Showing posts with label knives. Show all posts
Showing posts with label knives. Show all posts

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Pocket carry handguns and knife placement

So I carry the Ruger LCP a lot. It goes in a Safariland model 25 pocket holster. I do not out other things in this pocket. So where does my knife go? I have been trying the back pocket but it is just not working. Don't really have an answer. Currently questioning everything in my setup. Anyway before acting on that I my pocket carrying peeps, where does your knife go?

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Revolvers, Choice and Emotional vs Rational Decision Making

My buddy Displaced Louisiana Guy talked about revolvers and I did my own kinda brief post then well we got here. This hit on a couple things that merited a larger discussion.

I can not put words in my buddy's mouth. Don't know him that well and really knowing what someone is thinking is an iffy proposition at best.

To close at least as far as this discussion goes the revolver vs semi auto discussion. While the difference in capacity is huge in a service sized pistol it is less so in a sub compact carry piece. A G17 with one in the pipe holds as much as a wheel gun with 2 reloads. They are to modern gun fighting what the Henry repeater was to the civil war AKA a game changer. When we narrow it down to sub compact CCW type guns the real capabilities are a lot closer. If we go to single stack auto's, which probably carry closer to a J frame, the capacity is darn near the same though the auto still has a reload edge. A Kahr CW9, S&W Shield, etc all holds 7-8 and a typical J holds 5. Sure 2-3 rounds is something but it's not the game changing 3x advantage a Glock 17 has on a standard wheel gun.

Finding a scenario where a J frame falls short but a single stack like a Shield/ CW9/ etc comes through is iffy. A round or two more and a faster reload to lose the contact shot and easy button failure drill (squeeze trigger again) might not be a great trade off. Make it a Glock 26 or the M&P equivalent which hold about double the bullets at 10ish and it could well matter.

Still at the end of the day for a normal guy doing normal guy stuff facing normal guy problems a J frame is probably plenty. The cliche 3 rounds in 3 seconds  at 3 yards thing comes to mind here.

This brings us to a larger point. Being sentimental is part of what makes us human. Often survivalists and gun types are sentimental about kind of odd things like revolvers or old case folding knives or ALICE packs.  I think we gun types and survivalists can get so focused on making the right rational decision that we try to justify things that way. Instead of just saying that we like X, in this case wheel guns, and that we prefer it to another option which might actually have some rational advantages.

I think being honest about this has value. Why? First and foremost being real and honest is just plain useful. Second and more significantly being honest with ourselves lets us make decisions more rationally. Say item A has 85% of the overall capabilities of item B but I really like it for whatever reason? Well instead of trying to justify why A is as good as B I can look at whether A can do enough of the job to be good enough for me. Maybe item A only has 50% of the capability of item B and even though you love it you should put it up on the mantle above the fireplace and carry B instead.

So be honest with yourself and accept when you are being emotional about stuff. It will actually let you make better decisions in the end.


Monday, June 15, 2015

Keeping an Edge- A Review of the Lansky 3- Stone System

DTG did a review of the  Edge Pro Apex 1 Knife Sharpener Kit not so long ago.
It genuinely looks like a really cool system. Flash back to 18 months ago. I remember having a serious gear crush on this system after seeing a NUTNFANCY video on it. The downside is they are expensive starting at $165 for the Edge Pro Apex 1 Knife Sharpener Kit and going up to almost 255 for the Edge Pro Apex 4 Knife Sharpener depending on the range of stone grit and other various accessories. I was saving up for one and actually had the cash to do it but was not quite ready to pull the trigger.

On one lazy Saturday my family was casually shopping/ looking around in a local outdoor store. This particular store is pretty cool because it has outdoor stuff for the guys (and girls who like that too) and type stuff for women, kind of country/ redneck lifestyle stuff and the pink shirts with a tiny bit of cammo women here like. Anyway we were just looking around and I saw a Lansky Standard Coarse Sharpening System with Fine Hones in the store for (IIRC) $25. It looked like a pretty nice piece of kit. Lanksy is a good company and I have a couple of their diamond sharpening rods which, within the limitations of that system, are good pieces of kit. With a price point around a case of cheap beer I figured why not give it a shot. Now 18 months later it is the only sharpening system I use and our household knives are sharper than ever before. I did not see a need to shell out big money for an edge pro and am pretty darn happy with this little system and need to get a second to put in our camping/ heavy bug out stuff.

