The WJQ-308 Militray Shovel is all four syllables AMAZAZING.
If you have not seen the youtube promotional video please stop what you are doing and click the link above. You will be very glad you did.
As we begin let me first say we here at Green Beetle are natural skeptics. In this particular case I blame the video above which may have been a viral hit but has also lead to a branding issue for the shovel. The video is just hard to take seriously. Let me assure you, however, this shovel is no cheesy, Chinese, spaghetti-westerned piece of boobery.
Our authentic, made in China (yes, read that again) military shovel was delivered direct from Asia with all the postage marks seen on the baseball Bugs Bunny threw around the world to convince an angry little Christopher Columbus that the earth is round. Well the earth is round! And given the chance Bugs would ditch his baseball and use this little miracle of modern engineering to dig straight to China and prove it instead.
Legitimate Functions: Shovel, pick, saw, axe, wire cutter, hammer, bottle opener, ruler, nail puller, blade, can opener, trowel.
Dubious Functions: Lug wrench, anchor, grappling hook, shield, paddle, scissors.
The good, the bad, the ugly. The first thing to note is that the shovel is well made. It has a nice sturdy acacia wood handle with a grip carved into it and comes folded up in a handy woodland camo pouch that also seems sturdy. We banged ours around using all the functions we could find. We split wood with it, hammered nails, sawed logs, dug a hole, opened beer bottles and used it as a trowel. Ours performed exceptionally at all of these and was ready for more abuse. So do not confuse this shovel with a flimsy $20 tri-fold camp shovel, it is the real thing.
The blade comes greased and dulled so we sharpened ours out of the box. Of course with a significant amount of digging it will dull quickly.
Which leads to the number one internet complaint about the shovel. It is tool grade hardened steel meaning it is meant to take a pounding, but not hold an edge with repeated abuse. Our wire cutting blade held up fine with routine use. After cutting nice, thick nail with it we found an indention on the cutting surface where the nail was cut. So? Sew buttons, and don’t cut nails with it. Wire cutters aren’t made for that.
The shovel’s second generation brethren, the WJQ-308 II, is heat treated to a slightly harder HRC and is likely to do better holding an edge. The 308 II comes with a slick black paint job and the letters “Ultimate Survival Shovel” on the side. Apparently there are other differences in manufacturing but we can not tell by holding the two side by side.
That’s the good and bad, now what about the ugly? The price is unreasonable, even in bulk. Collector’s and awestruck individuals will still think it is money well spent but when Cold Steel sells a solid performer in its Spetnaz shovel for around $20… We also have concerns in that no US distributor exists making these items effectively warranty free and purchased “as is”.
Overall, it looks to be great little tool that delivers. Now, what can be done about that price?
Addendum: Here’s a video of us using it as a grappling hook!