Monday, December 30, 2013

.177 Sig X-Five Airgun Update

Last month I put together a post about the Sig X-Five CO2 pistol breaking down. I returned it without hassle and received a new one relatively quickly. I did have to check up on the status once only to be told that they were out of stock - thanks for letting me know. But then a week or so later a new one showed up at my door. That was before Christmas so the turn around wasn't really too bad. As for the gun itself though, it's kind of a shame because I just don't think it will stay together a considerable length of time when it easily could. The 1911 seems to be a slightly better setup but I don't see these guns getting the kind of traction needed to get a market for them rolling with any speed. I ran across an article on the NRA blog discussing their first airsoft 3-gun style event earlier this year, so it's not as if the wheels of competitive airgun aren't turning. No doubt the NRA chose airsoft because of its established popularity, but 3-gun is more in line with IPSC and that doesn't especially trip my trigger. I look at 3-gun and IPSC as equipment races, in spite of the divisions restricting gadgets and pay-to-win gear. Scenario based games like IDPA feel more immersive and more adventuresome than taking the right number of steps to the next box to shave 10ths off your time.
Here is my replacement SIG X-Five CO2 air pistol with a holster I threw together. First attempt at a light bearing rig. Not bad, not great, but I learned a lot in the process.

Seems kind of ridiculous to have a light that cost nearly as much as the gun but it does double duty on my AR as well and I hope to set up some kind of nighttime events come warmer weather.

Here you see the screws that retain this blow-back unit. They actually thread up into the rear sight because there simply isn't enough material anywhere else. This could have been, and should have been handled much better.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Boker Plus Titan Drop Overview

titanium handles edc knife blade folderLooks like I made the nice list this year and Santa brought me a touch of titanium to go into my EDC rotation, the Titan Drop from Boker. Going back to the Buck Spitfire review I did awhile back my excitement for knives has faded and it seems that knife is just the one I personally had been looking for. The Spitfire seems to have the right combination of elements to suit my personal tastes, more so than any single specific feature that necessarily makes it better than any other knife out there. Because truthfully it doesn't have any single point of quality that stands out, particularly in the world of knives where the sky is the limit for materials and workmanship to be had. On the other hand, the Titan Drop brings the exclusivity of titanium to the realm of budget oriented blades which could be misleading at first. Could it be that titanium has come down from its throne as many other common, but once precious materials have? Or could it be a gimmick to mask a multitude of shortcomings greater than the value of the handles? The former is difficult to presume given the absence of competitors, though this could be just the beginning. At the same time, I can't find any particular benefit of titanium in everyday tools myself. It has an admittedly warm and textured feeling in the hand but nothing that can't be achieved, or hasn't already, with other materials. In fact, I am attracted to the Titan Drop for its design much more than the composition of its handle, which could have been steel or aluminum and still found its way to my pocket. So while titanium may be a gimmick in one sense, it's certainly not used to hide any shortcuts in quality. I don't suspect that the Spitfire will end my knife collection altogether of course, but the Titan is far from settling for less. Just like the Spitfire is for Buck, I believe this is a design that Boker could benefit from by pursuing further.

For one thing, the Titan Drop is relatively large, coming very close to the Ontario RAT 1. For that reason, I'd like to see the same knife with a half inch or so taken from the blade and handle lengths, while retaining all other dimensions. This would make for an ideal EDC size and strip more weight still. As great as Titanium is to some buyers, the thin profile, full flat grind, southpaw compatibility, and gentlemanly design are its biggest selling points. It's not perfect, it's not fast, but it is well made and my example has excellent fit and finish. As always, let's get to the pictures.
Had some snow on the ground and thought it might make for a good picture. Meh.
Not a bad lookin piece though. Nice pocket clip and though the shape isn't integrated into the design so much, its finish matches the other steel parts well and it functions properly.
lock back knife spine detail
Flawless fit? For $40, I'd call it the closest I've seen.
lockback edc knife titanium scales
In fact, I'm impressed at that price.
gear photographer water drops knife blade
Now that's not a bad photo and that blade came as close to razor sharp as I think a knife can get. It's smooth push cuts (not slicing) through phone book paper all day sharp, from tip to tail. I'm not sure I've ever had a knife this sharp out of the box. You can distinctly feel it pick every single hill and valley of your fingerprint as you test the edge.
boker plus folding knives
It's just a nice blade for the money - something I am always in search of.
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I'd heard some complains about blade centering in general with the Boker Plus line. I actually have no idea why this is important to begin with when you're buying a user knife. If it doesn't cause an issue, then it isn't an issue. Inexpensive products are likely to have looser standards of QC but my example is barely off center, if perceptible at all in this image.
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For size comparison. I'd like to see a 2.0 version a bit shorter than the Spitfire (center).
The Titan Drop has a somewhat elongated appearance and I think removing a little length only would give it killer proportions. It could lose a half inch from both the blade and handle and still fit nicely in hand.

The thin profile is one of Titan's assets. Its gone unnoticed in the pocket for me.

The Buck Spitfire is thin, no question, but the Titan has it beat. The Buck is a bit smoother and quicker opening but the Titan certainly has a cleaner overall appearance with better blade retention closed and more solid lockup. The lockback system does lend itself to inherently slim pocket knives of course but it still seems remarkable. While they may not be as quick as other systems, they are tried and true, and I suspect help with value. With enough force, and I mean quite a bit, I can feel the slightest play in the lockup but it may amount to a whole millimeter or less of movement. Anyone interested in this knife won't be disappointed.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Just Pics Buck Spitfire and CRKT Ripple

Light weight edc knives
The Buck Spitfire with my Solarforce L2t just for fun.

The Spitfire along withh an aluminum CRKT Ripple in the larger size. The Wards axe I scored from a local antique shop and rehung - seen in recent posts - doing some work.

That's that hedge with the great yellow color. No, I wouldn't consider splitting it with a folding knife but it makes for a nice picture. My axe on the other hand, loves hedge.