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Work Hawk from Wild Knife and Tool

Many of the full-tang tomahawks on the market have a decidedly tactical flavor to them. You can use a tomahawk designed to take apart cars in the forest but it might not be ideal for working with wood. This is the starting point for the Work Hawk from Park Swan at Wild Knife and Tool. He wanted to design a lightweight, full-tang tomahawk that is more at home in the woods and more like a traditional woodman’s tool.

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Traditional tomahawks and trade axes are relatively light in weight and Park emulates that in Work Hawk by radically skeletonizing the haft/handle and placing a large circular cutout in the blade to create the balance he was after. The result is a chopping tool that weighs just 22.5 ounces (17 ounces if you can make due without the removable micarta handles).

The handle is clad with micarta scales that mimic the octogon polls of older trade axes and run from the base of the haft all the way up to the bit, allowing the user to place their hand just about anywhere. This allows the user to grip lower for maximum chopping leverage or choke up under the bit for fine, knife-like cutting and carving. The hooked butt of the haft allows the user to grip all the way down at the bottom of the poll without fear of the Work Hawk slipping out of the hand during the chopping stroke.

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The Work Hawk is ground from 52100 steel, a classic carbon steel known for excellent edge holding and toughness. It is a full .25″ thick which makes it plenty tough and leaves enough meat to achieve a steeper, axe-like cutting geometry. The overall length is 12.75″ with a 3.75″ cutting edge. The Work Hawk features a scalloped hammer poll and comes with a kydex belt sheath.

Wild Knife and Tool does not currently have a website. The best way to contact them about a Work Hawk or one of their other creations is to visit BladeForums where Park is an authorized knifemaker. You can also email him at wildknifeandtool@gmail.com. Park tells me that he has a batch of Work Hawks in the works currently so this would be a good time to get on the list.

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Timberwolf Holsters from GunfightersINC

It can be a little difficult to find holsters for Lone Wolf Distributor’s Timberwolf frames. They usually work well enough in standard Glock holsters but the fit is rarely perfect. GunfightersINC is now offering holsters molded specifically for the Timberwolf frames and the complete Timberwolf handguns that will be available soon.

Check out GunfightersINC.

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EOC Time Lapse from Mission Spec

Mission Spec released a very cool time lapse video of one of their EOC plate carriers being created from start to finish. For those of you who appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into custom tactical gear, this will be a very intriguing video to watch. For those of you who think everything is overpriced, this video might fuel your delusion that this gear can be made in minutes and should cost whatever arbitrary dollar amount you deem as cheap.

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Breaking: Smith & Wesson to Acquire Crimson Trace Corporation

From Crimson Trace:

SPRINGFIELD, Mass., July 25, 2016 — Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation (NASDAQ Global Select: SWHC), a leading manufacturer of firearms and a provider of quality accessory products for the shooting, hunting, and rugged outdoor enthusiast, today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Crimson Trace Corporation (Crimson Trace), the industry leader in laser sighting systems and tactical lighting for firearms, for $95.0 million, subject to certain adjustments, utilizing cash on hand.

Crimson Trace has long been a key supplier of laser sighting systems for Smith & Wesson.  For more than two decades, Crimson Trace has provided consumers, military units, and law enforcement officers around the globe with the world’s largest selection of award-winning laser sight and tactical light products.  Crimson Trace offers more than 225 products and is widely recognized as the world’s leading brand of laser sights for firearms.  Its award-winning innovations include the Lasergrips®, Laserguard®, and Rail Master® platforms.  The company’s product line also includes the Defender Series®, Lightguard®, and its new LiNQ™ wireless activation system.  Based in Wilsonville, Oregon, Crimson Trace operates from a 50,000 square foot , leased facility where it engineers and manufactures its products.

Crimson Trace was founded 22 years ago and has organically generated a ten year compound annual revenue growth rate in excess of 10%.  The company maintains a product development team that has an established track record of launching high-quality, innovative laser sighting products.  As a result, its products maintain a premium position with hundreds of independent retailers as well as large sporting goods retailers, including Cabela’s, MidwayUSA, Nation’s Best Sports, and internet retailer Optics Planet, Inc.

