Review – IP68 Waterproof iPhone Case

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Review – IP68 Waterproof iPhone 7 Case As an owner of both Lifeproof and Otterbox cases, I have a little bit of real world experience when it comes to waterproof cases for the iPhone. The Read More …

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REVIEW: BRAVO CONCEALMENT TORSION HOLSTER

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The good folks over at Bravo Concealment were kind enough to supply us with a couple of the newer products in their line of gear, the Torsion Holster, for evaluation and review.  Bravo Concealment’s reputation for quality kit preceded this experience with them for me, but once we got our hands on the holsters in question, we quickly came to understand how they had earned such a high regard among those that carry concealed firearms specifically, and more generally among the shooting community as a whole.

 

For the purposes of this review, we were supplied with a couple of the Bravo Concealment Torsion Holsters and accompanying dual mag pouches for a Glock 27 and a M&P Shield 9mm.  My friend, the tactical coordinator for our shooting and preparedness group, and my go-to guy for all things firearms in association with Practical Tactical, Thomas Case 1LT, 3/B/1-108th Cav. ran the Glock 27 and I took the holster for the M&P Shield 9mm.  These reviews will sound and feel different as you read them, and they should.  That is precisely why I asked First Lieutenant Case to help me out.  With that said, upon reading Thomas’ review I found that we had a very similar experience with the Bravo Concealment products, so I’m going to lean heavily on his review here.  I will add my take later, but let’s check out his review first.

 

This is a review of the Torsion Holster by Bravo Concealment
https://www.bravoconcealment.com/
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My friend Randy at Practical Tactical got in touch with Bravo Concealment and requested a sample for testing and evaluation. Randy receives a lot of requests for information on EDC (every day carry) tools and equipment for emergency preparedness. Randy sent the sample to me for evaluation because I carry one or more firearms a day for both of my careers. This evaluation took place over a six month period where I carried a Glock 27 in this holster almost every day.

I dislike reading an entire review only to discover that the author has the same opinion as me. If I like a product then I don’t want to waste ten minutes reading a review of my own thoughts. I like to read reviews that are the opposite of my opinion so that I can decide if I experienced a lemon or if the product has flaws that I failed to notice so I will give you my overall thoughts before I go into detail.

BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front): This holster is absolutely worth the money ($44.99).

The sample that I received was exactly as pictured. I was immediately concerned with the durability of the belt clips because they seemed to flex a little too much. I thought that they would be a point of failure for the holster. As a result of my apprehension I ensured that I did not treat the clips gingerly. I did not do a torture test where I hung weights on the clips until they failed, but I did not go easy on the holster either. After six months the clips are still like new and I have not experienced any issues. The clips have secured to every belt that I own (dress, casual, military, and actual gun belts).

I also put the holster inside the waistband of my gym shorts with no belt. I would not recommend this to anyone because holsters are made to work with belts. You cannot expect a holster to work by using the waistband of gym shorts but the Torsion performed exceptionally well. I was even able to properly draw the weapon from concealment with no belt. The holster stayed in place and the weapon drew with no hang-up.

I then conducted a test. The firearm had a full, extended magazine but I did not have a round in the chamber for this test. You should always carry a firearm that is ready to fight, but during testing I will fail to chamber a weapon if I think that it could be a danger to others. For this test I went to a playground with my children and some family members. The Torsion Holster concealed very well under an Under Armor T-shirt and I climbed up a slide to the waiting children. One of those children pushed me back down the slide and I ended up falling onto my back after sliding head first down the slide. My first thought was not “am I injured?” My first thought was “there is no way that my gun is still in the holster.” I was surprised to find that the Torsion Holster held the Glock in place and it was right where I left it. I was completely sold after that test. No belt, gym shorts, and a back flip… holster and gun still in place!

I was able to conceal the Torsion Holster in every outfit that I wanted to wear. I watched a video review of the holster that said it seemed like a good product, but the reviewer did not like appendix carry so the reviewer would never purchase this holster. I completely disagree. I too dislike appendix carry. My torso is proportionately shorter than some and I cannot carry appendix. When I try, the firearm impedes my ability to bend at the waist. I like freedom of movement and I also need to tie my shoes. I cannot tie my shoes when I carry appendix or even sit down so I carry in the 4-5 o’clock position on my waistline. The Torsion aspect of the holster, a 10 degree cant in the belt clips, allows the holster to ride close to the body and it reduces printing of the holster on your cover shirt.

This holster is exactly as advertised. There were no issues with retention or durability. I would absolutely recommend this holster to any person who needs a good holster for concealed carry (which is everyone who carries a firearm). This holster is as comfortable as a holster can be.

To contrast this holster, I also have a name-brand “tuckable” holster that is just as comfortable and had the same level of retention. I took the other holster to a lake where I was walking on a fallen tree with one my children. I felt a pop a my side and I instinctively reached toward the holster. I caught the other holster as the belt clips failed and the Glock (still in the holster) fell toward the water. That was the last day that I carried the other holster. It now sits in a drawer with a mound of failed holsters that looked like they would be perfect. The Torsion Holster is far superior and I would rely on the Torsion to keep my firearm where I need it when my life depends on it.

The rep at Bravo Concealment allowed Randy at Practical Tactical to keep the holster as long as an honest review of the product was written. No other compensation was received from Bravo Concealment. This company has good products with lifetime warranties and a 30 day money back guarantee. You can’t go wrong with Bravo Concealment.

About me (because why would you listen to a stranger): I have carried a firearm everyday for 17 plus years. I have been in law enforcement for 15 years and a I also moon-light as a Soldier in a combat arms unit. Have fun, be safe, and practice every chance you get.

###

 

 

Now for my final thoughts…

 

I have been a concealed carry permit holder for the past six years and carry either a M&P 9C Compact or a M&P Shield 9mm as part of my every day carry (EDC) lineup.  For the review of the Torsion Holster, the Shield was my daily carry firearm.

I am as “average joe” as it gets when it comes to firearm ownership and concealed carry, but I do take the responsibility of the choice I made to carry a firearm very seriously.  I train as often as possible and I make every effort to be as safe and responsible as any gun owner can be.  A key part of that practice is using quality gear that I can depend on.  I will not recommend any piece of gear that I have not used and do not feel comfortable trusting my life, or the lives of my wife and children, on should the need ever arise.  With that said, to echo First Lieutenant Case, the Bravo Concealment Torsion Holster easily fits that bill.

The first thing that stood out to me about the Torsion holster was the belt clips.  I own several other inside the waistband (IWB) holsters and none of them are equipped with belt clips on par with those on the Torsion holster.  Once the “teeth” of the Torsion’s clips are in place, they are there to stay.  I wore the holster on a riggers belt, as well as dress and casual belts, and I wore it with no belt at all on several pair of Tru-Spec 24/7 pants, jeans, sweatpants, as well as casual and athletic shorts during my day-to-day activities.  In each instance, the Torsion holster stayed in place and felt secure while holding the fully loaded M&P Shield 9mm.

