The ultimate knife? TPF lets you know who thinks so!
Edward Michael Grylls.
Many of our readers may not recognize that name, but if TPF were to mention “Bear” Grylls, you may recall that he is the United Kingdom’s version of Les Stroud, and a worldwide adventurer! In truth, if you are a long time reader of TPF, you would have known about this person from previously reviewed products. In this installment of TPF, yet another Gerber/Grylls collaboration was done on what is titled the “Ultimate Knife”. As always however, we here at TPF will give you the facts and details and leave the decisions to you, the readers.
The Ultimate Knife is supposedly the only knife you would need in a survival/adventuring excursion. The knife and sheath come with a myriad of features and requirements that would provide many basic necessities for outdoor use. Gerber Legendary Blades has a whole realm of Grylls’ survival equipment available, but of course there is never enough space to describe everything.
Contained within the 254mm (10.0″) overall length of the knife is a 122mm (4.8″) drop point blade. This half serrated, hollow ground blade is manufactured from 7Cr17Mov Stainless Steel which allows for good edge retention and extreme ease of cutting rope when required. The blade’s serrations start from the choil of the blade and run approximately 47.5mm (1.875″) in length and with a spine thickness of 4.8mm (0.19″) this knife is fairly robust and meaty by massing 318 grams (11.2 oz).
The handle is manufactured from an orange coloured polymer and is embedded with TacHide™ rubber to ensure a secure and comfortable grip on the knife when in use. Add to that a hammer/pommel measuring 32.4mm x 21.5mm (1.28″ x 0.85″) to the hilt of the knife and it becomes easier to see why Gerber and Bear claim this is the ultimate outdoor knife.
There are actually even more features of the knife which are included for additional survival requirements. On the back edge of the knife spine, is a 19mm (0.75″) section which is machined down as a striker for the fire-starter, to be mentioned later in this review. As well are three through holes measuring 4.9mm (0.195″) in diameter, two of which are at the front edge of the guard and one in the pommel. These three holes are present for if and when the user wishes to mount the knife on a shaft for a spear. An emergency whistle is integrated into a lanyard cord which is threaded through the pommel’s hole, but it is the sheath and all it’s features which add to the collective exuberance of features in the whole package.
The sheath and secured knife mass a total of 418 grams (14.7 oz) and measure 278mm (10.9″) overall in length when worn. The knife retaining portion of the sheath is manufactured from a injection molded polymer which houses the fire-starter. This fire-starter is a Ferrocerium rod which is embedded into a small plastic handle that snaps into a specific area on the polymer sheath. By striking.scraping the fire-starter against the “striker” located on the knife’s spine, the user can generate high temperature sparks and ultimately fire which is always a great benefit to those who adventure outdoors. The remainder of the sheath is manufactured from ballistic black nylon and contains additional items of interest. The nylon sheath has two (2) Velcro straps on it. The first one is to secure the knife’s handle more fully when fully sheathed, and the second strap holds the plastic knife sheath portion against the nylon sheath backing. The first question to pop into your mind may be why bother? Mounted to the backside of the plastic sheath is a diamond grit sharpening insert of sufficient size to resharpen the knife’s plain edge.
With survival in mind, the mildew resistant sheath has two more features to help the adventuring outdoorsman. The first is a sewn in pocket which depicts various land to air rescue instructions and signals. This pocket also contains a tightly folded, water resistant, basic survival guide which contains Bear Grylls’ survival essentials. The sheath can be worn two orientations, the tradition hanging belt loop orientation, plus the sheath has two additional loops which allow for a horizontal wearing. For the second method, it is likely that the handle Velcro strap would not be used for additional securing of the blade.
The “Ultimate Knife” as reviewed, was released in late 2010 by Gerber Legendary Blades under product number #31-000751, and is still available to this day at an MSRP of $62.00USD. It can be found all across Canada both online and at real storefront locations such as Wholesale Sports, located in Winnipeg, Manitoba. So depending on your requirements, how would you class this “Ultimate Knife”? Tactical? Practical? Or fantastical?
Additional Notes: there are newer options for the Ultimate Knife such as a pure fine edged blade instead of the partially serrated one, as well as a Pro version which uses a higher quality and denser steel for it’s plain edge.
SHOT Show 2014 – The first official CSSA Canadian Industry Gathering
Welcome to Las Vegas, Nevada. Home of the 2014 Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show; a.k.a. 2014 SHOT Show. This years show was held once again at the Sands Convention Center from January 14th to the 17th and would once again draw people from all over the world.
TPF Online arrived Saturday to an absolutely brisk 20°C with nary a cloud in the skies. This type of weather would continue for the entire duration of TPF-Online’s presence in Sin City.
Fast forward to Monday morning at Media Day, where TPF Online was on site and shooting suppressed .308 AR platforms by 8:05 in the morning, Kriss Super-V fully automatic suppressed SMG’s around lunchtime and followed in the afternoon by shooting trap with KSG’s and Beretta tactical shotguns… TPF also got to play once again with the IWI Tavor akin to the one being raffled off by Gun Owners of Canada; sign up and you can win!
After the extreme joy of Media Day, the next four days are purely SHOT Show and many kilometres of aisles. Over 1600 exhibitors were present and displaying their wares and sales staff across 5.3 hectares (13 acres) of floor space and divided by 20.1 Km (12.5 miles) of aisles. As a tidbit of information, note that the SHOT Show is the 16th largest trade show in North America, and attracts exhibitors and attendees from every US state and over 100 countries. Canada’s hunting, shooting, and outdoor trade industry is valued at roughly one billion dollars annually, and at the SHOT Show the value of the products on the show floor is equal to that. Most people do not realize that Canada is a huge marketplace for firearms, especially for manufacturers from the USA. For every 1,000 guns that are manufactured in the USA, approximately 96% are for domestic usage; sold via retail in the USA. That leaves roughly 40 guns that are exported per 1,000 produced, and Canada imports 35-37 of those. So in 2010 there were 5.5 million firearms manufactured in the USA, which roughly translates into roughly 150,000 US manufactured firearms imported into Canada annually. When you add in all the remaining imports of firearms from other countries, plus the few remaining Canadian manufacturers, it becomes apparent that the Canadian firearms industry is alive and well.
The Canadian Shooting Sports Association decided to host an event during the SHOT Show as most of the industry would be in Las Vegas that week to renew contracts and create new ones regarding firearms, ammunition, accessories and all things similarly related. TPF was present and from discussions with attendees and CSSA representatives, the event was beyond expectations. Hosted at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas, the event was originally to be held in the Reno Room, but was shifted at the last moment to the Laughlin Room. There were representatives that reached across the gambit of the Canadian firearms industry. Manufacturers, Distributors, Retailers, and Media were present for the event which had 150 or more attendees at its peak. Both Gun Owners Of Canada and CanadianGunNutz, the two largest Canadian firearms web forums were there as was Calibre Magazine, the only firearm magazine published in Canada. Other media celebrities were there as well such as Scott Funk of YouTube famous Funker Tactical, and Brian Lovig of the Daily Split, among others. There was some nicely present food trays of meats, vegetables and fruits, and the CSSA was fairly liberal in giving out drink tickets that evening. Unfortunately a couple of people left a bit early, but most attendees were present for the 9pm prize draws. Given away at the draws were several shirts, a bottle of Champaign, a heavy-duty backpack, and the grand prize, a Bug-A-Salt. This event had come a long way from the informal resort/hotel room get together with a score of individuals. So many thanks should be given to the CSSA for their initiative in hosting such an event, to the sponsors for making the event possible, and for all the attendees who made this first Canadian Industry SHOT Show reception as smashing success.
The Sponsors of the event were the following:
- Canadian Shooting Sports Association (CSSA)
- Browning Canada
- Calibre Magazine
- Canada Ammo
- Marstar Canada
- O’Dell Engineering
- PGW Defence Technologies
- R. Nicholls (F.N. Sports)
- Select Shooting Supplies
- T.E.C. Trade Ex Canada
- Trigger Wholesale
- Canadian Sporting Arms and Ammunition Association (CSAAA)
Obviously many thanks should be given to the sponsors of the event so please feel free to click the links, buy their products or products offered by them and help our industry become even better. To those in the industry, TPF recommends you join the CSAAA if you have not already. Why? As the CSSA is roughly the Canadian equivalent to the American NRA, the CSAAA is the Canadian equivalent to the NSSF in America.
Enough about the single greatest Canadian event at SHOT, let s get back to the SHOT Show itself! If you happened to be around and observant enough at the right times and locations, attendees of the 2014 SHOT Show could have seen all sorts of celebrities either at an exhibitor’s booth, or wandering around the show itself. As always nearly every top competitive shooter in the USA is there, nearly every hunting/outdoor channel personality, plus all sorts of celebrities including the following:
- Acting: R. Lee Ermey, Steven Segal, Les Stroud, Joe Montegna
- Racing: Bobby Labonte
- Military: Kyle Lamb, Robert Brown, Chris Costa, Larry Vickers
- Online: Colion Noir, FPS Russia, Hickok45, GunBlast, Funker Tactical
- Other: Jeff Foxworthy, Ted Nugent, Craig Morgan, Governor Rick Perry
The lists of people of greater than average fame, whom are present at SHOT Show are in the several scores of numbers. The number of attendees increased by 5,000 above last year’s total, to an excess of 67,000 attendees. As always there are literally hundreds and hundreds of new product launches at the show as well as celebrity endorsements for them. Whether the items are existing, revised, revamped, resurrected or truly new, the SHOT Show is where dealers will see it for their respective customers. TPF Online is lucky in that this was the eighth (8th) SHOW Show that was attended, and not a year goes by that something new is not learned or brought back to Canada. Hopefully you will be able to attend a SHOT Show in the future if you have not already.
SHOT Show 2015 is once again held in Las Vegas, Nevada. At the Sands Convention Centre once again from January 20th-23rd, 2015. We at TPF are looking forwards to it and the next CSSA Canadian Industry Gathering.
How to improve on success? Add powder and pour – Hornady L-N-L AutoCharge
The authors of Tactical, Practical, and Fantastical have to thank Mr. Andrew Craig of Canadian Reload Radio fame for this review of Hornady’s Lock-N-Load Auto Charge. Hornady and The Korth Group were kind enough to provide TPF-Online with this product for reviewing and Mr. Craig gladly provided us with his viewpoint and writing style for this dispenser. We hope the readers of TPF-Online enjoy this review:
When it comes to reloading there is only a single step that is as big and as important as getting the powder charge right.There are many ways to do this, but few that roll it all into one easy step. Hornady recognized there was a need for a more economical solution to weighing and dispensing powder, and introduced their own version of an automated powder dispenser a few years ago. I finally received the opportunity to sit down with one recently, and, the results were both interesting and impressive.
Out of the box the Auto Charge includes the integrated scale/dispenser, powder silo, universal power adapter, two check weights (10 & 50 grams), flash pan, and a long thin brush for dusting out powder. Included with the manual is a comprehensive quick-start guide that allows for getting the Auto Charge up and running in a matter of minutes. If you do choose to jump right in with the quick-start guide, be sure to read both sides completely, as, the instructions for calibrating the scale are quite specific, and need to be followed in order to get under way quickly.
The Auto Charge has a powder silo large enough to hold 1lb of powder. The guide recommends at a minimum that the silo be filled to the top of the base of the unit, in order to ensure there is enough powder in the hopper to dispense accurately. I had a small amount of Varget that just managed to fill the hopper to the top of the base as indicated, and after following the calibration instructions, quickly began to dispense 42.0 grain powder charges.
Dispensing powder was as easy as entering the charge weight into the keypad, and pressing “enter” in order to set the machine to the desired charge. All that was necessary then was to press “dispense”, and the machine took care of the rest. The Hornady Auto Charge is essentially a digital scale combined with a powder trickler. The powder tube is internally threaded, and angled downwards slightly, so that as it turns, powder is scooped up and moved along the length of the tube, subsequently falling into the flash pan below. As the dispensed powder reaches the desired charge weight, the Auto Charge slows down and enters into “trickle mode”, where it pulses a fraction of a rotation at a time in order to drop the desired charge weight one or two kernels at a time.
