These new Tactical Tailor Shemaghs look pretty nice. Rather than the typical check pattern, these have the Tactical Tailor logo woven into the fabric. Shemaghs can be pretty versatile gear but they aren’t exactly low profile. I have seen them used to keep cool, keep warm, keep brass off the neck on the range, as a towel, etc.
The Down Range Gear PALS Belt Platform looks like a great way to adapt PALS/MOLLE pouches to a regular belt. This has some really nice features. I especially like the non-slip material on the backing.
Check it out at the Down Range Gear Blog.
You already know why you should carry a quality flashlight and you have already dropped some serious coin on the best light that you could afford. So, now what? A lot of guys know how to maintain their firearms. They may even know how to maintain the knife that they carry clipped in their pocket. But how many Regular Guys know how to maintain their flashlights? That’s right, that piece of absolutely essential life saving gear that you carry so you can see in the dark needs some occasional maintenance.
The o-rings, threads, contacts, and mechanical parts all need some attention once in a while. Parts need to be cleaned and lubed to promote the best function of the light. You may want to consider doing the following procedure at least once or twice a year if you are carrying the same light everyday. If you do this maintenance regularly, you will increase the likelihood that your light will be ready when you need it.
- A flashlight
- Light oil (NO WD-40!!! CLP works pretty well and you probably already have some)
- Lithium grease (I like the dielectric bulb grease that many auto parts stores sell.)
- Cotton swabs
- Rubbing Alcohol
- Replacement o-rings (as necessary)
- Disassemble your flashlight down to its major components. In most cases this will be tail cap, bezel (or head), and body.
- Inspect the o-rings. There will likely be an at least 1 o-ring at each sections of male threads. Replace them if they are cut, torn, or broken. This will keep the light water resistant and pocket lint resistant.
- Wipe the threads and o-rings with a rag to remove most of the old lubrication. Then use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to thoroughly clean the threads and o-ring. Remember, with some lights, the threads are an electrical contact. They should be kept clean for best performance.
- Apply a light coating of grease to the threads and the o-ring. O-rings should always be greased. This will make the light more water resistant and protect the o-rings from wear and tear.
- Clean any electrical contacts with rubbing alcohol soaked cotton swab. This will help clean any oxidization from the contact that may hinder performance. You may also want to look into a product like Deoxit if you have a lot of oxidization on the contacts.
- Place a drop or two of oil down into the mechanism of your tail cap and work the switch a few times. This is especially important on “clicky” style tail caps since they have more moving parts. The mechanism can often benefit from some lubrication and cleaning just like any other mechanical object. I usually just use CLP because I have plenty of it and it contains cleaners as well as lubricants. The switch (tail cap) is just about the only moving part in a flashlight. If your light is going to fail, it will happen at the switch. Do not neglect this.
Don’t forget the more obvious maintenance tasks. Replace your batteries at least once every six months, even if you don’t think you need it. This is akin to doing a tactical reload on your handgun after use and before you holster it. You want you light in the best condition possible because you don’t know what will happen next. If your still using a flashlight with an incandescent bulb, you may want to consider swapping it out once a year for the same reasons. Switching to a newer LED based light is an even better idea.
Taking care of your flashlight really isn’t rocket science. The whole procedure will probably less than 10 minutes. That is time well spent.
Many people own AR’s, but unfortunately don’t know the first thing about the history, functionality or even what spare parts to have on hand to ensure success…
Being a fan of the “Jason Bourne” movies I had high hopes for the coming movie Green Zone. Those hopes began to waver with the release of the first trailers depicting an Army Warrant Officer being “off reservation” and engaged (in a hostile manner) with American SOF. I saw the movie this weekend, and was pleasantly surprised that Matt Damon’s character at least did not directly kill any other American Service Members, because well…he was the hero, you couldn’t have the hero do that, right?
One of the most often overlooked aspects of your training regimen is conflict avoidance. We train and train on how to resolve a violent encounter in the most efficient and (in certain cases such as an attack on principle in a High threat environment, or when someone is trying to kill you in) the Most violent manner possible to end the threat for our clients, our teams and ourselves…
Here is a slick item from OC Tactical: Ear Pro Covers
From OC Tactical:
Got another large batch of multicam covers out tonight so some of you guys that have been waiting awhile should be hearing from Troy soon. For those of you who haven’t seen these yet there’s 3 different sizes to fit either the Peltor Comtacs, Sordin Supreme Pro-X, or the Sordin Supreme Pro. These are made with coated 330 cordura instead of clothing weight material for better wear resistance and I use foam backed Dri-lex on the underside for a little added comfort and moisture wicking capability. The binding on the edges is done with double folded cordura instead of webbing and a 5″ piece of loop can be added on the top for a nametape. They’re currently available in AOR1, AOR2, Multicam, and ACU. Other patterns are also available but require the use of a heavier weight cordura. I’m not currently taking any orders directly for these. All orders must go through “capntroy” on Lightfighter. So far the feedback on these has been great and one even showed up on the cover of the April issue of SWAT magazine.
Show your independent American spirit with gear from the Gadsden and Culpeper shop.
I came across this store several years ago and filed it away in my favorites. Recently, when I was cleaning out my favorites folder, I came across them again and noticed they have redesigned their site and have several new products. The t-shirts and patches are especially nice. Who wouldn’t want a Gadsden flag stuck to the Velcro panel on their chest rig or backpack!?!?
This is the first in what I hope will become a series of interviews with those who are making incredible gear for Regular Guys and Regular Guy pursuits. It is important to support these small business and it is important to know who is behind them. If you can trust the gear maker, you can trust the gear.
