CRKT PILAR

In my opinion CRKT is a lot like Babe Ruth, the Sultan of Swat. Babe Ruth swung more Strike Outs than anyone. A record breaking number of swings and misses… But at the same time, he made some crushing home runs. What is he remembered for? No one remembers his strike outs. They remember his home runs. It’s really easy to dismiss a knife company that takes so many swings and makes so many misses. I used to pretty much just flat out hate CRKT and I dismissed everything they did because of all the misses. But they really do smash some home runs. Their catalog has a whole bunch of them. Why is that? Because they are not afraid to take the swing. I like that. What I don’t like are their secondary locking mechanism… freaking tumors on otherwise good designs. But the Pilar doesn’t have a secondary lock.

The PILAR is one of the Home Runs. It’s different… A unique take on the new trend of Cleaver Style blades, which are just butch Wharncliffe style blades. And that’s a good description of the Pilar. It’s butch. It’s stout. It’s kinda thick, but not too thick that one doesn’t want to carry it. I don’t like thick folders for EDC use. But this one isn’t that thick… It’s thick enough to have enough beef to it that you feel like you can really get in there and get some work done if needed. Which is good. This is a Gentlemanly Working Knife. It EDC’s very well, and even leaves you more than enough room to still have a usable pocket when you carry this clipped to said pocket. As one of my Lads would say, “She thick”. Which is evidently a good thing. I think that suits the Pilar. She thick.

The other nice thing, is that the knife is quite attractive. It’s good looking in that “She Thic” kind of way. The Pilar has some technical look to it and in a solid stainless construction, looks and feels like something Cyber Punkish. It opens and locks like a Bank Vault. Maybe a little too much so. The Frame lock is as stout as the knife… meaning, it’s a bit stiff to unlock. After working the Pilar for a couple weeks, it’s gotten a bit easier. It doesn’t hurt my thumb to unlock it anymore. And the knife has smoothed out a great deal. I can easily and quickly open the knife by holding the blade hole between finger and thumb, and flicking the handle down. This method of opening puts the blade in a perfect working position.

The Pilar is by no means a “Tactical” knife. The grips are too slick. The blade too short and blunted. It’s not black or flat dark earth or coyote tan. There’s no Green Berets that used it to slit Taliban throats. Army Rangers don’t rappel out of hovering choppers holding this knife in their teeth. Marine Raiders don’t keep one in their boots when pillaging. Navy Seals don’t use these for trimming their nails and cuticles. It’s just NOT a tactical knife. But an Office Manager might use this to open a package of Notepads and Pens he ordered from Amazon. An Account Agent might use this to break into the next pack of Coffee for her morning wake up in the office break room. Steven in Acquisitions might use one to trim his Steak during lunch. There’s a lot of real world uses for a good folder that do not involve Violence… and this Pilar just might be a great little knife for that. Because even around the most melty of snowflakes… pulling this out in front of them wont cause them to signal to Human Resources that you have a dangerous weapon. They just might instead say something like, “Hey, that’s pretty cool.”

Because it really is pretty cool. For a 2.4″ Frame Lock knife, it is about as cool as it gets without looking like you’re about to go Sweeny Todd on someone. (Like the Gerber Flatiron or CRKT Ripsnort) It looks like this knife is more interested in opening a bag of crisps rather than jugular veins. It’s a well behaved and handsome EDC type knife that wont raise alarms, but maybe an eyebrow or two. And it’s about 25 bucks on Amazon.com. Can’t beat that.

Benchmade 535 Bugout

The Bugout is named inaccurately. Bugging out to me, means it’s a SHTF scenario. Where you are going to deal with everything from Aliens to Zombies to Survival. That kind of knife is probably better off being a Fixed Blade, and maybe a large one at that. That’s really not what this knife is all about. What this knife really is, is a more butch Gentleman’s knife.

The Bugout sports a thin flat grind blade that’s very sharp and awesome for slicing. The handle profile is also very thin. The clip allows for a very deep carry. And the overall weight is under 2 ounces, making it just crazy light. Saying that “It’s like it’s not even there” is an understatement. And like a Gentleman’s knife, the Bugout is on the smallish side.

