At one time or another, all of us have been guilty of developing preconceived notions. We are exposed to a tidbit of information and our first opinions are formed. Depending on the situation, this can be good or bad, and even I must admit to being just like everyone else.
A perfect example would be that anytime someone mentions SOG Knives, my first thoughts are of the SOG Recon Bowie of Vietnam fame. There is a reason behind this thought. In 1986 SOG Specialty Knives & Tools came to be and their first product was a reproduction of this historical blade. True, by 1988 SOG Knives began producing their first folder, but by then the Recon Bowie that had already made an impression on me. The original Recon Bowie was the result of design work by Ben Baker, head of the army’s CISO (Counterinsurgency Support Office), for the military’s Special Operation Group (SOG), and has no connection to modern SOG Specialty Knives & Tools.
However, I will say this—the reproduction is actually better quality than the original. I have an original and SOG Specialty Knives & Tools’ version shows a much-improved finish. Since that time they have continually made additions to their product line—including fixed blades, folders, and even some multi-tools. Recently, I received three knives by SOG for review and this was my chance to see if they have continued to manufacture to the same level of quality.
Two of the three knives are versions of their Aegis Mini. The only difference between these two are their finish—one sports a blade with a silver satin finish, while the other has a black TiNi finish. The Aegis Mini has a 3-inch blade of AUS 8 steel that is only 0.110-inch thick. Combining this thin blade with a synthetic DigiGrip handle creates a knife that only weighs 2 ounces.
The third knife in the group is their Trident Mini, which is made of the same materials, but has a slightly longer blade that measures 3.15 inches. The blade is partially serrated and has the black TiNi finish. The minor difference in blade length only adds 0.25 ounces to the weight of the Trident Mini. As you would guess, the “Mini” portion of the name is an indicator that SOG Knives also produces a slightly larger version of these designs. The Trident Mini has a clip point blade pattern, while the Aegis Mini has a modified drop point blade. The handle patterns also differ, but the knives share a few features in common. They have the SOG Knives “bayonet” style pocket clip. The clip is positioned to provide the lowest possible pocket carry and can be switched to either side of the knife. Dual thumb-studs are also a common feature.
However, the most important feature is that these knives incorporate the SOG Assisted Technology (S.A.T.) and are spring-assisted folders. Once you start to open the blade with the thumb stud, a high-tension coil spring takes over to propel the blade into an open position. Since there is no release button and you must manually start to open the blade, these knives cannot be considered a “switchblade.” The spring merely “assists” in the opening of the blade. Once opened, there is a lock release on the side of the knife that must be pulled back to release the blade for closing. These knives also have a small lever on the side of the handle to lock the blade in a closed position. While it requires another movement to open the knife, this lock will prevent accidental opening while the knife is in your pocket. The Trident Mini does have two features that aren’t found on the Aegis Mini—the first is a lanyard hole in the handle, the second is SOG’s patent-pending “Groove.” The “Groove” is a slot in the handle that exposes a portion of the blade, allowing the knife to be used as a web cutter.
SOG Knives makes a point of mentioning the ambidextrous features of these knives in their literature. Since I am left-handed, that instantly sets off red lights in my mind. Too many companies think all they have to do is to put a thumb stud on both sides of the blade. Over the years this has been rather irritating to me, and I have formed a somewhat militant attitude on the subject. Before I did any other type of testing I wanted to see if the SOG knives could live up to their claims. First, opening the knives with either hand was easy enough. After opening the blades a few dozen times, I noticed that the location of the pocket clip made a difference in the ease of opening. You can use this clip to help grip the knife while opening and if you are left-handed switching the clip to the side opposite of your thumb really helps.
This handling did give me a chance to judge the spring assist feature on these knives. Out of the box, two of the three were a bit tight and the blades were not as fast as I would have liked. However, after opening and closing them a few dozen times, all three became smooth and quick. The sharpness of the blades could not be questioned. The old expression “razor sharp” would be a fitting description. To discover the usefulness of these knives, I rotated them each through weeks of everyday carry. I love my Recon Bowie and my 1911 .45 ACP, but at times, a small folder and pocket .380 just makes more sense. The SOG folders were there every time I needed a knife. They were handy and more than capable for the usual chores throughout the day.
More than once, the quick, one-handed opening came in useful. Try standing on the top step of a ladder, balancing yourself next to the rafters with one hand, and opening a knife with your other. I don’t think most knife users are ready to go back to the two-handed opening of the slip-joint knives At no times during my use with these knives did I find a time when they weren’t big enough to do a task. The handles were comfortable and blade patterns were suitable for everyday use.
At that point, I found myself sitting with three small folders made by a company noted for its reproduction of a famed combat fighting knife. Given pre-warning of a confrontation, I would quickly grab a larger knife. However, life just doesn’t work that way. These knives may not be your first choice, but after trying some slicing cuts on various materials they proved, that used properly, they could be suitable defensive weapons. Your stabbing cuts would be limited to three inches, but when deployed against the right areas of the assailant, that could be all you need.
Mention SOG Knives and I will still think about the Recon Bowie, but I will also remember how SOG has carried over that tradition of quality. The three knives have a retail cost of $80 to $95 and all three proved to be a bargain at those prices. Who knows, 20 years from now, mention SOG Knives and first thing someone may think of will be the Trident or Aegis Mini.
Lightning fast and smooth as silk—new tactical assisted opener knives designed by Ron Lake!
by Tactical Life / Sep 1, 2012