SOG GOV-TAC Knife Review

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uptown uptown
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SOG GOV-TAC Knife Review

Despite reading many reviews and commentaries about what to look for in a good survival knife, I purchased this SOG Gov-Tac after visiting my local knife shop. I had not made the decision to which one I was going to buy until I had the opportunity to touch, feel and handle a few. From my internet research alone, I figured I'd come out of the store with a K-bar provided I could find one that didn't have a murderous appearance. I wanted a practical, durable knife without a crazy grind that I could learn to sharpen myself and one that would suffice to do some light chopping, riving and filet work. Truth be told, a sharp knife brings more of a sense of personal security than anything else, in my opinion.

When I saw the Gov-Tac, I fell in love with the feel and look of the knife. The blade seemed thick enough for riving with a baton but not so thick you couldn't filet a fish. It was "normal" looking and from everything I had read about SOG, I couldn't go wrong with the quality. WRONG! It broke in two in the first two minutes of field trial!

As you can see, the handle broke in two while riving a 2 1/2" log. I was so dissapointed in myself for NOT buying a knife with a full tang. I was sent a replacement right away with no questions asked. Regardless, I am stuck with a $130 knife that I have no confidence in. My advice for anyone interested is to buy a quality knife with full tang construction. This is not to pick on SOG but to illustrate why you read reviews and to listen to them.

I'd definitely be interested in seeing what other trippers, campers and hikers carry and why.
 
BSchneider5 BSchneider5
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Re: SOG GOV-TAC Knife Review

Wow. For 130 dollars I would expect a lot more quality than that! I fully understand you not having confidence. I'd put it up on eBay and hope for the best. I just bought a Gerber steadfast. It's a less than $40 knife but it made it through the 3" log splitting test so I guess I'm doing OK.
drthumbs drthumbs
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Re: SOG GOV-TAC Knife Review

I have never been happy with the quality of SOG vs the price, but would not have expected this.  Sorry for you luck on this one
flyguy flyguy
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Re: SOG GOV-TAC Knife Review

In reply to this post by uptown
Hi uptown! I was just reading your review on the sog knife this is a shame. I have been a avid outdoorsman for over 25 yrs. Hunting,fishing,camping etc. I have field dress everything from deer to moose to bear fish wild turkeys and the list goes on. I also skin and process all my own game. I hope this does not affend anyone but in my family this has always been a way of life. In my opinion its tuff to beat u.s steel you can purchase a number of blades that will take any abuse you throw at it. Gerber make a fairly good knife. buck also makes a good knife schade very good as well just make sure it is made in u.s not china. case is also worth takeing a look at.The best thing is you can buy any of these brands for 50 bucks or less and i am very sure none of the would break splitting a soft piece of pine like in your pic. the diffirence in these blades ive mentioned is the temper or hardness of the steel use in them.gerber, soft, buck ,case med. schade hard. the soft blade doesnt hold an edge as well but are much easier to sharpen, well you get the idea. arkansas med. fine stone some oil and you can sharpen any of these knives so you can shave with them. Hpoe this was helpful. Flyguy!
Daryl Daryl
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Re: SOG GOV-TAC Knife Review

In reply to this post by uptown
I am sorry to hear of your misfortune with the SOG knife.  I use and sell Bark River Knives.  My personal one is the Aurora which is their Bushcraft Model.  Recently when I did 139 mile canoe  expedititon on the Rio Grand I took my Bark River Aurora.  I pinned my canoe in rapids and of course the knife and sheath got wet.  Well the sheath was leather and stayed wet while I carried my knife in it.  Almost overnight the blade made of A2 carbon steel rusted and I was having trouble cleaning it up. Fortunately if this happens with Bark River you can send the knife back along with $12 and get the blade refinished to like new condition.  This is one of the reasons I chose Bark River.  These knives however are a bit more expensive than the SOG that broke on you.  Another less expensive option is the Becker BK2 Campanion or the Becker BK7.  Now both of these are 1095 carbon blades but are coated to avoid corrosion problems.   I  own a BK7 and my stepson owns the BK2.  Both of these blades have been wet but both are carried in Kydex sheaths so they don't stay wet.  On my BK7 I cover the blade with Ghee or some other kind of oil and the blade has never rusted and my BK 7 has done loads of batoning and heavy work and is still in perfect shape.  These knives are work horses and very inexpensive.  I have decided however that for canoeing a stainless blade might be best overall so I recently ordered an Entrek Bravo which is hand made of 440C stainless which has a special heat treat and beadblast finish.  The blade is also a full 1/4 in thick so it will handle the heavy work but is not prone to rusting.  I don't have these on my store but I probably will soon because I think they are a great offering.  These run around $130 like your SOG but I don't think you will ever break one.  I will be doing a review on that knife and also the Armadillo Kydex sheath I have ordered for it.  I find  much information about knives on Blade Forums and on Knife Forums.  I also watch many video knife reviews on You Tube before I make a purchase.  The Beckers have a huge following and so do the Bark Rivers.  The Entreks are getting lots of good reports these days as well.  The Falknivens are also reliable and can be purchased with high quality stainless blades as well.  Personally the best bang for the buck in my opinion are the Beckers which are made by Kabar.  Beckers are tanks with a sharp edge and should last a lifetime. I don't think there is anything better in their price range.  The Entreks are also nearly indestructable and are resistant to any corrosion.  Hope this helps.  I have reviews on some knives on my site at www.campacopia.com however the forums I mentioned are an excellent source of information on most any knives.  
Paul J Paul J
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Re: SOG GOV-TAC Knife Review

