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Author Archive | Matt

MI AK Mini Dot Mount

Midwest Industries is turning out some of the most interesting AK accessories around and that is not about to change with the introduction of their new AK Mini Dot Mount. This mount may look familiar to some of you since it appears similar to the long discontinued LaRue Tactical AK Iron Dot, but that is not a bad thing at all.

The AK Mini Dot Mount is designed to replace the rear sight with a platform for mounting a mini red dot. MI has designed multiple versions that should cover just about every mini red dot worth mounting on a fighting rifle. The mounts are made from hard anodized aluminum and melonite coated steel which should make them very rugged. They feature a built in back up iron sight that gives a lower 1/3 co-witness. The rifle can still be completely field stripped with the mount in place.

The new AK Mini Dot Mount can be found on Midwest Industries’ website.

 

Redback One Combat Pistol Sights

Hilton Yam of 10-8 Performance and Jason Falla of Redback One have collaborated on a new set of pistol sights – the Redback One Combat Pistol Sights. The sights will be based on the excellent 10-8 Glock sights. They will feature a generous square rear notch at .156″ wide, tritium in the front sight post, and the typical finely serrated surfaces that set 10-8 Performance sights apart.

The thing that I find most fascinating to me about the Redback One Combat Pistol Sights is that they are designed to shoot point of aim/point of impact (POA/POI) all the way out to 100 meters. I actually practice shooting my handguns at extended distances fairly regularly. Calibers like the 9mm, .40SW, and .357SIG shoot flat enough to make hits at these extended distances and these sights should take out a lot of the guess work with hold overs and hold unders that exist with many of the sights on the market right now.

These sight sets will be available soon and you can reserve a set today by contacting Jason Falla at Redback One.

Boker Plus Epicenter

I always like to keep my eyes on what Boker is up to, especially in their Boker Plus line. They introduced several new knives in their catalog this year, but none were more intriguing than the Boker Plus Epicenter. This is one great looking and well appointed production knife.

The Epicenter is designed by an up and coming maker named Todd Rexford. This knife is packed with features that I really like in a knife. It has 5mm thick titanium handle slabs which are contoured to fit the hand. These thick slabs also mean that the frame lock on the Epicenter is massive. The 3.5″ blade is a drop point profile that is ground from VG-10 steel. VG-10 is one of the only stainless steels that I actually like because of its combination of edge holding and ease of sharpening. The ambidextrous thumb studs are removable and the pocket clip can be placed for tip up or tip down carry.

The Boker Plus line is well known as a great value and the Epicenter should be no exception. It will be priced very competitively with other Ti framelock designs.

The Epicenter should be on dealer shelves shortly. Todd Rexford already has his first production example of the Epicenter and he seems very pleased. You can read more about the Epicenter on the Boker website.

Three Point Innovations Box-to-Mag Loader

Your thumbs hate you. They are still bitter about that time you took a carbine course when it is 30 degrees and sleeting. You made them load all those mags until they were raw. Maybe you owe it to them to take a look at the Box-to-Mag Loader from Three Point Innovations.

This is a very clever device that allows you to load ammo directly from the box to your AR-15 magazines. It works with just about any AR-15 magazine and allows you to load an entire 20 round box of ammo in less than 10 seconds. It should be useful for loading loose ammo as well since you can easily just stack it into the Box-to-Mag Loader.

Sadly, it isn’t available yet, but as you can see from the video, they have working prototypes. They will be available for pre-order soon and you can get a discount by joining their newsletter. Check out the Box-to-Mag Loader on the Three Point Innovations website.

Manticore Arms NightBrake

I recently reviewed the Manticore Arms NightShroud flash suppressor for AKs with 24mm threads. I was really impressed with the quality, design, and functionality of the NightShroud and very excited to finally have a premium muzzle device option for AKs with 24mm threads. Well, it appears that Manticore Arms has done it again with the new NightBrake.

The NightBrake looks visually similar to the NightShroud, but a closer examination reveals that the port design is very different. The ports on the NightShroud are obviously designed to mitigate flash, but the NightBrake’s 18 ports are designed to reduce muzzle rise in a big way. The ports are arranged so that the bottom of the NightBrake is closed to reduce stirring up dust when shot from the prone and the very top is closed to prevent any potential flash from obscuring the shooter’s vision.

