The Seven Best Benchmade OTF Knives

Benchmade OTF Knives

This is a guest post by Jason Schwarber, who unfortunately has no website we can send you to.  We know people like OTF knives, but in my state, switchblade-type knives are illegal to possess.  Luckily, Sam and Reese have an out-of-state buddy who collects them, and Benchmade knives make up the bulk of his collection.  He’s kindly written up review of his favorite Benchmade OTF knives.

Out-the-front (OTF) knives are a kind of switchblade.  They offer quick, one-handed deployment and retraction with the push of a button.  There are a lot of good brands out there, but since Benchmade makes some of my favorites, I figured why not just make this post around Benchmade OTF knives?  They can double as EDC knives.

However, check your local laws!  There was once a federal ban on automatic knives and some states are still stupid about them!  If your state is one of them, I suggest heading over to Knife Rights to see if anyone is fighting for your ability to legally own switchblades or any other kind of knife in your state.

I’ve decided to change it up and let you know up-front which knives we’re going to be looking at.

KnifeBlade LengthOverall LengthKey Features
Benchmade Infidel3.91″8.91″Slim lightweight tactical knife, popularity of Infidel name/design
Benchmade Autocrat3.71″8.75″Larger heavy-duty knife
Benchmade Mini Infidel3.1″7.1″Compact everyday carry version of the Infidel
Benchmade Phaeton3.45″8.08″Extra long blade, integrated glass breaker
Benchmade Pagan3.96″8.96″Solid mid-size OTF, unique blade shape
Benchmade Shootout3.51″8.22″Tanto Shape, Glass Breaker
Benchmade Presidio II3.75″7.50″Aluminum handles, partially serrated blade

Benchmade Infidel

Specs

  • Blade Length: 3.91″
  • Overall Length: 8.91″
  • Steel: D2
  • Handle: 6061-T6 Aluminum
  • Weight: 4.25 oz

The legendary Benchmade Infidel is quite possibly the most popular out-the-front knife in existence. With its rugged tactical design, unmatched reliability, and ultra-smooth dual-action out-the-front mechanism, it’s easy to see why the Infidel is so highly regarded.

The Infidel features a 3.91″ D2 tool steel spear point blade known for excellent edge retention and cutting performance. It’s mated to 6061-T6 aerospace-grade aluminum handles for lightweight durability. At just 4.25 oz, the Infidel carries comfortably while still feeling extremely solid.  The .59″ thick handle makes it feel surprisingly solid!

Its slim profile makes the Infidel an excellent choice for everyday carry and tactical use. The ambidextrous thumb slide and firing button allow smooth, fast deployment with either hand. It can be safely pocket-carried thanks to the integrated safety switch.  That doesn’t mean I suggest carrying it as an EDC (switchblades would probably not be my first choice for EDC in general, although enough people beg to differ that I have this post categorized as EDC), but I wouldn’t feel afraid carrying it around.

For OTF fans looking for the perfect balance of size, performance, and iconic Benchmade quality, the Infidel delivers in spades. It’s an automatic inclusion on any list of the best out-the-front knives.  Pretty sure that’s not opinion, either.  It’s a fact.

Benchmade Autocrat

Specs

  • Blade Length: 3.71″
  • Overall Length: 8.75″
  • Steel: CPM S30V
  • Handle: G-10
  • Weight: 5.58 oz

If you prefer a larger and heavier-duty OTF knife, the Benchmade Autocrat is an excellent choice. It offers all the goodness of the Infidel in a bigger package built for hard use, thanks to the CPM S30V steel.  This is a step up from the D2 steel found in the infidel, but, naturally, it comes with a higher price tag.

This knife has more heft, better edge retention, is more corrosion-resistant, and can stand up to more general use.

The Autocrat’s G-10 composite handles have a more rounded profile for a secure grip. Integrated friction grooves further enhance grip when wearing gloves. A reversible pocket clip and safety switch allow convenient tip-up carry.

This rugged monster of an OTF fires hard and smooth thanks to Benchmade’s excellent spring-loaded mechanism. If you prefer substantial heft and cutting power in your out-the-front knife, the Autocrat is a top choice.

Benchmade Mini Infidel

Specs

  • Blade Length: 3.1″
  • Overall Length: 7.1″
  • Steel: D2
  • Handle: 6061-T6 aluminum
  • Weight: 3.40oz

Fans of the Infidel who want a smaller, easier to carry version will love the Benchmade Mini Infidel. It packs all the goodness of its larger sibling into a more compact OTF knife.

The Mini Infidel’s 3.1″ D2 steel spear point blade is sized just right for everyday tasks. It still offers plenty of cutting power and edge retention for an EDC blade. The integrated double edge is great for piercing capability.

Despite its smaller stature, the Mini Infidel retains pleasing heft thanks to aircraft-grade aluminum handles. They feel extremely solid in hand for such a lightweight knife.  Not as solid as the Infidel, of course, but still sturdy despite the size. Carry comfort comes via the integrated pocket clip and safety switch.

Deployment and retraction remain buttery smooth on the Mini Infidel thanks to precision machined internals. It fires fast and hard just like its big brother.

