Not all knives are created equal.
Walk into any sporting goods store and you will see large numbers of cheap knives. Bring in a $20 bill and you can walk out with half a dozen new blades.
Continue past those and you may find some quality blades. Your Jackson bill may not cover any, but just one will do a better job than the six from before.
Now look around. Do you see a small case, off by itself? With good lighting and only a few knives on display?
That’s the Benchmade case. One knife from there is worth the entire case of cheap knives, and then some.
Benchmade stands above the competition, both figuratively and literally (at least at my local knife store).
Do not be led astray by their butterfly logo. These knives are not gentle; if you do not treat them with respect, they will sting you with more ferocity than an angry wasp.
But when used as a tool instead of as a plaything, a Benchmade knife will serve you better than almost any other.
The Mini Griptilian is a whole family of knives meant for EDC. Sure, there is a larger version known as just the Griptilian. But if you want a blade that is three inches or less, the mini family is right up your alley.
Who This Benchmade Knife Is For
Do you want a pocket knife that stays sharp for eons, cuts through anything, and has a simplicity that belies the dangerous edge? The Mini Griptilian is the EDC knife for you.
If you are looking for a large amount of quality for the quantity of money you have to spend, and are willing to spend a sizable amount to get that quality, the Benchmade 556 is the knife for you. It is relatively expensive without being overpriced.
It is also good for people who live in states with laws that prohibit carrying knives over three inches long. The Mini Griptilian’s blade is a mere 2.91″. Take that, lawmakers.
Who The Mini Griptilian Isn’t For
Alas, if you are on a tight budget, you will probably be unable to afford this knife. The price starts at $90 and goes up from there, so if that twenty dollar bill from before is your entire cache of spending money, either save up or look elsewhere.
I probably would also not recommend this pocket knife to people who do not know how to treat a knife with respect.
All knives are sharp, yes, but Benchmade ones seem to have an innate sharpness that can lead to a kiss that draws blood. The blades can hold such an edge you will not even feel the bloody kiss.
That actually happened to me the day I got my Morakniv Carbon Steel knife. I accidentally cut my pinky finger to the bone while taking it out of its sheath and didn’t feel a thing for about 3 seconds.
Also, if you are looking for more style than substance, look elsewhere. The Benchmade Mini Griptilian does not look ugly, but it would not place first at a modeling competition. Form follows function and the Mini Griptilian is very functional.
- Blade Length: 2.91″
- Overall Length: 6.78″
- Closed Length: 3.87″
- Blade Material: 154CM or CPM-20CV
- Blade Shape: Drop Point, Tanto, or Sheepsfoot
- Blade Edge: Straight or Serrated
- Blade Finish: Satin or Black
- Handle Material: Glass-Filled Nylon in a multitude of colors or G10 in gray
- Weight: 2.56-2.81 oz depending on style
- Lock: AXIS
- Misc: Lanyard hole, reversible pocket clip, choice of thumb stud or thumb hole as the deployment method
The Mini Griptilian is not just one knife, it is an entire family of EDC knives.
You have your choice of handles too. If you prefer G10, then you are stuck with gray. But if you like glass-filled nylon then you have your choice between black, olive drab, sand, blue, yellow, and even pink.
Hey, I have a couple of pink shirts. Nothing wrong with that color.
The handles cover stainless steel liners, which add to the folding knife’s rigidity and strength. The liner is not noticeably lightened, but at less than 3 oz, the overall knife is not too heavy to begin with.
The lock is the Benchmade-specific AXIS lock, which is ambidextrous. The unlocking mechanism is a spring-loaded metal stud that sticks through to either side. It is strong, fast, and unique.
In fact, because of the AXIS lock, there are three styles of opening the blade. You can use the thumb hole/stud to casually unfold the knife, slap the thumb doohickey while flicking so the blade opens quickly, or hold down the AXIS stud while flicking to open quickly while giving your thumb a break.
Even closing is easy. Thanks to the AXIS lock’s side studs, you can unlock and close the knife with one hand.
The standard steel Benchmade uses for the blade is 154CM, which is quite a good steel. If you prefer, you can also try out the CPM-20CV version, which is holds an edge longer and resists corrosion better.
Really, though, both steels will do you well.
Not all options are available with each other. The CPM-20CV alloy is only available with the G10 scales, so you can’t have a pink Mini Griptilian with that steel. Yet. I might start a petition.
The handle is overall rather ergonomic. You could throw it into the woods, but it probably will not jump out of your hands on its own.
There is jimping on the back of the blade and at that part of the handle, so your thumb can be placed in a strong position. The other side of the handle is well shaped for your fingers, and has some grooves to help them stay in place.
The pocket clip does not exactly have the most futuristic of design to it. It is functional and can be reversed from one side to the other. However, it can only be placed to hold the knife in a tip up position.
There is also a lanyard hole, if you like adding paracord to everything (who doesn’t?). Though the 556 excels at urban use, it can be used outdoors as well, and adding a lanyard can help to keep it from running away with a deer.
If you like personalizing your knives, you can even get Benchmade to laser engrave your blade.
Last but not least, Benchmade has one of the best warranties in the business. They will even sharpen their blades for you through their LifeSharp program!
What I Liked About the Mini Griptilian
Benchmade has a strong reputation, and they hold it for a reason. The Mini Griptilian hits all the right points for a good EDC knife.
The knife is small without being cumbersomely tiny. It is available with either great or excellent steel. You can choose the blade shape that suits you best. The price, while high, is not excessively high.
What I Didn’t Like About the Knife
Honestly, there is not much I do not like about this pocket knife. Most of my complaints for other knives are avoided in this one.
There is no obnoxious liner lock (I really do not like having to put my fingers in the path of the blade to close the knife), you can choose the deployment method, and the size is right where I want it to be.
So, these complaints are nit-picking. The pocket clip can only hold the knife in one orientation. I have carried knives tip down before, and would not be able to do that with this Benchmade.
Also, some of the options can get expensive. Certain combinations are only available for a price right around $200, and if you want a limited edition Mini Griptilian, you better be prepared to spend over $400!
The MSRP of the Mini Griptilian starts at $110 and goes up from there. Practically speaking you can find some versions as cheap as $90, at which point the knife is well worth the expense. Spending more is up to you.
The Mini Griptilian is available in two, good stainless steels. When the blade meets the cardboard the choice does not matter all that much, as both steels are strong and hold edges well.
If you are having trouble deciding on whether you prefer the 154CM steel or the CPM-20CV, here are two considerations.
Do you enjoy sharpening your knives?
If yes, buy a Mini Griptilian with the 154CM. If you do not enjoy sharpening knives, choose the CPM-20CV.
The 154CM has slightly worse edge retention than the other, but is also easier to sharpen.
Though you can always send it back to Benchmade and have them sharpen the knife for you…
Alternatively, the CPM-20CV is currently only available with far fewer options and is more expensive. If you like choice or don’t want your wallet to become so lightened as to develop anti-gravity, stick with the 154CM.
With good ergonomics, good steel, and a good value for the price, the Benchmade Mini Griptilian 556 is one of the best EDC knives on the market.
Benchmade has a reputation for quality, and prove that reputation every time somebody uses their Mini Griptilian.