Another January has come and gone, and with it was once again the largest event of its kind in the world… The 2018 Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show was held at the Sands Expo and Convention Center from January 23rd through the 26th. Covering nearly 6 hectares (14.8 acres) of flooring, an excess of 2100 exhibitors displayed their products and services for some 60,000 attendees of the 4 day event. 2018 signified the 40th anniversary of the SHOT Show which started way back in 1979 with 290 exhibitors covering a comparatively miniscule 0.48 hectares (1.1 acres).
This year’s SHOT Show also marks the 20th time that SHOT has been hosted in Las Vegas, Nevada; and city that is larger than life seems to be a prefect fit for the SHOT Show. Last year saw nearly 3.2 million kg (3,500 tons) of exhibits moved onto the show floor. To put it mildly, the SHOT Show is unbelievably huge. However there is always a catch when it comes to the biggest and best; the SHOT Show is not open to the general public. That is correct, it is only open to members of the industry and trade. Manufacturers, wholesalers, importers, exporters, retailers, training, non-profit organization and media, all of which are involved in Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoors are able to apply to attend SHOT Show.
The SHOT Show is preceded by Industry Day at the Range on the Monday before the show. This day allows only exhibitor-invited media and buyers to come out to Boulder City Rifle & Pistol Club and experience first hand the products offered by over 160 companies. Everything from crossbows to handguns, throwing axes to fully automatic rifles and everything in-between. With over 1400 media and 800 buyers potentially being on site during this day, Industry Day continues to be the premier hunting and shooting event in the industry providing hands-on experience for attendees. The one caveat is the same as during SHOT Show itself, members of the public are not allowed.
This was the author’s 12th year of attending the SHOT Show and I was accompanied by some long time attendees who had an additional dozen or more shows under their belts. The SHOT Show is now less fun and exciting than it used to be, likely due to the more structured and business oriented planning now done by the author. However, attending the event has always left the author with a sense of awe at the sheer scale of firearms and accessories that are even out there. In perspective; Canada’s outdoor hunting, sporting market brings in roughly $6.5 billion in annual revenue. SHOT Show has that value of product and exhibits on display. Damned!
Now SHOT Show does bring in companies that have absolutely anything remotely to do with the firearms industry, and that includes law enforcement as well as other enterprises. However in a dozen years this had to be the first time the author noticed certain things that never had been at the show previously or escaped notice. With an excess of 1800 exhibitors, you will always miss something when attending, but some stuff is also new…
IF you thought that the Industry Day at the Range would be the favourite of the author’s annual pilgrimage to SHOT, you would be very close indeed. However, it is the now huge Canadian event that keeps the author coming back every year. The Canadian Shooting Sports Association (CSSA) once again stepped up and hosted the 5th Annual Canadian SHOT Show Reception, with the support of the Canadian Sporting Arms and Ammunition Association (CSAAA). This event has literally blossomed from a dozen people gathered in a hotel room, to a huge event that draws in Canadians from every aspect of the firearms community. Hosted at the Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower, the event was held towering above the city of Las Vegas 108 stories in the air. The view was incomparable, the food was great but extremely short-lived, and the casual atmosphere allowed for the Canadian contingent of SHOT Show attendees to unwind a bit and relax and talk to other Canadians about anything including shop talk. This past event hosted in excess of 300 individuals that otherwise rarely, if ever, communicate to each other except through emails and phone calls. However this reception in its current state is only possible through the sponsorship of multiple firearms related businesses and individuals. TPF would like to personally thank each of these for their support and will list each and every one here.
Tactical Ordinance Inc.
Double Tap Sports
Holosun Technologies Inc.
Firearms Legal Defence
Korth Group Ltd.
Thanks to these sponsors for making the Canadian SHOT Show Reception possible and for being a part of the event. Here at TPF we will be sure to visit each of the sponsors and look at what they have to offer to our Canadian firearms community. We hope that you would do so as well.
As preparations have already begun for next year’s 41st SHOT Show, which will return to the Sands Expo on January 22-25, 2019; so to have the preparations for the 6th Annual Canadian SHOT Show Reception. Companies and potential attendees are asked to contact CSSA Director Mike Duynhoven.
As a FYI to readers who are not Canadian, or are not familiar with our listed organizations; the CSSA is similar to the USA’s National Rifle Association, only more polite eh? They are the organization that represents the firearms consumers across Canada with training, and political outreach; but only have two decades under their belt compared to the NRA’s 150. The CSAAA represents the Canadian firearms industry and looks after their interests, similar to the National Shooting Sports Foundation which organizes and runs the SHOT Show.
Here is a few images showing some of our Canadian companies that are exhibiting at SHOT Show! Make sure to visit ALL of them and help them all out.
There are currently over 30 Canadian companies that exhibit at SHOT Show with more and more doing so every following year. We at TPF will strive to get you a list and images of every single one of our Canadian exhibitors next year at SHOT Show 2019. Thank you for reading all the way through this small write-up of the 2018 SHOT Show. We will soon have more reviews and look forwards to future events for 2018.
Fun Fact: Canada, while only a tenth of the population of the USA, has a substantial number of legal firearms owners. For every 1000 firearms made in the USA, 95% of those remain in the USA for domestic sales, Canadian markets account for 80-90% of the those exported from the USA. That means out of every 500 firearms exported from US manufacturers, Canadian markets get 400-450 of those. This is the reason that most firearms manufactured have a slightly longer barrel to meet Canadian Restricted status instead of Prohibited, such as Ruger GP-100 is 108mm (4.2″) in length.
In this installment of TPF, readers will be able to look at an offering by SOG which is a manual opening knife that incorporates SOG’s patented Arc-Lock system. If the title seems somewhat confusing, please do not stop reading as, despite having a long model designation, this blade does have several items that are worthy of being showcased. TPF is pleased to introduce readers to SOG’s Folding Knife Mini X-Ray Vision. This has a distinction of having a very wordy designation for such a small simple knife design that it almost seems out of place.
This knife initially appears to be one of the more basic folders offered by SOG that would be a very capable addition to anyone’s EDC (Every Day Carry) option. This knife has a combo-edge tanto blade that measures 76mm (3.0″) with some two-step serrations, one large followed by two small; repeat. The knife itself is extremely light, massing in at roughly 85gr (3.0 oz), mainly due to the glass reinforced nylon handles that surround the liners.
We here at TPF obviously love the description of this knife on the SOG website. As it resonates with the majority of our tag line.
Two words that best describe the X-Ray Vision series are “tactical” and “practical”.
But is it too fantastical for some? Some aspects may be…
As stated earlier, this knife is a manual opening knife. Manipulating the ambidextrous thumb is the primary method for blade deployment. The Arc-Lock system on the Mini-X-Ray Vision is a spring-loaded, pivoting bar that retains the blade in a closed position with minor spring force. When deploying the blade, the Arc-Lock shifts along the internal profile of the blade until fully deployed, at which time the pivot bar “locks” into a corresponding notch on the profile. The spring is the key feature for the locking mechanism, and if closed, pulling back on the Arc-Lock bar actually begins deployment of the blade. This allows for a “friction-free” deployment of the blade. However, holding the Arc-Lock bar back prevents the blade from locking open.
The two halves of the knife are held together by a quintet of Torx socket, pan head screws with the opposite side appearing as a blind rivet head. The Arc-Lock bar, and thumb studs are a two piece slotted assembly, with only the thumb stud having an exposed thread on the nut side. With the blade in the closed position the knife measures exactly 101.6mm (4.0″) to the end of the pocket clip, and when fully open the overall length stretches to a hair above 178mm (7.0″). Which will bring TPF Online to the only obvious aesthetic error that we can identify…
The countersunk flat head philips screw which is used to secure the pocket clip into position seems out of place. Using a Torx socket version would have kept up the visual appearance across the entire knife, but in the grand scheme of this knife, this is a very minor quibble. The pocket clip has a fairly large mouth and can be mounted to allow the knife to be worn on either a left or right side, tip up carry.
