Flagship Folding Knife: Benchmade 555-1 Review

Filed under: Knives 

Years in the making, the Benchmade 555-1 is an update to the brand’s flagship Griptilian knife. Our tester got his hands on one this spring for a full review.

benchmade 555-1 review

When you start looking at high-quality folding knives, researching what to buy and what is good, chances are you will land on two knives, linked for many reasons — the Benchmade Mini Griptilian and the Spyderco Delica (or the full-size Griptillian and the Endura for those who want a bigger blade). These knives are excellent.

For years, the Delica was treated to constant improvements in materials. But for a long time, the only upgrades to the Mini Griptilian were different handle scales.

This isn’t to say that the bones of the Mini Griptilian were bad–they weren’t. The blade shape (especially in the 555hg, with thumb-hole deployment and modified sheepsfoot blade), the lock, and the size of the knife were spot on. I didn’t like the clip and a chorus of people disliked the cheap feeling Grivory (read: plastic) handles. The steel 154CM was good, but not competitive anymore.

So, when Benchmade announced a full-scale overhaul of the Mini Griptillian line in the form of the 555-1 (or 556-1 for those who like a drop-point blade), I had two simultaneous thoughts — “about time” and “I need one.” Well, I got one, and I am impressed.

Review: Benchmade 555-1 Mini Griptilian

The Benchmade 555-1 is a knife that can compete with the Delica everyday of the week. The upgrades are good ones.

First, the knife now has G10 handles. It not only makes the knife feel better and more solid in the hand, but also cuts down on the pocket-shredding texture of the Grivory handle.

The knife has a deep carry, over-the-top pocket clip. It’s a design Benchmade came up with a few years ago and is one of the simplest and best on the market.

benchmade 555-1 knife review

The brand also took a quantum leap forward in terms of steel. Instead of the old standby 154CM, the new Griptillians all run 20CV, an American made powder steel that is a slight upgrade over the already amazing M390.

All of these changes are welcome. This is a truly superb blade now, taking the good stuff of the original and improving on things that weren’t great.

It’s pricey now, more expensive than the high end ZDP-189 Delica (to be fair, the ZDP-189 Delica runs FRN handles instead of G10), but it is worth the money.

If you are on the fence about whether to upgrade or if this is the knife to get between the Mini Grip and Delica — wait no longer — this is one of the best production knives out there and a great value for high-end steel, handles, and design.

Benchmade 555-1 Review

  • Price: $200 MSRP; $170 street
  • Steel: CPM 20CV
  • Blade Length: 2.91 inches
  • Overall Length: 6.78 inches
  • Weight: 2.88 ounces
  • Made In: USA
  • Product Page
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