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Tactikey Review

Low-pro force multiplier.

I recently discovered a new self-defence product – Tactikey.

Tactikey is an upgrade on an old-school, low-tech means of self-defence.  The old “punch them with your keys” technique, except with some modern upgrades.

The product itself is a small (1 x 1.75 x 0.5 in), lightweight (6.5 g) and strong (TPE 110 Composite material) designed to ergonomically accept a standard Kwikset house key and give it a platform to use as an impact weapon.  This design is helpful in reducing injury to the defender’s hand while allowing the transference of force through the key point to the assailant’s soft tissues.

Tactikey in it’s packaging (front).
Tactikey packaging (back).

The combination of supporting grip and solid metal point is surprisingly effective and protects the user from injury well, unlike an un-shrouded key being used for the same thing.

Low-pro force multiplier.

When I received my package of a few Tactikeys and was caught by several positive things:

  • VERY light
  • VERY small
  • VERY easy to add to your key ring
  • Usable in non-permissive environments and will likely not raise any red flags if inspected by authorities
  • Allow the key to be used for it’s intended function AND as a self-defence implement and;
  • Comes in your choice of Blaze Orange, Hot Pink or Carbon Black.
  • Inexpensive (as of this writing – going for $9.99 ea with free US Shipping)
  • Full details from website available here.

Along with the personalized note from them, I immediately equipped my Tactikey and went to work playing around with it.

I found that holding it was comfortable.  The finish on the grip was soft and smooth but didn’t slip.

Ergonomic and secure grip.
Fits well into the hand.

It intuitively holds well between the fingers and stays solid when striking.

Pointy, ouchy and very solidly held.

I had access to a building site where walls were being replaced and took a few jabs at drywall and lathe & plaster.  The results were good (see below).

Drywall – before.

I was able to make holes in both mediums without pain or injury to my hand.  The regular (un-sharpened key) penetrated both types of walls with relative ease making me feel confident that it could cause trauma to soft tissue on a hostile human target.

Through drywall with first strike.
Repeated strikes had no issue with penetration.

As it is a simple piece of plastic, Tactikey can go anywhere a set of keys can go and will always be ready as an added force multiplier if you should need it.  I have added this to my Every Day Carry (EDC) as it is useful, lightweight, practical and effective.  Along with the other items I carry, I feel it is a wise investment and doesn’t add bulk of weight to your setup.

Although I haven’t had the opportunity to hit a person with it at this point, I’ll be sure to update this post with those results, should they occur.  That said, punching holes in drywall happened very easily and I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of a hit with one of these.

Tactikey also has a fantastic return policy on it’s product (from their website):

“30 Day 110% Return Policy – Purchase with Confidence.
We at Tactikey work tirelessly to develop the world’s most unique and efficient EDC products that will help you achieve well-being and safety. We believe in our products so much that we stand behind them with a no hassle, no questions asked, satisfaction guarantee 110% return policy. If you purchase any Tactikey product on our website and you are not satisfied, return it within 30 days for a 110% refund. The guarantee is applicable to all purchases made from only and does not cover Tacktikey retailers. Retail purchases will be handled by the particular retail store’s return policy. That is our commitment at Tactikey to you our customers.”

Instructions on the use of Tactikey can also be found on their website here.

The one and only downside with Tactikey is that it is only compatible with Kwikset key blanks at the moment.  If your house key or other keys on your ring are not of this kind, they may not fit properly.  That said, Tactikey is working on different formats for several other major key manufacturers (like Schlage and Yale) and customers will be able to choose which works for them.  In the grand scheme, this isn’t a big deal.  They will come out with others soon and, really, I’d sooner have a dedicated defensive key (a blank, sharpened) than my primary house key.  If you do hit something or someone and bend it, you may have issues using your key after.  Not to mention if you lose it in a fight, buddy will have your house key.  I’d sooner have a non-key.  I used an old, out of commission Kwikset key I had laying around for my test & carry key to ensure that doesn’t happen.  I will pick up a Kwikset blank and sharpen it with a file for primary EDC use in the coming days to ensure I have it the way I want it.  You can pick up a Kwikset blank from anywhere that cuts keys (Home Depot, local hardware stores, shoe repair places, etc) and just ask them for one.  Again, not a big deal right now as you’re best off to go with a dedicated key or key blank for this particular use.

Have a look at their website, check them out on social media and feel free to pick one up for yourself and maybe some family members.  For the money, I thinks it’s a great deal and you get something solid and useful.  I really like it and I bet you will too.

Till next time, stay safe and stay crafty.

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Delta 2 Alpha – The Accent Series

The Accent Series.

By Delta 2 Alpha Design

The Accent Series. Delta 2 Alpha Design.

