Ka-Bar Tanto Review

The Ka-Bar Tanto. It’s like two legendary fighters decided to have a baby. The lore surrounding the tanto blade design, its roots in the mystical oriental warrior life of old, combined with the industrial know-how of an American centurion. I have my hands on one, so let’s do a review!

Continue reading “Ka-Bar Tanto Review”

Cold Steel Brooklyn Smasher Review

Before I got a Cold Steel Brooklyn Smasher, I don’t know how many bats I’ve broken on the worthless faces of invaders in my home. I’ve lost count. Just when you’re really starting to feel the moment, right when your home invader realises they’ve broken into the wrong place and they’ve tried to rob the wrong guy. Right at the moment when the bat breaks across his face, that’s when the disappointment is most palpable. Continue reading “Cold Steel Brooklyn Smasher Review”

Ultra Survivalist’s Guide To The Survival Knife


A lot of people these days seem to think that spending $300 on a knife automatically makes that a superior knife. As though somehow price and value are intrinsically tied. As though they have some sort of correlation! Au contraire my dear, simple people from nowadays. Au contraire. Just like cameras, hands, and family, the best survival knife is the one you’ve got with you. That means a sharpened spoon handle, in the absence of all other knives, IS the best survival knife. You can’t very well use what you don’t even have. But what if you’re given the choice? After all, preparation is 95% of any good survival plan. Given the choice, you’re going to have a variety of good knives from reputable manufacturers to choose from. What about the inevitable anxiety from being overwhelmed by choice? Who is the best knife maker? What’s the best metal to make a knife from? How should the blade be ground? Which thunder god should you battle on the mountain peak to attain your level 100 attack?? Relax. All of these are fair, natural questions that everyone asks at some point in their lives (especially the one about battling a thunder god). Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s take a look at what makes a survival knife. Continue reading “Ultra Survivalist’s Guide To The Survival Knife”

The Most Exotic Knife – The Pharoah’s Outer Space Blade

When I think of exotic knives, my limited imagination flicks to Knives of Alaska’s Diamondblade. Alaska right? It doesn’t get much more exotic than that right? As it turns out though, there are far more rare and interesting blades around. More exotic ones too. One just has to look deeper into history. long before The Lord was born, in the time of the ancient Egyptians.

King Tutankhamen was the famed Boy King of Egypt whose tomb was the subject of international intrigue and controversy about a hundred years ago. In 1922 Howard Carter and George Herbert discovered a forgotten tomb in Egypt’s Valley of Kings. Some of their party died after opening the tomb, in what newspapers sensationalised as ‘The Curse of The Pharoahs‘. King Tut’s tomb had laid still for nearly three thousand years, undisturbed. When the British explorers opened it up, they found it was filled with ancient treasures, some of which were preserved in excellent condition thanks to the dry desert conditions of Egypt. On the King’s thigh was a knife, the true origins of which have only been discovered this year.

tut's knife

King Tut’s knife is thought to be made from a meteorite. Researchers claim that this is proven by the elevated levels of nickel in the blade’s iron – more than twice the amount found in iron on Earth, but consistent with the composition of other meteorites. What has not been researched though, is whether this knife has any elemental summoning powers. Given that King Tut ruled Egypt as a nine year old boy, I have to assume he did so with the help of powerful ancient weaponry. Perhaps weaponry like a meteorite forged blade that has the power to call down level 99 meteorite strike on approaching enemy armies. Honestly, how else would a nine year old boy rule the ancient world?

For more information on blade steel and design, click through to The Ultra Survivalist’s Guide To Survival Knives.

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Three Items For Your Desert Island

When I was first asked the question, I wondered why I would need any help at all on an island made of ice cream and candy. Then I realised that this was a laboured pun and I had been asked about an uninhabited island rather than one composed entirely of desserts. Anyway. I’m going to assume that our desert island in this instance is in the equatorial pacific. The weather there won’t be cold enough to kill me at night. Yes I’m cheating, but it’s my blog and my article. If you want your own, go get it yourself.

