Owning as many knives as I do, it often takes quite a lot for me to get really excited over a slab of steel. Needless to say, the Benchmade Adamas sure did the trick. Thinking back, I can’t remember many knives that have peaked my curiosity in the past couple of years quite as much as the Benchmade Adamas has. While it took me a while to finally acquire one, I have to admit I’ve definitely not been let down by the build up. Designed by Shane Sibert, it’s not an understatement to say that the Benchmade Adamas is one of the toughest production folders on the market.
Benchmade Adamas 275BKSN EDC Knife – Amazon / Blade HQ
First things first: the Adamas is one simply badass tactical folder. Its design, aesthetics, and toughness all scream “folding tank of a sharpened prybar” more than any other Benchmade knife that I can personally think of: and that’s just plain nice. Diversity is the spice of life, which is why it truly brings me joy to have a folder like this one in my collection. I’ve never before owned a folder that’s so over-the-top tough.
The Benchmade Adamas really lends itself to being considered something special in the knife world. With so many knife companies out there, it’s becoming extremely rare to see a design as distinctive as this one, so savor it. You’re probably not going to see a knife as unique as this one on the market any time soon.
Now back to a bit more objectivity. The most obvious visual element of the Benchmade Adamas is its heft, and yes, it does feel as hefty as it looks. Notice how I said heft. I own larger knives with longer total lengths, the Spyderco Military for example, the Adamas is pretty incomparable to them. This knife is completely unapologetically chunky, which is why with an overall length of 22.1 cm (8.70 inches) it still weighs in at a gargantuan 7.7 ounces, thanks to its stainless steel liners and general overbuilt construction.
Definitely not a gentleman’s folder or a light everyday carry. But no one could’ve gotten that impression if they took even one look at it.
The D2 blade is 9.7 cm (3.82 inches) with a thickness of 4.06 mm (.160 inches). It really makes me question whether the Adamas is actually a fixed blade knife that just so happens to fold. All that to say, no folder I own reminds me more of an outdoors fixed blade, and side by side the Benchmade Adamas is far more overbuilt than many of my fixed blade knives, including the Boker Rold (which also has a D2 blade) and all of Moras (which so far include the Mora Classic, the Mora 2000, Mora Bushcraft Forest, and the Mora 740 MG). The only Mora-style knife that’s actually more overbuilt than the Benchmade Adamas is the Hultafors GK, and there’s no way that’s even comparable in terms of aesthetics and pure tactical charm.
The pocket clip is oddly subtle and carries pretty deep. Functionally, it’s fantastic, but aesthetically, I think it clashes with the look of the knife as a whole.
Balance is pretty much perfect at right behind the pivot. For a knife that weighs close to 8 ounces, it feels remarkably lively in the hand.
You can really see how overbuilt this bad boy is the more you play with it. Notice below how Benchmade contoured the desert tan G-10 scales to have a nice palm swell in the middle: that’s some very nice work there. I also like how the scales are not left rough, but are rather cleaned up with 90% of the texturing removed, leaving you with a smooth, non-abrasive surface that feels good to the touch.
Use of jimping is extremely liberal throughout the knife. The jimping strikes the right balance between functional and cheese-grater sharp.
As you might remember from my Benchmade Griptilian review, I really dig the axis lock, and even though the Adamas doesn’t deploy quite as smoothly as the Griptilian (a bit stiffer, largely due to it’s weight, in my opinion) it’s still is a very pleasant and well thought out locking system that’s almost impossible to break in ordinary, as well as most extreme, uses.
The thickness of the blade stops the Adamas from being a particularly good slicer or piercer. However, the tip is decently sharp taking into account how tanky the knife is. The Benchmade Adamas will never be a delicate slicer, but for stereotypical outdoor use, it functioned very well, especially on wood.
Speaking of the blade, the choice of D2 tool steel was an interesting one. Objectively speaking, I would have preferred something like M4, but whilst D2 has its detractors in the knife industry, I can’t say I’ve noticed any issues with it myself, and toughness seems very high, especially taking into account the grinds and, again, the overall thickness of the knife.
