In the fall of 2015, I tested the Benchmade 665 APB Assisted Opening Knife. You can read that full review here, but long story short, my knife experienced a catastrophic failure. Despite Benchmade’s new APB system being based on their venerable Axis lock, my 665 failed under circumstances that my Axis-equipped 552 Griptilian was able to survive.
Admittedly, I was subjecting the knife to abuse by attempting some light batoning. I had done this years ago with my Griptilian before in a controlled environment, just to see how it would hold up. The lock popped loose a couple of times while I was banging away, but the lock and knife were unaffected. That knife is still my primary edc to this day, so I would say it passed the test.
Under similar use however, the 665’s mechanism jammed open and I was unable to actuate the lock or close the blade. I took the knife apart and discovered that the liners around the lock bar slot had deformed.
Upon hearing about this failure, our contacts at Benchmade vowed to take the knife into their torture chamber to try and replicate the failure and see what happened. We didn’t hear anything for a long while, but I can finally report that they were indeed able to determine the cause of the failure, as well as address the issue.
Whereas the lock bar on the Axis lock is perfectly round, the APB’s mechanism uses a lock bar that has a flat side. Under the shock from a baton, the bar was actually rotating in its track and getting stuck because of that flat side. Unlike the round Axis bar, it could not ride out the vibrations.
So, Benchmade went back to the drawing board and redesigned the lock bar by making it wider, eliminating the rotational possibility, while adding a bit more strength to the piece as well. I was able to confirm this with our Benchmade contacts while at BLADE Show this past June, and they told us that they had been using the new part “for several months” at that time.
I’m quite pleased that such a positive outcome came about as a result of one of our reviews. When the knife broke my heart sank – I felt terrible about it and I took no pleasure in writing about it, so I am glad something good came from it.
Kudos to Benchmade for addressing the problem and making the design even better, even though 99.99% of these knives would never be put in a situation where such a failure could occur. The fact that they are looking out for the 0.01% of their customer base makes me proud to carry one of their knives on a daily basis (when I am not testing something else for review that is).
So far this change only applies to the spring assisted 665, and not the automatic version of the APB lock found on the 6800 knife. If you think you may have one of the older 665s with the smaller lockbar, I would suggest contacting Benchmade’s customer service and see if they can do anything for you.
So thank you Benchmade for stepping up to the plate, even though you didn’t need to. As a customer, I certainly appreciate it.