Although the Torsion is designed to make appendix carry easier, that’s not for me.  Rather I choose to carry in the 4-5 o’clock position and the Torsion holster is more comfortable than any other I own when worn in this manner and the low profile design makes it the most easily concealable on my frame as well.  I can promise you there was absolutely no coordination between Thomas and I, but being the father to two children under the age of three, I too found myself at the playground with my kids.  Although I didn’t wind up tumbling off a slide, my daughter and I did take several trips down a couple of twisting, tunnel slides.  Wearing my gun in the Torsion holster, I never once felt like the firearm was in danger of coming out of the holster, nor did I fear the rig was going to fail.

At the end of the day, I heartily second First Lieutenant Case’s assessment of the Torsion holster from Bravo Concealment and absolutely recommend this product to anyone and everyone looking for a quality, affordable, and (most importantly) dependable holster for their concealed carry firearm.  Furthermore, having worked with the good people at Bravo Concealment to bring you this review, I can say without hesitation that top shelf customer service is yet another benefit you can look forward to should you choose to do business with Bravo Concealment.

 

FINAL EVALUATION:  5 out of 5 WARRIORS

 

 

 

If you want to better understand my thoughts on personal preparedness, please check out my books HERE and HERE, or wander deeper into this blog.  I hope this website will help you along your way, especially if you’re just getting started.  Keep up with everything Practical Tactical by subscribing to our mailing list and be sure to LIKE, SHARE and FOLLOW us across all of our social media platforms as well.

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Review – Roadside Emergency Kit

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Survivalhax.com has done it again. They have released a 92 piece, affordable, fairly complete, Roadside Emergency Kit. Now you make ask, based on that last sentence, “What do you mean by fairly complete?”. Before I Read More …

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Pike Trail Pocket Blanket Review

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Pike Trail Pocket Blanket Review In each of my kits, I house a type of shelter. In one it is a tarp and in another, I keep a drum liner. While there is nothing wrong Read More …

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Review: Loftek LED Portable Floodlight

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I continually look for new gear and while I work towards knowledge as opposed to my dependence on the “new shiny toys”, there are some things I just have to have. Enter the Loftek LED Read More …

The post Review: Loftek LED Portable Floodlight appeared first on Use Your Instincts To Survive.

Tactical LED Pen by Survival Hax – Review and Giveaway

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Today we are looking at the Tactical LED Pen with Glassbreaker by Survival Hax. What does it do? The Survival Hax Tactical LED pen has four tools in one: Writing Kubotan/Glassbreaker Flashlight Firestarter It comes with a clip so you can secure it to a shirt or bag pocket. What’s it made of? The pen is hand crafted with aircraft aluminum alloy and a Tungsten steel cone.   It does have a nice, sturdy feel to it. Using the Tactical Pen […]

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ROM Pack – Review

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Recently I have been learning more and more about multi-use items. Food Network’s Alton Brown decidedly is against any “unitasker” and I have to agree. This is what differentiates the ROM Pack from other normal backpacks Read More …

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The Stihl Pro Universal Forestry Axe: A Civilized Battle Axe

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Stihl_Pro_Universal_Forestry_Axe__chopping

Stihl_Pro_Universal_Forestry_Axe_head_profileWood and zombies have a lot in common besides their acting abilities; an axe easily splits them in two. And surprisingly, both zombies and iron battle axes share a similar timeline more than a dozen centuries long. Sure, stone axes were chopping coconuts and skulls as far back as 6000 BCE, but metal ones took longer to develop. Gunpowder displaced the battle axe as a primary weapon in the 1600s, but the modern zombie craze has caused a resurgence of interest in the swinging heavy blade.

By Doc Montana, a Contributing Author of Survival Cache and SHTFBlog

Battle axe evolution followed technology improvements as well as battlefield tactics. The early wood handles were often the target of the enemy combatant’s own axe since axes cut wood and a broken handle makes the weapon as useless as an empty magazine. Seems every weapon can be reduced to a club.

Stihl_Pro_Universal_Forestry_Axe__precision_choppingMetal handles were the natural outgrowth of adding metal reinforcement to the traditional wood handle. But metal adds weight and if of sufficient strength, the wrought iron handles of battle axes relegated them to two-handed use except by those humans of the heavily muscular variety. A six-pound head on a battle axe was huge with single-pound heads not uncommon. Since battle axes were more for chopping flesh than chopping wood, the blade could be narrowed and have a longer, more curved presentation. They could also be thinner overall prior to where handle mounts. If a wood axe was designed as such, it would chop much like a machete meaning it would stick into wood and provide little splay.

Recommended Daily Allowance

Stihl_Pro_Universal_Forestry_Axe_glovesA distinct advantage of the axe as a tool is that it really is a tool. Nobody doubts the utility of a good axe to the point that even the U.S. Government’s National Forest Service lists the axe as an essential part of the “Responsible Recreation” kit. But not all axes are the same. While a steel head is uniform across the axe platform, it all ends there. And even steel has a host of variations: from overseas iron that is soft and rusty to finely crafted German blades polished and sharpened, to hand-forged Swedish steel that preserves the old ways of doing things. Handles range from Ash, to Hickory, to fiberglass, to plastic, to nylon, to a continuous steel extension of the head. All have their disadvantages, but a few materials and designs have very distinct and important advantages. And Hickory is one of them.

Related: Stihl Splitting Hatchet

In the case of the Stihl Pro Universal Forestry Axe, a high quality Hickory handle is used for durability, strength, power transfer, and shock reduction. However, wood is easily damaged by water, impacts, and time. Stihl addressed the impacts issue by adding a heavy steel collar around the neck of the axe to prevent overstrikes damaging the handle. And even more, the collar protects a super-thick neck that is a third more robust than traditional axe designs. And that’s on top of already being exceptionally hard Hickory with proper grain orientation.

With a length of just over 27 inches and a head weight of just under three pounds the Stihl Pro Universal Forestry Axe lands in the middle range of battleaxe demographics. And it looks the part. Compared to traditional axes you are likely to find around the woodpile, the Stihl Pro Universal Forestry Axe stands out as something different. And it is different.

Hang Your Head

Stihl_Pro_Universal_Forestry_Axe_in_handIn addition to the overbuilt handle and steel sleeve, the head of the Stihl Pro Universal Forestry Axe is manufactured by Germany’s oldest axe forge, the Ochsenkopf company. So with all this brute strength in components, Ochsenkopf designed a system to hang the head on the handle with more than the the usual flat or round wedges. The Stihl Pro Universal Forestry Axe head is literally bolted onto the handle with a long screw and additional metal wedge plug and steel endcap all securely attaching the axe head and collar to a fitted handle. Ochsenkopf calls this their Rotband-Plus system. So not only are the pieces ready for battle, but the entire mechanism is assembled to outlast axe traditions that usually outlast their owners anyway.

Check Out: Granfors Bruks Hand Hatchet

Stihl_Pro_Universal_Forestry_Axe_posing_logThe head of the Stihl Pro Universal Forestry Axe is forged with the German equivalent of 1060 steel they call C60. The “C” stands for carbon, but a 1060 steel is on the low end of high carbon steels. Not low in quality, but in carbon content. This minimal amount of carbon is fine as long as the heat treatment is correct for the tool. Axe heads are often of variable heat treatment with a different hardness at the bit (cutting edge) end compared to the eye (handle hole). Ochsenkopf axes are known for moving the hardened heat treatment further back than the usual half-inch or so from the sharp end. The 1060 steel in the Stihl Pro Universal Forestry Axe bit area appears to have been heat treated a full inch-and-a-half from the edge as noted by the change in light reflection off the blade. The variability in hardness of an axe head is a dance between sharp and brittle. Too much and things chip and crack. Too little and they bend and deform. Further, shallow heat treatments are often ground off during the axe’s short life of sharpening. A downward sharpening spiral begins when softer metal becomes the blade.

