BM 690 First Impressions

Sep 26, 2000
I've been going nuts wanting to give my opinion on this knife. It just came in the mail today from Let me first start off by saying that they were great to deal with, not only were their prices fair but they answered all my question over the phone and by email.

On to my first impressions of this knife. I have heard several post comparing this knife to the LCC, most stating that it would be the one to buy instead. My opinion is these knives fall into two totally different classes, the LCC being one more of a tactical and heavy duty worker, and the 690 being more of a gentlemen's folder. The 690 being quite a bit smaller in my hand it still fills extremely comfortable. I received the best fit from using the serrations for the thumb which I feel gave a real good grip. The contours and finger serrations give this knife a grip just as good if not better than the LCC.

Although I have never really thought badly of BM's QC, I still fill this knife has better fit. I have about eight other BM's and of all them this one has the best grind lines and the blade centers nicely in the handle. The blade is just slightly less than hair popping sharp. I'm hoping this is BM's efforts at giving the customer what they want. I compared lockup of this knife against my LCC and axis locks and let me say it feels as rock solid as these. The action is very smooth, I would have to say better than the LCC. The LCC does however have a better thumb stud, giving a better purchase where as the 690 has a rounded thumb stud which I feel needs to go. It is just my pet peeve, but I feel a larger or more squared stud would be the way to go.

If you want a knife that won't make people turn and run but still want something capable of taking care of business then this is definitely a good choice. Mine came serrated and from my understanding that is all that is available at the time with plain soon to follow. It is also very smooth in and out of the pocket and the tear drop clip gives a good purchase in the pocket.

I only have one complaint about this knife and that is the fact that it is not left hand friendly. The thumb stud is only one sided and the clip is not movable. The CF is also slightly sloped for the purchase of the thumb stud only for right handed opening. I believe it would be possible to make this knife left friendly, but it would look unsightly having the holes in the CF. I feel BM would be best off making a left only model along with a right. Not a complaint but rather a preference, I would like to see this knife offered in a larger model about the size of the LCC, perhaps with the handle staying slightly more slender than the LCC.

For those wishing to customize this knife, not being an expert I feel it is possible but not as easy as the LCC. I have not removed the handles so my opinion is just from observation. If you were to change the handle material, it would be necessary to remove the CF as well being that it is placed on top of the diamond wood. I'm guessing that it has been glued to attach it. This would be a awesome knife to put different materials on but it would probably be slightly more difficult. I personally like the materials used and don't have any intentions of changing mine. Perhaps this is a new beginning for BM and will be lucky to see some more natural materials. I wouldn't hold my breath on it though. This is however a nice change to their line.

Here are the specs...

Blade Steel: 154CM Stainless Steel

Blade Length: 3.25"

Overall Length: 7.325"

Closed Length: 4.125"

Handle: Carbon Fiber and Diamond Wood

Lock: Modified Locking Liner

Thanks for the write-up. I've been waiting to hear some impressions of this piece. I'll hold off until the plain edge version is produced but it is definitely on my WTB list.


He who finishes with the most toys wins.
It's nice to see BM using 154-CM. In my personal experience (limited) with this steel, it takes a keener edge than ATS-34, with at least equivalent edge-holding.
Thanks for the great review. And most especially, thanks for the heads up on the single thumbstud! Why in the world would BM put just one thumbstud? Makes about as much sense to me as only having a right side butt cheek or some such nonsense.
This one thumstud thing is the reason I'm selling ( or trying to anyway ) my Buck Strider.

Is the thumb stud reversible?

Frankly I am very surprised that they would collaborate with Elishewitz in an a way to make it unfriendly to lefty's since most of his knives are fairly ambidextrous.

I am still waiting for a lefty 330?

bcaffrey, I can't say that I blame you for wanting the plain, it is my preferance as well. I just had to get one though.

