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Last Updated: July 28, 2019
Rescue knives often go unnoticed in the knife community. There are large groups of enthusiasts gathered around tactical, survival, and EDC knives, but I have yet to see the rescue knife develop such a loyal following. One could argue that the average person doesn’t “need” a rescue knife, but do we really have a need for the collection of high end tactical knives stashed away in the safe? No, I argue that rescue knives traditionally “aren’t as cool” in the eye of the average consumer, and as a result most people haven’t been as excited about them.
Buy the Benchmade Triage at BladeHQ
Well Benchmade is working hard to end that stigma and show that rescue blades can be just as cool and collectible as any other type of knife, by introducing the 915 Triage. But this knife doesn’t just look good. The Triage is part of Benchmade’s “Black Class,” which means it’s been designed and built with professional use in mind.
General Dimensions and Blade Details
The Triage has an overall length of 8.2″, a 3.5″ blade, weighs 5.1 ounces, and is made in America. The Triage, like most rescue knives, is a pretty big knife. This is a beefy knife and it has some heft when compared with something like the Benchmade Griptilian, which is comparable in length yet weighs only 3.2 ounces. However, we have to remember that the Triage has some extra hardware (a 440c safety cutter and a carbide glass breaker), has full stainless steel liners, G10 scales, and is built for maximum strength and durability.
The Triage sports a modified sheepsfoot shape blade with a high flat grind and a fine, slightly curved edge with just a slight amount of belly. This blade style is essential for a rescue knife because the blunted tip allows you to get in close to people you are rescuing without stabbing them. The flip side is, if you need something with stabbing capabilities, the 915 won’t have them. But this is a specialized tool so it was wise not to try and compromise. You have the option of a plain or combo edge, with a BK1 matte black coating or a plain satin-finished blade.
Benchmade chose N680 stainless steel for the blade. Made by Bohler-Uddeholm, this Swedish steel is specifically formulated for high corrosion resistance, even in salt water environments. It should come as no surprise that Benchmade has been using this steel in a few of their dive knives with great success.
Benchmade heat treated the N680 on this particular knife to 57-59 HRc, which will maximizes toughness for this particular steel while providing good edge retention and sharpenability. I think this was a great choice for a rescue knife because again, this thing is going to get abused. Its going to get wet and it probably won’t be sharpened as often so the unique properties of this steel will help preserve performance and enhance durability.
Handle, Ergonomics, and Pocket Clip
The 915 Triage handle is a semi-open design with textured G10 (available in black shown here, or safety orange) over full stainless steel liners. Like many Benchmade liners, they are made of 420J, which is tough stuff. As I mentioned previously, this adds weight, but it also adds strength. In the high stress hard use environments I could see this knife being used, I think it’s a good trade-off. The G10 used here is plain in appearance, but extremely grippy thanks to the aggressive texture applied in the factory.
In addition to the grippy G10, the ergonomics of the 915 are quite solid. There is no jimping on the spine of the blade, but there is a good amount on the handle, and it allows for good purchase and control. The handle is also nice and large, offering a comfortable forward or reverse grip. Also, the ergos are good when you are using the hook-shaped safety cutter, which is important since many people will be buying the knife for that feature.
The pocket clip is a blackened version of Benchmade’s typical deep carry pocket clip. This is a strong clip with good retention. It buries the knife discretely into the pocket, but still leaves enough for the user to grab easily. The handle has been drilled and tapped for ambidextrous tip up carry. The Triage is a heavier knife, but it still caries well thanks to the strong deep carry clip. All said, I am a fan of this pocket clip.
Lock and Deployment
The 915 Triage uses the tried and true Benchmade Axis lock. I’ve talked about this lock at length, but suffice to say it’s one of my favorite locks on the market. The Axis lock is strong, yet it is still smooth and easy to disengage. I also like how it is completely ambidextrous, and that you you can keep your fingers away from the blade when closing. Lock up is solid on my knife. It is not uncommon for axis lock knives to develop some side to side play, and if that happens a little lock-tite and the turn of a torx wrench puts you back in business.
