Things That Don’t Suck: SOG Flash AT Knife

SOG Flash AT XR

I’ve owned a lot of knives over the years. One of the first ones I bought was the small, light, handy and pocketable SOG Flash. I carried it for a couple of years before, sadly, I lost it somewhere along the way.

That was long ago and I haven’t owned anther SOG since. Until now. As I mentioned as part of our SHOT Show coverage, SOG has relaunched itself over the last year or so. They’ve vastly improved their build quality, their steels and their designs.

EDC knives

These are just the knives in the regular rotation.

I still own a lot of knives. Yes, it’s a problem, one I’m working on (though not very hard). So I don’t add new blades very often. But SOG’s Flash AT has made it into my pocket lately.

SOG Flash AT XR

The Flash AT is an assisted opener that features SOG’s new base level steel – D2. The blade on my old flash was AUS-8…not bad, but clearly a lower grade, low carbon steel that needs sharpening more frequently. D2 is a clear step up, a good mid-grade steel that’s slightly less rust-resistant, but holds an edge noticeably better under use.

SOG Flash AT XR

This is the Urban Gray model. The Flash AT is also available in Blackout and Civic Cyan.

Like all of SOG’s new and updated folder designs (the company now emphasizes that SOG stands for Studies and Observation Group), the Flash AT features their ambidextrous XR lock. If you’re a fan of Benchmade’s venerable AXIS lock (and who isn’t?), you’ll like the XR. It’s basically the same thing now that the AXIS patent has expired. The XR lock makes one-handed unlocking and operation a snap.

SOG Flash AT XR

Like my earlier Flash, the Flash AT has a safety. Unlike that earlier version, this one is excellent and isn’t likely to engage when you don’t want it to. It’s a plastic rocker switch that’s mounted just behind the blade pivot and engages with a solid click detent in either the open or safe position. It doesn’t get in the way when you use the knife in any typical hold.

The assisted blade takes a good nudge on the thumb stud to open. You won’t likely trigger it accidentally, but if you’re worried, that’s what the safety is there for. And the Flash AT’s blade swings open with authority.

SOG Flash AT XR

The Flash AT’s build quality is quite good for a mid-priced EDC blade. Edges and joins are clean and smooth and the knife has a very solid feel to it. The blade is perfectly centered between the liners when closed.

SOG Flash AT XR

The grip is GRN (glass reinforced nylon) and big enough to provide a full-handed grip. The serrations give you a little more grip when the knife is wet.

The 3.45-inch drop point blade (it’s also available without the serrations) has a tough titanium nitride coating. I’ve used it on rope, wood, and cardboard and the finish has stood up well.

The grind on the D2 blade was very clean and wickedly sharp right out of the box.

SOG Flash AT XR

The Flash AT is 4.67 inches long closed (8.29 inches overall) and weighs a beefy 4.49 oz. It could have benefitted from the liner being drilled to reduce its weight a little.

SOG Flash AT XR

Like its predecessors, the Flash AT has a deep carry clip that conceals the knife well in your pocket.

SOG Flash AT XR

This is a very substantial-feeling knife in the hand that is tough and will stand up to hard use. The blade isn’t at all flimsy…it’s .12 inches thick at the spine. In other words, it should hold up well to years of everyday carry and the kind of use you expect from an EDC blade.

The Flash AT is made in Taiwan (that’s the democratic China, if you’re keeping score). It’s just started hitting stores in the last couple of weeks and has an MSRP of $74.95.

SOG Flash AT XR

 

All images by Dan Z. for TTAG

comments

  1. avatar Carlwinslo says:

    Not a bad knife, I used to carry one until I found the cold steel code 4.

    1. I have a Code 4, too. Good knife, but not as ergonomic (in my hand) and takes up more room in the pocket.

  2. avatar EricB says:

    My state has a max blade length 3-1/2” for a pocket knife. Dammit.

    1. This makes it in right under the wire at 3.45″. Which is, I’m sure, why SOG chose that length.

      1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

        and why the flash ll will be 2.9″.
        for sticks and rope the serrations scream through. but the rest of the time they’re still there.
        d2 is showing well in the latest catra edge tests. and it’s ~almost~ stainless. it’s the heat treat, not the cryo.
        the only thing i want that much belly on is the happy earlobe buddha in the hallway.
        i see you have the upgraded swindle. the kid liked the smooth handle better, so i swapped blades with him.

