Benchmade 710 versus Starmate- who is the better utility folder?

Apr 14, 2000
I had to buy a new tactical folder and have to choose between a 710 and a Starmate (or any other suggestions)
Price range is 140$
Please help me!!!!
Very tough decision. Both those are on the top of my list. I have each and really can't say which I like better. Right now it is the Starmate, ask me tomorrow and it may be the 710.
I like them both for seperate reasons. Lets break it down:

Lock, advantage 710 but Spyderco has perfected the linerlock with the starmate and military so I wouldn't worry much about it.

steel, advantage starmate. 440-v is better than ats-34, but ats-34 is no slouch.

ergonomics, a toss up really.

The starmate is tip down and the 710 is tip up, really a matter of personal preference.

I think the fit and finish has been better on the starmates I have seen. Either would be a good choice. Do you generally prefer Benchmade or Spyderco? Tip up or Tip down? Do you need a knife that is left hand friendly?

Dennis Bible
Forgot to mention that if you can stomach the $hitty bt2 finish, you can get the 710 with a m-2 steel blade. great performance, crappy finish.

Dennis Bible
I agree with Dennis and here is my $0,02
SPYDERCO Starmate has pronounced hollow ground blade and BENCHMADE Model 710 Axis Lock has flat grind on the half blade wideness.
Starmate is better for skinning and gutting but 710 is better for field sandwich making
I agree with the two esteemed gentle-posters before me.

It's a terribly difficult choice between these two and that is why the 710 is in my left pocket and the Starmate is in my right pocket!
And I'm thinking that I'm going to keep it this way for awhile, as these are both real stand out knives in the "all around use" dept.
Tough choice, but you got a couple of winners to choose from!

The individualist without strategy who takes opponents lightly will inevitably become the captive of others.
Sun Tzu
Sorry that I answer so late, but I am 9 hours
later than you. Now we have 01.20 middle european Time. However, I thank you all for the replies!!

Now my question: Is the handle of the Starmate stronger, weaker or equal with the handle of the 710.
I have the military for carry and I think its one of the best production knives, is the Starmate equal in quality, performance and feels it so good in hands too?
If you are familiar with you military then you know how the starmate is constructed, single nested liner and g-10 scales. The 710 has stainless liners on both sides. I have never had a problem with the starmates single liner though. The grade of g-10 Spyderco uses seems to be a tighter weave. Both are constructed tough! Both handles are comfortable. The Starmates handle didn't seem quite as comfortable at first, but the more I use it the more comfortable (to me) it becomes. Ideally you could handle one of each and see what works better for you. Many of us, myself included, don't have that option though.

Dennis Bible
IMO, if push came to shove, I think the 710 would have the stronger handle due to the double steel liners as oppossed to the Military and Starmate's single nested steel liner. As strong as these folders are, however, I'm not so sure the strength difference between them is noteworthy or not.

The individualist without strategy who takes opponents lightly will inevitably become the captive of others.
Sun Tzu
Both folders fit my hands well, and I'm assuming if you're asking this question they both fit your hands well, too. If you haven't taken them both for a quick test drive, be sure to do so. A few people don't like either the Starmate or Axis, just because their hands didn't fit well on one or the other.

Other than that, the main differences to me come down to: the lock, and the edge.

The lock: I don't buy liner locks anymore. However, I'd say Spyderco's liner locks are particularly good, so if I was in love with the Starmate, in this particular case I would probably buy it anyway. The Axis lock remains in another league, in my opinion. It is astoundingly strong, and just as reliable. The Axis is the winner here (for me), but the Starmate still makes it above the "cut line" for consideration.

The edge: Spyderco understands edges, plain and simple. The Starmate comes with a thin, high-performance hollow grind right from the box. The Axis comes with Benchmade's typical thick-but-strong sabre grind, with an edge that won't perform as well as the Starmate's out of the box. Since the edge is something you'll be modifying anyway, you can always thin your Axis's edge down if you decide you want a thinner, high-performing edge. Just keep in mind you'll have to work at reprofiling the edge a bit if that's what you want. Winner here is easily the Starmate, but the Axis's edge can be brought up to the par with some reprofiling.

The last thing to think about is the steel. Many people rave about 440V, but some folks, like Cliff Stamp and Outlaw Dogboy, have exposed some areas where 440V isn't the best choice. It's worth trying to find those posts and reading about it.

All in all, hard to imagine going wrong with either knife. Both get consistently good reviews.

Hmmmm.... tactical folder? If you're going to use your tactical folder for defense, I'd say 710, without a doubt. Simply because of the lock. If you're going to use it for utility, then the Starmate could work. As for the 440V edge holding, and my experiences (I'm also known as Outlaw_Dogboy), below are a few links that have most of the information from me, as well as a couple of others.