The lines of this knife are crisp and clean with minimal distractions, such as patterned and ornate contoured handles. The simple handle design incorporates a single pronounced finger groove. Combine that with the serrated thumb rise on the blade and the ability to control the blade for a variety of grips and uses is apparent. The pivot of this knife is very smooth, however the teflon washers do allow for a slight amount of blade play side to side.
The blade itself is manufactured from VG-10 steel, with a thickness of 2.5mm (0.10″) and has a bead blasted finish. This steel is normally considered to be a higher end steel that has good qualities regarding corrosion resistance, edge retention, and sharpening ability.
The Mini X-Ray Vision, SOG Model #MXV72-CP, is a very lightweight manual folding knive with a higher quality steel blade. Readers may recall earlier in this write-up we commented on the possible fantastical aspect of this knife. The suggested MSRP of the knife as reviewed is $161.50 USD, but readers can find it at a much more affordable price point at various online outlets across Canada, such as Blades Canada Cutlery Corp., who have a storefront in Vancouver BC. As an EDC knife, this edged tool has all the required options for being a good EDC, possibly excluding the price tag. However, as per the norm for here, it is up to you, our readers, to determine if SOG’s Mini X-Ray Vision falls under the heading of Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical.
One of the most abused parts of a knife is the point or tip of the knife. Users jab it into seams and use the blade as a makeshift wedge or pry-bar in order to crack open or split whatever they are working on at the time. The problem is that the tip of the knife is the weakest part.
The prying puts large tangential stress into a small focused area on what is traditionally the thinner parts of a knife. Now, several knives try and offset this by making a blunt tip which increases the area used for prying that distributes the fores better. Others increase the blade thickness to have a stronger tip that can suffer greater levels of stress before breaking. Columbia River Knife and Tool had a slightly different take which makes a bit more sense to the author. Enter the Barge.
Kershaw’s Barge is a very simple and rugged designed knife that has basically two purposes. Cutting stuff and being used as a wedge/prying tool. The knife is not really that small, amassing just over 150g (5.4oz) and measuring 119mm (4.75″) in length when closed. The first thing you notice looking at the knife however, is the huge metal cap on the knife’s butt end. That is the key of the Barge, the wedge shaped butt cap, and it is massive and mounted very securely between the liners. The wedge acts as the spacer between the two liner halves of the knife. It is secured by five (5) screws along the back and rear edges of the handles, these are not small screws either, they are massive compared to those typically used on folding knives. Of interesting note of this design is the fact that the majority of the screws/nuts use a T8 torx driver for assembly/disassembly, with two exceptions. The reversible pocket clip allows for both left and right handed, tip-up carry, and is secured by a pair of T6 torx pan head screws. The second exception is the most obvious and greatest departure from the other fasteners used, as the large pair of slotted screws provide the main strength that binds the handle to the wedge. The wedge also has a lanyard opening for those who desire to use them.
From the Kershaw Website:
- Multifunction – Has multiple blades or tools, enabling it to perform multiple functions.
- Manual – There is no mechanical assist, such as SpeedSafe, used to open the folding knife. It opens the classic, old-school way.
- Frame Lock – A portion of the handle (the knife frame) moves behind the blade to lock it into position during use. This is a safety feature of the knife.
- Reversible – Pre-drilled holes in the handle enable the user to change either the tip position or the side on which the knife carries.
As is typical in many frame lock knives that are manual in opening, there is a small bearing that is press fit into the locking arm and a corresponding dimple/hole in the blade that enable securing the blade into a closed position. This does equate to a very slight increase of required pressure when opening these knives, but it is almost negligible when using the thumbstuds to open the 6.6cm (2.6″) edge. Now speaking about edges, the Barge’s plain blade has a slight hollow gound edge whose profile is a combination of a warncliffe edge with the spine of a typical drop point and incorporates a slight upward curve close to the tip. Manufactured from 8Cr13MoV, the blade is easily sharpened, and the blade itself, the frame halves, and the wedge have been given a stonewash finish which gives a soft, metallic appearance.
The overall length of the wedge insert is 66mm (2.6″) and is scalloped to allow for the knife’s blade to easily fold up while creating a very robust assembly. The steel right frame panel is 2.4mm (0.095″) thick and incorporates the frame lock mechanism, whereas the the left panel is slightly thinner at 2.0mm (0.08″). However a black textured nylon panel completes the left side for added grip. The blade is 3.1mm (1/8″) thick and uses nylon washers for stiffness and rigidity at the pivot point. The Barge measures 12.1cm (4.74″) long when closed and 18.4cm (7.24″) when locked open which belies the 146.8grams (5.18oz) that this hefty tool masses. The wedge of course is a large contributing factor in those numbers, and with a 1.7mm (0.67″) thick flat edge that is 10.0mm (0.40″) long, the “screwdriver” tip of the Barge is ready for some of the worse pry jobs most people can imagine.
The Kershaw Barge, model 1945, is a very utility oriented knife that could be a good addition to an individual’s every day carry inventory. With a noticeable mass and good control surfaces, this offering may seem cheap at the MSRP of $48.99 CDN, and can be found in stores such as House of Knives. As always however, the question is what category the Barge falls into for you, the reader? Tactial? Practical? Or Fantastical?
Warning: This is a LONG entry, with numerous images.
The week of January 16th once again saw the Sands Convention Centre in Las Vegas, Nevada; host the the 39th annual Sporting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show; also known as the SHOT Show. For those who do not know what SHOT Show is or what it consists of, TPF will give you a quote direct from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) whom organizes the event.
The 39th Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show opened its doors this morning at the Sands Expo Center with industry expectations running high in response to the energized market in America for firearms, ammunition and accessories.
Over the next four days, the show will attract nearly 65,000 industry professionals from the firearms and outdoor industry, including 2,500 members of the outdoor press-the largest gathering of outdoor media in the world-and showcase new, innovative products used for target shooting, hunting, outdoor recreation and law enforcement purposes.
Owned and sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry, the SHOT Show is the largest trade show of its kind in the world. The show is open to trade members only and not to the public; consumers will see the products unveiled at the SHOT Show on retailers’ shelves during the course of the year.
You read that correctly, not open to members of the public. We at TPF can already hear our readers rolling their eyes and thinking to themselves, “But we are the consumers!” Which is true, except that the consumers that are mentioned the service companies and persons who are directly related to the industry. Not the end user, otherwise known as the public, but those whom supply the products to the end users such as retailers, trainers, ranges, organizations, etc… That being said, there are ways that the public can attend, and do attend as is evident to many who have attended SHOT know. TPF-Online will not go into details or methods for the public to get into SHOT Show. We apologize, and suggest that you utilize your favourite search engine or firearms forum (for Canadians, we recommend Gun Owners of Canada or Canadian Gun Nutz).
So let us delve into the timeline of SHOT Show.
Roughly a year ago, TPF Online wrote an installment on a Gerber/Bear Grylls collaboration called the Ultimate Survival Knife. The knife itself caught the interest of one of the author’s more adventurous friends and he acquired it. What many reader may not realize is that in some cases, product images and information is created long before a review is written. After over a year of abuse in the back country of Ontario, Mr. Jody Hammel submitted this review of the knife.