…But Prepare for the Worst

It wasn’t just gunpowder that sent battle axes to the back of the line, but also their overall durability especially when encountering an armor-clad foe. Battle axes were fearsome but fragile. In proper hands, they were nothing short of harbingers of death and dismemberment. But swung wildly and with disregard for the landing zone, the axes broke with unnerving predictability. And the same can be said about today’s modern forest axes.

See Also: Why the Tomahawk? 

Double-duty is name of the preparedness game. Just as the ancient grindstone handle can be found in modern configuration as a side-handle police baton, the battle axe could be hiding in the woodpile or by the campfire. While any axe can be dangerous (even to the user), not all axes are the same. Survival requires an unbroken chain of good decisions, and with the Stihl Pro Universal Forestry Axe, we have an exceptional hard-use tool for the homestead, and a dangerously strong striking weapon for breaching, rescue, and self defense.

 

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Survival Gear Review: Walther G22 Bullpup

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g22_bullpup_shooting_actionIn the world of low-caliber rifles, the G22 Bullpup is a great choice. The rifle is accurate, sleek, and reliable. For survival applications, such a rifle may be lacking.  No matter how cool the rifle, how can you expect a .22 LR to be a workhorse? This gun will never be powerful enough to bring down big game or seriously deter assailants. Even with 11 round mags and quick reloads, the G22 Bullpup simply does not have enough utility to be a contender as a survival rifle.

By Sam, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

Outside of more pragmatic uses, the G22 is great. As a plinking rifle, the G22 is a wonderful choice. The gun is accurate, lightweight, and features rails for after-market customizations. For these reasons alone, the G22 is well worth adding to your armory. Whatever you do, don’t expect the G22 to bail you out in a survival situation.  Unfortunately, the G22 is no longer commercially available but it can still be purchased used.

Specs

Weight 95 oz (2.7 kg)
Length 28.4–29.5 in (72–75 cm)
Barrel length 20 in (51 cm)
Width 2.2 in (5.6 cm)
Height 8.7 in (22 cm)

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SurvivalHax.com Self Inflating Mattress

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Over many years and after having many friends recommending them, I have thought about getting a self inflating mattress. Thankfully, the folks at SurvivalHax.com were gracious enough to let me review theirs. To begin with, Read More …

The post SurvivalHax.com Self Inflating Mattress appeared first on Use Your Instincts To Survive.

The Honcho Poncho: Prepper Gear Review

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Matt “Papa Bear” Wooddell. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.


The words “poncho liner” resonate deeply with anyone who has ever been a Soldier or Marine. This light, warm, compressible, somewhat water repellant, and quick drying piece of gear has been indispensable equipment for Soldiers and Marines both at home and while deployed. When I was on active duty, it seemed that no one ever went anywhere without the poncho and poncho liner, even if it was just across the street. Anyone who has ever been caught in the field overnight, wet, and cold can tell you the poncho liner has quite literally saved their life. But is it really a poncho liner? I mean can a person actually line their poncho with it? Or is it just a great blanket?

A great man named Ranger Rick Tscherne, some years ago, suggested taking a 100 inch sleeping bag zipper and sewing it along the bottom and side of the poncho liner. This man was a genius! I did this to my poncho liner while I was in the Army. I had to buy another poncho liner from clothing and sales for TA-50 inspections but I always took my poncho liner with the zipper to the field and on every deployment. This new sleeping bag poncho liner was so wonderful but I still thought about why it was called a poncho liner. It didn’t fit under the poncho or attach to it readily and it couldn’t be easily worn under the poncho.

Finally, someone has made my dream a reality! A company called Cascade Designs carries a piece of equipment by Thermarest called the Honcho Poncho and it is amazing. This thing is what I have needed in my kit for years. It has helped reduce the space in my bug out bag and has a ton of applications. It is wearable like the poncho, over the head, insulated and very warm. It is waterproof by itself, without needing to wear another poncho over it. It is compressible and packable like the original poncho liner. It has snap buttons on the sides to snap it up to make it into a light sleeping bag. It comes in yellow or blue. I have the blue. It is dull enough to be acceptable in the woods and it doesn’t make me look like I’m wearing a piece of tactical equipment either.

honchoponcho1

The Honcho Poncho is waterproof by itself, without needing to wear another poncho over it. It is compressible and packable like the original poncho liner.

I always dress for the weather. You will never catch me leaving the house in December wearing only a sport coat. If you ever did see me dressed like that, I would be carrying my real coat to the car with my free hand. Where I live, there can be a 40 degree difference in the daily high and low temps in the spring and fall and -20 for days on end during the winter. So, much of my kit revolves around staying warm and dry. Just like when I was in the service, I always have my poncho and poncho liner in my bag, although now I keep the Honcho Poncho in my kit instead of the regular poncho liner.  I’m all about layering to keep warm and dry. If already wearing a coat, the Honcho Poncho is plenty to layer over it when the temp drops, the wind picks up, and it starts sleeting. For sleeping, it works great snapped together inside of a Sea to Summit reactor sleeping bag liner inside of a SOL OD green escape bivvy off of the cold ground. I’m all about the layers. The Honcho Poncho helps to keep my bag  and versatile.hp1

The price seemed steep at $130 but I hadn’t seen anything even close to this quality anywhere else. Because of the price, I wrestled with the idea of purchasing it for about two days. I was able to get a 15% off first purchase coupon by signing up for the retailers email list. I was fine with that. After all, I could always ignore, delete, or unsubscribe later. That extra savings coupon convinced me to make the buy. I am glad I did! I am frugal. I compare the cost, quality, and value of everything I buy.  That being said, I am glad I shelled out the money for this purchase. I have encouraged other people I know to buy one too.

This idea for the Honcho Poncho is not exactly new. Persons having traveled south of the border may see a resemblance to clothing like the cobija blanket or Mexican hooded wool poncho. The idea is the same. The wearer can bundle up in it when it is cold or for a siesta, leave it open or throw it over one shoulder in the heat of the day. One thing noticeable about the Honcho Poncho is that it is light weight. The shell material is similar to a light nylon in appearance. So, it will snag and could tear on stuff like barbed wire, thorns, and etc. The weakness of the exterior shell can be mitigated effectively by wearing a regular poncho over top of it and using it as (you guessed it) a poncho liner. A person would not want to wear a Honcho Poncho while doing something like breaching a mined wire obstacle or entering and clearing a trench. It is likely to be torn on concertina wire ruining your poncho and snagging you in the process. For a hike after putting your car in a snow bank, for campfires, and regular prepper uses, it will work just fine. If traversing stretches of thick woods, I would suggest putting a regular poncho over top of it to protect it from snagging on thorns, briars, and branch tips.

