first published on October 5, 2020 by Josh Brooks[mashshare]
On my first deployment to Afghanistan, I owned two simple fixed blade knives. One, was of course every Marine’s go-to knife of choice, a USMC Ka-Bar fixed blade knife. The second however, was a much smaller blade that lived on my flak jacket as a permanent fixture. That knife was the SOG SEAL Pup. Since then, I’ve always wondered how other SOG Knives would stack up against the one I carried throughout the duration of my second combat deployment. Well, I’ve finally got my hands on the SOG Ace, and it’s past time I found out the answer.
For the record, I did not receive this blade from SOG. It came to me courtesy of Gear Pack’s 49th box, which was of a jungle theme. Outside of this knife, a bunch of other really cool things came too. This knife was just the icing on the top, and the one item I really couldn’t wait to get out and test. For the purpose of the testing here, I’ve done a bunch of basic Bushcraft activities ranging from batoning small pieces of wood to make a fire to some pretty basic carving.
We’ll get more into my testing techniques below as I review the blade.
If you’re out of the loop, SOG is one of the most modern storied knife makers out there. Their history is traceable back to MACV-SOG in Vietnam and a specific design of jungle knife. The company, founded in 1986 by Spencer Frazer, has a simple mission: “To reproduce the original SOG Bowie knife and pay tribute to the special-ops unit that created it.”
From that simple commemorative knife design up until today, SOG has forged themselves as one of the greatest knife makers in the market. In fact, their products are so well made that even the United States Navy SEAL teams have chosen them as their knife maker of choice.
Amongst GWoT veterans, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t owned, or at the very least wanted a SOG in their tool-kit. That’s for good reason. Their knives are proven through my generation’s conflict.
Here’s a short video produced by SOG that is worth your time.
When you first get the SOG Ace, it’s easy to be skeptical of it. For the most part, you’re getting a budget friendly knife at around $30 depending on where you find it. That said, when you get the box in your hands, and actually pull the knife out, you quickly realize and recognize that you have a SOG product in your possession.
This knife was introduced to the market in 2018. The general purpose design of this knife makes it perfect for outdoor work. It has a hard rubberized handle that is very durable. The sheath also features a notch which is perfect for cutting cordage and fishing-line. While the knife itself may not seem like anything special to someone looking at it from the outside, you can feel the difference between this knife and any of it’s same price-point competitors.
With the Ace, you truly have a product made by people who are proud of their profession. You can feel that passion as soon as you grip it in your hands for the first time.
Let’s get into the specifics.
Since exiting the service in 2014, my day-to-day bushcraft activities have drastically reduced. No longer do I need to spend my days rigging improvised shelters during patrol base operations. I no longer open three MRE packages a day. It’s also very rare that I need a sturdy blade to cut people out of situations that are potentially life threatening for them. All of that said however, there is something to be said about a decent bushcraft knife, and my civilian profession still does see me out in the wilderness quite often.
For the purpose of this review, I took the Ace out with me on a trip to the range. While at the range, we weren’t able to start a fire, there’s currently a ban here in the Salt Lake Valley area. So, I did some simple batonning just to test the blade out to see how it would fair. I am happy to report that the knife held up to batonning quite well, and is no worse for the wear after. Throughout the day, I also used the knife for the rest of my basic range activities, and the knife functioned as intended with no real issues to report.
Over the course of the day I also found myself with an abundant amount of down-time. I used this to further test the blade with some simple carving. While I’m no expert, the blade was pretty excellent for making pointy sticks, which is definitely something you want out of a field knife.
Overall, I was very satisfied by my time with the Ace, and for the price of entry, I’d say anyone looking for a budget fixed-blade knife should look no further than this knife right here.
The SOG Ace is a true masterclass in budget fixed blade knives. It has everything you want in a small field knife, and comes to you delivered for less than half the price of a trip to the movies with your family. With this knife, I am confident that you could do all of the required activities of an outdoorsman. That includes, cleaning fish, starting fires, and building your bushcraft tool-kit. On top of that, you can attach the SOG brand to your knife with a lifetime warranty to boot.
A huge shout-out to Gear Pack on providing this knife in their latest monthly box. If you haven’t check them out yet, make sure you see our previous review, which is linked up towards the top of this post.
That’s just the opinion of one independent reviewer though. Let me know down in the comments what your favorite fixed blade knife is. If it’s budget friendly, all the better. Together as a community we can always come together to make better purchasing decisions.