10 Best SOG Knives of 2020

The SOG knife brand is synonymous with excellence, rock-solid construction, and out-of-this-world toughness. If you think I am using fanboy words, you should know that SOG knives are the “weapon of choice” of the US Navy Seals since 1986. After careful research, I’ve compiled this article on the best SOG knives of 2020.

So, if SOG knives are good enough for the Navy Seals, they are good enough for you, right? To give you a little bit of context, SOG is a company with roots in the military since the Vietnam war, and today SOG makes some of the best tactical knives in the industry.

Best SOG Knives of 2020

1. SOG Flash II​​

SOG Flash II

I will start the show with a SOG knife that plays in the best bang for the buck category, the improbably named Flash II tanto knife. As far as tactical folders go, this baby plays with the best, at least in my opinion. If you’re looking for a badass pocket knife under $100 for everyday carry, the Flash II will definitely fit the bill, and then some.

This little knife has it all: an all-black design, black titanium nitrade coating on the blade, peel resistant and scratch proof, one-hand open with piston lock for fast single-handed access, and a nylon grip.

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2. SOG Aegis​​

SOG Aegis

If you’re looking for the best bang for the proverbial buck, the SOG AE04-CP Aegis comes into play, my number one recommendation in this niche if you’re shopping for a folding pocket knife with a tanto blade and amazing value for money. The partially serrated blade is 3.5 inches long, which hits the sweet spot in terms of versatility and carry convenience, and the knife weighs a mere 3.1 ounces.

I would recommend the SOG AE04-CP Aegis for everyday carry, self-defense due to its assisted opening mechanism, camping, and even hunting, as this baby is nearly indestructible.

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3. SOG Tomcat 3.0​​

SOG Tomcat 3.0

The Tomcat 3.0 can be best described as a “posh” knife for everyday carry, but don’t let the “premium” thing fool you: this is one of the best SOG knives for hunting, camping, and self-defense, and even if you’ll have to pay a little bit for the privilege, it doesn’t get any better than this. The Tomcat 3.0 looks awesome, it’s built to last you a lifetime, and has a beefy 3.75 blade made from high-end VG-10 stainless steel.

Moreover, the Tomcat 3.0 has a one-hand open design plus an incredibly strong Arc-Lock locking mechanism, not to mention the impeccably finished Kraton handle.

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SOG Multitool Pliers

If you’re the DIY type shopping for a high-quality multitool, SOG has one of the best around. Enter SOG Multitool Pliers; a power assist multi-tool pocket knife and utility tool specially designed for the hard user. Keep in mind this is a plier’s based tool, large and rugged, and designed for hardcore users who can justify the mass and bulk of the SOG Multitool Pliers.

To make a long story short, for less than $100, you’ll get a large and beefy assisted opening and externally accessed multi-tool with unique attributes, built from high-quality materials, a no compromising hard-working device.

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SOG Seal PUP Elite

Looking for a budget survival knife? Enter SOG Seal PUP Elite, a fixed blade tactical knife, which can also be used as a hunting/self-defense knife. The full-tang design of the blade makes it an excellent outdoor knife, as it’s basically indestructible and the weapon of choice of Seal operatives, or so I’m told. The blade is 4.75 inches long, made from AUS 8 stainless steel, and the knife weighs a mere 5.4 ounces.

You’ll also get a cool hard molded Kydex sheath to complement your SOG Seal PUP Elite, and to make it short, pound for pound; it doesn’t get any better than this baby.

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SOG Instinct Mini ​

As far as EDC knives go, the SOG Instinct Mini plays in a league of its own, and that’s why I recommend it as the best mini fixed blade money can buy. This is the definition of a mini full-tang belt knife, a tiny tactical knife with a sheath that can be easily concealed basically anywhere. So, if you want a highly portable mini fixed blade for everyday carry, this is it.

The full tang blade is made from high-quality 5CR15MOV steel, and the knife measures 4,8 inches in total length. The blade is approximately 2 inches long and features a beautiful satin finish. 

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SOG Twitch II

My next pick is another great folding knife for everyday carry, the SOG TWI8-CP Twitch II, respectively. The Twitch II measures 6.2 inches in length overall, with a 2.65 inches blade, which means it’s perfect for EDC. Moreover, this affordable folder comes with an assisted opening system, an AUS-8 stainless steel blade, razor-sharp mind you, and a strong and grippy aluminum handle.

Bottom line, for something like 50 dollars give or take, you’ll get an awesome little blade, which can be used for self-defense, everyday tasks, and even outdoor/camping related jobs.

