Christmas is nearly upon us! A couple years ago when I first endeavored to assemble a Christmas Gift Guide, I realized that my natural sense of procrastination led me to publish these guides much too late for the general consumer. Then I realized that many consumers, like myself, wait until the last minute to purchase Christmas gifts.
So if that’s you, or you’re simply looking for something to spend your Christmas money on, I give you the first (of four) officially named TitleBeard’s 2016 Last Minute Christmas Gift Guide. [Feel free to click on any of the images to see a larger version.]
This installment focuses on the men and women who cultivate a specific set of items that they will carry on a daily basis (often called Everyday Carry, or EDC), but this list is useful for anyone looking for a quality Christmas gift for a friend or loved one (or yourself). Also, I always carry a handkerchief, and typically a pen and pocket notebook as part of my EDC, but those items will be covered in two of the other gift guides. I initially connected with most of these companies on Instagram, and have listed links to all their pages when applicable.
A couple quick disclaimers – due to the “last minute” nature of the article, a number of these companies have already cut off orders that would be received by Christmas, so before ordering be sure to check with the specific company to confirm any relevant shipping deadlines or production lead time. Also, I did not receive any consideration for posting about any items contained in this post, and all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Special Operations Equipment EDC Belt ($65-$79)
For the order of products, I thought I would start with how I generally start my daily routine. Once I’m dressed, the first item of my EDC that goes on is my SOE EDC belt. I purchased it because I was looking for a belt that would better support the weight of my everyday carry pistol (Glock 19) and holster, and SOE came highly recommended from my friend and instructor, Aaron Little.
These belts are great whether you carry a gun or not – the rigidity means no bending or collapsing under the weight of your chosen carry items, and the Cobra buckles are exceptionally strong. It does take a minute to get used to how the belt threads through the buckle, but once you’ve mastered that, it goes on as quick as any regular belt. I wear this belt everyday, with all types of clothes. SOE makes a wide variety of other products (bags, packs, duty belts, and chest rigs, to name a few) as well, both for the professional and everyday guy. Due to the popularity of their products, they sometimes have long lead times. Be sure to check the website for availability. If you want to add on a little bit more to your purchase, I highly recommend the Vehicle Visor Cover as well.
F3 Holsters IWB (inside the waistband) Foxtrot 2.0 ($36.95-$69.95)
I first met Chris, the proprietor of F3 Holsters through TitleBeard. I was looking for a new holster for the gun I was carrying at the time (Glock 23) and after talking for a while, he sent me an AIWB (appendix inside the waistband) holster for it, and since then, I’ve ordered F3 holsters for all my handguns. I’ve tried a few different kydex holsters, but F3 makes my favorites.
F3 has a wide assortment of holsters for a number of different handgun manufacturers in both the IWB and OWB (outside the waistband) variety, with common features like adjustable retention, sweat guards, and an assortment of clips. The Foxtrot 2.0 (pictured here) is my favorite style of all of the F3 holsters that I’ve tried so far. It rides comfortably against the body, is slim for concealment purposes, but solidly constructed. If I’m carrying my Glock 19 or Glock 26, I’m wearing this holster. Chris has become a good friend, and I highly recommend F3 products. If you want to pick up an additional product from F3, I would recommend snagging a mag carrier.
The Neo Mag ($44.99)
If you’re looking for a low profile way to carry an extra magazine with your daily carry pistol, please allow me to introduce you to The Neo Mag. I came across Neo Mag on Instagram and when their Black Friday sale popped up, I thought I’d give one a try. I initially planned on purchasing two (one for my doublestack magazines and one for my single stack mags), but was pleased to find out their Medium size NM would allow me to carry either double or single stack. The Neo Mag has a low-ride pocket clip and uses a rare earth magnet to hold the magazine in place. Because of that, the Glock mags I carry have to be ones with the steel liner, so some after market mags won’t work, but 90% of my Glock magazines have the steel liner so that’s not an issue.
