Does anyone know the history of the SOG seal 2000?


Dec 15, 2013
I have one in AUS6 made in Seki with the kydex sheath that has the area cut out for cord cutting. It has a small serrated area at the heel. Where does this fall in line with the other versions? I bought it back somewhere around 2002-3. I've never really used it so I'm kind of wondering about its quality vs other versions.
The SOG SEAL 2000 was the first model of the SEAL knives to be put out by SOG. It was the only SEAL model that was made in Seki of AUS-6. It was in production by SOG from 1995-2007. The later models, the SEAL Team and SEAL Team Elite were made of AUS-8 and in SOG's Taiwan factory. I consider this model more robust as it has a flat saber grind where as the new ones haves hollow grind. The AUS-6 is more resistant to corrosion than AUS-8 but it lacks as much edge holding capability. This model has a thicker, chunkier handle with less aggressive checkering than the new models and it doesn't have the hammer pommel on it. I've owned both the newer and older versions and preferred the SEAL 2000 model by far.
Thank you. Is there some kind of time line as far as the sheath goes? I know some have nylon, some have the kydex without the cord cutting groove, and some have the groove. Where does the sheath with the groove cut out and is it significant in any way?
I believe the early production original sheaths were made of kydex and did not have the cord cutter notch. I owned an early one and it had a kydex sheath with a nylon belt loop and retention strap. There have been different variations over the years but I'd say yours is on the newer side of the spectrum. Probably early to mid 2000's I'd say as far as the sheath goes. I wouldn't say the groove cut is significant, and I've heard they don't work too well but your mileage may vary
SOG's pre-Taiwan fixed blades were all manufactured by Kinryu of Seki, with the exception of the S1 and S2 bowies. The Seal 2000 was derived from
the Tech series and went into production in 1995. The first two earliest sheaths were a nylon/cordura type then the kydex variations followed.
The version with the line cutter groove was the last coming into effect in 2006. A smaller version of that sheath was introduced for the Seal Pup as well.
Seki production ended in 2007. Both the SEAL2000 and SEAL PUP were marketed in the U.S. as 440A but later disclosed to be Aus6.
The Seal2000 was submitted to USN tests and although never officially adopted as far as I am aware, it was used by individuals through private purchase.
The SOG SEAL2000 and the Seal Pup are among the knives on display at the US Navy SEAL Museum.
I have one of the first that came out. It is AUS8 blade I think, with the Trident etched on one side of the blade & SOG Specialties on the other side. It has the "nylon" type sheath with a velcro strap keeper. It was soon changed to a button type keeper, then kydex sheath. I used mine diving, hunting, and a carry around. It has held up very good. I thought the blade was too thick to take a good edge but it is surprising sharp and holds an edge. I know the latter ones got a much thinner blade.
As Ken said, seki knives were AUS6, taiwan AUS8; and early seal knives came with nylon sheaths, kydex came later.

I much prefer the tech (or tech II) over the seal team / 2000. I do like the seal pup reasonably well in terms of blade thickness to length.
I have one of the first that came out. It is AUS8 blade I think, with the Trident etched on one side of the blade & SOG Specialties on the other side. It has the "nylon" type sheath with a velcro strap keeper. It was soon changed to a button type keeper, then kydex sheath. I used mine diving, hunting, and a carry around. It has held up very good. I thought the blade was too thick to take a good edge but it is surprising sharp and holds an edge. I know the latter ones got a much thinner blade.
sams … I know your post is old but if you still have that SOG SEAL 2000, Seki variant with the Trident stamped/etched into the blade, take good care of it. Only the first 100 were stamped; plus, those versions were a Japan release only. It’s rare to see those in N. America. The stamped Trident versions can draw a lot of $$$ if the right collector sees it.
Gents .... Regarding the history of the SOG SEAL 2000, there's a very in-depth article, several pages in length, in the November 1994 'Fighting Knives' magazine edition, titled "SEAL TALES," authored by Greg Walker and beginning on page 60. It covers the history and some of the previous well-known knives that have the SEAL brand attached, etc., as well as the SOG testing process and competitors. I don't have a linked account site so I'm unable to post the article but if I get motivated I may transcribe it in the future.
I don't know much about the history of the early SOG SEAL 2000 (apparently, neither does the current SOG regime) but this article might help fill in some voids. I transcribed the defunct Fighting Knives magazine article, November 1994, authored by Greg Walker ... forgive any typos. Nevertheless, the article addresses several SEAL knives including some of the background history of the SOG SEAL 2000. Interesting stuff!

