Just got my hot little hands on S&W’s new M&P 2.0 Compact in 9mm, which Smith plans on pitting against the always-popular (in polymer pistol circles) Glock 19.
Going through the specs, the Compact uses a 4-inch barrel and has a 15+1 round capacity in 9mm and 13+1 in the .40 variant with an unloaded weight of just under 24-ounces. This is a dead ringer in comparison to the Glock 19 and 23 and a hair lighter than the 26-ounce P-10 C series from Czech gun maker CZ.
I plan on having fun shooting them head-to-head and I have already found things I like about it over the Glock, though it does have a few thorns.
On the cutting board, I give you six sub-$125 (most sub-$50 if you shop around) light fixed blade knives that are small enough to carry every day (depending on clothing options) while still being able to along with you almost everywhere in an urban or suburban environment if needed while remaining nominally concealable. Besides typical chores in daily life, they should also be strong enough to fill a foray into the woods or camp, capable of light bushcraft.
From left to right: A Kershaw 4007, CRKT Mossback, Cold Steel Spike, CRKT Obake, Tops Mountain Spike, and a Benchmade SOCP 176. All in current production
More detail on each, with plusses and minuses, noted in my column at Tac44.com.
Here we have a S&W Model 642 Airweight in a leather Bianchi #6 waistband holster loaded with five rounds of 130-grain Federal HST +P that altogether weighs 19.6-ounces. Sure, accuracy past 15 yards is not as tight as a full-sized handgun with a nice long sight radius, but I can still keep it center mass out to 25– and with a little practice so can anyone. As there are only five rounds in the cylinder, I carry a pair of Bianchi Speed Strips with another 10 rounds loaded and ready inside a repurposed Altoids tin for an additional 5.9-ounces. Why the tin? It is actually lighter than any speed strip wallet I have come across and holds the reloads securely and rattle-free. On the downside, if someone catches a glimpse and wants an Altoid they are SOL.
The light is a Streamlight Microstream which is just 1.2-ounces with the battery and the wallet is a Magpul Daka minimalist which, even when loaded with the same stuff as the regular leather pocket rider, only weighs 1.8-ounces. Finally, for those moments when something sharp is needed, a Leatherman Skeletool KBx multi tool joins the crowd for a downright skinny 1.4-ounces and haves the benefit of a bottle opener, which is handy for those craft beer emergencies. All up weight for a gun, light, holster, 15 rounds of ammo, knife, and wallet is 29.9-ounces.
Every now and then I like to channel the early Don Draper days with the below carry option.
It consists of a pre-71 Colt Detective Special in .38 SPL (stoked with period-correct standard velo 158 gr. soft lead SWC-HCs), a giant 1950s vintage Rosco-imported Mauro Mario Italian stiletto with Brazilian horn scales, a Bowers Kalamazoo Slide Sleeve lighter, Dr. Grabow Savoy imported Mediterranean briar pipe, and a custom steel pipe tamper. Not shown is the leather pipe pouch I use and the companion Bianchi IWB holster for the Colt snub.
All of the above inhabit the desk drawer in my office when not in use, and work just as well as the day they were created.
A good tactical folder for the purpose of this installment is a knife that can accomplish all your classic “penknife” or “pocketknife” tasks– cutting a thread or cord, trimming fingernails, touching up a shave in a pinch, cutting an apple, and box cutting and opening mail– while still being available as a fast and earnest edged weapon if needed. As such, they need to be at the fast ready, have a sufficiently long blade, be capable of one-handed opening, be strong enough to take real abuse, and, to prevent cutting off one’s own fingers in such a situation, lock upon opening.
Five “budget” tactical folders under $50 (if you shop around) that get the rotation in EDC: Ontario Knife Company’s RAT1A, a Spyderco Tenacious, Matthew Lerch’s CRKT Argus, Ken Onion’s 1660 Kershaw Leek, and a Gerber Applegate–Fairbairn Mini Covert.
All are used and have spent their time in pockets, clocking in as needed. The Leek even survived the floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina with me in my pocket– and I was glad to have it several times in that week. As such, any spots, dings, scratches or mars on the blades or scales are honestly earned and not the fault of their maker.
Why the $50 benchline? Bottom line is, sure you can carry your Chris Reeve Sebenza 21 or really nice ZT, Benchmade or Microtech– and I have a few of those– but if you were to have one of these upper shelf blades pull a pocket jump without your knowledge while you are in your travels, you are going to be out a lot more than $50.
Of course, as with anything, your mileage may vary and by default, the best knife you have is the one you have on you.
I do a mini-review on each in my column over at Tac.44.com.