Benchmade 1100 Pen Series

The 1100 is the first pen produced by Benchmade a company that is famous for its cutting instruments. The 1100 is a tactical metal pen intended to double as a writing intrument and self defense tool.

The pen is made of anodized aluminum in charcoal black or a combination of black and blue. The finish is non-reflective which is good for tactical applications. The writing tip is in one and and a pointed kubaton style is at the other. The pen closes with a charcoal black cap that can be used to cover either the writing tip or the kubaton end when you are writing. In the cap there is a stainless steel pocket clip that can be removed in case of need.

The pen writes using a fisher space pen refill, the ink is pressurized so it can write upside down, under water, over greasy surfaces, at high altitudes, etc. The grip is very confortable and the pen is heavy but well balanced for writing. We have the feeling that it will be a little too heavy for very long sessions of writing but who writes with a tactical pen for hours?. With the cap closed the kubaton has a good size, probably a little small for very big hands but perfectly grippable for normal hands. The tip is very very pointed and can certainly produce massive damage with only small force applied. The appeareance of the pen is intimidating, that is good for self-defense but is certainly a problem for airports and other locations with strong security measures, this pen looks as something that can be confiscated.

The cap fits very well with an o-ring to seal the tip completely, it adjusts well to both the writing end or the kubaton end. The pocket clip is strong and has a good size, it maybe too strong for a shirt pocket but is very safe for a pants pocket.

The 1100 is an expensive pen to be made in aluminum having a price similar to Titanium made pens or higher-end instruments. We have the feeling that it is an excellent combination of a pen and kubaton but it is not very discrete has a strong risk of confiscation and it is too expensive for what it is and what it does.

You can read more and order for $120 from Benchmade.

Surefire E1B Backup

The E1B is a flashlight designed to be used as a backup light for law enforcement and related jobs. The light features a Cree LED with TIR optics and two levels of output using a single C123 battery.

The switch of the E1B is new for Surefire lights, it is a clickie switch that goes to high mode with the first click and to low mode with a second one. A light press of the switch without clicking from off gives you momentary maximum mode. This is probably intended to provide maximum light quickly in case of need but it is certainly a problem if you just need low light and want to preserve night vision.

The light runs for about 1.3 hours in maximum mode providing about 80 lumen of light in low mode it will last for about 35 hours at 5 lumen which is good enough for reading and general navigation.

The pocket clip is bidirectional meaning that you can clip the light bezel up or bezel down depending on your preferences the body in anodized aluminum type III is very strong but has been streamlined so it won't be agressive with pockets or clothing this is a good detail if the idea is to keep the light clipped for very long times and use it in case of need. The clip is also very strong and unless something terrible happens the light won't be lost.

This is not the brightest Cree light in the market and it is not the most functional light either but as a general purpose light or a backup light it is a very good option and its certainly brighter in high mode than many single cell lighs out there.

You can get it for $110 from BatteryJunction.

Leatherman Skeletool

The Skeletool is a streamlined fullsized multitool offering the most basic tools at a reduced price and weight. The tool includes pliers with needle noose ends and wire cutters, a blade, a driver that can use exchangeable bits, a carabiner and bottle opener a bit storage compartment and a removable pocket clip, nothing else. There are two versions of the skeletool, the regular one in aluminum with a plain blade and the CX version with tungsten cover and a partially serrate blade.

The pliers are strong and good as it is common in leatherman tools, the handles are ergonomic but if you need to do a lot of pressure the grip might be a little unconfortable. The blade is made of 420HC steel and is plain in the aluminum version and partially serrated in the CX version, it cuts really well and locks in place when deployed.

The driver is compatible with the charger bits, included are two philips and two flat screwdriver bits, you can store one bit in the driver and an extra one in the tool handle so you can carry your two most used bits in the tool, it works really well and has a good torque. The carabiner doubles as a bottle opener, it is probably not the best carabiner nor the best bottle opener found in a multitool, the tension of the spring is slightly annoying when opening bottles and when clipped the tool just moves a lot, the way the tool is clipped is a little strange so its not easy to find a way to carry it using the carabiner. The pocket clip that is removable works very well and being the tool small is quite good for pocket carry.

At only 5 ounces (142 grams) the Skeletool is a reduced version of the Charger with many of the tools left behind but if you need a light tool and the options this tool provides are good for you then you can find a serviceable light option in the Skeletool.

You can get it for $60 from Amazon.

Photon Rex

The Rex is a rechargeable keychain light by LRI : the creators of the Photon Freedom.

The Rex features four bright white leds and the interface is very similar to the one in the photon freedom. The brightness can be regulated keeping the button pressed, when maximum it is about as twice as bright as the popular photon freedom. After the brightness settings there are four additional modes in the interface: a fast strobe, medium strobe, slow strobe and SOS mode.

The single button operation is easy and the button glows in the dark after being charged by direct sunlight or fluorescent light.

