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Featured in an online Zolo Article on Home Security!

A few weeks ago I had an enquiry made of me regarding various tidbits to increase your security at home or while travelling. I mentioned many things but apparently mentioning the “fork-lock” was the one they held on to.

Can’t complain. It’s a good trick in a pinch and works pretty well.

You can read the entire article on Zolo HERE.

Till next time, Stay Safe & Stay Crafty.

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The Case Against “Tactical” Pens

For a while now so-called “tactical pens” have been a hotly-debated topic in EDC (Every-Day Carry) and NPE (Non-Permissive Environment) / LPE (Less-Permissive Environment) circles. In many ways, the check the box of a “multi-use” item in the survival world – being both a functional pen and weapon (and glass breaker, bottle opener, screwdriver, flashlight, tactical-tool, and over-priced accessory all in one). From my perspective, most people buy a tactical pen for the weapon capacity and because it makes them feel tough/cool/tactical/bad-ass. Where this goes over the line into the absurd is when the intent of the pen as a weapon in a non-permissive or less-permissive environment comes into play. And you’re not in a profession where you can carry a weapon.

In Canada, where I live and under which I base much of my content on (BECAUSE it is a LPE) not carrying overt weapons on my person on the daily. Attracting attention of the local constabulary because you’re wearing a “tactical pen” with your khakis at Starbucks may be counter-productive for you when accosted by the local weirdo when you walk outside and use said “tactical pen” to defend yourself. When all is concluded, you stand a good chance of being charged with carrying a weapon and then have the onus put on you for the “why”.

On the other hand, carrying a regular pen, which you happen to have on your person, which wasn’t designed to be used as a weapon, will not only NOT draw any attention (either from law enforcement or security when travelling or in no-go areas) but are still capable of being brought into service as a self-defence tool of opportunity.

The photo at the top of this article displays several options for pens which can be used as defensive tools as well as a “tactical pen” (at the bottom). As yourself this: which one looks “scary”? Which one looks like it was designed to hurt someone? The answer is the “tactical pen”.

From the top to bottom: 1) standard BIC crystal pen; 2) Parker Jotter; 3) Fisher Space Pen Bullet; 4) Zebra F-701; 5) Tactical pen – brand unimportant.

Unless I specifically want to grab for a weapon, I’d be picking any of the other pens over the tactical one. If I was on-duty as a Peace Officer then the options are more plentiful. However, as a civilian, I’d prefer to stay away from anything overtly tactical or “scary-looking”. Why? Because the less noticeable and hostile you appear and present as in a confrontation (especially if violence is involved) would see you having to justify your actions. Here in Canada, where things like weapon carry laws, Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground laws do not exist, your legal options regarding weapons to protect yourself are dramatically restricted. Your best options are to avoid violence if you can, engage if you must and only resort to a weapon if one is already present or the situation is dire to the point of needing it to survive.

No one (except for law enforcement and some security elements, and criminals, of course) are carrying guns or other weapons about on a day-to-day basis. Therefore, invest your time, effort and money in the principles and methodologies in dealing with violence rather than buying gear. Learn about situational awareness, behavioural analysis, weaponology principles, . ANY pen (pencil, chopstick or knife) can be used to great effect against an assailant if you have skills (software) versus thinking the tool you bought will save you (hardware).

Remember: Training Trumps Gear.

Stay safe & Stay Crafty.

***NOTE: THIS ARTICLE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE! CONSULT A QUALIFIED LAWYER ON SELF-DEFENCE MATTERS AND APPLICABLE LAWS FOR YOU PARTICULAR JURISDICTION***

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The Domino – Review

The Domino is your constant-companion packet knife when travelling.

Perfect for low-profile carry and less-permissive environments, the Domino from Delta2Alpha Design gives you a thoughtfully-built, travel-friendly cutting tool with a few cool features.

The Domino comes in three colours – Just Black, NOD Green (the one I chose) and Widow Red. All really subtle.

I like the Domino as an addition to my Every-Day-Carry (EDC) when travelling in particular because the blades it uses are ubiquitous and available in shops, gas stations, hardware stores and pharmacies all around the world. Without the blade, it can be taken anywhere and easily loaded when on-ground. The blades are disposable, inexpensive and easily acquired (and each one can be turned over when dull to expose the other side for a fresh, new blade!).

Another interesting feature of the Domino is the magnets. They are positioned in such a way as to create a positive lock on the blade, as well as give you the option to stick it to something metal (see photo of the Domino stuck on one of my metal storage cabinets). It also has a nicely sized lanyard hole to attach via whatever shock cords or other cordage you choose.

From the Delta2Alpha site:

TheDOMINO was developed with the “One Bag Traveler” in mind:

*Compact and Concealable
*Stylish and Sturdy
*Tactical yet  Tasteful and Travel Friendly

After having spent seemingly thousands of dollars on “Throw-Aways” while traveling (many of which found their way into the garbage can outside of an airport); we set out to find something better… TheDOMINO was born.

TheDOMINO is a sleek, stylish, and Minimalist pocket knife.