The Lansky Standard Coarse Sharpening System with Fine Hones comes in a nice little compact box. Inside the box there is a big clamp on thing that ensures you sharpen at a consistent angle, which is very important. Here is the manufacturers description:
- Alumina Oxide & Ceramic

Key Features:

-Easy to Use, Precision-Engineered, Multi-Angle Clamp to hold the blade

-Guide Rods are provided: One for every hone

-Coarse Red Hone (120 grit) for edge reconditioning

-Medium Green Hone (280 grit) for sharpening and less frequent touch-ups

-Fine Blue Hone (600 grit) for most frequent touch-ups to keep your blade
paper-slicing sharp

-Honing Oil Specially Formulated for Sharpening (not recommended for use
with diamond sharpeners, use water instead)

The Ultimate in Knife Sharpening Systems Technology! Safe, Easy and Convenient to Use; The Lansky Controlled Angle Sharpening System.  Designed to give your blade a professional, razor sharp edge, every time. All systems include:
•Color-coated, finger-grooved safety holders mounted to every stone
•One guide rod for each honing stone
•Extra long knife clamp screws for thicker blades
•Custom molded storage/carrying case to hold all system components

Onto the usual format:

The Good:
-Affordable. Everyone reading this can pay about $25 (the site says $35 but street price is more like $25) for a system to keep your knives sharp. It is also priced so you could have a backup or even a backup and one in your bug out location.
-It works. I use it to sharpen steak knives, butcher knives, my EDC knife, and camping/ field knives.
-It is easy to use. Took about a minute to figure it out. You might need to play with the angles on longer knives or ones with a pronounced sweep (like a butcher knife) the first time you sharpen it but after that it's easy to get to work.
-Compact. Small enough to keep in a drawer in the kitchen or slip into a tuff box you take car camping.
-Durable. I've been using mine for 18 months and aside from mild discoloration on the stones it looks brand new. I expect to get at least another year out of it, which is pretty good for what it is. I am still on the original little bottle of oil.
-The three stones really work and the grits are well thought out. The 120 grain is plenty to reprofile a blade or fix an edge and the 600 is good for finishing an edge. They make a 1k stone I keep meaning to get but haven't ever remembered to follow through with.
-Quick. Touching up an edge after normal use takes maybe 15 min of leisurely semi focused effort. I do this while watching tv or youtube videos.

The Bad:
-Fixed to 4 angle options. Company description:
17° Angle - A severe angle recommended for razor blades, scalpels or similar tools. Provides an extremely sharp but delicate edge.
20° Angle - A commonly used angle for higher quality blades and provides an excellent edge for kitchen cutlery and filet knives.
25° Angle - The recommended angle for most knives that need a durable, sharp edge. Ideal for hunting and outdoor knives.
30° Angle - An outstanding angle for knives that see the heavy use of cutting cardboard, wire or carpets. Recommended for heavy duty use.

Not that these angles are bad but it is kind of a hassle as many knives seem to have 19 or 22 degree angles. Instead of fighting that I've re profiled all my kitchen knives to 20 deg duty knives to 25. The one exception is, if just due to blade width, my big camp knife at 30 degrees. It takes 15-20 minutes to re profile the blade and get it sharpened up.
-The edge guide (big clamp thingie) attachment is a bit of an awkward affair with two bolts. It needs to be adjustable (I use it for thin steak knives all the way up to my camp knife with a 1/4 inch (or a touch more) thick blade. Generally it works OK but if for some reason one gets messed up it can throw the whole thing off and you could waste a couple minutes figuring it out. Not a deal maker, just occasionally annoying.

The Ugly:
-I struggled trying to make due with hand angling the knife on a stone, or overly relying on those little pull through sharpeners (great for what they ( a quick tuning up) are but not a full solution) for far too long.

Is this enough of a system for your needs? Maybe a professional butcher or someone else who uses lots of knives all the time and needs them very sharp might benefit from a more robust system such as the edge pro. If a dozen people needed to use a system this one might not be up to the task. However
for a normal family with the standard kitchen type knives and a person or two using EDC or field knives this system is plenty.

Recommendation: Buy a Lansky Standard Coarse Sharpening System with Fine Hones then either use it as a primary or if you have a better system stash it as a back up.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

From Around The Web

Bayou Rennaissance Man talks about the train wreck that is the world economy.

Next he compares the federal governments budget to that of a normal household. Put in terms any normal person can understand we have a big problem.

John Mosby talks knives and knife fighting. I probably do not have enough to justify a whole post on the topic but in brief. 1) A knife is a tool that can be used as a weapon. Sort of like how it would be foolish to jump me while I'm holding a framing hammer. As such a knife needs to be looked at in the light of a tool first and a potential weapon as a distant second. 2) Knives are infinitely more lethal than hands but in realistic engagements perfect placement is iffy with everyday carry type blades (vs a sword, kukuri, etc). 3) Due to their unique characteristics knives can serve an excellent 'get off me' role. Lots of folks can box, wrestle or just plain brawl so a bit of that is nothing new but if you do the best singer sewing machine impression possible with a blade in the soft lower half of their torso most folks will either become incapacitated or leave rather quickly. 4) Like John I find the odds of a knife fight a la West Side Story or a bad 80's rated R action flick quite low. Odds are someone will be trying to stab/ slash me and I'll be trying to fight them off or visa versa.

Max Velocity is working with UW gear to put out a cool new chest rig. Very cool.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Priorities, Opportunities, Knives and Whatever

Today I was in an auto accident. I was stopped in a turn lane with my blinker on waiting to turn thinking about getting lunch and the rest of my days plans. Out of nowhere some guy nailed me from behind. He couldn't have been going over 15mph but the jolt was pretty good.

