Benchmade 3321 Pagan S/E OTF Auto Knife, 154CM Stonewash Blade

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BEN3321

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New for 2015, the Benchmade Pagan OTF auto knife is a double action out the front model that is a more refined yet still powerful version of the classic Benchmade Infidel OTF auto knife. With smooth black anodized aluminum handle scales, this tried and true warrior delivers maximum blade control in an ergonomic and stylish shape. The difference in this knife lies in the blade steel and blade grind--D2 tool steel has been swapped out with American-made 154CM stainless steel, in a spear point style, with a chisel grind for improved blade penetration. Furthermore, the enlarged slide trigger is housed on the broad side of the handle scale allowing for better accessibility, even while wearing gloves. Due to the size, this knife comes with a nylon sheath and includes a MOLLE compatible malice clip for multiple carry options. The deep carry pocket clip is designed for tip down carry only. Made in the USA.

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Blade Length: 3.96"
  • Overall Length: 8.96"
  • Blade Material: 154CM Stainless Steel
  • Blade Finish: Stonewash
  • Handle Length: 5"
  • Handle Material: 6061-T6 Aluminum
  • Weight: 5.1 oz.
  • Sheath: Nylon
  • Sheath Weight: 1.2 oz.

The Pagan and the Infidel

The Pagan and the Infidel, both made by Benchmade, are synonymous in so many ways—even down to their names. Below is a chart to show just how close these two knives are similar.

Product

Overall Length

Closed Length

Blade Length

Blade Thickness

Weight

Blade Steel

Pagan

8.96”

5.00”

3.96”

0.100”

5.11 oz.

154CM

Infidel

8.91”

5.00”

3.91”

0.118”

4.90 oz.

D2

As you can see, these knives are very similar. Even their looks are about the same. There are, however, some distinct variants that we will cover later on. But the major deviations include the blade steels used with the knives, the blades themselves, and the design of the handle.

Specs

Listed below are the different specs of the Benchmade Pagan. This will give some basic background to how big the knife is. Later on, there will be more on how this knife compares with the popular Infidel.

  • Product Type: Automatic Double-Action OTF
  • Overall Length: 8.96"
  • Weight: 5.1 oz.
  • Handle Length: 5.00”
  • Blade Length: 3.96"
  • Blade Thickness: 0.10"
  • Blade Material: 154CM
  • Blade Edge: Plain
  • Blade Style: Double-edged Spear Point
  • Blade Finish: Black
  • Handle Material: 6061-T6 Aluminum
  • Handle Color: Black
  • Sheath Included: MOLLE Compatible Soft Cordura Sheath with Malice Clip, Black
  • Pocket Clip: Tip-Down, Removable
  • Made in the USA

Benchmade

The Benchmade history began in 1979 when Les de Asis wanted a knife that had the best quality to replace the cheap balisongs or butterfly knives, he played with as a kid. Les used his high-school experience to develop and make his dream knife a reality. He created his first balisong in his own garage. From there he took the knife he had created, the model 68 Bali-Song, to a gun store where he was asked to make more of them. From this knife came the famous Benchmade Butterfly Logo that millions recognize everywhere. And from then on, the knife industry has never been the same. As a leader in the industry, Benchmade is continuously developing the best products available.

Black Class

The Pagan is a part of Benchmade’s Black Class. The Black Class knives, also known as the Professional Class, are used by specialists when a quality tool means the difference between life and death. The Black Class can be classified as a tactical knife class. The term “Tactical Knife” often gets thrown around the industry for a variety of reasons. Whether it is a publicity tactic or an actual description of the knife’s purpose, there has been a filtering lens to see what the knife is really made for. These knives are designed, built, and tested for heavy duty work. They are preferred cutting tools for Police, Public Safety Workers, and the Military. Different than Benchmade’s Blue Class, these knives are prepared to handle the various tactical duties that are thrown their way. These knives can also serve a purpose in the everyday carry Blue Class. The Pagan was created as a tool to help those in law enforcement and the military accomplish their different tasks.

Automatic and Out the Front

Automatic knives are becoming increasingly more popular to purchase and use, and for good reason too. Automatic knives like the Pagan offer many advantages that a typical folder, fixed blade, or even a spring assisted knife do not offer. One benefit to owning an auto is its deployment speed. Some may argue that a spring assisted knife is just as fast as an automatic knife. This is true in many cases, but what makes an automatic knife a better option is the easiness factor to it. With the press of a button or a flick of a switch, the blade will flash open in a blink of an eye. Not only is it quick, but it can be fired off with one hand. These features come in handy during many circumstances. If one of your hands in a bind or holding an object in need of cutting, an auto can be opened right away with one hand and do its job. EMTs and other emergency response teams are constantly faced with tribulation that requires the use of a decent knife. In many high-stress situations, having a knife ready in a blink of an eye using only one hand can help someone else live for one more day. Plus, firing off an auto is fun to do. They are different than a traditional knife and bring a new element to the knife industry.

Being an Out the Front (OTF), the Pagan has several advantages to it. There aren’t too many knives like it. Its looks are different, especially the Pagan because its switch on the front side of the handle. Typical OTF knives have the switch on the side of the handle while the Pagan does not. A more practical advantage of owning an OTF is that the blade cannot close on your fingers. You do not have to interact with the blade while closing it up. Besides that, they can be closed by switching the slide the other direction. Another benefit to using this type of knife is being able to keep the same solid grip from opening the knife to closing it. This is extremely useful if you are cutting something while holding it in one hand. You will not have to set either the object being cut or the knife down. One of the last advantages of owning an Out the Front is being able to properly operate the knife with gloves on. Some other auto knives have more concealed buttons or other opening mechanisms that make it difficult to open with a glove on.

