Posts Tagged Gear Review

Gear Review: The Otanashi Noh Ken Knife, By James Williams

This is cool. I am a big fan of the knives that James Williams has designed and my daily carry both CONUS and OCONUS is his Hissatsu folder. But the Otanashi noh Ken knife looks like an excellent upgrade.

The big differences is that this knife is slightly longer, the body is thinner, the clip is moved further towards the end of the folder, and the thing is designed to be quietly opened. The name of the knife describes exactly what this blade is all about–Silent Sword.

As to it’s availability, who knows?  It was supposed to start selling in January and yet it still says ‘coming soon’ on CRKT’s website. I am sure all of the usual sellers will have these ready to buy soon. Either way, this is a knife that I would like to get my hands on. –Matt





Otanashi noh Ken – Designed by James Williams
As a veteran and current martial arts practitioner/instructor, James Williams knows cutlery—especially the tactical variety. So, it’s no surprise that his Hissatsu™ knife designs have quickly become mainstays within the military Special Forces and tactical Law Enforcement communities across the globe.
Whether a folding or fixed blade knife variation, these are focused, single-purpose knives, for use in close quarters battle (CQB) environments, either as a primary or a secondary weapon to augment the handgun in the hands of well-trained professionals.
The Otanashi noh Ken™ was designed by James Williams per a request from SOCOM for a larger, thinner, folding combat knife that was easy to carry and conceal.

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Gear Review: The Surefire P2X Fury–The 500 Lumen Compact Flashlight!

Now this is an awesome little light or should I say ‘spot light’. lol At first I couldn’t believe the thing could actually put out 500 lumens worth of light, but it does. What is also nice is that you can switch it to the 15 lumens setting to extend the life of your batteries. Then switch it to the high output setting when you need some serious illumination.

This particular light also fits in Surefire’s Polymer Speed Holster, but only on the handle portion. The bezel is too wide for it to be inserted that way. So for that, I would contact some of the custom kydex folks out there and maybe have them produce something that will fit this light.  You can also use the nylon holster they sell. (The package this light comes in does not have a holster)

If you want a good price on this thing, I saw it for sale on Amazon for as low as 108 dollars, and I have put it in the Jundi Gear locker if you ever want to find it. Or you can follow the link below and explore all of the options of buying it, because it is sold at several places on Amazon. Also check out Surefire’s website for any goodies that come with this thing.

Another great feature of this light is it’s size.  It is just amazing how much power they have put in such a small package, and this light is a great light for security work.

The width of the light is the standard Surefire size, and you can buy any number of weapons light mounts that accept the other Surefire lights. I personally like the Viking Tactics weapons light mount, but I am sure there are others out there you can go with that will work just the same. Either way check this thing out and watch the video below if you want a good idea as to what this light can do. –Matt

Buy the light here.



Output / Runtime — White Light
High 500 .0 lumens / 1.5 hours*
Low 15 .0 lumens / 46.0 hours
Tactical Runtime* 1 .5 hours
Length 5 .40 inches
Bezel Diameter 1 .37 inches
Weight w/Batteries 5 .7 ounces
Batteries 2 123A (included)
*Runtime (at highest setting for multiple-output flashlights) until output drops below 50 lumens
The P2X Fury uses a high-efficiency, virtually failure-proof LED to deliver your choice of either 15 or 500 lumens of perfectly focused light, the latter qualifying the Fury as a pocket-sized searchlight. The 15-lumen level is excellent for general work at close-to-medium distances, and also lets you greatly extend the runtime per set of batteries, a valuable option when you’re miles from civilization.

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Gear Review: The Safariland ALS Holster

I had a chance to pick up one of these holsters and I was very happy with it. Personally, I was looking for a concealable holster that had some type of retention. Safariland makes a great product and I figured I would check out their ALS Holster.

I did not want to use a SERPA because I think they are junk and not very well designed.(notice where the trigger finger goes after you press the release–right onto the trigger area as you draw)

My other favorite holster when retention is not a factor is a Comp-Tac kydex holster. They are built like a tank and are comfortable to wear. If retention is not a big deal for your particular contract, then this is a great holster.

Why then would retention be a good idea for contractors?  A concern in today’s war zone contracts, and especially in places like Afghanistan, is working around folks you just don’t trust. In other words, you do not want to make it easy for them to grab your pistol out of your holster and then shoot you and others with it.

The other reason why I like retention is that it holds the pistol in place while you are moving and running around. With a regular kydex holster, this could be an issue. It is easy for a seat belt to get caught on your pistol and it just pull it out. Or you sit down and a chair armrest knocks the pistol out. Having retention just keeps that pistol in place, where you need it.

