Knife Review: SOG Key Knife

SOG Key Knife

SOG Key Knife

The other day I popped into a local big-box sporting goods store in a vain attempt to locate some .22lr.  On my way out the door I noticed a nifty little knife on one of the impulse racks. It was the SOG Key Knife – a small lock-back, cleverly disguised as fittingly-enough, a key.

They are even trying to tap into the everyday carry movement. The letters EDC are prominent on the blister and cardstock packaging.

We have all seen keychain knives, most notably the ubiquitous Swiss Army Classic,  but this little knife is actually shaped/disguised as a key as opposed to being a key-fob that happens to be a knife. It is about twice the thickness of a standard key, but it is not significantly longer in length.  It fits neatly in line with the keys already on one’s ring.  While it lacks the “cool” factor of Chris’s belt buckle Gerber Touche, it integrated seamlessly into my EDC kit.

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The SOG Key Knife is about twice the thickness of a traditional key, but fits neatly onto one’s existing keyring.

I already own another small SOG knife – a Micron II.  It lives on my fishing lanyard and I have been pleased with its small, locking tanto blade.  So the decision to blow the whopping $9 on the key knife was not a particularly difficult one.  To my surprise, this little knife exceeded my relatively low expectations, and then some.

Knife Test:

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The SOG Key Knife proved more than satisfactory on the TTAK Knife test protocol.

I brought the knife home and put it through the TTAK knife testing protocol:  cutting unsupported paper, cardboard, and rope.  I still need to go out and buy a spool of 1″ sisal, but in this case I substituted a piece of polyethylene and some 1/2″ climbing rope.

Rope Test:  Out of the blister pack, the SOG key knife cut the 3/8″ polyethylene in 4 swipes.  I could have done it in fewer, but I didn’t want to risk breaking the knife 3 minutes after opening it.  I tried to cut climbing rope, but after a couple of swipes, I decided to put the rope on the bench and try to saw through it.  This made quick work of the really tough 1/2″ rope.

While I would consider this a mediocre result in a larger knife, lets face it – the only time you should be using this knife to cut rope is to escape from bondage.  This isn’t a knife meant for heavy duty use.  However, given that this knife’s most analogous competitor is the key-ring Victorinox Classic, the reliable locking mechanism on the SOG makes it vastly superior.

Paper Test:  A couple of quick passes across the ceramic stones of a Spyderco Sharpmaker and I was ready to try slicing paper.  The knife simply glided through pass after pass of unsupported notebook paper.

Cardboard Test:  The SOG cuts through cardboard with ease for the first 12 linear feet or so.  It became more difficult, though certainly remained functional for the next dozen.   Even after 2 dozen linear feet of cardboard, it was still plenty sharp enough to peel and slice an apple.  A quick rinse and 3 passes down the ceramic rods of the Sharpmaker, the knife was ready to return to service.

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After slicing 24 linear feet of corrugated cardboard, the SOG Key Knife was still sharp enough to peel and slice an apple.

Ratings (Out Of Five Stars)

Styling: **
This knife is not meant to draw attention.  It is meant to be an unobtrusive addition to one’s keychain.  The fit and finish are perfectly acceptable.

Blade: ***
The blade is 1 1/2″ of mystery metal..  It is made in Taiwan and not China however.  This might not mean anything in terms of quality, but if I can support the manufacturing base of a free country instead of the Chinese, I consider it a win.  The blade opens and locks easily, and there is no noticeable wobble.

Ergonomics: ***
The ergonomics of this knife are surprisingly good for such a small tool.  The key’s “teeth” provide a positive, no slip grip.

Ruggedness/Durability **
I am sure that with purposeful abuse I could snap the blade off, but this is not meant to be a heavy duty knife.  The blade takes and holds a fairly good edge.  At least as well as any other mystery metal blade I have tried.

Overall Rating: ****
The SOG Key Knife needs to be evaluated for what it is.  It is not meant to replace my Spyderco Native as my primary EDC knife.  However, it is an excellent secondary or tertiary knife for anyone’s EDC kit.  I am happy to have added it to mine.

comments

  1. Aharon says:

    “The other day I popped into a local big-box sporting goods store in a vain attempt to locate some .22lr.”

    One of these days you’ll pop in and find ammo. Yesterday morning, I located three bricks (1,500 rounds) of 22LR Federal American Eagle at BiMart. It made my day!

    1. The advantage of cultivating a relationship with your local gun shop – they set aside 2 bricks for me when they finally got some in. They never even put any on the floor, instead saving it for their regular customers who they knew would be shooting it and not reselling it.

