Friday, October 28, 2011

KnifeCenter's Prompt Response

Yesterday, I received a knife that was simply not the color as depicted on it's product page at KnifeCenter. While, I still opened the package, I sent an email complaining about the misleading image and that they should change it.

I checked the product page and found a new image in place of the old. One where there is no doubt that the blade has a dark coating. Waiting in my email was their apology for the inconvenience, an explanation that it was an image from the manufacturer, and a thank you for bringing it to their attention.

The KnifeCenter has always done good by me, and this just cements it. It took them less than 24 hours to fix a mistake. I'm sure if I had not opened the package, and returned the knife, there would have been zero issues. You may pay a few extra bucks at KnifeCenter, but the service here tends to be fast and any problems will be solved quickly. They also will give you a small extra if you review a knife for them. Using my last review code, I got a free Camilus Lubricant and Wipe cloth. The time before that, a decent paring knife. These goodies aren't much, but it feels nice getting a little extra in today's economy.

Trial of the Canton PD's Victim

Many have seen the unbelievable video of Officer Daniel Harless of the Canton PD Ohio's verbal assault and threats against the CCW permit holder, William Bartlett, on Youtube. He was arrested and charged with failure to inform an officer of his concealed weapon.

It is pretty clear in the video that, Officer 'Roidrage', verbally and physically intimidated this man and simply would not allow him to give that information immediately. Thanks to the video the genie is out and Harless will have to face the music eventually. However, the local law enforcement is not happy to be caught and are working hard to make Bartlett pay for the crime of standing up to their bullying.

The trial against Bartlett is proceeding and Ohioans For Concealed Carry are looking for donations for legal defense. I've tossed a few bucks into the pot and you can too here. Please donate to this worthy cause. Show those bullies that there are far too many of us for them to just 'go home and sleep like a baby' when they beat up on the little guy.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Surprise Bacon Find!

Was trotting through a Wal-mart and look what I found. Can any one resist?

Yes, Bacon Jerky! It's good, too! Tastes right, and is nicely chewy. I can't decide if this was a very good find or very very very very bad find. Nevertheless, seems like the perfect snack for everyone's favorite extra dangerous librarian.

Just In: Timberline Tactical ECS-4

The brown truck of joy dropped this guy off little more than an hour ago, yet some drama ensued instantly. The problem was that the blade color of it on KnifeCenter was a good bit lighter than as it came.

From the looks of the picture, I expected a bead blasted stainless. Instead, I received an obviously coated blade. I very nearly called them to ask for a return information. I did double check the page and sure enough it say that it was a titanium coated blade in the details. I've decided to keep it, but I am going to contact them to put a darker picture in its' place.

This relatively recent addition to Timberline's knives has a particular gimmick that intrigued me. The knife locks and unlocks itself in it's sheath via the metal bar on the grip. The sheath hook is designed to lock into place by the knife just being normally inserted. To draw, the grip on the knife is simply made tight. While some might decry this motion as impossible in the case of a damaged hand, normal kydex sheaths would be equally hard to draw from in the same situation.

So far, I really like the sheath system. It is MOLLE ready and the mountings can be reversed to a left handed/offhanded use. It is not kydex but rather a hard plastic, but it seems nicely made thus far. I will be putting a keyring on it and using it in carbiner carry this week as well.

The blade itself is a 3inch modified spear point in one of the 440s, probably 440C. After the sheer excellence of my Kershaw's SkyLine's blade, I've gotten quite a lot of love for this style of blade. Sadly, this one was only really sharp on one side, I will be working on it with my sharpener this week.

The grip may be the real weak point here. It's not as grippy as I'd like, and a bit short for the guard style. However, there is jimping under this simple cross guard, allowing solid point control.

The knife set me back about $40 dollars plus shipping. There is a larger version of this spear point coming soon. It will feature a 3.8 inch blade, longer grip, and possibly some orange grips and a grip tool included in its accessories. The grip tool and extra grips are present in the Tanto and Drop Point styles of the 3.8, already out. The drop point is handsome, and might make a solid choice for defensive work.

I'll be replacing my Cold Steel Mini-tac Tanto for now with this. I'll be looking to give an update on it's performance in about 2 weeks.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Incoming Stabby

New fixed blade inbound from KnifeCenter. As much as I like my Cold Steel Tanto, I'm ready to try something different. Sadly, it is not the M1-compact. I'm going to try to hold out for the M1 Mini to get the TOPS treatment. Or maybe just get one directly from Relentless.

A Tasty Experiment

During my endless toil for the Bovine Overseer and out Dark Corporate Lords, I discovered a brick of queso blanco velveeta cheese-like product. Evil plans formed in my mind.

