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

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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!