Friday, August 15, 2014

Benchmade SOCP Dagger Review

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(Photograph by Keith Sipmann)
If you carry a knife everyday for defensive purposes, you’ll probably understand that there are some serious issues with folders…mainly, some are just flat out to slow to deploy when compared to fixed blades. Ever wonder why soldiers aren’t issued folders? That’s because fixed blades generally rule in terms of reliability, effectiveness and speed of deployment. With all that said, fixed blades have one major drawback – additional weight. They also tend to be bigger and a little more difficult to conceal. When you’re already carrying a lot of weight, this can be a big issue. If you’re looking for a small, lightweight, and solid design for close-distance defensive purposes, you’ll definitely want to check out the SOCP dagger by Benchmade.

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(Photograph by Keith Sipmann)
The SOCP dagger was designed by Greg Thompson, who coincidentally, is also the designer of the U.S. Special forces Special Operations Combatives Program (SOCP). The little blade was designed around the need for US soldiers, who are usually loaded from head to toe with gear, to be able to fight within the restricted mobility of close quarters battle and from behind. The result of his years of research is this dagger. The SOCP dagger was designed as a close combat weapon that would be low profile, lightweight, effective, and allow the operator to swiftly transition to a firearm if needed. Make no mistake about it, this is not a survival knife or a culinary cutting tool. This blade is meant to be a last resort in close quarters fighting, clear and simple.
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(Photograph by Keith Sipmann)
The skeletonized SOCP dagger has a finger loop that makes it easy to deploy and use in very quick order. It is made from 440C stainless steel with a nice smooth black finish. The SOCP includes a injection molded sheath with clip and lanyard.  Overall length of the dagger is 7.25 inches but the actual blade is only 3.22 inches.
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(Photograph by Keith Sipmann)
The sheath is held in place with the single metal clip you see in the pictures above.  While this clip is well made, I found this particular clip to be inadequate when rapidly pulling the dagger out, especially if placed in my jeans pocket. Most of the time this action resulted in the entire sheath coming out as well. I’ve heard similar reports of this happening when the it was placed in MOLLE webbing as well, but when I tried it out on my vest it worked fine.  Fortunately for those wearing it with MOLLE gear, there are a few holes at the bottom of the sheath that you can use to secure it with paracord. I’d highly recommend that Benchmade replace the clip with a stronger piece that has more gripping power for customers carrying it in a non-MOLLE system.
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(Photograph by Keith Sipmann)
Once you have the dagger out of the sheath it fits very nicely into your hand. At 2.20oz it’s a very lightweight and ergonomic blade. The section on top of the ring provides a good resting place for your thumb when holding the dagger as well.
I really like the SOCP. I’ve been wearing it as an EDC defensive blade (backup to my handgun) for about a month now, and I absolutely love it. Again, it’s important to note that this dagger isn’t a box cutter or cutting tool. It’s a dagger, and it’s meant for close quarter’s defense. As always, training is very important with any weapon. Benchmade also understands this and offers a trainer tool that is available for the dagger. This is a must for any serious knife user. The dagger itself sells from $85-105 by itself and a combo kit that includes the dagger and trainer goes for around $145. I’d highly recommend this dagger to anyone looking for a fast and easy deployable dagger to be used in extremely-close self-defense situations.
Visit for additional details and updated pricing.
  •         Overall Length: 7.25"
  •         Blade Length: 3.22"
  •         Cutting Edge: 1.50"
  •         Blade Thickness: 0.185"
  •         Blade Material: 440C
  •         Hardness: 58-60 RC
  •         Blade Style: Dagger
  •         Blade Grind: Flat
  •         Blade Finish: Black
  •         Edge Type: Plain
  •         Handle Length: 4.00"
  •         Handle Material: 440C
  •         Handle Color: Black
  •         Weight: 2.20 oz.
  •         Sheath: Hard Plastic
  •         Sheath Weight: 1.02 oz.
  •         Knife Type: Fixed Blade
  •         Brand: Benchmade
  •         Designer: Thompson
  •         Country of Origin: USA
  •         Best Use: Tactical

Keith Sipmann is a US Army Veteran, SOCON Training Operations Manager, Certified MCCCD Adjunct Faculty, Freelance Photographer, Firearms/Survival Enthusiast, Writer for Western Shooting Journal Magazine and Publisher and Chief Editor of


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