SOG has built a reputation for themselves in the knife industry, and for good reason. They make a lot of good knives. They are also one of the many knife companies that subscribe to the idea of “tacticool” knife design. Meaning, they don’t just focus on making good tactical knives, but that they also try to give them some sex appeal too.
In general I cannot really complain about this way of thinking. Personally, I grade all of my blades on both functionality and aesthetics. I like knives that not only work well, but look cool. And being dead sexeh, or simply evil looking, certainly doesn’t hurt their grade in my book. 😀
However some folks occasionally tend to take it just a little bit too far…
Folks, meet Bob. Say hi Bob! My friend Bob here, is a SOG Fusion Jungle Primitive. “Wassat?” you say? Well, he’s a cave man. Or a cave knife. Actually a Cro-Magnon or prehistoric modern knife, to be exact. Yep. Prolly ought to be in a museum. With all the other primitive knives. But here he is. Looking us right in the eye, and trying to establish alpha knife dominance over the lowly pocket knives we all happen to be carrying. A modern day barbarian. Heh.
LOL OK, yes, perhaps I’m being a little mean. But it’s all in the name of a little fun. I don’t really mean anything by it. 🙂 The SOG jungle primitive is not actually a bad knife. In fact I think that, apart from one or two features that are minor pet peeves, it’s actually a great knife. I think they just kinda took the tacticool thinking to a bit of a new level. But not actually in an entirely bad way either.
Lets start with the kraton grip, which should be fairly grippy, even in adverse conditions. SOG went one better by molding an artistic faux knurling to the pattern of the kraton grip, (which they are calling a “Digi-Grip”… go figure) that gets irregular at the top and bottom. Nice touch actually. The shape of the grip is also very nice, with a decent guard at the top, and ridges at the bottom and top of the inside curves to help increase traction. The pommel, protruding from the grip of this full tang blade has been given a small saw tooth finish. This, I am on the fence about, for reasons I’ll get to later.
The blade on the Jungle Primitive just drips with that second kind of cool (aka Tacticool). The blade is a large 9.5 in clip point, with lots of belly, a good combination for a survival blade. Just above the grip, the first inch and a half of the blade sports a serrated edge. Just above the grip, on the spine, we have a thumb recess with the same saw tooth pattern used on the pommel. Above that, a cute little divot for who knows what. And above that, we have my main pet peeve; a section of rearward facing saw teeth. Lots more on those later.
Obviously, this knife was designed with optimal grip for both gloved and bare handed users in mind. The size and the shape of the little saw teeth both on the thumb section on the spine, and on the pommel pretty much make that fairly clear. However I tend to think the design is perhaps biased a little too much towards the gloved users. The serrations seem overly large, like they would actually become tiresome against a bare thumb over long periods of use.
But that could just be me being a wuss. The other thing, is that the same pattern on the pommel makes sense if the knife is going to be used in a reverse “ice pick” grip, with the thumb over the pommel. Again, the saw teeth would provide added purchase for your gloved thumb, but would probably become very irritating against a bare thumb. Another concern would be that because a common use for the pommel is as a hammer, and there are some things that you might end up splitting instead of hammering, because those teeth would concentrate the force of each blow into a few very small points instead of across the whole pommel.
Now as you can probably imagine, this is by no means a small knife. It is basically a knife modeled on the large, single knife only, survival role. As I’ve said in other posts, going this route is far from ideal, the ideal would be to carry a much larger heavy knife (a camp axe or a machete), and at least one small knife. However if you have to do it with just one, this would definitely fit the bill.
But now, if you all don’t mind, I’d like to vent about my one major pet peeve with this design: THOSE BLASTED SAW TEETH ON THE SPINE!!
The most hackle raising feature of this otherwise very cool knife was how the spine saw was implemented. Rather than put an actual saw blade on the spine, the folks at SOG opted for the much more difficult “dino tooth” option. They went back in time, grabbed some hapless velociraptor, performed an X-Men, Wolverine-style dental job to replace all of its teeth with steel, then pulled it’s newly transformed steel teeth out and stuck them on the back of this knife.
No. Really. That’s what they did. What? Don’t beleive me?
Ok, fine. Maybe they didn’t. But it certainly looks like it. Which wouldn’t be so bad, except that a velociraptors teeth are designed to help them catch and eat live prey. Not for SAWING WOOD. Do any of these knife makers actually ever look at a real wood saw any more? Seriously? Have you ever seen teeth like these on a wood saw? A hand saw? A folding wood saw? Branch cutting saw? Anyone? Why is it so hard for knife makers to get that oh, so simple little detail right?
I mean I can understand the cool of having the spine of your knife look like a hungry velociraptors jaw, but this knife is supposed to be a survival tool FIRST, and cool tool SECOND. Weapon/tool aesthetics aren’t called the SECOND kind of cool for nothing. Pro tip folks: Always get your basic design fully functional before you go designing in the sexy. OK? Aaaaand… I’m done. End rant.
OK. To be fair, the knife is still quite evil. In a jungle primitive kind of way. My kind of aesthetic. And it will do most everything you might want it to do. Some things (such as sawing through wood) will require a little more effort than others. But it will get the job done. Just remember that if you are looking for a knife for survival purposes.
The way I see it, there’s the tool, and then there’s the cool. Sometimes you can have both the tool and the cool. Sometimes the cool overwhelms the tool. Me personally, especially for survival use, I prefer the tool to pwn the cool. Because if you are in a survival situation, the cool ain’t gonna get you through. It will be all about the tool… 🙂
Now say that 20 times fast. 😀