Deployment on the Triage is fast and smooth thanks to prominent ambidextrous thumb studs and phosphor bronze washers. This is a time-tested formula for Benchmade and it works here as well. That said, I would be curious to see what this knife is like with a thumb hole. The blade is already pretty wide, but it might work well with a thumb hole. At any rate, the knife opens and closes smoothly. Blade centering is good on my knife.
Special Features: Safety Cutter and Carbide Glass Breaker
For many people a big part about what makes this a rescue knife is the additional features. Namely, the safety cutter and glass breaker. The safety cutter folds out and features a large (and sharp!) hook. Benchmade chose 440C for the cutter and I think it’s an excellent choice. 440C is good steel and when it’s properly heat treated it will work well. A cutter like this is used in those situations where the relatively big blade is either impractical or impossible to use.
The cutter doesn’t have a true lock, it clicks in place kind of like a slip-joint. It is reasonably secure and the rescue hook blade is extremely sharp. This is not a novelty or gimmick – this will cut through seat belts, clothing, and even shoe leather with ease.
The carbide glass breaker is sunk into the butt of the handle. It’s not big, but it will get the job done.
Benchmade 915 Triage Review – Final Thoughts
The Triage is a thoughtfully designed and well made knife. I like the practical design, the high quality materials, and the outstanding fit and finish – which is par for the course when you are talking Benchmade. What I like is how Benchmade took the rescue knife concept, upgraded it, and also turned it into something cool.
I am not a first responder, so I can’t comment on the knife with regards to how well it works in a first responder situation, but I can say that this is a robust knife and unique knife. I see no reason why it wouldn’t work well in a rescue situation. The glass breaker and safety cutter are fully functional and made to Benchmade’s typical standards. The knife itself is fully functional: it’s comfortable to use, it cuts well, and is easy to maintain.
Whether you are an actual first responder looking for an every day tool, or a normal person wanting a heavy duty EDC, I think the 915 Triage has a lot to offer, and remains the coolest rescue knife to ever cross my desk.
- HIGH-QUALITY: The N680 stainless steel blade has the best corrosion resistance of any blade steel, making it ideal for saltwater applications. The G10 handle is durable, impervious to moisture, and stable under extreme temperatures.
- MADE FOR RESCUE: The Triage 916's opposing bevel blunt-tip blade style, safety hook, and glass breaker make it ideal for rescue. It's al
- WELL-DESIGNED: Benchmade's AXIS lock is exceptionally strong and fully ambidextrous. The Triage 916 is a manual knife that can be opened and closed with either hand.
- ALWAYS READY: The 916's quick, one-handed opening makes it easy to hold and use. The reversible pocket clip offers ultimate accessibility.
I recommend purchasing the Benchmade 915 Triage at Amazon.com or BladeHQ. Please consider that buying anything through any of the links on this website helps support BladeReviews.com, and keeps the site going. As always, any and all support is greatly appreciated. Thank you very much.
I’ve started looking at these. I can’t say that I’m not interested. Really wish the blade had a point on it. However, I can understand why it doesn’t. Still, I carry a 2nd fixed blade, so one of these would work just fine. Also, it is not a weapon. With an effectively pointless design, it is hard for people in charge to say that it is a dangerous weapon in the world place, or even in some schools. It is a tool designed to rescue people. Certainly, an interesting way to get around much of the knife fear mongering in our more erudite locales.
That is an interesting point RK! I didn’t really think of this that way, but it’s easier to justify that this knife is a tool rather than a weapon, especially if you were to get this in orange. I’ve handled a few of them and they are very solid knives. Well made and stout – just what you would expect from something like this.
Nice tools but the prices are spendy. Over $150 for this is unreal, I could see the $60 range, just look to the Leatherman and Gerbers multi tool and price. They are quality but cannot justify the price. I would spend the money towards a new hand gun.
Hi Clem, I agree it’s not a cheap knife but $60? Sure I’d love to have one for 60 bucks but having handled a number of knives I’ll tell you – you just couldn’t get a USA made knife with these kinds of materials at this level of quality with a Benchmade warranty for 60 bones. Just my opinion of course. Thanks for reading.
