Friday, November 28, 2008

Classy Killer from Benchmade, and auto knives are silly

I had the opportunity to play with the Benchmade Infidel Out-The-Front [OTF] auto knife back in April when Jon and I drove down to the Benchmade Factory. It's a robust weapon possessing the quality inherent in Benchmade's US made knives. Enter this Gold Class limited run from Benchmade. Functionally, I believe it's the same as the original Infidel, but this one is dressed up.

Fifty Piece Production Run
Acid Etched Damasteel Stainless Damascus w/ Spear-Point
Dual Action OTF Mechanism
Black Coated 6061-T6 Aluminum Handles
Custom Finished Heat Colored Liners
Heat Colored Button, Hardware & Clip
Custom Presentation Box

Wow, all this can be yours for only $850.00 USD!
It's no secret that I'm partial to Benchmade knives in many ways, but I'll be damned if I'll ever spend more than $200, okay maybe $250 on a factory-made knife! I've also always felt that autos of any kind are silly, be they the OTF type like the Infidel, or any of Microtech's overpriced tactical toys. I'm of the opinion that the only reason civilians want automatic knives is because they're not supposed to have them. Why would I want to carry something with a relatively delicate spring mechanism when I know that Benchmade's Axis-locking knives will not fail even in the dirtiest of conditions. Autos are fun, but give me a $150 Benchmade or $200 Emerson over any automatic knife. Today's high end production knives open just as fast, and have less parts to potentially break than an automatic knife. By that token, I'm not a big fan of assisted opening knives either. I think they're gimmicky and I saw far too many break and had to deal with far too many jerkoffs when Kershaw's shoddy Whirlwind series was the trendy knife of the hour.
Yep, make mine a liner lock when it comes to folders, or an Axis-type mechanism.
Anyway, I'm not saying I wouldn't dig the Gold Class Infidel if someone gave it to me as a gift, or if I found it on the street. I think for now though, I'm just content to look at the pretty picture. It's currently available at knifecenter.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Because I think this is friggin hilarious...
Some tactical humor for you, because I have no motivation to write anything original right now.

Winterizing Sharp, Bright and Tactical, and coming soon...

I probably should have consulted with my partner-in-crime, Eric, before making any changes to our format. I think he'll understand that the overwhelming green on this blog was getting a bit tired. I suppose we could always change it back. The original template was "Son of Moto", it's been changed to "Mr. Moto", and the basics are all the same. The green that envigorated me during our summer launch has given way to a wintery mellow and overcast gray and blue theme. I think it's still easy to read, and the basic layout hasn't changed at all. Let us know if you have an opinion on the color scheme.

I have some things in the works for December. I obtained 5.11 Tactical's P.U.S.H. shoulder bag, and I'm in the process of evaluating its overall usefulness, a full writeup is on its way. I've also been very impressed by some recent Tactical Tailor products, that I purchased at their on-site retail store in Lakewood, Washington, just a stone's throw from where I'm living. I've been evaluating Tactical Tailor's zippered utility pouch, and found it quite handy for storing, seperating and transporting small personal items while I'm working. A review is in the oven, and I've also been using Tactical Tailor's awesome and versatile multi-tool pouch, so I'll include my impressions of in the utility pouch review.

I've been following the knife designs of Chad Los Banos for awhile, and I got ahold of his collaboration with Böker, the Böker Plus Direkt. Chad has an eye for clean lines and seems to have a knack for making knives that look 10 years ahead of their time. I'll do a piece evaluating the Böker/Los Banos Direkt folder after I've had some more time with it, and after Eric gets his hands on it. So far, I know that the Direkt is extremely lightweight, black, quick and mean...right up my alley in terms of folding knives!

I also bought Spyderco's BaliYo pen. It's a writing instrument that flips and folds like a butterfly knife. I chose the only subdued color available, gray, as opposed to the other candy-coated, kid-friendly color combos like pink/orange, or green with a turqoise blue. As opposed to Benchmade's superb pens, the BaliYo is not designed to be used as a self-defense tool. In fact, somewhere on the BaliYo site, it's referred to as a "toy". It's being marketed like some kind of motion toy for the ADHD-afflicted, or to kids, or both I guess. Either way, it looks like it could be fun balisong practice without any nasty cuts, plus it's got a Fisher Space Pen cartridge inside, so I'm confident it'll write like a beast. I'll keep you posted.

