The Benchmade Immunity is a small folding knife. But it proves the proverb “good things come in small packages” is right on the money.
At an overall length of 5.95 inches, the full-size Benchmade Auto Immunity reviewed here is smaller overall than the blade on many of my larger knives. Indeed, it packs exactly 2.49 inches of steel in its cutting implement.
But oh, what a steel it is! The M4 Wharncliffe is a wonder to behold. So, let’s dial it back a touch and look at this new family of knives.
In short: The Benchmade Immunity family is composed of the Full Immunity, Full Immunity Automatic, and an automatic folding knife with a sub-2-inch blade (legal in California) called the Partial Immunity. The two full-size knives are incredibly versatile EDC tools, with the automatic and manual versions trading spots as my favorites among the group. The Partial Immunity is still very capable for a very small blade, but would not be my top choice unless you must have an auto and face stringent laws. Regardless of which you choose, these are exceptional knives manufactured to high tolerances with premium materials.
In my testing, I decided to focus on the Immunity Auto, because darn it if I didn’t fall a little bit in love.
- Overall length 5.95"
- Blade length 2.49"
- Blade material CPM M4
- Blade style Wharncliffe
- Weight 2.29 oz.
- Excellent steel
- Acute Wharncliffe tip
- Small but very capable
- The handle may be too small for bigger hands
- Expensive, especially for its size
Benchmade Immunity Review: A Tiny Titan Tool
To say the Benchmade Immunity packs a punch is an understatement. I carried the Immunity Auto for about 2 months as my everyday knife, and it’s proven to be a workhorse.
While diminutive in stature, the Immunity is a rock-solid implement in the hand. Rarely have I used a folding knife that felt so burly and stout, even hard-use knives of much heavier or larger proportions.
And really, this might be in part due to the small size. The Immunity’s small machined aluminum handle fits mostly within my three forefingers and thumb, leaving my pinky finessing the back of the handle. There isn’t a lot of room for leverage, which may contribute to the overall stout feeling of the knife.
But that’s not a copout on Benchmade’s part. The overall tolerances and build are incredible. The blade locks up so hard that blade play is imperceptible.
The blade feels impressively strong and ships razor-sharp. It’s built for business. For EDC folding knife tasks, it’s darned near perfect with an aggressive point that slices boxes with ease.
I also put the edge to use making feather sticks and wood chips, a generally handy application for firestarting. Even after going ham on a hard piece of very dry plum wood, the blade remained extremely sharp. And really, the tool felt great in the whittling motion thanks to the aggressive thumb jimping.
Automatic Version: Speedy, Safe
I want to dial in specifically to the automatic version, as I imagine it will be a very popular configuration. As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, I tend to avoid auto-opening knives. But either my opinion is drifting, or I’ve stumbled upon another really excellent auto-opener with the Benchmade Immunity.
The Immunity Auto is really slick. It uses a strong and reliable crossbar lock to both secure the knife open and activate the auto-opening blade. While this works great on its own, Benchmade went a step further, adding a safety block to the back of the handle. Slide it forward, and there is no way to move the crossbar.
That means if the knife is shut, it’s locked shut, and you have to push the safety back to activate the crossbar, which allows the blade to flick open. Once open, you can push the safety forward, which in essence double-locks the blade open. No way it’ll accidentally close on your hand in this configuration.
The system works great once you have it figured out. From locked shut to open, I can operate the knife with one hand in about 2 seconds. It took a bit to get comfortable, but now I love the action.
It’s worth noting that I won’t just hand this knife to someone to inspect without telling them how to open it. The blade opens really fast and hard, enough so that it has a bit of recoil that could cause the unexpected user to drop it.
And if you opened it upside-down, I think you’d have a fair chance of cutting your hand. So, it does have a bit of a learning curve. Once you’re past that, this thing is fast, secure, and even fiddly.
Benchmade Immunity: Who Should Buy It
Cutting to the chase, I will admit that I love the design of the Immunity. It’s incredibly small and light yet packs a crazy amount of capability as a cutting tool.
Among the three versions, the Full Immunity, the Auto Immunity, and the Partial Immunity, I like the auto the best. The Full Immunity offers the same performance, but with a manual opening mechanism that many folks will prefer. It’s a matter of personal preference here, as well as legality in your home jurisdiction.
So, who should choose it? Well, this brings up the one big downside, and that’s the price. At a retail price of $300, the Immunity is a very expensive knife, especially for such a small piece. You have to really want this one.
And maybe you should. Having used many Benchmade knives over the years, I can see the Immunity becoming an instant classic. To me, it both carries and performs better than the venerable Bugout at a very similar weight. It has a much better and stiffer handle than the bugout and locks up stronger.
So, while it does cost a little more than Benchmade’s bestseller, hikers and others who value a small, practical tool should really put it into consideration.
Beyond that, Benchmade does categorize the Immunity in the tactical family of folding knives. And while it’s small, I can see why. It’s tough and feels ready for hard-use situations. An M4 steel blade, aluminum handle, and rock-solid lockup are a winning combination. I think the only downside in a tactical consideration is the small size.
Another general downside is that, while effective, the shortness of the blade will make it cumbersome for some tasks. Food prep with this knife will be a pain, for example. I loathe the idea of chopping a bunch of onions with a sub-3-inch Wharncliffe. So, if that’s among your expected uses, I’d look elsewhere!
But, outside food prep or other areas where a larger blade is important (bushcraft or survival come to mind), the Immunity is fabulous.
So, should you buy one? Well, if you have the cash and want a top-shelf folding knife with excellent steel and a wonderful Wharncliffe blade, I’d say go for it. There are certainly many other knives on the market for less money that will do a great job. But the Benchmade Auto Immunity is really a tiny wonder to behold.