My first thought was a 4 letter word. My second was that I seemed to be OK. My third thought was "Could this be my fault?" After realizing I was in a turn lane and stopped there was no way being read ended could possibly be seen as my fault. I got out of the road into a parking lot and the other vehicle followed. I was pretty hot when I got out of my vehicle probably due to adrenalin. The guy was immediately apologetic about the whole thing which calmed it down fast, since he wasn't being a jerk I chilled out also. He said he swerved to avoid something or another and boom we had a crash.

After getting out to look at it my vehicle was OK. The bumper was a bit out of whack but I figured I'd be able to put it back in place. Their vehicle was OK also. I felt fine. Copied down all their information and whatever. Aside from the bumper being slightly off whack there was a small mark from paint transfer on my bumper.

I told the guy that it didn't seem like a big deal. So long as I could put the bumper back in place and didn't wake up with a wrecked back or something we could call it even; I didn't see a reason to deal with insurance and  cost some decent guy a bunch of money just for a mark and a little scratch or two. If it  was a Lamborghini or  a Chevelle SS maybe I might look at the matter differently but for a normal commuter vehicle I don't see  the reason to bother.

This week I found an excellent opportunity then capitalized on it. There are  some items  I keep an eye  out for and will always purchase at the right price. The keys to doing good at this sort  of thing are regularly checking on available items, having the cash to buy  a good  deal on no notice when it pops up and patience.  Every once in awhile if you do all that  stuff  a  smoking deal will fall into your lap.

I have taken to carrying  my Benchmade Griptillian on the  left hand  side. This puts it in the ideal place if I get in the  dreaded fighting  while trying to retain my handgun situation. Having it there all the time gets me used to grabbing it and opening it with my left hand. Not perfect  but in terms of a real world knife  fight  it is big muscle movements that manifest their selves in a lot of close short stabs and it leaves  my strong hand to retain my weapon.

I have also taken to sharpening  my knife  weekly. Better to keep up on it then let it get dull. My current drill is that on Friday when I'm having a  drink and watching whatever show I am watching the knife  gets a quick touch up. My Benchmade Griptillian is pretty darn sharp  these  days.

Monday, December 15, 2014

I Can Haz Hide Away Knife?

I am looking to bring some more capabilities to my everyday carry without letting it get too heavy. Seriously toying with the purchase of a Hide Away Knife. The concept of use would be primarily self defense with a secondary task to do some various everyday cutting tasks. I have been (in addition to my Benchmade Griptillian) carrying a Leatherman for most everyday tasks though I'm toying with either getting a smaller one (Leatherman 831195 Squirt PS4 Black Keychain Tool with Plier ?) or purchasing a Swiss Army Knife of some sort.

The HAK's unique ability too give a good grip with a much shorter than normal handle, decreasing overall length, and be retained brings value. Also that you can grab and transition to a firearm are pretty handy. Lastly I think the HAK by virtue of being single edged avoids a lot of knife carry laws.

Would like to know if anyone has personal experiences with the HAK. Of course I am generally interested in people thoughts (not based on personal experience) on the matter.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Maine Prepper Talks Combat and Survival Knives, I talk Knife Fighting and My Preferences

I heard a great quote once on soldier knives "Soldiers buy these $300 super SERE SPECOPS Tier 1 fighting survival knives then they use them to whittle stakes to make a poncho hooch, open MRE's and boxes." This does not mean that we do not need, in rare occasions significant capabilities, but just that we should be a little more realistic about what is a genuine need and what is a want. By all means use quality tools but the difference between a $50 Ka Bar or $80 Ontario RAT and a $300+ Busse, Randall, etc is not likely to be an issue in your survival over any number of ridiculously unlikely situations.

Don't get me wrong I like nice knives. Have always loved them and as I go on in life and finances allow I indulge in them. I own 3 Benchmade's, an Al Mar and a beautiful custom Camp Knife. Have a serious knife crush on the Busse TGLB. Want to get another Benchmade folder and for no real reason an Emerson. However at some point we do have to  look at if we are paying for a functional tool or a cool name (Busse) to make us happy and brag to our buddies or folks on the net about.

Personally I view knives as tools for well cutting things. Specifically I use them for everyday camp and life tasks such as preparing food, cutting small pieces of wood for whatever, 550 cord or rope and the like. Stretch these tasks a bit and you've pretty much hit the 'survival knife' arena. 

As a soldier I carry a rifle that holds 30 rounds and reloads rapidly plus sometimes a pistol with spare mags handy. As a civilian in normal circumstances I carry a handgun of some sort, in abnormal times I would carry a rifle that holds 30 rounds and a pistol that holds 17. In my opinion the whole 'shoot once then let em have it with your tomahawk' mentality stopped being meaningful when relatively large capacity rifles that reload rapidly came into play. Based on these weapons relatively large capacity and speedy reloading it is a lot more likely I will just shoot somebody who is close to me. If that doesn't work and they also fail at shooting me I'd try to bring a handgun into play, then a knife before going to hands. There have been anecdotal cases of people using bayonets or in some cases going hand to hand after that date but the ratio of those circumstances is honestly not very high.

