A few months back, I was contacted by SOG Specialty Knives & Tools and asked if I was interested in reviewing a couple knives. Being the knife lover and gear review nut that I am I happily said yes. As hunting season approached, my friend Brandon informed me that he didn't have a good knife for the hunting season. Knowing I would get an honest review from him, I asked if he would be interested in helping me out and testing out the SOG Aura fixed-blade hunting knife. Immediately he said yes and agreed to put it to the test. I mentioned that I would like to review the overall feel and design for myself before giving him the knife. I kept all of these thoughts to myself. Brandon was unbiased in his review and was given no direction from me. My impressions will follow Brandon's thorough review.
From the SOG website:____________________________________________________________________
We studied the original bowie knife created by Rezin Bowie in 1838. We considered utility, ergonomics and comfort. The result... the Aura fixed blade. We used a high impact and tough glass-reinforced polymer handle that is overmolded with a more pliable material for non-slip comfort. We didn’t want a big clunky crossguard that isolated the hand so we adapted the blade design to provide the element of safety and allows greater control.
Brandon's review of the SOG Aura fixed-blade hunting knife.
First impressions are everything, no matter what the situation. Recently, I had the opportunity to review the SOG Aura Hunting knife and at first sight, this thing was sweet. Before I even gripped it in my hand, I could see that the blade had a razor sharp edge as well as the gut hook. As I held it, the entire knife felt sturdy and solid. This knife was definitely designed to take a beating while putting it to work.
While holding it, I noticed that the handle felt extremely comfortable. The handle has a slight curve and when in hand, it forms to the natural curvature of your palm. Along with the curve, the handle diameter fits just right, not too bulky or too slim. At the rear of the handle, there is a loop that can be twisted and pulled out to reveal a small sharpener.
At first I thought the sharpener was a great idea, but when I pulled the sharpener out and simulated sharpening the blade I saw the downfall of the design… there is no guard and you can easily slip and slice your finger.
The sharpener is about 4 inches long and the small handle is about and inch and half. That only left about two and a half inches of sharpening surface. No big deal, but I would have liked to have seen some type of a lip that will stop the blade in the event you slip or get too close to your finger. It's a great concept, but I was just not a fan of the small sharpener with no guard. This could result in a nasty laceration while miles from the nearest sign of civilization.
Although I did not knock down a deer this season so that I could test out the new knife [on a big game animal], I improvised and had harvested a limit of ducks shortly after the opener in Southern California. Now lets see what this knife can do! This was a simple task, but the Aura made it ten times easier. A couple quick slices on each bird and we had fresh duck ready for the BBQ. I was able to make a slight incision on the ducks chest and then flip the blade and utilize the gut hook. This made quick work of the skin and then flipped in once again to start filleting along the breast bone. There was no effort needed and the knife did all the work. I was able to clean seven birds without sharpening and the last duck went just as quick as the first. In total, it took me about a minute a bird (at most), and there was barely any mess.
Overall, I found this knife to be a great product and design. Like I mentioned, the sharpener is the only downfall I experienced, but it is not that big a deal. I would highly recommend this knife to my buddies and anyone else out there looking for a quality blade for your pack.
SoCal Bowhunter's thoughts on the SOG Aura hunting knife:
Right out of the box I felt that the knife was lightweight and ergonomic. At only 5.4 oz. it's a true lightweight among knives. The contoured grip fit my hand well and I liked the non-slip type of grip.
Like Brandon, I originally liked the idea of the sharpener inside the handle, but once I actually started using it I was disappointed. I think it's OK for very slight touch-ups on the blade, but it doesn't work well for doing a great job of sharpening the knife in the field. It does, however, work well for sharpening fish hooks.
Priced for retail at $55.00, the knife seems a bit overpriced to me. I would be willing to pay $30 for a knife like this, but with the sharpener so small and a safety hazard, I don't feel it is worth the retail asking price.
You've read my thoughts and Brandon's excellent review. You can follow him on Twitter (@BrandonMahan519) for other products he recommends and his hunting play-by-play when in the field. He really liked the SOG Aura and recommends it, so consider that when searching for a new hunting knife.