One of the best things about the NightShroud is that it is lighter and shorter than every other muzzle device for 24mm threads. The NightBrake continues on that theme. Like the NightShroud, the NightBrake is about 2.5″ long and weighs about 3.31 ounces.

If you have an AK with 24mm threads on the muzzle, like the excellent SGL-21 series from Arsenal, you owe it to yourself to check out the NightBrake from Manticore Arms on their website. The NightBrake is available for purchase at Rat Worx USA.

ESEE Factory Replacement Handles

ESEE users have been clamoring for years to be able to purchase replacement handle scales. ESEE has finally made this a reality. You can now purchase replacement scales for the ESEE knives, directly from ESEE.

So, if your ESEE-4 came with linen micarta scales but you prefer the canvas micarta scales, you can by them. If you have an ESEE-6 but would prefer to have the scales from an ESEE-5 with their bow drill divet, you can buy them. This opens up a whole new world of ESEE mix and match opportunities.

The handle scales are available on the ESEE website.

Review: New Short Hybrid Lever for the B.A.D.-A.S.S.

Battle Arms Development (BAD) places a tremendous amount of importance on the feedback of their users. So, when their users asked for a new lever for the BAD-ASS, Battle Arms Development delivered. The new “Reverse Hybrid” lever is the result of direct user feedback.

The new lever is referred to as the Reverse Hybrid because it is essentially the opposite of the previously reviewed Hybrid lever. The Reverse Hybrid lever is thin for most of its length except for the end which has a bump (for lack of a better term).

BAD provided me with a prototype of the new lever to try. I was able to use it on both sides of the selector during testing. On the weak side, I like how the bump worked as a pivot point for moving the BAD-ASS with your index finger. It was very easy and intuitive to use. However, the bump is in the worst possible place in terms of interference with your trigger finger. If you are used to using an ambi-safety with standard size levers it probably won’t bother you, but others may want to consider a shorter or thinner lever which, thankfully, the BAD-ASS allows.

The Reverse Hybrid really seems like it works better as a strong (or thumb) side lever. The bump really rotates naturally under your thumb. It feels like a pivot point and just seems natural. It is long enough to reach easily. I did find that it wasn’t as easy to “ride” as the standard lever which has more surface area on which to rest your thumb. I can see the draw of this kind of lever since it does seem to rotate so nicely but it just doesn’t have everything that I look for in a selector lever.

All in all, I am not sure that the Reverse Hybrid is for me, but Battle Arms Development has been very up front about the fact that this isn’t for everyone – it was specifically requested by current users of the BAD-ASS. It may be perfect for you, especially if you are a fan of the popular “star” selectors. No one can say that Battle Arms Development doesn’t respond to their customers (the best companies always do).

The Reverse Hybrid will be available on the Battle Arms Development website soon.

Ameriglo I-Dot and I-Dot Pro for the M&P

Smith & Wesson M&P shooters have a great new sight option. The I-Dot and I-Dot Pro sights from Ameriglo that I like so much on Glocks are now available for the M&P.

Ameriglo I-Dot

Ameriglo I-Dot Pro

The I-Dot series of sights from Ameriglo features a 2 dot design. There is 1 dot on the front sight and 1 one on the rear sight. In order to align the sights, you place the front sight dot over the rear sight dot. I find this to be much more intuitive than the typical 3 dot sights.  For more detail you can read my full reviews on these sight sets for Glocks on the Handgun Sight Review page.

The sights are available from Ameriglo on their website.

Capacity Counts

When discussing magazine capacity, it seems to be impossible to avoid oft repeated (and rarely thought about) statements like “If I need more than X number of rounds, I haven’t done my job” or “Large capacity magazines make you ‘spray and pray’ instead of making each shot count.” Who hasn’t heard that “The typical gun fight is over in 1 (or 2, or 3, or 4) shot anyway, so I don’t need anything other than this [insert low capacity handgun here].” All three of these statements are probably repeated in guns shops and on internet forums every hour (usually by someone who is justifying their particular choice in handgun). Saying something often doesn’t make it true and it certainly doesn’t make it any less absurd. Logic has no place where ego and machismo reign.