GERBER/BEAR GRYLLS ULTIMATE SURVIVAL KNIFE
I had seen and acquired the Ultimate Survival Knife back in early September 2013, having had to wait for TPF to finish photos and gathering information on it, before handing it over to me. I have since been using this knife as my main camp knife when in the back woods of Algonquin Park which I frequent several times a year. In general the blade feels solid in construction. The blade itself is 3/8” thick at its base where it meets the handle. After 3″, it begins to taper to the tip point and has an overall blade length of just less than 5”. The rubberized handle has a nice grip that does not slip in your hand when it is wet. The index finger grove is nice for added stability. The pommel appears to be made to the same metal as the blade and is perfect for driving in tent stakes or cracking open stubborn walnuts. I have bashed a few things with this and it doesn’t show any wear and tear. I have yet to try the whistle on the lanyard.
The Ferrocerium fire starter rod that is built into the sheath came in handy one night as my lighter was hung 40 feet up a tree with the rest of the cooking gear. We had no issues using the rod and the back of the knife’s blade to get the fire started. While I was concerned that the striker rod may come lose and get lost, it never
I did use the blade for some bush whacking to clear trail to where our food and cooking gear was hung. The front of the blade was fine but the serrated section did not fare too well. This is no great loss to me as I was not a fan of the serrated part any way.
My only complaint is not with the knife itself but with the sheath. I find that it sits too high on my belt and the squared off corners would either dig into my side or scrape against it. It would be nice if the entire knife and sheath hung a little lower to avoid this issue or if the sheath’s corners were rounded. The rest of the sheath is good and the knife sits snug and won’t easily fall out even with the Velcro clasp undone. The fire rod does hang upside down but again is a snug fit and I have never had it fall out by accident. On the back there is a knife sharpening flat that I have had no use for as the knife has kept its edge. The serration edge would require a specialized sharpener to re-edge the tips of the serrations, but not too worried about it.
Over all it is a good all around knife. I used it to whittle tent stakes out of branches with and then drive them into the ground. The blade is beefy enough than I can use it to split larger branches by hitting it with another log and have no fear of breaking the blade. I also like the orange colouring but that’s just personal.
I never needed the whistle or the SOS instructions attached to the knife and sheath, so cannot really comment on those features.
• Feels good in the hand (I have long fingers).
• Blade keeps an edge.
• Solid construction.
• Colouring helps locate if dropped.
• Fits snug in the case.
• Sheath rides to high on the belt causing discomfort.
Many Thanks to Mr. Hammel for his time and efforts in getting back to TPF-Online and writing this review after many months of usage and abuse while adventuring in the regions of Algonquin Park.
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.
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.
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?
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…
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.
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.
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?
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.
Back in January, an event occurred, which the author has been privileged in attending now for the sixth year in a row. The event consists of a single day of practical hands on experiences for media and then four days of talking to an ungodly number of individuals whom are representative of the entire world for Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor manufacturers, distributors and retailers. Of course this equates to the 2012 SHOT Show which is the largest venue of its kind anywhere in the world.
The Monday, January 16th, the temperature outdoors was quite decent and the sky was cloud-free which made Media Day, once again a fine day to go and play with some of the newest firearms and related products which are currently or soon to be available for the commercial markets. Optics, ammunition, handguns, rifles, shotguns, stocks, and a host of other items were available to over 1200 media individuals to experience first hand the products available. Some items truly stood out for the author and the number one item memorable experience was cranking the handle of Colt’s reproduction 1877 Gatling Gun. 20 rounds of 45/70 Government, flew by and seemed effortless as you turned the handle of this beautiful reproduction of history. High quality prototype 308 Winchester chambered bull-pup rifles, custom machined .50 BMG projectiles, the Slide Fire stock, are just a couple of the items that were experienced by the huge crowd of media types.
For the next four days the actual trade show ensued once again at the Sands Convention center. Over 1600 companies were there with in excess of 36,000 people coming to interact with them brought the total attendees to more than 61,000 people over four days. Stunning, especially when you consider that representatives from all 50 states were there as well as representation from more than 100 countries.
TPF will not go into the thousands of products that were displayed and showcased as there are multitudes of other websites and writers whom dwell on the little nuances. There were however an extreme multitude of famous and mentionable people in attendance or in some cases, on display at SHOT Show 2012. As usual the legends and successful masters of shooting disciplines were present, as well as TV sensations both past and present. Lou Ferrigno, was seen repeatedly examining various products as a guest of Barrett Firearms; as well, several participants of the TV Show Top Shot Season 4 were discovering the huge industry on display at SHOT Show 2012. Further highlights of celebrity fanfare was the feature appearances by the crew of Red Jacket Firearms from the TV show, Sons of Guns, and many others.
A short, incomplete listing of well known people who attended Shot Show:
- R. Lee Ermey
- Les Stroud
- Bear Grylls
- Ted Nugent
- Troy & Jacob Landry
- Larry Vickers
- The SeAL team/cast from the movie “Acts of Valor”
- An nearly every known professional shooter, Outdoor TV series hosts, etc…
TPF isn’t going to go into the huge details about what was present and what new products were available for the US market. Suffice to say that the author would be able to write a short novella of several tens of thousands of words showing the various new non-firearm products, let alone new guns. We will however keep you, the reader, abreast of any products which these manufacturers, distributors, and retailers, graciously provide to TPF-Online for review.
Much of the excitement and great moments at the SHOT Show is when the author met so many other Canadians on happenstance, Mrs. Page from Packing Pink, Mr. Krete from The Gun Centre, Mr. Hansen from Freedom Ventures, Mr. Muir from Lever Arms, Mr. Ruston from Tactical Products Canada, and a host of others representing Canadian businesses. Many thanks are to be given to these individuals and companies for attending and creating the contracts and arrangements which continue to supply our Canada market with firearms and related products.
If you are ever able to go, TPF-Online recommends that you do so and experience the multi-billion dollar industry which is partially displayed at SHOT Show. And recall that this is just a PARTIAL display as there are many many other businesses and manufacturers who are not in attendance. A great example is FWB, or Feinwerkbau, one of the oldest and most renowned Olympic class firearms makers, wasn’t present yet again in this year’s SHOT Show.
This years SHOT Show was executed even better than last year and once again, anyone coming should bring a couple pairs of walking shoes to explore and experience the whole event and all booths. However, be forewarned that should you attend, plan your visits to the booths they would have roughly a minute for visiting each booth, and when you consider the sheer scale of the show, much of that time can be walking from booth to booth. There are many displays and extra events which can eat up several minutes of time, such as watching professional shooters show their skills, lining up to get autographs and pictures with celebrities, as well as hands on experience with the multitudes of firearms accessories and outdoor gear.
The 2012 Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show is the largest event of it’s type in the world and TPF can guarantee that should you ever attend this event, every single product displayed at the show will be Practical, Tactical, or Fantasical.
A small example of how you can spend your time talking to one of the many representatives of companies in attendance. Presenting Angus Hobdell, who has been shooting CZ products since 1986 and a member of Team CZ-USA since 2003. In 2012, he is still a great competitor and 100% behind promoting CZ-USA.
On behalf of TPF-Online and the CSSA, many thanks Mr. Hobdell for your time and efforts.
As an added bonus, over the next few days and weeks, TPF will be releasing small video clips from many of the top action shooters in regards to the shooting sports and tips for improving your abilities. So stay tuned!
As we have seen in previous reviews, SOG makes a very substantial multi-tool in the form of the Power Lock. They are also one of the few multi-tool manufacturer’s that TPF has seen which offered individual components for their multi-tool. That means that the end-user can truly customize their SOG Multi-tool to whatever is most appropriate for the user’s application. These components are normally classed as replacement parts despite some components have never had an associated product line. One of the biggest surprises to TPF was the availability of the “Robertson Drive” tool arm does not come standard in any catalogue model.
