The Key to Self-defense…

Every now and then a product comes to light that I think is pretty nifty when it comes to personal protection and the Tactikey is just that kind of thing. Descrete and unassuming, this little gadget blends into your keychain leaving only you aware of its presence until needed.

So what is it?

Well the Tactikey is a little gadget that allows you to use your keys as an effective striking tool for self-defense! All you have to do is press your house key into the polymer body, attach it to your keychain, drop it in your pocket and your good to go.

The Tactikey is contoured so that it sits securely between your knuckles giving your punch a lot more bite! I have found it to be comfortable when deployed but a bit awkward punching and having my keys flopping about. But….and a big but here….in a self-defense situation that would be the furthest thing from my mind. All I would be thinking about is hitting my attacker to get some separation to either draw my sidearm or escape!

Think about it, when we walk to our cars or house we are typically at our most venerable. Seldom do we scan our surroundings for threats. Most of the time we realize we forgot something in the car because we were too busy thinking about dinner or laundry or our grocery lists. But beyond all that, what’s almost always in your hand in that situation ? Your keys! This is a fantastic product that makes a lot of sense.

Available in several colors, the Tactikey looks less like a weapon and more like a fancy keytag to the uninitiated.

Pocket carry is comfortable once you figure out how and having been accidentally jabbed a few times in the thigh with it I can attest to it’s ability to inflict pain and discomfort! Trust me, it will get someone’s full attention and encourage them to think about their actions!

I like the concept, execution and plain simplicity of this design. It has become a permanent addition to my keyring and EDC logout. Follow the link below to get yours!

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First Camping Trip of The Season…

The laughter and merriment of the campers around us has begun to taper off and is gradually being replaced by the increasingly persistent patter of rain on our tent. The once smokey air now heavy with the smell of rain fills my lungs with a feeling of cleansing and renewal.

The children are tucked into their sleeping bags on the upper level of our bi-level tent system and the soft glow of LEDs illuminate the inside enough to let zoe get in a few pages of her book before bedtime.

This my friends is what it’s all about…

I slept on the lower level in my new ground tent from Napier Outdoors that connects to the truck tent via a nylon sleeve.

There is more than enough room in the 8×8 addition and I was comfortable on my cot opposite the folding camp kitchen I setup inside of it. The Sportz Link, as they call it, really enabled us to up our camping game!

With the Link we have extra living space for playing games, watching movies or just relaxing and it really shines as a trip saver if it rains!

With the camp kitchen indoors, food prep was a breeze. I had room to get everything ready for the fire free from bugs and the sink made sure our dishes and hands were clean!

Keeping clean and germ free is very important while camping. Nothing ruins a trip faster than a run in with the “stomach flu”! The huge steaks we had for dinner were delicious and the kids ate every bite! I had no idea children could eat that much meat!

After cleanup it started to rain. We put on a couple movies and got cozy. The tent system kept us dry through the night with no leaks.

The morning found us well rested and hungry. The fair for today was to be hotcakes and sausage followed by some archery time and croissant wrapped hotdogs for lunch!

It was a fantastic trip with good food and fantastic company. As I said at the beginning, this is what it’s all about!

As always,

Thanks for reading!

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Scrub (n.) … “hard-working servant”, c.1709

As I have said before, there is something visceral and grounding about using a knife and I dont mean a butter knife spreading jam on your toast… I mean REALLY using a knife! Slicing up an apple in the field, making feather sticks to start a fire, cleaning a fish for dinner. Its those acts that connect us to our primative selves and strengthens our bond and brotherhood with Otzi the Iceman. Of course technology has changed since Otzi went into the Alps with his stone knife…bronze replaced stone and as time went on and metallurgy developed iron replaced bronze and steel replaced iron. Shapes changed and edges became sharper and harder then ever before but at the heart they are still the same tools they were a melenium ago…

Its in that vein, that sense of utility I see the Scrub from CRKT. Designed by Corey Brewer and made of SK5 Carbon steel, the Scrub has a corrosion restant finish and versatile Persian pesh-kabz shape. Razor sharp and ready for any task, the Scrub hides away in its polymer sheath that’s equally at home on your belt or around your neck.

