Reviews & articles for shooting sport enthusiasts.

Archive for April, 2011

SOG Flash II – It is quick…

In between the author’s federal party volunteer work, getting taxes complete, paying employment, and shooting hobbies, as well as family on top of that; TPF is pleased to be able to take a look at SOG’s Flash II, assisted opening knife. The model we are looking at today is the black polymer handled, drop-point, straight-edged version; specifically the FSA-8.

SOG - Flash-II

SOG’s Flash-II

SAO knives (Spring-Assisted-Opening) are perfectly legal in Canada. As has been described to the author by those with far more knife knowledge than TPF; as long as you have to mechanically or physically move the blade before the spring takes over and finishes opening the blade to full extension it is 100% good to go. Ones that do not move the blade are the automatic, and ones which you can open with the “flick of the wrist” or through centrifugal force are considered prohibited devices. So your old 1980’s lock-back knife that is loose to the point that the blade falls out of the handle when you hold it certain ways is a bad thing in Canada. Our laws make about as much sense as giving a murderer three-for-one credit for time served while waiting for trial…

SOG - Flash-II Clip

Single cap screw for reversible clip & safety lever

Back to the SOG Flash II. The knife uses the patented SAT opening mechanism (SOG Assisted Technology) for its mechanism for completing the opening once the thumb stud on the blade is engaged. It is fast and solid in operation. The model reviewed was equipped with black Zytel handles and includes a reversible pocket clip. This clip actually protrudes past the handle and allows for the knife to be carried in one’s pocket with the most minimal visual clues. As SOG states, the clip allows for “the lowest, most discreet carry possible.” TPF has to agree, and the clip is mounted to allow for minimal hand repositioning or manipulation, when withdrawing it from the pocket and opening the blade.

Now for the operation of the Flash II. Opening the blade is a two-part process. Firstly the safety must be manipulated into the unlocked position, which is denoted by a bright red indicator. This safety appears to have a detent as it does require a decent amount of effort to shift and there is a noticeable mechanical “unlock/lock” when used. The safety was included as an additional measure to prevent unwanted blade opening, which sounds like a CYA statement to TPF. The opening of the blade is accomplished only through the use of the blade mounted thumb studs mounted on opposite side of the blade itself. For closing of the blade, the pivoting stud located in the handles is pulled back and unlocks the blade, allowing for closing. This pivoting stud is easy to use and allows for one-handed closing by using the thumb to unlock the blade and then pressing the back of the blade against any object, such as a pant leg, and into the closed position.

SOG - Flash-II

The most basic version of the Flash II

Both the safety lock and the blade release are located on the same side of the knife, the only true issue with the knife is if you reverse put the pocket clip. Manipulation of the safety looks as though it would become much more difficult due to how close the clip sits to the safety lever. The 89mm (3.5″) stainless steel, straight blade is housed in the encompassing and surprisingly comfortable and firm grips. At 97 grams (3.1 oz) this knife masses very light for its size due to the thorough use of Zytel.

SOG Specialty Knives and Tools has numerous variations available for this knife including tanto shaped blades, black TiNi coatings, partially serrated edges and numerous colour options for the handle similar to the SOGZilla reviewed earlier by TPF. Also available is an aluminum machined handle version which increases the Flash II’s mass to 131 grams (4.2 oz), and a rescue version which has a serrated sheep’s foot contoured blade with a black or orange Zytel handle.

The SOG Flash II reviewed (FSA-8) has a MSRP of $75.00 USD and is available at a great variety of knife stores across Canada. SOG’s website can help prospective buyers to decide on the option they like best and even purchase it direct, but be aware that shipping costs may be unbelievably high. Most versions of the Flash II have MSRP’s under $90 with the exception of a few select configurations which top out at nearly $145.00 USD.

SOG Specialty Knives and Tools’ Flash II – Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical?


Multitasker Tools – Ultralight

Ultralight Box

Anticipating the tool...

Earlier TPF reviewed another weapon specific tool from Multitasker. The TUBE. It was a purposely engineered piece of kit that was meant to allow for a simple, multi-purpose, EDC for basic routine maintenance of the M16/M4/AR series of rifle platforms. The next step in evolution for Multitasket Tools? The Ultralight!

The Ultralight is a small self contained multi-tool akin to the Swiss Army knife, with one specific difference. Where a tool with clumping may contain five to six small stubby tool arms for each full size one, the Ultralight has only four tool arms… TPF can hear the collective question from you; What do you mean only four tools? Is it some sort of scam? Talking to Multitasker Tools, TPF was able to learn a couple things about the design ideals and ethics (yes we said ethics) of Multitasker Tools. Mr. Shane Keng was able to shed a bit of light on the subject and the following points give a basic summary of the reasoning behind the choices and decisions in regards to the company’s engineering practices.

  • No quality will be sacrificed. That includes high quality, custom manufactured bushings. It is not a contest to make the most profitable tool by using cheaper materials, but the best tool out there from a quality standpoint.
  • Clumping of tools is sure sign of not having a defined audience and it detracts from strength of those tools both in functionality and aesthetics.
  • It is not a race to see who has the highest tool count on their product. That is a marketing gimmick and Multitasker prides itself on thorough engineering and use of focus groups for designing the best tool for the purpose audience.