I look at knives to suit my given purpose first with some consideration for defensive capabilities as a distant second. Why do I say this? Well people have been killing each other with pointy objects for a really long time. If we looked at ratios in terms of relatively modern life (say post 1900) I suspect far more people have been killed with their time and place's equivalent of Pakistani gas station folders and Chinese steak knives than super CQB folders and SWAT Survival fixed blade knives.Yes, that speaks more to the readiness of these knives in homes and pockets than their effectiveness vs quality knives (sort of like how more people are killed with .22lr Saturday night specials than say HK or SIG.45's.) but the point is that basically all pointy knives can cut and thus kill people.

Put it like this, if I am holding a shovel nobody is going to kick my ass cuz well I would smack them with the shovel. It doesn't mean a shovel is the best weapon, just that it is a tool that can function as a weapon if needed. Knives are the same way. I carry a folding knife all the time to cut all manner of stuff in everyday life and be there in case of a survival situation. If need be I will repeatedly stab someone in the lower part of the torso or neck with it.

Generally I carry a single blade knife which clips to my pocket and opens with a convenient thumb stud. I do this not because I'll really need to stab somebody with it but because invariably when I need to cut something I'll be holding it with the other hand. This, aside from it weighting a pound or something, is why I do not carry a Buck 110 everyday.  For everyday tasks and of course self defense I need to be able to get to a knife one handed.

Awhile back John Mosby and American Mercenary discussed knife fighting. I am too lazy to go find their posts and link to them but both guys are in my blog roll. I sort of meant to address knife fighting then but never got to it. Anyway to make it as simple as possible do not read or watch cheese 80's videos about dudes fighting with knives in some south east Asian opium den. If you want to spend 5, 10 or 20 years learning Asian knife fighting (Kali, Escrima type stuff) that is totally cool. If you do not want to do that just go all singer sewing machine on the bad guy. Knives you would reasonably carry regularly are not big and heavy enough to slash very effectively. They will cut into skin but will not go through bone or get deep enough to incapacitate somebody quickly. With very rare exceptions you need to get deep into the body to get to the places where a normal sized knife will do sufficient damage to kill someone. Slash somebody and they'll almost surely live. Stab em once and their odds of living are good. Stab them a dozen times then shove your knife in their carotted (sp) artery and twist then it's all she wrote.

The difference between lethality and incapacitation is important here. It is worth touching on the 86 Miami Shoot Out here. Let's say you "defang the snake" slashing the heck out of somebodies limbs as they expose them to attack and it is going well up to the point that they will likely die but that guy with the cut up hands bashes your head on the concrete till you die you well, lose. He might bleed out or die of an infection later but it doesn't help you much.

 This is an interesting point. In a lethal fight it is best to kill the other guy(s) as rapidly as possible. If you screw around hoping to out skill somebody thus avoiding any injuries instead of just killing them and being done with it you risk their friends showing up, slipping on a rock doing something cool you saw in a Van Dam movie or them getting lucky. Honestly this whole strategy reminds me of a guy who took 2 months of boxing classes that wants to hang back and throw jabs to avoid potentially taking a shot while KOing the other guy.

The point of where I am going, pun intended, is that 1) All knives are inherently lethal. Presuming they are sharp and pointy they can stab and kill people. 2) Look to a knife's primary purpose first and self  defense second.

My personal preference for knives is as follows:
1) The point should be roughly in a line with the hilt. In a combat perspective this is for stabbing. For me it is more that when I aim a knife at something to cut it I want the darn point to go where my wrist aims it. Exceptions are for special use knives like butcher knives.
2) Knives should have a grip that you can hold onto, particularly if they are for field or 'fighting' use.Wood and leather are good, G10 is good, textured plastic is good. Smooth materials like ivory or non textured aluminum are probably less good.
3) Folding knives will have a lock of some sort. The exception is for tools like multi tools that have a knife blade almost as an ancillary feature to the pliers, screwdrivers, etc.
4) Fixed blade knives will be have a tang that runs through the handle to the hilt. At a minimum a thin 'rat tail' tang but the ideal situation is a tang that is the width of the handle all the way to the hilt.

The Mora is worth discussing here because they are a useful tool that does not meet my preference. They are a fixed blade with a half to 3/4 handle rat tail type tang. Honestly I consider them a very affordable beefier version of an everyday carry folding knife. They are a great light to medium duty belt knife at a price that allows them to be almost disposable. Presuming normal knife use you will probably never destroy a Mora.

5) For a general use knife 3/8th's to 1/4 is a good width. I think proportion is significant here. My big ole camp knife is 1/4 inch thick but it is over a 9.5 inch blade with a total length of 15 inches. I probably wouldn't want a quarter inch thick knife with a 3 inch blade.

6) For a general use knife I favor lengths between 5 and 7 inches with a half inch or so error on either side for good tools like the Mora or  Ka Bar.

7) For outdoor or tactical use I favor stainless steel or coated carbon steel blades. The ease of cutting and ability to resharpen of  non coated carbon steel knives is great but they are hell to maintain in wet environments.

