Drop x Bradford Guardian 3.5 in Nitro-V

A stellar fixed blade knife for almost anyone’s need, just buy the better steel options.

Fixed blade knives, for me, are like lighters. I absolutely love having them, playing with them, and even using them — but I don’t really have a ton of need for them. Which is why when I saw Bradford Knives post a good deal in partnership with Drop on the Guardian 3.5 (I have the Guardian 3, 4, and 5) I thought I would give their ‘.5’ series a go. For science.

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  • Member Journal — 9/21/2020

    Widgets are amazing, let me tell you precisely what works great.

    This week: iOS widget tips; best of the year preview; headlamps preview; Multitools preview; review city. Short post this week, because I have no need to waste your time to spike word counts.

    Also: it’s almost the end of September. Wtf.

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  • Lochby Quattro Pen Case

    Does one thing really fucking well.

    Note: Lochby has previously provided me with review samples, however I purchased this one with my own cold cash.

    I’m a pretty big fan of Lochby’s aesthetic and the simple but well planned out gear they sell. Recently they launched a pen case called Quattro. As the name suggests, it is designed to house four pens, nothing else. But I would be remiss to not point out what Lochby states this is for:

    The Quattro fits your favorite four pens for when you’re on the go.

    That they label it as a carrier for your favorite four pens is just perfect. I love that little touch.

    Continue reading: Lochby Quattro Pen Case

  • Spyderco Ladybug

    Comically tiny, but very useful still. A reluctant knife-owners knife.

    I need to confess to something upfront: when I ordered this knife I thought I was getting something comparable in size to the Mini Bugout I recently reviewed — a Spyderco challenger to that epic knife. But I really didn’t read the specifications there, did I? Turns out this knife is tiny. Like really small. How small, well:

    Continue reading: Spyderco Ladybug

  • Member Journal — 9/14/20

    Have a small kit ready to go for your kids, is a crucial thing. But don’t worry I’ll also talk about a briefcase you should keep your eye out for a sale on.

    This week: my dad bag needed more gear; building emergency kits for kids while the west burns; I actually wrote a section about which wrist I wear my watch on; preview of the Mystery Ranch 3 Way Briefcase; and a fantastic and affordable clothes drying rack.

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  • FourSevens Mini MKIII

    Small, powerful, and well built. Heck of a light.

    Now this is a light. Dang. I actually forgot to review this, because I thought I already had. Alas I was wrong — I’ve been carrying the Mini mk III in my bag to the office for a long time and after testing the Prime C1, I pulled this out to play with it and see how it compared.

    I’m glad I did, because it made me realize just how good this light is.


    The Mini mkIII comes in two variants: standard (reviewed here), and turbo which trades output for throw. I mention that because it is easy to assume the wording of turbo means it is a higher end model, but it’s not — all turbo means on these lights is that it is useful in different applications. For most, the standard will be a more useable light, especially considering it has a slimmer overall profile.

    The power output on this light comes from an included RCR123A (optionally can be powered from a standard CR123A though it is seemingly discouraged generally). The output comes in at a whopping 900lumens in burst mode (30 seconds before dropping down). That’s impressive from a light about the size/volume of an AirPods Pro case. Actually, it’s kind of absurd.

    This works because of the specialized battery the light comes with, and impresses anyone using the light. On the lowest output the light shines a very usable 1.5 lumen beam that is pleasing, dim while still being bright enough. This mode allows the light to run for an impressive 90 hours.

    This light challenges your assumptions about flashlights a bit, but that’s basically what Prometheus Lights (now the owner of the FourSevens brand) does with all their lights. It shouldn’t be effective for as small as it is, and yet it is effective. It shouldn’t last like it does, with the output profiles it has, and yet it has some run time on it.

    Carry and Use

    Using this light is fantastic, because even though it is a twisty light (twist the head to turn on and off) the controls on it are stellar. Twist on and off twice really fast, and you get turbo. The light turns back on to last used mode, assuming you stayed on that mode last for at least half a second. You can also change up the order of operations with 6 configurations available — I set my light to config 4 which allows me a lot of options, but no strobes as I don’t typically use those.

    The issue with the light is the girth, even though the light is very short and small, it still is quite bulky to carry clipped on to your pocket. So much so, I don’t find it very useable for that configuration.

    That doesn’t mean it isn’t easily carried, as it works well to be carried in a bag, or loose in a pocket. Except, I do need to note: there is a very powerful magnet on the back of the light. Which means it will cling to ferrous metals and generally be very annoying to carry around loose in a pocket.

    This magnet, though, can prove handy as seen below.

    During a recent power outage I found myself needing to use the bathroom, with the Mini being the only light on my person. To illuminate the bathroom, I just stuck it to the light fixture using the magnet. It worked.

