I have heard some good things about the SOG Flash II assisted-opening folding knife and wanted to see what the buzz was all about. It seems like a decent tradesman and jobsite knife – it’s inexpensive (less than $50), it has a good blade length (3.5″), and it opens quickly.
Our friends at BladeHQ were able to send over a test sample that I included in my EDC rotation for a couple of months. (Thanks, guys!)
The first thing I noticed is that the Flash II is lightweight. Lightweight, but not light-duty.
The handle is made from textured glass-reinforced-nylon, GRN, which is a hard, somewhat dense, and very dimensionally stable plastic. I have also seen the handle material identified as Zytel, a Dupont brand name, in recent product listings. It feels light and cheap, but it’s tough and durable.
Blade Style and Opening
I was not very appreciative of the rather simple plain-edged blade at first, but its long straight section proved to be great for making exceptionally clean cuts in thinner materials. It was mostly used and tested on small wires, paper, cardboard, plastic sheeting, thicker plastic, packaging materials, and foam.
The blade is 3.5″ long and is made from AUS-8 stainless steel. It can be sharpened easily and keeps an edge reasonably well. There are better steels that hold an edge much longer, but SOG really does a good job taking full advantage of this alloy. Luckily the long straight design of the blade makes the Flash II a relatively easy knife to sharpen and hone.
Some users prefer spring assisted openers to have safety locks, others don’t need or want them. I like knowing that I can lock the knife closed. It’s better to have a safety lock and not need it than want one that doesn’t exist.
Blade deployment is quick – so quick it took me longer than usual to get comfortable with the knife. The knife really does open in a flash. Push on the thumbstud a little bit to overcome the spring tension, and it flies right open. The spring-loaded lock pops up when the knife is fully deployed, wedging itself between the blade tang and knife handle.
The combination of high spring tension and needing to keep my thumb near the blade as it swings open is probably what caused my initial uneasiness. I didn’t need the same learning period with the Gerber Instant (check out the review here), and all my other assisted-openers can be deployed via rear flippers.
Pulling down on the lock button releases the blade, allowing it to be folded closed. If the safety is not engaged, it reveals a red tab to indicate the knife is ready to be opened.
Handling and Carrying
The handle is textured on both sides and also features molded grooves along the back. The grooves are not deep enough to provide much grip, but they’re better than nothing.
Although simply designed, the pocket clip works quite well and allows for deep carry. If you want to carry it on your tool belt, either clip it inside a pouch or drop it into a holster or sheath.
The pocket clip can be reversed to the opposite side, and to do so you’ll need to partially disassemble the knife with a 5/64″ hex key.
The knife is about 4.5″ long closed, and 8″ long open, but it feels much more compact in person.
Looking for something a little different? Check out our other knife reviews!
My feeling is that the SOG Flash II is a good everyday knife for tradesmen and other users that want a simple but reliable assisted-opening folder. I don’t really have any problems with the design, aside from needing more time and practice with the knife before I became perfectly comfortable with the blade deployment.
The Flash II is well suited for light and medium-duty tasks, but it does feels a bit light and awkwardly shaped in-hand for heavier-duty tasks. Overall I find the Flash II to be a good performer.
Recommended for: tradesmen, workshop use, outdoors use.
Not recommended for: heavy-duty tasks, urban EDC.
|SOG Flash II (FSA-8)|
|Overall Length||8″ Open
|Blade Material||AUS 8|
|Lock Style||Sliding Button|
|Handle Material||GRN (polymer)|
|Pocket Clip?||Yes, Reversible|
If you’re looking for something like this but a little smaller and more easily pocketable, SOG’s Flash I has a similar design but with a 2.5″ blade length.
This knife is said to be assembled in the USA. After what happened last time I didn’t even bother asking SOG for clarification.
Thank you very much to BladeHQ for providing the review sample unconditionally. Review samples are typically given away, donated, or retained for benchmark and comparison purposes.