Doug Ritter RSK Mk1 M2/Benchmade Griptilian Review

Test of a new review subject…Further reviews subject to how this one is received. – For those interested in supporting the right to carry knives.



Filed under Other Nifty Stuff

20 responses to “Doug Ritter RSK Mk1 M2/Benchmade Griptilian Review

  1. Redchrome

    Thanks for posting this.

    However, your video isn’t very clear on exactly what an axis lock does or how it works. I see you flicking the knife open and closed; but how does the locking button enable that?

    Also, a link to Doug Ritter may be good if you want to promote his stuff. I wasn’t familiar with him before this.

    • Good input, thanks. I may do a separate video just on the Axis lock.

      Here is a link to info on the similar RSK Mk1 knife, with info about Doug Ritter as well:

      • Redchrome

        A video on the axis lock would be great!

        I did find that page; tho the fact that it’s called the ‘Mk1’ knife now is slightly confusing.

        I see them sold here for about $120, presumably + shipping&handling.

        Frankly, after seeing a guy lose a $300+ dollar Benchmade knife at a gun show; and having lost a couple of pocketknives to holes in my pocket, misplacement, or just plain falling out; I’m kind of disinclined to spend much money on such a thing. James Yeager has the attitude that knives are disposable things; and when his gets dull or broken he just gets a new one. I can’t quite bring myself to do that; but I don’t spend more than about $40-50 on a knife either.

  2. Terry

    First of all, great review 🙂

    I’m a bit of a knife nut so I always appreciate a good review.

    I do have a couple of problems with Benchmade. Before I go into them, let me say that I have some background in Arnis and combatives and that it influences my thoughts on knives. It doesn’t at all make me an expert, I write that just so you know where my biases come from.

    First, I dislike how small the thumb stud is. If/when you have to draw your knife under high stress (it may be fight or it may be an emergency situation due to a car accident), the smaller the stud/hole/disk/.. is, the easier it is to miss when opening the knife; that can really screw you up. I believe it wouldn’t cost Benchmade that much to make it wider.

    Second, I’m of two minds about the Axis lock. I know it is brute strong and has all the advantages you describe; however, it also is a little too easy to access (same problem with button locks). During my training, one of our exercises involves being on your back, on the ground, being punched hard by your partner (full protective gear being worn). While drawing, opening the knife and beginning slashing, I found that my grip always ended up being a sort of quarter saber grip, i.e. the thumb ends up more or less over where the axis lock would be. To me, it means that during my own defense, I could inadvertently unlock the knife; that is not a good thing.

    Now, I have never experienced it nor have I ever heard of it happening but it still keeps me away from the axis lock.

    Redchrome, I understand your feelings on the matter but I think you are mistaken. Sure a $50 knife is cheap and maybe good enough for everyday chores but a knife is also a piece of emergency equipment which means it has to work just right at the most stressful time of your life. I have never found a $50 knife that would stand up to those circumstances; blades break and/or chip, locks fail, scales slip on your hand etc.. now, it doesn’t mean that you have to spend over $1000 for a custom Emerson but it does mean that you should, in my opinion, spend the money for a knife you absolutely know will work in the worst conditions. Sadly, nowadays, it means spending over $100 for a knife (I like various Blackhawk designs for around that price, like the Crucible or the Pointman).
    As they say, buy once, cry once. Btw, I do personally know and have great respect for James Yeager but I think he’s taking things a little too far on this one.

    Andrew, I have become a regular reader in the past few months and I really appreciate the work you have put in.


    • Terry

      Interesting points on the Axis lock; I have not found the small thumbstud to be an issue, although they do have a different blade style for those who do not like the thumb stud. I generally just flick it out.

      I have been pretty lucky in keeping track of my knives, having had two stolen (one from work, one by an ex) since I’ve been carrying them. My dad is a knife black hole, and he even managed to lose the very nice Buck folder I gave my mom six or seven years ago. So he gets $10 Gerbers every month or two, now, instead of Benchmades or Kershaws. For Christmas, I filled his stocking with cheap Chinese Gerbers…he’ll lose them before he ever gets a chance to break them….I hope.

      Thanks for reading, and for the compliments!


      • Redchrome

        “So he gets $10 Gerbers every month or two, now, instead of Benchmades or Kershaws. For Christmas, I filled his stocking with cheap Chinese Gerbers…he’ll lose them before he ever gets a chance to break them….I hope.”

        Many years ago I bought a gross (144) of these crappy little knives that were little more than a razor blade in a plastic sheath. I still have most of them; because they were just too frustrating to use. (Too small and flimsy). OTOH, I can just scatter them about my house and posessions and they’ll be there if I’m ever without any other knife. (That said, I’m rarely without any other knife within reach).

      • These Gerbers are actually fairly decent for the price – they’re fairly usable – just not very expensive, or, I think, as durable as the other knives we’ve been discussing.

  3. Redchrome

    Terry, you bring up some great points!

    I certainly understand that a $120 knife is much better than the $40 Boker I’m carrying right now; and even my $70 Spyderco was noticeably better. I understand that in an emergency I might need to use my knife as a prybar or something extreme; but I think this is pretty unlikely compared to the likelihood of losing it at some point. I have confidence based on my usage that the knife will do what I ask it to do.

    That said, you obviously have experience with other patterns of usage that I do not; and which indicate what knives are best for you. This may also indicate that I am wrong. Let’s hope we don’t find out.

    It still amazes me how many people carry no knife at all.

    • Terry

      “It still amazes me how many people carry no knife at all.”

      I agree, a knife is probably the single most useful tool to have with you at all times.

      You make a great deal of sense and I also have a couple of cheap folders scattered around the house.

