Friday, September 1, 2017

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

New Hogdoggins Style Fidget Spinner from Fasttech

So I got this new budget fidget spinner and would like to tell you about it.
The spinner comes in a tin presentation box and includes a tool to remove the bearing (nice addition).

The body is made from brass and the screwing caps from steel.
The bearing included is a 16X8 hybrid type one, ceramic balls, no separator, but works great.
The spinner comes with 6 balls for the weight (3 on each side) and you can adjust the action by removing some of the balls. For me it works best with just one ball on each side.

Spinning action is excellent for the price, more than 4 minutes spinning time until full stop on a hard surface.
The spinner looks excellent both on and off camera (check out the video) and is pretty easy to spin ergonomically.

It's biggest draw is that it is pretty noisy in the pocket when caring it around.
Another draw is that it isn't symmetrical, so need to see how you are holding it before you spin it.
In conclusion - this is an excellent small budget fidget spinner to try out before you splash on an original one.
Gotta give credit to @hogdoggins on IG for inventing this great unique design.

You can find the spinner here: Hogdoggins Style Fidget Spinner

Original Hogdoggins ones are sold here: Hogdoggins store
Check out more cool ones here: Metal Fidget Spinners 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

New Budget EDC Version of the RAD Field Cleaver Mini Clone!

New budget version of the RAD Field Cleaver Mini Clone is now available for purchase in the excellent LDT store on AliExpress!
It is a bit smaller than the one that I had, which was the previous version of this knife, both in the blade length and the handle length, which means it is more suited for EDC.
The weight is approximately the same (225g vs 227g on mine).

But the best part about it is the price - only $51 with the store coupon!
The other version was sold for ~$96, so this is almost twice cheaper, while retaining the same materials - titanium handle, pocket clip and framelock (with steel insert), D2 blade and ceramic bearings (single row vs double row on the previous, more expensive version).

If you never tried a RAD Cleaver - here is your chance!

Check out the knife here: Budget Field Cleaver Clone Mini
Previous version is still sold here: Field Cleaver Clone Mini
Full size clone could be found here: Full Size Field Cleaver Clone

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Harnds Talisman EDC Knife - Rat 1 Alternative?

I have received this one as well and the review is due.
To tell the truth - before ordering this knife I already had a clue about Harnds knives - they always seemed well done, but lacking in the design department and had nothing special in comparison to other budget Chinese brands - Enlan, Sanrenmu, Tekut, etc.
When I first saw the Talisman I immediately noticed the difference in price and the looks, which made me want to get this knife and to figure out if it is worth it.

Also - I thought to compare it to the newest Ganzo/Firebird models, as I considered them to be the direct competitors of this model.
When I unboxed it, took it in the hand and flipped it for the first time - I realized I was off.

Harnds weren't competing against Ganzo with this one, they tried to create a direct competition to another great budget knife - the very popular Ontario RAT 1, which is often considered as the best value knife and one of the best knives to get as a first one in the collection. 
But Harnds went a step further with their intentions and it is clear they didn't want to make just a slightly different version of the RAT 1, they tried to make it different and even improve it.
Let's see if they succeeded in this mission.
First of all the similarities:

I'll start with the basics, the size and the weight - those are very similar, same blade length, a little shorter handle and overall length on the Talisman (better blade to handle ratio), 5g difference in weight, again in the favor of the Chinese knife.
Blade shape is also a reminder - very similar satin finish, also a drop point blade shape, although a slightly different curve. Also - similar blade grind (FFG), blade geometry and blade steel.
Locking mechanism is also the same - a liner lock on both (slightly beefier on the Harnds).
Centering, blade play - all perfect on both.
Lanyard hole - present on both at about the same location.

Ergonomics - somewhat similar, both fill the hand well. Both have gimping, steep on the RAT, flat on the Harnds.
Second of all - the differences:
Blade deployment method - thumb studs vs flipper. Can't really say one is better than the other, just different tastes.

Handle material - Clear advantage to the 3D contoured G10 on the Harnds vs the plastic flat ones on the Ontario made knife. Also - standoffs on the RAT vs the ribbed G10 backspacer on the Tali.
Liners - one of the biggest drawbacks of the RAT are the non-skeletonized liners, like they are on the Talisman.
Pivot mechanism -  nylon and bronze washers on the RAT, ceramic (!) bearings on the Talisman. Although the RAT has very smooth action for a washer knife, can't beat ceramic bearings in that area.

