i decided to post about my thoughts on these two great knives I've seen others but wanted to throw in a few thoughts I had that may contrast against others, and frankly my hands are working so well i feel typing. still gonna skip alot of punctuation so sorry about that. one day i will be able to hit shift easier. its coming up on week three methotrexate and i think its workin! Intended uses Collector Blade
- Winner - almost a tie, slight edge to the Southard.
this one seems clear to most. the southard is a production version of knife maker wiz kid Brad Southard. after years of hanging around the denver spyderco facility, its no wonder Brad has released many great custom blades since his first full custom build back in only 2008! Brad presented the knife that would become the southard to spyderco, and the blade has become a fan favorite amongst Spydie-followers. So being based off a custom blade does indeed help in this area.
i do want to say that the axis 300 i found very collectable as well. there are also several version exclusive to certain retailers. I picked up the cabellas exclusive , which features the neat g10 scale coloration as well as a D2 blade instead of 154cm. one could pick up one of each and have a nice collection. i plan to just stick with this blade. EDC
- winner - clear choice and its the Brad Southard.
plain and simple the Southard is lighter, and fits into the pocket better. its also features a much more intuitive flipping mechanism more on that below.
there is no "winner" here, both knives are pricey. The benchmade is like basic BM design but with fancy scales. these scales could easily run 30-50$ so a price of 149-169$ is about right.
the Southard however is a bit nicer knife with but with an msrp of 499$ and a street price of ~235$ its expensive, but there is a reason - liscensing. Not only do you factor in that Brad Southard deserved a bite from each sale, but so Does Chris reeve as his lock is used. Fit and Finish
- IMHO another clear win for the southard
This is where my opinion may differ from other knife user and bloggers. For a pocket knife I have certain standards with regards to finish. the southard stone wash finish is done perfectly and there are no sharp edges on the blade.
The axis 300 finish is not what i would call a stone wash finish i believe it should have spent more time in machine. now this point of contention may be a failing in my knowlege of blade finish but i do not like to see any machine marks on a "stone wash" finish.
i have encountered folks that insist these marks are standard on many benchmade knives, and its true of some spyderco knives. These "grind lines" apparently do serve a purpose to some users, but for a pocket knife I like the southards more refined look and especially like the stone wash on the southards titanium side, very non reflective. country of origin
winner Benchmade Axis 300
No doubt the axis wins this one, USA all the way. while the southard is made at their Taiwan facility all the spydies coming out of there are phenominal. I have a great Deal of respect for both south korea and taiwan. Materials
slight edge to the Southard. i am not an expert so this will be a list
both knives feature pillar construction held together by screws with the southards concave pillars being nicer imho.
each blade features G10 scales with the axis sporting substantial stainless liners that have been milled for weight savings.
It should be noted that both these handles are pretty short even on my hands (i can wear med or large gloves usually)
Think of the Southard's handle as a Glock 19 Compact grip, and think of the BM Axis flipper's handle as a glock 26 SUB-Compact.
The southard features a thin leftliner with a thick g10 scale comparable to the paramiltary 2 in roughness and grip but not as fine. the other scale is solid titanium with a G10 insert that functions as an overtravel stop for the lockbar. the axis has a better clip design if you prefer deep carry. to me deep carry is great for edc but poor for a defensive blade.
The Southard features a sheepsfoot CTS-204p with a wicked deep hollow grind. the shape allows a stong tapered tip for strength yet still thin enough for detail: these powdered steels were pioneered by Spyderco decades ago. they said it took them a long time to learn to heat treat these steels, but when Carpenter jumped into the powdered steel game Spyderco worked with the metalurgists directly recieving samples and trading feedback. I am no steel expert but so i will simply parrot Spydercos comments that one great thing aboit these steels is the V carbides , its the Vanadium that makes these tough to heat treat and is why not all makers use them. some of spydercos blades are heated to and beyond 2000 Deg F...whew!
Benchmade , I am new to this brand as their most popular designs like the griptilluan did not catch my eye. D2 i know is a tool steel and is not a stainless steel so it can rust, but some call it semi stainless having great corrosion resistance. Locking Mechanism
winner - Tie
just a couple points
The Axis Lock is an excellent lock and has been proven to be stronger than the blade itself (see link below) it also is a great way to open and close the knife making the flipper redundant, but thats a good thing. everyone needs at least one axis lock or spydie ball bearing lock in case you have a busted thumb. i wont go into much more detail in the locks.
The southard features the Chris Reeve integral lock which is being used on many knives now. the southards has been improved by adding a g10 insert which prevents the user from damaging the mechanism by hyperextending the lock bar. the lock bar has nice lock up. there is a bit of a con here because the lockbar does not have a removable end piece like many high end knives employ to lower cost of lockbar replacement. the best example of this is on the lionsteel sr2, but the spyderco military Ti also has a steel insert. Flipper and detent
- Major Advantage to the Southard.
on you tube you will find many users perform somewhat feeble attemps at actuating the axis flipper. I believe they may be used to a ZT or the southards flipper which are functionally different than the benchmade flipper.
the axis flipper must be pull toward the user, not pushed into the frame. bm relies on friction created by jimping on the flipper so that a quick downward swipe down the flipper and frame firmly deploys the blade. sadly this design is reliant on a much weaker detent than i prefer. the axis 300 detent works well enough for safety but the blade is easily shaken out with proper wrist motion.
The southard flipper works so great because of the excellent detent[s]. The plural because im bit sure if there are two or if it is tripped twice. the user places the index finger on the silky smooth non jimped flipper and applys pressure. the detent is engineered such that the amount of force that overcomes the detent is great enought to deploy the blade with great gusto providing a satisfying "Snack" sound. the angle is also not as crucial as the axis nor is the speed of your flick since it works by building potential energy overcoming the detent.
Yet that is not all. the detent also works both ways and provides a much welcome safety feature whilst closing the blade. the user uses their thumb to disengage the lockbar just like on a plain liner lock knife, then the knife can be shaken or pushed toward close by the finger and a detent is engaged after about 10 deg of swing motion giving the user plenty of time to move your fingers out if the blade path. once again a good deal of force is required to overcome this detent, when tripped the blade slams home with a nice click.
so ya thats about all i can say about these two great blades, both have their charms and most of all both are fun to flick. again thanks for reading im gonna rest them try to come back and edit the mistakes i missed.
on the the photos!