Tactical Keychains

Tactical Keychains

Our customers transform our materials into something wonderful through innovation and creativity. Our “Community Stories” series shines a light on some of our hardworking customers and the materials that make up their creations. This week’s focus is on Tactical Keychains, a one-man operation that designs, manufactures, and ships everyday carry (EDC) items to your door.

We had the great opportunity to have a conversation with the man himself, Brad Martin.

 

Online Metals: What is Tactical Keychains and how did it get started?

Brad: I started off working on wind turbines for 7 years, and the end of our local utility contract was coming up. Rather than waiting around to lose my job, I decided to do something about it. I made my first product, the Bottle Grenade Opener, on my little hobby CNC mill. The Bottle Grenade Opener launched on  in December 2012, and with little advertising and no online presence it grew way faster than I ever could’ve imagined.

That was when the light bulb went off! “I can do this.” After multiple requests for new products I saved up, purchased a Tormach 1100, quit my job, and start doing this full time. Although it took a while to get started on Social Media, today I have expanded my presence on Instagram to over 40k followers. Crazy to think a guy in his garage in Iowa can make a living by creating innovative products fueled by complete strangers I now call my friends and customers!

THE PRODUCTS…

Brad has expanded on his product line through continuously finding needs in is everyday life, and was able to make those products a reality. Let’s walk through his great product offerings:

OnlineMetals: So what do you currently offer, and how did you design those?

Brad: First, there was the Bottle Grenade Opener. My very first product, the Bottle Grenade was also something that I “needed.”  If I wanted a beer I would have to use my shirt to twist off the top of a Bud Light Platinum.  In turn putting holes in my shirts, but better than in my hands.  So I designed a bottle opener that would allow anyone to easily twist off the top.  I still use it today, and I designed it in 2012.  Back then I really didn’t have a “shop” just tiny little benchtop machines to work with.  It took 45 minutes to make 1 bottle grenade. The bottle grenade is still on the Tactical Keychains logo.

There’s also the WTF (Wrench that Fits). I needed a little wrench because when I worked on wind turbines, climbing down and then back up a 300′ ladder wasn’t something I liked doing. I wanted something that would act as a wrench, key holder, prybar, and meet all of my other needs in a small package.

Next, we have the TUKK. I needed a small knife for opening packages. My most recent knife, the TUKK XL was also made out of necessity. Who doesn’t need a utility knife that’s small, effective, and you can change the blade in 5 seconds?

Last, there’s the TWEAK & TWEAK TRAY Well, the TUKK XL lead to the TK-Tweak precision screwdriver because I needed a quality screwdriver to assemble my TUKK XL.  It was really just for me, but people said they also wanted one, so I made a few hundred and I’m currently sold out.

 

Bottle Grenade Opener 

Speaking of all things Tactical (Brad and I tease each other a little bit about that whole “Tactical” thing), I am so excited to be doing this story about Brad Martin and his Tactical Keychains business. It’s one of those storybook successes that so many entrepreneurs dream about.  He is his own man with his own business, completely independent, and much loved by his customers.  The fact is, I even had to succumb to his super cool TUKK (Titanium Utility Knife Keychain), and traded our G-Wizard software to him for a TUKK.  It’s just one of many uber-cool products he has created over the years.  Brad’s been a fixture in many of the CNC places I hang out, and we have often exchanged comments and emails.  

 

 

Technology has come a long way, but one old-school staple remains in everyone’s pocket: keys. They’re unavoidable, and most of us even have several keys and key fobs jingling around our keychain. We have keys for our home, car, office, parents’ house, mailbox and so on. And because keys are a necessary part of our everyday carry, a functional keyring or cool keychain is a great way to make use of that space in your pocket.

The best keychains range from simple keyholders to fully functional pocket knives that are sure to get you stopped by airport security. If you have a useful tool on your keychain (pocket knife, bottle opener, etc), then you probably won’t forget your keys when you leave the house because they’re attached to one of your most important EDC items.

If you want to join the army of men taking advantage of this handy pocket space, read on to find our favorite keychains for men. We rounded up 29 coolest keychains that provide a lot of utility beyond keeping all your keys in one place.

 

BEST KEYCHAIN OVERALL

If you’ve never carried a pocket knife before, give it a shot; we promise you won’t go back. And even if you already have a plethora of knives, this best-selling Victorinox Swiss Army knife will still carve a spot in your pocket. At just 2.25 inches, you won’t notice its presence in your pocket or bag, but the knife, file, scissors, tweezers and toothpick included in the multi-tool will come in handy very often. Plus, as you probably already know, the Victorinox Swiss Army knife is really in a league of its own in terms of quality when it comes to multifunctional pocket knives.

 

BEST BOTTLE OPENER

Bottle opener keychains are for the guys who have their priorities straight: keys and beer. But even if you’re not popping cold ones every day, this covert Bar Buddyz bottle opener will come in handy at parties, picnics, beaches and even at home when you’re too lazy to dig around for the opener (it happens to the best of us). The bottle opener has a sleek design that fits smoothly against your leg, and it’s made of durable hard-anodized aluminum, so you’ll be able to throw around without worrying about it breaking.

 

BEST WOVEN

If you’re looking for a distinctive, metal-less keyring, this woven paracord keychain from Zorratin is worth your consideration. The paracord loop has a nice feel in your hand that’s sturdy enough to last through all kinds of heavy use, while the keyring itself is thick and offers plenty of storage space for your keys and other essentials.

BEST MINIMALIST

Looking for something clean and simple to brighten up your keys? This twisted gold keyring from J.Crew is a fantastic and handsome looking option that adds just the right touch to any set of keys. J.Crew is obviously best known for their stylish men’s and women’s clothing, but this keyring currently has us all over their accessory section.