SOG Flash II Review

SOG is a company that has always intrigued me. They have eschewed the more mainstream model of production knife design, which typically involves a team of in-house designers and a deep roster of freelancers, instead favoring a one man approach. All of SOG’s knives are designed by president and founder Spencer Frazer. This has resulted in some unique design elements and ultimately, some very unique knives. The Flash II is a shining example of this, a knife that is quintessentially SOG and decidedly different. This blade has been around the block a time or two (it’s been in production for years), and has passed through the hands of thousands in its various iterations. Today I turn back to the classic drop point version with a plain edge and black handle.

Purpose

For purposes of this review, I am classifying the Flash II as a medium sized EDC and emergency tactical knife. With it’s big blade, grippy handle and assisted opening, the Flash II could easily fill an emergency tactical role. Also, due to the number of different finishes and handle choices available, this could very well be a collectable for fans of the brand.

SOG Flash II

General Dimensions and Blade Specifics

The Flash II has a 3.5 inch blade, and overall length of 8″ and a weight of 3.1 ounces. Going back to the purpose of this knife, I think the combination of the long blade and light weight make it an interesting emergency tactical option. It also could be practical for EDC if you like a bigger blade but don’t like being weighed down (the Flash I is a smaller version, perhaps more appropriate for EDC).

The blade shape is a very traditional looking drop point. It’s a no frills design with a full flat grind (“FFG”). As something of a traditionalist, this simple style of blade always appeals to me, and the FFG is great for slicing. My Flash II came with a very nice satin finish and a meticulously ground secondary bevel. The satin finish is a finger print magnet, and I find myself constantly wiping this knife down… That probably says more about me than the knife, but it’s something I noticed.

SOG Flash II - Blade Detail

Of course, as one of SOG’s classic models this knife comes in a couple blade shapes (wharncliffe, tanto and the drop point version shown) and you can also get this blade with a Titanium Nitride (TiNi) coating and some even with tiger stripes.

SOG selected AUS8 blade steel for the Flash II. If you are into steel then you already know about AUS8, it’s a mid range Japanese steel. If you aren’t that into steel, then know that AUS8 takes a sharp edge and holds it pretty well. It’s easy to sharpen and very forgiving. SOG does a cryo treat on this blade which is supposed to improve toughness. I find AUS8 to be entirely adequate and fits the mid range price tag well.

Handle, Ergonomics and Pocket Clip

The Flash II has a unique, boxy looking handle made of thick fiberglass reinforced nylon (FRN); a reinforced plastic. Some versions sport an aluminum handle and you can find the FRN version in a dozen or more colors. I like the FRN version as it keeps the knife light and doesn’t feel cheap. This is a much denser FRN than what is on say, a Benchmade Griptilian. There are no liners in this handle, which helps with the weight but isn’t without disadvantages (discussed below)…

SOG Flash II

Ergonomics on this oddly shaped handle are surprisingly good. It’s a chunky design and has no problem filling the hand. The corners have been slightly rounded. For normal use it’s comfortable, and even when holding the handle tightly and carving off long curls of wood it wasn’t that bad. I wouldn’t want to build a tree fort with this knife, but for most tasks I’d say the handle works well. I do like the thumb ramp and dual choils. They help provide control for detail work. The sides of the handles have been given a diamond texture and help with overall grip.

SOG Flash II

The pocket clip is an ultra deep carry design and is reversible. It’s a tip-up only clip and provides strong retention. It’s kind of a funky looking, definitely another look distinct to SOG. There is also a very small lanyard hole next to the clip.

Deployment and Lockup

The Flash II has an assisted opening. A gentle push on either of the ambidextrous thumb studs snap the blade out in a “flash.” Stupid puns aside, the opening is quick and smooth. Assisted openings can be a matter of taste, but I like it on this knife, especially as an emergency tactical folder. Rapid fool-proof deployment under stress is what I’m looking for an an emergency tactical blade, and the Flash II provides just that.

