Went with Uncle. It was a small show, so we walked around it twice. Some of the big guys I expect at the Knoxville shows – Georgia Arms and the people with big display cases of magazines – weren’t there. I saw some nice older Smith & Wesson revolvers.
Because of fears over another ban any “black” semi-automatics are fetching high prices. A lowly Hi-Point carbine that sold for $150 a year ago had a $299 price tag. Glock 31 round magazines that I bought for $30 just after the election were going for $75.
AR-15s are sky high. Uncle pointed to a complete lower with a collapsible buttstock for $499. Bear in mind that isn’t even a complete gun – it still needs an upper to work and the upper will cost $500 or more even for a cheap one, assuming you can find one.
I took a pass on the guns and bought ammo, which is also scarce and expensive these days. I snagged 200 rounds of Winchester white box 9mm at $30/hundred and 100 rounds of WWB .45 ACP for $40.
New pocket knife
The only other thing I bought was a new pocketknife. I’ve been carrying a Buck Strider Tarani 882 for a couple of years. It’s an extremely well made knife and I like the ergonomics, but the weight and the sharp edges of the G10 scales wore holes in all of my pants pockets. I tried carrying it by the clip, but that didn’t work for me because of knife’s blockiness and weight – it tended to bang on doorways and block my hand from going into the pocket. The Tarani is a good knife, just not a good pocketknife for me.
I just bought three new pairs of pants yesterday, so now seemed like a good time for a new pocketknife. I picked up a Benchmade 550HG Griptilian. It’s a one hand opening, lockblade folding knife. The Mel Pardue blade is a modified sheepsfoot profile with a thumbhole.
I’ve tried carrying most of the designs for opening a knife with one hand – the thumbstud, the thumbhole, and the flipper – and the thumbhole is the one that works for me every time without really having to even think about it. The only design I haven’t tried is the patented Emerson Wave, which Spyderco is now using under license. The Wave seems like it would be mighty hard on the pants. In that YouTube clip the guy’s pantspocket is worn ragged.
This is my first Benchmade, but the company has a good rep. This knife has their signature ambidextrous Axis lock, which is supposed to be rock solid. The lock offers a very slight bit of resistance to opening, which should help it stay closed in the pocket. That same action helps it snap all the way shut when closing.
Weight is about 2/3rds of the Buck Tarani and there aren’t any sharp edges outside of the obvious one, which was very sharp out of the box. I’ll touch it up on the Spyderco Sharpmaker tonight. According to the owner’s manual Benchmade knives include a lifetime sharpening service. Send the knife to Benchmade with $5 to cover shipping and handling and they’ll sharpen your knife and return it. Nice.
P.S. I never got around to sharpening it, but this knife is much sharper than my old one (which I sharpened at home and also had a pass by the professional knife sharpener at the Knoxville gun show). The new knife is slightly narrower at the spine than the old one, but the grind is much more aggressive. The new blade isn’t quite as sturdy – I won’t be as carefree about prying with this as the old one – but the narrower profile is better for slicing and kitchen-type tasks.