Archive | August, 2010

The Caracal: A New Pistol From United Arab Emirates

30 Aug

Caracal (Turkish word meaning ‘black ear’) is the name of a medium-sized cat ranging over Western Asia and Africa. It’s also the name of a new pistol to be imported to the US from the United Arab Emirates by Caracal USA.

The pistol is produced in full size, compact and sub compact versions in 9 mm, 9×21, 357 Sig and 40 S&W. The full size version holds 18 rounds in 9 mm and 16 in 357 Sig or 40 S&W. A video clip with segments of the Caracal in action:

Development of the Caracal started in 2002 led by the Austrian firearms designer Wilhelm Bubits who previously had designed the Steyr M pistol.

Troy Sellars, Caracal USA has this to say about the new pistol:

I can guarantee it is more accurate than the other polymer pistols on the market due to the full length rails and other engineering aspects. The recoil impulse is lower as well due to the barrel sitting 4mm lower than other pistols. I shoot it more accurate myself than my G17 and the guys at the indoor range were impressed about how accurate it was. They were also amazed at the lower felt recoil.I can’t make you buy it but I would encourage you to give it a chance. When we get them out there, stop by your local indoor range and put a few rounds through one.

Thanks, Troy Sellars
Director of Operations
Caracal USA

Troy also indicates that a shipment of Caracal’s is en-route to his US warehouse this week, and pending US Customs approval, will be available shortly. No word yet on price, but in my opinion it will need to be priced at or somewhat under the current polymer pistol offerings from Springfield, Glock, S&W, Taurus, etc to be competitive in the marketplace.
10uae1.jpg picture by nobita7

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Compact

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Cold Steel Pendleton Lite Hunter: Best of the Best?

29 Aug

In the September 2010 edition of Field & Stream, reviewer David Petzel declared the Cold Steel Pendleton Lite Hunter the “Best of the Best” winner for hunting knives.

Petzel liked its 4116 Krupp steel blade, sharp factory edge, ease of resharpening and the $22 price.

One could argue that a budget knife shouldn’t be considered in a “Best of the Best” test, but who am I to debate Field & Stream? So let’s take a closer look at the Pendleton Lite Hunter.

Cold Steel has a number of critics among knife nuts for their ‘Solid Proof’ DVD product catalogs (you can request one free from their website). In the DVD’s they demonstrate the abilities of their knives on everything from cinder blocks and steel barrels to hanging sides of beef. Think what you will about their marketing, but it’s hard to debate the strength of their knives.

The Pendleton Lite Hunter is designed as a working mans hunting knife. It’s not fancy and it’s not made of the latest exotic material. However it is the appropriate size and has a useful drop point blade shape for field dressing game.

Specs:

Blade Length: 3 5/8″
Overall Length: 8 1/2″
Steel: 4116 Krupp Stainless
Weight: 2.7 oz
Handle: 4 7/8″ Long High Impact Polypropylene
Sheath: Codura Sheath
MSRP: $21.99

I have a Cold Steel Finn Bear with the same steel and am reasonably impressed with it. Again it’s not made of the latest ‘unobtanium’ but it gets the job done.

From the Cold Steel web site:
“Over the years our Pendleton Hunters have become enormously popular, and while we think they are reasonably priced, many have asked us for a more affordable Pendleton that will accommodate just about anyone’s budget.

So we got together with Lloyd (Pendleton) and designed a new knife we call the Pendleton Lite Hunter. In appearance it strongly resembles the rest of the family with a drop point blade, modest guard, hollowed bolster area and a flared butt to aid retention. The only major changes were the adoption of more affordable 4116 Krupp steel and the use of polypropylene instead of Kraton for the handle.

In our testing it got straight A’s in the field as it is equally adept at field dressing and skinning, held a decent edge, was easy to sharpen, and proved to be tough as nails.

If you’re looking for a very affordable hunting/utility knife that comes with a good, pouch-style sheath and delivers more than your money’s worth in performance and value look no further than the Pendleton Lite.”

For the price the Pendleton Lite Hunter would make a nice knife for a young hunter who may loose or abuse a knife. It would also serve well as a backup knife or a knife you can stow in your truck, gear bag, boat or tackle box.

