One thing that is essential to every single everyday carry (EDC) kit is a knife. When it comes to your EDC knife, there are about as many options to choose from in today’s world as the gun you choose to carry. It truly is overwhelming, especially when you think about how important that little stabby device in your pocket is. To the non-carry crowd, a knife is nothing more than a letter opener or tool to open their next package. However, if you ask the EDC folks, that same knife is a survival tool. Fortunately, companies like SOG make it easier with knives like their XR EDC line.
EDC Knives Like the SOG XR Series Perform Many Tasks
I know, that last one is kind of gross because of all the other ones. But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Needless to say, a pocketknife is more than just a box opener for many people. And sometimes it can be very hard to figure out which is best for you in the long run.
I always look for an extremely strong blade when choosing an EDC knife to add to my collection. A knife with cheap or weak steel is not going to hold up very well to the rigorous abuse of carry. Plus, in a last-ditch effort to survive an attack, who knows what you might be plunging that blade into? If the steel snaps, you are now in an even worse situation.
Another important feature I look for is a strong locking mechanism on a folding blade. I don’t ever want to do damage to myself with my own blade. If a blade lock fails, it could literally take you out of the fight. Worse, it can cause extreme damage to your hand.
Furthermore, I need a knife that is simple to operate with one hand while also being comfortable to wield. I have handled many knives that just didn’t make sense to carry. A knife that takes two hands to open or feels like a boat anchor is not going to cut it. While it may cut stuff, it doesn’t make much sense in an EDC kit.
When looking for a new pocketknife, I came across something that really piqued my interest—a line of all-new, purpose-built knives from SOG. I ended up getting my hands on three new models to put into the real world and test out a bit: the Vision XR, the Pentagon XR and the SOG-TAC XR.
If you are unfamiliar with SOG, I strongly encourage you to check them out. SOG has been making high-quality knives since 1986. The company started off with the mission to recreate the iconic Bowie knife while paying tribute to the members of the highly classified U.S. special ops unit known as MACV-SOG in Vietnam. Unit members carried special combat versions of the knife.
What began as a single commemorative knife model soon became a full line of innovative tools that were field-proven by elite U.S. troops and even won the honor of being named the knife of choice for the U.S. Navy SEALs. When you’re looking into a new carry knife, it really is a no-brainer to put SOG at the top of your list.
SOG’s Vision XR is designed to be the essential tool for all professionals. This knife features a 3.36-inch cryogenically heat-treated CTS-XHP stainless steel tanto-style blade, a G10 ultra-grip handle and an ambidextrous design. The cryogenically tempered steel makes for an extra-strong, extremely durable blade.
The Vision XR’s tanto design is fantastic for an EDC blade. SOG’s XR Lock allows for extremely smooth, controlled, one-handed opening only when the user intends to open it. There are several ways to open the knife as well. Kick opener, thumb stud and holding back the lock and flicking out the blade all work perfectly, without a lot of practice.
The XR locking mechanism also provides the ultimate built-in blade-locking security when open, able to withstand 1,500 pounds of force, so you can operate it with the assurance that this lock will not fail.
I got the Blackout version to avoid the knife being too flashy in my pocket. I always have a knife on me, and really love them to be concealed. A black finish always makes that a little easier. The knife weighs in at only 4.4 ounces, making it disappear in your pocket or on any belt. This tanto blade design comes in at the modest price of $150 and is the perfect blade for all your EDC needs.
The Pentagon XR is remarkably similar to the Vision XR but has a unique wide spear point blade design. The blade is definitely intriguing, with its wide stature, sturdy look and feel and the slight edge on the back of the tip.
This little back edge makes a perfect area for small, intricate cutting, while creating a tip that is more like a double-edged blade, even though this blade is not double-edged. The blade is of the same cryogenically heat-treated stainless steel as the Vision, making it extremely strong with great edge retention.
The Pentagon features the same XR Lock system and G10 grips with ambidextrous controls. Plus, a reversible clip makes these knives excellent for either right- or left-handed operation. The Pentagon XR weighs 4.9 ounces with a blade length of 3.61 inches. Again, I love the all-black look of this knife, which makes it perfect for daily concealed carry.
The shape and ergonomics of the handle, combined with the unique blade shape, make this model an excellent option if you ever find yourself in a fight where you need to stab your way out. The Pentagon costs a little more than the others, with an MSRP of $175 but is well worth the extra money when it comes to performance.
The third knife from SOG is the SOG-TAC XR. SOG designed the TAC XR EDC with military and law enforcement personnel in mind. This blade features the same XR Lock, ambidextrous operation and G10 grip as the other XR models. However, SOG went one step further with the strength factor on this knife by adding a full steel inner skeleton.
This knife’s steel core adds a bit of weight, bringing the weight to 5.3 ounces, but really makes for an incredibly smooth operation. That little added weight combined with a 3.39-inch blade length makes this folder open with very little effort. It is actually kind of ridiculous how smooth it is.
The blade is a bit different, made with cryogenically heat-treated D2 stainless steel. D2 is a versatile high-carbon tool steel made to SOG’s unique performance specifications. D2 provides the ideal combination of edge retention and durability for long-term use with ease of maintenance. The clip point blade is more like a traditional folding pocketknife design, and works great.
I got this model with the OD Green G10 grip and a black blade. The SOG-TAC XR EDC in OD Green is a more budget-friendly model, with an MSRP of only $80. This will give you one hell of a battle-ready blade that won’t hurt the bank too much.
EDC Knife Selection
When it comes to an EDC knife, it is always important to find one that is going to hold up to the beating you know you’re going to put it through. Let’s face it, the most frequently used tool in your EDC arsenal is going to be your pointy stabby device. Make sure that thing can handle everything you are going to throw at it and then some.
Whether you need a knife for EDC or just opening those Amazon packages, SOG definitely has a model that will be perfect for you and everything you do. Check out the whole line of SOG XR EDC knives at SOGKnives.com.
This article was originally published in the Personal Defense World April/May 2021 issue. Subscription is available in print and digital editions at OutdoorGroupStore.com. Or call 1-800-284-5668, or email [email protected]