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Knife Reviews

  • Ontario Ranger Falcon Review

    Ontario Ranger Falcon Review

    Ontario knives is an American company that's been producing knives since 1889. Ontario is one of my favorite companies for heavy duty production knives and today we'll be looking at one, the Ontario Ranger Falcon. Ontario's Ranger series are high carbon fixed blades with non-reflective black coatings that are marketed towards armed forces personnel. The Falcon is a broad bellied knife designed for heavy duty work.

     

    What can this knife handle?

    The Ontario Ranger Falcon would probably be best categorized as a survival or hunting knife. The knife is full tang and very thick, making it excellent at chopping and batoning. The blade shape is also ideal for cleaning large game. Basically, if you get lost in the woods, this is the kind of knife you'ld like to have with you. While ideally suited for these roles, the Ontario Falcon could also double as a weapon in a pinch. The knife is kind of heavy and it's broad blade isn't suited for detail work, but for heavy camp chores or game prep the Falcon is a winner.

    Construction and Blade

    Ontario used 5160 steel in the blade. 5160 steel is an alloy steel that also contains Chromium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Silicon, and Sulphur. It's high Chromium content makes the blade on the Falcon extremely tough, perfect for a blade you want to beat on. The steel is hardened between 53-55 HRC on the Ontario also did a good job with the heat treatment as the blade is easy to sharpen and the edge you put on it can slice through paper. A non-reflective black finish makes the knife stealthy and helps protect it from the elements.

    The Falcons large blade is 4.25 inches in length (over 50% of the lenght of the knife) and over a quarter of an inch thick. I can't stress enough how tough the 5160 steel and thickness of the blade make this knife. I was able to baton down a small sappling when I was field testing the knife. There was no damage to the blade and after a few swipes on the whetstone it was as sharp as ever. The blade has a very broad belly and a drop point shape. There is a small choil located on the ricasso but it's too small and you run the risk of having your finger slide onto the blade if you try to use it. The choil is really my only beef, other than that it's a good blade designed for hard work.

     

    Handle, Grip, and Feel

    Ontario tends to keep it simple with their handles and the Falcon is no exception. A pair of green micarta slabs screwed to the tang constitute your grip. The handle swells in the middle and despite being under 4 inches in length it fills your hand. Micarta is pretty standard as handle materials go. It's durable and provides a solid grip. The handle slabs are lined flush with the tang, so your hand won't get rubbed raw after heavy use either. I dunked the knife and my hands in a bucket of water and shaved some wood with it... there were no problems with slippage. The design is no frills but it gets the job done.

    Final Thoughts

    The area where this knife needs major improvement is the sheath; it's awful, even by production sheath standards. The sheath is made of nylon and kydex, with a plastic insert for retention. The plastic does hold the blade in, but unfortunately the the sheath doesn't hold the plastic; you'll end up drawing insert out with your blade. Apparently, this is a common problem with this sheath so be advised. the plastic also rubs against the blade which doesn't help if you want to keep your knife sharp. These problems combine to make the Falcon's sheath almost unusable. I strongly recommend going with a custom sheath. How Ontario could design such a failure of a sheath after making such a great knife blows my mind. It's obvious there was next to no thought put into it as some simple testing could have exposed this problem and it wouldn't have been hard to fix.

    The sheath really detracts from the overall grade of the knife. I love the knife itself but if I'm gonna pay good money for a fixed blade knife, I don't want to settle for a sheath that is unusable. I love the falcons design, it's got that broad belly that a staple of Ontario Knives and it's simplicity is refreshing, as I think a lot of production knives try to include too many bells and whistles and end up cluttering up the knife. It's a great little knife for the outdoors and it's a shame Ontario didn't put more effort into the sheath.

    Check out the Ontario Ranger Falcon at Knifehog.com.

  • Ontario RAT 3 Review

    Ontario RAT 3 Review

    Based in New York State, Ontario Knife Company is one of the leading knife manufacturers in the USA. I've always been a big fan of the practical, no fluff design of their fixed blades. Recently I got to try out one of their most popular models, the RAT 3. RAT stands for Randall Adventure & Training and while Randall and Ontario recently parted ways, Ontario still produces several RAT designed knives. They're in many ways the precursors of the ESEE knives but the Ontario's are more affordable. The RAT 3 has a sterling reputation, so I was eager to see what it could handle.

     

    What can this knife handle?

    I found the blade shape for the RAT 3 to be perfect for skinning and wood working. It had no problem making wood shavings for a fire and the broad belly made wood notching easy. I wasn't hunting so I haven't had a chance to try it as a hunting knife but the blade shape and length, as well as the full tang construction, lead me to believe the RAT 3 would make an excellent hunting knife. It's not to heavy to carry on a belt or in a pack either. It won't replace your heavy duty fixed blade or axe (the blade is too thin for batoning or heavy chopping) but it's perfect for any jobs that may need a little more finesse.

