Benchmade 950 Rift


April 4, 2013, 08:11 PM
I'm lusting after one of these in a big way, Amazon has it for $161 but Knifeworks has it for $116 once you apply their discount code at checkout.

Anybody have one? How is it? I'm looking at the one with black and charcoal G10 scales and a plain-edge blade.

Here's a link to it at Knifeworks

If you enjoyed reading about "Benchmade 950 Rift" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
April 7, 2013, 10:06 AM
I've had that very same knife for over a year - a 'sale' priced goodie from a local sharp-thing-emporium at <$100 with s/t! Despite being perfectly centered, smooth operating, sharp, and handsome, I just wasn't fond of the blade tip. Consequently, it would initially see little use. When my 2012 Blade Forum knife, the very same 950 but sporting a CPM M4 blade, CF scales, etc, arrived early last summer, I looked past the blade design and started carrying it - then the regular Rift found it's way into my pocket. Final analysis: nice pocket knife with a larger, 3 5/8" long cutting edge, than expected blade.


April 7, 2013, 11:00 AM
I have two of them, one with the black G10 scales and the other with the black/gray G10 scales. Both have the 154CM steel. One I bought new and the other used. The used one had a tiny chip up by the point that I was easily able to sharpen out. The Rift is a very well made knife and I say that owning many knives at most pricepoints including many Benchnmades. I like Osborne designs quite a bit. Knowing what I know I wouldn't hesitate to acquire a Rift if I didn't have two already. $161 seems a bit high but it has been awhile since I bought mine which IIRC I found on eBay.

Overall, aesthetically, I find myself more drawn to the plain black G10 scales.

April 7, 2013, 02:42 PM
Overall, aesthetically, I find myself more drawn to the plain black G10 scales.

Thanks for the feedback you guys! I'm suprised you like the black G10 though, I think the black/charcoal is really nice looking.

I looked on ebay but everyone seems to want $160 there also. Knifeworks at $116 seems like the best price.

April 17, 2013, 02:37 PM
I'm suprised you like the black G10 though, I think the black/charcoal is really nice looking.

I really like them both but find the black/charcoal to be a bit busy. The texturing is busy enough for me and I find that the more understated black fits my tastes more precisely.

As to the $116 price, I don't think that you will do better than that.

April 18, 2013, 03:04 PM
What is the discount code, if you don't mind sharing? Need a new EDC and been eying the Rift, has exactly what I want in an EDC and nothing else.

April 18, 2013, 03:34 PM
BR549. It is at the bottom of the Knifeworks listing


April 18, 2013, 04:08 PM
I have the auto rift like it.

Sent from my SGH-T999 using Tapatalk 2

April 19, 2013, 09:15 PM
Recently purchased one and found it different in unexpected ways.

The blade shape and how it cuts - superior. 154CM is good steel, easy to touch up. I forgot how nice the medium alloy steels hold up compared to import or 420A.

The grip is reportedly too aggressive to handle, mine is appropriately grippy. The aggressive part is when I try to shove it in my jeans pocket, as that is when it's too grippy and requires an extra shove.

The Axis lock doesn't handle like a liner at all. Unlocking it completely different due to the location and motion. After years of carrying a liner or frame lock, it takes a while to learn the motions.

The clip isn't the most furniture friendly clip I own - that is the Vex, strangely enough. Tip down isn't as different as using the thumb stud and the length of the grip - it's a bigger knife than it was perceived due to the great blade to handle ration. And when clipped in the pocket, the small tail protruding makes the knife appear much smaller than it is.

The grey and black isn't as pronounced a pattern as it appears in print or on screen.

Overall, a great knife for the money. Waiting to see how I might not like it, but so far, it's taking a while.

April 20, 2013, 02:34 PM
Good stuff Tirod, thanks.

Well the wife said we couldn't afford the knife so I was forgetting about it when we got some unexpected $$$ in the mail. I'm hoping to get it now but am having to fend off the questions "Why do you need another knife?", "It'll just sit around like the others" and stuff like that. I point out her 20 purses just sit around. :)

April 21, 2013, 06:22 PM
Mine is actually in my pocket as I type this, absolutely LOVE it

April 22, 2013, 12:51 AM
I have the 940 osborne with the same blade shape. I like it a lot. But then I also like most blade shapes so I guess I don't count. I love the axis lock. I flick it open and closed with my index finger holding back the lock and never touch the blade. It is the fasted knife I own, including autos, liners, assisted openers, etc.

