Model: 5000SBK Presidio Auto
Materials: 154cm stainless steel blade, black anodized and machined 6061 T6 aluminum scales
Mechanism: Auto Axis pull-release and integrated safety
Price: $255 (not including laser engraving)
The Presidio line of knives, designed by Mel Pardue and manufactured by Benchmade in Clackamas, Oregon, are solid pieces of art which happen to be sharp.
Obviously, while these knives look fantastic, they are designed to be work tools. The first thing that comes to mind when I hold the Presidio Auto in my hand is the weight and feel of the metal. The matte aluminum scales feel secure, not slippery; they face in opposing directions.
I opted for the coated blade, half serrated, half plain edge. Right out of the box, the knife was razor sharp. I had previously owned one of the Benchmade Griptillians and I had the same experience with that knife. The blade holds an edge fairly well but will need to be sharpened regularly if you plan on actually putting this knife to use. One cool thing that Benchmade offers is their Life Sharp program. You can send your knife (must pay for shipping) back to Benchmade and they will put a factory edge on your blade for free. Unfortunately they don’t sharpen serrations.
My job as a Wildland Firefighter during the summer was my primary reason for getting an auto. I needed an easily accessible and easy opening blade. I am left-handed so the Axis opening system was very appealing, as was the ambidextrous pocket clip.
Getting back to the auto feature, it functions flawlessly so far. With an occasional drop of lubricant, the knife opens just as fast now as is did the first time. There is a safety on the back of the handle, a nice feature to keep the blade from accidentally opening in your pocket (just don’t forget to engage it, ouch…).
The price point on this knife is a bit high, but there are other, less-expensive versions. The build is robust, the blade sharp, and the auto-open mechanism well-designed. You do pay a premium for the auto version and, in my experience, Benchmade’s assisted openers open faster then the auto’s…Whatever, there is definitely a cool factor with an auto knife, if you can legally get one.