Benchmade 940 Review

If you are as obsessed with knives as I am, you may be on the hunt for “the perfect EDC knife.” You know, the one blade that has it all. Naturally, it is the perfect size, features great materials, is beautifully designed, and carries like a dream. But in my mind a perfect EDC needs to go beyond that. It has to be greater than the sum of its parts, and a little “X factor” never hurt either. Lets be real, for a knife to earn some time in the rotation is one thing, but to stand the test of time the knife has to work for you on another level.

That is what drew me to the Benchmade 940. On paper it has all the basic requirements of a good EDC knife, which is always nice to see. But then the 940 had something else. Maybe it’s the unique handle, or the unconventional blade shape. Whatever it was, it drew me in like a moth to a flame, and I know that I am not the first to succumb to this emerald beauty. The 940 has been in Benchmade‘s catalog for well over a decade, and remains one of their most popular designs to this day. Needless to say, it is high time we gave this classic a thorough examination.

General Dimensions and Blade Details

The 940 (or “940 Osborne”) has an overall length of 7.87″, sports a 3.4″ blade, and weighs 2.90 oz. In my mind these are real nice numbers for EDC, and that is exactly how I have been using mine.

Benchmade 940 Osborne

But I can also appreciate how the 940 could go beyond a mere EDC item. First of all, this is a wicked little knife. With an almost 3.5″ blade and an equally generous handle, the 940 could easily be pressed into a self defense role (although I sincerely hope you will never need to use it that way). On the opposite end of the spectrum, the 940 is a beautiful and elegant knife. In many ways exemplifies a modern gentleman’s folder. This is a knife that would do just fine in a suit pocket, or carried on special occasions. So I really like the versatility of the 940. It is fancy enough to make for an upscale EDC, but has enough bite to be seriously considered as a self defense option.

The blade on the 940 is a reverse tanto design. Popularized by the 940’s designer, Warren Osborne, this unique blade shape is best known for providing a sturdy tip, although I think the main draw is just the unique aesthetics. Warren has designed a few reverse tanto models for Benchmade, including the Benchmade Rift and I have generally been impressed by them. This particular blade has been given a high flat grind, and features a swedge running across the top. The 3mm thick blade holds it’s thickness pretty much to the tip thanks to the reverse tanto design. This is an interesting blade shape, and I found it quite capable for all my daily tasks.

Benchmade 940 Osborne Blade

The 940 Osborne makes use of S30V for the blade steel, an excellent USA made stainless from the folks over at Crucible. I have spoken about S30V many times before, but as a quick recap S30V is widely regarded as one of the best high end steels commonly found on production knives. When properly heat treated S30V is known for good edge retention, high corrosion resistance, relatively easy sharpening, and a good level of toughness for daily use. I am a big fan of S30V and Benchmade always does a fantastic job with heat treating their blades. Treated to 58-60 HRC, this 940 was no exception.

Handle, Ergonomics and Pocket Clip

The handle on the 940 is where things start to get interesting. First you have the striking aluminum handles. These have been bead-blasted to an attractive matte finish, and then anodized a deep green. I absolutely love the texture of these handles. They aren’t particularly aggressive, but they aren’t slippery either – given the intended use I found it to be a nice balance. Sandwiched between the aluminum handles is a single piece of anodized purple titanium. This backspacer compliments the green handles nicely, and provides a good deal of visual interest.

Benchmade 940 Osborne Handle

As for actual construction, the 940’s handle is top notch. There are partial stainless steel liners, and they have been polished to a lustrous shine. I like how when you peer inside the knife the liners reflect the titanium backspacer. It is a little detail, but some times it’s the small stuff that gets you going. Everything has been screwed together with black hardware, and all the pieces line up perfectly. The overall fit and finish of this knife is exceptional.

In hand the 940 is surprisingly capable. I say “surprisingly” because at first blush we have a rather thin handle here. In practice I found the handle long enough to comfortably accept my larger hand, and the rows of jimping on both the thumb ramp and finger choil provide a good amount of grip. It is a comfortable knife in forward grips, and I can get some good work done with it. The 940 also works well in reverse grip, and in the closed position as well. Actually, when closed, the 940’s thin profile makes it an excellent choice as a kubotan – another nice option to have.

Benchmade 940 Osborne Pocket Clip

The pocket clip on the 940 Osborne is a standard Benchmade clip – the same kind you will find in models like their classic Griptilian and Mini Griptilian. I am a big fan of this style of clip. It is simple, sturdy, and works quite well. Benchmade drilled and tapped this model for ambidextrous tip up carry. In pocket the 940 carries wonderfully. Thin and lightweight, this is a knife that you forget you are carrying.

Deployment and Lockup

The 940 makes use of a pair of ambidextrous thumb studs and an axis lock. Much like many of the other Benchmade knives that I have reviewed with this configuration, deployment on the 940 is extremely fast and smooth. The thumb studs are easy to access allowing you to flick the blade out with alarming speed and very little effort. Phosphor bronze washers aid in that regard, and the net result is reliable deployment in any situation.

Benchmade 940 Osborne

Similarly, the axis lock on my knife has also been really well done. Lockup is tight with no blade play, yet the lock is easy to disengage with a single hand, and the blade rotates freely into the closed position. It is no secret I am a big fan of the axis lock, and the 940 is a great example of why. If true one hand operation is important to you (as a righty or a lefty) then I find the combination of thumb studs and an axis lock very tough to beat.

Benchmade 940 Osborne – Final Thoughts

The 940 combines excellent materials with smart design and wonderful fit and finish to produce an exceptional daily carry item. On paper this has always looked like an awesome knife, so I was very happy to find that the 940 was just as awesome in real life. Everything works, and it works well. The way I see it, the biggest potential downside here is that the knife isn’t particularly cheap, but for a made in the USA folder with these kinds of features, I actually think the price is quite reasonable.

