Warren Osborne is one of the most recognized names in knife making. While he was an extremely talented custom maker, a large part of his renown is due to a series of high profile collaborations with Benchmade. The 940 is one of the most notable collabs, but Warren Osborne is also known for designing the Rift and Barrage, among others.
Warren Osborn passed away in 2016, after a long a long struggle with a cancer. The Benchmade Proxy was his final collaboration with Benchmade. I happen to think it was an interesting design. Benchmade has only recently gotten into flippers, and this Proxy is one of their takes on a titanium framelock flipper. As Warren’s last collaboration with Benchmade I knew it was something I needed to get my hands on.
General Dimensions and Blade Details
The Benchmade Proxy has an overall length of 8.85″, a 3.87″ blade, weighs 4.86 ounces, and is made in the USA. This is a substantial knife. A bit too much for me to carry on a daily basis, but I’m sure it will make a fine EDC for those that like larger knives. At under 5 ounces, it’s plenty light and pocketable for a near 4″ bladed folder.
The Proxy features a long sloping drop point blade. It kind of reminds me of the head of a shark. For whatever that is worth. It’s a strong blade cut from near 4mm thick stock. The knife has a high flat grind and has been left thin behind the edge. It’s fine for cutting boxes or fruit, and I suspect it would hold up under tougher chores as well. The tip is placed low on the knife. That shortens the belly but makes it good at stabbing things. Benchmade went with what appears to be a matte satin finish. It’s a utilitarian finish that hides wear well.
The most prominent feature on the blade is the oversized sharpening choil. That makes it easy to sharpen, but you lose some edge, and if you aren’t careful material you are wanting to cut can get caught up in the large choil.
Benchmade selected CPM-20CV for the Proxy’s blade steel. This is the same steel my G-10 Griptilian came in, and now that I’ve owned that knife for almost 2 years, I have a little experience with it. Manufactured by Crucible Industries, CPM-20CV is advertised as a steel with high corrosion resistance and wear resistance, and good toughness. Chemically it is similar to M390, which is an excellent steel. CPM-20CV has an extremely high chromium content, which results in its corrosion resistant qualities.
In practice I have found that CPM-20CV performs admirably. It exhibits a nice balance of edge retention and sharpenability, while exhibiting excellent rust and corrosion resistance. To be compared with M390 places it in excellent company, and I consider CPM-20CV to be top tier blade steel. A great choice for a high end folding knife.
Handle, Ergonomics, and Pocket Clip
The Benchmade Proxy features a titanium frame lock mated to a one piece G-10 backspacer and handle scale. Everything is held together with torx fasteners. It’s kind of an odd combination between the light brown G-10, the sandblasted titanium, the satin hardware and the mirror polished clip. The varying textures and angular design almost make the Proxy feel like a small piece of modern art. The build quality is excellent. Tolerances are tight, the parts line up, and the 3-D machining on the handles is excellent.
I also like the omission of the lanyard hole. I’m not a big lanyard guy, but you see them on pretty much every knife. It’s refreshing to get something without a lanyard hole. While that is bound to piss some people off, personally I don’t miss it.
The Proxy is a large and comfortable knife. It’s got a big simple handle, so it will conform to most hand sizes. There is little in the way of texture on the knife, but still my fingers fall naturally in place. Warren did design a forward finger choil, and that feature allows you to choke up on the blade and get close to what you are cutting. You can also choke back on this handle, providing you a couple inches of additional reach. Potentially useful if you have to do some light chopping or use the Proxy in a “tactical” application.
The pocket clip is Benchmade’s split arrow clip, buffed up to a high shine. While I generally like the split arrow clip, I’m not a huge fan of the shiny version shown here. It’s kind of loud and it doesn’t match the rest of the knife. It feels out of place, although I’m not sure what I would have put instead of this clip. I probably would have reconsidered the entire hardware selection, finishes, and color choice.
The Proxy carries well considering it’s almost a 9″ folding knife. The sturdy split arrow clip, and bead blasted titanium handle work together to provide good traction without tearing up your pocket. At .5″ thick the Proxy is not the thinnest knife, but it’s not the thickest either. Benchmade milled out some large grooves to make it a little slimmer and more pocketable. All said, I think the Proxy is not a bad knife to carry.
Deployment and Lockup
This is a bearing equipped titanium framelock flipper. I haven’t reviewed a Benchmade framelock flipper before, so this is new territory for me. In practice it flips great. I’d say it scores a solid “7” on my 0-10 scale. Maybe a little behind the action you would find on a Zero Tolerance flipper, but not by much. It’s snappy and responsive action and the bearings are smooth. So smooth you can shake the blade closed. Nice.
The titanium frame lock is reinforced with a stainless steel insert. The insert does not double as an over travel stop mechanism, a feature I’ve come to find standard on most flippers from ZT, Spyderco, and Kizer. That said, the lockup on this knife is early, and free of any sort of play. It’s rock solid.
Here is a shot of the Proxy next to my Strider SnG. I chose the SnG because the Proxy borrows the integral G-10 handle / backspacer.
Blade centering is pretty good on my knife. Not perfect. It favors the G-10 side by a mm or so, but is nowhere near rubbing.
Benchmade Proxy Review – Final Thoughts
The Proxy is a curious knife. Warren Osborne made a name for himself providing unique designs, and I think the Proxy continues that legacy. Individually, there are number of seemingly dissimilar components. Added up they all come together. Sorta. Part of me can’t help but feel that this blade was put together with leftovers from Benchmade’s parts bin, but other parts of me appreciate the simple design. The knife is nicely made and is both comfortable to use and a capable cutter. It’s a great work knife.
While it may not be to everyone’s taste, I think the Proxy is a good knife. I appreciate the Proxy and I appreciate Warren Osborne for his contributions to the knife world. I can safely recommend the Proxy for fans of Warren and fans of this design.
I recommend purchasing the Benchmade Proxy at Amazon 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.