SOG Specialty Knives & Tools was founded in 1986 by designer and toolmaker Spencer Frazer. Named after the elite Vietnam-era Special Forces military group known as the Studies and Observation Group, the company’s first knife was a replica of the original SOG Bowie knife. The SOG Strat Ops Auto is an impressive fairly recent addition to the company’s now extensive line.
There are numerous scenarios when the ability to quickly deploy a knife with one hand may be a lifesaver. While nothing can beat a fixed blade for speed and ease of deployment, it lacks the compactness and convenience of a folder.
Why go with an auto opener in this day of assisted openers, flippers and other one-handed opening methods? Although other opening methods can be equally fast, auto openers need only minimal movements to open, making them well suited for tight spots or with thick gloves. There’s also less chance of fumbling.
The Strat Ops is a premium USA-made heavy-duty auto opening knife. It has a thin profile and pocket-friendly design that make it a great choice for discreet everyday carry. It’s a relatively lightweight 3.7 ounces (104.9 g).
The knife features 3.5-inch (8.9 cm) CPM-S35VN stainless steel drop point blade. The blade is 0.11-inch (0.28 cm) thick. It’s saber-ground with a plain edge and a slight recurve. Blade hardness is 59-60 HRC.
CPM-S35VN a top-grade stainless steel. Made in the USA by by Crucible Industries, it’s a tougher version of the popular CPM-S30V, due to the addition of 0.5% niobium. It offers what many consider the best combination of toughness, wear resistance, and corrosion resistance. It offers improved edge retention and better resistance to chipping while maintaining ease of sharpening.
The heat treatment is as important as the steel. SOG utilizes a unique computer-controlled cryogenic heat treatment process that maximizes the performance of the blade.
SOG went with a drop-point blade on the Strat Ops. It’s a great choice for a duty blade. On a drop-point, the spine of the blade continues forward to the tip, thus providing a stronger tip. The lowered point is in alignment with the center axis of the knife, providing added control and eliminating any pitch when thrusting.
The blade has a plain edge with a slight recurve. The recurve adds length to the edge without adding length to the blade. It also places the edge at multiple angles to the object being cut in given cutting motion, increasing cutting effectiveness during draw cuts. Resharpening is easy, although the recurve does require a slightly different technique.
The Strat Ops came razor-sharp out of the box. The knife has held its edge exceptionally well during my testing. This isn’t surprising given the CPM-S35VN blade and SOG’s highly-regarded proprietary cryogenic heat treatment.
The blade has a non-reflective black-matte Cerakote® coating. Cerakote is a high-performance thin-film polymer-ceramic composite coating. It’s very-tough, durable and provides additional corrosion resistance, abrasion resistance and lubricity.
SOG utilized black linen Micarta® for the scales scales and stainless steel for the liners. Linen Micarta is a composite made by appling heat and pressure to layers on linen fabric impregnated with synthetic resin. It’s tough, durable, light and looks great. SOG opted for smooth scales that won’t abrade or catch on clothing. The scales are attached to the liners with stainless steel button head Torx® screws.
The corners of the handle are rounded and the edges of the scales are chamferred for comfort. The SOG logo and four longitudinal groves are milled into the scales to provide the needed purchase for a secure, confident grip.
The handle measures 4.4 inches (11.2 cm) in length and is a trim 0.41-inch (1.04 cm) thick. The front of the handle flares out and has jimping for additional purchase and control. The thumb ramp on the blade is also jimped. The handle but has a lanyard hole.
The pocket clip is reversible and mounted for tip-up “low carry” It’s stainless steel and has a black finish. The clip is skeletonized with the SOG logo. The Stat Ops literally disappears in the pocket, with only the clip showing.
The knife employs a plunge lock actuation system. It’s strong and reliable. The push-button extends slightly above the scales, which allows for it to be easily located by feel. The button must be depressed into a recess in the scale to release the blade.
The plunge lock is augmented by a positive slide safety that prevents accidental opening or closing. The safety is perfectly positioned on on the other scale across from the plunge-lock button for easy operation.
Blade deployment is lightning fast. The knife has a strong coil spring that provides more torque than the coil springs on most auto openers. The knife literally feels like it want to jump out of your hands. Lockup is solid with no blade play.
The knife is exceptionally well-balanced and has has outstanding ergonomics. I have average size hands and found it to be darn near perfect. I really couldn’t find anything that I would change. The handle accommodates forward and reverse grips equally well. It provides great control and a secure grip.
I am very impressed with the Strat Ops. It’s an outstanding knife. I doubt you could find a better auto opening folder for discreet EDC. The design, materials and workmanship are absolutely top-notch.
The Strat Ops has a suggested price of $189.95.. All SOG products come with a limited lifetime warranty. Engraving of text or logo/graphic is available at additional cost. SOG Knives & Tools is a GSA Contractor (GSA Contract Number GS-06F-0013J).
SOG Strat Ops Auto
Manufacturer: SOG Specialty Knives &Tools, LLC
Designer: Spencer Frazer
Opening Mechanism: Automatic
Lock: Plunge Lock w/ Safety
Blade Length: 3.50 in. (8.9 cm)
Closed Length: 4.4 in. (11.2 cm)
Weight: 3.7 oz. (104.9 g)
Blade Steel: CPM-S35VN Stainless Steel
Blade Thickness: 0.11 in. (0.28 cm)
Blade Hardness: 59-60 HRC
Blade Finish: Black Cerakote
Blade Shape: Drop-Point, Plain Edge w/ Slight Recurve
Handle: Black Linen Micarta, Stainless Steel Liners
Handle Thickness: 0.41 in. (1.04 cm)
Pocket Clip: Reversible, Low-Carry Tip-Up, Blackened Stainless Steel
Lanyard Hole: Yes
Country of Origin: USA
Use: Tactical, EDC
Warranty: Limited Lifetime
Suggested Retail: $189.95
I received this product as a courtesy from the manufacturer 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.