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Benchmade Contego Axis Lock Black Serrated Folding Knife Review

The Benchmade Contego Axis Lock Black Serrated Folding Knife is a tactical knife, so you know what you get into when you buy one of these. Contigo means “to protect” in Latin and that is exactly what this knife was designed to do. While it looks aggressive, it can only handle so much pressure - that’s why it is usually used for outdoor projects or self-defense instead of hunting or killing prey. However, do not mistake it for a toy - if you want a letter opener, better stay away from this one.

Blade

The blade opens with a flick of the hand, and that is why the majority of customers love it. Moreover, this feature is adjustable to your preference, in case you’d like a blade with a stern closing. It is made from CPM-M4 Powder Steel (62-64 HRC), measuring 3.98’’ in length and with a thickness of only 0.156’’. That steel is tough enough to cut through glass, not exactly necessary if you take into consideration the fact that the knife comes with its own glassbreaker, The serrated part is really helpful when it comes to cutting hard-to-breakthrough materials such as a cable or hard plastic. Some reviewers mentioned even using it to aid with their woodcutting! The blade is adorned with a beautiful black Cerakote coating to give it that elegant look.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • The grip on the G10 handle has been designed to help with rough work in not so favourable conditions (ideal for fishermen or alpinists).
  • ​The handle thickness - 0.55" and weight - 5.92oz suggests this would be better used by someone used to knives, and not a beginner. That being said, when the right grip is found, the knife founds its place easily in the palm of your hand.
  • ​Its durability and quality materials recommend it for a long-use. Some were happy with it after a few years while others were planning to leave it as a heritage to their grandsons.
  • ​As it comes out of the box, the blade need not be sharpened, and it keeps its sharpness even after continuous use. Therefore, if you’re not familiar with sharpening methods, this knife could be your best bet. I would not recommend sharpening it without the help of an expert or someone who has had previous experience with this type of blade as the steel is one of the best out there and it’ll have no qualms in splitting an inexperienced hand even as “blunt” as you think it is.
  • The sharp edge can get through a variety of materials from plastic to rubber and thin wood. It wasn’t designed to be used as a cutting tool, but more as a tactical defence one; with that in mind, this is no one-use disposable item. Its sharpness ensures a long and practical life.

Cons

  • The knife is not meant to be carried in a pocket or hanged by the belt as it does not come with a key-ring or some sort of knob. But this is what makes it a great knife for campers and such, as you can stick it in a fitted pouch in your backpack.
  • ​Its rough edges, some users complained, might come as a strain on your pocket’s lifespan, as it does tend to be a bit bulky for regular pants such as cargos or jeans. Using it with skinny jeans or other sorts of fitted pockets is obviously out of the question but this way, at least it won’t get lost easily if you have designated a safe space where you know you can always reach it with ease.
  • ​The small blade might be a problem for some, as it can easily slide if you are not careful. On the other hand, being compact and the fact that you can decide the angle where you want it to stay open makes it a precision tool that can fit through tiny spaces or be used at weird angles.
  • The fact that it has a uniform black coating doesn’t make it a recommended item for trips in the wild, as this flaw makes it possible for it to be lost in the dark. But if you’d rather use it for self-defence in the city, the dark colours make it easily concealable and gives you a heads-up on your attacker. It’s hard to be pragmatic about these things but better to be safe than sorry.

Benchmade Contego Folding Knife Video Review


My experience

I did purchase this knife in order to use it for my camping trips and while I did not use it to cut wood or other similar grand endeavours, I am more than happy to report it did its job flawlessly. At some point we even had to cut through a thick rope in order to build a hammock for two and I was impressed by the smooth, clean cut it produced, without much effort on our part. While someone with small or fine hands might find it a bit rough on the edges (and even risk burns by using it too much) I doubt people will buy this as a saw replacement. As a quick solution for various packages (especially those designed to only be cut through with industrial scissors) I was more than happy with its small but sharp blade. One thing I would not recommend it for is cooking, as we tried to cut meat with it and it was completely not prepared for the juice and texture of it, but it did manage to go through the rubber protection gloves I had for carrying cables.

We also experimented with its glass breaking part just out of sheer curiosity and it did break a window glass with the same ease it broke through an old TV.

All in all, I would definitely recommend this to someone who’s into extreme sports, but not hunting or fishing, as you might need more than one knife for that. As a casual camper with a knack for beautifully done blades, I am quite happy with the small, practical one that proved to be of good help when needed.


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