Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Rob Robideau's "The Practical Guide to Everyday Carry Gear"

     Rarely do I feel the need to seek out EDC advice, in general.  I've been carrying & collecting knives, as well as casually shooting & practicing martial arts on & off for close to 20 years (yeah, I'm 30-something).  I'm at the point where I appreciate "expert" input & articles from luminaries like Massad Ayoob, because I have never been as much of a "gun guy", as I am a "knife guy".  That said, taking my experience into account, I would never profess to be an expert on anything I couldn't teach.  Rob Robideau, known for his Personal Armament Podcast, among many other things, has put together a very cool e-book that is a great starting point for EDC newcomers, & a great source of consideration & interest for us old hats.

     The book is a TON of knowledge & a very good read for what many of us might spend on lunch on any given day, about ten bucks.  There are articles & interviews done by or with Massad Ayoob, the handgun guru, and also Dave Spaulding of handgun defense fame, along with Michael Janich, a name that should be familiar to anybody who has studied knife & stick combatives, or owns a well-rounded knife collection!

     I don't want to give away too much in the form of a traditional review, but I will say, don't be a jaded skeptic, this project deserves a look, as I said, even from those of us who think "we know what we're doing".
HALF of the profits go to knife rights causes & other very good charities, & this e book packs significant bang for your hard-earned dollars.
see personalarmament.com for the full-meal-deal

Chapters Include:
·         Selecting A Handgun for EDC – Massad Ayoob – Massad Ayoob Group
·         Selecting and Using a Knife as a Defensive Tool - Michael Janich – Martial Blade Concepts
·         Thoughts on Knives as Defensive Tools – Dave Spaulding – Handgun Combatives
·         Knife Features and Recommendations - Dan – BladeReviews.com
·         Defensive Light Use and Selection – Dave Spaulding
·         Flashlight Technology and it’s Progression - David Chow – 4Sevens
·         Flashlight Features and Recommendations – Marshall Hoots – GoingGear
·         Preparing for Medical Emergencies - Doc and Cruz – Rsktkr Consulting
·         Medical Emergency Gear – Bryan Black – ITS Tactical
·         Timepiece Features and Recommendations – Thomas Carey – TheCGACompany.com
·         A Performance Writing Tool – Steve Nichols – Fischer Space Pens

     Again, I don't want to go through this thing section by section & fill you in on everything.  If my opinions have earned your trust over the last 4 years, check this project out, you can learn more about the format & what exactly you get for your $10usd @ personalarmament.com

Friday, February 3, 2012

Buck 846 Vantage Force Avid, Unexpected & Amazing Gift...

Brutal aluminum handles with sweet texture.

          This project, for lack of a better word (I'm not a business, or whatever, even though my opinions may sway purchases) is not all about writing, or posting reviews.  Don't get me wrong, I started this thing in 2008, under the impression that nobody was reading, & that nobody ever would.  Writing is an outlet for me, even though I'm lazy about it sometimes.  One of the best moves I've made, in the context of SB&T, is to create the Facebook page a couple of years back (has it been that long?).  While my interaction with other "knife people", & posting product updates & simply things of general interest on Facebook may have slowed my actual reviewing process here, it's been well worth it.  I have met TONS of cool, like-minded people who give me hope for the world.  Thanks to this vexing & wonderful technology of ours, I've met knife-makers, soldiers, sheriffs, punk-rockers, prison guards & all sorts of great people.  I have made friends as well.  It doesn't always matter where in the world we are, in 2012, friends are friends.

          It just so happens that a good friend who I have made, actually does live fairly close by, but with the Christmas season having come on, we hadn't had a chance to hang out yet.  I received an unexpected gift 2 days before Christmas.  He'd told me a package was en route, but I was excited to un-box this bad-boy, and take a good look.

Buck 846 Vantage Force Avid- BADASS!

  • Blade: 3 1/4" (8.3 cm) drop point, 13C26 Sandvik steel with Black Oxide coating
  • Thickness: 0.120"
  • Length: 4 3/8" (11.1 cm) closed
  • Weight: 4.8 oz. (136.1 g)
  • Handle: Black Anodized Aluminum 6061 T6
  • Clip: Removable, reversible tip-up discreet carry
  • Blade Flipper
  • Made in USA

          Buck is doing a lot more manufacturing, it seems, in their Idaho, USA facility.  That's awesome, I'm sort of sick of seeing the large factory companies resort to Asian manufacture, but they all have to stay competitive.  I understand that, & I'm glad Buck wised-up before ending up like Gerber, a shameless promoter of ill-designed & ineffective goods, all made at a premium, who knows where.   Maybe unfair, but that company is a sinking ship.  Good for Buck for continuing to offer solid knives at a good value, & fair price-points!


This is Buck in fine form.  I'm excited to see they've slowed their overseas production & begun focusing on what they do best.  Old fashioned reliability.  * Blade came hair popping sharp, the unique grip pattern works great, especially in wet & cold hands.    *Opening is easier with the flipper, but still possible with the oval shaped hole, it'd be a bit easier if the hole was taller, to gain thumb purchase, but you can also use the middle finger from the opposite side to do an easy flip open. 

   *  I'm impressed with Sandvik steels on most companies' knives (Kershaw especially), this Buck is no exception, about as good as you can get in this price range...& better than some higher price ranges.

I have read some negative web reviews from cry-babies who whine about the aggressive texture of the handle & how it rips up their $200 Chinos & hurts their widdle hands.  Man the fuck up!  The handle design on this knife is genius, weird zig zagging towers machined into aluminum?  This is about as good a grip as you can get on aluminum handles, which are often too smooth, & don't stay clipped to the pocket.

 Hey, if this one sticks in my pocket so it doesn't fall out?  All the better!  You can always slightly bend a clip to fit your will.  You own your knife, not the other way around.  I love this handle design.


     This knife transitions to reverse grip very easily, I try not to think of every knife as a weapon, but I always consider its capabilities.  This one would suit me fine, I think, in a life & limb situation. I would naturally rotate into reverse grip, edge out, & the Vantage Force does this very well, along with the sort of upward transition back to "sabre" grip, or a traditional grip


   Overall, across several weeks of carry, & daily stuff like demolishing boxes & recycle, I've got to say, there really isn't anything for me to criticize on this knife.  I think too many people have unrealistic expectations of knives, just because you paid $200 plus for a knife, doesn't mean it was made EXACTLY for you.  Factory made knives are a conglomerate of ideas, built to appeal to a wide cross section of buyers.  Buck did very well with this one, & at a very fair price, you could probably buy 2 of these for the price of an entry-level Benchmade, & this knife has very likely been through a better quality control process before leaving the factory!

       That's the reason I mention some knife-store reviews I have read, a knife is often a compromise, & you may have to alter the way you carry it, or the way in which you open it.  As I said, Buck designed the thumb hole for "thumb" opening, yet I brace the body of the knife with my thumb, & use the back side of the thumb-hole by using my middle finger flick technique. 

     I REALLY dig this knife for EDC, & it has become a staple of my rotation, among my recent Cold Steel purchases (more on those later).  MANY thanks to my friend Yusuke for making my Christmas awesome, & for providing me with a solid tool to add to my arsenal.  You can find the Buck Vantage line @ the better online retailers, & probably at your local store that deals in Buck Knives.