Gear Review: Wiley X Ozone

The Ozone is a new model which introduces yet another innovation from Wiley X, the Click Air Gasket.

In this review, the version of the Ozone on test also features the Wiley X CAPTIVATE lens which I previously covered as a separate in-depth review – Wiley X Captivate Lenses (Models shown – Contend, Peak and Breach).

As someone who relies daily on the best quality sunglasses, but that also needs EN. 166 & ANSI Z87.1 safety standards, Wiley X has been my go-to brand and has never let me down.

Since first finding Wiley X many years ago, I’ve not looked back when it comes to eye protection, lens quality, fit and style.

Review Videos

Starting with a short format sixty second review:


Onto a full video review covering many more details:


What’s in the box?:
As a model that uses the facial cavity seal (in this case the click air gasket), as well as the normal neck strap, it also includes a headband retaining strap, so the Ozone can be worn just like goggles
There is a zip up storage case, and a dual-purpose cloth bag that can also be used to protect the glasses and as a cleaning cloth.


A good look round the Ozone – Things to look out for here are:
Being absolutely fresh out of the box, here you can see the retail tag with the model details still on the arm. Scrolling through the gallery you are taken round the Ozone to get a feel for the characteristics of this model including details like the hinges and logo on the arms.


Click Air Gasket Details:
Now to focus onto the click air gasket itself; the gallery starts with an overall view of the foam border of the facial cavity seal. Then we move onto a series of photos with the click air ventilation open and closed (including looking from inside). Lastly showing the gasket removed.


Goggle style head strap:
A brief section to look at the goggle style head strap and how this fits to the end of the Ozone’s arms.


The Click Air Gasket removed:
You might not want to use the Ozone with the facial cavity seal all the time. This excellent feature can, in some cases, lead to steaming up of the lenses, even with increased ventilation, so you can just pop the click air gasket out and use the Ozone as the bare frame.
This also gives us an opportunity to look over the gasket separately.


Measuring Light Transmission:
Wiley X are great at providing all the specifications for all their different lens variations. I wanted to just take my own measurement to compare.

Using a lux meter, and taking a control measurement, then a measurement with the lens in place over the light sensor, you can see here that the Blue Mirror Polarised CAPTIVATE lens has a 10.62% transmission (for the frequencies this light source / lux meter respond to).

This lens version is one of the lowest transmissions and perfect for my requirements.


What it is like to use?

Readers who follow me might remember I have a condition making me hyper-sensitivity to light, and that this means I wear sunglasses every day at all times that I am outside during daylight hours (and frequently indoors as well). So when I say I have lived with these sunglasses from Wiley X, I have lived with them and worn them for hours and hours every day for months.

In most cases I prefer polarized lenses for glare reduction and enhancing colour depth and am very familiar already with this CAPTIVATE lens.

If you have not yet tried a Wiley X model with facial cavity seal, I thoroughly recommend you do, they are something quite different, providing you with a close fit and unmatched level of protection and coverage. You really feel protected in the way you would normally need to be using goggles to achieve. They are not a complete seal, so are not appropriate if you need complete protection from dust, but instead give you much better protection from wind and grit than normal sunglasses can provide.

‘Active wear’ is a good term for the models with facial cavity seals, as they often need you to be active and moving for the ventilation to keep the lenses from steaming up, especially if you are hot, or if the air is very cold.

Knowing the reality of near-goggle like eyewear, the Click Air system then improves the situation. With a simple click of the gasket above your nose, you open up an extra vent to allow more air flow and ventilation. Then just as easily, once the extra ventilation is no longer wanted, another click to close off the extra vent.

The position of the Click mechanism means it sits against your face, so it is not possible to operate this while wearing the Ozone and also wearing gloves. If you are wearing gloves, you’ll need to quickly take the Ozone off, to open or close the vent. If you have bare hands, you can carefully squeeze the Click mechanism while wearing the glasses. So depending on what you are doing this may or may not be practical to open/close on the move.

Taking the gasket off completely, initially makes the Ozone feel a whole size larger, and takes a bit of getting used to after feeling the warmth and protective effect of the facial cavity seal. I do go between using the gasket and not depending on the activity, and/or my temperature and the outside temperature. Also, for the thorough cleaning I give them, the gasket always comes off to give full access to the lenses and frame. I also wash the foam seal gently with a gentle ecological washing up liquid to keep this clean.

Until you get used to it, there is another feeling you might get with the facial cavity seal. Due to the seal being in direct contact with your face and round your eyes, it can feel as if the seal itself is pushing the glasses slightly off your face. The head strap provided will completely resolve this and give you a sense of security that nothing is going to shake them loose. Similarly, the standard neck lanyard strap with its sliding toggle can give you a very similar result.

With many different ways to wear the Ozone you, are getting a brilliantly flexible pair of sunglasses that will protect you from much more than sunlight.

Remember Wiley X offer a wide range of sizing options with the specifications clearly shown so you can find the right fit for you – another reason I find Wiley X difficult to beat.


Review Summary

The views expressed in this summary table are from the point of view of the reviewer’s personal use. I am not a member of the armed forces and cannot comment on its use beyond that covered in the review.

Something that might be a ‘pro’ for one user can be a ‘con’ for another, so the comments are categorised based on my requirements. You should consider all points and if they could be beneficial to you.

_______________________________________________
What doesn’t work so well for me
_______________________________________________

Nothing comes to mind.

_______________________________________________
Things I like
_______________________________________________

Click Air Gasket – allows ventilation to be increased.
Ozone can be used without the Click Air Gasket as it can be removed.
Goggle style head strap included.
Superb visual clarity with CAPTIVATE lens.
Very resilient frame.
Shell case and cloth case both included.
Safety rated eyewear.
Wrap around protection.
Comfortable and secure.

Knife Review: Sandrin Knives Torino

A Tungsten Carbide bladed knife! The Torino from Sandrin Knives features a blade made from Polyhedral Tungsten Carbide (PTC), a flexible grade of tungsten carbide that has superb edge retention and measures HRC 71 on the Rockwell scale.
The Torino’s blade also has a unique ‘raw carbide’ finish, giving it its striking appearance. Pivoting on ceramic ball bearings provides a super smooth opening and closing action, with the blade held securely open by a Recoil Lock mechanism.
Join me in this review of the Sandrin knives Torino for a thorough look at the knife.

Review Video

A thorough look at the Sandrin Knives Torino with the Tactical Reviews detailed technical specifications and close up view over the entire knife.


A few more details:

A good look round the Torino – Things to look out for here are:
Using red, high visibility, milled G10 for the handles and a reverse-skeletonised design to reduce weight gives a very distinctive look to the Torino (even before you see the blade).
A black PVD coated pocket clip can be fitted on either side or removed completely.
The Polyhedral Tungsten Carbide blade’s raw TC finish adds further to the distinctiveness of this knife combined with the fact the Torino’s blade is super slim at a maximum of only 1.2mm thick!
Sandrin Knives have used a Recoil Lock for the Torino with a sliding back spacer lock lever on the back of the handle.
PTC, being super-hard at HRC 71, gives the Torino’s blade a very different look on the primary and edge bevel grinds.


