Monday, December 22, 2008

Kydex for my Kukri...

Hey all,
Here to report on the state of my kukri.
It's holding up very nicely, however a friend shoved it down into the sheath too hard and dug a hole on the inside of the sheath (which is pretty chintzy), so I sent it off to Phil Smith to have a nice kydex scabbard molded for it. I sent it to him because I've bought from him before and have never been unhappy with his work. When I asked him to make a sheath for this Kukri, I specified that I wanted a swiveling belt loop like on an old leather holster. I just got it back today, and I carried it around for about an hour, to see how it carries. I am very pleased with it! It looks a bit awkward, but it carries very well. I added a couple pieces of webbing as an impromptu frog to extend the length of the belt loop.
A pic:

Feel free to comment!:)
Place of Purchase: Phil Smith Knives
Price: $45 + S/H
Berserker's Overall Rating: 5 Stars! Phil Smith does not disappoint.
Thanks,
PMZ

Monday, December 15, 2008

Italian Stiletto Review 2...

Hey all,
Back when I got the Frank Beltrame stiletto (which I have since sold) I also bought a knife on the secondary market, it's a beautiful stag-handled 11-incher with simulated double-edge blade. This is ONE SOLID KNIFE. It is stamped "STILETTO ITALY" on the ricasso and that's all it says--no maker's name or anything. However the previous owner told me that he'd bought it about 10 years back.
However I highly suggest that if you ever see one of these for sale, buy it! Mine was heavily discounted (I paid $50, but other 11-inch stag handled models sell for up to $200) and it's in great shape. It was stored open, which I presume would keep the leaf spring from wearing out prematurely. It's certainly got a nice solid snap!

Here's a video review of it I did after I got it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QVT9KK_RIU

Enjoy,
PMZ

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Lightning OTF Taiwanese Scarab Clone

I just picked up one of these Scarab Clones the other day and to be honest, while it's nowhere near what a Microtech would be in terms of quality, it's damn cool, and pretty good for a cheapie OTF.

Here's a vid of the "snappy" opening/closing mechanism:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOXnmIFb-qs


OAL: 8"
BL: 3-3/8"
BS: 440 Stainless
HM: Zinc
Place of Purchase: BladeOps.com
Price: $47.00
Berserker's Overall Rating: 4 Stars. This is really a very decent knife for the price.
PMZ

How many weapons without printing?

Here's a video demonstration I made showing the large number of knives and impact tools a person can carry in public places with a little know-how.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhey9nFI30o

Scary thought, isn't it?
Despite what the media and modern "common sense" would have you believe, more people (at least in the city) are armed than unarmed, whether with knife, cudgel, or gun. The plain truth is that nobody in this world wants to be killed, raped, or stolen from, and many take steps to prevent it. Most of these folks you'd never guess to be CCW or knife knuts but there you have it, it's ironic. Please note that this is not my EDC; I rarely carry more than four knives at a time. This is just to illustrate how seemingly "unarmed" citizens may not be unarmed after all.

Cheers,
PMZ

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

KH Jungle Training Kukri Review...

I'm so stoked about my new bushknife that I'm breaking my personal gear-review rules...namely, the rules which state I must have owned and used the product for at least a week before commencing writing. However, having handled and familiarized myself with this tool and its edge(s), capabilities and properties I feel qualified to answer a few of the questions I know some of my fellow gearhounds must have about the knives produced by Khukuri House, a company owned by retired Ghurkas who wished to preserve and share the fading legacy of the genuine Khukuri knife. Renowned though it be, many people choose the cheaper, inferior copies produced by American companies who outsource their labor to people who don't take pride in their work. I'm going to tell you right now, Khukuri House and their Bishwakharma (Kukri craftsmen) DO care about the quality of the product they produce on a daily basis, and it DOES make a difference. Here is what I did to test my new tool.
  • First, I took my new knife up into the woods, into the hemlocks on a walk with me. I picked a spot near a lean-to where there was a prominent fire circle with logs for people to sit on.
  • Unsheathing my tool, I chopped away at the end of the log, finding it very easy going. I ended up making a flat spot on the log for people to rest a hot pot on.
  • Then, I turned my attention toward a downed sapling. I bucked it (chopped through it) at two points, in order to make a nice quarterstaff.
  • Standing the six-foot length of sapling on its end, I began to shave the bark from its surface. When this was accomplished, I sat down on the fireside log and used my kukri as a drawknife, slowly shaping the staff.
  • Soon I realized the hour had passed and I was going to miss supper, so I hid my staff (to prevent it from being burned as firewood) and went to dinner.
  • After dinner I returned to my Flat and examined the kukri. Except for a previously-noted ding near the hilt, the edge was pristine, virtually untouched. It had handled all that chopping with complete indifference.
  • Determined to figure out what it would take to dull this thing, I began to stab the giant cardboard box that my buddy's Total Gym had come packed in, each time from the point to the hilt. When I had positively porcupined one side of the box, I checked the edge again--it was STILL SHARP!
  • After these failures, I gave up trying to dull the thing in one night. Other than being smudged and sapstained from its trials, it was utterly unchanged.
Some pics:



THIS, my friend, is a GOOD TOOL.

OVERVIEW:

Steel: Hand-Forged from Truck Suspension Springs, Differentially heat-treated/Selectively Hardened.
Scabbard: Water-Buffalo-Hide with Brass fittings over wooden frame. Comes with Karda (utility knife) and Chakmak (trad. sharpener/fire scraper).
Place of Purchase: Khukuri House Online. http://www.gurkhas-kukris.com/
Price: $33.99 without shipping. All told, around $55-$60.00. Well worth it IMO.
Berserker's Overall Rating: 5.0! This is one helluva knife.

