Survival Bug Cuisine: 4 Steps To Eating Insects

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best way to find food for survival

Insects are eaten in many parts of the world as a simple, everyday snack; sometimes as a delicacy. The survival_bug_eatingpractice of eating insects is referred to as entomophagy, and fair amounts of research has already been done to look at insects as a healthy alternative to the world’s heavy consumption of other protein sources such as beef.

By Alex Coyne, a contributing author of Survival Cache &

Survivalists and food enthusiasts alike might be curious about trying their first bug – and be well aware of the fact that they might have to do so for necessity. Here’s more information about bug cuisine and why it matters…

The Nutritional Value of Insects

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations released a document entitled Eating eating_bugs_for_survivalInsects: Future prospects for food and feed security exploring the history and current facts behind insect-eating; it’s definitely worth a read, and even manages to tell us a little more about the nutritional value of insects. According to their guide, a large, adult mealworm has 206 kcal per 100g; a dried de-winged adult termite has 535 kcal per 100g and a whole raw red legged grasshopper has 160 per 100g.

Also Read: Survival Eating

It’s clear that insects aren’t lacking in nutritional value – and, prepared right, they could be delicious.

Insects to Avoid

Most insects are edible as a general rule of thumb, though you might want to avoid anything that’s brightly colored, spiky or hairy or emits a weird smell as they are likely to be outright poisonous or just not good to eat. For scorpions, you might want to remove the stinger first – and most guides to bug cooking recommend that you cook most bugs, though some – mealworms being one – can be eaten raw.

Ways to Eat Bugs

So, you want to eat bugs? Whether you’re camping, doing it for fun or being forced to seek out bugs for food in a survival situation, here’s our guide to how to find them and what to do with them then…

Step One: Harvesting

Many insects can be attracted with simple bait. A mixture of brown sugar and yeast will attract anythingHydro Flask Water Filter from ants to beetles; fermenting fruit, wine or beer is another option for attracting all sorts of critters. The Insect Sciences Museum of California notes that bugs like to seek shelter in or under fallen trees, plants, leaves, stones and near ponds and streams. Look for them there and take along a jar for collection – accessories like a knife (for separating bark from trees, for example), gloves (for spiky plants) and a net (for flying insects) might also come in handy.

Step Two: Cleaning

Not all insects need to be cleaned before preparing; again, it depends what kind of insect you ended up with. Termites, for example, might need to be ideally de-winged before frying; scorpions can be cooked with the stinger, though it’s generally recommended you remove it. Certain caterpillars and worms might have to be cleaned beforehand, too, by removing their internal digestive systems.

Step Three: Drying, or –

Some insect snacks are dried. A great example is mopane worms, the caterpillar of an Emperor moth found in Southern Africa and traditionally dried and eaten as-is or rehydrated and used in cooking. You can make your own dried insect snacks by cleaning them – in the case of mopane worms, they are squeezed to “pop out” their guts – and placing them on a drying rack, with salt.

Step Four: Frying

The majority of insects will be best fried – at its simplest, in butter or oil and with salt and any accompanying herbs and spices you have on hand. This will, of course, depend on your situation and what you are able to harvest around you. Our best recommendation is to experiment with this, as your taste in bugs could turn out to be as varied as many people’s tastes in vegetables or steak – would you like your caterpillars crispy?

Extra Resources: Articles and Books

Take a look at these links for some more information and great bug recipes. Know of any more great links, recipes or bug-eating stories? Send them our way in the comments below the article!

The Eat-a-Bug Cookbook: 40 Ways to Cook Crickets, Grasshoppers, Ants, Water Bugs, Spiders, Centipedes and their Kin on

Edible: An Adventure into the World of Eating Insects and the Last Great Hope to Save the Planet on

The Insect Cookbook: Food for a Sustainable Planet on

Bugs for Lunch on

Eating Bugs: Bug Recipes and Insect Recipes from Chefs on, April 22, 2015

Awesome Insect Recipes on Bug Vivant

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Prepper Hardware Supplies

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Best Prepper Gear List

An essential element in building up a comprehensive prepper supply is to include on a planning list a stock of all doomsday prepper gearsorts and types of hardware items.  You can have all the tools and gear in the world, but if something breaks, needs maintenance, or a fresh build, then nothing much can be done without a deep supply of hardware materials.

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

Sourcing Hard Hardware

The term “hardware” conjures up nostalgic thoughts of old wooden floored, side boarded store buildings with long aisles and shelves of goods stacked to the ceiling.  As a kid they were prime places of wonder to wonder.  Heck, they still are as an adult.  Indeed, any prepper worth his salt, bug out bag, and fire starting kit has to love a good hardware store.

Inside are bins, shelves, racks, and peg boards holding all the supplies for every prepper dream and aspiration to survive if or when a truly serious SHTF ever befalls us.  But, where do you start filling your supply list?  Are there priorities to buy first, other items later?  Let’s just start with a long running brainstorming list.  As you shop, you’ll find more I am certain of that.

Prepper Hardware Stuff

Any prepper hardware list has to start with nails.  All kinds, types, sizes, and lengths of nails.  Much of this world is shtf suppliesheld together by nails first, then screws.  Buy box quantities of screws or better yet the plastic divider sets of a combination of all kinds of screws.  Be sure to have metal and wood screws, flat head, Phillips head, tapered, long shank screws and everything else in between.

Go with this same combination mixed sets for nuts and bolts.  Again you will need lots of small sets with flat washers and lock washers.   You should have some lag bolts for heavy jobs for wood structures, brick and plaster.  Get some screw and bolt, metal and plastic anchors. Add in some metal braces, “L” braces and corner brackets, hinges, hasps, slide bolt locks, metal repair plates or strapping, and the many other fix-it type hardware pieces, parts, and gadgets.

Also Read: Fortifying Your Home

Have some wire for light and heavy duty jobs to hang stuff or fix a fence.  This is not electrical wire, though you may know how to use that, too.  String, twine, and ropes are all handy as are all manner of elastic straps, tie downs straps, ratchet locking straps and other types.  Buy a complete selection of plastic pull lock ties in multiple sizes, strengths, and lengths.  These have a million uses.  Have some metal screw down clamps, and hose clamps of all sizes.

Chemical items may also qualify as hardware in a broad definition.  Glues for wood, metal and plastic, super glue and regular types.  Paints both aerosol and liquid will have many uses.  All types of spray lubricants, general oils, water dispersants, degreasers, and solvents should be on hand.  Have other cleaning solutions like detergents and bleach as well.

Include a wide selection of tapes.  Heavy duct tape, masking tape, painters tape, black electrical tape, and double sticky tape.  Add a roll or two of trail marker material, surveyors tape, or forester timber marking tape.

Include a stock of plumbing parts and repair items, toilet repair kits, floats, valves, flappers, wax seals, and water pure pitcher made in usa NSF shield english 99.99 400x250 USA supply hoses with couplings.  Have an extra flush handle or two as these break as well.  For bigger plumbing, sewer or water supply projects have some supplies of PVC pipe, connectors, angles, and fittings of 2-3 of the most common size types with cans of pipe cleaner and joint adhesives.

There are a gazillion other hardware items you can’t remember or just keep forgetting until the repair need comes up again.  Keep a running “buy” list.  The best way to do this is just to periodically stroll the aisles at a huge building supply or hardware store.  If you you’re not buying, make a list or take some pictures on your phone as a reminder.  When the times comes, and it could be often, you are going to need hardware.


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First-Aid Procedures You Should Know

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best survival first aid

Everyone should have a basic knowledge of first-aid. It could mean the difference between life and death for you or best first-aid tipssomeone else, and its usefulness isn’t restricted to a survival situation. Here are our recommendations for starting your basic first-aid education.  We’d recommend readers do more than just read the books or online courses recommended on this list. 

By Alex Coyne, a contributing author of Survival Cache and

Free Guides to First-Aid

Take at least one basic practical course in first aid with an instructor that will teach you how. Many hospitals, clinics and community centres offer this for free. Check out First-Aid WikiBooks, The National CPR Foundation, The Red Cross, First-Aid for Free, Grand County Government.


CPR is short for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation; it is a life-saving procedure used when a pulse and breathing rate Hydro Flask Water Filtercannot be felt. The easiest ways to check for breathing is the rise and fall of the chest, or by holding a mirror up to the mouth and nose. Often, CPR is performed when waiting for an ambulance to arrive.  Your first step is to make sure the airway is clear and that there is nothing obstructing the throat.

Also Read: Wilderness First Aid Guide

Hands are placed over each-other in the middle of the chest, and chest compressions are performed. The Red Cross recommends compressions of “at least two inches deep”. Interestingly, the perfect beat for CPR is 100 beats per minute – which matches songs like Another One Bites the Dust by Queen and Stayin’ Alive by The Bee Gees. Rescue breaths are performed in-between, while keeping an eye on the rise and fall of the chest and continuously feeling for breathing and a pulse.

Severe Bleeding

Arterial blood is bright red due to its high oxygen content, while venous blood is darker. In many first-aid basic survival first aidsituations you might need to put a stop to severe bleeding. Close the wound, if possible, and apply pressure until medical help can be found.  Elevate the area above the heart if necessary and possible. It’s vital that wounds are always kept clear of infection: Washing wounds with salt is painful, but often the most effective thing you’ve got when there’s nothing else around.


Some severe cuts and wounds might require stitches. (Some, it’s worth noting, don’t – don’t attempt to close up an open bone fracture yourself as you’ll do far more harm than good.) Always have several types of needles (including curved), sterile thread and cotton balls as part of your kit at the very least. Always sterilize your equipment, hands and the wound before you start: You don’t want to stitch any infections up inside the wound.

Remember that you’ll have to create a knot to hold the stitching together. The best explanation we could find comes from Boston University: Basic Knots & Sutures.

Fighting Infection & Cleaning Wounds

Infection is often the greatest battle when it comes to first-aid, and a lot of it is down to after-care. As part of your first-aid kit, include gloves, alcohol, sterilized water, cotton balls, needles and thread and bandages at the very least; many over-the-counter antibiotics can be purchased and stored – keep in mind that many are penicillin-based and watch out for those who are potentially allergic.

Related: First Aid Training – An Essential Survival Skill

Wounds can be cleaned with a saline solution: Salt is one of the cleanest substances known to man and does far more than just add flavour to your food: It could, in dire circumstances, save your life.


It’s fairly easy to sprain a wrist or ankle. Symptoms of sprains include immediate swelling and pain, bruising and impaired movement in the affected joint. (Yes, if you can still move it, it’s sprained and not broken.)  Immediately stop and rest the affected area; if you can, place a hot or cold compress on it and then compress the joint – though not enough to cut off circulation and do any tissue damage. The key-word is avoiding further strain as much as possible and waiting for the swelling to subside.  In some cases, you might be dealing with a dislocation; basic guides to anatomy will teach you which bones should (and shouldn’t) be where.


Concussions occur as an (often minor) brain injury; symptoms can include a headache, dizziness, disorientation, vomiting and nausea and migraine-like response to light or sound. In severe cases, memory loss or unconsciousness could accompany concussions. Pupils might respond differently to light, or one might be different in size to the other.

Immediate treatments for a concussion include fluids, a healthy diet and rest; according to Marshfield Clinic, it’s fine to sleep after a concussion providing that the person is able to hold a coherent conversation and symptoms like disorientation and change in pupils have disappeared.

Get in touch and share your first-aid tips and stories with us in the comments.

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Scope Mounting The Prepper Marlin 336Y

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Believe it or not, not every prepper or survivalist is totally enamored with the quintessential semi-auto Survivalist Riflerifle platform.  Though the AR-15s and AK-47s among other similar rifle types are highly touted as the ideal prepper weapon, some folks just don’t like them.  Well, not like them or don’t trust them or the cartridges in their chambers.

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

Many alternatives from these militaristic rifle forms exist and among the most popular is the classic Marlin 336 lever action rifle.  Mainly chambered for the also classic 30-30 Winchester round or if lucky enough to find one in a .35 Remington, then you would have a handy dandy ready to go to work prepper rifle.

Handy Dandy Indeed

The Marlin 336 rifle comes in a more or less rarefied “Y” version.  The “Y” is really a youth model, but The Answer Water Bottle Filtration Solution 300x250configured just like its father figure, the full sized rifle.  It is the perfect balance in a shorter length, and lighter weight, but still quite fitting for an adult shooter.  Its features and functions are just like the regular rifle version.  I say rarefied because the youth models can be a little more challenging to find on a gun dealer’s shelf.  It may have to be ordered.

Also Read: 6 Prepper Calibers That Are Under The Radar

Also chambered for the 30-30, it is a good alternative to other rifle forms.  The 30-30 is fully capable of self-defense and its reputation in the hunting field is legendary.  It still holds the record for having dispatched more white-tailed deer than any other rifle cartridge.  For history buffs, the 30-30 was also the first round commercially loaded with smokeless powder in 1894.

The Firefield Close Combat Optic

Certainly there is no reason at all not to use the 336Y with its supplied factory open sights for close range work in hunting or otherwise.  The 30-30 is after all a rather short range affair anyway, reliable out to 100 yards, and 150 in a pinch.  Adding an optical sight is just a nice touch and provides an extra measure of shooting precision.

While traditional glass rifle scopes are a common accessory for the Marlin 336 lever action, this time around the option went to a Firefield Close Combat, 1-4×24 scope that has an illuminated Mil-Dot reticle.  This scope’s lighted feature can be turned on to either red or green with brightness controls or levels from 0-5 power.

Related: DIY Zombie Apocalypse Rifle

The power comes from a disk CR 2032 battery that is housed in a screw tight compartment on the illumination brightness control knob on the left side of the scope body.  There are “OFF” positions that can be rotated to at the end of each color brightness level to save power.  Battery life is listed at 80-150 hours.  The scope comes with two batteries.

The Firefield riflescope has a 1-4 power range with the 24mm objective front lens.  The riflescope is marlin_336_survival_rifle_review_shtfconstructed of aluminum and weighs only 14.2 ounces.  The tube diameter is 30mm for additional light gathering capability.  The lenses are fully coated.  The eyepiece diameter is 36mm and is adjustable for focus.  This is a nice feature if you wear eyeglasses or contacts.  The scope is listed as weather proof, shock proof, and fog proof.  It comes with mount rings, and a lens cleaning cloth.  This optic retails for about $100, inexpensive, but well-made and fully serviceable.

Mounting the Firefield

Mounting this optic is a traditional process.  First, acquire a mount base.  I picked the Leupold base made of aircraft grade aluminum for this project.  There are three cross slots to easily accommodate the scope rings.

To prepare the mount the factory scope mount hole screws are removed.  I wipe down the top of the marlin_336_survival_rifle_reviewreceiver and the mount with alcohol to clean it from factory grease.  I also clean the mount screws, but I add a screw adhesive to each one.  These mount screws should be tightened well, but not over tightened for fear of stripping them off.  You don’t want to do that.

Also Read: PMAG D-60 Drum

Once the scope base is in place, then mount the factory supplied mount rings.  The bolt nut ring mount should not be over tightened either.  The Firefield rings have four each top ring mounting screws.  These should be cleaned and screw glue can be added if desired.  I did not.

With the top of the rings removed, set the scope into the rings and replace the top rings.  Now comes thesurvival_rifle_marlin_336_review_scopefun part, aligning the scope’s reticle square to the rifle bore.  There are devices made to help with this, otherwise it is a trial and error affair of checking, mounting the rifle, then rechecking.

Before completely tightening the scope rings down, check the scope eye relief (front to rear) with your shooting eye as the rifle is held to your shoulder in a shooting position.  Also square up the reticle as this time.  Slowly tighten the scope ring tops, alternating from screw to screw in a crisscross fashion.  Keep the space gap between the upper and lower ring sections as equal as possible.  Continue to check the reticle square as you fully tighten the scope rings.

This can be a tedious process especially if you are as anal retentive as I am.  I tend to want this process perfect and that is not easy.  If you have a better process for squaring a scope’s reticle, pass it on.
Of course, the scope can then be boresighted to give you an edge before an actual range sight-in.  Do not rely on boresighting though, as it is only intended to get your rifle printing on target paper first.  Precise target sighting can only be accomplished at a fixed firing range ideally off a bench rest.

Most ballistics charts for the standard 150 grain bullets in the 30-30 suggest a -0- zero at 100 yards.  shtf_survival_rifle_marlin_336_reviewThis will set you up for all general shooting with this rifle and cartridge.  Just so you know for reference, this would print the bullet 7-8 inches low at 200 yards.

The Marlin 336Y in 30-30 makes a neat, easy carry, and quick to action rifle for hunting, prepper and survival work.  It can be mastered easily by female and young shooters alike.  Whatever other rifles you may have for survival, this lever action can be a first rate primary rifle or a qualified back up as well.

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Survival Garden & Greenhouse

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survival garden tips

I am often asked, how much work is it to grow your own food?  The answer is, it is not that much work if survival_garden_survival_greenhouse you are worried about eating.  With a little planning and a little bit of elbow grease, you can grow food almost anywhere in the lower 48.  I live at 9,000 ft in the Rocky Mountains and I have found a way to supplement my family’s food supply in the spring, summer, and fall.  Of course, I have to do with with a greenhouse.  The weather is just to extreme where I live.

By Murphy

With a little bit of planning, this spring could be the year you finally plant your survival garden.  I found some free guides online that do not require you to enter you email address (click here) and here are some links to resources that are publicly available to you (click here).  My advice is to start small and start with a conversation with some of your neighbors who grow gardens.  Find out what grows well in your climate.

If you live in an apartment in the city, you can either find a meet up online, check out some youtube videos for apartment gardens or just search the web.  Of course, everyone is trying to sell something on most of the videos so buyer beware as you search the net.  Check out my video below (I do not sell anything!!!), like our channel when you have a chance and maybe stay tuned to The Survivalist Podcast as I am going to be a guest very soon with more survival gardening tips.

Video – Survival Garden & Greenhouse

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External Belt Gear Rigs

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USMC web gear

When the soldiers left the ships to fight in that big war to end all wars, the troops were all carrying a webbed web gear reviewbelt around the outside of their coats or jackets. This webbed belt carried a wide variety of accessory pouches for ammo, weapons magazines, medical supplies, a canteen, maybe a holster for a 1911 Colt .45 and other optional gear items. The external webbed belt kept the gear weight well distributed around the waist and easy to access. Some web gear units even had shoulder straps.

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

Without carrying these immediate need items on the pants belt itself, the soldiers would not have their trousers weighted down or pulling excessively at the waist. Also this web belt could be quickly detached to set aside, however these rigs were usually carried at all times.

Fast Forward

Today, preppers and survivalists would do well to copy this gear carry mode themselves. In fact, such rigs are once again finding favor with outdoors enthusiasts from hunters, campers, hikers, and survivalists working around bug out camps. These external belt rigs can be customized to easily carry needed items that are used often or that can be reached or deployed quickly. With a little planning and thought, such an outside carry belt can be easily designed and outfitted. What gear should be added to such a rig? Make a list then narrow down the choices.

Also Read: Pistol Bug Out Bag For Under $500

Start with a heavy duty belt. Some still like and carry the old military surplus webbed belts and theseexternal_belt_gear_rig_pistol_knife_survival can work with the proper accessory attachments. Better yet is a thick leather belt that will not bend or bind with a load. I bought a double layered leather 1.5 inch wide belt recently off the rack at Cabela’s. It is super stiff, but will become more pliable with use. It has a good brass buckle. Now I see carry belts with steel lining inserts to add further strength.

Make sure whatever belt you get is large enough with enough adjustment holes to fit over outer clothing including light jackets as well as heavy coats. It may be best to wear a coat into the supplier or retailer to get a proper fit over the outer garment. Try on different styles to see what seems to work best.

Gear to Attach and Carry

So, what to hang on such a belt? The first thing that comes to mind is a sidearm weapon in a holster. This of course can be any handgun that you use confidently and have practiced with often. Likely you wear this outdoors, so if working on a farm, ranch, bug out camp or similar environment, you may want a handgun with substantial enough power to dispatch varmints or other intruders that might invade your space.

The most common choices that most will pick include a 9mm or a .45 ACP. Revolver shooters will pick a .357 Magnum (for which .38 Special ammo can be used), a 44 Magnum (with .44 Special ammo) or perhaps a .45 Long Colt. Obviously other choices are available, too. One of my personal favorites being the .41 Magnum in a Smith model 57 or 58.

Your handgun choice can be fitted to any number of holster types and styles that suit your uses best.external_belt_rig_holster_campknife Pick a heavy duty, durable holster with good gun retention. A safety strap is not a bad idea, because when working outdoors and such you do not want any likelihood of the firearm dropping out of the holster or being snatched out by a tree limb or vine or trespasser.

Next besides a weapon would probably be a good camp knife. The blade choice should be something between a hunting knife, general purpose Bowie, or heavy blade that can do some chopping along with regular field cutting tasks. An ESEE #6 comes to mind. If you want or need a pocket knife sized utility blade or two, then carry one of those, too in a smaller scabbard.

Read More: Survival Knife vs. Hatchet – A Question of Gear

Now comes all the options that preppers, farmers, or other outdoors workers might choose specifically for the kinds of field work they are performing. It might be a hatchet or small hand ax, a mini-first aid kit with meds, a canteen, compass, cell phone w/case, ammo pouch or pistol two-magazine pouch, bear spray, other accessory pouches (forestry tape, bright eyes, paracord, insect repellant, small digital camera, snacks and nabs, fire lighter, flashlight, multi-tool or other gear items). The balance in picking these items is not to unduly weigh down your belt rig.

Wearing the Rig

Where to wear or use this belt rig? Obviously, outdoors, but such a rig could be worn while working inside and survival web gearout around the bug out camp, farmhouse, barn, or other situation. It should be an easy take along when riding an ATV, UTV, or even a horse or tractor. The rig would be ideal for walking the property to inspect fences, gates, and for security observation.

The belt rig would be good for hiking trips, too, assuming such carry is permitted on public use trails. WWII soldiers found great utility in the everyday carry of their gear over their coats with a webbed belt. It spread the weight around the waist, but gave immediate access to needed items. Preppers and survivalists can adopt this type of rig for many uses performing a variety of tasks. Be creative in how you design your belt rig so it becomes a real go-to gear carry option.

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Suppressed Prepper Rifles

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Best way to suppress a rifle

Ricky Bryant has not used a regular hunting rifle for years.  By regular he means a standard hunting rifle with a factory barrel.  best rifle suppressorsWhy?  Because Bryant of Clinton, Mississippi is owner and operator of BMS Machine short for Bryant’s Machine Shop on Highway 80 East in Clinton.  What Ricky probably does not realize is that his shop is making an excellent rifle for prepping and survival work.  Quiet, mean, and effective.

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

Among all the many machined parts for multiple industrial applications that BMS manufacturers in house, Ricky and his team including his mom and dad that work in the business also makes firearm suppressors for all types of firearms.  Oh, they also make a customized line of AR rifles and rimfires for sport shooting, self-defense, hunting and of course, prepping.

Suppressor Hunting for Survival Foraging

“We got into hunting with suppressed or “silenced” rifles a number of years ago.  We designed our own custombest_rifle_suppressor suppressors which are devices that screw mount onto the muzzle of an appropriate rifle.  A suppressor actually muffles the muzzle blast sound of a centerfire or rimfire firearm, but many people mistakenly call them a silencer.  We make suppressors”, says Ricky Bryant.

“Several of my hunting buddies and me started hog hunting and this is much easier with suppressed rifles.  We hunt at night with thermal and night vision gear.  Using a suppressed rifle allows us to shoot multiple targets often without disturbing the whole group of pigs.  If you were using a regular rifle, after one shot, every pig in the field would be gone in a flash,” stated Bryant.  All of the principles that Ricky discusses are just as applicable to prep survival, too.

Related: The AR-15 Discreet Carry Kit

“Over time we have gained a reputation for dispensing with wild hogs, and now landowners are contacting us to help thin their pig populations.  It is amazing the damage a group of hogs can do to a field crop or a hay pasture.  They just plow it up to the point that a farmer or landowner cannot even drive over the land.  We enjoy taking care of those problems.”

Bryant Prepping ARs

Bryant says, “My hunting crew is really into using AR rifles for hunting.  While we primarily started hunting hogs, best_ar_suppressornow we make rifles for deer hunting, and even rimfire models for small game, pest control and just general fun shooting.” “We started displaying at outdoor shows and various venues, and the interest in our rifles has really expanded.  Virtually every rifle we make is a customized model detailed out by the buyer.  Sure, we have standard models for sale now, but the real fun part is making a rifle that fits exactly what the shooter wants.”

“Our ARs come with dozens of options including choices for lower and upper units decked out especially for the customer.  We offer a wide variety of handguard types, materials, textures, and profile.  We have a selection of custom color coatings that can be anything from matte black, camouflage to an American flag red, white, and blue, if that is what the customer wants.  We can do custom engraving, and a customer can even specify a custom serial number that will be registered and unique to that one rifle only.”

Also Check Out: Do You Really Need An AR-15

While visiting the BMS shop I was able to see and handle a wide selection of display models that Ricky keeps on hand.  It is amazing the custom details a shooter or hunter can get in an AR rifle or a rimfire like a Ruger 10-22.  Any of BMS’s rifles can be suppressed or come as regular stock barreled rifles.  The choices are endless.

Suppressed Hunting Cartridges

“We offer a pretty wide selection of AR rifle chamber choices, but of course we have our favorites after hunting with these rifles for years now.  The most common chamber caliber choices we offer includes the ever popular .223 or 5.56, and the .22-250 for varmint and predator hunting,” Bryant explained   “For hog and even deer hunting we chamber the 300 AAC or Blackout as it is known in some circles.  This chamber can be made up for either a suppressed or regular barrel for different types of hunting.  The same is true for the 6.8 SPC, which is one of my personal favorites.  The 6.8 is devastating on pigs, and it is a good over all choice for deer hunting as well under regular hunting conditions.  We also make AR rifle platforms for the larger .308 Winchester for those hunters that want more power and knock down energy.”

Getting A Suppressor Rifle

According to Bryant, “We help the customer through the whole process of designing their rifle and the suppressor they want, then we help with the processing of the federal BATF paperwork application required to legally own a suppressed firearm.  Many people do not know that owning a suppressed rifle is even legal, but it is.”  Check with your local state laws.  “Our suppressors cost about $650 depending on what features the customer wants.  Then they pay a $200 NFA (National Firearms Act) fee to obtain the suppressor owner permit.

We advise suppressor owners to set up a legal trust for the permit application and we walk them through that suppressors_silencers_guns_prepperprocess as well.  Once the permit is received back from the BATF, then we can build the suppressor and legally install it on the customer’s rifle and they are ready to go,” says Bryant.  If you think hunting or shooting a suppressed rifle especially a custom AR of your own design sounds exciting, then check out the BMS web site or give Ricky a call at the number listed.  If you can dream it up, Ricky and his team can build it.

Read More: Flash Suppressor and Muzzle Break Options

Obviously, the hunting applications of a suppressed rifle are beneficial in so many ways, but there is more to it for preppers.  During a SHTF and your team is on lock down at home or off to an alternative site, a quiet suppressed rifle has real advantages.  There are many times when you want to keep your location a secret and what better way if you have to fire upon targets 4-footed, or two.  A suppressed rifle make this possible. T-Shirts Now Available





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Burying Guns & Ammo with MonoVault Burial Tubes

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Best way to bury guns

Whenever the headlines carry news of a new law that limits our 2nd Amendment rights, conversations will often come around to Best way to bury gunsthe subject of burying guns or creating a survival cache of some sorts.  If not firearms, people talk about burying silver and gold, ammunition, cash, important documents, even caching food storage or fuel on the path to a bug out location.  I even know of people who bury gear at their bug out location in the event it is compromised before they reach it.

By Joe Nobody

The Law

While I know of no law that would prevent someone from stashing stacks of canned beans and birth certificates, one must be fully aware of the laws in his/her own locale when it comes to burying guns or ammunition. Take the state of Massachusetts, for example:  The law requires guns to be stored in a specific manner.  All guns, when not in use, with the exception of primitive firearms, must be stored or kept “secured in a locked container or equipped with a tamper-resistant mechanical lock or other safety device,” to prevent unauthorized use. Penalties are assessed even if no underage person obtains access (source).

Also Read: “Holding Your Ground” Book Review 

I’m no lawyer, but it’d seem to me that you’d be violating the law if you’re burying guns in Massachusetts.  So – stay mindful of the laws in your area if you’re seriously considering the subterranean storage of guns or ammunition. Even if you find it is legal – is it safe or wise to do so? ­What if a stranger discovers to tomb? Could children? Those are questions for you to answer. Stay legal. Stay safe.

Guns, ammo, gear, precious metals, and most anything you deem necessary can be buried in a variety of different containers, the Survival Cache Burial Vaultextent to which goes beyond the scope of this post. Here we’re focusing on one type of container, the Mono Vault.  The Mono Vault is a ready-to-bury storage tube. Constructed of a one-piece molded body, there are no joints along the sides or on the bottom that could leak.

This type of product represents the simplest, fastest, most convenient way to get your goods safely in the ground. Looking like a large PVC pipe with sealed ends, it functions in much the same way. While the tubes do not come cheap, once one goes about pricing similarly-sized PVC pipes, and factors in the value of one’s time, there’s a new appreciation and understanding of the pricing, and the product itself.  The tubes come in a variety of different sizes, and all function in the same manner, but for purposes of this post, we’ll be looking at three in particular: the 110s, 130s, and 248s. Each has similar construction, coming in either black or olive drab. The “s” denotes standard wall construction of 1/4”. The top of the containers have a large-mouth spin-on lid with o-ring seal, and atop that sits another cover, the “Burial Shield,” that looks much like the top of a landmine.

Also Read: Implementing A Secondary Survival Cache

The 110s has an inside diameter of 9 3/4” and an inside depth of 7 1/2”. The 130s has a diameter of 9 3/4” and a depth of 23 3/8”. Survival Cache PVC PipeThe Mono Vault 248 has a whopping diameter of 12 1/4” and a depth of 45”!  Dimensions, diameter, and depth – blah, blah, blah. The real question here is – how much stuff can you cram into these things? Well, we found out.  This is the Mono Vault 248 with everything we crammed into it:

  1. A mid-length AR with collapsible stock, five 30-round magazines, and 1,075 rounds of 5.56,
  2. A Ruger 10/22 and 1,275 rounds of .22lr,
  3. A Remington 870 shotgun and eighty 12-gauge shotgun shells,
  4. A S&W Shield with spare magazine and 450 rounds of 9mm,
  5. A crank-powered radio,
  6. A large survival knife,
  7. Small pair of binoculars,
  8. A small bag of various “survival” tools (fire-marking products, few first aid products, etc.),
  9. Small solar panels for charging batteries, and best of all,
  10. #10 Can of Freeze Dried Food Storage.

Look into the top with all of this gear, there’s still room for more. If we’d been more careful with the packing, made boxed ammo PVC Survival Cacheinto loose ammo, we could have easily double the amount of ammo and packed another 45 servings of freeze dried chocolate drink.  For the 130s, we packed what you see pictured:

  1. A mid-length AR with collapsible stock (upper separated from lower), five 30-round magazines, and 925 rounds of 5.56,
  2. A S&W Shield with spare magazine and 450 rounds of 9mm,
  3. A crank-powered radio,
  4. A large survival knife,
  5. Small pair of binoculars,
  6. A small bag of various “survival” tools (fire-marking products, few first aid products, etc.),
  7. Small solar panels for charging batteries, and best of all,
  8. #10 Can of Freeze Dried Food Storage.

For the Mono Vault 110, we packed what you see pictured:Survival Cache PVC Pipe

  1. a S&W Shield with spare magazine and 100 rounds of 9mm, and best of all,
  2. #10 Can of Freeze Dried Food Storage.

Burying Your Mono Vault!

Bury your tube before filling it, or you may be carrying a very heavy tube.  The makers of the Mono Vault write: “Your Mono Vault will float. While this is great on the water, it is not so good in burial applications. Clay soils of an excavated hole can inhibit drainage of any water that may collect. Water collected in the hole can impart tremendous floating forces on your Mono Vault, driving it to the surface and then some. It is advisable to anchor your vault effectively with appropriate compaction or the addition of hardening or sealing agents. A few sacks of concrete in the clean bottom of your backfill can serve to anchor the vault to the bottom of the hole. Use caution with concrete in the vicinity of the lid as most concretes will shrink as they cure and may cause some distortion of the vault and critical sealing surfaces. Choose your site carefully to avoid natural drainages that may direct water to your vault. Slightly sloped or cresting locations may be best.”

