1. Are you a current member with account or password issues?

    Please visit following page for more information

    Dismiss Notice

Delica 4 vs. Mini-Griptilian 556: a Comparison Review (pics + E4 vs. BM551)

Discussion in 'Gear Reviews' started by carrot, Nov 27, 2006.

  1. carrot

    carrot Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2012
    Messages:
    300
    Likes Received:
    401
    Preamble: I am not nearly as experienced with knives as many on this board but I do appreciate a good knife. (So try and forgive me for any terminology misuse.) I find that the Benchmade Mini-Griptilian 556 and Spyderco Delica 4 seem to be two knives worthy of comparison... and having just received the Delica (one of my first Spydie folders!) in the mail less than a month ago, I want to write about it.

    [​IMG]

    Both the Delica and Mini-Grip share a few similarities. The knives are in the same price range, manufactured by well-respected companies, they are roughly the same size and both use FRN handles with steel liners. But that's pretty much where the similarities end, as both knives represent the different companies' approach to knives and knife design.

    Locking mechanism and one-handed opening:

    The Mini-Griptilian features Benchmade's wonderful AXIS-lock system which allows for easy and quick one-handed opening. It takes a simple flick of the wrist to open and locks with soft click, and after disengaging the lock, another quick flick to close. When closing the knife, the user's fingers never have to be in the path of the blade. The lockup is as tight as the day I got it and despite the occasionally cited disadvantage of thumbstuds falling off, the ambidexterous thumbstuds on my Mini-Grip are as tight as they came from the factory. When the knife is gripped in various fashions, it is apparent that the AXIS lock was carefully placed as not to be accidentally disengaged.

    On the other hand, the Delica 4 features Spyderco's trademark "Spyderhole," a large circular hole in the blade allowing for quick one-handed opening. I find the Spyderhole a bit more finicky than the Mini-Griptilian's thumbstuds to operate (thumbstuds don't much care how you place your thumb), but I find using the Spyderhole strangely satisfying. Locking the blade results in a much more satisfying click as Spyderco's carefully engineered lockback/front lock snaps into place. The David Boye cutout in the locking mechanism prevents a tight grip on the handle from disengaging the lock. In order to close the knife, however, the user's fingers must be (for however short a moment) in the path of the closing blade, which means the operator must pay a little more attention in closing the Delica than with an AXIS-based folder. Opening and closing the Delica requires a little more force than with the Mini-Grip but both have extremely smooth action.

    [​IMG]

    Grip, clip and ergonomics:
    The Mini-Griptilian, true to its name fits the hand very well, especially for a small knife. There are ridges for the thumb on the spine of the blade and on the exposed parts of the liner on the top and bottom of the handle. The reversible clip (to accommodate lefties), while large and beefy, does not make holding the Mini-Griptilian uncomfortable and aids in gripping the knife while closing the blade. The checkered grip pattern on the Mini-Grip do not provide as much grip as the bi-directional texturing on the Delica, but the slightly beefier handle makes up for it. On the other hand, the checkered pattern, when paired with the clip puts a lot of wear on pockets. When using the knife for long durations I have never noticed discomfort in my hands from holding the knife. The Mini-Grip feels like a very well-balanced knife.

    The Delica, with its flat handles, does not fit in the hand as well as the Mini-Griptilian but it is still comfortable to use. I feel that due to the slightly slimmer (not by much!) handles on the Delica, I cannot grip the knife as tightly and may develop hand cramps from using the knife for long periods at a time. But the handle's bi-directional checkering allows for good grip with wet and dirty hands. Like the Mini-Grip, the Delica features thumb ridges on the spine of the blade behind the Spyderhole and on the top of the handles, but no texturing on the bottom, which may make it more comfortable but less grippy. The clip is positionable on the knife in four different positions, to allow for tip up or tip down carry. The clip is also springier and lighter than the one on the Mini-Griptilian, but I do not feel that pocket retention would be a problem with either knife. (But if you really want secure, the Mini-Grip has the edge. No pun intended.) No pocket wear is expected from using the Delica, as the point where the clip contacts the FRN handles is smooth. The Delica has the edge in how it rides in a pocket, not just due to the less abrasive clip design, but also because it is slightly thinner. The Delica, while lighter than the Mini-Grip, also feels well-balanced.

