKS were pretty much identical in that regard. I also know there's lots of back and forth about Benchmade fit & finish out in the community at large lately (at least that's my perception).

    I will say that my knife is breaking in nicely. I'll be more specific when I have time to update my post. (Ironically, I was just thinking about a premature update while at lunch today.)

    I'll drop a spoiler to my pending update: No return needed. [emoji16]
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2017
  12. palonej

    palonej Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Aug 5, 2015
    Knew it!!!
    Now enjoy it and go cut lotsa stuff with it!!
  13. Nfd538


    Jul 9, 2015
    Indeed! The 940's break in nice once flicked many times. The ends of thumbs take more of a beating than the knife LOL.
  14. palonej

    palonej Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Aug 5, 2015
    How true!!! The tip of my thumb looks like hamburger! It will not stop me from flicking though!!
  15. ChazzyP

    ChazzyP Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Dec 27, 2014
    I expect your knife will break in nicely. Some of the new Benchmades I've bought have been just fine out of the box and some have required break-in. I'd much rather have a knife be a bit tight to start with than loose from the git-go and become untenably looser going forward (the latter having not happened with my BMKs, BTW).

    As you've had the washers out already, it's clear that you're not afraid to tinker a bit. You can always polish the washers on a loaded strop or take just a smidgen off them with a bit of high-grit automotive sandpaper (say 1500-2500) taped to a sheet of glass or other hard, flat surface. First option, though, is to follow the Nfd/JoeP mantra and flick, flick, flick, Grasshopper.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2017
  16. 4mer_FMF

    4mer_FMF Basic Member Basic Member

    Jun 9, 2016
    It’s time to make good on my promise in post #11 and provide an update.

    About a week ago I pulled the washers, cleaned them, then put them back in dry and tight for a two-handed workout. Then they came out again for a barely detectable coat of fluorinated grease, and guess what? Sweet spot achieved!

    I dropped some 242 on the pivot screw and she’s been great ever since!

    -Controlled thumb stud opening & index finger closing? Smooth, nearly effortless. Perfect.
    -Thumb flick open? Deliberate, but no longer forceful. Mmmmm.
    -Axis flip close? Light dab of the wrist. Ohhh yeah. (I’m not after a free dropper)
    -Side to side play? Gone. Zero. Nada. Zip. Major Win!

    So there it is! As palonej and others predicted, I’m a very happy camper!

    So, what’s my final conclusion? What’s the final grade for my 940-2 now that she’s broken in? Well, to reach the end, I think some comparisons are in order. Of course my comparisons will be subjective. Feel free to comment!

    See posts below for comparisons and conclusions! :thumbup:
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2017
  17. 4mer_FMF

    4mer_FMF Basic Member Basic Member

    Jun 9, 2016
    COMPARISON 1: The Spyderco Delica 4, FFG.

    I’ll start here because the Delica is more-or-less ubiquitous; most of us have some familiarity with it and some consider it a benchmark.

    940 del.jpg

    DISCLAIMER: The Delica 4 I purchased last year had seriously unsatisfactory fit and finish that I decided to benchtop myself rather than return to either Spyderco or the reatailer. Based on my experience with the brand, I strongly believe this was an unrepresentative sample. In spite of this, my experience has left me hesitant to recommend the Delica unless you can handle the knife you’re buying. In the end, my knife turned out great and I had some extra fun along the way. Win-win situation for me!

    The Delica is roughly half the price of the 940. While the Delica is a bit lighter, shorter, and thinner, in practicality the differences are negligible.

    Screen Shot 2017-03-12 at 11.36.54 AM.jpg

    The Delica has better ergonomics (they’re amazing) and faciltiates a forward “Filipino-ish” grip which gives me a sensation of greater power and control over the 940, which seems to favor a saber or pinch grip. The Delica slices better; the thing is a laser beam.


    The 940 has better materials and an extra 3/4 inch of usable blade. It also caries much better than the Delica. This is partly because the 940 carries deeper and partly because the texture of the Delica tends to grab my hand when I try to reach past it. Mostly though, it’s because in my pocket width reigns supreme and the 940 clearly has an advantage.


    Read on! More comparisons and a final conclusion to follow!
    Last edited: May 31, 2018
  18. 4mer_FMF

    4mer_FMF Basic Member Basic Member

    Jun 9, 2016
    COMPARISON 2: The small Sebenza 21.

    DISCLAIMER: I am a big fan of Chris Reve Knives and wish I had the funding for more. I’m not entirely blind in my adoration though.

    Like the Delica, the small 21 is a benchmark. Also like the Delica, it’s in a different price class. A plane-Jane small Sebenza 21 is about twice the price of a 940-2.


    The 940 is a half inch longer than the small 21 in handle and in blade. They are roughly equal in thickness (the PJ is a hair thinner, micarta a hair thicker). The slight difference in width and in weight is unnoticeable in pocket.


    Given the price difference, it’s not surprising that the Sebenza outclasses the 940 in most respects. The two exceptions are the fidget factor (not a strong point for the 21) and pocket cary.


    Both are exceptional in the pocket and equally unobtrusive. Nevertheless, I always seem to be aware the small 21 is with me. For instance, while I’m not overly concerned it’ll get banged up, I do tend to think before throwing something randomly into the same pocket. With the 940, I completely forget it’s there (unless of course I need to cut something or fidget). That means I’ll probably cary the 940 more in the short run.

    COMPARISON 3: The ZeroTolerance 0450.

    This is probably the most apt comparison. Price and size are roughly equivalent. They are direct competitors in the marketplace and have been compared before on BF, YouTube, and elsewhere. I guess that means I can be brief.

    0450_940 ss.jpg

    The 0450 has better materials, better fit & finish, and feels sturdier in hand.
    The 940-2 has better ergonomics, slices better, and carries a bit better.

    0450_940 pocket.jpg

    Don't leave now! My final conclusion is below! ;)
    Last edited: May 31, 2018
  19. 4mer_FMF

    4mer_FMF Basic Member Basic Member

    Jun 9, 2016

    Objectively, if I were to look at my particular 940-2 for the first time today, I would see a folder with superlative cary-ability, thoroughly unobtrusive in the pocket with enough blade to handle anything I might encounter in my suburban EDC.

    I would find that the action is more or less the way I want it, but that there’s a few surface imperfections in the G-10 and the blade sits slightly to the clip side. Subjectively I feel like the knife deserves a B+. My wish came true. I really really like this knife.

    Objectively, however, given the persistent nit-picks, the journey to get here, and the price point, I think B is probably the grade it deserves.

    Buy the 940-2 if unsurpassed pocket cary for light EDC is your ultimate goal, and if you can look past a few fit & finish issues.

    If you get unhinged by a blade that’s 5-10% off center, the 940-2 may not be what you are looking for, unless you find one perfect out of the box. (I’m told they exist!)

    For me, I’ll call it a win! I really, really like this knife!

    Last edited: Mar 13, 2017
    Mr.SATism likes this.
  20. 4mer_FMF

    4mer_FMF Basic Member Basic Member

    Jun 9, 2016
    Update: My 940-2 has been fantastic for the last couple of weeks. Perfect action and no blade play! I've been super happy with it! Today while flipping it, I felt a funny pop. I'm pretty sure one of the omega springs either broke or somehow popped out of it's anchor (if that's even possible). The axis button sits lopsided and It's not fully locking up.

    Guess I'll get to see what it's like after a trip home anyway. ☹️☹️
    Mr.SATism likes this.

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