Get one. You won't be disappointed.
PMZ

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Procrastination...

If procrastination is on your menu for tonight, here are a few sites that are useful AND help you while away time frivolously...

MM is a good resource for the gear connoisseur:
www.militarymorons.com

Order of the Stick Webcomic...hilarious, even if (like myself) you don't know a whole lot about D+D and associated RPG games...at the time of this posting, you have 603 comics to read to catch up to the plotline...get at it! LOL:
www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0001.html

BalisongXtreme Website Tutorials--Learn to flip a bali like a pro!:
www.balisongxtreme.com/techniques.htm

Barney Fun Page--Apparently it's been online for 14 years...click away friend!:
http://impressive.net/games/barney/fun.cgi

Toilet Paper Wedding Dress Contests--Fun to look at, anyway. I surely wouldn't want to wear one...I don't think I would if I were female either...OK, that's just awkward:
www.cheap-chic-weddings.com/wedding-contest-2006.html

If you're into Norse culture, and are interested in Vikings:
http://www.cs.vassar.edu/~capriest/vikresource.html

South Park Character Avatar Generator...lots of fun:
http://www.sp-studio.de/

Sweet site to learn about Bushcraft, survival skills, etc :
http://www.bushcraft.se/

How to make a sweet blowgun:
http://www.geocities.com/maddd_doggg/blowgun/main.htm

Grip training tips for MA and general better strength:
http://www.grapplearts.com/Grip-Strength-Training.htm

Those are just a few...have fun!
PMZ

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Letter Circulating in Emails Warns of Up and Coming Terrorist Attack on US

I don't know if this is a legit letter or not but it's definitely food for thought....


"...Juval Aviv was the Israeli Agent upon whom the movie ' Munich ' was based. He was Golda Meir's bodyguard--she appointed him to track down and bring to justice the Palestinian terrorists who took the Israeli athletes hostage and killed them during the Munich Olympic Games. (Aviv's bio is noted at end.)

He predicted the London subway bombing on the Bill O'Reilly show on Fox News stating publicly that it would happen within a week. At the time, O'Reilly laughed and mocked him saying that in a week he wanted him back on the show. But, unfortunately, within a week the terrorist attack had occurred.

Now for his future predictions.. He predicts the next terrorist attack on the U.S. will occ ur within the next few months. Forget hijacking airplanes, because he says terrorists will NEVER try and hijack a plane again as they know the people onboard will never go down quietly again. Aviv believes our airport security is a joke--that we have been reactionary rather than proactive in developing strategies that are truly effective. For example:

1) Our airport technology is outdated. We look for metal, and the new explosives are made of plastic.
2) He talked about how some idiot tried to light his shoe on fire. Because of that, now everyone has to take off their shoes. A group of idiots tried to bring aboard liquid explosives. Now we can't bring liquids on board. He says he's waiting for some suicidal maniac to pour liquid explosive on his underwear; at which point, security will have us all traveling naked! Every strategy we have is 'reactionary.'
3) We only focus on security when people are heading to the gates. Aviv says that if a terrorist attack targets airports in the future, they will target busy times on the front end of the airport when/where people are checking in. It would be easy for someone to take two suitcases of explosives, walk up to a busy check-in line, ask a person next to them to watch their bags
for a minute while they go to the restroom, and then detonate the bags BEFORE security even gets involved. In Israel, security checks bags BEFORE people can even ENTER the airport.

Aviv says the next terrorist attack here in America is imminent and will involve suicide bombers and non-suicide bombers in places where large groups of people congregate. (I. E., Disneyland, Las Vegas casinos, big cities (New York, San Francis- co, Chicago, etc.) and that it will also include shopping malls, subways in rush hour, train stations, etc., as well as rural
America this time (Wyoming, Montana, etc.).

The attack will be characterized by simultaneous detonations around the country (terrorists like big impact), involving at least 5-8 cities, including rural areas. Aviv says terrorists won't need to use suicide
bombers in many of the larger cities, because at places like the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, they can simply valet park a car loaded with explosives and walk away.

Aviv says all of the above is well known in intelligence circles, but that our U. S.. government does not want to 'alarm American citizens' with the facts.

The world is quickly going to become 'a different place,' and issue like 'global warming' and political correctness will become totally irrelevant.

On an encouraging note, he says the terrorists who want to destroy America will not use sophisticated weapons. They like to use suicide as a front-line approach. It's cheap, it's easy, it's effective; and they have an infinite abundance of young militants more than willing to 'meet their destiny.'

He also says the next level of terrorists, over which America should be most concerned, will not20be coming from abroad. But will be, instead, 'homegrown' - having attended and been educated in our own schools and universities right here in the U. S. He says to look for 'students' who frequently travel back and forth to the Middle East. These young terrorists will be most dangerous because they will know our language and will fully understand the habits of Americans; but that we Americans won't know/understand a thing about them.

Aviv says that, as a people, Americans are unaware and uneducated about the terroristic threats we will, inevitably, face. America still has only a handful of Arabic and Farsi speaking people in our intelligence networks, and Aviv says it is critical that we change that fact - SOON.

So, what can America do to protect itself? From an intelligence perspective, Aviv says the U.S. needs to stop relying on satellites and technology for intelligence. We need to, instead, follow Israel's,
Ireland's and England's hands-on examples of human intelligence, both from an infiltration perspective as well as to trust 'aware' citizens to help.

