Review: Kizer Beleiter XL

Lots and lots of blade in a super slim, easy-to-carry package… That’s what has always drawn me to the Begleiter series. That is also what drew me to the Begleiter XL, the subject of this review. I’ve owned 3 knives in this series and I keep coming back.


View the full specs at The highlights are listed below:

  • Overall Length: 9″/229mm
  • Opener: Thumb Stud & Flipper
  • Blade Style: Drop Point
  • Blade Length: 3.91″/99mm
  • Blade Thickness: 0.13″/3.2mm
  • Blade Material: 154CM
  • Handle Length: 5.12″/130mm
  • Handle Material: Micarta
  • Pocket Clip: Tip-Up, Right or Left
  • Weight: 5.06oz./144g

Observations from Use

As I mentioned earlier, the Begleiter series is characterized by designs that minimize width and maximize blade length. That is what I have always appreciated about the series and why I have owned several. The Begleiter XL leans into that design ethos even more aggressively. It packs a nearly 4″ blade into package that is very slim and therefore very pocketable. So, the bottom line is that if need a larger blade for EDC that is still easy to carry, check out the Begleiter XL or the rest of the series.

All my other Begleiters have been liner locks. This review sample Begleiter XL has a button lock which is a welcomed finger-safe locking option and very fidgety. In my experience, Kizer is doing button locks better than most. Their button locks lock up strong (passed multiple spine whacks out of the box and after a few weeks of carry) and have a slightly sticky/clicky feel that I like in a button lock.

As long as we are talking about what Kizer does well, it has been my experience that Kizer has some of the best micartas in the game. The lined micarta used on this Begleiter XL looks amazing and feels amazing which is what I have come to expect from Kizer. The finishes on their micartas are top notch.

The action on the Begleiter XL is great. The long blade definitely helps, but this knife swings open like a rocket and falls shut the moment the lock is depressed. Kizer manages to get achieve a very strong and crisp detent from their button locks. As a result, both the flipper tab and thumb stud actions are tuned very, very well.

The blade on the Begleiter XL has everything I like in a blade. The tall, primary flat grind tapers down to a very thin edge. The drop point is strong, precise, and usable thanks to the swedge grind. It also has a long, subtle distal taper that ensures that the belly part of the blade slices extremely aggressively.

There are two things I would change if I had my way. First, I would love to see some texture on the button lock for no other reason than I just like that texture as a tactile index point. Second, it would be nice if the flipper tab was just a little more compact. It is shaped well enough that you can actually grip the knife over it, which I like, but it would be great if it was just a bit more compact.

Wrap Up

I am going to repeat it, if you like big, easy-to-carry blades, the Begleiter series and the Begleiter XL will be right up your alley. The materials are great, the action is top-notch, and I really like the cutting performance.

Begleiter Series at

Begleiter XL at (35% off as of the time of this writing)


Review: Eberlestock Bando Bag XL

I recently reviewed the Eberlestock Bando Bag after using it for several months. In that review, I mentioned that I liked it so much that I was looking forward to purchasing the newer Bando Bag XL and spending time with that. Well, I’m glad to say the new Bando Bag XL has been great. In fact, I think this is the one I would recommend for most people.

The Bando Bag XL has basically all the features of the original Bando Bag with the addition of a tourniquet holder (more on this later) and more room. Both of those additions make the XL more useful to me. The layout and organization features are similar otherwise. There is a front slot pocket with zipper closure, a main compartment with zipper closure that also includes an internal mesh organization pocket and two internal slot pockets, and finally the loop-lined quick-access compartment for carrying a firearm.

Every compartment in the Bando Bag XL is larger. The slot pocket can now fit a full size smart phone in a case which is a game changer because it frees up even more space in the main compartment. The main compartment is cavernous enough to carry my packable windshirt/light rain shell. The quick-access compartment can fit a full size handgun including some full size handguns with a light and RDS installed. Eberlestock sized and shaped this bag very well because, as much as it fits, it still does not look like an overly large bag. They nailed it.

