DPx Knife Review

DPx Knife MEGA Review

DPx Knife Review

This is not your ordinary review, it is a MEGA Review!  I recently had the opportunity to test out not one, but three, survival knives from DPx Gear and use them in a real-world scenario. The three knives I’m going to discuss in this mega-review are as follows:

DPx Knife Review
Left to right: HEST Original, HEFT Assault 4, and HEST II Woodsman

I’m familiar with the DPx line of knives from reputation, as this company is known for its focus on hard-use knives designed by experienced, military personnel and adventurers, however, this was the first time I had the opportunity to try them out under real survival situations.

According to their website, DPx knives are tested and used in locations including Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, and Burma. From the get-go, I was excited to see if these knives could perform up to expectations.

DPx Knife Review

DPx Knife Review

DPX Knife Review First Impressions

From first glance, I knew these were superior quality knives. Simply by looking, I could tell there was serious craftsmanship that went into their assembly; these were not some cheap trinkets that would fall apart after a year of use.

DPx Knife Review
Left to Right: Leather sheath, HEST II Woodsman knife, HEFT 4 Assault knife, Nylon sheath with Kydex insert, HEST Original knife, Kydex sheath.

Picking them up, each felt solid in my hands and had a full tang. Examining the blades, they were very sharp out of the box and much thicker than other knives of this size, indicating superior quality and an ability to handle abuse.

Additional details setting these knives apart from less expensive alternatives included well thought-out jimping, storage space in the handle, a hex driver, a wire breaker, and a bottle opener – for a little reward after a hard day’s work!

DPx Knife Review
Cracking one open with the HEST Original. Cheers!

Blade Steel

I was really excited to check out the HEST II Woodsman and the HEFT 4 Assault as both are made from Niolox steel (the HEST Original is made from 1095 high carbon steel, but more on that later), a relatively new blade material that I had never had the chance to use before.

DPx Knife Review
Testing out the 1095 high carbon steel blade of the HEST Original while preparing to build a fire.

Originally developed for the food processing industry (think large scale, factory-based food processing), Niolox came about as processors were looking for something that would deliver superior edge retention, resist corrosion, and last for thousands of cuts and slices before needing replacement. Using this material to fabricate knives is a no-brainer, what I was truly curious about is how this new material would fare against the old, reliable 1095.

DPx Knife Review: Testing Process

I decided the best way to test these knives out was to take them into the elements and see how they stacked up against real-world tasks. Myself and two other experienced outdoorsmen went on a weekend camping trip (this is where we went if you are even in Australia), each one taking one of the knives.

DPx Knife Review
All three blades sank into a large cuttlefish bone we found on the beach.

We didn’t have a set plan of exactly what skills we would test the knives with, but decided that we would simply keep the knives on us and use them as the need arose. Over the course of the weekend, the knives were tested out on the following tasks:

  • Cutting rope
  • Batoning branches
  • Shaving wood to start fire
  • Gathering mollusks to practice scavenging skills
  • Pounding tent stakes
  • Preparing food
  • Cutting open boxes and packages
  • Light digging
  • Sheaths tested for usability, ease of deployment, and comfort

DPx Knife Review: HEFT 4 Assault

Best Use: This knife is ideal for bugging-out or bushcraft. It was by far the largest, heaviest, and most heavy duty of the knives. A real ‘workhorse,’ this knife is good for medium to heavy duty tasks around camp.

DPx heft 4 assault review
Click the graphic to view the DPx HEFT 4 Assault on Amazon.

What I Liked: 

First off, I like that this knife is made of Niolox steel and it provides good form and balance (balance is right where your index finger sits, which results in excellent control). Another perk is that the jimping is also wire stripper and makes for an excellent grip. The G-10 scales are removable, so there’s space to wrap paracord around your knife or store items inside. There’s also a bottle opener that works competently (more on that below).

DPx Knife Review

As for the blade, it was very thick which made for great batoning and prying.  I was really impressed when by accident, I jammed the knife into a rock and the tip did not snap, due mainly to the thickness of the blade, strength of the Niolox steel, and probably a bit of pure luck!

DPx Knife Review
Harvesting limpets with the HEFT 4 Assault.
DPx Knife Review
Limpets are related to clams and are a great source of protein!

The blade also proved to be quite resistant to corrosion as it was exposed to seawater and then sheathed for 48 hours, with no visible rust. The Niolox passed this corrosion resistance test with flying colors. Additionally, the nylon sheath is nice and streamlined with a pocket that can hold a sharpening stone, fire starter, compass, or anything other small tool, and it also has a molded kydex insert.

DPx Knife Review

In terms of use, batoning through tree limbs was a breeze, due mainly to the thickness of the blade. Versus other, thinner, knives, the .19” thickness gives the blade a hatchet-like cross-section, an indispensable quality for bushcraft.

DPx Knife Review
Note the thickness of the spine, which provides a solid striking surface for batoning.

Cosmetically, there were no nicks in the edge after an entire weekend of use but there were some scratches on the blade coating. This is not something that particularly bothers me, my gear is meant to be USED so if it’s not a little scratched, it’s not useful.  However, if you’re a collector or enjoy displaying your knives, this may not be the one for you.

DPx heft 4

Last but not least, the craftsmanship is top-notch. This knife is made for DPx in Italy by master bladesmiths at LionSteel.

Minor Cons:

As I mentioned before, the bottle opener worked but could be better. It was not as useful as a ‘church key’-type opener, which admittedly would be impractical on a knife, but it’s nice to have in a pinch. Another issue (that applies only to lefties), is that the kydex molding of the sheath makes this a right-hand draw knife. If you were truly motivated, you could pull out the molded liner, but it’s pretty snug.

