Author: Fran

read my bio on distinguished ruffians that will tell you somethings, or email me if you want to know more

Drew’s Custom Leather Heritage Notebook Cover/Wallet

image2So back in October 2014, I changed Jobs within the company I work for, for information sake I work in the Power Generation field (AKA Making Power). Well I went from a maintenance job (AKA Fixing Stuff) to an Operations/Production job (AKA making sure stuff is running). That’s enough about me but the reason why I brought this up is to help explain why I started to look for a quality note book because, I found myself in my new job writing on myself with a sharpie I always carried and pretty much felt like I was back in high school. Let’s be honest in my field of work you have to have some professionalism about yourself, or everyone will take you as a joke and more or less your word and input goes straight to the poop chute, In My Opinion of course.

So I had been following various makers of all kinds of goods and people from all different walks of life. I saw some people posting pictures of these small books called Field Notes which are 3.5 X 5.5 pocket-sized note books for carrying around so you can write notes or do small sketches in that you would possibly need to remember. I started to research them and was almost ready to pull the trigger and buy a 3 pack of them ($9.95), but for some reason I kept forgetting to order them. Then one day checking Instagram, one of the people I follow @drewscustomleather, had a picture posted of a nice handmade leather covers for Field Note sized books, the one that really caught my eye was the “Heritage” style cover, he makes another one that’s called “The Drifter” which has a strap with button snap closure, and a d-ring to clip to but I liked the stripped down esthetics of the heritage and order one.

When I received my Heritage in the mail, the cover came with one Orange covered Field Notes book image3-2which I will explain what that means later but, I brought it with me the next day to work. Now initially it needed a break in period because it wouldn’t stay closed but don’t worry me consistently keeping it in my back pocket and sitting on it made short work of that problem, next was the pen pocket sewn into the front needed to stretch and break in a little but Drew does warn you of that fact. Now another issue which is not Drew’s fault at all, it actually deals with the Field Notes book, remember earlier I said something different about the book being orange, well the orange stands for Expedition Edition. The Expedition edition means it not actually made of real paper, what looks to be paper is actually Yupo Synthetic paper, which is made from extruded polypropylene pellets, is water proof, tear resistant, chemical resistant, has been tested 12 different ways by Field Notes, and is made right here in the good old USA. Now I told you all of this because since it’s not real paper, some pens don’t work on it especially Gel pens which are what I usually write with. So after doing some testing I found a cheap pen one of our material suppliers cheap give away pens work great, so stick with cheap ball point pens and you’ll be fine.

I have carried this wallet with me at work every day and I couldn’t be happier with it! Sincerely the outer buffalo leather that the cover is made from has held up very well and darkens beautifully with age and wear, I have scratched the surface by accident on corners of sharp metal and with a finger nail or 2 and it will fade away in the leather like it ever even happened. The inside of the cover has 4 slits cut into the flaps to old business cards or even credit card sized cards, I keep my Mobile Crane and Forklift certifications in those slits. Not one thread of stitching has come out and it’s had some rough handling including falling out of an off road vehicle a few times. I have even had coworkers question on what it was and when I showed them, they were actually impressed…see what I mean about professionalism. I use this every day at work writing down tank levels, oil temperature, and valve numbers just to name a few. If you need to remember things thru the day or just need a book to write some things down in, I highly recommend this product, because I honestly don’t think the Field Notes book would have survived this long without the Heritage Cover from Drew’s Custom Leather. As always if you can buy from small businesses, I think you notice the difference in quality, and you are helping a person not a stock price.


Price $109 includes Field Notes Book

Website for refill note pads: 

Rating 4.7 out of 5 pints

Smith Elite Aegis Echo Glasses

image4So I strolled into the Gun shop I frequent, and Spartan Firearms have been a Smith Elite dealer for a little while now but I never really bothered looking at their products. On this day I just happened to get talking to my buddy Gary Ahlers who runs the shop about Smith Elite products and why he started to carry the products. After some conversation (and cash) I walked out with a Smith Elite Aegis Echo Deluxe Kit in Tan.

From my Initial look at these glasses, I was impressed with the quality and innovative design. I mean most people think that “hey any pair of Z87.1+ safety glasses will do the same job at a whole lot cheaper”, and in some ways I use to believe that. I always had a couple pairs of cheap $5 safety glasses or I used my Oakley Holbrooks as shooting glasses when I went to the gun range. In reality that was a very foolish way for me to think. I wear safety glasses daily at my job and for what I do at work, they are adequate but unlike most safety glasses, Smith Elite tests their glasses to a higher standard than regular safety glasses. They even exceed MIL SPEC MIL-PRF-31013 which is the U.S. Militaries Ballistic Eye Protection Specification. If you know anything about MIL SPEC, it’s overly specific to the point of insanity and this particular Mil Spec requires a projectile of 5.8 grains in weight and .15 inches in diameter to be shot at 640-660 Ft/S at protective eye wear and not crack the eye wear or allow any material to pierce a witness sheet that is behind the lens. It also requires the eye wear to be resistant to a whole list of chemicals as well as hot and cold climate testing, UV protection, and optical clarity. What’s the point if you can’t see out of them properly? So what does this mean to you the regular guy, who isn’t enlisted in the military and is a just weekend warrior at the gun range, hunter or the many other hobbies where eye wear is needed. It means this eye wear will take just about everything you can dish out and more.image2

