A Swiss Army Knife In Your Life Prevents A Lot Of Strife, by M.T.

Swiss Army Knife
Swiss Army Knife

So, it was the 1970’s. I was living in Denver, Colorodo at the time, so it was only a 13-15 hr. drive (nothing for me…LOVE DRIVING) to…would you believe it, Las Vegas. I went out right after I got off from work that Sunday morning. This trip out is what ended up giving me the brilliant idea (which wasn’t typical for me) to hit up Vegas and spend my entire weeks vacation there. You see, the week before I had made a nice amount of money by putting in a lot of overtime, and I guess I was in a hurry to lose all that money huh.

I was just browsing around a few stores…looking to burn just a LITTLE BIT of my hard earned money. That’s where I saw it, in some display case…the Victorinox Classic (would you believe it) this was going to be the first ever folding knife I would ever buy. Good thing too, cause this knife would later on SAVE MY LIFE!!! After pondering the decision for a sec I said “what the heck.” While the sweet little girl behind the register was boxing and bagging this knife up I saw (sitting on the counter) this little pamplet for some Vegas attraction. That’s when the decision was pretty much made for me…”Vegas,” I said, “here I come.”

So there I was, leaving Denver heading for Vegas (with Victorinox in pocket…my new pocket rocket). The drive to Vegas went great, scenery was beautiful, temp was great, and my nerves were shot by the time I reached Vegas. Why, because, well, lets just say that back then (my 20’s) I was a MUCH bigger risk taker…more so than I care to remember. I want go into too much detail about that (my risks), but lets just say I never went anywhere without my herbs…nuff said?

Had a blast in Vegas though. And this is where my story really starts to pick up. I was up about $1,400.00, yeah, the craps table was definitely on my side (along with fate) the first night I was in Vegas. I had just got done with my turn on the craps table and the man next to me had just picked up the dice…with a smug look on his face too. This guy was on fire, even more so than I was, which was amazing because winning $1,400.00 at the craps table back then was no easy task. The cheering for this man (who seemed to be a dice magnet) was relentless. That’s when I noticed it, a hangnail on my thumb (something I could not stand…still can’t). So I whipped out my new Victorinox, popped out the file, and thanks to my gracefulness, dropped it on the floor. “Oh well” I said, bent down to grab my knife, glanced up, and to my utter amazement noticed that this supposed ‘dice machine’ was nothing more than a cheat. The guy had a second pair of weighted dice in his hand. Even though I just barely caught a glimpse of these dice it was enough for me to go to the pit boss, report this cheating douche-bag and get him arrested.

The casino owner was so grateful for my help that he comped my entire weeks stay there…can you say “SWEET!” That’s when I turned to the owner and explained how it was all thanks to this little Swiss Army Knife (and my clumsiness) that his casino was prevented from being robbed…he couldn’t believe it.

Well, at this point I bet you can believe that I was on cloud 9. I was up $1,400.00, saved a casino from being stolen from, was kind of a hero (at least in my own mind) and apparently had a new good luck charm in pocket (my Victorinox Classic). The rest of my weeks stay in Vegas went great. Except for that last night, I guess my new knife’s luck (or mine) had finally run out. That’s right, lost about $600.00 on the craps table that night, right before leaving Vegas to head back to Denver too. Can you believe that (like an hour before leaving…my timing SUCKED). Oh well, at least I was still up $800.00 and had my whole hotel bill comped (could’ve been worse).

Anyway, so on the way back to Denver…that’s when things got hairy. About 5 hours into the drive back (it was around 3:00 a.m.) my 1972 Ford Pinto started fading out one me. With my head lights getting dimmer, engine clanking out one me and car slowing down I thought to myself…”you’ve got to be kidding me.” Pulling off to the side of the road I said “what a way to end this fabulous week huh, with getting stuck out here in the middle of nowhere!” Nowhere was right too, I had broken down right between Green River, UT & Grand Junction, CO…there’s nothing for over 110 miles.

Getting out of the car heading for the hood I was like “great.” I mean, I’m by far from a mechanic, but what did I have to lose right. Opening the hood with a little extra force (from my great mood) I noticed that there was a wire or two that looked like they had come loose from somewhere. It didn’t take me long to realize where these wires went…you’d be amazed at how far common sense will get you. Whipping out my new Victorinox Classic I thought to myself “man, who would’ve thought that this baby would’ve come in handy so much on this trip.”

Unfortunately, I shouldn’t of counted my blessings quite yet. While I was attempting to reattach all the wires I happen to glance up…and what did I see, that’s right, here came Mr. Police Officer. Of course the officer had to pull over (thinking back now, I guess it was nice of him), but when this all was going down I was sweating bullets. Think about it, I had a car with stashes of my (lets just say) “herbs” all over it, and a nice amount right in my shirts front pocket too. Can you all say “jail time.” “This is it” I thought as the officer pulled off the road, got out of his patrol car and was approaching.

