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Please feel free to review anything from products to services etc. It would be helpful to include pics, links, videos, specs and to be as detailed as possible.

Gerber LMF II Survival Knife - Coyote Brown - Review

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I reviewed this knife on Amazon, Youtube, discussion boards and other websites prior to purchasing. After evaluating these reviews and opinions I was expecting an excellent knife and I was not disappointed. Shipping was very quick to begin with. Secondly, this is a substantial knife that will give one years of service.

Starting with the knife itself, it has weight to it. Some don't like that aspect whereas I was hoping for it to have some heft. I don't want to give the impression that it is a brick, rather that when you hold it you KNOW you are holding a knife with enough steel to chop, baton or break something with the pommel end. In otherwords, this isn't a cheap flea market special. The blade came 'scary' sharp. The finish on the blade was excellent as was the fit of the handle. It felt well balanced in the hand for normal bush craft duties.

The sheath is well made. The only way to lose the knife out of the sheath is if you lose the sheath as well. The knife 'clicks' into the sheath like the Bear Grylls knive do and it also has two straps that fasten with a snap. The nylon part of the sheath can be completely removed from the ballistic nylon part if you wish (this is the part with the belt loops). The nylon part houses the sharper and this type of sharpener in this location is brilliant on the part of Gerber. Better than a sharpening stone with requires a bit more skill as well as more refined motor skills to accomplish. The type of sharpener on this sheath is simple and efficient i.e. simply insert blade, provide a bit of downward pressure and pull. Additionally, if you look closely at the sheath you'll notice cut out holes and slots on the outside of the sheath where 550 paracord or velcro straps can be attached. This provides the the ability to 'pimp' out the sheath with added items if desired such as a ferro rod, whistle, mag bar or whistle. I'm not talking adding the kitchen sink to the sheath, but the ability to secure something as simple as a ferro rod can go a long way in a pinch.

This sheath can be worn horizontal, vertical or attached to any pack with ease.

The thigh bands are high quality and heavy duty. This feature was a selling point for my on this knife. My last trip to the woods I had a quality knife on my hip, but no bands to secure it to my thigh. Not a big deal really when your walking/hiking. But sitting down in a chair or log tends to have the longer sheaths get in the way or snagged as they stick out a bit when your bending/leaning over.

The seat belt tool and sheath was icing on the cake and has now found a home in my glove box. I've responded to auto accidents and this is a very useful tool to have. It is one of those tools that if you don't have it but need it you're going to wish you did.

I recommend this knife highly and expect it will provide years of service. It is worth more than the asking price imo.

As a note: If anyone has a link or video of a pimped out sheath let me know. I'd like to see ideas for adding things to the sheath without being silly.

BTW the YT reviewer is a different 'David'.  Good video Smile
If you do not like the serrations take a look at the New gerber Strongarm. 100% American made.
Bear Grylls Ultimate Survival Knife - Review

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For the price point (less than $40), this is a great knife. I've purchased two and both have come very sharp out of the package. The fit and finish were excellent. Now this knife does not compare to something along the lines of a Gerber LMF II in terms of strength, however, the LMF is at a price point that is nearly double (and well worth the money, I have one as my primary knife). The point is that at the price point it is offered at it it a great knife.

The sheath is well made, durable and should be long lasting with hard use. The ferro rod is an EXCELLENT idea. As a tip, I've taken the whistle off the knife handle and put in on the ferro rod. I then wrapped the excess cordage the whistle is on around and through the sheath in the location where the knife sharpener is in. Thus when the sheath is in the closed position (normal position) the whistle will not flop around and the ferro rod will not be lost in the unlikely event it comes out of the slot. Just a little extra insurance. Additionally, having the whistle attached to the knife handle is a bad idea if you're trying to hammer something with the pommel (the whistle flops around and gets in the way and could be broken). The knife sharpener is a good idea providing you have a little experience with a sharpening stone. Only draw back is the pocket on the back is pretty tight for the survival guide...but at least it shouldn't fall out.

Only thing I would add is a thigh strap like the LMF to keep it flush with the thigh when moving or sitting. But that is a want and not a need.

In short, again for the price point this is a great knife and value. It will likely give years of service as long as you're not stupidly abusing it (goes for any knife really regardless of price). Look around though, especially if you belong to a wholesale club. I bought both of mine at BJ's Wholesale Club in a package that also included the emergency survival kit (the orange one). Normal price for the package was $49 which is a fair deal. I bought both on sale, one for $39 and the other for $34 which is a fantastic deal for the knife and emergency kit together.

