Despite the recent trend of slim and lightweight knives, there are still many users whose lifestyle necessitates an overbuilt workhorse. Benchmade is no stranger to the “tough as nails” mentality, with a history of designs that include the Presidio, Adamas, Rift, and Contego platforms. Incorporating some of the most durable materials on the market, tactical designs have come to epitomize rugged style, strength, and hard-use functionality. Because of the inherent durability, these knives have become particularly popular amongst the military, first responder, and law enforcement communities, but that’s not to say that they aren’t being carried by EDC enthusiasts and outdoorsmen on a daily basis.
This year we wanted to add to our line of tactical designs without stepping on the toes of popular current models, and the 980 Turret was our answer. Created for the tactical user as an intermediary step between the 950 Rift and the 275 Adamas, the new 980 is one of the strongest folders we’ve ever made. Like many tactical designs, the curb appeal of this knife isn’t intended to be flashy or attention-grabbing. The subtle OD color of the G10 handles is a versatile tone that blends into almost every environment, from the desert to the city. Partnered with a matte black deep carry clip, the 980 Turret is an easy knife to conceal within a pocket or pouch despite its larger profile.
One of the largest challenges we faced in designing the 980, was maintaining comfortable ergonomics in any grip position. In the past, we’ve designed knives that turned out to be overly aggressive in their texture, causing hotspots in the hand and against fabric. At first glance, the texture of the handles may seem a little rough, but once you’ve had the opportunity to put your hands on this knife, you’ll notice how comfortable and secure the grip truly is. Whether it’s a reverse grip, hammer grip, or just flat-out prolonged use in a traditional grip position, the 980 maintains in-hand comfort no matter the circumstance.
Digging in on the features that make this knife as strong as it is, we built the 980 around a pair of liners that extend throughout the entirety of the knife’s handle. While full liners will certainly add weight, the strength and rigidity they provide is unmatched. These liners serve as the chassis of the knife itself, making it incredibly difficult to flex or break the G10 handles under extreme conditions. On the opposing end of the knife, the CPM-S30V blade sports a high flat grind that is well suited for aggressive performance while combating the potential for corrosion like many common hard-use steels. The combination of a thick blade and wide-set G10 handles with full liners, ensures that the lock strength of this knife is a force to be reckoned with. There are only a couple models in Benchmade’s history that top the 980’s lock strength, and while we can’t divulge the specifics regarding this knife’s breaking point, we can assure you, it’s more than most of us will ever need.