SOG has recently released several new options for those looking for a durable knife to last the user a lifetime. SOG has been in the game for over three decades now, releasing innovative designs to fit the needs of both everyday users and those in the highest-ranking Special Forces units across the globe.
SOG has recently formulated a recipe for a well-balanced and durable everyday carry solution with some similar design features found in long-discontinued models. Meet the SOG Flash AT-XR.
The SOG Flash series has been around for some time now with two iterations prior to the 2020 release of the AT-XR variant. This year, SOG announced that they are going back to their “roots” and looking to their customer base to help them with new designs. From US Special Forces units to the average Joe, SOG has released something for everyone this year.
The Flash AT-XR is packed with features that knife enthusiasts have been longing for in a hard-use blade. From the newly designed assisted XR lock to a reversible deep carry pocket clip, it will be hard-pressed to find a better value for the money. Let’s take an in-depth look!
Basic Specifications of SOG Flash AT-XR:
|Specification Type||Specification Detail|
|Overall length||8.29 inches|
|Closed Length||4.67 inches|
|Blade Length||3.45 inches|
|Blade Thickness||0.12 inches|
|Blade Steel||Cryo D2|
|Blade Deployment||Assisted Opening Thumb Studs|
|Pocket Clip Orientation||Tip-Up, Right or Left Hand|
|Country of Origin||Taiwan|
SOG Flash AT Review:
The Flash AT features a beautifully constructed Cryo heat treated D2 blade. With enough belly for food prep and a razor-sharp edge that will slice through any package you need to, the Flash AT is quickly becoming one of my top 5 EDC blades.
Compared to previous models of the Flash, the new AT model has just under a 3 and a half-inch blade that is flat ground for ease of sharpening and maintenance. The Flash AT came hair-popping sharp right out of the box and has held excellent edge retention.
Most of my everyday carry blades see tons of Amazon and Blade HQ packages during the week with some light camp chores on the weekends. The Flash AT has handled everything I have thrown at it with ease. The Cryo heat treat has kept the blade clean and free of any corrosion in my time with it.
D2 steel is known for its incredible edge retention and toughness but lacks a bit in the corrosion resistance department. Having the blade Cryogenically treated aids in corrosion resistance and lower maintenance for the life of your knife.
When not in use, the Flash AT’s blade nestles perfectly in the handle. Unlike some blades that stick out from the handle quite a bit in the closed position, the Flash AT only sits roughly ¼” above the handle scales.
This design feature helps protect the blade from unwanted wear and scratches when it sits in your pocket with other items.
Jimping on the Flash AT blade is incredible. Not too sharp, not too shallow; just right. The Flash AT’s jimping extends well past the thumb studs for when you need to “choke up” on the blade and reach back into the handle about ½”.
Quality and durability are the first two adjectives that come to mind when I think about SOG knives. Neither is lacking when it comes to the Flash AT. From the Cryo-treated D2 blade to the grooves in the handle scales, everything on the Flash AT is what you have come to love and expect from SOG.
The Flash AT’s handle is constructed of durable stainless steel liners covered with GRN (Glass Reinforced Nylon) handle scales. Many material options could be used for scales these days, and I am happy that SOG went with GRN.
The Flash AT’s scales are grippy enough for everyday use without being overly aggressive. The grooves/lines in the scales aid in traction as well.
The Flast AT is a partial open-pillar construction with a small backspacer towards the end of the scales. This backspacer is also made from GRN. Although I have not seen any yet, I’m sure companies will begin making aftermarket parts for the Flash AT to include its backspacer.
Lanyards on knives have been increasingly popular in the last couple of years. Personally, I only add lanyards to smaller knives to accommodate for their smaller grip in hand, but the Flash AT does include one in the aforementioned backspacer.
Although not a traditional lanyard hole size for standard paracord, it was nice that SOG included it for those who want it.