James Debney, Smith & Wesson President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “Crimson Trace provides us with an exceptional opportunity to acquire a thriving company that is completely aligned with our strategy to become a leader in the market for shooting, hunting, and rugged outdoor enthusiasts.  As the undisputed leader in the market for laser sighting products, Crimson Trace serves as an ideal platform for our new Electro-Optics Division.  Firearms purchasers frequently buy electro-optic accessories to enhance the capabilities and performance of their firearms.  The growth that Crimson Trace has delivered is a testament to the high product quality and the robust product development capability that Lane Tobiassen, President and Chief Executive Officer of Crimson Trace, and his team have established.  That capability, combined with Crimson Trace’s leadership position in the market for laser sights, provides a solid framework for organic and inorganic growth.”

Lane Tobiassen, who joined Crimson Trace in 2005, will serve as President of the new Electro-Optics Division of Smith & Wesson, and will report directly to Debney.  The Crimson Trace management team and workforce, as well as its base of operations, will remain in Wilsonville, Oregon after the acquisition.

Tobiassen said, “It is a great honor to lead Crimson Trace into this exciting new chapter in our history by joining the Smith & Wesson team.  Since 1994, we have designed and brought to market more than 225 products, all of which reflect the passion, dedication, and spirit of innovation of our design engineers, production workforce, customer service representatives, and marketing and sales professionals.  As the new Electro-Optics Division of Smith & Wesson, we believe that our capabilities, combined with inorganic opportunities to acquire related technologies, will expand the reach of our existing market footprint.  This makes us a great fit for Smith & Wesson, a legendary company with an iconic brand, world-class products, and markets that include consumer, law enforcement, and international channels.  We look forward to offering consumers exceptional performance from two of the industry’s most trusted names.”

Smith & Wesson will purchase all of the outstanding stock of Crimson Trace for $95.0 million, using existing cash balances.  Crimson Trace is being acquired from Crimson Trace Holdings, LLC, which is owned by private equity firms Peninsula Capital Partners, LLC and VergePointe Capital, LLC; Lewis Danielson, the founder and Chairman of the Board of Crimson Trace; a small group of minority members; and certain members of management.

Jeffrey D. Buchanan, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Smith & Wesson, stated, “As a result of our strong balance sheet, we intend to complete the purchase of Crimson Trace with cash on hand and we expect the transaction to close in three to six weeks. After the closing date, we expect the acquisition to be accretive to Smith & Wesson’s earnings per share in fiscal 2017.  Due to its anticipated timing, the transaction is expected to have no impact on Smith & Wesson’s operational and financial results for the fiscal 2017 first quarter ending July 31, 2016.  As of the date of signing, Crimson Trace’s trailing 12 month revenue was approximately $44.0 million, of which approximately 25% was revenue from Smith & Wesson and would be excluded from our consolidated revenue.  The purchase price represents an estimated multiple of approximately 5.9x the trailing 12 month adjusted EBITDAS of Crimson Trace.  We look forward to providing additional details following the close of the transaction.”

Cowen and Company, LLC is acting as exclusive financial advisor and Greenberg Traurig, LLP is acting as legal advisor to Smith & Wesson and its Board of Directors.  Robert W. Baird & Co. is acting as exclusive financial advisor and K&L Gates LLP is acting as legal advisor to Crimson Trace and its owners.

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Tease: New AK Hand Guards from Midwest Industries

Midwest Industries is about to drop a selection of extended AK hand guards onto the market. Extended hand guards can make a lot of sense on AKs since the standard hand guard length may leave little room for mounting items like lights and slings. The extended hand guard may also allow items like vertical grips to be mounted further forward where they will have less impact on the ability to rock a magazine into the magazine well.

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The hand guards will be available with either KeyMod or M-LOK compatible attachment slots. They also appear to mount without having to remove the standard hand guard retainer. In keeping with previous AK hand guards, these also seem to have optic specific upper hand guard mount options.

Stay tuned for additional details.
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The Little Things: L.A.G. Tactical Defender

How do you set yourself apart from your competition? Pay attention to the little things. I am fascinated by the small details that designers build into their products. Often, these features are so subtle that you may never notice them in an overt way but they are there none the less, improving functionality and setting apart one product from another.

