Thursday, January 29, 2009

Better pix of Benchmade 2K9 knives

Knifecenter has begun stocking many of the 2009 Benchmade line, or at least accepting pre-orders for when they arrive. After taking a long look, I'm actually kind of glad there's not a whole lot that immediately appeals to me, as I need to save money, and 2009 promises to be a year full of awesome new knives from my favorite production companies.

I am down with the new pen series, like the 1150, and the "gentleman's pen" below.

And I really like this new knife from the late, great Bob Lum, it's a fitting tribute to one of the makers who changed the industry.

I really like the looks of the Marc Lee Glory knife, designed by Eddie Killian, who I'm not familiar with. It's unlikely this will be on my 2009 'to buy' list, as it's expensive, and I have plenty of nice fixed blades.

Benchmade's Elishewitz designed Nimravus, and Nimravus cub was the first Benchmade fixed knife I owned, way back in 1998 or so, when it debuted, and it's still a favorite. Elishewitz is no longer working with Benchmade, but many of his designs live on in benchmade's line, like the Stryker series, and their new incarnation of the Nim Cub, which promises to be a great all-purpose outdoor knife.

And here are a couple of revised Benchmade automatics. I'm not a huge fan of most automatic knives, as I believe there are plenty of tougher knives on the market that open just as quickly, but these are pretty cool.

So, seems Benchmade still has the ability to create some really good stuff. I look forward to being able to play around with these knives in person, particularly the Barrage, with its Axis lock and assist mechanism.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

5.11 Tactical gear, 6x6 med pouch

I found myself in Lakewood Friday night with part of a paycheck burning a hole in my pocket. I avoided Tactical Tailor's factory store, as I've spen a bunch of dough there this winter and there's nothing else I need from them. I did hit up their neighbors, Quantico Tactical. I looked at 5.11 shirts, and picked up a 5.11 1.75" TDU belt and some Blackhawk! belt keepers, as my old leather belt is just about done. I also picked up the 5.11 Tactical 6x6 med pouch.

This pouch will be the starting point for my FAK, that's 'first aid kit'. I'll add my daily meds, a white chem light stick [which I also got at QT], self-stick vet wrap aka: 3M Coban, band aids and some other "WTSHTF" essentials. My 5.11 PUSH shoulder bag is awesome, and despite some negative reviews of 5.11 products, I now have the bag, the med pouch and a belt, and I have found their stuff to be of really good quality.

I like the fact that this pouch is molle compatible, making it easy to attach to any other item [like my PUSH bag] or a backpack with the included SlickSticks, which are like 5.11's button-snap version of mAlice clips. The 6.6 Med Pouch has a mesh internal pocket on both sides and the zippers open all the way around so you can fully open and inspect...and get to the contents of the pouch in a true emergency. I have the feeling this pouch will even be good as an edc gear-organizer dropped into a pack or messenger bag. It measures 6in.x6in but holds a lot more gear than you'd think. In a preliminary test, I threw in 2 SureFire G2 lights, a box of 12 CR123 lithium batteries, 2 folding knives, a roll of vetwrap, a sharpening stone and a bottle of pills. I fully intend to actually create an FAK using the 6.6 pouch as the container. I'll keep you posted. So far, i'm really digging my gear from 5.11 Tactical

Thursday, January 22, 2009


I feel there is nothing better than being prepared when your life may be at stake. Every day people spend hours in cars, in buildings or homes and at any minute the building can collapse, there can be an earth quake and your house can be in shambles with you and your family stuck inside, you can lose control of your car and end up in a stream upside down or stuck inside your car when it has caught on fire after an accident.
When seconds and minutes count and your life or your loved ones' lives are on the line, all it takes are a few simple tools to help keep you alive or even to help you get out of a situation. In my car I carry a Benchmade ERT 1 Rescue Tool. The Benchmade ERT1 is equipped with a Hook Tool for cutting seat belts, a spring loaded glass breaker and a submersible LED light. I don’t ever see myself getting caught in any situation that I would need to use my Benchmade ERT 1 but if I ever flip my van and land in one of the many creeks, lakes or rivers we have here in Washington, then I can safely release my family from their seat belts, break a window and get them to safety. Seconds count, especially when your automobile is submerged and it could take rescuers thirty, forty minutes...or never to get to you. A Benchmade ERT 1 runs about $40 and that is a small price to pay even if it only gets pulled out of its sheath to practice using the glass breaker on a junk yard car's window.