Surround the tube with crushed stone before back filling it could offer additional protection.  If you’re concerned about the possibility of someone hunting for your cache with a metal detector, you can always throw rusty, scrap metal (old nails, cans, etc.) around the site to help throw people off.

Also Read: Raid Routes

The manufacturer also writes:  “In high frost areas where the ground freezes deeper than the cover soil, it may be advisable to cover your Mono Vault with a piece of foam insulation below the cover soil and extending a couple of feet out from the perimeter of the vault. This insulation can reduce freezing of the soils around the neck of the Mono Vault and the resulting pressures and possible distortion. Be aware that such insulation can also slow snow melt so don’t use a square piece that will leave an unnatural looking residual snow pile.

The landmine-looking Burial Shield will help direct water away from the lid, and it protects against possible shovel damage as it is being recovered. The shield will keep the lid area clear of dust and dirt that could otherwise enter the tube when you open it, potentially compromising the unit when it’s resealed.

How Are You Going To Mark Your Site?

Are you going to be able to find it when it’s time? You can identify the site by remembering natural landmarks, making note of Best way to bury a riflethem, or by using a portable GPS—just make sure you have good satellite reception. A 10’ difference could mean a whole lot of digging in search for it.  There are additional products you can buy to protect the contents.  “NoRust” storage bags are available for guns, and your standard desiccants will work wonders for sealing moisture out. If you’re feeling ambitious, you could always use cosmoline on your guns.  And remember—never whisper about the location of your cache!  What would YOU bury? How would you bury it?  I welcome your comments.

About the author: The Joe Nobody library of books includes apocalyptic novels, science fiction, political thrillers, children’s books, and instruction manuals. T-Shirts Now Available






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Converting .223 rifle to .300 Blackout in 2 Steps: Part 1

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convert 556 to 300 blackout

The .300 Blackout is an effective round that bridges some of the wide gap between a .223 and a .308 as well as allowing an AR15 best ar15platform rifle to encroach on the ballistics territory of the venerable AK 47.  Plus the 300 BLK has the benefit of easily going subsonic making it about as quiet as possible given the mechanical noise of operating a rifle’s action.  Adding to the quiet excitement is that the difference between a traditional AR15 in .223/5.56 and one in 300 BLK is little more than a barrel swap. That’s right, everything else might be interchangeable between the two.

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

Chicken or Egg?

Wildcat cartridges can successfully address niche ammo needs, but unless the specific cartridge was blessed by Sammy 300 blackout conversion(properly SAAMI or Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute), the cartridge would not get the widespread support needed to be taken seriously by the big gun and ammo manufacturers let alone the general shooting public.  AAC, or the Advanced Armament Corporation in collaboration with Remington Defense ironed out the kinks in the wildcat .300 Whisper cartridge getting formal SAAMI joy in 2011 which is why the .300 Blackout still has that new car smell.

The .300 Blackout is a 30 caliber solution that grew from a set of needs not the least of which included the use of existing AR-style magazines while maintaining the same mag capacity, the use of M4-style platform uppers and lowers; being ballistically similar to the AK 47 round of 7.62mm x 39mm, and be a higher-mass barrier-penetrating bullet while maintaining low recoil and high performance through short suppressed barrels. Oh, and best of all, easily running both supersonic and subsonic in the same rifle with absolutely no change in the gun. In fact, it is this latter capability that 300 BLK owners find most attractive. So the .300 Blackout can drop a deer at 200 yards, or lob 30-cal lead downrange with little more noise than a cycling bolt.

AK 47 rifles are near impossible to run subsonic due to the gas system. And they are certainly not able to interchange between supersonic and subsonic on the fly. Major adjustments and tuning would be needed. In the case of the .300 Blackout, it is a cartridge deliberately made to run flawlessly in an AR rifle in both subsonic and supersonic. In fact, the high bullet weight of the subsonic 300 BLK ammo is not just to slow down the bullet (F=MA in Newtonian physics) but also to provide enough of an equal and opposite force to cycle a traditional AR bolt and buffer (Newton’s Third Law of Motion).

While the initial ballistics of a 300 BLK running subsonic are very similar to a .45 ACP, the bullet shape of a .300 Blackout provides a much better trajectory and deeper penetration. A 220 grain 45 caliber slug flying out the pipe of a handgun designed prior to 1911 is much like a forty-five caliber musket ball. On the other hand the .300 Blackout behaves more like a 7.62×39 round causing death hundreds of yards away. A .45 ACP will bounce off cowhide at distance while the 300 BLK should still shatter bone.

Walmart Test

300 BLK ammo in the supersonic variety did pass my Walmart test.  That means it is sitting on the shelf at the local Walmart right switching from 556 to 300 blackoutnow. However, I was unable to locate any subsonic .300 Blackout ammo at the any nearby Walmarts.  Of course subsonic 300 BLK ammo was available at almost every gun store and big box sporting goods store I checked so the stuff is common.  And the Walmart gun clerk did say they’ve had 300 BLK subsonic ammo in stock before, but it was elusive as 500 round bricks of .22 long rifle.

Related: 10 Basic Tools For Your Armorer Kit

The ammo choices for 300 BLK in supersonic was varied across price and performance.  I found plenty of boxes of 20 from $16 all the way up to almost $50.  Subsonic rounds hovered around $20-$25 and there was rarely more than one choice at any given store.

Presto Change-o

Changing a .223 AR 15 into a .300 Blackout can be as simple as swapping barrels.  The complete upper, lower, magazines and gas 300 Blackout vs .223system might work just fine with the 300 BLK. Usually there are a couple other parts that get changed out as well, but truly in a nutshell, it is just a barrel switch.  So a best-case conversion to turn your .223 AR into a .300 Blackout is 1) remove your .223 barrel, and 2) install a 300 BLK barrel.

Tool Side

Changing barrels on your standard direct impingement AR is fairly straightforward, but does require some tools. The undeniable magpul armorers wrenchtool is a barrel wrench which is usually part of a multi-function armorers tool like the Magpul Armorer’s Wrench.  But in order to turn the barrel nut, you must remove the gas tube. And in order to remove the gas tube, you will need to remove the gas tube cross pin using a 5/32nds punch (gently push it out from left to right).

With the gas tube removed, you can unwind the barrel nut freeing the barrel from the upper receiver. You can reuse the gas tube if its in good shape and the right length, and maybe even reuse the gas block as well assuming it works with your barrel and handguard.  In my case, I opted for a new low profile gas block because I am going from a Magpul MOE polymer handguard mounted on a 5.56 barrel with an A2 (triangular) front post.  The Midwest Industries free-floating handguard I’ll be shrouding the 300 BLK barrel with will need a new gas block. So it was Yankee Hill to the rescue.

Also Read: How To Trick Out A Cheap AR15

Backing up for a minute, there is an essential tool that makes barrel removal and installation every so much easier and that is an converting a 556 rifleupper receiver vise block. The vise block is a blockish clamp that wraps the upper receiver like a glove allowing the whole unit to be clamped in a vise without concern of damaging or warping your upper receiver. Add a torque wrench to round out your toolset and you’re as good as done.

Grunt Work

The .300 Blackout went into military service in July of 2015 when the Netherland’s Dutch Convert 300 BLKMaritime Special Operations Force (NL-MARSOF) ordered 195 carbines chambered in 300 BLK.  According to an uncited Wikipedia article on the .300 Blackout, it has an effective supersonic combat range of about 500 yards. Flying subsonic, 200 yards is pushing the limits of effectiveness outside of threats made of paper.  Now before anyone goes all sniper on me, most folks, and let’s be honest here, are not able to shoot reliably to 500 yards even under ideal conditions. In fact, 200 yards is a very reasonable and ethical hunting distance. In my particular case, I intend on hunting with this rifle in thick woods where a 50 yard or less shot is common. I grew up hunting in such places with a Winchester Model 94 30-30 which is an excellent “brush gun” as we liked to call them. Iron sights were plenty good at these distances.

I also intend to hunt with a suppressor, or silencer if you want to retain the original name that its inventor Hiram Maxim called them back in 1902; the “Maxim Silencer” to be exact. On a side note, a movie in 1946 was made about Hiram’s life and titled “So Goes My Love.” But reading about the movie, it doesn’t sound like there is any gunplay in it, let alone any silenced fire.

Quiet Down

Factory loads of 300 BLK come in several popular bullet weights. In general, those bullets over 200 grains slide down the pipe How to convert to 300 Blackoutunder the 1100 feet per second speed of sound while anything lighter breaks the sound barrier with a boom. Since most of the powder is burned within the first nine inches of barrel, near total performance can be achieved in very short barrels. To avoid paperwork and a tax stamp and months of delay, I opted for a 16” barrel literally off the shelf at a local gun store.

I already had a SilencerCo Omega suppressor so adding a can to this build was a no-brainer. In fact, that Omega is most of the reason I went down the 300 BLK road in the first place. A suppressed subsonic .300 Blackout literally is only as loud as the bolt cycling and bullet impacting.

Related: Firearms Maintenance When SHTF

All this is not without a problem. And it’s potentially a big one. A .223 or 5.56 round will cycle into a 300 BLK barrel, and possibly 300 BLKthe reverse is true. This means you have to practice proper ammo management. At no time can you risk mixing up or mixing together your mags or your ammo.

There are various solutions and products to keep your ammo act together. The Blackout Band is a silicon bracelet you wrap around your 300 BLK mags. Some folks run different colored mags, while others mark their mags in personal ways. I chose to dedicate Magpul’s sand colored mags to my .300 Blackout with the intent to dye them later to a more fun and useful color. So at the moment, white mags for the Blackout. No exceptions. There is an ever growing number of tales where someone had a loose 300 BLK round that found it’s way into a .223 mag only to blow the gun apart when it was stripped off the top of the mag by the bolt and the trigger was pulled.

And as I noted in my review of the Magpul D-60 drum magazine, not all ammo containers for the .223/5.56 platform are completely interchangeable. In fact, some are downright dangerous. But since .300 Blackout ammo is easily twice to three times the price of .223 rounds at a minimum, getting sloppy with Blackout ammo shouldn’t be a popular problem.

Survival Apps

It should go without saying that a 30 caliber subsonic suppressed round with a 200 meter range should have endless uses. Hunting is obvious as is protection. But let’s put a finer point on that protection thing. A bolt cycling is noisy but only within a very limited sound radius. Add snow or thick brush or trees and the noise of a buffer spring boinging and bolt clanking will not travel far. And the thump of bullet impact is evidence that it’s too late to do anything about it.  Unfortunately, the 30 caliber bullet leaving the muzzle under the speed of sound drops like a mountain pass after a hundred yards, and like a double-black diamond ski slope at 200 yards. Beyond that it’s ballistics curve would be a boat anchor.

The Downside of Loud

And speaking of sound suppression, if you ever plan on popping off a round indoors, you will want to minimize the bang or risk convert from 5.56 to .300 BLKtemporary disorientation and permanent hearing damage. Sorry to be a buzzkill here, but I do have trouble taking seriously anyone who plans on using a short-barreled AR or AR pistol with spiked muzzle brake as a home defense weapon. One boom and it’s all over for most involved. Better get that first shot right because you will be too stunned for a follow up shot. Kind of like flash-banging yourself and loved ones.

Also Read: Review of the Glock 42

Just as a gas-powered generator makes an unwanted and unavoidable racket, and a campfire makes unwanted smoke and smell, firearms make unwanted noise. So having a silent solution with more umph than a pistol is a good thing. And when things do go noisy, you have a 500 yard solution at your index finger’s fingertip.

Given that the 300 BLK is still young enough to have spots it’s not surprising that reloading your own brand is the go-to option for the more-than-curious. There are limited factory ammo options for subsonic bullet designs often leaving the big game hunter to settle for either throwing projectiles faster than sound or launching barely hollow-pointed varmint rounds downrange to settle the score. But the big news here is that there is actually a selection of subsonic 300 BLK ammo on the shelves of the big boxes. So something’s going in the right direction these days.

Let’s see how this all works out. Stay tuned for Part 2.
All photos by Doc Montana

This article is for informational purposes only, please consult a gunsmith before you make any changes to your rifle. T-Shirts Now Available






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Prepper Pocket Pistols

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survival pistol

The essential idea behind a pocket pistol is to carry it concealed on your person in the event of immediate need.  During an active Best self defense pistolSHTF event, a prepper-survivalists may have multiple opportunities to engage their pocket pistol for a wide variety of reasons.  It might be needed to get out of the office and home or out of the driveway to get on the road toward your Bug Out destination.  It may be needed to thwart a threat at the front door or in the parking lot.

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

When things go south during a natural or unnatural event, self-defense and family/team protection can quickly become a top priority.   For this reason, a pocket pistol has to be chosen very carefully with deliberate intents in mind at all times.  A pocket pistol has to be small enough to be carried easily, but it must be retrieved quickly to put into play.  Then it has to carry enough power to be an effective defensive threat.  The shooter has to be trained and proficient in doing this.

Pocket Power

The first round of the debate starts with the size of the hole in the end of the muzzle.  The primary contenders are the .380 ACP, best concealed carry ammo.38 Special, 9mm, and maybe with a select few shooters, the .45 ACP.  See, I have already stepped on somebody’s toe by not mentioning this round or another such as the .40 Cal.  Some 10mm fans might be offended.  And if you are just getting into shooting handguns, start with the .22 rimfire from the get go, but then move up.  Skip the rimfire for self-defense as it just has too many limitations for serious protection work.

Related: Buying SHTF Ammo

The bottom line here is to choose a caliber with which you are confident in using and in a best concealed carry ammohandgun you can shoot well.  Any one in this first list will perform well in the right hands of a properly trained and experienced shooter.  The days are gone when the .380 and the .38 Special were considered wimps.  Even the 9mm was slighted not all that long ago.  Forget that.  Ammunition manufacturers have stepped up the game with new highly potent and accurate self-defense loads new on the market.  Many new offerings by Hornady, Remington, Winchester, Federal and others have laid to rest the arguments about these rounds being too weak for self-defense protection.  Make your choice.

Gun Choices

To simplify things I generically used the term “pistol” when I am really talking about both semi-auto pistols and revolvers as well. best concealed carry pocket pistol Believe it or not, a good revolver in the hands of a competent and confident shooter becomes an awesome defensive combination.  The “pistol” is certainly a popular choice but by no means the only one or even the best one in every instance.

Related: A Case For The Revolver

A top of the line revolver such as many by Smith and Wesson, Ruger, Charter Arms, Taurus, and a few select others are good choices for prepper pocket pistols.  An intriguing new revolver that I have yet to see or handle is the Kimber K6s Stainless in .357 Magnum, which of course can handle .38 Specials including hearty +P loads.  This ought to be a grand pocket pistol, pricey, but extremely well made as all Kimber’s are.

Pistol wise there are just so many choices, the average or new prepper to the horse race is going to quickly get bogged down in decision-making over features, fit, grip, handling, magazine loading, pointing, slide cycling, sight alignment, safety mechanisms, weight, size, carry and concealment considerations.  These are a lot of things to think about when picking out a good pocket pistol.  Among the competitive leading makers of pocket pistols, you have to look at the Glock 42 and 43, the Ruger models LC9 and LCP, several from S&W including the Bodyguard and their 9mm series.

Related: 10 Tips For Concealed Carry

Remington has out a new .380 pistol to look at in earnest.  Others worthy of a look include the Kimber Micro Pistols, the Solo, Ultra models, and some of the downsized 1911 versions.  In this marketplace, there is no shortage at all of models, brands, and versions to examine for use as pocket pistols.

The Wrap

In the selection process, canvas internet recommendations from noted sources like Survival Cache.  Check with reputable gun best pocket pistoldealers, and nose around at shooting ranges, and gun shows.  Handle and inspect as many different gun models as you can get your hands on.  Shop where the inventories are large, selections and prices are competitive.  If you know a cop, then ask them their opinions as well as other preppers and survivalists.  Gather all the information you can as you make your choice or choices.

The pocket pistol profile is a lightweight, small, 2-4 inch barreled handgun designed to be easily carried actually in the pocket or in an IWB (inside waist band) or OWB (outside waist band) holster.  It has to ready to be drawn quickly and deployed into action at a moment’s notice.  Besides picking the right gun in the right caliber for you, proceed to knowing your gun.  Learn it, clean it, take it apart, and get intimate with it.  Spend a lot of quality time on the shooting range running it through the paces.  Shoot your new gun at realistic confrontational distances.

Also Read: Gum Creek Vehicle Pistol Mount Review

Forget 50 yards.  Concentrate on 7 feet to ten yards.  Punch those paper plates in the center.  Practice quick reloads with a fresh magazine or a 5/6-round speed loader.  This is a learned talent all its own that requires lots of practice to perform smoothly and securely.  Practice, too, withdrawing your pistol from your pocket and carry holsters.  Dress up in the role of concealed carry to see how all that works out.  Get in and out of your vehicles to test those moves.  It all takes practice.  Just keep at it.

Get your concealed carry permit so you’ll be legal.  Start to tote your pocket pistol on a regular basis.  Carry it around some to get used to the weight, feel and tug of it on your body.  At home or discretely work with drawing your pocket handgun in practice, unloaded of course.  Learn that sight plane down the barrel and pointing that muzzle nose to the target.  If you have to depart your office, home, or vehicle during a SHTF event of any kind, you are going to want some measure of protection.  A pocket pistol can help fill that role.  Make your selection with earnest consideration, then move full forward to learning to use it effectively.  It could save your life or the lives of family members, a prep team, or others caught exposed. T-Shirts Now Available






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SHTF Armorer: Magazine Maintenance – Part 2

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best way to clean gun magazines

So we know to try to keep any severe damage from happening to our precious magazines – that one’s a Best Way to Clean Pistol Magazinesno-brainer.  But we also need to be aware that during normal use and training, magazines get dropped onto the ground, which is the natural habitat of mud, dirt, dust, snow, small bugs, standing and/or running water, and sand.  Also, carbon and powder fouling (especially from suppressed guns), lead, copper, and brass debris from the cartridges will become denizens of the magazine just through normal use.

By Drew, a contributing author of Survival Cache and SHTFBlog
This post is Part II of a series (Read Part I)

Next To Godliness

Let this crap build up, and eventually, your mag ain’t gonna run no’ mo’.  So you train and shoot… and as a happy consequence, you now have some cruddy magazines.  What kind of maintenance do we need to do to keep these crucial systems from becoming your gun’s Achilles heel?

Related: Rifle Magazine Management Strategies

Luckily, MOST modern box magazines can be easily disassembled for cleaning, so you don’t have to make do Best way to clean AR15 Magazineswith turning the mag upside down and shaking to get the sand out via cartridge count holes.  This will be a general guide on magazine disassembly – I heartily recommend you perform a little internet/YouTube research or consult your local gunsmith for a magazine disassembly consultation for your specific firearm if it doesn’t seem to work with what I’m outlining here.  As stated previously, your standard magazine has just a few parts: the magazine body, the magazine follower, the magazine spring, the magazine insert, and the baseplate.

  • Magazine Body: The outside sheathing of the magazine, that encapsulates all the parts to the magazine as well as the cartridges. Usually steel, aluminum, or polymer.

  • Magazine Follower: This component provides a bearing surface for the magazine spring to exert pressure on the cartridges, as well as helping to provide proper alignment to the cartridges. Usually steel or polymer, can be seen through the open end of the magazine when the magazine is empty.

  • Magazine Spring: A steel coil spring (with very few exceptions). Provides the upward force to feed the ammunition from the bottom of the magazine, out into the gun.

  • Magazine Insert: A small, flat component that sits inside the magazine body and uses the spring’s tension, combined with a small tab or detent, to keep the baseplate locked in place. Usually steel or polymer.

  • Baseplate: The bottom flat plate of the magazine. Provides a bearing surface for the spring and keeps dirt and debris from entering the bottom of the magazine. Can be made of a multitude of materials; usually steel, aluminum, or plastic/polymer.

Tools needed are few.  A small flat-headed screwdriver is useful for gentle prying, and a punch, or even a bullet nose or pen/pencil can be used to depress the magazine insert to unlock the baseplate.  A rubber/plastic mallet or block of wood is useful for using gentle impact coercion to re-seat baseplates.

You won’t need many cleaning supplies, either.  I like Q-tips and toothbrushes to get in the hard-to-reach tight areas, and a small, clean, dry rag and a short cleaning rod works pretty well to rid the magazine innards of detritus and debris.  Unless your magazine has lots of carbon buildup, you shouldn’t need any solvents or cleaners – it’s best to wipe the magazine internals clean and leave the inside dry and oil-free.

Oil will attract dirt and dust…and it’s also possible penetrating oil can do what it was designed to do and work its way into cartridge primers, neutralizing the priming compound.  If you’re in a high humidity or salt area, you can put an extremely light coat of oil on the magazine spring – but remember, it can attract and hold debris.  The ONLY time I put heavy oil or grease on the inside of magazines is if they are going into seriously long-term storage.  If this is the case, I will mark these magazines with a note that they must be cleaned before use.

The Breakdown

For the visual purposes of this article, I’m going to use an AR-10 .308 Magpul PMAG, since these are the same Gun Cleaninginternally as the PMAGs used by pretty much anyone with an AR…and conveniently, the disassembly principles are largely the same as many magazines that commonly used SHTF guns would utilize.

For most modern magazines, disassembly starts with removing the baseplate.  The baseplate will usually have a small hole or slot where a protrusion from the magazine insert interfaces to keep the baseplate locked in place mechanically – see the oblong gray surface on the baseplate of this PMAG.

Take your punch and push this magazine insert down, dropping its tab down and out of its corresponding slot on the baseplate.  This will allow the magazine baseplate to be pushed forward (sometimes backwards) off the magazine body.

If this is the first time the magazine has been apart, the baseplate will likely fight you to stay on the body. Likewise, if you have a steel magazine with a steel baseplate, you may have internal corrosion locking parts together.  Here is where that mallet and/or screwdriver will come in handy.  While keeping forward (towards the front of the magazine) pressure on the baseplate with your thumb, try tapping and/or gently prying the baseplate forward if needed.  Once that baseplate starts moving forward, you won’t need to keep downward pressure on the magazine insert to keep it from jumping back into its slot in the baseplate.

Keep your thumb at the back of the baseplate and keep pushing forward over the open bottom end of the How to clean a glock magmagazine.  Use your thumb to keep control of the insert and magazine spring, as they are under spring tension – and once you pop that baseplate off, there’s nothing keeping the spring in check – and go flying it will.  Keeping a thumb or palm over the magazine will help keep things under control.

Related: Sig Sauer P320 Review

Gradually release the spring tension (there can be quite a lot!), and then pull the spring and insert out. The magazine follower may or may not be stuck or locked onto the spring.  If it is locked on, the follower will come out with the spring.  If it is not, you may need to turn the magazine upside down to get the follower out.

IMPORTANT: Be sure to note the orientation of the spring, magazine insert, and follower – they only go back together one way that will allow the magazine to work!  If you reassemble the mag and it doesn’t play nice, chances are a part was reassembled backwards, upside down – or missing altogether.  Take a picture or make a sketch or use your eidetic memory for reference until you’ve done this a few times and gotten the hang of things.  As I was re-assembling the magazine I took apart for purposes of this article, I actually put the magazine insert on the spring backwards and tried to re-assemble.  Nope.  It’s good to have reference points, whether you’re a first-timer at magazine work or a seasoned disassembly veteran.

While your magazine is apart, now is an excellent time for upgrades if you want them.  Extra capacity baseplates, new stock or increased strength magazine springs, anti-tilt followers, and Ranger pull plates are all great upgrades depending on the magazine you have.  Magazine parts are cheap, so if you predict heavy usage for certain magazines your own, throw a few bucks down and let them know they’ll be loved.

Also Read: The Easiest 100 Gallons Of Water Storage

Once you have performed your desired upgrades/maintenance/cleaning, it’s time to reassemble.  Essentially this glock magazine cleaningis assemble in reverse order: Magazine follower goes in first – usually it is attached to the magazine spring and not just free-floating.  The spring follows the follower, and the magazine insert – also usually connected to the spring – goes in last.  You’ll now have to compress the spring by pushing it down far enough into the magazine body to get the magazine floorplate started.  Sometimes holding the spring tension in one hand and trying to wrangle the baseplate while holding the magazine body can be a little exciting – you might want to use a padded vise to hold the magazine body (careful not to crush the magazine body!) or borrow a friend to help hold things stable.  I was able to get the spring in my Magpul PMAG back in by myself, but it took a couple tries.

The baseplate may need to be gently tapped back on.  Just be sure to get it started on the magazine body as far as you can before starting to hit it.  Keep the spring pushed down to keep it from catching on the baseplate and binding or kinking.

Once the baseplate is fully seated, the magazine insert should snap back into its baseplate hole securely.  You best way to clean pmagmay need to use your punch through the baseplate hole to align things properly – but everything should go together nicely once all the components find their correct homes.  My PMAG went together slick with no tapping necessary, but it was relatively new.

  • Glock Magazines can be a complete bear to disassemble, since the magazine bodies have small tabs that keep the baseplate locked in place.  At my Glock armorer’s course, the instructor said to take a long, skinny tool like an allen wrench or a Glock disassembly tool, and insert it inside the magazine baseplate hole.  Push the magazine insert out of the way, and use your tool as a lever to carefully pry against the inside of the magazine body.  Careful – this method can damage your magazine if you’re a bit hamfisted.  Once you get the baseplate moved forward about one quarter inch or so, take the tool out, position your thumb over the back of the baseplate, and push forward and off, using your thumb to keep the magazine spring and magazine insert from launching.  When reassembling, use a small rubber mallet to tap the baseplate back over the tabs to lock in place.
  • Ruger 10/22 magazines are a different animal altogether, and the description on how to take them apart would fill an article in itself.  Luckily, someone else has already done that, and the excellent instructions can be found by clicking here.  I use these as reference when I work on my personal 10/22 magazines.

  • If you’re running a firearm that’s a bit different or you can’t find magazines anywhere, try looking at The Numrich Gun Parts Corporation.  Brownells and Midway USA are pretty good sources too for entire magazines or replacement parts.  However, I’ve found that far and away, the best luck I’ve had in sourcing oddball magazines is to stay diligent at your local gun shop’s bargain bins and used item bins (any good gun shop has them).  They probably won’t be labelled – bring along a magazine for reference.  eBay is an excellent source as well if you know what you’re looking for.

  • Safety glasses are nice for when springs and components go launching.  Lots of spring tension usually associated with these activities.

  • A great many .22 pistol and rifle magazines won’t be very easily disassembled – I was reminded of this when I pulled out a Ruger Mark I magazine for pictures. Best to go online for your specific gun and do some disassembly research.

Wrapping It All Up

Yes, my article above is a little vague on details for specific magazines, and it was intended to be that way.  No one article can sum up all the different specifics of each firearm’s feeding mechanism.  However, as stated, most modern detachable box-type magazines follow the same basic design and you can probably figure things out on your own magazines with a little head-scratching and common sense.

Also Read: How To Choose An Urban Bug Out Bag

NOW is the time to sit down and learn how to de-crudify your magazines.  Once the balloon goes up and you have to depend on your magazines – or salvaged magazines – to save your life, it’d sure be nice to have a basic knowledge and understanding of how magazines work and go together so you can keep your gear running.  Having the knowledge to pull damaged magazines apart also helps, since you can cannibalize parts from damaged or found magazines to keep your magazines going.

How about you? Do you have any tips or comments on magazine maintenance you can share with your brethren? Sound off in the comments below!

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SHTF Armorer: Magazine Maintenance – Part 1

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Best Survival Gun

The AR-15.  AK-47.  M1A.  Glock 17.  SIG Sauer P226.  Colt 1911.  S&W M&P.  CZ-75.  Beretta 92.  Ruger 10/22. The Best Survival Gun H&K MP5.  Walther P22.  All of these firearms each have an army of diehard pundits in the firearms world.  You probably have at least one of them incorporated in your SHTF plans.  It’s possible your very life and chances of survival will depend on one of these some day.  However, they all have a common weakness, a vulnerability that can reduce these fine pieces of weaponry to single-shot, barely useful clubs: the detachable magazine.

By Drew, a contributing author of Survival Cache and SHTFBlog
This post is Part I of a series.

Modern Flaws

Even though modern magazine designs, construction methods, and materials are top-notch, they can still fail.  Neglect, slightly bent or damaged feed lips, worn magazine springs, sloppy followers, and/or just plain, simple dirt will positively destroy the functioning of an otherwise flawlessly-working gun…and these problems can be virtually undetectable if you don’t know what to look for.  Therefore, magazine maintenance should be of the utmost priority – just as important as the cleanliness of the firearm – for anyone who plans on relying on an autoloading firearm when the chips are down.

Related: PMAG Torture Test

However, firearms with detachable magazines aren’t the only problem guns – your grandfather’s trusty old Winchester 1894 .30-30 lever action could have magazine problems.  So could the Remington 870 you leave with a loaded magazine in the closet in case of emergency.  If your gun is a magazine-fed repeater – detachable or fixed – that feeding system needs to be taken care of. It’s your gun’s lifeblood…and by extension, that means it could be your lifeblood as well. Magazine maintenance is probably the most purposely neglected (“I’ll get it later…”) and/or forgotten aspect of gun cleaning, but it could be considered one of the most important. (We’ll address fixed magazine guns in a future article.)

The Detachable Magazine

The detachable magazine comes in a myriad shapes, sizes, lengths, capacities, colors, and methods of Best AR15 Magconstruction.  However, the vast majority of “box” magazine designs have similar components: the magazine body, the magazine follower, the locking plate, and the baseplate.  Rotary type magazines (such as the Ruger 10/22’s nifty little cartridge feeder) are a bit of a different animal, but the principles are the same – they just keep the cartridges in a circular holding pattern inside the magazine, instead of in a straight vertical stack.  Generally, magazines are very simple in design, and really, with just a bit of semi-regular maintenance and cleaning, they will be virtually trouble-free.  Most of the parts don’t require replacing or fixing; the only component that may need to be replaced is the magazine spring if the magazine hasn’t seen any damage.

Concerning the spring: you’ve probably heard/read the age-old debate: does leaving magazines loaded for an extended period of time weaken the springs?  The general consensus from magazine manufacturers seems to be that leaving them loaded, even over years, does not induce spring failure.  Far and away, the most common cause of spring failure is the fatigue caused by constant loading and unloading.  Nobody can put a finger on an exact number of rounds that it takes to make a magazine spring fail, so a good way to keep an eye on things is to get a paint marker or silver Sharpie and number your magazines.

Also Read: SHTF Armorer AR15 Bolt Carrier Group

Try to keep a general round count of the number of rounds that have been put through them if possible.  When one of your magazines starts to fail or cause firearm malfunctions, (this usually takes thousands of rounds) check the magazine’s round count and use that as a guideline for the other magazines of the same make and capacity.  Replace the magazine spring accordingly, at appropriate intervals.  Some of us may never run enough rounds through a gun to have to worry about this issue…but it’s always good to have an extra magazine spring or, even better, extra magazine(s) kicking around, just in case.

Another issue: If you drop your magazine on the feed lips and bend them, you have a problem.  Most magazines I’ve run have never had a spring failure, but have suffered damage from being dropped onto the feed lips.  If you have a polymer magazine like a Magpul PMAG, chances are pretty good you’re still in business.  However, steel magazine bodies that have damaged feed lips are probably not worth keeping.

Related: Survival Armorer Basic Kit

You can try to bend them back to factory spec, but the metal has been fatigued, and now has an excellent starting fracture point for future breaking or malforming.  If you’re not in a dire SHTF situation, pull the magazine apart, keep the baseplate, spring, and follower, and junk the magazine body. It’s not worth the headache and possible failure to try making the old magazine work.  A new magazine is a few bucks – a failure in a survival situation could mean death.  Don’t hedge your bets if you don’t have to.

The Body

The same goes for the magazine body: if you accidentally step on a steel/aluminum magazine, check the sides of Survival Rifle Magazinesthe magazine for dents or damage, and try to run some rounds through it.  A pinched magazine body might not have clearance to allow rounds to be loaded, or to be fed.  This has happened to me before with metal bodied GI-issued AR magazines…all the more reason to look into polymer magazines like the excellent Magpul PMAG.

