SOG SPECIALTY KNIVES
FLASH II PARTIALLY SERRATED BLADE
July 7, 2009
Things I Like
Things I Don't Like
NAME: Andy Rowland
LOCATION: Monument, CO, USA
HEIGHT: 6' 5" (1.96 m)
WEIGHT: 200 lb (90.70 kg)
WAIST: 34 in (0.86 m)
INSEAM: 36 (0.91 m)
BOOT SIZE: 13 US (47 EUR) .
Background: Family and work commitments make me a true "weekend warrior"
backpacker! Back in the days when I had more time, trips were often 4-6
days in duration. In the last 10 years, all of my trips have been 2-3
day, get-it-in-while-I-can, hard-charging adventures usually in pursuit
of trout or big game above 9000 feet (2700 m). My mom always told me I
was "special" - what she really meant was "special order". My height and
weight generally make it extremely difficult to find good fitting gear.
Gear Tested: SOG
Flash II Partially Serrated FSA-98
Specialty Knives, Inc.
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Listed Weight: 3.1 oz (88
Weight as delivered: 3.1
oz (88 g)
Steel: AUS 8 stainless
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- Overall Length: 8" (20.3 cm)
Closed Length: 4.625" (11.8 cm)
- Blade Length: 3.5" (8.9 cm)
- Handle Width: 0.5: (1.27 cm)
- Handle Material: Glass Reinforced
- Pocket Clip: Yes
- Serrated Option: Yes
- Warranty: Lifetime
Flash II is a folding everyday carry knife suitable for general outdoor
use, hunting, fishing, backpacking and personal protection. The Flash II
comes in a variety of colors, blade styles, blade coatings, and handle
materials. All of the Flash II knives incorporate SOG Assisted
Technology (SAT), which allow for quick opening of the blade using
either hand. SOG knives lock firmly upon opening using a piston locking
design and will close only after sliding the blade release and folding
the blade simultaneously. The Flash II series of knives come with a
blade safety lever, which when engaged, prevents accidental opening of
the blade. The safety state can be viewed through a small window in the
handle (black for safe and red for off safe) and can also be determined
simply by feel. This particular knife also features a bayonet mounted
belt clip, lanyard loop, hex screw construction, fully checkered handle,
index and middle finger handle contour, ambidextrous blade knob for
single hand opening, 1-2-1 serration pattern, and fully enclosed blade
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The Flash II arrived in a
small, easily opened box with limited instructions and warranty
information. I'm right-handed with XL sized hands. With the blade
closed, the Flash II fits well in the palm of my hand with good grip
between my fingertips, palm and thumb. The checkering on the handle
varies in size from the spine to the belly of the handle, which not only
enhances the appearance of the knife, but improves my grip on the knife
as well. The belt clip appeared to be in the way of my fingers, but SOG
has placed a detent in the belt clip that provides a solid rest for the
tip of my ring finger. SOG shipped the knife with the safety in the ON
position - a nice attention to detail by the manufacturer.
Unfortunately, I had forgotten about this safety feature of the knife
and was slightly frustrated when I couldn't flip open the knife despite
significant thumb pressure. After a few failed attempts and a red face,
I realized the engaged safety was preventing me from opening the blade.
In retrospect, this was a very good unbiased test of the strength of the
safety mechanism of this knife. With the safety OFF and my ego restored,
I was able to flip open the blade with the tip of my thumb. It is
understandable why this knife is named the Flash II. The blade flips
open very quickly and firmly locks into place with a resounding "click".
The blade has a rather aggressive cutout for the locking piston to
engage making this a very stable knife. The safety cannot be engaged
with the blade open.
With the knife open, my index finger and middle fingers fell securely
into the molded detents in the handle. SOG has placed a rather
aggressive curve in the index finger detent, which does a great job of
holding the index finger in place, keeping it safely from the blade. My
thumb fits nicely at along the spine of the handle, and found a grooved
rest which further aided in securing my grip on this knife. The knife is
balanced exactly between the index and middle finger detents. This
balance allows for very fine index finger / thumb control when
maneuvering the knife.
