SOG: Serious Knives for Serious Users


Seal XR Black

Kiku XR LTE Blaze Orange

When founder and longtime owner Spencer Frazer of SOG Specialty Knives, commonly known simply as SOG, retired in 2020, there were a lot of questions about the future of the innovative and successful cutlery manufacturer. After 45 years of business, who would take the helm of the company? Known for making excellent knives, both fixed-blade and folder — not to mention an extremely popular line of multi-tools — what changes would new leadership bring to SOG? Now, with time to let the dust settle, we felt it was time for an update, and we bring it to you here.

With fresh blood comes change, and so it has with SOG. After Frazer’s retirement, the responsibilities for the manufacturer’s direction were handed over to Beren McKay to oversee Innovation and Product Development, Jonathan Wegner to lead Industrial Design and Strategy, and Chris Cashbaugh, to direct Product Strategy. “In the last decade there was a focus on appealing to the mass consumer which, we feel, caused SOG to lose focus,” Jonathan Wegner tells Handgunner. “We acknowledged this to be a misalignment with where we wanted to go so last year the company launched a complete brand refresh, starting with a total revamp of the product line-up. The new products and direction are what has put SOG on a different course and has been received very well by traditional and new fans of the brand alike.”

The new management team did some serious head cracking and developed a bold new direction for SOG focused on new divisions — essentially recreating the SOG brand. In a nutshell, they took the carburetor out and added a supercharger. “Our new product lines are developed specifically with one of three key focuses in mind: professional and defensive use, outdoor (including hunting and camping), and general-purpose daily carry,” Jonathan explains. “At the beginning of the development of each product we first identify what problem we’re trying to solve, who the user is, and what the typical use scenarios look like to give us clear parameters of what we’re trying to make and the goals we’re aiming for. This follows our ‘study, observe, understand, apply, repeat’ product development mantra to ensure we’re creating tools that are developed to be deliberately intentional, rather than just a pretty looking hype tool.”

ParaShears Red

Pentagon FX Covert Blackout

Innovation Is Key

Innovation has always been high on SOG’s priorities, whether it be incorporating new features into their knives or improving their earlier ones — they’ve never sat on their laurels. “In terms of special features, we have quite a few to talk about as almost every single release has patented or patent pending technologies we’ve developed to achieve a specific solution or feature,” notes Wegner. “One of our most popular recent innovations has been the latest evolution of our Arc Lock, which we have named the XR Lock. Key benefits of our patent pending design is smoothness and reliability of open and close, ability to work with a kick, and its sheer strength. We have tested this lock system in our SEAL XR knife to an excess of 2,500 lbs. of force without a failure of the lock mechanism. Our XR Lock can be found in most of our recent folders across all three of our user categories — Terminus XR, Kiku XR, Vision XR, Pentagon XR, Ultra, XR, SOG-TAC XR — and will be utilized in many upcoming future releases.”

Multi-tools continue to be a hallmark in the SOG stable. “Our signature Compound Leverage feature is well known in our multi-tools. It allows for one-handed open operation as well as enhanced gripping and cutting strength. We’ve applied this technology not only to our well-known multi-tools such as PowerAccess and PowerLock but also to our folding ParaShears, providing the user with greater cutting force,” Jonathan informs us. In addition, SOG still continues to build innovation into their fixed-blade line as well. “We are just starting to release the Universal Mounting System (UMS) on our fixed blades, which we’ve developed to be an interchangeable and customizable sheath and carry group of accessories that can be adjusted and scaled to meet individual applications. This system includes tool-free tensioners on the sheaths, which allow for adjustment of the draw strength. Our UMS Clip features a very flat, strong steel MOLLE or belt mounting solution as well as a variety of other attachment methods and accessories.”

Pentagon XR Flat Dark Earth

Piping Hot SOG

We asked Jonathan to give us the inside scoop on SOG’s best sellers. “In the last year, our best sellers have included our recently released Terminus XR and the associated variants we have in G10 and Light Edition form. The Terminus XR is a compact everyday carry that has a perfect blade shape and size for most common daily tasks.

“Our Kiku line of products, designed by noted custom knifemaker Kiku Matsuda from Japan, has a lot of fans. They have a unique design style which started as a single collaboration and have now gained momentum in many variants. The latest version is the Light Edition Kiku XR LTE — a large format outdoor folder that is incredibly lightweight thanks to the use of carbon fiber as a structural component.

“In our professional line-up of knives,” Wegner continues, “the Pentagon XR and Vision XR are very popular with both uniformed professionals as well as those who carry for self-defense. The assisted-opening technology Trident AT gets a lot of love from first responders. Our HQ store has frequent visits from local first responders who swear by Trident — especially the latest version.”

As for the highway ahead, new designs are just around the corner. “Future plans are to dive deeper into what we’ve done in the last year, which is doubling down on innovative features and materials and continuing to work with end-users to understand their needs — more of that. We have one of our largest collections coming out in Spring 2022 with a good number of items specifically designed for each of our main customer groups.” We’re looking forward to seeing where this new, supercharged version of SOG goes!

For more info: and @SOGknives on all major social media networks

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