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Archive | EDC

Mean Gene Leather Hot Tamale V-2

Mean Gene Leather brought the “coin purse” back into vogue with the introduction of their original Hot Tamale. Now they are rethinking what a “coin purse” can look like and how it can function with the introduction of their Hot Tamale V-2.

The Hot Tamale V-2 Coin Purse is unlike any other that I have seen (and that is a good thing for a product of this nature). It features a wrap design that folds over the belt and snaps into place. There is a large handle-like design element that simultaneously makes the V-2 look innocuous (or at least unfamiliar) but also provides an easy way to grasp, deploy, and retain the coin purse. Mean Gene Leather advises that you can fit about 13 ounces of coins in various denominations in the Hot Tamale V-2.

Hot Tamale V-2 at Mean Gene Leather

Unitaskers – Gear That Does One Thing Well and Why You Should Keep It That Way

More features. More functions. More settings. More buttons. More blades. Everyone loves a good multitasking tool. This is the way things go in an industry where modular, multi-function tools are the norm…There is a place for that kind of thing, but I would suggest that you are not always best served by a tool that tries to do everything.

No one would carry a tourniquet with 4 modes of operation and a built in bottle opener because this type of simple, life saving equipment should be just that… simple. Yet, people will carry a flashlight with those features and a case could be made that the flashlight is just as important as the tourniquet. There are at least two parts of your every day carry gear that should be occupied by a unitasker if it isn’t already – knives and lights.

Let’s get our terminology straight before go any further. When I type unitasker, I am not just referring to a tool that does one thing well. I am referring to a tool that does one thing well AND that is set aside only for that specific task.

The Case for the Unitasker Knife

There are at least two very good reasons why your self defense knife should be a unitasker. First, the best and most intuitive self defense knife designs are marginal (or worse) as utility knives. Knives like the Spyderco P’Kal, Ka-Bar TDI, push knives, ShivWorks Clinch Pick, and similar are great self defense knives but they are not great letter openers. Sure, you could open letters with them but a tiny Victorinox Classic would be easier to use.

The second reason is more broadly applicable to knives that may be good utility designs but also have merit as defensive knives (think Spyderco Delica or Benchmade Griptilian). That hair splitting edge you work so hard to achieve of your defensive knife is going to loose a little something every time you use it. After a week of cutting cardboard, zip ties, envelopes, loose threads, rope, and everything else you cut on a daily basis, are you confident that your knife still has the edge you want?

The Case for the Unitasker Light

The reasons to carry a unitasker light boil down to maximizing output, maximizing ease of use under stress, and ensuring your light is ready when you need it.

When it comes to output, I want all the light I can get when things go bad. If I am just poking around under my desk looking for something I dropped, I don’t want or need 1500 lumens. It is tempting to say I should just get a multi-mode light to deal with this problem but then we would bump up against another problem – user interface/ease of use.

I’m a simple man and I like simple user interfaces on self defense lights. I don’t want anything more complicated than push-button-get-light… lots and lots of light. When you are trying to control a flashlight while you talk your way out of a situation, or (heaven forbid) trying to track sights and control a trigger, push-button-get-light is best. A good self defense oriented light will have a simple user interface and a switch that is designed to be operated in the ways that a self defense light may have to be operated. For a utility light, I am more tolerant of more complicated user interfaces because all those extra modes can be useful.

The last reason your self defense light should be a unitasker is very much like the second argument for the unitasker knife. If you are like me, you use flashlights all the time. You are loosing a little juice every time you use the light. Heck, those nasty little buggers are sitting in your light right now self discharging! If you use your light for 5 minutes here, 30 minutes there, and who knows how many short bursts trying to find the darn key hole… Can you really be sure your light will be ready to go when you need it?

Sanctified!

I am suggesting that you consider your self defense knife and flashlight sanctified (set apart, for you heathens) for their specific purposes. Carry a separate knife and light for utility purposes. Before you show up with torches and pitchforks shouting about how I am asking you to carry too much stuff, hear me out…

These utility items don’t have to be big. They also don’t have to be carried in priority locations like you should carry your dedicated self defense tools. Most of your utility tasks could likely be handled by key chain sized tools like a small Swiss Army Knife and Maglite Solitaire. You can scale these items based on your needs but we are talking about small, lightweight tools, that can be carried in more out of the way locations. You can handle that.

The additional benefit here is that you can keep a lower profile with these smaller tools. Mark Greenman wrote a great article outlining his “Public Knife” concept. For many people, something the size of a Spyderco Delica is a “big knife” and you are drawing attention to yourself when you whip it out in the office to pick a splinter. This isn’t about being politically correct. This is about being discreet.

Wrap Up

If you have made the choice to carry tools like a flashlight and knife with a self defense mindset, you have already acknowledged that there may be a need for such tools. Doesn’t also make sense to keep these tools as ready as they can be?

Black Rhino Concealment Quick Ship Holsters

Black Rhino Concealment is now offering a line of Quick Ship Holsters. The new CCS and ACS Quick Ship Holsters are available for a number of the most popular self defense handguns on the market CZ P10C, Glock 19, and more. Both holsters feature excellent mold definition, top notch blocking, and cuts to accommodate red dot sights and threaded barrels.

The CCS holster is an IWB design. It come with the user’s choice of FOMI clips or soft loops and is designed to be slim, light, and comfortable. The ACS holster is an AIWB design that also comes with the choice of FOMI clips or soft loops. It also features a wing to tuck the butt of the handgun in against the wearer.

These holsters will be kept in stock and will ship quickly. Check out the entire line at Black Rhino Concealment.

RE Factor Tactical Pink Operator Band for Breast Cancer Awareness

RE Factor Tactical’s Pink Operator Band is their latest charity band. 50% of the sales of this special version of the Operator Band will go to the American Cancer Society to benefit breast cancer awareness.

Check out the Pink Operator Band at RE Factor Tactical.

Advanced Holster Introduces AMS-H9 Holster for the Hudson H9

Advanced Holster is now offering the AMS-H9 holster, a kydex holster for the new Hudson H9.

Made for outside-the-waistband carry, the AMS-H9 can be ordered in right and left-handed configurations. It also has the ability to mount to multiple commercial mounting platforms including Safariland, G-Code, and Blade Tech to suit the individual needs and preferences of the user. The AMS-H9 is also legal for use in IDPA and USPSA assuming the user sets it up with the proper belt attachment to conform to the rules in their specific sport and/or division.

The AMS-H9 is available with a number of different mounting hardware configurations and colors. This is the first of a series of H9 holsters that Advanced Holster plans to develop. Check out the AMS-H9 at Advanced Holster.

Bargain or Just Cheap? – ESEE Avispa and Zancudo

Welcome to Bargain or Just Cheap? This series reviews budget friendly knives for a variety of uses in a short format. All of the knives will cost less than $50 (in most cases, much less) and will be purchased out of my own pocket. I’ll buy them, carry them, and use them in an attempt to determine if the knife is a bargain or just cheap.


If you are a manufacturer planning to create a budget knife, pay careful attention to what ESEE has done with the Avispa and Zancudo. They’ve kept cost down by getting the important things right and careful material selection. I’ll let the cat out of the bag right up front. These knives are great.

ESEE Avispa D2

Avispa Specs:

Lock: Steel frame lock

Pocket Clip: Left or right, tip up or down

Steel: AUS 8 or D2

Handle: Textured FRN front, steel back

Blade length: 3.5 in.

Blade thickness: .11 in.

Open length: 8.5 in.

Weight: 4.51 oz.

Zancudo Specs:

Lock: Steel frame lock

Pocket Clip: Right pocket only, tip up or down

Steel: AUS 8 or D2

Handle: Textured FRN front, steel back

Blade length: 2.94 in.

Blade thickness: .09 in.

Open length: 7 in.

Weight: 3.06 oz

Observations from Use

Both of these knives do a great job of getting the important things right which leads to knives with great performance and high perceived quality. It is obvious that care goes into ensuring that things like the frame lock, detent, grinds, and ergonomics are dialed in on these knives.

Both knives flick open with ease. They have positive detents and smooth bronze phosphor washers paired with thumb studs that are well placed and easy to find with your thumb. My examples were smooth right out of the box and became even smoother with some use and the tiniest drop of oil on each washer.

I’ve been able to handle several of these knives over the years and they all have incredibly consistent lock up. The frame lock contacts the blade tang at about 75-80% lock up. There is no blade play and plenty of room left to wear in with use. These are well executed frame locks.

These knives cut extremely well! The blades on both knives feature a similar profile. They are drop points with full height flat grinds. The point drops to the center of the blade so much that this is nearly a spear point shape. They cut aggressively thanks to their thinner blade stock and excellent geometry.

