Grid-Free Climate Control: 3 Innovative Ways To Keep Your Home’s Temperature Comfortable

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Grid-Free Climate Control: 3 Innovative Ways To Keep Your Home's Temperature Comfortable

Spring is perhaps the best time of the year to experiment with super-efficient heating and cooling systems, since the temperature can flip from chilly one day to warm the next.

However, another reason why spring may be a good time to get those systems up and running is because temperature swings can strain our AC systems. Allow me to explain. Much like automobiles, the stopping and starting of the AC motor — again and again — consumes lots of energy and also can lead to earlier-than-expected repairs. This is especially true for homes that have a heat pump on their system.

But there are innovative, off-grid, eco-efficient ways to stay comfortable during spring, no matter the temperature. And all three can run without the grid:

1. Compost hot-water system

Whether the idea came from a Ph.D. in engineering or a backwoods farmer with a huge amount of creative common sense, I wish I could shake that person’s hand for inventing the compost water heater. The system is set up by winding a heat-capable hose through the compost pile, and then routing it back into the building that requires hot water.

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Hey, it’s no secret that compost generates heat. Heck, when piles of hay and mulch are left alone, they can spontaneously combust. So, why not put that kind of thermal energy to work? Chances are that you probably have a compost pile somewhere on the homestead, right?

 

 

2. The 5-gallon bucket swamp cooler

For those of you who live in the west or southwestern part of the U.S., you’re probably well-acquainted with the concept of the swamp cooler. When water evaporates, it will expend a tiny amount of energy and remove heat in the process – similar to how our sweat glands work. That’s how swamp coolers work.

Obviously, this system doesn’t exactly serve those of us who live in traditionally humid summer climates, but there’s one extremely handy way to harness the science of a swamp cooler and combine it with a ridiculous level of portability. And since this thing will make even a small solar panel array barely break a sweat, I figured the bucket swamp cooler made the cut.

 

 

3. Improvised geothermal climate control

And last but not least, I give you the whole kit-and-caboodle: the improvised geothermal climate control system. This one will also require low-wattage pumps and fans, but again, solar panels ought to do the trick with this one, as well.

The system essentially works like this: Even just a few feet below the ground, temps tend to settle at around a brisk 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit, holding steadily all year-round. In fact, if you’re able to dig deep enough, temps even can approach freezing. That’s why, for this particular system, the climate-control magic is derived from its subterranean water supply. In its most basic form, the system uses cool underground water from your homestead’s well to get the job done. To learn more, check out this great article.

All you need to do is move a little water and air, and the earth itself can take care of the hard part.

Have you experimented with any of these systems? Share your tips in the section below:

Be Prepared For A Downed Grid. Learn More Here.

Home Defense Shotgun Rounds

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Let’s say you own a shotgun for home defense, millions of people do. The next question is what sort of ammunition do you use in aforementioned weapon? My original load-out for my first firearm was #4 birdshot…which isn’t the best round to use. Here is a video that explains what sort of ammunition you should […]

The post Home Defense Shotgun Rounds appeared first on Smart Suburban Survival.

PIC REVIEW – KRAV MAGA – Tactical Survival – Personal Safety in Action

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There are many situations in which you could find yourself without a means to defend yourself.  In those situations, knowing something like Krav Maga would be invaluable.  The best training would be one on one with an expert.  However, if you can’t afford training or live in an area where you can’t access a gym, a book might be the next best thing.

In Krav Maga, Tactical Survival, Personal Safety in Action, Gershon Ben Keren writes, “Rather than simply present an encyclopedia of techniques, I have tried to demonstrate what real-world violence looks like and how Krav Maga can be used to deal with it.  This is not a book about techniques, but about solutions to violence – which may be non-physical as well as physical.”

Getting the pictures for this review was a little frustrating.  The pages are so glossy that every camera angle that I tried reflected back the glare (see below).  The pages are also thick, making the book heavy.  All of these things are not negatives.  They speak to the quality materials the publisher used to put this book together.

Krav Maga, Tactical Survival, Personal Safety in Action can be found at Amazon.  It has 44 reviews and a full five stars.

Peace,
Todd

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Probability for the use of nuclear weapons during the next four years nears 80%

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I hate to continually bring you doom and gloom, but in short, the probability that nuclear weapons will be used within the next four years has spiked to its highest

The Prepper Learning Curve

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1_featured_prepper_learning_curve

prepare_SWOT-2Often in the process of reading and studying prepper and survival information the terminology can often seem to get confusing.  It is part of the prepper learning process.  For the newbie prepper this can be very confusing until enough knowledge is acquired to sort it all out.  It would be great if somebody would develop a prepping dictionary or encyclopedia, but, as far as I know, there are none yet.  

By Dr. John J. Woods, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

But until then, it is up to each of us to learn to decipher the value of all the prepping material available within this World Wide Web in which we exist.   We must then cull out the information that is much more melodramatic than useful — like much of the mainstream media news.

Initiate the Learning Curve

survival_book_bunker_military_survival_army_sasAs they say, knowledge is power, and if you are just starting down the pathway to becoming a survival prepper, then the road can be long, narrow, rocky, and full of potholes.  Early on, you have to learn to navigate through all the available information portals out there.  There is a ton of useful, practical, and insightful knowledge to acquire.  This is required to achieve a full understanding of what needs to be learned about prepping and survival.  It is the first step among many, many more in this long journey you have decided to undertake.  

Survival information is available from many sources.  All you have to do is glance down the bookshelves at a well-stocked bookstore to see what is already available in print.  The subjects vary widely from philosophical discussions to skills books, to hard core how-to books on every possible topic related to surviving.  Building a good, thorough library of survival topic books will return back many times the value of the investment.  

Consider too, many of the government and specifically military training manuals on many subjects commonly taught to members of the armed services.  Generally speaking, the basic training manuals offer top quality information, though some of it may be somewhat dated in comparison to today’s technologies.   However, basic survival information changes little in terms of skills development.  How to build a camping fire or survival shelter does not change much.  All of these basic essential prepping skills need to be learned though.  

A ton of survival information is also available through instructional videos, and CDs.  You can find out how to do about anything in the world by searching Youtube sources for presentations and backyard craftsmen doing this or that.  Live seminars and demonstrations at outdoor stores, craft fairs, and educational institutions should also be researched and attended.  

Of course, the Internet is jam packed with survival sites that present unending quantities of prepper information as well.  To get started down this route to open these doors, just perform a Google search on any number of survival or prepper related subject topics.  Your computer will subsequently explode.  

survival_book_bunker_woodlore_wisdom_game_processingYou will uncover more information sources than you can likely handle at least in the short term.  Find a few sites that look credible then check them out over an extended period to see if the information is accurate and reliable.  Try out their suggestions to see if they in work.  Then, continue to search even more topics to build your own “favorites” lists.  In this way you more or less create your own survival-prepper library.  But remember these sources are contingent upon the power grid remaining intact.  So, retain many hard copies.  

Sources of Reliable Prepper Info

fullsizerender_7Over time you begin to catalog a number of source resources that you will tend to count on.  Lock down these sites, manuals or books for continued reference.  While a published source like a book may become rather static, web sites are constantly changing and presenting new and updated information, news flashes, fresh political insights, and other pertinent data and resource information.  Knowing trends in political action, social unrest, and even changing weather patterns can yield valuable updates.  

Likewise you somehow came to land on our web sites of Survival Cache and SHTF Blog.  We’re certainly confident that the information found on our sites is fully researched and as accurate as the information available to us.  We also put out a lot of inquiry information seeking reader input, because we are not the sole sources of all survival information nor do we possess the end all experiences of everything survivalist.  We value your feedback, too.  That is what makes our sites even more valuable to ramp up preppers and to veteran survival enthusiasts alike.  

shtf_survival_cache_shtfblog_windham_weaponry_308_ar10_r18fsfsm-308_aimpoint_comp_ml3_outdoors_midwest_industriesLikewise our product reviews come from firsthand experience.  That does not always mean we hiked to the heights of the Himalayas to test a pair of socks, but our site writers spend considerable time in the fields and woods of the world actually working with the gear and equipment we comment on.  If something is no good, we say so, or otherwise you would never see the item reviewed here.  We try our best to protect and advise our readership.  

We also present thought provoking articles on a wide variety of subjects, often controversial and sometimes highly opinionated.  We approach theoretical topics, speculations, the psychology and politics of prepping and SHTF survival.  These are all parts of the complex prepping puzzle.  

As with any source of information though, it is your responsibility to wade through the swamp without getting snake bitten.  The best approach is to trust, but verify.  Don’t take anything you read at face value until you cross reference it with other sources just to be certain.  I mean your survival and life may well depend on it.  

The Magazine Rack Sources

book_shelfThe next time you have time at a well-stocked bookstore or even the grocery store, cruise by the magazine rack.  It is in vogue these days for a variety of media sources to be producing slick magazines covering all kinds of approaches to survival, preparedness, survival weapons and all the related subjects.  Make certain such publications fit your needs.  Many of them seem to take on an almost mercenary approach to survival, not the usual tone for everyday types of SHTF the common person faces.  You be the judge.  

Take from such sources what information you can use, especially presentations on products.  If you can afford $500 pocket knives and $6,000 survival bang-bangs, good for you.  Maybe you have an extra $150,000 for a converted military vehicle made into a doomsday escape ride.  In contrast though, look for practical products, reasonably priced that could be a real useful tool to add to your gear list or BOB.  

Whatever sources you purview, be certain to “vet” them like congress does a new Supreme Court nominee.  Do not take for granted that any particular source is valid, much less the information they present.  Check for credentials, biographies, backgrounds, and experiences.  

Remember, too, that every experienced prepper source offering information, skills explanations, or how-to instructions does not have to come from a Navy Seal, Delta Force, Black Ops, or trained by yet any other cloak and dagger outfit.  By contrast, I have learned a lot of things from Boy Scouts, and years of plain old realistic experiences while camping or hunting.  

The prepper learning curve never flattens out regardless of time or experience.  It is indeed a lifelong learning process.  But to ride to the end of the tunnel, you have to jump on the train.  Consume all the information you can, study it, test it, practice it, and live it.  Then if a real SHTF situation arises, you will be at your prep best to survive it.  Trust me, the enlightenment is worth the travel.

 

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25 Survival Shelter Tarp Configurations Infographic

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25 Survival Shelter Tarp Configurations Infographic

 

Courtesy Of  rollingfox.com with this graphic.

25 Tarp Configurations Infographic

 

The folks over at Rolling Fox let me know about their 25 Survival Shelter Tarp Configurations Infographic and I had to share it with you guys. 