Final Thoughts on the HEFT 4 Assault:

I absolutely loved this knife. It’s the perfect size for all but the most heavy-duty of tasks.  You are not going to want to use it to take down a tree, but for the other 95% of the functions you’ll need for bushcraft, survival and camp, this knife is up to the task. If you like the idea of this knife but want it larger, you’re in luck – it has a big brother, the HEFT 6.

A big plus for this knife is the jimping. It really bit into my thumb and gave me serious confidence that my grip would not slip. Also, the Niolox steel more than lived up to expectations and truly impressed me. The edge held its sharpness after a long weekend of use, the steel did not corrode despite being submerged in seawater and wet beach sand, and the tip did not break after an accidental plunge into a rock (oops!).

DPx Knife Review
Well-designed jimping provides a more controlled grip.

If you’re looking for a quality knife and have the budget for it, or want to upgrade your existing knife, this is a good choice. If for some reason you try it out and it doesn’t meet your expectations, I would still recommend purchasing a knife made from Niolox steel.

DPx Knife Review: HEST Original

Best Use: This is a great choice for backpackers or people who want to carry as little weight as possible. It’s fully functional for light to medium tasks around camp and would suit someone looking for a high functioning knife at a reasonable price without sacrificing on quality or someone who wants a quality knife but isn’t prepared to splurge on Niolox steel.

DPx hest original Knife Review
Click the graphic to view the DPx HEST Original on Amazon.

What I Liked:

Of the three knives, this was by far the lightest and the micarta handle provided the best grip. It was very sharp out of the box and the 1095 carbon steel is easy to sharpen and holds a razor’s edge; it’s also less expensive than many other types of steel. The flat pommel made it great for striking and pounding while the partial serration was good for cutting rope and prepping food.

DPx Knife Review

The knife has a slim profile, even with the sheath, and the kydex sheath came with multiple carry options, including paracord and belt clip, and can be carried either vertically or horizontally. It’s made in the USA, can be carried on the right or left side, and in a pinch, the pry bar would work well to break glass.

DPx Knife Review
The versatile kydex sheath can be secured horizontally (shown) or vertically.

Minor Cons:

While the 1095 steel is light and inexpensive, it is not as corrosive resistant as other steels and had to be washed after exposure to seawater (I learned this from past experiences with this material rusting). It’s also worth noting that the blade is powder coated to help protect everything but the edges of the blade from corrosion.

DPx Knife Review
The partial serration on the HEST Original blade was useful, especially for cutting open fruit and preparing foods.

Final Thoughts on the HEST Original:

DPx Knife Review

This is a very good, basic knife with a well thought-out, quality sheath. I enjoyed the flexibility provided by the partial serration and the micarta handle provides a solid grip even in wet conditions. There’s good balance in your hand – this knife feels good to hold. It’s a great option for someone looking for a quality, entry-level knife that will last for years to come.

DPx Knife Review: HEST II Woodsman

Best Use: A good knife for light to medium tasks around camp. It looks good enough to give as a gift, such as to groomsmen or on special occasions. 

DPx hest Knife Review
Click the graphic to view the DPx HEST II Woodsman on Amazon.

What I Liked:

Aesthetically, this was by far the best looking knife of the three with a really nice leather sheath that looks good and feels nice. It’s also made from Niolox, which is a fantastic steel as mentioned in the HEFT 4 Assault section above.

DPx Knife Review

The size and shape of the blade make it a well-balanced knife and it’s the perfect size for use around camp or all-day carry without it being noticeable. For the size of this knife, it has a very thick blade at .19”.  For comparison, the popular ESSE 3, has a blade thickness of .125”. The flat pommel made it easy to pound tent stakes into rocky ground. And as a knife that is made in Italy by master bladesmiths, the craftsmanship is top tier.

DPx gear
The flat pommel allows for pounding tasks, like driving tent stakes into the ground.

Minor Cons:

Due to its sheath design (vertical mounting, right side draw), this knife can only be carried one way – this is by no means a deal-breaker, but if you intend to hang it off the molle points on your pack or vest, you will need another sheath.

DPx Knife Review
The vertical leather sheath is high quality, though it does not accommodate left-handed access.

Also, the fact that it is right-hand carry only is a negative for lefties.  Lastly, the wood handle provided good grip retention (and looks awesome) but is not as “grippy” as micarta or G10.

Final Thoughts on the HEST II Woodsman:

This is a really nice looking blade that I would be happy to give (or receive!) as a gift. As with the HEFT 4 Assault, the Niolox steel exceeded my expectations. For a multipurpose knife, the HEST II Woodsman has great balance and blade shape. As compared to the other two knives in this review, the HEST II Woodsman is a good compromise on size and cost.

DPx Knife Review
Note the integrated hex wrench and wire strippers on the HEST II Woodsman.

DPx Knife Review: Conclusion

DPx Knife Review

All three of the knives reviewed – the HEFT 4 Assault, HEST Original, and HEST II Woodsman – are all really good knives and it’s obvious that there was substantial attention to detail given to their designs. All were clearly made with the intention to be used, hence the focus on design as well as testing. Each was well-made and included clever add-ons such as bottle openers, pry bars, and hex wrenches. Any one of these knives will serve its owner well for a very long time.

For an experienced outdoorsman, these are easy to recommend, and are differentiated enough that each appeals to its own target users. DPx offers variations on all three of these models, so if you’re looking for a particular blade shape, finish, or handle combination to suit a particular need, you’re sure to find it.

If you do select one of these knives, I do recommend choosing one with a Niolox steel blade, if at all possible.  Niolox steel had a good edge, great corrosion resistance, and exceeded my expectations in testing.

Your Thoughts

Do you have any questions about the features or performance of these DPx knives? Are you interested in seeing more MEGA reviews like this one? Let us know in the Comments section below, thanks!