Three items is not as many as I would like to take, but if pressed I would have to reply with the following. I’m sorry but my picks won’t revolutionise anything.

Knife – Cold Steel San Mai 3 SRK

desert island

This is my favourite knife of the moment. The Cold Steel SRK San Mai 3 t is extremely sturdy, has a full tang blade made of a couple of great steels, and most of all, has a hole in the handle so that I can lash the knife to a stick. I’m pretty sure that everyone’s first pick would be a knife anyway, no matter what. A knife is too versatile to go without. It can become pretty much anything that has the function of piercing or cutting. You can’t avoid the need of these functions, so you can’t avoid needing a knife. And if you need a knife, you’d best make it a good one.

Tarpaulin – British Army Basha

desert island

 

The tarp is another ridiculously versatile item that would be painful to be without. A tarp can be a shelter, a bed, a carry-all, a poncho when you’re out and about, a rainwater catchment, anything. A tarp can be nearly anything. The British Army Basha style tarpaulin comes with holes around its perimeter and hooks for tying it to stuff. Low to the ground, bam – it’s a tent. High up it’s the roof of your la-de-dah desert island shelter. Take it down in the day and bring it hunting, to help you shift the carcass of a big deer you bagged. A tarp can do anything, I’m telling you.

Paracord

desert island

 

The last piece of my desert island survival triangle. Unlike a knife and a tarp, paracord can be literally anything. There is nothing that it cannot become if you have the patience and dedication. You could knit it into a paracord sweater. You know you could. But more realistically, it can be used for fishing, to hold bait underwater. You can use it to make a snare. Paracord can reliably lash your knife to a pole to make a spear (not really recommended), even if you’re better off just carving wooden spears for fishing. Best of all, paracord will secure your tarp to a tree to make it into a proper shelter from the rain.

So there you have it. I was only allowed three, so I only chose three and you probably think I have no imagination whatsoever. What about you? What would your three choices be?

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My Dream Knife: Knives of Alaska Diamondblade

A while back I was knife shopping and I don’t know how I came across it, but I found Knives of Alaska’s Diamondblade knife. From the press hype, I immediately wanted one of my own. I don’t have any especially fancy knives. I see prices over $100 as prohibitive and off-putting, especially for tools like knives. If a knife is too expensive I don’t want to use it anyway. Imagine taking your fancy $500 knife and driving it into a log or a pig’s head. I would cringe every time I felt the edge on bone. The high price would just get in my way. Still, I dream of a Diamondblade of my own one day. It’s not that I don’t have $500…just that if I spent $500 on a single knife, it would probably get locked away somewhere so that I never accidentally used it.

diamondblade

What makes diamondblades sound so special is the process they use to put an edge of the knife. Now I know, I sound like some knife show marketing guy banging through a sales pitch. I don’t care, I just want to write about a cool knife that I don’t own. I don’t even get anything from Knives of Alaska for writing this. All I get is a cool floating cloud-bubble above my head, which contains a picture of a knife I want. Anyway, they call it “Friction Forging”; the process of getting an edge on the bar of D2 tool steel that will become a diamondblade. They use a special machine that uses enormous pressure and friction to heat the edge. This heating changes the grain structure of the steel of the blade, resulting in nanosized grains that give the edge greater flexibility, strength, and toughness. A lot of customers and reviewers report being able to skin five or more dirty wild pigs without the knife edge losing its sharpness. No one had a single bad thing to say about it. Man I want one.diamondblade

What about you then? Do you have a dream knife that you would like one day to own? A Busse Battle Mistress? A Fallkniven? I guess Fallkniven are within the reach of the common man. Anyway, tell me about it in the comments. Check Diamondblade out at their site.

For more information on blade steel and design, click through to The Ultra Survivalist’s Guide To Survival Knives.