No doubt this winter will see some new firearms action from our resident sharpshooter, Eric. I look forward to a couple of Sundays off in December to tag along to the gun club with him and throw some lead downrange with my 10/22, after I get off my lazy ass and install the like-new Bushnell scope that Eric generously traded me for a blade.

Much more to come....
Stay sharp.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Cold Steel® Kudu ringlock folder review

My knifecenter order arrived today just in time. I was on my way out the door, headed to work, promoting the products of the company I work for at my favorite local petstore. The order contained Christmas gifts for Ma and Pa, and my Cold Steel Kudu ringlock folder. It's funny, on knifecenter's site, and even on my receipt, it's listed as "Kubu". Oh well, I have a long history ordering from them, and if a silly misspelling is the worst thing they've ever done, I can forgive it. Anyway, like every Cold Steel knife I've ever bought, the blade is *wicked* sharp, right out of the box. As I mentioned earlier, when I placed the order a week or so ago, the blade is Krupp 4116 mirror polished stainless. I've been very impressed by this steel in Cold Steel's Finn Bear and Roach Belly economy fixed blade knives. It's one of the few stainless steels I've seen that is nearly impervious to the salt air and moisture present where I'm living currently. For under $10.00 USD this is one hell of a knife!

Blade: 4 1/4"
Krupp 4116 Stainless steel flat ground blade
Overall: 10"
Thick: 2mm
Weight: 2.4 oz.

So, the Kudu went with me to work. The staff at the store got in an order of fish and fish tanks, which I helped unbox. The Kudu zipped through tape, cardboard and plastic straps with ease. I used the sharp tip to excise some UPC/sku labels from dogfood bags for customers, for my company's frequent buyer program. For a knife with a 4.25" blade, the thing handles with some grace. The Kudu is almost feather light, riding in my back pocket all day. There is no clip, but the ring that you pull to unlock it can be attached to a carabiner on other gear. I tried it using a Grimloc carabiner affixed to a belt loop. When I wanted the knife, I just pressed the Grimloc's lock plunger and grabbed the knife. This would be a good way for a soldier, or a hiker to secure the Kudu to a pack or shoulder bag. Cold Steel supplies the lock bar with a simple split-ring style keyring, so you could actually slip that off, and thread a lanyard or something else through there to act as the lock-pull, if desired. The Kudu, is a species of antelope. The knife features a silhouette of the animal and the word "KUDU" laser-etched on the "front" side of the blade, while the reverse sports Cold Steel's distinctively lettered logo, followed by "China". The Kudu is not half as ugly as I thought it'd be, I'd seen plenty of pix and done research, the look is kind of growing on me. The handle is woodgrain textured Zytel and one side has a stainless inlay in the shape of a kudu horn.

Cold Steel's 1 year warranty on folders, and 5 year warranty on fixed blades, is better than no-warranty-at-all. I prefer a lifetime warranty, such as the warranties offered by Benchmade and CRKT, but hey, Cold Steel's products are meant for serious use, and in their own advertising they blatantly abuse their products, maybe they feel their customers as a whole are more destructive than those of other companies, whatever, ANY warranty at all, on an $8.95 knife is good enough for me!
I like the fact that the blade-pivot portion of the Kudu's blade is notched multiple times, so as the blade is folded closed it makes a series of little stops, instead of just slamming shut. That's an important safety feature for a two hand closing knife. I always liked lockback knives with what we used to call a "half stop", or a notch in a folder's tang that ensures you won't lose a finger when closing the blade. Here's a picture that might give you an idea of what I mean:

The Kudu also comes with an instruction sheet for the mechanically retarded, probably just to avoid any stupid lawsuits by "Bubbas" who might acidentally perform an impromptu finger-ectomy with their new $9 knife.
I am kind of miffed that on my Kudu, the tip of the blade appears to be bent ever so slightly. It's apparent that it's just a very minor factory defect, not too worried about it, most people wouldn't have even noticed, but I give every new knife a thorough look upon unboxing it. I actually have a Spyderco Police model that has a bent tip from having lost control of it on a high-speed buffing wheel, the knife was sent flying into the air and landed tip-down perfectly in the carpet of the back room of the old cutlery shop, the tip hit the concrete below and bent. That was my fault and after a touch-up on a ceramic rod, the knife was like new again, except for a slightly bent tip. So, I can live with a slightly curved tip, especially on a $9 knife I will probably beat the shit out of anyway.