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everstryke pro review

Everstryke Pro Review: A Compact Waterproof Survival Lighter

everstryke pro review

The three absolute necessities for survival are shelter, water, and fire.

I’m going to save the solutions for shelter and water for another time and focus on fire and how there’s an indispensable tool that can get a fire started at any time.

This simple self-contained fire starting device is made out of solid stainless steel, and has no problem igniting in the rain or snow, and and is even 100% waterproof. It’s also so small and unobtrusive that you can attach it to your keychain or backpack and never have to worry about getting a fire started again.

We’re talking about the very popular Everstryke Pro Emergency Waterproof Lighter. (You can Click HERE to get your FREE Everstryke Pro).

 

everstryke pro review
Click on the image to see how to get your FREE Everstryke

Everstryke Pro Review

At its essence, the survival life Everstryke lighter is a capsule lighter, which is basically a miniaturized kerosene candle with its own starting mechanism. In order for the Everstryke Pro to be effective, a source of fuel must be supplied, but I’ll elaborate more on that in a second.

everstryke pro review

I’ll begin my Everstryke Pro review with a general description of the product. Closed up, it’s slightly larger than a .44 magnum cartridge and includes a clip for attaching to your gear (such as the zippers and clips featured on the Advanced Tactical Hip Bag). In total, it weighs about as much as the aforementioned round of ammunition.

everstryke pro review
Shown next to a .22 LR, you can see how compact the Survival Life Everstryke is.
everstryke pro review
The capsule length is about 2 inches, including the housing for the clip.

The cap of the Everstryke Pro, made by Survival Life, screws off, revealing a wick and striker wheel, which throws sparks quite profusely and makes this a great tool for igniting tinder, even in a long-term survival scenario with no fuel.

everstryke pro review
Unscrew the cap of the Everstryke Pro lighter to access the striker wheel and wick.

The main lighter housing features an O-ring at the base of the point where the cap screws down, keeping the wick from getting waterlogged should it ever get submerged, making this lighter 100% waterproof. In fact, you can click here to see a video of the Everstryke Pro being submerged into a FISHBOWL for an hour and then being taken out and lighting up with no problem at all. The high-quality outer construction and O-ring also help keep the fuel from evaporating.

everstryke pro review
The black O-ring seals out water and prevents fuel from evaporating.

How To Fill A Capsule Lighter

The striker and wick are mounted on a hollow cylinder that fits inside the lighter housing, which, when you remove it and flip it upside down, reveals foam that you saturate with fuel to feed the wick, as well as a screwdriver-adjustable flint. We recommend getting a high-quality lighter fluid such as Ronsonol.

everstryke pro review
The hollow cylinder slides out for refilling with fuel and adjusting the flint.
everstryke pro review
The foam is shaped to seat around the flint, which can be adjusted using a flathead screwdriver.
everstryke pro review
The foam (on right) pops out, revealing the wick.

To fill the lighter, remove the internal cylinder, take lighter fluid (the sort you use for charcoal barbeques) and carefully fill the housing halfway – it doesn’t take much. Then, slowly re-insert the internal cylinder. The foam should sop up the fuel, and in short order, the wick should get wet with fuel; the lighter is now ready to use.

everstryke pro review
Adding fuel to the housing.

To avoid getting lighter fluid all over the place in the event of an overflow, fill your Everstryke Pro lighter over a sink or outdoors. Always ensure you wash your hands and give the lighter a wipe-down before attempting to light it to avoid any accidents.

Field Testing The Everstryke Pro Lighter

I tested out this product under two real-life conditions: The first, lighting a wood stove at a shop I’m painting; and the second, burning trash in an incinerator. After testing it out for a few weeks, I found it to be a fairly capable fire starter creating a flame that is wider than your typical match, giving you a more effective flame for igniting tinder or kindling.

everstryke pro review
Provides a wider, steadier flame than a match and won’t burn down to your fingers.

For those accustomed to butane lighters, this unit can seem reticent to light, at most taking up to about a dozen strikes to light the wick. However, this is about on-par with flint and steel fire starting kits without the hassle of collecting fine tinder to light it.

One potential disadvantage, especially for those who live as far north as I do, is the potential for the lighter fluid to ignite at colder temperatures. This can be problematic for the Everstryke Pro in freezing temperatures, although this would affect any lighter of this type, including a Zippo. A quick fix if you’re in a situation where you need to use a lighter, such as this one, in freezing temperatures is to warm it up on your hands for 30 seconds or so and to try igniting it again.

everstryke pro review
The Survival Life Everstryke fits easily on a keyring and unclips for quick access when needed.

It’s modestly weatherproof, maintaining a hot flame in light snow and a moderate breeze. Of important note is that, much like a Zippo, the Everstryke Pro lighter may not light the very first time you strike it. This is a function of a reliable lighter that uses lighter fluid instead of a butane-based, BIC-type lighter. Slower ignition time is just one of the trade-offs made when choosing a refillable lighter over a disposable one.

everstryke pro review
Had to give it dunk to see for myself.
everstryke pro review
After being submerged for 10 minutes, no water had leaked into the cap and it was ready to light.

Summing It Up

As you can see from our Everstryke Pro review, its compact size, simple design, and affordability make it a useful addition to any camping or survival kit.

cold weather survival gear
The Everstryke Pro combines both a fuel-based system and flint and steel striker, so you can spark a fire under any conditions.

Click Here To Get Your Everstryke Pro Lighter Today!

 

Get Yours Today

How many sources of fire do you currently have in your survival bag? If you don’t have a small source of fire with you at all times, consider getting yourself the Everstryke Pro to never be left out in the cold. For a limited time get your Everstryke Pro for free, you just pay $4.95 shipping!