    As a sidenote, both knives have lanyard holes, but the one on the Mini-Grip is slightly bigger.

    [​IMG]

    Blade geometry and design:
    Quite frankly, I have very little idea about blade geometry and how it affects cutting ability. I would be delighted if someone chose to enlighten me on the topic.

    I will comment however, that the edge of the blade extends almost completely to the handle on the Mini-Griptilian but on the Delica has a little under a centimeter of unsharpened area, which Spyderco calls the kick. This means that the Delica has less cutting surface... but its stock edge cuts very well. The tip of my Mini-Griptilian 556 drop point broke off sometime during usage, but I was able to create a new point by grinding down the spine to form a new point. Spyderco claims that the Delica 4 was designed to minimalize the possibility of tip breakage, which I'm not willing to test.

    The Mini-Griptilian now comes in 154CM steel and the Delica 4 in VG-10, so the Delica has a better, stronger steel, for a lower price. (The more expensive Doug Ritter edition of the Mini-Grip has S30V steel.)

    No comment on the cutting ability, as the Mini-Griptilian has seen over six months of use and is no longer on the factory edge. (It's also been pretty abused.)

    Overview:
    Both are great knives and I would not hesitate to recommend either of them to somebody looking for a quality knife at a fair price. I have not had to experience any warranty repair or replacement but I hear that both companies are top notch in customer service, so I wouldn't expect any problems on that end either.

    So which do I EDC? I either rotate, or carry both.
     
  2. carrot

    carrot Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2012
    Messages:
    300
    Likes Received:
    401
    Re: Delica 4 vs. Mini-Griptilian 556: a Comparison Review (pics included!)

    Note: Knives featured in the following pictures are all plain edge, uncoated blades. The dark looking blades are an interesting result of the illumination, or lack thereof. New pictures may later be added.

    [​IMG]

    Both the Griptilian and Endura 4 are about the same size -- in the <4" folder category, at about the same price, with the Griptilian being a bit more expensive. I chose to write this comparison review because the Grip and E4 are similar knives from two competing companies, and each show the different design philosophies of their makers. As each are very similar to the smaller sized versions that I did a more in-depth comparison on, I'll be a little more concise this time around.

    Locking mechanism and one-handed opening:
    Both the Griptilian and the Endura 4 are able to be flicked open easily without using the thumbstuds or SpyderHole, respectively. The Griptilian is easier to flick open with a motion of the wrist, but I suspect with practice the Endura 4 could be as easy to open in the same fashion as well. The Endura also comes in a waved version for a price much more in line with the street price of the Griptilian, which allows for extremely quick opening, faster and more easily than that of the Grip, but I do not have such a model to review at this time.

    Both knives share the same locking mechanisms as their smaller counterparts, however, I have made an interesting observation as to the sounds of the locking mechanisms. While the Mini-Grip makes a very soft, un-knifelike click when it locks, the full-size Grip makes a very threatening, loud click that tells you the AXIS-lock is secured and in place. I actually like the sound as a reassurance that the mechanism is working. Likewise, the AXIS spring on the full-size Grip is stiffer than the Mini-Grip, but is not all that much harder to release. Opening the Grip slowly, however, makes it fairly quiet.

    The Endura 4, on the other hand, sounds only slightly louder than the D4 when opening, but is fairly quiet and doesn't sound as "heavy" as on the Grip. It's doubtful that the sounds affect performance, ;) but it's interesting to note.

    The Grip, like it's littler sibling seems to want to open as soon as you overcome the detent, whereas the E4 and D4 seem to resist opening more, but in a smooth fashion. However, the resistance has no effect on quickly deploying the blade.

    Both knives, again like their smaller counterparts, open smoothly, with the Griptilian opening a little more easily.

    Closing the E4 one-handed is easier than on the D4 due to the heavier blade. With the AXIS-lock, there is little difference in closing the blade.

    [​IMG]

    Grip, clip and ergonomics:
    Again, I find the Griptilian a little more comfortable to grip tightly, but unlike the D4, the Endura 4 seems to conform to my hand very well. The texturing on the Griptilian is rough and reminds me a bit of flashlight knurling, though not too grippy, whereas the bi-directional texturing of the Endura 4 is grippier. Like the smaller D4, the E4's clip and medallion design allow for the knife to be less abrasive on pants than the Grip, but again, the Grip has better pocket retention. Interestingly, the clips have not been scaled up for the full-size versions of the knives. The E4 has a 4-way clip like on the D4, and the Grip has a 2-way clip. Both come stock for tip-up carry.

