Everyday Mediator

Benchmade Mediator 6-Month Review

The role of a mediator is to bring two parties together to resolve their differences with the goal of achieving a win-win situation. Balancing the features of a tactical knife and the functionality of an everyday carry blade, the new Benchmade Mediator (8551BK Mediator) seeks to do just that.

No stranger to pocketknives, my first carry blade was a Benchmade Mini Griptilian. Since then, I’ve carried knives from other brands with a variety of opening mechanisms, but never an automatic. Wanting to finally put one to the test, I got ahold of a Mediator and have carried it every day for the past six months.

Style vs. Function

In Benchmade’s own words, “A tactical knife doesn’t always need to be overbuilt to serve its purpose,” and that mentality shows in the Mediator’s simple aesthetic.

A push-button automatic with a lightning-fast action, opening the blade is activated by a recessed thumb stud on the right side of the knife. However, unlike Benchmade’s out-the-front automatics, such as the Autocrat, Infidel and Phaeton, the Mediator is a folding switchblade.

Once open, the Mediator reveals a 3.3” blade made from high-end, corrosion-resistant CPM-S90V steel with a black coating. Designed with a reverse tanto profile similar to Japanese short swords, the Mediator offers a long, plain cutting edge with a tapered tip that angles sharply down from the spine and curves up from the blade to form a chiseled point. Measuring just 0.115” thick, the edge is thin for fine slicing while the strengthened tip provides durability for piercing tough materials.

Balancing the blade is a pair of lightweight Black G10 grips. Made from compressed fiberglass soaked in resin, the grips sport a subtle milled chevron-pattern that offers a sleek look and tactile texturing. A tip-up Mini Deep-Carry clip is fixed to the left side of the knife, though it can be reversed to the opposite side depending on hand/pocket preference. Directly below the thumb stud is a stepped slider for locking the open or closed blade. I’ve never had a blade unintentionally open while in my pocket, but the safety is a nice-to-have feature and can prevent the blade from closing when using the knife for extended periods of time.

Everyday Versatility

When you first begin carrying a blade, those with clip-worn pockets will often advise you’ll find new reasons to use a pocketknife every day. I’ve certainly found that true over the years and I was surprised just how versatile the Mediator was for everyday carry.

Having recently moved into a new apartment, the Mediator saw extensive use opening and breaking down boxes and plastic packaging, slicing through corrugated cardboard like butter and making easy work of endless bubble wrap. It was also a handy tool when refining the edge of a wood bedframe that was predictably damaged in transit.

At home, the Mediator serves as a means of cutting everything from loose threads to dying plant leaves, wine bottle foil to charcuterie. Always in my pocket, the knife is always within reach, unlike the pair of scissors tucked away in the kitchen junk drawer. However, everyday carry also extends outside the walls of my home.

An avid outdoorsman, the Mediator has accompanied me on countless hikes and multiple camping trips in the Rocky Mountains. Capable of removing pesky splinters from hands and rocks from tires, flipping campfire steaks to stirring stovetop baked beans and cutting tangled fishing line to filleting a day’s catch, tasks in which the Mediator can be utilized are endless. I’ve even used the Mediator to extract stuck casings from firearms while at the range.

And while I’ve never had to use the knife in self-defense, I never take the dog out at night or travel anywhere (where legal) without it — just in case. Measuring 4.45” long and 0.52” thick, the handle is large enough to gather a full grasp while jimping on the top spine above the thumb stud adds a firm position for thumb leverage should I need to wield it.

Achieving a Win-Win

The Benchmade Mediator may look like just another folding knife, but it manages to combine everyday carry functionality with tactical styling to create a simple, quick and effective knife design with an affordable price tag of $295.

If that’s not a win-win, I don’t know what is.

Editor’s Note: The Benchmade Mediator is an automatic knife with a 3.3” blade length. Please review your local laws and regulations before purchasing and/or carrying.

For more info: benchmade.com, Ph: 1 (833) 557-2526