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Honestly, This Knife May Be Too Much for You: Benchmade Claymore Tanto Review

EDC knives are supposed to fit anyone and everyone. But, what if there was an EDC that wasn’t for everyone?

benchmade claymore 907bk-1 - In The Field(Photo/Nick LeFort)
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Not everyone who carries a knife hikes or camps; some of us just like carrying knives. Others are actually out there trying to survive.

Sure, I like to believe some unseen force will protect me when fit hits the shan, but that just helps me sleep at night. In all reality, most of us live very cushioned lives where our primary concern is whether the nearest Starbucks will have oat milk or if we’re stuck suffering through coconut.

But some people live dangerous lives and need particular tools to stay alive. Knives are often the first and best tool for these individuals, as they’re easy to conceal, carry, and put to work.

And that brings me to the Benchmade Claymore line. Labeled as the brand’s “toughest folder to date,” the Claymore family of knives has already been a success for Benchmade. They’re plenty tactical, but have been adopted by many people because they’re useful in myriad applications.

For 2023, Benchmade expands the Claymore line, including a Mini Claymore and, for my tester, a Tanto blade variant — the 9071BK-1 Claymore. In its description for the 9071BK Claymore, Benchmade states it was originally designed for law enforcement and military personnel. That tracks, given it’s an automatic knife and, in some states, you need to work in those professions to own this type of knife.

After extensive testing, I would love to tell you that this is your next EDC. In fairness, it might be. But this is the kind of knife you need to rise up and meet. If you just want to keep it in your back pocket to open mail or the occasional bag of Mountain House Beef Stroganoff, look elsewhere.

In short: Being everything you would expect from a tactical folding knife, the Benchmade Claymore is large and in charge. That said, this isn’t a situation where the knife might be right for you, it’s one where you need to be right for the knife. If you expect to face situations where you need to seriously rely on the knife you carry, then this Claymore might be exactly what you need (and more).

Benchmade Claymore Tanto – 9071BK-1


  • OAL 8.60”
  • Blade length 3.60”
  • Blade steel CPM-D2
  • Blade shape Tanto
  • Grind Flat
  • Hardness 60-62 HRC
  • Lock type Button lock
  • Carry Right or left hand, tip-up, deep carry
  • Weight 3.87 oz.
  • Price $260


  • Size-to-weight ratio
  • Ergonomics
  • Coated CPM-D2 Steel
  • Red dot blade lock indicator
  • The Morse code easter egg


  • It’s a big knife
  • The spring is intense

Benchmade Claymore Tanto 9071BK-1: Review

Benchmade Claymore Tanto – 9071BK-1 Review

Design and Features

When you return to civilian life after serving in law enforcement or the military, the Claymore slides easily into that new reality. It’s a tactical knife, one I might argue is best suited for someone who’s been “on the job.” Not because of the legalities surrounding autos in some states, but because of the overall aggressive nature of the Claymore’s blade.

Built around two textured Grivory handles, the Claymore carries a set of steel reinforcement plates that surround the pivot and extend back. This helps compensate for the automatic action, and supports the tanto blade. This allows the knife to be stabbed, twisted, and bent without having to worry about failure.

The blade itself is a 3.6-inch coated piece of CPM-D2. This steel is strong and has a generous amount of both corrosion and abrasion resistance. More importantly, this steel is really tough. CPM-D2 won’t chip, crack, or snap — even if you decided to stab the Claymore into a steel drum.

Rounding off its impressive feature set is Benchmade’s coveted Button Lock, which graces all of its automatics. This barrel lock keeps the blade locked in place, without question, until you press the button to fold it.

Of course, there’s the deep carry pocket clip that sends the Claymore all the way down into the pocket of your favorite pants or shorts. After all, no one needs to know you’re carrying this knife but you.

First Impressions

Claymmore vs Big Banter
Claymore vs. Big Banter; (photo/Nick LeFort)

The Claymore is the largest folding knife I have tested for GearJunkie. Up until this moment, the We Knife Big Banter held that title, just 0.25 inches shorter than the Claymore. But the Big Banter is more streamlined and feels a lot smaller than that measurement suggests.

