Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Folding KniFE REviEW

First published in Concealed Carry Magazine Volume 3 - April 2006

The personal, concealed carry arsenal is not complete without the most basic and primal of all personal protection devices, the knife. Other writers have written extensively about the virtues of the knife as a self-defense weapon, and I do not have much more to add to what has already been said. Experts such as Gabe Suarez and James Keating are infinitely more knowledgeable than I am in regard to the bladed, fighting arts. Therefore, I defer to their expertise. The knife is a powerful, self-defense tool, which is essential because it not only compliments a good handgun system, it can often go where a pistol cannot. Most of the knives in this article are legal to carry in most venues unless your local authorities feel that you are too incompetent to carry sharp things. (Better check your local laws to see how badly your rights are being violated.)
Most states have some provision for handgun carry, but most have bizarre knife laws. The powers that be (for the most part) do not realize that the term “arms” in the Second Amendment does not exclusively refer to firearms, but includes edged weapons as well. Knives must have a utility purpose to be carried legally in most states. Self-defense is apparently less important than opening boxes or cutting tomatoes. Go figure. All of the knives in this article make excellent utility knives and will cut tomatoes and boxes just fine. (I know because I tried them.)
The purpose of this article is to review a short list of fine folding knives that can be had for around a hundred dollars. These knives will function and perform well. You will not have to compromise much if you purchase one of these affordable, tactical folders. I carried them, handled them, cut things with them, dunked them in a river, etc., for weeks. The test was not scientific or destructive. My wife and I simply lived with them and used them.
More expensive knives can be purchased with premium blade steels, hand fitted parts, exotic grip materials and designer signatures. I do not degrade these beautiful works of practical art or the artists that create them. I have personally made a couple of knives. Therefore, I truly appreciate the time and skill required to make a fine knife. If you can afford to purchase custom made knives, I encourage you to do so. There are some wonderful designers out there that have contributed greatly to knife science. Please support them if you can.
Unfortunately, many of us do not have the money to spend three hundred dollars or more on a knife. Does this mean that those of us who may be able to shell out only seventy-five dollars on a knife cannot depend on it? No. In fact, there are many production knives that perform excellently and will not break your budget.
Besides handwork and design, the main difference between a premium knife and a production knife is steel. Folding knives are mostly made from stainless steel. Stainless steel is a steel alloy that is a minimum of 10.5% to 13% chromium (depending on whose table you are using). This chromium reduces the oxidizing potential of the steel, so it rusts and stains less. Stainless will rust, but less and at a slower rate than steel with lower chromium content. There are many more additives that affect the properties of knife steel. Some of the additives greatly improve the hardness and the ability of the steel to hold an edge, but they often add cost. Some premium stainless steels are 154 CM, ATS 34 and CPM-S30V. These are wonderful steels, which have some great properties. Using these steels in a tactical folding knife can increase the cost exponentially. Add hand fitting, exotic grip material and a master designer’s name, and you have a chunk of change invested.
There are some very functional production grade steels that perform very well and will not require selling your firstborn to obtain a knife made with them. Many production folding knives are made from AUS 8 and 440C. Now, this should be taken with a grain of salt because there are premium grade knives that are also made from these grades of stainless. The reason is that regardless of how “premium” your steel is, if it is not heat treated properly, then it will not perform well. Some premium knife makers have developed very good methods of heat treating that make AUS 8 and 440C perform very well. Most of your affordable folding knives will be made from one of these steels or something quite similar. Most of the knives in this article are made from one of these steels. None of these knives are junk. They are made by well known and highly respected companies.
EMERSON HARD WEAR— RELIANT: Emerson added their Hard Wear line to their domestically made, premium line to fill a market gap. The result is affordable, lightweight, high quality knives. I gravitated to the Reliant model when swimming or in wet environments because it is lightweight, with a slim profile. It has a simple and sturdy design, with one of the best pocket clips that I’ve ever used, and the handle contour forms an effective finger guard. Emerson has an excellent reputation and has brought new, exciting designs to the market. The no-frills Hard Wear line makes it possible to have an Emerson, even if you are on a budget.