Even though I recommend against wearing it to breach mined wire obstacles doesn’t mean there are no good tacticool or SHTF uses for the Honcho Poncho. One of the great advantages of using it is the wearer’s ability to easily access weapons in the belt line without impedance. One catch about carrying a concealed weapon in the winter time is that the coat or jacket is another layer of clothing between accessing and presenting your weapon. No matter how fast or trained you are, more layers of clothing means that it takes longer to get a concealed weapon into action. During a surprise attack, speed in response is vital to defense. The unsnapped Honcho Poncho is much less of an obstacle than a zipped coat when retrieving a weapon from the waist line, whether the weapon is concealed inside the waist band or carried outside the pants on the belt. Another consideration if you are carrying a weapon or some type of load bearing or duty belt outside of your coat is that it can earn you extra attention you may not want. In the event of TEOTWAWKI and SHTF and total WROL you may not care about open carrying a weapon but how often does TEOTWAWKI and SHTF and total WROL happen? It’s easier to be unnoticed when carrying a weapon, even outside the pants with your poncho covering it, as long as you are a legal and licensed concealed weapon carrier of course. Another great application for the Honcho Poncho is for the prepper who keeps a ready to go shooters belt or duty belt with their kit. Instead of buckling it over your coat, put on the gear belt, wear your Honcho Poncho over it and your armed and incognito.

honcho_poncho

To sum it all up: it’s a great piece of kit with many uses. It can be used as a sleeping bag, a poncho, an over coat, and to conceal weapons. It is lightweight, warm and compressible so you can put it in a stuff sack and squash it down. It is water proof all by itself without need for an additional poncho. It is wonderful as a warm layer over another lighter jacket. It’s perfect for sitting around a campfire also. It comes in yellow, and a nice blue color with OD green to be coming soon.  Now that I have this, I do not carry my old poncho liner in my get home bag anymore. I still keep my poncho liner in my camping gear, as it is an excellent camping and hunting companion.

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The post The Honcho Poncho: Prepper Gear Review appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Colter Functional Bandana

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It was a pleasure to receive two new versatile pieces of everyday carry from Colter USA. Their bandana is 100% cotton and the two that I have are Know Your Knots and Stargazer. Regardless if you know Read More …

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Review – Fuel 100 Electro-Bites

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For the latest review, I wanted to continue the thought of both endurance athleticism and nutrition. As a former powerlifter, I realize that endurance athletes need nutrition at a different time than sprint based or performance exercises. Electro Bites fills the gap for long term endurance and replaces the gooey gel based supplements as well … Continue reading

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Prepper Pocket Pistols

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survival pistol

The essential idea behind a pocket pistol is to carry it concealed on your person in the event of immediate need.  During an active Best self defense pistolSHTF event, a prepper-survivalists may have multiple opportunities to engage their pocket pistol for a wide variety of reasons.  It might be needed to get out of the office and home or out of the driveway to get on the road toward your Bug Out destination.  It may be needed to thwart a threat at the front door or in the parking lot.

By Dr. John J. Woods, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

When things go south during a natural or unnatural event, self-defense and family/team protection can quickly become a top priority.   For this reason, a pocket pistol has to be chosen very carefully with deliberate intents in mind at all times.  A pocket pistol has to be small enough to be carried easily, but it must be retrieved quickly to put into play.  Then it has to carry enough power to be an effective defensive threat.  The shooter has to be trained and proficient in doing this.

Pocket Power

The first round of the debate starts with the size of the hole in the end of the muzzle.  The primary contenders are the .380 ACP, best concealed carry ammo.38 Special, 9mm, and maybe with a select few shooters, the .45 ACP.  See, I have already stepped on somebody’s toe by not mentioning this round or another such as the .40 Cal.  Some 10mm fans might be offended.  And if you are just getting into shooting handguns, start with the .22 rimfire from the get go, but then move up.  Skip the rimfire for self-defense as it just has too many limitations for serious protection work.

Related: Buying SHTF Ammo

The bottom line here is to choose a caliber with which you are confident in using and in a best concealed carry ammohandgun you can shoot well.  Any one in this first list will perform well in the right hands of a properly trained and experienced shooter.  The days are gone when the .380 and the .38 Special were considered wimps.  Even the 9mm was slighted not all that long ago.  Forget that.  Ammunition manufacturers have stepped up the game with new highly potent and accurate self-defense loads new on the market.  Many new offerings by Hornady, Remington, Winchester, Federal and others have laid to rest the arguments about these rounds being too weak for self-defense protection.  Make your choice.

Gun Choices

To simplify things I generically used the term “pistol” when I am really talking about both semi-auto pistols and revolvers as well. best concealed carry pocket pistol Believe it or not, a good revolver in the hands of a competent and confident shooter becomes an awesome defensive combination.  The “pistol” is certainly a popular choice but by no means the only one or even the best one in every instance.

Related: A Case For The Revolver

A top of the line revolver such as many by Smith and Wesson, Ruger, Charter Arms, Taurus, and a few select others are good choices for prepper pocket pistols.  An intriguing new revolver that I have yet to see or handle is the Kimber K6s Stainless in .357 Magnum, which of course can handle .38 Specials including hearty +P loads.  This ought to be a grand pocket pistol, pricey, but extremely well made as all Kimber’s are.

Pistol wise there are just so many choices, the average or new prepper to the horse race is going to quickly get bogged down in decision-making over features, fit, grip, handling, magazine loading, pointing, slide cycling, sight alignment, safety mechanisms, weight, size, carry and concealment considerations.  These are a lot of things to think about when picking out a good pocket pistol.  Among the competitive leading makers of pocket pistols, you have to look at the Glock 42 and 43, the Ruger models LC9 and LCP, several from S&W including the Bodyguard and their 9mm series.

Related: 10 Tips For Concealed Carry

Remington has out a new .380 pistol to look at in earnest.  Others worthy of a look include the Kimber Micro Pistols, the Solo, Ultra models, and some of the downsized 1911 versions.  In this marketplace, there is no shortage at all of models, brands, and versions to examine for use as pocket pistols.

The Wrap

In the selection process, canvas internet recommendations from noted sources like Survival Cache.  Check with reputable gun best pocket pistoldealers, and nose around at shooting ranges, and gun shows.  Handle and inspect as many different gun models as you can get your hands on.  Shop where the inventories are large, selections and prices are competitive.  If you know a cop, then ask them their opinions as well as other preppers and survivalists.  Gather all the information you can as you make your choice or choices.

The pocket pistol profile is a lightweight, small, 2-4 inch barreled handgun designed to be easily carried actually in the pocket or in an IWB (inside waist band) or OWB (outside waist band) holster.  It has to ready to be drawn quickly and deployed into action at a moment’s notice.  Besides picking the right gun in the right caliber for you, proceed to knowing your gun.  Learn it, clean it, take it apart, and get intimate with it.  Spend a lot of quality time on the shooting range running it through the paces.  Shoot your new gun at realistic confrontational distances.

Also Read: Gum Creek Vehicle Pistol Mount Review

Forget 50 yards.  Concentrate on 7 feet to ten yards.  Punch those paper plates in the center.  Practice quick reloads with a fresh magazine or a 5/6-round speed loader.  This is a learned talent all its own that requires lots of practice to perform smoothly and securely.  Practice, too, withdrawing your pistol from your pocket and carry holsters.  Dress up in the role of concealed carry to see how all that works out.  Get in and out of your vehicles to test those moves.  It all takes practice.  Just keep at it.