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edt multitool

Free EDT Multitool Review

edt multitool

Here at BOBG headquarters, we’re as interested as anybody in saving a few bucks on gear. Considering how many food and tool preps we’d like to carry and to set aside, it can be tough to justify the cost of all the gear. Luckily, we have a few staffers that excel in finding freebies and hot deals. One of the free survival tools he recently found is the EDT mini multitool. If you’re into free tools, take a look at the EDT multitool review below!

Where to Get ‘Em

The folks over at SurvivalLife.com are a great source for free survival tools. They mix it up with handcuff keys, multi tools, fire tools, and even a pocket Bill of Rights. As is the case with any free stuff, their items can be hit or miss. This EDT multitool is pretty fairly in the hit category. To get your free EDT multitool, CLICK HERE.

The EDT Multitool

The EDT mini multitool is set up in the traditional folding configuration with a set of pliers inside the butterfly style handles. On the end of one handle is a carabiner clip that operates equally well whether the tool is open or folded closed.

On the end of the opposing handle is an exposed miniature Phillips-style screwdriver head. This screwdriver winds up snugly against the back side of the carabiner when the tool is closed, preventing it from digging a hole through a pocket or bag.

edt multitool
Clip it to your belt loop, MOLLE strap, or keyring for quick access.

Both of the utility tools included in this little gadget are designed to open while the handles are folded closed. On one side is a small 1.5” knife blade, and on the other is a serrated bottle opener. Both have spring indents that help keep them from folding shut during use.

edt multitool
Unlike many folding tools, the EDT Multitool blade and bottle opener can be accessed from the folded position.

Durability

This tool is pretty stoutly built. Everything is screwed, rather than riveted, together. It’s constructed entirely of metal; even the handles are aluminum that has been painted in a digital camo style pattern. This does put the tool at a bit of a weight disadvantage, bringing it about equal to the weight of two Classic model Swiss Army knives.

edt multitool
The framework is very sturdy, though you can see the paint starting to wear after use.

Functionality

The pliers are definitely the best feature of this tool, other than the price. These spring-assisted pliers are well-constructed, closing snugly and evenly all the way to the tip.

In the last two weeks, these pliers have been used to pull a couple of splinters during a big fence building project, squish a few ticks, pry out one bent 16 penny nail, and pull back the sheathing during a repair on an extension cord that got caught up in an electric trimmer. The pliers have held fast and done their job throughout.

edt multitool
The pliers really stood up to the test, performing well on intricate jobs.

The blade is functional, in that it cuts things that aren’t terribly difficult to cut. When new, it was extremely troublesome to open the blade without a small pry lever. The high pivot tension combined with no thumbnail slot makes for a rather inconvenient combination.

After a little bit of twisting with the appropriate sized Torx bit, though, it got to a point where it could be opened reasonably safely yet not close without warning. Once that little fix was done, the blade was serviceable. It wasn’t sharp enough to cut thread or trim fingernails easily, but could sharpen sticks and open bags of concrete well enough.

edt multitool
Compact in size, the EDT Multitool proved a useful addition to my survival gear at an awesome price – free!

The bottle opener is about as useful as the blade; if one pays close attention when setting the tool on a bottle cap and makes sure to pry carefully, the bottle usually opens before the cap splits on the bottle.

In two weeks, no screws of an appropriate size showed up that Phillips-style driver fits, but surely it would do the job; it’s a screwdriver. As an aside, there may be an alternative use for this little driver. In a pinch, this screwdriver could probably be used as a glass breaker with the tool opened halfway.

edt multitool
After 2 weeks of field use, there was some evidence of wear and tear around the edges but the tools themselves held up.

Summing it Up

All in all, the EDT multitool is worth about what you’ll pay for it. If you’re looking for a handy set of folding pliers that hang on a small carabiner, you’re in luck. If you want a free multitool that will serve as a make-do until you can dig up a real multitool, you might be a little disappointed.

edt multitool
Click the image to get your free EDT Multitool!

Your Thoughts

Have you got any free gear that met or exceeded expectations? What is it, where did you get it, and how is it holding up? Enlighten us in the Comments section below, thanks!

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advanced tactical hip bag

Advanced Tactical Hip Bag Vs. Maxpedition Jumbo EDC Bag

advanced tactical hip bag

Note: This review was contributed by one of our readers. Jeremy from Alaska compares his previous EDC bag from Maxpedition to his newest one, the Rothco Advanced Tactical Hip Bag.

concealed carry

Introduction

I carry concealed on a very regular basis, but sometimes there are situations where on-body carry is just not practical for me.  So, I take the next available option:  off-body carry in a “man-purse.”

Now, set aside your reservations for this, because I understand most, if not all, the disadvantages to taking this approach.  This review is for those who take this option.

advanced tactical hip bag

About two years ago, I bought a Maxpedition Jumbo EDC, and found it quite adequate to the task for my every day carry needs:  from handgun, holster, and reloads, to first aid kit, multitool, flashlight, cellphone, handheld electronics and accessories, water and a few snacks.

EDC List
Learn how to pick the best EDC flashlight

However, the Fastex clasp over the main lid broke which, paired with a couple of minor annoyances I had with that bag, gave me good opportunity to look for a new bag.  Since Maxpedition’s “tan” is actually a greenish-tan better suited for the Army’s digital sage pattern, I sought something closer to the coyote tan of my other gear.

