SHOT Show 2011 Review (UPDATED)

Posted by: cliff

SHOT Show 2011 Review (UPDATED) - 01/19/11 03:07 PM

Well, ETS is back at SHOT Show in Las Vegas. Doug (of course!), Blast, myself (Cliff), and several others are here looking for new products and things of interest to the ETS world.

A couple of things, dear readers:

We will be posting as we can during the show, instead of afterward as previous years. But with all the bandwidth demands, the 'Net here can be annoyingly unreliable, (like the cell phone service...) so please bear with us. Picture uploads are slllllllooooowwwww, so images may have to come along later.

In order to keep our posts from being confused with comments (and vice versa), we're asking that this thread be reserved for our review posts - so please do not comment here. We will get cranky and will delete them, or (last resort) lock the thread.

Look for the first posts later today and this evening!

UPDATE: SHOT Show 2011 is over, but there are still more news/reviews we have to put up. So keep checking back for updates!
Posted by: cliff

LRI / PHOTON - 01/19/11 04:42 PM


LRI, the makers of the Photon Microlight, had two interesting product introductions. First, they have released a simplified Photon II Microlight with no programming – just click on and click off. Called the Photon II PRO, the folks at LRI said this was their most requested change to the Photon lineup. The PRO can be had with either the “covert nose” – essentially a shroud around the bulb – and without , and it comes in an infrared version, as well. MSRP is $6.99 ($7.99 with the covert nose). Infrared is a bit more - $9.49 ($10.49 with covert nose), and it is available now.

The test model we played with worked as advertised - on… off; on… off. There is something to be said for simplicity.

LRI was also showing an accessory pack for it’s rechargeable, 4-LED ReX light. It includes a quick charge USB dock, a headband (with adjustable clip) and, what seemed the most interesting bit, a portable solar charger. The solar charger is about 2.5” square, and will charge the ReX in 1 hour of sunlight (LRI’s claim, which we will investigate). The design of the charger allows the ReX to be clipped to the back, safe and out of the way, while the charger is clipped to a pack or laid on the dashboard. LRI says the USB dock will charge the ReX in about 1/2 to 3/4 hour. MSRP for the ReX accessory pack is $19.95 (ReX sells for $29.95), and the accessory pack is selling now.

And as for the ReX itself, that thing is bloody bright.
Posted by: cliff



Ultimate Survival Technologies, maker of the ‘Blast Match’, has several product improvements this year. Their ‘Deluxe’ and ‘Aqua’ Survival Kits will be offered in a clear case in addition to their current black case, and the ‘Blast Match’ and the ‘Jet Scream’ in the clear case versions will be orange instead of black. The ‘Wetfire Fire Starting Tinder’ will be offered in a new packaging.

The biggest news from Ultimate Survival was the announcement of their acquisition by Revere Survival Products in Florida. According to spokesman at SHOT, Revere will handle Ultimate Survival‘s civilian/retail market, while Ultimate Survival will focus on the military/LEO/government market. The civilian products will be the same as before, and will still carry the Ultimate Survival Technologies logo.
Posted by: Blast

Re: SHOT Show 2011 Review - 01/20/11 05:30 AM

I've been in Vegas for two days now and both the city and I are still standing. grin
In between the slots, shots, and skin I did find a few things that might interest y'all.

First up is a new, heavy duty Food Saver brand vacuum sealer. It can do 60 bags in a row before overheating, but the real cool feature is it comes with a 12-volt plug so you can run it off you vehicle up at deer camp. I'm thinking you could also use it to seal important stuff when the power is out, say after a hurricane or something.

FoodSaver by merriwether, on Flickr

Bridgford has come out with a line of sandwich-style mre thingies that are quite tasty. Depending on the flavor, the sandwiches run 2.5oz-3.5oz and contain approximately 300 calories. They come in assorted flavors with the best ones being Italian, BBQ beef, and BBQ chicken. They are available as either 4-packs or 48-case, single flavor, no mixes. They are stable for 3 years at 80F, hence the name "Shelf Stable". You can find them at Cabelas, Bass Pro Shop, Dicks, Sportsman's Guide, REI and other big outdoors gear stores. Bridgford Shelf Stable sandwiches at

ShelfStable by merriwether, on Flickr

Of course there needs to be a knife review, so here's mine on a new line from Ka-Bar: Zombie Killer Knives!

KabarZombies by merriwether, on Flickr
These mean choppers come with both the green grips installed, but their package will also include user-replacable black grips. I love the "Pestilence Chopper". It's sheath comes with a large front pouch big enough to hold a bottle of water or several sticks of dynamite.

KA-BAR is a Knife Rights Sharper Future Legal Fund Bronze Donor

Support companies that support Knife Rights.

Adventure Medical Kits has expanded their SOL line to a plethora of different kits and kit supplements. They have a basic "complete" kit in a custom hard plastic case with includes a knife/whistle/flashlight thingy, fire starter, tinder, compass and assorted other survival tools.

SOL by merriwether, on Flickr
Inside and outside of kit.

The knife is available separately, as are many of the other components.

Energizer continues to innovate emergency energy equipment such as solar chargers for small electronics, rechargeable batteries, and assorted LED li (3 on each side) designed to be hung by the included carbiner. It'll be great for use in tents or during power outages.

