This is an average pocket knife, with some important attributes that bump it up. We like assisted opening knives. The SOG Flash II has this function, and fits it in a relatively affordable package with proven blade materials and geometry. We like that too. There are better value options available, and other, more expensive options work much better, but the SOG hits a pretty sweet spot. We think that assisted opening function is a worthy addition to any pocket knife. If you share that preference, the SOG Flash II rises toward the top of our tested heap.
SOG Flash II Review
Cons: Lock is not ambidextrous, handle is low profile in hand, full size in your pocket
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SOG Flash II
|Price||$49.95 at Amazon||$128.95 at Amazon|
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|Pros||Assisted opening, reversible, low-hanging pocket clip||Great blade, classy wooden handle||Incredible blade quality, assisted open, perfect combination of compactness/functionality||Proven and well-respected blade, smooth, comfortable ergonomics||Immaculate materials, assisted opening, fully symmetrical performance|
|Cons||Lock is not ambidextrous, handle is low profile in hand, full size in your pocket||Expensive, no assisted opening function||Pricey, blade lock mechanism not intuitive||Large, no assisted opening||Large in your pocket, expensive|
|Bottom Line||With assisted opening technology and a full-size handle and blade, the Flash is a stout every day knife.||A solid little knife for all-around “every day carry”. With assisted opening, this model would be similar enough to our Editors' Choice to really complicate our assessment.||Immaculately constructed knife in a form-factor that is easy to carry and large enough for virtually every task.||Full-size, basic folding pocket knife with immaculate construction.||The full size version of our Editors' Choice is less portable with minimal but real gains in usability. If you know you need a full size pocket knife, the Barrage 580 is a great choice.|
|Rating Categories||SOG Flash II||Benchmade 15031-2 North Fork||Benchmade Mini-Barrage 585||Benchmade Griptilian 551||Benchmade Barrage 580|
|Blade And Edge Integrity (30%)|
|Construction Quality (20%)|
|Other Features (10%)|
|Specs||SOG Flash II||Benchmade 15031-2...||Benchmade...||Benchmade...||Benchmade Barrage...|
|Weight (ounces)||3 oz||3.2 oz||3.4 oz||3.9 oz||4.2 oz|
|Blade Style||Drop point, straight||Drop point, straight||Drop point, straight||Drop point, straight||Drop point, straight|
|Blade locks closed?||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|Opening Style||Assisted, ambidextrous thumb stud||Ambidextrous thumb-stud||Assisted, ambidextrous thumb stud||Ambidextrous thumb stud||Assisted, ambidextrous thumb stud|
|Lock Mechanism||Piston lock||Proprietary (Axis)||Proprietary (Axis)||Proprietary (Axis)||Proprietary (Axis)|
|Carry Style, in addition to loose in pocket||Pocket Clip, lanyard hole||Pocket Clip||Pocket Clip and lanyard hole||Pocket Clip||Pocket Clip, lanyard hole|
|Blade Material||AUS-8 stainless steel||CPM-S30V stainless steel||154CM Steel||154CM steel||154 CM stainless steel|
|Handle Material||Glass-reinforced nylon||Stabilized wood||Plastic||Plastic||Valox|
|Blade Length (inches)||3.4||2.9||2.9||3.5||3.8|
|Closed Length (inches)||4.6||3.9||4||4.6||4.8|
|Thickness (w/o pocket clip) (inches)||0.6||0.53||0.57||0.6||0.7|
|Other Features or Functions||None||None||None||None||None|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The SOG Flash II is a full-size, assisted opening, basic pocket knife. For the price, it offers good quality and reliable function.
Blade and Edge Integrity
SOG is known for excellent blades across a dizzying array of portable cutting tools. They tailor each blade to its function, price point, and target market. The AUS 8 steel they use in the Flash II is highly regarded and strikes a great balance of function and value. It will hold an edge far better than ultra discount products (and even better than some boutique products). It resists rolling and chipping but is still easy enough to sharpen at home with standard methods and equipment.
Remember, all knives will require periodic sharpening. No knife, despite lofty claims, will stay sharp without maintenance. In our usage, there is very little difference in edge hold between the different products.
We have high standards for the ergonomics of full-size pocket knives. If it is going to take valuable pocket real estate, it had better be slick to operate. With the Flash II, we like the assisted opening and ambidextrous thumb stud. In these ways it is similar to our favorite full-sizers. Others, though, have a lock that works from either side and a handle profile that is just a little more rounded. We can apply greater pressure to the blade with rounded handle knives than we can with the SOG Flash II. The rounded handle takes up just a little more space in your pocket, but is far more user-friendly than the Flash handle.
We don't expect unobtrusive portability from a full-size folder like the Flash II. One chooses a knife like this for maximum utility and accepts portability compromises along the way. That being said, we are pleased with the light weight of the SOG. It is 75% the mass of Top Pick tactical knife, for instance. It weighs a little less than the more compact Editors' Choice. Also, in terms of portability, we like the pocket clip on the Flash II. It is reversible and allows the knife to hang low and out of sight in your pocket.
There are no other features on the Flash II. Close cousin SOG Trident Elite wins our Top Pick award for its additional "tactical" features. The Trident Elite has a glass breaker and a cut out in the handle that allows one to slice webbing without deploying the blade. These additional features might be what you are looking for. If all you want is a blade, the Flash II has it.
After about a month of testing it, we see absolutely no signs of any wear, much less damage. Our experience with other SOG gear indicates that this integrity will likely last. SOG makes stout equipment. We will ponder longer-term testing of the Flash II, but anticipate no issues.
Among knives with assisted opening function, the Flash II is a pretty good deal. There are certainly knives that are a lot less expensive, but lack assisted opening.
The SOG Flash II takes pocket knives in a good direction. It is relatively inexpensive, uses proven materials, and incorporates test-team-preferred assisted opening function. The Flash II from SOG is a relatively affordable, assisted opening, full-size pocket knife. Overall, its scores on our matrix don't really stand out, but it deserves your consideration. If you are looking for mid-priced reliability, have room in your pockets, and maybe even have some brand loyalty to SOG, the Flash II jumps right out. For more money our Editors' Choice winner will be a better choice, for sure.
— Jediah Porter