Since its inception, the Benchmade Griptilian has solidified its place in the outdoor world as a desirable lightweight, ergonomic knife designed for everyday carry. Featuring over-molded nylon handles, premium knife steel, and Benchmade’s patented AXIS lock the Griptilian has become as identifiable to the Benchmade brand as their butterfly logo, while also managing to spawn over thirty variations of the model, including a smaller version dubbed the “Mini-Griptilian.” In 2014, Benchmade even went so far as to launch a configuration tool on their website that allowed customers to design “semi-custom” Griptilians, making the model even more popular and viable in the marketplace.
For 2016, Benchmade is introducing its biggest change ever to the Griptilian line by offering new, and even more premium models. The latest Girptillians to find their way into the Benchmade catalog feature G10 handle scales and liners, and a addition of CPM-20CV to the company’s family of steels.
Available in eight new variations, the move to G10 handle scales increases both durability and grip. It also gives the knives a more modern look by opening up the spine of the knife to give it a more familiar look when compared to other popular knives on the market today. Additionally, the pocket clip has changed to allow it to sit deeper in your pocket, making it both more inconspicuous and comfortable. The most impressive change, however, is in the blade steel. CPM-20CV is considered a super steel and is most comparable to Bohler M390, which has also become very popular in the last couple of years. These steels are both desirable for their corrosion resistance and edge retention as well as their overall durability.
Dimensionally, the Griptilian models are apples to apples, but the upgrades in material come at a premium – specifically with a $95 price increase (when comparing models 551-ORG to 551-1). In a market where knife manufacturers are being asked to bring their prices down, this could be a risk, but I can tell you that, when considering the materials, the price jump is justified. With that being said, I would recommend these new premium Griptilian models to the consumer who carries and utilizes a knife like this on a daily basis. Alternatively, Benchmade will continue to offer the same classic Griptilian models that they have for years; which I are well suited for the casual user. If you’re going that route, I would recommend the 551-H20 (We gave it a score of 96 out 100 when we tested in 2014) as it features X15-TN steel which is also highly corrosion resistant and sharpens to a scalpel-like edge.
These new models are available now – along with all of the previous configurations – through Benchmade’s Griptilian Family configuration tool.