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Civilian Source's Reviewers Reward Challenge is?

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OK, after a week of testing, I have my results. They will be posted both here in this thread, and in our review section.

First off, Thank You BretByron and Civilian Source for this opportunity. I would like to start out by saying the items I received are top notch, NEW in the package perfect condition. Some companies use returns and defects for testing, this is NOT the case here. All the items arrived packaged in original packaging very secure in a small box, I note this as some companies also cut corners when shipping test items out, again NOT the case with Civilian Source. I can recommend them based on what I have seen in dealing directly with them. I am a new customer, but will be returning with my money.

On to the testing.......
 

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TEST ITEM ONE

The Brunton 9067 pin on ball compass
Comparing to a cheap previously tested pin on (available anywhere)


Overall first impressions: 4 of 10

This compass seems at first glance a cut above the cheap pin on compass that I currently own, but there are a few shortcomings in looking at the designs of each one. The first thing I noticed is the pin on the “B” is not removable, therefore using just a lanyard is not possible. The second thing I noticed is the case has a vertical seam rather than horizontal, more on this in testing. The third thing to notice is the dial face actually seems very “cluttered” and hard to focus on, it does not use high contrast coloring for its marks. Fourth (MOST IMPORTANT) is the “B” model has an air bubble in it from the factory. It is however sturdy and rugged, but with these shortcomings it may “flunk out” of the role I had envisioned it being used for (survival backup)

Overall uses, function, performance: 6 of 10.

The first true test was to compare the two side by side to get a baseline for the “B” model. As expected it is “close enough” that it will get you going in the right direction, no complaints. So pinning the “B” on one side, and the “C” on the other it was time to take a walk and get lost:). Not really but I played the role like I was, the “B” model was quick to re-center and return after bumps and jostles, it does however almost require a little movement to re-center itself. The dial of the compass was actually quite hard to see at more than about half an arms length away (in any conditions). I had to actually stop and focus on the dial after dark (it is luminescent). So I proceeded to travel on our path in the woods using the compass to navigate to and from set points in all directions. It does work properly and is accurate enough for the task at hand. It isn't a GPS or lensatic compass, but it will get you in the direction you need to go, maybe a few degrees off, but very minor in terms of actual use, over distance. I wouldn't choose to navigate with any small compass, but if caught in the wrong situation with only this, I would trust it to get me going.


Overall opinions and facts:

While this compass is nice, it really doesn't provide anything that any other compass doesnt already bring to the table. Comparing the two, I like the high contrast black and green, more than the low contrast white and orange. After further investigation and field trials, they are BOTH luminescent painted. They both glow when exposed to light for a few minutes. The case on the cheaper model permits me to use just a lanyard, and most importantly the seam lines allow me to view the compass from the top looking down on it. That means I don't have to fumble with gloves on or etc. to get a good sight picture on the compass.

Personal (and opinionated) QnA:

Would I buy this compass? Yes and No If I needed on in this configuration yes.

Do I have a use for it after testing? Yes, it will be used for its intended role as backup.

Does this compass fit its price range? Yes, I know it has shortcomings to me, but overall you get what you pay for. Brunton has been in the game for long enough that their reputation has got to be worth something. In this case warranty is store limited, so reputation may be a deciding factor.

Do you recommend this compass? Yes and No If it fits your needs and wants by all means pick one up, it is a quality compass.

Do you think it will last in sub zero environments? No, it is liquid filled and sealed, if it freezes it most likely will burst.

ANY questions feel free to ask!!

Product recommendations section: 7 of 10
Simple, if it fits YOUR needs buy one, they are cheap and effective.




PICTURES ARE ON THE WAY, MAYBE A VIDEO :)
 

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TEST NUMBER TWO:

The DMT Dia-Sharp super fine knife sharpener (9 micron)

Overall first impression:

This knife sharpener is SUPER fine (for most blades). Compared to an oil stone or even a “fine” Smith's rod, this thing is almost smooth. Until I actually used it, I honestly thought it was a defect and had no abrasives. The quality is excellent and it is made in America. The actual paddle length is pretty good, but right off the bat I noticed I would have problems on larger knives. The actual abrasive section is fairly short, it is however wide enough. Overall it felt good in the hand, has very little weight to it, and seems to be built to last. Honestly I bought it to replace a smiths ”fine” rod, and it has done just that. Now I am not going to replace the smiths, I am going to carry them both, and lose the stone!!

On to the testing.......

I first tried this on a previously sharpened Swiss Army knife. It honed the edge with little effort, smoothing any patterns from the stones or ceramics. It worked great, and it made that edge razors sharp in only 6-7 passes.

The next candidate was a S&W tactical folder tanto (no pics). It has a perfectly straight blade with no curves. The knife was also previously sharpened, but was dulled to around 40 micron. Sharp, but needed work. I also blunted the tip on some sheet metal, and decided to reconstruct the tip with this sharpener, and a ”fine” rod. It worked flawless as expected by now, and I was getting the hang of using it. It did however require a little more cleaning than normal.

I also sharpened my Gerber Profile, Gerber Mini Fast Draw, Leatherman Blast, Gerber 400 Sport, Leatherman Micra, Gerber Clutch, a Winchester ”swiss army”, German K55K Mercator, Tramontina custom machete, Schrade X-Timer and countless others.