“If I need more than X number of rounds, I haven’t done my job.” I’ll assume that the job that is being referred to is stopping a threat from harming or killing you or a loved one. This statement might be reasonable if there was a set number of rounds that would incapacitate someone intent on doing you harm. The reality is that one shot stops are nearly mythical (especially with handguns) and that determined attackers can and have soaked up 10 or more rounds of just about every caliber before ceasing their attack. A prudent man plans to shoot accurately and often until the threat is stopped whether that take 1 round or 15.

“Large capacity magazines make you ‘spray and pray’ instead of making each shot count.” This is perhaps the most absurd of the above mentioned gun counter philosophies. Magazine capacity is no more responsible for inaccurate, volume fire than large gas tanks are responsible for people accidentally driving past their destinations or than large refrigerators are responsible for people over eating. Those who miss with all 15 rounds in their magazine under stress, would have also missed with all 5 in their revolver’s cylinder. Should we then take this to its logical end and only carry single shot firearms? After all, wouldn’t we then really make our only shot count? That is, of course, absurd. People miss because of a lapse in training, stress, and lots of reasons other than having too many cartridges in their magazine.

“The typical gun fight is over in 1 (or 2, or 3, or 4) shot anyway, so I don’t need anything other than this [insert low capacity handgun here].” All gunfights are typical except for the ones that aren’t. We have seen groups of terrorists, gangs of home invaders, and “flash mobs” become the norm. These things are not rare and they aren’t always confined to any one part of town. Today’s responsible shooter may face any number of situations that can not be solved without plenty of ammunition.

Capacity counts. I become more convinced of this every day. I see evidence of this when I watch the news and when I learn about natural stress responses. Even a cursory study of modern terminal ballistics confronts me with the fact that capacity counts. I can’t tell you how many rounds are enough any more than you can tell me when or where you will need to use a handgun in defense of your life. I can tell you that having a reload (spare magazine, speed loader, etc) for what ever you carry is a good idea. Practicing your reloads until they are second nature is an even better idea. Taking an honest look at the capacity of the firearm that you carry wouldn’t hurt either.

I am not saying that more ammunition can make up for less skill. I am not saying that all problems can or should be solved by the liberal application of ammo. I am saying that the old “wisdom” deserves to be rethought and that you, as a responsible shooter, should take a long and honest look at your gear and training to determine whether it is sufficient for the situations that you are likely to face.

Just think about it.

Review: Omnivore Blade Works Tomahawks

The tomahawk is a versatile tool. It is at home in the woods with a camper or on the belt of a soldier. Its uses are many. The typical tomahawk has changed very little over of the years. Tomahawks from Omnivore Blade Works (OBW) are far from typical tomahawks.

I was lucky to be part of a “pass around” that was orchestrated by OBW on the Usual Suspect Network. A few weeks ago a box arrived on my door step and, inside, I found a brand new, pristine Jackal model tomahawk and a rough but ready looking Recon model tomahawk. I set about playing with both of them immediately.

The Jackal

The Jackal is a smaller, trimmer, lighter tomahawk at just 14″ overall. It has a finer edge and excels at cutting as well as chopping. It featured a digital camo paint scheme and beautifully machined and finished natural color micarta handle slabs. The paint and handle materials can all be customized at the time of ordering.

One of the most distinctive features of the Jackal are the “teeth” on the pommel. They are reminiscent of the the teeth that you might find on the the tomahawk’s namesake. The Jackal also features a very blade like spike that comes to a very sharp point.

The Recon

The Recon tomahawk is a full size tomahawk at 18.5″ overall that has been stripped to its barest essentials. It is slim, light, and very fast. There are no handle slabs, only an aggressively skeletonized haft of steel that can be cord-wrapped if the user chooses. The name Recon speaks to its spartan style, light weight, and speed.

The rear of the Recon features an impressive spike that is designed for piercing strength and durability. The spike has a series of thick edges that will pierce readily without being fragile and prone to chipping and rolling. The Recon that was sent to me had been through OBW’s testing. It was beat up, ragged, worn, and rough looking but still just as functional as ever. Before it was sent to me it spent 2 weeks out in the elements to prove that the coated 1095 steel could handle it.