EnergizerLantern by merriwether, on Flickr

In my opinion Energizer also had two cases of FAIL with their new equipment. The first was there was no simple way to connect their battery charger to any of their solar panels. Second was their new, big car jumpstarter/emergency power source can only be recharged by 110AC. You can't recharger it from your vehicles 12vdc or solar panel.

Tomorrow I'll be meeting with a rep from Gerber knives and will post what I find after I get home.

Posted by: cliff

BCB INTERNATIONAL - 01/20/11 02:19 PM


While they didn’t have any new emergency preparedness products (kevlar undies don't count...), BCB International, the makers of one of the better wire saws on the market and the Crusader Canteen / Cup setup, announced that most all of the components of it’s premade survival kits have been assigned NATO stock numbers (NSN). These components can be purchased from BCB individually for making your own kits. While not a specific mark of quality – NATO does not review and “accept” items – an NSN means a military somewhere in NATO (in this case usually the UK) has tested and accepted the item as standard. That should give a user a level of confidence in quality above what often shows up in big-box sporting goods stores.
Posted by: cliff

SMITH & WESSON - 01/20/11 02:59 PM


While we don’t normally review firearms as survival equipment (we each have our own personal preferences), Smith & Wesson announced a new revolver that holds some interesting opportunities. Called ‘The Governor’, it is a .45/.410 revolver competing with the Taurus ‘Judge'. What makes the S&W different is that it will take the readily available .45 ACP, along with the much less available .45 Long Colt used in ‘The Judge’. S&W made the .45 ACP M1917 revolver for the US military, so they have some experience in this area. Right now 'The Governor' is only offered in a 2 3/4” barrel, which is not good for outdoors survival (but great for urban, bad neighborhood survival…). With a longer barrel it could be a good choice for an all-around handgun in a survival situation.

As always, carrying a firearm for survival is a personal choice. If you choose to carry a firearm for emergencies, make sure you become familiar with how to use it.

A picture is forthcoming.

EDIT: Here it is...

Posted by: Alan_Romania

Surefire (SHOT Show 2011) - 01/21/11 01:21 AM

I finally made it to Las Vegas for SHOT Show this year. And while I have only been here for a day and haven't been able to see the whole show yet, I have found a couple companies that have some intriguing new products. I am not going to try and review every new product at the show, I am going to post reviews on products that I find interesting and think the members here will be interested in.

I don't have decent pictures of all the lights right now, I will have to wait until I get to a computer with Photoshop before I can get them up.

Surefire introduced a handful of new products that, if they live up to the advertised specifications, will be game changers in the high quality LED flashlight business.

The first new product that grabbed my attention was a rechargeable headlamp capable of 500 lumens for an hour (yes, 60 minutes of full output) according to Surefire. The Maximus is a 5.1oz LED Headlamp that has adjustable output from 1 to 500 lumens. The Maximus’ lithium ion rechargeable battery takes about four hours to completely recharge. Without actually testing one of these in the field, the only flaw I can find right now is the Maximus does not have the option to use disposable batteries if needed in a pinch.

Surefire’s new series of rechargeable handheld lights do not have that same limitation. Each of the five new rechargeable LED flashlights Surefire released has the option to be fueled by either lithium-ion rechargeable or CR123 batteries.

The UDR Dominator is a monster of a light weighing in at 2.3 pounds; it has 11 output settings from 10 to 2000 lumens. Surefire has yet to release the runtime for the Dominator.

The UBR Invictus is a light we have seen a previous incarnation as the UB3T. The Invictus uses a selector ring at the base of the bezel to choose between 8 light output levels from 5 to 800 lumens as well as a SOS and Strobe setting. The Invictus will provide 100 hours of light on the low setting and 1.5 hours on the highest output setting.

While the UDR Dominator and the UBR Invictus are big, bright lights that are have limited application, the next three rechargeable are the lights that I am excited about and can’t wait to test in the field. The UAR Aviator is almost a rechargeable version of the A2 LED Aviator, almost only because the UAR is more than an improvement on the older model. Similar to the A2, the UAR has four satellite LEDs surrounding a center primary LED in a reflector designed to provide a flood-light style beam. Using a selector ring on the base of the bezel, the UAR has four output levels from 15 to 500 lumens and a strobe setting. The UAR (as well as the UBR Invictus and the UNR Commander) also has a new 4-function tail-cap that allows the user to access four preset output settings instantly. The UAR will provide an hour of light at the highest output level, and 50 hours at the lowest level.

The UNR Commander is a similar light to the UAR Aviator, both lights provide identical maximum and minimum output levels and runtimes but the UNR is designed with law enforcement users in mind. Slightly heavier (12oz vs. 8.6oz), longer (9.35”: vs. 8.74” and with a larger diameter bezel (1.8” vs. 1.625”) the UNR is designed to provide a tighter, farther reaching beam than the UAR and replaces the UAR signaling strobe setting with Surefire’s “MaxBlast” disorienting strobe feature.

The last of Surefire’s new rechargeable LED lights is the R1 Lawman. As you can probably guess from the name, the R1 is also designed for Law Enforcement Officers. The R1 has three output levels from 15-300 lumens and Surefire’s disorienting strobe. The R1 has two switches that the user can program to their needs themselves, the traditional tail-cap switch and one on the head.