Unfortunately, as those items are individually ordered as parts only, TPF decided to do a quick review on an accessory package which is commercially available from SOG. The Hex Bit Accessory Kit (HBA Kit) is a selection of 1/4″ hex screwdriver bits and a driving socket (1/4″ Square) all contained is a single plastic moulding for ease of storage and access. Designed specifically for use with SOG Multi-tools which have the 1/4″ driver included in their repertoire of tool arms, the HBA Kit’s driver socket snaps securely onto the multi-tool driver and contains a magnet to ensure positive retention of any inserted bits.
There are a total of twelve (12) driver bits included in the kit and that encompasses four of the more common styles of driver, or at least common to our neighbours to the south. There are three Philips bits (#1, #2, & #3), four Torx bits (T20, T10, T8, & T6), two hex bits (2mm & 1.5mm), and the ever common trio of standard flat driver bits (1/8″, 3/16″, & 9/32″). All component bits are the typical 25mm (1″) long bits similar to those found in most screwdriver kits. The HBA Kit, when coupled with a multi-tool such as SOG’s Powerlock, gives a much broader range of available tasks and a more dedicated platform for doing more precise assembly/repair work.
The small black plastic bit holder is small and compact and linear in nature. All 12 bits and the adaptor driver are held in place by friction and driver bits are grouped in pairs which makes insertion and withdrawal easy. The high impact plastic also allows for the tool holder to be utilized as a small light-duty pry bar. Included on the end of the holder, opposite to the adapter end, is a lanyard loop-hole. Yet the HBA Kit is more apt to be carried with the multi-tool itself in order to assure instant availability should the need arise. The HBA kit is a compact and can be loaded with different bits which the end-user would prefer, such as a #2 Robertson square bit which is prevalent in Canada.
SOG’s Hex Accessory Bit Kit, model HBX-01 as reviewed has an MSRP of $20.00 USD and can be acquired from stores such as Camouflage International Military Surplus & Supplies, located in Vancouver, British Columbia, or direct from SOG themselves.
Under which category should the SOG’s Hex Accessory Bit Kit fall under? Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical.
Puns and horrible one liner butchery aside, the latest product is another from a well known Brand name and a regular manufacturer to be featured by TPF.
Many thanks to Gerber Legendary Blades and Tools for all their support of TPF Online and in turn the CSSA. In today’s review, TPF takes a look at a proven and still produced multi-tool that was first introduced in 2007. Gerber’s Flik was a variation of the Freehand multi-tool released the year prior and used many of the same features and construction techniques, albeit in a slightly smaller package. At a closed length of 112.0mm (4.41″), the Flik is still quite substantial for most individual’s hands. The nearly all metal construction and usage nearly every iota of available space in the tool itself, translates directly into its 250 gram (8.8oz) frame. The basic handles are identical to each other in basic shape and are constructed from stainless steel, sheet metal whose pattern is laser cut and then formed into a tight, well engineered, package. TPF notes that the while the forming is identical, the handles themselves have visual differences in labelling, which is stamped onto the handle blanks prior to forming.
Like nearly every single multi-tool manufactured, the jaws of the Flik are a common combination style of design which include a coarsely toothed oval shaped grasping area preceded by a needle nose on the tip and a side cutter behind it. Previously reviewed by TPF was a similar Gerber Tool, the Compact Sport 400, whose design bears a very similar if superficial design theory. However, the CS400 had one drawback which is alleviated by the Flik’s design. That difference is easily noticed between the Flik and it’s simpler predecessors. The jaws have some addition mechanical locking mechanisms attached to the jaw release buttons. These additional items act as a handle lock; preventing the handles from inadvertently opening when the jaws are retracted. When extended to its full 147.5mm (5.81″) length the Flik’s jaws locking mechanism, ratchets the handles slightly apart, preventing any pinching of the hand when squeezed together.
Unlike many multi-tools, the Flik has one very important feature that is underscored by the innovative one handed opening system used by Gerber… All of its additional tools are accessible without opening the handles. Not just some of them but all of them. On the outer edges are the larger tools and blades, and the inner tool arms are extended through use of the lock bar sliders, which partially lift them out of their respective storage positions and allow the user to access them via nail nicks. An interesting construction detail noted by the TPF staff, is that the external tool arm lock mechanisms and the corresponding internal tool arms are mounted with a separate formed sheet metal chassis. This chassis is retained by the tool arm pivot bolt assemblies, but is very well engineered and precise in its forming. While the total number of tools is not extravagant as in many nested tool designs, the tool arms in the Flik are separated by thin washers to prevent clumping when extending tools.
TPF-Online will list the tools in order from the larger external ones, to the internal parts to give readers a listing of what is available on the Flik multi-tool, beginning with all the tools on one handle and then listing all tools located on the opposite handle.
Blade #1: Mounted on the outside of the handle is a sheep foot shaped blade, featuring a saber ground edge; measuring 69.9mm (2.75″) in length from the handle. Due to the elongated hole present in the blade’s spine, the knife can be opened one handed with patience and practice. It is as evidenced by the amount of material on the edge side which is not sharpened (also known as the Ricasso) to help when opening one-handed.
Sawblade: On the opposite outside edge of this handle is a 76.2mm (3.00″) saw blade which uses triangular profile, opposed teeth with approximately 17 teeth per inch. The tip of the sawblade is angled upwards (without teeth) for a distance of 6.3mm (0.25″) to prevent binding while sawing. The angled tip lifts over the surface being cut and reduces accidental driving of the leading edge into the material being cut. As with the previous blade, an opening on the sawblade is provided for one handed opening. Please note that the saw teeth run the entire length of the blade.
Screwdriver #1: A very small and flattened Philips #1 driver. Located centrally in one of the Flik’s handles, this internal tool arm must be initially lifted using the sliding lock mechanism it is mounted upon (as are all internally mounted tool arms).
Can Opener: A can opener, self explanatory for nearly everyone.
Blade #2: On the opposite handle, the first outer mounted tool is a fully serrated blade which measures the same as the previously mentioned straight blade. However, the tip is blunted and the blade is more rectangular in profile. As with the standard blade, an opening hole is present to allow for one handed opening, as well as the Ricasso.
Scissors: The trademarked Fiskar brand of scissors is incorporated into the outer handles of the Flik and as all Fiskar style scissors, operates flawlessly with a positive opening and closing due to the mounting design of the spring arm. While able to extend the scissors with a single hand, it takes some skill to fully manipulate the scissors into the proper cutting configuration.
Screwdriver #3: A 5.0mm (0.2″) flat tip screwdriver which has a bottle opener included. Also mounted internally.
Lanyard Loop: The Flik includes a retractable lanyard loop, which is interesting as it is the only part that requires an external tool to extend from the tool itself.
Now TPF-Online has commented on the sheath used on the Compact Sport 400, and the Flik’s is identical in construction intent and features. Able to securely hold the Flik, with jaws either retracted or locked into full extension; the velcro flap and vertical belt loop allow for easy and comfortable wearing. As a multi-tool, the Flik has many of the commonly used features required by many for EDC, and the ease of use of the pliers and easily deployed blades and larger cutting tools are a bonus. The only drawback is the smaller size of the secondary tools, which may limit effectiveness and/or functionality of those respective tools.
Overall, TPF finds the Gerber Flik a solid and well designed multi-tool with enough features and a simplified usage that should be appealing to a wide audience. The Flik model reviewed (#22-41054) has an MSRP of $65.00 USD and can be found at various locations and online stores across Canada such as Outdoor Pursuits Canada, located in Black Diamond, Alberta. The Flik can also be obtained with a black oxide finish as well.
As per the norm at TPF, it is ultimately up to you, the reader, to decide if the Flik multi-tool from Gerber is Tactical, Practical or Fantastical.
