Benchmade 530 Mel Pardue

Knife Collectors Org. Review:

The Benchmade 530 Mel Pardue is one of the lightest and thinnest pocket knives produced. The main attractions of this knife are its relative light weight and blade thickness as compared to other pocket knives of its blade length. At 1.88 oz. and a blade thickness of 0.09″, its presence is barely felt when carried in the pocket. It is even thin enough to be comfortably carried inside the waistband (IWB), for a concealed carry knife. For this reason it falls into the category of a “gentleman’s folder”, and is small and thin enough without being a hinderance for EDC. In addition, the Benchmade 530 is right-hand and left-hand friendly. It has thumb studs on both side of the blade, and the pocket clip can be reversed to suit both right and left handers. However, the pocket clip can only be fixed for tip-up carry.

Because of its thin blade, this knife should not be used for prying or other heavy-duty tasks that pushes this folder to its limits. It can handle daily tasks superbly, such as cutting things, opening boxes, slicing, etc. The Axis lock is great on this knife, and the provides a solid lock-up when engaged. It is one of the strengths of this knife. The Benchmade 530’s handle allows for medium-sized hands, and has grooves that provide decent grip when being used.

Most compare the Benchmade 530 with Cold Steel’s Ti-Lite knife, but find the Benchmade 530 to be superior because of its wider blade and good locking system. It is not marketed to be a self-defence knife but will fit the bill too as one, with its spear-point blade.

A minor complaint about this knife is the thumb stud, which is placed too near the handle and is uncomfortable to open. The handle also looks plasticky and cheap to some, with the grooves being a bit rough. Others have also commented that the knife doesn’t feel like a “real” knife in hand, due to its dimensions and weight, which does not give the impression of a reliable, well-built knife like other Benchmade knives.

There are a few limited production versions of this knife. Light blue handled, and carbon fibre handle with satin blade (both for REI); carbon fiber handle with damascus blade (general release limited production).

Overall, this is a lightweight and thin knife that is an excellent choice for EDC. It may be a little more expensive than knives from other brands, but the additional cost is worth it. Though it seems and feels flimy, this knife is no slouch and is well built for its specifications. A good knife for EDC or for someone who prefers a minimalistic knife to handle general tasks, yet not be a burden in the pocket. It remains as one of the lightest and thinnest knives we have come across.

Editor’s Rating: 8/10

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Blade Length: 3.25″ x .09″
Length Closed: 4.17″
Overall length: 7.42″
Blade Steel: 154CM Stainless Steel or S30V Stainless Steel (530-901). 440C (Discontinued version)
Blade hardness: Rc. 58-60
Blade Finish: Satin-finish, black or damascus
Weight: 1.88 oz. (stock model), 1.94 oz. (530-1303)
Edge: Plain or Partially-Serrated
Lock Type: AXIS Lock
Carry System: Tip-up pocket clip
Handle Material: Black Grivory or Blue Grivory (530-901 series), Carbon fiber (see below). Black Noryl GTX 830 (Discontinued version)
Knife Type: Folding Knife
Country of origin: USA
Part #: 530 (Satin), 530-111 (carbon fiber handle, damascus blade), 530-1303 (carbon fiber handle, satin blade, REI), 530-901 (blue handle REI Limited Edition), 530S-901 (blue handle REI Ltd Edn, Satin, Partially Serrated), 530SBK (Black, Partially-serrated), 530SBK-901 (blue handle REI Ltd Edn, Black, Partially Serrated)

Rarity Details:

Production Status: In Production
Last Known MSRP: Premium Member Content (see FAQs)
Current Estimated Price: Premium Member Content
Production dates: Premium Member Content
Production numbers: -unknown-
Limited run?: No, except for REI model and 530-111 (150 made), 530-1303 (178 made)
Other things of interest: Special light-blue REI version is being produced.
Rarity Index: 2/10 (10 being the most rare)

Rarity index scale (1 to 10, 10 being the most rare):

1 – Very common; easily available on ebay, google product search and almost every knife selling website. Spammed with at least 10+ listings on ebay.
3 – Has been around for at least 2 years and are selling reasonably well, with retailers favouring other newer models over this knife.
5 – Knives that are on the borderline of being discontinued or have been discontinued for less than 6 months
6 – Products from 6 onwards are either discontinued or limited edition.
7 – Discontinued knives that pop up once every few months on the “For Sale” part of forums or on ebay. Still can be found at a few online shops though.
8 – Knives that need lots of researching to find. Not available anymore in online knife shops and pop up (if you’re lucky) >4 months for one at a time.
9 – Knives holding this rarity are the shadowy kind. You can’t find any information on them at all (not even from online knife shops that have not taken down that knife’s product page). If you see one for sale grab at all cost.
10 – The rarest of all knives. If you hadn’t been here you wouldn’t even have known that it existed. Should you have one of these you better lock it up in a triple-combination safe and treat it like a family heirloom…


Product Description:

Stock version:

Thin is in with this sub two ounce folder.

  • AXIS® locking mechanism
  • Spear-point blade with ambidextrous dual thumb-stud opener
  • 154CM stainless steel blade (58-61HRC)
  • Grivory® handle scales with a reversible tip-up pocket clip

530-1303 (REI exclusive – satin blade with carbon fiber handle):

Thin is in! Weighing less than two ounces, the Benchmade 530 Limited Edition Carbon Fiber knife steps up to deftly slice and dice its way through tasks, yet abides virtually unnoticed in your pocket.

  • Limited production knife is numbered—only 178 were made!
  • Svelte and ultralight carbon fiber handle features a distinctive herringbone pattern and black hardware
  • Satin S30V premium stainless-steel blade is strong and sharp enough to slice through food, wire and ropes with ease
  • Spring-loaded AXIS locking mechanism adjusts smoothly for ease of operation and lets you fold the knife without placing your fingers in the blade’s path
  • Unleash the blade with a simple push of the ambidextrous thumb-stud openers

The Benchmade 530 Limited Edition Carbon Fiber knife features a reversible pocket clip. Made in USA.

530-111 (damascus blade with carbon fiber handle):

Thin is in with this sub two ounce folder.

  • Polished Odin’s Eye damasteel blade
  • Contoured Carbon fiber handles
  • Citrine stone in AXIS® lock stud and thumb stud
  • Custom finished and colored clip
  • Limited Edition 150 pcs.