BTW ... the Buckmaster gets some heat in the article which I am not sure is entirely fair; there were several Phrobis prototypes that had a lot of SEAL input so when Phrobis/Buck gave the SEALs exactly what they wanted, I am not sure the snub in the article is entirely warranted. Obviously, more R&D should have been done by the Navy before commissioning the knife. Plus, the Navy took so long to commit to the contract I think Buck was on their third production variation of BuckMaster to the civilian populace by the time the Navy took delivery of 2,500 knives in June 1985. The only version of the BuckMaster the Navy adopted/contracted was the four-line (open top number 4 in the '184'), no-date code, Variation #3.

The following article in its entirety is credited to Fighting Knives Magazine; I'm only limited to 10,000 characters so I'll post a continuation pages as required:

SEAL TALES by Greg Walker, Fighting Knives magazine, November 1994, part 1

Cashing in on SEAL cutlery has become big business ever since Buck Knives blitzed the civilian market back in the mid-80’s with their “BuckMaster” all-purpose, real deal SEAL dive/combat knife. Despite a superb marketing campaign on Buck’s part, the Naval Special Warfare Command at Coronado, California, rejected the knife after “sea trials” proved it less than satisfactory. “The feeling at the time was that Buck Knives sent the blades so they might capitalize on the SEAL connection when advertising the knife to their civilian market” (FK, Summer 1991). East Coast teams saw BuckMasters issued but the majority of those operators fielding them to either traded the knives off in foreign lands or saw them become inoperable during daily use. The knife was too heavy, too bulky, too awkward and gadget-laden. In short, the BuckMaster was a disaster where the SEAL community was concerned, although it proved a financial bonanza for the boys at Buck.

When custom knifemaker and then Battle Blades contributing editor Bill Bagwell destroyed a BuckMaster in one public forum, Charles T. Buck offered that “many other organizations reported their high opinions of the knife. We have never had a report of failure in the field” (SOF, September ’86). Buck went on to say that the company went back and duplicated Bagwell’s tests and noted that “some BuckMasters will fail under certain conditions.” Buck attributed these failures to improper heat-treating and told SOF’s readers that the company had “taken steps to change the heat-treating process.” Still, the B-M was a real dud and SEALs who tested the knife in the “field: had voiced this opinion to their command, if not to Buck.

Why be concerned at all with what Navy SEALs require in what is perhaps the least critical of their personal equipment needs? Since the introduction of specialized scout-swimmer units beginning during WWII. Navy divers have relied upon a variety of different knives to get the job done. Bladeware for those belonging to the Navy Combat Demolition Units, then Combat Swimmer Reconnaissance Units, then Underwater Demolition Teams were primarily fixed-blade designs carried in hardcase sheaths. A scout swimmer’s knife was both a personal weapon and utility tool given that swimmers carried very little equipment during forays against enemy targets. Often, protection-wise, the swimmer relied only upon his knife and a .45 Colt automatic when “hitting the beaches” in advance of the invasion force steaming out of sight just below the horizon.