Also Read: Boston Shooting Bible Review

An excellent basic test, especially for AR magazines, is to load the magazine up to capacity, and then turn it upside down and briskly smack the baseplate at the bottom of the magazine.  If rounds fall out, chances are excellent that your feed lips are out of spec or your magazine spring does not have sufficient strength to keep enough tension on the rounds to feed the gun reliably.

Related: Review of Magpul PMAG D-60 Drum

You will find some older or smaller gun designs have steel bodied magazines with welded or silver-soldered fixed baseplates.  For these, there’s not much you can do but baby the magazines you have and keep spares.  They’re probably from an older design, so for the purposes of a SHTF gun, I might consider going a different route with a modern firearm platform design that utilizes magazines that can be disassembled for cleaning and parts replacement.

Likewise with many older .22 rifles with tubular magazines under the barrel or in the buttstock. The magazine spring and follower are encapsulated in a (usually) brass tube that slides down into the magazine body, over the cartridges.  This is a well-used, much-loved and reliable system, but if that follower tube gets dented or bent, you’re out of business.  Maintenance on the follower tubes is also difficult, and replacement parts are getting harder to find.  It might be worth looking into a more modern design like a M&P-15/22 or Ruger 10/22 for a SHTF gun.

Stay Tuned For Part II

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Election Thoughts From A Survivalist

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Convict Hillary Clinton

I have been paying attention to the candidates and have come to realize that either both parties don’t Trump for presidentunderstand what is happening to the country or they don’t want to tell the masses what is happening.  To be fair, Bernie has some great points and so does Donnie.  Hillary is a puppet to the big banks, corporations and Wall Street.  On a positive note, both Bernie and Donnie represent the people telling the parties they are dissatisfied.  I find the awakening to be refreshing.

By Dave H, a contributing author of SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

Let’s look at Bernie (the former candidate).  He wants to break apart the banks.  I agree with him on this point.  The banks should have been allowed to fail in 2008.  Now they are bigger than ever.  The change in the accounting rules to eliminate market based asset valuation has never been corrected.  Therefore we don’t have an actual way to value the banks and their solvency.  If the banks were allowed to fail the need for banking services would not stop.  The assets and most of the people would move from the poorly run banks to the well run banks.  This would be capitalism at its finest.

Cost of Education

Staying with Bernie and education.  I agree with Bernie that we need to solve the cost of education.  Our bernie_sanders_election_2016education costs are out of line with the college tuition costs around the world (click here to see worldwide comparison).  In this article the average college tuition cost in the US is just under $14,000.  In Germany the average tuition is $933.  In Sweden, France, Denmark and Norway the average tuition is $600 or less.

In the US the children of wealthy families come out of college debt free. The children of middle class families come out heavily in debt and they are enslaved by their student loans.  Children of poor families have very limited opportunities for advancement because they cannot qualify for the student loans. This leads to a cast society and that is not the basis for America.

My general political leanings are Libertarian with a strong belief in Laissez-faire economics.  In this case I feel it is important that we have some intervention for the good of the country.  We are in the beginnings of a new economy. It is very similar to the points when we changed from an agrarian society to an industrial society and then from industrial to technology based.  This time technology is replacing the human worker.  We can argue about percentages of job loss and even the affected industries.  The fact is jobs will be lost and we need to prepare the country for the next economic wave.  I don’t know the next economic wave. However, I feel strongly that we will need an educated workforce or we will be left behind.

Why not offer a program where our youth has the opportunity to volunteer in the country for a period of 2 years and for that we give them a reduced college tuition? They should be able to volunteer in a variety of ways. Maybe building trails in the national parks or building homes with Habitat for Humanity. How about delivering meals to the elderly?

Now let’s look at Donnie.  He wants to have our allies pay for their own defense.  You bet!  I agree with Donnie.  It is simple macro economics of guns vs. butter.  You can see the effect on the tuition rates. Europe does not pay for their defense, we do.  That needs to change.  We are 19 trillion dollars in debt. We simply cannot afford to continue down this road.

Continuing down the defense road for a moment.  We spent 49 cents of every military dollar spent in the world. Why?  Do you think Russia or China is ready to invade the US?  If not, what do we get for our military spending?  You may say we get peace in Europe and peace in Japan.  Shouldn’t the Europeans and the Japanese cover their own security?  What we do get is to project our power across the planet.  Let’s ask ourselves about the benefit we get as individuals for the US hegemony.  I would say at best the benefit is minimal.  If you were Raytheon, McDonnell Douglas or Lockheed Martin you would receive tremendous benefit.  Why would we spend $400 billion on the Joint Strike Fighter and not give our sniper teams enough bullets to maintain proficiency?  That is because our ’elected’ political whores in Washington represent major corporations and not the people.  The Supreme Court made an error when they shot down McCain-Feingold. It needs to be reenacted and expanded to eliminate the loopholes.  Corporations are not people and should not be treated as citizens.

The Border

Back to Donnie.  He wants to close the border.  I agree that closing the border is a good thing.  Let’s say that donald_trump_election_2016Donnie is successful and gets to deport all of the illegal aliens.  What would be the effect on the country?  It would be disastrous.  Who would work in the trades?  Who does the roofing?  Who does the concrete work? Who does brick laying?  We as a society have devalued the trades.  We no longer teach metal shop or carpentry in high school.  Our trade schools have been converted to junior colleges.  The unions ran the apprentice programs and we have devalued the unions.

Donnie gets it correct about closing the border.  However, we need to be smart about removing the people. We need to revalue the trades and ensure we pay a living wage.  Our country would be much stronger if we trained people in the trades.  How can we pull industry back to America if we don’t have the skilled workforce necessary to support the industry?  Why not expand the Job Corps program started by Lyndon Johnson in the 1960’s?  Why not use the volunteer program described above and give our youth a free trade school education?

Trade Wars

Donnie wants to start trade wars.  This is a very dangerous course of action. Looking back in history they international_trade_donald_trump_hillary_clintongenerally end poorly.  What would happen if we took a slightly different approach?  What if the US government instituted a Buy American policy?  Who is the largest consumer in the country?  The US government!  Let’s take a couple of examples.  How many pens does the US government buy each year?  I suspect the answer is a bunch.  I don’t have exact numbers so don’t throw rocks at the numbers this is a hypothetical example.

Let’s say the US government buys a million pens made in China for $1 each.  That means we sent $1 million overseas and we get no additional benefit (yes there are distributors that get some benefit).  The million dollars is simply gone.  Now let’s say they buy a million pens made in the US for $1.50 each.  The US government would spend $1.5 million on pens.  What happens to the $1.5 million dollars?  There is a factory in the US that is making the pens. That factory makes a profit and pays takes on the profit. The factory also pays property taxes.  The factory employs people.  Those people make a wage and pay taxes on their wages. They buy a house or pay rent.  They buy food and clothes.  The point is money spent in the US circulates numerous times. Each time the money circulates is provides benefit to the country. This is not a trade war. However, it gets the same effect.

Donnie talks about putting a tariff on Carrier air conditioners.  I say the government should only buy air conditioners made in the US. No tariffs.  We should choose to spend our tax dollars within the country.  We can put America back together. However, we need to do it wisely!  Your thoughts?

The views, opinions and positions expressed by the author are his alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or positions of

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Prepper Uses For A Range Finder

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How to use a range finder

Andy was pulling duty on bug out perimeter security.  We had heard shots coming from the woods at the far how to use a range finderwest end of our prep team property.  This was not an unusual occurrence out in the rural area where we have planned our long term bug out existence.  None-the-less it is always discomforting not knowing who might be unlawfully accessing your property lines.  He left out on his Honda ATV to scout the end of the road line which was roughly two miles west from our camp area and cabins.

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

Keeping a Watchful Eye

Unfortunately for us, the west end is paralleled by a railroad track, the side of which allows for easy access down our north-south property line.  We have often chased unauthorized trespassers from the area and even poachers shooting deer from the railroad tracks across our property line.  Usually just a presence in the area thwarts any unwanted activity.  So, a regular series of drive by cruises on an ATV is enough to let outsiders know we are about the posted area.

On this patrol as Andy drove by an open utility power line right-of-way that comes through our land, he noticed an ATV sitting near one of our deer hunting stands.  Upon close examination with binoculars, he could see somebody sitting in the stand seat.  He immediately put out a call on our camp radios for backup (might as well be melodramatic about it).

Also Read: Leatherman Raptor Review

Another owner and I showed up in the clear view of the guy sitting in the stand.  At this point, he hurriedly climbed out of the stand, jumped on his 4-wheeler, but it would not crank.  He immediately abandoned his ride running off into the woods.  The three of us noted he was carrying a hunting type rifle, which is a situation that could often turn dicey.  We were glad he fled the scene.

A call to wildlife authorities went non-responsive, so the lesson as a prepper/survivalist is to never count on help from anybody else.  You’re basically on your own.  We decided not to chase the trespasser down, but we did confiscate his ATV and turned it in to the police station in town.  The police officer said he knew who owned it and would put out the appropriate warning to stay out of our place.  Yeah, right.

Maintaining a Safe Distance from Threats

Had this situation escalated into a confrontation, it could have turned ugly.   I think the point that we  SHTF_Survival_Cache_SHTFblog_Windham_Weaponry_308_AR10_R18FSFSM-308_Aimpoint_COMP_ML3_VTAC_Sling_outdoorsoutnumbered him helped, but what if Andy had been alone in camp?  Had this been a real life SHTF event, the trespasser/poacher might have stood his ground just as well.

Related: Technology & Survivalists

In these circumstances, the decision-making point is critical.  I don’t know of anybody that really wants to get into a shootout over somebody crossing a property line, but what if the offending party takes the offense?  I mean in this day and age thugs are killing shop owners or citizens on the streets for $5 bucks.  It would be nothing for a trespasser to fire off a few rounds to settle the issue.  The question is, will you (we) be ready to defend our position?

In a life and death situation, you can bet we are prepared to defend ourselves.  But we want to be smart about it.  Slinging lead might well put a stop to the advance, but it has to be dedicated targeting with some purpose.  That purpose might not be to wound or kill somebody, but it might be just to peel some bark off a nearby tree.  Preppers have to be ready for any such contingency whether bugging out or bugging in at the home residence.

Related: Bug Out GPS

Part of this “targeting” is knowing what we are shooting at especially given the firearm we hopefully are carrying at the time.  The preference would be to maintain as maximum a distance as possible to make our own position more difficult to target from an adversary.  Judging those distances has always been a difficult task to learn and practice.  This is where modern technology steps in to help.

Enter the Nikon Prostaff 7i

It may sound unusual to the Survival Cache readership that I might suggest adding an electronic rangefinder nikon_prostaff_7i_review_range_finderto your prepper gear list.  As a big game hunter all over America and Europe in years past, the use of a rangefinder was a normal occurrence.  As a prepper now, it occurs to me the usefulness of one for those applications. And as to our prepping/survival tasks, the use of a rangefinder is still helpful for collecting vital game meat for the table.  In longer range shooting attempts, it is good to knowingly nail down the exact distance to the targeted animal, be it an elk or a white-tailed deer.  They are useful, too in ranging predators or nuisance game animals you may wish to dispatch before they grab your little Molly pup out of the camp yard.

This ranging principle works also for defending your property rights and or any site you may have picked to bug out on private or public lands.  Is that band of 2-3+ unknowns crossing the fence at 300 or 400 yards?  It would be nice to know.  For this job let me recommend the new Nikon Prostaff 7i Laser Rangefinder.  I have had one in hand for several months and the neighbors get tired of me ranging them in their yards.  I can hardly wait for hunting season next month for further in the field testing. The 7i can range from 8-1300 yards.  Yep, 1300.  Too far to shoot, but plenty of range to make further decisions.  Its magnification of 6x helps immensely to “paint” the target in yards or meters by user choice.  The unit’s eye relief is 18.3mm which is really good if like me you are wearing eyeglasses.  It uses one CR2 Lithium battery.  It lasts forever, but buy a spare.

Also Read: 4 Things To Consider When Bugging Out

This Nikon’s size is only 4.4×1.5×2.8 inches.  It is small and easily handled in the palm.  Its objective How to use a range finderdiameter is 21mm so it lets in plenty of light for spotting targets.  It also has a built in angle compensation which is super if you happen to be in an elevated position, or downhill from a ridge.  The unit is also waterproof, which is always a good feature.

The Prostaff 7i is black in color, but has an orange stripe across it.  You may think this trivial until you drop it in the grass or the forest floor.  Controls are easy to learn and use and are very intuitive.  The unit’s cover is grainy which aids in its gripping.  There is also a provided neck lanyard, which I recommend using, then slipping the rangefinder into your shirt pocket.  For prepping to hunt for food or protect your family from distant threats, a rangefinder is a highly useful piece of gear.   The Nikon’s cost can be shopped around for about $270 or cheaper.  Add it to your Christmas list now.

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Bug Out Flashlight Wisdom: Part 2

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SHTF Flashlights

Part 1 of Bug Out Flashlight Wisdom addressed modern LED lighting and the single CR123-cell flashlights in Best SHTF Flashlightsparticular. In Part 2, flashlight features and operational wisdom will be discussed.  I can tell that the dust has not yet settled on flashlight interfaces in the same way it has not yet to settle on computer operating systems, gun safeties, and even knife blade locking mechanisms.  I have three different flashlight switch options in the same brand of flashlight.  And another light that has a user-specified programmable interface that you access with three quick twists of the bezel.  I had to get YouTube help just to figure out how to program my light.

By Doc Montana, a contributing author of Survival Cache and SHTFBlog
This post is Part II of a series.  To read Part I (click here)

But in the end, this is all for you.  Once you go down the rat hole of choice, there is no end to the possibilities Best SHTF Flashlightswhen there’s no limit to money and electric circuits.  I’ve got variable 0-100 lumen lights, high-low, low-high, single speed, three-speeds, and even considering Surefire’s new line of “IntelliBeam Technology” actually does the brightness adjusting for you depending on how much light is already falling on the scene.  I guess it means I’m old if I had to stop and think about that one.

A big choice with the switch is whether or not the light can be turned on using a flat surface instead of a thumb.  Recessed switches can prevent unintentional activation of the light, while protruding switches allow the light to be activated with a crude tap on the butt.  Both have their place.  I prefer shrouded switches, but find that exposed buttons are great for brief on/off lighting and weapons lights.  Also, exposed switches usually prevent the light from standing on its tail for a feeble attempt at general area lighting.  And in Surefire’s absurd fashion, they managed to make some of their tail switches peek out above the shroud enough to prevent solid tail standing, but not enough to activate the light. Some of those engineers in Fountain Valley really need to get out more.

Other brands have split the difference shrouding only 50% of the tail switch in two 25% barriers on opposite sides of the ring.  A flat surface cannot activate the light, but any smaller protrusion can be used as a surrogate thumb.  Of course tail-standing with that design is out of the question.

Programming Interface:

The choices within any individual flashlight can be a simple on/off, to a complex multi-bright-multi-Survival Flashlightstrobe-SOS programmable interface.  Or anywhere in between.  There are three considerations when thinking about the interface.  The first thing to think about its if the interface is even necessary for your needs.  Some lights like the 4Sevens are programmable and then hold the lighting sequence until changed. Other brands require a specific set of clicks on a switch meaning both that the choice can be ignored or must be memorized.  Other than that, it’s a crapshoot as to what will happen when a user tries different click or twist combinations.  Maybe something, maybe nothing. Maybe the worst possible choice for the situation.

The second consideration about the interface is which way you want it to cycle.  Defensive lights cycle from brightest to dimmest while utility lights cycle from dim to bright.  Other lights might cycle through a series of dim to bright to strobe, etc.  All lights have their advantages, but you will need to carry the the light that best needs you anticipate.  Personally, I prefer only two stage lights that have low or brightest or brightest and low.  The Surefire Fury goes from 20 lumens on first click to 500 on second click.  My Surefire E2D Defender goes from 500 lumens on first click to 5 lumens on the quick second click.  Both have their place in my daily carry.

Also Read: How People Will Act After TEOTWAWKI

And the third is consideration has to do with if the interface is if it’s something that you actually memorize. For instance, the 4Sevens lights have a triple rotation of the bezel to access the interface before you can fiddle around to what the blinking light means.  Other interfaces, like the Streamlight, might be as simple as clicking through the secondary bezel-mounted button, or with a set of quick-clicks of the tail switch.  Some other lights have rotating bezels with different features, while others have different degrees tailcap depression.

As much as  I’m a fan of modern technology, I like a simple, predictable interface that I can toss across the room to a child when necessary that will work 100% of the time.  For me, that’s Surefire and Fenix. However I do love my small 4Sevens lights and use Streamlight AA, AAA, and CR123 lights in Bug Out Bags, Truck glove boxes, and daily carry.  But trust me, when the S H’s the F, I’ll grab my Surefires first, no questions asked.

Bezel Design:

The Bezel is the business-end of the flashlight.  It is responsible for the light throw, the shiny reflection, and Survival Flashlightsin some cases, the sharp rim or crenulations that can crack skulls, scrape DNA, and inform those nearby that the light is on when face-down on a smooth surface.

The reflector inside a flashlight can be smooth, rough like an orange peel, or of high-tech geometry blasting the beam in an efficient and desired way.  Orange peel reflectors are the new hotness.  Long gone are the hot spots and dark spots of the D-cell Maglites.  The new norm is uniform light spread across the entire landscape. Seriously, if you haven’t yet experienced quality in hand lighting projection, then you’re in for a pleasant surprise.  There is a reason some light cost over a hundred bucks and it’s not just the American fingerprints all over the manufacturing.

Also Read: Self Defense or Murder

Crenulated bezels, or those with raised bumps like the turrets of a castle or scallops on a knife blade, are both fighting weapons and essential indicators of when the light is on, but face down on a flat surface.  The raised regions of bezel, or crenulations, make tiny dull knives that focus the impact onto a smaller sharper surface when shoved into flesh. And the spaces between the crenulations allow light to seep out indicating that the batteries are in use but going nowhere.  Frankly, I am surprised how many times I encounter a face-planted flashlight dumping photons into a tabletop, countertop or floor. It seems everyone but me parks a running light down on its lens.

Pocket Clip:

The thin metal strips of spring steel that parallel the flashlight’s body are a simple idea that just cannot seem Survival Flashlightsto evolve beyond its knuckle-dragging stage in life. Flashlight pocket clips, not unlike folding knife pocket clips, run the gamut from passing usefulness to better-off-without-it. The clips vary widely in design, shape, grip strength, direction, and location. Some even play both sides and don’t work well in either direction, while others have mastered the skill of ineffectiveness in only one orientation. Surefire has a well-developed clip that grabs a pocket edge quite well with the lens down, but also has an oversized wrap-around portion of the clip that gives a second carry option as well as grabs nicely to the bill of a baseball cap.  Only problem is Surefire lights are known for being a little big and can be heavy so you might need to snug up the cap’s retention on your skull.

No matter the clips shape, the one thing I want for sure is the ability to remove the clip. Not to keep it removed, per say, but rather to take it off and bend it how I want. Mostly the clip needs tightening to my personal specs, but occasionally, I want to increase or decrease the shovel angle on the clip’s tip to either slide into my pocket with less help, or reduce its stress on my pocket or thigh because it pokes out like a figurehead on a wooden ship.

Paper or Plastic?

Most lights today are made of one or two of three materials.  High end lights for non-explosive conditions usually run aluminum throughout.  A few are titanium, but those are definitely outliers.  Drop down a price point or two and you find plastic and polymer.  The final material is a Lexan or similar hard plastic that is often transparent.  My preference is aluminum when titanium is not available.  Although I don’t notice any weight difference between the two since the quantity of metal in a flashlight is pretty low given the strength requirements of such a device.

Also Read: Murphy’s Laws of TEOTWAWKI

Aluminum does have it’s downsides including higher cost, need for proper anodizing, and care when threading together the components.  Aluminum can be milled to much finer tolerances than synthetics so they are usually noticeably more refined.  That is the quality aluminum flashlights, not the junk ones in the hardware store checkout line.   But aluminum does scratch, dent, and sink. Plus, it seems that only those cheap Chinese dollar-lights next to the cash register are the only ones that truly embrace my love of bright colors. Surefire seems to think silver is a major departure from the norm.

The use of plastic can cut the cost of a light in half or more for roughly the same output performance by the same company. However, the flexible nature of plastic means that a hard blow will likely knock the stuffing out of the light whereas a quality aluminum one would just get bruised.  A good indication of how well a light will stay together under stress is found in the number of revolutions holding the components to each other. Two complete rotations is the minimum for high quality. If less than two, wear your seatbelt.  If less than one, wear a helmet.  Fenix lights use up to three rotations to keep their heads screwed on tight, and Surefire is at least two spins. And when twisting the pieces, notice the smoothness of thread interaction.  Many quality lights use thick durable threads, and even squared off thread tips.  While lesser lights, even those that might spin two or more times use such paper-thin threads that you can bend the head off the body even when screwed down tight.  Not all threads are created equal.

Batteries are Life

My barn full of lights run on everything from button-cell batteries to 18v rechargeable packs, but many of my Bug Out FlashlightsEDC and bug out lights run on CR123 batteries.  And if you ask to borrow a light, you will get a tube full of  AA batteries.  I divide my lights up across three categories:  Those that will be stored for later/emergency use, those for high performance use, and those for general or anticipated use.  CR123 batteries ride in my stored and high performance lights, and AA and AAA batteries ride in my general use lights.

The reason for the dichotomy is simple: cost.  To get maximum performance out of a high end light, you need fresh batteries.  Most modern LED lights only run their maximum output for a short time, then they step down their output according to available voltage.  Finally, there will be no difference between high and low. So if you want a blinding bright blast you will need full power batteries.  And since maximum output runtime is measured in minutes, every second of on now is a second of lower output later.  Usually this is not a problem because the output of a high end flashlight is plenty so even halving the lumen count is still triple figures. But halve that again, and you start to sense you are at a disadvantage.

Also Read: 3 Reasons Not To Stock Precious Metals

Rechargeable batteries are a great idea that is gaining more traction in the market.  However, there are many nuances and persnickety flashlight circuits out there so using high-powered rechargeables is on a case-by-case basis.  That said, some companies are going full on into the rechargeable side of EDC lights beyond the key fob lights discussed here.  The Factor Company is pushing the edges of tactical and EDC formfactor lights including micro-USB rechargeable flashlights that can take regular batteries if needed.

It’s a Wrap

Having to bug out is never a good thing, but having proper lights solutions at hand can certainly make the difference between life and death.  Whether feeling your way through a dark stairwell, or cutting corners through garbage-filled alleyways, or jumping over downed timber at night on the way to your bug out location, proper lighting is likely the first of your bug out tools to be put to the test.  While some like to say the best flashlight is the flashlight in your hand, I like to say the best flashlight is the best flashlight to have in your hand.  Junk can get you killed as fast or even faster than lack of experience.  Lighting solutions, like firearms and survival knives must mirror your talents and expectations because when you put your life in your flashlight’s hands, you must know it’s limits as well as its dedication to your mission.

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Jurisdictional Creep

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Best Survival Tips

Have the read the national newspapers today?  Did you watch Fox News, read Drudge, or get any of dozens survival_shtf_teotwawki_food_storageof news flash emails?  Are you planning to attend the next city council meeting where you live?  How about the school board meeting?  How do you know what is going on where you reside?  Do you care?  Did you take notice that the Massachusetts Attorney General just changed the states gun laws?  How about Magpul’s departure from Colorado to Wyoming and Texas?

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

Winchester is expanding its ammunition manufacturing in Mississippi, when Illinois was once Olin’s stronghold.  Do you wonder why all of a sudden these companies have changed residencies?

Are You Awake?

How are you feeling about national health care these days?  Have you applied?  Were you amazed at the gun grabbers agree tyrantspersonal information you had to reveal?  Did your doctor ask you if you owned guns on your last visit?  It’s on the form.  Are you the least bit paranoid that the NSA is checking up on all your emails?  Maybe mobile phone calls, too?  If you belong to certain political factions in American like the Tea Party, do you fear the IRS is double checking your tax returns?

Related: A Brief History Of Martial Law

Does it bother you in the least that illegal immigrants are pouring across the southern borders under the guise of being refugees fleeing oppressive Central American governments?  Are they poor kids, abandoned by their parents?  Does it matter that 90 percent of them have been shown to be teenagers?  Will they be carte blanche given citizenship with full entitlement benefits and voting rights in just a few years?

I just attended a local state university wildlife management course and was lectured by a state wildlife biologist that told us if we have a deer camera on our private property to take pictures of deer using corn as an attractant that we now have to have a state permit to do this.  Oh, and on the permit we are to provide the GPS location of the camera on our private land.  NOT!

Do you keep up at all with the numerous Executive Orders doled out on a regular basis?  Did you notice the one recently stopping the importation of foreign manufactured AK-47s?  Well, maybe Norinco will start making them here.  Where am I going with all this that impacts our prepping and survival planning?  Truth is I am not sure what the depths of the impacts are yet?  If product importations are restricted then supply and demand kicks in making that product immediately more expensive in the short term and eventually non-existent in the long term.  Is Tula or Wolf ammo next?  I don’t personally use it for my own reasons, but you might.  What if you can’t buy it any longer?  All of these events can be classified as jurisdictional creep.  You can just Google the term if you want to read more details and headlines.

Boil the Frog

You know the story.  A frog is put into a beaker and the flame is turned up ever so slightly.  The water warms taxation-is-theft-salesslowly.  The frog does not react to the water getting increasingly hot until it is too late.  Soon enough the water is boiling and the frog is cooked.  In terms of political fodder as the provisions of our American constitution are constantly diluted, we go on about our daily business of working, raising families, and paying out taxes not noticing we have suddenly lost some of our freedoms.   It’s all incremental like the boiling water.

One day you wake up and you have to pay an entry fee into the national parks we are supposed to own as Americans.  Didn’t our taxes paid on April 15th cover that?  Non-resident hunting and fishing licenses escalate in price every year somewhere, even though we pay the Pittman-Robinson tax on firearms and ammunition purchases for that federal money to be turned back to state wildlife agencies.  Are we not all Americans in one nation?

Related: Civil Asset Forfeiture – Policing for Profit

Are your taxes raised incrementally all the time?  Federal tax brackets change, deductions are reduced or disappear, state taxes increase, sales taxes increase and municipalities can add their own little tag on percentages, local property taxes go up as the county tax collectors suddenly decide your home is arbitrarily more valuable today than it was last year.

To add further insult to injury, they have relabeled taxes to “enhancement fees” or surcharges, alternative payments, etc.  If nothing else, politicians that enact these taxes are certainly creative when it comes to repackaging the taking of money from our pockets.

Diligence and Awareness

Like it or not jurisdictional creep slips up on all of us all the time from all fronts around us.  It comes from the federal government down through the state houses, the county courts to our local city halls and community centers.  It comes from hordes of agencies with oversight control of everything we do from registering vehicles, building permits to add a garage onto the house, postal regulations, gun registrations, health permits to bury a septic tank or a body in a casket, permits to cut a tree in the yard, neighborhood restrictions on the types of roofs we can have or where we can park our cars and on and on and on.

Also Read: A Community To Die For

A big part of our on-going responsibility as preppers is to stay on top of these things.   You can plan, scrounge, buy gear, store food and water, buy guns and learn to shoot, locate a Bug Out option site, learn to light a fire in the rain, or put up a tent in the pitch black, or lock down your Bug In home, but if you pay no attention to what is going on around you outside of your little world, then how prepared for a SHTF are you really?  As a prep friend of mine says, “When to pull the trigger?” is the most critical aspect of prepping for survival.  We have to stay current on world events, national news, local stuff and other critical communications such as catastrophic weather on the horizon from hurricanes, tornadoes, to polar blasts.  Don’t get stuck somewhere on a bridge when it hits.

As preppers we have to be a lot more sensitive to the water getting warmer.  Ideally your plan is in place, and you can Bug Out at a moment’s notice.  I don’t know how realistic that is for most of us.  We may be at work, wife at a job on the opposite end of town, and two kids in two different schools.  Work out the contingencies and know what to do.  Monitor the jurisdictional creep and how it slowly but surely alters your lifestyle. Remain ever vigilant.  – John

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Survival Afterwards: Living in the Aftermath

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How to survive

August 29 is my wedding anniversary.  It was the same date that Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf South Coast.  I try not to attach anyBest Hurricane Survival Tips connection between the two.  Though I lived 150 miles north of the landfall, our community was greatly impacted by the storm.  High winds and driving rain took down scores of trees and power lines along with them.  Roofs soared off homes, glass blew out, and highways became cluttered with storm debris and escaping vehicles.

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

All the local motels and eating establishments quickly jammed up with “refugees” coming in from the coast.  Within a week supplies began to dwindle.  Gasoline was in short supply creating long lines at the few open stations to only be able to buy ten gallons.  Even many people lucky enough to have a generator, could not get gas to run them.  All the generators were sold out the first day anyway.  I did not get one.

On the Home Front

So, here was the scenario at home.  I was there off and on because my work site was open.  My wife’s was not.  Schools were closed Best Survival Tipsso my young child was home.  We had no electrical power.  City water pressure continued and we had natural gas for cooking.  In many ways we were better off than a lot of other folks.  We had meat and frozen food in the freezer we could get out quickly that would last a few days and the same in the regular refrigerator.  We had lots of canned goods to last a couple weeks.  We had filled two tubs with water and 12 gallon milk jugs filled when the news came just in case.

Related: The Human Element of Survival

We used the shower for bathing, which was often with the daytime temps above 90 with equal humidity.  It was hot.  Sleeping at night was very uncomfortable.  I had stocked up with plenty of flashlights and batteries.   We had several big candles and a Coleman lantern with two gallons of fuel.  I have a similar camping cook stove in case the natural gas cut off.   We mostly used the candles.

Home security proved no issue.  I had my tools ready but since everyone in the neighborhood was in the same mess, as it were, there was no real advantage to rummaging around or looting, etc.  It did not happen in my area.  Frankly I think the bad elements simply could not get the gasoline to be roaming around.  We do know what happened in New Orleans so there is a lesson to be learned.  Be prepared, equipped and ready.  We were.

At Work 

Work was down completely though the facility I manage was the only one in the whole area with electric power.  It was only Food Storagecoincidental that the regional power company was using the site as an emergency Bug Out location.  It became the central hot spot for all the employees and other groups seeking accommodations for overnight rooms and meals.  We were booked.  Many of my in-house employees could not get to work, which was a good thing.

Also Read: 4 Things To Consider When Bugging Out

We had a stocked walk in freezer and a good supply of other food stuffs.  We had no tap water so bottled water had to be used to cook.  We made a lot of sandwiches and set up a “buffet” each day in the lobby for employees and guests only.  We turned away walk ins that learned we had some supplies.  College police guarded the facility each day.

The ‘tough” part was toting buckets of water up the hill from the nearby lake to flush toilets.  Some of the residents were not able to do this or unwilling to do it.  People failed to realize this was an emergency situation and continued to be demanding.  I recall one obnoxious guest screaming about not having her cable TV.  She was evacuated.

Life without the Power Grid

I recall quite vividly just how tough it was to be without electrical power.  We are all creatures of comfort, and I have to admit my own weaknesses just as all preppers will have to do under real practical aftermath conditions.  When it is 90+ degrees during the day and the house is hovering in the 85+ range, it is decidedly tough to go without air conditioning in the south.

Related: The Fear Factor

Had it been 30 degrees I could crank up the gas log fireplace.  However, I have long wished we had put in a wood burning fireplace or heater instead of a gas one.  There is a trade off for everything since a wood fireplace or wood heater would mean acquiring an ample supply of good firewood each season.   Think about this if you build a new house or add on.

We were able to manage otherwise quite well at home.  I did not miss the electrical lights though I did miss the television for news and weather.  The FM radio sufficed, but make sure you have one.  It is amazing but many people today including preppers simply forget to have on hand an old fashioned battery operated dial radio.  Don’t forget either than your vehicle likely still has an AM-FM radio to catch news and weather.

Cracks in the Infrastructure

Preppers need to be thinking well in advance and planning for the breakdown of every common source of infrastructure that we have become reliant upon.  Storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, other natural disasters can shut everything down.  We could very well be without any support service or utility option.  We might lose electrical power, natural gas, public water, and sewer.

