SOG speciality Tools and Knives is renowned for their geared plier-based multi-tools, but as per previous installments of TPF-Online, they also manufacture some quality and interesting blades. With that being said, SOG gratefully provided TPF-Online with one of the Aegis line of knives for reviewing. For those that may wonder where the word Aegis comes from, let us take a bit of a history lesson from Wikipedia.
An aegis is a large collar or cape worn in ancient times to display the protection provided by a high religious authority or the holder of a protective shield signifying the same, such as a bag-like garment that contained a shield. Sometimes the garment and the shield are merged, with a small version of the shield appearing on the garment. It originally was derived from the protective shield associated with a religious figure when related in myths and images. The wearing of the aegis and its contents show sponsorship, protection, or authority derived from yet a higher source or deity. The name has been extended to many other entities, and the concept of a protective shield is found in other mythologies, while its form varies across sources.
The word Aegis has traditionally been used in defensive systems and designs across the world, from protective sunglasses to 1911 style handguns to ship based missile systems. It is in this vein of thought that SOG has adopted the name’s usage for an ultralight folding knife series. Based upon the patented SOG Assist Technology™, and the Arc-Lock system, the Aegis is very similar to the previously reviewed Flash-II in opening, locking, and safety mechanisms. TPF-Online takes a look at the AE-04 model of the Aegis series of knives.
The initial thought of the author when the Aegis was first looked at was that the handle looked cheap with a bland matte black finish and very minimal patterning for grip retention. Simply put however, the author was wrong. The black handle of the knife is manufactured from Zytel nylon and is composed of 2 halves secured together with six (6) socket head screws. Four (4) along the back spine of the handle, one (1) for the pocket clip, and final fastener as part of the SAT/pivot. The partially serrated tanto blade measures 89.0 mm (3.50″) in length and inserted into the blades spine are the ambidextrous thumb studs. The titanium nitride coated AUS-8 steel blade sports nearly 28.0 mm (1.10″) of thumb ridges along it’s 3.0 (0.12″) thick spine.
The Aegis handle does differ from the Flash and it is these differences which externally show up between the two designs. The profile of the Aegis removes any excess thickness and width which was present on the Flash-II’s, such as the removal of the lanyard loop hole, two finger profile in the grip, and the small hump at the top of the handle above the pivot. The mass saved is offset by the tanto-blade profile which, while massing the same 97 grams (3.1 oz) as the Flash-II, results in the Aegis having a centre of gravity further forward than the Flash-II.
In the grips are a series of rubberized inserts sporting the SOG brand name repeatedly while proving a surer gripping ability for the individual whom wields the knife. The manual safety on the left side of the grips and prevents the Arc-Lock system from moving the locking piston when in safe position. Since the piston lock also provides direct resistance for initial blade opening, by engaging the safety the piston is rendered immobile and therefore disables opening of the blade. Add into that the reversible pocket clip for tip-up carrying, and the Aegis package is complete. While SOG promotes this product as a tactical knife, the low mass and efficient blade design make the Aegis a good EDC knife for those interested.
The SOG Aegis reviewed (AE-04) has a MSRP of $114.00 USD and is one of many variations available for the Aegis line of blades. Remember that the SOG AE-04 Aegis Folding Knife, like all SOG products, is backed by a lifetime warranty that protects against defects in manufacturing and materials. This knife can be found as various stores across Canada and online at places such as Toronto based www.thegreatoutdoorsmen.ca. TPF-Online authors have their own opinion of the Aegis folding knife, but ultimately it is your decision, the reader’s, to determine if SOG’s Aegis folding knife is Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical.
Several weeks ago, TPF did a review of SOG’s Flash II. Today a look is given to a version available from another manufacturer; Gerber Legendary Blades. Gerber’s Answer is a spring assisted opening knife, self catagorized as being a “Clip Folder” and appears to be constructed with durability in mind. Gerber SAO’s use what is trademarked as the F.A.S.T. system. From Gerber’s website; F.A.S.T. is “a proprietary name that stands for Forward Action Spring Technology: Spring assisted blade opening mechanism designed for Gerber by custom knife maker Butch Vallotton.”
With handles crafted from black anodized aluminium, textured inserts (read skateboard tape) for additional non-slip gripping and sporting an 84mm (3.3″) nitrided stainless steel blade , the very ergonomic Answer has a substantial mass at 153gr (4.9 oz). There are only two controls on the Answer, the first being a saftey/release slider which determines the available actions of the blade. From the closed position the slider can be switched front and back with nearly zero effort. When the red dot is exposed by shifting the slider towards the pivot point, it signifies that the knife safety is disabled (red dot meaning “armed”) and is GTG (“Good to go”) for opening. When not showing the “armed” dot, the blade is locked into position, irregardless if it is in a closed or open position. In the open position the slider forced into away from the blade pivot and must be actuated in order to release the blade for closing.
