The Sheepdog Coalition

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Review: Kershaw Tactical Blur

As with any item marked and marketed as 'tactical', I'm automatically weary of it's practical use. I'm pleased to present to you - the Kershaw Tactical Blur - practical EDC.

The first thing I look for in a practical EDC folder is the pocket clip or otherwise, it's retention device. After seeing the out-of-shape clip on the SOG Flash II I've made it a priority to make sure the clip is attached directly to the body, with more than one screw holding it in place. The Blur, even in it's 'tactical' formation (which is little more than a different grip texture and a flat black colouration) has a well designed pocket clip, found often on Kershaw models.

The technical specs can be found all over the internet:
  • Sandvik 13C26 or 14C28N black coated stainless steel serrated Tanto blade
  • black anodized aluminum handle
  • 3 3/8 inch blade
  • 4.5 inch closed length
  • weighs 4.2 oz  

The knife fills out my hand and is well balanced when the blade is locked open. The blade has grooved thumb studs to engage the assisted-open mechanism - a torsion spring design I'm familiar with after rebuilding my Clash. The blade flicks open with authority and stays open. I'm not about to run any stress tests on this particular blade because it's another loaner from a collector in my area.

The only thing that really turns me off of this knife is the lack of a flipper on the back end of the blade. I'm sure it's just because I'm used to using them, but it's a feature I wish this knife had.

A good blade - a fine handle - a safe locking mechanism and a quick open. At around 50 bucks, I would buy this knife for EDC - maybe with a different blade shape I'd be more likely to drop some more coin on it, but no more than 50 bucks. It's a good knife, but the 'tactical' label, the flat black colouring and the blade shape might give you some unwanted attention - depending on it's use.


A simple review for a simple product.

I received my envelope of nametapes that I ordered today. Finally, after the postal workers returned to work, I got a package with all that I ordered from

What's a nametape?

It depends on who you ask. For some, it's military mandated identification and must fit certain prerequisites for uniform standards. For others, it's a label and others still, a simple ID system.

I use mine for a few different things.

I've got a few with velcro backing that read 'wish' - a shortened version of my online username. I have a few with no backing that read 'admin'. I have a few more in high visibility colours that read MED.

With the exception of the MED tapes, I use mine for simple ID - at any sponsored event, I will be instantly recognizable. Kinda like a nametag, for cool kids.  =)

The MED tapes have a more practical ideal. I attach them to my IFAK pouches for instant recognition. If I ever had to tell someone to retrieve my first aid kit, I could instruct them to get the one with the red tag.

The tapes are well done. Perfect, in fact. Every tape I have ever ordered has come from this company - and I'll do it again. If you need nametapes, get them from The velcro hasn't come off of tapes I've had for years and the colours don't fade.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Review: Professional Survival Solutions

Book Review: James Shepherd-Barron.

Professional Survival Solutions; “Everything that follows is based on recent, real-life experience that has been proven to work.”

Review by: Forest Sight

          In short, this is the best urban and deep field survival guide I have read… and I have read a lot. The author here has wonderfully put together a book with everything you should know if traveling abroad, be it vacationing in Europe or fighting in the theater of war in the Middle East.

This information is some of the most logical and descriptive solutions I have ever read up on. The author who by trade was a NATO peace-keeper and aid worker has presented all the necessary tips, skills and philosophies to get you through the experience of deep-field operations. The book is filled with real life dramas and situations that arise when in natural disasters, crisis relief efforts and military negotiations. If you ever wanted to get a start on being a real life MacGyver or James Bond, this is the book for you. The info that the author and his aid worker friends describe here run the gambit from first aid to hostage negotiations, to how to survive a riot. The chapters are filled with all sorts of things to consider in worst case situations as well as cultural differences and customs.

          This book is a dump truck of knowledge and common sense solutions to the most unthinkable occurrences in foreign countries. Half way through the read I thought to myself “I hope our troops over seas have read this and why isn’t it required reading?” I wish all of you could have a chance to browse this beauty.  I’m no operator or specialist but this should be common reading in high school or for anyone traveling to a 2nd or 3rd. world nation, for fun or humanitarian reasons. Again, anything from running from dogs to dodging bullets is contained therein these pages. The stories to the preparedness aspects of deep field scenarios are a genuine look into real world realities.

          To sum up the whole of this work is that you can’t go wrong with this helpful information. With only 237 pages and at a cost of $10.99 CAD this little gem will have you chuckling to almost trembling. By the way Page 237 is my favorite.

: Professional Survival Solutions; “Everything that follows is based on recent, real-life experience that has been proven to work.”


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Review: Kershaw 1900 E.T.

The first thing I thought of when I picked this thing up;

"What the hell is this thing for?"

After looking online, I still havn't come up with a solid reason for owning this knife. Borrowed from a friend, it seems this knife best fits the 'collector' POU but I could be wrong - I couldn't even figure out the 'correct' way to open the darn thing. If you know any more about this blade and it's reasonable use, feel free to leave a comment.