I really really wanted to like the rift. I just wasn't that impressed with it. The handle was a little sharp, but my biggest issue was with the huge gap between the choil where your fingers stop and where the blade starts. I know that is picky, but it just made the knife seem unwieldy. Maybe it was just me.

If you want to try it on the cheap to see if you like the design there is a clone of it. the ganzo g710. If it follows the same pattern of my other ganzo it will be too heavy to carry around in a pocket unless you take it apart and skeletonize the liners, the g10 will have some rough edges, the blade will be unevenly ground, and the steel will be on par with a low end gerber, but the axis lock will be silky smooth and it will lock up tight. If you covered the name and told me to guess a price I'd say it was a $50-70 knife instead of the $20 it runs.

Bartholomew Roberts
April 25, 2013, 06:00 PM
Valkman, have you compared it to the 940? I know the Rift is a bit bigger and thicker; but I am trying to get a feel for it.

April 25, 2013, 06:57 PM
No I haven't. Should I look at the 940? Get both? My wife hates you already. lol

Bartholomew Roberts
April 25, 2013, 07:37 PM
No idea... Your post got me lusting after the Rift which in turn led to comparisons with the earlier 940, which appears to be 0.4" shorter and 0.15" slimmer but has aluminium scales. Similar blade shape.

April 25, 2013, 08:35 PM
All I know is there are many Benchmades that I haven't got yet!

Al Thompson
April 26, 2013, 07:18 AM
"BR549" - now for those of us who grew up in the '70's, that's funny! :D

April 26, 2013, 08:43 AM
The 940 is a completely different feeling knife. It carries far smaller than the dimensions indicate, and I don't know why. Maybe because it is slick, maybe because it is not a wide knife (as measured from blade edge to spine) maybe a couple of oz akes a huge diference in a pocket, but compared to the rift it's like carrying a kahr cw9 as opposed to a glock 19.

I keep checking out other knives, I love knives, but I have not found one that even comes close to how much I love the 940 series in close to 8 years. It's not a heavy duty combat knife, which is a plus for me, but maybe not for everybody.

May 1, 2013, 10:47 AM
Sigh. I just read this, watched some videos on youtube and purchased one at knifeworks. THR is a very expensive site!

The knifeworks price is by far the lowest, thanks for the link and code.

Bartholomew Roberts
May 1, 2013, 11:46 AM
Yeah, I took the plunge too... That price was too good to pass up and it is an interesting knife. Plus who doesn't like a Hee-Haw reference?

May 2, 2013, 12:05 AM
Plus who doesn't like a Hee-Haw reference?
ME! Hated that show. :)

Knifeworks seems great, this is the first time I've shopped there. In addition to great prices they had shipped the knife within 24 hours of the order and delivery is expected tomorrow.

May 2, 2013, 12:18 AM
Knifeworks is great and they ship fast. I've only got one knife from them so far but they shipped it within like an hour of me buying it.

May 2, 2013, 06:10 PM
Just put in my order! Uncoated, plain edge blade with the charcoal/black G10 scales. Sweet.

As soon as it gets here it'll get the Wicked Edge treatment and be scary sharp!

Bartholomew Roberts
May 2, 2013, 11:05 PM
Well, that spoils my plan to tempt you with photos of the new Rift ;)

Any thoughts on sharpening strategies? I've only done one knife in 154CM so I am not sure what holds up well in day to day use. Not to mention that was a Gerber so probably different heat treat. The main thing I remember is even with 100 grit stones it took awhile to raise a burr at 20 degrees.

I've been reading the Wicked Edge forums and it seems like there is a loose consensus on a 17-18 degree primary with a 20-22 degree microbevel for Benchmade 154CM. A couple of people have mentioned chips under 20 deg (single bevel) if you hit staples in a box or something tougher.

May 2, 2013, 11:43 PM
I just usually cover the edge with a Sharpie then find the correct angle with say a 400 grit stone. If it's already sharp I don't usually go all the way back to 100 grit but I look at it and see what it needs. If the bevels are even and the knife is pretty sharp I start with 220 or 400 and go from there, mostly polishing what's there.

But I still need those coarse stones like you have as re-profiling can take a while!

May 2, 2013, 11:54 PM
I'll be getting my Rift in tomorrow and will give you guys my thoughts on it when it arrives. I was out looking for 22lr ammo today at lunch and found a LGS which is discontinuing their Benchmades because of a dispute with Benchmade. They are selling their stock at 30% off what is already a bit under MSRP.