Luckily I had almost reattached all the wires by this point (correctly I hoped). As the officer reached my side he could probably see the sweat pouring down my face. “Can I help you” the officer said. “NOPE” I yelled back, a little too loudly now that I think about it. I wanted to get back on the road (and away from this officer) as soon as possible…so that’s when I thought of a plan to do just that. “Excuse me officer” I said, continuing on with “can you please stay right here next to the hood while I try starting the car up, just in case I need something adjusted?” “Sure” he said. As I got back into the car all I could think about was getting the stuff that was in my pocket front out, and stashing it away somewhere.

The only problem was that I wasn’t in reach of any of my stash spots. With only seconds to decide I slid out (discreetly) my Victorinox Classic and slit a small hole into the drivers seat right between my legs. Luckily my front pocket stash fit perfectly into this hole I made. It even matched a few other holes around the inner upholstery…so it didn’t stand out. I then proceeded to take a deep breath, slid the key into the ignition and to my great delight…the car (lights and all) started right up. “Phew” I thought, bullet dodged…literally.

After closing the hood, stepping to the side and saying “goodbye” the police officer proceeded to get back into his patrol car. And as we both pulled away (driving off in opposite directions) I thought to myself, “what a week this was.”

Well that was it. the rest of the drive back to Denver (on the I-70, and even over the Continental Divide) went off without a hitch. As I pulled up to my apartment around 8:00 a.m., walked up to the door, slid my key in the lock I said to myself “who would’ve thought that this whole weeks adventure started with the purchase a single SWISS ARMY KNIFE.”

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Microtech QD Scarab OTF Knife, by P.L.

Microtech QD Scarab
Microtech QD Scarab

I chose to review the Microtech QD Scarab OTF Knife because it is one of my favorite knives that I own. It is a very high-end knife that is worth ever dollar. It is a definite must have for the serious collector. But even better, it is good for an every day carry. It is well built and extremely reliable. This OTF is great, the speed and power behind this blade is second to none. This drop point blade is my first choice for any situation whether be law enforcement, military, or zombie apocalypse.

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The Gerber Prodigy, by J.S.

Gerber Prodigy
Gerber Prodigy

The Gerber prodigy is full tang and crafted of 420 high carbon steel. This particular one I have is the military approved digi-camo tanto point. The steel in this blade is very reliable. I have been able to use this knife without question or worry of it failing. The blade an inch long serration which has its uses. The knife is fantastic at batoning due to its nice thick spine. This knife also is very strong at chopping. The strong tanto style tip also allows for stabbing.

The handle is very grippy and very comfortable. I have used this knife with and without gloves and found it to handle well with both. This knife also has a lanyard hole with is a definite plus when chopping. The knife also has a glass breaker in the butt of the handle which works well for either a defensive situation or for its intended purpose of breaking glass… surprise.

My favorite part about this knife is the sheath. It has three ways to lock the knife in the sheath it has two reinforced plastic clips that lock the knife, a Velcro snap that secures the handle, and an elastic hood that covers the butt of the knife. These secures can be used all together or individually as per your desire. I love the versatility of this sheath. In addition, this sheath has a M.O.L.L.E. system or a belt loop with a drop leg strap. The sheath is strong and will hold up very well.

Overall I love this knife. Gerber knocked this one out of the park. The final bonus to this knife is its selling point. You can pick this knife up for around 50 bucks. All in all I have not found anything that I dislike about this knife. I give this knife 10 out of 10.

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The Movie Project, by M.A.

Rambo Knife
Rambo Knife

At the end of the seventies, thanks to his first Rocky movie, Sylvester Stallone was at the top of his popularity and critical acclaim.

In the same years, David Morrell’s universally acclaimed novel ‘First Blood’ was one the many Hollywood projects lost in ‘development hell’.

In the ten years following the book’s release, its screenplay version has been rejected by the most famous actors of its age (Clint Eastwood, Robert De Niro, Paul Newman, Al Pacino, just to name the most famous).
All of these actors refused the project fearing the consequences of acting such a violent and controversial character, or were rejected by producers for various reasons.
Only when Stallone expressed interest in the project, Hollywood finally found the star a project like this really ‘needed’. So, after almost ten years spent in development hell, the project finally received green light.

THE IDEA OF THE KNIFE

In Morrell’s book their isn’t any survival knife at all. The idea of introducing it – as a way to show both Rambo’s military training and survival expertise – came from Stallone himself, because he was a real knife enthusiast.
After some discussions, the idea was approved by producers and Stallone met with Arkansas knifesmith Jimmy Lile to design a brand new knife for the movie.

