Benchmade Bugout AXIS Lock Knife Carbon Fiber (3.2" Satin) 535-3

Item #BHQ-118556
MSRP: $330.00
Our Price: $297.00
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  • Overall Length: 7.46"
  • Blade Length: 3.24"
  • Cutting Edge: 3.00"
  • Blade Width: 1.00"
  • Blade Thickness: 0.09"
  • Blade Material: CPM S90V
  • Blade Style: Drop Point
  • Blade Grind: Flat
  • Finish: Satin
  • Edge Type: Plain
  • Handle Length: 4.22"
  • Handle Width: 1.00"
  • Handle Thickness: 0.41"
  • Handle Material: Carbon Fiber
  • Color: Black
  • Frame/Liner: Steel
  • Weight: 2.02 oz.
  • User: Right Hand, Left Hand
  • Pocket Clip: Tip-Up
  • Knife Type: Manual
  • Opener: Thumb Stud
  • Lock Type: Bar Lock
  • Brand: Benchmade
  • Model: Bugout
  • Model Number: 535-3
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Best Use: Camp/Hike, Everyday Carry
  • Product Type: Knife

  • Satin finished drop point blade made of CPM-S90V stainless steel.
  • Dual blue-finished titanium thumb studs with bronze pivot washers.
  • Contoured carbon fiber handle scales over nested steel liners.
  • Safe, strong, and ambidextrous AXIS-Lock mechanism.
  • Reversible Mini Deep-Carry pocket clip and oversized lanyard hole.


In 2017, Benchmade shook the knife world with the release of the Bugout. It was the pocket knife people didn't know they were searching for. It was simple, utilitarian, ergonomic, lightweight, had an ambidextrous lock and opener, and was made with quality materials. In the years since, the Benchmade Bugout has become one of the best-selling knives in history. Benchmade truly made the Bugout a knife for everyone, and no collection is complete without one.

The Benchmade Bugout comes in two sizes and a multitude of colors, and has great aftermarket customization options as well.

Customer Reviews

Great Knife!
JONAH M. on Apr 1, 2021

This knife is everything you love about the original bugout, but better. The carbon fiber scales make the knife comfortable in hand, the blade has a great edge, and the blue accents make the knife pop without being too obvious. Only complaint is that the action is a little slow, but that is to be expected from a brand new knife. All in all, great knife.

I love it!
Austin L. on Dec 5, 2021

I'll be honest, I did swap out the scales for some flytanium options. Not because the original ones were bad bit I'm bad at sticking with anything. You will not be disappointed!

Day 1 or the Night Before Xmas
Tom D. on Dec 23, 2021

All the above comments regarding break-in etc. are accurate, but not really an issue. The knife is super sharp and seems correctly assembled. It is tight, period. I really like this as an EDC, the carbons scales seem stiff and I like the blue accents and the LifeSharp is great, but I bought a WorkSharp Elite and will learn on my kitchen knives. BHQ was awesome with delivery before Xmas, with no asking. Very happy customer after, watching too many YouTube clips, Merry Christmas BHQ, and thanks for all the hardworking folks that make it awesome :)

A Favorite Piece
Nick C. on Apr 7, 2021

Compared to my Ranger Green Bugout, this is in a whole new league. The fit and finish is much nicer...not to say that Benchmade's fit was bad on my other, but the feeling is much nicer. The scales feel fantastic especially with the rolled edges that contour to your hands much better than the usual scales. The S90V is exactly what you want with the usual pain of sharpening. Finally that last pop of blue really sets it off. With my Bailout as my work knife this Carbon Fiber Bugout is my summer/light EDC. It cuts boxes and does light work but is usually around for food prep and drink prep...but it does it all with a look and feel thats awesome. Its a wonderfully done piece that is worth the price for the materials and finish.

