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Archive | Knives

Combative Edge 2012 Model Knives

Combative Edge has completed a complete refresh of their line of knives for 2012. There are changes to all three models that they offer: the M1, the SR11, and the Salus.

The changes to the two folders, the M1 and SR11, are sweeping and impressive. These changes include a new framelock stabilizer, new pocket clip with more tension, an improved detent, and a locking pivot screw. Additionally, the SR11 will now come with a black G-10 scale instead of the original green micarta. Many of these changes are the result of direct input from end users.

The Salus will remain much the same with one major change. It will now be offered with a drop point blade shape instead of the original tanto.

There will be 100 M1’s, 100 SR11’s, and 200 SALUS knives so you will have to act fast. You can pre-order all of the 2012 models now from Combative Edge. You can find more information and picture on the Combative Edge Facebook page.

Gear Keeper Integrated Retractable Holsters

I am a big fan of dummy cording gear to myself and I am a big fan of Gear Keepers. I use their retractable lanyards to retain all kinds of important gear like a GPS unit when hiking. Their lanyards are easily the most robust and trustworthy retractable lanyards that I have used. Now, those retractable lanyards are available integrated into MOLLE pouches.

The Integrated Retractable Holsters come in three sizes: small, medium, and large. The small should work for smaller flashlights and the medium should work for larger lights, GPS devices, and maybe even a monocular. The large is designed to work with a radio. The pouches are also available in two colors, coyote brown and ACU camo.

If you have ever lost something important in the field, you will want to check out the Gear Keeper Integrated Retractable Holsters on GearKeeper.com.

New Images of the Emerson Knives/Multitasker Collaborations

Check out these new teaser images of the much anticipated multi-tools that are a result of a collaboration between Emerson Knives and Multitasker. These will be available for viewing at The Blade Show.

Emerson/Multitasker EDC

The “EDC” is a SAK (Swiss army knife) style tool that features the iconic Emerson Commander style blade with Emerson Opener (Wave). It has several integral tools as well as a detachable stand-alone pocket tool with a variety of uses.

Emerson/Multitasker EK-1 (tool selection may be different in the production version)

The “EK-1” has a multi-tool format. It features a blade reminiscent of the CQC-8, massive jaws, and a variety of tools. The tools have not been finalized yet.

I am a big fan of Emerson Knives and a big fan of Multitasker. I can’t imagine these being anything short of amazing. Consider yourself officially teased!

Becker Knife & Tool Tweeners

Ethan Becker knows a thing or two about designing affordable, durable, and useable knives. His Becker Knife & Tool (BK&T) designs have been made by numerous manufacturers over the years, the most recent being KA-BAR. Much of the original BK&T consists of larger knife designs but now KA-BAR and BK&T are introducing the “Tweeners”.

The term Tweeners refers to the smaller size of the new BK-15, BK-16, and BK-17 knives. These new offerings are roughly 3/4 the size of the original knives. They are still large enough to serve as field knives but they are far from being small – hence the nickname, Tweener. Like the other knives in the BK&T line, the Tweeners are ground from 1095 Cro-Van steel and their handles are made from a durable plastic. Each knife comes with a nylon sheath and two sets of handle scales, one black and one coyote brown.

The BK-15 features a 5.5″ upswept or trailing point style blade that is reminiscent of the venerable BK-5 Magnum Camp that was a Jerry Fisk/BK&T collaboration.

The BK-16 has a 4.375″ drop point blade. Drop points are renowned for their all-around usefulness.

The BK-17 has a 4.375″ clip point blade. The clipped point allows for a very fine tip and is reminscent of the classic KA-BAR USMC Combat Knife.

These knives are not on KA-BAR’s website yet, but they will be soon. They are already available at dealers.

Omnivore Blade-Works Anubis Redesign

I have had the pleasure of reviewing a couple of tomahawks from Omnivore Blade-Works in the past. I was very impressed with the designs, the durability, and the function.

