SOG Specialty Knives and Tools is a premium cutlery manufacturer located in Washington State. It is the culmination of company founder and designer Spenzer Frazer’s desire to manufacture high-end knives and multi-tools for law enforcement, military personnel and outdoorsmen. The Aegis is marketed as a tactical folder and is made of AUS8 steel with a Satin finish. AUS8 steel is noted for its high corrosion resistance and edge retention properties. The blade measures a respectable 3.5 inches that folds into a checkered “DigiGrip” Zytel plastic handle for an overall measurement of 4.75 inches. The handle includes rubber “SOG” inserts to prevent slippage when using the knife and a reversible bayonet pocket clip. Overall length of the Aegis when open is a sizable 8.25 inches. Remarkably the knife weighs in at a meager 3.1 ounces. This surprised me a great deal as I expected the knife to be much heavier given its size. According to http://sogknives.com/store/AE-01.html the Aegis’s MSRP is $90.00. The Aegis is offered in several variations including titanium nitride coated blades, “Digi Camo” handles and a tanto style blade with serrations. Each of these variants cost between $110-$120 dollars.
The Aegis utilizes the S.A.T (SOG Assisted Technology) system to aid the user in opening the knife with minimal pressure on the thumb stud at the base of the blade. I have used several other assisted openers and I found the SOG’s coil spring mechanism is both smooth and reliable. There is a satisfying snap as the blade fully extends and it can be opened in either hand. Closing the blade is achieved by pulling back the “Arc-Actuator” button on the left side of the knife. This unlocks the blade and it can be closed with either one or two hands. Closing the knife is easy when using two hands and I found it much safer and quicker to close the Aegis this way rather than trying to use one hand. The Aegis includes a locking safety lever built into the handle that clearly indicates when the knife’s safety is engaged.
I carried the Aegis for a month as my every day carry blade. Due to its light weight, I barely noticed it in my left front pants pocket. One of the first tests with the Aegis was in renovating a friend’s apartment. It saw light use for cutting string, opening food containers and paintbrush packaging. Dirt and debris was easily removed with a damp paper towel.
Since I haven’t been able to go camping or hiking this summer I put the Aegis to work in my kitchen. I used the knife to dice up several raw carrots, assorted peppers, onions and cucumbers when assembling a salad. It functioned as well as any kitchen knife that I would normally use. After wiping the blade off I then used it to cut up several cardboard boxes. Next I took out a spool of nylon rope and cut several lengths from the spool. I was highly impressed by the cutting properties of the Aegis. The knife feels really comfortable during the cutting motion. People with small hands may feel that the handle is a bit large, however, I feel the ergonomics of the entire knife fit my hand perfectly. My only complaint while using the knife for any length of time was the original position of the bayonet clip dug into the palm of my hand. This can be remedied easily by using a small hex key and reversing the position of pocket clip.
The last serious test of the Aegis occurred when helping a friend repair his booth at a Renaissance Fair. The booth’s rear window frame was constructed using plywood and particleboard. Over the last year the particleboard swelled due to moisture. This caused the shutters to not close properly once open. Using the Aegis to remove layers of swollen particleboard was unbelievable. The blade made quick work of the damaged area. After some trimming and shaving with the knife the shutters could be secured again.
During the month of August the SOG was my every day carry knife. In that time I shared it with many of my friends. Overwhelmingly, they liked this knife. Several of them in fact inquired about purchasing one after using mine. They liked its simple functionality, its size and weight, as well as the quality of the blade in terms of its sharpness and cutting properties. The only drawback of note was the price. Many of my friends are not knife collectors and think spending $90 for a pocket knife is a bit exorbitant. However, with some judicious online shopping they should be able to find the Aegis for a fair bit less than retail price. In fact, it can be found online for under $70 street price from reputable dealers.
My familiarity with SOG knives has typically been with their fixed blade knives. After carrying the SOG Aegis folder I can definitely see myself purchasing another SOG knife in the future. I was most impressed with the overall weight, blade quality and functionality. In my opinion, it definitely favors people who are right hand dominant. While it can be opened and closed with one hand, it was definitely easier to accomplish in the right hand. Price for me is a factor when purchasing knives. The SOG Aegis is definitely on the upper end of what I would spend on a folding tactical knife or a fixed blade. It would fulfill its role as an everyday carry knife as well as a useful tool when camping, hiking or doing home improvement. In addition, the quality of this knife impresses me enough to consider their fixed blade line of knives.
The Aegis tactical folder is an awesome knife. It is a well made and practical. Given SOG Specialty Knives and Tools’ corporate philosophy and history, they are clearly marketing to law enforcement, military personnel and people who want rugged military style knives. I also see them marketing to people who want a premium high quality knife that is manufactured in the United States. If you are willing to spend the money, you won’t be disappointed.