We need to engage and educate ourselves as citizens; however, our U. S. government continues to treat us, its citizens, 'like babies.' Our government thinks we 'can't handle the truth' and are concerned that we'll panic if we understand the realities of terrorism. Aviv says this is a deadly mistake.

Aviv recently created/executed a security test for our Congress, by placing an empty bri efcase in five well-traveled spots in five major cities. The results? Not one person called 911 or sought a policeman to check it out. In fact, in Chicago , someone tried to steal the briefcase!

In comparison, Aviv says that citizens of Israel are so well 'trained that an unattended bag or package would be reported in seconds by citizen(s) who know to publicly shout, 'Unattended Bag.' The area would be quickly & calmly cleared by the citizens themselves.. But, unfortunately, America hasn't been yet 'hurt enough' by terrorism for their government to fully understand the need to educate its citizens or for the government to understand that it's their citizens who are, inevitably, the best first-line of defense against terrorism.

Aviv also was concerned about the high number of children here in America who were in preschool and kindergarten after 9/11, who were 'lost' without parents being able to pick them up, and about ours schools that had no plan in place to best care for the students until parents could get there. (In New York City , this was days, in some cases!)

He stresses the importance of having a plan, that's agreed upon within your family, to respond to in the event of a terroristic emergency. He urges parents to contact their children's schools and demand that the schools, too, develop plans of actions, as they do in Israel.

Does your family know what to do if you can't contact one another by phone? Where would you ga ther in an emergency? He says we should all have a plan that is easy enough for even our youngest children to remember and follow.

Aviv says that the U. S. government has in force a plan that, in the event of another terrorist attack, will immediately cut-off EVERYONE's ability to use cell phones, blackberries, etc., as this is the preferred communication source used by terrorists and is often the way that their bombs are detonated. How will you communicate with your loved ones in the event you cannot speak? You need to have a plan.

Aviv's Bio as follows:

He holds an M.A. in Business from Tel Aviv University and is President and CEO of Interfor, Inc., an international corporate intelligence and investigations firm. Interfor, Inc. is now based in New York, with offices around the world. It was founded in 1979 and provides foreign and domestic intelligence services to legal, corporate and financial communities around the world. Interfor, Inc. also conducts investigations into terrorism and Mr. Aviv now serves as a special consultant to the U. S. Congress, and other policy makers, here within the U. S. on issues of terrorism, fraud and money laundering. Interfor's services encompass white-collar crime investigations, asset search and recovery, corporate due diligence, litigation support, fraud investigations, internal compliance investigations and security and vulnerability assessments. Since its inception, Interfor's asset investigation services have recovered over $2 billion worldwi de for its clients.

A leading authority on terrorist networks, Mr. Aviv served as lead investigator for Pan Am Airways into the Pan Am 103-Lockerbie terrorist bombing. He was featured in the recent film, Munich, as the leader of the Israeli team that tracked down the terrorists who kidnapped the Israeli Olympic team. Before founding Interfor, Mr. Aviv served as an officer in the Israel Defense Force (Major, retired) leading an elite Commando/Intelligence Unit, and was later selected by the Israeli Secret Service (Mossad) to participate in a number of intelligence special operations, serving in many countries in the late 1960s and 1970s.

While working as a consultant with El Al, Mr. Aviv surveyed the existing security measures in place and updated El Al's security program, making El Al the safest airline in business today. Most recently, Mr. Aviv wrote a book entitled, 'Staying Safe: The Complete Guide to Protecting Yourself, Your Family, and Your Business.'(2004, Harper Resource)

He has been a featured guest on ABC Nightline, FOX News, CNN, BBC Newsnight, ZDF (German National Television) and RAI (Italian National Television)--and has been featured in numerous articles in major magazines and newspapers worldwide...."



Stay safe out there folks! Be aware of what's going on around you at all times. When the SHTF we will all be splattered, some less than others...
PMZ

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Something a bit different: Palm Zire 31 Review...

OK, I'm going to try something I haven't yet done. An electronics review.
I had gotten a Palm Zire 31 on the cheap for taking notes and remembering things this year, and I've used it for about two weeks, so here's my review.

The standard Zire 31 package comes with the device (blue and white plastic cased), a screen protector (already installed), a stylus (also packed away inside its slot), a USB cord, a wall charger, and a flip-cover thing attached to the device, made of rubber that keeps the screen from getting poked while its in your bag. The package also includes a CD-ROM with the PalmOne Desktop and Hotsync software for PC. My CD didn't work, so I downloaded it from the Palm website. It has an expansion card slot capable of hosting up to a 1GB SD or MMC card.

The Palm Zire 31 uses PalmOne 5.0 or higher software, I think mine's 5.2.8. With this software you can add apps like Student (http://www.palmdev.tk/, look it up) or Mobipocket (ebook reading software, converts and reads .txt, .doc, .pdf, etc etc. www.mobipocket.com). I found the Adobe Palm Reader software to be utterly useless for some PDFs, and a resource hog. Also useful if you read a lot of text-based websites, is Plucker (http://www.plkr.org/). Another I really like is the BibleReader from Olive Tree Software (http://www.olivetree.com/). I have the NRSV (new revised standard version). I had to pay for it but it's worth every penny for not having to lug my huge Bible around campus to class.

It comes standard with all or most of (as far as I know) the normal Palm apps like Calc, Calendar, Card Info, Contacts, Expense, Hotsync, Memos, Notepad, Photos, Prefs, Real One (for listening to mp3s), Tasks, and World Clock.

