Everyday Carry

The Best New Gear from SHOT Show 2019

Authored by:
Bernard Capulong
The Best New Gear from SHOT Show 2019

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It's the start of the new year and an exciting time for gear enthusiasts. That's because the biggest names in the EDC industry are starting to reveal what's to come in 2019. It happened this past week at this year's SHOT Show, the largest annual trade show for the tactical, hunting, and outdoor industries. We made a quick trip out to the show to focus on new, EDC-specific releases from your favorite brands. In this round-up, we'll be showcasing a few of the standouts from each gear category. Check out some of our favorites from the latest and greatest knives, multi-tools, flashlights, and more from SHOT Show 2019.

Best Multi-tool: Leatherman Free Series

I know what you're thinking: that's a Leatherman?! It came as a big surprise to me, too. Leatherman underwent a huge overhaul with their new Free series, a set of multi-functional tools and knives over 5 years in the making. They look unlike the Leatherman tools you might've been EDCing for a decade or two—they're fresh, modern, and admittedly unfamiliar at first. But once you start to handle the tools, it feels decidedly like a Leatherman, but evolved. The Free series includes two pliers-based tools reminiscent of a Wave, the P2 and P4 (top right and middle). Then there's the T2 and T4 (left and bottom), which lack the butterfly-style design but keep handy EDC implements. Last are the knife-based tools similar to the Crater series in the K2 and K4, featuring a dedicated folding blade with a few flip-out tools built into the handle itself.

To give you an idea of the major improvements found in these tools, let's talk about the P4. First, the two handles are held closed by magnets. Once you break that magnetic force, the handles swing smoothly and freely, giving it a balisong-type deployment. The deployment on the rest of the implements has been improved significantly as well—no fingernails needed! You can easily deploy the new tools by rolling your thumb along a catch, which cascades them out for you to select. The locks are intuitive, your fingers don't get in the way of the knife when closing, the pliers never wear out or loosen over time, and so on.

This series marks an exciting display of innovation from Leatherman, a company who could have rested on their laurels and heritage but didn't. Now, they're blazing a frontier for the next generation of multi-tools. Stay tuned for more of the Free series later this spring.

Best New EDC Knife: SOG Terminus XR G10 Crimson

When it comes to best bang-for-your-buck EDC knives, SOG used to be part of the conversation with their overtly tactical-looking Flash and more subdued Twitch knives. Both of which were assisted knives however, which was a dealbreaker for a lot of EDCers. The rest of SOG's knife lineup skewed towards the tactical side of things anyway, which was another issue for EDCers looking for a more conservative knife. With the Terminus XR G10, SOG has earned their spot back in the conversation for best all-around EDC knife in its class and price range.

SOG debuted the original Terminus as a two-handed slipjoint, and later released a premium carbon fiber version sporting SOG's new ambidextrous XR lock. It bears resemblance to another popular ambidextrous lock mechanism and from my brief time handling the knife works just as well. The newest Terminus XR now comes in a lightweight, rugged G10 in green and my personal favorite, Crimson. The G10 variant also brings the price down from the carbon fiber version down to an MSRP of $55.95 while offering improved grip and overall durability, which is why I think it'll be the better pick for most EDCers. The blade pairs its utilitarian geometry with a corrosion-resistant, high-hardness Carpenter CTS BDZ1 steel so you can really put it to hard use. Last but certainly not least, it's worth mentioning the Terminus XR G10 can be deployed quickly and easily three different ways! You can do it by flicking the thumbstud, flipping a rear flipper tab, or disengaging the XR lock and whipping the blade out that way too. Overall, the Terminus XR looks like a solid knife for the price with a utilitarian form, showcasing some tasteful restraint in SOG's usual tactical design language.

Check It Out (CF Version)

Best Knife Design: Kershaw 5500 Collateral

If there's one thing Kershaw does best, it's bringing high-end design to more affordably priced knives. Their new 2019 line-up is full of unique designs, with everything from tiny autos to gent's knives to karambits and stilettos. I especially appreciated seeing hallmark features from designers tapped for Zero Tolerance knives making their way to more accessible Kershaw knives. In 2017, the ZT 0055 turned heads with its spring-loaded flipper tab and futuristic lines from Gus T Cecchini of GTC Knives. The upcoming 5500 Collateral will debut with that spring-loaded tab, along with more futuristic contours and carbon accents to do its 3.25" clip point blade justice.

Check It Out

Best Overall Bag: 5.11 Tactical LV Series

It's fair to say we're seeing more and more discreet tactical bags, which I think is a win-win. You get tactical features and performance if you need them without drawing unwanted attention from an overly aggressive-looking design. 5.11 Tactical has taken this approach in a few of their earlier bags like the COVRT and DART, but their new LV (Low Vis) takes things to the next level. The collection is composed of a range of bags depending on the format and capacity you need: a backpack, smaller cross-body/waist bag, messenger-sized sling, and more. I especially liked the LV18 backpack (pictured above) and the LV6 waist bag (anchored to the bottom of the LV18). 

