[Editor’s note: Enjoy this Benchmade review; it’s proof that I’m not trying to cause Kershaw poisoning this week.]
In my time as a 911 dispatched EMT, I’ve learned one basic truth: if you absolutely need it, it should be on your body when you jump out the door of the rig. Most of the stuff you can cram into the jump bag, but for those essential items (gloves, flashlight, etc) having them in a pocket makes every call easier. One piece of required equipment is a pocket knife, and it wasn’t until I was sent out on a motor vehicle accident call that I realized I may have made the wrong choice . . .
For ages I carried a standard folding knife as my stabby implement of choice, one single blade with a spear point and a sharp edge and little else. It served me well, making clean cuts through roller gauze and opening various and sundry bags. But while the sharp point was useful, it had its drawbacks.
I dropped out onto the pavement from the side door, as I was riding in the back of the rig that night. The OIC had gotten a head start on me and grabbed the jump bag, leaving me with just the C-Spine kit and O2 bottle. I hadn’t realized until then that there were in fact two patients, and as the OIC ran towards one he motioned for me to head over to #2.
As usual with drunk drivers the guy was mostly unconscious (more from drink than impact) and didn’t have any obvious wounds, but he was lying in a red puddle and we needed to visually check him over. We have a set of nice chunky blunt tipped shears that we usually use for such an occasion, but they were safely stowed in the jump kit that was helpfully with the OIC and not by my side. All I had was my pocket knife to undress a mostly unconscious drunk driver, and I was constantly scared that I was about to stab him as I sliced his pants open.
Thankfully the puddle was transmission fluid and not blood, and I avoided doing any further harm with my blade, but that night made me realize that I needed something specialized for my line of work. That’s where the Triage comes into play.
While the Triage has a wicked sharp edge, the blade has a rounded and blunt point that allows you to slide it against a patient’s skin without worrying about poking them by accident. The blade is also extra thick, to allow you to put some force behind the thing without snapping the blade.
The handle is made of G10 fiberglass, meaning that combined with the all metal construction it will be nice and comfortable in an autoclave for worry-free surgical quality disinfecting. And the bright orange color (although also available in black) makes it easy to spot in even the worst conditions.
Another nice feature of the knife is the “seatbelt cutter.” I put that in quotes because the thing resembles — and has been confirmed by yours truly — to work equally well as a gut hook when gutting a freshly harvested deer.
In fact, this knife is equally at home in my pants on shift as it is during opening day of deer season. Whether you’re stripping the connective tissue off a slab of backstrap or trying to field dress a deer, the knife works flawlessly.
So, in reality, what we have here is a knife for the weekend as well as the week day. It’s equally at home on an ambulance as it is in the field, and would serve either function perfectly. The only question: orange or black?
Ratings (out of five stars)
Styling: * * * * *
As rustic and beautiful as a year in Provence.
Blade: * * * * *
Sharp, thick and useful.
Ergonomics: * * * *
The grips are a touch aggressive compared to my every day carry (Cold Steel Code 4), but then again you don’t want to lose grip when your hands are bloody.
Ruggedness/Durability * * * * *
It sliced up a deer without needing to be re-sharpened, and went right back into service.
Overall Rating: * * * * *
For the hunter and EMT, both would find this a good buy. And if you do both, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have one.
Type: Folding knife.
Opening Mechanism: Ambidextrous thumb studs.
Lock: Benchmade AXIS mechanism
Length: 8.2″ open, 4.7″ closed.
Weight: 5.1 oz.
Blade Type: Modified sheep’s foot
Blade Length: 3.5″
Blade Thickness: .13″
Grip: G10 fiberglass
Origin: United States