Man, I love a good fixed blade knife, but a great fixed blade knife — that’s something that always makes me happy. A while back, I decided I needed to revamp my entire fixed blade knife setup. I wanted to simplify it all, and seriously upgrade it.
I don’t use my fixed blades often, but when I do, I use them more as a large pocket knife, not something I am going to beat about to make a survival shelter with. But, I still want them to be able to do that — never can be too sure. My first upgrade was the Winkler SD2, an excellent knife. And I was set to buy another Winkler to round things out, when Benchmade released the Anonimus.
And it’s a really fun knife, and truly great.
Steel & Dimensions
First things first, this is a large knife. It’s a 5” blade length, with roughly a 4.37” cutting edge. The overall is 9.8” — and that’s without the sheath being taken into account. The blade is 0.11” thick, and is made from CPM CruWear at 62-64 HRC.
The blade is finished with the awesome gray cerakote that Benchmade uses on some steels, and the full tang knife has G10 OD Green scales mated on each side of it. It comes with a shitty Boltaron sheath, which I upgraded to an Architect Kydex sheath here.
A lot of hype around MagnaCut, and rightfully so, but CruWear feels nearly identical to me. The main difference is in sharpening it (like serious sharpening, not strop), and CruWear holds an edge slightly longer in my testing. Right now, CruWear and Magnacut are the only knife steels I am considering for new purchases. They are awesome.
All in all then, excellent materials being used here.
Carry & Use
Benchmade markets this knife for outdoors and survival use. It certainly is that with the drop point blade shape, but it also has strong tactical vibes to it. I wasn’t able to test this knife out in the field, so around my yard and house is all I have been able to do. (Though, many YouTube videos show it performing very well and holding up to a lot of abuse.) I’ll focus on the basics of handling the knife, as I can assure it does big knife stuff and is sharp.
Let’s start with the stock sheath. It looks really great, but it has a poor mechanism for attaching to your belt (large bit of nylon webbing). And it doesn’t have great feeling retention, and on top of all of that, it feels cheap. Moving to the Architect sheath improved things greatly, slimmed down the profile and is all around the change you should make right away.
The next point of contention with this knife is the handle. It’s rather thin. And though it is formed well, the scales stop just short of the tang, so that the metal tang rides just under a millimeter in protrusion from the scales. Some have said this drove their hands nuts when using the knife. I tested this by breaking down an absolutely absurd number of boxes, and never once had an issue. To my hand, this handle feels very comfortable, offers solid grip, and is shaped quite nicely. Could it be thicker? Yes, but the tradeoff then is carry bulk and I really like how slim this carries.
The next point is the huge finger guard which drops well below the cutting edge of the knife. It can look a little funky, and while I dig the look, I can see why people don’t. But the truth of the matter: it’s never in the way, and great to have. I’d rather lose a little style points to keep my fingers from being sliced open, and really this guard works tremendously well. I don’t see an issue with it at all, and when slicing apart boxes, or trimming branches from trees — it kept my hand nicely positioned without any conscious focus on my hand placement needed — a true test with me when it comes to fixed blades. The benefit of a fixed blade is to grab is quickly and it’s ready to go, while never being at risk of folding back on you.
In a lot of ways, using this knife feels like you are using a much smaller blade. It’s very easy to stay in control of the knife when doing fine cuts. The edge came very sharp, and I’ve only needed to strop to keep it there. CruWear is outstanding for this use case.
The geometry on the blade makes it an equally good knife for slicing through cardboard, as it is for popping small branches off a tree with a quick swing of the knife. I’ve loved using it, and it feels very thin and nimble, while not even remotely feeling weak.
(Benchmade notes it has a notch for a fire striker, which it does, I didn’t test it as I don’t really care about this ‘feature’. Others have tested it, with mixed feelings on it.)
After all that I have put this knife through, it still looks brand new (all the images you are seeing is after use) and the edge profile remains intact. All I’ve done is wipe it clean, and strop it here and there. It’s as sharp as any knife I own, and my sharpest fixed blade to date.
That’s the compelling reason to own this knife: for most practical outdoor usage, you won’t need to worry about the knife going dull. It is slim enough that it’s easy to carry with you, and still offers a sure grip, with a lot of cutting power behind it. I bought it to be my ‘survival’ knife should I need one, and it feels like overkill for even that purpose. Well done.
I don’t think this knife will be for everyone, but if you like the way it looks, then I think you will be very happy with it. At this price point, it’s a solid buy, but far from a value buy — the market is fiercely competitive for 5” knives in the sub $300 price bracket. That said, this is exactly what I wanted, and I am very happy with it. It has a great nod to tactical looking knives, while being practical for survival and outdoors use. CruWear has unseated 3V as my favorite big knife, heavy duty, knife steel — I’m a CruWear fanboy at this point.