Sometimes when you take a big knife and scale it down to a more manageable size, things don’t always go as planned. Ergonomics and performance sometimes fly out the window in order to meet an imaginary goal line of an often more marketable, diminutive size. It’s much harder to accomplish than laying a knife on a scanner and reducing it until it hits the numbers you’re after. It takes real-world design talent and engineering and many times, no matter how hard you try, it simply doesn’t work.

That is not the case with Benchmade’s model 5500, the Mini-Presidio. As many of you know, the large model 5000 Presidio is a full-sized, burly knife with tactical roots and a handle size more appropriate for a belt pouch or BDU’s. The “Mini” takes the basic shape of the larger knife and scales it down in almost every aspect—thinner blade, thinner handle and, most importantly, a 3.7-ounce trimmer weight than big brother’s almost 6 ounces.

Mel Pardue Design
Designed by Benchmade’s southern rock star, Mel Pardue, the Mini-Presidio is rakishly handsome and with a blade just under 3 inches long. This fine automatic is no doubt…practical for most anyone interested in everyday carry. The AXIS lock is strong, ambidextrous and smooth—one of the top auto knife mechanisms out there. I vividly remember the first prototype McHenry-Williams-designed 710 Axis knives, and still carry one of those pre-production Benchmades many years later. It is a great locking mechanism that incidentally was originally designed for the high-end auto knives associated with Bill McHenry and Jason Williams.

Up Next

Chiang Mai Choppers

Sometimes when you take a big knife and scale it down to a more…