Both knives are offered with two steel options: D2 and AUS 8. Flip a coin. They are both good. The AUS 8 is stainless and very easy to sharpen at the cost of some edge holding performance. D2 is a carbon steel (very rust resistant compared to most carbon steels). It offers great edge holding but can be tricky for some people to sharpen. The knives are a good value with AUS 8 steel and an incredible value with D2. It is hard to find other knives with similarly high performance steels at this price.

The FRN scales offers good texture without being tough on your pockets and they are available in about a million color options. Both knives have full steel liners under the FRN scale. The liner is drilled with a series of holes to reduce weight on the Avispa. I wish the same steps were taken with the Zancudo. It could have been a truly lightweight knife.

The ergonomics on both knives are great. The Avispa feels large and hand filling even though it is actually quite slim. The Zancudo is actually smaller than a Spyderco Delica in nearly every dimension yet it still manages to offer a grip that all four fingers will fit and a longer cutting edge. That is truly incredible as someone who has been carrying a Delica for more than 15 years. They fit your hand, are slim in the pocket, and are large enough to do real work.

They’re good but not perfect. The FRN scales can tend to flex away from the steel liner a bit which is a little annoying. The pocket clips will ride directly on the frame lock bar if you switch them around for right pocket tip up carry which can make one handed closing difficult (though still doable). Those are pretty minor gripes considering that even the D2 version of this knife comes in at well under $40.

ESEE Zancudo D2

Bargain or Just Cheap?

The ESEE Avispa and Zancudo may lack gimmicks, flash, and pretense. However, they more than make up for it with cutting performance, ergonomics, and value. There is no doubt. These knives are BARGAINS.

Amazingly, the D2 version of these knives tends to cost only $4-5 more than the AUS 8 version and they are still less than $40. If you are feeling flushed with cash, there are D2 and Carbon Fiber options that still come in under $50!

I am using Amazon as the price base line for this series. All knives were purchased by me from Amazon:

ESEE Avispa on Amazon

ESEE Zancudo on Amazon


Our goal is to represent knives for a variety of uses from EDC, to outdoor, to tactical knives. Do you have a favorite affordable knife? Let us know about it in the comments!

Black Rhino Concealment Oscar Mike Wallet

Black Rhino Concealment (BRC) has opened pre-ordering on their new Oscar Mike Wallet (OMW). This wallet is small in size but big on features.

The OMW is barely larger than a credit card and only .25″ thick when empty. The front of the OMW features a quick access pocket for fast access to your most used card or ID. The back has a heavy duty elastic band for securing cash. The center pouch of the wallet can hold up to ten credit cards which can lifted out of the pocket for access easily by the Quick-Draw Tab.

The wallet is double stitched at stress points for durability and made right here in USA. They will also be backed by the BRC Lifetime Warranty.

Check out the Oscar Mike Wallet at Black Rhino Concealment.

The Perfect Pack Launches Website

I’ve been following The Perfect Pack on Instagram for some time now because… My name is Matt and I am addicted to backpacks. Their Instagram feed is chocked full of great pictures and info. Now they are launching a new site that will feature reviews of all kinds of packs and related items. There are a number reviews published already.

Check out ThePerfectPack.com.

Partizan Knife Sale at Bastion – Save 50% Today Only

Bastion is offering their Partizan knives at 50% off today only. The Partizan is one of my favorite every day carry knives. It is extremely slim and light with classic lines but also very stout so it blurs the line between gentleman’s knife and tactical folder.

All three variations are on sale. Each one features a slightly recurve, drop point blade ground from D2 steel. The handle options include G10 with a liner lock, sculplted carbon fiber with a titanium frame lock, and a full titanium frame lock.

Check out the Partizan at Bastion Gear.

Sneak Peek: NextGen Warfighter Base Strap for Apple Watches

NextGen Warfighter is currently working toward releasing a new version of their Base Strap for Apple Watches. The current Base Strap Mk2 fits a wide variety of watches but does not fit the Apple Watch series. The features for the new Apple Watch compatible version will likely remain the same as the current Base Strap though there might be the addition of a hole in the strap that would allow the Apple Watch’s heart rate monitor to function.

Stay tuned for information on features and pricing. Check out the Base Strap Mk2 at NextGen Warfighter in the mean time.

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