Pocket clip - Despite the 4 positionable one on the RAT, it is another clear win for the Harnds IMO that has an awesome flexible deep tip down carry one.
The overall looks - the RAT looks like a worker/forrest blade. The Talisman is much dressier with the sleek looking G10 handle, that looks much clearer (a lot less holes and screws visible), the better looking pivot screw (proprietary on one side, torx on the other) and can be passed as a gentleman's EDC knife.

You must ask by now - with so many differences - how are they similar?
This is my answer - although Harnds didn't copy any of the features of the RAT, they managed to "copy" the budget, great value, simple, no nonsense concept of the RAT 1 with this one.
The fact that they improved the design by going at the Ontario knife's drawbacks, makes it a great contender for the best knife to get as a first one in the collection or as an addition to the RAT to complete each other.

I got the knife here: Harnds Talisman
Check out other Harnds Knives on Amazon: Harnds Knives
Ontario RAT 1 here: Geniune RAT 1

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Neon Ultra Lite Clone Knife Review!

So, this knife has also arrived and the review is due.
The knife arrived in a black presentation box (IMO better packaging than the original Shirogorov plain black cardboard box).
It came reasonably sharp, pretty smooth and without any visual defects, centering and lockup are perfect, ergos are great for it's size.

The Good:

 First of all the fit and the finish. The knife has a bead-blasted titanium handles (the blue, gold and purple come with satin finish on the handle) with milled curved lines, milled titanium pocket clip, 3.25" 2 tone D2 blade (stonewashed flats and satin on the cross section - BTW best satin finish I've seen on a Chinese made knife so far) and my personal favorite - bead blasted screws on both sides with satin bevels - very nice touch from our Chinese friends.

Another great thing about this knife is the action. It flips fast, with a great kick and sound to it, although I must admit that the action on my Green Thorn F95T is a bit smoother (may be so due to the longer, thicker and heavier blade). On the Neon it feels more hydraulic and not free-dropping like on the F95.
BTW - I have heard from a few people already about the pivot screw being locktighted to the point that it can't be unscrewed - mine came without that problem and the pivot screw can be easily unscrewed.

The Great:

The design. It starts with the overall size (which is just a perfect one for EDC IMO), handle-to-blade ratio (it may seem as the blade is longer than the handle in the open position), the flipper tab and my personal favorite - the milled pocket clip, that screws on the outside of the handle, thus adding to the overall sleek look on both sides. Gotta give credit to the Shiros for that.
In addition - the knife doesn't feature a logo of the original maker, thus can't be sold as a genuine knife, which is always a great plus for a clone and it's perception.

The Bad:

There is one thing that did bother me about this knife and it is that if you loosen the pivot screw - the blade can hit the standoff. That happens due to the fact, that in the closed position the blade goes exactly in the dent of the standoff. So if you loosen the pivot it goes off-center and hits the side of the back standoff - that can leave a nick in the blade. Not a big issue, but you need to keep that in mind and check that the pivot isn't loose.

The Ugly:

As always with Shiro clones - the prices of the genuine and the lack of a good genuine budget alternative.

The Verdict:

This is a great blade, done well and has awesome design (can be considered as an elegant gentleman's knife) . If you like the F95/Hati, but think they are too big to carry around as an EDC - this knife is made for you!

I bought the knife here (the awesome Vespa store): Neon Ultra Lite Clone
Also can be found here for a lower price: Shiro Neon Clone

Genuine Shirogorov Neon Ultra Lite sold here: Shirogorov Neon
More cool EDC blades here: EDC Blades

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Gearbest 3rd Anniversary Promotion Sale!

Gearbest  celebrates it's third anniversary!
Though it sometimes seems that it has been here forever, it is a pretty young business with a great business plan.
If you haven't heard of this already - Gearbest supports the knife and gear community by supplying knives, flashlights and other gear for reviews, so you have a chance to see all the info about the product before purchasing it.
They also have great customers service and many payment options, including PayPal.
I've been buying on the site from the beginning, mainly because of the lower prices online for certain items (such as Ganzo knives).
In the late 2016 I've posted about a problem they had with shipping knives to certain countries (including South Africa, South America, Russia and others), but as of now they have fixed all of the problems and the knives ship without any problem.

