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Benchmade Mini Bugout Knife Sharpness Testing


The Benchmade Mini Bugout is a small, lightweight EDC. It features CMP-S30V steel hardened to a 58-60 HRC.

Knife Description

The Benchmade Mini Bugout is the smaller version of the popular Bugout model. The smaller size makes it even easier to carry and works great for backpacking when lightweight gear is important. Our Mini Bugout features a satin finish with an orange handle. We liked the orange handle for maximum visibility.

Edge Description

The edge came with grinding marks visible to the naked eye. It appeared to be sharpened on a belt and then polished. The polishing did not remove the grinding marks but did remove any trace of a burr at the apex of the edge.

Specifications:

Manufacturer
Benchmade
Model
533 Mini Bugout
Country of Manufacture
USA
Intended Use
EDC
Blade Style
Drop Point
Blade Length
2.82"
Blade Width
0.83" (measured)
Blade Thickness
0.90" (measured)
Total Weight
1.5 oz
Published Angle
Not stated.
Calculated Angle
Not tested.
Steel Type
CPM-S30V
Rockwell Hardness
58-60 HRC


Out of the Box Sharpness Testing

Our first test is to measure the sharpness of the knife, as it was manufactured. We tested it right out of the box, after just a visual inspection of the knife.

Benchmade Mini Bugout Initial Sharpness Test Results
Test Date Heel Sharpness Mid Blade Sharpness Tip Sharpness Average Maximum Deviation
8/5/2022 347 189 301 279 158

We tested the Benchmade Mini Bugout on our Edge On Up Industrial Edge Tester.

Description of Sharpness Test Results

The Benchmade Mini Bugout sharpness test results were roughly what we expected with this type of knife and the sharpening done at the factory. The sharper (189 grams) test results in the middle of the blade indicate that the knife has the potential to be quite sharp. The maximum deviation between the sharpest and dullest part of the knife indicates that more careful sharpening will improve the overall sharpness.


Stropping the Benchmade Mini Bugout to Improve the Edge

As part of our sharpness testing process, we strop our knives to make sure we're demonstrating how sharp the knife can be with minimal additional effort. We only do a quick 1 minute stropping at this stage.

We stropped the Mini Bugout on the Sharpening Supplies Double-Sided Paddle Strop.

Sharpness Test Results after Stropping
Test Date Heel Sharpness Mid Blade Sharpness Tip Sharpness Average Maximum Deviation
8/5/2022 210 166 261 212 95

After stropping, we tested the Benchmade Mini Bugout again on the Edge On Up Industrial Edge Tester.

After Stropping Results

Stropping made a significant improvement to the initial sharpness of the Benchmade Mini Bugout. The overall sharpness improved by an average of 67 grams (279 to 212 grams). However, the average doesn't tell the full story. The sharpest part of the knife improved by 23 grams (189 to 166). While that is a nice improvement, the least sharp parts of the knife had a much larger improvement. The heel of the knife improved from 347 to 210 grams. This is a very large improvement for 1 minute of stropping and can indicate that it just needed some refinement.

This knife could benefit from more than stropping. The quality of the CPM-S30V steel will take a fine edge. The initial sharpening done at the factory was relatively coarse and inconsistent. We would recommend sharpening and stropping to take full advantage of the quality steel used in this knife.

John will be using this as his EDC for the next month. He'll be taking it on his fishing trip to Canada, so it will be used to cut ropes, trim fishing lines, and potentially do a little whittling by the fire. Once the month is over we'll test the knife again, then give it a proper sharpening. Follow us on social media or sign up for our newsletter so you don't miss out on our sharpening updates on this knife.


Video of Benchmade Mini Bugout Sharpness Test


Benchmade Mini Bugout Update #1 - September 2022

As promised, I used the Benchmade Mini Bugout as my EDC for a month (that included a fishing trip to Canada). For the month I kept the knife on me and used it whenever I needed a knife. For this test period, the idea was to use it as the knife would be used, I didn’t perform durability tests, but rather just used the knife in my daily life.

The Benchmade Mini Bugout was my faithful EDC for a month.

At the start of the test period I took a fishing trip to Canada. On the trip, I kept my Mini Bugout on me at all times. I used it to trim my line often and cut an anchor rope, but in reality, I spent most of my time fishing, not cutting rope. I brought a fillet knife, so I didn’t use my Mini Bugout to fillet walleye. The value of the EDC is that it is handy and ready to be used at all times, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be used for every cutting task if a more appropriate tool is available.

Towards the end of my trip, I did touch it up on the DMT Mini-Sharp with Fishhook Groove. This is one of the most portable sharpeners as it fits in a pocket or tackle box since it is so small and light. And since the diamonds cut quickly, I was able to make quick progress with just the fine grit.

When I had a little extra time early one evening, I did touch up my Mini Bugout on the DMT Mini-Sharp with Fishhook Groove.

After my trip, I continued to use it as my EDC. In reality, my normal use involves more cardboard boxes than outdoor survival usage. So while the usage wasn’t exciting, cardboard boxes are a reality in my daily life.

Towards the end of my month with the knife, I could feel that the knife has lost some of its sharpness. Boxes that were cut cleanly with little effort, in the beginning, started to require a little more strain. However, the knife was still cleanly cutting cardboard.

A visual inspection of the knife confirmed that it didn’t sustain any damage, nor did it experience an edge failure. All that was left to do was to test the knife to see how much it had dulled during the month.

Retesting the Sharpness of the Benchmade Mini Bugout

Sharpness Test Results after One Month of Use
Test Date Heel Sharpness Mid Blade Sharpness Tip Sharpness Average Maximum Deviation
9/12/2022 368 253 271 297 115

After testing the sharpness on the Edge On Up Industrial Tester, I was able to confirm that the knife was still considered sharp, but it was now slightly duller than it was out of the box. The average of the three tests was 297 grams. This is 18 grams more than the brand new knife and 85 more than when we stropped it. The results confirmed that the knife was more than capable of holding an edge.

Based on the performance of the knife, the next step is to see how sharp an edge we can achieve. We already learned that a minute of stropping can improve the factory edge, but this knife has so much more potential. In my next update, I will sharpen it with the goal of making the edge as sharp as possible.


How We Test Sharpness

We use the Edge-On-Up to test knife sharpness. It measures the force required to cut a piece of certified test media. The lower the number, the sharper the edge. A butter knife is roughly 2000, a new knife is often around 300, while a razor blade can be sharpened below 100. We use this in our shop to objectively measure our results.