 Not so long ago I took a Mora to the field for a month. It was great till I had to work for half a day setting up tents in the rain. To the point my carbon steel mora companion got wet and rusted. In general I think folks who do not get to choose when they go to the woods need to be prepared to get wet. I'm looking at getting the same military companion knife in stainless steel.

8) Do not bring a knife to the field you are not willing to use. Going full in with a ka bar will get you a lot more than worrying if a Busse will get scratched. I'm not saying you shouldn't bring an expensive knife to the field just to do so if you will actually use it. If you are so worried about it getting scratched then be honest, call it a safe queen and get another knife to use.

So those are my thoughts on that. What do you think?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Knive Wishes

Lets say that a knife, to be specific any knife you want without consideration for cost or such, would show up at your door tomorrow. What would it be?

Mine would be Busse Team Gemini Light Brigade with the sage finish and black canvas grips. It's concept off use would be as a 'one tool option', survival blade and 'combat knife'. A close second would be a Randall Model 5 Camp and Trail 6". No huge reason for this one it would just be cool to own a Randall.

Monday, March 3, 2014

ESSE 5 Not For Me

My ESSE 5 showed up. Immediately did not like it. One of those things that can happen with her or mail order purchases I suppose. Too heavy for my concept of use. Also the handle was overly long like almost Hand and a half sized. Looks hell for stoutbut though. Also it had some sort of oil stains on the grip which just irritated me. Not a huge deal on a cheap knife but this isn't a cheap knife. I'm not saying it is a bad knife. Just that it is not for me. So it will get returned. I might get an esse 4 or a slightly lighter knife of similar size to replace it. Not sure yet. Thankfully Amazon has a pretty liberal return policy and I decided this immediately after seeing the knife.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Product Review Update: Pathfinder Trade Knife

 Pathfinder Trade Knife and sheath.
 Reverse view
 Close up of the handle. It is pretty nice looking. Also the bow drill divet thing is a nice little touch.
 Comparison of the Benchmade Bushcrafter and the Pathfinder Trade Knife. Note the difference in handle size. Small handed folks might not like the Benchmade and the opposite is true for the Trade Knife.

This knife was reviewed back in Dec 2012 and it is time for an update as I've had it for awhile now. Used it for a variety of tasks from food prep and accompanying my fork at the table to varied wilderness type tasks.

Without rehashing the entire old review here are my current thoughts.

The Good: It showed up sharp, held an edge well and resharpens very easily.

It handles cutting chores involving wood better than you would think it might

The sheath is excellent. Good thick leather in the pouch type setup bushcraft folks prefer. It is easy to draw the knife and put it back one handed. Retention is fair in general and good for such a sheath. It passes the hold upside down by the sheath test. That being said I would not jump out of a plane with this knife/ sheath or intentionally take it swimming. Suppose if pressed I would make a 550 cord thong and loop it through the sheath's loop a couple times then around the handle. The draw would be considerably slower but for that brief period it would add the needed retention. That being said the retention is totally sufficient for normal hunting/ camping/ bushcrafting type stuff which is this knife's arena anyway.

The Bad:

The handle is a bit small for my taste. I have large but not enormous hands and am consciously needing to squeeze my hand down to fit around the handle of this knife. That is fine for cutting a piece of rope or a stick or a steak but longer chores got tiring to my hand faster than they would with a larger handle.

The finish is not that durable/ consistent. I have used this knife but never did anything crazy with it. Some discolorations/ inconsistencies in the finish were present early on and they've gotten worse over time. It isn't terrible but if $50 Ka Bar's are doing better than this knife at twice the price something is wrong with this picture.

The Ugly: I really do not like the point. It is almost surely really strong but the angles come together more like a pick than a knife point. The downside of that strength is it makes all the little knife tip type tasks a real problem. Given that I am an adult and generally smart enough not to pry with the tip of my blade that strength isn't a huge plus for me. I would trade a little bit of strength for the dexterity of a pointier blade.

Overall impression:

Both of the issues that really bother me about this knife (small handle, not a great point on the blade) are somewhat subjective. A person with smaller hands who really wants a durable blade tip for whatever might see both of these downsides as upsides. It is a matter of perspective.

Past those subjective issues. The knife has some really nice features and a disappointing finish. Why they would put the effort into the nice sheath, handle and touches but not give it a decent finish (or maybe it's just mine and it's a QA/QC thing) I do not know. All that being said this is not a good candidate for a truck box and forget knife, you need to keep this knife oiled for storage and check on it periodically.

As to whether you should buy it. Street price is $110, I paid $99. There are a lot of good comparable medium sized fixed blade knives in that price range. Skip a casual dining burger and 2 beers dinner to save another $20 and there are even more good options. Personal preference on features, steel, etc will determine the way you choose. I'm sort of reshuffling knives since the purchase of the Bushcrafter so I'm not sure where this one will land but  on the balance I don't regret purchasing it.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Benchmade Bushcrafter 162 Sibert Initial Impressions

A package showed up today. It was my Benchmade Bushcrafter 162.Fun times were about to ensue. Here are my initial impressions about the knife.
The good:
1) It's overall appearance is a lot more conventional looking in person.
2) The handle, while it's palm swell and thin lower part are unconventional, is pretty darn comfortable. Also it seems comfortable in multiple grip types which is nice. Some highly angled type grips only fit 1 way, not this guy.
3) The blade is about as thick as one can be without being a glorified pry bar. 
4) It is super sharp, like any Benchmade.
5) It cuts like crazy. Based on my initial impression I've never had a knife that was so good at food prep type type fine tasks AND cutting wood.
6) Seems like it will be a great all around belt knife.