As to the variants of this holster, you can get a pistol light ALS holster, or even a duty ALS holster. The duty ALS holster has a guard on in it, which can be nice if you want to protect the release button on the top from your gut/kit/clothing or attacker going for your gun. You can also get other mounts and attachments for the ALS holster to put it on a drop leg or lower the ALS holster on your belt. There are even different colors you can choose from. Lots of options and it is up to you how you want to set it up.

The initial kit that you get, gives you the option of a paddle or belt loop slider piece. I carry it with the belt loop slider, just so the pistol and holster are locked into place on the belt at all times. But sometimes a paddle is nice too. Although one critique of the belt slider piece is that it is very basic.  Safarliand should have put more effort into making a piece that is more form fitted to the body, kind of like what the Comp-Tac kydex holsters have.  I am sure a custom shop might be able to make something for you there, or there might be a piece that Safariland has made to replace that. The drop down mount looks a little more doable, but I have not tried that yet.

As for the draw, it is very easy to get good with this thing. Plus the release button forces you to place your hand in the same grip every time.  So if you are trying to achieve consistency in that regard, this is a good pistol holster. Plus you are using your trigger finger for pressing the weapon trigger, and not pressing some release button and then your trigger. Here, you use your thumb to release, and they are great for a Glock user. (which is the most common pistol on contracts) For holstering, you don’t have to do anything and it just automatically locks it in again.

This shows the release button and what the belt slide looks like on the back.

For any reduction in draw speed?  Maybe, but I haven’t played around with it to that level, and I am sure it is marginal. But hey, if you want to convert this holster into a kydex type open holster, you can remove the retention mechanism. Lots of options with this holster depending on what you need. (check out this video of it being drawn)

Not to mention that the suede lining is a nice touch. It makes it very quite to holster or un-holster, and it protects the finish of the weapon. So for companies that are looking for a tough holster with retention that will protect their pistols, this is an option.

As for concealment, this is not bad. It sucks up against the body alright, but maybe not as close as some of the current types of kydex. It doesn’t wrap like a Raven Concealment holster, but it still hugs just fine for what it is.

My only con for this pistol is that it would be cool to be able to lock the release button out. That way you could just keep it open for some scenarios and have a free draw without having to worry about retention. That would be useful for walking patrol duty at night or something–but be able to switch it back when you are operating around crowds again.

Finally, this is not the only retention holster out there. Do your own research and look around. Choose kit that works for you and your pistol, and for the mission/contract that you are on.

Take good care of that kit and bring what you need to keep it operational. That means buy extra screws or bring allen wrenches so you can work on this stuff. With contracts, you never assume that the kit they will issue is good or that they will have the parts/expertise to fix your stuff. Hell, I have been on some gigs where they gave you a pistol and yet they did not give you a holster! So bring a holster is the lesson.

Be self-sufficient, buy good kit, and have confidence knowing that your stuff is familiar, is tough, in good condition and functions well. Take care of it, and it will take care of you. –Matt


Safariland Glock 17, 22 6378 ALS Concealment Paddle Holster (STX Black Finish)

Product Features
-ALS Automatic Locking System secures weapon once holstered, it locks into place
-Slim and low profile design for improved concealment
-Simple straight draw once ALS is de-activated
-Formed, sturdy paddle design for comfort and easy on and off
-Fits 1.5″ to 1.75″ belt widths

Product Description
The Safariland Model 6378 Holster is a concealment version of the Automatic Locking System (ALS ) series holsters. Once the weapon is holstered, it “locks” into place, providing an extra measure of security from standard open top holsters. A simple straight up draw is possible once the ALS is de-activated by the thumb while obtaining a shooting grip. IDPA approved. The Model 6378 holster features an all-new injection molded paddle design that is highly concealable and rides close to body with a slightly forward weapon cant. It also comes standard with the 567BL belt loop, fitting 1.5″ to 1.75″ belt widths. Additionally, it features suede lining to help protect the gun’s sights and finish, and its SafariLaminatestructure with wraparound design provides the strongest design combination available.

Safariland Glock 17, 22 6378 ALS Concealment Paddle Holster (STX Black Finish)
List Price: $54.00
Price: $43.90
Sale: $39.61 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping.
You Save: $14.39 (27%)
Buy the holster here.

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Funny Stuff: Mo’ Molle, Mo’ Problems, By EvikeTV

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Cool Stuff: idIRt By Cyalume–An IR Tracking Tag That Looks Like Dirt, Sand And Concrete

Hat tip to Soldier Systems for this one. Police Mag did a story on this stuff as well. I like it, and simple little tricks like this could really give you an edge out there. Especially if you are wanting to track movements through specific areas of your AO, or track someone to see where they go.

The thing with this stuff is it is an infrared or IR tag that looks like dirt/sand/concrete. So no one is going to know they are walking through it unless they are looking for IR dirt specifically. This is great for criminal forensics as well, just because you could prove instantly that a person is the guy that walked through your target area. Or imagine sprinkling this all over a specific jungle trail’s foliage, and everything that moves through it is marked? Very cool stuff and check it out. –Matt

Cyalume website here.