Get your concealed carry permit so you’ll be legal.  Start to tote your pocket pistol on a regular basis.  Carry it around some to get used to the weight, feel and tug of it on your body.  At home or discretely work with drawing your pocket handgun in practice, unloaded of course.  Learn that sight plane down the barrel and pointing that muzzle nose to the target.  If you have to depart your office, home, or vehicle during a SHTF event of any kind, you are going to want some measure of protection.  A pocket pistol can help fill that role.  Make your selection with earnest consideration, then move full forward to learning to use it effectively.  It could save your life or the lives of family members, a prep team, or others caught exposed.

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Prepper Uses For A Range Finder

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How to use a range finder

Andy was pulling duty on bug out perimeter security.  We had heard shots coming from the woods at the far how to use a range finderwest end of our prep team property.  This was not an unusual occurrence out in the rural area where we have planned our long term bug out existence.  None-the-less it is always discomforting not knowing who might be unlawfully accessing your property lines.  He left out on his Honda ATV to scout the end of the road line which was roughly two miles west from our camp area and cabins.

By Dr. John J. Woods, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

Keeping a Watchful Eye

Unfortunately for us, the west end is paralleled by a railroad track, the side of which allows for easy access down our north-south property line.  We have often chased unauthorized trespassers from the area and even poachers shooting deer from the railroad tracks across our property line.  Usually just a presence in the area thwarts any unwanted activity.  So, a regular series of drive by cruises on an ATV is enough to let outsiders know we are about the posted area.

On this patrol as Andy drove by an open utility power line right-of-way that comes through our land, he noticed an ATV sitting near one of our deer hunting stands.  Upon close examination with binoculars, he could see somebody sitting in the stand seat.  He immediately put out a call on our camp radios for backup (might as well be melodramatic about it).

Also Read: Leatherman Raptor Review

Another owner and I showed up in the clear view of the guy sitting in the stand.  At this point, he hurriedly climbed out of the stand, jumped on his 4-wheeler, but it would not crank.  He immediately abandoned his ride running off into the woods.  The three of us noted he was carrying a hunting type rifle, which is a situation that could often turn dicey.  We were glad he fled the scene.

A call to wildlife authorities went non-responsive, so the lesson as a prepper/survivalist is to never count on help from anybody else.  You’re basically on your own.  We decided not to chase the trespasser down, but we did confiscate his ATV and turned it in to the police station in town.  The police officer said he knew who owned it and would put out the appropriate warning to stay out of our place.  Yeah, right.

Maintaining a Safe Distance from Threats

Had this situation escalated into a confrontation, it could have turned ugly.   I think the point that we  SHTF_Survival_Cache_SHTFblog_Windham_Weaponry_308_AR10_R18FSFSM-308_Aimpoint_COMP_ML3_VTAC_Sling_outdoorsoutnumbered him helped, but what if Andy had been alone in camp?  Had this been a real life SHTF event, the trespasser/poacher might have stood his ground just as well.

Related: Technology & Survivalists

In these circumstances, the decision-making point is critical.  I don’t know of anybody that really wants to get into a shootout over somebody crossing a property line, but what if the offending party takes the offense?  I mean in this day and age thugs are killing shop owners or citizens on the streets for $5 bucks.  It would be nothing for a trespasser to fire off a few rounds to settle the issue.  The question is, will you (we) be ready to defend our position?

In a life and death situation, you can bet we are prepared to defend ourselves.  But we want to be smart about it.  Slinging lead might well put a stop to the advance, but it has to be dedicated targeting with some purpose.  That purpose might not be to wound or kill somebody, but it might be just to peel some bark off a nearby tree.  Preppers have to be ready for any such contingency whether bugging out or bugging in at the home residence.

Related: Bug Out GPS

Part of this “targeting” is knowing what we are shooting at especially given the firearm we hopefully are carrying at the time.  The preference would be to maintain as maximum a distance as possible to make our own position more difficult to target from an adversary.  Judging those distances has always been a difficult task to learn and practice.  This is where modern technology steps in to help.

Enter the Nikon Prostaff 7i

It may sound unusual to the Survival Cache readership that I might suggest adding an electronic rangefinder nikon_prostaff_7i_review_range_finderto your prepper gear list.  As a big game hunter all over America and Europe in years past, the use of a rangefinder was a normal occurrence.  As a prepper now, it occurs to me the usefulness of one for those applications. And as to our prepping/survival tasks, the use of a rangefinder is still helpful for collecting vital game meat for the table.  In longer range shooting attempts, it is good to knowingly nail down the exact distance to the targeted animal, be it an elk or a white-tailed deer.  They are useful, too in ranging predators or nuisance game animals you may wish to dispatch before they grab your little Molly pup out of the camp yard.

This ranging principle works also for defending your property rights and or any site you may have picked to bug out on private or public lands.  Is that band of 2-3+ unknowns crossing the fence at 300 or 400 yards?  It would be nice to know.  For this job let me recommend the new Nikon Prostaff 7i Laser Rangefinder.  I have had one in hand for several months and the neighbors get tired of me ranging them in their yards.  I can hardly wait for hunting season next month for further in the field testing. The 7i can range from 8-1300 yards.  Yep, 1300.  Too far to shoot, but plenty of range to make further decisions.  Its magnification of 6x helps immensely to “paint” the target in yards or meters by user choice.  The unit’s eye relief is 18.3mm which is really good if like me you are wearing eyeglasses.  It uses one CR2 Lithium battery.  It lasts forever, but buy a spare.

Also Read: 4 Things To Consider When Bugging Out

This Nikon’s size is only 4.4×1.5×2.8 inches.  It is small and easily handled in the palm.  Its objective How to use a range finderdiameter is 21mm so it lets in plenty of light for spotting targets.  It also has a built in angle compensation which is super if you happen to be in an elevated position, or downhill from a ridge.  The unit is also waterproof, which is always a good feature.

The Prostaff 7i is black in color, but has an orange stripe across it.  You may think this trivial until you drop it in the grass or the forest floor.  Controls are easy to learn and use and are very intuitive.  The unit’s cover is grainy which aids in its gripping.  There is also a provided neck lanyard, which I recommend using, then slipping the rangefinder into your shirt pocket.  For prepping to hunt for food or protect your family from distant threats, a rangefinder is a highly useful piece of gear.   The Nikon’s cost can be shopped around for about $270 or cheaper.  Add it to your Christmas list now.

Photos By:
Dr. Woods
Drew
Jason Schaefer

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Bug Out Flashlight Wisdom: Part 2

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SHTF Flashlights

Part 1 of Bug Out Flashlight Wisdom addressed modern LED lighting and the single CR123-cell flashlights in Best SHTF Flashlightsparticular. In Part 2, flashlight features and operational wisdom will be discussed.  I can tell that the dust has not yet settled on flashlight interfaces in the same way it has not yet to settle on computer operating systems, gun safeties, and even knife blade locking mechanisms.  I have three different flashlight switch options in the same brand of flashlight.  And another light that has a user-specified programmable interface that you access with three quick twists of the bezel.  I had to get YouTube help just to figure out how to program my light.

