Saturday, January 23, 2010

Folding Diver coming soon from Benchmade

I don't have many details on the design of this one yet.


* Blade Length: 3.45" (8.76 cm)
* Blade Thickness: 0.114" (2.90 mm)
* Open: 8.30" (20.32 cm)
* Closed: 4.62" (11.73 cm)
* Weight: 4.90 oz. (139.50 g)
* Handle Thickness: 0.522" (13.26 mm)
* Made in USA

It apparently features N680 for the blade-steel, which from what I understand is similar to highly corrosion resistant alloy steels like H1, used by Spyderco.

Pretty cool, as I know a ton of boaters and divers who've mined my so-called expertise to find a good rustproof (or close to it) folding knife. I must say that Spyderco's folders in H1 are seriously, pretty much rustproof. It's nice to see another great company offer an item that no doubt will do well, because Benchmade listens to customer requests (and I'm sure they can't be oblivious to the success of Spyderco's saltwater friendly folders). I have a feeling this "H20" would be a good knife choice for my dad, as he's a lefty who has trouble with linerlock-style folders, and lives on a saltwater bay as well, using his boat at least 8 months of the year.

Benchmade Impel, a Matthew Lerch design in S30V. And a baby Infidel in D2.

Damn! That's a good lookin' little auto! Should be out sometime first quarter, this year, 2010. Benchmade's Matthew Lerch Impel is a tidy little package.
* Push button auto with integrated safety
* Clip-point blade
* S30V premiums stainless steel(58-60 HRC)
* Machined aluminum handle with G10 onlay
* Blade Length: 1.98" (5.02 cm)
* Blade Thickness: 0.10" (2.54 mm)
* Open: 5.03" (12.77 cm)
* Closed: 3.06" (18.03 cm)
* Weight: 2.10 oz. (62.10 g)
* Handle Thickness: 0.35" (8.88 mm)
* Made in USA

And I'll be damned if this baby version of Benchmade's popular Infidel out-the-front isn't the cutest thing I've seen slated for 2010 from any company! Actually, the blade is just a hair over three inches, so it's not all that tiny, the proportions just look funny. Also coming soon from Benchmade.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Peeks at SOG's 2010 lineup.

NW classics, SOG have a ton of new stuff coming out this year. Here are a few pics, respectfully borrowed from their site. I'm sure the SOGzilla series are well made, but they certainly look like a ton of stuff we've all seen over the past 25 years. Alas, the Spyderco-style-lockback is still popular (for good reason), and shoot, I'm sure SOG adds their own flair to this style. Looks like a couple sizes and handle styles will soon be available.

I like the look of the Tooth-lock, it's got the classic SOG blade shape with a very futuristic handle, which appears to boast some nice in-the-hand traction.

and here's 2 out of 3 of the Swedge series of fixed blades, pretty cool looking...

watch for SOG's upcoming Strobe flashlight series and check out their site

Monday, January 18, 2010

Eat and run, you tool. CRKT continues creative work in 2010.

The good folks at CRKT are bringing loads of new goodies to knife fans this year. 2010 sees continued creativity as Columbia River Knife & Tool continues partnerships with custom knifemakers and industrial designers. The Eatn'Tool is on its way soon, an (extremely) abbreviated spork, bottle opener, flat screwdriver and impromptu hex bit driver (bring your own bits), this tool should be available at discount web knife shops for well under $10.00 USD. Initially, I thought this was silly, but it's growing on me, especially the black version, and I'm certain I'll end up buying one of each, as they're cheap enough to purchase, if only for the sake of reviewing here and telling readers whether or not this is a viable gadget, or a silly crossbreed of illogical tool-pairings.

* 9100C: Bead Blast
* Steel: 3Cr13, 51-53 HRC
* Tine Length: .075” (2 mm)
* Total Length: 4.0” (102 mm)
* Tool Weight: 1.5 oz. (43 g)

I'm also interested in CRKT's McGinnis-designed, "Shrimp" keychain-size knife. It's inexpensive and is said to come in 5 colors, all which feature a glow-in-the-dark backspacer for looks, and to assist in locating it in low light. Pretty cool, Gerry McGinnis is a young feller (early 20's I think), who is an engineering student and knifemaker. He's evidently the youngest person to have yet designed anything for the beloved-by-many, CRKT. I've seen some of his custom work online as well, and it sure looks cool.

CRKT has consistently churned out lots of high quality stuff over the years at beyond reasonable prices. Some of it has worked and found an audience, some hasn't, but you can't say they're unwilling to try new things...