With the Scrub the mounting options are endless and the polymer sheath quickly adapts itself to any mode of carry. I use it as a neck knife and as such it’s always at hand on the trail or in camp. If your climbing a neck knife may not be the best way to go for fear of it hanging up and quite possibly resulting in injury, but for hiking the trails it’s hard to beat.

The edge was sharp right out of the box and ready for work and I set to making feather sticks and cooking up some SPAM! After lunch was over it was time to see what else it could do…

The spline has nice and crisp 90° angles which are perfect for using a ferro rod or scrape against a piece of wood to make fluff to use as tinder.

The slender point is needle sharp and well suited to making holes in leather or canvas for sewing and cleaning the paint out of the eyelets on jiggead.

The handle is just right in size and the cord wrapped grip gives you a secure purchase allowing you to employ the blade with confidence

Now, I’m no expert but in a defensive role this little knife easily lends itself to thrusting and jabbing while the curved blade is ideal for hooking and slashing of two and four legged opponents alike. It has the potential to make the difference between life and death. It’s lines are graceful and dare I say elegant for a tactical knife!

Click below to learn more and order yours!

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We Are Expanding!

Happy Monday! I’m excited to share that the blog now has a YouTube Channnel. We’re still trying to come up with a snappy name for it but there’s content up and more to come so give it a look and hit the subscribe button!

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He’s Wiley, that Coyote!

The sun was just beginning it’s slow crawl to the west signaling end of Sunday afternoon and the start of Sunday evening when we entered the field. With our chairs set up and rifles on shooting sticks I started calling the coyotes as my Dad and Mike scanned the treeline for movement.

As the calls echoed through the woods they were quickly answered by challenge barks and greeting howls. Minutes passed and no visible sign of these Ghosts of the Forest yet. About 20 min in we spot something out of place…

“10 o’clock” Mike says, “right side of the fencepost…black mass”…

“Looks like a stump to me.” I reply, after figuring out where 10 o’clock was! “Dad, what do you think? ”

After moment or two he says “if it’s a log it’s staring at us!”

The three of us watched it a bit longer and agreed it was a log and continued to call and scan the treeline. I took another look at the fencepost, “hey Mike, is that log still there?”…”nope.” was his reply! And that is how our hunt went, a fantastic game of cat and mouse!!

After several episodes of “Shadow or Coyote” I saw something at the base of a scraggly old pine that just didn’t fit. I called it out and Mike confirmed it looked fuzzy! I readied to take the shot…

With my Henry already up and steadied by my shooting sticks I leaned forward tucking her into my shoulder in anticipation of the recoil. Left hand bracing the foregrip, crosshairs on the fuzzy dark mass, my right thumb engaged the hammer bringing it back to a full stop. “I’m gonna take it ” I said, just above a whisper. My breathing slowed and the wind died down and the grasses in front of my target stopped moving when I heard Mike confirm my intent “Send it…”

BOOM! Hank roared to life launching its 150gr projectile straight and true into the brush! Racking the lever, Hank sent the spent case twirling to the ground, clambering another, ready for a follow up shot. It felt great!

Mike said he saw it run after I shot so we moved toward the trees fully expecting to find our quarry near the tree. Instead what we found were fresh tracks where he had gotten up and sprinted further into the woods. Hoping for a blood trail we fanned out only to hear him calling behind a rise on the other side of the fence! He was safe and he knew it. We walked back to the field, his howls less like a serenade and more like laughter at our efforts!

“Wash, rinse repeat ” this time it was Mikes shot and we were yet again in the trees looking for any sign that we got him. No luck, just more singing from the other side of the fence! The obviousness of our being outmatched and the setting of the sun signaled it was time for us to pack it in.