It is evident by looking at the Ultralight that Multitasker Tools takes those guidelines to heart. Stainless steel components coated in a matte black oxide finish and wrapped by nicely patterned G-10 panels. Those chosen four arms are impressive and solid, both in construction and function. From upper right and going clockwise (as per image):

Ultralight Displaying the wares

Extended and showing it all.

  • Arm 1: The Scraper. The scraping arm is very similar in design to the removable one on the TUBE, in that it is rounded to fit the radius of the M16/M4/AR15 bolt carrier and can, if needed to, be used as a bolt hook (Not recommended by the manufacturer, but is mentioned by them). Thumb stud opening, and liner-lock release.
  • Arm 2: The Cleaning Arm. Brandishing an #8-32 male thread, this arm come with the proven and effective cleaning pick by Multitasker. The threaded nature of this arm allows for usage of a multitude of cleaning options to allow for cleaning a firearm from bolt group to flash hider and pretty much everywhere else. This arm is opened with a thumb nail slot and locked in place using a second separate liner-lock.
  • Arm 3: The Bit Driver. Yet another common and extremely useful addition for any serious maintenance it the 6.4mm (1/4″) magnetic hex-bit driver. Akin to its smaller cousin (the TUBE), the Ultralight comes with an A2, four prong sight adjustment bit, and unlike the TUBE, come with an addition set of 10 other common bits. Opened simply by and operators fingers due to the size of the component part (and the 4 prongs work well for is using gloves), this arm has a substantial spine lock that is anything but weak.
  • Arm4: The Wrench. This is the key component which sets the Ultralight apart from most of the other multi-tools. The receiver extension nut, aka Castle Nut, wrench. Multitasker insists that it is meant for field fixes. However, the construction of this tool in itself makes TPF believe that you could easily over torque the castle nut with this tool. Also includes an 8.0mm(5/16″) flat screwdriver on the end of the wrench. Opened using a protrusion/lug of the wrench and another strong spine-lock to keep it in open position.

A small lanyard loop and pocket clip complete the Ultralight itself, but it also comes with a black nylon, belt pouch which is also Molle compatible. This pouch has an internal pocket, securely containing the plastic carry strip which holds the 10 additional driver bits. With physical dimensions of  108mm x 25mm x 19mm  (4.25″ x 1.0″ x 0.75″) and massing a mere 180gr (7oz), the Ultralight is no more obtrusive than a typical Swiss Army knife as compared to earlier…

Ultralight Closed

Ready to store and be carried.

For those interested in Multitasker’s Ultralight, it can be ordered from Brownells for $74.99USD.

Multitasker’s Ultralight – Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical?


Gerber eFECT – Weapons Maintenance Tool

For those who have never once gone camping or have next to zero experience with blades of any type, Gerber is just the name of a prominent baby food manufacturer. Fortunately that Gerber isn’t the one being looked at today.

Gerber Legendary Blades has been around in one form or another for over seven decades. over these years, knives manufactured by Gerber have been used in nearly every possible application ranging from kitchen cutlery, issued military equipment, wilderness survival, to EDC companions. They have run the gambit.

eFECT1

The Gerber eFECT : Weapon Maintenance Tool

However. . . Most multi-tools are not geared towards specific purposes. Despite being released into production over a year ago, the Gerber eFECT (yes that is the proper spelling and punctuation) seeks to fill the perceived gap for routine field maintenance of your AR15 rifle platform. The eFECT is a 113gr (4.0 oz) tool whose tools are blackened stainless steel and comes with a simple black, Molle compatible,Velcro closing, sheath. Sporting a compact size, 32mmx25mmx90mm (1.25″x1.0″x3.5″); the eFECT is very small when you compare it to many of today’s available multi-tools.

The eFECT is a multi-tool which contains three lockable tool arms on each side. Now these tools and attachments include the following:

  • Arm 1- The carbon scraper which is very robust and simple in design. A cylinder with 1/4 of the length removed for creating the scraping edges.
  • Arm 2- A long pin punch to help disassemble your upper and lower halves of your AR platform.
  • Arm 3- Tool attachment (Female threaded 8-32), complete with a nylon brush which is threaded into the aforementioned screw thread.
  • Arm 4- Tool attachment (Female threaded 8-32). Only this one has a removable wire pick for cleaning the hard corners.
  • Arm 5- Large flat screwdriver which doubles as a scraper.
  • Arm 6- A mounting stud for a magnetically attached A1 & A2 front sight adjuster.
eFECT2

Displaying all six arms and their features

All arms are lockable in the fully extended position via two short sliding lock mechanisms; arms 1-3 and arms 4-6 respectively. By locking an arm out, a solid working platform for that specific tool/attachment is created. The arms themselves are easily opened through the use of either a large finger nail hook or the shear physical size of the arms themselves. The eFECT was designed to fully interact with many Otis cleaning products as attachments to facilitate further care and maintenance of your AR series firearm. All of the eFECT’s arms and attachments allow for the care of a multitude of other black rifle platforms.

MFG-556-EFECT

An Otis/Gerber cleaning combo

Recently; Otis technologies had announced that they will be offering, in conjunction with Gerber Legendary Blades, a full cleaning kit which incorporates the eFECT with several additional Otis attachments.

The Gerber eFECT weapons maintenance tool is available at Brownell’s for a retail price of $79.99 USD.

The choice is as usual up to you, the reader. Is the Gerber eFECT weapon maintenance tool Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical?