Last Updated: November 30, 2019
As much as I enjoy discussing the latest and greatest knives, sometimes we need to stop and appreciate the modern classics. As someone who tries to stay on top of all the new stuff coming out, I can tell you that the knife world moves at a breakneck pace. Companies are constantly introducing new and exciting models vying for our attention and dollars.
As much as I can appreciate their desire to shower us with awesome new products, I try to occasionally pause and reflect on the real classics in the world of modern folding knives.
Without a doubt one of these classic knives is the Benchmade Mini Griptilian. The little brother to the full size Benchmade Griptilian, the Mini Griptilian takes a lot of what makes the full size so great and shrinks it down into a package that is perfect for urban EDC. For most people this knife is everything you need, and nothing you don’t.
Lets take a closer look at this “modern classic” knife, and see what the Mini Griptilian is all about.
General Dimensions and Blade Details
The Mini Griptilian has a 2.91″ blade, an overall length of 6.78″ and a weight of 2.5 ounces. These dimensions make the Mini Grip ideal for EDC. This is a knife that is small enough to comfortably carry, friendly enough to use in public without questions, and still big enough actually get some work done when you need it to.
However, if you need something that is capable of bigger tasks can also work as a defensive knife, I recommend checking out the full size Griptilian. Here’s a size comparison between the two:
The blade on the Mini Griptilian is a classic drop point shape. This is a timeless design that features a hollow grind and a swedge. This gives you a nice tip for piercing and detail work, along with plenty of belly for common utility tasks. You have a choice of a satin finish (shown here) or a black coated blade. Benchmade also makes a tanto version of the knife and a sheepsfoot, and you have your choice of plain edge or partial serrations. All in all, you have an excellent blade here, with tons of options to make it your own.
The steel on the Mini Griptilian is 154CM. This is a nice all-around steel. It’s not quite a super steel by today’s standards, but definitely a mid to high end steel. I like how it is easy to sharpen and how it holds a nice edge for a good amount of time. 154CM is a proven blade steel that still gets used. Benchmade also offers this knife in S30V. Benchmade’s S30V is excellent, but I find little reason to upgrade from 154CM.
In practice, the Mini Griptilian performs great. I’ve carried and used mine for years. It has performed countless daily tasks. Whether that’s breaking down a box, or helping out with a car or construction project, the Mini Griptilian can get it done. When the edge eventually dulls, it’s easy enough to bring back on my Spyderco Sharpmaker.
Handle, Ergonomics, and Pocket Clip
The Mini Griptilian has a solid handle made of fiberglass reinforced nylon (FRN) over full stainless steel liners. Just so everyone is on the same page, FRN is fiberglass reinforced plastic. I have no problem with this handle material, although many consider it to be inferior to G10. It’s a lightweight and strong material that I have had a lot of experience with and have never had any issues (at all).
If the FRN bothers you, then pick up a G-10 Mini Griptilian. It’s more expensive, but a great upgrade if you have the money.
Underneath the FRN we have nested stainless steel liners. This is a solid handle design, with no flex. All the parts line up flush and are of high quality. Everything is bolted together for easy take down. Like the full size Grip, this is a closed back design.
Ergonomics on the Mini Griptilian are good for a small EDC knife. With larger hands I was able to get a firm 4 finger grasp without an issue. It’s a tighter fit than the full size, but it’s definitely doable (and remember, this is the Mini). Of course, being a Griptilian, this thing is tricked out in the texture department. Benchmade included tons of jimping, a nice thumb ramp, a good choil, and a tight diamond pattern on the handle scales. This knife isn’t going anywhere – in forward or reverse grips.
The pocket clip is the exact same clip found on the full size Griptilian, which is great. I am a huge fan of this clip, it’s a good size, offers good retention and buries deep. Benchmade gives you the option of ambidextrous tip up carry. The attractive flat black coating will wear off with use, but if you ever send this knife into Benchmade for service (or just email em) they will hook you up with a brand new clip.
As far as actual carry goes, the Mini Grip is effortless. The knife is fairly slim and at 2.5 ounces you will hardly feel it. This is a knife that you will want in your pocket every day. Here is a photo of what the knife looks like in your pocket:
Deployment and Lockup
Like the full size Grip, the Mini comes with either thumb studs or a thumb hole. I like the look of the thumb studs (plus it matches my full size Grip) so I went with that. Both options provide near effortless ambidextrous deployment. There are large phosphor bronze washers in the knife that account for the incredibly smooth deployment. Both my full size and Mini Grip rank the fastest deploying blades in my collection. Also, blade centering is perfect.
As far as lockup is concerned, the Mini Grip makes use of the now legendary Axis lock. I’m a huge fan of this style of lock because it is incredibly easy to operate with either hand, is strong and is incredibly elegant. Hands down this is my favorite style of lock. The axis lock on the Mini Grip has been flawlessly executed.
If you live in the US or Canada I really cant think of enough nice things to say about the Axis lock. However, if you are an international reader, you may need to consider that if the spring on the axis lock breaks (which has never happened to me), you would have to send in the whole knife for repair. This would be a hassle, and rather expensive. That is the only downside I can see to the axis lock.
After owning dozens of axis lock knives for years and years, I’ve never had an issue with an Omega spring breaking. But I do occasionally get comments from international readers saying that this has happened to them. It would be great if Benchmade reconsidered their policy in these conditions, and just shipped out a new Omega spring.
Here is a size comparison of the Mini Grip with a Kershaw Skyline:
Full Size Benchmade Griptilian vs. Mini Griptilian
Now if you are anything like me, you might be interested in the Griptilian series, but are unsure whether you want the full size or the Mini. To help you out I recorded a little video comparing the two knives. I hope this helps.
Benchmade Mini Griptilian Review – Final Thoughts
I originally published this review in 2012. In 2019 I performed a major update to the review, complete with better pictures, and updated thoughts after owning the knife for the better part of a decade. The Mini Griptilian is an outstanding knife, and it has remained in my daily carry rotation over the years. This smaller version of the Griptilian makes for a great discreet EDC. I have had zero issues with my knife. It has stood the test of time.
The Mini Griptilian is an absolutely fantastic EDC option. It’s lightweight, sturdy, and very well made. It should be no surprise that this is one of Benchmade’s most popular and iconic designs. Perhaps the only issue is the price. This isn’t a cheap knife, but it is wonderfully made and I think you get what you pay for. Plus, it’s made in the USA.
The Mini Griptilian is a knife with a proven track record and has earned its place as one of the Best EDC knives. I can recommend it without hesitation.
I recommend purchasing the Mini-Griptilian from Amazon and BladeHQ. Please consider that purchasing anything through any of the links on this website helps support BladeReviews.com, and keeps the site going. As always, any and all support is greatly appreciated. Thank you very much.