There is a safety lock on the side of the handle. When the safety is engaged it prevents accidentally opening the knife. For many this will be about as useful as a sock on a chicken’s foot, but it allows SOG to make this assisted opener a tip-up carry knife so I don’t mind. I just leave mine in the “off” position and go about my day.

SOG Flash II - Lock and Deployment

The Flash II uses what seems like a combination between a bolt lock and a lock back. It’s hard for me to really tell without taking the knife apart, something I’m not quite ready to do. I found that there was some side-to-side play when I had the blade open and locked. I tried adjusting the pivot, and was able to fix it somewhat, but there was still play evident in the blade. Given that this is a linerless design, with what appears to be some sort of bolt lock, I am not really surprised by this. If there was up-and-down play (there wasn’t) I would be concerned as that would suggest that the lock could fail.

If you can live with a little side-to-side play in your knife then I don’t see this as a major issue. If blade play is something you can’t stand, or want to really hard use this knife, then keep this in mind.

SOG Flash II Review: Final Thoughts

All in all I am very happy with the Flash II. I love the blade, can appreciate the light carry, and find the assisted open to be both fun and practical. It’s a quirky little knife that really stands out in a crowd. As a fan of choices I think this is a good thing. The only real negative I could find was the blade play. I’ve done some reading and know I am not alone, but that doesn’t stop this from being a classic folding knife enjoyed by many. If you want something lightweight, practical and a little different, then I suggest checking out the SOG Flash II.

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Prices are accurate as of less than 12 hours ago. Product prices and availability are subject to change. Any price and availablility information displayed on Amazon.com at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of any products.
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This entry was posted in Assisted and Automatic Knives, EDC Knives, Folding Knives, SOG, Tactical Knives. Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to SOG Flash II Review

  1. Roadkill says:

    I like SOG knives and I own a 5inch SOG Spec Elite II in VG10. Their folding blades feature some extremely solid designs. I’ve considered both the Flash and Aegis models several times. I particularly like SOG’s pocketclips. They are some of the best out there. Excellent in looks, security, and function. Just wish they’d get some new steels in their blades, especially their larger fixed blades. I love the styles, but I don’t trust AUS8 past 4 inches.

  2. Dan says:

    Thanks for the insightful comment RK, I couldn’t agree more. I don’t have any big AUS8 blades but it is a softer stainless steel so it might hold up under hard use – then again it might not. I’d feel better if they were in something like 1095. Might have to try one out and see.

  3. I’ve been carrying the Flash II since Christmas and I really like it. Day to day I wear jeans and with it clipped at the back of my pocket I can’t even feel it, but I can get it out and open quickly. I really like the size and sturdiness of it.

    I have the half serrated, but haven’t tried it on anything tougher than cardboard. All in all, I think this will be an excellent EDC knife.

    • Dan says:

      Randy, That’s great man – I’m glad you have been enjoying yours! I agree – I think it’s a nice serviceable blade for EDC. Feel free to let me know your thoughts on it as you continue to carry it!

  4. Sahil says:

    Love this SOG for EDC. I think the deep pocket clip design is extremely useful as it hides most of the knife well inside your pants pocket. It’s definitely flies well below the radar.

    The safety lock is definitely something that some people don’t care for, good thing SOG didn’t make it automatically lock each time the knife was closed. Most people, like you said, just keep it in the OFF position and won’t think twice. I prefer using it as I have the bad habit of dropping my knives a lot. The lock comes in handy as it’s not going to pop open on a drop, exposing the blade to whatever you’re unfortunate enough to drop it on (concrete, rocks, your foot).

    I originally snapped my SOG in half cutting through some extra thick corrugated cardboard at work (the shipping box housed a fume hood). I sent the knife back to SOG with a letter explaining what happened and how it should’ve withstood that mild torment. A brand new Flash II showed up at my door a week later, no questions asked. Can’t really beat that sort of customer service.

    Great review!