      To me, it’s not the price but how well it’s made (especially, how strong the lock is, I always wack the spine of any new knife hard against a table several times and if it unlocks, it goes in a drawer). For example, Cold Steel knives are generally quite a bit cheaper than the competition but better made.

      In any case, it’s all about how we use them and what works for one person, won’t for the next.

      • Redchrome

        I might actually get more mileage out of the flashlights I carry than out of my knives. Hanging a keychain light off of a belt loop by virtue of an S-biner or other quick clip (put a split ring on your belt loop for more convenience) means that I always have my light there when I need it, and I can even use it hands-free if need be. (Another tip, wear a thin necklace and you can hook your light onto that and use it hands-free.)

        Buy a bucketful of these:
        Or these:
        or these:
        (I’ve used all of them and all have advantages and disadvantages; but they’re cheap enough that you can experiment).

        Attach them to various items and scatter them about your person and your house. Give them away to friends and family.

        I’ve even done tactical shoots with the $0.50 lights; and they aren’t as good as a full-sized light, but they’re a lot better than nothing. As you can tell, I’m a big believer in having spares and backups (one is none, two is one); and that a ‘little something’ is a whole lot more than nothing.

  4. MarkM

    I’ve carried and used knives over 35 years, and some things remain the same: A $120 knife doesn’t cut much more or much better than a $40 knife, just like a $3000 SCAR doesn’t hit 3X better or deader than a $1000 AR.

    Don’t let the high tech marketing blind the user to a simple guideline – value for the dollar spent. Much of what is going on today is marketing knives with some obscure benefit, in exotic materials. It’s rarely about value. The Grip is a good buy, and delivers. Frankly, a $120 Grip won’t do much of anything more, likely almost unmeasurable. It just might have a carbon fiber handle, or special finish, that’s it. The extra $80 is a membership fee to the Club.

    I carry a $25 Boker import and a cheap $4 pair of EMT shears and get more done with them than a $350 Strider. I like the Strider, we all like having something like that, but honestly, it doesn’t do things 10X better. For the price, I could buy 10 knives and I’d still have nine in the sock drawer nine years later. The Strider is about equally overpriced as an Aimpoint.

    The high tech knives are manjewelry, not tools. Thankfully, the Grip doesn’t seem to promote that.

    • Carbon fiber handles on a $120 Griptilian? Not likely – try $400 –

      Considering the price of a standard 154CM Griptilian at the time I bought my RSK, I paid roughly a $45 premium for the M2 steel, which is a price I was willing to pay. I do notice that I sharpen it less (and use it more) than my 154CM Griptilians, though I do not regret purchasing them in the least…and 154CM is a great steel.

      But I get a kick out of buying “special edition/limited edition” knives and using the crap out of them, so…

      • Eric W

        I’m in the market for one of these and there’s two quick questions I have.

        First, I’ve read that the shape/profile of the RSK blade is different from the Griptillian version. If so, which do you prefer?

        Second, do you have one in S30v? I’m wondering how it compares to 154CM in particular.

        Thanks and keep up the great work. I visit 2-3 times a day watching for new posts!

    • Terry

      “A $120 knife doesn’t cut much more or much better than a $40 knife, just like a $3000 SCAR doesn’t hit 3X better or deader than a $1000 AR.”

      Very true.

      To me, it’s not so much about the cutting (a good alloy is not terribly expensive) as it is about the strength of the lock and how well the knife is fitted to its handle. I’ve had knives unlock on me at the most inopportune time as well as some whose blade wobbled in the handle, closed or open, even if the lock was strong (not good for precision cuts).

      I’ll pay for that quality (I don’t have a Strider btw) but I won’t pay for a fancy handle or finish (except for anti corrosion ones, things go orange on me fast), I’ll agree with you on that.

  5. Doug Ritter

    Thank you very much for your compliments on my knife. It is always nice to see one that has been well used and loved. Thanks also for your service.

    I would like to offer one correction. The correct designation is RSK Mk1 M2, not RSK Mk2. The RSK Mk2 is, and has always been, an entirely different knife:

    Thank you again for your kind words.

  6. John Jackson

    Since you asked, I don’t see what your review brings to the subject beyond what many knife forums offer up; personally subjective views. Your firearm and firearm accessories reviews have been fairly objective assessments with data/video to back them up. My 2 cents.

    • Hmm. I don’t want to lose that objectivity. I do think it is harder to test and/or provide data on knives, short of destructive testing or chemical analysis. On the other hand, it is more difficult for me to remain objective when discussing something (like my “favorite knife”) that I have owned for many years and grown attached to. Perhaps the next review of this type will be a comparison between two knives.


  7. MarkM

    Obviously the mistaken notion on a CF Grip’s price underlines my point. We do pay substantially higher prices for exotic materials. Much of it isn’t the increased cost “per foot” in them, the added labor and wear on tooling does that. The rest is just cool factor, and I have my share of them, too.

    Does S30V/ATS34/etc do a better job with edge retention, having thinner bevels but higher chip resistance, better stress resistance and less breakage, sure. In severe use circumstances, that might be very desireable. Then again, the old carbon steel Kabar does the job, too, and comes highly recommended.

    And I am just as prone to use the better materials, I won’t buy FRN any more. The affordable Grips are off my list because of that, and not being available as an impulse buy locally. My loss, sure, but when it’s just something that needs to be cut, sorry, about anything could do. Again, I get as much if not more performance from cheap EMT scissors on rubber heater hose, opening boxes, etc. I’m not about to use an ink pen or front sight, tho.

    Knives are considered much more personally than firearms, I see them as tools after buying more than a few over the years. I certainly can’t carry them all, and am letting many go. The ones I keep are much like the Grip, well designed for utility use, not bling or churning the market. Doug Ritter has done the knife user a service in avoiding most of that, and it speaks well.

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