Combat knives for all the services were in short supply during the war, and designs as well as makers were numerous. It wasn’t until January 1943 that the Marine Corps wanted an all-purpose combat blade for its troops in the Pacific and finalized the design of the Marine Corps Fighting-Utility Knife as developed with input from its combat experienced officers returning from Guadalcanal. Twenty-one hundred #1219C2s were shipped from Camillus Cutlery in Newy York; the Navy adopted the sturdy knife by titling it the “Mark 2.” Still, Western States (later Western Cutlery) continued its production of the L76 and L77, the latter a favored private purchase for individual Marines. The Marine Raider Stiletto was in production/distribution by November 1942. This specialized killing knife was, again, originally made by Camillus. The stiletto was designed by Lt. Colonel Clifford H. Shuey, USMC “after the British commando knife” (FK, Summer 1990). In addition, the Carlson Gung-Ho Knife was being issued to the Marine Raiders as well as Army Air Force Crews, with these big bowies carried ashore by the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion at Guadalcanal in November 1942.

The Navy Mk 2 soon became an all-around favorite for those with access to the knife due to its practical design and unique appearance. Made also by KABAR, the knife became a cutlery legend during the war and “KABAR” knives continue to be used around the world today as military fighting knives. Light, fairly strong and readily available in the supply system, the Mk 2 was forgiven for its few shortcomings. Some of these included the leather-ring handle, which loosened and rotted under constant exposure to saltwater and tropical weather conditions, and blade tips that either bent or broke off during extreme applications (such as impromptu sea anchors or pry bars). Scout swimmers soon demanded that the issue leather sheath be replaced by a hardcase scabbard due to the leather sheaths rapidly falling apart in the watery environment that was the diver’s everyday world. Mk 2 knives continued to be the primary-issue blade to the UDT teams for the duration of WWII, seeing action again during the Korean War and yet again throughout the Vietnam War.

With the activation of the first SEAL Team in 1962, the Mk 2 became more of a combat/fighting knife that at any other time in its history. SEALs operated ashore, conducting ambushes, raids, reconnaissance, and hunter-killer operations against both the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army. Noted SEAL operators such as Richard Marcinko (FK, July 1994) and Michael Walsh (FK, Spring 1991) still speak highly of their experiences with the Mk 2, although Lt. Commander Walsh (ret.) says that he carried a Gerber Mk 2 killing knife as well as his “KABAR” when operating in Vietnam. “If you lost, broke, or just had your knife fall apart on you it was simple to get another one from supply,” recalls Walsh today. Says Marcinko of the KABAR, “… you could beat the crap out of [it] and still sharpen [it] up. You took care of it, it took care of you” (FK, July 1994). Variations of the Mk 2 went on to see combat duty in all parts of the world including El Salvador where it was issued to Salvadoran Naval Commandos trained and advised by selected SEAL platoons.

Still, both UDT and SEAL operators were constantly on the lookout for a new and better knife. At the same time, Hollywood and the publishing industry were discovering the SEALs as sure-fire moneymakers where action adventure was concerned. They were secret, they were spooky, and their missions were often exotic and certainly dangerous. Tales about SEALs made money, and soon the overlap for other markets became clear, beginning with the BuckMaster – at least where knives were of interest.

One of the first custom knifemakers to see success with both the Teams and Hollywood was George Lainhart, a part-time maker who specialized in making one-of-a-kind knives for SEAL friends on the East Coast. Lainhart worked with Gene Witham, himself a SEAL, to develop a design that was practical for UDT/SEAL operations and made several such knives for use. He later designed the knife that was used in the hit movie The Abyss. The knife was a prop for one of the main characters playing a SEAL officer (FK, Summer 1990). In 1993, Lainhart would hold extensive talks with SOG Specialty Knives concerning a co-project between the two parties to see a Lainhart SEAL knife put into production via SOG’s Japanese manufacturing base. To date, the effort is said to be on hold.

Production sources inside the United States were eager to capitalize upon the growing and proven SEAL mystique when, in 1990, the West Coast command (Naval Special Warfare Group 1) began investigating their cutlery needs. Phrobis International, the original design source for the BuckMaster, submitted a new innovative blade design titled the Combat Utility Knife or CUK. The Navy Mk 2 had been joined in the inventory by the Ontario-designed Mk 3 in 1985, and the evolution proved to be a disaster with the knife’s “weakness” demonstrated when it was “applied to digging and/or prying tasks, the kind normally encountered on a regular basis by Navy frogmen” (FK, Spring 1991).