    The jimping (ribbing) on the spines and front of the handles again afford better grip on the knife to prevent slipping, and on the Grip (just like the mini), there is more jimping for the index and pinky fingers allowing for a sure grip. If there was anything I'd do to improve upon the Endura 4, whose ergonomics I love, it would be to put some light jimping on the underside of the handle in a similar fashion to the Grip.

    The Griptilian feels a bit blade-heavy, unlike the Mini-Grip which feels pretty balanced. If you like the feel of a blade-heavy knife, the Griptilian is a better choice between the two. Also, the handles on the Grip feel a bit too light for their size; I attribute this to the metal liners not covering the full length of the handle. This knife seems well-adapted to cutting chores on top of surfaces, rather than an all-around user, but it could fit the need for a general purpose knife.

    On the other hand, the Endura 4 feels very well-balanced and seems to have the perfect weight. Unlike the D4, I feel like hand fatigue is much more unlikely with handling the knife, and it doesn't seem particularly unfit for any normal knife chores.

    Where I considered the Mini-Grip to have a slight edge over the D4, I feel like the E4 has a bit more of an edge over the Grip due to ergonomics and balance. Both full-size knives are very comfortable to use and hold, however.

    [​IMG]

    Blade geometry and design:
    Again, I feel unqualified to comment on the shape of the blade and the cutting abilities of the knives, but the E4 just slightly longer than the Grip in terms of cutting surface, but at 3.75" overall blade length it is cutting it close to NY state law, which has a cutoff at 4" folders. The Grip, by comparision, has a 3.5" blade.

    The Grip has a sturdier-looking blade, but I have no doubt that the E4 is a tough knife as well.

    Overview:
    Again, I find both of these folders to be of high quality and certainly worth the money. If I could keep only one it'd be the Endura 4 by a slight margin, mostly due to the (too) light handle of the Griptilian. But on the other hand, I love the ease of use of the AXIS lock and the Griptilian is a very "grippable" knife, so both knives are worth checking out if you have the money. You really can't go wrong with either.
     
  3. shrap

    shrap Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2006
    Messages:
    1,845
    Likes Received:
    204
    Re: Delica 4 vs. Mini-Griptilian 556: a Comparison Review (pics included!)

    Good comparison. At one point, I had the Delica 3, Benchmade 555, and 556. I eventually decided to keep the Delica, sold the 556, and traded the 555 for another Delica.

    For me it came down to:

    1. The opening hole was superior to the beveled hole of the 555 and the thumbstud of the 556. The 556 also had this annoying tendency to partially open itself when I took it out, since the thumbstuds extend past the handle scales. The 555 didn't have this problem, but the beveled hole didn't provide as good a purchase as the unbeveled round hole.

    2. The handle was thinner and longer on the Spyderco. This mean it was both less bulk in my pocket, and it fit my hand better. The Benchmade handles just felt odd to me: they were a little too round and short. Plus, without steel liners, the Delica weighed a fraction of the Benchmades.

    3. The Delica 3 could cut much better than either of the two Benchmades. Unlike the Delica 4, the previous generation had a really thin, pointy tip.

    They're all really excellent 3" knives. You can't really go wrong with any of them.
     
  4. bigfoot

    bigfoot Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2006
    Messages:
    2,804
    Likes Received:
    1,311
    Re: Delica 4 vs. Mini-Griptilian 556: a Comparison Review (pics included!)

    Nice review and nice pictures!

    The Delica 4 looks like a real winner.
     
  5. KevinB

    KevinB Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2006
    Messages:
    329
    Likes Received:
    14
    Re: Delica 4 vs. Mini-Griptilian 556: a Comparison Review (pics included!)

    Nice review. I have two of the 556's (one CE, one PE), and two of the Delica 3's (both SE). All great knives. The Delica fits in my pocket a little better than the 556, but the 556 fits my hand better. Both have excellent locks and good steel. Like you, I rotate them.

    Kevin B.
     
