Gear Watch: Late March 2014

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Gear Watch: Late March 2014

This Gear Watch is all about new arrivals – we’ll be looking at two new flashlights and one new knife.


Shark Attack

I recently got an email from one of the best flashlight makers on the planet, Enrique Muyshondt. He wanted to let me know that his 1xAAA light, the Mako, was making one final appearance via a special run organized through Unique Titanium. This light, Muyshondt’s wonderful two-stage twisty, will come in two finishes: a matte finish and a polished finish. Like other Muyshondt offerings, the light will run only on a primary cell, meaning there the Mako won’t be pushing out triple digit lumens. This is because the Mako is designed to be a backup light. There are few lights better than a Muyshondt in that role. Through a process that I am convinced is a combination of electrical engineering and thaumaturgy, he’s able to get truly insane runtimes out of the Mako. The light’s body has both anti-roll and tailstanding capabilities. Additionally, it has a built-in tritium locator. The Mako will run forever, be easy to use, and take a beating. What else do you need in a keychain or pocket backup? If you missed the first run of Makos or the last run of the Nautilus/Aeons, be aware that Muyshondt is slowing down his production. I am always worried that his next light will be his last, so don’t miss this one.

Big Burch

If you have even a passing familiarity with custom knives you know that Michael Burch is a huge name in the industry. Additionally, if you have watched the market over the past five years you know that the number of “free agent” custom makers has shrunk quickly. It used to be that only a handful of makers did production knife collabs, but as the market has grown and the appetite for custom designs have swelled, fewer and fewer truly top-shelf makers remained unsigned. Michael Burch was notable because he was exactly the kind of maker you’d think would have been signed already but he wasn’t. Rumors have been floating around the Internet for about two years now that he was in talks with Spyderco, and recently those rumors were confirmed with a Taichung Taiwan-made version of his “Chubby” folder. But if you want a production-priced Burch flipper, Boker has you covered.


In late February, Burch and Boker released pictures of the Impetus – the first collab-production knife Burch has done. It’s a beast of a blade, with 3.25 inch blade, but a 7.44 ounce weight. Using Burch’s design language, the Impetus has a curvy, organic blade shape that ride the line between an extreme drop point and a sheepsfoot blade. It deploys via a thick and wide flipper, and has a bolstered handle. All in all, this collab looks like it checks off all the boxes Burch fans have. The steel is 440c, which can be done very well, and the blade locks up via a liner lock. Although the knife is not as exotic as a custom Burch, that’s to be expected with a production collaboration.

The knife world has been changing its opinion of Boker collaborations over the last eighteen months. Before, their craftsmanship and design were questioned, but since the release of the Curtiss Nano (purchase) collaboration, they’ve become more well-received. The ever-critical knife world has been generally pleased with the quality of these high end production collaborations, so let’s hope the Burch continues that momentum.

Gemini Emitters

As is often the case, the custom flashlight market gave rise to innovation that has, slowly but surely, filtered down to the production world. The Cool Fall Spy Tri-V is the most expensive, non-bespoke light on the planet, coming in well over $2,000. One of the coolest features of the Tri-V is the fact that it has multiple emitters on the same light, each designed to handle a different task. Instead of throwing up a series of small LEDs, the Tri-V used one emitter with a reflector for throw and another emitter for flood. This arrangement allowed for the selection of very nice emitter and greatly simplified internal electronics.

Fenix, a long time pioneer in the world of production lights, has released a light, the TK51, with a dual emitter configuration.

The twin emitters handle different tasks and have different reflectors. The flood (or wide-area lighting) emitter has a much smaller reflector as it needs less focus to its beam. The throw (or distance lighting) emitter has a positively massive reflector. Finally, like the Tri-V before it, the TK51 has the ability to control each emitter separately. Add to this the incredible output on the TK51 and the light appears both very innovative and very competitive on the market. The key for this light is the UI. Lots of manufacturers have difficulty making easy to use UIs for lights with just one emitter. A second emitter would make this most difficult aspect of flashlight design, even harder. For now, the twin emitter array is limited to larger lights – lights that aren’t really EDC capable. It will interesting to see how this technology is adapted to EDC lights.

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