The SOG Flash II is a full-size, assisted opening, basic pocket knife. For the price, it offers good quality and reliable 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.
The Flash II is a typical pocket knife, with assisted opening 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.
Cutting into a package with the Flash II.
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. The excellent blades from Benchmade work very well and hold edges theoretically longer than others. They also offer a program wherein a Benchmade owner can send his or her knife back in for a reconditioning.
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-sizer the Benchmade Barrage 580. The Barrage, though, has 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 the Barrage than we can with the SOG Flash II. The rounded handle of the Barrage takes up just a little more space in your pocket, but is far more user-friendly.
The SOG has a construction that is stout and stiff for heavy use like whittling.
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 SOG Trident Elite, for instance. It weighs significantly less than the Benchmade Barrage 580 and weighs a little less than the more compact Editors' Choice Benchmade Mini Barrage. 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.
When you clip the SOG Flash to your pants only the clip itself is visible. The entire knife hangs out of sight.
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. On the flip side, we now have nearly four years of testing on our Editors' Choice Benchmade Mini-Barrage. The tested knife shows just a tiny bit of wear on the coated metal bits, but none of the functional parts are at all affected. In use, the Benchmade shows zero decline.
The piston style lock of the SOG Flash works reliably, but only from one side. The Benchmade lock appears the same, but is actually entirely different enabling locking from either side.
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.
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 Best Buy Kershaw Chill, for instance, is a fraction the price of the SOG, but is smaller, with less sophisticated blade steel and no assisted opening.
Cardboard is deceptively hard on a knife blade. Impurities in the cardboard dull the blade way more dramatically than you might expect. The SOG held up pretty well to this test.
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.