Lastly, while not new for SHOT, Surefire has released new versions of the popular 6P, G2, Z2, and G2Z light. The 6PX, G2X, Z2X and G2ZX are single output (200 lumens for 2.5 hours) simple LED lights and are priced less than their predecessors. The 6PX Pro and G2X Pro add a second (15 lumen) output level to the 6PX or G2X.

Unfortunately I don’t have prices for all of these products yet, but as soon as I do I will post them here.
Posted by: Alan_Romania

Benchmade 915 Triage - 01/22/11 07:37 PM

Benchmade introduced a new knife at SHOT this year that was, for me, the highlight of the show. The 915 Triage is about 95% of what I think a perfect “rescue knife” should be, missing only an oxygen wrench hole (which a couple of Benchmade’s Safety Cutters do feature).

The 915 Triage is a manual opening folding knife that features a 3.5” modified sheepsfoot style blade in N680 steel, a 2” long 440c hook safety cutter, fully lined G10 handles and a carbide glass breaker. The 915 Triage uses Benchmade’s Axis Locking system allowing the knife to be opened and closed with one hand, ambidextrously. The 915 is available in any combination of plain or combo edge blades with or without black anti-corrosive coating and either a black or orange G10 handle scales.

Without comparing them side by side, the 915 Triage seemed to be the same size as my RSK Mk1 with a thinner handle profile (due to the G10 handles). In direct comparison the 915 is only slightly bigger than a large Griptilian, with a thicker blade profile, thinner handle, and heavier. Clipped in my front pocket, I could tell no difference in between the two knives.

The market has been flooded with what companies are calling “rescue” knives many of them are either disposable junk, knives already in production that have had brightly colored handles and rounded off blade tips to make them a “rescue” knife, but few of them actually are purpose built “rescue” knives (Gerber’s Hinderer for example) which are great rescue tools but less adequate as an EDC knife. The 915 is the first knife that I have seen that can truly fill both roles as an EDC knife and is a “rescue” knife in one package. The 915 was designed with military and public safety users in mind, but I foresee this knife become equally popular with well equipped civilians looking for a EDC knife that also could fulfill the function of an automotive escape tool like Benchmade’s Houdini.

The MSRP for the 915 Triage is $165 with an non-coated blade and $180 for a black anti-corrosive coated blade.

Benchmade is a Knife Rights Sharper Future Legal Fund Platinum Donor

Support companies that support Knife Rights.
Posted by: cliff

PRINCETON TEC - 01/23/11 12:07 AM


Princeton Tec has expanded and updated their MPLS line of LED lights for 2011. In the mostly military arena they added a second LED light to their tadpole-looking MPLS ’POINT’ task light (which first showed last year at SHOT 2010) to create the ‘SWITCH’, so a user can choose between two lights or colors. These lights are made to clip to the side of a military helmet, and both are offered in a variety of colors and infrared.

Princeton Tec has also added five new MPLS headlamps this year to their lineup that, while "tactical", seem applicable in the non-military world:

- The ‘EOS Tactical’ uses a single, 45 lumen bulb with interchangeable filters for red green and blue light.
- The ‘Quad Tactical’ is the same as the ‘EOS Tactical’, but with 4 smaller LEDs instead of one single.
- The ‘Fuel Tactical’ has 4 white LEDs for a claimed 45 lumens.
- The ‘Fred Tactical’ is the ‘Fuel, but has 3 white LEDs at 35 lumens and a single red LED.
- The ‘Remix PRO’ has a single large 70 lumen LED and three smaller LED’s that come in a variety of color options.

The first four new headlamps use 3-AAA batteries, which the ‘Remix PRO’ uses a single CR123 battery. All come with several attachment options, including a universal butterfly clip that will attach to the 1-inch headband or any 1-inch pack or gear webbing.

I got to handle a ‘Remix PRO’, and both the white bulb and the smaller 3-red cluster are quite bright.

A nice feature of all the new MPLS headlamps is the headlamp can be rotated 90 degrees to cover the on/off switch.

This prevents the light from being accidently switched on in your pack – and for those of us who have had this happen, that is a nice touch, indeed.

MSRP runs from $59.99 for the ‘Fred’ and ‘Fuel’, to $79.99 for the ‘Remix PRO’.
Posted by: cliff

SOLKOA - 01/23/11 05:12 AM


SOLKOA is a company mostly focused on professional training programs for emergency and crisis preparedness, but has branched out into providing survival gear and kits for both military and civilians. The experience they bring to gear they developed themselves is not academic - their founder was a SERE trainer for the US Army. SOLKOA market their own gear under the Fastfire label.

SOLKOA/Fastfire offers two fire starting kits using their ‘Fastfire’ tinders. The regular kit has four ‘Fastfire tinders; the smaller ‘emergency’ kit, two. The tinders can be used to start fires in wet conditions, or for using under a canteen cup or small pot to heat /boil water. ‘Fastfire’ tinders are large – they look like a big, square marshmallow – and come individually wrapped. SOLKOA says they will burn for 11-13 minutes at around 1300 degrees, and can be extinguished quickly and re-lit. Other companies, such as Ultimate Survival Technologies, offer a similar product, but the ‘Fastfire’ ones are bigger. To use an old military rule, “P equals plenty”.

