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Benchmade AFCK
Folding Knife Review

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Benchmade 800 - AFCK

One of the most successful designs from Benchmade. AFCK (stands for Advanced Folding Combat Knife) was developed by former navy seal Chris Caracci in collaboration with Benchmade. Unfortunately, later on there were some problems between parties, and Caracci left BM team. You can check out Chris' forum - Chris Caracci's Urban Jungle at Bladeforums.
    The AFCK you see on the picture is not a factory model. Once again I've had to buy 2 knives to make one that I wanted. Standard AFCK comes with G10 scales and 154CM or M2 blade. In march 2000, as a part of BM knife of the month program, a special version of AFCK has been produced. ATS-34 blade and green/black aluminum handles. So, all I did was got 2 AFCKs, one knife of the month and another standard, old AFCK with round hole and switched blades. I like it this way much better. I've had several reasons for doing that:
a) I don't like ATS-34 steel; b) I like aluminum handles better; c) AFCK liners are titanium, so with G10 scales the handle itself has a noticeable flex. With aluminum scales there's no flex, and the knife feels a lot more solid. BTW, while disassembling/reassembling 2 knives I've noticed several changes in details. Mostly the screws. The older, standard AFCK had different type screws on the clip and stop pin. Newer, 2000 model AFCK had been unified apparently, as it has single type screws for everything except the pivot. I think that's better. At least you won't need 3 different tools to disassemble your knife.

Blade

 - Very well suited for both utility and self defense purposes, plus I find it visually attractive. Therefore, to me it has it all. At least what I need from it. AFCK blade geometry (and the handle too) is very efficient for stabbing and cutting as well. The point is long and strong enough to withstand significant abuse. I've tested mine on seasoned wood. AFCK easily snapped it out, leaving no visible marks on the blade. As of the edge holding I've said a lot about the M2 steel in my other reviews of BM knives, you can check them out in 710 McHenry & Williams and Nimravus reviews. In short I like M2 steel, and consider it a very good choice for the knives, for its toughness and wear resistance.
    The factory grind was not exactly what I wanted as usual :). The blade was shaving sharp, but rather rough, and the angle was higher then I'd like. The only thing I did, resharpened it at 21°. All it was half a hour sharpening job with my trusted Edge-Pro apex, and I got mirror polished, razor sharp edge. Shaves hair in both directios with no effort. And some complain that M2 steel is difficult to sharpen, huh :) 21° is still rather high for a folding knife, but still it performs well. Obviously it's more durable, just not as agressive as say 18° edge.

Handle

 - One of the best parts of this knife is the handle. Apart from that flex, it's just excellent. Long curved handle is equally comfortable for stabbing and cutting. I like it even better than BM 710 Axis and Emerson Commander handles, of which I hold high esteem. The well defined indexing groove and curved handle provide secure and comfortable grip, and prevent fingers from accidentally sliding down on the blade. Also, for prolonged use AFCK is one of the best, or probably the most user friendly blades I've ever handled. For test's sake I was cutting different materials non stop over 2 hours, yet I've never found any "Hot Spots". The handle flex I've mentioned above isn't really that much of an issue. For example, a lot of people say they don't care or consider it to be an issue at all. If you do care there are couple things: I've addressed the flex by replacing the G10 scales with aluminum, that might sound like an expensive option, and you may not be willing to void the warranty. Also, and the word out there is, that BM improved the AFCK later models 804, and as the owners say eliminating the flex was one of the improvements.

Lock

 - For a long time I wasn't buying AFCK simply because it was a liner lock. To me liner locks are somewhat outdated, and IMHO there are better choices out there today. AXIS, ARC, Rolling, frame locks would make a better choice. BTW, not everyone agrees with this statement, and there was a discussion on the Caracci forum AXIS AFCK. In that thread Chris Caracci stated that AXIS lock is less reliable than liner lock in combat situation, as it can be accidentally disengaged by the operator. Honestly, I don't understand how one would do that. As Mr. Caracci said, he demonstrated that to certain BM dealers on some knife show. Though there are no details in that thread. After some debates some folks agreed that the axis bar can be accidentally released if the operator is holding his thumb flat on the axis button. However in order to do that you have to depress the button really hard and then pull the knife back. Obviously that all will have any effect if the blade is stuck in some medium, otherwise why would the button move at all. However in that case[blade stuck in medium] it's not clear how it is going to close on you even if the lock is released. Anyway, having multiple reports of all sorts of liner lock failures, vs. zero axis lock reported failures I think it's safe to say that I'd be better off with Axis lock. That said, I have to mention that the liner lock developed by Mr. Caracci for the AFCK is considered by many to be the best and the most reliable liner lock ever.

P.S. And finally Benchmade did it :) By the end of November 2001 they are going to release the first run of AFCK in AXIS. And what's also very exciting is that they are using D2 steel in the new AXIS AFCK. After 3 years of non stop requests from their customers they did it! Well, that's not the fastest reply there is, but better late then never :) What's not very exciting if they'll use BT2 on that knife. Either satin finish, or Boron Carbide would've been so much better. Well, let's see. I wouldn't miss this one for a mil :)

Specifications:

  • Model: #800 AFCK(Advanced Fighting Combat Knife);
  • Steel: ATS-34/154CM stainless steel, 59-61 HRC, or M2 60-62 HRC;
  • Blade: 99mm (3.9")
  • Thickness: 3.175mm (0.125");
  • OAL: 234mm (9.2") Closed: 135mm (5.3");
  • Handle: : Anodized green/black Titanium scales/titanium liners;
  • Lock Mechanism: Modified locking-liner;
  • Weight: 116g (4.10oz.);
  • Warranty: Limited Lifetime;
  • Acquired - 12/2001 Price - 120.00$

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Last updated - 03/24/14