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Last Updated: August 7, 2019
It has been decided – I am a total sucker for a cool “gentleman’s tactical folder.” I remember first drooling over the 890 Torrent when it came out in 2009. Flash forward a couple years, and today I am the proud owner of my very own Torrent, a sleek Steigerwalt design made by Benchmade.
Buy the Benchmade Torrent from BladeHQ
As I said before, I am calling this one a “gentleman’s tactical folder.” In many ways this one reminds me of the Mcusta Tactility. It’s an elegant knife, and while I’m sure it could work well in a defensive role, this knife is just too pretty to really use and abuse. Also the build quality, while solid, simply isn’t meant for hard use tasks. I have no doubt this would hold up as an EDC blade, but as you will learn in my review – I don’t recommend this one as an all out tactical knife or hard use folder. Lets take a closer look to see what I am talking about.
General Dimensions and Blade Details
The Torrent has an overall length of 8.2″ a 3.6″ blade and it weighs 3.5 ounces. At this size the Torrent is light enough to EDC but large enough to be wielded as a tactical (emergency defensive) tool.
Part of the reason why this knife is so light weight is because of the thin blade and liners. Benchmade says the blade is 1/10″ thick. Now I’m not complaining, the blade seems adequately thick for EDC, but I would be concerned about really testing the tip with repeated stabs and thrust cuts. Adding to the thin appearance is the swedge running the length of the drop point blade, and the thin flat grind. It’s a beautiful look but it doesn’t exactly inspire confidence when it comes to tip strength. The knife has been given Benchmade’s “satin finish” which appears to have a very light stonewash upon closer inspection. All in all it’s a really handsome blade with a good amount of functionality.
Benchmade went with 154CM for blade steel, a very common choice for their knives. Personally, I’m a big fan of 154CM for it’s ability to sharpen easily, hold an edge, and to resist rust and corrosion. A good all-around steel, and hardened to between 58-61HRC, 154CM will accomplish most cutting tasks with ease.
Handle, Ergonomics and Pocket Clip
The handles on the 890 Torrent are smooth G10 and they cover full stainless steel liners. The G10 has a very attractive finish that resembles wood grain. It’s very similar to the finish on the scales of the Benchmade Onslaught and Deja Voo. The steel liners have not been skeletonized, but to me that isn’t a big deal since the knife only weighs 3.6 ounces. Everything has been bolted together and there is an aluminum backspacer doubling as a glass breaker (or “non lethal” option).
Ergonomics on the 890 are fairly unremarkable. Don’t get me wrong, this handle is plenty big and comfortable, but there isn’t much in the way of a finger choil and there is no thumb ramp or jimping to speak of. Considering the overall build of this knife I’m not disappointed. Again, I see this as more of a gentleman’s folder with a tactical flair rather than an all out purpose-built tool. The G10 is smooth, but it isn’t slippery. The handle works well enough in forward and reverse grips, although I feel that some jimping on the spine wouldn’t hurt.
The pocket clip is a sturdy piece of folded over stainless steel. It has been attractively finished and is set up for a nice deep carry. However, this is a right side tip down carry only. The absence of an ambidextrous clip is something of a deal breaker for for me since I am left handed. However, I actually like tip down carry with this knife because this is an assisted opening knife and it has a very light trigger. Carrying the Torrent tip up without an external safety would be an accident waiting to happen.
Deplyment and Lockup
The Torrent is an assisted opening knife and features Benchmade’s Nitrous Assist technology. This is my first real experience with a Benchmade assisted opener, and I was pleased with how fast and hard this knife fired. I was less pleased with the right side only thumb stud – again, it really limits my ability to carry this one. That said, the large thumb stud was easy to get at and I had no problem brushing this blade open with my fingers. The “trigger” is very light on this knife which makes it very easy to deploy. There is no external safety and I would not feel comfortable carrying this one tip up.
To be perfectly honest, while I generally like spring assist knives I don’t think the Torrent needs to be spring assisted. If it was built heavier as a real folding tactical knife then the Nitrous assist would be more appropriate, but for a gentleman’s knife I think it’s overkill.
The Torrent makes use of a liner lock and I found mine to engage nice and early with no blade play. That said, this looks to me like a thin lock and there isn’t much spring tension holding it in place. I found that the lock disengaged without much effort. I would seriously think twice before engaging in any kind of serious cutting tasks with this one. I don’t think it’s at the point where the knife is unsafe, but I don’t have as much confidence in it as with other liner locks. Of course, you want to be extremely careful with any folding knife – I just found lockup on the Torrent to be a little sketchier than I’m used to.
Benchmade Torrent Review – Final Thoughts
I found myself immediately attracted to the 890 Torrent. The blade is a classic shape, lean and beautifully finished. The handles are simple, and flow gracefully with the lines of the blade. The fit and finish is top notch and I love the details like the jimped backspacer and polished pocket clip.
Where the Torrent let me down was on the practicality of it. First of all, a right side only thumb stud and pocket clip is not going to work for me – that goes without saying. But more concerning was the overall light build of this knife. The blade steel is thin, as are the liners. The ergonomics are not aggressive and the lock seems very easy to disengage. While it’s a beautiful knife I really can’t recommend it for serious work. In my mind this one is ideally situated for the collector, or someone looking for an EDC knife with some tactical inspiration, a “gentleman’s tactical folder” if you will.
Despite my gripes I’m still walking away liking the Torrent a lot. I know I may have been fairly critical with this one, but there is still a lot to like. This is great blade for the collection and I did enjoy carrying it despite it’s shortcomings – I just want to make sure that if you are interested in the knife, you are interested for the right reasons.