     

    Construction and Blade

    Ontario uses good, tough 1095 Carbon Steel in the blade. 1095 contains only two alloying agents: .95% carbon and .4% manganese. It's not a super steel but it's great if you don't want to spend $300 on a knife. 1095 takes a pretty sharp edge and is very easy to sharpen. It's even pretty slow to dull. The biggest gripe with 1095 is the same as most carbon steels; it's very susceptible to rust. A coating is included on the blade but coatings wear off, especially if you use the knife a lot. Be sure to clean and oil the blade after every use if you want to preserve it. While rust is a danger, chipping is not. The RAT 3's blade is tough as nails and built for heavy duty work. The only limitation on it is it's size, the steel itself is strong enough to stand up to almost anything.

    The RAT 3 has a blade measuring 3.75 inches. It's not very thick (.14 in) but it has a very fat belly, making it a great slicing knife. I think it's too thin for batoning but I wasn't afraid to try some light chopping with the blade. I chopped through a branch that was a little bigger than a quarter in diameter and it held up well. The blade is a drop-point though the drop is slight. The RAT 3's shape makes it perfect for hunting. The drop point won't puncture the internal organs of game your cleaning and the blade is perfect for skinning and scraping. Along the spine, Ontario included some well defined jimping and there is a deep finger choil on the ricasso. These features let you choke up on the blade for greater control when performing detailed cuts.

    Handle, Grip, and Feel

    Most of Ontario's knives have a similar distinctive look and the RAT 3 is no different. The handles are Canvas Micarta scales over the knife's full tang. The handle scales come in several colors, I went with the tan. The scales are also removable which means you can attach custom handle scales or lash it to a branch to create a spear. Like the knife itself, Micarta is rugged. It's not very cushy but offers a solid grip and it's texture keeps your hand firmly planted to the handle. The handle swells in the center filling your hand. The grip and the knife in general are just solid; you feel like you have total control over the blade. A groove and half guard on the handle ensure that your hand can't slide onto the blade. At the butt the tang is exposed, creating a good glass-breaker. A lanyard hole running through it gives you grip and carry options. The alignment of the handle scales and the tang are flush so no hot spots. It's a good handle, that provides a solid grip on the knife. It could be a little more comfortable but it's not UN-comfortable, so your hands should be fine unless you're using the knife for a really long time.

    Final Thoughts

    Ontario includes a nice sheath with the RAT 3. It's made of Kydex and comes MOLLE compatible. When you first get the sheath it's a little difficult to draw the blade but once you break it in, it will work fine. The sheath has excellent retention and the Tek-Lok belt mounting system allows you to carry the RAT 3 on your belt as well as in your pocket. As long as you're looking for a mid-sized fixed blade, the RAT 3 shouldn't dissappoint. I love it's blade and found it to be perfect for wood work. The only complaints are minor, this is another solid knife from Ontario.

    Check out the  Ontario RAT 3 at Knifehog.com.

     

  • Puma 4-Star Review

    Puma 4-Star Review

    Puma has been making knives since 1769 and their experience shows up in there products. Puma offers the 4-Star in a number of different handles but I have the wood handle, so that’s the one I’ll be reviewing today. The Puma 4-Star is a traditional folding knife and perfect for EDC (Every-Day-Carry) purposes or fishing. It’s easy to carry, simple, elegant and sharp. Don’t let it’s good looks fool you, this pocket knife is German engineered and hand crafted; it is durable enough to withstand hard work.

     

    What can this knife handle?

    The Puma 4-Star is built for tough jobs and long use. It is a perfect as an EDC and can handle any job that’s too small for a larger fixed blade knife. Cutting through thin rope and chord, cleaning fish, making kindling, and opening boxes are just a few of the many tasks this knife is suited for. It’s lightweight and compact, so it’s no trouble to carry around. The D1.4 Solingen Stainless Steel is decent, and the lockback design and superb construction make for a sturdy knife that won’t wiggle or snap. The wood handle looks great and is strengthened by stainless steel bolsters. Certainly, there are jobs that are too big for the Puma, so don’t go over the top with stress tests and the like, but if you exercise some common sense the Puma 4-Star will be an excellent knife for you.

     

    Construction and Blade

    As mentioned before, the Puma 4-Star is made of D1.4 Solingen Stainless Steel which is similar to 440A Stainless Steel. No, it’s not the best steel in the world but it gets the job done and works fine in an everyday use pocket folder. Reaching between 55-57 on the Rockwell Hardness Scale, each knife is custom proofed to ensure it’s quality. The steel keeps a good edge and is sharpened easily. It is also highly rust resistant, which means your Puma will still look good years after you purchase it.

