Benchmade Bugout 535bk-2

Discussion in 'Benchmade Knife Company' started by LostViking, Apr 22, 2020.

  1. LostViking

    LostViking Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 1, 2009

    I went out to grab the mail today, and my new Benchmade Bugout was in the box.

    I was almost a little reluctant to open the box.
    Having read many reviews and watched enough video reviews to fill a few hours.
    Some said it was a great little knife. Others said it was an over priced piece of garbage.

    It seems that is the way the internet works. Split 50/50% down the middle.
    I held off for ever on the purchase of my Benchmade 162 Bushcrafter.
    Mostly because of reviews stating the handle was blockly and poorly designed.

    Once I received that knife, I kicked myself for not grabbing one earlier. It has become one of my favorite woods knives. Lesson Learned.

    With the Bugout at least. I was smart enough not to wait that long.

    Some folks say it feels cheap. Others say it’s so light it feels like a toy.
    *So I reexamined my need parameters. What I wanted was a reasonable sized knife with a decent blade that could be carried unobtrusively in my pocket.

    Others talked about the mechanism feeling gritty. Some complained you couldn’t close it without a hefty hand snap.
    *So I reexamined my need parameters. What I wanted was a reasonable sized knife with a decent blade that could be carried unobtrusively in my pocket.

    Many said it was too expensive for a knife with scales you could flex with your thumb.
    *So I reexamined my need parameters. What I wanted was a reasonable sized knife with a decent blade that could be carried unobtrusively in my pocket.

    Some folks said the blade wasn’t centered when closed.
    *So I reexamined my need parameters. What I wanted was a reasonable sized knife with a decent blade that could be carried unobtrusively in my pocket.

    Moving forward with my parameters in mind, I ordered one.

    First impressions?

    ***First a disclaimer.
    I am a fixed blade guy. I am a woods guy. I am not a connoisseur of folder intricacies. I use my knives. What may drive other folks crazy, I may not even notice.
    What may be a major short coming in a folder, may not bother me at all.
    If the knife cuts what I need cut. I will most likely be happy!

    As I unboxed the knife with equal amounts of excitement and trepidation.
    I anxiously worked my way through the multiple layers. Shipping box, Benchmade box, Benchmade pouch, and assorted paperwork.

    Finally, I had the Bugout in my hand.
    It is light. I wanted light!
    It is thin, I wanted thin.

    Then, (and here is where it gets ugly) I opened the knife. It opened a tad stiff. Not gritty, not difficult. Just a tad stiff. (I can live with Stiff!)

    Now here is where it gets really bad. I mean really bad!
    I pulled the axis lock back and gave the Bugout my best internet inspired hand snap to close it. Much to my horror. The blade remained fully in the open position. “The Horror”

    I immediately called Benchmade Customer Service and complained. I informed the Better Business Bureau of my disgust. Finally, I sent a letter to Congress asking for a Special Prosecutor to look into Benchmade’s business practices.

    I sobbed openly. What a mistake this purchase was.

    Then, I took a few deep breaths and closed the knife with my spare hand.
    It closed fine. It was just a tad stiff! (I can live with Stiff)

    I figured with things going as bad as they were. I might as well finish things off and check the blade centering. It is spot on. I mean center. Center is like pregnant. Either it is or it isn’t.
    It is!

    Just for kicks I glanced at the centering on my Spyderco Manix ll. The Bugout is centered. The Manix is not. I feel so violated! I have been using the Manix for years with a blade that wasn’t centered when closed! How could I have been so ignorant??

    With my fury growing stronger by the minute. I examined the less important things so I could nit pick this knife to death. This is the internet after all!

    I checked the actual blade grinds. Huh, they seem spot on. Clean, symmetrical, and very nicely done.

    The coating also seems fine.

    The fit and finish of the scales appears to be done very well too.
    The jimping on top of the axis lock that runs toward the front of the slabs is noticeable, but not overly aggressive.

    The balance point is just in front of the Axis Lock.
    Giving it a nice neutral balance point.

    Did I mention this thing is light?

    Oh Crap, more horror!

    I can’t believe this.
    That little pocket clip.
    You know, the one that allows the knife to be carried so unobtrusively in your pocket. The screws (Bolts?) that hold the clip to the knife.
    They aren’t recessed. How can this be??
    They didn’t recess the screws!