L.A.G. Tactical’s Defender Holster has a small, barely noticeable feature that can go a long way toward keeping your magazine in the gun where it belongs – especially on models with ambidextrous magazine release buttons like the Sig P320. They contour the edge of the holster very subtly to cover the magazine button. If they covered it entirely, the holster could prevent a firm firing grip from being established during the draw. Instead, they cover it just enough to protect the button.

LAG Tactical Defender P320

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34mm Ultralight Scope Mounts from Aero Precision

Optics with 34mm tubes are becoming more common but the selection of mounts compatible with them is still somewhat limited. Aero Precision has released new 34mm version of their excellent Ultralight Scope Mounts. These 6061 T6 aluminum mounts are their regular extended format and their SPR format which has 2″ of forward extension for optics with longer eye relief. They are also available in black or Flat Dark Earth.

Check out the 34mm Ultralight Scope Mounts at Aero Precision.

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Hacked! – Smith & Bradley Sans-13 Evolution

How do you know when your work is really starting to get noticed? Well, when hackers try to take down your latest project that is a pretty good clue that you are onto something. That is what happened recently to Smith & Bradley watches on the very day they launched the Kickstarter campaign for their latest creation, the Sans-13 Evolution (read more about the watch here).

Smith & Bradley launched the new watch last Friday and on the same day, their email lists were compromised and every reference to the Sans-13 Evolution Kickstarter campaign was removed from their website. Though unrelated to the hacking, they also received word from Facebook and Instagram that their attempts to promote the campaign were not approved since the watch is sometimes pictured with firearms, even though the photo they were trying to promote shows just the watches by the pool (see below).

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So, they just gave up… Not really. Instead they started working their social media outlets even harder. They told the story of how they were hacked and that drew even more attention to the new watch. Now, just one week in to their campaign (36 days remaining), they are just short of being fully funded. They may even be fully funded by the time you read this.

I guess you could say that the hacker’s plan… hack-fired. I know. I know. I can’t help myself. Check out the Sans-13 Evolution on Kickstarter.

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Propper Reversible Pouches

Propper’s new Reversible Pouches are an EDC-Packaphile’s wet dream. These MOLLE compatible pouches are available in 3 sizes and can be turned inside-out to reveal that they can also be mounted on loop material! It’s one pouch with two attachment methods commonly found on EDC and tactical packs.

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You can check out the Reversible Pouches at Propper.com and see them in action in the video (below) for Propper’s new Marine Corps Assault Pack based U.C. Pack.

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Special 1404 Sling from Blue Force Gear

Every once in a while Blue Force Gear rolls out special versions of their slings. These special versions are often just standard slings with special camo patterns or custom color combinations but the most special ones have all new elements or unique hardware. That is the case with the new Special 1404 Sling that they just released today.

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The Special 1404 Sling may look like a Vickers Combat Applications Sling (VCAS) at first glance and, the truth is, it is very much like the standard VCAS in terms of function. However, the Special 1404 packs some features that you won’t find on other VCAS slings.

This sling features your choice of 2 unique colorways. The Multicam option is covered front-to-back with Multicam pattern webbing. The Desert Digital option has a Desert Digital (similar to AOR1) webbing on the forward section and coyote on the rear section. Both colorways make use of unique aluminum hardware with a brown anodized finish.

The most interesting difference between the VCAS and the Special 1404 is barely noticeable. The Special 1404 Sling makes use of 1.5″ webbing at the rear of the sling (the part that actually contacts the wearer) instead of the standard 1.25″ webbing found on the VCAS. This is interesting because it is designed to be a sort of happy medium between the standard VCAS Sling and the Padded VCAS Sling.

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Blue Force Gear’s webbing is substantial and thick but has a brushed, soft canvas-like feel. The edges are quite rounded so it as already quite comfortable when bearing weight. So, this 1.5″ webbing should spread the weight of the rifle out on the wearer’s shoulder even more effectively while remaining just as low profile as a plain webbing sling. It is a sort of functional hybrid between the flat webbing and padded versions of the VCAS.

You can check out the new Special 1404 Sling at Blue Force Gear.

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