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Hella Flash 300 Review

Hella Flash 300 Review

Hella Flash 300 Design & Construction

 Hella Flash 300 Review

The Hella Flash 300’s body is all aluminium, with a rubberised handle grip. The end of the torch screws off to open the body for inserting or removing batteries. This same end section is also made of aluminium, and I’m really beginning to resent the Americans for trying to remove the final “I” in aluminium by stealth in autocorrect. The end section has a hanger for an included wrist strap. The on/off switch is a button on the pommel (if indeed a torch can have a pommel).
The front section of the torch is extendable, the result of which is a beam that can be focused down to a pin-point. Sliding the front section all the way up narrows the beam, and sliding it back down widens the beam.

 

Included in the Hella Flash 300 box

  • Flash 300 torch
  • 3x C batteries
  • Wrist strap that is a nightmare to attach. A nightmare.
  • Nylon pouch with belt loop
 Hella Flash 300 Review

Look of the Hella Flash 300 

 

Hella Flash 300 Review

It doesn’t look like a tactical weapon, which is great. The Flash 300 looks more industrial. It is unlikely to draw much attention at all. One probably still couldn’t pack it in carry-on luggage though, because anyone could be a murderous Al-Qaeda these days.

Its aluminum body has a brushed matte black painted finish. This paint does wear off and chip, if that matters to you. It’s not anodised on or anything.

The little Hella brand stamp on the sliding front section of the torch is some of the worst printing I’ve ever seen on a finished product. It’s like the manufacturer asked for a 20 x 20 pixel logo specifically to be stuck on there. Don’t hold it too close to your eye, the pixels are huge. Think I’m too fussy? I guess I just like a bit more effort to go into the presentation of relatively expensive flashlights.

 

Hella Flash 300 Review Using the Hella Flash 300 is like

 

Hella Flash 300 Review

The Flash 300 feels well-made. The aluminium body, when loaded with batteries, has a certain heft to it that gives the feel of a solid tool. There is nothing cheap or weak in the build of this flashlight. The body is wrapped with a textured rubber grip, which feels easier to hold onto than smooth metal. The grip is wrapped tight onto the body and has no play. All up, this flashlight feels great in the hand.
The light that comes out of this flashlight is, to me, insane. It is huge, a real pocket floodlight. As you can see in my comparison picture below, where my camera can barely get murky detail from my phone light at ISO 800, the Hella Flash 300 makes my hallway look like daytime. Such is the light output from this torch. Hella are a well-known manufacturer for lights, so it makes sense that this is a good one.
Hella Flash 300 Review
The butt of the Flash 300 is where the on/off button is located. The button itself functions nicely. It does its job and doesn’t feel like it’s going to crap out in a few months. Like the rest of the flashlight, it feels well made. I would have liked it to be in a different location though; maybe up towards the front of the torch. The reason for this is so that I could use the torch as a self-defensive weapon. If I were to stab with this torch, I wouldn’t know which part to use. The front is delicate, housing a glass lens, LED, and then mounted on that extendable section. It might break after a few goes (not how we want things to end with a $75 flashlight). The butt has that on/off button. That means either smashing the function out of the flashlight, as after a few shots this button would certainly die, or repeatedly blinding yourself as you defend yourself with your makeshift weapon. Imagine striking to an attacker’s head with the button of the torch and having it blast 300 lux right back at you. That could be in a Jackie Chan fight scene! As it is, there’s no part of this torch I could really strike with, which unfortunately precludes the Flash 300 from all but the most last-resort kinds of self defense.
The business end of the flashlight can slide out or in, to focus the beam narrow or wide. This is one niggle I have with the Flash 300 – the beam isn’t as wide as I’d like it to be, even at full width. Being able to focus the beam down to a laser point is of pretty limited utility to me. The only way I could think to use that function is for self defense. Maybe someone is in your house and like me, you’re an Australian who is legally denied self-defensive weapons. So maybe you sneak through the darkness to where that scummer is, then you hit him right in the eyes with the most focused beam of the Flash 300 to create a nice opening and break some ribs. Maybe that. But besides really blinding scum, I can’t think of a reason to narrow and already-narrow beam. I’d just prefer that it could open up a bit wider, even though that means diluting the light output a little.
Hella Flash 300 Review
Both images are f2.8, 1/80 sec, ISO 800. LEFT is my mobile phone light, RIGHT is the Hella Flash 300.

