The Benchmade 975S is a folding combat knife designed by Ernest Emerson. The original Emerson CQC6 knife is in use by the Navy SEALs and other elite military forces around the world.
It has a Tanto style chisel point blade. This provides a blade that is very thick almost the full length. The blade has a 50/50 combination of standard edge and serrated edge. It is made of AST-34 stainless steel. It is very hard and is VERY sharp. I have never owned a knife that was as sharp as this. It also holds the edge very well. That is one of the properties that makes the AST-34 such a good blade material. The blade is 3.950 inches long and is 1/8 of an inch thick. The overall length of the opened knife is 9.125 inches.
There is a small round disk that is mounted to the back of the blade. It is used to open the knife with the thumb. This provides a very easy method of one handed opening. The blade opens a little stiff when the knife is new. It will break in very nicely though. After the knife breaks in and becomes smoother, it opens very nicely. It is one of the smoothest operating knives I have had the pleasure of handling.
This knife is of the liner lock design. The left side of the Titanium liner has a section that springs inward when the blade is opened. This holds the blade open and is very secure. It is much better than a lockback knife that the lock can accidentally be unlocked while in use. The liner lock is de-activated by pressing it out of the way with the thumb.
The handles are made of G-10. G-10 is a laminated material made of epoxy impregnated woven glass. It provides a slip proof surface. It is tuff and lightweight. There is a pocket clip mounted on the right side of the knife. With the knife clipped to the inside of the pocket, it is very quick to access.
The only problem with this knife is that the AST-34 stainless steel does not provide the amount of corrosion resistance that other grades of stainless steel provide. It will rust or stain if it is not properly maintained. Benchmade makes the 975SBT, which has the blade coated with W. E. Birdsong's Black-T finish. It is a very nice Teflon coating that provides superior corrosion resistance. It is also self lubricating, so it makes the knife open even more easily than the 975S model. Believe me, the Black-T is tough. I have a Colt Government Model that has the Black-T finish on it. It has lasted very well. The finish is even lasting in the frame and slide rails and at the end of the barrel where the bushing normally wears away the finish.
My next knife will be a Benchmade 970SBT. It is the shorter version of the Ernest Emerson design with the Black-T finish. The blade is 3.375 inches long. All of the other features are the same.