Well okay, maybe ‘Throat Slitter’ isn’t part of the official name–but it has a certain ring to it that we like. Of course, the only Mexican on our team reviews a knife. At least this time it isn’t made from a sharpened toothbrush. Meet the SOG Trident Elite.
I don’t like the clip.
And that’s the only bad thing I can say about SOG’s Trident Elite knife (well, maybe I don’t care much for the name’s subtle appeal to SEAL worshippers, but I’ll let that slide). It’s a solid, just-above-no-frills piece of kit that seems to accomplish all my EDC knife goals.
I’ve been buying SOG products since I was a wee young Marine. I always thought they were bombproof. But recently I’ve heard one or two people say everything SOG’s ever made is aardvark manure. It had been a while since I owned a new SOG product, so when I got the opportunity to test a SOG Trident Elite I decided to give it the aardvark-manure test myself.
Out of the box, the knife certainly doesn’t look manurish. It’s sturdy and solidly built, with a metal reinforcing band on each end. Fit and finish is to SOG standard (translation: it’s pretty damn sexy). The knife has a spring-assisted 3.7” blade, textured rubber inserts to assist with grip, and several other useful and attractive features.
Many people carry knives to save lives rather than just stab people in the face. The Trident Elite is appropriate for both jobs. Its window breaker (which is just a hardened point, not spring loaded) is, in my opinion, a minimum requirement for any folding knife. You just never know when you’ll encounter a single dancing mom trapped behind the window of a burning car.
The line cutter is also handy. SOG doesn’t say it’s a seatbelt cutter; their web site says it “can cut thin rope, belts or webbing”. That sounds fair because it doesn’t seem sturdy enough to cut a seatbelt. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a spare car and seatbelt around to test it on, so should I encounter any seatbelts that need cutting I’ll just use the blade. But for 550 cord, twine, or anything similar I’ll use the line cutter.
Having said that, there are two things about the line cutter you should know: first, the line cutter is just the main blade, exposed by a cutout in the handle. I really wouldn’t have given this a second thought, but an infantry friend looked at the knife and mentioned it. He had a knife with a dedicated line-cutting blade and often used it to cut wire. When it dulled, he simply replaced the dedicated blade. Then he bought another knife like the Trident Elite, which uses the main blade as the line cutter. He used it to cut wire and ruined it. This doesn’t mean the Trident Elite’s line cutter is poorly designed, but it does mean you should keep in mind that it’s more limited in use than a dedicated line cutter.
Second: to use the line cutter you have to flip a small switch on the handle, which locks the blade closed. If you don’t, and the line you’re cutting has any strength to it, the blade will just move out of the way. Again, not a criticism. Just something you should know.
So this is a bombtastic knife. It’s well built with cool features. But then there’s that damn clip.
Right off the bat, I had problems with the clip. First, it felt too tight against the handle, and I had a hard time forcing it over the edge of my pocket (and the pants’ material always bunches up under the clip). When the knife is on my pants the top of the clip is almost flush against the handle, which is why it gathers material; you can force the clip further down so the material is over top of the handle and just under the top of the clip, but then you have to struggle to get the knife out.
To alleviate these problems, I bent the clip outward a bit. Then I managed to catch the end of the clip on a piece of furniture as I brushed past it, and bent it way out. So I took it off and bent it back into shape. Now it’s more or less okay, but the knife still has to be carefully forced onto my pants, the material still bunches up under the clip, and it still sticks out more than I’d like it to.
I wondered if I was just being too bitchy about the clip. But when my previously-mentioned infantry friend took a few moments to examine the knife, literally the first words out of his mouth were “I don’t like the clip”. So apparently I’m not the only one.
Then again…meh. The clip isn’t perfect, but who cares? It’s still a good knife and hasn’t fallen off even while I’m running. So how bad can it be?
In the end, my criticism of the knife doesn’t come close to my admiration for it. I hope SOG makes the clip longer with less flair at the end and adds a little room between the clip and handle.
And if they don’t? I’ll keep carrying the Trident Elite, and won’t think twice about it. Cause SOG doesn’t make aardvark manure.