EDC Excellence: The Benchmade 533 Mini Bugout Folding Knife

If you’re a knife knut, the worst feeling in the world — without question — is standing in front of that grey plastic bin at a TSA checkpoint, tossing in your phone, your wallet, your watch, your belt, and your shoes…and feeling your EDC knife still in your pocket.

That’s when the horror dawns on you. The pit opens up in your stomach. At that point, it’s too late. You’re about to lose your knife. It’s a gonner. That’s what happened to me. That’s how I lost my beloved 533BK-2 to Homeland Security’s finest.

I have a lot of knives, so it isn’t as if I was going to be left blade-less after involuntarily surrendering my favorite EDC knife. But the pain of handing it over to one of the blue-shirted gropers will stay with me for the rest of my days.

I instantly knew that I’d replace it. I didn’t have a choice…I had to, because the Benchmade Mini Bugout is the knife I carry more than any other blade I own.

When it came time to do that, I was thrilled that the Mini Bugout is one of the models that Benchmade now lets you customize┬ávia their incredibly cool configurator tool. Even if you don’t intend to order one, it’s just all kinds of fun to play with (you can do that here).

I didn’t go crazy with mu custom model. I got a satin S30V blade with OD scales, black screws and Axis lever and orange thumbstuds and standoffs. Nothing too blingy, just understatedly attractive and utilitarian. What an everyday carry knife should be.

By now, the praises of the Mini Bugout have been sung far and wide. It’s wonderfully small and pocketable, virtually the perfect size for an EDC knife. It has a 2.82-inch blade (which keeps you legal just about everywhere you go) and it’s 3.7 inches closed.

The standard stamped deep carry clip provides the ideal amount of retention and keeps the Mini Bugout riding low, virtually disappearing in your pocket.

Also adding to the Mini Bugout’s EDC greatness is the fact that it weighs a mere 1.5 oz.

That’s amazingly light. It’s accomplished thanks to the Grivory (thermoplastic) scales Benchmade uses that have no liners. Instead, they’re molded with an internal grid design that gives them strength and rigidity.

As you’d expect from a Benchmade knife, the 533 has the classic (and now much-copied) Axis lock, one of the greatest knife lockups in the history of knife design.

The Mini Bugout is also slim and feels great in the hand.

The scales have molded-in texturing that keeps them secure in your hand even when wet. And the classic drop point blade is perfect for just about any job you’ll want your EDC knife to do.

The S90V blade comes razor-sharp out of the box, retains an edge well, and isn’t terribly hard to sharpen after a lot of use. It slices beautifully and does a good job of resisting corrosion.

The American-made Mini Bugout isn’t inexpensive. You’ll pay about $150 for the base model 533 and it goes up from there. But this is a pocket knife that you can and likely will carry every day of your life. You’ll use it, you’ll love it, and you’ll hand it down to one of your lucky offspring. If, that is, you don’t stupidly leave it in your pocket as you go through airport security.

Specifications: Benchmade Mini-Bugout Folding Knife

Blade Length: 2.82 inches
Blade Steel: CPM S90V
Blade Thickness: .09 inch
Open Length: 6.49 inches
Folded Length: 3.7 inches
Lock: Axis
Scales: Grivory thermoplastic
Weight: 1.5 oz


One Response

  1. TSA should be required to return all items to the people, upon and at time of their request/demand and it should not be a long tedious process, from which they confiscated them in cases such as you outlined when that person is no longer in the airport or on a flight or boarding a flight. It is not OK for a government agency to simply confiscate things from people and keep them or destroy them because a government agency says so. It is not OK to, in effect, ‘suspend’ or violate the Constitution because TSA says so to confiscate and keep or destroy property of others. People making simple mistakes of ‘forgetfulness’ in trying to board an aircraft for travel purposes does not rise to the level of ‘terrorism’ or ‘crime’ nor does it rise to the level of ‘permanent confiscation’ of property from a person.

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