I picked up a Grip for $70 and a Barrage for $90 (both full size, not the minis). The Rift was $102 but I'm still happy with the knifeworks deal. I also bought a Mini Grip at the PX for $63 this week. So I've gone from always wanting a Benchmade but not having one to owning 4 in under a week. :)

May 3, 2013, 12:12 AM
Wow, that's some good deals! Buy some extra and share with your THR buddies! :D

May 3, 2013, 03:50 AM
If anybody wants a particular model PM me and I'm happy to see if they have it in stock.

May 3, 2013, 04:09 AM
Thanks for that but I had to really push just to get the 950. The wife is not in a knife buyig mood!

Bartholomew Roberts
May 3, 2013, 08:23 AM
I was mostly trying to figure out what kind of angles Benchmade's 154CM can take. All of my other knives are Kershaw Sandivik, SAK, or 1095, so I don't know much about that particular steel. From what I gather, it has better edge holding and is tougher to sharpen than those steels. I have been doing a 20 degree angle on most of my 4" and under knives and that seems to work well as a general utility angle provided you don't do something stupid with them (apparently a highly polished Sandivik 20 deg bevel is STILL the wrong tool for digging a picture nail out of drywall).

I was interested if anyone here was sharpening Benchmade 154CM to more acute angles than 20 and if so, wondering how it was holding up for them and what kind of use it was seeing. Also interested to see if anyone thought 20 was too acute.

FWIW, I was reading several complaints on Blade Forums saying the if you sent your blade back to Benchmade for their "Lifesharp" service that they were using a 30 degree angle (60 deg inclusive!). I am having a hard time believing that since I don't think even an axe uses a 60 degree angle; but it makes me think the Benchmade angle and 154CM may make for some serious work to reprofile.

MaterDei, that is a great deal! I've had some Benchmades in the past but stopped buying them (until Valkman tempted me back in) because losing a $100+ knife is painful to me and I'm reluctant to use them. Whereas a $30 Kershaw I'll use and if it gets lost, it doesn't sting quite as much. I'd be tempted to clean them out at those prices.

May 3, 2013, 09:20 PM
I'd be tempted to clean them out at those prices.

So was I. And while I didn't exactly clean them out I did add to my fledgling collection.
These are my Black Box knives. Two Rifts, a Triage, and a Presidio. I have another rift, not shown.

These are my Blue Box knives.

I'm embarrassed to admit that I bought all of these knives this week.

Bartholomew Roberts
May 3, 2013, 11:31 PM
Mater Dei, I see when you go after something, you don't mess around :D. Nice collection! Is that a Mini-Grip with a Spyderco hole? I like that. Also curious to hear what you think about the Rift and 940 now that you have both.

I got my 950 Rift today as well. Mater Dei already did great pictures, so I'll just pontificate. The blade on the Rift is very nice. The shape lends itself well to Michael Janich's philosophies on fighting with a 3.5" knife, with some compromise made to style/having a thrusting point. The blade has a high flat grind (around 11 deg) that comes down to a 15 deg bevel (30 inclusive). Since I've got a Wicked Edge, I thought the bevel looked a little rough (probably finished to 600 or 800 grit) but with that high angle it was plenty capable of shaving your arm bald right out of the box.

Reading around the Internet, it seems as though 15 deg may be a bit optimistic for Benchmade 154CM, thought it certainly leaves it sharp. Apparently the Lifesharp service does 30 deg inclusive (which makes more sense). However, I may decide to put a secondary micro bevel on that to make that edge a little more sturdy... Still haven't decided.

Although it is hardly a fair comparison, I couldn't help but compare the Rift to my Kershaw Groove, which was half the price, even with the steep discount on the Rift. One thing many people have commented on is the size/weight of the Rift; but it is actually lighter than my Groove, albeit the G10 scales make it a little thicker and bulkier. I'll do a quick run down of pros and cons as I see them:

1. The blade is great. Rift has a more practical blade shape. The high flat grind makes it a better slicer, where my Groove, even though it has a similar thickness, splits apples like an axe instead of slicing due to the blade geometry. The Rift also has more belly for slicing as well. Finally, the 154CM is reputed to be superior to the Sandivik 14C28N used in the Groove - time will tell on that; but I doubt the Groove would survive unmarked at a more acute angle than 20 deg based on my past usage.

2. The Axis lock is rock-solid. It gives a much better sense of security than the Groove's frame lock.

3. The all G10 scales provide for a very secure grip over the steel frame with a thin G10 covering that the Groove has.


1. Although the Rift action is very smooth and easy to open (like my past Benchmades), the thumbstuds are harder to hit than a Spyderco hole or a flipper. The flipper is still much preferable to me, although I do appreciate being able to sharpen the whole cutting edge without also grinding on the flipper. The Groove is still fastest for me though (and smoother).

