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Review: RAIDOPS Defense Gear – Fighting Frog & Delta

RAIDOPS is a South Korean company which designs and distributes a variety of personal defence gear, knives and accessories made to very high quality specifications.  A high percentage of their products are made from titanium, enabling a solid product with a low magnetic footprint and low weight.  Their designs are also very practical and low-profile, giving them a minimalistic appearance and also the ability to be carried through many non-permissive environments without undue attention.  

I purchased two personal defence products to try out a little while back – the Delta (one of several designs) and the Fighting Frog.  They arrived very quickly direct from South Korea to Toronto and came as below.  

(Quarter for scale)

RAIDOPS Delta and Fighting Frog

Upon taking each one out of their small boxes, I was surprised at how light they were.  The titanium was indeed very light and very strong.  The small ball-chain they came with felt heavier than the items themselves.

After handling each one, I was also very happy with the ergonomics.  Both were very comfortable to hold and use.  

They are intended to be used as impact weapons.  Held between the index and middle fingers of a closed fist to facilitate acute damage to an assailant (See below).

Fighting Frog impact weapon, in-grip.

Small, light, but VERY sturdy.  And no pain when hitting a tree, so a person should be just fine.  By the way, it took some chunks out of the tree (I didn’t have my phone for pics at the time – sorry!) so I can only imagine what it could do to a person.

Small yet strong.

Though their prices may be a bit steep ($48 USD for the Fighting Frog and $40 USD for the Delta) it isn’t too out of line with similar weight titanium products.

You can even double them and jewelry in non-permissive environments and you’ll still have an accessible impact weapon if needed.  Here I am wearing it overtop my Triple Aught Design Tradecraft Shirt for a better view.

The Delta as jewelry.

Again, lightweight, low-profile and easily worn in more non-permissive environments.  No issues to wear in a Canadian context, as at that point, it’s a fashion statement.

One thing I may look at, is the collection of RAIDOPS finger spinners.  This is essentially a fidget toy that is made of titanium but doubles as an impact weapon.  Here is an example.  Though somewhat pricey ($110 USD) I may consider getting one.  

At the end of the day, the strength, low weight, comfortable ergonomics and durability of the Delta and Fighting Frog make them effective and reliable.  I recommend checking them out.

Stay Safe.  Stay Crafty.

 

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Review: The BAT Coin by Covert Products Group

A while back I came across a Kickstarter campaign for the BAT (Bring Anywhere Tool) Coin from Covert Products Group.  https://www.covertproductsgroup.com  They were just starting off about a year about and when I read through the campaign details, I was intrigued.  They had designed a “10-in-1” tool that was small, lightweight, inexpensive, useful and capable of carriage through airports and other non-permissive environments.  So I supported the campaign, if for no other reason to see if what they had designed was worth having.

Having recently received my lot of coins, I began to carry and test them. I am pretty impressed with this little guy.  BATs go for about $25 USD each on the CPG website and I also received a sticker and morale patch along with it.  Fast shipping.  Nothing to complain about.

CPG BAT Coin packaging.
The BAT Coin. (Bring Anywhere Tool)

From their website, here are the BAT Coin features:

 

  • 1) Modified Phillips head screwdriver with three prongs so the BAT lays flat in your pocket
  • 2) Safe, semi-sharp captured edge for opening boxes
  • 3) Scribe point or hole punch
  • 4) Small-gauge wire stripper
  • 5) Fire-steel scraper (use it with any ferro rod survival fire starter, Swedish firesteel or similar item)
  • 6) Flat head screwdriver
  • 7) Serrated fire-steel scraper (throws sparks well)
  • 8) 3M SOLAS reflective sticker you can attach to the back for emergency signaling, or leave if off for stealth carry
  • 9) Friction saw that can cut through zip ties or cordage without cutting you
  • 10) Bottle opener  

 

Features of the BAT (Bring-Anywhere-Tool) Coin from Covert Products Group. A nice little addition to your EDC.

(Picture from https://www.covertproductsgroup.com/products/b-a-t-coin-bring-anywhere-tool )

I look at it as a minimalist, last-ditch or tertiary backup to my regular Every Day Carry (EDC) but because it is both innocuous and concealable, not to mention relatively effective, I am happy to have and carry it.

The BAT Coin came with it’s little case, SOLAS sticker inside, CPG sticker and morale patch. (Quarter for scale.)

For something so small, I’d thought maybe they’re reaching a bit, however, upon using it here and there, though it may not be an equivalent to a full-sized tool times ten, it does manage to do each job fairly well, especially in a pinch.  I would recommend, as CPG does, to use something like a key ring to give you extra leverage to open bottle caps as the diminutive size of the BAT makes it hard to get enough leverage.

