Gear Review: Benchmade Shootout OTF Auto Knife

Benchmade Shootout OTF knife 5371BK-01

I’ve never been a fan of out-the-front knives. Yes, they’re kinda cool, but they tend to be more on the “tactical” side than the knives I like for everyday carry. Most of the best have double-edge dagger blades, they’re pricier than most EDC blades and they tend to freak out the muggles when you deploy one in public.

Benchmade Shootout OTF knife 5371BK-01

But OTFs certainly have their uses. They’re ideal for fast, one-handed deployment, especially the “double-action” kind that not only deploy, but retract the blade with a slide of the switch. Lots of cops and military types carry them for just that reason. And if you need a knife in a self-defense situation, an OTF is a great choice because of its quick, easy deployment, especially in a confined space.

Benchmade Shootout OTF knife 5371BK-01

Spending a few weeks carrying Benchmade’s Shootout has made me into less of an OTF skeptic. First, it doesn’t have a dagger blade. The aptly-named Shootout’s CPM-Cruwear 3.5-inch blade has a classic drop point design (they also make it with a tanto blade), my favorite in any EDC knife and the best all-around shape in my experience. This version is their new(ish) model 5371BK-01.

Benchmade Shootout OTF knife 5371BK-01

Unlike Benchmade’s better-known Infidel OTF, the Shootout’s actuation switch is on the spine rather than on the side of the handle. I prefer that location as it feels more natural to me and keep the switch out of the way during use.

One of the things that freaks some people out about carrying an OTF is the fear that it will deploy when you don’t intend it to.

That’s not a problem with the Shootout. Watch the video above. Benchmade has designed the slide switch so there’s a good amount of “staging” before you get to the point where the blade deploys (or retracts). And it takes a good amount of thumb pressure in either direction. Rest assured, the Shootout won’t be opening in your pocket on its own.

Benchmade Shootout OTF knife 5371BK-01

Benchmade’s given the Shootout a nicely textured handle. It’s made of Benchmade’s Grivory thermoplastic material that’s light and strong. The “skateboard tape” type texturing they mold into the forward part where your thumb naturally rests gives you a great hold on the knife even when it’s wet.

Benchmade Shootout OTF knife 5371BK-01

The Shootout isn’t a small knife. It’s 4.7 inches closed so the deep-carry pocket clip is much appreciated. I prefer that on any blade I carry, but especially larger knives.

It comes set up for tip-down right side carry, but the handle is drilled so lefties can switch the clip to the other side. And yes, that’s a carbide glass-breaker above the clip, which can come in very handy when things go sideways.

Benchmade Shootout OTF knife 5371BK-01

Because of the internal clockwork involved in OTF knives some deploy off-center. This bothers some of the more OCD among us. If your running low on your Lexapro prescription, you won’t be triggered by the Shootout. It deploys from the center of the handle.

Benchmade Shootout OTF knife 5371BK-01

Benchmade’s chose CPM-Cruwear for the Shootout’s blade steel. If you’re not familiar, it’s generally less stain-resistant that the S90V on many other Benchmade knife. That’s not likely to be a problem, especially with the Shootout’s PVD coated blade. On the plus side, CPM-Cruwear is far easier to sharpen. Think of it as a better version of D2 that holds a better edge.

The made-in-America Shootout is competitively priced as OTF knives go. You can find them online for about $290 (while they’re legal in most places, check your local laws first, though). If you’ve been hesitant to jump into the OTF knife world, the Shootout takes away a number of the objections many of us have had. It’s even found its way into my regular EDC rotation.

Specificatons: Benchmade 5371BK-01 Shootout OTF Auto Knife

Blade Length: 3.5 inches
Closed Length: 4.7 inches
Overall Length: 8.2 inches
Blade Steel: CPM-Cruwear
Handle: Grivory
Weight: 2.75 oz.
MSRP: $325 (about $290 retail)


3 Responses

  1. Why is the weight 2.75 inches? What kind of a scale did you use? (Smirk).

    Enjoyed the review. I might consider an OTF if I could spend that much cash on a pocket knife.

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