Omnivore Blade-Works is now in the process of improving much of their current line of knives and tomahawks for 2012. The Anubis, Omnivore’s flagship tomahawk, is one of the products that will benefit from a design refresh.

The Anubis will now feature an enlarged guard to keep the user’s hand off of the sharpened edges of the head. It has a more hooked base of the handle to improve chopping performance. The 1095 steel of the older version has been replaced with .285″ thick O1 tool steel. It will be electroless nickel plated for extreme corrosion resistance. Like the previous model, it will be available with micarta handle slabs or a bare steel handle with cord-wrap. Cerakote is optional.

These are some serious tomahawks that can absorb and dish out some serious abuse. Check them out at Omnivore Blade-Work’s website.

Godspeed Tactical Universal Machete Sheath

Even the cheapest machetes can be versatile and efficient tools but they rarely come with a useful sheath. Finding a sheath that fits your machete can be hit and miss unless you live near a store that carries several that you can try. Unfortunately stores like that are very rare. Godspeed Tactical has a versatile solution that machete proponents will love – a universal machete sheath.

The sheath is formed from kydex and is purposely designed to allow it to carry machetes of varying shapes. It is available in two lengths that will cover most of the common machete lengths – one for shorter machetes (12-14”) and one for longer (15-18”). You can also add optional accessory pouches for carrying various small pieces of survival gear.

Godspeed Tactical also makes sheaths for specific machetes. Check out Godspeed Tactical’s website for more details.

Crosstac D-Belt II Tactical Belt

Some belts just hold your pants up. Some belts can hold up your pants and your gun. Then you have the new D-Belt II Tactical Belt from Crosstac which does both of those things and more.

The D-Belt II Tactical Belt features a Cobra Buckle and military grade webbing construction. There is a “D-Cut” poly stiffener sandwiched in the belt to add rigidity without bowing at the back of the belt. The result is a belt that looks pretty standard but there is more than meets the eye with this belt.

It also features a hidden pocket that allows you to discreetly carry some emergency cash and a hidden storage area designed to carry an included Boker Credit Card Knife as a discreet last ditch self-defense option. These features are integrated in such a way that you don’t have to use them if you choose and they won’t get in your way if you don’t use them.

Check out the D-Belt II Tactical Belt on the Crosstac website.

Review: TOPS Knives .230 Machete

If you have been reading this blog for very long, you know that I find machetes to be extremely versatile tools for the woods. Many people think of them as tools for the jungle only, but I can attest to the fact that they are right at home in many hard wood forests as well. Given my fondness for the machete, I jumped at the chance to review the Machete .230 from TOPS Knives.

Overview

The Machete .230 is ground from 1/8” thick 1095 steel. It is 22.5″ long overall with a 15.75″ blade. It features gray linen micarta handle scales with red spacers and a gray coating on the entire surface of the blade. The blade shape is somewhat unique. It has a double clip point that ends up making it look a bit like a narrow bull nose profile.

It was designed by a collaboration of Joe Flowers and Leo Espinoza. Joe is a noted survival expert and all around great guy. He is largely responsible for my use of machetes in the woods. Leo is a TOPS employee with a number of knife designs under his belt.

Handle

There are a few unique features that stand out about this handle design. The handle is what really makes this machete stand out from the crowd.

The handle is longer than a typical machete handle. It allows the user to choke up for fine work or slide their hand lower for chopping. The edge is ground down very close to the handle (unlike the large gap between handle and edge on most machetes) to enhance the detail cut ability of this machete. The end of the handle has a small protrusion to enhance the leverage during chopping and the ability to use the machete for quick snapping cuts.

The handle also features a unique lanyard system that is unlike anything that I have used before. It has 3 lanyard holes with a length of shock cord woven through them. This creates an ambidextrous lanyard that can be easily slipped over your hand or ignored all together without getting in the way. It worked quite well for me. In my opinion, a lanyard is an important safety feature on a machete, especially if you are working around other people.

Blade

The blade has a short saber grind that allows it to retain basically its full thickness over it’s entire length. At 1/8” thick, it is thicker than most but still manages to feel fairly lively.

