Things That Don’t Suck: Benchmade 945 Mini Osborne Folding Knife

Previous Post
Next Post

Benchmade 945 Mini Osborne

Benchmade’s 940 Osborne design and a few variants have been among the Oregon knife maker’s most popular designs for the last 20 years. If there’s an EDC knife hall of fame, the 940 with its distinctive “reverse tanto” blade design would have a prominent place near the front of the display. It’s a true classic and many consider it the best Benchmade design of all time.

For some reason, though, the 940 — and a couple of its upgraded variants — never really floated my boat. With its 3.4-inch S30V blade, it always looked a little long and gangly, at least to my jaundiced eye. And it’s never been inexpensive. I just didn’t want to lay out that kind of money for an EDC knife I wasn’t thrilled about.

But that’s me and Benchmade has sold thousands of these over the years to people who aren’t me…knives that have made their owners very happy. Now, during this 20th anniversary year for the 940, Benchmade has dropped a new take on the Warren Osborne design…the 945 Mini Osborne.

Benchmade 945 Mini Osborne

Or, to be more accurate, the 945BK-1. What’s the difference between the original and the smaller version?

The Mini-Osborne is a scaled down size that, for many of us, now makes it the perfect size for an EDC blade. The original 940 Osborne has a 3.4-inch blade and a 7.9-inch overall length when open. That’s a good size knife.

The new smaller 945 shaves more than an inch off that overall measurement at 6¾ inches. And the 945’s blade gets in under the magic 3-inch limit at 2.92 inches. That makes it legal just about everywhere.

Benchmade 945 Mini Osborne

The 945 is small, non-threatening and very pocketable. But it’s still just big enough to be a four-finger knife when opened…as long as you don’t have big paws.

Benchmade 945 Mini Osborne
My butterfly knives: Benchmade Proper (top), Benchmade Mini Griptilian (center) Benchmade 945 Osborne (bottom)

The new Mini Osborne is sized right in the sweet spot most people look for in an everyday carry folding knife. Here you see it alongside two other Benchmade classics, the Proper gentleman’s folder and the uber-popular Mini Griptilian.

Benchmade 945 Mini Osborne
Benchmade Proper (top), Benchmade Mini Griptilian (center) Benchmade 940 Osborne (bottom)

The 945 Mini Osborne is virtually identical in open and closed length to its Benchmade brethren.

Benchmade 945 Mini Osborne

The 945’s blade design is the same as its popular bigger brother. Benchmade calls it a reverse tanto, but it’s really more like an angled sheepsfoot with a reasonable belly and plenty of slicing length.

Benchmade 945 Mini Osborne

As for blade steel, Benchmade has chosen S30V for the Mini Osborne, the same steel that’s on the original, larger 940. S30V has become the base steel for most of Benchmade’s (relatively) lower priced knives.

Some will complain about that choice. While S30V is a good steel, many will expect a higher grade on a knife that runs you about $175 retail.

That’s a fair point. S30V is certainly a very good steel, but there are better these days that are available at prices that aren’t significantly higher. You could definitely argue that a $175 EDC knife should at least have a steel like S90V or Elmax and it would be hard to argue with you. The fact is, though, the only people who will really have an issue with S30V on the Mini Osborne are dedicated knife knuts.

In reality, S30V will more than meet the needs and uses of 95-plus percent of the people who will buy and carry the 945. It takes an edge easily enough, holds it reasonably well and is more than sufficiently corrosion resistant. My Proper has S30V and Benchmade has since upgraded the Mini Griptilian to S30V as well (although my Mini G is old enough to have 154CM).

Benchmade 945 Mini Osborne

The 945’s grip has the same now-classic sculpted shape as its bigger brother. But instead of anodized aluminum like the original 940, the Mini Osborne’s scales are made of a beautifully finished G10 that’s comfortable in the hand and doesn’t slip. Including it here was a very good choice by Benchmade.

Benchmade 945 Mini Osborne

While I prefer a deep carry clip, the Mini Osborne’s clip keeps the knife reasonably discreet in your pocket. The clip on the Mini Osborne is unusually stiff…almost as stiff as a sculpted pocket clip. It has loosened slightly with a few weeks of use, but not much. You’ll never have to worry about your 945 working its way free and losing it.

Benchmade 945 Mini Osborne

Another nice touch on the Mini Osborne are the accents. The 945 has attractive Benchmade blue liners and anodized aluminum standoffs that give the knife a distinctive, upgraded look.