PROS:
  • Lightweight but Sturdy.
  • Cheap and Entry-Level in features--won't break the budget or confusticate new users.
  • Expansion slot for extra storage capacity.
  • Plays MP3s.
  • Reads PDFs (with proper software, either Adobe or PalmPDF).
  • Long battery life--will last an entire day between recharges.
  • Fast Processor (for the price).
CONS:
  • Battery is NOT user-replaceable, so when it goes, the unit goes.
  • Expansion slot only accepts up to 1GB cards, larger cards (2GB, 4GB, 8GB etc) won't work.
  • Display, while good, is not as good as the larger, higher-resolution screens found on more expensive PDAs.
Bottom line: If you want to edit, read and send documents wirelessly in their original formats, if you want great readability in all lighting conditions including outdoors in the daytime, if you want to use your PDA to "tether" with a wireless connection or to use it as a modem, if you want huge expandability or lightning-fast speeds, don't get this one. Get the Zire 72 or higher instead.
However, if all you need or want is a basic note-taker with ebook reading and music playing capabilities, you need look no further than the Zire 31.

Place of Purchase: www.gizmos2go.com
Price: 74.88 shipped (at the time).
Condition: Refurbished.

Berserker's Overall Rating: 5 Stars! This one does exactly what I need it to do:)
PMZ

Friday, September 26, 2008

Frank Beltrame Italian Bayonet Blade Auto Review...

Hey all,
I'm back and I'm feeling rather hip, what with the new, hefty, and classic piece of steel in my pocket. It's a Frank Beltrame stiletto, made in Italy with care. The Beltrame family has produced switchblades of the classic sort that you see in 1950s gangster films for many, many years, the skills needed to make them passed down from generation to generation. I'm very happy with my new toy. Here's why.

PROS:
  • Well-made. These fall around midway or above average on the scale of price vs. quality. As my friend Duane on Youtube says, you can pay much more for autos (up to 1k in extreme cases) or much less, but if what you want is a quality knife that will last for years stick with Beltrame knives.
  • Stiff leaf spring will not wear out quickly.
  • Brass liners and pins hold it all together nicely and with style.
  • Piece of artwork that will last for years even with repeated openings and closings.
  • They have a very cool, bolster-based method of closing the blade. Very cool. Get one and see for yourself;)
CONS:
  • They are illegal to own in many states, and as far as I know only legal to carry in AZ and FL.
  • Pretty much only a killing tool, so be sure to keep this one at home. They're not useful for much else, and prison sentences/fines aren't fun.
  • Otherwise, there are no cons to list. These knives are beautiful and fun to play with.
Here are some pics and a video review I've done on this one:






Place of Purchase: BladePlay.com (I highly recommend this site!:)
Price: $62 @ BP.
Berserker's Overall Rating: 5 Stars for Beltrami Autos!

You know you want one...
PMZ

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Maratac Bailout Bag Review.

Recently I upgraded my schoolbag to a Maratac Bailout Bag. These are a great alternative to MOLLE bags as they don't look quite so "tactical", blend in better etc. They've got great features and pretty solid construction.

Here's some pros and cons as I see them:

PROS:
  • It doesn't make you look like a mall-ninja,
  • The nylon is of decent quality,
  • It's got lots of differently-shaped and sized pockets, some velcro lined, including the hidden gun/weapons concealment pocket,
  • The Velcro is authentic Velcro brand, and the zippers are YKK,
  • It's nametape/patch-ready for decoration. If discretion is necessary, slap a Hello Kitty patch on there and nobody'll give you a second glance.
  • There are no rain/debris flaps to get in the way of opening the main compartment.
CONS:
  • The shoulder strap seems to be cheaper than on their old EOD bags,
  • There is no practical way to cordwrap the handles to make it more comfy to carry,
  • The zipper on the main compartment seems a bit fine in the tooth for heavy/bulky loads (seems easier to mangle).
What I like about it, though, is all the little details that have been added to make it the ultimate go-to bag that you won't fear to lose or get dirty, such as the velcro at strategic points, the carry handles that wrap around the bottom of the bag for extra support, and the purpose-designed pockets (for pens, flashlights, small items, long items, "suspicious" items, etc etc).

Some pics:

Front:


Back:


Bottom "tube pocket" showing contents:
Front "small items" pocket open:
Dual pen/pencil pockets are wide enough to hold two slim pens apiece:
Flashlight pocket will hold either a thick-bodied light or a AA-sized Fenix-type light with room for more pens.
Showing one end radio/water bottle pocket (they use quick-release shock-cord):
Interior:
Showing one of the loops of shock cord w/cordlock to tighten it:
First of the back long velcro-pockets (put my FAK in there w/room to spare):
The other long pocket (multitool and sunglasses):
Battery cases and a bottle of lube oil for knives/tools, in the mini-pockets above there are mints and a headlamp:
The "secret" pocket with velcroed-on knife and baton pouch:
The contents I loaded it up with:
Note that this was not a full load-out and some items were redundant...so you could actually fit much more stuff in this bag than I had in there.

Available from: LAPolicegear.com or Countycomm.com.
Price: Generally less than 40.00 with shipping.
Berserker's Overall Rating: 4.5 Stars! This is a keeper.

If you need a heavy-duty bag that will last you a while but you don't want to fear losing or getting filthy, pick up one of these!