This is a specialized tool. It is truly MEANT for professional use by first responders. The ‘tactical’ in tactical folder doesn’t mean military, it means that it is a tool that can be carried, deployed, and employed in as fast a manner as possible. The Triage combines that fast convenience with quality life saving tools. It is a tool for when seconds count.
I don’t know of ANY true multi-tools that can match it for speed and ergonomic function in the knife and/or the V-cutter. Also, ‘tactical’ multi-tools are a very scarce breed. I’ve handled and used two of the top shelf choices and neither Leatherman nor Gerber is producing one that’s blade function is as good as a $10 Paraframe.
There are some knives with similar features. Boker has a number of emergency blades. However, they’re either Boker Plus or Boker Magnum. However, i wouldn’t trust Boker Magnums too much when the chips are down. The Jim Wagner Boker Plus Emergency would work ok. It is still about $50 bucks.
RK, I couldn’t agree more. This is heavily made with premium materials in the USA. It’s absolutely designed and made for first responders. As much as I enjoy a good value as the next guy, if you stop to look at the nice critically a price tag of $60 is just impossible here.
If you dont want to pay the 150$ for a Knife, then look at the SOG Escape, its a new knife in their 2012 lineup and it has everything that the Triage has but for 60% I believe.
Also if your a SOG Freak like me 🙂 the Escape is awesome.
Hey Jack, thanks for the heads up. I haven’t handled an Escape yet. I’ll have to check it out. Thanks!
Un like comments by people who have never held one, I love mine it was worth every last penny. If your life is worth $20 buy a twenty dollar knife and good luck
Hah! Well said Tim… and I couldn’t agree more. This is a serious knife designed for professionals. It’s also wonderfully made (in the USA) from premium materials. While I concede that they aint cheap, I have almost always found Benchmades to be worth the premium. Thanks for stopping by.
SFC Craig says
Been looking for this knife in red, as shown here in your review, but now, can only find it in “Rescue Orange”.
Have they stopped making red, is my monitor coloring off, or something else? If I cannot buy it from one of the sites which support this page, I guess I will have to go to the secondary market,aka ‘Ebay’ I guess….?
Thanks for taking the time to help me out in advance.
The knife pictured is actually orange. The pictures do look red, but it’s actually a high visibility orange. We can blame my crappy photography for that.
D. Bartlett says
I am an avid knife collector of blades I find useful and occasionally interesting. I work in emercency medicine and own a triage for its one hand function and fast shredding in emergent situations. I agree in it’s priciness but you cannot ask for a lifetime tool to come cheap. EDC it is a little heavy but well worth the toughness.
Thanks for stopping by. It is great to hear that you work in emergency medicine and use this knife. As a desk jockey, I can only speculate as to how a true first responder will use a knife like this. Glad you enjoy yours and find it is worth the money.
As a funeral director I carry this daily, why? Because doing death calls you sometimes need a tool like this for removing clothing, sheets, or a number of other ideas…great tool, great quality and especially made in the USA….the price is nothing for a tool that mades life easier, plus it might just save a life…
Tim Edwards says
Thanks for the updated review (2016) Dan. Choosing rescue/ first responder gear is a challenge & situational-dependent. Your review of the Triage 915 has given me more to ponder – your reviews have all been excellent and good perspectives. As a former Fire Fighter I struggle with the need for such a knife, but if/when you do….well, $ well spent. The one thing I’d like to see addressed somewhere is first responder advice when you’re treating yourself, by yourself. Tools/knives that can be more easily used one-handed when your injured and may even be using non-dominant hand. Just a thought because I haven’t found much insight on issue anywhere.
Thanks for taking the time out to leave a comment. I appreciate the kind words and the feedback. Good point regarding being able to use tools one handed. Since I’m not a first responder, I view the knife through the lens of a layperson, but I’m open to trying to use the knife one handed and with my non-dominant hand to see how it fares. I’m out of town this weekend but will address it on my return as I still have the 915 and still enjoy it as a unique knife in my collection. Thanks again!