SOG Spec Elite II Automatic Knife Review

SOG Spec Elite II Automatic Knife

SOG Specialty Knives, Inc. is a U.S. knife and tool manufacturing company that is famous for their reproduction SOG Knife from the Vietnam era. SOG currently manufactures a variety of knives other than the original military inspired designs, many designed for everyday carry. The company also produces a lien of multi-tools.

The company was founded in 1986 by Spencer and Gloria Frazer and was inspired in its choice of name by the Joint Services Special Operations unit known as the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam Studies and Observations Group (MACV-SOG) who developed their own knife during the War in Vietnam.

Making changes to the original deigns 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. Knives such as these and more of the SOG models produced prior to the shift of production from Seki, Japan to Taiwan are considered to be the best knives SOG had ever made.

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 round 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.

SOG Specialty Knives manufactures an array of tools available for military personnel and casual outdoor users. SOG also makes several other military style knives including a tactical switchblade which is only available to military/law enforcement personnel. SOG has developed fixed blade knives for survival and outdoors such as the Tech Bowie as well as folding knives, many of which feature assisted opening technology such as the Aegis, Twitch, and Trident. SOG also manufactures multi-tools including the Paratool, PowerLock, and PowerAssist.

Many of SOG’s folding knives and multi-tools are made or assembled in the USA, with the higher priced folders being made by G. Sakai in Seki, Japan. The fixed blade models that were originally made in Seki are now made in Taiwan. Some of SOG’s lesser priced tools, such as the Fusion line are manufactured in Taiwan or China.


The Blade:

There are two different versions of this Automatic knife, but both of the blades feature AUS-8 steel. This is an upper mid-range steel that is made in Japan. The steel is very similar to 440B steel, except that it is slightly superior because it is more resistant to rust and corrosion. This steel is also more resistant to rust and corrosion than 440C, but it is less hard than 440C. AUS-8 steel is tough, but it doesn’t hold an edge as well as some of the more premium steels, because it doesn’t carry as much carbon in it; carbon helps with hardness and edge holding abilities. AUS-8 steel is very easy to sharpen and also easy to get a razor sharp edge on it.

There are two different finishes that you can choose from with this SOG knife. The first option that you can choose from is a satin finish. This blade finish is created when the manufacturer repeatedly sands the blade in one direction with increasing levels of a fine sandpaper. This finish is used to show off the fine lines in the steel as well as showing off the bevels of the blade. This finish does slightly increase the blades ability to resist rust and corrosion, although that is not a huge characteristic of what this finish does. The satin finish is the most popular blade finish that is used today and gives you one of the most traditional looks that you can get on your blade.

The second blade finish option is a TiNi, or Titanium Nitride, finish in black. This is the best coating that can be applied to steel and is commonly used to increase durability. The TiNi finish is known to be both extremely scratch and peel resistant, and is applied to the steel though a unique process of plasma deposition performed in a complete air-sealed vacuum. By applying it a vacuum, it creates an even finish, which you won’t always get on a painted finish.

SOG Spec Elite II Automatic Knife
SOG Spec Elite II Automatic Knife

The blade on the Spec Elite II is a clip point blade. This blade style is one of the two most popular blade shapes that you are going to find in today’s cutlery industry. The clip point blade style is a great all-purpose blade. To form the shape, the back edge of the knife runs straight from the handle and stops about halfway up the knife. Then, it turns and continues to the point of the knife. This cut out area is straight on this SOG blade, and is referred to as the “clip”, which is also where the blade shape got its name. Because of the clip, the point on this blade is lowered, which means that you are going to have more control when you are using the knife. The clip point blade excels at piercing because the tip is controllable, sharp, and thinner at the spine. One of the reasons that this blade shape is an all-purpose blade is because of the large belly that the knife features. This belly will lend well to all your slicing abilities. The clip point blade shape does feature one major disadvantage and that is that the blade has a relatively narrow tip. Because the tip is so sharp and narrow, it does have a tendency to be weak and can break fairly easily. If you are looking for a blade that has a tougher tip, look for a SOG knife that sports a drop point blade.


