1 MAKE: Zippo MODEL: Axesaw WEIGHT: 2.6 pounds MSRP: $80
This versatile tool combines a hatchet, bow saw and mallet into one rugged piece of kit. The 20-inch haft is capped with a stainless steel, full-tang axe head with a 4.5-inch face and backed by a durable polymer mallet for pounding in tent stakes and other tasks. The axe head locks securely into a safety sheath that doubles as the saw handle. Soft rubber overlays provide grip and make it very comfortable. A 15-inch steel saw blade stores in the haft when not in use and mounts securely in place when in “saw” mode. Each component performs as well or better than other individual tools on the market, but being an all-in-one tool makes it the perfect woods tool. The only con we found is that the optimal hatchet grip location falls right at the saw blade locking lever, which can be uncomfortable but is easily remedied with a Hogue handgun grip sleeve or 550 cord wrap.
2 MAKE: Leupold
MODEL: Leupold Carbine Optic (LCO) MAGNIFICATION: 1x
RETICLE: 1 MOA dot; ½-MOA click adjustments
SPECS: 3.6L x 2.25W x 2.41H inches; 9 ounces
The LCO red-dot sight is made of 6061-T6 aluminum and is built to take a beating. The reticle has 16 brightness settings and an auto-off feature after 15 minutes of inactivity; it turns on to the last setting when it senses vibration. It has front and back DiamondCoat lenses, enclosing the internals in a nitrogen-sealed chamber that’s 100 percent fog- and waterproof to 66 feet. Drop-testing the LCO was child’s play: We submerged it in a pan of water and froze it for two days at -10 degrees (F). Inside a block of ice, the light came on when it was picked up. We bashed it on concrete to break up the ice and then dropped the unit in 130-degree water. None of this phased it.
MAKE: CRKT MODEL: Daktyl
BLADE LENGTH: 3.05 inches
OVERALL LENGTH: 6.8 inches (opened); 4.4 inches (closed) THICKNESS: 0.145 inch WEIGHT: 2.4 ounces
BLADE: 420J2 stainless steel MSRP: $60
This is a unique minimalist design that swivels outward 180 degrees from the side to open and close. It opens and closes by pressing down on the lever and swinging it open in either direction, locking it in place via a notch in the skeletonized frame. It’s very comfortable to hold, and the skeletonized “Hitchcock” blade has a finger hole at the base, which adds precise control, keeps the hand in place and aids in retention. The hole also has a carabiner for attaching to small loops and for use as a bottle opener.
4 MAKE: Warne
MODEL: RT-1 Range Tool
SPECS: 5 ounces; 4 (L) x 1.88 (W) x 0.75 (H) inches
The RT-1 boasts 12 chromevanadium steel bits that cover most of the basic firearms maintenance tasks encountered while in the field or at the range, including scope adjustments.
The aluminum handle is durable yet lightweight. It includes three Torx drivers, six Allen heads, a pin remover, and Phillips and flat-blade screwdrivers. It easily fits in a pocket. It’s well made and does a lot, given its small size and cost.
5 MAKE: Shooter’s Choice
MODEL: Universal Gun Care Pack MSRP: $25
We’ve been using Shooter’s Choice as one of our go-to cleaners for years. FP-10 is a CLP (“cleans, lubricates and protects”) that works well—it’s a good cleaner and an excellent lubricant and protectant. Plus, it smells pleasant. The MC7 Bore Cleaner/Conditioner has a powerful smell, so we don’t use it unless needed; but for heavy-duty cleaning chores, it’s about as good as it gets. The Rust Prevent displaces moisture, leaving a protective film. We use it for longer-term storage.
6 MAKE: Jagemann
MODEL: Jag 17 Polymer Magazine (for Glock handguns)
OPTIONS: Glock G17, G19, G42, G43 and .22-caliber 1911s
COLORS: Black, green, gray, brown, red, pink, blue
Jagemann brings 60-plus years of experience in metal stamping into its line of precision-made polymer handgun mags. The Jag 17 has the look and feel of high-quality metal mags, but it is made from automotivegrade engineered resin. The extended base plate adds an extra round (18) and additional grip for loading. It slides into the mag well fast and has improved geometry in the follower and feed lips for reliable feeding. We ejected it from shoulder height onto concrete 10 times, fully loaded—with barely a scratch. Plus, not even one round popped out.
7 MAKE: Mission First Tactical (MFT) MODEL: EPG27 AR15 Pistol Grip MSRP: $20 (black, Scorched Dark Earth); $25 (gray, Foliage Green)
GI-issue AR grips were innovative and ergonomic … for the 1960s. But we’ve learned a lot about firearm grip ergonomics since then. The EPG27 is based on modern handgun ergonomics and puts comfort and control at a whole new level. Formed into the grip are grooves and palm swells that keep the hand in place on the grip, and the palm swells also serve to fill the hand nicely. A comfort tab covers the receiver gap to prevent hand soreness from long shooting sessions. Improved grip angle reduces wrist fatigue during long shooting sessions, because the wrist isn’t bent at such a sharp angle. It also makes for better control of the rifle while shooting, as well as for one-handed operation— such as during reloads ... or when dual-wielding ARs, Rambo-style.
MAKE: Rite in the Rain MODEL: Storm Sight Shooting Targets
MSRP: $12 for 8.5 x 11-inch targets (25-pack); $20 for 11 x 17-inch targets
Rite in the Rain has been making shooting targets using its tan paper stock for a while now (see the left target in the above photo), offering four different targets. But recently, the company came out with a line called Storm Sight Shooting Targets. The new lineup uses the same Rite in the Rain monsoonproof coating, as all of its products do. It features neon-orange on a white background for better shot hole visibility at longer distances. All three are double sided, with two different targets for variation in shooting drills. These targets can be in a torrential downpour for hours and will shed water like duck feathers. We soaked a target in water and forgot it for half an hour. When we fished it out, it was mildly warped, but it dried quickly, and the paper and surface coating integrity were not compromised.