New Technology is Bringing Us Closer to Nuclear War

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minuteman_launchDr. Theodore Postol, an MIT Professor, published an insightful report on the increasing likelihood of accidental nuclear war with Russia. The report, How the US Nuclear Weapons Modernization Program is Increasing the Chances of Accidental Nuclear War With Russiadetails how the increasingly potent preemptive strike abilities of the US paradoxically increases the likelihood of war. Russia’s inability to modernize their nuclear weapons program at a similar pace with the US forces Russia to compensate with streamlined launch authority protocols. These streamlined launch authority protocols increase the chances that Russia will misconstrue events as grounds to launch nuclear forces.

By D-Ray, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

stanislav_petrovWhile considering Dr. Postol’s report, it is important to recall the incident of Stanislav Petrov. In 1983, Petrov, an officer of the Soviet Air Defense Forces, received an early warning report that five American ICBMs were headed to strike the Soviet Union. The report was, of course, delivered in error. Petrov was suspicious of the report and refused to inform his superiors of the ‘incoming ICBMs’. Had Petrov acted on the false report, the Soviet Union would have likely sent a ‘retaliatory’ strike leading to large scale nuclear war. In today’s climate, Petrov would have been under increased pressure to act quickly and decisively. This pressure might lead Russia to accidentally set off nuclear warheads.

Related: Trump’s Presidency and the Future of Nuclear Deterrence 

Although the Cold War is over, it may be more important now to foster amicable relations with Russia. As Dr. Postol notes, nuclear war has no winners. The best way to “win” a nuclear war is by not getting in one. At this point, America’s best bet is to begin clear, decisive communication with Russia. If the US can avoid antagonisms with Russia and mitigate concerns of potential aggression, we can reduce the likelihood of an ‘accidental’ nuclear strike.

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Great Again: Taking Action to Deliver on the Hype

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Blagojevich_rahm_emanuelAs Mayor of our nation’s most corrupt city, Rahm Emanuel represents the ultimate politician.  In a city that revels in political scandal, he’s the best of the worst.  A partisan hack who toes the liberal line with the ruthlessness of a pit bull.  His political “coaching tree” is a who’s who of ne’er-do-wells, miscreants and convicts.  He rose to prominence by winning Rod Blagojevich’s House seat, served in the Obama White House, and replaced Richard Daley as Mayor of Chicago.

By Professor Liberty Mize, a contributing author of SHTFBlog

In a telling article in the Chicago Tribune, Emanuel speaks openly about his plan to return the Democrats to power.  He does so by openly addressing the donkey in the room—that his only hope is the failure of Republicans. You get power when you earn it, or your opponents fail.  He cares little about the former and is laser-focused on the latter.

“Wherever there’s a disagreement among Republicans, I’m for one of those disagreements,” he said. “I’m all for it. The president’s with Russia? I’m with John McCain and Lindsey Graham, I’m for NATO! Why? (It’s a) wedge. Wedges have to be schisms, schisms have to be divides.”

His goal isn’t to win, rather to destroy his enemies and collect the spoils.  His tactics are so bad that even the left-loving publication Salon has termed him “a national disgrace”.

Why do we care? Because he’s the only Democrat who is honest about his approach.  If we can learn from the Grand Poobah, we gain insight into the rest who think the same but keep their cards closer to the vest. The so-called “party of no” is back, they’ve just changed jerseys.  Emanuel is the tip of the spear for a new breed of Democrat, one who only sees the outcome of the actions and is unconcerned with what it takes to get there.   

So what can Republicans do to thwart Emanuel and his cronies?

Tip #1- Show Unity in Public & Refuse to Engage

Obama_meeting_with_TrumpSmart Republicans should simply refuse to take the bait.  Stay united in public and fight your battles in private. We have a President who is addicted to knee-jerk reactions and sharing his every opinion via twitter.  That will never change.  But when you add a liberal media specialized in whipping up a frenzy 140 characters at a time, you have a powder keg.  

Related: The Free Marketplace of Ideas is Dead

What can change is the Republican reaction.  If they simply refuse to engage, they can stay clean.  A full 90% of Trump tweets are simply the president cocking off with little strategy or a formulated plan.  He works things out by engaging, backing away and discussing.   Weighing in on every tweet is a fool’s errand.

Policy debates are for debating policy.  If an executive order or a budget is produced, let’s talk about that.  Tweets are the opposite of serious talkers. They merely work as a stirring of the pot in the public realm. Conservatives can certainly hold Trump accountable, but should resist the urge to grandstand and challenge him when there is no policy proposal on the table.  Not that he’s above reproach, quite the contrary–but style and optics matter.

Tip #2- Prove You Are Better

The election of 2016 proved two things definitively.  First, that people in general prefer Republican ideals.  Second, that people hate politicians and prefer a president with zero public service record to the status quo.  Said another way, people are sick of the BS.

On Obama’s watch we witnessed…

  • A supreme court that re-writes legislation on the fly, inventing new rights rather than simply weighing in on constitutional muster
  • A justice department that uses verbal gymnastics to punish administration enemies in the name of the fabricated social cause du jour
  • A weaponized IRS that targets citizens based on their religious beliefs or political leanings
  • Executive orders that circumvent the legislative process in an attempt to redefine foundational things like citizenship
  • The rise of Federal Judges as penultimate arbiters

Aerial_White_HouseThe challenge for Republicans in two words—be better.  Rather than emulate their enemies by fighting fire with fire, abusing executive orders and politicizing the justice department they should govern how the founder’s envisioned it.  The best revenge is clean living.  That is what people want, not simply the other side using the same tactics to different ends.  If Republicans can do that they’ll brand themselves above the fray and EARN the right to govern.

Tip #3- Accept the Fiscal Mandate

Of the many reasons Trump won the election, perhaps the most universally popular one is an embrace of fiscal conservatism.  By taking serious action on fiscal issues, President Trump can not only easily win reelection, he’ll set our financial table well into the future.

Read Also: Dire Straits

While regulatory reform is a part of this, the nation’s growing debt and astronomical projected entitlement spending must be addressed.  Three things can help with this.

  • An increase to the retirement age and means-tested Social Security
  • A full repeal of Obamacare AS PROMISED to the American people
  • A Scott Walker-style frontal assault on government pensions and the unions

The time to tackle this is early in a first term.  While conservatives may scoff at my “means-tested” language, it is a regrettable but inevitable step on the road to solvency.  The AARP and others will fight any reform, by giving in on means-testing we actually have a chance to make a change.  

financial_responsibility_fiscal_policyAs far as Obamacare, repeal is a political winner of an issue, yet Republicans are already set to ignore it.  This is poor public policy.   No “replace”, no “reimagine”, full repeal and start from scratch. As for Scott Walker, his ability to go full frontal with labor unions in reforming collective bargaining and pensions was nothing short of miraculous.  It also represents a federal roadmap to setting our fiscal house in order.

Great Again?

How can Republicans Make American Great Again?  Not by emulating their enemies, but by proving that they are different, by staying united and shoring up our finances.  Too many politicians campaign simply to win elections. To defeat the Rahm Emanuel’s of the world is not to become them.  Conservatives must resist the urge and instead confront head-on the many challenges of this Constitutional Republic.  

 

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Handling an Active Shooter Situation

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police_car_active_shootingI have spent considerable time studying this issue and even more time thinking about what one should do in the event of an armed robbery or an “active shooter”. Although I have been blessed to never have been in either, I routinely think about what I would do should that unfortunate event occur. The more I think about what I would do, the more I think about how my response differs significantly from what you are told to do by government, educational, and business loss-prevention programs.

By Dan C., a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache

Almost all training programs teach you that if there is an active shooter: you are to run, hide and then only as a last resort should you try to fight. As I mentioned before, I work in a “Big Box” sporting goods store, and they teach that tactic as well. However, when asked by a fellow employee what I personally would do, I stated that I would immediately arm myself and prepare to take out the threat. My preconceived plan would include grabbing a handgun from the display cabinet that has a large capacity magazine, run to the ammo aisle, dump a box of the correct ammo into my pockets, then, while walking toward the shooter, load the magazine. Finally, upon seeing the robber or active shooter, I would do my best to stop the threat. The employee I was speaking with replied and said: “That is not what they teach you to do”.  I responded: “No, but it is the right thing to do”.

What Would You Do? 

blackhawk_helicopter_uh-60LSo that is the dilemma. What do you do? During one of these conversations, I was talking to a person and asked what he would do. His response was that he would run for cover and do his best to escape the area. I asked why he chose that response, and he said “Because my job is to come home to my family every night”. No doubt that is a noble thing to do. I then found out he was a former Blackhawk helicopter pilot with several combat tours under his belt, a true American hero. So at first I was caught off guard that a military professional with combat experience would run and hide rather than stand and fight. I clearly understood his desire to come home to his family every night.  For one thing, his goal to preserve his family and put their welfare first was noble; that is a duty he bears as a husband and father.  Also, I recognized that he had already served his country and done his tour of duty. But this combat veteran’s anticipated reaction to a robbery or active shooter at our workplace illustrates an interesting point. You never know who might be running and who might be fighting.

Related: How to Pick the Best Personal Protection Firearm

So we are back to the main point. In the case of an active shooter or an armed robber, what do you do? What course of action is safest for everybody involved. I clearly understand that some of my upcoming comments are going to touch sensitive areas in some folks’ feelings, so get ready.

Breaking Down Roles

french_flag_tragedy_active_shooterLet’s address the Active Shooter situation. First, I feel women, children and elderly should strictly adhere to the recommended methodology of running and leaving the area as quickly as possible and finding hiding place. This is where your situational awareness will save you. You must quickly identify your escape route and expeditiously move in that direction. Help others if you can along the way, but your mission should be to get out of there as quickly as you can. Run as far away as you can. Do not trust hiding, get out of there. Look what happened in Paris in the several mass shootings by terrorists in November of 2015. People thought it was safe to hide under the tables in restaurants. They just became easy targets. Run as far from the site as you can, do not stop until you can no longer hear shots being fired. Then find solid cover–the kind that can physically stop bullets or block an attacker from entering your area.

Yes, there are women that are equally trained and equipped to fight as well as any man. And if you are one of those women, then if you elect to charge the bad guy, all the more power to you. Same with any of those that may be considered elderly. Every rule has exceptions.

Men, I feel you should go after the shooter. If you are armed, then all the better, but everyone should do what they can to stop the threat.  If you are unarmed, grab anything you can carry that can be used to throw at the shooter. Throw as much as you can at them in hope it will allow you or another person to get closer to the shooter to tackle him. If you have access to them, spray the shooter with pepper spray or you can blind him with spray from a fire extinguisher, use everything you can to your advantage. Surprisingly, even if you have a weapon and someone throws something at you, you will duck and try to avoid being hit by it. It is natural instinct. So throw lots of stuff, even if the things you are throwing are not very dangerous in and of themselves.

Action

plan_active_shooterThere is an old adage well known in the world of paramilitary training. It says: “action is faster than reaction.” I feel it is imperative that you go on the offensive when there is an active shooter or armed robber who appears about to start shooting or taking hostages. If you only “go on the defensive” then you have given the bad guy the advantage and increased the odds more innocent people are going to get hurt or killed.

For active shooters, there is risk in taking action, because they have already started their killing spree. Having them stop or leave on their own, peacefully, is not a likely possibility. If nothing is done, then there is a certainty that more bad things are going to happen and those injured or killed will escalate. Is there risk to your actions? No doubt! So what should your plan be in the case of an active shooter?

First, you must have very good situational awareness. You must always be aware of your surroundings and know where your exit points are located and be prepared to act when if an adverse event should occur.

Second, quickly recognize that something bad is happening and action needs to be taken. This is so important. The bad guy has made you an active participant. Lots of times when bad things are happening those people in the area fail to recognize that fact, and thus they keep going about their way and getting trapped in the bad event. The other thing that happens is that people run from the bad event with no direction or purpose. This causes chaos and endangers the lives of many. So having a plan is essential to escaping quickly, or ending the threat quickly.

See Also: Active Shooter!

Third, make sure those around you are safe and moving in a direction away from danger. Even if that means pointing them in the direction they should run and helping them get to safety quickly as possible.

Fourth, you should start moving toward the danger. No need to run to the danger if it is close. This may cause you to run right into bad situations and get hurt or killed unnecessarily. Use tactical movement, taking cover then moving to the next cover position and so forth until you can observe the shooter(s).

Fifth, take action. That might mean engaging your adversary on sight. Or it could mean observing for a few moments to plan how to attack him, where to ambush him, what weapon to use, or how to position yourself to make your attack most effective. Your “attack” could involve anything from throwing stuff at the shooter to shooting him. Whatever it is, do it when you can and when you know it will give you an advantage. Then do your best to STOP the shooter.

Armed Robbery

What about an Armed Robbery?  In this case, you may wish to act differently, because not all armed robberies involve shooting, and not all robbers wish to become killers. You’ll likely have a bit more time to choose how to react to a robber than an active shooter.

situation_active_shooterThe first step is the same; good situational awareness. In this case, if you are with family or friends you should be able to verbally alert them to a danger. I think all families and close friends should have a code word, such as “heads up”, to alert anyone in the group that someone in the group has seen something bad and the others need to go on a heightened state of awareness. This is very important to do if you can, but you may not have the chance to do this.

If you are commanded by the robber to do something, then do it. If you are near the robber, act as if you are no threat to him. This will give you a minute to plan your attack, your escape, or whatever you choose as the best response.

Once your plan is in place and the timing is advantageous, execute your plan, which may include throwing something at the robber, tackling them, or using your firearm to stop the threat. If it appears the robber only wants to steal some property or money and make a quick getaway, letting him go without trying to stop him may appear be the safest thing. However, you never know when the robbery is going to take the robbery to the next level by shooting someone. Just because you have a gun doesn’t mean you have to use it, but being armed gives you more options, not fewer.

Fight or Flight

Naturally these are just a few thoughts on these situations. Every case is very event-specific, and the proper response must be evaluated in light of all the circumstances. But my point is this: run & hide is not necessarily the best way to deal with an active shooter or armed robber. If action is taken, there is a good likelihood that lives will be saved. If no action is taken, the bad guys can choose to kill anyone or everyone they encounter, for whatever reason(s) that may trigger that urge in them. I am also saying that a violent counter-attack is not a course of action suited for everyone, but it should be taught and encouraged more.

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Lead: The Perilous Poison in Your Tap Water

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lead_water_infrastructrure_jackson_flintLead is a killer.  To that statement, nobody is surprised.  The shock may be perhaps just how silently lead slips into our systems, not only in terms of its delivery often by aging public utility works or other modes, but also how it becomes absorbed into our human bodily systems.  More often than not, the serious harm of lead poisoning has long taken its toll on the physiology of a person before it exhibits itself overtly via a plethora of symptoms finally manifested in multiple forms of chronic illness.  It is a dastardly manner to get sick or die.  

So, as prepper’s intent on surviving this world’s outward disasters in the form of natural and unnatural events, how does one protect against the potential infusions of poisoning by lead sources?  First is to understand it, know it, then begin to practice cautions to guard against it, identify it, and recognize the threats and how to ward off its impact on our health and that of our family especially small children, who are more highly susceptible.  

Lead the Toxin

lead_poison_toxic_drinkJust for the sake of basic scientific information the chemical symbol for lead on the chart is Pb.  It is a highly toxic metal considered to be a very strong poison.  It builds up in the human body sometimes not exposing itself in terms of medical symptoms for months or even years.  Children are the most susceptible, because in their very youngest years they are still developing their brains and nervous system which lead attacks. Lead is primarily a neurotoxin in that it mainly targets the nervous system as well as the brain.  It causes a number of maladies and disorders within these physiological systems.  Lead poisoning can also cause blood disorders that can be equally terminal in nature.  

The Symptoms of Lead Poisoning

The list of lead poisoning symptoms in the human body is lengthy.  The listing includes abdominal pain, cramps, aggressive behaviors, constipation, sleep disorders, headaches, irritability, loss of appetite, fatigue, high blood pressure, numbness or tingling in the extremities, memory loss, anemia, and kidney dysfunction.  

doctor_medical_SWOT-2Additional symptoms often displayed are vomiting, muscle weakness, stumbling, seizures, coma, and encephalopathy, which is a form of confusion often combined with coma. The real trick is to not only to identify these symptoms or illnesses, but to prove the link of these ailments to actual lead poisoning.  Thank goodness for us, this can be proven by a series of appropriate specific blood tests.  In theory then the links to lead poisoning can be shown so that treatment regimens can be prescribed by the medical profession.  

Lead Delivery Threats

graveyard_water_towerRemember Flint, Michigan?  I am certain there are numerous other examples of both isolated and widespread excessive concentrations of lead having been delivered to the citizen population via municipal water systems.  Lead poisoning is after all caused by the ingestion of the material into the human body and thereby absorbed into the tissues. Though as we know, lead poisoning can also come from lead paint that was quite common in older residential housing construction as well as huge metropolitan housing complexes, apartment buildings and other dwellings.  Lead was also prevalent in older toys, and other items that children might have put in their mouths over extended periods.  Those sources of lead have now long been cleaned up and removed from society for the most part.  They no longer remain a threat to human health, but drinking water sources are another matter entirely.  

Lead sources can also exist within our soils, ground water, and surface waters and are considered environmental contaminates.  These are often quite prevalent in areas where lead is mined or exists within the earth structures naturally. Towns and cities all over the country are under the threat of aging water piping systems. These were constructed of lead pipes and soldiered joints and are still a widespread threat in America.  Rural water systems are not exempt either from lead poisoning.  Threats of lead in water also exists in private wells as well.  

Every drinking water source is subject to government regulations regarding the amount of lead registered as PPB’s or parts per billion.  The Federal Government’s EPA has established acceptable standards for lead and all chemicals in drinking water.  These sources are supposed to be tested and certified on a regular basis, but sometimes are not.  Are your sources tested?  Is the water coming from your tap right now safe to drink?  This, you better know.  

A Case in Point

sink_water_drinking_contaminationJust last year a municipality near my location, Jackson, Mississippi, experienced issues with elevated lead levels in the city’s drinking water sources.  After extensive sampling of water in 58 city sample sites, 22 per cent of the locations showed lead levels exceeding the accepted Federal levels. The Feds say that a water lead test above 0.015 or 15 ppb exceeds safe levels.  Jackson’s water tested at 0.017 to 0.02 ppb, which is above the Federal standard for safe drinking water.  The source or blame was reported to be the individual home internal samples, not originating from the city’s water distribution network.  And who exactly believes that?  City officials reported that homes built before 1988 were susceptible to lead contaminated water.  Corrosive (city supplied) water can cause the lead in older pipes and commonly soldiered joints to leach out thus causing the excessive high lead levels in the water tests. Action by the city was to correct the inadequate corrosion control in the city water piping systems.  Water chemistry reacts to home pipes and fixtures thus increasing lead levels.  One suspects aging city water systems also contribute to the leaching lead.

It was also noted that the summer heat experienced in the south causes higher lead uptake than in the winter months.  One assumes the external environmental heat raises the temperature in the piping systems thus increasing the temperature of the lead in those pipes furthering the leaching potential into the drinking tap water.  

Treatment and Protection

red_cross_first_aid.svgThere are medical treatments for proven lead poisoning caused from ingestion and absorption.  Blood tests can reveal this as well as other medical tests to assess damage to tissue and organs. The human body can be purged of excessive lead levels.  The process is referred to as chelation therapy.  The treatment binds the lead to be evacuated from the body through urination.  One of the medicines used in the chelation process is known as dimercaprol.  Far be it from me to discuss the medical implications and complications of lead poisoning any further.  Consult other medical information, physicians, or medical experts on the subject.  

Protection is by working to prevent the ingestion of lead.  There are numerous lead filtering systems available for home use to reduce or eliminate the threat of lead in your drinking water.  Have your water tested professionally or purchase a home water testing kit to verify if lead is in your drinking water.  Just knowing one way or the other may be of some relief.  This should be done on a periodically recommended schedule as things change in water delivery systems, even a home well.  

Lead is a noxious substance.  It makes people sick and can eventually kill them.  Part of prepping is to also protect ourselves at home or work or life in addition to being prepared for other SHTF events.  If you have any reason to suspect your drinking water sources are contaminated with lead, then test it, then filter it to be on the safe side.  

Always monitor local area news reports and public service reports on municipal water system safety.  Make certain public waters are tested on schedule.  

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The Islamic State’s Barbarity Defies Our Understanding of Genocide

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IS_beheading_execution_barbarityA new paper published through the University of St. Andrews, Dehumanisation in Religious and Sectarian Violence: the Case of Islamic State, explores the uniquely horrific practices of the Islamic State. The author, Dr. Gilbert Ramsay, explores how the Islamic State does not dehumanize their victims in traditional ways. In fact, the Islamic State will often attribute a great deal of humanity to those massacred. This can be seen most explicitly in the videos IS publishes. In one instance, Dr. Ramsay notes IS employs editing in their execution videos that offer: “a window into the thoughts of the penitent victim prior to death”. Through their publications, IS seeks to create an intimate bond between the viewer and the victim. The religious content of the Islamic State ideology is so potent, the dehumanization of massacred individuals is sometimes unnecessary.  According to IS, Infidels and Shiites must be killed or submit to their ideology. As evidenced by the callous nature of their videos, this is done unapologetically.

By D-Ray, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

To be sure, Ramsay also notes the Islamic State will, from time to time, use dehumanizing methods. However, compared to other genocidal organizations, IS does not employ dehumanization nearly as frequently. Notably, the Nazis found found ways to dehumanize and shield themselves from profoundly depraved actions. The implications of the Islamic State’s ideological nature presents a terrifying possibility: we are dealing with an entity that does not find genocidal activities to be morally unconscionable.

Related: Zero Footprint

The Islamic State represents a truly unique and horrible evil. Although they are materially weak, the ideological power of IS is potent. It has been often said that you can kill a man but you can not kill an idea. While I agree with the sentiment of this maxim, the West must begin to attack and kill the ideology upon which the Islamic State is premised. If this new study is any indication, combatting the Islamic State’s cancerous belief system will be incredibly difficult.

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Trump’s Presidency and the Future of Nuclear Deterrence

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Nuclear_weapons_states.svgA new article published in the Journal of Contemporary Security Policy endeavors to explore the impact of Trump’s Presidency on nuclear proliferation. Specifically, it brings to light the changing nature of US alliances with non-nuclear defense partners. Since the cold war, non-nuclear defense partners have been under a construct known as the nuclear umbrella. Under this arrangement, the United States gives defensive assurances to partner states. As a result, the United States is able to exert regional influence and discourage the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Trump has since challenged the existence of this paradigm by demanding NATO members pay more. Even more surprising is Trump’s suggestion that Japan and South Korea acquire their own nuclear weapons.