 

 

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The post 25 Survival Shelter Tarp Configurations Infographic appeared first on Survival Punk.

Survival Gear Review: Leupold LTO Tracker Thermal Imager

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1_Featured_Leupold_LTO_Tracker_thermal_imager_truck_engine

2_Leupold_LTO_Tracker_thermal_imager_bird_in_treeAlternate universes live just outside the wavelengths of light we can see with our eyes. Doctors use X-rays, astronomers use radio waves, and the more prepared folks can use infrared. IR, or infrared, comes in two flavors, reflected and emitted. Gen 1 night vision uses reflected infrared light to supplement any ambient light. By using an IR emitter or IR flashlight, a scene can be lit up when viewed with night vision optics, yet remain completely dark and invisible to the naked eye.

By Doc Montana, a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache.com

Thermal, on the other hand, uses a special camera to view the heat signature of objects, people, and animals. Those new to Thermal Optics or TO, are in for a surprise. Thermal imaging is like magic when needing to see inside, through, or across the wide open. And now Leupold has put a durable, versatile, and powerful thermal imager onto the market and into the hands of hunters, preparers, and anyone who wants or needs visual superpowers.

Thermal Dynomite

3_Leupold_LTO_Tracker_thermal_imager_battery_housingThe Leupold LTO offers a six viewing choices, and a 1x-6x zoom. The LTO runs for 10 hours on a single CR123 battery, and is built like a tank. At a hair over five and a half inches, and a dense 10 ounces, the LTO (presumably Leupold Thermal Optic) is precision machined out of aluminium and has that rock solid Leupold scope feel. The uses for the Leupold LTO are infinite, and range from those anticipated and necessary tasks such as tracking injured game, or peering through brush for critters or people. And I do mean “peering through”. The Leupold LTO can see beyond and through brush that blocks normal vision, and it makes no difference if it’s full daylight or the pitch blackness of night.

Instead of a photograph, a thermal camera creates a thermogram by focusing the emitted infrared light (think heat or temperature) of objects in the field of view, and then digitally processes them. The end result is a image you can see on a monitor or display that converted the invisible (to us) temperature differences in the scene into a set of shapes and colors that we can see and understand. The set of options in the Leupold LTO’s color pallet provide various ways to interpret the heat signatures of objects. Some pallets work better than others with specific subjects.

A fun idea to consider is that rattlesnakes and other animals that use infrared information in their hunting could be viewing the world the same way you might with the Leupold LTO. It doesn’t take an excessive amount of mental gymnastics to imagine seeing temperature, and it certainly didn’t escape Hollywood with such movies as Predator. And whether or not a layer of mud would be enough to hide Arnold from the Predator’s thermal imaging is a discussion for later.

4_Leupold_LTO_Tracker_thermal_imager_case_closedThe Leupold LTO is ripe for a good padded case. I don’t know if Leupold has plans for one, but I found a Nitecore flashlight case to be on the right track. It holds the Leupold LTO in a way that it can be used while in the case, as well as being able to wear the Leupold LTO around my neck or belt, and deploy instantly and as necessary. The case uses a Velcro closure flap that covers the eyepiece, but also allows the thermal camera on the opposite side open for business like an old-school holster. If I were Leupold, I would consider a single Fastex buckle cover system that in one-buckle release flips open the two end covers and frees the optics for viewing. Given the hard-use environments that this Leupold LTO will thrive in, and the potential life-and-death situations that the Leupold LTO could find itself in, a dedicated padded case might be more than a good idea.

Now You See It

In the field, the Leupold LTO is nothing short of amazing. The Leupold LTO is simple to use. Hold down the on-button for a few seconds and the Leupold LTO springs to life. The LTO remembers its last thermal color setting, and fires up at 1x. The Leupold LTO can zoom to a higher digital magnification either by steps when clicking the zoom button, or holding the zoom button down and zipping up in magnification level at tiny increments from one to six then dropping back to one again in an infinite circle.

5_Leupold_LTO_Tracker_thermal_imager_green_forestAn odd feature that asks more questions than it answers is that when the on/off buttons is toggled, a set of crosshairs appears. Since the Leupold LTO is not recommended for mounting on a rifle even though it’s an obvious one-inch tube that would have not trouble mating with conventional optics mounts. The crosshairs are a helpful addition if you have the Leupold LTO in a tripod mount, or other fixed container, but unlike the FLIR Thermal Optic Cameras, placing the crosshairs on a target does not provide any specific imaging info. However, there is something known as software creep where extra coded and features appear on something not yet designed for the capability of the code. So if I had to guess, it’s only a matter of time before the hardware is durable enough to sit in front of a red dot like the Leupold DeltaPoint Pro giving the shooter a $10,000 experience through a $800 (street price) thermal optic.

And Why?

Here are dozen uses for the Leupold LTO that will make a difference when it matters.

  1. When things go bump in the night. While night vision might be a go-to solution, but when the “bump” is hiding, thermal imaging may be able to see through the concealment. Remember when the Boston Marathon Bomber was found hiding in a sailboat? It was thermal imaging that give away his position.
  2. Locating dangerous heat sources, fires, and overheated electrical components.
  3. Finding people and animals in thick smoke.
  4. Identifying recently driven vehicles.
  5. Detecting heat leaks in your home or camp.
  6. Comparing body temperatures, fevers, and injury hot spots.
  7. Looking back in time to where someone or some animal might have been hiding.
  8. Looking through walls for hidden compartments and doors.
  9. Looking through clothes for the outline of a concealed weapon.
  10. Stalking game while hunting, especially when animals are bedded down.
  11. Tracking an injured animal or person by following the thermal signature of the blood trail.
  12. Identifying the living from the dead.

The Leupold LTO has six different viewing modes or color palettes as Leupold calls them: Red, Green, White-hot, Black-hot, Black-highlight, and White-highlight. Its field of view is about 21 degrees and it has a 6x continuous digital zoom. There is no focus on the Leupold LTO, nor is there a need for one.

Behind the Curtain

The single CR123 battery provides about 10 hours of continuous use, or 20 minutes per day for a month. To access the battery compartment, a knurled ring in the center of the Leupold LTO is spun unscrewing the two halves of the unit. A flexible circuit spans the gap and access to a battery pocket.

6_Leupold_LTO_Tracker_thermal_imager_with_fireplaceThe operating temperature for the Leupold LTO is from -4 F to 140F, and it has a range of 600 yards according to Leupold, but I’m not sure what limits it. Likely it is that the resolution of the screen won’t provide much useful information about objects far away because the tiny screen is only 240 by 204 pixels. For reference, an Apple Watch is 312 by 390 pixels and an iPhone 7 screen is 1334 by 740 pixels. So out at a hundred yards, a human is only a few pixels wide and a few more than that tall on the LTO screen.  Another technical consideration when presenting imagery on a screen is the refresh rate or frame rate. The  Leupold LTO runs at 30hz. The human eye can detect the pauses in video if the frame rate drops below 20. So at 30, the Leupold LTO produces an image that mimics real world movement without jerks or jumps.

As mentioned, the aluminium shell is wonderfully strong, but the housing is also water resistant to IP67 standards which in English means IP=Ingress Protection, 6=total dust protection on a scale of 0-6, and the 7= “waterproof” to water immersion up to one meter. The IP67 is also the same rating of the iPhone 7.

The Magic Golden Ring

7_Leupold_LTO_Tracker_thermal_imager_in_handAs a Leupold Gold Ring product, Leupold will stand behind the  Leupold LTO with its excellent warranty for up to five years on the electronics. And frankly I’m not sure what else would need service except for the electronics.  I know there will be blowback when suggesting battery powered devices for survival situations. Of course the electronics can break and the batteries can die, but if it doesn’t and they don’t you have some incredible superpowers in the meantime. And the way I look at it is that many survival situations are short term and you can use all the help you can get. But if things really go bad, possibly for a long time, the first few hours, days or weeks are a critical time where you need as many superpowers as you can get. The  Leupold LTO really will give you superpowers.

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The Emergency Preparedness Test

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Survival Basics Preparedness Test | Backdoor Survival

In January 2011, I did a walk-around-the-house inventory to assess my state of my preparedness. On that day, I officially became a prepper. Since then I have made it my mission to educate myself and the world as I put into place long-term survival tactics to ensure both safety and comfort in the event a major incident or disaster. Something I did annually during those early days was to take a Preparedness Test. I had forgotten about it until recently but decided with my recent move, it was time to bring it to the forefront and take it again.

Are you interested in taking or re-taking the preparedness test? If so, keep reading.

The post The Emergency Preparedness Test by Gaye Levy first appeared on Backdoor Survival.

Gallstones: Diagnosis and Treatment

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gall bladder stones

gallstones

The gall bladder is a hollow sac-like organ that is attached to the liver; it stores a thick liquid substance called “bile” that the liver secretes to help you digest fats. After a meal, the gall bladder contracts and bile passes through to the small intestine through tubes called ducts.

Excess bile cholesterol can cause solid deposits inside the gallbladder that range in size from miniscule to, say, the size of a golf ball. These are commonly referred to as “gallstones”.  Gallstones are relatively common; perhaps ten to fifteen per cent of the population has them. That means a large enough group of people in a survival community will likely include someone with the condition.

Luckily, most people won’t have any symptoms.  In one or two per cent, however, the stones block the ducts, causing pain as the gall bladder becomes distended from excess accumulation of bile. The inflammation caused by this condition is called “cholecystitis”.

There are two main types of gallstones:

1)            Cholesterol stones: The grand majority; these may not be related to the actual cholesterol levels in the bloodstream.

2)            Bilirubin stones: Sometimes called “pigment stones”, this type may occur in people who have illnesses that destroy red blood cells. The by-products of this destruction release a substance called “bilirubin” into the bile and forms a stone. In other cases, however, it’s difficult to identify a cause.

2425_Gallbladder

gall bladder anatomy with bile ducts and liver ( By OpenStax College [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)

The pain associated with cholecystitis is known as “biliary colic”. It’s is cramping in nature and is usually seen in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen; it may radiate to the back. If not relieved, inflammation of the liver, gall bladder, and pancreas (“gallstone pancreatitis”) can become life-threatening in some cases.

A serious blockage of the bile duct with corresponding liver/pancreas inflammation can lead to fever, nausea and vomiting, and a yellowing of the skin and eyes known as “jaundice”.

Gallstones are commonly diagnosed by ultrasound, but you won’t have modern technology off the grid. The classical finding on physical examination is called “Murphy’s Sign”. Press with one hand just below the midline of the lowest rib on the front right. Then, ask your patient to breathe deeply. If the gallbladder is inflamed, the patient should complain of tenderness at the site.

