When searching for my first automatic knife, I reached out to SOG, and they sent their Spec Elite I Auto. This knife ticks all the boxes on my EDC (every day carry) list, plus a few extras. Since I spend eight hours a day in an office, it’s important that my knife has certain features. Besides performing well, my EDC needs to be discreet, and more “social” than tactical. With its simple satin stainless clip point blade and high mounted pocket clip, the Spec Elite I Auto is all that. Sort of. It’s as discreet as an auto can be.
Thanks to the slim 3.5 inch AUS-8 blade, and black anodized aluminum handles, the Spec Elite I Auto only weighs 2.8 ounces. Its reversible clip can be switched to either side, depending on the user’s preference. And it sits right at the end of the knife, for deep carry, tip up. Overall length is 4.3 inches closed, and 7.8 inches open. Check out the photo below for the grip and blade profile.
I like the fact that SOG chose AUS-8 for the blade, as its a great steel for an every day knife. Easy to sharpen to a razor edge, and holds that edge. It also resists corrosion very well. Although this knife may not see the abuse of a camping knife, it’s made to last through some tough use. 6061-T6 anodized aluminum was a good choice for the handles too. SOG’s logo isn’t just there for looks either. Along with some weight-reducing grooves, it provides a little extra grip.
Obviously, the Spec Elite I Auto can be quickly deployed with one hand. That may be critical for military or law enforcement use, and a matter of convenience for the rest of us. A hard bend in the clip makes it easy to get out of your pocket, despite the tight grip of the clip. Use your index finger to slide down the lock, and your thumb to press the button. If I use my middle finger on the clip, the lock and button fall right in place. To close it, hold the button and either use your other hand to fold the blade, or press the back of it against something. I’m not a fan of folding it against my leg, but if I’m not in a rush, that works.
I do a fair share of knife reviews. About six pocket/camp knives this year, plus two that are more or less “kitchen” knives. So it’s no surprise that I always have one, two, or even three knives on me. I’ll try to carry on both sides, just to see if one is more awkward. And I put each one through various tasks at the office, home, around the yard and outdoors. I’ve read reviews where the knife is tested against several feet of cardboard. Personally, I don’t care how much it can cut before it needs to be sharpened. I want to know how easy it is to sharpen. Every blade will get dull. So I do normal daily stuff, and touch up the blade as necessary. For the Spec Elite I Auto, that’s a month of hard use, then less than ten minutes with a quality sharpener.
While it was originally designed for law enforcement and military use, it can be owned by civilians in most states*. Which is good, because it’s a pretty sweet knife. Don’t let the $160 MSRP scare you either. With a little searching, you can find it much closer to $100. Whether it’s your first auto, a gift, or just an impulse buy, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Check out SOGKnives.com for more details.
A special thanks to SOG for providing their Spec Elite I Auto for this review. The longer I have a knife, the more rough use it sees, and this one has held up very well.
*It would take several thousand words to cover all the knife laws for each state. Online retailers will tell you up front if they can ship an automatic to your state. From there, you need to check the laws regarding carry. Some states have restrictions on blade length, and open vs concealed carry. So please do your homework before making your purchase.