The Blade and Handle – Detailed Measurements:
For full details of the tests and measurements carried out and an explanation of the results, see the page – Knife Technical Testing – How It’s Done.

The blade is made from Polyhedral Tungsten Carbide.


Explained by the Maker:

With the unique material used for this knife blade, I’m including the manufacturer’s own description here for ease of reference.

An advancement in the science of blade materials, Sandrin knives are crafted from our patented Polyhedral Tungsten Carbide (PTC), a flexible grade of tungsten carbide that outperforms steel in edge retention. Measuring HRC 71 on the Rockwell scale of hardness, Torino retains its razor-sharp edge far beyond steel knives. We call this StaySharp Technology™. New for Torino is the blade’s raw carbide finish – its striking appearance is achieved by grinding the PTC with fine diamonds. Unlike steel, the Torino blade is completely rustproof making it suitable for both fresh and saltwater conditions. The blade’s thumb ramp features carefully executed jimping, while the rest of the spine and finger choil is chamfered for comfort.

Torino’s ceramic ball bearing action provides for a smooth opening and closing experience. A robust thumb stud provides for one handed blade deployment. But what really makes the Torino a modern marvel is a completely redesigned mechanism we call the Recoil Lock. This ingenious locking system is a gift to the knife community by knife wunderkind Snecx Tan, who refers to it as his PowerLock. Thank you, Snecx, for this remarkable innovation. The beauty of Tan’s recoil lock is the simple yet efficient design. The ambidextrous action delivers positive force (grip) to secure the blade in its rock-solid open position. Closing the knife is accomplished by sliding the backspacer to the rear, eliminating accidental blade unlock.

High-visibility red G-10 handles provide for quick acquisition in emergency situations. Stylized pockets serve to both reduce weight and add tactile feel for positive grip engagement. A reversible titanium pocket clip enables right- or left-hand carry and features our Fibonacci hole sequence design, a distinctive mathematical trademark of Sandrin Knives.

At only 2.29 ounces, Torino is so lightweight it practically disappears in your pocket. And, with a blade length of 2.95 inches, it’s also legal to carry in most jurisdictions.

The Factory edge up close:

Followers of Tactical Reviews will know my views on factory edges, but to recap:

Anyone using a knife will need to sharpen it. That first factory edge is just like the first tank of fuel that a new car comes with (or first charge of the battery).
A good factory edge is a ‘nice to have’ but not a ‘make or break’ for a good knife, as you will be putting your own edge onto it soon enough.
The factory edge does however indicate the care a knife maker has put into the final finish.
It is for this reason Tactical Reviews measures factory edge sharpness and specifications, and includes this information in the detailed technical testing.

As a further look at the factory edge, this section has been added to include some high magnification photos of the factory edges.

The magnified images of the edge show the Torino’s blade’s different look. They also show what appears to be a micro-serration from the grinding process, which aids the cutting ability of this special material.


What is it like to use?
One of the most noticeable features of the Sandrin Knives Torino when you use it is the super-slim, super-slicey blade. The sharpness measurements for the factory edge, are in this case more important than most knives, as I suspect the PTC blade may be difficult to sharpen, and will almost certainly want diamond sharpeners.
Sandrin have supplied the Torino super sharp with the very impressive average BESS measurement of 165. I tend to sharpen a knife to less than 200 BESS, so this is sharper than my normal target sharpness.
Actually with it being so so hard, I’ve not yet worn the edge enough to want to sharpen it, so this aspect of using the PTC blade is to come later.
It certainly is lightweight and easy to carry.
The jimping on the spine of the blade is useful, but with the blade being only 1.2mm thick, I find it quickly becomes uncomfortable to apply a lot of force directly onto the blade spine.
With the forward placed finger groove, choking up on the blade is natural and makes finer work really accurate.
For me, the only aspect that lets the Torino down somewhat is the spring pressure on the recoil lock combined with the finish on the lock lever – together these make unlocking with the pad of your thumb uncomfortable and not entirely reliable. I find I tend to have to curl my finger or thumb over and use my nail to get sufficient purchase to release the lock. If the lock bar protruded a little more and the spring pressure was slightly less, I think this would come together nicely.
However, that said, the recoil lock does allow the Torino to remain slim and gives a reliable lock-up.


Review Summary

The views expressed in this summary table are from the point of view of the reviewer’s personal use. I am not a member of the armed forces and cannot comment on its use beyond a cutting tool or field/hunting knife.

Something that might be a ‘pro’ for one user can be a ‘con’ for another, so the comments are categorised based on my requirements. You should consider all points and if they could be beneficial to you.

_______________________________________________
What doesn’t work so well for me
_______________________________________________

High spring force on the recoil lock.
Lock lever too low profile.

_______________________________________________
Things I like
_______________________________________________

High-tech blade material – Polyhedral Tungsten Carbide
Fantastic factory edge with BESS of 165
Incredibly long lasting sharpness.
Blade is only 1.2mm thick!
Lightweight design.
Reverse-skeletonised G10 handle.
Low profile recoil lock.
Slick blade movement on ceramic bearings.
Double-sided thumb studs.
Ambidextrous deep-carry titanium pocket clip.

Knife Review: Benchmade Bugout 535-3

An even lighter, premium version of the already ultralight Benchmade Bugout, yes, that’s right. Join me in this is detailed review of the Benchmade 535-3, the special super-ultralight Bugout. Now, you say Carbon Fiber, I say Carbon Fibre, but let’s not worry about that (I might use either or both), and this is why the 535-3 is even lighter, as it has Carbon Fibre handles with the minimal steel inserts milled into them. The 535-3 is the Benchmade Bugout – Plus!

Review Videos

Starting with a short format sixty second review:


Onto a full video review covering many more details:


A few more details:

What’s in the box?:
Very well presented in a foam lined box, the Bugout comes in a cloth bag that you can use to help keep the pocket fluff at bay. A clip/handle protector card also gives you information about the Benchmade Axis lock that the Bugout uses.


A good look round the Bugout 535-3 – Things to look out for here are:
The Bugout uses a mini deep-carry steel pocket clip, that is removable and can be fitted on either side. Blue highlights on the spacer/lanyard hole and thumb stud, play beautifully off the black Carbon Fibre adding to the premium feel of this version of the Bugout.
Ultralight construction means there is only the one spacer and otherwise clear space through the handles.
One side of the pivot bolt is capped, and the torx screw head on the other side only. Torx screws are used throughout for the construction.
Looking in closely at the axis lock bar and how it moves as the blade is opened. The Bugout, despite being a lightweight knife, is also known for being tough, and the use of phosphor bronze washers adds to the robust and reliable build.
There is something about this particular blue and how it sings on the ambidextrous thumb studs.
And then we have the Bugout’s slim, flat ground blade. No weak points, and very ‘slicey’ (should be a word if it isn’t) with a very useful shape. The smooth plunge line ensures maximum strength and exposed heel-edge provides easy maintenance and a useful rear-point (there isn’t a sharpening choil, but the end of the edge closest to the handle is unobstructed and easy to sharpen). This detail is something I look for in all knives, but especially an EDC knife.


