Benchmade Tengu

Benchmade 2020 Knife Preview: Stealing the SHOT Show

Many knife brands launched their 2020 lines at the SHOT Show in Las Vegas. But Benchmade made a huge splash with just a few knives.

Benchmade leaked two knives before SHOT Show. But even longtime contacts refused to yield on the brand’s 2020 lineup, and for good reason — Benchmade’s 2020 lineup is a double-barrel shot of awesome. Let’s get right to it.

Benchmade Tengu

Jared Oeser has been the hottest custom maker on the planet for 3 years now. His unique, stunning blend of traditional designs and modern features is unlike anyone else in the knife business (though some have followed in his footsteps). 

The fact that there is no production version of these scorching-hot blades is a small miracle in an age when folks with zero custom knives are getting collab deals. So when the news broke that Tengu, one of his tanto flippers, was being made by a production house, everyone in the IKC (internet knife community) was dying to find out who the producer was.

Then on Tuesday, it broke — Benchmade had landed Oeser. It’s certainly a coup in the knife world, and the design looks stunning and feels marvelous in the hand. With a modest 2.87-inch blade of 20CV, sleek handles with the classic Oeser shield, and layered G10 backspaces, the Tengu could be a smash hit for Benchmade. 

If the build quality is there, knife enthusiasts might just faint. Let’s hope this is the beginning of a long collaboration between Oeser and Benchmade. 

MSRP on the clipless Tengu is $220. Given that Oeser’s custom knives often go for $2,000 or more, this production knife comes in a great value to boot.

Mini Bugout



If you take any of the classic Benchmade designs and add the word “mini” to their name, the knife just gets better. Here, the 3.25-inch blade of S30V from the full-size Bugout is shrunk down to 2.9 inches. The resulting knife weighs even less than the standard Bugout at 1.5 ounces.

This is just a flat-out win for people who like or use cutting tools (which, if you haven’t noticed, is everyone). The coated version has an MSRP of $160, and the uncoated version as an MSRP of $140 (that coating is pricey, apparently).

Updates on Evergreen Models

Benchmade is releasing a new version of the 940, with titanium handles and S90V blade steel. This, of course, is a guaranteed seller, as the 940 is one of the best knives available and one of the best in Benchmade’s lineup.

It’s also releasing an aluminum-handled Bailout in M4 steel and a new Bugout with a brand-new, even lighter and stiffer handle material called CF-Elite. 

Benchmade Bugout
Bugout CF-Elite

Clocking in at 1.8 ounces, this is a very light knife. It has also updated the Presidio, which, in my mind, was a tier-two design, lagging behind the Bugout, 940, and Griptilian designs.

The new Mediator looks interesting, with a hard clip point and S90V steel. The SOCP folder could be great, but I have no insights into tactical knives. There’s also a new auto with premium materials.

Overall, Benchmade’s small lineup for 2020 looks very promising. The Tengu was an absolute win for Benchmade and knife fans everywhere. The Mini Bugout should be awesome, and the new handle material on the full-size Bugout is promising.

Grade: A; Benchmade’s 2020 lineup is small but mighty.

Instabuys: Tengu, Mini Bugout, and Bugout in CF-Elite