The tip is clipped twice in such a way that it ends up looking like a bull nose machete but shorter from edge to spine. This gives it a very strong tip. Other than the double clip point, it is a pretty standard design and it certainly works.

Sheath

Most machetes do not come with a sheath. The ones that do come with a sheath usually come with a sheath that is obviously an afterthought. The Machete .230 sheath is actually pretty decent. The construction is sturdy and it is very functional. It is deep enough to retain the machete and has two fairly large pockets that can be used to carry small survival items or a sharpening stone. It also has strategically placed rivets to prevent the Machete .230 from cutting through the sheath.

Holding low on the handle for chopping.

Choking up for detail work

In Use

I put the Machete .230 through a series of tasks that realistically represent what you might use it for in the woods. The test included chopping both hard woods and springy vegetation, batoning  to split wood, fire prep, notching, limbing, truing, and plenty of general cutting chores. These are all tasks  that you might complete with a small knife and an axe or hatchet but that can be completed (within reason) with a quality machete.

The Machete slashed and chopped very well. It bites deeply in wood when you find its sweet spot and it is light and fast enough to slash springy vegetation very well (springy vegetation is the bread and butter of any machete). I was able to cleanly remove nearly 2” thick branches with a flick of the wrist. The edge was undamaged after hours of chopping on hard wood and a couple of quick passes on a Lansky puck was enough to return a working edge when it did become dull. I used the puck sharpener and finished the edge with a loaded strop in between test sessions.

Notching and fine cuts are a breeze with the Machete .230. The edge is ground to come very close to the handle which enhances the ability to control the edge and use leverage in the cuts that require it. I was able to do very precise notching and whittling. The machete easily minced up jute twine to use as tinder and I was also able to easily create very useful fuzz sticks (feather sticks).

I have always found machetes to be particularly useful for shelter building. They excel at processing the types and sizes of beams that you need to make most basic shelters. I found that the Machete .230 made short work of limbing beams. I could easily just flick the machete down the sides of a typical a-frame shelter beam and the small limbs seem to leap out of the way. It even makes a pretty handy draw knife in a pinch if you need to square a beam.

The coating on my sample is holding up quite well. Driving a blade through a log with a wooden baton tends be pretty tough on blade coatings. It has certainly scuffed but it is holding strong so far.

The handle design worked quite well but I could do without the grooves that are cut in the middle. I don’t notice them when I am choked up on the handle for detail work but, when chopping, they sit right where the machete tends to pivot on my index finger which does cause a bit of discomfort over time. Work gloves solved the issue but just removing the grooves might be a better fix.

The Machete .230 can’t replace an axe or hatchet in extremely cold hard wood climates and it wouldn’t be ideal for skinning a rabbit (it can be done) but in many cases it can replace both all by itself.  If you are anywhere from the desert, to the tropics, to the moderate hard wood forests, the machete will be a versatile tool for you. It excels at processing the wrist size and smaller wood that is most likely what you will be using in those climates.

Conclusion

The Machete .230 is a very, very nice machete that was obviously designed by people who use machetes. The handle allows multiple grips for different types of work, the blade is lively and useful, the materials are excellent, and the sharpened edge and functional sheath mean that this machete comes ready to hit the woods right out of the box. I like machetes and I love this one. The Machete .230 is a great tool.

Check out the Machete .230 on TOPSKnives.com.

Emerson Multi-Tool Renderings

One of my favorite knife makers, Emerson Knives, is collaborating with my favorite multi-tool maker, Multitasker Tools. The result is the upcoming Emerson Multi-tool and Emerson just released renderings of the new tool on their blog.

As you can see, the Emerson influence is strong in the Commander-like blade shape and the presence of the Emerson opener (wave). It is rare to find a multi-tool where the blade is the main attraction like it is with this tool.

Given the track record of both the companies involved in this tool, I suspect that it is going to be an awesome tool. You can see more pictures at the Emerson Knives Blog.

 

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