    The knife is fairly lightweight at 4.1oz and is easy to carry at only 4 inches closed. When deployed, the knife is 6.9 inches long, with a 2.6 inch blade (plently of blade for a knife of this class). The blade itself is a drop point design and is 3mm thick. These traits give the knife a stronger tip, and make the Puma 4-Star excellent penetrater.

    Handle, Grip, and Feel

    The Puma 4-Star’s handle is made of Cocobola wood, held in place by a metal bracer. Cocobola is a hardwood from Central America with a reddish-brown color to it. The wood is extremely dense and hard and can be polished to a glossy sheen. This Sheen, along with the rounded ends and fine shape, give the 4-Star a memorable, classy look.

    The fine texture of the wood and it’s solidity, provide a stable grip for your knife. It should be noted that the Cocobola handle is not as “grippy” as some of the artificial handles out there. Your hand isn’t going to slide off if you’re are being careful and not pushing the knife too hard. However, if you try and make the knife do something it’s not designed to do, or if you aren’t careful you could lose your grip. It’s not really a problem if you’re responsible. The aesthetic’s of the Cocobola handle far outway its drawbacks in my view.

     

    Final Thoughts

    Puma chose a lock-back design for the 4-star’s. Lock-back’s work by way of a locking arm with a hook that fits into a notch on the back of the blade behind the pivot. When the knife is opened, the knife draws the hook into the notch, snapping the blade into place. These locks are some of the strongest around, and ensure that the 4-Star isn’t going to break during heavy use.

    The final verdict is that the Puma 4-Star is a great little pocket folder and a good pick-up for anyone looking for a knife in the EDC class. There are higher end folders available but Puma makes good knives and while I would have preferred a different steel, it’s still well made. It’s greatest advantage to me is it’s look. If you like the nostalgia of old-timey looking knives, look no further. The Cocobola handled Puma 4-Star is for you.

    Check out the Puma 4-Star at Knifehog.com.

  • Schrade Old Timer Mountain Lion Review

    Schrade Old Timer Mountain Lion Review

    The Schrade 160OT Mountain Lion is an excellent medium sized hunting knife. I really like all the Schrade Old Timers, they have a classic look to them that you just don't find with a lot of knives these days. This isn't a high dollar collectors item. It's an affordable, tough working knife that's meant to be used in the field.

     

    What can this knife handle?

    The Mountain Lion is a no frills hunting knife. It's probably too big to be an EDC and it's shape will limit it's effectiveness as utility or camp blade but if you need to clean or skin some game this may be the knife for you. It's full tang construction so you're getting a very solid knife that can stand up to tough jobs, and the upswept blade greatly improves skinning. Again, I wouldn't recommend buying this knife if you aren't a hunter, as it's blade shape and size make it specialized but it's a jam up hunting blade.

     

    Construction and Blade

    The blade on the Old Timer Mountain Lion has an overall length of 9 3/8 inches with 4 3/4 inch upswept stainless steel blade. The upswept blade makes that Mountain Lion an ideal skinning knife. The blade has a saber grind that gives the Mountain Lion a razor sharp edge. At 6.9 oz, it's big enough that you're going to notice it in your pocket or on your waist but that added weight coupled with the knife's full tang construction means the knife is very solid, you won't break it doing tough jobs.

    I had difficulty finding out what specific steel Schrade used in this knife, it's apparently a 400 series steel. The steel itself is honed easily and gets the blade does get sharp (though you may need to sharpen it out of the box). My only problem is that it dulls fairly quickly, but the price is right so beggars can't be choosers. Just make sure you bring a whetstone with you on any hunting trips.

     

    Handle, Grip, and Feel

    The handle for the Schrade Old Timer Mountain Lion is composed of saw cut delrin, a dark colored resin. While Delrin isn't jigged bone, it's still aestetically pleasing (often times it's used as imitation jigged bone) so the cool look of the Mountain Lion doesn't suffer due to the handle material. Delrin also hold's up well to the elements which is a nice feature on an outdoor knife. The handle itself is kind of thin for my taste, if you've got big hands it could be an issue. The handle is also not the grippiest I've ever worked with but there is a brass guard which will stop your fingers from slipping onto the blade and improve your grip. The knife is balanced well, making it feel lighter in your hand than you would expect. All-in-all it's a decent handle for the price.

    Final Thoughts

    One thing I didn't care for on the Schrade Mountain Lion was the sheath. It's not that I have anything against leather sheath's but the quality on this one was seriously lacking (I hate to note that it was made in China). Everything looked good with the sheath initially, but after a couple of weeks it began to come apart. This is really annoying as I don't want to spend money on a sheath for an inexpensive knife but that appears to be what I'm going to have to do.

