SOG Centi I and Centi II Knife Review

The story behind SOG specialty knives begins in Vietnam with a highly classified US Special Ops Unit known as MACV-SOG, or Military Assistance Command, Vietnam—Studies and Observations Group. The members of this unit carried a unique combat knife because their covert missions were in the jungle. Some of these missions included: cross-border operations in to Cambodia, Laos, and North Vietnam to carry out intelligence gathering or raiding missions on the enemy’s ‘home ground’; gather intelligence about POWs and carry out rescue missions when possible; rescue downed aircrews in enemy territory; train, insert, and control agents in North Vietnam to gather intelligence or form resistance groups; carry out black Psy Ops such as operating fake broadcasting stations inside North Vietnam; kidnap or assassinate key enemy personnel; retrieve sensitive documents form equipment lost in enemy territory or in enemy hands; and insert rigged mortar rounds or other booby-trapped ordinance in enemy arms caches.

It was years after this group was around that Spencer Frazer found the knife and founded SOG Specialty Knives. His mission was to reproduce the original SOG Bowie knife and pay tribute to the special ops unit that created it. The company began as a single commemorative model, but it soon became a full line of innovative tools. These tools have been field proven by US Special Forces and even honored as the Navy SEAL knife of choice. Today, SOG knives are carried with confidence into the most demanding situations as well as protecting others, leading an epic hunting expedition, tackling one of life’s everyday challenges, or even facing your most extreme conditions yet. Lead the way with SOG, because these tools are “Forged out of tradition, hardened in the field, honed for you.”

Spencer Frazer has always been a creative person who has had a great curiosity for how things work. He is the founder of SOG as well as the chief designer. He has said, “SOG started some 25 years ago in my apartment with a simple mission; To create innovative products that stand apart from the pack. While SOG has grown, our commitment to that original mission has remained the same. Today, it’s one of my greatest satisfactions to receive letters from SOG enthusiasts the world over, expressing the fact that our products have lived up to their highest standards. It inspires us to continue to build superior products that last… knives and tools that help you meet the challenges of a demanding world.”

SOG has recently released two brand new knives and they live up to the classic SOG reputation. These knives are called the Centi I and the Centi II.

SOG Centi I and Centi II
SOG Centi I and Centi II

The Blade:

The blades on these two knives have been made out of stainless steel. This type of blade usually has at least 12% chromium which does two things for the blade: it makes the blade able to resist rust and corrosion a lot better than high carbon blades. The downside is that stainless steel is generally softer than high carbon knives. This means that the stainless steel knives are pretty easy to sharpen, however they also tend to lose their edge quicker than a high carbon blade. Some advantages to a stainless steel blade is that they are more durable and tougher than a high carbon blade. However, they are not harder than a high carbon steel. Stainless steel blades do not rust, chip, or stain easily. While a stainless steel can still rust, it usually resists rust much easier than other types of steels. Another advantage is that the look of a stainless steel blade is preserved for long periods of time. The stainless steel blade needs less maintenance than other types of blades.

Both of these knives have blades that have been finished with a hard cased black finish. This finish is used to provide the knife with a sleek, black look. This is a coating finish, so it does help the blade to resist rusting and corroding, while also cutting down on glares and reflections. The coating finish will also help the steel to not accumulate as many scratches and increase the durability of the blade. On the flip side, it is a coating finish, so it will be more prone to scratching, peeling, or wearing off over time and throughout heavy use.

Both of these blades have been carved into a drop point style blade. This is a fantastic, versatile, popular blade shape. The drop point blade shape can really take on almost anything. Drop point blade shapes are most commonly found on hunting knives, although the shape is also used on many other types of knives as well. To form the drop point blade shape, the back, or unsharpened, edge of the knife runs straight form the handle to the tip of the knife in a slow curved manner, which creates a lowered point. Because of the lowered point, you have more control over the tip as well as the tip being much stronger. One of the disadvantages to the drop point blade shape is that the tip is not as sharp as the tip on the clip point, but it is so much stronger. Because the tip has extra strength and because the blade shape is able to stand up to heavy use, drop point blades are popular on tactical and survival knives. And, because the tip is so controllable, drop point blades are a very popular choice on hunting knives; the lowered, controllable tip makes it easier to avoid nicking the internal organs or ruining the game’s meat that you are working with. One of the reasons that this shape is such a great option for an all-purpose knife is because it features a large belly with plenty of length that makes slicing a breeze. When you are looking for an everyday knife, you should be looking for a blade with a belly because most of your everyday tasks are going to involve some form of slicing. The biggest disadvantage to a drop point blade is that it has a broad tip which takes away most of your stabbing capabilities. But in most people’s eyes, the strength that you gain from the broad tip is well worth having no stabbing capabilities.

