-Price Paid: N/A
-Used for Every Day Carry
-Owned for 3 months
First of all, I really like the blade geometry, it is the only tanto I own that I really do like (other than my CRKT Triumph). There is actually a quite pronounced recurve that starts right after the secondary tip. If you were to physically hold the knife and squint at it, it would almost look like a clip point. It's almost as if a tanto tip was fused on to a big bellied drop point, its actually quite odd. However, so far it has excelled in some household chores and the recurved belly cuts quite well. The tip penetrates exceptionally well, as to be expected, as the tip angle is quite steep and the slight swedge that runs all the way to the ricasso certainly helps. The ricasso is perfectly sized for my taste, about 1cm past the handle, which I like on my knives, just seems sturdier. The blade seems to be flat ground and starts a third of the way down from the spine. At the base of the blade just bellow the thumb rise, there seems to be a few slits cut in that serve no purpose I can see. They are actually quite annoying looking and I'm not a big fan. The thumb rise seems very comfortably placed although the ridges cut in are very sharp and uncomfortable. Doing precise cuts using the thumb rise was very effective, just the ridges dug into my skin a bit too much. The blade is satin finished and there is a clear line where you can see the 420J2 steel ends and where the VG10 starts. This is my first san mai knife, so I don't know if that is typical, but it is quite interesting to see. The blade is also very thick near the spine, which I do like in my knives.
The handle is Zytel, a fiberglass reinforced nylon (FRN) made by dupont, and is reinforced by steel liners. This is my first SOG (although I have handled plenty) and I sure am glad they added the steel liners. Most SOG folders I have handled have this tendency to give in a bit when you squeeze the handle. I know Zytel is said to be indestructible, but it still makes me feel uneasy. The Vulcan does not cave in at all, which I am relieved about. However the Zytel scales do feel very cheap to the touch, somehow it feels cheaper than Spyderco's FRN. It is very light feeling and very stiff. The scales do work to secure you hand rather well, although I haven't tried it when it was greased up or wet. The finger choil is large and stable and makes a very comofrable grip. There is not much else to say about it except that there is there is this small metal bit, stamped SOG, that potrudes out of the base of the handle, which is where the tip resides. There have been complaints of (and I can totally see how this is possible) that with the tip-up carry, you could run your finger through it and cut yourself. This could probably be improved upon, but it has not happened to me yet, knock on wood.
Typical SOG, infused into the handle, this is the only aspect about SOG knives I really hate. There is minimal profile in your pocket, which I love, but the clip bends alot, which is really unsettling. Also the lack of any screws to anchor the knife means that there is no way to tighten the clip in case it does get loose. I don't think getting loose will be a real problem though, as it is injection molded into the zytel. More likely is the possibility that force applied to the clip over time will cause the zytel to crack or something. I guess time will tell.
Lock: SOG's Arc-lock system, rated at over 1000 lb, it is easy to use, and no different really than BM's axis lock.This knife does lock up pretty tight though, and there is no blade play at all. This had originially been one of my worries when I was about to purchase the knife, as previous SOG's I have handled have had some blade play. I have heard good things about the lock and so I am satisfied with it. However, I have heard that the lock is very easy to disengage, so I am taking a mental note to be wary of that. SOG advertises the Arc-lock to be totally ambidextrous, and it is, but since the clip cannot be moved to the other side, it really isn't all that ambidextrous. I am not a lefty though, so this isn't an issue to me, just something to be taken note of.
Deployment: The SOG features a few different methods of deployment. There are the usual thumb studs (which I found difficult to use, I'm not sure why..), there is the flipper as well (worthless, you can't generate near enough force to get the blade out, you must accompany it with a violent wrist flick), and the ARC lock ( unreliable in my opinion, because you must let go at a certain time before the blade is full extended, because otherwise the blade will rebound off of the pin). I choose the fourth way of deployment. I cut off a bit of a plastic nonrebreather oxygen mask and I rigged it up to the thumb studs so I have a Emerson wave-like potrusion. Now I can pocket snag it beautifully. It's as ugly as homemade sin, but it works like a charm. I've tested it for 100+ openings and it has held on well.
Putting it all together, I do really really love this knife. It's beautiful, and with the recurved belly, functional as well. It hits alot of my right buttons, but there was a few things I did not like about this knife: mainly the clip. Would I recommend it to a friend? Yes but only if you love it. I got it for 100 flat on ebay, and for that money you could get better. My BM grip has most of the same features for only around 70 bucks. At 100 bucks, it's also the most expensive knife I own (I'm a cheapie), but I would rather lose it up than my Griptilian or my Endura. But good job SOG, it is a solid knife and I think it will serve me well.
NOTE: after using this knife for about 3 months I had an incident last week when I was stepping off an ambulance while on duty and the pocket clip snagged onto some webbing. I didn't notice and kept moving my whole weight, the result was that the clip got SEVERELY bent to about a 45 degree to the handle. I used my leatherman to bend it back, but I doubt it will every be quite as tight as it was when I bought it. For a knife that excels in many areas I was disappointed at the lack of care and quality put into the pocket clip.
Comment by Chuck N 07/25/2014
I was also a little dissapointed by the pocket clip already on my third one just watch getting out of cars the seatbelts have broke two clips so far.