I actually feel that Velveeta and other processed 'American' cheeses have a place in the kitchen. They melt to gooey so very well. I've often tossed some 2% Velveeta to transform my chili into wonderful chili cheese topping for chips or hot dogs. I still have a pocket of it frozen in the freezer for a lousy cold day.

After work I purchased said brick of cheese, 1lb of ground chicken, 1 packet McCormick chicken taco seasoning, a can of refried beans, and some tortilla chips. Scoops to be precise.

Browned the chicken in a skillet lightly oiled with peanut oil. Then followed the directions for the mix packet. Added the water, but only put in about 2/3rds of the seasoning. Let it simmer a bit. Added and mixed in the can of refried beans. Last came a 4th of the block of white processed cheese-like substance cut into cubes. Stirred until fully melted and mixed up.

It was delicious. The spouse unit agreed vehemently. I, and my arteries, felt very full and satisfied after downing a bowl along with a plate of chips. The beans and the chicken make this feel a lot of lighter than a beef chili-cheese dip would. With about a third of the cheese, it would would make a solid filling for corn or flour tortillas. As it stands this will get used during the holidays as a snacking dip. Tasty is considered a solid success.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Defensive Fixed Blade

I often speak of defensive fixed blade knives to be carried offhand. Dan at BladeReviews mentioned that he appreciated my input on such things so I'm going to over-clarify. These are my opinions and observations, but of course, I've never actually gone at anyone with a blade. If you think it's crap, please comment away!

First off one must remember that a defensive knife isn't the same thing as a true dedicated fighting knife, nor is it going to be a combat knife. Fighting knives have their own special requirements. The foremost is the ability to deliver an immediate kill. Therefore, the fighting blade must be either deliver catastrophic damage through edge cuts or internal organ hits through point penetration. Combat knives for me, are knives that are primarily field tools that also can do a fair job as a fighting blade when necessary.

For an edge kill, that means a large knife with the weight and design physics to chop or slice through bone and muscle. Not just taking out arteries. Death by blood loss takes time. Time that can be used against you. In addition to the edge cut there is also the blunt force issues of bone and meat being pushed into other organs or places. Shock, the shear level of physical damage, and massive blood loss all together would finish off the victim. Kukris, barongs, large bowies, and such are renown for this sort of thing.

You'll find that penetration kills are more common. It is easier and falls in line of the fighting blade's role in the modern military world. Silent kills on enemy soldiers by special forces operators. These are ambush kills, but kills nonetheless. Here, length is the big issue. Like with the minimum penetration standards the FBI put out for handgun projectiles, there is a literal distance to be traveled to the life sustaining organs of the human body from the point of entry. If the blade is strong enough, it can penetrate the rib cage directly. The cage can be bypassed by going up under it or down through the collar. If one looks at the bayonets of the world you can figure out the minimum size for such weapons. The modern bayonet seems to be in the range of 6.5 to 8 inches in length. That is a reasonable bar then. Also, the blades tend not to be broad and are either double edged or the back is swedged to give better penetration.

But what does all this tell us about the defensive knife? Merely, what we cannot expect from it. Defensive blades are not meant to deliver a killing stroke. They can cause fatal wounds, but very rarely an immediate one. Look at a cat's claws for a great example. Cat's do not kill often with their claws, especially not something close to it's size. In predatory action, the claws hold while the bite kills. In a fight, the cat often curls up and uses its powerful rear legs to shred the soft places of its opponent. As we cat owners know, this crap hurts, even when they're just playing. The cat scratches you to make you let go. That is of course the end game. Getting free.

Your defensive blade is meant to inflict as much hurt as it can at point blank contact distance to make the goon let you go. As a bonus, it might seriously weaken that same person. Every drop of blood the other guy loses is helping the fight go in your favor. Also, like with a cat, he should never have seen that blade until he feels the tip scraping across his bones. Shock is useful! Fear and surprise can help you. If you can change his mind from fight to flight, it is your win.

Defensive blades, naturally have some serious requirements. For the blade, while length isn't as important, it must be kept deadly sharp. Just like you should keep a kitchen knife. After all, you're cutting meat. If the knife is too long it will not be easy to bring into use against a grappling attacker. The steel doesn't have to be uber premium. AUS8 and 440c do well for blades of 4 inch and under. This also has the benefit of not costing as much to replace if the knife must be left embedded in someone. Also, you want to be able to draw the knife and use it.

The grip needs to be excellent for both draw and retention. Ever try to pull a smooth gripped knife out of a kydex sheath? Or keep hold of a slimy grip? I find G10 grips to be wonderfully rough and grippy in the worst situations, but most poly, wood, or metal grips with good texturing will do nicely. Also, sub hilts and ring hilts help a lot in both draw and retention. They lock your finger in, though if the blade is caught, you might get something broken. Also, a good guard is a must too. I think too many knives do not have adequate guards. They're really not for protecting against other knives, but protecting you from a hand-slip and some cut fingers.

