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Review: Bogota Entry Tool Set

The Bogota Entry Tool Set is one of the coolest (and most useful) gadgets that I have come across in a long time. It is basically a lock pick set that has been reduced down to its most essential parts, seemingly without loss of function. The set is a marvel of functional and ergonomic design.

Bogota Entry Tools with key for scale.

The set consists of two items: a Bogota rake and a feeler pick. Both the rake and pick are bent and designed to function as tension devices. When you are using the rake, you can use the pick as your tension device and vice versa. The pick and rake are designed to nest together which makes an already compact pick set, even easier to carry. They can be held together using the spring from a click-able pen and pinned in a bag or clothing using a safety pin. The set is available in spring steel, stainless steel, and titanium. All three models are hand made and are highly polished which allows that to move effortlessly in the lock. The particular set that I have is the stainless model that I purchased from the good folks at ITS Tactical.

Bogota Entry Tools nest together and can be held in place with the spring from a pen.

I am not an all-star lock pick. I have only been practicing in my free time over several days. Yet, even I have had great results with this set – especially with the rake. Raking is not quite as refined as traditional picking but it works and the Bogota rake works especially well. When raking you must learn the most effective ways to move the rake, you must gain a practiced feel for how to tension the lock, and you need a well designed rake. So, while I said it was not as refined, it is certainly something that must be learned and practiced. I must admit though, that once you learn to rake, it will be harder to put the time into learning to pick since raking is so effective. The simplicity and effectiveness of the set make it perfect for a novice like me.

On the other hand, the spartan and compact nature of the set will also make it attractive t0 experienced pickers who need a simple, light weight, and effective set to keep on their person. They will appreciate the shape of the handles and how it lends itself to the motion required to rake a lock and to excellent feedback. The experienced picker will also appreciate the delicate nature of the pick and rake’s design. The rake is especially ingenious in the way it spans a 5 pin lock.

The tail end of both tools in the Bogota Entry Tool set can be used as a tension device.

Typically when you pick a lock, you set some light tension with a tension wrench and then manipulate each pin individually to the shear line. However, when raking a lock, all the pins are manipulated at the same time. You set light tension and insert the rake, then shake the rake in and out/up and down. Once you have a practiced hand this technique can be used to bypass locks very quickly.

The bottom line is that this set is compact, easy to carry, well made, ingeniously designed, and they work extremely well. Once you get the raking motion and a feel for tension, you should be able to bypass nearly any pin and tumbler lock with just these two tools. If you know nothing about lock picking, this set won’t make you a lock picking superman. However, with practice, it is very effective.

Like the stainless Bogotas? Check out our review of the Bogota Titanium Entry Set.

Purchase your own set at ITS Tactical or SerePick.

DisclaimerJerking the Trigger does not advocate using these for anything illegal. Never pick a lock that the owner has not given permission for you to pick. Check your local laws before carrying these tools.

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New Maxpedition Mini Tactical Chest Rig

The new Maxpedition Mini Tactical Chest Rig was shown at this year’s SHOT Show and now it is available for purchase. It is another Maxpedition/Extreme Gear Labs (Eggroll, EGL) collaboration. I suspect that this will be a big seller. It has a lot of features that I find desirable in a chest rig – light weight (12.8 ounces!), simple 3 mag design, plenty of PALS webbing (not that you have to fill it), and wide straps without padding (which I prefer). The price makes this especially attractive at less than $60.

Check out the Mini Tactical Chest Rig at Maxpedition’s website.

Protect Your Knife Rights

Join Knife Rights Today! - www.KnifeRights.org

You have probably all heard about groups like the NRA and GOA. You are likely very familiar with the great work that they do to preserve our right to keep and bear arms. However, you may not be familiar with Knife Rights and their work. Knife Rights is a advocacy organization much like the NRA that focuses on preserving your right to carry an essential tool – the knife.

Consider joining today!

Issues with the US Palm AK30 Magazines

Don’t put your old reliable Eastern European metal mags or Bulgarian Waffles in storage just yet. There have been some teething issues with the new US Palm AK30 mags. I don’t think it is time to give up on these mags yet, but there have been some major issues in the form of cracked feed lips.

