In this review I crack straight into the highly affordable SOG Seal Pup Elite. This blade brings in a lot of updated changes from the original model, making it an obvious choice for folks who had problems with the first product. Crucial features like blade material and design were changed completely in order to make a more competent knife. This blade has seen a lot of action over in Iraq and makes for not only a decent utility knife, but tactical combat knife too. Take a look at the specs below and read on for my full review.
|Blade Length||4.85 inches|
|Total Length||9.5 inches|
|Blade Thickness||0.19 inches|
|Blade Material||AUS 8|
My first impressions of the SOG Seal PUP Elite are promising. For one, the balance of the blade is phenomenal. Something I had problems with in the original model was how unbalanced it felt in hand. The handle threw the entire blade off kilter, giving off a hard-to-use feel. The balance on the SPE is nothing short of perfect. This time, SOG has lengthened the handle to a length that’s easier to grip. The blade feels good in hand and I can simply grab it and go to work without fumbling around for a decent hold.
I don’t necessarily enjoy the grind of the blade but as you’ll see later this isn’t a big issue. I personally like to see a full flat grind but at the end of the day it comes down to functionality. The SOG PUP Elite brings a lot to the table.
The blade material in question is a steel known as AUS 8. If you know anything about the original model, SOG used AUS 5 which was a soft steel and didn’t hold an edge very well. AUS 8 is a harder steel and takes/holds a wicked edge. While it might not hold an edge like some, the edge is quickly sharpened up with any fine grain sharpening stone. Out of the box I could shave the hairs right off my arm! The bowie shape of the blade makes the SOG Seal PUP elite a formative self-defense/tactical blade.
The entire handle is made from a glass reinforced material known as Zytel. The blade gets a checkered upgrade and also features a nice set of curved finger placements. Some like the checkered grip while others can do without it. I personally enjoy the checkered grip and feel it has a solid grip even when wet. As I mentioned, SOG lengthened the handle which makes this blade MUCH easier to grip especially if you have larger hands. The thumb ramp could be a little more pronounced in my opinion – this would make for much more controlled cuts and would do more to prevent your hand from sliding onto the blade. The lanyard hole is also very small, almost too small for even a length of 550 paracord. These are small details though.
This is one sheath I can honestly say does its job very well. If you’re an avid knife owner, you know the sheaths that come with most knives are downright horrible. With this sheath however, the blade snaps in perfectly, fits like a glove, and doesn’t rattle around while you’re walking. In this sense it’s very tactical. It’s also completely MOLLE compatible so you’ll have no problems attaching it to your pack or whatever else. Slim profile. A small feature I like is the retention strap – many sheaths use a nylon retention strap that slowly slices off as you pull the blade in and out. The SOG Seal PUP Elite uses some kind of synthetic material which is very resistant to slicing.
You can gawk at a blade all you want but at the end of the day it better be usable in the field. I put every blade I review through a number of field tests. I like to know how well the blade slices and whether or not it can handle basic bushcrafting tasks. Being a survivalist site, I try to review knives suited to survival situations.
Let’s start with the obvious – this knife is light. I knew right away it would never function as a full blown survival knife. I would not choose this knife if you’re looking for a bushcrafting knife or something you’d need to “Rambo” your way out of a survival situation. But, as a camping, hiking, or general utility knife? Absolutely. The Seal PUP Elite handled lightweight wood batoning with zero problems and sliced cordage and other items with ease. This knife is my go-to when I go hiking or camping for short periods of time.
I do think the knife is perfectly suited as a great every-day-carry blade. It’s large enough to handle most tasks while light enough not to feel like you’re carrying a damn brick on your hip. I’ve got one in the car and one in a small bug out bag. The knife is definitely one you don’t want to be on the business end of. For a tactical self defense blade I can’t say I’ve come across something better suited for close quarters combat. Perhaps the Cold Steel SRK. If you got a man on top of you this blade is the perfect size to create a little breathing room, and not to mention, sharp as hell.
Is the SOG Seal PUP Elite right for you? Well, what do you plan on doing with the thing? Like I said, this is a lightweight knife well suited for lighter tasks. It’s not a full blown bushcraft knife like the ESEE 5. All that steel also increases the cost of the knife significantly. Last time I checked the SOG Seal PUP Elite was going for about $36 bucks on Amazon. Most knives I own are on the business end of $100 dollars and I can say only a few of them outperform the SOG. This blade truly delivers the most bang for your buck. Not to mention – the included sheath is second to none! Good luck finding a quality sheath on any other blade without shelling out more money!
I hope you enjoyed this review and I’ll see you next time.