Benchmade Griptilian 551 Knife
Initial Report - December 3 , 2008
Field Test Report - January, 2009
Long Term Report - March, 2009
40 years old
5 ft 11 in tall (1.8 m)
175 lb (79 kg)
Southeast Texas, Houston Area
I grew up in the piney woods of southeast Texas. Camping was a quick trip
into the mosquito-infested woods behind the house. My style has evolved and
over the last 4 or 5 years, I have begun to take a lighter weight approach
to hiking gear (I still use sleeping bags and tents, just lighter versions).
While I have flirted with lightweight hiking, I feel that I am more of a
mid-weight hiker now. My philosophy is one of comfort, while carrying the
lightest load possible.
Year Manufactured: 2008
Model: 551 Griptilian (Pardue design)
MSRP: $ 112.00 US
Blade length: 3.5 in (8.9 cm)
Blade thickness: 0.115 in (3 mm)
Blade material: 154CM stainless steel
Blade hardness: 58-60HRC
Blade style: 551 modified drop-point
Thumb-studs: 551T trainer
Weight: 3.25 oz (92 g)
Clip: black, reversible
Tip-up lock mechanism: AXIS
Overall length: 8.07 in (20.5 cm)
Closed length: 4.62 in (12 cm)
Information From Tester:
(all measurements approximate)
Weight: 3.39 oz (96 g)
Blade length: 3.5 in (8.9 cm)
Grip length: 4.5 in (11.4 cm)
Folded length: 4.5 in (11.4 cm)
Overall (extended) length: 8 in (20 cm)
Width: 0.5 in (13 mm)
ComboEdge/BK1 blade coating
Noryl GTX handle scales
Ambidextrous dual thumb-stud
December 3, 2008
Initial tester expectations:
After visiting the Benchmade website I was pretty sure that I had a grip on
this knife. From what I could tell, it was going to be a fairly nice
folding-blade knife with a nylon handle. After a little digging I was able
to discover the exact details of the AXIS locking mechanism and that this
knife should be foldable and unfoldable while using only one hand. The
amount of technical and practical details on the site was very nice. The
diagrams and photos clearly illustrated just how this knife and its
technology works and took a care of a lot of questions that I might have had
as a knife purchaser. Overall, the Benchmade website was easy to navigate
and very informative. I consider it the mark of success if a village idiot
such as myself can visit a website and come away knowing how to do something
and realizing that if I still had questions after the knife arrived, the
first place I would visit again would be the Benchmade website.
The Benchmade Griptilian 551 Knife is a folding knife with a locking blade.
It is also so much more. The black handle feels like plastic of some
sort, but it is apparently a nylon compound. The handle and grip can be
disassembled via five hex screws, but doing this voids the warranty. The
handle/grip area is textured in several spots and has a belt clip that can
be attached to either side of the grip area via 3 screws that require a hex
wrench of some sort to attach. The clip itself fits tightly against the
grip and can be rather difficult to slide over items, but it does hold the
knife firmly in place.
The blade can blade has a metal bar that runs through it near where it
connects to the grip. This bar provides a point to grip and flip the blade
out of the grip and into its locked position. Located within the grip
itself is another metal bar that extends completely through the grip and
protrudes on both sides. This is part of the AXIS locking mechanism and the
bar is spring loaded. When pulled backwards, it allows the blade to be
folded into the grip.
The blade itself is coated in a black substance and contains two cutting
edges. The edge closest to the grip is serrated and forward of the
serration is a regular knife blade. On one side of the blade is the
Benchmade logo and on the other side of the blade is the phrase "154cm"
which refers to the steel of the blade. On this side of the blade is also a
logo which reads "Mel Purdue Design," which I assume refers to the designer
of this particular model of knife.
The entire knife feels wonderfully balanced with most of the weight resting
in the blade area.
WOW. I just wanted to start off that way since I do not feel that my
description really conveyed my sense of wonder at this knife. I am a knife
using fool and after opening and playing with the Griptilian 551 for a few
minutes I realized just what a quality knife is about.
Benchmade starts right out of the box with instructions on how the clean the
knife (flush with water) and when to lubricate, as well as pointing out that
disassembling the Griptilian 551 would void its warranty. I also liked the
fact that Benchmade told me that the blade is sharp and the best way to keep
it this way is to sharpen it regularly before it gets dull. The literature
that came with the knife also explains the different level of Benchmade
knives (color coded) and I am very surprised to see that the Griptilian 551
is not considered a top of the line model. Just playing with it for a few
minutes put it heads above any other knife I have ever used as far as
quality is concerned. This is very visibly a well made and designed knife.
Gettin it open:
The first thing I wanted to figure out was if I could really open this knife
with just one hand and keep all of my fingers. I was pleasantly surprise to
find out that simply putting my thumb on the stud on the blade and pushing
forward with my thumb allowed the blade to slip out and lock into place with
almost no pressure or effort. The motion was smooth and fluid and I was
never in danger of cutting myself as the blade came out of the grip and
locked into place.
Closing the knife one-handed is a bit trickier, but almost as easy as
opening it. I hold the grip/handle in one hand, place my thumb on one side
of the AXIS stud and my middle finger on the other side of the AXIS stud and
pull back on this stud to release the blade lock. After I pull the locking
stud back, I then use my index finger to push the blade down into its folded
position. This motion is a bit harder to pull off one handed, but almost no
pressure or effort is needed to move the blade once the locking mechanism
has been pulled out of the way.
The Benchmade Griptilian 551 is easy to open and close one handed and that
was something that I had originally doubted after reading the website. I
was very happy to find that this feature was not only present, but works
wonderfully without any fancy hand grips or juggling acts on my part.
Now this is a knife:
What really impresses me about this knife are the small details that make it
just so much better. The most obvious are the textured areas on the grip
that are not located on the sides of the grip, but on the areas where my
fingers grip the knife when it is open. While not a huge deal, these are
details that really make this knife nice.
Benchmade used the metal from the locking mechanism as well as the grip
material to create these textured areas on the points on the knife were good
friction was of benefit. I have no plans to stab anything with this knife,
but it feels really good in my hands and makes me feel much more secure
knowing that my fingers are unlikely to slip off the grip and get cut on the
This is a serious knife. It looks great, feels great, and from all
appearances is designed great. I am looking forward to using this knife on
the trail and I seeing if it is as durable and useful as its design and
Things I like:
1. I can open and close it with one hand
2. Blade is sharp right out of the box
3. Textured grip areas in just the right spots.
Things I don't like:
1. Nothing right now.