I Love My IO AK-47

The older I get and the more I focus on the news of the world around me and the economic crisis of the last few years, the more I realize that a Made in America label is important to me. I would have scoffed at such a statement years ago, so politically cynical (well, I'm still cynical) and ridiculously punk rock. I may drive a Honda Passport, and my electronics may be manufactured abroad, but god damn if I won't buy US made firearms.

Actually, it's not like I'd raise my eyebrow if I was in the position to afford a Sig 556, nor would I chastise someone recommending I add a Saiga 7.62x39 to my collection. And at the same would love to add both a SPAS-12 and Benelli SuperNova to my growing arsenal as well. And don't get me started on H&K's, the pinnacle of sexiness in an uber expensive German firearm. And an Uzi? Yeah, not a terribly accurate weapon outside of semi-auto firing, but man do t
he Israelis know how to design a good looking submachine gun.

All that aside, buying American made firearms is still rather important to me, as it's a huge industry that employs a large number of people in this country. An industry that is threatened daily not just by a crippled economy, but by advocates of gun control the country over, imposing pacifism and tyranny on the people the constitution is set up to protect in the first place. Bringing to mind famous quotes like "free men do not ask permission to bear arms" as well as "an armed man is a citizen; an unarmed man is a subject", as a Washingtonian I'm personally subjected to new attempts at gun legislation almost daily. But I digress. My point is that when I buy an American firearm, I know I'm not only supporting the domestic economy, but I'm also keeping American gun manufacturers employed.

It also doesn't hurt that American AK-47 manufacturers are nearly as good at their jobs as those employed in the Izhmash plant in Russia, arguably the be all end all of AK-47 weapons experts. Companies like Arsenal, Armory and IO have been established in the states to give the Russians a run for their money when it comes to a quality Kalashnikov.

While Arsenal's tend to come along with a hefty retail price, IO's and Armory's tend to be a bit more affordable for the everyman, though still a sight more than a Century rebuild or some surplus Romanian WASR. My IO set me back just a bit over $600 US, and the MSRP listed on the IO website is at around $745 US. It's equipped with all black synthetic furniture including a Galil style handguard and a tough polymer 30 round magazine. The receiver is stamped, and while it doesn't boast the side mount for optics that a lot of other AK's come equipped with, I generally counter that with the question of why anyone would want to put quality optics on an AK in the first place. If optics are an actual necessity, there are after-market dust covers with see through picatinny rails on which a scope or reflex sight could be mounted, or you could splurge on a Leapers or Tapco handguard with a quad-rail if you really felt you needed to tac out your AK. My point is, optics were not top of mind when I bought by AK-47, and they won't be when I buy my next one, either.

My decision to go with the IO was based on a few things. Money wasn't so much an issue as practicality. While I could have afforded the Sig Sauer 556 (another weapon to employ Kalashnikov mechanics) or a Robinson XCR (more like an AK in functionality than the range favorite AR-15's I see out there) or a sick Bushmaster setup, I settled on the IO because I can:

A) Beat the hell out of it and not fret about the money it set me back.

B) An AK is effortless to operate and anyone can be taught how to responsibly wield the weapon as a defensive tool.

C) While the difference in cost between 5.56 and 7.62x39 is a gap that is closing, the latter is still the cheaper ammunition, which makes the AK much more affordable as a plinker.

D) When and if the shit hits the fan, my AK can be easily maintained with parts scavenged from other AK's regardless of the country of origin with little to no modification.

Contrary to a good deal of the AK's that I have handled in the past, one attribute of the IO is a lack of magazine wobble. While in most cases mag wobble is a common trait of the rifle, it can often lead to failures to feed and unreliable magazine retention. I couldn't begin to count to amount of times I have seen the magazine drop right out of the mag well due to this wobble on rickety old WASR's someone picked up at a shady pawn shop or got overcharged for at a gun show. While this certainly doesn't apply to the majority of AK's out there, it is a problem. Another plus is the simple care gone into aligning the front and rear sights. IO really scores in this department, as I was nailing center mass at both 50 and 100 yards right out of the box with my rifle with no alterations made to the sights. After a little tiny bit of adjustment, I was really able to tighten up my groups. Due to the fact that I insist on shooting using irons only, this is a great benefit.

The action on the IO is exceptionally smooth, and while it does take strength to pull that bolt back, it's burly enough to handle it. The weapon also kicks like a mule, more so than other AK's that I've fired in the past, but it doesn't cause it to lack in accuracy. In fact, it feels almost like the recoil is driven straight back as opposed to back and down as is common with an AK which will cause a great deal of rise to the muzzle when a round is expelled. I'm interested to try assorted muzzle brakes on the rifle, as well, considering that the stock brake is of the typical canted variety and is removable to expose a threaded barrel. Like any AK out there, the IO gets hot, but hey, that's what the handguard is for, right?

