Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Check out this prototype of the Paracordist's "MaceJack".

Here is something I tied up last night. Had some thoughts in my head since doing the recent video Paracordist Impact Weapons, Paracord Monkeys Fists VS. Blackjacks and Saps (http://youtu.be/rBzXHzpfIlk). Decided to get a prototype going. Here's how it works, briefly:

Draw the keys and paracord monkeys fist in close to the spring loaded, turks head covered handle (made and transfered quite easily with the Perfect Turks Head Mandrel / Jig (http://www.paracordist.com/perfect-turks-head-mandrel-jig/). Next, insert thumb and wrap lanyard securely around wrist and voila - blackjack!

....Or draw the handle back along the 550 cord to the opposite end of the keys and monkey fist and you have a paracord  Mace! 

I've found that the wrap-around nature of the turks head brings tremendous stiffness to the spring. The spring size and stiffness used in this prototype is thus major overkill; to the extent that much of the desired spring is gone. In my next evolution I'll use a smaller diameter spring. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Customer uses Quick Release Keychain Bola to thwart a knife wielding attacker!

Got this great feedback from a customer (who is also a police officer) that used my Quick Release Keychain Bola to thwart a knife wielding attacker! 


"I keep items on my belt for defense but it was cold and I had a heavy jacket on. I knew I never be able to reach for anything under that coat, so I kept your bolo keychain in the hand warmer pocket. I pulled in for gas at a station about 0400 hours, it was cold & foggy. This guy in a sweat jacket with the hood on comes running up with something shinny in his hand, yelling "I want your wallet you fat..." By that time I had pulled out the bolo & swung at his hand, hit the forearm and forcing his hand/arm down. That's when I saw the large kitchen knife (7" blade). I brought my hand back, swinging the bolo backhanded to the guy's temple. That made him drop the knife and reach for his head. I swung back forward and hit the other temple, giving me a chance to pull up my jacket and badge him. Called it it and subject was booked. I was on my way for duty, running late (roll call/briefing is at 0500 hours. Got a little grief for using the bolo keychain but that's all. Never get to use it as a bolo yet, by the way. 😉"

Paracordist Impact Weapons, Paracord Monkeys Fists VS. Blackjacks and Saps video is live

In this recent blog, I teased the imminent release of part one of a smashing new video! The waiting is over - Paracordist Impact Weapons, Paracord Monkeys Fists VS. Blackjacks and Saps video is live! Many of the paracord monkeys fist self-defense keychain creations you see today are based on designs such as my "doorknocker" or "battering ram" and the "monkeys fist keychain". The great benefit that all these have in common, is that they are inconspicuous. That is, they fit right in with your keys and don't raise any eyebrows as being a weapon. The importance of this cannot be overlooked, because in most places you may may possess a blackjack or sap but not carry it in public (but that doesn't mean you can't have one of these super powerful close quarters combat weapons on your bedside table). The monkeys fist key chain, conversely, is very decorative and blends in nicely with other "bobbles" on the average person's keychain. Countless times I have placed my entire set of keys with other typical pocket contents in the trays at the airport and - had them handed back to me on the other side.  With certainty, I can say you would not be able to do this with the blackjack or sap!

As you might expect, most positives are offset by negatives, and that is no different in this case! Most monkeys fist keychain designs typically include some length of paracord braid or sinnet. While the handle portion can be stiff to varying degrees depending on the braid/sinnet style, it is unlikely that  550 cord alone will be stiff enough to prevent blowback of the weighted end from hitting the users wrist arm or hand. For this reason, it is important for a user/owner of any self defense tool to understand its limitations, inform themselves of techniques that will mitigate the danger of injury, and perhaps most importantly practice practice practice. Start slow, simple, light weight and proceed with caution. Watch this video to see how, and to see a few night stand "nighty night" blackjacks I made for myself. 

Each weapon is introduced along with its weight in ounces, then striking technique is demonstrated against a 100 lb heavy bag. This is also my first experience working with two camera angles and the specialty editing required. I'm happy with the results (except for the backlight!). I look forward to implementing the dual-camera work into future videos.

Don't forget to subscribe to my youtube channel so you are notified when the Part II video comes out - smashing more gallon jugs of water with these different items. Until then, this old video Paracordist's: Monkey's Fist knot lanyard smashes gallon of water, Martial Arts Self Defense will show you the difference in power between a 1" steel ball and a 1.5" steel ball on the Steel Saints Motorcycle Riding Lanyard!

Written by Kevin Gagne

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Video in progress - paracord impact weapons vs. Traditional blackjackand saps

Several days ago I made the announcement regarding one of my upcoming videos - turks head knot secrets using the perfect mandrel. Here I want to tease another video project in progress that is sure to be a smashing hit! 