In all the testing this thing worked flawless, it works best with a little water on the abrasive, and it does require a quick wipe off and water change every 20-30 strokes, but it works reliably and perfectly every time. It is easy to maintain an precise angle, although it requires getting a feel for holding the knife and the sharpener. I also laid it on the table or ground, and it works like a little bench stone. Also when laid on the ground, use your foot to step on the handle, and both hands to control the angle.

Bad points?

The abrasive section could be longer, on the larger blades (+3.5in) you must really pay attention to blade orientation to get a full run on the steel.

In reality, this is a little paranoid maybe, but the steel backing plate is cast into the plastic handle and I worry about long term water exposure under the plastic causing the metal to rust or corrode. Most likely no problem.

Good points?

This thing is tough as nails and light as a feather. Backpackers dream.

It really is “super fine” some companies claim it, this one really is.

CHEAP!!!!

Available in multiple grits, a set can be had for cheap, and it will replace your entire sharpening setup for the wilderness.

Made in USA

All in all I actually give my full endorsement to this sharpener, if the others in the series are this good, they are my new setup, home, camp, mobile. One set, multiple sharpening tasks.
 

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TEST NUMBER THREE:
Nite-Ize Figure Nine:


Overall first impressions:

Seriously I thought this was a little bigger, and maybe a little better built. When I saw it on the internet, it looked bigger, this is the small version. it is an anodized aluminum bit of metal, with some directions printed on it, I really think the directions and anodizing will come off, leaving me with a bright aluminum figure nine. After handling it for awhile, and noticing the 50 pound load limit, I am really trying to find a use for such a small “knot-less” device. 50 lb load limit? There are mono-filaments that are stronger........

On to the first tests:

The very first test is to see how easy the instructions are (it looks way complicated). I must say that I have used it about 60-70 times as of this writing, and I can make it work under any conditions, dark, cold, wet, doesn't matter. Took a few tries but once learned it is simple to remember. Learn in advance.

So I took it out of the package and following the directions, setup a piece of paracord to try out. I got it setup and pulled on it......and it slipped out under moderate load (tent guy line loading). Not pleased at all, much less than 50lbs, and it frayed the cord a little. Never one to give up, I tried it on several other lines solid braid polypro, slipped and frayed, blended catfish line, slipped and frayed. They all did (and do). It slips from the side that the tag end of your rope connects to on the “hook” end of the device.

Second testing day:

Never one to give up, repeat the testing maybe it is human error, same results. Now we need to engineer this device to work, I studied the piece in hand for about 2 hours. The simple conclusion is the hook end (with the teeth) is designed wrong, it pulls the tag end up and out of the teeth, rather than in and towards the device. As soon as the tag comes away from the device, it slips and releases. The teeth should point inward, rather than be straight. BUT I figured out the simple fix, (Now is not truly knot-less). after running your lines through the device, take the tag and run it under the mainline, going right back though the same loop. Problem solved, no more releasing (and it holds well over 50 lbs with any line tested). Its not a knot, and it will never tighten, it just controls the tag, so it does not pull away from the device, now the teeth bite and it holds well.

Further testing:

I tested this thing holding guy lines (well only one as I only have one figure nine). In all conditions rain, a little sleet and snow, etc. It performed flawless, and held tension in high winds for two days.
I decided to use it as a load bearing support for some deliveries at work using paracord, and some polypro solid lines, it held easily triple the weight rating. Could have probably held more, but I was not going to push it till it broke (by now I am starting to like it). Now is when I notice that it did bend slightly from being pulled at a strange angle, cant fault the design, more operator error than anything.
So I decided to hoist a full tube of sand (70 lbs)in my yard to see if it will give out..... It held it for 6 days in varying winds and rain etc. No problems at all. Now I am really liking it. I took it down and using two blocks of wood straightened the figure nine back into shape. Time to re-string it with catfish line (what I use to stake a tent) and actually stake the tent out there. It has held up completely, even when two other stakes were removed from the same side, it held tight.

Just for fun, I tried to loop some webbing through the nine, and it works on webbing as well, as long as you place it right, it will work just the same as rope. Nice feature.

Cons:


Instructions “work” but without keeping the tag end of the hook side near or attached to the mainline, it is going to slip and tear up line.

Feels kinda cheap in hand, although it turned out better than expected, it needs a better finish, and possibly better machine work.

Possible to bend when pulled at the wrong angle

Pros:

NO more knots, even with a loop to hold the tag, it still is quick and easy to setup and teardown.

Holds as much and more than rated, no false claims and actually very conservative rating.

Sturdy design, simple construction, no moving parts.


OVERALL:


Would I buy these? Heck yes. These (the small size) are perfect for tent tie-downs, no more cutting and knotting, loop and figure nine. Nice :)
I beat this one up and bent it and etc. It works like new, it is cheap, saves me time and possibly money (for other devices, cut rope etc.). Overall I recommend this to anyone who uses lines or ropes, matter of fact I am buying at least two whole sets (there are multiple sizes, too I think) but two sets for the tents (12 pcs.) plus at least 6 of the larger ones.
 

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