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Archive | EDC

RE Factor Tactical Survival Band

RE Factor Tactical makes what is likely the most fully featured “survival” bracelet on the market which they call the Operator Band. Not everyone needs the hidden handcuff key of the Operator Band so RE Factor Tactical introduced a new version called the Survival Band.

The RE Factor Tactical Survival Band has all the same features as the Operator Band including hidden fishing equipment, a P-52 can opener, and a fire starter. The Operator Band had a non-metallic handcuff key hidden inside the buckle but the new Survival Band forgoes the hand cuff key in favor of a survival whistle.

Check out the RE Factor Tactical Survival Band on REFactorTactical.com.


Review: ITS Titanium Entry Card from ITS Tactical

Hollywood has been showing people bypassing locks with a credit card for years but never quite like this. The ITS Titanium Entry Card can be used to open far more locks than a regular credit card ever could.


The ITS Titanium Entry Card is a credit card sized set of lock bypassing tools. It is made from titanium and perfectly replicates the dimensions (including thickness .032”) of a normal plastic credit card. The compact dimensions, lack of magnetic signature, and credit card-like form combination are designed to make this tool set easy to carry and very discreet.

ITS Tactical designed the card to hold 2 complete sets of tools consisting of a tension wrench, a Bogota triple hump tool, and Bogota single hump tool. The versatility and compact size of Bogota tools makes the addition of a second set possible. Many credit card lock bypass kits provide several picks in various shapes that quickly take up space on the card. That is unnecessary with Bogota tools since the single hump can also serve as a very effective single-pin pick.

Observations from Use

The lock bypass components are easy enough to remove from the card that I could do it with cold hands but they are also quite secure. The tools will not come out without purposeful manipulation.

The inclusion of a form fitting storage sleeve made from Tyvek is a nice touch. It can be used to help protect your actual credit cards from the wear that accompanies being carried next to a titanium card. It also gives the Titanium Entry Card set a less metallic and lower profile appearance at first glance.

I wanted to find out a few things in my testing. First and foremost, can the tools actually be used to bypass locks? Second, I wanted to see of the tools were still useful after being removed from the card and used. Finally, I wanted to see if there was any way to return the tools to the card after use. So, with the mission in mind, I set about bypassing locks. I picked and raked my way through dead bolts, padlocks, desk drawer wafer locks, and more.

These picks really do work. The Bogota tool design is proven and I have written about them at length in the past. With a little practice they can be used to successfully bypass locks by even beginners. Bogota tools can even allow some locks to fall to blind luck but as with anything, success and speed can be greatly improved with practice.

While these tools do work, the emergency nature of their intended use does show itself when you slide them into the keyway for the first time. These tools are designed to work in a pinch. They are not designed for lock sport. Most Bogota tools exhibit a high level of polish which allows them to move in and out of tight keyways more easily. That polish helps make the manic shaking/jiggling motion that is used for raking easier. However, it is impossible to apply this polish to the tools while they are still in the card so you will notice that the tools are a bit stiff in the keyway. This is especially true in a tight keyway. The good news is that they smooth out considerably with just a few passes in and out of the keyway. It seems that those first couple of movements inside the keyway smooth out a lot of jagged edges and then the tool just gets better with use.

The tension wrench is also very rudimentary which is completely understandable given the form factor. You will need a very, very light touch in most cases due to the short length and stiffness of the wrench. There is just no other way to render a tension wrench from a credit card sized piece of titanium.

The tools lack much of a handle to hold unto which is common across all credit card lock bypass sets. The size of a credit card just doesn’t allow much room for larger popsicle stick type handles. However, the small handles do have a lightness about them that does translate a fair amount of feel and touch for those delicate picking jobs. Again, these are last ditch tools.

I found that the tools are definitely useful after they are removed from the card. You should be able to get multiple uses out of the tools after they are popped out of the card unless you have a very heavy hand (which doesn’t serve you well in bypassing locks). You may even want to do some light polishing and drop the loose tools into your wallet with a wrap of tape on them, some heat shrink tubing, or a gutted length of para-cord shell to hold them together. They will lack some of the refinement of a full on Bogota Entry Tool Set but they are certainly useful.