In a less politically correct era, risk factors for this condition were described as the 4 “F’s”. For historical purposes, here they are:

Fat: The majority of those with gallstones are overweight.

Female: The majority of sufferers are women.

Forty: Most sufferers are over 40 years old.

Fertile: Most women with gallstones have had children.

Today, more sensitive souls prefer the acronym G.O.L.D.

Genetics: Ethnicity plays a role; Native Americans and Hispanics seem to have more gall bladder issues than Caucasians, Caucasians more than African-Americans.

Obesity: Obesity, especially in women, is associated with at least twice the frequency of gall bladder disease.

Location of Body Fat: Those with obesity concentrated in the torso are more likely to be at risk.

Diabetes: Those with Diabetes are more likely to have gallstones.

The most common treatment for gallstones, other than pain meds, is to surgically remove the gall bladder (you can live without it and stay healthy). Over 800,000 gall bladder surgeries (called “cholecystectomies”) are performed every year. New methods include shock-wave disintegration of stones and acid treatments that may show promise for non-surgical therapy.

Operating rooms, surgeons, and high technology, however, are likely to be in short supply when the you-know-what hits the fan, so it’s useful to know some alternative remedies. These are mostly taken orally::

  • Apple cider vinegar (mixed with apple juice or water)
  • Chanca Piedra, (Phyllanthus niruri), a plant native to the Amazon; translated, the name means “Break Stones”.
  • Peppermint
  • Coffee
  • Turmeric
  • Alfalfa
  • Ginger root
  • Psyllium
  • Red Yeast Rice
  • Dandelion root
  • Artichoke leaves
  • Beet, Carrot, Grape, Lemon juices

It should be noted that hard scientific data proving the effect of the above items is still lacking in many cases. Results from use of the items in the above list will vary from person to person.

Sadly, it is very difficult to eliminate some of the known risk factors for gall bladder disease. You can’t change if you’re forty, female, and have children. You may be able to do something about being obese, however. Dietary changes to lower fat intake may help you lose weight and decrease the risk of gallstones.

Joe Alton, MD

JoeAltonLibrary3

Joe Alton, MD

Hey, have you experienced the joy and satisfaction that goes with helping the elderly? Well, make an old man (me) very happy by checking out our brand new 700 page third edition of the Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for When Medical Help is Not on the Way, now available at Amazon.com and doomandbloom.net. Thanks again.

 

How Our Ancestors Survived When SHTF

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How Our Ancestors Survived When SHTF  SHTF isn’t just a modern phenomenon. Our ancestors survived many disasters. It’s best to learn their lessons. The Gila Cliff Dwellings are a great example. In the mid-13th century, SHTF when a 24-year drought uprooted Native Americans throughout the U.S. Southwest. One band of the Mogollon (muggy-YON) people resettled …

Continue reading »

The post How Our Ancestors Survived When SHTF appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.

Building Your Own Firearms (Part 2 – The Methods)

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Written by John Hertig on The Prepper Journal.

[NOTE:  I am not a lawyer, or a representative of any law enforcement or government agency.  The information provided here is the best I could find, but must not be taken to be legal advice.   If you decide to engage in the described activity, you assume all responsibility of ensuring that this information is CURRENTLY accurate, and investigating the CURRENT state and local laws of your location.  Furthermore, you assume all legal and physical liability resulting from your engagement in this activity.] 

In the last article, we looked at the option of building your own firearm and found that it is (or was) legal (most places in the U.S.)   And we saw how it could possibly cause you legal problems even though you met all laws and regulations.  Also, note that although it might not necessarily be the cause of legal problems, if someone were to steal your self-manufactured non-serialized firearm there would not be a reliable way to get it back if it ever shows up again.

Fortunately, there is a way to reduce these annoyances.

How to Improve the Situation

As mentioned, no serial number is required by Federal law or regulation on your self-manufactured firearm.  But, rightly or wrongly, (modern) firearms without serial numbers are looked at with suspicion, and might even violate State or Local law.  To avoid this problem, as well as be able to identify it as yours, put on a valid serial number.  This gives you the “appearance of legality” and some recourse if the firearm is lost or stolen.  Even if you intend for no government organization or database to ever be aware of the firearm, you might as well meet BATFE regulations that serial numbers be “unique” and “hard to alter or remove”.  Practically (and legally), this means the serial number should be unique TO YOU (that is, don’t make several with the same serial number or use “trivial” serial numbers like “1”), and should be at least 0.003″ deep and 1/16″ high in a visible, non-removable location on the receiver.  It is best to do this before the 80% receiver has any work done, so it can be easily shipped, and anyone can do the engraving for you if you prefer.  Once you make even a start finishing the receiver, it is considered to be a firearm and getting any professional to work on it is has risk of violating laws or regulations, to the detriment of everybody involved.  While you are at it, there is some additional specified text, which if you include on the receiver, makes it even less “suspicious” looking.

These are the same labeling requirements that a licensed manufacturer must follow, specified in 27 CFR § 478.92, making the self-manufactured firearm appear “equivalent” to a commercial firearm.  Several text elements are specified by this regulation:

  • (A) The model, if such designation has been made; if no model is intended, no model marking is required.
  • (B) The caliber or gauge; for an AR-15, whose caliber is not controlled by the receiver, this is not required on a receiver for which the caliber has not been finalized. You could mark the receiver “Caliber: Multi” or “Caliber: Various” if you wanted.  When you assemble the complete firearm, the exact caliber is to be engraved somewhere; the barrel would seem to be the most reliable location, since that is the thing which actually determines caliber.  If you know what caliber it will become and that the caliber will never change, then you can mark that caliber on the receiver if you prefer (I wouldn’t).
  • (C) The name of the maker or an abbreviation recognized by the BATFE (usually the DBA name on the manufacturing license). Since you don’t have a license, you don’t have a “recognized abbreviation”, but since you are not a licensed manufacturer, you don’t HAVE to put your name.  I wouldn’t; I’m still stuck with a bunch of obsolete stuff which I can’t get rid of because of the old “just engrave your social security number on it to discourage thieves” suggestion.  Initials or a nick name should be an adequate alternative for a self-manufactured firearm.
  • (D) The city and state where it was made.

Starting in 1994, when “assault weapons” were banned, any new “assault weapon” also had to be marked “RESTRICTED LAW ENFORCEMENT/GOVERNMENT USE ONLY” or, in the case of firearms manufactured for export, “FOR EXPORT ONLY”.  Although the AR-15 is (wrongly) considered by many (including the government, who ought to know better) to be an “assault weapon”, this ban expired (due to a 10 year sunset provision) in 2014, making this annoying marking fortunately no longer required, even though the regulations have not been updated to remove this wording.

There is no law or regulation requiring the safety to be marked, but if you are already doing any stamping/engraving/etching, you might as well mark the FIRE and SAFE positions.

The SBR, Another Risk

Most people know that a SBR (Short Barreled Rifle) with a barrel less than 16″ or an overall length less than 26″ is illegal, at least without going through the registration and taxation process the BATFE uses for “non-sporting or destructive” weapons defined by the NFA (National Firearms Act of 1935).  If you make your own firearms, you need to make sure that not only do you never create a SBR, but don’t even give the appearance of intending to do so.  If you build your own rifle and then decide you would rather turn it into a pistol, don’t.  You would be creating a SBR, which would be illegal unless you filled out all the paperwork and paid the $200 tax stamp in advance.  If you even store a receiver which was originally built as a rifle with the parts to make a pistol, you could be in for harassment.  A better process is to get the receiver intending to make it a pistol, document that intention via notarized statement, and then keep the receiver separate from any obvious rifle parts until the pistol is completed.

Note that there is no problem with turning a pistol into a full-sized rifle, and even turning it back into a pistol (ATF ruling 2011-4).  Just make sure that you never “pass through” a state where it has a stock and short barrel and, per the regulations quoted in the ruling, it would be risky to store a receiver which was made as a rifle “in close proximity” to a short barrel.

What You Need to Complete the Receiver

The key characteristic of a legal non-completed receiver (at least for AR-15 and AR-10 type firearms) is that the trigger/hammer cavity is not milled out.  To complete the receiver, you must mill this cavity out.  The best way, of course, is with a CNC (Computer Numerical Control) milling machine.  The odds that a person owns one of these personally or can even rent or borrow one have been infinitesimally small until recently, but there is now a company selling the “Ghost Gunner” for $1500 which may be an option if you think you might complete several receivers (or one if cost is no concern).  Possession of a “manual” mill machine is a bit more likely; you used to be able to get a “drill/mill” for very little, and can still get one for as little as $500.  A more common setup, particularly for making only one or two firearms, is a “jig” and vise used with a drill press or a good router.  You will also have to drill the holes for the hammer and trigger pins and the selector, which a drill press will do nicely, or you may be able to manage it with a hand drill.  Of course, you will need the correctly sized End Mill and drill bits, and perhaps some “cutting fluid”.  A shop vacuum to suck up the chips will be handy.  Possibly a file or Dremel tool may be needed to clean up any roughness, and for some jigs, a digital caliper will be very helpful setting your depth.   The jig will probably require some wrenches for assembly and disassembly, and safety glasses are a must.

Usually you will be working with a receiver which is made out of aluminum or a form of plastic.  If the receiver is steel or some other tough material, the drill press and router techniques probably will not be up to the task.  The “Ghost Gunner” is air-cooled and light duty, so even though it is a true mini “CNC mill”, it also will be inadequate to the task.  For a steel frame, you will probably need a true mill and lots of oil to cool and lubricate the cutter.

Make sure the jig you get is designed for the method you are using (drill press or router).  If using a drill press, remember that unlike a mill or drill/mill, it was not designed for side to side pressure, and is somewhat fragile in that axis.  When milling sideways, make sure you do shallow cuts with minimal pressure.  The router IS designed for side to side pressure, but in wood, not aluminum, so again, shallow cuts and light pressure keep the odds of disaster low.

People have been known to mess up this process, so getting a backup 80% receiver may be worth considering, particularly if you have rented or borrowed any of the equipment and can’t afford the time to order a replacement receiver.  If you want to get rid of a receiver which is past that 80% barrier but “unusable”, you shouldn’t just throw it out (because it is legally a firearm now).  Cut it in pieces so it cannot be reassembled or deliver it to the local police.

