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Sog Fatcat Review/Critique

FriskyDingo Feb 18, 2012

  1. FriskyDingo

    FriskyDingo knifemaker Knife Maker or Craftsman

    Normally I don't buy Sog knives, I don't care for the uber tactical-ness and regardless of what R. Lee Ermy (who adorns all Sog literature and "Gunny Aproves" all of Sog's boxes) says, most of the time I feel as if Sog knives are way too expensive for what you get. The last time I bought a Sog, it was in 2010, a Sog Seal 2000, and while the quality on that knife was pretty rockin', I still felt as if the Aus-8 blade steel it came with could have been better for the 100$ price tag.

    Two years later, I started looking at the Sog lineup again after, I admit, seeing the Nutnfancy booth review at Shot. He covered some cool knives, but honestly, Nutn' and I don't nessisarily see eye to eye on what's cool. He passed completely over what I feel are Sog's best knives, the Tomcat and Stingray series, which includes the Fatcat.

    While they may not be super cheap, the Sog Tomcat series knives have a couple things going for them, and a few glaring problems which I'll cover later. For one, all of the Tomcat knives have VG-10 blade steel. I don't really have that much experience with VG-10, but from what I do have, it's awesome stuff, it takes a ton of abuse and doesn't rust, so its all good in my book. Furthermore, the Tomcats are blessed with steel liners and bolsters (minus some of the Stingrays) along with great grippy Kraton handles. Some folks hate the Kraton, they think it feels cheap, but to me it's extremely hard wearing utilitarian stuff that looks and feels pretty good on these knives. Finally, despite their somewhat weird appearance, the Tomcat series knives have incredible ergos, from the easy to use arc-lock to the well shaped and comfortable handle.

    Enter the Fatcat. Sog describes this knife as being a standard Tomcat which was exposed to nuclear radiation (being made in Japan probably from the Fukishima site) and enlarged 25%. Being the largest folder in Sog's lineup, I was immediatly intreagued, since I love large sized knives.

    I picked up my Sog Fatcat off eBay for about 290$. I know what you're thinking, probably something along the lines of "whoa holy crap, why would you pay that much for a Japanese made Sog?!". Well for one thing, the knife has a thick VG-10 blade, not cheap stuff, and secondly, unlike the Tomcat, the Fatcat has titanium liners and bolsters, which make this mosterously large knife increadibly light in hand. Also, for those of you familiar with the Fatcat, they're a limited production item and 290$ is actually a pretty good deal.


    The first thing you notice when the knife is in hand is that despite its large stature, the knife is surprisingly light. Sog lists it as 8 ounces but on my scale it's just over 5. For a 4.5 inch bladed bolstered and full lined folder, that's really good. The balance is also really well done, the knife feels like it was well thought out and the ergos are awesome. There is a ton of room on the handle, I wear a large sized glove and the knife feels like it was made for my hand. Excellent.


    The blade is hollow ground VG-10 with a two tone Ti-Al-Ni coating. What they've done is coated the entire blade, bevels, flats, fuller, spine and swedge and then surfaced the flats to create the two tone finish. The effect is good, pretty and hard wearing protection of the blade. VG-10 should hold up to a lot of abuse, but the addition of the two tone protective coating is def nice. The blade sits perfectly centered when closed and locks without play. Deployment is smooth in that theres no friction in the action, but also quick. The knife can be flicked open easily without the need of a wrist flick, which is good since I prefer that method of deployment.


    The liners and bolsteres are made of machined Titanium. Whether it's 6Al4V or something inferior, I have no idea, but given the cost and also the fact that there's no Oxide on the outside of the Ti, I'm guessing it's grade 5, the good stuff. The polish is nice, semi-bright and attractive without being gaudy. Perfect. In addition, the Kraton handle scales look great as well as add much needed traction on the handle. The backstrap is also made of plastic reenforced Kraton, which gives the back a nice two tone look.


    There's plenty of grip serrations on the knife, although I have to admit, I would like more. Ergonomically tho, the knife is almost flawless with one huge exception: there's no pocket clip. This is a feature easily rectified but present on the entirety of the Sog tomcat series of knives, and perhaps the reason why the venerable Nutnfancy was uninterested in this series of knives. For some reason Sog, in their infinite wisdom, decided not to include a pocket clip on ANY of the Tomcat or Fatcat or Stingray knives. Big mistake. I will of course add a polished Ti clip myself, being that I'm a maker and I'm used to this stuff, but seriously for the average Joe who doesn't have a drill press, some number 50 cobalt bits and a 2-56 tapping setup, this would be a bit of a pain. Sog, if you read this, add a frickin' pocket clip, standard three hole variety too while you're at it.