A LITTLE HISTORY OF MILITARY KNIVES

The first knives ever used in modern warfare (from WWI and on) were the ‘fighting knives’.
A ‘pure fighting’ knife, is a very slim knife whose primary (and almost only) purpose is thrusting. Slashing is a secondary purpose for the fighting knife, to the point that the very first versions of the famous Italian ‘stiletto’ knife weren’t edged at all.
WWI saw a wide usage of very long and narrow blades that couldn’t be used for any other usage than fighting (they were no more that thin bars with a point on one side and a handle on the other).
In the years following WWI, the fighting knife became double-edged to let the fighter slash in any direction, making it even MORE difficult to use for any other task than fighting.
For example, the legendary Fairbairn-Sykes dagger knife was so appreciated that it earned a place inside the symbol of the S.A.S., the famous English special forces.
Anyway, in its many variants the fighting knife never lost its usual and very slim blade that was both its trademark and the feature that finally led to its ‘extinction’ from the military world.
Because – despite many movies saying the contrary – soldiers don’t spend most of their time fighting, but doing really less interesting things – as cooking, installing tents, digging, etc.
So, the fighting knife left its place for the more ‘modern’ (and useful) ‘military’ knife.

The military knife is a knife that is more useful as a field tool – which is its primary purpose – but that can be used to fight also.
In order to do so, its blade is larger (to be sturdier for field tasks), but with some attention to the point too, that must be good for thrusting also (during fights).
Another important feature of the military knife, is that it’s only single-edged, so that the user can grip the blade higher, without hurting himself, during difficult tasks.

The Gerber Mark II was the last really successful ‘pure fighting’ knife in the U.S. Army.
It was never officially issued but during the Vietnam war it was privately bought by so many soldiers that it became some kind of ‘unofficially issued’ item.
The reason so many soldiers liked it, was that they thought that the recently introduced Ka-bar wasn’t ‘powerful enough’ during close quarters combat.
It’s also interesting to note that the Gerber had (and still have) a so ‘vicious’ look that in the seventies it was shown by people marching against the Vietnam war as proof of ‘how ‘dirty the U.S. involvement had become in South East Asia’.

Whatever the initial opinion of soldiers, in the following years the Ka-bar became – and still is – one of the best military knives ever, while designs similar to the ‘Gerber Mark II’ have largely faded away from both the military and civilian market.

THE SURVIVAL KNIFE

The survival knife comes from the military world and is initially meant for military usage.
It is a ‘kind’ of military knife designed to also accomplish (and stand) some particular survival tasks as chopping trees, sawing, cooking, etc.
The first survival knives weren’t different at all from other military knives but as the years went by, they started to sport brand new ‘added’ features as reinforced tangs, sawback blades or ‘survival’ hollow handles to store matches.
Nowadays the survival knife is a category on its own and designers of survival knives usually teach people what they can do with their knives in a survival situation (so that users don’t have to understand on their own).
For example, the famous ‘tracker’ knife is one of the very few modern knives far different from any others before.
For example, the ‘tracker’ knife, according to its instruction manual, is made to “chop, split, carve, hammer, scrape, saw, engrave and break metal wire.”
And by the way, in its latest versions it sports a sawback identical to that of Jimmy Lile’s survival knives.

JIMMY LILE AND STALLONE AT WORK

Stallone choose Arkansas knifesmith Jimmy Lile to make the new knife for the movie.
Lile could surely just make a ‘bad-ass looking’ movie prop, if he would, but a ‘knife-guy’ like him would have never put his name on a pure movie prop.
So, the actor and the knifesmith spent countless hours in discussing a design that had to be new, big and mean-looking, but really useful in the real world too.
It had to be a ‘real’ knife, not a movie prop.
Stallone focused his attention on look, Lile to details and real usefulness.
Since Stallone’s wish was to show the survival knife usage in a real wilderness situation, Lile thought that the best choice would have been a hollow handle knife with a sawback blade.
So, he turned his eyes to the best one of that kind that was ever made, the Randall 18.

Even if never officially issued, the Randall 18 was really used by some special forces soldiers during the Vietnam war, so it also fit the character as well.
Having finally found the perfect ‘kind’ of knife for the movie, Lile started to re-design the Randall to make it more modern, bigger, better and – most of all – much more ‘bad’ at the first glance.
The result, was one of the most original knives of its time, and one of the most misunderstood also… Just like the character who carried it.

THE RESULT

In my modest opinion, this knife places itself on its own category, as a ‘survival fighting knife’ which is exactly the situation the character finds himself in.
This is a knife made to fight and survive only, and is not meant as a working tool or for heavy-duty field tasks.
The blade is long, longer than that of the average survival knife, but not so large (considering it’s length) to make it a ‘military’ knife. length and width together, gives the knife the real intimidating look Stallone wished.
The second eye-catching feature is surely it’s sawback, with its teeth that looks so similar to those of a chainsaw.
Note that its particular tang construction makes it much sturdier than people usually think, and the saw is really useful, which makes it a ‘real’ survival knife.
Overall, even after all of these years, real knives experts know that an original Lile knife has nothing to do with its cheaper, ‘official licensed’ versions.