Overall, I'm happy with my order. There are days when i spend $8.95 on lunch alone, not to mention energy drinks, snacks etc. I'm sure I'll get at least 3-4 years solid use out of the Kudu, then maybe pass it on to a buddy, or retire it into my collection. It's not particularly pretty, but it's functional, sharp, and Krupp 4116 stainless is very functional. As I said, I'm most impressed by its stain resistance. Cold Steel's Kudu is probably the best $8.95 I've spent all year.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

ITW Grimloc D-Ring and ITW Web Dominator reviews

I decided to visit Tactical Tailor's factory store in Lakewood, WA today. It's just a stone's-throw south of Tacoma, on I-5. My primary mission was finding a high-quality multi-tool sheath or pouch for my Victorinox Swisstool, my new Leatherman Kick, and maybe my new CRKT ZillaTool. Carrying devices for such outstanding products are always a manufacturer afterthought. Leatherman's leather sheaths are durable and serviceable, but they stink like...well, leather, appropriately enough, and I'm not a fan of snap-closures. The ZillaTool sheath is ok, but doesn't seem to be designed for long-term use. Ironically, the Swisstool, my preferred multi-tool, and one of very high quality, came with one of the worst-quality cordura sheaths I've ever used. I replaced that sheath with one I purchased from a former employer, a knife shop, around the turn of the Century, maybe 2001-ish. That sheath has worked fine, but the velcro is losing steam, so it was time to find a new option. I will review Tactical Tailor's awesome $12.00 USA-made multi-tool pouch at a later date, but today is all about little plastic gear accessories.
I first saw ITW's Grimloc carabiners on maybe 2 years ago. I was impressed, but didn't see a need to rush and order a pack immediately. They are a small, spring-loaded locking D-ring for attaching gear to other gear, something I'm all about. I was surprised at the small size when Andy at Tactical Tailor showed me how they work, they have a slot that will fit standard military or outdoor webbing and make attachment to almost anything a breeze, hell, they'd even make a fine keyring, as you can easily snap the thing on and off a belt loop one handed if the situation calls for it.

Grimlocs come in black [my preferred tactical-mall-ninja color], OD, or tan. The spring loaded release pin doubles as what ITW calls an "SP", that is; self-purge, or sand-pump which allows grit, dirt, water or debris to be pushed down and out of the device to avoid malfunction. The spring is stainless steel and is said to hold up very well to adverse enviromental conditions, as Grimlocs were designed in conjunction with, and widely used by military units worldwide, most notably the USMC.

I'm very impressed by the simple function of this design, I've currently got a Grimloc on my keyring, next to a Wilson Tactical Kuba-Im impact spike. I'll put my other Grimloc on my Eddie Bauer daypack most likely for attaching/securing my Klean Kanteen water bottle. Grimlocs seem to run in the $2.00 USD neighborhood, with some retailers offering 4-packs between $7.00-$10.00 USD. Very reasonable for a small and lightweight solution for gear attachment. The composite material that Grimlocs are made from is slightly textured, and from my kitchen-sink-test, they seem less slippery when wet than my aluminum Omega carabiner, and they're a hell of a lot lighter, smaller and more discreet. It should be noted though, that Grimlocs are designed to break away in serious emergencies, say if your Grimloc-attached pouch snags on a tree limb and you keep going. They are not load-bearing, and really don't need to be, their intended use is for small-gear attachment to straps and webbing. The uses for these awesome little devices are limited only to your creativity.

Tactical Tailor also hooked me up with another briliant solution for small-gear attachment and excess-webbing management. ITW also makes the Web Dominator. The Web Dominator allows the user to roll, secure and fasten excess webbing and straps, while keeping your pack adjustment friendly. The pictures explain it all better than I can with the written word. The Web Dominator clips will be very useful to me on my pack, as I never use the waist-straps that so many pack makers are fond of including. I cut them off of my last Eddie Bauer pack, and it looked shoddy. The WD's will allow me to keep those waist straps out of the way, but ready if ever needed. There's a little elastic shock cord that is fastened to the opposite side, you can even use these to attack small micro-lights, as pictured. A popular military application for the web dominator is to keep a hydration pack's hose right on the shoulder of a ruck or body armor, so all the user needs to do to drink, is turn his head.

