Friday, November 28, 2014

Strike Hard's AKM Bayonet MOLLE Sheath

I had this great idea following the purchase of my latest AK bayonets, I was going to design & make some MOLLE sheaths from some left over material I had for my AK bayonets. I checked the interwebz to see what solutions were currently out there, if any at all, and, sure enough, someone had already done it. I found Strike Hard Gear's AKM MOLLE sheath and, for $23 shipped, I postponed my endeavor and picked one up.

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The sheath arrive a couple days later (as it was in stock and did not have to be made per my order). All materials used are top quality, double stitched, plenty of PALS webbing, and solid like the AK bayonet it was made to carry. Installation is straight forward as the design is efficient in it's simplicity: slide the bayonet scabbard into place under a large piece of fabric and then fasten two velcro straps, one for the scabbard and the second is for the bayonet grip, for additional retention. No doubt about it, the Strike Hard AKM sheath is a great American Made update for your commie pig sticker. 

However, I had a problem with mine, the lower retention fabric was too tight and, even though I tried to Hulk Hogan it in there, it would not slide in. I contacted Strike Hard and Todd immediately responded. I shipped it back and, shortly thereafter, it came back to me with just enough slack to allow the scabbard to easily insert while maintaining sufficient retention. I'm a fan, because good customer service does make a difference. Nothing better than an excellent American made product that is back up by the company's (Strike Hard's) excellent customer service. 

The next step was figuring out where this mutha was going to go, on my PC or my battle belt....

My battle belt allows for quick access to the interior webbing belt and the SHG AKM MOLLE sheath has a 1.75" belt opening. 

The belt access opening on the left side seems to be the optimal location on the battle belt. No room up front, because of my mag pouches and I decided to avoid the right side, because of my holster/secondary & additional pouches, but mainly because it could impede quick deployment of my secondary. However, I have been running my TOPS Fieldcraft Knife on the left side, though, with the AKM bayonet, I had a change in my thought process. In the unlikely scenario (never say never) I needed to attach my bayonet to my SGL-31, I would retain control over my firearm with my right hand and maneuver with my left, thus making the left side location optimal. In theory, of course, as I have not run this set up yet. I could decide the complete opposite later on and this is something you have to test on your own, "what works for you?"

As pictured below, I tried the spot behind my dump pouch, but this was not a viable option IMO. Reason one, sitting in vehicle or anywhere, the bayonet is in an undesirable location and, two, obstruction of the dump pouch when in use.

Now let's take a look at it on my Shellback Banshee PC. The AK-74 bayonet is not short and stubby, measuring in at 13.5" OAL, with the SHG sheath coming in at ~13.75" loaded. As pictured below, it takes up a lot of vertical real estate when compared to the Gerber LMF II.   

I attached the bayonet setup to my Shellback Banshee PC with two Blackhawk! speedclips for a quick review of the system. Malice clips would be preferable (shoulda, coulda, woulda picked up a couple from SHG), because the speedclips slipped out when I removed the bayonet to attached to my SGL-31. If you look closely in some of my next pics, you'll notice the slip, it's pulled up and to the left. However, this slip could have been attributed to of my quick installation.

Final notes. American made, American badass gear. Can't wait to run it and need to go shoot soon. I've been working my ass off trying to get my tees and accessories out for the BLK RFL DIV line so have been stuck indoors for the past few weeks. Strike Hard and the many other proud American small business' get all my respect and I hope to follow in their footsteps. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

To the screenprinters, Batman!

Spent some time at the screenprinters yesterday getting the first batch of tees & hoodies done. Another session next week and then I should be able to go live with the BLK RFL DIV store. Been working on this stuff for months and it's somewhat surreal watching it all become a reality in one day.

Final notes. None of this would have been possible without the support & help from all of my friends and family, especially;  Eric F., Jeremy, Ian, Blair, Ky, Eric H., Berkley, Mr Juantanamo, and last but not least, my beautiful wife and  daughter. Let's see what happens, let the journey begin.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Izzy Bayonets - From Latvia with Love

Had to do it, got the real deal, a beautiful bakelite Izhmash AKM Type II bayonet and an Izhmash AK74 bayonet for my small collection.

I was originally looking for a ((10)) Bulgarian AK74 bayonet, but found a seller on eBay named soviet_surplus_sale (link to his store) with excellent feedback and decided to up my collection and buy Russian instead of Bulgarian. Besides the quest to procure an AK74 bayonet (plum or black), soviet_surplus_sale was also selling Type II bakelite AKM bayonets. I decided to buy both and he combined my shipping. I was very satisfied with the quality of the bayonets I received and his pricing.