The specs are as follows:

• Blade Detail: Plain
• Blade Length: 3.25"
• Blade Material: Sandvik 13C26
• Carry System: Removable Clip
• Handle Material: Aluminum, Black
• Lock Style: Toggle Lock
• Overall Length: 8"
• Special Features: Built-in Carabiner
• Made In: United States

I'm sure this thing has a specific purpose. It's light as anything and very sharp - I'm just not sure of it's intended philosophy of use - and that could be something I'm very unfamiliar with.

It fills out my hand very well and the frame - or lack there of - is skeletonized to keep it light weight. Even passing this around to a few friends, we couldn't figure out the exact purpose for this knife, besides being a cool collector piece and just overall, a cool looking knife.

It's got a built in carabiner attachment point on the blade itself and a very sturdy pocket clip. I couldn't figure out a fast way to open this particular model, but I'm sure that has more to do with my uneducated handling of the knife than anything else. I'm sure this knife has a specific purpose, and any indication of this would be appreciated on our facebook page or as a comment to this post. Little help?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Review: Kershaw Ripcord

Got an opportunity today to look at a knife I've never seen before. A used blade, on loan from me by a buddy who owns a multitude of knives. This knife is different from any I've had in my hands. It's got a unique design and features that are suited to a specific purpose. It's got a longer, tougher blade with the size of a compact folder, all in a little package that is easily clippable to webbing, belts, boots or whatever else you can get this little holster onto.

Kershaw's Ripcord
I've seen this knife advertised online for anything from 80 to 100 dollars. It seems to have been built for use as a knife to be included in a 'system'. Like anything, you've got to consider your philosophy of use with this item - it's unique in the way it's deployed. You pull the knife out and away from the holster to engage it, and likewise - you put it on the little peg and push in to hide it away again. It's a little awkward at first, but with some practise, I could easily deploy the blade in a few attempts.

The handle in it's compressed form was initially kind of difficult to get a grip on, but once you get your head around it, the mechanism works quite well. Extended, it sits well in the hand and feels balanced.

The handle has a spot for a paracord dongle - as always, appreciated by my fellow mancrafters. The whole unit fits in my hand when it's all collapsed, and not heavy at all - you'd hardly notice it on a vest or clipped to a bag.

The knife seats well in the holster and wiggles about when shaken - but not so much as to come out at all. I couldn't make it jump out of it's little slot. The knife extends smoothly and locks into place. The blade extends from the top of the handle and slides back into place when not in use.

A nifty knife - and at a hundred dollars it's still semi-affordable. It would probably fit for some people's requirements, be a toy for others, and a non-issue for the rest. A good knife, a solid holster included and a worthy piece of kit in my books.

Thanks to "ceriksson" from ASC for the reminder to include technical specs;

Technical Specs:

  • Sandvik 13C26 stainless-steel blade with Tungsten DLC coating
  • 6061-T6 anodized aluminum handle with Trac-Tec inserts
  • Blade Length: 3 7/16in. (8.6 cm)
  • Closed Length: 4 3/8 in. (11.1 cm)
  • Weight: 4.2 oz.

For those interested in seeing a cut-test; this one is not my knife!
I can't put this one into any extensive cut testing because I don't want to void the trust of the owner - or the warranty by Kershaw for that matter...   =)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Review: Cheap Cree Lights - side by side.

Another budget light review - and yeah, we're well aware that there are more expensive, feature-rich alternatives out there. These lights are ideal for someone dabbling in the flashlight market, or for those that need a decent light at a decent price point - but nothing to stake your life on.

We're looking at the Ultrafire WF-501B and the WF-502B - both with Cree hardware out of the box.

I didn't have a very long time to look at these lights - they were both loaners from a private collection. I had enough time to get a good handle on each and to play with some of the modes, but that's about it. I can't give an honest opinion on the long term utility of these lights, or a battery life observation - but a good idea of what to expect out of the box.

Both lights are well suited to a tool-belt light or even as a weapon light. Attached via a rail or used in one hand, both lights seem capable of handling most rough-use requirements that I can think of, minus the most extreme circumstances. They are solidly built with longevity in mind.

Both lights feature a tail-cap clicky switch. I'm a fan of this design as it lends it's use to multiple philosophies. Each switch is very responsive and feels sturdy enough to withstand the use of an adrenaline-induced 'hard' click. The modes are easy to switch between and are plainly visible to the average user.

Again, I didn't have the time to conduct a full review on these models, but would suggest them to anyone looking for a secondary light source or as a cheaper alternative to popular weapon lights.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Easy community projects - help the sheep.

Had a bit of a brainstorm today.

It kind of stems from an ideal I hold regarding acts of protest. While this is not in any way a protest, it falls along the same line.

Let's say there are two types of protest. Active and passive. For all I know this is already written in a textbook somewhere, but I've just been thinking about this for some time.

So - you have active protests. The marches, the rallies and so on. You'll identify with this type of protest right away, because it's usually being thrust in your face. Justified or not, 'right' or 'wrong' as their cause may be to you - those people marching and yelling are advocating a particular point very actively.

Then, there's passive protest - this is kind of tricky to describe. I guess you could call it invisible protest as well. This kind of protest happens away from the public eye, but appears later, usually in the form of some kind of text based message. Via stickers or spraypaint, QR code or a flyer taped to a telephone pole - people get the message out without having their face on the front lines. I'm partial to this type of protest, so long as it meets a few requirements; doesn't waste tax money on repair or the attendance of police and as long as it's legal, get out there and be heard!

