Review - Benchmade 179GRY SOCP Rescue Cutter
History of Benchmade
Benchmade originated in 1980 in California and has over the years evolved the type of products that it sells from cutlery, switchblades, flick knives etc to more recently manufacturing and selling knives to Military and Law Enforcement bodies. Going from strength to strength the range of equipment now covers cooking, survival, civilian, military, law enforcement and hobbyists.
For more info - visit Benchmade website.
Why the Benchmade 179GRY SOCP Rescue Cutter?
The SOCP (Special Operations Combatives Program) Rescue Cutter was chosen for two reasons; 1) to own and carry (as part of EDC - Every Day Carry) a tool that was lightweight and multi functional in the event of it being required and 2) to form a part of the SEAL Team loadout that is currently evolving. First seen in SEAL Team Season 2 Episode 21 carried by 4B9 SAWYER, it's unique design and use caught my interest. Whilst able to carry a knife, this was another tool that set SAWYER's loadout apart from the rest of those in Bravo. In the real world, the carrying of knives is advised against in the UK, plus there is no real need to carry one in a non-threatening environment. That said as a part of the EDC setup in my vehicle, this was a welcome addition, specifically as it's designed for rescue efforts. Weighing up between the variety of SOCP bladed options and the Rescue Cutter I dove into purchasing the Rescue Cutter as it suited my initial requirements.
Herein lies the product description from the website;
Greg Thompson designed the 179 for rescue performance and less-than-lethal self-defense. The tool includes the Benchmade rescue hook design, a carbide glass breaker, O² wrench and the same finger loop and integral sheath design as the rest of the SOCP family. Made in USA.
Designer: Greg Thompson
Action: Fixed Blade
Blade Steel: 440C (58-60HRC)
Overall Length: 6.75" (17.15cm)
Handle Thickness: 0.18" (4.57mm)
Weight: 1.88oz. (53.29g)
Sheath Weight: 1.04oz. (29.48g)
Blade Edge: Plain
Blade Style/Shape: Hook
Glass Breaker: Yes
Lanyard Hole: Yes
MOLLE Compatible: Yes
Blade Finish: Gray
Blade Steel: 440C (58-60)
Handle Material: 440C (Gray)
The SOCP Rescue Cutter (RC) was packaged within a professional yet simplistic lightweight card box measuring 26.9 x 6.7 x 5.6 (H x W x D). The box was in two parts, the lid and the base. The exterior of the lid was matte black with a large silver styled Benchmade logo on the top, with the Benchmade logo on the left and right hand sides written in the same silver style colour and lettering. The top end of the box featured a 'handle with care' note whilst the bottom end had a product sticker placed over it detailing the product, model, colour and barcode. The base of the box was silver on the exterior with the bottom of the box featuring a warranty marking and postal address of Benchmade. The entire package in total weighed 185g.
The interior of the box was void apart from the bottom having a thin layer of grey foam to prevent the product causing much damage to the interior of the box. The box featured four components;
SOCP Rescue Cutter
SOCP Rescue Cutter Sheath
2x paracord lengths (60cm length each)
1x care instructions booklet
Components in detail
The entire SOCP RC is manufactured using 440C (58-60 HC) metal. Constructed from a singular piece of metal with no additional components or materials used ensures that the RC is void of any potential parts breaking enabling it to remain a low profile and sleek tool.
SOCP RC & Sheath Measurements
Length 18.8 cm
Width (widest) 4.5 cm
Width (narrowest) 2 cm
Depth (sheath) 1.1 cm
Depth (inc clip) 1.9 cm
The RC & Sheath weighs 84 g
The Sheath weighs 31 g
SOCP RC Measurements
Length 17.3 cm
Width (finger loop) 3.3 cm
Width (average) 1.8 cm
Depth 0.4 cm
The RC weighs 53 g
The sheath is manufactured from a dense black polymer that is both tactical looking and functional. The exterior of the sheath is almost split into 'sections' and provides some grips to the user. At the top and bottom of the sheath are 2x holes which can be used for mounting the sheath onto molle loops or other items using the included paracord with the RC. The front centre of the sheath features a small grill like polymer part which is bent inwards. The lowest part of this grill neatly clips into the triangular cut out of the RC (as covered in below section) effectively clipping and holding the RC in the sheath securely. The front further lastly features a metal clip used to clip the sheath into a pocket or onto a pouch / plate if required. This clip has engraved on it 'BENCHMADE USA'. The rear of the sheath is void of any detail save for at the bottom featuring the text, 'MADE IN USA - 987495 BLK - 987496 SN'.
RC Front Face
The face of the RC is entirely flat (apart from the blade area) retaining its slimline sleek appearance.
Starting at the top of the RC above the finger loop is the grip area which has two functions; one to provide an area of grip for the operator if wearing gloves or for when it's being removed from the sheath, and two, to identify to the operator which blade / tool they are removing to use. The grip as seen has a notch cut in the middle of the grip. This helps to differentiate this RC tool from the atypical SOCP 173 or 177 which are fixed blade knives (as shown in image one below).
The main body of the RC is designed and moulded to fit into the operators hand hence the wave like shape which fingers neatly fit into and around. Running down the centre of the face are three prominent laser engraved logos. The top one features the SOCP logo, the second is the Benchmade designer name of 'Greg Thompson' and the third is the Benchmade butterfly logo and model number.