Features:

1) 14” overall length
2) 9” long blade with bowie point.
3) 5 single teeth
4) 9 double teeth
5) screwdriver handguard (phillips and standard) with lashing holes
6) waterproof-cord wrapped hollow handle
7) pommel with compass

THE CAMERA TURNS ON

The First Blood movie was ‘troubled’ from the start because after the huge success of Rocky, Stallone had the power to change the script, and he did a lot.
The most important message hidden inside Morrell’s book, was that it was the U.S. that made Rambo become a psycho killer. But ‘whoever the fault he deserves to die anyway’
Stallone ‘ruined’ the book (in the opinion of almost everyone working at the movie) by making the character less violent and by turning one of the cops into the usual stereotyped-big screen-‘bad guy’.
He also changed so much Col. Trautman’s character, to the point that Kirk Douglas left the set, because – said Douglas – he ‘had spent months preparing for a completely different role’. And his words were confirmed many years later by actor Richard Crenna (Douglas replacement), when he said in an interview that “I was chosen at the very last minute, so I acted with no preparation at all. I was given the lines, and simply told them in front of the camera”

THE MOVIE RELEASE

A knife that wasn’t even mentioned in the book became almost important as the main character.
It’s first appearance is legendary itself, with the sheriff discovering the knife on Rambo and confiscating it as a ‘concealed weapon’. Than the Sheriff pulls it out from its sheath and clearly show surprise for its dangerous dimensions and look (just like the public is surprised too, thus enhancing the impact of the scene).
Rambo than escapes and uses the knife many times in the movie, and for many different tasks: for building booby traps with sticks and ropes, for land navigation, to stitch his wounds, to open drums and to fight also.
He even makes a spear of it and go hunting.

AN UNBELIEVABLE SUCCESS

The movie and it’s knife had such a worldwide success that they both changed the knife industry for ever.
Knife shops were flooded with people desperate do get their hands on anything barely similar to what they had seen in the movie.
Even nowadays, it’s really easy to find collectors whose first knife ever was some kind of hollow handle, sawback survival knife, because ‘you know, that first movie was so good….’

…AND SOME NOT-SO-GOOD CONSEQUENCES

After the amazing results of the first movie, the story didn’t went on so well and – strangely – both the knife and the movie character shared the same destiny.
They both got misunderstood.
Crazed people started to buy the biggest and less useful survival knives they could find.
They started to see knives as pure collector’s items with no use at all, and bought them mostly because of their overall look, without any knowledge about their steels, constructions or possible usages.
Most of all, since Randall-Lile’s tang construction was too much expensive for the general public, the market was flooded with cheap, easy to break Rambo copies that had nothing to do with Lile’s original.
These useless, too big and too cheap copies became indeed so popular, that even nowadays you can hear most knife enthusiasts use the name ‘Rambo knife’ as some kind of insult, or that ‘high quality hollow handle knives doesn’t exist at all’.
This is not true… But a millions of bad knives later, who believes that?

Strangely, Stallone’s character in the movie followed a really similar path.
Because in the second movie, Stallone took away any ‘post traumatic stress disorder’ issue from the mind of his character, and made him become a ‘bodybuilding killing machine’ killing dozens of enemies on his own.
Than he made a third movie too, following the very same path, thus increasing even more the ‘hate’ some people had for this new version of the character.
And suddenly it was over… Everything was over
The respect both the knife and the character once had, was now gone for ever.

IN THE END

Nowadays, we find ourselves are in a paradox situation.
What was once the object of a very large, almost universal following, has now became something to like on your own, without saying it too loud to other people.
If you are a Lile fan nowadays, pay attention to the people who you say it aloud: you at risk of spending countless hours trying to explain the different ways of tangs construction… To people who doesn’t want to believe you.
But if you are like me…
Keep enjoying the secret cult of high quality hollow handle survival knives, because they exist.
And most of all… Don’t mind the rest of the world.

Take the Schrade’s ‘extreme’ survival knives, for example. They are the true ‘sons’ of Lile’s work.
They are ultra modern, hollow handle knives sporting a one piece patent-pending construction that Lile himself should surely be proud about.
No one laugh about them… And they also are a lot cheaper than a Lile’s nowadays original.

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Four Points Morning Glory Throwing Star, by M.A.

Throwing Star
Throwing Star

Four points Morning Glory (a.k.a. the ‘Iga’) throwing star

In the upper image, you can see the star thrown accordingly to its design (with the flat side on its right). Thrown it this way, it uses the spinning effect to stick even more deeper).

technical specs:

Shape: ‘four blades’ shape (‘hira’ shuriken) with central hole.
Maximum length: 110 millimeters
Thickness: 4 millimeters at its center (awesome)
Weight: – 75 grams (little heavy, really good)
Writings: ‘Iga ninja’ and a couple of chinese symbols.

