While many knife company stories begin with one person and their love of knives, this company begins years before that. It actually begins in Vietnam. This is where members of a highly classified US special ops unit known as MACV-SOG were fighting. These members needed special tools because they were working in the jungle on covert missions. So, they carried a unique combat knife. It was years later, in 1986, where that knife inspired a young designer, named Spencer Frazer, to found SOG Specialty Knives. His mission was 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. These tool are field proven by US Special Forces, and has even been honored as the Navy SEAL knife of choice.
Today, SOG knives are carried with confidence into the most demanding situations. These tools are 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.
The blade on this knife is cut out of CPM S35VN steel. This steel was made by Crucible and Chris Reeve. Years before, Crucible release the CPM S30V steel. This steel had excellent edge retention and resists rust effortlessly. This was designed in the US and was typically used for the high end premium pocket knives and expensive kitchen cutlery. Because Crucible added vanadium carbides into the steel, it brought out the extreme hardness. This steel was considered to have the perfect balance between edge retention, hardness, and toughness. However, this was a tricky steel to sharpen, and that was the biggest complaint from knife lovers. That is why Chris Reeve and Crucible set out to improve it and improve it they did. In the S35VN steel, they added small quantities of niobium, which is where the N in the name comes from. They also chose to use a much finer grain structure. Because of these two changes, they were able to make the steel much easier to machine while also improving the toughness and the ability to sharpen this steel. This steel also resists rust effortlessly. When the first steel was so perfect, just imagine how excellent this improved version is.
The steel on the Banner was finished with a black TiNi finish. TiNi is short for Titanium Nitride. This is one of the best coatings that can be applied to a steel. Not only does it create a sleek, black look, it also works to increase durability of the steel. The TiNi finish is known to be both extremely scratch resistant as well as peel resistant. This finish is applied to the steel in a unique process of plasma deposition performed in a complete air-sealed vacuum. This means that the coating is applied as evenly as you will find; there are no spots where the finish will be uneven or where it ran, like a painted finish can get.
The steel on this knife has been carved into a clip point blade shape. This is a great all-purpose blade shape because of how versatile the blade shape is. It is also one of the most popular blade shapes that is in use today. This blade shape is most commonly found on Bowie Knives, but it is also a popular blade shape on many pocket knives and fixed blade knives. The back, or unsharpened, edge of the knife runs straight form the handle and then stops about halfway up the knife. Then, it turns and continues to the point of the knife. This area looks to be cut out, or clipped out, which is where the knife gets its name from. This clipped out portion can be curved or straight, but on the Banner, it is a straight clipped out portion. The point on this blade shape is lowered, which means that you are going to have more control over your slices and while you are using the knife. Because the tip is controllable, and sharper and thinner at the spine, the clip point blade shape lends itself to quicker stabbing with less drag during insertion and faster withdrawal. While the drop point and the clip point blade shapes are often confused, the biggest difference between the two is the point. On the drop point blade shape, the point is much broader and provides you with a lot more strength. However, because it is broader, you do not have any stabbing capabilities. The clip point blade shape features a much thinner blade point. So while you do possess stabbing capabilities with this blade shape, it is much weaker and more prone to breaking or snapping. With a drop point blade shape, you are able to perform harder or heavier duty tasks than with a clip point blade shape. One of the other reasons that this is such a versatile blade shape is that it features a large belly area that is perfect for slicing. One of the biggest features that you should look for in an everyday knife is one that can be used for slicing. The clip point blade shape helps make the Banner a perfect option for your everyday carry knife.
This blade features a plain edge. This means that it will be easier to sharpen and you will be able to get a finer edge on this knife. Plain edged blades are the perfect option if the tasks that you are looking to perform include a lot of push cuts. The Banner will also be able to skin, peel, and slice because of its plain edge. The Banner has truly been designed to make your everyday tasks much easier.
On the back of the knife blade, near the handle, there is a series of jimping.
