Guest Review from Two Broke Watch Snobs - Three Years With The Benchmade Mini Griptilian
“Did you grab your flashlight?” my old man asked. “You’ll be shit out of luck if you find yourself stranded halfway across the country and in the dark, so don’t forget it.”
No, I didn’t have it on me and it was a little embarrassing to say the least considering that I was suiting up for a long haul drive from Miami to Seattle. Still, I found myself lucky enough that his question triggered some kind of panic in me as I reached down into my crowded side pocket to check for the tools and doohickeys I had become so attached to over the years. At least, to my own relief, the Benchmade Mini Griptilian was still there and I could carry on with some kind of dignity in spite of poor preparation before my journey.
I never thought of myself as a knife guy but somehow, this widely praised “EDC folder” had found its way into my daily carry with relative ease. Throughout the years, carrying it has become second nature for me and I think much of it has to do with its overall design approach. I can’t say what it was that initially led me to pull the trigger on this blind Amazon purchase but after three years of ownership, I thought it would be a great time to reflect on what makes the Mini Grip such a great choice in the realm of entry-level, daily carry pocket folders.
Blade Details and Dimensions
The Benchmade Mini Griptilian 556 has a 2.91” drop-point style corrosion resistant CPM 20CV steel blade with a serrated edge for additional utility. While you can argue that the full-size Griptilian can be seen as the whole kit and caboodle, the Mini takes everything the larger version offers and packs it into a friendlier compact size that’s suitable for use in most settings without drawing too much attention. Additionally, the knife can be configured with Sheepsfoot or Tanto-style blade options if you don’t find the drop-point to your liking but once again, I find that the drop-point delivers the least threatening look out of the three.
Over the years, the black coated version of the blade I opted for has shown some wear around the top and forward edges but I wouldn’t find fault in the knife itself because of this and find that kind of wear to be typical after extended everyday use. Overall length is 6.78” with the blade extended and the knife itself weighs in at around 2.81 ounces, which further reinforces the Mini Griptilian’s practicality and portability. It really disappears in the pocket whether you choose to use the clip or not and I think this might be one of the biggest reasons I haven’t felt the need to search for another pocket knife in the past three years.
Handle and Construction
The handle on the Benchmade Mini Griptilian 556 is constructed using GFN—a kind of polymer that has been reinforced with fiberglass. It’s my understanding that a few hardcore knife nerds consider this to be a downside because of its seemingly plastic feel but I’ve had zero issues with it even after subjecting the Mini Grip to some pretty nasty falls. The shape is also fluid enough that the ambidextrous deployment studs fall right under the thumb allowing for some of the most satisfying blade engagement I’ve experienced in a pocket knife.
The grip pattern on the handle is also deep and generously applied so I’ve never found it to be slippery—dropping the knife has always been a case of user error on my part. It’s worth mentioning that the pocket clip, which shows considerable wear, can also be removed and affixed to either side of the blade depending on your preference. I’ve never chosen to explore the option but it seems as though it can easily be removed with a simple hex key tool. Overall, as small as the handle is, I find it to be incredibly robust and the GFN has taken absolutely no damage after three years of ownership.
AXIS Locking Mechanism
Much of the praise that you’ll hear about the Mini Griptilian involves the integration of the brand’s signature AXIS locking mechanism. It allows for some of the fastest and safest blade deployment that almost feels self-engaging at times. Additionally, the AXIS system allows for the blade to be extended without the use of thumb studs if you find issue with having to touch the blade itself. I also find that the lock is incredibly secure and there is almost no blade play whatsoever upon full deployment—a real mark of quality that I’d like to see in any kind of formidable folder.
While the “perfect” EDC knife arena is chock-full of options ranging from Kershaw to the likes of Chris Reeve and beyond, I find that the Benchmade Mini Griptilian sits proudly as one of the most sensible options available. It isn’t the cheapest knife by any means (most examples hover around $100) but I find that it’s a small price to pay for a tool that’ll potentially take anything you throw at it and possibly serve as the last knife you’d ever buy. For me, it just works for most daily tasks and maybe that’s why it has stuck around for so long. With it’s combination of features, small size, and reliable construction I’m sure I’ll put quite a few more miles on it before either of us bites the dust even though I’m certain the Mini Grip will keep flipping, folding, and cutting long after I’m gone.
Editors Note: This review was written by Mike from TwoBrokeWatchSnobs... It's really cool to get a true user's perspective on a knife we are all so familiar with. Definitely go check out their work and download their podcast!