Check out all of the coupons and deals for the sale:

1. Knives and Gear

2. Electronics
3. Lighting and Flashlights

Also, there is a coupon for 10% discount for all the products on the site: GB3rd
More coupons could be found here.Happy shopping!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

–°old Steel AK-47 Clone Knife Review!

I have received this knife and would like to share with you my review of it.
It comes in a Cold Steel branded box with all the correct photos and markings - if I didn't know that this is a clone - I could easily think the box is original.

The knife came reasonably sharp, pretty smooth (possible to open and close one-handed) and makes overall good first impression.
I took it outside for some wood cutting and spine whack testing.


- Strong, rugged construction - First of all the knife has zero bladeplay in any direction, even after I spine whacked it about 10 times on a tree. The G10 is pretty grippy, just like the original CS knives. The backspacer/striker is made from aluminum and seems solid.

- Ergonomics - Especially due to the curve in the handle - the knife fits my hand (M) very well in all grips.
- Great weight and balance - this knife has no steel liners, so it is pretty light for the size (5.49oz/155.5g), and feels even lighter due to the near perfect balance between the handle and the blade.
- Awesome looks and character - This is a tactical knife, and it looks and feels tactical from all the angles. The construction, the colors, the feel, even the name - all just screams Military to me. 
- The tablet wave feature - it works great, especially since the knife can't be flicked out, due to the design and the lock type.
- The value - at $18 this is the strongest tactical knife I ever had.


- Blade centering - it's a little off on mine (I've seen other reviews that said theirs is centered), not scraping the liner though.
- Not the most EDCable knife - The handle is pretty long and wide, especially considering the blade length, so not the most convenient for urban carry.
- The biggest con of this knife is the pocket clip - It came very stiff, so I bent it out a little bit. The pocket clip screws are also not of the best quality and it moved a little bit side to side, until I locktighted the screws.
- The handle screws are pretty soft as well.

The Verdict: This is not an urban EDC or a collectors piece to put on a shelf, this is a strictly tactical kind of knife, built with a purpose to be used and abused. The testing proved it can be trusted and that the lock won't fail - this and other positive qualities (also the price) makes it a great knife option for the ones who serve and the ones who really use their knives to the max and beyond.

Knife can be found here: CS AK-47 Clone
Genuine CS AK-47 here: Cold Steel AK-47 Knife
More genuine Cold Steel knives here: Cold Steel Knives

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Budget Tactical Pens - Great tactical gift option!

One of my knife buddies asked me to find and order a budget tactical pen for him to try out.
I've agreed, but with a condition that I will have a chance to review it before I will give it to him.
Eventually, I've ordered 2 pens to try out and these are their reviews:
1) The most budget and common version on AliExpress - unbranded black colored Aluminum Tactical Pen.
- Great value: this pen costs only $4 but feels more expensive.
- Good quality: the aluminum body and the screwing cap give this pen an awesome secure feel that it won't fall apart when carried and used.

- Writing: any pen (even a tactical one) needs to write. This pen comes with a black unbranded insert (and a spare black one in the package) that writes pretty well in all directions. The big plus is that the insert is a standard Parker one, so a quality replacement can be found without much trouble.
- Pretty good ergonomics - the pen feels good and secure in hand in both open and closed positions.
- Pocket clip: feels a little flimsy.

- The tip is pointy and doesn't scratch glass - this means it isn't hardened and won't break glass easily.
- Comes without a gift box, wrapped in bubble wrap.

2) Perforated gun-metal color unbranded Aluminum Tactical Pen.
- Comes in a good quality black cardboard gift box and with a spare blue refill, also Parker compatible.

- Also has great value (cost me $7.99) and quality, has rubber bands on all the screwings to prevent unwanted unscrewing.
- Great deep carry pocket clip
- The tip is made from Tungsten or hardened steel (scratches glass).
- The cap can be screwed on the other side.

- Writes well, on the same level as the more affordable one.
- Not the best ergonomics in the open position.
- Would be better with less perforations IMO.

The Verdict - both pens will give you or the person you are gifting this pen to (more suited for a man than a woman) a chance to try out a tactical pen, and even if they are not into tactical stuff - they will still appreciate the strong build and can still use them as... pens!

More tactical pens can be found here: Tactical Pens

Monday, March 6, 2017

Maxace Knives - Clearing the smoke screen!

