Friday, November 23, 2012

Gerber Essentials Combo Pack Review Part I: The Gerber Paraframe I

This was an absolute steal for me.  Usually when you buy items imported from the states, they end up getting priced about twice as much as compared to the actual MSRP. It’s also hard to get outdoor equipment for street prices since they have a small local niche market.  So what we have here is the Gerber Essentials kit that’s made up of 3 items. Gerber’s very popular Paraframe I, a Mini Suspension Multitool with sping loaded scissors (I’d go for the pliers actually) and a mini Tempo torch. All good things. I'm tempted to review the whole package as a set but thwarting all inclinations for convenience/laziness aside, I'll review the items found inside this blister pack one by one and we will start with the Gerber Paraframe I.

So for the Specs:

Frame lock handle design
Lightweight open stainless steel handles
Titanium nitrade-coated blade
Sturdy pocket clip
Overall Length: 7.01"
Blade Length: 3.01"
Closed Length: 4.11"
Weight: 2.6 oz.
Lock Mechanism: Frame-lock
Blade Style: Clip Point
Blade Material: High Carbon Stainless
Blade Type: Serrated
Handle Material: Stainless Steel
Opening Style: One-handed opening

I've allowed this knife to get past me so many times since I wasn't too keen about its skeletonized handle frame and after seeing so many variations from plain edge, combo edge, black finished, bead blasted, version 1 and version 2 and so on, I decided to just drop it and move on to the next knife. I remember ending up with with a Gerber Gator, but that's another story worth writing about in the upcoming knife reviews this year. Writing this from where I am now, I'm glad I waited. I've actually come to the realization that the things that I gravitate toward will simply find their way into my household at some point in the future whether I want it or not and the same premise has proven itself time and again. So here I am holding this knife. It's sharp. Razor sharp. As with all of my other Gerber knives, taking an edge has never been an Issue, but Gerber has been notorious for using softer steels that are easy to sharpen but will not hold their edge if put to the gruelling demands of camplife. Which is why I always look at Gerbers as knives to actually use, abuse and wear out - you have to treat them with a consumerist minset because they're like real tools that have their flaws and weaknesses but given the amount of use and proper care, they should serve you well and once you retire them, you'll be happy looking at the dinged up beaten knife with fond memories of the adventures you had with your trusty Gerber product.
Anyway, the main reason as to why still ended up wanting to have this in my EDC list is the frame lock feature that works so smooth and so well! I've had the luxury of using different knives over time with different locking mechanisms and the frame lock is by far my locking mechanism of choice because not only is this lock safe, it is also stronger due to the tolerance of the entire frame over a thin 410 stainless steel liner. The knife also has some overized amidextrous thumbstuds that is machined to exacting measures that the micro terraced ridges actually caches and holds on to your thumb whenever you set the blade out for deployment. There's a good clip point on this knife's slender blade that gives you a good bit of stabbing leverage as well as an ergonomically contoured stainless steel handle that minimizes fatigue on your hands expecially for extended use. The size of the knife Doesn't really inspire too much to be used for bushcrafting but if it's for preparing food, peeling fruits, cutting veggies, whittling and making feather sticks. For the latter, make sure you pinch the spine of the blade as you shave off very very thin layers of wood as you go through the length of the wooden branch that your making feather sticks out of since it's a folding knife afterall. So as an end note, this will make a very good edc knife for daily chores and may even work well as back up if you don't need to whip out that full tang, large field knife or your Ka-Bar USMC combat knife.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Gerber Bear Grylls Compact Scout Folder

It took me quite a while to get my hands on this little dynamite of sorts. Not because it's so damn hard to find like a retired Cold Steel Arc Angel but because it was so prohibitively expensive locally as compared to the stateside MSRP. I ended up paying almost $20 for this tiny lockback but it was all in the persuit of gearhoarding so it was money well spent (in my world, that is) so, lets get down to business.

Gerber came out with their "Survival Series" line of knives in cooperation with reknowned TV presenter and once part time SAS dude Bear Grylls. This knife belonged to the first wave of gear and survival tools under the aforementioned company branding and one of the most overlooked in the entire line, I'm lead to believe that this was due to the fact that it's small, it can barely survive a day in an actual survival situation, it's expensive when compared to the more resilient and time tested, overbuilt & battle proven swiss army knife (another knife soooo damn close to this knifewriter's heart) and most especially it's made in China (and there's this big thing in knife communities about going for knives made in Taiwan over those manufactured in China like in the case of Cold Steel, but that's another story altogether).