There's a time and a place for everything I suppose, but this isn't about protest, it's about passively helping your community.

We all give a lot of money towards our government - I don't care where you're from, that's a simple fact.

Sometimes it's a pain to see that money being used on projects that don't really satisfy the needs of the community or worse yet, when that money is not used at all.

Today I was at my local park - it's got a baseball diamond, a swing set, a couple basketball hoops and a jungle gym for the kids. I've been playing more basketball as the weather has improved, both in an effort to keep fit and to just unplug from all the bells and whistles that technology brings, for a little while after work.

One thing that always gets to me is the lack of a 'net' on a basketball hoop. So, today - I went out and bought one. I brought a ladder down, rigged the net up and left it there for the next guy to come down to the park.

This is the thing - by declaring that I've done so doesn't really make it passive community involvement anymore, but I'm sure you'll get what I'm trying to say here; DO things for your community. It doesn't have to be a food drive or a fundraiser. If you go to the park regularly, print out a sticker that addresses a littering issue - repair the basketball nets. I mean, I got the net today for 3 bucks - and about 10 minutes of my time.

I'm not trying to get all hippie here - I'm just saying that if everyone helps a little, we'll all benefit a lot.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Review: How To Survive The Most Critical 5 Seconds Of Your Life

Another awesome opportunity brought to us by one of the dedicated authors here at - a book review regarding the 'mindset' behind self defence.

How To Survive The Most Critical 5 Seconds Of Your Life
By Tim Larkin and Chris Ranck-Buhr.
Book Review: By Forest Sight

          I came across this material through Front sight firearms training institutes newsletter which I receive everyday. I respect what Front Sight is teaching so I thought I’d check Tim Larkin out. I went to his website and signed up for his newsletter. The practices that the authors were relaying here was the complete retooling of self defense and the utter destruction of all I came to think in the regards to martial arts and applied violence skills. The system they had developed was called Target Focus Training. (T. F.T.)

          As I milled through the T.F.T. info I started to get a little frustrated that their was very little video evidence of their moves or skill sets, The authors were advertised as being the leading fighting trainers for the Navy Seals and law enforcement around the world. I was hoping to cheat off their paper and come away with some quick and effective self defense moves. I was wrong, DEAD WRONG! The philosophy TFT was presenting was not about flying spin kicks or Fung-Fu arm locks; it was more terrifying then what I could ever imagine.

          INJURY! The total destruction of all major targets in the human body, Period! %@#!?*%# Yuck!

          I was brought aback with the calm, academic demeanor the authors used to lead me into the waters of VIOLENCE as a TOOL.

So now my curiosity was peeked with what’s going on in this world of INJURY? Sure enough a few days later TFT sent me a link to the first 50 pages of “How to survive the most Critical 5 seconds of your Life” (HTSTMC5SOYL). I was stunned at the information and the dismantling of everything I thought I knew about self-defense. Here are some notes from the first 50 pages I got for free.

 There are 2 types of violence, Antisocial and Asocial.
Antisocial is the type of violence that would be found in a bar fight. Two men posturing until fists are thrown but no one is trying to kill the other guy, there might be a trip to the hospital or and accident during the fight to cause severe injury but usually one could run from the fight or talk themselves out of it. The social, half humane behavior in most people. “ I’m not going to kill the other guy, just teach him a lesson”

Asocial Voilence. Getting stabbed out of nowhere and a criminal grabbing for your wallet or purse. Bang! You’re in it now, No talking your way out of it, no chance to run away. You are in the middle of the storm. Violence is happening to you NOW. Martial arts will train you slowly and thoroughly through the belt system but what do you do tonight? You can’t tell the criminal to come back after you have your black belt . It’s on NOW. This is one of the facts TFT is preaching.

Let’s look at a metaphor that came to me with the help of the authors.
Hockey! We Canadians love it. We thrill in the fast paced action and sometimes the pure brutality of the game. Sure it’s violent but it’s seldom life threatening. We all cheer when two enforcers drop the gloves and start swinging at each other and that usually lasts a minute if we’re lucky. Let’s look at it in a more Asocial sphere. What if the fighters were exchanging blows and a spectator in the thrill of the moment jumped into the rink to give each player a shotgun to settle the score? The fighters would be disgusted and the fan would be labeled insane! There it is! Antisocial verses Asocial. That’s the differences that TFT is explaining. So naturally I ordered the book. I received it in the mail hoping to find all sorts of diagrams, workouts and sage thoughts on self-defense. I was wrong. I flipped through the pages hoping to see the first illustration of ass kicking; there wasn’t any, not one.

          Instead I had received a book that eloquently lead me down the path of Violence as a Tool. What’s that mean? The authors deliver the factual and physiological truths to Asocial/ Criminal violence in our world today. There is no need to be fit or skilled at martial arts to cause injury. Injury is you…Right now, No kidding. Tim Larkin has dialed into what makes violence work for the criminal and why we can’t see why that Fact seems to elude us. The criminal does not work out or train for violence, they just know what works to turn you off and get what they want. Most everyone feigns at the ideal of severe injury. They would prefer rules, boundaries, good sportsmanship and the opportunity to quit or tap out. TFT proclaims that all those mindsets do for you is to get you killed. Criminal violence has no rules and that’s why it’s so successful on the streets.