    Overall, I'm extremely impressed and pleased with my purchase. This may be one of my favorite knives to date, although the lack of a pocket clip is a major downside. I'll rectify this problem myself, but I hope Sog does find this review and does take advice from a customer who spent a lot of money on a knife and has some constructive feedback. Regardless, this one's going to be a treasured posession for quite some time, and I look forward to carrying and using it.

    48th Ronin likes this.
  2. joe9792

    joe9792 Average member

    Kestrel ?

    Hey Will,

    Did you get my emails regarding that green Kestrel ? That USPS tracking number you forwarded on Feb 12 still hasn't updated. Still no package here. Did you use a different carrier or forgot to ship it ?


  3. FriskyDingo

    FriskyDingo knifemaker Knife Maker or Craftsman

    Yes... you're shipped out. Sent you an email.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 18, 2012
  4. englishmark

    englishmark Wicked Gardener

    That's half a review, we knife enthusiasts like to also know stuff about edge retention, ease of resharpening, durability. etc etc etc.

    Go and cut something instead of jabbering on about how pretty it is.
    Glenn likes this.
  5. FriskyDingo

    FriskyDingo knifemaker Knife Maker or Craftsman

    I'll update when I have more information. This is the most information you'll find about the knife on the internet right now tho. The knife deserved a little more info out there, so far it's been great.
  6. Buffalohump

    Buffalohump Off the reservation

    Cool write up and pics. :thumbsup:

    I had a Tomcat III for a time and it was a pretty cool knife. Its much the same as the FatCat but minus all the Ti and a fair bit smaller. Quite a bit cheaper too. Admittedly the lack of a pocket clip was an issue, although nowadays I find myself carrying a knife in a sheath quite regularly. Saves you wear and tear on your pants and opens up two pockets for when you slouching around and need somewhere to put your hands.

    As to the clip, bear in mind the Tomcat (on which the FatCat is based) is a design going all the ways back to the 80s and its never had one. Over the years the knife has evolved with the mid lock being replaced by the Arc lock but its always been a sheath knife. Back in its day, the original Tomcat was pretty sexy and its still a handsome knife to my eyes. If SOG were smart and by all accounts they're not, they would do a limited run of the Tomcat I and II in an updated steel. It would remind people of what the company used to be like before it went a little off the rails and maybe they could salvage some of their cred.

    If you want a SOG with a pocket clip, you'd have to look at the Arcitech. Its smaller than the Tomcat and offers similar ergos, but with high end materials like CF and a Ti bolster and a San Mai blade. And the ever-loving pocket clip. :jdwink2:
  7. EOD13

    EOD13 Balisong Addict JDBA Official Member

    I'll disagree on what I think was the best of the SOG lineup. I always felt that the ORIGINAL Tigershark and Scuba Demo were the two best knives SOG had ever manufactured, and pretty indestructible at that. The edge retention was incredible on them and they really could take heavy abuse with little effect. I won't buy any of the new SOGs, but they really knew what they were doing when they were in their prime :thumbsup:

    Looks like a very nice folder to have though. Did you get it with the box and everything?
  8. Gaston444

    Gaston444 Little member

    I love the look of this knife, but really don't like the protruding square corner bits at the rear, with the SOG logo cut into them.

    It seems to me these useless sharp features would cut into pockets, given that the knife is light enough to be carried without sheath. A very bad point imho... Great pictures though, because they are the first ones I see to underline this strange feature starkly...

    The other, bigger, thing that kept me away from this knife is the recurved edge: This in my experience this is not sharpenable with normal flat hones...


    [Edit: I have the Fatcat now: Great knife. It needed a trip to REK to be sharp, and the recurve is still something I object to as impractical, but it is brilliantly sharp now and the square handle "logo" corner I was concerned about turns out to be non-obtrusive and out of the way...: It does allow potentially some interesting "pommel" strikes that would be very effective, with surprisingly few apparent downsides...]
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 24, 2016

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