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Hands-on Gear Review

Benchmade Mini-Barrage 585 Review

   
Editors' Choice Award

Pocket Knife

  • Currently 4.8/5
Overall avg rating 4.8 of 5 based on 3 reviews. Most recent review: January 9, 2016
Price:   $140 List | Varies from $105 - $130 online
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Pros:  Legendary blade construction, assisted opening, compact-yet-usable size.
Cons:  Expensive. Blade-closed lock mechanism requires a learning curve.
Manufacturer:   Benchmade
Review by: Jediah Porter ⋅ Review Editor, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ September 29, 2013  
Overview
Our testing team loved almost everything about the Benchmade Mini Barrage 585. Its dimensions and features strike a balance that we all could appreciate. It slides virtually unnoticed in the owner's pocket, but provides ergonomic support for the user to apply plentiful pressure to the blade. Testers loved the assisted-opening blade, brilliantly positioned pocket clip and smooth, intuitive blade lock. The blade can also be locked closed, which is perhaps the only aspect of the knife that we found to be a bit annoying. There's a learning curve to properly engaging and applying the mechanism that locks the blade closed. As the most expensive knife in our test, it is a sizable investment. To realize the value of this high-tech tool we recommend treating it like a piece of technical equipment. Our testers recommend the Benchmade Mini-Barrage 585 for anyone ready to invest in quality construction and service and then treat this knife like your smartphone or wallet. It'll be just as critical to your daily life, and just as easy to lose.

To compare to other knives that we tested, reference our Best Pocket Knife Review.

RELATED: Our complete review of pocket knives

  • Photos
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

The Benchmade Mini Barrage 585 is indeed a little smaller than your standard pocket knife. However, our testers agree that it strikes the perfect balance of compact carriage and ergonomic structure. The Benchmade brand makes excellent blades, and has for a long time.

Performance Comparison


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While the handle is slightly down sized, it still fills a loosely clenched fist. The contours and size fill the users hand and allow the application of significant pressure.
Credit: Jediah Porter

Blade and Edge Integrity


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The factory edge on this knife virtually jumps through ripe tomatoes. And with Benchmade's "LifeSharp" program, they'll tune it up as often as you want and as long as you own it.
Credit: Megan Seel
While it's true that all modern pocket knives come with adequate steel, it must be noted that the metal and construction of the Mini Barrage blade is above par. Benchmade puts a great deal of care and work into each and every design. The blade arrives polished to a sheen. The experience of cutting with a brand new (or newly factory reconditioned - see the section on "Value" below for an explanation of Benchmade's LifeSharp program) Benchmade Mini Barrage 585 borders on sensual. The edge and sides of the blade seem to propel themselves through delicate and durable tasks alike. Never in our testing, whether cutting soft and corrosive things like tomatoes or tough and inert items like sun-faded climbing rope, did the Mini Barrage blade show a single sign of weakness. The blade is just the right length to whittle on a stick or slice through a block of cheddar. The blade's "depth," somewhat greater than our Best Buy selection Kershaw Leek, lends stability and confidence in extended usage and heavier tasks.

Ergonomics


A series of photos documenting the assisted opening function of the Mini Barrage. Note that the spring eventually pulls the blade out ahead of the users thumb. In short, you just need to get it going and the spring does the rest.
Credit: Jediah Porter
Each knife we reviewed fell somewhere on the spectrum between good ergonomics and portability. In short, smaller knives are more portable while larger knives are more useful in-hand. Each of our testers found that, for everyday, pocket-clipped usage, the Mini-Barrage 585 struck the perfect balance. It isn't the smallest, nor is it the largest. The handle fills a clenched fist and sturdily delivers force to the blade's leading edge. Gentle curves on the handle leave no pressure points to the user. While Benchmade uses flashy and solid materials, and equips the Mini-Barrage with a smooth-operating assisted opening function, it is the location of the pocket clip and its modular design that really stands out. The Mini-Barrage, just like big cousin Benchmade Griptilian 551, can be configured for left or right pocket carry. When stowed and clipped to the edge of a pants pocket, the knife can be pulled out and the blade deployed in one smooth motion. While self-defense types will look to this feature as a safety benefit, the true benefit is in purely pedestrian usage. Trust us when we say you will use the knife far more often when you fully embrace the convenience of this simple design subtlety. Finally, the Mini-Barrage's assisted opening function works intuitively while the locks (locking the blade both open and closed) work smoothly and reliably. There is an initial learning curve to disengaging the lock that holds the blade closed. Thankfully, if you don't need that feature, you can leave it unlocked with no inconvenience.

Construction Quality


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Detail of the mechanism that locks the knife CLOSED. With an assisted opening blade, this function is crucial. This way, in a crowded pocket or tousled purse, the knife won't inadvertently come open and inflict all sorts of damage. The lock works reliabl
Credit: Jediah Porter
The best designed equipment comes out of the package ready to use and never again prompts another thought to its construction or durability. With assisted-opening springs, dual thumb-studs for blade opening, Benchmade's proprietary Axis blade lock mechanism and a tab for locking the blade closed, the Mini-Barrage solves a number of potential failure points in a small package. The miniaturized machinery proves to be durable and reliable. In none of our testing have we had any trouble with the performance of any of the Mini-Barrage's features.

