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New Benchmade Bailout Tactical Folding Knife Review

A look at the newest slim, lightweight 537GY-1 pocket folding knife from Benchmade

Benchmade Knife Company (Benchmade.com) has always been the benchmark when it comes to producing fine-quality knives and bladed tools. Benchmade packs some of the most useful features into their design and the company stands behind its product with an exceptional warranty and a lifetime of no-questions-asked, free sharpening it terms "Lifesharp". If you manage to dull or mess up your Benchmade, just send it back and they'll make it right. Many of us on the Four Wheeler Network staff have been Benchmade users for decades, so when they company introduced its new 537GY-1 and 537SGY-1 Bailout Tactical Folding Knife we jumped at the chance to test it out.

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The Benchmade Bailout ships with the pocket clip positioned for right-handed use.

Super Slim With A Solid Grip

Many Benchmade knives like the Barrage or Griptilian family have chunky handles with round textured profiles that are easy to wrap your meat hooks around, but the Bailout features a thinner, slimmer handle. Some people don't like a hefty handle in their pocket folder, but we honestly prefer the classic "hefty" grip that most of Benchmade classic pocket folding designs afford. Because of our preference for a big, fat handle with lots of grip it was with a bit of trepidation that we first wrapped our fist around our 537GY-1 test model. The handles are machined from 6061-T6 billet aluminum and are not completely flat. The Bailout handles have a very mild oval to their profile which, along with machined facets and the Woodland Green matte anodized coating, give a secure purchase even in wet conditions. With a closed length of 4.7 inches the Benchmade Bailout is about as long as most serious pocket folders, but the handle thickness is a mere 0.41 inches so it's really easy to forget you're even wearing it in your pocket.

The Benchmade Bailout handle is machined out of 6061-T6 aluminum.
The Benchmade Bailout handle features machined facets for grip and a matte Woodland Green anodized coating.

Super Steel Blade

One of the newest members of Benchmade's Black Class of knives, the Bailout features a Tanto-style blade shape in keeping with its intended tactical and rescue usage. Both the plain Tanto 537GY-1 and Serrated Tanto 537SGY-1 feature CPM-M4 steel. Benchmade's CPM-M4 is a proprietary high-carbon steel with tungsten, moly and vanadium that's given a proprietary heat process to maximize edge toughness, edge retention, and corrosion resistance. The CPM-M4 "super steel" blade is then given a Tungsten Grey Cerakote, which bonds to the metal and further prevents corrosion in the most extreme environments. Truth be told, the CPM-M4 was razor sharp out of the box and after a couple weeks of normal use still retains its super-sharp edge. The 3.38-inch-long blade is a mere 0.09-inch thick and features a Rockwell harness of 62-64HRC.

The Benchmade CPM-M4 super steel blade is made in USA.
The Benchmade Bailout Tanto blade features a Tungsten Grey Cerakote finish.

Truly Ambidextrous Design

At just under 1 5/8-inch-long, the Bailout pocket clip is slightly shorter than the 2 -inch-long clips found on most fullsize pocket folders which helps keep the overall weight of the Bailout at a super light 2.7 ounces. The Bailout ships with the pocket clip installed to carry the knife in the right pocket for right-handed draw, but like all Benchmades, the clip can be reversed by removing the Torx bolts with a T7 bit and mounting it to the opposite side. Since this author is a lefty, the clip was reversed with little fuss. Unlike a more common liner lock, which must be pushed to the side before the blade can be folded, Benchmade's proprietary Axis locking mechanism is truly ambidextrous and can be operated safely with the left or right hand for truly safe, one-handed closing.

The Benchmade Bailout features a small 1 5/8-inch-long reversible pocket clip.
The screws that hold the pocket clip can be removed with a T7 Torx bit.
The Benchmade Bailout is drilled and tapped on both sides to accept many Benchmade or aftermarket two- or three-screw pocket clips.
We swapped our clip for left-handed draw.

Specs and Features

The Bailout doesn't feature Benchmade's assisted opening but the action is buttery smooth and the blade can be deployed quickly and surely with nothing more than a gentle flick of the thumb. When open, the Bailout measures 8.07 inches and is easy to manipulate and maneuver. The pommel is aluminum and features and unlike some knives with a small hole through the handle, the lanyard slot is generous in size exposed. And as a neat, potentially life-saving feature, the Bailout has a pointed carbide glass breaker on the pommel end.

Blade Length 3.38 inches
Blade Thickness 0.09 inch
Open Length 8.07 inches
Closed Length 4.71 inches
Weight 2.7 ounces
Handle Thickness 0.41 inch

The Benchmade Axis lock mechanism allows for truly ambidextrous one-handed opening and closing.
The Benchmade Bailout aluminum pommel features a generous lanyard clip and pointed carbide glass breaker.

Benchmade Bailout 537GY-1 At A Glance

  • Tanto Blade
  • CPM-M4 Super Steel Blade Material
  • Tungsten Grey Cerakote
  • Axis Lock Mechanism
  • 6061-T6 Aluminum Handle
  • Woodland Green Anodized
  • Reversible Pocket Clip
  • Ambidextrous Design