Perhaps the most neglected issue from the knife manufactures is carry options for their defensive blades. Most knife manufactures do not provide even decent sheaths with their knives. Many folks are forced to buy 3rd party sheath systems or make their own. IWB, OWB, pocket, neck, and even should carry are possible, but with knives they can be also carried in different positions like vertical and small of the back carry doesn't cause as much danger as it would with a handgun.

The images from top to bottom: TOPS Baghdad Bullet, unknown Kukri, Boker Plus Schanz Integral Dagger, Emerson La Griffe, Dirk Pinkerton Pocket Bowie, Boker Plus Mosier Tactical, CRKT Crawford Kasper Dragon, and KSF Pocket Sheaths.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Muela's German Style Handle Utility Knife

Even before buying my beloved Boker trench dagger, I've loved these military style guards and handles. While surfing KnifeCenter, I found this Muela with a classic Germanic military/bayonet grip.

The steel is an unnamed stainless, but it's not a long blade. At 4.7 inches it is at my comfort limit with standard stainless. The 1121 & the stainless version, 1123, both have thin bowie-like clip point style blade. The versions cost $25 and $31 respectively.

Muela is not a brand I know much about. There is very little information available about this Spanish manufacturer. Primarily, they make stainless blades and they do make some pretty higher end products. From what little I can gather, these Spanish blades are supposed to be pretty functional. One of Muela's particular claims to fame is that they produce the Magnum 26 which is the giant bowie used by Pierce Brosnan in Seraphim Falls. 14inch 440c blade is not something I would actually care to use. Under hard use, it would most likely break.

I'd like to give this one a try. The grip appeals to me a lot, and at the cost, I find it hard to lose even if it's not worth serving as an EDC or defensive blade. At the worst, it would find it's way into my kitchen drawer. Which is the fate for stainless fixed blades I don't think quite 'hack' it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

TOPS/Relentless M1-Compact Knife

Relentless Knives is custom knife producer that makes some really nice looking blades. Their biggest claim to fame is having made the Punisher knife used in Punisher: War Zone. Their line up has some extremely sweet looking spear points. One of these Relentless blades is the M1 Sub-Compact, a lovely little spear point small fixed blade of about 2.5inch length. The carbon steel version of this custom is a whopping $139.95. A bit high for my tastes despite the great looks. For a custom, I'd rather have the larger brother the M1 Mini for only $20 more.

Fortunately, TOPS, a knife manufacturer specializing in carbon steel knives, has teamed up to make the M1 Sub-Compact a production blade. While its not quite as nice, and lacks the nice swedge, TOPS does add some jimping! I feel that addition much improves things. I know of no online retailers with this yet, but TOPS has it for an introductory price of $72.95 themselves.
This one is pretty tempting for me. Seeing as my ideal CCW knife does not yet exist and the bigger M1 Mini isn't available in such a good configuration/price, this would be a nice carry blade indeed.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fixed Griptilian Discontinued

When it comes to stainless steel fixed blades knives, Benchmade's excellent fixed Griptilian 151 is one of my favorites. It is the right size, shape, weight, and steel for a knife that can do anything short of stupid. That's why when I suggested one for Alan over at Snarkybytes, he reported to me that the Benchmade had been discontinued and further research shows that it has been for at least a year. I find it very depressing that either Benchmade felt that it wasn't selling and that people have and will be missing out on a great blade that worked so well for food prep, smaller woods work, EDC, and defense. The size, weight, sharpness, construction, blade steel, weight, grip, and price were all excellent. The sheath was really the only really weak point of this design. While, well made and mostly functional, it was secured to the belt only by a malice clip. I HATE malice clips. Also, it could be hard to get a finger under the grip for a good hold while drawing. A decent kydex CCW sheath rig would have worked rather nicely and really shouldn't have costed that much more.

Monday, October 17, 2011

MWUAHA! We Win Again!

Whilst slaving away for my dark corporate masters( and the lesser bovine overseer) last night, I saw something that brought quite the smile and euphoria. A Remington AR-15! This is beyond good news and not just because I get 10% on it! It means a major victory for the pro-gun side. That mighty Walmart, which tries hard to avoid controversy and stay politically correct, finds that the profit of selling Evil Black Rifles trumps any possible negative press or political reactions.

I think they're even selling them with full capacity magazines too. Double score!

I seriously hope that they're going to offer a lot more interesting rifles and shotguns from now on. Getting that 590a1 or Sig 522 will be a lot easier with 10% off the top!

Too bad that damn bovine overseer had to ruin my natural high. Grr.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Gone Fishin'

I'll be on hiatus for a few more days. Hopefully, I'll have a nice review for you then.