I’ve never been a fan of assisted or auto knives. I’ve just never seen the need. A good flipper or thumb stud has me covered in terms of deployment. I suppose I can see the usefulness of an auto knife a LEO backup weapon and the like, but for the average EDC-er it just seemed like a complication — both legal and mechanical — that I didn’t need.
I have to say, though, that after using the SOG-TAC AU Compact auto knife for almost a year, I’ve grown accustomed to it and it’s wormed its way into may EDC knife rotation.
That’s mostly because of what the SOG-TAG AU Compact isn’t. Unlike most of the auto knives I’ve played with in the past, it isn’t big. It isn’t heavy, and it isn’t kludgy.
The SOG-TAC AU Compact is, well, compact. When closed, it’s a very reasonable four inches long. Combine that with its slim form and good pocket clip, and it makes for an excellent EDC blade.
The SOG-TAC AU has anodized 6061 aluminum scales with microtextured grooves for a good grip, even when wet.
It has nicely ergonomic contours with jimping on the blade and milling on the scales and spine for a secure, full four-finger grip.
The blade steel is Cryo D2. That’s a good mid-grade blade steel that takes an edge nicely and keeps it through normal use. D2 is a little more prone to corrosion, which is why most knife makers coat it. It’s available in a standard drop point as seen here as well as serrated and tanto versions.
The other feature I like is the double-action safety SOG’s given the SOG-TAC AU. They’ve combined the XR locking system (think: AXIS lock) that SOG’s incorporated in virtually all of their folding knife line with a safety, which you need in an auto knife. That makes actuation faster and simpler that with most auto knives.
The typical auto knife design has a separate safety and actuator button. That makes for fumbling and a blade that won’t open when you forget to switch off the safety.
SOG eliminates that by making their XR locking system button a safety when pushed forward, or a deploy button when pulled back. It’s simpler and faster. It’s also ambidextrous like all XR locks.
Another great feature of the SOG-TAC AU Compact is its price. Auto knives have always seemed unnecessarily expensive, but not this one. MSRP is $124.95, and you can find it at retail as low as about $90. That’s a good price for a US-made full-featured, well designed auto knife that you can comfortably carry every day.
Blade Material: Cryo D2
Blade Length: 2.94 inches
Overall Length: 7.01 inches
Closed Length: 4.06 inches
Blade Thickness: .11 inch
Opening Mechanism: AU-XR Lock
Locking Mechanism: AU-XR Double-Action Safety
Handle Material: Textured Anodized Aluminum 6061-T6
Weight: 2.8 ounces
MSRP: $124.95 (about $90 retail)