In other words, it broke and broke often. Since the tried-and-true Mk 2 was still available by the thousands to the SEALs, many operators returned to this knife as their “carry” blade, using the Mk 3 as a training knife, which, if broken or lost, caused no grief to anyone.
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... cont., SEAL TALES by Greg Walker, Fighting Knives magazine, November 1994, part 2

The Phrobis CUK got rave reviews from the cutlery media including Fighting Knives (FK, Spring 1991), but sources at Group 1 soon advised our staff of serious problems with the design. “SEAL contacts reported both blade and blade tang failure,” we reported in our Summer 1991 issue, and the CUK was evaluated once again by FK with our test-knife being broken the second time around. Sent to Wong’s Forensic & Metallurgical Engineers for metallurgical evaluation, “to determine the cause of the fracture,” we discovered that Phrobis was using an improper steel for the heat-treatment being applied. They had failed to note a design flaw that pitted the softer blade tang against that much harder steel connecting link mating the handle to the blade. The result? Broken CUKs. When our expose’ hit the stands, the CUK hit the junk pile and four steel knives in the inventory because “old” supply items such as bladeware is not shuttled down to the neighborhood surplus store just because something “new” replaces them. Essentially, Buck, Ontario and Phrobis had all provided knives that failed to cut the mustard. The tried-and-true Mk 2 was still King of the hill, and it wasn’t everything the SEALs believed the needed in today’s SpecWar arena.

So, the Search continues …

In April 1992, SEAL Team 5 held a “knife off,” where entries from Buck, SOG and custom-maker Kevin McClung were evaluated as potential SEAL blades. Twenty-eight other hopeful contestants were submitted, as well, but these rapidly failed those tests deemed important by ST-5’s operators and Research and Development committee (FK, Fall 1992). The “ATAK” handily beat its closest two competitors due to a practical “big knife” blade design; a synthetic handle that was near impervious to chemical, heat and impact tests conducted by ST-5; and a well-thought-out synthetic scabbard formed from Kydex. McClung became the first independent custom knifemaker to obtain a formal authorization from the Naval Special Warfare community to produce and deliver a combat knife per their specifications. Bearing in mind that this authorization was limited to those SEAL teams on the West Coast.

In truth, the ATAK was a superb effort, FK’s own tests which were shared in Soldier of Fortune’s “Battle Blades” column when chaired by myself showed it to perform wonderfully as a field knife in a Special Operations environment. Problems soon surfaced, however, when McClung attempted to take the knife into production as a “one-horse operation.” Despite bringing custom knifemaker Alan Blade on board to assist in grinding and manufacture, McClung could not produce the amount of knives required per delivery date by the West Coast teams. Even discussions with potential sub-contractors such as Benchmade Knives proved fruitless because, at the time, these providers were not equipped to cut and/or grind the blade format accepted by the SEALs. In addition, McClung had offered a civilian version of the ATAK while also attempting to fulfill his obligation to Navy Special Warfare. With orders prepaid by his civilian customers, and larger orders yet to be paid for upon delivery by the Navy, Kevin McClung soon found himself on thin ice with everyone involved. Custom-maker Robert Rippy wrote about his experiences in just this situation (FK, September 1993), when his contract with the DEA for knives suffered the same circumstances.

Still the SEAL community was happy with the ATAK and forgiving of the constant delivery delays. After all, they were still issuing the Mk 2s and Mk 3s that were in the inventory. Disaster for the ATAK struck in early 1994 when two SEAL officers visiting the Pomona Gun Show discovered impressive numbers of SEAL ATAK knives available for sale to the civilian public, even while the SEALs were still waiting (less patiently, at this point) for theirs. As reported by knife writer Steven Dick during the 1994 Oregon Custom Knife Show (FK, September 1994) “the knife is now being mass-produced by a U.S.-based company.” This was self-evident since ATAK knives were available for sale at the Oregon show, as well. According to Dick, the company was again Benchmade Knives, which by this time had become fully automated and capable of emulating McClung’s grind lines. In the August 1994 issue of Soldier of Fortune, Dick further explained Benchmade’s assistance saying, “A commercial knife company was contracted to produce rough blade blanks for the ATAK, which were then heat-treated and finished by Mad Dog (Kevin McClung’s shop name). Even with this help, deliveries lagged.”