The low-ride pocket clip looks, to bystanders, like you just have a pocket knife or other similar item in your pocket, and it means your spare mag is accessible without having to move a cover garment like you would with a mag carrier that you carry on your belt. Because of the orientation of how the magazine rides, it does take practice to deploy it quickly, but that is a skill you can pick up fairly easily with practice. I’ve exchanged a few emails with Graig Davis, the company’s founder, and the company has excellent customer service. According to the NM Instagram page, they are having a 10% off slale on everything with the code “Christmas” (no quotation marks), and orders must be placed by the end of the day Monday to get them in time for Christmas. Bonus purchase recommendation: pick up one of the Sword & Trowel patches for just $5.00.
Maverick Customs pry bars and self defense tools ($50-$100)
Facebook: Maverick Customs
Maverick Customs is another company that I discovered on Instagram, and I was excited to find out that the company is based in Kentucky, only a few hours away from me. I initially went to Maverick Customs for a pry bar, and have since ordered a number of pry bars and self defense tools, plus a couple of his early knives. In the pic above you can see, from left to right; a titanium self-defense tool, a custom titanium self-defense tool that he made to my specifications, a titanium pry bar (with bottle opener), and a steel pry bar (with bottle opener). All of these measure six inches, and other sizes and styles are also available.
The clips on all of these have great retention, and the weight of the titanium versions is lighter than a lot of pocket knives people typically carry. Maverick Customs is obviously available for custom work (prices vary). He offers pry bars, knives, and self defense tools (impact weapons) in both steel and titanium, and the titanium pieces can be anodized to a variety of different colors. Follow the Maverick Customs Facebook and Instagram pages for photos of his most recent work, and feel free to message them with any custom requests. My recommendation – if you’re looking for a pry bar, snag a titanium one in the color of your choice, or contact MC about a custom piece – it won’t disappoint.
Kenucky Hand Tools Kenucky ($45)
Continuing with the “Kentucky proud” section of this gift guide, we have Kenucky Hand Tools. Kenucky (that’s spelled correctly) offers a variety of knucks or decorative bottle openers (depending on your state’s laws) in addition to multi-tools ($40). The Kenucky comes in either stainless steel or carbon fiber. I’ve had mine for a little over a year now (I did the paracord wrap on it so don’t judge them for my poor wrapping skills) and I like it. The holes are well-sized for most fingers and the one I have, stainless, is constructed very well. This is a handy, lightweight tool to have around, and the Kenucky multi-tools offer a variety of functions.
I’ve been continually impressed by the durability of the Kenucky, especially given its light weight. I have yet to try out a carbon fiber version, but that and a multi-tool may be on my own purchasing list soon – and FYI, shipping is included in the price and all items come with a vinyl sticker. Visit the Kenucky Instagram to see all of the varities, and DM them for availability. Definitely pick up a Kenucky, stainless if you don’t mind a little more heft than the carbon fiber – and grab a multi-tool if you’re looking for one with a lot of functionality.
Mark’s Blades coins and copper bars ($14-$30)
Another recent Instagram find (seriously, if you like EDC stuff and you’re not on Instagram, you’re missing out) is Mark’s Blades. Mark’s Blades, also based in Kentucky, sells a variety of copper items with forced patina that have been sealed to protect the finish. As you may know, copper will naturally develop a patina over time, but Mark has sped up that process for his customers, producing some amazing results. He offers items, such as the one ounce copper bar and coins pictured here, with a couple different types of patina (only one type is pictured here). He sells a number of different themed challenge coins, everything ranging from the bald eagle you see above, to law enforcement and first responder, military themed, and even holiday themed.
Mark’s Blades is my favorite recent find for unique EDC items. His coins and bars make a great addition to one’s everyday carry and would make a great gift for a friend or loved one who is a fan of everyday carry, whether or not they already collect things like challenge coins. A lot of the items are first come first served and get snatched up quickly (I’ve gotten more than a few myself), so keep an eye on the Mark’s Blades Instagram page for availability and new releases. I would absolutely recommend picking up the coin of your choice, but be sure to grab one of the copper bars too – a one ounce version if you want something to pocket carry, an eight ounce bar if you’re looking for a cool paperweight.
