Automatic knives can be a divisive topic among everyday carry enthusiasts, with some lauding their clear defensive benefits and others balking at their high price tags and sometimes questionable utility uses. Whatever your position, they’re undeniably some of the coolest and most enjoyable knives to use.
In this Benchmade Infidel review, we dive deep into tthe Benchmade Infidel OTF knife (from Benchmade Knives) to see whether this popular blade is the best out-the- front knife.
This high-end OTF knife is rugged yet gorgeous, comfortable in the hand, and has a buttery smooth push button deployment mechanism that’s incredibly satisfying to use and gives you near-instant access to its devastatingly sharp dagger blade.
What We Like
Smooth and easy double action OTF mechanism (no accidental deployment)
Excellent handle ergonomics
Blade profile is useful and tactical
Deep carry pocket clip keeps the blade down
What We Don’t Like
The price. At $500, this is not cheap.
Branding on pocket clip is a bit too prominent
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What is the Benchmade Infidel?
The Benchmade Infidel is a double action out-the-front (OTF) automatic knife from the famous and well-respected blade maker, Benchmade Infidel Knives. Automatic knives, commonly (and often pejoratively) known as switchblades, deploy the blade of a knife at the flick of a switch or push of a button. An out-the-front knife slides the blade directly out the front of the handle rather than swinging it out as in a standard pocket knife.
It was designed as a high-end, fast-access tactical knife with a sharp blade for military, law enforcement, and self-defense purposes but can double as a quality pocket knife for everyday use.
- Easy-to-use double action automatic mechanism
- Double-edge dagger blade
- Ergonomic handle
- D2 blade steel
- Length (closed/open): 5.00″ | 12.70 cm – 8.91″ | 22.63 cm
- Blade Length: 3.91″ | 9.93 cm
- Blade Steel: D2 (60-62 HRC)
- Weight: 4.90oz. | 138.91 g
Benchmade Infidel Design and Style
The style of the Infidel comes entirely from its function and purpose. It’s all angles and edges, with a decidedly tactical and downright dangerous look. The handle is machined from black aluminum alloys with an accenting silver aluminum deployment button.
In shape and style it bore striking similarities to the storied Fairburn-Sikes Fighting Knife made famous by the exploits of the British SAS in WWII. The blade isn’t nearly as long when deployed, but the handle geometry and tapered choils are highly reminiscent of the F-S knife.
Benchmade Infidel Features and Functionality
Blade style, blade access, ergonomics, and pocketability are essential factors when choosing a pocket knife. Blade style and access are particularly critical for an automatic OTF option like the Infidel knife.
The body of the Infidel is made from a precision machined piece of aluminum with a comfortable grip surface that stuck to the hand well without being gritty. It flares out near the start of the blade into two pronounced finger choils that give you multiple ways to grip it securely and comfortably, depending on your task.
Most people when handed the Infidel grip it with a thumb in the choil and their fingers wrapped around the remaining handle. The raised ridges provide a solid grip without digging into your fingers and add to the overall tactical look.
We found the heft and balance to be excellent. The balance point was just behind the butt of the blade and worked well for utility purposes and when using the Infidel in a more martial fashion. Given that many OTF knives we’ve used before are little more than a rounded rectangle with a thumb button we were impressed with the ergonomics of the Infidel.
Blade material and quality
The Infidel uses a double-edge dagger blade (a plain edge blade, not a serrated edge) in a satin or black coated finish. Benchmade went with D2 tool steel, a durable high-end blade stainless steel that offers excellent edge retention while still being manageable to sharpen.
The D2 tool steel dagger blade has a highly defined point that makes it great for thrusting without detracting from the slicing ability. The blade isn’t well-suited for heavy utility use but will hold up fine with average day-to-day tasks like opening packages or peeling fruit.
Blade access and security
The special sauce of all OTF knives is their ability to rapidly deploy the edged blade at the touch of a simple trigger switch. The deployment button on the Infidel is right at the top of the anodized aluminum handle and made from the same anodized aluminum as the main body but in a contrasting color to make finding it easy.
It’s a fast but not instant touch deployment that feels just right. It requires enough travel from the button before the blade comes out to prevent a stray touch or bump in your pocket from shooting a dagger point blade into your pants.
Retracting the blade is just as easy. The Benchmade Infidel is a double-action automatic knife that can both deploy and retract the blade at the flip of the button. It does both with a seriously satisfying sound and feel, to the point where we found ourselves deploying and retracting the blade in stray moments just for fun.
Once deployed, the blade is all but rock steady. Some cheaper automatic knives we’ve used in the past had very iffy blade securing features once deployed, but the Infidel showed none of these. There’s a little bit of give comparable to other folding knives but the blade isn’t going to retract on its own under pressure suddenly.
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Pocketability and carry options
Coming in at five inches closed and weighing 4.9 oz, the Infidel is undeniably a bigger-than-average knife, making this its most distinctive feature. Thankfully for pocketability, it’s also designed with a low-snag anodized aluminum handle profile and a deep carry pocket clip with a blade-down configuration.