2. The Rift is lighter (4.8oz); but noticeably more bulky. Both are within the range of what I consider acceptable for carry though.

3. Rift is tip-down carry only; but clip can be on either side. Groove is tip up or down; but only on one side. However, since you are using the flipper, it is fairly ambidextrous despite that.

4. I miss the jimping on the spine of the Groove when I use the Rift; but I can probably get used to it being gone.

All in all, I was surprised how well the much cheaper Groove compared to the Rift. Of course, the Rift has a noticeable edge in the blade and lock, which are kind of big parts of a folding, locking knife :) I am looking forward to seeing how the 154CM holds up, especially if I leave that 15 deg bevel on it.

May 3, 2013, 11:46 PM
Nice write up, I should get mine Tuesday.

May 4, 2013, 12:32 AM
Great write-up, BR. You clearly are a true expert whereas I am a novice so I can't really provide you with anything more than my impressions from handling them today. I like the Rift quite a lot, my biggest complaint would probably be the lack of jimping. But it feels good in the hand and I totally agree that the blade is a work of art. The lock-up on all the knives is rock solid.

Hope the photo is not too annoying. My son's snake tank has good lighting and I thought that it provided an interesting background.

It's interesting that of all the knives you asked me to compare the 950 to was the 940 because it is so dissimilar to the 950. Ironically the knife that I think I like the most is the 940. Ironic because I almost didn't get it and didn't think I would like it. It's not very pleasing aesthetically (to me), it's quite small and it was the most expensive (I paid $105) . However, it's just awesome. It is very light, which I like for EDC, and will no doubt disappear in my pocket. The blade, though, is 3.4” which is the same size as the Griptilian. It is made of S30V steel which I've heard good things about, but have never owned. I think this little knife just rocks.

May 4, 2013, 12:36 AM
Is that a Mini-Grip with a Spyderco hole?
I wish it was but no, it's a full size Grip.

Bartholomew Roberts
May 4, 2013, 03:20 AM
No, I'm pretty much a novice myself; but I like to research and having the Wicked Edge around means I can entertain myself with all kinds of experiments. It is instructive to try and do the same edge on several different steels and then look at the edge with a 40x loop afterwards. It also makes me a little obssessive over things like bevel angles since it can take awhile to reprofile some of the harder steels.

Thanks for the pictures. The snake tank makes for a great background. I am actually not surprised you liked the 940 better as I was kind of leaning that way myself. It has a lot of what I like about the Rift (great blade and lock) in a sleeker package. However, I couldn't find one on sale for $105, so I bought the Rift instead. That is a great deal!

Thanks for the Griptillian pic as well. As I noted, I am having trouble going back to thumbstuds after using a flipper, even though I used to prefer thumbstuds. I now appreciate the Spyderco hole more. Not as pretty aesthetically; but more practical and the Rift is kind of odd aesthetically anyway.

May 4, 2013, 10:22 AM
Prior to this recent BM obsession I was, and still am, a huge Kershaw fan. They are a great value knife and many are American made, which is important to me. I've been a big fan of the Kershaw flippers and really don't think there is a faster deployment system for me.

I'm still on the fence about the Spydie hole. I only have one Spyderco and it is a two handed only opener so the hole is just something to grip, not something for fast deployment. On the sand colored Grip with the hole I'm trying to like the hole but so far I still prefer the studs.

Also, I just don't like the look of the Spydercos. I know some people do but I've just never liked the big curvy knives that Spyderco makes, primarily to accommodate the hole.

May 4, 2013, 10:30 AM
MaterDei, you will love that 940. If you're anything like me, in a couple of years you will look around and say "why do I have all these other knives, I only carry the 940?" and then you will proceed to keep them all and buy a couple more because you have a sickness. And then still carry the 940. :)

Bartholomew Roberts
May 4, 2013, 05:08 PM
Well, I decided to use the Rift for yard work today - cutting sod, cutting open bags, pruning tree limbs, etc. I normally use an $8 Mora for this. The Mora also has a 15 deg bevel and I use it because it is sharp and I don't have to worry about what happens to it.