- HIGH-QUALITY: The 154CM stainless steel blade is tough, rust resistant, and holds an edge well. The G10 handle is durable, impervious to moisture, and stable under extreme temperatures.
- WELL-DESIGNED: The Torrent 890 features a simple yet strong liner lock with added Nitrous Assist. The 890 can be opened and closed quickly and single-handedly.
- COMFORTABLE: The 890's contoured handle and lightweight design make it comfortable to use and hold. The deep-carry pocket clip offers ultimate accessibility.
- VERSATILE: The Torrent 890's drop-point, utility blade style and all-around functionality make it ideal for everyday carry and use.
I recommend purchasing the Benchmade Torrent from Amazon or BladeHQ. Thanks for checking out the review.
The 890 has great lines and if a gent’s knife has enough soul, I am often willing to forgive it for being a little less practical.
Thanks Matt. Me too! Practicality doesn’t always equate to less enjoyment in my book. Just gotta keep it in perspective.
The Edge Observer says
I’ve always liked the look of the Torrent. I’d have to agree with the design discrepancy between the relationship of the tactical and gentlemanly features but I’ll probably get one eventually anyway, just for the looks… Although noting the afeormentioned contradictions, a thin blade doesn’t bother me so long as I have some more robust ones too. I prefer a thin blade for most everyday/utility tasks…. Thanks again for the review. You’re really kicking them out the door these days!
Ah yes, the looks of this one drew me in like a moth to a flame! A lot of people don’t seem to mind the contradictions, and agree this would make for a great larger EDC. The thin blade is in proportion to the rest of the knife and for slicing I don’t think it gets much better.
I have had the pleasure of getting some real nice knives through my door the past few weeks, makes writing the reviews a lot easier. I don’t think I’ll be able to keep this pace up with exams looming ahead, but if I find the time then I’ll definitely make hay. 🙂
The Edge Observer says
Nice blades definitely make all the difference.
Just the looks alone make me want that one. One of Benchmades better looking folders. I would feel confident using it for tasks I might normally use my SAK for. Nice review and as always your photos do a great job of showing it off.
Thanks for stoppin by KG68! I agree – this is such a beautiful design. I think this could easily do anything a SAK blade could do – and really, for EDC should hold up well. Thanks, I tell you the photography is always a work in progress. I feel like I finally figured out how to get decent pics out of this camera (which is like a 7 year old point and shoot Canon). I’m always learning and would love to ugprade to a DSLR or something down the road. I appreciate the support my friend! Thanks again for stopping by and offering your thoughts.
I think benchmade actually makes quite a few nice looking knives. This’ll be another I gotta save up for.
I totally agree Spanky. Love the looks of many of Benchmade’s offerings. Well worth the asking price imo.
Rob Stewart says
Great looking knife and good review. As you said it is about the perfect combination for EDC and for self defense if need be. 3-3/8th inches is just a little short, but 4 is a little too long for carrying every day, so the 3.6 of the Torrent would be about perfect. I haven’t found many knives at all with a blade between 3-1/4 and 4. I will probably be buying this or possibly the MCusta. This one I would be pretty sure would flip out just with a quick motion without having to use the thumb stud. If it came down to it I would not want to be fumbling for the stud with adrenaline pumping.
Rob, the detent on this knife is pretty strong, and you have to overcome the initial spring of the assisted opening mechanism, so I’m not so sure this one will just shake open. It will say, due to the assisted opening mechanism it won’t take much effort to open – you just gotta brush your finger over the thumb stud. For that reason I really like assisted openers for self defense.
You may want to consider the Benchmade Griptilian – Very smooth and fast deployment, and you can “shake” the knife open. Also the Benchmade 581 Barrage opens real fast too. It’s an axis lock assisted opener. I’ll have a review up on it in the next couple days. Real nice knife, a little more solid than the Torrent I think. Still a beautiful knife. Thanks for reading man, I hope you end up finding what you are looking for! Take care.
Hey Dan, your article about the Torrent is 5 years old but the same short comings you mentioned still apply today. I bought one recently and this thing is a good looking knife but I would definitely consider it a light duty tool. The pin that the blade rests on when opened is far to small. The blade on my Torrent is also not centered, the side of the blade almost rubs the liner. I thought about sending it back to Benchmade for repair work.
It’s not perfect (especially for lefties), but it’s still a real sexy design. It would be nice if they iterated a little further with the knife, but if the blade is that far off center and you can’t adjust it yourself I would definitely send it in. BM should take care of it no problem.
Your review was fine.
For purposes of discussion, let us assume a person is not a truck driver, worker on a loading dock, fireman, policeman, carpenter. The person does not use his folder twice a day and perhaps only once a week. He works as a store clerk at 7-11 or another such facility that does not permit firearms or in a jurisdiction that makes life safe for people by banning the display or carry of guns in public.
This would be the knife for edc. The deployment time is among the best. It fits nicely into a bidirectional Benchmade sheath carried on a belt. It is lightweight so it would be carried rather than left at home in the sock drawer.
The following comment may seem off base, but it isn’t when you reflect. You go to a restaurant that might provide you with a “steak knife” with the sharpness of a butter knife. Or you are handed a disposable black plastic serrated knife that works only in a cheap restaurant owner’s mind. Try cutting a whole chicken with one of these plastic knives! What do you do? You pull out this edc and do the job. Once, I was in Cannes, France in a restaurant eating mussels. The Russian at the next table was trying to open one of his stubborn shells with a used shell. At my table, I pulled out a Leatherman tool and did the job. Same idea. Carry a tool that fits your lifestyle.
Vann M Kidd Jr. says
My 890 Torrent working just fine , Ibought mine in 2010 the blade is still centered in the liners the only problem I have ,iv’e lost one of the screws holding the belt clip so now I carry my old trusty in a shieth