Below are a number of paracord impact self defense weapons. From left to right, top to bottom we have: the Door Knocker/Battering Ram (my popular design containing a three-quarter inch steel ball bearing), the Paracordist Monkeys Fist Keychain (containing a 1 inch steel ball bearing) http://www.paracordist.com/paracordist-monkeys-fist-keychain/, the Mickey Mouse key chain creation I made containing a 3 ounce lead ball and a monkeys fist supported by 4 strands (featured in my Paracordist's Monkeys Fist Paracord Creations Demolition Tests video), the Black Widow Billiard Ball lanyard design by Travis Huppert, the Magic Mic Paracord Blackjack containing an 8 oz lead ball and lightweight spring loaded handle, and finally my "Speak Into the Mic" heavy duty spring loaded blackjack with 4 oz lead monkeys fist topper. 
In the video series, I will utilize a heavy bag and gallon jugs of water to demonstrate the relative power of these impact weapons. I will address safety and self–injury concerns and techniques to mitigate them. For perspective, I'll conduct these tests alongside ones with the following traditional blackjack and sap. Each are more than 20 years old and acquired in Chinatown way back when I was an intern working in Boston. The power and effectiveness of these weapons is well established as both have long, storied histories in law enforcement and the criminal underworld!

Written by Kevin Gagne

Monday, September 22, 2014

The "Magic Mic" paracord blackjack

This was a bit of a paracord doodle. Experimented with a number of things, from half hitching to cover the 6 oz lead ball, my first star knot (used to introduce 4 more working strands), my first 6 strand round sinnet around an experimental core (a spring from a plumbing "snake"):

... finished with a manrope knot using all 6 strands. I then used my 4mmx4" Individual Steel Paracord Fid - Lacing Needles to feed in the two ends of a bight formed for a lanyard. I used these two strands with the 6 from the manrope to tie an 8 strand diamond knot. It's a working piece so I used scraps and some splices.  Planning a video about these striking type paracord weapons. This sort of thing is for entertainment and informational purposes. I won't be carrying or selling!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Paracordist Video Announcement - New Turks Head Knot Jig and Video Series

Written by Kevin Gagne
A few weeks ago, I wrote this blog post announcing the arrival of an exciting new paracord Turks head knot tying mandrel.

Now I've just posted a new video on my YouTube channel, walking you through the specs of the perfect Turks head mandrel AND announcing my plans to read issue a brand-new and updated version of one of my most popular how to series!

When I first published my multipart series on understanding the long Turks head knot, there was nothing like it on YouTube. I find it extremely gratifying after these few years, to see how many accomplished tiers credit me and Videos such as this Turks series with being one of their early inspirations. I've also amassed a large quantity of comments from beginners who have been frustrated in trying to learn from such a long and detailed video. While the process seems complex when you look at formula recipes and "follow along" videos, it can actually be broken down into a number of very simple and straightforward "rules". These rules very just slightly when you tie and odd number of bights versus an even number of bights. I believe that for many people, the guidelines or "rules" were lost on them in my videos because I was focusing on such a long project (one with a large number of wraps). Another issue, is that YouTube video annotations which I used to highlight many of the important points, are not visible on all platforms, such as iPhones. For this reason, and increasingly large number of people that watch watch videos miss some of the most important parts. Many people then turned to Turks head formulas and tying "over under" lists in an attempt to "parrot" their way through the knot rather then ever understanding it.

To address these issues in my "re-do" video series, I will do the following:
  1. Utilize the Perfect Turks Head Mandrel / Jig to demonstrate a turks head knot with a minimal amount of leads. I will use a cord color that contrasts well with the mandrel, good lighting and a neutral background to minimize distraction.
  2. I will use video titles to highlight the important "rules" rather than rely upon YouTube annotations which are invisible on some viewing platforms.
  3. I will focus on what you need to know to do this knot yourself, in any number of wraps/leads/bights. The video will NOT be about following each of my steps mindlessly.

This new series as planned is not a small project so please be patient as I work on it, it will be worth it!

10/13/14 UPDATE: The video is live! It is one of my proudest accomplishments so check it out NOW and please SHARE! Paracordist How to Tie the Long Turks Head Knot - for DUMMIES

Friday, September 5, 2014

Paracordist How to Attach Kuksa to Belt or Pack with Paracord & Toggle System

A short while ago, I celebrated the near completion of my first real carving project with a drink from my own birch Kuksa. Kuksa's were "green" hundreds (thousands?) of years before the anti plastic bottle movement! When I set about to make one for myself, I envisioned carrying the cup from campfire to campfire imbibing my favorite grog. After completing the project, and applying several coatings of walnut oil, I decided to attach a paracord lanyard temporarily - until I could use a proper drill press to ensure that I drilled a straight hole for a lanyard. I made the temporary lanyard forming a necklace size bight then tying a diamond knot, doubled with a loop using the two working ends. I then worked the smaller loop so that it would be snug around the handle. The knot definitely gets in the way a bit so I'll definitely plan on drilling that hole eventually. I wore this around the neck or held the lanyard in my hands when I had my drinking hat on. Traditionally, a Kuksa was warn on the belt of its owner, or in bushcraft circles it is often attached to the pack. Either way seemed to me more comfortable than wearing a 14oz capacity beer Kuksa around my neck!