Other features:

+Blades: this star’s edges are of the ‘fake edge’ type, but with a very unique ‘chisel’ grind. In theory, the fact that the edges are ground only on one side makes this star wrong from an air drag point of view (it should curve during flight). In reality, this star flies as any other, but it’s edges are nearly the most powerful I have ever seen on the market.
+Grip points: yes and usable. Quite good.
+Grip overall: grip is not the easiest one, but more than acceptable.
+ Training usage: no
+ Paperbox usage: really, no
+ Wood targets usage: yes and only. This star is powerful and makes really large holes, so it will destroy your wood target sooner than other stars.
+ Sticking difficulty: really easy. This is almost a sure sticker.
+ Double throw difficulty: not available
+Triple throw difficulty: not available
+ Does this star has an upside? In theory it has, because the blades are not symmetrical to each other. In reality, you can throw it upside/down, and you will barely see any power loss.
+ ‘shuriken’ boxing? Yes, but use only two fingers and pay attention at what you do. It requires a little training and can be dangerous for yourself.
+ sharpening difficult: edges are straight and quite obvious to follow with your file or wet stone. So, sharpening is really easy.
+ How much does this star will damage itself if it hits the ground? a lot. The edges of this star have really a lot of power, and thus will damage themselves a lot if the star fall to the ground.
This is a professional star not to mess with.

DESCRIPTION

This is another high quality professional throwing star that didn’t ‘survived’ the nineties and is really rare to find nowadays on the market.
With it’s 75 grams of weight, it is a serious throwing star with a lot of power and a very unique design.
Despite having an asymmetrical design, the blades are not curved, so even if you throw it upside down, it will make a lot of damages anyway (with a little bonus if you throwing it the right way, with the writings on the left).
Anyway, right-handed users will immediately hold it on the right way (because the other side – the flat one – it is much more difficult to hold).
However you hold it, the grip is not so easy to master, but once you get used to it, the very particular shape of the star helps you ‘feeling’ if it’s really vertical during the throw, which is a very good thing for any professional thrower.

Pros:

+ heavy, thus powerful and professional
+ wicked, ultra-powerful blades
+ useful grip points
+ its flat side helps you feeling if ist’ really vertical
+ it hasn’t a real upside/down, but if thrown correctly it takes a little energy (power bonus) from the spinning effect.

Cons:
+ a little too much powerful for its blades (the first time you will hit a hard surface with those tips, you will destroy them. Pay extra care while throwing)
+ you can grip it only on one side. Holding it on the other (the flat one) is much more difficult.
+ left-handed users can’t take full advantage of the star’s asymmetrical design (they should grip it on the wrong side, to do so)

Overall, as any other 70+ grams throwing star, you should buy one*every time* you find a ‘real’ one (and not a smaller/lighter copy).
But if you think to throw it seriously, pay extra care: this is a really professional throwing star, that will do a lot of damages if you unluckily miss the target.

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That Old KaBar, by L.W.

KaBar Knife
KaBar Knife

Back in 1968 I was three years old and my Dad took a job with the Panamanian Government teaching them how to fly their newly acquired Lockheed Constellation. The plane crashed on take off killing everyone onboard. My search to know my father began at an early age in a country as small and confused as I was.

My mother began another quest. Single, she had to balance work, raising her two boys and sanity. She worked as a Kindergarten teacher in poverty stricken Norfolk, Virginia so we lived in reduced rent beach houses in the Winter and traveled to stay with family in the Summer. We simply could not afford the rent when the arrival of tourists drove it up. Looking back I consider this lucky.

The endpoint of our cross-country adventures were always the open arms of Grandparents. My Mom’s folks still lived in Lindsay, Oklahoma. We used to joke that my Mom was the Homecoming Queen of a one stop-light town. I have many fond memories of fishing & hunting with my Uncle and Cousins. Here a boy was allowed to be a boy and that meant carrying a knife everywhere. My first knife was an old buck folder. A gift from my Uncle. He helped me connect with manhood in small simple ways; filleting the catfish we just caught, telling me stories of my Dad and letting me shoot a rifle for the first time. I fell in love with knives and have owned many since.

One Summer in particular stands out. My father’s side of the family lived in Phoenix, AZ. Since we were on the East Coast trips all the way across the country were not common. This Summer we would drive to Oklahoma and then take the Greyhound bus to Phoenix. I don’t know how my Mom survived it, but for my little brother and I it was quite an adventure. Mile after mile of “flyover” country out our window, colorful passengers (met my first drunk!) and plenty of travel games. We were eager to arrive in Phoenix, but the bus was high entertainment.

Granny was glad to see us and welcomed us into her home. I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been for her to lose her son and spending time with us had to remind her of her loss. I can remember her taking us into the spare bedroom and pull out a box of memories. Pictures, his watch & wallet, matchbooks from every place he and my Mom visited on their Honeymoon and his Marine issue Kabar survival knife.

