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Civil War

The Victorinox Soldier vs. The Wenger Standard Issue

Most of us are familiar with the Victorinox Soldier, the "real" Swiss Army knife.  But how does it's lesser known cousin, the Wenger Standard Issue, stand up to it?

The knives used in this comparison are a 2000 Soldier and a 2001 Standard Issue (SI).
 
At first glance, both knives look the  same.  There are however, many subtle differences.
 
Both have the same shield and ribbed alox scales.
The Soldier is held together by 3 solid rivets with no lanyard attachment.  The SI has 2 solid rivets and 1 hollow.  It is in the hollow rivet that the bail attaches.  The bail can be easily removed.  You can thread a thin cord through the rivet for a lanyard. 
 


The blades have the same profile.  The SI's blade has an even taper from the point to the ricasso.  The Soldier's is full thickness for a short distance past the ricasso.
The SI's nail nick is thinner than the Soldier's.  This holds true on most of the other tools as well.
 


There are subtle differences in the bottle openers.  The notch in the SI is more square at the back, where the Soldier's has more of a taper.  
The SI's screwdriver has a steeper angle to the tip.  The SI's wire stripper notch is also deeper than the Soldier's.
Both work equally well.
 


The awls look identical at first glance, but here too are some notable differences.
The SI has a definitely "pointier" tip.  The sharpened edge of the Soldier blends in smoothly to the ricasso, where the SI's ends much more abruptly. 
The back of the Soldier's awl cuves nicely over the scale.  The SI's sits the same, but it has a squared off, flat back.
Again, one works as well as the other.
 


The can openers on these two knives are identical.  This is the standard Victorinox can opener.  The nail nicks are even the same.  Since this is the only knife in Wenger's line with this can opener, I have to wonder if maybe Victorinox is supplying them?
 
One other notable difference is that the SI has a brass liner.
 
Fit and finish is slightly better on the Soldier, but the SI is still well above most. 
 
You can't go wrong with either, or better yet, BOTH knives.

Images courtesy Inkster