The title easily sums up what the focus of this instalment of TPF will be regarding. It has been called the most most popular item produced by SOG Specialty Knives and Tools. However, isn’t some fancy multi-tool, which TPF does enjoy reviewing by the way. Nor is it some flashy folding knife with all sorts of carry options, which TPF also likes to see. It just happens to be a simple solidly built fixed knife titled the Field Pup I.
Now here at TPF, we cannot fathom why SOG chose to label this blade the Field Pup, but when introduced in as a new product in 2002, the Field Pup was hailed as a very good all around knife. It’s larger brother the X-42 Field Knife, won in 2003 for Field and Stream’s Best of the Best for design and overall capabilities for a conventional and utilitarian blade. While the X-42 field knife is no longer produced, the Field Pup mimics most of the features that were so highly appraised on it’s bigger brother.
Sporting a 102mm (4.0″) blade whose spine is an impressive 3.3mm (0.13″) thick the Field Pup shows off it’s primary feature quite well. The flat ground blade has a slight drop point profile with the back edge being nearly linear, and featuring a slight recurve cutting edge which adds to the utilitarian design of the knife itself. A recurve blade feature is supposed to lend itself to aid in slicing (draw-cuts), and on larger blades allows for more mass to be closer to the tip of the blade and promote higher chopping ability.
The grip of the Field Pup is manufactured from Kraton, a synthetic substitute for rubber, and is moulded around the full length tang of the blade. With better chemical, wear, and thermal resistance than rubber, the Kraton grips are a natural choice for a field knife that could be exposed to any environment and a large variety of tasks. The thickly moulded grip incorporates a trio of shallow finger grooves and has a very slightly compressible surface which, when added to the checkered pattern on the grip sides, makes this knife extremely comfortable and affords a very secure means of holding the knife. An aggressive thumb ridging on the spine of the knife enhances the ability for imparting force and control through any heavier cutting work that may be done with the blade.
Overall this knife measures 216mm (8.5″) in length and masses 212.6 grams (7.5 oz) which is fairly lightweight as an all round field utility knife. The blade is manufactured from 7Cr17MoV steel, which TPF has been told is the equivalent of 440A stainless steel, and receives very well regarded heat treatment processes, which enhance both the wear resistance and edge retaining properties of the blade.
Over the many years of production, the only alterations other than the text and logo have been the once included para cord lanyard loop and a selection of sheath designs. The two previous sheath for the Field pup reflected the trends of the times. A riveted, simple leather fold-over belt sheath and a larger nylon sheath with retaining snap loop and an accessory pocket. The current sheath is a fairly simple leather fold-over design which uses 2.4 – 2.8mm (6-7 oz) leather and has the retaining edges stitched. Recall that the older version was riveted, however, unlike the past version, today’s Field Pup sheath comes with a retaining snap loop. A generously sized, albeit thin, belt loop completes the sheath.
A single variation of the Field Pup is available and the only difference the satin finish, as reviewed, is replaced by the blade being coated in a black titanium nitrite finish. Due to the immense popularity of this knife design, SOG also created a slightly larger version which is nearly identical in manufacture. These upscaled 121mm (4.75″) blade versions are called the Field Pup II.
Overall TPF finds the Field Pup I a very solidly constructed knife and understands why it has been such a popular knife for hunters, campers, and outdoors-men in general for all these years. The Field Pup I, model FP3 as reviewed, has an MSRP of $62.25 USD and can be readily found at a variety of stores, such as Warriors and Wonders in Vancouver, B.C.
The one true question that only you, the reader, can answer. Is the Field Pup I fixed blade knife, from SOG Specialty Knives and Tools; Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical?
It seems like TPF has a plethora of blades and multi-tools available for creating reviews about, which is surprisingly correct. Gerber Legendary Blades has been a true supporter of TPF’s endeavours and on behalf of the CSSA, they deserve many accolades for their efforts. As stated in the previous posts, the author of TPF is not a “knife guy” but in the last few months of reviewing so many knives and researching about them, that knowledge level is increasing slowly but surely.
While not wholly familiar with all knife aspects, TPF is familiar with tools, and in this case multi-tools. Gerber Gear’s 400 Compact Sport multi-tool is featured in this review. Now the Compact Sport is a slightly smaller, more compact version of the 600 series Basic multi-tool by Gerber. Despite this it still falls into a full-sized category. One of the interesting features of this multi-tool design is the method of which to open the tool with only a single hand. Unlike most multi-tools which have the jaws pivot on studs in the handle ends, the Compact Sport utilizes an interesting design which upon exertion of some centrifugal force, causes the jaws to slide out and lock into position.
The 400 Compact Sport as reviewed here is the black oxide coated edition, with a brushed stainless steel being the alternate for visual appearance. With an overall extended length of 144.0mm (5.67″), and a collapsed length of 112.0mm (4.41″) the 400CS, is on the smaller side of “full size” multi-tools compared to others which claim the same title. The stainless steel jaws are machined from a forging and are symmetrical in manufacturing (Each jaw is the identical when machined). The handles themselves are identical and are constructed from a single piece of stamped sheet which is then folded and formed into shape and attached at the pivot point with a large rivet. The jaws themselves are also riveted together and are installed in the guide cutouts on the outer side of the handles. Retained by an elongated spring steel clip a captive, spring-loaded buttons on each handle secure the jaws into extended position. TPF will state that there is some side to side play when the jaws are extended, and that is most likely due to the nature of the dual pivots (jaws and handles) and the requirement to float and create a natural tendency to align the pivots for opening and closing of the jaws.
The CS400 has multiple tool arms common for many multi-tools which are contained inside the handles and as usual , however one of the features is that each arm is lockable in the fully extended position via a sliding plate lockup mechanism. Spring loaded to auto lock an extended tool arm, releasing the lock is accomplished by sliding the plastic tab and disengaging the locking plate. One of the other features rarely seen in many multi-tools is the inclusion of spacers/washers between tool arms which prevent clumping when retrieving tools. Clumping occurs when you are pulling on a single tool arm and multiple arms follow in a “clump”. The spacers/washers is usually omitted in multi-tools which are trying to put as many tool arms into the handles as it is an added cost and space requirement compared to adding another arm or two for additional “features”.
The CS400 is however a value version of the larger tools available from Gerber Gear, and it is apparent that this is a no-frills tool made for abuse. The forged jaws themselves feature a combination pliers layout with a needle nose profile and an incorporated wire cutter. On the inner side (handles), the jaws have a small crimping area to complete the features specific to the jaws of the CS400.
TPF will now go over the seven (7) tool arms which are contained in the CS400’s handles. Note that ALL the tool arms are opened via a nail nick which in some cases the author found to be difficult to successfully use. Now this may be due to the CS400 reviewed being brand new and hardly worked in, or perhaps the retaining nut/bolt assembly was tightened to ensure that the tool arms could only be opened by dedicated effort.
- Partially serrated blade – A Wharncliffe profile which looks crude but has a very aggressive serrations which occupies approximately 2/3 of the blade length
- Philips screwdriver
- Bottle opener – Also has a medium-size flat screwdriver tip incorporated into it
- Can opener
- Small flat screwdriver
- Large flat screwdriver
- “Fiskar” scissors
Now as the handle design has all the rounded edges on the outer portions, the CS400 is very comfortable to use and does not dig in or hurt the hand while applying pressure through the jaws. However, like many of this design style of multi-tool, the tool requires opening before one can access any of the tool arms. While not ideal, TPF recognizes that the primary purpose of a multi-tool is not to act as a screwdriver or a pair of scissors, but as a plier tool first and foremost. Here at TPF we want out readers to be informed as well, and the CS400 is on the smaller end of the full size multi-tools and the length of the tool arm screwdrivers is limited, but appears to be fully functional. The only drawback in TPF’s opinion is that black oxide finish shows any and all scrapes and nicks far more than a standard version would.
