This post contains affiliate links. We may get paid an affiliate commission if you buy something or take an action after clicking one of the links on this web page.
Last Updated: July 27, 2019
I’m not sure how to put this delicately, so I’ll just come out and say it: Benchmade hasn’t done a whole lot of exciting stuff in 2013, and it has resulted in a lack of reviews on new Benchmade knives. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but the lack of cool new stuff to examine makes for boring blogging.
Buy the Benchmade Volli at BladeHQ
One 2013 Benchmade has been on my radar for some time, and that is the Volli. It hasn’t gotten a lot of attention, probably because it appears to be some sort of a rehash between the Griptilian and Barrage, but again that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. And frankly there is a lot to like here. In the time I’ve spent testing out the Volli I’ve found it to be a very functional and practical knife. We sometimes overlook those qualities as the industry focuses more and more on big names and exotic materials, but I still think there is room in many people’s pockets for a robust EDC/tactical knife without a lot of frills or hype.
General Dimensions and Blade Details
The Volli runs the gamut from an urban EDC to a “tactical” pocket knife depending on where your needs and preferences lie. For me, it’s more of a nights and weekends knife than a true daily carry, but for many I’m sure it would do well as an EDC. It has a feature set that I would think appeals to the law enforcement / military crowd, and I’m sure Benchmade also had those types of users in mind when they put this knife together.
The drop point blade is clean and simple with a high flat grind, and fine tip. My model comes in a bright satin finish although they do offer a black coated version as well. The grind lines are crisp and the knife came wickedly sharp out of the box. This is a simple drop point pattern but it has been done right.
The blade is S30V, a steel that I haven’t always been a huge fan of despite it’s popularity and billing as a premium knife steel. In practice I’ve found that S30V has a reluctance to take a really fine edge, especially on a couple Spydercos that I own, and I’ve sometimes dismissed it as more trouble than it’s worth. Well, I’m pleased to say that whatever Benchmade did with the S30V on my Volli, they really did it right. This is one of the nicest S30V blades I have owned.
The Volli came screaming sharp out of the box, which is always nice, but more importantly I’ve been able to keep that screaming edge with some judicious stropping. The knife has proven itself to be a really capable cutter. As always, I did test this knife thoroughly. I went through a great deal of 1/2″ sissal rope without any problem – it was almost comical how easily it cut through the rope. Eventually the edge slowed down, but I was able to quickly bring it back with my strop. Same went for wood and cardboard – it cut large amounts of both with no problem. This is because of the relatively (2.5mm) thin blade stock and the nice lean grind. 2.5mm isn’t alarmingly thin but many EDC blades (like my Spyderco Sage 1 – also in S30V) comes in at 3mm. While some may find the thinner stock a turn off, I like it because the knife cuts, and it cuts damn well.
Handle, Ergonomics, and Pocket Clip
The handle of the Volli is G10 over full skelotonized stainless steel liners. Probably the first thing you will notice is the heavy texturing to the handle, but it’s also important to point out that it has a full plastic backspacer and you can’t access the pivot without taking off the display side scale. Construction is sturdy. All the parts line nicely while corner of the handle has been broken to accommodate your hand. There is a small unobtrusive lanyard hole and all the hardware is of the torx variety.
Ergonomically, this is a straight forward and practical handle design. Relative to something like the Griptilian this is a thin handle, but there is still plenty there to fill your palm and all the corners are nicely contoured. I found it to be comfortable, even under hard use. There isn’t any jimping, which is fine in my book. I was able to really bear down on the knife when carving and cutting and I didn’t notice any major hotspots. Much like the simple blade shape this is a practical handle, and I found it to largely be a pleasure to work with.
The pocket clip is Benchmade’s classic split arrow clip. This time it has been configured for ambidextrous tip up carry. The aggressive texture to the G10 means this knife will destroy your pockets if you aren’t careful (you will never find me carrying this with slacks), and that may be my greatest gripe. I understand that there is a fine line when designing a knife like this, and you don’t want something that offers no grip at all. Aside from the pant shredding texture the Volli carries well. This is a classic pocket clip and it holds the knife securely and discretely.