Fastfire also sells a 4-inch ferro rod and hacksaw blade striker as the ‘Firestrike Maxx.

SOLKOA’s entry into the civilian survival kit market are two pre-made kits – one targeted toward hunters and one for backpackers. Packed in a soft nylon pouch, the hunter’s kit has a compass, heavy thread, whistle, signal mirror, small water bladder, a ‘Fastfire’ tinder, folding razor knife, wire saw, heavy mylar emergency blanket, and, one critically important thing – room to add items. The version for backpackers will additionally include a Photon microlight, a sewing kit and several bens wipes. MSRP for the kit for hunters is $40; the backpacker’s version is $45.

Two other new products SOLKOA/Fastfire showed were the most interesting emergency preparedness gear this writer saw the whole show:

The first is the ‘SUMA’ container, a two piece, almost pocket-able box made out of machined aluminum. It is designed to be a multi-purpose, waterproof container for survival or other hard uses, and it appears to be almost bombproof. The SUMA is offered in two sizes - 11.5 cubic inches and 22.5 cubic inches. When closed up and tied down, the ‘SUMA’ becomes, in terms of durability, an ammo can in your pocket. Are they expensive? Well, yes. The smaller box is $45, the larger $65. But they look like they will survive Armageddon.

The second was the ‘Grip-S’, two machined aluminum rods about 1/2" diameter and about 3" long with set screws and slots that allow them to be used individually or paired as handles for a screwdriver (a flathead/philips 1/4” hex bit is included, others may be used), handle for a universal shank saw blade, and as the handles for a wire saw. Unlike a typical wire saw with handle loops at the ends, the ‘Grip-S’ uses a wire saw without loops, threaded through the ‘Grip-S’ handles and held in place with a set screw. If a normal wire saw breaks it is useless; whereas if the ‘Grip-S’ the wire saw breaks, you simply discard the shorter broken piece and move the handle to the longer one. My one beef with the ‘Grip-S’ I got to examine was the set screws protrude from the handle when components were in their slots – that could get rather uncomfortable when trying to saw through a 8-inch log. MSRP on the Grip-S is $40, but that also includes 28" wire saw and the flathead/phillips hex bit.
Posted by: Doug_Ritter

Re: SHOT Show 2011 Review (UPDATED) - 01/23/11 05:15 PM

Columbia River Knife & Tool

NIRK Tighe

When Brian Tighe saw Glenn Klecker’s NIRK folder, introduced last year by CRKT, he was inspired by the elegant simplicity of its minimalist design, stamped and folded out of two pieces of stainless steel. The resulting custom NIRK Tighe won the Most Innovative Custom Design Award at the 2010 Blade Show. Now CRKT has turned that collaboration into an affordable production knife priced at just $150 MSRP.

Instead of CNC machined titanium frames, the CRKT version uses stainless steel with blue titanium nitride coating and an exterior satin finish. Like the original NIRK, the knife is a lockback folder in which the spring, release bar and lock detent are all integral with the frame structure. The blue accents and intricate details make for a beautiful and striking knife.

The 3.875 in. AUS 8 stainless steel drop point blade has a bit of recurve to it. Large geometric cutouts serve as purchase for your thumb to one-hand open the blade, or you can use the flipper, which is even easier. A caged ball bearing system allows it to swing open smooth as silk. A removable stainless clip is provided.


Glenn Klecker's latest is the NIRK Novo, a bit smaller than the original NIRK, with a 2.75 in. sheepsfoot blade of 4Cr15MoVNi stainless steel. It is available as plain or combo edge in satin finish. Right hand carry only with a single thumb stud and a deep carry clip, the latter a nice improvement over the original. The frame and back lock are still a one piece design like the original, but there's no lanyard hole in this smaller version. MSRP is $25.

Nathan's Knife Kit

Nathan's Knife Kit was inspired by Glenn Klecker's young son, Nathan. Glenn originally developed the concept for his son as a project they could build together, which evolved into a wonderful book, "How To Make Wooden Folding Knives." CRKT picked up on the idea and developed this easy-to-assemble kit for those who may find even the simple instructions for making the knife from scratch too much of a challenge or too time consuming(though it only takes a few hours effort with simple tools to do it from scratch). I'll let CRKT explain:

Not only is it an easy first woodworking project, but it is an excellent way to acquaint children, seven years of age and older, with the fundamentals of knife safety and responsibility.

The kit is slightly oversized for easy assembly by young hands, and comes with complete instructions and knife safety education tips. Depending on the skill of the child, the knife can be assembled from the bag by press fit, or it can be sanded, glued, sealed, stained, painted and decorated as desired. We expect to receive many digital photographs, and we’ll post them on our Facebook page.

Many of us at CRKT were part of the great tradition of responsible knife ownership and education. It never occurred to us that our knives could be weapons, so we never used our knives to threaten or harm anyone, and we certainly would have been severely disciplined by our parents and had our knives taken away if we did. We learned that it was an honor to carry a knife, and that we were duty bound to use it responsibly.

Sadly, in today’s culture, knives have been demonized. Despite Americans’ clear Constitutional right to bear arms, knives continue to be regulated and treated as evil by some.