The Blade and Handle – Detailed Measurements:
For full details of the tests and measurements carried out and an explanation of the results, see the page – Knife Technical Testing – How It’s Done.

The blade is made from S90V steel.


The Factory edge up close:

Followers of Tactical Reviews will know my views on factory edges, but to recap:

Anyone using a knife will need to sharpen it. That first factory edge is just like the first tank of fuel that a new car comes with (or first charge of the battery).
A good factory edge is a ‘nice to have’ but not a ‘make or break’ for a good knife, as you will be putting your own edge onto it soon enough.
The factory edge does however indicate the care a knife maker has put into the final finish.
It is for this reason Tactical Reviews measures factory edge sharpness and specifications, and includes this information in the detailed technical testing.

As a further look at the factory edge, this section has been added to include some high magnification photos of the factory edges.

Please be aware that these images were taken with the knife straight out of the box without any stropping and they do have some manufacturing residue visible on the edge.


What is it like to use?

The Bugout is a modern classic and has gained much favour and recognition. This is actually the first Bugout I’ve owned (not the first I’ve handled), so prior to this period of review testing I did not have much experience of using a Bugout. I’ve not been disappointed at all, quite the opposite.
With the 535-3 being the lightest Bugout to date, an already ultralight knife, it sits like a feather in your hand. The Carbon Fibre feels so light, comfortable and warm to the touch, you don’t want to put it down. How can it be so strong and so light?
Benchmade have also got the blade geometry spot on. Using a thinner blade, but not too thin, makes it slice exceptionally well. The exposed heel of the edge (similar to when a sharpening choil is used) makes sharpening of the entire edge easier. I find this secondary ‘point’ a very useful feature for fine work.
Shown here in my XL-glove-size hands, there is enough handle for a firm grip, while the overall knife is compact enough (and very slim) to forget you are even carrying it.


It’s proven its worth with all sorts of random jobs. Here a chandelier replacement candle tube being trimmed to length, and then its been out with me dealing with anything and everything else life has presented.
This edition with the Carbon Fibre handles has been making it so difficult to put down. It want’s you to carry it, it wants you to use it.
I hope this will remain a permanent part of the Benchmade Bugout line-up as it really is superb.


Review Summary

The views expressed in this summary table are from the point of view of the reviewer’s personal use. I am not a member of the armed forces and cannot comment on its use beyond a cutting tool or field/hunting knife.

Something that might be a ‘pro’ for one user can be a ‘con’ for another, so the comments are categorised based on my requirements. You should consider all points and if they could be beneficial to you.

_______________________________________________
What doesn’t work so well for me
_______________________________________________

Nothing to see here.
(There is no such thing as the ‘perfect’ knife, but I have nothing to complain about.)

_______________________________________________
Things I like
_______________________________________________

Super-Ultralight and slim.
Smooth, warm, comfortable Carbon Fibre handle.
Slim, strong blade.
S90V steel.
High-end fit and finish.
Deep carry clip.
Ambidextrous.
Demands to be handled and carried.

Light Review: Fenix PD36 TAC

In this review of the Fenix PD36 TAC, I’m going to be taking a detailed look at the details, comparing its performance to the specifications, checking out the beam and how usable it is. The review includes video content as well as photo galleries and technical testing results.
Join me in this look over the Fenix PD36 TAC Flashlight / Torch, a light built around the increasingly common larger 21700 cell (compared to the typical 18650 previously used). This has a specialised tail-cap with physical lockout, dedicated ‘Tactical’ setting, and a normal ‘duty’ multi-mode setting.
Let’s get to really know the Fenix PD36 TAC!

Video Overview

Starting out with the video overview of the PD36 TAC.


What is in the box?:

Unpacking the PD36 TAC and its accessories.


Taking a more detailed look at the holster:

Before moving onto the PD36 TAC itself, this is a run round the supplied belt holster.


A good look round the PD36 TAC – Things to look out for here are:
In the gallery are details of the design, the clip, bezel, contacts, threads, battery, and more…


The beam

Please be careful not to judge tint based on images you see on a computer screen. Unless properly calibrated, the screen itself will change the perceived tint.

The indoor beamshot is intended to give an idea of the beam shape/quality rather than tint. All beamshots are taken using daylight white balance. The woodwork (stairs and skirting) are painted Farrow & Ball “Off-White”, and the walls are a light sandy colour called ‘String’ again by Farrow & Ball. I don’t actually have a ‘white wall’ in the house to use for this, and my wife won’t have one!

Below are the indoor and outdoor beamshots giving you an idea of throw and spill. The PD36 TAC has a great balanced beam with great area lighting.


Batteries and output:

The PD36 TAC runs on the supplied 21700 USB-C rechargeable cell.

Please note, all quoted lumen figures are from a DIY integrating sphere, and according to ANSI standards. Although every effort is made to give as accurate a result as possible, they should be taken as an estimate only. The results can be used to compare outputs in this review and others I have published.

Measured output is a great match for the specifications.

For the runtime graphs, I have included runs for Turbo and Tactical, which have different starting outputs. Also included is a graph of the first six minutes to better show the difference between Turbo and Tactical modes.


The PD36 TAC in use
The general change towards using 21700 cells is great for two reasons; better runtime/output and a comfortable size to hold. If you were completely unaware of the reason the battery tube was larger than previous generations that run on 18650, you would just be thinking the PD36 TAC is nice and comfortable to hold. The fact that it now houses a 21700 cell with that 5000mAh capacity is a further bonus to the comfort in the hand. Win win at this point.

With that greater capacity of the 21700 cell, this compact tactical light can pump out a huge 3000lm. Go back and look at the runtime graphs to see how impressively the PD36 TAC keeps its output going. The output limitation is more down to thermal capacity for longer runs.

This is the first of this style of Fenix tactical tail-cap I have been able to try. It has three functional modes. One is a simple and solid physical lockout. Line the selector ring up with the padlock, and the button does not move.

The selector ring certainly feels secure enough in its positioning that you won’t be accidentally going between locked and unlocked by accident. You pre-select the type of use you want and leave it there. Bear in mind, you can also use this to lock the PD36 TAC on. If you first turn it on to a mode you want and then rotate the selector ring to the padlock, you can’t turn it off again.

Being designed as a ‘Tactical’ light, most users will likely keep it in ‘Tactical’ mode – instant 2000lm output with momentary or latched action. Half press the tail-switch for momentary output, complete the press to latch it on (or just go for the full press to start with). Holding the switch fully in for about 1s and you enter strobe mode.