Iron Bullslinger Gentleman Sin Coin ($15.00)
Here’s what’s going to happen. You’re going to look at this GentlemanSin coin (named for and inspired by my good friend and colleague @gentlemansin), think it’s awesome and want one, so you’ll go to the Iron Bullslinger page to buy one and you’ll see they’re sold out. Only 100 numbered coins were made, and they sold out almost immediately. So then you’ll come back and call me names and ask why I put something in a gift guide that’s sold out. Three reasons. 1) They’re awesome, so you need to see them. 2) This was the second version of this coin that Iron Bullslinger put out, so with enough interest (and I think there’s plenty), he may be convinced to release a third version, and 3) Iron Bullslinger makes a lot of awesome products, so you should check out his page and inventory regardless.
As you can see, this coin reflects the duality of GentlemanSin – one side is engraved with “Act Like A Gentleman” while the other states “Until You Need To Be A Sinner”. If I were you, I’d send Iron Bullslinger a message and ask him to release a third version, and while you’re on his website, pick up a Pacific pry bar (available at the time of publication), a collaboration between Iron Bullslinger and Casey Lynch. Enjoy.
Wild Hedgehog Tactical medical kits ($59.99-$139.99)
I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve taken a lot of firearms and weapons training courses in the last year. Even though none of the classes were first aid or medical in nature (I’ll be fixing that in 2017), something each of the courses stressed was the importance of carrying medical supplies. As an EDC enthusiast, I can’t help but notice that the component missing from most people’s everyday carry is medical supplies of some sort. When I quickly realized it was missing from my own, I sought to correct it – enter Wild Hedgehog Tactical. WHT offers, among other things, a number of pre-built medical kits ranging from the simple to the complex. My first purchase from them was the EDC Pocket Trauma Kit (the smallest of the three pictured).
As you may imagine, this is meant to be small enough to ride in a pocket, but complete enough to deal with a number of different emergency medical situations. The EDC Pocket Trauma kit contains a SWAT-Tourniquet, Celox Rapid Ribbon, CPR Face Shield, Black Nitrile Gloves, and a Micro First Aid Kit, all in a pouch small enough to fit in your pants pocket. The pouch it comes in has some slots for extra items, and I’ve added a few, so with the slightly increased bulk, I tend to carry mine in a cargo pocket. The medium sized kit pictured is the Get Home Alive Medical Kit Lite, and the large one is the Get Home Alive Medical Kit. I carry the Pocket Kit on me nearly all the time, and I have a full sized kit in my car, plus a spare one for one of my backpacks. I’ve started carrying the Lite kit on one of my packs as well because you never know where you may need one.
I want to make it clear – I’m not a medical professional (but I play one on TV), and even though I’ve had some medical training beyond basic first aid, I’m still a comparative novice when it comes to this side of EDC. That being said, I’ve spent a long time looking over different pre-packed medical kits and Wild Hedgehog Tactical seems to offer the best value for your money. For a full list of what’s included in each of the kits and an exploded view of each (those shots are impressive, so definitely check them out), visit WHT’s website. One of the kits is bound to suit your needs, size requirement, and budget. If the kit you’re purchasing doesn’t have the Celox Rapid 3 x 5 Hemostatic Gauze in it, be sure to take advantage of that add-on option.
Leatherman Raptor and Holster ($69.85)
I received this Leatherman Raptor (with holster) as a gift a few months ago, and it has had a constant presence on whatever backpack I’m carrying since then. It is simply a really handy tool. In the pic immediately above, you see it unfolded, but if you have a look again at the main pic for this article you can see it in its folded position. It can ride in the holster in either the open or closed position, making it great for rapid deployment if your situation warrants that. Again, I’m not a medical professional, but I know a number of EMTs who carry this on the job.