    While the sheath is junky, the knife itself is quite good for the price. The blade is sharp and the design is solid. It's a dedicated skinner but if you're in the market and don't want to spend a ton of money I would recommend trying out the Mountain Lion. There are much better knives out there but not many at this price, plus it's a good looking knife even if it is cheap.

    Check out the Schrade Old Timer Mountain Lion at Knifehog.com.

  • Smith & Wesson Border Guard 2 Review

    Smith & Wesson Border Guard 2 Review

    Smith and Wesson is world famous for their firearms but they now offer a line of knives too, through Taylor Brands a knife manufacturer out of Kingsport, TN that also makes knives under the Schrade label. The Border Guard 2 Rescue Knife is one of their go-to models and with the Smith and Wesson label on it I expected it to be a solid performer. I put the Border Guard 2 through a battery of tests over the past month; let’s see how it stacked up.

     

    What can this knife handle?

    The Border Guard two is a heavy duty liner lock knife designed to perform the kind of tough task you would expect out of a rescue knife. It features a large blade (over 4 inches) which make it a little bulky to serve in the EDC role, but would be ideal in tactical situations. The glass breaker and seatbelt cutter make the Border Guard 2 an ideal blade for first responders. I’m usually a bit leery of heavy duty liner locks but this one locks up tight and didn’t have a problem with the chopping and batoning wood. You should definitely use sound judgment (I wouldn’t try and split firewood with it) but the knife should hold up to most tasks you would use a heavy folder for.

     

    Construction and Blade

    The blade arrived razor sharp out of the box and I had no problem putting a hair-shaving edge on it after it dulled. The problem is that it tends to lose its edge quickly. Smith and Wesson used 4034 stainless steel for the blade and it’s not the greatest steel in the world but cheaper material does make the knife cheaper and that’s a plus. It’s not hard to sharpen which does partially make up for how quickly it loses its edge. Basically, if you are going to use the blade sparingly it shouldn’t be a problem but if you plan on your blade being a workhorse I’d find another model.

    The blade is 4.4 inches long, so S&W isn’t skimping on the blade. I got the tanto style blade but there are other blade options available. Being a tanto, the Border Guard 2 excels at thrusting and penetrating. The partial serrations at the bottom of the blade are useful in cutting through chord and rope but are also more difficult to sharpen than the plane edge section of the knife. When it’s sharp- it’s sharp. I was able to slice through paper with no problem. The blade also has dual thumb-studs for one handed opening and I found deployment to be quick and smooth.

    Handle, Grip, and Feel

    The Border Guard 2’s handle is made of black anodized aluminum. It features pillar construction so cleaning is a breeze. There is some texturing on the handle for added grip and a series of finger grooves and indentions at the bottom of the handle offer a variety of grip options. The handle is 5.6 inches long and fills the hand, I’ve never had any concern about the knife slipping out of my grasp. Included on the handle are a glass breaker and a seat-belt cutter. I found the seat belt cutter to be a kind of dull, meaning you had to saw it back and forth to get it to cut anything. If I wasn’t in a situation where I might hurt someone, I’d probably just stick to the serrated blade. The glass breaker on the other hand works just fine.

    Final Thoughts

    One real problem I have with the knife is the pocket clip. It’s held in place by three allen screws and allows for right handed tip-up carry only. I don’t know why knifemakers don’t keep lefties in mind when they design there knives it’s not hard to make an ambidextrous clip. The clip comes loose also, so you will have to constantly tighten those allen screws.

    I often hear people bash Smith and Wesson Knives but I don’t really think that’s justified in the case of the Border Guard 2. It’s not a great knife but it’s cheap, and for the price you pay you get a lot of features. I don’t know that I could really recommend it to first responders or others who might need the knife in a life or death situation; it’s just not high enough quality. But if you’re an amateur looking for a cool cheapo rescue knife for your collection, I’d say go for it.

    Check out the Smith & Wesson Border Guard 2 at Knifehog.com.

  • Smith & Wesson M&P Review

    Smith & Wesson M&P Review

    Smith & Wesson is famous for there guns but they also produce a line of knives as well… or do they? All knives you see under the names Smith & Wesson or Schrade are actually made and distributed by Taylor Brands, a Kingsport, TN based knifemaker (not that there is anything wrong with that). Today we’ll be looking at their Military & Police SWMP1BS (I specify the model number because the M&P’s come in a variety of styles). It’s a cool looking blade, with a handle made to resemble a Smith & Wesson gun, but is it any good? Let’s find out.

     

    What can this knife handle?