Cold Steel’s products are manufactured in Japan, Taiwan, or China. I presume the Pendleton Lite Hunter is made China but couldn’t confirm this.

Chiappa Rhino Revolver

26 Aug

Chiappa is reporting that their Rhino line of revolvers has cleared all the US import requirements and testing and is available for distribution through MKS Supply. You can read all about the unique aspects of the revolver on this flier. There are a number of models available from 2″ to 6″ barrels in either polished or black finish. The 6″ version features integral top and bottom picatinny rails (pretty cool an practical in my opinion).

It’s certainly an interesting design with a number of possible advantages over a traditional revolver. There are a number of sites that cover all the mechanics, features, etc of the Rhino. So I will focus on the marketability of a radically re-designed revolver….  in other words, will shooters be flocking to gun shops to buy a Rhino?

Gun buyers in general (and especially revolver buyers) are a conservative group of people and tend to go for time tested designs. The fact that the Rhino is so different in operation and appearance will be a deterrent to many buyers – at least initially.

I will say that I’ve been surprised at how quickly the polymer-framed Ruger LCR caught on (granted Ruger is a well-respected manufacturer with a solid customer and dealer base). And with both S&W and Taurus now also offering polymer framed revolvers, it seems like revolver buyers may not be as old and starchy as I once believed (no offence to revolver buyers, I’m among the old and starchy myself).

There will certainly be people who buy a Rhino simply because it’s unique. If these buyers have good experiences with the gun, and if the gun is well received by the gun media, it may go on to have a long and successful life on the US market.

Price is another factor. MSRP starts at $775 and goes up to nearly $1,000. There are a lot of good, proven pistol and revolver designs available at this price. The Rhino will need to be something special to compete in this price range.

Spyderco Balance Carbon Fiber Knife

25 Aug

Spyderco has introduced a new liner lock folder called the Balance. It’s a design by Ed Schempp, who has done a number of other Spyderco knives.

I think the knife looks a little odd (to my eyes, a lot of Schempp designs are odd), but it may be small and non-threatening enough to be accepted around the office or in other places ‘sheeple’ frequent. Call it a modern interpretation of the gentleman’s folder. It’s certainly made of upscale materials:

Specifications:

Overall Length: 4-7/16″ (113 mm)
Blade Length: 1-15/16″ (49 mm)
Cutting Edge Length: 1-1/4″ (32 mm)
Closed Length: 2-5/8″ (67 mm)
Steel: VG-10
Handle Material: G-10
Weight: 1.3 oz. (37 g)
Clip: Left/Right
Tip Carry: Up/Down
Made in Japan

From the Sypderco Web site:

Balance is a state of equilibrium or equal distribution.  In our case it’s an Ed Schempp folder that is symmetrically identical on both ends when the folder is closed.  Odd looks aside, when held in the hand it’s ergonomically proportional and a natural fit.

The VG-10 blade is full-flat ground and arcs upward a radical curve with a deep finger choil.  When the index finger is positioned in the choil, the cutting edge aligns with the forearm moving the blade’s weight back and the center of gravity toward the cutting edge where it responds like a natural extension of the hand.

The enlarged Spyderco Round Hole is dead center on the blade when closed and perfectly off-centered when open, positioning the thumb for flowing one-hand operation, justifying the name Balance.

Handle scales are gray carbon fiber and assembled with screws for cleaning and adjustment.  Four-way, left/right, tip-up/tip-down hourglass clip, clips discreetly in a pocket.  Piped lanyard.  Symphonic fit and finish.

‘Spydercollector’ posted a nice video of a pre-production version of the Balance:

MSRP is listed at $199 but it’s listed for around $130 at a number of internet retailers. There is some knife forum discussion/speculation that Spyderco may also introduce a non-carbon fiber Balance (either FRN or stainless handle) at a substantially lower price.

Two Sight Solution?

25 Aug

Phil Bourjaily over at the Gun Nuts blog did a post yesterday on the two sight solution that a number of 3-gun competitors are using. The solution is to mount a red dot sight at a slight angle from the scope. A shooter can use their scope for long range precision shots while allowing a quick close range shot with the red dot by slightly canting the rifle. Dick Metcalf showed a similar setup on an episode of Modern Rifle Adventures.