With a Grain of Salt
Sean F. on Dec 9, 2021

To be expected is the tight fitting blade. Easily remedied as we all know. This is Benchmade #6 and my first in Premium Steel along side #5 which is the Mini Freek. But I digress. As with all NEW Benchmade knives, there IS a Break In Period! Many complain about this and downgrade the ratings. This is an endearing trait that should be expected by seasoned Benchmade owners and taken into consideration to all Newcomers to the Benchmade Family. I've owned both the Mini Bugout (In Orange and Satin) and Bugout (In Blue and Satin) for some time now. This upgraded Bugout with its Premium Steel, Carbon Fiber Scales and Blue Accents is Elegance Defined. Fit and Finish is on par with all other Benchmade knives I've owned. It's also feels a little more substantial in hand, although....A bit slippery. But this is part of its charm and allure. Come on...It's Carbon Fiber! The weight difference is negligible with the OG Bugout weighing in at 1.87oz and CF weighing in at an even 2.00oz. Scales are firmer than the Grivory scales on the OG Bugout so there is little to no "flex" that so many complain about. Personally.......It's a Moot Point. So what..they flex a little! Sorry....back on topic again...Promise! Centering, grind, sharpness and Action (with use/break in period of about 100-150 flips) is exemplary and what one can expect. I noticed NO off center grind that some are complaining about, perfect centering and what I would expect for a factory grind Benchmade. A simple stropping corrected the blade edge without sacrificing the factory edge integrity. In closing.....If you want a beautiful Custom at a Blue Class Level, then This should be your choice. Although not a Gold Class (Which most of us cant imagine purchasing), then the CF Bugout with its Premium Super Steel should definitely be in the running for your consideration.

Awesome knife!
Jacob S. on Jan 18, 2022

Centering is quite good I would rate it a 9/10 I have not tried adjusting the pivot screw yet as I want everything to break in before I make my adjustments. Factory grind towards the tip is good as well I’d give it an 8/10 it does favor one side just a hair, perfectly acceptable but would expect a better job for a $300 knife. Sharp out of the box but feels very toothy passed the paper test easily as it should but feels like there’s some resistance that will strop it and I’m sure it will eliminate that hesitation I feel. Built very well no blade play everything seems tight. I placed a drop of lube on each side of the pivot screw and a few VERY small and I mean very small drops on the axis lock and have been messing with it for about a half-hour and feels so much different than when I first flicked it open. Play with it have fun it’s a great knife! Also thank you bladehq for same-day shipping when I bought the knife at 3:30 pm I didn’t expect that and they did a really good job boxing it up!

Initial impressions excellent!
Ross H. on Jun 15, 2021

I bought this knife at a discount because it was "blemished". Supposedly, there were a couple of light blemishes on the scales and the blade was [supposed to be] slightly off center. Perhaps my eyes are as unrefined as my palate but I can't find anything wrong with this knife. It is absolutely perfect and I am extremely happy with my purchase. I've had a 940 Osborne for years and can't say enough positive things about that knife so thought I'd try the Bugout. This knife is very light weight, simple and high quality. I am now a fan of Benchmade and Blade HQ and intend to buy other versions of the Bugout - some as gifts.

Mine was actually perfect
Harrison H. on Jan 20, 2022

Welcome to the Benchmade review section full of people who are unhappy with their knife purchases, I must have gotten the unicorn, blade profile - perfect, centering- perfect, action -perfect(after break-in). This was my 15th Benchmade knife, I have had 4 bugouts, and lemme tell you the first one made me consider never buying a Benchmade from a sight-unseen seller ever again. This one reminds me of the gold class, just because of how nice the materials feel. For the price it better be perfect and mine was. As a suggestion to others who have a stiff time, fidget with the knife, add a very small amount of either KPL or 10 weight nano oil, and at the extreme adjust the pivot. Unfortunately, if you get a knife that is rubbing or off-center there is little you can do to fix the issue (sadly😔) without compromising the performance of the knife.

Beautiful knife
John S. on Dec 17, 2021

I got this knife about 7 months ago so I've had time to learn everything about it. First thing is that this s90v blade is awesome! I've used it to open tons and tons of boxes for work and the blade still shaves after 60+ boxes a day. I've sharpened it once over my entire time owning it and it's still shaving sharp. I doubt it would stay this sharp if you were using this as a work knife which you shouldn't be, but if you just use it for EDC and as a fidget toy, it works perfect. If you loosen the pivot screw to the perfect point and add a little oil, it drops shut perfectly with extremely little to no blade play. The ergonomics are perfect. even with my size large hands it still feels perfect with no hotspots. I have to mention how good the carbon fiber looks. I can't take my eyes off it sometimes and it complements the knife shape and the blade perfectly. The axis lock is smooth once you fiddle with the knife for a couple hours and oil it up and possibly loosen the pivot just a tad. Never had problems with the lock. The blue hardware looks just as good as in the photos and even though small spots on the blue comes off every now and then, that's to be expected and it doesn't make the knife look bad. The deep carry clip is perfect and eventually the paint on it starts to fade but you can just replace the clip when you dont like the aesthetics anymore. Fair warning though. If you aren't very good at putting knives back together then DO NOT take this apart. I have a fair amount of experience taking apart and putting back together knives, but it took me hours to put this back together because of the shape of the axis screw. It's shaped so you have to put it in in a perfectly exact way or it won't budge. Down to the 1/16 of a millimeter almost. My only tip that I've found to work the best is to get the blade and the washers in as they were and attach one scale. Then put something through the hole to hold everything in place. Pull the axis lock back all the way and hold it there, take the thing you put in the hole out and use it to make sure that everything is aligned perfectly, and try to put the axis screw back in the exact way its shaped to. maybe press the screw into the table while in the hole and use something to push everything else out of the way. eventually the pressure and the shape will just work for you and it will slip through no problem. everything else with the reassembly is easy enough. also even though you shouldn't be using this knife for hard use, dont be scared to still use it because of Benchmade's lifesharp warranty. if you use this real hard and sharpen it a ton and eventually the blade is really worn, just send it in to Benchmade and they'll replace the blade for you if you pay like 20 bucks and shipping. super nice. I have no complaints with this knife. 10000% worth buying.