We loaded our gear and headed home. The drive back was filled with laughter, “what if’s” and admiration for an animal that bested us through skill and adaptation, a true survivor!

Click here for more information on the Henry .30-30!

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“Uh, dad…this tastes like plastic!”

What do you do with two kids and a raging case of cabin fever? You go snowshoeing of course! Now I know what your going to say…yes, they are expensive….yes, they can be hard to find…no, it’s a lot of fun to go trudging through the snow! It’s even more fun when you’ve used snowshoes you’ve made yourself!

So I got this idea that the kids and I should make our own snowshoes…ambitious I know, but it has all the makings of a great project! Coming up with a design, material choices and execution…YouTube to the rescue! I found a video that gave a step by almost step instruction on how to accomplish this task. After a quick trip to home depot we had settled into the basement to construct our shoes. The process was surprisingly simple and within a few hours, they were done. The kids enjoyed the build process and were all smiles with the finished products.

A few inches (like 5!) of snow fell over night and the next morning they tried out the shoes. Wow! They actually worked! The kids trudged around the front yard compacting the fresh snow and getting a feel for how they worked!

Later that week we had another snowfall and I decided it was time for a winter hike! Loading up a sled with food and beverages, off we went into the woods! It was absolutely breathtaking. Snow covered the trees and the ground hushing sounds and giving everything a fairytale kind of look. As we hiked down the trail you could just hear the little rapids gurgling under the heavy ice with the creek splashing out of holes here and there, letting you know that it was still flowing under it’s winter covering. The park seemed more alive than ever with tracks in the snow betraying their makers and being evident to the goings on in this oasis of trees surrounded urban sprawl.

The deer tracks were outnumbered by coyote and closely followed by fox running to and fro and criss-crossing the trail. Most were old but some were fresh. Fresh enough that I kept my head on a swivel looking out for hungry predators. We climbed up to a fantastic overlook and rested while taking in the beauty of the frozen woods. After our break we ascended a bit more until the trail began to wind down off the tree line and plunge straight into the woods. We came to a clear, flat open area that is a vernal pond during the summer teeming with life. This day, the only evidence of life we saw were yet more tracks crossing the frozen pond desperate for food.

We stopped at some felled trees who’s stumps made for nice seats and a table to set my stove upon. The stumps were in a bit of a divot opposite the pond and worked well because it gave me the opportunity to teach my two how to hunker down and get out of the cold wind! First order of business was making the hot chocolate. Sure, the packets were a little old…sure it tasted a bit plastic-y but it was hot and it was chocolate and that was all that mattered!

Down and out of the wind, they sipped hot chocolate and ate Pb’n J sandwiches while I heated up a pot of spagettio’s. With now full, warm bellies Noah and Zoe set to doing what most normal children do when unplugged from electronics and released into their native environment…they began to play and use their imaginations! Gasp, imagine that! They ran around, rolled around in the snow, climbed over logs and played with sticks!

The sun was starting to go down and with it the temperature. Gathering our things, we packed out our trash, reloaded the sled and began the hike out. We rested again at that same overlook and watch the shadows of the trees stretch out long and grey over the undisturbed snow below.

By the time we got back to the truck we were plum wore out! Once loaded and inside, the warmth from the heater felt good. We stripped off our heavy outer layers and sat silent for a moment reveling in the heat pouring out of the dashboard! On the drive home we talked about the tracks we saw, laughed about the funky hot chocolate and what a good time we had together!

Enjoying the outdoors is one thing but being able to share it with your children just makes it so much better! I love you guys!

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A Lady Called Hank…

This past Fall, what was once a lifetime obsession and desire was finally fulfilled. On the day before leaving for deer camp I took ownership of a lever action .30-30 Cowboy Rifle…not just any lever action .30-30 Cowboy Rifle mind you, but an honest to goodness American made Henry! What a beautiful rifle!