A little while ago I received a mail call containing a sample of the Accent Series from Delta2Alpha Design.  To read my review of the previous generation of tools, go here.

Happiness in a parcel!

The Accent Series is their newest offering of upgraded versions of The MARK, The LOLLY and The MiK.

The MARK, in colours…

The new tools are delivered in three colours (crimson, blaze orange or day-glow green), clad in a robust carbon fibre skin.

Durable polymer clad in carbon fibre.

They are all incredibly versatile and even more durable than their previous versions.  I found the carbon fibre skin to be more resistant to scratches and abrasions than the earlier version of polymer tools.

The Lolly – polymer last-ditch tool. Earlier version.
Accent version of the Lolly.
I have used the Lolly for opening paint cans when I find myself without a screwdriver. It’s handy to carry in my 5th jeans pocket.

On a recent visit to Ottawa, I found myself in a Tim Hortons for a morning coffee.  The floor was covered in melt and slushy runoff from the recent snow.  Thankfully, I had my Accent Series MARK in my bag (perfect for non-permissive environments like government buildings) and ensured my bag and its contents were well out of he muck.

No dirty, wet Tim Hortons floor for me and my stuff!

The MiK can be used as the MARK can, but with smaller applications.  I do like how it can hold up your phone, hang your bag (or purse) or coat – perfect for bathrooms.  It can also easily fit into the fifth pocket of your jeans for concealment and easy access.

The MiK. Small but sturdy.


From the Delta 2 Alpha website:

TheMARK: Offers a convenient way to keep your jacket or bag off of the floor bathrooms when traveling (or everyday life) when there isn’t a hook. It can also be used as a tablet stand.

TheMiK Fits conveniently on your keys, and is used a hands free way to prop up your phone. This comes in handy whether you are trying to do a video chat, or just kill sometime watching cat videos (No Judgement).

TheLolly: Can go right next to TheMiK on your keychain. TheLolly is a light duty pocket scraper, and prybar. It has be referred to as a “Fingernail Saver”. It also offers a ¼” bit driver and the key ring slot can be used to drive the Leatherman multi-tool brand bits.

*Each package includes one (1) of TheMARKTheMiK, and TheLolly; They are sold as matched sets*

All things considered, I feel that Delta 2 Alpha scored a big win with improving an already-sturdy and reliable design with their Accent Series of polymer tools.  I’m very happy with them and equip myself with at least one on a daily basis as they are lightweight, practical and come in handy in a variety of ways.

You can order yours here on their website.

Till next time, stay crafty.

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Kennedy Tactical Concepts – Masterclass Pt. 2

(*all images courtesy of Kennedy Tactical Concepts – I had my hands full) (*for more information on KTC and training, click here).

This is part 2 in a series documenting my involvement in the Kennedy Tactical Concepts Masterclass.  Part 1 is available here.

Session 2 with TJ was on Wednesday July 26th at the Night Owl on College St., Toronto. (The usual spot).

Again, the environment was pleasantly realistic as we headed to the basement level of the Night Owl.  We even had a band setting up while going through the techniques.

This week’s topics of practice were as follows:

  1. Combative Control Positions/positioning;
  2. Combative Control Transitions and;
  3. Takedowns (in combination with #1 & 2).

As with the previous format, TJ began with introductions, an overview of what we would be covering for the night, a warm-up, and then we got right into it.

The realistic environment makes for a better appreciation of the realities you would be facing.  A bar, stools, a stage, musical instruments, concrete walls and of course, a dirty cement floor.  Though the Combative Control Positions and Transitions were not striking per se, they were very dependent on speed, agility and technique.  After an hour of practicing and building upon each technique, we moved on to takedowns.

Starting slowly at first, we quickly moved to full-speed with follow-throughs.  The result was fluid takedowns with a high degree of comfort in executing the movements.  We also worked on improvising all the techniques of the night against larger and smaller opponents as we were all of differing heights.

Of course, I was sporting my awesome shirt from Yes, you should Fear The Beaver.

Solid training.  The next day I was sore as hell, but at least I wasn’t bleeding on a bar floor.  I’ll be at the next one.  Stay tuned and Stay Crafty.

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Kennedy Tactical Concepts – Masterclass Pt. 1


I want to talk about a new option for Canadians in the Greater Toronto Area (and sometimes abroad).

Kennedy Tactical Concepts is a newly opened self-defence school operated in Toronto by TJ Kennedy.  TJ has spent years honing his craft in real-world environments, training and working around the globe.  Read more about him here. TJ is an invested and knowledgeable instructor who is not only humble and down-to-earth, but pays attention to his students’ learning needs.

I first met TJ during his first drop-in Masterclass at The Night Owl bar on College Street in Toronto.  I figured that it was both local and very reasonably priced for a few hours of instruction.  About five minutes in, I knew I’d made the right investment.