While I can see the merits of the ‘two sight solution’ in competition, I think it would be a little confusing on a hunting or tactical rifle setup. Although it does make more sense to me than mounting a red dot on top of the scope like in the photo below. What do you think?

Hodgdon Announces LeverEvolution & SuperFormance Powders

24 Aug

Shooting Times reports that Hodgdon is making two of their ‘super powders’ available to reloaders. According to Hodgdon’s Chris Hodgdon, the new Superformance and Leverevolution powders essentially duplicate the proprietary blends currently being used by Hornady, and previously unavailable to handloaders.

I have enjoyed using Hornaday’s factory LeverEvolution loads in 30-30 Win and .444 Marlin for several years. It will be nice to be able to roll my own loads and still achieve the same level of performance of the factory loadings.

The new powders should be on the shelves in January 2011.

Import of Korean M1 Garands and M1 Carbines Blocked

23 Aug

“Korean War Rifles Sold Back to US” was the title of a promising news story out of Seoul last Fall.  The proposed sale consisted of 86,000 M1 rifles and another 22,000 M1 carbines. Reportedly they were to be sold to one or more of a pre-selected group of six US wholesalers. CMP was not involved in the deal. The Koreans expected to sell Garands for $220 Carbines for $140! Many shooters and collectors were looking forward to buying a genuine Korean war Garand or carbine. Never mind the thought of the Koreans selling rifles back to us that we gave them….

US soldiers in front-line trench during Korean War. With rifle, left, PFC. Richard Pantoliano of Brooklyn, N.Y., and right, foreground, with carbine is PFC. Robert Curtis of Torrance, Calif. Other soldiers, background, are unidentified - 1 May 1951

Well, according to the Koreans, the current US Administration (the specific agency or official was not named) have stymied efforts to bring these rifles back to the US.

The problems the U.S. government cited were somewhat ambiguous, said an official at the Ministry of National Defense on condition of anonymity.

“The U.S. insisted that imports of the aging rifles could cause problems such as firearm accidents. It was also worried the weapons could be smuggled to terrorists, gangs or other people with bad intentions,” the official told The Korea Times.

John at No Lawyers – Only Guns and Money blog posted a great response to this nonsense:

As to the assertion by some unnamed U.S. official that gangs might use M-1 Garands, I think someone watched the movie Gran Torino a few too many times. Can you imagine how many cases of “M-1 thumb” there would be if the Crips, the Bloods, or the Latin Kings were to attempt to use a M-1 Garand?

Lets hope that someone in the current administration comes to their senses, or more likely that enough grass-roots pressure is applied by interested collectors and shooters, so that importation of these fine historical arms can begin.

Bond Arms / Buck Knives Vantage Folder

21 Aug

I think knives with third party advertising on them are pretty cheesy. But a new offering from Bond Arms and Buck Knives is just plain cool! The paragraph below from Bond Arms explains the offering:

“Made in the U.S.A. by Buck Knives! Choose from Rosewood or Black Ash. This knife is a great addition to your knife collection or to your self defense knife needs. The Bond Arms logo is embossed into the wood. It comes with a removable pocket clip on the back and a stainless steel blade.”

In my opinion the Bond Arms logo and checkering on the scales are tastefully done and add nicely to an already appealing knife.

The knife being offered is Buck’s Vantage Avid which is much like the Vantage Pro I reviewed here a few weeks ago. The only differences are a 13C26 blade and wood scales instead of S30V and G10. Both are good knives with excellent steel. One would be hard pressed to notice any difference in usability and edge retention between S30V and 13C26.

‘mrstraightshot’ posted a nice video review of the knife:

Bond Arms has been manufacturing 100% Made in the U.S.A., derringer style firearms, since 1995 and is recognized for its dependable, well-built double-barrel handguns, which feature historically inspired designs.

Price wise, the Bond Vantage Avids are $60 which is about twice as much as a standard Buck Vantage Avid. I happen to think it’s a pretty good deal for a unique knife that’s made in the USA and comes with a Forever Warranty. If you’re a Bond Arms fan, it’s a definate must-have item.

