The Band is now officially back! Rob Robideau, Dan Scott, and James White announce that the Reloading Podcast is back.
Rob Robideau reveals the new segment called, “Gimme Some Lumens” to the Personal Armament Network. The new podcast segment will talk about flashlights and a whole lot more.
Here’s Rob Robideau introducing a new segment to the Personal Armament Network. The segment dubbed, “More Sharp Edges Podcast” involves blades and all things sharp. You definitely need to watch out for it.
I was very excited to receive a package in the mail recently from the folks at 4Sevens. This parcel contained a minuscule light with some interesting and innovative features. Let’s take a look at this new light from 4Sevens.
The first thing you notice about the Preon P0 is how tiny it is. I love small AAA lights, but this light takes it to a whole new level. Here it is beside a Spyderco Dragonfly, one of the smallest knives I own.
I’m not a huge fan of keychain lights because I don’t like having to pull out my keychain just to use my light. I know I’m picky, but I like to carry a light with a clip. If it doesn’t have a clip, I like to carry it in the change pocket of my jeans, but the Preon P0 can easily get lost in the depth of a typical change pocket.
After the size, you notice the unusual green reflector. I know it isn’t intended to be a reflector, but it still ends up reflecting a little and giving the light a slightly green tint, so I’ll call it a reflector. The green is actually glow in the dark material that… wait for it… glows in the dark!
Because the P0 has no true reflector, it has no hotspot. It’s a clean, even, floody circle of light.
Here you see it next to the reflector of a Preon Revo:
Since I brought up the 4Sevens Preon Revo, let’s compare it to the 4Sevens Preon P0.
I used to think the Preon Revo was pretty small before I got the Preon P0. Despite using the same battery and form factor, the P0 makes the Revo look like a giant.
When I first saw the finish and the small size, I immediately assumed that it wouldn’t have much grip for twisting, but it actually has better grip than the Revo. I think it has to do with a combination of factors. The P0 head is slightly longer than the Revo head and gives you more grip area. Also, the P0’s satin finish has noticeably more grip than the glossier Revo head finish. The ridges help to give the Revo head some grip, but my fingers always slide till they hit the ridges and I feel like I have to grip it pretty tight. In the end, the Preon P0 gives a more pleasant head turning experience.
The Preon P0 has some interesting features that the Revo is lacking. Let’s go backwards and look at the tail first.
You will notice that the P0 has the keyring hole on the side and has a flat tail that is suitable for tailstanding. This is something that the Revo lacked, but it gets even better. There is a magnet embedded in the tail.
This magnet allows you to mount the light in some pretty unusual and creative ways. The only limits are your creativity and the amount of steel in the room. 😉
I literally walked around the room trying to attach it to all sorts of things. It’s pretty amazing. Here you can see that I attached it to my microphone arm and turned it into a creative desk lamp.
Here I hung it on a wall light fixture. This would be pretty handy during a power outage.
The magnet also helps to hold the battery securely. It won’t immediately fall out and roll under the refrigerator. You have to give it a shake to break the hold of the magnet.
At the other end of the light, we have the glow in the dark “reflector.” For me, it doesn’t add any real functionality, but it certainly raises the cool factor. If you were looking for the light in the dark and you didn’t have it standing on it’s head, it might help. Unfortunately, the material doesn’t hold a glow/charge for all that long, so you can’t count on it if you want to use it to find your light in a dark drawer or on the nightstand after some time.
So now let’s talk about the important part. How it actually functions. I already mentioned that I like the grip on the head for twisting, but unfortunately, the activation of the light leaves something to be desired. As you get close to the point of contact/activation, you are pressing up against a rubbery gasket in the head.
The washer causes the resistance to increase as you get close to the activation. It gets relatively difficult to twist that last little bit. I also found that when I twisted it to the on position, it occasionally backed off and lost contact. This is particularly annoying when you want to use the higher mode and have to do the double twist again. I have never had this problem with any of the other Preons and it was slightly off-setting.