The Leatherman site notes that it has the following five features: 1) 420 HC Stainless Steel Folding Medical Shears; 2) Strap Cutter; 3) Ring Cutter; 4) 5 cm Rule; 5) Oxygen Tank Wrench; and 6) Carbide Glass Breaker. The holster affixes easily to a belt or a backpack (I feed mine through the molle webbing on the side of my pack) for easy access. Although you may be tempted to refer to the Raptor as shears, it’s really a multi-tool, and a handy one at that. It’s definitely an eye-catcher, too. Every time someone spots this on my pack and asks what it is, I take it out and show them and the response is always some variation of “Wow, that’s really cool”. Cool indeed, and more importantly, useful.
Wise Men Company Wise Guy ($85.00)
Anybody want to guess where I first met Wise Men Company? Yep, Instagram. I first took notice of their page with one of their roundtable discussions (see the Wise Men Company YouTube channel for those and some other great content) and when they first released the Wise Guy it struck me as a really cool multi-tool; pry bar, knuck, bottle opener, and a phillips and flat head screwdriver bit. I ordered one when I got the chance and found it to be a great, lightweight tool that fits equally well in the hand and the pocket (they also have carriers available for them now as well). I want to take a second to thank Ben and Noah from WMC for their assistance and great customer service. I was unable to get a photo of my own Wise Guy because someone stole it (that’s how much people like these things), so they took this pic for me and are helping me resolve that issue.
This is the most inventive and functional multi-tool I’ve seen in some time. I like all of the features it includes and I can attest that all of them perform well. While I’ve not had occasion to test out the knuck, I can say that thus far, this appears to be the most functional knuck I’ve seen in some time. Because you’re gripping the whole tool while your finger is in the knuck, you have a more solid grip so you can put plenty of force behind the knuck. Additionally, after taking a recent functional edged and impact weapons class, I realized that should the need ever arise, the grip style also allows for the Wise Guy to be deployed as an impact weapon on either the pry or flat end. WMC’s inventory has expanded to include another multi-tool offering (the Wise Crack), the new Signet add-on for a number of Spyderco knives, and if you really want to up your Christmas giving game, check out their Crates of Wrath.
Dangerous But Good patches ($8.00-$24.50)
Yes, I met Scott from Dangerous But Good on Instagram and yes, these patches are also sold out at the time of publication. But, DBG has plenty of apparel and patches currently for sale including their recently released Appeal to Heaven patch and sticker sets. Dangerous But Good was founded on the ideas of Faith, Family, and Freedom (be sure to check out their Instagram page for #F3Fridays) and their name reminds people that while we have the tools to be dangerous, we can choose to be good.
DBG has hoodies, hats, t-shirts, patches, and stickers (and collections) available, so be sure and visit their site for a list of the full offerings. You should also follow their Instagram page to keep up to date with releases, and for their weekly motivational posts.
Patch Me Up patches ($6.00-$22.50)
If you liked the awesome John Wick patch on my pack in the photo at the top of the article, thank Patch Me Up. Patch Me Up patches can be seen across social media (especially Instagram), and their PVC patches have an amazing level of detail. The John Wick patch, as with nearly all of their patches, is 3D, so all of the small lines you see have a texture to them, it’s not just something that is stamped on the patch. The quality that PMU is able to provide along with the level of detail, is off the charts. Shown above are a few of the PMU patches I have, and my collection continues to grow.
Certain popular ones like the Pew Club patch are sold out, and many of their patches are produced in limited runs, so be sure to follow their Instagram feed for new releases and check out their website for current offerings. Combining pop culture with classic themes, Patch Me Up has a great repertoire and a wide selection that any EDC fan could benefit from. They have excellent customer service and offer custom patch-making services as well. If you get the opportunity, take advantage of one of their bundle deals, like the Fight Club Bundle, and if you’re inclined to order something, feel free to use the code BRIANFURBY to get 10% off your purchase.