  6. Kam

    Kam Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    May 2, 2006
    Messages:
    107
    Likes Received:
    4
    Re: Delica 4 vs. Mini-Griptilian 556: a Comparison Review (pics included!)

    Great review!

    The Mini-Grip handle was too small for me so i sold it, i like the ergos on the Delica much better
     
  7. luigi

    luigi Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2006
    Messages:
    2,002
    Likes Received:
    3
    Re: Delica 4 vs. Mini-Griptilian 556: a Comparison Review (pics included!)

    Great review Carrot, I have both and I rotate them as well and I really have no preference each has its own magic.

    Luigi
     
  8. greenLED

    greenLED Empty Pockets

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2006
    Messages:
    5,753
    Likes Received:
    20
    Re: Delica 4 vs. Mini-Griptilian 556: a Comparison Review (pics included!)

    Excellent review, WiseOrangeOne!

    (you call that a lanyard?) :green: I'll see what I can do about that. ;)
     
  9. carrot

    carrot Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2012
    Messages:
    300
    Likes Received:
    401
    Re: Delica 4 vs. Mini-Griptilian 556: a Comparison Review (pics included!)

    I like my very spartan lanyard... it aids in quick-drawing the knife and does what I want in a very minimalist fashion. :D
     
  10. mtrunner

    mtrunner Empty Pockets

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2006
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0
    Re: Delica 4 vs. Mini-Griptilian 556: a Comparison Review (pics included!)

    Nice review...I was looking for a new EDC knife about the time the delica 4 came out. I have had a delica since the early 90's and liked them. The mini grip looked good also...could'nt decide, so I bought both. The delica has been in my pocket every day since...it's perfect. I like the mini grip, just does'nt fit my hand the way the delica does. I like the blade shape of the delica better also. The only thing I would like to see on the delica is a low ride clip for more discrete carry.
     
  11. Sun195

    Sun195 Empty Pockets

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2006
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Re: Delica 4 vs. Mini-Griptilian 556: a Comparison Review (pics included!)

    Good review. I have a Benchmade 555 and a Delica 4. As others have mentioned, I don't like the Benchmade's oblong opening hole. Benchmade also (I think) chamfered the hole a bit, which I find makes it a bit less grippy. The Delica has a straight-cut hole and seems to stick to my thumb better when opening.

    As much as I like the Axis lock (I also have an early 705), I prefer the lock-back approach on the Spyderco better. I've owned a number of single-blade lock-back knives, and closing it just comes natural to me. Axis lock is certainly strong, tends to get less lint caught in it (I think) and keeps your fingers out of the blade path. Still, I prefer the basic lock-back approach.

    I should also add that I really like the Delica 4's metal inserts. While the 3's seem to weigh less, the 4's seem to be a lot more solid.
     
  12. carrot

    carrot Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2012
    Messages:
    300
    Likes Received:
    401
    btt for addition of full-size Griptilian vs. Endura 4 review
     
  13. Crocodilo

    Crocodilo Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2006
    Messages:
    958
    Likes Received:
    5
    Excelent reviews, agree with most conclusions. I own a Grip (CE), miniGrip (PE) and a couple of Endura4, one waved (PE), one normal (CE). A serrated Delica is on the way to complete the set, and for taking care of harder jobs.
     
  14. Gadget Guy

    Gadget Guy Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2006
    Messages:
    3,252
    Likes Received:
    7
  15. carrot

    carrot Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2012
    Messages:
    300
    Likes Received:
    401
    I don't know... why don't you buy a Mini-Griptilian to abuse? ;)
    I already do know that the Mini-Griptilian's tip is too easy to break, as I broke off 1mm from the tip during normal (ab)use.

    I enjoyed following your thread, btw. It's partially the reason I bought my Endura 4... and then I liked the smooth opening and tight lockup so much that I picked up a Delica 4 and now a Caly3. How's the grip on the smooth stainless steel handles?
     
  16. greenLED

    greenLED Empty Pockets

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2006
    Messages:
    5,753
    Likes Received:
    20
    My apologies, WiseOrangeOne. That was a poor attempt at humor. :stupid:
     
  17. carrot

    carrot Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2012
    Messages:
    300
    Likes Received:
    401
    No apology needed. :) ;p
    Btw, I put the orange 'carrot' lanyard you sent on my G2z; it works very well.