Pietta M1858 .44 Remington Replica, by Thomas Christianson

Last summer, I tested a Pietta Blackpowder M1858 .44 Remington replica that I acquired from the Elk Creek Company. It was fun to shoot, interesting from a historical perspective, and is not classed as a “firearm” under Federal law. If there were a long-term technological setback, it would be easier to manufacture ammo for this replica than it would be for my more modern firearms. Although shooting cap and ball revolvers is fun, loading them is a somewhat time-consuming process. It is easy to understand why most people select cartridge handguns over cap and ball revolvers if they have the …




Thyrm Pyrovault Lighter Armor, by Thomas Christianson

Thyrm Pyrovault Lighter Armor encloses a Zippo lighter insert in a sturdy waterproof polymer case. In addition to making the insert waterproof, the case slows fuel evaporation from classic liquid-fuel inserts, so that the time between fillings can be measured in weeks rather than in days. The case can be opened and the insert operated with one hand. It greatly enhances the usefulness of the Zippo lighter insert. At the time of this writing, the Pyrovault Lighter Armor was available from Thyrm for $29.99. The Backstory On October 10, 2021, SurvivalBlog published my article about using a sleeve cut from …




Cold Steel Range Boss, by Thomas Christianson

The Cold Steel Range Boss is a light, sharp, thin, and tough knife for everyday carry (EDC). With a manufacturer-suggested retail price at the date of this writing of $51.99 and available online for as low as $37.05, it represents a great value for the cost-conscious knife buyer. It is also a good, solid knife for the buyer for whom money is no object. Background I recently asked Cold Steel if I could review their four-inch Range Boss knife in black. They were kind enough to agree, and a few days later a package arrived via FedEx from GSM, LLC., …




RedHead Ultimate Work Pants, by Tom Christianson

RedHead Ultimate Work Pants have an appropriate name: they are a good pair of pants to wear while working. They are comfortable, durable, stain resistant, and well-cut. The pants, which are manufactured in Bangladesh, are made of a lightweight cotton canvas. They retailed for $39.99 at Bass Pro Shops at the time of this writing. The Backstory I recently decided that two of my pairs of work jeans had reached the end of their useful life. The holes had gotten large enough that I had a hard time getting my feet through the legs of the pants rather than through …




Taurus GX4XL 9mm Pistol, by Tom Christianson

I was recently able to test the new Taurus GX4XL EDC variant pistol in 9mm. I was impressed by the way Taurus was able to squeeze a 13-round magazine and a 3.6 inch barrel into a micro-compact profile. The grip texturing was highly effective, and the gas nitride finish on the slide and the diamond-like-coating (DLC) on the stainless steel barrel enhance reliability and wear resistance. Practical accuracy was adequate for a micro-compact profile handgun. With a manufacturer-suggested retail price of $429 for the basic model and widely available online for under $350 at the time of this writing, the …




Nikwax Wax Cotton Proof, by Thomas Christianson

Norwegians have a saying about weather and clothing: “Det finnes ikke dårlig vær, bare dårlige klær” (There is no bad weather, just bad clothing). Appropriate clothing allows the wearer to function comfortably and effectively outdoors under a wide range of weather conditions. This makes selecting weather-appropriate clothing an important consideration for those who work and spend leisure time outdoors. I recently tested Nikwax Wax Cotton Proof. I found that it can significantly enhance the water resistance of certain garments while still allowing them to breathe. This makes those garments much more effective in wet and rainy conditions. A 10-ounce bottle …




Bear OPS Rancor II Pattern 400, by Thomas Christianson

I carry a knife every day. There are always boxes to open, ropes to cut, carpenter’s pencils to sharpen, and a host of similar tasks. Recently, I had the opportunity to test the Bear OPS Rancor II Pattern 400 as an everyday carry (EDC) knife. I found it sharp, light, easy to open, with a comfortable and nicely textured grip, and a secure locking mechanism. It is made in America by Bear & Son Cutlery of Jacksonville, Alabama. With a manufacturer suggested retail price of $104.99 and availability from various online vendors for around $70, it is an attractive and …