I devised a simple adjustable toggle attachment system, utilizing a wooden toggle about a quarter inch thick and 1.5" long. I whittled it from a stick and cored a hole with my knife. I slipped the end of the necklace loop through the hole in the toggle. To prevent the toggle from slipping off, I installed a paracord bead on the loop (black bead at bottom of photo below). Next, to lock the toggle in place for various attachments, I installed another paracord bead, this time on both strands. This bead was tied very tightly, with solid resistance to sliding.

With these simple features, the Kuksa can be attached to just about anything. Watch this simple video to see how and find links to all the knots you'll need to tie your own paracord Kuksa lanyard! Your wife may be embarrassed to be seen with you, but thats ok because you'll meet lots of new people who want to know why you have a cup hanging from your waist.

Written by Kevin Gagne

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Paracordist How to Use a Primitive David and Goliath Rock Sling

This video is the official rock sling video, complete with helpful links to my website where you can find handmade paracord rock slings for sale. I put out a raw version of this video some time ago, with the intent of using it on a variety of online discussion forums that have restrictions regarding the use of company names, etc. In some ways it may be more trouble than its worth to make two separate videos. However, I do value the friendships I've formed and things I've learned from these forums so I want to share videos that might be of interest to the communities. Click to see some of my favorite forums on outdoors and survival related topics, and learn how to find me there!

Launching projectiles has been something I've enjoyed as long as I can remember. My intro to a rock sling was sometime in the late 1970's or early '80s when my cousin Robert showed me how to launch rocks in a makeshift sling at passing trains from his backyard. Since the statute of limitations is likely up, I don't mind sharing. I also tell this story as a reminder - boys will be boys. So parents, while it is an amazing and fun project to make your own rock sling, I suggest you keep safety in mind. Slings generate unbelievable power and can kill the slinger or anyone in his/her path.

As an adult, I started making my own slings after learning more about the skill on slinging.org. I used the round the head windup with a sort of sidearm release. I found myself launching more projectiles than I care to admit at my neighbor's house. Eventually I came across a video of someone using this technique but doing very little to explain it. I studied the video and figured it out for myself. Instead of spraying projectiles left and right I began to hit targets. The method is pretty dialed in left to right with the main challenge controlling vertical. At least safer for bystanders! WARNING in my experience, if looking forward is 12 o'clock, the most dangerous place to be is around 4 to 6 o'clock. This is where max force is put on the rock sling pocket and a poorly set projectile is likely to slip out at frightening speed.

Don't bother studying photos, the video will teach you this method like nothing else! This photo shows a key point in the technique - the bending of the elbow sends the pocket behind you and sets up the tremendous whipping motion that generates so much power on the release.
overhand sling technique windup
This cool photo shows the release and you can see the pocket open and the projectile on its way skyward.
overhand sling technique release
Watch and learn!

Watch this video to learn to make a rock sling out of a single 25' strand of paracord!

Then check out this video to learn a cool release knot - How to Tie the Celtic Button Knot

Rather buy one made by a professional than make your own? Visit our store and grab your own handmade paracord pocket rock sling

Written by Kevin Gagne

Paracordist how to boil paracord on turks head hiking staff handle

I made this video as a follow up to my comprehensive video "Paracordist on pre and post shrinking paracord / 550 cord - why you should do it and how! "
Paracordist how to boil paracord on turks head hiking staff handle

Lots of people have asked me questions about pre-shrinking and post-shrinking paracord after hearing me mention it in my other videos. For this reason, I decided to make a video on the topic, showing several items in my product collection and explaining why some are made with pre-shrunk paracord (cord shrunk before making the item) and some are made with regular paracord and post-shrunk (shrunk after making the item). In general, pre-shrinking cord is important for size-sensitive items such as custom fitted paracord survival bracelets or 550 cord I-Phone or beer can cases. If you don't pre-shrink the cord, it will shrink on its own over time and possibly become too small. Post-shrinking allows you to get knots tighter than otherwise possible through hand power. This is great for handle wraps, monkeys fists and other items you want super tight. In some cases, post-shrinking is done by carefully pouring the hot water on the item if it can't fit into a pot. As with anything, take extreme caution when dealing with boiling water! KIDS MUST SEEK THE HELP OF AN ADULT.

Written by Kevin Gagne