Look, Feel & Ergonomics
There are currently three color variants of the Flash AT, and they all look amazing! I went with the Urban Gray variant, but there is also a Cyan Blue and an all blacked out version as well. Instead of simply releasing just your typical all black, SOG has made it a point to cater to different personalities and preferences.
The Urban Gray colorway definitely has some hints of blue in it when comparing the scale with the clip. The lines are sleek and the knife definitely has a somewhat “tactical” appearance at first glance.
Three simple scale screws and the larger pivot screw are all that keep the knife together and it is incredibly easy to swap the clip for left-handed use.
The handle scales on the Flash AT are made from GRN or Glass Reinforced Nylon. GRN has been a popular material for many everyday carry knives over the years. SOG released the Flash AT as a part of their “Daily” line of knives, and GRN scales are a perfect fit for this category.
It doesn’t matter if you’re wearing jeans and a t-shirt or slacks and a button-up; the scales on the Flash AT are grippy in hand but not in pocket.
I have found myself having a hard time finding a pocket knife to carry when I have to dress up in formal attire due to the aggressiveness of materials like G10 and some GRN/FRN scales. SOG did their GRN just right.
I absolutely love the ergonomics of the Flash AT. We’ll go into more detail in the next section, but I honestly thought I was going to hate the manual safety being positioned on the spine of the handle.
However, the moment I picked up the Flash AT and gripped it in my hands, I no longer worried about it. I have large size hands and the Flash AT fits perfectly with a full four-finger grip with a little leftover.
The handle on the Flash AT features a shallow finger choil that the index finger naturally seats into when gripping the knife. The rest of the handle has a nice gradual curve that will accommodate most hand sizes. The Flash AT is also incredibly comfortable in the reverse grip if you’re into that sort of thing.
Deployment & Lockup
Here’s where we get into the meat and potatoes of what makes the Flash AT one of the coolest assisted folders on the market to date: the SOG-patented Assisted Technology XR lock.
Initially released on the Terminus XR folding knife, SOG’s XR lock pays homage to the ever-so-popular Benchmade AXIS lock. An ambidextrous cross bar-style lock is a key for lefties and those who love to fidget with their blades.
This year SOG added to the XR lineup by taking the tried and true manual XR lock and made it into an assisted opening beast!
When I first took the Flash AT out of its packaging, I had to see just how well the new Assisted Technology deployed compared to other assisted knives I own from Kershaw. With one flick on the enlarged thumb stud, the Flash AT definitely lived up to its name! A loud “thwack!” and the blade was locked open in place.
The Flash AT is by far the snappiest and strongest deployment on any assisted knife I have owned or used.
Once deployed, the XR lock does its job tremendously well. There is ZERO blade play on the Flash AT. After a few months with fidgeting and real-world use, I can also confidently say that the action has gotten even smoother.
SOG claims that the XR lock can take up to 1,500lbs of force before failing! I’d love to see that test in person but for now I’ll trust SOG’s word.
Here’s where I thought the Flash AT may be a no-go for me. The Flash AT took a page from the original Flash design and added a manual safety to the spine of the handle. My first instinct was to tear the knife apart and remove the safety altogether.
However, after handling the Flash AT for a few short minutes I changed my mind as it does not get in the way of my grip or accidentally actuate itself when in the pocket. Another advantage for those with restlessness is its insanely high fidget factor.
Instead of freaking all my non-knife friends out by constantly opening and closing the blade, I can fidget with the safety and no one bats an eye!
Fit & Finish
Fit and finish on the Flash AT is what you’ve come to expect from SOG over the years. The lines are smooth and there are no hotspots whatsoever. It’s easy for companies to neglect their overseas produced offerings but SOG has done a good job of quality control in all of the research I have conducted for the Flash AT.
I have not seen any “lemons” since its release earlier this year (2020.)