          I had to read this book twice to really embrace the philosophy of the training. We as humans have the ability to inflict injury as we have all throughout are history but this book takes you face to face with what it truly means to defend yourself against violence.

The Will To Cause Injury, again and again.

          As you can tell I got a lot out of this book. In the end I felt that a gun, knife and a pack of hungry wolves (Sorry Sheepdogs) fell out of the book and into my lap to use as a Tool of Injury. It was a well articulated read and had me laughing (nervously) at some points. The end conclusion for me was that intent had to be cultivated if we are to really get any use out of Tool of Violence. I suggest you read up on what TFT is offering and sit with the information for a while. These disturbing facts about what will help you win in a conflict will empower you to feel like the most psychologically prepared person in the room.

(How to Survive…)  (HTSTMC5SOYL) is the tool that develops the will to fight back with 100% of your being. The information in this book is the starting point for the live training seminars and DVD sets that TFT teaches.  In all the book is an amazing training tool but any further education is expensive.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Are you a bushcrafter, or a backpacker?

Today we have a really exciting opportunity. One of our readers and regular commentators, Haliboy - contacted our admin to just add a personal note to some of his comments. On talking a little more, Haliboy offered this article as part of an opinion piece he posted on a forum. Thanks Haliboy.



Bushcraft or Backpacking? My take on it is that while certain people have been using the term "Bushcraft" for years, I think of Mors Kochanski here in Canada, and Americans like Nessmuk used "Woodcraft” (the original 1920 title, later changed to "Woodcraft and Camping") and Kephart used the term “Woodcraft” as part of the title of his book called "Camping and Woodcraft"; however the term "Bush" and "Bushcraft" are largely a UK and more so an Australian term. In North America we have woods; in Australia they have the bush. In North America we have woodsmen while in Australia they have bushmen.

It was not until the popularity of both TV and the Internet that North Americans really started to pick up on the term Bushcraft from British shows like those put out by Ray Mears. Before that people were content to use the terms, "Backpacking" and "Hiking" for their activities and books.

Where is the difference? If your list of "bushcraft" gear looks identical to what you can find in any backpacking book today (tent, sleeping bag, pot, water filter, wash kit, first aid kit, compass, stove, etc.) you are just packing backpacking gear. Cry as you might, your gear is no different and no cooler than a "Backpacker” that time honoured American term. On the other hand, if you plan on making your shelter, using a wood fire to cook your meals, perhaps even not using a pot, then you are Bushcrafting which is to say you are crafting what you need to live out of the bush. The key part to Bushcrafting is in the crafting. If all you do is go is set up a nylon tarp made in some factory, use an axe made in some factory, start your fire with a firesteel made in some factory, and cook food you got from some store, then you are Backpacking my friends.

Is it wrong for a Bushcrafter to carry Backpacking gear? No, certainly not, and indeed Backpacking gear is needed by the beginning Bushcrafter as a safety net while he builds up his Bushcrafting skills. No matter how skilled at Bushcrafting you are, I would still recommend that you carry modern survival gear as a back up should things go wrong. Also, rather than carry a haughty attitude that you are better than your Backpacking brothers, pack along some humility due to the fact that you are reading this on a plastic and silicon computer and likely got to the woods by driving a truck that is made of metal and much plastic.

In closing, let’s look back to our heroes both old and modern. Hephart, Nessmuk, Kochanski, and Mears all used various gear that was made by someone else; they were recent people of European decent, not Aboriginals living off the land thousands of years ago. The difference between these men and Backpackers were the amount of skills/crafts they employed while in the woods. Backpacking is largely a self-contained activity that has gotten away from the destructive 50’s Boy Scout days of digging a ditch around your tent, cutting tall saplings every time you need poles for your canvas tent, and cutting down several trees for each night’s fire. The Brushcrafters of today are a much more environmental group who see the hypocrisy of bringing all that stove fuel and petro-based nylon from many hundreds of thousands of miles away into the woods compared to the careful and measured use of natural resources right where they are found.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Knot of the Week - Square Lashing

Another fantastic video from the folks at ITS Tactical. A video describing the uses and practise of square lashing two items together.

Check it out.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Review: Budget Lights - Cree XM-L T6

Budget lights - a category everyone is interested in. There are multitudes of budget flashlights out there - everything from dollar store specials to online Cree-powered torches. Like anything else, these lights are usually given labels like 'tactical', 'defensive' or otherwise to widen their appeal to more people, but they've all got similar features.

First of all, we'll look at the Cree XM-L T6. This was purchased on eBay at a discounted rate of about 40 bucks, plus shipping. We didn't expect it to be as big as it is!

Sure, we read the specifications, but this light is a monster compared to the rest that came in the package. It's fitted more to deploy as a patrol light or a 'on-duty' type light than our other, smaller lights.