Editor's note:
Benchmade now markets the ERT1 tool as the "Houdini Pro". Benchmade has even taken the signature Benchmade Butterfly logo and company name off of these tools, and they are advertising "Houdini Inc." as if it's a seperate company...though these tools are still listed on the Benchmade website. I'm still wondering why Benchmade has opted to re-market some of their rescue tools as a whole different product line. The ERT1/Houdini Pro can be found at knifecenter for about $28.00 USD
Click HERE for more info
or check out the Houdini Inc. Site

ZT 0500 Mudd Knife

I've been hearing great things about Zero Tolerance knives for awhile now, but it wasn't until shortly after Xmas that I had the opportunity to play with them at a local gunshop. ZT is a division of KAI, Kershaw Knives' parent company. From my research, I believe that all ZT knives are made in Kershaw's Oregon facility. Most are designed by Ken Onion. The exception is the 0500 Mudd folding knife designed by Oregon's own father/son team Grant and Gavin Hawk. I remember seeing pix of their custom Mudd line on a custom knife site, and I was excited last month to have some spare cash to blow on the ZT version of this awesome folder. MSRP is around $180, but I paid about $150, more than fair for a knife of this quality.

It's a massive aluminum and G10 handle with a blade of 154CM, a great steel for any knife. The blade is coated with black DLC, or DiamondLike Carbon, a hard and hearty coating indeed. Grant and Gavin Hawk have a patent on the unique lock, I believe they call it a RAM lock, which is also used on this Hawk folder design that is produced under Kershaw's banner as well:

I have yet to really take advantage of this knife, as i now have so many favorites, it's hard to pick my EDC knife!
The Zero Tolerance 0500 is unique, I'm not aware of another knife that has such unique features. The pivot and lock are covered by neoprene seals which block dirt, grime, and er...mud from entering the locking mechanism. With the knife open, all one must do to fold it away, is pull back on the lock button, it's not a linerlock, the lock is contained and protected inside the pivot and handle. Steven Dick, editor of Tactical Knives did a short article on the Mudd in the current Feb. 2009 issue. Mr. Dick buried the 0500 in the sandy bank of a creek near his home after soaking the knife in creek water. He proceeded to dig it up and open the knife into a locked position without so much as shaking any grime off the knife.

Pretty impressive. Lockbacks,linerlocks and many other knives would not be able to lock up after being coated in sand or crud. I remember Steven Dick writing about the original Benchmade McHenry and Williams Axis lock, the very first axis lock. In his TK article back then, he gave Benchmade's Axis mechanism high marks for locking up solidly regardless of the amount of dust or debris entered the lock channel. I've found this to be true as well, as my Axis locking knives are among the few folders I own that I rarely clean. However, I don't think the Axis lock can compete with the 0500 Mudd's crazy sealed pivot and lock button. The following is a video I found on YouTube, of somebody performing the same experiment. I'm willing to bet this folder has found a home in the kits of many Spec Ops types, divers and other folks who use their knives in unsavory environments. Now, if only somebody would mate this sealed folding knife system with Spyderco's rust-proof H1 steel....then we might see the perfect knife for waterborne missions and combat divers....

Some additional phone-pix of my ZT 0500 sporting a LanyardZone mini-cobra lanyard with a pewter day of the dead skull:

I'm happy with the ZT 0500 and I like the extremely deep pocket carry clip, the beast, with its nearly 4" blade just seems to disappear once it's on my person.
For further info, check out the Zero Tolerance SITE

Sunday, January 18, 2009

CRKT adds new 2009 models to their site

These pix are taken straight off of CRKT's website. I didn't think they'd mind, as it's totally free advertising for them. Rod Bremer is the king of inexpensive, yet still high quality knife designs produced in conjunction with some of the world's finest custom knifemakers like Pat and Wes Crawford and Allen Elishewitz.

I have been excited to see what knife companies have in store for 2009 since summer 2008! Benchmade has some very cool stuff coming out, and Surefire has some cool knives and lights on the way. Spyderco and Cold Steel's 2009 offerings so far look a little disappointing, for me at least. I was excited to read somebody's post on edcforums that CRKT had added their new catalog items to their SITE

CRKT didn't do anything in 2008 that really impressed me, except for the sheer volume of nearly 100 new models that were released at the 2008 SHOT show. Now that the 2009 SHOT show has happened this past week, we're sure to start seeing new and exciting stuff from nearly every factory and mid-tech knife studio.

