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SOG stands for “Studies and Observations Group.”
This does not sound fearsome until you learn that they were an elite group of operatives during the Vietnam War, who designed their own fighting knife.
It was designed by Benjamin Baker, Deputy Chief of the US Counterinsurgency Support Office, and was supposed to be untraceable.
The SOG Knife was used by the best of the best in Vietnam, and it earned a reputation as a great fighting knife.
Years later, an improved version was created by Spencer and Gloria Frazer, who called their company SOG Specialty Knives.
Not merely a replica, it earned its own reputation.
So much so that the US Navy Seals adopted the SOG SEAL 2000.
It’s big, mean, and effective. And has a child.
The SOG SEAL Pup Elite is a smaller version of the SEAL 2000 but it is no less capable in a fight than its ancestors.
- Blade Length: 4.85″
- Overall Length: 9.5″
- Weight: 5.4 oz
- Blade Material: AUS-8 Stainless Steel
- Blade Shape: Clip Point, plain or serrated
- Handle Material: Glass-Reinforced Nylon
- Misc: Nylon or Kydex sheath, lanyard hole
The SOG SEAL Pup Elite may have a fiercely-cutesy name and may be shorter than the SEAL 2000, but do not expect this to be a tiny, adorable puppy.
With a fixed blade that’s 4.85″ inches long and 0.185″ thick, and an overall length of 9.5″, the Pup is not a small dog.
The clip point, available with or without serrations, means that it is more bite than bark.
That almost-five-inch-long blade is made from AUS-8 stainless steel, but it’s different from other AUS-8 steels on the market.
SOG has applied a unique Cryogenic Heat Treatment process that supposedly affects the atoms of the steel, increasing the toughness of the blade while also increasing edge retention.
According to the manufacturer, this treatment involves cooling the knife down to -300 degrees Fahrenheit then bringing it back up to room temperature.
Supposedly, this relieves the stress on the blade from the manufacturing process, which strengthens the blade and protects against chips, wear, and fractures.
Then they’ve coated the blade in titanium nitride, a tough coating that is also sometimes used to improve gun parts or machining tools.
Or, if you prefer a silver knife, you can also get the Pup Elite with a satin polished blade.
The back of the blade is a bit of an odd duck. There’s a place to put your thumb, but above that, the spine is a rasp.
This lets you use the back of the blade as a file, but the back of the blade is also scalloped, which reduces this functionality.
Despite the length and thickness of the blade, the knife only weighs 5.4 ounces, making it surprisingly easy to carry.
The handle is made from glass-reinforced Zytel, which is a high-strength Nylon resin.
It has a scale-like texture (what, no fur?) and finger grooves. Your hands won’t slip off of this handle, even if they’re covered in water or other liquids!
There’s also a lanyard hole at the bottom of the handle.
Even the sheath is full of features. It’s made from reinforced Nylon and has a Kydex insert to hold the blade in place.
It’s also MOLLE compatible.
A molded Kydex sheath is available as well if that’s more your speed. Not everyone like Nylon sheaths.
What I Liked
The SOG SEAL Pup Elite is first a fighting knife, but unlike some fighting knives, it is still a very strong survival knife.
It’s strong enough to baton and is large enough for demanding tasks, without getting too hilariously long.
The edge comes out of the box sharp, and it takes a lot to dull the blade. The Cryogenic Heat Treatment may or may not be the cause, but the Pup Elite holds its edge well.
Durability also shines through in other ways. Go ahead, try to destroy this knife.
The knife is very quick in the hand, partially due to its surprisingly low weight.
Lastly, the handle is so comfortable in wet conditions that the SEAL Pup Elite is used as a diving knife.
It is based on a knife used by the Navy SEALs, after all…
What I Didn’t Like
Also, the rasp on the back of the blade seems like a good idea, but the spine is curved in a way that causes two concave curves.
This reduces the functionality of the rasp. Files are normally flat or convex, not concave.
The rasp can also make it uncomfortable to put your hand on the back of the blade for certain tasks and also prevents you from steeling another knife with this one.
First of all, don’t buy it from SOG’s website. They sell at MSRP, but you can find the Pup Elite for almost half the price elsewhere.
This knife is good for non-cosmopolitan activity.
By that, I mean that if you’re wearing a suit and tie, leave the Pup Elite at home.
The Pup Elite too large and fierce to be a polite puppy.
But for when you’re no longer in civilized company, the SEAL Pup Elite is an excellent choice for a blade.
Whether you need a fighting or survival knife, the Pup Elite will survive any task you throw at it and will bark for more.
Durability: 5/5. The glass-reinforced Nylon handle and cryogenically-treated AUS-8 steel just may outlive you.
Fighting Ability: 4/5. This is a fighting knife, from a line of fighting knives. But it has been shortened from its predecessor for a little more civility.
Utility: 4.5/5. While primarily a fighting knife, the Pup Elite is adept at handling itself as a tool in the woods. The high-quality sheath helps, too.
Overall: 4/5. The biggest stinker is the concave rasp. Other than that, this is a good fighting or survival knife.
SOG’s SEAL Pup Elite is a great balance between fighting knife and survival knife, but you can lean one way or the other if you’d prefer.
For something a little bit smaller, try the Pup Elite’s smaller brother.
Called the SEAL Pup, it’s slightly smaller and has a powder finish to the blade, a smooth spine, and shallower finger grooves.
It’s also a little bit cheaper.
Or, if you want something larger, you can buy the SOG SEAL Team Elite. It lengthens the Pup Elite’s blade out to a whopping seven inches!
The Team Elite is even more of a fighting knife so it may be too long for more mundane work.