Few knives impress me, most that do are fixed blade knives because they have proven time and time again that they won’t break and are always there when I need them. My work as a Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape Specialist in the USAF has led me to many interesting situations. For many of these situations I’ve been issued a variety of folding knives. And in every case when I pick the folder up I can immediately tell it’s not going to hold up. And in every case I’m correct. The folder either ends up falling apart, the blade metal ends up being too brittle, or the materials used overall are just subpar and it cannot withstand the extreme environmental conditions that I subject these knives to. I don’t hate folding blade knives. I just have never found one that I pick up and say “wow” to.
Until now. When I received the SOG Vulcan folding blade knife I was immediately impressed by the packaging and attention to detail they put into it. When I opened the box I was greeted with a knife that looked mean. From the textured glass reinforced Zytel grip to the aggressive thumb assist this knife feels like it was engineered to do some work. And not just slicing boxes open. This knife is calling for the field. To go into the woods.
It has heft to it when you pick it up. I like that heft in a blade, utilizing the thumb assist the blade swings open easily, almost like you’ve done it your whole life. The lockup feels solid. Let me talk about this – I’ve destroyed tons of folding blade knives due to a shoddy lockup mechanism breaking. In those cases where I’ve destroyed it via the locking mechanism it was readily apparent the first time I opened those knives that they would not last as the blade already had wobble and movement. This is not the case with the SOG Vulcan – the lockup feels incredibly sturdy and durable which can be attributed to the ARC locking mechanism which can withstand over 1,000 pounds of pressure on the lock itself.
Another failure point I commonly see is the clip, which when screwed in have a tendency to get loose and fall out. Now you should of course re-tighten these and perform maintenance as needed when you’re out in the field. Often times however, you don’t have time for something like that when you’re trying your best to keep your weapon clean, radio operational, and yourself dry from the elements. You just need a blade that works and a clip that won’t come undone. The SOG Vulcan’s clip is built directly into the handle with no screws to come loose. It feels rock solid and I trust it already.
The blade is what I love most about this folder. 3-inch VG-10 steel with a clip point shape and a hardcase black Titanium Nitride (TiNi) finish. VG-10 steel has excellent wear resistance and corrosion resistance which are both incredibly important to me as I’m in austere conditions constantly. I want the edge to last and I don’t want this thing rusting on me in under a day. Sharpening it will take slightly more work than a 1095 carbon steel but I’ll take that for an edge that lasts. The TiNi finish is a very wear resistant coating perfect for our applications.
I haven’t made up my mind about this blade yet. I like what I see so far, however the true test will be the field when I put it through its paces as a survival tool. Stay tuned for part 2 and we’ll see how she holds up.