SOG will forever be associated with the iconic Bowie knife used in the jungles of Vietnam as well as its flagship Flash series.
But instead of resting on its laurels and just coming out with variations of what’s worked in the past, SOG continues to move forward with interesting tools boasting inventive designs. The latest innovation is the newly released SOG Terminus XR.
The Terminus XR is a locking version of the Terminus — a relatively recent knife that was unique to the brand in itself because of its lack of lock. To be honest, the design of the Terminus XR is not too similar to the nonlocking version. The XR has a 2.95-inch blade and G-10/carbon fiber handles.
But what makes the new knife stand out is the XR lock.
I’m not too sure about how it works yet but it looks like a cross between SOG’s Arc-Lock and Benchmade’s AXIS lock. You essentially manipulate a sliding button on both sides of the blade. The button controls an internal bar that locks the blade.
At the Newport Folk Festival in 1965, musician Bob Dylan shocked a crowd of concertgoers with a raucous performance of three songs. His almost unprecedented use of electricity (i.e. electric guitars, a Hammond organ, and loud amps) elicited a mixture of boos and cheers. After his set, he was awkwardly ushered back on stage to perform two of his classic folk songs on an acoustic guitar.
That was the moment Dylan went electric.
Why am I telling you all of this? Well, Dylan going electric was the point at which the classic folk hero joined the modern times and embraced a new and louder style of music that he would follow in the ensuing years. W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Company — a decidedly classic American knife institution known for old slip joints — has had its own moment of going electric this year.
Case’s Kickstart Assisted Openers
Although Case has never actually been stuck in the past and would often embrace the use of modern materials in its handles (see the synthetic Case knives, for example), it recently introduced an innovation that would help propel the brand into the 21st century: an assisted-opening mechanism.
Benchmade has been absolutely killing it lately with its new knives.
The iconic butterfly brand seemed to have dipped a bit a few years back before coming back with a vengeance. First, with the updated Griptilians, then with its first slipjoint ever, then with a ultralight Bugout. The string of successes seems to be continuing with the company’s first puukko.
The Benchmade 200 Puukko was introduced at the Summer Outdoor Retailer Show, and people across the knife community are salivating.
Nearly two decades after Kit Carson popularized the flipper tab in folders, KA-BAR is finally getting in the flipper game with the Mark 98.
The KA-BAR Mark 98 is a beefy knife with a design that echoes some of the brand’s fixed blade offerings. The spear-point blade is 3.5 inches — complete with a fuller to help cut down on the weight of the knife. It doesn’t do much, however, as the weight is about 5.6 ounces. Also, the steel is 5Cr15, so don’t expect it to hold an edge for too long.
The handle is made from durable G-10 with colors that remind users of other KA-BAR knives, including the iconic fixed blade.
It’s nearly June and that means Spyderco has released its mid-year catalog with some droolworthy models we saw at SHOT Show earlier this year.
The 15-page catalog features an array of new models or updates like the Autonomy 2 and Techno 2. Here are 10 models that really jumped out to see.
You can see the whole 2018 mid-year catalog here.
We’ll start off with one of the more radical designs. The Smock is based on Kevin Smock’s SK23 custom folder, which has a button version of the Compression Lock. Spyderco worked with Smock to bring his creation to the masses. The knife also has a fantastic top flipper tab that doesn’t stick out. The blade is 3.45 inches.
Spyderco Mantra 3
The common feature of many of the knives in this mid-year release is the flipper/Compression Lock combo. The Mantra 3 takes the general design of the Mantra 1 and adds carbon fiber/G-10 laminate scales and a Compression Lock.
It’s time for some more new knives.
We’ve already checked in on the new releases from Benchmade , CRKT, and Kershaw.
A few others have announced their new lineup, but today it’s all about SOG.
SOG has done well over the past few years. They strove for innovation and succeeded last year in the very unique Baton multitool series. Here’s a writeup on the Baton series if you’re interested. 2017 also saw the arrival of a few slipjoint knives and more Arc-locking knives.
