1. SOG Pentagon OTFSOG Pentagon OTF

I’ve had a chance to work the SOG Pentagon XR folder this year as well as the latest incarnation of the Pentagon fixed-blade daggers, and there’s one more Pentagon on the horizon that I’m looking forward to checking out: the Out-the-Front (OTF) automatic.

The Pentagon OTF carries the lines of SOG’s fixed-blade daggers when opened but is easily carried in your pocket or clipped to your gear. It features a textured anodized aluminum handle and is available in black or Flat Dark Earth finishes. The OTF uses a 3.79-inch, double-edged blade of CRYO S35VN steel with a blacked-out titanium nitride coated finish.

It has a large sliding firing button that should be easy to use under stress or when wearing gloves. SOG uses what it calls the “Reliable Dynamic Locking System” to lock the blade open without the wiggle or blade play that is common with many out-the-front automatic knives. If you’re a fan of out-the-front autos, give this one a hard look and see how that lockup compares to your current favorite model.


SOG Pentagon OTF

  • Blade Length: 3.79 inches
  • Closed Length: 5.28 inches
  • Overall Length: 9.08 inches
  • Blade Material: CPM-S35VN stainless steel
  • Style (of Blade): Double-edge dagger
  • Blade Finish: Black titanium nitride
  • Handle Material: Black or FDE, 7075 aircraft aluminum
  • Locking Mechanism: Thumb slide
  • Pocket Clip: Low profile tip-down, right/left carry
  • Weight: 6.67 ounces
  • Origin: USA
  • MSRP: $349.95

2. 5.11 EDT Hex

5.11 EDT Hex

It would be great to have access to a toolbox whenever equipment problems arise, but that isn’t usually practical. 5.11’s EDT Hex Tool gives you some options in a keychain sized package that you can always have on you.

The EDT Hex comes with two double-ended bits, one featuring Phillips and flathead screwdrivers and the other T6 and T8 Torx head drivers. The bits are secured by a ball detent, and the spare bit stores in a central holder in the body of the tool. The frame tapers down at the rear and can be used as a light pry tool as well. It comes with a split ring with an attached Hardpoint carabiner that allows for easy attachment to your keyring, bag, or other location.


5.11 EDT HEX

  • Mini multi-bit screwdriver
  • Removable bit holster
  • Includes microbiner on split ring
  • Pry tip end
  • Detent action for bit retention
  • 4 tip options: #1 Phillips, 3/16-inch slotted, Torx: T6 and T8
  • Body: Stainless steel
  • Origin: Imported
  • Price: $15

3. Artisan Ideas Books

Artisan Ideas Books

Artisan Ideas is a publisher that focuses on a wide array of crafts and skills that could be looked at as either historical how-to guides or post-apocalyptic survival skills depending on your  degree of pessimism about the world. I had a chance to check out two of its books: Antler Knife: Making a Sami-Style Knife Handle and Sheath and FORGED: Making a Knife with Traditional Blacksmith Skills.

I have a soft spot for Scandinavian knives and have made a few with blade blanks myself. Mine are functional but not all that pretty, and I’ve only worked with wood for handles. After reading Ulf Avander’s Antler Knife: Making a Sami-Style Knife Handle and Sheath, I’m inspired to stretch my skills and give something a little better-looking a try.

His book is well organized and walks you through the steps of doing a traditional antler handle and sheath in a logical, and easy-to-follow manner. There’s also a section at the end on making a traditional Scandinavian wooden cup, or Kosa, if you need more projects to tackle. The photography is excellent and includes nice step-by-step pictures to walk you through your builds.

Paul White’s FORGED: Making a Knife with Traditional Blacksmith Skills is a great beginner’s guide to hand forging basic, functional utility knives in the frontier style. It too is full of useful color photos and drawings to walk you through the process and is laid out in an easy-to-follow manner. This isn’t a guide to making art knives, but rather the fundamentals of forging and making a simple, practical field knife. It covers steel selection, tools needed, forging techniques, heat treatment, making handles, and more.


  • Antler Knife: Making a Sami-Style Knife Handle and Sheath, hardcover, 112 pages, 208 color photos and drawings, $25.95.
  • FORGED: Making a Knife with Traditional Blacksmith Skills, hardcover, 132 pages, 150 photos and illustrations, $29.95.

 4. 5.11 EDC K-USB5.11 EDC K-USB

While eye-searing tactical lights are great, often you just need a utility light to find your keys, make your way to your car, or navigate the basement to get to the fuse box. I’ve kept a small light on my keychain for years, but when one dies, it always seems to need some weird, tiny battery I don’t have on hand.

I’ve become a fan of rechargeable lights as the tech has gotten better, and I’m pleased to see them working their way into keychain lights. 5.11 has a pretty slick new model available that puts out an impressive 150 lumens with its EDC K-USB keychain light. The EDC K-USB is solidly built with a dust and water-resistant aluminum chassis.

The K-USB has a battery status LED built into the switch to let you know when it needs recharging. Recharging is by means of a common USB C cable (not included). It’s rated at a respectable 1 hour, 30 minutes of run time too, which should give plenty of use for minor tasks before recharging. The attached split ring makes it easy to attach to your keyring, purse, or pack strap.


5.11 EDC K-USB

  • Output: 150 lumens
  • Run Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Drop tested at 1 meter
  • Construction: Aluminum body, plastic ends
  • LED: Cree XP-G3 LED
  • Origin: Imported
  • MSRP: $30

5. RMJ UtsidihiRMJ Utsidihi

RMJ Tactical may be best known for its tomahawks, but the company makes some pretty nice knives too. One of the latest is the Utsidihi. Utsidihi is a Cherokee name meaning “mankiller,” but the RMJ knife of that name has a lot more uses than defense. It’s a mid-sized fixed blade that would work well as an EDC blade, or a hiking or camping companion.

The Utsidihi has a 3.5-inch blade of Nitro-V stainless steel. The drop-point blade has a Tungsten Cerakote finish and, despite its full tang construction, weighs only 4.5 ounces. The bolt-on handle scales are made from G10 and have a diagonal texture that provides a solid grip and are beveled and contoured to be comfortable during hard use. Handle colors are black, Blaze Olive, and Hyena Brown.

The Utsidihi comes with a Kydex sheath set up for either scout carry or inside the waistband (IWB) carry.  It’s also MOLLE compatible, so it can be carried on gear vests or packs and will work with other common carry clips and mounts. KI


RMJ Utsidihi

  • Overall Length: 7.75 inches
  • Blade Length: 3.5 inches
  • Blade Thickness: 0.130 inch
  • Weight: 4.5 ounces w/o sheath
  • Blade: Nitro-V stainless steel (59-60 HRC)
  • Handles: Black, Blaze Olive or Hyena Brown G10
  • Sheath: Kydex
  • Origin: USA
  • MSRP: $245


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