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Your New Favorite Travel Companion

Your New Favorite Travel Companion
By Troy Hellman 4 months ago 82358 Views 34 comments

Here in the United States, knife legislation can get tricky depending on the state. Some laws even vary from county to county, making it tough to stay on top of what’s legal. Beyond the United States, knives are frequently subjected to exceedingly strict limitations, ranging from locking mechanisms to blade length. For those that travel internationally it’s often more convenient to leave the knife at home, but leaving behind one of your most trusted companions is easier said than done. With these difficulties in mind, we partnered up with French knifemaker, Patrick Famin to create a knife that can travel with ease. The new 380 Aller features a screwdriver and pry tip, micro bit slot, a custom pocket and money clip, as well as a bottle-opener for that well-deserved beverage at the end of a long travel day. Spending the majority of his time bouncing between France and Florida, Famin is well versed in the world of international travel and knifemaking, which contributed to the motivation behind this design. We had a chance to ask Patrick a few questions regarding his background, inspiration, and intent for Benchmade’s first friction folder, the 380 Aller.

Let’s start with an introduction. Who are you? What do you do when you aren’t making knives?

My name is Patrick Famin, and I am 57 years old. I was born in France, and studied computer technology before continuing my studies in Arizona, where I met my wife. We returned to France in 1990 to open a computer business which we ran until 2010. I started to make knives as a hobby in 2007, and in 2010 started a new career as a full-time knife maker. After two years, I opened my knife shop in Moulins, France in 2012. My in-laws live in Gainesville, Florida so we opened a second store in an effort to break into the US market. In my spare time I enjoy trap shooting and motorcycle riding.

When did you become interested in knives, and what was your motivation to start making them yourself?

I became interested in knives at a young age. I was 7 years old when I got my first knife for Christmas. It was a Laguiole, and that knife started my passion as I quickly began collecting knives. After 39 years of collecting, I decided to design my own knife and found my mentor, Christian Avakian. He was a French knifemaker who trained me, eventually helping me design my first knife in 2007. Shortly thereafter I began to build a name for myself with my first dual-action automatic design and balisong in 2008.

What inspires your designs? Function? Aesthetics?

I’m always drawing parts for motorcycles and sports cars, so I wanted to create designs that are comfortable in hand. I call them “comfort designs”, similar to the feel of handle bars, brake-clutch levers, steering wheels, and gear shifts. I follow this inspiration as I draw my knives, in order to create a knife that fits perfectly in your hands. I enjoy playing with different opening mechanisms, like my dual action deployed by a handle scale release, clip releases, fake screw releases, or flippers with front and back tangs. The first Benchmade balisong actually inspired me to draw a balisong of my own, called the LAMBO.

Walk us through your process of bringing a knife design to life?

When I start to draw a new knife, I like to focus on two elements that I regard as the most important features of any design. I aim to create a knife that will accommodate an incredibly sharp edge while maintaining a safe function, before working in my “comfort designs”. Once I’ve figured these two features out, I can start to incorporate ergonomics, so that the knife handles perfectly in both the opened and closed positions.

What do you enjoy most about collaborating on a design?

What I like about collaborating on a knife design is the opportunity to share and combine different methodologies while creating the best prototype possible. In addition to creating an incredible product, I enjoy building new relationships throughout the process.

What was your motivation behind the 380 Aller?

When I started to design the 380 Aller, I intended to make a knife that could travel around the world. Blade length is a major limitation in many countries, so I designed a non-locking blade under 1.7”. I came up with a design that allowed the user to lock the blade in an open position as they hold the knife, by creating a pinch point between the thumb and index fingers. Once I had a design in mind, I asked another French knifemaker, Eric Demongivert if he would be interested in collaborating. He helped me design a variety of tools we could add to the knife, in an effort to make the design more useful during travel. We started to build the prototype together and brought the design to Atlanta for Blade Show in 2017.

UPDATE: THE LEGISLATION REFERENCED IN THIS BLOG IS EXCLUSIVELY FOCUSED ON CARRY LAWS IN VARIOUS COUNTRIES. THIS KNIFE IS NOT INTENDED TO BE CARRIED THROUGH AIRPORT SECURITY CHECKPOINTS. CHECKED LUGGAGE ONLY.

Patrick will be joining us at SHOT Show this coming week in Las Vegas. Keep an eye on our various social media platforms for updates with Troy, Hans, and Patrick!


Roger Cobb 4 months ago at 9:15 AM
Please explain how this would pass the TSA checkpoints.....
Benchmade 4 months ago at 10:47 AM
Definitely won't get through TSA. The compliance referenced is in regards to the strict knife laws in varying countries around the world. Still going to need to transport it in a checked bag, but once you're on the ground you will be able to carry it legally in many countries.
Roger Cobb 4 months ago at 7:59 AM
Cool. Thank you for the clarification!!! :-)
Howard in PA 10 days ago at 7:16 AM
inside checked through luggage !
Gerald Mitchell 4 months ago at 9:28 AM
Really like this travel tool. Would appreciate a heads up when they are available on the market.
Benchmade 4 months ago at 11:43 AM
Hey Gerald, there's an option for email notification when the knife is available on the product page!

