I like the look of the Flashback, and I usually love SOG knives (I carried a Twitch XL for years), but I’m not overly impressed with this knife as far as function is concerned. There were times when I felt I was forcing the knife shut so hard that I began to worry about taking off the pads of my fingers. SOG, I love you guys—but I think this sucker needs to bake in the oven a little bit longer.
VALUE For the materials and construction of this knife, the Flashback should sell for $50. It’s a sharp looking knife that boasts some expensive features (assisted opening), but its locking feature isn’t very smooth and the AUS-8 steel requires a lot more care than some of the other steels on the market selling at this price.
DESIGN: CONSTRUCTION & MATERIALS THE BUILD SOG built its Flashback on a solid nylon frame and the sandwiched it with a stainless steel cover—so there is no internal frame. Because of this, the knife has a little bit of flex when being used. Also, the spring is a heavy for the mechanism. You find yourself battling it when opening and closing the blade.
THE LOCK SOG uses a lock system, called “Piston” which pushes a rod into a notch that is designed into the back of the blade itself. This lock is fantastic when in use, but unlocking the knife takes a big of practice. The lock slides back in a grooved slot, and, by its design, has a tendency to resist being pushed back fully, making closing the blade a bit tricky.
DESIGN: EASE OF USE Whenever you throw the “assisted opening” feature into a knife you make it that much more valuable to your back pocket and day-to-day needs. The Flashback opens like a switchblade but closes with a bit of resistance—which is what is loading the assist spring. When this knife is clean, that works like a charm. But if a little bit of grit gets in there you may end up forcing the blade shut (thinking you’re pushing back against the spring) and actually break the mechanism. Once you get used to it, it’s a nice feature to have.
STEEL QUALITY / EDGE RETENTION AUS-8 is an affordable stainless steel which does not retain an edge very well. So, it will hold up to most any liquid you soak it in, but you’ll be finding yourself returning to your sharpening stone way more than you’d want to.
DURABILITY As I stated before, the Flashback has a tendency to flex when you’re bearing down on it. Both the lock and actual closing operation feel as if they might break on you, as they aren’t consistent. Even after two weeks of solid use I found myself struggling to close the blade properly every time. Thankfully, there is a secondary lock which confirms that the blade is correctly closed (and will only engage when it is).