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.
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: 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.
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.