The liners are very short, to reduce weight. And the knife is mostly open. But the Axis lock is smooth, and just what you would expect of a Benchmade. I do like the design and the execution. And I do feel that you are getting what you pay for with the Bugout… if you went into it with proper expectations. Because the knife was designed from the start to be crazy light, it gives up some things that a true SHTF Bug Out Knife should have. The blade isn’t heavy enough to flick out with a snap of the wrist. But it does open smoothly with the thumb stud, and you can flick it out with the studs with a little practice. You are getting a coated titanium Axis lock, which means it’s very light, and it’s going to last for a very long time. As will the reinforced nylon scales… Though they can flex if you squeeze it, it’s not going to hurt them. And you can get kits to swap those with G-10 or Micarta, if you want to add some thickness and weight. Which defeats the purpose of the Bugout’s super light nature. It’s fine as it is. Right now, you can get the plan satin blade with blue handles, or a tan handle with a black coated blade. But I tend to not light coated blades… so… Blue. Which looks nice enough.

I find it odd that this was marketed at guys that are doing backpacking and are counting every ounce. No. That’s really not this knife. This is better suited to the guy that wears a suit every day and suit pants pockets don’t hang heavy folders very well. But I guess the name “Professional” or “Middle Management” or “Sales Team” just doesn’t inspire, and probably doesn’t show the handle materials that those names might conjure… Like Rich Mahogany or Corinthian Leather. But the S30V Blade Steel sure does. That’s a solid choice, without getting silly in expense. As is the Bugout knife as a whole. A solid choice for the guy that wants a really good every day carry knife that is light and deep, yet capable of good cutting when needed.

The Bugout is worthy of the Butterfly… Benchmade really does make some great knives, and this is one of them.

UPDATE: Some time later after packing the Bugout for some time… It’s become my favorite EDC Folding Knife. The fact it does very well at not being there when not needed, and being handy and sharp as hell when needed… It’s damn near the Perfect EDC knife. I love this thing.

Glock Model 45 Quick Take

I’ve handled the Glock Model 45, but haven’t fired it… But I have fired the Glock 19X. Here’s my take on the G45: It’s the best handgun Glock has ever made. Period. It takes that “Glock Commander” form factor that make the 19X a pleasure to shoot, but improves it. True Glock Gen 5 features, forward slide serrations, and no droopy lip on the bottom of the front strap like on the 19X. And no lanyard. All you need to do to the G45 is to put Night Sights on it. Done. It’s the first Glock that I’ve ever looked forward to seeing hit production.

Gerber Flatiron

I’ve done something I honestly never thought I’d do. I picked up a Gerber. I’ve been kind of interested in Cleaver Blade folders, and this one just stood out to me. Now, I’m just not a fan of Gerber… Their designs, their Chinese production… and this one is Chinese made too. Damn it. I seriously find that irritating and I strongly dislike Gerber for that reason. I make no excuses for getting this knife… I have Sinned. Forgive me. But this knife is pretty cool…

SIG M11-A1 a Unicorn captured.

The SIG M11-A1 has been one of my Unicorn pistols for some time.  It’s basically the latest version of the P228 that’s no longer in production.  I had used a 228 many moons ago as duty weapon when I did patrol work.  The M11-A1 simply adds factory night sights, the SRT trigger, and that’s about it.  If you are unfamiliar with the 228, that’s a shame.  But it’s what the 229 became with the addition of a frame rail.  The M11-A1 keeps the lines clean by being free of rails.  
Now, a lot of new Shooters out there might not know anything about the M11.  In the 80’s when the US Army adopted the Beretta M9 pistol as the service pistol, they quickly found that it did not meet the needs of everyone that needed a pistol.  So the Army adopted the M11 shortly thereafter. 
The M11 was primarily issued to Investigators and other DOD Agents that needed something concealable.  It also found its way into the hands and holsters of Aviators and others that the M9 was too large for.  The M11 has been quietly seeing service ever since the late 80’s
During that time, the civilian P228 was gaining popularity with Law Enforcement and I remember if a LEO wasn’t packing a Beretta, it was 226 or a 228.  I myself carried a 228 on duty until I switched to an HK USP, a decision that I do not regret.  But I did regret giving up the 228 from my arsenal.  It was a good balance of size, weight, and capacity and really worked well.

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio


Driving the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is an experience that any true Car Guy needs to check off the bucket list. Sitting in the car, you find that you are both very comfortable, and held into place thanks to what are the most perfect sport sedan seats I’ve ever felt.
Once adjusted and mirrors positioned, you buckle up and hit the start button located on the steering wheel. The button’s position is to remind you of just what it is you are getting yourself into. Things pop into mind like “Ferrari” and “Racing Car”, and those things are not far from the truth. The engine truly is derived from Enzo’s passion. That’s no joke. But this is a Sedan that is meant to be used as a car, just like any other… That’s why there are the A and N settings on the now famous Alfa Romeo DNA dial.  Continue reading Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio

Vanderhall Venice: Constructive Criticism.

