Reviews & articles for shooting sport enthusiasts.

Archive for October, 2011

A general workhorse knife? SOG may have it already!

The title easily sums up what the focus of this instalment of TPF will be regarding. It has been called the most most popular item produced by SOG Specialty Knives and Tools. However,  isn’t some fancy multi-tool, which TPF does enjoy reviewing by the way. Nor is it some flashy folding knife with all sorts of carry options, which TPF also likes to see. It just happens to be a simple solidly built fixed knife titled the Field Pup I.

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From the box imagery, 3D modeling was used to design the Field Pup

Now here at TPF, we cannot fathom why SOG chose to label this blade the Field Pup, but when introduced in as a new product in 2002, the Field Pup was hailed as a very good all around knife. It’s larger brother the X-42 Field Knife, won in 2003 for Field and Stream’s Best of the Best for design and overall capabilities for a conventional and utilitarian blade. While the X-42 field knife is no longer produced, the Field Pup mimics most of the features that were so highly appraised on it’s bigger brother.

FP3-002

Sporting a minimal recurve edge, SOG's Field Pup I is a sleek blade for nearly all outdoor usage

Sporting a 102mm (4.0″) blade whose spine is an impressive 3.3mm (0.13″) thick the Field Pup shows off it’s primary feature quite well. The flat ground blade has a slight drop point profile with the back edge being nearly linear, and featuring a slight recurve cutting edge which adds to the utilitarian design of the knife itself. A recurve blade feature is supposed to lend itself to aid in slicing (draw-cuts), and on larger blades allows for more mass to be closer to the tip of the blade and promote higher chopping ability.

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With large, moulded grip and checkered texturing, the Field Pup is very comfortable to wield

The grip of the Field Pup is manufactured from Kraton, a synthetic substitute for rubber, and is moulded around the full length tang of the blade. With better chemical, wear, and thermal resistance than rubber, the Kraton grips are a natural choice for a field knife that could be exposed to any environment and a large variety of tasks. The thickly moulded grip incorporates a trio of shallow finger grooves and has a very slightly compressible surface which, when added to the checkered pattern on the grip sides, makes this knife extremely comfortable and affords a very secure means of holding the knife. An aggressive thumb ridging on the spine of the knife enhances the ability for imparting force and control through any heavier cutting work that may be done with the blade.

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The thumb serrations may be too aggressive for some

Overall this knife measures 216mm (8.5″) in length and masses 212.6 grams (7.5 oz) which is fairly lightweight as an all round field utility knife. The blade is manufactured from 7Cr17MoV steel, which TPF has been told is the equivalent of 440A stainless steel, and receives very well regarded heat treatment processes, which enhance both the wear resistance and edge retaining properties of the blade. 

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The current fold-over sheath

Over the many years of production, the only alterations other than the text and logo have been the once included para cord lanyard loop and a selection of sheath designs. The two previous sheath for the Field pup reflected the trends of the times. A riveted, simple leather fold-over belt sheath and a larger nylon sheath with retaining snap loop and an accessory pocket. The current sheath is a fairly simple leather fold-over design which uses 2.4 – 2.8mm (6-7 oz) leather and has the retaining edges stitched. Recall that the older version was riveted, however, unlike the past version, today’s Field Pup sheath comes with a retaining snap loop. A generously sized, albeit thin, belt loop completes the sheath.

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What may be the weakest component of the entire Field Pup package. The belt loop is not a heavy/robust design

A single variation of the Field Pup is available and the only difference the satin finish, as reviewed, is replaced by the blade being coated in a black titanium nitrite finish. Due to the immense popularity of this knife design, SOG also created a slightly larger version which is nearly identical in manufacture. These upscaled 121mm (4.75″) blade versions are called the Field Pup II.

Overall TPF finds the Field Pup I a very solidly constructed knife and understands why it has been such a popular knife for hunters, campers, and outdoors-men in general for all these years. The Field Pup I, model FP3 as reviewed, has an MSRP of $62.25 USD and can be readily found at a variety of stores, such as Warriors and Wonders in Vancouver, B.C.

The one true question that only you, the reader, can answer. Is the Field Pup I fixed blade knife, from SOG Specialty Knives and Tools; Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical?