Good For

  • Being a flashlight
  • Build quality
  • High light output to body size
  • Blinding attackers
Hella Flash 300 Review

Bad For

  • Being a weapon

Price

I got mine from my workplace, so the price I bought for is a little better than ebay. That said, you can find this flashlight for around USD$50 if you have a good look around. It might be becoming a bit of a legacy item at this point, but the Hella Flash 300 is still sold on eBay.
Hella Flash 300 Review

Hella Flash 300 Review Conclusion

Having owned and used the Hella Flash 300 for a while now, I might have bought something different if I was shopping again. It’s a very solid flashlight and it performs well with huge light output for its body size. Unfortunately it has not been built with the secondary function of makeshift weapon in mind, which is something I’d look for in a flashlight. Also, its widest beam focus setting is still more narrow than I like. Shining a torch at my feet in the dark and having it illuminate a crisp 1m² pool limits this light’s utility. In summary I would say it’s a good build, but not a great one.

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Tsunami Survival Capsule: Pre-Orders Now Open

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably daydreamed about how to survive myriad natural disasters when you’re bored. It certainly is troublesome to get all your bases covered, especially in situations like a tsunami. According to the United Nations’ Coastal Atlas 44% of all humans live in coastal areas at present. That’s nearly half of us, and that means that tsunami preparation and readiness should be increasingly important. One doesn’t have to look too far into history to be reminded of the destructive force an undersea plate shift can unleash on coastal cities – think of the Tōhoku Quake of 2011 and Banda Aceh’s Boxing Day Tsunami – both unimaginable tragedies.

Indian Ocean (Jan. 2, 2005) – A village near the coast of Sumatra lays in ruin after the Tsunami that struck South East Asia. Helicopters assigned to Carrier Air Wing Two (CVW-2) and Sailors from USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) are conducting humanitarian operations in the wake of the Tsunami that struck South East Asia. The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group is currently operating in the Indian Ocean off the waters of Indonesia and Thailand. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Philip A. McDaniel (RELEASED)
Indian Ocean (Jan. 2, 2005) – A village near the coast of Sumatra lays in ruin after the Tsunami that struck South East Asia. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Philip A. McDaniel.

If you live in an earthquake hotspot you might consider taking a look at engineering firm ‘Survival Capsule‘, as their website is now taking pre-orders on…you guessed it: survival capsules. A 2-seater tsunami survival capsule is reported to cost just short of US$15000, and seating can be configured for up to 16 occupants. I wouldn’t want to ask how much a 16-seater would cost but hey – no one ever said Survival Capsule is a charity right?

Matrix

Inventor and CEO of Survival Capsule, Julian Sharpe said: “The capsule’s aim is to allow people to ride out the tsunami rather than evacuate. It’s designed to be installed in people’s garages or on a flat roof and tethered to a solid structure meaning the capsule then becomes your shelter during the post-tsunami phase. This will help take the burden off the rescue teams and allow them to focus on the critical casualties.”

pod

Engineering magic allows for the occupants of the survival capsule to keep getting fresh air inside even though when closed, the capsule is water tight. Neat huh? I sure wish I was rich enough to survive a tsunami T^T

pod (1)

 

Source – The Daily Mirror

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Leatherman Wave Review

Leatherman Wave Review

For my Leatherman Wave Review the first question I need to answer is – how did the Leatherman Wave come about? I suppose that early one Tuesday afternoon, Baron von Leatherman awoke from his nap with a quandary. Why, he mused, can I not fit seventeen different tools into the breast pocket of my smoking jacket? He pondered the usefulness of a pocket big enough to host all seventeen tools, or some sort of new fandangled contraption that combines all of them into the one. He imagined a world in which anything was possible, as he sank into his deepest recliner for another sumptuous afternoon nap. That was the year 1412. Today Baron von Leatherman’s multitool designs have paved the way for something much better than enormous smoking jackets.

