SOG X-42 Recondo Knife Review

Tweet ThisShare On FacebookStumbleUponDigg itShare on

Home > Knives > Fixed Blade Knives > Production Knives
SOG X-42

For starters, this is my very first SOG knife. Somehow, I've never bought any of their products. Partly because I didn't really have enough info about their products, partly because they tend to use low end steels. That said, I have to add - things are changing, and one more important thing to note: SOG's 440A stainless steel is one of the best out there. Often outperforming more expensive and theoretically better steels from their competitors. That's the common opinion, I've seen different independent sources confirming that, etc etc. Either way everything has it's limits :) 440A too. Not that I've never bought bad knives :) Anyways, I overlooked SOG for a while.
    In 2000 SOG added Latrob BG-42 ball bearing steel to their steel assortment. In short this is high end, very clean alloy. Though the primary application for the BG-42, is aerospace industry, more specifically, ball bearings, plus the ones that have to withstand high frequency vibrations at high temperatures. Which is not really close to regular knife use, yet BG-42 is pretty popular with knifemakers, including Chris Reeve, Greg Lightfoot and many others, considered to be a premium cuttlery steel. Overall, the opinion about BG-42 is that it's more wear resistant and tougher than ATS-34, and more corrosion proof too. So, the whole bunch of improvements in one package ;) Anyways, doesn't matter how good the steel is on the paper, reality always has its corrections :)


 - Overall, I can't complain about Recondo's fit and finish, and quality in general, except out of the box sharpness, which could be described as dull, however that doesn't really concern me. No uneven grind lines, no visible defects. Everything is well done, starting with the blade, ending with the sheath and packaging. The knife is quite bigger that it looks on the SOG's pictures. Even though I've had X-42 specs before I got it, still, it seemed smaller on the photos. However, IMHO this is a very specialized blade and if you are looking for utility purpose knife, you might want to reconsider buying it, but if you need a fighter or something similar to that, to stab those nasty steel drums intensively for example ;), I guess Recondo could be the one. I'll discuss this aspect below. However, responses from SOG representatives, would make you think twice before using the knife for stabbing anything, is it a wood, or a steel drum... That all is considered to be an abuse. Frankly, I have no idea what else would you use this knife for efficiently enough.


 - Recondo's 5 inches long, hollow ground, bead blasted blade is made of BG-42 hardened at 62-64 HRC. Though later SOG representative at Bladeforums stated that they're aiming at 62 HRC, and that's what is stamped on the blade. As I've mentioned above, the blade was quite dull out of the box, unable to slice free hanging paper.
    Recondo has very specialized blade geometry. It's an Americanized Tanto. Which basically, is reinforced tanto point, with hollow grinds vs. traditional chisel grind on tantos. This type of point in general offers significantly improved penetration and tip strength. However, there are tradeoffs, as nothing comes for free in this life ;) Besides, the high hardness of Recondo rises some questions, those will be discussed below, and SOG doesn't really recommend stabbing recondo into the hard materials. I personally wouldn't recommend to use it as an utility blade either. Which leaves the intended area of use for recondo somewhat fuzzy :) Of course you can ignore my humble opinion and do as you wish. Having said that, Recondo is still a lot more useful knife than all 420 class, or other unknown steel knives meant for display only.
    About the grind, I think this is worth mentioning, for that you won't see the details on the pictures. Like I've mentioned Recondo is not a chisel edge grind, however the edge on it is. In other words, both sides on the blade are saber ground, but the edge is sharpened only from one side. So, this is not a V grind edge. I'm not sure why would SOG choose this approach, may be the penetration and(or) production costs? Also, as you can see on the pictures, the tip on the Recondo is very narrow, to maximize the penetration potential. However again, high hardness, and the thin tip, not sure how it will behave under heavy stress. Basically that's it about specifics and advantages. Last weekend I have conducted some stabbing experiments using 7 different knives. I'll post the results later, but as expected recondo performed very well. Basically it outperformed practically everything, and wherever it [recondo] lost to other blades was partly because of its weight, Recondo is too light compared to Strider MH or CRK Project II for example. However the subject for stabbing was the phone book, which is not the hardest thing obviously. Which in turn means that when stabing the wood or any other, harder materials the behavior may vary, and the variation(s) may be very significant, including permanent damage, in simple words broken blades :).
    Because of this very narrow specialization, many drawbacks and basically limitations are imposed :( That's a bad part in case you were planning to use your Recondo for something other than knife fighting or punhcing holes :)
    As of the utility uses, Recondo is rather at the bottom of the list. Chisel edge bevel, long serrations and long tanto tip leave practically about 2 inches of useful cutting edge on the 5 inch long blade. So, depending on the use, Recondo might be a good one or worse than mediocre. There's an interesting thread on the Bladeforums - Tip Troubles, regarding the broken tip on the Recondo, definitely worth reading, if you can find it in the archives. later, SOG Knives has alerdy determined that the breakage mentioned in the aforementioned thread was caused by defective steel. Still, that's an interesting and informative thread to read ;) Speaking of Bladeforums, there's another thread that contains Sergiusz Mitin's review of Recondo, thorough, well done review, again, if you can find in the archives.


 - One of the strong points of Recondo is its handle. Very comfortable and practically in any grip. Zytel scales are aggressively checkered, thus providing secure grip even when wet or oily. One thing that would definitely add to Recondo's comfortability for prolonged use would've been less aggressively checkered thumb ramp. Which is significantly worse on your thumb than Numravus, and doesn't come close to Chris Reeve. I think the checkering of the thumb ramp shouldn't be that much of a problem, but somehow all of the mass production knives have mediocre or worse. Donno how much it's add to the total cost of the knife. On the other hand, Recondo definitely is not the knife you should be using for prolonged cutting. Normally you would get some other knife to do the cutting. For stabbing it doesn't really matter, as it's less likely that you'll be exercising prolonged stabbing anyways.
    Obviously SOG has been listening to customer remarks :) On 2001 shot show they've introduced Outdoor Recondo. Which, wass more conventional modification of Recondo, making it much more useful for utility purposes :) As soon as it's out, most definitely I am getting one :) Update - well,like I said, when it came out I got it, and still have it, see - SOG X-42 Field Knife Review.

Recondo & Nimravus

 - Quite often people compare Benchmade Nimravus with SOG Recondo. IMHO, that's not really a valid comparison, given the very narrow specialization of Recondo. The SOG X-42 Field Knife, mentioned above looks more or less in the same class, and would be really interesting to compare with Nimravus. Other than that, to me personally Nimravus, especially in M2 steel is much better of a knife then X-42. As a cutter, Nimravus is much better than Recondo. Here's Nimravus, Nimravus Cub and Recondo. I've aligned the blade tips on purpose, for better comparison. As you can see, even though the blade on Recondo is longer, it has no advantage in terms of cutting edge lengh. Both Nimravi have a longer edge, even the serrated one.
    On the other hand Recondo handle is more comfortable, though G10 on the Nimravus is more durable. Also, the sheath, Recondo sheath is definitely better, here's the picture of both sheathes, Recondo and Nimravus.


  • Blade - 127.00mm(5")
  • Thickness - 4.76mm
  • OAL - 254.00mm(10")
  • Steel - BG-42 steel at 62-64HRC
  • Handle - Zytel
  • Acquired - 12/2000 Price - 90.00$

Last updated - 05/19/19