My love affair with lever guns began when I was seven years old in a Ben Franklin store in northern Michigan. That summer I had been guarding the homestead with my trusty rubber bullet firing chrome plated plastic six shooter slinging “lead” at foam cups and desperados alike! The first few days after arriving at my grandma’s farm were tough, but once “they” realized this new sheriff wasn’t leaving things quieted down as the bad guys moved out of pistol range to the hills and tree line on the edges of our farm.

So here we are walking around town and we decide to go into Ben Franklins…that’s when I saw her, perched on a shelf just below the cowboy hats was Betsy! I looked at my mom with glee and joy in my eyes, she looked at me with a kind smile and said “ask your father!” I made my case to my dad…. “Oh Dad! This is what I need to keep the rustlers from stealing our cattle and those pesky coyotes at bay!”

“but we don’t have cattle…” my dad said!

“I know, but…” and I tried again to convey how dire the situation was. With a bit more convincing, she was mine! The brown plastic stock molded to look like wood and metal, gold metalic paint on the band around the barrel and tube magazine, the beautiful sleek lever! What a “gun” it was. We had so many adventures rescuing stagecoaches and catching bandits! But like everything Ol’e Betsy gave in to the ravages of time and before I knew it, I had to let her go…

Betsy may have gone but the passion for those rifles remained and I always hoped that some day I would own one. A stout marlin, a handy winchester but never did I ever imagine the day would come that I would own a Henry! The gun that started it all!

Chambered in .30-30 winchester Henrietta or Hank for short, is a an all around general purpose hunting rifle. The tube magazine holds five rounds and loads through a cutout just below the muzzle and holds five rounds. The action is unbelievably smooth. I have tried other rifles and worked the actions only to feel snags, hang-ups and catches in the lever arc. The Henry has none of these issues which directly reflects on the quality of the build. The trigger pull is crisp, releasing the external hammer striking the firing pin and sending the round downrange. Boom! The buckhorn rear sight and front brass pin are easy to use and quick to come on target.

The checkering is beautiful and deep enough to provide adequate purchase on the exquisite wood used for the stock and fore grip. The grain of the wood and the finish is stunning. I’ve never seen a firearm like this before, it truly takes my breath away and you can tell by the fit and finish this is a quality firearm made from quality materials. Henrietta could easily be a safe queen but in my mind that would be disrespectful to the hard work and love that went into the crafting of this beautiful rifle

This gun was on target right out of the box! I was hitting an 8″ ringer at 50yds seated and standing every shot! Not only was she a standout on the firing line but in the staging area too as everyone who walked by “Ooh’d” and “Ahh’d” upon seeing her! Even my dad wanted shoot it!

With the deer trip in the bag I was looking for any excuse to take Hank out and stretch her legs. Along came Christmas and with it a scope and mounting rings from my Kids and my Dad! I got the scope mounted and zeroed and decided it was time for a coyote hunt!

I called my buddy Mike and off we went in search of Yotes! Of course, I had somehow managed to pick one the coldest Sundays of the year to sit in an open field calling wild dogs! The bright sun, hanging in a deep blue sky, lit up the ice crystals in the air making it look as though diamonds were floating about. As the wind bit our faces and frost formed on our lens caps I set up my caller and Mr.Wiggles (rabbit shaped decoy on a motorized base). Mike and I settled into our spots and began the wait.

What a fantastic way to spend a morning!

Scanning the tree line we did see some movement in our scopes and we heard a few yips in reply to the calls but that was it. Must have been too cold even for them! To no surprise Hank functioned without a hitch. Unbothered by the 8°f cold, she still racked and loaded rounds just as smoothly as if she were warm! Having had the cold settle into our feet and hands we decided it was time to go get some food and head home. I gathered up my caller, fetched Mr. Wiggles and called it a day!

Click here for more information on Henry Rifles!

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