There is also a simple solution to returning them to the card if you wish to do so. You can simple put them back into place and place a piece of masking tape over the card to hold the individual tools in their slots.

Wrap Up

The main draw here is the form factor. This is the first titanium credit card pick set. It is easy to carry, discreet, and it works. This isn’t the type of tool a lock smith is going to add to his pick roll but it is definitely the type of tool that can get you out of a bind. Basically, it is well designed and effective for its intended purpose.

Check out the ITS Titanium Entry Card at ITSTactical.com.

Bogota Titan-7 Flats from SerePick

We always like to keep track of what SerePick has going on because they may some of the best and most discreet lock bypass tools that I have ever used. Many of their tools are based on the Bogota rake design and the new Bogota Titan-7 Flats are no different.

The new Bogota Titan-7 Flats set has a traditional “popsicle stick” design that makes it a great addition to any pick set or a great stand alone set. The set includes a Bogota Single, Bogota Double, Bogota Triple, Sabana and Monserrate Pair. It also includes a nice long double ended tension wrench that works well for top of keyway tension. Like other SerePick “Titan” tool sets, the Titan-7 Flats are made from titanium which is non-magnetic and therefore more discreet than a steel set would be.

Check out the Bogota Titan-7 Flats on SerePick.com.

Zero Tolerance JB1 and JB2 Shroud Cutters

I like to keep a shroud cutter/rescue cutter with my first aid gear and I am always on the lookout for a deal. A friend of JTT passed along that KnifeCenter has the Zero Tolerance JB1 and JB2 Shroud Cutters on sale.

The JB1 and JB2 have more features than the cutters that I usually use. They are made from 13C26 steel and have a DLC coating. The JB1 and JB2 feature two oxygen tank wrenches and a box wrench, a carbide glass breaker, and a very large cutting notch. They also come with a MOLLE style sheath.

Check out the ZT JB1 Shroud Cutter and ZT JB2 Shroud Cutter.

Review: JAVRAN HiViz tacStrips

There are times where maintaining visibility is a matter of convenience and then there are times when it is a matter of life and death. HiViz tacStrips from JAVRAN are all about being seen.

JAVRAN makes several different versions of the HiViz tacStrips. This review will deal with the Velcro backed version.


HiViz tacStrips are pretty simple. They are simply reflective material that has hook Velcro material sewn to the back. The concept may be simple but the execution and quality is better than any other similar product that I have seen, most of which rely on adhesives to attach the reflective material to the Velcro. JAVRAN folds the edges of the reflective material under before sewing on the Velcro. This results in a very clean edge that resists separation.

The best thing about the HiViz tacStrips may be the variety of sizes and colors that are offered. JAVRAN has sizes available to cover most of the common Velcro panel sizes commonly found on gear. They have 5×1” and 3×1” name tape sizes, 2×3” flag sizes, and more. Additionally, they will work with you for custom sizes. They are available in a growing number of colors including red, white, blue, orange, and green.

Observations from Use

I have tested and used these in a number of ways but my favorite use for them is as a gear marker. I just stick them on my backpack and then, if I am separated from the pack in the dark, it can be found easily with a flashlight.

I have also gotten into the habit of keeping one on the cap and chest rig/plate carrier that I wear when I am training. This allows me to remain visible to other students and the trainer during low light training. A reflective patch on your cap can also be a great safety measure if you are a road runner.

Different colors have varying levels of reflectivity. I was able to test white, blue, and red. I found that white was by far the brightest, followed by blue. Red reflects differently depending on the light it is reflecting. If it is reflecting a blue-white light source, it reflects very weakly. Light sources with warmer color temperatures reflect more strongly from the red material. If you use a lot of cool toned LED lights, you may find that red doesn’t reflect as much as you would like.