The ultimate Bugout?
JASON D. on Jul 8, 2022

If you think of the Bugout as a slim, ultra-lightweight slicer, then the materials of the -3 arguably make for the ultimate Bugout. The wear resistance of S90V is the perfect choice for the thin, slicey, high flat-ground blade. The carbon fiber scales offer excellent strength and rigidity, while being nearly as light as the original polymer scales. Fit and finish on this particular knife were perfect. Perfect centering, perfect bevels. Sharpening was good, but I wouldn't have minded if it had been a tad sharper. It's also a beautiful knife, with the combination of the satin blade, carbon fiber scales and the blue accents. It's a high-performance EDC that can easily double as a "gentleman's knife" for dressier occasions.

Keith H. on Jul 22, 2021

Was stiff out of the box as people have said. Had major lock stick to begin with. But over a hundred flicks later and it’s smooth as butta with drop shutty action. Mine is also razor sharp. I don’t cut anything with it though of course because I don’t want to get it dirty! It’s too pretty!

Carbon Bugout
Gawaine C. on Jul 9, 2021

Recieved my 535-3 Carbon Bugout today. Is without a doubt will be my favorite EDC. Have carried the Osborne Emissary for many year now. Have three of them. Once in your hands then in your pocket you will love this knife. It carries well in any light pants or shorts. Being a slim profile and lightweight and great design. I adjusted the tension screw just a small amount to make it operate slick. Came razor sharp. Is high priced but glad I bought it. Flips out easier than any ever had and blade drops back in nice. And a plus with the 590V steel.

Very nice
Kelly S. on Jun 4, 2021

Just received this, impulse buy when i saw it was $100 off list on bladehq. 2nd benchmade, 1st was a stock mini barrage with some custom micarta scales. Fit and finish, pretty much perfect… centered, no issues with the grind or sharpness at all, feels quality. No flex, unexpected play, a little stiff opening but i can already feel it loosening up. The aesthetics… i may have not picked the sky blue accents if i had a choice in front of me, but it’s quite nice looking, no regrets there. Feels much much thinner and lighter vs the mini barrage than the specs would make you think… substantial difference. Definitely doesn’t feel as beefy, but as a men’s EDC pocketknife not seeing heavy duty, about the perfect form factor.

Great knife NOT SHARP
Bryan J. on Nov 2, 2022

The knife overall is very good, it will require breaking in which is normal and to be expected. The factory edge is terrible! I have knives that cost a sixth of the price with a better factory edge. I love the knife but it will require sharpening out of the box.

Blade HQ response:
We're very sorry to hear about the trouble you're having. Have you contacted our customer service department yet ([email protected])? We'd like to help you get this resolved. Thanks -BHQ
Slippery backspacer
Eric C. on Jun 12, 2021

The backpacer did not have jimping around the entire surface, so it feels slippery against the palm when I'm pinch closing. Bought a rockscale design full jimped titanium backspacer and it feels more secure now. That thing costs an extra $40 though. Knife came stiff, I've yet to experience a smooth bugout straight from the box. I'll just lubricate and tweak the pivot.