FP3-008

Since 2002, SOG's Field Pup I has been a staple for outdoorsmen everywhere


The 400 Compact Sport Multi-Plier, Gerber Simplicity

It seems like TPF has a plethora of blades and multi-tools available for creating reviews about, which is surprisingly correct. Gerber Legendary Blades has been a true supporter of TPF’s endeavours and on behalf of the CSSA, they deserve many accolades for their efforts. As stated in the previous posts, the author of TPF is not a “knife guy” but in the last few months of reviewing so many knives and researching about them, that knowledge level is increasing slowly but surely.

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The Compact Sport 400, a utilitarian multi-tool?

While not wholly familiar with all knife aspects, TPF is familiar with tools, and in this case multi-tools. Gerber Gear’s 400 Compact Sport multi-tool is featured in this review. Now the Compact Sport is a slightly smaller, more compact version of the 600 series Basic multi-tool by Gerber. Despite this it still falls into a full-sized category. One of the interesting features of this multi-tool design is the method of which to open the tool with only a single hand. Unlike most multi-tools which have the jaws pivot on studs in the handle ends, the Compact Sport utilizes an interesting design which upon exertion of some centrifugal force, causes the jaws to slide out and lock into position.

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A spring-loaded locking pin is captive via the elongated clip. This retains the jaw assembly in the handles as well as locks the jaws into the extended position.

The 400 Compact Sport as reviewed here is the black oxide coated edition, with a brushed stainless steel being the alternate for visual appearance. With an overall extended length of 144.0mm (5.67″), and a collapsed length of 112.0mm (4.41″) the 400CS, is on the smaller side of “full size” multi-tools compared to others which claim the same title. The stainless steel jaws are machined from a forging and are symmetrical in manufacturing (Each jaw is the identical when machined). The handles themselves are identical and are constructed from a single piece of stamped sheet which is then folded and formed into shape and attached at the pivot point with a large rivet. The jaws themselves are also riveted together and are installed in the guide cutouts on the outer side of the handles. Retained by an elongated spring steel clip a captive, spring-loaded buttons on each handle secure the jaws into extended position. TPF will state that there is some side to side play when the jaws are extended, and that is most likely due to the nature of the dual pivots (jaws and handles) and the requirement to float and create a natural tendency to align the pivots for opening and closing of the jaws.

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With the jaws retracted, the Gerber Compact Sport 400 shows the well-engineered design which equates to a very simple and functional layout

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The Compact Sport 400 with jaws locked into the extended position and opened fully

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A simple slider is the means for unlocking fully extended tool arms

The CS400 has multiple tool arms common for many multi-tools which are contained inside the handles and as usual , however one of the features is that each arm is lockable in the fully extended position via a sliding plate lockup mechanism. Spring loaded to auto lock an extended tool arm, releasing the lock is accomplished by sliding the plastic tab and disengaging the locking plate. One of the other features rarely seen in many multi-tools is the inclusion of spacers/washers between tool arms which prevent clumping when retrieving tools. Clumping occurs when you are pulling on a single tool arm and multiple arms follow in a “clump”. The spacers/washers is usually omitted in multi-tools which are trying to put as many tool arms into the handles as it is an added cost and space requirement compared to adding another arm or two for additional “features”.

CS400-07

Spring loaded to automatically engage, the locking plate works by engaging a flat section on the tool arms. The rivet is connected to the outer release slider

The CS400 is however a value version of the larger tools available from Gerber Gear, and it is apparent that this is a no-frills tool made for abuse. The forged jaws themselves feature a combination pliers layout with a needle nose profile and an incorporated wire cutter. On the inner side (handles), the jaws have a small crimping area to complete the features specific to the jaws of the CS400.

TPF will now go over the seven (7) tool arms which are contained in the CS400’s handles. Note that ALL the tool arms are opened via a nail nick which in some cases the author found to be difficult to successfully use. Now this may be due to the CS400 reviewed being brand new and hardly worked in, or perhaps the retaining nut/bolt assembly was tightened to ensure that the tool arms could only be opened by dedicated effort.

