Elephant Toe, a.k.a. “sunfish-style” knife blades, are old-school, spear-point-style blades with a big belly. This robust profile was originally designed for cutting large-diameter rope — thick stuff you might find on a whaling ship.
Though this type of blade profile is not as popular as it once was, that doesn’t mean it’s any less effective. In fact, whenever I get my hands on a knife with a big-bellied blade like this, I make it a point to push its design limits, as these knives can generally do quite a lot.
Sniper Bladeworks is currently in the middle of an already fully backed Kickstarter campaign that’s got a few weeks left to go. A follow-up to the “2020: Reload” campaign, the “2024: Field” campaign comprises three knives: the AP Tanto, which is a gentleman’s folder; the UC Utility, a utility/skinning knife; and the TOG, the big-bellied beast I’m outlining here.
Named after the song that reignited the Grateful Dead’s popularity in the 1980s, the TOG was designed to be, in the brand’s words, the “perfect folding outdoor and utility knife.”
Sniper Bladeworks was kind enough to lend me one of the early TOG models for a weekend. I spent as much time as I could carrying and using it. Out of everything I had a chance to do with it, digging up and transplanting some native plants on my property was probably my favorite part of carrying this big pig of a knife around.
That said, I had a hell of a time returning the knife when I was done testing it out. But now that the knife is back with Sniper Bladeworks, I’m here to dive into the review.
In short: The Sniper Bladeworks TOG carries 3.43 inches of PVD-Coated D2 steel and an ergonomically enhanced handle composed of Micarta and titanium. The end result is a knife that makes Sniper’s LPC look like it’s on the Keto diet. With its big belly and spear tip, the TOG can dig, pierce, shave, and shape with ease. If you plan on being a real jerk to your knife out in the real world, the Sniper Bladeworks TOG is up for the task, and then some.
- OAL 8.18”
- Blade length 3.63”
- Blade steel PVD-coated D2
- Blade shape Elephant toe/sunfish (fat-bellied spear point)
- Grind Flat
- Hardness 58-61 HRC
- Lock type Frame
- Carry Right-hand only
- Weight 9.01 oz.
- Price $290 (through Kickstarter)
- Robust build
- PVD-coated D2 tool steel blade
- Elephant’s toenail spear point blade shape
- Advanced ergonomics
- Right-hand carry only
- You know it’s in your pocket
Sniper Bladeworks TOG Knife Review
Design & Features
With an overall length of 8.18 inches and an overall weight of 9 ounces, the Sniper Bladeworks TOG stands as one of the largest folding knives I’ve had the pleasure of ever testing.
It’s not just the length and weight, either; it’s the overall girth of the knife. The only other knives I can think of that come close to the TOG’s stature have been the CJRB Crag and the Boker Impetus.
The knife showcases the exaggerated angling for which Sniper’s folding knives are known. Those ergonomics shine here, mated up to the equally exaggerated belly on the PVD Coated D2 Blade.
By today’s standards, many would call this blade shape a spear-point. However, taking a trip down memory lane, this shape is really an Elephant’s Toe, Elephant’s Toenail, or Sunfish-style blade. This style was historically used for cutting through thick rope where the spine of the blade would be hammered into the woven strands to cut it.
As for the steel, I’m a big fan of D2. It’s a type of tool steel used to cut and sheer other steel in manufacturing, so to say it’s tough would be an understatement. It will hold a decent edge for a prolonged period, but it will lose that skin-popping sharpness after a few months of steady use.
Thankfully, it’s very easy to sharpen. Overall, the only complaint I’ve heard over the years about D2 is that it corrodes more easily than some other steels. I haven’t experienced this, but the PVD coating on the TOG should help address that.
For the handle materials, Sniper didn’t venture far from home, utilizing Micarta and 6AL-4V titanium. This combination works incredibly well with TOG’s framelock, just like it’s done in the past for Sniper’s other folding knives.
I was excited when I saw the email about Sniper’s new knife collection hit my email inbox. I had only seen a few teasers on social media before hearing directly from the brand. But even if I studied these new knives for a week, there was no way to grasp the physicality of the TOG.
Either way, I’m always excited to test something from these folks out because I know that whatever it is, it’s going to be overbuilt. And the TOG is just that.
That said, when I first unwrapped my sample, it seemed like the pivot screw was undersized compared to the rest of the knife. However, the operation is so smooth in opening and closing that I think the knife might have lost some of that with a bigger screw.
Also, there’s no wiggle or wobble in the blade, so I had to turn the engineering side of my brain off and just enjoy this big bulky beast.
It’s nice to see a frame lock on a knife in a year full of crossbar-style locks. Not only do I like a well-built frame lock, but I love the look of the mixed media handle scale combination, where one side carries one material and the other side sports titanium. Not only does the combination of green micarta look good against the stonewashed titanium, but it also lends a very on-brand, authentic look and feel.
Plus, titanium also helps keep the weight down on the TOG. Not that 9 ounces is petite for a folding knife, but it’s a reminder that the TOG could have easily been 1 pound, out the door.
In the Field
Being a sample knife that I had to return, you might worry that I went out in the woods with the TOG wrapped in a diaper and double-bagged in fine silk.
Not so. In fact, getting out of my 4Runner en route to the woods, I dropped the son of a gun into a rock pile. No fret, Chet — the TOG didn’t even flinch. The folks at Sniper Bladeworks know the kind of shenanigans I like to get into and I know the way they build knives.
Side note: Along with TOPS Knives, I think Sniper Bladeworks makes some of the toughest knives out there. If you get your hands on one, beat the hell out of it.
Out on the trail, the TOG did everything I expected it to and then some. I was able to pry punky wood out of a few dying trees and process kindling to make both a tinder bundle as well as some primary limbs to keep the fire going.
The big belly on the blade was great for food prep, allowing me to cut through peppers and chicken with precision.
The PVD coating on the blade is both a blessing and a curse. It’s meant to resist corrosion and abrasion, and it does that really well. However, certain things stick to the matte finish — things like chicken bits.
This is easy to take care of with some water and a little elbow grease, but you might want to consider this if you plan on cutting into anything sappy.
As I mentioned earlier, the TOG is also an excellent garden tool. This time of year, I like to harvest some of the native plants of the season to give as gifts for the holidays. Why is this particularly important? Because if you subscribe to the “Leave No Trace” ethos, the TOG will come in handy when it comes time to dig, squat, and bury.
Sniper Bladeworks TOG Knife: Overall
Checking out the Kickstarter for the TOG and the other knives in the 2024: Field collection, Sniper’s first goal was to give back to “Our Frontline Heroes and Veterans.” Its second goal was to produce high-quality knives, while the third goal was to keep those knives affordable.
These are admirable claims and that’s part of why I support this brand.
Lance Abernathy, the brains behind the operation is true-blue. He takes his gear out into the jungle and tests it out before he even lets the public see it. Everything Sniper Bladeworks has brought to market has become a quick fan favorite.
With regard to the TOG, I’d suggest backing the campaign and snagging one yourself. It’s a big beast of a blade that could make your demanding adventures many degrees easier.
That said, it is hard to avoid the overall size and girth of the TOG. But it’s those dimensions that allow this knife to be overly utilitarian and apt for doing demanding work.
This knife will do you well out in the field, on the front lines, and anywhere else you need a fat-bellied beastie!