By D-Ray, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

A superficial examination of nuclear umbrella deterrence and President Trump’s comments indicate we will see partner states developing their own nuclear programs in the next few years. Upon further examination, this conclusion is not entirely accurate. The paper notes that even if the Trump Administration wanted to, it could not unilaterally abrogate defensive partnerships with allied states. In this regard, the nuclear umbrella can only be weakened. It will always exist under Trump’s State Department.

Additionally, the partial withdrawal of United State defense assurances would not compel all states to pursue their own nuclear defense programs. Some states have no desire to build their own nuclear program for a variety of ethical reasons. Moreover, some states find that the security costs of pursuing an independent nuclear program are too high.

In any case, it would seem, at least according to this article, that international nuclear paradigms will change little under Trump’s Presidency. Nuclear deterrence arrangements constitute a very strong institution.  Contrary to what some pundits claim, the world is not going to go “totally nuclear” under Trump’s Administration.

Do you agree with the conclusion of this article? How do you see nuclear paradigms changing in the next four years?

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Tree Bark as an Emergency Food

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bark_piecesAn almost forgotten food from the wild is that which comes from the bark of trees.  Once a staple, now it is barely known even as a coarse survival food.  I myself have been slow coming to it even with wild edible plants as a major preoccupation since my teens.  An obvious possibility for why tree bark has not been found much in modern cuisine is that it doesn’t taste good.  The modern imagination easily responds to the notion of tree bark as food with images of gnawing on trees – not exactly as exciting as fishing, hunting, picking mushrooms, or picking berries.  However, perhaps that assumption is wrong.  Maybe delicious foods can be prepared from tree bark.

By Nathaniel Whitmore, a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache

I have in front of me eleven books on wild edibles.  At first glance at the table of contents of each book, or the text or index if the plants weren’t listed there, I found nothing in ten of the books  related to tree barks as edibles.  Euell Gibbons (Stalking the Wild Asparagus) and others discuss Black Walnuts and Hickory for nuts.  Lee Allen Peterson (Edible Wild Plants) discusses the leaves of Basswood.  Bradford Angier (Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants) discusses the seeds of Maple and, of course, that the sap is boiled into Maple syrup.  …And the list goes on of other foods from the trees.  Only in one, A Naturalists Guide to Cooking with Wild Plants by Connie and Arnold Krochmal, did I find that the authors went on to discuss harvesting and preparing Maple bark.  They have a recipe for Maple bark bread that uses, along with other typical ingredients for bread, only ½ cup of all-purpose flour to 2 cups of ground Maple bark.  Another recipe for porridge is a typical porridge recipe with only Maple bark (cooked like farina, grits, or oats), along with a suggestion to spread it out to chill and thicken before browning in oil.

Cuisine and Nutrition

maple_treeI have not yet tried Maple (Acer spp.) porridge.  I have made porridge from Slippery Elm (Ulmus rubra) but only because I have acquired out-of-date stock from herbs stores here-and-there that I worked for.  The powdered bark is quite costly to eat like a breakfast cereal.  It is sold mostly for home-made lozenges and to add to smoothies.  Because the bark is quite mucilaginous, it is a great ingredient for do-it-yourself lozenges for sore or dry throat.  I like to always keep some in a convenient storage spot.  When I have plenty, I like to cook the powdered Elm bark with Maple syrup (and a little salt) for a real breakfast from the trees.  I have not yet attempted to powder the bark itself, though I do intend to.  Powdering bark is one of those things that is high up on my list of things to do that I never get around to doing.  Again, a survival situation might just re-prioritize that list.  The shredded bark is also readily available through commercial sources and is prepared as a cold infusion to produce a thick, moistening drink or ingredient.

Related: Food to Stock for Emergencies      

According to Daniel Moerman in Native American Food Plants, Green Ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) was cooked by the Ojibwa.  Apparently they believe it tastes like eggs.  I have chewed it and infused it for “tea”, but will certainly have to try to prepare it like scrambled eggs!  I doubt it is all that similar, but I do not doubt that it can be prepared so that it tastes good.  Remember, much of foraging is about timing.  Not only is bark easier to peel off the tree in the spring (when the sap is flowing), but it also is thick, juicy, and milder tasting than other times of the year.  Certainly, timing is important for Ash bark and the others.  Though, if starving to death you might eat tree bark even if it wasn’t the ideal harvest season and even if it didn’t taste like eggs.

white_pine_barkWhite Pine (Pinus strobus) and other evergreens were vital survival foods for Native Americans in cold areas.  Although they often have too much astringency and pitchy consistency to be ideal foods, they also have vitamin C, bioflavonoids, and many important medicinal constituents.  It would be interesting, and potentially important in a survival scenario, to look into the nutritional constituents of various barks.  It shouldn’t be too difficult to understand that Pine bark has lots of vitamin C, but what about the macronutrients?  Are barks able to provide sufficient sugar, protein, or fat?  Sugar seems the most notable macronutrient from bark, but I still wonder how much is there.  Certainly, Maple bark can taste remarkably sweet, like Maple syrup.  Clearly it has sugar in it.  The benefits of bark as a survival food are at least partially illustrated by the Natives formerly feeding Cottonwood (Populus spp.) bark to horses.  Certainly, humans have different nutritional requirements than the four-legged grazers, though I still think it says something that the deer, other wild animals, and horses can glean nutrition from bark.

Basswood (American Linden, Tilia americana) is unique as a food tree in that it produces large broad leaves that are edible right off the tree.  Young twigs and buds were cooked by Chippewa.  By this I would assume that the bark is also mild and edible.  However, I turned to Moerman’s book Native American Medicinal Plants to learn that the Cherokee used the bark for diarrhea and the Iroquois used as a diuretic, which has me wondering if the bark is too astringent and drying to use as food.  Of course, many such remedies are mild enough to eat or can be prepared to be more food quality and less medicinal.  Generally though, diarrhea remedies are astringent and can cause constipation when not needed for runny stool.  Moerman did also report that the Cherokee used during pregnancy for heartburn and weak stomach and bowels.  If it was used during pregnancy, I imagine it is mild enough to eat.  Basswood bark is now bumped up to the top of the list of wild foods to try out this spring.

Medicinal Uses of Tree Bark

Medicines from tree barks are many.  Though this article focuses on edible barks, it would not be complete without mention of medicinal uses.  In addition to those already discussed above, the medicinal barks included many categories, such as astringents, cough remedies, blood-moving medicinals, and pain relievers.

aspirin_vintage_advertisement_willowWillow (Salix spp.) was an original source of a well-known medicine known as salicylic acid (named after Willow).  Like the drug Aspirin (which is named after Meadowsweet which is currently Filipendula, but formerly Spiraea), Willow is used for pain, to thin the blood, and for fevers.  Salicylic acid is commonly used for acne, dandruff, and warts.  Poplars (Populus spp.) are closely related to Willow both botanically (though many people confuse Poplars and Birch, or Betula spp.) and medicinally.  Poplars have largely fallen out of use in modern times, but formerly were commonly employed as medicinals – the bark used like Willow, and especially the resinous buds used for coughs.

Oaks (Quercus spp.) and many other trees have bitter-tasting astringency.  Astringents tone tissue, remove inflammation, and stop discharge.   They are important medicines that are indicated for damp, inflamed conditions like diarrhea, rashes, bleeding wounds, and sore throats.  Astringents are also used for daily maintenance like washing the face and brushing teeth.  In small quantities, they are used to maintain tissue integrity of the gums and digestive system.

Read Also: Bushcraft Mushrooms

Like Cinnamon (Cinnamomum spp.), our Sassafras (Sassafras albidum) is used to stimulate circulation and clean the blood.  The bark is delicious as tea, and can be combined with other root beer ingredients like Black Birch (Betula lenta).  The leaves of Sassafras are mucilaginous as well as spicy and can be prepared as food.  They are used in gumbo.  As an aromatic, blood-cleansing medicinal, Sassafras is used to treat skin disorders, arthritis, and to warm up the body.  The FDA has a controversial ban on Sassafras and the oil derived from it, safrole.

cherries_cherry_treePerhaps one of best-known cough remedies, Cherry Bark (Prunus spp.) has been used for ages.  My guess is that Cherry became a standard flavor for cough syrups largely because the bark was a standard medicine for coughs, even though the bark does not exactly taste like the fruit.  It does have a distinct Cherry flavor, but even more distinct is the cyanide flavor, especially in the fresh bark.  Because of the toxic properties, the use of fresh Cherry bark has been discouraged in the literature.  Though, the fresh bark is used medicinally and is significantly stronger than the dried bark.  The dried bark is available through commercial distributions.  Especially the wilted leaves have been known to cause poisoning in farm animals, so it seems the toxic properties spike during drying.  There are also various ideas about the best time to harvest.  Since I am not a chemist, I cannot say much with authority about cyanide content.  Consider yourself warned, however.  I encourage you to do your own research (before you find yourself starving or coughing to death in a Cherry forest).  Since this is such a valuable medicine I do indeed recommend learning about Cherry bark.  In my experience it is a top remedy for coughs and I assume it has many other uses in line with how Peach (Prunus persica) is used in Chinese medicine, which is extensive.  If the medicinal barks were not strong-natured and somewhat toxic, they would have been discussed earlier as edible barks.  It is precisely because they are strong that they are medicinal.  

Black Walnut (Juglans nigra) bark is very medicinal.  It is one of the strongest antifungal herbs and is well-known as a remedy for intestinal parasites.  The inner bark stains yellow, as do the green hulls and leaves.  These parts also give off a distinct aroma that can help with identification and are doubtlessly related to the medicinal virtues.  Of course, Black Walnut is also known for its nuts, which are important survival food.     

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Poison in the Water? Trace Pharmaceuticals and Your Faucet

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Vicodin5mgThe issue of pharmaceuticals showing up in public water systems is gaining more and more attention in the media, and for good reason—because it’s there! While it isn’t entirely clear what these drugs are doing to your endocrine system, it isn’t positive. Moreover, your exposure to trace pharmaceuticals is probably greater than you imagine. Consider these news articles:

I could go on citing more and more articles on the subject, but what’s the point? These are all legitimate news sources, not quack “fake news” and conspiracy theory sites. The issue is real. Do your own research and you will quickly see for yourself. Believe it or not, you are exposed to trace chemicals from the improper disposal of pharmaceuticals. 

By Danger Dave, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & SurvivalCache

But what exactly are “trace pharmaceuticals”? Denver Water states:

Trace pharmaceuticals are sometimes called microconstituents or emerging contaminants. They are products that enter the water supply through animal-based agricultural runoff or from human sources. A high percentage of pharmaceuticals in wastewater enter the water supply when people dispose of medicines in the sink or toilet. Most, if not all, pharmaceutical products — whether used in animals or in humans — are used in doses at which some amounts are passed through the user and back into water systems. 

New York Legislator Burke (from the first article) said, “I heard someone make sort of a glib joke the other day that they’re feeling depressed, so instead of going to the pharmacy they’re just going to drink a cup of tap water.” Funny, but no laughing matter.

From Prescription to Drinking Water

glass_of_waterHow is it that when we turn on the tap water we get a refreshing glass of… drug-tainted water? Well, what do people do with unused and expired drugs? Chances are they get dumped in the toilet and flushed. The water system is a circular system. It all comes back around. What is more, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that the flushing of drugs is only part of the problem.

“The main way drug residues enter water systems is by people taking medicines and then naturally passing them through their bodies,” says Raanan Bloom, Ph.D., an environmental assessment expert at FDA. “Many drugs are not completely absorbed or metabolized by the body and can enter the environment after passing through wastewater treatment plants.”

So drugs are getting into the water system simply by the fact people are taking drugs and then using the bathroom as they always do.

Drugs in our water is no easy problem to solve, and it’s the reason the FDA, in partnership with the DEA and community organizations, developed community-based drug “take-back” programs. (Click here to find a take-back program in your area.)

Dangerous?

doctor_medical_SWOT-2Everyone agrees that trace amounts of drugs are in the water. As we established, this is not “alternative facts” or theory. It is undeniable. What is not clear is to what extent it may cause harm to individuals consuming the water. According to WebMD, while scientists do not know the extent of the threat to our health, of particular concern is the presence of synthetic hormones, because “hormones work at very low concentrations in the human body.” They go on to say, “We know that kids, including babies and toddlers, as well as fetuses, are more susceptible to environmental exposures because their bodies are still developing and their exposure on a pound-per-pound basis is higher. And they lack the detoxification system adults have. So it is not unreasonable to expect they would be at a higher risk.”

Soooo… if it is of particular concern for kids, and the science is still out on the effects their presence in water has on adults, I am inclined to err on the side of safety.

Solutions

So there is no denying the research and concern. Drugs in drinking water is very real. While solutions for preventing the drugs from entering the water system prove somewhat elusive, there are concrete ways to get trace pharmaceuticals out of your water.

“Boil it,” you say? Nope. Boiling it does not solve the problem. “Then bottled water,” you argue. Not likely. Twenty-five percent of bottled water comes from the tap. Your best bet at addressing the problem? Filtering it between when it leaves the tap to when it reaches your mouth.

water_pitcher_epicPreppers are familiar with a few of the common water filtration available to them because they have purchased them as insurance against an environmental or man-made catastrophe to allow them access to safe drinking water. But why wait until catastrophe strikes to use them when those very filters could be used right now to clean your drinking water for safe(er) consumption? If you own the products already, why not use them on a daily basis now? If you don’t own the products, consider getting one, for the sake of your family’s health. A few that we recommend for prepping purposes also remove trace pharmaceuticals:

  • Black Berkey Filters
  • Epic’s Filtration Pitcher

From my view, any “prepper” product that can get used now is a must get. It makes far more sense to purchase these products before products that will sit on a shelf for a “just in case” situation that may not come.

Lastly, you can do your part to help combat drugs entering the water supply by following the drug disposal guidelines from the FDA found here.

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Wilderness First Aid Guide

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red_cross_first_aid.svgAdministering the right first aid correctly can help save lives and reduce discomfort when you are out in the wilderness.  Understanding the common challenges you may face and how to react under such conditions will help remove uncertainties and improve patient outcome. Having your first aid kit with you is the first step to handling emergencies. Here are some steps to take when faced with health emergencies or accidents in the wilderness:

By Ryan, a contributing author of SurvivalCache and SHTFBlog

1) Survey the Area: Before you jump in to help the patient, take a second to survey the area for any potential danger. It’s important you keep your instinct to help immediately in check and ensure that the area is safe for you. There is no need rushing in only to increase the number of patients by falling victim to whatever danger created the emergency in the first place. Watch for signs of dangerous animals, uneven terrains that maybe due to an avalanche, and so on.

2) Approach the Patient: Approach the patient and try to determine the cause of the injury or medical condition, and put on your gloves before you touch the patient.

3) Determine the State of Your Patient: Tap the patient on the shoulder and shout “are you ok?” If you don’t get a response, use 10 seconds to determine if the patient is still breathing (occasional gasps is not breathing).

4) If the patient is not breathing send someone to call the emergency number immediately. Get the patient lying face-up and ensure the neck, head and back are in a straight line. If it’s a child and the parent or guardian is around, ask for consent if you haven’t already. Then give rescue breath. The right way to give rescue breath is to tilt the patient’s head, raise the chin, pinch the nose, and then breathe in through the mouth till the chest expands. Give rescue breath one after the other.

5) If the chest doesn’t rise after two rescue breaths, start CPR immediately. If you witnessed the patient collapse, skip rescue breaths and start CPR immediately.

6) If the patient is still breathing, keep the airway clear by raising the patient’s neck and tilting the head.

Dealing with Bleeding

medical_bag_packedIf the patient is bleeding, it’s important you stop the bleeding immediately. Raise the wounded area above the heart level and apply direct pressure with gauze, clean cloth, sphagnum moss, or dried seaweed. However, if it’s a head injury, apply several dressings and press gently because the skull may be fractured.  If you feel bone fragments, depression, or a spongy area, DO NOT apply direct pressure. Use diffused pressure to control the bleeding. 

Related: First Aid Training 

For non-head bleeding that fails to stop after application of direct pressure, consider applying pressure at the pulse point between the bleeding area and the heart.

Once the bleeding is controlled, flood the area with water to wash out dirt and contaminants. If there is any dirt still visible the water can’t remove, use tweezers to remove it carefully. Clean the area around the wound with alcohol wipe if you have one in your first aid box. Ensure you do not clean the inside of the wound with the alcohol wipe. Apply antibiotic ointment to the wound, and add clean gauze, and then a wrap to keep it in place. 

Dealing with Bone and Joint Injuries

cast_orthopedicBone and joint injuries may be strains, fractures, sprains, or dislocations. Although it can be difficult for an inexperienced person without BLS certification to tell one from the other, the care to be given is similar. Check for symptoms such as deformity, tenderness, swelling, an inability of the patient to use or move the injured part without pain, loss of sensation, or open injuries to confirm you are dealing with a bone or joint injury. 

Also Read: What not to do When Lost in the Wilderness

Help the person rest the injured body part and immobilize it on the ground or with a splint if you need to move the person. Apply a cold pack if available on the body part, separating the skin and the cold pack with a gauze or clean cloth to avoid damaging the skin. Leave for 20 minutes. Use cold water if ice is unavailable. Elevate the fractured body part above the heart level if it won’t cause pain or discomfort. You can administer aspirin if the pain is severe.  Arrange for evacuation of the patient as soon as possible.

Apart from the above basic precaution, do not attempt to fix bone damage or a dislocation if you are not trained to do so as permanent damage may occur.

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The Ultimate SHTF Bug Out Camp Trailer

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Camp trailer 2

cabin_aspens_bug_outConcepts abound for how to provide shelter in the wilds after a bug out escape has been executed.  The sheltering ideas are as diverse as there are preppers and the personalities of people wanting get out of Dodge when things go south.  The options vary from the totally austere use of a mere tarp thrown over a clothes line between a couple trees, to investing in an outbound parcel of land with a house, barn, or other conventional fixed prep shelter.

In between the ends of this spectrum are all kinds of options.  Some prefer simple camping Boy Scout type tents, others opting for sturdier outfitter walled tents.  Beyond tents are fixed campers on wheels of all designs.  Some are lightweight pop-up types with a tent type fold out top, but a solid floor with living conveniences built in.  Others are just tiny, enclosed, walled, towable trailers.

Related: Choosing the Best Shelter for Your Bug Out Bag

Naturally, there are full bore travel trailers of every description on the market from basic units on one axle to huge outfits on dual axles with an extra slide out room or more, and nearly all the amenities of a regular house, only it’s portable.  These are self-contained living quarters than can be towed to any outlying camping area, to secured and hidden locations.  

Then, there is another category of camping trailers that are just a bit more out of the normal mainstream of camping units.  One such outfit named the Timberline Range Camps is located in Mount Pleasant, Utah.  A fitting location to headquarter a specialty camping trailer company.  

The Timberline Outfit

escape_trailerThis team of outdoors minded people have created a line of camping trailers including 11 different models currently available with all kinds of differences in sizes, options, amenities, and equipped to provide about any kind of an outdoor escape shelter. When making an investment like this, there is certainly a lot to consider. While this report is suggesting their use as a potential SHTF Bug Out shelter, naturally they have suitable applications to any outdoors recreational activity from camping in the great outdoors, fishing, hunting, cycle or ATV riding to just relaxing in the woods or by the stream or lake.  Such would make great dry runs for a real SHTF event.  

Just by appearance one gets the impression of the quality of these units; they definitely have an air of ruggedness about them.  They certainly are not cheaply made simple camping trailers with weak frames or construction.  These units are intended for extended outdoor living if necessary.  

The Timberline Escape Model

Camp trailerFor this report, we selected one of the eleven models to concentrate on, so readers would have an idea of the features of one unit.  The Escape being appropriately named for prepping and survival, is a unit that is 21-feet long, nearly 8 foot wide inside with an interior length of 16 feet.  The height of the unit is 11 feet.   Ground clearance on these trailers is of particular interest being 24-inches which is a very high clearance for a unit of this type.  

Contained within is a long list of standard features with other options that can be custom ordered.  First, at the rear of the unit is a full main bed, a pull out table, twin trundle bed with under bed storage.  The Escape is set up to sleep four. Forward is a kitchen, living area with seating benches, a wood stove, a 3-burner cooktop, a 2.7 cu. ft. refrigerator, and a sink.  There is a shower and a toilet.  You have to realize these campers are designed to maximize minimal space if that makes sense.  They are compact for sure, but laid out to be comfortable and utilitarian.  Amazingly, there are plenty of cabinets and storage space, too.  

These campers have a stronger frame than most and more insulation to withstand colder or hotter weather.  These units include a solar panel, 2 30-pound propane tanks, a 20,000 BTU forced air furnace and a water package including a 42-gallon fresh water tank.  The units have gray and black water holding capabilities as well.

Camp trailer 7The electric package includes outlets, lighting and other features to enhance the use of the units.  There is a full complement of inside and outside lights, running lights and tail lights.  There are two 6-vdc deep cycle batteries for the camper. Full camper hook ups are included in the event you have access to external utilities, water hookups, and gray/black water release hook ups.  Options are many including built in entertainment packages, satellite ready, a toy hauler deck for an ATV or motorcycle(s) that then becomes an exterior porch for relaxing.  

Read Also: Prepper Basics – Shelter in Place

You just have to review their web site to get a full appreciation of the design and function of these camper units.  These would be ideal for a Bug Out escape, and or a ready set up alternative shelter in place, ready to use.  Add an outside supply and equipment shed, and any prepper would be comfortable for an extended stay.  

How much?  Have you shopped the cost of a new car or pickup truck lately?  I have.  The new Toyota Tundra I would love to have tops $50,000.  I will probably settle for a Chevrolet Silverado like I have had since 2008 for around $40,000.  The base model Timberline Escape camper goes for around $42,000.  

If you think that is expensive then price other camping trailers, a few acres of isolated farmland, or woodland property, and add the cost of building a small camp house.  The Timberline’s are well within the reasonable costs for a SHTF Bug Out shelter.  And you can move it around as necessary for additional recreational options.   
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Build a Longterm Survival Supply Bag

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bug_out_bags-2Some preppers and survivalists might scoff at such an idea.  After all, beyond the initial 72 or so hours of a bug out scenario, most would think you’d be surviving out of more permanent supply sources than another bag or storage box.  Well, you might be, or in some cases, you might not be.  SHTF happens.  The idea of a secondary supply bag then may not seem like such a bad or farfetched idea.