Smith Optics Elite line makes multiple different styles of eye wear that is ballistic rated. One reason I chose the Aegis Echo Deluxe Kit is for the almost completely unobstructed field of view. I mean seriously unless you cross your eyes, there is no part of the frame that creates a blind spot. Second reason is the ability to change lenses in a few seconds with no tools. The frame is designed with these two pivot lock bars that you pull up on, and then with a downward pull the Lens separates from the frame easily. The kit I bought came with 3 different colors of lenses, clear, yellow and gray/tinted so you are covered for any lighting condition you may come across; another nice thing is the nose pads are attached to each lens so no need to swap those between lenses making it that much easier to change a lens out. The kit also includes a nice black nylon carry bag big enough to hold the frames and all 3 lenses, 3 lens pouches to protect the lenses when not in use, an elastic strap to hold the glasses on if you do a lot of movement and Smith Elites anti fog cloth that actually does that job very well (the humidity is a constant down here in the swamp know as South Florida). Only drawback is for sunny Florida they’re gray/tinted lens isn’t dark enough, but down here you could use a #4 cutting torch shade regularly in the summer time no problem, so maybe it’s just me.

image1There are a million things I could say about these glasses, but I won’t. If you like to go shooting and take safety seriously, Smith Optics Elite is a good investment. Could you seriously say $100 is too much to spend on your eyes, if so then I don’t think you know the value of your eye sight. Do yourself a favor buy quality eye wear for the range because one preventable range accident shouldn’t hurt you for the rest of your life, Should It?



Brand: Smith Optics


Rating: 4.5 pints out of 5

Would I recommend this to friend: Yes

Armordillo Concealment’s / Boker Coye Knife Sheath

image-2So you finally got yourself one of those most Coveted Boker Production versions of the Coye Ridgeback that never has in stock for more than 30 mins at a time. You wait patiently for it to arrive aka checking your tracking numbers 3 times a day. Then that day comes, you rush home to rip the box open like a kid on Christmas morning and, as you look at your new knife it all its glory, your eyes move towards the knife sheath that Boker provided and you get the WTF is going on look on your face. You pick up the sheath and start studying it saying to yourself “How the F*ck does this thing work?” after multiple attempts at properly assembling it, you finally get it together, still with the question in your mind is “Is this really how it works?” Now you try to wear your new EDC (every day carry) fixed blade knife out into the wild blue yonder, ok in reality you just wear it when you run around town doing your errands and such, while doing your daily activities you realize this knife sheath isn’t worth the plastic and hardware its made out of. Now you have reached a conundrum “what’s the point of an EDC if it isn’t comfortable to carry every day?”


The answer to that question is you need a new sheath but who makes a good comfortable sheath, Why Armadillo Concealment does! By some digging through Instagram I found out AC was in the process of making them, and were accepting pre orders. So I pre-ordered it immediately because anything could be better than the hot slice of turd Boker provided. The next day I check my email, I notice I have a confirmation email from Booth the owner of AC but I also notice I have another email from Booth, explaining that the website charged me too much for shipping, and that he would refund me the difference. A few weeks later I received my sheath in the mail, I opened up the box and to my surprise not just the new sheath but also some stickers, an AC patch and the shipping refund money exactly in cash down to the cent. Now that my friend is how you run a business, seriously how often do you see this now a day? Rarely to never is the answer to that question.

Let’s get down to Technical reasons why the AC sheath is superior to the Boker original. The size is smaller, is it hugely smaller? No, but when it comes to EDC items fractions of an inch become a mile. AC sheath trims down the size by not having excess material like the Boker sheath, Booth really trims down the kydex so it’s minimal. One of the main reasons the Boker sheath is so damn uncomfortable is the bulky belt clip that the sheath is attached to. For something that is imagesupposed to attach to your belt to make you feel it isn’t even there, it is the furthest thing from what it does. The AC, on the other hand, uses a simple yet effective soft belt loop that loops up and over the sheath being secured with “pull the dot” snaps. Those style of snaps have been used by many gun holster manufactures for a while now and work just like it says “pull the dot.” If you have had any experience with them you know they are pretty effective. I can’t say the Boker sheath has any imperfections in the finish but then again its mass manufactured in some factory somewhere across the world. The AC sheath lacks perfection but in that sense you can tell human hands have made this, and its actually made here in America by a small business and that means something to me. You can see Booth cares about every product he puts out, to the point he goes over every edge, making them buttery smooth. This is important because with this knife most people appendix carry and a smooth edge makes bending ,moving, and even sitting in a car comfortable and making it seem it isn’t even there.

In reality if you don’t have a Boker Ridgeback you should order one or be saving your hard earned pennies to get one. My only complaint was that I had to swap the loops around for my left handed use, which honestly most of you could care less about because you’re all right handed SOB’s and laugh at us lefties, but, I digress. In the end if this article ever makes it back to Boker in Germany, I know some designers and engineers will be taken out back and shot in the head for not making the Sheath “superior” enough but hey that’s just how the Germans roll.


Manufacturer: Armadillo Concealment


Price: $34.99 (+10 dollars for any other color than black)

Would I tell a Friend: F*CK YES