The second control is the dual thumb studs on the blade itself for ambidextrous opening which is very simple to acomplish. Use the thumb stud to manouver the blade open to a point where the F.A.S.T. mechanism takes over and locks the blade into open position. Compared to the aforementioned Flash II, the Answer’s opening speed is not as fast, but feels much more solid as it locks into open position which may be a result of not using any obvious polymer/plastics in construction of the knife. The pocket clip for the answer in NOT reversible and is located at the blade pivot, on the opposit side of the slide pivot. This means that when the Answer is clipped into your pocket, the blade pivot side sticks up (AKA Tip Down position). The EDC knife of TPF’s author sits in the same fashion, but some individuals may not desire that orientation.
The Answer itself has few variations. The model reviewed has a drop point straight edged blade design, however, a sister model of the same blade length and mass is offered with a Tanto blade shape incorporating a partially serrated edge. Two other versions of the Answer also exist. The Answer SM is a smaller version of the model reviewed here with a 71mm (2.8″) blade and massing 81gr (2.6 oz). The Answer XL is the tanto version enlarged to a 102mm (4.0″) blade and massing a hefty 218gr (7.0 oz).
The Gerber Answer 3.25 reviewed (model# 22-01971) has a MSRP of $72.99USD and is available at a great variety of knife stores across Canada. Like SOG, Gerber allows prospective customers to purchase many (if not all ) products direct from the Gerber website. The SM and XL versions list for MSRP’s of $63.99USD and $84.99USD respectively.
Gerber Legendary Blades: Answer 3.25 – Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical?
In between the author’s federal party volunteer work, getting taxes complete, paying employment, and shooting hobbies, as well as family on top of that; TPF is pleased to be able to take a look at SOG’s Flash II, assisted opening knife. The model we are looking at today is the black polymer handled, drop-point, straight-edged version; specifically the FSA-8.
SAO knives (Spring-Assisted-Opening) are perfectly legal in Canada. As has been described to the author by those with far more knife knowledge than TPF; as long as you have to mechanically or physically move the blade before the spring takes over and finishes opening the blade to full extension it is 100% good to go. Ones that do not move the blade are the automatic, and ones which you can open with the “flick of the wrist” or through centrifugal force are considered prohibited devices. So your old 1980’s lock-back knife that is loose to the point that the blade falls out of the handle when you hold it certain ways is a bad thing in Canada. Our laws make about as much sense as giving a murderer three-for-one credit for time served while waiting for trial…
Back to the SOG Flash II. The knife uses the patented SAT opening mechanism (SOG Assisted Technology) for its mechanism for completing the opening once the thumb stud on the blade is engaged. It is fast and solid in operation. The model reviewed was equipped with black Zytel handles and includes a reversible pocket clip. This clip actually protrudes past the handle and allows for the knife to be carried in one’s pocket with the most minimal visual clues. As SOG states, the clip allows for “the lowest, most discreet carry possible.” TPF has to agree, and the clip is mounted to allow for minimal hand repositioning or manipulation, when withdrawing it from the pocket and opening the blade.
Now for the operation of the Flash II. Opening the blade is a two-part process. Firstly the safety must be manipulated into the unlocked position, which is denoted by a bright red indicator. This safety appears to have a detent as it does require a decent amount of effort to shift and there is a noticeable mechanical “unlock/lock” when used. The safety was included as an additional measure to prevent unwanted blade opening, which sounds like a CYA statement to TPF. The opening of the blade is accomplished only through the use of the blade mounted thumb studs mounted on opposite side of the blade itself. For closing of the blade, the pivoting stud located in the handles is pulled back and unlocks the blade, allowing for closing. This pivoting stud is easy to use and allows for one-handed closing by using the thumb to unlock the blade and then pressing the back of the blade against any object, such as a pant leg, and into the closed position.
Both the safety lock and the blade release are located on the same side of the knife, the only true issue with the knife is if you reverse put the pocket clip. Manipulation of the safety looks as though it would become much more difficult due to how close the clip sits to the safety lever. The 89mm (3.5″) stainless steel, straight blade is housed in the encompassing and surprisingly comfortable and firm grips. At 97 grams (3.1 oz) this knife masses very light for its size due to the thorough use of Zytel.
SOG Specialty Knives and Tools has numerous variations available for this knife including tanto shaped blades, black TiNi coatings, partially serrated edges and numerous colour options for the handle similar to the SOGZilla reviewed earlier by TPF. Also available is an aluminum machined handle version which increases the Flash II’s mass to 131 grams (4.2 oz), and a rescue version which has a serrated sheep’s foot contoured blade with a black or orange Zytel handle.
The SOG Flash II reviewed (FSA-8) has a MSRP of $75.00 USD and is available at a great variety of knife stores across Canada. SOG’s website can help prospective buyers to decide on the option they like best and even purchase it direct, but be aware that shipping costs may be unbelievably high. Most versions of the Flash II have MSRP’s under $90 with the exception of a few select configurations which top out at nearly $145.00 USD.
SOG Specialty Knives and Tools’ Flash II – Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical?