I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this before a few times, but I love trawling flea markets for knives. The selection isn’t nearly as big as one might like, but you can still get a pretty good blade for a pretty good price. With that said, it’s very rare – in my experience – to find brand name knives at flea markets.
Knives from companies like Gerber, Cold Steel, Kershaw, CRKT, and, of course, SOG are usually only available through company retailers (i.e. a Kershaw shop) and/or Amazon. Even if you do find them at flea markets, you still need to find one you like – otherwise what’s the point in carrying it?
This is exactly the problem that I faced when I found a knife table at a flea market at the end of May. There were plenty of great knives, but many of them were outside of the legal carry size.
Disclosure: This post has links to 3rd party websites, so I may get a commission if you buy through those links. See my full disclosure for more.
The SOG Instinct Mini caught my attention because I’d seen it on an episode of Knife Banter, and I did something that most knife enthusiasts will do every so often; I impulse-bought the knife!
Was it good? Was it bad? We’re going to get into all the bits and bobs about this blade, but first; let’s look at the specs.
- Overall Length: 4.8’’
- Blade Length: 1.9’’
- Blade Steel: 5Cr15MoV
- Blade Style: Clip Point
- Handle Material: G10
- Sheath Material: Hard Nylon/Kydex
- Weight: 1.4 Oz.
- Pocket/belt clip which can be rotated 360 degrees.
- Ball Chain for neck knife carry.
Lightweight and Compact with a Variety of Carry Options
As far as impulse-buys go, this is certainly not the worst possible blade I could’ve gotten. With an overall length of 4.8’’ and a blade length of 1.9’’, the SOG Instinct Mini is well-within South Africa’s legal carry size.
The G10 handle material is lightly textured which makes for a comfortable grip while the gimping adds some extra security to ensure the knife doesn’t slip in your hand while you’re working.
The clip can be rotated 360 degrees, allowing you to pick and choose how you want to carry it. Additionally, if you don’t want a knife on your belt, the Instinct Mini comes with a ball chain which means you can carry it as a neck knife if you prefer.
At 1.4 oz. the SOG Mini Instinct is incredibly lightweight, and you barely notice that it’s there. That is, of course, until you need it.
The blade steel is easy to sharpen, I found that a few passes through a honing steel and it cuts like a dream.
Sheath retention is great. The blade locks in good and tight, and makes it much safer than the other neck knife I own.
It’s small, and relatively non-threatening.
Relatively comfortable to carry and grip
Numerous carry options.
I didn’t have many issues with this knife. In fact, when I bought it, I took a photo and posted it to a Facebook group asking for opinions on it. The consensus was: it’s a good knife with a ‘but’ on the end. Why was there a ‘but’ at the end of the answer?
The blade doesn’t hold an edge very well – I believe one person who commented on my post said it had the ‘edge retention of a ramen noodle’ – so you may have to sharpen this one often.
While the retention on the sheath is great, the blade does rattle a little bit which may irritate some people.
The tail piece/lanyard hole on the handle chafes against your skin when the knife is carried tip-down.
If you have larger hands then the smaller handle may pose an issue with getting a good grip. You may be able to solve this by adding a lanyard to the knife.
Two Months of Consistent Carry: Thoughts and Feelings
Despite the problems with edge retention and the chafing of your skin when the knife is on your belt tip-down, I really enjoyed carrying this one.
Would I recommend a purchase? Yes and no. It’s reasonably priced, is good for lightweight cutting tasks and is a convenient size.
Aesthetically-speaking, it has a cool look to it so if you’re looking for an occasional-carry/collection knife, then yeah, I’d say go for it. If you’re looking for something that you can beat the heck out of without feeling guilty…then you probably need a different knife.
Overall, I don’t think this is a bad blade. It’s lightweight, comfortable to use, and easy to maintain. It has its flaws, sure, but ultimately, I had fun carrying it and it’s going to be carried for a long, long time to come.
As always, I hope you enjoyed the review and found it informative. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you in the next one! Take care.
Greg spent much of his childhood camping and hiking. While he lives in suburbs nowadays, Greg was raised on a small farm with lots of livestock such as cows, horses and chickens. He’s a decent shot with a bow, and a huge knife enthusiast.