Thursday, February 23, 2012

Self-Defender Aquitted but Now Homeless in Des Moines

Certainly, when JayG hears of this, his rage-o-meter will go through the roof.

Jay Rodney Lewis, a former guard and law enforcement officer, was assaulted by two scumbags in a road rage incident. In the 911 call, he is heard to repeatedly them to get away from him before he was forced to shoot. However, the police force decided that he should have done more to get away from the situation and he was formally charged and told to post $225,000 cash bail. Unable to post, Lewis was forced to endure 112 days in jail while a week after the shooting, his apartment complex started going through eviction actions when they decided that he was "clear and present danger to the health or safety of the other tenants.” The court notices were only served to the apartment. No attempt was made to serve them to him in jail. Therefore, the apartment complex won by default and threw all of his belongings, save for the guns which were confiscated by the evicting deputy, out on the curb. Finally free, Lewis has been rendered homeless, though he does have his IRS call center job back now.

This has me pretty hot. The local PD trying to railroad a man for a self-defense action, and the apartment and court fuck up on a grand scale and allow this man's possessions to be stolen with no change to defend himself. I do believe that the DA has zero business being a civil servant in any capacity beyond condom disposal at the local park. His bail was totally unreasonable and charges were totally bogus. There is no valid reason for the apartment complex's lawyers or the court not to know that Lewis was in lock up. It is impossibly loathsome to commit such acts against a man who even then was innocent until proven guilty. I hope for robust legal action. A pity the bastard that decided to have him evicted can't be thrown into a pit of cobras. He is truly a swine of the proportions of the titular character in a certain Australian horror movie.

I can only hope that Lewis can fully get his life back together. He deserves a break. I would totally understand him moving. I wouldn't want to be anywhere near such a concentration of vermin.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Final Thoughts on the CRKT S.P.E.W.

I've carried the CRKT production version of Alan Folts S.P.E.W. for several days at work stocking the endless shelves of my dark corporate masters. Ai, profit! While, certainly not the sort of job that one respects, it is a good habitat to judge the abilities of a blade.

The E in SPEW stands for Every Day Carry and being carried is exactly what this knife excels at. The excellent sheath system and the fantastic ergonomics of the knife itself work together to produce awesome results. The sheath system as mentioned before is solid for both belt and pocket carry. It retains well, but also isn't hard to get out when needed. The opening has something of a flair that awesome for a bit better re-sheathing once you're used to it. The jimping, the handle shape, and the textured G10 scales are a one-two-three punch that cannot be denied. The grip contour and choil provide excellent and secure purchase for the hand to pull this blade free even without thumbing the sheath off. The jimping, while partially obsurced, keeps the thumb in the proper position. Lastly, the g10 grips have an excellent rough texture that will keep this stable in a sweaty palm. Also, the light weight and small size certainly contributed their fair share of making this blade a true joy to carry.

I knew that the blade steel would weak point of this knife from the beginning. I found the edge catching on plastic wrap. While, it cut paper at first, it did so very jaggedly. It would cut cardboard but rapidly started to loose cutting power. 5Cr15MoV is similar to 420HC which is found in many Gerber blades. It is soft and has paltry .45% of carbon content versus the .75% of AUS-8 which along with 440C serve as the base standard for quality knife steels. It is a soft steel, that I, and other reviewers, found hard to put a good edge on.

Dan at Blade Reviews managed to finally get a decent paper cutting edge after using his considerably greater knowledge and skill of sharpening. Whereas, my skills are very poor and Irely upon a set of lansky Crock Sticks, to take care of my sharpening needs. While, quickly able to restore my AUS-8 and 154CM blades to a proper edge quickly, I was unable to get a good edge on the SPEW myself. However, at work, an ex-meat cutter used a honing steel from the meat cutting room and managed to give the blade enough to barely, poorly shave my arm hair. My Benchmade Griptilian did a better job after 15 minutes on my crock sticks. I have long held that one of advantages for a wharncliffe is ease of sharpening. Sadly, using this steel, I can't say that for the SPEW.

In the end, I grudgingly pronounce this a decent blade at a fair price. However, I say this with clenched teeth and glare angrily at CRKT. This design is flat out one of the best I've had to opportunity to handle and use. The ergonomics and sheath are spot on for what an awesome carry knife should be. They make up partially for the poor choice of blade steel and allow this to be a decent knife, but it should have been an awesome production knife.

