Author Archive | Matt

Empress Tomahawk from Wingard Wearables

Wingard Wearables makes defensive weapons like no one else. Their designs are influenced by history but reimagined for modern applications like concealed carry. They blend the Bronze Age with modern thermo-plastics. The results are completely unique and sometimes even a little unhinged (in the very best way).

This is certainly the case with their new Empress Tomahawk – a tomahawk designed from the ground up for concealed carry. If the idea of concealed carry with a tomahawk surprises you, you are obviously new to Wingard Wearables because their Backripper tomahawk can also be concealed carried. However, while the Backripper feels more like a no-compromise, light, and fast fighting tomahawk that CAN be concealed carried, the Empress goes all-in on the concept. Everything about the Empress is fitting it’s intended purpose.

The head is cast from silicon bronze so that it can be carried directly against the body with no fear of rust. It is cast in a unique curved shape that it actually conforms to the hip of the wearer. It is compact with a 13″ handle and lightweight at just 9 ounces. The handle receives Wingard Wearable’s “scared and chared” treatment for extra grip and durability. The entire package is topped off with a kydex sheath system that allows for fast access (another hallmark of Wingard Wearables designs).

WingardWearables.com

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PackAFlame Ammo Can Stove

As if we needed more proof of how useful USGI ammo cans are…

PackAFlame’s Ammo Can Stove is a wood-burning, stove for use in camp or a hot tent that is made from an ammo can with the addition of several laser-cut steel pieces. The standard, pre-made version makes use of a 50 caliber can but it is also available in a DIY kit form so it can be adapted to other sizes of ammo can.

PackAFlame.com

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OC Tactical Kickass Grocery Bag (KGB) 2.0

The OC Tactical KGB is back! I own one of the original KGBs and, while I own similar bags from other sources, the KGB is the best of them due to the rugged, weather-proof bottom and the way that it can stand open on its own.

The 2.0 isn’t just a rerelease of the original, it’s an update with new features. All the original features are retained and some new features have been added including new zippered stash pockets, hidden attachment points for a shoulder strap, and a swivel hook for attaching items like keys.

Here is what OC Tactical has to say about the KGB 2.0:

The OC Tactical Kickass Grocery Bag (KGB) is approximately 20 x 17 x 7.5 inches in size and built to be equally at home lugging groceries home from the store or ammo and gear to the range. The KGB is made of 1000D Cordura with an additional layer of waterproof Vinyl Coated Polyester on the bottom.  The bottom of the bag is constructed in way that eliminates any exposed seams or stitch lines that would allow water to soak through.   All raw edges have been covered with binding for extra strength and to prevent the fabric from fraying over time. The 1.5″ webbing handles are also long enough to put your arm through allowing you to carry the bag on your shoulder.

On the outside there is a zippered pocket one side with a large area Loop sewn on the outside for attaching patches and name tapes. On the opposite side there is a large open top pocket.

On the inside there are hidden Steel D-Rings for attaching a Should Strap (Included) and a Heavy Duty Swivel Hook for securing small items like key rings.

OCTactical.com

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$20 Folding Saw Shootout

I consider a lightweight folding saw to be baseline gear. In my area of the world, we can see overnight temps in the low 50s Fahrenheit in the summer and with temps dipping even lower in the mountains. Those kinds of conditions are a recipe for disaster for the unprepared. A good saw and a sturdy fixed blade knife will go a long way toward making tasks like emergency fire prep and shelter building easier.

There are a lot of saws on the market but I have zeroed in on what I consider the 3 main contenders: the Bahco Laplander, Corona RazorTOOTH 7″, and the Silky F180. All three of these saws have a lot in common like a price tag around $20, similar weights and sizes, and a solid track record.

Top to bottom: Bahco Laplander, Silky F180 (Large Tooth), Corona RazorTOOTH

Which one is best for you? I’m not sure there is an easy answer to that as I can’t even really decide myself but I aim to lay out some information that might make your choice easier.

