Even if the name of the Puma "Sharp German Blade" (SGB) knife series seems to suggest it, the models so named do not come from Germany, but from North America. More precisely: from Lenexa, in the US state of Kansas, the headquarters of the Puma Knife Company USA overseas agency. Here, the company not only distributes the models manufactured at the Solingen headquarters in the classic Puma style, but has also developed its own designs.
The name of the series comes from the fact that all knives are made exclusively from DIN 1.4116 German steel, from which the knives are then manufactured in China for the US market. This also includes modern knives for tactical use, which Puma is now offering as part of the SGB brand sub-line.
"Tactics is a purposeful, planned approach determined for success." This definition of the term shows that "Tactical" is not synonymous with "Combat". Even in the military, the knife is not primarily seen as a combat tool, but as a tool for all conceivable cutting tasks. For this purpose, a tactical knife must have the appropriate features – above all quick deployment, a resilient blade and reliable mechanics. Then the knife can contribute to the success of tactical projects. Of course, this also applies to civilian use.
Puma's SGB models belong to this category not only because of their appearance, but also thanks to their defined features. Currently, there is a combat knife called Bigcat 10 Tanto with a fixed tanto blade (MSRP in Germany: 89 euro) as well as eight one-hand liner lock folding knives in the catalog – the model designations (lower case according to Puma): sw tac (MSRP in Germany: 49 euro), bobcat3516 (MSRP in Germany: 39 euro), swoop, pounce3507, strike and surge (MSRP in Germany: 59 euro each) as well as the four blackcat variants (MSRP in Germany: 64 euro each). There are also special features within the series: the sw tac, for example, presents itself as a rescue knife with a belt cutter integrated into the back of the handle. And the pounce, strike, surge and the four blackcats feature a spring-assisted opening aid of the "Spring Assist" type: the hand only has to turn the blade a little way out of the handle to open it, and the spring mechanism takes over the rest of the way until the blade locks in its working position. The scales are made of aluminum or G10 material. The 1.4116 blades are all hardened to values of 55 to 57 HRC. In order to assess quality and function, we had two SGB models from Puma sent to us as representatives of the series. These are the largest of the one-hand knives offered, the SGB blackcat, and the medium-sized SGB bobcat.
The large one-hand knife: Puma SGB blackcat55 tanto
The blackcat comes in two sizes. The smaller version with an 3.38”/86 mm blade has the code number 45, while the larger one shown here has the 55. The test knife from this sub-series weighs 6.3 oz/180 grams, and has a matte black 4.5”/115 mm long, 0.13”/3.3 mm thick tanto blade with a hollow grind and a pronounced tip. The scales are made of G10 material and has a stainless steel belt clip. The aforementioned spring-assisted mechanism, according to the manufacturer with very high-quality springs for the purpose of a consistently reliable function, helps with quick blade opening. In addition, there is a thumb stud on both sides of the blade, which makes the folding knife usable for left-handers as well. The first impression of the test model is thoroughly positive.
Not only is the knife very comfortable to hold, the textured scales also feature four finger grooves and give the straight handle a good grip. There are two options for unfolding the knife blade. Either you use the thumb stud or you operate the flipper at the base of the blade with your index finger. The second option, however, gives the blade considerably more momentum, so that the Spring Assist can develop its effect better. After the liner lock engages, the blade is firmly in position without play. The good impression so far continues when looking at the blade. The matte black coating is even, the grooves that serve as a design element are cleanly executed, and the cutting edge is sharply honed "out of the box". When folding the blade, the fingers feel significant resistance due to the spring force of the Spring Assist, which only decreases shortly before the final position in the handle body. There, however, the blade lies firmly and centrally between the plates under the scales. An hole at the back of the handle can also be used to secure the knife by attaching a lanyard. Thus, the blackcat has quite good properties for tactical use.
Medium knife: SGB bobcat3516 from Puma
The smaller one-hand knife bobcat model also has a tactical look. But due to its moderate dimensions, it is also suitable as a civilian everyday knife. The matte blade, which also has a black finish, measures 3.5"/85 millimeters and is 0.118”/3 millimeters thick. The weight is 4.4 oz/126 grams. The bobcat's features include a reversible clip, screw-down and diamond-textured aluminum handle scales, thumb studs on both sides, and a liner lock mechanism. The blade features a center-axis tip and a hollow grind.
The test model makes a quality impression, as there are no external blemishes, unclean material transitions or other defects to be found. The blade sits in position without play and in the center when folded and unfolded, and the blade lock functions reliably. However, the bobcat does not offer a spring-assisted opening mechanism.
The thumb stud or the flipper can be used to open the blade manually. However, despite the smooth blade action, the momentum generated by the thumb stud is not sufficient to fully extend the blade. The flipper is clearly the better choice here.
The model did not show any weaknesses in the practical test: Cutting, carving and shaving forearm hair was effortlessly possible with the factory grind, and even small levering and hacking attempts did not cause any damage. Anyone who can do without a lightning-fast opening of the knife is well served by the bobcat in both civilian and military use.
The two knives from Puma SGB specs and prices in detail
|Model:||PUMA SGB blackcat55 tanto spring assist||PUMA SGB bobcat3516|
|Price:||64 euro ||39 euro|
|Overall Length: ||9.4”/239 mm ||7.8”/198 mm|
|Handle Length: ||5.4”/139 mm ||4.5”/114 mm|
|Blade Length: ||3.9”/100 mm ||3.3”/84 mm|
|Blade Steel: ||1.4116 ||1.4116|
|Locking Mechanism: |
|Weight: ||6.73 oz/191 g ||4.51 oz /127 g|
|Features: ||One-hand opening folding knife with tanto blade (black
coated) and two types of opening aid. G10 scales with carrying clip and lanyard
One-hand opening folding knife with drop-point blade (black coated) and two types of opening aid. Aluminum sheaths with carrying clip.
Test conclusion: the two knives of the Puma SGB series
Both Puma models from the SGB series are inexpensive, come with good quality, functional blade shape as well as flawless mechanics. These include the sturdy axle connections as well as the well-adjusted liner locks, which ensure that the blades remain reliably in position when deployed. The belt clips, which can be reversed from "tip down" to "tip up", allow a comfortable and accessible carrying method. No noticeable defects were found. The sharp and accurately honed blades from the factory are worthy of mention, making both folding knives ready for immediate use without the need for subsequent sharpening.
What we liked:
What we found less good:
|High quality and good mechanics||-|
|Universal carrying method thanks to reversible belt clips|
|Factory sharpened – and therefore ready for immediate use|
Text: Jörg Hübner and Matthias S. Recktenwald
More information on SGB knives can be found on the Puma website.