Future Changes to Laws and Regulations

Not only are there efforts at the some State and the Federal levels to “ban” (re-ban) the AR-15, but as you might expect, those who think firearm ownership needs to be tightly controlled are outraged about this self-manufacture “loophole”.  There have been and almost certainly will continue to be attempts at the Federal level to restrict self-manufactured firearms, if not entirely, at least to the same degree as commercial firearms.  And some states have and likely will continue to pass laws which directly or indirectly will limit your ability to build, or require registration of, or ban, certain firearms or types of firearms.  So if you have the skills, equipment access and desire to build your own, it might be better to start on it sooner rather than later.

The Other Options

For full disclosure, I will mention that an AR-15 receiver can also be printed using a 3D printer.  It would require a machine able to do something of that size and complexity, and using a material which was adequately strong and stable, and powered by the appropriate programming.  I don’t have any personal experience with 3D printers, and in the only case I know of where someone did print an AR-15 receiver, it was judged to be not safe or even usable without more work.  This is not to say the technology is not viable, or even will never be viable, just that I would want to see it “proved” and reasonably priced before I considered it.

Also, you can cast your own resin receivers with metal reinforcement.  Prior to the metal reinforcement, they seemed resistant to heat, cold and chemicals, and seemed ok for aimed (slow) fire, but in rapid fire reliably cracked at the takedown hole and did deform and eventually broke when stress was applied sideways to the buffer tube.  I have no indications on whether the metal reinforcement overcomes these weaknesses, but this option seems interesting if your talents are more “chemical” than mechanical.

If you want to build a firearm, but not mess with “manufacture”, you can buy a complete “stripped” receiver through normal firearm purchase channels, making the completed firearm legally indistinguishable from one made by a licensed company.

In the next two articles, we will look at what parts you need to complete an AR-15.

The post Building Your Own Firearms (Part 2 – The Methods) appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Rodent Prevention: Seal Up, Trap Up and Clean Up

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Rodents are responsible for the spread over 35 diseases. These diseases can be spread to humans directly, through handling of rodents, through contact with rodent feces, urine, or saliva, or through rodent bites. Diseases carried by rodents can also be spread to humans indirectly, through ticks, mites or fleas that have fed on an infected…

The post Rodent Prevention: Seal Up, Trap Up and Clean Up appeared first on The Weekend Prepper.

7 Types of Preppers You Should Avoid

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Here’s an interesting and controversial article worth reading. It’s about the wrong types of preppers. At first, some people will probably disagree with the author. After all, what’s wrong with being religious, a gun enthusiast, or interested in “conspiracy theories”? Nothing at all! The point of the article is that you don’t want to be […]

The post 7 Types of Preppers You Should Avoid appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

7 Types of Preppers You Should Avoid

Here’s an interesting and controversial article worth reading. It’s about the wrong types of preppers. At first, some people will probably disagree with the author. After all, what’s wrong with being religious, a gun enthusiast, or interested in “conspiracy theories”? Nothing at all! The point of the article is that you don’t want to be […]

The post 7 Types of Preppers You Should Avoid appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

Is World War 3 Coming? 18 Preppers Discuss Effects, Shortages, and How to Get Ready

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Last week was tense as far as international relations go. We’re standing in a big puddle of gasoline and hoping that no one decides to light a cigarette because if … Read the rest

The post Is World War 3 Coming? 18 Preppers Discuss Effects, Shortages, and How to Get Ready appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

Solar sheds for sale

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Joas Hochstetler and Matt Wagner – Shedtastic

UNITY, Maine – 11 April –  For Joas Hochstetler, manager of the Amish-owned Backyard Buildings, the idea of manufacturing a solar shed equipped with solar panels was always in the back of his mind.

After all, as part of their mission Hochstetler’s family and others in the Amish community that has settled in Unity use solar power technology in a variety of ways, from powering lights on their carriages to charging power tool batteries.

“Solar is pretty passive, there’s no moving parts, you don’t have to feed it, it doesn’t take gas,” Hochstetler said. “We’ve already made the decision to not be on the grid […] so the benefits of solar for us are just endless.”

Despite perceptions of Amish communities being wary of technology, off-grid solar power technology offers a way for those in the community to stay off of the mainstream power grid in a way that is minimally intrusive to their lifestyle. Hochstetler said that Amish people were some of the early adopters of solar.

So when Matt Wagner of Insource Renewables approached him in January about teaming up to produce a shed that was equipped with the same solar technology found on traditional roof-mounted systems, Hochstetler was sold.  After all, the sheds he makes were already solar  powered – in the sense that solar is his only power source.

“We’ve talked about it before but didn’t have a reputable company to collaborate with, or the solar expertise,” Hochstetler said. “I like the principle of solar, so I would gladly do work in a field that will generate more solar power for the state.”

For the last six years, Backyard Buildings has been manufacturing a wide range of portable structures including storage sheds of varying sizes, animal shelters and even small cabins.  In some instances, Insource Renewables was contracted by customers of Hochstetler’s to install heat pumps in large sheds they’d purchased with the intention of using them as off-grid camps.

Wagner initially proposed the idea of just collaborating on installing heat pumps in some of the buildings before they were sold, and the idea quickly morphed into making storage-type structures with solar panels mounted on the roof.

For both parties, the opportunity to work with another local company to bring a new solar energy option to their customers was a boon. “What we found is we can basically deliver the same size solar array we would put on someone’s roof onto this solar [shed] building for about the same cost, and you get this great shed. It’s sort of a no brainer,” Wagner said.

With Insource Renewables bringing the solar expertise and Backyard Buildings bringing the construction know-how, prospective customers are able buy a shed that is outfitted with a solar array that can capture enough energy to power their entire home, as well as a soundly constructed shed that can serve a range of storage purposes.

Since the shed will be constructed to hold solar panels, Hochstetler and his crew have come up with a new design that can bear the weight of the array while also having the roof sloped at an angle that will provide maximum solar gain.

Wagner says the solar shed serves as a great alternative to roof-mounted solar systems in instances when a home’s roof might not be south-facing, is not in the best condition or is heavily shaded by trees. Typically, when a home’s roof is not optimal for mounted solar panels, the alternative option is installing a ground mounted array. However, between the aluminum fabrication that serves as the ground mounts and bringing in an excavator and cement truck to make a concrete base, ground mounts are about 25 to 30 percent more expensive than roof mounted systems.

By offering a solar shed at a cost comparable to roof-mounted systems, the collaboration could make solar more attainable. The state’s net-metering rules would also apply to these systems.

“All of the people that have been looking at solar for a long time and have wanted to do it, a lot of them are just waiting for something to tip in their favor. [For example], if they were put off by the high cost of a ground mount, if their roof needed to be replaced, if their roof wasn’t in a great location. We can put these [sheds] anywhere,” Wagner said.

The solar sheds will be constructed at Backyard Building’s workshop in Unity, where Hochstetler and five employees are able to build a shed in two days using tools that have been retrofitted to be powered by compressed air or storage batteries, to keep their production process off the larger power grid. While the base model for the solar shed must feature a long slanted back roof to accommodate the solar array, customers can work with Hochstetler to customize the appearance and features of the building to suit a host of uses.

Once the shed is constructed, the work is then turned over to Insource Renewables, who work at the Unity site to mount the solar array and do the electric work on the shed. Before being delivered to a customer, the shed must undergo an inspection by a state licensed electrical inspector. Once delivered, the solar array can be wired to the home, and the power grid, by a licensed electrician.

For both Wagner and Hochstetler, the beauty of the solar shed lies in the efficiency of the collaboration, in both terms of cost, time and the ability to work locally to bring new solar options to Mainers – and beyond.

“We can build almost any type of building that can fit on a trailer and go down the road. We just assume build solar sheds.”

The post Solar sheds for sale appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

5 Best 9mm Single Stack Pistols for CCW (link)

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Looking for a concealed carry 9mm? Try these options… “While there is no such thing as the ‘perfect carry gun,’ there’s also no denying that some guns are better for concealed carry than others. When searching for a concealed carry gun, you obviously want to look for a pistol that is small and slim enough … Continue reading “5 Best 9mm Single Stack Pistols for CCW (link)”

10 Thoughts on Buildings and Shelters…the Dollars and Cents of Starting a Small Farm

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This article was originally published by Jamie on Walkinginhighcotton.net

Today we’re back with another piece in our series of the Dollars and Cents of Starting a Small Farm. This series is meant to give you the tools to think through all the decision-making that goes with starting a small farm, along with some encouragement and creative but realistic tips and ideas for making it affordable.

Buildings and Shelters–or building shelters as we like to do around here!–are a huge part of having livestock on a small farm or homestead. As I’ll talk about later in this post–it’s also one of the more controversial topics. (Who knew?!)

One of our common mantras around here for animal health is “clean and dry, clean and dry.” Keeping your animals clean (meaning no mud!) and dry is at least 60% of the health battle. Mud is a serious enemy on the natural (or trying to be natural!) farmstead. Wet ground is the growing medium for all kinds of bacteria and parasites and being coated in mud lowers body temperatures and keeps an animal’s coat from doing its normal job of warming and shedding weather.

It’s important to realize that “dry” doesn’t necessarily mean that the animal is dry–and this is where we start to get into the controversy!

We believe that God gave a cow/sheep/chicken everything they need to know to be a cow/sheep/chicken. And part of that knowledge is knowing to “come in out of the rain” if they need to. Where a lot of folks start to disagree when it comes to sheltering animals is the “if they need to” part. We believe in doing everything we can to keep the ground dry, and avoiding mud when possible–we tend to use a deep bedding method to get the animals out of the “soup” that becomes common in winter. And we believe in providing wind-breaks and cover for bad precipitation. We don’t believe that you have to force the animals to use it! We don’t “lock” animals in the barn unless we have a sick animal or a very young animal with special needs. Our shelters are all run-in environments and the animals choose whether they need to be in or not.

Just for the record, this drives a lot of folks NUTS. They believe that our animals are out in the weather because we don’t provide enough shelter for them. They can’t conceive of the idea that our cows are bred for hot, humid weather and like 90-100 degree days. And they can’t fathom that our sheep are all wearing huge natural wool coats and don’t mind being in the snow or light to moderate rain.

I don’t say this to make you agree with me, I say it so that you know what perspective we’re working from. As I mentioned in my first post, you always want to be sure that you’re comparing apples to apples. If you believe your sheep are too dumb to use the barn without help (I wouldn’t surprise me if there were a few!) that’s totally your call as the farmer! We also occasionally use weather-forced enclosure for situations like hurricane predictions, etc. If you regularly get blizzards, maybe you need to consider more confinement.

Our sheep don’t mind the snow. It just stacks up on their backs like they’re walking snow piles.

