BENCHMADE EMERSON 9700S AUTOMATIC
By Dexter Ewing, Knife Collector and Enthusiast
The Benchmade Knife Company turns out some of the best functioning automatics found on the market today. They are about the only company with such an extensive line of auto openers: ranging from the sublime Mel Pardue 3000 to the more radical Reflex 2000. The 9700S would definitely rate on the radical end of the scale. Essentially an auto opener version of the extremely popular 975S, the 9700S offers the same benefits and performance as its more legal counterpart except for the rapid blade deployment capability.
TAPERED PLUG LOCKING MECHANISM
As with the rest of Benchmade's automatics, the 9700S employs the same tapered plug locking mechanism to secure the blade in both open and closed positions. To fire this beauty, you must really depress the locking button. Benchmade does this intentionally, as to prevent unwanted deployment in the pocket. The immediate area surrounding the button is milled out, so the button only protrudes a little above the handle surface. I thought that an auto opener with a blade like the 9700S would require a rather high spring tension to achieve fast opening, and the knife would have quite a "recoil" to it as the blade makes contact with the steel stop pin. Turns out that it does not have a strong recoil like I thought it would.
As mentioned before, the blade is identical to that of the 975S, lacking the thumb disk. The thumb ramp is situated a little further forward than that of the 975S, probably for compensation for the location of the release button. As usual, there's a razor sharp edge thanks to the beautiful chisel grind patterns.
The solid G10 handle slabs give the knife a real meaty feel. Benchmade uses no liners for this particular knife, and compensating for that, the thickness of the handles are increased. The noticeable texture of the surface is excellent for it is a surface with a noticeable texture. As with all Benchmade folders, the 9700S comes with a steel pocket clip. Overall, the handle of the 9700S is a bit thicker than that of the 975, making it easier to grip.
Ernest Emerson is a man whose name is synonymous with high tech, high performance combat folders. The CQC7 liner locks have been a sweet success story for Benchmade. It was only logical that Benchmade release an auto opener version of the larger model 975. This knife has all the characteristics that law enforcement officers look for in a "sharp" companion: lightweight carry, rapid deployment, and a proven blade design. The equipment that officers carry with them not only help them do their job effectively, but may also be called upon to defend their own lives as well. The 9700S is definitely one piece of equipment that will not fail under any circumstances.
Benchmade's automatics are all the epitome of high performance, and the 9700S certainly is no disappointment to that. It offers the same benefits as the 975S for those who desire a heavy duty auto opener. To the best of my knowledge, this is currently the only Emerson designed automatic found anywhere. Whenever Ernest Emerson collaborates with a much-respected company such as Benchmade, the fruits of their labor will no doubt be highly valued by those who appreciate high performance knives.
DEXTER "Blade Man" EWING
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