Benchmade 490 Amicus, The Next Great EDC Blade? — SHOT Show 2016

The 490 Amicus, new from Benchmade.

The 490 Amicus, new from Benchmade.

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.

Not a bad looking knife, right?

Not a bad looking knife, right?  I love the lines of it.  Sleek and tactical!

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.

You can get a sense of how the knife fits in one's hand.  It's ergonomically sound.

You can get a sense of how the knife fits in one’s hand. It’s ergonomically sound.

I'm a big fan of the drop-point style blade.

I’m a big fan of the drop-point style blade.


Blade Length: 3.25”
Blade Thickness: .090”
Open: 7.77”
Closed: 4.52”
Weight: 2.88oz.
Handle Thickness: .48”
MSRP: $250

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.

Closed up.

All closed up.

The deep-pocket clip.

The deep-pocket clip.

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.

A few more pics just for show.

A few more pics just for show.

From a distance.

From a distance.

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Trip3 January 27, 2016, 6:11 pm

    I have a Benchmade Mel Pardue design automatic that I’ve carried everyday for over twenty years. About five years ago the spring gave up the ghost. Sent it back to Benchmade and they replaced the spring and sharpened the blade just like it was brand new.
    For nothing! Great knife, and great company in my opinion.

  • Brian January 27, 2016, 2:09 pm

    Except for one Buck, all of my knives are Benchmade. Their knives are expensive but you get what you pay for plus if you are a military, police, fire, or emt there is a very good discount you can register for.
    God Bless the USA!

  • Petey Raymond January 27, 2016, 12:00 pm

    “The steel of the blade is CPM-S90V, a premium stainless, with a 59-61 HRC.”
    How long does this type of stainless steel blade hold an edge, and how difficult is it to sharpen? Some of these metalurgical wonder blades just aren’t practical for everyday use.

  • BRASS January 27, 2016, 11:18 am

    The author asks if this knife is worth the money? That’s relative and an incomplete question without identifying who the maker is marketing it to.
    Is any knife worth $250 to me? No!
    Is it worth $250 to somebody? Sure.
    The only real question is whether it’s worth $250 to enough buyers to make it a money maker for the company?

    • Dan June 16, 2016, 6:20 am

      You’ve obviously never owned one of them, it is definitely worth the extra money! I used to buy cheaper knives (Gerber) because I didn’t worry about damaging them for the price. I finally took the plunge and bought a Benchmade 2 weeks ago and the knife is fantastic! I’ve purchased 2 more for myself and one for my dad for Father’s Day since then. They are well worth the extra investment!

  • Chris Denham January 27, 2016, 8:33 am

    “Why do I need 10 or 12 pocket knives when two or three will serve me just fine?”

    Seriously? Does SH stand for Susan Harriet? What man would make that statement!!??

    • S.H. Blannelberry January 27, 2016, 9:40 am

      LOL! That was great!

  • Gerry January 27, 2016, 7:43 am

    In newyork city that knife is still illegal to carry. In newyork state it should be fine.

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