Showing posts with label Shadow Tech. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Shadow Tech. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Shadow Tech’s Claw


ST Folding Karambit
The large prototype folding Karambit
Originally, like so many martial art weapons, the karambit originated in southeast Asia. Inspired by the claws of big cats, the natives initially used this design for mundane activities, like raking roots, gathering threshing and planting rice.  Over time. circumstances forced the development of farm and every day implements into weapons of self-defense.


“The karambit is held with the blade pointing downward from the bottom of the fist, usually curving forwards however occasionally backwards. While it is primarily used in a slashing or hooking motion, karambit with a finger ring are also used in a punching motion hitting the opponent with the finger ring. Some karambit are designed to be used in a hammering motion. This flexibility of striking methods is what makes it so useful in self-defense situations. The finger guard makes it difficult to disarm and allows the knife to be maneuvered in the fingers without losing one's grip.
The short Filipino karambit has found some favor in the West because such proponents allege the biomehanics of the weapon allow for more powerful cutting strokes and painful "ripping" wounds, and because its usability is hypothesized as more intuitive, though there continues to be debate about this matter.”
It takes hardly any effort to find self-promoting YouTube videos of how to use a fightin’ karambit.  Any of these complete videos can be purchased, …our operators are standing by…

The problem with fixed knives is they are not easy to conceal, a necessary condition of modern society.  Shadow Tech has been making fixed blade karambits for some time now.  They are currently, in a secret laboratory/dojo, developing two folding karambits.  And joking aside, they look pretty great.  I’ve only seen prototypes but they were very close to production models. 

Two almost ready for manufacturing prototypes
Make that 2 to go, please.
I expect a there will be a little tweeking before and possible after release.  After all it is only mythology in which Venus springs forth from the ocean in all her perfection.  I do know the knives will be made from Crucible’s 154CM steel.  Some of the best knife companies use 154CM steel for their blades.  ST is using it for liners, liner lock and clips also.  The clip will be reversible and the knife rides tip up.  At least that was the plan when John and I talked about it.


liner lock has full thickness of lock behind the blade
Many knives, many fine knives have only a portion of the liner lock behind the blade

The liner lock will throw its complete thickness behind the blade spreading out the force of folding over a wide surface.  My limited experience suggests that may require a little more effort on your part to unlock the knife.  Pushing the liner lock over may require you to dig your thumb a little deeper in the lock, but you can image the painful consequences of having the lock fail.

ST tells me they will have two sizes, a large aggressive blade,
Large size

And a smaller blade. 

The small size

John tells me there will be several ways of snagging the blade’s opening stud and/or geometry to open the blade as you draw it from your pocket.  That’s very cool.  

Still remember what one veteran told me:
“I carry in my pocket.  If there could be trouble I move the knife from my pocket to behind my belt.  If I think there is going to be trouble, the unopened knife is carried in my hand.”

A karambit has the potential to increase even an unskilled person’s survival potential.  Give that and Shadow Tech some consideration.

Monday, November 16, 2015

On Display

Attended the museum show at Medina last weekend.  I thought it was a gun show so I brought my knives and set up.  Boy, was I wrong.

But I wasn’t the only one who didn’t know it was a museum show.  Just about all the displayers thought they were going to be vendors.  We were so wrong.  Still i had fun that week-end.

I have several favorite knife companies; Spyderco, Benchmade, Ka-Bar, Boker and Shadow Tech.  Sure there’s a few others, SOG, Buck, TOPS and I like them too, but I have a soft spot for Shadow Tech.

It’s a two man company and Dave still finishes all the blades by hand.  I just bought a fixed blade made from Alabama Damascus' Buckshot Damascus steel.  It’s a US company  and they make their Damascus from 4 layers 5160 steel, 3 layers 203E steel, 3 layers 52100 steel, and 3 layers 15N20 steel folded 5 times.  If you do the math, that gives you  a 416 layer Damascus pattern.


Damascus blade, Shadow Tech Damascus
Shadow Tech


I’m just tickled over it.  It’s a wonderful knife.  Of course, you need to keep it oiled.  Etched steel has a tendency to rust but I can live with that minor inconvenience.

I had a chance to see some early prototypes that John had with him.  Shadow Tech is working on a folder that’s quite interesting, but it is the folding karambit prototype that’s exciting.  It will have a wave opener and ambidextrous studs.  You can catch the wave on pockets and open it or use the studs.  The studs will be positioned so your thumb naturally travels to it and glides the blade open.  A second opening mode is available to anyone who carries on the inside of their waist band.  The stud will catch the seam and open while you draw it.  Will it take some practice?  Sure, but it didn’t look like a skill set too difficult to master. 

