With hundreds of knife companies each putting out a number of new blades year in and year out, you have to admire their creativity. Managing dozens of blade shapes, steel compositions, frames, locks and pocket clips while trying to stay innovative and avoiding ground already covered is a daunting task. This is also why I never tire of checking out new blades, like the new for 2017 SOG Terminus.
Reading through SOG’s website after having had some quality time with the Terminus, I’m getting the answers to my questions about the design of this knife. The point-and-purpose of the Terminus is to provide an EDC blade to those in restrictive areas, such as NYC and the UK. Often, these diet-freedom locales mandate a three inch maximum blade length, lack of lock and sometimes even putting the kibosh on one-handed openers.
With all the above in mind, let’s review the tech specs. The Terminus has a 3″ clip-point blade made from BD1 Carpenter steel. While lacking a traditional lock, the Terminus has a “slip joint”, providing significant resistance before the blade is allowed to fold shut. The blade has a nail nick on each side, to allow some grip when opening. The handles are G10 scales and have a moderately aggressive grip texture. The pocket clip is reversible and allows for deep-carry.
The tough part about reviewing this is getting in the right mindset. This isn’t a “best possible” knife, this is a “best for those behind enemy lines” knife. By working around onerous and draconian legal limitations, SOG is attempting to bring a quality pocket folder to those who are bound by law from obtaining a modern pocketknife.
These legal limitations are where most of my issues with the Terminus come in. The blade is excellent. It’s sharp and made from quality steel. Opening it is a pain in the ass. Without a thumb stud or other pivot point, we’re back to grandpappy’s two-handed “pinch-and-pull” method of opening. The two nail nicks are almost under the frame, rather than being in the more accessible area slightly closer to the hinge. The slip joint does provide adequate tension to prevent the blade from shutting inadvertently, but the added resistance makes closing up shop a little tougher than it should.
The one issue I can’t attribute to legal dramas? Branding. There are no fewer than four instances of SOG branding on this little folder. One on each side of the grip panels, one on the blade and another that looks to have been laser cut into the pocket clip. Don’t worry SOG, we know your name.
Aside from that I do like the Terminus, and there’s a decent amount to like. The G-10 scales offer excellent grip, the whole package is nice and light (2.9 ounces) and the folded Terminus is barely longer than the blade (4″ overall closed length). The pocket clip allows for very deep carry and lends itself to a very minimal footprint in the pocket.
Taken as a snapshot in the wide world of knives, the Terminus would be a well-constructed knife with too many questionable design choices. Understanding it is designed for citizens of NYC, the UK and other places, we can instead look at this as the pocket knife for resistance fighters! Under that lens, the Terminus is a well-constructed knife with only a couple of questionable design choices: the excessive branding and the misplaced nail nicks. With an MSRP of $80, the price feels a bit steep for a knife with such a limited target market. The street price of $59.90 does make it more palatable. If you’re living in a heavily regulated zone, the SOG Terminus is a good knife for you to check out.