What makes the Rex so interesting is that it is rechargeable keychain light, to recharge it you have to insert the recharging kit into the Rex and then just plug the mini magnets at the other end to any 1.5v battery you have around. AA, AAA, C and D batteries work well, if you use rechargeable batteries then you have a complete rechargeable kit. Having an extra AA or even AAA battery around allows you to recharge the Rex anytime you need and anywhere you want. This curious recharging interface is like a hack but works well and it is very practical to be able to recharge the light using common batteries you can get anywhere.

The Rex is a lot bigger than a photon freedom, being about twice as big so if the freedom was fine for your keychain the Rex might be slightly bulkier.

A very interesting option for a rechargeable keychain light.
You can get it for $24 at LightHound.


This is an UV (Ultra Violet) edition of the Arc AAA. It features a Nichia NSPU510CS 375nm UV LED powered by a single AAA battery, it can use lithium, alkaline or nimh rechargeable AAA batteries 1.5v.

The body is constructed from Type III Hard Anodized 6061 Aluminum and the interior is coated with chemkote for stronger corrosion reistance.

The switch is a twisty at the head, twist the head for simple on-off activation, o-rings make the light water reistance up to a hundread feet. Runtime with an alkaline battery is about 5 hours to 50% power.

UV lights are useful in many applications where objects need UV wavelengths to flouresce, like detecting counterfeit, scorpions, body fluids and others. Exposure to UV light is potentially harmful to the eyes so this is not a light to play. If you need a keychain UV light the Arc is probably one of the most durable versions you can get it will last forever in your keychain. If you don't need a very rugged light you have several options much cheaper and with similar runtime and output so this one probably makes sense only for those that use an UV light every day.

You can get it for $40 at ArcFlashlights.

Maratac Responder Bag

The Maratac responder bag is a pouch that can be used to carry medium sized EDC kits. The interior size is 7'' by 12''.

One side has three velcro strips that can be used to attach accesory pockets or just strap your EDC items to the pouch interior. The other side feature three large pockets: 6.5'' by 6.5'', then 8.25'' x 6.5'' and the third one 9.5'' x 6.5''. This side has elastic loops for pens and other EDC items and a button loop that can be used for a split ring or other small EDC items.

At the center you have a elastic loop that is perfect for a small or medium sized flashlight. The pouch is made of strong nylon and has a zipper that runs very well all along the pouch. In the exterior you have several MOLLE compatible attachment loops that can be used to add addditional pouches to this one or to just attach with carabiners or similar other EDC items to the kit.

This is a very interesting pouch for medium sized kits because it is really designed for EDC items, you can fit your flashlight, pens, knife, notepads and other small items without having them loose in the interior it is very versatile and can be adapted to several kits. Because of its size you will have to carry it inside a backpack or a larger pouch.

You can get it for $19 from CountyComm.

Glo Toob Lithium

This is a new version of the Glo-Toob designed to use a C123 lithium battery instead of the A23 battery used in the previous version.

The toob has 11 modes of operation selected using a redesigned cap button. To switch modes you have to turn the tube on, wait five seconds and then turn it off and on without a pause. Now switching on and off will change modes. To fix a mode just leave the unit on in the selected mode for four seconds.

The lithium version has 11 modes of operation: flash mode, beacon strobe, fast strobe, slow strobe, SOS, pulse, half flash, bounce, ramp up, 100% constant on and 25% constant on. It can use either primary or rechargeable 123 batteries without problems as long as the battery fits in the tube. Not all rechargeable 123 batteries are the same size.

The new model is 80mm (3.15'') high and 24mm (0.95'') in diameter it is bigger than the older model to acomodate the new larger 123 battery. With this battery the tube can from 24 hours to 100 hours depending on the selected mode. The push button cap is splash proof and the standard package includes a lanyard and twist cap. With the twist cap the tube can be used up to 100m deep making it suitable for diving applications. (328 ft).

The new model is easy to operate and the push button cap has a very good tactile response making it easier to switch modes. To our taste the unit has too many fancy modes and only two constant-on modes, it is doubtful to have 9 signaling modes and strobes and yet only 2 levels of constant brightness in the interface.

With a long runtime and 360 degrees illumination the tube is great for small rooms, tents and as a marker if you hike, dive, cycle or do any kind of night activities it has many applications and is a practical device to have in your kit.

The lithium version is available in blue, red, amber, green, white and IR for $40 at Lighthound.


The Keep2Go is a portable PET plastic tube that can be used for different purposes.

The tubes has a screw-on plastic cap that has a hole to thread a lanyward or a cord, a small lanyard with a cord lock is included.

The Keep2Go is available in several sizes from 1.0 to 2.5 oz in several different colors. All the models are TSA safe and can be used to transport liquids on a plane.

The containers can be also used to store food and are dishwasher safe, they float but not if you fill them with something heavy.

Multipurpose plastic containers are useful for small kits, for liquids and medications and are helpful when you are outdoors and can be quite practical for swimming while holding some essentials like cash.

You can read more at the official website.