Cold Steel Extra Large Espada, by Pat Cascio

We get a lot of requests at SurvivalBlog to test and review many products. Unfortunately, due to the sheer volume of these requests, we simply can’t review every product, or we’d have a website full of product reviews each and every day. I personally take as much time as I possibly can with each product I test to make sure I give it a fair test, in that the product does what it is expected to do. When it comes to firearms, I shoot them a lot, and in the case of a handgun I carry it, too. I’m not going to recommend a handgun to someone else if it isn’t something I’d carry myself. We get a lot of emails, at least I do, personally, for knife reviews. I’m happy to say I have some of the best contacts in the knife industry, and they are happy to send me their products for testing. Still, I can’t review all of the knives I’d like, because there isn’t enough time! I also get requested, or should I say readers asking me what is the “best” knife! I simply can’t answer that question; there is no “best” when it comes to … Continue reading

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CZ 85B, by Pat Cascio

Continuing on with testing all-metal firearms, as requested by many of our readers, here’s one of my favorite double-stack 9mm handguns. The CZ-85B is simply an upgraded model of the original CZ-75. For many years, the CZ-75 was hard to come by in the USA, because it was produced in the Czech Republic when it was behind the “Iron Curtain”. The few CZ-75 handguns that were in the USA were very hard to come by and expensive, very expensive! Because of the scarcity of the original CZ-75, a number of near-clones of this gun appeared. One of the most recognized, coming from Italy, was imported by several different companies into the U.S. However, some were a serious hit or miss proposition, and I owned many. They had feeding problems as well as extraction problems, and most were guns you sure didn’t want to bet your life on. That was then, and this is now. One major importer– European American Armory– is bringing in some outstanding CZ-type handguns. However, like many gun owners who longed for the real thing, I wanted the original. CZ-USA.com is the importer of the original CZ-75 and, of course, the subject of this article is the … Continue reading

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Kel-Tec SU-16B, by Pat Cascio

This isn’t my first Kel-Tec SU-16B rifle; I bought one around 2003 or 2004, if memory serves me correctly. What caught my attention back then was that it didn’t look like other so-called “assault rifles”. It was compact, lightweight, and shot the .223/5.56 caliber round. However, I had nothing but problems with that particular sample. The empty brass would stick in the chamber after firing, and quite often loaded rounds wouldn’t fit the chamber either. The gun was sent back to Kel-Tec, and several weeks later I got the gun back. I was told that the chamber reamer was worn out and the chamber wasn’t cut deep enough. Whatever! However, the gun still wouldn’t function 100%, so I got rid of it. Some time ago, I spied a used but like-new Kel-Tec SU-16B at my local gun shop. The price was way more than “right”, and I got it and took it home for a good cleaning and lubrication and, of course, a very close inspection. The SU-16B weighs a mere five pounds empty, which is nice. It has a 16-inch medium/heavy barrel profile, with an overall length of a bit more than 37 inches, but that isn’t the whole … Continue reading

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Blackhawk Legacy, by Pat Cascio

As many readers will know, my wife is always chiding me about flashlights. She is somehow under the impression that I might have too many, until the lights go out and she asks, “Where’s a flashlight?”. To be sure, I keep flashlights within my reach– in my living room, bedroom, kitchen, and office. Living in the boonies does have some disadvantages; the power goes out quite often in the winter months, due to trees falling onto the power lines. We are used to the power going out and have prepared accordingly. We have LED lanterns, and we also have a 4,000-watt generator, which rarely gets used. Most of the time, when the power goes out, it is only for four to six hours, so I don’t want to crank up the generator for that, especially if the lights go out during daytime hours. If I need to find something, I’ll just grab a flashlight. We’ve been down this road before in several other articles about flashlights, and I believe you should buy the absolute best flashlights you can afford. There is no sense going to the local dollar-type store and buying a cheap flashlight; they will fail you. The batteries … Continue reading

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Review Of The Jøtul F 50 TL Rangeley Wood Stove, by S.T.

First let me state up front that I have heated with a wood stove for over 20 years, so I am not a novice and I understand the use of wood stoves. Additionally, as a person who worked for over 30 years in the defense industry, I also understand that there are products that are ill or poorly planned by engineers who never used the product and/or have large egos and refuse to accept any feedback from the end users of a product. Our previous wood stove was a Regency brand, which we located in a single story home. In the more than 20 years we owned the Regency wood stove, we had zero problems with the stove. When we purchased and moved to our new country homestead property, it was equipped with a 1940’s Warm Morning Coal Stove, which had a sheet metal housing that was just warm to the touch, so we were unable to cook on it. (This was a major preparedness issue in my mind.) We were concerned also that coal may not be available in a long-term SHTF situation. We did not want a pellet stove because it requires electricity, manufactured pellets may not be … Continue reading

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Springfield Armory Saint, by Pat Cascio

It happens! Sometimes, it just happens! I don’t know how or why and neither does my contact at Springfield Armory, but I was somehow left out of the loop on their new Saint AR-style rifle. Grrr! I didn’t get a sample on the day they were released; it took more than a month before I got a gun in my hand. Many “gun writers” that I’ve never ever heard of were invited to shoot the new Saint a month earlier at a top secret event. Again, I don’t know how I wasn’t invited, but it happened. Honestly, I don’t know of any writer who has written more articles about Springfield Armory products than I have, but I was somehow left out in the cold. However, it’s okay. It gave me more trigger time when my Saint finally did arrive. Quite honestly, there were some “gun writers” who, once again, I’ve never ever heard of who were busy burning up their word processing program writing about the new Saint, when I don’t know if some of them even had a sample to test. They didn’t say they actually shot the gun but just rehashed what the press release stated. Hmm. I … Continue reading

