Hey there gunman, welcome...back?
I've been pondering the Grip/Mini Grip comparison a lot lately. I've had a Ritter Mini Grip for a while now, and it really is a fantastic little knife. I've recently gotten myself my first full sized Griptilian, the 551-1 G10 and 20CV version, and boy is it not only handsome, but it is quite comfortable and a pleasure to use. Benchmade has really hit a home run with this series, and the proof is in the pudding. The whole Griptilian line has a tremendous and loyal following, and it's well earned.
But so do its rivals in the Spyderco catalog. The classics that you mention, and of course what I see as the Grip's arch nemesis, the PM2, are much beloved. There are people who would say the same things about them that you do about the Mini Grip. They're all different knives made by different companies with overall different styles. The Mini Grip is a perfectly reasonable choice for your ideal knife, and I love it as well, but I personally wouldn't call it my favorite. It's totally a personal preference thing, but I think the Mini Grip can definitely be outmatched at certain things. But again, that's just me! Different knives for different lives!
The Mini Grip (and big Grip, for that matter) definitely deserves all the respect its enjoyed over the years. Some days it's just what I'm looking for, but more often than not I go for something else depending on what I plan to be doing that day. It can't do it all, but it sure can do a lot!
"Be the person your dog thinks you are."