The SOG Trident Tanto has been my solitary EDC blade since I received it in September, and it hasn’t let me down. It excels at certain things and falls short with others. I’d recommend it as a general-purpose multi-use blade, but not a tool I would trust with my life.
When it comes to blades, there’s a near-infinite amount of choices. If you’ve ever bought a knife for hunting, self-defense, camping, or cooking, you know about the overwhelming selection available. If you are unfamiliar, go look at a recent product catalog of any of the major manufacturers (SOG, Spyderco, Benchmade…) and you will be faced with a thick book filled with all kinds of knives. Blade steels, blade shapes, blade grinds, locking mechanisms, and handle materials all come into consideration for different types, uses, and functions of the blade you need. It can be intimidating, and some blades perform at some job better than others, but while looking at the mind-numbing selection of options it’s important to keep in mind that all blades are made for one primary reason:
To cut things.
While looking for a blade, just keep in mind what you want to cut with it and find the blade that will cut that thing easiest.
A lot of people don’t like Tanto blades (the chisel shape on the tip) because they take more time to sharpen, and blades with rounded curves make some things easier to slice. The one thing that nobody can refute is that tanto blades are great for penetration. I personally don’t really care either way, as I have plenty of cutting tools. I wasn’t looking for a jack-of-all-trades blade, nor was I looking for a specific one when I bought the Trident. I bought the SOG Trident Tanto specifically because I had an opportunity to purchase it for 55% off MSRP, and I know SOG makes good trusty blades. So in this case, it was impulse and I didn’t do any extensive research, other than checking the blade steel, which is a respectable Japanese AUS-8 by the way.
In your own research, I recommend you figure out why you want a new knife and look into all the aforementioned characteristics available, but don’t get too tangled up in it. Relax, it’s just a chunk of machined metal.
I got the Trident off of Steep and Cheap for ~$45. That’s the best price you will get, but you’ll have to wait for it to come up, and there is no guarantee that it will. I would not recommend the SAC avenue at this point, because the sites that inventory SAC don’t have it in stock, so you will be waiting for eternity.
The blade is currently available at Poor Fish Outdoors for $57 + shipping, which is one of the best (trusty) deals online.
I have been using this as my EDC blade for a few months now. It’s performed well, but there are better EDC options.
It’s a bit big for EDC, and the pivot is set about ½” into the handle, which makes the handle a bit bigger than the blade. I typically like to have them as close to the same length as possible to maximize space, but it hasn’t bothered me much in this blade. Speaking of the handle, it’s got this weird pixel-like tread pattern on it that looks better than it functions on this knife. On the non-camo pattern versions, the tread doesn’t even look good. The tread should be sharper and have larger gaps, as my thumb can easily glide over it as is. In fact, the ridges on the spine of the handle aren’t that fantastic either, while the jimping on the blade itself is the only real traction found anywhere on the knife. All this taken into consideration I’ve still never had trouble handling the knife, or ever fumbled it.
The blade locks in with what SOG calls an “Arc-Actuator,” which is simply a piece of metal that slides into a groove on the pivot side of the blade. This locking mechanism is mainstream, and it locks the blade in place firmly with good tolerances, negating any rotational movement along the pivot. That’s right, no wobble along the pivot. However, when locked, the blade does move side to side slightly. It’s not a huge amount, but it is noticeable and it detracts from the overall quality of the knife. The pivot can be tightened to reduce side wobble, but it will hinder the assisted opening more than it already is.
If the blade is opened with the thumb quickly, it pleasantly snaps in place in no time. But if the blade is opened slowly by hand, it will be a rough, slow opening, almost as if there is dirt stuck in there. Even right out of the box, the blade will stutter and stop while opening it slowly, as seen in the initial impressions for the blade. Although it is not a big problem under normal use of the knife, it is a demonstration of build quality so I feel obligated to mention it. The choppy opening can be addressed with some trusty Ballistol applied to the pivot area, as demonstrated in the Ballistol initial impressions. After applying the Ballistol 2 months ago, the blade still opens slowly just as well as it did in that video, without loosening any screws.
The clip itself is great. It allows the knife to ride deep in the pocket, and it holds strong, but not too tight. At first I was worried about it falling out of my pocket while riding my motorcycle, but eventually, I trusted it enough that I forgot it was even there. Like most folder clips, it will loosen up in time. I have never tightened it (to see how bad it might get), and it currently has a noticeable wiggle side to side but has not lost any of its tension at the contact point with the handle.
One of the most obvious features of the knife is the slot in the handle for cutting straps and paracord when the blade is closed. Unfortunately, I found this feature to be clumsy. It will cut paracord and webbing with enough fuss, but it is much easier just to open the blade and cut it with the full length of the blade. Dedicated rescue cutters (like in the Benchmade Triage) will perform much better at webbing and cordage cutting tasks.
The Trident also includes a small lock, that allows you to lock the blade in the closed position. The usability of this feature eludes me. I’m assuming that it is to prevent the blade from being flipped open because it is assisted. However, I haven’t had a single issue with the blade opening when I didn’t want it to. In fact, the blade could be easier to open one-handed. In addition, the lock often switches on in my pocket unintentionally, forcing a moment of confusion upon me when I try to employ the blade quickly from my pocket.
The blade steel is amazing. I have used it moderately during it’s EDC career, never sharpened it, and it is still hair-popping sharp (I just tried it). The AUS-8 steel is a well-rounded respectable steel that is well received within the knife community, but it’s nothing special. Clean it, wipe it down with mineral oil or Ballistol, be careful with the tip, and it will be a great reliable cutter.
This blade is great at cutting, which really is the whole…point. While there is a lot of room for improvement, most of the shortcomings are minor and can be adjusted. Either way, this blade isn’t built or advertised to be anything revolutionary, nor is it expected to be. It’s an average blade with common faults, and that makes it perfect for the average user. Overall, I’ve enjoyed using this blade, and I will use it in the future for camping trips, and perhaps fishing. However, as an EDC it leaves a lot to be desired, and I will most likely retire it from that application.