The bad:
7) I'm really not sure what they were going for with the sheath design.
8) The leather is pliable and soft, almost like a suede.
9) The snap for retention and kydex insert for durability probably negate the issue of the leather. In that regard it's almost a classed up rendition of the nylon Buck 110 sheath which lasts roughly forever. While not as pleasing to the eye/ hand as good thick leather I can't see the thing really wearing out.
10) As to the sheath I'm not sure what is or could be them cheaping out, which is crap because it's an expensive knife and what is intentionally rustic looking to go with the whole Bushcrafting theme. I suspect a little of both.

Basically I really like the knife and am OK with, though confused by, the sheath. All in all as of today I'm quite happy with the whole package. As I use my tried and true 'cut everything with it' method of knife testing you will hear more.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Benchmade Bushcrafter 162 FTW!!!

After way too much deliberation I pulled the trigger and ordered a Benchmade Bushcrafter 162.
As a guy who owns 2 Benchmade folding knives I can say the only unpleasant part of them has been paying the tab. Anyway this knife seems like a pretty solid design. I appreciate that it has a fairly traditional design but with modern construction. So anyway that is done. It should fill a hole and scratch my knife itch for awhile. Honestly I was a bit put off by the $170 street price but with ESSE offerings in the $150ish range it's not to crazy. Both of the $100ish knives I was looking at either had an issue that bothered me or were just blah.

There is a pretty cool review of this knife at Rocky Mountain Bushcraft with lots of great pics.

After it shows up and I get to play with it you will surely hear more about this.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Knife Material?

Carbon steel? Coated or noncoated?


I do not spend much time near the sea. At the same time there is the balance that while I can take care of things decently an emergency tool might not always get the best care in those situations.

I know all the stuff folks say on the net. What has worked, or not worked, well FOR YOU PERSONALLY?

Monday, February 3, 2014

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

Still working the issue with the 870. When I have spare time it'll probably be devoted to sawing, filing, sanding and refinishing the forend of the gun. Can't wait to be done with that.

Walker and I went camping this weekend. We were in the backyard in case it didn't do well. He hadn't ever slept in a tent before. Turns out that we were close enough to the house for the WIFI to work so that was nice after he went to bed. It was pretty fun for both of us. He got to eat dinner and hang out outside. I had a fire and did a bit of carving.We will do it again as soon as we can. After another run or two in the yard we'll go someplace nearby overnight.

Sharpened some knives. One I'd used pretty hard and the other I just wanted to tune up. Figure if I sharpen a couple knives weekly or bi weekly that should go a long way towards having a safe, sharp stable of knives.

Did a bit of gun maintenance also. A good excuse to open the safe and ogle my precious.

I'm in the market for a nice medium sized knife. Concept of use would be bushcrafting/ camping/ survival. Broad characteristics are a 4.5-5.5 inch blade, full tang preferably of the same width/ depth going all the way down the blade and handles slapped onto the side. A sheath I don't immediately want to replace would be a plus. Looking at a Tops Brothers of Bushcraft, the Ontario Blackbird SK-5 or maybe the Benchmade 162 Bushcrafter. I'm open for input if anyone has experience with these.

What did you do to prepare this week?

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Operational Cache Pack Out

So far it is looking like:
about a dozen mags
full spare parts kit (gun minus barrel and receiver)

Revolver, j frame lightweight type
3x speed loaders
IWB holster
pocket holster

A pretty comprehensive cleaning kit that will cover both weapons.
Good EDC type folder.
Tossed in a few common mags just in case I happen to need them.

Tomorrow I'm going to buy some ammo from Lucky Gunner to go into there. Also a chest rig for the rifle. That's what will come from here. The rest I'll put together on the other end.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Product Review: Benchmade Griptilian 551

Today I will be reviewing the Benchmade 551 Griptilian. As you can see the knife has seen a decent amount of carry as well as use. I carried it for awhile until I stumbled into the Benchmade 5000 Presidio Auto in a deal. No issues with the Griptilian, I just ended up with a cooler knife so it got bumped out of circulation.

Well I moved to Louisiana which turns out to fear well dressed gangs getting into rumbles AKA my frickin knife. So the Benchmade Auto knife had to be repatriated to a place where it can be free. That brought folder #2 back up from the Bush leagues to EDC status.

One of my failures as a low rent journalist is that I am quick to do an IPR (in progress review) but not great at getting actual full reviews done. Largely this is because I really like to get a sense of a piece of gear before doing them, also I'm forgetful and lazy. Well I've been carrying it again for awhile now so it seems like a good time for a full review.

