A good pocketknife is a man's constant companion. Heretofore I've used—and lost—many a good companion over the years, but few were as heart-wrenching as when I left my SOG Twitch XL NRA folder…somewhere. I used that friend for more than just opening gift boxes, but to cut rope, dress game animals and as insurance amid ventures into localities where guns for self-defense are banned (but where small knives remain legal). I liked that knife so much that I bought two more. Here's why.
At 7.5 inches overall and 4.20 ounces, the XL version is bigger the original Twitch model. It's the optimum size for heavy use, yet it still suspends neatly in my pocket via its stainless steel clip. Its handle is robust enough to deliver serious leverage to the blade. And the blade—3.250-inches of Japanese-made AUS-8—can take it, thanks to a beefy spine of .13-inch. The Twitch XL, with its spring assisted opening technology,was originally intended as a tactical knife, but the addition of the rosewood grip scales lend it a more gentlemanly look than the black- or titanium-handled versions. Still, sonny boy, this 'ain't your pappy's Old Timer.
Preferences in blade styles differ from one man to the next, like Ford vs. Chevy, so the Twitch XL is offered in several. I strongly recommend its drop-point blade because it's actually a modified drop point that a combination of a traditional hunting-style point and a Japanese-borne stabbing point that's based on the original Samurai sword design. (Don't be confused by a tanto point, that's often considered "tactical."While menacing-looking, a tanto's dual blade angles penetrate poorly and take twice as long to sharpen.)Meanwhile pure drop-point blades are great for slicing and skinning but lack in ability to puncture. But the XL's "drop point" is formed by slanting the spine of the blade downward at its terminal end to meet the belly of the blade as it sweeps up, forming a sharp point. This lends the blade great characteristics for both puncturing and slicing.
I've cleaned dozens of game animals with this knife—including deer, bears and burly wild hogs—and so I know there's nothing it can't do in this regard.While most knives today are incredibly sharp out of the box, the XL is scalpel-like, yet it retains its edge wonderfully, which is exactly why the high-carbon, low-chromium stainless AUS-8 steel was chosen. It will slide through cardboard as if it were notebook paper again and again—a tough test for any blade. It's also big, sturdy and sharp enough that a man could fight with it if he must.
Most notably, the lock-back blade is deployed via a finger-initiated spring that flicks it from its folding position to full length quicker than a cobra can hiss. A flange of the blade protrudes from the backside of the handle when it's folded and serves as the trigger that can be pushed to start the blade in motion. Once started by human power, the spring snaps it open and locks. It's legal because unlike true switchblades, its blade's movement must be as least partially powered by the operator. The Twitch XL can be locked in closed position for extra protection while jogging.
SOG's NRA model is my favorite version, because buying it via the NRA Store.com gives the NRA much needed cash to fight for our rights. So, $99, buys you one of the world's best commercially made pocketknives while simultaneously supporting the world's greatest organization. I just wish I could replace my lost bird dogs so easily.