COM­BAT­IVE CON­FI­DENCE

THE OMEGA PRO­TEC­TIVE CON­CEPTS OMEGA B1 BLADE IS A FORCE TO BE RECK­ONED WITH

Knives Illustrated - - Contents - BY CHRISTO­PHER DONER

The Omega B1 Blade from Omega Pro­tec­tive Con­cepts is a no-frills self-de­fense de­sign by some­one who ded­i­cates his life to mak­ing oth­ers safe.

Strong de­signs come from strong peo­ple.

Maury Abreu's rep­u­ta­tion in the com­bat­ives com­mu­nity pre­cedes him. He is a humble fam­ily man and a tal­ented in­struc­tor with the heart of a stu­dent. I first heard of Maury back in 2013 when my teacher, Kelly Mccann, fea­tured Maury's in­struc­tion in the train­ing video, “Edged Weapon: Re­sponses to Vi­o­lent Knife At­tacks” pro­duced by the now de­funct Pal­adin Press.

We soon con­nected through so­cial me­dia, as many who share like-minded in­ter­ests do, to keep in touch. Even­tu­ally we be­gan to talk via phone as our friend­ship de­vel­oped. Dur­ing the course of one of our con­ver­sa­tions, Maury re­vealed that he was work­ing on a new knife de­sign. Know­ing his pas­sion for knives and knife com­bat­ives, I was ex­cited to see what he came up with. As soon as the de­tails were so­lid­i­fied and the or­der books open, I pur­chased the Omega B1 Blade, sold through Maury's train­ing com­pany, Omega Pro­tec­tive Con­cepts.

The Omega B1 Blade

Maury's com­bat­ives phi­los­o­phy is re­flected in the de­sign of the Omega B1 Blade. Sim­ple, ag­gres­sive and ef­fec­tive are terms that best de­scribe his ap­proach to self-de­fense, and th­ese traits are ev­i­dent in his de­sign.

The Omega B1 is made from 0.1875-inchthick D2 Tool Steel triple tem­pered to 5960RC and fea­tures a 3.5-inch scim­i­tar style blade with an over­all length of 7.75 inches and a black KG Gun Kote fin­ish; op­tional fin­ishes are avail­able upon re­quest through Omega Pro­tec­tive Con­cepts.

The hol­low-main-to-flat-tip grind on the Omega B1 is beau­ti­fully ex­e­cuted by cus­tom knife­maker James Fornaro of TUTAR-E Knives. I was par­tic­u­larly im­pressed with the over­all fit and fin­ish of his work and his at­ten­tion to de­tail.

The Omega B1 has ag­gres­sively tex­tured, 4-inch-long G-10 han­dle slabs, with or­ange lin­ers that re­ally pop against the black han­dle ma­te­rial. The han­dle slabs are held in place with ro­bust screws that com­ple­ment the sturdy de­sign and fit my hand like a glove. As I be­gan to wield the Omega B1, I was keen to no­tice how com­fort­able the knife was in hand. The con­tours of the grip be­tween the front quil­lion and the rear quil­lion filled my hand, sit­ting per­fectly in my palm. The edges of the han­dle slabs are beveled all the way around, al­low­ing the tran­si­tion be­tween the full tang blade and han­dle to be grad­ual. This adds a great deal to the com­fort of the knife in hand by re­duc­ing any bite felt by the end user.

The three screws that an­chor the han­dle slabs to the knife are ex­pertly re­cessed into the G-10 slabs to pre­vent any hot spots that might oth­er­wise oc­cur. A 1.875-inch-long sec­tion of jimp­ing is pro­vided along the spine of the knife where the han­dle and blade

tran­si­tion. This tex­tured “thumb ride” is some­times fa­vored by peo­ple who pre­fer the saber grip. I found it to be more use­ful when us­ing the knife in a more util­i­tar­ian role ver­sus a com­bat­ive func­tion, as I tend to pre­fer a mod­i­fied Filipino grip (where the thumb is ex­tended for­ward along the back of the knife's spine) for com­bat­ive ap­pli­ca­tions. For the sheath, Maury went to Jamie Lowe of Ti­tan Con­ceal­ment. Jamie was able to take Maury's ideas and pro­duce a sheath wor­thy of the Omega B1. Built from 0.080-inch-thick ky­dex, the sheath of­fers 11 eye­let riv­ets and a unique clip adapter with three slot­ted post and washer mounts, al­low­ing for sev­eral mount­ing con­fig­u­ra­tions.

I spoke briefly with Jamie about the sheath, and he said, “With the Omega B-1 Blade Sheath, Maury wanted some­thing that would be uni­ver­sally used and adapt­able. We came up with a sim­ple de­sign that al­lows for the blade and its com­pan­ion trainer to be used in one sheath. It fea­tures ad­justable height and cant, and the abil­ity to tuck in your shirt, which I'm sure you know is rarely found in a sheath.”

