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Benchmade Griptilian 551 Review
Benchmade's Griptilian 551 is a full-size, high quality folding pocket knife. Sporting a blade tied (with two others) for the longest in our test, with a mass smack in the middle, this tool packs a smooth operating punch. Every Benchmade blade is excellent and can be returned throughout the knife's lifespan for very inexpensive factory sharpening. Our testers liked the Griptilian for every task we faced, but the smaller cousin Benchmade Mini-Barrage 585 took the Editors' Choice award for its greater portability and assisted opening design. As compared to the other full-size knives in our test, like the SOG Trident Elite, the Griptilian has a more versatile blade and opens more smoothly.
To compare to other knives that we tested, reference our Best Pocket Knife Review.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Pocket Knives of 2017
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Benchmade Griptilian stacked up well in our testing. It earned leading scores in virtually every category. However, the larger overall size and lack of tester-preferred assisted opening left the Griptilian yielding award winning status to other knives.
Blade and Edge Integrity
Kershaw Leek, the Benchmade Griptilian 551 carries the stamp of an individual, well-known blade specialist. Knife legend Mel Pardue stands behind the materials and design of the Griptillian. And this quality shows. Out of the box, and after days of general use, the Griptilian sliced a ripe tomato with the lightest of pressure.
The Griptilian feels light in the hand. While our testing revealed no specific failures in quality or durability, the lightweight feel of this full-size tool works against feelings of confidence. If our experience with other Benchmade equipment means anything, these subjective feelings of low confidence are unfounded.
While light for its size, the Griptilian does indeed take up considerable real estate in pocket or purse. None of our testers, evaluating for everyday carry, could justify the extra ounces and inches of the Griptilian, especially as compared to all of our svelte award winners. As a backup hunting knife, or to live in a glove box for very occasional use, the Griptilian is a bit expensive.
None to report on.
Everyday carry for those with pocket space to spare, heavy tasks to tackle and appreciation for craftsman construction and impeccable customer service.
Knives, provided the user can keep track of them, are an excellent example of the value in purchasing for quality. The significant initial investment of any Benchmade knife will be returned time and time again in durability and especially in the lifetime sharpening service available through Benchmade's "LifeSharp" program.
The Griptilian 551 mates a signature blade with proven Benchmade construction. The opening and closing mechanisms are smooth and well thought out. The large form-factor isn't for everyone. In fact, none of our testers thought it worth carrying such a large tool. Something about the dimensions had clearly turned past the tipping point. If you use your knife a lot, or tackle a large number of heavy tasks, the Griptilian could be you.
Other Versions and Accessories
Benchmade Mini-Barrage 585
— Jediah Porter
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