I really like the look of most Allen Elishwitz knives. My first was the original Benchmade Stryker. To this day, my overall favorite fixed blade is my original-incarnation Elishewitz Nimravus, I believe it was one of benchmade's first fixed-blade offerings. Needless to say, the CRKT/Elishwitz FTWS will be on my list of knives to buy in 2009.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Bottle Bezel self defense tool by Osprey Innovations

Ok, now i've seen everything! I'm a big fan of "less lethal" or "less than lethal" self defense tools and also improvised weapons. I also really enjoy seeing what the "tactical" community comes up with, from a marketing standpoint. This is pretty ingenious, we're all familiar with crenelated/scalloped bezels such as those seen on certain Surefire flashlight models. It's said that the original purpose of those little bezel arcs was to allow light to spill out when the flashlight is placed face down on a hard surface, so the user would be aware the light was on and draining power. Then it seemed somebody realized that a small aluminum flashlight decked out with a crenelated bezel could do some serious damage in a self defense emergency.

I stumbled upon the Bottle Bezel at TAD Gear, one of my favorite places to browse for cool gadgets and weapon-tech online. [I borrowed these photos from their Bottle Bezel page too]

To anyone familiar with impact weapons, this concept should be easy to understand. The Bottle Bezel is a mean-looking piece of safety orange plastic that replaces the bottle cap on the vast majority of the world's plastic water and soda bottles. With just a few twists, you can turn your fruity beverage or elitist French water into a brutal striking device! This is ingenious, especially in our world of mass perpetuated "terrorist threats", real or imagined, which have enabled the American government to attempt to systematically castrate its citizenry by banning anything resembling a weapon. "For your safety we've taken sharp objects" and that sort of crap. Well, I think the idea behind the Bottle Bezel is ingenious. If I had a girlfriend or daughter in college or who used public transportation, I'd buy them a case of water, and a set of these bad-boys. I can see this concept selling especially well to joggers, soccer moms etc. I'd be willing to bet that a well-placed strike to the throat with a water bottle and the business end of the Bottle Bezel would be far more incapacitating to a drug fueled rapist than a shot of pepper spray, which would likely just piss an attacker off. But hey, I'm no expert. But against my better judgement, I did order a set of Bottle Bezels, just to play with them and see if they are indeed a good idea executed well, or just plain hype to make money off of paranoid folks like myself. Full report coming soon. In the meantime, you can check out the Bottle Bezel at or go straight to the manufacturer's site, Osprey innovations, LLC

Thanks to tadgear for unwittingly letting me steal their cool pix, but they shouldn't care either way, as this lil' writeup is a free plug for them.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Benchmade Unveils 2009 new models and catalog

New benchmade eye candy is available for download HERE!
An assisted budget version of the Presidio, dubbed Presidio Ultra, with Noryl GTX handles and 440 blades, still US made is coming. There is a commemorative knife in the style of the late, great Bob Lum, and Steigerwalt's Torrent knife looks awesome, as does the Barrage and mini Barrage Axis. On page 25 of the Professional catalog, the Marc Lee Glory fixed blade is announced with a great pic. Lee was the 1st Navy Seal to be killed in the current Iraq war. The knife has uniquely machined desert tan handle slabs in the vein of DJ Urbanovsky's American Kami knives. Just because I share the last name of the late Navy Seal, and I love fixed blades, I may have to get it when it becomes available for sale. There also appear to be some interesting and high quality Red Class foreign-made knives like the Aphid on the way to Benchmade fans. There also are at least 4 new variations of the superb [writing] Pen series, all American made. There will be no shortage of Benchmade items on my 2009 birthday and Christmas lists! When I recieve the printed catalog I will scan it, and get some better pix up here asap. Spyderco's 2009 catalog is less impressive, at least for me, as I tend to be pretty hardcore when it comes to carrying Benchmade knives. Though Spyderco's Jens Anso Rock lobster looks cool, as does the kevin Wilkins designed LeafStorm and their new Jumpmaster fixed blade.

