Benchmade knives have a long and winding history that dates back to the 1980s when Les De Asis first incorporated as Bali-Song. The company began its production with a focus on balisong knives, or butterfly knives, and created its butterfly logo that remains its logo today.
Evolving its product lines to include both fixed blades and conventional folding knives, after seven years of business as Bali-Song, the company shifted its name to Pacific Cutlery Corp to reflect its new offerings. Unfortunately, Pacific Cutlery Corp’s growing pains and issues of quality control led to its dissolution.
In 1988, Les reintroduced the Model 68, the first knife that Bali-Song popularized, and began to emphasize the handmade quality of the company’s new products. With a new dedication to precision and quality, Les aimed to have new products hand-assembled at a workbench for their finish. And so Benchmade was born.
The next few years saw the operation relocate to Oregon and eventually move into an expansive shop of nearly 150,000 sq. ft. Since moving the company in the mid-1990s, Benchmade continues to make products that reflect the original M.O. of the Benchmade brand and remains the world leader in automatic knife manufacturing.
Benchmade Infidel Specifications
This development brings us to the Benchmade Infidel, an out-the-front automatic blade that the company created to fill a void in the small out-the-front knife market. It has since become one of the best selling out-the-front automatic blades. Designed for knife enthusiasts, the Benchmade Infidel also found popularity with law enforcement and military personnel.
A reasonably large knife, the Benchmade Infidel serves as a tool for self-defense by many carriers. The D2 Tool Steel Double Edge Dagger style blade checks in at 3.91” and has a hardness of 60-62HRC. When closed, the knife is around 5” in length, making the full open length of the knife just under 9”.
The high-quality materials used to make the Benchmade Infidel are just a few reasons why this knife became popular. With its matte satin finish and flat grind, this double edge spear pointed blade looks just as good as it feels. Though the D2 high carbon steel used in its construction isn’t fully stainless steel, the blade is still very tough and efficiently retains its sharpness for long periods.
Its handle consists of Anodized 6061 T-6 Aluminum. Due to the blade’s hardness, when it eventually begins to dull on its edges, sharpening the knife may prove difficult for those without experience. However, no matter who uses the blade, the ergonomic handle gives you a firm yet comfortable grip, even during long tasks. The ergonomic mirrored design of the handle makes it symmetrical on both sides, allowing ease of use with either hand.
Those who use the Benchmade Infidel will appreciate the flared knife ends that prevent the knife from slipping from your hand during use. The handle also includes a pocket clip, which allows for tip-down right-hand carry. The deep clip allows for a bit more concealment, too.
The lock for the blade on the Benchmade Infidel is a double-action out-the-front lock. The locking mechanism can engage from the rear of the knife, where the switch is also located. The locking mechanism’s rear location makes it easy for both right-handed and left-handed knife users to engage.
While the locking mechanism might feel a bit loose to some users, it is sturdy and secures the blade while it is in use. The blade’s retraction system is also useful and only requires pulling the trigger back to retract the blade back into the handle.
Benchmade Infidel Variations
While the Benchmade Infidel has a lot to offer to many different kinds of knife enthusiasts, the company created a few popular knife variations to further widen its audience. Most of these variations gave customers more options for a product that they already know and love.
The first two variations of the Benchmade Infidel are changes to the blade itself while keeping the model number 3300 for this OTF knife. The changes to the Standard 3300 include the options for either a partially serrated blade or a black-coated BK1 tactical blade.
The Infidel is also available as model number 3310, and the only variance here from the standard design is the change from a dual-edge to a single-edge. While some may view this as a reduction in function, others may consider a blade with only one edge to be a bit safer.
A mini edition of the Infidel entered the market as well, and the Mini-Infidel 3350 reduces the standard Infidel’s blade by nearly an inch, shortening it from 3.9” to 3.1”. A limited-edition “Gold Class” version of the Infidel made its way into production and changed the blade from D2 Tool steel to Damascus steel.
The Benchmade Infidel is also available as a fixed-blade version and a new 10th Anniversary Edition, promoting the semi-stainless steel blade to full stainless steel, making sharpening the knife much more manageable.
Benchmade Infidel Features
The high-quality build of the Benchmade Infidel 3300 isn’t the only attribute that draws knife enthusiasts to the blade. While the blade’s construction with tight tolerances and high-end materials might be appealing enough for some, the other features of this knife make it perfect for anyone searching for an OTF blade.
Benchmade gives purchasers of this knife a couple of different options for carrying it. The knife comes from the factory with a pocket clip on its back for deep pocket carry. Benchmade also includes a MOLLE-compatible sheath in the box for those who prefer to carry their blades sheathed.
The Benchmade Infidel also has a cleaning port on the base of the handle. This port makes cleaning the knife an easy and simple process that only takes a short amount of time to complete. Additionally, you can add lubricant through the cleaning port.