I got a Becker BK7 for $90 and I am very happy with it. I'd have to agree with Daryl, price to performance  the  BK7 is a fantastic knife. My brother carries a Cold Steel Trail Master iirc, the only problem I have with it and its something you might want to consider when looking for a knife. Is that the tang is at a 90 degree angle to the cross guard, this is prone to sheering. Whereas the BK7 has a nice curve, as do a lot of other knives, that takes the stress of batoning with a much lower chance of sheering.

As for using a 440 steel knife....I am still not a big fan of stainless. Edge retention, sharpening, overall durability, it just doesn't compare to a high carbon blade. An interesting site I found about knife steel. Might wanna take a peek, it helped me.

http://zknives.com/knives/articles/knifesteelfaq.shtml
Knife Guy Knife Guy
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Re: SOG GOV-TAC Knife Review

In reply to this post by uptown
Sorry to hear about the knife breaking.  That stuff happends.

The SOG Gov Tac is being sold on Amazon right now for $87 or so.  I believe it is a decent knife for that price, but maybe not for batoning, etc.  I didn't realize the tang was partial or so thin.  Heads up, you will run into the same thing with the Ka-Bar fighting knife / ultility knife, etc.  It has a full tang, but it is very thin.

There is not perfect knife as you know, but here are a few I would go with for a general use knife in the field:
 
BUCK NIGHTHAWK
Beast of a work knife, especially for the price (about $70).  The tang is as thick and full as the blad.  The handle is comfortable.  The only negatives in my opinion are the oxygen wrench / utility notches in the blade (they used to make it without that).  It shouldn't hurt the blade performance much, just unecessary I for most people).  Also, there is no pommel, etc. but most good knives don't have that anyway.  Here is a link to the knife:
http://www2.knifecenter.com/item/BU0650BKSTP/tops-buck-650-nighthawk-combat-knife-fixed


COLD STEEL SRK - SURVIVAL / RESCUE KNIFE
For the money (about $70) this is a great knife.  I am also a fan of a around a 6" blade for a multi-purpose work knife.  Once you get to 7" it just seems a little long unless you have some other knives with you for different purposes.  This knife is made with AUS-8.  It is a good, stainless steel  (similar in function to 440B or 440C but probably easier to sharpen).  It is a good knife for the money for sure.  Here is a link:
http://www2.knifecenter.com/item/CS38CK/cold-steel-srk-survival-rescue-knife



Here is what I may have purchased if I was going to spend around $130 on a good work knife:
Esee-6.  The only negative is it is not stainless steel.  It is coated, but you will still want to keep it dry, oil the edge or if the coating wears off in time, etc. Good knives.  That being said, am not a big fan of spending over much over $100 for a knife you are going to tear up in the field.  There are plenty of good knives that will perform which you can buy for less (like I listed above)  Here is a link to the Esee:
http://www.smkw.com/webapp/eCommerce/products/esee/Randall%27s+Adventure%C2%AE+ESEE-6+with+Plain+Blade+-+Brown+Sheath/ESEE6P.html





I also agree that the Becker BK2 is a good knife (especially for the price!)  It isn't stainless steel, so keep the edge oiled / dry, etc.  Becker makes a number of good affordable knives.

Good luck!  Have fun.