I hadn’t known that my Dad was a fighter pilot in Korea. Later my younger brother would take a job with the Army Corps of Engineers and out of curiosity track down our Father’s discharge papers. It took a lot of guts for my Mom to let her son keep that knife when Granny offered it. I find it amazing that I never did lose it. Knowing that my Dad carried it at his side while serving our country and brought it home with him with the dreams of sharing the outdoors with the sons he would some day have connected me to him through this knife.

When my own sons were just old enough to handle the Kabar without hurting themselves they got to hold the knife. It was their introduction to the GrandPa they didn’t get to meet. And as I retold the stories and help them connect with him that Kabar was the loadstone that gave tangible truth to the memories I found in my search.

A year ago my eldest daughter gave birth and I became a Grandfather. Right now my Addie Rose is too little to handle a knife, but the time will come when she will get to hear stories of her Great-Grand Father Earl while holding that old Kabar . Until then it will stay in my dresser where it awaits my occasional visits with Dad.

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Two Kinds of People, by M.R.

Benchmade Presidio
Benchmade Presidio

There Are 2 Kinds of People in the World

“The world is divided into two types of people: those who love to talk, and those who hate to listen.” – James Thorpe

“There are two kinds of people in the world, those with loaded guns, and those who dig. You dig.” – Clint Eastwood, 1966, “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”

“There are two kinds of people in the world…Those who last — and those who fade.” –Dan Pink

6 years ago, my brother-in-law gifted me a knife. That gesture drew a line of delineation between all my days before that to all the days since. Now, I pick up 4 things in the morning. Keys, wallet, phone, and knife. My EDC is a Benchmade Presidio. I say there are 2 kinds of people in the world: Those who carry a knife, and those who don’t.

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The Griptilian, by J.S.

Benchmade Griptilian
Benchmade Griptilian

The Griptilian is an excellent made knife. This knife is made out of 154 cm which has fantastic ratio of edge retention and sharpening. The knife has a nice jimping on the blade which keeps from slipping during use.
The handle is a nylon exterior with an aluminum liner. The thumb stud is strong and reliable. It slides easy and locks in place with a strong arc style lock. The knife has a standard pocket clip that is reversible for either right or left handed.
Overall this is a strong reliable knife. It feels great in the hand. I love this knife and applaud Benchmade for their work into this knife. It is priced very well for being a Benchmade with 154 cm steel. I give this knife 9 out of 10. The only thing that I didn’t like about was the handle felt a little hollow. However, this knife is very strong and will last you lifetimes.

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Al Mar & Las Vegas, by W.B.H

Al Mar
Al Mar

Starting in the mid 1980’s and early 1990’s I started going every year, with friends, to the Las Vegas Soldier Of Fortune Conventions. I was mainly interested in their huge gun show and the Firepower Display. The gun show portion had manufacturers and company booths with the latest and greatest of cool “toys”. All the best custom and production knife makers were present in addition to everything firearm.

At S.O.F.’s desert shooting range, where the Firepower Display was held, they had firearm rental bays where, for a fee, I was able to fire a 7.62×51 NATO GE Minigun, a .50 BMG “Ma Deuce” (mounted on a WWII half track), and even a full-auto .22 caliber American 180 w/275 round drum… all these for the first time! It was there that I got hooked on automatic weapons.

Another annual ritual I had at every S.O.F. Gun Show was visiting Al Mar at his company’s trade booth. A good friend in Seattle, who never attended the Vegas show, would give me cash to buy a dozen or more small Al Mar “blems” or seconds. These knives seemed to only be available at this venue. My friend would then give them out to his friends and family for Christmas gifts. Since the Al Mar booth was always the first place I went when the show doors opened Al got to know and expect me to show up. He would already have 20 or so assorted small knives ready for me to choose from. I would always buy the models that he recommended. His “blems” would be anyone else’s top of the line. He was VERY particular about what went out with his name on it.

As usual at the ’92 show I went right to the big Al Mar booth to get the “Christmas” knives. Al came right over and started to apologize that he had very few seconds to sell that year. He had cracked down on QC and the result was a big improvement. He only had 7 of the smaller folders to sell. I said that was fine and bought them all. After I paid for them Al reached into his pocket and brought out an AMK Hawk with titanwood scales. He said that since I had been a good repeat customer over the years it was just a small gesture of thanks.

Before we left SOF I went back again to thank Al. A friend took a picture of Al and me shaking hands. I remember he had a grip like a vise!

Back at home I turned the 7 knives I bought from AL to my friend and the balance of his cash. I never told him about “Al’s knife”. I have had it now for over 20 years. I carry it often.

Sadly, Al died a few months after the S.O.F. show in 1992 from an aneurysm. It was only after his passing that I learned he and I were both Industrial Design graduates of the same school; Art Center College of Design, then located in the Hancock Park section of Los Angeles, now located in Pasadena, CA.

Al had earned a Masters Degree at ACCD… his master’s thesis was building and launching a working 2-man submarine!

Rest In Peace Al.

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Glock Handguns, by A.L.