The knife was razor sharp right out of the box, easily shaving the
hair off my arm. (If you're unsure how to perform this sharpness test,
test the blade on something a little more forgiving like a thumbnail.)
The serrations on this particular model take up about half of the blade
and use a 1-2-1 pattern of one large serration followed by two smaller
serrations. SOG has laser etched their logo and Flash II on one side of
the blade and the patent number on the other side. The spine of the
blade is a full 1/8" (3.175 mm) thick, making it very stiff. The spine
begins the taper to the point about 2/3 of the way down the blade.
With practice, the blade can
be closed with one hand as well, but it is designed to be closed using
both hands. The lock release is a 1/8" x 1/4" (3.175mm x 6.350mm)
textured steel button on the same side of the knife as the safety lever.
With a leather glove on for protection, I attempted to force the locked
blade closed. I was unable to overcome the strength of the blade lock.
The lock release is firm, but slides easily with my thumb. During
closing, the SAT spring decreases in tension through roughly 120° of
blade rotation. After passing this point, the spring tension is reduced
to zero and the blade easily flips closed. Once the blade has fully
closed, the safety mechanism can be engaged, returning the knife to a
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My testing strategy
consisted of cutting performance, deployment and grip, and extreme
Cutting performance of the Flash II was outstanding through all phases
of testing. My rope tests were completed using nylon parachute cord,
1/4" (6.350 mm) nylon and polyester rope, 3/8" (9.525 mm) nylon and
polyester rope, and 1/2" nylon (12.700 mm) nylon rope. These materials
were chosen as likely materials used in camping, backpacking, climbing
and around the house. All rope was easily cut on the first pass with the
blade. The Flash II performed equally well on 1" (25.400 mm) strap
material commonly used in rafting. The knife was never sharpened during
testing and held a superior edge throughout all the various tests. The
serrations on the blade do an outstanding job of cutting through all
types of cordage.
Following cutting various types of ropes, I checked the cutting
performance of the Flash II using various types of meats: hot dogs (if
this is indeed meat), steak, pork, fish, and chicken. Both cooked and
raw meats were used in my testing. The knife worked extremely well,
easily cubing all types of meat. The raw meat cut test was performed
after all of the rope tests (without sharpening), again a testament to
how well the knife holds its edge. I used the knife during many
"leftover" lunches at work, and it easily cut through all meats.
Deployment and Grip Testing
My knife deployment testing was designed to simulate how well I could
hold the knife and deploy the blade when it really mattered - like being
caught in rigging on a boat, trapped underwater in a raft strap, or
after being punched by some punk trying to get my wallet. Testing was
conducted with a wet knife or wet hands and in various body positions
(standing, sitting, upside down). If I was indeed upside down,
underwater with my leg was hung up in a rope, could this knife get me
out of my jam?
In this testing, it became apparent that the Flash II bayonet clip is
a mixed blessing. The bayonet clip is small and nondescript, making it
great for discrete every day carry in my front pants pocket.
Unfortunately, because of its low profile, the knife can be rather
difficult to remove from a pocket. In fact, in the "raft" test, many
attempts were required before I could get the knife out of my pocket -
the bayonet clip holds that well. With practice, I was able to develop a
technique where I grab the end of the knife with my thumb and pry the
clip up and out with my index finger. While my index finger became sore
after multiple attempts, the technique did work quite well. I think this
result just goes to show that with any knife familiarity and use is
critical to effectively using it in a pressure situation.
The knife deployed underwater without issue, although it did appear
to deploy slightly more slowly. I only tested the knife in still water.
My grip was never compromised despite my hands being wet, snowy, or
dirty. Grip performance has been good in all test conditions - including
the meat cutting testing. I was never concerned with losing my hold on
The blade has never deployed with the safety ON despite multiple
intentional drops on carpet, concrete, dirt, metal and wood.
