Pros: Weight, Construction, Materials
Cons: Weight, Balance, None
First review in three and a half years….
I figured that while it’s nice to have in case I have to defend myself, it’s not very likely I’ll ever have to use this so I should go as cheap as possible. So, it was between the three cheapest batons on KC, the “Steel Baton” ($14), the United Cutlery ($23) or the Smith & Wesson ($35). The UC has two different grip patterns on the handle, the other two have the same pattern the whole length of their handles. The UC sheath has a sleeve that’s only half length so it covers only the lower half of the handle, making it easier to grab hold of the baton and pull it out without it getting hung up in the sheath. The S&W has an almost full length sleeve for a sheath, the other baton has a half length sleeve similar to the UC sheath. For those two reasons and because it was less expensive than the S&W, I went with the United Cutlery baton. I had never handled one of these collapsable batons before so I didn’t know how they worked other than that you swing them to deploy them. For those who don’t know how they work, here’s a quick explanation. The end of the handle where the metal tubes come out and, the end of the middle tube, are tapered smaller than the rest of the tube length so that when you swing the handle to deploy it, the steel tubes come flying out and get wedged, by friction, in the tapered sections at the end of the tubes (hence the term “friction lock”). Once the tubes are wedged in place they won’t come loose, you have to go outside and pile drive the end of the baton straight down onto concrete or asphalt to dislodge the tubes, and don’t think about doing that on your living room floor, you WILL damage your floor, you might even chip the concrete outside, that’s how tightly the tubes get wedged together. Using the baton is easy, When the steel tubes are recessed in the handle just give it a good, hard swing of the arm (and throw in a flick of the wrist) and the tubes will fly out and get wedged together. Once they’re out, the baton is very rigid and sturdy feeling and the tubes do not wiggle or rattle. Be careful not to deploy it in the direction of anyone or anything near you as you might injure them or damage something. Like I said above, to collapse the baton you have to hold the handle tightly and pile drive the end of the baton straight down, HARD, possibly several times on a very hard surface like concrete to dislodge the tubes. Once the tubes are loose you just push them back into the handle and when the tip of the small tube is pushed all the way into the handle the tubes will not come out until you swing it again to deploy it. Since deploying and dislodging it puts a lot of stress on the steel tubes, I now leave the tubes a little outside the handle so that when I want to practice swinging it I just point the handle towards the ground and let the tubes slide (gently) out, that way the tubes don’t lock hard together and I don’t have to pound it on the ground to dislodge them. The tubes rattle a little when I swing it loose like that but it probably extends the life of the baton. It doesn’t say what type of steel is used for the UC baton but the S&W baton uses 4130 steel and I figure the UC uses the same or similar low carbon (possibly case hardened?) steel that I think has been blued to inhibit corrosion. The handle has a hard, very slightly spongy, very grippy rubber covering with two different grip patterns on it. The lower half has a ring pattern, the upper half has a honeycomb with criss-crossing ridges pattern. It’s not likely it will slip out of your hand, dry or wet, with or without gloves on. It does have “that rubber odor” but only when you put your nose right up to it. The sheath is a 1 3/4” wide, thick nylon fabric strap that’s folded over and riveted on the bottom to make an 8” long loop, then riveted again in the center to make two, roughly 3” sections into belt loops. The sleeve that holds the baton is a 3” long (square) tube made of thick nylon fabric that’s sewn onto the belt loop part. Both the top and bottom of the sleeve are open ended but there’s a thick nylon strap (with velcro) over the bottom that you can adjust to allow the baton to ride higher up or lower down in the sleeve. There’s also a big plastic buckle on the bottom that you can run paracord or a strap through to tie the bottom of the sheath to your leg or maybe hang the sheath upside down from a chest strap. There’s also a nylon (with velcro) strap that wraps around the top of the handle to keep the baton from sliding out of the sheath. This baton was made in Taiwan. All in all both the baton and the sheath look and feel solid and well made. I also want to thank Knife Center for the fast shipping and excellent service.