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Sneak Peek: Updated RMJ Tactical Shrike

When you picture an RMJ Tactical tomahawk in your mind, there is a good chance you picture the Shrike with its distinctive, drop forged construction. We reported months ago that the Shrike was going to see some changes and would be machined from billet rather than drop forged.

RMJ recently released a first look at the new machined Shrike (below). Everything that made the Shrike great is still intact. The thin tanto spike that easily fits inside the hasp of many padlocks is still there. The wicked sharpened beard is still in place. It also looks like RMJ used lightening cuts similar to other machined tomahawks in their line to preserve the Shrike’s balance.

RMJTactical.com

TOPS Knives – Amazon Rain Forest Proving Grounds

TOPS Knives may not send every prototype to the Amazon rain forest for testing but they do send more than a few. Joe Flowers, who has designed a number of knives for TOPS, also happens to run a venture called Bushcraft Global – a survival/bushcraft training business that gives students the opportunity to train along side locals in the Amazon rain forest. TOPS Knives has been closely aligned with Bushcraft Global and that partnership has produced opportunities for real world testing of prototype products.

If you have ever wondered what kind of testing TOPS does before bringing a knife to market, this video about TOPS Knives Yacare prototype can give you a taste.

TOPS Knives El Chete

TOPS previewed a number of new products this year at SHOT Show and their no holds barred chopper, El Chete, was among the most popular. This absolute brute of a knife isn’t for ultralight hikers. El Chete is now available directly from TOPS Knives and their dealers.

From TOPS Knives:

How does TOPS define destruction? El Chete. It has a wicked new blade finish called Acid Rain. The sandwiched Micarta handles fill the hand well and look outstanding too. The sheath is a clever out-the-back design that comes with either a spring steel clip or a leather dangler. On top of the aesthetics, TOPS president Leo Espinoza designed it to demolish wood as a chopper thanks to its heft and thick tang. If you’re in the market for a large knife, you’ve definitely found it.

El Chete at TOPSKnives.com

  • Overall Length: 17.5”
  • Blade Length: 12.0”
  • Cutting Edge: 11.38”
  • Blade Thickness: 0.25”
  • Blade Steel: 1095 RC 56-58
  • Blade Finish: Acid Rain
  • Handle Material: Sandwiched Black Canvas and Green Canvas Micarta
  • Knife Weight: 29.5oz
  • Weight w/ Sheath: 37.5oz
  • Sheath Material: Black Kydex
  • Sheath Clip: Spring Steel or Leather Dangler
  • Designer: Leo Espinoza
  • MSRP: $300

Review: GunfightersINC Kenai Chest Holster Gen 2

I’ve professed my appreciation of the Kenai Chest Holster from GunfightersINC on these pages before. It is a handy holster to have if you spend time in places with large, sharp toothed critters wearing gear like a backpack or hip waders that hinder traditional carry methods. It is, in my opinion, the most modern and best iteration of a classic guide holster… Then GunfightersINC went and changed it!

Lucky for us, they made it better.

Better Holsters Through Better Manufacturing

To understand the improvements in this holster, you have to understand a little bit about how kydex holsters are made. The kydex is heated until it becomes pliable, then it is pressed over a form of some kind and allowed to cool. The kydex (or similar material) then hardens as it cools, retaining the imprint of the form. That is the basic overview but the exact ways all those steps are accomplished has changed over the years.

On the original Kenai, the two holster halves where molded over the form with blocking in place for things like slide stop levers, extended barrels, or anything else that either needed to be accommodated or that would foul the draw stroke. The holster was molded in two halves, roughly equal in depth, and joined together to make an entire holster. At some point, the part of the holster that received the shoulder strap would be reheated (this sometimes shows as a shiny spot on the kydex) to be slightly reshaped to receive the strap. The holster body was finished by polishing edges, adjusting fit, etc. GunfightersINC turned out great holsters using these methods.

GunfightersINC is now improving their processes from top to bottom. They are now machining their own custom molds and using vacuum forming to create their holster bodies. All of the improvements to their holsters have been made possible by these changes and the design flexibility, control, and definition that they make possible.

Original on left, Gen 2 on right

Kenai Chest Holster Gen 2 Improvements

The first thing you will notice when you look at both holster bodies is that the Gen 2 version has much better definition – the lines are more crisp. That translates to a cleaner looking holster and, more importantly, it also translates to improved retention, a smoother draw stroke, and a more distinct click-in/click-out. This kind of definition is really only possible with modern vacuum forming.

When you dive a little deeper, you see improved blocking and molding. My Gen 2 holster body is molded for a Glock 17 so you see things like a channel that allows the slide stop to run all the way out of the holster without touching anything, the slide lock area is no longer molded creating a potential unwanted drag on the draw stroke, the magazine release is partially shielded to prevent accidental release, and the  retention pad in the trigger guard is large and made to a consistent depth.

If you dive deeper still, you’ll notice GunfightersINC taking full advantage of their new manufacturing processes to really get the most out of the Kenai Chest Holster. The accommodation of the shoulder strap is actually molded into the back plate of the holster. This saves a manufacturing step and creates a stronger, cleaner holster overall. Finally, the two halves of the Kenai area actually molded to different depths with the majority of the pistol being molded into the front panel of the holster. This allows the Kenai to lay flatter, closer, and more comfortably against the wearer.

