SOG Specialty Knives gets its name from the Studies and Observation Group. SOG. More specifically, the U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam–Studies and Observation Group. MACV-SOG. The acronym did not use the word “special.” MACV-SOG ran cross-border covert ops, rescue, and reconnaissance during the Vietnam War.
A special, sometimes sterile (no identifying marks), fighting knife was commissioned for the teams. It became known as the SOG Bowie. It would inspire SOG Knives’ founder and tool and die maker Spencer Frazer to start a knife company in 1986.
SOG Knives makes a range of items from knives, to tomahawks, to multi-tools, to flashlights. I happen to love the curves of a leaf shaped blade. When I saw SOG’s Aegis design a few years ago, I was visually intrigued. When I saw the Mini Aegis, I had to have one.
Aegis (EE-gis), Greek for shield, denotes protection. Since this knife is a called a “mini,” I think the diminutive is appropriate. It is a bit light on features for personal protection, but in terms of utility, it can guard your interests.
I bought a SOG Mini Aegis in Black TiNi for about fifty dollars (a little over half its MSRP). I haven’t purchased a SOG folder in quite a while, though I do have three of their fixed blades, a multi-tool, and a tomahawk. My first SOG folder was their original Tomcat model.
When the Mini Aegis arrived, I initially had mixed feelings. Hefting it, the weight was so light I felt that it mimicked the Vietnam-era Mattel toy M-16’s we all had back when. Poking around, I saw that the Mini had no steel liners. That accounted for its scant 2.0 ounces.
I generally carry a pocketknife as my backup to my concealed firearm de jour. I have been known to judge knives based upon their weapons potential. Setting that criterion aside, I took a step back and re-examined the Mini Aegis.
It has a large pivot in its 4.1” glass-reinforced nylon handles. The SOG piston lock works at the top end of the tang in a very secure manner to block the rotation of the blade with a spring loaded pin. I have no fears about the blade closing during reasonable work. My trepidation started to evaporate.
The Mini Aegis feels good in the hand. The handle flares at the front, which, in conjunction with scalloping, keeps the fingers from creeping onto the keen end. The belly of the handle swells nicely to fill your grasp. Jimping on the top of the handle and SOG’s DigiGrip texturing aid in retention.
AUS-8 steel, at 57-58 HRC, makes up the 3” Mini Aegis blade. It is full flat ground and maintains a secondary bevel all the way to the tang. Black titanium nitride coats the blade. The rest of the hardware is also a stealthy black. The Aegis uses SOG Assisted Technology (S.A.T.) to spring open the blade once it is about 5-10 degrees deployed. Mine fires without hesitation and is fun to actuate.
A manual safety switch is placed on the left side of the knife. It engages to lock the knife in the closed position. Red/ready to go is how SOG puts it. It does not lock the knife in the opened position.
SOG’s reversible bayonet clip keeps the Mini Aegis way down in the pocket. The rear of the handle is tapered, so that this knife really does disappear into the pants. The Mini’s low weight and small footprint will guarantee its discreet presence.
Okay, back to that protection thing. For some folks, a knife is combative and comforting. For most everyone else, it is just a handy tool. My judgment of the Mini Aegis is that it is a terrific light duty folder. It would not be my first choice if I had to take a knife into harm’s way. But that may not be your need. For EDC, the SOG Mini Aegis does tactical duty as a gentleman’s folder.