By Doc Montana, a contributing author of Survival Cache and SHTFBlog
This post is Part II of a series.  To read Part I (click here)

But in the end, this is all for you.  Once you go down the rat hole of choice, there is no end to the possibilities Best SHTF Flashlightswhen there’s no limit to money and electric circuits.  I’ve got variable 0-100 lumen lights, high-low, low-high, single speed, three-speeds, and even considering Surefire’s new line of “IntelliBeam Technology” actually does the brightness adjusting for you depending on how much light is already falling on the scene.  I guess it means I’m old if I had to stop and think about that one.

A big choice with the switch is whether or not the light can be turned on using a flat surface instead of a thumb.  Recessed switches can prevent unintentional activation of the light, while protruding switches allow the light to be activated with a crude tap on the butt.  Both have their place.  I prefer shrouded switches, but find that exposed buttons are great for brief on/off lighting and weapons lights.  Also, exposed switches usually prevent the light from standing on its tail for a feeble attempt at general area lighting.  And in Surefire’s absurd fashion, they managed to make some of their tail switches peek out above the shroud enough to prevent solid tail standing, but not enough to activate the light. Some of those engineers in Fountain Valley really need to get out more.

Other brands have split the difference shrouding only 50% of the tail switch in two 25% barriers on opposite sides of the ring.  A flat surface cannot activate the light, but any smaller protrusion can be used as a surrogate thumb.  Of course tail-standing with that design is out of the question.

Programming Interface:

The choices within any individual flashlight can be a simple on/off, to a complex multi-bright-multi-Survival Flashlightstrobe-SOS programmable interface.  Or anywhere in between.  There are three considerations when thinking about the interface.  The first thing to think about its if the interface is even necessary for your needs.  Some lights like the 4Sevens are programmable and then hold the lighting sequence until changed. Other brands require a specific set of clicks on a switch meaning both that the choice can be ignored or must be memorized.  Other than that, it’s a crapshoot as to what will happen when a user tries different click or twist combinations.  Maybe something, maybe nothing. Maybe the worst possible choice for the situation.

The second consideration about the interface is which way you want it to cycle.  Defensive lights cycle from brightest to dimmest while utility lights cycle from dim to bright.  Other lights might cycle through a series of dim to bright to strobe, etc.  All lights have their advantages, but you will need to carry the the light that best needs you anticipate.  Personally, I prefer only two stage lights that have low or brightest or brightest and low.  The Surefire Fury goes from 20 lumens on first click to 500 on second click.  My Surefire E2D Defender goes from 500 lumens on first click to 5 lumens on the quick second click.  Both have their place in my daily carry.

Also Read: How People Will Act After TEOTWAWKI

And the third is consideration has to do with if the interface is if it’s something that you actually memorize. For instance, the 4Sevens lights have a triple rotation of the bezel to access the interface before you can fiddle around to what the blinking light means.  Other interfaces, like the Streamlight, might be as simple as clicking through the secondary bezel-mounted button, or with a set of quick-clicks of the tail switch.  Some other lights have rotating bezels with different features, while others have different degrees tailcap depression.

As much as  I’m a fan of modern technology, I like a simple, predictable interface that I can toss across the room to a child when necessary that will work 100% of the time.  For me, that’s Surefire and Fenix. However I do love my small 4Sevens lights and use Streamlight AA, AAA, and CR123 lights in Bug Out Bags, Truck glove boxes, and daily carry.  But trust me, when the S H’s the F, I’ll grab my Surefires first, no questions asked.

Bezel Design:

The Bezel is the business-end of the flashlight.  It is responsible for the light throw, the shiny reflection, and Survival Flashlightsin some cases, the sharp rim or crenulations that can crack skulls, scrape DNA, and inform those nearby that the light is on when face-down on a smooth surface.

The reflector inside a flashlight can be smooth, rough like an orange peel, or of high-tech geometry blasting the beam in an efficient and desired way.  Orange peel reflectors are the new hotness.  Long gone are the hot spots and dark spots of the D-cell Maglites.  The new norm is uniform light spread across the entire landscape. Seriously, if you haven’t yet experienced quality in hand lighting projection, then you’re in for a pleasant surprise.  There is a reason some light cost over a hundred bucks and it’s not just the American fingerprints all over the manufacturing.

Also Read: Self Defense or Murder

Crenulated bezels, or those with raised bumps like the turrets of a castle or scallops on a knife blade, are both fighting weapons and essential indicators of when the light is on, but face down on a flat surface.  The raised regions of bezel, or crenulations, make tiny dull knives that focus the impact onto a smaller sharper surface when shoved into flesh. And the spaces between the crenulations allow light to seep out indicating that the batteries are in use but going nowhere.  Frankly, I am surprised how many times I encounter a face-planted flashlight dumping photons into a tabletop, countertop or floor. It seems everyone but me parks a running light down on its lens.

Pocket Clip:

The thin metal strips of spring steel that parallel the flashlight’s body are a simple idea that just cannot seem Survival Flashlightsto evolve beyond its knuckle-dragging stage in life. Flashlight pocket clips, not unlike folding knife pocket clips, run the gamut from passing usefulness to better-off-without-it. The clips vary widely in design, shape, grip strength, direction, and location. Some even play both sides and don’t work well in either direction, while others have mastered the skill of ineffectiveness in only one orientation. Surefire has a well-developed clip that grabs a pocket edge quite well with the lens down, but also has an oversized wrap-around portion of the clip that gives a second carry option as well as grabs nicely to the bill of a baseball cap.  Only problem is Surefire lights are known for being a little big and can be heavy so you might need to snug up the cap’s retention on your skull.

No matter the clips shape, the one thing I want for sure is the ability to remove the clip. Not to keep it removed, per say, but rather to take it off and bend it how I want. Mostly the clip needs tightening to my personal specs, but occasionally, I want to increase or decrease the shovel angle on the clip’s tip to either slide into my pocket with less help, or reduce its stress on my pocket or thigh because it pokes out like a figurehead on a wooden ship.

Paper or Plastic?

Most lights today are made of one or two of three materials.  High end lights for non-explosive conditions usually run aluminum throughout.  A few are titanium, but those are definitely outliers.  Drop down a price point or two and you find plastic and polymer.  The final material is a Lexan or similar hard plastic that is often transparent.  My preference is aluminum when titanium is not available.  Although I don’t notice any weight difference between the two since the quantity of metal in a flashlight is pretty low given the strength requirements of such a device.

Also Read: Murphy’s Laws of TEOTWAWKI

Aluminum does have it’s downsides including higher cost, need for proper anodizing, and care when threading together the components.  Aluminum can be milled to much finer tolerances than synthetics so they are usually noticeably more refined.  That is the quality aluminum flashlights, not the junk ones in the hardware store checkout line.   But aluminum does scratch, dent, and sink. Plus, it seems that only those cheap Chinese dollar-lights next to the cash register are the only ones that truly embrace my love of bright colors. Surefire seems to think silver is a major departure from the norm.

The use of plastic can cut the cost of a light in half or more for roughly the same output performance by the same company. However, the flexible nature of plastic means that a hard blow will likely knock the stuffing out of the light whereas a quality aluminum one would just get bruised.  A good indication of how well a light will stay together under stress is found in the number of revolutions holding the components to each other. Two complete rotations is the minimum for high quality. If less than two, wear your seatbelt.  If less than one, wear a helmet.  Fenix lights use up to three rotations to keep their heads screwed on tight, and Surefire is at least two spins. And when twisting the pieces, notice the smoothness of thread interaction.  Many quality lights use thick durable threads, and even squared off thread tips.  While lesser lights, even those that might spin two or more times use such paper-thin threads that you can bend the head off the body even when screwed down tight.  Not all threads are created equal.

