OTF knife review - "Benchmade" Infidel

Dirty Dog

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Today I'm going to review a recent purchase; a "Benchmade" infidel. Some might wonder why I put that word in quotes, and the answer is simple. It's not a real Benchmade. It's a Chinese clone.

Benchmade, as knife fans are likely aware, is the Ferrari of knives (except they don't catch fire nearly as often...). My Auto Stryker has been my first choice for a carry knife for years. And I have long been interested in the Infidel. It has a 3.91" D2 double edged dagger blade with a double action OTF design. The handle is anodized aluminum. New, the Infidel had an MSRP of $300. It is currently out of production, and if you can find one, you can expect to pay more like $500. So when an ad popped up on my feed for a $114 Infidel, I thought I'd check it out.

The retailer, who calls themselves Benchmadeshop, is in China, so delivery took about 3 weeks. The box and package inserts look quite genuine, and I suspect were essentially lifted from Benchmade. Like the original, the knife comes with a velcro-closed belt pouch.

The knife itself is surprisingly good. It arrived with a shaving edge and an excellent point. The grinds are clean and even, and the details match those of the original. There is very, very little wobble in the blade when extended. OTF knives are notorious for wobble, and having a blade this tight is one sign of quality. The blade says D2 on it, but I cannot verify that it really is. I've cut some cardboard and such, and the edge seems completely unaffected so far. The knife is light. I don't have a scale, but the original is 6oz, and this is going to be right about there too. The handles have the sandpaper feel of anodizing, not paint. The action is crisp and solid, and the fitment of all the parts is excellent.

One thing that most clone makers mess up is the lettering. The original has "Infidel" printed on the belt clip. On the original, this is done with an intentionally weather-beaten font. Most clones use a clean font. This one does not. It matches the original in every way, except one.

The blade features the Benchmade name and logo on one side, and the designers name (McHenry) and patent number on the reverse. The patent number is actually correct, but instead of "Patent No. xxxxx" or "Pat. No. xxxxx" it says "PateNo. xxxxx".

Overall, despite the stigma of being a clone, this is an excellent knife. One I wouldn't hesitate to carry. I'd hesitate to carry a $500 original.


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Bill Mattocks

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I don't know if you are aware of it, but there is a FB group (of course, and probably way more than one) for Chinese clone knives. I discovered it recently when I bought a bunch of super-cheap pocketknives on Amazon, primarily because I kept misplacing my old Spyderco knife I keep near the front door for opening Amazon packages! I believe them all to be Chinese, and they all claim various types of uber-hard or super-sharp blade material, etc. I'm not even hip to all the latest types. I like knives but I'm not a 'knife guy' if you know what I mean. I have to say, they've all be really nice. Brands I've purchased have been "Grand Way," "Sanrenmu," "Mossy Oak," and "Ganzo." I've also purchased an inexpensive Gerber Paraframe as a reference. I love them all, can't really tell any difference in quality in them. But I'm not an expert. Maybe others would object to them. The cost for each was less than $25.

Anyway, looking around on FB led me to one of these groups, and they all talk about various clones like the one you're discussing, mostly purchased on Alibaba or similar Chinese websites. Prices are pretty amazing.

Speaking only for myself, I don't mind buying a no-name clone that isn't a counterfeit. That is, if they took the look of another blade and made it their own, well, I'm fine if it doesn't say "XYZ" famous brand on it. I'm more concerned with the quality. I like cheap mechanical watches, but I don't need them to say Rolex on them, if you see what I mean. But that's just me.

I'm really a big Spyderco guy since I used to live in Golden, CO, and I could drop by their company store all the time. I have some that are considered expensive collector's pieces now, but were fairly cheap then. I haven't bought any in a long time, though; they are unfortunately more than I want to spend on a blade now.
 