Maxace Knives seem to come out of nowhere.
This China-based company produces high-end knives with very interesting designs, but doesn't have an official website, only Facebook and Instagram pages and not much is known about the history of this young company.
KnifeCenter states that "Maxace Knives is a division of Stedemon Knife Company with all the same quality, using different designers". Actually this isn't exactly the truth and I will try to clear the smoke with the info I have.
Maxace is owned and run by a man called Adan Chan. He is also the designer of the knives they produce (great ones IMO). Adan isn't new to the knife world - he used to produce high end replicas of popular designs, such as Emerson CQC7, Strider AR and Shirogorov Cannabis with the logo that includes the number "7" (presented in the picture below). Waved version of the Stedemon DSG was also produced with that logo.

Maxace don't own a production facility, but order their knives to be made by other factories. Their first models - Balance and Wave were made by the Stedemon company (is easy to notice the similarity to Stedemon and ZKC knives), which must have led KnifeCenter to believe that they are a division of Stedemon. 
But as it seems, Adan didn't want to stop there, and his next model, the Corvus was made by the Kevin John factory, which also makes CKF knives. Later came the awesome Cicada, Halictus and the latest - the Red Queen and the Assassin (under the Dwemer brand).
Maxace products are sold on the US market at large retailers such as BladeHQ and KnifeCenter.
Now they are also available at AliExpress, through the Vespa chain of stores.
As it seems, Maxace are going in the right direction and I will be waiting to see what they will produce next.

Check out Maxace Knives on AliExpress: Maxace Knives
Also available here: Maxace Knives at BladeHQ
Check out other high-end options here: High End Knives

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Green Thorn F95T D2 Titanium Knife Review!

With all the new Chinese models coming up lately, I haven't noticed that I didn't do a review of one of my all-time favorite models, and my favorite one ATM - the Green Thorn F95T with D2 steel.
BTW - the T in the model name stands for Turtle, because the pattern on the knife reminds of a turtle shell pattern.
I chose it over the flat Ti handle, because the milling makes it grippier and better looking IMO.

The knife comes in a Green Thorn branded pouch (which is one of the best packages for a knife in my book).

The Good: Everything really. I mean the knife comes flawless from the factory (that is one of the reasons why I like it so much). The centering, sharpness, 
edge retention, smoothness (runs on double row ceramic bearings), lockup is solid (which is the case for every F95 knife design I've seen so far), the ergonomics are great, the action is fast and strong with just the right detent, fit and finish are amazing for the price (has a blasted and then stonewashed finish, which will disguise carry marks very well). I examined the knife closely, and didn't find one thing I didn't like about it, which doesn't happen often.

The Great: First of all the design. Gotta give credit to the Shiro bros for this - the ergos will fit almost every hand, no blade play, perfect balance, great flipping action (it is definitely a fidget knife), awesome gimping placing, I could go on and on... The truly amazing part is that GT actually managed to make this knife better IMO, by milling the handle, so it weighs only 115g/4 oz! Because of the balance it feels even lighter in the hand, so many people are amazed by the weight when they pick it up for the first time.
Another great feature is the absence of the original logo and the knife can't be considered a fake, but a sterile clone, as it can't be sold as an original knife.

But the best part about all that is the value, I mean you get all those great features for ~$75!
IMHO, it is worth much more than that and I didn't find a better value knife so far (if you have a suggestion - please write it in the comments). 

The Bad: If I had to pick one thing (and that is only by being extra picky) I would choose the pivot. Because the knife is a great flipper and a great fidget knife, I often find myself flipping it continuously, so the pivot comes loose from time to time (which doesn't cause bladeplay though). I would put some thread locker to fix this, but there is the problem - it is flat on the other side, so it could cause a problem to disassemble the knife in the future. Luckily, the pivot screw is easily screwed back using a coin or even a nail.

The Ugly: The price of the original Shiro knives.

The Verdict: Get this knife (you wouldn't regret it)! Especially if you didn't try the design before and you don't plan to buy the original in the near future.
From what I've heard, Green Thorn are moving to other models, so these could be sold out pretty soon (no one knows exactly when).

The knife can be found here: Green Thorn F95T
Even found one on Amazon: GT F95T on Amazon
The original can be checked out here: Genuine Shirogorov F95