Cold Steel Recon 1 DEEP DIVE review

There’s lot’s to be said about the Cold Steel Recon 1. For starters you WILL not find a higher value blade for the price of the Recon 1. For under $100 bucks you’re simply not going to find a sturdier feature packed EDC folder knife. That is the magic of the Cold Steel Recon 1.

In this review we’re gonna take a deep dive look at the Recon 1 and discover everything there is to know about this value packed blade.


  • Overall Length: 9.375″
  • Blade Length: 4.00″
  • Blade Thickness: 0.13″
  • Blade Material: CTS-XHP
  • Blade Style: Clip point, Spear point, and Tanto
  • Blade Grind: Hollow
  • Finish: Black
  • Edge Type: Serrated or non-serrated
  • Handle Length: 5.375″
  • Handle Thickness: 0.51″
  • Handle Material: G-10

Full review

The Cold Steel Recon 1 with serrated edge


First off, we’re talking about a full blown tactical blade made into a standard EDC folder knife. The spear point version of the Recon 1 screams tactical. The blade is sharp and sturdy enough to do serious damage in the deep woods while also doubling as a formidable self defense weapon. I’ve used this bad boy to split firewood, skin small game, and bust open boxes and envelopes. The blade comes in from the factory sharp as a razor. That is one thing about Cold Steel blades – they all come out of the box sharp as hell. In fact, this blade takes the hairs right off your arms and doesn’t ask twice.

As a folder/EDC/pocket knife some say this is a big knife. I will agree with that statement but I will also say that the second generation of this blade is much lighter. While it IS a big knife it carries the weight of a much smaller knife. You’re gonna have to get used to this knife taking up more space in your pocket than your standard EDC blade. Still, this knife is quickly moving up the ranks on my shelf as my main EDC knife. Especially when I’m heading out to the city, the tactical shanking applications of this knife cannot be understated. The spear point tip means this blade is going to sink deep into whatever you stab it into. You do not want to be on the business end of this blade, that’s for sure.

And speaking of shanking, the blade flings open at a moments notice. The thumbstuds are ambidextrous and with a quick flick of the wrist, flys out of nowhere ready to do business. the blade locks surprisingly firm into place thanks to the Cold Steel signature locking mechanism. Nothing short of serious pressure applied to key leverage points is going to get this thing to bust once it’s fully locked into place. Getting the blade unlocked is drop dead simple and smooth. With only the slightest pressure on the release mechanism the blade is ready to be concealed and placed deep into pocket with the clip.

The textured grip on the Recon 1 is aggressive. In fact, you even feel the roughness through your own pocket. This is why some will never consider the Recon 1 a true EDC – something you can carry everyday. For me personally, I don’t find the texture bothersome. I know if I ever need to work in the rain, the extra grip is going to come in mighty handy. The aggressive texture is something to make note of however. And another thing to note about the handle – the G10 material and the finger choils allows for a truly deep and comfortable grip. Pick this thing up and the first thing you notice is the aggressiveness of the material combined with powerful grip action. There is no jimping however, but I find it grips good none-the-less.


The Recon 1 is one of my favorite Cold Steel blades and a great option for an EDC. The value of the knife is unheard of, it brings a ton of features and design elements to the table you won’t see in other knives of the same price. As a tactical folder, it’s a no brainer.

Have experience with the Recon 1? Leave a comment and let everyone know what you think about this blade.

Benchmade Mini Griptilian 556 review


In search of the greatest EDC knife of all times I had a number of requirements. The knife had to be small yet powerful. You can’t simply carry a giant RAMBO knife everywhere you go and expect to call it an EDC. With the EDC, you’ll be doing everything from cracking open boxes and envelopes, to skinning small fish and game. I ran across the Benchmade Mini Griptilian and everything looked good on paper…but how did it stack up to the daily wear and tear of life? In this review I take you through a deep dive look at the Benchmade Mini Griptilian. 

Specifications and benefits


  • Blade length – 2.91″
  • Open length – 6.78″
  • Blade thickness – 2.54mm
  • Blade material – 154CM
  • Drop point
  • Slim profile
  • Sharp as a razor
  • Extremely grippy and ergonomic; patented scales and form factor
  • Easily resharpens thanks to the 154CM material
  • Locks securely into place
  • Sturdy pocket clip
  • Flys open with thumb tack
  • Comes apart for cleaning
  • Perhaps the most famous EDC knife of all time

Full review


The BMG boasts a number of crucial design specs. First and foremost, the blade material is made of time tested 154CM stainless steel. This blade material delivers the wicked sharp edge of a carbon steel blade while also boasting the serious anti-corrosion characteristics of stainless. The best of both worlds? Yes. This steel does make this blade a jack of all trades knife. It’s not going to give you the FULL benefits of carbon or stainless. For an every day carry, this is just fine for me.

The handle on the BMG immediately burns into your brain the reason they call this the mini griptilian. The handle practically molds right into your mitts, giving you a balanced an extremely ergonomic grippy feel. The name of the knife also pays homage to the scaled grip patterns on the handle and the numerous washboard moldings placed at key grip areas of the knife. The knife also features solid jimping, ensuring you get a clean and solid grip even when slicing deep into a fish or piece of game.

One thing I love about the knife is the dimensions. It’s not too wide and does not annoy you in the pocket. There’s nothing worse than a bulky pocket knife. This knife leaves plenty of room in the pocket with just enough weight to let you know it can be busted out at a moments notice.

With a bit of practice the knife flys open using the prominent thumb stud on the side of the knife. Once the blade is open it locks securely into place using the BMGs classic AXIS locking mechanism. To close the blade, press down on the release mechanism and then fling it back into place, ensuring to let go of the release button before the blade arcs all the way back into the handle.