Both the Pagan and Infidel are OTF automatic. However, in my opinion, the Pagan is easier to fire off than the Infidel. There isn’t as much strength required to flip the switch on the Pagan. Other than that, though, these two firing mechanisms are the exact same.

Handle

With its ambidextrous design, this knife can be used by literally anyone. The handle looks somewhat like a hilt of a sword which helps to give a comfortable grip. While the handles are similar between the Pagan and the Infidel, there are some differences that they have. The handle on the Pagan isn’t as extreme when it comes to the jagged finger grooves on the Infidel. The grooves on the Pagan are more subtle. Another difference is that the Pagan handle is all black whereas the handle on the Infidel is accented with gray. The Pagan’s handle is completely smooth, with the exception of a few textured grooves running halfway up the handle. The Infidel has a stepping texture the full length of the handle and even continues on the switch. The sliding switch on the Pagan has a stepping pattern up to the center and then turns into rounded grooves in the middle.

Blade Style Double-Edge Spear Point

The blade used with the Pagan is the less common spear point blade. A spear point blade is similar to a needle-point blade in that is good for piercing. However, its point is stronger and it contains a small "belly" that can be used for slicing. The belly is relatively small when compared to drop point and clip point knives. A spear point is symmetrically pointed with a tip that is in line with the center of the blade. These types of blades can be either single-edged or double-edged. The most popular form of the spear point knife usually comes with a double-edged design. The double-edged design is the featured design on the Pagan.

A common use for the spear point blade is for throwing knives; although it isn’t recommended to throw your OTF Pagan. The lowered point on the spear point is easy to control and is useful for fine tip work. A spear point knife is a great choice for those looking for a good balance between piercing and slicing ability. In the end, it is a great mix design that is highly functional. Simply put, the distinct advantages of the spear point include its strong point, its sharp point (especially when double edged), and its ability to be easily controlled and maneuvered. A disadvantage of the spear point is its smaller cutting edge for slicing. Having this type of blade on the Pagan makes the knife a better tactical tool because of its controlled cutting and stabbing abilities.

The only difference between the Pagan’s spear point blade and the Infidel’s spear point blade is that the Pagan is chisel ground with a bevel only one side. Simply put, a chisel ground blade has an edge grind on only one side of the blade, while the other side is completely flat. ALERT: This is not a defect. Some people who get a chisel knife for the first time think the blade is has a defect. It doesn’t. The blade is perfectly fine. For any of you who have ever used a wood chisel for woodworking, you know what potential a chisel has. A chisel ground knife, being beveled, or ground, on one side only, possesses greater strength. This is because of the increased cross-sectional mass on the blade edge. One benefit it has is that they are much easier to sharpen: you only have to sharpen one side.

Blade Steel—154CM

The blade steel used with the Pagan is 154CM. It is a high-end stainless steel made by the American company Crucible Industries. The Rockwell test for this steel is around HRC 58-61. This steel is designed to be durable and rock solid. 154CM stainless steel consists of the following material: Carbon 1.05%, Chromium 14.00%, Manganese 0.50%, Molybdenum 4.00%, and Silicon 0.30%. It is comparable to or better than 440c stainless steel. 154CM is known for its corrosion resistance and strength while being comparatively cheaper than other high-quality steels such as BG-42 and S30V. The 154CM used in the Pagan is significantly different than the D2 steel used in the Infidel.

D2 steel is a wear-resistant steel used for various cutting tools such a shears and planers. It contains 1.5% carbon, 11.0 – 12.0% chromium, 0.45% manganese, 0.030% max phosphorus, 0.030% max sulfur, 1.0% vanadium, 0.7% molybdenum, and 0.30% silicon. The quantity of its chromium content makes this steel a semi-stainless steel. D2 is a high carbon tool steel whereas 154CM is not, thus making it more susceptible to corrosion.

MOLLE Compatible Sheath

The Pagan comes with a sheath for your convenience. The neat thing about this particular sheath is that it is MOLLE compatible. MOLLE is an acronym for Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment. It is the name of the load-bearing equipment and backpacks used by armed forces, particularly the British Army and the United States Army. The system works with the use of PALS webbing as rows of heavy-duty nylon stitched onto the vest. PALS is the Pouch Attachment Ladder System. It is a grid of webbing equipment invented and patented by United States Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center used to attach smaller various MOLLE-compatible pouches and accessories. The sheath is just about 5.50” in total (including the pull tab). It opens in a snap with just a simple tug at the tab. Or the sheath can remain open thanks to its Velcro holding the tab open. It is a nice sheath to keep around, even if it will not be used all the time. It is a great place to store the knife for a while when it is not being used.

Conclusion

Both the Pagan and the Infidel are ready for some action, and to be used for hard labor. Though in the end, it is clear to me which knife is a better choice. The Pagan sticks out because of its slimmer looks, and its easier firing mechanism. The Pagan is a great choice for an everyday carry knife and is adequate for tactical purposes. You will not be disappointed with the Pagan. When I hold this knife in my hand, I feel that it is going to work well for me and that it will not let me down. The same will be for you. Pick up a Pagan today!