The tourniquet (TQ) holder surprised me with how clever it is. It is located directly inside the main compartment and consists of a simple elastic loop affixed to the “top” flap. I have tested it with CATs and my preferred RMT with no issues. It should fit just about anything. The genius of this location is threefold. First, it is straightforward to access – just pull the main zipper. Second, when you lift the top flap, it naturally gets out of the way of everything else you have in the main compartment. Third and finally, the TQ acts like a structural rib that helps the main compartment hold its shape making the bag carry better with a TQ in place.

So, should you go with the Bando Bag or Bando XL? Both are hard to beat in terms of price, especially when they go on sale. The Bando Bag is more affordable and well-suited to carrying subcompact handguns. If your use case is limited to exercise or you will only be carrying something like a G43 or small-frame wheelgun, this could be good for you. However, I think most people would be better served just going with the Bando Bag XL. The size makes everything easier without being too big and the addition of the TQ holder is very handy.

These are currently on sale AND they have an additional coupon savings as of the time of this writing. The result is that they cost less than they did when I wrote the Bando Bag review and a lot less than I paid for both of mine (note: check all the color options, some cost less right now). Check them out: Bando Bag and Bando Bag XL on


Review: Vosteed Talarurus

Vosteed’s new Talarurus shows off their ambitious design chops in a big way. They have had other knives with unique, compelling designs like the Corgi line or Thunderbird line but this Talarurus has a new level of cohesiveness that is very cool to see.


See the full specs at The highlights are below:

Blade Length: 3.03″ | 76.96 mm

Overall Length: 7.18″ | 182.37 mm

Blade Thickness: 0.138″ | 3.50 mm

Blade Material: 14C28N

Blade Grind: Flat

Blade Style: Modified Sheepsfoot

Handle Material: Micarta

Weight: 3.42 oz | 97.00 g

Opener: Thumb Disk

Lock Type: Crossbar Lock

Pivot Assembly: Caged Ceramic Ball Bearing

Carry Position: Tip-up

Observations from Use

If you have seen other Vosteed reviews or own one of their other knives yourself, you already know this is a functional knife with good, thin cutting geometry. I made a big deal about the design of the knife earlier (and will expand on that more later) but this is still a knife after all. It has to cut and be comfortable to use or it sucks.

The Talarurus’ modified sheepsfoot shape has a great point that is easy to access and a subtle belly coupled with a tall flat grind that makes this knife a deceptively good slicer. The choice of a thumb disk coupled with a ramped harpoon shape makes for a very comfortable thumb rest. This would be a solid choice for everyday carry or even a work knife. This knife has some “go” to back up all that “show”.

This design stands out to me even above previous Vosteed knives for a few reasons. The most notable (and subtle) is the cohesiveness of it. Vosteed is absolutely flexing their chops here with the way that various angles of the blade shape meld into, or mirror angles in the handle. They even went so far as to run a long chamfer down the length of the micarta handle slabs that perfectly matches the height of the primary grind on the blade. That is very intentional, very precise, and very visually interesting design.

The design elements above aren’t just for decoration. They serve a functional purpose. The chamfers on the handle that match the grind of the blade… those provide additional grip or contouring to the handle so it feels better in hand. The aggressive blade shape that matches the closed shape of the handle… those angles bring the blade to a sharp, useable point.

Finally, there is some fun built into the design. Each of the color ways of the Talarus has at least one small pop of color. Most models have a contrasting, anodized thumb disk for opening the blade. In the case of the blacked-out version that I have, the thumb disk is olive green which makes for a more subtle contrast.

Wrap Up

The Talarurus would make a stylish EDC knife or even a stout work knife thanks to the blade shape and strong lock. It is a visually striking knife with intentional details bringing the whole design together. If you are interested in a classic EDC like the Vosteed Raccoon, you owe it to yourself to give the Talarusus a long look as well.

Vosteed Talarurus at


Keep Training with Leukotape P

Blisters suck. You are faced with quitting your training or a whole lot of pain the moment you start to feel that hotspot developing… unless you have a way to prevent it from becoming a blister in the first place. That’s how I use Leukotape P, to prevent blisters as soon as I can feel that one might be developing.