Blade centering on my personal Flash AT is just slightly off-center but that is probably due to me fidgeting with it so much in the last several months of owning it. I didn’t adjust it for this article on purpose to show you that not every knife in my collection is absolutely perfect.
I would love to say that all of my blades are perfectly centered but that is just not the case.
However, with that being said, there has been no issues with the blade on the Flash AT rubbing against the liners. I may have a go at adjusting it after I get finished with the article; we’ll see.
The clip design on the Flash AT is an interesting concept. SOG canted the clip on the Flash AT so that it sits at a slight angle instead of vertically in the pocket. I believe this was partly to aid in comfortability and concealability in dress pants.
Most knives I own sit very awkwardly in slacks due their vertical pocket clip. The Flash AT fits my dress pants perfectly.
I am a huge fan of loop-over deep carry pocket clips and the Flash AT does not disappoint. The Flash AT is truly ambidextrous thanks to the extra slot cut into the backspacer so you can switch the pocket clip to the “left-hand” side.
Add the ambidextrous thumb studs and XR lock and you have a knife that will fit just about anyone’s needs.
The Flash AT not only fits my “dressy” clothes but jeans as well. Due to its slim design I forget its even in my pocket until I need to go to work.
This is the only section that the Flash AT lacks in; there are no aftermarket parts or accessories that I am aware of for this knife yet. Unlike most Benchmades and Spydercos that can be fully customized you’re pretty much stuck with what you get from the box with the Flash AT.
I’m sure companies will jump on the bandwagon with parts for the Flash AT in the future so stay tuned on that.
What are the Alternatives to SOG Flash AT?
There are few knives that I could directly compare the Flash AT to. However there are two in my collection that I would like to compare to the Flash AT in terms of functionality and size. I believe the Flash AT is in a class of its own, but let’s take a second to look at two other alternatives at a similar price point.
We’re going to take a slight step back in time to the first-generation SOG Aegis. As mentioned previously SOG re-introduced the Flash, Aegis, and Trident with all-new technology this year. Although I’m all for new designs and features, sometimes it’s hard to beat the classics.
The original Aegis boasts a 3.5” AUS-8 blade and GFN handle scales. The Aegis is a whopping ounce lighter than the Flash AT as well. The Aegis is similar in size to the Flash AT, but that is where its similarities end. The Aegis is built for right-handed users only with a non-reversible pocket clip.
The lock and manual safety are also designed for right-handers. When you factor in all of the advantages to the Flash AT (completely ambidextrous, better blade steel, more ergonomic in hand and thinner/less flashy pocket clip) it is a no-brainer for me to choose the Flash AT.
Another competitor for pocket time in the assisted-opening category is my beloved USA Made Blade exclusive Kershaw Knockout. The Knockout has been around for a couple of years now and was my everyday carry knife of choice for almost a year. I had plenty of options to choose from, but the Knockout was my go-to.
The USA Made Blade exclusive variant of the Knockout features an M390 blade and aluminum handles. I absolutely love my Knockout, but it is quite a bit wider than the Flash AT and does not fit well in slacks or shorts due to its design.
You’re also going to shell out about $30-$40 more than the Flash AT on the Knockout.
Find here the Best SOG knives available in the market.
Pros & Cons of SOG Flash AT
- Lightning-fast assisted opening blade.
- Incredibly strong cross-bar locking mechanism.
- Ergonomic handle that will not tear up your pants pockets.
- Deep carry pocket clip hides the knife fully in the pocket.
- Extremely durable blade that will handle the toughest EDC tasks.
- Can be difficult to close one-handed.
- Similar knives with the same materials can be found for a slightly lower price
Although it has only been out a relatively short amount of time, the SOG Flash AT has been gaining in popularity since its release. SOG has done a great job of listening to their customer base and is doing everything they can to satisfy knife fans worldwide. From the robust daily carry Flash AT to the redesigned Aegis and Trident AT-XR variants, SOG is definitely a name you should keep at the front of your mind when looking for a new carry piece.