Sunday, September 23, 2012

Cold Steel Brave Heart and SOG Pentagon Knives

Yesterday I shot in the Contagion 2012 zombie-themed 3-gun match at the New Holland (PA) Rifle & Pistol Club. I placed in the top third and came home with these two knives as a door prize. :D
IIRC, they were donated by event sponsor Sayoc Tactical Group.

Each knife came with a custom Kydex sheath, in addition to the factory sheath. They are very nicely made.  (EDIT: I just confirmed that the sheaths are from

If it's not clear from the pics, the Brave Heart is a single edged knife with some jimping on the back edge. The Pentagon is double-edged -- one plain and one serrated. The choil on both sides is ridged.

Here's Cold Steel's page with full specs for the Brave Heart and here's SOG's for the Pentagon. The CS is made from AUS-8A while SOG lists their steel as AUS-8. I don't know the difference between the two. Each knife has a molded-on Kraton rubber handle. They are soft and grippy. The SOG's is larger and more comfortable but the smaller handle on the Cold Steel knife is more easily concealable.

The factory Cold Steel sheath is made from hard nylon with a belt or boot clip, and included a beaded chain so you can wear it as a neck knife. The SOG sheath is MOLLE-compatible and has a pocket which will fit a multitool or small survival kit. The Kydex custom concealment sheaths are very nicely made but unmarked.
Both knives came sharp out of the box, especially the Brave Heart. Both are sharp enough to cut paper. I tested them out against a pizza box. The Pentagon has an edge (pardon the pun) when it comes to slashing, due to its greater mass, while the Brave Heart did better for slicing due to the sharper edge and thinner blade.

For most folks the Brave Heart may be the more practical of the two. It's easier to conceal where legal, but still big enough to be useful. Having read several threads online mentioning the need by US servicemen and -women for a small fixed-blade defensive knife while inside the wire while overseas, I can't but help think it would serve well in that role.

With its double edge, I'm pretty sure that the Pentagon would meet PA's definition of a prohibited offensive weapon, so it's going to spend virtually all its time stored away safely. The Brave Heart may see some time strapped to my daypack when I go on hikes, as long as I'm not in Philly, which has a very restrictive knife ordinance.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Potential for Urban Violence

A post on the Western Rifle Shooters blog by Matt Bracken, author of the Enemies, Foreign and Domestic trilogy, has been generating a lot of interest in the right side of the blogosphere, as well as various Internet gun boards.

Bracken begins:

In response to recent articles in mainstream military journals discussing the use of the U.S. Army to quell insurrections on American soil, I offer an alternate vision of the future. Instead of a small town in the South as the flash point, picture instead a score of U.S. cities in the thrall of riots greater than those experienced in Los Angeles in 1965 (Watts), multiple cities in 1968 (MLK assassination), and Los Angeles again in 1992 (Rodney King). New Yorkers can imagine the 1977 blackout looting or the 1991 Crown Heights disturbance. In fact, the proximate spark of the next round of major riots in America could be any from a long list cribbed from our history.

Read the rest here.

Some of the responses I’ve read to dismiss his concerns as a SHTF masturbatory fantasy, while others take him very seriously. Personally, while I don’t think it would play out as described, his concerns are very valid.

It was recently announced that the Federal government debt stands at $16 trillion dollars. The only way this is being sustained is by the Fed printing money. Further, we now have about half of all Americans who don’t pay income taxes, i.e., aren’t contributing but rather taking from the productive class. Eventually, this has to end.

Despite the bread (EBT cards) and circuses (TV, movies, and sports), a large part of the American population is aware that something is wrong.

For about a year and a half I was on the board of a gun club in rural Chester County, PA (not to be confused with Chester, PA). We noticed a huge uptick in memberships starting shortly before the 2008 election. After Obama won, the surge increased. We went from maybe 10 new members per month up to as many as 50 or 60 per month. It got to the point where our membership director was overwhelmed, so we instituted a monthly new member cap of 30.

Even that wasn't enough to deal with the influx of new members. Earlier this year we instituted a sponsorship requirement. Finally, we accepted our last new members for the year in August. We are not planning to accept any new members until January.

Over this time, membership went from about 800 up to ~1300. Note that a membership may be a family, so this represents more than 1400 people.

Along with the near doubling of our membership we noticed a difference in the types of guns we'd see on the ranges. Over the past few years it's gone from predominantly sporting rifles to mostly AR-15s and AKs. The pistol range is generally packed on weekends.

Some of this is due to the economy. Some of it's due to the Obama administration's policies and lack of leadership. People are gearing up. There is great unease and I fear that the right spark could light off a powderkeg.

If there is unrest you’ll need to be prepared for it ahead of time. The best way to deal with a fight, whether it involves two people or a mob, is to avoid it in the first place. That’s not always possible.

Pay attention to the news and social media as ways to pick up on potentially dangerous situations, and avoid them if at all possible.

Many of the same things you’ll need to survive a natural disaster would be needed to survive a period of unrest when it’s unsafe to leave your home: food, water, batteries for flashlights and lanterns, etc.

To deal with unrest, I’d add fire extinguishers, first aid kits, and for home defense a good shotgun or rifle and plenty of ammunition. For those times when you must venture out, you’ll want a concealable handgun, a good belt and holster, a bright flashlight, and portable med kit.

Communications will be vital, e.g.,

  • Landline, cell phone, and Internet all have their place.
  • FRS/GMRS/MURS radios for a neighborhood watch will be valuable. Ham is even better.

Along with tools, you need mindset, organization, and plans. Work out ahead of time with your family members what they should do and where they should go in the event of unrest. If your neighbors seem amenable, you may also wish to discuss things with them. You should also get training on practical marksmanship, the law regarding the use of deadly force, and first aid.

Unfortunately, I don’t think either political party is willing to tackle our country’s problems in a way which will avert eventual unrest. I do think that if Obama is reelected, the timeline will be accelerated due to his demonstrated hostility to capitalism and the productive class.