Move the selector round to the ‘Duty’ mode and you have access to five different output levels. Starting on ‘eco’ the first time you use it, but after that the last used level is remembered. Changing modes requires a half press – this can either be a half press from off and then cycle through modes before latching on, or a half press after turning the PD36 TAC on with a full press, the half presses then cycling through modes. Personally I would have preferred an automatic reset to eco after a few seconds being off as after not using it for a period of time, you won’t know if you had eco or turbo set, and this could be quite a shock.

The Fenix PD36 TAC is a purposeful lighting tool, and can instantly be reconfigured as either a dedicated ‘Tactical’ light or into a multi-mode ‘Duty’ light to fit with your needs.


Review Summary
The views expressed in this summary table are from the point of view of the reviewer’s personal use. I am not a member of the armed forces and cannot comment on its use beyond that covered in the review.

Something that might be a ‘pro’ for one user can be a ‘con’ for another, so the comments are categorised based on my requirements. You should consider all points and if they could be beneficial to you.

_______________________________________________
What doesn’t work so well for me
_______________________________________________

‘Duty’ mode last used level remembered (so could be on eco or turbo).
Tail-switch has a relatively stiff action.
No grip ring provided.

_______________________________________________
Things I like
_______________________________________________

Great area lighting beam profile.
Nearly 3000lm from a compact light.
Three function tail-cap selector ring.
Dedicated ‘Tactical’ mode.
Proper physical lockout.
Uses a large capacity 21700 cell.
Supplied cell has built-in USB-C charging.
Very usable holster supplied.

Knife Review: Spyderco Respect – an American Bowie

With the Spyderco Respect, Sal Glesser is paying tribute to the traditional American Bowie knife. The design of the Respect dates back decades, but Sal didn’t have the opportunity to make it a reality until a couple of years ago. In this review I’m very excited to have the opportunity to take a very detailed look over this mighty bowie, and see how it really is to use.

Video Overview

In this video of the Respect, I’ll show you how it arrives, how it compares to some other well known bowie knives, and run through the Tactical Reviews technical specification measurements.
This is some of the pre-use processes I go through for a new test sample before I can put a knife through its paces, so doesn’t include the in-use aspects beyond first impressions.


A few more details:

What’s in the box?:
Or should I say bag? – This is the unpacking of the Respect, and differs from the typical Spyderco as it does not come in a box.



A good look round the Respect’s sheath – Things to look out for here are:
Starting with the leather sheath that comes with the Respect. Simple and functional with a classic strap and stud fastening.



A good look round the Respect – Things to look out for here are:
A mighty blade, and a superb level of fit and finish. Take in the detailed close-ups and enjoy.



A good look round the Respect’s handle – Things to look out for here are:
A fully concealed, full tang, with the two G10 slabs secured with four bolts.


The Blade and Handle – Detailed Measurements:
For full details of the tests and measurements carried out and an explanation of the results, see the page – Knife Technical Testing – How It’s Done.

The blade is made from CPM 154 steel.


The Factory edge up close – NEW FOR 2022!:

Followers of Tactical Reviews will know my views on factory edges, but to recap:

Anyone using a knife will need to sharpen it. That first factory edge is just like the first tank of fuel that a new car comes with (or first charge of the battery).
A good factory edge is a ‘nice to have’ but not a ‘make or break’ for a good knife, as you will be putting your own edge onto it soon enough.
The factory edge does however indicate the care a knife maker has put into the final finish.
It is for this reason Tactical Reviews measures factory edge sharpness and specifications, and includes this information in the detailed technical testing.

As a further look at the factory edge, this section has been added to include some high magnification photos of the factory edges.

The Respect’s factory edge shows an aggressive micro-serration, and slices well beyond the sharpness measurements might indicate in the technical testing table.


What is it like to use?

It’s a mighty blade! So the first impression is that this is a big knife, big blade and big handle. I take XL size gloves, so you can see here the handle is generously sized, perfectly big enough to use with heavy gloves on and stay comfortable.
The large choil easily allowing a finger to be placed for a choked up hold when carrying out finer cutting tasks.
A deep hook at the butt means even if you have a bit of grip slippage, the hook will stop you losing grip. That hook also allows for a low grip for greater leverage in heavy chopping.


Staying on the subject of grip, though the handle scales are relatively smooth, the four bolt holes actually (intentionally or not) give a lot of extra purchase. The holes have a sharp edge to them so when gripping your hands press into them and grab.

CPM 154 – oh yes, one of my all time favourites and this knife is one big piece of CPM 154. I have to drop in another name here, Leatherman, and the reason being that in Leatherman pliers with replaceable wire cutters, the cutter is made of CPM 154, chosen as the idea tool steel to cut hardened steel wire! And here it is as the blade steel used for the Respect – Yes! (Ok a bit of steel bias there, but I like it.)

This knife has a spine measuring 7.5mm, which is massive! Yet with a full flat grind 38mm long, the blade geometry is still a strong slicer – it does ultimately still need to part the material past that 7.5mm spine, but for such a strong blade it is still impressively good at slicing.

As a chopper it is very capable. In the photos below all the wood is well seasoned, even the small branch shown. In dry timber the blade can bind a bit when cutting in deep, but once you get a few relief cuts in the wood chips fly! Grip is perfectly secure when chopping and the grip hook definitely helps.
There is a also a photo of a single chop into an industrial cardboard tube (5mm dense card walls) which it went through with ease.


The Respect is not for the faint hearted; when you carry this knife, you mean to carry a knife. It is imposing, impressive and a powerful cutter.

Review Summary

The views expressed in this summary table are from the point of view of the reviewer’s personal use. I am not a member of the armed forces and cannot comment on its use beyond a cutting tool or field/hunting knife.

Something that might be a ‘pro’ for one user can be a ‘con’ for another, so the comments are categorised based on my requirements. You should consider all points and if they could be beneficial to you.

_______________________________________________
What doesn’t work so well for me
_______________________________________________

Needing to choke-up on the blade for fine work.
Belt loop position makes the knife ride high.
The blade spine is almost too thick.

_______________________________________________
Things I like
_______________________________________________

Large choil makes sharpening to the very heel easy.
Comfortable handle, large enough to wear heavy gloves.
Traditional look in modern high performance materials.
Quality leather sheath.
CPM 154 steel.
Full Flat grind.
A really ‘purposeful’ design with presence.

 
Discussing the Review:
The ideal place to discuss this review is on the Tactical Reviews Facebook Page
Please visit there and start/join the conversation.

As well as the Tactical Reviews Facebook Page, please consider visiting one of the following to start/join in any discussion.

BladeForums – Knife Reviews (US based Forum for Knife Discussion)

CandlePowerForums – Knife Reviews Section (Largest and Friendliest Flashlight Community Forum)

Classic Knife Review: Spyderco Police and Military Models

We all know them, we might not all have them. These two Spyderco classics (Police and Military) have stood the test of time and use, and are still current models – for good reason.
I refer to them as ‘Classics’ and Spyderco calls the Police model a ‘Signature’ model and the Military a ‘USA Made’ and/or ‘Save and Serve’ model. Both really qualify as a classic in my opinion and are worthy of being in your pocket.

