This past Saturday, I took a drive up to Razor Sharp Unlimited, a local knife shop which is a Microtech dealer. I wanted to see a UTX-70 in person.
Well, I got to try a bunch of Microtech knives. Some were very appealing to me. But the standout was a total surprise: a Benchmade CLA 4300. CLA stands for Compact Light Auto. This thing is the closest thing to an ideal everyday carry knife I’ve ever seen. Totally didn’t expect to buy a Benchmade when I went into that shop. Super glad I did.
The things I like about this knife are:
- Scale color and finish. G10. Didn’t want aluminum.
- Shape of handle/grip/scales
- Automatic action. This is the only side-opening automatic knife I’ve seen lately that I was at all interested in. I owned a Pro-Tech Runt 2 years ago (lost it at a friend’s wedding somehow) and that’s the only other side-opening auto I can recall being interested in.
- Blade shape
- Blade finish (stonewashed)
- Good jimping on the blade
- Tall blade
- Overall blade shape
- Silver release button
- Black lock button. (At first I thought a lock was a silly thing just to reduce Benchmade’s liability. But I like it now that I have it. I actually use the lock sometimes [when the knife is closed.])
- Great fit in my hand
- Thin in my pocket
- Deep-carry pocket clip
Wednesday, 6 July 2016 Update: When I first got my CLA home, I noticed the grind was off-center, there were two scratches on the blade and there were deep marks around both lanyard holes. Since the dealer was 20+ miles away, I decided to ignore these three things. But today I noticed that one side of the grind isn’t just off-center, it’s ugly, tall and uneven. So I’m pursuing getting at leat a replacement blade with Benchmade. Not worth going to the dealer for the same reason as before: He’s just too far away.
Thursday, 4 August 2016 Update: This past Friday, I got a call from Razor Sharp Unlimited (local knife shop) and they said my replacement CLA arrived. I picked up the following Saturday on the way to a family lunch up north. It’s awesome. It, too, has some (less severe) marks on its lanyard hole, but they’re fine and the grind is much better than my original CLA. This also seems to have a stronger spring, but it’s hard to be sure without the side by side.