The Benchmade 580 Barrage Osborne Design Knife combines lightning fast assisted-opening, the Axis lock system and a super sharp drop-point style blade into a sleek and sturdy package that can really take use and abuse. While it is not exactly a small folding knife at 8.35″ when it is open, it actually carries very well in the pocket. The handle has a textured finish all over with extra scallops and groves that provide an extra grip. Thanks to its full size, the tool also fills your hand even if you have gloves on.
Benchmade 580 Barrage Osborne Design Knife Features
The Benchmade 580 Barrage that was sent to us for review arrived in a blue slip case box. With the outer sleeve removed, the 580 Barrage came packaged inside a black drawstring bag that fit inside a foam insert. The reason that we point all this out is that many times, the care with which a product is shipped and presented when the box is opened conveys a certain level of quality and attention to detail that perhaps other companies neglect. Now the reason for the blue box is because the 580 Barrage is part of the Blue Class of knives that Benchmade offers. Benchmade classifies their knives under three different “color” classes, with each group having a specific market or purpose.
- Blue Class – Represents core products that make up the best combination of value and performance. These knives are designed and built to show what a difference a high-quality tool can make.
- Black Class – These products are designed and developed for extreme duty and special purposes. These are marketed towards law enforcement, public safety and military personnel.
- Gold Class – Premium line of knifes that, while usually the most costly, offer the most unique varieties of knives, with rare types of materials, limited productions and what Benchmade considers their ultimate quality.
Probably the best place to start on the Benchmade 580 Barrage Osborne Design Knife is to give credit to its designer. This knife is the brainchild of Warren Osborne who was a contract knife designer for Benchmade. In the custom knife world, Warren makes high end custom fixed blade and folding knives that are quite unique. Having been brought up in the farming and ranching industry in Australia taught Warren early on what great utility a quality knife can offer. There are many factors that contribute to a good knife such as how a knife feels in the hand over extended use, blade design, edge configurations, and the types of materials used. All of these are mandatory considerations of an Osborne design. All the Warren Osborne knives that Benchmade produces are known as ‘Osborne Production Designs’.
The Benchmade 580 Barrage Osborne Design Knife we received has a drop point style blade. This type of blade is characterized by a slow convex-curved drop in the point. The drop-point design lowers the tip for better control but adds strength to the point. This type of blade is usually coupled with plenty of belly on the cutting edge making it good for slicing. Many hunters appreciate this style blade for its ease in cleaning game. This style blade (and its variations) is probably one of the most popular since it lends itself to being a fantastic all-around blade format. The blade is made of 154CM stainless steel which is an American produced premium grade of stainless steel that was originally intended for industrial applications. This type of steel is known for its universal characteristics since it offers great corrosion resistance with good toughness and edge quality. The blade of the Barrage is flat ground with a false edge on the spine that goes from the thumb studs to the tip. Since the blade grind starts almost all the way up by the spine of the blade, the taper to the blade edge is very fine which makes for a extremely sharp knife.
While we received the satin finished straight edge blade, which we chose due to its ease of resharpening for this review; it is available in other blade styles, finishes and edge types. Check out the Benchmade website and you will find all the options. No matter what Barrage knife you are interested in, the one used in this review shares most all the same qualities of the other varieties.
Since the Benchmade 580 Barrage Osborne Design Knife is an assisted opening knife, there is a thumb stud located towards the back top of the blade. This thumb stud extends out on both sides of the blade, making it easy to flick open with either hand when you place slight thumb pressure against it. The internal spring mechanism slings the blade open with a sold thwack that is both fast and smooth. Once the blade is all the way extended, the AXIS locking mechanism comes into play. This simple, yet very positive lock works with a spring loaded sliding thumb stud that locks the blade open. As the knife is used and experiences wear, by design this lock actually becomes stronger. The beauty of the AXIS lock is that, unlike liner locks as found on many folders, your fingers are never in the way of a closing blade. To close the blade, use your forefinger and thumb on each side of the handle to pull back on the studs and the blade will then be free to swing close. Since this is an assisted opening knife, as you close the blade you will feel the pressure of the spring in the action. To make sure the blade does not get accidentally deployed or closed once it is opened, there is a ingenious locking slide button on the back of the knife handle that is both effective and unobtrusive. It simply takes the flick of a finger to activate or deactivate it.
The handles are made with full 420J2 stainless steel liners. The full size stainless steel liners serve as the framework that makes this knife feel very solid and rigid. The scales are made of Valox which is a type of glass filled nylon that is nearly indestructible. The handle is very comfortable and provides plenty of grip thanks to its texture and a series of scallops and groves in strategical places. A reversible steel carry-clip is factory attached to the right right side of the knife and is designed for tip up carry. Should you desire to carry it in your left pocket, you can reposition the clip on the opposite side utilizing the threaded holes on the handle. Unlike some folding knifes the Benchmade 580 Barrage Osborne Design Knife is completely ambidextrous in all its functions.
Testing and use
While we are not used to this size of knife as an everyday carry (EDC to knife aficionados) we quickly got used to it thanks to its balance, sturdy construction and the fact that it really feels good in the hand. With a total open length of 8.35 inches, this knife can handle just about anything you can throw at it. It is no wonder that, according to what we’ve seen online, law enforcement, rescue personal and folks in the military have also found that they appreciate the size, quality and versatility that this knife offers. The assisted opening function is nearly as fast as a fully automatic knife yet is legal to own just about everywhere. If you have any question about the legality of an assisted opening knife in your area, make sure to check with your local authorities. Operating the knife is easy and almost second nature after just just doing it a few times. With a simple flick of my thumb the blade swung out smoothly. Once locked open, the blade had no side to side play. Closing the blade with the AXIS system was also easy and natural. The big thing to note was that when opening and closing the blade, your hand is naturally positioned safely out of the way. As with any edged tool, you should always exercise caution when handling them. The Benchmade 580 Barrage Osborne Design Knife is no exception and there are warnings on the box that the knife inside comes from the factory extremely sharp.
While I wish we had some great story of how we used this knife to rescue an endangered animal from sudden death or preformed an emergency c-section while on a trans-oceanic flight – we don’t. Still, we are confident this knife would be up to the task. But seeing how we have been keeping it at the ready in our pocket for the last month or so, we have had ample opportunity to use it to open boxes, trim tape, cut carpet, sharpen carpenter pencils and a barrage (see where the name came from) of small day to day tasks that require a sharp tool. The edge quality is great and is still sharp. It is worth noting that if you don’t feel like sharping your knife yourself, Benchmade has a lifetime sharpening service where, for $5.00 you can send it in and they will sharpen it and send it back to you. Also, should you damage your knife while under normal usage they will repair or replace it for life.
We see a good number of pocket knives and being a gadget kind of guy, I like to change things up every now and then with the knife that I carry. What I keep finding is that I can’t get over the overall package of the Benchmade 580 Barrage Osborne Design Knife. The smooth assisted opening, the AXIS locking system, the super sharp blade and the over all quality of this knife keep making it a mainstay in my pocket. While some might not appreciate the size of this knife, Benchmade offers a little brother version called the 585 Mini-Barrage that is about 2 inches shorter overall but with all the same features. For our Performance rating, we gave the 580 Barrage a 9/10 because it combines the legendary quality of Benchmade knives with the unique designs of a custom knife maker. The AXIS lock and the assisted opening feature make this knife score high numbers. For our Value rating we gave this knife a 7/10. Even though it has a higher initial cost then some pocket knifes, once the quality and features are weighed in it really is a winning tool to have in your pocket. We are pretty sure that if you spring for a Benchmade 580 Barrage, it will become your favorite everyday carry knife.