Dooby - tough question. I have a Benchmade Mini-AFCK in M2 steel that I absolutely love. The blade shape is very functional, the handle is extremely comfortable, and the knife is just a pleasure to carry & use.
On the other hand, I have an Almite Navigator from Spyderco that is also an awesome knife. It's small in size but large in utility. Very comfortable handle and a blade that seems to love to cut and cut and cut....
I'd say handle both of them and then choose the one that feels best in your hands.
I have owned an 800 AFCK in M2, I own a Mini AFCK in M2 and I own two Military knives, both plain, on the inlay model.
It goes without saying that the M2 steel is amazing, but the CPM 440V is very very good as well.
The Spyderco is rock solid, no blade play etc and made for cutting. Both are good, but the Military is a whole lot better IMHO!
The Military, with respect is one of the best folders in the world, the AFCK WAS one of the best, but times change and they suffer from a number of production and design niggles. Blade play, wobble and liner rub. Oh and the blade comes of centre and the liner flexes. Otherwise a fine knife. The Military has no such trouble!
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I consider them about equal in performance, so buy the one that you like.
I think there is a slight edge in strength to the AFCK because of its double liners. Not that anyone would ever break either one, but more rigidity in the handle means more reliability in the liner lock.
The AFCK is available in M-2 steel, which is a very nice knife steel, both tough and wear resistant. But you have to get the BT-2 coating on it which tends to look like hell after a few months of hard use. But if you like shiny blades, the 154CM is darn good steel too.
The Military is available in S60V(CPM440V), which is practically impossible to make dull, but may not resist chipping well based on some recent reports. Takes a fine and nasty edge though.
Folks who wear gloves a lot prefer the Military due to its larger diameter thumb hole.
thanks a lot everybody!!! its just still such a hard decision for me to make, though. i always hear something good about either one of them and then the next person goes ahead and says something from personal experience that changes everything. still like to hear more from you guys till i make a choice!!!
I really like my Military. It was my every day carry for over a year, till I started carrying a fixed blade plus the Gunting on a regular basis. I find the handle to be better for my hands than that on the AFCK, though people often say the AFCK fits them very well. They're both liner-locks, so I wouldn't give either a definitive thumbs up over the other in that arena. The Military will definitely cut many things better than the AFCK due to its wide flat-ground blade. If you want it primarily for self-defense and light utility, this won't matter as much, but if you intend to do much food prep, cutting of soft materials, slicing up boxes etc, I would give the edge to the Military. Overall, I've been very impressed with my Military. Oh yeah, and I always hear positive comments on Spyderco's customer service, and comments on Benchmade seem split about 50/50.
I don't have a benchmade, but I can pitch in on the Military. The knife is..... rather homely looking. Okay, it's butt ugly. With that said, everything else about it is sensational. It's simply a cutting machine. All matter trembles in the wake of the 440V Military!!! This isn't one of those sexy, carry-arounds. The Military is hard working user. It's simple, easy to clean, sharp as all get-up, and has a good grip.
It wouldn't be my first choice to impress people with. It isn't a knife that I'd go around showing off. It is the knife I'd use when I had a whole lot of big cutting chores to do.
I think you should take a look at the 710hs. I love my AFCK, and Spyderco makes quality products, but nothing beats an Axis lock!
Jason aka medusaoblongata
"Is not giving a need? Is not receiving mercy?" - Thus Spoke Zarathustra
"Cutting his throat is only a momentary pleasure and is bound to get you talked about." - Lazarus Long
"Knowledge is not made for understanding; it is made for cutting." - Michel Foucault
between the 2 i would choose a older model AFCK if ya can find 1 try www.knifecenter.com, or if ya want it the newer model - spyderco is ok too but i'm not crazy about the military - hey its ok just the AFCK fits my hand much better, have big hands - just my .02
Sorry to get away from the original choices, but I think the suggestions for a BM710 or 710HS are a good alternative.
The 710 has a more compact handle, more aggressive blade (recurve), stronger tip, superior lock, and is overall more knife for the money than either the Military or AFCK, IMO.
I love the AFCK, but the liner lock and tip-down carry are turn-offs for me, personally. I carried an AFCK daily for about 3 years, and am very familiar with it. It's one of my all-time favorite knives, but the 710 replaced it immediately. Outperforms the AFCK on everything except thin, soft materials.
I have never been impressed with Spyderco's liner locks (though I like Spydies in general, particularly the smaller ones), and do not trust their 440V (heat treat has been inconsistent in my understanding). Also, though lots of people talk about how hard they use their Military, every one, of maybe 6-7, that I have examined that has been used (actually used hard, not as a letter opener) for a year or two has had excessive liner wear and vertical blade play. I've always wanted one, because I like the design and love the blade, but have been totally unimpressed with how they hold up for other people over the long haul. That is just my observation, and is limited to the aforementioned half-dozen or so knives.
My personal experience with both BM and Spyderco has been very good to date, and I've bought 8 BMs (4 since the Axis came out) and 4 Spydies with no problems of my own.
Another vote for the 710, or the 710HS if you're going to work it hard, and think chipping is a concern.
If you have a day or two to spare, do a search on the reviews/testing forum on AFCK or Military. That debate has been hashed over many times, and alot of heated arguments have risen from it, since both knives were very popular "in their time" (still are).
OwenM - I believe that the Military now uses an eccentric pivot pin, so wear related blade play can be removed. I haven't had my Military nearly long enough to need to adjust the new pivot pin, but people say it works great. We'll see when I've had the chance to beat on this thing some more.
Now if Spyderco would just enlarge the lanyard hole in the Military slightly. You can fit fine hair through the hole, but it doesn't make for a very sturdy lanyard.
Well both these knives are well loved here.I have had a AFCK since almost the git go.Great knife,but I don't care for tip down or a thin tip,both of which it has.When the 710 came out the AKCK went in the wall safe,and hardly comes out now.
I'm with Steve, practically no difference in performance. Probably Military is small bit better cutter (full flat grind and pretty thin edge) but AFCK has small bit stronger edge (sabre grind and thicker edge). This is really hard choice. Try to handle both knives and choose the one which fits you hand better.