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Battle Arms Development Ambi Safety Selector

This is a pretty clever new take on the AR-15 safety selector. The Battle Arms Development, Inc. Ambi Safety Selector is an ambi selector that allows the user to choose between several different sizes and shapes of selector lever on both sides of the rifle.

Click to enlarge.

There are good reasons to have an ambi selector even if you are a right handed. For instance, you may have to switch to your weak side in order to clear a corner or you may lose full or partial use of your strong hand. The nice thing about this lever is that you could put a short or slim lever on the side that you do not typically use so that it is out of your way or you could put a larger lever on your weak side to make it easier for your weak hand to manipulate.

If I were to install one of these, I would give the screws a good dose of Loc-Tite and I would suggest that you do as well. Screws always make me nervous and they certainly could be a downside to gear like this. Shooters should always weigh the pros and cons carefully if they ever choose to replace a simple part with a more complicated one.

Bargain Knives

This will be not an exhaustive list by any stretch of the imagination, nor is it a list of cheap knives. My intention is to make a list of knives that I have owned/tested that are a good value. For the purposes of this article, value will be defined as “delivering a lot of function for a fair price.” Some knives might be a bargain at $10 and others might cost over $100 but still be a great value.

In the first installment of this series we will cover fixed blades. We will cover folders at a later date.

Fixed Blades:

Becker Knife and Tool (BK&T) – The entire BK&T line is an excellent value. These knives are made from tough carbon steel, have utility based designs, and are priced very attractively.

Mora Knives – Moras are well known in the knife community. They are available in a multitude of configurations in stainless or carbon steel. They feature a “scandi” grind which may take some getting used to for some users. This particular grind excells at working wood which is why they are popular as “bushcraft”/survival knives. Most Moras cost $8-15.

Ka-bar TDI Line – The TDI line represents an excellent value in the self defense/back up knife role. You may want to look into a custom sheath since the factory sheath may not be ideal.

Emerson Perrin La Griffe – The Perrin La Griffe is a timeless classic in the self defense/back up knife role. It offers compact size and excellent retention. It also comes with a well made and versatile kydex sheath. These can sometimes be picked up for as little as $65.

Fallkniven F1 – The Fallkniven F1 is a classic all around field knife. It has a well deserved reputation for being bull strong thanks to the use of a VG-10 laminate steel. It features a convex edge that cuts very well. It is also available with a number of decent sheath choices. If you shop around these can be picked up for around $100.

Condor Knife and Tool – Condor makes a wide variety or machetes, knives, and other tools. They are all well made and all reasonably priced even though they are some of the most expensive production machetes you will find. They are some of the few machetes that actually come ready to use (great handles that don’t need fitting and polished convex edges). Their knives are less known but they are excellent utilitarian designs. Most of the knife designs can be had for less than $20. These are an amazing value.

Pick of the Litter…

ESEE Knives/RAT Cutlery – These knives offer an excellent value. They are not the least expensive option on the list but, in my opinion, they offer the most function for the dollar. I am not aware of a warranty that is the equal of ESEE’s warranty. It is the best warranty in the business. You will not find knives with better sheaths out of the box. On top of all of that Mike Perrin and Jeff Randall are great folks.

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

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