Sunday, January 11, 2015

Review: RhinoRopework - MAD Stick

Image from RhinoRopework
Here is a brilliant bit of kit that I've managed to scoop up just in time for OCONUS Week on BreachBangClear, in a world exclusive.

I've been buying a few things from the Rhino Ropeworks, like their tritium equipped fobs, and just recently one of their Saber ropeworking spikes. When I heard that this weeks topic was things done by foreigners, by foreigners, I dropped my mate Shane a line, and he sent me a prototype in the mail!

Shane is no stranger to making tools that are up for some hard yakka, and I was only too happy to get RR's newest tool in my hands. Check out their Facebook page for all the latest work-in-progress.
The MAD Stick is a 400mm (15.7") long, 12.7 mm (0.50" yeah, fifty cal!) length of 4140 high tensile tool steel, commonly used in pry bars. It weighs in at 340g (12oz). Very lightweight for what it is.

The steel is heat treated to have a Rockwell 45-46 in the body, 60 at the breaker tip. That gives you all the flex you need for doing heavy prying tasks you might have on hand, without deforming the working ends.

The two different ends give you two different functionalities. The double sided chisel point comes to a second, finer edge for the last 2mm or so, giving a nice robust wedge to use to work into gaps and crevices without the fear of chipping your tip. The primary grind is about 3.5cm (1.5").
The opposite end is rounded to about the same length, and also features a primary and secondary grind. Good for all kinds of probing and hole punching.

This tool, as my partner Omega said "is a metal stick of great evil. I like it" (and she knows a thing or two about evil ...). To top it off, the whole piece is covered in a black Cerakote finish although RhinoRopework can also get it coated in a variety of colours.
The middle 5cm (2") of the bar is left smooth, but the rest of the surface is covered in a really bitey knurling. So bitey, in fact it is possible to use as a striker for Ferrocerium. Bloody brilliant.
I generally prefer a ridged finish personally, which as it happens, RhinoRopeworks can put on one of these instead of the knurling, but I have to say, it's a pretty aggressive grip. I had no feeling of this coming loose in my hands, or in fact where I stowed it.

This is helped along by the ripper little pen clip that is fixed to the MAD Stick, about half way.
That little clip meant that I was able to slip the stick down the side of my PALS/MOLLE equipped pack, and even clip it to my Hazard4 RG Harness, and wander around the city with it slung under my vest, along my torso.
That same portability would mean that this could be worn on a plate carrier, on an assaulters pack, or secured pretty much anywhere with a loop or lip.
I'm no stranger to breaking things, and would stack the MAD Stick up against my Stanley FUBAR, the Dead-On Superhammer and the CountyComm Breacher Bar happily. They are all different tools, and this is no hammer, but it sure is a problem solver.

Shane tells me that the MAD Stick was "inspired by digging tool used by foragers and the splitter bar used in AMC's The Walking Dead to kill walkers through the fence". Now, this isn't a spear by a long shot, but it's not meant to be. More like a MILSPEC Kali stick. I haven't had a chance to put it in the hands of my escrima practicing friends yet, but I can imagine they could bring a metric fuckton of hurt down with this.

Besides being just small enough to secrete on your person (if that's your thing)  its compact size means another thing. If you are already wearing a fairly rigid set up, it's slim design will keep if from getting in the way, especially if you have 6 to 8 rows of PALS/MOLLE to slip it into. It virtually disappears down the side of a pack, and only pokes out a little on the front face of one.

Once I got it home, I set to bashing, jabbing, prying and generally looking for things to test it on. I stabbed it into logs, and hit them, found cracks in brickwork behind the house and old woodwork to prise apart. Not a mark on the tool, and everything I tried it on succumbed. As expected, when used as a striking tool, length-ways, it resonated a fair bit, but it was manageable. 
Without gloves on for my first round of tests, the knurling held fast, and I had great grip throughout my swathe of destruction. One thing I found was the pen-clip made for an uncomfortable place to hold the tool, and I needed to rotate it out of the way a couple of times, especially when I wanted to exert some more force.  Gloves sorted this right out however, and gave me the added padding to ignore this.

Given its ease of storage, light weight and high functionality, I can see these being quickly being found in the hands and cars of EMT's, and other first responders, as well as anyone who might need "Method of Entry" tools in their regular loadout, without having to call out the big-boys like a Halligan Bar.

For me, having a tool like the MAD Stick close to hand means that I can overcome a variety of problems in or around the house when I don't want to snap the tip off a knife or bend a screw-driver breaking up pallets to fortify the bunker.

The MAD Sticks are only just now going into small-batch production, and the heat-treating and Cerakote process is time consuming, but any day now the first production models will be in the hands of the early purchasers. I have a feeling we might be seeing a lot more of these in the hands of rough men, standing ready.

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