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In a recent post, my compadre Dusty touched on how every man needs a knife (or ten). I could not agree more. Try carrying one for a week, and I’d wager you won’t want to stop. Whether you’re looking for a first knife or just another knife in your quest for ten, Benchmade is a fantastic place to start. Originating in Oregon, they make some of the highest quality and well-respected knives in the industry. Their knives come in four different classes red, black, blue, and gold; these classifications run from the everyday knife (red) to the collectors special edition (gold).

The Mini-Barrage 585 is a new model in their Blue line, described as, “A knife for the real knife person.” I’ve had the pleasure using the Mini-Barrage for a while now and it’s relegated my other knives to the dreaded dresser drawer. Equipped with a 2.91″ blade and 4″ handle, it’s more than enough knife for day-to-day tasks, yet it doesn’t make people think you’re pulling a Paul Hogan. Benchmade’s proprietary AXIS locking mechanism keeps the blade securely in place when open and is a nice advancement from traditional lockbacks. The icing on the cake, though, is definitely the spring assisted opening mechanism. With a slight nudge on the thumb stud, the blade springs decisively open… convenient, impressive, and as close to this as you can legally get. The knife oozes quality, exceeding my expectations and easily surpassing my other knives, all of which are from highly touted companies. With two blade types, plain steel or Teflon-coated, and plain-edge or ComboEdge (half-serrated) offerings the Mini-Barrage is a solid contender for any man’s pocket.

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In conjunction with the Mini-Barrage, I also tested Benchmade’s ComboEdge Sharpener. We’ve covered a few knives and plenty of multi-tools here at Gear Patrol, but never a sharpener. The fact is, as I learned as a Cub Scout, a dull knife is a dangerous knife. The ComboEdge Sharpener is intented to put a new edge on either serrated or plain blades. As diamond edge sharpeners go, it does its job exceptionally well and is far easier to use than a honing stone. I tried it on a pocket knife that was my Dad’s growing up that I know hadn’t been sharpened in at least a decade. With just a few passes, it was razor sharp (I literally shaved the hair off the back of my hand)…I think that says it all.

Editor’s Note: For those of you not interested in doing your own sharpening, Benchmade offers LifeSharp where you send your knife back to them, and they’ll put a new factory edge on it as well as give your knife a full clean-up. The service runs just $5.00 for the first knife and $2.50 for any subsequent knives. That’s a heck of a deal.

Cost: Mini-Barrage, $120