On the advice from a friend and fellow Glock enthusiast, I recently purchased a Glock Survival Kit to keep in my contingency kit. Well, to be completely honest, I bought two. They were on sale from Botach, and I knew my wife would just take it from me to put in her snowmobile if I didn't get her one of her own.
You learn to take these precautions when you have a wife who is more of a gear queer than you are. Total price for one kit, $49.95 with free shipping, not including the stowage bag that looks like a kid's lunch box. For the most part, I was quite impressed with this kit. The negative mentions are based on the fact that I am just plain old picky.
Entrenching tool: dimensions folded are 10 inches long at its longest point by six inches wide by 2 inches thick. The handle telescopes to make the entire unit from tip to tip 25 inches long unfolded. Weight is right at 1.5 pounds. The entire shovel is non-reflective.
Stored inside the telescoping handle is a 7 inch saw with an aggressive blade for cutting through roots, bone, etc. The tip of the saw is a flat-head screwdriver or wedge point.
The end of the shovel handle unscrews to release the saw. Then you reverse the saw back through the end of the handle and screw the unit back together for use. Instructions are included with the kit, which most men will undoubtedly throw away like I did prior to reading them. And to be totally up front, I found the saw by accident, thinking the tube was a waste of space. Botach's description said nothing about a saw. The saw is not non-reflective, but is glossy black. No big deal there.
More positives about the tool include a spine along the back of the shovel that reinforces it for prying roots or rocks loose. The swivel link that connects the blade to the handle is also heavy duty. These are important points because most military type E-tools break at that point or just ahead of it on the blade itself when prying roots or such. This part of the blade seems more robust. The swivel itself allows the blade to be adjusted to four angles securely, which is a big plus.
What I would like to have seen on this shovel is a serrated/wavy cutting edge along either side of the shovel blade for cutting roots. However, the existing edge can be sharpened to help achieve the same purpose, and the handle, longer than most modern military shovels, helps to achieve the force necessary for cutting through big roots without having to break out the saw. What else would have been nice is a pick attachment as on the older M1951 E-tool from the Vietnam era.
Surprisingly, it came with no carry pouch, but I suspect it will fit into a military style pouch for external pack mount. Lastly, I would have liked to have seen a slightly more aggressive grip. This one seems like it will be slippery when wet with sweat or blood. Glock grip tape should fix that. Overall, I am very pleased with this shovel. The only big question I still have is how the polymer handle will stand up to severe cold.
Field knife: total length, 11.375 inches, with a 6.375 inch blade. No hollow handle this time. Weight, with sheath is 10.5 ounces. The blade is composed of an extremely hard and extremely sharp spring steel. The entire knife is non-reflective. The hilt is made of a thick, rubbery polymer with grip rings cut perpendicular to the long axis of the knife, more akin to a Ka-bar fighting knife.
I like this knife. It is surprisingly similar to the old M-7 bayonet, and why they did not make the pommel into a bayonet lug receiver is beyond me. In fact, holding this knife is just like holding the old bayonet, except it is a little better balanced. This knife is comfortable to hold.
It is simplistic.
I preferred the old M-7 to the M-9 because of the M-7's simplicity and light weight. I like this knife for the same reasons. It's all you need in a combat/survival knife. So please keep that in mind when I list a couple of negatives.
Where the blade meets the hilt is a rugged cross bar that protects the hand from slipping along the blade. That's good, because this knife came sharp. I mean sharp like "holy crap you'll cut yourself just feeling the edge" kind of sharp. No, I didn't. Much. No stitches anyway. Some product descriptions claim the cross bar also acts as a bottle opener. I can confirm that as I now have a freshly opened bottle of Sam Adams to keep me company while I type.
Probably the only thing I would add to this knife is a serrated or semi-serrated reverse edge. Also, the very tip of this knife is not well-pointed. This last criticism is easily remedied with a flat stone and ten minutes of work. What I liked least about the entire package is the sheath that came with the knife. One-handed drawing of the knife will be problematic without considerable practice, and good luck if you're wearing gloves. There is a tension hook that holds the knife in the sheath. It's very economical, as is the sheath in general, but not user-friendly. The sheath is designed to fit belts up to 2.5 inches wide. This connection is very secure, but can be undone without the user having to remove or untie his/her belt-another nice touch.
Overall impression: GG (Gaston Glock) has a penchant for the simplistic and functional. He definitely hit a home run with the Glock Survival Kit. These tools, with modest improvements on my end, will be a noted improvement to my kit, and I would definitely bring them with me for combat use.
Keep the sights aligned, and keep the trigger moving!
--Jacques (Jake) Pelletier is a retired US Marine, combat Veteran, and Distinguished Shooter with over 30 years of tactical shooting experience. He is also a Master Firearms Instructor, LE Firearms Instructor, and co-owner of Raven Firearms Training in northern New Hampshire.