PMZ

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Buck/Strider/Tarani Police Knife Review

Recently I purchased a Buck/Strider/Tarani collaborative folder. It's heavily based off of the Strider SmF. Strider knives are known as some of the most badass, hard-use knives on earth, so when Buck decided they wanted to do a collab with Strider they must've been swallowing their hearts at the thought of how much quality detail had to go into this folder.
There are several variations on this knife. The first few, it is said, were of much better quality than the latest, but even the latest is a very sturdy, quality knife with only a few issues. Here's some pros and cons:

PROS:
  • Sturdy. This knife is one of the best in its class, even in its later incarnations. Heavy rugged construction should not fail you under even the heaviest of useage.
  • Thick cross-section. The geometry on this thing is incredible, even for a knife with an MSRP of little over $100.00.
  • ATS-34 steel blade will not let you down and will hold its factory edge (comes shaving sharp) for a long time. Heat Treating is overseen by Paul Bos, as indicated by the stamp on the right side of the blade.
  • Bronze-phosphor or Copper washers at pivot point will become buttery smooth after a few years of normal use, and will last practically forever, unlike Teflon which often wears away more quickly.
  • G10 or TACCOM (glass-reinforced composite) scales are thick, roughly textured for grippiness, and nearly indestructible.
  • Clip can be positioned tip-up on either side, and comes with three extra screws already in the other scale for if you lose or strip the other ones.
  • Texturing on upper half of blade makes it easier to open knife while wearing gloves.
  • Has lanyard hole in one scale.
CONS:
  • My biggest bone with the latest versions of this knife is that the scales and frame are riveted together rather than put together with Torx screws like the older models. I suppose if I really wanted to I could get somebody to pimp it for me, but I don't think it's worth it. I'd be afraid of the thing popping apart ever after so I don't worry about it. Just be aware that for the most part, it's not feasible to dismantle it for maintenance or pimping.
  • ATS-34 steel is indeed good stuff, but the older models had an even better type (in many peoples' estimation)--BG-42. I don't mind this but some of you who are purists might. Just a thought.
  • Newer models don't have the G10 scales, they have what Buck terms "TACCOM" or Tactical Composite Material, which is partly plastic and partly glass fiber, with a very bumpy and grippy checkering. This is fine by me since I got mine for less than half off but for those of you who would have to pay full price, it would be a sore point most likely.
A pic (it's very stabby):

BL: Approx. 3.75"
HL: Approx. 5"
OAL: 8.25"
Steel: ATS-34.
HT: Paul Bos, Rockwell 60/61.
Handle Material: G10/TACCOM (depending on model).
Construction type: Torx/Riveted (depending on model).
MFG: Buck Knives, Strider/Tarani Design.
Price: MSRP approx. $109.00. Got mine from the Cabelas Bargain Cave for only $50.00 shipped!

Berserker's Overall Rating: 5 Stars! This one (like all production tools) has a few flaws but it will be a permanent addition to my EDC.

Go get one! You know you want to...
PMZ

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Yard Sale Finds....

There are always a few things I pick up before (while working) and during my church's Giant Yard Sale, which raises funds for missions work and occurs on July 4th and 5th every year.
Here's some stuff I picked up during the sale:

A wool pea coat for next winter...slightly oversized but that'll help w/layering:


Mom or Dad must've picked this one up for me...needs a wash I think:A pair of extra shoulder straps, courtesy of Uncle Sam. I'm using the one on top for my EDC bag right now...
A pair of Thermos-type coolers for storing wasser in my car for emergencies...


And last but certainly not least, a pre-ALICE era Field Pack. It's in pretty good shape, just filthy. Might need to wash it or something...
Till Next Time,
PMZ

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Pimpage...

More pimpage in the form of lanyards and cordwraps. What's so cool about the lanyards on the two knives is that (a) both require untying/cutting for removal, so they're semi-permanent, and (b) the one on the sheath knife was made from two strands--one green, one black, with a new knot (for me) -- the completion stitch. I think sometimes it's called the "half crown" or "inverted crown" knot. A big shoutout to Stormdrane is needed. Thank you for demonstrating this lanyard on your blog. It made it a lot easier for me. Also a big thank-you to the guy on the USN who gave me the hunting knife. You know who you are. I really appreciate it--and don't worry, I am going to keep your homemade deerskin sheath! It's just too cool not to:)
A pic of the three projects:



The hatchet handle was all my idea. Basically I toyed around with different ideas for a while and then tapped holes through the haft, using a brace and bit from our basement workshop. Then I wrapped it, found it too thick, removed it, gutted it, and rewrapped. Now I'm relatively satisfied. I may eventually remove it and use a longer piece of cord in order to make a wrist lanyard with the ends. In fact, I think I'll go do that now.

Till next time,
PMZ

New Gear....

Found some stuff while working on the Giant Church Yard Sale preparations and thought I'd set it aside to pay for it on the day of the sale. Included were some emergency candles, a small belt axe and a Sierra cup. There was more (like four giant reuseable food tubes, for storing peanut butter/butter/jelly etc) but I forgot and took the pic so here's the pic I have to show.




The hatchet I like especially because it's light and thin, and I reinforced the sheath with some waxed thread and added some paracord and webbing to secure it to my BOB.
Sierra cups are great because they're light but you can boil water in them, perfect for a morning cup of coffee before you hit the trail or a solo-kit for boiling water for noodles.
Food tubes are great because they allow you to take normally messy/PITA foods with you on extended trips into the bush, with minimal spoilage. What's even more awesome is that you can wash them out and use them again.
Candles--what more needs to be said? If SHTF these'll be in short supply.

Schweet!
PMZ

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Paracord Goodness....

Here's some stuff I've been working on recently:



The "Beetle" fobs in particular are something I'd never done before but now find myself doing more and more. They're even more satisfying to finish!