Of course, in the hands of the wrong people, knives can be used in destructive and evil ways. So can a baseball bat. But that is not inherent in what has been called man’s earliest and most useful tool.

We encourage all parents to continue this tradition of responsible knife ownership, and Nathan’s Kit is an excellent first step.

The kit is priced at just $9.99 MSRP to make it easy to buy and to give as a gift. If you have a son or daughter, grandson or granddaughter, niece or nephew or perhaps help with a scout troop or the like, this kit would make an excellent project and the time spent assembling and decorating this wooden knife will be fondly remembered.

K.I.S.S. ASSist

Nobody will ever accuse the folks at CRKT of not having a sense of humor. The K.I.S.S. ASSist is the latest iteration of Ed Halligan's Keep It Super Simple knife design that has been a mainstay for CRKT from its earliest days. The added OutBurst assisted opening, with their patent-pending Fire Safe combination thumb stud and safety, does take some away from the simplicity angle, but they have done a great job incorporating it all into the basic design without mucking it up or adding a great deal of weight or bulk..

As described by CRKT, "when closed, the blade is safely locked by a special cam-over pin that extends from the assist spring. It cannot be opened until the safety button on the end of the thumb stud is firmly depressed and the thumb stud is nudged outward. It is both very fast, and very safe, because simply pressing the Fire Safe button does not open the knife. You must both press down and nudge the blade outward deliberately."

The AO spring and mechanism is covered by a thin sheet of carbon fiber composite inset into the frame. A Zytel guard serves to protect the single ground edge. The satin finish AUS 4 stainless steel blade is 2.75 in. long in either a drop point or tanto point and plain or combo edge. The frame is bead-blasted stainless with a removable stainless pocket clip/ money clip. MSRP is $60.

CRKT is a Knife Rights Sharper Future Legal Fund Platinum Donor

Support companies that support Knife Rights.
Posted by: Doug_Ritter

Re: SHOT Show 2011 Review (UPDATED) - 01/23/11 09:38 PM

Columbia River Knife & Tool (cont'd)

CRKT has added some more Ken Onion designs this year.

Shenanigan Aluminum and Shenanigan PPS

A pair of flipper opening liner lock folders from Ken Onion expands his offerings from CRKT. These are essentially the same knife offered in both a value priced model and a higher end model. Both feature at 3.25 in. classic Ken Onion drop point blade with a recurved edge.

AUS 8 stainless is used on the PPS, the higher end model uses CRKT's premium Acuto+ at 59-60 HRc. The PPS model features molded handles of polyphenylene sulfide (PPS) organic polymer with an inset liner. The Shenanigan Aluminum has a cold-forged 6061 T6 aluminum alloy handles, beadblasted and with a clear anodized coating. Injected molded grippy soft textured scales are inset into the handle.

Both are set up with a removable right hand carry clip and a lanyard hole. Both plain and combo edge is offered on both models. MSRP is $50 for the Shenanigan PPS and $100 for the Shenanigan Aluminum.

Onion Skinner

Ken Onion is a enthusiastic big game hunter and helps organize hunts for Paralyzed Veterans of America. For half a decade he's been perfecting his vision of the ultimate hunting/skinning knife, sending dozens and dozens of prototypes to guides, professional hunters and hunting buddies for testing. The result is not your father's hunting knife.

I'll let CRKT explain:

Here’s an explanation of its unusual features and their functions:

First, the knife has a thin tip, with a slightly convex grind near the tip that minimizes drag. No caping knife is needed for detail work.

Second, the top of the blade has a pronounced “camel hump”. This allows the hunter to insert the tip under the skin and rock the hand back, which raises the tip up and away from the paunch.

Third, the tip has a straight section at an offset angle. This makes the knife a useful utility and cooking tool around camp.

Fourth, is the short 3.75” blade length. This is just the length of the average finger, which has proven perfect for the pencil grip favored by many hunters.

Finally, the Onion Skinner features a handle which has a deep finger choil, which greatly improves grip in slippery conditions. The thin cross section allows for less obtrusive carry while still locking in the fitted sheath.

The blade is Bohler K110 stainless steel with a satin finish, hardened to HRc 58-60. The very grippy handle is Thermal Plastic Rubber over-molded on a Zytel core with a textured finish of Onion's own design.

A lanyard is included, along with a very nice fitted leather deep insert sheath. MSRP is $80.


Ken Onion's take on a multi-function hunter's tool, the Shakulu combines two hunting blades that reach back to antiquity, a cleaver and the ulu palm knife. The 0.267 thick blade of 65MN high carbon steel, black powder coated, has a fairly high grind, providing a good slicing edge while retaining plenty of strength. A gut hook is incorporated into the spine.

You can hold the tool in a variety of grips, depending on what you want to use it for, skinning, gutting, chopping, etc. The ergonomic handle is polypropylene with over-molded dark green TPE plastic inserts. The polypropylene sheath is one of the best I've seen for this type tool, with a secure lock to hold it in, regardless of how it is carried. The lock on the sample we saw needs a bit of work to make it easier to use with cold hands or gloves on, which I am sure it will get.

CRKT notes, "the Shakaulu should not be confused with a brush cutter or hatchet. It is a much more sophisticated skinning tool, and the Razor-Sharp edge is not intended for such use." MSRP is $90.

