Knives for duty use have gone through some serious changes in the past two decades, not the least of which has been the development of folders that rival fixed-blade knives for toughness and open with assisted-opening systems that rival auto-openers for ease of use.

Benchmade Knives has led the way in the development of folding knives for duty and personal use. The company's new generation of folders is the Nitrous family.

The Nitrous is a new assisted-opening system and should not be considered an auto-opening knife. Assisted-opening knives are making major inroads in law enforcement. This is especially true where auto-opening knives are forbidden by agency policy or by local laws.

Another appealing feature of assisted knives such as the Nitrous Blitz is they do not have the stigma of being used by hoods or gangs, as was the case with cheap auto-opening knives in the '50s and '60s. From a safety standpoint, assisted-opening knives are also less prone to accidental opening than auto-opening knives. Forgetting to lock the mechanism of an auto-opening knife can result in an accident if the blade release is inadvertently engaged. This is not very likely to happen with an assisted-opening knife like the Blitz.

To operate the Blitz, simply open the knife as you would any other knife with a thumb stud. Once the blade is opened past 30 degrees, torsion arms or springs literally whip the blade open. There's some force behind this operation, so make sure you hold the knife or you may lose your grip on it.

Despite its innovative opening system, as with any knife, the heart of the Blitz is the blade. Made of 154CM stainless steel hardened to 58-61HRC, this blade is tough, rust resistant, sharpens easily, and holds an edge. It also features a black BT coating made from Xylan, which increases corrosion resistance and adds to the lubricity of the blade. The coating aids in the smooth operation of the opening/closing action and makes cleaning the blade easier. All of this adds up to a fine blade for duty use. And it looks pretty darn good, too.

To further aid in making this knife look good, the razor-sharp edge is left uncoated, which provides a nice contrast to the rest of the coated blade. The H&K logo and knife information are laser etched into the blade, standing out against the black coating.

Benchmade further enhances the looks of the Nitrous Blitz by not coating the strong and lightweight titanium liner/frame of the knife. The dull grey of the liner highlights the G10 panels and reduces the weight of the Blitz down to a scant 2.7 ounces, making this one of the lightest folding clip-it knives on the market.

Though the Nitrous Blitz is very light, it's very tough. Benchmade installs four support studs and a bolt at the pivot point of the Blitz. These ensure the frame will not warp or break during hard use.

The black G10 handles of the Blitz are nicely checkered. The checkering is not so aggressive that it would abrade your clothing, yet it offers the user a good purchase on the knife.

While making a good-looking and functional knife, Benchmade paid attention to the small details. The Blitz's thumb stud can be switched from the right side to the left side of the blade for the left-handed folks out there. And for those who wish to attach a lanyard to the knife to prevent losing it, Benchmade has machined in a lanyard loop.

It seems that Benchmade has hit a homerun with the Nitrous H&K Blitz. The knife is lightweight, durable, and looks good. What more can you ask for when purchasing a new knife?


Blade Material: 154CM Stainless hardened to 58-61RC
Blade Length: 3.4 inches
Blade Thickness: 0.10 inches
Blade Style: Clip Point
Overall Length: 8 inches
Closed Length: 4.6 inches
Weight: 2.7 ounces
Handle: G10 with titanium liners
Locking Mechanism: Nitrous (Patent Pending)
Price: $160

Scott Smith is a disabled veteran who served as an active-duty Army MP and in the U.S. Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard as a security policeman.