Video Overview

This video is a detailed look at the Police and Military Models, from handling to technical measurements. Hopefully something for everyone and you should have a better idea if you should also pick up one or both.


A good look round the Police Model – Things to look out for here are:
Being of full stainless steel construction, and having brushed steel handles, to ensure you get it in new condition, the handle scales come with protectors fitted that you need to peel off.
The Police model has drilled and tapped holes in all four possible clip positions, so you can decide the very best clip position for your needs (personally I changed this to tip-up and right handed).
Being a long standing model it unsurprisingly uses a back lock.
With a rivet type of blade pivot, there is no adjustment or user servicing possible. The pivot rivet finishing is excellent and completely invisible.
This example is the part serrated version, but it also comes in a fully serrated or full plain edge blade.


A good look round the Military Model – Things to look out for here are:
Immediately unmistakably Spyderco, with the G10 handle scales, pocket clip and opening hole, the Military is a good sized folder.
Unlike the Police model, the Military can be taken apart, with the G10 handle scales bolted together and a pivot bolt. Also unlike the Police model, the Military has only the one clip position (tip-down right handed).
Recessed into the G10 handles are minimal steel liners and the Military uses a liner lock. Just to drive home that point about ‘minimal’ steel liners, this is what allows for the light weight yet still strong construction. The liner on the non-lock side just goes from handle bolt to handle bolt to the pivot (supporting the stop pin as well). The other partial liner is larger as it includes the lock bar.


The Blade and Handle – Detailed Measurements:
For full details of the tests and measurements carried out and an explanation of the results, see the page – Knife Technical Testing – How It’s Done.

An extra detail not in this table is the edge angle of the serration on the Police Model. One of the reasons the Spyderco serrations cut so well is that they are chisel grind (so only one side is sharpened) making the edge angle very fine – in this case just 17 degrees total inclusive edge angle (0 degrees one side and 17 the other).


The Factory edge up close – NEW FOR 2022!:

Followers of Tactical Reviews will know my views on factory edges, but to recap:

Anyone using a knife will need to sharpen it. That first factory edge is just like the first tank of fuel that a new car comes with (or first charge of the battery).
A good factory edge is a ‘nice to have’ but not a ‘make or break’ for a good knife, as you will be putting your own edge onto it soon enough.
The factory edge does however indicate the care a knife maker has put into the final finish.
It is for this reason Tactical Reviews measures factory edge sharpness and specifications, and includes this information in the detailed technical testing.

As a further look at the factory edge, this section has been added to include some high magnification photos of the factory edges.

In this case the serrated part of the Police model (the plain edge part was sharpened before the imaging device was ready) and the edge of the Military model.

These two edges are outstanding and will the standard by which others are judged!


What is it like to use?

Before going further with using them, a quick side by side (and one on top of the other) size and form-factor comparison.


Moving onto the two knives in the hand, and despite being very similar in size, they do feel very different when you hold them. The G10 handles of the Military make for a different weight distribution plus fill the hand more. Of the two, the Military is definitely the more comfortable and easy to have a very secure grip of. Conversely though this makes it harder to carry, taking up more pocket space. The Police model is very slim and even at the size it is, slips into your pocket so easily.


In terms of carry, the Police model also gives you all four possible clip positions (or five if you count – ‘no clip’) so there isn’t any limitation of the clip position. Although that said, this current version is missing a lanyard hole if you wanted one of these.
For my own purposes, I have moved the clip from the factory position to tip-up and right handed.

Of course for edge maintenance, especially considering the serrated edge on the Police model, the Spyderco Tri-Angle Sharp Maker (also pictured above) is ideal and easy to use.

Both the Police and Military models do have a very pointy blade tip, the Police being the slightly pointier of the two. It makes them very aggressive at penetrating, and for anyone more used to a drop point or other less eager blade tip might find them unwieldy or difficult to control. You certainly need to use great care where depth of cut matters, and the long blade can make this control all the more difficult. You will get used to it, but it does need care and consideration when wielding these super capable blades.

Review Summary

The views expressed in this summary table are from the point of view of the reviewer’s personal use. I am not a member of the armed forces and cannot comment on its use beyond a cutting tool or field/hunting knife.

Something that might be a ‘pro’ for one user can be a ‘con’ for another, so the comments are categorised based on my requirements. You should consider all points and if they could be beneficial to you.

_______________________________________________
What doesn’t work so well for me
_______________________________________________

Military –
single clip position.
clip/G10 abrasive on pocket edge.

Police –
no lanyard hole.
slippery when wet.

_______________________________________________
Things I like
_______________________________________________

Military –
Very light for its size.
Very ‘eager’ blade (full flat grind and sharp point).
Liner lock makes for very smooth opening.
G10 handles have excellent grip.
Spyderco high quality fit and finish
One of the best factory edges I have ever seen!

Police –
Slim design makes it easy to carry.
Pocket clip has four possible positions.
Spyderco serrations incredibly sharp.
Three options for blade (plain, serrated, part-serrated).

Hope to see you at IWA 2022 soon!

 
Discussing the Review:
The ideal place to discuss this review is on the Tactical Reviews Facebook Page
Please visit there and start/join the conversation.

As well as the Tactical Reviews Facebook Page, please consider visiting one of the following to start/join in any discussion.

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Light Review: Cyansky H3 and H5 (built-in Red/Green Filter)

Cyansky have come up with a novel way to solve the problem of having multiple colours of light in a single device without many of the compromises multi-LED or LED swapping lights might have. Most people will have come across, or used, colour filters to change the output of a white beam, but these are easily forgotten or lost. In the Cyansky H3 and H5 hunting models, glass filters are completely contained within the head of the light and the patented mechanism lets you drop a red or green filter in front of the XHP35 HI LED with a simple twist of the control ring – nothing else needed. The H3 and H5 use the increasingly popular 21700 cell to provide more power and runtime, but can run on an 18650 or 2 CR123s for added versatility.
Join me in the detailed examination of these two hunting lights and see how they perform.

Video Overview

Starting with a look over these light in a short video.

This is what arrived from Cyansky –

A good look round the H3 – Things to look out for here are:
As you may have already seen in the video, first up are the contents of the box. The H3 has a belt hanger (rather than full holster) providing a head-up belt carry option. Moving round the H3 and we get onto the mode switch and filter control ring at the base of the head. The tail-switch is semi-recessed, so allowing for tail standing, but with cutouts to ease access to the switch. The stainless bezel ring is wide and well finished. And then a first look at one of the filters.
The H3 comes with a 21700 with built-in USB-C charging. As it arrives there is a plastic insulator to prevent accidental discharge in the light.


A good look round the H5 – Things to look out for here are:
With the H5, the details are the same as for the H3, so I won’t repeat them, the difference is in the much larger head and reflector to give extra beam range.
One small observation which doesn’t affect function at all is that the mode switch has room to move about and twist, so might look a little ‘off’. This doesn’t affect function at all, and is only mentioned in case you see the button looking slightly twisted (this is the same for both models).


