To many, SOG is known for their more inexpensive knives. As far as folders go, when you say “SOG Knives” people often have images of the Aegis, Trident and Flash in their head. Perhaps a SEAL Pup fixed blade might be on the back of their mind as well when they are thinking of the brand. This is fine, as SOG makes some excellent high value knives, but they do a lot more than make knives in the ~$50 and under range. The Visionary II just happens to be one of these knives.
Made in SEKI City Japan and retailing for around $100, it only takes a moment upon handling the knife to realize that this is not your typical SOG. I think these are somewhat under-appreciated blades so I’m excited to take a closer look and share some thoughts on the knife.
General Dimensions and Blade Details
The Visionary II has a 3.75″ blade, an overall length of 8.37″ and a weight of 4.3 ounces. With these dimensions, and the inclusion of an arc lock (which is very similar to an axis lock) I can’t help but compare this knife to the Benchmade Griptilian. Indeed, the stats are similar (3.45″/8.07″/3.8oz for the Grip). They also share similarities in handle construction (reinforced plastic handles over steel liners) and they both feature mid/high end blade steel. However, the Visionary is a completely different knife so I’ll try to remain as detached as the hamster wheel in my head will allow.
The blade shape on the Visionary II is a modified drop point. It’s a sleek and sexy design with a swedge and belly forming a nice sturdy tip. There is a slight recurve for draw cutting and the entire knife has been given an attractive black powdercoat. This blade shape strikes me as particularly well suited for tactical applications. You have some good penetration power and recurves can be devastating when used on soft materials. I also think there are a lot of good utility applications for this blade, so we could have a larger EDC knife on our hands too. All in all this is a very nice blade, it’s well thought out and beautifully executed with a keen edg and high hollow grind.
The steel on the Visionary II is VG10. This is a very nice mid to high end Japanese stainless steel. VG10 is capable of getting extremely sharp, and will do a good job holding onto that edge. It’s a high quality steel and I find it to be a substantial upgrade over the AUS8 found in SOG’s more affordable offerings.
Handle, Ergonomics and Pocket Clip
The handles on the Visionary II are glass reinforced nylon (GRN), which is very similar to FRN (in fact I think it’s actually the same as FRN). Underneath the GRN we have full stainless steel liners. These liners are not milled out, but instead have been given an almost mirror polish. They are very well put together and line up flush. The rest of the handle is a simple, open back design with a couple pillars and a small lanyard hole.
Ergonomics on the Visionary II are good. The handle is plain but it features a nice finger choil and the corners have all been nicely rounded. On the spine of the blade there is a nice thumb ramp with some functional jimping. This style of handle emphasizes maximum reach rather than choking for ultimate control. It’s a design well suited for tactical tasks, but could do detailed work in a pinch.
The pocket clip is odd looking but well done. It’s been given a black coating, and like many SOG folders this is a deep ride clip that allows for ambidextrous tip up carry. Clip retention is good and despite the admittedly funky design, I think it works well and is a good clip overall.
Deployment and Lockup
The Visionary II has ambidextrous thumb studs for deployment. They are fairly easy to get at and with some force the knife springs to life. Honestly, compared with something like the Griptilian I found deployment to be a little difficult. Maybe it’s the shape of the thumb studs, maybe it’s the positioning, maybe it’s the washers. This is me being extremely picky, but something about it just didn’t 100% click. I suspect that swapping out the teflon washers for phosphor bronze washers would offer a substantial improvement in speed. I will say the deployment was very smooth overall.
Lockup on the Visionary II is solid. The nice thing about the arc-lock on these higher end SOGs is that it is fully ambidextrous and you can disengage it with one hand. If you are unfamiliar with this kind of lock, it is similar to the axis lock. If we are to do an apples to apples comparison here, my preference leans slightly towards the axis lock. But I know some people favor the arc lock. Really they are both pretty similar and function very well.
SOG Visionary – Final Thoughts
All in all the Visionary II is a nice offering from SOG. What you get here is a well made Japanese knife, with good steel, excellent fit and finish and solid construction. I like the powdercoated blade, the comfortable handle, and how everything is assembled to very tight tolerances. To me deployment was just slightly awkward, but perhaps I needed to spend more time playing with the pivot (blade centering was perfect by the way). All in all, this is a very solid offering. If the Visionary II is a knife you like on paper I think that you will be pleased with it in your hand (and pocket) too.