It was my first SOG knife and I was pretty excited, to say the least. So, I slowly opened the box and lifted the knife in sheath...
Carefully I donned this SOG and I couldn't help myself... as I heard, "WOW!" come from my lips as though I were a child again, looking at my first bike on Christmas morning. I know, I'm a dead giveaway and I bet you can you guess where I'm going to end up with this review.
So before I get ahead of myself, let's back up and start from the beginning
SOG was founded in 1986 by Spencer Frazier with a one product in a one page ad that was placed in Soldier of Fortune Magazine. Since then the Seattle based company has grown to become a household name among knife lovers by crafting high quality, innovative knives and tools for military, tactical, law enforcement, outdoors men and the general public.
Not long ago the SOG Seal Team knife won a competition that was put on by the Naval Special Warfare center and recently SOG upgraded this line with the addition of the SOG Seal Team Elite. But is the Elite as worthy as its predecessor? Let’s find out...
A knife is only as good as it’s steel. So let’s start here.
SOG Knife Steel
The SOG Seal Team Elite blade is made out of AUS-8 Stainless Steel which is comparable to 440 A stainless. AUS-8 is an excellent high-end stainless steel with good edge holding capabilities, overall toughness and wear resistance when heat treated properly. SOG uses a special cryogenic heat treatment process which involves deep freezing the knife steel at temperatures lower than 100 degrees Fahrenheit. This process significantly strengthens and toughens the blade steel.
SOG Knife Blade
The SOG Seal Team Elite has clip point style blade and is coated in a black Titanium Nitrite finish... which makes the steel even more resistant to rust. Clip point blades have a back that is concavely formed to make the tip thinner and sharper. See that?
Clip point blades add the additional usefulness of excellent piercing, picking and cutting in tight places. About two thirds of the blade is a fine edge and one third serrated. Out of the box this blade is very sharp and can shave the hair off of the back of my hand.
The serrated edge is helpful for sawing, chopping and cutting through cord, limbs, wire and light sheet metal .
The SOG Seal Team Elite has a huge 7 inch blade that is nearly a quarter inch wide. There’s a lot of steel on this knife. The overall length of the Seal Team Elite is 12.3 inches.
The knife weights 10.3 ounces which is surprisingly light considering the size of this knife and the thickness of the steel. One of the major differences between SOG Seal Team and the Seal Team Elite is the addition of the serrated rasp on the spine of the blade steel.
SOG Seal Team Elite Spine Rasp
The rasp serrations go from the handle to nearly the tip of the blade and vary in thickness and distance between each serration. And check this out... the back of the knife is NOT straight... it has three different concave serrated segments. These sloped areas increase the knife’s bushcraft capabilities and provides sure impact points for using a make shift mallet with this knife, in a survival situation.
The curved rasp closest to the handle is designed so that you can extend your thumb onto the back of the blade to better control the knife. The spine rasp is also great for notching and rough filing of wood and metal.
The handle of the SOG Seal Team Elite is made of Glass Reinforced Nylon (or GRN). The handle is notched in a diagonal checkered pattern at all the right places for maximum grip. This is a hard and very durable handle... that is not going to damage easily in the field regardless what you throw at it or throw it at -but it may be a little rough on your hands if you use it for an extended time. The handle is surprisingly comfortable and provides an excellent grip even in wet conditions.
The knife is well balanced and with the center of gravity falling right under where my four finger naturally wraps around the handle. The handle is great for large or small hands... like mine.
The knife is full tang construction which mean the knife steel extends the full length of the knife through the handle. Full tang is regarded by most knife experts as the strongest possible construction technique. At the butt end of the SOG Seal Team Elite the blade steel extends beyond the handle giving us a nice pommel to break, smash and hammer things.
And there's a pretty big lanyard hole that will take some pretty thick paracord or thinner rope.
Ballistic Nylon Sheath
The standard SOG case is made of a heavy duty ballistic nylon. It’s very rigid and just feels durable. The sheath is triple stitched and reinforced with 7 rivets at key stress points. Four of the rivets have grommets holes through them this is cool for lashing the sheath to stuff or tying the bottom of the sheath to your leg to keep it from flopping around. There is a handy pocket on the front of the sheath that can take a small multi-tool, sharpening stone, fire steel or an extra 9mm magazine. The knife can be inserted into the sheath for left or right hand carry."SOG Seal Team Elite Sheath is Great for Left or Right Hand Carry"
Inside the sheath we have a polymer sleeve. This sleeve is form fitted so that when the knife is stowed, it is held snug in the sheath. Theres no thumb lock or catch... you simply slide the knife out of the sheath.
For traveling with the knife, there is a nylon strap that uses a Velcro type closure. For military and tactical applications I don’t like Velcro straps. They are noisy and can get gummed up over time.
Fortunately SOG offers the SEAL Team Elite with form fitted Kydex sheath complete nylon strap that secures with a snap... not Velcro.
Unfortunately the Kydex sheath is not MOLLE compatible so it’s not going to as easily strap to your tactical vest or pack but is excellent for belt carry. Other than the Velcro closure system, the SOG ballistic nylon sheath is well built, very functional and light weight."The SOG Seal Team Elite is MOLLE Compatible and Easily Attached to Any Belt" The SOG Seal Team Elite is MOLLE Compatible and Easily Attached to Any Belt
The nylon sheath offers multiple carry options and works great for belt carry and it is MOLLE compatible.
Most owners comment on the SOG Seal Team Elite’s sharp, edge-holding blade, it’s quality build, and the excellent nylon sheath. Survival knife collectors often hold the SOG Seal Team Elite as their best knife and overall ratings of this knife come in well over 4 out of 5 stars.
We rate the SOG Seal Team Elite knife at 5 out of 5 stars for design, innovation, quality of build and materials, durability, edge sharpness and retention, the rasped spine, and how good this knife feels in the hand and performs in the field. We rate the SOG Seal Team Elite SHEATH at 4.5 out of 5 stars for it’s quality build and thoughtful design but take off a half star for the velcro closure system on the handle strap.
It would have been nice to see a snap there instead of Velcro. And it would have been a nice touch if SOG had included a pocket knife sharpener or fine and medium sharpening stone in the front pouch.
Who is this Knife for?
The SOG Seal Team Elite is an excellent choice for those who want a great all around knife for military and tactical applications, diving, hunting, camping, backpacking or anyone who wants a great survival knife for their bug-out bag that is designed to last a lifetime with minimal care - just in case.
What’s the Cost?
Well the SOG Seal Team Elite is not the cheapest survival knife on the block at around $95 online for the knife with Nylon Ballistic Sheath and around $110 for the Seal Team Elite with Kydex sheath.
Other AlternativesNEW SOG Force. If you want an award winning knife that has been troop tested in environments all over the world... and you want a knife that is going be ready for action when you need it, I highly recommend the SOG Seal Team Elite for your consideration. Until next time... ~David