I'm impressed by Tactical Tailor's retail shop and quality, as well as their willingness to carry products like these from ITW, along with a full range of Pentagon Flashlights and Surefire gear. If you're ever down my way and have some money to spend, Tactical Tailor would be a great first-stop for clothing and gear for military, law enforcement, shooters and outdoorspeople. Tactical Tailor's prices are outstanding for American made tactical nylon gear, and their quality is known worldwide.Tactical Tailor is here

ITW has a unique line of products for military use that cross over into civilian application.ITW is here

More reviews to come. I got a duo of Tactical Tailor's outstanding multi-tool pouches, as well as their heavy duty zippered utility pouch, which I'll write about soon.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Butler Creek Field Test

So I had an opportunity to get out to the range yesterday, though the trip was short lived as I got exceptionally tired just from being outdoors and active more than I have in recent weeks. Even so it was rad to get back out to the lanes and run some rounds through the new rifle.

I didn't try a lot of fancy ammo. Primarily I had ventured back to DJ's and discovered some boxes of Wolf .22LR priced at under $4 per box of 50. Considering the only other store I know of to carry Wolf's (actually made by SK Jagd--click their logo to check out their page--of Germany unlike all other Wolf products) superb .22LR ammunition is Adventure Sports in Lynnwood and as much as I love throwing them my business as well, I can't see spending the over $8 on a box of the same ammo. I bought the four boxes they had available, and if they keep future boxes in stock at that price, they may well become the only store I buy ammunition from. Out of the custom 10/22 I was shooting 5 round groups through the same ragged hole with the Wolf ammo... color me impressed, especially considering the problems I found with the scope that came along with the rifle, which I'll get into in a bit.

I also picked up an ancient box of Winchester Super X... at $2 for the box it was tough to say no to, and the rounds fired through my new baby proved right on target as well, giving me about 0.5" 5 round groups, which is much better than most any Winchester has shot out of my other custom 10/22 with the factory barrel (about 0.75" inch groups typically there when using Super X). I can't complain there, either, since a portion of the problems I had shooting were operator error due to my current left sided physical limitations. While I have gotten some mobility back, I'm still fairly handicapped.

Sadly, when I tried the Aguila I've grown to love s much through the other 10/22 build, I got a single shot out before a failure to fire due to a misfeed and had to enlist the help of another club member to pry the live round out of the chamber of the rifle. It may have been a problem withe the magazine itself, since I had used the Eagle mag to chamber those rounds, but it's tough to say. Once the round was freed from the rifle, the business end had been bent all out of whack from the casing, causing the failure to fire. I will likely continue using the Aguilas with the other rifle, but not with this one.

I also ran a few boxes of American Eagle through the Ruger, and as always they proved consistent, though not consistently on target.Budget ammo just produces too many fliers for my liking, since the whole reason I shoot is to actually hit the target downrange in the spot determined by the scope reticule.

And about that scope... it's a Bushnell, and while I didn't expect a fancy scope to be sure, this one has seen some abuse. The reticule itself is barely visible when the scope is in focus, and I found that the seal on the objective lens has been compromised as all sorts of fog was getting into the thing. I'm gonna have to invest in something a bit more deserving of the rest of the rifle's features... either a newer Bushnell, since their midrange scopes are generally the bees knees, or as Simmons in the midrange. While I would love one of the rimfire Leupold scopes, those things are just far too much money for me to easily justify.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Ordered a Cold Steel Kudu

Those who know me well, know I'm a fan of high quality factory/production knives in particular, and nearly *any* knife in general. I've also grown to be quite a big fan of many products by Cold Steel. When I'm doing outdoorsy shit, their polypropelene African Walking Stick rarely leaves my side.

I was doing some Xmas shopping online for some family members and decided against the Cold Steel Pocket Bushman, at least for now. The PBM is an impressive and large folder at the shockingly ridiculous low price of $23.95 and suggested retail is just slightly more. Those will be around though, for sure, and I'll get one sooner than later.