I have found the low setting to be adequate for walking in areas without streetlamps and for flashing at vehicles to make sure they know you are there.
The high setting gives a noticeable increase of light, but it is still a very spread out beam and doesn’t throw very far.
Here are the specs from 4Sevens:
Preon P0 Specifications
- LED: CREE XPE
- Max Output: 25 Out-the-front (OTF) lumens
- Material: Stainless Steel
- Lens: Optical-grade glass lens with anti-reflective coating on both sides
- Water resistance: IPX-8
- Battery: One AAA, included. Please do not use lithium-ion cells in the Preon P0 as it will destroy the light (see voltage range to select acceptable batteries for this light).
- Operating voltage range: 1.0V – 1.5V
- Two Output Modes:
Length: 2.2 inches
Diameter: 0.5 inches
Weight: 0.46 ounces
- Split-ring for keychain attachment
- One AAA battery
Operating your Preon P0 is simple. Insert the battery with the positive side (+) toward the head. To turn it on, tighten the bezel (head) fully. The Preon P0 will turn on when the bezel is tightened, and turn off when the bezel is loosened. To switch between High and Low output, turn the Preon P0 off and then on again within 1 second. If the Preon P0 is turned off for 2 seconds or longer, it will revert back to Low.
The Preon 0 is listed on the the 4Sevens website for $24.99. At that price, I’d say this nifty little gadget is worth it. Personally, it won’t make it into my EDC rotation, but it’s definitely a fun light. It would make a great gift for someone who would appreciate the more “gadgety” features and wouldn’t expect it to be a hard-use EDC light.
Quick side note about batteries! None of my NIMH rechargeable batteries worked with the Preon 0. I had to use the battery that came with the flashlight. The metal nub on the positive end of the rechargeable batteries is too large to fit through the washer. I probably could have forced it to work, but I definitely don’t recommend it as it could damage the electronics in the head. You can see the difference in the photo below:
Michael Janich of Martial Blade Concepts comes on the show to discuss the process of selecting a knife for use as a defensive tool.
I tell people time and time again that the “E” in EDC Knife does not need to stand for “expensive.” Sure, you can drop a lot of cash on a nice knife to carry with you every day, but there are also a ton of awesome knives available for under $50, under $25, and even under $15. The SanRenMu 763 is one of those sub $15 knives that performs so well that I have absolutely no problem recommending it as a dedicated EDC blade.
Before we get too far into things I feel like it’s appropriate to say a thing or two about SanRenMu, the manufacturer of this knife. SanRenMu (SRM) is a Chinese company, but they are often hired by big names in the American knife industry to produce high value knives for them. The beauty of buying a SRM branded knife is that you get the level of quality that you would expect from a big name American brand without paying the big brand price. The 763 happens to be an original design by SRM, and I think it’s one of their more interesting offerings.
General Dimensions and Blade Details
The SRM 763 is ideally suited for EDC. It has a 6.14” overall length, a 2.5” blade, and it weighs a mere 2 ounces. For my needs as a student the 763 is large enough to be a primary EDC knife, but it also makes a great backup knife. If I need more versatility I will often pair my 763 with a larger folding knife.
The blade on the 763 is a modified drop point with a swedge and high hollow grind. But really the first thing that jumps out to me about this blade shape is the big sweeping belly. A 2.5” blade isn’t that much, but the 763 makes the most of it. I found the sweeping belly ideal for a number of EDC tasks. In addition to your more standard day to day stuff like opening mail and breaking down boxes, the 763 really stood out in the kitchen. This is a surprisingly capable food prep knife, and it held up well to pretty much everything else I could throw at it.
SanRenMu chose 8Cr13MoV steel for the blade of the 763. This is a Chinese stainless steel made popular in high value knives like the Spyderco Tenacious. Given the sub $15 price point this is outstanding steel. My 763 came exceptionally sharp from the factor, and the edge retention of 8Cr13MoV pretty good – comparable to AUS8. 8Cr13Mov is a softer steel so when the time does come to sharpen the 763 you will find that it is both easy to work with and capable of taking an excellent edge. I think 8Cr13MoV was a great choice here.
