Bugout By Benchmade Hands-on Review 2020

I recently got my hands on a Bugout by Benchmade and had to write a review. This was a knife I had been interested in for a while, had my assumptions about, but was super interested to see if my assumptions were correct.

Looking at the various reviews of the Bugout online, I noticed the overwhelming majority of them were positive. People just couldn’t say enough about the knife. Although, the negative reviews of the bugout had a similar grievance: it feels like cheap plastic.

So, which is it? Is it a high quality EDC everyone should have in their collection? Or, is it an overpriced piece of metal and plastic? Here are my personal thoughts and opinions on the knife as I unbox it.

See the most recent prices for this knife on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3nj63ij?tag=legionary-20

Bugout by Benchmade Unboxing

Bugout 535GRY-1 by Benchmade

Packaging was pretty much as expected, except it was a little sturdier than the average knife with a touch more “class” on the package design. This is easily a box you’d want to keep around for storage of your knife.

On the side of the box, you can easily see what knife is inside, and see all various signifiers Benchmade gives it. This particular Bugout is designated as the 535GRY-1. It is the gray knife with the black blade and clip.

Unboxing of the Bugout by Benchmade with the carrying sack.

Upon opening the box, you are greeted by the knife concealed in a soft carry pouch with the “Benchmade” logo on the front. It has a draw string to secure the knife in the pouch, and even though I probably wouldn’t use it often, I do have to say it is a nice touch rather than just seeing the knife laying in the box by itself.

The only other items in the box is a small users guide that talks about how to care for your knife and the “Benchmade” promise. As well as a little cardboard tab that was wedged in the clip of the knife letting you know the clip is installed on the right side of the knife, but can easily be mounted on the left.

Exploring the Bugout

Bugout 535GRY-1 Dark Blade

Removing the knife from the pouch, I quickly realized how light this knife truly is. I knew before I got it that it only weighed in at 1.85 ounces, but I was shocked to feel how light it actually was in my hand.

One of the first things I noticed about the knife was the rather small deep carry clip. I really like this. I hate pocket knives that stick far out of the pocket, or that have 3 inch long clips.

Give the light weight of this knife, this deep carry clip is more than enough to secure the knife while only leaving as little of the knife visible.

The Bugout Blade

Bugout by Benchmade Black Blade Plain Drop-point

The blade on this particular model of the Bugout is called the “Plain Drop-Point” with the Gray Blade Steel finish. In my opinion, this color looks Amazing with the accents from the green handle and black hardware.

I personally prefer dark blades to silver blades. I think they make a knife look better. Obviously, the functionality of the knife hasn’t changed, but the feel AND look of a knife is important when it’s something you’ll likely be using on a daily basis.

The gold spacers and thumb handle add a nice accent color to break up the green/black/gray. The blade steel is made from CPMS30V (58-60 HRC). CPMS30V is a hardened stainless steel that is wear and corrosion resistant.

In non-technical terms, the chemistry on this particular steel makes it harder and better for cutting than most other comparable steels.

If you want to dive into the weeds and see everything there is to know about the steel this blade is made from, check out this Wikipedia article.

The blade thickness only comes out to 0.09 inches, or 2.29mm. This is thin for your average pocket knife, but it doesn’t feel fragile in the slightest. Moving the blade back and forth I’m positive it’s hard enough to take whatever you throw at it.

Bugout Axis Locking Mechanism

Benchmade Bugout Axis Locking Mechanism

The blade locking mechanism on the Bugout is the standard Benchmade Axis system. This lock is extremely sturdy and reliable which is the reason it’s used on almost all of their knives.

The knife can easily be opened one handed and have a confident “click” when it reaches the fully open position. The blade is not moving anywhere. I tried my best to get a little play side-to-side or back-to-front but it would not budge.

The circular pegs to close the knife allow it to be closed when they are pulled down. There is spring tension keeping them in the upright position. The pegs go all the way through the knife so they can be operated from either side. They are easy enough to pull down that it’s possible to close the knife one handed as well.

The Bugout Handle

Bugout Grivory Green Handle

The handle of the Bugout is where I was most concerned before I actually put my hands on it. This knife is not cheap. Therefore, I didn’t want to pay this much money just to have a knife that felt like cheap plastic in my hands.

I can say I was wrong. Plain and simple. This handle feels great. It’s the perfect mixture of lightweight material with enough grip and stiffness to feel solid in the hand. I heard reviews of people saying it would bend when they squeezed the handle from the sides with the blade in the open position. I could get almost no movement from the handle doing this. At least not enough to worry me about it’s reliability in the slightest.

The tactile feel of the grip on the blade gave it a higher quality feel. Even though Grivory (the material of the Bugout handle) is a fancy term for Polymer, which is just a fancy term for plastic, the handle didn’t feel like cheap plastic. It has almost a “grippy” texture to it rather than a smooth texture you’d expect from a plastic handle.

The handle also includes a lanyard hole in the lower righthand corner. I personally have never attached a lanyard to my knives, but considering it’s a feature they add to most knives, I’m assuming some of you out there enjoy doing that.

Bugout Spacers

Closing Thoughts on the Bugout by Benchmade

Overall, I was extremely impressed with this knife. I think of daily carry knives very similarly to my daily concealed carry handgun; I want something that is capable for when I need it, but that doesn’t interferer with my day-to-day life.

Life handguns, with knives, it’s often the heaver, sturdier knife that feels the best in our hands, opens the smoothest, and looks the best. Although, when it comes to sticking it in your pocket each day, you don’t always want to feel the weight of the knife, have it sticking out the top of your pocket, and always be pumping things into it. Or worse, have it digging into your side.

The Bugout finds the perfect middle ground in my opinion. With a closed length of 3.24″ and an open length of 7.46″, it is the perfect size to carry without feeling it, but had the blade length to accomplish most tasks you can throw at it.

The handle length and width feels perfect in my hands, and which the solid lock of the Axis mechanism, I know the knife can stand up to the workload.

It will be interesting to see how this knife holds up overtime, but it has officially made it to the top of my list for an EDC pocket knife.

See the most recent prices for this knife on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3nj63ij?tag=legionary-20

Benchmade - Bugout 535 EDC Manual Open Folding Knife Made in USA, Drop-Point Blade, Plain Edge, Coated Finish, Green Grivory Handle, Made in the USA


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Matthew Osborn

Matt is an entrepreneur who has created and successfully exited multiple companies and brands. Now, he dedicates his time to Legionary, where he produces content on guns, family, and freedom.

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