It is a pain that the knife is not left friendly, I thought they might add a ambi thumb stud on the later models like they did on the 750. After attempting to reverse the thumb stud as Daniel suggested, I don't think this will happen. It did in fact move over to the reverse side, it was not a perfect fit but it seemed to hold fine. The problem is that the CF and the liner has been grooved out for thumb placement on the right side only. so it was rather hard to get a good purchase of the stud on the left side. If it was grooved out on the left side I think the clip would get in the way of opening. Along with the unsightly holes this is another reason why I should think a model for left and right would be better.

If this model was increased in size I believe there would not be much difficulty in making it ambi, but at it's current size with the tear drop clip I don't think it would work well.
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Burke:
It's nice to see BM using 154-CM. In my personal experience (limited) with this steel, it takes a keener edge than ATS-34, with at least equivalent edge-holding.</font>

Aren't these two steels for all intents and purposes basically the same thing? Are they actually different enough to see differences in performance?

Just wondering...


Name's Ash......Housewares.
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Firebat:
Aren't these two steels for all intents and purposes basically the same thing?</font>

In composition, yes. In manufacturer, no (according to what I have read in a couple of places). See Jerry Hossom's post in this thread for more specific information regarding its manufacturer.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Are they actually different enough to see differences in performance?</font>

In my experience, yes.

I've seen a look in dogs' eyes, a quickly vanishing look of amazed contempt, and I am convinced that basically dogs think humans are nuts. -- John Steinbeck
Dog does not eat dog. - Juvenal

Boy, it's nice to see Mr. Hossom confirm scientifically what I noticed empirically. Part of this might also have to do with heat-treat, as most of my experience with ATS-34 has been with older Benchmade knives, which I don't think are treated too consistently, and 154-CM has been with Microtech, which I think of as a higher-end brand. But still...I'm glad the difference I noticed was really there.
I like most Elishewitz designs, including 690. Which pretty much means that 690 is on my list to buy.

But it is apparently hard to get. I too would prefer it in plain edge.

Here is a few picutures of my 690.

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The clip is definitely off from the normal design. From pictures I have seen of Elishewitz work, this does follow his clip design on some of his knives. I have found that the clip works quite well, it doesn't move around in my pocket at all. I find it to be a nice change from the usual, but to each their own.

Here is a picture of Elishewitz Djinn. Unfortunately it's out of my price range, thank goodness for collaborations.

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Good write-up, Sigsauer. I just got mine, a combo edged, pre-production, #860 of 1000. This is an absolutely beautiful knife! Very solid lock up, smooth and did I mention handsome! The clip design allows the knife to sit deep in the pocket, which I prefer. Mine also has a very sharp out of the box edge with even grind lines. My only gripe is that the scale screws protrude the titanium liners by 1/32" or so. Well at least they did until I ground each one to fit flush with the liners. It in no way affected performance, just aesthetics.
I just handled a 690 in a knifestore in Atlantic City. I didn't look at it long because the owners were foreigners and were acting nervous about me handling the knife. Anyway, the two biggest impressions that I got from 30 second contact was that it was very lightweight and that it locked up with a very solid sounding thwack. I think its gonna make it on my must buy list.

[This message has been edited by kutch133 (edited 02-16-2001).]
I got mine today and I'm very impressed with the overall fit and finish. The lock up is right on. This knife is a winner in all respects. I wonder if the release of the 690 marks the begining of a new era in production folders. Is this the end of the black tactical folder? I would also like to say that Earl and company at are great to do business with.
I used to own an Elishewitz custom,that I liked very much.I just handled the Benchmade version the other day at a knife shop,and although I love most BM's,The 690 was less than what I expected.I guess I was expecting it to be an Elishewitz at a BM price,which in alot of way's it really is.I don't know if it was any particular thing that turned me off,I do know the handle scales seemed a little thin,I'm not sure I liked that type of wood.I really didn't care to much of the feel whenI was holding the knife.The knife seemed a lttle lighter than I had expected.Well not to knock it too much,but it wasn't really for me,but still not to shabby considering the price(just not for me).This model will not be on my to get list,but don't let that stop any of you from checking the 690 out for yourself,it may be what your looking for.I definatly feel my Lcc is more suitable for me.

[This message has been edited by TOMBSTONE (edited 02-17-2001).]