Lastly, the blade is fully serviceable. The entire thing can be taken apart for a proper cleaning using standard allen wrenches. Now that’s custom.


The Benchmade Mini Griptilian has earned it’s rightful place in the hands of thousands of users who consider this knife the best EDC knife on the market – and I can see why. It’s hard to find a flaw with this blade.

Do you have experience with the BMG? Leave a comment and let others know what you think about this knife.

Guardline Wireless Driveway Alarm System Review

One thing always stressed when it comes to prepping is OPSEC (operational security.) It’s crucial to understand what is going around your perimeter at all times. If you do not have security measures in place you run the risk of a potential breach. This could be somebody sneaking on to your property or a number of other threats. There’s a ton of useful applications for something like Guardlines Wireless Driveway Alarm System.

In this review I take a deep look into this particular long range alarm system and discuss whether this is a solid product to maintain a secure perimeter at your house, shop, or base camp.

Features and specifications

There are 2 primary driveway alarm products from Guardline. There’s a $99 dollar model and a $159 dollar model. Both of these models share similar features except for the range capabilities from the sensor to the receiver. In the $99 dollar model the maximum range from sensor to receiver is 500 feet. In the premium model the max distance measures at a whopping 1/4 mile. This is well over double the range of the entry level alarm system. Your choice of model depends on how much range you need. In other words, what do you want to monitor and how far will you be away from the sensor?

Here is a general list of features:

  • Driveway alarm system
  • Sensor and Receiver
  • Long range
  • 500 feet range ($99 dollar model)
  • 1,320 feet range ($159 dollar model)
  • Battery powered sensor (4 AA batteries included)
  • Batter powered receiver (4 AAA batteries included)
  • AC adapter also included with receiver
  • Easily mounts to post or other structure with mounting bracket and screws
  • 30 different alarm sounds
  • Good audible sound
  • Supports up to 16 zones with different sensors
  • Easily use 1 sensor with multiple receivers for different parts of your location
  • Easily use multiple sensors with a single receiver
  • Comprehensive and easy-to-read manual
  • 2 year warranty

Setting things up

the guardline wireless driveway alarm mounted on tree

The system works off a sensor and a receiver. You will place the sensor on the section of property you want to monitor and the receiver close by to you. When you open the box you’ll notice both the sensor and the receiver. It’s very easy to pair the two together. On the receiver there are 5 buttons. On one side you have a ON/OFF toggle switch, a volume control, and the AC adapter jack. On the opposite side you have the controls related to the communications between the sensor and the receiver. The most important button is the learn mode button. This is the button you will use to pair the sensor with the receiver.

It’s actually quite simple to pair the sensor and the receiver in just a few steps:

  1. Turn on both the sensor and the receiver.
  2. On the receiver, hold down the “learn mode” button until the zone 1 LED begins to blink.
  3. At this point the receiver is in learn mode and you can select a tone for the alert. Cycle through the 30 sounds using the “melody” button until you find a sound you like.
  4. Now, cycle through the zones with the “learn mode” button until none of the zones are blinking. Once the light shuts off, the device has exited learn mode and is ready for testing.
  5. Wave your hand over the sensor to verify a successful pairing. If everything goes correctly you should hear the sound for the melody you selected and the ZONE 1 light will begin to blink.

Full review

Rarely does a product stand up to what it claims to do. This is why I am always surprised when I find a product that does exactly what it’s supposed to. No more, no less. The Guardline driveway security system is a simple piece of technology you can use to monitor your driveway or any other piece of property for that matter. This thing is great to alert you when someone is driving up. I can see this being used by business owners to alert them when a customer or delivery man pulls in, or as a fully functional security system. Use this device with a camera system to get instantaneous data on what is going on around you.

I found the system is actually drop dead simple to setup as I explained above. Everything can be powered off of the included batteries and the mounting system allows for a number of different setups. For most applications you can simply screw the mounting bracket into a post and be good to go. You could also use a piece of rope or string to lash the sensor to a tree or anything else. The housing of the sensor is fully weather proof so no need to worry about water or anything else.

The logic behind this driveway alarm is simple. When something passes the sensor, beep at me! I found the device just does that, and it does it very well. I actually found the sensor performs well past the documented ranges. With a direct line of sight you can get the receiver to detect from impressive distances.

My favorite aspect about this product is you’re not just tied into 1 sensor. You can purchase multiple sensors and sync them up to the same receiver. On the receiver you have 4 different zones that support 4 sensors in each zone. This means a single receiver can monitor 16 separate locations on your property. Purchasing multiple sensors allows for a truly robust monitoring system. You can have one sensor monitoring the driveway and another sensor monitoring the front door.

False positives and other considerations…

As with most sensors, you have to be aware of false positives. The Guardline system will occasionally pick up false positives like moving branches, small animals, or anything else that passes through the sensor. It’s crucial to ensure the sensor is mounted straight at what you want to monitor. Clear out any branches that might cross the sensors path. Otherwise, your receiver will have no problems beeping at you all day!

Customer support and warranty

I should also mention that Guardline security has great customer support. They are a small business based in the USA and have a real telephone number you can reach them at. You can tell they truly care about creating a top notch product and delivering over the top customer service. All across social media you can see them helping their customers around every turn. On YouTube you can see them helping out users on their channel. If you have a problem with the device you can simply call them up or send an email.

There is also a 2 year warranty on all of their products. This is a considerable length of time considering this is an outdoor product that is sure to take some flack! I have no doubt this alarm system will stand the test of time.

Wrapping up…

The Guardline Wireless Driveway Alarm System is a fully functional piece of equipment that does everything it says it does. Setting it up is drop dead simple. The product is a bit on the pricier side but the reliability and performance of the system is unmatched. You also won’t find better customer service for a product in this category. I have to say this is the best driveway alarm system you can buy on the market today.