The Advanced Tactical Hip Bag

Bug Out Bag Guide offered the perfect replacement.  I wound up paying about $15 more than I did for the Maxpedition, but just out of the packaging, it seems to have been well worth it.

advanced tactical hip bag
Click On The Image To Find Out How To Get Your Own Advanced Tactical Hip Bag

Overall Layout

Now, both bags follow largely the same layout:  The main bag partitioned into a rear compartment for handgun & holster, and the main compartment itself.

advanced tactical hip bag

Outside the main bag are four smaller external compartments, one being open-ended, cinchable, and able to be further secured by a velcro tab much like you find on some rifle magazine pouches. There are three other zippered ones on the top, front, and the opposite side.

advanced tactical hip bag

advanced tactical hip bag

The main lid extends over the front to secure the main compartment and cover the aforementioned front compartment, which itself features an extra open pocket.  The lid has a zippered pocket, too, and a strip of velcro long enough to accommodate two flag-sized patches, or nametape, etc.

advanced tactical hip bag

Both offer a padded shoulder strap that can quick-release with its Fastex buckle, and is anchored to one end of the main bag that features a small area of MOLLE/PALS webbing for attaching a small gadget pouch (radio, etc).  Both bags also offer breathable cushioning on the bag’s back.

advanced tactical hip bag

But, it’s the details that set the two apart, and all in all, I think the bag offered by BOBG is the better of the two.

The Details

Concealed Handgun Compartment

I carry a full-size HK USP45 (one of the larger service semiautos).  The Maxpedition accommodated it and a Bianchi Black Widow holster just fine, with room to spare for an extra magazine.  BOBG’s offering does it at least as well.  Both also feature velcro backing on one side of the compartment, to help further secure handguns in holsters.

Main Compartment

Both bags feature enough space to fit a military-issue IFAK (enclosed in its case) with just a tad more room to fit in, say, a pair of sunglasses in their case.  The compartment of both have a mesh pocket on one side, and a regular pocket on the other.

Where they differ most significantly is how they keep out dust and moisture, given the gaps left open by the lid.  The Maxpedition does nothing to keep small loose items from spilling out, but the Advanced Tactical Hip Bag (henceforth referred to as “ATHB”) has a liner you can cinch closed to prevent that as well as block dust and moisture from getting in.

advanced tactical hip bag

Neither bag is completely waterproof, but BOBG’s bag does feature a moisture-resistant lining (the sort you find on the lid of old-school ALICE packs) on practically all of its interior surfaces.

The underside of the Maxpedition has a single loop of webbing to hold the main compartment’s strap in place.  The Advanced Tactical Hip Bag has two more to either side.

Exterior Compartments

advanced tactical hip bag

Both are comparable, including the MOLLE webbing on the side compartment.  The Maxpedition is a tad roomier on the side compartments (for example, you can fit three USGI 30-rd M4 mags into the open pocket while the ATHB can fit only two), and offers paracord attached to the zippers (to make them easier to grasp while wearing gloves). It also features a strip of webbing in the front compartment for a flashlight, multitool, pens, etc.

Best Tactical Pen

The Advanced Tactical Hip Bag instead has a zippered mesh pocket and a clip lanyard.  The ATHB also offers another pocket inside the other side compartment (the one with the MOLLE webbing) that can fit a full-size double-stacked pistol magazine.  Furthermore, the ATHB’s top zippered pocket features MOLLE webbing, something the Maxpedition lacks.

advanced tactical hip bag

Strap

Both feature an adjustable strap that runs through a shoulder pad, secured by velcro, and permanently sewn into one end of the bag (behind some MOLLE webbing), and fastened by a quick-release Fastex buckle on the other end of the strap.  The Maxpedition strap is sturdier, and has a plastic D-ring above the MOLLE webbing, while the other end features another section of velcro for another patch.

advanced tactical hip bag

However, the Advanced Tactical Hip Bag has a metal clip (almost like a miniature carabiner), and yet another Fastex-secured small pouch for a knife, multitool, flashlight, cellphone, pistol magazine, and a sleeve for a pen.

advanced tactical hip bag

I wore my Maxpedition on pretty much a daily basis, taking it to work, hiking, etc.  I’ll be happy to submit a review on this bag after a couple months’ worth of use.  If you want to get your own Advanced Tactical Hip Bag CLICK HERE NOW.

UPDATE: After Using The Bag For 2+ Months!

Two months owning the bag, and I still like it very much.  Here’s a follow-up review I had promised.

I discovered a way to free up the main compartment by moving my rip-away IFAK to the outside.  I secure it by sticking it on the loop strip on the external flap and running a carabiner through the top pocket’s center MOLLE loop with the other running through the IFAK’s top handle (see attached photo).  It makes opening the flap (and accessing the front pocket) a little more cumbersome, but it works until I can get something on the order of AR500’s EPIK just to use with this bag.

Also, while the thinner main strap might be something of a compromise, I figured recently that it might be a good thing if you find yourself having to cut it away.

Overall, the bag has survived a few hikes and two months of nearly daily use.  I have thus far been very satisfied with it.

Your Thoughts

Was this review helpful to you? Have you experienced similar challenges with finding the right gear for your needs? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments section below, thanks!

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ranged survival weapons

Comparison of Ranged Survival Weapons

ranged survival weapons

Here at TBOBG, we’ve covered all kinds of preps. Among those, of course, are preps for defense and food procurement. Even though you’ve painstakingly researched and selected the ideal armament for your situation and have been religiously stocking up on ammunition, there may come a time when these careful preps aren’t sufficient.

Perhaps you’ll have suffered a raid, an unrepairable malfunction, or simply run out of ammo. In any of these instances, you would do well to have some alternatives to the usual collection of firearms. Read on to learn up on some of the best alternative ranged weapons.

As we look through our options, we’ll make sure to touch on some key decision-making factors for any ranged survival weapon. These factors will include:

  • Range: At what distance from the target can this weapon be effectively utilized?
  • Lethality: What is the effect on the target when this weapon is used against it?
  • Ease of Use: How difficult is this weapon to become proficient with?
  • Accessibility: How difficult is this weapon to obtain or build?
  • Ammunition: What is it, where can it be found, and how easy is it to replace?

Ranged Survival Weaponsranged survival weapons

Bows

The first alternative ranged weapon to come to mind for most folks will be the good ol’ bow and arrow. A decent bow is a fine alternative to a firearm, offering good range, high lethality, fairly easy learning curve, and pretty high accessibility.

