- The SOG Snarl knife found its way into my shopping cart pretty quickly, almost automatically. I had no intention of even browsing the knife section during the grand opening of Washington State's first Bass Pro Shop location. As I was making a B line to the firearms counter, this precocious little blade caught my eye, and I knew it would be a perfect stocking stuffer for Christmas... for myself! I own plenty of knives, but none designed for EDC, or everyday carry.
Sure I have pocket knives, in fact it seems every other year I lose one and have to replace it. Folders end up getting left in pockets, or borrowed and never returned. With the frequent disappearance of my knives, I fell out of practice of carrying one each day. Upon seeing the Snarl by SOG, I had a feeling I was going to hold onto my next knife for awhile.
The Snarl is a fixed, very small tactical claw. It is constructed from a single piece of 9CR18MoV Satin finish stainless steel thats been CNC machined into a "sheepsfoot" style blade with two round finger holes for versatility in grip. The design of the knife comes from a custom knife maker named Jason Brous, more famous for his "functional fantasy" knife designs. Right away you can tell the inspiration for the knife came from brass knuckles, however it's very difficult to use the petite Snarl in the same way, and you would probably break a finger or two if you tried to use it that way.
I picked the Snarl up for myself because I saw its potential as a multi-role knife. The sheepsfoot design makes the Snarl suitable as a skinning knife, box cutter, scraper, and concealed self-defense blade (in a very desperate, less than ideal situation due to its size.) You're not likely going to intimidate an assailant if you brandish the Snarl, because its not really a face-to-face fighting knife. The nature of the Snarl is to be concealed and deployed covertly and accurately, much like a pocket pistol in a small, relatively under-powered caliber. When close enough, the grip design of the Snarl facilitates punching, jabbing, stabbing, and slashing... a real nasty tool if you are trained / proficient in extremely close quarters, extremely aggressive tactics. If you are neither of the above and concerned about self defense use, you may be better off getting a larger knife thats more traditional like a Kabar or boot knife.
Depending of the size of your hand, some positions for holding this knife will be more comfortable than others. If you have big monkey mitts, the Snarl may be entirely uncomfortable to hold and use. The two and a half finger holes suggest a three fingered grip for firmest hold, however this strains the hand. I found it best to put my index finger through the first finger hole and middle finger in the outer half circle hole. The spine of the Snarl has large line serrations for positive grip, which also aids in unsheathing from the belt line or included neck chain. Be warned, the outer half hole doesn't have enough of a bevel to keep your finger from sliding up and getting sliced.
The Snarl comes paired with a hard nylon sheath thats able to be clipped to the belt in a horizontal position, or hung from the neck with a supplied ball necklace. The sheath's belt clip is also reversible for left or right handers alike. I found the clip to be less than confidence worthy as it doesn't clamp as securely to the belt as I'd like, and is easier to remove or slide around than it should be like an Uncle Mike's basic holster. Its best to position the clip behind a belt loop, so it stops the sheath from sliding forward when drawing the Snarl. A tighter clip or dual smaller clips would probably perform better.
The retention of the blade is very solid and hasn't yet loosened noticeably. Re-inserting the snarl into the sheath is still a bit hard to get used to do to its curved spine and size, but the mouth of the sheath has a round inlet that frees the front finger hole, so two to three fingers can be used to draw with a very firm grasp.
This knife and sheath combo are small enough to be unnoticeable, yet the knife is just big enough to be useful. For some with bigger hands it may actually be too small to be comfortable in the hand, and impractical for self defense. However for me, it perfectly fits the role of an EDC blade. The edge has held up well after a light honing from day one. I've used it to open stubborn plastic packaging, sharpen sticks, and cut bailing twine.
I really do enjoy this knife, even though it is a mass-produced blade that is more at home stuffed in a Christmas stocking than a Bug-Out bag. While I don't see it as comparable to other "tactical" knives in utility, construction, or comfort in the hand its petite design will be on my side or under my shirt for the foreseeable future. For the price point, it makes a great functional and unique gift to mostly anyone who practices the EDC lifestyle.
Firearms Insider Reviews – 8 Key Points
Claim to Fame: Jason Brous designed a "functional fantasy" Snarl knife that features a 9CR18MoV stainless steal blade. It's like a brass knuckles/SOG mash-up.
Target Market: Every Day Carry, Concealed Carry, Outdoorsman (Fishing, Hunting, Camping)
FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):
- 9CR18MoV Stainless Steel, Satin finish
- Sheepsfoot design
- 14 horizontal serrations on spine for better grip
- RC. 58-60 hardness
- 4.3" overall length
- 2.3" blade length
- 1.90 oz
What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?: None, satin stainless only
What others are saying?:
"I was pretty excited to receive this SOG/Brous collaboration. It's a solid little knife, thick piece of steel and feels like it could take a beating. The sheath has good retention and easily clips onto your belt. The included clip only supports horizontal carry -- maybe a small teklok would provide other options (although I'm not sure about that). Despite liking the knife, I just can't get used to it. I know this is a very popular Brous design, but I just can't figure out a way for me to hold the knife comfortably. I've tried various grips but I don't feel as if I have control of the blade with any of them. I have pretty regular sized hands but whatever I do it's just pretty awkward." Amazon User Review
"The blade comes a little dull, I intentionally dulled it even more along with wrapping/burning 550 cord around the rear finger hole. Reason being, this "knife" is more of a high stress weapon. This is meant to be used in conjunction with gross motors skills I.E. punching, jabbing (nasty up close inside fighting). Considering the draw and striking style used, I could see me cutting my middle finger so I dulled it down. I wouldn't dare do this to the silent soldier II but hey, this is only thirty dollars. Pros: Awesome sheath very secure, quality steel. Cons: Potential weak point at base of blade (should be beveled outward) and the sheath clip can only be mounted for a side draw, which I love but some wouldn't." Amazon User Review
I need it now! Availability: Readily available online at Amazon or other SOG dealers
- Versatility: designed be held in multiple ways and carried in two ways, praised as a neck knife
- Blade edge has held up well
- Thickness of blade spine adds to durability and controllability / helps make up for short overall length
- Sheath has good retention and is reversible for lefties / righties
- No matte black finish option
- Short grip area and medium finger holes may prevent use from larger handed users, or cause hand fatigue
- Metal thins near bottom of blade/first finger hole (potential weak point if used to pry)
- Edges of finger holes need cordage wrap or dehorning as edges are pronounced
- Sheath's belt clip is limited to horizontal orientation
- Belt clip doesn't secure to belt enough, prone to sliding or easily coming off belt
Score: 7.0 Good
For FFL services I choose Promised Land Firearms in Toulon, IL.
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