Leatherman Wave Review

 

Price

Like always, you’re gonna get a better deal just for being in the US. Make the mistake of being born somewhere else and naturally, you’re gonna pay for it. I got my Leatherman Wave from eBay because when shipping was factored in, it was still the best price and it was only being shipped within Australia (where I live). There are fewer chances for the shipping company to screw it up if they’re domestic.

If you live in the US you’re going to find Amazon hard to beat unless you find an excellent discount price or you’ve got an insider.

Leatherman Wave Review

Design & Construction

The Leatherman Wave is / has

  • All stainless steel contruction
  • Needlenose pliers
  • Regular pliers
  • Wire cutters
  • Hard-wire cutters
  • 420HC knife
  • 420HC serrated knife
  • Saw
  • Scissors
  • Wood/metal file
  • Diamond-coated file
  • Large bit driver
  • Small bit driver
  • Medium screwdriver
  • 8-inch (19-cm) ruler
  • Bottle opener
  • Can opener
  • Wire stripper
  • Excluding the pliers, all tools lock open
  • One hand accessible knifeblades

Leatherman Wave Review

Included in the box

  • Seventeen tools
  • Nylon pouch
  • Instruction sheet
  • Sense of invincibility

Leatherman Wave Review

Look

The Leatherman Wave is an attractively packaged piece of gear. Its body is all brushed stainless steel with ‘Leatherman’ branding visible from basically any angle. This is probably so that you remember why you paid ten times more than you would for a generic hardware store multitool. Folded up, everything goes away neatly leaving you to look at the little rulers they’ve embossed on the handles for you.

Leatherman Wave Review

I couldn’t think of a way around wearing it on my belt in its little nylon pouch. It falls to hand easiest from there but man, it gives off the strongest ’90s dad’s mobile phone vibe there on my belt. Wearing the Leatherman Wave nearly made me start yelling at kids I don’t have to pick up around the house. Wearing a Leatherman Wave on your belt makes other choices seem rational, like high socks with your flip-flops. You have to be okay with that.

Leatherman Wave Review

Feel

Being made from all stainless steel, the Leatherman Wave is a dense item. Maybe even heavy, if you can put up with people sneering at you for calling a 300 gram tool “heavy”.

“Oh is it heavy is it Princess? Maybe you need me to carry your lunch for you too. Oh, be careful not to touch the ground. It’s made of dirt.

Leatherman Wave Review

It feels useful, and by extension makes its user feel useful. Carry the Wave and automatically you just feel handy. As if you know that you can handle anything that pops up. Some part of the end of the world requires pliers, a set of 6cm long knives, and a pop-out mini screwdriver? You know you’re on top from the start.

Leatherman Wave Review

Using it is like

The four outside-accessible tools operate smoothly. Having the little gap on top of the knife blades to just pop them out with my thumb is incredible. I can just grab a knife out of the Leatherman Wave body even if I’m doing something else with my other hand. The pliers’ transformation is also smooth, with a satisfying clunk at the end. The internal tools however are pain, misery, and frustration to open up. They actually require keys to get out cause I’m just not that into tearing a fingernail off every time I need the screwdriver. To make the difficulty of opening the internal tools even more insulting, the Leatherman site lists all tools as being operable with just one hand. Well I don’t even know how to take that.