    Categorizing this knife is a little difficult due to the unique blade design. It’s lightweight enough to serve as an EDC, but the Magic assist opening mechanism and the aggressive blade design make it an acceptable tactical blade. It comes with a glass breaker and partial serrations which make the M&P SWMP1BS an effective rescue knife. The versatility of this knife is a real plus, and like most S&W knives this one comes at a very reasonable price.

     

    Construction and Blade

    Let’s talk about the blade steel. The M&P SWMP1BS’s blade is composed of 4034 Stainless Steel. What is 4034 Stainless Steel? Well, quite frankly it’s cheap stainless steal; a little better than 420J2. It can get a decent edge but be prepared to sharpen it, mine arrived dull as a doorknob out of the box.

    The blade itself is almost 3 inches long and features a unique clip-point, sway-back design. I don’t think this design gives you any kind of practical advantage but it certainly looks cool and you’ll have not one but two swedges you can sharpen (one on the clip-point, one on the swayback). It’s a combo edge, though the serrations don’t take up much space on the blade and I sort of question the wisdom of making a 2.9 inch blade into a combo edge (there’s just not enough space). On the plus side, the blade looks really cool.

    One feature of the Smith & Wesson M&P that is a major plus is the M.A.G.I.C. (Multipurpose Assisted Generational Innovative Cutlery) assisted opening. This might be the fastest assisted opening system I’ve seen. You push a switch on the spine and the blade pops out. Under the law its considered spring assisted, so it’s legal, but in all practical terms you’re getting an automatic knife.

    Handle, Grip, and Feel

    The M&P SWMP1BS has a handle constructed of T6061 Aircraft Aluminum with rubber inserts for added grip. The handle is made to resemble a gun, which gives the knife a very distinctive (and cool) look. The handle is thick and will fill even large hands. There is a safety near the middle of the handle, which is a knife safety feature I guess, but I find them pretty useless on knives. The handle is contoured to the shape of your hand and provides a solid grip- you don’t have to sweat losing your grip on this blade. An added bonus is the inclusion of a glass-breaker on the butt. I haven’t tested it out but this is a solidly built knife so I would imagine it works fine. My main problem with the handle is that it’s just not very comfortable. I’ve rubbed my hand raw after prolonged use of this knife, so I would wear gloves when wielding this knife if at all possible.

    Final Thoughts

    The pocket clip is formatted for tip-up carry only which is kind of annoying but on the other hand it is designed to ride low in your pocket which I like. Unfortunately, the clip is kind of flimsy and not very effective. The M&P is a liner lock and I’ve had no blade play issues at all.

    The Smith & Wesson M&P SWMP1BS is a mixed bag. On the one hand I love the M.A.G.I.C. assisted opening system and the overall look and style of the knife are great. It also comes at a reasonable price. On the other-hand the blade material is junk and the grip isn’t very comfortable. If you like the look and are looking for a cheap new toy you might want to consider this knife but if you’re looking for a work horse I would stay away.

    Check out the Smith & Wesson M&P at Knifehog.com.

  • SOG Aegis Review

    SOG Aegis Review

    When the word “Aegis” falls on our ears there are a number of different things that come to mind. Some might think of the US Ballistic Missile Defense System, some might think of the Greek definition meaning “shield” or “protection,” and then there are those of us who think SOG’s top-of-the-line folding blade that is integrated and designed with some serious knife systems. In many ways the Aegis folding blade knife is the perfect representation of the name’s definition; it offers security, defensive capabilities, and can even perform utilitarian tasks like a dream.

     

    What can this knife handle?

    The SOG Aegis lives up to its name and duties without being a super heavy knife. Weighing in at just 3.4 ounces, the SOG Aegis is able to stand up to test so rigorous that many larger knives fail. I will note that it performs best when used as a lightweight tactical knife or EDC. Some may think that the knife is too small to be a primary tactical blade, but because the blade is 3 ½ inches the SOG Aegis is able to reach a litter further than some of the smaller tactical knives. However, there are a couple of limitations with this knife: The first is the linerless handle (which I actually prefer) and the second is the thin tip.

     

    Construction and Blade

    The blade on the SOG Aegis is nothing to shake a stick with and I am very impressed with how much abuse this 3 ½ inch blade can withstand. I would have to put this in the medium sized folder category when you also consider the 5 ¾ inch handle. It’s AUS8 steel blade is flat ground for added strength in the aptly sized belly. I am high on the SOG Aegis’ belly because it makes for a great multi-purpose blade that spans both EDC/utilitarian needs as well as tactical. The blade is crafted from 1/8 inch stock and comes to a very fine tip that when combined with the flat grind becomes the ideal piercing and thrust cut tool. That being said, the down side to the blade tip is that it’s a little weak. While the tip on the Aegis can pierce through nearly all fabrics and textiles, I would not go stabbing hard materials or prying too many things open with the tip.

