Ah, the Benchmade 950 Rift. What a sweet piece of steel. The Rift originally came out in 2008 as part of Benchmade‘s “black class” which are designed to be military and police grade blades built for extreme duty. Designed by famed knifemaker Warren Osborne, the 950 Rift certainly is extreme and it took the knife world by storm gaining critical acclaim by reviewers and enthusiasts alike.
Today the 950 Rift is still available with it’s very distinct reverse tanto blade and is available in a variety of configurations; including the ultra cool black and gray G10 handled version shown here. I would say that this knife is appealing as a large EDC knife, a small emergency defense knife, or even a collectors item. Lets take a closer look at this unique and exciting knife.
General Dimensions and Blade Characteristics
The Osborne 950 Rift is a fairly big folding EDC knife with a 3.7″ blade, a total length of 8.27″ and a weight of 4.8 ounces. The weight is perhaps one of my biggest criticisms, but really that is me grasping for straws. If you don’t like heavier knives then this won’t be the folder for you, but many, myself included, enjoy carrying a larger knife and the weight won’t be an issue. For a lighter Benchmade with about the same length, consider the Benchmade Griptilian.
As I mentioned before, the blade shape is classified as a “reverse tanto” which gives the knife excellent tip strength and the large sweeping belly of a drop point blade. I love the way this blade looks and it’s a super practical design for tactical and utility work. The blade is given a nice flat grind making it a very good slicer.
You have the option of getting the blade in a satin, blasted, or coated finish (blasted shown here). I really like the look of the coated version, Benchmade’s coating is very tough and I think the black blade with black hardware is a handsome combo.
The blade material is 154CM, a stainless steel that Benchmade uses in a lot of their knives. Benchmade knows how to heat treat 154CM and I think it was an excellent choice for the Rift. 154CM is a very durable steel that holds an edge very well and is easy to sharpen. In my experience corrosion resistance is very good but 154CM will rust if left in a damp environment so it’s important to keep the blade clean and to cover it with oil if you live in a humid area (I have no problems in South and Central FL).
Handle Ergonomics and Pocket Clip
The handle of the 950 is arguably cooler than the blade itself, which is a pretty tough feat considering. The handle scales are made of sculpted G10. My G10 came in layered black and dark gray, but you can also get black G10. The Rift has full stainless steel liners that, like the rest of the hardware, has been blackened. I wish Benchmade skeletonized these scales as I think they could really drop some weight off this knife. But all in all, the handle construction is very solid and I love the look of the scales.
The ergonomics on the Rift are very nice. It’s a large and comfortable handle and I really like the way the butt end has been formed – it creates a good “catch” for your pinky and really lets you get some leverage on the blade. I would have liked to have seen some jimping on the back of the handle, I think it would definitely improve the ergonomics. Aside from that I do like the ergos. I know some people say that there are some rough edges that they needed to sand down on the handle, I didn’t notice that at all, it seems fine to me.
The clip of the 950 Rift is Benchmade’s classic “arrow” clip and is among my favorite pocket clip designs. I like the blackened clip, it really helps with concealing the knife in your pocket. The clip will wear, but it wears gracefully and in my opinion, is one of those clips that gets cooler with use. Retention is great and the clip is mounted so that it rides low in the pocket. Benchmade tapped the handles so you have the option of tip up ambidextrous carry.
Deployment and Lock
Deployment on the Rift is very nice. As you would expect on any Benchmade knife, the Rift uses high quality, low friction, phosphor bronze bushings. The bushings are combined with large ambidextrous thumb studs to deploy the Rift’s blade quickly and easily. I really like the thumb studs, there are nicely milled out, have a unique design and have been either anodized or given a DLC coating – it’s been very durable and hasn’t rubbed off at all after a LOT of opening.
As you can see in the pictures, the Rift uses Benchmade’s Axis Lock. For those unfamiliar with the Axis Lock, is is a very intelligently designed lock that Benchmade uses on a lot of their knives. It is very strong and very easy to use ambidextrously. I love the axis lock, it’s among my favorites because it is so smooth reliable and easy to use. One hand opening and closing with this knife is a breeze.
Benchmade 950 Rift: Final Thoughts
Well, what is there to say? The combination of great blade design, 154CM steel, a wicked G10 handle, the ultra reliable Axis lock and Benchmade quality mean there is a lot going for this knife. Luckily, the individual components were well integrated and the resulting knife is incredibly tough and very high quality. Further, I’m proud to say this knife is made in America.
As far as potential negatives are concerned, my main gripes are that the liners are not milled out and there is a lack of jimping on the back of the handle. Neither of these issues keep me from recommending the Rift however, it’s just a fantastic knife.
Where Can I Buy the Benchmade 950 Rift?
I’ve done some comparison shopping and if you are going to buy this knife new, Amazon has the best deal. Click here to buy the 950 Rift on Amazon. Of course, there are other places to go – I like KnifeCenter and they too are selling the Benchmade Rift
Where Can I Read More Benchmade 950 Rift Reviews?
The best place for additional reviews from people who own the knife is Amazon. Right now there are around 10 reviews on Amazon, and the knife has earned an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars. Click here to see what people have to say about the Benchmade Rift.