It’s not often I’m waiting for an accident to happen. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I was hoping someone would get into a car accident. I just wanted to be there when it happened. Here’s what I envisioned. . . Angelina Jolie (sans Brad) happened to be driving through my neighborhood when she lost control of her Mercedes. The car flipped and the gas tank was punctured. At this point I’m heroically sprinting for the car. Angelina is barely conscious, the vehicle is locked, and her seatbelt is jammed. A long line of gas made it’s way down the road where it is ignited by some bastard flicking his cigarette out of the window. That’s so annoying! I have just seconds to spare Angelina from a horrible, fiery death, and luckily, I have my Benchmade Triage 916 in-hand.
First, I shatter the window with the Triage’s built-in carbide tip window breaker. The line of flame is accelerating toward us. Next, I flip out the belt/cord cutting blade, deftly and effortlessly severing the seatbelt. The flames are just yards from the gas tank now. But wait, Angelina’s cup holder is wedged between her and the car door. Damn lattes! I quickly flick out the dual-bevel, blunt tip blade from the Triage and pry the cup holder out of the way. I pull Angelina out of the window and to safety just as the car explodes and a small mushroom cloud dissipates in the sky. Angelina is so grateful, she offers to leave Brad immediately. I gently but firmly inform her I’m happily married, but suggest that we remain friends.
Despite waiting several months after Benchmade sent us their Triage 916 to review, a scenario like this didn’t unfold. So, instead, I resorted to cutting stuff around the house. Like the Benchmade mini Griptilian Tanto we reviewed, this knife oozes quality. It weighs in at just over five ounces, and it’s a solid-feeling five ounces. The fit and finish are exceptional. There is nothing flimsy or imprecise about this tool.
Textured G-10 handles are available in black or safety orange. Up close you can see the handles have a wavy, almost fish-scale appearance. This grip design provides exceptional traction for your hand. Even when wet, the Triage can be securely held. That’s important when you’re rescuing Angelina Jolie, or just working on a job site. When the main blade is open, a positive groove for both your index finger and thumb keep the blade very solidly under control. The last thing you want when using a knife, especially in an emergency, is for your hand to slip off the handle. The grip on the Triage is stellar.
Main Blade Design and Function
The main blade has a blunt tip with an opposing bevel and a partially serrated design (an entirely plain edge is also an option). The result, is a very thick blade with a lot of strength, right down to the tip. That’s a great design for me, since I inevitably incorrectly use the tip of whatever knife I have handy to pry stuff. As a result, I have a bunch of old knives with broken-off tips. It always seemed like a useful idea at the time. While still not recommended as a replacement for a crow bar, I found the Triage 916 can be used for light duty prying tasks in a pinch. The main blade is 3.5″ long, features an ambidextrous thumb-stud opener and the AXIS locking mechanism. HomeFixated lawyers insist you don’t try this, but I found I could easily open and close the Triage without looking at the knife. Even if you’re not rescuing Angelina, that kind of smooth functionality just makes the tool that much more usable and intuitive. The blade is wicked sharp and made from N680 blade steel, which Benchmade describes as, “A chromium-molybdenum conventionally produced stainless steel with the addition of vanadium and nitrogen. Excellent corrosion resistance properties, especially in salt water. Good hardenability and high obtainable hardness. High wear resistance and ability to preserve keenness.” We’re all for preserving “keenness” too!
Hook-Shaped Safety Cutter
The safety cutter operates with a single thumb stud. I was stunned at how smoothly this blade operates. It’s almost effortless to deploy and retract, yet it snaps into operating position with an secure click. When deployed, your index finger rests in a textured nook made by the blade and the handle. Again, thoughtful design makes this a tool unlikely to slip from your hand when you’re cutting someone free from their seatbelt or just cutting cordage around the shop or job site. The hook cut through doubled-up paracord like it was cutting cooked angel hair pasta. Despite being a “safety” cutter, the sharpness of the blade here should still demand your full respect and attention. It’s a very useful blade, whether you are a first responder, a contractor or a handy homeowner. The hook is made from 440C, described by Benchmade as, “A high-chromium stainless steel with a terrific balance of good hardness and corrosion resistance. 440C takes a nice edge and is fairly easy to resharpen. An excellent value priced steel for its performance.”
Like other Benchmade knives, the Triage 916 comes packaged in a silky satchel you might expect to see used for diamond smuggling in a heist movie. A subtle hole is provided on the glass breaker end in case you want to carry or secure the blade via a lanyard or paracord. The included tip-up pocket clip is not only reversible, but it also carries the knife deep in your pocket. The deep pocket design helps ensure the knife will still be there when you need it, and it didn’t hamper deployment noticeably. If I were still patrolling the mean streets of San Diego, this would absolutely be a knife I’d be happy to carry. Its quad-functionality (glass breaker, standard cutting, cord/strap cutting, and prying) make this a first responder’s dream tool. Combine that functionality with Benchmade quality and you have a versatile tool you know you can count on in everything from emergencies to working in the shop.
I’m still keeping my eyes open for an out of control Angelina Jolie in the ‘hood, but in the meantime the Triage is getting plenty of use with less dramatic tasks. Whether you’re a first responder, in the military, or just like to be prepared, you won’t be disappointed in this multi-function tool. You can find the Benchmade Triage 916 for about $125-$140 on Amazon, in both steel and black BK1 blade finishes.