Benchmade 945 Mini Osborne

As for fit and finish, the 945 Mini Osborne was darn-near perfect right out of the box. There was zero blade play or slop and the blade is dead center between the scales when closed. The edges and joins are smooth and precise. The grind is clean and even and for you fidgeters, the action opens and closes effortlessly with a wonderful smoothness.

The only thing that made it darn-near perfect was the sharpness. The blade arrived sharp, just not razor sharp as you’d expect in a knife at this price point. A few passes on a ceramic steel was all it took to impart an arm-shaving edge.

But that’s a nitpick. Benchmade was rightly criticized in years past for the QC on some of the knives leaving their Oregon factory. Thankfully, those days seem to be long gone.

Overall the 945 Mini Osborne is an astonishingly good everyday carry knife. It’s amazing the improvement in overall appeal a simple reduction of 11-12% in size can make. Some won’t see the big deal in merely scaling the Osborne down from its full-size version, but it turned the venerable Osborne design from meh to marvelous, at least for me. It’s pushed all of my other daily carry choices back into the knife cabinet.

Benchmade 945 Mini Osborne

The American-made 945 Mini Osborne isn’t inexpensive by any means. Lots of readers will wonder why anyone would spend three digits (let alone more than $40) on an EDC knife. Fortunately for Benchmade and a lot of other knife makers, there are plenty of us out here who are appreciative (insane?) enough about our knives and a good design to want to lay out that kind of money for a great daily carry blade.

The fact is, Benchmade has yet another real winner on its hands here. Yes, it’s “just” a smaller version of another classic, but one that will appeal to an even larger number of knife buyers. If you want a Benchmade, but can’t or won’t lay out $175, the Mini Griptilian and the newer Mini Bugout are excellent options at about $50-$60 less. But as great as those knives are, you’ll be missing something if you bypass the Mini Osborne. This is truly one of the best EDC knives on the market.

Specifications: Benchmade 945BK-1 Mini Osborne Knife

Blade Length: 2.92 inches
Blade Thickness: 0.104 inches
Length Open: 6.76 inches
Length Closed: 3.84 inches
Weight: 2.19 oz
Handle Thickness: 0.41 inches
MSRP: $205 (about $175 retail)

Previous Post
Next Post


        • Yeah, that tends to come up. ‘City government insists on destroying guns. They’re not going to change their minds; SOME company is going to do it. The city’s money is green, it spends, it helps the bottom line, and it keeps American citizens employed. So, why not Benchmade?”

          I was so upset over this that I only bought one new Benchmade knife this year.

          Contrast that to the number of AOBC revolvers (they’re made in Massachusetts, a Communist country, and are stamped ‘Smith & Wesson’ but aren’t really nowadays) that I have bought, which is zero, because after some 20 years AOBC (‘S&W’) STILL pokes holes in the frames of their revolvers for a Clinton-Era key lock.

          Oddly, I’m told that I should forgive S&W, that continues to ‘sin’ against us after all these years, and shouldn’t forgive Benchmade, who only committed a venial sin ONCE.


        • two things: i won’t buy hillary’s hole either. and, the 945 just showed up this morning on evilbaby for 149, brand new, more than ten available…

    • Yep. The donations are the real killer for me.

      Destroying guns for a lefty city, that’s despicable, but they could recover from that…

      Outright donating *vast* sums of money to the Democrats, and *only* the Democrats is an unforgivable sin, worthy of our eternal hatred. That is far worse then what most gun companies have done that we routinely bicker about. They’re up there with Springfield.

  1. Due to their recent actions I have been reluctant to buy more benchmades, but I have a small collection of them and have been pleased with them overall. I favor larger knives, the bigger the better for me, so I carry its original big brother, the 940 with the classic green anodizing and purple spacers. Its the smoothest axis lock I have, and feels like its on bearings as it flips back and forth. I usually carry a push button CLA auto now these days though. Carried an Infidel for years but have switched to Microtechs for OTF’s and switch between a pair of them for everyday carry. Benchmades otf’s are nice, but the Microtechs seem much nicer for less overall.

  2. I like carrying a knife that’s cheap enough I don’t mind if I lose it or break it. I like carrying a firearm that I won’t lose any sleep over if it goes into evidence and I never get it back. Same goes with clothes, vehicles, etc.

    But I ain’t mad at you if you want something nicer than the junk I use and you can afford it.

      • “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.”

        Marsupial One, for *years* the only computers I had were ones no one else wanted. I called the steel box behind the computer store “The Used Computer Store”, and raided it regularly for upgrades.

        And lets just say what I found on more than a few tossed hard drives raised an eyebrow or two, and I’m *far* from being a prude… 🙂

  3. On a folding knife I prefer a 3 inch or smaller blade. For some uses I even prefer a fixed blade knife with a shorter blade. Probably why I own a whole drawer full of knives. One size rarely fits all.