I'm planning to save for a solo trip to Europe in 2010, but all these damn companies are making it very hard to keep my modest dollars in the bank!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Boker Chad Los Banos Direkt Review

We've recently had the opportunity to evaluate the Direkt tactical folder manufactured overseas by Boker. It's another in a long line of innovative designs from Mr. Chad Los Banos, who calls Hawaii home. Chad resurrected the German cutlery giant with his fresh take on tactical designs and they just keep getting better. Chad has a background in blade-based martial arts, which I appreciated, as I have been a student of a Filipino knife and stick system. He also works in the corrections "industry" and has no doubt dealt with his fair share of unsavory characters who have used violence as a tool to meet their desperate and shady needs. It goes without saying that Chad Los Banos knows how to design a knife that can stand up to real world utility use while also providing comforting backup to those who may venture into harm's way. If you post, or lurk on EDC Forums, you may know Chad as 'Daywalker'. Chad is always friendly and open online, and appreciative of his success in the knife design game. I've had the opportunity to chat with Chad via email, and he's a very nice guy, and very humble, even though most of his knife designs are sure bragging rights, Los Banos keeps it real, and seems to live in the real world. We look forward to seeing what comes out of Chad's creative brain, and out of Boker's factories in the near future.

Quick tech-specs: Overall length: 8¾“. Blade length: 3 5/8“. Weight: 4.2 oz. with a blade of 440C stainless and G10 handle slabs.

JEH aka: Discomfort had this to say about Boker's Chad Los Banos Direkt folder:
"Seems as though I beat Aaron to the punch here on reviewing the Boker Chad Los Banos Direkt, but I'm sure Aaron will have a different review then I considering we do have different tastes in blades and even different uses, plus I'm sure Aaron's write up will be in more detail and more enjoyable to read considering he is an amazing wordsmith where as I will be cut n' dry and give my opinion about this very nice knife that I have had the privilege of carrying around and using at work.
At first glance when looking at the Boker Chad Los Banos Direkt closed I thought "Why in the hell does it have a tail fin on it?" That's when Aaron informed me that it was the flip opener, I put the knife in my pocket carrying it tip down, as that is the way it comes and the flip got caught on my pocket when I would draw the knife, I initially thought this was a poor design, the flip just protruded a bit to much to be carried in the pocket. Being that this knife was not mine but was mine for a short period of time so I could give my thoughts and opinions about it, Aaron told me it was okay for me to change the clip and carry the knife tip up. So with the help of my Benchmade tool and some Loctight from work I changed the clip so I could carry tip up, which is my prefered method of all my EDC's and now I don't see the flip as a flaw at all, in fact now I love opening the Boker Chad Los Banos Direkt with the flip method, it opens smooth and fast. Really this blade is so well weighted that it opens with a gravity flawlessly each time and glides open with the thumb studs with the greatest of ease.
One thing I was really impressed about with the Boker Chad Los Banos Direkt was the milled G10 scales, the grip is solid, the knife fits snug in the hand and with the blade open the flipper also acts as an index guard and makes the knife feel that much more snug.
The Boker Chad Los Banos Direkt is feather light and rides like a cloud in the pocket, I'm sure this attribute can be credited to the minimal amount of metal that is used between the G10 scales
The Chad Los Banos Direkt I have been using is the combo edge titanium coated 440c with the serrations near the tip of the blade which I like very much, I feel like I use less pressure cutting with the serrations then if they were near the back, but for some reason I didn't feel like the plain edge cut as well, it still cut nice and smooth and is sharp as hell, I just feel like the position of the plain edge doesn't allow the blade to get a good cut going. Maybe it's my lack of experience with this style of blade and the serrations are supposed to start the cutting and the plain edge is supposed to finish the cut off. By any means I don't want my last comment to deter anyone from checking out this knife, especially for the price and quality. At you can pick one up for a mere $47 and have a very fine tool at your disposal. In fact after I give this knife back to it's rightful owner I'm going to pick one up.
Aside from being a great cutting tool, the Boker Chad Los Banos Direkt fits well enough in the hand it would be used as a mini kubaton/impact device for self defense purposes.
If you looking for a well priced, well made light weight tool or self defense weapon the Boker Chad Los Banos Direkt should be one of the first knives you look at, it will not let you down."
I think Disc. summed it up very nicely. Eric, Discomfort and myself [Aaron] have all had time using and playing with this piece. Eric liked the grip pattern of the G10 in particular and the light weight. I appreciate the open construction for easy cleaning and the blackened blade. I was eager to see how it really performed in Disc's hands, as he uses tactical folding knives hard daily. If it passes his 'real world' work test, I know it's a knife built to last. Eric evaluated the knife in its 'out of the box' tip-down carry and commented on how the index flipper tended to be difficult to draw and deploy in that configuration. It should be noted that I had contacted Mr. Los Banos himself, who recommended that ALL of his designs be reconfigured for tip-up carry. Now I see why! The Direkt knife in particular seems as though Chad intended it to be carried this way, though Boker chose to manufacture it with the clip placement for tip-down carry for some reason. I really think Los Banos' placement of the serrated portion near the tip is unique and quite functional. As Discomfort stated above, he felt as if he had to generally use less pressure for utility cuts.
I used the Direkt at work to break down cardboard from cases of canned pet food, open freight at some stores where my employer's products are sold and I even used the tip to trim hangnails! Eric carried the Direkt for awhile and used it for several daily utility chores. Everyone I showed this knife to assumed it was in the $80-$200 range! I would think so too, and it should be noted that IMO, Chad's designs look like they are from 10 or 12 years from now!

