Gear Institute Expert Test Menu
by Nick LeFort - published February 2014




  • The Flipper
  • Axis Lock
  • 154CM
  • G10 Scales


  • Someone forgot to smooth the G10 Scales!
  • No lanyard hole (personal pet peeve)


A perfect 100 is hard to come by. I can usually find something wrong with a knife if I use it long enough, but that’s not the case with the Axis Flipper. This is the first production knife that I have tested that bridges the gap between custom and production. You’ll find this knife to be an incredibly reliable, long-lasting treat (as long as you can get past the brown and tan handle scales!)


Having just recently completed making a knife with G10 Scales and 154CM steel, I can tell you that Benchmade is giving this knife away for $175. G10 and 154CM are a hot combination in the custom knife world right now, so I am glad to see that Benchmade has signed on for some production knives of the same ilk.

Design: Construction and Materials
The Build
The knife is comprised of a metal frame housed inside G10 Scales. This helps keep the weight down, and the durability up. Everything is held together with torx screws and utilizes an oversized, adjustable, pivot pin for easy operation.

The Lock
The blade locks in place utilizing Benchmade’s own Axis Lock Technology, which is comprised of a spring-loaded steel bar that seats itself into a notch in the blade. It is almost impossible to disengage without intent.

Design: Ease of Use
I will start off by telling you I was not a fan of flipper style knives. I feel that you get the best articulation by opening a knife via a thumb stud or thumbhole. They are generally clunky and never really open all of the way. Well, now Benchmade has gone and made me a converted fan with the well-balanced 300 Axis Flipper. Out of the box, the phosphorus bronze washers are lubed up and keep the action smooth, allowing for the blade to fully open and lock with a flip of your index finger.

Steel Quality/Edge Retention
154CM is a well-rounded American steel that was designed to be used in industrial construction and fabrication but proved to be pretty darn amazing in knives. It is highly resistant to liquids and corrosives and holds an edge like a champ.  

Out of the box, this thing is deadly sharp—as per usual with Benchmade. I plan on carrying this for quite some time and I doubt I’ll have to sharpen until next year.

This knife may actually be too durable. G10 is a rough material that could sand wood, depending on its finish. So, you may want to just go over this knife with some 1200 grit before you let it live in your back pocket. As far as everything else, I would urge you to just put this in your hand. It’s stout and fills the fist, but isn’t overly heavy.

How We Tested It

Everyday use is one of the best ways to know if a multi-tool or knife will stand up to its manufacturer’s claims—so I do my best to test beyond the intended use. Believe it or not, having a tool live in your pocket all day can really gum up how easy it functions.  

I also purposely get these things wet and dirty, and don’t wipe them down before I put them away. This allows for the grit and grime to seep in.  

Some of the other tests
Knife Blades: Cutting through multiple sheets of cardboard and rope will quickly tell you how well a blade edge will hold up. Cutting through a fresh branch without wiping the blade down, or dunking the tool in a stream will also quickly flush out just how stainless it is. All stainless materials get soaked in salt water for a minimum of 12 hours and then dried with a heat gun, or the sun.

Locking Mechanism: Different locking types require different tests, but the most crucial test is to make sure that you cannot disengage the lock while using the tool. A good lock type will have a button that is out of the way of your hand while functioning. Any type of lock that seats itself in the groove of a blade or a tool will always reign supreme, as they cannot be disengaged without intent.

The products featured in this test have been loaned to the Gear Institute. For more on our policies regarding editorial objectivity and sample returns, see here.

About the Author

Nick LeFort

Nick LeFort

LeFort is a boutique knife maker based in Berlin, CT, and tests knives and multitools for the Gear Institute. The only time you'll spot him without a knife or tool is beyond airport security. Follow him at Google+.


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Overall Construction
Design/Ease of Use
Steel Quality/Edge Retention


  • Weight verified?: Yes


5 oz

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