For those in need of a sleek fixed blade tactical knife with a proven pedigree, the SOG Ops may be just the ticket. SOG describes the Ops as an evolution of their very popular SEAL Pup line of fixed blade knives. I did a SEAL Pup review a while back and was very impressed with this classic outdoors knife. Now that I have an Ops in hand I can say that there are some nice refinements that help this blade stand out from behind the shadow of it’s mighty predecessors. Lets take a closer look and see what the the Ops is all about.
General Dimensions and Blade Details
The Ops has a similar footprint to the SEAL Pup (and SEAL Pup Elite) with an overall length of 9.5″ a 4.85″ blade and a weight of 5.4 ounces. This is a great size for tactical and utility use. While we are on the subject of what this knife might be used knife for, it doesn’t strike me so much as a survival blade. I’m mainly drawing this from the blade shape, it seems much more purpose built for military and police use. Of course, your mileage may vary.
The curving blade is made from .185″ stock. This is a modified drop point design, and this unique blade shape features a nice recurve and long slender swedge forming a very capable tip. In my opinion this is a blade that was designed for penetration and slicing, and will not make a particularly good chopper. The recurve helps push material through the blade and aids in slicing tasks. The swedge enhances penetration while preserving the tip. SOG finished off the blade with a nice hollow grind and a beautifully ground edge.
You have your choice of either a plain satin finish or the Titanium Nitride (TiNi) coated version shown here. This coating will show wear with use but is a substantial improvement over a cheap teflon coating.
SOG used cryotreated AUS 8 stainless steel for the blade, a Japanese mid range steel that I’ve talked about at length. It’s a softer steel, so it won’t hold its edge forever, but for a smaller fixed blade I think AUS 8 was a good choice here.
Handle and Ergonomics
The handle on the Ops is exactly like the handle on a SEAL Pup (or Elite). The handle is made from glass-reinforced nylon (GRN). This is a very solid handle material giving the knife a pleasant amount of heft and a nice sturdy feeling. This is a handle designed to take a beating.
The ergonomics on the Ops are excellent. The handle is covered in medium texturing that provides good grip and response. The handle is formed with a series of finger grooves that accommodate my larger hands very well. One substantial difference between the SEAL Pup series and the Ops is the thumb ramp and aggressive jimping on the spine of the blade. This feature really locks your thumb in place, and in my mind, it completes the ergonomics on this knife. With your thumb locked up you can really control this knife for detailed tasks and it allows you to really dig into some of your harder cuts.
The sheath on the Ops is just as nice as the knife itself. SOG started off with two thick pieces of kydex that have been riveted together with eyelets. The knife fits into the sheath with a snap and feels secure without being too difficult to remove. I didn’t notice any rattle but you can adjust retention to your level of preference. Topping things off, a small drainage hole has been drilled into the bottom sheath to help avoid corrosion.
Bolted onto the sheath is a belt loop and retention strap made of cordura and kydex. The retention strap secures the handle with both velcro and a large button strap. This portion of the sheath is removable and allows you to reverse the entire sheath for left side carry. If you aren’t a fan of belt loops, the eyelets allow you to mount a variety of attachments (such as MOLLE clips) or simply lash the sheath down. All in all this is a very high quality sheath that is designed to provide great blade retention and multiple carry options.
SOG Ops – Final Thoughts
All in all, the Ops is a very solid piece of gear. This knife was made in Taiwan and the fit and finish is excellent. Honestly, I’m really struggling to find any kind of fault with the knife. Perhaps my only parting advice is that in my opinion this is a specialized knife designed mainly for tactical use. Some other ideas for the knife include home defense, something for the bug out bag or perhaps even hunting. Really though I think most people probably won’t find a ton of regular uses for a SOG Ops. That said, if you are in the market for a fixed blade tactical I think it’s a very well built knife with a great sheath and a highly functional design.