When I first saw the Vanderhall Venice, I was really smitten.  I was thinking it was the coolest thing ever.  And they are cool.  Don’t get me wrong, they are cool and they are fun to drive.    The problem I have with them is that they are 30 Grand.   For that much money, you can buy some pretty nice cars that are also fun to drive but also offer some practicality.  The Venice has no practicality to it.  At all.   The other cars out there that you could get also have a certain level of Build Quality.  And that’s my make problem with the Venice.  Vanderhall is almost there with it, but every car seems like it’s still a prototype.  
The Venice has a vibe of a 60’s era Formula 1 car.  Like something James Garner drove in “Grand Prix”.  But they missed that mark in cosmetics and other styling points.  They also missed the mark on the “Modern Morgan 3 Wheeler” they were shooting at.

Let’s look at the details.  The grill just flat out looks cheap as hell.  It looks like an old-fashioned Ice Tray insert.  That’s a detail that bugged me from the very first instant when I saw it.  I like that the headlights are tucked in, but overall the impression is that the entire front end was just phoned in.  Also the are below the grill being flat faced when it could have been more like a Formula 1 cowling.  It was a missed opportunity for greatness. Continue reading Vanderhall Venice: Constructive Criticism.

Springfield Armory’s new 10mm XDM pistols


Springfield Armory has released the XDM in 10mm now.  It’s available in two flavors, 4.5″ and 5.25″.  The service sized pistol has a fixed rear sight and a fiber optic front.  While the 5.25″ pistol has a fiber optic front sight and an adjustable rear sight.  It also has a big long open port in the stop of the slide, that I’m not a fan of.
First off, Fiber Optic front sight posts annoy me.  I hate them.  It’s a cheap sight and I can’t stand them on any gun I own.   I’d much rather have seen them use pretty much any other sights.  But no matter… I’d put Trijicon HD’s on these things regardless.  I’d also liked to have seen a threaded barrel.  Or at least throw one in the box with the pistol as an extra option.   I know Springfield is just testing the waters, but I’d have liked to have seen them take the test seriously.
What they did take seriously though is the 10K Run they put the gun through… a claimed 10,000 rounds without a failure.  If true, that’s impressive as hell.
I hope that this is a signal that 10mm is becoming more mainstream.
Right now your 10mm options are as follows:
1.  Glocks.
2.  1911’s.
3.  EAA Witness
4.  SIG 220’s.
The EAA guns are finicky, the 1911’s can be expensive and or finicky, and the SIG’s are expensive and can be hideous looking in that camo for the Hunter version.  Is that Kryptek?  That’s the Nickleback of Camo.  Don’t buy that one.
So really if you want to spend less than a Thousand Dollars, really the only viable option for a reliable 10mm is the Glocks… and now the XDM’s.   It’s good to have options.

Craft Holster’s Cargo Explorer Concealed Carry Bag

Some time ago I was contacted by Luke of Craft Holsters, with an invitation to review one of their products.  I checked out their site and found something I was interested in trying out.  A small Sling Bag type set up that I thought might work out great when riding a Motorcycle.    Hit that link to see the details and better photos than I took.

I used this bag for a couple months now.  You guys know I don’t like to do a review unless I’ve actually used the thing I’m reviewing.  And if I don’t like it – I’ll tell you that I don’t like it.  And I’d also throw down any Constructive Criticism that I have for the Item, so it could be used for further Product Development.   Continue reading Craft Holster’s Cargo Explorer Concealed Carry Bag

The Most Unreliable Pistols

I put out a survey and talked to a lot of Firearms Instructors about the most consistently unreliable pistols they’ve seen come through their classes.  When the pattern emerged through the Signal/Noise filters, it confirmed my theory.   Short Barreled 1911’s are the Most Unreliable.   Let’s look at this for a second and see why.
The 1911 family of guns tend to be very reliable.  During the Pistol Trials before the gun was adopted by the US Army, the Colt ran well over 6,000 without problems and thoroughly crushed the competition (Savage) which didn’t even make it halfway.   Since then, it garnered a reputation for being unreliable?  What happened?
Well, for a long time, Colt owned the patent on the design and if a 1911 wasn’t built by Colt, it was built under license and the guns all tended to follow that pattern rather closely.

Continue reading The Most Unreliable Pistols