So, as the title states I love my IO AK-47. It handles beautifully and is one of the sturdier weapons that I have taken out. It fires reliably, accurately, and for durations that your high-dollar AR-15 cannot even hope to match. While it kicks a good deal, and doesn't come close to the price tag of one of its Arsenal counterparts, it's an exceptionally rugged and well constructed assault/defense weapon. Based on my experience with the gun so far, I would have no hesitation to recommend an IO to someone looking for a quality American made AK-47 that doesn't cost more than $1000 US. And to reiterate, it doesn't hurt that this weapon is made in the states, ensuring a little extra for our troubled economy and weapons manufacturers. I won't necessarily always buy American after this, but I'll always consider it before buying something manufactured somewhere else.

Friday, January 8, 2010

News - Spyderco Ti Military

Damn, I loved my G10 Spydie Military. I got it about a decade ago at a suburban mall cutlery shop North of where I grew up, it was grossly, and obviously mistakenly under-priced and I knew it, so I paid cash and got out of there before those clowns realized the deal they just gave me. It was sacrificed in a trade somewhere along the way, but it was a solid knife. I miss my Spyderco Terzuola Starmate also, which was pretty similar in composition and feel to the old original Spyderco Military, that one got traded to a boss of mine long ago, I think for a Microtech manual Kestrel...anyhow.

This new incarnation has full Ti handles and Chris Reeve's take on the framelock/monolock, which they refer to as the "Reeve Integral Lock", same concept he uses on his famous Sebenza folders. Pretty rugged dude, if I had some extra cash I might think about picking this one up. I'm sure this (stolen) picture does it no justice. I think the only thing I don't like about all versions of the Military, is the clip, it's big, obvious, shiny and just cries out "Hey! Everybody! I'm carrying a large folding knife! Hey! Yeah! Over here!". Bullshit. I actually have had strangers in public once or twice approach me in a friendly (yet misguided) attempt at brotherhood and ask "hey! what are you carrying!?" I hate that. I'm 6'4" and 300 lbs. but I like to blend in and be as unmemorable as possible, I don't know why, I just don't like making pals out of strangers who wanna show me the steel they're packing (usually excitable high school guys). I guess there ARE some Spyderco Military models with black hardware, but even still, for my tastes, too much knife sticks up out of the pocket and has the chance to catch on seatbelts, furniture etc. Ok, tangent done, rant over.


* Blade: 4" (102 mm)
* Edge: 3-11/16" (94 mm)
* Closed: 5-1/2" (140 mm)
* Overall: 9-1/2" (241 mm)
* Steel: CPM-S30V
* Weight: 5.9 oz. (167 g)
* Edge: Plain
* Clip: Right
* Tip Carry: Down
* Made in Golden Colorado, USA
US Made Baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

ASP 21" black baton

So, those who know me, know all about how I acquired my little Glock 26. I was working at a retail cutlery shop, and a fellow we'll call "Steve the Greek" had a WA State concealed carry permit. One night when closing the shop, he showed his G26 to me, and I liked it very much. At that point, my only firearm was a S&W Model 60 with Uncle Mike's rubber combat grips. I'd always wanted an auto. Well, Steve the Greek was a real slight guy, slim, short and almost bird-like, but a tough SOB if there ever was one. His problem was that even the baby Glock 26 was too big for his child-like hands, and he got tired of lugging it in an IWB holster, as he rode public transit. ...Yes, this story IS going somewhere!

To the point, Steve wanted to unload his Glock and get a Kel-Tec P32 for its small size and pocket concealability. He was a generous fellow, and money wasn't a big deal with him, he was very easygoing. So, we decided, that I'd give him $100 USD cash, a very much used, but in good condition Benchmade Stryker (back when Elishewitz's logo was on the blade), the final part of the trade to make the Glock mine was my weeks-old 26" chrome ASP baton! Needless to say, a used knife, a baton and $100 is a GREAT deal for a Glock that was in fantastic condition, both The Greek, and the former owner took very good care of it, and I care for it nicely to this day. But I ALWAYS wanted another ASP...

