The Benchmade AFO II is a simple, yet extremely effective knife. I received mine as a present from a Green Beret, and after having used it for a few months on the field, I'm sold.
The AFO features:
- Mechanism: Push Button Automatic
- Action: Automatic-opening
- Blade Steel: 154CM (58-61 HRC)
- Blade Length: 3.56" (9.04cm)
- Blade Thickness: 0.124" (3.15mm)
- Open Length: 8.51" (21.62cm)
- Closed Length: 4.95" (12.57cm)
- Handle Thickness: 0.60" (15.24mm)
- Handle Material: 6061-T6 Aluminum
- Weight: 5.80oz. (164.43g)
I've been using and abusing Benchmade knives for a while, and I'm always impressed with the design, quality and performance on the field.
First, the AFO II is an upgrade to the AFO I, with an improved opening and bigger push button. This knife was designed from the beginning to serve the armed forces and emergency response personnel.
It's a relatively light-weigh knife, in part, I think, due to the handle material. This same handle material and design allows for easy knife cleaning and overall maintenance.
I recently had the chance to take this knife to the field, in cold weather, and while I didn't use the knife as a defense weapon, I had used it as my main blade for everything during that trip.
The version I have is a tanto, partially serrated, coated blade. The tip is strong (a weak point on tanto knives), and it performed well while prying open things, reaining it's edge and black coating.
When using it to cut things, the combo of plan-serrated worked well, however I think for tanto knives a plan edge might be better (I have this on my Emerson CQC-7 and it's great).
The opening mechanism is fast, relianble and easy. Press the large size button and the knife opens every time. Even when I had a ton of mud and grabble on it, it never failed to open. I'm impressed.
Here's my only negative comment about this knife. The handle.
The handle is made out of aluminum. Very comfortable and ergonomic, but hanrd to handle when wet, or extremely cold. I think a different material would have been better, but that's my opinion.
Regardless, the handle is designed in a way that allows for easy maintenance, and it really fits different size hands. You can find also a small glass breaker at the end, useful if you need to get into places or on a rescue operation.
The handle also houses the safe button. Once you engage this, the blade will not deploy, or, better yet, it will not close. I found this useful when working with the knife and running the risk of accidentally pressing the opening button and causing the blade to unlock.
The carrying clip is OK. Benchmade has good retention clips and this one is no different. You can carry this knide tip up or tip down. I usually carry tip down when clipped on my pocket, or tip up when clipped to my plate carrier. Again, good retention.
The MOLLE pouch that comes with the knife is nothing special. It's OK. I don't use it so I can't really provide any good comments on it.
So, overall the knife performed great every time. Cutting, punching (I used it to pierce through cordura and metal), prying and shaving (used it to shave wood for fire). The shape of the knife when closed, and its weight make it disapper in your pocket. And when you need it on an emergency, the quick opening is really good.
Now, I don't know how it would perform as a defense weapon. Compared to my Adamas Folder, the AFO II feels a little light and smaller.
The grip and beefier size of the Adamas, make that one a better weapon, based on experience. The Adamas grippier handle and shape is, again based on experience, more suited for this.
Regardless, I'm impressed with the AFO II. THe only thing that is keeping me from using this knife as my every-day knife is the fact that it's not legal to carry around where I live (yes, I used this knife while overseas on the field). Nor any of the adjacent states. Check your local laws to know if you can carry this.
If you are in the military, law enforcement or fire, I would grab one without hesitation.