Benchmade 4300-1 Green/Black CLA Auto Knife, 154CM Satin Blade

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SKU:
BEN4300-1
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The Benchmade 4300 CLA (Composite Lite Auto) side open automatic knife is Benchmade's first Black Class auto to feature G-10 handle scales. This mid-sized knife features a slim profile design and contoured handle scales for quick and easy pocket deployment. Thanks to the recessed over-sized firing button and integrated slide safety, you can remain confident that this knife is just as safe as it is effective. This model, the 4300-1, features textured green and black handles and a drop point blade in a satin finish. The pocket clip is designed for tip up carry only but is eligible for a left or right hand carry option. Made in the USA.

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Blade Length: 3.4"
  • Overall Length: 7.85"
  • Blade Material: 154CM Stainless Steel
  • Blade Finish: Satin
  • Handle Length: 4.45"
  • Handle Material: G-10
  • Weight: 3.5 oz.

Benchmade offers you the thoughtful design features, high production quality, and first-choice materials of a custom product coupled with the pricing and wide availability of production knives. The company’s offerings fulfill needs ranging from light- to heavy-duty use and everyday to specialized applications. Which Benchmade knives you choose depend on who you are, what you do, and how you use your blades.

Among Benchmade's range of product lines, the Black Class targets the demanding expectations of armed forces personnel, law enforcement officers and other public safety officials, and those whose EDC or recreational needs call for rugged blades with high-end features. Benchmade introduced the CLA (Composite Lite Auto) Family into the Black Class in 2015 in the form of the 4300 CLA, available in two blade finishes and with either a plain or a partially serrated combo blade. The 4300 CLA Family of push-button automatic knife designs combined 154 CM stainless steel drop-point blades with black G10 handle scales for responsive deployment and flexible features.

For 2016, Benchmade has refreshed the CLA Family with a newly updated series of offerings dubbed the Benchmade 4300-1 CLA. If you haven't looked at the Benchmade CLA Family recently, this newly introduced version deserves your close attention. The textured two-tone green and black handle scales may be the first change to catch your eye when you see this model redesign. The remaining feature enhancements center around the implementation of an enlarged actuation button that triggers the responsive automatic blade deployment.

Blade Profile

The drop-point blade shape of the Benchmade 4300-1 CLA typifies this popular profile, in which the spine displays a curve, or drop, downward toward the point of the knife. For cutting and carving tasks, you'll be hard pressed to find a better shape than a drop-point, which offers extra strength thanks to its convex profile. A drop-point blade handles much like a clip-point shape does, although the drop-point offers greater tip strength than a thinner knife can.

This single-edged blade profile provides considerable control of its point when you use it as a hunting knife. On the 4300-1 CLA Family, a swage covers approximately three-fourths of the unsharpened edge along the spine of the blade and thins the blade as it nears its point. Just past the handle, a series of jimping grooves helps boost your grip on the knife when you bear down for cutting or piercing tasks.

A drop-point blade also offers a potentially large curve on its cutting edge. Called a belly, this curve extends the length of the sharpened area, yielding a larger cutting surface than the length of the blade itself. Over the years, drop-point knives have earned a well-deserved reputation as highly functional blades that offer good general-purpose capabilities. This design earns the Benchmade 4300-1 CLA Family its designation as either everyday carry or tactical blades.

In addition to the plain-edged drop-point profile, Benchmade also makes the 4300-1 CLA with a partially serrated edge that features rip teeth on the left side of the blade. These teeth cover roughly one-third of the cutting surface, and start just past the small choil that marks the transition from handle to blade. Look for the letter "S" in the model number to indicate the presence of serrations. Model 4300SBK-1 includes rip teeth on a black-coated blade. Unlike the 4300 CLA Family, the new 4300-1 does not come with a satin-finished combo blade.

You'll especially appreciate a Benchmade combo blade if you frequently cut fibrous materials such as rope or paracord, or you need to saw through small pieces of wood with your knife. That's because instead of squashing down the surface of what it cuts, a serrated edge focuses the force of your grasp and the pressure your hand applies onto the teeth of the blade, pushing soft, fibrous material between the teeth. Each serrated tooth becomes a tiny individual blade angled against the surface you cut.

Blade Finish

Like its predecessors in the Benchmade 4300 CLA Family, the knives in the newly introduced 4300-1 CLA Family come in your choice of a satin finish or with a black coating, but with fewer combinations of features. If you're looking for a knife with a blade that reflects very little light, either to accommodate the challenges of a tactical situation or simply because you like the matte look of a black blade, look for the letters "BK" in the model number, indicating a coated finish. Model 4300SBK-1 features a black coated blade with a combo edge that incorporates serrations. In addition, Model 4300-1 offers an unserrated satin-finished blade. Unlike the 4300 CLA Family, the new 4300-1 Family does not include a model with a plain-edged black coated blade or one with a satin-finished serrated blade.