Public resources could be hampered or gone altogether.  Police, fire, rescue and ambulances may disappear from service.  Hospitals may offer restricted service or could be vacant with no source of doctors, nurses, or other employees.  Airports could be closed and interstate highways either totally congested or locked down with abandoned vehicles.   Remember the scenes of highways in Atlanta on Walking Dead.

Related: 4 Step Home Evacuation Plan

The usual supply outlets like grocery stores will be quickly sold out and then likely completely looted.  The same could be true for hardware stores, home supply outlets, gun and ammo shops, pharmacies, general merchandise stores and even “7-11” type convenience stops.  It will all be gone in very short order.  Most businesses may be locked up or simply abandoned.  Hence, this is the definition of prepping and survival planning.  You will have to become totally self-reliant at least until order is re-established and the supply lines flow once again.  It could be a long while or it might be never.  Let’s all hope and pray that our species is above total annihilation, but given the politics and lunacy among the Arab nations, anything could happen on this earthen body.

Storm Interrupted Not a Marathon

In our case of this SHTF created from natural causes our local down time was only three days at home.  Some people out in the Survivalrural county areas lost power for 2-3 weeks.  Fuel supplies remained sketchy for a while but refilled within a month.  Life got better quickly when the electricity came back on line.  Ya just gotta love air conditioning.

Storm damage clean up took a year in some places.  It was a lot longer along the coast.  Some home sites and business will never be rebuilt.  Blue tarps still cover buildings in New Orleans even after billions were spent on recovery efforts.  Some residents still do not understand why Uncle Sam’s buses never did come to evacuate them along with a free wine and cheese basket.


Had this been some other kind of SHTF it could have been an exercise in fighting off the end of society as we know it.  Personally, I cannot image trying to tough it out in a remote woodland location living under a tarp lean-to, a tent, or out of the back of an SUV for two weeks, six months, or a maybe a couple years.  You younger folks can likely manage it for a while anyway.

The aftermath is not going to be a picnic.  Even a temporary discomforting event like Hurricane Katrina teaches us the stark realities of just how inconvenient these SHTF events can prove to be.  So preppers plan and plan wisely.  Plan to survive the aftermath or at least until society become redefined again.

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11.5 Bug Out Bag Mistakes That Are Not Mistakes

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Bug Out Bag

About the only tangible aspect we have for a real bug out is the bug out bag.  Sure you might have a BOVehicle or BOLocation, but Best Bug Out BagBOBag is often the beginning and the end for most lightweight survivalists and preppers.  The problem is that unlike taking a cruise to Alaska, or a family trip to Disney World, pretty much nobody you know has bugged out in the pure sense of the verb.  Now while I would actually like to keep it that way, the point of this blog, and your reading of it no less, is to cover the bug out contingency the best you can.  Unfortunately, most of the words about bugging out and bug out bags in particular are recycled from questionable sources or where someone played connect-the-dots using military-grade playbooks.

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

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Over the years I’ve read many of the same recycled advice columns about setting up a bug out bag.  And I’ve listened to podcasts from information purveyors whose bug out plans were gleaned from a Boy Scout camp out in fifth grade.  As I consumed the advice I’d pick and choose what I wanted to believe based on my past experiences, and what made logical and practical sense. But I could only take so much non-information or bad ideas before I stopped listening or reading.  Not that I have anything against recycling because I’m actually greener than most (many of us who dabble in off-grid solutions are), but that it seems nobody else will step up and risk being labeled as a heretic only to be chained to the proverbial internet post and flamed by the those who own recycled advice has just been challenged.

Above the Belt

Before reading further, here are my ground rules: First, this is about bug out bags or BOBs, not Get Home bags, not 72-hour bags, Survivaland not any of the other short-term carryovers or disaster-specific bag variations.  Second, obviously rules can be broken, but you need logical reasons to break them. Skill and experience will make up for some lack of equipment, but so too can good equipment make up for lack of skill. To a degree anyway.

And third, this article was written with the intent to shake some popular beliefs that are repeated ad nauseum across the internet whether or not the parrot has ever tested their own advice. Everything I address here is based upon my real-world experience. Of course you are free to do and say what you want, but when the fat lady sings you better have chosen wisely.

1. Do have a very big bug out bag

So-called bug out experts seem to fixate on backpack size because of noble but misguided intentions. The inaccurate but common belief is that a big bug out bag will be overpacked and impossible to carry. In reality, that logic just enforces my belief that the one giving the “smallest possible bag” advice has never done anything big outdoors. There are five main reasons you want a big bug out bag.

1) You can pack more (but see topic #2 below for more on this).

2) Big packs carry heavy loads much better than smaller packs. They hug the body and distribute weight so a 30 pound small pack is a pain, but a 30 pound large pack is almost invisible (but see topic #4 below to get it right).

3) You can use a large pack as a sleeping bag or bivy sack.

4) You can always carry air. Nobody is going to make you fill all available space in your pack.

And 5) If you leave home with a stuffed small pack, you cannot add to your load as you go. So unless you are bugging out on a commercial airline flight, you can forget about carry-on size limitations and do this right.

2. Do pack everything you think you might need

For some reason many bug out bags are packed with more good ideas than real-world supplies.  There is a prevalent fear that “too most common bug out bag mistakesmuch” is bad.  Well, I like to say that you cannot dump out what you don’t have.  Imagine an EMP caused you to hit the “go button” on your bug out plan. A month before, however, you cut down the size of your bug out bag assuming that the 30 mile jaunt to your bug out location (BOL) would be easier with a minimalist carry.

Related: The Best Food for your Bug Out Bag

But just as you head out the door, your neighbor fires up his EMP-proof truck and offers you a ride in the right direction.  No time to pack more, so guess what, you just made a colossal mistake in packing and you haven’t even left yet!  If you neighbor happens to drive a Chevy Luv packed to the gills, then you can dump out that case of Dinty Moore Beef Stew in order to wedge your bug out bag onto your lap.  Or better yet, keep it loaded and duct tape it to the hood of the truck.

3. Ignore the weight of your bug out bag

Similar to #2 above, weight can be a false prophet.  Consider why you are concerned with weight.  Is it to make your pack lighter just because? Well, does it really need to be lighter?  Or what will you be able to do with a lighter pack that you cannot do with a heavier pack? And how light is light? Or how heavy is heavy?  I hear supposedly informed preppers toss around numbers like 25-35 pounds. Well unless you are running to your BOL, the weight of your bug out bag is just one of many variables that can be adjusted on the fly. How you ask?  By dumping out what you don’t need or can no longer carry.

But if you are constantly mumbling something about pounds being pain, then you will have to make big decisions without waiting for all the information you could gather. Instead of cutting corners ahead of time, prepare to ditch weight as needed.  Water is a great ballast choice and can easily be substituted with air (see point #1 above). By the way, that old adage about three days without water and three weeks without food is nonsense in a bug out. You might survive those numbers adrift in a raft then rushed to a hospital, but certainly not walking around and doing survival work.

4. Do buy the very best you can of everything

Any internet list of “best” equipment that often further qualified by being under a certain price.  And that has failure built-in from Survivalthe start. Buy your tools and equipment based on need, quality and performance instead of price.  I’ve read lists of the best xyz under $50 or $99 with full knowledge that a massively better option is just a couple bucks more than the artificial cost ceiling that was chosen by the author for little more than dramatic effect. If you really need to pinch pennies, go with used equipment.

Since a real bug out has little margin for error, the fewer points of failure you you bring with you the better.  The problem is that most folks have not pushed equipment to the point of failure so they don’t know just how dangerous a cascade of failures can be in a survival situation.  Every year people die in the backcountry as one failure or injury multiplies into many.

Related: Jarhead’s Bug Out Bag

Someone gets disoriented snowshoeing.  They take a tumble in the powder filling their coat with snow that melts dampening their cotton clothes just as sun begins to set.  Numb hands cannot start a fire so they continue on.  A turn left at the big tree and they would have found their previous tracks and the way home.  But instead they went right and tomorrow morning their frozen corpse will be discovered by the rescue dogs on scene.  Then the spokesman for the S&R folks will again share the news cycle in an impromptu press conference highlighting the list of user errors for the umpteenth time.

5. Do skip all the military/tactical/police advice

Well, maybe not skip the advice, but certainly put it in perspective. Some of the big differences between the bug out and M/T/P INCH Bag Mistakesperspective is that a bug out is a deliberate run and hide while the M/T/P response is to engage or start the fight.  Consider what M/T/P life is like compared to the reality of a bug out. Sure a select fire weapon is effective, but unlike M/T/P you won’t have a supply chain feeding your machine gun, or an ambulance parked just behind the yellow tape. Instead, take the advice of those whose activities are closer to the bug out.

My models are mountaineering, rock climbing, canyoneering, deep mountain four-wheeling, extended backpacking and camping, winter camping, backcountry skiing, adventure racing, long-distance bicycling,mountain biking, sailing, river rafting, ultra-marathon trail running, big game hunting, forest fire fighting, and off-grid life in general. To transfer the knowledge to the bug out bag, you can first start with the equipment.  If you want quality outdoor equipment, then you have to pony-up for the tools that the serious outdoors folks count on for serious outdoor adventures. So perhaps a trip to the local REI will be more helpful bug out-wise than wandering the aisles of the big box gun store yet again.

5.5 Don’t skip all the military/tactical/police advice

In fact, embrace all the tactical aspects you can even if you look like a mall ninja’s mall ninja.  Just like the overstuffed bug out bag, the tactical look can come and go as needed, but will never be available unless with you at the start.   A common mistake that is batted back and forth by students of the bug out is whether or not to look tactical, especially in the departments of clothing, pack and loadout.  But the funny thing is that most discussions end there.

Also Read: 10 Must Haves For Your Bug Out Bag

In reality, you have plenty of options that straddle the lines of both worlds. I have a highly tactical-looking bug out bag in the form of a Eberlestock G4 Operator.  It’s a bohethomith in any language, and plays an operator in real life and on TV. Nobody would mistake the G4 for a family camping rig especially with a rifle sticking out of the top like a high frequency whip antenna on a Humvee. But in less than a minute, I can completely house the pack within a rain cover of my color choice whether light green, olive green, tan, or FDE. And the smooth fabric hides all the MOLLE, webbing ladders, 5.11 side pockets and ammo pouches. The rain cover does nothing for the size, or the rifle antenna, but it does totally neutralize the overtly aggressiveness of a tactical backpack.

For smaller daypacks, the same game can be played by simply tying or pinning fabric onto the pack, or even making the pack wear a sweatshirt.  Since the daypack is much like a human’s upper torso (which it’s designed to hug), you can dress it up in human clothes to your heart’s content.  The same is true for your tactical clothing.  Wear your operator threads under loose-fitting street clothes, and when needed just jump into the nearest phone booth and morph back into Superman.

6. One is plenty

The funny thing about redundancy is that it is usually practiced on the easiest and funnest targets like knives, fire starter, and back up iron sightsguns.  While I don’t discount the importance of those three areas for backup, I think some future bug outers are hiding low quality behind claims of redundancy.  I’ll take one good knife, one good flashlight, and one good gun over two or more lesser of any of the above. If you are worried about losing your tool and needing another one, then I suggest being more careful. Save the redundancy for those things that likely will break and create a catastrophic disadvantage. If you want to start a list of redundancies, begin with footwear. Yea, I know. Where’s the fun in that?

7. Don’t plan on bartering

I often read recycled “intel” that stresses the inclusion of barter items in the bug out bag. The problem with this type of thinking is that it wastes valuable space and weight on something for someone you haven’t yet met and who will likely not need it.  Focus on you and your plan, not that of some imaginary future person . And worse, many of the commonly suggested barter items are purely superficial.  Gold?  Silver?  Ammo?

Related: A Real Emergency Fund

Would you trade your food for a box of .303 British cartridges?  How about some pre-1964 quarters for your fish antibiotics?  Or some small yellow fragments that may or may not be gold for your extra warm clothes?  Not this guy.  I’ll engage in barter as needed with what I have at that time.  Most likely it will be for skills over objects, and especially not for those things that require intrinsic and agreed upon value like gold dust.

8. Carry cash in large denominations.

Everywhere I’ve traveled around the world, good old American greenbacks have value. The exchange rate might not be in my favor, Get Out of Dodge Bagbut bills with dead US presidents are always accepted.  Traditional prepper lore is to carry small bills such as fives, tens and twenties.  But the flaw in this wisdom is three-fold.  First, it assumes that reasonable prices will remain active during the bug out.  I sincerely doubt that bottled water will be a buck a pint or a box of 9mm for a single Hamilton will be the norm.

Related: How to Choose an Urban Survival Bag

Instead I’m betting that everything will be $100, or if not my $100 bill will beat your pair of twenties when fighting over that last case of canned soup at the gas station. Expect price gouging by packing enough financial firepower to overcome the competition and also the hesitation of the sellers.  Let the zeros do the talking.

9. Don’t rely on Paracord for much of anything

Handy yes. But only one solution of many you will need.  Paracord is by far the most popular prepper noun that doesn’t involve nitrocellulose or carbon steel. But as far as cordage goes, it’s main benefits are that it’s cheap and colorful.  Paracord was pretty much an afterthought on my outdoor adventure checklist during the first three-fourths of my life. Instead I chose specialized cordage for particular duties.  Thread, string, twine, fishing line, kevlar cord, dynamic rope, static line, one-inch tubular webbing, and so on. In fact about the only thing I use paracord for is to attach tents to anchors, and hanging food bags in trees.  Paracord is the duct tape of rope.  A catch-all solution with no specific job. But today it seems that paracord is the prepper’s dream material and is used with reckless abandon as if its presence alone will ensure survival. Learn your cordage and knots. Then use the proper rope for the job.

10. Do eat jerky

The bug out is an endurance sport so why would you take advice from someone who rarely pushes themselves to any physical limit. Mistakes for bug out bag One piece of faux-wisdom I hear often is to skip certain foods during the bug out, and beef jerky seems to be singled out more often than not.  The folksy wisdom seems to have your best interest at heart, but in reality it misses the point.  Yes, jerky is salty so you will need to drink water.  But you need to drink water anyway and at a level commensurate with the endurance sport you are now playing.  If you avoid jerky because you are delinquent in your hydration needs, the problem is with you, not the jerky.

Also Read: Have You Tested Your Bug Out Bag?

The only way to learn about the demands stressful endurance activity will place on your body is to play around with endurance. So take your nutrition advice from those folks who routinely push themselves in directions that parallel the bug out and pack your bug out bag with those nutritionally dense foods that power our super athletes whether world class bowhunter or marathon runner, Tour de France rider or ocean swimmer. Coffee and donuts might be the preferred pre-mission breakfast of SWAT teams, but don’t count on lasting long in the real world on that diet.

11. Do rely on technology

Of course technology can fail. I’m not stupid. But technology can also give you a massive strategic advantage in terms of speed and Survivalprecision. A compass and a GPS are two completely different items that have a slight bit of overlap. Yet I know plenty of folks who swear the GPS is a disaster waiting to happen while the compass they carry but don’t know how to use will save their life. All a compass does is point north. The rest is knowledge, skill, and geometry. Cell phones are magical when they work and I fully intend on using mine until it stops just as I plan on extracting all possible benefits out of every other electronic device, cable and charger I own. Half of all bug outs will happen at night, and using a compass in the dark is hardly forward thinking.

It might keep you walking in a straight line, but navigationally speaking, you’re screwed unless you have the terrain memorized in which case you don’t really need the compass. Bic lighters are technology as are gas stoves, binoculars, red dot sights, laser rangefinders, night vision, and semi-automatic pistols. And I intend to use all of them to their fullest potential. Sure a failure of my lighter and gun could have me rubbing two sticks together and whittling an atlatl, but, as I like to say, I’ll burn that bridge when I come to it.

Blame Game

So there you have it, my eleven and a half bug out mistakes that are not mistakes. I’m not sure this list will make a dent in the information recycling efforts of the average prepper, but it is my survivalist intent to provide a place you can point to when you want to question the popular advice, experience or even motives of the classic prepper.  So steer them towards this article and they can blame me, not you. T-Shirts Now Available






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Low Profile Survival Weaponry

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Best Survival Rifle

Yet another mass shooting has turned an unwelcome light upon civilian ownership of semi-automatic rifles derived from militaryBest Survival Rifle weaponry.  These are usually erroneously called assault rifles, by the press, a misnomer that there seems little point in continuing to correct.  The public has been made to see these as assault rifles, and has been convinced that they are evil and have no place in civilian hands.  We can argue our points, and try to correct misrepresentations; but sometimes discretion is the better part of valor, particularly where the law is concerned. You can’t fight city hall.  A fight deterred is a fight won.  This is where the idea of low profile weaponry comes into its own.

By Neal, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

Ideally, we are looking for something that does not stand out or draw attention to itself, yet is still capable of providing sufficient firepower.  So we do not want military derived guns, with bayonet lugs, flash hiders, aggressive looking assault style stocks, or military finishes.  On the other end of the spectrum, we also do not want single shot rifles, bolt actions, or anything else with a slow rate of fire.  We want something that fires a sufficiently powerful cartridge to get the job done.  So a traditionally designed gun, with a good rate of fire and a respectable amount of power is needed.

Happily, this hardly limits our choices at all. They are:

Lever action

This was the original assault gun.  Created at a time when most guns fired a single shot, and many muzzle loaders were still around, lever action gunthe lever action gives a lone individual the capability of firing off as many as a dozen rounds as fast as the lever can be worked. Working the lever and firing fast was nicknamed, a frontier drum roll.  The failure of the military to immediately adopt these guns was responsible for a number of slaughters.  Ironically, at the battle of Little Big Horn, Custer’s men were armed with the standard single shot trap door rifle, while an estimated 200 lever action rifles were in the possession of the natives. This is thought to have made a major contribution to his defeat.

By modern standards, the classic lever action holds up quite well. As an example, see the table below. It can be seen that, compared to the AR-15, the modern copy of the old Winchester is better in almost every way. It is slightly smaller, slightly lighter, fires a more powerful cartridge, and nearly matches the rate of fire.

AR-15 Winchester (Marlin) 92
Weight 6 pounds, 4 ounces 5 pounds, 14 ounces
Length 39” 37”
Rate of fire 150 per minute (semi) 12 per minute
Magazine 20 (30) 10
cartridge 223 44 magnum
Energy 1308 fp 1630 fp

Disadvantages are that a lever is slower to reload, when reloading becomes necessary, it has a somewhat lower rate of fire (though it still fires pretty quickly), and as a general rule is not as accurate as a good semi-auto, though this is a matter of debate. Considerable as it is, the 10 round magazine capacity is not equal to the twenty or thirty round magazine capacity available for the AR-15.

Also Read: 6 Reasons Why You Need A Shotgun

Still, the point here is that the classic lever action is plenty good enough, considerably less expensive, and far less likely to be banned, restricted, or require licensing than a modern military style semi-auto.  These are considered hunting arms, rather than military pieces, and will not draw undue attention when being carried in the woods, or wherever else.

Pump action

Maligned, ignored, or seen as a specialty gun, the pump is faster than you think.  It is surprisingly, one of the more popular deer rifles, and is useful in places where using a semi-auto for hunting is illegal.  Like the semi auto, it does not require you to remove your attention from the sighting plane.  This is the most popular action style for shotguns, but was somehow never embraced to the same extent in rifles.  The only major manufacturer of this action type in a useful caliber is Remington.  In its various guises as the model 760, 762, 7600, and model 6, there have been something like a million and a half of these rifles produced, and they are still in limited production today.


This is basically a semi auto rifle with the slide working action bars to cycle the bolt. In the semi auto version (the model 740, 742, 7400, or model 4), a gas piston does the job.  The guns are target accurate, and made the news shortly after their introduction when a US shooting team used them to place first in a competition in Norway.  I have always been able to get all of my shots into a single hole at 100 yards, which is plenty good enough for defense.

The pump compares well to my benchmark AR-15 in a comparison table below.  The pump is slightly longer, and a bit heavier, but fires an overwhelmingly more powerful cartridge. Rate of fire is nearly the same, and with a box magazine, reload is just as fast.

AR-15 Remington 7600
Weight 6 pounds, 4 ounces 7 pounds, 8 ounces
Length 39” 42”
Rate of fire 150 per minute (semi) 20 per minute (estimated)
Magazine 20 (30) 4 (10)
cartridge 223 30-06
Energy 1308 fp 3000 fp

Where the AR-15 beats the pump is in its larger capacity magazine, though for a rifle, I still think 10 shots is plenty.  Additionally, the AR-15 is three inches shorter and a pound lighter.  At distance, the pump’s 30-06 will completely outclass the .223 of the AR-15.  Closer in, the higher magazine capacity of the AR-15 gives it an advantage. Most important, for the purposes of this article, the pump Is not nearly as threatening, does not have the assault rifle stigma, and is less likely to be restricted, banned, or scrutinized.


If you must have a semi auto, get one that does not shout assault rifle.  I admit to owning several AR-15’s, an HK-91, a pair of Best Survival GunCalicos, an M1A, a Thompson, and a few other high profile firearms.  I rarely leave the house with them. They are high profile weapons.  If we ever lose control of the government to the extent that weapons bans go into effect, these are the first guns that will be confiscated, taxed, or tracked.

Related: Best Survival Carbine

When I want to shoot semi- auto, I take my Marlin Camp Gun.  Marlin made these in two versions, one that took standard M1911 .45 magazines, and the other that took standard S&W 9mm magazines.  These are wonderful guns, sadly out of production, that are traditionally designed, easy to shoot, and look a bit like junior’s grown up 22 rifle. They are not threatening, and are unlikely to draw any unwelcome attention.

Related: The Katrina Rifle

When compared to the classic AR-15, the camp gun is about the same size and weight, with the same rate of fire, and approximately the same magazine capacity.  Both have box magazines for fast reloading. The AR-15 has a significant advantage in cartridge power, but the advantage is less applicable close in.  While these guns are no longer made, they can still be found for far less money than what an AR-15 will cost.  They also have the advantage of taking standard, cheap, available magazines. Ruger made something similar with its Police Carbine line, also discontinued.

AR-15 Camp Gun
Weight 6 pounds, 4 ounces 6 pounds, 7 ounces
Length 39” 35”
Rate of fire 150 per minute (semi) 110 per minute (estimated)
Magazine 20 (30) 15 (25)
cartridge 223 9mm
Energy 1308 fp 608 fp

Browning and Remington, have both been making traditionally styled semi auto hunting rifles for decades.  The Browning BAR, and Remington 740, 742, 7400, and Model Four series have been taking deer, elk, and dangerous game for almost a hundred years. Both are semi-automatic, both have removable box magazines, and both are reasonably light and handy.  The BAR is quite expensive, but the Remington is no more costly than a decent bolt action rifle.  These rifles take full sized cartridges, and can even be chambered for magnum rifle rounds.  They are probably better for the individual survivor than a military assault style rifle.

Surviving Today

A weapon that is confiscated will do you no good when things go bad. An illegal weapon that gets you tossed in jail will subject you to your own personal SHTF.  Neither will enhance your survival.  Someday SHTF will happen. It may occur within our lifetimes, and it may not; but it will happen.  No civilization lasts forever.  In the meantime, the rifles listed above are legal most places, unlikely to cause you any grief with the local authorities, and will serve you will in a SHTF situation.

Stay low, stay out of trouble, and survive.

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Implementing A Secondary Survival Cache

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How to bury a survival cache

Is there a compelling reason to justify selecting, creating, and stocking a back up supply hide?  This is a subject I have spent Best Survival Cacheconsiderable time researching over the past several months.  My conclusions are not hard and fast, because I realize first and foremost that every member of the Survival Cache family has different survival prep priorities, goals and objectives.  Creating another survival cache of goods is not for every prepper.  And don’t be confused by my use of the terms secondary or intermediate, because I mean them to be interchangeable.

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

Why Create Other Cache Hides?

Here’s the scenario.  You work downtown in a medium or large city.  The commute is several miles from home and it takes up to an Best Way To Make A Survival Cachehour depending on the traffic congestion to get to your office or work site.  Your wife and kids work and go to school in the opposite direction.  By noon there is a report of severe weather coming in.  A glance out your office window reveals dark, ominous clouds rolling in your direction.  It is obvious the winds are picking up and it starts raining.  What do you do?

You call your wife and tell her to gather the kids and head to your predetermined secure Bug Out location, which is a rural farmhouse built to withstand nasty storms.  When you finally negotiate the traffic and arrive at your Bug Out locale, what have you done to prepare at that site for an extended stay?  Did you cache out the site?

Related: Monovault Burial Vault Review

Scenario No.2 is different.  You live downwind only 40 miles from a chemical plant that has experienced a melt down.  You have been ordered to evacuate your home and you have zero time to pack anything.  The whole thing catches you off guard.  You gather your family, jump in the SUV and speed down the driveway praying you can find a motel somewhere down the highway in the safe zone.  The nearest town is another fifty miles down the road.  Perhaps you wish you had stashed a cache of supplies somewhere else away from your home just in case?  Maybe just a hidden plastic sealed vault with some emergency food, water, medicine, and some other supplies to carry you over.

Obviously we could create an endless number of “what if” SHTF scenarios in which the creation of a secondary supply cache would have proven extremely beneficial.  Questions arise about where, what, how much, how long, and such.  It seems as though some of these questions could prove quite problematic to having a secondary cache.  I guess the question will always remain just how practical it would be to build out a secondary supply hide.  For me, the tough issue would be setting aside critical supplies in a potentially vicarious location where expensive goods might deteriorate over time or be discovered by somebody else or even be gone when I needed it.

Some would say to cache out at a distant family or friend location where it would be secured.  Others advocate the extreme of burying it somewhere in the wilds hoping it will endure the natural elements.  All questions worthy of poised thought and planning.  But for the sake of consideration for proper prepper planning, let’s consider the possibilities.

The Cache Bag

Perhaps this could be considered nitpicking, but what if we created a smaller version of a Bug Out Bag that contained perhaps Best Way to Store Guns Undergroundsome of the same stuff, but in smaller emergency type quantities that we could cache in one or more locations for “on the run” situations.  This would be an intermediate grab and go bag on our way to a more permanent Bug Out location.

It is not to be kept at your fixed home living domicile, though I suppose it could be in the car trunk or in the back of the SUV.  The idea though is for it to be hidden out at an in between location from Home A and Bug Out Location C.  The Cache Bag is posted at Site B.  The location could be a friend’s garage, a known business location such as a warehouse of an associate, or the upstairs closet of an aunt somewhere along the travel route.  There could be multiple Cache Bags hidden at alternate routes all eventually leading to your final Bug Out hold out.

These supplies are meant to sustain you until you reach your final pre-planned destination during the SHTF.  This would differ from larger Bug Out Bags that would be intended for an extended starter supply bag once you traveled direct from your home or office to the Bug Out site.  This Bug Out Bag would be kept at home or in the vehicle if secure.  The Cache Bag idea is also not a substitute for well supplying your final Bug Out locale in advance.  I realize this is taking a fine line, but one principle of prepping is to remain flexible and to consider multiple options.  Frankly, we’ll never really know what options we have until we’re in the middle of it hitting the fan.

Packing a Cloaked Hideout Cache

One has to realize in this day and age that we could be displaced from our homes sometimes on very short notice as a result of any How to bury a survival cachenumber of circumstances such as the examples opening this treatise.  If we are away from our primary residence at that time, then we may realistically not have time to gather supplies or essentials for our evacuation or escape.  We may need gear, supplies and equipment hidden elsewhere either before we can get to our Bug Out site or as an alternative to that Bug Out site.

Such a cache is meant to be hidden long term and retrieved in the event of a SHTF.  As mentioned above there could be many options for hideout places.  You have to pick ones you are secure about and comfortable with.  What sort of goods should we plan to pack into a hideout cache?

Also Read: If You Only Have 4 Pieces of Gear

The list should be kept short, concise, and focused on essential needs.  One list might include some clothing items geared toward seasonal weather, everyday use toiletries such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, soap, shampoo, a comb or brush, wet wipes, washcloth, small towel, some cash and coins, perhaps some candy, energy bars, and some water.  Consider a shelter top, tarp or heavy duty plastic leaf sacks.  Other items worthy of consideration to cache based on an assumption that your evacuation might be due to a natural disaster that could have possibly destroyed your home, neighborhood, or town and thus you could suffer the loss of critical items like important documents.

You might want to strongly consider copies of credit cards, essential keys such as duplicates for your vehicles and house, insurance papers, social security cards, banking information and account numbers, and critical personal files you might wish to copy onto a flash drive.  Any other personal important items as well perhaps birth certificates, legal papers, your will, home mortgage information and titles to your house and cars.  Pack a supply of any required medications and perhaps some over the counter items such as aspirin, Ibuprofen, acetaminophen, antacids, and any other items you may normally use on a regular basis.

All of these items could be cached securely in a 58-gallon molded survival barrel with a waterproof screw on top.  These containers are available from many sources and could be buried or just well hidden.  There are many other products out there as well to be used for caching supplies, gear, and goods for a long term storage plan.

Maybe What Not to Cache

Personally I am a bit squeamish about packing weaponry and ammo in an intermediate hideout cache.  I want that kind of gear Best Survival Cachewith me the entire time.  A few extra boxes of ammo maybe, but I’m not putting an AR or a pistol in a ground vault.  You may decide otherwise.  Check shelf life on food products you cache.  A number of MRE meal packs would be good and expected to last a while.  Store bought granola or energy bars may not last that long.  A few bags of purpose-driven survival food would work.  Again the idea (hopefully) is for this secondary cache to just tide you over in route.  You decide how many days of rations and supplies you want to hide out.

It is reasonable to consider that any SHTF escape plan could be interrupted, altered, compromised, or become a dead-end effort.  You may have initially worked out a plan to get from Home A to the final Bug Out site C in two days.  What if the roads are blocked, gangs or zombies are controlling or raiding points of exit.  It might take you to alternative routes and a much longer protracted scenario to reach safe haven.

Start setting seconds of gear, goods and supplies aside to build out your Cache Bag.  Keep focused on the idea that this is not your final destination so it is not imperative to put your best stuff in a secondary hideout location.  Save the best stuff for your more permanent Bug Out site.

I hope you guys can think of a cajillion (that’s more than a million!!) other things to put into a secondary cache.  We are counting on your thoughts to supplement ours.  Use our comments section to post your ideas and suggestions.  We are all in this together so please share your lists.

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Building a Post-Apocalyptic Survival ATV

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best survival atv

Fresh off watching Mad Max Fury Road for the second time, I am almost ready to drop some cash on airfare TEOTWAWKI ATVand tickets to attend the increasingly popular Wasteland Weekend.  For someone like me, a publisher of post-apocalyptic fiction and survival nonfiction, it’s like a dream event right up there with attending the annual SHOT Show in Vegas.  Wasteland Weekend… don the roughed up leather jacket, scrap metal and cut rubber for shoulder armor, make a wild Mohawk and prepare to party with post-apocalyptic peeps for an entire weekend.

By DG, founder of Prepper Press

I’d roll into the event in my… on my… hmmmm.  Post-apocalyptic ATV? Yes!  Now hold up, before you all-too-serious folks dismiss this post, read on as I’ve included more practical SHTF information in the second half. But for now, how would I get to a post-apocalyptic ride like Max’s off road motorcycle?  There’s some obvious takeaways here, mainly dirt, scuffs and randomly secured blankets and bags. The ATV, though, while slower than a dirt bike or motorcycle, may be better equipped for riding through the wasteland. It can carry more gear!

Racks & Boom Sticks

Racks – you can’t store spare gear without front and rear racks, right? Chances are high if you own an ATV, Best Survival ATVyou already have racks installed.  Figure out how to use them to their fullest.

Spikes – I didn’t get this far, but if I was going to Wasteland Weekend with an ATV, you can bet there’d be spikes all over it to ward off people and enemy ATVs.  The easiest route would be welding pieces of rebar to the rig, but that would likely be more apt to risk hurting the rider than anyone else, but in a Fury Road scenario, you don’t want people jumping onto your ride – let them impale themselves on that pig iron.

Antlers – they look kinda cool, don’t they?   All post-apocalyptic like?  Horns would also work, ideally Texas long horns.  They’re not very practical, but they can offer an imposing appearance, a symbol of… something, I’m not sure what, but I like them.  They give the ride character, like it’s ready to butt heads.