My curiosity regarding Cold Steel's recent use of German Krupp 4116 stainless steel in some inexpensive knife blades has been satisfied by my purchase this past summer of their Roach Belly and Finn Bear fixed blades which are written about somewhere below. I currently live on the edge of a rocky, saltwater beach in the Puget Sound area. I sweat profusely in general, and living basically on salt water is hard on carbon steel blades and especially any bead blasted high carbon stainlesses. As an experiment, I left my CS Finn Bear, in its cordura sheath clipped to the canopy on Pop's boat, for about a month. Ok, granted the blade was secured and not in standing water, but the knife was constantly exposed to rain, salt air and the elements. I retrieved the knife before the boat was brought out and winterized. I'm pleased to report that in addition to slightly better than average edge retention and ease of sharpening, the Finn Bear's Krupps 4116 stainless steel is as close to "stain-free" as i have ever seen.

Long story shotened, Cold Steel's South African inspired Kudu ringlock folders sport a pretty massive 4.25 inch flat ground [I'm a fan of flat grinds] blade made from the same stuff, and on, the Kudu is only $8.95. I went for it. I need yet another knife about as much as I need a sexually transmitted disease, or heartworms or something, but I just can't stay away from spending money on sharp things.

I'll fill in the blanks when this kinda ugly, but large and capable bargain knife arrives. I can guess it'll be strong, and 2.4 oz. sounds really light weight for such a long folding knife. It should be noted it's not a one-hand opener, which is one of the reasons I'd like to add it to my's something considerably different. And yes, I know there are sites which sell them even cheaper, but their shipping rates balance out those "better" prices, and there are no sites I trust more than knifecenter, as I've been ordering from them for years. And I'd already ordered some other items as gifts, so I pretty much will be getting the Kudu shipped free.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Butler Creek Custom 10/22

Since acquiring Transverse Myelitis, something I of course intend to combat and overcome sooner than later, I've realized a few things about firearms. I like to hit what I'm shooting at as close as I can get, and I like to shoot for cheap. I could have put more money and time into my old Savage (old, as if taking it out twice and dispensing less than 300 rounds is old) to make it a fuckin tack-hammer, but .17 HMR is expensive and I'm a sick boy on the mend. I also realized that as freakin badass a weapon as the Saiga is, 7.62x39, while a sight cheaper than .223 (aka 5.56 NATO), is also not terribly easy on the wallet, nor is it really a god time for me at the range to be hitting nothing more than center mass with a weapon that, sure, is durable as hell but not worth customizing much in the least due to restrictive ATF laws, and the fact that turning what is basically an AK into a sniper variant is essentially pointless. Scoping a weapon like that just seems... superfluous, and a competition gun it is not.

Hence my decision to trade the aforementioned guns for another 10/22. Let's face it, .22LR is my favorite caliber, rimfire or not some Aguila high velocity hollow points in the face of a home intruder are still going to ruin said intruder's day. The ammunition is cheap to boot, averaging maybe $5 for an EXPENSIVE box of 50 rounds, and with my preferred Aguilas, that's cost is pushing it. On top of that, and color me biased if you will, Ruger makes the best .22 caliber rifle on the market. You've all seen what type of modifications and customization is possible with my other favorite gun, so the decision to snag up another in the same line seemed a no brainer to me.

Originally I was interested in the Talo exclusive with a fully adjustable Fajen synthetic stock, quoted at $450 by a (the only) friendly Wade's Eastside Guns employee. Not really wanting to throw my support to that particular store due to general bad experiences when browsing there before, Aaron and gathered up the Saiga and ventured over to DJ's Loan & Sport in Bothell, whom I've done business with several times in the past and have always been impressed not just with their selection, but also with their professionalism and the fact that they treat everyone who comes in like old friends.

Initially I scanned the guns on the floor and found several new factory contour barrel models of the 10/22, ranging from various wood finishes to synthetic stocks in both blued and stainless barrel variations. Beyond the counter, however, I instantly found what I was looking for:Graphite bull-barrel lined with carbon fiber made by Butler Creek (a barrel I have read nothing but good things about, generally running around $200 on it's own), glass-bedded Butler creek synthetic stock, a sturdy and fairly stylin Butler Creek sling attached to a Shooters Ridge bipod, with a receiver drilled and tapped with a Leupold scope mount and a 3-9x40 Bushnell scope. Of the gun itself, the only adjustments I could even see concerning myself with would to add the extended magazine release and replace the bolt charging handle with something a bit sturdier. I'm also having thoughts on eventually splurging for the Volquartsen stabilization module, but this gun looks plenty sick as it is.