Batteries are Life

My barn full of lights run on everything from button-cell batteries to 18v rechargeable packs, but many of my Bug Out FlashlightsEDC and bug out lights run on CR123 batteries.  And if you ask to borrow a light, you will get a tube full of  AA batteries.  I divide my lights up across three categories:  Those that will be stored for later/emergency use, those for high performance use, and those for general or anticipated use.  CR123 batteries ride in my stored and high performance lights, and AA and AAA batteries ride in my general use lights.

The reason for the dichotomy is simple: cost.  To get maximum performance out of a high end light, you need fresh batteries.  Most modern LED lights only run their maximum output for a short time, then they step down their output according to available voltage.  Finally, there will be no difference between high and low. So if you want a blinding bright blast you will need full power batteries.  And since maximum output runtime is measured in minutes, every second of on now is a second of lower output later.  Usually this is not a problem because the output of a high end flashlight is plenty so even halving the lumen count is still triple figures. But halve that again, and you start to sense you are at a disadvantage.

Also Read: 3 Reasons Not To Stock Precious Metals

Rechargeable batteries are a great idea that is gaining more traction in the market.  However, there are many nuances and persnickety flashlight circuits out there so using high-powered rechargeables is on a case-by-case basis.  That said, some companies are going full on into the rechargeable side of EDC lights beyond the key fob lights discussed here.  The Factor Company is pushing the edges of tactical and EDC formfactor lights including micro-USB rechargeable flashlights that can take regular batteries if needed.

It’s a Wrap

Having to bug out is never a good thing, but having proper lights solutions at hand can certainly make the difference between life and death.  Whether feeling your way through a dark stairwell, or cutting corners through garbage-filled alleyways, or jumping over downed timber at night on the way to your bug out location, proper lighting is likely the first of your bug out tools to be put to the test.  While some like to say the best flashlight is the flashlight in your hand, I like to say the best flashlight is the best flashlight to have in your hand.  Junk can get you killed as fast or even faster than lack of experience.  Lighting solutions, like firearms and survival knives must mirror your talents and expectations because when you put your life in your flashlight’s hands, you must know it’s limits as well as its dedication to your mission.

All Photos By Doc Montana

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Sunjack 14w + 8000mAh Battery Portable Solar Charger

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SunJack 14w + 8000mAh Battery Portable Solar Charger Product Review Some of the latest trends we are seeing today is solar powered gadgets. While this is an old technology, harvesting the sun as a renewable resource is on a steep incline when it comes to personal use. By using today’s science and technology, this is where … Continue reading

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ALPS Comfort Series Self-inflating Pad Review

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  The review of the ALPS Comfort pad is a result of working with the team of 3Beds.com, a website that reviews airbeds and sleeping pads. A word about ALPS Mountaineering The Mountaineering is just one of the sub-brands of … Continue reading

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Tops BOB Knife Review

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Best Survival Knife

BOBknife3 As hard as it is for me to say this, I think I’ve finally found a knife that I like better than the Ka-Bar Becker BK-2.  The BK-2 is an awesome knife.  It’s a workhorse and of the few smaller knives out there it’s one that you can actually chop and pry with that has some effect on what you’re hitting.  Check out a comparison of the BK-2 and a couple of other knives here.  I’ll use the BK-2 as a comparison here because this is probably one of the knives I’ve used most in the last five years.

By Jarhead Survivor, a contributing author at SHTFBlogSurvival Cache

Before that I had a Ka-Bar USMC fighting knife that I used for many different tasks.  If you’re one of my old readers you’ll know I love the BK-2.  I still do, but I’ve found an alternative knife that I like a little better.  The Tops BOB knife was designed right from the beginning as a woodsman/survival knife by the Brother of Bushcraft.  It’s got some cool features that might seem a little gimmicky like a divot to be used as a bearing block with a bow drill set, but I’ve actually used it and it works.

The Knife

The knife is made from 1095 High Carbon Steel with a blade thickness of 3/16″.  It’s got a Kydex sheath with a rotating steel belt clip. The whole knife is 10 inches with a blade length of 4 1/2 inches, which makes this a smaller knife.  But, it gets the job done.BOBknife1

I used it for the normal bushcraft things you’ll do:  splitting wood, chopping, cutting, carving, among other things.  It’s real test came when I took a class at the Maine Primitive Skills School.  I can’t emphasize how important a knife is during wilderness survival since it’s arguably the most important piece of gear you’ll take into the field.  Sure, most any knife will get the job done, but it takes a special knife to get good marks in all categories.

Related: 7 Things To Consider Before Buying A Survival Knife

At the Maine Primitive Skills School we used knives to split wood, carve a bow drill set, peel bark from a pine tree, and all kinds of other stuff.  Over the last few months I’ve put this knife to the test and the more I use it the more I like it.  One area that it really excelled in was whittling.  I used it to whittle a spindle and fireboard out of a piece of firewood and it worked beautifully.  I also carved a spoon and wasn’t disappointed with its performance there either.

Some of the features of this knife include a whistle attached to a fire steel, which makes it a pretty good simple survival kit.  Drawing from Dave Canterbury’s 10 C’s of Survival this kit gives you cutting and combustion, and you can make your own cover with it.

Features

BOBknife2

The features on this knife are pretty cool too.  First of all the ferrocium rod also has some magnesium rods on it that can be whittled down and used to assist your spark in starting a fire.  The whistle is shrill and would help if you got in trouble and were able to blow it.  Remember – three blasts is a distress call. There’s also a divot in the knife which allows you to use the knife as a bearing block with a bowdrill, which I used to successfully start a fire.

You Might Like: Fallkniven A2 Review

There’s a small wedge on the bottom of the handle that you use as a striker for the fire steel.  It’s a little awkward to hold the knife when starting a fire at first, but you get used to it after using it a few times.  When used for whittling there’s a thumb ridge along the back of the knife you can use to help with that fine detail work.

The Kydex sheath holds the knife tight and there’s a holder built in for the fire steel and whistle combination.  I didn’t like the way the whistle tapped against the sheath as I walked and I was afraid the firesteel was going to fall out when I was in the wood, so I wrapped a Ranger band around the knife over the whistle and firesteel and that kept it in there nice and tight and quiet.

Testing

Testing consisted of actually using the Tops BOB Knife in many different scenarios.  As mentioned earlier I split wood with it.  Because it’s so sturdy it handled very well at this task.  I’ve used some knives in the past where the handle would twist when you used it batoning, but this was rock solid.  The thickness of the wood being split is determined by the blade length, of course, so keep that in mind when gathering wood you intend to process with your knife.

Also Read: Parry Blade Knife Review

I also started fires with both the firesteel and by using it as a bearing block with a bow drill set.  The Best Survival Knifefiresteel is much easier of course, but not having to carve and burn in a bearing block probably saved me fifteen minutes of looking and actual work, so it’s a handy feature.

The knife is marginally heavy enough that you could chop wood with it, but it would be a struggle, so I didn’t bother trying to chop a tree down or anything of that nature.  You can generally look at a knife and have an idea of how it’s going to work at a given task and while the knife is sturdy and of a good weight for its size, it’s not a hatchet.  If you’re going to do some serious chopping bring an axe.