The sheath's belt clip adapter uses a uni­ver­sal mount­ing hole pat­tern which means that it can be used with other mount­ing sys­tems al­ready on the mar­ket; such as Blade-tech's Tek-lok or G-code's RTI Mount. This makes for a very user friendly com­bi­na­tion.

Test­ing the Omega B1

While the Omega B1 is pri­mar­ily de­signed as a fight­ing knife, I wanted to con­duct some ba­sic cut tests on com­mon items such as card­board, para­cord and an old phone book to es­tab­lish a base­line, prior to mov­ing on to my fa­vorite—pork­man. I started off with some para­cord I had ly­ing around the garage. The Omega B1 cut cleanly through a dou­bled-up length of para­cord, no prob­lem, so I added two more for a to­tal of four strands. Again, the Omega B1 per­formed ef­fort­lessly.

Next up was a sec­tion of cor­ru­gated card­board. I cut sev­eral slices into the card­board one right af­ter an­other in rapid suc­ces­sion. Again, the Omega B1 did not dis­ap­point, cut­ting cleanly into the ma­te­rial.

From there I moved on to a 1.75-inchthick phone book I saved for just such an oc­ca­sion. With my phone book in place I set the Omega B1's blade on a cor­ner of the book and with one mo­tion and lit­tle ef­fort, pressed the blade down­ward into the pages and watched as it sunk smoothly down through the en­tire thing. Luck­ily, I had had enough fore­thought to place some card­board un­der the phone book or I could have po­ten­tially dam­aged the blade on the con­crete be­neath.

Omega B1 vs. Pork­man

Any true test of a knife specif­i­cally de­signed for per­sonal de­fense should in­volve cut­ting on or­ganic medium.

I was first in­tro­duced to this kind of test­ing in 2004 by my friend and teacher Michael Janich, founder and lead in­struc­tor of Mar­tial Blade Con­cepts (MBC). To my knowl­edge, no one else in the in­dus­try had ever tried to ac­tu­ally repli­cate the de­tails and con­di­tions one might en­counter when ac­tu­ally us­ing a knife on an­other hu­man be­ing. Fac­tors like the size and shape of a tar­get, bone, con­nec­tive tis­sue, skin and cloth­ing are all ad­dressed with Pork­man. (For more in­for­ma­tion on con­struct­ing Pork­man, turn to Michael Janich's “Per­sonal De­fense” col­umn on page 22 of this is­sue. – Ed) I be­gan by mak­ing a sim­ple thrust with the Omega B1. I didn't use any con­certed ef­fort, choos­ing in­stead to let the tool do the work—and work it did. The Omega B1 sank all the way to the dowel rod at the cen­ter of Pork­man, clearly in­di­cat­ing its abil­ity to pen­e­trate to the bone with min­i­mal ef­fort. I then made a fore­hand slash hor­i­zon­tally across the tar­get, again with lit­tle ef­fort, and the blade cut beau­ti­fully. It pen­e­trated deep into the pork with no no­tice­able re­sis­tance from the fab­ric and plas­tic wrap, strik­ing the “bone” rep­re­sented by the dowel rod. It per­formed equally well on a back­hand slash. Fi­nally, I thrust the Omega B1 into Pork­man and ap­plied a down­ward pres­sure cut that cre­ated a dev­as­tat­ing wound, well over a foot long. Again, it was near ef­fort­less and re­ally sober­ing even to me, as to the deadly ef­fec­tive­ness of the Omega B1.

Qual­ity, Crafts­man­ship, Sound Er­gonomics

The Omega B1 is an out­stand­ing new ad­di­tion to the knife com­mu­nity, de­signed by some­one who's ded­i­cated their life to mak­ing oth­ers safer. Maury's pas­sion for knives and knife com­bat­ives is well rep­re­sented in the Omega B1. Any­one who ap­pre­ci­ates qual­ity, crafts­man­ship and sound er­gonomics in a hand­made knife should con­sider own­ing one. KI

Above: The Omega B1 is suited to both ur­ban and ru­ral en­vi­ron­ments.

Right: The beveled edges of the Omega B1's han­dles make for a com­fort­able and se­cure grip. The or­ange lin­ers on the Omega B1's grip re­ally pop against the black han­dle slabs.

The clean lines and ex­pertly crafted grinds on the Omega B1 are as beau­ti­ful as they are deadly.

The screws that an­chor the han­dle slabs on the Omega B1 are re­cessed into the tex­tured G10 to re­duce hot spots and im­prove com­fort.

The cen­ter of the Cloth Grab­ber Clip fea­tures an in­den­ta­tion that bites into the fab­ric of what­ever gar­ment the clip is at­tached to, while the clip adapter al­lows the end user to ad­just the height and cant of the Omega B1.

Above: Draw­ing the Omega B1 from an ap­pen­dix carry con­fig­u­ra­tion.

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