The handle on this knife is made out of aluminum. Aluminum is anodized for a handful of reasons. One of the most obvious reasons that aluminum is anodized is to add a color to the metal. In the Banner’s case, SOG chose to anodize the handle black. A few of the other reasons that it has been anodize is to add hardness and protection. Aluminum is a very durable material, especially when it is used of knife handles. Plus, this material is a low density metal. This means that you will have a nice, hefty feel to your knife without your knife actually weighing too much. When Aluminum is properly texturized, you can have a secure grip on your knife. Aluminum is also a comfortable material to use for extended use. One of the biggest drawbacks to aluminum is that it is a very cold material. So, if you are working in the winter months or a cold environment, this handle might feel like it is biting into your hand. It can be very uncomfortable because of its conductive properties. One of the other reasons that aluminum is such a good knife handle material is that it is extremely resistant to rusting or corroding. The last drawback to an aluminum handle is that it is very susceptible to scratches and dings.
To add texture to this handle, SOG has carved in three grooves into the palm portion of the handle. They have also carved “SOG” into the handle. To help keep your fingers safe and your hand comfortable, they have carved out a deep finger groove. This is the perfect place to rest your finger as you grip the handle. One of the other safety features that SOG has added is a finger guard.
The Pocket Clip:
The pocket clip on this knife is skeletonized. In the middle of the pocket clip, SOG has added their logo, which is also skeletonized. The pocket clip on this knife is a low carry pocket clip, but it is a reversible pocket clip. This helps to make the Banner a little more ambidextrous friendly.
This is an assisted opening knife. The assisted mechanism that supports you is a thumb stud. This is arguably the most common one hand opening feature. The thumb stud is employed by many companies and designers. A thumb stud essentially replaces the nail nick found on more traditional knives. The principle is pretty straightforward. You grasp the folded knife, place the tip of your flexed thumb on the stud and extend your thumb to wing the blade through its arc until the blade is fully open. Knives with a thumb stud usually incorporate a locking mechanism of some sort. If the stud extends through the blade, the knife can be opened with either hand.
The blade on this knife is 3.5 inches long. The overall length of this knife is 7.1 inches long, with a closed length of 4.6 inches long. This knife weighs in at 4.6 ounces. This knife was designed and made in the United States of America.
The Pros of the Banner:
- The steel chosen for the blade is excellent at holding an edge.
- The steel chosen for the blade resists rust effortlessly.
- The steel chosen for the blade is very durable.
- The blade’s steel is easy to machine and sharpen.
- The steel is very tough, yet still durable.
- The steel is hard, yet not brittle, which is a rarer combination to find.
- The coating is applied in a vacuum, so you don’t get buildup of painted on coating.
- Because the coating is applied in a vacuum setting, the coating is extremely even.
- The coating is one of the most quality coating finishes, and will take much more to scratch off the coating.
- The aluminum handle is extremely durable.
- The aluminum handle is very resistant to rusting or corroding.
- The aluminum handle makes maintenance a breeze.
- The pocket clip is reversible.
- The aluminum handle has plenty of texture added to it, to provide you with a very secure grip.
- The aluminum handle provides you with a very hefty feel, but it is actually a very lightweight handle material.
- The handle has a finger groove and a finger guard to keep you safe.
- The clip point blade shape is versatile.
- The clip point blade shape provides you with stabbing capabilities.
- The clip point blade shape gives you a large belly that is perfect for slicing.
- The thumb stud makes it a breeze to open your knife one handedly.
The Cons of the Banner:
- Because it is a coating finish, the black will eventually scratch off.
- The pocket clip is a low carry pocket clip.
- The aluminum handle is a very cold material, so if you are trying to use this knife in a cold environment, it will feel like its biting into your hand.
- The clip point blade shape has a weak tip that is prone to breaking or snapping.
SOG’s story begins in Vietnam with a group of special ops that had to carry a special knife. Years later, Spencer Frazer found that knife and wanted to recreate it. At the beginning of SOG, there was only one knife and it was the tribute knife. But as they became a more popular company, they began to design and sell many other types of knives. Now, when you purchase a SOG knife, you know you are getting your money’s worth because these knives have been field tested for you.
For this perfect knife, SOG started out with a premium steel that has the perfect balance between edge retention, hardness, and toughness. Plus, it resists rust effortlessly and maintenance is a piece of cake. The handle is made out of aluminum, which is an incredibly durable material that also requires very little maintenance. The thumb stud allows you to open your knife with only one hand and the pocket clip is reversible. The reversible pocket clip helps to make this knife ambidextrous friendly. This everyday carry knife is truly a game changer. Get yours today at BladeOps.