But really I don't mind if it's made in planet Tinkerbell. I want to have it and I went for it - so am I happy with my purchase? Yes. Will I even really use this knife? Yes; maybe to whittle softwoods, peel vegetables, slice fruit, mince meat and other very light tasks. Will I be able to survive camp life with just this knife? Maybe not, but I just might find out the answer to that question one of these days. What does this little baby knife have to offer? Well, it's super sharp right out of the box, that's for sure. It's also got a very good lock up for a small knife, It's fairly easy to sharpen and if needed you can even open it using one hand ( I will not recommend it tho. Just make ample use of the nail nick when deploying the blade).

The ergonomics are outstanding as will all other knives with Gryll's name stamped on 'em and there's also a lanyard hole where a key ring may be attached or perhaps a paracord may be looped into because with it's size, there's this looming possibility that it just might slip out of your pocket. I even end up forgetting that I have it with me and I simply find myself reaching for another knife to cut stuff just to realize that I have this Compact Scout in my EDC Organizer or my gear slinger. Another thing worth taking note of is that fact that this knife does not have any rubberized overmold, making it less tacky or "grippy" so always be careful as the serrated edges are so sharp that if your fingers slip, you just might need some micro surgery done on your hands.

So grip the knife with finesse, use the finger notch for what it's designed for and always focus. Distractions are the last thing you need when performing tasks that involve knives or sharp objects (as always, I had to learn that the hard way)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Kubotan

I did a bit of research when I saw this item being mentioned on some random survivalist magazine 5 years ago. Since then I've been fascinated by the notion of using a small cylindrical rod to save yourself from harm in the event of close quarter self-defense situations. Come to think of it if an attcked grabs you, and inflicts some form intimidation you will usually think of either getting the hell out of that situation or accepting the fact that it is really happening and you have no choice but to take things head on. You can't always drive a blade into a human being's shoulder or shoot a person with a 9mm without worrying about serious repercussions later on inside a courtroom. This is where non-lethal self defense tools or implements take center stage. There's a good bunch of cool stuff to choose from like Yawaras, pocket flails, monkeyfists, polymer knuckles, walking canes, umbrellas, slapjacks, knuckle rings, comtech stingers, tactical pens, the keys to your apartment and what not. The thing is, you don't always step out of the house with the luxury of choosing which among these items in your arsenal of pocket weapons will suit your needs for the day.

So lets talk about the Kubotan - Invented by a Japanese dude named Takayuki Kubota ; primarily intended for use by the Los Angeles Police Department officers as a tool for turning the tables around against larger attackers or for use in subduing stubborn individuals that just simply refuse to stay down or "get along with the program". I remember that in order for a police officer to carry a Kubotan, he /she must first certify out of an 8-hour Kubotan certification training course. Well, we're not LAPD police officers but the good thing about the Kubotan is that you can use the same tool and incorporate it as a variable device along side some basic self defense or martial arts training. Besides, you need to go to Japan to learn Kobojutsu.

The Kubotan's design pretty much makes sure that you have it with you even without you consciously thinking about it. The first models that came out were simply made of a 5 and 1/2 cylindrical rod made of high impact resistant polymers, then came the keyring model that allowed you to keep your keys with your Kubotan - the keys intuitively served as an added weapon that can be used as a flail when targeting more sesitive parts in the face of your attacker/perpetrator. I've kept different variations of the kubotan with me and at this point I've found myself leaning more toward the ones made of aircraft grade aluminum, with a very subtle rounded tip because it's lightweight tough and packs quite a wallop. As an impact device, the Kubotan (or Kubaton as it is also called) is pretty much as good as a paper weight without the backing of any training but if used while considering specific impact points or targets on the human body, you just might stand a chance to run away, live and find more trouble another day. It's pretty much based on the concept of force multiplication. A single amount of force exerted on an object increases when focused on a much smaller surface area. So if you think about it, the Kubotan capitalizes on the body's compliance to pain. Imagine your ribs being rammed with the steel tip of an umbrella as opposed to being punched on your chest.

Now don't think of ever using this piece of steel against the undead because you'll find out you've made a big jackhole out of yourself.