Concept: 3 out of 5
Execution: 3 out of 5
Yeah, but: Heavy but multi-functional.
The Long Version: Swiss Army Knives are proven tools that have been refined over time, which is a nice way of saying that there are often only small variations between models. Victorinox's 2008 Soldier traces its lineage back to the Trekker that I reviewed in September.
The new Soldier knife shares a few traits with the older Alox Soldier model from my last review: it has the same can opener, and no tweezers or toothpick. But otherwise it's a very different knife, being much bigger with a locking blade and a locking 'cap lifter' that's big enough for some serious prying. There's a philips driver and awl on the back, an excellent saw, and the one-handed-opening blade with its very interesting serrations.
The Soldier puts the serrations on the front of the knife, where most of the cutting is done, and leaves the base of the blade plain for detail work. This is a sensible and uncommon way of doing things, but in practice it works very well. They're also incredibly sharp, with a fine pitch that's going to be miserable to resharpen, but so far that hasn't been necessary.
The handle on the Soldier is dark green nylon with grippy bits and a bas-relief shield. Like all 111mm knives, I find it far too large and heavy for pocket carry, but keeping a grip on it shouldn't be a problem.
I said in my review of the standard Trekker that the one-handed model is what I would buy if I had to do it over again, and the Soldier proves me right. This is the knife that I carry in my work bag as a backup to my lighter pocketable SAK, ensuring that I always have the ability to break down an inbound skid of product, reduce the wooden pallet to kindling, and reassemble the best bits into a serviceable table. I may never need to do that, but there's no doubt that the Soldier is a very capable knife.
last updated 1 feb 2014