Monday, August 22, 2011

Benchmade Griptilian Folding Knife Review

Benchmade Griptilian is practically a household name in the knife world. It is one of Benchmade’s most popular designs and it appears in countless variations. And for each of these variations I know there are countless reviews, but this knife has some sentimental value to me so I can not resist writing my own opinions on it. Indeed the Griptilian was one of my first “real knives” when I got into owning higher grade production knives and it still remains among one of my favorite knives today.

Benchmade Griptilian 551 Knife is a folding knife with a locking blade. It is also so much more. The full size Griptilian has an overall length of 8.07″, a 3.45″ blade and a weight of 3.25 ounces. This isn’t a small knife, but Benchmade has managed to keep the weight down (mostly due to the handle design which I will cover below). It is the perfect size for my hand, and I really like that. The Mini-Griptilian has a a 2.9″ blade, an overall length of 6.78″ and a weight of 2.56 ounces. I actually purchased a Mini-Grip first, but I ended up swapping it out for a full size. I know a lot of people who prefer the Mini-Grip. My advice is if you are having trouble deciding between the two, buy both (or go see them in a store) and then return the one you don’t like (or just have both – nothing wrong with that either!).

Depending on whether you are looking at the thumb hole version or the thumb stud version the knife will have either a sheepsfoot blade or a drop point blade made of 154CM. Both blade types will have a long hollow ground edge with plenty of belly. The drop point edge is very attractive to me, so that is what I ended up purchasing. It has a swedge that finishes in a fairly stout tip – good for piercing tasks. The knife was extremely sharp out of the box, which is what I would expect from a Benchmade knife. All in all this is a very nice blade which is great for EDC tasks, and 154CM is a proven steel that wears well and stays sharp.

Benchmade Griptilian 3.45" Satin Drop Point Plain Blade, Black Handles

The black handle is made of a heavily textured, injection molded Noryl GTX 30% glass-filled nylon. The handle and grip can be disassembled via five hex screws, but doing this voids the warranty. The handle/grip area is textured in several spots and has a belt clip that can be attached to either side of the grip area via 3 screws that require a hex wrench of some sort to attach. The clip itself fits tightly against the grip and can be rather difficult to slide over items, but it does hold the knife firmly in place.

The blade has a metal bar that runs through it near where it connects to the grip. Located within the grip itself is another metal bar that extends completely through the grip and protrudes on both sides. This is part of the AXIS locking mechanism and the bar is spring loaded. When pulled backwards, it allows the blade to be folded into the grip.

The pocket clip is steel and is a great no-nonsense design that is held in place with 3 small star screws. It is ambidextrous and allows for tip up carry only. I have found the clip to have nice retention, but the finish quickly began to wear on the edges.

Griptilian uses Benchmade’s Axis Lock. The Benchmade Axis Lock is truly an innovative design on Benchmade's part. It allows for left or right hand opening, superb open blade lock with little to no play. Benchmade has employed this lock design on a number of its knives for many years now. With a small amount of practice for some, first time for others, the blade can be opened simply by depressing the lock and flipping the wrist in what would look like an candy cane motion – or shepherds staff. It’s an excellent lock and it really works well with the Griptilian. There is a lot of weight in the blade which makes it easy to really flip the knife out fast and it makes for a solid lockup. Also, the axis lock gives you a variety of ways to open and close the knife. I find myself playing around with the deployment of this knife a lot. It’s a durable locking system that allows the knife to easily be open and closed with one hand.

Benchmade has also put phosphor bronze bushings into the Griptilian, which make the deployment even smoother. The deployment and lock is where this knife really sings.

Griptilian is one of those iconic knives that will probably be around as long as Benchmade. The fit and finish on this knife is very nice, the steel is excellent, the dimensions and weight are great, the lock is solid and smooth. Handle thickness and handle material may be turn offs for some, but after several years of use this knife has never let me down and I highly recommend it.

To buy or get more information on the Benchmade Griptilian 3.45" Satin Drop Point Plain Blade with Black Handles
, click the link below.

Benchmade Griptilian 3.45" Satin Drop Point Plain Blade, Black Handles

All Comments are Welcome and Appreciated.

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