Short and sweet summary for people who don't want to read a paragraph:
BOTTOM LINE (conveniently at the top =) ) -- best machete under $50. I know why the military uses it.
Great machete, just don't use it wrong. You have to know what you're doing if you want to keep this thing in good shape. Keep in mind that its not fair to compare this to $75+ machetes -- WARNING: this is not novice-proof. If you chop like a maniac and whack the side of the blade it will warp. Not break, warp. Chop right (and use the saw on HUGE logs that truly deserve an axe or chainsaw - I consider 2.5-3" max for this machete, it shouldn't take more than 5-6 strokes to get thru a tree - to save your edge. THAT'S WHY THERE'S A SAW ON THE SPINE!) and it will last forever and hold an edge well. GET IT More details for the person who likes to research like me: The value is unbelievable. Holds an edge unbelievably and is strong! I do yard-work (have for months) and can chop through 2 inch trees in one stroke. Unbelievable to me. I honestly ABUSED this machete. I used it like a hatchet like I said not to and it didn't get hurt aside from a (when I say minor I mean only me, a VERY picky person when it comes to chips and warps in my blades, would notice) minor ding in edge that is only aesthetic and has yet to affect performance. I suggest a combination of sawing and chopping for best results with least strain on blade. You do have to know what you're doing in order not to hurt it (which, not to toot my own horn, I do). Chopping at an angle helps a lot in getting through saplings with one stroke for a number of reasons. USE THE SAW BLADE! I can't stress this enough! There's a reason the designers at SOG put them there: they make life easier for you and your machete! If its a huge law, saw it! It doesn't feel like it but trust me its faster than chopping if you do it smart and it saves your edge and strains the blade much less. DONT WORRY ABOUT YOUR BLADE SNAPPING. I don't know what these guys did to their machetes in other reviews but unless they TRIED they couldn't abuse these enough to snap em. Maybe SOG started heat treating them since the reviews? I abused this for a while and it has performed WAY beyond expectations. The kraton grip makes a world of a difference. The gerber's rubber is like oil in comparison. I love this machete and you will too. This review is going to be controversial but I don't know what else to tell you - I have owned this machete for months and it has survived impressive abuse without sharpening and is still just as good performance-wise as when it came out of the box. Sure, if you drive over it in an F-350 it probably won't look good, but are you really going to treat it that badly? If so you're going to need a lot more than a machete. I've owned plenty of knives and this definitely stands out beyond the others. Good luck finding a better one in the budget or even out of it. What else could you honestly do to Improve this thing? Is high carbon, heat treated, sharp, kraton handled, razor-backed...etc. I can't think of a way to improve it can you? I guess to sum it up: it's never let me down. Should do the same for you. Also Walmart will take it back easily so no risk.
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