Bear Grylls Ultimate Pro Survival Knife - Review

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I own two of the Bear Grylls Ultimate knives. As I posted in that particular review, they are great knives and I gave them 5 stars based upon the quality of the product, what the product included and the price point. And as I mentioned in that review, check the wholesale clubs. I bought both of mine at BJ's Wholesale Club. Regular price was $49 which included the BG's Ultimate and the orange basic survival kit. $49 is a fair price but I hit two separate sales and got the knife/emergency kit for $39 and $34 respectively. So this made a good deal into a great deal!

Same with the Ultimate Pro. I see prices normally around $79 which is a fair price, however, on a tip from a couple of posters I know I went to Rocky National which had a sale of $59. The sale was over but they honored the $59 price anyway so a big thumbs up for customer service at Rocky National. So like the Ultimate, the Ultimate Pro went from a good deal to a great deal!

So here are my thoughts on the Ultimate Pro. It is a definite step up from the Ultimate. The steel is stronger. It has full tang construction which is always a huge plus for knife strength especially if doing tasks such as batoning. As YT reviews show, the pommel will easily break through auto side glass (so does the Ultimate). The whistle is of a slightly different design and is suppose to be louder. If haven't compared them side by side but I'll trust them on that point. At any rate, having a whistle is just a very good idea. The addition of the ferro rod is a HUGE addition (as mentioned with the Ultimate) for a survival knife. If you've seen both the Ultimate and the Ultimate Pro you'll see the ferro rod is now right side up instead of upside down. It locks into place firmly and you'd be hard pressed to have this come out accidentally. As a note, I don't mind the upside down ferro rod on the Ultimate as I've taken the whistle off the knife itself and attached it to the ferro rod. I then wrap the excess cordage through the inside of the sheath where the sharpening stone is so that when the knife is in the normal closed position the whistle cord and ferro rod are 'locked' in and again, you'd be hard pressed to lose it. The grip is well designed and grippy even if/when wet.

The draw-through sharpener is a big improvement. Whereas the Ultimate has a sharpening stone (which is fine if you know how to use one), the draw-through is pretty much idiot proof. It has a three line guide to show you how to put the blade in and can be reversed for left hand users. Additionally Gerber did a nice job of putting rubber grips on the side of the sheath to help when using the sharpener i.e. a sure grip on the sheath if it is wet.

The sheath as a hole in the bottom to allow water to run out of the sheath if you're caught in a downpour, a very nice addition. The sheath itself seems to be of sturdy construction and should provide years of use. About my only negative on the sheath itself would be that it only has vertical carry with no other options such as horizontal or a quick means to attach to a pack.

I compared the Ultimate Pro to my Gerber LMF II and they are fairly the same weight. I personally like a knife with a little bit of heft to it. If feels substantial in the hand and not like a cheap toy. The LMF blade is the same length and width but is slightly broader. The Ultimate Pro compares favorably with the LMF especially with the added features of the ferro rod and whistle. If I could change anything about the LMF it would be the addition of a ferro rod and whistle (and perhaps a small LED light). Of course you can always pimp a sheath out if you like

Very good knife. It is offered at a fair price and if you can find it cheaper like I did then it is simply icing on the cake.

Bear Grylls Survival Torch

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To begin with, I have several Bear Grylls products. All of them I have given a high rating based on quality/function/price. I can not rate this torch as high. Here's why;

1. It isn't nearly as bright as most LED flashlights of its size and price point. It is only around 24 lumens. I have multiple LED torches from Ebay/Amazon of the CREE LED variety such as the SIPIK. Many of them cost less than half of what this product costs. Go to Amazon/Ebay and type in CREE LED and see the plethora of offerings that come up. For example, the 7W 300 lumen SIPIK (and clones) operate on a single AA battery, have a long run time, offer 300 lumens (on a 14500 battery, a AA probably delivers 80-100 which is still four to five times what this light delivers), have flood to focus and many have low and strobe settings. The difference in brightness is day and night.

2. The inside of the cone is orange and not reflective. While orange is great for a survival product, not on the inside of the cone where the little 24 lumen LED needs all the help it can get.

3. LED is not protected by a cover/lens.

4. No flood to focus feature.

1. It is orange on the outside which is a good idea.

2. It has a rubberized handle for positive grip.

3. The tinder compartment is a GREAT idea and has plenty of room for a good amount of 000 steel wool or cotton balls and vasaline.

If the 'cons' could be addressed, this would be an excellent flashlight. As it is, it can only be considered a child's toy or a back up to the back up torch. The price is way too much for a toy. If they could address the 'cons' and make it at least around 100 lumens with flood to focus and keep it the same price point then it would be a great torch/value.

The above review was the one I provided on Amazon.  A member came back with this opinion;

Quote:It's 25 lumens and provides that with a single AA battery with a water-resistant end cap that can hold another AA battery, or matches, etc. It's terrific around a campsite and is not a children's toy. It's not comparable to a CREE flashlight. The particular application needs to be taken into account. I keep my Fenix E35 handy for when I need 225 lumens but I don't waste that when looking for the water jug around the campsite.

