The Blade Show is the largest knife show in the world and it happens every year here in Atlanta, about four miles from our store. The show is held at the Cobb Galleria center and the dates for this year are June 9-12.
Last year was a lot of fun with the one booth that we had, but completely overwhelming. Since I am a sucker for punishment, I signed up for three booths this year. Luckily, I have plenty of help this time in the form of employees, friends, and family.
We have not been a Benchmade dealer for very long, but being the only Premium Plus dealer in the area and one of the few in the region, we were fortunate enough to be asked to be their official dealer for the show. If you have never been to Blade, Benchmade has a nice spot by the entrance with their official dealer on the right side of their area.
About a week after hearing about Benchmade, Maxpedition asked us to represent them as well, but they wanted four booths instead of the one that Benchmade had. Like I said, I’m a sucker for punishment, so I immediately said yes.
That makes a total of eight booths when I had one last year and barely had time to think, so I figured that was a good stopping point. I am also working with Boker and will have a huge selection of their items, but those will be in the main booth.
So, if you are going to Blade, you will have ample opportunity to have us show you flashlights, knives, packs, and all the other stuff we have at the show. If that isn’t enough, our retail store with 3000+ items is only four miles away.
I’m trying to make it as easy as possible for you guys to give me money.
Main Going Gear Booth: 331 (front left)
Maxpedition: 332 (off the corner of 331)
Benchmade: 1 (near the entrance)
We’ll have maps and directions to the store at the main booth, but we would be more than happy to see you before, after, or during the show. Pretty much everything will still be at the store during the show, unless we are running really low on something. The only exception is Maxpedition, since we plan on taking our entire inventory to the show.
As we saw with Olight and 4Sevens, the SHOT Show in Las Vegas is a great time to see what new gadgets are on the horizon. A rep from Surefire was nice enough to talk with us at SHOT 2011 about some Surefire lights that are on the way as well as some prototypes that we will hopefully see in some form eventually.
Surefire is getting into more lights with rotary rings, more rechargeable units, and a heavy push into high output LED lights. They only have a couple of high output LEDs currently, so expansions to that line are welcome. Surefire lights have been kind of low tech compared to what is coming out of Asia, but this new stuff looks like it can hold its own on the technology front while also having Surefire’s legendary quality and durability. Combine that with the fact that all of their products are made in the US and feature a lifetime warranty and you have a great product. I can’t wait to see what they have next year.
Being a 20 minute car ride from 4Sevens means that I usually know about new models way before they ever hit the market, but I constantly have to bite my tongue because I am sworn to secrecy. SHOT Show is always a welcome event, since companies like 4Sevens will show the world all of their goodies, which also means that they let me make some videos to help share those goodies. Now that David Chow, the founder and owner of 4Sevens, is also the chairman of Olight, I get to share the new Olight shininess as well.
I sat down with David at SHOT Show 2011 and talked about a bunch of new stuff that Olight has on the horizon. Olight has been making quite a name for themselves with big and bright lights like the SR90, the brightest production LED on the market, and the M20S, one of the best tactical lights available. Their new models are looking fantastic as well, but check out the video if you want to see more details.
Quite a few new bright and shiny things debuted at SHOT Show 2011 in January. One of the more intriguing series of lights was the Nextorch Mytorch line, which featured USB programmable lights. They all have the ability to have the number of modes, brightness, and flashing frequency programmed in whatever combination that you want. They are the first mass produced lights like this, so for someone that is interested in tinkering and flexibility, the Mytorch lights are really hard to beat.
Other than the programming options, nothing is really revolutionary about these lights. Still, something new is something new. Innovation comes at a rapid pace in the relatively new market of high end flashlights, so I like to encourage truly unique ideas whenever I can.
Here is a demo given by a Nextorch rep that will give you a better idea of how the lights work with the computer interface:
The Sunwayman V10R is one of our most popular pocket lights for several reasons. First, it has a rotary ring up by the head that allows you to quickly change between the minimum and maximum outputs. Second, of the infinite output rotary ring lights on the market, it is by far the most compact. Third, it comes in the regular aluminum as well as a really well done titanium, which is one of the best looking lights I have ever seen.
Both versions are pretty much the same other than the body materials. Both have solid output with a CREE XP-G R5 LED and a decent sized orange peel reflector. They will not give you a ton of throw, but it will still light up everything in front of you out to about 100 yards. The titanium version even has an optional AA extender that allows you to use easier to find and less expensive batteries, with a tradeoff of much lower output.
The titanium version is not exactly inexpensive, but considering how pricey other titanium lights and gadgets can be, the cost is not too bad. Watch the video if you are undecided:
The Lumintop Silver Fox is a AA powered flashlight with a stainless steel body. Even the button is stainless steel, giving it a really cool, classy look. The button has short travel and the light has an interesting interface, so the combination of everything is something new in a flashlight market filled with a lot of the same stuff.
The finished is polished stainless steel, but machining and an anti-roll ring make it where the grip is decent enough to keep it in your hand. The light is not intended for black ops tactical use anyway, so considering what it was made for, the design is perfect.
Lumintop has created some lights that have immense output for their size, so seeing a tiny little AAA light from them is a welcome departure. The Lumintop Worm has a solid stainless steel body, which gives it a nice hefty feel for its size. The interface is simple, with two outputs and no flashing or other fancy modes.
The light is small and simple, so I won’t ramble on about it like I tend to do. Here is a video if you prefer watching over reading.
David Chow from 4Sevens is a friend of ours and with our close proximity to him, we get early access to a lot of his new toys. At the SHOT Show this year, he let us borrow the XM18, a ridiculously high output light, and then sat down the next day to talk about his other prototypes of upcoming lights.
Some of these are already out by now, but there are still some gems hidden in the video. Either way, it is a great opportunity to go behind the scenes and see what is coming from one of the best flashlight companies in the world.
The founder and owner of 4Sevens does not seem to ever be satisfied with lights that are comparable or even better than their competitors. He keeps on making prototypes of lights that completely blow everything else away, like the S12 that recently made it into production. One of the latest lights is the XM18, featuring an insane 18 CREE XM-L LEDs and 32 18650 lithium ion batteries for around 18,000 lumens on high. The light is made to be modular, meaning that you can attach multiple units together for even more output.
The light has three outputs that go from ridiculously bright to obnoxiously bright. If that wasn’t enough, the light also has strobe, which is debilitating in the dark on a light with 50 lumens, let alone one with 18,000 lumens. The XM18 is not exactly pocket friendly, but considering that the power source is integrated, the unit is a reasonable and manageable size and weight.
The XM18 is not even close to being in production and will be extremely expensive if it is ever released, but it is still nice to see companies like 4Sevens pushing the envelope with what portable lighting can do. 4Sevens was nice enough to let us borrow one of the XM18 prototypes one night during this year’s SHOT Show in Las Vegas, so we took it out into the desert and shined it at some random scrub brush.
The Fenix PD20 and PD30, like their AA counterparts the LD10 and LD20, have long been some of their most popular lights. The regularly update the LEDs to the latest and greatest, which means that they are now sporting the CREE XP-G R5 LED. Each LED bin upgrade from Q5 to R2 or R4 to R5 increases not just some numbers and letters, but also the lumens and efficiency of the lights.
Both models are nice and compact, with the PD20 being more so. The PD20 takes a single CR123 and the PD30 takes two. I personally like the bit larger size of the PD30 because it fits great in the hand and is quite comfortable to hold, especially when using the switch regularly. The lithium batteries make the light a great outdoor or emergency light since lithium batteries have a ten year shelf life and work great in almost any temperature.