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War Chief Tomahawk – Helm Enterprises, Grinding Division

Helm Enterprises is turning out some incredible custom tomahawks at prices that are very competitive. They offer tomahawks in a variety of lengths and configurations but one that caught my eye recently is called the War Chief.

Helm Grind War Chief 2

Helm Enterprises offers two different spiked tomahawk configurations – one with a pry spike and one with a combat spike. The War Chief is the combat spike model. The War Chief, like all Helm Enterprises tomahawks are ground from 1/4″ thick 4140 steel and has micarta handle slabs. It is available in a variety of lengths but the 12″ version that they recently shared on their site looks extremely practical.

There are two features of Helm Enterprises tomahawks that I really appreciate and both have to the do with the handle slabs. First, they provide very tall slabs which makes it easy to vary the height of your grip. The sweet spot on a tomahawk is often about 2/3rds of the way up the handle and some makers don’t make their slabs tall enough to grip in that location. Second, they fit their handle slabs so they are flush with the tang. Exposed tangs can really beat up your hand over a few hours worth of use.

Check out Helm Enterprises, Grinding Division.

Helm Grind War Chief

KA-BAR Hellfire and Hinderance

Several of you expressed interest in the newly unveiled TDI models that KA-BAR rolled out at SHOT Show. It seems like KA-BAR is all I have talked about on these pages! I was able to get in touch with KA-BAR and gather additional information including the first official pictures that I know of.

The new TDI models, both Rick Hinderer Collaborations will both be made from 1095 Cro-Van right here in the USA. The Hellfire will feature a recurve tanto style blade and the Hinderance will sport a wharnecliffe which should be an excellent blade shape for this style of knife because of how it orients the point. Both knives have the TDI logo on one side and Rick Hinderer’s logo on the other.

Here is the break down…


  • Blade Length – 3 9/16″
  • Blade – Rick’s Signature Hell Fire Grind
  • Overall Length – 7 1/4″
  • Color – Black
  • Sheath – Locking Hard Plastic / Black Clip



  • Blade Length – 3 9/16″
  • Blade – Rick Hinderer’s Signature Wharncliffe Grind
  • Overall Length – 7 1/4″
  • Color – Black
  • Sheath – Locking Hard Plastic / Black Clip

2485_ActualSize2485S_SheathAs you can see, the included sheath features a locking mechanism that appears to lock on the thumb notch/ramp. The retention on the previous TDI sheaths was somewhat lacking so this may be an improvement thought I think there is likely to be a number of kydex benders who can offer an improved sheath.

Previous TDI models were made overseas and their prices reflected that. These will be made here and you can expect their prices to be in line with a US made knife. I have heard that MSRP will be around $110 ($111.56 to be exact).

These knives will be available March 1st. Keep an eye out here and at KA-BAR for details.

These knives are now available at Edge/Equipped.

KA-BAR MSM Knife 001

KA-BAR had several notable releases at SHOT Show this year including collaborations with noted knife makers like Rick Hinderer and Mike Snody. They released a collaboration knife with someone not necessarily known for their work in the knife world – Mil-Spec Monkey (MSM).


The new KA-BAR MSM Knife 001 is a tactical fixed blade for the budget minded user. It is a healthy, 8.5″ long slab of SK5 steel with a black coating and cord wrapped handle. The 3.5″ blade has an aggressive American tanto shape with an unsharpened false edge. The MSM Knife has plenty of jimping for grip and a massive thumb ramp.

The sheath looks very well sorted out, especially for a budget knife. If you know MSM, you know this sheath is going to be MOLLE compatible. It is designed to mount to PALS webbing via MALICE Clips.

Check out the KA-BAR MSM Knife 001 at Mil-Spec Monkey.


Combative Edge M1 Auto

The M1 was Combative Edge’s very first production knife offering and continues to be a very popular model for them. The original M1 opened with the press of a flipper or with a thumb stud but Combative Edge’s newest M1 will open with the push of a button.