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CRKT Beauty and The Beast, by Pat Cascio

I still remember when I was a mere lad, seeing Beauty and the Beast on television. It was, of course, a stage production. Still, I was pretty scared of “The Beast” in that production. Years later, we had a TV series with Linda Hamilton as “Beauty” and Ron Perlman as “The Beast”, and things weren’t so scary for me with that “Beast”. I must admit it; I watched the show for “Beauty” and not “The Beast”. It was a modern day version of the old fairy tale. There was another similar show on TV, but it didn’t last very long for some reason. There are many things in life that we often compare to one another– big or small, tall or short, fat or skinny, or a real beauty and a real beast. To be sure, when doing a comparison of beauty and the beast, it may all be in the eye of the beholder. No two people see the same thing when actually looking at the same thing. Back when I was a police officer and also doing private investigations work, I interviewed witnesses to a crime; no two people actually saw the same thing, even though they were … Continue reading

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JWR’s Recommendations of the Week:

Books: The Black Arrow: A Tale of the Resistance by Vin Suprynowicz All New Square Foot Gardening, by Mel Bartholomew Movies: Duck Soup The Maltese Falcon Television: Jericho Firefly Music: The 50 Greatest Pieces of Classical Music Rags to Riches the Essential Hits [of Scott Joplin] Instructional Videos: AR-15 Upgrades Overview (from IV8888) Art Of The Tactical Carbine by Chris Costa Podcasts: The Adventure Sports Podcast Wranglerstar: AMAZING Room Transformation Gear: SOG Traction EDC Pocketknife (Under $15!) Harris Bipod Model 1A2 (Adjustable 6” to 9”) Midland Model 75-822 40 Channel CB Handheld Radio

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S&W M&P Shield .45 ACP, by Pat Cascio

I know what the stats say that were put out by the FBI that the 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP loaded with a good JHP round are all about the same when it comes to stopping power. However, in their testing, they have no way of determining just how fast a bad guy goes down. Yes, there are results from the street from actual shootings; however, no one is there with a stop watch to time these events. I’ve been a fan of the .45ACP round for just about all my life, and I’m convinced in my own mind that the bad guys go down faster with the .45ACP compared to the 9mm or the .40 S&W! Of course, I have no way of proving this, other than to look at the very long history of the .45ACP round and the many shooting with the grand old 1911 handgun. The FBI jumped on the .40 S&W bandwagon, after a shoot-out in Miami, FL where the bad guys just weren’t dying fast enough. In the end, it really wasn’t the 9mm itself at that time. Instead, it was the bullet that the FBI was using– the old Winchester Silvertip JHP. … Continue reading

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SIG Sauer P320 Series–The U.S. Army’s New Modular Handgun, by Pat Cascio

The Federal government is on the wrong track most of the time. If there is a hard, wrong, or difficult way to do something, they do it, nearly every time. I know this from first-hand experience when I worked for a large detective agency and we often bid on uniform guard services for the Federal government. It’s not quite as simple as being the lowest bidder, as many believe. There are a good number of loopholes involved in bidding on FedGov services, including whether your company has the capability to meet the requirements. They want to know if your business has enough cash flow, enough employees, and the list goes on and on. When the US Military requested a new handgun back in the 1980s, the list of things that they wanted the gun to do were endless. After the first round of testing, none of the handguns had passed the testing procedures, and it had to be done all over again. Some gun companies opted out, and some new gun companies decided to give it a try. The end result was that Beretta won and supplied the Model 92, called the M9 in the military. They are basically the … Continue reading

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SOG Knives’ Power Play Multi-Tool, by Pat Cascio

Many folks ask me what types of things they should put in their Bug Out Bag (BOB), and this is a hard one for me to answer. We all have different needs and different ideas about this. When I tell some of these folks what I put in my BOB, they question some of my choices. If they are smarter than I am, then why are they coming to me for advice in the first place? I don’t claim to be an expert in anything; I’m just a serious student in a lot of fields. However, over the course of the past 25 years as a writer, I’ve tested all kinds of products, including firearms, knives, camping gear, survival gear, and many other products. So, I feel I have a good grasp on what works and what doesn’t work. I carry a firearm every day, as do a lot of people. One never knows when we might need it. I also carry one or two knives each day. This comes with testing knives for articles. Ditto is true on the firearms. Each day I also carry a multi-tool, which is the tool I use most on a daily basis. The … Continue reading

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Springfield Armory XD(m) OSP, by Pat Cascio

My, how times change! It wasn’t all that long ago that a red dot sight was rather huge when mounted on a rifle, and no one even gave any thought to a red dot sight on a handgun. I still remember the first (sorta) red dot sight I ever owned. It was on a shotgun back in the 1970s. It wasn’t quite a red dot sight, but it appeared to project a red/orange dot in the air. It was quite the thing back in the day. Over the years, I’ve tried all manner of red dot sights on rifles, shotguns, and handguns. One thing they all had in common was that they always failed when I used them. The red dot wouldn’t work, or it was totally way off from the last time I adjusted it for windage and elevation. And, to be sure, it didn’t matter if it was a $500 or a $30 red dot sight; they all failed in some manner, so I lost faith in them. I know that the U.S. military uses red dot sights of several different makes and manufacturers, but even the expensive ones cause problems. I personally wouldn’t want to go into … Continue reading

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