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By Nik Maxwell

If you hunt, shoot, or spend any amount of time in the outdoors, you’ll no doubt own a knife. It is that one fundamental piece of equipment you simply must have.


It is not uncommon to own many knives for various purposes and applications. They are for some a true collector’s item and often form the same kind of relationship you might get from your rifle. They have character. I have 7 of my own and they all have some kind of story behind them.


Anyway, it happened that Paul Clark (NZ Ammunition Company) had a knife that he wanted me to take a look at. Readers may not be aware of this, but NZ Ammo have an impressive selection of knives available including fixed and folding blade skinners, camping and utility models. A knife for any situation.



I would describe the SEAL XR as a utility or ‘camp’ knife with a built for purpose look. Finished entirely in Black, it’s serrated grip and wide blade give it an aggressive yet attractive appearance.


Measuring 134 mm when folded and 233mm open, it might be on the larger side for a folder but compact enough to be considered a pocketknife.


SOG have used CPM S35VN stainless steel for the blade. This meant bugger all to me but a look on Google threw up several links. The site Knife Steel Nerds provides a good break down.


CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Jimping along the spine of the blade combined with notching on the handle, provides excellent grip; the belt clip can be swapped from one side to the other; you can use either the kick/flipper tab, XR lock or the thumbhole to open the blade; the ‘Persuader’ tool...


The 98mm Cerakoted clip-point blade is razor sharp with a hard-wearing V-edge. The drop is ever so slightly concaved which exaggerates the point.


The hand grips are constructed of glass-reinforced nylon and look like they would handle just about any kind of abuse. There are three methods available to open the blade. You can either flick it open with your thumb via the thumb hole on the blade, use the top kick/flipper tab or use the sliding lock button to initiate the opening of the blade.


It’s ambidextrous design means you can use either hand to open the blade which is smooth and effortless. The blade is locked in place with SOG’s ‘XR’ crossbar locking feature. It feels very strong.


“NZ Ammo have an impressive selection of knives available including fixed and folding blade skinners, camping and utility models. A knife for any situation.”


There is a strong metal clip for fastening the knife to your belt, pants, or jacket pocket or perhaps even some MOLLE webbing on your pack or day bag. The (reversible) clip is tensioned so should stay put under most circumstances.


The butt has a wedge-shaped steel ‘persuader’ tool that looks like it would be ideal for breaking a car window (in an accident, not for stealing it OK!) or maybe you could use it for digging out foot holes in the dirt or snow.


Overall it is a great looking knife. It feels solid in the hand and the jimping and finger grooves along the spine of the knife and handle offer plenty of grip.



Opportunities to evaluate the knife in the field were somewhat lacking but I did manage to use it on a recent hunt in the Waitomo region.


Prior to that though, I used the knife around home quite a bit. Chopping up food in the kitchen and performing other general duties such as slicing up cardboard boxes for the kids, opening packaging, cutting off hang nails on our toes, normal everyday kind of stuff!


Back on the hunting scene, I secured a fallow spiker which gave me a chance to dress out a deer with the knife.
The blade had no problem cutting through the hide, but I will admit to feeling apprehensive when the time came to open the gut cavity. That ultra-sharp point just begging to slice open the gut bag, worst case scenario when gutting an animal.


To be fair, this has as much to do with how you handle a knife as it does that sharp point, so you just need to be a little more cautious when making that incision.


Nik used the SEAL XR to dress out this fallow spiker.


However, with that out of the way and nothing spilt, the rest of the job was straightforward. The knife made easy work removing the front shins etc in preparation of packing the deer out.


The blade was still super sharp after that which is worth a mention as it had been used around home plenty of times on what you might consider blade dulling chores.


A chat with Paul not long after revealed that he had also used the knife to process a couple of deer adding testament to the blades edge holding ability.



The SOG SEAL XR is a no-nonsense, solid, and well-designed knife that would be more than suitable for performing general-purpose camp duties. If cutting up tent or fly ropes, splitting up some kindling or perhaps removing a head skin, the SEAL is ideal.


Should you have forgotten your skinning knife and have an animal on deck it’ll easily get the job done, but you will need to be mindful of your dressing out technique when gutting it!




Note: The SOG SEAL XR is currently sold out however click the link below to check out the range of other SOG knives available from the NZ Ammunition Co.


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