www.emersonknives.com
310-212-7455
BOKER—AK74: The AK74 is a real bargain. It is a well made knife with a hard, aluminum handle and a strong lock-up. I www.concealedcarrymag.com Concealed Carry MagazineVolume 3 - April 2006wish it had a pocket clip like its automatic version. I like the blade shape and the grip shapes in the scales. It opens easily with a thumb stud. Its association with Kalashnikov gives it a nice mystique. I don’t know why this knife is so inexpensive.
www.bokerusa.com
800-835-6433
SOG—PENTAGON: I love this serious, self-defense knife. It opens smooth and fast. It is very slim and easy to carry. It is a simple, direct design. I like this knife for weak-hand side carry because of its simple opening system and its ability to be easily closed one-handed. Its straight, spear-point blade is reminiscent of a dagger. It was the easiest knife to deploy into the reverse grip, edge-in or “pakal” position. When stabbed into dense styrofoam, it had scary penetration.
www.sogknives.com
888-SOG-BEST
SOG—FLASH II: I have carried this knife on my weak-hand side for several years. The self-assisted opening system has functioned flawlessly for years, with no sign of wear. This knife has stayed sharp through many cardboard box openings, rope cuttings and other mundane abuses that I have subjected it to.
www.sogknives.com
888-SOG-BEST
KERSHAW—TACTICAL BLUR: This knife has become my wife's EDC (every day carry). Its flat profile makes it conceal well with women’s attire. “And regarding body shape,” Kathleen said, “I love this slim, comfortable knife, because big, chunky knives tend to stick out sideways or poke you in the flesh if you have curves.” The sandpaper-like scales give the user a sure grip, no matter how much hand cream, water, oil, blood, etc. is present. The Tactical Blur has a formidable blade that flashes to action in a “blur” by an assisted opening system. The Ken Onion designs are the hallmark of Kershaw’s folding knives. The Tactical Blur is evidence of the quality of his designs.
www.kershawknives.com
800-325-2891
SPYDERCO—CHINOOK II: This knife is a little more costly than the others in this review, but by shopping the internet carefully, you can find some great prices. This knife is signed by the great knife fighting instructor, James Keating, who is famous for Riddle of Steel. Tests have shown that you could beat this knife to pieces before the lock-up will fail. The Chinook II has become my EDC (every day carry). This is a heavy pocket knife, which I don’t mind, but this was a drawback for my wife because as she says, “I don’t wear baggy pants that are made for a man who has no ass.” You can see the influence of Master at Arms, James Keating, in this knife design. It is rugged and powerful. The Chinook II is a serious fighting knife. Spyderco was visionary in bringing James Keating on board with this design.
www.spyderco.com
www.jameskeating.com
800-525-7770
BUCK—POLICE ADVOCATE: I bought my first Buck folder in 1976. It was big, heavy and hard to open quickly. (I loved that knife.) Well, this isn’t your dad’s old Buck. In a collaboration with Strider, Buck’s creation of this knife is shear genius. Buck has made it possible for almost anyone to own a Strider design. Its paddle shaped blade swings quickly into action and locks hard, using a locking liner. This is a real workhorse. The Police Advocate brings a premium Strider design into an affordable package. Who says you can’t have it all? This knife competes daily with my Chinook II to be my EDC.
www.buckknives.com
800-215-2825
CRKT—M16 SPECIAL FORCES: The Carson designed, M16 series of knives is very well thought out. The model I have is the M16 Special Forces. Its extended finger guards are built into the blade. When the knife is closed, the finger guard is used to flick the blade into the open position. This is brilliantly simple. Some say that the finger guards snag in your pocket. The knife is quite large (although smaller versions are available), therefore I found it more comfortable to carry the knife in my waistband. This type of carry eliminated any pocket snagging. The scales were a little slick for my sweaty hands, but manageable. The M16 Special Forces knife is well made and has a strong, locking liner. It is also an excellent bargain. CRKT has terrific designs at affordable prices.
www.crkt.com
800-891-3100
CONCLUSION: These are examples of the excellent production knives that can be had for a reasonable price. The companies listed above are known for quality and good customer service. You can be confident that they have a knife that will suit your needs. Knives are very personal tools. If possible, try to handle samples before buying. Get a knife that will be a good friend and a reliable tool, but one that is also capable of defending your life if the need should arise.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Excellent guntrainer


