For the better part of eight months, I’ve been carrying the Benchmade Taggedout Carbon Fiber as an EDC and hunting knife. The Taggedout is a lightweight, mid-sized pocket-clip folder positioned as a crossover EDC/hunting knife. On paper, it has the features for it, but for this Benchmade Taggedout review I had to find out if it delivers on performance, too.
The Taggedout has a carbon fiber handle and a blaze orange Cerakoted blade. I love blaze orange on a hunting knife, so it immediately had my attention. Full disclosure, I’m also a sucker for carbon fiber, which piqued my curiosity. Given those two features I was predisposed to liking this knife. However, there needs to be more than just material and color sex appeal for this relationship to work. Lucky for me, it’s not just a pretty face.
Benchmade Taggedout Specs and Features
Blade Steel: CPM-Magnacut
Blade Length: 3.48 inches
Blade Thickness: 0.9 inches
Open Length: 8.15 inches
Closed Length: 4.69 inches
Handle Thickness: 0.48 inches
Handle Material: Carbon Fiber
Weight: 2.5 ounces
Made in the U.S.
Carbon Fiber Handle
The Taggedout’s handle is nicely contoured rather than simply routed out from a flat sheet of carbon fiber. This makes it comfortable to hold and use. It also has a groove machined into the bottom of the handle for your fingertips when opening the knife. That helps you get a good grip for opening the blade one-handed.
Thin Blade Geometry
Speaking of the blade, it’s a clip point with enough straight edge for utility work and enough curve at the tip for skinning. It’s a well-thought-out blade shape. It is thin compared to some other hunting knives. This is great for cutting performance and ease of sharpening, but I suspect the main reason for this is to keep the weight off.
It’s one of the first things you notice when you pick up this knife; it’s light, really light, weighing in at only 2.5 ounces. That’s great for a mid-sized folding hunting knife. Between the thin handle and blade, it wouldn’t be improper to call it svelte. The smooth lines, light weight, and deep-carry, reversible pocket clip make this knife all but fade from memory while carrying it. There actually have been a few times I had to check to see if I had the knife with me. Rounding out the knife, the machined aluminum backspacer has a wide lanyard hole and is anodized an attractive burnt orange.
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Testing the Taggedout in the Field
While I didn’t break out the lab coat for scientific sharpness or edge retention testing, carrying it off and on, and hunting with it over the course of eight months gave the blade a good workout. Being a hunter, shooter, and suburbanite, the Taggedout performed and excelled at a variety of everyday tasks. It broke down cardboard for recycling, cut pieces of targets off backer boards to show off great groups, sliced rope, opened letters, cut small branches and foliage from my field of view for spotting, cut some aramid fabric for a project, and fortunately saw some action breaking down a couple blacktails. One pleasant surprise is the blade was still quite sharp after I removed the head from my blacktail with less than stellar technique, thus hitting the edge on bone most of the process.
The Taggedout’s blaze orange blade makes it easy to locate. Matt Foster
The only time the edge got defeated, so to speak, is when I cut up some steak that was served on a piece of rock as a plate. Knives aren’t designed for cutting rock. Fortunately, it took hardly any effort to bring the blade back to factory sharpness with a ceramic rod and honing steel. The bottom line is, the blade is CPM-Magnacut, one of the latest “wonder steels”. It’s a great steel. There just aren’t any surprises here. The blaze-orange blade is unconventional but functional. As designed, the Taggedout is easy to see when you set it down. I dropped the knife while retrieving my blacktail from a steep hillside. Even in fall-colored leaves, it was easy to find. Without the blaze-orange blade, it would likely still be out there.
It’s worth noting you can get the Taggedout with a stonewashed blade and orange Grivory or green G10 handles too. Those versions will save you some money, too.
Carrying, Deploying, Stowing
The overall slim profile, light weight, and pocket clip make it easy to carry in jeans, hunting pants, in the mag pocket of shooting pants, and even a shirt pocket. Because it has a slot for opening the blade rather than a thumbstud, it never hung up or snagged on anything when I needed to draw the knife. The opening slot works great, although admittedly, I didn’t try it with gloves, but I don’t think that will be an issue. For closing the knife, the Axis lock is one of the easier mechanisms to operate with one hand. The Taggedout is a winner when it comes to convenience for everyday carry. The smooth, no-snag ergonomics are also great for out in the field where you’re constantly reaching for a knife, often in awkward positions and wearing a pack and carrying other gear.
What the Taggedout Does Best
It’s at home in the field and in everyday use. Matt Foster
Due to the Taggedout’s size, weight, shape, and ergonomics, it can be with you at all times in the field. That’s important. As far as performance, this is a slicing machine. The thin blade is sharp and cuts efficiently, which makes it fantastic for everyday slicing tasks, small food prep, and, of course, effortlessly slicing through deer hide.
Where the Tagged out Can Improve
I’ve never been a fan of clip points for hunting knives because it increases the risk of poking or cutting things you don’t want to. Instead of the clip point, a shallow drop point blade would be perfect for the Taggedout.
The knife could also benefit from a slightly larger opening slot. The pocket clip is a little tight, and it requires noticeable effort to shove over a pocket hem.
The Upshot: More Than Just a Pretty Face
I have a lot of knives, probably more than the average bear, that withstanding, the Taggedout is now one of my favorites. It delivers as promised. Is it perfect? That depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for one backcountry blade that can double as a survival knife, this isn’t it. It’s not that the Taggedout isn’t durable. It’s just not designed to split logs or act like a cutting crowbar. Physics matters, and the thin blade is going to have limitations.
But, I always carry a stout fixed blade in my pack, so I don’t need a pocket knife to do double duty as a survival tool. What I need is an easy-to-carry knife that cuts well, holds an edge, and won’t disappear if I set it down. For me, the Taggedout is damn near perfect and just about the ultimate crossover folder.
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