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

Every bug out plan however perfectly executed may not pan out exactly as planned.  You may have cached out a perfect bug out hiding location, a camping spot, another shelter at a long range destination or other hold over site until calm returns, or a new lifestyle starts.  But what if you don’t make that back up site right away or at all?

Related: 10 Bug Out Bag Essentials

What if there are delays or outright changes in the plan altogether?  What will you do if roadblocks hinder your progress or throw you off on an entirely new route, one you have not practiced or are even familiar with.  Suppose riots, armed threats or searches deter you?  If any of that happens or more, you’ll need additional survival provisions to survive.  

Defining Long Term

prepare_SWOT-2This is obviously the hard part.  During any kind of a SHTF, time frames simply cannot be nailed down, or likely even predicted.  Everything is in flux, and I mean everything.  If you were even successful at getting away from your primary residence, or work with family in tow if that is part of the plan, then you will spend some time in travel.  You may have calculated the Bug Out trip in advance knowing how many hours or days it will take to arrive at your back up location, SHTF housing or secure site.  Assuming that all works out.  

As a suggested back up plan then, or a sort of supplemental Plan B, one should also prepare for the potentiality of an extended short term situation turning into something more.  But what?  It seems reasonable all else being equal to have emergency provisions beyond the 72-hour scenario for a minimum of two weeks at least with the possibility of a month not being unrealistic.  

Back Up Bag Scenario

jeep_offroad-2Let’s be truthful here, too.  In most real Bug Out situations, you do not want to have to plan to abandon your vehicle to hike on foot.  It could happen, but it is not a best case scenario to strike out into the woods with a one bag source of supplies.  Most of us are simply not equipped physically or emotionally to hike off into the sunset to try to “live off the land.”  Perhaps the top tier of survivalists could, even for a while, but it is the toughest plan to achieve.

If it comes to it, should you become detoured, plan instead a hide in place by the vehicle on an abandoned road, under a bridge, or other place where your vehicle could be parked relatively safe, and out of sight.  Then plan to camp there with your vehicle and supplies as long as you have to or indeed as long as you can.  Doubtless this could be a highly “iffy” situation, but it could happen.

Also Read: Knee Deep in Bug Out Vehicles

The vehicle then becomes your fort, your storage container, tent, and thus offering some measure of security and comfort.  But, you’ll need the extra extended supplies, goods, and gear to make this viable until you can move on or be forced to hunker down there.  

Then later, if you do reach your intended secondary site, these back up provisions can be used there in addition to what you may have already cached in place or hidden along the way.  To be honest, if Plan A never works out, and Plan B’s provisions are expended, then basically all bets are off.  

You may have to then shelter in place, wherever or whatever that turns out to be.  It is not without consideration to think about a scrounging plan as well, but hope it does not come to that.  Always remember many others are out there vying for the same limited sources of supplies or even what you have already secured.  

Secondary Bag Priorities

Granite-102-side-1_436a00ed-364d-440b-a93f-172e6f472a16_1024x1024-3By bag, this could be a very large zippered duffle type bag with triple or more interior space than your initial 72-hour Bug Out type bag.  Ideally, it would need sturdy grab handles on each end and perhaps the sides.  Loaded such a bag will be heavy.  Two people will likely be needed to load it in a vehicle. But, honestly, it does not have to be a bag at all.  There are some very large, and of course heavy when loaded as well, storage boxes that can withstand a lot of abuse.  These can be packed, locked, and stored in a ready grab spot as a throw in bag/box.  This may not be an option for every prepper, but it is a backup worthy of consideration. Again, this bag or box should be provisioned with enough additional consumables and gear to manage the two weeks to a month or even longer term.  

It would seem the highest priority should go to food, and water, or additional equipment to convert questionable water sources into acceptable water, as not enough could be transported via this plan.  Food supplies, also need to be light, and offering long term viability.  This means a large quantity of quality pre-packaged survival foods offering maximum variety and palatability.  This implies commercial survival foods, dry packages, freeze-dried, and or MRE type meals.  Frankly, you can forget carrying canned goods and such as the weight and volume would be too much to handle.  

Though debatable as personal choices, a good cooking mess kit should be included as meal prep would be more than munching a protein bar at this point.  Minimalist type gear is important, but necessary anyway.  

Bug_out_bag_flashlight-2Add to the long term bag more gear.  An axe, more tarp covers, more medical supplies especially medications needed for specific disorders that require treatment.  Rope, rough wood saws, a hammer, large nails/spikes, batteries, more matches and butane lighters, candles, more flashlights, zip bags, heavy duty trash bags, work gloves, a knife or two more.   Water storage bags would be helpful.  Include light fishing gear and/or nets.  Add whatever else you can manage.  Seasonal clothing as space permits or yet another soft bag?  

Add more ammo, perhaps a thousand rounds each for a primary rifle and handgun with half that for a shotgun.  Add one or two more weapons if convenient.  Sounds extensive?  Expensive?  Perhaps.  You have to make that judgement on what you can handle.  These goods are carried by the vehicle and stored there during travel or roadside camping, perhaps for the endurance.  

The long term survival bag (LTSB) then is provided to extend the usual 72-hour initial Bug Out period as or if needed.  It certainly could come in handy and also in the end supplement what has already been stocked at some alternative sheltering site.  It’s just an idea, but one acted upon soon and in hand rather than merely wished for later under more dire circumstances.  

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Conduct a Prep SWOT Analysis

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pen_paper_SWOT-2American management practices use a lot of techniques to examine planning, program development, future goals, and modes of execution to achieve those goals.  One of the business school tactics used by many groups is called the SWOT.  This stands for (1) Strengths, (2) Weaknesses, (3) Opportunities, and (4) Threats.  Walking through this process applied to your prepping plan can assure confidence of achievements, point out items for improvement, expose future opportunities and recognize potential threats.  It is an assessment strategy to reveal all the functional aspects of your prepping plan and processing.  

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

Remember that your SWOT is not my SWOT or Reuben’s down the street.  There can be no two plans or executions just alike.  Therefore, there really is no textbook SWOT to copy or plagiarize.  It is a process that only you or your prep team can solely experience, define, construct, refine, and deploy.  It has to be customized to your situations, conditions, and circumstances.

Strengths

strengths_SWOT-2What have you done right and what are you doing right?  Do you have a basic plan advancing to a more thorough plan laid out, via paper, or PC or both?  Is all this development work documented in a file, notebook, or folder for constant referral and reference?  If not, this is the place to start. Your personal prep manual needs to be easy to reach and within reach at all times.  Then when an idea or lightbulb thought pops up, you can jot it down.  Keep plenty of plain paper in the side pocket for such notes, then refine them to move to the main manual pages if appropriate.  Prepping is a constant moving target, but the ideas need to be collected.  

Review all your prepping components.  You may have a “Bug In” section as well as a “Bug Out” section just in case options are a viability.  Then break it down into all the categories of stuff that have been discussed here at Survival Cache and our Blog pages over time.

Related: 10 Bug Out Bag Essentials

Confirm what items you have completed and what items need work.  Review your supply lists, weapons cache, and every item in your prep plan so far.  This is an emphasis on your plan’s strengths, but does not imply completion.  

Weaknesses

prepare_SWOT-2This is not the time for dogging yourself or your plans.  It is a time to constructively peel back the layers to see what is not working, at least not yet.  On this examine it is time to reveal things you are not doing or have failed at completing.  A good practical example is training achieved to date.  Can you put that tent up in the dark, even in the backyard?  Do you know how to disassemble that AR you bought for Christmas?  Have you finished calculating how much food and calories your family will need for an extended SHTF?   Is your bug out camp ready to go? Do you need a course in auto or engine mechanics, welding, carpentry, or camp cooking?  

Also examine what factors or elements are preventing you from moving weaknesses to strengths.  Is a limited, tight, or reprioritized budget part of the issue?  Are you setting any funding aside for prepping causes regardless of how little it is?  Have you considered weekend employment or selling off some unnecessary items to raise funds for prepping?  This is not easy.  

Again, weaknesses are things that are probably on your prepping plan list but you simply have not followed through.  If it is a critical element like securing proper quantities of food, water, ammo, medical supplies or whatever, then just dedicate yourself to chipping away at these issues.  

Opportunities

ATVs_at_camp_SWOTThese can be difficult to recognize.  The possibilities are everywhere, it is just a matter of nailing them down or acting to take advantage of them.  Perhaps a neighbor offered you an old boat if you would come get it, patch it up, repaint and repurpose it.  It could be other stuff too, like an old ATV, chainsaw, or other useful tools, equipment, and hard goods.  

Maybe next month the local community college is having a free series of classes on various skills issues.  You need to block out the time to pursue these free chances to learn new stuff when they become available.  Likewise a big box outdoor store might offer seminars on camping, fishing, trapping, canning, knife sharpening, reloading ammo, or whatever.  Sometimes lumber and hardware supply outlets have building classes and tool demonstrations on a Saturday.  Don’t miss these opportunities.  

Opportunities can come in all sizes, unexpected, and at any time.  Sometimes you have to act fast to cash in on them.  Maybe on trash day your neighbor has piled up some 2x4s on the curb.  Could be good supplies for bug out camp building projects.  

Perhaps a neighbor, work colleague, or other friend invites you to go fishing one day, or hunting, or yard sale perusing.  One never knows what such an invitation could turn into.  Fish or meat in the freezer would be nice.  A set of wrenches for $5 would be sweet, too.  

Threats

doctor_medical_SWOT-2Threats are the things that hinder you from completing plan goals or objectives.  Whatever they are, they need to be recognized and addressed.  Do you have medical issues that restrict your progress?  Perhaps you have a bum shoulder that needs surgery, knee or whatever.  Maybe you are long overdue for dental work.  Take care of these things, now, while you can.  In the midst of a SHTF is no time to expect dedicated medical care to be available.  

Read Also: Survival Books for Your Bunker

What if you live in a declining neighborhood and you don’t like what is happening around you.  Is it time to move?  It is time to bolster your home security in terms of technology and or defensive measures such as adding another gun or two or training family members to use them?  

Perhaps there are threats that are completely out of your control.  You at least need to identify them, recognize such threats, and understand its impact on your planning.  It could be such things can be bypassed, kept at a distance or minimized in the short term.  Keep them on the radar screen though.  

A SWOT analysis can help you achieve many things, but awareness is the main benefit.  These are elements of prepping that you simply cannot afford to ignore.  So don’t.  

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Top 10 Skills for the Advanced Prepper

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danger_prepper_gunsApocalypse, Doomsday, Judgment Day, Armageddon — for those of you who believe that the end of the world as we know it is drawing near, it doesn’t matter what you call it, as long as you’re prepared for it. Right? Right. If you’re reading this article, and you are a Prepper, then (1), let’s be friends, and (2) here are some of the most important skills that you, an advanced prepper, should know in order to be fully prepared for that day. 

By Ryan, a contributing author of SurvivalCache and SHTFBlog

Find yourself without these skills and your life will be significantly more difficult. While the skills in this list may seem complicated, with hard work and dedication, they can be mastered. Don’t let the gravity of these skills dissuade you from learning. You’ll feel much more comfortable knowing these abilities.

1. Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

You can become CPR certified through the American Red Cross, which will, most likely, offer a class at a location near you. Community Centers, employers and churches may offer a class or two at their locations as well, having trained professionals leading the class. You can also get your BLS certification, which includes how to administer oxygen, splinting broken or dislocated bones and how to stop excessive bleeding.

2. First Aid

red_cross_first_aid.svgThis covers a slew of topics, including how to treat burns, cuts and bites, along with how to stop and administer to those who are bleeding and to those with frostbite; how to perform the heimlich maneuver, and so much more. First Aid courses are usually offered in conjunction with CPR classes through the American Red Cross and National Safety Council. Once you pass, your certification card should be valid for two years.

3. Surviving Outdoors

There are so many factors that go into surviving in the outdoors. A few of them include:

Building a fire – No excuses. Know how to do this.

Purifying Water – Purchase a filter and water purification tablets.

Building a shelter – Learn how to build the following: A-Frame, Lean-to, frame-and-tarp and Cocoon. To build these shelters, you should know how to tie various knots and use a hatchet.

Entomology – This is the study of insects and will help you identify poisonous and non-poisonous bugs, as well as those rich in fiber and protein.

Botany – This is the study of plants. Having this knowledge will save you from drudging through poisonous plants. You will also be able to identify edible plants and flowers, and foliage is best for all-natural salves.

Fishing and hunting – You can procure a license for both activities in most states online via the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

4. How to Handle a Crisis

Chaos is sure to ensue when the end is near. As a doomsday prepper, you need to know how to stay calm and keep a level head despite what is happening around you. If you can do this, then you and your family are more likely to survive.

5. Bartering

In an apocalyptic setting, money will no longer be of value. You need to know how to make smart trading decisions. You’ve got to give something to get something.

6. HAM Radio/Communications

Knowing how to operate a HAM Radio will make you an invaluable member of your community come D-Day. In order to send communications via a HAM Radio, you will need a license to do so. You should, without a doubt, also own and know how to use walkie talkies.

7. Mend Clothes

Target isn’t going to be open during Judgment Day, so we suggest learning how to sew on a button, whipstitch a hole and put on a patch to make your clothes last.

8. Spending Time Alone

The hard truth? You might end up alone during the last days. Prepare for this harsh reality by doing things by yourself once or twice a week.

9. Car Maintenance

If you have a car during Armageddon, it sure would be great if you knew how to maintain it. Know how to change the oil, change the tires, replace parts, and if you lose your keys, start the ignition without them.

10. Navigation Skills

You may not want to rely on Siri to get you through Doomsday. Learn how to use a compass, read a map and navigate when it’s dark using the stars.

flight-plane-accident-crashIt can be a frightening to think that one day, the world might end. True or not, we should all be prepared for disasters and hardships to come. There’s an old adage: better to need it and not have it, than need it and not have it. The logic of that adage is applicable here. Even if we are never parties to a cataclysmic event in our lifetimes, the skills in this list will be important for everyday activities. Preppers, get to prepping. Good luck.

Featured Photo Courtesy of:

Georgia National Guard

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Converting a .223 to a .300 Blackout in 2 Easy Steps: Part 2

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300_blackout_blk_subsonic_rifle_aimpoint_silencerco_supressorContinuing the brief saga of changing over an ordinary gas impingement .223 AR15 into a .300 Blackout, we will complete the barrel change, add a free floating handguard, screw on a can, add the necessary accessories to bring the gun up to our survivalist standard, and head outdoors.  Look, I get it. There is no shortage of irony about a rifle that rivals a compound bow in hunting prowess. I hunt with a bow, and while a 50 yard shot is still something on the edge of my comfort zone, a 50-yard subsonic .300 Blackout shot is acceptable. But the more I thought about it, the more I considered blending grizzly bear shotgun wisdom with 300 BLK hunting. There is no rule that says you cannot run both subsonic and supersonic ammo in the same mag. So imagine whitetail deer hunting in thick brush with the first round or two being subsonic and the rest being supersonic. Being a semi-auto AR-platform rifle, I imagine that the second shot could happen almost instantly, but if the target is on the move, all subsonic bets are off and sending any necessary rounds further downrange should be expected. Noise is not the problem now. Range and accuracy is.

By Doc Montana, a contributing author of Survival Cache and SHTFBlog

Since my testbed AR had an A2 front sight post pinned to the .223 barrel, I took the opportunity to upgrade from the no-frills Magpul MOE handguard to a Midwest Industries free floating M-Lock aluminium handguard about nine inches long. The Midwest Industries handguards come in various lengths and attachment platforms. A detail I really appreciated was the five quick-detach ports; three up front, and two back by the receiver.

Related: Magpul Armorer’s Wrench

As the .223 barrel had an A2 front sight, I chose to abandon it and install a Yankee Hill mini gas block inside the free floating handguard. Since I’ll be running an optic on the top rail, I opted for some Magpul MBUS Pro Offset sights for backup and for longer distance shots. By the way, if you are wondering the difference between a handguard and a forend, the particular part name has to do with whether or not the specific piece of furniture is just for support or to protect your hand from burns. In the case of the AR platform, it is a handguard.

Wide Receivers

Instead of swapping barrels, many of the Blackout-curious type will just buy or build an entire upper dedicated to the 300 BLK and switch out the whole upstairs, sights and all. In my case, I was not excited about the DPMS AR 15 as a .223 in the first place, and don’t mind making a dedicated Blackout gun. Plus, if your luck holds, you will have nothing more the cost of a barrel which is considerably less than an entire upper. And there is that in-between option where bolt and charging handle jump back and forth between calibers.

Magazine Subscriptions

As I noted in Part 1, there can be no mistakes with ammo. There is a chance that a .300 Blackout round can cycle into a .223 barrel to the point where it will fire upon a trigger pull. The results of such a mistake can be devastating to both shooter and gun.

300_blackout_blk_rifle_with_supressor_silencer_outdoors_huntingBut there is another factor that needs to be kept in mind and that is that 300 BLK ammo is widely available over the gun counter in both supersonic and subsonic varieties. And in some cases such as hunting, the shooter may want to switch between supersonic and subsonic on the fly. In my case, I will run two 10 round oranged-colored Magpul Pmag magazines while hunting. One is filled with my subsonic loads and the other with supersonic ones. That way I can carry subsonic for close range brush situations, but if something farther away presents itself, I can eject the subsonic mag, cycle out the chambered round if there is one, and then reload with a mag full of supersonic cartridges.

To keep my two Magpul 10-round orange hunting magazines separated I changed one key feature. I run a black baseplate on the supersonic package and keep the matching orange-colored one on the subsonic. Why that combo? I decided that if I’m needing subsonic in a darkness situation (not necessarily hunting) I need to know with certainty that I have the subsonic mag. If I have a black base plate, it will appear a black or not there under minor light.

On a lighter note, for more fun I use Magpul’s sand colored 30 round Pmags. But as mentioned before, the cost of ammo being what it is makes blasting 300 BLK round after .300 Blackout round downrange is questionably cost prohibitive. But in a nutshell, all my Magpul sand colored mags are .300 Blackout only. And I never run a orange-colored mag for .223/5/56. Never.

No Mr. Bond, I expect you to “dye.”

300_blackout_blk_rifle_with_supressor_silencer_outdoors_orange_dye_mapgul_sandThe Magpul’s sand colored mags were never expected to remain sand colored, but dyed into another color the user prefers. With that in mind, I decided to drop some sand-colored magazines into RIT dye and see what happens. Since the dye color is totally up to the dyer, anything on the rainbow is fair game with camo and combinations also a possibility. Due to the mess of dying something, I picked up a pot at the Goodwill and laid out tinfoil around the stove and counter. With about two quarts of boiling water in my pot, I dropped in the gutted mags (springs and followers removed) into the pot and stirred them around for 10 minutes. The dye set rapidly, but then slowly got darker. I ended up using about a third of the bottle of RIT dye. After another 10 minutes in a warm freshwater rinse and thorough drying, the mags were reassembled and good-to-go.

Switch Hitter

300_blackout_blk_subsonic_aimpoint_rail_barrel_swapThe ability to interchangeably run both supersonic and subsonic round through the same gun with the same bolt is truly revolutionary. But the ballistics don’t follow the same rules. So to be able to run either/or subsonic/supersonic rounds at whim means that you need keep your .300 ducks in a row, as well as your sights. There is little similarity between the subsonic and supersonic trajectories so you will either need to memorize ballistics tables as well as know which round your sights are zeroed for. Or you can run dual sights. Luckily the limited range of the 300 BLK is something that iron sights can handle no matter the bullet weight. Sure, a 6x optic will give you an accuracy advantage, but any good shooter can squeeze off plenty of precision whether iron or glass.

Considering that I am using “hunting” as a euphemism for…whatever, I am interested in two no-brainer sighting solutions; one for supersonic and one for subsonic. Since I have many other longer range battle-ready options so maximizing the .300 Blackout’s long distance capabilities is not really all that practical when taking the long view. To justify the 300 BLK in a survivalist arsenal, one must maximize its strengths and minimize its weaknesses.

Read Also: Survival Debate: Aimpoint vs. EOTech?

On this particular build, I zeroed the Aimpoint H1 for the subsonic bullets at 50 yards, and zeroed the Magpul MBUS Pro Offset sights with the point of impact for supersonic bullets at 150 yards. Of note is that the stock front post has been replaced with Magpul’s MBUS Pro Enhanced Front Sight Post, a tiny screw-in after-market post that improves accuracy by reducing post thickness. There is a stark contrast between sub and supersonic bullet drops. Flying below the speed of sound, a zeroed-at-50 220 grain bullet will drop almost 15 inches at 150 yards, and about 70 inches at 250 yards. Yes, the bullet drops almost six feet! While a supersonic round zeroed at 150 yards will be an inch high at 50 yards, and less than a foot low at 250 yards. So you can see that the use of two independent sighting platforms is worth the effort.

Related: Trick Out A Cheap AR15

Taking that sighting duality a step further, the option of running both subsonic and supersonic ammo in the same magazine. I can imagine where the first or top round or two are subsonic followed by the supersonic ones. This concept is not new. A popular 12-gauge shotgun option here in bear country is to load the tube rotating between double-ought buckshot followed by slugs. And fans of the Taurus Judge handgun have been known to run alternating .45 Long Colts and .410 shotgun shells in their five-round cylinder.

Quiet down there!

300_blackout_blk_111_decibel_sound_meterRunning a suppressor on a subsonic .300 Blackout makes for an interesting option in survival/prepper guns. Although the 300 BLK has distance limits, the radius of effectiveness is up to you. And that is exactly why I turned one of my AR15s into a .300 Blackout and so should you. In my testing, the 300 BLK running subsonic was not all that quiet. Certainly hearing safe, but much like a tiny firecracker going off. Anyone 50 yards away would probably ignore the sound if they even heard it, but closer up, there is definitely something going on. Of course I was in a very quiet area with little more than a slight breeze and a few birds disturbing the peace. Supersonic loads were a different story. Even through the silencer, they were still a pretty good crack.

My audio testing equipment produced numbers in the 120 dB range for supersonic bullets exiting through the Omega suppressor, and 111 dB for subsonic rounds. A 95 dB sound is like a New York Subway, or public bathroom hand dryer, so 111 is not excessive, but certainly not silent. Popping off a couple subsonic rounds in a confined space will still make your ears ring for a moment or two.

300_blackout_blk_subsonic_supressor_scilencer_omega_scilencercoI replaced the classic “bird cage” flash hider with a SilencerCo ASR Muzzle Brake. Not to tame any massive recoil, but that it works as a fast attachment mount to the Omega silencer. The ASR does add a bit more weight at the far end of the barrel, and healthy bite into the deep end of your wallet, but it works great. Just don’t forget, as I did, that it also requires the ASR mount on the silencer which will not screw directly onto a barrel. You need to swap out supressor end caps to make the silencer compatible with your mounting system. I grabbed my Omega and bolt gun for a quick hunt only to discover I still had my ASR mount on the suppressor, but I actually count myself lucky to be able to have a problem like that.