CRKT is a Knife Rights Sharper Future Legal Fund Platinum Donor

Support companies that support Knife Rights.
Posted by: Doug_Ritter

Re: SHOT Show 2011 Review (UPDATED) - 01/23/11 10:18 PM

Columbia River Knife & Tool (cont'd)


CRKT has integrated a belt cutter and window breaker into its very popular larger frame M16. The belt cutter is cut into a somewhat larger flipper. A tungsten carbide window breaker protrudes from the butt of the handle.

The tanto ground blade is AUS 4, 3.75 inches long with a combo edge. It is equipped with AutoLAWKS safety lock. Scales are orange Zytel. The clip is reversible and can be used tip up or down. MSRP is $90.

Lefties Get Some Respect

CRKT introduced three new left-hand versions of some of their most popular tactical knives. These are the M21 G10, and 2 versions of the Special Forces M16, the M16-13SFGL and M16-14SFGL (in order below).

CRKT is a Knife Rights Sharper Future Legal Fund Platinum Donor

Support companies that support Knife Rights.
Posted by: cliff



ITW specializes in military accessories, including fasteners and enhancements for military webbing, especially for the MOLLE system. Normally they would not be of interest to ETSers unless you built your own packs and pouches for your bug-out-bag, but this year they have something that may be of interest – the X-Proof Protective Bags.

While they look at first pass to be large Zip-Loc bags, these bags appear built for the field and not the fridge. They have heavy-duty double locs at the top of the bags, and the bags themselves seen to be of a much heavier weight of plastic (double the mils, perhaps?).

The X-Proof Protective Bags come in four sizes: the “Administrative” size, approx. 8” x 10”, (which the ITW spokesman said was sized to fit in the cargo pocket of military BDU trousers); two “Compression” sizes, approx. 14” x 20”approx. 18” x24”, and a large “ruck” size, made as a liner for a military rucksack or backpack. The latter also has a pleated bottom (to allow for maximum use of the bag) and simple carry handles on top. The “Compression” sizes have a simple one-way air valve in the bottom of the bag that allows you to crush the bag when closed to get all of the air out.

That’s the good news. Now the not so good: We tried the one of the samples with the one-way valve at the hotel (several days of dirty shirts), and, yes, it crushed down beautifully; but it returned to it’s non-compressed state within 15-20 minutes. The small “Administrative” size, however, kept a T-shirt nicely compressed for more than 24 hours.

As these are new products, and the samples provided us may be early runs, some glitches are to be expected. Also, we may not be using the compression bag correctly (unlikely, but still…), and one test in a hotel room is not definitive (more tests now that we are home). But even in their uncompressed state, X-Proof Protective Bags appear to protect your gear in the field better than your average sealable bag designed for the kitchen.
Posted by: cliff



Industrial Revolution, the folks with ‘Light My Fire’ and ‘Uco’, offered several new products and improved versions of existing ones.

‘Light My Fire’ is selling a plastic protective ‘SporkCase’ for your Light My Fire plastic spork. If this was ‘Equipped to Commute’, maybe; but in an emergency / survival situation… um, no. (But if you insist – MSRP is $6.99)

They have also tinkered with the excellent ‘Swedish FireSteel’, giving it redesigned handles and an improved striker (it did seem easier to use), plus a built-in emergency whistle. The improved version is called the ‘FireSteel 2.0’. (Writer’s note: Stuffing a teensy whistle in the handles of survival gear –be it strikers, knives and the like - seemed to be a survival gear theme at SHOT 2011.)

UCO had two new products at SHOT this year. The first was the ‘Stormproof Match Kit’. No image is available from IR/UCO, alas, so imagine the old US Army / Boy Scout heavy plastic match case on steroids and you’ve got the picture. My biggest gripe with my old green Boy Scout match case was that it held matches for only a few days of fire starting (less if you use the waterproof “lifeboat-type” matches), and this one solves that issue. UCO claims it can hold 40 “lifeboat” matches, but I think that in a real world situation 30 is more like it. That is more than double what I got in my old Boy Scout match case. Also, it is large enough to use for other things besides matches you want to keep waterproofed. The one thing I wish it had was a loop for a lanyard or dummy cord. The ‘Stormproof Match Kit’ comes in green and orange, and has an MSRP of $5.99.

The next new product is a small, collapsible candle lantern, the ‘Micro Lantern’, which uses tea candles instead of the proprietary candles used in UCO’s larger candle lanterns. I’ve owned one of the larger UCO candle lanterns for 20 years, which we have used on many camping trips and during both the power outages after Katrina and Gustav. But during the aftermath of Hurricane Gustav we ran out of UCO candles, and our local backpacking store hadn’t reopened. Oops. So the choice of readily available, and cheap, tea candles makes a lot of sense in a crisis situation. Will the ‘Micro Lantern’ light up a room? No. But it will provide enough light to tune the radio, read your MRE flameless ration heater instructions, and keep you from bumping into furniture in a powerless house. As usual, it comes in a variety of colors, and has an MSRP of $12.99.
Posted by: Blast

SHOT Show 2011 Review: Gerber - 01/25/11 03:59 AM

Gerber has a bunch of new stuff coming out ranging from multitools to official Bear Grylls survival kits and an expanded line of his signature knives. I know you are dying to see Grylls' gear, so I'll start there.