Fury Road Boom Sticks – you know the explosive spears they toss in Fury Road to disable vehicles.  You Best Survival ATVneed ‘em. I made replicas, took wicker tiki torches, spray painted them black, and “boom” goes the stick – at least we pretend, but if loaded with tiki fuel, it’d do something.

No, I didn’t end up going to Wasteland Weekend, sadly.  If I had, traveling from Maine wouldn’t really make arriving in an ATV probable, but maybe someday. In the meantime, the boys had fun pretending to be war boys.

Beyond Appearance, More Practical

So you’re not planning to hit Wasteland Weekend with an ATV or looking to make an “art car” for Burning Man Festival. You’re of the more serious mind, practical and logistical, and you’re certainly not going to waste time and energy making what equates to vehicle cosplay. The ATV is still an obvious asset to have should SHTF, as any fast, light, off road transportation would be.  What you need to know.

ATV Specific Gear

Zombies (a.k.a. unprepared urban dwellers invading your neighborhood) are on the hunt and you need to get out of dodge – ASAP! You saddle up your ATV ride, but with what? It calls for some special “insurance” items:
1.  A Jerry Can and mount. You can’t roll without gas. One of these cans will carry 5 gallons of spare gas. Double the tanks if your machine can fit them and your planned route warrants it.  Want a better idea?  Check out the RotopaX gas packs, they’re made for ATVs.
2.  A winch. Well duh. Do I really need to explain this one?
3.  A basic commercial patch/plug and compact tire pump.  That will take care of most tire-related troubles. Toss in some spare headlight bulbs as well.
4.  An axe or quality saw. Don’t let a downed tree block your path to safety (and it doubles as an anti-zombie tool).
5.  A trailer – that’s right. It’s a whole lot easier to pull gear and there’s a lot more room. You can easily triple your load capacity with a trailer. It’s a no-brainer. Just make sure to get one specific to the task with enough ground clearance to meet your needs.
6.  GPS – mounted to the front.
7.  Gun carrier – again, for obvious reasons, unless you want it accessible and ready to go at all times. Then figure out an attachment that works for you.


“But wait,” you say. “Fire that ATV up and you’ll be heard a few miles away, eliminating any hope of OPSEC.” They’re called “ATV silencers” and they’re readily available on Amazon and other sites. “Silent Rider” is a popular brand.  Did you hear that?  No, me neither.

ATV Bug Out Bag – How’s it Different?

So your bug out plan involves departing by ATV – lucky you! Not only can you travel faster, but you can carry Best SHTF ATVmore gear.  I’m not going to rehash what goes into a bug out bag as I’m sure many of you know, but the ATV allows you to double, or even triple, up on some key pieces of equipment.  My advice? More water and more food.  Perhaps some additional gear pertinent to your locale (extra blanket, sun hat, etc.).  Still, put all of that “stuff” inside a backpack just the same. Who knows what you and your machine might encounter. Plan to bug out by ATV, but be able to take essentials with you by foot if necessary.


The ATV, under certain circumstances, can make a wonderful survival vehicle and/or post-apocalyptic ride. This all assumes you need to get from point A to point B, and the ATV will facilitate that.  It could also have utility in a SHTF situation.  Say, for example, you need to get firewood or carry water in a trailer, things of that nature.  Remember to be mindful of your ATV’s load capacity. You don’t want to exceed it. Ideally you’d come under capacity.  Keep your ATV maintained, and ride safe, ride hard!

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

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Summer Prep For Kids

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I have listened to a lot of people lately complain about their kids and how all they want to do is sit in front of Survival Kidsscreens.  Ironically while these people are telling me about their “lazy” kids, they are checking their phones and physically, appear to be the indoor/ couch type of person.  I am extremely tired of hearing how lazy children are these days when their supposed role models are no better.  Kids will imitate those they spend the most time around.  If you are an active individual they too will be active.

By Tinderwolf, a contributing author of SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

Likewise, if you are lazy and you show them that technology is the most important activity to spend their time on, well they will follow suit.  Having your kids be active as soon and often as possible is paramount. Start off small and keep it going.  You don’t have to plan some fancy trip to the mountains for a week straight.  All kids really want is attention and consistency.  My kids were going through a phase where they enjoyed pirates.

Related: Get Your Kids Outside

So, I got a hold of a bunch of old half dollars (non-silver) and various other coins and planned treasure Camping & Survival Kidshunts. I would hide the “treasure” in the yard or at park and then make up a treasure map.  Be creative and don’t make the map too difficult to read. I drew mine with crayons or markers, added various landmarks that they would easily identify and added a North, South key on it.

I took it one step further to make the map look older by rubbing used coffee grinds all over it and crumpling up the paper.  Sometimes they would have trouble finding their way and I would make up very simple riddles or clues for them to figure out.  This simple activity got my kids outside, introduced them to reading a map, used their imagination and they had an absolute blast with this game.  I found what works with my kids so they enjoyed this activity and now they ask to go on treasure hunts all the time.

Related: 4 Step Household Evac Plan

Learning how to fish is not only fun (in my opinion) but is a critical skill to learn.  From my experience, my Best Survival Skills for Kidskids got bored pretty quickly when I first took them fishing.  I found they stayed interested in the process much longer when we were catching fish.  The easiest way to accomplish this is by not fishing for the biggest fish in the pond but rather, fish for the little ones.  I would always find a spot on shore where I knew I could dip and pull little Bluegills and Sunfish out of the water with regularity.

When my kids knew they could get their own fish they wanted to completely take over the process and soon they were sitting next to me doing everything themselves.  As they get older make the fishing experience more challenging.  Instead of using a store bought pole have them make their own from a tree branch or have no pole at all.  I found what works with my kids to make fishing fun and now they ask to go all the time.

Also Read: Everyday Survival Kits

I first took my kids camping in my mom’s backyard.  They helped me sent up the tent, laid out the bedding, collect firewood, and sorted out all of the other particulars.  It was important to me that they didn’t rely on just a tent for shelter so we made other types of “forts” to play in.  We used a tarp and other natural materials to create different kinds of structures that could be used for shelter.  I had them do everything when the time came to create a fire. Creating a scavenger hunt to find the materials kept them interested in the process.

I gave them a very small Old Timer knife to scrape tinder and cut small twigs.  Once the ingredients for the base of the fire were ready I had them use a lighter to get the fire going.  When they saw that little flame grow and grow into a warm life giving fire, their eyes got as big as silver dollars.  This made the frustrating process of them using a fire rod much easier as they had the knowledge and drive to see that fire again.  I found out what works for my kids and now they want to go camping, they want to learn different methods for starting a fire, they want to create their own shelters.

Related: Family Survival

What I found most interesting with my kids were the questions they would come up with on their own.  I was Survival not introducing them emergency situations or prepping but getting them involved in outdoor activities and skills that many don’t become involved with anymore. As time went along   the questions they had were prepping and emergency situation related.  “Dad, what happens if you can’t get food from a store?” “Dad, what do you do if you get hurt and no one is around?”

I fostered these questions and treated them gently like a small ember of a fire.  Never doom and gloom the situation until you have to.  You have to find what works for your kids to keep them interested and having fun. I used the same methods as mentioned above to teach them gardening, food storage, self- defense, navigational skills and the list goes on.  You are the adult, you are the role model, you not only have to show them (and yourself) how to take the first step, but how to keep putting one foot in front of the other in the pursuit of a more fulfilling, skillful lifestyle.

You Might Also Like: Bug Out Bags for Kids

Power down all the empty, time consuming aspects of your life and get involved.  Sometimes teaching others is easy and sometimes it makes you want to hit your head against the wall.  One of the most important aspects to teaching others I have found, is that I learn just as much, if not more, from those I am teaching. Get out there and remember, have fun!

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food storage

Prepping takes time and preparation.  This is essential whether you are doing a Bug In at home with family, a Survival few extended family, neighborhood friends, or a Bug Out solo or with a partnership team.  Just know that the more numbers you add, the more complicated and difficult things suddenly seem to become.  It is inevitable I guess.  Either way you will be facing the daunting task of learning, teaching, practicing and perfecting your TTPs or Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures.  Far be it for me to preach to you guys all the details of that approach, so I will just highlight some priority topics.

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

Look at the Survival Cache site under the books section to get some heavy duty reading materials on the subjects at hand.   There is rarely a substitute for building a foundation of basic knowledge regardless of the subject.  I have probably quoted this before but this comment by Patrick Rogers in SWAT Magazine just about says it right.  “When all is said and done, practice does not make perfect.  Practice only makes permanent.  If we strive for only for mediocrity that is all we will ever achieve.”

Also Read: Review Henry Arms AR-7 Survival Rifle

That is the bottom line with survival prepping.  We can read all we want.  Attend seminars and take courses to expose ourselves to knowledge.  Watch all the You-Tubes we can, but if we never try to perform these skills ourselves, then we are just kidding ourselves in the worst way.  And I point the same finger at myself with many of these things.  We have got to do better.

Contingency Training

Do yourself a favor whether a Bug In or Bug Out alone or with others, conduct a SWOT analysis.  These are Best Survival TrainingStrengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.  The easy way to do this is to use different colored sticky pads for each of the four SWOT concepts.  Have your family, group, or team write down ideas on each topic and stick them to the wall or white board under each category.  Compile them, consider them, debated them and then prepare for them.

SWOT Analysis is a commonly used management tool for developing teams to work better toward common goals but also to learn more about the challenges you face as a team.  It can be a fun process, if you anoint someone with leadership skills to guide the process and control the discussions.

Related: 3 Bug Out Lessons From A SWAT Officer

In terms of practicality, I can only imagine how difficult if not actually impossible to train or prep for every possible contingency.  You have to take stock of where you live for example and look at the most likely worst threats.  Where I live we are subject to tornadoes, and hurricanes.  This year is the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.  There will be more.  There are tornadoes every year that rip apart entire communities in my home state.  What if one hit your house, or mine or the neighborhood down the road knocking out all power for a month?

Where I live I am 60 miles as the crow flies from a nuclear power plant.  What if ISIS somehow bombed that or an insurgent slipped in with a suitcase dirty bomb?  Impossible you say?  Better rethink that line of denial.  Am I spending a lot of time on how to recover from a nuclear plant meltdown?  Nope.  Do I know what I need to do to get ready for the aftermath of a tornado or hurricane?  Yep.  You have to regionalize your prep plan when it comes to the potential for natural disasters where you live.  Then get our TTP priorities in order and initiate action.

Also Read: 10 Best Survival Movie Lessons

Then you can start to concentrate or parallel your prep for unnatural disasters such as an economic collapse, a bank closure, widespread power grid lock down, communications crash, epidemics of all kinds (Dah, like what…..measles?), and other SHTF events that are out of our control except for the survival part.  Work to those ends.  Heed your SWOT, even if all you do in that regard is one for yourself.  You have to know where you stand in your world.

Training the Undesirable Tasks

Do not spend all your training time on the things you like to do or already do well.  For example, most of ussurvival_prepper_shtf_survivalistpreppers like guns and shooting.  We make a critical error if we dwell on firearms defense and protection to the neglect of many other things.  Sure it is important, but if you starve to death or die from weather exposure without shelter, then what have you gained but weapons left to rust.

Stock up your canned goods or dry pack foods.  Learn to light a fire in the wind and rain.  Get your reserve fuel stocks in order including cooking stove fuels.  If you Bug Out, know how to assemble your tent in the dark or by flashlight.  Work your “pack and jerk” plan which is to say have supplies ready to go, ready to toss into the pickup bed or SUV at a moment’s notice.

Also Read: You’re a 1000 Miles Away and the SHTF

Don’t just buy a can or bag of survival food.  Buy some then prepare it.  See firsthand if it is edible or if you spit it out.  Can you light that Coleman lantern or replace the mantle screen?  Can you sharpen knives, and axes?  Have you tried to put a tourniquet on someone?  Can you break new ground for a garden, hoe it, and plant it?  What would you try to grow?  You could actually try that in your backyard this summer.

Maybe a good start to this end would be to make a list of the things you dislike doing the most, then dedicating at least some time to those tasks.  Perhaps there is a person on your team or family that might actually enjoy that task.  Let them plan for it and lead the practice.  Hey, SHTFBlog fans, what are the prepping tasks you hate the most?  Tell us in the comments below.

Adverse Conditions Training

Train and practice in good weather and bad.  SHTF knows no fair weather birds.  In fact many naturally How to surviveoccurring SHTF’s are severe weather incidents.  As I look out my office window right now the temperature has dropped 20 degrees in three hours and a winter advisory is out for the evening and tomorrow.  How would you like to camp out tonight?  It would be a perfect time to test your skills and your will.  See, this is just another reason I plan to Bug In.

Related: 1 Pistol, 1 Rifle, & 1 Knife

Suppose right now you lived in Boston and maybe you do.  How was that walk to the corner market just to find many items gone from the shelves because restocking was impossible on the impassable roadways?  How many times can you dig out the sidewalk or driveway?  Are these conditions starting to wear on your psyche?  Getting a little edgy are we?

I suppose within nine months we will see a spike in the birth rate in these areas impacted by adverse winter weather.  Did your prep plan factor in another child or a first one?  Now you have other issues and concerns to deal with.  So, don’t just pick the blue sky park days to get outside to execute some of your prep plans.  As nasty as it might seem and will be, whether freezing cold or super hot and humid, when a SHTF really does come, the environmental conditions will be real all year long wherever you reside.  Know this, prep for it and practice for it.

Plan For Training Then Execute

Neither planning nor training is like reading a book then putting it up on the shelf to collect dust.  You may well know how to overhaul that garden tiller motor, but have you done it?  A few months ago you bought a new AR for defensive perimeter work and a bright shiny new red dot optic for it.  How many rounds have you put through it to date?  One box is not nearly enough regardless of the cost of the ammo.  Can anybody else in your family or on your team shoot this weapon with reliable accuracy?

Every component and aspect of your prepping plan has to be executed at some point in order for the plan to be effective.  Well, there’s a no brainer if I ever heard one.  It’s just reality that most of us have longer lists of things to accomplish on our prep plan than we have yet to do.  I am with you brothers.  You are not alone in the prepper wilderness.

Also Read: Raising A Prepared Kid

For me, I am the best planner, I create impeccable detailed lists, and am a thinker of things to be done.  But I am the worst at doing them in a timely manner.  My wife on the other hand is a doer, but plans nothing.  Whatever she buys she never reads the owner’s manual, while I pour over one for days.  She’ll plan a project, have half the tools needed, and always forget some critical phase of the deed.  I hope she doesn’t read this.  You’d think we would complement each other, but as you know, it doesn’t work that way.  Which one of us is it again that is from Mars?

Again, I think the best most prudent approach is an incremental one.  We simply cannot do everything at once anyway, though our thought patterns may be able to work and plan that way.  If we continue to postpone the inevitable, we are likely to get caught with our pants down around our ankles with Brian Williams there on the chopper flying overhead, but passing us by.

Also Read: SHTF – Women & Sex

I’ve never had to really survive a tough SHTF yet, but I cannot imagine any part of it being much fun.  I had to “survive” nearly a week without air conditioning and electricity from Katrina in August heat.  It was grossly unpleasant, but it was only 5 days.   What if we had to do endure that for a month, a year, longer?  Get your TTPs in order and things will go much easier down the road.

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Bug Out Gun Lights: Part 2

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Best Gun Light

As noted in part one of Bug Out Gun Lights, mounting a light on a weapon, whether long gun or handgun, is Bug Out Gun Lighta necessary option for every bug in and bug out scenario.  The light is not just for discriminating among potential targets, but also to light the escape route, to light the impromptu medical theater, and to signal others as needed. In part one, the generalities of WMLs or weapon mounted lights were explored.  In part two of Bug Out Gun Lights we will consider long rifle implications, shotguns, and specific lights.

By Doc Montana, a contributing author of Survival Cache and SHTFBlog
This article is Part 2 in a series on Bug Out Gun Lights (Read Part 1)

Have vs. Want

The next time I get mugged, it will be in broad daylight, under a noon blue sky, inside the lobby of a police station, during SWAT open house, while POTUS is in attendance, and I just happened to have started my demonstration of how to load an MP5 with live ammo.

Also Read: Pro Level Key Fob Lights

Unfortunately statistics are not on my side. Most violent encounters in the US happen after the sun is well on it’s way to China.  In other words, it’s dark. So training with a weapon mounted light is an important piece of the survival puzzle.  FBI stats have shown that over 50 percent of LEOs that were killed in the line of duty met their end during the hours between 8pm and 6am. And even worse, 92% of all assaults on LEOs occurred between those same hours. While you might not be a LEO, the risk of assault, robbery, and pretty much everything nasty in between is more likely to happen at night. Thus the need for a WML. But also the responsibility of the gun owner to absolutely know his target. Wandering in the dark is ignoring 80% of the input the brain prefers to use to process a situation. Sight is our dominant sense, and light is essential for sight.

Related: Compact Flashlight Comparison

Not all LEOs were giddy about dedicated weapons lights when they arrived.  In fact, it was the K9 officers who were first in line to adopt WMLs.  With one hand perpetually attached to a dog leash, they had only half the number of available upper torso appendages to begin with.  By making gun and light one unit, the K9 cops could move around more like their unleashed brethren.

Location. Location. Location.

Now that WMLs are powerful enough to be practical on a rifle, it really is only a matter of time before you get one. But where to put it?  Many modern ARs have three linear feet of rail or more, but only the final two inches near the muzzle will work for a light. If you have a fixed front sight, you probably don’t want to mount the light on the top rail since the photons will hit the first object they encounter the hardest (the front sight) and under maximum intensity it causes an unacceptable hotspot that will compromise your vision and aiming. If you are right handed, you might want the light opposite your support hand’s grip (the left side). That leaves the bottom rail and the right side as good choices.  A bottom mount behind the muzzle will create a shadow above the gun, while a right mount will create a left-side shadow and can cause issues when rounding corners just as a left-side mount will.

For forest and ranch work, I don’t mind the under barrel mount on my AR.  In this case I would rather have a clean view of the ground for safer travel. But a simple twist of the carry position moves the light into the 9 or more likely the 3 o’clock position minimizing any forward shadowing when needed.

Most mounting choices lock-in the light in one of the 90-degree positions: 12 O’clock, 3, 6 and 9 O’clock.  The two things to consider are light activation by the support hand, and preferred shadow position opposite the light.

Also Read: 10 Best Survival Items

If an intermediate option to the four standard coordinates is desired consider options such as the Daniel Defense light mount or the Magpul offset light mount. A downside to the Magpul mount is that it is screwed onto the rail (two bolts), and the flashlight is attached to the mount (two more bolts), so switching between using the light in-hand and-on gun takes time and tools. The Daniel Defense option is much simpler but three times as expensive. It uses a single large knob to attach the mount to the rail with the light held to the mount like a scope in a ring.


Muzzle blast and recoil can damage lights and coat their lenses with light-diminishing debris. Some lights Gun lightslike my now-discontinued Leupold have synthetic sapphire lenses to deal with the harsh life of living next to muzzle blast.  Other lights might seem tough at the store, but a few mags later are crying for mommy.  While I thoroughly appreciate the effort Leopold put into their now-defunct MX modular flashlight system, it should have been built for continuity with interchangeable LED modules since the lens, battery barrels, and switches are good for decades but the LEDs are evolving faster than the Avian Flu. So much good tech has gone to pasture due to fixation on the present.

Also Read: Streamlight TLR-3 Review

Lights must be strong enough to shake off gun recoil.  While LEDs usually ignore impacts, the circuits, switches, battery contacts, and lens components can get their bell rung.  Batteries have mass and thus prefer to remain still when the rest of the light is accelerated in a direction opposite of the bullet.  Simple Newtonian mechanics. This can lead to compression of the springs and contacts that normally ensure a complete circuit that keeps the electrons flowing. Darkness falls whenever there is a break in the circuit causing the light to blink or go out all together. And sometimes the electricity never flows again. But this is a double-edged coin to mix my metaphors. Any working light will work until the trigger is pulled. So basically you have at least one shot with any WML. Good lights will keep running. Weak lights…well, you need to move to plan B.

Moving Parts

Most good lights have O-ring seals at all material interfaces.  But that won’t necessarily keep the light from Best Weapon Mounted Lightsunscrewing itself over time or during repeated fire.  Keep an eye on the connections between components, and give the light a good shake every once in a while to listen for parts rattling around inside the tube.

Also Read: Project Squirrel Gun

And speaking of moving parts, the design of the switch on paper is completely different from the operation of the switch in a human hand, especially when contacting that wonderful opposable thumb we’ve been taught separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom. The thumb switch should have the right amount of resistance and tactile click to talk back during the activation.  Of all my lights, there is just something about the Surefire and Fenix lights that have that proper click.  Although you might have noticed that Fenix does not make any WMLs.  That’s because they do, but they are marketed under different brand names and non-competition clauses will prevent Fenix from selling any for at least a few more years.

Toyota spends millions on the feel of it.  And so does Geissele, Magpul and Daniel Defense.  You see there are very few places on a weapons light that involve human interaction so those companies that pay special attention to the human-flashlight interface are those that I prefer.  The reason for stressing this particular tangent of weapons mounted lights is that when the S hits the Fan, your pulse spikes, adrenaline is dumped into your bloodstream, and your vision tunnels, the operation of a WML must be like every other human reaction that has evolved over millions of years. Not time for memorized luminosity sequences. No time to wonder, to paraphrase Sigmund Freud, if a click is just a click.

Related: Bug Out Flashlight Wisdom

Another area to consider is the composition of the lens.  Super-high-end lights use sapphire glass material, the same stuff in your Rolex watch crystal.  Moving down in price is impact resistant glass of sufficient thickness, followed by glass. Then polycarbonate plastic. Then plastic of unknown origin.  But anything near the business end of a rifle should not be made of a meltable oil-based material like plastic.

Bolt Upright!

Mounting solutions run from simple to complex, and cheap to expensive. If the light has a built-in rail mounting option, then the rail slots must match the light’s size. On full-sized autopistols like the Glock 17, small form-factor lights may generate a substantial gap between trigger guard and light. A raw fact to keep in mind is that if a solidly mounted light extends further forward than the pistol’s barrel, it will be possible to jam the gun into the perp without concern of a misfire due to the slide being pushed rearward and out of battery while the business end of the gun squishes into the flesh of the bad guy.  To put a friendly face on this important fact, there are notable events where a LEOs bacon was saved by the purp punching their lighted muzzle into the cop’s belly or forehead and jerked the trigger but no bang followed.  All possible by the slightly-forward mounting of a WML.


On the other side of the coin, if you have a light such as the Surefire x300 Ultra you can enjoy the ease of Gun Light Reviewswitching the light between guns, hands or pockets. Do note, however, that the x300U fires up quite easily in the hand and pocket compared to traditional dialed-in flashlight designs due to its pressure activation in addition to its switch rotation. I’ve also fired up my x300 just by grabbing the gun out of a case. If done in the dark, you just shot your night vision all to hell. Just food for thought.

Also Read: Why The Tomahawk?

Inexpensive and versatile mounts include the ExtremeBeam Weaver mount. For $14, you can mount any one-inch diameter light to almost any gun.  The mount can grab standard rails, or use the included rail mount to secure it to a barrel.  I have used this mount on a 20 gauge Remington 870 shotgun in addition to ARs.  There are almost no aftermarket tactical accessories for the 20GA 870 platform since it seems the entire rest of the world only cares about the 12 gauge so I was on my own to find a light mount. Lately I’ve settled in on using the rail mount of the ExtremeBeam Weaver to hold a Streamlight TLR-4 light/laser to my house-bound blued pump blunderbuss.

1000 Is The New Black

For a WML, 500 or more lumens is a great number for a pistol these days. But for a rifle that might breathe some fresh outdoor air once in awhile, 1000 lumens is my new best friend. Surefire makes some triple-cell lights under the Fury name. I have both the tactical version and the regular one. The P3X Tactical Fury has a no-click tail cap switch, but instead just a pressure button that fires the light as long as the rubber is held down. The Tactical only has one setting…full blast, which limits its general usefulness as a flashlight. To keep the light on, the tail cap must be rotated clockwise. I like to mount this light on the nine O’clock position so I can fire the light easily with my support hand thumb while keeping a tight grip on the handguard. If I want the light to stay on, I just grab the tail switch like the cap on a beer bottle and give it a twist.

Also Read: Taurus First 24 Kit

The regular P3X Fury has a two-stage tailcap click switch that fires first a 15 lumen beam, the a thousand lumen one if clicked again within a second. I prefer to pocket carry this Fury since most of the time I use it in first gear.

The Dust is Settling

At the moment, we are at an intellectual transition about weapon-mounted lighting. Much of the negative Best AR15 LED Lightpress and skeptical opinions are based upon old knowledge, old designs, old filament lights, and old tactics. Where modern bug out wisdom diverges from conventional law enforcement procedures is with duration of use, location of use, and situational use. Plus, in a bug out you are hopefully not running towards trouble like the LEOs are paid to do. In a true WROL, I will skew the rules in my favor. As they say, a fair fight is any fight you can lose. I know there are risks to using a weapon-mounted light, but frankly we’ve said the same things about so many other aspects of personal safety until the next generation’s embrace of the technology proved our historical concerns to be no longer founded in 21st century reality. So light it up.

Got a weapon mounted light and/or advise about your use of it? Tell us about it in the comments below.

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Abandoning Reagan: A Stool With No Legs Cannot Stand

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Best President

Ronald Reagan reinvigorated this county with optimism, principles and vision.  His policies directly led to Best Presidentthe greatest economic expansion in history (1982- 1987).  His leadership re-engaged a generation of disenfranchised people and he led us to victory in the cold war.  He is revered by right-thinking members of both parties, and leaves a legacy that few could hope to match.  Yet in 2016, he’s likely spinning in his grave.  The current Republican Party of today is quite simply his antithesis.  The Great Communicator governed based on a set of core principles and was successful despite a gridlocked DC.  He did this by connecting policy with people and working around congress by making his case directly to citizens.

By Professor Liberty Mize, a contributing author of SHTFBlog

Today’s party could do the same, but is content with symbolic obstructionism.  Taking meaningless procedural votes to provide cover, but only truly “winning” the few small moral victories that Emperor Barry allows.  There is no vision and no connection with ordinary citizens, only enough posturing to ensure re-election.  And so we see the rise of a narcissist nationalist as the party’s standard bearer.  Not because he’s a strong candidate, but because he’s not a politician, and he promises to tackle some of the serious issues the others have ignored.

But is he the answer to revive this country?  The answer is no, surprisingly the answer hasn’t changed.  Reagan’s map is just as valid and relevant as it was back then.  Reagan was able to ascend to the presidency because he articulated the values that made America great along with his plan to revisit the recipe.  While he had many cross-over voters from the Democratic Party, his campaign’s success in national elections hinged on uniting disparate groups in his own party.  It is a recipe politicos have been struggling to reinvent ever since.

Also Read: 5 Things I Learned From The Progressive Media

The Reagan three-legged stool united national defense advocates with fiscal and social conservatives and won.   Only by bringing these three together, was he able to paint the electoral map red and make Carter and Mondale laughable footnotes in history.  He knew a stool with two-legs simply cannot stand, but a three-legged stool was formidable. Today all three legs of the stool have been summarily dismantled.  Additionally the principles that sat at the center of that metaphorical stool have been cut out.  A legless stool with a hole?  That looks a lot like a toilet seat.  How can we Make America Great again?  Not by electing a modern-day PT Barnum, but by re-visiting the stool.

Leg One- National Security/Defense

It isn’t surprising that as a nation we’ve grown weary of wars and nation-building.  We are fed up with Official_Portrait_of_President_Reagan_1981American soldiers dying in deserts battling zealots who don’t play by our rules or value their own lives.  Yet along with our disdain for foreign conflict, we’ve somehow gotten away from a strong foreign policy and national defense.  Neither candidate for president has a deep understanding of our enemies, their motivations or a plan to keep us safe.  It seems the era of isolationism is upon us.  In an increasingly global economy with many nuclear nations and the specter of radical Islam, this is simply not viable.

Also Read: 3 Reasons To Ditch Diversity

We must re-invigorate our use of technology and human intelligence capabilities and go on offense around the globe.  The current president’s goal is to be liked, I’d rather be safe.  That means aggressive investment in our armed forces and intelligence.  And most importantly the testicular fortitude to use both.

Leg Two- Fiscal Conservatism

Republicans aren’t for smaller government, they are for incremental growth slightly slower than Democrats.    Our entitlement system is a house of cards and must be addressed. George W Bush was far from a fiscal hawk, but he’s the last president to put a serious entitlement reform proposal together.
Any serious candidate for president needs to back-burner tax reform and get our house in order.  This means an increase to the retirement age, ending pensions for public workers today (keeping the promises made to date) and a two-year budget freeze on all discretionary spending (excluding defense).  And those are the easy ones.

Leg Three- Social Conservatism

This is perhaps the leg least likely to be resuscitated.  Progressives have stacked the judicial bench for decades and that strategy is now bearing fruit. Yet, this is an area where we must re-double efforts.  Does anyone really thing legalized marijuana is in anyone’s best interest?  Is a drug that makes people lazier truly in our nation’s best interest?  Are we content with 40% of our kids are born out of wedlock and 25% of raised without fathers?   A focus on the family was at the heart of the Reagan legacy and is vital for any effort to reclaim it.

The Bottom Line

While attempting to recreate the Reagan Revolution thirty years later may seem backwards and outdated, but so did a former actor with a 50’s haircut running for president back in 1979.  Yet, here we are.  What we are doing clearly isn’t working and the nomination of Trump indicates we are out of ideas.  Only by returning to principled leadership can we hope to capture our former glory.  That starts with reviving Reagan’s three-legged stool.  It’s morning in America, let’s hope we wake the f up.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by the author are his alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or positions of

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Bug Out Long Term (B.O.L.T) Pistol: Part 2

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Best Bug Out Pistol

Continuing this story… The innards of the Ruger 22/45 are not the only pieces of metal in need of Best Bug Out Pistolmodernization.  There are plenty of upgrades necessary on the outside of the pistol to make this a B.O.L.T.-worthy tool.  For instance, the magazine baseplates, the grip, the threaded barrel protector, carry options, and of course the sights.  And speaking of sights, the stock Ruger 22/45 iron sights are near impossible to see.

By Doc Montana, a contributing author of SHTFBlog and Survival Cache
This is the second article in a 2 part series (Read Part 1)

Night Blindness

The rear sight is little more than a flat black square notch that centers a thick flat black front sight blade Best Bug Out Pistolensuring the stock sights are nearly useless.  Low light situations are out of the question, and anything with a dark or variable colored background makes sight alignment nearly impossible.  Since sights are imperative to accuracy, quality aftermarket sights are a must.  In this case, Williams FireSights were the obvious choice. No, I’m going to take this further.  If you don’t update the sights, in specific to FireSights, then it would seem that you are not taking this situation seriously.  The fiber optic light gathering and contrasting colors make the Fire Sights embarrassingly better than the stock irons.  The brilliant glowing green and orange dots are nothing short of magic.  For less than fifty bucks, you can put your 22/45 on target every time, not just when conditions afford visibility of flat black on flat black.

Grip Matters

The grips on the 22/45 are, well, like a government issue .45 auto which is exactly where the 22/45 gets itsBest Bug Out Pistol name.  As a diehard Glock fanboy who was born with a Glock grip angle on my first toy rattle.  But the semi-slippery scales that screw onto to the handle of the 22/45 can benefit from a rubberized upgrade.  And it’s Hogue to the rescue.  By providing a grippier circumference to snuggle up with, the Houge’s offer a positive interaction between shooter and machine.  But as a Glockster, the finger indexing on the Hogue lock in a positive interface making aiming the Lite intuitive and rock solid.

One In The Holster

Carrying all this .22LR firepower all day every day requires a suitable holster.  And none serves this duty Ruger 22/45 Reviewbetter than the Blackdog.  As a adjustable friction fit Kydex containment system for all things Ruger (and a Benchmark), the Blackdog could care less about barrel length, and to a certain extent suppressor length. Hint, hint.  But back on topic, for this exercise I chose the Low Ride Blackdog.  I like high ride holsters for aggressive carry, and low ride for day to day open carry.