Blackout Reloaded

The AK 47 round of 7.62 by 39 is actually a little larger than 30 caliber, about .311 compared to .308 to be more exact) meaning the bullet choices for reloading a 300 BLK are as varied as any other popular 30 cal including the .308 and 30-06. Further, a .223 case can be converted into a .300 Blackout case with a little retooling. Enough so that many 300 BLK aficionados are hitting up their .223/5.56 friends for their brass.

Of course there is also the SHTF component to having any particular gun. Bugging in is an obvious use for a quiet rifle. But bugging out is a total no-brainer. Survival of the Fittest is a popular saying that, unfortunately, is backwards. In order to know fitness, you need to know who survived. So really it is that those who survive have the right fitness. But no matter how you slice this cake, doing anything with less noise is fitness. Lobbing 30-cal lead without blowing out your eardrums is more practical than you can imagine.

Brass Tacks

300_blackout_blk_headstampsThe first outing with the 300 BLK took place out in the sticks of Montana. I found a place up in the mountains where I could set up my gear in the trees providing a safe shooting area. After a couple hours, I spent some time picking up my brass. I noticed how far and what direction the brass flew. Back home, I was inspecting the brass under a magnifying glass to look for any features or scarring that might indicate problems with the gun. Imagine my surprise when I realized I was holding .300 Blackout brass that was not from my gun. The first indication was a different brand headstamped on the case. Further, some of the same-branded shells were too weathered to have been shot that day, as well there a few with bent throats and dinged case mouths. So there are like minds out there.

The Sound of Silence

I used the first hunting trip with this gun to test its practicality and shake out any concerns. When fixated on quiet, every little click or squeak is loud. The clicks came from my Magpul stock. It is the base model with no way to lock down the extension setting. And the squeak came from both the Magpul MS-3 sling and the  Blackhawk Quick Detach clip I used up front on the Midwest Industries free-float handguard.

In the end, this exploration of the 300 BLK has shown promise, but also a full plate of limitations that will keep it off my shortlist of bug out gear. When facing a significant unknown, my first gun to grab would be my Katrina Rifle, and a close second would be my Katrina Pistol. Third would be my Bug Out Long Term (B.O.L.T.) .22 pistol. A Bug Out BUG (back up gun) might be fourth, and then probably a long range rifle like a 30-06 would round out the first five. So a .300 Blackout would be somewhere between six and 10 along with a Project Squirrel gun.

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Take A Look at the Largest Bunker Community on Earth

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nuclear_weapons_testSome people spend their disposable income on timeshares in the Bahamas or condos in Vail. Vivos Group, a California based prepping company, is appealing to an entirely different demographic: preppers. The company has started a survival shelter community in South Dakota. More specifically, they have repurposed over 500 old military bunkers for prepper purposes. While others perish in a nuclear war, Vivos hopes residents will be safe in their remote, military-grade bunkers.

With potential for over 5,000 residents, the community is incredibly ambitious. Moreover, Vivos, among other amenities, plans to include school bunkers. It truly seems as though Vivos seems to be planning for the extended future. While their plans are certainly impressive, it remains to be seen how feasible such a survival community is. Would you consider living in a bunker community in an SHTF Scenario?

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How to Pick the Best Personal Protection Firearm

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gun_store_choosingPicking the best personal protection firearm is a huge question. Just for a little background, I am a firearms instructor and teach four to six classes a month on Basic and Concealed Carry/Defensive shooting.  I work at a reputable “big box” store in the firearms department, and I give lectures frequently on personal protection techniques and tools. That is just small snapshot of my background to give you some insight.

By Dan C., a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache

In each of those scenarios, I am frequently asked what is the best personal protection gun, and the people that ask that question, usually say they’ve already gotten some information from various sources. Such as, “My friend who is a cop said I should buy this one” or “I read about this one; it looks like a good one.” or “I wanted something small I can carry in my purse or pocket” or one of the best ones: “I want a 45 because I want knock down power.” Naturally, all these have some validity, but none have any real substance.

Yes, there are lots of magazines that you can read about personal protection handguns. And there are at least a hundred websites you can read about the same topic. Many are written by well trained and highly experienced professionals, while some clearly are not. So you are presented with a dilemma. Who and what is right? Because every week the websites you read tell you about the BEST handgun on the market today, and every month the cover of your favorite gun magazine has an article about the BEST personal protection handgun on the market. This just complicates your decision making.

So let’s go back to basics. But I must say one thing before I do that with you–yes, I do have MY favorite handgun that I feel is the BEST personal protection weapon. But I feel it may be helpful for you to review the basics of choosing your personal protection handgun.  Here are the characteristics I feel you should consider when choosing your next personal protection handgun. These characteristics should be researched and evaluated in this order.

Manufacturer

army_handgun_trainingOne of the most important aspects of buying a handgun for personal protection is the manufacturer of your firearm. Here are my reasons why I feel this way. First and foremost, you want the best quality you can afford. This is a tool that you are buying for a time when your life or someone else’s life is in danger. You want something that is going to be very dependable, reliable, and has a reputation for high quality. If you are truly buying this weapon for personal protection, that means you are going to be shooting it frequently as you practice your shooting skills. Thus, it needs to be a firearm that can stand up to lots of shooting.

I personally look for manufacturers that have a longstanding reputation for providing handguns to the military or large government agencies. Why? Because in most cases, they do the most extensive and critical evaluations of the weapons and follow very strict rules about quality control. Secondly, in most cases, these handguns are used often and in a wide range of environments, so they know if they work when you need them or not.

Warranty

warranty_gunsThis a very important aspect of buying your firearm that is related to the characteristics mentioned above. If the manufacturer is of high quality, they will most likely offer a very good warranty on their handguns. Some manufacturers offer lifetime warranties so you know they stand behind their product. Others offer warranties only for a limited time. You also want to know what modifications or ammo you that will void your warranty. Such as, will polishing the trigger void the warranty or will shooting +P ammo void the warranty? These are important factors you need to take into consideration.

Semi Auto/Revolver

revolver_vs_handgunThis is most likely one of the most common areas of disagreement. Many like a revolver because they say it is “simple” and “easy” to use. I personally am not a fan of revolvers for two reasons. First, if something bad should happen, I want a gun I can shoot well and LOTS of bullets, and a revolver does not meet that requirement. Secondly, most revolvers have a very long and hard trigger pull. That makes it more likely you will be inaccurate with the weapon.

Read Also: The Katrina Pistol

I prefer semi-automatics for two reasons. First, in most cases, they allow you to have more bullets–two or three times as many rounds as a revolver. To me, that is very important. Secondly and equally importantly, I like the trigger pull on semiautomatics. We will go more into this below. But, having lots of bullets and being able to easily pull the trigger are two factors I find very valuable in a personal protection firearm.

Grip

This is the key physical factor of buying your personal protection handgun. I cannot stress how important this factor plays into your ability to hold, shoot and control your handgun. There are three factors in gripping a handgun– technique, weight, and size.

The first part of determining your grip on a handgun is to know HOW to grip a handgun. IF you do not know how to properly grip a handgun, you will most likely make a huge error when buying your weapon. I watch daily as people looking to buy their hand gun grip it incorrectly. I am amazed at how many salespeople do not try to help or correct the customer. Thus, LOTS of people buy a handgun without ever properly gripping it. Then they wonder why they do not like shooting their handgun and why they are not accurate with it. It all comes back to grip.

The next two components of gripping can be considered as one. Weight and size. Both play a critical role in managing a handgun, thus are very important.

glock_19_katrina_pistol_trijicon_streamlight_tlr2_surefire_light_onFirst is the visual aspect of the handgun. Most people look at a handgun and on looks alone determine if it is too big. Without even holding the firearm they have already determine it is too big. Thus, they rule out very acceptable handguns on looks alone. Secondly, they want something small and light so it is easy to carry and hold. But they do not understand that the weight of the handgun correlates to the recoil, thus the lighter the weapon the more recoil; conversely, a heavier weapon reduces recoil. You want to find a handgun that might feel a little heavy in your hand at first but is very easy to grip. You should look for a gun whose grip is slim enough to allow your hand to encircle it easily, with a reasonable reach forward to the trigger while the gun is in alignment with your wrist and forearm. A gun with a short grip frame may not allow your pinky finger to get a grip on the gun, and this will make the weapon less controllable, although it may be easier to carry concealed it will be hard to shoot accurately.

The best way to address these issues is to handle numerous firearms and to understand that small is not necessarily good and slightly heavy is not necessarily bad. Once most people have the opportunity to grip numerous firearms and really get a feel for a proper grip, they soon realize that weight and size make a big difference.

I have seen so many people walk into the range or store with one concept of what they were going to buy and walk out with something totally different. These individuals then come back and say they were so glad they did not buy what they originally thought they wanted. I feel strongly this is where a good knowledgeable sales person comes into play. So when you buy you first firearms or if you are a novice buyer, make sure you ask what the sales person’s background is before you listen to their pitch. And make sure they give you a comparison of firearms to evaluate.

Trigger Control

beretta-pico-3Trigger control is essential to accuracy. Trigger pulls can be hard, up to 15 lbs, staged, and hard to reach with your finger. Thus, it is essential that you choose a handgun with a trigger you can easily reach and comfortably pull. The harder the trigger is to reach or pull the less accurate you will be. Thus, when evaluating a handgun for personal protection, it is imperative that you have the opportunity to hold the handgun and place your finger on the trigger. Then whenever possible, you should be allowed to dry fire the weapon. That is the ONLY way to fully appreciate and evaluate the trigger pull.

What you want in a trigger pull is the following features, one that is within your fingers reach when you finger is correctly on the trigger, smooth pull with no roughness, easy, relatively short trigger stroke back, and a short trigger reset. A Short Trigger Reset (STR) means you only need to allow the trigger to release a short distance after it has fired the weapon before you are able to pull it again and fire your next shot.

Caliber

9_19_parabellum_fmjBullets have gone through tremendous improvements over the last twenty years. The weights, velocity, materials and aerodynamics of bullets are incredibly better today than they were even ten years ago. Thus, the choice of caliber is not that critical today, and calibers that were considered marginal a generation ago are often considered excellent performers with the best modern loads.

Related: Prepper Guns on a Budget

In making the choice of what caliber to buy, beware of a number of common misconceptions. First is in the area of knock down power. This term in highly misunderstood and misused. There is the misconception that a bigger bullet results in more knock down power. Recent studies have demonstrated that this term is widely incorrect.

When  humans are shot with traditional bullets used for personal protection, they do not go flying through the saloon doors nor get knocked back like you see in the movies. If a human is hit in a vital area they just collapse. There are numerous videos on the internet of humans being shot and when hit with a lethal shot they just collapse. So knock down power is way over used in relation to its actual impact.

Another misconception is penetration. Most think that bigger bullets penetrate deeper and cause more damage. In actuality smaller 9mm bullets have greater penetration ability than 45 caliber bullets. Based on substantial research, the FBI has reverted back to 9mm bullets for their agents for three very important reasons. One, they penetrated further thus doing more damage. Secondly, the agents that shot 9mm weapons were more accurate than those shooting 40 and 45’s. Finally, the lethality of the shots were the same, provided that a vital area on the suspect was hit.

There are strong arguments that the 9mm cartridge (AKA 9mm Luger, 9mm Parabellum, or 9×19 mm) is the top logistical choice for a defensive handgun for most people:

  1. It is the least expensive of all personal protection ammo so you are more likely to practice more.
  2. More handguns are made in 9mm than any other caliber, so you are more likely to find a 9mm handgun that fits your hand.
  3. Most 9mm handguns allow for high capacity magazines, so you have lots of bullets when you need them, and many 9mm magazines even hold more ammo than the smaller 380 pistols’ magazines.
  4. The recoil of 9mm is easily manageable.
  5. The lethality is the same as larger bullets when a vital area is hit.
  6. More people carry 9mm that any other caliber; thus you could share ammo, if needed.

Ammunition capacity

As mentioned a few times in this article, I feel strongly that I want to have as many cartridges in my gun as I can, should something go wrong. No matter how well you are trained, if a bad event occurs and you need to fire your weapon while you are running, taking cover, hiding, or avoiding getting shot, you will miss a lot.

glock_19_katrina_pistol_trijicon_streamlight_tlr2_surefire_ammo_pileNumerous times a day I have novice shooters tell me that they only need a gun with five or six bullets because they will hit the target in the first one or two shots. Clearly, they have not watched any videos of our heroic men and women in law enforcement in shoot-outs, nor have they watched our brave American military heroes in firefights. As good as these well trained professionals are, they still miss a lot. Not because they are unskilled– they are exceptional marksmen (and women) by any standard of training and testing. But it is exceedingly hard to hit a moving target when you are being shot at, beat up, or mugged.

So the more bullets the better. A semi-auto that uses a magazine with a staggered or double-column row of ammunition might hold 13-17 rounds of 9mm. That’s my recommendation. The brand, warranty, action style, trigger pull, grip, ammo capacity, and caliber are all the features and characteristic you want in your personal protection handgun. Each has its own importance and value in helping you chose the correct handgun for your personal use. Not all handguns are meant for everyone. You need one that fits you.

Here are some handguns that I find meet the above criteria; they are my choices in order of preference.

Sig P320

Manufacturer – Sig Sauer has produced handguns for many of our elite fighting forces and government agencies for a long time including but not limited to: SEALS, Secret Service, Air Marshals and numerous law enforcement agencies.

Warranty – Lifetime

Grip – Very nice and comfortable stippling, ergonomically and anatomically correct, and a great weight that allows for reduced recoil and easy handling.

Trigger Control – Excellent trigger, one of the hallmarks of this handgun, very short smooth trigger reset.

Caliber – 9mm, but the 320 is modular. The trigger and firing assembly is easily removed from the gun and barrels and frames in 380, 357 Sig and 40 can be purchased from Sig. so you get multiple caliber capability with this handgun.

Bullet Capacity: comes with two 15 rounds mags, can take 17 round mags.

Ruger SR9C

Manufacturer – Ruger high quality firearms made since 1949

Warranty – Lifetime

Grip – Very ergonomic grip, nice stippling. Very good weight

Trigger Control – Good but can be a little rough

Caliber – 9mm

Bullet Capacity – Comes with two 15 rounds mags

Walther CCP

Manufacturer — Walther is a German firearms maker that dates back to 1886. It has an excellent reputation, and its handguns have always been popular in both military and police use worldwide through the 20th century.

Warranty — Lifetime, transferable to subsequent purchasers, but only so long as that model firearm is still being produced and serviced, and is not a discontinued model.

Grip —  Comfortable grip, no bigger than it has to be to allow all your fingers to fit on it, with stippling for better control and an undercut area at the base of the trigger guard.

Trigger Control — A short trigger stroke of just over a quarter-inch, with only 5.5 lbs. of pressure.

Caliber — 9mm.

Bullet Capacity —  8 rounds in the magazine (with one in the chamber, that’s 9 total)

Glock 19

Manufacturer – Glock was the first to make polymer-framed striker-fired guns, and it has held its place in that market for a long time. Glock has produced handguns for many military branches, elite forces, FBI, and numerous law enforcement agencies.

Warranty – Limited to one year, and with several situations where Glock disclaims any warranty responsibility. But in practice, they have been more helpful than the terms of their written warranty would require.

Grip – Nice grip good stippling, light weight.  

Trigger Control – Nice trigger, my experience is that a lot people push the handgun when shooting it by not getting their finger on top of the trigger safety.  

Caliber – 9mm

Bullet Capacity – Comes with two 15 round mags. Your spare magazines could be larger to hold even more, such as 17 or even 33 rounds.

Photos Courtesy of:

Sean Savage
The US Army
Mike
David Trawin

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Pandemic is an Inevitability

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ebola_outbreak_in_gulu_municipal_hospitalIn the summer of 2014, the media and state actors panicked over the emergence of an ebola epidemic in Western Africa. The panic was understandable and entirely warranted. After all, ebola kills around 50% of those infected.  Moreover, a cursory examination of ebola’s symptoms are terrifying. Among other things, ebola can induce blood vomiting, severe rash, and liver inflammation. After the disease was reigned in and Western African States declared their health crises under control, health departments around the world began to reflect on their response to the ebola epidemic. Although the ebola epidemic was regionally contained, it was not due to the competence and quick response of state governments. The implications of the lackluster response to the epidemic are far more disturbing than ebola itself. In a globalized world, we are entirely unprepared to quickly address the outbreak of a horrific disease. At this point, a pandemic isn’t a possibility, it is an inevitability.

By D-Ray a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

Say what you will about the politics of Bill Gates but he is right about one thing: we are entirely unprepared to contain and address a potential pandemic. We lack the resources, funding, and state cooperation to adequately address an epidemic that has the potential to become a pandemic. In his Vox interview, Gates mentions an anecdote worth discussing: the 1918 Spanish Flu was almost equal in human devastation to World War II. It seems safe to assume that a pandemic today would only be accelerated by globalization.  An infected individual could board a plane in Dubai and be in New York 15 hours later. We live in a time where we are uniquely vulnerable to pandemic.

Until governments properly fund health programs, it is entirely up to the individual to manage risk. In the case of a lethal, infectious outbreak, the best strategy is to go into isolation. Of course, any period of extended isolation will require a considerable amount of prepping. Most obviously, you will need food and water. Don’t count on clean tap water. In the event of a cataclysmic pandemic, it is likely infrastructure will deteriorate. This will lead to worsened water quality and the potential of infection by waterborne disease. Invest in quality water filtration systems.

Do your emergency plans include contingencies for plague? If they don’t, they should. The probability of such an event, over 50%, certainly warrants preparation. Do not be caught unprepared. What are your plans for pandemic? Will you attempt to bug out or follow a strategy of isolation at home?

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Survival Gear Review: Walther G22 Bullpup

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g22_bullpup_shooting_actionIn the world of low-caliber rifles, the G22 Bullpup is a great choice. The rifle is accurate, sleek, and reliable. For survival applications, such a rifle may be lacking.  No matter how cool the rifle, how can you expect a .22 LR to be a workhorse? This gun will never be powerful enough to bring down big game or seriously deter assailants. Even with 11 round mags and quick reloads, the G22 Bullpup simply does not have enough utility to be a contender as a survival rifle.

By Sam, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

Outside of more pragmatic uses, the G22 is great. As a plinking rifle, the G22 is a wonderful choice. The gun is accurate, lightweight, and features rails for after-market customizations. For these reasons alone, the G22 is well worth adding to your armory. Whatever you do, don’t expect the G22 to bail you out in a survival situation.  Unfortunately, the G22 is no longer commercially available but it can still be purchased used.

Specs

Weight 95 oz (2.7 kg)
Length 28.4–29.5 in (72–75 cm)
Barrel length 20 in (51 cm)
Width 2.2 in (5.6 cm)
Height 8.7 in (22 cm)

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Home Remedies for a Toothache

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leo-animal-savannah-teethTeeth are one of the most important parts of the human body, but they are also unfortunately very vulnerable to wear and tear. Regularly in use, teeth are exposed to substances that cause damage, and, can eventually lead to toothaches. It is important to know how to take care of a toothache in the absence of medical professionals and prescription drugs. Fortunately, there are many home remedies for toothaches and plenty of preventive care you can take to avoid toothaches all together.

By Derrick of Prepper Press

First, brush and floss. Doing so now can prevent problems you might not be fully equipped to deal with in an emergency situation down the road. Brushing at least twice a day is the most effective and efficient way to prevent toothaches before they start. Commercial toothpastes can be effective nearly two years after the expiration date listed, and there are ways to make your own toothpaste so you do not have to be dependent on commercial products in the case they are not available or have passed their effective date. A simple paste made out of baking soda and water can make an effective toothpaste, and add some crushed peppermint leaves to flavor it if you prefer.

Essential Oils, Herbs, and Spices

peppermint_tooth_ache_remedyPeppermint does a lot more than add flavor – it can also serve as an effective way to ease a toothache. You can use peppermint essential oil to remedy for a toothache simply by rubbing a bit on the area where the toothache is. A q-tip works well for this application. You can also make a tea of mint leaves, and depending on how severe the toothache is and how you know temperature affects it, drink it either cold or lukewarm.

Related: Five Best DIY Toothache Remedies

Cloves are another effective way to ease a toothache in the absence of dentists and painkillers. Like peppermint, you can use either the essential oil or plant form to treat your pain. Apply clove oil directly to the hurting area with a q-tip, cotton ball, or other like product, or just chew on clove buds to release their healing properties. Cloves are an especially good home remedy for toothaches because they are a source of eugenol, which is an anesthetic and anti-bacterial. If your toothache is being caused by bacteria, cloves and clove oil can not only ease the pain, they can help eradicate the source of the toothache. However, be careful not to put too much clove oil on at once, as it can cause side effects when swallowed. For this reason, if you are treating a child’s toothache, be sure to carefully apply a minimal amount yourself. Don’t let them apply the oil as it would be easy for them to accidentally ingest some of the oil if too large an amount is applied and there is excess to swallow. Like cloves, vanilla extract contains eugenol. If clove oil is too strong for you to handle, try using vanilla instead.

Oregano oil and oregano leaves are another natural remedy for toothaches that is easy to have on hand when medical care might not be available. Oregano has both anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties that help to soothe and combat toothaches. As with other herbal oils, apply it topically to the toothache area using a q-tip or cotton ball.  You can also use crushed up leaves as a paste to apply topically. A mortar and pestle works well for making a paste out of oregano leaves.

garlic_toothache_remedyGarlic also has anti-bacterial properties, and so is useful in fighting a toothache. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, so it soothes the pain while it is helping to heal what is causing the pain. And, as an extra bonus, garlic can also help fight tooth decay. Garlic can be used by simply chewing it. Before you chew the garlic, though, you should rinse it off to ensure it is clean and will not transfer anything into your mouth that could potentially cause further infection or damage. When you have chewed the garlic enough to get juice out of it, at which point you may feel your mouth or tooth go slightly numb, spit out the garlic and rinse with water. Your breath might not be great after chewing on garlic, so you can also try chewing on a peppermint leaf right after the garlic. This will not only freshen your breath, but give you a double-dose of toothache remedies.

For another slightly unpleasant smelling, but effective, toothache remedy try chewing on onions. Like garlic, onions are anti-bacterial. Prepare and chew the onion in the same way as the garlic to treat your toothache.