Many fixed blades and folders sport a glass breaker or impact point.  It is a nice accessory.  All across America people are discovering a need to suddenly open a car window to rescue a child or pet.  On a 70 degree sunny day, temperatures in a sealed car can reach 120 degrees.  Following an accident, breaking a window may be the only way into or out of a car.  Most knives put the impact point on the back of the knife where your hand wants to sit.  This can limit the amount of force you can apply to an open knife because the point digs into your palm.  The ST karambit will have the impact point situated on blade spine on the front of the knife for easy use with the knife closed. 

There’s still talk about an auto with a hidden split bolster opener.  Made here in Ohio.  How cool would that be?

I’m so excited about seeing these, maybe by the Blade Show?   Who knows.

I’m only kidding about the museum show.  We had a few real customers and a few real weirdo’s.  The one that best comes to mind was a nicely dressed fellow inspecting knives.  He settled in on Benchmade’s Nakamura Axis folder and then zoned out.  It’s a nice knife, worth pondering if you have a few seconds.  The 3–inch blade is made from M390 super steel with a RHC 60-63.   The handle is dressed in black contoured G-10 with steel liners.  Of course it has that great axis lock I’ve come to really appreciate.  It’s a great knife.

He visually inspected it.  Touched every part he could several different times.  He opened the knife half way put it next to his ear and listened to it, did another intense visual inspection and I swear to God, even sniffed it.  I was watching him like a hawk.  If he tasted it, I was calling the cops.  Fortunately it didn’t come to that!

I never saw anyone inspect a knife so closely and then wordlessly, put it down and walk away.


What a show!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Rumors!

Few industries are rumor free.  The knife industry isn’t even close.  Here's a few I've picked up that have some credibility. 

Rick Hinderer is breaking ground for an improved, expanded facility.  A grinding company I know reports they see a multitude of Hinderer blades for grinding after heat treatment.  Perhaps Rick wants to keep it all in house.  I have seen at least one potential misfire.  But in all honesty, the question remains, was that a real ZT Hinderer or did a Chinese knock-off get picked up by the distributor?

Starting now and finished by January 2015 Zero Tolerance will drop their distributors in favor of factory direct to brick and mortar stores.  I hope I’m wrong.  Some people claim that this generates exclusivity and protects their stocking dealers from Internet sales.  Benchmade went this route several years ago and there are plenty of new Benchmade on EBay.  I think this causes them to just lose market shares.

Shadow Tech is working on a folder and hopes to have it ready by the 2015 SHOT show in January.  If not SHOT certainly by the Blade Show!  It almost seems a natural progression to start with a simpler fixed blade and then progress to the more complicated folder.  I suspect the market for folders is larger than that of fixed blades.  Most of us carry a folder every day, but the fixed blade makes our co-workers nervous.

Stag prices have increased and custom knife makers are already increasing prices.  It seems unfair, but they have to replace a consumable with a pricier version.  

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Twitchy EOD

Another knife gun show has rolled past.  I get a lot of compliments on the quality of the knives I sell, but the sales go to the guys with the buckets of 6-dollar knives and the knock-offs.  Still, as much as it bothers me, I’d rather be true to my vision of quality and needs, than to know somewhere a knife I sold is failing someone.

The weather was beautiful, the show was slow.  I suspected something was wrong when two guys walked up to the table shorting after opening and I greeted them with, “Feel free to pickup any of the knives”.

They stood there, frozen like deer in the headlights, not even an ear twitch.
Two deer, no knives
Yeah, that's what they looked like!

I looked at my wife, she looked at me, and then we looked at the two statues.  I don’t think they were breathing.  For a split second, I wondered if this was some Candid-Camera moment and then one blinked.

The two men walked off and I never saw them again.

I did see a lot of Shadow Tech.  They came up to the show from the Columbus, Ohio area.  ST is one of my favorite local knife companies.  I’ve got to admit, I’m impressed with people who start manufacturing businesses.  I’ve said it before, small self-starting businesses are the sparkplug of American well-being.


I had a chance to see their EOD.  It’s a 10.5 inch slice of 1085 steel currently being used by the EOD teams in Afghanistan.
Shadow Tech EOD Fixed Blade with sheith
Shadow Tech's EOD.  Note "glass breaker'" and form fitting sheath.  This is one knife that isn't popping out by accident. 
Let’s talk, shall we?

The blade is 5 inches long with a 5 inch handle and a glass breaker/skull crusher for a total of 10.5 inches.  The steel is high carbon, a 1085 and I would suspect, hardened to 56-58 Rockwell C.  That’s a good hardness for that steel and field use. 

