Designed for duty by the Australian rancher Warren Osborne, the Benchmade 940 isn’t just a thing of beauty but a lifelong companion – as it’s 20+ year long reputation would have you know.
A faultless design for practicality, function and durability, achieved with the class and style that the 940 boasts, the Benchmade 940 has earned its place as an all time classic. Having built custom knives since 1980, that’s the edge that Warren Osborne brought to the table.
In this article we’re going to clear up some of the key distinctions and features that put the Benchmade 940 in a class of its own. But with its quality reflected in the price, what can we offer you as an alternative that may suit your exact requirements?
- Here’s the short version
- About the Iconic Benchmade 940
- Why look for a 940 alternative?
- 4 Best Benchmade 940 Alternatives
Here’s the short version
Here’s a quick summary of your options for a 940 alternative:
- Benchmade 940: An aesthetic, hard-wearing and bold knife. A knife for life. However, this is reflected in a higher price.
- Benchmade Bugout 535 EDC: Ultra lightweight EDC that has all the assurances of the Benchmade brand, but a lower price point.
- Kizer Begleiter Mini: Comes the closest of all the the Benchmade 940 with a similar blade & appearance. Lightweight, compact, affordable.
- Ontario Rat II: The largest choice, and a budget-friendly price. Ideal for tough tasks and larger hands, but with the same weight as the 940.
- Ka Bar Dozier: Best budget option. Tough blade with a comfortable handle. The perfect companion for long outings & heavy usage.
About the Iconic Benchmade 940
What sets the Benchmade 940 out from the rest, making it both eye-catching and a pleasure to use? Benchmade refer to as the ‘modified reverse tanto profile’. At a glance this knife is set apart from the rest with a form that is both beautiful and practical.
However, there’s a price to pay for quality that will last a lifetime! And if there’s anything to know about the Benchmade 940 that is that it was built to last – but it ain’t cheap!
The slick design makes it easy to use. With hard wearing, American made, CPM-S30V steel, the resilience of this corrosion-resistant blade may make it a little tougher to maintain, though of course – harder wearing. For these reasons the 940 can be a great first time buy as it will make a trust companion – but it’s available to those heavy users too!
This iconic Benchmade knife will work itself in handy to almost any need. With its slim profile, reversible pocket clip and lightweight design this knife is the ideal addition to any EDC collection. The anodized 6061-T6 aluminium handle offers a smooth and comfortable grip whilst minimizing excess weight and being hard wearing.
With the Benchmade signature axis locking mechanism, the 940 has a safe and secure blade hold, clicked firmly in place after a smooth pivot.
A solid 90 degree spine makes this knife solid in position and offers another practical edge on which you can shred up timber and strike a ferro. Again, this is a practical knife! It’s ideal for pretty much everything.
Benchmade 940 specs:
So we know what the alternatives have to compete with, here’s some basic specs & information for the 940 as a baseline.
Designer: Warren Osborne
Blade Steel: CPM-S30V (58-60 HRC)
Blade Length: 3.40” (8.64cm)
Blade Thickness: 0.115” (2.92mm)
Open Length: 7.87” (19.99cm)
Closed Length: 4.47” (11.35cm)
Handle Thickness: 0.41” (10.41mm)
Weight: 2.90oz. (82.21g)
Why look for a 940 alternative?
What are the downsides to the Benchmade 940? Well, very little!
There is, however, one obvious and unavoidable issue when it comes to the Benchmade 940 and that is the price. Quality costs! And for that reason the 940 is understandably outside of many peoples price range. Especially for beginners or first time buyers.
Besides the obvious, there is another notable flaw if it can even be labeled as such. That is that the green finish on the aluminum handle will scratch and age with time. This is a rather trivial ‘flaw’, but it’s worth noting. Personally, I think the aged effect looks cool!
Key features to look for:
Given the 940’s unique and flawless design, it’s going to be tough to replace. Here are some key features & critera that we’re looking for when seeking an alternative.
- Lock mechanism
- Approx. 20cm length
- Convenient to carry (pocket clip)
- Hard steel blade
- Quality/high resilience handle
4 Best Benchmade 940 Alternatives
With a tough competitor to beat, what can we find that compares to the Benchmade 940? Here’s 4 options to suit different needs and budgets.