Ginger is another commonly available spice that can help you deal with the pain of a toothache. It’s also generally helpful to have on hand in any medical supply kit you are compiling, as it also helps with everyday health issues such as nausea and headaches. Ginger can be used as a home remedy for toothaches that have not yet progressed to the point where it is too painful to chew. In order to use ginger for a toothache remedy, you should cut a piece of ginger root, peel the brown skin off, and chew on the peeled piece of ginger. Try to focus your chewing on the tooth where the pain is centered so that the juice from the ginger root gets on and around the tooth and gum area that hurts. You can also try brewing a cup of ginger tea, waiting until it is lukewarm, and swishing it around.

Like ginger, apple cider vinegar is effective both at calming nausea and soothing toothaches. As a result, it is a valuable addition to any medical prep kit. Apple cider vinegar also has a long shelf life – up to five years for peak effectiveness, but is still safe to use, albeit less effective, after that time. To ease a toothache with apple cider vinegar, apply it with a cotton ball or q-tip as you would for essential oils.

If you have it available, a sip of alcohol that you swish around in your mouth before swallowing can help with your tooth pain. Not only will it help you tolerate the pain, but alcohol’s antiseptic properties will help to attack the toothache itself.

Essential oils, bottled goods, and dried herbs and spices need to be stored in a cool, dry place to ensure they are at peak effectiveness. You also need to be aware of the length of time they have been sitting in your stores. After a period of time, the effectiveness of these products can wear off. Thankfully, you can grow many herbs and spices that are useful for toothache home remedies either in a garden or indoors with the proper light. A garden or indoor pots that are carefully maintained to encourage the healthy growth of plants means that even in an emergency you can have fresh food, and a supply of plants that are useful in easing the aches and pains of your body.

Simple Remedies

pexels-photo-30492In addition to essential oils, herbs and spices, there are some simpler home remedies for toothaches. One is as simple as an ice pack. Ice is easy to make if you have a freezer, or even if you simply live in a cold environment. There are also many ice packs available for purchase that you can store and activate when needed if you are in a situation where electric freezers are not an option, if water is at a premium, or if the climate isn’t cooperative. Ice can ease swelling and numb pain, and so is good for easing pain as you fight a toothache caused by bacteria with garlic, oregano, or another plant. When you are using ice, though, you must wrap the ce pack or ice cubes in a cloth or towel before holding it against the painful area. Applying ice directly to the skin can cause burns. When you’re trying to solve one health issue, there’s no need to cause yourself another unnecessarily! You should also be careful not to apply ice for more than 15 minutes at a time, but after a break in the application you can reapply it several times throughout the day.

Read Also: Top 5 Worst Incidences of Martial Law in the United States

Another simple home remedy for a toothache is rinsing your mouth with saltwater. Dissolve a small amount of salt, a teaspoon or so, in warm water, then swish it around in your mouth and spit it out. Repeat a few times until the glass of water is gone, and then repeat again later in the day. Saltwater is effective for fighting toothaches because it’s alkaline, and as such discourages the growth of bacteria that thrive in acidic areas and can cause toothaches. Salt also has healing properties, so if your mouth also has sores or other discomfort, the saltwater will help to expedite the healing process of those and increase the overall health of your mouth.

Take Care of Your Teeth

toothbrush-toothpaste-dental-care-cleanMany of the home remedy options for toothaches are based in supplies that are useful for other medical or health issues, and so should be kept at hand anyway in order to ensure you are prepared for any eventuality. However, toothaches should not be taken lightly as they can lead to infections and further problems. As such, in a situation where professional medical and dental care is not readily available, it becomes especially important that good dental hygiene is practiced in order to stave off tooth decay and tooth pain as much as possible.  You need your teeth to keep the rest of your body healthy, so take care of your teeth, be prepared, and know how to deal with a toothache appropriately.

Derrick Grant is the founder of Prepper Press, a publisher of post-apocalyptic fiction and survival nonfiction. Follow his Facebook writer page for all things dystopian and apocalyptic.

 

Survival Books for Your Bunker

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survival_book_bunker_cat_books_in_caseBe honest, you probably own somewhere between a handful and a shelf-full of various survival and prepping oriented books. And you have the intention of reading them, but know that you probably won’t unless you absolutely must. My personal survival oriented book collection occupies about eleven linear feet of shelf space. While the books address many topics, they fit into about a half dozen specific genres. There are the military survival manuals, the medical and first aid tomes, those pages that address wilderness lore and primitive skills, general prepping, hunting, tracking, gardening, game preparation, food storage, a few odd tangents, and plenty of survival stories. So how to take my library on the run?

By Doc Montana, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

survival_book_bunker_waterproof_caseFirst, the bunker. I chose the Pelican Storm Case iM2400 waterproof polycarbonate container. If the end of the world is more of a whimper, then this case is overkill. But if it’s more of the bang I suspect it will be, then this Pelican is just the bird for the Storm. The size is about the same as a small suitcase, and was chosen to provide some focus to the bunker, but not to limit this to a Top Ten List. Additionally, weight and size need to play a role in your decision making. If I Bug In, I have all my books, magazines, manuals, and pretty much everything else in my prepping world. But if I have head to my BOL (Bug Out Location) then I need a single, durable, waterproof package that just might contain my entire Library of Alexandria.

Importance of Purpose of Bug Out Books

survival_book_bunker_tracking_navigation_trackingLike many with a survivalist/prepper bend, I tend to accumulate books about all aspects of survival from pet first aid, to boobytraps, to gardening within a square foot, to firearm repair. But as my library increased in weight, I decided what I really needed is a Bug Out Bag Of Books or BOBOB. Or another name I use is my Survival Book Bunker or SBB. In other words, a consolidation of reading material chosen specifically for when one must take the survival literature show on the road. Bug Out Books are not about Bug Out Bags (that ship has sailed), but instead the necessary skills that might be needed in the future to survive and thrive post Bug Out.

Read Also: Prepping Advice From Books

Lately, however, I have admitted to myself that I won’t be reading many of these books cover to cover but rather just referring to them or studying their table of contents so I know the gist of the book. And instead of putting the books back on the shelf, I have decided to build a portable bunker for them when when I have to throw the Survival Book Bunker (SBB) in the back of the Bug Out Vehicle (BOV) when I head to my Bug Out Location (BOL) with my Bug Out Bag (BOB).

The books I’ve selected are not in stone. They are just the best representatives of the different categories or genres of books that I think will be mission critical in a true Bug Out situation.

Current Book Categories

 survival_book_bunker_military_survival_army_sas1. Advanced strategic survival techniques: These books are the military survival books that address situations across all terrains, weather, and adversaries. They often lean towards the escape/evasion/short and long term survival from a non-apocalyptical point of view. But no matter the perspective, they are the broad-spectrum information antibiotic for survival. If you don’t have these books, you might not need the rest of the books in the bunker.

2. First Aid and Emergency Care: This category of books should need no introduction. But what it does need is a variation of complexity. For some who might use this Book Bunker, basic first aid might be a new skill. Others however, might be advanced and need guidance in surgical techniques for removing bullets and suturing wounds and cauterizing arteries. And not just for humans. Animal care might be part of your kit. I know Pet Vetting is part of mine.

3. Primitive skills and Woodlore: Books in this pile are geared towards self-reliance and off-grid life. They include topics about solid shelters, cooking, toolmaking, and pretty much anything else you might need for long-term life in the woods. There are plenty of sub-genres in this category including hunting and gathering, long-term food storage, long-term shelter building, tanning hides, making cordage, and literally basket weaving. On a side note, my particular copy of “Wilderness Living and Survival Skills” is autographed and signed by both authors. I’m not sure it will improve my chances, but everytime I see the signatures I will know I am not alone in the survival world.

survival_book_bunker_woodlore_wisdom_game_processing4. Gardening and Food Preservation: Maybe 50 or 100 years ago, a basic understanding that everyone would have is how to preserve game, salt meat, and can fruit. Not that those skills are difficult, but rather just elusive in today’s technofied world. But luckily they can be regained rather quickly with a few minutes of reading, and a few hours of doing. Gardening? Well that is another matter entirely. Gardening, like marksmanship, is a skill gained through practice and experience that is also perishable. But when it comes to food production, the stakes are a little higher to getting it right the first time.

5. X-Factor books: There is room for a few in my Survival Book Bunker for a couple tomes about boobytraps, parameter security, and a few other unmentionable topics that might provide a level of security and survival advantage beyond the suggestions in mainstream literature. And I’ll just leave it at that for now.

MIA

A few topics are missing from my Book Bunker. I might add them later, but for now I will leave them as just concerns on the horizon. 

Farming and Ranching: Frankly, I would find it more likely that I would stumble across a library of books on animal husbandry than I would find a herd of cattle in need of an owner.

Blacksmithing: A couple of hundred years ago i would have worried about making my own ironworks including blades. But today I am going to reserve my Book Bunker  space for dead-on needs over imagined scarcity. In fact, for blacksmithing I would need much more gear in my BOB than just a book on how to forge metal like a hammer, anvil, bellows, and shop.

Drug chemistry: While it would be nice to grab a handful of whatever is around and formulate some broad-spectrum antibiotics, in reality the chance of cooking up some perfect drugs for your needs is pretty slim. In the end, I will leave my chemistry needs to medicinal plant guides and chicken soup for colds.

Related: Five Best DIY Toothache Remedies

hugh_glass_illustrationSurvival Stories etc.: There is an entire shelf of books that no longer have immediate relevance because, as I noted above, “That Ship Has Sailed!” These books including general preparing, how to Bug Out, what to consider with your Bug Out Vehicle, where you should put your Bug Out Location, and what you should cache in your BOL. Also of lesser consequence are lists of supplies, and the endless pile of survival stories (although there is still plenty of successful data mining to do if you have the time).

In the end, if you toss in a Bible of your persuasion and a copy of the US Constitution into your Survival Book Bunker you should be good to go. Think I missed something? Add your suggestions in the comments.

Food to Stock for Emergencies

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canned_miscellaneous_prepFor experienced preppers or survivalists, this is a no brainer, but for those just getting started down the road of preparing for worst case scenarios, this may be all new stuff.  Really, it is not rocket science, but for some it could be overwhelming or intimidating.  Let’s try to simplify things for you. I am amazed though at the frequency that inquiries come in about what foods to stock up for a bug in situation plan or to larder up a pantry at a secondary bug out location.  Emergency foods are important. It is crucial to stock up on these materials. How long are you going to be able to sustain yourself from gathered materials? 

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

There are plenty of choices and considerations to make with emergency foods. This is part of the challenge in prepping. If you have limited space at a bug out site, then sheer volume limitations might dictate to have these foods as a primary option instead of canned goods.  You decide what works best for you.

Stock What You’ll Eat

snack_shtf_prepRight now if I go through my own bug in pantry, I am going to find some items in there that either we decided we did not like or they just got shoved to the back of the drawer for one reason or the other.  I see three cans of black beans.  Black beans are OK, but not a favorite.  If I were hungry or starving that would be different.  I probably will not buy any more any time soon.

Related: Mountain House Review

So, look through your cabinets and take a poll of the family likes to decide what you eat most regularly.  That is a starting place.  Common sense then tells you to stock up on items that the family will consume without picky issues.  Things will be stressful enough without hearing, “yuk, I don’t want that junk.”  Do yourself a favor ahead of time and avoid those arguments.  

Remember, too, the power grid may be down.  You may lose everything in the fridge and freezer.  Cook what you can of meats and such, but plan on not having fresh or frozen foods for a while.

Proteins, Proteins

One of the more common food stocks mistakes is going heavy on carbohydrates.  You need some, but balance the pasta and such with foods high in energy sustainable proteins.  These can be meats, fish, and even protein bars for in between meals or snacks.  

protein_prep_food_shtfSome or many of the prepared canned meat products are very high in fats and salt.  Try to avoid those if these give you other troubles.  It just goes with the territory of most canned foods these days.  If you can find more healthy alternatives, then go for it. Try to balance any SHTF diet with fish such as canned tuna or salmon.  These are good sources of nutrients and would be easy to prepare or easily eat in a hurry.  I know there are many other options, so shop around.

I am not a nutritionist, but I know what my family and I will eat.  My plan is to not add on extra stress by having to eat some foods we simply don’t like or may avoid.  That would be a waste of time and money, both crucial during a SHTF event.  

Veggies

vegetables_prep_shtfBy all means plan to add a whole selection of vegetables to your SHTF diet.  Mostly these will be canned items.  If you have access to a fresh garden, then great.  Variety is indeed the spice of life.  Nobody wants green beans five days in a row and there is no need to do that.  Selection at the grocery is wide.  Beans of endless kinds, greens, corn, tomatoes, asparagus, beets, mushrooms, hominy, and so much more.  It would be cheaper of course to buy by the case, but be sure to monitor the expiration dates carefully on all foods.  

Fruits and Desserts

fruit_prep_shtfBe sure to add canned or dried fruits to your stores.  Fruit can add a tremendous variety food and can be eaten almost like a dessert or snack.  Select a wide variety from peaches, pineapple, apple sauce, fruit cocktail, pears, strawberries, and cherries for example.  Fruits are a bonus. Think about some snacks too that have some shelf life.  We like puddings and the little fruit cups as well.  Some candy bars might be OK, but also have a selection of snack bars with nuts, chocolate, and caramel or whatever.  Bags of hard candy make occasional special treats. Boxed crackers and cheese sandwiches can last for a while.

Quick and Easy

Sure, I like my share of the easy to pop open items that can be quickly heated or eaten right out of the can.  There is a wide selection here, too.  Such items include all types of pasta with or without some kind of meat, along with a tomato sauce.  There is canned mac’n’cheese and other cheese concoctions.  Then there are hordes of canned soups, and chili.  Just shop the grocery aisles to supplement other foods with these items knowing their nutritional value is dubious, but then you likely already eat some of these items anyway now.  

Canned or Pouch

If you have the space at either your bug in or out locations, then canned goods are long lasting, durable to handle, and easy to utilize.  Ironically, the empty cans have many other uses as well, and the paper labels can be removed and used as fire starter materials.  Make sure you have a manual can opener.

Read Also: Choosing the Best Survival Food for Your Bug Out Bag

pouch_food_prep_shtfOf course the down side on cans is the weight and volume, so they are not easily transportable in an emergency.  That is why pre-event stocking is good planning at home or at an alternative evacuation site.  Clearly it is best to have these tasks done ahead of time for the most part.  Keep rotating and resupplying as time goes on. Pouches, foil bags, and other such food containers have many advantages for storage and long term use.  Rip off the top, and eat or pour into a pan for heating if you want.  They are simple and most of the packaging can be consumed in a fire and not a waste dump.  The overall food variety is not that great with items in this type of packaging compared to conventional cans.  

Now, if you are lucky enough to have electric power that can change a lot of things, but don’t plan to count on it.  That is why I skipped baking, breads, and such on purpose, but there are other cooking options, too.  Again, variety is best, maximize shelf life, and buy items that could be eaten without adding water or having to cook or heat it.  Stock up enough for at least a month at a bare minimum.  More is better.  

The Katrina Pistol: Part 2

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glock_19_katrina_pistol_trijicon_streamlight_tlr2_surefire_high_sightsPutting together a dedicated Katrina Pistol to complement my Katrina Rifle was an entertaining exercise in apocalyptical scenarios. But seriously, a deadly extension of the human hand with a semi-auto pistol and a few enhancements will ensure you’ll be packing more firepower than most foes would expect. And it is for that very reason that my Katrina Pistol will be the last surprise in a bad guy’s life when the SHTF.

By Doc Montana, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

In Part 1 of the Katrina Pistol I outlined seven straightforward considerations with the Katrina Pistol. But there were also some loose ends and dead ends. As this Katrina Pistol effort unfolded, some directions were not pursued, and others took longer to resolve. Two areas where I chose not to enhance the Katrina Pistol include suppressing it with a screw-on silencer, and tinkering with the internals pistol gears including the trigger. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s take a closer look where we left off in Part 1 and where we went in Part 2.

Gut Check

The gun of choice was an Glock 19 MRO. As of note here is the low Glock number. The very first Glock was the 17, and the second Glock was a full-auto (select-fire actually) version of the 17 named the 18. But unlike the Glock 18 used in the opening train scene of the James Bond film Skyfall, a real G18 eats through a 33 round magazine in under two seconds!

Continuing the Glock 9mm trend, Glock produced a compact version of the 17 and it was christened the Glock 19 because it came after the 18. So in essence, the Gen4 Glock 19 is a solid gun that has been evolving steadily since 1988, and the Glock 17 for six more years than that. To add some closure here, the Glock 26 is a subcompact double-stack 9mm and the Glock 34 is a long-slide 9mm. And the most recent Glock, the 43, is a single stack subcompact 9mm. And, of course, there are many variations of the above including threaded barrels, compensated or ported barrels, Modular Optics Ready (MRO), colored frames, Cerakoted slides, various generations of some numbers, and a new Glock 19S.

Read Also: The Katrina Pistol

Except for the select fire switch on the driver’s side of the Glock 18’s slide, all the Glocks are pretty much the same. However, there is often a tremendous urge to mess around with inner workings of your gun. Or at least that’s what the after-marketers want you to believe. While I’ve been known to “Barbie Up” a gun on occasion, I’m going to leave the dark parts of my Katrina Pistol Glock alone at the moment. But if I was forced to make a change, the trigger is a good starting point since it, like almost all other Glock triggers, drives like a pickup truck. No more, no less.

Shut Up. Or Not.

glock_19_katrina_pistol_trijicon_streamlight_tlr2_surefire_light_onSilencing the Katrina Pistol seemed like must-do for any total makeover. And I had planned on going that route when Katrina was still on the drawing board…well actually a bar napkin. That is, until I hit the wall of reality. It quickly became apparent that a suppressed 9mm Glock was neither quiet, nor small, nor light, nor simple, but with plenty of conspicuous reasons to lock up whoever is carrying it when the thin blue line is at it’s breaking point.

A suppressed Glock 19 is twice as long, near twice as heavy, and maybe only a third as quiet on a good day. While subsonic 147 grain and heavier 9mm bullets are finding their way onto local gunshop shelves with occasional regularity, it is not really the ammo I’m worried about with the Katrina Pistol, it’s the silencer. A suppressed Glock 19 has a total barrel length in the realm of an SBR or short barreled rifle. Now consider that unless the suppressor lives on the Glock through thick and thin, there are two components that must be managed in addition to mags and ammo.

And remember that lanyard? Well that’s for those times when the gun takes a hike on its own. Although suppressors are fairly durable, a not-too-hard blow to the far end of the gun might just be enough to allow a baffle strike rendering the suppressor useless. And the last thing, the very last thing you want to worry about with a Katrina Pistol is a fragile component, especially one that is longer than the gun itself and twice as expensive. But building a suppressed Katrina Pistol is only an aftermarket-threaded-barrel away should that feature be desired later. I still have the napkin.

Going Home…Again

glock_19_katrina_pistol_trijicon_streamlight_tlr2_surefire_bravo_concielment_holsterA recently resolved component of the Katrina Pistol was the holster. Finding something reasonable in looks, function, retention, and price has thus far been near-elusive. There were some off-the-shelf solutions on my radar, but the custom options seemed the only clear route. I started with a Fobus holster that fits the Glock with a laser/light as well as a pile of other pistols. The Fobus was not expensive so I am quick to take the hacksaw and utility knife to it in order to explore optics options. Instead, the Fobus ended up on the Island of Misfit Toys. Why? Because I discovered a wonderfully effective and intimately customizable Bravo Concealment Kydex holster that not only met my Katrina Pistol holster needs, but also asked me exactly that I wanted in a Katrina Pistol holster. Every choice from color, to belt width, to specific weapon light, optic, and hard sight height was offered. And then there is the military/LEO discount. I searched high and low of what really might be my very last holster, and the Bravo Concealment answered the call with zero complaining and zero issues. As much as I love new gear, I really will not be looking for another holster for my Katrina Pistol anytime soon.

Related: Put a BUG in your Bug Out

One added benefit of the Bravo Concealment Kydex holster I had not thought much about was complete coverage of the muzzle. This became apparent to me during one wet expedition. Not that I was worried about putting a ding in the crown, but instead I was concerned about packing the pipe with mud. So without knowing it, I took another page from the WWII playbook and enclosed the barrel of my pistol inside a holster. It’s not perfect coverage, but plenty good enough that any barrel-plugging debris would have to squeeze through a Kydex crack first.

Another layer of protection I employed was to add the Trijicon RMR Adapter Plate. Its literally nothing more than a thin sheet of metal that sits between the exposed battery housing of the RMR and the mountain plate that comes with the Glock MOS. Without it, you can see just a hint of the rubber gasket peeking out along the edges of the RMR above the slide. Under magnification it appears there is a complete seal, but the exposed portion of rubber O-ring is of concern. I don’t see it lasting all that long unless able to fully seat against a flat surface. So for a few more bucks and a couple more grams, I now feel more confident in the mounting interface between electronics and cold, hard, fast moving steel.

Take the Fork in the Road

glock_19_katrina_pistol_trijicon_streamlight_tlr2_box_with_manual_of_armsThe Katrina Pistol is a self-contained fighting tool that must function independent of everything else in the universe. That means it can be part of a bug out loadout, or run solo as a grab-and-go package. While I considered this duality of survival, I opted to place the Katrina Pistol in a Pelican case and surround it with some necessary kit. And then I filled in the remaining space with a few components that, if needed, are true lifesavers.

Inside the Box

In addition to the 17 round mag of the Katrina Pistol Glock 19, are three 15 round Glock mags and one 33 round Glock mag. And on one of the 15 round mags is a Glock loader which is nothing more than a plastic collar that depresses the top round in a mag allowing the next one to slide in easily.

glock_19_katrina_pistol_trijicon_streamlight_tlr2_surefire_ammo_pileFilling out the extra space in the box are a compass, a few pairs of ear plugs, the T-Reign Lanyard, an oversize Ferrocerium rod, a Bic Lighter, a Boker neck knife, four CR123 batteries (for the Streamlight TLR-2G), a pair of CR2032 batteries (for the Trijicon RMR), a couple 1/16” allen wrench for the Trijicon sight, and, perhaps most importantly, 120 rounds of loose 9mm ammo (that’s eight 15-round mag refills), and an aftermarket Glock manual of arms. Oh yes, and a few hundred dollar bills stuffed under the lid foam.

For the record, the Glock manual is for those who might need some lessons. It is a spiral bound book about pistol shooting in general and the Glock’s care and feeding in specific. I know my way around the this Katrina Pistol and Katrina Box since I built it, but others who depended upon me will need help when if I’m not around. I cannot overstate the importance of planning beyond you. Giving a Katria Pistol is a gift. Giving the Katrina Pistol to a loved one who has limited experience with guns and security is a potential disaster. And that would be on you…or me.