Shadow Tech EOD Fixed Blade in my hand
Camera angle makes the knife look small, or I have a giant hand.
Extending outward from the top and bottom of the handle’s spine are small regular bumps.  I didn’t think I’d like them.  I thought they would distract from the feel, but despite my preconceptions, my hand liked them.  The knife sports an integral guard with sharpened ends.  I don’t know if they have a purpose, or just part of the aggressive combat nature of the knife.  Shadow Tech builds the sheath so you’re protected from the points when carrying the knife.

I had just enough time to finger it and photograph it, but I still liked it.  The knife was a little blade heavy for my taste.  I like a little more weight in my hand as it makes the blade livelier, at least in my opinion. 

 close up of Shadow Tech EOD Fixed Blade's guard
It's a stout knife.  You can pry, dig, chop and slice with it and the EOD looks like it's up to it.

It might be a little big for wearing to the store for a gallon of milk, (Yes I know Soldier of Fortune says you should be able to conceal 12 inches of fighting steel under your sport coat.  They didn’t say anything about sitting in your car.)  But I’d pack it if I was heading off the paved trail any day.

I was told it was evaluated for a month in California and is now issued to Explosive Ordinance Disposal Teams in Afghanistan.

Complete honesty: I’ve bought several Shadow Techs for myself, and I’ve sold a few on my table.  They have never given me one, but for the money I’d recommend them to anyone.  Keep your eye on them.  I keep hearing rumors of collaborations and autos in the future.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Knife and Blade Show

The knife gun show at Medina, Ohio was interesting.  While I sold gave away (almost) some old stock, a lot of the fun comes from watching the people.

I saw one man wearing a tee-shirt saying: Revolutionary War Veterans Association.  He didn’t look that old.  I found out later it seems to be a shooting society dedicated to remembering the more or less forgotten participants of the American Revolutionary War. 

I also told a friend I’d help him price several bayonets his buddy’s dad left behind.  To my surprise I found more than I expected about bayonets.

Both bayonets were Japanese type 30 from WWII.  One was rather crudely made and I expected it to be from production late in WWII.  I found out it was a training bayonet which were often made at schools and homes.  There was no interest in making a quality training bayonet as these were never expected to see combat.  They were often made from cheap, poor quality steel and came with equally shabby scabbards.  These were unsharpened.



WWII souvenirs
WWII souvenirs
The other bayonet was a little gem.  It had the Jinsen Arsenal mark stamped on the blade.  This arsenal isn't rare, but is not considered common.  The best way to describe it I was told was 'un-common.'



the upper is a issue bayonet.  Lower is issue
The issued bayonet show quality workmanship.  The lower is the poor quality trainer. 

Unfortunately they were poorly taken care of.  Both scabbards were rusty and pitted.  The blades were in the same condition.  It’s hard to understand why dad didn't run a coat of oil on them years ago.  I brushed them down with a brass brush and a little WD-40 and took a lot of surface rust off.  I guess they were not important to him.


Japanese bayonet from  Jinsen armory
The stamp indicates its from the Jinsen armory.  The training bayonet doesn't have any kind of marking. 

Included in the bundle was a German fireman's dress bayonet.  Yeah.  You read it right.  Fire fighters dress bayonet. 


German Fireman's dress bayonet in poor condition.
Fireman's bayonet?  What?  He stabs the flames?



German fireman's dress bayonet  No slot for rifle
The key was the polished blade and the absence of a mounting slot.


There’s no slot to attach the bayonet to a rifle.  That’s because German firefighters didn’t have rifles.

Now, I have no tolerance for Nazi collectables.  I hate those guys, but I’ll give the devil his due:  the Weimar Republic and Nazi Germany sure understood symbols and the trappings of power and how to use them.


I also ran into John from Shadow Tech.  He was at the Blade Show and my wife liked one of his damascus fixed blades with an ivory colored micarta handle.  She wanted a minor modification and John and Dave agreed to it.  We paid for it and they had it at Medina.  It’s a ‘double’ Blade Show knife for her.  She ordered it at Blade, but they had to buy ladder damascus from Alabama Damascus at the show to make it.  It’s a sweet knife and the faux carbon fiber kydex makes it pop!

My wife's ivory micard
Shadow Tech - My wife's new knife.


Keep your eye on Shadow Tech.  John told me they are going to be covered by unamed national magazines.  A collaboration between ST and Colonial knife is in progress.  I understand Colonial is getting some of Shadow Techs’s patterns and they are going to make some autos for them.
Dave and john blade show
Dave and John from Shadow Tech at the Blade Show with a few good knives!
I can't wait to see their auto!