Leukotape is a thin fabric tape with low stretch and an incredible adhesive that sticks to skin, even sweaty skin, but also peels away fairly easily. It is best used on friction spots where a blister has not yet developed but where you can feel one coming. I also use it preventatively on known problem areas until that area fully heals and toughens.

The adhesive and the thinness of the tape is the real game-changer here – it lets me keep my runs, hikes, or other training going without the annoyance of moleskin coming loose in my boot. Moleskin is probably still a better treatment for areas that have already developed large blisters thanks to the gentler adhesive and additional padding… but I haven’t gotten a serious blister since I started using Leukotape.

Pro Tip: Don’t carry the whole roll around with you. Save your scraps of release paper (from stickers, receipts, return labels, etc.) and store pre-cut sections of Leukotape on those.

This stuff can be a little hard to find in some areas. I have a local drugstore with a better-than-average medical supply section that sometimes has it. Otherwise, I just buy it on Amazon. If you go that Amazon route, watch the pricing because it fluctuates heavily. I paid $7.99 a roll last week and there is usually some discount for buying in bulk. A single roll lasts a long time but I usually buy at least 3 at a time and end up giving this stuff away like candy.

Leukotape P on

Review: Vosteed Acorn

Vosteed’s newest knife, the Acorn, has all the makings of the next big thing. Every once in a while, a knifemaker tweaks all the knobs just right and one of their knives becomes an instant classic – the kind of knife that becomes so easily recommendable that it seems to be on Youtube channel, every Instagram feed, and every knife related Reddit all at once. The Acorn could be one of those.


Blade Length: 2.93″ | 74.50 mm

Overall Length: 6.92″ | 175.70 mm

Blade Thickness: 0.118″ | 3.00 mm

Blade Material: 14C28N

Weight: 3.14 oz | 89.00 g

Opener: Thumb Hole

Lock Type: Liner Lock

Pivot Assembly: Caged Ceramic Ball Bearing

Pocket Clip: Reversible | Stainless Steel

Carry Position: Tip-up

Observations from Use

In the intro to this review, I went off about the Acorn being a new instant classic. I’ll tell you why I think that based on my time with this knife…

Function – First, and most importantly, it’s a good knife. It has a useful blade shape with a tall, flat grind that renders thin, slicy edge geometry. The 14C28N blade steel is as good as it gets at this price. The grip is ergonomic, hand filling, and very comfortable regardless of how you hold it. This is designed to be an all-around cutting tool and it shows.

Size – It has that perfect EDC size. It’s big enough to do anything you need from an EDC knife but compact and thin enough to carry any time. There is a reason so many folding knives are released with a just under 3″ blade and just under 7″ overall length… and it isn’t just legality. It’s a useful side.

Features and Fidgets – The Acorn also has a lot the quality-of-life goodies that people like on an EDC knife. It has a crispy, well-tuned detent and very smooth action. There is plenty of jimping all around on this knife including a generous amount on the spine of the blade. There are multiple opening methods including an opening hole and front-flipper. The opening hole is large and well-shaped so that, coupled with the great action, it makes for satisfying fidgeting.

Good Looks – This is more subjective than a lot of the other metrics but I think this is a great-looking knife and that seems to be the consensus opinion online. The Acorn’s organic, balanced shape along with an eye-catching new pivot design, color-matched highlights (pivot and lanyard loop), and weathered canvas micarta makes for the kind of rugged good looks that seem popular right now.

Value – Last but not least, the Acorn fits in a lot of budgets. The everyday price comes in at the lower end of Vosteed’s line but the Acorn is currently on sale for 20% off which makes this knife under $40. It is going to find its way into a lot of pockets at that price.

Wrap Up

The Acorn is a stylish, all-around EDC knife at a good price. If you can pick one up during the introductory sale, you can make that a great price.

The 20% sale on Amazon runs through June 6th, 2024. The Acorn will sell for just $39.20 during that time. It is currently only available on Amazon: Vosteed Acorn on

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