Good times.
PMZ

Friday, May 2, 2008

Gerber MP400 Black-Oxide (Multitool Review)

A while ago I bought myself a new multitool to replace my old Leatherman that I gave away. It's a black-oxide-coated version of the Gerber MP400 Compact Sport multitool.
Below are some pros and cons of this particular tool.

PROS:
  • Lighter and thinner than other Gerber-brand multitools.
  • Black-Oxide coating is nonreflective and tacticool.
  • Pliers are very easy to deploy-just grip the handles and snap your wrist. They'll slide out and lock into place automagically.
  • Is compatible with the Gerber Toolbox bit set.
  • Like all other Gerber tools, the MP400 comes with a ballistic nylon belt pouch.
CONS:
  • Not spring-loaded.
  • Slightly less sturdy than other models, torsion-wise.
  • Screwdrivers, shears, knife blade, and other tools are harder to get at than on other models due to the design.
  • Can be a pain to adjust.
Manufacturer's Product Page: GerberGear Compact Sport.
Price: Anywhere from 45-55.00 from various dealers. I got mine on Efunctional.com
Berserker's Overall Rating: 4 Stars. This is a great tool but has a few minor problems that may or may not bother you, depending on how much of a gear snob you are.

Great tool for a great price.
Go get one!
PMZ

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Rothco brand Repro East German-style Spring Cosh Baton...

Hey all,
I'm back, this time with a new toy!
It's a Rothco-brand remake of the original Sipo or Blitz model East German spring cosh. Basically this is a whip baton made of heavy steel springs housed in a steel or aluminum tube. It's like an ASP, only cheaper. It whips out in a flash with a flick of your wrist, locks using friction, and closes with a twist or by slapping the heel of your hand against the tip straight on.
Some questions I'm sure some of you will have: "Will it hurt an attacker? Will it put them out of commission?"
I'm not sure it would deal a killing blow right away unless you have exceptional aim for a few "weak spots" that are good for anybody to know. Either way I surely wouldn't want to get hit with it; it's wicked, with a heavy solid steel tip and a mean whippiness. It'd definitely ruin somebody's day, and I carry it in case its presence is warranted. It'd be best for, as my friend Russ says, "defanging the snake" (disarming an attacker) with snaps to the backs of the hands and forearms. It would also be good to carry if you live in an area with lots of mean dogs, especially if your neighbors let their hunden run loose. I'd imagine a tap of this on the snout would send em running right smart!

PROS:
  • Solid. This thing isn't going to fall apart.
  • Stiff spring will not fail you and is not overly bendy.
  • Mean. Heavy solid steel tip with a wicked whiplash effect.
  • Easy to use. No worries about it bending and becoming unusable, since it's already whippy!
  • Cheap. It only cost me 12.00. It would've been 20.00 w/shipping but I got a discount!
CONS:
  • Can be hard to close, certainly not a one-hand operation.
  • Can close inadvertently if you don't whip it open hard enough. Takes practice to learn proper technique.
  • Rattles when closed; not great for stealthiness.
  • Whippiness isn't always desirable, for instance, you can't use this one for chokes or holds like you can an ASP or standard T-handle baton.
  • Isn't legal in all states. Check your state and local laws before you EDC this baton.
Here's a vid of the action:

video

Place of purchase: ArmyNavyShop
Cost: Only 12.00 if you blog about their site. I just linked to the product page and sent them the link to my blog and they took the shipping charge right off. Great service, very friendly people to deal with!
Berserker's Overall Rating: 4.5 Stars, minus 1/2 star for above mentioned weaknesses.

Go get one! You won't regret it.
PMZ

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Check out this ArmyNavyShop.com Deal!

If you're looking for a cheaper alternative to an ASP baton, check this page out!
This online Army Navy Surplus store sells all sorts of neat things, including a wide selection of batons, saps, blackjacks, etc.

Here's what I just bought:

German Spring Cosh Baton.


Go get one!
PMZ

Sunday, April 6, 2008

SAS Secrets, Scenario 2.

SAS Commando Units Survival Secrets, Scenario 2--Guardians Against Terror, Parts 1, 2, and 3.
As always, I have disabled comments, downloading, and embedding.

Episode 1.
Episode 2.
Episode 3.

Enjoy!
PMZ

Thursday, April 3, 2008

5.11 Cotton-Poly Twill TDUs...

While home on Break I was able to use a gift certificate given me by my cousin in law for Christmas at the Army Navy Store in Whitehall. I knew a good pair of BDUs were in order, and that I needed batteries so that's what I ended up with.
I walked in and the store has changed so much even since my last visit that I wasn't sure where to go for pants. So I ended up wandering around till I found it--a lone, 5 by 5 shelf of BDU pants. They were all 5.11s, and though I'd never worn that brand before I thought I'd try it out. I managed to find a pair of OD green pants (pictured below) and they came w/kneepads and all sorts of cool features like 5.11's proprietary BBS (backup-belt system) which consists of velcro-lined cargo pockets that you can stick velcro-backed holsters, pouches etc. to. They were on special or closeout or whatever so they only cost around 39 or 40.00 rather than the standard 45 or 50.00. They're extremely comfortable and surprisingly durable, with triple-stitching and bar tacking along major seams and stress points. Pockets are secured by velcro strips for quick and easy access to gear inside.
Below is a pic of the standard features...



Manufacturer's Product Page: http://www.511tactical.com/511-tdu-pant-twill-74004.html
Cost: Depends on where and when you get them. I got mine for around 40.00. MSRP of 49.99.
Berserker's Overall Rating: 5 Stars! These are some of the most comfortable pants I've worn in ages. Much, much better than my old Rothcos.
PMZ

SAS Commando Unit Survival Secrets, Scenario One.

