Hands-on with Benchmade’s triple threat of new tactical knives

Getting down and dirty with the new Benchmade knives of 2022.

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.

Benchmade has been a mainstay in the knife industry for decades and is often at the forefront of the discussion with what many U.S. military members consider the best new knives every year. Recently, however, Benchmade has been in a bit of a blue period, stuck competing with the new wave of Chinese knives on the market while trying to continuously innovate with new designs, and address complaints of quality control issues like unimpressive factory edges.

At SHOT Show 2022, I had the pleasure of speaking with Benchmade representative Nate Hellman, who walked me through their new line of knives. Key among these were three military-focused knives, each with a different specialty and opening mechanism: the Shootout, an out-the-front switchblade; the Anonimus, a fixed-blade survival knife; and the Claymore, a durable, automatic folding knife.

To test these knives, Benchmade provided me with the Shootout and Anonimus, and I got hands-on time with the Claymore thanks to a local authorized dealer. I spent the ensuing weeks seeing if Benchmade is back in 2023. Spoiler alert: Yes, they are.

How we tested

For these knives, we were fortunate to get hands-on time and put these knives through their paces in a way that adequately tested them for their intended use. Benchmade kindly cooperated with this evaluation and sent us two out of three of these knives with no editorial constraints, allowing us to get valuable testing data on these new designs well in advance of these coming to market.

The Switchblade

Benchmade Shootout OTF

The Fixed Blade

Benchmade Anonimus

The Folding Knife

Benchmade Claymore Automatic

Our verdict on the new Benchmade knives of 2023

Benchmade is finding new ways to improve on their existing products, replacing classic designs like the Phaeton and Nimravus in 2023 with vastly improved models. Overall, I can say that most of the Benchmade knives in their new line that I’ve seen in person at any of their authorized dealers have had none of the issues with factory edges or opening actions the consumers have complained about in the past. Here’s the verdict on the three tested for this article:

  • I can take or leave the Claymore. It’s not a bad knife by any stretch of the imagination, I just don’t personally care for side-opening automatics, and CPM-D2 isn’t a cool enough steel to make me overlook that. 
  • The Shootout is a competent, cool, and ultralight OTF knife, and if my only complaint with the knife itself is that the blade needs to be ground evenly, that’s not a problem with the design as much as it is with whoever did quality assurance on this particular knife. 
  • The Anonimus is my favorite knife of the trio because it achieves everything it sets out to do. My only major complaint with it is that it doesn’t do this specialized task that I like to do, i.e. bushcraft, and that’s less about the knife and more about how I’m using it.

FAQs on new Benchmade knives of 2023

Q: How much are the Benchmade Anonimus, Shootout, and Claymore?

A: The Benchmade Shootout has an MSRP of $300, the Anonimus is listed at $290, and the Claymore is $230, but all of them will retail for much lower.

Q: When are the new Benchmade knives coming out in 2023?

A: Late April, or as you’re probably reading this!

Q: How can I purchase a switchblade?

A: Switchblades, or OTF knives like the Benchmade Shootout, are restricted for sale by commercial retailers over the internet, and either have to be bought by people who are military or first responders, purchased in-person, or privately transferred. If you’re not in the military and want to purchase a Shootout, find your local Benchmade authorized dealer and order one through them.


Matt Sampson Avatar

Matt Sampson

Commerce Reporter

Matt Sampson is a commerce reporter for Task and Purpose and The Gear Locker, and a contributing writer for The Drive, and Car Bibles, covering everything gear and tech-related. He lives in Fredericksburg, VA or Richmond, VA, depending on the day.