I have a confession to make. I don’t own a Benchmade knife. It’s not because I don’t like them, it’s just a matter of resources and my minimalist mindset. I have only so much money in my bank account and I like to avoid redundancy. Yes, sure, have a backup knife, but avoid a collection. Why? Well, why have stuff that you’re never going to use? Why do I need 10 or 12 pocket knives when two or three will serve me just fine?
That’s a conversation for a different day. What I mean to say is that my status as a non-Benchmade owner just might change. At SHOT Show 2016 I had the opportunity to pick up and hold the new 490 Amicus. To say I was impressed, well, that’s an understatement.
The company pitch for the 490 is “the speed and function of AXIS Assist, the convenience of a flipper.” It’s a pretty good pitch because, well, it’s true. The 490 is a solidly built, drop-point blade that deploys with a simple touch of the flipper — on the spine of the handle — thanks to Benchmade’s assisted mechanism known as AXIS Assist. It’s super easy to use (none of the fumbling, difficulty or pain that I experience using a thumb stud), and it locks firmly into place thanks to the integrated safety.
The steel of the blade is CPM-S90V, a premium stainless, with a 59-61 HRC. Handles are black anodized 7075 T-6 aluminum. It comes with a reversible tip-up deep-carry pocket clip. In short, it’s constructed from strong materials and is perfectly suited for every day carry.
Blade Length: 3.25”
Blade Thickness: .090”
Handle Thickness: .48”
For someone like myself who carries an automatic, the 490 is a great option because it opens almost as fast and is not as widely banned as autos. See, I can’t bring my auto back to my home state of New York. In Kentucky, where I currently live, an auto is perfectly legal. But in the home of Bloomberg, well, automatic knives are prohibited unless one is hunting, fishing or trapping with a requisite license. The 490 would be a perfect go-to for trips back to the Empire State.
With a retail price point of $250, the 490 Amicus is at the higher end of the folder market (without considering the various customs that are out there). Is it worth the money? Well, I hope to have one in soon for a review to definitively answer that question. But solely based on Benchmade’s reputation, and from what I saw and what I felt at SHOT Show 2016, it sure seemed like a good buy.