Some people aren't aware of benchmade's multi-year gun destruction program. Some know about it and choose to ignore it. Some vote with their feet.Hi:
I have carried a Benchmade CLA for three years. I ran a ranch and did a not of the work singlehanded. The auto open allowed me to hold whatever with the left and retrieve and open the knife with the right.
I did a lot of utility jobs with it including prying, cutting wire and other tasks that would have resulted in damage to the knife. No damage except to the pocket clip when I scraped against something and bent it. I literally used this knife everyday.
With respect to a defensive weapon, the opening snap is similar to racking a shotgun. It gets attention and is a threat deterrent.
The Benchmark LifeSharp service was used 2 to 3 times a year. They put an edge on the knife that lasted that long, even under my demanding use. Losing the knife for a week or two was a problem, so I bought another. They also replace the bent clips when necessary - at no charge.
Consider buying from an authorized dealer so there is no risk of buying a counterfeit.
Hope my experiences help you with your decision.