Click here to watch Scenario One--Behind Enemy Lines, Episodes 1 and 2.

Episode 1
Episode 2

As always, downloading, embedding and comments have been disabled.
Enjoy!
PMZ

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Ray Mears' Bushcraft, Season 2.

And here's the links to the second season. Note that downloading and comments have been turned off.

Episode 1.
Episode 2.
Episode 3.
Episode 4.
Episode 5.

That's all for now!
PMZ

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Ray Mears' Bushcraft Season 1....

Links to my Megavideo-hosted copies of Ray Mears' show titled Bushcraft, originally aired on BBC.
Feel free to watch them, but I've disabled downloading and comments.
Here's the links:

Episode #1.
Episode #2.
Episode #3.
Episode #4.
Episode #5.

Enjoy!
PMZ

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Camillus MC-1 Paratrooper Knife Review.

I've had this knife for close on four or five years.
It was my first TADgear purchase; I was looking for one, they had them and for cheap!
This is the knife that was issued to Army and Marine Paratroopers before their first "real" jump. Generally during training they were all collected, clipped together and went with one guy to prevent midair injury but since Vietnam they've seen pocket time in action and many an old vet still proudly totes his orange-handled MC-1.
The main blade is automatic (in other words, it's a utility switchblade). It's not meant for use as a weapon (obviously) but rather for cutting shrouds after a hangup in trees or brush, if that should occur while landing.
While I've never used it for that, I have used it periodically for utilitarian tasks and I can tell you that it's very easy to open. Just retrieve it from your pocket (or unclip it--I put a spring clip on my lanyard loop), switch the safety to off, and push the button. It'll open in a flash, with a snapping sound. This is a leaf-spring auto--very strong but rather loose in the joint, so if you're obsessive about your lockup, don't even bother with this knife (unless of course you're a collector and just want it for show).

PROS:
  • Heavy duty leaf spring will likely last you your whole life and longer. This one's a hand-me-down.
  • Automatic main-blade can be quickly and easily deployed in emergency situations.
  • Manually-deployed "cord hook" shroud cutter is useful for cutting paracord or even, I'd imagine, seat belts after a car crash. It'd be hard to get out under stress though...
  • Safety-orange Delrin handle is hard to miss should you drop it in leaf litter or water.
  • Bail loop to secure knife to yourself or your nylon gear.
  • HC steel is easy to hone, doesn't take long to put a new edge on it.
CONS:
  • High-carbon steel dulls quickly and rusts easily.
  • Blade is rather thin, not meant for heavy usage (is more for cutting cord).
  • Bail loop would be better placed on the butt-end of the knife so as to avoid snapback opening failures and facilitate easier blade deployment.
Here's a vid of the action.

video

Manufacturer: Camillus Cutlery (No longer in business).
Price: 45.00-60.00. Generally over 50.00.
Berserker's Overall Rating: 5 Stars! This one's a keeper, and not only because it's collectible.
PMZ

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Gerber Recoil Autopliers (Multitool Review)...

About three years ago I bought myself a new multitool when it came out.
It's lasted me this long and is still going relatively strong, but here are a few things I like and dislike about it.


PROS:
  • Lighter than my old Leatherman Supertool.
  • One-hand opening, spring-loaded push-button mechanism makes using the tool easier (sorta).
  • Enough basic tools to provide assistance in nearly any general-use scenario (screwdrivers, folding knife, scissors, can opener, etc).
  • Sturdier torsion-wise than the Compact Sport (or so they say).
  • Has a very high CDI factor due to its "switchblade-like" opening mechanism. Basically these are OTF pliers. Pretty sweet if you ask me. (This of course is just a bonus. Form, after all, follows function, not the other way around).
CONS:
  • Heavier than the Compact Sport version, which I plan to buy with black-oxide coating sooner or later now that I've given away my old Leatherman.
  • Thicker than the Compact Sport. Longer too.
  • Less reliable than the Compact Sport version due to the number of small working parts that could break eventually.
  • Does not accept the "Gerber Toolbox" bit set like the Compact Sport does.
  • Requires you to have a hard surface to push against in order to retract the pliers, similar to a single-action OTF.

A vid of the action:

video

Manufacturer's Product Page: Recoil Autopliers.
Price: 45.00-60.00 in stores nationwide. I got mine at Target in 2004 or 2005.
Berserker's Overall Rating: 4 Stars, minus 1 star for the aforementioned weaknesses.
PMZ

Friday, February 29, 2008

Colt Jungle Commander Review...

Back again.
Just took a long walk in the woods with a good cigar and a large knife which I haven't yet made a review of. Did some testing I thought I should put out there as I've heard people say never to buy a knife with a gun company's name on it and it seems to have held up pretty well as long as I've used it (intermittently) for about a year and a half.
Here we go:

Things I have used it for:
  1. Chopping fuel and kindling for campfires/woodstoves whilst camping.
  2. Chopping random wooden objects to test its edge retention.
Things I have NOT used it for:
  1. Excessive prying.
  2. Cutting through airplane fuselages.
  3. Chopping up oil drums.
  4. Chopping people's heads off.
  5. As a spear for hunting wild boar.
OK, now that we're through with the list of uses/non-uses, here's how it held up under pressure since its last honing. It started off with a keen edge but eventually I had to re-sharpen it within a week or so of heavy use. That was six months ago but since it was still good and sharp, I headed up past the ski hill into the hemlocks for some field testing. While not all that extensive, here's a few shots of what I did.