  4. i’ve been pleased with the benchmades i own, and will probably buy more in the future. american company and made here, rather than in china like Most of the rest that are remotely affordable. i’ve found their customer service to be prompt and excellent. those count more than ideological purity to me.

  5. I’ve been very disappointed with S30v for a blade. It just doesn’t hold up to the abuse I heap upon blades.
    I do like the shape of that blade. And I like the size of its older, big brother.

    • you’ve mentioned that. keep in mind that when these makers upgrade their blade steels they seldom reprofile the edge angle.
      see if getting your old s30 to near 20deg doesn’t help. the steel is up to it, and will perform differently. a coarse stone will wear quickly at this task; i would suggest diamond (dmt works). takes an hour, depending.

      • I’ve grown a bit particular on blade steel over the years.
        Long ago, I worked with Al Mar when he was alive.
        I worked at William Henry knives for over 5 years. One of my duties was customer repairs. The last thing to do was put an edge on the blade. Start with 360 grit, then 1,500, then a leather wheel to polish the edge.
        I just don’t have those tools in the field, so I rely on edge holding ability.
        If it won’t hold up, I don’t carry it.

        • Tom in Oregon,

          I have a serious question since I have no significant knowledge with respect to knives: what field activities will substantially dull a far less expensive knife that will not also substantially dull these super expensive knives? For example, I have an inexpensive folding knife that I use to field dress deer, including cutting down to the bone at the pelvis and cutting through the cartilage where the rib cage meets the sternum. I finished dressing three deer in one night and my knife blade still felt razor sharp. Why would I buy a knife that costs 12 times more?

          To be a little bit more explicit, my concern is that the field activities which dull less expensive knives (but not expensive knives) are field activities that very few people ever perform and therefore those expensive knives are a waste of money for most people. Think of it like someone saying that a rifle platform (including scope/mounts, suppressor, and range finder) which costs less than $4000 is junk — which is true if you want to put accurate shots into an 8-inch target every time on the first shot at 1,400 yards. For those of us who will only shoot targets at 100 yards and closer, that $4000 rifle is totally unnecessary and a cheap $300 rifle-and-scope combination will excel at the task.

          Personal note: I like sharpening knives and like to think that I am pretty good at it. If I have to touch up a cheap knife once a year (or after a once-in-a-lifetime abusive event), I am totally okay with that.

        • Please don’t get me wrong. An inexpensive knife will often do what an expensive knife won’t do. And keep doing it.
          I’ve got a couple of filet knives that I have only touched up after a few years of service.
          I use my edc to cut a lot of cardboard since the utility knives seem to disappear when I need them. So I sharpen it about once per month. (Did it last night).
          When camping/hunting, I use it to cut rope, zip ties, small branches, gut/skin/quarter up deer, elk, and other game. Collect mushrooms, prep dinner, etc…
          So, because it’s easy to grab, I use it for things I should probably use other knives for.
          That’s where the abuse comes from. A Buck 110 will outlast my edc’s Damascus stainless blade, a William Henry Psychedelic. But for me, the weight difference is worth the extra effort to maintain the edge.
          I’ve got an app on my phone that can tell me what the makeup is of an S30VN blade is. Or D2 tool steel, or?
          I’m making a few fixed blade knives now and I’m putting a rounded edge to them, similar to how a katana is sharpened. It’s supposed to hold an edge better. I did it to a spyderco of mine and it holds up really well.

        • psyche currently on evilbay asking 2100.
          handle looks all moku ti, ~damascus~ blade is gorgeous.
          i’d be careful where i picked my teeth wit that.

        • convex edge is a result of belt finishing? i’ve got a 10v kitchen knife like that; only ever strop, insane edge.

    • I gave up on s30v a while ago. CPM 20CV is where it’s at. Or, S35VN, but I can’t comment because I have never owned one. All I know is that S20V is too soft and every blade I ever had in S20V the tip has broke off. I currently carry a ZT 0357BW and I love it. Not one issue ever. I made the jump from a spyderco fanboy in the para series having multiple variants, and it was hard to get used to the inner locking mechanism on ZT, but well worth it. And, it was the same price as the para series knives. There are some Kershaw variants that I believe use CPM 20CV for around $90, maybe a little cheaper.

  6. i’ve a couple that are too big as folders. manix2, for starters.
    the 940 is large for what i need in a folder. i gots fixed for big. the 945 is at 159 new online (a few fleabay vendors). been lookin’ for some weeks. i’ll get one.
    gerber’s fastball is 99 all day, i do recommend it, great flipper.

