SOG Traction LockBack Knife Review

SOG Traction LockBack Knife

Our story 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.

SOG was named in honor of a covert US Special Ops unit that fought in Vietnam. The unite was known as Military Assistance Command, Vietnam—Studies and Observations Group (MACV-SOG). Its existence once denied by the US Government, it wasn’t until long after the war that the SOG story could even be told.

Years later, in 1986, that knife inspire 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. Making changes to the original design of the MACV SOG Fighter like resin-impregnating the leather handle, utilizing thicker stock and new grind lines, Spencer and Gloria launched their product and company with a one-page, black and white ad in Soldier of Fortune Magazine of the S1 Bowie, a replica of the SOG Knife used by the SOG groups operating in South-East Asia. They also produced the SCUBA/Demo knife, which is a replica of one of the rarest military knives to date (only 1 of the original 39 knives produced has survived till this day.) A second “maritime” version of the Bowie (S2) was made utilizing a black Micarta handle and stainless steel blade known as the Trident. IT was decorated with the US Navy SEAL emblem as opposed to the Special Forces Crest found on the Bowie. The original S1 and S2 classic bowies were manufactured for SOG by Ichiro Hattori of Seki Japan until 2006. The other models were manufactured by Kinryu Corp. also of Seki until 2007.

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. 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 Traction lockback knife that features a 5Cr13MoV stainless steel tanto blade that has been satin finished as well as a GRN handle.

SOG Traction LockBack Knife
SOG Traction LockBack Knife

The Blade:

The blade on this knife is made out of 5CR13MoV stainless steel. This is a budget knife steel that comes from a Chinese series of steel. This steel is a lower grade steel than 440C, but knives made with this steel will stand up to abuse without easily chipping and is at least an HRC 58. This steel probably won’t hold an edge as well as steels in the same series, but will be easy to re-sharpen. The biggest advantage that this steel can offer is how cheap it is—it will keep the cost of your overall knife down.

The blade on this SOG knife has been finished with a satin finish. This finish is created by repeatedly sanding the blade in one direction with an increasing level of abrasive, which is usually a sandpaper. The satin finish works to high light the bevels of the steel as well as the fine lines in the steel. This is one of the most traditional blade finishes that you are going to come across. This is partly because of how often this finish is used, but it is also due to the fact that it is not extreme on either ends of the spectrum in terms of luster. A mirror finish is going to be more reflective than a satin finish but a coated finish is going to be less reflective than a satin finish.

You can get this SOG knife in one of two blade shapes: the drop point or the tanto. The drop point blade shape is one of the most popular blade shapes that is in use because it is so versatile and makes for such a great all-purpose knife. This blade shape is also going to be able to stand up to just about anything. To from this blade shape, the back edge of the knife runs straight form the handle to the tip of the knife in a slow curved manner, which works to create a lowered point. It is this lowered point that gives the control people have come to love from their drop point blades. This lowered tip also adds the classic drop point strength to the blade, but because of how broad it is, you do lose out on some of its sharpness. Because of the tip being able to stand up to almost anything, it has made the drop point blade shape a very popular option on both tactical and survival knives. And because the lowered point makes this blade style more easily controlled, drop point blades have become a very popular option on hunting knives. In fact, it is on a hunting knife that you are most likely to find a drop point blade. The controllable point makes it easier to cut cleanly and avoid nicking any of the internal organs, which would lead to ruining the meat. Drop point knives also feature a large belly that makes slicing a breeze. This large belly is one of the biggest reasons that a drop point blade shape is so versatile: in most of your tasks, you are going to be slicing. The only real drawback to a drawback knife is the broad tip that makes you lose out on piercing capabilities. But, it is also this broadness that gives you the strength to stand up to virtually anything.

