There she is. My newest daily carry knife. The Benchmade Mini-Griptilian. I chose the black on black tanto model with serration (model 557SBK). If you have never had the pleasure of checking out a Benchmade let me urge you to do so. These are some of the best production knives you can find. Benchmade has 4 different production classifications for their knives. Red Class, Black Class, Blue Class, and Gold Class. For more details on the classes of Benchmade knives check out this link: http://www.benchmade.com/about_knives/anewclass.asp. The Mini-Griptilian is a Blue Class knife (Gold is their highest class, Blue is second) and comes in a swanky blue box. A couple of things I love about Benchmade is their Lifetime Warranty (defects and workmanship) as well as their “LifeSharp” service which allows you to send the knife back to the factory for a resharpening to “factory edge” for only $5 to cover shipping! Speaking of sharp, Benchmade ships their knives with a razor edge, heed the warning on the box “Handle With Care – Benchmade knives are packaged extremely sharp”
Right out of the box I loved this knife. The grip is great, feels natural in both hands, I have longer thin fingers and this knife doesn’t get “lost” in my hands like some. The handle is a grip textured “Valox” material which is basically a high strength polymer of some kind. It seems like it would take a beating, its very dense.
The blade is 154CM Stainless Steel, which Benchmade describes as “An American made premium grade stainless steel originally developed for tough industrial applications. Known for its best all-around qualities, it offers great corrosion resistance with good toughness and edge quality.” Its hardness is 58-60HRC. The model I received has the black coating on the blade, it looks great and so far hasn’t “scratched” off like some knives I have had in the past.
The Mini-Griptilian uses the patented Mel Pardue locking system. This was the main reason I bought it. This is one of the best and most reliable locking systems you can get on a folder. What does that mean? Well, hacking and whacking is a little safer with this folder. I have been through my fair share of knives and that cheapo made in China you bought for $5 just isn’t going to stay open under much pressure. I like all 10 of my fingers. Do you?
The whole knife is held together with “six-lobe” screws (I always called them star screws). This is actually very handy if you want to adjust your knife’s tension or switch the side of the carry-clip (VERY cool feature). You can also just take the clip completely off if you aren’t into that. They also sell a “tool kit” made just for their knives but you could definitely do without it.
All in all this knife is tough, sharp, and comfortable. The Mel Pardue Locking System has functioned amazingly so far. It looks darn sexy too. This one is getting two thumbs up from me. I will try to do a revisit in a few months to update you on the wear and tear.
I purchased mine from Savson Swords and Knives for $67 (retail price is $102).