Along with the Butler Creek high capacity magazine shown with the rifle, it was accompanied by two 30 round Eagle magazines. While the reviews I've found for these magazines tend to be mediocre to moderate at best, it's not like I'm looking at encountering a shortage of 10/22 magazines anytime soon. The rifle of course included the factory rotary magazine, Ruger's staple which along with the Butler Creek 30 (or 25?) rounder should more than compensate if the Eagles give me any shit... I hope they don't since they also conveniently stack jungle style together, making switching mags a breeze, but I'm not expecting much out of them which is okay. To top everything else off, the purchase also included a hard case and the Ruger gun lock that appears more suited for use as a bludgeoning weapon rather than a gizmo meant to keep unwelcome thieves from firing my weapons... plus they neglected to include the key, heh, so what the hell.

I have every intention of getting some quality time in with the gun by week's end, Sunday at the latest... but for a tiny bit more than the trade-in I got for the Savage and Saiga combined, I really couldn't be happier with the outcome. Have a couple more pics:
If appearances were anything to go off, and trust me, these pictures do not do the rifle justice, I can tell you right now this thing is gong to be a deadly nailgun, just give me a few more days to bring you the proof.

EDIT 11/12/2008: It should be noted that the Butler Creek barrel is just made up of carbon fiber. While it's light-weight as hell, it's not as light as it would be were there a graphite composite in the barrel structure... just wanted to clear that up.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Blade-Tech foreign-made dynamic-duo

Tim Wegner's Blade-Tech is a leader in kydex sheath technology both for guns and knives. Wegner's knife designs are well-recieved by hunters, outdoorspeople and military and law enforcement folks as well. I recently picked up a Blade-Tech Mouse Lite, the little green guy, and the Ganyana Lite, the slightly larger orange-handled knife. Both knives, including WA State sales tax set me back less than $45.00 USD. My membership card at my local warehouse outdoor store helped, but even at full retail, each of these great little Taiwan made knives are a bargain. They both feature FRN [zytel] handle scales textured with a grip much like that of Blade-Tech's G-10 handled knives. The mouse is a lockback design, while the orange Ganyana is a sturdy liner-lock design.

Both knives have a THICK blade spine of about an eighth of an inch, with notches, or 'jimping' for better blade control. I'll do a more in-depth T&E on these knives as I use them. Both would be great choices for everyday carry knives, they are feather light, capable and pretty non-intimidating for use in and around the general public. The Mouse even comes in purple, for the ladies...or for Prince, or whatever he calls himself these days.

CRKT Zilla Tool, a new take on multi-tools

Columbia River Knife & Tool has always led the way in high tech, inexpensive and creative factory knife designs. When the ZillaTool was released I was extremely hesitant to even pick one up, it seemed goofy. The buyer for a retail cutlery firm I worked for told me he thought Spyderco's Spyderench tool was a ridiculous and overpriced paperweight. The ZillaTool seemed like that to me at first. I'm a Victorinox tool guy, and a fan of Leatherman too, and the ZillaTool just seemed like an impulsive "me too" type design. My opinion changed when I went on a hike with Jon, he picked up the full size Zilla at a sporting goods store on the way home from our hike. I believe he now uses it as a backup utility knife and keeps it in his van for odd jobs. After handling the tool my curiosity grew, and then S, B & T's very own Eric picked up the Zill Jr. at a cutlery shop near him. The Jr. is a very manageable size and clips easily into the pocket, its advantage being a utilitarian knife blade, plus pliers and a few common screwdriver bits. I recently obtained the full size ZillaTool, of course in Tactical Black, like Eric's Jr. model. It weighs in about 7.5 ounces, so it seems heavy at first, but it's well balanced.
The knife blade is deployed with CRKT/Kit Carson's well known 'flipper', all you need to do is tap your index finger against the protrusion to rotate the blade into the locked position. I'm a knife be sure, and I fully expected the Zilla's blade to be kind of "half-assed" know, an add-on to a tool that is primarily a plier. How wrong I was!
The black coated combo-edged blade is about 3 inches long and came hair popping sharp right out of the blister packaging the tool came in. The serrations are tight, shallow little scallops and work very well on tape, cardboard and paper, common utility foes for an average person's knife blade. The plier handle is released by simply sliding back something that resembles a safety switch. They are spring-loaded and the wire cutters were competent enough to sever metal keyrings with ease, and with no apparent damage to the tool. Zilla came with a phillips and flat head bit, nestled snugly on either side of the lengthy tool. I like the fact that when bits are inserted in the end for use, they are centered, and not offset like most multi-tools.
The included cordura sheath is decent, but I can see the need to eventually replace it with something more high quality and heavy-duty, like a knife or tool sheath from