There are three different speed settings for dispensing powder, slow, normal, and fast. Depending on the type and quantity of powder being dispensed, there is an ideal setting. I found that the bulkier powders were able to be dispensed on the fastest setting, whereas your finer, ball type powders tended to prefer the normal. Really fine powders, such as those used for shotgun or handgun really didn’t dispense well, or, required the machine to be set on the slowest setting, which meant a significant increase in time between charges. This really has to do with how the machine operates. During dispensing, there are in fact two speeds. An initial, high volume rate of dispensing, which varies based on the selected speed, and then a final trickling speed, which is more of a pulse. Depending on which speed you choose, the trickling mode will kick in sooner or later, so as to allow for as much powder as possible to be dropped into the pan before the final trickle to the desired charge weight.
For testing purposes, I used both Varget, and Ramshot TAC. The Varget was able to be dispensed at the fastest rate, as, it is a bulkier extruded powder. It had a tendency to remain in the trickling tube and only drop one or two kernels at a time during the trickling mode, allowing for a very fast dispensing time, with minimal overcharge errors. The Ramshot TAC on the other hand is a much finer, ball type powder. It was far more likely to cascade out of the tube, resulting in the machine having to be run on the normal speed setting. I found on average that the dispensing time for 43 grains of both Varget and TAC to be 20-30 seconds. As I mentioned, the Auto Charge will result in an overcharge error if it’s run on too fast of a setting. I found that Varget only returned an overcharge error 1 in 10 times on the fastest setting, which meant having to re-dispense the charge. TAC resulted in an overcharge error almost every time on the fast setting, but had no issues when set to the normal speed setting.
Once you’ve settled on a desired charge weight, and dispensing speed, you have the option of running the Auto Charge in either a manual, or automatic mode. Manual simply means that you have to press dispense each time, whereas, on the automatic mode, all you need to do is press dispense, and start dumping powder charges into your waiting cases. Each time you place the empty flash pan onto the scale, the Auto Charge will dispense the next charge as soon as the weight reaches zero. I found that with the machine set to its fastest setting, in combination with Varget, I was able to keep up an almost constant pace of charging cases, with only a short wait between dumping powder into the case and waiting for the next charge to be dispensed.
I was pleasantly surprised by how well the Auto Charge worked. It’s a nice clean, simple unit, and was very easy to operate. I found that its ideal use is for load development, where you might have a number of different charge weights that you want to try. It is equally suited to regular reloading duties as well, however, a standard powder measure is still faster, and capable of dispensing most powders within the same accuracy range. What’s nice about the Auto Charge however is that you know every single time just how much your charge weights, and that there’s no potential for a mix-up, or double charge. Additionally, the Auto Charge can dispense close to a pound of powder, and not need topping up in order to maintain its accuracy. Having a scale built right in ensures you get the exact same, consistent charge weight.
Submitted by: Andrew Craig, Host of Canadian Reload Radio
Hornady is a very much renowned reloading manufacturer based out of Grand Island, Nebraska, and Korth Group are a Canadian importer and distributor of many manufacturers and brands such as Hornady. Again, thanks to Andrew Craig for his submission on the Hornady Lock-N-Load Auto Charge powder dispenser. The product as reviewed has an MSRP of $317.21 USD. This and other Hornady products can be found in a variety of brick and mortar shops across Canada as well as online venues such as Grouse River (which has both!). TPF’s standard clause still applies to our readers to determine if this piece of equipment is Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical for themselves.
The solution to the second most tedious thing about progressive reloading… YES!
“The second most tedious thing?” That was surely the question of most readers when looking at the title of this installment of TPF-Online. Yes, the author did mean to say the second most. The number one most tedious job from the majority of reloaders is trimming brass to length and there are a multitude of methods to do exactly that. However this instalment is about the second most tedious thing for reloaders who utilize progressive presses from Dillon, Hornady, RCBS, etc… So what is the second most tedious thing in progressive reloading? Filling the priming system of the press.
There are currently three common methods used in primer feed devices. Tube, Strip, and Box fed priming systems. Lee progressive presses, like the Loadmaster, utilize the box feed systems for their progressive press designs and it is by far the fastest for reloading primers. RCBS progressives now routinely use a preloaded primer feeding strip system since it’s introduction over a decade ago. But for the rest, a primer fill tube is used for the reloading process to be have one hundred primers ready for reloading. This has, for many, been done via the old fashion method of using a primer flip tray and a primer collecting tube and manually forcing each individual primer into the fill tube. It can take several minutes for an experienced user to pick up a hundred primers, and so many people pre-load several of these fill tubes prior to reloading, which is hard on the hands.
Luckily however, the author occasionally peruses the internet for firearms related products and businesses at random, and it was not too long ago that TPF came across a Canadian IPSC shooter, Mr. Nik Papadhopulli, who decided to open up a small business to supply Canadian shooters with various items to help with reloading and equipment to help competitors with the shooting sports. One of these products offered is an accessory to help speed up primer tube filling. Now TPF knows about Dillon’s RF-100 primer filling station, which is a hands free filler. You put a box of one hundred primers in the top of the unit and press a button and couple minutes later you have a full tube. This option is quite costly with a price tag of nearly $400 including the option to be able to fill both large and small primer tubes. However, at roughly half the price of the RF-100, Red Tip Bullet offers an alternative to Canadians. The Pal-Filler, designed and manufactured in Italy by Palvik, is a hand held, battery operated, primer tube filler.
Smaller, cheaper, and faster, this product already includes the ability to load both small and large primers. Now the Pal-Filler is not some complex, ergonomic and aesthetically beautiful product. It is in fact relatively plain and basic is shape and operation. Included is a double-usage primer tray, where one side is for small primers and the opposite side is for large primers. This tray is attached to the handle/grip and a primer tube is inserted in the appropriate opening. Operation of the Pal-Filler is a simple affair and assumes that the proper primer tube is already pre-inserted into the Pal Filler tool.
- A box of primers is dumped into the flipping tray, and shaken until all primers are anvil side up.
- Once primers are all oriented properly, the user inserts the retaining lid.
- With the unit tipped slightly towards the tube filling hole, the user flips the switch.
- The vibration caused by a rotating offset mass vibrates the Pal-Filler and the primers all fall in sequence into the open tube top.
- Did TPF mention it was fast? From the primer box to a tube filled with one hundred (100) primers in roughly thirty (30) seconds.
The concept for the Pal-Filler is very simple. Use proven, existing technology in a compact package. The small electric motor is wired in series with the simple on/off switch and the battery holder. The motor mounts an offset mass that creates the high frequency vibrations in the unit itself. It indeed is simple and one may think that should not equate into a high cost. Normally TPF would agree, except the Pal-Filler is completely manufactured on CNC machines. The aluminum grip halves are both machined from a billet of aluminum, inside and out. The tray is CNC machined from a block of high density plastic. The motor retaining bracket is machined aluminum as well. Even the battery holder is given a CNC machined base to be mounted on. The design features for ruggedness and longevity are apparent when looking at the Pal-Filler.
Made from quality materials, with quality craftsmanship, this is a fine tool for the reloader who does not want to load primers into tubes manually and is especially suited to volume usage as done by many progressive reloaders. The Pal Filler as reviewed has an MSRP of $189.00 CDN and is available from Red Tip Bullets (
http://www.redtipbullet.com). The question posed to our readers is if this piece of equipment is Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical.
Addendum 2017… We have been informed that Red Tip Bullets has since closed its doors. Which is unfortunate.
Apologies to all.
We at Tactical, Practical and Fantastical wish to convey our utmost apologies to all our readers. Due to various reasons, most of which was a lack of extended time available, there has been a void of posts regarding new item for reviewing. This is being remedied ASAP as TPF has much gear to be looked at and written up about for our reader’s perusal.
Regardless of the excuse, such an absence is unforgivable and we at TPF can only hope we have not lost all our audience from the unacceptable pause in writing.
Look forwards to new reviews in the upcoming days and weeks as we attempt to get back into the swing of things.
Warfare against your hated enemies will never be the same…
You are trapped in your home and you are not alone. You can hear the intruder moving around as though they own the place. This time however you will be defending your self and taking the life from the defiler of your castle. You load up with the salt because you have heard it hurts more. You rack the slide and roughly aim down the sights. Holding your breath, you await the perfect moment to squeeze the trigger. Seconds later you are standing over the carcass of the intruder, grinning from ear to ear, knowing that there is one less piece of vermin to harass other innocents. Hearing more from others in the other room, you rack the slide again and become the hunter in your home, With the yellow and black gun in hand, you go forth to give the scum of the universe a lesson in Castle Law. Now before all of you readers start to A) Scream YES to self-defence, or B) Chastise the author for such fear mongering; please note that there are perhaps millions of these god-forsaken pests that deserve to be eradicated and that could just be those in your own backyard.
You read that correctly, TPF-Online has gotten to review one of the most sought after guns in the last couple years. You may have seen the videos online and you might have dreamed about owning one to complete your arsenal of weapons for removing unwanted guests from your home; but this gun is all about filling the target full of holes. Holes made by salt. Huh?!? That is correct, TPF-Online is pleased to be able to bring our readers a review on the Bug-A-Salt.
Conceived in 2010 by the mind of artist (and surfer) Lorenzo Maggiore, the Bug-A-Salt took several years of conceptual work and testing until it was locked into it’s current design form. It was in late 2012 that Bug-A-Salt became reality, starting with a pre-sale effort on Indiegogo, a crowd-funding website, Mr. Maggiore created a conceptual video and created a goal of a $15,000 to be able to ship the first container of Bug-A-Salt guns from China to California. The response was staggering. Sixty six (66) days after launch, with a viral video, his fund-raising efforts caught the wallets of over ten thousand people across seventy countries, and raised in excess of a half million dollars when the fundraiser closed on September 11th, 2012.
Now it is the author’s belief that nearly everyone has at some point become seriously annoyed with house flies or other insects and bugs in their home. The Bug-A-Salt is a modern version of the fly-swatter. It does cost more and is far heavier, but it very rarely misses the target if used properly, unlike the swinging hands/papers/books/etc… The fact that it is in effect a miniaturized, air powered shotgun, is just an added bonus. Moulded in black and yellow plastic with numerous fly images embossed in the surface, the Bug-A-Salt measures approximately 550mm (21.6″) in length and masses 635.0 grams (22.40 oz) unloaded.
Loading the Bug-A-Salt is very simple. Open the flip-up cap, allowing the “Ammo Hopper” to be accessed. Fill the hopper with ordinary table salt. Close the hopper’s lid. Done! The Bug-A-Salt is now ready for assaulting the forces of the evil empire of insects. Racking the charging handle like a pump action shotgun actually performs multiple internal actions. Not only does it set-up the spring-powered air-piston for the blast of salt, it engages the manual trigger safety and extends the rear sights. The visibility of the orange plastic rear sights is the indicator that the Bug-A-Salt is charged and ready to shoot. With a theoretical bug-lethal range of just under 0.9m (3 ft), the wielder of this weapon does not even need to come near the offensive multi-legged pests as previously required by fly-swatters and flip-flops.
Actual mechanics of the Bug-A-Salt are quite interesting. Upon racking the slide back, a small tower with a cross-drilled hole in it extends inside the salt hopper. This hole is in the same direction as the barrel axis. Gravity causes the salt in the hopper to fill the cavity in this tower. Due to this, it is likely that insufficient salt may be used if held on angles and with lower levels of “ammunition” in the hopper. The racking of the slide backwards is against a spring which powers the pneumatic system, and it also engages the safety level and the rear pop-up sights. In order to fire, the rack must first be pulled back forwards as it is not a spring returned system; then the manual safety must be disengaged. Pull the trigger and the aforementioned tower springs back down in line with the steel barrel tube and the spring loaded piston is released. This causes literally a pinch worth of salt to be expelled from the barrel at sufficient velocities to perforate the targets with at several dozen grains of salt at least.