Deployment and Lockup
The Volli takes advantage of Benchmade’s axis assisted opening technology. It snaps opens quickly with the brush of a thumb. An assisted opening knife is mostly a novelty for me, but I can see the advantage if you are in a line of work where you really need your knife to open. Benchmade included a safety located on the back of the handle. It stays out of the way but can lock the knife in both the open and closed position, a nice feature when you have a tip up carry assisted opening knife.
For lockup Benchmade went with their trusty axis lock, a personal favorite. My knife came with a small amount of lateral play, and I had to tweak the pivot by removing the G10 scale. The covered pivot looks nice, but it’s a departure from the otherwise practical design and I’d be remiss to not consider it a problem with the design.
In addition to the axis lock there is a secondary locking mechanism on the spine of the handle. It allows the user to lock the blade in either the open or closed position. It’s not a bad feature to have on a tip-up assisted open knife. It’s unobtrusive and functional.
I have to say that after Michael commented on this post (see below) I both de-assisted the knife and I took the secondary lock out. I don’t proclaim to be an expert when it comes to disassembling knives, but I’ve taken down plenty. The Volli was a little tricky to take apart and the whole process took me the better part of a half hour. That said, if you are patient and don’t mind potentially voiding your warranty it shouldn’t be impossible. The knife works just fine without the spring and the safety.
Benchmade Volli Review – Final Thoughts
The Volli isn’t a show stopper. It isn’t the latest and greatest. It’s no ZT 0560 or Spyderco Domino as far as the “wow” factor is concerned. But I’m still pleased with the knife and it seems to fill a spot in Benchmade’s catalog. Detractors of the Griptilian’s plastic handles may have finally met their match, and I’m impressed with how nicely the knife cuts and feels in hand. The thinly ground blade is one of the best slicers I’ve handled in recent memory, and the S30V steel performed way better than I’m used to seeing out of S30V.
If I were designing it from scratch I’d tweak a couple things. I’d leave it so the pivot could be readily adjusted, tone back the texture slightly and (if it were me) remove the spring assist. But these are all pretty minor and subjective complaints that may not be relevant to your needs or preferences. While I’m not completely head over heels with the Volli, it is still a very nice knife, and I’d go so far to say that if you are someone looking for a robust folder in the 3.5″ blade category with S30V steel I’d put it above the Zero Tolerance 0350 and say it is very strong competition for the Spyderco Paramilitary 2.
It may not be a runaway blockbuster blade of 2013, but that isn’t because it’s a bad knife, it’s because it has been overshadowed by some very interesting and very adventurous offerings in a very competitive marketplace. If you are in the market for a sturdy high performance folder in S30V with a ~3.5″ blade, then the Volli is well worth your consideration.
- HIGH-QUALITY: The CPM-S30V stainless steel blade is extremely well-balanced, offering superb edge qualities and rust resistance. The G10 handle is durable, impervious to moisture, and stable under extreme temperatures.
- WELL-DESIGNED: The Volli 1000001 features Benchmade's AXIS Assist mechanism. It can be opened and closed quickly with either hand.
- ALWAYS READY: The 1000001's quick, one-handed opening makes it easy to hold and use. The reversible pocket clip offers ultimate accessibility.
- VERSATILE: The Volli 1000001's drop-point, utility blade style and all-around functionality make it ideal for everyday carry.
- SERVICES AND BENEFITS: For information and terms regarding Benchmade's Limited Warranty and LifeSharp Service, please visit Benchmade's website.
Benchmade Volli – $153.95
I recommend purchasing the Benchmade Volli at BladeHQ or Amazon. Purchasing anything through any of the links on this website helps support BladeReviews, and keeps the site going. As always, any and all support is greatly appreciated – thank you very much.
I’m not sure why the Volli isn’t considered a showstopper — it’s beautiful!
But then I’m a sucker for sculpted scales.
