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The Best SOG Pocket Knives For EDC

Best SOG Knives 0 Hero

With its military roots, focus on value, and overall tactical nature, SOG Knives and Tools has long been one of the most eminent forces in its space. While it’s still largely guided by these key principles, SOG’s catalog of knives has steadily evolved over the brand’s more than three and a half decades in operation, ultimately resulting in some of the most lauded fixed blades and folders currently on the market. This includes an ever-growing selection of top-notch EDC knives — the latest and greatest of which we’ll be shining a light on today in this guide to the best SOG Knives for everyday carry. 

The Best SOG Knives

Clandestine Roots

A Condensed History Of SOG Knives

To fully understand the story of SOG Knives, you first have to jump back a few decades to before the outfit’s ultimate inception in 1986. In 1964, a decade or so into the Vietnam War, United States Military officials created a highly-classified unit called the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam – Studies and Observations Group — or “MACV-SOG” for short. Intended to carry out recon and other clandestine missions, this elite group of operators were all issued a special combat knife that also lent itself to survival applications — and was completely devoid of markings of any kind in an effort to conceal its origins, should one of its users be caught with it behind enemy lines. Equal parts deadly and utilitarian, this purpose-built knife was only issued to an elite few, though it would nonetheless serve as something of a catalyst for what would later become one of the most revered knife companies on the planet. 

Roughly a decade after the conclusion of ‘Nam, a young designer by the name of Spencer Frazer set out to create a faithful reproduction of the MACV-SOG’s jungle warfare knife, and this commemorative model would be the first-ever product released under the banner of Frazer’s new startup, SOG Knives – which, like the organization it was named after, stood for the “Studies and Observations Group.” SOG’s inaugural release quickly proved to be a hit in the knife world, allowing the company to begin developing first other knives, before eventually expanding its lineup to include a host of different hatchets, shovels, flashlights, machetes, saws, and other pieces of largely outdoor-focused and military-inspired kit. In 1991, SOG also released the ToolClip, becoming the second-ever modern production multi-tool on the market —with Leatherman being the first just three years prior to the inception of Frazer’s brand. Today, SOG Knives stands as a key player in the knife space. The company continues to expand its catalog, updating and tweaking existing items while simultaneously developing all-new offerings from the ground up.

A Tactical Edge

What Makes SOG’s Knives Special Or Unique?

SOG’s first-ever knife was a combat-style fixed-blade developed from the ground up for tactical military use. The knife needed to be lightweight enough to be carried at all times, while still being rugged enough for MACV-SOG members to trust with their lives in CQC scenarios. Today, SOG has massively deviated from its inaugural offering, though the key characteristic traits of that knife are still very much present in every product that SOG makes. So, whether its a multi-tool or an EDC knife, SOG’s wares are all largely characterized by their use of hardwearing and long-lasting materials and rugged build quality, as well as their unmistakably military and tactical influence that makes a great many of these products instantly recognizable as being from SOG. 

SOG’s well-designed and well-built knives and tools are objectively impressive, with these highly-utilitarian, built-to-last products having earned the company legions of dedicated customers and followers over its more than 35-year history. However, SOG’s wares are made all the more noteworthy by the prices that the company sells them at. Like standard-issue military gear, SOG’s blades offer incredible value, making these hardwearing, high-performance items widely accessible no matter your budget. That’s not to say SOG’s knives are cheap — far from it in fact — but more so that they’re designed to afford excellent bang for your buck. Now based in Southern California, the firm also understands that certain products can easily be mass-produced without massively compromising on quality, while others require more meticulous manufacturing in order to really be done justice. For this reason, SOG crafts its knives and tools in several different locations scattered across the globe including Taiwan, China, Japan, and its home country of America.  

Another unique aspect of the brand is the manner in which it’s stayed true to its roots. While it’s true SOG has expanded its operations to include the production of all manner of knives and tools, it continues to produce pieces of kit that are designed specifically for military use — a fact that’s lead to SOG knives and tools being carried by elite personnel, including a myriad of the world’s most  feared operators ranging from Delta Force members to NAVY SEALs. Considering the enormous wealth of genuinely stellar options on the market for combat knives, this last fact speaks volumes about the overall quality, capability, and performance of SOG’s blades. 

One more element that sets SOG apart from other eminent knife brands is the manner in which it constantly strives to remain at the forefront of the cutting tool industry. SOG possesses a major knack for innovation, and has been responsible for numerous industry-firsthand proprietary designs and mechanisms —including the patented XR lock that first debuted in 2019. A major part of the outfit’s commitment to innovation also lies in how well it’s managed to stay modern. SOG is constantly delivering thoroughly modern designs. If you look at its product catalog from only half a decade ago, you’ll notice the vast majority of its knives have been replaced with newer successors — with the exception of some of its most tried and true models like the SOG Bowie knife

Add up the company’s military roots and continued service to today’s fighting forces, couple that with its focus on value, constant strive for innovation, top-notch build quality, and unmistakable tactical influence, and you should start to get a very clear sense as to not only what makes SOG Knives special, but also why the brand is held in such high regard with everyone from everyday carry enthusiasts to elite military operators. 