  1. Partially serrated blade – A Wharncliffe profile which looks crude but has a very aggressive serrations which occupies approximately 2/3 of the blade length
  2. Philips screwdriver
  3. Bottle  opener – Also has a medium-size flat screwdriver tip incorporated into it
  4. Can opener
  5. Small flat screwdriver
  6. Large flat screwdriver
  7. “Fiskar” scissors
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Partially serrated blade, philips screwdriver, bottle opener/flat screwdriver

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Can opener, small and flat screwdrivers, the "Fiskar" scissors

Now as the handle design has all the rounded edges on the outer portions, the CS400 is very comfortable to use and does not dig in or hurt the hand while applying pressure through the jaws. However, like many of this design style of multi-tool, the tool requires opening before one can access any of the tool arms. While not ideal, TPF recognizes that the primary purpose of a multi-tool is not to act as a screwdriver or a pair of scissors, but as a plier tool first and foremost. Here at TPF we want out readers to be informed as well, and the CS400 is on the smaller end of the full size multi-tools and the length of the tool arm screwdrivers is limited,  but appears to be fully functional. The only drawback in TPF’s opinion is that black oxide finish shows any and all scrapes and nicks far more than a standard version would.

The final component for the CS400 package is the carry sheath. Made of nylon with a standard velcro closure, the CS400 sheath does have some interesting features. The sheath that comes with the black oxide version has a Molle compatible mount which doubles as a standard belt loop method for affixing the pouch and tool to your belt/gear. This may be typical for all versions of the CS-400, but unknown at this time. The most interesting feature of the sheath is that the bottom edge of the sheath is reinforced and open. You can see the jaws slightly protrude through the opening when collapsed, yet this opening allows for the tool to be sheathed when the jaws are locked into extended position.

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The CS400 sheath has an interesting feature

The CS400 is roughly 75% the size of it’s larger kin, the 600 Series Multi-tool (A future review perhaps?) and as such is a reasonably sized multi-tool for EDC. The Compact Sport 400 with the black oxide finish has an MSRP of $59.00USD whereas the plain version is slightly less at an MSRP of $51.00USD. This product is available at many retailers and online stores throughout Canada such as http://www.soldier-gear.ca

As always here at TPF, it is up to you the reader to decide the following:
Gerber Gear’s Compact Sport 400 – Black Oxide version; is it Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical?


More apologizes, congratulations and more reviews.

Yes we here at TPF know that we have been delinquent at providing timely reviews recently. Before we get to this we have to state the following.

Many thanks to all who have gone out and voted in the provincial elections, even more thanks to those whom have spent the time and effort into volunteering for their chosen candidates. It is a boots on the ground effort that usually succeeds in creating change and it is the support of good people who make the difference between an MP or MPP being there as a job or as a representative of his/her constituents.

Congratulations to Mr. Robert Ghiz, for leading his Liberal party to winning 22 of 27 seats in PEI on October 3rd, 2011. While down 2 seats from previous, the Liberals held onto their majority in Seats. Nearly 76% voter turnout.

Congratulations to Mr. Greg Selinger, for leading his NDP party to winning 37 of 53 seats in Manitoba on October 4th, 2011. An increase of one seat at the Liberal party’s cost for a stronger majority than the previous government. An abysmal 57% voter turnout.

Congratulations to Mr. Dalton McGuinty, for leading his Liberal Party to winning 53 of 107 seats in Ontario on October 6th, 2011. A far cry from the previous Liberal 73 seat majority government. A disgraceful 49.2% voter turnout. Here at TPF we have a love/hate relationship with McGuinty which is not likely to change. Good luck to PC leader Tim Hudak and NDP leader Andrea Horwath at making sure that the Liberals cannot further dig an even bigger financial hole that is called Ontario.

TPF apologizes for not waiting to announce the winners of Manitoba’s election tonight, October 11th, but we are not fortune tellers, despite hindsight being better than 20/20. Please enjoy your democratic right and get out and vote. An old saying rings true in that if you do not vote, you have no right to criticize how the region is being run.

Finally, readers will be pleased to note that TPF’s authors are hopefully finished with all their extracuriccular activities (far less politics and work related absences), to once again provide our readers with reviews of what may be Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical.