Yep - 15 years ago a friend of mine traded me a SOG Knives Pentagon for another knife that I had been carrying. I can't remember now what I traded, but looking back at the performance of the Pentagon I have to believe it was worth it. I still have that Pentagon and it's still in good serviceable condition. Given that most knife reviews are done of new or fairly new knives I thought I'd spend a few minutes looking at 15 years of performance, the good, the bad and the ugly. Read on...
Let's get the plain down and dirty data points out of the way first:
- Blade length = 5"
- Overall length = 9.75"
- Weight = 5.6 oz
- Edge = double edge: one plain, one serrated
- Steel = AUS8
- Handle = Kraton
- Sheath = Nylon (now - mine is leather)
Now, a few things I really like about this knife.
I like that there is not a straight edge with a section of serration in it. Instead, SOG put a full straight edge on one side of the double edge blade, and put a full length of serrated edge on the other. Depending on what you're cutting you can use whichever side suits your needs best. If you end up using the knife in self defense it's going to leave some potentially hellacious wound channels.
I like the length and shape of the Kraton handle. It is simple but functional. I've handled it wet, muddy, sandy and bone dry. In all conditions it has provided a secure grip. At the end is a lanyard hole - which I like.
I like that although the blade is measured at 5" and the handle at 4.75", there is a space between the actual cutting edge and the hilt. That gap leaves the knife, as you work it, feeling more balanced in your hand.
I like that SOG has changed the sheath from leather to nylon. My leather sheat has a metal clip instead of a belt loop and the security strap around the handle snaps so loose that the knife can almost come out even with the strap snapped (see photo).
Now, what don't I like?
I don't like the fact that there is no guard on EITHER side at the hilt. Like many folks I can be a bit uncoordinated and I like design features that help me not injure myself on my own knife. That said, I recognize that the lack of guard(s) at the hilt are one of the design features that contribute to the distinctive lines of this knife.
I don't like that the lanyard hole is the ONLY hole anywhere on this knife. With its double-edged design and slip spear point it's nearly ideal to be lashed onto a pole and used as a spear. Wrap the cord tight around the handle if you do this. The Kraton will give some and the soft hourglass shape of the handle will help hold it secure. I need to clarify though that the knife wasn't designed for such use so the lack of additional lashing holes isn't a negative thing. This is just me asking more of the knife than it was designed to give.
As mentioned above, my leather sheath is so worn out / stretched / well used that the snapped strap is still so loose that my knife can almost come out anyway (shown above right). I think I'll have to upgrade.
Now, with all those likes and dislikes listed, let me talk about what this knife has been through. The pictures you see are all current - within the past week. The sheath has one stained spot where it mildewed on a week-long camping trip in a humid region. The blade has no rust spots nor any signs of corrosion. It has been wet with salt water, fresh water, blood and oil. It has been used to cut meat, string, rope, nylon, rubber, neoprene and more. For three years it was clipped to my hiking "fanny" pack and was used for virtually every cutting need that arose on hikes. It has trimmed wood, speared fish (trout and a couple slow bass), and poked holes in leather belts. It has been hammered into a tree to hold a camp shower (5 gallon bag of water).