    Then there is the steel. S30V? Who still uses this steel.
    S30V is so yesterday!
    I can’t even kid about the steel.
    My 162 is S30V. I have beat the sneakers off that knife.’
    It is no worse for the wear.
    I’m fine with S30V!

    That’s a pretty good handful of findings for an initial impression.
    But what does this all boil down to?

    So far, I am really liking this knife!

    It looks very cool. Being all blacked out.
    The balance is great. It feels great in the hand.
    The blade is centered.
    The blade is sharp and well ground.
    Right out of the box it push cuts curves in copy paper, and causes hair to leap off my arm.

    *As a side note.
    I have a Wilson Combat 1911. I cycled the slide on that piece 400 times before I ever put a round through it.
    Break in folks! Break In.

    I’m sure the blade on the Bugout will break in.
    Like a quality learher sheath, a bit snug in the beginning is a good thing.

    Final Thoughts;
    *I reexamined my need parameters. What I wanted was a reasonable sized knife with a decent blade that could be carried unobtrusively in my pocket.

    Benchmade Bugout=Homerun!
    KarlG, AKnife, Jhansenak47 and 10 others like this.
  2. buccilli15

    buccilli15 Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 29, 2013
    Thanks for a good and entertaining review!
    Huge bugout fan myself!
    LostViking likes this.
  3. YellowSwiss


    Sep 28, 2015
    Now that was a good show!! Thank you for that. I do love to read internet freak outs though...haha.
    LostViking likes this.
  4. Gizler00

    Gizler00 Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 19, 2006
    Great write up. Very entertaining. I was hesitant to grab a bugout myself. I handled one when the first came out at a shop near my house. And my initial impressions were that it was too small and thin. After a few years I finally picked one up and have been enjoying is so far. Looking forward to another review after you have used it for awhile.
    LostViking likes this.
  5. soc_monki

    soc_monki Basic Member Basic Member

    Apr 5, 2019
    Not a fan of the bugout. But I own 9 benchmades and yes, they need a break in. Sometimes an adjustment. Maybe need a sharpening. They're all centered or close to it. Same with my spydercos.

    I love my Benchmades. Especially my Super Freek. And customer service is 2nd to none. Enjoy the knife, it will serve you well!
    LostViking likes this.
  6. CSG


    Dec 15, 2007
    Interesting review. ;) I'd ordered the original Bugout and returned it but I was tempted by the new version. As to how they operate (like all the Benchmade knives I own - 3 Mini-Grips and 1 Grip), the least little tweaking of the pivot with a torx wrench does wonders. You can further adjust the three torx screws on the opposite scale. These are the screws along the top edge and just above the clip at the heel. If you're not sure how to do this, call Benchmade CS and they will walk you through it.

    While I returned the original, I've kept the 535BK2 and it has replaced my original Mini-Grip as my EDC. Operates 100% as to opening and closing. It was sharp but not as sharp as I prefer and a couple minutes with my Sharpmaker and the white rods did the trick. Just like the Mini-Grip before it, it will not get lots of use. Most of my daily needs are well covered by my SAK Ambassador. The light weight of the Bugout gives me a larger blade and handle than the Mini-Grip at an ounce less weight. Not expecting to use it for camping, etc.; I have heavier duty knives for any woodcraft needs (a couple of Fallkniven F1's).
    LostViking likes this.
  7. Halfneck

    Halfneck Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 30, 2005
    No pics?

    The Horror!
    LostViking and ironwagon like this.
  8. BMCGear

    BMCGear Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 4, 2014
    I think the moral of this story is: "Buy a knife based upon your needs and not what the internet hype tells you?"

    You're not in the minority with the Bugout. I would dare to venture it's one of if not Benchmade's best sellers right now. I've owned several and everytime I've sold them they've sold within 10 minutes of listing them. The Bugout is not a hated knife by the majority of Benchmade fans.

    I would say you're in the minority with the Bushcrafter though. :)
    mdrgn79 likes this.
  9. glockfire

    glockfire Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    I too recently picked up a Bugout, although I had Knivesplus install G10 scales out of the box.