Parallel to the logistic problems that the ATAK was suffering in the field, several of the knives had seen handle failure and there was a rusting problem despite the blade being “double hard-chromed, then coated with a nonreflective Kalgard ‘skin,’ resulting in a high-carbon steel blade that was both corrosion-resistant and fairly nonreflective (SOF, September 1992). The reason behind the rusting problem was traced to chemical corrosives in seawater working their way past the Kalgard coating and underneath the double hard-chrome plating at the knife’s cutting edge. The carbon steel blade was literally rusting away beneath its hard chrome exterior, with blade failure occurring without warning. Clearly carbon steel, regardless of the plating or coating process present, could not be expected to resist the rigors of SEAL use.

The SEALs were back at square one …

On March 2, 1994, the Naval Special Warfare Command announced in an internal memo its authorization of a Table of Organic Allowance Change. The subject? Two new combat knives for Teams 1, 3, and 5, as well as SDV Team 1. This time the R&D team at Coronado had exercised total control over its development criteria and testing procedure. Contrary to Blade Magazine’s report that there were “14 knife entrants” (Blade, July/August 94), in truth only eight sources provided a total of 14 sample knives for testing. These were Buck (3), Cold Steel (1), Ernest Emerson (1), Gerber (1), Larry Harley (1), SOG (2), Strider (3), and Mission Knives (2). There was no attempt made to discourage or discriminate against custom knifemakers (as reported by Steve Dick in the August 1994 issue of Soldier of Fortune) as demonstrated by the presence of knives from Emerson, Harley, and Strider. In addition, SOG sponsored a custom-made sample designed by George Lainhart and considered by SOG as a possible production co-project between the two parties. Advice given custom makers partaking in these trials by SEAL evaluators was that they would be required to have a mass production resources available should their knife be selected and approved. It was a lesson learned from the SEALs experience with the ATAK knife, one for which two of the three custom makers could not or would not arrange. Still, their knives were tested along with those entered by production firms.

And the winners are … The SOG SK-2000

SOG Specialty Knives was pleased to see its modified SOG-TECH capture First Place honors among the all-steel knife category samples. “We started the company with the special operations SOG Bowie,” Spencer Fraser told FK in July, “and by getting this contract, it feels as if we’ve come full circle, “The SOG SEAL Knife-2000 sees the original SOG-TECH modified in terms of an integral Zytel handle replacing the Tech’s brass guard and Kraton grip, and the addition of a serrated section at the rear of the lower edge, as asked for by the SEALs. “Other than these three areas, the SK-2000 is basically our SOG-TECH,” confirmed the company’s CEO. A nonreflective blade finish has been provided for using a black-gray powder much like Kalgard. As with all such finishes, this one rubs off with hard use. To replace, simply spray the affected area with hot rod primer. FK noted that the original SK-2000 was submitted in 440C stainless steel, although the knife available for purchase by the SEALs is ground in Japan from 440A. We concur with SOG that the current steel offers a less corrosive inclination than 440C but has the performance factor of the blade been compromised upon changing steels?

Sheath-wise, the SK-2000 relies upon a modified SOG-TECH scabbard that is made up of leather welts and a black nylon cover. Two snap-n-strap security loops are provided using Lift-a-Dot snaps, per instruction of the R&D committee at Coronado. The belt loop is a very sturdy snap system that allows for the sheath to be mounted or removed via three individual snaps. A drain hole for water and light debris is present on the back lower portion of the scabbard and SOG offers that the sheath is internally lined with plastic to protect the leather welts from water damage.