Think Outside The Box

glock_19_katrina_pistol_trijicon_streamlight_tlr2_surefire_katrina_box_shtfNext to the Katrina Pistol Box is a Bug Out Bullet Bottle containing another 300 rounds of 9mm FMJ. Since the Katrina Pistol Box already weighs in at 12 pounds, adding a quart of ammo increases the Katrina Pistol loadout another 7.7 pounds. Of course you can always dump out weight as I noted in my article on 11.5 Bug Out Bag Mistakes that are not Mistakes. But as also noted, you cannot dump out what you do not have.

The holster presented a problem in the smaller Pelican case. I could fit it inside the case but would have to scrub the 33 round mag and the 17 rounder. Also some of the smaller kit would not fit except under extreme Pelican pressure. I opted to kick that problem down the road, but will likely just use a larger Pelican case and reassess the theory behind the box in the first place. Stay tuned for that.

Katrina Means You Are On Your Own

There were many lessons from the original Katrina event, and many, make that most, were true SHTF implications. If this Katrina Pistol truly comes into its own, then not only are you on your own, but you are likely your own thin Red, White, and Blue line. Don’t be scared, but do admit the reality when it presents itself. No matter the direction the future takes, a multi-use, near-indestructible pistol with light, laser and optic is now on my short list of what to grab for any situation.

How Much Ammo is Enough For SHTF?

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bullets_mass_stockpileIf you have ever spent any time at all on a survival or firearm forum, you are bound to come across the phrase “Buy it cheap, and stack it deep”.  This phrase is, of course, referring to the amount of ammunition one should have if disaster strikes. After years in the shooting community, I have heard many reasons people stockpile ammunition for emergencies.  There are really only a few loons out there who prepare for impossible and downright foolish reasons.  One guy, I met really believed in an alien invasion followed by an Illuminati takeover.

By Zach Dunn a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache

Sure, there are always a few crazies, but there are many normal people who do have a fear of what could happen in our increasingly volatile world.  Like it or not, we have to admit that this is not the 1990s anymore and we are seeing an increase in danger daily. The economy can be compared to a savage ocean. ISIS is rampaging through the Middle East and their sympathizers are attacking innocent people in the USA, Europe, and Canada. Iran’s nuclear program.  The riots following Trump’s election.  I could go on.

shells_bucket_rifleIn fact, I can’t tell you how many times I have heard the question, “how many rounds should I have on hand in case something happens?”   If you read the forums and even some articles, a lot of armchair generals and self-described “experts” say you need to amass 100,000 rounds per caliber, minimal.  And while 100,000 rounds is an impressive amount of ammunition, enough to fight a small war, it is completely insane to think you will ever need that much ammunition. Well, if you are going to invade a small Caribbean nation, go ahead and pursue your 100,000 rounds.  With the price of ammunition today, you’ll go broke.

Related: Surviving Alone

In all truth, it is impossible to see the future and know how much ammunition you will need.  My crystal ball stopped working a long time ago.  But I doubt you will be engaging in a firefight after firefight with gangsters or looters every day in a survival situation.  Even if you did, what are the odds of you surviving dozens of gunfights?  I have done my best to put together a realistic minimal goal for ammunition needs during a survival situation.  The focus here is of course hunting and defense.  

.22LR

22_lrA .22 is about the most versatile firearm when it comes to food procurement you can own.  From squirrel to a feral cat, a .22 can put meat on the table for you and your loved ones during hard times.  I strongly suggest everyone have at least one reliable .22 for emergencies.  The bare minimal I believe you should have is around 1000 rounds of .22 ammunition.  Ideally, 2-5,000 rounds are best.  Buy .22 in bulk, in tubs of at least 500 rounds to purchase cheaply.

The Shotgun

shotgun_stock_ammoA .12 gauge or .20 gauge should be something every gun owner owns in addition to a .22 long rifle.  A shotgun can be used to kill waterfowl, turkey, game birds, and with a slug or 00 buck loads can be used to kill the larger game and be used in home or self-defense.  I strongly recommend pump action guns as they are by far some of the most reliable. To be wise, I would say one should have 2 barrels for each shotgun unless the shotgun is a dedicated home defense weapon.  If it is a hunting shotgun, you should have a longer “bird barrel” for shooting bird shot, and a smoothbore “slug barrel” for shooting slugs and 00 buck loads. I suggest at least 300 rounds of game loads such as number 6s or 7s, 50 turkey loads, 200 slugs and 200 rounds of 00 Buck.

The Big Game Rifle

If in addition to a shotgun and .22, you are blessed to own a game rifle, this can be a real tool in keeping your family fed.  If it all goes downhill, a game rifle can, of course, be used to hunt game, and it can also be used to hunt feral cattle, pigs and other such domesticated animals that tend to go feral in dark times. For every game rifle I own, I like to have at least 100-200 rounds of game loads. More if you can afford it.  If your rifle is properly sighted in, 100 rounds can last you years of procuring larger animals for food.

The Semi Auto Sporting Rifle

ak-74_ammo_prepIn the USA, this includes AR-15s, AK-47s, AK-74s, and so much more.  These are not the true assault weapon. In Canada, these usually mean the SKS, M1A/M-14, M1 Garand, and maybe an AR-15 kept for target and competition shooting.   A true assault weapon by the true definition is a rifle chambered in an intermediate cartridge that has the ability to switch between semi-automatic and full automatic gunfire.  In truth, the inner-workings of these firearms are no different than a semi-automatic hunting rifle.

Read Also: Quick Buyer’s Guide to Imported AK Market

These rifles are highly versatile and can fill the role of both home defense firearm, personal defense weapon, game rifle and varmint rifle.  If you only have 1 gun, one of these are your best options.  If you have a rifle with a detachable magazine, be sure you have at least 12 magazines.  That is my minimum. If the firearm you have is an SKS, M1a, Garand, or any other semi auto that uses at least a 5 round magazine, you probably have noticed they are bullet eaters.  In fact, a semi auto can eat more ammunition than a college kid eats pizza.

Photos Courtesy of:

Brett
momsquared
John Woods
Joshua Engler

Reviewing the Ironies and Impact of Wikileaks After the Election

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powell_ben_ali-1Prior to the 2016 Presidential Election, discussion of Fourth Amendment Rights and Wikileaks was hardly the media’s favorite topic. When Tunisia’s Authoritarian Ruler, Ben Ali, was deposed, people hardly cared why. In fact, most Americans asked little questions regarding Ben Ali’s fall from power. He was a dictator and it was only natural that a dictator be overthrown from power. This consensus was extraordinarily reductive. Without Wikileaks, Ben Ali would likely still be in power. The publication of Julian Assange’s Wikileaks “helped fuel the anger on the streets that culminated Friday with Mr. Ben Ali’s flight”.  The Wikileaks publication and Ben Ali’s deposition in 2010 led to a catastrophic series of  regime changes in the Arab region.

By D-Ray a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

At the time, commentators naively referred to the Wikileaks inspired revolution as ‘The Arab Spring‘. They speculated a new generation of secular, progressive Arabs would bring meaningful change to the MiddleEast. This calculation proved to be horribly wrong. Had these commentators exercised more sagacity, they would have seen that such widespread change would lead to chaos and unmitigated fundamentalism. Unsurprisingly, the State Department, led by Hillary Clinton, failed to accurately assess the implications of such a revolution.

Clinton’s failure to manage the Wikileaks inspired revolution led to her most notable scandal as Secretary of State: the 2012 Benghazi Attack.  Following the outrage of the carnage, the House Select Committee on Benghazi investigated Hillary Clinton. In 2014, the Committee discovered Clinton had used a private email server in her communications as Secretary of State. Two years later, at the height of the 2016 Presidential Election, Wikileaks released the contents of Hillary’s server.

The Nixon Irony

Despite the best efforts of the media, the public became aware of Hillary’s misconduct as Secretary of State. Among other things, the Wikileaks evidence suggested Clinton mishandled classified information, colluded with members of the media, and fostered questionable relationships with foreign governments and private corporations. While Hillary was never formally indicted, it became clear, even to the most liberal commentators, that she flirted dangerously close with a criminal line.

julian_assangeAlthough the media has an annoying tendency to add the suffix ‘gate’ to anything  remotely scandalous, the comparisons between Hillary Clinton and Richard Nixon are incredibly germane.  In a similar manner, the comparisons between Nixon’s thorn, Daniel Ellsberg, and Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, are appropriate. To be sure, some distinctions must be made. Julian Assange’s leaks, especially those regarding National Security, represent a massive amount of raw, unprocessed data while Ellsberg’s leak was a summarized account of failures in Vietnam. Furthermore, the manner in which Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers, through the New York Times, provided a medium in which sensitive data was withheld. In this manner, the Pentagon Papers constituted a far more benign leak.

Some have condemned Assange’s leaks on US Military operations as treasonous and irresponsible. Many of these same critics point to Ellsberg and claim Assange should have released his data through a reputable news source. In this manner, data sensitive to matters of National Security would be withheld. Prior to Hillary’s Email Scandal, this argument was tenable. Hillary’s scandal proved something incredibly disturbing: most ‘reputable’ outlets were colluding with Clinton’s campaign in a manner totally antithetical to journalistic ethics. Assange realized something most Americans would have refused to believe prior to the Fall of 2016, the media is wholly corrupt. At some point, ostensibly objective news organizations assumed the function of Super PACs. Had Assange followed in the footsteps of Ellsberg and trusted the New York Times to publish, the editors at the Times would have deleted any damning information regarding Hillary Clinton.

Moving Forward

There is no doubt that Wikileaks endeavors have compromised the security objectives of the United States. While some have condemned Wikileaks, the organization’s actions are, in my opinion, justifiable. In an era where the government has no respect for the privacy of citizens, it is refreshing to see Wikileaks invade the privacy of officials. On a less petty level, Wikileaks has done what the media fails to do: report in a complete, objective, and unbiased manner.

trump_electionWhen Time Magazine named Donald Trump the Time Person of the Year, Drudge Report quipped, “make media great again?”. I’m not so sure what to make of this. While traditional media outlets displayed an unprecedented amount of bias during this election cycle, voters were able to gather news from a great variety of sources. Wikileaks showed voters more about any one candidate than we have ever seen before. This is the paradox of the information age: the media has never been this bad but we have never had so much transparency.

Trump’s election caught many in the media and Washington by surprise. When the dust settled, the left began to ask questions: how did Trump beat out an overwhelmingly biased media narrative to become President-Elect? Put simply, the American Public didn’t buy the narrative of the mainstream media. When major media outlets refused to discuss the details of Wikileaks and Clinton’s emails, people began to question the validity of traditional news. Public faith in the media collapsed and Americans began to consume news from less traditional outlets.

In an attempt to save their mendacious journalism machine, the left has launched a crusade against ‘fake news’. Nobody can define what constitutes ‘fake news’. It is a buzzword and political tool. This is a sad and desperate attempt to limit the free discourse of ideas and speech. Obama’s condemnation of ‘fake news’ isn’t a plea to restore journalistic ethics, it is an Orwellian attempt to shut down ideas seen as troublesome or dangerous.  The left would love to delegitimize anything they disagree with as fake. In our information age, they will have an impossible time controlling information. Wikileaks and those like it will continue to champion free speech while traditional media outlets atrophy.

Photos Courtesy of:

LeStudio 1 2016
Francesc Miguel Estrague

The Age of the AR-15

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ar_15_vietnamWhen Eugene Stoner invented the AR-15 in the 1950s, I doubt he ever imagined the rifle’s success of today. In the age where hardwood stocks and full power cartridges reigned supreme, the little “Mattel toy” rifle with plastic stock and aluminum parts looked like something from a science fiction film. First adopted by the Air Force, and then by the Military as the M-16, the rifle went on to widespread use in Vietnam. Teething problems and improvements quickly followed for the M-16 and found their way into civilian model AR-15s. This would be the case for the next 40 years.

By Zach Dunn a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache

The AR-15 began as a semi-automatic civilian rifle started when Colt started selling the rifle in the 1960s. At first, sales were slow, prices were expensive, and problems found on service rifles were mirrored in civilian AR-15s. The AR was never a popular rifle during the 20th century for civilians. Surplus WWII firearms, cheap Chinese imported AKs and SKS rifles, and other similar, cheap guns took a huge bite out of the AR’s market. Their reputation as a problematic firearm that jammed when slightly dirty did not help either.

Related: AR-15 Magazine Management Strategies 

clinton_signing_awbThe 1994 Assault Weapons Ban seemed like the final nail in the pine box for the AR-15. Instead, it spurned one of the greatest quality improvements of a product in firearms history. During the ban, small companies started to improve the AR platform. At the same time, the Military adopted the M-4 Carbine. M-4 semi-automatic clones soon hit the civilian market when the ’94 AWB expired. The War on Terror and the expiration of the ’94 ban in late 2004 unleashed a flood of greatly improved tactical rifles that took the civilian market by storm.

The NRA successfully brought to civilian attention that an AR-15 is not a fully automatic assault rifle, but a very accurate and utilitarian rifle. All of this coupled by an increasingly gun-friendly society spurned sales. Though the AR competed with cheap AK pattern imported rifles in the early 2000s, scores of veterans returning from the Middle East provided a loyal following for the AR-15. With the election of Barack Obama in 2008 and threats of gun bans, the popularity of the AR-15 soared.

Every Shape and Size

ar15_stoner_designsWith the adoption of the M4 by the US military and the sunset of AWB in ’04, almost all AR-15s are modeled after the M4 carbine. These compact AR-15s with their 16-inch civilian length barrels are built with 3 goals in mind. Accuracy. Reliability. Modularity. The modern AR-15 is the equivalent of the adult erector set. With a small set of tools and an Armorer’s wrench, a shooter can modify his rifle in his garage, or build one from scratch.

The AR-15 outfitted with its flat top receiver can use almost any optic available to man, from traditional rifle scopes, to combat optics such as the ACOG. Quad rails allow mounting of lights, rapid transition sights, lasers, and a whole host of other accessories. I know a shooter who mounted a bottle opener on his.

You can still find full-size AR-15 rifles the same dimensions as the M-16A2/A4, or you can opt for a Carbine length rifle. A mid length rifle is the same size as the carbine length M-4, but they offer the ability to be able to correctly mount a bayonet and provides more reliability with its gas impingement system.

The AR-15 Today

police_at_sandy_hookHow has the AR become so popular? A huge reason was the threat of gun bans on semi-automatic rifles and what many Americans saw as a possible infringement of their 2nd Amendment rights. In 2008, one of Barack Obama’s campaign goals was a permanent version of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban. American shooters poured into gun stores over the next 8 years and purchased millions of semi-automatic rifles that were targeted by left-leaning politicians and anti-gun groups. This repeated itself in 2012 with Obama’s reelection, after the Sandy Hook shooting and right before the 2016 Presidential election. Between 2008-2016, it was estimated more than 1 million AR-15s were produced annually for civilians in the USA. That doesn’t count parts kits and lower receivers for people to assemble their own rifles.

A greatly improved product with the reliability nearly equal to an AK has helped as well. In fact, torture tests have demonstrated that the AR-15 is closing the gap with the AK pattern when it comes to reliability. Longevity, however, remains with the AK, whereas an AR-15 will need some critical rebuilding after 20,000 rounds or so.   Aftermarket products such as grips, stocks, sights, and internals have spurned a huge custom rifle movement.

See Also: Sig Sauer MPX-C 9mm Review 

Lastly, the increased demand starting in 2008 created an interesting problem. It forced gun makers to greatly increase production, saturating the market and causing prices to drop drastically. Prices have fallen on the AR-15. It used to cost a shooter at least $1000 for a decent AR-15 rifle. They can be had now for $400-$500. No longer is the AK the budget defensive rifle, that has now been taken over by the formerly expensive AR. In fact, a good com-bloc imported AK is now more expensive than an AR-15 from Palmetto State Armory. With a saturated market, improved quality, and a movement behind it, the AR’s time has truly, and finally arrived!

Featured Photo Courtesy of:

Sean Dobbins
All other photos included are in the public domain. 

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The Theory and Practical Application of the “Walking Around Rifle”

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shtfblog_survival_cache_best_survival_rifle_ar15_sako_leupoldI’ll admit it readily; I’m a gun snob of the highest accord. I like my guns classy, old, and made of walnut and blued steel, forged and carved by craftsmen from a different era. I’m not saying that I don’t have and use ARs and polymer-framed pistols – I do; they are my “oh shit” guns, and I use and abuse them properly. What I am saying is that if I don’t need to be using that high-capacity new-age gun at a given time, I’m not gonna. Though the AR platform is great for a small-to-medium-game hunting platform, I’d rather ditch the “Rambo” vibe and carry something with a “soul” when I decide to head into the woods for an afternoon of scouting, hiking, or snowshoeing. A well-used and -loved decades-old rifle on my shoulder feels to me like it’s bringing company; call it corny, but I like to think that a small part of every man, woman, and child who ever had that gun in their hands comes with me when I carry these old firearms around. It’s comforting and warming to me – and modern milled-and-molded aluminum and plastic guns just don’t give me the same warm and fuzzy feeling.

By Drew, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

To that end, I get picky on the guns that I buy; I’m not an accumulator like many other self-proclaimed gun snobs I know. I buy quality items sparingly, and use every gun that I buy. If a firearm doesn’t perform, just isn’t quite what I had in mind, or falls by the usage wayside, it gets sold or traded off. Too many guns is wonderful, but it’s a maintenance and security liability I don’t want to deal with. So I only buy firearms that I connect with – both literally and figuratively.

The “Walking Around Rifle” 

coljeffcooperLike the infamous “Scout Rifle” concept idea put to words by the immortal Jeff Cooper, the idea that came to be dubbed my “Walking Around Rifle” probably needs some explanation. While my conceptualization wasn’t quite as specific as Mr. Cooper’s to-the-letter explanation, the idea in my head had to fulfill certain requirements. The idea was kick-started by my sighting of a rifle at a local gun shop – a rifle I didn’t know I needed until I saw it. It was a Savage 23D, a featherweight middle-sized sporter in the elusive and under-appreciated .22 Hornet caliber, manufactured somewhere between 1923 and 1942. The smooth, warm oil-dark walnut with the worn checkering called to me, as did the detachable magazine and slightly worn bluing. The rifle sported an inexpensive Simmons 3-9x scope, probably weighed all of six pounds, and wore a price tag of $350.00. It was lust at first sight. Soon, visions of popping deer-chasing nuisance winter coyotes with the quick-handling rifle were dancing in my head.

I then committed a major gun-buyer faux pas: I didn’t put money down on the rifle. Heating season was coming up, the baby needed winter clothes, and I just couldn’t justify putting bill money down to nab the rifle. (being an adult sometimes isn’t all it’s wrapped up to be). So I put it back in the rack and justified my actions by thinking “surely nobody will want an old .22 Hornet”.

I was wrong. I went back a couple weeks later to find that surely someone did indeed want an old .22 Hornet, and they had wanted it the day before I walked in the door with money. So I was back to the drawing board to come up with a snazzy, lightweight firearm to fill the new hunting/hiking void I’d created in my head.

I sat down and listed my criteria. The needed requirements were few, but relatively specific.

  • Caliber – centerfire, flat-shooting, capable of downing small and medium-sized game. I hand-load, so ammunition availability wasn’t too much of an issue as long as I could find brass and it was in a common bullet caliber.
  • Bolt-action or break-open, for less moving parts and lower potential for breakage/wear. Likely higher potential accuracy as well over lever actions, pumps, and semi-autos.
  • Provision to mount optics, namely a high-quality fixed low-power scope.
  • Provision for backup fixed sights – because optics can fail, even good ones.
  • Light(er) weight – I didn’t want to pack around a 9 pound rifle – so I was looking for a scaled-down action and lightweight makeup
  • Unique if possible, made up of blued steel and walnut – I had to assuage the inner gun snob, after all. I could have sourced a new Remington Model Seven Synthetic in .223 and it would have fit this bill to a T – but it just doesn’t appeal to me. I wanted something less than commonplace.

Why Did I Want a Walking Around Rifle? 

I realize some may not see the need for this rifle, and I can understand that. Why carry around a rifle that really is somewhat limited in purpose and versatility, especially when the bug-out AR-15 fits the bill? Why not a bigger rifle/caliber combination, like a .308, that is more capable over a wider array of situations?

Related: The Katrina Rifle 

This rifle requirement all stems from what I like to do. My woods time is usually comprised of keeping up to date with bug-out locations, exploring, hunting coyotes, or – most frequently – scouting deer patterns for an upcoming whitetail deer season. A rifle is handy to eliminate pests, use as a signalling device, or even provide security. The rifle has range and accuracy capabilities that far surpass even the most precise handgun, at the price of added bulk. However, when snowshoeing and scaling mountainous countryside with a pack, the added bulk can be a burden – so I needed to be picky about the size and contours of the rifle. Semi-auto firepower wasn’t a requirement – in all likelihood, the rifle won’t even be fired on most excursions – so precision and unobtrusive carrying qualities take precedence over lots of fast follow-up shots.

To sum things up: My rifle’s mission was to be portable,and have more punch and range than a .22 Long Rifle or similar rimfire caliber. The .22 LR works well as a small-game foraging rifle, but just doesn’t possess the additional horsepower I wanted to have available.

So Why These Requirements? 