Combative Edge M1 Auto

Combative Edge has announced that a first run of 100 M1 Autos will be produced. The M1 Auto will retain all of the recognizable elements of the original M1 with its long and lean shape, clip point recurve blade, jimping in the same locations, and deep index finger groove. It will feature a push button opener with sliding safety nested into the all titanium scales. The M1 Auto will also have a contrasting, scalloped backspacer that looks very, very nice.

The M1 Auto is not available yet and Combative Edge will not be offering direct sales on them due to the various laws surrounding automatic knives. They will be available through BladeHQ soon.

Combative Edge M1 Auto Backspacer Combative Edge M1 Auto Scales

KA-BAR Beer Tap

Look around you. Take it all in. You are going to want to remember where you were when you first heard about the KA-BAR Beer Tap. That’s right, KA-BAR has turned their iconic, stacked-leather handle into the ultimate beer tap. I’ll give that a minute to sink in and allow you to compose yourself…

KA-BAR Beer Tap

Is it wrong to buy a Kegorator just so I can put a KA-BAR Beer Tap on it?

Check out KA-BAR.

Maleficus from Special Circumstances

Ian Wendt, the man behind Special Circumstances, is doing some very interesting and unique things with knives. His shapes are very organic, his materials are advanced and exotic, and his designs are downright wicked. All of those attributes are on full display in the Maleficus.

Special Circumstances Maleficus

The Maleficus is a compact (5.5″ overall, nearly 3″ blade), self-defense oriented blade designed in the same vein as the venerable Clinch Pick. It is meant to be used in an edge up, forward grip or it can also be used with an edge in, reverse grip. This knife is part push dagger, part pikal knife, part alien offspring, and all nasty.

Ian crafts the Maleficus (and most of his other knives) from some very exotic materials that also happen to be quite functional and very striking to the eye. The blade is ground from 6AL4V titanium that is laminated between layers of carbon fiber. The handles are textured G-10. The use of these materials allows the Maleficus to be extremely corrosion resistant and very discreet since it is non-ferrous, and feather light. It weighs just 52 grams.

Special Circumstances Maleficus Spine

The sheath is molded from kydex and features Special Circumstances’ versatile shock-cord retention system. The stretchy shock-cord (think bungee cords) allows the knife to be carried a number of ways including the most important for a knife like this which is on the wearers belt with the handle in toward the center line.

Training drones are available as they should be with any serious self-defense oriented blade.

Check out Special Circumstances to learn more about all their knives.

Special Circumstances Maleficus with trainer Special Circumstances Maleficus on Belt

Review: Gearward Compact Survival Cord

It was kind of hard to take the paracord out of my EDC bag and set it aside. I have been carrying it for years and it has come in handy numerous times. I suppose that, like most guys who like to be at least a little prepared, I was used to having paracord with me and it was going to take something pretty exceptional to displace it. In my case, that something exceptional was Compact Survival Cord from Gearward.

Gearward Compact Survival Cordage


Compact Survival Cord comes in 3 different configurations each wound on a special spool that is part of the success of this cordage. They are listed below from largest to smallest:

  • Small – 50 feet of 600lb break strength Technora line
  • Mini – 50 feet of 200lb break strength Kevlar line
  • Micro – 25 feet of 200lb break strength Kevlar line (sold in pack of 2)

The cord comes pre-wound on a plastic spool that has one hard plastic side and one flexible plastic side. The flexible part can be folded to open or close the spool. I’ll expand on this later in the review.

Observations from Use

All three sizes are FAR more compact than a comparable amount of paracord. This alone could have bumped paracord out of my EDC bag but there are even more advantages to explore.

The spool that this cordage comes on is part of the magic of this package. It makes it so easy to carry and work with this cord. As I mentioned above, it can be opened and closed via its flexible plastic side. This ensures that you have full access to the cord when you need it and that it doesn’t unravel in your bag when you aren’t using it. It can also be used to keep the working end accessible by closing the flexible side on the end of the cord. I really appreciate that when my hands are cold.