One thing I thought was nice was that, while 440C is not a "buzzword" supersteel, we here at S, B and T have yet to sharpen it in the weeks we've been using the Direkt! 440C stainless has worked well for many types of knives for many decades and will continue to serve knife users well, regardless of what high tech alloy becomes the flavor-of-the-month in the coming years.

I think it's safe to say that all of us were extremely impressed with the Direkt folder's thin profile, minimal weight and overall cutting ability. I bought one of the fat little Chad/Boker Subcom folders a couple years back, and it's been clipped into my Maxpedition wallet ever since!

Whether the venerable little Subcom series, or the longer, meaner looking Direkt, Chad and Boker continue to crank out the hits. These knives perform at a level well above nearly all other knives in this inexpensive price range. If you're in the market for a capable workhorse knife that won't weigh you down and looks good while kicking ass, check out the Chad Los Banos range of knives by Boker.

Boker USA

and check out Chad's website CLB Design

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Surefire Combat Ring kit

It's no secret that I'm a Surefire flashlight fan. I own others, but my Surefire G2's are longtime faves, and as mentioned below, I went out and got the longer G3 last week. Jon aka: Discomfort, my longtime friend and occasional blog writer is a Surefire user also, I believe his light of choice is the 6P Defender. I've always been partial to activating my lights with the momentary ON tailcap, rather than twisting the end for constant ON. Momentary tailcap activation tends to save batteries, and ensures longer bulb life, as the bulb doesn't have a chance to really get as hot and stay hot. That being said, I recently discovered what promises to be the most useful Surefire accessory outside of lithium batteries.

The Combat Ring kit was designed with the Graham lowlight handgun method in mind. As you can see from the diagram, the flashlight is "knuckled" between fingers of the non gun hand and the tailcap is activated with a knuckle. That's all well and good, but that's not what interested me about this kit. As I mentioned, tailcap activation is my cup of tea for Surefire lights. Any one of these rings will allow me a better grip on my G2's and G3 without having to pinch the light uncomfortably between my knuckles for every day use. The Combat Ring kit is reasonably priced, about $10.00 USD for the 3-ring set, so I'll have an option for all 3 of my lights.

I plan on using the loop ring on my G3 to attach a Lanyard Zone Glow Cobra lanyard. These suckers glow very bright, and this set up will allow me to quickly locate my G3 in event of a power outage or nighttime emergency. So, I'll have the hook ring and the standard ring to make using my black and OD G2's a bit easier and definitely more comfortable. Not to mention the fact that these rings just make an already impressive personal light look even cooler!

When my combat ring kit arrives, I'll update on any additional uses or revelations once I've had some time with the cool little Surefire add-ons.
Look for a full review of the Boker Chad Los Banos Direkt tactical folding knife within the coming week. I've had my time with the knife, and Eric has had it in his possession for a few weeks now. It's seen some use, and it is definitely a formidable knife, especially at such a reasonable price point.

Also, Fenix E01 mini-LED light review is on the way, these affordable little wonders come in a handful of cool colors and feature a Nichia LED and will run for 21 hours on a single AAA. Plus, the Fenix website and packaging features some hilarious "Engrish".