Beautiful knife but with a typical Benchmade problem
Chris P. on May 30, 2021

As the title states, this is a beautiful knife. The fit & finish are top-notch. Between the carbon fiber scales, S90V blade, and blue accents, this is one of the rare times I won't complain about the Benchmade "butterfly tax". As expensive as it is, you get a solid amount of features and materials for your money. Now, the problem I've had with all Benchmades out of the box: the sharpening from the factory is thoroughly mediocre. I run a paper cutting test on every knife as soon as I get it, and this one dragged through paper for the first few cuts before tearing the paper around the 4th cut. For the price you pay, it's inexcusable to have to sharpen the blade before its first use, especially for harder steels like S90V. Maybe Benchmade is working so hard at getting these knives out the door - which is appreciated in the current market where so many knives are constantly sold out - but we all should expect a much better job on the edge when spending this much money. Also, this is not a drop-shut knife like the 940, 945, Bailout, etc. I presume this is due to the exceptionally light weight, but it will take tuning on the user's part if you want to get it to that drop-shut/fidget level of action. Subjectively, the name of the knife is a bit of a misnomer. This is not a knife built for hard use. It is a slicer, and a good one at that, but it isn't the one knife you'd grab if you really had to bug out. That's a minor quibble, however. For a general EDC and even a gentleman's folder, this knife is a perfect fit.

Beautiful knife but...
Quinn S. on Jun 2, 2021

I love this knife, came stiff but loosened up over time with no adjustment. The only thing is the edge is unevenly ground towards the tip of the blade. I'm sure this will be fixed if I send a note the first time I send it in for LifeSharp

Derek S. on Jun 23, 2021

In short, this knife was a disappointment for the price. I guess BHQ didn't want to post my initial review, but I still feel the need to give my take even after returning the knife. The knife arrived and I was ecstatic for my first Benchmade. Shortly after I started to notice issues. The grinds on the bevel were not even, nor was the knife very sharp. I've bought knives for $50 that were significantly sharper than this. These were issues I could have fixed, however, I didn't want to immediately void the manufacturer’s warranty by using my belt grinder. Next was the action, it came stiff as hell and if I snapped it open, the AXIS lock would stick and become difficult to unlock. I tried to remedy this by working the pivot and handle screws. Nothing worked, it was either off center or I was left with the poor action. All in all, I think Benchmade should have focused more on quality control because this was a slap in the face after spending $255.

Carbon Bugout
Dave L. on Jul 14, 2021

It's not all that I'd hoped. I'll get right to it. It's tight to start with. Nothing like I'd seen on all the videos. Made an adjustment that helped but still tight. If I flip it out pretty hard the Axis lock gets stuck or more notably harder to release. The last thing is if i just move the blade back and forth against the Axis lock (against the spring) it feels rough. Hope I'm not coming off to hard. I like the knife and have been flipping it to see if it loosens up a bit.

A little disappointed.
Harley S. on Apr 7, 2021

So my overall experience in receiving and since having this knife has been fairly disappointing. To preface, at no fault of Bladehq, my order was shipped to the wrong address which was not returned. So somebody got a free 535 bugout. After waiting a week from that debacle, Bladehq ships me a replacement. The Benchmade box arrived with what appears to be water-damage. Taking the knife out, I notice the blade is off center and to the right. The satin finish looks scuffed with hairline marks throughout. The kick in the balls being the edge - it was definitely not slicing through paper or trimming the hairs off my arm with the ease that I had seen in many a review videos. I don't know if Bladehq sent me somebody's return order, but overall this first time experience with purchasing from this company has been disappointing. With the one saving grace being that they replaced what I consider a stolen item (since retrieval was attempted). Overall, it's a beautiful knife, but doesn't slice as well as I've seen with other owners. For $280+, everything should have been crisp, but my experience has been quite disappointing.

poor fit and finish.
bobby b. on Jun 28, 2021

I have bought 3 of these knives with the attempt to get a good one. Each one has had either bad centering or a bad grind. I've bought several benchmades and they have all been great. For being the most expensive you would think there would be better quality control. i gave it two stars because these issues probably wouldn't change the performance. it just bugs me that the parts aren't fitting together correctly.

Unacceptable sharpening at this price range
David S. on Mar 31, 2021

I own 3 bugout and one 940-1. And I love them. But unfortunately this one is my last Benchmade knives I ordered!!! I also returned it. The knife is beautiful! Action out the box was bad but no surprise there and can be fix. The big issue to me was how bad was off centre the sharpening. I would say 70% on one side and 30% on the other. Looks more like scissors than knives. For a knife at $255 I’m expecting something close to be perfect. I had never seen a bad sharpening like this one in any of my knives even at $30. I wrote a review on Benchmade website and they didn’t publish it, not even some apologies for the poor quality control they are offering at a big price.... Thank you BHQ for the return with no questions asked! Sad and Disappointed...

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