    • Dan says:

      Hey Sahil,

      The Flash II is a nice EDC knife for sure. I agree, the safety lock can have it’s merits. On a tip up carry assisted open knife I think it’s a nice feature. It could always be removed if the user really didn’t care for it. And talk about customer service! That is pretty crazy. It’s also crazy that the blade broke in half, lol! Whoever says cardboard isn’t a good test of a blade obviously needs to unbox a fume hood. ;) Glad you enjoyed the review man, take care.

  5. Jack says:

    Yeah, i’ve had mine Flash 2 for almost 2 years and i absolutely love it. I have gone backpacking, snowcamping, school, regular use everyday and opening it 20 times a day because i’m bored. This knife has only had to been sharpened once. at least 3 of friends have Flash 2s and 5 more have Aegis’ and Tridents. They all love them with a passion. So do I! I really want to get a Spyderco Delica though. Its probally a socially acceptable knife more than the Flash 2 since the Assisted tech looks like its a switchblade or something. But overall i love mine. And SOG‘s customer service is so amazing.

    • Dan says:

      Hey Jack! Glad to hear you have been enjoying your Flash 2. I think there is a lot to like about this knife and it can make a terrific edc. While a non assisted opener may be more socially acceptable, you can always open the Flash 2 with 2 hands (or kind of open it against your leg or something. That said, the Delica is another exceptional knife and I certainly wouldn’t want to talk you out of expanding your collection. ;) Thanks for stopping by man.

  6. Jack says:

    Btw, dont even question the AUS8 Fixed blades. I love my Seal Pup and my Gov-Tac, and im gonna get a Seal Team. :)

    • Dan says:

      Hah! AUS8 has held up well for me in fixed blades. It’s a pretty tough steel and I’ve noticed it prefers to roll rather than chip out – always nice for an outdoor blade.

  7. Robby says:

    I respectfully disagree,
    This knife is not sturdy whatsoever and cannot be trusted in any situation except for maybe as an envelope opener. I personally believe that the trade off for a lighter knife by using the plastic handle is not worth it. This knife does not feel good in the hand because of this. Overall it feels very cheap and I wish I never bought it. There are so many other great 40-60$ knives out there.

    • Dan says:

      Hey Robby! That is quite alright, plenty of room for different opinions when it comes to a knife! I totally see your point and respect your opinion too, the Flash 2 is definitely a light duty blade. I’ve done more than open envelopes with mine but understand that this not a hard use knife at all. As you can see in the comments here some people really do like this one because it is light, easy to carry and very fast, while others value a more heavy duty folder. Regardless of who you are, I always say to carry what you like. Thanks for the comment man, have a good one.

      Dan

    • Jack says:

      How is this Knife not sturdy? I’d like to know.
      Sure, the F2 has some blade play, but if you don’t want blade play, I think you are not in the right market. I’ve really used this knife and I really disagree with the judgement that this knife is light duty.
      ~Jack

      • Dan says:

        Jack this knife has more bladeplay than most folders. It’s hard to ignore. While saying light duty only may be unfair it is certainly not a hard use knife. “Light to medium duty” might be more appropriate but I wouldn’t use the flash 2 for anything beyond EDC. Just calling it like I see it.

        • Jack says:

          That’s cool.. Okay, sorry bout the hasty response. Im pretty attached to mine, had it for 2 years. I agree slightly about the blade play thing, it defintely needs to be adressed but to go as far as saying you wont buy from SOG is pretty hasty. They are a great company and i’m sure if you didn’t get rid of your Flash 2, they would help you out with that. As far as the comment about the “Plastic” handles, its not plastic its Zytel. This kind of material is used in cars and things like that.
          I love the Flash 2, it fits my hands perfect, i love it, i’m completely used to it, (I am 12, smallish hands compared to Y’all, but big for my age) but I will be trading my Flash 2 in for a new one. When i’m at the factory, i will talk to the SOG people about this issue. (I don’t have significant blade play, about a 1/16 of a inch movement side to side) I don’t consider myself a expert, I just think i know this knife fairly well after 2 years. My Advice, turn yours in Mr. Dan, get a new one and see how that one works.