Fully loaded, the Bug-A-Salt has approximately a 50 shot capacity. If you need to use up the whole hopper on bugs and flies indoors, you may have a more serious problem. TPF-Online asked about the “ammunition” for the Bug-A-Salt and inquired about alternative load-outs. Pepper? Sugar? Flour? The answers a resounding no… Pepper is too thin and gets caught in seams and edges of the internals, sugar is actually too large and has sharp corners which quickly wear down the internals. Flour just gums up everything. So while the Bug-A-Salt is multi-munition capable, the consequences are reduced reliability and a voided warranty. Another helpful tip was to prevent issues with moisture causing issues with function; unloading the Bug-A-Salt between warfare sessions will remove possibilities of clumping salt and failure to feed and fire. Obviously with this product being evaluated during the height of the Winter season, valid targets are scarce for exterminating, but supposedly the corpses of Bug-A-Salt’d flies and insects are pretty much desiccated, meaning dried up therefore an easy cleanup.
FEATURES (As per product description)
- No batteries
- Extremely inexpensive to use
- Excellent for flies on windows
- Excellent for bugs on ceilings and in corners
- Fun—Say goodbye to insect intruders
Of course the whole idea of this product is to eliminate flies and other insects, arachnids, and arthropods. For the reader’s information, arthropods in this context are basically millipedes and centipedes. Being wintertime, TPF was unable to target live specimens to determine actual kinetic effects on actual bugs, and resorted to alternative impact measuring methods. To use a quote from anti-gun Joe Biden; TPF unleashed two “Blasts” from this plastic, salt-loaded, pump-action, miniature shotgun at a sheet of aluminum foil from both 30 cm & 60 cm (11.8″ & 23.6″) distance. At 30cm the salt pattern measured roughly 43mm (1.7″) in diameter, with a few pieces of salt penetrating the aluminum foil target. At the longer range of 60cm away, the salt pattern opened up to roughly 71mm (2.8″) in diameter. While none of the salt particles went through the foil target, there was sufficient cratering to make TPF believe that the odds of an insect’s survival at that distance are non-existent.
Colourful and satisfying to use, the Bug-A-Salt has an MSRP of $34.95 USD. It is available directly from Bug-A-Salt or from Canada’s online source, Fly Shooter, which is the Canadian distributor for the Bug-A-Salt gun. As always, it truly is your opinion if you, the reader, believe this product to be Tactical, Practical or Fantastical.
Canadian designed rifle scopes? Scorpion Optics steps up.
The authors of Tactical, Practical, and Fantastical have to thank Mr. Andrew Craig of Canadian Reload Radio fame for this review of one of the few Canadian designed rifle scopes available on the market. Scorpion Optics was kind enough to provide TPF-Online with one of their scopes for reviewing and Mr. Craig gladly provided us with his expertise on optics. We hope the readers of TPF-Online enjoy this review:
Scorpion Optics Venom Hi-Grade 6-24 x 50mm Rifle Scope
Scorpion Optics has a complete line of hunting and sporting optics with a full range of magnification options. The model provided for review was a Scorpion Venom Hi-Grade 6-24x50mm long range rifle-scope with a one-piece 30mm tube.
Statistics indicated for this particular optic:
6-24 Power range
50mm Objective lens
Side focus adjustable from 15 yards to infinity
One-piece aluminum tube construction
30mm One-Piece Main Tube
Fully-Multi coated lenses
Trajectory Compensating Reticle
1/8 MOA windage & elevation adjustments
>50 MOA adjustment range
For this review, the rifle-scope was mounted to a Robinson Armament XCR-M, a semi-automatic, non-restricted, rifle chambered in .308 Winchester. This particular rifle has a picatinny rail running the full length of the monolithic upper which allows for a wide range of mounting positions and optic styles and designs. A set of extra high Weaver Tactical rings were required due to the space requirements of the optic’s 50mm objective lens. With these rings there was just enough room for the scope’s objective bell to clear the rail.
Initial sight-in was done at 25 yards, with the point of impact being approximately 4 inches low and to the left. Windage was adjusted by simply looking through the optic and turning the adjustment dial until the cross-hair was inline with the initial shot. The adjustments dials are graduated in 1/8 MOA, which means one click moves the point of impact 1/8″ left or right at 100 yards. This allows for a very fine level of adjustment, which can be of benefit for a very accurate varmint rifle. Adjustment knobs are of the finger click type, and yield both a firm and audible click when being turned. The turrets indicate which direction they must be turned in order to adjust the point of impact, but, are not re-settable to zero once adjusted.
At 100 yards, the optic was dialed up to its maximum power of 24X. Power adjustment was very smooth and quick, made easy by an oversized tab on the adjustment ring. The Venom line of optics from Scorpion have fully multi-coated lens surfaces, which is a key feature in maximizing the amount of light gathered and transmitted to the eye. This, coupled with the 50mm objective lens results in a very bright image, with it darkening only slightly at the highest magnification setting. When fired at 100 yards, elevation only needed to be adjusted a minor amount, and it should be noted that windage remained spot-on from being set at 25 yards, and after making adjustments to the elevation at 100.
This optic includes a side focus dial for parallax correction at different distances. The Scorpion 6-24×50 is capable of being adjusted down to 15 yards. Most optics with this feature have a low-end limit of 50 yards, which usually limits their use to outdoor settings where there is more room to shoot. Having the ability to focus down to 15 yards means that this optic can be used at much shorter distances, such as an indoor range where one might wish to practice at a closer distance. The side focus adjustment is very firm, requiring a fair bit of effort to turn. This level of friction ensures that it wont turn if rubbed up against a shoulder while being carried with a sling. There was a slight bit of backlash noticeable when fine adjustments were being made to the focus, but, this did not take away from the rifle scope’s ability to be focused at any distance desired.
As a standard feature, the Scorpion Venom 6-24×50 includes an etched-glass “TCR” reticle. TCR stands for Trajectory Compensating Reticle, and includes hold-overs for distances out to 500 yards. When zeroed at 100 yards, and employed at 200 yards using just the TCR reticle, I had no difficulty hitting the 8 inch metal swinger shot after shot. When using the TCR for your rifle, be sure to verify where your rifle hits at the different distances, as, this type of reticle is of a one-size-fits-all variety. This is common, and you should find that your specific load will be within an inch or two of the hold overs at each distance.
Some final things to consider with this rifle-scope include a stated mass of 860 grams (30 oz), and an overall length of 400 mm (15 in). This is no small rifle scope, and will be ideally suited towards a long range varmint rifle where a bipod, shooting stick, or other stabilizing method is to be used. The model provided for review came in a smooth matte black finish, but on Scorpion Optic’s website, there are options that indicate it is also available in a silver finish. Eye relief is a short 75-81mm, however I found there to be plenty of room behind the eyepiece when shooting, and had no issues positioning my head for a clear image.
All said and done, the Scorpion 6-24x50mm Venom rifle scope provides the user with everything as promised. Features that stood out when using the optic included a very smooth, fast power adjustment, making it possible to change power on the fly without having to look up from the rifle scope. The TCR reticle makes it very versatile for a number of different ranges, and being capable of focusing down to 15 yards means that this optic can fill a larger variety of roles for the target or varmint shooter.
Submitted by: Andrew Craig, Host of Canadian Reload Radio
Scorpion Optics is based out of Manitoba and fields a variety of firearm and bow accessories such as the Venom HG 6-24 x 50mm rifle scope. Again, thanks to Andrew Craig for his submission on the Scorpion Optics Venom HG 6-24 x 50mm rifle scope. For the readers notes, the rifle scope as reviewed has an MSRP of $599.99 CDN which is an impressive price point for a high magnification, large objective lens rifle scope. Scorpion Optics can be found in a variety of brick and mortar shops across Canada as well as online venues such as Outfitter’s Supply Online. As always it is up to our readers to determine if this piece of equipment is Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical for themselves.
SHOT Show 2013
January 15-18, 2013. These were the days that the 2013 Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT Show) was held in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the Sands Expo and Convention Center. With this being the 35th anniversary of the event, one would have expected the event to be a little more upbeat and celebratory in nature. However with the looming issues of multiple executive orders by President Obama and the idiotic “gun control” laws being tabled by the State of New York, the mood was slightly more somber at the largest trade show of its kind in the world.
That was not to say that the manufacturers, distributors, and retailers whom attended as exhibitors and consumers were not busy hammering our deals and displaying new products for 2013… If anything the business side of the industry has been at its highest levels in years with order delivery dates being a year for some instead of a couple of months due to commercial demand. In the few days following the Sandy Hill tragedy, consumer fears resulted in unheard of demand for products, such as Brownell’s selling of 36 months of typical inventory of P-Mags in under 72 hours. Three years of standard sales compressed into under 3 days. Firearms are in such high demand that orders prior to the SHOT Show had already exceeded 800,000 units above currently produced items. That was a SINGLE firearms manufacturer who has orders for over three-quarters of a million firearms and the trade show had not even started yet. From a business perspective 2012 and 2013 are banner years for the industry due to worry about bans and confiscations by the current government administration.
Enough depressing thoughts however. With over 62,000 attendees, plus exhibitors, the 2013 SHOT Show had a record level of attendance. Over 2,000 media representatives scoured the 5.85 hectares (630,000 square feet) of booth space and got the news on what products are new, and what products are hot from over 1,600 exhibiting companies. With over 1,600 companies and the officially open time of the show being a total of 34.5 hours; it equates to only 77 seconds of visiting time per booth. Now that does not seem that bad, except it does not include the 28km (17.4 miles) of aisles of walking between exhibitor booths. So in reality attendees who want to travel the entire show spend roughly 5.5 hours walking the show which drops that down to roughly a minute per booth. Go search on YouTube or google and you will see that most stops are several minutes long. So IF you are going to SHOT Shows in the future, please remember a couple of things.
- Plan out who you need to see versus want to see
- Bring a very comfortable pair of shoes (or two)
- For those who are looking to sign purchase agreements – Bring a cheque-book and a pen
- For Media who have to lug around their equipment? One word – Cardio
- Have fun
Now amidst the hustle and bustle of the SHOT Show there are attendees from all over the world. In fact over 100 countries have people at SHOT Show in various capacities, and Canada is no exception. Similarly to the past half-dozen or more years, the author was there representing the Canadian Shooting Sports Association (CSSA) and as well, TPF in a more recent capacity. One of the evening events that became an informal tradition was a CSSA/Canadian Meet and Greet during the show. While last years was not held due to a lack of foresight, this year was special. With the help of a couple Canadian supporters, the event was a fully fledged social gathering.
Special thanks to the following organizations and companies:
- The Canadian Shooting Sports Association: For encouraging TPF to exist and continue this fine tradition of holding a SHOT Show gathering for Canadians who attend.
- O’Dell Engineering, Trigger Wholesale, and the Korth Group: These three companies made it possible to bring in the food and drink to keep the attendees from having parched throats and empty bellies. It was their support that made the event such a great success.
With the President of the CSSA and the executive director of CILA present as well as a multitude of individuals the evening lasted from 7:00pm until just before midnight, the gathering was well attended and a good time was had by all. Discussions ranged from the current state of Canadian and US affairs regarding firearms to the top Canadian firearms that people should own. Newly found Calibre Magazine was there with several copies of their first publication, which was well received by all attendees.
Nearly twenty people partook of the gathering and while slightly more manoeuvering room would have been appreciated, it was a very enjoyable time and deemed a success, especially due to the last-minute preparations. As the first such event hosted by the CSSA at SHOT Show that was sponsored by members of the Canadian shooting industry, talks are already in the works for expanding and improving the venue for the next year’s SHOT Show. On behalf of the CSSA and it’s members, TPF-Online would like to thank O’Dell Engineering, Trigger Wholesale, and the Korth Group for their contributions, a damned good time, and we look forwards to next year. Please be sure to visit these wonderful companies and find out who their dealers are in your area and have a look!
Also many thanks to Mr. Ly @ Transgressive Media for his images of the event.
Ken Onion’s Skinner – Developed through experience with excellence being the goal.
For many of you who have zero clue who Ken Onion is regarding knives, don’t be too ashamed. Until a couple years ago, the name would have been completely unknown to the author as well. For now TPF will give some background on one of the most innovative and dedicated knife designers/fabricators that has plied his trade in North America for just over the last three decades.