The final component for the CS400 package is the carry sheath. Made of nylon with a standard velcro closure, the CS400 sheath does have some interesting features. The sheath that comes with the black oxide version has a Molle compatible mount which doubles as a standard belt loop method for affixing the pouch and tool to your belt/gear. This may be typical for all versions of the CS-400, but unknown at this time. The most interesting feature of the sheath is that the bottom edge of the sheath is reinforced and open. You can see the jaws slightly protrude through the opening when collapsed, yet this opening allows for the tool to be sheathed when the jaws are locked into extended position.
The CS400 is roughly 75% the size of it’s larger kin, the 600 Series Multi-tool (A future review perhaps?) and as such is a reasonably sized multi-tool for EDC. The Compact Sport 400 with the black oxide finish has an MSRP of $59.00USD whereas the plain version is slightly less at an MSRP of $51.00USD. This product is available at many retailers and online stores throughout Canada such as http://www.soldier-gear.ca
As always here at TPF, it is up to you the reader to decide the following:
Gerber Gear’s Compact Sport 400 – Black Oxide version; is it Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical?
Now the author has long carried a multi-tool as part of his EDC for over a decade. The SOG which has been at my side for so long is still there, but today TPF has the opportunity to review the bigger brother to the SOG Power Pliers. If there is a single thing which stands out with the majority of SOG multi-tools, it is the innovative, geared, jaw assemblies of their multi-tools.
The compound leverage system, as marketed by SOG Specialty Knives & Tools, does the following:
With the same hand pressure you will generate twice the wire cutting and gripping power than all other conventional designs.
Nearly every model of SOG multi-tool utilizes this technological feature. Now that exact statement cannot be quantifiable by TPF, but the author has used his EDC SOG to perform operations which would have been more difficult if not for the compound leverage system so there is some truth to the claim. The product reviewed in today’s instalment is SOG’s Power Lock Multi-tool; specifically the EOD version with optional V-Cutter. One may ask why the feature is for an EOD version, and for the unknowing, EOD is an acronym for Explosive Ordinance Disposal. In truth, unless the 2.0 version is ordered, the EOD model designations only differ from the standard models by the use of black oxide finishes.
The first thing noticeable is the shear size of the Power Lock multi-tool. Massing in at 272 grams (9.6oz), and having a closed length of 117mm (4.6″) the Power Lock is a massive multi-tool and fills the hand completely without even being open for use. Obvious are the geared teeth of the compound leverage system and when opened for usage, the tool measures 178mm (7.0″) In length. SOG notes that there are a total of 22 tools incorporated into their standard , aka non-2.0, versions of the Power Lock and before TPF starts listing all of these excess tools, TPF will concentrate on the tool’s primary feature. The jaws and the associated compound leverage system.
The jaws of the PowerLock are typical of SOG, a stainless steel forging, which is precision machined for accuracy and quality. These pliers incorporate several jaw features. Primarily a set of needle nose pliers, whose fine teeth have seamless meshing, the jaws are stout and designed to be able to withstand much abuse and applied force. Also included in the jaw set are a set of wire cutters and a large aggressively tooth oval opening. It is this combination jaw and the associated compound leverage system which is the mainstay of this multi-tool. The geared pivots incorporated into the handle design, mesh with the corresponding one on the opposite handle, and it is this special design arrangement which allows for the force multiplier to be used when squeezing the handles together. Now TPF could go into the technical details and geometric equations, but unfortunately that does not make for good reading. As also marketed by SOG and the variety of multi-tools which utilize the compound leverage arrangement, the PowerLock can be opened and utilized one handed to deploy the combination jaws. The obvious mass of the arms/handles and practice, plus the loosening of the joints/gearing over time, allows for vary fast opening by one hand.
Some of the other features of the PowerLock other than the obvious main jaws, are the included crimping spikes/posts located on the inside of the handles when in the deployed position. These two crimping areas allow for fuses to be crimped into blasting caps as well as crimping of wires with connectors. This is present on ALL PowerLock versions as the specialization of a separate jaws assembly would be inefficient from a manufacturing/cost perspective. There are two fairly heavy and rigid flanges which cover the gears and act as pivots for opening and closing the jaws and generating the additional force multipliers to the grasping, cutting and crimping sections of the jaws.
Nearly ALL the remaining tools are nested under moving cover plate on each handle. This is the sole obvious drawback of this tool design. You need to deploy the jaws in order to access any of tools located in the handle. The reason for the cover is two fold. It primarily is for reducing the exposed edges and allowing a more comfortable grip while exerting force on the handles. Secondly it protects the additional tools from inadvertent movement from the stored position.
Under the panels are the plethora of additional tool arms. As mentioned to access these tools you need to pivot the covers away from the handles. As the covers are literally secured by a small indent, accidental removal of the covers is easily remedied.
The listing of tool arms is as follows.
- V-Belt Cutter: This cutter is used for quick severing of flat belts and small diameter fibre ropes. Very sharp blades are riveted in place on this arm.
- Scissors (Standard Model): The scissors replace the V-Cutter in standard versions of the PowerLock, The scissors utilize a torsion spring to keep the scissor blades open.
- 1/4″ Socket Driver: This odd shaped arm is actually a driver for standard 1/4″ sockets. The spring around the perimeter of the arm is used to secure the driven socket to the arm and minimize any fumbling. This arm can be locked into position 90° from the handle.
- Bottle Opener: One of the most common “tools” on all encompassing multi-tools. This one has a medium sized flat blade screwdriver head on the tip of it.
- Blade: This 190mm (3.5″) partially serrated blade has a drop point and variation of a chisel grind which has the blade’s back side featuring a concave profile similar to that of a hollow grind.
- Can Opener: The obligatory can opener to go with the aforementioned bottle opener. Also incorporates a small flat screwdriver tip.
- Philips: A true size #1 Philips screwdriver head. Comes with a small wire stripper feature built into the nail nick for opening the blade.
- Flat Screwdriver: The large flat head screwdriver.
- Awl: A chisel designed and very pointy awl/punch.
- Saw Blade: This double toothed saw blade is very aggressive in design.
- File (Not visible): The three sided file which include single and crosscut files on opposite flat sides and a coarse file on a single edge. In addition the file tip acts as a large flat screwdriver.
With all the tool arms and jaw features, SOG decided to add in another couple of items that might be useful, which includes imperial and metric rulers and a lanyard eyelet. SOG Specialty Knives and Tools also has the ability for consumers to order replacement blades and tool arms for the nested components as well as some more specialized non-standard components. The one which caught the attention of TPF and may spark interest in the Canadian market is that of the Robertson screwdriver.
The final component of the entire package is the nylon case. With a Velcro backed flap to secure the tool into place in the pouch, the universal clip on the back will hold the pouch in a vertical position on belts up to 38mm (1.5″) wide. Simple and effective and with easy access to the tool. The non-EOD version have an option to have a leather pouch which has a positive retaining snap button but forgoes the universal belt clip to a more traditional belt loop style of attachment.
A heavy and solid multi-tool with an impressive number of features and attachments, the PowerLock as reviewed (model B63) has an MSRP of $124.25USD, and is available at many retailers and online stores throughout Canada.
SOG Specialty Knives and Tools, PowerLock – EOD version with V-Cutter with nylon pouch; is it Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical?
Once again TPF delves into the realm of bladed tools and as before, Gerber Legendary Blades has become the focus of this review. Gerber has been around for over seven decades of creating tools for people, with an eye on edged instruments for use in nearly every application. As technology and designs continued to evolve, so did the products of Gerber, and for the last thirty years, the sword into the rock image has been the hallmark of that legendary brand and continues in a similar theme even with the latest logo change just a few weeks ago.
