Text Size

Sosakonline Archive

Please note that all content in this section has been imported from our old Sosakonline website and may contain broken links. We are revising it as we can, but these things take time, and it's a lot of content to get through!

Case in Point, Pt II

Some time ago I wrote an article talking about how, in my opinion at least, the Soldier model was far superior to the typical American Traditional Lockback. At the time, many of you agreed with me, but in all honesty the comparison wasn't really all that fair- after all, how to compare a four bladed knife with a knife that has a single blade, can opener, bottle opener, two screwdrivers and an awl? It can't be done- or it can, but not as well as I'd hoped.

 

So, in all fairness, this month I have decided to level the playing field by putting a Wenger Standard Issue against a Case Scout knife, which features an awl, can opener, bottle opener, main blade and, like the Wenger, a bail or shackle.

By the numbers, both knives appear to be very similar in size and function, even though the ALOX looks very different from the nickel silver bolsters and (I think simulated?) bone inserts of the Scout. The basic numbers for these knife is as follows:

 

 

Case Scout

Wenger SI

Weight

95.5g (3.37oz)

69.3g (2.44oz)

Length

93mm

93mm

Width

19mm

12mm

 

As you can see, the Scout is somewhat heftier than the Standard Issue, although half again as heavy as the SI isn't really all that bad- the ALOX keeps the Wenger almost too light feeling for many chores- not that it feels flimsy or anything, but a bit of healthy weight can make one more comfortable using the knife.

Speaking of comfort, I actually feel that two-layer ALOX models like the SI, Victorinox Soldier, Pioneer and so on are a little thin, and have often mentioned that I prefer the three layer models now because I need the saw, but because I find they fit my hand better. In this instance, I have to say that I find the wider handle of the Case more comfortable, even though I feel that in a slippery/wet environment or while wearing gloves I would be better served by the heavy ALOX checkering of the SI would be superior. Still, the first point goes to the Scout.

Going tool by tool, and starting with the bottle opener, we see that they are both the same style opener with integrated flathead screwdriver. The screwdriver blade on the Wenger is slightly wider (7mm vs the Scout's 5mm) and is somewhat better formed- it's squared off, while the Scout's is somewhat more rounded. The Wenger's bottle opener also includes a wire stripping notch, which may or may not be overly functional depending on who you talk to, but it is still a feature that the Scout is missing. Wider and more squared off screwdriver blade, plus a wire stripping notch? I have to give this point to Wenger. I tested the bottle openers for their intended purpose but for some reason I don't recall the results of that test!

Next up would be the can openers. There's a HUGE difference in these, as Wenger uses the Victorinox style push opener with integrated eyeglass screwdriver while the Scout uses an oversized lobster claw type opener reminiscent of the old Camillus Marine Corps knives, and looks like it could be used to seperate the flight deck from the hull of the USS Enterprise. Both openers work well for opening cans, but I have to say that the Scout style opener works slightly better. Of course, most Wengers also use that style can opener, but the SI model was made with the Victorinox style can opener to meet the military's requirements. Still, while the Scout may work slightly better, the SI has the screwdriver tip, which I personally find more useful than the rest of the can opener, so to be honest, I'd have to count this one as a tie.

When it comes to awls, the Soldier awl is consistantly ranked as one of the best in the market, and anyone who has actually put them head to head has ranked the Wenger awl better than the Victorinox version as Wenger grinds more of a tip on them than Victorinox does. As a result, I may be somewhat biased, but I have to say that the SI awl wins hands down over the Case knife's awl. Still, both have nice edges that launch sparks off a firesteel with a vengeance, so the Scout's awl is not useless. It doesn't have as nice a point as the Wenger, so it should come as no surprise when the SI takes this point.

Since the underlying point of a knife is the blade, I have saved them until last. Wenger's blades are often lauded for having more “belly” than their Victorinox counterparts, and the Scout has more belly than the Wenger's. Frankly though, I have to say that I find it a little too much belly, and the blade is a bit too broad. By comparison, the SI's blade seems very sleek and professional. The other thing that I don't like about the Scout's blade is that it appears to be canted forward, which makes me paranoid in a slip joint. I am not saying that this is by any means unsafe, just that it inspires less confidence in me than the straight, 180 degree opening Wenger blade. Another point for the Standard Issue.

Quickly tallying the score:

 

 

Case Scout

Wenger SI

Feel

X

 

Blade

 

X

Can Opener

X

X

Bottle Opener

 

X

Awl

 

X

TOTAL

2

4

 

Admittedly, I am a SAK enthusiast, a SAK collector, a decades long SAK user, and publisher of an online SAK magazine, so there's a good possibility that I am biased, but it looks to me that the Standard Issue is indeed the winner. As with anything else, this is entirely open to interpretation and personal preference, and so someone else's opinions may be different, especially if they carried Case knives their entire life, as I have done with SAKs. If anyone out there agrees or disagrees with this review, please feel free to revisit it yourself and please send me the results for publication !

 

That having been said, while I prefer the Wenger SI to the Case knife, I wouldn't have any problems reccomending the Scout to anyone looking for a good, hard working and reliable knife, especially if someone wants a knife that looks as nice as it functions. Of course, you could have the best of both worlds by getting one of Scott Kiser's Old School mods, but that's a story for another time!