https://www.benchmade.com/380.html
Kyle Whitmire 4 months ago at 10:25 AM
So is this TSA compliant? Meaning, I could take this through security and carry it on the plane? The comments lead me to believe it is, but that isn't explicitly stated.
Cat Lopienski 4 months ago at 11:34 AM
Not really impressed sorry. I expected more.
Jack Swartz 4 months ago at 12:05 PM
No! no knives are TSA compliant. Check the TSA website.
Al 4 months ago at 1:35 PM
Need to send it through regular luggage not even a nail clipper allowed
Carry on luggage only 4 months ago at 1:35 AM
They added a bit to the bottom. You definitely shouldn't carry any form of a knife through airport security anywhere. Remember, the 9-11 attacks when down with simple box cutters.
Mark 4 months ago at 11:40 AM
This has to be one of the ugliest, most useless thing i have ever seen. You can not even call it a knife.
Big Jon 4 months ago at 11:51 AM
It's a knife. gesh... if you don't have anything nice to say.... just shut up
CCHGN 4 months ago at 1:11 PM
Dude, really? Didn't your parents teach you that if you didn't; have something nice to say, don't say anything? Also, they didn't teach you that beauty and ugly is in the eye of the beholder. BTW, it has a sharpened edged blade (my favorite knife has a ceramic blade) and if you knew about knives (which I doubt), you'd know that that's a sheepsfoot designed blade. Lastly, what's the most beautiful, valuable knife ( gun, tool, utensil, etc) in the world? The one you have in your hand when you need it, which that one is one of the ones you're more likely to have on you at all times.
Dan Cahill 3 months ago at 8:40 AM
Agreed. Swiss Army knife in ligfage. If you need protection once you get to your destination, go to a local hardware store and buy a screw driver to use as a stabbing weapon. Cheap and easy to carry in your belt and even easier to ditch it need be.
Random nerd 3 months ago at 12:06 PM
Well it’s not totally...yeah, your right.
aFea 4 months ago at 11:51 AM
Whats the price? why should i buy this instead of the kershaw "pub" knife that has all the same features and comes in at the $15-20 price tag.
tuelles 4 months ago at 12:34 PM
$160! https://goo.gl/RTWEGB I would have expected it to be an order of magnitude more than a Kershaw with similar function(s), but 10X is pretty incredible.
SixSins 4 months ago at 9:53 PM
Order of Magnitude literally means 10x so it's almost exactly an order of magnitude more.
RFV 4 months ago at 8:34 AM
Where is the Kershaw pub made and where is the Aller made?
Benchmade 4 months ago at 11:44 AM
Can't speak for the Pub, but the 380 Aller is manufactured in the good ol' US of A.
aFlea 4 months ago at 9:41 AM
well to be frank. buying usa manufactured stuff is nice and all but you have to be bonkers rich or jsut plain bonkers to buy this knife at $160 when there are good alternitives already on the market for 1/10 the price. if i had to put a price tag on this maybe $60 would be a good for a premium entry knife.
Clarence Couch 4 months ago at 12:08 PM
Agreed. This is a knife buyer's mkt, with ALL the knife makers out there. We shouldn;t have to pay extra for "Made n the USA" or "Benchmade". I saw an exact replica on Kennesaw for $19.95. Does it have D-1 steel? Nope, but who needs it? It has high Carbon steel and that's good enough. Btw, I carry a "Contender", with D-2 steel blade, G-10 handles, and ball bearings for less than $30. BenYMMV
Jonathan Shelton 4 months ago at 11:59 AM
The Pub is made in China. I like a lot of AMERICAN made Kershaws but just can't carry a piece of crap made in China.
Carry on luggage only 4 months ago at 1:37 AM
You can't compare a Chinese made Kershaw to a benchmade. I'm not fond of the design but definitely wouldn't compare inferior materials to modern.
Clarence Couch 4 months ago at 12:37 PM
And no one is, but there are very good knives for ALOT less. BTw, I have several Damascus Katanas, made in China, by Cheness that is VERY good. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_JcP0AASFw
ChinChi 2 months ago at 8:45 AM
My main reason for buying USA is to support American knife makers and companies. Sure some of the Chinese knives are cheaper...but I'd rather pay more to USA knife makers.
robert.knop@disney.com 4 months ago at 12:43 PM
i think it's to add to my collection! when can I buy one?
sam 4 months ago at 1:23 PM
Has to be less than 2 inch blade for carry on federal government property. Good for me.
Tom Wessells 4 months ago at 3:37 PM
What is the costs be?
James 4 months ago at 9:04 PM
I don't understand why people feel they need to post there neg opinion? Who cares if you don't like it just move on.
Dennis 4 months ago at 2:05 PM
Seriously, $160 MSRP for a glorified money clip/bottle opener/nail trimmer for the "traveler" that will have to be surrendered to a TSA agent if not checked and almost certainly stolen by a "baggage inspector" if it is checked? Non merci beaucoup!
Lee 2 months ago at 8:46 AM
I like how compact it is. I am a woman and carry a small purse. It would be quite handy. My husband would find it useful in the garden. He does not like carrying a large knife or really nothing in his pockets. It might fit in his phone case - with the phone.
Adam Rose 12 days ago at 7:58 PM
Wow, I knew it was going to be overpriced but ouch.