SOG Night Vision - review

Nov 25, 1999
<center><h3>SOG Night Vision</h3></center>
<center><small>part 1 of 3</small></center>

Some time ago I have shared my initial impressions on this knife here and I promised to review it more particularly when I'll know it better. Meanwhile some discussions around SOG Arc Lock and it's similarity to BENCHMADE Axis Lock caused me to review Arc Lock separately, without reviewing the first knife equipped with this innovative locking device - SOG Night Vision.

<a href="" target="_blank"><IMG align=right SRC="" border="2"></a>And here it is. Quite accomplished blade geometry with numerous grinds makes Night Vision pretty hard to take it onto the photos, after lot of clumsy trials to make good photos with my old Russian Zenit camera I have pushed a whole knife into my flatbed scanner. I like very much James Mattis' knife images obtained this way and I'm going to discover some his scanning secrets

<a href="" target="_blank"><IMG align=right SRC="" border="2"></a> The blade is claimed as "tanto" but really it has nothing to do with traditional Japanese tanto knives which didn't have any fore-edge and secondary tip. Even the ones made from shortened broken swords did have this secondary tip pretty rounded unlike Bob Lum's Americanized Tanto with almost straight fore- and main edges and pronounced geometric secondary tip between them. I would say that Night Vision's blade has completely independent design and I would propose to name it "piercing point blade". Grind lines at the blade tip make up something very similar to flattened pyramid quite strong and very penetrative at the same time. It is pretty hard task for designer to reconcile these properties one with another. The most penetrative point has classic double-edged dagger and this point is also among the weakest. Americanized tanto has by far more steel at the point and makes up the opposite end in strength matter but at the same time it is one of the less penetrative points known.
<a href="" target="_blank"><IMG align=right SRC="" border="2"></a>Night Vision's point seems to be well balanced between strength and penetration abilities. As I already specified in one of my reviews I never evaluate knives how they would cope with tasks they are not designed for. This is the main reason why I didn't make any experiments with tip strength and all my suggestions in this matter are based on theory and experience only.
However I have made some comparison in penetration abilities dropping different knives straightly with tip down onto thick corrugated cardboard. I was quite surprised that Night Vision displayed better penetrating abilities than some knives with much thinner pointy tips. So far it was a very approximately evaluation only, I'll think how to make this comparison more scientific and reliable and how to obtain comparable data for more knives.
The main edge is created with hollow grind and is serrated at the rear half. We have discussed the usefulness of partially serrated blades numerous times and I know that the most of Forumites do not like serration as itself and partially serrated blades especially. I do not wont to discuss the advantages and drawbacks of serrated blade here again, especially taking into consideration that I do not like them also. If SOG worked out their new knife with partially serrated blade they probably know well what they are doing, I guess this is the question of selling abilities. If partially serrated blades sells better no reasons to be surprised that they are making them. However we can appeal SOG to make the version with plain blade too.

<center><small>to be continued...</small></center>
<center><h3>SOG Night Vision</h3></center>
<center><small>part 2 of 3</small></center>

<a href="" target="_blank"><IMG align=right SRC="" border="2"></a>The handle in it's philosophy matches the blade by all means. Straight blade-handle line provides precise and powerful stabbing which allows to make use of "piercing point" penetration abilities. The pretty deep opening in forefinger area, textured G-10 scales and handle rear part's narrowing provide secure non-slip-forwards grip and efficiently prevent finger sliding onto the blade when stabbing. Checkered thumb ramp serves the same purpose and provides additional leverage when cutting. Grip is not secure only but also quite comfortable during extensive cutting, I did not find "pinch points" what I would like to round out. However for heavy cutting through some "blade catching" materials like plastics or heavy cardboard I would like somewhat more overbuilt handle in the rear part which could provide more non-pull-away grip. On the other hand I do know that this transformation greatly probably could affect non-slip-forward grip security.
The choice what is better for you in this matter depends on knife's intended use, as usually at least.

<a href="" target="_blank"><IMG align=right SRC="" border="2"></a>The action works quite similarly like Axis Lock's one. Maybe this was the second (after similar outside appearance) reason which caused discussions about these two locking device's similarity. The blade can be opened very fast and comfortably using double-sided thumb stub. It can also be flicked out of the handle effortlessly if the lock release button is pulled backwards. I'm not partial to any kind of blade flicking but in case of Arc Lock and Axis Lock it seems to be the least harmful because with depressed lock release button blade flicks out pretty easily and controllably. The main difference in operating from Axis Lock is that Arc Lock somewhat "pushes" blade out of the handle when release button is pulled backwards on closed knife. This additionally facilitates knife flicking opened.
The Arc Lock holds blade in closed position very securely and pulls it back into the handle up to noticeable opening angle. Reviewing Arc Lock as itself I have tried to show on my picture critical angle up to which the blade is pulled back into the handle. Think this is very useful property especially for knife designed for tip-up carry mode.
<a href="" target="_blank"><IMG align=right SRC="" border="2"></a>Knife closing is trouble free also. User's fingers never should be placed in blade's path so no worries to make harm oneself closing the knife in hurry or under high stress influence. Depressing lock release button the knife can be flicked closed also effortlessly.

The pocket clip is designed for tip-up carry and positioned quite far from knife butt. <a href="" target="_blank"><IMG align=right SRC="" border="2"></a>So noticeable part of the handle stays above pocket upper edge what makes knife easier to access but less discreet to carry. Clip positioning far from handle's butt moved it away from the area along palm rear edge, which is the most loaded during heavy cutting. As usually all things in this world have their at least two sides.
Maybe skeletonized clip looks not as pretty as solid one, but it provides better additional leverage for the fingers when opening knife. Allows to save some grams of knife weight also. The clip can be moved onto the handle's opposite side.

<center><small>to be continued...</small></center>
<center><h3>SOG Night Vision</h3></center>
<center><small>part 3 of 3</small></center>

Conclusions: rock solid and pretty user friendly tactical knife, very reasonable choice if decent folding fighter is required. This fully ambidextrous knife makes especially interesting proposition for lefties and ambies. By the way it is very size efficient.

Propositions: for more utility cutting tasks I would like to see it with the plain drop point or/and clip point blade.
<a href="" target="_blank"><IMG align=right SRC="" border="2"></a><a href="" target="_blank"><IMG align=right SRC="" border="2"></a>Titanium handles on the Vision knives might be anodized in pretty "non-tactically" looking colors. Recently these colored handles are bringing some variations in the row of very seriously but somewhat boringly looking black-handled tactical knives. Some years ago I didn't like even an idea that knife handle could be colored in funny and pretty looking color composition. We discussed this matter here numerous times and some Forumites, mostly Misque convinced me that color handles are at least not worse than black ones.

Sergiusz Mitin
Lodz, Poland
How is the Night Vision holding up?

Dennis Bible
Thanks Dennis!
My Night Vision is OK. It could be one of my strong favorites if would come with drop point blade and plain edge. However it causes a lot of interest among my friends here. "Wow, what a cool knife!" is quite common reaction when I show my Vision our knife nuts.

This moment I'm working on Night Vision and Recondo review for military oriented magazine KOMANDOS (Commando) issued in Krakow.
Hope it will cause more interest and response than this thread.

Thank you for the incredibly detailed review. I always learn a lot from your reviews, and the Night Vision has now moved onto my want list. I agree with you 100% about prefering a drop point or clip point for utility. I personally gravitate toward drop point blades when they are available.

greta review Sergiusz! Perhaps you get few replies because your review is so detailed, it answers most questions anyone would have. I love the cool colored-handle renditions! FF

The beatings will continue until morale improves.