on February 25, 2010
I have been using the SOG Flash II for a month. I found out about the Flash II through the reviews on Amazon.com, starting with reviews of the Kershaw Skyline that referred to the SOG Flash I and then the reviews of the Flash I that made comparisons with the Flash II. Some reviews said that the Flash I was a little small, had a finger groove that did not quite fit, and a rattling lock, so, since the Flash II was less than $50 ($42.24 with free Super Saver shipping when I ordered it), had a bigger handle, had a new Arc Actuator lock, was only about 3.1 ounces in weight, and had a handle design that left enough space between the handle and the thumbstuds (similar to my Kershaw Storm II) that I thought I could actually use the thumbstuds to successfully open the blade (I usually have an easier time opening the blade with the flipper style opening designs), I decided to try the Flash II. I like the comfort of the handle, the weight of the knife, the sharpness and shape of the blade, and the ease of opening. With some knives, I have to grip the knife handle tightly and position my thumb carefully and push quite a bit to start getting the blade open. Not so with the Flash II. As one reviewer said on 10/8/2009, it "opens fast and hard feels like it could fly right out of your hand when opening it." When I held it loosely and pushed on the thumbstuds, my Flash II DID fly out of my hand -- fortunately, I was sitting down at the time (so the knife did not fall very far) and the knife landed flat on its side and did not hit my feet (and no one was watching me at the time).
In recent years, I have downsized my lockblade knives for everyday carry from the Buck Folding Hunter-Spyderco Endura-Kershaw Storm II size to 3-inch lockblade folders that are about 2.3 to 2.6 ounces in weight, so I did not buy the Flash II for everyday carry around the office. However, even though it is bigger than what I need around the office, I have been carrying it around the office and opening and closing it just to "practice" with it and become familiar with the different feel of the Flash II. I agree with the reviewer on 2/9/2009 who called it "a fun knife." It actually is light enough for everyday carry. I also carry a Victorinox Swiss Army Knife (usually, a Victorinox Executive to the office), so if I have to cut something in front of mixed and uncertain company in the office, I can pull out a little red-handled Swiss Army Knife instead of the Flash II.
The only problem I have had is with the low-carry bayonet pocket clip. I certainly wanted to try it, because most of the reviews that mentioned the low-carry clip reported very favorably about the low-carry clip design. One reviewer did say on 4/14/2009 that it was "hard to get off." Interestingly, the only SOG knife that I already owned was the SOG AutoClip -- the old version with a slot in the 3.5-inch lockblade but no thumbstuds -- that I bought because I liked the idea of having a pocket clip that could have its tension adjusted for pocket material of different thickness, but the metal clip of the Flash II is not adjustable. I am used to knives having a part sticking up above the pocket clip that can be grasped to pull the knife out of the pocket. With the low-carry pocket clip on my Flash II, I was grasping the knife with my thumb on the side of the handle inside my pocket and with my index finger ON the clip outside my pocket. Squeezing the thumb and the index finger resulted in additional pressure being placed on the clip against the pocket material and the knife handle -- the pocket material bunched up and withdrawal of the knife got hung up. Not a smooth draw from the pocket. I figured that I must be doing it wrong, so I sent a message to SOG asking what was the proper technique to use to pull the knife with the low-carry pocket clip smoothly out of the pocket. The SOG Warranty Administrator kindly replied as follows, "I grab the bottom of the clip with my forefinger and my thumb resting on the top of the knife that is sticking out, and when I pull up on it, I am slightly bending the clip out and pulling up at the same time." I tried that and found that lifting the clip (which is really stiff) minimized the bunching up of the pocket material and did make it easier to pull the knife out of the pocket. However, the edge of the clip dug into my index finger when my index finger alone was lifting the knife out of the pocket by the edge of the clip and it did not take long before my finger was sore -- wincing in pain is not what I wanted every time that I pulled my Flash II out of my pocket (I noticed that the low-carry clip on the SOG Aegis is designed differently, with the tip of the clip bent up and away from the knife handle, which would seem to be a better design for the technique of lifting the end of the clip without having the tip dig into the finger, so I might try the Aegis if one of its versions drops in price to below $50 -- Nutnfancy in his YouTube video review of an Aegis commented that he thought that the Flash II was "kinda goofy looking" but that the Aegis was a "beautiful knife" and "freaking awesome"). Furthermore, placing my thumb at the top of the knife did not provide much of a grip once the pocket clip cleared the pocket, and the knife slipped (fortunately, when it did slip, it fell INTO my pocket and not on the floor). So now when I grab my Flash II, I place my thumb on the top or back of the handle, my index finger at the end of the clip to lift it a little, and my middle finger on the bottom of the handle (the side where the blade is) and pull primarily with my thumb and middle finger pinching the top and bottom of the knife handle at its back end. There is less pressure on my index finger, so it hurts less, and the knife has not slipped out of my hand when I have used this three-finger (or thumb and two-finger, if you don't consider the thumb to be a finger) grip.
But in view of the difficulty I have had in pulling my Flash II out of my pocket when the pocket clip is engaged, I am not quite convinced about the value of the low-carry pocket clip design (at least the design of the clip on the Flash II, now that I noticed the difference in the design of the clip on the Aegis, which I have not tried, yet) -- if I was so concerned about someone noticing that I might have a knife clipped to my pocket, I would just put the entire knife inside my pocket.
UPDATE June 24, 2010: I received the SOG Aegis and have been carrying it. I prefer the clip on the Aegis. The Aegis' clip is bent upwards at the end and the clip seems to be more flexible (possibly because the point of contact with the handle for this clip is at the end, whereas the Flash II's clip has the point of contact closer to the middle of the clip), making it easier to withdraw the Aegis knife from various pants pockets that have material of varying thickness.
UPDATE July 10, 2010: I noticed a crack at the tip of the handle on my original SOG Aegis, so it was returned for a replacement. The clip on the replacement Aegis does not seem to be as flexible as I thought it was when I first received the Aegis. In addition, the Aegis has friction strips on the handle with raised letters "SOGSOGSOGSOG" that add more resistance against sliding the knife out of the pocket easily. Furthermore, the end of the handle is not as flared out as the handle on the Flash II, so it is difficult to use the three-fingered grip on the Aegis -- I have difficulty getting a grip that way. So now I just reach into my pocket, grab the knife, and yank it out of the pocket and do not bother trying to use the tip of the clip of either the Flash II or the Aegis. Time will tell what happens to my pockets. So whatever advantage the design of the clip on the Aegis might have had over the design of the clip on the Flash II appears to have been countered by other changes in the handle of the Aegis.