BG-Panga by merriwether, on Flickr
Of the many new BG knives, I found the parang (msrp $50) to actually be intriguing. It has a high carbon steel blade coated with some sort of oxide protective layer. With a rockwell count of only 48, it is soft the way a machete should be so you can resharpen it easily in the field. Thankfully it has a full-tang handle. The sheath is just basic nylon with a small foldout pamphlet of basic survival info. This pamphlet will be included with all of BG's knives.

Next to it in the picture above are the two BG survival kits. The smaller orange kit contains a Mini-Paraframe knife, generic wflat whistle, a "mischmetal" fire starter & striker, waterproof lifeboat matches, snare wire, some cord, and a cotton ball for tinder.

The larger kit contains a Miniture multitool, LED flashlight, braided wire saw, signal mirror, space blanket, a "mischmetal" fire starter & striker, waterproof lifeboat matches, snare wire, some cord, waxed thread, a fishing kit, and a sewing kit. The wire saw was actually pretty heavy-duty being made of 3-4 braided wires.

BG-scouts by merriwether, on Flickr
Grylls is also bringing two folding lockback scout knives along with a folding version of his Ultimate Survival Knife. His firestarter requires two hands to use.

BG-multitools by merriwether, on Flickr
Next are BG's Ultimate and Compact multitools. Nothing overly special about them other than the grippy rubber coating and the ability to open the blades without having to open the handles.

GerberKnives by merriwether, on Flickr
Moving away from Bear Grylls and into Gerber's regular line, they have four new spring-assisted opening knives. Like most knife companies, they are adding a serrated section to the blades. Thankfully one of them doesn't have this "improvement". I don't have prices on these yet.

GerberMultitools by merriwether, on Flickr
Gerber seemed to be trying to make their newest multitools "office friendly" by making them look less knife-shaped. The gray multitool is still fairly traditional though the pliers pops straight out the top rather than the usual "butterfly" style. It contains a regular-sized bit driver and also a Gerber-specific tiny bit driver. The tiny driver has just a flat eye-glass sized bit on one end and a small Philips head on the other end which is mainly for small electronics.

The blue and orange tools contain LED flashlights, regular bit drivers, scissors, and assorted other basic tools but now pliers.

Posted by: Blast

Re: SHOT Show 2011 Review: "rotary" flashlights - 01/27/11 04:20 AM

RotaryFlashlight by merriwether, on Flickr

HDS Systems has a new twist (ha ha ha) on high-powered mini-flashlights. A knob at the cap-end allows you to smoothly adjust the brightness of this flashlight from 0 to 200 lumens. The user's choice of brightness is held constant due to the high friction of the knob. This means you can preset the brightness to a particular level and "click" off the flashlight via the endcap button switch. When you click it back on the flashlight will still be at whatever brightness level you had set it (unless you turned the knob while it was off). This is great for map reading at night without going completely blind or making people think you are weird when you light up a menu in a dimly-lit restaurant. It really is a good multi-use flashlight.

The flashlight is powered by the usual 123 battery and it felt very well built to me. An interesting feature is that the company will let you mix-and-match different parts of the flashlight to built your own custom light. You can chose between either a 200-lumen or IR illuminator LED, larger batteries, lens cover material, button type, and coating/color of the flashlight. The price for the most basic model starts over $80 and the top of the line version comes in at $199. A bit rich for my blood but it really is a heck of a flashlight.

I don't have data on runtime as that really depends on how bright you keep it.

Posted by: Doug_Ritter

Re: SHOT Show 2011 Review (UPDATED) - 01/28/11 03:06 PM


Benchmade bought Lone Wolf Knives late last year and has assimilated some of the Lone Wolf product into the Benchmade line. Benchmade is calling the Paul Knives their "AXIAL Series," which I won't cover since nothing is new except the butterfly on the blade and new names and model numbers.

The Double Action Harsey T2 Auto, one of the sweetest autos out there, has been renamed the model 3800 NTK and is available only with a Cerakote Gen II coated D2 blade in plain or combo edge. MSRP is $200.

Lone Wolf's Diablo double action auto and manual opener have been reincarnated into the HK line as the Scorch and Fugitive, respectively, with some new blade shapes in N680 high corrosion resistant steel. The Scorch adds a reverse tanto blade to the existing spear point and the Fugitive has a recurved drop point. MSRP is $160 and $130, respectively.

Benchmade is now turning Lone Wolf into an "outdoor" brand with some of the old folders and some new product.

Many of Benchmade's new knives of interest have already been announced over the past few months, though many have not yet made it into production.

From my perspective, the biggest news from Benchmade was the Model 915 Triage which Alan has covered in detail above. This was a knife that was long overdue.

Model 53 Mangus

The Model 53 Mangus is a Charles Marlowe design. Unlike most balis, the G10 handles of the 53 are fairly ergonomic, with a gentle curve that fits the hand far better than typical bali straight handles. The 3.1 inch drop point flat ground blade is D2 steel at 60-62 HRc. The blade is satin finished, uncoated. Recall that D2 is not quite stainless, but nearly so. There's a modest thumb ramp on the blade and an even more modest half guard of sorts.

