Ruger American Compact .45 ACP, by Pat Cascio

Ruger American Compact .45 ACP

Though some time back, we reviewed the Ruger American Compact 9mm pistol, today we are looking at the American Compact .45 ACP. The Compact 9mm was a winner in my book. Ruger hit it out of the ballpark. My oldest daughter fell in love with it and had to have one of her own, though she hasn’t bought a new gun in at least eight years. My name was on the list for the American Compact in .45 ACP. So not too long ago, I finally got my sample for testing.

Overview

The 9mm and .45 ACP compact models are very similar in size and most dimensions. However, here’s the .45 ACP specs, just the same. The sample I requested was the Pro model, which has no manual external safety lever. The frame is black polymer, and the slide is stainless steel. However, it is black in color (Nitride) and … Continue reading



CRKT/Ruger Hollow-Point Folder, by Pat Cascio

CRKT/Ruger Hollow-point Folder

Today, we are taking a look at the CRKT/Ruger Hollow-point Folder. It is a Ken Onion knife, and I’ll have more on that a little later.

Knives Are Tools

I love knives, all knives, big and small. They all have a use. I especially love well-made knives, because I don’t have a lot of use for junk knives. That is why our readers just won’t see me wasting my time reviewing junk knives. A knife is a tool, first and foremost. Many people forget that. Many claim that the knife is the first tool ever invented. I’m sure those first knives did not resemble what we consider a knife by today’s standards. But still, it did the job it was designed for— cutting!

Gun Companies Make Guns But Outsource Knives

Many gun companies offer up some knives with their name on it. And no matter how hard I try to … Continue reading



Sol-Ark Review, by James in Florida

Sol-Ark

Over the course of the last year, I have bought my Sol-Ark system in increments as funds became available. First, I bought the Sol-Ark “brains” followed six months later by 15 solar panels. Then, last month, I purchased 16 AGM deep storage batteries.

Placement of the Sol-Ark Unit

I’m the kind of guy who likes to carefully think through a project before starting it. Having read the Sol-Ark installation instructions, which are very straight-forward and uncomplicated, I decided to mount the Sol-Ark unit in my garage utilities closet. I’m fortunate that my homebuilder actually made a mistake when building my house; my HVAC unit and water heater are in a closet with a wide door instead of being out in the open garage and subject to the heat and humidity. There is enough “leakage”, for lack of a better word, from my five year-old HVAC system that it keeps the … Continue reading



Taurus Model 85, Ultra Lite, by Pat Cascio

Taurus Model 85

Today, we are going to take a close look at the Taurus Model 85 Ultra Lite while I continue on with more all-metal handgun reviews, as requested by many SurvivalBlog readers. According to Taurus, which offers several versions of this model, the Model 85 is their best-selling handgun. Many people are so caught-up with polymer handguns, especially semiauto handguns, they are overlooking some outstanding firearms still manufactured out of metals.

An Old Dog

For quite some time, I only considered carrying a revolver for self defense. Yep, I’m old school but I’m not too old to be schooled! You can teach an old dog new tricks. For sure, I owned a lot of semiauto handguns early on, to wit, the outstanding Colt 1911A1 as well as the Browning Hi-Power. And when I was younger, much younger, I would sometimes carry either a 1911 or a Hi-Power while working in private … Continue reading



Harvest Right: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly – Part 1, by HJL

Harvest Right

Intro

Three years ago I reviewed Harvest Right’s Freeze Dryer (Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3). Since then, Harvest Right has updated their freeze dryer with many improvements and new features. SurvivalBlog felt is was time to re-visit this subject and update the review based upon these new and improved features. We’ll also include many of the operating tips that we have learned along the way. We’ve been running the new model of the freeze dryer (FD) for almost a year now, right along side the old model. It made the comparison very easy on the new features.

The Good

Harvest Right has obviously been responsive to their user base. They’ve listened to the issues, made improvements that the users have suggested, and incorporated many of their customer’s suggestions into the redesigned FD. The original model that … Continue reading



Kershaw’s Dividend, by Pat Cascio

Kershaw's Dividend

Today, we are talking about Kershaw’s Dividend. It’s a small folder.