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Izhmash 6x4 Type II bakelite bayonet details:

- Izzy feathered arrow/triangle logo on scabbard & grip
- 38/2 factory mold on grip & 80 mold on scabbard (do not know any details)
- Ink inspection marks on grip only (OTK 15, 5, red dot, n)
- No stamped proof marks (usually on crossguard)
- Etched number on scabbard & grip: 910
- Weight (scabbard + bayonet): 1.03 lbs
- OAL: 12.875"
- Blade length: 5.75"
- Condition: Unused/Excellent
- Features: Bowie style, clip-point blade with sawteeth along the spine and can be used as a wire-cutter when combined with it's scabbard. Non-conductive scabbard. The pommel is steel and can be used as a hammer.

Izhmash 6x5 AK74 "True Black" polymer bayonet details:

- Izzy feathered arrow/triangle logo on scabbard only
- 14-1 factory mold mark grip with 9•1 on scabbard
- Ink inspection marks on scabbard (OTK U) & blade (OTK 17, h)
- No stamped proof marks
- Etched number on grip only: 547
- OAL: 13.5"
- Blade length: 6.25"
- Weight (scabbard + bayonet): 0.81 lbs
- Condition: Unused/Excellent
- Features: Spear point blade with sawteeth on the false edge and can be used as a wire-cutter when combined with it's scabbard. Non-conductive scabbard. Textured polymer grip (and I'm sure there's someone out there who has stippled one).

Following is a great post by GoatHerder from (link) that I found while searching for details on the AK74 blade. He got railed for suggesting that many a soldier has used his issued AK74 bayonet as a survivalist knife/tool, so while others scoffed at that, it is not at all unfounded. How dare he use common sense and make constructive comments! We have access to many options in our current market, so while the AK74 bayonet is not the perfect survivalist knife, to the lowly soldier in the middle of no-where, he makes it work. Some excellent suggestions from GoatHerder:

"If you want to use this as a BOB tool then think of it as a dive knife. Sharpen the edge with a fine file and keep a medium diamond flat hone as a sharpener. Wrap 6 feet of paracord around the bottom of the rubber area of your sheath, not the metal and add in a ferrocerrium fire steel and the sharpener. If you don't have an AK rifle then disassemble the lock mechanism and there should be a hole through the knife. Take 16 inches of cord and run it through the hole and then immediately as it all comes out and is even, then tie an overhand knot. Tie 2 more 1/2 inches apart and then leave enough space to just get your hand through and tie a final knot. Cut off the excess. This will be a hand lanyard and by putting your hand through it and twisting your hand around the cord a couple times will take up the slack. The knots are to space the cord enough so that your hand doesn't cinch toward the back of the handle. Loop this over the guard when carrying so it is out of the way. I looked and all the ones I have are made from Bakelite material and I paid an average of 5 bucks each. The swinging of the knife sheathed is a PIA, so figure something out that will tighten it up. I changed the clip into a loop strap with some left over ballistic strap and slid it over the sheath. Can be removed but much better to carry on your belt or pack. Good luck."

Final notes: Throughout this post the term 'bakelite' is used to describe the AKM Type II bayonet's grip and scabbard, however, it is not actually bakelite, it is a nylon based plastic that is reminiscent of bakelite. AK magazines do not use bakelite either, though universally referred to as bakelite mags, they are also made of nylon based plastic.

The horizontal marks ~3/4 up on the blades of the bayonets are from the retention system employed by Soviet/Russian scabbards. It wipes right off, but is still visible, like the "scratch" on your receiver for the AK safety.

Shop around. The best price I had previously found for an Izhmash marked bayonet was over $100, some priced closer to $200. There's some guy on eBay right now selling a current production ((10)) Bulgarian AK74 bayonet for $250, the same model that is selling at K-VAR (and is still available as of today) for $90. For the most part you should be able to get a standard polymer ((10)) Bulgarian AK74 bayonet for around $40. Then there's always the chance you find a seller who is practically giving away the item you have been searching for. Besides being on eBay, soviet_surplus_sale is also on Gunbroker as JerichoLV. Look him up, he has some incredible items that any collector would want.

Read more about AK bayonets at World Bayonets PAGE 1 and PAGE 2.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veteran's Day

Of the many veterans in my family, I have to take the opportunity to post this great picture of my uncle-in-law while serving in Vietnam. He's a badass. He fought for our nation, came back home and raised a family, and is still living his life to the fullest and with honor. This day is for you and the many that came home before you and after you.

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Another great photo from his personal collection, Swift Boats retrieving ARVN personnel. I do not know the exact location or date.