But what about beyond the specifications? Do we really have a “perfect” EDC knife? I must admit, there is something special about this one. The 940 has really distinguished itself as a design and it has a little something extra that keeps me coming back. I don’t doubt that for many people this will be a perfect EDC knife.

I recommend purchasing the 940 at BladeHQ. Typically this knife retails for $180, but BladeHQ offers a special discount. Buying anything at BladeHQ through the links on this website earns BladeReviews a small commission at no additional cost to you. All proceeds generated are used to keep the site running. Thank you very much for your support.

Benchmade 940 on BladeHQ
Benchmade 940 – $182.00
Retail Price: $205
You Save: $23.00
from: BladeHQ

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This entry was posted in Benchmade, EDC Knives, Folding Knives, Gentleman's Folder, Made in the USA, Recommended EDC Knives, USA Made EDC Knives and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Benchmade 940 Review

  1. Richard says:

    That looks like one worth checking out. It looks like a really nice option for being able to carry a fairly large knife with the weight of a smaller knife.

    • Dan says:

      Richard, that is what really appealed to me with this one. A full size folder, but in a lightweight and discrete package. Thanks for stopping by!

      Dan

  2. Howard says:

    You really got my interest with this blade…… for EDC I like under 3oz in a tough package. Now I’ll have to go to my local knife shop and put one in hand – which might seal the deal if it feels good. Thanks for the detailed review.

    • Dan says:

      Howard,

      First of all, my pleasure entirely! I think this is a very capable EDC knife just under 3 ounces. Handling one in person before buying is always a great idea. If you get a chance, please let me know what you think of the knife after having a chance to check it out. Thanks for stopping by and leaving the nice comment.

      Dan

  3. Scott says:

    Great review chief!!

  4. Roadkill says:

    I’ve considered one of these for an upgrade for my old frame locks once I’d picked up a 530 mel pardue. The costliness was just too hard to get past at the time. This would certainly be a high end choice if I wanted to replace the griptilian. As usually great review that makes me envious!

    • Dan says:

      RK, I agree that this would be a nice high end upgrade to the Griptilian. Practically speaking the price is probably my biggest issue although like I said, $140 is a pretty nice deal for this one considering. Thanks so much for stopping by, always a pleasure.

      Dan

  5. JT says:

    I used to have one of these long ago but my brother came over and kept telling me how much he liked it so I ended up giving it to him. It turned out to be his favorite knife (I had also given him a microtech SOCOM). Well, he ended up losing it. He liked it so mcuh, he bought two more off “the bay”. Nice review, my brother would agree with your assesment… :)

    • Dan says:

      Thanks JT! I am glad your brother likes this one as well, great minds think alike. ;) Seriously though this is a very well done blade, great design and flawless execution. One of the greats imo. Thanks for stopping by.

  6. Darkflo says:

    One more time, you did a great job with this review, making me buy this knife that I’ve been considering for several months… I bought it by internet and I couldn’t handle it before and I’m not disapointed: it feels a little “bigger” and stronger that I’ve imagined; to me it is a very nice looking knife from the handle to the blade (I love the “modified reverse tanto shape”). The only issue is that the blade is not perfectly centered (it is still acceptable, not like what I saw on some Mcusta, but I’m not use to that with Benchmade…) and a little lateral blade play that comes after several openings: it gets better by turning the pivot screw but the problem comes back. I think I’ll have to use some locktite. However, I guess it will became one of my favorite EDC.
    Congratulation for your job, I love your reviews which are very “professionals”, far from what we sometimes see…
    I apologize for my english, I’m french and don’t write english very often.
    Thank you and stay sharp

    • Dan says:

      Darkflo,

      Thanks so much for the nice comment my friend, I am glad you are enjoying the 940. I would try a little lock tite on the pivot, I usually do that with my axis lock knives and it helps shore up any blade play. And I am also glad you have been enjoying the reviews in general. I’ve got more on the way very soon. Thanks again and all the best.

      Dan

  7. craig says:

    Nice review. My 940 sees more pocket time than any other knife I own. Wicked blade design hiding in a tuxedo!

  8. Steve says:

    I just got my 940 Osborne. It fits like a groove on my small hand. Opening however, as my thumb is short, I do have some difficulty but will have to practice a bit there. I am however easily able to open using the axis lock. Do you see any issues with that Dan?
    I also have noted the matte finish can easily get marks and you have to brush off.
    All in all, I love this knife and will carry with me on those dressier occasions.
    Your review was very spot on and those who I have honored with a showing love it a well, especially the purple titanium and quality. It’s a winner.

    • Dan says:

      Hi Steve,

      Yes, because the knife is so slim I have noticed that it can be a little awkward to access the thumb studs relative to wider knives in my collection. I don’t have any issues with it per se, but I would agree that it is something of a compromise given the thin profile.

      From my experience the green finish is pretty robust. It actually marks up a lot of stuff in my pocket (like my cell phone) so I have to be careful with what I include in that pocket.

      Glad to hear you have been enjoying yours. My Dad EDC’s a 940 as well and he really likes it. I recently acquired a 943 which of course is very similar, but I do enjoy the black handle and clip point blade.

      Best,

      Dan

  9. Caleb says:

    Your link dosnt work? Am I missing something? Still $180.00 on website, not the posted 140.00 price!?

    • Dan says:

      Hey Caleb,

      This article was originally published in 2012. Since then BM has changed some things with their MAAP pricing, and it looks like BHQ no longer offers it at $140. Sorry about any confusion, I’ll go ahead and update the review.

      Dan

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