Two of my favorite brands of knives are Emerson Knives and SOG Knives. They both bring top-quality materials and craftsmanship to the table. Both companies have roots with the United States military; Emerson Knives started with making custom knives for the West Coast SEAL teams, and SOG Knives originated with the MACV-SOG units over in Vietnam.

The Emerson Commander was designed from the direct input of a West Coast SEAL team in the early 1990s. Let’s take a look at some technical specs of the knife.

Blade length: 3.75″, with an overall length of 8.75″

Type of edge: Chisel-ground recurve

Blade and handle materials: Blade steel is American-made 154CM. The handle material is American-made black G10.

Emerson Commander recurve blade
Emerson Commander G10 grip

MSRP: $249.95. Can be found online from Emerson dealers for around $220.

Unique features: Emerson Wave opening feature; Originally designed as a blade catch at the request of the West Coast SEAL Team testing the knife.

Emerson Commander Wave feature

Application: SERE, survival, hunting, everyday carry, defensive weapon

Pros: Extremely tough, easy to maintain and sharpen, deploys faster than most automatic knives, made in the USA.

Cons: Price tag

The SOG Trident is an equally tough folder made in the United States and makes a great EDC knife.

Blade length: 3.75″, with an overall length of 8.5″

Type of edge: Standard V grind, clip point with chisel-ground serrations

Blade and handle materials: Blade steel is AUS-8. Handle material is FRN (fiber-reinforced nylon) with SOG’s Digi-Grip pattern.

SOG Trident clip-point half-serrated blade
SOG Trident Digi Grip handle

Top 5 Folding Carry Knives

Read Next: Top 5 Folding Carry Knives

MSRP: $114.00. Can be found on Amazon for under $100!

Unique features: SOG Deep Carry Pocket Clip can be mounted for either left or right side carry.

SOG Trident Deep Carry Pocket Clip

Application: SERE, survival, hunting, everyday carry, defensive weapon

Pros: Price tag. SOG has always produced a solid blade while keeping the cost down and affordable to anybody. The SOG Deep Carry Pocket Clip ensures a low visual signature, and the SOG Assisted Technology allows the blade to be deployed quickly once pulled from the pocket. Made in the USA.

Cons: Overall strength. The knife does not have full stainless-steel liners, making it more prone to damage from hard use, although I have not had this knife break yet after throwing a lot at it. I generally don’t like knives with springs in them, as that’s a point of failure that is hard to overcome if it fails in the field. I will generally de-assist the knife just to take that failure point out of the picture, but that’s just my personal preference.

The bottom line:  Both knives are great choices; I own both. The Emerson Commander has a steeper price tag, but has been proven and used by elite military units around the world. The SOG Trident, however, has a considerably lower price tag while still boasting quality materials. With the SOG Trident you won’t be afraid to push the knife to its limits due to the cost and durability. I love my Emerson Commander, have beat on the thing, and it has never failed me. But I still pocket the SOG Trident more often than not due to the deep pocket carry—I like to keep a low visual signature of what I’m carrying—and the fact that if I lose it, I’m not out a $249 knife. However if I’m going out into the woods for whatever reason, the Emerson Commander goes with me!

If you enjoyed this article, please consider supporting our Veteran Editorial by becoming a SOFREP subscriber. Click here to get 3 months of full ad-free access for only $1 $29.97.