It's hefty and fits well in the hand. It's wide enough to fill out my hand and long enough to get about an inch and a half out on either end. It comes with a nylon pouch, only in black, that is MOLLE compliant - the strap on the back even reduces to the 'belt-loop' size to be attached directly to a belt with ease. I'm not sure what quality control on these made-in-china lights is like, and your mileage may vary - who knows, you might get something different by the same name.

Right away, another feature that I like is the hi-visibility push button on the tail cap. Most lights don't come with this in the budget market. I've got a pack of glow-in-the-dark buttons that can be fitted over common regular-coloured buttons for more visibility - because after all, if you NEED a light, it's likely that there isn't much around; any aid to visibility will likely be a gift. The button gives a good click on and off and is easy to use when switching between the light's 5 different modes: high, medium, low, strobe and SOS.

The light emitted from this flashlight is interesting. That's the best way I can think to describe it. It was advertised as being 1000 lumens, or something silly like that. Now, I don't have the equipment to accurately measure the output of this device, but I doubt very much that it truely is 1000 lumens. Sure, it's very difficult to stare into, and it's 'stupid bright' at night, but 1000 lumens?


The other end of the light features a push-zoom focus ring. You can push and pull the end to zoom and unzoom the light source, from a very bright square, to a large, circular fill light, this flashlight has multiple uses.

It has room for a little lanyard and with some play, I'd bet we could fit some paracord through there, but the one that comes with it is garbage - to be expected.

To be honest, it was strange to see the focused light come out as a square, but it works, and it's really bright. I can see how this light could be used in a variety of situations. If I could suggest, I'd say this light has a good shot at becoming a decent vehicle light, kept in the glove compartment. I like to have something big to get ahold of in a true emergency - the last thing I want to do is fumble around with a pocket light, no matter how bright it is.

Good light, good price - not perfect but it works for what it is.

The affects of Adrenaline

Affects of Adrenaline

There are a few things in this world that people truly will never get to experience and that is the affects of a huge adrenaline surge. I am not talking about sky diving, bungee jumping or taking part of in an extreme thrill seeking sport.

I am talking about life or death, fighting off a human predatory attack (which by the way has nothing 'human' about it) and surviving the assault.

When the mind perceives a "live or die" threat it will pump a huge amount of hormones and adrenaline into body. There are several well documented affects that occur under this stress environment.

These affects may happen and are completely random in nature depending on the individual involved.

The first thing to occur is that the body constricts blood in its extremities and pools the blood into the lungs and heart to provide maximum physical exertion to the body. We loose small motor skills and only large motor skills can be used. Good luck hitting a slide lock lever on your pistol with your thumb or putting a key into a lock, you will not feel your fingers and your hands will be shaking.

The pooling of this blood can also cause people to loose their bowls or vomit as the bladder, sphincter and stomach are just not all that important at the time. Since they do not contribute tot he immediate survival of the body, the brain takes away the blood located in them. If that happens to you or anyone else, it is not a sign of a coward or fear. They just had a full bladder or gut at the time of the adrenaline dump.

The cornea on your eye will flatten to allow as much light as possible in and to focus onto your threat. The outer ring of your vision will be blurred and what is twenty feet away will appear to be five feet away. This is "tunnel vision" and many people involved in a life threatening attack recall this. I have personally talked to an officer involved in a shooting and he said he could read the make and caliber on the steel casing that were slowly tumbling out of his gun and across his view.

That brings me to the next side affect of adrenaline. Time distortion. Time will feel like it slows down, and in a way it does but only for the person experiencing the adrenaline dump. Because the brain works in a hyper vigilant role under stress, instead of processing 5 mega bites per second it will process 50 mega bites per second (as an example). Since you are processing more information time seems to be moving slower. Hence the officer interviewed described to me the slow moving steel casings tumble from his gun.

An other thing that occurs is 'auditory exclusion'. This occurs when the brain only wants visual input about the threat because we are visual creatures. At this moment the brain doesn't need to process information from what it hears so it shuts down the information. I have heard countless accounts of people not hearing police sirens, screams from other around them or even gun shots. They usually describe a quiet, surreal environment. It doesn't take a lot of stress from the brain to do this, ask any hunter if they hear the deafening thunder of their rifle when they shoot at an animal. They normally don't.

An other interesting anomaly is that people under such sever stress can have "distracting thoughts". Some people report hearing voices from instructors, the call of loved ones or even such odd things as thinking about the grocery list while they are fighting to survive. Odd, yes but I have personally experienced this and while odd at the time it never slowed me down.

An other very common affect of adrenaline is "the shakes". This usually occurs when the threat is over and the adrenaline chemical is leaving the body. It is a common side affect of the adrenaline wearing off, the hands, the knees the legs will shake. It is not a sign of cowardice, it is just an adrenaline hangover that the body gives us and it usually dissipates after a few minutes.

So, why should we know all of these weird and wonderful affects of adrenaline? So that when it happens to us, understanding what happens to our body and mind will allow us to deal with the event better. Not only during but after to allow us to mitigate the affects of critical incident stress.

As an example lets just say you are involved in a critical incident and have fought for your life and won. You had your world slow down and heard nothing around you while you dealt with the stress, you even had thoughts of your loved ones creep into your mind causing you to fight harder while you fended off a human predator.

Now its over and you can barely walk properly as your legs start to shake and your hands rock like they have been hit with an earthquake. Your stomach starts to turn and as you hold yourself up on a wall you vomit all over your shoes.

If you did not know about adrenaline you might have thought that you were about to die because of the "out of body experience" you had as time slowed down, the world went quiet and you day dreamed about loved ones. This may cause you stress because you might feel that you gave up and were ready to stop that fight. We know that no matter what we never give up so you may beat yourself up over that.

Puking all over you shoes, the shaking and the weak legs may affect you negatively if you think it is cowardice to do so. Heaven forbid you were cursed with a full bladder at the time.

But now armed with information you will know that all of these things are out of your control, that they are normal human responses to an abnormal situation. You can look back at that event and minimise the critical incident stress because you know that those reactions were just your body adjusting to a natural chemical.

Taking that a step further, if you see someone else who has those affects running through them, educate that person. Let them know that the shakes, etc are normal. Relieve the stress of self subjection that they might be going through.

Thanks for your time, stay safe, John Smith.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Review: SOG - Flash II

SOG - Flash II
Another borrowed-knife review, and this time we're looking at the SOG Flash II. Right off the bat, there's some things I do like and some things I don't. I'm not a picky knife guy but there are some shining faults in the design of this knife.

First off, it's VERY light. I really like this about this knife. You barely even know it's in your pocket when you're carrying it. It fits in my hand well and the drop-point shape of the knife in it's folded position is very comfortable to manipulate. The switches, clip and locks are all in familiar places and all the mechanical parts have worked flawlessly for months.

The blade is still sharp and bears a semi-serrated edge. It's black and angry looking, folded out using the assisted-open thumb stud on either side of the blade. The blade is crafted from AUS8 steel - a material solid enough for practically any EDC utility job that you may come across. The action on the blade is reffered to as SAT or SOG Assisted Technology, and it works. The blade easily flicks open with a swipe of the thumb. It 'clicks' open and stays there.

Opened up, the SOG Flash II is a good fit for most any EDC cutting job.

SOG lists the blade at 75 dollars USD, though this model was purchased at a gun show for much less than that.

The saftey lock works as promised and keeps the blade closed when not in use. It's a good feature to have though both myself and the original owner found this to be more of a 'feature' and less of a practical addition to the knife itself.

Here's my issue; the clip. This knife has been used daily for a few months now, and the pocket clip is so bent, it barely stays in place on the users pockets. I believe this has more to do with the actual design of the clip itself. The clip is secured on the back end, inside the knife's handle with one screw. So you've got the clip, a 90 degree bend, another 90 degree bend and finally, the attachment point to the knife's handle. There's a lot of stress points there when deployed to any regularly used EDC kit. In comparison to my current EDC folder, the Kershaw Clash, whose pocket clip is a single unbent piece of steel attached to the outside of the handle with two screws; this design needs serious work to be considered for purchase by me, personally.

From here, you can see the extended angle of the used but hardly abused pocket clip.
All in all, a good knife, but I may suggest a review of your own philosophy of use concerning this model. If you're looking for a pocket folder, look more into this knife before you buy it - especially at a factory price of 75 dollars. Beyond that, I would keep this knife in a tool box, a tackle box, as a supplement to a go bag or otherwise, as a household tool. A good EDC folder, just not for the pocket.

Paracord - Does brand matter?

Lately, I've been building my stockpile of mancrafting tools and materials. Paracord and lighters - what else does a man need to do a little arts and crafts. I kid... I kid...

I've amassed near 500 feet of paracord now, in subdued and 'saftey' colours. From various brands and manufacturers. I'm sure I'll catch hell for saying this but; I'm not really sure if brand matters.

Paracord - decent, but the best?
It all comes down to, you guessed it, philosophy of use. Are you using paracord for climbing or, dare I say, parachuting?

Then yes, I'd say brand is a major factor.

What about using it to make dongles, keychains, bracelets and other 'crafty' kinds of things. Well - if you ever find yourself in need of 15 feet of paracord, and you've got it all tangled up in some neat looking weave, then you'll probably need it to be decently strong and trustworthy. If you've got it wrapped around the handle of a knife or used as a dongle to identify your car keys, then I'd say dexterity dosn't matter as much as price.

I think that's what it all breaks down to; price. I've seen it as cheap as five to six dollars, shipped from china. I get mine from a surplus store in Oakville, ON at 16 bucks for 100 feet - usually made by GI Plus. I haven't encountered any problems with that brand yet. I'm not using it for any heavy duty lifting but I do make various things that also serve a practical purpose.

I know there will be a degree of fanboyism, as there is for every concievable product in the 'tactical' market but I honestly can't see a difference between the cheaper brands I've handled and more 'known' brands like GI Plus. That said, I don't have any machinery to test the breaking point of each brand - to argue based on numbers and not subjective experience.

Go ahead and buy the cheap stuff - if you're just tying knots and weaving new handles for your backpack. Be weary though, I think this falls under the 'you get what you pay for' umbrella. If you NEED paracord - don't cheap out. If it's for a rainy day, don't waste your money.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Review: SOG - Sogzilla

The SOGZilla - Quality EDC
This weekend we had the chance to handle a SOG pocket folder. At just over fifty dollars, the SOGZilla will more than likely fit the bill for an EDC folding blade for most people. It's sleek, stylish and practical.

The blade is manually opened by folding it out from the handle. The thumb-slot fits comfortably for an easily opened flick. The grip on the handle is more aesthetic than anything. Of course, it holds nicely in the hand and prevents a degree of slipping, but I doubt it would make the difference in the long run or prove to be a deal-maker for most people. It works, but it's not super important.

This model is stainless and black. After being used for easily three or more months, it's blade is still super sharp. It's been used as an EDC knife since it's purchase and after a quick wipe off for photos, looks good as new. I think that really says something for the quality you'll get with a manufacturer like SOG.

To be completely honest, the knife sits a little thin in my hands. That, combined with the shape of the blade makes this particular knife not such a must-have for me, personally. It's super sharp, really easy to use and very reliable, but it boils down to a 'second kind of cool' thing for me. It's just not my cup of tea - dig?

Beyond that, the knife hosts a locking mechanism that is as old as the hills. The lock sits along the backside of the handle. You've got to push it in to unlock the blade from its in-use, forward position. I didn't want to fully stress the lock as it's not my knife, but giving it a good squeeze, the blade isn't going anywhere. I could see this blade used as a practical EDC folder for most people - anyone depending on their knife for more tedious and unforgiving tasks like prying or chopping might want to look at something a little more beefy.

There's a nice sized hole on the bottom end of the handle for attaching a lanyard or some other kind of retention device. I like that. All too often, it seems some knives put the hole on the bottom as an afterthought with barely enough room for dental floss, never mind 550 paracord.

The pocket clip is screwed into the handle with one screw seated behind the clip itself. It's strong and sturdy. It's user has had it in and out of pants pockets for a few months now, with little to no lasting effect on the clip itself. Even slipping it into my pocket, it clips on to the edge and holds true. I'm not sure what material it's made of, but it works.

SOG lists the specs as follows:

Blade Length 3.8" x .100"
Overall Length 8.54"
Weight 5.6 oz.
Edge Straight
Steel 8Cr13MoV
HRC 57-58
Handle Stainless Steel
Finish Satin Polish
Includes Pocket Clip
Country of Origin China

Easily adapted as an EDC addition, I really believe this knife presents a value to be had in it's just-past-fifty dollar price tag. It doesn't meet my specific needs for that 'second-kind-of-cool' factor, but presents itself as a practical and rational choice for carrying every day.

Review: Original SOE Micro 12g Rig Part 2 of 2

In order to supplement our tabletop review of SOE's 12g Micro Rig, we've taken time to make a video regarding this unique piece of kit. Hopefully, we'll be able to get more media online as time goes by - thanks to some new helpers to the staff.

We ran the vest through some reloading drills and found it very conducive to practical shooting. The snap caps moved naturally from the vest to the weapon and I found it very low profile. It's a great addition to any grab and go system. Easy to shoulder the gun, easy to manipulate it around the rig and it's components. Easy to get everything in and out of where it should be - at the price, pick one up if you're thinking about it. You wont find a dedicated commercial shotgun rig like this anywhere.

Don't forget to check out the giveaway we're sponsoring for the rig featured in this review series!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Equipment: On the Subject of EDC

Volumes of information exist on internet discussion boards, newsgroups and printed format about EDC, or “Every Day Carry”. At Civilian Sheepdog, we aim to cut through the hype, weed out the Gucci-Gear, and filter out the Mall Ninja. So we ask, and answer the question: What’s in your EDC?
First, let’s set the record straight. “Every Day Carry” is just what is sounds like. These are things that, without exception, are always in your possession. EDC is basic, minimalist equipment that you have in your possession day in, day out, without fail. You may substitute or augment that equipment based on specific circumstances (and in fact, you’re encouraged to), but unless you’re naked, your EDC is right where it always is, in your pockets, on your belt, or wherever you usually carry it.
EDC is simple. It’s basic. It’s a starting point, a minimalist collection of useful items that are always at hand. It’s something to build off, like a house rises from the foundation or a good fire spits to life out of quality tinder. EDC is a your first line of defence, and the backbone of your survival strategy. It provides basic equipment to meet the challenges of addressing the four basic tenets of survival; Fire, Food, Shelter and Signalling.
Remember: This is every-day stuff. These are things that are likely to be of use in any kind of emergency that’s generally foreseeable on an average day. EDC is meant to address an immediate requirement under abnormal circumstances on any given day.
My EDC is simple. It consists of a smart phone, a folding knife, a bic lighter, a $20 bill, and a pocket first-aid kit. In the interests of defining the EDC, I’ll go through each of these items and their purpose. The tools selected reflect the area I live, local laws and regulations, my experience and knowledge, and the proximity to additional resources and / or assistance I’m likely to have on any given day.
I’ll start with the smart phone; A good smart phone can provide geo-location, GPS navigation, access to maps and satellite data, and storage for books or other reading material that might just save your life. Will that help you if an Electro-Magnetic Pulse drops the grid? Probably not, but in just about any other scenario, it can be a life-saver. For that reason, a good cell phone should be a main ingredient in your EDC.
Now the folder; A knife is a simple tool, but its usefulness is nearly limitless. From opening envelopes or cutting apples, to carving stakes for a shelter or hunting, a basic blade is essential. My requirements are simple. I want a low-profile folding lock blade with an integrated belt clip, with a good edge and one-handed opening. I want a knife that can stand up to daily use, without taking up all the space in my front pocket. I usually carry a Gerber Evo, although I sometimes alternate it with one of a half-dozen other folders I’ve purchased over the years.
The lighter should be self-explanatory. Fire is part of those essential tenets, therefore, a lighter always has a place in my pocket. I actually take it a step further, with a Firesteel GobSpark™ Armageddon with its own place in the sleeve pocket of my Condor Summit Softshell jacket, but that doesn’t really qualify as “Every Day Carry”; I don’t wear the jacket daily, but I do wear it whenever the weather’s bad, and where a Bic isn’t likely to cut it.
Now on to the $20 bill. As a whole lot of people found out when the lights went out across the East Coast in August of 2003, cash is king when the power is out. That $20 lets my buy food or water, gasoline, or even bribe someone if required until I can get to my home or vehicle. In fairness, I usually have at least $60 in cash on hand, but that $20 has a sacred spot in my wallet.
Last is the pocket first aid kit. This is a small, minimalist kit that includes a couple of wipes, some Band-Aids, some Steri-strips and some Polysporin. Very basic, but always handy.
So that’s it. At any given time, I have the basics covered with my EDC. If I’m heading out on the road, I supplement that EDC with my VBSK (Vehicle-Bourne Survival Kit). If I’m walking the family through Dineyland, I supplement with my GHB (Get-Home-Bag), a Maxpedition Fatboy loaded up will additional first aid gear, water filtration bottle, purification tablets, some snacks, a map & compass and a hand-held GPS. For anything longer or dicier, I have the full blown “Bug Out Bag”.
It’s a modular approach, with the EDC serving as the cornerstone. So, what’s in your EDC?

Friday, June 3, 2011

What are you waiting for?

I had a very important question asked of me today.

What are you preparing for?


I think it all boils down to philosophy of use. I'm not going to have the same tools as my neighbour, and he won't be ready for the same event as me. My preparedness schedule focuses on events I deem likely to happen around me. Simply put, I prepare for things I believe are possible first, and not so likely second - I do not prepare for scenarios I deem impossible. Why would I?

Sure, there's minute possibilities, and I have considered them. For instance - the Fukushima incident a while ago opened my eyes to the possibility of nuclear pollution affecting me. When my wife fell on her foot, I realised the possibility for medical emergencies in remote locations - even worse, emergencies that I'm not around to help out with.

There are things we 'prepare' for without giving it a second thought. As Canadians, we buy winter coats in the fall because we know it's going to get cold. What's the difference between that and buying extra food, because we know we'll be hungry?

As for the guns - there's a special topic to be considered here. I don't personally view guns strictly as weapons. Guns, knives and other pointy objects are tools. Sure - they can hurt you, so can hammers. They're for doing very specific things... nothing more, nothing less.

Another philosophy that I adhere to actively opposes popular social theory. I do believe in bad people. Maybe not so much bad people, but people who continuously make bad decisions. I therefore prepare to deal with those people. I completed college as a Social Service Worker specializing in Crisis Intervention, I've taken Standard First Aid and I train as often as possible with the tools I require to deal with threatening situations.

From that, I ask you - what are you preparing for? What are you waiting for?

I'm not waiting for anything. As a matter of fact, a lot of the scenario's I envision are days I pray never to encounter.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


SOE Tactical 12g Micro Rig

Yes, we're giving it away!

Provided to us by SOE Tactical, the 12g Micro rig was subjected to a two part review.

PART 1 - Tabletop

PART 2 - Range Review

We'd like to take the opportunity to thank sheepdog readers by giving this item away. If you cover shipping, we'll ship it to you for free. It's that simple.

The vest is NEW - I got it from SOE as a review item and once we're done running it at the range - it's ALL YOURS.


Simple rules: Post a link or picture on our facebook page of your tactical / defensive shotgun.
The person with the most 'likes' wins. It's that simple. Sure - you can get your friends to 'like' the picture. I don't care. You've got to cover the shipping though - and for most it shouldn't be much more than 10 bucks.

Only one picture, per gun. If you've got multiple defensive shotguns, sure. Play nice.


Congradulations to J. Hull - A facebook poster, on winning the first ever giveaway!

We had a number of submissions - everything from hatbands (which were initially slated to win, because I thought it would make such a cool project) suggested by Gary, multiple posts on CGN that unfortunately couldn't be taken as official entries (c'mon, it wouldn't be fair to the guys that followed the only rules I set out.), a rifle sling that Eric suggested and many more.

The one that got me was a suggestion that made me really think. A paracord belt - sure, an project many of us had heard about. But here's the kicker - Mr. Hull made the argument for the weave itself, separate from the design. His thinking basically states that if you really NEED a good length of paracord in a hurry, it's hard to untangle the typical Cobra or King Cobra weave style - but that this project would allow you access to all the paracord included in it, really quickly.

I like that - a good argument with solid proof.

Stay tuned for our next giveaway, SOE Tactical's 12g Micro Rig.