Extreme Temperature Performance
Through my daily use of this knife, it is quite obvious that it performs
very well in temperatures from 40° F (4° C) to 80° F (26° C). I've never
had the blade fail to deploy or close, the safety has never failed, and
the locking blade has never failed.
My first extreme temperature test was conducted by throwing the knife
in a snow bank, retrieving the knife and placing it in my kitchen
freezer at 15° F (-9° C) for 15 minutes. After retrieving the Flash II,
the blade was firmly frozen in the handle and could not be deployed. I
placed the knife in my front pocket and attempted blade deployment at
one minute intervals. After six minutes, the knife thawed out enough for
the blade to deploy. The safety mechanism could be moved throughout the
test, but it could not be determined if the safety was engaged or not.
Once deployed, the knife cut a hot dog just as well as if the blade was
at room temperature.
To test performance at the
other end of the thermometer, I placed the knife in 150° F (54° C) oven
for 15 minutes. While warm to the touch, the Zytel material remained
basically unchanged. The knife was easy to hold in all positions and
during blade deployment and closing. The bayonet clip was a little bit
hot and did affect my grip slightly as two fingers were in contact with
it while in use. The knife cut the same hot dog without problem.
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Arkansas River, CO fishing trip
Mt. Humboldt, Sangre de Christo range, CO
This knife has been in my pocked for the last 5 months. I take it
everywhere I go - to the office, ball games, restaurants, around the
house, etc. Because of the discrete clip, and slim profile, the knife
has is barely noticeable. I generally carry the knife with the safety
OFF. I have noticed that the safety tends to work itself into the ON
position while clipped into my pants pocket. SOG should improve the
knife so that the safety mechanism stays in the last commanded position.
While on the Arkansas River in Colorado, I was able to clip the knife
to the top of my chest waders without it ever getting in the way. I had
full confidence in the clip and never worried about the knife slipping
off and falling into the water. Normally I use a pair of snips to trim
tippet or other line while fishing. On this trip, I used my Flash II
exclusively. The blade easily trimmed 2x to 6x tippet using the straight
portion of the blade. The serrations made quick work of trimming off the
end of my fly line that had become cracked.
My second use of the knife came on an overnight pack trip into the
Sangre de Christo Wilderness in Colorado. During the hike in to the
Sangres and a hike up Mt. Humboldt, I carried the knife in my front
pocket. To be quite honest, I forgot all about the knife until I needed
it. It stayed securely in place over many miles of hiking and climbing.
I put the knife through its paces while on the trip. The knife was
used to make "fuzz" sticks as tinder for our campfire. The serrations on
the knife make short order of peeling pencil-sized sticks into good
tinder. To be complete in my fire making, I used the spine of the blade
to strike a flint. The knife throws a good spark, and I was able to
catch dry grass on fire in a few strokes. Bear in mind however, that
sparks are formed by burning iron in the blade. A burr will form on the
blade when I do this. The Flash II is no exception to this rule.
When pulling out the tent, I realized I had left all my stakes at
home. To stake out the fly, I used the Flash II to slice parachute cord
into various lengths and wrap these lengths around large rocks. The cord
was an easy slice for the serrations of the Flash II, and made quick
work of the task. Using the Flash II in the "kitchen" was a snap as
well. While on this trip I used the knife to slice cheese into thin
slices for scrambled egg toppings, slice hard salami for lunch and cut
open several MREs.
I have sharpened the knife
quite easily using a precision sharpening system. With the serrated
edge, care must be taken while sharpening the straight portion of the
blade. But, I feel the benefits of the serrations are worth the extra
time it takes to sharpen the knife.
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Things I Like:
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Things I Don't Like:
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I am very impressed with the workmanship, the performance and most
importantly the cutting ability of the SOG Flash II FSA-98 knife. SOG
has taken a lot of time to ensure the knife is well balanced with well
placed grip cutouts and patterning. The SOG Assisted Technology opening
mechanism makes one hand operation a breeze. The blade opens quickly
with this technology and has always resulted in a solid blade lock in my
experience. The blade lock has never failed in use. This knife goes with
me wherever I go.
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Thanks for reading,
Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
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