Story and Photos by Waysun Johnny Tsai
Greg Thompson’s SOCP Dagger family has built a reputation of being a self-defense tool that adapts perfectly into a variety of combative platforms.
Members of law enforcement, military and civilians alike carry the original SOCP Dagger as a primary and backup defensive weapon. What makes the SOCP a useful tool is its simplicity in design and concept.
While the SOCP Dagger is a good-looking knife, it was designed to be lightweight, fast and easy to use in a fight. A no-nonsense ringed fighter, that serves a single purpose.
The design was originally released by Spartan Blades, then taken over by Benchmade Knives – who released it with a paired training version. As a Combatives instructor, I really like the availability of a trainer for any knife that is designed for fighting – it only makes sense.
Benchmade even went the extra step and created a matching sheath for the training version. Both the sheath for the knife and the sheath for the trainer allow several options for the knife to be carried; neck, belt, pocket or appendix.
Recently, Benchmade introduced a new Mini version of the SOCP Dagger – the 173 Mini SOCP – which was specifically updated to enhance and improve the means for this platform to be carried. Particularly, the addition of a leather pad that attaches to the sheath for IWB (inside the waist band) carry will improve comfort, while the redesigned clip adds better retention.
While the original SOCP has an overall length of 7.25-inches, the Mini SOCP comes in an inch shorter at just 6.25-inches – of 440C Stainless-Steel – making IWB carry a little more comfortable.
For this article Benchmade Knives sent me a sample of the SOCP Mini, but also a full-sized training knife. My guess is, this was meant to allow me to try out both sizes and see which version I like better.
Since the SOCP was designed as a single purpose blade, I didn’t see many reasons for cutting tests – the SOCP would serve as my back up tool. I don’t believe in using my self-defense knives for cutting objects that would dull the edge.
Instead, I decided to focus on the carry and draw of the knife to identify the fastest deployment for the blade – at least for myself. I found that the fastest draw for me was from my pocket.
I learned that the SOCP could deploy and flow right into techniques, straight from the sheath. As my training partners learned, the trainer itself serves well as a pressure point and impact weapon for Kuboton type strikes; so, this was a double win for me. Striking with the purposely aggressive Jimping on the ring guard can also effectively stun or stop a would-be attacker.
Hover over the photos below for captions, click on an image to open a full size slideshow.
Another thing that I like about the training version, is that with it not being an actual knife, this allows one to carry it through security checkpoints and onto airplanes without issue. I like this because I have personally never had an issue carrying training tools on planes.
Even though I have handled an SOCP before, this was the first chance I have had to actually train with one and have found that I like it. I really like the speed of deployment of this blade, as well as its comfortable design.
However, I do like the full-sized SOCP better than the SOCP Mini. I have short fingers and a wide palm, so with the Mini I felt the blade was just a little too close to my own skin for my comfort levels. I didn’t have that worry with the full size – that extra inch helped. I guess size does matter. If you have large hands or will be wearing gloves, I do recommend the full-sized version.
Overall, I would highly recommend adding the SOCP to daily carry as a backup tool. Outside of being a single purpose blade, I don’t see any negatives to this weapon.
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Blade Material: 440C Stainless SteelBlade Length: 3.22 inchesOverall Length: 7.25 inchesBlade Thickness: 0.175 inchWeight: 2.20 ouncesHandle Material: SkeletonizedMSRP: $125.00
BenchmadeBlade HQSmoky Mountain Knife Works
SIJO Waysun Johnny Tsai is a Chicago native and the founder of C.U.M.A. Combatives and the C.U.M.A. Survival School. A Master level Instructor, Sijo has over 33 years of combined experience in teaching practical street defense in the civilian, military and law enforcement sectors and is considered one of the World's foremost experts in practical street defense and Combatives. He is a published book, magazine and DVD author, as well as a highly established impact and edged weapons designer. Sijo has knife designs on the market and available through TOPS Knives, Slysteel Knives, Day One Gear, Combat Ready Knives and Grunt Style.
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