SOG Team Leader Fixed Blade Knife Review

SOG Team Leader Fixed Blade

SOG stories begins in Vietnam, where members of a highly classified US special ops unit – known as MACV-SOG – carried a unique combat knife into the jungle on covert missions. Years later, in 1986, that knife inspired a young designer, named Spencer Frazer, to found SOG Specialty Knives. His mission: to reproduce the original SOG Bowie knife and pay tribute to the special ops unit that created it. What began as a single commemorative model soon became a full line of innovative tools – field-proven by US Special Forces, even honored as the Navy SEAL knife of choice. Today, SOG knives are carried with confidence into the most demanding situations. SOG says, “Forged out of tradition, hardened in the field, honed for you.

So whether you’re protecting others or leading an epic hunting expedition, tackling one of life’s everyday challenges or facing your most extreme conditions yet, lead the way with SOG.”

Today we will be discussing the SOG Team Leader Fixed Blade.

 

The Blade:

The blade on this knife is made out of AUS-8 steel. This is a good steel, although it is not a super steel or even considered to be a premium steel. This steel is Japanese made and is often compared to 440B because of how similar their qualities really are. However, between AUS-8 and 440B, 440B is slightly more resistant to rust and corrosion. That being said, AUS-8 is the harder steel, which means that it will keep its edge for longer periods of time. On that matter though, AUS-8 steel does not have a ton of carbon in the steel, which means that when you compare it to the best steels, it won’t keep its edge nearly as long. This steel is extremely easy to sharpen and you will be able to get a razor edge on it. This is a huge benefit because this fixed blade is probably going to be used in the great outdoors and you will be able to sharpen it when needed.

The blade has been finished satin, which is the most common blade finish on the market today. This finish is used to showcase the bevels of the blade while also showcasing the fine lines of the steel. It provides a very traditional look to the blade which will last through time. The blade is also not going to steal the show or draw too much attention to it. To create the satin finish, the manufacturer sands the blade in one direction with an increasing level of a fine abrasive. As a key, the finer the abrasive (usually a sandpaper) and the more even the lines, the cleaner the satin finish is going to look. This is not a super high end knife, so the satin finish won’t look as clean as the higher end knives. Some of the last benefits of a satin finish is that it does increase the corrosion resistance of the blade slightly, which is good for an AUS-8 blade. It will also cut down on some glares and reflections, which can be beneficial if you are using this knife mainly outside.

The blade has been carved into a clip point blade shape, which is one of the two most common blade shapes along with the drop point. The clip point shape is just as versatile as the drop point blade, but it is not going to be as tough. Instead, you will have greater ability to pierce or stab with a clip point. The shape of the blade is created by having the spine of the knife curve toward the point from the handle until it reaches about two thirds of the way. At this point, the knife curves more sharply downward toward the butt. This area is straight on the Team Leader although on some other knives it is curved. This portion is also called the clip, which is where this knife shape got its name from. The clip creates a lowered point, which is going to give you greater ability to perform fine detail work with. And, because the point is finer, thinner, and sharper at the point, you are going to excel at piercing. The tip is created to have less drag during insertion along with a smoother pull out. The clip point also has a large belly that is ideal for slicing, which is a great thing to have in the wilderness. Because AUS-8 steel can get so sharp and the belly is so large, you don’t even need serrations—it will be able to cut through thicker materials such as thicker sticks or vines.

SOG Team Leader Fixed Blade
SOG Team Leader Fixed Blade

The knife does have a straight, plain edge, which just means that there are no serrations. This will make it even easier to sharpen. The plain edge is also going to give you cleaner cuts, which can be crucial if you are using this as a food preparation tool or a first aid tool.

 

The Handle:

The handle on this knife is made out of black glass-filled nylon, or GFN. GFN is the same material as Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon, or FRN, as well as Zytel. This is a thermoplastic material that is very strong, resistant to both bending and abrasion, and is one of the most indestructible materials that you are going to find for a knife handle.

This material is resistant to bending and abrasion and almost indestructible because the nylon fibers are arranged haphazardly throughout the material. This is going to create a material that is strong in all directions, as opposed to other fiberglass resin laminates such as G-10, Carbon Fiber, and Micarta. These other materials have their fibers arranged in a single direction, which means that they are strong in that direction, but will start to break apart when stressed in any other direction. However, because of the production process, GFN can feel cheap or even somewhat hollow. People have also found that it does not offer as much grip as you are going to find in G-10, which is a drawback for this fixed blade.