Leatherman Wave Review

The knife blades are 420HC stainless steel. The HC stands for ‘High Carbon’. High carbon steels are less rust resistant than higher chromium stainless steels, with the trade off being hardness (carbon) for rust resistance (chromium). I was a bit surprised then, when I went to give my blunt knife blade a sharpen. The steel is not really hard. In fact, in giving the knife a good sharpening I lost more steel on the blade than I have on an extremely cheap kitchen knife that I have. That was disappointing. It means that I have to make a hard choice about keeping a keen edge on the Leatherman Wave’s knife, or losing the whole thing in another ten sharpens or so. The steel should be much harder than that.

Leatherman Wave Review

The serrated edge knife is excellent and very sharp straight from the box. I don’t use it at all, except for cutting cloth or rope. Initially I was so impressed by how nicely the serrated blade cuts that I really got into using it. Then I realised that I’d have to figure out how to sharpen it, and serrated edges are the worst thing in the world to sharpen. So yeah, cloth and rope only.

The nylon carry pouch does the job, but the velcro on the flap that is supposed to hold it shut gives up after a few months of use. How does velcro just give up? I can’t figure it out either, but it just won’t stick shut anymore. Not good.

Leatherman Wave Review

The pliers are excellent, allowing me to clamp on with all the grip that I can muster in both hands. Using the pliers with all my strength does no damage at all to them, which is testament to the great build quality of the Wave. The scissors are large enough to be useful in a pinch, but for anything more than emergency paper-cutting they’re a pain. The same goes for the screwdriver. I would almost prefer to climb down the ladder to fetch an actual screwdriver. Almost. But I wouldn’t really, because the Wave’s screwdriver will do the trick after I’ve levered it out. And I’m lazy enough to lever it out, every single time.

Leatherman Wave Review

Good For

  • When you need pliers that can just pop out of nowhere.
  • When you need a knife to just pop out of nowhere.
  • Quick jobs.
  • When you have no other choice but to use a multitool instead of the actual version of the tool.
  • Carrying a toolbox in a package smaller than your fancy iPhone.
  • Feeling useful and handy everywhere you go.

Leatherman Wave Review

Bad For

  • 420HC blade steel is soft. Not soft enough to sleep on, but it dulls too quickly.
  • Internal tools (screwdriver, scissors, bottle opener) are a nightmare to get out without using your keys.
  • Poor quality velcro on nylon carry pouch stops sticking shut after a few months.

Leatherman Wave Review

Leatherman Wave Review Conclusion

You probably need a Leatherman Wave. It might not be perfect, but when you’re popping screwdrivers out of the handles of a pair of pliers what do you expect? None of the tools except the knives and the pliers work as well as their full-size equivalents. On the other hand, they all fit into a package weighing less than 300 grams. What do you want? Life is a series of compromises. Are you just gonna sit there looking goofy and wondering how to cram seventeen tools into the breast pocket of your smoking jacket? Or are you gonna take a solid compromise that does pretty good at most things. Cause that’s how to sum the Leatherman Wave up. For the functions it’s supposed to perform, it’s pretty good at most of them.

Leatherman Wave Review

**Disclosure** This site is supported by its readers. I may receive commission from the links you click on. This in no way influences my judgments in reviews. All products reviewed were paid for, NOT supplied by manufacturers.

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Cold Steel updates on 4MAX folder

Cold Steel President Lynn Thompson got on the tubes earlier today to update the world on his new, all US made 4MAX folding knife. Citing “challenges, expenses and difficulties” as to why Cold Steel doesn’t manufacture in the US, Thompson went on to describe the return to US production as “a labour of love”.

I’d sure like to see this knife in the metal, but I really have to know whether domestic production is worth the fuss. Off the top of my head, I can’t name a single US manufacturer that bests Japan or Taiwan when all things are equal. You’re not going to compare a hand made $2000 American knife with an off-the-shelf mass produced model manufactured in Taiwan, I get that. But is there really going to be any difference in the Cold Steel 4MAX besides an inflated retail price? I guess Americans might care about American jobs or something. I guess?

For more information on blade steel and design, click through to The Ultra Survivalist’s Guide To Survival Knives.

4max_update

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