The Good: Rugged, durable, ergonomic, excellent fit and finish, easy to deploy as well as close, pretty much everything. Especially enjoy the blade design which is a great combination between the centered (along the axis of the handle/ whole knife) point needed for optimal stabbing and the gently swooping clip point which is useful for an all around utility type knife. I LOVE the axis lock system. It is so smooth and simple to use without a pesky liner lock or the weird Spyderco releases in back lock. The grip is thoughtfully textured and rigged in all the right areas. Most excellent all around.

Prices vary but expect to pay somewhere between $70 and $110 for the Griptilian line depending on the exact model. Think I paid around $100 for this one. In this regards they are a good option between the Spyderco/ CRKT/ Cold Steel knives and the considerably more expensive rest of the Benchmade line, Emerson and other premium brands. For a couple twenties over the Spyderco/ CRKT/ Cold Steel you can get a Griptilian which I think is considerably more knife.

The Bad: The grip is really fat which is a bit annoying in the pocket. I didn't bother to measure it but did compare it to other knives on inventory. For perspective it's handle is wider than all of my folding knives, including the Buck 110.

The Ugly: It got me into liking Benchmade knives. Over time a lot more money than is reasonable will probably go down that rabbit hole.

Discussion: When you buy a Benchmade or any other somewhat more expensive upper shelf type item you are paying for something. In some cases it is aesthetics or the newest coolest whatever. In this case I would submit you are paying partially for the name but also for superior fit and finish, quality materials and a warranty that is second to none. Aside from testing and evaluation or times I specifically want a semi disposable knife (flying, murdering hookers, etc all) I have a hard time seeing myself carrying a folding knife that is not a Benchmade. Well unless I get all hood rich then throw down the cash for an Emerson.

If you are looking for a knife that is better than the (totally servicable) generic decent folder but do not want/ have funds for a $200+ knife I would look hard at the Benchmade Griptilian series in whatever blade style suits your fancy. I like the Mel Pardue 551 myself.

Do you own a Benchmade Knife? What about a Griptilian? If so what do you think of them?

Friday, August 30, 2013

Tueller Drill's, Appendix Carry and Other Handgun Defense Thoughts

John Mosby's post Underground Tradecraft: Tactical Application of the Defensive Sidearm, Part III

is pretty much required reading to understand this post. I'm not so much replying to it as moving from it to a different train of thought but his post is the jumping off point.

It is my personal opinion that the Tueller drill's valuable information is used to jump to the wrong conclusions. The Tueller drill means 1) A person who has their weapon, including bare hands, ready will almost always beat a person who does not have their chosen weapon ready. Instead of being a knife it could be a brick or an open hand slap to the face. Folks often confuse this to say knives are superior to guns. Knife vs gun is a complicated conversation but the Tueller drill really isn't involved. 2) A handgun is not a magical talisman that will keep you out of a physical confrontation!!! I say again a handgun is not a magican talisman that will keep you out of a physical confrontation. You are almost surely not going to be able to use super awareness to detect a threat from 40 feet away then be able to (justifiably) draw a handgun then deescalate the situation or engage using lethal force.

This is yet another reason that Appendix carry is a really good option. The draw is wickedly fast which is good. Also more importantly you can easily control/ protect the pistol with the non dominant hand. In a serious fight I am inclined to protect the weapon with one hand and fight, probably employing a knife, with the other hand. Fighting with one hand is a less than ideal situation but at least this way it's my good hand. Conversely carrying strong side hip that is not an option.

Some folks have a hard time with the idea of carrying a loaded pistol pointed at their genitals. It doesn't worry me too much because I safely handle the weapon and honestly strong side hip in a reasonable concealment holster has it pointed at my thigh which is also important. I guess it's something you can either get comfortable with to have the advantages of appendix carry or not.

When it comes to fighting and the use of handguns at point blank range I am not a huge fan of the use of handguns. If you have a weapon out then just shoot the heck out of the threat. If the weapon is in the holster I am personally inclined to keep it into the holster, especially if it's concealed. I would take a handgun out after creating sufficient space to do so. Ways to create that space using a variety of H2H techniques exist but are beyond the scope of this post. Along these lines SouthNarc's ECQC is high on my training wish list.

Anyway those are my thoughts on that.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Bug Out Bag Component List

I have been halfway meaning to do something like this for awhile. Part of the reason I haven't is that so many people have done their slightly different take on the same thing that my particular flavor would probably not bring much to the overall conversation. The other part is that it will be a bit of a hassle to pull everything out and catalog it. Honestly the reason this is getting done is that a friend asked me for a list. Not like an internet acquaintance (though I love you all) but a real 3 in the morning shotgun, bag of lime and shovel type friend. So here we are.

Before getting going it is worth touching on my concept of use for this 'Bug Out Bag'. My intent is for a bag that can sustain a person (not including all water) for at least 72 hours under situations they are likely to face. Obviously the winter BOB of a person living in North Dakota will be considerably different than one for a person in Florida. People in all but the mildest climates would be well advised to have a winter module to add to their spring/ summer setup.

 I am going to break this down into different sub systems. Will then list my opinions of what is necessary per sub system. You might disagree with a particular widget but think hard before leaving out a whole sub system.