Glock is an Austrian gun producer. This company started in 1981 and already has reached the top in the gun-manufacturing world. It makes highly durable polymer framed pistols called Glocks. The idea of a Glock came to a man named Gaston Glock in 1963. During that year Gaston Glock began his professional journey with plastics and metals. In 1981, after 18 years of experimenting, Gaston Glock founded his company, Glock. In the years to come, this company would accomplish a large amount of engineering feats, which would ultimately redefine the modern pistol. Glock is a major name in the world of guns and continues to produce some of the most advanced pistols in the world.

One of the number one reasons Glock is considered one of the best pistols on the market is because of the pistols’ simplicity. Its simplicity has revolutionized the gun and pistol world. The Glock pistols are so simple that they have been universally adopted as one of the number one pistols used for training, largely because of the gun’s ease in operation and use. Its simplicity also allows for the gun to be considered an easy to care for gun, in maintenance and cleaning.
“GLOCK USA – Pistols & Handguns.” GLOCK “Safe Action”® Pistols. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Mar. 2013. .

One of the major reasons Glock is considered one of the simplest pistols on the market is because of its low number of parts found in the pistols. The low number of parts found in the pistol also helps to contribute to its simple operation and makes the guns easy to care for. All of the Glock pistols contain a total number of 34 component parts. The only difference in the parts found within varying models is, simply, their size. There are no new parts added to different models nor are there any other parts taken away. The total number of parts found in the Glock is significantly lower than the number of parts found within other pistols on the market, such as modern, Colt 1911’s. These models can contain up to 53 component parts. Other pistols on the market can have up to 50 plus component parts, while the Glock only has a mere 34! This lower number greatly increases the pistols’ ease of operation. This lower number of parts also increases the pistols’ reliability. The pistol is so reliable that it rarely misfires or hardly ever malfunctions. Having a pistol like this, with a few number of parts, greatly decreases the chance of it breaking, malfunctioning, or not working properly. Another thing that is greatly affected by the pistols’ low number of parts is the cost to maintain them properly. The low number of parts means that there are less expensive parts to replace, if the pistol breaks. This allows for lower maintenance costs; thus, it adds to the benefit of owning a Glock pistol.
Another process or fact that proves the Glock pistols to be such simple pistols is their disassembly/reassembly process. Gaston Glock strove to make his line of pistols the best of the best, and he certainly did not let anyone down on the disassembly/reassembly process of the pistols. The Glocks’ simple design allows for them to be field striped and cleaned in literally seconds. A field strip is when a gun, specifically a pistol in this case, is disassembled. This process disassembles the gun to the point where the slide, which is the top part of the gun that chambers the next round, magazine, which is the part of the gun that holds the round in the pistol ready to be fired, barrel, which is the part of the gun that the bullet passes through when fired to expel the round, and the receiver, which is the lower section of the pistol where the handle, trigger, and the barrel mount are located, are completely detached from the pistol. This disassembly process is amazing because other pistols on the market take 10 plus minutes to field strip with tools, while the Glock can be field stripped without tools in seconds. The simple disassemble and reassemble process on the Glock’s also contributes to their easy fixes. It contributes to easier fixes because it lowers the amount of time it take to disassemble, fix and then reassembly the pistol. This lowers the amount of time it takes to completely fix the pistol, because of less complication during the process of fixing the pistol.

“GLOCK USA – Pistols & Handguns.” GLOCK “Safe Action”® Pistols. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Mar. 2013. .

Shideler, Dan. Greatest Guns of Gun Digest. Iola: Fw Media, 2010. Print.

Ramage, Ken, ed. Handguns 2001. 13th ed. Iola: Krause Publications, 2000. Print.

Gaston Glock also wanted his line of pistols to be the best ergonomically designed pistols ever. He wanted to design a pistol that was simple, good-looking, and yet ergonomically designed to be able to fit the human hand like a glove. He strove to achieve this during his eighteen years of experimenting with different polymers and metals to make the perfect pistol. As he was experimenting he also tried out different pistol designs, looks, and ideas. Model after model he went through, trying to find the best design, until one day he came up with the design still being used today.
“GLOCK USA – Pistols & Handguns.” GLOCK “Safe Action”® Pistols. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Mar. 2013. .