Portability


Like its performance in the Ergonomics category, nothing about the Mini-Barrage's portability stands out. It isn't the smallest or lightest knife in our test. It is far from the thinnest. However, again, it seems to strike the perfect balance of size and function. If you carry a smartphone in one front pants pocket, a small set of keys and Mini-Barrage in the other it will balance out your stance and equip you for anything a day out and about might require.

Other Features


None to note.

Best application


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The Benchmade Mini-Barrage is almost overkill for fishing usage. However, if you carry a knife for every day carry anyway, why not one that will slice almost effortlessly?
Credit: Jediah Porter
The Mini-Barrage is well suited to the discerning user who will carry and keep track of this high quality, expensive piece of equipment. Those who appreciate quality will be pleased with a lifetime of service from the tool and from Benchmade as a company. They stand behind their knives and will sharpen your Mini-Barrage 585 for a small fee whenever you want.

Value


The Mini Barrage 585 is the most expensive knife in our test. You get what you pay for, but in order to realize that value one must keep track of the knife for a long time and keep up on maintenance. Whether you sharpen it yourself, or employ a professional service, realize that the Mini-Barrage, just like all knives made, requires periodic tuning of the blade edge. No knives, no matter what the manufacturer says, will hold a usable edge indefinitely. Furthering the value of any Benchmade knife, know that they offer their generous and industry leading "LifeSharp" service to all knife owners for a very affordable fee. Simply return your knife whenever you wish. It will be returned to you sharpened and polished to like-new status.

Conclusion


The Benchmade Mini-Barrage 585 is an excellent, precision-crafted piece of useful equipment. Those willing to make the initial investment will not be disappointed. We heartily recommend this knife.

Other Versions and Accessories


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Benchmade Griptilian 551
  • Cost - $115.00 ($25 less than the 585)
  • Blade length - 3.45" (.55 inches longer than the 585)
  • Very large
  • comes in a plain edge and a half serrated edge

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Mini-Barrage 585, Half Serrated
  • Cost - $155.00 ($15 more than the 585 plain edge)
  • Blade length - 3.6" (.7 inches longer than the 585)
  • Half serrated edge
  • BK1 coated Blade

Jediah Porter


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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: January 9, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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  • 5
 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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  • 5
 (4.7)

100% of 2 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
4 Total Ratings
5 star: 75%  (3)
4 star: 25%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
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   Jan 9, 2016 - 08:36am
I used the pocket knife for years until I lost it..currently i am using this knife http://guuger.com/product/pocket-knife/titanium-pocket-knife/ and both knives are with great quality. I would suggest both knives

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Dec 19, 2015 - 01:37am
Drala Hiker · Hiker · Roswell, GA
I have had the 585 serrated version for a few months, used it every day at work and on several hiking, backpacking and paddling trips. I've found this knife to be so excellent in every way that I feel naked without it.

I've never been an "Every Day Carry" knife person, but within just a few days of using this knife it has become indispensable. By comparison, I have used a common box cutter at work (zip ties, cardboard boxes, tape, cord, etc.), have several versions of both brands of Swiss Army Knives, had a few different Buck knives and recently a CRKT folder (decent blade, clumsy folding mechanism, crappy pocket clip). The 585 is superior to them all as a useful tool for daily use.

After much research (mostly knife specific websites) and several hands-on comparisons, I chose the 585 over the Benchmade Mini Griptilian and the Kershaw Leek - Ken Onion (thinner blade, less balance, doesn't fit in my hand very well). The 585 fits perfectly in my hands (glove size Large or Euro 8), allowing strong leverage when cutting (much better feel to me than the less expensive Mini Griptilian). The length and folded width fit into the side corner of my pants front pocket so stealthily that I sometimes forget it's there when changing clothes.

The sharpness is unparalleled, as is the quality - perfectly aligned handle and blade (not so on the Kershaw Leek), super smooth axis bushing, super solid hinge with no wiggle. Quality throughout, no shortcuts, no quality control oversights. What really sold me on this particular model is the assisted opening (which is apparently legal everywhere, which auto-opening knives are not).

With one smooth, continuous motion, I can pull the knife out of my pocket, slide back the safety, and with a flick of the wrist open the knife for cutting open a box, a thick plastic zip tie, a 1/2" rope, 1 inch webbing strap - those things I do daily at work. This knife makes life easier with no frustration. As a safety consideration, think of quick deployment use in climbing or paddling (where the serrated edge really comes into play).

There are some things worth paying for high quality. I had not considered a knife as one of them, until I tried out the 585. Yes, it costs a fair bit more than even the Benchmade Mini Griptilian, but I have not had a moment of regret since using the Mini Barrage. With Benchmade's guarantee and lifetime maintenance policy, this is one purchase I wouldn't hesitate to make again. I only hope I can keep from losing it!

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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Benchmade Mini-Barrage 585
Credit: Benchmade
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