Born in the early 1960’s, Kenneth J. Onion has stated that he has always being interested in knives, yet it was not until 1991 when under the tutelage of a local knife maker, Stanley Fujisaka, that Ken Onion made and completed his first knife. Since then however, Ken Onion has dove into the knife making world head first. In 1996 Ken Onion designed and created a spring assisted opening mechanism, and by 1998 the “Speed Safe” SAO system had been adopted by Kershaw Knives, and Ken Onion was directly working with Kershaw. Many of Kershaws successful designs were from Mr. Onion’s efforts and for the most part associated Ken Onion with Kershaw as the two were nearly interchangeable. Nearly two decades after his first “custom knife”, Ken Onion left Kershaw and created his own company, and partnered up with CRKT back in 2010. With more than several dozen knife related patents to his name and the knowledge and experience to create new designs, you can be sure that as long as Ken Onion decides to continue designing and making knives, they will always be top notch in effect.
In 2011, CRKT teamed up with Ken Onion to mass produce “THE Skinner”. Not just a common “hunting knife” but one whose design started several years earlier and was the result of numerous revisions and several dozen field trials. Here is the quote from CRKT’s website regarding the Skinner:
Hawaiian knife maker Ken Onion told us he was working on the ultimate hunting knife, but it wasn’t ready yet. We assumed that he meant he was putting the finishing touches on a prototype, and were we wrong!
Instead, Ken was concluding an extensive field testing program spanning more than five years, making dozens of custom skinners and giving them to Alaskan guides, professional hunters, and taxidermists in exchange for their feedback. He kept modifying the design and sending out more knives, which have now been used to skin over 60 Alaskan bears, and have been proven on deer, elk, moose, antelope, hogs, sheep and cattle.
CRKT’s Skinner is designed to be an exceptionally versatile hunter’s tool. The 95mm (3.8″) blade has spine thickness of nearly 3.6mm (0.14″) and is cut from Böhler K110 steel. The blade is a variation of the drop-point profile which really allows for the plain hollow grind edge to be relatively large and flat while seeming to have a large belly (which it does not). Amassing 105 grams (3.7 oz) across it’s 203mm (8.0″) overall length, the Skinner is not a overtly heavy blade for carrying around. The tang of the Sninner is only 3/4 length opposed to a full tang setup. The grip consists of several components which are seamlessly moulded together, primarily the Zytel core and the soft thermoplastic rubber (TPR) outer covering which enhances the “scales” of the grip.
For control-ability a large choil is inset into the grip shape allowing for refined control. In addition, the large blade allows for the user to have ample thumb room for strong and deft manipulation of the cutting edge which is imperative for skinning. With the attached lanyard for retention, the Skinner allows for continuous, at-ready use.
The sheath of Ken Onion’s Skinner blade is remarkable in itself. Manufactured similarly to pancake holsters, the sheath is profiled to carry the Skinner on a forward sweeping angle. Crafted from 6 ounce leather and treated to be black in appearance, the sheath masses roughly one third of the blade itself at 60 grams (3.7 oz). The sheath incorporates a profile contoured shape which results in an exceptionally good securing method for the blade. Designed for ambidextrous wearing, the sheath is equally at home for both right and left handed users and the angled design means a more comfortable fit when the knife is sheathed.
The Ken Onion designed Skinner knife is manufactured by CRKT under the model code K700KXP and has an MSRP of $89.99 USD. It is available for purchase from retailers such as MilArm Co. Ltd. located in Edmonton, Alberta. Is this knife design Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical? That is for you, the reader, to decide.
Blue Force Gear – One sling to rule them all… VCAS?
The authors of Tactical, Practical, and Fantastical have to thank Mr. Bryan Bolivar for this review of the Blue Force Gear – Vickers Combat Application Sling. We hope the readers of TPF-Online enjoy this review:
Blue Force Gear – Vickers Combat Application Sling (VCAS)
The Vickers Combat Application Sling is designed and marketed toward police, military and civilian shooters using modern, ergonomic long arms such as the AR-15 and other similar platforms. The sling is intended to provide a secure means to carry a rifle across the front of the user’s body in a hands free condition, allowing other tasks to be completed without needing to constantly hold onto the firearm.
The particular model of rifle sling chosen for this review is padded with polymer hardware. Non-padded versions are available for lower cost. Also aluminum hardware is available in both padded and non-padded versions.
It should be noted that VCAS sling comes without attachment hardware. Those in the picture above were purchased specifically for use with the reviewer’s rifle. Attachment points and methods on modern, ergonomic competitive sporting rifles vary and the user free to select what works best for them and their equipment. If the user does not want or need a quick release method of attachment, they can simply loop the straps at the ends of the sling through available fixed attachment points that are common on these rifles and attach the sling this way with no extra hardware needed. This means the purchaser is not stuck paying for attachment hardware that they won’t use.
Initial examination of the sling shows that it constructed of heavy 1 ¼ inch nylon webbing. The polymer hardware is relatively thick and is of durable construction. Obviously the aluminum hardware would be even stronger but after discussing with a college who has military experience, the polymer would likely be preferred to reduce sound when the hardware comes in contact with the rifle and other gear. Not that important to the civilian shooter but if polymer hardware is good enough for the military; it is good enough for me.
The sling has three points of adjustment to suit the rifle and user. The upper most section, attached to the rear of the rifle as well as the middle section are designed as “fixed” adjustments. These are set by the user and are not quickly adjustable.
The front section contains a quick adjustment pull handle (shown above) that allows the user to quickly lengthen (and re-shorten) the sling as needed. Following provided directions, the upper and middle sections are to be adjusted to set the overall length of the sling with the front section in the “closed” position. This allows the rifle to be securely hung across the length of the user’s torso. The front section can then be opened to allow for easier weapon manipulation such as switching to the weak side shoulder. This also facilitates moving to the prone position while maintaining the muzzle in a safe, down range direction. The adjustment method is unique in that once the position of the front section is set, it stays in place and does not move on its own. Other quick adjust slings that I have tried have proven to “have a mind of their own” when it comes to quick adjustments and simply won’t stay set.
The VCAS in “action”
Initial testing of the sling was conducted at a local rifle range and frankly my first impressions were not favorable. The sling limited rifle manipulation, magazine changes, safely adopting a prone position and utilizing a pistol with the rifle slung. For the latter point, the sling rifle hung very high with the butt resting in front of the shooters shoulder. This made extending the arms for proper pistol shooting difficult.
Further trials showed that I simply had the sling adjusted too tightly. Once the middle section was adjusted to provide more overall length the sling performed very well. Leaving sufficient slack in the sling allowed for interference free reloads and no longer obstructed pistol shooting as the rifle hung below the shooters shoulder.
Recently the VACS was “fielded” in completion at an Ontario Rifle Association Close Quarters Battle (CQB) match. Frankly, it worked flawlessly. Walking around the range with a slung rifle was effortless and left two hands free for organizational tasks such as scoring, patching of targets and even a bit of range tear down. Magazine changes were not impeded and neither was pistol shooting. Walking around the range with a 20 inch barreled AR did not result in any banged shins, knees or other anatomical regions. The quick adjust front section allowed easy adoption of the prone position while keeping the muzzle pointed directly down range.
A note about use of this and other two point slings. The selected attachment points at the front and rear of the rifle were generally on the side closest to the shooter. This allows the tension of the sling to hold the rifle flat against the body. Attachment at more conventional bottom of rifle points would tend to cause the rifle to tip over when slung and perhaps end up with the rifle hanging in an upside down orientation.
Further, the sling was wrapped over the strong side shoulder and under the weak side one, so that when the rifle is left to hang, it does so in a generally muzzle down direction so that bystanders are not swept by the muzzle.
Other uses of the VCAS
While targeted at modern style semi-automatic long arms, the VCAS would be an effective for hunting arms as well. By establishing attachment points on the side of the rifle, any style can be slung in the same fashion. For hunters negotiating think brush and climbing difficult terrain, this sling configuration will allow two hands to remain free while walking and maintain the rifle in an easy to reach position should game appear suddenly and a quick reaction is the difference between meat in the freezer and a tale of one that got away.
Further, by changing the method of adjustment, the quick adjust front section could be set such that tightening it “locks” the rifle to the shooters body, keeping it even more tightly secured to the shooters chest and or enabling it to be switch to lay across the hunters back and locked when “out of the way carry” is needed.
Retailing at $62.99 at One Shot Tactical Supply, the Blue Force Gear VCAS padded sling is not going to be the lowest cost option for a two point sling, but it is a quality piece of kit that does what it intends and does it well. The non-padded version retails for $52.99 while the option of aluminum hardware adds $20.00 to the cost of either version. The quick adjust front portion sets the VCAS apart from many other offerings and is a very useful feature. Based on the overall quality of the slings construction I am sure this piece of kit is going to last for years to come.
As the reviewer I purchased this sling with my own cash as a means to try it out after hearing lots of hype. I figured I can always sell it for a small loss if I didn’t like it. Well, this particular VCAS sling is NOT for sale. I think that sums up my impression of this sling most effectively.
Submitted by: Bryan Bolivar, Canadian Service Conditions Radio
Again, thanks to Bryan Bolivar for his submission on the BFG – VCAS. For the readers notes, One Shot Tactical Supply is located in Trenton, Ontario and also has an online presence. As always it is up to our readers to determine if this piece of equipment is Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical for themselves.
Bear Grylls Survival Kit – Is it really the ultimate?
For many readers, the name Bear Grylls may sound somewhat familiar. If you watched a fair amount of outdoors featured television programs, you may have come across the show Man versus Wild. Man versus Wild ran from mid-2006 until late-2011 and starred Edward Michael “Bear” Grylls who demonstrated various survival techniques and theoretical situations and various methods of resolving those problems. Gerber Legendary Knives has collaborated with Bear Grylls in launching a survival series of products which are purportedly for aiding outdoorsmen during their foray’s into the wilderness. In today’s installment of TPF, The Ultimate Kit of the Gerber/Bear Grylls survival series is reviewed.
The first thing you will note is the bag the kit comes in itself. manufactured from a lightweight black nylon material which has additional heavy reinforcement threads, a.k.a. Ripstop weaving, to help resist tearing and ripping, and prevent the expansion of small tears which may occur. The zipper closure is classed as being waterproof, but there is a very small gap in the teeth obvious when the zipper is fully closed, which visually seems to void this claim. The author did not however actually test the waterproof claim so it MAY be true.
The two most identifiable and visible items that are seen is the lanyard whistle attached to the zipper and the Land-to-Air rescue instructions which are located on the backside of the bag. With All the various components still packed inside, the bag measures roughly 170mm x 120mm x 40mm (6.7″ x 5.5″ x 1.6″) and masses roughly 280 grams (9.0 oz). From the Gerber factory, all the components are contained inside a waterproof zip-loc transparent bag, which is manufactured from extra thick materials. The author was quite impressed with the sheer volume of items contained, but TPF will allow the readers to judge the individual components as being worthwhile for inclusion in the Ultimate Kit.
TPF will go through the list of items contained in the Ultimate Kit for the Survivor Series line.
- Waterproof Ziplock Bag – The container that all inner tools come packaged inside.
- Miniature Light – A key chain mountable LED light
- Hand Saw – A metallic cable saw with pull rings on both ends
- Emergency Whistle – Larger than the lanyard whistle, more range and louder
- Signaling Mirror – A small mirror for reflecting signals and instructions on use
- Survival Blanket – A space blanket made of mylar and used for reduced heat loss
- Fire Starter – With a steel striker connected to a ferrocerium rod on a short lanyard
- Waterproof Matches – Quantity of eight (8), with an abrasive ignition strip
- Cotton Ball – Tinder for starting fires
- Snare Wire – Approximately 305mm (12″) of brass wire
- Emergency Cord – Roughly 2.4M (8′) of white braided nylon cord
- Waxed Thread – A small spool of heavy thread, unknown length
- Fishing Kit – A small quantity of fishing line with four sets of hooks, split sinkers, and swivel clevises
- Sewing Kit – Black, white, red, and gray threads, needle, and a black and white button
- Pocket Guide – Priorities of Survival, basic information book on survival
- Multi-tool – Gerber Clutch
- Needle nose pliers, wire cutter, small knife blade, nail-file, trio of small screwdrivers, bottle opener, tweezers, lanyard ring
For this review, none of the items were removed from their packaging and approximations were made about lengths, but it is impressive to see just how much one is able fit into the small bag. There are some very nice and well thought out items in this package such as the cotton ball tinder and the brass snare wire, but at the same token, why is there so little of them? You could easily hold two to three times the quantity of snare wire, cotton balls, fishing line, etc.. without worrying about internal space constraints or cost extras. Readers should be aware that this kit is not intended to be a long-term survival kit, which would be much larger and include greater quantities of items as well as items such as a water purification system, first aid kits, etc… The Ultimate Kit is literally for a small EDC style carry for those who are not stereotypical “Survivalists” and in this it succeeds remarkably well.