It uses commonly available utility blades, paired with an innovative tool-less, quick change mechanism, that allows the blade to be removed or replaced in mere seconds.

The sophisticated styling of TheDOMINO and small size makes it much less likely to draw the wrong kind of attention when you are around those of a more delicate nature.

From the Manic Mind of the Nomadic Nerd For Hire himself, we are pleased to introduce you to: The DOMINO.

Note: dimensions are 7cm x 3cm x 0.5cm and weight is 106 grams

Delta2Alpha have really done a great job with this one – like they do with all their tools and offerings – and the presentation is slick. The Domino comes in a really nice tin (which you can repurpose for countless other things) and is shipped discreetly.

As always, stay safe & stay crafty!

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The Covert Companion – Review

The Covert Companion packs a lot of functionality into a small profile.

The Covert Companion is the new flagship offering from Covert Instruments.

With over 20 tools in such a compact package the Covert Companion is an absolute win.

Those diabolical minds at Covert Instruments have managed to cram 20 tools into this small, sleek package that will meet most people’s needs for entry tools on a day-to-day basis. This includes everything from a sleek handle, to four pics, warded picks, a comb set, a jiggler set, a latch tool, a decoder knife and flat. Unbelievably, all this and more. 

It is very effective despite its small size. I was able to effectively use all the tools on their intended locks without a problem and effectively bypass them or open them. (NOTE: I used the turning tool from my Camp-X toolset for all of my picking and it worked like a charm.)

The tools themselves are well-made and sturdy and the handle is able to take some abuse. It also helps that the Covert Companion is fully modular and able to add various other tools from the Covert Instruments lineup and interchange broken tools if needed. The entire package is about the size of a Bic lighter. This makes it’s easy to carry, unobtrusive and small enough that it doesn’t bother you in anyway. It’s also very low-profile and does not attract any attentions as it looks like a simple key set.  

That being said if you have larger hands (like I do) then you might have to adjust the way you hold it. Even still, the tools are fully functional and though because of their lack of handles may not fully replace full-size tools they still have the same capability and for that I am grateful.

One notable component which is missing is a turning tool. One would think that this was an oversight however the creators specifically left it out as turning tools are more of a subjective item for one to carry that may or may not be useful for the particular application. In their FAQs on their website they speak to the fact that you can provide your own turning tool that will be most useful to you under your circumstances. I found that the tools that they offer on their webpage will very nicely complement the Covert Companion should you need it. That said, turning tools are easily fashioned from other types of items in a field expedient manner. This means that you can use almost anything as a turning tool if you have to resort to using the Covert Companion to gain entry. As a pocket knife-type implement for small or not-so-serious entries this is the perfect addition to your every day carry (EDC).

The designers were able to incorporate not only the best and most useful and commonly used tools into a small package but they were also able to incorporate quality craftsmanship in the process.

The assembly of the Covert Companion is not difficult if you follow the instructional video that was posted by the @LockPickingLawyer

I am very happy with my Covert Companion and find myself using it more often than I would have thought. Most recently I used it to open a service door to gain access to tools. I was not expecting to have to do so however the situation has changed and I happen to have my Covert Companion on me. It performed very well, as expected.

For the money you are paying you are getting an incredible product with a wide variety of tools which can cover an even wider variety of situations. So much capability in such a small package is quite incredible. I have now incorporated the Covert Companion into my every day carry and don’t leave home without it. I look forward to getting a few more of these to add to my various bags and even in my car. Check them out at covertinstruments.com and pick one up for yourself today.

From covertinstruments.com : “For the person who wants to open everything, we present to you the fully loaded Covert Companion. This comprehensive kit includes all the flagship SSF tools at a discounted rate. With 20 tools, this kit offers the most opening potential in the smallest form factor on the market. This kit arrives unassembled.”

Includes:  Includes:

Covert Companion Handle

Handle Expansion Pack

SSF 4 Pick Set .025”

SSF 5 Warded Pick Set

SSF 4 Comb Set

SSF 3 Jiggler Set 

SSF Latch Tool

SSF Knife

SSF Notched Decoder

SSF Utility Flat

Check out all of their products at covertinstruments.com and on Instagram HERE.

-Stay Crafty

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The True North Tradecraft Pandemic Measures Guide

Our new publication for best practices to keep you safe from the pandemic.

We had been working on this publication prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Our e-book on pandemic best-practices will arm you with key information and knowledge to better protect yourself against infection and disease. Check it out on our store HERE and on Amazon.

Stay safe and stay crafty.

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TACCOM 2019

Join us at Canada’s largest tactical and shooting sports show – TACCOM.

Have YOU planned a visit to TACCOM yet? This coming weekend, September 6, 7 & 8, The International Centre on Airport Road will be host to Canada’s largest Tactical and Shooting Sports Show – TACCOM.

Come visit us at Booth # 415 (along with Kennedy Tactical Concepts, the Grey Man Security Conference and, introducing, Maple Syrup Mafia) for a weekend of cutting edge training opportunities, gear, seminars and stage talks. Not to mention the release of the brand new 2nd Edition of our Disaster Preparedness Guide (below) and even get it signed!.