Now many designers at Gerber develop concepts and prototypes for a multitude of blades, tools, and equipment. When individuals come up with this blade design, it was so well received that it now bears his name in recognition. Named after longtime employee, Jeff Freeman, the Freeman Guide series of knives debuted in 2003 and are targeted specifically for hunters. Initially created as a fixed blade, the folder versions were introduced a couple of years ago. The Freeman Guide folding knife is the current generation of this knife family and we at TPF are pleased to be able to show you the details and specifics of this product from Gerber.
The Freeman Guide Folder (FGF), is a classic drop point, liner-lock folding design which has several features that may appeal to hunters and other outdoors-men who would utilize it. With the 440A stainless steel blade measuring 91.4mm (3.6″), the FGF’s edge is not exceptionally long when compared to other similar style fixed blade knives. It does however offset that with a large profile and blade thickness; back to belly distance of 30.0mm (1.2″) and being roughly 3.0mm (0.120″) wide. This profile helps the FGF tip the scales at nearly 190 grams (6.6 oz), and while hefty in mass, the large finger grooves in the handle allow for solid grip and control of the knife. The grips themselves are manufactured from Gerber’s exclusive TacHide™ material and offer a comfortable, non-slip texture.
The blade itself mounts dual thumb studs for ambidextrous opening, and the liner lock is very strong and secures the blade open very well. The actual construction of the entire knife is very solid with the use of several Torx screws to secure all aspects together, from the massive lanyard opening on one end to the solid blade stop above the pivot. TPF will note that this knife does not have a pocket clip and at the mass of this blade, it is not a surprise considering the size of this folding knife..
The FGF’s sheath is black nylon belt sheath which has a typical button snap enclosure for securing the folded knife inside the pouch. Other than a trio of raised bumps over the top of the Gerber logo, formed into the surface, there is nothing extraordinary regarding the outward appearance of the sheath. However; the sheath’s construction allows for multiple mounting orientations which is a nice option for such a large folder. The These orientations has provisions for vertical mounting on a 38.1mm (1.5″) belt or horizontal mounting on a belt up to 31.8mm (1.25″) in width, and before some ask, no, this sheath is not molle compatible.
Another version of this folder is available from Gerber, and it includes a gut hook on the blade as well, opposite of the knife belly. The gut hook version is slightly heavier but has the same features as the plain FGF reviewed on TPF. The Gerber Freeman Guide, folding knife is offered with an MSRP of $43 USD regardless of blade style, and is available at nearly all commercial Canadian Tire stores across Canada.
The Freeman Guide folding knife offered by Gerber Legendary Blades:
Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical?
Once again Spring Assisted Openers are featured on TPF. In this case, SOG Specialty Knives & Tools offered up a small everyday carry knife labelled the Twitch II. The original Twitch I, was introduced into the market many years ago and its small 48.3mm (1.9″) blade, with Spring Assisted Technology was the result of the imagination of Mr. Spencer Frazer.
For those that do not know, Mr. Frazer is the founder of SOG (originally an anagram from Studies & Observations Group) and as a result, SOG has been designing, manufacturing and producing knives for the last 25 years. Having many patents with his name attached to them has helped SOG grow into one of the top dozen known companies for quality, innovation and customer satisfaction with their lines of blades and multi-tools. Fast forward to late 2005-early 2006, and the Twitch II was introduced into the commercial marketplace. A bigger brother to the original, the Twitch II is literally an up-scaled version of the Twitch yet it is not the largest in this design family. That title is held by the Twitch XL. However, for this overview TPF focuses on knife which sits in the middle of the pack.
Featuring a flat ground, drop point blade, which measures 68.1mm (2.68″) in length; the Twitch II is a fair sized knife for EDC. The biggest difference between this design of knife and other spring assisted opening knives is the use of a modified spine lock to secure the blade in the open position. Mounting dual thumb studs on the blade and a kick on the opposite side for opening allow for easy ambidextrous opening of the knife via thumb or finger. Part of the design is the formed lock back which fits around the kick when the knife is in closed position. The opening of this knife using the kick is very fast (see the attached video at the end).
The Twitch II is not a grand knife designed to ohh and ahh people who see it, but is meant for users who may need a knife for everyday cutting tasks. Tight, simple controls, and possessing a smooth appearance from the use of aluminum grip panels; the Twitch II appears to be a logical choice for upgrading from the classic folding, lock-back pocket knives that were carried by many.
Similar it may well be to those older knives, but the same it is not. The Twitch I & II have non-reversible pocket clips due to their sculpted shape, the bigger Twitch XL uses a clip similar to that of the previously reviewed SOGZilla. That being said, the Twitch II clip orientation allows for tip-up carrying while in the pocket and the clip is very small in profile to not have a significant visibility factor.
Already mentioned was the innovative design style of the lock back lever which surrounds the kick yet allows it to move freely. In order to open the blade, the resistance imparted by the lock back lever must be overcome but this is accomplished easily and the blade opening speed is very fast. The folded sheet metal locking lever design is accompanied by a small safety slider which secures the locking lever into position. This enables the knife to have a blade secured in both open or closed positions. The safety has a definite mechanical stop in both engaged and disengaged positions so that it will not accidentally shift into an undesired position. Be aware however that the safety, while preventing the blade from fully opening, does not prevent the tip from extending past the handle by 3mm (1/8″) with direct force on the opening protrusions. Such an occurrence was tested and proven with the reviewed Twitch II, but did take a directed effort on either the kick or the thumb studs in order to open. Research into this shows that this is a rare occurrence and that the vast majority of Twitch II users have no such issues. Overall this SOG appears to share a hallmark feature that TPF has seen of other SOG products, a durable design meant to be well used.
The Twitch II can be ordered as reviewed (TWI-8) but can have two other versions if so desired. A partially serrated blade can be found (TWI-98) or a standard blade but with all components having a black titanium nitrite finish. (TWI-12). As reviewed by TPF, the Twitch II has an MSRP of $72.50 and can be found at a variety of Canadian retailers such as Warriors & Wonders located in Vancouver, British Columbia.
As always the final say is yours; the reader’s.
SOG’s Twitch II: Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical?
As stated before, TPF has limited experience with blades, and has to rely on online sources and the word of individuals with more knowledge about this subject matter. So when Columbia River Knife and Tool (CRKT) donated some knives to the CSSA for their fund-raising dinners, TPF was able to temporarily acquire the donation to do a small review on it. For most utilitarian people, a knife and/or multi-tool are always a part of their everyday carry gear. Now here at TPF, EDC gear is minimal and more often than not, crude and on the rough side for appearance.
The Centofante Tribute offered by CRKT is anything but crude and rough; in fact it is closer to elegance of design in the author’s opinion. From the company itself, it is known that the blade was part of a collaborative design with a renowned knife making.
Frank Centofante, one of the pioneers in the custom knife making movement, passed away in September of 2009 before he could see this lock back design go into CRKT production. After a few moments of reflection, we decided to name the series the Centofante Tribute.
The Tribute, Frank’s final production collaboration, is a fitting statement of simplicity and craftsmanship. It is a classic drop point lock back folder, with no gimmicks, no frills, no complex mechanisms, not even a clip. His meticulous approach to knife making is detailed in his chapter in the “Bible,” How To Make Folding Knives, published in 1988, and that is exactly how we are making the Tribute.
