Tuesday, October 18, 2011

SOG NW Ranger Knife Review

SOG NW Ranger Knife Review and Test

In 1986 SOG was founded originally to release a commemorative SOG knife.  Today SOG Knives is a well respected high quality knife and multi-tool manufacturer.  Their knives and multi-tools deliver high quality that anyone can afford. My personal experience with SOG goes all the way back to their 1988 Tomcat design which launched SOG into the cutlery mainstream. Recently I was specifically looking for a an all purpose full-sized fixed blade knife that was light weight and the SOG NW Ranger caught my eye.

SOG has always done a great job with their fit and finish and the SOG NW Ranger is no exception.  The AUS8 stainless blade is subtly brushed for a non-glare finish and matches up to the finger guard and Kraton handle.  I am a big fan of plastic sheaths, however the nicely made black leather sheath is up to the task of comfortably, securely and conveniently carrying the NW Ranger in standard position off the belt. 

The SOG NW Ranger is not a heavy knife in face it is pretty light when compared to other knives.  SOG has beefier knives, however the .150” blade thickness and resulting 6.2oz weight of this knife would appreciated for those that want to keep ounces packed to a minimum but still afford full functionality short of heavy-duty prying and batoning. It is tough to find a high quality lighter weight fixed blade knife.  Usually they are either junk or feature standard thicker blades that make the knife heavier.  Typically the compromise is a shorter 4” blade, however the SOG NW Randger fills this void in the market uniquely.  The handle is comfortable for long-term use.  The finger guard have two groves that assure the fingers do not accidentally slip onto the blade which is a good safety feature for those that do not use a knife on a daily basis. For those that are everyday knife users, you may either love or hate the feature.

The SOG NW Ranger features a 5.2” blade, Kraton handle which provides plenty of sure grip and a full tang construction.  The handle is locked in place with a hollow stud that forms a lanyard hole that is large enough to easily accept paracord.   With all the high tech steels out there we sometimes forget that some of the old standards like AUS8 used on the NW Ranger are great steels and provide good edge retention and corrosion resistance.  Of course AUS8 will not perform like a cutlery super-steel knife will, however it sharpens easily, has a fairly high strength, is easy to maintain, and most importantly results in an affordable knife.  The finger choil provides just enough room to choke up on the blade for detail work and the jimping on the back of the blade does provide extra grip for your thumb on heavy duty cutting chores.
Testing included some basic fire building and bush-craft tasks as well as being used for a variety of duties around the house.  One of my favorite test is to use a knife to cook dinner and bone out a whole chicken.  This is a highly relevant test, because if a knife design makes it tough to cook food in the luxuries of home, cooking at camp or in a survival situation will suck.  The blade shape made the food prep for our bone in Herbes de Provence Chicken and broiled broccoli with Parmesan and bacon event-less.  Definitely a good standard handy blade shape.

SOG relies on manufacturing in Taiwan and assembly in the US for most of their product line, however although I would like to see everything made back here in the US, this is not a deal breaker for me.  Someone has to offer a high quality knife in an affordable price point and SOG has done manufacturing this way very well for a over twenty years and maintained their quality along the way.  The SOG NW Ranger is what I would term a light weight all purpose fixed blade knife for almost any survival, camp and hunting task. It holds an edge well, provides some of the features found in higher end knives such as Kraton handle and quality steel, but packages it in a more affordable leather sheath to bring the price down a bit to street prices as low as $48.  This is a great affordable general purpose sportsman's fixed blade knife option for those looking for a lighter weight knife.

Blade Length 5.2" x .150"
Overall Length 9.925"
Weight 6.2 oz.
Edge Straight
Steel AUS 8
HRC 57-58
Handle Kraton
Finish Satin
Sheath Leather
Made in Taiwan
MSRP $98.50
Street $60.00

SOG Knives

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