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Microtech SOCOM Elite
Folding Knife Review

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Microtech SOCOM Elite

The only reason I got this knife is my curiosity :) Microtech has been around for quite some time now, since 1994 to be more exact. A lot of people like them some dislike, for different reasons. Can't say I have any special feelings towards Microtech, except I wasn't pleased to learn that they've restricted certain Internet dealers, the reason was that they (dealers) were selling Microtech their product "too cheap", not very nice of them obviously. Besides I don't really like any of their blades, except Nemesis, which has been discontinued, plus that was a switchblade, those are illegal in CA. Anyways, after reading bunch of reviews & hearing many opinions about their product, I got interested, since the replies about their knives were mostly positive. The quality of their product is real good. Fit & finish is great, edge holding is fine, no blade play, everyone seems to be satisfied. So, I've decided to try out one. The SOCOM Elite was the only blade that appealed to me. So I got one from Fred of Knifeoutlet.

General

- In short, this is a really high quality product. No matter what one thinks of their way of doing business (I personally really don't like that dealer banishing politics), Microtech makes high quality knives. Now whether or not someone wants to support them because of that, or despite of that, is a different question. My SOCOM Elite Manual came in a nice Black Box. Top-notch quality is noticeable as soon as you open the box & handle the knife very first time. Fit & finish are excellent, action is smooth & the lock it rock solid. SOCOM comes with the Cordura pouch.

Blade

- 4.05 inches long blade is made of Crucible 154CM stainless steel, hardened at 60 HRC. From what I've learned Microtech seems to be doing a very good job with the heat treatment, i.e. their knives hold an edge very well for the stainless steel, considering that 154CM is one of the best stainless steels around, this knife should really hold the edge. As soon as I get some of my own results, I'll update the review, but so far the reports I have seen were very positive. Blade geometry is kind of unusual, well, officially it is a clip point, though doesn't look very "clippy" to me ;) Somewhat droppoint too, either way, it has plenty of belly, making it a very good slicer & cutter, plus is quite thick in stock, .174" to be precise. The point is very thin though, it offers excellent penetration, but I suspect it will break easily if subjected to a lateral force. 154CM is quite brittle at that hardness & the blade tip is really thin, IMHO Benchmade 710HSSR Axis has much stronger point than SOCOM, this is due to 2 reasons, stronger geometry plus better steel (M2). SOCOM Elite was shaving sharp right out of the box & was able to push-cut through the thin, free hanging paper. I've seen too few production knives being able to do that, Chris Reeve Small Sebenza and some of their one piece blades for example. SOCOM is equipped with ambidextrous thumbstuds, nicely machined, they don't hurt your thumb even after couple hundred openings :) The blade on SOCOM can have different finishes, mine is black Titanium Carbonitride, but bead blast or stonewash are options as well. Also, there's a Microtech Logo & serial markings etched on the blade.

Lock & Action

- Well, it has the same principle as a liner lock, but yet it's different. The short metal bar (fully hardened & chromed 154CM) is integrated in the handle & functions as a lock. I guess that's Microtech's proprietary, called - MICROBAR® Lock. Well, it is rock solid & makes a very impressive click when you open the blade. Still, I like Benchmade axis lock better. It's easier to operate for both, open & close & the action is smoother anyways. Ironically enough, during a hot discussion on the Benchmade Forum on the eternal subject which lock was better, SOCOM lock failed for one of the discussion members. In short, I personally prefer Axis Lock much more ;)

Handle

- It's made of the 6061-T6 aircraft grade aluminum handle, that is quite popular in nova days high-end knives, very well machined. Has nice ergonomics, thick enough to provide good grip, yet not bulky, rubber inserts, probably Kraton are a nice addition & improve grip significantly, especially when your hands are wet or oily. The handle also has a notched thumb ramp or thumb rest, whichever you prefer, it won't irritate your thumb even when you apply significant force, for example on my beloved Nimravus it's not as nice as on SOCOM Elite.

Specifications:

  • Model: Manual Socom Elite;
  • Blade - 102.87mm(4.05")
  • Thickness - 3.17mm
  • Open: 231.40mm(9.11") Closed: 129.55mm(5.1");
  • OAL - 231.40mm(9.11")
  • Steel: 154CM stainless steel 60 RC;
  • Handle: 6061-T6 Aluminum Hard Coat Anodized;
  • Lock Mechanism: Manual Action-Constant Thrust Load With Wave Spring, 154CM MICROBAR® Lock;
  • Weight: 5.6 oz;
  • Warranty: Limited Lifetime
  • Acquired - 09/2000 Price - 175.00$

Last updated - 09/01/11