TJ showing us the moves. Very solid.

We immediately began working in the alley behind the bar.  Very real-world with everything we were doing.  After a while, we moved down to the basement of the bar and kept going.  We worked on:

  • Clinch tactics from elbow & collar tie;
  • takedowns from a clinch…all from his Urban Defensive Tactics program;
  • some prone controls and rollovers from or Urban Force Options program.

This may seem like a short list, but for a few hours in an alley and bar basement, I was worked through.  All solid techniques well-instructed and executed.  No mats, just asphalt and barroom floor.  Effective and reality-based.  We also discussed the context of these techniques in self-defence in Canada and specifically in Ontario respecting self-defence and the use-of-force by security and bouncers.  An important point of his philosophy to note is that they do not advocate violence or seeking conflict, but rather giving you the tools to identify, avoid and prepare for threats should you encounter them.

Me working the joints.

One thing I did catch as we discussed and practiced throwing each other around on a dirty floor was that this was NOT a traditional take on martial arts.  This was simple, effective and hard-hitting self-defence based on real-world applications from such as Rory Miller and others.

Kennedy Tactical Concepts offers the Masterclass (once a month over several months) and a Instructor Certification Course as well.  Both worthy investments of time and money.

As I left the evening sore and exhausted, I felt good about having met TJ and did some training.  I felt good about his knowledge and skill, his high degree of professionalism and of course, he’s Canadian.

TJ, second from the right, and friends. Good times.

If you’re looking for something outside of a McDojo where you pay for your next belt and jump through hoops, check out Kennedy Tactical Concepts and add some real-world techniques to your arsenal.  Be prepared.

Stay safe.  Stay crafty.

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The Importance of Building Skills Over Relying on Gear

Knowing the principles allows you to improvise.

When it comes to new gear, we all feel the burn in our wallets to get our hands on the latest and greatest.  And of course, if it’s improved over the previous version, it must be better, right?

So tacticool, and new. It MUST be better. With all this stuff, I’ll be unstoppable.

Not always.

Though a newer version of something may come out, it’s not so much the gear itself that makes you better, it’s the skill you have using it that makes all the difference.  If you have a strong grasp of the fundamentals, practice regularly and have reliable equipment, then you’ll be good in spite of the quality of gear.  If, however, you have no training and rely exclusively on your equipment to get you through, you’ll be in a world of hurt as soon as something doesn’t go perfectly.

Kevin Reeve from On Point Tactical.

This is why Training Trumps Gear!  When I attended the Urban Escape & Evasion course with Kevin Reeve from OnPoint Tactical, he hammered that saying into our heads several times an hour ad nauseum.  But he had a point.  If your marksmanship principles are weak, the shiniest new gun isn’t going to make you a better shot.  If you don’t understand the principles of lock picking, you won’t be able to improvise a rake from a paperclip when your fancy one breaks.

For the record, if you were to attend our offering of Covert Entry Concepts, you would learn the principles and improvisation.

The same applies to a survival situation in both urban and wilderness environments.  Also in martial arts.  Body mechanics and physics don’t change.  The principles remain constant, only the application of those principles change to address the situation.  Knowing the principles of a wrist lock is key as it can be adapted to countless applications, rather than a particular technique.

Wrist locks, for example, are all a variation on a theme. If you know the basic principle, you can apply it in so many ways.

Though if you’re investing in gear, it’s always a wise investment to buy the highest quality that you can afford.  It’s an investment in reliability.  But all things being equal, invest in solid training.  The more you know, the less you carry.  And that’s because Training Trumps Gear!  In almost every episode of MacGyver, Burn Notice or The A Team, the protagonists get through the tough times because they’re well trained and can improvise and adapt to changing conditions.  Yes, I know they’re TV and not real, but they illustrate the point well.

MacGyver, the ultimate fictitious improviser.

Well-trained individuals are more “literate” in the field, able to draw on various experiences and tricks, if you will, and be more “conversant” in a difficult situation.  Just as if you are in an unknown social situation, being better read or travelled gives you a wider spectrum of social currency than only knowing about one thing.

Understanding the principles and basics is the foundation of excellence in more advanced skills.

To that point, being trainable, humble, curious and committed to lifelong and learning are important predispositions to embrace towards building skills and knowledge that will enable you to not only use gear to it’s maximum potential, but also to improvise in adverse times because you’re fluent in the basic principles.

Know a little about a lot.

Invest in quality training, keep an open mind and always keep learning.  If there is something you want to get better at or learn to do, invest in learning it.  Anyone can buy the next newest shiny toy that promises to solve all your problems, but you can develop skills that will make your mind the equipment and the “tool” just that – an extension of you.

Stay focused, stay motivated and don’t give up.  You can do it.

Stay Crafty,


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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.