This material is so inexpensive because it can be injection molded as well as textured throughout the production process. These characteristics mean that the manufacturer can produce a high volume of the handles at once which does keep the cost down. This ultimately keeps the overall cost of the knife down.

The overall benefits of the material are strong, tough, inexpensive, and requires almost zero maintenance. The cons to this handle material is that it doesn’t give as much grip as G-10 would and it does have a cheaper plastic feel.

The handle is built to be tough and comfortable. The spine of the handle curves toward the butt with a bulge in the middle, which creates a comfortable grip on the handle. The butt of the knife does have some jimping, which will give you more control when you are cutting with this knife. There is a large finger guard, which will protect your fingers in case of slippage. While this may seem unlikely, if you are in a wet enough environment or using it as a food tool or even a hunting knife, the finger guard is going to be a really big advantage. There are three finger grooves that stretch from the top of the handle to about two-thirds of the way down the knife. All of these grooves do have jimping on them to give more control a better grip. The first groove is the biggest, with each one getting progressively smaller.

The handle of the knife does have a large lanyard hole that is big enough to fit almost any lanyard. The lanyard can come in handy if you are looking for even more texture when using this knife. You can wrap the lanyard around the face of the handle before gripping it, to add a significant amount of texture. The lanyard is also handy if you plan on wanting this knife at easy access without wanting it to get in your way.

 

The Mechanism:

             This is a fixed blade knife, which means that there is no internal mechanism. This means that there is no spring and no hinge. Fixed blades are legal in more states, cities, or areas, because they are not automatic. However, always know your local knife laws before you purchase this knife as BladeOps is not responsible for any consequences of broken laws.

The fixed blade is very easy to maintain because there is no spring or hinge. This means that you don’t have to worry about any inside parts rust or corrode. All you really have to do is wipe down the blade and the handle and make sure the blade is dry before putting it in the sheath. You will also want to oil the blade occasionally to keep it in the best shape you can.

Some of the other benefits of a fixed blade is that you can bring it into play more quickly than you would be able to a folding knife. All you have to do is pull it out of the sheath and you are ready to go. This knife also makes a better survival tool, because it is tough enough to use for more purposes than just one.

 

The Sheath:

This knife comes with a nylon sheath. Nylon is one of the most common sheath materials that you are going to find in the cutlery industry today. Nylon is often compared to leather when it comes to sheaths because they are both so common and have been around so long. Just like leather, nylon sheaths are tough as well as strong. They also have a one up when it comes to leather because they are resistant to rot and mildew and are not vulnerable to water. This is definitely the area of expertise where the nylon sheath is going to take the lead compared to the leather. Also, nylon sheaths are not easily scuffed or torn, which is great for your large fixed blade because you will probably be using this in more extreme environments instead of just your day to day life.

Of course, nylon is going to have its disadvantages. For example, nylon does not last as long as leather ones or the more modern materials are going to last. Plus, while the other sheath materials are going to either fit your knife better with time or fit your knife the same over time, nylon is going to get stretched out. This is not a huge deal breaker, because it should still hold your knife okay. However, if you are going to be moving through the trenches or in extreme environments, a fit that isn’t snug could mean losing your knife. If you choose to keep it, the knife is not going to be as secure or protected. That being said, nylons sheaths are not super expensive, so if you do need to replace it, it shouldn’t set you back too much.

 

The Specs:

The blade on this knife measures in at 5 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.16 inches. The overall length of this knife measures in at a whopping 10.25 inches long. This is a larger knife, so you are going to need to expect a heavier weight. The Team Leader weighs in at 7.4 ounces, which is heavier than your typical EDC, but for a large fixed blade such as this one, it really isn’t too heavy.

 

Conclusion:

             You can only lead from the front” is one of our favorite expressions. If you are one of those people who covet the “ultimate ultimate” then we have a surprise for you. The Team Leader exemplifies the exceptional with incredible balance and streamlined aesthetics. Comes with an AUS-8 stainless blade for a great combination of performance and price. This knife is no longer carried by SOG, but you can still pick one up from BladeOps. Hurry over to get this knife today if you are looking for a great fixed blade for a great cost.

 

 

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