My General View on Small Folding Knives

I’m not really big on small folding knives. Bigger folders can, well, do more chores better than most smaller folders. I like a folder with a blade between 3.5 inches and four inches in length. A blade length of 3.75 inches seems about perfect for my every day carry use. But that’s just me, I guess.

However, I won’t turn my nose up at a well-made, well-designed smaller folder, not in the least. I appreciate cutlery, period! All knives have a use. Keep in mind that the knife was man’s first tool. And a knife is first and foremost a tool. Any other uses are secondary. I know, I know. We all fantasize about going toe-to-toe against the bad guys, armed only with a folding knife. Excuse me? I’d rather run than … Continue reading



S&W M&P .45 Compact, by Pat Cascio

S&W M&P 45 Compact

Today, I’m writing about Smith & Wesson’s M&P .45 Compact. This is the “older” M&P rather than the 2.0 version.

Smith & Wesson

I used to be a huge S&W fan. I still love their guns, but over the years their customer service just isn’t what it used to be. So, whenever I have a S&W firearm, I know that I’m pretty much on my own if something goes wrong with it. Last time, S&W wanted $88 to repair something that was covered under the warranty. I told them to keep the gun. Instead, they returned it still broken!

S&W is still a leader in the firearms industry. There is no doubt about that at all. And, they are making a very strong come back in the law enforcement arena, which they used to pretty much own until Glock came on the scene. Still, S&W is doing great with their … Continue reading



CRKT Rakkasan, by Pat Cascio

CRKT Rakkasan

The CRKT Rakkasan was designed by Austin McGlaun as part of Columbia River Knife & Tool’s “Forged By War” program. Austin McGlaun is a military veteran who served in the 101st Airborne Division in Iraq and chose to donate 10% of net profits to the Green Beret Foundation.

CRKT- Rock-Solid Designs

Anyone who has seen my many knife designs knows that I like designs that are simple, uncomplicated, easy to manufacture, and tough. There are several knife companies producing some of my designs, with more on the drawing board. One company is Columbia River Knife & Tool (CRKT), of which I’ve been a fan of their knives since they first started out in the knife industry.

CRKT was actually started by two executives from another major knife-making company. They started out with some rock-solid designs and have continued to grow year-after-year.

While many will argue the point, you can get … Continue reading



Ruger GP100 .44 Special, by Pat Cascio

Ruger GP100 .44 Spl

Ruger GP100

Ruger recently introduced their GP100 revolver in .44 Special. I still remember the very first .44 Special handgun I ever owned and shot. At that time, it was the “new” Charter Arms .44 Special Bulldog. And, if I recall correctly, back then the only factory ammo available was some lead round nose ammo that wasn’t very accurate. I couldn’t hit the target very often. When I did, the round key-hole went through the target sideways. Still, I kept that gun for a good long time. I don’t know why!

My long-time friend, confidant, and fellow gun writer, John Taffin, is probably the biggest proponent for the .44 Special caliber that I’m aware of. He has written tens of thousands of words on the virtues of the .44 Special caliber, not to mention a book on big bore handguns, which … Continue reading



CRKT Homefront Folder – By Pat Cascio

CRKT Homefront Folder

Why?

When CRKT Columbia River Knife & Tool sent me the Onion Homefront folder for testing and review, I just had to ask why make a folding knife that you can take apart? Sometimes, when it comes to some new products, I just have to ask myself “Why?” I just don’t know what else there is that is truly new, especially when it comes to folding knives. This is especially true when it comes to the various locking mechanisms. Then again, I’m not known for designing folding knives, although I have one on the drawing board right now. If you ask me, I’m better known for designing fixed blade fighting knives, as nothing else will do in combat.

Don’t Second Guess Ken Onion

Some years back, when I was the West Coast Field Editor for Knives Illustrated magazine, I interviewed world renown custom knife maker/designer … Continue reading



Kahr Arms CW9 Black Carbon Fiber, by Pat Cascio

Kahr Arms CW9

Today, we are taking a look at the Kahr Arms CW9 Black Carbon Fiber handgun. I’ve reported on several Kahr Arms handguns over the years. Most are pretty much the same as the one before it, or the one after it. Still, Kahr manages to come out with different and exciting versions every single year. To be sure, Kahr makes handguns that are meant to be concealed. They aren’t full-sized service-type pistols, although they do have something coming out along those lines. Still, they are well-known for easily concealable handguns, for the most part.