Tactical Pterodactyl tanto knife with kydex sheath ($339)
This tanto from Tactical Pterodactyl tanto is the priciest item in the gift guide, but it is a functional work of art. I received this knife as a gift from a friend, and it is a beautiful, tough as nails fixed blade knife. TPK puts his knives through some rigorous (and what some might even call ridiculous) tests, and backs up all of them with a limited lifetime warranty. TPK offers various multiple sizes, blade styles, and scale colors. Knives are typically released on his site every Friday (sign up for the newsletter for a preview of what’s being released each week) and they sell out quickly, so if you see one you want, don’t wait.
Pre-sales are occasionally offered as well, for items like his popular mini-cleavers and mini-tantos. Every blade comes with a kydex sheath molded for the knife, and I’ve arranged the loops on my sheath for a comfortable horizontal (slightly angled) carry on my belt – I typically carry it in the small of my back. The sheath allows for a quick draw with a purchase on the entire handle, and the knife is small enough (6.75 inch total length) to be concealed easily. The handle on this tanto also serves as a glass breaker, and the blades arrive razor sharp.
Flagrant Beard Forerunner fixed blade knife ($159.99)
I came across Flagrant Beard on Instagram (shocker, I know) thanks to a referral from @sgtandbrad. Brad (his dog’s name is Sergeant) posts a lot of informative (and fun) gun and knife pics and videos on Instagram. In one video, I saw him draw a fixed blade knife from the appendix position and he had some great things to say about being able to grip the full handle during deployment and what a nice knife it was. I found out it was from Flagrant Beard, contacted the owner, and made a purchase within a few days. The Forerunner is a variation of the ridgeback version of the knife originally designed by Bill Coye (the Flagrant Beard version was made with Mr. Coye’s permission) and measures in at a total length of 6.75 inches.
I like the longer blade and shorter handle, and I wear this knife horizontally in the appendix position, comfortably, every day. The scales have an orange interior liner that adds a subtle layer to the presentation, and the knife arrived hair-popping sharp. The knife comes with a kydex sheath (leather upgrades are available for an additional cost), and FB offers two other versions of the knife as well, along with branded apparel, wallets, and belts. This knife is exceptionally easy to conceal, and I love carrying it.
5.11 Tactical Rush 12 backpack ($99.99)
If you don’t have enough room on your belt and in your pockets, or if you simply prefer to carry things in a pack of some type, 5.11 Tactical is the way to go. The 5.11 Rush series features the Rush 12, Rush 24, and Rush 72. For the more hardcore types, the numbers signify how many hours worth of supplies you should be able to pack in the backpack. So the Rush 12 can take care of you for 12 hours, the Rush 24 for a whole day, and so on. For EDC purposes, let’s talk about the Rush 12. If you’d like to see a complete video breakdown of the pack, I would highly recommend visiting this video review from The Tactical Defender. The smallest of the three Rush packs, the 12 makes for a perfect EDC pack. It’s smaller size is such that it’s not going to weigh you down carrying it day in and day out, but it’s large enough, and has enough pocket space, to accommodate all of your EDC needs.
From this photo you’ll notice the molle webbing and velcro strips for patches, along with some of the outer compartments. There are sixteen total compartments in the pack, along with a hydration pocket for a water bladder if that works better for you than a water bottle, and external compression straps that can help you reduce the profile of the pack as much as possible. This is a dual strap pack, not a sling pack, but I’ve found that I most often just grab the top handle (not pictured) and go. The pack is easily large enough to fit most laptops along with plenty of other supplies for an on-the-go office, and is durable and water-resistant. Visit the 5:11 website for more details. If the 12 isn’t big enough for you, spend a few extra bucks and grab the Rush 24 – I highly recommend the entire Rush series.
Please feel free to contact any of the companies listed with additional questions. I hope you’ve enjoyed the first of this year’s Last Minute Gift Guides – stay tuned for the next three!