From the old school Bali-Songs to the new age Axis-Lock knives, the company with a butterfly logo has always been known for the quality of its products. However, it is definitely not only the material or the innovations that make a knife valuable. Mel Pardue, as one of the oldest designers working with Benchmade, has always been a person fond of functionality and, as such, reflected it in all of his blades. Today we are going to talk about one of the most famous company’s knives – the Benchmade 556 Mini Griptilian.
Benchmade Mini Griptilian is a little brother of a full size Griptilian. It is has closed length of 3.87″ and weighs just about 2.81oz. The knife is a real best seller and can be found in a number of scale colors, blade shapes and coatings. The Mini Griptilian we received has drop point, non-serrated satin blade with black FRN scales. It is American made and has a lifetime warranty.
- Blade length: 2.91″
- Overall length: 6.78″
- Closed length: 3.87″
- Weight: .2.56 oz.
- Blade material: 154CM Stainless Steel
- Locking mechanism: AXIS
- County of origin: USA
Benchmade 556 Mini-Griptilian
If you’re looking for a quality mid-range EDC very little comes close to the outstanding Griptilian.
Benchmade Mini Griptilian has the blade length of 2.91″. It is 0.100″ thick (or is it better to write ‘thin’) and has time-proven drop point shape with hollow grind. Such a combination makes it easy to pierce, slice and process objects with ease. The blade has a tiny tip which makes it a perfect weapon-of-choice for precise work like getting a splinter from a finger, cutting cords or carving. Speaking of the devil. Mini Griptilian appeared to be really good with wood work, which I personally found quite surprising. Considering the overall and blade length, the knife just rips off pine, oak and cedar wood chips. What else to say, I just love the blade’s profile and working grinds.
The blade steel on our model here is American-made stainless 154CM. Basically it is a modification of a well-known 440C. The steel combines three main elements: carbon, chromium, and molybdenum which are crucible for corrosion resistance and edge retention. 154CM is actually regular steel for industrial machinery and parts. However in knife making it shines with features. The blade on Mini Griptilian is a thing that will remain sharp for months with moderate everyday use like cardboard cutting, letter and package opening. Sharpening the edge is also great pleasure. Forget about expensive systems and hours spent sharpening super hard-steel blades. Ceramic triangle or a pocket Lansky rod is more than enough to make a little guy like this hair shaving sharp in 15 minutes or less.
The last but not the least thing worth mentioning about Benchmade Mini Griptilian is satin finish. Well, yes I am a fan of all types of coatings on the blades (preferably stable ones). It is functional, military, tactical and awesome, yada, yada. But the way Benchmade model 556 looks at you from the box is just a thing to see and experience. Long story short, it is beautiful and looks just in place with the rest of knife’s details. Plus it appears to be scratch resistant (cut boxes and branches with it, hundreds of them), thanks to blade steel again. Frankly speaking, I wouldn’t get a knife like this, other than with a satin finish blade on it. Besides, there are many other handle color schemes to combine with coated blades, that you might consider choosing.
The handle scales on Benchmade Mini Griptilian are made of Grivory, also known as glassreinforced nylon. Like Zytel, this new-age polymer consists of plastic, glass and Kevlar particles, making it an even stronger compound. It is less sensitive to scratches and other mechanical damages. It also withstands low outdoor temperatures and aggressive chemical substances. In other words, it is less probable for Griptilian handles to crack during winter frosts and constant falls (we all tend to drop the knives now and then).
What is most important – the Grivory handles are light as feathers, and that is exactly what a perfect everyday carry pocket knife should have. Underneath the FRN scales we have nested steel liners which however add some weight. But such is the specific nature of AXIS lock knives.
Considering the Mini Griptilian handle shape profile, it is extremely comfortable and grippy. The scales have some ridges right behind the thumb studs, on the back and inside on the choil section. Plus there is the diamond pattern on the belly of each scale. For a small knife like this it is a 10-out-of-10 on how well the scales provide traction for the grip.
Ergonomics (lock, clip and deployment)
So, first thing to make clear – we are now talking about a small EDC knife. I’ve been using it for various tasks, outdoors including. And the thing is – it is truly THE GRIPTILIAN kind of animal. I mean, there are some tactical blades with thumb ramps and gimping in all the handle places, but, man, this thing beats it all. It looks like a humble city dweller but bears the potential to chop and feather-stick branches. However, let’s hold the horses and cover all the points step by step.
Benchmade Mini Griptilian has the standard black belt clip with the company’s logo on it. It is not deep carry, however, combined with a huge lanyard hole below the clip screws, it works perfect. The clip has just the right amount of tension on it. So it won’t rip the pockets of your pants, shorts or whatever you carry the knife on. Mini Griptilian is right or left, tip-up carry only, which I personally find very comfortable (you don’t have to turn the knife in hand before deploying).
The knife has patented spring operated AXIS lock on it. It is absolutely ambidextrous and works smooth as hell. You take the knife out from the pocket, flick it open with the thumb and do the job. After all, you depress the lock with the index finger and swing it to close. Simple as that. You can also deploy the knife by pressing the lock and throwing the blade out with a light wrist shake. Anyway, there will be no wiggling or blade-play whatsoever. The lockup is steady and stiff.