SOG Key Knife

SOG Key Knife
Photo: Knife Center
  • Lightweight & affordable addition to any EDC loadout
  • Serves as great mini/backup blade
  • Unassuming, non-threatening appearance
  • Can easily be carried with you at all times on keyring
  • Also offered in fully-blacked-out version
  • Handle is brass-colored stainless steel, not actual brass
  • Limited utility compared to full-sized knives

Best Keychain Knife: The aptly-named SOG Key Knife has long been one of our all-time favorite keychain knives. With a brass-colored exterior measuring 2.50” in length, this item genuinely resembles your average house key and was designed to discreetly sit on its user’s keyring. Despite its tiny size, this knife not only features a folding 1.50” blade— a nail nick-opening item made from 420J2 — but said blade is also secured via an integrated backlock mechanism. Tipping the scales at less than one ounce, the SOG Key Knife also shares a standard house key’s thickness. 

Blade Steel: 420J2
Blade Length: 1.50”
Handle Material: Stainless Steel
Overall Length: 4.00”
Lock: Lockback

SOG Instinct

SOG Instinct
Photo: Amazon
  • Extremely ergonomic handle
  • Great for both EDC & self-defense use
  • Has beefy 0.16” blade thickness
  • Highly concealable
  • Sold w/ included polymer sheath
  • Fixed blade design makes it less pocketable than folding EDC knives

Best Boot/Neck Knife: At roughly a quarter-inch-thick, the SOG Instinct is a compact fixed-blade neck knife that’s as concealable as it is deadly. The knife has an extremely ergonomic handle design cloaked in grippy G-10 scales and coupled with a 2.30” clip point blade with a full-tang 5Cr15MoV construction and a beefy 0.16” thickness. Weighing in at only 2.30oz, the Instinct is a genuinely outstanding choice for utilitarian workhorse duties, everyday carry use, and self-defense applications alike. Considering the incredibly robust nature of this knife — again, mainly thanks to a full-tang 0.16” thick construction — the fact that it’s sold at under $50 also makes it an exceptional value. Sold with an included black polymer hard sheath, this knife is also offered in a Mini-spec with a shorter 1.9” blade. 

Blade Steel: 5Cr15MoV
Blade Length: 2.30”
Handle Material: G-10
Overall Length: 5.90”
Lock: N/A

SOG Twitch II

SOG Twitch II
Photo: Amazon
  • Updated 2nd-gen take on popular EDC model
  • Features patented pass-through lock bar design
  • Combines modern & retro design elements
  • Has assisted flipper tab-deployed AUS-8 blade
  • Spring pivot causes some multi-directional blade play

Best Classically-Styled Knife: Made in America, the SOG Twitch II is an updated second-generation iteration on the brand’s take on a classically-styled neo-retro pocket knife. Combining modern and vintage design elements, the Twitch II features a traditionally-styled handle crafted from anodized aircraft-grade 6061-T6 aluminum. This handle sports a more secure, updated take on a classic lock-back design that benefits from the use of SOG’s patented pass-through lock bar design. Mated to the handle is a 2.65” drop point blade that’s composed of Japanese-made AUS-8 steel and deployed via a flipper tab or thumb-studs — both of which are backed by an SOG Assisted Technology opening setup. Despite its overall length of 6.20”, the Twitch II tips the scales at only 2.60oz. With its classic style and modern materials and features, the SOG Twitch II makes for an exceptional — and very affordable — everyday carry knife. 

Blade Steel: AUS-8
Blade Length: 2.65”
Handle Material: Aluminum (or Rosewood)
Overall Length: 6.20”
Lock: Lockback

SOG Flash AT

SOG Flash AT
Photo: SOG
  • Tactically-inspired folder engineered for EDC
  • Equipped w/ ambidextrous spine-mounted safety
  • Incredibly versatile design
  • 3.45” blade has decent 0.12” thickness
  • Uses titanium nitride-coated, cryogenically-heat-treated D2 blade construction
  • On the larger/heavier side for EDC at 8.29” & 5oz

Best Value Knife: Another immensity-capable tactically-inspired folder engineered specifically for EDC, the SOG Flash AT is an advanced knife with a modern form that boasts numerous noteworthy proprietary elements. For starters, the Flash AT’s full-sized 3.45” blade is composed of special cryogenically-heat-treated “Cryo D2” steel which has been further fortified via a black titanium nitride coating. This Cryo D2 blade is deployed via SOG’s Assisted Technology opening setup and double-secured via a unique spine-mounted ambidextrous safety — a double-locking combination that, for all intents and purposes, turns this 8.29” folder into a bonafide fixed blade. Ample jimping at the base of the blade’s spine also affords excellent grip — an area furthered by the GRN handle’s simple yet ergonomic shape. The Blackout version seen here also comes adorned in a completely murdered-out, monochrome finish with all-black everything and the only visible contrast being the blade’s grind and branding.