Newly edited, updated and expanded 2nd edition. Get yours at the show!

At the show, you can take advantage of show specials, see amazing vendors and don’t forget to sign up for our seminar, Introduction To Escaping Unlawful Confinement. GET YOUR TICKETS HERE!

Everyone needs a little pew-pew on their weekend. Check out Chimera Firearms Training for an amazing VR experience!

SEE YOU AT THE SHOW!

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Hurricane Preparedness

Plan well. Act early. Be ready. Stay strong.

Hurricane season has arrived. Are you ready?

Every year, millions of people are directly threatened and affected by the annual hurricane season. As unfortunate as it is, the government and aid organizations are not capable of supporting and protecting everyone who is in the path of tropical storms and hurricanes. As that is the case, the responsibility to be prepared for incoming storms becomes yours. Fortunately, government, environmental and weather agencies are able to predict and track tropical storms days and possibly weeks in advance of impact. This allows those in their path to prepare to deal with the enormous power of a hurricane and what it can do. As of this writing, Hurricane Dorian has just been upgraded to a Category 5 and is on track to wreak havoc in the Caribbean and Eastern Gulf.

I’ve included several free preparedness resources at the end of this post for you to review and use towards your disaster preparedness plan.

The devastating impact of a hurricane.

No two people’s situation is the same. Variables such as location, storm intensity, flood planes, geography, population density, transportation routes and government support in the area can play a key role in developing a disaster preparedness plan.

Depending on those variables, you may decide to stay or evacuate after preparing adequately to do so. Especially if you’re in its path.

(Credit: The Weather Channel) Are you in the path of a storm? The clock is ticking.

Having a timeline and trajectory map of an incoming storm can play into the preparedness plan and your timelines (to either start stocking up or packing up to leave). With the right pre-positioned supplies and logistical plan in place, you stand a much higher chance of being able to “weather” the storm (pun intended).

Storms bring with them other issues, such as power outages, flooding and disruption in supply and logistics to an affected area. Hurricanes are a savage combination of extreme weather, flooding, power disruption, and general chaos.

Here is an excerpt from our new Disaster Preparedness Guide to help with your preparations:

If you are in a flood-prone area, pre-position supplies to defend your home with (sand bags, shovels, sand, plastic sheeting, pumps, etc) and check in with your local emergency management office to understand their response plans for your area. Ask them for local maps and plans identifying urban waterways, underground streams and rivers as well as overflow
• Be prepared to evacuate the area and consider keeping several air-tight (such as Nanuk, Pelican, etc.) to store important personal items which you may not be able to take with you and store in the upper levels of your house upon evacuation to ensure their safety.
• Pay attention to local weather reports. If there are flood warnings, stay away from waterways as their volume and speed can be deceptively dangerous and sweep away people, vehicles and even houses (I’ve seen it).
• Stay away from flood-affected areas if possible and be aware that all flood waters are likely contaminated and you should wash & decontaminate yourself and clothing. Wash your hands regularly.
• Consider all your non-bottled water as contaminated. Boil and purify as required. If possible, fill up your bathtub (clean it first) and make yourself a reservoir of water you can access for sterilization and drinking. You can also use a WaterBob to line your tub and contain the clean potable water for later use.

*Excerpt from the 2nd edition of the TNT Disaster Preparedness Guide.
Take action NOW to prepare yourself as best as you can.

See below for more tips. The sooner you start preparing the better chance you’ll have.

Further free resources:

Don’t be caught unprepared. May you and your loved ones stay safe.

-Stay Crafty

For a more generalized disaster preparedness perspective for urban and suburban areas, get yourself a copy of our newly updated Guide, HERE (in paperback and e-book formats).

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2nd Edition: The True North Tradecraft Disaster Preparedness Guide.

Available in Paperback and e-book formats.

It is with great pride and excitement that we announce the release of the Second Edition, newly revised, expanded and updated with more information, more lists, photos and resources to prepare yourself for when disaster strikes.

Now available through the True North Tradecraft Store (in Paperback & PDF formats) and through Amazon in Paperback and Kindle).

If you live in an urban or suburban environment you owe it to yourself to invest some effort in preparing for the unexpected. Get yours today!

Stay safe and stay crafty!

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CTV News Spot – Festival Safety Tips

On Tuesday, June 18th, 2019, I appeared on the CTV Morning Show in Ottawa.

I was asked to comment on the shooting incident the day previous in downtown Toronto during the celebration festivities of the Toronto Raptors’ NBA Championship win. Estimates placed the crowd sizes at 1.5-2 million. It was just huge.

You can view the full clip on YouTube here. (https://youtu.be/0aQZk7VnACM)


You can also read our previous posts on similar topics below:

To learn more, come to one of our workshops, book us for your private event or attend the German Security Conference in Toronto, Oct 18-20, 2019.

Stay tuned for info on upcoming training and follow us on Instagram and Facebook ( @truenorthtradecraft ) for the latest.

Stay Safe & stay crafty!