Kahr’s Double Action Only Trigger Action

Kahr handguns are Double Action Only (DAO). And as I’ve reported before, they are the Rolls Royce of DAO trigger actions, if you ask me. You just have to experience it to understand what I’m talking about. Yes, the trigger pull is long but buttery … Continue reading



Review of Max Velocity’s Defensive Concealed Handgun Class

Max Velocity

I am in my 50s and have been carrying a concealed handgun on and off since 1990.  Consistently every day for the last six (6) years.  I have read a number of books by Massad Ayoob, John Farnum, Jeff Cooper and others. I’ve studied a number of instructional DVD’s as well. I also practiced what I thought were the correct ways to draw and shoot. My training even included how I thought through the reasons behind why I carried a concealed weapon.   But I had a nagging fear that I couldn’t shake that I’d missed something or things weren’t as they seemed.

On April 20, 2017 I read SurvivalBlog.com (SB) like I do almost every day. I read the editor’s post on the upcoming training events that Max Velocity Tactical (MVT) had scheduled for May and June.  I went to the MVT website via the SurvivalBlog link, and … Continue reading



IndestructiBELT, by Pat Cascio

IndestructiBELT

IndestructiBELT- Thin, Stiff, and Comfortable

The folks at IndestructiBELT recently contacted SurvivalBlog and wanted me to test one of their belts. In short order, one was in my hands. Needless to say, when a company calls their belts “indestructible”, I just assume to take it with a grain of salt. Everyone hypes their products. We all know this. So, I put this belt to the test. As this is written, I’ve been wearing this belt daily for a month now, and I’m more than a little impressed with it. First off, the belt is thin, but it is stiff. However, the stiffness doesn’t make it uncomfortable in the least. From day one, it felt comfortable around my waist.

1970’s Guns Worn Slung Down On … Continue reading



Para Ordnance Elite Pro 1911, by Pat Cascio

Para Ordnance Elite Pro 1911

This week we are reviewing the Para Ordnance Elite Pro 1911.

1911 is the Best

Yeah, I’m prejudiced and freely admit it. When it comes to the finest combat handgun ever designed, I always fall back to the grand 1911 in some shape or form. I don’t think there is another handgun that is more famous than the 1911. It doesn’t matter which of its many guises or from any number of quality makers. John Browning knew what he was doing when he came up with the fighting pistol. There’s not a doubt in my mind. I know, I know. Send the arrows my way. But I’m entitled to my humble opinion on some things. Without a doubt, there are many more modern handguns out there. Many are manufactured out of polymer, and I own more than my share of them. I won’t argue that many of these newer handguns … Continue reading



Bushnell Equinox Night Vision Scope, by Pat Cascio

Bushnell Equinox Night Vision

This week, I will be reviewing The Bushnell Equinox Night Vision Scope.

Most SurvivalBlog.com readers readily know that I’m a bargain hunting hound. I have to be. I simply don’t have enough income to purchase all the “toys” I want. It’s been this way my entire life, too. Several of my are amazed at my bartering skills and survival mindset, but I have to be this way. Now that I’m semi-retired and collecting my very meager social security benefits each month, I once again am forced by life to make do with what we have.

I know that many people believe that all writers make millions of dollars a year. If only that were the case! Most gun writers I know hold down a second regular job. They can’t live on what they are paid for their articles. What we do is akin to a “ministry”, if you will. Our hearts are in it. We love to pass along information to our readers. When testing various products, we all hope we get it right most of the time.

The local gun shop knows that I love a bargain. It has to be a bargain before I’ll even look at a firearm and consider purchasing it. Every now and then, the gun shop will set a firearm aside for me. They seem to know that I’ll probably buy it some how! I know I’m in trouble when I walk in the front door and someone starts waving a gun in the air to get my attention. Grrrr!! Continue reading