You reviewed your favorite EDC folding knives, including the one I have carried for 12 years—the Benchmade Griptilian.
Having lived with this knife for so long, I have some positive and some negative opinions about it:
1. The size and the contours of the knife are very acceptable for EDC in whatever pocket I want to carry it in. The two-position tip-up pocket clip allows me to carry it left- or right handed. The “jimping” or serrations on the top and bottom of the handle give it good gripping characteristics. The blade is plenty big for a convenient pocket-carry knife, and the dual thumb-studs make it easy to use left- or right-handed.
2. The edge holding is less than desirable. It has 154CM steel in the present blade, but it just does not live up to the claimed edge retention characteristics of this steel. The knife originally had another blade (partial serrations) which also did not hold an edge very well. I sent it back to Benchmade and had them replace the blade for that reason—and at the time opted for a plain-edge blade. If you have suggestions for a brand + blade steel that holds an edge under normal casual use—that would be nice to learn.
3. The pocket clip has the same drawbacks as most of those on the market—It is sturdy and works well at keeping the knife in the pocket, but it catches on things I don’t want to get damaged (door frames, furniture, car seats), and it is awkward when it does snag something in public places. The solution I have used to soften the clip and to “round” its corners is to apply two layers of electrical heat-shrink tubing to it.
4. The Axis Lock is smooth, and it seems to be sturdy and lock up very well. However, the blade can swing open whenever the knife is moved through certain ranges of motion such as if it is dropped accidentally or if it is pulled out of the pocket quickly and at certain angles. I have come close to grabbing the knife when the blade was in the process of coming open from inertia—and could have been cut if I had not been careful.
Bottom line, I would prefer a knife that has this size and contour, has a different closing mechanism that reliably prevents the blade opening accidentally under normal use, and has a steel that retains a good edge during everyday use around the house. And if it came with a furniture-friendly pocket clip—that would be a bonus.*
*Note: The original Spyderco Endura and other knives had an integral molded plastic clip on the handle. While it (like any) clip could catch and rub on things, it would not hang up as much as a flat metal clip, and it would not do as much damage to furniture etc. The drawback was that the plastic clip tended to weaken over time and potentially break, it could not be repositioned for alternate carry modes, and it was not replaceable.
Benchmade Griptilian Knife $93.25Hello Larry, thanks for sharing your experience.
I know what you mean regarding metal clips catching onto stuff and scratching everything from furniture to cars! I too miss the old Cold Steel and Spyderco molded plastic clips. You never had to worry about scratching anything with those. On the other hand, removable spring steel clips are clearly stronger and can be adjusted to different positions. I prefer tip down carry myself, which prevents the type of problem you describe and eliminated the risk of cutting yourself on a slightly opened blade when trying to draw it.
When it comes to steels 154Cm shouldn’t be that bad, its supposed to be a well performing mid-range priced steel. Then again, all knives need to be sharpened after use eventually. Some hold on a bit more, but there’s no magic steel out there, they all need sharpening sooner than later. At least in my opinion, I don’t worry too much about how long it stays sharp, I ‘m more interested in toughness and to some extent I prefer a knife that is easy to sharpen rather than a hard blade that holds the edge for a bit longer, but wastes your time a lot when sharpening. If you’re looking for better steel maybe you want to try out the Spyderco Endura4 in VG-10, which should hold an edge longer although I’m sure you’ll miss the ergonomics of the Griptilian. For a fantastic steel, you want to try ELMAX powdered steel, which is one of the main reasons I like the Zero Tolerance ZT 0561 so much. The Kershaw Knockout also has ELMAX steel.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.