          • Jack says:

            BTW, I really love your site Mr Dan, and i always check it before I consider buying a knife. Thanks for the reviews. Seriously

          • Dan says:

            Hey it’s all good my friend, plenty of room for multiple perspectives here. As long as everyone is cool headed and respectful I think we can learn a lot. And I am glad you have been enjoying the reviews Jack, thanks so much. :)

            And I still think the Flash 2 has a lot to offer as an EDC knife, even if most of them have some side to side play.

            Dan

  8. stu lindores says:

    Hi Dan,

    Great site, found you through everyday-carry.com.

    I have to agree with Robby on the Flash 2, it is a hopelessly poor knife, poor build quality, with major blade play, side to side and more worrying up and down, i eventually binned mine as i had no confidence whatsoever in the lock up. I could see the point in the flash 1 as a small, fun, light weight edc blade for opening packages etc but had hoped that the flash 2 being much larger, might have been suited for more demanding edc/tactical role, I deliberated for weeks on end between investing my cash in either the flash 2 or a benchmade barrage with these purposes in mind, both knives being very similar in size, both having spring assisted opening,and foolishly i thought SOG‘s Arc lock to be similar to the famous Axis lock, unfortunately i went with the cheaper option and feel that SOG’s Flash 2 is nothing more than a cheaply made spring assisted toy. I seriously doubt i will ever buy another SOG, they come nowhere near the benchmark set by other companies like Spyderco or Benchmade to name but a few.

    keep up the great reviews

    kind regards
    stu (N.Wales)

    • Dan says:

      Hey Stu,

      First of all, thanks for the kind words and welcome to the site.

      I am sorry to hear your Flash 2 had severe blade play like that. Personally, I don’t recommend the Flash 2 as a tactical knife or some sort of hard use blade. It’s definitely a light duty EDC knife in my book. I could also understand how that would turn you off from the brand.

      I do appreciate the thoughts however. My hope is other people interested in this knife will read your comment (among the others) and help them decide whether this is the right knife for them.

      Thanks again,

      Dan

      • matt Davis says:

        SOG FLASH 2 has helped me out of some situations that work has bestowed onto me, such as cutting a nylon a/c duct strap
        that a ceiling wire was binded with. the assisted spring has not failed like some torsion bar technology and auto springs i have encountered. Hopefully the s.a.t. technology stands the test of time and if not at least sog has a lifetime warranty. I am skeptical of automatics and assisted due to mechnical failure. I do like the IKBS system ckrt offers it seems to be a good system too bad they are chinese and made in some sweat shop. That is the trend as far as manufacturing is concerned. America will not be able to afford even small luxuries like pocket knives as long as we send our money overseas. Made in the USA is the best marketing campain for me. I guess I’ll ditch any chinese made shit and start paying for the extra overhead to keep american workers employed.

        • Dan says:

          Hey Matt,

          Welcome to the site and thanks for sharing some of your experiences with the Flash 2. I definitely feel your pain when it comes to seeing more and more stuff being manufactured overseas to slake our thirst for inexpensive products. I think buying American where possible is admirable. Sadly overseas manufacturing is so pervasive I think it’s near impossible to buy only US made stuff.

          Dan

  9. Fred says:

    I’ve owned the Flash 2 for about 60 days. It’s a nice knife, opens fast, lightweight, cost $40 etc. The problem I have with mine is that it seems to take a lot of effort to move the sliding button to release the locking mechanism so the blade can close. I use my thumb tip to do this, but I can’t get enough grip with it, so I’m using my thumb nail and that’s not strong enough to move the sliding button easily. If my hands were to be cold and numb, I don’t think I could get this knife closed. Wondering if anyone else has the same problem that I’m having? I would have liked to see a liner lock, which seems to be easier to use.

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