All-in-all I'm satisfied with the ZillaTool, and glad I got the black one, I just think it looks more badass than the original model with the beadblasted look. I've found that CRKT's combination of AUS 6 or AUS 8 type stainless steels, coupled with their trademark beadblasted look, is a certain recipe for surface rust spotting on blades and tool components. I say that with many years of experience having sold, carried, used and examined many of their products. The CRKT warranty is very reasonable and fair, as long as you are not blatantly misusing or abusing the product, they will repair or replace anything that gives you the slightest trouble. I remember writing them awhile back about a replacement pocket clip for one of their knives and they fixed me up quick, with a new clip in the mail free of charge. I've also exchanged emails with CRKT's top dog, Rod Bremer, who's extremely dedicated to quality and quick answers for customers.

For the basics, let me quote's copy about this tool:

"Another unique multi-tool from I.D. Works™, with locking spring-loaded pliers, two hex screwdriver bits and a quick-action stainless steel combo-edged blade. Comfortable Zytel scales and nylon sheath make this a real monster at a great price.

Handy pliers, knife, screwdriver, wire cutter, bottle opener.
3.0" blade
6.5" handle
7.4 oz weight

Spring loaded pliers, wire cutter, screwdriver with bit holder, 'flipper' opens blade one-handed, stainless pocket clip, bottle opener.
Black nylon sheath included."

So far, I've used the Zilla's narrow blade to transfer dry nasal snuff into new containers and also mix snuff for new flavor/scent combinations. I also used the knife to open boxes while assisting staff at local petstores where my employer's products are sold. This tool is a bit bulky and heavy for my taste, or so I thought, but after 45 minutes or so, working with it, in its sheath in my back pocket, I hardly noticed it, until I needed it. Jon keeps his, as I mentioned in the side pocket of his van door for utility chores or things that a simple folder just cannot do. I have to take back and re-examine everything I thought about this design. It works well, it's fairly priced, as I think you can find them at most retailers for around $30.00 USD. The black Zilla just looks extremely cool, like a multi-tool 20 years ahead of its time.
I think I am going to order one of's heavy duty mil-spec sheaths for it, the included pouch is decent, but it does the futuristic-looking tool no justice. These are just my initial impressions, and I'll update as needed, and maybe Eric and Jon can add their impressions of the variations on the Zillas that they purchased. I do like the fact, that like a traditional folder, CRKT included a very burly pocket clip to secure the tool to gear without using the sheath.

CRKT's ID Works Tool line is here

Monday, November 3, 2008

Due to my current predicament, I unfortunately have no new reviews here, though I intend to remedy that shortly in the grand scheme of things. I did however, finally get around to starting my personal blog.... ""

Check it out if you have some time to kill... Thanks, and I hope to be back and in full effect soon.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Coming soon-Nov. 2008 knives a plenty

I have purchased so much new gear in the last few months that I'm having a hard time deciding what to cover or review here. Yes, I pay for all my stuff, as does Eric, we shop where anyone else might shop. Stores like REI, Joe's, Sportco, Sportsman's Warehouse,,, local gun shops etc. We'd love it if some wonderful cutlery or firearm companies would send us T&E samples at no charge, but that just hasn't happened yet. Maybe we just need to be more forward, it never hurts to ask I suppose. I have paid my dues, working in retail cutlery and promoting knives and tools on a personal level with friends or even on the job...hell, any job, especially when I was in QA for a corporate housing company. My knives and multi tools saw real and hard use while I worked there. I spend virtually all of any recreational income I might have, on knives, lights, tools and gear. Be it Benchmades, ammunition, water bottles or Surefire lights, this is what I enjoy. I'll continue to blog about the things I love whether anyone wants to send us samples or not. Knives are my hobby, my passion, and an important part of my life from adolescence until the day I leave this life.

