The Benchmade 553 Tanto Griptilian Knife with the thumb stud opener boasts a 154CM stainless steel blade (58-61HRC) with a Valox® handle with 420J stainless steel liners and a reversible steel pocket clip.
The Benchmade 553 Tanto Griptilian Knife features the AXIS® locking mechanism. A 100-percent ambidextrous design, AXIS gets its function from a small, hardened steel bar which rides forward and back in a slot machined into both steel liners. The bar extends to both sides of the knife, spanning the liners and positioned over the rear of the blade. It engages a ramped, tang portion of the knife blade when it is opened. Two omega style springs, one on each liner, give the locking bar it’s inertia to engage the knife tang, and as a result the tang is wedged solidly between a sizable stop pin and the AXIS bar itself.
The Tanto blade on the Benchmade 553 Tanto Griptilian Knife has a high point in-line with the pivot. A flat grind is applied to the point, leaving it very thick and extraordinarily strong. This thick area helps absorb the impact from piercing, as the Tanto was originally designed for armor piercing. The front edge meets the bottom edge at an obtuse angle rather than curving to meet it as seen in the Japanese Tanto. The only negative aspect of the Tanto blade shape is the cutting surface area is sacrificed to gain tip strength.