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November 29, 2011 Comments (0) Blades & Tools

SOG Spec Elite Mini

For those of you looking for that perfect mini every day carry, Woodsmonkey submits one of SOG’s latest offerings, the Spec Elite Mini.

This little knife is awesome! SOG has hit the bull’s-eye with this little gem. A hard working, easy carrying, good looking blade is something that most of us look for in an EDC, and boy does it fit my needs. I’ve used the Spec Elite Mini for a month now, with another eleven months to go (for our usual yearlong SOG reviews on the Monkey), and I’m looking forward to every minute of it. For ease of reading, I’m going to refer to it as the Mini or Elite from this point forward.

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Let’s explore the Mini specifications. Per the SOG website they have taken the immensely popular Spec Elite knife and miniaturized it, to make the Spec Elite Mini. It features SOG’s Arc-Loc, which might be the perfect lock. In an independent lab test, it held one thousand pounds of force at the lock before failing, which in my mind is pretty impressive. It’s self adjusting and can be cleaned for optimal smoothness, and the spring action keeps the blade closed in the pocket. In fact it took some rather hard whipping to get the blade to even move, yet with gentle pressure on the lock, it was nearly as fast as an auto. The Mini’s stout, stubby blade measures in at 2.75 inches, a length that seemed extremely short to me but proved to be extremely useable. It is made of a VG-10 stainless steel, produced in Japan, and is bead blasted for low shine. It has a slightly re-curved shape that is pleasing to the eye, but it doesn’t hinder any cutting ability, or sharpening ease. The steel has an HRC of 59-60. The handles are stainless steel lined and glass reinforced, with dual thumb studs, and a reversible pocket clip for tip up carry. With an overall length of 6.5 inches and a weight of 2.7 ounces this is a mini powerhouse for your pocket.

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When I received the Elite in the mail I was very excited. I had been looking for a replacement for my current EDC, and the Elite seemed to fit the bill in every mark. The handle was enough to fill my hand; the blade was razor sharp right out of the box. There was no discernable movement when the blade was in the locked position, no side to side, or up and down. It flipped open with a gentle pressure of the thumb and a twitch of the wrist. The biggest advantage to me was actually its size. I currently drive considerable distances in a day for my job, and my old EDC would jab into my leg when sitting. This would cause me to pull it from my pocket, and place it in the dash tray, or in the seat. After a particularly sharp curve, or turn I would have to pull over and start a search for it as it slid or tumbled into the bottomless pit that is my work truck. Wonder upon wonders, the Elite was short enough it didn’t jab into my leg when sitting down in any chair, even those soft couches that almost swallow you up.

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I used the Elite on an impromptu camping trip simulating a vehicle breakdown in the back country. This was an eye opener for me, finding I didn’t have a fixed blade knife in the truck. Now I had packed along a SOG Seal Pup as well, so I had that, but since it was a “what you normally have with you” trip I honored the spirit of the experiment, and didn’t use it. The Elite carved the skewers to roast my Spam over the fire, and my pot hanger for the hot water for mashed potatoes and coffee. I used it to baton around some small saplings, which I used to build a frame for my shelter tarp. As long as I didn’t try to tackle anything too large, the Elite was up for the challenge. I accidently wedged the blade into a piece of firewood a little too large, and had to remove it. Apprehensive at batoning the opposite direction, the Elite proved its quality once again after removal with no loosening of the lock, or pivot pin. I was impressed.

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Every time I would meet someone who’s interested in knives, I would whip out the Elite, and ask their opinion. Everyone liked it, although many questioned its size. I would allow them to play with the Elite and after using it to whittle down a stick or carve up an apple, would be appreciative of its stout body and smooth opening. Actually, many offered to buy or trade it off me, but I had to turn them down. I’ve kind of got a love affair going on with the Elite, not to mention that there is another eleven months in my review.

So here my only issue with the Elite, and believe me it has been difficult to find one. The pocket clip eats up the edge of my pockets. Either there was a sharp burr, or the edges were a touch rough. To remove the clip, a small hex screw on the side opposite the clip is removed and the body of the clip is slide out. I took a piece of two thousand grit sand paper and sanded down the sharp edges. This remedied the problem with the eating of the pockets.

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Over all, I believe the SOG Spec Elite Mini would make a great pocket EDC, back up to a larger folder or fixed blade, or the blade in a smaller survival kit. Its excellent steel, stout blade, tough locking system, and overall useful size make it a joy to use, and a reliable piece of gear. You can read more about it at http://sogknives.com/store/SE-01.html . On the SOG website it retails for one hundred and forty dollars, but a quick search on the web pulled up prices from seventy five to one hundred dollars.

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Stay tuned to this same Monkey channel for an update on the SOG Spec Elite Mini.

 

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