The Remote Switch and scope mount:
The supplied remote switch replaces the tail-cap of either the H3 or H5. The remote switches are in a rail-mount unit, and you have a momentary only switch, plus a forward clicky latching switch much like the original tail switch.
The scope mount is basic and easy to use, but I would not use it for heavy duty setups. For smaller calibers and for quick tool-less mounting it works well, and has enough stand off for the H3 or H5.


The Cyansky special feature – built-in colour filters:
Now for a set of images to just show the built-in filter change. I’ve used the H3 here as with the smaller head it is easier to see the filter better than with the H5. First no filter – with the filter holder just having a little bit of extra reflector round the base of the LED. Then part of the way to dropping a filter in place (this is NOT how you use it, just showing the filter holder disk rotating). Finally with the red and green glass filters shown in place over the LED.


The beam

Please be careful not to judge tint based on images you see on a computer screen. Unless properly calibrated, the screen itself will change the perceived tint.

The indoor beamshot is intended to give an idea of the beam shape/quality rather than tint. All beamshots are taken using daylight white balance. The woodwork (stairs and skirting) are painted Farrow & Ball “Off-White”, and the walls are a light sandy colour called ‘String’ again by Farrow & Ball. I don’t actually have a ‘white wall’ in the house to use for this, and my wife won’t have one!

Stepping through these beamshots we have the H3 white beam, then H5 white beam, and as you go through the gallery it is H3 then H5 to show a direct comparison on each colour indoors and out.


Batteries and output:

The two models runs on 21700 cells. Logging the built-in USB-C charging gives these traces for the cell provided with each light.

Please note, all quoted lumen figures are from a DIY integrating sphere, and according to ANSI standards. Although every effort is made to give as accurate a result as possible, they should be taken as an estimate only. The results can be used to compare outputs in this review and others I have published.

The Output table also includes the manufacturer specified lumens for comparison.

For the runtime trace, only the highest and lowest output colours were used (white and red) and all traces were run on maximum power.


The H3 and H5 in use

The first aspect to mention is how the H3 and H5 themselves compare. Actually this photo doesn’t show it accurately, but from the control ring to tail-cap, the H3 and H5 are identical. Not a surprise as they run on the same cell, have the some output specifications (apart from beam range), and have the same controls. So when holding them, they are the same for grip and controls.

With the larger head, and larger reflector, the H5 does have the edge in overall output, and it focuses the beam more for a longer reach. This gallery shows some longer distant photos on a golf course driving range. The H3 and H5 beams compared directly. The focus of the H5 is clearly visible at these longer ranges.


Using a zoom rifle scope this gallery has a set of images at the same exposure to show the gain in distance the H5 has over the H3. The magnification is set to 8x in this first gallery.
Important to note is that the distance markers the scope is aimed at are 250 yards, and that the H3 is still usable on white output, but struggles a bit at this range on the coloured output.
Also bear in mind that I am using a .22lr on this course, so 250 yards it beyond the limit I would take a shot.


Now taking the scope to 16x magnification. Although all the images here are the same exposure, I have had to use a longer exposure than for the 8x magnification. At this range and magnification the H3 was pushed too far. the H5 was still working well.
This was to test the limits for range and scope magnification. (At 32x magnification I could not get any photos to come out.)


All of the above proves the H3 and H5 work well on or off a rifle, and the coloured output filters, being built-in, are so convenient, allowing for changes of output colour with nothing but a turn of the control ring.
Although I normally use dedicated coloured lights (so the LED is red or green) due to being most efficient and having the best quality of beam, it means I need to carry entire replacement lights to change colour. There are also LED swapping lights on the market but these compromise the thermal path as the heat sink has to move. With the H3 and H5, the single LED has an optimal thermal path for heat sinking.
Using filters on any light does reduce efficiency as you are ‘wasting’ up to 93% of the actual output (in the case of the red 1306lm down to 94lm). This is the cost of the convenience of instant access to red green or white light.

As long as you have a suitable rail to mount the remote switch on, this switch works really well. By including both a dedicated momentary switch, and a latching forward-clicky switch that gives you momentary and permanent on options, you have all you might want. If you don’t have a rail in the right place, this switch won’t really work for you, so consider this before choosing.

If you normally use a dedicated coloured light, then do you switch to the H3 and H5? – if you ever have a need to change between red, white, and green, then the all-in-one solution these Cyansky lights give you allows you to stop carrying additional separate lights.
If you use, or would consider using colour filters, then the H3 and H5 are no-brainers. Why would you want external filters you can lose, that are often a plastic filter material, when you can have self-contained selectable glass filters?

Review Summary
The views expressed in this summary table are from the point of view of the reviewer’s personal use. I am not a member of the armed forces and cannot comment on its use beyond that covered in the review.

Something that might be a ‘pro’ for one user can be a ‘con’ for another, so the comments are categorised based on my requirements. You should consider all points and if they could be beneficial to you.

_______________________________________________
What doesn’t work so well for me
_______________________________________________

Using filters is not efficient compared to dedicated coloured lights.
The mode button can look a little twisted as it has a little too much room to move.
Basic belt hanger provided.

_______________________________________________
Things I like
_______________________________________________

Glass filters are used.
Simple turn of the control ring to change filter colour.
21700 power (plus can use 18650 or CR123 if needed).
Supplied 21700 is USB-C chargeable.
Good choice of beam pattern between the H3 and longer reaching H5.

You can find the Official Cyansky Store Here, if you would like to get hold of these lights. (I have no affiliation and get no reward for you buying from this link).

Knife Review: Extrema Ratio T4000 C

Included in this review of the Extrema Ratio T4000 C, a compact classic Tanto with Extrema Ratio’s tactical sheath and handle, are a video with an overview and detailed measurements, galleries of the packaging, sheath, and knife, plus insights into how it is to use.

Let’s take a closer look.

The video tour of the T4000 C:
In case you haven’t seen the video overview and vital statistics of the T4000 C on Tactical Review’s youtube channel, here it is. This video covers a quick tour of the knife and sheath and a detailed technical measurements section.

A few more details:

What’s in the box?:
For the T4000 C, it ‘just fits’ into the box. The usual Extrema Ratio high quality two-part box is used.


A good look round the T4000 C’s Sheath – Things to look out for here are:
Even though ‘Compact’ the sheath manages to fit in a lot of features and details. Solidly constructed and made to fit the compact knife perfectly. On the back is a set of PALS/MOLLE webbing and strap, with the front also having webbing for mounting a small pouch or other item. A gap in the welt at the base of the sheath allows for free flowing drainage. To comfortably accommodate the thick blade stock the welt is similarly sized.
A strong double press-stud retaining strap wraps the handle and keeps the knife securely in place. you can adjust the position of the retaining strap as it is held in place with a Velcro adjusting system. There is an anti-catch smooth plastic insert backing the sheath to prevent wear and damage to the back of the sheath when sheathing the knife.
With there not being a specific belt loop, using the MOLLE strap, you can make your own belt loop to fit the size of the belt.


