Benchmade Shootout - first impressions


May 18, 2005
I like OTFs. Not having to shift your hand around and affording to remain blissfully heedless when closing an OTF to me vastly outweigh any potential disadvantage (bladeplay, rattle, maintenance, etc) they might bring.

I also like the aesthetics and heft of metal handles as much as the next guy, however I've watched myself mostly avoiding them during summer and winter.

So when I saw the Shootout announced, I knew I had to have one.


No-nonsense full-flat PVD-coated tanto blade. I think they’ve nailed it perfectly, it’s an EDC dream: not too thick BTE, a bit of belly here and there, primary tip pointy enough while not too fragile, secondary tip pronounced enough as to be useful.

The activation switch/button is narrow and triangle-shaped, so on paper it should have looked like a bad idea. It’s not, works smoothly and does not require you hit the thumb-gym before using it.

As expected, the CF Elite does not feel exactly premium in hand. Additionally, the internal cavities do act as a sound amplifier and the clickety-clack of the action might not be awe-inspiring, but in my experience the action has been 100% reliable, no misfiring at all.

It carries ultralight, flat and thin and has opened up a new world of possibilities in terms of summer-carry (I typically wear shorts and carry a lot IWB, so weight is a primary concern).

Not too happy with:

1/ the rough texture near the switch. Might work for people who hammer-grip all the time, but I’m not one of them (I favor saber, filipino, pinch grips depending on what I’m doing, never hammer). It kind of shreds pockets, skin (remember, I mostly carry IWB in shorts), and has a nasty way of arresting the motion of inserting/retrieving the knife into/from the pocket.

2/ the glass breaker. Just because Microtech slapped a glass breaker on their OTFs some decades ago doesn’t mean everybody else should follow. (Might be a good combo if you build your target group around first responders etc but it seems to me the appetite for OTFs is growing and focusing on a rather narrow market niche doesn’t look like a good business practice). Anyway, I’ve partially solved this by removing the deep-carry clip (that was only exposing the glass breaker, so it was a non-stop pokey-pokey fest) and slapping on an old-school parkerized clip. With more handle sticking out, retrieval works better and with less chances of hand puncture, yay.


All in all, to me the pluses outweigh the negatives. You get an extremely light and durable knife that might not feel premium but definitely functions as one, at a quite appealing price/quality ratio.

Insipid Moniker

Gold Member
Feb 28, 2011
I still love mine. It definitely doesn't have quite the sex appeal of a Microtech or Heretic, but the cutting geometry and ergos are both very, very good. IMO, it feels like a Benchmade OTF with a Spyderco design philosophy, made to cut and function comfortably rather than impress visually. I honestly like carrying my flashier OTFs a bit more, but if I know I'm going to be using my knife a lot I reach for the Shootout, which is a pretty strong endorsement.