One of the great things about the Glocks’ ergonomical design is its grip design on the line of pistols. The Glock pistols grips are placed at a natural angle for the human hand, and have a natural feel to them that makes their design iconic. The grips on the Glocks’ allow for instinctive pointing and faster acquisition of the picture in front of you, which gives the shooter an advantage when clearing closed in and tight spaces. The grip design on the pistols makes it so much easier to handle and operate even when the shooter is placed under extreme stress in the heat of the moment. The design of the grips also allow for the gun to sit lower in the shooter’s hand. This design gives the shooter more of a sense of confidence and also lowers the amount of area of the gun’s profile sticking out. Having this design lowers the chance of the gun to be turned on its owner, if someone tries to grab or knock the gun away from you. Overall, the grip is so well designed and so well thought out, that it makes the gun easier to use and handle. Another great thing about the Glocks’ amazing ergonomical design is that is a hammerless design. While most pistols on the market use a hammer in their design the Glock does not. A hammer is what most pistols use to set off the round in the pistol’s chamber. A gun’s hammer is basically an external part on the gun that acts like a lever, and, when the trigger is pulled, it drops, hits a firing pin, and then sets off the round in the chamber. This design using a hammer in pistols to set of the rounds has been used for years and years but with one downfall to it. The downfall to this design is that it increases the chance of the gun being snagged on the shooter’s clothes or any other object when being drawn from the waist or its holster. If a shooter is confronted with a situation where he/she needs to draw their pistol fast, but the hammer on the pistol gets snagged, it can result in death for the shooter. The design of a pistol using a hammer or not using one can ultimately result in the death or survival of a shooter; however, Gaston Glock designed his line of pistols that would not use a hammer but only a firing pin. He designed his pistols to have an internal firing pin to set off the round in the pistol’s chamber instead of an external hammer and firing pin. This ergonomical design works the same as the hammer does and is just as reliable. This design lowers the chance of the gun being caught on the clothes when being drawn, from the waist or its holster.

“GLOCK USA – Pistols & Handguns.” GLOCK “Safe Action”® Pistols. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Mar. 2013. .

-Suermondt, Jan, ed. Illusstrated Guide to Handguns. Kent: Grange, 2004. Print.

Another advantage of the ergonomical design of Glock is its modular back strap system. The Glocks’ grip design is at the perfect angel for every hand, but since hand sizes vary from person to person, Glock designed its amazing back strap system to fix this problem. This system allows for different back straps (the back part of the grip) to be modified to fit hand sizes from extra small to extra large. The back straps are simple to install by taking out the magazine back strap, and then reinstalling the one that fits best. By adding the correct backstrap to the pistol’s grip,- it will fill the space between the shooter’s palm and the grip; therefore, this gives the shooter a finer grasp on the pistol, and protects the shooter reducing the chance of the gun being turned on him/her. The other design feat of the Glock is its rough textured frame. This design enhances your grip on the pistol and is located on the frame as well as the back straps. This design reduces the chance of the gun slipping out of your hand when it becomes wet, which will give the shooter yet another advantage when firing the pistol.

“GLOCK USA – Pistols & Handguns.” GLOCK “Safe Action”® Pistols. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Mar. 2013. .

The final major thing that makes Glock pistols such revolutionary guns is their engineering. The Glock pistols are an engineering feat that can function better than most other pistols on the market today. Even though the company is only 32 years old it produces some of the best-engineered pistols ever.

Glock is also recognized for its engineering of the breakthrough polymer frame. Its frame is made out of a matte black, highly reinforced, super strong polymer. The matte black color of the frame minimizes light reflection, which is an advantage in certain circumstances, as well the polymer material used on the frame is highly resistant to lubricants, color stable, corrosion free, absorbs recoil, and is highly resistant to different climatic conditions. The polymer pistol weighs significantly less than other pistols on the market. The average Glock weighs about twenty ounces while other pistols weigh 35 or more ounces. Durability is the other engineering breakthrough on the Glock. They are so durable that they have been adopted by approximately 65% of U.S. law enforcement. Glock combines high quality advanced engineering, precision manufacturing, and strict quality control to produce some of the most durable pistols on the market. What also contributes to the pistols durability is the use of the lightweight polymer. As described earlier, a Glock’s polymer frame is super strong and will not rust. The polymer frame is so strong that sometimes it is called a “diamond” frame because of how hard and durable it is. Even under some of the world’s harshest conditions they will hardly ever misfire of malfunction. Glock pistols are so durable that they can be firing underwater in salt water and function fine, and the only thing you have to replace later is a ten-dollar firing pin. They can even be soaked in mud for thirty minutes, dipped in water to clean, and fire and still operate fine. Overall Glock is considered one of the most durable pistols.

“GLOCK USA – Pistols & Handguns.” GLOCK “Safe Action”® Pistols. N.p.n.d. Web. 12 Mar. 2013. .

The Glock pistol is a simple, well-designed and engineered pistol. Gaston Glock was a genius in the gun-engineering world and his pistols have paved the way for the modern pistols to come. He has created a worldwide sensation known as Glock. The company today lives up to Mr. Glocks expectations by producing the highly technological pistols that have changed the world.

Bibliography/works cited

“GLOCK USA – Pistols & Handguns.” GLOCK “Safe Action”® Pistols. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Mar. 2013. .

Shideler, Dan. Greatest Guns of Gun Digest. Iola: Fw Media, 2010. Print.

Ramage, Ken, ed. Handguns 2001. 13th ed. Iola: Krause Publications, 2000. Print.

-Suermondt, Jan, ed. Illusstrated Guide to Handguns. Kent: Grange, 2004. Print.

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