Check this school out. This company is excellent. I know this from personal experience.

http://www.appstraining.com/

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Hero Female Sniper


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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

This is an article that I wrote that first appeared in:
www.usconcealedcarry.com Concealed Carry MagazineVolume 3 - July 2006

Training with a knife seems outdated if you carry a pistol. People often say, “Don’t bring a knife to a gun fight.” Many experts are saying that within twenty-one feet a knife can be deployed effectively against a pistol. This is especially true if the knife man (or woman) is trained. The knife is also important because it can often go where a gun cannot. Master at Arms, James Keating, has combined fighting with knives and various defensive tools into a single defending system called Drawpoint Method, which his company, Comtech, has developed into a series of three excellent volumes. The volumes consist of one video each.
If you have read anything on modern knife defending, then I am sure that the name James Keating has come up. Mr. Keating is one of the leading trainers in blade work today. His background includes decades in the martial arts, professional bodyguarding and firearms training. Keating is also famous for his unique, annual training pilgrimage up the remote Snake River to Oregon’s Hell’s Canyon, called “The Riddle of Steel.” Each year, he and a couple dozen students cloister themselves in the remote area to concentrate on the art of knife defending. The sheer mystique of these week long intensives has helped to bring James Keating to the forefront of the defensive knife world.
I got to know Mr. Keating during the time that I began researching his program. Mr. Keating is a very kind and patient man. He has a vast interest in many topics and is a true rouge scholar or autodidactic. Mr. Keating is also a great listener. He is always looking for new knowledge. He apparently has not let any ego issues block him from discovering new things. Learning from such a master is a real pleasure. I entered the world of defensive knife fighting with limited knowledge. I read a little here and there about Filipino martial arts, but I only had rudimentary training. Keating’s patience with beginners is very apparent from his video series.
If you want to learn the Drawpoint system, I suggest that you purchase all three volumes. Watch each of them casually before you start training. Once you understand the goal of his system, you will want to go back to the first video to begin building the foundation. Mr. Keating claims that he has not created anything new, but rather simplified and adapted aspects of Filipino martial arts to suit the needs of Western society.
The first video teaches you the possible legal ramifications of using a knife for self-defense. The video covers carrying systems and introduces the Gryphon M10 as the featured knife. Basic footwork, movement and defense are covered in detail. Keating introduces the reverse grip, edge-in style of deployment. (In Filipino martial arts it is called “pakal.”) Using this grip enables the defender to fight in close and effectively. Pakal is not a dueler’s grip; it is to defend yourself in close quarter battle. This took some convincing for me, since the reverse grip did not seem intuitive. After watching volume one, I am convinced and converted. Defending against multiple attackers is also touched on. Keating compresses many of the difficult angles of Filipino martial arts into a palatable package. Stabbing techniques are covered well and in an understand- able fashion.
This video was shot some years ago and has a basement movie feel. With no special effects or elaborate equipment, Keating created a clear, concise and detailed training film. It isn’t pretty, but Keating won’t let you out of that basement until you understand the basics. I think that the rough edges of this video add character to it and give you some insight into the Keating mind. They do not distract the student at all.
When the first video was filmed using the Gryphon M10, it was one of the most ideal knives for this system. Since then, many knife makers have improved and specialized their designs to work with the Drawpoint Method. I obtained a TK-8 made by Tom Krein. Tom Krein is a master custom knife maker who designed the TK-8 specifically around the Keating Drawpoint Method. It works very well for the “pakal” or reverse grip, edge-in style used throughout the videos. The knife is a fixed, four inch knife. It comes with an incredibly comfortable Kydex sheath that fastens to your belt using a Tek-Lok system. My TK-8 is made of D2 tool steel and G-10 scales. A training drone knife is available, which I highly recommend buying if you purchase the TK-8. If it is at all possible, a fixed knife should be used. Folding knives can be used with this system, but fixed knives have many advantages over folders regarding strength and speed of deployment. Building muscle memory is a big part of the system. Using the same knife in the same position means that you want to be very familiar with the weight and feel of your knives. Buying a knife that will be a lifetime friend is a good goal. The TK-8 has easily filled that requirement for me, and I highly recommend it for this system.
The second volume of the Drawpoint Method reviews some of the critical components of the system. It also begins to show you how the system is a set of principles rather than set forms. Keating reinforces adaptation and flexibility to prevent his students from getting caught in a rut. This is not a choreographed dance; it is a physical language that tries to answer the insult of attack in a clear and concise manner. The second video touches on trapping and low-line attacks. This video was shot several years after the first video, and it clearly shows that Keating’s equipment and cinematography have progressed. Since Keating addresses getting the knife out of the sheath, gun people will relate to this because of their emphasis on the draw. You start to get a feel of how deploying a knife and a gun are very much related. Slashing techniques are introduced in video two. Keating and his skilled wife, Norma, use flow drills to show you how to develop the motor skills to move and defend with your weapon. Keating shows how to use a flashlight instead of a knife, how to use two knives, etc. There is so much information on this video that you will have to watch it many times to take it all in.
The third video is slick. The back-ground, music and scene transitions have all made a quantum leap from video one. We have forever left the friendly Keating basement. Like the first two videos, the third video covers a vast amount of information. Mr. and Mrs. Keating take you through more advanced levels of knife defending. They introduce you to knife against pistol, knife against shotgun, and many other scenarios. I found that video three encouraged me to look past the obvious and to see how the skills from videos one and two could be expanded beyond the knife and to any available object or even empty hands. This video continues its common thread of trapping and reverse grip, but it also opens new horizons for you to explore.
Nothing can compare to a live, skilled instructor when learning a physical discipline such as knife defending. Some of us have no other options other than video training. Keating is aware of this and has taken it to heart. He has compressed, simplified and refined difficult and complex methods in his Drawpoint Method, so you can have this quality and quantity of knowledge and skill in your grasp. If you do not have access to a skilled trainer or want to augment your current skills, the Drawpoint Method video series is essential. This James Keating, three volume series and a Tom Krein TK-8 make up a fantastic package that will serve you for a lifetime.
Comtech: www.jameskeating.com
(800) 625-8183, (541) 938-3451
Tom Krein: www.kreinknives.net
(479) 736-3444
Mercop (Mercharness): www.mercop.com
(443) 807-7078

Product Review - Wiley-X Hybrid gloves

Product review - OTB Bushmasters

Ray-Ban Wayfarers 2140 - Product review

Patience

More product reviews are on the way so please stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Checkout this review of Wiley-X Hybrid Gloves.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMYZrF69FQg
This is where you start in the Charlz9mm world.
http://www.youtube.com/Charlz9mm
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