Pros: Blade Material, Materials, Handle Material, Weight, Overall Quality, Blade Sharpness
Just what it should be
I've had mostly positive experiences with SOG ever since I got my first Seal 2000 knife back in the early 2000s, but as with (almost) every manufacturer, there have been a few SOG pieces that didn't live up to the hype, and a couple that were downright dogs. SOG seems to do AUS-8 pretty well, but it isn't ever more than a pretty-good, medium-grade knife steel. Pretty-good in that it does most stainless knife things pretty-well: It holds an edge, resists corrosion, keeps its shape. Medium-grade in that there are plenty of pricier and newer steels that do all those things better. So would an obviously straightforward and unpretentious AUS-8 SOG design really be any more than a pretty-good, medium-quality survival knife? Oh my goodness. I was surprised. Now I haven't put it through the rigorous testing SOG likes to brag about--I haven't shot it with a handgun or submerged it in the ocean for centuries or irradiated it or whatever else they claim--but I did give my new knife 24 hours in salt water, pryed with it, hammered with it, cut a whole lot of wood and 100 feet of Paracord 6" at a time with it, and even went ahead and pounded on it laterally with a tack hammer for about as long as my neighbors would tolerate. No, it didn't turn out showroom quality after all this, but three really important things remained. 1) It kept its edge and shape 2) It kept a sharp tip and secure handle 3) Everything else wrong with it could be fixed in two minutes with a sharpening stone. I believe I've put the Force through enough bizarre torture testing to say with confidence that I am amazed with its durability and resillience. But functionality is just as important, and in this realm the Force does what it needs to do as well as one could expect for a knife of this size. Batoning, whittling, skinning, hacking, none of these trail tasks seem to be a challenge for it. Indeed, they seem to come more naturally to the Force than to other knives in this category like my KaBar Becker that I can't help but love. It just seems to perform without sticking, struggling, or mangling the subject at hand, provided it gets an occasional touch up on a sharpener. I would compare it to the Fallkniven S1 I carry, which I have described as the best mass-produced survival knife around. While I hesitate to share that title with the Force, I can assure you that it is one of the best survival knives you can get in its price range, and thus a screamingly good buy. This knife may not look like much, but it works like every knife should. This is quite a feather in SOGs cap, and an excellent choice for any pack.