The Claymore is more of a handful.

It’s aggressive but approachable. Its handles are styled for maximum grip and ergonomics, with or without gloves. The Grivory scales aren’t as stratifying as the aluminum scales on tactical knives like Benchmade’s AFO II.

Benchmade's Original Auto Warhorse: The AFO II
Benchmade’s Original Auto Warhorse: the AFO II; (photo/Nick LeFort)

The spring action on the Claymore is enough to make you want to hold it with both hands the first few times you fire it open. Aside from the size of the knife, this keeps it from being closed with one hand. But that’s a fair trade-off, as the sound of this knife opening could change the tone of a dire situation, quickly.

You can Google what the Morse code molded into the left-side handle scale says, but that and the red dot indicator on the blade lock are nice additions — and keep this knife very on-brand for what it was designed to be.

In the Field

Cue the “A-Team” theme and buckle up!

There’s a lot of overlap in the outdoor recreation and tactical worlds, and that becomes most obvious when you talk about knives and tools. That said, as militant as the Claymore may seem, it’s right at home in the outdoors. It can stab, skin, slice, and chop with ease.

But, because of its larger size, those tasks feel like they take less effort. Ease of use can make a lot of decisions for a person who’s been out and about all day and just wants to get to camp and relax.

So, that’s exactly what I did.

Benchmade Claymore Tanto – 9071BK-1 Review
(Photo/Nick LeFort)

After carrying the Claymore around for a few days, I spent a weekend in the woods with it. Aside from a couple of times when I took down some larger bits of wood for the fire, I used the Claymore for everything from food prep to chopping and gathering kindling at camp.

I’ve said this before, but we’re a bit spoiled by the fact that we can pick and choose what we bring with us when we go out on an adventure. But if things go sideways, and you can only grab one thing, the Claymore gives you a silver lining.

The coating on the blade got a little marked up when I batoned the knife through some kindling, but it wiped right off. I am not sure what Benchmade used to coat the CPM-D2. It looks and performs like Cerakote, and seems too thin to be DLC coating (which many knife brands use to protect blade steels).

To be honest, I am not sure the CPM-D2 really needs any special top coat treatment, but it looks fantastic here on the tanto-bladed Claymore.

But with abuse comes the need for upkeep. D2 doesn’t hold a razor-sharp edge as long as some other steels out there. After my weekend frolicking around in the outdoors, the Claymore needed a little stropping to get it back to being razor sharp. But this was after I stabbed metal and chopped wood with it.

With regular use, you might not have to sharpen this dandy for some time.

Little Brother

Benchmade offers a Mini-Claymore with a drop-point blade as well. It has an overall length that is more than an inch shorter than the full-sized Claymore, and the blade is about half an inch shorter. I can see the appeal here, but I think that defeats the purpose of a knife of this nature.

The Claymore is big because it’s been designed and built to be one tool you rely on for any situation, especially when things go sideways. And it comes in at a fantastic price, $230.

Benchmade Claymore Tanto 9071BK-1: Conclusion

A while back, I had a conversation with someone who was bothered by the fact that tactical gear was becoming more common in the outdoor world. They felt that it took away from the light and lofty vibe of hiking and camping.

As I sat there with my foliage green Mystery Ranch 2 Day Assault pack, I couldn’t disagree more. If it’s good enough to use in combat, it’s sure as heck good enough for a few leisurely miles in the woods.

I would love to tell you the Claymore is your next EDC, but I have to leave that up to you. Does it meet the requirements of an EDC? Yes. In fact, it exceeds them in some aspects. Is it a really big knife that does more than you might need? Also yes.

But consider everything you can get in the Claymore, for less than $300 before you move past it. Try and find one locally and see if it fits your hand. If it does, buy it. It’s your next EDC and you will be happier for it.

Just don’t use it to open mail. Put yourself in situations where you must rely on it. Make it the only tool with an edge on it that you have at your disposal — and be amazed at what you can do.

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