after holding back for more than a year, i finally decided to take the plunge and scratch that itch that I've been having
i was initially set on getting a spyderco of some sort after doing some online research, due to it's "user" qualities (e.g. simple and rugged construction) and it's distinctive styling.
a few weeks ago i paid a visit to the local gadget shop, sheares. after handling a few models, i decided on the spyderco endura, because of it's affordability and ergonomics. i ruled out the smaller models like the delica, because i was unable to open them one handed, and they were too small to have a secure grip. models like the military and persian were too expensive for me to justify as a user/EDC knife. however, the only endura left in the shop was a tan-handled combo-edge model, but i wanted a black one so i decided to wait on the next shipment to come in.
fast forward to last week, and i went down to sheares again. they'd received a new shipment of spydercos, but the enduras were backordered, so the only endura in the shop was the same tan-handled endura in the showcase.
i had a bit of time to spare, so i played with offerings from the various brands on display, whilst taking to the guy behind the counter about the various steels, blade styles, and locking mechanisms. he mentioned that he'd just got a batch of benchmade griptilians in, so he brought out the 550s and 555s for me to peruse.
on opening the blue boxes, the first thing that struck me was the impressive packaging, like the foam inlay and the little drawstring pouch that each knife came in. i removed the 550s first, since i'd earlier decided against the more compact folders like the delica.
first impressions on the 550s were the ergonomics and build quality which were just superb. the chamfered edges of the thumbhole afforded my thumb enough purchase on the blade without whittling my thumbnail, and the blade slid open ever-so-smoothly. on pushing out the blade fully, the axis lock engaged the tang of the blade with a subtle click, without hesitance or any detectable binding of the blade prior to lock-up. all this with one hand.
i was impressed, to say the least. i also noticed full metal liners running the length of the handles unlike the spydercos, and the clip which is more securely held in it's orientation relative to the handle with three screws, instead of the cut-out in the handle like the spyderco endura/delica. i'd earlier handled a user spyderco, and noticed some side-to-side play in the clip which i wasn't too enthusiastic about, when clipping it to my pocket.
i was giving the 550s some serious consideration, when i decided to check out the 555s, just to see what it was about. now i was TRULY amazed! on seeing it's dimunative size, i expected delica-esque ergonomics but on handling it, i was proven completely wrong. i was still able to open it one handed comfortably, perhaps even more so than the 550s. in fact, the 550s now felt large and cumbersome in comparison! i spent 15 more minutes handling the mini-griptilian, before i wrote off the endura and walked out of the shop with my brand new 555s, which i've been playing/EDCing since then
right now i can open my 555s in a variety of very fast methods, and the 440C blade has stood up well to my sweaty palms and the humid climate here, with no signs of rust spotting whatsoever. the blade is came razor sharp, and i'm considering getting myself a sharpening kit (spyderco's tri-angle sharpening kit) so i can maintain the blade myself, as opposed to using sheares' free sharpening service. now that i've seen and experienced the axis lock for myself, i don't think any other type of lock mechanism would ever suffice
i really hope this newfound hobby doesn't become a money-sucking pit though