Everyday Carry

Benchmade 535BK-2 Bugout

Bernard Capulong
Benchmade 535BK-2 Bugout

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How do you make a good EDC knife even better? For starters, give it the classic “all black everything” treatment. That’s what Benchmade did with its latest refresh of the ultralight, ultra-popular 535 Bugout. The fresh coat isn’t just for show, however, as the 535BK-2 leverages Benchmade’s new CF-Elite handle technology. The result is a new and improved Bugout that’s both stronger and lighter at the same time. It brings that low-profile tactical flair with its blacked out styling while keeping its original outdoors-focused, ultralight design and feature set, making it a compelling option for a wide range of EDCs.

The most recognizable change to the 535BK-2 is its fully blacked-out design, from the blade itself to the handle and hardware. It’s a welcome addition to the Bugout lineup alongside the outdoorsy, hi-vis blue on the original as well as the more urban-friendly olive drab variant. If you want a solid EDC knife to fit an all-black setup but don’t want or need the tactical features of the similar Benchmade Bailout, the 535BK-2 is for you.

Aesthetics aside the new CF-Elite handle on the 535BK-2 offers improvements to both strength and weight, ideal for an ultralight knife. Compared to the original Bugout’s Grivory scales that could flex under high pressure, this model’s carbon fiber-reinforced polymer handle boasts 50% higher rigidity while actually weighing less at 1.8oz compared to the original’s 1.85oz weight. The new Bugout still largely keeps the same great premium features of the original: a 3.24" long, premium CPM-S30V drop point blade (with a black DLC finish this time around), Benchmade's ambidextrous AXIS-lock, dual thumb-studs for quick manual deployment, textured handles for grip, a reversible pocket clip for multiple carry options, and a lanyard attachment point for retrieval and retention.

The Benchmade 535BK-2 stood out as a promising EDC at this past year's SHOT Show with its attractive styling and performance improvements to a tried-and-true, popular knife design. You can order one now for your blacked out EDC from Amazon at the link below.

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