I have grown to embrace a minimalist take on the things I carry daily. I hate carrying obnoxious stuff in my pockets, and I tend to shy away from belt carrying knives and tools. At the same time, I do like having a multitool. So I was happy as a Marine with a box of Crayolas when SOG premiered their Baton line of multitools. The SOG Baton series are four different multitools, each aimed at a different purpose. They contain all the classic tools a multitool should without the wide-body design.
Instead of the traditional folding design, the SOG Baton is an inline design that presents you with a longer but thinner package. While it’s longer, the slimmer design is less pocket filling, and it allows you to easily pocket carry the tool like any pocket knife or mini flashlight. It’s not a bulky brick in my pocket, but a svelte, pocket clip mounted multitool.
The Baton Series
The Baton series encompasses four different multitools. Each has a different purpose and is known as Q1, Q2, Q3, and Q4.
The Q1 is a TSA approved variant that is designed for office and administrative workers. You get a built-in refillable pen, a pair of scissors, a bottle opener, and a small screwdriver.
The Q2 sports the most significant blade, a built-in flashlight, screwdriver, and bottle opener.
The Q3 is the most traditional variant of a multitool and is the subject of our review here. It packs the most tools, including pliers, a knife, screwdrivers, a bottle opener, and more. As far as multitools go, this is the most multitool like.
The Q4 has more of a focus on being an adjustable and versatile driver system. The Q4 comes with 12 bits and a dedicated adjustable screwdriver. This tool also includes a pair of pliers, a knife, driver, bottle opener, and a file.
As mentioned, we are looking at the Q3. The Q3 is likely the most useful for service members. It packs the most tools and is the most versatile. It’s designed for use in the field or garrison, around your barracks room, or nearly anywhere else.
Inside the SOG
The Baton Q3 is 5.8 inches long, collapsed and weighs a mere 6 ounces, and is loaded with thirteen different tools. The pliers act as both wire cutters and needle-nose pliers. You get a short, but useful blade, a can, bottle opener, a file, a flat head screwdriver, a Phillips head screwdriver, a chisel, an awl, and each of the tools locks when opened.
The Baton’s pliers can be opened with one hand and deployed with ease. The rest of the tools are deployed via a thumb stud. To unlock the tools and fold them, you press an easy to access thumb lock. The tools fold out of the way quickly, and the lock is quite sturdy.
To top it all off, you have a tight and robust pocket clip. It seems a little too tight, but the tool will most certainly not leave your pocket on accident.
The Baton In Use
The Baton slimmer shape doesn’t just make the tool more convenient to carry, but it makes it more comfortable to use. Most multitools’ broad nature is workable, but the SOG Baton is much more comfortable in hand. The longer and thinner grip are way better than a traditional wide-body multitool.
Using the knife and drivers in particular benefit very well from the Baton’s inline design. I don’t think tools like the chisel could be used with a traditional multitool layout. That being said, I’ve only used the chisel in a testing environment.
The tools can be deployed when the tool is in Baton mode, so it’s an instant access toolkit. The tools are made from stainless steel, which works well for 99% of the tools. As far as the blade goes, stainless steel does offer some limitations. Stainless steel tends to dull easier and not sharpen as well. If you carry a multitool, you likely carry a dedicated knife, and that somewhat solves the Baton’s issue.
Stainless steel is great because it is low maintenance steel. It’s strong, highly corrosion-resistant, and easy to stow and forget without worries about rust.
The Baton Tools
I’ve owned mine for a few years now and grabbed one at release and have never run into any issues with it. It’s never rusted, none of the tools have chipped or worn away, and keeping the blade sharp is easy enough.
I do find the tool selection to be versatile. The drivers are set for one size, but it’s the most common size I run across. The Phillips head, in particular, won’t open those annoyingly small screws present on small electronics. However, for your normal everyday Phillips head screws, the driver is an excellent size. The same goes for the flathead driver.
The bottle opener has been tested extensively, and admittedly it works very well against Guinness bottles. The can opener is a typical manual one, and I’ve only used it once, and that can of Chef Boyardee didn’t stand a chance.
The short little blade does basic cutting tasks well. It won’t be mistaken for a survival knife, but for cutting rope, tape, cardboard, and even cleaning game, it will work.
Cut It Up
All in all, the Baton is packed with tools, is ultra-lightweight, very comfortable to carry, and perfect for EDC in nearly any environment. From the field to automatic repairs and finishing 80% lowers the Baton does it all. It’s designed as a field tool and excels in that role. The price is right, and if you are looking for a multitool the Baton is more than a gimmick. It’s a rock-solid tool that has changed the game.