The lean-to (my base of operations):

After shaving the outer, frozen layer of bark off a tree. Don't worry, the tree is fine. I made sure that (a) it was already buggered up by other people, and (b) that I didn't cut too deeply.


After cutting a flat area in this log for people to rest a hot pot on, the edge is still going strong.



Closeup of the flattened log.


After bucking a small sapling-sized trunk (dead, of course). The edge is still pretty sharp. Note that all three of these testing compounds are not only frozen but also full of sap. Hard stuff to cut through.
Back at the Flat, I've been slicing away at double layers of this corrugated cardboard box. Most knives will go dull after only a few boxes' worth of cuts, but after positively filling this box with slices the edge is still serviceable, and this after the woodsy escapade.


Note that there was one area toward the tip of the blade that did not want to cut when used in a chopping motion. This was an area I had previously (before today) screwed up and then "fixed" with a diamond rod. Evidently it stil wasn't quite up to par, so I promptly re-honed the edge.



Now after all this you may be wondering "What type of steel is that?"
It is only the lowly, pathetic, practically useless 420 Stainless.
"But wait!" you say. "I thought stainless steel in a bushknife is a bad thing!"
Well, yes it is when you are speaking of custom knives, which is why most makers wouldn't expect you to pay hundreds of $$$ for a top of the line knife if they used crappy steel.
But 420 has its uses. It may not be useful in, say, a "high speed low drag" knife like a Strider, which is meant to be used every day for months at a time with zero problems. However, if you're talking about a knife you might use for a week at most out of a year, then there's not a problem with it, especially if the knife is built (like this one) with a thick tang (nearly a quarter inch thick) and grinds that do not compromise its structural integrity.
After all, would you really want to use, much less carry around in the woods with you that 400.00+ knife? Save the MSCs and DDCs for the safe or for selling in the future. At least, that's my take on it.

Here are some pros and cons as I see them.

PROS:
  • It's cheap. This is a big factor when you're talking about a bushknife that you may at some point lose, have stolen, or have to ditch. Especially when you're only using it from time to time. If you're getting a big knife for a BOB, then all the more reason not to pay huge bucks for it.
  • It's surprisingly durable. When it gets dull, sharpen it. That's what your stone is for. And if it breaks in any way, you won't feel bad grinding away at it to fix it or even scrapping it. Just buy a new one if necessary.
  • Unlike many other partly-serrated knives, this one is ground on both sides, not chiselground, even the serrations are on both sides. I prefer my edges double-sided. Just a thought.
CONS:
  • It's heavy. I mean heavy.
  • The sheath is a POS and a real PITA. I'd make (or have made) a Kydex rig for it if I thought it was worth it. Maybe someday I will.
  • The rat-tail tang isn't the sturdiest hilt construction method ever. One day it may pull off or fall apart and then I'll have to figure out a way to fix it.
  • The ribbed, rubberized handle is hard on your hands. Gives me blisters in five minutes, no joke. And I've got pretty tough hands for a college kid.
  • The "Teflon" finish is crap. It wears off in about fifteen minutes of heavy work. If you really like your non-reflective, matte-black, Parkerized finish then don't buy this knife.
Cost: Around 45 to 50.00. Got mine on Ebay, NIB.
Berserker's Overall Rating: 4 Stars. Minus 1 Star for rattail tang, crappy handle, crappy Teflon coating and REALLY crappy sheath.

If you buy this knife, give it a bit of work and attention, you may end up liking it and it will serve you just fine for normal camp useage.

PMZ

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Striderwrap your knife hilt.

Here's another of the many possible cordwrapping techniques available to make your knife grippier and warmer. This is my own tutorial on how to "Strider-wrap" your knives. You can find a (probably better) and downloadable tutorial on how to do it HERE.

OK, what you're going to need is some 550 cord of your favorite color, a pair of scissors (surgical scissors are my favorite), a lighter, a ruler to measure out about 10 to 15 feet of cord (depending on how long your handle is), and some duct tape. DO NOT neglect to tape up your edge! If you don't it's only your fault when you have an accident and cut yourself to shreds. It's best if you have a vise as well, to hold the knife in place while you're wrapping but I didn't so I just taped it. Be EXTREMELY careful. This is a more "forceful," less controllable method of cordwrapping so be forewarned that it's entirely possible that you may end up with a nice deep cut.

A pic of the needed materials (minus the duct tape):




Now take your cord (pre-cut) and double it up. Put the loop through the top hole in your knife handle (we're assuming you've got a knife with holes tapped through the tang). Then put the free ends through the third or fourth hole down, bring it up and make a lark's head knot through the loop. Pull it tight.


Now cut a separate piece of cord (about three to five feet), gut it, fuse the ends, and wrap it around where you just made a loop through the holes. Melt the ends once more when you're starting and finishing and press them against the adjacent cord to make them stay put.


Now take each end and wrap it around to the other side, give it a twist and a turn, pull both ends tight, and flip it over.



Do the same thing over and over, till you reach the end of your underwrappings, and then tie an overhand knot.



How you finish is your choice. You can pass the cord through the end hole and make a figure-eight knot, like so....


Or if you don't want it to have a tail, just tuck the ends under the last twisty turny and fuse them flat, making sure to cut them close so they don't chafe your hand while you're using your knife.



There you have it! It's ready for use. Be aware that if you're going to do this you may need to have a new sheath made to accommodate the extra bulk of the wrap.

Till next time,
PMZ