Carry Containers
-Large bag aprox 3k cubic in size. Mine is an older REI brand model that luckily came out in earth tones. There are tons of great bag options from several hundred dollar brands like Kirafu or Mystery Ranch down to the terrible to carry but durable Alice for $30ish. Just get a good earth tone bag you will practice carrying.
-Hill People Gear kit bag to carry my survival load. Survival load components are bold and put in their individual categories. In a more kinetic situation the stuff currently in my kit bag would go into the fighting load.

Sub Systems

Tools- Pathfinder trade knife in survival load, Cold Steel trail hawk, leatherman multi tool, Lansky diamond rod sharpener.

Fire- Survival load: Lighter with rubber bands around it in small ziplock,  rod and steel. Fire kit containing 1x bic lighter with rubber bands around it, match case full of matches, 4x tea candles

Navigation- Compass in survival load. Maps. 1x 1:50k of my immediate area. 1x state map with as much detail as possible. Protractor and 2x pencils. All in 1 gallon ziplock bag. Wrist compass as backup.

Water- 2x 1qt water bottles, MSR bladder (empty) in ruck, water purification tablets in survival load, Sawyer water filter

Food- 72 hours worth of food broken into 1 day bags, Bag of hard candy

Cooking- Stainless steel canteen cup, Solo Stove with Solo Pot 900 (conspicuously absent from the bag today, MIA from the move I guess)

Shelter- Swack Shack for shelter, woobie for warmth (obviously a light system for summer in Arizona then Louisiana), Heavy duty space blanket just in case.
Spare clothes- Boonie hat, Gore Tex jacket, polypro top (waffle type), long sleeved shirt, short sleeved t shirt, pants, fleece hat, 2 pair of sock, leather gloves

First Aid- My first aid gear is broken up into an IFAK and a boo boo kit. The IFAK is my trauma stuff. The Boo boo kit is more of a kit designed to keep me moving and as comfortable as possible.

IFAK- Tourniquet, Israeli bandage, compressed gauze, Needle for chest decompression, Nasal airway tube, Glow stick in case it is dark when I need this stuff.

Boo boo kit containing bandaids, mole skin, duct tape, pain killers, liquid bandage, athletic tape, neosporin, crazy glue and yet another glow stick

Hygiene- 1x roll of TP in ziplock bag, wash cloth, bar of soap, toothbrush, floss (w/ large needle inside for emergency repairs, chap stick

Lighting- Headlamp in survival load, Glow stick left side pouch, battery powered glow stick in right side pouch, cheapo LED light in top pouch, glow stick in IFAK. Basically every pouch has some sort of light in it just in case.

Signaling- Whistle in survival load, strip of VS-17 panel, weatherproof notebook and pencil

Self Defense- This one gets a lot of play. Honestly aside from wanting to have some spare ammo it doesn't get much play in my bag. I carry 2x G17 magazines, 50 rounds of 9mm ammo and 50 rounds of .22lr. Obviously guns to go with these cartridges are implied and ammo is as a backup. I could certainly add to this admittedly minimalist setup if the situation dictated. That being said the lions share of that would go in a fighting load. At most a couple of spare bandoleers of ammo would go into my ruck.

Misc- Aprox 20ft of 550 cord in survival load, 1x heavy duty contractor type black plastic bag, 6x AAA batteries for my headlamp (2x replacements), 2x replacement batteries for the battery powered glowstick. Also in a bug out type situation I would add our important document folder, emergency cash and precious metals. That stuff does not live in the bag because it goes in the car on long drives and such.

Discussion: First and foremost obviously needs will vary by the scenario(s) you are worried about, your skill level in different areas, region and season. Also there is a reasonable degree of individual preference. For example I currently have a medium sized belt knife and a tomahawk while another person might carry a large knife and a folding saw. You get the idea.

I am not going to say my system is set, let alone perfect. It is sort of an evolving thing that I am not quite done with. Need to add more 550 cord beyond the survival load, build some skills then add a food procurement system of fishing stuff plus some traps. Second this also reminds me to take a look and maybe rotate out some pain meds, etc. Along with this I need to get moving on adapting the kit to Louisiana, getting local maps, probably adding some bug spray, etc.

Hopefully this helps my buddy and maybe a few other people. What is in your bug out bag?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

JP's Custom Knives Camp Knife Specs

More info on my Camp Knife by JP's Custom Knives. The steel is 1/4 inch thing 5160 Spring Steel and the handle is Teak.
The blade is 9.5 inches long. Total length is 15 inches. The edge is a full grind.
JP's custom knives also has several knives ready for immediate sale including a chef's knife, skinning knife, push dagger, double edged dagger,  and a Pirate Cutlass.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Camp Knife by JP's Custom Knives

My Camp Knife by JP's Custom Knives arrived today.

Blade length 9.5in 
Total Length 15 in
Weight 1 pound 2.2 ounces

My initial impression is this knife is just awesome. Well balanced, beautiful fit and finish, very sharp and easy in my hand. I recommend you consider JP's Custom Knives for any cutlery needs you may have.
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