Holosun? Yea, I Heard Of Them

Finally the optic.  I was all ready to snap on an Aimpoint Micro onto the OEM rail. But then Holosun Best Optic for Ruger 22/45HS503C caught my eye.  In roughly the same form factor as the Aimpoint, the Holosun HS503C incorporates two reticle options as well as running on both solar and battery power.  One thing I really liked about EOTech sights (about the only thing) is the large sighting ring, something around 65 MOA. A single small red dot is great when you can see clearly and have a good cheek weld, but waving a pistol around trying to find the dot can be a challenge especially if the shooter is in motion.  There are just a few degrees of movement where the dot appears in a micro-sized tube at arm’s length.  Having the choice of large ring or small dot gives the shooter the best of both worlds.

Also Read: The Hurricane Katrina Rifle

And while the Holosun has a battery life in the ballpark of Aimpoint’s three million minutes (50,000 Best Survival Pistolhours=2083 days=five years eight-and-a-half months).  Although the solar does not charge the battery and needs the sun, low light shooting with a dead battery will require iron sights.  But enough dust should have settled in five years to not need to sneak around in the dark.

My main comparable in optics on a .22 pistol is my Ruger Mark III Target pistol with fluted bull barrel and Leupold 2X pistol scope.  While the Mark III is better at long range and more accurate with the crosshairs, the Holosun topped 22/45 was much faster on target massively lighter.


Sound is a dead giveaway.  Even the pop of a .22 will attract attention and scare game.  So a true Bug Best SHTF SuppressorOut pistol would not be complete without a suppressor.  Unscrewing the Game Changer Compensator and threading on the Gemtech Outback II drops the decibels to the “what was that?” level.  If that.

Gemtech is a leader in suppressor (or silencer to the Hollywood crowd).  Based in Boise, Idaho, Gemtech produces some of the finest and lightest suppressors on the planet.  The Outback II is a high-end ultra lite .22LR only suppressor. It’s certainly not the least expensive, but certainly one of the higher performing and higher options available from your Class-3 dealer.  And if you want to upgrade your Outback II, you can opt for the G-Core upgrade for another pair of Benjis.

Related: CZ75 9mm Pistol Review

Sound suppression should be a fact of life, but instead the NFA makes it a $200 tax plus paperwork, fingerprints, signatures, and a few months of waiting. But that should not be too much to swallow when it comes to an optimal bug out gun. Spinning on a suppressor opens some doors otherwise closed to ear-ringing decibel damage. For the cost of just five more barrel inches and 2.7 ounces, the silence is defining.

When subsonic ammo pops out the far end of the suppressor at less than 1100 feet per second the B.O.L.T. Pistol spatters lead down range both accurately and with no more sound than the bolt cycling, usually by hand.

Compensating For Something?

A stock 22/45 with a threaded barrel comes with a small protector. Tandemkross makes a Compensator Best Pistol Ruger 22/45that works wonders whether on pistol or rifle.  The muzzle jump on a .22 is near-zero, but the compensator does reduce it. I measured the upward acceleration of the muzzle using a Vernier accelerometer comparing the compensator to a bare muzzle and with a supressor.  The Tandemkross Game Changer compensator noticeably reduced the muzzle flip, and redirected the muzzle blast away from down. Normally not a problem with a pistol since you are not shooting with the barrel just inches above dirt, but I did notice it when shooting off a snow-covered rest.

Rubber On Road?

So how does all this B.O.L.T. kit shoot? Like a dream! The flow from presentation to trigger pull to bang (or muted pihfft) is a scary reminder how little weight and effort can change the game.  Ted Kaczynski (the Unabomber) lived in a cabin just a few miles upstream from my favorite fishing hole.  He was known for quietly poaching deer by shooting them in the eyeball with a .22 rifle.  Where long guns differ from handguns is mostly in sight radius.  The reason a pistol would ever need a long barrel is not necessarily to give the powder more burn time, or more spins on the bullet as it zings down the pipe, but in fact to hold the front sight further away from the rear peep.  But a red dot sight negates all that sight radius stuff since it makes no difference anymore.  So a four inch barrel is as useful as an eight inch one.  The red dot sight used here makes accuracy not an issue of front post on target, but red speck on topic.

Also Read: Pocket Carry vs Concealed Carry

Holding the gun steady is the issue, not keeping the dot on prey.  Painting the target is easy.  Pulling the trigger while the dot is where it needs to be becomes the challenge.  But that is a good problem.  Plus, you can hand the gun to anyone and it will be obvious that the red dot means kill.  Nobody would second-guess the operation of a red dot sight where irons take understanding.


At 15 yards off a rest this B.O.L.T. gun easily makes one ragged hole in paper with CCI ammo.  Well, most Best Bug Out Pistolof the time. Enough of the time.  Out to 50 yards, it’s possible to keep the pistol on a dinner plate since the Holosun red dot sight couldn’t care less if it was on a handgun, rifle, or Sherman tank.  A single point of red light has no sight radius.  But if one restricted the target size to the orbital cavity in a deer skull, anything under 25 yards could be considered ethical…in a SHTF sort of way.

Related: Grab ‘N’ Go Pistol Bag

In the end what one needs in a bug out tool gun is a reliable machine that can deal with day-to-day chores as society rebuild itself for too long we’ve tried to find the perfect gun for all situations but in the end what you really need something that can live a few grains of lead downrange and dispatch the furry or feathered food with precision simplicity and elegance.  Although the B.O.L.T. gun is not THE perfect solution, it is A perfect solution for an imperfect world.

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Rehab A SHTF Prep Shack

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Survival Bug Out House

When I was a kid growing up in Southeast Missouri, my dad bought a lot at Kentucky Lake outside of Murray, Ky.   We started Bug Out House SHTFcamping there in a big tent then later dad traded an airplane for a house trailer and boat from a manufacturer in Elkhart, Indiana.  That’s another whole story for another day.  The boat riding, skiing and fishing was great.  Anyway on the drives over to the lake in the back seat of the old sedan we would always pass by numerous old ramshackle shacks falling in to the point of total disrepair.

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

Dad would always say, “Hey, now there is a fixer-upper if I ever saw one.”   We would then begin a long discussion of what we could do to the old house to make it livable.  It sure did pass the time on the long, hot drives to our lake campout site.  This got me to thinking recently when I passed by an old rundown shack like the ones we used to spot on our way to the lake.   Maybe preppers could acquire such a property for an escape bug out location.  What would it take to get such an old place back in decent shape to create an alternative site to outlast a SHTF situation?

Conduct a Bug Out Shack Search

For many preppers around the country finding a good “fix it up” house, barn or other structure on a piece of land might be easier survival shtf housesaid than done.  It is certainly going to take some dedicated research to locate just the right place for just the right deal.  Those living in more rural small towns or mid-sized cities can often escape to the country easier than those living in huge metro complexes.  Still finding a little piece of land with an existing structure can be done.  Start by studying the web sites of real estate agents in prospective targeted areas.  Eventually plan to visit these areas for a firsthand inspection.  If there are farm or rural newspapers available in your region, these often list such properties for sale or even rent/lease or lease to buy.   You just have to start the process and be prepared to make your move when the offer is right.

Points of Access

Wherever you buy or locate a potential bug out spot, determine your own comfort levels with how easy, difficult, open, or hidden bug out housethe access points are to the property.  Where are neighbors located, essential services, supply outlets availability, utilities, water service, and other critical issues to consider for a secondary SHTF residence?   There are many factors to take into consideration when selecting a potential bug out shack.

Also Read: Campground Bug Out Location

Even with a prepper bug out shack the bottom line is still location, location, location.  What that means for preppers is the degree of relative security for the area.  A bug out shack does not have to be at the end of a long gravel road lost out in the country somewhere.  It just has to have potential for some elements of security, isolation, and protection considerations.  Avoid buying something that sits right on a highway or even a rural road in plain view of the public passing by.  It would be best to have a house out of sight down a driveway where a sturdy locked gate could be erected.  Again, ideally the lot would be wooded.  This could not only be a source of firewood for the house for heat or cooking but also a habitat for game that could be harvested for food.

Related: 4 Types of Bug Out Camps

A prime property would have established trails or ones easy to make as well as observation points to the outside.  If things really go down the tube, then marauders will be out searching for anything they can steal (heck, they do that now).  Don’t make it easy for them to simply drive up to the front door and bust it down.  Seclusion and security will be paramount.

The Austere Approach

Your SHTF bug out shack need not have all the elements of refinement like your primary residence probably has.  You might be Best Bug Out Houselucky to get electrical power, good water, and sewer or a septic tank.  If not, then preppers can certainly improvise what they perceive as their most necessary needs.  Power can be supplied via gasoline generators, water wells can be created, and an old fashioned outhouse can be built as well.  During a SHTF event, prepper-survivalists may have to live by wood heat, candle lights, and other very basic living conditions.  These are just circumstances that preppers need to be prepared for whether bugging out or in.

Fix Up Skills

I can do a lot of damage with a hammer.  If you do decide to buy a self-fix it up place, survival_shtf_teotwawki_food_storageyou’ll need carpentry or home repair skills for sure or a team member that has them.  You might have to do roofing work, inside flooring or walls, plumbing repairs or many other repair tasks.  Remember to have the proper tools purchased, too.  Besides buying or leasing an existing structure do a pre-deal assessment of the work needed to make any potential shack inhabitable and as comfortable as possible.  This expense may be more than an RV or a large camping trailer.  Keep all your options open.  If you do not possess the skills necessary to rehab a place, then don’t take on more than you can handle or afford.  Dreams are dreams, but don’t be foolish in the face of reality.

So, this is just one more option to consider for a suitable bug out domicile.  It does not have to be a castle, but it has to be sound, secure, and livable.  It may not have or ever have all the ideal amenities, but then improvements and enhancements can be done along the way, too.  If you are definitely leaning toward a bug out to an alternative site then consider the search for a SHTF prep shack.  It may just be the option you are looking for.

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Trick Out A Cheap AR15

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Top Survival Website

The rash of inexpensive ARs clogging gun store shelves right now might not be the greatest battle rifles since the M1903 Top Survival BlogSpringfield, but they can advance well beyond their pay grade with a few mild upgrades that basically undo the cost saving measures installed at the factory.  In addition to cost-saving measures, many entry level ARs will lack a forward assist plunger, and a dust cover.  While the former might never be used by 99% of shooters, the dust cover can come in handy in certain conditions and environments.

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

The Walmart Rifle

But neither should be considered a deal-breaker if you find a brand-name good deal.  A goal here is to put some dollar numbers on what it would take to bring a budget-priced AR up to speed for real-world challenges.

A required assumption here is that a reputable company that builds ARs will make them more affordable though a handful of forge_survival_supply_best_rifleminor shortcuts rather than some massive oversights in quality.  In fact it might take a doubling or even tripling of cost within the product line to get a functionally better barrel or bolt carrier group.  The difference between a $599 and a $1299 AR by the same company will be in the details across three main areas:
1) Those small parts where a few pennies are saved here and there
2) In finishing work done both by machine and by hand especially the trigger group
3) The number of minutes of quality assurance inspections along with accompanying lower standards of acceptability.

Companies known for making better rifles will not make cheap barrels and bolts.  That’s too risky and expensive for them.  Instead they will use the good stuff and cut costs elsewhere.  On the other hand if the AR company is known for inexpensive or poor quality guns with a few or no upper-end firearms in their product catalog, then those better ones are the exception to their rule so upgrading will be, as they say, lipstick on a pig.  Just remember that most folks cannot outshoot their rifles, and don’t worry about if or when your round count will overcome the quality of your AR parts since we’re not pushing theoretical limits here. Just putting a trustworthy AR in your hands for less money.   Before we get started, know that the fun stuff like optics, red dots, weapons lights, covert carry options, drum mags, bipods and suppressors are all fine goals for the financial future but the first principles are first for a reason.

Picky Begging

So to begin, hand select the best inexpensive AR on the shelf.  Or better yet, if the gun store really wants to make the sale, crack Top Survival Blogopen a few boxes in backstock.  Concentrate on the upper and lower receivers mating, the action of the bolt, and alignment of the gas tube any and rails.  There’s no point upgrading if the AR is already damaged goods.  Also avoid fixating on any part that will be swapped out.  Cheap buttstocks might rattle around or require extra force to slice back and forth.  Cheap sights are included to make the rifle work out of the box (a supposed selling point), but since they will soon be tossed into the junk parts box in your shop, don’t waste valuable store time on them.

Related: Magpul P-Mag Torture Test

Next, plan on swapping out the trigger, buttstock, handguard, mag, sights (as needed), and make a few additions while you’re at it.  Each replacement part has an important upgrade purpose, and each addition will take the AR up a pay grade or two in stature and use.  The new parts can be replace all at once or over time.  The point of this article is to give some focus when there you have a gnawing desire to buy a quality sale-priced new AR.  If considering a used one, all bets are off.

Breaking Glass

Triggers are an easy place to both cut costs and raise them.  Inexpensive ARs will often have worse-than-normal triggers. than spending your day trying to polish up the already crippled fire control mechanism, just get one of the newer but affordable drop-in trigger kits.  While not perfect, the inexpensive kits will put you much closer to the cool kids.  One of the $70 ALG triggers would make a good option, or a Mil-spec enhanced trigger group from Rock River.

Butt Out

The buttstock might seem to work fine, even look mil-spec, but cheaper ARs often have brittle plastic mildly adjustable stocks.  For the cost of a few boxes of ammo, the Magpul OEM stock can be had for less than $40 and will get you up to speed where your stock will work better, feel better, and hold up to abuse especially if your need pummel something or someone with your buttstock.

Hands Off

The hard plastic two-piece tubes that form the handguard on budget ARs are heavy, slippery, and often lack any attachment Top Survival Blogpoints for rails, etc.  Again, the sub-$40 Magpul OEM handguard fits the bill and moves you and your rifle into a more productive tactical position.

Black Box

If your AR came with a Magpul Pmag of any generation, then move on.  But if it came with a no-name metal box, then assume the worst and swap it out with a ~$15 Pmag.  Not all GI-style metal mags are created equal, especially when you know that the chief selling point of the rifle it came with was a low price.  The main points of failure for the cheap mags, assuming they even fit and work in the first place, are with minimally functional followers and springs of marginal quality.

Zero Me

Likely, there will be a standard triangular.  A2 front sight pinned onto the barrel. While the finish work after tumbling out of Top Survival Blogwhat forge or press might be lacking, its function will be much the same as any other factory installed front post.  But the rear sight is another matter.  You might be lucky and the rifle came with a polymer Magpul MBUS. If so, great.  If not but a rear sight was included, take it off and feel its heft. Some weight a ton because cheap does mean light. Further, the adjustments might be coarse and limited.

Also Read: Best Survival Carbine

Since the point of the rifle is to land a projectile on a target from a safe distance away, the sighting mechanism is as important as any other critical part of the gun. Might be the best $40 spent thus far.

Nickels and Dimes

A few additions beyond the basics include an enhanced trigger guard base and Blackhawk single-point sling adapter.  Oh, and a Katrina Riflecouple of AR tools to become more intimate with your rifle. Start with a couple of punches, and an armorer’s tool.  Magpul makes a great enhanced trigger guard for about $9 that will greatly increase the internal space of the trigger guard allowing better and safer operation especially when wearing gloves.  The single-point sling adapter sells for less than $7 and allows you to quickly clip a sling to a spot on the buffer tube, or back on the buttstock.  When placed on the buffer tube, the rifle becomes single-point compatible without an expensive QD mount added on.

Related: DIY Survival Rifle

The last piece of kit to gentrify your AR is to get some Slip2000 gun lube.  I prefer the Slip2000 EWL30 because of its higher viscosity.  Since ARs are known for chain smoking gun lube all day long, the EWL30 puts up the good fight between metal surfaces assuring you that your AR is as healthy as it can be.

Check Please

By adding about $220 to your over-the-counter AR, you will be in great shape to do almost everything anyone buying a budget AR would do.  Given recent AR prices hovering under $600 and some holiday or promotional sales dropping in sight of $500, having a plan to capitalize on the savings but not the functionality will make the decision easier.  Remember, this strategy requires you start with a good foundational AR so keep with the known brands and compare the specifications.  An inexpensive AR from Bob’s Basement Budget Builds might be easy on the wallet today, but it will punish you for years to come.

Photos By:
Doc Montana
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6 Calibers That Fly Under The Prepper Radar

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If you’ve been a gun-owning prepper or survivalist for any amount of time, you’ve probably noticed a pattern.  After every Best Prepper Caliberlarge-scale shooting where a politician opens his mouth and breathes the words “gun control”, whenever a large-scale firearms regulatory law goes into effect (remember the 1994 “Assault Weapons Ban”?), or whenever there is a general alarm that gets raised for a perceived condition, certain firearms and ammo calibers suddenly become unobtainable for a period of time.

By Drew, a contributing author of SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

Most recently, after the tragedy at Newtown, I remember whole AR-15s, AR stripped lower receivers, AR magazines, .223/5.56mm, 9mm,7.62x39mm, and .22LR ammo just being ripped off the shelves at the gun shop I worked at.  Glocks and 9mm ammo disappeared in a flash. Heck, .22 LR production STILL hasn’t recovered fully.

All the standard go-to guns and calibers that preppers gravitate towards – AR-15s, AK variants, SKS variants, Glocks and other Top Survival Blogsemi-auto handguns, any .22 rifles and handguns, for example – are the first items to vanish once the balloon goes up.  While I can’t say that I don’t take part in grabbing what I can when I see trouble on the horizon, I do also take notice that there are some calibers and some guns that always seem to be around, even during scares.  That got me to thinking: are there caliber and firearm combinations that I should be looking into if I want to maintain a relatively uninterrupted supply chain during the alarmist times that are sure to come – especially if a certain someone gets elected this November?

Let’s take a look at a few great calibers that always seem to stay on the shelves in extreme times (at least in my corner of the world), and are definitely worthy of a second glance, especially if your plans don’t require High Speed Low Drag ARs or AKs.

The Secret 6

1) .270 WINCHESTER:  The .270 is an oldie but a goodie, having been introduced by Winchester in the early 1920′s as a pairing with their new Model 54 (one of my personal favorite rifles ever).  The late, great gun writer Jack O’Connor quickly endorsed the caliber and the cartridge quickly found widespread favor with hunters who appreciated the round’s versatility: it shot hard enough to be effective on most of North America’s big game, yet the trajectory was so flat that varmint hunters embraced it for long-distance shooting as well.  The cartridge shoots a  .277” (6.8mm)130-grain bullet well over 3,000 feet per second (fps), and 150 grain bullets at almost 2,900 fps – and these figures can be improved upon with handloading.  Speaking of handloading: bullets are available from 90 grain varmint weights, all the way to deep-penetrating 180-grain bullets. Factory loads on store shelves are almost always 130, 140, or 150 grains.

Also Read: Building The World’s Most Versatile Gun

The .270 Winchester still consistently places in the top ten most popular U.S. centerfire caliber lists – a nod to its effectiveness, even though it’s not the newest, hottest powder-burning hot rod caliber out there.  The sheer popularity also guarantees that ammo companies will be producing this caliber in large quantities for years to come.

The .270 still comes as a standard caliber in a wild array of rifles (again, owing to its popularity).  You like semi-autos?  The Remington 4/74/740/742/7400 line of rifles or the Browning BAR are available in this caliber.  Pump action? Sure!  Take a gander at the Remington 6/76/760/7600 family.  Lever guns?  The Browning BLR is pretty sexy and good at what it does.  Bolt guns?  Pretty much every manufacturer out there makes one (usually many more than one) in their long action configuration. Added bonus:  You can get 10-round extended magazines for the Remington 7400 family, making it a heavy-hitting, fast-firing semi-auto rifle that doesn’t set off “black rifle” alarms.

2) .17 HMR (Hornady Magnum Rimfire) & .17 Mach2 (MK2):  The .17 caliber rimfires came out in the early 2000′s as speedier, flatter-shooting alternatives to the .22 WMR (Winchester Magnum Rimfire) and the ubiquitous .22 Long Rifle.  The .17 cases are designed by necking down the parent .22 cases to accept flyweight .177” projectiles.  The .17 HMR, based on the .22 Magnum, has been a modest success, while the .17 MK2 never really took off.  However, ammo is on the shelves in the bigger box stores when the .22 shelves are barren and collecting dust.

Ballistically, these calibers out shoot their parent cases with ease, with far higher velocities and flat trajectories making them stellar small game (think smaller than coyotes) calibers out past 100 yards.  The downside is the lightweight bullets don’t buck wind as well, and don’t retain energy very well.  The little tiny jacketed .17 caliber bullets are more expensive to produce in their many forms (FMJ, Polymer Tip, JSP, and JHP bullets are available) so be ready for sticker shock if you’re used to buying .22 LR at $40/brick.  But if it’s there and the .22 is not, The diminutive .17 rimfires suddenly look a lot better…

Related: Best Handgun Calibers For Survival

There are several rifles out there available if you look.  Savage and Marlin seem to lead the pack with the .17 HMR, and Ruger made the 10/22 series guns in .17 MK2 if you poke around.  There are also conversion kits available if you want to change out your big boy caliber AR upper and shoot .17 HMR or .17 MK2.  The .17 rimfires are expensive plinkers, but devastatingly useful foraging and varmint eradication calibers.

3) .40 S&W:  This caliber is included here as more of a prediction based on current events.  The .40 S&W is really a great Best Survival Gunshandgun caliber, effectively bridging the gap between 9mm and .45 ACP.  The handgun world is experiencing a paradigm shift these past couple years, with the FBI and many other police departments switching to 9mm – the 9 is a bit more controllable, and holds more ammo in the mags.  With bullet and powder technology making advances quickly, the 9mm is having the playing ground leveled somewhat.  (Nobody has seemed to mention that these advances might make the .40 S&W and .45ACP that much better, too…but I digress.) 9mm ammo is also less expensive, with military surplus or mass-produced military style ammo easy to find these days…though the 9mm military 124-grain FMJ ball round is notoriously ineffective.

The .40 is still a very viable caliber for anyone to consider, fitting between the 9mm and .45 ACP perfectly.  Yes, the caliber is a high-pressure meanie, causing more muzzle blast and recoil, but guess what?  It’s not that bad.  There, I said it and I mean it. I carry a S&W M&P Compact in .40 S&W every day – and its recoil is easy to work with if you practice.  Full-sized .40 guns are easily controlled.  A .40′s standard load of 155-grain JHP at 1,200 FPS is pretty mean – especially when you consider that the “gold standard” 9mm load – the 124 grain Speer Gold Dot – is only 100 FPS faster.

Related: 2 Guns, 1 Caliber

Fast forward to a politician-driven weapons ban or even a SHTF event – since everybody has switched to 9mm, that ammo Top Survival Calibers for Survivalistscreams off the shelves.  The .45ACP fanboys follow suit.  The .40 S&W, while still relatively popular now, is declining with people starting to swing to the 9mm or .45 ACP camps – so ammo will likely be available for long enough for you to go out and top off the reserves if you act fast enough.

There are literally hundreds of awesome .40 S&W pistol designs out there, especially in the police department trade-in market. You can get Glock 22, S&W M&P or Sig P226 PD trade in pistols for half the cost of a new 9mm variant.  Tried to find a Glock 19 lately?  Good luck with that! But Glock 23s – the exact same gun in .40 S&W – are usually in stock in most stores.  It never hurts to have a gun with a caliber that begins with “4” in the SHTF arsenal.

4) .30-30 WINCHESTER:  The timeless .30-30 Winchester was introduced a staggering 121 years ago for Winchester’s fresh-off-the-presses John Browning-designed 1894 Model levergun.  It became a runaway success immediately, with its .30 caliber bullet motivated out the muzzle at the serious-for-the-time 2200 feet per second.  It was used all over the globe and considered a great game-killer, even being used on game like brown bears and African species.  Today, we would shudder at the thought of hunting leopard with a .30-30, but in the early 20th century, the little rifle’s fast-handling characteristics and zippy bullet meant it was THE caliber to have for hunting. (Remember, the ’30-06 wasn’t even introduced until 1906 – and it probably still took a while for it to get to the civilian market.)

For a modern SHTF planner, the same still holds true.  The .30-30 is still a very effective caliber for protection and game-getting. To this day, handy, fast .30-30 rifles are coming off the production lines, and modern bullet and powder technology like Hornady’s LeveRevolution series have breathed new life into this ancient caliber. Winchester alone made over SEVEN MILLION ’94 Winchesters, and Marlin’s 336 is still running strong. If you handload and you own a bolt-action .30-30 like Remington’s tack-driving Model 788, you can push the .30-30 awfully close to .308 Winchester velocities. It’s a versatile caliber, with factory loads produced from 125 grain hollowpoints to 170 grains. Prepper tip: the .30-30 is ballistically VERY similar to the infamous 7.62x39mm that feeds millions of AK variants worldwide.

A good  man with a ’94 Winchester or 336 Marlin can rip a magazine full of aimed rounds off a lot faster than you’d think – and aftermarket accessories are available to mount lights, scopes, and more to these often-overlooked designs. Due to the sheer number of .30-30 rifles in the world still on active duty, ammo will always be made and should be available when that 7.62×39 for your SKS isn’t.

5) BELTED MAGNUMS:  Ahh, the magnums.  All testosterone and horsepower.  And recoil.  And noise.  And it’s on the Top Survival Blogshelves in the common calibers.  When the post-Newtown scare had every gun guy buying up .308, 5.56mm, and 7.62×39 the second they saw it, the 7mm Remington Mag, .300 Winchester Mag, and .338 Winchester Mag were still hanging out like the smelly kid at a school dance. Why? Well, they are fairly specialized calibers.  They are excellent at what they do – shooting long, long, loooong distances, hitting with lots of authority, and grouping accurately.  However, the calibers produce lots of recoil.  All that powder in those huge, fat cases means a brutal muzzle blast and stout recoil.  The long cartridges require magnum-length rifle actions, which means the rifles are heavier and overbuilt.  Handloaders shy away from them due to the huge amounts of gunpowder that the cases swallow up.  And those finger-sized brass cases and large amounts of powder means that any factory ammunition you grab up will be quite expensive.

But all that being said, these calibers have a definite place in the SHTF arsenal.  For the purposes of this article, we have to point out that this ammo is usually on the shelf.  Also, like all the calibers on this list,they aren’t military calibers per se – these are 99.9% used for hunting big game – so ammunition bans aren’t likely to target these calibers. But the real shiny reason to have one of these in the rack is that they are capable of hitting targets hundreds of yards away. (I personally shot a West Virginia whitetail buck at over 600 yards with a .300 magnum – and I have a witness! )  Now, that doesn’t mean that owning one suddenly makes you Chris Kyle – it takes lots of practice rounds downrange to be able to put a bullet that’s less than a third of an inch across into a four-inch bullseye at 500 yards.  But you have the capability at your disposal, and many can see the use of a long-range, accurate, hard-hitting game rifle once the chips are down.

Stick with the 7mm Remington Magnum, .300 Winchester Magnum, and .338 Winchester Magnum.  The new “super Mags” from many makers, the Weatherby calibers, as well as the .300 and .375 Holland & Holland cartridges are too few and far between, and will be hugely expensive to procure, even in quantity.  Rifles for all these calibers can be sourced from pretty much all the major manufacturers – mostly bolt guns, but there are semi-autos and lever actions out there too.  Check out the Nemo Arms Omen series if you want to do some SERIOUS drooling.

6) .30-06 SPRINGFIELD:  I’m saving the best for last.  My grandfather always told me, “if you can’t kill it  with an ought-six,Best Survival Gun you shouldn’t be shooting at it in the first place.”  That phrase always rang in my head and made me smile, and it’s probably the major reason why it’s my favorite caliber of all time.  But it holds true – the .30-06 has probably killed every species of game on this planet (whether or not it was a smart idea to be shooting at Cape Buffalo with an ’06 is debatable).  The 110-year old .30-06 design may very well be the most versatile caliber on the planet.

The Old ’06 is just one of those calibers that turned out “right”. An evolution of the .30-03 case with a shorter neck, the .30-06 was brought about as a military caliber, and it quickly turned into the sportsman’s sweetheart – and it never went away.  Today, the .30-06 is running as strong as ever, even in the face of new designer calibers – many of which are based off the ’06 as a parent case.  Excellent rifles are being turned out in droves with the ’06 as the bread-and-butter caliber. It is a dependable caliber that will kill anything on the North American continent with authority (even the big coastal brown bears if you’re good about bullet placement).

Factory loads used to start at 55 grains with the old saboted Remington “Accelerator” loads (I’m not sure if these are still produced), but now they start off with Hornady’s 125-grain SST rounds and go up through the heavily-jacketed 220-grain round nose loads, with most fodder you run into being 150, 165, or 180 grains.  The ’06 is a handloader’s dream, being forgiving to load for, with excellent accuracy usually resulting. If I could only have one rifle caliber in this world, it’d be the .30-06.  Luckily, ammunition is plentiful and pretty inexpensive – as are rifles in any configuration you could really ever dream of. You don’t have one?  Why not?


This article is relatively subjective, based on what I’ve seen with my own two eyes as people react to situations out of our control. If you don’t want to be a slave to scraping the bottom of the barrel and price gougers, one of the above calibers in a high-quality firearm is a safe bet. It may not be the sexy AR-15 with a high-capacity drum and lasers and 20 power scopes and lights you dream of. But a firearm is only useful when it has ammunition – and what you have when the ball drops is what you have.

Related: Military Surplus Guns For SHTF

If what you want is that chicks-dig-it AR or AK, get it now.  Get ammo and mags now. As of today (3/10/2016), ammo is plentiful and gun shop racks are bursting with magazines and accessories.  We never know when there will be another Newtown or politician-driven “Assault Weapons Ban” – one could happen today.  If you don’t want to make do with what others won’t, act now while you can. It’s a smart course of action for your SHTF plans.  If you react when the masses do, you won’t get what you need, and you’ll pay too much for what you end up with – and nobody wants “this will have to do” in a SHTF situation.

Anybody else out there have other calibers to add to this list?  My list is based on observations in the New England area – what have you seen in your locale? Sound off in the comments section!

Stay Safe!

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The Human Element

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Survival Blog

Though we as humans are not listed on the periodic table, everything that combines into our chemical makeup is.  We, you, me, Forge Survival Supplyall of us are at the essential core of the salvation of mankind.  If that sounds redundant or worn out, well, think about it.  We are not only charged with surviving ourselves, but we need to contribute to the preemptive avoidance of any and all catastrophic events to the extent we can influence such.  I assume nobody wants Armageddon.

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

This may sound trite, but I am encouraged by the level of grassroots participation in some of the state political caucus events.  People are getting involved.  This is critical even at the local neighborhood and town levels.  Don’t let these local “powers” take your world away from you.  Speak up, get active.  Keep prepping as though your life may well depend on it, but at the same time let’s not give up on avoiding it.

What Will Be Left of Life?

Let’s hope the cockroaches, rats, and the coyotes don’t inherit whatever is left after the final SHTF.  That demise is ultimately left up to us.  Us being the human race.  Wow, that all sounds pretty dramatic even to me.  If you have read my stuff before, you know I enjoy dissecting clips from popular movies depicting the portrayal of the apocalypse(s).   I know it’s fiction, but if you really want to see a taste of reality just look around our world to see what is happening to other populations of people.

Also Read: 4 Step Household Evacuation

ISIS really is terrorizing the world.  They really are beheading people including children.  They are actively recruiting young Top Survival Blogpeople in Europe and America.   We just had two college students from a Mississippi university intercepted trying to reach Turkey to get to ISIS operatives in the Middle East.  This is real stuff.  I often hear preppers discussing their futures after a prolonged SHTF.  It may not be pretty.  Sometimes I think we live in a dream world if we think life would ever be the same if a dirty bomb went off in America.

When something like that arrives on our door steps, we will never be the same.  Just think of how the aftermath of the Twin Towers still lingers especially for the families directly affected.  Such events nearly wipe out the soles of that generation.  Sure, Japan survived Hiroshima, “we” survived Katrina, the town survived Sandy Hook, San Bernardino has recovered, the country will survive the present administration, we hope.  What will be left of life after a SHTF may be in big part dependent on what we do now to shape it before the next SHTF.

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What Is Your Thin Red Line?

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Survival SHTF

“The closer you are to Caesar the greater the fear” is a famous line from the timeless movie “The Thin Red Line.”  The movie Doomsday Preppersdepicted the horrific battle for Guadalcanal in WWII against the Japanese Army.  The fighting conditions shown were beyond inhumane requiring the American soldiers to fight for hours or even days without basic supplies including water.  If you ever want to see on film what real war looks like then rent this movie. Listen closely especially to the narrations as these comments are philosophically overwhelming.