Original on left, Gen 2 on right

Wrap Up

GunfightersINC didn’t just redesign a holster, they redesigned how they make the holster. The result is more control over the end product, easier accommodation of various options, and, most importantly, better holsters for the customer. You can expect to see these manufacturing improvements touching all the holster in the GunfightersINC line up.

See our review of the original Kenai Chest Holster for more information on its background and use. Check out GunfightersINC to learn more about the Kenai Chest Holster or purchase your own.

Crowdfund This: Exotac nanoSPARK

Exotac already has a huge feather in their crowdfunding cap. Their Kickstarter campaign to launch the fireSLEEVE was a huge success. Now they are looking to catch lightning in a bottle a second time with a new crowdfunding campaign for the nanoSPARK.

The nanoSPARK is functionally similar to spark wheels included in many survival kits going back to the Vietnam war era and before. It is very much like a lighter without a reservoir for lighter fluid. The user turns the gnurled wheel which grinds against a flint, creating sparks. It’s a proven method for creating sparks in a wide variety of environmental conditions.

Exotac’s penchant for bomb-proof design, understanding of usability, and knack for building in slick features is what sets the nanoSPARK apart from other sparking devices. The nanoSPARK is machined from aluminum and has a look that fits right into the rest of the Exotac line. It is large enough to hold, small enough to carry, and weighs only .6 oz. It has on board, water-proof storage for tinder (supplied with tinder) and makes use of common lighter flints.

Check out the nanoSPARK on Kickstarter

PHLster Flatpack High-Viz Deployment Tabs

PHLster’s Flatpack tourniquet holder continues to learn new tricks. Its latest is the addition of accessory High-Viz Deployment Tabs. These red, laser cut Hypalon tabs come in kit form consisting of 3 tabs and replacement shock cord. The tabs serve as a visual indicator of the life saving payload carried by the Flatpack and act as an aid for releasing the tourniquet from the carrier.

They can be strung onto the carrier in at least two ways: 1 on each shock cord retention loop or 1 connecting both shock cord retention loops so that both can be pulled at the same time. You may even find other ways to use them.

Check out the PHLster Flatpack High-Viz Deployment Tabs

TIHK HK2 – The Tiny Inconspicuous Handcuff Key Receives an Upgrade

TIHK, originators of the Tiny Inconspicuous Handcuff Key, just released the details of an upgrade to their namesake product. The new TIHK HK2 retains the small size, non-ferrous construction, and integral clip that made the original TIHK so great.

However, the HK2 also boasts two major improvements over the original. Teeth have been added under the clip to ensure that it is stays in place. The integrated clip and it’s ability to hide the TIHK in places that make sense (like behind your back on a belt loop) is part of what made the original TIHK great so improving this feature makes good sense.

The second improvement comes in the form of some changes to the key portion of the TIHK that allow it to work more easily with a wider variety of cuffs. TIHK specifically references the HK2 working better with Peerless style cuffs. My original TIHKs can be made to work with the ASP cuffs but it was difficult. It will be interesting to see if the new HK2 version offers an improvement in function with ASP cuffs.

Check out the TIHK HK2 at TIHK.co

TOPS Knives Tracker Digger

What happens when you cross the venerable Smatchet with the iconic Tracker knife design? Well, you get something that probably looks a lot like TOPS Knives new Tracker Digger.

Those of us who use knives usually take care to ensure the knife stays out of the dirt and rocks where it will inevitably be dulled or even chipped. The Tracker Digger is designed to be plunged into the earth beneath your feet and shrug it off. Feel free to chop a stubborn weed out of your garden, limb a pole close to the ground, or dig a fire pit. It wants to chop, dig, and root around. It might even like it.

Check out the new TOPS Tracker Digger at TOPSKnives.com

Specs:

  • Overall Length: 10.5”
  • Blade Length: 4.75”
  • Cutting Edge: 4.75”
  • Secondary Cutting Edge: 4.75”
  • Blade Thickness: 1/4″
  • Blade Steel: 1095 RC 56-58
  • Blade Finish: Black Traction Coating
  • Handle Material: Black Linen Micarta
  • Knife Weight: 18oz
  • Weight w/ Sheath: 24.5oz
  • Sheath Material: Black Ballistic Nylon
  • Sheath Clip: Molle Backing
  • Designer: TOPS Team

There’s a TQ Holder for That – RE Factor Tactical

SOF-Ts, CATs, RATs… There’s a TQ holder for that. RE Factor Tactical created a video that shows the variety of tourniquet holders that they offer and the basic applications of each one.

TQ Holders at RE Factor Tactical

Wndsn XPD Distance Calculator

I highly suggest you take a look at Wndsn XPD. They currently offer a number of products including their very slick Distance Meters which are trigonometry based with no moving parts and no electronics. These cards allow the user to make use of a specific length of cord, a scale printed on the card, and an object of known size to determine distance (instructions).

This has obvious applications for outdoor pursuits but if you are a precision shooter, it probably sounds very interesting to you too. Wndsn XPD is currently developing a new version of their Distance Meter and two shooting specific tools (one is pictured below). The upcoming shooting calculator will allow the user to simply stretch a string or straight edge across scales for known size and MIL or MOA reticle reading to determine distance.

Check out Wndsn XPD

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