If you have an MPIL from Battle Systems LLC, you may want to pick up a HiViz tacStrip or two because they work great as a visible light reflector on the MPIL.

Wrap Up

There is nothing revolutionary here. HiViz tacStrips are just well-executed and their numerous size and color options, coupled with their quality, combine to make them better than anything similar that I have tried.


SHM Appendectomy Low Pro Holster

When you think of appendix carry, you typically think of inside-the-waistband holsters. Snake Hound Machine (SHM) wants to change that with their Appendectomy Low Pro Holster.

The Appendectomy is a Kydex outside-the-waistband that is designed to be carried in the appendix position. It rides very high and is canted aggressively. SHM claims that it rides very close to the body that it “conceals like an IWB with out the discomfort associated with IWB holsters.” Like all appendix carry holsters, it offers an easier draw with the support hand than tradition holsters.

The Appendectomy Low Pro Holster is available for a number of popular compact handguns like the GLOCK 26/27, S&W M&P Shield, Ruger LCP, and others. It is also available in several colors and multiple belt sizes.


New Tools from NukoTools

Every once in a while I like to check in on NukoTools to see sort of pain infliction tools Norman is cooking up.

The Nuko Z-Key is a compact and relatively unassuming defensive impact weapon. It can be used to hang your keys from a belt loop or to adjust an attitude. If you follow NukoTools, you may have seen the titanium prototypes of this tool. The production version is available now and is made from G-10 which is extremely tough and non-metallic.

NukoTools Z-Key

The Punchring is probably familiar to a lot of JTT readers. I have reviewed 2 versions of it in the past. The newest version is laser cut from titanium and then hand ground and finished. It features a carbide edge that will help it keep an aggressive edge.

NukoTools Carbide Punchring

You can check out both tools and find out more about NukoTools on their website.

Mountain Ridge Gear Bravo Pack

It boggles my mind that so many people still don’t know about Mountain Ridge Gear (MRG). Their bags are some of the most finely crafted pieces of nylon gear that I have ever laid hands on and their organization features are always very useful. MRG recently gave everyone a sneak peak at their second backpack design – the Bravo Pack.

The Bravo Pack is 16″ tall x 5 1/2″ deep x 11″ wide. It has adjustable shoulder straps and PALS webbing on the front admin pouch and one side. The other side features a mesh pouch with an adjustable opening that can carry a water bottle or serve as a dump pouch.

MRG’s gear is rugged enough for any application and has such great organization features that they excel at EDC. The Bravo Pack is not available yet but you should check out MountainRidgeGear.com anyway.

CrossBreed Holsters IWB Appendix Carry Holster

Appendix carry is gaining more popularity daily but there is still a relative lack of holsters available for this carry method. Thankfully, appendix carry proponents have a new option from CrossBreed Holsters.

The CrossBreed Holsters IWB Appendix Carry Holster has many of the features that CrossBreed Holsters are known for like a kydex face on a leather backer. This form factor is well known and offers the comfort of leather with much of the retention of kydex. It available for several small to medium sized handguns that are popular choices for appendix carry like the GLOCK 26, Beretta Nano, and S&W J-Frame.

The IWB Appendix Carry Holster is available on CrossBreedHolsters.com.

Boker Plus Toucan

Multi-tools come in many forms. There are the typical pliers-based tools that are so common and the original Swiss Army Knives were multi-tools long before anyone knew the word “multi-tool.” More recently, a new breed of multi-tool has hit the scene. These tools are sometimes called pocket tools or keychain tools and one of the better known examples is the Toucan from Jared Price.

Boker now makes a product version of the Toucan in their Boker Plus line. It features a small knife edge, a pry tip, a screw driver, and bottle opener. The production version is made from 440C steel and features a small kydex sheath that covers the cutting edge so the user can open bottles or pry without the knife edge exposed. The whole package weighs a little more than an ounce and is around 3 inches long.

You can check out the Boker Plus Toucan at BladeHQ.

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