Mine is deassisted and snaps open just fine using the dual thumb studs. The scales feel pleasantly slippery — you can pocket-carry your Volli without fear of damaging your fine slacks.
BM says it designs all assisted models with a hidden pivot. I get why they do that: they consider messing with the spring a safety issue.
While taking apart your BM voids the company’s warranty, a rep says no one will give you a hard time about taking out the screws and reassembling the knife. “Just make sure that if you do decide to adjust the knife, you’re aware of that spring.”
Maybe so, but having to open your knife just to adjust the pivot is a pain in the ass.
BM says you can send it in for warranty service and they will sharpen the blade and adjust your pivot. Having to mail it in for what should be a simple adjustment strikes me as an even bigger pain in the ass.
I was unaware of the hidden pivot when I ordered my Volli online. I didn’t see any mention of it in other reviews or comments. And I don’t find any mention of it on BM’s site or its product announcement. Of course, paying more attention to the photos would have been a clue!
I agree with your design comments that the hidden pivot and spring are unnecessary. The Volli opens plenty fast on its own.
The Volli has the muscle to be a work knife and the looks to be a fine gentleman’s (or lady’s) knife. It feels great in the hand. And is a pleasure to open and close, especially deassisted. The Axis lock is smooth as butter.
Thanks for your fine review. Highly recommended — as is the Volli itself.
Wow, thanks for the awesome and highly informative comment! I will try to deassist mine. I see no reason why it wouldn’t work. Glad you agree that the closed pivot is annoying, but it’s interesting to hear BM’s rationale behind it. I’m also sorry to hear it voids the warranty – if the knife didn’t ship with a little blade play I wouldn’t have bothered to adjust it.
I agree, this knife has really grown on me, and I’m surprised how much pocket time it is getting. It may be a rather straightforward design and similar to some of BM’s other offerings, but it works really well. I think it’s a nice addition to their line up and I was happy to finally get my hands on one. Thanks again for stopping by to comment, and enjoy your knife!
First of all great review, I’ve had my eye on this for a while and I appreciate your thoughts on the knife.
Just wanted to throw my $0.02 in on removing the auto-assist. I tried this with my Benchmade Mini-Barrage, and followed this YouTube video on how to do it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPsTAEUTbQ8 (there are others out there as well). This was my first time disassembling a knife to tinker with it, and I found it pretty easy to do (if we ignore the fact that I managed to strip one of the Torx screws, but that was all me). I was able to reassemble no problems, and the knife worked well without the auto-assist. However I did introduce some blade play and I haven’t yet been able to eliminate it. It’s a very small amount though so it hasn’t bothered me much.
Overall I’m glad I did it as for me it made the knife more useable. As I mentioned this was my first time tinkering with one of my knives so someone with more experience would probably be able to do a better job than I did.
Thanks for the review and keep them coming!
Thanks for the comment and the $.02. I am glad you managed to de-assist yours without major issue. I did the same to mine over the weekend and agree it wasn’t that bad, although the axis lock certainly has its challenges when compared with, say, a liner lock knife. My knife still has a little blade play as well (it had some out of the box), but I’m with you in that it doesn’t bother me much either. I like the knife even more deassisted.
At any rate, thanks again for stopping by and for commenting. I am trying to get back on track with some regular reviews.
Ah, the Volli. Or, as I think of it, what the Barrage should always have been. It piqued my interest when it came out but I struggle to see where it would fit in my wardrobe. In fact, I sold my barrage due to maintenance being a bitch (carried it for duty, stuff gets sandy and I simply switched to a PM2). De-assisted and carried in town it’d be nice, but I still think I’d prefer a Ritter Griptilian with some nice custom scales for that.
All in all, like much of BMs 2013 offerings it left me a bit “meh”. Surely competent and nice but not much more. And there is nothing more damning than faint praise.
Thanks, Lew. I was pleasantly surprised with this one, even if it isn’t the most original design. I agree, Benchmade’s latest offerings seem uninspired. I hope that they figure out a way to infuse some new designs in the upcoming years.