Centering was dead on perfect. As a matter of fact, in terms of fit and finish, this knife is pretty much perfect overall with absolutely zero visible defects.
As is evident from the 3 holes drilled into the scales, the Benchmade Adamas is pretty heavily skeletonized. I dread to think how heavy it would be without the lightening holes – boat anchor anyone?
Going back to fit and finish, I love how well-cut the serrations are. Completely even and smooth with no gaps between the sandwiched material. Construction is meticulous.
I don’t have many practical uses for this folding juggernaut, but its aesthetic qualities were pretty much irresistible, as they’re unmatched for a tool knife in my opinion. From the grooved blade to the way the scales are cut and shaped, it embodies a visual ideal and a sense of “togetherness” that I wish more manufacturers would emulate. The only thing that I have an issue with is the pocket clip, and that’s an easy fix, as I can always add a custom 3D machined clip to my Benchmade Adamas in the future.
The thumb studs are unique, and taper in a conical fashion to aid deployment when you have gloves on. In practise, the blade deploys quickly and naturally with no evident issues. As mentioned earlier I do find that the Griptilian deployed faster however I am not sure if that is representative of all Griptilian vs Adamas knives or just mine. If you own this knife feel free to chime in!
Note: After writing this paragraph, I took apart my Adamas, lubed up the washers (using ball bearing lubricant), and gave it an open. Now the Griptilian and the Adamas are almost identical in deployment. Easy fix! The smoothness that’s so great about the deployment of the Benchmade Griptilian is definitely there, though to be precise, the Adamas isn’t quite as smooth, comparing them tit for tat. That’s, however, just because the Adamas has a much bigger blade. If they were of comparable/similar size and weight, they would definitely be equals in terms of deployment. Either way, really great deployment on my Adamas now that it’s been lubricated.
Benchmade threw in a sheath with the Adamas. The sheath is ugly as a sledgehammer to the face, but construction is top notch and after mounting it on some molle, I did find that it functioned very well.
The strap for the button/stud is very oddly sewn together and frankly looks like a drunk Scotsman designed it. Yet it works, and unfastening the sheath is super fast.
Attaching the sheath to some molle can be pretty annoying due to the 2 straps pinching closely together, but this makes sense after attachment, as you’ll notice absolutely zero play or movement.
Condor Tactical E&E Escape and Evasion Bag Olive Drab – Amazon
It attaches very securely. I can’t say I would ever carry my Adamas like that, but options are always nice to have, and the sheath will definitely match with pretty much any molle bag you could own.
That weird pullstrap has a Velcro’d side to further secure your knife in, so if you were worried you might lose the knife using this sheath, don’t worry, that’s not happening. Very impressive design that’s been quite well thought out.
Surprisingly enough, the Adamas does have a choil of sorts. The ricasso acts as a choil, and would stop the blade from guillotining your fingers off in case the lock fails and you happened to be choking up on the handles when it did fail. That being said, if you were to hold the knife normally, I would imagine that the blade would chew right through you in case of lock failure.
All that said, I believe the axis lock (especially the one on the Benchmade Adamas) is one of the toughest and most dependable locking systems ever implemented, so the chances of lock failure happening are next to nil.
Comfort in a saber grip is reasonable. The handles on the Benchmade Adamas are chunky and a little bit too square for me. Not as bad as the Spyderco FRN Manix 2 (though, what is?), but still I would have preferred more broken lines with nice contouring. When gripping hard, I do feel hot spots forming. In actual use it performed very well, but bare in mind that gloves may be warranted for extended work.
Choking up on the blade of the Adamas is pretty much the same story as the saber grip. Adequate but not ideal.
Interestingly that the reverse grip proved the most comfortable (for me). Very secure hold with deep guard and heavy jimping on the bottom of the knife for your thumb to rest on.
Thanks to the tapered scales, pinching was possible, but once again, less than ideal. This is a folding survival knife/tank/door opener.