The BAT is made out of stainless steel and has a nice finish to it.  It is small, lies flat and is about the size of a Canadian twoonie (The Canadian $2 coin for those of you who don’t know).  As it is smaller than any other tool and is not intrinsically disallowed, both CATSA and the TSA allow it with you through security at airports.  

I’d recommend the BAT Coin to anyone who would like to have a little something to add to their EDC that will add some functionality without bulk and the added bonus of being as inconspicuous as loose change.  I will also keep an eye on CPG for future product developments and releases.

Stay Safe.  Stay Crafty.

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Thoughts on Personal Resiliency

re·sil·ience

rəˈzilyəns/

noun

  1. the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.
  2. the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.

As we go through life we face challenges.  Some benign and yet some are scarring and life-altering.  Either way, it isn’t always the WHAT which defines us as people, but rather the HOW we deal with those events that define us.  These are usually things we suffer through, in whatever way.  As unfortunate as it is, we learn most through suffering.  Through heartbreak, loss, pain, catastrophe – overcoming and surviving those events teach us something about life and about ourselves.  For every bruised knee we endured falling off our bikes as kids, we became tougher, stronger, better at falling and bouncing back to deal with bigger and worse things.  This mental posture developed through various trials is what builds our resilience in life.  It is for these reasons that the Military, for instance, trains its people so hard, pushed them to physical and mental extremes – so that when the day comes to face something truly terrible, they will be better prepared, more resilient, to meet the challenge and survive. I have translated this concept into a personal philosophy.  I try to make myself uncomfortable, to try new things, challenge myself, and fail trying, just to learn from those experiences and to build that level of resilience in myself.  It’s also about being prepared.  Not for the Zombie Apocalypse per se, but for an event that may threaten you.  Small habits, tools, preparations and knowledge properly put into use before something bad happens can mean the difference between an inconvenience and something serious.  Seeing that guy on the corner eyeing you can give you the tip-off that he means you harm.  That second or two may give you the edge. I am always learning, always challenging myself to be better and always looking for ways to improve.  

Don’t wait for something to happen to you to start getting tough, start now, so when it does happen, you can fight back with all you’ve got and have a better chance of coming out on top. It is for this reason I started True North Tradecraft.  

Tradecraft, as defined by Wikipedia:  Tradecraft, within the intelligence community, refers to the techniques, methods and technologies used in modern espionage (spying) and generally, as part of the activity of intelligence.

So, skills used by spies, agents, soldiers, operatives and their vast knowledge is advantageous to us all.  These people are trained and paid to put themselves in dangerous positions and survive.  They have developed strategies to keep themselves alive through tradecraft, through these skills.  If they can use it to be safer and more resilient in their day-to-day lives, why can’t you?  

Years ago I had an epiphany, where I realized I was far from the level that I wanted to be.  I wasn’t prepared to defend myself from true aggression to the level I wanted, and certainly unable to bring to bear force against someone who would threaten me or my family.  I was also suffering from a lack of real skills.  Skills and training which would genuinely prepare me to be better than I was.  I have poured much time and effort into correcting that.  I believe anyone can improve with guidance, drive and the will towards change.

True North Tradecraft was envisioned to bring such techniques, strategies, knowledge and support to a wider audience from a Canadian perspective.  I have found through my personal encounters with members of both the Public and Government that overwhelmingly, the masses are apathetic in living in the bucolic lives supported by governmental systems.  Relying on others for your safety and security is folly.   Taking responsibility for yourself is the first step in resilience.  Too often such resources are framed within an American context.  This is not, in itself, a bad thing, however I have yet to read an EDC blog or book, or have a conversation where a firearm is not included.  As great as it would be in some cases, guns are a non-starter here in the Great White North.  So, as it is a less-permissive environment, other avenues for personal security and preparedness must be explored.  Just because you don’t have a gun doesn’t mean you can’t be safe, or dangerous, or both.  You just need the right knowledge, training and mindset.

If you value your personal security, safety and well-being, I look forward to helping you grow, as I have, into a more resilient person, better prepared for threats and hazards and living a life in-tune with your environment. And that too will come.

Stay Safe.  Stay Crafty.

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Situational Awareness: A Primer


I have strong feelings about this topic. Too often do I see people do careless and dangerous things simply because they weren’t paying attention. Many accidents and attacks on people are largely avoidable through attuned situational awareness.

So what is it? Situational Awareness (SA), is described in Wikipedia thusly:

“…the perception of environmental elements and events with respect to time or space, the comprehension of their meaning, and the projection of their status after some variable has changed, such as time, or some other variable, such as a predetermined event. It is also…concerned with understanding of the environment critical to decision-makers in complex, dynamic areas from aviation, air traffic control, ship navigation, power plant operations, military command and control, and emergency services such as firefighting and policing; to more ordinary but nevertheless complex tasks such as driving an automobile or riding a bicycle.
Situation awareness involves being aware of what is happening in the vicinity to understand how information, events, and one’s own actions will impact goals and objectives, both immediately and in the near future. One with an adept sense of situation awareness generally has a high degree of knowledge with respect to inputs and outputs of a system, an innate “feel” for situations, people, and events that play out because of variables the subject can control. Lacking or inadequate situation awareness has been identified as one of the primary factors in accidents attributed to human error.[1] Thus, situational awareness is especially important in work domains where the information flow can be quite high and poor decisions may lead to serious consequences (such as piloting an airplane, functioning as a soldier, or treating critically ill or injured patients).”

The above describes the what of SA well however, only a small percentage of the population actively uses SA in their day-to-day lives. How often do you see this:

…or this?

These people are completely oblivious to their surroundings, the prevailing environment they are in and cannot identify or comprehend threats or hazards which they may be stepping into. No decisions can be made because no information is being collected by their senses beyond that of the screen in front of them. They are unaware of their environment and clueless about any hazards that may threaten them. This is not where you want to be.

Situational awareness is a key component to successful preparation and survival. In whatever environment you may find yourself, be it the wilds of the world or any concrete jungle, being aware of what is going on around you is important.  For instance, if you are on a hiking trip, paying attention to weather patterns can determine if you set up camp prior to a weather front coming in, or being caught in a deluge. Alternately, by being unaware of danger signals on the streets of a city, you may find yourself in a position to be attacked whereas if you had picked-up on the subtle signs around you, you stand a better chance of taking steps to avoid a dangerous situation.

The environment around you produces a vast amount of stimuli which most people ignore as “background noise”. Sounds, weather, social interactions, architecture, temperature, motion, colour, patterns – all produce data for us to interpret. A great deal of this is ignored as our brains rarely fixate on things that are “routine”, until they are not.

Survival strategies are transferrable across environments. Urban or rural. Around your home or overseas. Taking a vigilant and keen interest in the goings-on around you will give you an edge in dangerous situation by providing you with valuable information with which to make choices for action (or inaction) which will hopefully keep you alive or unharmed.

Situational awareness is a way of being. When driving, you should constantly be checking your side and rear-view mirrors to be aware of the vehicles around you, plan lane changes due to signs, adjusting your driving appropriately for the road conditions, and anticipating other driver’s actions to ensure you avoid collisions. Most of the time, this is done on a semi-sub-conscious level. If you have been driving a while, you won’t be talking to yourself about looking at your mirrors, much like a brand-new driver who is still nervous and tense about the whole thing.

The same applies when you leave your home, be it in the city or in the outdoors. In the outdoors, do you catch the silence on the path? Why did the birds stop chirping? Are there branches snapping off the trail? What’s that smell? Am I looking at the path for potential hazards or obstacles as well at the trail ahead? In the city the same thought process should run in the background. This is a dark part of the street…is there anyone in that dark doorway? I’ve seen that car a few times today…coincidence? That guy has been behind me for a while now…is he following me? (In a parking lot alone at night…) Are those guys really fixing a flat tire?

I’m not trying to spread paranoia as most of the time those questions will only highlight innocuous situations. BUT, for the small percentage of the time where real danger may be involved, having foreknowledge of that danger can give you the opportunity to act.

The best way to win a fight is to not get into one in the first place. That’s what one of my old martial arts instructors used to tell me. It’s good common sense when you’re not looking for trouble.

At the end of the day, being aware of your surroundings and environment is a critical piece of the survival toolkit. If you practice it often and across all situations in which you find yourself you will get much better at it until it becomes a reflex which goes on in the background.

Some good resources to learn more about this include Gavin de Becker’s book The Gift of Fear, Left of Bang, by Patrick Van Horne & Jason A. Riley and Meditations On Violence by Rory Miller. There are so many other good places to start, but these won’t steer you wrong.

Stay Safe. Stay Crafty, and for the love of Pete, put down your phone and drive.

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Hello, and welcome to True North Tradecraft.

Welcome to True North Tradecraft, your Canadian destination for Tradecraft, security, preparedness and survival topics.

At True North Tradecraft, we are committed to providing education and support towards building your skill-sets and knowledge in the areas of personal security and tradecraft, all with a Canadian perspective.  We’ll build capacity, skills and knowledge together.  We’ll post reviews on products, gear and training.  Anything we come across to boost your knowledge and provide direction towards a resilient lifestyle.

In these uncertain times, the more you know the better.

Keep checking back with us regularly for new posts.

Also, feel free to check out our partner site, Tactical Beaver.  Buy a shirt.  Or a hat.  Or both.  You’ll be happy you did.

Stay safe, stay crafty.