Range

Most adult-sized bows are easily capable of effective ranges beyond 40 yards. This brings their effective range close to that of most handguns. A high quality compound bow that has been set up correctly for a competent shooter is capable of accurate, effective shots out to as much as double that distance.

Lethality

The whole idea behind a bow and arrow is to poke a hole through something from pretty far away and cause the target to bleed out. As with any piece of gear, proper equipment selection will make a huge difference here. Most bows will definitely be able to harvest deer, pigs, or other medium-to-large sized game.

From a defense standpoint, bows are equally effective to, though much different than a firearm. Do be aware that, unlike a firearm, there’s not a huge amount of hydrostatic shock when a target is hit with an arrow from even the most powerful bow. Unless there’s a direct heart shot, the target will likely be able to move and fight until it bleeds to death.ranged survival weapons

Ease of Use

Bows are simple in concept, but take a lot of practice and skill to master. Whether you’re inquiring about a modern compound bow, replete with pulleys and cables, or a traditional wood bow paired with a Flemish Twist string, any experienced bowyer will tell you that consistency is key.

If you’re making the smart move of setting yourself up with a survival bow in your preps, make sure to double down and practice with it! Go beyond just learning your anchor point and dialing in your release; shoot from different positions at different ranges. If you’re of the constitution, go bow hunting. You’ll not only get out in the woods and hone your technique, but you’ll likely end up with a freezer full of the finest organic, free-range meat available.

Even if you don’t intend to bolster your preps in advance with a bow, it’s not a bad idea to find a range and take a few lessons. Like learning to drive a manual transmission, the muscle memory and basic understanding of the concept can pay off big time in a pinch.

Accessibility

Bows are quite easy to find, and nearly as easy to make. To purchase a new bow, your best bet is your local archery or hunting store. Otherwise, bows can be found in all the usual online marketplaces, or at gun shows, yard sales, and by word of mouth. Many bowhunters are dying to get rid of some of their old equipment to help fund the Next Best Bow.

Be sure to buy the right size bow, and don’t go overboard with the draw weight. Even the hunkiest prepper would do well to start off at a reasonable draw weight (45 pounds or so). Don’t skimp on your arrows, either; get them in the correct spine stiffness, length, and weight for your bow and intended use.

If you’re looking to make your own bow, you’ve taken on a very rewarding challenge. Whether your project is to design your ideal lifelong hunting partner, or just to gain experience for a “what if” scenario, you should be able to get from tree to complete bow in less than 15 hours of work. Many designs and options to be made from wood, PVC, or other materials are readily available online. Work carefully, pay attention to the details, and you’ll end up with a long lasting, sweet shooting product.

Ammunition

Bows shoot arrows, of course! The best arrows are store-bought. Though traditionalists like the notion of wood arrows, most will eventually agree that using proper carbon fiber or aluminum arrows will result in superior accuracy, reliability, and safety from any bow.

That said, arrows aren’t that difficult to make. Like a bow itself, arrow making is simply an investment of time that can pay big gains. Even the feathers that influence the arrow’s true flight, or fletching, can be made from a number of materials: Including, of course, duct tape!

Other Notes

ranged survival weapons
Photo by usfwmtnprairie on Flickr.

One of the most versatile of ranged weapons, a good survival bow can be outfitted to take almost any kind of game. A blunt point will do well for small critters like squirrels and rabbits. A barbed point and some line will turn a standard bow into a fine bowfishing rig capable of bringing in 20 pounds of fish at a time. Some creative use of string tied in loops on the business end of an arrow can increase your margin of error and bring birds out of the sky.

Preparing yourself to use or build a bow and arrow setup is an extremely valuable use of your time. The bow was instrumental in separating Man from beast, and can make the difference between a dangerous arms-length encounter and a safe kill from a distance. Do yourself a favor and familiarize yourself with this fantastic piece of ranged weaponry.

BowsKey Features
Martin Jaguar Takedown Bow
Traditional style makes a good starter bow
Breaks down easily for packing in a BOB
Laminated wood and glass limbs provide a smooth draw
Spectre Compact Take-down Survival Bow
Modular design allows for 35, 45, or 55lbs of draw
Set includes quiver and arrows
Stores compactly in quiver
Siege Compound Bow
Accessory screw mount for bow fishing
55lb draw weight can handle larger game
Maximum speed 206 FPS
Click the images to view product details and pricing on Amazon.

Crossbows

Everybody’s favorite soft-hearted, zombie-slaying, post-apocalyptic TV redneck uses a crossbow for a reason; it’s accurate, powerful, silent, and easy to use. If you’re looking for a ranged survival weapon that will do its part in fending off the undead horde or take down a fortnight’s meat, a crossbow shouldn’t be far from the top of your list.

Range

Crossbows are essentially a standard bow that has been turned on its side, attached to a rifle-like stock, and given a trigger mechanism that holds the string at the full draw position until the shooter is ready to fire. As such, the operator only has to draw the bow to its full draw position for a period of time sufficient for the trigger mechanism to lock the string in place. Because of this, the crossbow can be designed to use a much higher draw weight, and thus fire its projectile (though it looks like an arrow, it’s called a “bolt”) a greater distance with higher power. Expect 20-40% more range than a standard bow.

Lethality

ranged survival weapons
Photo by wwworks on Flickr.

Crossbows are every bit as lethal as a typical upright bow. They poke the same size hole, but generally can do it from a greater distance.

Ease of Use

Crossbows tend to be a bit more forgiving to shoot than a regular bow. While not as easy or intuitive as a rifle for some, the crossbow has a relatively short learning curve. They do take a while to load, and thus likely aren’t the best pick for heated battles. Additionally, they can be awkward to store and transport.

