Mil-Spec Monkey/KA-BAR Fixed Blade Knife

MSM KA-BAR Knife 001Mil-Spec Monkey, aka the Monkey, aka DJ Monkeyboy, is a guy, not a troop of primates.  He brachiates through the tactical jungle to bring us his own brand of military-inspired gear:  morale patches, clothing, backpacks, and now a blade.

How does a young man formally trained to design video games and art become, of all things, a DOD contractor?  Of course, he joins the U.S. Army Game Project team, who made “America’s Army” and virtual reality simulators for soldiers.

The Monkey has ideas that branch out.  He created a tanto-styled fixed blade knife and then went looking for a company to build it.  After much consideration, Monkey engaged KA-BAR Knives, Inc., makers of Continue reading

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Victorinox I.N.O.X. Watch Debut

victorinox inoxFor its 130th anniversary, Victorinox took an innovative marketing step in August during which “the Original Swiss Army Knife company,” the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY), and 250 Internet bloggers gathered to publicly unveil and test the new Victorinox I.N.O.X. watch.  And by test, I mean torture.

Victorinox’ new sport watch is designed to withstand extremes in heat, cold, pressure, chemicals, and shock.  The I.N.O.X., abbreviated for Impact Neutralizing Object for the X-tremes, was subjected to 130 different tests back at its home in Ibach, Switzerland.  It was even run over multiple times by a Swiss Army Leopard 87 main battle tank.  No, the tank was not damaged.

The I.N.O.X. has a 43mm stainless steel case and a Ronda 715 quartz movement.  Its water resistance dives to 200m.  From their testing, Victorinox states the watch will operate in temperatures of -60 to +160 degrees Fahrenheit.  Though a watch wearer would suffer G-LOC, the I.N.O.X. can withstand an acceleration of 12 G’s.  It has also been subjected to contact with gasoline, solvents, oils, acids, and cleaning products. Continue reading

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Szanto 4100 Series Watch Review

Szanto 4102 darkSteampunk.  It evokes images of an alternate reality, where the use of 19th century technology dominates a timeline in which the retro is modern.  Picture in your mind’s eye wood and brass replacing carbon fiber and stainless steel.  Analog verses digital.  That’s what I see in Szanto’s new 4100 series.

As I have previously related, Barry Cohen, Szanto’s owner/mastermind, has sought to bring turn-of-the-century design to the marketplace.  When I saw the 4102, I was immediately reminded of an old style gauge from a creaky merchant marine ship or even a ’60’s sci-fi spacecraft.  Antique distressed “brass” housing, ivory dial, and stitched brown leather band–perfectly Steampunk.

I could not help but order a 4102 because of its interesting appearance.  When the timepiece arrived in Szanto’s unique traveling trunk box, I was not disappointed.  The watch has classic looks and the modern machinery to back it up. Continue reading

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Shooting Creek Holsters by Daniel

Shooting Creek Holsters laserDaniel, a contributor here at, asked to borrow my Ring’s Manufacturing Bluegun replica of a Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 380. He told me he was making a pocket holster for a friend.  Several weeks later I discovered–I was that friend!   He presented me with a beautifully handmade holster.

A few years ago, Daniel inherited some leatherworking tools from his grandfather, who lived in a town called Shooting Creek in North Carolina.  Daniel began practicing, making such things knife sheaths and notebook covers.  Daniel had even made me a rich brown flask cozy.  His attention then turned to handgun holsters.

I had seen some of the holsters he had constructed.  They were far and away better that the primitive leathercraft I had attempted decades ago.  Daniel’s cuts, burnishing, and dyeing were very good, but his stitching and stamping had become the work of an artisan.

Knowing I prefer pocket carry, Daniel added several thoughtful details to the black basketweave creation.  The throat of the holster is reinforced to Continue reading

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Kershaw-Emerson CQC-2K

IMG_6133I couldn’t stand it anymore and at $31.50, the item was well within reasonable discretionary spending.  My curiosity about the quality of Kershaw (KAI Cutlery) and Ernest Emerson’s love-child production folding knife from China got the better of me and my MasterCard.  Order placed.

A week later, the diminutive Kershaw-made/Emerson-designed CQC-2K was dropped into my mailbox.  The packaging was discarded upon arrival at home from work.  My first reaction was, “Solid little knife!”

The CQC-2K has a 2 3/4″ blade of 8Cr14MoV that is black-oxide coated.  Sporting a modified clip point, the blade is recurved.  The look of it is tactically smart.  Atop the blade is a thumb disk and Emerson’s Wave-Shaped Opening Feature.

A frame lock, the left side wears a black G-10 scale, while the right side is 410 stainless steel that is likewise black-oxide coated.  The lock-up of my knife was mechanically perfect.  A 2/3rds rear spacer leaves the interior of the handle accessible for cleaning.  The pocket clip is tip-up reversible and is Emerson skulled.

IMG_6135 Continue reading

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German Watch Factory in Action

I was fascinated by this video of watches being manufactured.  From the handwork to the laser engraving–all cool stuff.  NOMOS Glashütte makes 95% of its own innovative watch movements in-house.  Glashütte is a town in Germany where their watch industry is said to have been born.  Says NOMOS:

Plenty of tradition and handcraft—combined with high-tech, where it outperforms handcraft:  That is NOMOS Glashütte.  All our movements are built in-house and by ourselves in Glashütte.  This also applies to our watches—Tangente, Orion, Zürich and all the other models—many of which are already considered classics.  You can find out how we do this by visiting us in Glashütte and taking a tour.  In the meantime, this short film can give you a first impression of what we do.

I was recently in a watchmaker’s shop (a good friend of Daniel) and I was mesmerized by the specialized equipment and professional focus I observed while one of my TAG Heuers was serviced.  Mechanical artisanship.

by Wilson

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Guardian Tactical Knives

Guardian Tactical HelixGuardian Tactical, Inc. bills themselves as “Superior Knife Manufacturing.”  You have already seen their prowess in making Rat Worx’ knives.  At Blade Show, I actually visited Guardian Tactical before Rat Worx and the Guardian guys urged me to go right over to see the “steampunk” Nautilus, of which they were very proud.

Andy Buerk is a design engineer with Guardian Tactical.  He said their knives are 100% Made in the USA with nearly all the components constructed in their Emporium, PA, shop.  The HELIX is their flagship model.  It is robust, but tips the scale at just 4 ounces.  He was jazzed about their unique CNC blade grinds.  The HELIX blade has both flat and hollow grinds milled with precision on Guardian Tactical’s machines.

Guardian Tactical

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