 

Another concern we hear raised often is how much shelter is enough? 2-sides? 3-sides? 4-sides, fully enclosed? We believe that over-sheltering reduces your animals overall weather-hardiness and increases dependence on sheltering, and increases opportunities for shelter-based health issues like pneumonia, respiratory infections from dust and mold, and physical injuries from crowding. We believe the best option is to choose animals that are well-adapted to your location, give them as much fresh-air and sunshine as possible, and a place to get out of the mud, wind, and wet, when needed. Most of our shelters are 3-side run-in style or 2-side run-thru design. This lets the animals get in and out as needed, allows maximum air flow while preventing drafts, and blocks wind, rain, sleet, etc. These are also lighter shelters, so they are more easily portable for our rotational system.

Even our red barn there is portable–although not easily. This is our sturdiest shelter for really bad weather.

Here’s 10 questions to ask yourself before you think about investing in any buildings or shelters…

1. What is the purpose?!

Is it going to be an animal shelter? Hay and feed storage? Tools and equipment? Will it be multi-purpose? We didn’t always set out thinking multi-purpose at first, but a few years in we realized that we’ve re-purposed every shelter, building, lean-to, carport, and shed on our property as least once. Now we always think–how many ways can we use this in the future?

2. Does it need to be mobile?

Remember, keep the long-term in view. We try to make everything possible mobile–that keeps the whole farmstead flexible if our needs or our interests change. What if our kiddos don’t want to do chickens but we invested in a 1/4 acre permanent coop and yard? Mobile also means it has to be lighter–and sturdier! How are you going to haul it around? By hand? By tractor? By lawn mower or 4-wheeler…It’s quite a balance. {smile} Mr. Fix-It loves this part of farming. The creative design and build part. Oh–and here’s a mistake we’ve made (ok, I admit it, more than once!)–if you’re going to move it around, you have to build it so it fits through all your gates!!

3. What else needs to be stored?

This has been a serious frustration for me! Buildings on the farm are not just about the livestock! The more you farm, the more stuff you have (especially if you’re trying to be thrifty and save and reuse everything!) and then suddenly the more stuff you need to store. There are NEVER enough storage buildings and something is always out in the weather that really shouldn’t be. Hay and feed. Equipment–tractors, mowers, trailers, disc, seed spreader, rototillers, garden tools, 4-wheeler…all need to be stored–preferably under cover!–to increase their useful lifespan. Mechanical tools–welder, air compressor, tool boxes, screws and nails, etc. Then you have fencing supplies, chutes and pens, medical supplies, feed troughs, buckets, scoops, carrying crates, seeds and fertilizers, hoses…the list of supplies is just never-ending–and it all has to go somewhere!

4. Are you sure it should go there?

If you are putting something permanent up, are you absolutely, positively, never-a-doubt-in-your-mind, dead-set that it should go there? Our garage and the lean-to off the side of the garage were pretty much set. Those were based on our house and driveway location. That’s where they were going to be. The end. Everything else, including gates and fence-lines, has been debated ad-nauseum and sometimes we still can’t decide. Everything else has been moved around, and probably will be even more in the future. If there’s any way to try a temporary solution for a year or two first, I would suggest it.

5. Are you following your own pattern?

This sort of follows #4…when in doubt, wait it out. Sometimes our “vision” of perfection doesn’t match our real-life farm. We’ve wanted to put up an equipment pole shed for years now. Money is the reason we waited, but I’m glad we did. Why? Because by putting it off a few years, we finally saw our own pattern and the building would have been on the wrong side of the farm! {smile} We kept talking about using part of the back field (see the red barn picture up there) behind the garage for equipment storage–but in actuality, we store our equipment on “equipment row” at the back of our big field and we use the garage spot for animal handling, lambing, sick pens, and lamb harvest. Now we’re talking about just putting up the shed over our existing “row.” If your sheep are always in the pasture, do you really need a barn by the house?

Here’s our standard field shelters for the sheep. They move from field to field as needed.

 

6. Is this practical?

Look, all farmers love big, old, musty, two-story barns. It’s part of the homesteading heart! But usually they’re just not practical–from a money or a design standpoint. If you’re lucky enough to have one I’m sure you’re finding ways to use it. But if you don’t, there’s probably a lot of other, more practical solutions to your storage needs. On a small farm or homestead, practical usually means the most use for the least money. As everything else, this means over the long-term. Sometimes more up-front costs to get the most use, is the least money in the long-run. And don’t forget to think about maintenance when you’re thinking about cost!

We use metal “hoop” shelters the most right now. They need almost no maintenance and last a really long time. We’re also able to find the pieces used at auctions (our sheep huts are made from “useless” pieces of a bigger structure!) because they last long enough to be resold. They’re big enough for our sheep, but small enough to be moved around easily with the tractor. They keep off the wind, rain, and snow and provide shade. And they can be bedded with straw to keep the animals off the wet ground and provide warmth. The open ends mean there’s no drafts, plenty of ventilation, and easy exits if someone spooks. Our red barn was our biggest building investment other than our garage, and it’s been worth it to have that sturdy shelter and small field to use during hurricane season. But it needs to be painted as we speak–again.

7. Can it be expanded?

Most farms grow. Once you’re in, you’re hooked! {smile} When you’re thinking about buildings and shelters, a lot of times you have to think small because of your budget. But if you invest wisely, it will be easy to grow later. Our huts could be bolted together, we could add more as we get more animals, or take one out of use and store it if we have fewer animals. On permanent structures you can add lean-tos. Our garage has one on the left, and we could add one off the right or the back if we wanted too. If you put a building right up against a fence, ditch, etc. then you’ve limited your expansion options.

8. Am I reinventing the wheel here?

To be thrifty, sometimes it’s best just to copy someone that’s already been there, done that. Honestly, we don’t do that very often because Mr. Fix-It enjoys the creative part–and that usually works for us because he’s very good at it. But there’s nothing wrong with copying someone’s success story. In his Pastured Poultry Profits book, Joel Salatin encourages folks to just copy what he did–not make mistakes he’s already made and corrected for no good reason. If you’re an inventor, creator, builder, Mr. Fix-It yourself, then I would encourage you to study what other folks have done before drawing your own design. Mr. Fix-It loves to check out YouTube and Google images (he’s a visual learner) to see other ideas before jumping into his own. Our new chicken house project is a conglomeration of other ideas and my husbands handiwork in re-using some greenhouse materials we acquired from a friend.

9. Do I have something I can use?

I formed this as a question because that’s how I’m writing the post. But actually, what this should say is SAVE EVERYTHING YOU CAN. {smile} Anything can be used on a small farm. I read about someone using an old truck camper shell/cap as a chicken field pen. I’ve read about folks using pallets to make animal pens. We used a dog kennel as the basis for our duck pen (which we’re using today as a chicken pen–remember, reuse!). We’re repurposing a cast-off greenhouse frame into a chicken house right now. We salvaged an old pop-up camper frame to make our old chicken house mobile. Our field pen/chicken tractor is tin from an old shed someone took down and shared with us because they knew we’d use “stuff like that.” As I mentioned last winter, we have piles of “farm junk” around because we try to keep anything that might be use-able in the future. This is part of being thrifty.

Here’s a picture of the back of our garage, with the back of the lean-to, and then the run-thru carport that we use for, well, anything we need. Lambing shed, lamb harvest shed, tractor shed, hay storage shed…it’s truly multi-purpose.

 

10. Do I care how it looks?

Ok, I saved this for last because I hate it, but it’s really important. The fact is that sometimes “practical” or “frugal” can start to look like crap. There, I said it. This bothers Mr. Fix-It much more than it bothers me. I’m not one to care what other folks think–but this has come to matter to me for a couple reasons that I think you should consider…

  • What your husband/partner/significant other/rest-of-the-family think is important. If they (or you!) hate rolling up in the driveway because the place looks like an abandoned farm scene from Chainsaw Massacre, well, you’re going to have issue with all kinds of other stuff. Your place should bring warmth and joy and pride, and home to your heart, or you’re not going to have the heart it takes to keep going when the going gets tough.
  • What your customers think is important. If you want customers, you have to consider what they think. Half your job is to educate them, and half your job is to meet their expectations. They’re expecting something from Old McDonald’s or Mother Goose. You probably can’t give them that, but you can probably meet them in the middle. If all you’re offering is Chainsaw Massacre, they probably won’t be back.
  • What the public thinks is important. I’m going to try to not be ugly here, but when it comes to farm animals, most people are ignorant and judgmental. If folks think your place looks like crap, they are going to think your animals are treated like crap, and they’re going to call someone and complain and you’re going to have a big headache. More people I know have gotten rid of their livestock because of neighbor complaints than because of financial issues. Most are completely unfounded and due to simple ignorance, but there it is. Most are not forced to get rid of their animals, they just get tired of feeling harassed.

Here’s the thing, you, as the farmer, need to know what you’re about. You need to know what your animals need and what they don’t. You need to know what you’re doing and why-or why not. You need to keep all these things in mind, think carefully, and make the best decisions for your place–and be ready to stand by them. It’s just part of farming in today’s world.

Here’s the kiddos bedding down the cow hut–bigger than the sheep huts, but same design. Pretty much any animal could use it, or we could use it for feed or equipment storage.

 

Source : www.walkinginhighcotton.net

 

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6 Perfect Plants For Your Window Boxes

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The post 6 Perfect Plants For Your Window Boxes is by
Craig Scott and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Window boxes are a popular choice for urban gardeners due to their small size and efficient location. But the options for what to plant window boxes can overwhelming to you, so we are here to help! Window boxes serve multiple purposes, from pure decoration and aesthetics to practical gardening. In this article, we’ll look at […]

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Craig Scott and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

How to Make a Snake Trap Even with Household Items?

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How to Make a Snake Trap Even with Household Items? We may not come across snakes every day, but that doesn’t make them any less important. Snakes are nothing like other animals, right? The kind of fear we have for them is completely different, mainly due to their venomous species. So it doesn’t matter if … Continue reading How to Make a Snake Trap Even with Household Items?

The post How to Make a Snake Trap Even with Household Items? appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

Spyderco Pingo Slip Joint Everyday Carry Knife Review

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Spyderco Pingo Slip Joint Everyday Carry Knife Review

When I heard that Jens Anso and Jesper Voxnaes were the designers behind the Spyderco Pingo, I was ecstatic. I always loved the unique minimalism that Anso and Vox brought to the table and this guaranteed that I would end up snapping this fella’ up. Sadly (for me) the Pingo fell short of the mark, but… Read More

This is just the start of the post Spyderco Pingo Slip Joint Everyday Carry Knife Review. Continue reading and be sure to let us know what you think in the comments!


Spyderco Pingo Slip Joint Everyday Carry Knife Review, written by Thomas Xavier, was created exclusively for readers of the survival blog More Than Just Surviving.