The central triangular cut out (as seen in image one above) provides a point where the sheath can can pressure fix the RC thus fixing it securely into the sheath. In addition to this, this material may potentially have been removed to aid in reducing the overall weight of the RC, albeit by a small amount. The right hand side features a 5cm length gripped or ribbed area again which provides the operator with more grip if wet or when gloves are worn.
The front third of the RC houses one of the main features of the RC which is the hook blade, designed to be used to cut through seatbelts. With the hook shape, the material gets into the hook and is then pulled against the blade cutting it. In addition to seatbelts the blade is also able to easily cut 550 paracord and other lightweight rope materials.
Below the hook blade is an almost rectangular cut out which is an Oxygen tank wrench. This part is designed for Law Enforcement officials who may be responding to an incident and have the requirement to administer oxygen without the use of specialist equipment (i.e. pressured cap). This wrench is designed to fit onto the top of an oxygen tank and enable the operator to turn and enable the flow of or cut off the flow of oxygen.
The tip of the RC features a tungsten carbide glass breaker. This is designed to be hit against a car window / any window and causes it to instantly shatter, again a likely scenario is that of a car accident and the need to smash a window quickly and safely to extract an injured person from inside the vehicle.
RC Rear Face
The rear of the RC is near identical to the front face other than the laser engraved markings for the metal standard type used in the RC (440C) and the Benchmade patent website.
Of note when viewing the RC from the left or the right hand side, the bottom third (towards the glass breaker) is thinner than the rest of the RCs' body. This is likely designed as weight reducing as well as being smaller to enable it to fit into smaller spaces such as behind a car seat or between the seatbelt mechanism.
The RC sheath can be mounted using a few options;
Belt clip (pouch)
Belt clip (belt)
As mentioned in the above sections, the sheath features a number of holes as shown in the below images that enable the paracord included in the RC packaging to be used to tie the sheath onto molle loops securely.
Examples of mounted options
The first option as seen below can be seen using only one piece of paracord has been used, both pieces could be used if required.
The second option as seen below shows the sheath mounted using the metal belt clip onto a pouch. The third option could see the sheath mounted onto a belt loop using the belt clip. As mentioned above, the clip is strengthened metal and does not bend easily, so you'll feel safe in the knowledge that it's highly improbable that the sheath would detach itself easily.
The third option is to mount the mounted on a lightweight belt using the belt clip.
As with all clothing and tactical equipment, maintenance should be a part of the routine of handling, using and storing your gear. Gear that is cleaned, repaired and looked after will last longer which is essential when considering replacement costs of damaged gear through negligence. The SOCP RC is simple to clean. Recommendations are;
Use stiff brush soft brush to remove excess dirt and dust.
Clean, hot, soapy water can be used to submerge and wash the RC in.
Allow to dry naturally having wiped away excess water out of strong natural sunlight.
Recommended to use Benchmade lubricants / oils to lengthen service of RC.
Regular checks of blade and carbonite tip to ensure that there is no damage if used continuously over a period of time to identify any wear and tear.
Thoughts and opinion
The SOCP RC is a unique item used for specific purposes, whilst it may be included in your EDC (Every Day Carry) or Bob (Bug out Bag) or even on yourself, its use will be limited.
The SOCP RC is sleek, lightweight, aesthetically pleasing and a unique item. When fitted in the sheath it does have a tactical look and the strengthened clip does ensure if clipped onto a belt or molle loop it will not come off without some force. The ability to also add paracord to the sheath and hang it from your neck if required or use the holes as additional mounting positions to attach it to molle loops or other pieces of equipment is a handy bonus. Once removed from the sheath, the RC is honestly a eye catching piece. Design, evolution and feedback from users has enabled the RC to become lightweight, thin and still be able to perform a number of functions albeit in a small package.
Whilst I haven't as yet (thankfully) needed to use the RC in real life, the blade has been tested on Type 3 550 paracord which it cuts with ease, handily as the blade is pre-sharpened. The design of the hook blade as highlighted does prevent anything larger that cord / rope / seatbelt to feed into the blade hence it's not been tested on anything large at this time and I'm not too keen on cutting a seatbelt of mine quite yet. The tungsten carbide tip again has not been tested specifically on car windows but has against single and double pane glass tiles which it shatters with ease.
The less-than-lethal self-defense aspect is of interest too as whilst technically not a bladed item, it can cause serious damage if used with impact. In a typical civilian, law enforcement environment it may not be needed for this, but potentially in a military environment I can see this being used as a last resort if required.
I purchased the SOCP RC with the intent to own something utilitarian that could easily be used in an adaptive role, whether that be on the range, in EDC / BoB or in a hostile environment and the SOCP RC does exactly this. If you're after something a little more off the beaten track than your atypical fixed blade with one role / purpose, the SOCP RC may just be it.
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I am not paid for my blogs by the manufacturers or companies that I purchase my items from. I am not offered freebies to promote a product. These blogs are purely written from my own experience in truth to help advise and inform others who may wish to purchase the items or understand more about them. If I am sent a freebie to review this will be stated at the beginning to make you aware.