Handle, Ergonomics and Pocket Clip
The 763 handle is constructed of black fiberglass reinforced nylon (FRN) over partial stainless steel liners with a long brown backspacer. Rounding things out is a small stainless steel lanyard loop. Handle construction is very solid and everything has been well finished. The partial liners are neatly nested into the FRN, making for a slim and attractive design. Everything on this knife screws together so you could take it completely apart for maintenance. Another interesting feature about the handle is that when the knife is closed, the spine of the blade can be used as a bottle opener.
The SanRenMu 763 is a smaller knife, but it has surprisingly decent ergonomics. I have a larger hand and I can just get a 4 finger grip on the knife – so most people should have no problem getting a good grip on the 763. The small handle feels good in hand, and a generous amount of jimping provides excellent control over the blade. Some of the corners of this handle are slightly sharp, but for small utility tasks I don’t notice it at all. All things considered I am very pleased with the ergonomics of this little knife.
The pocket clip on the 763 has also been nicely done. The clip is sturdy, discrete, and allows for ambidextrous tip up carry. In pocket I have found the 763 to be both light and slim. This is one of those knives that you simply forget you are carrying. I have had no issues with the 763’s pocket clip or the way it carries.
Deployment and Lockup
The 763 makes use of ambidextrous thumb studs for deployment of the knife. There is plenty of room to get your thumb behind the thumb studs and flick this knife open fast. Deployment is very smooth thanks to the smart design, and low-friction metal washers. Once again, I have no complaints here. The 763 performs extremely well – it all just works.
Lockup on the 763 is accomplished via an Axis Lock. This is very similar to the locks found in many popular Benchmade knives. To be perfectly honest, I have no idea how the Axis lock found its way onto this little Chinese knife. Don’t tell anyone, but I am very happy to see it. The Axis lock is one of my all-time favorite locking mechanisms, and it totally works on the little 763. The lock on my 763 is very smooth, and allows for fast and easy one hand operation of the knife. The Axis lock is also fully ambidextrous and also pretty darn strong. I detected no blade play at all with this knife. I’m a huge fan of the lockup on this knife.
SanRenMu 763 – Final Thoughts
The 763 is just a fantastic little knife. It weighs practically nothing, has a great design, and is really well finished. I also like how all the details are done right. The individual components of the knife work together harmoniously, and I really can’t find a fault with the 763. If you are looking for a small and lightweight EDC option then I think the 763 is an outstanding knife – at any budget.
If you are in the United States you can order a 763 directly from Chinese online retailers, but I recommend just going to Ebay. A quick search for the knife revealed that they can currently be had for right around $13 shipped. At that price I recommend getting a few of them. They make great gifts and are extremely handy tools for your every day needs.
About the Author – Dan likes to write about knives on his website BladeReviews.com when he isn’t out fishing or beating his head against a book in graduate school. He also enjoys photography, barbeque, and diesel trucks. He also contributed to the Practical Guide To EDC Gear.
The Sigg Vintage water bottle is not the most practical water bottle. It doesn’t fit into most car cup holders, it can be a pain to clean, and it collects dents and scratches like they are going out of style. Thankfully, I don’t have a car and I don’t need to put it in cup holders. Thankfully, I’m not the one that cleans it, and I absolutely love the character that the dings and scratches add.
You might be able to find lighter, cheaper, and better insulated water bottles, but you would be hard pressed to find a cooler water bottle. Not because it has some special feature that keeps the temperature down, but because the design is fantastic. It just feels so right in your hand. I love the firm snap as the latching mechanism tightens down the cap and taps the neck of the bottle. I love the solid crunching scraping sound when you set the full water bottle on concrete. I love the fact that I have never seen anyone else with a water bottle like mine. I love not having to worry about punctures, cracks, or PCBs. I love not having to screw on the cap. I love not having to worry about losing the cap! I truly love using this water bottle!