You can’t help but root for a US manufacturer of AK products. Hopefully, I will be able to report here soon that a new improved mag with all the bugs worked out is available. We are pulling for you US Palm.

AK Matt at AK47 Talk has been covering the issues HERE and HERE.

TOOOL Credit Card Pickset

Lock picking can be a very useful skill to have. It requires practice, finesse, practice, the right tools, and more practice. You can’t buy practice or finesse but you can buy tools. TOOOL has designed a particularly clever set of lock picking tools called the TOOOL Credit Card Pickset.

This clever credit card sized piece of metal contains an entire pickset complete with picks, rakes, and tension wrenches (the frame). There are two versions which are both available at the link. V2.0 looks like the pick of the liter.

DisclaimerJerking the Trigger does not advocate using these for anything illegal. Never pick a lock that the owner has not given permission for you to pick. Check your local laws before carrying these tools.

Good Stuff From Other Blogs

Beyond “The Chart” – Vuurwapen Blog – 87GN hit this one out of the park. “The Chart” is a great resource but it was never intended to tell the whole story. There are other factors involved that you should consider. This is a must read.

Knot Series – ITS Tactical – ITS Tactical shares a new knot every week. They show how to tie it and offer suggestions on how to use it. The series on stringing a tarp shelter has been especially useful to me.

The Pros and Cons of MREs –  ITS Tactical Navigating the world of MREs can be tricky at times, especially with all of the commercial makers out there claiming to be just like the real issued MREs. ITS Tactical recently posted an article that may be of some help when trying to determine which, if any, MREs to purchase.

HSH Fighting: The Sand in the Face – Death Valley Magazine – This article is a good reminder that the handful of sand (or whatever else is nearby) isn’t just a dramatic plot device employed by Jean-Claude Van Damme movies – it actually works.

Buy a Knife, Cure Cancer – PistolTraining.com – Todd Greene at PistolTraining.com is one of the premier handgun trainers in the country. He is also a cancer survivor. He has collaborated with SKD Tactical (a great source for tactical gear) to bring you a limited edition Zero Tolerance knife. Part of the proceeds will go to the LIVESTRONG Foundation.

Tactical Preschool 54 – The Things Worth Believing In – I hate stairs! Tgace has the lowdown on two man stair clearing technique.

Dwell Time and You

If you own an AR-15 or you are thinking of purchasing one, you should make yourself familiar with dwell time. Dwell time is simply the amount of time that the bullet spends in the barrel after it has passed the gas port and before it exits the muzzle end of the barrel. Too much time here results in an over gassed system which can cause accelerated wear and tear. Too little dwell time can cause short stroking (especially in cold weather). Both situations are bad.

Barrel length, gas system length, and gas port size are key to determining dwell time. An understanding of these factors is especially important when you are looking at 16″ and 18″ barrels. Many people choose barrels based on looks or style without truly understanding the consequences of the choices that they are making.

The military uses carbine length gas systems (about 7″) on 14.5″ barrels and rifle length gas systems (about 12″) on 20″ barrels for a reason. Carbine gas systems on 16″ barrels may be less than ideal since they are often over gassed. Straying outside these norms can have a negative impact on your reliability. Midlength gas systems serve the purpose of shortening dwell time and over gassing on 16″ barrels. Arm yourself with as much information as you can before choosing a barrel!

Here are two excellent discussions of dwell time, its determining factors, what it might affect, and how to tune it:

How the AR-15 Direct Impingement gas system works – by Randall at AR15Barrels.com

Carbine vs. Mid-Length Gas System on a 16″ Barrel [2010-01-10] – by USMCo3 at 03 Design Group

Bogota Entry Tools Available Now at ITS Tactical

I have been waiting for these ever since I saw the review on ITS Tactical. The Bogota Entry Tools are available now. For $30-35 you get an innovative, quality, handmade entry tool set and you support a great blog – it’s a win-win.

