The Mini Griptilian by Benchmade is a stainless steel pocket knife that may be the most popular every day carry knife on the market. In fact, the knife is so popular that there are multiple models with different blade grinds, steels, and handle colors. The 556 with the drop point blade is my favorite model and is my most used knife. As a knife nut, I am always trying different knives, but this knife always seems to find its way back into my pocket. According to me, the Benchmade Mini Griptilian 556 is the overall best folding knife ever made. I don’t make that claim lightly. Hundreds of folding knives have passed through my hands over the years and some are better than others for certain tasks. However, when it comes to overall performance, I believe that the Benchmade Mini Griptilian is unmatched. Nothing is perfect, but this knife comes close.
The name of the knife has “Mini” in it, but don’t fret, I wear large sized gloves and this knife fits in my hand perfectly. If you wear XL gloves, you may want to move up to its big brother the Griptilian. However, anyone who wears large, medium, or small sized gloves will love the feel of the handle. The handle and overall quality are the two huge factors of this knife. The Benchmade Mini Griptilian has incredible ergonomics and due to the handle texturing and jimping on both the top and bottom of the blade, this knife stays put when it is in your hands. The way the handle is shaped disperses the reaction force that you get from cutting something throughout the palm of your hand. The edges are nicely rounded so you won’t have a specific spot on the knife that digs into your palm.
One great thing about the Benchmade company is that all of their USA produced knives are made with great blade steels, and the 556 is no exception. The Mini Griptilian 556 sports a 154CM steel. This steel is made to hold an edge extremely well and is stainless, making this a stainless steel pocket knife. Unfortunately, since 154CM is so rough, it can’t have a “surgical sharpness” like other blade steels can offer. However, you can get a pretty darn sharp edge on this blade and not have to constantly touch it up or worry about.
Exactly the same design as the Mini Griptilian, only bigger. I like my full size Griptilian 551, however, I find myself using my Mini Griptilian much more. The full size Griptilian is nice for those who wear glove sizes of XL and above. It is quite a big knife with a very large handle. However, with that large knife and handle comes a drawback that is crucial to consider, weight. This knife weighs 3.88 oz, while the Mini Griptilian weighs in at only 2.81 oz. The difference may not seem like much, but consider the fact that you will most likely be carrying this in your pocket day in and day out. Now, don’t get me wrong. The full size Griptilian is an excellent stainless steel pocket knife, but weight is a big concern for the average knife nut. Luckily, if you don’t mind the weight, then owning a Benchmade Griptilian 551 is like dating a fat girl, more to love.
Another great knife from Benchmade is the 940 Osborne. The really interesting thing about this blade to me is the blade shape. This is one of the only folding knives that I know of with a modified reverse tanto blade shape. To go with this awesome blade shape Benchmade decided to pick one of their top of the line steels, S30V. I believe this is a great combination. The main issue I have with this knife is the expense. You can easily find a full sized Griptilian for under $100, however, you probably will never find the 940 at that price range. Fortunately, the steel quality makes up for it. Also, if you don’t think that S30V is good enough for yourself, you can get the upgraded version of the knife with CPM-S30V premium stainless steel. Many other knife reviewers hate the pocket clip of this knife, I love it. Now, the pocket clip is a little ugly, but the positioning of it makes it slide easily into your pocket and ride on the side so that it won’t fall out as easily as you put it in. If you like the size of the Mini Griptilian, then you will love the 940 Osborne, as it is almost exactly the same size with just a tad more handle room. If I had to pick between the 940 Osborne and the Mini Griptilian, I would still go with the Mini Griptilian as it feels much better in my hand and I like the blade profile better for every day carry tasks.
The Benchmade Mini Griptilian 556 is my favorite every day carry knife to date. If I ever find a better overall knife then I will completely revise this review. However, as it stands today, the Benchmade Mini Griptilian 556 is leagues above any other folding knife for overall usage in my opinion. While others may think that the Mini Griptilian isn’t the best folding knife, there is no denying that Benchmade makes an extremely high quality and highly demanded product. Otherwise, these blades wouldn’t be selling like hotcakes. Benchmade really knows their market and their customers. The fact that they made the Mini Griptilian stainless steel pocket knife in so many different variations really shows that. Another great thing about Benchmade is their warranty. I usually send my knife in once a year back to Benchmade and they will replace the pocket clip and sharpen the blade without asking any questions. They are a great company, and because of it I will continue buying their pocket knives for years to come.