In the course of cleaning the yard, I found a recurring weed/sapling growing out between the house and deck. I resolved to settle the issue this time and got as far down to the base as I could where it was bark covered and about 0.33" thick. The Rift cut about halfway through with suprising ease and then got stuck on a knotty part where it had been pruned 1000 times in the past. In the course of coming at it from different angles to get through the knot, I finally forced it through - and drove the right side bevel on my shiny new knife right into the concrete foundation of the house. Having done that a few times with the $8 Mora, I felt a little less happy about doing it with the Rift. A pleasant surprise though - no chips or dings and you couldn't even see where it had hit the concrete in the existing grit pattern. Clearly, this 154CM steel is a little tougher than I am used to or I just got lucky. It was a nice surprise either way.

As for cutting, the Rift was great. It is even making me rethink having a super polished edge. So far, even without the high polish edge, this thing is cutting like a Mora. Better actually since at the end of the day, it is still cutting like a newly sharpened Mora.

May 4, 2013, 08:31 PM
That's neat BR that it cut so well. I hope mine comes from BM as sharp, not all have of my 2 knife BM collection. :)

I think this 950 has the same blade shape as my Bone Collector, if so I'm going to like tis knife a lot!

Bartholomew Roberts
May 5, 2013, 10:17 AM
Well, I threw it on the Wicked Edge. That funky blade design is not conducive to getting a normal position; but you can get a repeatable one. I kept the 15 degree bevel and started with 800 grit, then progressed to 1000/1200/1600/5 micron strop/3.5 micron strop. As it was already razor sharp, I didn't try to create a burr.

The end result after an hour of work? A blade that is a hair sharper than it was before but has a shinier edge (still deep scratches visible from factory edge). That 154CM is tough stuff, just like I remembered from my previous attempt.

Also after I polished it up, I found a tiny nick in the edge from the foundation incident. Small enough it wasn't visible to the naked eye; but you could see it with a 40x loupe.

May 5, 2013, 02:19 PM
You going to go back and polish out that nick?

Bartholomew Roberts
May 5, 2013, 07:31 PM
Naw.. It is small enough that it will polish out just by the effort of me trying to polish out the scratches in the bevel from the factory. Still a little weird getting used to it compared to the Groove. Wish Benchmade made flippers.

May 6, 2013, 05:48 PM (

Here is my new Rift in between the Bone Collector (top) and Griptilian, My Benchmade Collection! :)

First, the Bone Collector is huge compared to the Grip. The blade is wider on the BC and the handles are much bulkier, but I like big knives and was delighted with the BC.

The size of the Rift suprised me - I thought it'd be more the size of the Bone Collector but it's not, it's more the size of the Griptilian and really feels good in the hand. Like Mr. Roberts said it feels wierd without jimping on the scales/blade but that's not a big deal.

What's the other side look like you ask? :D ( (

The blade shape is similar but not the same as the BC. The BC is rounded on top coming down to the point where the Rift is straight with a swedge ground in that the BC doesn't have. Of course the Rift doesn't have the big hole in it either, it has thumbstuds. The cutting edge is almost identical for all the differences in the blades, and that I find interesting. It should be a great cutter!

The knife is beautiful! The charcoal/black G10 is awesome and has lots of grippyness. The handle is no smaller that the Griptilian's handle but "feels" smaller because it's flatter and the Grip has more roundness to the scales. It came pretty darn sharp but over the next day or two I might get it on the Wicked Edge and see how sharp I can get it.

Bartholomew Roberts
May 15, 2013, 01:36 PM
Did some touchup work on the Rift today. Not really necessary as it was holding an edge that was basically as good as the original I put on it after a week's worth of yard work, kitchen work and everything else. I really like the blade geometry and the steel.

I mostly just wanted to make the edge prettier :o As you can see, I still haven't gotten all the scratches out but I started at 1000 this time and followed the same 15 deg, 1000/1200/1600/5 micron/3.5 micron progression. Shiny!

May 15, 2013, 05:24 PM
Shiny is good. :D

Bartholomew Roberts
May 24, 2013, 08:47 PM
Just a quick note, it seems like the 15 degree angle on the Wicked Edge was only reaching the edge on the nose of the blade. As it got towards the hilt, there was a tiny, tiny line of the original edge. Not sure if that is the factory bevel being slightly off or just the odd angle I clamped it down with combined with the slight variation as the stones move. The bevel seemed extremely even and the failure to reach the edge was almost not visible to the naked eye, so I am thinking the latter. This is why it pays to raise a burr even when starting with a good edge.

In any case, I did a bevel at 17 deg with a 600/800/1000/1200/1600/5 mic/3.5 mic progression on top of the existing 15 deg bevel. This time I felt for a burr along the full length, which was apparent after 8-12 passes with the 600 stone. The results are impressive. Easily the sharpest edge I have done yet.

If you enjoyed reading about "Benchmade 950 Rift" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!