Comparison Table

F180LaplanderRazorTOOTH
Locks ClosedNoYesYes
Locks OpenYes (2 positions)YesYes
Blade Length7″7.5″7″
Length Closed8.75″8.75″8.75″
Cutting StrokePullPush and pullPull
Price$21.25$21.50$17.39
HandlePlastic w/
Rubber Accent
Plastic w/
Rubber Accent
Plastic w/
Rubber Accent
Metal ReinforcedPivot areaMinimalPivot Area
Teeth Per Inch6.576
Weight6.3 oz6.6 oz6.8 oz
SteelSK4 w/ Chrome“Swedish” w/
Coating
SK5 w/ Chrome
Made inJapanSwedenMexico

Cutting Performance

If you are going to major on cutting performance, the Silky F180 is the winner with the Corona RazorTOOTH as a close second. The Laplander is a distant third place. While the Laplander does cut on the push and pull stroke, it’s smaller 7 TPI cutters seem to clog more quickly and just do not cut as fast as the other saws. However, the Laplander is no slouch especially if you don’t have context for what a good hand saw can do.

The following image shows three cutting strokes from each saw. The kerf on the left is 1 pull stroke, 1 push stroke, and 1 pull stroke from the Bahco. It is the shallowest cut. The bark tear out makes the kerf look deeper than it is – pay attention to the square bottom of the kerf. The center kerf is 3 pull strokes from the Corona. It is the second deepest cut. The kerf on the right is the Silky. It likely could have been through the branch in 4 more strokes. It clearly outclasses the other saws.

Left to right: Bahco, Corona, Silky

Comfort and Ergonomics

The winner is not as clear here but the Silky F180 is clearly the loser. The F180 has wide finger grooves that won’t really fit anyone. It gets some points for the two-position lock that allows you to lock the blade in a position that is more appropriate for cutting on the ground but it still isn’t the best in hand. It isn’t uncomfortable to use but it isn’t as comfortable as the others.

The Bahco has a very neutral handle that is grippy and feels good in several positions. The Corona is probably the nicest to use over a long period of time thanks to the more vertical hand position provided by the pistol grip shape. I’ll give the win to the Corona.

Durability

This is going to be a fly in the ointment for some, especially the rabid Silky fanboys. In spite of the fact that the Laplander has very little metal reinforcement in the handle, it has a reputation as the most durable and I am inclined to agree. Bahco has clearly favored flexibility over hardness in the heat treatment of their steel. You would have to be the sloppiest saw user on the planet to break one of these blades as they can typically be bent to 90 degrees or more without snapping.

The Silk7 F180, on the other hand, seems to go all-in on cutting performance. The blade is hard and they have a reputation for snapping when misused. I’ve snapped one before and I know many others who have as well. There is a technique to using a pull cut saw. Avoid putting to much pressure on the saw during the push stroke, especially if you are cutting a round large enough that the tip is buried in the diameter of said round. The chrome-plated blade adds points here as these saws tend to be extremely rust-resistant.

The Corona RazorTOOTH seems to split the difference on blade durability but there have been some reports of the handle being a little more brittle. The chrome-plated blade does ad some points here but Corona’s blade are not as rust-resistant as Silky’s in my experience.

Price and Availability

The Corona wins on both price and availability. You can often find these in home improvement or farm supply stores so there is a good chance you can pick one up locally. It is usually going to be the most affordable of all three options.

If you have an arborist supply store near you, there is a chance you could find Silky saws in stock but expect to pay a premium in shops like this. I’ve never seen the Bahco Laplander in a brick and mortar store.

Overall Impression of Quality

The Silky wins here. The plastic used in the handle feels solid. The rubber over-mold is clearly the best quality. The finishing on the blade is notably better. It doesn’t flex, bind on opening/closing, or creak like the others.

The Bahco and Corona are both well-made, premium saws that are definitely in a class above big box store saws. They just don’t show the same attention to detail shown by Silky saws.

How to Choose

If you need the most efficient cutter and you can be somewhat careful with your tools, the Silky F180 is the top choice. If you need the most durable saw because you are going to throw it an emergency kit and forget about it, you are probably looking at the Bahco Laplander. If you want a saw that seems to do everything well, the Corona RazorTOOTH seems to split the difference nicely.

If you stop me on the trail, you will likely find the Corona or Silky in my pack. However, if it is really cold, you are more likely to find a larger bow saw.

Where to Buy

I have purchased all of these saws on Amazon except the Corona which I purchased at a local farm store (Amazon would have been cheaper). You might consider watching the prices on Amazon before you buy as the Silky, for instance, has been as low as $15 recently. The following URLs are all affiliate links that support JTT.