To the point. I just acquired a pair of Tim Wegner's Blade-Tech Taiwan-manufactured knives at a ridiculously low price. I got the Ganyana Lite and the Mouse Lite for under $45.00 USD for the pair. I just finished taking pix yesterday, and used the Mouse Lite at work yesterday. It was a hit with a very cute, but very married store manager at a retail location that I worked at where my company's products are sold. She was excited to hear that Blade-Tech offers the knife in purple FRN [zytel] handles in addition to orange, green and black. I'm still evaluating these knives and will report in the next few days. It's funny, Wegner is known as a consummate outdoorsman, his knives are designed with hunting in mind. Here I am, former vegetarian animal lover, student, and volunteer, buying his knives. Wegner has pictures of himself sporting a big shit-eating grin, with a beautiful but very dead leopard he killed in Africa on his site, along with dozens of other pictures of animals he's slaughtered for sport. Who is he? Lynn C. Thompson [Cold Steel president] Jr.?
I understand hunting for food or survival sustenance, but killing a big cat kind of just pisses me off. I'm not judging the man, I just don't understand the desire to destroy something so powerful and beautiful just to stuff its corpse and display it to show off your masculinity or whatever. I think it'd be perfectly fair if safari hunters pursued game using only a knife, the odds would be even. I would bow down to a man or woman who could chase down and murder a big cat or exotic animal with just a fixed blade knife. Don't get me wrong, I know hunting is a proud tradition in certain families and cultures worldwide, and I respect that. I have friends and family who hunt, and I fish, many would say it's no different. I think there's an obvious difference though, between trolling for a few trout, and actively stalking a leopard, cheetah, or rhino with the intent to kill it and hang its preserved corpse on your wall. To me, that just reeks of a power-trip mentality, the type of mentality that we all possess as humans, always trying to dominate every species and environment, never content to just leave things be.
I see the challenge and inherent beauty of hunting for food, but killing a big cat, elephant or other non food-bearing animal just seems really fucked up IMO. Oh well, I will continue to support Wegner's Blade-Tech Industries, as he has an outstanding reputation and I simply like his knives. I don't have to agree with the man's sporting habits to enjoy his products. I stupidly traded away my Spyderco Wegner several years ago, it was a great knife. So I'll be reporting on the cheapie Blade-Tech knives asap, maybe even later today. Again, no disrespect to the hunting community, it's just not my proverbial bag.

I also was compelled to pick up CRKT's goofy Zilla-Tool. At first glance when I saw it a year or so ago, I got that Spyderco Spyderench "overpriced paperweight" vibe from it. Then Jon got one and loves it and uses it, the Eric got the Zilla Jr. in black and he enjoys it's simplicity. So I blew $29.95 on the full-size black Zilla Tool. It is cool, and musch more functional than is first apparent. I just got the Leatherman Kick, and I've been carrying it daily in my pocket with one of Eric's hand-tied lanyards threaded through its flip-out lanyard hole. It's a great tool, but so is the Zilla. I'll write a review and provide more info once I have had some more time with the bizarre looking Zilla Tool. I showed it to my dad and he was shocked that it was in the $25-$35 price range, he assumed it was at least $100, or more. I love CRKT's willingness to take risks and do weird stuff that often works very well. CRKT also has a great warranty, on par with companies like Benchmade and Gerber.

I have had more time also with Cold Steel's Finn Bear and Roach Belly budget fixed blades, so I'll report on that too. Ohhhh! So many little money! But there's lots of stuff out there that's reasonably priced, like the Zilla from CRKT, and Blade-Tech's foreign manufactured gems.
My EDC knife has been the Benchmade Rift, since I got it mid-summer. I love it. probably my favorite Benchmade since the original AFCK, a design of which I own at least 3 variants. The Benchmade Rukus earned a permanent place in my "untouched" collection, meaning knives that for some reason only get carried a few times before they become pretty collector's objects. The Cold Steel Ti-Lite is the same way, as both knives are huge, even by my standards! Lately I have been going for smaller, but still capable folding knives, as they are more discreet and IMO, offer more utility options than an expensive folder with a 4"-6" blade.

Anyway, I know I have more gear that I left out, so I'm sure even more reviews are coming down the pipe ASAP. Eric has been released from the hospital and is recovering on the East Side. I think he's going to be just fine, all he needs is a little PT, and a few consecutive days at the Sportsman's club, shooting his pimped Ruger 10/22. If you know Eric, and would like to wish him well, contact me and I'll pass your message along, or you can comment on our blog articles, as I'm sure he's checking up on things while convalescing, and hopefully getting in some good PS3 and XBOX 360 game time!