I have, unfortunately, known a few people in my life who had been diagnosed as "bi-polar." To me the term usually means challenging conversations and unpredictable mood swings that I'd prefer to avoid dealing with when I can. So when I found out that SOG Knives had a folding knife called the "Bi-Polar," I had to wonder what they were thinking. Then I received one for test and evaluation. Through the testing I came to realize that it's easy to see why they named the knife what they did and how it "wore more than one face." While the knife obviously has application for military and law enforcement professionals, the spectrum of use during off-duty time seems just as wide and varied to me. Let's take a look at the knife, starting with the basic information and then examining some of the uses it can serve.
The knife is equipped with two blades and a glass breaker. The main cutting blade is three inches long and .12 inches thick. It's beefy enough to handle plenty of cutting chores without starting to pretend that it's Rambo's short sword. The second blade is a "SOG V" blade that is essentially two small razor blades set against each other at an angle. SOG obviously had public safety in mind when they designed this knife because the glass breaker is set into the end that would position it properly for use immediately before deploying the V-cut blade. Still, although primarily designed for public safety work, I can see a variety of field uses for this blade.
Let us not forget that, first and foremost in the field, we have to be able to support and/or rescue ourselves. When moving about in the "back country," it's not uncommon to find ourselves snagged on vines or snared by briars. The V-cut blade is perfect for a quick drag through whatever it is that has us tied down. If the "whatever it is" proves too much for the V-cut, then the larger blade can be used to cut or hack (albeit small things). Such uses, while valuable for off-duty outdoor enjoyment, have direct application for those public safety personnel assigned search and rescue duties.
Both blades have secure lock-back mechanisms and open using SOG's assisted technology. That means that you just get them started and they'll flip open the rest of the way on their own. As a safety precaution, because of the assisted opening technology, SOG also designed and incorporated into the knife locking devices that prevent the blades from ever opening unintentionally. This would really only be a problem if you had the knife in your pocket with other items that might catch and push the blade(s) open, but with the included SOG nylon sheath there is virtually no way for either blade to open accidentally. In today's world of popular nylon duty gear, the provided sheath fits right in.
This also strikes me as a good knife for working in or around water--especially if you have anything to do with inflatable watercraft. I know a gentleman who is an avid whitewater rafter and the Bi-Polar is exactly what he described needing some six to seven years ago. He often asked for recommendations for a folding knife where he could open a blade--or get an exposed edge--to cut nylon or cords without endangering an air-inflated pontoon or hull if the knife was dropped. The V-cut blade on the Bi-Polar is perfect for his needs. The only thing he might need that SOG didn't include in the design is MAYBE a lanyard hole. I know lots of contemporary warriors who like to tie their gear to their person so that even if it's dropped it's not lost. That applies doubly to those who work around water. If you drop it into even just ten feet of water, where it sinks into two feet of silt, it's just as gone as if you never had it.
While SOG's website has this particular knife (with the TiNi finish on the main blade) listed at $160, a quick Internet search revealed variations of the SOG Bi-Polar knife for as low as $99. That's a lot of capability in a small package. Versatility and safety are what it's all about for every tool we use on- or off-duty. The Bi-Polar would make a good partner to have.