Survival Hax 10 in 1 Paracord EDC Keychain with Waterproof Pill Bottle (Silver)

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Is it a key chain? Is it a survival kit? Is it a waterproof pill container? The answer is YES. The 10 in 1 Paracord EDC Keychain is a waterproof aluminum EDC (everyday carry) pill bottle. A durable carabiner and 550 paracord are used so you can take this mini survival kit anywhere. There are technically 11 separate pieces inside the canister. Fishing line, hooks, weights, floaters, sinkers, swivels, eye knife, cotton tinder, fire starter rod, safety pins, wire saw. The paracord is 6 feet long when unraveled and has an emergency whistle attached to it. Our goal was to make a reuseable PSK (Personal Survival Kit) that gives you the ability to catch a fish, gut it, and cook it. Sure there are easier ways to do this, but none that fit on your keychain. Make a Fishing Pole using a stick Can you find a branch in the woods? Great you’ve got a fishing pole. Open your EDC bottle and pull out the fishing line. Tie the line to one end of your branch or stick. Attach your hooks to your fishing line. Add your sinkers and floaters. Find a bug or worm for bait. You are now fishing, bushcraft style.

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Pray for the Persecuted this Holy Week

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     Yesterday was Palm Sunday, the beginning of the Holiest week for our faith.  This week is sacred; not only to Christians, but to Jews, and especially to God.  To the over 2.2 Billion Christians in the world, we are leading up to Easter, the celebration of Christ’s resurrection.  To the over 15 million Jews in the world, this is the week of Passover. But to God, is a foreshadowing of the relationship He would like to have with all of the nearly 8 Billion people on planet Earth.  Through the Feasts He has instituted to be observed this week (Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruits), He is showing us the redemptive work of Christ as our Passover Lamb, as sinless and unblemished, and as the first of the resurrected into God’s Heavenly Kingdom.
     So, it is with great sadness that we are witnessing the persecution of the followers of Jesus Christ during this most holy week on our calendar.  The Syrian Civil War began six years ago, and Antoine Audo, the Chaldean Bishop of Aleppo reports that during this time of war, the Christian population in Syria has been reduced by two thirds, from 1.5 million to only 500,000 today — from 160,000 to just 40,000 in Aleppo, alone.
     The persecution of Christians by Isis extremists has been horrendous; and the latest chemical attacks are a reminder of just how much evil is in the world.  And as hard as it might be for us comfortable Americans to understand, Bishop Audo says the Assad government is not the source of Christian persecution.  But Christians are caught in the middle of the battle between Assad and the anti-government rebels; between Al Qaeda and Isis; between the Russia/Iran partnership and the U.S.-led Western coalition.
     And it is all happening in Syria, who along with its neighbor Iraq, is deemed the cradle of human civilization and the region where Christianity began 2,000 years ago. It was on the road to Damascus that the Apostle Paul experienced his conversion to Christianity, and Syria remains one of the few sacred locales where the language of Aramaic – the language of Jesus – can still be heard.

     But Syria and Iraq are not the only places persecution is happening this Holy week.  Bombings at Coptic Christian cathedrals in Egypt targeted Christians who celebrated Palm Sunday, the day of our Lord’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem to observe the Passover Festival.  It was the day that the crowds shouted their recognition of Him as Messiah, when they shouted, “Blessed is He that comes in the Name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest”. Hosanna means “Save, we pray”, and in essence, they were shouting, “Please save (deliver) us, Son of David”.
     I have no doubt that satan and his spiritual horde cringed at this tribute bestowed upon Jesus. They are aware of the prophecies in the Bible that predict that the Savior of man will come from the line of David. And just as the devil tempted the people and the religious officials to reject Jesus and His Deity during that Holy Week of approximately 33 AD, the Prince of this world is still trying to kill and destroy the influence of the Son of God, one thousand nine hundred and eighty-four years later.
     But here is what the enemies of Christ and His people will never understand… there is truth in the Biblical words, “To live is Christ, to die is gain”.  And here is what we comfortable Christians in America need to understand about the context in which those words were spoken by the Apostle Paul… he is in prison in the city of Rome, facing trial, knowing he’s going to be executed for his faith in Christ. I’m going to say it again … this is a man facing execution and death for his belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of the One True God.  And yet he says, to die for Christ will be his gain.  Are you prepared to say that?  Would you still proclaim that if you had just watched your children die the horrendous death of chemical poisoning?  Would you deny Him if a sword is held at the throat of your wife or husband?
     Because here is what satan and those who follow him do not understand about us Christians.  Our faith is different.  When asked, What is the difference between Life and Death, Buddhism says, “To live is to achieve good Karma, and to die is to hope for a better reincarnation.” Islam teaches, “To live is to obey Allah, and if your good deeds outweigh your bad deeds, death is to achieve a personal paradise.” Silicon Valley answers the question this way: “To live is self, and to die is loss.” To all these other religions, Life is all about the self. And to die is to lose everything.
     But that’s not what we Christians believe — or should believe, if you are calling yourself a Christian.  To live is to obey Christ and do what He did: serve others; show them the principles of His Father’s Kingdom and how to live by those moral standards; and ultimately to sacrifice His own life  for the sake of offering eternal life to those who would believe in Him and follow Him.  Our faith is not about self! And if we are to die for the sake of Christ or another, then we have the hope of gaining eternity, and that is worth giving up self! It is important to grasp this point — Even if we die in this life, we have the hope of eternity!
     So, I would like to ask for prayer this holy week for our fellow Christians; those who have already felt the pain of persecution; and for those who face the possibility during these remaining days leading up to the commemoration of Christ’s resurrection.  Pray for the Believers who are still in Syria and the Egyptian Coptic Christian communities, refusing to let the Enemy defeat them. Pray that they would be used as strong witnesses of Christ’s love to their fellow Syrians and Egyptians.  Pray for the justice of Christ to draw the oppressed people of Syria and Egypt to Him. And pray for the relief of suffering for the persecuted Christians in North Korea, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Yemen, Libya, Nigeria, and the remaining countries that make the World Watchlist of most persecuted countries.
     Father, Your Word tells us that persecution is part of our future, and we know that our time is coming. But, Father, right now, at this very moment, I pray for strength, and courage, and endurance as my fellow Christians around the world are demonstrating their genuine faith in my Lord and Savior.  Deliver them into a supernatural protection by Your Power and Might. Let their spirits feel the power of our prayers, and let them know we stand with them in our shared faith.  Father, this week shows Your amazing love for us, that You sacrificed Your Son so that we, who believe in Him, might not know the sting of death.  I am trusting you, Father, that those who have suffered persecution because of His Name, will be rewarded in Heaven for their faithfulness, just as You are faithful in delivering them from the dominion of darkness on this earth into the Kingdom of Your beloved Son.  And it is in His holy, powerful, and compassionate Name I pray. Amen.

Hebrews 13:3    “Remember those who are in prison, as if you were their fellow prisoner, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body [and subject to physical suffering]”.

The 7 Rules Of How Not To Become A Target

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There’s a military axiom which says,“The best defense is a good offense.” I have my own, modified version of this. It goes, “The best defense is not becoming a target.” What I mean by that is that if nobody has a reason for attacking you, you won’t have to worry about being attacked.

You’ve got to realize that in the aftermath of any crisis, people are going to be on the prowl. You’ve seen it on the news reports; people looting, stealing, breaking into homes, even rooting around in garbage dumpsters for the things that they need to survive.

You’re going to see it again; only this time, you’ll see it much more up close and personal. That’s why you need to learn how not to become a target.

While there are no accurate figures as to how many preppers there are in the United States, estimates put it at somewhere between two and three million people. The rest of the people out there are expecting FEMA to come to the rescue, riding on a white horse and with federal government funds (otherwise known as your tax dollars) in their hands to solve all their problems.

Since most people only have less than three days’ worth of food in their homes, it won’t take long for all those millions of people out there to get desperate. Then they’ll start hunting. They’re first stop will be the stores, which will be cleaned out of anything useful. Then, they’ll start preying on each other.

There will only be two basic ways to prevent being attacked. The first is to look so strong to the attacker that they decide to leave you alone and find somebody else to pick on. Not only is that rather expensive to accomplish, it’s just about like putting up a billboard on the roof of your home that says, “Preppers Live Here!”.

The other way is to fool people into thinking that there’s nothing to be gained by attacking you. Poor people generally don’t think of stealing from other poor people, unless they see that the other poor person has something that they want.

The general assumption is,“They’re as poor as I am, it’s not worth attacking them.” Instead, they go looking for somebody who’s going to have something worth stealing. That somebody else is you, unless of course, they don’t realize that you have anything worth grabbing. Therein lies the secret; making it look like you’re not worth bothering with.

You’re home defense problems are going to be greatly lessened if they don’t come to attack you. So, it’s important to do everything you can to make sure that they don’t know who you are, what you have, or that you are living any better than they are.

If you’re living like everything is hunky-dory, that will be like putting up that billboard again. Many of the things that you are doing to prepare for a disaster can very easily make you and your home stand out, making you into the target that you don’t want to be.

Even while you’re enjoying your stockpile of food and drinking from your well, using the light produced by your solar panels, you don’t want others to know.

Find out more on how to improve your layered home defense to survive disaster! 

How Does OPSEC Help You?

All this is called Operational Security, or OPSEC. In the military, it’s the idea of denying the enemy information about who you are, what you’re doing, what your capabilities are and what your plans are. That’s really no different than what you need to do with your prepping. You need to deny the same information to all the people around you who might want what you have.

Light Discipline

One of the easiest giveaways that you are in better shape than your neighbors is having lights shining out of your windows, when everyone else’s power is out. Most preppers have alternate sources to provide their home with power in the case of an emergency.

Even so, if people see that light shining through the windows, they’re going to be wondering where it is coming from, and why you are the only one who has electricity. To stay safe, use low wattage electric lights, that won’t be so obvious.

If you have a battery backup system, you can run wires through your house to run 12 volt automotive lights. These may not be as bright as what you’re used to, but they will provide enough light for most activities.

The best thing to do is to install blackout curtains. These are dark, heavy curtains, which are designed to prevent light from escaping through the windows. They need to be made of heavy fabric and be larger than the window, so that they cover the window and can seal the space around it.

Don’t forget about flashlights either. While there will be other people with flashlights, the longer the disaster lasts, the less batteries there will be available for them. If you have to use a flashlight, use it sparingly, and do whatever you can to hood the light and keep it from being obvious.

In the military, they use a red lens on flashlights, with a light blocker behind it. The light blocker is a solid plate, with just a pinhole in the middle. Between the two, very little light escapes, keeping it from being seen from far away.