I used the mouse pad backed sandpaper method to sharpen and polish the edges of the Recon. There was some surface rust to remove but nothing that compromised the function. After just a few moments the cutting edges were fairly clean and had a fresh working edge.

In Use

Apart from the dimensions, both of these tomahawks share a lot of characteristics so I will talk about their uses together. Both ‘hawks are made from a classic hard use cutlery steel, 1095. It was easy to sharpen and held up well to all of the tasks outlined below.

First, lets state the obvious. A tomahawk must be able to chop and these ‘hawks can certainly do that. They easily limbed trees and snapped through smaller branches. They delivered all of the chopping performance that you would expect from a tomahawk.

What really surprised me was the uses for all of the other cutting edges that I found. Both tomahawks have cutting edges that run along their top edges from the bit to the spike. I found tons of uses for this. I found that it was actually easier to use this edge to create “fuzz sticks” for fire starting. It could also be used like a ulu with rocking cuts to quickly prep jute twine for tinder. The uses were limited only by my resourcefulness.

A spike can be a useful thing in the woods. The spikes on both ‘hawks could be used like an awl to bore holes but the more blade-like spike on the Jackel was easier to use for these tasks.

I found that the Jackal was much easier on the hands with its hand filling micarta handle slabs. The Recon’s handle was made more comfortable with gloves, but I would definitely want to cord wrap it if I planned to use it for a long period of time.

The Recon was a great thrower. It stuck pretty readily even though I am a lousy tomahawk thrower. I am not sure there is much of a practical reason to throw a tomahawk, but it is certainly fun and it did put the durability of the Recon to the test. The Recon shrugged off throwing with no ill effects. The Jackal’s edge geometry is thinner and it is not suitable for throwing. It is a more pure cutter.

I used both tomahawks to split wood into kindling. Both tomahawks split wood easily. The camo finish on the Jackal held up surprisingly well during this test.

One of the coolest features that you might not notice in the pictures is that the circular cutout under the bit and beard area of the tomahawk is sharpened. This was awesome for hooking and cutting cord. It was also really great for limbing. You could reach up over head, hook a branch, and then pull down sharply to easily remove branches that were out of reach. The same technique could be used closer to the ground for clearing brush, much like a bill hook machete. Just make sure to keep something like a ceramic rod on hand to sharpen this area since typical square stones won’t work.

A typical tomahawk has a straight haft. The OBW ‘hawks have a slight curve and contours that make them comfortable to use and very aggressive when chopping. The slight curve allows you to really snap the ‘hawk with your wrist for an extra little bite when you are chopping. These are shaped very well for prolonged use.

Amazing Sheaths

The sheaths that come with the Jackal and Recon are works of functional art in themselves. They are a combination of kydex, micarta, shock cord, and metal that work together to make some seriously innovative sheaths. Both sheaths have locking mechanisims that keep the tomahawk in the sheath until you are ready to produce it. The kydex work is impeccible and there are amazing details like precisely machined micarta used as spacers to allow for the thickness of the ‘hawks and aid in retention. I have never seen micarta used this way with kydex.

The Jackals sheath worked by placing the spike in first and then the bit. A small pin that was tensioned by shock cord could be slid up to release a disk that rotates in such a way that it locks the bit in place. It sounds and looks complicated but it was actually quite easy. I must have spent 10 minutes just playing with the mechanism.

The Recon’s sheath is a bit more simple. You place the bit in first and the the spike. Once the spike is in place, a pin could be slipped into a place that locked the ‘hawk in the sheath. The pin is captive and kept under tension with shock cord. It is a very elegant solution. This sheath also featured a large belt loop.

As enamored as I was with the amazing locking mechanisms and workmanship on these sheaths, I did find myself wishing they were smaller. I think that the locking mechanisms required much more material than a simple friction or click type sheath would have required. There are also many cutting edges that must be covered so that also adds to the size. Still, the sheaths were extremely functional and easy to use. you can not help but be impressed with them. They almost steal the show.

Conclusion

These tomahawks from Omnivore Blade Works are just too cool. They look and perform extremely well. The sheaths will keep you entertained for hours and they will keep your tomahawk safe, too. I am extremely impressed with the whole package. It was hard to send these tomahawks on to the next person in the “pass around.”

Check out the full line of tomahawks and knives on Omnivore Blade Work’s website.

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