Archive for April, 2015

Tiny KaBar TDI Provides Big Backup

April 26, 2015 Leave a comment

The vast majority of concealed carry permit holders do not carry firearms with the hope of one day becoming entangled in a situation where they are forced to use their weapon. They carry weapons to protect themselves and their families, hoping never to use them. As such, many in the concealed carry community arm themselves with alternative or backup weapons that do not employ deadly force.kabar tdi

These weapons are designed as a stop-gap that allow you to draw or retrieve your firearm or withdraw to safety.

Some of these “Plan B” devices include pepper spray, batons, stun guns, and of course, the knife.

The knife is often referred to as a weapon choice of last resort.

Using a knife involves close hand-to-hand combat and in many cases, requires the user to open the blade with one hand while fending off the attacker with the other.

Enter the KaBar TDI Knife, originally designed as a last ditch weapon to be worn by law enforcement personnel behind their duty belt.

The TDI is a small knife with a 2.5 inch blade in a general arcing design. In his article “KaBar TDI Knife” at, author Duane A. Daiker describes how the KaBar TDI design features give the defender an edge in face-to-face encounters:

“The TDI knife is designed to be carried on your belt, on the weak side, for quick access with your weak hand. Nothing beats a fixed blade knife for quick, no-fumble access. The TDI is a small fixed blade with a very ergonomic handle that makes it perfect for instinctive defensive maneuvers like thrusting and slashing to defend against a close-in attack.” (Read more at

Another design feature that helps keep the TDI securely in your grasp is a hook-like groove that runs under the handle where it joins the blade. This follows the curved shape of the knife and not only provides a stronger grip but makes it much more difficult for an attacker to pry open your hand and take the knife.

The overall specs on the KaBar TDI add up to an impressive little knife. Its total length is only 5.5 inches and weighs less than three ounces. The handle is textured Zytel, while the blade is composed of tough AUS 8A stainless steel.  The TDI comes in various colors and is also available with a serrated edge.  The TDI price range is approximately $30-$40.

The sheath that comes with the knife was designed to be carried on a law enforcement duty belt and may not be suitable for concealed carry. Other more versatile and aesthetically pleasing sheaths are available online. One source is On/Scene Tactical at


Century Arms Model 39 Modernizes Classic AK-47

April 17, 2015 Leave a comment

The AK-47 semi-automatic assault rifle is the most popular and widespread firearm in the world, showing up in one form or another in virtually every country.  The rifle was developed by famed Soviet general and weapons designer Mikhail Kalashnikov after studying a captured sturmgewehr, a high-tech German WWII rifle that used an innovative medium sized cartridge.ak-47

Firearm sales skyrocketed in the U.S. during the post-war baby boom years and the AK-47 found an eager market in a country that guaranteed its citizens the right to bear arms.

Unfortunately, many of these guns were of shoddy craftsmanship and tended to be favored by the criminal element.

This led to a 1994 ban on assault weapons containing more than 10 foreign-made critical parts.  In an ironic twist of events, the ban resulted in an improved version of the AK-47 emerging in the American market.

Author Scott W. Wagner describes the Hollywood-like chain of events that led to the new and improved assault rifle in his article “Century Arms USA-Made Model 39: The AK-47 Redefined”:

“Companies in the U.S. started making critical components themselves, and the complete AKs that were being imported were stripped of all the parts that made them illegal to sell and replaced with U.S. parts. The end result is that now we have AKS being built with the quality once reserved for AR-15s!” (Read more at

As a result, Century Arms has reconfigured several versions of the AK-47, one of which is the top of the line Model 39 Classic.  This model is designed along the lines of the classic Kalashnikov, but with a modern flair featuring laminated wood stocks, polymer grip, a machined steel lower receiver, and a chrome-lined barrel.  This AK feels combat-ready, weighing in at a sturdy 8.1 pounds.

During range testing, the 39 Classic performed close to perfection. Traditional AK style sights are mounted on the gun, with adjustable rear ones for wind variance and slope. The gun was loaded with Century Arms Red Army Standard Elite 123-grain lead core rounds in a brass case. The trigger pull is fairly light, weighing in around 4 pounds, with slight take-up and light recoil on discharge. The 39 Classic is also outfitted with a flash suppressor/compensator on the muzzle.

The Century Arms Model 39 is no slouch when it comes to accuracy either.  At mid-range, the Model 39 holds its own with groupings equal to or better than comparable top-notch AK-47s.  The Classic cycled through 30 rounds without a hitch, no jams during firing or ejection, and reload was flawless.  Two magazines are shipped with the gun.

The AK-47 was designed as a high-tech front line assault weapon in a time before advances like laser sights and smart bombs revolutionized warfare. It has evolved into a powerful self-defense firearm that is suitable in rural areas, in the wilderness, or simply for training.

Categories: Tactical Tips

Shepherd Debuts Elite Tactical Rifle

April 9, 2015 Leave a comment

Since the dawn of the 21st century, the AR-15 rifle has grown by leaps and bounds in popularity and has justifiably earned a reputation as “America’s Rifle.” Almost every rifle manufacturer has developed their own version of this versatile weapon. Now newcomer Shepherd Firearms has joined the firearm fray with their impressive version of the AR-15, the Elite Tactical Rifle.shepherd elite

The Elite is essentially a custom-built AR-15. The upper and lower is crafted from billet aluminum and coated in Cerakote. The Elite also sports an 18-inch barrel, giving it a little extra velocity and range, thereby making it an effective weapon in a variety of potential encounters, from intermediate range defensive tactics to close-encounter room-sweeping.  At a lightweight six pounds and thirteen ounces, the rifle is easily wielded and fired even without a sling.

A rail is included for optical add-ons, but it’s not excessive. It comes in segments that can be customized according to needs of the customer.  For most customers, three segments should cover the majority of optical accessories.  The trigger on the Elite is a Timney, with no play and a crisp report. The pull is in the 3.5-4 pound range. The stock is adjustable and has space for battery storage.

Sights are not included with the Elite Tactical Rifle, so before going out for any distance training, make sure to acquire the sights that work for your needs.  Diamondhead is a good, fast supplier for a variety of sights for this rifle.

During field testing at 100 yards in the prone position, the Elite grouped all shots within 3-4 inches in a target silhouette head.  There were no misfires, jams, malfunctions or other mishaps of any kind. The direct gas-driven operating system performed smoothly overall, with little recoil. The Elite also performed admirably in a sweep at 50 feet, hitting all targets.

The Elite Tactical Rifle performs like a finely-tuned machine. However, precision, comfort, and reliability do not come cheap. Yet as author Scott W. Wagner describes in his article “Shepherd Firearms Elite Tactical Rifle: Multi-Purpose 5.56 AR-15 Excellence” at, the price is justified:

“To date, this is the most expensive firearm I have reviewed in this column. Capable of defense, competition, varmint hunting, or law enforcement duties, it is worth the price tag. MSRP is $2398.00.” (Read more at

Categories: Tactical Tips