The T4000 C knife itself:
From the first view of the satin blade emerging you get drawn into admiring the knife. The beautifully executed fuller on each side of the blade enhances the lines. Extrema Ratio’s distinctive grip design provides an index finger groove to give a strong grip. A single bolt holds the rubber grip in place on the full tang, that extends through to a striker and lanyard hole. Sharpening choils – what is your take? – well the T4000 C does not have one, so the sharp edge stops just short of the plunge line. Also note a front lanyard hole, allowing you to fit a cord to both the front or rear of the handle.
Being the compact model, the handle length sits just within the hand (I take XL size gloves).


The Blade and Handle – Detailed Measurements:
For full details of the tests and measurements carried out and an explanation of the results, see the page – Knife Technical Testing – How It’s Done.

There is a lot to take in here. These measurements are shown in the video.


What is it like to use?

It’s a tanto – nice – I always like a tanto. There is a practicality of having an almost chisel-like tip and what I refer to as the secondary point (where the tip and main edge meet) for various cuts instead of using the actual tip of the knife.
The elegant lines are simply a pleasure to look at as well as to use, and being the compact knife class from Extrema Ratio this is a really useful day to day blade. Something you are more likely to pick up and use, as it is very practical.

I knew after measuring the factor edge I would want to re-profile the edge bevel, 25DPS is too wide/heavy for a small knife, even 20DPS would be more than I want. But before doing this, with the sharpness measuring a respectable 281 BESS average I wanted to see how it fared. It would not shave arm hair with this edge, however…

Factory edge put to some minor fire prep tasks. The wood here is fully seasoned so much harder than any green wood. Kindling and feather sticks, perfectly good with these little pieces of wood, using the edge out of the box.

After a bit of use, it was time to change the edge bevel to 17DPS and bring that cutting edge a bit closer to the plunge line. As always, putting your own edge on a knife makes all the difference, and now it sings along shaving and slicing ferociously.

Extrema Ratio are good at Tantos, and this is one of their best. The thinned down blade thickness with full flat grind give it great slicing power, yet the blade still starts at 4.1mm at the spine, so is plenty strong for heavy use. Go back and look at the blade in the video as the light plays off it and you really appreciate the qualities of the T4000 C.


Review Summary

The views expressed in this summary table are from the point of view of the reviewer’s personal use. I am not a member of the armed forces and cannot comment on its use beyond a cutting tool or field/hunting knife.

Something that might be a ‘pro’ for one user can be a ‘con’ for another, so the comments are categorised based on my requirements. You should consider all points and if they could be beneficial to you.

I’m trying something slightly different and starting with what doesn’t work so well, so I can finish on a more positive note

_______________________________________________
What doesn’t work so well for me
_______________________________________________

No sharpening choil – personal preference.
Retaining strap is a bit bulky for a compact knife.
Factory edge usable but a bit ‘heavy’.

_______________________________________________
Things I like
_______________________________________________

Build quality and finish.
Practical well designed sheath.
‘Handy’ size being a ‘C’ Compact model.
Very comfortable grip.
Front and rear lanyard points.
Elegant blade profile with fullers.
Reliable steel choice.

 
Discussing the Review:
The ideal place to discuss this review is on the Tactical Reviews Facebook Page
Please visit there and start/join the conversation.

As well as the Tactical Reviews Facebook Page, please consider visiting one of the following to start/join in any discussion.

BladeForums – Knife Reviews (US based Forum for Knife Discussion)

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Tactical Briefcase Face-Off Part 4: The Results

Part 4 of the Tactical Briefcase Face-Off is all about the results! All three Tactical Briefcases in the Tactical Briefcase Face-Off series came from Military 1st who I’ve been buying from for many years.
This series of reviews was originally planned to be a single group review, but has evolved into something much larger as I used each of them for EDC, lived with them, got to know them well, and more and more needed to be shown. In parts 1-3, each of the three Tactical Briefcases (First Tactical Executive Briefcase, Hazard 4 Ditch Bail Out Bag and Condor Metropolis Briefcase) has been shown in detail, and now in Part 4, it all comes together to explain how I got on with each one and their strengths and weaknesses.

Part 1, featuring the First Tactical Executive Briefcase can be seen here.
Part 2, featuring the Hazard 4 Ditch Bail Out Bag can be seen here.
Part 3, featuring the Condor Metropolis Briefcase can be seen here.

The video tour of all three Tactical Briefcases:
In case you haven’t seen the video overview on Tactical Review’s youtube channel, here it is. This video covers all three of the bags.


Part 1 – The First Tactical Executive Briefcase:
The story of this Tactical Briefcase Face-Off series of tests starts with the bag in Part 1, the First Tactical Executive Briefcase.
These briefcases all have to follow in the footsteps of my established 20l EDC backpack. Over the years, this 20l class of backpack has fitted in nicely with my EDC needs, and the most recent of these being the Wisport Sparrow 20 (also reviewed here).

Taking this as my optimum starting point, all the Tactical Briefcases would need to measure up in terms of capacity, storage and function.
We all carry a variety of gear, and I just went with what I actually do EDC rather then contriving a test. Laying it all out ready to move over to the First Tactical bag, this is what I currently carry, and I’m not even going into the contents of the two organiser pouches in there.

So it’s all moved over, and there is room to spare, an easy and straightforward bag move; immediately feeling comfortable and reassured the bag will stand up to use.

Then I EDCed this bag for two weeks before considering a swap to the next.
At this stage where I didn’t have any comparison of using the other bags, I could only consider the first impressions of this one on its own. Sturdy and comfortable would be the words that come to mind. The well padded strap made carrying it very easy despite now having only a single strap compared to a backpack with two. The strap is also super stable, and doesn’t slip off the shoulder thanks to the rubberised grip-strips on the strap pad. On the floor it is nice and stable in the upright position, and the double-zipped top flap makes for very easy access to the main compartment, just make sure you put the most needed items near the front of the compartment.
The well made handles also add to the sturdy feel of the bag and when carrying with the handles they feel very strong. I keep a 10″ tablet in the laptop section rather than a laptop, and this only needs one side of the padded section, easily accessible with the twin zip.
With all the compartments using zip closures, noise levels are low when getting bits and pieces out, although when carrying it is prone to a bit of strap buckle squeaking from the swivels.
A strong start to the face-off series.

Part 2 – The Hazard 4 Ditch Bail Out Bag:
Hazard 4, oh Hazard 4, I do like Hazard 4 quality, so wanted this to be my favourite. I always try not to allow any bias into my assessment of gear, so had to have strong words with myself on how I was going to view this one.
Of the three, the Hazard 4 was the only one not to come with a shoulder strap. I understand why, but actually don’t think it is right that it doesn’t, considering the price point. There isn’t much choice in matching shoulder straps, really only two, the one on test, and a version with additional stabilisation strap that clips onto another loop on the bag. As a separate item, the strap is however of a quality that justifies it being an item itself, and not something made to fit within the overall pricing.
The use of a different fabric on the bottom that is waterproof and wipeable is a great touch and gives the impression this bag will definitely go on and on.

