I love Benchmade knives, but even I start to get a little heartburn when the prices start to get above $250 for them. Mostly because I am skeptical about the steels used, and unconvinced that they are that much better than some of their lower priced options.
So the Mini Freek (565) is a knife I have always wanted, but never bought — until I was offered a solid deal on a secondhand Mini Freek. I picked it up, and I fell in love with it almost immediately. It’s very good.
Specs and Such
I really like the sizing on this knife all around: 3” blade, 4.05” closed, and 0.545” thick (handle). Weighs in at 2.74oz, but given the overall size it feels lighter than that.
The pocket clip is reversible, the scales are carbon fiber and the clip is the standard mini-deep carry clip from Benchmade.
But the steel, the steel is CPM-S90V at about 59-61 HRC with a satin finish. This is my first go with S90V, and I am happily surprised by it. It feels like M390 for the most part, but I am having absolutely tremendous edge retention on this. I should note that the previous owner did a nice job reprofiling the edge, and that’s just something that is par for the course these days with many knives coming from Benchmade or Chris Reeve — annoying.
The execution, fit and finish, of this knife is better than any other Benchmade I have owned. It is spot on.
The ergonomics on this knife are very good. The scales are nicely shaped to fit very comfortably in my hand, and the jimping on the spine of the blade, with the subtle drop, creates an excellent leverage point for my thumb.
I really like using this knife: it’s sharp, it’s slicey, and it feels very comfortable in my hand. I have a lot of knives which feel good in my hand, I have a lot of knives which slice well, or retain the edge well. I have many of those.
But, what makes the Mini Freek stand out among those is that this is one of the few knives which encompasses all of these traits in one package: comfortable in hand, one hand opening, great edge retention, excellent slicing, EDC sized, and easy to carry in your pocket.
And that last point is what has caused the Mini Freek to knock the Hogue Deka almost completely out of my rotation. Because the Mini Freek easily slides in and out of my pocket, or my Arc Ripcord organizer. It doesn’t get hung up on things because it has weird edges on the thumbstud or the lock. It simply slips in and out, as it should.
And the entire knife feels premium. The carbon fiber scales do not have a single rough edge on them. They are smooth and well crafted. The red accents are a great add to the overall aesthetic. And the blade shape, while drop point, is a little different than most Benchmade blades and is thick enough to feel sturdy, while thinning down enough to keep the knife slicing nicely.
I’ve not only chosen this over the Deka most days, I choose it over a utility knife when cutting down boxes too. The hard part on this knife for me is that nothing alone is stand out, but rather, the entire package as one thing is what makes this knife so good.
For instance, S90V is nothing to get excited about, but coupled with the blade shape and design, it’s executed very well. The handle size, and carbon fiber scales, are nothing earth shattering but the sizing and shaping of them are nearly perfect. Put those things together, and yeah, it’s a pleasure to use this knife.
This is possibly my favorite Benchmade, or at least of the more practical offerings from them — it’s absolutely better than the Bugout if you don’t mind paying the premium for it. But that premium is a lot, at $340 MSRP, with a normal retail price under $310 — it’s not cheap at all.
That said, I sold my Bugouts because they were not compelling enough to be used more than my Sebenza. I then got the Deka and it was neck and neck with the Sebenza — now with the Mini Freek — the Deka is collecting dust.
I dig this knife.