Blood clotting factor VIIa is involved in the first step of the blood coagulation cascade, as a membrane-associated enzyme in complex with tissue factor (TF). Factor VIIa is also an important therapeutic agent for hemophilia where its function may include TF-independent as well as TF-dependent mechanisms. This study compared the activity of wild type factor VIIa (WT-VIIa) with that of a mutant with elevated affinity for membrane (P10Q/Q32E, QE-VIIa). Phospholipid and cell-based assays showed the mutant to have up to 40-fold higher function than WT-VIIa in both TF-dependent and TF-independent reactions. Tissue factor-dependent reactions displayed the maximum enhancement when binding had reached equilibrium in competition with another TF-binding protein. In liposome-based assays, the association rate of WT-VIIa with TF occurred at a physical maximum and could not be improved by site-directed mutagenesis. A practical consequence was identical function of WT-VIIa and QE-VIIa in assays that depended entirely on assembly kinetics. Thus, factor VIIa mutants provided unique reagents for probing the mechanism of factor VIIa action. They may also offer superior agents for therapy.