Provided with a SK-2000, we first shared it with veteran SEAL Barry Enoch, a highly decorated Vietnam veteran and legend with the Teams, Barry offered that he felt the SK was a “fine knife, which would be great for hunting.” Given that hunting knives must perform under all environmental conditions in order to accomplish their assigned purpose, this is a high compliment indeed. Because the SEALs test criteria was exacting and long-term in nature, including actual field deployments of each sample submitted, FK believes that only an exact duplication of these tests would be valid for a magazine review. I can cut various types of rope and line, dig, cut roots and successfully chip a hole in hard wood with many of the knives presently in the office. In preparing this article, O noted that SOF’s field test including chipping a hole in a pine board with the SOG knife. To the knife’s credit, it accomplished this task in Coronado, but the medium chosen was Oak.
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... cont., SEAL TALES by Greg Walker, Fighting Knives magazine, November 1994, part 3

In short, given the SK-2000 passed the Navy’s all-steel knife criteria/evaluation, it most certainly will survive anything that the majority might throw at it out here in “Civ-Land.” SOG, which sells its knife to the Navy for $85 per unit, will retail the 2000 for $139 as it becomes available from Japan. The knife is now an official inclusion to the SOG line, and the Navy is accepting it with the SOG logo etched onto the blade due to its off-the-shelf availability on the open market.

Personally, I believe the SK-2000 to be a solid cutlery product and all-around excellent combat/camp knife for the Special Warfare community at large. My only complaint has to do with the sheath, which will, under hard use and constant soaking, fall apart within 30-45 days regardless of the features built into it. If you elect to add a 2000 to your working collection, be sure to have it resheathed by Tim Wegner or the Cutlery Shoppe ASAP.

The Mission Multi-Purpose Knife

Unlike SOG’s knife, the Multi-Purpose Knife (MPK) from Mission Knives is an original design for the Navy’s specific needs. FK has been working with the final design as recommended upon authorization of the knife for purchase.

This brings up the following point. The Navy has authorized both knives for purchase by those teams affected by the TOA letter sent out on March 2, 1994.

Specific numbers of each knife have been set per team, but the SEALs are under no obligation to purchase one knife over another, or one knife before the other.

The MPK is unique in that its blade is ground from a high grade of Titanium alloy, which Mission Knives has successfully been able to harden to a Rockwell rating of 46-48. For this alloy, such an accomplishment means that Titanium can see greater use as a blade material, especially where the SEALs are concerned. Why?

Because the vast majority of the time, the knife cutting materials (rope, line, communications/demolition wire, heavy cardboard, plastic, cloth, webbing, rubber, flesh) that are far softer than the edge of the knife. Additional task considerations are chopping and hacking chores that might include carving out a field expedient V-notch for a rifle’s barrel atop a wooden fence beam (urban operations) or boring a small hole through a thin wall for better observation (urban/rural operations). As discussed fully in the Winter 1991 issue of this magazine, a stated Rockwell C-rating given by itself doesn’t tell you “ how such a rating affects the steel (or Titanium) it’s being applied to …. The industry has taken a generic term (Rockwell) and applied it to sell knives.” In short, Rockwell ratings have been “hyped.”

The only area of true interest where such a rating might be important enough to consider will be at the cutting edge, and this requires a microhardness test using special equipment. “For example, a poor or hurried final grind-and-buff job can overheat the edge, destroying the temper and leaving a softer Rockwell rating than what might be in evidence at the ricasso” (FK, Winter 1991). For these reasons, discussion about the MPK’s accomplished Rockwell ratings are to be considered an important accomplishment in terms of seeing Titanium as a viable blade alloy today.