I responded with this;
Quote:There is a difference between a low powered flashlight, like this BG's light and a flashlight that has a low powered option. As an example, this BG's light provides 25 lumens with a reported run time of 20 hours on a single AA for $22. An Acebeam L10 can provide a range of modes from 120 lumen down to 10 lumen with a run time in excess of two full days. And it will do so on the same AA for about half the price of the BG's light with an LED that will last longer. And it's half the size. True, it won't carry matches but I have other resources for fire-starting on the same keychain that work better. We can also compare the BG's light against the Fenix E05, Tank007 E09 or Thrunite Ti3 each of which are far brighter, have a better low setting (more throw and better flood), equivalent run times (except the Ti3 which as a FF mode that runs for nearly 150 hours straight) on a AAA battery for less than this BG's light. For a light the same size as this BG's light you could purchase a Convoy S2+ that is 500 lumens down to 25 lumens and again has a 25 lumen run time of about double the BG's light. And it costs less money. True, it takes an 18650 battery but you won't have to worry about leakage. I like Bear Grylls, I like many of the products he markets through Gerber. This simply isn't one of them. It is terribly over-priced, under-powered, single mode and the gimmick of being able to carry some matches doesn't make this a $22 flashlight. Maybe a $2 light for a scout perhaps. But with respect, it isn't a serious flashlight.
Molle Tactical Shoulder Bag

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Ebay link

I ordered this bag last year. Shipping was lighting fast so I really appreciated it. The bag came just as advertised and looks to be pretty near the quality of the UTG Messenger Bag (in a review to follow). And the UTG Messenger Bag is exceptional quality imo. Not to bust on the Maxpedition version, and yes these are clones, but they are clones at about one-fourth the price. In otherwords I could literally buy four of these bags for the price of one Maxpedition and the quality, while not 'quite that of the Maxpedition' is pretty close.


This clone came with an unexpected surprise the Maxpedition doesn't come with. If you click on the link and take a close look at the front, you'll see a rectangular piece of material across the front of the bag with a loop attached. This is a velcro piece that is actually a universal holster to be placed inside the CCW pocket to be connected to the hook and loop inside the pocket. I know this is what it is because I had to order one for the Maxpedition Lundada and UTG Messenger Bag as they don't come with it. Very nice addition and about $7 when sold separately. Sturdy enough to hold your CCW and cover the trigger guard.

So far that is a +1 for the bag.


This bag was used at the recent SEP Gathering #4. I figured I biked about 18-20 miles with it as well as hiked around 8 miles with it. It performed without any issue at all. I really can't find anything negative about this bag at all. Now I like Maxpedition so I don't want to sound negative about their products, imo though they are a bit overpriced. The cheapest Maxpedition version of this back that I found on Ebay was $49.95 w/free shipping. The bag I bought was $18.25. So basically I could purchase three of the clone bags for almost the price of one Maxpedition. Just something to think about. I'm not saying that it is the same quality of the Maxpedition, but it is pretty close from what I've experienced so far. I certainly don't think the Maxpedition is 3X better.
Trustfire A8:

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Available on Ebay or Amazon for as low as $17.

I purchased a Trust Fire A8 flashlight a couple of months ago on Ebay. At that time the price was slightly less than here on Amazon. Received the light and it worked so well my wife claimed it! After thinking about it for two months I decided to purchase a second one for myself. This time Amazon had the best price. The seller (Andoer) shipped my order out within hours of purchase and it arrived in the mail four days later. I like that type of service.

The light itself uses a CREE XML T6 and is quite bright. I wouldn't think that it is 1600 lumens, but I have no way to measure that at the moment. But it is, as I mentioned, quite bright. Enough to light up my backyard or down the street. The A8 has five settings; high, medium, low, strobe and SOS. It has a reverse clicky on the bottom that is easy to press, yet firm. A soft touch will cycle through the modes. Mine seems to reset to high after being off a short period of time, which I like.

The A8 is well made with good fit and finish. If feels substantial in the hand, yet not overly heavy. My plans for this light are for use in the deep woods as we often go remote camping and/or take night hikes. This provides a good venue to test lights out in the field under actual use conditions i.e. hot, cold, wet etc.

The A8 uses a 26650 battery. I use and recommend the Trustfire 26650 as they have worked well for me. One of the features I like about this light is that it can also use the 18650 battery (with a sleeve). And it can also use certain 3xAAA holders. On the holders, the type used in lights such as the Maglite XL50 do NOT work as they are flat on top. The holders that have the raised metal nub do work. I like a flashlight that provides me multiple options in powering it. In the deep woods I'll normally carry at least one extra 26650, an 18650 w/sleeve and a 3xAAA holder to make sure I'm covered. And of course I'll have back up lights. But this one is going to be the one I trust as primary.