Final Determination 

The question I ask myself every time I have a piece of equipment like this is, “Would I be confident that Best Survival Knifethis would be useful to me in a survival situation?”  Meaning, do I think this knife would stand up to the rigors and be an asset to me if my ass was on the line?

The answer is yes.  I’m confident it would be helpful.  As mentioned earlier I’ve favored the Kbar BK2 and it still has a place in my heart, but the Tops BOB Knife is now my main knife and it now holds the main place of honor in my everyday Bug-Out Bag.

Questions?  Comments?
Sound off below!
-Jarhead Survivor

All Photos By Jarhead Survivor

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X-Shot Sport Review

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In the world of modern technology, we are always trying to get a leg up. X-Shot Sport actually helps expand our capabilities allowing us to do just that. While I have seen “selfie sticks” with their trigger or push button mechanisms, I have not seen one that allows me to do exactly what I need … Continue reading

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Paleo Meals To Go Review

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  With both work and pleasure, I am on the go almost constantly. Between running to catch a flight, hiking a trail, camping in the mountains, or coaching softball the one thing that suffers the most is my diet. Paleo Meals To Go has answered my prayers. I started following the Primal Blueprint in 2013 … Continue reading

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TacLace Review

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In today’s environment, it is wise to find things that make your life easier and sometimes even faster. TacLace enables me to do just that. Even though the Minutemen started sometime around 1645 in the Massachusetts Bay Colony as Training Bands for rapid deployment, they were better known to be around the time of the American … Continue reading

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SkyTech Laser Pointer Review

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Recently, I was approached by SKYTech to review one of their personal lasers. While I did not know where to begin or what to do with a SKYTech laser pointer, outside of giving presentations, I accepted. For full disclosure, it did not come with batteries or an instruction manual other than the letter stating, watch … Continue reading

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Solar Puff Review

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One of the greatest things about what I do is to review effective “gadgets”. The Solar Puff LED Light from Solight Design is no exception. This is a very effective tool for your kit. You may be asking, what makes it so effective and I am glad to tell you. Part of it is because … Continue reading

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Gear Review: Solo Stove Titan and Solo Pot 1800

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Written by Patrick Blair on Survival at Home.

I’ve been looking for a strong and versatile cook system that was lightweight and compact to add to my gear. Enter the Solo Stove Titan and Solo Pot 1800!

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That is a Hot Ash Stove – Gear Review

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I was able to spend some productive time with the folks from Hot Ash Stove. They are currently on Kickstarter which ends December 1, 2015. What I was able to see and discuss at the meeting was very informative. For starters, this is not an ultralight wood stove. This is a portable Rocket Stove. This … Continue reading

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Gear Review – Uberfire – Fire

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In the world of survival, the biggest challenges are to focus on the four main categories: Fire, shelter, water, and food. Each category can be a challenge in itself and the order in which each is obtained can be crucial to life and limb. After doing some research, I wanted to ensure I could reduce the risk … Continue reading

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What Is The Best Survival Take-down Bow?

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Choosing the right survival weapon can be a difficult choice. Do I take the 25lb M60 with 5lbs of ammo, or the much quieter and easier to pack, 2 lb survival takedown bow? I know some of you will still end up carrying the heavy weaponry but for this short review we will be comparing two of the most popular survival takedown bows.

The SAS Tactical Survival Bow vs the Primal Gear Compact Folding Survival Bow.

These are both excellent bows but there are some key differences. In this short video, Craig reviews both of these products and offers an awesome giveaway!

Check out his video and go here for the full review and giveaway rules.

Bugout Coffee Review

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Earlier this year, I was given the opportunity to do a review on Bugout Coffee. I was not able to accomplish this as quick as I would have liked simply because just as the package arrived, we were packing up the house to move.  I am thankful to both Jay and Jenny Blake for allowing … Continue reading

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EDC Lights and Knife from James Williams and CRKT

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I received some fantastic products in the mail today from James Williams, of System of Strategy. Those of you who are familiar with CRKT Knives have probably seen some of the designs of James Williams, a master of the Japanese samurai fighting arts and the president of Bugei Trading Company. James Williams has extensive experience teaching close-quarters combat to police and military and his tool and weapon designs are based on the needs of those whose lives depend on them.  Finding this site, he thought my readers would be particularly interested in these personal defense and tactical flashlights designed for EDC, as well as his new Shizuka Noh Ken folder. I absolutely agree, and I will be posting a full review of them after spending some time with them.

Pictured below, from top to bottom, the James Williams-designed CRKT Personal Defense Light, the Tactical Applications Light, and the Shizuoka Noh Ken folder. Note the clips for deep pocket carry on each:

Compact high-intensity flashlights have come a long way since I reviewed some early models here on  Bug Out Survival in this 2010 post: http://www.bugoutsurvival.com/2010/01/gear-review-compact-hi-intensity.html

I’ll have all the details and specs of these new CRKT lights in the upcoming review, but I can tell you already that one or both of these will going wherever I go from now on.

I was especially excited to get my hands on Williams’ new Shizuka Noh Ken folder, as I was looking to replace yet another Cold Steel Voyager with a broken pocket clip. As a master of bladed weapons, Williams designs his knives for self-defense and combat, so this is not a do-it-all utility or bushcraft knife. It is designed to neutralize an attacker as quickly and efficiently as possible; one look at the blade will tell you that. Carry something else to open packages and whittle with and save this for when and if you need it. The Shizuka Noh Ken (Japanese for “Hidden Blade”) is a smaller version of his Otanashi Noh Ken (Sword of Silence) of the same design and it is so light and slim in your pocket you’ll barely remember you have it. It’s rare to find a blade design that both stabs and slices equally well, but that’s exactly what this and Williams’ larger Japanese tanto designs excel at. When I post a review I’ll show the difference between these traditional tanto blades and the more commonly seen American tanto designs that are much less capable when it comes to stabs and thrusts. For now, note that despite the long curve of the belly of the blade that makes it great for slicing, the needle-like tip is straight in line with the handle, making it effectivly a dagger when it comes to thrusting.

As already mentioned, James Williams not only designs edged weapons, but is a master of using them and teaching others to do so. In addition to the tactical lights and knife, he included two of his instructional DVDs for my review (The Edged Weapon and Continuing Solutions to Edged Weapons). There are a lot of concepts and ideas in the nearly four hours of instruction here that I have never seen  anywhere else, although we worked with knives quite a bit when I studied Ed Parker’s system of Kenpo. I’m looking forward to working more with these principles and hope to attend one of James Williams’ seminars to see his methods first hand.

The timing for these items to arrive could not have been better, because I have been planning to begin writing more here about self-defense, both unarmed and with weapons, as well as the importance of physical fitness for survival. I feel these are critical skills and attributes that are far too often overlooked or neglected in the prepping and survival community. Stay tuned for more to come soon.

Purificup Review & Use Tips

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Purificup Review & Use Tips

Purificup has asked me to do a review of one of their portable survival water purification units.
Upon receiving the unit, #2203 Natural Water Purifier in Green, the first thing that struck me was it’s compact size, much smaller than I had anticipated – This is a good thing as it will not take up valuable space in your Bug Out Bag, Emergency Preparedness kit or