To personalize or identify your knife, Benchmade offers an optional lasermarking service that can add your name, favorite quote, or other text, directly onto the blade in the form of permanent laser engraving. This service also can add graphics to the blade surface. Additional charges beyond the cost of the knife itself apply for either or both of these types of engravings, which use the same type of laser-based process that applies the Benchmade logo, steel designation, patent numbers, and other factory information to the company's products. You can opt for lasermarking on a Benchmade knife when you purchase it, or add the service at a later date.

Blade Steel

In introducing the new 4300-1 CLA Family, Benchmade continues with the American-made 154 CM it implemented in the original 4300 CLA Family. This high-quality, high-carbon steel incorporates 1.05% carbon, 14.00% chromium, 0.50% manganese, 4.00% molybdenum, and 0.30% silicon in an alloy that displays the toughness to resist chipping and other damage at the same time that it demonstrates the kind of edge retention that holds sharpness well through tough real-world use. 154 CM comes in at between 58 and 61 on the Rockwell HRC scale, with plenty of hardness to resist the kinds of impact that knives can face in tackling everyday or tactical tasks.

154 CM is a martensitic steel alloy, a designation that reflects the crystalline structure that develops in steel at the molecular level when it undergoes rapid-enough quenching to become supersaturated with carbon after being heated in a process called austenization. This production method gives 154 CM greater hardness, corrosion and wear resistance than other well-known alloys such as 440C, which is considered highly corrosion resistant. In fact, 440C represents the starting point for the development of 154 CM. The steel’s manufacturer adds molybdenum to the tradition formula for 440C, boosting edge retention at the same time that it increases high-temperature strength. Within 154 CM's alloy chemistry, chromium produces corrosion resistance, hardness, and tensile strength; manganese fosters hardness, tensile strength, and wear resistance; and silicon increases hardness and helps prevent pitting.

In choosing 154 CM, Benchmade reaches for the product of an American company with long, deep roots in the business of making high-quality steel. Located outside Syracuse, New York, Crucible Industries represents the modern-day reincarnation of a onetime steel giant formed out of a 13-company mega merger at the turn of the 20th century. Through thick and thin, Crucible has built a reputation for innovation in producing hardworking steels for use in manufacturing automobiles and tools, along with creating exotic alloys such as the titanium used in producing the Jarvik-7, an implantable artificial heart with an external control mechanism. In its current form as Crucible Industries, the company has reemerged from the former specialty metals division of its original configuration. In addition to making conventionally produced steels such as 154 CM, Crucible also has pioneered the patented particle metal process responsible for the creation of "super steels" such as CPM 20CV, implemented in other new Benchmade product introductions for 2016.

The chemical composition of an alloy goes a long way toward determining its capabilities and defining its shortcomings, but molecular composition only represents part of the picture when it comes to deriving full performance from blade steels. In addition to alloy recipes, heat treatment plays a critical role in extracting the full benefits of the elemental composition of a steel. Benchmade's development of ideal heat-treatment recipes for the steels it selects gives the company the ability to extract the fullest possible performance out of the full suite of alloys in its production roster.

When it comes to deriving the full, lasting performance from your knife, the potential drawback of a blade with a high degree of edge retention lies in its accompanying tendency to be difficult to sharpen. Benchmade's limited lifetime LifeSharp warranty entitles you to return your knife to Benchmade's headquarters in Oregon for a resharpening back to factory specifications, provided that you meet the rest of the terms of the warranty. The service doesn't cover the serrated portions of blades.

Handle Materials

The Benchmade 4300-1 CLA Family introduces a new handle design for this 2016 model line, but retains the preceding product generation's use of G10 as its handle material. The new knife series uses two colors of G10 stacked together and milled in a design that reveals multiple colors at the edges of the scales.

G10 laminate consists of continuously woven fabric made from fiberglass filaments that is impregnated with a binder formulated from epoxy resin. Molded under high pressure and then baked to complete the process of forming it into its final shape, G10 can feature surface textures created during the production process rather than as a post-production step. G10 does many things right as a material for use in knife handles. It doesn't shrink or otherwise change dimensions when exposed to environmental influences. It also doesn’t conduct electricity, absorb moisture, or deteriorate when exposed to humidity, heat, cold, and many chemical substances. G10 also exhibits the combination of strength and light weight, both ideal properties for a knife handle. Since the 1950s, G10 has served as a first choice for use in creating circuit boards, insulation, gears, washers and spacers, and in meeting the demanding specifications involved in producing electromechanical parts.