The clip is excellent, with a strong hold that makes it unlikely to come loose in your pocket. The pocket clip has “The Infidel” printed in a bright, stylized font. We’re honestly not sure how we feel about that level of branding on the pocket clip, but some will no doubt enjoy it.
One thing we see many people worry about with automatic knives is accidental deployment. Benchmade designed the Infidel with a long push/pull to activate the deployment mechanism. In our testing we found it almost impossible to trigger the blade by accident, particularly when in your pocket as the deployment button is inward facing.
Benchmade also includes a MOLLE-compatible sheath in case you prefer to carry their blades sheathed. None of us at Gearscape tend to carry a knife like this, so we appreciated the sheath during our Benchmade Infidel review.
Benchmade Infidel Durability
The Benchmade Infidel showcases the company’s commitment to quality and design excellence. Like all their knives, it’s proudly made in the USA at their Oregon City, Oregon workshop and comes with a lifetime warranty on workmanship and materials.
Physically the Infidel is a rock-solid knife. The handle was constructed from high-end machined 6061-T6 aluminum (a precipitation-hardened type of aluminum alloy), and the liner that makes the OTF work is similarly well made. The presence of moving parts in the internal mechanism gave us pause.
After using it for a while during this Benchmade Infidel review and reviewing firsthand reports of use in highly arduous conditions, we’re confident that the Benchmade Infidel is built for the long haul.
Who is the Benchmade Infidel For?
We’ll be blunt here, the Infidel is an expensive niche product. It’s beautifully manufactured and works perfectly, but for the average person an automatic knife just isn’t on their radar and a high-end tactical OTF version is way too much knife for their needs.
The Infidel was designed from the ground up to be a highly-capable tactical tool. Everything from the double-edge dagger blade shape to the placement of the deployment switch is optimized for fast access and devastating strike capability.
That makes it an excellent choice if you’re an operator in a rapidly evolving combat situation or a first responder in a dangerous area, but those optimizations greatly limit the Infidel’s usefulness in everyday situations. For most folks, it comes down to aesthetic choices.
The Infidel is just about the best out-the-front knife on the market, with an eye-watering price tag to match, but it’s undeniably a very cool knife that does exactly what it was designed to do. If you’re one of the groups we mentioned above or just want the serious cool factor of carrying a high-end automatic knife as your everyday pocket knife, it’s hard to go wrong with the Benchmade Infidel.
Is the Benchmade Infidel Worth It?
We can’t ignore cost in our Benchmade Infidel review. The Infidel is a sexy, high-end automatic knife that blows most other OTF knives out of the water in terms of build quality and durability. At the same time, it costs more than $500 and offers questionable utility at best to the average knife user in their day-to-day lives.
Is it the practical choice for someone looking for a pocket folder to open envelopes, peel an apple, and cut string? Probably not.
Let’s face it though, if practical and reasonable were all we considered when buying gear and gadgets, there wouldn’t be much of a gear and gadget market.
The Infidel is undeniably excellent if you need a fast-access tactical knife for last resort defense. It’s also one of the coolest and most downright fun knives to carry and use no matter what you use it for.
The Benchmade Infidel is very much worth it from a materials, build quality, and functionality standpoint. Whether its worth it for your needs depends on your budget, your personality, and what you’re looking for in a pocket knife.
Benchmade Infidel Alternatives
The Infidel is a gorgeous knife that’s near the top of the line as far as automatic and OTF knives go. Unfortunately, you can’t get top-of-the-line quality without paying top-of-the-line prices.
If you love the functionality and styling of automatic knives but aren’t looking to spend quite that much on a knife, there are still plenty of good options.
Microtech Ultratech II
In the OTF knife world Microtech is the undisputed number 1. They make a diverse range of automatic and OTF knives and set the standard for both style and functionality of modern OTF tactical knives.
The Microtech Ultratech II is the closest comparable Microtech product to the Benchmade Infidel in price and design. They’re within less than $100 of each other as of writing and offer comparable blade length, overall size, carry capability, and utility.
Gerber Mini Covert F.A.S.T. Knife
If you’re looking to add an automatic knife to your EDC but don’t want to drop major bucks on it the Gerber Mini Covert F.A.S.T. Knife is just what you’re looking for. It costs a fraction of the price of the Infidel yet offers some pretty compelling features.
It’s a spring-assist knife rather than a pure automatic, meaning you have to apply some force directly to one of the thumb studs to begin the opening process rather than pushing a button. Once you do so though it springs out just like an automatic.
Kershaw Launch 8 Stiletto
For those who want to highlight the look of their automatic knife it’s hard to beat the Kershaw Launch 8 Stiletto. Its style is reminiscent of classic switchblades but with an updated handle profile and a single edge on the spear point blade.
It’s considerably more affordable than the Infidel yet still looks beautiful and functions well as an automatic knife.
Benchmade Infidel Review Final Thoughts
Our final opinion in this Benchmade Infidel review: The Infidel is a high-end out-the-front knife with some serious strengths. It’s rugged yet gorgeous, comfortable in the hand, and has a buttery smooth push button deployment mechanism that’s incredibly satisfying to use and gives you near-instant access to its devastatingly sharp dagger blade. It’s pricey, but you get a lot for your money compared to many other equally expensive automatic knives.