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

Translating to today’s world we all face the potential of our own thin red line though hopefully nothing like the one our soldiers encountered in Guadalcanal.  Our red lines can occur during SHTF events, personal threats to our safety, active shooter incidents, natural disasters of many kinds, industrial accidents, economic peril, investment declines, oppressive laws or regulations, job insecurities, and a myriad of other circumstances.

As the narrator in the movie asked, “What is this thin red line?  Who is doing this?  Who is killing us, robbing us of life and might?” In many cases there are situations or circumstances that we can control or manipulate to some level of survival. In other cases there are external factors that impact our lives over which we have little domain or sway.  How we react or prepare to react is paramount.  This is the essence of prepping and thus, survival.

Age Old Adages

How do you get better at golf or shooting that concealed weapon you bought last year, but still languishes in the nightstand drawer with the owner’s manual pages unturned?  You meant to rework that section of the garage installing shelving to provide much needed space to store prepping equipment.  But that was last summer.  That new reloading bench is still in the shipping carton. No, you never did put up the new tent in the backyard did you?

That adult education course flyer from the local community college came again.  You saw the programs offered for first aid classes, active shooter response, making homemade jerky, simple car mechanics, welding, beginner carpentry skills, homeowner electricity, and several more.  Where did I put that brochure? Is it too late to sign up I wonder?

Remember these? “Practice makes perfect, don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today, time is of the essence, an inch is as good as a mile, there is no time like the present, don’t get caught with your pants down?”  If you really are a prepper, then get with the program.

Organize, Prioritize, Initiate

You have to get started somewhere.  You sit and you ponder what to do, what to do, wringing your hands and constantly SHTF Blogdebating the same questions over and over.  But still you sit.  What will it take to get you off center? How much reality do you need to shock you into action?  What if the bank closes, what happens during a riot and the grocery store on the corner is burned down, what do I do if a truck load of despicable characters pulls up in my driveway, what if I lose my job tomorrow, hey, the power is out and there is no water?

None of these incident examples are that farfetched given the turmoil in today’s world.  You may have already experienced some of them.  What did you do?  How did you react?  Did you react?   Getting started is not all that complicated. Just push yourself off center and do something.  It is easy to sit in your comfy lounger chair with a notepad in your lap. Heck, you can still watch the game and write notes during the beer commercials.

Begin to craft a plan.  Write it down.  Fill in the blanks as you think of action items to accomplish your goals.  Such as?  Buy more water to store in the laundry room, get several cases of canned foods the whole family will eat, buy that first aid kit, pick up a couple bug out bags at that war surplus store, shop the pharmacy for OTC meds and other supplies.  Put some cash in a zip bag and hide it in a book on the shelf that you hollowed out.  Shop for that new pistol and maybe you should add a shotgun and/or an AR rifle.  How much ammo should I put back?  I need to call Bob and get out to the shooting range.

As the lists develop, number the items in terms of priority. You can’t do everything at once, or this week, but you can certainly begin to whittle the list down. Put the most important things first. Water and food are tops. Security is a high priority. Go from there.  Then don’t catch yourself lounging in that chair staring at the list and never doing anything about it. Get off your duff and do it. Baby steps first, then congratulate yourself for milestones achieved. Build your confidence as you build your skills.

With every step you take, you learn to better deal with those thin red lines. As you approach Caesar, your fear retreats, because you have prepared for it and learned how to deal with it. With cause and determination you have become a survivalist. All it takes is that first step. Take it now.

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Dr. John J. Woods
The Thin Red Line

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Trump: You Don’t Have To Understand Him. Just Respect Him.

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Best President

Donald Trump constantly proves pundits wrong. Why? Because at some point everyone will attempt to make sense of Trump Best Presidentusing their own rules. And Trump does not follow your rules.  So what’s Trump’s game? Simple. He wants to be President. Don’t we all?  But what The Donald has up his sleeve is nothing more than his tried and true game plan that got him his billions in the first place. Trump is following his classic strategy, the same one he wrote about in detail in his 2004 book “The Art of the Deal.”

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

Read the Book

Trump has his formula for success and it involves two specific things that traditional politicians are incapable of doing.  First, donald_trump_for_president_2016_campagin_donationsTrump can speak his mind regardless. And second, he can always back off his prior extreme statements.  In fact, this latter feature of Trump allows him to both court the hardcores as well as seem reasonable to the moderates when he backs down to what would have been an extreme position had he started there in the first place.

Imagine for a moment that Trump says he wants to ban all Muslims entering America.  It’s an extreme and controversial point of view, but then Trump lightened up and stressed that America should not let any Muslim in without proper and significant vetting.  Had Donald started with his lesser “extreme” view, the same attacks would have surfaced, and Trump’s viewpoint would have seemed extreme even though it makes perfect sense.  So now he sounds reasonable, both shocking the world, and sounding rational and fair.  Who else running could do that? Well, and get away with it.

Another example is that pesky wall thing along our southern border.  Trump’s claim is considered outrageous, not because of the wall but for who will pay for it.  Trump claims he will make Mexico pay for the wall.  Seems strange on the surface, but how hard would it be for The Donald to open a “wall factory” in Mexico as part of a trade agreement, and suddenly the wall is an economic boon to The Estados Unidos Mexicanos.  Not what you expected?  Thats my point.  Somewhere along the line you put Trump in your box expecting that he would follow your lines of reason.  Trump never said that it was a bad thing for Mexico to turn a profit on the wall they are building.  Right?

Professional Clowns are Highly Skilled

I don’t know anyone who does not find Donald Trump entertaining regardless of where on the political spectrum they fall. Trump for PresidentHowever the “fun factor” can leave the intellectuals wanting.  What is often overlooked is the passion for a Trump Presidency is not always for Trump, but rather for what Trump represents.  Trump is a symbol, and therefore symbolic for all the discontent, frustration, and downright anger that Americans have for whatever tangent of the government they feel is oppressing them.

Trump, as a billionaire, lives in a world completely different from most. I have a couple friends who are extremely wealthy, and when hanging out with them it’s like a reality distortion field settles over the world.  Not good.  Not bad.  Just weird unless one has a foot in that particular universe.  I can run with the millionaires just fine (although I’m not one).  Millionaires are just like you and me but on steroids.  Billionaires, on the other hand, see planet earth through the lens of total personal control and adventure. And, of course, opportunity.  Constant opportunity.

So when politics and infinite wealth mix, strange things happen.  One is that its nearly impossible to predict loyalties because nobody can “buy” the candidate. Another is that the practiced art of political public speaking is a non-issue.  The candidate says what they want, when they want, and how they want.  And retracts nothing.  Why should they?  Why would they?

Guns and Coffee

Trump claims to have a concealed carry permit. I have no trouble believing this, but I would find it unusual if he actually carried something that went bang.  Slimming silk suits don’t take kindly to IWB holsters even if just an LCP.  Plus, Trump’s private security could probably take down the Secret Service if push comes to shove it.  And Trump skipping out on small-town Iowa coffee?  If I were Trump…oops, almost made the mistake I warned you about.  Trump does what Trump wants.  Live with it.

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Trump: HGH For An Insurgency

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Best President Candidate

As predicted in this very forum back in June, the rise of Donald Trump has been many things, not the least of which is Best President Candidateentertaining.  Hurricane Donald has had massive success shining a 100,000 lumen spotlight on the serious rift within the Republican Party as well as tightly winding the mainstream media’s undies.  Two satisfying outcomes for this American.  But those are far from his only accomplishments, one unintended consequence has also come with the rise of Trump.

By Professor Liberty Mize, a contributing author of SHTFBlog

He has inadvertently laid the groundwork for a legitimate independent run this Best Presidential CandidateNovember.  Shockingly that ticket will not be headlined by Trump himself.  Consider the following hypothetical.  If we enter late April and Trump still has a stranglehold on the Republican nomination (still a massive if), and if Hillary is indicted (a shockingly less unlikely if), the vast majority of voters in this electorate will find themselves without a candidate.  This is based on high negatives for each of the aforementioned major party alternatives.

Also Read: Comb Over Chaos

This will force a “none of the above” wave that this country hasn’t seen since Richard Pryor ran for Mayor in Brewster’s Millions.  Combine that atmosphere with ballot access rules that allow independent candidates the ability to defer a decision until late spring/early summer and things could get interesting.

How can we be sure? 

Consider the candidacy of Jesse Ventura and Arnold Schwarzenegger.  While the circumstances surrounding their rise to office best presidential candidateare nuanced, three key thing fueled both:

1.    The ability to get on the ballot without facing a legitimate primary
2.    A fundamental dislike by voters of the other candidates  (The recall of an incumbent in Arnold’s case)
3.    A fiscally conservative, but socially liberal message

Together these three things allowed each to beat a path to the sweet spot of American politics. Polls show that the majority of Americans are fiscally conservative and laissez-faire on social issues.  Yet today these people have no outlet.  You can’t support abortion and sniff a republican primary, and you can’t tout free markets and economic reason and capture the fancy of democrats.  By carefully spinning those into a platform a candidate could re-configure the electoral map and be competitive in every state.

So Why Don’t More Independents Run? 

Because to run is a fool’s errand.  In national elections roughly 40% of the people will vote for their party regardless of the nominee.  So even if you capture the vast middle, you are still short on votes taken by the major party nominees.  That is unless the base actually hates their nominee or that nominee was recently led away in leg irons.

The Perfect Storm

Therefore we have the perfect storm.  Pissed voters, crappy nominees and a real mess to clean up in DC.  It is a formula that has Mayor Bloomberg, Jim Webb and even Joe Biden putting out feelers and seriously considering an insurgency.  Bloomberg’s ability to self-fund means he could be a particularly serious player.  Elections are expensive and party infrastructure and influence are key to fundraising and building a successful organization.  None of this applies to him.  Bloomberg need only crack his piggy bank and shake out a few hundred million bucks and he could be in business.  The others face longer odds, and there may be others considering a run that have yet to surface.  Could someone Ross Perot their way to a legitimate shot at the white house?  Stranger things have happened, and if anyone has those ambitions this is certainly the year to try.

The Bottom Line

Again the above is based on hypotheticals.  Hillary’s indictment could very well be squashed by the justice department or be Trump for Presidentspun as a right-wing conspiracy, but I wouldn’t bet on it.  The FBI doesn’t mess around and reportedly has 100s of agents on the case and the evidence is overwhelming.  If the justice department fails to indict they could go public and either force Obama’s hand, or just destroy Hillary.

On the Republican side Trump is also far from home free.  Cruz will likely win Iowa, Trump will win New Hampshire and it is anyone’s guess after that.  But if he sweeps the SEC vote we could very well be headed for Trump as the nominee.  In an era where a populist anti-establishment wave has carried Ron Paul, Trump and even Bernie Sanders to prominence– anything is possible.  Who might be able to tap into that and ride the wave all the way to DC is really anyone’s guess.  Regardless I’ll likely still be endorsing “none of the above”.

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Donald Trump
Justin Hoch
Michael Vadon

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4 Things To Consider When Bugging Out

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Bug Out Vehicles

The sh*t just hit the fan.  Things have gone from bad to worse and you and your family are in the affected area.  Now what?  Whether you are a seasoned prepper or just beginning on the journey down the road to preparedness, there may come a time when you will have Best bug Out vehicleto make the decision whether to bug in or hit the road to a safer location with your family.  When that time comes, here are the first four things to consider before you start bugging out by vehicle:  Which vehicle should I take?  What should I take with me?  Where am I headed?  What will be the safest route to take?

By Chuck Savage, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

1. Which Vehicle Do I Take?

For those of us who don’t own a Hummer, the decision may be a little harder.  Things to consider in an escape vehicle are ground Best Bug Out Vehicleclearance, four wheel drive or not, load capacity, fuel consumption and toughness.  Even if you plan on bugging in during an emergency, not having a backup plan complete with a remote location that is well supplied could prove fatal.  Case in point and mentioned often is when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans.  Thousands of people hit the roads to evacuate and many had no idea of where they were headed.

This lack of planning led to panic and indecision that only made matters worse. Horror stories of people stranded on overpasses and people being attacked at rest stops filled the news. Many people waited until it was too late to leave and perished as a result of poor or no planning.  So, what vehicle will you take?  I would take the vehicle that I feel is the safest for me and my family. In my case, we have a GMC Envoy 4WD.  It is not the toughest vehicle but it is better than our Kia Spectra. This GMC gives me a fair load capacity and the option of better traction if needed. I always keep at least three quarters of a tank of fuel in my vehicle at all times and make sure my oil, fluids and tire pressure are good.

Also Read: The Katrina Rifle

Having 4WD is a nice option but don’t let 4WD give you a false sense of security.  My wife and I learned this a few weeks ago while checking a new clear cut on our leased property in our Jeep Liberty 4WD.  I had driven on these roads before but the logging activity had damaged the roads badly.  I hit a soft spot, came to a stop and sank.  I confidently shifted into 4 wheel low range and tried to drive out but with no luck and sank deeper.  I rocked the vehicle back and forth but sank deeper.  So deep, that I would not be able to get it out.  I am confessing this to try and help you avoid my same mistakes.

Things in my Jeep:
1.    A ranch jack: Can be used to lift the front or rear onto stable ground.
2.    Straps or chains: Can be used with a jack or come along.
3.    Folding shovel: Dig around the tires to improve traction
4.    Ratchet straps: Can be used to strap a board or tree limb for self rescue.
5.    Snow chains: Can be used in snow, ice or mud to improve traction.
6.    A hand operated come along: Able to wench the vehicle out.
7.    A tool kit: For small repairs.
8.    Leather gloves
9.    Extra towels
10.  Hatchet or hand axe

These are just a few of the most important things needed in a bug out vehicle to be able to self rescue.  Unfortunately my story didn’t end like a fairy tale. I had to hike out to civilization and find someone with a 4WD tractor to pull me out. My wife, (not in the best of moods by now, had to wait in the submerged jeep for me to make it back with help).

2. What Do I Take With Me?

Decide that now and not when you find yourself having to haul butt. My wife and I found ourselves with about ten minutes to best bug out vehiclemake that decision while living in Durango, Colorado.   The Missionary Ridge fire had changed directions within minutes and we had to load our vehicle and leave the rest behind. We didn’t have time to deliberate on what was important. We just grabbed the CPU to our computer, a few clothes, water, dog food, people food, sleeping bags and a tarp for a shelter.  As we left our drive way, I remember thinking that it may be the last time I would see our home and the things we had to leave behind.

Related: 7 Reasons to Have Money In Your Bug Out Bag

One thing that I learned from living in Colorado was to always keep emergency supplies in our vehicle at all times.  The weather in the Rockies is constantly changing and can be very unpredictable.  I have seen it snow in August, rain anytime and hail in midsummer.  Temperature swings from hot to freezing in a matter of hours. We are seeing more of these extreme weather patterns throughout the United States so be prepared.

My list includes the following:
1.    Two blankets (wool if possible).
2.    Drinking water (can be used for water for the vehicle if needed).
3.    Food bars
4.    Fire starter
5.    Emergency shelter
6.    Small stove with fuel
7.    Flash light with extra batteries
8.    Multi tool
9.    First Aid Kit
10.    Cell Phone and charger

I did have most of these items when we got stuck and my ever present firearm with extra ammunition. Fortunately I was close enough to hike out for help but I might not be able to the next time. I learned a lesson to never leave these items at home or base camp again.  Now I keep a loaded box with what I need in my garage. Everything we need is prepped and ready to load at a moment’s notice. My advice to everyone is to take the time to do this now, not at the last minute when you are under intense pressure. You will be glad you did.  I know that I have forgotten some things not listed above but you get the idea. If you have to leave, you don’t know what you will be facing or when you may be back.

Related: A Campground As A Bug Out Location?

If you take the time now when not under pressure, you will be less likely to forget the things you will need. So please, think it through and put your plan together now. Don’t put it off and become a victim or a statistic we read or hear about on the news.

3. Where Am I Headed?

My family is fortunate to have some leased land that we can use as a safe place to bug out. It has all of the resources that we Survivalwould need to survive in an emergency. We store some things there on site to help us from having to carry too much with us.  Every evacuation plan should have a well thought out destination. If you don’t have a land lease, maybe you should consider State or National forests. The down side to this would be having to share space and resources with other people you may not know and can trust.

Also Read: The Ultimate Bug Out Vehicle

Another safe place may be with relatives or friends who live in safer more desirable location to weather out emergencies.  It is good to consider the resources you need to survive and for the location to be defensible against undesirables. In emergencies, you will not want to have to depend on protection from the government.  Law enforcement and rescue/EMT personnel will be stretched thin so learn to meet your own needs.

4. What Will Be The Safest Route To Take?

Getting to the bug out location is the last consideration.  Evacuation routes are going to be packed.  For people who don’t know Best SHTF vehiclethe back roads, they will all follow the signs and before long the roads will become blocked.  I have planned two alternate routes to our bug out location and there are even more if I need them.  Study your routes for safety issues like areas that may flood during storms.

Also Read: Raid Routes

The news reminds us of the many people who drown each year because of trying to drive through flooded roads.  I plan to avoid Interstates because everyone else will be using them. Avoid stopping at rest stops or crowed public places as these can be a point of ambush for people who want to steal or do harm.  Unfortunately we live in a crazy world and it’s harder to know who you can trust. So, don’t let your guard down! Always be alert, have your head on a swivel and be ready to defend yourself at all times.  Hopefully this info will help you as you plan your bug out strategy. Get prepared now. Then if and when the time comes you will be ready.

Photos By:
Chuck Savage

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Bug Out Long Term (B.O.L.T) Pistol: Part 1

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SHTF Handgun

To B.O.L.T. is to Bug Out Long Term.  As a complement to the Katrina Rifle, I decided to assemble a B.O.L.T. Pistol.  The Survival SHTFrequirements, as they say, are similar but different from the Katrina Rifle in that the B.O.L.T. Pistol must be a reliable lightweight small-caliber semiautomatic with optic and suppressor.  B.O.L.T. is my nickname for a version of bugging out.  Since the term “Bug Out” means everything from fleeing a house fire to planning for three days of isolation during a hurricane, to hitting the hills forever, I decided I needed at term to describe a Bug Out Kit that says what it is.  The B.O.L.T. kit does not include comforts or survival jewelry. Redundancy is a luxury practiced only in very narrow circumstances.  With quality, I’m gambling that “One is one, and one is one.”

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

.22, 23. Whatever It Takes

Just as a .22 Long Rifle rifle is an optimum utility bug out gun, so too is the .22 Long Rifle pistol.  It is not THE optimum choice, Best Bug Out Pistolbut AN optimum choice.  With a full resume of light weight, low recoil, simple operation, and about nine rounds per ounce, the .22 is heavily suited for tool-use in hunting and protection.  Most critters larger than a skunk will either be picked off early in a SHTF scenario, or move to high country and out of reach except from the most determined and skilled hunters.

Pound for pound, the .22 LR is an exceptional choice for a B.O.L.T. Lots of folks immediately look towards law enforcement or military weapons for their B.O.L.T. guns.  Those black weapons have their strengths as offensive tools when you are running to the fight instead of away from it.  The Katrina Rifle had offensive capabilities as well as hunting talents.  But a .223 round weighs almost four times as a .22 LR. And the concept of a B.O.L.T. means you intend on carrying plenty of ammo to get you started in the next adventure.

Here’s a breakdown of the average number of rounds in one pound:
12 gauge: 10 shells
.308: 19 rounds
.45: 21 rounds
.40 S&W: 28 rounds
.223: 37 rounds
9mm: 38 rounds

And the wonderful .22 Long Rifle: 140 rounds per pound! So whether bangs per pound or bangs per cubic inch, the humble .22 long rifle wins.  Back when Stevens Arms & Tool Company basically invented the .22 cartridge, there was no anticipated SHTF, no Bug Out gun, and no real concern that an EMP or Grid Down situation would cause God-fearing Americans to high-tail it into the boonies.  But ever since then the .22 Long Rifle has been responsible for plenty of game getting, defensive protection, and an unfortunate number of folks had that their last thought be the feeling of a .22 bullet entering their skull, heart, or other essential piece of anatomy.

The .22 is “real” out to 100 yards.  Not a .308 by any means, but certainly a dangerous opponent if grappled with whether by a prairie dog or mule deer eyeball.  Sure, if everything is an option, than one would choose something other than the .22, but when a single handful of ammo holds a hundred bangs, you need to seriously consider the .22 as an enemy of fate given its large potential and minuscule size.  Of course it has it’s limits including elephant skin, car doors, house walls, and thick outerwear, but when line-of-sight to a vulnerable target is on the menu, the .22 is a killer. Period.

Supersonic, the .22 carries the potential of death out beyond its accuracy. Subsonic, the .22 wreaks havoc long before anyone knows where the muzzle is pointed.  If you have to, think of it more of a force-addition than a full on force multiplier.  Yes, I would rather have nine millimeters of lead and metal jacket punch through the dermatitis of the bad guy, but six months down the Warrior’s Road I doubt I’ll still have pockets full of shells if I have to pop off even just a few per day.  In the volume of a beer can you can have over 600 .22 bangs.  In the volume of a shoe box, you can have enough  ammo to get your name in bold on a terrorist watch list.  So when push comes to shove, you need to get your ducks in a row and make decisions based on the short term realities of long term survival.  And that includes both calibers of the twenty-two variety as well as those eighty-eight-thousandths of an inch thicker.  Don’t get caught splitting hairs here.  Flying metal is flying metal. If it lands in the wrong place, it’s game over. Make fun of the .22 if you want, but when bullets fly, you cannot argue with lead.

Also Read: Bug Out Bullet Bottles

Bang for bang, a .22 LR must be part of any B.O.L.T. kit. Which brings up another point. If BOLTing, your .22 will get a workout both in utility-carry and gross number of rounds down range. That means quality and performance of the firearm and all components is critical because there is no point in carrying thousands of rounds for one gun of questionable lifespan.

The magic about the particular bug out pistol highlighted here is that it’s versatility is unlimited.  Not to spoil the ending, but building on a lightweight alloy and polymer frame is a full tune-up of high-end mechanical upgrades, topped off with a top rail red dot sight essentially eliminating sight radius from the aiming equation. Oh, and then there is the suppressor. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Outside In

The starting point for this B.O.L.T. gun adventure is a late model Ruger 22/45 Lite.  As a semiautomatic of proven design, the Ruger action will eat anything for dinner and put lead downrange all day long for weeks before hitting the shower. With its aluminum barrel shroud filled with “shark gills” that cool the stainless steel threaded pipe and cuts the belly fat, the 22/45 Lite is an exceptional choice for anyone in the market for a .22 auto pistol regardless of the end use.

But alas, the 22/45 Lite is not perfect. Like all Ruger autos, it has some idiosyncrasies that can drive a shooter crazy.  From the fragile and obnoxious “LCI” or loaded chamber indicator, to the dysfunctional relationship between magazine seating and bolt closure, to the pot metal firing pin, and the unbelievably bad iron sights, the 22/45 is in need of some serious TANDEMKROSS upgrades.

Also Read: The Katrina Rifle

Upgrading many of the parts of any gun when done by the owner has the side effect of increasing the intimacy with the firearm. Survival PistolWay too many gun owners are fearful of putting screwdriver to screw, wrench to bolt and punch to pin on their favorite bullet launchers. But that’s how we learn. The AR-15 is an excellent playground for the curious, but also a great way to shoot springs across the room and detents into the ceiling. Whether grip, buffer tube, or safety selector, we’ve all been there. Pling! What the hell was that? But the result is fearlessness when it comes to pulling apart the gun. The only way to learn is to do it. So scratches be damned, I unrolled the punch set next to my new Ruger ride.

For those just arriving to this party, TANDEMKROSS machines and stamps some of the finest part upgrades for a handful of select pistols including the Ruger 22/45 Lite. TANDEMKROSS offers no less than 30 upgrades and supporting accessories for the 22/45 Lite in particular. In the interest of building the finest lightweight .22 heavyweight, a baker’s dozen TANDEMKROSS enhancements were added to the Ruger including six internal parts and seven external ones.  Not all are built by TANDEMKROSS, but all are recommended and sold by them.

The upgraded internal parts replaced the Loaded Chamber Indicator, the magazine release, extractor, a firing pin, a “Kanewolf” bolt release kit, and a better hammer bushing. The upgraded internal parts include plus-1 mag bumpers, trigger, charging handle, compensator replacing the barrel thread protector, sights, grip, and holster.

Related: Project Squirrel Gun

The TANDEMKROSS LCI basically eliminates the stock loaded chamber indicator. Unfortunately the original plastic protrusion Best Survival Pistolthat signals if a shell is in pipe comes at a cost in the form an actual lever inside the receiver that requires case pressure and careful cleaning. If you local jurisdiction allows you to remove features that both add and subtract safety, the the TANDEMKROSS LCI is a good spend of twenty bucks. In my case, the pin that held the original LCI pin in place was not interested in coming out. It took a drill press and muscle to remove it, but that was all caused by some sloppy tolerances between the steel receiver and the aluminium shroud installed at the Ruger factory.

Take a Mag Dump

The stock mag release on the Lite is not much to write home about. So a larger more pronounced mag release button is needed. Not only for releasing the mag, but also for not releasing the mag. When a button or lever on a pistol is subdued, it affects both the deliberate activation of the feature as well as its accidental activation. When a gun’s control surface is not well matched to the size and natural motion of the human hand, it is at risk of lack of use or unintentional misuse. The TANDEMKROSS Extended Mag Release Button is both longer and more textured making it deliberate to use and possible to ignore. When your mag needs to take a dump, you don’t want to fiddle with the flusher.

The Head of the Pin

By switching the firing pin from heavy soft steel to ultralight and hardened titanium you gain more than just longevity of a critical part, but also a faster moving part given the lower moving mass to strike the primer.  As Isaac Newton noted three centuries ago, F=MA.  That means that Force is the product of Mass times Acceleration.  If the weight of the firing pin spring is a lowered, the same firing spring will cause an increase the pin’s acceleration and thus it’s force of impact on the .22 primer rim. Add in the additional hardness and strength of titanium over steel, and you have a much more effective and long-lasting critical component. So this upgrade is another no-brainer.

Extraction Team

Why is it the extractor is where gun companies save a few pennies?  Luckily the TANDEMKROSS engineers spend some of their life designing a better extractor for the Ruger 22/45 Lite.  By using better steel and a sharper machined hook, the positive grab of the TANDEMKROSS Eagle Claw extractor all but eliminates failure-to-eject (FTE) and stovepipe violations (except with some subsonic rounds while suppressed).  If you are in the market for such a thing, it’s the best ten bucks and two minutes you will ever spend.

You Can Fix Stupid

TANDEMKROSS makes an unusually named upgrade called the Kanewolf.  Carrying the name forward from an acquired product, the Kanewolf upgrade from TANDEMKROSS addresses the ridiculous stock Ruger feature that eliminates the ability of the bolt to snap back or “slingshot” a new round into the breech when a fresh mag is slammed home.  Look, I don’t care why Ruger deviated from the norm, but I’m just glad TANDEMKROSS is here to help.  The Kanewolf upgrade allows you to slap in a new mag then “slingshot” the bolt by giving it a tug backwards before letting it slip out of your fingers and slam home.  Yea, I know that’s how you always do it, but with an off-the-shelf Ruger you need to use the bolt release lever. No, seriously!

Run It On Empty

The final internal upgrade of this Ruger 22/45 Lite is a TANDEMKROSS hammer bushing.  By substitution the factory hammer bushing for the TANDEMKROSS one, the shooter, me in this case, gains additional reliability as well as the ability to fire a shot with the magazine removed. Something just not possible with a stock pistol.  The upgraded stainless steel hammer bushing allows the magazine disconnect to be removed creating a more functional and uniform shooting control set familiar to most, especially us Glock users.  Again, know your local laws to ensure that you don’t disable some obscure gun feature that turns you into a felon.

Outside The Box

The TANDEMKROSS upgrades on the outside of the pistol are just as important as on the inside.  For starters, there is the little issue with the charging handle.  It’s not like an AR15 where there are two bucket holds to the east and west of the bolt. Instead the Ruger has lightly textured grip points that require some significant muscle when a full charge is needed, any slippage causes scraped skin.  By adding a TANDEMKROSS Challenger “Charging Cone” to the back of the stock handle, it is much easier to rack the slide without risk to skin or failure to feed. Other solutions to this problem extend the wings of the handle further west causing the width of the pistol to grow to absurd proportions.  At this rate why not an Eight-ball shift knob. But after just one full charge, the low-drag cone solution makes much more sense and works in all 360 degrees of grab.

Compensate For Something

The threaded barrel of the 22/45 Lite is capped by a thick washer designed with little more in mind than protecting the threads. TANDEMKROSS designed a more functional piece of jewelry to grace the business end of this machine. When properly indexed, the TANDEMKROSS Game Changer Compensator reduces the already small amount of muzzle flip to near zero. And like all good .22 accessories, the Game Changer acknowledges that this filthy little cartridge dirties up anything it touches so large cleaning holes circumnavigate the circumference. To test the effectiveness of the Game Changer, I ran a few mags through the gun with an accelerometer attached to the barrel. Ten shots each comparing the compensator to both a bare muzzle and one with a “silencer” attached.

Mag Force

After more than a century of development, you would think that box magazines would be dialed in by now. Unfortunately, that’sSurvival SHTF Pistolnot the case. The Ruger 22/45 mags lock home with a whisper, and more often than you’d think, the mags just pretends to be seated only to drop free during charging. Again TANDEMKROSS to the rescue. The 22/45 Pro Bumper gives the shooter extra oomph to the mag seating as well as providing 10% more rounds in the mag. While one extra bang over the factory 10 is not huge, it is in the right direction and one of the very few places where you can overload a stock mag.

Also Read: 7 Ruger 10/22 Accessories You Need

Additionally, the Pro Bumper comes with an optional spring to power-up the ejection of the mag when the enhanced mag release button is pushed. Instead of the polite magazine slippage masquerading as a mag ejection, the enhancement spring fires the mag earthwards making damn sure the decision to drop the mag is final. Like most other TANDEMKROSS upgrades, the Pro Bumper becomes indispensably essential immediately. Or as Iike to say, “IEI.”

Victory Rules

Triggers levers are always an easy target, pun intended. TANDEMKROSS is first on the scene with a textured flat trigger Tandemkross pistol upgrades reviewnicknamed the “Victory.” By using a straight lever arm, the tactile relationship between finger pad and anodized aluminum is magnified using leverage and predictable pull even though the rest of the trigger’s guts are factory. TANDEMKROSS addressed over-travel and pre-travel with set screws. Rather than having the trigger flop around in its cage, the set screws lock in the movement range making the Victory trigger more predictable. By diminishing the variability of the trigger feel, the flat face of the Victory trigger improves accuracy by proving the shooter with tactical feedback if the gun is pulling right or left, and eliminates the variability of pull weight depending on how the trigger is wrapped with the finger. Loading the trigger face with your index digit low on the lever gives the perception of a lighter poundage pull keeping the sights on target with less effort. Unfortunately it does not change the spongy two-stage nature of the stock Ruger trigger components, but it certainly minimizes the negative effect.

Stay tuned for part 2!

All Photos by Doc Montana

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Good Stuff Cheap (er)

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Top Survival Blog

My dad always used to say “It only costs a little more to go first class.”  He drove Cadillac’s, flew Beechcraft Bonanzas, wore Hart, Schaffner, and Marx suits, drank Gordon’s Gin, and hunted with Weatherby rifles, because he thought those brands were the best of the best, and worth every penny regardless of what they cost.  Fifty years ago perhaps those brands did define “First Class” for that generation.  These days not everybody can afford such extravagances, nor do I think we need to.  Picking gear, clothes, guns, vehicles, camping equipment, and other essentials for any coming SHTF has to be a good balance between our budget and what we can afford to spend on survival supplies. 

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

Reality Dollars

I recently read on another survival site the discussion over how much cash to sock away for a rainy SHTF and/or how much to Survivalspend in prepping.  The consensus of the replies was that $1000 sounded about right for a starting budget for prepping.  I don’t know the parameters of the question posed on a SHTF budget, but sorry to break your bubble folks, but one grand won’t do diddly squat.  Maybe they meant just to start off with some scratch extreme basics.  In that case maybe so.  I will admit that even some small start is at least a start.  But frankly, a good AR with optics can cost a grand.