    • @tsbhoa.p.jr…….was looking at the Gerber FB (GB-KN-FBFK1-30-001612) just the other day it’s $75.99 on Optics Planet now, not a bad price…..I love old knives too, really old 1800’s, have several passed down to me from my great great grandfathers, great great and great uncles, grandfather’s both sides, uncles dads brothers and my dad’s knives that go way back in time also, fixed & fold. My dad was one of 14 children, 8 boys, 6 girls, “knives a family thing I guess.” I was just in my office last week with my wife going over all my knife collections and printed info, everyone tagged along with notes who originally had them, dates, types, makers marks, and values. I have them all in wooden boxes including a few German military WW2 knives. I wanted my wife to know the significance of them all should anything ever happen to me. Out of all the knives I have that’s the most special to me (not nearly the oldest or real valuable) and is still in incredible shape and “very sharp” for what what it went through and abuse is took, is a double blade pocket knife; Case TESTED XX, 3-1/4″ California Clip blade, black bone handle jigging pattern Pine Bark that my father got out in the west (Montana) when in the 3-CCC’s (Civilian Conservation Corps) in mid 1930’s, and then continued to carry it in the Army through WW2 jumping into Normandy on D-Day with the the 101st Airborne and after discharge in November 45. I know exactly when he gave me this knife, as a kid we just moved from one side of town to the other, he was standing in the living room 7-12-55 with his brother who was helping us move in and he pulled it out of his pocket looked down at me….. put in my pocket and said don’t lose it, I just turned 8 was going be in 3rd grade at a new school coming after summer. I carried it from then on and through 3 tours in Vietnam along with a few other knives, one an Original Bowie Knife 171 which I still have…..if your knives in your pockets and sheaths could talk!

      • holy crap bra, you gots some heirloomz!
        gerber is righting their sinking ship. they tuned the detent on the fastball to near perfection. flippy heaven, no spring assist. bearing pivot.
        u.s. made. great wharny.
        kershaw dividend can be found in 390, but you’ll eventually have to deal with that assist spring.

  7. I’ve owned a few Benchmades over the years. The one I’ve owned longest and used the most (still do) is a well worn Emerson CQB. Cut seat belts with it to extract victims and split lightered at the camp to start fires. Don’t know anything about the anti-gun thing, but I like Benchmade.

      • Central, thanks. I do vaguely remember that. Destroying per court order is unavoidable. We used a local lumber mill (very large) to melt them down. Should people quit building houses? On the other hand I always enjoyed returning a firearm to the owner. And talking guns with them. More disturbing was the political contributions. That’s unforgivable.

        • unavoidable? Court order? No. They could have said no. “supporting police” by destroying firearms was an excuse. Of course, it’s Oregon, so no wonder… They won’t resell them, they’ll just waste them along with your tax dollars. It would be an easy way for a PD to make some extra cash instead of doing other tyrant things.

        • “We used a local lumber mill (very large) to melt them down. Should people quit building houses?”

          Florida does that? Sounds like something to work on. It’s far more responsible to the taxpayer if valuable things like that are sold to an FFL for resale…

        • Geoff, I agree. I urged the Sheriff to do exactly that. More than once. Even had everything set up with a distributor in Jacksonville. But then the lawyers got involved. Scared him with talk of liability and lawsuits.

        • In Houston in the 1960’s the police officer who ran the inventory room for HPD quit his job… and a few weeks later he opened a BIG gun shop. On day one they were fully stocked. Miraculous!

    • “split lightered” ? I’ve not heard that expression. If it’s what I’m thinking, it’s what most of us call kindling back here., crayfish, crawfish, crawdads, mudbugs, all taste good to me

      • Possum, lightered is pine that has undergone a chemical change. It burns like gasoline. So yeah, kindling. It has many other uses also. There was a “chemical plant” outside the (very) small town I grew up in. They processed lightered stumps there. There were always Hercules Powder rail cars sitting on the siding that serviced the plant. About an hour and a half away Buckeye Cellulose had a plant. Cellulose is also used to manufacture gunpowder. Winchester/Olin has a big plant in St. Marks. Wherever you find forrest products (and we have lots) you find gunpowder. Florida is not all beaches and theme parks.

  8. So far my Shrade 1501 Old Timer gets the job done, razor sharp is easy, clean ups a breeze. I still think I might buy a Benchmade tho because Oregon is going to need all the help it can get. Buy American keep America strong. BTW I busted all my Chinese made pieces of shit.

    • “Buy American keep America strong. BTW I busted all my Chinese made pieces of shit.”