On swap-over day; laying out everything ready to move it over.

Slightly surprisingly, it was a bit more of a challenge to fit everything in, with the bag developing a bulge on the admin panel side. This, combined with the padded laptop compartment on the opposite side being quite rigid and stiff, gave the bag an imbalance and it seems to want to topple over rather than sit upright. This tendency continued throughout the fortnight it was in the EDC rotation, and was somewhat annoying. It was as if the laptop section was a bit too big for the side of the bag, which also impacts on the carrying capacity.

Reliability was never in question, and the strap made it comfortable to carry. Both because the contents seemed to fill it more, and the lack of capacity to take any top-up EDC items, made it appear smaller than the First Tactical bag. This was also noticeable while carrying it; I did not knock into door frames or walls with it (as much), so carry was easier, and more streamlined.
With the admin panel being the whole side, instead of a couple of smaller pockets, it was not as easy or convenient taking out a few bits a pieces. It would be more suited to a kit of items where you need to see them all at once to pick the one you want.
The main compartment however was very usable, with the internal end pockets, pockets on one side and a versatile webbing panel on the other. Access is quick and easy with the lightweight double-zip flap top.

Part 3 – The Condor Metropolis Briefcase:
And the transfer day for the last bag in this series after two weeks with the Hazard 4 – the Condor Metropolis Briefcase. A quick pre-transfer comparison, with the Condor looking like it might be quite similar in capacity to the Hazard 4.

Ready to start packing everything away to get it to all fit in the right way for my regular needs. By this stage I was finding that it is quite a challenge to keep reorganising gear you use all the time after having just got more or less used to where it was in the previous bag. The different pouches, pockets, sections make you rethink where things need to go.

The Condor had no issues accommodating everything without bulges or struggling at all and it is sits upright happily on the floor. The sharp eyed might have spotted in the bag contents there is a large admin pouch in coyote, and this is a Condor too.
In this bag, more Velcro closures are used than the previous two. When in the workplace, ripping these open does make quite a bit of noise and attracts attention. Velcro also has the tendency that once you take one thing out, if the flap falls closed by itself, you then have to rip it open yet again to get item two out. One of the front pockets does have a zip for part of its compartment, but then Velcro for the other part, and the second front pocket is fully Velcro.
Access to the main compartment in this bag is via a single zip requiring you to ‘dig’ a bit more to find things as the compartment is not as openly presented as those with a double-zip flap opening.
The main compartment having only two mesh pockets is simple in structure. Mesh pockets don’t provide much protection for what is in them, or what is on the main compartment, but the mesh does mean it is really easy to see what is in which pocket without a rummage. It really depends on what you carry for how well they suit your needs. In my case I have several items that partially poke through the mesh if I’m not careful.
For the first time in this series, I noticed some discomfort with the shoulder strap, but remember I do have this loaded up and the pouches I carry contain many tools, so can be pushing 10kg. With a slightly lighter load this would not be an issue.

And I was wrong:

After using all three bags, I was convinced that there was a big difference in their empty weight. I was clearly wrong, with this quick gallery of using luggage scales to weigh all of them. So it was purely an impression based on structure, build and materials. (These are in the same order as the previous parts, so it is the Condor that is a touch lighter.)


Review Summary
And here we are now, where having used each of these three bags for a minimum of two weeks EDC, and looked at them in detail, I can come to a conclusion. The conclusion I can come to is only for my own EDC, as our choice of EDC is entirely personal.
On the way to reaching this point I hope to have given you enough information to find one that would suit your needs, with the video tour, individual detailed feature reviews, and the comments and impressions I’ve described earlier in this part of the face-off.

The views expressed in this summary table are from the point of view of the reviewer’s personal use. I am not a member of the armed forces and cannot comment on its use beyond that covered in the review.

Something that might be a ‘pro’ for one user can be a ‘con’ for another, so the comments are categorised based on my requirements. You should consider all points and if they could be beneficial to you.

_______________________________________________
What doesn’t work so well for me
_______________________________________________

First Tactical – Can seem a bit big.
First Tactical – Strap squeaks a little when walking if heavily loaded.
Hazard 4 – A bit unbalanced and tending to topple over on the floor.
Hazard 4 – Strap needs to be purchased separately.
Condor – Main compartment access restricted by single zip opening.
Condor – Strap has less padding so is not as comfortable with heavy load.

_______________________________________________
Things I like
_______________________________________________

First Tactical – Easily has room for additional top-up items.
First Tactical – The most comfortable and stable strap.
First Tactical – Comprehensive pockets, pouches, all with easy access.
Hazard 4 – Super build quality (the others are great, but I’d put this ahead on build).
Hazard 4 – Lots of versatile webbing.
Hazard 4 – Large admin panel packed with features.
Condor – Great all-rounder with simplified main compartment.
Condor – Concealed compartment (easily accessed by pulling the front D-loop).
Condor – Drainage holes in elasticated end pockets in case of leaks.

In short, all of these Tactical Briefcases stand on their own merits. If I had purchased any one of them on its own, it would have done the job, and I would have been happy. You won’t go wrong with any of them, but if you have any specific requirements, take a look back over the details to see which would be the better fit.

For my uses, and the gear I EDC, one of them was a better fit, and is currently serving as my EDC bag…

10 Years of Reviewing, Testing and Innovating.

This milestone sneaked up on me, and it is now 10 years ago that I published my first review – from then on it just kept evolving.

It started when I found online discussion forums and I became an avid reader of online reviews and active participant in forum threads – but there was something slightly lacking…

As a photographer, engineer, outdoorsman and perhaps most importantly an enthusiast, I felt I might have something extra to offer and decided to give it a go and see how I got on. The more work I did, the more I was drawn into trying to better understand the tools and gear I love, and share all of that with others in the most factual and well illustrated way possible. I’ve always worked to introduce new ideas and new tests, many of which have been adopted by other reviewers as part of a standard ‘review formula’.

In 10 years I’ve built up a considerable body of work and experience, and many valued friendships and relationships. Hopefully there is still a lot more to come, with improvements and innovations along the way.

What you might not realise (as a reader) is that all of this (photos and photo editing, technical tests, graphic design, web design, website hosting and management, video and video editing, social media, writing and many more things needed to keep it all running) is done by one person. One person with a full time job in I.T.

I often call reviewing my ‘Hobby Job’, taken as seriously as a paid job, but something that costs quite a bit to keep going, and is a lot to fit around the demands of normal life. ‘Enthusiast’, or is that ‘Crazy Person’?

Thanks to everyone that has supported me so far, in both believing in me, and in taking the time to look at the reviews – Subwoofer (aka Richard)