Bogota Entry Tools on ITS Tactical

Tactical Handyman – PJ Cotton Ball Fire Starters

Starting a fire when conditions are less than favorable can be a real challenge. Successful fire starting starts with training but a having the right gear certainly helps. What ever gear you choose should give you a high likelihood of being able to start a fire across a broad spectrum of conditions. One such piece of gear is Petroleum Jelly Soaked Cotton Balls (PJCB).

PJ Cotton Balls work like a candle. When they are lit, the flame will consume all of the petroleum jelly before it consumes the cotton. The cotton is acting as a wick and, conveniently, it also happens to light very easily. The PJCB will continue to burn for several minutes which will hopefully give you enough time to build a sustainable fire. As a bonus, you will find that the petroleum jelly has other uses like moisturizing cracked hands or lubricating stuck sections of a fishing rod.

Materials:

  • Cotton balls (raid the wife’s make up drawer, there are probably tons of them in there)
  • Petroleum jelly (AKA Vaseline)
  • Storage container (film canisters work well)

How to Make PJCBs:

  1. Locate a small container that seals securely. The container should be small enough to fit in your survival/EDC kit. It must seal securely because PJCBs can be a bit messy.
  2. Rub the cotton balls in the container of petroleum jelly until the outside is coated thickly. Some people like to warm the petroleum jelly so it permeates the cotton ball but I prefer to leave the inside of the cotton ball somewhat dry. More on this later.
  3. Place as many cotton balls as you can in the container. It is that easy.

How to Use PJCBs:

  1. Do all fire prep before you light anything! Gather tinder, kindling, and fuel sized pieces of burnable material. Have them sorted and ready. You may even want to make some fuzz sticks (feather sticks) with your knife.
  2. Rip open a PJCB. This will expose the dry inner fibers of cotton. The dry fibers can easily be lit with a spark (such as from a ferro rod/fire steel) or a flame. They can sometimes even be light by focusing light on them with a magnifying glass. You may not need to use an entire PJCB.
  3. Light the PJCB using your preferred method. I like to use a ferro rod.
  4. Add your flammable material starting with tinder, then kindling, then fuel. Be careful not to add the material too quickly or you will smother the flame.

Be sure you practice these techniques before you actually need them. This is a VERY easy way to start a fire if everything is done correctly. You can light several fires from just one film canister full of PJCBs. The Tactical Handyman is always ready!

Condor 14" and 18" El Salvador Machete in Carbon Steel

Condor Knife and Tool is Imacasa’s premium line that is made for the US market. Most machetes come with no sheath, a rough handle that requires some fitting, and an unsharpened edge. Condor machetes come with a leather sheath or have one available for purchase, fitted handles, and an amazing polished convex edge. They are the Cadillac of machetes.

My favorite machete in the Condor line is the El Salvador. It is a great all around machete largely due to its shape and thickness. It has a nearly straight spine with a slight upsweep, plenty of belly on the cutting edge, a great handle, and it is thick enough to the harder woods that are found in the northern USA while still remaining somewhat light and flexible. This is an exceedingly tough machete. Last year, Condor introduced the El Salvador machete in carbon steel, which made a tough machete even tougher (previously it was available in their excellent 420HC steel, which is the perfect stainless steel for a machete). I purchased a carbon steel version immediately and have loved it ever since.

This year they introduced a 14″ version which I love even more. For most of what I do when I am hiking or camping, I do not need the 18″ version. A shorter, handier machete packs lighter and is more than sufficient for fire prep, shelter building, and other tasks. The 14″ version has a bit more upsweep at the spine which gives it a very “weight forward” feel in the hand. This also really helps its chopping performance. However, the extra upsweep does preclude the use of the excellent plastic GI sheaths that I prefer. I may ground just a little of the point off the machete off so that it will work with my sheaths.

MacheteSpecialists.com is my preferred machete source and they are the only source of the 14″ version. You may also want to watch for an upcoming version of the El Salvador machete with a carbon steel blade and a micarta handle. If you are looking for a machete that is versatile, reasonably priced, and ready to use right out of the box, then check out the Condor El Salvador Machete.

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