Review of the Bradley Cutlery Alias II Knife
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been searching for some good EDC (every day carry) pocket knives. So far I’ve found one definite keeper in the Benchmade 960 – it really hits all the buttons of something I was looking for. But in my research, I ran across another interesting candidate in the Bradley Cutlery Alias II:
My initial interest in this knife was its frame lock mechanism. I have a larger liner lock knife (Buck Alpha Hunter) which I really like so I wanted to try a frame lock for an EDC pocket knife. Bradley Cutlery isn’t a brand name I was very familiar with, but I learned that Bradley outsources the production of this knife to Benchmade. Since I’ve been quite pleased with the Benchmade knives I’ve purchased, I was comfortable in giving the Alias II a try.
The Alias II was also of interest to because it’s so similar in design and function to the Chris Reeve manufactured Sebenza – a knife many consider to be the reference to which all other production frame lock knives are compared. Like the Sebenza, the Alias II has a blade constructed from S30V blade steel (a premium quality, specialty steel developed in cooperation by both Chris Reeve and Crucible Materials Corporation), and also has titanium handles. The Alias II has a blade length of 2.95″ – a more pocketable choice that the larger Alias I. Thanks to the titanium handles and hollowed out design, the Alias II weighs just 3.0 oz. and is practically invisible in pocket. The Alias II is available in several different configurations, but the one I purchased has a plain, flat ground edge on the blade, and anodized blue handles. I was pleased that I was able to find an example of the Alias II with the blue handles as it is a less-common and more difficult to source.
My impressions of this knife are quite positive. I was initially concerned that I might find the rather plain looking titanium handles boring, but the pictures you tend to see of this knife really don’t do it justice. The blue handles are particularly difficult to capture photographically, and can look gray or even black depending on the light. The blue handles also look really good with the anodized blue thumb stud and handle spacers.
I have a friend and fellow Rolex watch collector (the inimitable “Jocke”) who has taken several fantastic photos of his Rolex watches along side his Chris Reeve Sebenza knives, and I always admired them. In particular, I always thought the anodized blue thumb stud in Jocke’s Sebenza was fantastic, and the similar anodized blue elements on the Alias II is something I really appreciate on the knife.
Here’s a photo of the back of the knife – it features a brushed stainless steel pocket clip, that can be mounted on either end of the knife for tip up or tip down carry:
As you can see in the above photo, the thumb stud is mounted for right-handed users, but does appear to be reversible via the torx screw. Personally, I would have preferred to see ambidextrous thumb studs similarly to how my Bemchmade 960 is designed.
For a size reference, here’s a couple of photos of the Bradley Alias II next to my Benchmade 556 Mini-Griptilian:
The Alias II feels surprisingly good in hand, and inspires a great deal of confidence. So much so that I would not hesitate to use the knife in a defensive role if needed, despite it being smaller in size for what most would consider appropriate for a tactical/defensive knife. Phosphorous bearings are used at the blade axis point, which another design featured shared with the Sebenza that contributes to the premium feel and performance of the Alias II. It’s lightning fast on deployment using the thumb stud, and buttery smooth.
Like the other Benchmade knives I’ve purchased, the Alias II was reasonably sharp out of the box, but not impressively so, as is the normal case with Spyderco knives I’ve purchased. The day after I received my Alias II, I went “under the knife” for some rotator cuff repair surgery. So I have not yet had the opportunity to sharpen the knife. But I expect that it will be a bit of a challenge due to the hardness of the S30V blade steel. But I also expect the blade will hold an edge better and longer as well.
Currently the Bradley Cutlery Alias II retails for $230.00. While that’s certainly a premium price for an EDC pocket knife, it’s at least $100.00 cheaper than a comparably sized Chris Reeve Sebenza knife would cost. While I don’t have a Sebenza to compare with the Allias II, most who do indicate the Sebenza is worth the extra money. In many cases, the Sebenza is the “safe queen” while the Alias II is the working knife. I’m naturally curious about the Chris Reeve Sebenza given how impressed I am with the Alias II. But for know, the Alias II joins my Benchmade 960 as my two favorite EDC pocket knives.
As a supplement to this written photo review, I’ve also recorded a video review on the Bradley Alias II:
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John B. Holbrook, II
John B. Holbrook, II is a freelance writer, photographer, and author of ThruMyLens.org, as well as LuxuryTyme.com and TheSeamasterReferencePage.com. *All text and images contained in this web site are the original work of the author, John B. Holbrook, II and are copyright protected. Use of any of the information or images without the permission of the author is prohibited.