While not a lawyer, I understand that the Feds regulate shipping of autos and the states seem to decide if automatic (AKA switch blade) knives are legal.  It seems silly in light of the fact most states have CCW and more than one police officer tells me that if they arrest you even that cheap nail clipper with file in your pocket will be written up as a concealed weapon.  I keep running into a woman who swears her community made her take a 12-hour class and get a permit to carry a knife in the city limits.  I understand there was a fee for the class and ‘license process.’  

Speaking of government interference, the proposed ivory ban has people worried.  I’m told there are only 8 sources of ivory: elephant, mastodon and mammoth (both extinct), walrus, hippo, narwhal, sperm whale and warthog.

Here’s where it gets confusing.  We stopped importing whale products in 1986.  We stopped importing elephant ivory 30 years ago.  Nobody cares about fossilized tusk and mastodon tooth because the youngest stuff is 20,000 years old.  And currently wild boars are a problem.  So we should be okay on any ivory in the country.  Right?


Hammond at Blade Show on Ivory Ban
Jim Hammond at Blade Show talking about the ivory ban and President Kennedy's love of scrimshaw.

Well, no.  See, the Chinese and Russia still have this unquenchable thirst for ivory.  So the U.S. and others think by punishing American ivory consumers and owners we’ll send a message to the rest of the world.  By not allowing the internal sales of legally obtained ivory, it becomes worthless.  

The government sees us as the bottom level of a vast Chinese crime syndicate. (If so, I need a raise!!)  By pressuring you to give up your source of illegal ivory, they can trace it back to Lo Fat Way or some other imagined ganister and terrorist.

Sandra Brady talking about the impact the ivory ban will have.
Sandra Brady, scrimshaw artist supreme, at the Blade Show talking about the impact the proposed ban on ivory will have.

Your source?  That’s the Vatican cameo your grandmother left you, soon to be made worthless.  Uncle George’s ivory handled revolver from the Spanish American war - can’t sell it with those grips!  The possibilities go on.  This includes all those scrimshaw ivory handles that decorate knives, jewelry and musical instruments. 

Now frankly, it’s not too important to me.  I don’t own any ivory.  My family doesn’t own any ivory.  My retirement or future plans don’t revolve around ivory.  I just dislike the fact the government can seize your property on mere suspicion and you are forced to prove your innocence.  If you cannot, you may go to jail.  

In any case you’ll lose your property just to make a ideological statement to China, Japan and Russia that killing elephants for ivory is unacceptable.  Remember the world banned hunting whales, but Japan still takes about 60 whales a year for “research.”  


The only one concerned with world opinion seems to be the U.S.
You want to save the elephants?  Great!!!!

Tell your government to send the money they would spend enforcing these ridiculous and un-American laws to the African agencies who are in the field protecting elephants from poachers.  That will make a difference, not confiscating ivory from an animal dead for 30 years. 

Oops!  Looks like rant mode was on!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A 3-way: TOPS vs Ka-Bar vs Shadow Tech



Just about any knife can cut string or trim a coupon out of the paper.  But let’s get down to specifics.  There are knives designed solely for self-defense.  Not knife dueling, like Tommy Lee Jones and Steven Seagal in “Under Siege,” but an honest to Gawd cut-them-off-of-me defense.


The three I have in mind are Ka-Bar’s TDI knife, Shadow Tech’s QRT and TOPS California Cobra.


The first thing you notice is they’re all fixed blades.  Despite what you think or practice, rolling around and fighting for your life makes it difficult, almost impossible, to produce a folder, get it open and use it.  It takes practice.  A lot of practice.  A fixed blade makes that aspect so much easier.



The TDI knife is well known.  John Benner designed a knife that police could carry behind their magazine pouch.  The curved shape lets you stab and slice with the wrist in the neutral position.  This is a powerful position as the cutting edge is parallel to the long bones of the arm.   
 
TDI knife with sheith
Ka Bar's TDI Knife
It’s made in Taiwan but it’s a Ka-Bar so you know the quality is built in.  The curve and oval handle keeps the blade centered in your hand and prevents you from sliding forward on the knife. 
 
The reverse grip has become popular. Weak-side carry, draw the knife with weak-side hand, slice your way free.
It’s never a good idea to cut yourself when the chips are on the line.  It also works very nicely in a reverse grip.  Just drag your fist over anything that’s not you and it is cut. 

I picked up Shadow Tech’s QRT at this year’s Blade Show.  