The LV series' design language emphasizes privacy and discretion inside and out. For example, the backpack's main compartment is accessible from the back of the bag so only you can see its contents. Even the tiny logo tabs throughout the bag can be tucked away into a hidden compartment for a truly minimal look. Best of all, these bags still feature robust internal organization and modularity you'd expect from 5.11 Tactical -- you just won't be able to see it all from the outside. The LV6 comes as a welcome option for EDCers who prefer the ease of access and smaller footprint of cross-body bags heading into 2019 too. It's more capable than most minimalist cross-body bags, complete with CCW compatibility as well. 

Check It Out

Best New EDC Flashlight: Streamlight Protac 90

There weren't too many EDC-focused flashlights for civilians at the show this year, but that isn't to say Streamlight's new right-angled light isn't worthy of some praise. Right angled lights open up tons of new use cases as a work or tasklight with their ability to flex between flashlight duty or as a hands-free option. Pair that versatility with Streamlight's practically bombproof construction and you've got a light on your hands (or shirt pocket, or bag strap) that can handle anything you throw at it. It's conveniently sized to accommodate both CR123 batteries and AA-sized cells too, while maxing out at 300 lumens on its High mode.

Check It Out

Most Innovative Flashlight: Nitecore TUP

Nitecore was never a brand to shy away from experimentation, pushing the limits on both ends of the spectrum with insanely bright yet tiny keychain lights like the TIP and TINI, and even more insanely bright yet somehow fairly tiny searchlights like the Tiny Monster series and Concept 2. The TUP is sort of a mash-up of those boxy searchlight proportions and high output with the portability and high-tech features of Nitecore's keychain lights. It reaches a 1000 lumen max output and sports a unique OLED screen to display the light's "vitals" all in a form factor that fits in your palm and on your keychain.

Check It Out

Stay tuned next week for more of our favorite gear we saw at SHOT Show 2019!

Bernard Capulong

Founder and Editor-in-Chief

About the Author
Bernard Capulong is an everyday carry (EDC) gear expert, entrepreneur, all-around nerd, and the founder and editor-in-chief of EverydayCarry.com—the largest online community for EDC gear enthusiasts. Since founding Everyday Carry in 2009, he’s built over a decade of experience in the industry, reviewing and highlighting brands and products, including pocket knives, flashlights, wallets, watches, bags, pens, and much more.

Bernard is known for bringing everyday carry out of obscurity and into the mainstream, having been published or featured in various publications such as GQ, TIME Magazine, The New York Times, VICE, HYPEBEAST, Outside, and many others. He has also played a part in curating, designing, and developing digital and physical products, resulting in successful crowdfunding projects or limited edition collaboration products with established softgoods brands. He stays on the pulse of the EDC industry by attending trade shows, participating in online interest communities, and actively engaging with fellow gear enthusiasts on social media.

In addition to being the editor-in-chief and main social media personality for EverydayCarry.com, Bernard is an avid gearhead and collector in general. His personal collections span technical bags, fountain pens, digital cameras, retro gaming hardware, personal hi-fi audio gear, and mechanical wristwatches, to name a few. Bernard Capulong is a prominent figure and trusted authority in the everyday carry industry with a career dedicated to helping people discover this hobby and stay prepared with quality gear.

Discussion (13 total)

Nick Janssen ·
Leatherman FREE series. Why across all the SHOT Shown media outlets is there no mention of the weights of the new P2 and P4? Its an important spec. Also, why on earth would Leatherman use 420 steel. So they can make a premium version later with decent steel and charge double for it? If they do, they need to use leather sheaths for their premium models. Why? LEATHERman.
How are you naming "bests" just by walking by a few vendor booths?
Goldthunder ·
“ opinions” I notice more and more that this website should be stuff that looks cool I can use it in my office job or anything actually practical is called tactical.
Goldthunder ·
In retrospect and re reading of the article, it was well written and that SOG and streamlight look awesome. Price point idea on streamlight?
Daniel Santiago ·
Leatherman really need to update their blade steel is they want to compete in the knife world. 420? Really?
Goldthunder ·
Starting to use 154 CM on some multi tools , but you pay for it.
Nick Janssen ·
They probably want to double the price for a little better steel in a premium model later. 420 will dull and be resharpened so much that I would be left with a quick deploying awl in about 2 years.
John Richardson ·
No love for the CRKT CEO knife?
CampDiplIng ·
Nightcore TUP is worth a look.
Vikinglander ·
Just want to point out that I had to Google 'what is SHOT Show' to find out that it stands for 'Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trades'. A little due diligence?
John Gruber ·
When will the crimson Terminus XR be available?
Is the Leatherman knife tool ambidextrous?
1 more comments