The Bear Grylls Survivor Series Ultimate Kit is offered by Gerber Gear at an MSRP of $52 USD, and can be found at numerous stores across Canada such as Cabela’s in Winnipeg, Manitoba. As always, it is up to the reader to have their own say on if the Ultimate kit as reviewed is Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical?
An interesting take on an EDC multi-Tool. Is it all you truly need?
Sometimes a product comes around that defies TPF’s standard conceptual understanding of what that product’s generic style should entail or encompass. It is a very rare event however. Yet Kershaw knives has done exactly that with their off beat multi-tool, the Select Fire.
Kershaw Knives are not unknown to many readers, but there are a few who have never heard of this company. Kershaw Knives was founded in 1974 in Portland, Oregon when knife salesman Pete Kershaw started a cutlery company that would make knives from his designs. Those designs were manufactured by Japanese based KAI Cutlery. In 1978, KAI Cutlery purchased Kershaw Knives and the overall company was renamed KAI USA Ltd. KAI USA continues today with three product lines; including the original Kershaw Knives and Shun Cutlery which primarily markets kitchen cutlery. Fast forward to 1998, and after nearly 25 years of knife design and manufacturing, Mister Pete Kershaw, then company president, retired with a corporate legacy of good quality products for value and a superb customer service program, which continue to this day.
Most common every day carry multi-tools are based primarily around a set of pliers with accessory tools and blades as secondary components of the tool. In this EDC product there are simply two tool arms with a couple additional features added in. If one was to ask what is comparable to this product, the first idea that popped into the author’s mind was an older, simple swiss-army tool. What makes it similar to that well-known and house-hold description? The first thing that is noticeable about the Kershaw Select Fire is that is first and foremost a folding knife with some additional tools added in for when they are required. This is where the difference in EDC multi-tool design philosophy is apparent. Is it more desirable to have a dedicated tool with a blade being secondary, or is a blade the primarily used part and other items are secondary.
As stated, the Select Fire is designed around a 86.0mm (3-3/8″) spear-point profile blade. Manufactured from 8Cr13MoV steel and having a satin finish, the non-serrated blade incorporates both a slight hollow grind and re-curve edge in its design. Mounted in the 3.1mm (1/8″) wide spine are a pair of opposed thumb studs for ambidextrous opening. The blade itself is nestled between a set of steel liners, one of which has the liner locking mechanism for ensuring a securely extended position. The glass-filled nylon panels are moulded in black with a fish bone shaped pattern on them. Secured to the liners via a series of hex socket rounded head screws on each side, the panels are comfortable even when using the secondary tool arm of the Select Fire.
The secondary tool in this design is an extendable 6.4mm (1/4″) hex bit driver which has three positions retained by a small spring-loaded bar. Available are the closed, 90° (half) and 180° (full) extended positions. Roughly 64.0mm (2-1/2″) in length, the bit driver turns the multi-tool into a true screwdriver with minimal profile changes to the main handle of the Select Fire. The author has not tested the durability of the driver arm, but the main shaft is rectangular in section 3.1mm x 4.8mm (1/8″ x 3/16″) and seems to be very sturdy. Like most bit drivers however, the usefulness is limited without the actual drive bits themselves. This is where the design of the Select Fire takes a turn to modern methods and ideas.
Most multi-tools which have some sort of screwdriver tool arm have very short malformed driver heads and are very hard to manage as a useful screwdrivers. For those multi-tools that incorporate a bit driver attachment, the actual bits are sometimes miniaturized and/or proprietary and once lost are expensive to replace. The other multi-tools which use full-sized bits have an additional pouches, sleeves, or external holders to ensure that your bits are nearby when you want them. The Select Fire solves the storage problem in a simple and ingenious method. It stores full-sized driver bits in the handle, two per side. A cutout in the liners and grip panels serves as the home to a small, spring-loaded, bit holder on each side. Each bit holder holds two bits between three “fingers” which incorporate the hexagonal shape of the bit shanks themselves. The Spring loaded holders snap back into storage position, which does not allow a full size bit to fall out of the holder due to the limits of the aforementioned cutouts in the liner and grip panels. The Select Fire comes pre-loaded with #5 and #7 straight-style bits, and PH1 and PH2 Philip head bits. However, the true benefit of the use of full-sized bits is that the end-user can replace them with anything which is more commonly used such as red #2 Robertson or such.
These are the primary and secondary tool components of the Select Fire multi-tool. A large dedicated blade and a dedicated bit driver. The design does incorporate a couple tertiary design features which, in the author’s opinion, are more akin to small design quirks to add to tool count. These are a small ruler on the bit driver arm, and the bottle opener which is incorporated into the recess for the bit driver and requires the driver be extended before usage in both cases. The Select Fire has a reversible pocket clip which allows it to be worn in the tip-down position. Considering the overall closed size of 108.0mm (4-1/4″) and mass of only 152 grams (4.8oz), the Select Fire is a very easy addition as an EDC for anyone who prefers this style of multi-tool. Blade focus versus plier focus.
Overall it is well made and, as per most Kershaw products, has a good design and quality for the price. The ONLY detraction the author has is the slight chance that the bit holder springs may protrude just enough to snag on finer materials, but the Select Fire isn’t meant for dressy occasions, so that sort of event may never occur.
Kershaw Knive’s Select Fire, model #1920, has an MSRP of $34.95 USD and can be obtained from retailers such as Gorilla Surplus, located at 1458 Broadway E., Vancouver, BC. Like every product reviewed by TPF-Online, it is up to you the reader to decide if the Select Fire is Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical…
The personal shield to help protect, according to SOG Knives
SOG speciality Tools and Knives is renowned for their geared plier-based multi-tools, but as per previous installments of TPF-Online, they also manufacture some quality and interesting blades. With that being said, SOG gratefully provided TPF-Online with one of the Aegis line of knives for reviewing. For those that may wonder where the word Aegis comes from, let us take a bit of a history lesson from Wikipedia.
An aegis is a large collar or cape worn in ancient times to display the protection provided by a high religious authority or the holder of a protective shield signifying the same, such as a bag-like garment that contained a shield. Sometimes the garment and the shield are merged, with a small version of the shield appearing on the garment. It originally was derived from the protective shield associated with a religious figure when related in myths and images. The wearing of the aegis and its contents show sponsorship, protection, or authority derived from yet a higher source or deity. The name has been extended to many other entities, and the concept of a protective shield is found in other mythologies, while its form varies across sources.
The word Aegis has traditionally been used in defensive systems and designs across the world, from protective sunglasses to 1911 style handguns to ship based missile systems. It is in this vein of thought that SOG has adopted the name’s usage for an ultralight folding knife series. Based upon the patented SOG Assist Technology™, and the Arc-Lock system, the Aegis is very similar to the previously reviewed Flash-II in opening, locking, and safety mechanisms. TPF-Online takes a look at the AE-04 model of the Aegis series of knives.
The initial thought of the author when the Aegis was first looked at was that the handle looked cheap with a bland matte black finish and very minimal patterning for grip retention. Simply put however, the author was wrong. The black handle of the knife is manufactured from Zytel nylon and is composed of 2 halves secured together with six (6) socket head screws. Four (4) along the back spine of the handle, one (1) for the pocket clip, and final fastener as part of the SAT/pivot. The partially serrated tanto blade measures 89.0 mm (3.50″) in length and inserted into the blades spine are the ambidextrous thumb studs. The titanium nitride coated AUS-8 steel blade sports nearly 28.0 mm (1.10″) of thumb ridges along it’s 3.0 (0.12″) thick spine.
The Aegis handle does differ from the Flash and it is these differences which externally show up between the two designs. The profile of the Aegis removes any excess thickness and width which was present on the Flash-II’s, such as the removal of the lanyard loop hole, two finger profile in the grip, and the small hump at the top of the handle above the pivot. The mass saved is offset by the tanto-blade profile which, while massing the same 97 grams (3.1 oz) as the Flash-II, results in the Aegis having a centre of gravity further forward than the Flash-II.
In the grips are a series of rubberized inserts sporting the SOG brand name repeatedly while proving a surer gripping ability for the individual whom wields the knife. The manual safety on the left side of the grips and prevents the Arc-Lock system from moving the locking piston when in safe position. Since the piston lock also provides direct resistance for initial blade opening, by engaging the safety the piston is rendered immobile and therefore disables opening of the blade. Add into that the reversible pocket clip for tip-up carrying, and the Aegis package is complete. While SOG promotes this product as a tactical knife, the low mass and efficient blade design make the Aegis a good EDC knife for those interested.
The SOG Aegis reviewed (AE-04) has a MSRP of $114.00 USD and is one of many variations available for the Aegis line of blades. Remember that the SOG AE-04 Aegis Folding Knife, like all SOG products, is backed by a lifetime warranty that protects against defects in manufacturing and materials. This knife can be found as various stores across Canada and online at places such as Toronto based www.thegreatoutdoorsmen.ca. TPF-Online authors have their own opinion of the Aegis folding knife, but ultimately it is your decision, the reader’s, to determine if SOG’s Aegis folding knife is Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical.
How to make a better revolver? Is it even possible?
Those who have frequented TPF-Online may have read about the extremely interesting Mateba 6-Unica. The “Auto-Revolver” designed by Emilio Ghisoni, was an extremely technical work of engineering and while the marketability of the “Mateba” may have been questionable, the fact that the design was something completely new, and born of imagination, only lends to confirm his engineering knowledge and creativity. The driving goal of nearly all of Mr. Ghisoni’s designs was for faster and more accurate subsequent shots on a target. To that effect, managing recoil and muzzle flip permeate every single firearms related patent, which has Mr. Ghisoni’s name associated to it. Unfortunately, Mr. Ghisoni passed away in April of 2008, but not before designing what may be revolutionary in terms of design excellence. However, you will need to read further and be the judge of that.
Macchine Termo-Balistiche (Ma.Te.Ba), was sold by mid-2000 and included in the sale were all the previous patent rights for the Unica-6 and other firearm designs founded under Ghisoni’s former company brand name. In the summer of 2000, the company Thermoballistic Machines di Emilio Ghisoni (aka The.ma), began manufacturing of food industry products for Italy. However, whether it was a personal passion for firearms or the quest for technical excellence in design, Emilio Ghisoni continued to work on innovative firearm layouts. With the assistance of Mr. Antonio Cudazzo, financial backing, product evolution and design were possible. It was through a series of back and forth ideas between technical design and ergonomic form that evolved into the Rhino design. While the ergonomics of the Rhino were due to the concepts from Mister Cudazzo, Mister Ghisoni was the source of engineering ability to design the inner workings and functionality of a reliable firearm in such a condensed package.
In the year 2003, The.ma debuted a model prototype six (6) shot revolver chambered in .357 Magnum, which featured a short 50mm (2″) barrel and an extremely narrow profile. The truly interesting feature, and now almost a trademark for Mr. Ghisoni designs, was that the revolver fired from the six o’clock position on the cylinder. This small revolver was known as the The.Ma Rhino revolver. By 2006, Thermoballistic Machines had created a handful of working versions which, akin to previous projects, were effectively all a series of work in progress stages of the Rhino. As with the “Mateba” however, manufacturing was done, by what amounted to a custom machine shop and, as such, the larger scale production requirements were still being adapted in the design.
