Benchmade doesn’t make a lot of assisted folders and they’re generally not my cup of tea. Opening a knife with a flick of a flipper or thumb stud is plenty fast enough for me. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have their attraction for a lot of people and spending some time with the Benchmade Mini Barrage could make you a convert.
Benchmade makes a couple of versions of the Osborne design Model 585 Mini Barrage that gives you choices as to materials and colors. While both are assisted openers, the standard 585 model’s blade is 154CM and the scales are Valox a polymer that’s more heat resistant than the thermoplastics usually used in pistol grips.
The model I have, though is the 585-03 which uses higher-end materials. The blade is S30V and the scales are Richlite.
Richlite is kinda sorta similar to my favorite scale material Micarta, which is basically layers of linen embedded and compressed in resin. Richlite is similar, but instead of linen, it uses layers of paper or cellulose. It’s rigid, easily machined and feels great in the hand.
As you can see above, Benchmade’s machined a couple of textures into the Mini Barrage’s scales that give you a good, firm grip on the knife even when it’s wet.
If you look closely you can see the texture of the Richlite. This is the first knife I’ve had that uses it and it’s really impressive.
In addition to the black Richlite scales, Benchmade has added some FDE accents to give the Mini Barrage some pop. It has FDE thumbstuds and a textured spacer.
Just forward of that spacer is a sprung slide safety.
I’ve never been a fan of safeties on knives, whether they’re assisted openers or OTF designs. They’re usually badly placed and deploy when you don’t intend them to. That tends to make them more of a problem than a benefit.
Benchmade, however has designed a safety that eliminates those drawbacks completely. Located in the spine, the textured slide switch stays out of the way in regular use. Even better, you really have to want to engage it. You press down on the slide switch to move it, forward or rearward, turning the safety “on” or “off.”
I’ve left mine disengaged for months of carry and use and have forgotten it’s there. The 585-03 has never deployed when I didn’t want it to and I’ve never accidentally moved the safety switch. But if you feel better having a safety on an assisted folder, this is about as good a design as it gets.
As you can tell from the video, the Mini Barrage deploys pretty aggressively. That’s a good thing. On the other side of the coin it doesn’t deploy until you want it to. I’ve carried it for months now and it’s never opened unless I wanted it to.
The build quality if excellent. This is a substantial knife that carries well and feels very good in the hand. You can see above that the liner has been drilled to reduce the Mini Barrage’s weight for comfortable carry.
If you’re an assisted opener person, the Mini-Barrage is damn-near ideal. The higher-end 585-03 version of the Mini Barrage is a great combination excellent materials and great design in a package that’s ideal for comfortable everyday carry.
Open Length: 6.91”
Blade Length: 2.91”
Blade Thickness: 0.1”
Closed Length: 4”
Handle Thickness: 0.56”
Weight: 3.76 oz.
Deployment: AXIS Assist with integrated safety
Blade Style: Drop-Point
Handle Material: Richlite
Pocket Clip: Split Arrow
Blade Finish: Satin
MSRP: $300 (about $270 retail)