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Dirty Dog

Dirty Dog

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So I thought I would update this. I've been carrying and using this knife regularly over the last eight months.
Overall, it's held up pretty well until this week. I did have one screw work it's way out and get lost. No big deal, I have screws. a #6 torx screw is pretty easy to replace. The blade has held an edge really well, and the grip still looks excellent; the color has not rubbed off.
Yesterday, however, it started failing to extend and retract properly. Now, springs in all automatic knives (and all other springs, too, I guess) lose tension over time. I've had other automatic knives that needed to be opened on occasion and tweaked. They generally use a coil spring, and often you can just open the knife, stretch the spring a bit, and put it all back together. Benchmade sells replacement springs for their knives.
But eight months seems awfully quick. I replaced the spring in my Auto-Stryker, but I'd carried it for 4-5 years at that point.
So, I will pull it apart next week and see what the problem is.
I also had the good fortune to locate an ACTUAL Benchmade Infidel. I should have it next week, so I will be able to do a side-by-side comparison and then update this again.
 

Rich Parsons

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Hi DD,
I like the Emerson Wave, now being used on Kershaws and some other clones.
I find that with the reduced price, the washers and content is just not the same for edge retention, and smoothness of opening.

That being said, thank you for the update :)
I hope the actual one works as well or better. :D
 
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Dirty Dog

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Hi DD,
I like the Emerson Wave, now being used on Kershaws and some other clones.
I find that with the reduced price, the washers and content is just not the same for edge retention, and smoothness of opening.

That being said, thank you for the update :)
I hope the actual one works as well or better. :D
I assume it will, but I try to keep an open mind. I think the knockoff is actually a pretty good knife for the money. I paid $114 for it. A real Benchmade Infidel is more like $600. If you can find them. They're mostly made of unobtainium.
I've also got a Microtech Ultratech OTF knife that I'm going to put in the test. This model is about $300, so I'll have a reasonable price spread.
 

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When I replaced one of the bolts on my Benchmade Nakamura it was much harder to open. I called the company and they suggested applying lock tite to the threads and not titening the bolt as much. This fixed the problem entirely.
 
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Dirty Dog

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When I replaced one of the bolts on my Benchmade Nakamura it was much harder to open. I called the company and they suggested applying lock tite to the threads and not titening the bolt as much. This fixed the problem entirely.
Locktite is always a good idea. I use one or another flavor on virtually everything.
 
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Dirty Dog

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So I pulled the knockoff apart to see why it's been failing to open or close properly.
Turns out that although the blade is pretty well done, the mechanism is total crap. The springs are really really weak and flimsy. I applied a little stretch, but was not able to restore any of the tension. I suspect it's just rotten metal. The knife still looks good, and will function, but continues to have intermittent failures to open or close, requiring time and the use of both hands to get the blade and spring to re-engage.
So. Revised opinion after eight months of daily carry. It's a good knife for the price, but it is NOT one that I will rely on in any situation in which opening the knife quickly and one handed (e.g. cutting someone out of a wreck) is important. If you want an OTF but don't expect to carry it or rely on it in a crisis, the price ($114) is certainly better than the $500+ for a real Benchmade. If you can even find one.

I'll see if I can do a comparison between the real Benchmade Infidel and the Microtech Ultratech soon.
 

Brian King

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So I pulled the knockoff apart to see why it's been failing to open or close properly.
Turns out that although the blade is pretty well done, the mechanism is total crap. The springs are really really weak and flimsy. I applied a little stretch, but was not able to restore any of the tension. I suspect it's just rotten metal. The knife still looks good, and will function, but continues to have intermittent failures to open or close, requiring time and the use of both hands to get the blade and spring to re-engage.
So. Revised opinion after eight months of daily carry. It's a good knife for the price, but it is NOT one that I will rely on in any situation in which opening the knife quickly and one handed (e.g. cutting someone out of a wreck) is important. If you want an OTF but don't expect to carry it or rely on it in a crisis, the price ($114) is certainly better than the $500+ for a real Benchmade. If you can even find one.

I'll see if I can do a comparison between the real Benchmade Infidel and the Microtech Ultratech soon.
Well, the good thing when a blade fails during daily use...is it is better to find out a blades weakness prior to emergency need.

Thanks for the review and updates.
Regards
Brian King
 

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