Gearward Compact Survival Cordage Closed Gearward Compact Survival Cordage Open Gearward Compact Survival Cordage Retained Working End

The “Small” size, which is the largest of the bunch, has the highest break strength of any of the cords that Gearward sells. The Technora line is half the diameter of paracord but stronger, more resistant to heat and other environmental factors, and lighter in weight. In spite of all that, it was the least useful to me in part due to its larger size. I don’t use the cord for many applications that really push its break strength so more cord in a smaller package is probably more useful to me. I would love to see Gearward offer a Kevlar cord option on this large spool size.

The Mini and Micro sizes are most useful to me. They are both extremely compact and both packed with 200lb break strength Kevlar cord. The Kevlar cord is extremely versatile. It can be unraveled readily into three separate strands, each with a break strength of around 60lb. These single strands are more than strong enough to serve as lashings in a survival shelter and well suited to be used in gear repairs if you also have a sewing needle in your kit. The Micro in particular is small enough to fit an Altoids tin style survival kit with plenty of room to spare for other items.

Gearward Compact Survival Cordage Scale

Wrap Up

This is a fine example of something that is greater than the sum of its parts. The spools are good. The cordage is good. Together, they are great. These are lightweight, compact, and extremely functional. It may be sacrilege to the cult of EDC but these might just stand a chance of bumping paracord from your bag.

Check out all 3 sizes of Compact Survival Cord at Gearward.

Cross posted from JerkingtheTrigger.com

Flexxx Strops

A good strop can help a novice sharpener achieve shaving sharp edges and it can help a skilled sharpener split atoms. The best strops that I have personally laid hands on are those from Flexxx Strops.

Flexxx Signature Field Strop

Flexxx Strops makes several different sizes and shapes to fit various intended uses and budgets. Their Signature Series uses 8-10 ounce leather and contains several very functional and very affordable designs.

The Flexxx Strops Pro Series offers the kind of quality and features that people who spend a lot of time maintaining their edges require like thicker, 12 ounce leather.

Flexxx Pro Field II

All Flexxx Strops come pre-loaded with black and green Bark River Knife and Tool stropping compound unless you specify otherwise. I have used the BRKT compounds for years and they just flat work. The black compound cuts fairly aggressively and is perfect for maintaining an edge or to knock down the burr left by your sharpening stone. The green compound polishes the edge to a very high level of sharpness and is best used after you strop on the black compound.

If you have ever wondered why you can’t seem to bring your edges to shaving sharp like the old timers, it is because they know something you don’t. You need a strop! Check out the full line of strops at Flexxx Strops.

Vigilant Gear Micro SERE Kit

Vigilant Gear has access to all the best survival and E&E tools. They know the tools inside and out. It makes absolutely perfect sense that they would start offering their own kits.

The first kit to be available through Vigilant Gear is the Micro SERE Kit. It is, as the name implies, a very compact E&E kit. How compact? I’m glad you asked. The entire kit will be 2.3″ x 1.8″ x .5″.  You could hide it under a business card! It’s definitely small.

You can see the contents of the kit in this image that Vigilant Gear produced (below).

Vigilant Gear Micro SERE Kit

Final pricing and availability information will be released soon. Check out Vigilant Gear.

New from Ka-Bar

Those of you who know me from my other blog, Jerking the Trigger, know that I am a fan of the Ka-Bar TDI. It should come as no surprise that I was excited to see a new TDI variant being displayed at the SHOT Show. It’s called the Hellfire and it is a collaboration with both TDI and Rick Hinderer. It features the typical TDI series offset blade angle paired with recurve American tanto shaped blade with a deep, jimped thumb notch on the spine.

Ka-Bar TDI Hinderer Hellfire

Ka-Bar has also shown the first fruits of their collaboration with Mike Snody. The Snake Charmer is a compact, fixed blade neck knife with no scales, slight finger grooves, and a pinky loop for retention. It features S35VN blade steel. You can also see the first images of the Ka-bar Snody Boss and Big Boss (below).

Ka-Bar Snody Snake Charmer

Ka-bar Snody Boss and Big Boss

There will also be a few additions to their Johnson Adventure Blades series. The smaller of the two is the wharncliffe shaped Wharnstalker. The larger is a new Johnson Adventure Blades take on the classic Parang called the Parangatang. The Parangatang in particular looks very interesting.

Ka-Bar Johnson 2014

Check out Ka-Bar.

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