If we’re being honest, as a survival blade the Benchmade Adamas is a piss poor performer. I would never chose it over a Mora or a Hultafors if I chose what I was stuck in the wilderness with. That’s no small part due to the fact that it’s a folder. Lots of moving parts, and holes for dirt and grime to get stuck in, make it especially bad for bushcraft and survival-type outdoor use. But don’t get me wrong: that’s not unexpected, nor should it be held against the Adamas. It’s just a reality.
While the Benchmade Adamas is advertised as a very military-focused knife, ultimately it really wouldn’t make a good soldier’s knife: it weighs a metric tonne and has one single function – to cut. Soldiers should carry multi-tools, like Leathermans, should stick to their MBR for actual combat, and should use a bayonet for an edged weapon; that will always be the superior choice to an 8 ounce, 3.8 inch folding blade.
My advice to you is this: ignore the nonsensical claims on the forums stating the Benchmade Adamas would make a kickass survival or soldier’s knife. Recognize this knife for what it truly is and excels at being: an absolutely unique, badass collectors blade that, because of its uniqueness, would fill a gap in pretty much every knife collection. I can’t imagine any production knife aficionado turning this one down. In terms of the collectible aspect, the Adamas scores extremely high.
Putting aside its top marks in terms of uniqueness, the Benchmade Adamas also crushes in terms of its top notch design, construction, and finish. Okay, I may not be using it for survival purposes, but would I return it or sell it? Absolutely not. I positively love this knife and if I lost it for some reason, it’d be right back on the to-buy list. Out of all the knives I own, this is one of the very few that will always have a place in my collection because it has no true competition or alternative in the market, especially at its price range.
If you want an overbuilt, sexy, badass folder that will make you grin when EDC’d, this is one of the best options you’ve got. If you want a knife for your collection that’s difficult to replace because it’s incomparable to others, especially those offered within its price range, you’ve struck gold.
I EDC my Adams almost every day. I’ve pried, stabbed, sliced, screwed, unscrewed, hammered, wedged, the list goes on. Probably spent my time with 70 percent abuse, 20 percent use, and of course 10 percent flipping (cause it’s awesome with a 5lb slab of D2, right?) But the amount of utility from this blade amazes me. The amount of stress and torque I’ve put on that blade and chassis without damaging it is awesome. The knife has done everything I’ve ever needed from it. Things I’d never be able to do with a mini grip, Para 2, or ZT0350. The first thing I did when I got mine was put a 44 degree inclusive secondary bevel with a 38 degree micro and it excels in slicing, even for food prep and fish cleaning. The thick D2 stock is strong enough ( and takes a heck of and edge and polish) at the cutting edge from the steel behind it that I haven’t gotten any non fixable chips yet. So, I’d say I’d have to disagree that this knife is best for collection. Solely for the reason most times I haven’t had my multi tool, the Adamas has come through for me, and still functions at 100%. Definitely the most utilitarian folder of my EDC class knives. I still enjoyed your review nonetheless, I always enjoy hearing others’ perspectives.
Thomas Xavier says
The only reason I have issues with this knife for general EDC is due to the weight (its too extreme for me). Completely agree with you about its toughness- I reckon you could take apart a tank with one!
Thanks for dropping by, I always appreciate feedback and I feel the same way about hearing (or reading, in this case!) other people’s perspective. Living in an echo chamber means you never get to evolve and change your mind so I always appreciate people sharing their opinions (even if they disagree with me)!
Paul Taegel says
Great review of the Adamas. It was one of many I read during my growing attraction for the blade to which I finally relented. My hesitation had been due to my experience with a pretty obvious homologue, the Spyderco Military. Despite its near universal acclaim, I find the ergonomics and deployment of the Military cumbersome. The Adamas, however, feels like it was designed to fit in my hand. Changing grips is effortless, and I particularly like how the gimping on the bottom accommodates a reverse grip. It’s a knife I’d be very comfortable using to defend myself. For a chunky, hard use knife, it’s also quite sharp, and I find it works great for the day to day tasks of slicing up apples, cardboard and packing tape. Arguably the 941 is a more practical EDC knife, but sometimes it’s fun carrying around what basically amounts to a folding dagger. Love the Adamas.
