It’s Time to Add a Benchmade Knife to Your Collection
They're launching 14 new knives in 2021. These are our four favorites.
Whether they use them to open packages, whittle sticks or just like to collect them, lots of guys love knives. I’ve been obsessed with them since my dad gave me my first pocket knife as a Christmas present when I was eight.
Oregon-based Benchmade has been making some of the best American-made knives you can buy for over 30 years. Their knives consistently receive positive reviews, and we recently named the Bugout model our pick for best folding knife.
This year, Benchmade is launching 14 new models. Some are variations of classic designs, while others are entirely new to the collection. Benchmade recently sent me most of their new models to play around with, and I also got a chance to sit down with two of their product line managers, Anthony and Vance, to learn about the new blades in detail. Check out the video below to see nine of the knives, or read on to find my four favorites.
601-211 Tengu Flipper
Benchmade’s Gold Class is an excuse for designers to play around with the most premium materials and unique colorways. Gold Class knives come in limited quantities, so if you want one, you have to scoop it up fast. Designed by famed knifemaker Jared Oeser, certain variations of the 601 can be purchased year-round. But for this special Gold Collection edition, Benchmade crafted the blade from eye-catching Swedish forged Damasteel in the Bifrost color. To complete the Scandanavian theme, designers added icy blue accents and a black and white marbled carbon fiber handle. It’s the perfect collector’s blade or a gift for a really really good friend.
The Bugout is one of the most popular everyday-carry knives and has been in Benchmade’s line since 2017. Instead of spoiling a good thing, this year they launched two new variations with the same designs as the original but slightly new materials. My favorite is the 535-3, which has a sleek carbon fiber handle and blue accents. A new spacer in the rear has a lanyard hole and upfront, the blade has been upgraded to super-premium CPM-S9OV stainless steel. Overall it’s the same Bugout you know and love, now made with the absolute best materials.
533BK-2 Mini Bugout
I love big knives, but let’s be honest, for most everyday activities, I don’t really need a four-inch blade. That’s why I’ve become a big fan of the Mini-Bugout. It shares many of the same features as its older brother, like a high-quality S30V steel drop-point blade, deep carry clip, and manual AXIS-lock, but in a smaller package. It weighs just an ounce and a half, mostly thanks to the strong but lightweight CF-Elite (read: high-quality plastic) handle that’s scaled for better grip. The blade is a very usable 2.8-inches, but when folded, the entire knife is less than four inches.
945 Mini Osborne
The Osborne family of knives has been around for years, but Benchmade only recently introduced a mini version to the lineup. It’s probably my favorite of all the new knives. It’s slim and lightweight with a deep carry clip that makes it perfect for keeping in your pocket every day. The handle is green anodized aluminum with purple accents— a nice contrast to the ubiquitous black knife without being too flashy. At just under three inches, the reverse Tanto blade might be a little small for hardcore outdoor use but it’s plenty for most people.
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