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8. SOG Trident​​

SOG Trident

The SOG Trident is a legendary tactical folding knife, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a high quality, partially serrated blade designed for military and law enforcement. To begin with, the SOG Trident is massively cool, provided that’s a factor in your buying decision, and it’s ideal for self-defense, being designed to be the only EDC knife you’ll ever need. 

The Trident is razor sharp out of the box, as solid as they come, with an AUS-8 stainless steel blade, and it can be successfully used as a rescue and even a hunting knife, due to its versatile design. 

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9. SOG Super Bowie​​

SOG SuperBowie​

The SOG Super Bowie is a “posh” fixed blade knife made from the now-ubiquitous AUS-8 steel. The full tang blade is 7.5’’ long and features a beautiful black TiNi finish, with a clip-point shape. The SOG Super Bowie has a leather washer handle and comes with a beautiful leather sheath; everything oozes no-nonsense beauty and quality, and yes, that’s also reflected in the price.

As far as outdoor knives go, the SOG Super Bowie plays with the best and it will not disappoint you if you’re into bushcraft and hunting.

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10. SOG Pillar​​

SOG Pillar​

Looking for the ultimate bushcraft knife? Don’t worry; I got this covered: enter SOG Pillar, the knife that Buffalo Bill would’ve used if he had the opportunity. Joke aside, the Pillar is an amazing full tang knife, made in the USA by the way, which can be used for basically anything: survival, hunting, camping, you name it. The blade is made from CPM S35VN steel, and you’ll definitely love the micarta handle and the versatile Kydex sheath.

If the price doesn’t scare you away, the SOG Pillar is an exceptional hunting/tactical knife in the $200 range, built using premium stainless steel and featuring a highly durable full tang blade with excellent edge retention.

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Other Honorable Mentions

If that’s not enough for you, let me give you a few other choices from the SOG family. I will start with the SOG ZOOM, a very interesting tactical folder featuring a cool assisted opening mechanism and a 3.6’’ AUS-8 stainless steel blade. What I really like about this black tactical folder is the fact that its handle is amazingly grippy and ergonomically designed, and it deploys lightning fast. 

Since we’re in tactical knives territory, check out the SOG Vulcan Tanto, a high-end folder with an amazing tanto blade made from VG-10 steel.The blade is 3.5’’ long, and it’s virtually indestructible due to its specially treated San Mai VG-10 steel, boasting an Rc of 59-60. San Mai means there are actually 3 layers, i.e. the blade has three different types of steel in it, being extremely sharp at the edge due to the VG-10 steel, and more flexible in the body.

If you’re looking for a bad-ass Bowie-inspired knife, check out the SOG Creed, a 7.5’’ fixed blade made from the familiar AUS-8 stainless steel. The SOG Creed is built to please aficionados outdoors, and makes for an interesting mix of affordability, balance, and comfort, being large and tough enough for heavy-duty jobs, not to mention its crazy sharp blade with excellent edge retention

SOG Knives Buying Guide

To begin with, let me provide you with a little bit of history: SOG is best known for its tactical knives; the company was founded by Spencer Frazer, who also was the chief designer back in the day. It’s worth mentioning that Spencer took inspiration for its first knife design from the legendary US Special Ops MACV-SOG knife. 

MACV-SOG stands Military Assistance Command, Vietnam – Studies and Observations Group and it was a highly classified, multi-service United States special operations unit that conducted covert unconventional warfare operations before and during the Vietnam War — Wikipedia

The first knife designed by SOG was basically a copy of the MACV-SOG knife, i.e. a modern take on the American Bowie knife, designed for covert ops missions in the Vietnamese jungle. SOG is currently focusing on crafting folding pocket knives and fixed blades for EDC and everyday use. However, the company’s catalog is pretty rich, and you can find anything ranging from backcountry hatchets and multi-tools to knives disguised as keys and so on. 

SOG knives are very popular in the knife-enthusiast community due to Frazer’s background in aerospace engineering, modern art, and toy design, which made SOG knives uniquely designed and built from the perspective of ergonomics, materials, and aesthetics. All SOG knives feature a lifetime warranty against defects in materials and craftsmanship, as well as free sharpening services. 

SOG knives are very popular in the knife-enthusiast community due to Frazer’s background in aerospace engineering, modern art, and toy design, which made SOG knives uniquely designed and built from the perspective of ergonomics, materials, and aesthetics. All SOG knives feature a lifetime warranty against defects in materials and craftsmanship, as well as free sharpening services. 

If you want to buy the best SOG knife to fit your specific purpose, you must learn a few tricks: first, the best SOG knife in the world is the one you carry, i.e., you must go for the one that suits your needs. There are many factors to consider when choosing a SOG knife, ranging from blade type to size, fixed or folding, budget, and steel quality.