    As mentioned before, the SOG Aegis folding blade knife comes with an AUS8 blade and depending on the model you choose can come with a satin finish or black TiNi coated. I prefer the coated blade for a couple of reasons. One, the TiNi coating hides any fingerprints on the blade. I know that is not a big deal to some, but nothing gets under my skin like smudgy blades. Reason number two, I believe it will help a bit in the rust resistance area. While AUS8 is rust resistant it is not rustproof. The Added TiNi coating will probably help in that area. The third reason is that the black TiNi will not wear like some of the other coatings such as Teflon. AUS8 is known for its ease of sharpening and the keen edge it takes.

     

    Handle, Grip, and Feel

    The handle on the SOG Aegis is made from glass reinforced nylon (GRN) and is completely liner-free. There are some people who have griped about the GRN handle and while it is personal preference I have to say this is one of the most comfortable knives I have come across in some time. The handle is 4 ¾ linerless inches of lightweight handle in DigiCamo that has plenty of room for users with larger hands to grip the knife comfortably in both forward and reverse positions.

    When you take a closer look at the SOG Aegis take note of the future “digital” texturing on the handle as well as the contoured corners which make this handle extremely safe in your hand. SOG added rubber inserts to the handle that offer more grip and purchase on the knife. The handle on the SOG Aegis also features jimping on the spine of the blade which continues onto the handle and also on the underside of the handle where your forefinger would naturally go offering more control and feel over the knife.

    There are different things that knife enthusiasts’ care about when it comes to knives and the pocket clip is definitely one of them. I love how the SOG Aegis has spruced up their bayonet style clip by adding “SOG” to the clip. Like most of SOG’s pocket clips, the Aegis clip rides ultra low and has great retention. The only problem I have with the clip is that there is the clip closes down on the rubber inserts we touched upon earlier. The SOG Aegis pocket clip is ambidextrous tip up carry.

    Final Thoughts

    The SOG Aegis is an assisted opening knife with Spyderco’s S.A.T (SOG Assisted Technology) and aids in the quick, smooth deployment of the knife’s blade. The ambidextrous thumb studs on either side of the blade are perfectly tapered for easy opening and the spring assisted mechanism really makes this knife open quickly and easily which is perfect for defensive situations. The SOG Arc Lock is the chosen lockup mechanism that can be compared to the Benchmade Axis lock. The Arc Lock is easily engaged and is secure with a very minimal amount of blade play just on the up and down movement; and I mean minimal. There is zero play on the side-to-side test. Also, like many of SOG’s assisted openers, there is a built-in safety. The safety is a nice option to have on a knife.
    Whether it’s helping you build shelter from a storm, or working as a tactical knife, the light weight and smart design is an excellent blend of form and function. I can say with certainty the SOG Aegis lives up to its name.

     Check out the SOG Aegis at Knifehog.com.

  • SOG Creed Review

    SOG Creed Review

    The first time I looked at the SOG Creed, I thought Doctor Frankenstein had decided to try his hand at knife making. The Creed is a fixed blade survival knife, with a blade shape that resembles a cross between a Latin Machete and a Bowie Knife. The Creed looks like a monster, but looks can be deceiving. To find out if the Creed has the bite to match it's bark I took it into the woods behind my house for some wilderness survival simulations.

     

    What can this knife handle?

    The Creed's blade shape lends itself to chopping. At 12.8 oz, it's not going to replace your machete but it should perform all of the chopping tasks you would ask of a typical heavy-duty field knife. Like all Bowie style blades, this one is a superb thruster. The slashing and stabbing ability of the blade means it would be an intimidating fighting knife. The broad belly of the Creed is perfect for wood working, a much needed skill if you're going to be building shelter in the woods. The heavy pommel helps balance the big blade, giving you great control over the Creed. The SOG Creed can be used for hunting, self-defense, and wood working making it an ideal knife for outdoor survival.

     

    Construction and Blade

    Chances are, if you use knives a lot, you're familiar with AUS 8. SOG loves AUS 8 and they used it to construct the Creed's blade. As far as performance, AUS 8 is similar to 440C. The heat treatment on the Creed appears to be good as the knife was able to take down a birch sapling with no damage to the blade. I also batoned through an old dry pine log without any problem. The Creed arrived sharp and keeps a good edge without sacrificing much in the way of toughness.