    I was surprised by how small it is, such a light weight knife. In fact, it's the smallest knife I have ever owned. I always thought the PM2 was a tiny knife, but the PM2 dwarfs this thing. It flicks open well, but is a two handed closer for sure. Was it worth the $200 I paid for it (G10 Scales, Acid Stonewash on blade)? Only time will tell. What attracted me was the overall look, especially the very high grind on the blade and the streamlined design. I may actually end up with another, but this time with TI scales.

    Gizler00 likes this.
  10. jp0319


    Mar 25, 2006
    Entertaining review! I love my Bugout(s) I have three, I'll probably get more if Benchmade ever wakes up and adds the Bugout to its custom knife builder... My Bugouts are my most carried knife, they have in fact relegated my other knives to the knife drawer. Its really the perfect EDC knife.
    Gizler00 likes this.
  11. Gizler00

    Gizler00 Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 19, 2006
    I know I have already posted on this, but I am really enjoying the bugout. I dismissed it for a really long time. I always talk myself out of Benchmades because of the possible omega spring failure...which has never happened to me. (Knock on wood) But somehow I always manage to talk myself into getting rid of them because of what “could or might” happen.
    However, I am very happy that I gave the bugout a chance. It is an incredible slicer and very easy to pocket carry. It’s so lite that I sometimes check to make sure it is still in my pocket.
    I think the bugout is like the delica. So many people look at it and decide, it’s blade is to thin, the scales flex, and over all not strong enough for our needs. However, like the delica, this has proven to be a superior EDC knife. When in reality we are actually using our edc blades for things like opening mail, breaking down boxes, cutting up some food, stripping the occasional wire, cutting zipties, etc......... At least that’s me.

    Sorry for the long post guys.

    Heres mine.

    LostViking and mdrgn79 like this.
  12. dalefuller

    dalefuller Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 2, 2005
    I bought my Bugout when BladeHQ had the blacked out ones for $99. I figured I could sell it for $110 or so if I didn't like it. Well... I was "ambushed" by the knife when it arrived. I wasn't expecting to like it. Too small, too light, too thin...

    I've carried it everywhere since I got it a couple of months ago. I carry it clipped on my RFP so I can drop my larger folder or pocket FB down into the pocket. I almost always have a second knife with me, but the Bugout is what gets used 90% of the time now. I bought a CF-Elite Bugout as a backup to try the handle material. Doesn't feel any different to me, although it is a little firmer material than the Noryl or Grivory or whatever the original has.

    Anyway... both knives were in perfect condition when they arrived new from the dealers. The blades were centered and sharp, the lock bars were smooth both ways, the blade action was just where I like it... easy to move one-handed but they stayed where I put them until I moved them... no free-dropping stuff.

    I have to say... after a couple of months with this Bugout... I'm sure I could get along just fine if this were my only folder. I WON'T be testing that theory, but that's how satisfied I am with this little offering from BM. I agree with the OP, this is a home run in the light & slim EDC class. I hope BM has more plans for new versions of this knife.
    LostViking, mdrgn79 and Gizler00 like this.
  13. Cowboyfromhell666


    May 13, 2019
    My one and only is an Orange mini and I love it! Carried everyday for 2 months now and kicked my dragonfly out of my pocket. Once vendors replenish their stock, I really want a full size bugout with flytanium bronze or titanium scales installed with acid wash blade!
    LostViking and Gizler00 like this.
  14. Texaspoff

    Texaspoff Basic Member Basic Member

    Jul 29, 2018
    I picked up a BK-2 version a couple of weeks ago myself. So far no complaints. I had some chipping on a couple of my first Bugouts, but this one and a ranger green I had, which I sold did not have any chipping issue. I thinking it may have been a heat treat issue with the first ones, anyway. Now if I can find a set of factory ranger green scales I'll be happy.

    LostViking likes this.
  15. scottc3

    scottc3 Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 11, 2014
    Texaspoff, Cant's send PM because you need a basic paid account to have PM services on this board. So, I'll trade your CF-Elite scales for my factory Ranger Green 535 scales? I want to try BM's CF-Elite. Also have OEM blue 535 scales.
  16. scottc3

    scottc3 Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 11, 2014
    PM'd Texaspoff-
    LostViking likes this.
  17. AKnife


    May 10, 2009
    I caved and bought the regular blue bugout a few months ago. I had the same requirements, small lightweight knife with decent steel.

    I just picked up an M4 bailout because I love this design so much and wanted a more premium version.

    Love 'em both.
    LostViking likes this.

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