For those who find the standard Infidel too large for daily carry, the Mini Infidel provides an easy-to-handle alternative without sacrificing cutting performance and fidget factor.

Benchmade Phaeton

Specs

  • Blade Length: 3.45″
  • Overall Length: 8.08″
  • Steel: CPM S30V
  • Handle: 6061-T6 aluminum
  • Weight: 3.01 oz

(Interjection by Reese)

The Benchmade Phaeton is one of my favorite OTF knives.  Unfortunately, I had to visit a buddy of mine out-of-state since Minnesota is one of those states that sucks when it comes to civil liberties.  Since Jason collects Benchmade OTF knives, he let me carry them around while I was there, and I really like this one; if I could, I would’ve taken it home with me.

(End of interjection)

The Phaeton has a nice blade on it with a drop point instead of a spear point, so it’s much better as an EDC.  The aluminum handle gives it a nice grip and a little heft while keeping it lightweight.

Despite the elongated profile, the Phaeton still carries relatively comfortably thanks to the lightweight aluminum handles. They use the same design as the Autocrat for a secure grip.

A pocket clip and safety switch allow convenient tip-up carry, while the beefy coil spring ensures forceful blade deployment.

Benchmade Pagan

Specs

  • Blade Length: 3.96″
  • Overall Length: 8.96″
  • Steel: 154CM
  • Handle: 6061-T6 Aluminum
  • Weight: 5.11oz

I personally prefer the Benchmade Pagan to the Infidel.  The 154CM steel is a high-quality metal, a step above 440C through the addition of Molybdenum.  Let’s not delve deep into that or we’ll be here geeking out about knife steel all day.

Like pretty much all Benchmade OTF knives, this has a black coating that protects against corrosion.  It’s very adept at cutting and slicing through tougher materials, but it has a needle-point blade that gives it excellent piercing abilities, too.

The handle feels solid, as all Benchmade knives do.  I haven’t mentioned it before, but if you’re nervous about an aluminum handle (they tend to get dings easily), Benchmade uses an anodization process that gives it more durability.

Benchmade Shootout

Specs

  • Blade Length: 3.51″
  • Overall Length: 8.22″
  • Steel: CPM Cru-Wear
  • Handle: CF-Elite
  • Weight: 2.8 oz

The Benchmade Shootout is a fine knife and a unique one.    For starters, it has a tanto-shaped blade instead of a needle-point, and it’s hard.  The steel is a CPM Cru-Wear, which sports a 63-65 on the Rockwell hardness scale.

It’s also got an ergonomic grip thanks to serrations on the handle and checkered panels on either side.

The Shootout has a 3.51-inch blade of CPM Cru-Wear steel with an impressive 63-65 Rockwell hardness. The blade is a tanto style with a Flat Earth PVD coating. The factory edge is excellent and what you’d expect from Benchmade.

The handle is extremely lightweight and flat in profile. It’s made from CF-Elite, a carbon fiber-filled nylon that provides strength and rigidity but without the weight of a metal frame.

A rougher patch similar to skateboard tape is on either side of the handle positioned for either your thumb or thumb and index finger depending on your grip. The pommel of the Shootout is capped with a carbide glass breaker and a deep-carry pocket allows for either right- or left-hand, tip-down carry.

Benchmade Presidio II

Specs

  • Blade Length: 3.72″
  • Overall Length: 8.72″
  • Steel: CPM-S30V
  • Handle: Cf-Elite
  • Weight: 4.97oz

The Presidio II is an excellent OTF knife that splits the difference between tactical and EDC. It features an aluminum handle and a partially serrated drop-point blade.  For my purposes, this is a great EDC switchblade and it feels so highly overlooked.

The 3.72″ CPM-S30V blade offers greater corrosion resistance than Benchmade’s D2 and 204P steel knives. It’s powerful enough that it’s intent was to be used by first responders.

Its slim profile and CF-Elite handles make for a lightweight package that carries comfortably. The firing switch, pocket clip, and safety allow smooth deployment and secure carry.

While not as overtly tactical looking as the Infidel, the Presidio II is no slouch. It provides impressive cutting versatility.

Overall, the Presidio II is a great jack-of-all-trades OTF knife suited for both EDC and tactical use. The premium steel blade and easy-to-grip handles make it a Benchmade classic.

Final Thoughts

If you live in a state where OTF switchblades are legal, check these out.  Trust me, Microtech OTFs might be a little cheaper, but their customer service is garbage.  Benchmade is the gold-standard of OTF knives as far as I’m concerned.

  • Quality construction: Benchmade is known for making high-quality knives, and their OTF knives are no exception. They’re built with durable materials and precision craftsmanship.
  • Reliable action: Benchmade OTF knives have a reputation for being reliable and easy to operate. The blades deploy and retract quickly and smoothly.
  • Sharp blades: Benchmade OTF knives come with sharp blades that are ready to use out of the box.
  • Versatility: Benchmade OTF knives can be used for a variety of tasks, including everyday carry, self-defense, and tactical use.

They can be excellent EDC knives, especially thanks to their speedy deployment.  Seriously, you need at least one for your collection!

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