        1. Yep, I don’t think they make that upgraded Swindle any more. I bought it when it first came out. Interesting design.

      2. avatar EricB says:

        Now I have to have one. If it was longer I’d be safe.

    2. avatar SkorpionFan says:

      and a lot of Federal facilities consider knives with blade lengths of 3.0″ and longer as prohibited weapons, but under 3.0″ are allowed as tools.

  3. avatar LifeSavor says:

    Like the knife, but prefer blades made in USA. Not shopping for one at the moment, but well-written reviews like this motivate me.

    1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      I often joke to friends & family (especially during conversations in which subtle requests for potential gift ideas come up) that I have too many knives and flashlights now. Like many of us do, I started out with a favorite pocket knife long ago, then went the “two is one, one is none” route and got another one for each vehicle/BOB, the office, a backup for EDC, another one for the general toolbox in the shed, then another one because I liked its ergonomics better than my former favorite, then another one because my LEO friends recommended that make/model, then another one because it was an upgrade to a superior blade, then another one of that superior blade because “two is one, one is none”,…repeat ad nauseum.

      And then there are all the ones I received as gifts.

      Same story for lights, though I went through the added step of upgrading all my weapon and EDCs to the same company.

      Please, no more knives. No more flashlights. No more guns (no really, I have all the ones I ever wanted…except for that Henry I was eyeing, or the Cimarron SASS pieces, or…)

      1. avatar jwm says:

        I used to get knives and gun gear for all the big holidays. Looking back it hasn’t happened in a while. I need to let my family know I’ll be reviewing my will in the near future.

        See what that shakes loose. 🙂

        PS. I did buy a sword for a son last year. Fuckin’ hell. What do you need a sword for? A spear, yes. But a sword?

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “What do you need a sword for? A spear, yes. But a sword?”

          It’s like that gun thing: “No one needs a gun”. But ‘need’ has nothing to do with it”.

          A sword is there, it is purty, not something you would find in every home. A sword makes the statement: “Gun? I don’t need no stinkin’ gun. I can dispatch you quickly with my little friend. And you won’t even know it until you see you are no longer standing on your legs.”

        2. avatar Daniel Zimmerman says:

          All the really cool kids are getting narwhal tusks this year.

        3. avatar jwm says:

          I hope they’re not running with those sharp tusks. Or all the cool kids will be getting eye patches this year.

          It’s not impossible. But it’s hard to stab yourself in the eye with a spear when you’re running.

        4. avatar I Haz A Question says:

          jwm,

          No kidding?! I bought a sword for my son as well, years ago. I had it specially commissioned for him by a small bladesmith in Scotland, on the Isle of Skye. The wait time was well over a year, and the price was steep, but the result was a top notch heirloom he’ll pass down through his bloodline for hopefully generations.

        5. avatar jwm says:

          Haz. Apparently you’re a better dad than I am. I got him a sword from Cold Steel.

        6. avatar The Rookie says:

          I’ve been thinking about getting a sword ever since my new neighbor “Kurgan” moved in.

          I’ve got a bad feeling about this guy…

        7. avatar GluteusMaximus says:

          The spear is terribly underrated. Always wondered in all the zombie movies why no spears? A far more useful weapon than the sword

        8. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “The spear is terribly underrated. Always wondered in all the zombie movies why no spears? A far more useful weapon than the sword.”

          Thinking a sword has immediate re-strike/second strike capability that is lacking in the spear. Miss with the sword, and you can quickly re-attack. Miss with a spear, and you have to either run and find it, or you are so off balance you cannot re-strike easily.

          Of course, one could always carry several spears.

  4. avatar Mr V says:

    I have a Buck 110 auto open knife. As big as it is, I carry it in a DeSantis Nemesis size small pocket holster. Feels like it’s not even there.

    1. avatar Rad Man says:

      I badly want one too, in a canter leather holster of some sort.

  5. avatar Sam I Am says:

    Koo-el.

    I haven’t needed a pocket knife since I got the first (and only) one from my grandparents way back, long ago, in the olden days. Not that I still have that knife, nor do I remember when it was the absence was noted. Over the years, being a sitter, not a doer, the only need for a pocket cutter was managed with the P-38 military can opener carried on the car key ring. However….

    The knife in this posting just looks like something one need to have, even for no reason. The only reason for putting off purchase is the possiblility the knife would one day need sharpening, which is a skill beyond my ability.

    Good article.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      Sam, Sam, Sam. You can drive jets but not sharpen a knife? Sad.