Speaking of blade type, you’ll have to choose between straight, serrated, or a combination between the two; also, blade steel is critical, and there’s an old saying about steel being the heart of a knife. SOG knives are usually made from AUS-8 stainless steel.

To give you a little bit of inside “intel”, there are three main types of steel used by commercial knife manufacturers: OK’ish steel, such as 420, 440A, 7Cr13MoV, better stuff like AUS6, AUS8, 440C, 8Cr13MoV, and high-grade steel, typically made in Japan or USA, such as CPM 154, S30V, or VG-10.

Entry-level stainless/rust-resistant steel is typically made in China and other Asian countries, and truth be told, this cheap steel offers excellent value for the money asked. Better grade steel has a higher chromium content, and it’s more expensive, yet it provides improved edge-retention and less maintenance compared to entry-level steel.

Higher-end steels contain additional elements like vanadium, they’re kind of expensive and can be found in premium knives due to their excellent edge retention capability and rust resistance. If you’re the “demanding” type, go for a SOG knife made from VG-10, AUS8, 440C, or 8Cr13MoV (at least).

For example, AUS-8 and AUS-6 steels are made in Japan, and they offer the ideal balance of strength, toughness, and affordability, with a Rockwell hardness of 56-58. That’s why most SOG knives use AUS-8 steel; VG-10, on the other hand, is high-end Japanese steel, and famous for its toughness, being employed in high-quality blades. VG-10 has a hardness of 60 without being brittle, and can be sharpened to a durable and very fine edge. 

If you want the best of the best, though, and money is no object, look for a knife made from CPM S30V, one of the best steels ever made, D2, high-performance tool steel, or San Mai. Moving on with the story, there’s the handle issue. Handle material is also important, and SOG knives use GRN or glass-reinforced nylon, aluminum, G-10, Micarta, Carbon Fiber, and natural materials.

GRN is great for its chemical resistance to transmission fluid, methanol, motor oil, etc., being also impact resistant and relatively cheap to manufacture. Aluminum looks great and has good mechanical properties, while G-10 provides arguably the best grip in the “handle material” niche.

Carbon fiber is used for its cool appearance as well as its weight-saving properties, while Micarta and Kraton are popular for their durability and excellent grip. Finally, natural materials such as leather, bone, and wood are the best choice for classic/traditional knives.

Choosing the blade shape can be tricky, but here’s the “tl;dr” version: drop point is the most common pattern in hunting blades, while clip point is used in bowie knives. Then, there’s the sheepsfoot design, used in rescue knives, the spear point, which is great for daggers, the dagger itself, designed for piercing, and the tanto tip, which is arguably the strongest design of the bunch. 

When it comes to blade finish, you can choose depending on what you like and/or what you need: titanium nitride, which is a durable black finish, extremely peel/scratch resistant and ideal for tactical blades, the satin finish, the mirror polish, the bead blasting (a non-reflective finish), and finally black oxide and black paint

In terms of blade size, everything depends on your personal preference,and, most importantly, the job that’s intended to perform and all that; as the general rule of thumb, larger blades (full tang preferably) are good for heavy-duty tasks, while smaller ones are best for EDC/everyday tasks. It would be a good idea to check the local laws regarding legal lengths and blade sizes for EDC, just in case.

Let’s talk a little bit about SOG’s proprietary technologies. First, we have the CPM S35VN and S30V steels, both made in the USA and used for their improved wear and corrosion properties, as well as toughness and edge retention. Moreover, most SOG blades benefit from the company’s unique cryogenic heat treatment process, for increased wear resistance and heightened toughness. S.A.T. is SOG’s in-house made assisted technology, for smooth and quick opening action, while the ARC-LOCK is one of the strongest locking mechanisms in the industry, employed in SOG folding knives.

FAQs:

Q: What SOG stands for?

SOG knives are inspired by a highly classified US special ops unit during the Vietnam War era, more specifically MACV-SOG. In case you were wondering, the SOG acronym stands for Studies and Observations Group.

Q: Where are SOG knives made?

A: SOG manufactures and/or assembles its knives in the USA, Japan and Taiwan. The higher-priced folding knives are usually made in Japan, by G. Sakai in Seki City.

Q: How to sharpen a SOG knife?

A : If you’re not the DIY type, just take your knife to a local knife shop, they’ll get the job done with zero drama. Also, you can send your knife to SOG, and they’ll service/sharpen your baby at no cost. Here’s a short video tutorial if you want to give it a shot yourself.