      About 7 years back, I lost another Spyderco Endura. Pissed me off fierce. About the 4th Spyderco I’ve lost over the last 25 years or so, including 2 of the Harpy model.

      A few days later, I was in WalMart and saw a pocket knife they were selling for 1 dollar. One lousy buck, shit lockback folder.

      I bought 3 of them. I just looked in the drawer, I still have all 3. Haven’t lost one yet…

      • Well I didn’t bustem on a virtue signal, they broke during use. The last one was a Ducks Unlimited give away, the lock back broke and I just about cut my fingers off. I thought ” Yup a chinese plan to cut my trigger finger off.”

    • I’ve got two of those, Buck ain’t making them like they used to though, the old ones are better. I have a hell of a time getting Buck knives sharp.

      • There are better quality knives for sure but this is a great EDC. I don’t consider myself easy on most of them but I only have to go about a dozen strokes on the sharpener once every 3-4 months or so. Then a wipe down with alcohol and a few drops of oil.

  9. This may sound like sacrilege: I carry a similar (design and length) although far less expensive knife that I purchased at a big box store for about $13. It was extremely sharp out of the package, butter smooth without any slop/play, and has held its edge for over a year without any significant dulling. (I was particularly abusive with it recently and decided to touch up the tip on a diamond stone: 5 minutes later it is crazy sharp again.)

    Why would anyone spend $175 on a 3-inch folding knife when they can purchase 12 knives that have essentially the same design and seem to hold up well enough? Saying it another way, is that $175 knife really going to outlast 12 inexpensive knives? (I seriously doubt it.) And, as others here mentioned, losing a $175 knife would suck big time, whereas losing a $14 knife isn’t a big deal. I don’t get it.

    • It’s like spending $1000 on a given firearm when you can get a similar low-quality one for $200. Think H&K vs Hi-point, Winchester 70 vs Savage Axis, etc.

      You could look at tires the same way, there is a measurable difference in performance be it mileage, grip, longevity, durability. You could argue that the cheapest tire is best due to the off chance that you run over a nail.

      There is nothing wrong with cheap knives, but there is a difference in the quality and user experience. Kind of like a lot of us would do just fine with a Hi-point, doesn’t mean that we would want to.

      Most people are more careful about not losing an expensive knife than they are with a cheap one. Some people carry expensive pens for the same reason.

      At the end of the day, I wouldn’t judge anyone for the knife they carry, but I might judge them if they don’t carry one at all.

    • Uncommon, maybe it’s just me but the more I spend on something the better I tend to keep up with it.

    • something sharp.
      show me the u.s. made 14bucker. matters to me.
      plenty of leeks and skylines for under forty.
      mentioning the wobble and play in your knives (could there not be?) may cause you to begin to notice it. cheap knives last forever around here. they don’t get used.

      because a well made knife is a joy. life/ folding box cutter/ unactualized.

  10. Benchmade?

    Hard pass. Any company who would support a PD destroying firearms instead of auctioning them off is not okay with me.

    It’s Oregon anyways… Bet they wish they would have seized the opportunity to sell arms to “law abiding folks who support the thin blue line” instead of cutting them up now. Maybe they’d have some extra support? Lol… How soon people forget. Then again, the bootlicking on these forums is a REAL problem. Pretty soon, that same PD will be giving Benchmade YOUR rifles.

  11. F**k benchmade, and f**k TTAG for endorsing one of their products!

    I will not forgive, and I will not forget! You bunch of fudd sellouts!

  12. Smart and patriotic people don’t patronize anti 2A companies like BitchMade. Smart and patriotic people stop reading blogs that cater to anti 2A companies like BitchMade.

    • It’s not like Benchmade went out and scarfed the gunms from you, they just got paid by the cops to destroy them. I put the blame on the cops, they should have sold those gunms at an auction.And who knows, Benchmade may have made knives out of them?

  13. How many melted firearm frames are used in their blade steel?

    I think Benchmade knives are of exceedingly high quality and well designed, but similar to Springfield Armory and Rock River Arms, they will not be getting a penny from me until they issue a public apology for actively fighting against my god given rights, terminate their relationship with the managers involved, and tally up their donations to anti-freedom organizations and Democrats (but I repeat myself), double it and donate the sum to GOA and SAF.

    I find it amusing that the very site that broke the story on how Benchmade betrayed their customers is now featuring thinly-veiled marketing materials for them.

    • “If you’re not carrying a knife, you might as well be wearing a skirt.” ***** The Duke, John Wayne

  14. Reverse tanto point….? WOW…..
    looks like a drop point but…..
    WOW! cuz fancy words and stuff

    likely costs more too

Comments are closed.