223remingtonCaliber – Here in Maine, the need for a large caliber to pull anti-animal duty only runs a couple of months – usually September, October, and November, when black bear and whitetail deer season are open, to the delight of local and imported sportsmen. The remainder of the year, most traditionally edible game animals are not legal quarry. Porcupines, woodchucks, coyotes, and red squirrels are the only critters that Maine allows sportsmen to pursue year-round. For these animals, a large caliber rifle just isn’t needed for clean kills. Certainly, a .22 Long Rifle can be considered viable for vermin dispatching duties at appropriate ranges. However, once the ranges open up past 50 yards, the stalwart .22 LR’s and even the .22 Magnum’s meager ballistics start becoming a hindrance, and clean kills are not certain. So we need to start looking at the centerfire family of cartridges to carry the fight to undesirable fur bearing creatures (or even emergency anti-deer use) at longer distances. The .22 Hornet, .222 Remington, and .223 Remington/ 5.56x45mm are all cartridges that were squarely in my sights. Surely, the .22-250, .220 Swift, .204 Ruger, and .17 Remington would have all been good, even excellent, at what I wanted – but since I reload, I wanted smaller, efficient calibers that didn’t burn a ton of powder (eliminating the .22-250 and .220 Swift), and were in bullet diameters that I had on hand – namely the common .224” bullet (there goes the .17 Remington and .204 Ruger.). I briefly considered older-though-still-cool-and-sort-of-useful calibers such as the .218 Bee, .25-20 Winchester, and .32-20 WCF, but the difficulty and expense of finding brass cases to reload, plus their lackluster long-range performance, put them out of the running once my brain overrode the romanticism of using the old calibers. So .22 Hornet, .222 Remington, and .223 Remington/5.56mm were the main focus. Rifles chambered in these smaller cased-cartridges also have the benefit of sometimes of having the action scaled down to the caliber – so you’re not lugging around a full-sized rifle that’s just a modified version of a full-sized short-action rifle meant for the .308 class of calibers.

shtf_survival_cache_shtfblog_windham_weaponry_308_ar10_r18fsfsm-308_aimpoint_comp_ml3_outdoors_midwest_industriesAction Type – Again, though I had an AR-15 that would fill this made-up mission quite nicely, I just didn’t want an AR over my shoulder while hoofin’ it. I’ve shot deer with a Windham Weaponry AR-10, and while it worked very well on a certain 5-point buck, it just didn’t feel right to a guy who grew up carrying leverguns and bolt actions in the woods. Also, once I shot said deer, carrying the AR became a whole bunch of not-fun: the brass deflector and charging handle kept digging into my body, the Picatinny rails caught clothing and abraded it, and the tall profile just made sure there was more surface area to get in the way. Purpose-designed traditional hunting rifles are generally lower-profile, smoother, sleeker – easier to carry once you don’t need them anymore and you’re dragging 170 pounds of dead ungulate weight behind you.

Also – a reasoning that has somewhat more validity – bolt-action and single-actions are USUALLY more accurate than their semi-auto, lever, or pump counterparts. Yes, I know that there are hideously accurate semi-autos, and I’ve shot running deer at 150 yards with a lever action – but the bolt gun will be a bit more effective on little target critters at further distances due to its higher level of intrinsic accuracy. There are always exceptions to rules, but this is a statement I decided to bank on, based on personal experience and expected usage for the rifle.

Optics/Sights– This is a no-brainer. I need to be able to scope the rifle for longer-ranged shots. However, I like redundancy in my firearm sighting methods, so I’d like to be able to have the provision for iron sights. Scopes fog up, batteries run out, slips and falls leave firearms crashing to the ground (probably onto the largest, harshest, most abrasive rock in three counties) and optics get jarred out of alignment or damaged. A backup set of iron sights – no matter how rudimentary – is just a nice piece of security to have.

Lighter Weight– Again, another no-brainer. The less your rifle weighs, the more likely you will have it with you, and the more convenient it will be. The scaled-down action size of the smaller calibers I was looking at help a lot in this department.  I almost bought or sought several different firearms that neatly fit the bill; they were all quite capable and fully met my needs…I just never seemed to pull the trigger (pun intended).

I was drawn to the CZ 527. A nifty little scaled-down carbine with a detachable box magazine, it comes in .22 Hornet and .223 (and interestingly, 7.62x39mm Russian…interesting…). But they are difficult to find ‘round these parts due to their popularity and immense handiness, and I ended up finding my solution before I found one of these.

The H&R Handi-Rifle was a great option, too – and I almost ordered one up. They are rugged, dependable, no-nonsense, inexpensive break-open single-shot rifles that feature interchangeable calibers by swapping out the barrels. I’ve had a lot of fun with these rifles over the years, and they certainly hold a special place in my heart. They come in .22 Hornet and .223, (and lots of other calibers and gauges) with black synthetic stocks that lend themselves well to a beat-around rifle. I know it wasn’t walnut or terribly unique, so I kept looking despite the utility.

The Remington 799 is a scaled-down version of the fabled Mauser 98 action, and if I had seen one in .22 Hornet, .222, or .223 (all standard calibers for the rifle), I might have scoffed one up in a heartbeat if it was of decent quality – I had never actually seen one, but the specs look good.  Of course, another Savage 23 or a Winchester 43 would have been lovely – but alas, not for sale in my neck of the woods.

The Solution Presents Itself 

After the mildly devastating loss of the vintage Savage .22 Hornet, I was on the hunt. No gun shop in the locale was safe from my perusal. There were lots of options that would have fit the bill, but Captain Gun Snob was being fussy. I wanted something a bit different….

Read Also: Sig Suaer MPX-C Review 

One day, my wife and I were skimming through the local Cabelas, and somehow she actually followed me into the gun library (it hasn’t happened again since, I’ve noticed…). She was present at my side when I sucked in a deep gasp and quickly opened one of the upper glass cases to reach for the gloriousness of a rifle that had caught my eye.

Sako L-42 in .222 Remington

A 1950’s-manufactured Sako L-46 “Riihimäki” in .222 Remington, complete with graceful full-length “Mannlicher” style stock, detachable 3-round magazine, and vintage steel-tube El Paso Weaver K4 fixed 4x scope in Redfield Jr. rings had my complete and undivided attention. I fell in such instant and complete lust with the trim, beautiful little rifle that I didn’t even care if my wife saw the $1,199.00 price tag (which she did). I put the rifle on layaway, and a few too-slow weeks later, the rifle came home with me. My wishes had come true and the fun began.

I stocked up on factory ammo and empty brass where I could find it, and I’ve spent a very joyful past few months developing a handload that shoots well. I also replaced the charming (but prone to fogging) Weaver K4 with a vintage Leupold M8 fixed 4x scope that is a perfect match for the rifle. A canvas sling was added, and the rifle has reached “perfection” status in my eyes. It propels a 50-grain Hornady soft-point varmint bullet at 3200 feet per second out of the 23-inch barrel, and can group 5 of them into a neat 1-inch cluster at 100 yards. The rifle has a hooded front sight, and I found an ultra-rare Redfield scope mount with an integral flip-up aperture rear sight. It rides delightfully next to a pack on my shoulder or in my hand,and fulfills every one of my requirements. I’m a happy camper, mission accomplished!

Yeah, But Does This Have Anything to do With Survival?

Sako and a BOB

Some of you may just view this as bombastic gun bragging, and maybe it is to a small degree. But more than that, I’m trying to portray that there are other options – quality, graceful options – out there to fulfill the needs of the forager/scout/pest control mission. I know that for many individuals, the AR-15 or other military-type platforms are distasteful, impractical, unneeded, or unwanted, and commercial hunting rifle offerings punch the ticket nicely. The AR and other platforms are truly versatile and may be a better way to go if you’re on a one-gun budget for SHTF-type needs, but if you have other plans for scouting, small-to-medium game hunting, or pest eradication post-SHTF, why not have another rifle that doesn’t use your stockpile of “oh no” ammo? Why not have a rifle that says “Hunter” or “Rancher” instead of “Prepper” or “Survivalist” or “Military”? And truth be told, the day may come when your AR-15 or similar rifle may not be able to see the light of day due to legislation; you’ll still want to be able to have a quality, accurate rifle on your shoulder that is capable of pulling off multi-mission duty and not set off alarms. A rifle that shares a common caliber as your SHTF rifle may be a great idea too (like the CZ527 carbine in .223 to compliment your AR). Just food for thought.

What do you think? Do you have a secondary/scouting type rifle in your plans? Or does your situation and prepping make a rifle such as this unnecessary? Sound off in the comments!

Photos Courtesy of:
Drew
Lauren Nicole Photography 

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Voaching and Mall Ninjas: Survival Lessons From the 2016 Election

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big_game_hunting_electionLuckily American presidential elections always fall in the middle of hunting season so for many Americans few things make a better election detox than long walk in the woods with a gun. As I was doing just that, I considered if Donald Trump would need to wear any hunter’s orange. Bad joke I know, but it did pop into my mind. And there’s more. Some of the greatest opportunities of discovery begin with the unexpected. And many things “unexpectedly” unfolded between the evening of the 8th and morning 9th of November.

By Doc Montana, a contributing author of SHTFBlog and Survival Cache

So as one with survival/prepping bends, I embraced the unexpected as a chance to learn. A social experiment, if you will. Rather than placing value judgements on people or results, I studied the behaviors, reactions, and counter-reactions. Like when there’s a natural disaster, instead of critiquing the evacuation, I study the events as they unfold and use them to refine my personal survival models. They are a picture of reality whether you like it or not.

Poll Dancing

According to the polls, its a proven fact that the readership of this blog and SurvivalCache are 50% Democrats, 50% Repbulicans, 30% Libertarian, 25% Green Party, and 71% Independent. At least 75% of the readers are male and 46% are female. Overall they voted 3% for Trump, 3% for Hillary, with the remaining 99% voting for someone or something else that may or may not have included anyone officially on the ballot.

trump_articleAs with Trump’s season of unscripted reality TV shows, it became clear that it had all the makings of a blockbuster thriller with none of the budget or stunt doubles. When each weekly episode ended we were left with a humdinger, a cliffhanger, or a key player was “killed off” the show. Sometimes there was a mind boggling plot twist that left America’s collective mouth agape and drooling. Red, blue, or purple, it made no difference. Everyone watched, listened, joked and talked about the show. But the biggest reveal, the one shocking the fans to their core and immediately becoming the most the defining moment of the entire first season, was when the audience was allowed to vote for the celebrity of choice. While it had long since been discovered that neither candidate could sing or dance, the followers of the show turned out in record droves. And then America became the star of the show. Yea, there was that tall guy and that shorter gal who were in the news, but for a brief moment, it was us, the citizens. It was our turn to take the spotlight. And trust me, we provided our own shock and awe.

Beware the Unknown unknowns

We have models for civil unrest, martial law, prepper percentages, mob behaviors, marauding, and natural disasters of all kinds. We make educated guesses on duration, when to call it a bug out, and any number of variables based on personal experience that we each individually believe will give us an advantage. The problem here: demographics data was wrong and Trump proved it.

Related: Trump Respect, not Understanding

Now I’m not one to give Trump any unearned sophistication, but he sure seemed to squeeze votes out of people and places that politicians had not drilled into in decades. The massive immigration of Americans flooding into the electoral system overwhelmed the poll vetting process to the point where it was clear we had no idea who would vote, and for whom they would vote.

Poker Face

In many ways, the election unfolded like a game of poker. Who’s hand was the best, who was bluffing, and most of all who was watching the game. So on Tuesday night, Hillary laid down the most important poker hand in her life, a straight flush (royals are unAmerican), all hearts, followed by smile and a Shoulder Shimmy™.

poker_hand_electionOn the other side of the table, Trump hesitantly dropped his cards down on the green felt one at a time and looked just as surprised as the rest of America when his hand won. Who knew you could beat a straight flush with five-of-a-kind, all deuces. So how did Trump’s hand bite Hillary in the pantsuit? Because the media didn’t know there were more than four of each suite in a deck of cards since they never played polling poker with the entire deck.

Voaching

Trump Voached, or poached votes, plain and simple. Nothing in the illegal sense, but definitely with the same tactics as professional poachers. Trump’s Voaching included attracting voters with bait. Trump Voached votes out of season by addressing topics formerly thought off limits to candidates. Trump Voached well over his limit of certain demographic groups leaving less game for the rest of the candidates to hunt. Trump viciously Voached votes by attacking fellow hunters in the primary and again during the general election. A Voaching Trump did not throw back the bottom feeders, trash fish, and other nuisance pests who still counted towards his limit because they are Americans. In many cases he even proudly hugged them for a selfie while simultaneously looking confused as to who they were.

Cape of Fear

ak_47_pro_2aA bright spot in all this disagreement that grows in intensity every day since 11/9 (although some compare it to 9/11) can be seen in a convergence of gun rights. Many traditional Republicans have wrapped themselves in the a 2nd Amendment cape strutting around like superheroes. Until recently, that cape was to give the common folk a fighting chance for when the government goes all tyrannical. Until recently, the fear of such tyranny was based upon ancient history and paranoia, at least according to the stereotypical Democrat. But on the 9th of November, 2016, a sizable swath of the those in the popular vote got a taste of that paranoia. And it was quite bitter. Now that the blood is drying and dust is settling, and the grieving process has moved away from rants and alcohol, a healthy respect for the power of the people has emerged. An unlikely consequence of this election: liberals may have a new perspective on the second amendment. Maybe there’s something to this well regulated militia stuff after all,” they’re thinking.

Read Also: The Free Marketplace of Ideas is Dead

In other words, the Right to Bear Arms looks a little different today to the “only-for-hunting” crowd. Not that Trump is the real enemy, but instead the very real chance that the undeniable rights of Americans might be infringed upon is the foe at the door. Exactly what those rights are has yet to be determined, but the Second Amendment is the Sheepdog, and there are a lot more blue sheepdogs today than this time last year.

But do you Operate?

There are at least two big survival takeaways as 2016 winds down. The first is that the Unknown Unknowns are alive and well. This means that there are significant concerns based in reality so there’s no need to waste good space adding bigfoot, Area 51, and chemtrails to your conspiracy of threats. There are very real threats which provide ample exercise for prepping and survival. Unfortunately the data we use to forecast imminent threats are incomplete at best. So, the downstream results of the threat gain an even greater margin of error.

To any serious survivalist, the so-called Mall Ninja has been the public face of the anti-operator or unprepper. If society collapsed, the purebred Mall Ninja would be little more than an irritating fly in need of swatting. Mall Ninjas are more of a threat to themselves than to others. With this being said, their abundance of gear and lack of skill means they shouldn’t be ignored, but rather treated like a drunk driver on the highway.

If Mall Ninjas are the public face of the prepared to the unprepared, and that face is used to generalize across society as a whole (or at least the portion of society that will attempt to survive), then our war planning is about to get a reality enema. If an unpolled, non-vocal segment of American society can Swiftboat a presidential election, just imagine what is waiting for you when the lights go out.

hollywood_election_signThe second takeaway is the need to model our survival scenarios on more than popular demographics. The personal quantity of perceived threats in any competitive survival situation is probably based four factors: Hollywood, expendable income, ego, and the desire to remain sane. Hollywood is the generic term for fictional accounts of a disaster played out for entertainment. For many, the fiction is limited to the catastrophic event, but the reaction of the populace or the hero is often filed away by the consumer as a reasonable strategy should such an event ever unfold.

The expendable income aspect is that one cannot have it all so one must temper the universe to fit within whatever the pocketbook can afford. While there is positive correlation between gear and survival, it seems there is no lower threshold as to what constitutes “gear.”

Further Reading: Survival Psychology 

Ego is a survival strategy. Not just that you can survive something, but that you deserve to survive. However, ego has been known to get some folks killed as well. Ego can lead you to do things like not asking for help, getting in over your head to avoid admitting you don’t know what you’re doing, or even thinking you have absolute Constitutional rights in the face of professional authorities.

And finally, one must navigate the turbid waters between imminent global catastrophe and a relaxing afternoon. Too much of either is unhealthy from a survival perspective, but one without the other rots your perspective.  Applying the four aspects to the 2016 election should shift the mainstream American out of park, and the survival/prepper into high gear. Unfortunately, some people, including politicians, now plan on shifting into reverse. I can see their slogan now…  “Make America Great Again Before It Was Great Again!”

The election results provide unvarnished insights into a portion of the fabric of society that rarely becomes measurable, but will certainly be fighting with you or next to you for scant resources when the overextended aspects of society collapse under their own weight. This is nothing short of Preparedness 2.0: an edgy remix with more cowbell. Just remember, a mind is like a parachute. It only works when it’s open but when it’s open you are a slower moving target that is easily visible from the ground.

Photos Courtesy of:

Doc Montana
Jennifer Nass
Ray Rivera
Dan Leach 
F. Sigorski

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The Free Marketplace of Ideas is Dead

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cnn_ignorance_mendaciousOn the morning Trump won, network pundits stared blankly at their producers. ‘How did this happen’, they asked as they struggled to reconcile the results of the election with their flawed polling data. Slowly journalists developed a narrative to explain their loss: Middle-America is racist, ignorant, and misogynistic. The plebeians of the country can’t be counted on to vote for a qualified female candidate like Hillary Clinton. That was it, right? The sheer idiocy of people like you and me was so awesome it confounded the excellence of political projections. After all, Nate Silver, the left’s anointed polling expert, can’t be wrong. Pundits ended November 9th with a comforting consensus: they were right but constituent stupidity transcended rational projecting.

By D-Ray a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

In reality, the left has insulated themselves inside an impenetrable echo chamber. With the combined power of the mainstream media and internet social justice warriors, half of the country deluded themselves into thinking average people bought into their precepts of socialism, political correctness, and globalization. The left actively divorced themselves from Middle-America by refusing to entertain beliefs antithetical to their own. Rather than entertain the merits of proposed policy objectives, the left viewed issues through the lens of identity politics and bias.

Ideology Has Surpassed Logic 

refugees_detention_noDo you have objections to Syrian Refugees arriving to the United States en masse? If yes, according to CNN and others, you are a racist. They don’t want to consider that the refugee experiment in Western Europe has ended tragically. That would require an actual refutation of an argument. Nope, you’re a racist. The nuances of your argument can go to hell. In the 21st Century paradigm of leftist debate, ideology surpasses logic.

Related: Let’s Have Victories Again 

This line of thinking, that feelings are more important than logic, is subversive to the Marketplace of Ideas outlined by James Madison in Federalist Papers 10 and 51. The refusal of some on the left to engage in critical debate is inherently un-American. What’s made us strong and competitive as a country is the free and diverse wealth of ideas and speech. Progressives jeopardize this strength with contrived moral outrage and civic hideousness.

We Need Federalist 10

james_madison_free_speech_goatCensorship, book-burnings, and state run media are viewed appropriately as the constructs of barbaric, repressive regimes. In fact, James Madison foresaw the emergence of repressive morons like Rachel Maddow. In Federalist No 10 Madison sagaciously writes: “Theoretic politicians, who have patronized this species of government, have erroneously supposed that by reducing mankind to a perfect equality in their political rights, they would, at the same time, be perfectly equalized and assimilated in their possessions, their opinions, and their passions.” Imagine that, people have different ideas about different things. Guess what? This diversity of ideas makes us stronger. As good citizens, we must be willing to engage with those who do not agree with us.

If journalists had paid attention in their civics 1000 class, this election wouldn’t be surprising. Furthermore, had they even skimmed James Madison, the pundits on network television would be able to have adult conversations about adult things. Quite frankly, I don’t care what beliefs you hold. As an American, you’re entitled to believe whatever you want to believe. You should however, be prepared to subject your ideas to scrutiny. Retreating to character assassination, ad hominems, and red herrings is an infantile way to confront opposition.

See Also: Dire Straits

Top journalists in this country, people who are supposed to be arbiters of objective information, perform mental gymnastics to sell their biases as news. Some, most notably Wolf Blitzer and Donna Brazille, are guilty of colluding with a Presidential Candidate in order to further their agendas. This isn’t journalism; it’s lobbying. The best journalist in the entire election cycle was Julian Assange. Stomach that for a second; one of the only people willing to tell the American People the truth is a wanted fugitive hiding in an Ecuadorian Embassy. Elites in our society no longer seem to value the dissemination of impartial information. The failures of these top journalists are a microcosm of the same insidious behavior seen in the general electorate. People who meet differing beliefs with willful ignorance are disgraceful.

The message here, to celebrate a free marketplace of ideas, is applicable to the left and right. While this message is most germane to those on the left, some on the right are also guilty of engaging in despicable rhetorical gimmicks. As evidenced by the results of this election, the left must seriously re-evaluate the merits of their policy proposals. As of now, they have refused to do this. Until they can do so, their ideas will continue to atrophy. We are witnesses to ignorance accelerated by unhinged political correctness.

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X-Andra
Salva1745

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Surviving Alone

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static_tv_survive_shtfWhat if SHTF?  You are the only one home at the time when it hits.  Your kids are grown and gone.  Your wife is gone at work.  It is dark outside.  You hear nothing; see nothing.  There are no cars on the streets. When you finally venture out of the house early the next day, you see nobody on your neighborhood street.  The following day you find no one on any streets in your entire neighborhood.  You retreat back home and lock down in earnest.  There are no cars on the streets.  Normally you can hear 18-wheelers on the interstate highway just two miles away. Now, nothing.

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

Since it hit the fan, the electricity has been off.  City water is still on, thank goodness.  The natural gas stove still works.  For now, that is. Cell phones are dead.  FM and emergency radio channels yield only a static buzz. The police scanner scans and picks up….nothing. What do you do now?

The New Routine

It is time to execute your Plan A, the Bug In Option. Now you fully secure the house and implement your PDWs (personal defense weapons).  Everything is locked and loaded. Various firearms are stationed near primary exterior doors with loaded mags or pouched ammo within reach.  Your CCW weapon of choice is on your waist and an AR is nearby at all times now. Time to focus.  You break out all your prepper emergency gear and supplies. You lay it all out in plain view. Water, food, candles, flashlights, meds, batteries, extra firearms, survival knife, ammo packs, first aid and all else. Everything is organized, grouped, and put within easy access.

ar_resizedYou hydrate, eat, bathe, and rest.  You watch out the windows, moving quietly and judiciously around the house.  At night it is mostly a total blackout, so as not to draw attention from outside.  If you want light to read, or study, or rest, you use an interior room with no windows like a bathroom, closet or laundry room.  All noise is kept to a whisper.  Later, you elect to slip out a back door, well-armed, to recon the yard, street, neighborhood, venturing as far as you dare.  After sundown, that night vision scope really comes in handy.  You stop often to listen, smell, peer, and move cautiously.

The next night you spot a dim flicker of a light in one house down the street. In another house a form of a shadow moves across a corner window. There are still no cars on the streets, no police, no national guard, no planes overhead, and no more highway noise off in the distance. You vow to knock on those two doors the next day, but you change your mind.

Related: Top 5 Worst Incidences of Martial Law in The United States 

Days later the FM radio blares on. The announcement is like a weather warning but not the same. It is recorded and orchestrated. The news is confusing without many details, but some kind of an explosion or more has occurred and this caused a massive grid shutdown. There was no clue given about how extensive it was or how it has affected your general area. It is frustrating.

You learn that this final announcement that came before the full extent of the SHTF event warned everyone to stay put wherever they were and not to venture out. You missed that report, but it explains a lot. You worry again where your wife is and if she is OK. You worry the same for your kids hundreds of miles away. There is no way to know their fate.

Status Observation and Investigation

This worry emboldens you to visit the two houses where you spotted signs of life. As far as you know, the air is not toxic. Birds are flying and squirrels are playing in the yard as usual.  For a moment you see a dog run across the end of the street. Still no people or cars.

Now you wish you had at least met your neighbors down the street, but at least you have the neighborhood directory and look up the names of the residents in those two homes before you knock. You think, at the very least, it is best to be able to call them by name.

