Monday, December 22, 2008
SOG Aegis Assisted Openers now available
I have mixed feelings in general on SOG knives. I've always felt they were a little too pricey for what they were, and that they really played up the whole SEAL knife thing. Most Special Ops folks can likely choose their knife and I'm sure many Navy SEALs use other brands in addition to SOG. I own the original SEAL 2000 knife and it's decent, but I do own better fixed blades at similar, and dare I say less expensive price points.
All that aside, I have to say that the newly released line of Aegis folders from SOG, looks pretty impressive. I would like to support the once-great local company in some way, and it's been a very long time since SOG did anything that really impressed me. Don't get me wrong, they do make very high quality products, they just seemed to have been playing "me too" for several years. SOG's Arc-lock is a prime example, it's very similar to Benchmade's Axis lock. Then again, almost every major company has some sort of take on the Axis, and they obviously aren't infringing directly on any patents. I was going to say the same of their assisted knives. Kershaw's Ken Onion knives were the first assisted openers I'm aware of that saw mass production, and even Benchmade was late on assisted knives, so the same could be argued of them in the assisted knife case. It certainly is customer demand that drives these trends in the industry.
I've owned a couple of SOG knives, and they are high quality, and when I was working in retail cutlery, they most definitely stood behind their products. Their foreign-made Fusion line is very cool and creative, with their tough and inexpensive tactical tomahawk and the Spirit spear/knife that can be used as a dagger or fashioned into a spear with most common broom handles [mentioned in previous entries on this blog]. I have to say that the Aegis series from SOG looks pretty badass, especially their take on the tanto style blade with digital camo [another 'tactical trend', SOG wasn't the first, nor will they be the last]. Regarding digital camo, I suppose that trend is fueled by actual military uses and needs, as ACU [Army Combat Uniform] is the newest US Army standard for uniforms. A knife that blends in with your daily work clothing could have its advantages.
I can't find any pix of the reverse of the Aegis knives, but they all feature SOG's patented 'bayonet' clip that gives their newest folders a very deep-ride in the pocket. These new SOG clips also feature a cutout of the company name. If you enlarge these pix of the Aegis knives, you'll see another unique feature. Those little grip-strips also say "sog sog sog sog" and serve to enhance traction in the hand. It reminds me of pictures of me as a kid, maybe 3 or 4 years old with a striped t-shirt alá Ernie&Bert, that said "jeans jeans jeans" in repeating print!
I think it's cool that SOG waited until the end of the year to release these knives. Most companies won't start to trot out their new knives until 1st quarter 2009 at the earliest. I'm willing to bet Spencer Frazier knew that the knife-buying public would be hungry for new product, just in time for Christmas and Hanukkah.
The Aegis knives from SOG all feature blades of AUS 8, a stainless that I know from experience to be tough and easy to sharpen. AUS [austenetized] 8 was the premier production knife steel before ATS-34 came along. ATS-34 was pushed out of the limelight by its American Latrobe-made counterpart 154CM [crucible materials].
The hot production knife steel of the hour is CPMS30V, another Crucible powdered steel. So, while AUS 8 is a less expensive steel whose buzzword status has waned, it's still a very good blade steel that I've found to be very similar to good old 440C, but slightly easier to sharpen with a stone or other hand sharpening tools IMO.
So, we'll see how these Aegis folders act in the hand, I'm curious enough to possibly place an order for one pretty soon, just to see. Again, I have confidence is SOG's warranty and the durability of their products, it's just been awhile since the look of something they've done has really wowed me. The Aegis series retails, I believe, for between $90.00 and $120.00 USD, depending on which model you choose. However, as per the production knife industry, there are plenty of cutlery retail sites selling any Aegis model for well under $85.00.