Benchmade® Knife Company has come out with a new version of its popular SOCP® Dagger. Developed in conjunction with Greg Thompson, the new 173BK Mini SOCP Dagger optimizes the SOCP platform for concealed carry, while maintaining all of the best features of its full-sized counterparts.
The original SOCP Dagger was developed by Thompson, who is also founder of the Special Operations Combatives Program® (SOCP) taught to US military special operations personnel. It’s an outstanding tool that serves its intended design parameters exceptionally well.
In a close-quarters lethal-force encounter, we may not have the time or ability to deploy our firearm. Empty hand, knife and gun need to be (or become) an integrated skill set.
The SOCP Dagger was designed to the bridge the gap between hand-to-hand and firearms. It allows you to create space to transition to your firearm if the attacker still presents a lethal threat. It facilitates seamless transitions while allowing you retain control of the dagger.
Thompson spent several years developing the prototype of what was to become the SOCP Dagger. He took the prototype to several companies before finally hooking up with Benchmade, who helped him develop the final sheath concept that they have today.
The handle on the Mini SOCP Dagger is exactly the same as on the original SOCP Dagger. The overall length of the dagger has been reduced with a shorter blade for ease of carry and concealment, while maintaining its effectiveness in a self-defense situation.
A leather “comfort pad” has been added as an included option to the sheath that allows the Mini SOCP Dagger to be carried against the bare skin, protecting it from sweat and the skin from the edges of the pommel ring. Based on input from Special Operations personnel, Benchmade updated the design of the sheath clip for better retention on PALS webbing, pocket seams, and waistbands. The new clip features two little “fingers” that grab the material and give you much more secure sheath when drawing the dagger. The fingers fit into a groove in the sheath.
The Mini SOCP Dagger has an overall length of 6.25″ (15.88cm) with a 2.22″ (5.64cm) double-edge dagger blade and 4.03″ (10.24cm) handle. Blade / handle thickness is 0.175″ (4.45mm). It weighs in at a svelte 3.00 oz. (85.05g).
As with the original SOCP Dagger, the Mini SOCP Dagger is crafted from a single piece of 440C stainless steel, hardened to 58-60 HRC. 440C is a high-carbon martensitic stainless steel. It’s an excellent all-around knife steel. It provides a good balance of hardness and corrosion resistance at a value price.
The double-edge dagger blade geometry is ideal for penetration and also performs well for slashing cuts. The Mini SOCP Dagger that I received from Benchmade came exceptionally sharp.
The Mini SOCP Dagger has a durable black Cerakote® ceramic coating. Cerakote is proprietary thin-film ceramic coating made by a company called Cerakote. It provides excellent corrosion resistance and lubricity, as well as high chemical resistance. It’s exceptionally hard and wear resistant, which makes it an ideal knife coating.
The design of the handle on the SOCP Dagger family has been well thought out. It has a symmetric shape that works equally well with a forward or reverse grip. The handle has three matching finger groves on both sides and a pommel finger ring, as well as jimping in all the right places for a secure grip.
The finger ring aids in rapid deployment and retention. It allows full use of the hand to perform tasks without having to let go of the dagger and facilitates knife to firearm transitions. It also doubles as an impact weapon. The ring has an inner diameter of one-inch, allowing for use with duty gloves.
The finger ring has a very small raised extension on the butt with jimping on it. It’s deigned to provide added control using the thumb when employed in a reverse (hammer) grip with the forefinger through the ring.
The Mini SOCP Dagger comes with a MOLLE/PALS-compatible black injection molded sheath. The sheath is completely ambidextrous and holds the dagger securely with a tight friction-fit yet allows easy deployment. The Mini SOCP Dagger sheath retains the four holes of the original SOCP Dagger sheath for lashing or attachment of a neck lanyard/chain. It comes with two 2ft. lengths of 550 cord.
The Mini SOCP Dagger sheath has a stainless steel clip with a black oxide finish. The clip comes attached to the sheath by two round-head Torx-socket screws.
The new clip design is a huge improvement over the clip on the sheath of the original SOCP Dagger. It grabs into material and provides exceptional retention. There’s absolutely no need for a belt. I often wear the Mini SOCP Dagger clipped to my running shorts and concealed under a t-shirt when out jogging.
As previously mentioned, the Mini SOCP Dagger comes with a leather comfort pad. It’s easily installed on the sheath using the included Phillips-head bolts and anti-rotation nuts. The comfort pad makes a huge difference in comfort when the Mini SOCP Dagger is worn next to the skin, as I often do.
The Mini SOCP Dagger is designed for ultra-deep carry. When carried IWB or in the pocket or under the placket of a shirt, only the ring is showing. Most people wouldn’t even know that the ring is part of a knife. Another plus to the design is there’s no extended handle to print under clothes, dig into the body when worn IWB, or for an assailant to grab.
I typically carry the Mini SOCP Dagger IWB with the sheath clipped to my waistband. The reduced length of the Mini SOCP Dagger makes an enormous difference in both comfort and ease of carry.
To sum it all up, the Benchmade Mini SOCP Dagger takes a great platform and makes it even better. It’s an outstanding backup blade and firearm retention tool that offers some unique capabilities and is easily concealed. As with all Benchmade products I have examined, the workmanship on the sample provided to me was excellent.
The Mini SOCP Dagger has an MSRP of $110.00. Custom lasermarking options are available from Benchmade. The Mini SOCP Dagger is made in the USA. It comes with Benchmade’s Lifetime Warranty and Lifesharp lifetime sharpening.
BENCHMADE 173BK MINI SOCP DAGGER
Model: 173BK Mini SOCP Dagger
Designer: Greg Thompson
Action: Fixed Blade
Blade Steel: 440C Stainless Steel (58-60 HRC)
Blade Length: 2.22″ (5.64cm)
Blade Thickness: 0.175″ (4.45mm)
Blade Edge: Plain
Blade Style: Double-Edge Dagger
Blade Finish: Black Cerakote
Overall Length: 6.25″ (15.88cm)
Handle Length: 4.03″ (10.24cm)
Handle Thickness: 0.175″ (4.45mm)
Special Features: Finger Ring
Weight: 3.00 oz. (85.05g)
Lanyard Hole: Yes
Sheath: Injection Molded Plastic
MOLLE/PALS Compatible: Yes
I received this product as a courtesy from the manufacturer via Spotter Up so I could test it and give my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give this product a good review. All opinions are my own and are based off my personal experience with the product.
*The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Spotter Up Magazine, the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.