The edge on both the Centi I and the Centi II are straight edges. This type of edge is the more traditional edge style and excels at push cuts as well as skinning, peeling, shaving, and slicing. With a straight edge, it is easier to sharpen and you can usually get a finer edge on it. The straight edge prepares you for more of your everyday tasks.

There is a large hole in the middle of both blade; this hole works to cut down on weight as well as giving you a thumb hole to open your knife.

 

The Handle:

The handles on both of these knives are made out of stainless steel. Stainless steel provides fantastic durability as well as resisting rusting and corrosion with ease. However, there are a handful of drawbacks to having a stainless steel knife handle. For starters, stainless steel is not particularly lightweight, so even with a small knife like the Centi I and Centi II, it will add good chunk of weight to your knife. The second drawback to this handle material is that it does not provide you with great grip because it is so slick. To combat this, SOG has add a row of jimping in the middle of the spine of the blade. There are also two, elongated, super shallow finger grooves on the bottom edge of the handle. The last thing that they did was add a raised portion on your palm to add texture. Even though these two knives are both very small, they are going to be able to achieve some heavier duty things, because of how durable stainless steel is. The stainless steel has been anodized black to make these two knives all black and very sleek.

These knives have been built to be the knife that you have on you at all times. To make it easier for you to constantly have this knife with you, SOG has carved a lanyard hole into the butt of the handle. Having a lanyard attached to your knife has so many benefits. One is that it is super easy to attach to your boot, belt, or pack strap with the lanyard. Second, it helps to prevent against loss and secure the knife in place. This benefit is more for when you are out adventuring and cannot keep track of your knife. Third, you can fold the lanyard over the knife handle for added texture when you need a more solid grip. And fourth, you can add a bit of personal style with a lanyard. There is no pocket clip on these knives, so the lanyard helps keep your knife out of the way while you don’t need it, but also keeps it right there when you do need it.

 

The Centi I:

Now that we have gone over everything that is the same in both of the knives, we will take a minute to touch on the differences.

 

The Mechanism:

This is a folding knife that sports a slip joint locking mechanism. The slip joint doesn’t have a true “lock” as far as laws are concerned, and because of that, this type of locking mechanism isn’t ideal if you are trying to perform heavier duty tasks. This type of locking mechanism is most commonly seen in Swiss Army Knives. For the most part, this locking mechanism requires two hands to open and close the knife safely. It is made out of a spring bar and a specially shaped blade. To open the knife, you pull on the blade to overcome the pressure form the spring, snapping the blade into place. To close it, make sure your fingers are out of the way of the sharp edge, and push back down. One of the main advantages that this type of locking mechanism sports is its legality. In some places, knives that lock open are not allowed, and this is a way around the law.

 

The Specs:

The blade on this knife is 1.4 inches long, with a blade thickness of 0.05 inches. The overall length of this knife is 3.4 inches long, with a closed length of 2 inches long. This is a tiny, super lightweight knife that weighs in at only 0.40 ounces.

 

The Centi II:

The Mechanism:

The Centi II is also a folding knife, but it sports a lock back locking mechanism instead of a slip joint locking mechanism. The lock back mechanism is what you will find on many of the classic American folding knives. It is basically made of a “spine” on a spring. When the knife is opened, the spine locks into a notch on the back of the blade. To close the knife, push down on the exposed part of the spine to pop up the part of the spine in contact with the blade. This disengages the lock, allowing you to swing the blade to a closed position. Some of the major advantages of a lock back mechanism include its reliability in strength and safety. The unlock is out of the way of your grip when using the knife, which means that you’re unlikely to accidently disengage the lock and have it close on you. It also keeps your hands clear of the blades path when closing, minimize the risk of cutting yourself. However, one of the disadvantage is that while using both hands to close a lock back is safer, it can be inconvenient when you need to keep one hand on whatever you are cutting.

 

The Specs:

This knife is a little bit bigger, with a blade length of 2.1 inches. The closed length of the knife is 2.9 inches long, with the overall length of the knife being 5 inches long. This knife weighs in at 1.3 ounces.

 

Conclusion:

The Centi I and Centi II have been designed small, yet durable and powerful so that you can have them with you wherever you go. And they are still strong enough to take on some of the tougher tasks that your day throws at you. Pick yours up today at BladeOps.

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