Crosman P1377 Air Pistol, by Thomas Christianson

In April of 2022, due to continued high ammo prices, I decided to try out the Crosman P1377 Air Pistol as a training tool. It has a manufacturer-suggested retail price of $72.30. The one I purchased online cost just $49.99, with free shipping. Pleasant Memories I have fond memories of the Crosman 760 air rifle that introduced me to shooting. I shot more BBs and pellets through that rifle than I can count. I enjoyed target shooting in the basement of my parent’s home with just two pumps, or hunting birds, squirrels, and even possum in the woods and fields …




Mass Casualty Trauma Kit, by Thomas Christianson

Recently, the Safety and Security Team of my church had the opportunity to evaluate the Mass Casualty Trauma Kit assembled by Mountain Man Medical, of Colorado. Overall, the Team found the kit to be a quality item. The kit was smaller than the team initially expected based upon the “mass casualty” label. Further research revealed that the kit is designed to be used in tandem with a number of other kits, based upon the peak occupancy of the facility being supplied. With excellent components and a price of $219.99 the Mass Casualty Trauma Kit offers good value for the money. …




Silver Fox Army Socks, by Thomas Christianson

I recently bought six pair of Silver Fox brand U.S. Army Men’s Cushion Sole Socks. In terms of comfort and durability, they leave a lot to be desired. In fact, I am so badly disappointed by the performance of the Silver Fox socks that I do not recommend them for field use. If you are desperate, Silver Fox socks are better than no socks at all. But if you have any way of getting Darn Tough Wool Socks, Smart Wool Socks, or another quality brand, then they would probably be a better investment. The Backstory For everyday tasks during the …




Mossberg Maverick 88 Smooth Bore Slug Gun, by Thomas Christianson

I recently tested the Mossberg Marverick 88 Deer Pump in 12 gauge. It has a 24-inch smooth bore slug barrel with adjustable rifle sights, a three inch chamber, and six shot capacity with 2.75 inch shells. I found it to be a sturdy, reliable, and reasonably accurate option for hunting deer and other mid-to-large-sized game at slug ranges (50 yards or less). With a manufacturer-suggested retail price of only $245, it offers a highly versatile firearm at an extremely reasonable price. The Backstory A couple of decades ago, I was preparing for a hunt on my Uncle’s property, which bordered …




Rothco Genuine G.I. Jeep Cap, by Thomas Christianson

Early in 2022, I acquired a Rothco 100% Wool Jeep Cap. I have worn it while walking the dog, stoking the outside wood boiler, clearing snow, and caring for other outside tasks. I have found it to be both warm and comfortable. The cap keeps my head and ears protected from the cold, while the visor protects my glasses from precipitation. It is made in the U.S.A. It has become my default headgear for winter outdoor work. At the time of this writing, the cap was available from Rothco’s website for $11.99. The Backstory During warm weather, I typically wear …




Backwoods Home Magazine, by Thomas Christianson

A couple of years ago, I ran across an online ad for a magazine called Backwoods Home. The magazine looked interesting, so I added it to my Christmas and birthday wish lists for a couple of years. My family decided to buy me other gifts instead, so I decided to take the bull by the horns. I contacted the Editorial and Advertising Coordinator for Backwoods Home Magazine, and asked if they would be willing to provide me with some back issues for review. They were kind enough to provide me with all four quarterly issues from 2021 (January/February/March, April/May/June, July/August/September, …




Rite in the Rain No. 954 Notebook, by Thomas Christianson

Throughout history, mankind has chosen to record information using a variety of media: clay tablets, pieces of bone, slabs of wood, palm leaves, stone, parchment, papyrus, paper, USB drives, and a host of other media. Some of my favorite media are Rite in the Rain notebooks. I recently tested the Rite in the Rain No. 954 notebook, and found it to be an excellent choice for everyday carry. It is durable, moisture resistant, and reasonably priced (available at the time of this writing directly from Rite In The Rain for $6.95 plus shipping). I highly recommend it. The Backstory For …




Fisher #SM4B Military Space Pen, by Thomas Christianson

The Fisher Space Pen is a writing tool that is well adapted to working under adverse conditions. It is designed to write in the cold, in the heat, over grease, in zero gravity, and even under water. This makes it an excellent choice for the outdoorsman, who may need to write under adverse field conditions. The model that I tested, the #SM4B Military Space Pen, is available for $22 from www.spacepen.com. PR4 black medium refills are available for $6.75 each. The Backstory When I was 16 years old, back in the 1970s, I went to Washington DC to visit my …