Video first seen on SensiblePrepper.

Cooking

Unless you’re one of those fortunate people who has a propane stove or a cast-iron one, you’re probably going to be doing your cooking outdoors, which means cooking on your grille or in a fire pit. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s a good alternative for when your kitchen is out of order, but there is a very high risk that your neighbors are going to know exactly what you’re cooking. If that’s a pot of beans and rice, it won’t be such a big deal, but if you’re cooking steaks every night, everybody will know about this.

The longer you go without power, the greater a problem that’s going to be. The first couple of days after the power goes out, you’re probably going to smell a lot of steaks on the grille, as people try to use up what they’ve got in the freezer before it can go bad.

But once that first few days are over, there won’t be too many people with steaks to grill.

This is one of those cases that you can cover up with a bit of subterfuge. Hopefully, you’ve got a good enough relationship with your neighbors, that you’ll be helping each other out in a crisis.

So, if you go hunting and get a deer, it would seem normal that you would pass on some meat to your neighbors. Hopefully, the next week one of them will go hunting and share with you as well. If everyone in the neighborhood is grilling meat outdoors once a week, it won’t seem all that strange. The rest of your meat can be turned into jerky, and used in soups and stew that way.

Spices are another thing that can give away your abundance of food. When people are eating the most basic of foods, their sense of smell for well-seasoned food can actually be increased. If they smell well-seasoned food coming from your back yard, that will serve as another indicator that you have food.

I firmly believe in stocking spices, and I like well-seasoned foods. However, if my spice rack is going to cause me trouble, I’ll put a padlock on it and throw away the key. My family’s survival is more important to me than having gourmet meals.

Trash

Simple things can give everything away, especially to people who are looking for them. If you have a bunch of trash piling up at the curb and somebody is going to take a look in it and find a bunch of empty food packages, they’re instantly going to know that you have food while everyone else is starving.

The easiest way to solve the problem is to burn your trash. You’ve got to be careful about that, though, as burning trash could be a give away in and of itself. However, if you’re cooking outside over a fire, there’s nothing to say that you can’t use your trash to start the fire and burn some more of it as fuel. That will serve two purposes for you; get rid of the trash, and save your stock of fuel.

The same can be done if you’re using a fireplace to heat your home. Since you’ll be burning wood in it anyway, throwing some packages in there as well won’t be a problem. Once again, this can serve to dispose of the trash, while helping provide heat to your home.

If there’s no other possibility, then hide your trash in your basement or backyard, being sure to separate edible garbage from trash. The edible garbage can go into a compost heap, eliminating it, which will also help cut down on the stench from storing so much trash.

Appearance of Your Home

If you are in an area that was hit by a hurricane, there will be a lot of damage to homes and other buildings. While there might be a few which avoid any major damage, they will be few and far between. If your home is the only one in the area which doesn’t look like it sustained any damage, then it might look suspicious to people passing by. Likewise, if you manage to get it repaired faster than anyone else.

An easy thing that you can do to make your home look more damaged and increase your physical security in other ways, at the same time, is to put plywood over your windows. Some people who live in hurricane prone areas have pre-cut pieces which they can install whenever needed. If you have these, or can make some out of plywood, it will help make your home appear abandoned.

At the same time, those pieces of plywood will prevent anyone from seeing what’s going on inside and help keep any light from your lamps indoors. Should anyone decide to attack your home, plywood is fairly hard to break, making it harder for them to come through your windows.

Any gardening for fresh vegetables or livestock you have needs to be hidden in the back yard, preferably behind a privacy fence. If people don’t see it, hopefully they won’t think it’s there.

Noise Discipline

Noise can be another dead giveaway. The average person doesn’t realize how much noise they create, just doing everyday chores. That noise will show that your home is occupied. If you want to appear like an abandoned home, you’ve got to control the noise.

Even besides that, if you’re not trying to present the image of being an abandoned home, you still want to watch your noise levels, especially any sounds made by electronic devices.

If you have music playing in your home or your kids are watching a movie on the TV, it can probably be heard from outside your home. People hearing it will wonder how it is that you have electric power, when they don’t.

It’s not too much of a leap of imagination from there to wondering what else you might have that they can use.

Kids can be a real problem when it comes to noise discipline. If you have children, especially small ones, you’ll need to watch them constantly to keep them quiet. The best way to do this is to keep them busy with tasks that don’t make a lot of noise. Get them to help you and your wife around the house as well, making them a part, rather than just leaving them to play.

Activity

You’re going to be more physically active in the aftermath of a disaster, than you are today. Just trying to survive is going to keep you and your whole family busy.

Pretty much everything you do will have to be done manually,without the benefit of modern conveniences. That’s going to be a lot of hard physical work.

Trying to hide all this activity will be virtually impossible. Even so, there are a few things that you can do to camouflage your actions. More than anything, you can try and make your actions look like those around you. They’ll be busy trying to survive as well, so your actions to look like you are trying to survive shouldn’t look all that different.

Many things, like going to collect water from a nearby stream or lake will be the same as your neighbors are doing. Here again, you have a great opportunity for cooperation. If you can work together to collect and haul water, then you’ll just be part of the group.

You’ll also make the job easier for both of you, as you can help each other out. Of course, you’ll be the one with the water filtration system, so maybe you can help them out with that, in exchange for them helping you out in other ways.

Keep as much of your survival activity in your house or backyard as you possibly can. That will limit the number of people who can see what you’re doing to your immediate family and your immediate neighbors.

Here again you can co-opt them in your plans, by helping them. If they see you working in the backyard, growing vegetables, offer to help them get their garden started too; possibly in exchange for some labor.

Personal Appearance

With food shortages all around you, there’s a good chance that people are going to be losing weight. If you’re not, this could be another sign that you’re in much better shape, supply-wise than anyone else. In a town full of malnutrition, a chubby person is going to stand out like a sore thumb.

Of course, if you’re already thin, you’re not going to have a problem with this. It’s only those who are currently a bit on the heavy side that are going to end up looking a bit strange to others. They might want to go on that diet that they were talking about for years, as part of their OPSEC routine.

In addition to weight, there are other considerations about your appearance that you should keep in mind. Clean clothing, shoes that are in good condition, shaving, haircuts, and nail polish are all things that will stand out like a sore thumb, if nobody else around you has them.

Once again, this is one of those things that’s going to get worse with time. At the beginning, everyone will look fairly normal. But as the lack of soap and water make an impact, people will wear their clothes longer, even though they’re dirty, wash their hair less frequently, and let their beards grow.

To some extent, you can get away with not looking like everyone else in this case, as long as it is easily explainable to the people around you. If they see you hauling more water than anyone else, they won’t have a problem with you wearing clean clothes.

If they see your wife cut your hair, they won’t think much of it. As long as there’s an explanation, they won’t worry about it.

Interested in keeping you and your family safe? Click the banner below for more!

This article has been written by John Gilmore for Survivopedia. 

Top 5 Best 9mm Single Stack Pistols for Concealed Carry

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by Nicholas

While there is no such thing as the ‘perfect carry gun,’ there’s also no denying that some guns are better for concealed carry than others. When searching for a concealed carry gun, you obviously want to look for a pistol that is small and slim enough to keep hidden. But you also want to have a pistol that is comfortable to shoot and offers enough power for self-defense. The wide variety of 9mm single stack pistol on the market now is slim and compact enough to conceal, while also offering more power than a .32 or a .380.

That’s not to say that a 9mm single stack doesn’t come without limitations. While they are slim, the trade off is less ammunition in the magazine. And while a 9mm is certainly more powerful than a .380, it lacks the extra punch of the .40 S&W or the .45 ACP.

Therefore, while a 9mm single stack pistol may not be the perfect carry gun by any means, it certainly is one of the most ideal. Of course, no 9mm pistol is created (or perhaps more appropriately, manufactured) equal. While you’re hardly limited in your options because several major gun manufacturers produce 9mm single stack pistols, there’s a small number of these 9mm single stacks that simply stand out from the rest.

Your concealed carry weapon must be comfortable to carry, accurate, and utterly reliable. While only you can decide what’s comfortable to shoot or carry for yourself, each of the single stack 9mm’s that we’re about to review set the bar high when it comes to accuracy and reliability.

Shown in alphabetical order, here are the top 5 best single stack 9mm pistols for concealed carry…

GLOCK 43

When the Glock 42 in .380 ACP was released, it caused quite a stir since it was the first time Glock had entered the .380 pocket carry market. But while many people praised the G42, others felt that it should have been chambered in 9mm.

Glock listened and released the G43 right after. The G43 essentially resembles a Glock 19 that’s been shrunk and slimmed down. In other words, it looks like a classic Glock clear and through, only smaller and thinner.

The G43 is also slightly smaller than the other 9mm single stacks on this list. Total dimensions are 1.2 inches wide, 4.25 inches high, and 6.25 inches long. Total weight of the gun is just eighteen ounces when unloaded. Out of all the pistols on this list, the G43 is probably the only one you could consider for a pocket carry gun.

While the standard magazine for the G43 holds just six rounds, an available extended magazine will hold seven. This extended magazine also comes with a longer base plate so that you can wrap your pinky finger around the gun. In contrast to this, your pinky will be left dangling under the weapon should you opt for the six-round magazine. A good idea may be to have the smaller six-round magazine in the gun for optimal concealment and then have the slightly larger seven-round magazine on hand as a spare.

As the G43 is a Glock, it’s very accurate and reliable. Glock was the company that made polymer framed striker fired pistols popular in the first place. If the 60% of U.S police departments who carry Glock models can trust them, so can you. The G43 is no exception as reliability testing of the weapon has been stellar.

If there’s a downside to the G43, it’s the price. Expect to pay anywhere from $450 to $550 for one. Part of this is due to the high popularity of the gun and the law of supply and demand. So, if you’re on a budget, you may want to keep searching.

RUGER LC9S PRO

The Ruger LC9 is a gun that has evolved over the years. It began as just the Ruger ‘LC9’ in 2011. While it received acclaim for its slim profile, it still suffered from an exceptionally long and gritty trigger pull. This was primarily because the LC9 was a hammer-fired pistol in an incredibly small package. Ruger remedied this issue by producing the Ruger LC9s, a striker-fired version of the LC9 with a much-improved trigger pull.

Still, the LC9s still needed some improvements. People complained about the fact that it had a magazine disconnect safety (meaning the gun cannot fire without the magazine fully inserted), as well as an external safety on the frame. Ruger removed these things, and the result was the LC9s Pro that we have today. It’s one of the best 9mm single stacks you can buy.

