Archive for the 'Tactical' Category

09
Nov
08

How to be Kawaii in a Cruel, Cruel World…

OK, so every now and then I run into weapons that cause a big ‘ol grin to split across the face of yours truly. And i don’t mean a grimace of pain from a horrible weapon, but rather from quirky looking weapons that are actually very well designed, but posses some unique quality that just makes them… cute.

There. I said it. Not just cool. But cute. I’m gonna have to wash my mouth out with concentrated hydrochloric acid after this post, but here it is:

Black Cat Defense Key Chain

Black Cat Defense Key Chain

[click image to view full size]

This is the Black Cat defense Keychain. 🙂 Yeah. I had the same reaction. Basically a small stainless steel keychain ornament, finished in black made in the shape of a sitting, wide eyed black cat. My favorite kind of cat, too, just fyi.

Yes, yes chuckle/giggle all you like, I was impressed. First because this design actually makes for a very potent weapon. I mean look at it. Really look at it. It’s a mini punch dagger. An innocuous, easy to use hand weapon. In black. In an remarkably non threatening (some would say cute) form factor.

Perfect for anyone who didn’t want to be blatantly carrying a weapon around, but still wants a little extra protection. Ok, I’m done. Can’t go any further with this without permanently scarring my masculinity…

At least they didn’t try to do this in a “Hello Kitty” form factor… *shiver* I might have had to kill someone to get my testosterone levels back up…

Black Cat Defense Keychain – [True Swords]

04
Nov
08

Introducing: The Gun Katar

I’m not really into politics, however it appears that the Good ‘ol U. S. of A. is going to have it’s first African American President. Now while that is of itself a noteworthy and landmark occurrence, as the transition from slavery to presidency is no mean feat, I’m also hoping it will bring with it important changes. Like an improved economy. Reduced national deficits. Better international relationships. You know. Good Presidential stuff.

However we will just have to wait and see. Politicians are politicians after all, it doesn’t matter whether they are black or white, which is a fact many seem to have forgotten. The proof is in the pudding. Whatever that means… I never really liked pudding anyway. Only time will tell how well campaign promises equate to results…

Anyway, in honor of this momentous occasion, I thought I’d break out a beauty of a weapon I ran into a while back. I have done a few gunblade posts in the past, but none of them compare to the sweetness that is the Gun Katar:

Gun Katar

Gun Katar

[click image to view full size]

Is that not completely and uncompromisingly awesome? Now this is a weapon for which a Gun Kata would make practical sense. Yes, A Gun Kata. You know, that little gun dance that seemed to occur at random in the movie “Equilbrium”? The one with Christian Bale before he became the “Dark Knight? Yeah. That one. Go look up Gun Kata (not Katar) on the YouTubes or something. But I’m ranting here. Back to Gun Katar goodness.

What you are looking at here is a Katar, a traditional Indian punch dagger, primarily a thrusting  weapon, often designed to penetrate chain mail armored opponents. It has a thick wedge shaped blade, and unlike most other weapons, the blade is held vertically, by a grip and a set of side bars that sit at right angles to the blade.

Gun Katar - Side View

Gun Katar - Side View

[click image to view full size]

This one is a particularly ornate one, featuring some very intricate engravings. You can see an elephant and a boar on one side, as well as flowers, leaves in the center area where the blade emerges, and other traditional Indian adornments.

Gun Katar - Engravings

Gun Katar - Engravings

[click image to view full size]

Gun Katar - Engravings

Gun Katar - Engravings

[click image to view full size]

Like many other katar, this features a double bar center grip, with the traditional side bars that run down either side of the blade and acts as guard as well as added support for the weapon.

Gun Katar - Side Guards

Gun Katar - Side Guards

[click image to view full size]

Under normal circumstances, that would be the sum total of the design of a traditional Katar. Except this one takes quite a hike from the traditional beaten Katar path. This Katar is loaded. With black powder. A double charge no less… 🙂

Gun Katar - Flintlock Pistol Barrel

Gun Katar - Flintlock Pistol Barrel

[click image to view full size]

This Katar is sporting a pair of flint lock pistols, one attached to either side of the weapon. If you look closely at the grip, you can see a pair of triggers recessed into the front bar, one at the top and one at the bottom.

Gun Katar - Flintlock Pistol Triggers

Gun Katar - Flintlock Pistol Triggers

[click image to view full size]

As you can probably imagine, a person wielding this in battle would have a healthy advantage over your poorly equipped standard Katar wielding schlub. I can just imagine how confrontations with the original owner of this weapon would have ended. Indiana Jones style.