Honestly, before acquiring the Tribute, TPF had not heard of the now deceased, Mr. Frank Centofante. It is items like this which help expand our knowledge into other areas and gain understanding into some of the history and background for such individuals. Mister Centofante was one of fewer than two hundred custom knife makers in North America in the mid 1970’s, and has always has a penchant for thin, slim folding knives. Now nearly four decades later, this Tribute from CRKT depicts many of the classic elements which are synonymous with Mr. Centofante’s folding knives.
This folding knife features a 79.4mm (3.125″) drop point, plane edged blade and masses only 43 grams (1.5 oz.). As the release by CRKT states, the tribute has no extra features and is very simple in design. With the blade secured open via the spine lock, the Tribute is 181.1mm (7.13″) in length and truly shows off the sleek look of the knife. The overall design shows off the smooth contour of the hand carved and polished Micarta handle and completes the “gentleman’s knife” association with this blade. The flat ground blade is manufactured from 7Cr17MoV stainless steel and features the classic “nail-nick” for opening.
This knife has no sheath, no pocket clip attachments as it is a small, lightweight folder meant to be carried unobtrusively in an individuals pocket, ranging from the inside of a dinner jacket or the back pocket in a pair of blue jeans.
The Tribute has an MSRP of $49,99 USD as listed on the CRKT website, but is available from at various Canadian dealers and retailers across the country such as MilArm Co. Ltd. in Edmonton, Alberta. A smaller version known as the Tribute 2 is also available, but it mounts a slightly smaller blade and appropriately sized handle, but otherwise has all the same features as the larger version.
Columbia River Knife and Tool’s Centofante Tribute folding knife: Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical?
Mistakenly, many people associate the AR in the referenced image above as “Assault Rifle”. Which is incorrect as it stands for the originating company of the design, Armalite. The AR-15 is the Armalite, model 15, a gas impingement operated semi-automatic rifle. Usually chambered in or 5.56x45mm or .223 Remington, the AR-15 and its more military based brethren, the M16/M4, is utilized across the globe by armed forces and civilians alike. In fact in the USA it has become one of the most popular hunting rifles ever produced. Modular and with such a huge following, the AR-15 is the test bench for almost ANY conversion kit, optics, stocks, and aesthetic modifications created by manufacturers and hobbyists in North America.Samson Manufacturing has been producing reputable forearm guards and other machine components for various platforms for several years and in 2009 decided to come branch out into the market. What is being reviewed by TPF is the result of several years of development and in fact, at the first SHOT Show (2009) where this product was introduced, TPF was not allowed to take any images of it. Fast forward another year and TPF obtained a production version of this new tool.
Now before any tool details are written about, there was one driving factor with this products design. The tool MUST stay with the gun. However with the huge plethora of aftermarket accessories and such, the question was where and how to attach this tool to the AR platform with minimal protrusions and attachments to the firearm itself. There was a single spot that met this requirement and minimized the space claim by such a tool. The grip. With this in mind and now a set space claim to work in, Samson Manufacturing began the design and subsequent production of the Field Survivor. This tool was design to be unobtrusive when stored, and extremely helpful with some of the most common maintenance tasks associated with the AR-15/M16/M4 platform.
What is very interesting is the sheer number of tools and features which the Field Survivor tool incorporates into its design. nearly every surface, part and bit of this tool is usable for some sort of measurement, adjustment, action to help maintain your AR platform. The FS-001 being reviewed by TPF fits standard A2 grips and Hogue AR15 Rev B grips. The Field Survivor, which is to be referred to as FS hereafter, has two main components. The end cap and the main body. The end cap is the scalloped portion which is visible when installed into the storage position in the grip. Affixed with a #8-32 stud, spinning the end cap either compresses the retaining o-ring, which expands outwards and creates a secure clamp inside the grip. By spinning the end cap in the opposite direction, the o-ring is relaxed and allows the tool to slide easily from the grip. The FS has a total of four (4) tool arms and a few removable components stored with the tool.
Here is a basic rundown on the features and components of the FS for the AR15/M4/M16 family of firearms. TPF will start with the removable component parts first and work around the tool to document all the features of this tool.
- End Cap: Besides retaining the FS in the grip the end cap has several extra features. With scalloped edges the end cap functions as an impact device when the FS is properly stored in the grip of the firearm. A built-in 1/2″ hex pattern allows for the tightening of some nuts on several accessory and scope mount devices. There are provisions for securing two firing pin retaining cotter pins. The two straight slots are for use on metallic magazine feed lips for modifying their shape. The #8-32 stud allows for some Otis products to be attached but is meant to be used in conjunction with the included cleaning cable for swabbing the barrel.
- Broken Shell Extractor: Included with the FS is a broken shell extractor. This extractor has two additional functions in addition to the obvious one. Used in conjunction with the pull cable (see next tool component/feature), the shell extractor doubles as a handle for pulling a bore brush through the barrel of the firearm. Almost as after thought, a spare extractor pin can be stored inside the cavity of the 2 piece broken shell extractor.
- Detachable Pull Cable: Normally stored within the tool body, this 23″ long steel cable has a loop on one end and a female #8-32 end on the other. The threaded end is for attaching and pulling bore brushes through the barrel, whereas the loop side is for running patches through the barrel.
- Lube Ampule: Included in the field survivor is a small metal ampule (container) which has plastic tapered plugs on either end. It is designed to hold a small amount of lubricant to allow for a single application of lube to essential components.
- Sight Adjustment Arm: This sectioned cylindrical tool has 3 prongs which correspond to an A2 front sight for adjustment. the arm also includes a small straight cutout for fine metallic magazine feed lip adjustments. The secondary purpose of this arm is to store the broken shell extractor when within the grip of the rifle.
- The Otis Attachment Arm: This arm is literally a pivot with an #8-32 thread in it to mount the bore brush. Other attachments can be inserted into this spot, but doing such may make grip storage impossible due to space constraints.
- The Hook/Screwdriver Arm: An interesting multiple usage arm, which has a very robust thickness and apparent strength is home to a short straight screwdriver blade and a small hook like feature which can be used to remove firing pin cotter pins from the bolt carrier group. The interesting feature however is the width and machined strip along the edges of this tool arm with crate a Go/No Go gauge for metallic magazines and allow for instant field checking of suspect magazines.
- The Scraper Arm: Another hefty arm, this scraper has edges along both long sides and opposing scrapers on the tip, in fact it reminded the author of cutters used on milling machines. Sharp and made of steel, care needs to be followed when used on the aluminum alloy of the AR15/M4/M16 platform. This arm also houses the lube ampule very securely as it forces the ampule’s plugs to seal via mechanical tension.
- The FS Body: How is this even a tool after all the other components and functions may come across the minds of many. The profile of the body, on the side which mounts the sight tool, shows the proper curvature of feed lips for metallic magazines and a small line shows a very basic “No-Go” limit with a small line show on the curve.
The Field Survivor is compact and masses approximately 100 grams (3.5oz). No sleeve or sheath is offered as the tool itself is designed specifically for installation to a firearms’ grip. The FS-001 reviewed, and all AR platform versions are dedicated for 5.56mm/.223 chambers as that it the primary calibre for the rifle.
There are also 3 other variations of the Field Survivor available and all have slightly differing components and features which are specific to their associated rifle platforms. The FS-002 functions in Magpul MAID/MOE grips, but is otherwise similar to the reviewed FS-001. The FS-003 is made specifically for the AK-47 and as such will most likely not see much demand in Canada. The final version currently available is the FS-004, which caters to STAG/CMMG piston driven AR platforms and sacrifices the scraper arm for a gas piston wrench.
The family of Samson Field survivors are available for purchase from such places as DS Tactical in British Columbia. The FS-001 as reviewed by TPF retails for $156.99 CDN.
Samson Manufacturing Corporation’s Field Survivor (FS-001)? Is it Tactical, Practical or Fantastical?