  2. jwm says:

    I don’t buy “gimmick” knives like key knives. I want a knife, not a transformer.

    1. I completely understand your POV. I expected the knife to be a gimmick, and was surprised by its actual functionality.

      I EDC my Native and a Combat Ready neck-knife whenever legally possible. If this knife were more obtrusive in size or shape, I would not care for it. But because it nestles so seamlessly onto my key ring, it is fine for a tertiary blade. Provided I don’t lose my keys (no small feat) it will always be with me.

      1. Pat says:

        I would really like to know what steel they used. AUS8/440C would be fine, especially for that price.

  3. BLAMMO says:

    I’m not one of those people who keeps a lot on a key chain. I carry 3 items on a cable key ring: car key, house key and a Leatherman Micra.

    1. The only things on that chain are the Subaru key, two house-keys, the SOG knife (now), and the fob is just so I can tell which set of keys to grab off the rack. It may disappear in the near future. The other item is a wrought iron leaf that was made for me by a blacksmith who was demonstrating on a portable forge at the Gambier Folk Festival in 1995. It has been with me ever since. It is actually useful as a screwdriver in a pinch, and usually as a prying tool. Most commonly to open the beverage of the moment.

      1. H. Fag Wanker U. Winatbeinggay says:

        Subaru! L G B T Queer car of the year!

  4. scubamatt says:

    With my luck, I’d forget I had it on my keychain and get arrested at the airport as a terrorist.

  5. gof says:

    Blade Steel Type 420J2
    Hardness Rc. 52-54

    That is from the SOG website.

    1. Hey! Thanks for the heads up.

  6. Chris says:

    What a cool little blade! I gotta get myself one of those!!

  7. Glenn says:

    SOG Gear is always coming out with some pretty cool stuff! Nice blade!

  8. Jake says:

    What a great little key knife ! I wonder how this knife would do in a survival situation?!!! lolz I mostly enjoy Bark River knives. But this knife is also pretty cool.

    1. Bark River makes some great knives.

  9. Mr.Ko says:

    I have had one for almost 5 months now at first it was just something to have with me,after all the best knife IS the one YOU have when YOU NEED it! And no matter where in the world I would be my keys were always with me (for some reason they would invoke a pleasent memory or two) so such knife would a helpful tool when without and I can use. it where I work , beause it it considered a keychain tool not a knife( I just got them to ease up a little more so that they now also alow boker toucan. )anyway the P. C. B.C. guys like it and not most other knives and so far it has held up to alot of cutting!

    1. “Best knife is the one you have”…Absolutely.

  10. george says:

    I really like this knife. It’s handy and I use often to cut down soda boxes before throwing the boxes into the recycling bin. One time I had to scrape dried off adhesive in a bathroom. I didn’t have a scraper with me, but I had the SOG key knife and I managed to scrape the dried off adhesive off the tile. I’m so glad I had that knife that day. After that project, I sharpened the blade with my knife sharper and the blade was as sharp as before I used as a scraper.

    1. It is pretty soft steel. But that is not necessarily a bad thing as it makes it a cinch to sharpen.

  11. Chris Twardy says:

    Looks kind of cool I almost bought one until I read the reviews. Anyone with a Subaru is a complete asshole.

    1. Or has two kids and a Labrador and likes to take them into the woods douche-canoe.

  12. H.Clay Arsehoule says:

    Great knife! Just the thing to put on my key ring next to my Subaru key.

  13. H.Clay Arsehoule says:

    Subaru = Looser

  14. H. C. S. Hulle says:

    I really like it. Espessially in the woods. In my Subaru.

    1. WTF is your deal? As a general rule I try to avoid making enemies so what did I do to put a burr up your ass?

    2. Thanks for generating traffic. I win.

  15. I have no idea who the illiterate slack-jaw is, but he obviously has infatuation issues as well as some latent homosexuality issues. This is a 4 year old post and he keeps coming back to call me out for my family’s car choices, over the course of more than a year.

    Thanks for the traffic dill-hole.

  16. Wiredog says:

    I like how unobtrusive this key knife is. It seems like it would blend in well with the rest of my keys and SOG is decent quality. Hypothetically speaking, do you believe this could get by TSA and/or any international checkpoint? I travel quite extensively and have had many an innocuous tool confiscated. Given this experience, this would be my concern for this little key.

    1. I wouldn’t try it. Risk/reward. I put a knife (something benign like a Spyderco Native) in my checked bag. I do usually bring a “tactical” pen with me through TSA

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Knife Review: SOG Key Knife

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