More Tactical Knives & Lights
By John Connor
SureFire’s latest light-blaster looks like a winner: dimensioned like the classic G2Z with its wasp-waisted grip for handgun-and-light shooting techniques, the new Z2-S LED CombatLight offers even more power, longer runtime, and a disorienting strobe feature. Go momentary or constant-on, blinding opponents with a smooth 160-lumen beam, and three fast taps on the tailcap activates the dazzling strobe. You get two hours runtime on two 123A batteries and assurance the aircraft aluminum body is SureFire-tough and watertight.
And here’s the perfect partner for it: SureFire’s EW-10 Crank Utility Knife combines compact size with lots of functionality, including a cord cutter, bottle opener, a half-inch hex-head nut wrench, and even slots in the handle which hold various sized coins for use as a screwdriver. The three inch blade is 154CM, which gives great edge-holding ability; overall, an excellent everyday-carry, outdoor and backup knife.
Sometimes you just need brute strength and sheer power. Bluestone Lighting is pretty new to the tactical-light market, but they’re already earning a solid reputation for strong, capable lights in a broad range of sizes and styles. A big plus is that most of them operate on standard C and D-cell batteries, yielding runtimes up to ten hours on Luxeon LED’s. Their heavy-duty rechargeable Model 957K22N pumps out 1,000 lumens!
Good luck trying to break the virtually indestructible Merdeka by Grayman Knives. Hand-ground from quarter-inch thick 1095 high carbon steel, it is up to any task from bushwhacking to big-game butchering to splitting kindling – or skulls – with a single stroke. Mine has nicely textured Micarta handle scales which work very well when wet or wearing gloves. For a 13-inch plus knife weighing almost two pounds, it balances and handles with surprising agility – partly because the tip of the blade is in direct line with the tang axis. And those swoopy curves? They have definite purpose – and terrific advantages. Check it out!
Here’s a pair of “special occasion” tacticals: Smooth, slim, light and tough, the A.B.C. (All Bases Covered) fixed-blade knife by Columbia River Knife & Tool is a blade you can wear or stash and conceal in lots of places. It fits behind the visor of my Jeep, where it is 3.4 ounces of sweet, cold comfort. Made from one billet of premium AUS 8 steel, it’s just over five inches long, and the 3.75-inch blade is hollow-ground on the bottom edge for fine cutting, and serrated on the top edge for rough ripping and slashing. The A.B.C. wears Micarta scales and a tough titanium nitride coating, and the Zytel sheath provides several carry options.
So what makes Energizer’s MS2D LED flashlight special? Aside from the fact it’s waterproof, drop-tested for shock and breakage, and runs for 70 hours on two D-cell batteries, it’s one of their “Intrinsically Safe” professional series lights. That means the switch is protected and spark-isolated to prevent explosion in volatile atmospheres. Those situations can range from natural gas leaks in your basement to raiding drug labs to surviving a traffic collision with a tanker truck only to find yourself soaked in gasoline – or even more combustible fumes. If you think about it, it just makes good sense to have a couple of them handy – one in each vehicle, and at least one in your home.
If you’ve ever handled one of Katz Knives’ Kagemusha folders, like the Ivory Micarta-handled model shown, you know they are justly famed for their strong, silky-smooth actions and superb finish. What you may not know is Katz also makes the Kagemusha in a tactical version, shown here with black textured Kraton rubber grip scales and a modified spearpoint blade. One for dress, one for down-and-dirty work, and you’re covered, guys.
Designed with heavy input from Marines, the Proton Pro tac light jams seven useful functions – all controlled by a single push-button – into a 1.6 ounce, 4.25-inch package. Press and release, you get a 1,000 candlepower white LED beam. Press and hold, and the beam steadily decreases until you release the button. From the “off” mode, press and hold the button, and you get a night-vision-friendly red LED beam which starts at its lowest level and increases until you release the switch. In either mode, you can also activate three flashing rates and a repeating SOS signal. There’s more – go read up on it!
The photo just can’t convey the true size, heft and strength of the MT-8R Z’mora folder by Mantis Knives. With both convex and concave cutting surfaces on the four-inch AUS 8 blade, it’s one wicked slicing-and-dicing machine. The exaggerated “bramp” hump on top provides fast, gross-motor-skill opening, and a very useful point for application to sensitive nerve centers. The handle is machined G-10, and the butt incorporates a cord and belt cutter. Out of a great lineup of radical designs, this is one of the best yet.
And here’s an equally radical flashlight to go with it: Bushnell’s breakthrough in personal illumination, the HD Torch. “HD” in this case means “High Definition.” Yep; hi-def has come to lights! About half of its 9-inch, 9.8-ounce length is comprised of sophisticated electronics which produce – ready for this? – a perfect square of flawless, absolutely consistent 165-lumen white light; no blobs, no rings, just sharply defined light.
The HD Torch also features a rescue strobe mode, visible for several miles, and a lit “find-me” and battery-level indicator in the tailcap. Two lithium 123A cells provide 90 minutes of continuous runtime. You’re just gonna have to see it to appreciate it, so do that, okay?
Renowned knife designer Bob Lum has passed on, but designs completed though not yet produced when he died are still coming out. One of these is Benchmade’s new 741 Onslaught – a graceful, gutsy blend of fine lines and fast handling. The 4.28-inch blade of 154 CM stainless steel can be had polished or coated in black BK1, with a plain razor-sharp edge or combination plain and serrated. The Onslaught is built on Benchmade’s AXIS locking mechanism, and the handle scales are textured G-10. This knife can easily dance back and forth from dress to tactical duty, so kick up the music and try it…
Streamlight kicked off the New Year in 2010 with the next generation of their respected Strion LED – the Strion LED HP. Packin’ significantly more power than its predecessor, the new kid uses C4 Power LED technology to deliver 400 percent greater peak beam intensity, three selectable light levels and a strobe feature, all controlled by a single tailcap switch. A deep-dish parabolic reflector produces a long-range targeting beam over a distance of 1,200 feet on the high setting, and the fast-charging lithium ion battery pack has a recharge life of 500 cycles. Waterproof, shockproof and equipped with a shatterproof polycarbonate lens, the new HP even fits older Strion home and vehicle chargers.
Did I save the best for last? You be the judge… I wanted you to see both sides of Dwaine Carrillo’s handmade custom TripWire II folders. Using what he calls “X-frame construction,” the result is a virtually bombproof piece of G-10 and titanium art with a dynamic-cutting 154 CM blade. To see all the color schemes and finishes available, you’ll have to check out the galleries of photos on his AirKat Knives web site – just try to control the drooling, okay?
Dwain only makes one, two or three at a time, so if you want one, contact him and get in line. He’s a workaholic, so you won’t wait forever, but I can assure you, the gnawing appetite you develop while languishing will be slaked when your package arrives!
If you’ve been waiting for a multi-function light-cannon, check out the 700-lumen (yes, seven hundred lumens! ) STOPLITE by SIG SAUER. It’s a handheld, tactical and general-service light, plus it attaches to a weapon rail-mount as a vertical long-gun foregrip. Other “little extras” include a laser aiming module, momentary, constant-on and brutally blinding strobe modes, a “hot shoe” electrical outlet for other powered accessories, and fantastic ergonomics. The STOPLITE comes in a handy carrying case, where you can stash a spare set of four 123A lithium batteries. This night-eater belongs on your boat, in your truck, and on your home-defense carbine. This is one of those few designs which, no matter what new technology brings tomorrow, will get the job done and still be powerful and eminently useful for years to come.