'shadow Tech QRT knife with sheith
Shadow Tech QRT.  That's Quick Response Tactics to you.

They were still smoothing out a few of the wrinkles but I recognized it’s coolness from a distance.  I only had to hold it to realize its potential.   

The Bowie style blade is almost perpendicular to the handle.  Again the wrist can stay in the neutral position and not be hyper-extended in the saber grip.  Hyper-extension of the wrist robs strength from the fingers. 
 

The oversize hole really gives you an almost unbreakable grip and the coarse jimping on the top provides plenty of grip surface for the thumb.  It’s another knife you won’t slide onto the blade if you stab into something hard. 

Trust me, this knife isn't going anywhere I don't want it to go.

Unfortunately the hole is too small for my hands in winter gloves.  There’s a little choil under the ring that can be utilized by the gloved index finger.  It’s right next to the blade so be careful and hope that between the glove and the handle jammed against the palm of your hand you will not get cut.  It’s a poor knife that only cuts one way, so a reverse grip can be utilized.  Again, just practice and learn to cut anything that’s not you.


TOPS California Cobra is a nasty little piece of work.  Oh, it’s quality and I’m sure it works just like they claim, but one look at it would be enough to discourage me.   
TOPS Cobra with sheith
TOPS Cobra.  It almost hurts you to look at it.
The knife has three useful edges.  Useful to you that is, not the target.  One is a sharpened pyramid at the bottom of the guard.  TOPS calls it the sting, the less lethal option. 
 
TOPS Cobra sting
Sharpened Steel Sting  Get the point?
I can imagine jabbing someone with it and convincing them they should let go and find someone else to hurt.  Both blades are referred to as the fang, or more lethal part of the knife.


Both blades?


Yes.  It’s a bent dagger.


The knife comes with an over-xeroxed booklet called the “Dirty Dozen and Then Some.”  The booklet shows you several self-defense techniques with the knife.  The normal grip for the Cobra is a saber grip and to bring the blades to play, you need some degree of hyper-extension. 

the normal grip put the thumb near the top blade.
Be careful where you move your thumb to!

The Cobra, like almost all knives including the TDI and the QRT, can be held in a reverse grip.  In the reverse grip your wrist is in the neutral position.


Does the hyper-extension wash the Cobra out?  Nope, but it’s a consideration.  Another consideration is the fact that your thumb can slide onto the top blade if you extend it too far.  On the plus side the handle has sufficient distance from the blade to accommodate heavy winter gloves.  

The cobra doesn’t look like a knife in its sheath, a feature it shares with the TDI knife.  I find this to be valuable asset when I wear one in public.



Let’s look at the box scores:




Name
TDI Knife
California Cobra
QRT Quick Response Technique
Manufacturer
Ka-Bar
TOPS
Shadow Tech
Blade
Single edge
Dagger
Single edge
Handle
Zytel
G-10
Micarta
Blade length
2.3 inches
Upper Blade 1.75 inches
2 inches with 1.75 cutting edge


Lower Blade 3.0 inches

Blade Thickness with Coating
0.12 inch
0.19 inch
0.2 inch
Blade type
Spear point
Double edged skinner (???)
Bowie shaped
Overall length
5.6 inches
6 inches
5 inches.
Steel and hardness
AUS 8   RC 57-59
1095   RC-58
1095 RC   57-58
Sheath
Hard plastic
Kydex
Kydex
Cost








I left the price blank.  If you shop around, you should be able to find a deal on any of these three.
 
My last impressions.



These knives target (if you pardon my expression) the police market.  The uniform and gun make police a target of opportunity.  Criminals know there is a gun present and exactly where it is.  Holding a bad person at gunpoint, an officer could be jumped by anyone from the guy's mother to his baby sister.  These same problems may apply to the armed civilian.  Having a fixed blade could make all the difference between regaining control and being found dead on the side of the road.


We throw a blanket statement of “It’s a tool, just a tool,” over any knife we carry.  I think you might find it difficult to explain to a jury what kind of tool the Cobra is.  It looks so wicked and excessively punishing you better have good reasons you can verbally and convincingly express.


I like the raw look to the QRT.  I think the blade needs a little polishing.  There’s a balance between so sharp it has a brittle edge and being robustly dull.  I think my QRT was a little too robustly dull. I polished the edge a little and I’m quite happy with its cutting ability.

The TDI knife is the standard by which all weapon retention tools are measured against.  It’s well made and has a refined elegance.  It doesn’t look menacing, doesn’t look dangerous and it’s likely it will not be noticed until it’s performing its designed function.  It’s my first choice, but I have sentimental reasons to like it.