It is deeply frustrating that CRKT decided to adhere to a price point rather than go the extra mile and tack on maybe $10 more to the price to provide this with at least something equal to AUS-8 or 440C. Right now, I should be raving about how you all should be hitting BladeHQ, Knife Center, Ebay, and Amazon ordering this knife. It kills me after falling in love with this knives good points. Fortunately, the SPEW is not one of Alan Folts' more expensive custom blades. GP Knives list several with various kinds of G10 grips and in the excellent ATS-34 blade steel for the very reasonable price range of $155-180. If I had the money to spend, I would not hesitate to order one.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Inital Review of the CRKT S.P.E.W. Small Pocket EDC Wharncliffe

The SPEW got here a little over an hour ago and I've been busy checking this neat little knife out. I'm not huge on the blade steel and I can't decide if the name is crap or a memorable trademark, but I think Alan Folts and CRKT are going to make a tidy sum over this new blade.

The blade steel is 5CR15MoV which is also used in the Folts Minimalists. It takes a decent edge and be resharpened very easily, but it will not hold long. It is not especially strong and being a wharncliff means that the tip is the weakest part of the whole knife. I've had two other wharns, the Kershaw Leek and the Cold Steel Kiridashi, that both have bent tips. There is already a 2 Star review from AZ on Knife Center where someone broke the tip off theirs from a "slight amount of abuse". I personally don't know how to take this. Saying abuse indicates misuse on the part of the user. Stainless steel is very unforgiving of physical abuse but very forgiving of neglect.

The factory edge will not win contests. It cuts paper ok, but is a bit on the ragged side. So it is sharp enough to do good work. It is still miles ahead of the edge on the Timberline previously reviewed. Fortunately, being a straight edge, this wharncliffe should be no problem for even the greenest knife sharpener to take proper care of.

The grip on this blade is very comfortable. It feels good in hammer, saber, and reverse grip. The textured G10 looks great and has a good roughness that will aid in retention. The jimping is rough but shallow and unfortunately flawed. The grips do not share the ridges of the passing jimping. Thus only the tip of the thumb ramp has a good roughness for control. A nice choil helps keep this knife in place. The paracord end helps get a better saber grip, but it is somewhat useless in reverse grip.

The sheath is somewhat above average. The choil is exposed and can be gripped when drawing the blade. Also, it is easy to thumb the sheath off of the knife. This means that it could be carried in the pocket without and mounting parts. However, I've found it works well for my normal karbiner carry technique. It comes with paracord for neck carry. Being so light, it should work nicely for that.

It comes with a belt clip, that just manages to work with the thick velcro parts of my rigger's belt. The clip can be fixed for vertical or horizontal carry. The package is slim. It rides well and conceals well offhand and strong hand in both modes of carry.

However, the design of the sheath means that the clip will be mounted at the bottom so it is something of a high ride in horizontal. In vertical, it is easy to configure to draw from hammer, saber, and even reverse grips. It especially disappears in small of the back vertical carry. The knife is too small and flexy to cause spine damage should you fall.

For defensive use, it's reasonably sharp and fast. I'm sure it'll hurt someone very badly if they go for your gun. Not sure if it will survive a bone hit.

Going to be EDCing this to work for a few weeks in place of my Cold Steel Mini-tac Tanto. As much as I wish for better steel, I think this knife will sell well at the price point. It is a very neat design. I hate to see potential so limited by cheap steel.

Update: Final thoughts on the SPEW.

Fenix P2D Review Repost

This is a repost of my review on the Fenix P2D I made over on

I just got stable power and internet back here in lower western Kentucky. As most of you know we got hit by a nasty icy storm. Ice has destroyed countless trees, poles, and power lines. Its been cold and nasty. When the lights went out, I was at work, a Walmart. When a Walmart's power goes out, there's a lot of work to do. First, customers must be quickly ushered to the cashier lanes, as register backup power is limited. Next, the store must be closed and all customers out, or gathered in a safe place. The freezers must be kept closed and the cold walls and bunkers must be covered in cardboard and plastic to keep the temperature from rising. If things do not improve within a few hours, cold things must be quickly removed from the floor, and put in coolers. Sadly, generators are 'ordered' from Home Office, and as Kentucky was being crushed by ice, Home Office told us we were on our own.