The LC9s Pro is exceptionally durable. Ruger has come to be known for durability, thanks to an alloy steel slide and barrel with a glass-filled nylon frame. Width on the weapon is just 0.9 inches, which is even less than the Glock 43.

The LC9s Pro comes standard with a seven-round magazine, but a nine-round extended magazine with a longer base plate is available as well. As with the G43, it would be wise to carry the smaller magazine in the gun for carry and then keep the longer magazine as your spare. The LC9s also has the trigger safety mechanism like Glock. The trigger cannot be pulled unless a smaller lever attached to the front of the trigger is pulled as well.

Another advantage to the LC9s Pro is the price. While it shouldn’t be considered a ‘budget gun’ per se, purchase price is around the $350 – $375 range, which is slightly cheaper than some of the other pistols on this list.

SMITH & WESSON SHIELD

Even though it’s only been out for four years now, the Smith & Wesson Shield has already become a legendary gun in the firearms world. It’s essentially Smith & Wesson’s popular and proven M&P pistol, slimmed down for concealed carry. In addition to 9mm, the Shield is also available in .40 S&W.

There are several factors that make the Smith & Wesson Shield one of the top 9mm single stacks for your consideration. It’s been proven to be completely reliable and accurate. It’s essentially a slimmed down M&P. Numerous individual tests of the Shield have confirmed accuracy and reliability.

The Shield also sports a relatively smooth six-and-a-half-pound trigger, with easy to see white three dot sights. The total width of the Shield is 0.9 inches, with a length of just over six inches. The Shield ships with both a seven-round magazine and an extended eight-round magazine. The slide is machined out of stainless steel and then further coated in Smith & Wesson’s usual Malanite finish, so the Shield is very resistant to both rust and corrosion.

The Shield is too big for pocket carry, at least for most people. But it’s perfectly at home inside the waistband, where its slim profile will carry nicely. The Shield can be found anywhere from the $375 to $425 range.

TAURUS 709 SLIM

If you’re on a budget but still desire a reliable 9mm single stack pistol for concealed carry, you’ll want to give a serious look at the Taurus 709 Slim. Taurus is known for making guns for the budget minded. While they have had a spotty reputation in years past, they have recently undergone a major renovation period. The result is their guns are now competitive quality-wise with other major manufacturers.

The 709 is less than an inch wide and has a length of just over six inches. When empty, the 709 weighs just nineteen ounces, which is comparable to the other guns on this list. It’s the cheapest pistol on this list (you can buy the 709 for around $250). It still comes with all of the features you would expect on a higher priced pistol, such as good ergonomics and loaded chamber indicator.

Unlike the other pistols on this list, the 709 comes standard with a thumb safety on the frame, like a 1911. While it’s convenient to engage, and disengage, some people may not like having to deal with a manual safety on their personal defense pistol.

There is still one specific feature of the 709 that warranted its inclusion on this list. It has repeat strike capability. This means that if you pull the trigger on a loaded chamber, but the gun doesn’t fire, you can simply pull the trigger again to try and get the round to fire. In contrast to this, with each of the other pistols on this list, you would have to eject the round manually before firing again. This feature could ultimately save your life if you need to shoot now but don’t have the time or can’t manually rack the pistol.

As with all Taurus guns, the 709 comes installed with Taurus’s Security System. A small mechanism is located on the top right side of the slide. When you insert a key, that ships with the 709, into the mechanism and rotate it, the gun will be unable to fire. If you have small children and they somehow find your gun, this option provides added protection against accidental discharge.

WALTHER PPS M2

The last 9mm single stack but certainly not the least is the Walther PPS M2. When the original PPS, now known as the Classic model, was released in 2007 it was almost ahead of its time. Back then, the 9mm single stack pistol had yet to be recognized as an ideal option for concealed carry. So, in a way the original PPS paved the way for the 9mm single stack market (and the .40 S&W single stack market, as it is available in both calibers).

While the original PPS is an excellent weapon with superb reliability, it still had some faults that needed to be corrected. Most notable was the fact that if the back strap was removed, the gun is unable to fire. This could prove fatal in a fight if your gun is knocked away and the back strap disengaged from the grip. And while not necessarily a ‘fault’ but more of a preference issue, many American shooters also disliked the European style paddle magazine release.

Walther took the PPS and remade it into an almost entirely new gun called the Walther PPS M2. While the dimensions are incredibly like the original PPS, the new M2 model features improved ergonomics like Walther’s flagship PPQ. The PPS M2 also no longer has the removable back strap of the original model. Also, the paddle magazine release has been swapped out for the more traditional push-button release.

The PPS M2 has three magazines available: a 6-round, 7-round, and an 8-round. These are not compatible with the magazines for the original PPS. All in all, the PPS M2 is one of the most highly ergonomic and reliable single stack 9mm pistols on the market.

CONCLUSION

Any one of these five 9mm single stack pistols is a perfect choice for concealed carry. The best strategy for deciding which one is best for you is to physically go to a sporting goods store and compare them by holding each of them in your hand. While each of these pistols is superbly accurate and reliable, the one that is the most comfortable or the best for your purposes is entirely up to you and you alone.

Money Mondays: 10 Ways I Save Money with Baking Soda in My Apartment

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This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com We haven’t had a Money Mondays feature in a while so it’s time for another one!  Everyone knows about using a box of baking soda to avoid odors in the fridge, but many people stop there in spite of all the known uses for baking soda. I’ve read hundreds of tips, and not all of them work for me.  I know you can brush your teeth with it, but I am not ready […]

The post Money Mondays: 10 Ways I Save Money with Baking Soda in My Apartment appeared first on Apartment Prepper.

3 Excellent Weapons for Survival

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Even without a natural disaster or SHTF event, deadly situations arise unexpectedly. Confirmation of this is available via the home invasions, rapes, muggings, and other violent crimes flooding police scanners weekly. The right weapons for survival on hand can catch an opponent off guard and give you and your family members time to get away … Read more…

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Prepping This Item Before Winter Comes Could Save Your Life

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ReadyNutrition Readers, one of the things that always amazes me is the way people always wait until autumn sets in to begin cutting and storing up a supply of firewood.  I wanted to tell you guys and gals the way I do things here, and perhaps (quantity and geographic variances aside) you can see my overall intent.  As you well know, I live in Montana where it is usually bitterly cold with snow on the ground for anywhere from 7 to 9 months of the year.  I’m aware this is not the case in most of the U.S., however, there are some good reasons for laying in a firewood supply right now.

A year supply of wood for $20

Firstly, one of the really good things we have here in Montana is that the U.S. Forestry Service allows residents to pick up a permit (every April) to cut fallen dead and standing dead timber.  The permit runs $20 for four cords, and you can pay $60 and take up to twelve cords.  That’s a heck of a lot of wood, and dirt-cheap!  I’m not sure what it is in other states, however, I am certain that many of them have the same policy.

On this note, I’d love to hear from you and find out what the policy is in your home state: prices and amounts, and such.

The only regulations governing it are you must have a serviceable and up-to-date/inspected fire extinguisher with you if you use a chain saw.  In addition, there are certain times (and the USFS posts it) when the fire danger is high or greater.  In these periods, it is not permitted to run a chainsaw and harvest that dead timber.

But now is a great time for it!  All of the undergrowth has not yet emerged from its winter hibernation, so it is relatively clear to work.  I have much of it that I take where it is not permissible to take a vehicle and load up in the forest itself.  My way around that is to cut my wood, stack it up, and haul it out with a garden cart.  Sears make a pretty sturdy one that holds about 600 lbs, and it’ll run you just under $100 dollars.  It has some thick, tough-treaded wheels that can easily run the trails, and not have too much of a problem going over even fields.

The reason for the wood gathering is twofold.  Firstly (from a “normal” thought perspective) you’re laying in your supply for next winter.  The early bird gets the worm.  You’ll be able to pick up the best wood for yourself when most others are not even thinking about anything except their weekend trip to the beach.  Secondly (and also very important) from a prepper’s perspective, is the “What If?” reason.

What if that EMP attack comes from North Korea or China?  What if the economy collapses?  What should happen if there is civil war, or a war/invasion here in the U.S.?  Yes, your home will be warm already, but what about cooking?  What about hot water for laundry or personal hygiene.  How about some light when there’s no electricity?  And what about sterilizing instruments, boiling bandages, and running a home/field dispensary?

All of these, I hope you realize are good reasons to prepare and plan now, so that when the tough times arrive, it is not so great a hurt to deal with.  You have seen the news reports, and we’re just a step away from either a war or an EMP attack.  As with Aesop’s fable “The Grasshopper and the Ant,” although we in the survival community are hardly grasshoppers, if we’re ants it is best to be wise ants…covering all of the bases before the ball is hit to center field.

Now is the time to set up your wood-fueled “kitchen,” by investing in a good wood stove for heat and for cooking.  The wood stove also cuts down on the light signature at night…much better than a fireplace.  Along with the stove, start investing in cast iron cookware and utensils for cooking that can withstand rougher treatment than your standard dinner fare.

How much wood do you need?

If you have not done so already, now is a good time to estimate how much wood you will go through in the wintertime, and then estimate how much you would need to have a fire/woodstove burning 24 hours a day.  Typically, a cord of wood is 4 feet wide x 4 feet high x 8 feet long stacked and adds up to 128 cubic feet. As well, the cords may consist of whole logs or split logs. Here is some great information on how to estimate cords of wood from a standing tree. In the summertime it is significantly less, but take your winter consumption and double it, just to be on the safe side.

Invest in a good chain saw, with at least 5 extra chains, and plenty of rattail files to sharpen them when you need to.  Also in that equation, you’ll need a good bench vise to help you to sharpen them.  Stock up on oil and fuel for the saws.  Back all of it up with several good axes, and as many bow saws as you can find.  Remember: if you run out of fuel, you’ll have to do it the old fashioned way.

So take some time to figure out your fuel needs to heat your home with wood and to fulfill the other functions I have just mentioned.  Now is the time to do it, and it can be a good team experience for the whole family.  Make sure you always pack a first aid kit in your excursions and thoroughly familiarize yourself with the operation of all your cutting and safety equipment.  Happy woodcutting!  We encourage your input and thoughts in these matters and hope to hear from you soon!  JJ out!

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Spring, the Liver,and Seasonal Allergies

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Spring, the Liver,and Seasonal Allergies Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” Audio in player below! After a long winter, spring has finally arrived, bringing with it springtime allergies. Predictably, the very popular topic of “liver cleanses” is hitting the blogosphere at this time of year as well. What you may not know is that liver function … Continue reading Spring, the Liver,and Seasonal Allergies

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