    As I mentioned before, the blade is distinctive. Measuring 7.5 inches in length, it has a Bowie style blade with a belly that widens the farther down the blade you go, similar to a Latin machete. This design leaves a lot of weight in the blade and gives it great chopping power. Batoning is a cinch, because SOG made the blade a quarter of an inch thick. The Bowie clip makes the Creed a very powerful thrusting weapon; I stabbed 3/4 of the way through a phone book with it. I was a little concerned about the knife being weak towards the ricasso as that's where it's narrowest, but it's held up well. Obviously this is a heavy knife (12.8 oz) but a fuller running near the spine helps keep the weight managable. The Creed has a hollow grind and I could shave with the edge even after a day playing with it in the woods. To protect the blade, SOG included a black TiNi finish, which held up surprisingly well considering how I was treating the knife. There were a couple of small splotches but other than that the finish was undamaged.

     

    Handle, Grip, and Feel

    If you've ever owned a SOG Tech Bowie, you'll recognize the Creed's handle. It's exactly the same. The handle is constructed of Kraton rubber with white spacers that improve the overall look of the knife. The Kraton is textured and there are four finger grooves on the underside of the handle to improve your grip. A guard was also included to ensure your fingers don't slide onto the blade. A weighted metal butt helps balance the blade. I like the handle, it's comfortable and offers a solid grip. The Creed's blade steels the show but the handle does all you could ask of it.

     

    Final Thoughts

    I even like the sheath on the SOG Creed and that never happens with production knives. It's made of good quality black leather stitched and riveted together (no signs that it's going to fall apart). I really like the retention strap; it buttons across the guard and has a slot cut into it. When buttoned the guard slides into this slot ensuring that your knife will stay securely in the sheath. It's an interesting design feature that I hope catches on with other knife manufacturers.

     

    I really don't know if there's anything I don't like about this knife; it's super. The only hang-up may be that it's heavy to hike around with but no more so than anyother heavy duty knife you would carry. I was shocked at how well balanced it was because it looks so blade heavy but I had more than enough control to do fine woodworking with the Creed. The sheath, handle, and blade are all good. It may cost a little more than your bargain bin fixed blades but you're going to get a lot more out of the knife. I can't wait to take it camping.

    Check out the SOG Creed at Knifehog.com.

  • SOG Force Review

    SOG Force Review

    SOG has come a long way since their humble beginnings. Spencer Frazer founded the company in his Santa Monica apartment in 1986 and has steadly grown to become one of the giants of the knife world. The Force is one of their heavy duty fixed blades and I got the opportunity to take it on a camping trip over memorial day. It had four days to leave an impression and boy did it ever. The Force performed above and beyond my expectations and has earned itself a permanent place in my camp bag.

     

    What can this knife handle?

    This sturdy fixed blade can perform almost any camp chore. Batoning is always the moment of truth with a big camp knife like this, but I was able to baton through firewood with no problem and the blade showed no damage after 4 days of heavy use. I did a lot of fishing over the long weekend and decided to use it to clean my catch as well. The force is honestly a little big to use as a fishing knife but I was more concerned with seeing how well the knife sliced. It opened up trout, brim, and bass (I had a good trip) like they were butter, even after I'd used it to prepare wood for the fire. It also was very useful in food prep thanks to the razor sharp edge. Basically it's big and tough enough to handle the big jobs and well-balanced and sharp enough to tackle any tasks that require finesse. A perfect camp knife.

     

    Construction and Blade

    The Force comes with a full-tang 6 inch clip point blade. It's also almost a quarter inch thick, allowing you to beat and baton on the blade without worrying about breaking your knife. It arrived razor sharp out of the box and kept a working edge even after a full day of heavy use. The clip point makes it excellent at piercing, we ended up using it to open a can of tuna. There's some serious jimping on the back of the blade which lets you push down with greater force. I found this to be especially useful for making wood shavings. The lenght of the blade and it's balance, makes the Force a capable tactical blade as well. SOG included a black TiNi finish to the blade to protect it from corrosion and reduce the glare. I worked the Force pretty hard and some of the finish did wear off. Still, considering what I put it through I wasn't really disappointed.

    The blade steel is the ever popular AUS 8. AUS 8 is a Japanese stainless steel that is popular on SOG knives. It takes a razor edge but usually dulls faster than some of the other popular blade steels. That hasn't been the case with the Force, I've been very impressed with its ability to keep an edge. I only sharpened it once on my entire trip, and it only took a few swipes on the whetstone to get it back to its original sharpness. AUS 8 is known for its toughness and it doesn't dissappoint on the Force. I beat on the blade for 4 straight days and saw no damage on the blade. This is a stainless steel, and when coupled with the TiNi blade coating, should hold up to the elements.