I satisfied that need today. I casually wandered into Brodsky's, a police supply store in Tacoma, WA. I was looking for a 511 Tactical TDU Belt (my favorite belt), in Coyote tan. Turns out they don't carry much 511 in stock but they can special order pretty much anything. The price was decent, so the nice lady went ahead and ordered a 2xl TDU Belt for me, to be delivered in a week or so. Being in a "cop shop", I was pretty dismayed by the total lack of knives...their glass display case held things like gloves, badge holders and a straight baton/nightstick that looked as if it'd been there for years. I casually inquired about expandable batons. Turns out they'd just restocked their ASP selection a few days prior! I really have bills to pay etc, but the price and timing was right, and she threw in a simple but well made Triple K leather basketweave leather holster for half price! Joy!

I like guns, and I always carry a blade, but I'm VERY comfortable with impact weapons, they're discreet, easy to conceal, and 2 years training with a great FMA group in Seattle makes me feel more confident in my ability to use sticks and batons. Shoot, even in the closed/undeployed position, the ASP baton is a formidable control tool, and can also act as a fistload if ya don't wanna really mess a guy up. Anyhow, here's a shot of my new 21" black ASP in it's handsome and durable (and half price!) scabbard, incidentally, on one of my 511 TDU belts, which I wear daily.

The reputation of ASP products, batons in particular is such, that a full review would be a waste of my time and yours. I just wanted to share my story and my joy of again owning one of these fine, nearly indestructible impact weapons!

Check out Triple K Leather, the model I got appears to no longer be in production, but it'll serve my needs fine, as more often than not, my asp will ride in a jacket pocket. And see ASP Products here.

You can also check out Brodsky's here.

Monday, January 4, 2010

New images of 2010 Benchmade knives (and a Tomahawk!!!)

I found these images on a well known web knife retailer. I'm not even gonna give you specifics because I'm so excited, I can't write, I just wanna drool over these pix!!!
All I'll say as far as designers go, is: The late Bob Lum, Matthew Lerch, Shane Sibert, and Eddie Killian.

Awwww shit, it's gonna be an AWESOME year for Benchmade fans!!!!!!!!

Spyderco resurrects an Al Mar classic

The Warrior.
quick specs:
# Blade Steel: H-1
# Handle: Black FRN
# Edge: Hollow Ground PlainEdge primary edge and SpyderEdge spine cutting edge
# Sheath: Black Ballistic Nylon
# length overall 10 5/8 in. (269 mm )
# blade length 5 11 /16 in. (144 mm)
# cutting edge 5 5/32-2 3/4 in. (131/70 mm)
# weight 8.2 oz. (232 g)
# hole diameter 15/64 in. (6 mm)
# blade thickness 5/32 in. (4 mm)

I have a couple of Spydie's folders with their H-1 alloy "steel", and living near saltwater, I can honestly say. That stuff does NOT rust. Pretty amazing, it holds a great edge too, in my experience, it can be a bit of a chore to get back up to razor-ness, but I'll take rustproof over sharpenability any day.

I have a ton of fixed blades, and love the look of this one, but realistically, I'd have no use for it, I'm no soldier, spy or assassin, and I don't have the kind of cash (it's actually pretty reasonably priced) that even good web retailers want for it, but it sure looks cool.

Again, in the interest of this being a news-blurb, and not an actual review, I give you Spyderco's company line on this hardcore, badass combat blade:

""The Warrior combat knife is based on decades old models from Al Mar Knives. This version is both modern and brilliantly designed. The main differences from the old models are materials, amount of serrations on the top side of the blade and the guard curves in the opposite direction.
Spyderco Info: The Warrior fixed blade is one of the world’s most intriguing combat knives. Based largely on the groundbreaking research of close-combat icon Michael Echanis, the original Warrior was a radical design intended primarily for use with reverse-grip tactics inspired by the Korean martial art of HwaRangDo. Produced in limited quantities by the late Al Mar and later resurrected by the martial artist Bob Taylor and Echnais contemporary Randy Wanner, it is one of the most coveted combat knives ever made.

The Spyderco Warrior faithfully retains all the salient features of the original, while adding a number of performance enhancements. Its revitalization happened at the request of our Israeli customer, Guy Rafaeli.

Ground from rust-free austenitic H-1 steel, it possesses the same differential hardness properties of a clay-tempered Samurai sword, giving it extreme cutting power and shock resistance. Its full-tang construction and textured handle scales provide a superior grip and edge orientation, maximizing the knife’s effectiveness when employed with its signature tactics. The sheath is a black ballistic nylon snap-closed sheath with Molle-vest attachment capability.""

I would LOVE to get my hands on this beautiful badboy, but simply couldn't justify the cost. MSRP is just under $400 USD, though obviously with several good web retailers out there, you'd probably end up paying well under $300 USD.
If anybody has any experience with this knife, or would like to write a review, I'll post it up here!
Readers can hit me up at

Happy New Year everyone.