Field Tested: SOG Zoom Mini Aluminum

Over the last many years we’ve seen a steady increase in the popularity of assisted opening knives. Not all manufacturers have mastered the art of assisted folders with the right amount of assist being a delicate balance not easily achieved. Some knives fly open with an alarming thwack nearly leaping out of hand. Others reluctantly give up the blade with the speed of an arthritic elbow. SOG has been at this long enough to not just name their assisted technology (S.A.T), but perfect it. Although it steadily improves with use, SOG’s assisted knives open with confidence without too much, or too little spring-force.

New to the SOG line, and featuring their S.A.T. assisted opening technology is the ZOOM Mini Aluminum-Handle. For our review we selected the ZOOM with a satin 3.6 inch blade constructed of AUS-8 steel. That blade features a recurved drop point and is held securely in place with a plunge lock with secondary sliding safety. The black anodized aluminum handle gives the knife a surprising lightness and the thin profile makes it slip into any pocket with ease. The well defined scalloping of the handle, paired to deeply machined recesses, produces nice a solid feel in hand and adds to the refined aesthetics of the knife.

A knurled curve at the base of the blade affords a positive purchase for the thumb and overall the shape fits nicely in hand. A deep pocket clip works well in either left or right position, and as we would expect of SOG, the blade arrives with supreme sharpness. The subtle curve of the blade adds control when making forceful cuts and if nothing else adds to the pleasing aesthetic of the knife. The plunge lock release is easy to use, although the small size of the button does require some getting used to. The secondary lock was a bit stiff for the first few uses, but has loosened ever so slightly with the first many uses and is now much easier to opperate.

Having used this knife over the course of many weeks, I can already tell it is going to be a life-long friend. The all-metal construction and use of premium materials means it will last the ages. Priced at $100 for the satin blade and $118 for the optional black titanium nitride blade, they also represent a reasonable value, especially when paired to SOG’s lifetime warranty.

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Christophe Noel is a journalist from Prescott, Arizona. Born into a family of backcountry enthusiasts, Christophe grew up backpacking the mountains and deserts of the American West. An avid cyclist and bikepacker, he also has a passion for motorcycles, travel, food and overlanding.