The next option for your blade shape is a tanto blade shape. And while the drop point style has been designed to take on almost any task, the tanto style is much more refined. This blade shape does one thing and it does that one thing really well. The tanto blade shape has been designed to pierce through tough material without breaking. This blade shape originated from Japanese long and short swords that were originally designed for armor piercing, but was later popularized by Cold Steel. The tanto style has a high point with a flat grind, which leads to a very strong point that is perfectly designed for piercing hard materials. The tanto blade shape boasts a lot of metal near the tip, so it is able to absorb the impact form repeated piercing that would cause most other knives to break. The front edge of the tanto blade style meets the back, or unsharpened, edge at an angle, rather than a curve. This means that the tanto blade style does not have a belly, but instead you get a much stronger tip. If you choose this option of the Traction knife, just remember that the tanto blade shape is not going to be useful as a general utility knife because of the lack of belly. But, you are going be capable of piercing through most things.

 

The Handle:

The handle on this knife is made out of Glass Reinforced Nylon, or GRN. This material is the same material as Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon, or FRN. It is a thermoplastic material that is crazy strong, resistant to bending, resistant to abrasion, and overall pretty close to being indestructible. Plus, it is pretty cheap for the qualities that you get out of it. The main reason that it is so close to being indestructible is that the nylon fibers have been arranged haphazardly throughout, which results in it being strong in all directions. This material is often compared to G-10, Carbon Fiber, and Micarta, which have similar qualities except that they suffer from being brittle. They are more brittle than GRN because their fiberglass strands have been aligned in a single direction, so when they are stressed in other directions, they will begin to break apart. Although this knife handle material offers so man fantastic qualities, many knife lovers did not warm up to it because they expressed that it feels cheap and almost hollow; very plastic-y. This material also is going to be less grippy than G-10. To add a level of grip to this knife handle, SOG has created a crosshatch pattern of texture across the entire face of the handle. This pattern will ensure that you have a solid grip on your knife in almost any situation. Whether it is your everyday tasks with the drop point version, to piercing through hard materials with the tanto version, you aren’t going to lose your grip on the Traction.

This material is inexpensive because it can be injection molded into any desired shape and then textured in a variety of different ways. Overall, this handle material is going to enable you to get rough with your knife without worrying about your knife.

The ergonomics on this knife are very comfortable. The butt of the handle is more squared than you’ll normally find on a knife, due to the pocket clip being attached with a bayonet mount. There is a short row of jimping across the spine of the handle and the entire bottom of the handle features jimping. The butt and the top of the handle do flare out slightly, protecting your fingers form getting sliced as well as giving you a more secure grip.

 

The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip is al ow carry pocket clip which allows you to carry this knife discreetly. The clip is black, matching the handle. It is also slightly skeletonized, with “SOG” carved out of it. This knife is bayonet mounted and reversible.

 

The Mechanism:

This SOG knife features a lock back safety mechanism as well as a thumb stud to assist you in opening this knife.

The thumb stud is easily the most common one hand opening feature that you are going to come across, with almost all big-name knife manufacturers developing at least one knife that features a thumb stud. The thumb stud basically replaces the nail nick that is found on older, or more classic, knives. You hold the folded knife, place the tip of your thumb on the stud, and extend your thumb to swing the blade through its arc until the blade is fully opened where it will lock into place using the lock back mechanism.

The lockback is one of the oldest locks that are still in use today. A lever on the back edge of the handle catches in the tanto of the blade and locks it. To unlock the knife, one presses on the back of the lever. This locking mechanism is not only ambidextrous, but very safe to operate. This mechanism will lock up your blade very securely, so you won’t have to worry about the blade collapsing on your hand when you are in the middle of use.

 

The Specs:

The blade on this knife (either version) measures in at 3.5 inches long, with a blade thickness of .100 inches. The handle on this knife is 4.5 inches long. When this knife is opened, it measures in at 8 inches long. This knife is very lightweight, weighing only 2.3 ounces.

 

Conclusion:

New from SOG is an all-purpose line of solid lockbacks that are lightweight, durable and affordable. It features a drop point or tanto blade to suit your needs, and the Traction is small enough to carry in your pocket and big enough for most tasks. SOG designed it with a bayonet mounted reversible clip that gives you the ability to carry this knife extremely low and discreetly. The handle is ergonomically contoured and the straight edge, satin polished blade is large with a locking safety. The handle is made out of crazy durable material, so you won’t have to worry about taking it easy on this knife; it is going to be able to take the heat. Pick up your favorite version of the SOG Traction today at BladeOps.

 

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