Benchmade Knife Company is widely known for their no-nonsense custom designed folding fighters. Their knives are pretty in their own rugged way: black G10 or 6061 T6 aluminum handles, Black-Ti or bead blasted blades. Enter the Mel Pardue designed 850 -- a radical departure from the rest of the 'Made line. Complete with ivory micarta handles and colored titanium bolsters and liners, the 850 looks like a true custom made. Actually, it is a production version of Pardue's Model B folder.
One feature that immediately catches your attention is the colored bolsters and liners, for they are responsible for adding flash to the knife. A phone call placed to Benchmade revealed that the details of the coloring process is "proprietary information". As a result of this "mystery" process, no two Pardue 850's are alike (sort of like fingerprints, if you will). Also, you will note that the absence of a
pocket clip enhances the knife's visual appeal: there's no metal clip to obstruct the beauty of the bolsters. In place of the clip, Benchmade
ships each knife with a special slip pouch to protect the knife. With the 850 tucked securely inside the pouch, the entire package manages to
fit comfortably inside most standard sized pants pockets. The pouch helps to keep the inside of the knife free from lint and other lock jamming debris.
Now, on to what really counts -- the blade. The shape of the Pardue's ATS-34 blade echoes that of Benchmade's Leopard, but on a smaller scale. It's a flat grind spearpoint, with a shallow belly. This shape is ideal for general cutting and piercing tasks. The 850 can also be ordered in a partially serrated version. I'm very pleased with the partial serrate, for it packs quite a wallop in spite of its short
blade. In short, the 850 is at its best performing menial tasks that you would normally use a small knife for, like opening mail and cleaning
fingernails. For those of you who travel via airlines a good deal, you can toss the 850 into your carry on luggage and smile as you pass under
the metal detector. It will pass through security without a second glance.
For single blades of the dressier variety, such as this one, nothing beats the lightweight and smoothness of a micarta handle. The ivory micarta lends a nice contrast to whatever the bolster and liner color may be. Add to that a micarta spacer that rounds out the overall appearance of the knife.
This slick little liner lock joins another Pardue creation on the Benchmade roster, the model 3000 auto opener. If you're searching for a Benchmade that you can wear with your Sunday best, look no further than the Pardue 850.
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