I've used plenty of Benchmade's in the past and overall like the line of knives. I never really had a desire to get a Benchmade Griptilian until I ran across this one (the Marine Corps Edition). This model has a laser etched Eagle, Globe, and Anchor on the blade. I thought that was a cool concept and being a former Marine I had to have it.
This model is the 551 and features a modified drop point blade and serrated edge. The modified drop point would serve well if a crack head tried you late at night while walking to your car (or any other self defense situation). I really didn't want the serrations but didn't have the choice if I wanted the EGA on the blade. So it wasn't a deal breaker and seemed to be useful when cutting cordage or using to spark a ferro rod.
All Griptilian's have the patented AXIS lock. I hadn't used an AXIS lock up to this point and figured I wouldn't like it after years of using liner locks. The AXIS lock secures the knife well and I've never had the lock slip on me during use. It also worked surprisingly well with one handed operation. I may add the AXIS is an ambidextrous locking system.
The 551 has a ambidextrous thumb stud whereas other Griptilian models have a hole for opening the blade.
The handle is a textured "cross hatched" plastic. Very lightweight when opened but not so much that it hurts performance of the blade. There is a pocket clip for securing the knife. The Benchmade pocket clip actually holds the knife more securely than my more expensive Emerson Knife. There is a lanyard hole that can be used as a tether point or just for a lanyard to help facilitate pulling the knife from your pocket. This particular model has a sand color handle. The other Griptilian models have a color injected handle, although the sand colored handles are painted on. If you choose the sand colored handle you will have some chipping and wear of the paint over time.
In day to day use the 551 has served me well and has become my EDC knife. The blade has taken abuse and is easily sharpened. Being 154CM it has decent edge holding qualities. The coating of the blade has held up well with minimal signs of wear. The coating is a "BK1" coating from Benchmade and is supposed to stand up to corrosion resistance even in saltwater.
If your looking for a larger tactical folder I would definitely suggest you go with this knife. Benchmade has a excellent reputation and an ever sharp warranty. You basically can send in your knife to be factory sharpened. For the price (coming in at around $100) your getting a pretty tough knife. You can get a few different model variations if you look around online. If you want this Marine Corps Edition; Leave a comment in the drop box below and I'll point you in the right direction.