I really love the Volli and plan to deassist it shortly as that is the only feature I dislike about it. Sometimes Benchmade baffles me. Why would an axis lock knife with well-placed thumb studs need an assist mechanism? It only makes the knife more difficult to close. It’s like giving a fish scuba gear or a Benchmade 300 a flipper mechanism.
Otherwise, I love the blade shape and the inset frame which like some of their other knives keeps strength while reducing bulk. I also really love the sculpted scales which add grip without looking utilitarian.
I plan on doing the deassist fairly soon and appreciate the link in the up-topic post but if anyone has an additional advice or links I would be grateful.
Glad you like your Volli as well. De-assisting is fairly straight forward as all you need to do is remove a coil spring. There are a number of little screws and stuff, but if you take your time it shouldn’t be that bad. Good luck and I still love my de-assisted Volli.
It is ‘its’ for possessive and ‘it’s’ for ‘it is’ (sorry for cluttering up your review page with grammar-nazi comments, but everyone makes that mistake and it annoys me. No offense meant to you).
Agghh! Sorry! Mistake! Your grammar’s fine! Just me being an idiot and not looking at what you were really saying!
Your site doesn’t let me take down comments…agghhh! Sorry again!
Don’t worry about it, Adam. I’ll take care of it. I appreciate the help editing the review. I am my own editor and I am sure I have screwed up the “its” / “it’s” thing, and have a number of other embarrassing typos throughout the site.
Understandingness appreciated, bro.
Of all of the knives I didn’t buy in 2013, the Volli was the only one to grace my already extensive Benchmade collection. At this writing, I am glad their quality control has improved to the point that I would consider buying this one (and yes, it was off-center out of the box. Sent up to Oregon City, it came back locking tight and centered…) Of the models I carry the most, the Volli is in my pocket nearly every day. By method of stropping, the S30V blade holds a razor sharp edge that cuts anything with apparent ease, and the G-10 scales are not a problem. While I’ve taken the knife apart, common practice to see how the thing is built, I have no plans on removing the spring. Compared to my Barrage models, the blade on this one fires smoothly and with a softer “snick”, which I really like. Considering among my favorites are the Barrage, and Ritter Griptlian, The Volli has a favored place, and feels like a member of the family.
So would I buy another if needed? Yes thanks!
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the Volli. This continues to be one of my favorites as well. I like the utilitarian profile and the uber thin blade. It cuts like a champ and is comfortable to use. I am glad you like the assist on yours as well.
Just got my Volli so all I can offer is first impression… My EDC is currently a Barrage and I have no doubt after a week with the Volli it will aquire some belly button lint as my newest EDC.
I would also say any assisted opening knife could be vilified as a weapon wether it’s 2.99″ or 3.25″… I endever to use common sense around folks that might take up issues and quickly change the subject to firearms.
If they must discuss I would paint my knife as the tool that it actually is for me. I would not be able to dig bullets out of trees from my .357 without it!
* The blade itself is tapered looking down from the top and although thin it does get thicker out towards the point I think for added durability.
**BM may have chosen S30V for better rigidity due to the blades thickness as much as for the edge it can offer.
*** The blade is tall, this would help with thumb stud placement and again, in service rigidity.
There are a number of other compelling reasons why I bought this knife and I for one, like assisted opening which I consider to be an additional feature. For me it’s easier and faster… Reliably deployed, it’s not a gimmick.
FWIW, mine came right, tight and properly centered.
Congrats on the new Volli, and thanks for taking the time out to leave a comment. I still have my Volli and I still enjoy it. I very much see mine as a tool. If you are concerned about the assisted aspect of it, and it being perhaps construed as a weapon because it’s assisted, you may want to take it apart and pull the spring out.
Anyhow, I’ll be curious to see what you think after carrying and using yours for a while. Mine is still going strong.
Do you know anyone that makes custom handles for the volli
Bill, Sorry, but I’m not aware of anyone that makes custom handles for the Volli.