In the post-WWII period, the German company Heckler & Koch (HK) rose out of the ashes of the previously tremendously successful, but by then defunct Mauser firearm manufacturing company. Initially their products had nothing to do with firearms but, thanks to a large contract to manufacture the select fire G-3 rifle for the West German military, military weapons became their primary products. Their MP-5 became the most sought after and most widely distributed submachine gun of the post-WWII period. Today HK offers an extensive line of pistols, carbines, rifles, and submachine guns, all of which are full automatic or semiautomatic in operation. What could be more natural than automatic HK knives?
Rather than going into the cutlery manufacturing business, HK turned to Benchmade Knives to manufacture an extensive line of fixed-blade and folding knives with the HK brand name on them. Since Benchmade is one of this country’s top producers of automatic knives it is only natural that some of them should also be automatics.
The Auto AXIS Snody
A great example of this line-up is the HK Auto-AXIS Snody Model 14455. This knife is an amalgamation of a unique blade designed by custom knife maker Mike Snody and Benchmade’s superb Auto-Axis mechanism. Snody has a penchant for designing knives with Japanese styling. The blade on this does show a Japanese touch but with a uniquely modern flair.
The blade is 3.4 inches long, .15-inch thick, and made from 154CM high carbon stainless steel with a satin black finish. The blade has a classic Japanese-style sword point but also has a very modern thumb ramp on the blade’s back. The primary edge on this knife has a high flat grind with part of the edge straight and a bit over half of the edge concave shaped with serrations. I can’t recall ever evaluating a knife before that had a concave edge with serrations. In the limited amount of testing I did with this knife, I found that the serrations worked extremely well for cutting rope and other fibrous materials. However, when cutting something like rope against a flat surface the plain edge section of the knife must finish the cut because the concave serrated section cannot reach down to the flat surface. However, this never proved to be much of a handicap.
The handle of this knife is about 4.5 inches in length and is very comfortable in my medium-sized hand. The handle scales are black G10 with a satin finish and five scallop cuts for added traction and improved appearance. The handle also has a black-finished stainless steel pocket clip at the butt end. Both sides of the knife are drilled to accept the pocket clip. This brings up the point that this knife is totally ambidextrous once the pocket clip is mounted on the preferred side. The Auto-Axis sliding button is on both sides and the locking bar safety is located on the back of the knife. This is definitely a southpaw friendly knife.
Solid Locking Design
The sliding locking bar safety puts a solid steel block behind the Axis lock so that the blade, whether open or closed, cannot be moved when the bar is engaged. With sufficient practice, a person with good dexterity can learn to disengage the locking bar with his forefinger and pull back the Axis lock with his thumb in rapid succession. For the sake of speed, I prefer to carry the knife without the locking bar safety engaged because I found that it is almost impossible to get the knife to fire accidentally while it is in my pocket. However, I do engage the lock when the blade is out. All of the Benchmade Axis-lock folding knives are among the strongest folders on the market. With the added locking bar safety, they approach the strength of a fixed blade knife.
I have to admit that to my old-fashioned eyes the blade of the Snody Auto Axis is a bit exotic looking. Indeed, it would look right at home on Batman’s utility belt. Regardless, the blade is highly functional particularly in the weapon role. This is a superb tactical automatic. Whether you carry an HK automatic firearm or not, you can carry an HK automatic knife and be certain of its performance.
For more information contact Benchmade Knife Co., www.benchmade.com or call 800-800-7427.