LMF firesteels compared Army, Scout, Mini

Items to keep you alive in the event you must evacuate: discussions of basic Survival Kits commonly called "Bug Out Bags" or "Go Bags"

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survivalkitmag
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LMF firesteels compared Army, Scout, Mini

Post by survivalkitmag » Tue Mar 19, 2013 2:26 pm

Hey guys

I've had the Army model fire steel by Light My Fire for a while, and find it a good piece of kit.

I value compact and lightweight items for a bug out bag though, and wanted to see how the Scout and Mini models by LMF compared, as they are smaller/lighter.

See the pics below to compare size and thickness of ferro rods between the models. Plus if you love bug out gear as much as me, it is basically just eye-candy..

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From the left: Army, Scout, Mini.

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Ruler here for scale. The Scout and Mini are about the same length.

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The Army is a fair bit thicker, which means it will last for more strikes, but it weighs more in your survival kit.

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Also shown are the Sparkie and Ranger which I reviewed for Issue 7 of SKM, but found some problems with them.

I will be field testing the striker from the Mini on the ferro rod of the Ranger, as the Ranger is light and compact - I just found the strikers to be more effective on the LMF models.

Fo the record,weights are: Army 2oz/54g , Scout 1.1oz/29g , Mini 0.5oz/14g

Spike
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congochris
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Re: LMF firesteels compared Army, Scout, Mini

Post by congochris » Tue Mar 19, 2013 11:18 pm

Did a similar test one year during the COZS wintergeddon I'm interested to see if you get similar results! Would be nice to know if bigger really is better as we decided, or if you're able to get great sparks with all of them. I think we used to attached stock strikers with each and didn't mix and match though.

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Re: LMF firesteels compared Army, Scout, Mini

Post by 111t » Wed Mar 20, 2013 11:15 am

When I'm rocking my full 'boyscout' belt I carry the army model in my leatherman wave sheath. I noticed that on either side of the sheath is essentially a sleeve of elastic nylon that fits the army model perfectly. I'm sure to put the lanyard around the snap flap to secure it, but I can't remember it ever working its way loose. I use the back of the saw blade or my svord peasant as a striker. I highly recommend using the saw blade over the oem striker. Back when sg had actual firesteels in that 3/$14 deal I used to recommend those as they were a crazy good deal. They were slightly thinner and slightly longer than the army model... Much more robust than the Lmf scout. Now that they're not available I recommend the Lmf army or a Doan bar.

A little bit off topic... Lots of people hate the Doan bar. In my opinion it's excellent as a last ditch fire option. Everyday use? No. I personally favor a lighter of some sort. But if you need something that will store indefinitely, be impervious to water, work well even if its been stored at well below zero, be compact and give you a FLAME. I don't see what the problem is. I keep one in a sandwich bag duck tape cocooned to my mora sheath. It's not the classiest looking rig, but I don't care. The firesteels have a lot more 'long term' use ability than the thin little one glued to the Doan bar.

So that brings us to why carry a firesteel that can't make flame by itself instead of a lighter? I have to admit that every time I go out backpacking and use the army model firesteel to light up a waxy ball or perhaps some tinder fungus I have never been in a 'high stakes' situation. It's usually just me practicing the skill. If for some reason I failed, no big deal... I'll just whip out the zippo. If that doesn't work there's always the bic. And then there's the .99 coleman match case with wax dipped strike anywhere matches and trick birthday candles.

Firesteels are good at lighting some types of tinder extenders. Firesteels are good at lighting camp stoves. They're good at getting an ember from shelf fungus and if you happen to have dry char cloth they're good at that too. You can process found materials such as dry grass, and cattail fluff into a texture that will take a spark. They work when they're wet and when they're cold just like the Doan bar... But you have to add something else where the Doan bar had a built in fuel source. If I tipped myself into a frigid October stream, I would try my lighter first. If the lighter didn't work at first, I'd try to blow the water out of it. I'd try and try to get that lighter to work. If I had waxy balls and a firesteel, I'd go to that next. If I didn't have waxy balls... I would rather have a Doan bar than a firesteel.

... If that makes any sense...

Anyway, I'll post some photos of the leatherman setup later.
All the best!
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Re: LMF firesteels compared Army, Scout, Mini

Post by maverick12 » Wed Mar 20, 2013 2:01 pm

Been looking at LMF firesteels for a while trying to justify their price. Can't wait to see your results

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Re: LMF firesteels compared Army, Scout, Mini

Post by Woods Walker » Wed Mar 20, 2013 2:46 pm

111t wrote: A little bit off topic... Lots of people hate the Doan bar. In my opinion it's excellent as a last ditch fire option. Everyday use? No.
Many of the same people who dislike the Doan bar love their firesteels. :? I couldn't never understand that as there is a firesteel right on the bar. Maybe it is a pride thing. I don't need no stinking magnesium! :lol: This is understandable but the way they get all preachy about it yea think there wasn't a firesteel attached to the bar.

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On topic I prefer the LMF or Strike Force type firesteel over the molting glob spark types. They're just easier for me to control the shower of sparks but this is personal preference. Both will get the job done. Same applies to a Doan bar.
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Re: LMF firesteels compared Army, Scout, Mini

Post by 111t » Wed Mar 20, 2013 7:56 pm

So I took a couple of comparison photos of my firesteel and edc gear:
Svord peasant, Leatherman wave, Zippo, flashlight.
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The nylon elastic has two walls:
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The LMF army fits inside:
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The lanyard wraps around the flap.
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It fits almost perfectly:
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The leatherman saw makes a dandy-fine striker:
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So does the back of the closed svord:
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Here is a size comparison of the LMF army with a sportsman's guide generic china model.
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And now an edge on view to show the relative thickness. I found them to be comparable in quality to the LMF. (sorry for the oof)
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Here they are side by side again with a doan bar.
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All the best!
-Paul

"A rifle behind every blade of grass?"
"No, but any blade of grass"

Ferrocerium...You know how to spell it... This is how you pronounce it...[fer-oh-seer-ee-uhm]
Bushcraft/Dayhiking Kit
Three season 72 Hour Kit
Ledmark alcohol cookset!!!
New Production Kerosene Pressure Stoves!!!
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Re: LMF firesteels compared Army, Scout, Mini

Post by survivalkitmag » Thu Mar 21, 2013 3:34 am

Sweet, nice pics Paul.

I'll have to do some research into that torch. I'm interested in camp lighting too, and it's always good to see what other people like to use.

Spike
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Re: LMF firesteels compared Army, Scout, Mini

Post by Flying Lead » Sun Mar 24, 2013 5:13 pm

I have a 3 LMF Army model strikers. One is 6 years old, one is 2 years old, the other is new. The difference is the quality of the striker. The oldest one is much better quality. The 2 year old one sucks and the new one is OK. They are cutting corners no doubt. I replaced the 2 year old striker with a piece of hacksaw blade, the one that came with it made few sparks and was full of sharp edges that would cut a finger.
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