I've had numerous pocket knives and swiss-army type knives over the years, going back to my childhood when my late uncle gave me my first Buck knife. My first EDC knife was the SOG Flash II, model FSA98-CP. The FSA98-CP comes with a partially serrated, stainless steel blade and glass-reinforced nylon handle.
The design of the pocket clip makes it possible to slip into your pocket without extra effort. It is designed in such a way to allow it to sit very deep in your pocket. The clip is reversible, but not in the way other knives allow. The clip can be switched from one side to the other, allowing right handed or left handed carry. Because of the design of the handle, the clip is installed in the base, away from the point of the blade when it is open. I actually like this design because it allows you to draw out the knife and have it ready to use immediately. Other knives that I own have the clip installed on the hinge-end of the handle. Those designs require you to re-orient the knife before your can attempt to open them. The Flash II makes it easy.
The Flash II has an extra safety lock that gives added security when the blade is closed. In the downward position, a red indicator lets you know that the knife is ready to open. “Red is dead” applies to this knife just as it does with a firearm. I like this in the same way that I like safeties on striker-fired pistols. That is, I don't. It's just one more do-dad that you have to worry about which may prevent you from deploying the blade in a pinch.
When the safety lock is not engaged, SOG's “S.A.T.” (SOG Assisted Technology) opening system uses opposing coil springs to create a really fast opening blade with very little effort. This is my favorite feature. With just a tiny bit of thumb pressure the blade flicks open with a fast, satisfying click.
Closing the blade is easy. The blade is locked in place using a piston lock, a movable bar which is wedged between the tang and handle. The piston lock is pulled back with your thumb to release the blade. The advantages of this design are the strength of the lock, but also (and equally important) safety. Unlike the more common liner locks employed in other, more expensive knives, the release is on the side of the handle. This design allows you to close the blade without placing your thumb under it, making closing faster and safer.
I really like the knife and it has served me well, but I have concerns about the handle and the potential for it to break if too much pressure or torque is applied to it. The handle is not lined, which makes the knife very light, but also reduces durability. I would definitely consider this a light duty knife, best used for self-defense and not for general use.
Open length: 8″
Closed length: 4.5″
Weight: 3.10 oz
Blade Length: 3.5″
Blade Thickness: 0.13
Opening Mechanism: Spring Assisted Open
Locking Mechanism: Piston Lock
Typical Retail: $34.00-55.00