The Handle:

The handles on both versions are made out of 6061-T6 aluminum. Aluminum is a very low-density metal used in knife making, and is very corrosion resistant. Since it is such as soft metal, it is primarily sued in knife handles and sometimes hard anodized for aesthetics and wear resistance. Aluminum is also the most abundant metal in the earth’s crust. The most common aluminum alloy that is used on knives is the 6061-T6 alloy, which is what these SOG knives are made out of. All that means is that the type of aluminum is 6061, and it is T6 tempered. 6601-T6 aluminum has one of the highest yield and tensile strengths of all aluminum alloys. This alloy is also used extensively in aircraft, and is often referred to as “aircraft aluminum,” which is viewed more as a gimmick than an actual advantage to the knife handle.

The handles have been hard anodized in black. This is not your regular anodizing process; it is an anodizing process that forms an extremely hard, abrasion resistant, porous oxide on the aluminum. It is generally referred to as an “engineering hard coat” due to the fact that oxide has been found to be suited for applications where the hardness and increased oxide thicknesses are an advantage. This oxide layer can be up to 30% harder than some stainless steels. Anodizing aluminum involves placing the aluminum in a bath of acid and passing electrical charges through the material. This builds up a layer of aluminum oxide on the outside of the aluminum. Not only does this provide a sleek black color, it also increases the aluminums durability, strength, and hardness. Aluminum is prone to scratches, which show up pretty bad, but with the hard anodization process being applied to this handle, it will be less prone to scratches.

The handle is pretty simple, with jimping on both the spine and the underbelly of the handle, near the closest portion to the blade. There are small grooves carved into the face of the handle as well as “SOG” that has been carved into it. These features will increase your ability to grip the handle and grip it well. The ergonomics are designed so that you can have a more comfortable grip on this knife, with the middle of the handle have a slight curve inward.


The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip on this knife is a deep carry pocket clip, which means that your knife will stay more secure in your pocket and you won’t have to worry about it slipping out as you go about your daily tasks. This deep carry pocket clip is also perfect for law enforcement, military personnel, and regular consumers alike. This clip is reversible, which means that it can be attached for left or right handed carry—making this knife more comfortable for each individual to use.


The Mechanism:

This series of knives are all automatic knives. Automatic knives have a strict set of laws that surround them. They are not legal to purchase or carry in all states, areas, or cities and it is your responsibility to know what your local laws are. You, the user, are responsible for all consequences.

An automatic knife is also known as a switchblade or a pushbutton knife. This is a style of knife with a folding blade that is contained in the handle which is opened automatically by a spring when a button on the handle is activated. Most switchblade designs incorporate a locking blade, in which the blade is locked against closure when the spring extends the blade to the fully opened positon. The blade is unlocked by manually operating a mechanism that unlock the blade and allows it to be folded and locked in the closed position.

Switchblades actually date form the mid-18th century. In France, 19th century folding knives were available in both automatic and manually opened versions in several sizes and lengths. The advent of mass production methods enabled folding knives with multiple components to be produced in large numbers at lower cost. By 1890, U.S. knife sales of all types were on the increase, buoyed by catalog mail order sales as well as mass marketing campaigns utilizing advertisements in periodicals and newspapers. In consequence, knife manufacturers began marketing new and much more affordable automatic knives to the general public. In Europe as well as the United Sates, automatic knife sales were never more than a fraction of sales generated by conventional folding knives, yet the type enjoyed consistent if modest sales from year to year.

In 1950, an article titled The Toy That Kills appeared in a widely read U.S. periodical of the day. The author said, “It’s only a short step form carrying a switchblade to gang warfare.” Some U.S. congressmen saw the switchblade controversy as a political opportunity to capitalize on constant negative accounts of the switchblade knife and its connection to violence and youth gangs, which is when the strict laws first popped up.


The Specs:

The blade on this knife measures in at 4 inches long with the handle measuring in at 4.9 inches long. When the blade is opened, the knife has an overall length of 8.9 inches long. This knife is the perfect weight to become your new everyday carry knife, weighing in at 3.5 ounces. The SOG Spec Elite II Automatic series of knives was made in the United States of America.



The Spec Elite series are manufactured from 6061-T6 hard anodized aluminum and use a state-of-the-art auto mechanism that snaps the blade open with conviction and locks it up tight when it’s open. This larger model, the SE-61, features either a satin finish or a black coating on a 4″ clip point blade. This auto knife also features a slim profile, a built-in safety on the back handle scale as well as a reversible deep carry pocket clip–perfect for law enforcement, military personnel and consumers alike. Pick up this fantastic everyday carry knife today at BladeOps.


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