Thomas Xavier says
I love the Adamas too, its just so beastly that I am in (almost) awe whenever I wield it. Its a slab of steel I will never, ever part with.
I will say I prefer the Military though (sorry!). ;)
Miniver Cheevy says
I don’t believe you were arrogant enough to argue with a soldier about what would make a good soldier knife. Wow, some people just don’t like to have other people express their educated views to them. That was like a journalist who likes cars telling a mechanic what brand of ratchet he should buy. Get over yourself.
Thomas Xavier says
First of all, I have more experience with edged tools than the vast majority (99%) of soldiers. At no point in this recent modern era has a strong understanding of knife skills or related application been a necessity or pre-requisite to good soldiering (specialized applications not withstanding). The vast majority of soldiers pick up whatever takes their fancy at the PX regardless of quality. As a matter of fact, if you actually spoke to enough soldiers, you would know that the most popular knives and brands used are sub-par by afficionado standards (the popularity of the Gerber Paraframe, for example).
I’d estimate that the typical soldier has field-tested up to 10 knives (maybe up to 30 max) in their soldiering experience. I’d like to think that having owned and used over 600 or so knives (at this point – likely that number will vastly increase over time), that I am in a better position to talk about knives than the average soldier, and am more than qualified to advise anyone (no matter what their profession or need) on what their optimal cutting tool should be. Arrogance has nothing to do with it – just experience.
I don’t think anyone would disagree that a seasoned whisky connoisseur could make a better recommendation than a distiller who actually makes whisky. They are both very different and have different forms of knowledge – there is a reason why master distillers do not write reviews.
As an even better analogy, a buff athlete who has done his best to bulk up does not often know better than a dietitian which foods to eat and which diet should be followed for optimal results and peak muscle gain. Being a buff athlete is not altogether irrelevant – the buff athlete will likely know more about what diet is ideal for his intended purpose than the average person – sure! But that does not make his knowledge of the ideal diet for him better than the knowledge a dietitian would have.
Similarly, I feel a knife aficionado with enough experience could better tell what a good soldiering knife would be than the everyday soldier who has had little experience with knives. A soldier who happened to be a knife aficionado as well, however, I’d argue would likely have a uniquely strong perspective on good soldiering knives – but that’s another story.
Again, arrogance has nothing to do with it – it’s just a matter of experience.
Miniver cheevy says
I’m sorry to disagree. However, arrogance has everything to do with it. You do make a valid point but it is flawed. Flawed by the fact that combat is a completely different realm than most of us are used too. Therefor your opinions on what make a good knife by simply holding it in you hand and playing around with it mean nothing.
It is evident BTW that this is all you do because there is not one scuff on that blade. I used mine, and in the first cut through wood the finish started to wear. What business does a person that doesn’t actually use the knife have talkin about what it is useful for? You can always tell when a reviewer is full of it by the condition of the blade. Yours is pristine. With that I have no further interest in conversing with a pedantic person who is only interested in hearing himself talk. You are a sham. Have fun “playing” with your knives.
Thomas Xavier says
Its always fun to be educated on the sort of person I am by a complete stranger! But for the record, we take stock pictures months (often 6 months or more) before any review is actually done but by all means keep presuming nonsense about how much I use my knives with no source to back up said assertion.
With regards to combat & knives, once again you seem to be regurgitating some kind of Hollywood fantasy- maybe a handful of soldiers (max) have hands on experience with knives in a combative situation, but it certainly isn’t a mainstream practice.
Clearly you spend more time playing computer games where its habitual to sneak behind enemy lines and slit throats but I assure you, in reality the vast majority of soldiers have little direct combat experience (Logistics, administration, planning & transport etc. are all a major part of the behemoth that is a modern army) and out of the few that do have experience in combat its primarily in a squad, against poorly armed insurgents who have no real chance to survive the encounter and with significantly more firepower than a lowly blade (hence the pervasive rise of I.E.D’s & guerilla tactics in urban zones). Please give me a source for a solider who used a folding knife in combat whilst on a modern deployment!