The backspacer, latch and catch are CNC machined aluminum. Weight is just 3.5 oz. The tip-up pocket clip is reversible. All in all, this is one of the most practical of bali designs and would seem to make a better wilderness survival blade than most balis. MSRP is $180.

Model 581 Barrage

The AXIS assisted-opening Barrage got a nice upgrade to M390 steel and G10 handles with aluminum bolster. MSRP starts at $220. A tanto blade was added to the original Barrage, creating the model 583 with a MSRP of $140.

Model 147/148 Nim Cub II

The Nim Cub is reintroduced with Noryl GTX molded handles and 154CM blade in either a drop point or tanto point, plain or conbo edge. The sheath is molded FRN and is molle compatible.

Harley Davidson

The T-Rod is something of a novelty knife, a half-tang fixed blade that becomes a push dagger with a flick of the wrist. The 3.33 in. modified clip point blade is 440C with a full swedge on the spine. The CNC machined handle is black anodized aluminum with a lanyard hole. A button lock is recessed into the handle. Press the button and with a flick the blade swivels down to the dagger position. A nice leather belt sheath is included. MSRP is $135.

Benchmade is a Knife Rights Sharper Future Legal Fund Platinum Donor

Support companies that support Knife Rights.
Posted by: Doug_Ritter

Re: SHOT Show 2011 Review (UPDATED) - 01/29/11 05:29 PM


One look and you know these are not your father's Swiss Army Knives. Wenger introduced a new collaboration line of "climbers knives," developed with Ueli Steck, a world-renowned mountaineer and mountain climbing speed record-holder.

The blade design immediately stands out, even with the knife closed. The 65mm (2.6 in.) blade is partially serrated, with most of the strait edge serrated and just a short straight portion and the curved tip a plain edge. The blade has a large humped spine which incorporates 3 hex cutouts in sizes 7mm (M4), 10mm (M6) and 13mm (M8). No inch sizes currently planned. The spine also incorporates a large slotted driver as might be used for Dzus fasteners. The large hex serves to provide a thumb hole for one-hand opening. A liner lock, in Wengers Swiss style, locks the blade open, the release is via the Swiss Cross button in the handle, just like on Wenger's larger Ranger series knives.

The handles themselves are unique for Wenger, being made of cast Titanium with longitudinal striations and "Wenger Titanium" cast into the handle on the button. A 1/4" standard bit adapter in the butt end of the handle which can hold standard hex bits. A #3 Phillips (Not #2) and medium slotted driver are included (and stored in the knife's pouch).

There are three variations. The Titanium 1 has just the blade and bit drivers with an MSRP of $140. The Titanium 2 adds a wood saw with an MSRP of $150. The Ueli Steck Special Edition incorporates a metal file/metal saw, flat screwdriver with Wenger's safety lock and a combo tool with a cap lifter, can opener and wire stripper. Ueli Steck's logo is cast into the handle opposite the button side. MSRP is $200.

Weights are 70, 82 and 100 grams (2.5, 2.9 and 3.5 oz.) , respectively. The nylon belt pouch holds the knife and three bits.

Wenger is a Knife Rights Sharper Future Legal Fund Gold Donor

Support companies that support Knife Rights.
Posted by: Blast

Re: SHOT Show 2011 Review: Keltec 14+1 shotgun - 01/30/11 01:25 AM

KeltecShotgun by merriwether, on Flickr

Keltec unveiled the prototype of there 12-gauge bullpup shotgun. It is pump action with ejection out of the bottom (lefty-friendly!!). This shotgun has two tubular magazines under the barrel and which magazine is feeding is manually selected by the shooter. This means you can fill one magazine with slugs, the other with buckshot and switch between them as needed.

Being a bullpup, the barrel is 18.5" long with a total gun length of 26". Each magazine can hold seven 2 3/4" long shotshells, plus one in the chamber makes this a whole lot of "Get off my lawn!"grin A Picatinny rail runs along the top allowing easy attachment of tactical lights, lasers, or chainsaw. Color choice is black or OD green. Expected price is under $800, but release date is currently Spring of 2012. frown

KeltecShotgun2 by merriwether, on Flickr

It was definitely a crowd-maker, but I do wonder about the plastic parts of this shotgun as they felt kind of light-weight. However, in light of the latest ATF bulletin on banning importation of shotguns with magazines capable of holding over 5 rounds, the USA-made Keltec bullpup may very likely be your only options for a high-capacity shotgun.

Posted by: Blast

Re: SHOT Show 2011 Review: CRKT Eat'N Tool - 01/30/11 01:39 AM

It's a spoon!

Photo 42 by merriwether, on Flickr

It's a self-defense tool!

Photo 43 by merriwether, on Flickr

CRKT designer came up with one of my favorite SHOT show finds, the first true tactical spork. Not only can you eat your food or you opponent's eyeballs, it also comes with a bottle opener, three metric wrenches (6,8,10 mm), and a flat screwdriver. Also included is a small carbiner. The Eat'N Tool comes in both bead-blasted or black Teflon-coated 3Cr13 steel and is $6.75 over on

Remember if you can't carry a knife, at least carry a spoon!

CRKT is a Knife Rights Sharper Future Legal Fund Platinum Donor

Support companies that support Knife Rights.