  6. avatar M10 says:

    I’m not a fan of this trend in adding a safety to knives. Both SOG and Gerber seem to embrace this mindset, and CRKT has used them for years. Anything that distracts your attention or requires you to fiddle around more with the knife is bad IMHO. A simple mechanism like the Axis lock or Spyderco compression lock should be all that’s required. This is just the knife version of the Hillary Hole on S&W revolvers.

    1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      I shuddered at the end of your comment. The words just hit my eyeballs the wrong way…

      1. avatar Darkman says:

        I find the blade lock on my Boker Plus Strike is very handy for locking the blade in the open position. When using it in awkward situations. Don’t use it to keep the knife from opening.

  7. avatar Ferg in Tahoe says:

    I have a SOG Kukri machete that I keep in my General for whacking small branches out in the Rubicon. Cheap and needs a good stoning often. I’m not a big fan of Taiwan parts and this Kung Fu Flu hasn’t done anything to help with my hatred towards China. That said, I know guys that love SOG knives and that’s all they’ll buy. Albeit spendy, I carry Chris Reeve knives. Killer blades and awesome quality. I do have one Spyderco but it sits in a drawer keeping the paper clips from planning anything stupid.

    1. avatar Matt in SC says:

      Damascus mnandi in my pocket right now. Been carrying it for about 5 years now. Nice little knife.

  8. avatar jwm says:

    Studies and Observation Group. Sounds so benign, don’t it.

  9. avatar Ralph says:

    I have no problem buying a knife made in Taiwan. Unfortunately, while this knife is made in Taiwan, most SOGs are made in Communist China.

  10. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    Nice collection Dan.
    I see a nice AMK there.
    I knew Al well. Gary is family.

    I’m always scanning the knife areas of any store that carry’s them. It’s how I found my Criswell and my Randall. Neither cost over a C note.
    Knives are one thing i love to give away. They’re great tools.

    1. avatar Daniel Zimmerman says:

      I’ve given a few away…mostly to my son. And that’s usually an excuse to buy another.

    2. avatar Tsay Nguyen says:

      I bought a couple for my nephew’s high school graduation last year. I told him to pick the one he liked best and I’ll keep the other. Great way to accumulate new knives!

  11. avatar CentralVirginian says:

    Nice knife, other than the combo blade, Its like carrying 2 half knives with neither performing particularly well. I would like to know what you think of that buck 110 or 112 slim pro, specifically its rigidity without the use of steel liners. Review?

    1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

      buck did a nice job smoothing out the clip points on these two new versions. fit and finish are a little spotty, but there’s no blade play. i like the handles, remind me of burlap. their heat treat on hc brings the steel up a notch next to other 420’s.
      i’d like the auto version…

    2. I LOVE the 112 Slim Pro. That S30V blade is amazingly sharp and really holds its edge. Only change I would make is I would have gotten the micarta version (mine is G10, it was a gift) but the 112 is one of my favorite knives.

      That will probably be the knife I review next.

      1. avatar CentralVirginian says:

        Two positive reviews from my comment, its now on the purchase list. I was only leery on purchasing because of the lack of steel liners.

      2. avatar Sam I Am says:

        Thanx, Dan.

        You got me going on the knife “thing”. Spent an hour this morning looking at all the Buck offerings on their web page. As admitted earlier, sharpening is not one of my skills. The S30 steel seems it would be a boon, but is 420HC good enough for a lightly used blade, over time?

        Still don’t have a need for a knife, but thinking maybe gifts for family. Which blade composition would you recommend for people who aren’t “kinfe people”?

        1. avatar MrV says:

          Just don’t buy it through Buck, too expensive. Buy from Grab a gun when they have special or something. Buck still stands behind their lifetime warranty.Unless you want it customized, then wait for Buck to send you an e-mail special.

        2. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “Just don’t buy it through Buck, too expensive. Buy from Grab a gun when they have special or something.”

          Ok. Good information.

  12. avatar enuf says:

    My Buck General has a 7 3/8″ blade and my state could care less.

    If your state doesn’t like the gun you want to carry or the knife, you should either change your elected officials or change your zip code.

    But that’s just me.

    1. avatar EricB says:

      My state has no problem with CCW but pocket knives over 3.5” gives it the vapors. Probably just some way to add a charge if you get stopped for a missing turn signal but still.

  13. avatar Texsun55 says:

    Mid $70s is a bit steep for D2 blade and GRN scales. D2 is good serviceable steel, you just want to be sure to clean and oil often. If street price is under $50 then it might be a good value.

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