More on the Leatherman MUT

7 Sep

Last week I discussed the Cold Steel Pendleton Lite Hunter receiving a 2010 ‘Best of the Best’ award from Field & Stream in the hunting knife category. Well there were also several knives and tools given honorable mentions, including the Leatherman MUT.

I blogged about the new Leatherman MUT back in July, but recently saw that Leatherman has several video’s showing the MUT and MUT EOD in action. These are nicely done clips that show how the unique features of these two multi tools are meant to be used (although I must admit that I cringed when they used the pliers to tighten a scope ring nut!)

The MUT is apparently still not available from retailers but can be pre-ordered from at least one site for $135, substantially less than it’s MSRP of $180.


Buck / Strider 889 Folder

6 Sep

Discontinued by Buck several years ago, the Buck/Strider SBMF 889 remains a favorite in my EDC rotation. Based loosely on the Strider SMF frame lock, the Buck version is a liner lock design.

It’s hardly fair to compare a (then) $50 Buck 889 to a $400 Strider SMF but people did and still do. What the Buck 889 is useful for is letting someone experience a Strider-ish design for a small outlay of cash.

-Weight: 4.9 oz. (138.9 g)
-Handle Material: TACCOM(tm) glass-reinforced nylon, quad-hold design
-Carry System: Black oxide stainless steel reversible belt clip
-Color: Black, OD Green, Coyote Brown
-Blade Steel: 420HC Black Oxide coated
-Length Overall: 8.13″ (20.7 cm.)
-Length Closed: 4.65″ (11.8 cm.)
-Blade Length: 3.5″L (9.1 cm.)
-Blade Shape: Extra wide, drop point
-Made in USA

420HC blade steel is sometimes looked down upon by steel snobs, but it has decent qualities and Buck does an excellent job of heat treating it. If you have not tried Buck’s 420HC steel, I would encourage you to do so. Many of their ‘base level’ knives use this steel.

Buck also made an 882 and 887 verson of the Strider SMF which are essentially the same knife as the 899 with higher grade blade steels (and G10 scales in the 882).

All three of these models are now discontinued but are available frequently at knife/gun shows and on Ebay. Prices are up somewhat now that they are no longer available from the factory, although you can still find an 889 for under $70.

Below are some photos of my 889 alone and alongside a Buck 110.

Kershaw Composite Blade Knives Explained

3 Sep

Kershaw has been using ‘composite’ blades in some of their knives for several years. This video clip explains why they do it and how it’s done. Good stuff!

As a price comparison, one of the online retailers lists the standard Kershaw Junkyard Dog II with Sandvik 13c26 steel and G10 scales for $53.95. Compared to the same knife with Sandvik 13C26/CPM-D2 composite blade (with copper accent) for $76.95. In my opinion that’s a small increase in price for a substantial upgrade in materials and technology. Not to mention the ‘cool factor’ from a composite blade 🙂

Kershaw JYDII Sandvik 13c26 Blade

Kershaw JYDII Composite Blade

Ipad vs. Shotgun

3 Sep

Interesting video of an Ipad taking a shotgun blast at short range.

Hat tip to Say Uncle blog.

Ruger Named 2010 “Manufacturer of the Year”

1 Sep

Congratulations to Ruger for being named the 2010 Manufacturer of the Year by the Shooting Industry Academy of Excellence. Named in the award notes were Ruger’s development of the SR-556 platform, their first compact pistol (SR9c) and an enhanced web presence.

The Shooting Industry Academy had this to say about Ruger and the award:

For diligently working to meet the desires of customers at all levels: consumer, retailer and distributor. For continuing the Voice of the Customer program, which has resulted in a new product category with the SR-556 and Ruger’s first true compact pistol, the SR9c. For ongoing efforts to enhance information access through a Web site that features expanded video content, up-to-date product information, customer input and an interactive online catalog. For expanding engineering and production staff and processes to support new product development and lean manufacturing.

Ruger also won Manufacturer of the Year honors in 2008, 2005, 1993 and 1992.

New online ammo retailer, specializing in bulk sales.

1 Sep

Bulk Ammo is a new online ammo retailer that specializes in bulk ammunition for serious shooters. Steven at Bulk Ammo is giving a discount to Tamarack Tactical blog readers. It’s good for $25 off your first order over $200. Just enter ‘GrandOpening’ in the coupon code box during checkout to receive the discount.

Thanks Steven and good luck with your new site!

Hot Deal

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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Sub Compact

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.


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:


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.