Unfortunately, the extreme divergence of the Rhino’s design compared to traditional revolvers made many firearms companies in Italy hesitant, if not completely against, endorsing the design for mass production. It was not until after Mr. Ghisoni’s passing that Mr. Cudazzo met with Reno Chiappa (pronounced ‘ki-appa’) who recognized the potential in the design. As proprietor of the Chiappa Group, Mr. Chiappa saw the 50mm (2”) revolver and saw the designs best market being in North America, specifically the United States. Contacting Ron Norton, president of Chiappa Firearms Ltd., in the USA, Reno presented the design for marketing and design adjustments for mass production tweaking. In 2009 the first production models were introduced and to this day the Rhino continues to evolve with customer feedback and market requests.
From Chiappa’s introduction of the Rhino back in 2009 it was obvious that the design was completely alien to common concepts of revolvers. The title statement from the 2009 catalogue was simple and to the point:
A revolver is a repeating firearm that consists of multiple chambers and at least one barrel for firing. As the user cocks the hammer, the cylinder revolves to align the next round with the barrel, which gives this type of firearm its name. In modern revolvers, the revolving cylinder typically chambers 5 or 6 rounds. And that is where the similarity ends.
The biggest difference is the barrel position which is mounted so the bottom most chamber of the cylinder is aligned with the barrel axis. That is a complete flip from traditional revolvers. Yes, there is one or two similar concept designs, such as the Russian AEK-906, but in general the orientation is nearly unheard of outside of firearms designed Mr. Ghisoni. Some of the traditional revolver designs characteristics were ignored to accommodate to accommodate the compact design profile dreamed up by Mr. Cuzzado. His initial wax model helped Mr. Ghisoni to engineer new mechanisms and concepts that would lead into the Rhino being made by Chiappa. A traditional revolver has a hammer located above the revolver’s grip and a trigger that resides near the back edge of the cylinder. With the inverted barrel design and a goal for reduced size and profile, the Rhino’s hammer resides inside the grip area of the revolver and the trigger is positions mid-cylinder. With such a radical change in grip and trigger placement, the Rhino is significantly smaller than a comparable traditional revolver. The 50mm (2.0”) barrel version of the Rhino is less than 165mm (6.5”) long overall, compared to a Smith & Wesson 327 of similar barrel length, which is roughly 180mm (7.1”) in length. There have been several changes since the initial release of the Rhino way back in 2009 and TPF will hopefully cover all of them in this review.
The results of throwing out tradition? TPF does a review of a Rhino 50DS to find out.
Model: Chiappa Rhino 50DS Revolver
Finish: Matte Black
Calibre: .357 Remington Magnum
Capacity: Six (6)
Barrel: 127mm (5”)
Mass (Empty): 895g (31.6oz)
Like its predecessor, the “Mateba”, the Rhino design is one that can be considered ugly when compared to traditional designs. However, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and everyone has his or her own opinion. The reviewed Rhino was a black finish 50DS model, which stands for 5.0” barrel and Double/Single action. Currently there is a double action only version available but only in 50mm (2”) barrel configurations. The original version of this Rhino, as initially reviewed, had a plain front sight post and a target rear sight, which was adjustable for windage and elevation. The faux “hammer” on the Rhino is simply a cocking lever, as the internal hammer is connected via a floating bar, meaning that in double action shooting the cocking lever stays immobile while the hammer is cocked and released via the trigger mechanics. An interesting feature is the cocked hammer indicator pin that extends roughly 3mm (0.12”) from the frame of the Rhino when the hammer is in the cocked position.
A hexagonal cylinder makes for a thinner profile and supposedly is better for concealment and comfort for those regions/markets where concealed carry weapon permits are available. The cylinder release is completely alien to modern revolvers being a rotating lever co-axial with the cocking lever. The crane arm swings out just as a regular revolver but there is a spring-loaded ball detent to ensure positive closure and assist in cylinder alignment/lockup. All the newest models of the Rhino sport fibre optic front sights compared to a simple blade sight. Rear target sights, adjustable for windage and elevation, are standard on the 102mm & 127mm (4” & 5”) Rhino’s and the 152mm (6”) version has a fibre optic enhanced version. The 50mm (2”) barrel version has a slight variation that utilizes a notched cocking lever for a fixed rear sight. The 102mm (4”) and longer versions of the Rhino incorporate a Picatinny rail under the barrel for mounting tactical accessories and the longest Rhino has an additional rail up top for optic mounting. These features add to the apparent bulk of the Rhino.
There are two available finishes to the Rhino, Black and White; with the black being a matte finish and the white being close to a brushed stainless steel colouration. The reviewed Rhino does strike an interesting change in appearance when compared to similar sized traditional revolvers. With several cutouts along the barrel shroud, the Rhino is very light in mass despite the bulky frame. Aesthetic curving lines and sweeping radii are not a part of the design profile unless you include the grip. However, the angular features and slab-like sides create a particularly fierce and futuristic look to the firearm.
Physical Size and Handling:
The very first thing to note is that the Rhino is roughly 10-15mm shorter than any comparable modern revolver. Additionally, due to the grip position the firearm also has a shorter height than most other revolvers. From a bulk perspective, the grip area and cylinder occupy less space whereas the lower barrel position requires the inclusion of an elevated rail for sight alignment easily doubles that of revolvers that have a full-length under barrel lug. When gripping the Rhino, the first thing that is noticed is the enhanced grip angle is similar to that of Styer M9s, however the smooth, curving heel coupled with the huge “Beaver Tail” included in part of the one piece grip make holding the Rhino very comfortable. The shooter’s grip is extremely high on the firearm and as a result, the lower barrel axis is extremely close to the arm’s centerline. Held as per instructions, the Rhino seems to point very naturally with one hand.
The bulk of the gun belies the lack of mass when the Rhino is actually hefted. This is due to the shrouded style barrel construction similar to that of many Dan Wesson revolvers. The frame itself is manufactured from Ergal, a lightweight 7000 series grade aluminum alloy, with only a few select parts, other than the internal mechanics, manufactured from carbon steel. At roughly 46mm (1.8”), the grips are the widest part of the Rhino as the flat-sided cylinder is a mere 35.8mm (1.41”) in width when locked into position. One of the biggest features noticed by the author was the changes to the cylinder itself compared to other current designs. Gone is the typical ratcheting cog for indexing the cylinder into position. The Rhino’s ratchet system utilizes 6 cylindrical posts to be pushed by the pawl arm, supposedly to extend the usable lifetime of the cylinder. As well the ejector system travels over 29.0mm (1.12”), which when used with any amount of authority, easily sends spent .357 Magnum cases flying from the cylinder.
The primary sales of the Rhino are in the USA, and focused on the short barrelled version, which is prohibited here in Canada. As such TPF was using a more commonly available 127mm (5”) version for the review. For the information of the reader, the Rhino was compared to the same Ruger GP-100 used in the “Mateba’s” review. During the course of the review, several hundreds of rounds, both .38 Special and .357 Magnum, reloaded and factory, were discharged through the Rhino. The claim that the grip and barrel arrangement reduce muzzle flip is completely true. Lighter loads such as those from .38 Specials were indeed easily controllable in recoil, muzzle flip, and recovery for follow-up shots. With full power 158gr factory defensive loads, the reduced muzzle flip and recovery were indeed evident, however with the lightness of the Rhino became painfully obvious after several dozen successive volleys downrange. For those who are interested in the Rhino for action shooting, you are in luck as Chiappa has one of the most well renowned action shooting holster makers on their side. Ghost International makes both a speed holster and a concealment holster for the Rhino revolver. Also having the ability to use the same speedloaders as the GP-100 and S&W 686 makes it easy to set up for IPSC, IDPA, or in the case of the reviewer, ODPL. Over the course of several months, the author subjected the Rhino to an excess of a thousand rounds of ammunition and power levels both for target and for action shooting disciplines. The 50DS handles much differently than the traditional revolver; mainly due to the perceived recoil pushing straight back instead of the torquing motion of a typical revolver. At many times in the beginning, the Rhino was gritty in trigger and occasionally hard to cock the hammer via the external lever, however these issues smoothed themselves out through use. Chiappa has communicated to the author, since that time, that they have enhanced their trigger mechanisms and linkages and corrected any inconsistencies and functioning issues. A worthy note is that there has not been a single failure to fire in the Rhino reviewed despite the condition and quality range of ammunition utilized.
The key benefits of the Rhino are also the sources for the initial negative aspects of this piece of “out-of-the-box” engineering. The extremely high sight rail in relation to the barrel bore means a level of adjustment for point of impact far different that those of traditional revolvers. The grip placement and angle are the second initial detraction for the Rhino revolver. Readers will note the use of the word “initial” in those critiques, as these issues are solely the result of usage and expectations from other handgun designs. With time and practice, these design features will become commonplace to the user of the firearm. However, the Rhino does have a couple features that do deserve note as possible flaws in the initial design. The frame’s edge near the trigger and finger groove is less rounded than the author would have liked. As well the trigger is much different in movement due to finger placement on the trigger. On traditional revolvers, the grip promotes a straight back trigger pull whereas the Rhino’s high, angled, grip causes the trigger to be pulled back and upwards in a rotating motion, yet the extra wide trigger shoe does aid in the pull. The trigger reviewed was an original design and started out quite harsh in both double action and single action, and repeated usage has seemed to have worn in the mechanisms into a relatively smooth action, if still a bit heavy. Chiappa has since offered five (5) different trigger/hammer spring setups with the original measuring about 3.6kg (8.0lbs) and the very light spring set versions warning about reduced reliability for primer ignition due to lighter hammer springs.
The Rhino is indeed innovative in the technical excellence required to re-arrange and re-design the revolver. In January 2012, at the SHOT Show Media Day, the moon clip prototype versions, chambered in .40S&W as well as 9mmx21, where being shot by scores of individuals. These are now into full production and have opened up a completely new marketable region for Chiappa. Reno Chiappa and the entire Chiappa Group have what could be one of the most modern mechanical designs in the realm of ‘wheel-guns’, however the classical concept and set ideology on revolvers is still very much alive and well. As we all know, resistance to change is difficult to overcome in some instances, but the Rhino is well on its way to re-write what defines a revolver. After all, the Rhino is a new design that does not just re-position the barrel location, but alters the whole concept of how revolvers work.
The Chiappa Rhino 50DS revolver as reviewed has an MSRP of $909.00 USD, and retails from $999.99 to $1099.99 CDN at places such as South Frontenac Retail Center (SRFC), located in Harrowsmith, Ontario. It is truly a different animal from the traditional revolver design, and as many readers can attest, a person’s resistance to change can be irrational and misplaced. The Rhino is overall is a new concept, however the ever-increasing popularity, continuous product improvement and large marketing efforts by Chiappa on behalf of the Rhino may create a lasting legacy for Mr. Ghisoni by cementing a place in the annals of firearms history as the father of a new age of revolver design. The Chiappa Rhino, the self-proclaimed revolution of revolver design, is a winning design in the eyes of the author, but is it Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical in the eyes of others such as you, the reader?
Beefier than an M16, the M21 is a formidable piece for anyone to carry.
Everyone most likely knows at least one other person who has the ability to narrate extremely well and has ability to draw a listener completely into a story they retell. How many plant the hook and slowly reel in the listener, who is captivated by the idea, and then surprise them as the entire story was about something completely different from what was originally believed? Here at TPF, we were offered a chance to test out a bigger brother to the M16. That was when TPF was provided an M21 to review. Suffice to say that the excitement level at TPF was excellent and when the M21 finally came from Columbia River Knife and Tool we were extremely pleased. The author wonders if any of our readers was caught in the hook of the title?
Unfortunately this M21 is not the famed military variant of the classic M-14, nor a Norinco clone version of that illustrious firearm. In this installment of TPF, the M21 reviewed is an enhanced cousin to the M16, a folding knife designed by Mr. Kit Carson roughly a decade ago. Using his decades of military experience, personal knife making skills and outdoor knowledge, Mr. Carson designed the M16 to be a true functional knife. In 2003 the M16 was voted one of the top 10 tactical folder knife designs by Blade Magazine. The M16’s legacy has continued to this day as it is still in production and is still used as a benchmark versus other knives. The M21-14G, as stated before, is an enhanced brother to the M16, measuring an impressive 135mm (5.3″) long while closed and massing a fair 167 grams (5.9 oz.). These larger blades of the M21 series have also earned the nickname of ‘Big Dog’ for it’s overall size and sporting a 3.6mm (0.14″) thick blade with a length of 98.4mm (3.87″). The M21-14G version in this TPF installment has a self-described as a deep-bellied spear point profile, measures 235.0mm (9.25″) when fully opened and features a trademarked series of Veff™ serrations.