The MPK’s use of Titanium allows for both a 40% reduction in blade weight over liked-sized all-steel knives and superior corrosion resistance, and perhaps most importantly, there is no magnetic signature present per Navy testing. Given the unique demands made upon the individual SEAL operator, he may find himself carrying well over 150 pounds of equipment into battle. Gear that is light yet superior in performance is today’s goal, even when the item is a combat knife. At 9 ½ ounces, as compared to the SK-2000 at 13 ounces, the MPK clearly wins this field consideration.

The primary cause of tool damage to SEAL knives is corrosion due to near-constant water immersion and use in this environment. Contrary to continued popular belief, stainless steel does and will rust depending on its property makeup. This will be taking place at the uncoated/plated or “raw” edge before anywhere else, and the cutting edge is the most important part of the knife, after all, it’s supposed to be a cutting tool. In a November 18, 1993, document, a SEAL who carried and used the MPK for six months in Alaska, the deep South and Puerto Rico wrote “I did not wash or clean it the whole time. The knife, much to my satisfaction, did not rust one bit.” This operator also dropped the knife “from a variety or heights” and “threw it at a number of objects.” He then “pulled [his] own weight (185 pounds) up with it, and it performed fine.” Finally, over a six-month period in three opposing environments, everything the operator wished to cut with the knife was cut and cut “well.”

The MPK’s nonmagnetic attribute determines it to be the primary knife being purchased by the SEALs at this point in time. New mission priorities set by the Navy for the SEALs to adhere to state that the teams must lower their magnetic signature while in the water significantly on a year-by-year basis. This mandate was promoted by events during the Gulf War that saw SEALs attempting to locate and disarm/detonate seaborne mines that were strewn throughout the gulf waters by Iraq’s navy. SEALs concerned about accidentally setting off a mine designed to explode upon magnetic contact (with anything made of steel) are reported to have stripped even their metal zippers out of their dive trunks before going in the water. Three specific items of equipment have been targeted for a lower magnetic signature, with one being any combat knife an operator is issued for carry.
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... cont., SEAL TALES by Greg Walker, Fighting Knives magazine, November 1994, part 4

Tested by the Naval Explosive Ordnance Disposal Facility in late June of 1993, the MPK passed with flying colors in this aspect of performance. Sources close to Fighting Knives at NAVSPECWAR confirm that the MPK will see its unit-purchase levels doubling beginning in July 1994, and the knife will have priority over the SK-2000. Given the budget cuts hitting all of the services, including Special Operations, funds for combat knives must be looked at closely in terms of what is immediately necessary to accomplish the mission. Presently, the MPK fits the bill.

Note: Bear in mind that the Navy’s cost per unit for the MPK is $158. It is a more expensive knife than the SK-2000, for all the right reasons according to Navy sources. Civilian purchases will be available for roughly $250 per unit, the average price for a quality custom knife these days.

The knife’s grip is formed from Hytrel, a synthetic that is both fire-resistant and electrically nonconductive. This particular handle sees Kevlar fibers introduced into the base material, which greatly improves its resistance when either dropped or used as a field-expedient hammer. I found the MPK to be exceptionally comfortable as well as secure in my hand due to both ergonomic considerations in design as recommended by SEAL field evaluators. Both Barry Enoch and Lt. Commander Michael Walsh (ret.) agreed upon handling the MPK that it was an exceptional “UDT knife for the teams.”

Sheath work for the Mission knife is also black, textured with Kevlar fiber. Frankly, this is one of the best scabbard designs offered for a military-use knife in that it uses a single snap-n-strap to keep the handle in place during carry and an internal pressure factor within the body of the sheath that “grasps” the blade and hold it in place. Where, during my observations, neither sheath is any more or less quiet than the other during movement over dense terrain on land, the MPK sheath is both far more sturdy and designed for SCUBA, SDV, and parachute operations as well as the field. Its drain-hole is located for complete draining of the scabbard. Either a single or double leg strap can be fitted to the MPK for secure carry during imminent-danger operations such as parachuting or combat diving/swimming. One SEAL who tested the knife wrote, “The sheath held up fine and is a hard case, which is mandatory.”