Thanks to Dave H (aka ‘plumberdv’ on Blade Forum) for the top two photo’s. Be sure to check out his post on these knives on BladeForum.

FN Admits US SOCOM Not Buying SCAR MK16

20 Aug

As reported on the Firearm Blog, Gabe Bailey (Marketing Director, Combat Rifles, FNH USA) admitted on M4Carbine.net that US SOCOM does not plan to buy the MK16 combat rifle:

You are correct and I am not hiding any facts. And, as the main customer has stated, they do not plan to buy the MK 16…in my humble opinion, this has nothing to do with performance but rather smartly-weighed budget decisions.

Performance fact: As I previously noted, the MK 16 (and MK17, MK 13) met all requirements. Those requirements ARE well above and beyond the weapon(s) it is intended to replace. Neither the MK 16 weapon nor the program were ever cancelled as we all have come to realize through factual evidence (MS C & FRP).

Thanks for participating.

Sincerely,
Gabe

As reported previously on Military.Com, the MK17 could well serve as a common receiver platform for both 5.56 and 7.62. Doing so would eliminate any issues with parts commonality between platforms which makes a lot of sense, although there already was a pretty high degree of commonality of parts between the MK16 and MK17.

Wilson Tactical / Kirby Lambert Collaboration Knife

18 Aug

I’ll note that the limited run of this knife (10 serial numbered pieces at $550 each) completely sold out in about a day! In any case, the Wilson Tactical / Kirby Lambert “Snap with IKBS” knife is still worth reading about.

A Lambert folder has been on my dream list for several years now as I believe they represent the pinnacle of what a tactical folding knife should be. Below is info and some nice photo’s from Wilson Tactical on this knife:

————————————————————————————————-

For over a decade, WILSON TACTICAL® the knife and tool division of WILSON COMBAT® has brought the finest in quality edged tactical tools to our discriminating clientele. For 2010 we are raising the bar and will be offering a limited collection of handmade knives by some of today’s premier tactical knife makers without the long wait typically associated with special ordering a custom edged masterpiece.

These newly designed knives featured in the new CUSTOM ALLIANCE will be few in number, and will quickly become a valued centerpiece of your collection. These offerings will typify the WILSON standards of extraordinary quality, classic design and unmatched value.

Wilson Tactical Custom Alliance Knife by Kirby Lambert
“Snap with IKBS” by Kirby Lambert

Designed by Kirby to be the perfect EDC knife, here’s why:

  • Small Enough For Comfortable Everyday Carry, But Can Also Take On The Tasks Of A Large Tactical Folder
  • Wide Blade Design Gives It A Feel Of A Larger Knife
  • CPM 154CM Stainless Steel Blade For Maximum Edge Holding And Corrosion Resistance
  • .080” 6AL/4V Titanium Liners For Maximum Strength And Minimal Weight
  • Carbon Fiber Bolsters And G10 Handle Scales For A Lifetime Of Use
  • Finger Choil Allows For Added Comfort As Well As A Rock Solid Grip In Both Regular And Reverse Grip
  • Fold Over Pocket Clip Allows For Deep Concealed Carry
  • Great Ergonomics…
  • Positioning Of The Flipper Combined With A Solid Detent And The IKBS Allow It To Fire Open Like Lightning
  • Secure Lock-Up In Both The Open And Closed Position

IKBS – Ikoma Korth Bearing System

Rather than the blade rotating against washers, a race is machined into the liner where ball bearings are placed. The blade then rotates on the ball bearings allowing the blade to rotate with minimal resistance while retaining zero side to side blade play. For more information on the IKBS, visit www.ikbsknifetech.com

Wilson Tactical Knife

SPECIFICATIONS

Steel – CPM 154CM
Blade Length – 3.5″
Blade Thickness – .160″
Handle Length – 4.6″
Overall Length – 8.2″
Weight – 5.2 oz.
Bolster Material – Carbon Fiber
Handle Material – Olive Drab G10
Hardware Material – Stainless Steel
Liner Material – .080” 6AL/4V Titanium
Features The IKBS Pivot Bearing System