Book & DVD Reviews

Arms and Armor from Iran: The Bronze Age to the…

book1.jpgArms and Armor from Iran: The Bronze Age to the End of the Qajar Period
By Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani

Hardcover, 776 pages, $199.00, Art Stock Books Ltd, c/o Continental Sales Inc., 213 W. Main Street, Barrington, IL 60010; (847) 381-6530 www.artstockbooks.com

Every once in a while I come across a book I consider, beyond a doubt, monumental. “Arms and Armor From Iran” is one of those works. This incredible book starts from the very invention of metal weaponry during the Bronze Age and works its way up to relatively recent times (Qajar Period, 1785-1925). Ancient Persia was the actual source for many of the Wootz and Damascus steel weapons modern knifesmiths find so fascinating. Both the quality of the steel and the ornamentation of these weapons make them true works of art.

One of the first things you notice is how little basic edged weapons have changed for the last few thousand years. Many of the Bronze-Age daggers would look right at home on the belt of a modern Special Forces soldier. In the section on more recent weapons, individual chapters cover the “shamshir” sword, “qama” and “qaddare” short swords (I didn’t know the difference till I read this book), “khanjar” dagger, “kard” knife, and “pishqabz” knife. Spears, maces, axes, bows and arrows, shields and body armor are also covered in detail.

Over 370 pages are devoted to color plates of the weapons described. Close-ups are offered of many of the Wootz weapons to give you a real feel for the grain structure of the legendary steel used in each. This is a huge book; it must weigh close to 20 pounds! Every possible aspect of Persian weapons and their history is covered in great detail. This book will be a must read for every serious student of antique edged weapons.

book2.jpgMastering The Balisong Knife: Revised and Updated
By Michael D. Janich

DVD, 140 minutes, $49.95 Paladin Press, Gunbarrel Tech Center
7077 Winchester Circle, Dept. TK Boulder, CO 80301; (303) 443-7250
www.paladin-press.com

As most longtime readers of Tactical Knives probably know, Mike Janich is the acknowledged expert when it comes to cutlery journalists and the balisong knife. Now you can learn how to master the lightning-fast techniques of the balisong knife straight from The Man. Completely revised and updated using state-of-the-art digital equipment, multiple camera angles and crystal-clear slow-motion, this groundbreaking video production will teach you an impressive array of balisong techniques, ranging from the simplest of openings to the actual deployment of the butterfly knife in combat.

Janich begins with a set of basic, reverse-grip and intermediate openings and closings that will increase your dexterity and familiarity with the balisong. From there, he progresses to the more visually impressive techniques, such as the helicopter spin, the finger roll, and grip and hand changes. Then, building on the foundation of skill imparted in the previous movements, he teaches the aerial techniques: tossing your knife into the air and catching it in the open, ready position.

Whether you’re simply a hobbyist or an experienced knife fighter, this video will open your eyes as to what the balisong knife can really do.

dvd.jpgDEER PROCESSING 101: Quarter and De-Bone, Big Game in the Field, Advanced Wild Game Processing, Volume One, Sausage

DVD, Deer Processing, 3 hours, De-Bone Big Game in the Field and Advanced Wild Game Processing , 1 hour 45 minutes each. $19.95 per DVD.

Outdoor Edge Cutlery Corp.
4699 Nautilus Ct. South 503, Dept. TK
Boulder, CO 80301; (800) 447-3343 www.outdooredge.com

Few things are as daunting for the new hunter as having that first big game animal on the ground and wondering, “Where do I start?” On this new set of DVDs from Outdoor Edge, professional meat cutter Brad Lockwood leads you completely through the entire process from down animal to ground sausage.

It should probably come as no surprise that the knives he prefers on all three tapes are supplied by Outdoor Edge. He certainly makes this company’s folding filet knife look like an excellent choice for field boning chores. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that no two parts of the country field dress game the same way. While Lockwood does a great job of showing how to bone an elk in the field, I did wonder a little about his method of mixing all the cuts together in one cloth bag for packing. I tend to have a feeling many of us will not be all that sure what each chunk of meat is once we get home. Nevertheless, I did learn several tricks of the trade that I hadn’t run into before.

Moving to the other end of the process, I tried Lockwood’s method of making breakfast sausage and found it very good. I’m a big believer in using every last scrap of meat of a kill, and grinding sausage is a big part of that. These are excellent tapes for both the novice and the experienced hunter.

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