SOG Desert Trident
Photo credit: SOG Knives
SOG SEAL Pup Elite
Photo credit: SOG Knives
Recently I had reason to request some donations from various manufacturers to support a non-profit organization I belong to. SOG Knives was one of the companies that stepped up and offered a few things. Among what they sent was a couple of knives I've tested before. It occurred to me that a particular pair of them would be almost ideal for certain types of public safety and/or military work. That pair is the fixed-blade SEAL Pup Elite and the lockblade folding Trident. Let me review them and explain why I think they would serve so well.
The SOG Trident
The SOG Trident is a folding lock blade they sent me, and it too is a handy knife. SOG also makes a fixed-blade Trident, and I guess we can call this the little brother. The 3.75-inch blade opens easily thanks to SOG's patented S.A.T. = SOG Assisted Technology. We are all familiar with this type of technology: you start the blade opening and it's pushed the rest of the way by spring power. Because SOG knows that none of us ever want a folding knife to open in our pocket (ouch) they have designed a safety lock into this knife. It locks the blade shut and you have to take the safety off to open the blade. The SOG Trident has what SOG refers to as a "Groove" (trademarked) in the handle/grips. It allows the user to cut paracord, string, etc, without having to open the blade. The grips are shaped well and the clip is positioned to allow a deep-pocket carry of the knife. Formerly available with black handles, the Trident is now available in three-color desert camouflage.
The SOG SEAL Pup Elite
The SOG Seal Pup Elite is a fixed-blade modified Bowie-style blade design. The overall length of 9.5 inches includes the 4.85-inch AUS 8 blade. The Zytel handle is ergonomically shaped with finger grooves and curved side slabs to fit your hand more comfortably. The handle is also textured to increase the security of your grip under wet or slippery conditions. My test SEAL Pup came with a plastic sheath that had a groove notched out of it, so that when the blade was in the sheath you could cut cord and nylon without having to draw the knife. The new SEAL Pup Elites are being delivered with a nylon sheath that has a hard plastic insert to protect the nylon from the blade's edge. This new sheath is 100% MOLLE compatible with double security features to hold the knife safe. There is also a doubly covered utility pouch incorporated into the sheath, perfect for a SOG Power Plier or other multi-tool.
So, why the pair? Either seems perfectly capable of handling most cutting chores unless you're asking too much of them, given their design. Here's my outlook: like with many things, two is one, one is none. I LIKE having two knives. Most people look at you a little funny if you carry two fixed blade knives though. Carrying one fixed blade with a folder as a backup doesn't get you quite so many stares.
In testing the SOG Seal Pup Elite as my proposed primary knife, my only hesitation is its blade length. For combat conditions I was always taught that a minimum 6-inch or 6.5-inch blade was required. By the same token, I've been taught that fatal damage can be done with a two-inch (or shorter) blade. The Seal Pup's blade, at just under five inches, is about perfect for many field chores, but may not be optimal for your combat usage depending on your preferences or training. As a knife used for survival purposes would go, I think the SOG SEAL Pup Elite would do just fine.
Now let's consider those situations where you either 1) can't reach your fixed blade for whatever reason, or 2) you've lost it, or 3) it's broken. THAT is why you have the SOG Trident in a pocket. With nearly the same blade shape as the SOG SEAL Pup, the Trident's 3.75-inch blade is sufficient for most field chores. Its assisted-opening feature makes it quick and easy to bring to play with one hand. Its deep pocket carry makes it unobtrusive if you're in a more populated or politically sensitive area. And I especially like--though I really didn't use to--the "safety" that is incorporated into the Trident. Because of the ease with which it can be opened, and because SOG wants to make sure that it isn't opened accidentally--even just by you moving around and something hitting it in your pocket--the safety can be engaged to lock the blade shut. The Trident's handles are textured almost identically to the SOG SEAL Pup, providing that same level of secure grip.
If you take a look at the names of the two knives, it's easy to figure out why SOG went out of the way to design a decent grip into their handles. "Trident"--the classic symbol of Neptune and part of the SEAL crest. SEAL...well, if you don't know, I ain't tellin'.
I like them both and recommend them as a pair. Again, I like the SOG SEAL Pup Elite more for field work than potential combat work, but the blade is long enough to serve. Check out more information about either and the rest of SOG's line by visiting SOG's website.