Once in a while you run into a knife that really blows you away. The Benchmade 741 Onslaught is certainly one of those breathtaking knives for me. Designed by the late Bob Lum, the Onslaught is a large and elegant folding tactical knife that speaks to me on a lot of levels.
General Dimensions and Blade Steel
Make no mistake, the Onslaught is a big knife. The blade alone is 4.3″, the overall length is 9.63″ and the weight is 6.8 ounces. Yeah, this is a big knife and I wouldn’t use it for EDC. I would prefer to use a Benchmade 746 Mini Onslaught with a 3.45″ blade, an overall length of 7.8″ and a weight 3.9 ounces. The “mini” is still a pretty big knife, but I find it much more practical for daily carry. That said, the full size Onslaught could make for a very deadly defensive/tactical knife, or a high end user.
In reality, I think many of the people who buy the 741 will buy it as a collectors piece. They may be fans of Bob Lum or simply like the look (it’s pretty wicked looking). There is nothing wrong with that. When you drop $150+ on an elegant folding knife like this, you are probably not going to immediately take it to the backyard to thump on some 2x4s. This is the kind of knife you could pass on to your kids, and who knows, if Benchmade decides to discontinue the model or ship production overseas, it may even be a little bit of an investment down the road.
Anyhow, lets talk about the blade. The 741 Onslaught has a big, up-swept modified clip point blade. There is plenty of belly on this knife, and it looks like this would be a decent skinner. There is a long swedge that terminates with a very delicate tip. For such a big knife the tip is almost comically thin. In fact, the entire blade is made from pretty thin stock. I would prefer if they made it slightly thicker. I think this would improve the strength and utility of the knife as I would be very cautious with putting this knife in any kind of hard use role.
Further adding to the delicate nature of the blade is the almost full flat grind. The slicing ability of this knife is incredible and the long thin blade will shave off material with ease, but this is all done at the expense of blade strength. My blade came with a lightly stonewashed finish, but you also have the option of a black coated blade as well.
Blade steel on this knife is tried and true Benchmade 154CM. 154CM is a hearty steel that takes a great edge and holds it well. The 154CM can be somewhat prone to rust so keep the knife clean and dry to ensure it will stay beautiful.
Handle and Pocket Clip
The handle is made of large pieces of G10. The G10 has a relatively smooth finish and it isn’t particularly grippy but the handles are so large it doesn’t really matter and the result is you have a beautiful knife. Under the G10 scales are full stainless steel liners. These liners have been blackened and are skeletonized in effort to reduce the weight. Everything is screwed together with attractive black chromed hardware and a large black backspacer runs most the length of the handle.
As far as ergonomics are concerned the handle is fairly comfortable. The handle material doesn’t have a high traction finish, instead relying on larger design elements to hold your fingers in place. The choil and sweep of the handle have a way of wedging your hand in place. This provides a firm grip and is still pretty comfortable for my larger hands. If I choke up a little more on the knife it’s much more comfortable and allows me to better control the big blade. There is no jimping to be found on this knife, which doesn’t bother me because of the overall size, but for such a big knife I felt the ergonomics to be decent, but not outstanding.
The pocket clip on the Onslaught is rather large, which compliments the overall size of the knife. It is made of blackened nickle and allows for right side tip up carry. It is designed to support a lot of weight and balances the knife well in your pocket. I like the chrome finish Tip up carry is preferred for quickly deploying folding pocket knives so I am not complaining that Benchmade didn’t leave an option for tip down. The nickle pocket clip fits well with the overall elegant nature of the knife.
Deployment and Lock
For a big knife the Benchmade Onslaught moves fast. There is a large thumb hole that provides enough room to snap the blade out with or without gloves. The G10 scales have been machined to open up access to the thumb hole. Even though the thumb hole is partially occluded by the handle it is still easy to get at.
The Onslaught uses the Benchmade Axis lock. This is a great lock and has been proven time and time again with Benchmade’s other offerings. The Axis Lock in the Onslaught is very smooth and when the blade is locked open there is zero play in the knife. When the blade is closed it is centered in the middle of the handle, another small detail that I’ve come to expect from Benchmade.
Benchmade 741 Onslaught: Final Thoughts
The Onslaught is a beautiful knife with amazing build quality and great attention to detail. As a working mans knife you could find some faults with the design, but I suspect that Benchmade had the collector in mind when they built this blade. Practical weaknesses would include a relatively thin tip and a low traction handle, but the end product would still make a serviceable weapon and a beautiful heirloom. All in all I like the full size Onslaught a lot, but for every day carry, and even tactical use I would reach for the “mini” version.
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