Handle Design

For a smooth finished black G10 handle, opt for the Benchmade 4300 CLA introduced in 2015. For a textured green and black G10 handle, choose the new Benchmade 4300-1 CLA. Layers of G10 stack together in this new design to produce a shape that reveals its composite colors at the milled edges of the scales. The deep texturing molded into the surface of the handles of the 4300-1 CLA Family shimmers in the light like an exotic natural material. At the same time that this intriguing texture adds aesthetic interest to the appearance of the handle scales, it also helps promote a comfortable hand position for optimal grip regardless of the task, from delicate carving to more forceful cutting or stabbing movements.

A generously shaped forefinger groove helps stabilize your grip as you grasp the knife handle. The leading edge of the handle incorporates a quillon to help prevent the fingers from shooting forward onto the sharp cutting edge of the blade. At the rear of the handle, another quillon helps keep the hand position steady in a conventional or reversed grip.

Four Torx screws, including the blade pivot, fasten the scales of the Benchmade 4300-1 CLA Family together. You'll find an off-center lanyard hole located so it doesn't conflict with the positioning of screw holes that accommodate the reversible pocket clip.

Blade Deployment Mechanism

The blade deployment action on the fully automatic mechanism of the Benchmade 4300-1 CLA Family incorporates a newly enlarged actuation button to help make controls easier to locate and the knife easier to use in low light or stressful situations. The jimped safety switch appears on the left-hand scale of the knife handle near the spine, directly behind the actuation button. The positioning of these two focal controls may make the Benchmade 4300-1 CLA Family less attractive to left-handed users than a truly ambidextrous design would be.

Pocket Clip

The painted steel deep-carry pocket clip on the Benchmade 4300-1 CLA Family attaches with three Torx screws. Its removable, reversible design makes this new series of knives easy to carry in a pocket on either side of the body. If you prefer to carry your knives tip up, you're in luck, as that's how Benchmade has configured both the new 4300-1 CLA Family and its predecessor, the 4300. Unfortunately, you won't be able to set up the pocket clip for tip-down carry without modifications that would void your warranty coverage.

Knife Dimensions and Weight

Like its predecessors in the 4300 CLA Family, the Benchmade 4300-1 CLA Family of knives measures 7.85 inches long open and 4.45 inches long closed, which also equals the length of the handle. The blade measures 3.4 inches long and 0.114 inches thick, while the handle runs 0.49 inches thick. The new 4300-1 CLA Family weighs 3.6 ounces, whereas the original 4300 CLA Family weighed in at 3.47 ounces.

Other Observations

If you're looking for a knife that can handle tactical duties and also be equally at home as an everyday carry, the new Benchmade 4300-1 CLA Family offers the features, performance, and options to get the job done. Its 154 CM stainless steel blade resists oxidation at the same time that it yields toughness and the ability to hold a sharp edge through heavy use. The attractive green and black textured G10 handle gives this knife family good looks and light weight in one convenient package. Unless you have your heart set on a black-coated blade with a plain edge or a satin-finished blade with a combo edge, the 4300-1 CLA Family takes the preceding year's models a step further.

4300 CLA

4300-1 CLA

Weight

3.47 oz.

3.6 oz.

Overall length

7.85"

7.85"

Closed length

4.45"

4.45"

Blade length

3.40"

3.40"

Blade thickness

0.114"

0.114"

Handle length

4.45"

4.45"

Handle thickness

0.49"

0.49"

Handle material

Contoured G10

Textured G10

Handle color

Black

Layered green and black

Blade material

154 CM stainless steel

154 CM stainless steel

Blade hardness

58-61 HRC

58-61 HRC

Blade style

Drop-point

Drop-point

Blade grind

Flat

Flat

Blade finish

Satin (4300 and 4300S) or black coated (4300BK and 4300SBK)

Satin (4300-1) or black (4300SBK-1)

Blade edge type

Plain (4300 and 4300BK) or serrated (4300S and 4300SBK)

Plain (4300-1) or serrated (4300SBK-1)

Pocket clip

Removable, reversible tip-up deep carry

Removable, reversible tip-up deep carry

Opener

Push-button automatic

Push-button automatic

Sheath material

Sheath sold separately

Sheath sold separately

Benchmade product class

Black

Black

User

Right-handed

Right-handed

Best use

EDC, tactical

EDC, tactical

Manufacturer's suggested retail prices

4300 and 4300S—$235; 4300BK and 4300SBK—$250

4300-1—$235; 4300SBK-1—$250