What armchair commandos forget, is that military hardware & intel skews the battle before the first shot is fired and as such whilst its fun to scribble down combat grade on everything from knives to can openers, the reality is that its a marketing ploy and has very little real world significance.
Whether you take my opinion or not is ultimately your prerogative, with that said my words are offered freely (no refunds, sorry!) & with no perceived claims or biases beyond my own beliefs.
You are most welcome to start your own blog where you can voice your own opinions! ;)
Miniver cheevy says
Again your arrogance has caused you to run escue. I don’t need a big long lecture on modern warfare from a pompous ass “regurgitating” things he has read and trying to belittle a person who stuck up for one of your victims by insinuating I play war games which I do not. The point of the original post was(and still is) that a SOLDIER told you he disagreed with your opinion that the knife in question was not a good soldiers knife. The argument was not what “the majority” of soldiers do use or should use. It was not whether or not knives have become obsolete (aside from special forces) due to modern fighting technology, equipment and tactics, (which I agree they PROBABLY, have. The point my asinine pompous neophyte of a rich daddy’s punk, was that a SOLDIER told you he disagreed with your opinion due to his EXPERIENCE, and you couldn’t take that and had to try to tell him he was wrong and that you knew better. Which you don’t. You snot nosed rich daddy’s boy with nothing better to do than to tell people that a knife feels good or bad in your hands. Which btw is so subjective. Who gives a crap. A knife feels different in every hand. And I call BS on the stock photo thing. In fact I’ll come right out and say you are a liar! Young punk.
Thomas Xavier says
The premise that a soldier disagreed with me is not the issue at hand, he is certainly not a victim & I responded laying out why I disagreed in a reasoned manner.
Your argument rests on the idea that soldier implies a specialized use of a tool that a mere bystander could never fully grasp which as I explained is simply not relevant.
Modern day to day soldiering duties do not require a folding boat anchor no matter how cool it is (and the Benchmade Adamas really is a cool slab of steel). I responded politely with some suggestions on superior counterparts at which point you jumped in with your crusade. His (Deane’s) comment was concerning the legality of the assisted Adamas in the civilian world with regards to its benefits & a remark on automatic Benchmades being issued which is pretty cool but not addressed in this review so not something I felt the need to respond to directly.
Concerning your second point which rotates around this idea that I am a lying asinine pompous neophyte of a rich daddy’s punk who happens to be young (your words not mine!), you can check both the published date and the metadata of the photographs taken to see that we do in fact take stock photos “en masse” so that Elise doesn’t go crazy.
The Adamas pictures were taken on August 29, 2014, and the review was published on October 6, 2014. All of this is easily checked through meta data.
Not that you asked but, as a side note, most of the stock photographs are taken in groups of 5-10 (if you go through my reviews you will see I am wearing the same clothes for the same knives spread throughout the year!). After which I carry them for evaluation. The reason I do this is because I don’t take the photographs (Elise does) and it makes her life easier in terms of editing to do them all at once! As I write this, I am currently EDC’ing the SOG Flash II which will be reviewed (in terms of published date) towards the end of this year and have a solid 20+ knives waiting to go.
Hopefully that insight into how we do things clear things up!
Be advised that our commenting system has inherent threading limits (depth of 5) so I just responded to an earlier comment so you would have the opportunity to respond (should you wish it). On that note, I don’t censor on principle and consequently you can call me whatever you want if it makes you happy but please try to keep things PG-13/relatively civil as I try to foster a clean(ish) environment so that people don’t feel like they are entering a flamewar.
You are most welcome to e-mail me at: email@example.com if you wish to respond in a more lengthy fashion without the constraints of the commenting system (nothing i can do about it!).
Don’t want to reignite this, but a big part of carrying tons of gear is making sure individual items adhere to the “bang for buck” principle in all respects (cost, weight,size-to-blade ratio, etc.); therefore you see popularity for knives like the paraframe and not the adamas in the armed services.
