SOG Terminus XR Pocketknife Review

The newish knife from SOG, the Terminus XR is up today for review.

It’s another ho-hum folding knife to come out recently, and I grabbed it off of Amazon after seeing a few YouTube reviews. It got more favorable reviews than I’m about to give it, but all in all, it’s not too bad for around $50.

First, I am hard to please when it comes to a pocketknife. Secondly, my expectations go up once a knife crosses the $50 mark, and depending on the handle color; the SOG Terminus will be around $50-$55 or a tad more.

Initial Impressions

First, let’s hit the positives. The knife is rugged and solidly built, and I was shocked at how robust it felt in my hand. I sliced, cut, and pried with the knife, pushing it harder than most folks would. It held up well and gave no complaints. After a lot of use and heavy cutting, there was no blade play, and the lock-up was still great.

I really like the deep reversible carry pocket clip and the G10 handle scales are grippy. The knife comes with both thumb studs and a flipper tab on the spine. Either option and the blade opens easily using either of these. It’s not snappy unless you add a little wrist flick, but it’s passable enough.

The knife looks good with the olive scales and stonewashed blade. Looks don’t matter in survival, but I understand some folks want a handsome knife to round out their EDC kit. Besides looks, the knife feels good in your hand when open. The 4″ handle gives enough purchase for an average hand to be helpful, and except for very hard use/pressure, there were no big hot spots. The liners sit ever so slightly above the scales, and in extreme cases, I felt the knife was a little uncomfortable when I really had to push on it.

I like the bar lock on “XR” as SOG calls it. Either way, the knife locking mechanism is similar to that of a Benchmade. One big difference here is when the knife is closed and pulls the lock back, the blade is slightly deployed to help with opening momentum. So with a little force, you can pull back the lock and really flick out the blade. The knife definitely has a good fidget factor.

The blade steel is “Cryo D2”, which SOG’s website says is “cryogenically heat-treated to SOG’s unique performance specifications.” Not sure what that entirely means, but at least we know D2 is easy to sharpen. I’ll come back to the blade steel later.

Real World Use

I carried the Terminus XR as my only EDC knife for over two weeks. By the end, I was glad to return to my Spyderco Sage5, and my initial luster for the Terminus wore off. This is just an OK knife. I have two main complaints with the Terminus: the blade dulls super quickly and the knife misfires when you try to open it. I will explain both points.

I felt the Terminus was fairly dull out of the box but before I sharpened it I wanted to run it through some basic cutting tasks. The knife struggled to cut rope and nylon webbing. It was not “paper slicing” sharp out of the box and got hung up easily trying to cut a bunch of cardboard. Now, D2 steel will quickly take a wicked edge, so I sharpened it up on a basic honing stone after putting the knife to my normal rotation of cutting tasks. That made all the difference….for a short time. The blade really dulled very fast. Even though it was easy to sharpen, who wants to do that all the time? You can see from the pictures that I try to cut very similar items to have a baseline of how a knife should perform. This means that it’s not reliable for more than occasional light tasks such as cutting open packages or slicing fruit.

About the deployment. Unless you made a concerted effort, the knife sometimes would only open halfway using the flipper tab. Even after putting a few drops of oil on the bushings, it wasn’t any better. This happened multiple times throughout my testing period. In most cases, this can be considered a one-hand operated knife, but only sometimes. Since it takes two fingers, one on each side, and a little flick down to close the blade, it’s not really ideal for an emergency or high-pressure situation. Too much thought has to go into operating the knife, which is unnecessary.

Final Thought On The SOG Terminus XR

Should you buy this knife? The arena for a $50 EDC knife is competitive, and several other knives really edge out the Terminus, but I am a SOG fan, and they do try to do some different stuff. So, I give them an “A” for effort and say if you won’t cry over $50 then the Terminus might be worth giving a try. You should skip this one if you are very picky and have high expectations.

I will keep my Terminus XR as it makes a great backup knife or a decent one to keep in the toolbox or glove compartment. It also wasn’t the worst knife I had ever spent money on. Now,  I wouldn’t want to be stuck in the woods with it as my only option, but for just the basics, you will be fine. However, that raises the question of whether you need a $50 basic knife.