The handle’s texture is also very slight, making the Infidel great for pocket-carry, as there are no additional textures to rub and snag against your clothing during the day if the Infidel makes it into your EDC rotation.
Benchmade Infidel Performance
Benchmade customers will immediately recognize the brand’s quality once they hold the Infidel in their hands. Along with that recognition also comes the performance that enthusiasts familiar with the company have come to expect. The knife comes with an incredibly sharp edge right out of the box and will remain that way for the foreseeable future.
Using the knife is enjoyable as well. The ergonomic handle and flared grip strike the perfect balance between comfort and usability, ensuring that the Benchmade Infidel is up to any task. The knife’s design also includes notches in the front deployment slot to prevent the blade from rubbing against the handle if it slides to either side as the blade deploys.
For knife enthusiasts, a large part of a knife’s performance is how quickly and securely the blade can deploy. When engaged, the Infidel’s blade has a three-point securing system that retains the blade’s position during use with very little play. The strong, reliable springs used in the knife’s construction allow for a very low deployment failure rate.
However, no knife is perfect, and the Infidel is no exception. While most performance factors for this knife are outstanding, some users may have a few gripes when it comes to the particulars. Let’s see what the principal praises and common complaints are for the Benchmade Infidel.
Before we dive into the complaints that some people may have about Benchmade’s Infidel model of out-the-front- knife, we’ll take a closer look at some of the features and benefits of this model that enthusiasts are sure to enjoy.
- Out of the box, the Infidel has a razor-sharp edge that won’t need sharpening for quite a long time.
- The mirrored grip offers comfort in use for both left-handed and right-handed people.
- The aluminum handle provides a sturdy feeling while remaining exceptionally lightweight.
- Those looking for additional performance can order the knife with a partially serrated edge.
- A sturdy lock ensures your safety when using the knife, and little blade play when the blade is out reinforces this feeling of security.
- The double-edged blade of the standard-issue Benchmade Infidel makes the knife excellent for use as a self-defense weapon.
- The included sheath and pocket clip allow for versatility when carrying the Infidel.
While we don’t think there are many complaints that people will have about this knife, we’ll address a few of our own for the sake of honesty in this review. Though we believe the knife’s positive aspects far outway the negatives, every enthusiast has different tastes when it comes to knife performance.
- The steel of the Benchmade Infidel’s blade is difficult to sharpen, requiring much patience. It may prove to be frustrating for those who are unfamiliar with the blade sharpening process.
- The blade’s dagger point design means that the tip is weaker than the rest of the blade and is prone to breaking when encountering durable targets.
- While the grip on the handle is symmetrical, the pocket clip is not reversible. This lack of versatility makes it difficult to recommend the knife to left-handed people who like to carry their knife in their pocket, even though the grip is versatile and accommodating.
- The pocket clip is also not adjustable and only allows for tip-down carry.
- If you live in a cooler environment, the aluminum handle will feel cold and might be uncomfortable to use at times.
Anyone in the market for a high-quality, out-the-front knife should give the Benchmade Infidel some serious consideration. Though the knife isn’t perfect, Benchmade took every precaution to ensure that the final product was as close to perfect as possible. There is a reason that the model still enjoys success ten years after its introduction to the market.
The rapid deployment of the OTF design and the sturdiness of its construction makes the Benchmade Infidel one of the top choices for law enforcement officers as well as military and emergency response personnel. Despite its few shortcomings, most knife enthusiasts will enjoy owning and using this model.
- The anodized aluminum handle is available in different colors of finish.
- The mirrored handle makes gripping and using the knife very comfortable.
- Strong springs included in the blade make for reliable and rapid deployment and retraction.
- The aluminum material used for the handle is sturdy while remaining lightweight.
- The three-way retention system prevents much blade play when the blade is out.
- A sharp blade right out of the box retains its edge even after many uses.
- Variations in the model offer Benchmade customers options when considering the Infidel for their collection.
- Reliable locking mechanisms and triggers prevent the knife from deploying while in your pocket.
- The target audience of the out-the-front style of knives is typically law enforcement officers, medical response workers, or military personnel. Due to state restrictions that consider these knives as both “switchblades” and “daggers,” some collectors may not be able to carry or own this model.
- People with little experience with knife sharpening might become frustrated when sharpening the Benchmade Infidel due to the heavy-duty steel used for the blade.
- The knife costs around $400, depending on the retailer, which could place it out of reach for many enthusiasts.
- Despite the mirrored grip of the handle that accommodates left-handed people, the pocket clip of the knife is not reversible.
- The pocket clip cannot rotate, either, and only allows for tip-down, right-handed carry.
While the Benchmade Infidel may not make its way into many enthusiasts’ pockets for their everyday carry, the quality of construction and top-notch performance make it perfect for collectors. However, even collectors should be wary when purchasing “switchblade” or “dagger” style knives. Always check local, state, and federal laws regarding knife possession when considering purchasing any new blade for your personal collection.