I have used this water bottle for more than 2 years now and it has held up to my abuse quite admirably. The cap still holds a great seal. The rubber hasn’t dried out or warped and the cap is pulled nice and tight. I have no problem setting it on it’s side in a backpack full of papers. The latching mechanism is still secure enough that I don’t mind letting it bounce around in the seat of my scooter. Even after I use it for tea or juice, it still doesn’t end up flavoring my water. .4 liters may not be enough for some people, but I have found that it keeps me from carrying around too much weight in fluids.
I opted for the model with only a simple logo on one side. There are other options with trendy patterns that I think detract a little from the design itself. At first, I even wanted to get rid of the logo, but over time, it grew on me. You can see that the printing is slightly distressed, but it has held up fairly well for two years of hard use.
This water bottle was a gift and I can’t say whether or not I would have purchased it on my own, but I am most certainly glad that it found it’s way to me. Now that I have gotten to know this water bottle, I hope it never wears out!
How can you not appreciate a tool that makes you smile every time you take it out?
How light can you make you EDC?
This is a question I have been asking myself a lot lately.
I have been trying to carry smaller and lighter knives and lights. I have been trying to trim the gear that doesn’t get used as often. As much as I love scary looking knives and blinding flashlights, I haven’t really found myself wishing for a bigger blade or more lumens. I know it sounds like heresy, but I’m enjoying the freedom of minimalist, ultralight EDC.
The lighter and more comfortable you make your EDC gear, the more likely you are to have it on you when you need it. Hardcore EDC types don’t need the extra comfort, but they will definitely benefit from the freedom. You don’t have to worry about sitting properly so you don’t poke yourself. You don’t have to worry about printing your monster knife. I realize that part of it is just mental, but it’s still liberating.
I know that an ultralight EDC loadout isn’t really for everyday and it isn’t for everyone, but it sure feels nice!
- Spyderco Dragonfly (Tom Krein Regrind)
- Innova Microlight
- iPod Nano
- Minimal Keychain
When I recently acquired a couple of ZDP-189 Spyderco knives, I was both excited and scared about putting them to use. I wanted to see how the steel held up to the abuse that I put my knives through, but I was looking forward to the sharpening time with much trepidation.
I carried the Spyderco Delica 4 ZDP-189 for ~30 days before I decided that it needed to be sharpened. I used it multiple times a day on ceramic plates for cutting my food at mealtime. I used it to open packages, cut cord, foam, and string, remove metal seals from our gas cylinders, cut lemons in half for tea, and many more tasks. The blade has not been babied. The blade is by no means dull, but I wanted to bring it back to the factory sharpness. I wanted it to glide effortlessly through the different mediums it is exposed to.
The sharpening itself was anticlimactic. I read several forum threads asking for help or advice with the ZDP-189 knives that wouldn’t come sharp. I had heard what an amazing super steel the ZDP-189 is. I was anticipating an hour long sharpening session filled with (Christian) cusswords, bleeding fingers, and a mediocre outcome.
I clamped the blade in place and started out using the coarse diamond stone(750 grit). Don’t press down too hard. Take soft, slow, and smooth strokes across the entire edge. I could immediately see that it was removing metal. That was a good sign, but there is much more to sharpening than just removing metal. When sharpening a knife for the first time, you never know if the factory bevel angle was the same as the bevel dictated by your sharpening kit settings. It could just be removing metal from the just the base or tip of the bevel. Unless you want a double angled bevel, this means you need to do a decent amount of work to reset the entire edge bevel angle. Thankfully, I saw that the stone was removing material evenly across the entire bevel!
After I was satisfied that I had an even bevel and an unchipped edge, I moved to the “Fine Arkansas Stone”(1000 grit) with a little oil to give it some finishing polish. After I finished, I decided to do some cutting tests to see if it actually cut better or if I had just made it look nicer. My twenty minute home sharpening job had indeed brought the blade back to it’s factory sharpness.