For those individuals who are unfamiliar with Veff™ serrations, they originated on commercial knives back in 2006 and TPF has quoted from Mr. Veff’s website the following:
Veff™ serrations are unlike traditional serrations which are usually small scallops oriented at 90 degrees to the blade cutting edge. Veff™ Serrations are wide and cut at about 50 degrees to the cutting edge. The resulting cutting points bite instantly and dig deep upon contact while the large surgically sharp valleys slice smoothly and effortlessly. Unlike traditional serrations that tend to snag and stick while cutting rope and similar material, Veff™ Serrations slice through cleanly and easily. This produces dramatically improved cutting ability on rope, webbing, strapping, hoses, leather and vegetation. Veff™ Serrations have been extensively tested and have proven to be the most efficient and effective serrations to date.
CKRT has in fact exclusive manufacturing rights to this design, other than Mr. Tom Veff customizing the serrations onto selected knives. The orientation change creates an effect similar to a series of miniature gut hook style cutting surfaces. The profile increases the cutting surface length of the serration edges, the small ridges between help create the sawing effect and draw the item being cut into the edge.
The blade of the MG21 is manufactured from 8Cr14MoV stainless steel like many CRKT folding knives and is one of the higher quality knife steels available from China. The metallurgical properties place it somewhere between 440B and 440C stainless steel characteristics. With the blade hollow ground and treated with a Titanium Nitride coating, the M21-14G is a very sharp and imposing looking tool. To open the knife, a pair of knurled thumb studs are attached to the blade’s spine for ambidextrous opening, as well as the “Carson Flipper” incorporated in the blade itself. The Carson Flipper was introduced nearly 15 years ago and is a kick incorporated into the actual blade which allows for partial opening of the blade through use of a finger on along the back of the closed knife. Now a very commonly feature on SAO knives, this version of the kick is used in conjunction with a slight wrist movement to obtain blade opening speeds similar to spring assisted knives. When the knife is in open position the ‘Casron Flipper’ tab also serves as a means of preventing the user’s hand from sliding into the cutting edges during usage.
This M21 is a very large and beefy blade which is locked into position via a liner lock, and CRKT also utilizes an AutoLAWKS system on the blade which prevents inadvertent closing of the folder. The AutoLAWKS is a spring actuated lever which interposes itself behind the liner lock once the knife is fully opened. This prevents the liner lock from slipping out and having the blade close at inopportune times. In order to close the blade , the AutoLAWKS. lever must be shifted, which allows the liner lock to be disengaged. This can be done one-handed with practice, but would require time and repetition to make such a smooth manoeuver. The 14G blade version incorporates grips manufactured from black G10 and have a textured surface finish to allow a firm grip regardless of weather conditions and the grip halves are retained by a set of Torx-head screws. While the knife itself comes with a retention clip setup for tip down carry and located on the right side of the knife, there are provisions for mounting the clip on either side and in tip-down carry positions. The clip is also secured by a trio of Torx-head screws.
Designed by Mr. Kit Carson to be a rugged, heavy-duty knife based upon the successful M16 predecessor, the M21-14G has an MSRP of $89.99 USD. Other options for this size M21 include double ‘Carson Flipper’ tabs to create a cross guard, colouration changes, and the option for a plain ‘Razor-Sharp’ cutting edge. TPF Online thanks CRKT for its support in allowing us to continue to review its product lines. The M21-14G which is available at many locations across Canada including Wholesale Sports which has numerous storefronts and an online store as well. The final decision on the knife’s classification of Tactical, Practical or Fantastical is up to you, the reader.
Camping or hunting, SOG’s Woodline is an answer…
This author has had many opportunities to review knives of several manufacturers, and yes; even more are upcoming. However, once in a while, a slightly different knife comes about from the rest of those which have already been examined by the hands of TPF. Now as has been stated previously, and will be stated again, the authors of TPF are not knife experts, while the terminology and knowledge are still being accumulated, TPF should not be categorized as an expert. At this time, that is… Today we get to look at a sample of SOG’s product line, the Woodline series of knives. According to SOG’s website:
That feeling of leaving civilization behind as you move out of the valley and into the woodline is the inspiration for this series of fixed blades and folders.
The Woodline series of knives consist of both a larger fixed blade and a smaller folding blade design. At one time a smaller fixed version was offered but it was discontinued for 2012. Now for the meat and potatoes of this review. The Woodline fixed blade is a non-serrated, trailing point design which measures 264mm (8.4″) overall and masses 235gr (8.3oz); resulting in a large knife for belt mounted EDC. In the author’s opinion this is a field knife, carried and utilized in specific situations such as hunting, camping and other outdoor pursuits which allow for extra bulk and mass to be carried.
The extremely long curved cutting edge of the Woodline’s 122mm (4.8″) blade designed to a good knife for skinning, and with the 3.8mm (0.15″) thick spine the blade can withstand considerable abuse. Made with the standard SOG material, 8Cr13MoV Stainless steel, the knife itself should be able to keep an edge well and be readily sharpened. On the back of the spine are numerous thumb grooves to aid in fine blade control, which is required to prevent unwanted cuts and nicks with the upraised blade tip. The bolster, the metallic section between blade and handle, is made from cast stainless steel and creates the large finger groove in the handle’s grip profile. The tang of the knife is completely encased in very smooth hard wood which is retained by a series of stainless steel torx head screws. The final accoutrement is a lanyard loop consisted of a stainless steel tube imbedded in the end of the handle.
The sheath is composed primarily of 7oz leather with the reviewed piece having a nice uniform dark brown colouration. The leather sheath not only covers the entirety of the blade edge, but nearly the entire bolster and a small portion of the hardwood handle. Blade retention is accomplished though a single leather strap using a press snap button. This strap wraps around the generous finger groove formed in the bolster of the knife. A single belt loop, also made from 7oz leather and 20mm (0.8″) in width, is riveted place. A basic SOG logo is branded into the face of the sheath.
The Woodline fixed blade knife by SOG is an impressive looking product , appears to be very well made and creates an attractive package with the dark leather sheath. The only additional observation which can be made by TPF is that the knife itself is made outside of North America, which does keep manufacturing costs down, but may affect the purchasing decision of prospective buyers. The SOG WD-01 Woodline, large fixed blade knife as reviewed by TPF, has an MSRP of $60USD and is available with many Canadian retailers including various Canadian Tires stores across Canada.
The question, as always, posed to you, the reader, is whether this item is Tactical, Practical or Fantastical?
Getting into Action Shooting – Part 3
Combat pistol shooting has been around since the early 1900’s as military forces and law enforcement began to use handguns as a means of defense. Even back nearly 50 years ago, combat shooting was practiced by law enforcement as a means of training law enforcement officers (LEOs) to be able to effectively and accurately use their service pistols in a variety of shooting positions. A six shot revolver chambered in .38 Special was the standard staple of these LEOs so accuracy was an extremely important skill to have with their limited ammunition capacities. Remember that while a 1911 was designed over a century ago, most semi automatics were very expensive compared to the revolvers even just a few decades prior to today. This version of Combat Shooting has survived today as Police Pistol Combat (PPC) and is seen as the for-runner to current dynamic action shooting disciplines. It wasn’t until the late 1960’s and early 1970’s that the true combat shooting was starting to take shape in today’s version which incorporates drilling the concepts of threat identification and tactical awareness as well as accuracy while under stress. For readers who are in the younger generations, TPF recommends you go and look for the movie Magnum Force (1973), starring Clint Eastwood, and you will see a small snippet of the fore-runners of today’s action shooting with the “Combat Shooting Championships” in the . Please remember that movie is nearly 40 years in age and at the time action shooting sports had not been truly established. While PPC was, and is still today, practiced both a discipline and sport, it was the foundation for what developed into the modern action shooting sport, such as International Practical Shooting Confederation which was officially formed in 1976.
As the concept of getting into action shooting sports has already been addressed in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, this installment is to those individuals have already tried their hand at the fun filled world of action shooting. As TPF has inferred in the aforementioned posts, the majority of the experienced people who participate in action shooting are extremely friendly and open. Now some of these people now train others and use their vast amounts of experience and knowledge and years of refined skills to help jump start newcomers into shooting, and to enhance skills of those familiar to the sport. TPF, on behalf of the CSSA was able to interact with many of the shooters in the previous installments and get a quick tip from them. Please recall that many of these people make a living from training people how to become a better shooter and as such will only give small snippets of advice outside of a training session. TPF is honoured by the following individuals for their time and efforts at promoting the shooting sports and for their willingness to assist new shooters in some tips which they have found helpful in being a superior competitive shooter.
A huge supporter of IPSC and the owner of Freedom Ventures in Canada, Mr. Sean Hansen graciously gives TPF readers a quick tip on improving your shooting ability.
STI International sponsored competitive shooter, Mr. Blake Miguez is very open and a great individual whom was very forthcoming when asked to share his insight of how to improve one’s shooting prowess in action shooting. Mr. Miguez’s Facebook site here.
Michael Voigt is one of the true veterans of the shooting sports with many years of experience and skill under his belt. You will not how much he enjoys discussing the sport he has loved for many, many, years of dedication. Mr. Voigt’s website here.
Rob Leatham is to Action Shooting what Wayne Gretzky is to Hockey. Considered by many to be the overall grand master of knowledge and techniques from years upon years of being one of the best in the world in action shooting. Mr. Leatham’s website can be found here.
Angus Hobdell has been shooting CZ handguns for so long that the two are nearly interchangeable when talking about one or the other. A great great love for the shooting sports and a very friendly nature to all, means that Angus has no issues in letting TPF readers in on one of the small secrets for a successful shoot. Visit Angus Hobdell.s wesite here.
With a good sense of humour and a great demeanor, Ms. Tierani Hendrix is a credit to the shooting sports with her outgoing personality. While at the 2012 SHOT Show, she spared a small amount of time to give new action shooters a tip for improving. Her website can be found here.
Ms. Randi Rogers is pure gold in her enthusiasm for shooting sports and has an amazing level of skill and energy which she is always more than happy to share with new shooters. TPF was able to “co-erce” Ms. Rogers into offering a helpful hint just by asking her. Find Randi Rogers’ website here.
Para-USA Shooter, Travis Tomasie was yet another professional shooter who is happy to help out prospective shooters aquire higher skill sets and compete in action shooting sports. Travis’ website can be found here.
TPF would like to thank all the professional shooters who were willing to spend a moment of their time to assist TPF in these videos. Unfortunately these videos were all done in a limited time frame and due to these time constraints only a few were approached. If readers have any specific shooters, or questions to have asked of these shooters, please ensure that you write us with your suggestions here!
Regardless if it is Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical; the popularity of action shooting sports is on the rise. Thanks for reading!
Back to basics – Lessons and results by Gerber
With advances in technology and more advanced manufacturing techniques, ergonomic sculpting, exotic shapes, and highly technical mechanisms have seemed to become a mainstay of many of today’s manufacturers and Gerber is no exception to this as evidenced by the creation of the Flik multi-tool previously reviewed here at TPF-Online. Gerber has been around for quite a number of years and has made countless designs of knives, multi-tools, and other products which are used by a great many people around the world. However they realized that as technology advances, there is still a very basic principle which needed to be heeded.
What is the basic definition of a knife? A tool used for cutting. That was the entire concept behind the knife being reviewed today. The Basic, a fixed blade knife by Gerber was designed and began production several years ago. As stated, it was a throwback in design with the primary factors being size, generic functionality and durability.