Accessibility

Though fairly readily available pre-TEOTWAWKI, there isn’t likely to be a glut of these after the SHTF. In contrast to most of the other ranged survival weapons, the crossbow is pretty difficult to make with limited time or materials.

Ammunition

Crossbow bolts aren’t just short arrows. Bolts tend to be much stiffer, and don’t have any sort of nock at the rear. Because of the nature of the crossbow’s function, bolts must be very straight and very strong. It’s not recommended to make your own bolts unless there’s really no other option.

Other Notes

There are some specific advantages to the crossbow, namely the effective range and short learning curve. The cons can quickly begin outweigh the pros for many people, though. If you’re not equipped with one of these before TEOTWAWKI, don’t count on ending up with one after.

CrossbowsKey Features
Cobra System Self Cocking Pistol Tactical Crossbow
Self-cocking mechanism shortens reload time
Quiet and well-suited to hunting small game
Good beginner crossbow for a reasonable price
Barnett Jackal Crossbow
Powerful 150lb draw and 315 FPS for hunting larger game
Red dot scope for improved accuracy
Smooth 3.5lb trigger pull
Barnett Oudoors Ghost Crossbow
Carbon Riser Technology reduces overall weight
Anti Dry Fire Trigger system prevents firing without a bolt in place
Heavy duty crossbow for experienced hunters
Click the images to view product details and pricing on Amazon.

Throwing Arrows

ranged survival weapons
By Zeph77 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0]
Using a basic lever concept and aerodynamic projectile, a throwing arrow is a highly lethal, simple package that has been around since the earliest days of our species. The most common type of throwing arrow systems are the atlatl and the Swiss arrow. The atlatl is generally wood or some other rigid material, while a Swiss arrow setup uses rope or twine.

Range

A single throwing arrow (or dart, to be technical) is generally effective at a medium range. Once you’re proficient with the thrower, 15-20 yard shots on deer-sized game will be quite achievable. Though the darts can be propelled much farther than this, accuracy wanes quickly.

Throwing arrows can be used quite effectively as a high-volume defense weapon. Though a single surgical kill shot is difficult to achieve beyond 20 or so yards, a great volume of flying darts can be more than a little intimidating. If your group is low on ammo and expecting a fight, consider equipping several members with throwing arrows and instructing them to fire simultaneously at a target.

Lethality

A well-placed dart is as deadly as a sharp object can get. Even without perfect shot placement, darts will often hang out of a wound and further damage will be done as the exposed portion of the dart is dragged through brush or on the ground. Like the bow and crossbow, there’s not much in the way of hydrostatic shock; the intention is to cause the target to bleed out.

Ease of Use

Throwing arrows take a lot of time and practice to use effectively.  A general rule of thumb is to pretend as though you’re simply throwing a normal spear. Let the lever do the work.

Accessibility

Atlatls are quick and easy to make. The lever system can be made from nearly any wood or PVC or other available material, or the focus can be on making a Swiss arrow by using just a bootlace or twisted fiber. While simple in nature and construction, it’s important to recognize the end goal before you get started. Check around for build guides on the internet.

Ammunition

Darts can be made relatively easily from most straight, reasonably rigid materials. Darts should have some flex to them for best performance. Unlike arrows or crossbow bolts, throwing arrows don’t necessarily need to be fletched, although this does increase their accuracy and range.

Other Notes

Because throwing arrow systems are so easy to make, there’s no excuse not to practice at home before the need arises. If the time ever comes that an atlatl could make the difference between eating and not eating, you’ll be glad you did!

Throwing Spears/AtlatlsKey Features
Nanticoke Atlatl
Simple and durable design, easy to travel with
Knuckled handgrip for better control
Darts are made from ash lumber for straightness and elasticity
Kanakadea Atlatl
Fingerless rest holds dart in place
Comes with fletched 5' darts with field tips
Catatonk Atlatl
Engineered specifically for hunting
Hammer grips tranfers more power
Moderate shaft flex for improved control
Click the images to view product details and pricing on Amazon.

Slingshots

ranged survival weapons
Photo by psym on Flickr.

Evidently Dennis the Menace knew a thing or two about lightweight, portable weaponry. Though he generally used his to wreak havoc on his neighbors, the slingshot shouldn’t be discounted as a formidable light-duty ranged survival weapon. For our in-depth review of survival slingshots, CLICK HERE.best slingshot

Range

Slingshots work off of energy stored in an elastic band. Unlike the previous ranged weapon alternatives, the slingshot doesn’t have the assistance of leverage. As such, even the most well-executed models will be limited to shorter range work on smaller targets.

Lethality

Slingshots aren’t particularly powerful. Even the compound-style slingshots that can be found these days are fairly anemic compared to other ranged weapons. With most slingshots, expect to be able to take small game at short range. Due to the ease of getting close to them, rabbits and birds are particularly good bets for hunting with a slingshot.

ranged survival weapons
Photo by thebusybrain on Flickr.

For defense use, don’t expect much from your slingshot. While shots can be painful, it’s rare that they’re deadly.

Ease of Use

While not difficult to get the hang of, slingshots can benefit from some quality practice. Much like a survival bow, consistency is key. When shooting a slingshot, always draw the band to the same length, and try to keep your arms in the same relation to one another. If angled shots are required, focus on keeping your upper body position the same and bending at the hips to account for the angle.

Accessibility

Slingshots are available at many big-box stores, and are really easy to make. Any highly elastic, durable rubber banding should be a good bet for the power plant, while a stout forked branch serves as the chassis.

Ammunition

The beautiful thing about slingshots is that ammo is prolific. While a ball bearing or similarly dense, spherical object is the ideal projectile, any rock or acorn or bolt nut can be used. If you’re equipped with a slingshot, keep on the lookout for good ammo. That said, don’t worry about saving and carrying anything but the very best of what you find; no need to carry mediocre ammunition when it’s available pretty much everywhere.

Other Notes

A slingshot can be a very handy secondary ranged weapon. They work very well for taking game that might not be worth risking damage to an arrow or bolt for a small amount of gain. Also, since it’s not necessary to carry a lot of complex ammunition, the slingshot can be a very lightweight, simple weapon to have in a back pocket, Dennis style.

SlingshotsFeatures
Aftermath Kavia Elite Sport Slingshot
Adjustable sight and wrist support. Has unique push-button design to dispense ammo from the hollow handle.
Trumark FS-1 Folding Slingshot
Lightweight aluminum frame for easy carrying. Hollow handle has a flip valve for dispensing ammo quickly.
Saunders Wrist-Rocket Pro
Unique design allows for extreme velocity. Folds in a manner that allows you to padlock the slingshot to prevent children from using it.
Click the image for product details and pricing on Amazon.

Slings

ranged survival weapons
By Peter van der Sluijs. (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0]
Most famous for its involvement as the weapon of choice against a certain Goliath and its effectiveness in the skillful hands of Ayla from Jean M. Auel’s series of books, the sling is a simple but remarkable ranged weapon.

Range

Slings are a good short-range weapon. The power and range of a sling is determined in large part by the size of projectile selected and the length of the sling itself. As with throwing arrows, a large number of stones being hurled by members of a party can be quite effective at even long ranges. Flying rocks always hurt.

Lethality

Though technically capable of kills on larger game (or in defensive use), the sling is more appropriate as a tool for turning small game into food, and for dissuading would-be attackers before things get out of hand.

Ease of Use

Like most of the ranged survival weapons in this article, slings take some practice in order for a user to become proficient. Though the motions and the principles are quite simple, a good deal of learned coordination and muscle memory are required.

Accessibility

Premade slings can probably be ordered online (Really, what can’t?), but there’s no excuse to not make your own. A length of cordage and a pocket of stiff fabric or leather is about all you need. Aside from a driveway full of rocks, of course.

Ammunition

A sling is capable of propelling just about anything that fits in its pocket. Like the slingshot, there’s no sense in collecting and carrying any but the finest scavenged ammunition.

Other notes

While not much of a defense weapon against someone with anything more effective than a sling of their own, the sling does have its utility. Even due to nothing else besides its light weight, simple construction, and easy portability, a sling might be one of the most convenient alternative ranged weapons available.

SlingsKey Features
Paracord Sling
Handmade from 550 paracord
Pouch fits ammo up to the size of a golf ball
60" total length
Leather Sling
Moulded bison leather pouch cups ammo
54" total length
Click the images to view product details and pricing on Amazon.

Pepper Spray

Though not as permanently damaging as, and considerably less romantic than, many of the other ranged weapons we’ve covered, pepper spray is one seriously effective tool when used correctly.

Range

Most pepper sprays have an effective range somewhere from 10 to 25 feet. This isn’t far, but it can quickly create time for you to get away from your attacker.

Lethality

ranged survival weapons
Photo by smittypants on Flickr.

The relatively few deaths that have occurred due to pepper spray’s effects notwithstanding, pepper spray is not considered to be a lethal weapon. Using pepper spray for any sort of survival hunting would probably do more harm than good.

Ease of Use

Pepper spray is pretty simple: Point at attacker’s face, depress a button, and watch the sucker writhe in drool-inducing pain. You’ll probably only have one chance to get it right, though, so make it count.

Accessibility

Pepper spray is readily available in most states. Any local gun shop or big box store should have several options. After a big SHTF event, though, this may no longer be the case. If pepper spray is something you intend to rely on, make sure to stock up.

Ammunition

Pepper spray is self-contained. While there’s no doubt that some enterprising soul could probably find a way to mix up a home recipe and make it portable, it’s likely best to simply run what ya’ brung.

Other Notes

Be aware that pepper spray is just that: A liquid spray. If you’re downwind of this stuff, even if you’re not the target, you’re in trouble. Additionally, pepper spray is only going to bring a human down for a short time. During that short time, they can still be combative. Use pepper spray to create the opportunity to make space between yourself and the one you’ve just sprayed.

Pepper SprayKey Features
SABRE Pepper Spray
10 foot range puts distance between you and your target
Contains 25 bursts or 10 one second sprays for multiple uses
Quick release key ring to deploy quickly
Police Magnum Pepper Spray
17% OC solution is highest allowed by law
Flip top design deploys with one hand
Kimber Pepperblaster
Pistol-like design for grip and accuracy
Sprays at 90 mph to hit the target and only the target
Second reserve shot for backup
Click the images to view product details and pricing on Amazon.

Throwing Knife or Tomahawk

Don’t do it. Don’t ever throw a knife, axe, or any other hand tool as a weapon. At worst you’ll do no damage to your target and lose a valuable tool in the process. At best, you’ll do less damage than you’d like to the target and lose a valuable tool in the process. Knives and axes can be fun to throw for competition or a challenge, but not for hunting or in battle. Keep those tools and use them to make a more appropriate ranged survival weapon.

Closing Thoughts

ranged survival weapons
Photo by lee-yoshi on Flickr.

Now that you’ve got the information, it’s time to get started with the prepping! Consider your goals, and think long and hard about how you’ll approach the possibility of living without firearms during bad times. If you’re unsure about how to proceed, there’s no harm in trying each of the above ranged weapons. Most of them are fairly easy to make or purchase, and all will add a new dimension to your ability to defend, hunt, and succeed. There’s no time like the present to prepare for the future.

Your Thoughts

Do you have some experience with any of these alternative ranged survival weapons? Are your preps already stocked with firearm alternatives? Speak up about your experiences, successes, and failures in the Comments section below, thanks!

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