Nothing drives a knifemaker like a little competition, which is why great knife brands like Benchmade and Spyderco thrive off of a good-natured rivalry. They are constantly pushing themselves to create the greatest knives by using premium knife materials and the top knife manufacturing processes available, all so they can edge out the rest to take home the crown for the best knife. Two specific knife models have reached the apex of that goal: Spyderco’s Paramilitary 2 and Benchmade’s Griptilian.
While they may not have identical price tags, we chose the Griptilian and the Paramilitary 2 because they’re both American-made knives, the same general size, intended for similar tasks, and equipped with comparable locking mechanisms. Speaking of great knife locks…
The Griptilian comes equipped with an AXIS locking mechanism. The lockbar extends through the frame of the knife and is completely ambidextrous, and it allows easy one-handed operation.
Benchmade is one of the most widely recognized knife brands in the business – just one look at that distinctive butterfly logo tells you you’re holding a top notch blade. Benchmade has a unique origin story. Les De Asis, the owner and founder, originally wanted to create a high quality version of the cheap butterfly knife he played with as a kid. Once that design was created after working with gifted knife maker Victor Anselmo, he took his prototype to a local gun shop – whose owner immediately wanted 100 more. Thus, Bali-Song, Inc. was born, and that eventually led to the company we now know as Benchmade Knives.
Benchmade says that they have one ultimate goal: make the best knives in the world. We’ve always been wowed by their wide array of distinguished knife designs – I mean, have you ever held a Griptilian? It’s downright sexy. Choosing only five of their top knives is pretty tough, but luckily we did the work so you don’t have to. Buckle up and get ready to scroll through the best knives Benchmade has to offer. From the designs to the materials to the aesthetics, these five Benchmade knives easily reach the caliber expected of such a great knife company.
Benchmade Griptilian Folding Knife
What other knife can you kick off a Benchmade list with other than the famous Griptilian folder? Like many of Benchmade’s knives, the Griptilian features Benchmade’s patented AXIS lock, which is a 100% ambidextrous design that functions due to a riding, hardened steel bar that is machined into the steel liners. Not only is it strong, but it is also safe to use, as you can operate the blade without your fingers crossing into the path of the edge. The Grip’s designer, Mel Pardue, brought his passion for functionality to this design. The driving force behind Pardue’s collaborations with Benchmade is that less is more, and the focus has always been function over form. There are more iterations of the Griptilian than any other knife Benchmade offers. Our favorite is this upgraded design with G10 handles and premium CPM-20CV steel.
We may only be a little more than halfway through 2018, but we’ve been wowed by the number of incredible knives that have made their way onto the scene this year. We’ve picked what we think are the best pocket knives (so far) of 2018. These are definitely must-have additions to any EDC rotation.
Spyderco C227GP Brad Southard Hanan
A gracious gift, indeed! If you haven’t been brushing up on your Hebrew lately, that’s what Hanan means – and it pretty much describes this folding knife to a T. Designed by custom knife maker Brad Southard, the Hanan is one of the best gentleman’s folding knives to hit the market this year. Unlike most Spyderco knives, the Trademark Round Hole is much smaller than you’ll typically see, which is because this Spydiehole is mostly aesthetic. Instead, you’re going to rely on the flipper tab to deploy the blade. In our opinion, a gentleman’s pocket knife has to have certain qualities to make it worthy of the title – and the Hanan delivers that in spades. The two-tone G10/titanium hybrid handles are smooth and have an elegance that screams ‘class’. Plus, you can’t go wrong with S30V steel.
Why we picked it: Brad Southard is an amazing knife maker and designer, and his collaborations with Spyderco are no exception. This knife combines great design with high-end materials.
The Benchmade 477S Emissary is the second folder to feature the AXIS assist locking mechanism, after the Barrage. The spring assisted action of this slim, lightweight folder makes it a great EDC and tactical choice for anybody. The blade rockets out, and locks up tightly, each and every time you actuate the ambidextrous thumb studs. The handles are CNC machined from a billet of high strength aluminum alloy, giving the knife strength without adding weight. All in all this is a great pocketknife for anyone, especially Benchmade fans. It reminds us a lot of the 940m which is definitely on a short list of best folding knives ever made. Get your Emissary today at www.knifecenter.com.
The 757 Vicar is a modern masterpiece created by custom knife designer Shane Sibert and brought to you by Benchmade Knives. It features a premium 0.162″ thick CPM-S30V stainless steel blade, with stout, ergonomic G10 handles. The liners are made from Titanium, and the lockbar is very easy to disengage, even though this knife locks up rock solidly. The dual thumb studs and titanium tip-up carry pocket clip makes this a great EDC knife, but it really shines as a tactical tool. It’s stout, rugged, large, overbuilt, and fun. Check it out at www.knifecenter.com.
As always, the SHOT Show – that is the Shooting Hunting Outdoors Trade show, in Las Vegas was a great get together of industry and retail players and this year didn’t disappoint. Here are the trends we have seen most clearly. Upgraded steel is really the major theme. Cold Steel is upgrading their whole line and that is the major reason at we have so many of the older ones at such great prices so please don’t delay in getting any models you want at the ridiculously low prices they are at. Quartermaster has a smaller Roper model that is lighter and smaller and really a usable version of a great knife. It has lots of great new features. Then they have some new models titled after the Back to the Future movies. More details later.
Folders with replaceable blades were all over either using the same standard staple blades that Havelon uses or a proprietary one like Outdoor Edge. Cast hatchets were popular from many vendors including SOG Gerber and others. Kershaw has some really extraordinary models all made in the USA. they are priced right too and we will eagerly await their arrival. ZT models coming out are really smaller than they have been and really will fill the niche for people who want a carry knife for their pants pocket. Benchmade is solidifying their hunting products with more fixed blades as well as a new lock system. Look for all the new items at the KnifeCenter first! You can preorder from us and be the first to get them yourselves.
The Benchmade 761 Titanium Framelock features a titanium handle and pocket clip with a sandblasted and oiled finish. The premium M390 steel, modified utility drop point blade rides on ball bearings for super smooth action while providing tight lockup. It’s a design that really embodies simplistic beauty, much like a Chris Reeve Sebenza. The pocket clip has been attached for tip-down, right-handed carry and cannot be moved. There is a single thumbstud on the 761 and jimping on the handle for a secure hold in both forward and reverse grips. You can find this beautiful knife at www.knifecenter.com.