The moral of the story is: “Don’t be afraid of the ZDP-189 super steel.” It doesn’t require magical powers to sharpen. If I can do it, I’m sure you can.
Thomas Carey of the thecgacompany.com comes on the show to discuss important features and what you should look for in a quality watch.
Tony over at Everydaycommentary.com poses the question.
I think there will be a number of reasons and they will vary slightly from maker to maker, but I’ll throw a few guesses out there:
Personal Interest – A production knife is made by machines that don’t worry about getting bored. Creative custom knife makers want to stay interested in the work that they do. Maybe they want to change up their work while still keeping with the overall design they like.
Market – Makers will make what people are buying and what will make them money. Whether or not people want to admit it, money is a huge motivator. When you know people collect and buy art knives, it’s easy to head in that direction. It’s a safer route than completely new designs.
Any other ideas?
Personally, I think that “EDC” point-of-view is a slightly more practical way to approach gear selection. The term is less specific than “tactical” in most people’s minds and I see that as a positive. When selecting gear, you need to set out with an open mind, searching for the gear that meets your needs. You shouldn’t be attempting to fit someone else’s gear(the local SWAT team, etc) into your lifestyle.
You can’t control what marketing “gurus” decide to slap on their products, but I hope that they don’t ruin the the idea of EDC: personalized, practical, useful gear
I just read a light review from Tony over at EverydayCommentary.com where he mentioned the importance of good color rendition in his light:
It is awfully helpful at night, allowing me to distinguish between diapers while changing my son (he needs special, “extra pee” nighttime diapers and they are a different color scheme, both of which use variations of red).
This is the perfect example of how everyone’s use cases and needs in EDC gear are different. You don’t need the latest, coolest gear. You need the gear that fits your needs.
Marshall Hoots of GoingGear talks to Ron from Surefire about a new technology that allows users to activate a light using programmable motion like a unique flick or shake of the wrist. It uses a combination accelerometer/gyroscope to pick up on the movements for programming and activation. This sounds like a seriously awesome idea!
I recently received a set of reground Spyderco knives from Tom Krein. The Delica is a ZDP-189 blade and started out as a full-flat ground blade. I then had Tom regrind it to an even thinner full-flat grind. My first question before all of this was what is the difference between a factory FFG and Tom Krein’s aftermarket FFG? Tom grinds the blades so that the thickness directly behind the sharpened area is about a quarter of the thickness of the factory blade.
According to Tom:
Most of the FFG’s from spyderco are still between .020″-.030″ just behind the sharpened area. I take them down to around .008″ plus or minus .003″. It does make a difference.
Here are a few pics:
Jason of Dark Sucks/ Promethius Lights posted photos back in October of the second light that he made. The light is interesting enough on it’s own, but what caught my eye was the custom charging station he built to go along with it. Although I assume it is still possible, he didn’t feel like removing the batteries for charging. He came up with this contraption to do the trick:
The black sleeve is Delrin and the base is 304 Stainless. Inside the base, there are 2 neodymium magnets that float up to make contact for charging or drop down flush in the base otherwise. There are 2 fixed matching magnets in the light itself that mate with the 2 floating magnets during charging. The center post is negative and the outside post is positive. This is to make sure that you cannot accidentally reverse the polarity. You can just stick it in the stand and rotate till the outside magnet rises and clicks into place. According to Jason, “It’s audible and tactile.” In my opinion, it’s ingenious.
In this short interview, we discuss the ITS Tactical trauma kit. Bryan is also introducing a new, slimmed down version specifically for EDC:
It weighs 5 oz and can easily fit in a back pocket:
The EDC Trauma Kit contains (1) Combat Gauze LE, (1) SWAT-T Tourniquet / Pressure Bandage and (1) Pair of OD Nitrile Gloves. The kit is also vacuum sealed and completely latex-free. Another added benefit of the EDC Trauma Kit is that it’s able to be carried on a plane without any trouble from TSA.