Thomas Xavier says
Yep, I have seen more Paraframes & lightweight FRN knives on deployed soldiers than any other knives- by a significant margin.
And on top of that, in most armed services if you take something expensive like the Adamas, you probably won’t have it very long as it’s bound to get snatched when noone’s looking…
I’m sorry, but this conversation made me laugh. I really enjoy your reviews, and thanks for all you do.
As a military man, I can tell you that soldiers use whatever they can afford from the PX (as you mentioned) but treasure the really nice things that are issued. The Adamas knife is one that has been issued out, and not a single person left it at home because it was too heavy and more of a collectible. It’s an awesome knife, so everyone carries it regardless. So from that perspective it is a great soldier’s knife, right? So it goes beyond what “should” be ideal and what is actually used and liked in the field. Your points were spot on but as you know, like a Harley, sometimes you just have to love it even if it’s not the most efficient way to get from A to B.
Thomas Xavier says
Aye, I feel the same way about my Buck 110- love that knife but objectively its pretty mediocre as an EDC option, doesn’t stop me from carrying it though! Thanks for dropping by mate.
Completely wrong about this not being a soldier’s knife. My first Benchmade was the switchblade version Benchmades that were issued to us in the Army, and I received as a safety award while deployed. Every soldier carries a knife in addition to the multi-tool Trust me. And with this version of the Adamas, you don’t have to worry about breaking laws like with the assist version when in civilian clothes walking around town.
Thomas Xavier says
At no point did I say that all Benchmades were not suitable as Soldiering knives, but rather just the knife in question (this is a review of only the Adamas after all!). Its weight is extreme and cutting performance sub par. This is most definitely a heavy duty beater bordering on a collectible and whilst “anything” is technically viable for soldiering (can use almost any knife to cut open MREs), not everything is optimal, and the Adamas, I’d argue is just that – non-optimal for a soldier. I think it’s more beneficial for a solider to have a multi-tool option (and maybe a lightweight EDC) that’s much more lightweight than the Adamas, which I pointed out in the review. So unfortunately, have to disagree with you there!
The legislative issues were never really an option as there are far more non-automatic options than automatic ones. If you really like the axis system I strong recommend the Benchmade Griptilian as a folding EDC blade, I think it would work fine for soldiers, its lightweight and in terms of cutting performance will far outdo the Adamas.
Jenn Davies says
I didn’t love the sheath based on your pictures, but the clip looks nice to me. It might be a little big, but I’m looking for something in that size range to keep with my camping gear. From your review, this looks like it might be the knife for me!
I agree with all your points on the Adamas. I own it, too, and I was blown away with the quality and sturdiness. But in terms of carrying and using the thing, I agree it is too unwieldy to be a useful “field folding knife”. I keep it tacked onto my range bag which is a perfect way to carry and use it IMHO.
Thomas Xavier says
I think I might end up doing the same thing and tack it onto one of my bug out bags. Its too damn nice to relegate to a truck knife.
Clay Corrington says
I’m about as high on the Adamas as you are and am considering one as a birthday gift for my son. I’m conflicted about whether to order it with a serrated blade or without. I think a blade looks better without it but is more useful with it, especially on a heavy duty piece like the Adamas. You seem to prefer doing without which I wouldn’t have predicted given your interests. Can you advise me? For what it’s worth, I thought your discussion of this knife’s use and application regarding soldiering and survival made perfect sense, that you are as qualified as anyone to have an opinion and that your critic was out of line. It was perfectly clear to me that you were speaking in terms of ideals and maximum utility with the least possible weight, not dismissing the Adamas out of hand. I’ve argued with the best of them and no one, not even a soldier is above the debate.
Thomas Xavier says
Sorry about the late response- many comments, very little time unfortunately. :(
With that said, I would 100% go for the plain edge version. Never been a big fan of serrations for actual use or when sharpening.
Thank you so much for the support, I always enjoy debating as I find that when information is shared- there is always the possibility to learn. I don’t ever resent opinions that counter mine and as I mentioned before, I will never censor (on principle).
Sorry again for the late reply, I don’t usually slack off this much but life got in the way!