I’ve carried a pocket knife since I was in my early teens, if not earlier. When I was younger, it was always a cheap folding knife, something I didn’t care if I lost or broke. By 16 I started carrying a better knife. By better, I only mean marginally better. I started carrying a Gerber Paraframe.

The Paraframe was the only knife I’ve lost. That was replaced with a Kershaw Blackout. I carried the Blackout for several years before it was replaced. One thing I’ve noticed with the Kershaws are that out of the box, they are nice knives. The assisted opening works great. Easily and quickly deploy the blade. Then the spring for the assisted opening broke.

I replaced the Blackout with another Kershaw. This time a Kershaw Leek. I wanted something a little smaller so it fit in my pocket better. Except the Leek isn’t a solid working knife, it is more of a “gentlemen’s” knife. Something sleek to carry in your pocket, for when small tasks need it. Which is exactly why it got replaced. A few years after the assisted opening spring broke (yeah, it broke in both of my Kershaws), I snapped the end of the blade off.

Time to look for a new knife. I asked the awesome people of App.net what they recommended, and Maddie recommended an Emerson, which I was very interested in. The wave opening system on the Emerson knives was cool, and no stupid spring to break a few years down the line. But I couldn’t justify the price or the size. The normal Commander is a huge pocket knife. After carrying the Leek for so long, I didn’t want another huge knife.

I finally decided on a custom Benchmade Minigriptilian. Benchmade offers a “Customize a Griptilian” option on their website. Choose between the normal and mini griptilian, four different blade steels, hardware colors, and grip colors. I went with a Mini Griptilian with silver hardware, neon green scales, and S30V blade steel.

This knife is fantastic. It feels like a much higher quality knife than either of the Kershaws did. After the break-in period it opens smoother, even without an assisted opening spring. The Axis lock system is nice, and seems more solid than the typical liner or frame lock that was on my previous knives. Overall, I’m very impressed with the knife. I’m even tempted to order another one, just so I can have two to choose from. Kershaws have been put on my do not buy list, but I’d still like to get an Emerson at some point.