Bahco Laplander

Silky F180

Corona RazorTOOTH

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S2Delta 1-4×24 Carbine Scope Reticle Added to Strelok Pro Library

The S2Delta 1-4×24 Carbine Scope is, in my estimation, the value leader in low power variable optics right now. It goes head to head with other value brands on the strength of its great reticle, glass quality, and turrets and yet it costs less than $200 via Amazon Prime! You can read our previous review here: S2Delta 1-4×24 Carbine Scope Review

Now there is another reason to consider this optic. The reticle is now available in the Strelok Pro ballistic calculator app. This gives the user access to a host of ballistic information regarding the drop and ranging features of the reticle as it pertains to their specific rifle and ammo selection. Search Strelok Pro in your smartphone’s app market to learn more.

Click here to learn more: S2Delta 1-4×24 Carbine Optic on Amazon (affiliate link)

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Wilde Custom Gear Christmas Stockings

The market is flooded with cheap, imported “tactical” stockings that are lame. Why would you buy one of those when you can get something even better for the same price?

Wilde Custom Gear makes their Christmas Stockings right here in the USA and they show off a little bit by adding a laser-cut MOLLE field. The stockings come in a ton of color and camo pattern options. They have a loop field for affixing patches and Wilde Custom even offers custom name tapes so you can personalize your stocking.

Best of all, the stockings only cost $14.99-19.99.

WildeCustomGear.com

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Now Available from Amtac Blades: The Magnus

The Magnus is now available for pre-order from Amtac Blades. It features a 5″ blade ground from 3/16″ thick CPM-20CV steel and comes in at 8 5/8″ long in overall length. Like the Northman before it, it features textured G-10 handle scales. If you like the Northman concept but want something bigger, this is it.

Amtac Blades states:

The Magnus is a full sized combative fixed blade knife specifically designed to be worn on your belt, other strong side.

This blade has been optimized to provide the correct balance between tip strength and thrusting ability (myself and friends that have been involved in the testing have stabbed the prototype of this blade through a lot of different test media).

To make the blade more versatile we kept the spine of the blade sharp so that you can strike the ferro rod with the spine of the blade instead of the edge.

The blade, firesheath, trainer, and storage sheath are included.

This is a prototype photo with imperfections. The standard Magnus will have steel type, serial number, and Amtac Blades Magnus engraved similar to the Amtac Northman. 

The Magnus will ship in January, 2020.

AmtacBlades.com

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KE43 Slides from KE Arms

KE Arms is Pleased to Announce the release of our slides for the Glock 43 in time for the Holidays.

The KE43 Slide is machined from 17-4 Stainless steel and heat treated to Rockwell 42-43.

These slides come ready to accept OEM internals, barrels, and guide rods. The KE43 slide is compatible with all Glock 43 OEM components.

Bravo through Delta Models are available milled for the Shield RMS or the Leupold Deltapoint Pro

These will be available at a special introductory price of 10% off now through December 31st. We machine each slide to order due to the number of options and features the end user can select, so the sooner you order the sooner you will have your KE43 slide.

View Alpha through Delta models at the links below
http://www.kearms.com/ke43-alpha.aspx
http://www.kearms.com/43-Bravo.aspx
http://www.kearms.com/ke43-charlie.aspx
http://www.kearms.com/ke43-Delta.aspx

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Cyber Monday Sale – Chase Tactical

Chase Tactical is offering their deepest discounts of the year for Cyber Monday – 25% off everything. Use code CYBER25 at checkout to activate the savings. The sale runs through 12/3.

ChaseTactical.com

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Forget Black Friday. It’s a Tiger Stripe Friday Sale at OC Tactical and the New Stocking is Here

Tiger Stripe is the new black. OC Tactical is offering 15% off everything on their site through 12/2/19. Use code TIGER STRIPE to save. They carry a wide array of tactical, outdoor, and EDC gear in addition to all the tactical gear that they sew in-house so browse around when you visit the site!

If you have been following OC Tactical over the years, you know they have a very cool Christmas tradition. They release a yearly Christmas stocking and I am not talking about some weird, off-shore manufactured “tactical stocking” abomination. They release a hand made stocking that features a rare or historic camo pattern and is often made from original fabrics. These are true collector’s items.

This year’s stocking features Genuine TSP Desert Tiger Stripe pattern fabric. Like previous year’s stockings, it is lined with Litelok material and features a loop field for patches. This is the fifth stocking in the series and it will be somewhat limited.

OCTactical.com

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