In the daylight no evidence of residence can be seen. There is no answer at the first house and no sounds come forth. At the second try a meek, scared voice asks your name. You speak your name and they recognize you as an administrator from the local college. That gives you some credibility, but the guns you carry are a bit discomforting to them.

bug_in_bag_shtf_woodsYou assure them you are no threat, because you are not. They know your wife, so they open the door just enough to peek. It is a relief and a welcome comfort to see another human face. The family inside is from Japan, here now as the husband is an engineer with the nearby automotive manufacturing plant. You are invited in. They exhibit signs of fear and caution, which is expected given the circumstances.

Their supplies are meager as the event has caught them completely by surprise.  With two smaller kids, they have a lot to manage.  They never ask for anything from you.  They have city water, too, with filled vessels in plain view as well.  You note a pan of rice on the stove.  They have one flashlight, but the batteries are dead. You promise to bring them more and some candles.  They are receptive of your visit. They become trusting and kind. You reciprocate.

Read Also: Bug In Contingencies

The man of the house speaks English quite well.  He was coming home when he heard the radio announcement.  He locked up the house and hunkered down.  The guy is smart and displays common sense.  They have no firearms, but you note a golf club at the front and back doors.  Work with what you have,’ you think. You ask about the other house across the street. They have nothing to report.  Their only radio is in the car which they listen to daily.  You assure them of your support and offer to visit them again the next day with some supplies.

On the walk back home, you round the corner and coming down the street is a military vehicle with some personnel walking alongside.  They spot you, armed.  They display their weapons as the vehicle comes to a halt. For moments you stand there staring each other down.  What do you do now?  Fiction or reality to be?

Photos Courtesy of:
Dr. John J Woods
Alex Watson 

 
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The Mission Drives The Gear

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Preppers are notorious for caching stuff. Gear is our life. We can’t seem to get enough of it and at the same time we could camp_bugout_gearprobably all have a huge garage sale and never miss half of it. Have you ever really thought what you are going to do with all that stuff?  If you are not a list person, I recommend you become one. Gear management is just as big a part of survival prepping as planning for it in the first place. With a comprehensive inventory, you can not only get a handle on what you have amassed in terms of survival gear, but you can review it, refresh it, and begin to task it for specific missions.

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

Achieving a balance between too much and just enough is the difficult part.  You want to be mobile but at the same time, you must be thoroughly prepared.  This guide will help you achieve this balance and fine-tune your bug out bag.

Re-Do Your EDC

What do you keep stashed in a daily carry bag?  Is it designed to sustain you for a day in case of an emergency or a longer time frame?  Is there a weapon and support supplies in that bag?  Where is it stowed, in the vehicle, or do you carry it into the office each day?  How discreet is its carry and your protection of it?

How often do you recycle the supplies in this bag? If you keep several loaded magazines for a pistol, these should be rotated, beretta-pico-3unloaded for a time, and then put back in service again.  Every 6 months ought to be about right so spring tension does not memorize.  The gun itself should be wiped down with an oil cloth every couple weeks especially if you live in a high humidity region.

Related: Knee Deep in Bug Out Vehicles

Life sustaining supplies in this bag should be used regularly and replaced, too. Drink the water on the way home, then replace it with fresh bottles every week or so.  If you have energy bars, GORP, or other eats, then keep them fresh. Nothing is worse than opening a zip lock bag of raisins and M&Ms only to find them melted into a slurry.

Essential, too, is keeping this daily carry bag as efficiently stocked as possible.  If you find, upon opening the bag, that it contains items never or rarely used, then reconsider the necessity of these items.  Don’t over weigh a bag you have to carry or may have to tote for miles during a SHTF.  Occasionally lay everything out on the floor and reassess each item’s usefulness.

Revise Your Escape Plan

In the same vein, if you travel out of town with the family either on business or a combined vacation, the stuff you take to supply might be different. You might want more gear for personal defense including a more powerful long gun.  This may mean packing a half dozen mags each for a self-defense pistol and perhaps an AR.  You may find you have other stuff rarely used that you could sell or trade for needed items.

Overnight stays will mean more clothing, more personal care items, and regular medications for the longer time frame. Double check your packing lists to make sure you have everything you need. If you are driving, consider taking a supply pack with extra food and water.  Be sure to have a cell phone charger. Kids along? Have more stuff for them, too.

Before you leave, let your neighbors know where you are going, give them phone numbers, notify police you will be gone, and secure your domicile.   Suspend newspaper deliveries and mail or better yet ask a trusted neighbor to bag them for you.  That way, other outside sources do not know your travel plans. Put lights on timers so it appears like people are home.  Double check locked doors, set the alarm and be sure the garage door closes.

Prioritize the Bug Out Plan

Be sagacious: assess your plan. If it is to escape a severe storm threat like a hurricane, estimate the time out of the area and pack accordingly for what you hope will not be a terribly long time. This then assumes your residence is not damaged or outright destroyed. Ask yourself if your redundancy is over extended having accumulated too much stuff or several of the same kinds of items.

Also Read: More Tips for Your Bug Out Bag 

Put your plans to escape in action. Ideally you are going to family or friends or a predetermined hotel location. Execute your bug out plan that you worked out well in advance of any incident. Pack and take only the items you need for this scenario.

For a worst case scenario, hopefully you have a plan. Maybe it is an escape to another house in the country, or a spot where you have set up a permanent trailer for housing or even a dedicated camping trailer. Ideally you have cached and stashed essentials at this location including food stuffs, water, fuel, tools, gear, and everything else you might need to stay for several months. This situation may finally mean to grab all those bug out bags you have spent years packing and fine tuning. This gives you important time to choose what gear is needed for the mission. Excess stuff can be contributed to a team effort or sold off for revenue to buy other more essential gear.

Mission Drives the Gear and the Plan

Again, the specific mission drives what gear to pack and take.  As a prepper, try to avoid just buying all kinds of stuff that looks great but is not really purposed as it should be.  Prepper budgets are usually stretched enough without buying extra neat stuff that is never used. This goes for every category of gear, too, including weapons, and ammo.  If you go overboard, then do it on water, food, and medical supplies. Lighten your load of unnecessary gear.

All Photos Courtesy of:
Dr. John Woods

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How To Field Dress A Pheasant In Under Two Minutes

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When calamity strikes and grocery stores become barren, it will be imperative for people to produce their own food. Many individuals who have never hunted will be forced to learn quickly. In my own experience, I’ve found field dressing, not shooting, to be the most challenging part of the hunt. Among those who have never hunted, the prospect of cleaning a bird is probably intimidating.

By D-Ray a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

Thankfully a YouTube user, Shawn Woods, has an informative video on how to clean a pheasant in under two minutes.  Whether you’re a seasoned hunter or a novice, this video is impressive. Novice hunters will learn how to expertly field dress and more seasoned hunters can appreciate a speed run.

A Breakdown of the Process

To begin, it is important to understand you are working with six components for removal: head, tail, two wings, and two feet. First, let’s take a look at the legs of your pheasant. The lower, scaled half of pheasant legs connects to the feathered top at a joint. In a circular motion, cut just below this joint and snap the leg of the pheasant back. At this point, the leg should be hanging on by a few tendons. Cut any excess tendons and remove the lower portion of the leg.

Related: Compound Bow Choice For Archery Deer Hunting 

Next, you’ll want to focus on the wings. Pheasant wings are separated by a joint dividing primary and secondary feathers. Grab pheasant_feathers_cleanthe primary section of the wing and bend back sharply breaking the joint. Once the joint is broken, pull back to reveal any connecting tendons. In a similar fashion to the legs, cut these connections to remove the primary  section from the secondary. With the primary section off, you can leave the secondary section to wait for later. This will addressed during the skinning process.

Now for the good part. Grab the base of the pheasants neck and cut. Without too much effort, this will come right off. Remove the pheasant head and use this opening to peel back skin and feathers. With the exception of the remaining secondary feathers, removing this skin should not be too difficult. For the most part, this should be a quick process.

To conclude, cut the pheasant tail at the base and remove. Next, make a small cut along the lower breast portion; this will create clean_pheasant_process_easya hole underneath the breast to allow for access to intestines, heart, gizzard, liver, and other organs. Insert two fingers into this hole, get dirty, and pull out the pheasant guts. In a couple of tries, you should have a pheasant largely removed of all organs.

At the end of this process, Shawn Woods produced a cleaned Pheasant in 1:44 seconds. Perhaps the most impressive part of his process is meat retained. Very little was wasted in this process. Although he did not mention it, pheasant liver and gizzard can be consumed as well. In a survival scenario, you will want to hold on to these for consumption.

What the Video Missed 

While I was impressed with this video, I must throw in a few caveats. You should not emulate the haphazard process of organ removal used in this video. Take a bit of time to carefully remove intestines and other internal organs. Rupturing these inside the pheasant is messy, unhygienic, and smells god-awful. Nobody wants to clean pheasant meat that has been covered in bird feces.

Also Read: Survival Shotgun Selection

A less important note: when removing the legs, don’t sever the tendons outright. Take a bit more time to pull them out of the cooked_pheasant_how_tobird. While this process will make the cleaning more time consuming, it will expedite your cooking process. Speaking of which, the skinning process used in this video could have been a bit more thorough. Rather than frantically pulling at feathers, a slower approach on skinning yields a cleaner, more hygienic bird.

It’s also important to mention that a thorough cleaning process involves looking for shot embedded in the meat. You don’t want to start digging into your pheasant meat to chew down on a mouth full of metal. The bird in this video seemed to be killed in a pretty clean fashion. This isn’t always the case. From time to time, you will kill a pheasant that is, at points, too mangled by shot to be consumed. In these instances, you will be forced to toss ruined meat.

Wrapping It All Up

As this video demonstrates, cleaning a pheasant isn’t an overly difficult or time consuming practice. If you remember to cut your six components and take time to skin, you will produce a cleaned pheasant ready to cook. Also, if you’ve never been hunting, I recommend you go. Bird hunting is a great deal of fun and a valuable skill in survival scenarios.  If you need an excuse to take a few days off and shoot a shotgun, bird hunting is the perfect activity. I challenge you to find an unhappy hunter after a trip out to the woods. The old adage ‘a bad day of fishing beats a good day at work’, is also applicable to hunting.

For the seasoned hunters out there, what is your process? While I think a two minute clean is a little hasty, I was still impressed with the speed clean. Let me know what you think in the comments. Also, feel free to share your hunting experiences.

Photos and Video Courtesy of:
Shawn Woods 
California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Lukasz Lukasik

 

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Three Lessons From Ruins

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Archaeologists and Historians study the past to derive valuable inferences from past civilizations. This exercise is a noble and kadychan_ruinsimportant one; after all, those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. In the spirit of this thinking, I have written about a few examples of decay. If we aspire to be prepared for the worst, we need to look at people who have already experienced the worst. Fifty years ago, the places on this list were functioning, maintained, and inhabited. The existence of these ruins is evidence that bad things do happen.

By D-Ray a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

Contrary to what some people would like to suggest, civilization is a very fragile thing. In some instances, the only thing separating society from anarchy is the health of the economy and the strength of law enforcement.  With this in mind: here are a few times civilization failed.

3. The Abandoned City of Kadychan

At the peak of Kadychan’s existence in 1986, some 10,000 people lived in the Russian town. Today the town has a population of zero. In the span of a generation, the modestly successful town of Kadychan has become a ghost-town. Why? Kadychan is the casualty of poor state planning and a failed economy.

Patrick Coleman, an urban explorer, captured some haunting footage of the abandoned city. At one point, Patrick enters an abandoned hospital and finds photographs of a patient’s lungs. Although the city is thoroughly abandoned, it is littered with reminders of a more prosperous time. Look closely enough at the decay and it becomes evident the city was home to thousands.

Patrick’s video offers us a rare, first-person glimpse of urban ruins. As Patrick turns the corners of dimly-lit, derelict buildings, the viewer is left in suspense. A chance encounter with an opportunistic looter in Kadychan would certainly spell death. No police force can save you in the ruins of a remote, Russian ghost-town. An innocent explorer could be murdered in Kadychan and his disappearance would remain an unsolved mystery for eternity.

More frightening than the prospect of murderous looters is the reminder that civilization is a fragile and fickle thing. Had coal-mining in Eastern Russia been more robust, Kadychan would likely still exist. Even if Kadychan had developed a more diversified economy, the city would still be home to some inhabitants. One economic eventuality, unaccounted for by Soviet leaders, destroyed Kadychan.

To those who scoff at the concerns of preppers, look at Kadychan. In the mid 1980s, Soviets would never have thought Kadychan would fail. Fast-forward thirty years and Kadychan is a depressing collection of decaying buildings. Any city not equipped for economic disaster is one failure away from becoming the next Kadychan.

2. China’s Urban Cesspool: Kowloon Walled City

Like Kadychan, Kowloon Walled City is another example of state planning gone horribly wrong. As a result of poor negotiations between China and Great Britain, Kowloon City, a 6 acre enclave in Hong Kong, assumed odd legal status. Neither the British nor the Chinese could properly exert legal authority over the territory’s 33,000 residents. The densely populated city became a hotbed for criminal activities: gambling, prostitution, and drug production. urban_ruins_kowloon_walled_city

For most of its existence, Kowloon City was an urban jungle of unmitigated anarchy. Even murders blatantly committed within Kowloon were ignored by the surrounding Hong Kong Police. As the British were preparing to relinquish control of Hong Kong, administrators decided it would be best to demolish Kowloon City. The urban jungle was leveled and replaced with a city park.

While Kadychan is a sad story of a deserted town, Kowloon Walled City is an example of an urban environment with zero law and order. Kowloon of the mid 1980s made South Side Chicago look like a well-regulated suburb. What’s the lesson to be gained here? Law and order is important. Nobody wants a totalitarian police force but it is imperative the government exercise some control. If the police disappeared, our lives would get chaotic fast.

1. Belgian Ruins Along The Congo River

One of the greatest novels ever written, Heart of Darkness, details the horrors of the Congo River. As the Congo River snakes congo_riverdeeper into the jungle, it leads travelers into areas completely devoid of decency. The novel demonstrates that well-mannered people are easily divorced from precepts of civilization. Moreover, it proves the Congolese Jungle is an unconquerable hell; a region immune to the taming spirit of civilization.

More than a century after publication, the assertions of Heart of Darkness still stand true. Although the Belgians established some semblance of civilization in the mid-20th Century, conditions have deteriorated. A journey down the Congo River in 2016 is just as wild as it was in 1899. The banks of the Congo are littered with the abandoned ruins of Belgian Colonial Rule. Medical facilities, depots, and stations sit in disrepair. They are a testament to the idea that the Jungle is unconquerable. More importantly, they are a reminder of man’s primitive nature.

In geopolitical terms, the Democratic Republic of Congo is fairly inconsequential. The slow decay of the Congo has not had the same impact as our last two examples: the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the ascendency of China. No, the Congo River is worthy of such high consideration because of Joseph Conrad and his novel, Heart of Darkness. Using the Congo as his template, Conrad outlined the intrinsic savagery of mankind. If you haven’t read Heart of Darkness, do it.

Photos Courtesy Of:
Carpe Feline
Peter Gostelow 
Jidanni

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Let’s Have Victories Again

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A coalition of mutinous Republicans have emerged from their elitist holes to join Democrats in a whining Trump for Presidentchorus of: “Never Trump!”. Quite frankly, I’d like to know where these Republicans have been during eight years of a disastrous Obama Administration. Where was the contrived moral outrage during Attorney General Eric Holder’s botched mishandling of the Fast and Furious scandal? When Obama insisted on a wasteful, poorly managed stimulus package, where was Senator Lindsey Graham? I’ll tell you where they were: quietly sniveling in the shadows of Capitol Hill. Suddenly, when GOP Leaders face a historically flawed opposition, Republican leaders speak up in order to sabotage their own candidate.  John McCain, Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney, and Lindsey Graham have all co-opted a mendacious, liberal narrative because their god is cowardice.

By D-Ray a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

CNN Would Hate Reagan

These false conservatives insist on referencing Ronald Reagan. “How did Reagan’s party end up in the hands of Trump,” they wail. Here’s a newsflash: if Reagan ran in 2016, CNN would characterize him as an unhinged racist and misogynist. The only reason the media is having this infantile fit over Trump is because they are scared. For the first time since Reagan, a conservative with a spine has made a bid for the Presidency. Trump possesses the audacity to do what McCain and Romney never could: challenge the left’s cancerous, politically correct culture. Trump and a resurgent GOP threaten the fragile existence of a deeply flawed, social marxist narrative.trump_thumbs_up_low_res

As a millennial, let me tell you what my generation thinks of Republicans. We think they’re losers. For my entire life, Republican incumbents have acquiesced to the hyper-left agenda of the Democratic Party. They have allowed Democrats to push this country towards the precipice of socialism. American constituents, not just conservative millennials, are sick and tired of leaders paralyzed by fear. Our leaders would rather avoid controversy than stand up for the interests of their constituents. This is disgusting and wrong.

See Also: A Toxic Brand & Trump’s Most Heinous Sin

If Donald Trump doesn’t win in 2016, it is proof that the GOP’s soul has been sold to the timid and stupid. Reagan would have difficulty weathering the libelous reporting Trump has endured. For those who believe Trump is a racist, where is the evidence? The media’s arguments against Trump are more dishonest than Bill Clinton perjuring himself under oath. Americans are erroneously conflating conservative confidence with immorality because we’re not used to this. We’re not used to rallying behind a winner. When we’ve got Paul Ryan as the Speaker of the House, how could we be familiar with a winner? We haven’t had a winner since Reagan left office in 1989.

Vote To Win

If you don’t vote for Trump this election, you are giving this country over to Crooked Hillary and a league of spineless, Republican worms. The Supreme Court will assume a leftist majority, unvetted refugees will come to this country by the millions, our foreign policy will be compromised, second amendment rights will be curtailed, and the middle-class will grow weaker. But hey, if Trump loses, at least Paul Ryan will be able to smirk on MSNBC and pat himself on the back for his self-destructive, puritanical stand. More importantly, Ryan’s donors, the same lecherous lot that fund Hillary Clinton, will be ecstatic. Ecstatic because they convinced Republican voters to turn their backs on a great candidate and surrender this country to the loathsome hands of globalism and political correctness.fullsizerender_1

Related: Election Thoughts From a Survivalist

Trump’s message resonates with so many because he’s right. We don’t have victories anymore. I do not and will not accept this status quo of decline. The United States has never shied away from adversity. Paul Ryan, Hillary Clinton, and their contemptible ilk are gross deviations from a rich history of perseverance, bravery, and success. Let me be totally clear, they are failures. With Trump in the White House, the United States will win again. Paul Ryan can make flawed decisions premised on a perverted conscience; I will vote to win.

About D-Ray:
D-Ray is a recent graduate of CU Boulder and currently enrolled in a law school on the East Coast. By day, he is a mild mannered content writer; by night, he banishes unruly drunks into the black purgatory of night as a bouncer. He is passionate about the Constitution and First Amendment Rights. 

Disclaimer: These opinions are not necessarily representative of SHTFBlog or its affiliates.

Photos Courtesy of:
Donald J. Trump For President

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A Toxic Brand & Trump’s Most Heinous Sin

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Hillary Clinton is well on her way to 300 electoral votes in November and delivering a near Reagan-esque clinton_article_picturelevel ass-kicking for Democrats. As unlikely as it seemed only a year ago, a career politician as corrupt as the day is long will win the election, even with net favorable ratings in the negative double-digits.  She’ll dissolve our borders, stock the Supreme Court with vegan, transgender tree-huggers and use the power of the federal government to build a nanny state to manage every aspect of our lives.

By Professor Liberty Mize, a contributing author of SHTFBlog

All while the red ink flows and individual Liberty wanes.  And yet, while her election is one man’s fault, it still isn’t the worst thing he’s done.

Sending The Party Off A Cliff 

While Donald J Trump may have handed the keys of this republic to a profiteering, untrustworthy mental midget, his most heinous crime against Liberty has gone largely un-noticed.  Donald not only engineered Hillary’s win and put the Republican party on life support, his true sin against humanity is the damage he’s done to the conservative brand.  Despite never earning conservative support, he’s now intent on driving conservatism off of a cliff.  The result will foment decades of distrust and be much more damaging than a single Hillary Clinton term.

Also Read: Election Thoughts From a Survivalist

Sound dramatic?   I assure you it is not.   Your average voter, particularly the young, now associates conservatism with Trump.  They think that all conservatives agree with him, act this way behind closed doors and endorse his behavior.  Donald Trump is playing a cartoon character of every conservative stereotype and making it simple to paint us all with a broad brush and a palette filled with – racism, misogyny, dishonesty, and hypocrisy.  This will undoubtedly have repercussions for years to come as voters come of age and buy into the false narrative.trump_article_vote_election

How can conservatism attract young people when the version they’ve seen as synonymous with the movement is so unscrupulous and vile? Whether you believe the mainstream media is honest, whether you think we need new policies and plan to hold your nose to get them, one thing is without question.  Donald Trump is a truly wretched human being.  While I can’t speak to his faith, his actions in no way indicate a belief in any God other than himself. Consider the following. Donald Trump has…

  • A documented history of infidelity and dishonesty
  • Been a crass, belligerent, self-aggrandizing ass
  • Lied about self-funding the campaign while using donations to line his company’s pocket
  • Repeatedly sexualized his own daughter
  • Disrespected women
  • Shown he has incredibly thin skin and a hair trigger
  • Been proven to be disloyal and wholly unlikeable

None of these are qualities that reflect conservative ideals.   None could be used to characterize conservative leaders in the past.   They don’t describe Reagan or Goldwater… heck they don’t even describe Rubio or Cruz.  

A Moral Imperative

True conservatives accept that that our rights come from God and a politician’s job is to protect those rights and individual liberty.  They believe in morality, fiscal restraint and Reagan’s three-legged stool.   They believe the US is a shining light on a hill responsible for spreading democracy and that living our ideals matter. Trump believes none of this.  He only believes in Trump.  He is a New York City liberal who funded Hillary Clinton with multiple donations, and has the same progressive worldview.

Related: Dire Straits

So as we line up at the polls in November and take public stands on social media for and against candidates, I urge you to choose carefully.   Many are watching and noting what conservatives will do.   Trump won’t and can’t win the election no matter what you do, but preserving your personal political capital and being true to conservative principles matters.   Don’t fall for this charlatan’s bait and switch, he’s not one of us and he never was.  

Disclaimer: These opinions are not necessarily representative of SHTFBlog or its affiliates.  

Photos Courtesy Of:
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IoSonoUnaFotoCamera
F. Sigorski

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