Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Review: Appalling Mall-Minja wall hangers!


Originally posted as part of Breach Bang Clear's ongoing Monday Night Knife Fights series.   

I talk about good knives, swords and axes a fair bit. I'm fan of dense steel with an edge. There's a lot of it out there, some good, some amazing, and some unspeakable trash. It's the latter stuff I want to discuss for a bit.
Lets talk Mall-Ninja wall-hangers. First you might ask, what's a mall-ninja?
A mall ninja is a breed of weapons and combat enthusiast characterized by being so ungrounded in reality as to make even the most hardcore gun nuts shake their heads. Equal parts naïveté, delusion, and obnoxiousness, the mall ninja contributes to countless ill-informed online debates concerning arms, armor, and warfare, and is a common consumer of assorted paramilitary woo, broscience, and shared misconceptions about history and the world. The term "mall ninja" is pejorative; no one self-identifies as such. We hope.
If you're worried there's a simple test you can take to assess your-mall-ninja status.   Good luck.
Now, if you're an avid Master Ken of "Enter the Dojo" disciple, you've probably had all the training and experience you'd need to make your own correct choices when purchasing your own pointies.
When it comes to some real Mall-Ninja wall hanger blade there are some key aspects that seal the classification:
  1. Black. Real Ninja's need black weapons for their Tier One Wet Ops. Powder coated, painted, teflon coated, oxidised, it doesn't matter.
  2. Cord-wrapped handle. Every real street-samurai wants their blade wrapped samurai style, and that means cord-wrapped.
  3. Curves. Like every bad-lady out there it has a curves and every mall-ninja want's a bad lady of their very own.
  4. More curves. See Above, but unnecessary curves are even better.
  5. Extra cutting surfaces. Primary edges aren't very high speed-low drag. For true body-dropping power, you need blades on all faces.
  6. Unnecessary serrations.   It's not a sharks mouth, buddy, its a knife. You need a chainsaw, get a Husky!
  7. Tactical sheath. Drop-leg, back-scabbard or just "ballistic nylon".
  8. A scary name. "No one would surrender to the Dread Pirate Westley."Add a few "NINJA, ZOMBIE or DEATHs in there for good measure.
However; there's a lot of shiny bling out there. Here's a quick guide to some examples.


A - Zombie ass kicker. This is a bad-assed blade, but a serious wall-hanger. Extra serrations, extra edges to catch and snag, it's styled after the Aztec war swords to look extra scary. Ribbon-wrapped rather than cord, and a pretty thin, light steel. I don't have much faith in it's utility.
B - Living dead apocalypse full tang ninja sword.  Twin blades are better than one, obviously. Extra curves and serrations along the non-striking edge of the blade, as well as holes cut into the blade to lighten it, adding weakness.
C -"Hunting Knife." Perhaps if you're the Predator tracking Dutch and the other Rescue Team members.. This no-name piece  actually performs pretty well, regardless of its extra curves, useless serrated spine and extra holes. Its "full-tang, one-piece construction" is quite sturdy and the cord wrap handle well done. It's pretty well balanced, well finished, and were not for the extra holes and the saw on the spine, it might not even qualify as a Wall-hanger for Mall-Ninja's were it not for the dual shoulder strap back-holster  and the extra holes.
D - Black legion undead machete. Scary name, and wicked post-apocalyptic hammer finish. Now just add to the list the impressive looking spiked knuckle-guard, the "zombie-green' cord wrap and the drop-leg sheath and you've a "take-em-all-out before they getcha"special to scare mom with if she ever busts in on you practicing kata in the basement. water-bottles and melons of the world beware. To be fair, the blade appears to be well made, but the fitting are a tad flimsy for my tastes.
E - Z-hunter-axe. Not really an axe. Not really a hunting knife. Unnecessary saw-back serrations, extra curves and hooked edges. Great cord-wrapping and a single piece of steel for resilience, with sick jolly roger logo for extra-scary pirate aesthetic. Maybe if you're going from to room on a beached Somali cargo ship? I have a feeling it wouldn't  serve too well dressing a water-buffalo either. But zombies? narp.
F -KA-BAR War sword On first glance, this one looks like a prime candidate for Mall-Ninja wall-hanging.   It's got some curve to it, a lurid green scale grip, for extra zombie killing power, and a fully decked out nylon thigh sheath. However, its a serious work horse of a knife, but the scary name, and green scale gives them the potential for Mall-Ninja wall hanging.
G - Ontario Black Wind. Not every Mall-ninja wants a blingtastic katana straight out of Highlander or Blade. Some might prefer a more-or-less traditional "ninja-to style" short, straight and heavy sword, which is exactly the kind of blade that the Ontario Knife Co. put into Army Disposals and into the pages of martial arts catalogues. This is a bad-ass blade, undeserving of any scorn, and is in fact one of my go-to blades in the event of Apocalypse or civil unrest.  Even with its high-speed looking kydex scabbard,  just too good to be a wall-hanger.
H -Cold Steel Gladius. Last up from my own collection is the hungry-for blood Gladius from Cold Steel. Now, even the mighty Roman armies had their own groupies and  modern-day hangers on, thanks to a steady stream of "sand and sandals" action pictures. The humble Roman ground-pounder was issued one of these Gaul-stickers and bade go forth and pacify the Empire. The modern version hanging on my wall would have been a high-tech marvel of construction but fit in nicely in the shield-wall. I don't recommend trying to take that angle when trying to explain why you have one lashed to your hip with your Company First Sergeant, but, if you wanted a big ass blade for defending the empire "outside the wire" you could do a lot worse than one of these.



Lets take a moment to talk thickness. Cheap blades are often cut or pressed  from sheets of thin steel. This doesn't offer much cutting mass, strength or rigidity, all things I would want in a fighting blade. Different steels have different densities so its hard to gauge what steel is in the kick-ass zombie slayer you found at the disposal store, but the thickness of the blade can be a good indicator. I've found the thinner the blade, the less likely to be a practical tool (unless you're cutting sushi or shaving).



So. My last bit of advice to prospective blade collectors: Buy quality. It needn't be expensive, but should be from a reputable maker, be it a big company or a small smith. Be sure to give your new-found tool a run through its paces, before staking your life on it, (and get some formal training if possible). Don't be a mall-ninja.

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