Submitted by Scott F Murphy
Here I go again - throwing in my 2 cents.
I used to have the standard magnesium fire starter - while it works well, it basically ruins what would otherwise be a perfectly good knife. The Blastmatch unit is amazing - I have even been able to get damp tinder started using this thing - the sparks are really hot. The main differences between the two units are the ability to use the Blastmatch with one hand, but both produce a lot of sparks.
(No, I don't work for REI, they just ROCK.)
ED - Last time I was in REI I didn't see the BlastMatch (though I might not have recognized it) but I did see the other striker you mention. As you say, the only downside to the magnesium bar/flint combination is you tear up a perfectly good knife using it. Now granted, in my case, I have been using a small pocket knife for all my fire starting dirty work, and that's all I use the knife for, not needing to carry a separate knife to get the fire going would be nice. I especially like the one handed set up on the BlastMatch. I assume the flint is spring loaded in the handle and when you push the release it "shoots out" along the steel striker to make sparks. To reload it all you do is push the flint back in (I assume this can be done just by pushing the unit against a solid surface)?