Edge grind on the MPK is a flat, or a V-grind, as favored by the SEALs on the McClung ATAK. It is well-suited for prying, and in fact, this was a test that had to be passed by all of the knives considered (opening up wooden ammo crates). In my case, I used both my ATAK and MPK to bust the heavy-steel banding around such a crate, then pried up the nails that secured the lid to the box. I’ve seen M16 barrels bent attempting to “bust bands” like this, but both the ATAK and MPK were undamaged despite impressive (read: scary) flexing of the blade(s) during evaluation.

In terms of mechanical testing, the SK-2000 was rated #1 when compared to those all-steel knives submitted. These tests are inconclusive where efforts are made to compare mechanical performance between the SK and MPK because one is steel, the other Titanium. Apples and oranges? Absolutely. In fact, the MPK performed where it counted the most in the field for those carrying it. If there is one mechanical feature that the MPK beats all of the other all-steel knives in, hands down it is abrasion-resistance during digging tasks in sand, earth, and sea bottom (silt, mud, coral). Why? Titanium is a high-performance alloy that is meant to withstand extreme applications. For this reason, the cutting edge on the MPK will last longer than those edges on all-steel knives during normal to abusive cutting/digging/prying chores.

In conclusion…

It has only been with this particular test/evaluation sequence, designed and conducted by the Naval Special Warfare Command, that a true “SEAL” combat knife has been proven as such. From the commercial aspect of such an authorized knife, the makers in question will profit from their civilian market sales due to the continued drawing power of the SEAL mystique. Both SOG and Mission Knives should be grateful for the Navy’s extensive and expensive testing process this time around because its validity proves the product worth of these two companies.

In direct contradiction to SOF’s recent article on the SK-2000, custom makers were invited to participate and did so. In the case of the co-project between George Lainhart and SOG, the Lainhart knife placed in the lower third of the field and has been shelved by SOG for the time being. Ernest Emerson, who has long been designing and building knives for the West Coast SEAL community, was pleased to see his sample do well in competition. Emerson has since joined forces with Timberline Knives (1-800-574-5483) to see the “SpecWar” become a production knife (available in September 1994). The knife will be ground from ATS-34, with its grip formed from ULTEM. The Kydex sheath is a Timberline design that is lined both inside and out. Suggested retail will be $250. FK handled the prototype for this knife in Los Angeles last June, while meeting with Mr. Emerson, and found it to be unique in many ways, including the very secure grip-pattern that Ernie was successful in developing.

Again, the civilian aftermarket is where the money will be made, and where SEAL knives are concerned, there’s a bunch to choose from.

Hey, as the SEAL motto states, “The Only Easy Day was Yesterday.”
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Thanks C casca174 for these illuminating and helpful pieces, very interesting indeed. Always fascinating to hear more about the genesis of the SOG 2000 and other knives that were in contention.
And a great knife to dispatch carp bow fishing. And resistant to rust. Mine was made in Japan so aus-6 I believe.
Yes. So it's not "not too expensive if it goes to the bottom of the river" any more. Seki Sogs command good prices.
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yes I suppose but I would never sell it anyways so to me it was just a great affordable knife when I bought it years ago with a very specific job to do on water. If I ever lost it I would surly be bummed.
cut it out ... I primarily collect military knives and bayonets but I did get a SOG Seki SEAL Pup that was supposed to be 'a user' but when I got it it was so nice I tossed it in with my 'collectible' group; although I don't think it was an issue knife I believe it has a following with the SEALs. As KenHash said, the 'Seki, Japan' SOG's hold their value/"command good prices." ... especially, when compared to the Taiwan versions; however, I like the profile of the SEAL Pup and plan on picking up a Taiwan version as my user.
Wow. Never really gave it much thought honestly but maybe I should get a different Kayak knife. Lol. It never gets used anyway as I always have a folder on me too but it has stabbed a few fish but still has factory edge since I don’t really cut anything with it. It’s more for emergencies than anything. Mine has the kydex or whatever it is sheath with line cutter to so makes a great boat knife.