    Handle, Grip, and Feel

    The Force has a handle composed of GRN (Glass Reinforced Nylon). GRN handles are pretty standard but they are tough and offer a stable grip. A series of four finger grooves on the underbelly of the handle lock your hand into place and a guard ensures your hand won't slip onto the blade. The blade is aggressively textured, which keeps your hand from sliding even when wet. The whole thing is rounded and contoured to your hand, so you can work with the knife for hours without rubbing your hand raw. The tang is exposed at the end, producing a glass breaker. I haven't used the glass breaker but the knife is stout so I'm sure it works well. A lanyard hole is included on the butt, so you can run parachord through it if you want. I was very impressed with the handle, it got plenty wet when I was fishing but I never felt my grip slip.

    Final Thoughts

    The Force comes with a MOLLE compatible nylon sheath. I have no complaints about the sheath so far, but we'll see how it holds up over the course of time. This is a great knife that I think is just perfect for the camp setting. The grip is comfortable and the balance of the blade makes it a pleasure to use. SOG did an excellent job with the heat treatment because this blade far out performs the other AUS 8 blades I've used in the past. It's good for heavy duty and detailed precision jobs. While it's a bit heavy to lug around all the time, its the perfect tool to keep with your camping equipment. I really enjoyed using the Force and can't wait to take it back into the woods again.

    Check out the SOG Force at Knifehog.com.

  • SOG Jungle Primitive

    SOG Jungle Primitive

    When SOG came out with the Jungle Primitive fixed blade knife I had to get my hands on one immediately, just because it was a such a unique looking knife. As soon as I took the knife out of the box, I began questioning my purchase as it felt kind of cheap. Just as with any other knife, there are pros and cons to the Jungle Primitive. It has a nice weight for carrying and the balance is forward in the blade which I enjoy. But how was the rest of the knife?

     

    What can this knife handle?

    The SOG Jungle Primitive is one of those knives where its looks are deceiving. I did some menial chopping and cutting tasks with the Primitive and it performed okay at best. This is a solid knife for around the campfire or for other light duty applications, but if you want to use it for heavy duty tasks, I think you are going to be disappointed. If it had a little more weight I think the Jungle Primitive would fare much better in some of the testing I have done. Don’t get me wrong, I was able to get the job done with the Jungle Primitive, but not without tiring out my arm and putting more effort into it than I should have to with a knife of this size. I might carry this knife in my wilderness pack as a backup, since I have no qualms about using it for certain lighter chores, but I would not classify it as a survival knife despite its billing.

     

    Construction and Blade

    I really wanted to like this knife because it is so aesthetically pleasing (it looks like something out of a Rambo movie) but I couldn’t help feeling unsatisfied with the SOG Jungle Primitive. The blade looks like a beast with the partially serrated edge and serrations on the spine, but SOG’s decision to use 420 stainless steel was probably a mistake. 420 stainless is one of the more affordable options for steel in comparison to a San Mai or a VG which is why the Jungle Primative has the price it does. The saw teeth along the back of the 9 ½ inch blade are actually the best part, since they are useful for cutting and sawing through trees and limbs. The main blade has a plain edge that you must be careful with because it chips easily. The 420 stainless is prone to chipping even with the black oxide coating. Another problem I’ve had is the quick dulling of the blade. Obviously I will sharpen it after it dulls, but it literally needs to be sharpened all the time. I started putting a steeper angle on the blade when sharpening which has alleviated the problem to an extent.

     

    Handle, Grip, and Feel

    Kraton was SOG’s handle of choice for the Jungle Primitive which I personally really like. Kraton has a naturally grippy feel to it, but when you couple it with the texturing on the SOG Jungle Primitive you have a handle that stays in your hand no matter how wet it gets. A really nice feature that has been added to the handle of the SOG Jungle Primitive is the positioning of spikes on the butt of the handle. These added spikes would be great for a close combat/defensive situation or glass breaking, even though I wouldn’t consider this to be a tactical or SERE knife. The handle features three seperate lanyard holes, which will allow you to wrap cord around the handle for added comfort.

     

    Final Thoughts

    The sheath is probably my favorite feature of the Jungle Primitive. I feel like it is solidly built which is a departure from some of the other sheaths I have seen recently, so keep up the good work SOG. This particular sheath is made from nylon and features a small pocket in the front that you can carry a sharpening stone in (a must since the blade dulls so quickly). None of the straps are a hindrance and the button release opens the knife for those moments when you need to be on your toes. The sheath is able to withstand the tooth-laden blade without ripping apart and is sewn together really well.

    The blade on this knife leaves something to be desired, but I wouldn’t say it is a total loss. It can saw and it can do some of the duties that I need, but by no means would I ever take this knife into the jungle or rely on it extremely tough situations. If you are just looking for something cool looking to add to your collection or if you just need a knife for camping, then go for it; Otherwise just stay away.

    Check out the SOG Jungle Primitive at Knifehog.com.

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