Many months ago, I decided that I needed a good EDC flashlight. Something small that would keep out of the way but be bright and long lasting enough in case of disaster. After some research I ordered a Fenix P2D Premium Q5 Cree XR-E. A small LED flashlight powered by a 123 lithium battery. These batteries are expensive in retail stores, but inexpensive from online sources. I ordered a 20pack case of Rayovac batteries for it and my wife and my Surefire g2 LED lights.

The p2d q5 has multiple light modes. 12 lumen - 30hrs, 55 lumen - 5.5 hours, 107 lumen - 2.5 hours, SOS mode(blinks the SOS signal), and also has a one hour turbo mode of 180 lumens and a strobe at the same brightness.

The 12 lumen mode was plenty of light for basic movement through the store(Supercenter) with or without the security lights. For checking aisles, I used the 107 lumen mode the most. The throw could illuminate from at least 100 yards once the security lights were out. The basic 55 lumen mode was the most useful. Turned skyward or set down, it would act as a electric candle and provide enough illumination to move around reasonably well for at least at a 30 ft radius on the salesfloor. About 15ft radius for actual work. In the narrow back areas, the 12 lumen mode was ample for good illumination. The higher power modes were mostly unused except for checking for customers or illuminating important work. A single fresh 123 battery lasted all night, while I pocketed the already used battery for backup. It kept going afterwards at home too. Where it was used from just finding our stock of candles, flashlights, and batteries to reading, to going to the bathroom.

After all the heavy use, I think I got about 16 hours of use out of that one fresh battery. There are some issues with this light. The light is that it is a bit slippery and the lanyard doesn't come with any adjustably. I had already addressed the lanyard issue by adding a spring fastener from a tippman marker's barrel cover. This kept the light secured to my wrist while I generally carried the light in cigar fashion.

This is one incredible light, and one that came in very handy and has continued to serve me well in the absence of electricity. I've just found out that there is a new version, the P2D0 that looks to be even more grippy and should serve very well in cigar carry. I think my wife needs a good EDC light, and she might end up with one.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Surprise Knife Buy, CRKT Dragon

Went shopping with the wife today and got to visit this area's biggest and best knife seller. I got to check out several awesome knives that I've been wanting to handle.

The Benchmade Bedlam Axis felt awesome in the hand and was an awesome blade. However $130 was a bit out of budget. I also got to handle an AUS8 version of Cold Steel's Subhilt OSS fighter. I must have the San Mai version of this blade! The grip is great! Then in the CRKT area, I found one that I've considered for a long time and the price was dead on at $27 even. The CRKT Dragon.

The Dragon is a Kasper Crawford designed Warncliffe blade fighter made of a passable midrange steel. It has G10 scales, a lackluster Kydex sheath complete with subpar belt clip, and a choil deep enough to be considered a subhilt! Yes, folks. SUB. HILT. It feels great in a normal and reverse grip. The jimping is sharp and good. The grip curves to provide even more retention and the pommel is a decent chunk of exposed steel that could break a window or a skull. All for $27!

Some folks say that the Dragon looks like a kitchen knife. Well, I've used plenty of my carry knives in the kitchen. If it can cut raw vegetables and meat well, it'll cut a human from throat to groin with equal aplomb.

It looks like a rather nice companion for my Sig 245. It'll be useful to compare the S.P.E.W. when it comes in this weekend. Hopefully. Warncliffes are everywhere!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Dratted Weakness, New Knife Inbound

Man, two weeks without updating? Am I lazy or what? But really hasn't been much going on or really interesting since Shot Show. Meh.

However, I do have a new knife incoming from Knife Center. It is the horribly named CRKT SPEW or Small Pocket EDC Warncliffe. A very cool design made of a very mediocre steel. Perhaps it will exceed my expectations. I wasn't going to order it until I noticed that shipping it would only cost me $2.99... At a paltry $31.94 combined, I was unable to resist. I should stop checking the new arrival sections of Knife Center and BladeHQ.

I am hoping that this will tide me over until the release of the Becker BK17 in April.