Blade Steel: D2
Blade Length: 3.45”
Handle Material: GRN
Overall Length: 8.29”
Lock: XR Lock

SOG Terminus XR

SOG Terminus XR
Photo: SOG
  • Has extremely rugged yet lightweight G-10 & CF handle
  • Blade has 3 deployment options
  • XR lock can withstand 1,500lbs of force
  • Offers fantastic value
  • Very thin 0.10” blade
  • Made in China

Best Overall EDC Knife: The SOG Terminus XR brilliantly encapsulates a great many of the qualities that have made SOG’s knives so popular. Sporting a clear tactical influence, these 7.21” folder was engineered from the ground up specifically for everyday carry duties. As such, the Terminus XR is crafted around an ergonomically-shaped handle that’s composed of a lightweight yet extremely hardwearing amalgamation of G-10 and carbon fiber composite. The handle also features SOG’s patented XR lock — an ultra-sturdy mechanism capable of withstanding over 1,500lbs of pressure/force. Capable of being deployed via its thumb-stud setup, flipper tab, or via a flick of the wrist while pressing the XR lock, the SOG Terminus XR’s blade consists of a 2.95” drop point item made of Crucible Industries’ top-shelf CPM S35VN blade steel. Punching well above its weight, this lightweight and rugged workhorse of an EDC knife is legitimately capable of going toe-to-toe with blades costing three-times as much. 

Blade Steel: CPM S35VN
Blade Length: 2.95”
Handle Material: G-10 & Carbon Fiber
Overall Length: 7.21”
Lock: XR Lock

SOG Ultra XR

SOG Ultra XR
Photo: Blade HQ
  • Uses cryogenically-heat-treated S35VN blade
  • Has unique thumb-hole-opening shape
  • Extremely compact & low-profile design
  • Sports design elements borrowed from SOG combat fixed blades
  • Lightweight carbon fiber handle measures just 0.20” thick
  • Very thin 0.8” blade thickness
  • While ergonomic, carbon fiber handle lacks grip/would benefit from texturing

Best Compact Knife: Equal parts lightweight and utilitarian, the SOG Ultra XR is an immensely pocketable, high-end EDC knife that aims to cram as much utility as possible into the smallest possible form — while still affording a full four-finger grip. Insanely low-profile at just 0.20” thick, the Ultra XR’s carbon fiber handle features an XR Lock and a pressed steel pocket clip. This handle comes mated to a 2.75” clip point blade made from a cryogenically-heat-treated CPM S35VN steel. What’s more, this handle features numerous design elements that offer nods to its predecessors, including a thumb-hole opening that mimics some of SOG’s fixed blade knife fullers (or “blood grooves”) as well as jimping at the base of the spine that pays homage to the similar details found on iconic SOG fighting knives like the Pilar. And, for being a Chinese-made knife, the Ultra XR genuinely sports an impressive level of build quality. 

Blade Steel: CPM S35VN
Blade Length: 2.80”
Handle Material: Caron Fiber
Overall Length: 6.40”
Lock: XR Lock

SOG One-Zero XR

SOG One Zero XR
Photo: Blade HQ
  • Top-shelf take on tac-inspired automatic EDC knife
  • Uses auto version of patented XR lock
  • Excellent build quality
  • Extremely versatile design
  • Blade made from Tint-coated cryogenically-heat-treated CPM S35VN
  • Legitimately made for a lifetime of use
  • Would benefit from thicker blade profile (only 0.10” thick)
  • Not legal to carry in some regions
  • Made in Taiwan

Best Auto Knife: Though offering solid value is a major cornerstone of SOG, its SOG One-Zero XR takes things in a markedly more premium direction for the California company. Sporting SOG’s signature tactical influence, this objectively premium automatic knife starts with a contoured handle machined from aircraft-grade aluminum before being fitted with its patented XR locking mechanism. The handle on the “1-0” has been paired with a drop point blade that features SOG’s signature-shaped thumb-hole opening and spine jimping — despite being deployed via a push-button firing mechanism. In addition to a titanium nitride coating, this 3.10” blade is also composed of CPM S35VN steel that’s been finished using SOG’s cryogenic heat treatment. As one would expect from a knife at this price point, the SOG One-Zero XR auto model boasts an outstanding level of build quality, with a meticulous fit and finish and a razor-sharp edge right out of the box. Sadly, this knife isn’t made in America. 

Blade Steel: CPM S35VN
Blade Length: 3.10”
Handle Material: Aluminum
Overall Length: 7.80”
Lock: XR Lock

The Best Gerber Pocket Knives For EDC

Best Gerber Knives For EDC 00 Hero

Want to take another deep dive into another great American knife brand that’s also immensely popular with military personnel, then be sure to check out our guide to the best Gerber knives for a selection of the PDX outfit’s latest and greatest blades, along with the brand’s history and what makes it unique.