Before the push button/ clicky tailcap modification that Zodiac Engineering did on my 4Sevens Preon 1, I was searching for a better clicky tailcap mechanism for a AAA light. I was frustrated by the OEM clicky tailcap on the 4Sevens Preon 1, but I read on some forums that it was possible to remove the glued-on Streamlight Microstream head and use it’s body with the 4Sevens Preon head(with a much better interface). I received my Streamlight Microstream about a week ago and immediately started carrying it to get a feel for the push button. I have to say that I’m not impressed. My biggest complaint is how difficult the button is to depress. On my light, it starts out with the same required pressure as the 4Sevens Preon, but as you reach the bottom where the switch will click, it requires more and more pressure.
Yes, the extra pressure makes it less likely to be turned on in your pocket, but when you are frequently using the light, it makes life miserable for the user. I’ll continue carrying it for a little longer to see if it grows on me, but as of right now, I’m ready to head back to the 4Sevens Preon 1 with the push button/ clicky tailcap modified by Zodiac Engineering.
Here are some photos comparing the 2 lights:
Harlan Whitman designed the Instinct Tomahawk as an evolution of the many generations of tactical tomahawks that came before. He grew up in Missouri with an artistic Mother and a mechanical Father. He has a degree in industrial design, but claims that he “tries to forget” most of what he was taught. According to Harlan, “As with my art and products, everything takes a lifetime of experience to develop. That’s what you pay for when you buy handmade. It was designed to chop and look sexy doing it.”
He drew everything on paper full size, then cut it out of foam core or plywood to play with and modified it as necessary. He kept working on the shape until people would say, “This feels like it will chop for me.” After a few people handled the prototypes, he continued to modify it and eventually moved to real steel. He says that he personally prefers the feel of the 1/4″ thick model.
Instinct Tomahawk Dimensions:
- Overall length: 14″
- Blade length: 3.875″
- Head length: 5.75″
- Head thickness: .375″
- Blade material: O1
- Heat treating: Differential heat treat.
- Handle material: O1 full tang construction.
- Grip material: Red G10
- Grip texturing: Smooth
- Grip diameter: 3.5″-3.75″
- Metal finish: Hand sanded to a shine, clay colored patina
- Options available: Fully custom
- Colors: raw steel, patina, parkerized grey or black
- Pricing: This hawk sold for $750 /sheath $50
- What materials: Will do leather or plastic.
- What kinds of people are using this tool? Campers, military, art collectors, knife collectors,
- For what purposes? Chopping stuff I hope! Sadly, I have produced an axe that was supposedly framed.
- What is your testing process: Haha! Someday I really should make a video! I cut, chop, smash, and pry. Put them in a hydraulic iron worker a few times. I break them! Testing with out failure is pointless. It will fail, I want to know where.
- Who manufacturers it: Me. Heat treating or differential heat treatment is out-sourced to Stack Metallurgical. They also do work for Leatherman, Benchmade, Kershaw, and Boeing.
- Manufactured in Portland, OR and Tuscumbia, MO
- How many are produced? They are all unique and I honestly don’t keep track.
- How are they sold? In person, online, or find me at The Oregon Knife Show at table C-4.
- How can people purchase: Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
I design out of passion and dedication. I believe that the feel of steel in hand has become a genetically embodied cognition. I would not sell a knife that I would not give to my brother.
I started making knives because Carson(my younger brother) and I got tired of breaking the wood handles on our tomahawks when throwing multiples at the target. At the time, we could only find crap stainless all-steel hawks. They were always too expensive or cheap and lame, so I drew something up and sent it to Creative Waterjet . I still every now and then will produce and sell my original design. With many it is still a favorite. Now here I am seven or so years down the road still playing with steel and not going to stop. Was forced to slow down over the past year or so due to extremely painful tendonitis. It was very hard to deal with. I have healed up for the most part and am excited to get back into the game with bigger ambitions than before.
Steve Nichols of Fischer Space Pens comes on the show to discuss their performance writing tools for Everyday Carry.