I love weapons that make the old saying: “never bring a knife to a gun fight.” redundant… 😉

Anyway I thought this was a cool weapon for a special day… There are one or two more pics at the link after the jump. Here’s to great things in our future… 🙂

Peace!

Gun Katar – [CollectorEbooks.com]

28
Oct
08

Cool Replicas – Part 5: Himura Kenshins’ Sakabato

Another day, another cool sword. Today, a sword suggested by reader Heero, the Sakabato (Reverse bladed Sword) of Himura Kenshin, key protagonist of the manga and anime series Rurouni Kenshin.

Himura Kenshin, was formerly a highly skilled assassin, called “Hitokiri Battōsai”. Hitokiri literally translates to “manslayer”. And while “Battōsai” has no direct meaning, there is a Japanese art called “Battōjutsu” which teaches the correct technique for drawing, cutting with, and sheathing a sword, much like Iaidō.

However while Iaidō deals primarily with the process of correctly drawing, cutting and sheathing techniques, Battōjutsu takes it a step further and teaches techniques for *multiple cuts* before resheathing. So together, the name “Hitokiri Battōsai” is perhaps one of the most ominous combinations you could ever have.

And the name was not undeserved. During his time as an assassin, Himura Kenshin he was considered an unbeatable warrior, killing many, many people, until one day he decides that he has done enough killing.

He becomes a rurouni, a renegade former assassin, who wanders the countryside helping people in trouble, to atone for his murderous past. Hence the name: Rurouni Kenshin. Once a rurouni, Kenshin meets a renowned Japanese swords smith called Arai Shakku, who has also decided to start making weapons for protection rather than killing, and it is he who gives the Sakabato to Kenshin.

I thought it was a cool, if a little cliched, story. The sword, however differentiates this from similar stories. I present Himura Kenshins Sakabato:

Himura Kenshins Sakabato

Himura Kenshins Sakabato

[click image to view full size]

From the intro pic, you can see that this is a beautiful, though not particularly noteworthy sword, except for one thing. The edge is on the inside of the curve of the blade, as opposed to the outside. This is a symbolic feature, intended to externally show that it’s wielder is a pacifist, and that the sword is not intended for lethal combat.

However the Sakabato poses a rather interesting structural question. The curve on a katana is a result of differential heat treatment, that makes the front edge of the blade hard, but leaves the spine flexible. During the tempering process, the front edge expands, while the spine does not, which results in the signature curve.

Thus a traditionally heat treated Sakabato is technically a rather complex feat. Since only the heat treated edge of a blade will expand, a sword would never curve in the direction of the edge, only away from it. So the only way a sakabato could be traditionally be made would be to forge an exaggerated reverse curve into the blade, *before* heat treating.

The curve would have to be enough to not only compensate for the resulting straightening that would occur during the heat treatment of the edge, but also still have enough curve left over for it to retain it’s signature Katana curve. It would take a very experienced smith to know exactly how much curve to forge into the blade.

Perhaps that was the point. Perhaps successfully pulling off a Sakabato was the signature of a master swordsmith, and made it the ultimate pacifists weapon. Hmm. That’s cool an all, but I could think of better solutions. Like don’t use a sword at all, just use something else. Like a Louisville slugger. Maybe in steel.

But that’s just my practical side speaking.

Anyway, cool plot lines and metallurgical complexities aside, this replica is actually one of the nicer ones I’ve seen in a long while. From the simple black circular tsuba, to the gold accent on the pommel, it is a very accurate, and very well put together, sword.

With quality fittings, real ray skin and cord wrapped tsuka, full tang carbon steel blade with dual mekugi, this is not only very well crafted, but a beautiful and sturdy design, intended to be dismantled and maintained in the traditional fashion:

Sakabato - Tsuka

Sakabato - Tsuka

[click image to view full size]

But while modern metallurgy might allow us to get away with a reverse bladed sword, without any of the mechanical hassles that would be associated with traditional metal working, I still would not advise any careless swinging of such a weapon. You never know, reverse blades may still have anomalous physical properties…

It might cut a hole in the fabric of space and time, and the tip may slice through, come out the other side and whack you in the back of the head. No, seriously, you gotta be careful with these kinds of things. Trust me, I’m a Balrog, I would know.

Hey, don’t roll your eyes at me, I’m just saying… K, fine. Suit yourself. Just make sure you bequeath your Sakabato to me in your will…

Yeah, It’s Phyreblade. P-H-Y-R…

What?

Himura Kenshins Sakabato – [True Swords]

12
Oct
08

Another “movie inspired” weapon…

So here we are again, another day, another weapon. Todays weapon is yet another example of a movie weapon, suggested by a reader, G-Man. And I am happy to say that this time around, there is a legitimate connection between the weapon and the movie it is inspired by:

Batman Begins Cane Sword

Batman Begins Cane Sword

[click image to view full size]

OK. So what you are looking at is a “Batman Begins” Cane sword. Yeah. This is a replica of the cane sword used by the Protagonist Ra’s Al Ghul during his confrontation with the Bats in the Movie Batman Begins. At last! A weapon that actually came from the movie!! Some auspicious alignment of the stars must have occurred!! Or something… 😉

I must say it’s actually not a bad looking piece of kit at all. An all black cane, with an all black cast metal (heh) head, with a rounded globe head, and a ridged cylindrical grip… I find it quite aesthetically pleasing.

The stainless steel blade is also not bad either. The long, narrow, fast, light blade is  more or less standard fare for sword cane applications, and this one is no exception. Except this one is of a slightly different design than usual, sporting what looks like a double edged rapier blade, as opposed to the normal single edge.

Not bad at all, though with a blade so slim, the lack of a thick spine does raise strength concerns. But in a Cane staff this is of less importance than in a regular “full duty” sword. Speaking of which, I like the choice of shape for this grip, the IMHO a ball is a much better end than the ovoid, hook, snake dog/wolf head or simple hoop I often see in these designs.

Granted, cast metal is not the ideal grip material, but for the purposes of inconspicuous carry, it serves it’s purpose well. My only concern would be how far down into the grip the tang extends. Assuming it goes all the way to the ball, I’d say it is likely to be a fairly durable design.

But the fun doesn’t end there. The cylindrical sheath that makes up the rest of the cane actually locks in place using a small latch on the side of the blade, just below the grip. A nice touch if you ask me. Many traditional cane swords rely on a threaded insert, which, while strong, does take forever to take apart.

The latch idea is considerable faster, though it does comes with the downside of being weaker than “screw on” sheathing. But so long as you don’t intend to be whacking the various local hooligans daily with your Batman Begins sword cane, this little detail should be of little concern.

Now a little word of warning. Most of the versions I saw out there were oput together with the cheap cast alloy metal and stainless steel blade versions. They will do fine for display purposes, and casual use, but if you really want to walk around with something of higher quality, I’ve got just the thing.

I found a version of this sword cane floating around from Windlass Steelcrafts, that is said to use solid aluminum for the grip and sheath, and a high carbon steel rapier blade. This version is probably a bit more expensive, but would absolutely be the bees knees. Definitely the version you want to get if you can afford it.

So, all told, I like it. I really like it. If I were looking for another Sword cane, (as opposed to another shikomizue) this would certainly be the one I’d get. After all, If it was good enough for the ninja that trained the Batman, who am I to fault it…? 😀

Batman Begins Sword Cane (Windlass Steelcrafts Version) – [888KnivesRUs]

Batman Begins Sword Cane – [eCrater]


04
Oct
08

Cool Kunai…

If you were following my last few posts, you may remember a comment I made about the cutlery industries use of “Metal” (aka cheap cast alloys) to form certain sword parts (usually the hilt), in spite of the fact that steel is relatively cheap.

Now I will readily admit that steel is much harder to work into complex shapes than it is to case an alloy, but still, there are some times when steel is the right thing to do. Like with these Kunai:

Red Kunai

Red Kunai

[click image to view full size]

Now the beauty of these kunai is that they have been designed for throwing use, which usually means all steel (usually a high carbon or spring steel) construction, and a properly balanced design. Now these  Kunai have been modeled after those used in the Naruto series, and barring the use of a red grip wrap as opposed to the white wraps used in the anime, are a fairly close approximation.

But more importantly, notwithstanding that this particular kunai design is not really the ideal for throwing (Yes, you heard right, in spite of all the anime hype, they are not the best throwing knife design) the fact remains that they will probably be made from steel. Sweet, sweet steel.

No alloys, no resins, no cheapo construction… Well maybe a *little* cheapo construction methodolgy, but not with cheap materials, making this one of the best replica anime Kunai that I am aware of today. And IMHO, the fact that it is steel alone, would probably make it worth having.

And incidentally for the curious among you, i’ll explain my whole “not the ideal throwing implement” comment. An ideal throwing knife should be able to be thrown either from the tip or the grip. This design will make a great tip thrower, but the large abrupt ring on the grip increases the chances that it would hang up in the hand if thrown from the grip.

that ring could also makes it a little harder to balance, (which is important for other reasons) though that could theoretically be figured out during the design stage. The topic of what makes an ideal throwing knife is one I think I will dedicate a post to in the future because it is quite the interesting one. But I digress.

My point is, I really wish knife designers could do the same for every knife they designed and made. Real grips, not alloys, proper steels, etc. I know it’s an unreasonable request, but if they did, they would make lots of folks, like me, happier than a foody at a food fair…

We’d also be perpetually broke for the rest of our natural lives, but so long as I got to adorn the walls of my cave with lots and lots of cool, well constructed swords, I don’t think I’d mind all that much… 😀

Red Kunai – [True Swords]

28
Sep
08

Marketing at it’s best….

I was leisurely doing my regular knife ogling when I ran into what is sure to be a premier exhibit in “Phyreblades Hall of Jacked-Up Marketing Gimmicks”. It’s something i thought was marketed with a *wee bit * more flourish than was required. Take a look:

CRKT Fixed Blade MercHarness

CRKT Fixed Blade MercHarness

[click image to view full size]

This is the “MercHarness” fixed blade carry harness from CRKT (Columbia River Knife and Tool). Yes. A MercHarness… Sounds totally hard core doesn’t it… Yeah… “Fixed Blade Carry Harness”. Too cool. Could it carry your great grandfathers old 10lb pocket watch? Entirely possible. But is it just enough for the CRKT marketing folks to hang themselves with? This is what I’m guessing.

This “MercHarness Fixed Blade Carry Harness” is officially described as milspec paracord with the internal stranding removed, and little rubber “keepers” added. Yep. Now don’t get me wrong, I love CRKT’s stuff, one of their folders is my favorite daily carry. However seeing as I’m not a particularly sophisticated creature, I may be missing something here.

And this is it. As far as I can tell, this “Carry Harness” looks and sounds a terrible lot like just a fancy bit of rope. Yep. Thankfully the site I found it on no longer appears to carry it (possibly just out of sheer embarrassment, but who knows). But it seems to me just a little bit presumptuous to call this glorified length of gutted paracord a “MercHarness”.

But I could be wrong. You tell me…

CRKT MercHARNESS Fixed Blade Carry Harness thong/rope thingy – [True Swords]

26
Sep
08

Sweet Slivers of Side Folding Steel Batman!

Folding knives have been around for a long time. As a result there are a whole lot of different folding pocket and automatic knife designs, but of late there is rarely much new innovation these days. So it’s cool to see the occasional little tweak to the venerable folding pocket knife design. Like this one:

Boker Black Magnum Folding Neck Knife

Boker Black Magnum Folding Neck Knife

[click image to view full size]

This here, ladies and germs, is a Boker side folder. Appropriately named the “Boker Black Magnum Folding Neck Knife”. Yeah. I don’t think you can get any more descriptive with a name than that. Weeell, maybe you can. But it would be insanity. Madness.

Please, no. Not Sparta. Madness. Just madness. Yes. Thank you very much.

Anyway, back to the foldings. Unlike the traditional, single pivot pin pocket knives, which I guess you could technically call “edge folders”, as they pivot open from the front edge of the grip, these pivot open from the side of the grip, on a hinge pin. Basically, traditional design=pivot pin. Side open design=hinge pin.

Got it? Good. Hinge pin=side open and pivot pin=edge open. Two legs good, for legs bad. Make sense? Wait… Or is it the other way around… Eeer… What am I talking about… Bah! Who cares.

Boker Neck Knife

Boker Neck Knife

[click image to view full size]

The point is that they are cool. And a little different. And just as useful as a pocket knife. Though to be honest, it would be a mistake to call them original. Why? Because this design is not new. I had a side folding pocket knife like one of these many many years ago. It was a whole lot smaller, but it was a pretty nice little knife.

And one nice thing about these designs are that they are much, much slimmer than your regular edge open design. Side openers like these generally consist of the blade, a small lock, and just enough additional material around the blade, be it polymer/ABS/steel to protect the blade when closed and provide a handle/grip area.

Smith & Wesson Viper

Smith & Wesson Viper

[click image to view full size]

The resulting folders are a lot more compact than the thick, side scaled, liner locked design of their edge opening counter parts, and therefore make for better neck knives and for compact pocket carry. Pretty nice actually… And best of all, they come in black… 😀

Boker Black Magnum Folding Neck Knife – [True Swords]

S&W Viper Side Open Folding Knife – [True Swords]

Boker Neck Knife – [True Swords]




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