1. Ka Bar Dozier – Best Budget Option
First up is the Ka Bar Dozier. Realistically, this is the lowest price you’ll get for a knife that is comparable with the Benchmade 940. And for the price it is a great contender!
Designed in America by Bob Dozier, this award winning knife packs a lot of power whilst making a few compromises that make the price more than reasonable.
Running at a similar open length to the Benchmade 940, this practical all-purpose knife is easy to grip with a well designed handle that minimizes hot spots whilst keeping a minimal profile.
The blade is made from quality AUS 8A – heat treated, stainless steel that offers a great edge whilst remaining easy to sharpen and maintain. For this reason, it makes an ideal knife for first time buyers or new found knife enthusiasts.
What are the compromises?
Well, whilst the blade steel is comparable to the 940, it is simply not of the same standard.
The handle on the Dozier is also less aesthetic and slightly less durable being made from plastic.
All said and done this is an excellent knife, well worth the price that is drastically less than the Benchmade 940 for all of its comparable features.
2. Ontario Rat II – Bigger & Lighter
Lighter weight yet bigger still than the 940, here we have the Ontario Rat ii. It boasts a little more size for all of you who are looking for something for big hands or tough jobs and it does this whilst still remaining lighter than the Ka Bar Dozier!
The open back design and thin blade makes this knife a treat to keep clean and sharp, placing it as another great choice for beginners. However, it’s certainly not limited to such!
Without stretching the budget out too far, this is an excellent choice for those who will take their knife a long way! Sporting smooth action and a minimal design, the Rat ii will be no hindrance to prolonged usage on a long trip out.
Bringing the price down, again, tends to make some manufacturing cuts. So what’s changed?
Like the Ka Bar Dozier, the Rat ii is made using AUS 8 stainless steel and a plastic (nylon 6) handle. Here’s where the bulk of the cost is cut.
This knife makes a great choice for those looking for something a little bigger whilst actually managing to shave weight off! All for a price that is still a fraction of the Benchmade 940.
3. Kizer Begleiter Mini – Similar Design
Stepping the game up a little still to a superb knife that brings style and resilience to the table, showing off a blade profile that is most similar to the iconic reverse tanto profile.
Lighter still than the other two knives reviewed so far but this time thanks to its compact size, the Kizer Begleiter Mini makes an easy fit to anyone’s pocket!
This excellent blade design and modest size make it a perfect tool for fine and precise work.
Made from N690 high end stainless steel, the blade is a high performer and will hold its edge well.
We also see an upgrade in the handle materials to Micarta. Micarta is the perfect material for the job, being resistant to solvents, grease, and other problem substances. Once more, it is easy to maintain a strong grip over the knife thanks to the properties of this material.
Whilst it is a little shorter than the Benchmade 940, perhaps this is what you’re looking for? With a change of materials, this knife manages to achieve a high quality status, all the while boasting the unique 940 profile.
The price is creeping up, but so is the production quality!
4. Benchmade Bugout 535 – Ultra Lightweight
A notable price difference but still a quality product from the same Benchmade quality brand. The final alternative I suggest is the Benchmade Bugout 535 EDC.
If you’re looking for the undeniable quality assurance of the Benchmade Brand but can’t quite scratch to the cost of the 940, then look no further.
The handle is made from semi-crystalline polyamides (that’s Grivory to you and I – a material for ‘metal replacement’) that makes it super resilient whilst keeping the weight to a bare minimum.
The same properties are resembled in the blade that is made from alloy steel – keeping it both tough and ultra light weight!
Just 1cm shorter than the 940 and with all of the quality reassurance that Benchmade can offer, this knife is directly comparable with some slight material and design alterations that place it into a more affordable bracket.
Going by its reputation and of the sheer number of years in the field, the Benchmade 940 is going to take some beating and that likely won’t come at a lower price.
However, that is not to detract from the astounding quality of some of the lower budget knives out there!
When it comes to putting a knife to good use, applying a little stress and having it by your side for the moment that it is needed, it’s not always practical to shoot for the top models. Often, we simply need a sturdy alternative that when all said and done, does everything that a knife should do! Sometimes it’s better to go without the stress of potentially losing a small fortune…
The knives that have been listed can all perform to a good standard and are all linked by some key features.
At the end of the day, there’s an option to suit every budget. Each time you go down in price you sacrifice some kind of quality, whether that be the steel type, the handle material, or the design. It’s up to you to decide what suits your preferences, and your wallet!