    The light is very refined, and you’ll notice it every time you use the light. It doesn’t really matter what you are using it for, it works well enough for that use. Operating one handed, yep. Brightening a room, yep. Stepping on Lego prevention when checking on sleeping kids while not waking them with too much light, yep. Seeing if your cat is being stupid, or if it is being attacked, yep.


    Small, powerful, absurdly useful. That’s how I would describe this light. At $60 it’s not the cheapest out there, but you get a whole lot of bang for your dollar.

    Where the SureFire Backup is huge and over built, the ArmyTek Prime C1 is ugly and a bit unrefined — the FourSevens Mini MKIII screams refinement and power. It gets warm. It’s a bit small to hold for long periods of time. But it gets the job done every time. It fits right in the middle of the two, a nice upgrade from the Prime C1, while not being completely overboard like the SureFire will be for most.

    I wouldn’t say this is the only light someone could own, but for how most people need and use flashlights, this is a really strong contender. The only downside is the battery being non-standard and needing a charger for the battery. Other than that one downside, I highly recommend it.

    Go get one.

  • Member Journal — 9/7/2020

    Buckle up, state of the iPad awesomeness, why people don’t leave Facebook, and waterproof printable paper.

    This week: State of iPad heading into iOS 14; Privacy; Waterproof paper; and taking off medical gloves.

    State of iPad Heading to iOS 14

    Sometimes I forget to write stuff like this out, because part of my day to day work is diving into and thinking about all of this. That said, I wanted to capture some things I have been thinking about, since iOS 14 is coming soonish, and there will be plenty more to write about then.

    For the most part, iPadOS, and iPad as hardware, are both well suited to be the best computer for many people, for many tasks. No longer is there a true limit because of performance — iPad hardware is even faster/more powerful than computers that many people still own and use. There is only a very niche subgroup held back by hardware, and that group may well never be able to adopt something like an iPad — unless iPads gain a plug in hardware expander like eGPUs.

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  • Raw Thoughts on Bag Manufacturers

    Allow me to give you an overview of bag manufacturers.

    I posted a version of this on Reddit the other day, commenting on someone asking about why people love GORUCK over other bag brands. So, here is a slightly expanded version of my very glib takes on bag manufacturers if I were asked to stereotype them all:

    Continue reading: Raw Thoughts on Bag Manufacturers

  • Armytek Prime C1

    It’s not a bad light, but goodness it’s ugly.

    I love a good flashlight, and one of my favorite lights is SureFire’s E1B-MV Backup. I still love that light and I think it is an amazing all around light. There are two small issues with it: there are only two light modes; and it is very expensive. The former isn’t an issue for how I use lights, but the latter is a big issue for me when I recommend gear to people. At $140 it is hard to tell someone this is the light when they could buy so many other options in the same bracket.

    One of those other options is the Armytek Prime C1, which is a less tactical, more practical light. It can be had for about $50 give or take which sale you hit at Armytek. Like the SureFire it runs off a single CR123 and is actually brighter than the SureFire while offering far more light modes and two color temp options.

    Continue reading: Armytek Prime C1

  • Member Journal — 8/31/2020

    A deeper look at why remote work is draining you, and some things I did to get ready for Hurricane Laura potentially heading right for us.

    This week: wait, it’s the end of August now? Shit.

    Oh, anyways, I write about Jerry Seinfeld and remote work; Epic; Surge Capacity; Zuckerberg being an awful person; pop culture; and this Hurricane Laura close call.

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  • Prepping, Bug Out Bags, and Missing the Obvious

    You likely need a charger and charging cable for your phone well before you’ll need a knife in a real bug out scenario.

    I’ve spent a lot of time over the years thinking about bug out bags, and getting them ready to go. I’ve spent countless hours talking about get home bags, and getting them ready to go. Since moving to Houston, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about ‘prepping’ — the act of making sure you can survive in your home for extended time without the world around you being available to you, and getting all that stuff ready to go.

    There’s a lot about doing these things that requires trying to anticipate what might actually happen and what you need to respond well to those situations. The best prepping one can do is to have cash on hand, the recent financial meltdowns have taught us that much — you can survive pretty well with money. Then there’s the health aspect, to be in good shape and all that. Then there’s the smart prepping, where you look at what might impact you (hurricanes, tornados, volcanos, earthquakes) and you prep for that. Then there’s the batshit stuff Reddit and blogs like to talk about where an EMP or CME happens and stops civilization as we know it (read also: One Second After), or a scenario where society breaks down — the key prep it seems for these situations is a cabin in the woods and an absurd amount of ammo for your absurd amount of guns.

    Continue reading: Prepping, Bug Out Bags, and Missing the Obvious