The Basic is just that, a very basic everyday utility knife. Featuring a 76.2mm (3.0″) drop point blade design, the blade is very typical for many knives and follows a sabre ground profile for strength. The cutting edge is partially serrated for true multi-purpose design utility. With the spine/full tang measuring 3.8mm (0.150″) in thickness, the robustness of the design is very apparent. While the overall knife length of 168mm (6.6″) makes the handle small, the huge large finger groove/choil behind the blade edge allows for a very secure grip. Due to this large choil it almost appears that the small grip panels were added as an afterthought to the full tang of the Basic. TPF has noticed however that the blade length has been listed at various sites, including Gerber’s, as nearly 86.5mm (3.40″) in length which would be measuring from blade tip to the leading edge of the grip panels. The grip panels themselves are not spectacular, primarily being made of nylon, and each side is secured into the full tang by three small Torx head screws. However a large portion of these nylon panels mount Gerber’s TacHide™ grip material which is very soft and provides a very secure grip on the knife. The full length tang incorporates a trio of scalloped indents on the spine as thumb ridges, in addition to the large lanyard loop incorporated in the full tang and accentuated by the grip panels.
TPF was unable to determine the mechanical properties of the steel used to manufacture the Basic, but a source says that the blade is most likely constructed with 420HC stainless steel, which is nearly a default for Gerber products unless otherwise indicated. The entire blade and tang are nitride coated for additional corrosion resistance and results in a generally matte dark grey finish. Overall knife mass is roughly 105 gr (3.7oz) which is considerable when combined with the very small size of the knife itself. It seems to be a success when measured against the basic design principles used for it’s creation. However, TPF will note that the handle profile, while designed for extreme comfort and great control, is somewhat diminutive for those individuals whom have larger hands as the knife becomes a three finger profile.
The sheath of the Basic is the complete opposite of the knife in terms of simple design criteria. Created from two molded halves mated together, the completely polymer sheath is a marvel of modern design. A plastic tension catch is part of the molded sheath and securely retains the Basic knife with a force that would potentially overcome the reversible metallic belt clip. The clip is positioned for right handed carry and is made of a stainless spring steel. Retained by two small screws similar to that of the belt clip, a small metallic plaque is on the opposite side of the sheath proudly displaying the Gerber name. TPF did not try to reverse the clip as the durability of the sheath is most likely the weakest point of this entire package. Combined the Basic knife and sheath measure only slightly longer than the knife itself at 173mm (6.8″) and the small package, while fairly heavy is indeed a worthy addition to nearly person’s knife inventory.
The Basic knife as offered by Gerber Gear, is a fixed, partially serrated blade which has an MSRP of 43.00USD, and is available at many outdoor supply stores as well as online retailers such as www.canadiansafetysource.ca. As usual however, it is up to you the reader to decide if the Gerber Basic is Practical, Tactical, or Fantastical.
The First Annual Dead Registry Celebration – April 28th, Gatineau, Quebec
Since its inception back in 1999, the Canadian Shooting Sports Association has held a fundraising dinner which has since become known as a “Stick to your Guns” dinner. Originally an annual event, this dinner has been expanded to be held several times a year in various locations across Canada. These dinners have had such notable speakers like Sandra Froman (former NRA President, 2005-2007), and long time supporter and a true friend to Canadian firearms owners, MP Garry Breitkreuz. In recent years a specific annual version has become linked with the CSSA’s Annual General Meeting, and this one was held on April 28th in Gatineau, Quebec.
The last time the author was in the region, the city of Hull had not been amalgamated into Gatineau and the author had barely begun to become involved with firearms. It seems so long ago, but the city and region hold many worthwhile attractions for visitors. So if you get a chance, please ensure that you visit one of the many museums in the area. Now, as this was to be the first of the CSSA AGM’s held in the province of Quebec, there was some anxious times for organizers leading up to the event as turnout was an unknown factor, but all the their worries were for naught. Nearly ninety (90) individuals braved the somewhat chilly weather to attend the CSSA AGM, of which roughly half were from the province of Quebec. With many questions asked by individuals in attendance and a great wealth of information about the efforts of the CSSA, the AGM was alive and resulted in a large volume of information disseminated to those in attendance. As always the CSSA is humbled by the sheer volume of support from its membership, and hopes to be able to do even more in the coming months and years both domestically and abroad.
With the AGM wrapping up just after noon on the Saturday, the CSSA had decided to arrange a tour of parliament for the late afternoon prior to the fundraising dinner and this was available for attendees of the AGM. TPF was unable to attend the tour, but had heard that the tour was phenomenal with people being right on the House of Commons floor and sitting in both the seats of the Honorable Andrew Scheer, Speaker of the House as well as the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada. The entire structure of the parliament building is a monument to history and grand construction of generations gone by. With exquisite stonework and inlaid patterning, it is amazing how well made the building is when one considers that the wiring and plumbing is nearly completely hidden from casual sight as you walk through out the building.
At 6:00pm the “Stick to your Guns” dinner officially opened and began the festive evening, with it being the first CSSA fundraising dinner since the historic April 5th, 2012. This was officially coined as the 1st Annual Dead Registry Celebration, as it occurred mere weeks after the historic passing of Bill C-19. Even with some last-minute scrambling for setting up the prize tables, the evening proceeded with very little snags and errors. With Tony Bernardo being the Master of Ceremonies and Mr. Brian Lovig of the Daily Split being a co-host, the evening was anything but dull. Not one, but TWO speakers were in attendance that evening with Mr. Garry Breitkreuz being the initial speaker and telling about the trials and efforts that have been endured and overcome by the CSSA and those who believe in firearms freedom. The keynote speaker was mister Phil Morlock, one of North America’s leading experts in promoting heritage outdoors activities that include hunting, sport shooting, fishing and trapping. The praise which came from the mouths of these two individuals was humbling to the CSSA but also invigorated those in attendance to continue to stand up and fight for the Canadian firearms community.
With good food and nearly one hundred attendees, the dinner started off on a great note and the sheer number of prizes were astounding. There were many spectacular prizes available and the top ones were two of the four rifles available that evening. To quote the host’s repeated mantra, “Did we mention that these rifles were UNREGISTERED?” Many thanks to those who won the Chaparral Winchester Model 1866, the Carl Gustav 63 target rifle, and the plethora of prizes that were available. Many thanks must also go to Mr. Brian Lovig for his professional assistance in auctioning off some prizes, such as the Model 1866, to the attendees. Some of the raffle draws were very well received and quite innovative such as the Joker Draw which was a beautiful stainless Ruger 10-22 rifle with laminated wood stock. The catch? There were only 12 tickets available so it was a 1 in 12 chance to win. Just amazing and so well received by the audience.
A special thanks to the following for their support and help in what was a truly extraordinary evening. These companies and individuals are part of Team CSSA and contribute to the success of the organization to keep the fight in the face of the gun grabbers and ensuring what is accomplished is lasting and stays beneficial for Canadians.
- John St. Amour, Marstar Canada
- John Mock, Stoeger Canada
- Bob Nichols, R. Nichols
- Daniel Legault, Browning Canada
- Anthony Toryni, Trade Ex Canada
- Ken McRory, Vortex Optics Canada
- Brandon Bulter, Battenfeld Technologies (Caldwell/Tipton)
- Ben Krete, The Gun Centre
- Mandy Esteves, Shooting Chrony Inc
- Dave Landsborough, Triggers and Bows
- Lee Morgan, Gunzilla Canada
- Tony Bernardo, Canadian Institute for Legislative Action
- Brian Lovig, The Daily Split
- Garry Breitkreuz, CPC Member of Parliament for Yorkton-Melville
- Hornady, Kershaw, Forster, Lyman, and several more companies
- Luc Thivierge, Chris Youngson, Norm Lapierre, and so many more individuals
After all the food had been eaten and all the prizes had been doled out to winning attendees, the evening was far from finished. The CSSA went the extra step and provided a live band for the remainder of the night. “Reloaded” was a garage band made up of some veteran and professional talent from the ranks of the CSSA itself. Armed with his Gretsch guitar, Tony Bernardo lead the group with professionalism, Rob Alexander invoked his keyboard with practiced skill, Brant Scott wailed with purpose on drums and Dave Weston put up the backbone bass with fingers flying. With the occasionally addition vocals provided by Tony’s daughter, Kira; the night was filled with electricity and was possibly the finishing stroke in completing a picture perfect day of energy and enthusiasm.
Many thanks to all who helped make the entire day a memorable one and hopefully TPF will see you again next year at yet another CSSA AGM, if not sooner at more of these fund-raising dinners.
Getting into Action Shooting – Part 2
Getting into Action Shooting – Part 2! – On behalf of TPF-Online and the CSSA! Part 1 can be found here!
Continuing the theme of how to get people into action shooting, or at least experience shooting sports in general, TPF-Online once again brings various video snippets from the ranks of the extremely knowledgeable and experienced names in action shooting. Once again however, TPF cautions that many of these interviews come from a American point of view, which is somewhat different due to the prevalence of shooting sports in the United States when compared to Canada. Thanks to the efforts of organizations like the Canadian Shooting Sports Association, podcasts like that of Canadian Reload Radio, and people who want to help grow the sport and educate the unknowing to the fun and sport of shooting.
First up is Tierani Hendrix, a wonderful person who has been shooting since 2008, only a scant 4 years; and whose skills have earned her a spot on Team Smith & Wesson along side of legendary competitive shooters like Jerry Miculek. Ms. Hendrix is consistently one of the top women shooters in the realm of IDPA, and TPF was able to snag a few moments with Ms. Hendrix while she was attending Safariland, one of her sponsors. Even with a quick sponsor plug, she tells you what who can do regarding entering into the shooting sports.
One of the legends of experience and techniques, Michael Voigt, took a small bit of time out of a hectic SHOT Show schedule to spend a bit of time with TPF and discuss with Professionally shooting since 1979, Michael Voigt has over 20 years of experience and developed techniques under his belt. Since 2001, Michael Voigt has competed with Jerry Miculek for the tops spots as Nation champion for USPSA’s 3-Gun Open division, proving that skill and experience is still a driving force in these action shooting events. Many thanks to a great gentleman and sportsmen for sharing his thoughts to the readers of TPF Online.
From the age of 11 Randi Rogers has been shooting, and shooting, and shooting. Even though her first true exposure was to Cowboy Action Shooting due to her upbringing, she has embraced almost every style and type of action shooting. A true champion who has been national champion in SASS, IDPA, IPSC, USPSA, and several other disciplines; TPF Online was pleased to be able to have Ms. Rogers give a small bit of insight into getting into action shooting. At the time of the SHOT Show when this video was taken, Randi Rogers was an employee and member of Team Glock, but has since transferred her business acumen and shooting talents to Comp-Tac.
A relative newcomer to Team Para-USA, Travis Tomasie is no stranger to guns having served in the military and being a member of the US Army Marksman Unit Shooting Team for eight years prior to joining Para-USA in 2011. Never heard of him? TPF will bet you have seen of him is you have ever looked up action shooting on Youtube. Search for the fastest reload and you’ll see Mr. Tomasie in action. Mr. Tomasie honoured TPF-Online by taking some time out of his schedule at the 2012 SHOT Show and giving his take on how to get into action shooting.
She has spent over 80% of her life shooting, and no, she is not very old at all. Tori Nonaka, shooting since she was three years old, and currently a member of Team Glock shares her ideas of how to get into action shooting. Her youth and drive are evident as Ms. Nonaka graces TPF with a few moments of her time at the 2012 SHOT Show. Many thanks to Ms. Nonaka for giving your opinion and showing TPF readers how much you love shooting!
Another veteran to shooting, Doug Koenig began his shooting career back in 1987, and is classed as one of the best all round shooters in the world. In 1999, at the age of 20, Doug Koenig was the first ever person to shoot a perfect score at the Bianchi Cup. He is a great competitor and has a wealth of experience and skills which people can learn from. Here Doug Koenig shares a moment with TPF-Online to describe how to find and get involved in action shooting sports.
Talking to these individuals is a great pleasure for reasons mentioned previously. Such individuals are thankfully not rare in the action shooting sports, and by that TPF-Online is heartened by the open and welcoming attitudes which many, if not all, of these top competitors have.
TPF hopes you the reader, and viewer in this case, hold your judgement until you see some more future shooting personalities in later installments, but as always; action shooting. Is it Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical?