Today I bring you the SOG Flash I. This lightweight EDC knife outperforms many others. It is Nutnfancy’s favorite knife (or so it seems). While I think it is good, even great, I do not covet it as he does.
The blade is very effective. At 2.5 inches it can handle many tasks. The full-flat grind makes it a very effective slicer, which is perfect for me. The modified clip point gives it a good amount of belly. The AUS-8 steel is a good option for the price point. I would put the edge holding, ease of sharpening, and ability to take an edge on par with VG-10, although I’ve had AUS-8 rust on me. My Ontario RAT-1 had just a few dots, as well as both of my Flash I’s. All is not lost; these spots came off with some Hoppes gun oil and a napkin.
Deployment is quick and easy. The spring is fairly strong, but the lack of weight in the blade makes it so that it isn’t too snappy, like a SOG Aegis. If you want you can hold the blade and flick the handle; I do that when I’m bored. The thumb studs are easy to access with just barely (I mean very barely) enough width to extend past the handles.
The lock is a slider-type of lock, which slides up and down freely when the blade is closed. When the blade is open it goes to the up position until you pull it down. It may irk your thumb at first. One of my coworkers doesn’t like how the lock slides freely, but it really isn’t a problem unless you play with it. There is a safety on the handle, but I never use it.
The overall construction is solid. The handles are glass-reinforced nylon, which is probably exactly like Zytel, FRN, FRCP……. In other words, it is high-end plastic that you won’t break in standard use. The lock-up is good, but it loosens up and gets a little bit of side-to-side wiggle (something I’ve also seen with the Aegis).
This isn’t much of a surprise, since this knife is meant as a lightweight user, not a tank. I don’t have a Flash II, but since those are a bit bigger I’d hope (but doubt) that there would be no wiggle.
There is also a small finger choil. And I mean small. My finger doesn’t fit in it. I read somewhere that SOG build the Flash II first, then just shrunk it down. Just speculation, but it makes sense.
I like the Flash I, but it’s time to discuss the one thing that I absolutely hate: the pocket clip. It’s way too weak. It loosens and wiggles around, and that can be fixed with a turn of the torx wrench but the clip is even more flawed than that.
Both of my Flash I’s have caught their pocket clips on shopping carts, and both got massively bent out of shape. I have two ideas for how this can be fixed. First they could simply make it beefier and less likely to bend.
My more desired fix is a bit more complex. I want the clip to ride closer to the knife and to not flare up at the end. The purpose of having a gap between the handle and the clip is to accommodate people with thicker tactical pants. But honestly, who is going to carry a weak 2.5” blade in a tactical role? It just doesn’t make sense. It makes more sense on the Flash II, but it’s definitely not needed here. If it just rides a bit closer, I don’t think it would snag as easily. (Note: I ordered a new clip.)
My uses with this knife have been mostly on tape and cardboard. As said earlier, the blade sharpens well enough for me to use it day after day. I put it through some pretty heavy use before I got my Delica, but after that it sort of took a back seat to the Spyderco. I still liked it enough that I replaced my first one after I lost it in a bet.
Nowadays in my roles at my store it does not get much use unless I loan it out or work the register. I can’t use it in the freezer, because my thick gloves can’t open the lock. At the register I use it to put a nick in rolls of coins and break them open. This is the only knife I use at the register; it’s quick to deploy, quick to close, and is small enough to not freak people out. I do loan it out a lot, and it gets a lot of use that way nowadays.
Overall I think this is a fantastic knife for light EDC uses. It has its flaws, but for a little over $30 street price you can come away with a fantastic knife that can provide you some entertainment in your downtime.
[Ed: If only Andy Warhol liked knives…]