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Gear Review: Palladium Boots, By Doug

Doug recently sent me a review of Palladium boots that I thought was pretty cool. They are old school canvas boots. I remember the Israeli Combat Boots which were pretty popular for desert wear when I was in the Marines, and before that, canvas boots were made popular by the French Foreign Legion as they wore them in Indochina and Africa. Palladium was one of the original companies that made these things.

The other thing to mention is that Palladium was bought out by KSwiss. So these boots were probably reintroduced to be a cool retro boot. But looking at them, they seem just fine for what they were originally made for, and that was a cost effective, light weight, comfortable boot for wet or arid climates.

Now personally, I have never worn these boots so I cannot vouch for them. Although I know if  I were to wear these boots, I would definitely invest in a good pair of insoles. Something like Superfeet insoles which happen to be my preferred insole for all of my footwear.

The other thing to mention is that there were several companies that made canvas boots during the Indochina days. I have heard the terms ‘sneaker boots’, or ‘Bata’ boots to refer to these things. I am sure folks have all sorts of names for canvas boots, and from different periods of time. It is also interesting to me that we are seeing more modern updates of the theme of the lightweight boot with such boots as the Inov-8 Roclite 288 GTX. Although if you are looking for something that costs a little less than the Roclites, then the Palladium’s might be your thing. Thanks to Doug for the review and check them out. –Matt

Edit: 09/06/2011- Doug wanted add one more deal to his review which I think is really cool. These are modifications to the boot he made. Quote: “The one thing I should add to the Palladium boots was a modification I performed.
I cut off the heel for a neutral sole (neutral soles are much better for folks with spinal injuries). the Second modification is the key bit.  Since the shoes are made out of cotton canvas & the fact I wear them with either thin socks or no sock I was concerned with all the salt from sweat rotting out the materail.
So I took some mink oil & tooth brush and worked it in real good to the canvas and the laces of the boots.  Let them sit outside in the sun for a day.”

Palladium Boots

By Doug

This link is to a Canvas boot/shoe from Palladium.  It is a super light weight, extremely comfortable and unbelievably durable.
I’ve only been doing walks in them but so far my pair has about 350 miles on them and they are holding up great.   They are dirty as hell, but the stitching & glue holding the soles on look as good as the day they arrived.
The soles are very cheap rubber, but that is a good thing when sneaken & creepen.  One can really feel the ground before putting weight on them.  It is like a modern day moccasin which does not stretch when wet.
For a light weight inexpensive scouting boot I give them two thumbs up.
They do have a down side though.
The soles are so flexible, it is impossible to kick start a motorcycle without bruising ones foot.  They simply are not stiff enough to give that support.
Also the local Honey Locust tree thorns  3″ average length, cut through the soles like they weren’t even there.  On average I get one full foot impalement every 100 miles.  Doesn’t sound like much but when a thorn goes completely through your foot it…well it just sucks.

The Pampa in the Moss color.

FFL boots, Indochina.

Product description
Pampa Hi Canvas
-BOTTOM One-piece molded rubber outsole.
-SOCKLINER Two-piece; hugging heel cup and thick die-cut EVA create a comfortable stepping ground.
-MATERIALS 20oz, 100% cotton canvas, dyed and stonewashed, create a vintage look and soft feel.
-BRANDING Woven label on the tongue. Uniquely applied rubber patch on medial side of both shoes.
-13 different colors
History of Palladium Boots.
Palladium was founded in 1920 to make tires for the fledgling aviation industry. Tires were made by layering canvas bands underneath vulcanized rubber. Palladium’s expertise was so advanced that soon the majority of Europe’s aircraft were using Palladium tires.
After World War II, with aircraft manufacturing screeching to a halt, the demand for tires decreased dramatically. Palladium decided to open a plant in Pont De Cheruy, France, to start producing footwear that was as hard wearing as their tires. In 1947 the legendary Pampa boot was born, and the functionality, comfort and durability were so outstanding that the French Foreign Legion adopted it for their use. The Foreign Legion put the boot to the test in the harsh desert conditions of North Africa, and throughout the rugged terrain of the Atlas Mountains.
Today, the original design, classic lines and time tested utility are as relevant as they have ever been. Combining over 60 years of authenticity with modern manufacturing, premium materials and cutting edge styling, Palladium boots are ready to help you explore your street, your city, or the world.
Website for boots here.

Buy the boots here.
Same As They Ever Were (Almost)
On October 29, 2009
Words like “history” and “authenticity” get thrown around a lot in fashion. But here’s that rare find that actually has ’em both in spades: The Palladium boot—equally adored by photographers, urban explorers, and the French Foreign Legion for more than 70 years—whose recent relaunch has us psyched.

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