For 2018, SOG kept the lineup nice and tight. I almost prefer a smaller, more manageable lineup of knives than being inundated with dozens of models. Let’s just hope that focus on fewer models means they’re very well done.
SOG-TAC California Special
I currently live in California. It’s not the most knife-friendly place, but there is a growing number of knives that cater to the tighter knife laws regarding automatics. SOG is getting in on the action with the SOG-TAC California Special.
This is an automatic that conforms to the laws in California. You’re basically allowed to carry an automatic as long as it has a blade under two inches. The California Special abides with a 1.9-inch AUS-8 clip point blade — well it says clip point but the small blade gives it a nice curve.
With SHOT Show starting today, that means Kershaw is releasing its new line of knives for 2018.
What do they have in store for us this year?
Kershaw has 15 new products this year. However, several are simply updates or new iterations of old products. From a quick glance at the new models, there’s nothing really mind-blowing, but you can expect some solid EDC knives.
Kershaw collaborated with Jens Anso on a few knives over the years, including the Fraxion. The latest is the Method.
The knife has a 3-inch 8Cr13MoV steel blade that uses KVT ball-bearing opening and a flipper. It looks good and comes to a piercing point.
The Decimus is based on a Rick Hinderer design. It has the look of a stiletto with a dagger-style blade (though only one side is sharpened for legal reasons). The blade is 3.25 inches and uses 8Cr13MoV as well as SpeedSafe.
This is visually appealing though I’m not sure how many people would actually carry it.
On first glance, I almost thought this was the Blackout, but it features a different design upon closer inspection. This is an RJ Martin design, who has designed a few very solid knives for Kershaw.
It’s a new year and that means a host of new knives will soon be available. Some companies like Spyderco and CRKT announced their new lineup in 2017, but Benchmade just released its 2018 catalog with some of the new knives.
As always expect even more new knives from Benchmade and other companies at SHOT Show in February.
Until then, take a look at these new models for 2018. MSRP $225
The Altitude is designed to be a lightweight hunting knife for outdoor use that appears to be part of Benchmade’s Hunt Series. For the most part, the knife is very minimalistic with a slim skeletonized handle. The handle does feature carbon fiber microscales, however.
Like the other knives in the Hunt Series, the Altitude uses S90V steel and comes with diamond-like carbon coating. It only weighs 1.6 ounces and also comes in orange. MSRP $230
The Fact is another slim, minimalistic design that Benchmade calls a “minimalist masterpiece.” It has a slender S30V steel blade that’s a lengthy 3.95 inches. The handle is black anodized 6061-T6 billet aluminum. This almost reminds me of a Cold Steel.
From the first three new knives (put in alphabetical order coincidentally), you’ll notice the theme is minimalism. This little guy has a 2.6-inch blade with S30V steel and a skeletonized handle as well.
Sure, there are more than two months left in 2017, but that hasn’t stopped CRKT from quietly adding new models to its online catalog.
What I love most about CRKT is the effort they put into creating unique knives with interesting technology. While they would get a definite boost out of using better steels and materials (though the price bump may be too hard to overcome), CRKT is definitely always pushing the boundaries.
Although nearly two dozens knives have emerged on the site, I’m only highlighting the seven you’ll want to buy when they’re released.
7. CRKT Cuatro
Richard Rogers put in two designs with CRKT this year, but I’m more fond of the smaller Cuatro (as opposed to the larger Maven). It’s a straightforward folder with a small flipper and IKBS ball-bearing system. It doesn’t have a ton of ergonomics, but the grip is G-10, so it should feel pretty secure in the hand.
The blade is 3.2 inches, which is a great size for everyday carry.
6. CRKT Williwaw
Would the Williwaw go on our list of worst knife names ever? It would until you actually look it up to see that it means a sudden violent wind. When you know that, it all makes sense. This great design from Jim Hammond has a wind-kissed handle reminiscent of squalls. The handle itself is 2Cr13 stainless steel with wintry contours.