Ray Laconico is a good friend of mine and an excellent knife maker. He has been featured in Tactical Knives magazine and is getting to be very well known for his straight forward, modern designs. His knives are not exercises in design only; they are meant to be used. I am honored to have him as my first guest on Jerking The Trigger.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I was born on January 25, 1974 on the island of Cebu in the Philippines. My family moved to the U.S. in 1982. I’ve been married to my wife for 11 years and I have a 21 year old stepdaughter. We live in Visalia, CA along with our dog “Bear”. I’m a full time knife maker and I work out of my home garage. I have a very minimal shop with no more than about $3,000 worth in equipment.
What did you do before you started making knives?
I’ve been an artist all my life. I used to draw and paint landscapes, portraits, people, wildlife and just about everything else. I was always good at it but I could never fit in with the “artist” crowd. My first real job after high school was at a big law firm in downtown Los Angeles. The job was so “not for me” that we moved to Visalia in 2001 to escape with no real plans and ended up starting a cleaning business. Meanwhile, I’ve always been interested in making knives so I made them as a hobby in my free time.
Why did you start making knives?
I’ve been interested in knives ever since I can remember as a kid. When I was old enough to buy knives, I started collecting them. As we all know, it can get pretty expensive. Then I thought, why not try to make knives instead? I’ve always been good at making things. I made my first knife around 2001. I made about 3 or 4 knives per year just to give them away. I continued to get better skills and better equipment and by 2005, I started selling them. By the summer of 2006, I was a full time maker.
Many knife makers are also knife users. I know you really enjoy the outdoors. What or who are your influences as a knife maker?
I have to admit, as a kid, I got interested in knives after the Rambo movies! Later it was Crocodile Dundee! As an adult and in knife making, my first influence is probably seeing the works of some of the ABS makers and their big bowies. In the last 2 or 3 years, my influences have been the wilderness and survival guys who have turned my style into the simple and practical user knives that I’ve done. In the past couple of months however, I’ve been really influenced by my first and only real teacher and mentor, ABS Mastersmith Mike Vagnino. He has turned me yet into another new direction; slipjoint folders and hopefully liner locks next!
How much influence do your customers/users have on your work?
During the last 3 years or so, almost everything I’ve done is because of my customers. If I’m not doing a custom order, I’m doing what I think my customers would want to buy. Once in a while, I’ll do a customer’s design that turns out to be a hit and end up doing a whole bunch of orders of that knife. The HWK was my all time biggest seller. I made so many of that knife that I got sick of it! My target crowd was always the outdoorsmen who want a nice usable and practical cutting tool – a tool that will cut well and still look and feel good. Once in a while, I’ll do something different like a bowie or fighter but it’s not very often.
Your designs are always so crisp and modern. The designs seem so simple, but I know that the simplest designs often take the most work to perfect. Can you talk us through how you design a knife?
I usually just keep in mind what I think will cut well and be nice to hold. If you get those two things you’ll always end up with a simple, yet good looking design. I truly believe that simple designs are the ones that work the best as a tool. Edge geometry is also VERY important.
You are known for your incredible precision, fit, and finish. What drives you to achieve that level of quality and are you actually a knife making robot?
As a former knife collector, I would always look at the fit and finish of the knives that I buy. I always sought after knives that were well crafted. Even if it’s just a user I still wanted it to be close to perfect (a perfect knife does not exist). I guess I just want to make a knife that I would be happy to receive if I was the one buying it. I also price my knives accordingly. I ask myself, “Would I be happy if I paid this much for this knife?” As for being a robot, the answer is no. I am not a robot. I am actually a cyborg. I am living and breathing flesh but some parts of me are mechanical where they are needed for precision work.
Do you take more pride when your knives are used or when they are collected?
Definitely when they are used. However, many of my customers are collectors who also use their knives. I don’t think very many of my knives are sitting on display. Maybe some of my earlier works are but I think most of my knives are going to collectors who use their knives.
You are typically known for your fixed blades. Lately, you have been making several slip joint folding knives. What sort of folders can we expect to see coming from you in the future?
Yes, I’ve been known pretty much solely for my fixed blades but I think I’m going in the direction of folders from this point of my career. I’m going to be making a liner lock hopefully later this year. I want to take myself to the next level. I want to be a better knife maker by gaining more skills and knowledge.
If you could have a knife from any knife maker throughout history, who would it be?
This is something that I probably have to spend more time thinking about but right now, the knives that come to mind are an original Jimmy Lile “First Blood” knife or maybe the big knife that was carried by Jim Bowie.
What is the best way for someone who is interested in owning one of your knives to get their hands on one?
Because I want to develop my skills in making folders, I’m not taking orders for now but I’m sure I will in the near future. Meanwhile, I should have some knives for sale every now and then in the for sale forum on Bladeforums. Also, my knives often pop up for sale second hand on Bladeforums.
Tomorrow (03/24/2010) will bring the the first of the Regular Guy Sessions (RGS). The Regular Guy Sessions will be interviews with people who are part of the pursuits that you are interested in as a reader of Jerking the Trigger. The first RGS will be an interview with well known knife maker Ray Laconico.
On Friday (03/26/2010), I will roll out the latest in the Tactical Handyman series. This installment will be about maintaining an extremely important piece of gear – your flashlight!
Stay tuned to Jerking the Trigger!
Vltor Weapons Systems has announced that they have reached an amicable agreement with Magpul…
There is no golden conex full of high speed low drag toys for most contractors working the mean streets of Baghdad or taking on the Mountain Apes in the crags of some Hindu Kush type shithole, but there are gems out there if you look hard enough. The FN FAL is just such a gem given you are lucky enough to score one in your AO…