This light comes with a nylon holder that can be attached to some belts with a velcro strap. Don't know if I'd particularly trust it, but it is useful to store the light in just to keep it from getting scratched up.

I have many different types of flashlights but I'm really happy about getting this one. I'll update the review after the next trip out to report how it worked in the field and any additional thoughts.


Had the opportunity to test this in the field at this weekends SEP gathering. As expected it performed in simply awesome fashion. Two of our folks came out after dark so we had a few 200 hour glow lights rigged up around the camp to mark our position. As I heard them down the trail in the distance I fired up the A8 on strobe function and pointed it up into the trees towards their position for a few moments. After they hit camp they said it looked like a vehicles headlights because it was so bright!

Rated at 1600 lumens. I have no way to test this at the moment but it is the brightest hand-held light that I have currently.

I passed it around and the general comments were that it felt substantial and solid in the hand and the brightness just couldn't be beat.

I count this a successful field test for this light.

Ebay link
Anker Astro E5 15000mah charger

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Got this item prior to SEP Gathering #3. Out of the box it gave about four recharges of the Samsung G3. The weather was in the upper 30's to the high 40's during the trip.

Came home and charged it up to 100% which took quite a long time. Longer than the 10-12 hours stated, but that really wasn't a big deal to me. I just plugged it in and set it to the side. I kept track of it in detail till it was empty. Here are the results using three different Samsung G3's for the test over a 3 day period:

Phone #1 started at 15% and 4 lights on the Anker.

Phone#2 started at 13% and 4 lights

Phone#3 started at 1% and 3 lights

Phone#2 started at 11% and 2 lights

Phone#1 started at 25% and 1 light

Phone#3 started at 54% and charged up to 81% when the Anker stopped charging.

So the result is that I can get a pretty solid five charges out of the Anker on a G3 which IIRC has a 2100mah battery. These charges were inside the house where the temp was around 70 pretty steady. In colder temperatures I may lose a bit unless I keep the unit and the phone in a pocket or something a bit insulated. All in all I'm very pleased with this purchase, much more so that the MyCharge Hub 6000 which was $35 more than the Anker and only charged about 1 1/2 times. The Anker I purchased was about $50 on Amazon.  They are now down to around $36 and worth every penny!

Amazon link
Nitesiters Night Sights

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I've had regular nite sights on many of my guns in the past. Liked them quite a bit and found that in dim light situations they do help. But I wasn't excited about what they charge these days, nor finding a shop to put them on that didn't want to charge WAY to much for 5 minutes worth of work.

So I found this product. They work as advertised. I've put them on my G23 and G19 and they simply work. You can leave them under a lamp if you'd like or simply 'charge' the sites with a small flashlight for 30 seconds. I do this before going to bed. In the beginning they actually are many times brighter than regular night sights (advertised as 5 times brighter). This fades with time. However what I've noticed is that during the night (as you gain your night vision) they are still very noticeable even as they dim. I can charge them at say around 9pm and still be able to see them when I get up a 5:30am. No, not as bright but I can still easily see them.

Whereas regular night sights have about a 12 year limit, the claim for these is that they can be charged a million times or some such large number. Basically for the life of your gun.

At about a tenth of the price of regular night sights I have found them to be a good deal. Easy to put on as well. I carry daily and haven't seen any issue with them at all.

Update:  I've had these for going on two years now and they still perform like the day I purchased them.  I use my SK98 flashlight (which I keep on my night stand) to charge the nite sites for a 12-count and I can still see them early in the morning.  Again, they aren't as bright as when first charged, but in low light when you have your night vision you're still able to readily pick them up. 

As a side note, I picked up some glow-in-the-dark duct tape and wrapped it around the handle of my Maglite XL50 flashlight which I also keep on my night stand.  I charge it the same as my nite sites and it is also easily picked out in the dark. 
Tactical Waist Bag:

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I've set this back up as an EDC bag. It fits pretty much everything that I consider essential to have in an EDC i.e. bandanna, rain poncho, wallet and card case, fixed blade knife, Maxpedition mini pocket organizer (pocket organizer and contents in separate review), basic first aid kit in sealed dry bag, couple of flash lights, extra batteries etc.

Cost was $16.95 w/free shipping. This is a clone of the Maxpedition Proteus. The cheapest I could find the Proteus was on Ebay for $62.99 w/ free shipping. So basically I could purchase almost four clones for the price of one Proteus. I don't feel the Maxpedition is 4X better to be honest. As noted elsewhere, I like the Maxpediton and think it is a quality product, but it is overpriced. IIRC it is made in the same area of the world as the clones for the most part.

As an update since I've purchased both of mine, they can be purchased for as low as $12.99.

Ebay link
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