Still be it far for me to recommend to anyone else how much hard earned investments they should put into their prepping efforts.  I just know that if you sat down with some blank paper and made an extraordinarily comprehensive list of everything needed, it would be one expensive venture.  That is why incremental planning and buying is the course that most of us have to take.   I been at this 20+ years.

Quality vs. Cheap

By cheap, I do not mean to imply junk that will not function, or last.  I mean useful items that are reasonably priced that most Top Survival Blogpreppers can afford to buy.  I think there is some middle ground these days upon which we can compromise on the equipment, gear and goods we buy for survival prepping.  I think we can buy good stuff for a fair price that will give reliable, long term service.

If you are old enough to remember, stuff from Japan used to be pure junk, say when I was 5-10 years old in the 1950s.  Today most Japanese made merchandise is top quality and a reasonably good value.  Now we have to deal with stuff from China, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, India, and other places we know little or nothing about.

I say all that to say we need to closely inspect and evaluate any purchase we make regardless of the brand name on the label.  I have come to discover some of my favorite and heavily replied upon brands now suffer from quality standards as they move their origins of manufacture from the United States.  You simply cannot rely on a so-called trusted brand name alone any longer.  All goods must be evaluated on their own performance standards.

Trusted Brands or Retail Sources (For the most part)

I have made reasonably great strides to evaluate and pick prepping goods that offer both decent quality and a fair market value in today’s marketplace.  There may be exceptions within some of these brand offerings, but for the most part I have found these to make the grade:

•    Muck Boots.  You can buy the basic waterproof, mud boot on sale for under $75.
•    Coast Lights.  They have good flashlights for under $50.
•    Para (Ordinance) Pistols.  Basic 1911 models can be found for $700 or less.
•    PMC Ammo.  Reasonably priced in standard calibers.  1000/5.56 for under $350.
•    Uncle Henry Knives.  Inexpensive but good utility, decent quality.
•    Brown Jersey Gloves.  In bundles they can be had for $1.00 a pair.
•    Bass Pro Shops. Redhead brand is good and reasonable during sales.  Best socks.
•    Carhart Clothes.  Tough, long wearing, durable and comfortable work wear.
•    Plano Plastics.  Carry cases, ammo boxes, storage containers, strong, resilient.
•    Cabela’s.  Store branded clothing and boots are well made.
•    Bushnell Optics.  Reasonable prices, good features, decent glass.
•    Sportsman’s Guide.  Catalog/on line retailer, good source of real surplus.
•    Case-Guard.  AR-15 mag storage/carry boxes and other utility plastic containers.
•    Cheaper-Than-Dirt.  Sometimes, good source of ammo and shooting accessories.
•    War Surplus.  If you can find the genuine stuff, it is quality issued or not.
•    Leupold.  Extreme quality optics, not least expensive, many options.
•    Smith-Wesson ARs.  Top of the line quality, shop around for best prices.
•    Schnee Boots.  Very best cold weather, rubber bottom, leather top boots.
•    Rock River Arms.  Among the best heavy ARs for .308.
•    Case Knives.  Best American made pocketknives.
•    Colt Arms.  The original 1911, still among the best; same for ARs.
•    Coleman Camping.  Good all around, shop carefully for origin of manufacture.
•    Ruger.  An American stalwart for ARs, bolt rifles, 10-22 rimfires and handguns.
•    Tractor Supply JOBSMART ® Batteries.  On sale as good as the bunny drummer.
•    Toyota, Ford F-100, Chevrolet Silverado Trucks.  Pick your options, good rides.
•    Remington Yellow Box Ammo.  Good quality, shop big boxes, shows for pricing.
•    Maxpedition.  Exceedingly durable packs, bags, cases.  Higher end pricing.
•    Honda ATVs.  Well made, durable, reliable.  Mine is 15 years old, never failed.
•    Remington.  Especially M700 rifles and 870 shotguns.

Certainly as members of the SHTFBlog/Survival Cache family you likely have many other thoughts, preferences, and we hope Top Survival Blognumerous more recommendations we could add to this list.  It’s only a start, and it’s only based on my experiences.  We want to know yours.  What prepping products have worked, are working, and what has not.  As to prep budgeting I can only recommend to set aside what you can.  If that requires you to save up to buy a better product, then do that.  You don’t have to buy the high end stuff to get quality, durability, good function, and value.  Keep shopping, but always buy carefully.

All Photos by Dr. John J. Woods

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The Thinking Man’s Trump: 3 Reasons the Donald’s Run Will Ensure a Carson Win

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Ben Carson running for president

Donald Trump’s entry into the republican presidential race, though much-maligned, still offers the best antidote to a Hillary Ben Carson for PresidentClinton presidency.  He’s single-handedly injected life into a nomination process that has lacked passion for 20 years with his ability to tweak the media and boldly state his point of view.  His very presence has made every debate must-see television as he’s repeatedly shunned political correctness, boldly pointed to Obama’s failures and unabashedly embraced the immigration issue that others dodge due to an increasingly diverse electorate.

By Professor Liberty Mize, a contributing author of SHTFBlog

Oh yeah, and he’s done something else.  He’s built a roadmap to the nomination for Dr. Ben CarsonTrumpCarson is a one-two punch that has everyone deeply concerned about the jab, when a massive left hook is ready to rain down upon them.

Trump Repeatedly Goes Off Book

One of the biggest reasons Trump resonates so much for people is that he absorbs the attacks of the media and doesn’t cower in Donald Trumpthe corner when they come.  His immigration stand has been predictably branded racist, his rhetoric maligned and yet he consistently doubles-down and stays on message. When attacked, he attacks.  Carson sees this, and has added this arrow to his quiver.

Consider just last week, when Carson was assailed by internet reports that statements in his book may be less than truthful.  Conventional wisdom (along with most political pundits) says the best course of action is to ignore attack attempts and they go away.  Perhaps make a benign statement, but under no circumstances do you make it a big deal and lower yourself to their level as to do so only raises the reach of the reports.

Also Read: 5 Reasons to Support Donald Trump

Carson’s response was to do the exact opposite.  He didn’t back down, shrug it off or calmly hope it went away.  He stole a page from Trump, came out swinging and destroyed the narrative, reportedly pulling in a huge day of contributions in the process.   It was pure genius and nothing a party operative would ever endorse, which is part of why it worked. Highly paid pundits build campaigns like Jeb Bush’s where the strategy is to hang around, avoid gaffes, say little and hope you are the last man standing. In a crowded field, that is a recipe for failure.

Trump Draws Crowds

Record audiences come to see what insane blather Mr. Trump may invent at each debate, but along the way they stay to hear the Top Survival Blogreal candidates.   The platform Donald provides is invaluable to those offering real solutions and prudent commentary.  Carson has capitalized and come off as sensible and thoughtful.  He’s the perfect yin to Trump’s yang, and yet the only reason his homespun solutions get any attention at all is because of the intense media coverage provided by Trump.

Yes, Carson is unpolished and at times awkward, but it only adds to this charm.  He’s not a politician, he’s a guy.   In a world where “would you have a beer with this guy” is the lowest common denominator in selecting a leader of the free world, this plays well.   People want to vote for a guy! It is all very “W” of him as Bush was a candidate who repeatedly showed up very poorly at the debates, but ultimately won two terms based on likability.

Trump Has Moral Baggage

Perhaps most importantly is the contrast between the two men –as men.  Trump is on wife #3, has declared bankruptcy multiple times, was born into money and is a tone-deaf narcissist.  He isn’t even bought in to 90% of his own party’s platform.  He is an opportunist who sees a chance to self-promote and has struck out to do just that.  All of this makes him wholly and completely un-electable by a conservative party.

Carson on the other hand is the real American success story.  Rising from poverty through hard work and sacrifice and creating first generation wealth and esteem.  Most importantly, he actually believes in the ideas that made the Republican Party great (40 years ago).  Personal accountability, equal protections and incentivizing people to help themselves are not just ideas, they are a way of life.

Few politicians have a moral framework, fewer still actually will attempt to govern from it.  Carson seems like the rare exception.  He knows right from wrong, understands America and appears poised to govern on principles rather than opinion polls.  Not since Ronald Reagan have we seen a president who merges policy with principles and it is high time we did.

The Takeaway

The point of all of this is not to malign Trump, but to thank him.  Without his passion and energy, we’d be doomed to Clinton part 3.  He truly is the carnival barker of our generation.  Thank goodness Dr. Carson is there to back all the hype with real solutions.

Photos by:
Michael Thomas

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National PrepareAthon!

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FEMA Preppers

National PrepareAthon! FEMA’s Feeble Effort to Help You Help Yourself.  Did you miss it?  September 30th was “National PrepareAthon! Day.”  What was it? FEMA’s effort to cap National Preparedness Month with a call to action, a call to “improve your family’s emergency preparedness and resilience to potential disasters” (source).

By DG, founder of Prepper Press

I can hear the yawns now, in fact…. *yawwwwwn* – I’m right with you.  FEMA, giving disaster preparedness advice – ha! We all Doomsday Preppersremember Katrina, right?  Have they changed so much since then that now they’re in a position to not only meet their own taxpayer-funded mandate but to also dispense advice to folks like you and me?  I doubt it.  Of course, we’re not really their target audience, are we?  No, because while we wouldn’t necessarily argue with their advice:

•    Sign up for local alerts and warnings
•    Develop & test emergency communication plans
•    Collect and safeguard critical documents
•    Document property & obtain insurance
•    Download the FEMA app to your smart phone
•    Assemble emergency supplies, including:
Drinking water
– First-aid kit
Canned food
– Radio, Flashlights, and Blankets

It’s not exactly “advice” by our standards.  It’s more like dumbed-down, obligatory suggestions for lazy sheep.  I mean, is the FEMA app really going to help you much?  I’m not going to download it, and I wonder, if we were in charge of re-writing those points, to give them more value, and have the read less… governmental and rose-colored, would they look something more like this:
•    Maintain situational awareness – wake up!
•    Make sure your entire family knows where to go and what to do WTSHTF.
•    Have a circle of like-minded survival friends.
•    Safeguard precious documents needed for any emergency
•    Have cash, silver, gold and anything to barter with.
•    Insurance: home owners, automobile, and life.
•    Beans, Bullets, and Band-aids
•    Fuel (You can never have enough)
•    Don’t depend on anything powered
•    Stock nonfiction paperback books.  They’re EMP-proof!
•    Three is two, two is one, and one is none – assemble supplies!
Water is life
– Build a medical kit
Stay warm

Call me a cynic, but FEMA’s points of suggestion read like glossed over text published just so they can say they’re doing Preppers Survivalistssomething. There’s NO advice on what to do in the event of race riots.  NO advice on what to do when FEMA fails for weeks on end.  NO advice on extended grid down events.   NO advice on preparing for economic collapse.  I don’t want to end on a Debbie Downer note, though. Let’s face it, something is better than nothing, and while they’re messaging to sheep, a message to the sheep is better than no message at all.

The best of what they have to offer us super preppers is perhaps this tool: (click here)  It’s a map of various preparedness activities located around the country so you can connect with locals for more information. Some of them are even labeled “Private Preparedness Activity.” Things that make you go hmmmmm….

Photos by: FEMA

– 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 apocalyptic.

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The Fear Factor

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Fear….. It is the number one item that everyone forgets to prepare for in cases of survival, emergency situations and personal doomsday preppersprotection.  Yes, you may have your Get Home Bag, your Bug out Bag, your SHTF location and your weapon. But did you prepare to deal with FEAR? Most likely NOT.   Unless you can manage fear, you have an exceedingly high probably of not surviving. Fear strikes fast, it produces sometimes uncontrollable responses; it distracts your from what is really going on and significantly inhibits your ability to make the correct decisions.

By Dan C, a contributing author of & Survival Cache

Acting out of fear can get you into more trouble than the situation you are already in. Fear comes in many forms and levels. The simplest might be fear of insects, spiders and snakes, more intense fear might the instilled fear of heights, public speaking, the unknown, and extreme fear might be the fear of death, injury or pain. The most intense form of fear can completely incapacitate a person. Even though each level of fear elicits a primal reaction, each person will have a different response based on their experiences.

To enhance your likelihood of survival or functioning during a bad event, you must learn how to control your fear. It is not easy and requires significant training and practice to master the process.  But it should equally as important as any part of your planning process such as, packing your Get Home Bag, practicing personal protection shooting and being physically fit.

As part of evolution the human brain has developed a very sophisticated means of dealing with fear to enable us to survive. In doomsday preppersmost cases, fear is primal in function and activates our bodies to take the “fight or flight” posture and response.  There are many respected people that believe premonition is also a fear response.  That your body can feel or anticipate something bad, thus making you feel uncomfortable and having the desire to feel like you need to be on alert.  Whether real or perceived, in each of these cases, your body is responding to what it perceives as a threat and your fear response has been activated.

When something instantly scares you, it is easy have a primordial response and over react, respond quickly without thinking and immediately go into a defensive mode. Anyone one of these three primal responses could save your life on the other hand any one of these three responses could injury or kill you too.

Some of the devastating effects of fear are hesitation, confusion and chaos.  When those are the first responses to a fearful event, you are at a disadvantage. Even worst these factors can interfere with your ability to analyze the situation, thus it will take longer than normal to regain your thoughts, situational awareness and figure out what is happening. In the interim, you or someone else may become of victim of the circumstance because of your delay in properly responding to the threat.

Also Read: Situational Awareness, A Skill You Need

Let’s explore how fear is managed by the body. In general, fear is managed and dealt with totally in the brain. Several key parts of the brain deal with fear and activate the body’s various responses. One part of your brain, the amygdala sends out the signals for an immediate response, while the frontal cortex of the brain is trying to determine what is happening and analyze the response. To overcome an inappropriate responses to a fearful event and increase the speed in which you correctly respond. You must learn how to control and sometimes override some of these cerebral functions.

The brain takes two kinds of actions when confronted with fear.  The amygdala reacts fast and initiates the primal response of fight or flight.  The frontal cortex follows with questions such as “what just happened?”, “what should I do?”, “what will happen if I do something?” Overcoming the controlling power of the amygdala and rationalizing the questions of the frontal cortex requires considerable training and practice.

To be in control during a fearful event you must learn how to control these two separate parts of the brain.  The military completely understands the role fear plays in being able to perform your assigned functions during a scary and stressful event. So they go to great lengths to determine one’s ability to manage fear.  One of the biggest fears of a human being is the inability to breathe.  If you have ever choked on anything, you know the experience. You freak out and you go into panic mode immediately.

Based on that fear, during BUDS (Basic Underwater Demolition School) the Navy Seal program conducts several drills to test the Top Survival Blogstudents’ ability to manage fear. Several of these tests are conducted underwater in very stressful conditions. One such test requires the recruits to bob from the bottom of the pool to the top of the pool while their hands and feet are bound.  Thus, they need to rise to the top of the pool take a quick deep breathe, then slowly sink to the bottom of the pool while holding their breath and keeping their body under control. Then once at the bottom of the pool use their legs to propel them upward toward the top to take another breath.

In another drill, the recruits kneel on the bottom of the pool with all their dive gear in place, mask, tanks and fins.  Then instructors swim to the recruit and pull all their equipment off, turn off their tanks, tangle up their equipment, rough house the student.  After a predetermined amount of time they leave the student and the student must untangle the equipment, turn on the tanks, and put all the equipment back on.

These are incredibly stressful and fear inducing events.  Thus, to survive these events and demonstrate you have the ability to control your fear, play a significant role in moving to the next stage of the SEAL training program.  If you cannot control your fear in these situations it is highly unlikely you will not be able to do so in far more complex and uncontrolled environments.

Related: First Aid Training – An Essential Survival Skill

Now, what the SEAL programs does is an extreme method of training.  It is not something you should try.  But if you do not practice at your respective level, then when a fearful experience occurs to you, you will most likely not be able to deal with the situation in a timely and effective manner.

So how do you prepare to address fear and make sure that it does not interfere with your ability to address an adverse event? I recommend six ways to prepare yourself for a fearful event.  The scope of this article is going to focus on managing fear in a personal protection or survival situation. You can use the same tools to combat other types of fear.


Training is the most important aspect of dealing with fear.  If you do not obtain good training, then you will not know the correct technique to use in dealing with a fearful situation and your self confidence will be compromised.  One of the key factors in dealing with fear is having the confidence that you can overcome the fear and deal with the situation.  Knowledge decreases fear by increasing your ability to understand a situation and address it. So whether it is a survival course, a firearms course or a self defense course you need to take training.  One key tip about training courses is that you must choose good ones. There are lots of training programs, in particular firearms courses, that are taught by individuals that do not the experience or expertise to teach these courses.  No matter what course you take be sure to ask about the instructor’s qualifications and experience. So your valuable money and time is put to good use and you GET something out of the course.


Once you have received training you must practice, practice, and practice.  Muscle memory and mental memory are two key shtf survivalfactors in the immediate response to a fearful situation.  Muscle memory and mental memory are very similar. They are responses that are basically pre-programmed into your muscles and brain as the result of repetitive training. You have practiced them so many times that your response requires little to no thought.

Practicing enables you to control the primal response generated by the amygdala and perform a well practiced action with limited interference from the amygdala.  This is where muscle and mental memory come into play and become major assets.  Practice also plays a major role in helping you control the frontal cortex, the part of the brain that is going question your actions.  For example, “What if they think I am the bad guy?” ”What if I get beat up?” ”What if I get hurt?”  Practicing helps you override those questions because you know what you are going to do, you have practiced it, and you are confident in your ability to do what needs to be done, eliminating any hesitation in your response to the bad situation.

The next four tools that help you manage and deal with fear is used by Navy SEALS. Naturally, there are other methods, but the SEALS have gone to great lengths to understand fear and develop techniques to manage it.

Goal Setting

One of the main keys of survival and dealing a fearful situation is to remain focused.  This means you must control the frontal cortex of your brain, which is going question everything you do and constantly keep coming up with other ideas.  So to survive and succeed you must focus your full attention on the situation at hand.  For example, if it is an instant event such as a robbery. Then you must immediately focus on personal protection, subduing the adversary, and getting to safety. If it is a survival situation, it might mean you must focus on finding shelter, starting a fire or to get your bearings.  By creating short term goals for yourself, you keep your mind busy and occupied with tasks that are essential to the immediate time frame and self preservation.  Thus, keeping you from getting distracted with thoughts that might induce greater fear and resulting in you becoming unfocused and distracted, causing you to fail.

Mental Rehearsal

Mental Rehearsal and visualization are one in the same.  They both involve the same techniques and they both are invaluable in preparing to deal with a fearful event.  Both require a tremendous amount of mental focus and preparedness.  This technique requires you to think through any scary event you may encounter and prepare yourself mentally for dealing with the situation. This requires you to really focus on the task at hand and really consider all the options that might occur as part of completing the tasks. Equally important you want to see yourself finishing the tasks. You cannot do this just once and think you got it.  You need to practice this very frequently to master it.

For example, you may be scared of elevators and heights, as I am. But you know you have a meeting on the 19th floor and it is a glass elevator. So you first think through the process as no big deal, I can handle this. Then you plan your ride. I am going to get in, stand near the door and not look at the panel indicating the floors as we go up. I will do my best to have a conversation while going up and focus on the person I am talking to. When to doors open I will be polite and let everyone else out first. You should think about this event several times and in each case consider different things might happen. Such as, What if I am the elevator alone? What if there person in the elevator does not want to talk? What if the elevator stops on a floor before mine? By using this technique you keep your mind focused, instill confidence in yourself and you create a sense of I have done this before and you have a plan of action.

Self Talk

This is a powerful tool. As you read earlier in this article maintaining focus is essential to survival and dealing with fear. This is a concealed carry trainingconstant task; keep your frontal cortex from going wild with thoughts, so you can maintain your focus. Self talk is a tool you can use, before a fearful event, during it and after it. Here are examples of each situation. In the time before an event can use self talk to increase your confidence, see your way through the event and mentally prepare for the event. For example, you have to walk down a dark alleyway that you know is in a high crime area. So you start by saying, I know I can do this. All I need to do is stay focused and be prepared. If this happens I am going to do this. This is easy; I am just going to watch all around me as I walk. During the event, you may use self talk to prepare for you next move. Such as, if confronted you may think to yourself, if he does this I am going to do that. During a longer survival type situation, you might talk to you self and decide what you need to do, describe the positive aspects of your situation and insure yourself you can do this.

Also Read: 20 Things You Need In Your Get Home Bag

Recently, there was an episode of Naked and Afraid that featured two participants that were placed in the jungle.  The male was an experienced veteran with multiple combat deployments and a retired police officer.  The female was single mom who was baker with little survival experience.  In the early going of the event, the male survivalist was very critical of some of the female’s skills and touted how strong and experienced he was.  Yet within two days he tapped out and left her alone. For the next several days as she endured many, many obstacles, but she keep saying to herself, I can do this, I must do this for my daughter, and I am not giving up.  She made it the whole 21 days, an incredible and powerful testament to her determination, commitment and use of self talk.

Once an event is over your still must use self talk as a tool to maintain your focus.  What is known as “condition black” means your brain may be working very hard to analyze what just happened and this creates tremendous chaos in your mind.  The ability to self talk yourself and assure yourself that everything is ok and to calm down and to do what needs to be done next, plays a vital role in keeping your head after an event.

Arousal Control

Arousal control is paramount to dealing with fear.  There are two instances where arousal control are necessary and need to be Survivalimplanted in order to control your body and mind.  The first comes while you are getting ready for or anticipating a scary or fearful event.  In this case you your body will become anxious as the amygdala releases its power to get your body ready for fight of flight. During this time you may have a hard time concentrating, you made be distracted by negative thoughts and you clearly feel yourself getting nervous.  This the time you should be visualizing your upcoming experience and getting mentally ready for the adventure. But you can’t because you are scared and nervous.

In the second case, the instant a fearful stimulus is receive the amygdala goes into action. Instantaneously you body reacts. Immediately you take a defensive posture and action. Your brain and body have reacted before you even knew why?

In both cases, arousal control is imperative to keeping you mind and body under control.  One of the best means to control arousal is deep breathing. Box breathing is taught in the special forces community to control arousal.  By taking slow deep breathes as you count to 4 then slowly exhaling as you again count to 4 lowers your heart rate and blood pressure, reduces to release of hormones into your body, adds oxygen to your system.  Concentration on this maneuver decreases your body’s desire to release hormones that cause excitement.

Also Read: Tooth or Tail

Fear is the unknown factor in all fearful, stressful and dangerous situations.  The responses to fear can be instantaneous like when you are unexpectedly scared.  Or long term as in a survival situation.  You never know when the ugly head of fear is going to arise. In both of these cases, the use of these six techniques can help you overcome fear, respond appropriately and increase the likelihood you will survive.  As mentioned in the first part of this article you must practice these skills routinely or when you need them you will not know how to use them and thus they are useless.  As with all personal protection and survival techniques you must be trained, then practice, practice and practice.

Hopefully learning and practicing these skills will enable you to manage fear the next time you are in a fearful, scary or dangerous situation.

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Hannah Lee
Renee McGurk

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Choosing The Best Survival Food For Your Bug Out Bag

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Freeze Dried Food

I have been giving this a lot of thought lately, been reading others opinions, and have been using many different items.  I know Survival Foodwhat I like and will eat, that goes a long way to stocking ones backpack.  Much has been said about stocking your pantry for the future, whatever it may bring.  Stock what you eat, sounds simple, but it is less than simple.  My girls eat fresh and frozen veggies, never canned.  Canned goods last a long time and are pretty mandatory to stock in my opinion, so I also think that if you are really hungry you will eat what’s put in front of you.  That’s how I grew up, eat it or go hungry no matter how bad it is, and we did.

By Pineslayer, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

Food for your pack needs a little more thought.  Nutritional value, weight, ease of preparation, calories ( Because you will be burning them up quickly ), and lastly, but very important, taste.  Remember back in the day when Gorp ruled and then was challenged by Power Bars, we have come a long way.  It would be foolish to not look at what indigenous hunter gatherers took with them for the ‘road’.  The circumstances have certainly changed since then, but think about the gathering part of it.

Before we delve into various items, I will lay out a few ground rules.  ‘We’ should be looking for food that will stay good in your pack for a year.  Can be eaten without cooking or just add water.  Will give you the nutrition you require to push through to achieve the objective.  It should be stuff that you currently eat, so you can use it and replace it regularly.  Last is affordability.

Alexander Wolfe over at TEOTWAWKI blog said something a while back that stuck with me.  He was looking at pack foods that fit into a category of each ounce needs to have about 100 calories.  I liked the sound of that and have been using that as a benchmark in my purchases.  You be the judge as to if it holds water, but you gotta start somewhere.  As we break down some of my favorites, we will accomplish two things,  I will get a more honest assessment of what I bring and you get to throw out your suggestions in the comments area.  We learn from each other and only get stronger by sharing ideas.

1. Energy Bars

This is a big category.  I mentioned Power Bars early on, gosh did they taste mediocre, but we ate them.  I stock 5 different Best food for your bug out bagEnergy Bars here, so I will use them as examples.  My favorite is the Clif Bar.

1. Clif Bars – Many great flavors, good story too.  My thoughts are that I could live on Clif Bars and water, for a long time.  Great sustained energy.  My experience with them is that one year is about its lifespan, then they start to get hard and lose a little taste, but never have I seen one go bad.

2.4 ounces    260 calories
Fat 7g   Protein 9g   Carb 41

2. Tiger’s Milk Bar – Yummy, girls will eat them, no problem.  Tigers Milk Bars won’t stand up to the heat very well due to the chocolate coating.  Not only do you get some good stuff in you, but the morale boost gives it extra credit points.

1.23 ounces   140 calories   Fat 5g   Protein 6g   Carb 18g

3. The Power Bar – Iconic.  Power Bars have improved greatly in taste.  Shelf life is years, if kept fairly cool.  The joke around here is that is might be the best bar to have in your pack, because you will only it eat when you need to and it will always be good to go.

2.29 ounces   240 calories   Fat 4g   Protein 9g   Carb 44g

4. Nature Valley Sweet & Salty Nut Granola Bar Peanut – Just let that soak in.  Nature Valley Bars are amazing tasting decadent savor every bite goodness. They are slightly fragile and have yummy coating that can get melty.  Let’s see if they are all talk.

 1.2 ounces   170 calories   Fat 9g   Protein 4g   Carb 20g

5. Fig Bar – Now we move a little to the left.  I found these originally at Costco, big box.  Nature’s Bakery Stone Ground Whole Wheat Fig Bars.  They come in Blueberry,  Raspberry, and Fig.  These are more like a cereal bar, just not quite there yet.  Shelf life is a year or better.  As always fresher is better.  Very good taste and texture, like a pastry with nutritious filling.

 2.0 ounces   220 calories   Fat 5g   Protein 4g   Carb 40g

So that is my collection of energy bars.  There are many others that I buy occasionally and would not hesitate to put in my pack or belly.  Lots of good options out there and they seem to give you good bang for your buck.


You knew it was coming, no pack is complete without some dried meat.  Remember the first time you bit into a Slim Jim or SHTF foodTeriyaki Beef Jerky, it is like your first kiss, maybe that is pushing it, but it never leaves you, you always want more.  Here are the ones currently tickling my tastebuds.

Pacific Gold Original Beef Jerky made from Top Round Steak.  Some jerky’s seem to lose their flavor quicker than others, this ain’t one of them.  You might find yourself using this like a dip of Cope rather than jerky.  It really is good and holds it flavor for a long time.  I like to slowly let the jerky re-hydrate in my mouth and savor the spices for as long as possible, also seems to be a little mind game in there making  you think you are eating more than you are.

1.25 ounces   90 calories   Fat 1g   Protein 14g   Carb 8g   Carnivore rating 8 of 10

Impulse buy at the store, Krave Beef Jerky Sweet Chipotle.  Very tender pieces, excellent quality.  Flavor is deep, made in the USA.  I was happy with this buy, but like all good jerky it is pricey, but in the scheme of things, worth it.

3.25 ounces   315 calories   Fat 4.5   Protein 24g   Carb 36g  Carnivore rating 8 of 10

I may have saved the best for last,  Epic 100% Bison Bacon Cranberry Bar.  I have informed the family all I need for presents are these and semi-sweet chocolate bars.  These ‘bars’ are amazing.  For those who love pemmican, you will really appreciate these treats.  These may be the most expensive price per ounce item in this post, but nothing beats the quality.

Dehydrated Meals

First the bad, maybe the only problem, you need water and heat, most of the time.  That means time and energy.  Don’t forget Forge Survival Supplyabout the smells and light associated with heating water or cooking.  Could you run a cold camp for days or weeks?  You can re-hydrate items without cooking them, add water and wait.  If you are traveling close to water resources, this would be a great way to cut weight.  With freeze dried meals, there are many different options and flavors.

My family bought me these Backpackers Pantry items for Xmas, Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce.  It’s sauce over brown rice and veggies, yum.  Now it is meatless so for some of you carnivores it might not sound great, but trust me they are great.  I bet some bunny or squirrel would be a perfect addition.  Let’s look at the stats:

8.1 ounces   1000 calories   Fat 52g   Protein 40g   Carb 112g

Those numbers represent 2 servings as indicated on the package.  Cost about $6.  Others ones I stock are Mountain House and AlpineAire.  I buy them whenever I have extra cash or feel the urge after watching the news.  For brevity’s sake I will only breakdown one, Lasagna w/Meat Sauce by Mountain House.

4.8 ounces   600 calories   Fat 20g   Protein 35g   Carb 68g

Now these packages say approx 2.5 servings per package and my math shows the whole thing, not per serving.  I guess when it comes down to it, with all the options in this category, let your tastebuds do the choosing.

More Options

Hot cereals, oatmeal, and soup mixes all can be had for cheap with good shelf life.  My favorite quick breakfast is Quaker Real Medley’s Oatmeal cups.  Add hot water, stir and wait 5 minutes.  I believe there are 4 flavors, maybe 5.  The stats that follow are for the Maple Pecan Raisin cups.

2.46 ounces   270 calories  Fat 7g   Protein 6g   Carb 49g

Now that may seem like small numbers, but I can say from experience that a cup of this can sustain you for hours of hard work.  Price seems to 3 for $5 on average.

MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat)

Careful when buying these, check the expiration dates.  There are many on sites like Ebay that are getting old and their storage has been suspect.  Manufacturers are making civilian offerings, go that route.  They are on the heavy side, but need no cooking, maybe a little heat.  They are also affordable.  I can’t comment too much having never eaten them.  I will have to buy some for experimentation.  OK this is getting lengthy, so let’s finish up.  The whole point of this post is to show you options that are inexpensive, easy to use and give you the energy you need.  All of the items listed are stuff that I eat, so for me it is easy to rotate them and therefore stock up without hesitation. Most people think of their Bug Out Bags as a 72 hour kit and that is a good starting point for food and water.  A couple more things you should have in your pack to supplement and extend its/your life:

1.  Fishing Kit
2.  Snares or traps
3. Vitamins,  stress will be great, supplements can keep you healthy

More advice, keep your food in an outside pouch if possible.  Little critters can wreak havoc with your kit, so it would be better if they tear into an outside pouch than right through the main area, I know.  Big critters are a different story, bears mainly.  Bear proof canisters, stored up high with a rope,  guarded by you and a rifle 🙂  Don’t sleep with your food in bear country, I had to remind you.  Oh yea, Snickers bars.  I don’t have the stats because we ate them all.  Share your ideas below in the comments.

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Replacing an Empty Suit: Drafting a New Speaker

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An ugly divorce often has a familiar victim.  The kids.  And so it goes as conservatives continue to beat the war drums in pursuit Survivalist Blogof a party that actually stands for something, the children (a presidential election) are dying on the vine.  Adding a spine to the Party of Lincoln is noble work to be sure, but November’s 2016 chances could end up collateral damage.   And just as things seemingly couldn’t get any more difficult for the Grand Old Party, there is suddenly an opening at the top legislative post.

By Professor Liberty Mize, a contributing author of SHTFBlog

Perma-tan Obama lapdog John Boehner is resigning and with his resignation comes a job opening a scant two heartbeats from the presidency.  So we turn to our Constitution for guidance, and there buried in Article I, Section 2, Clause 5 of Obama’s TP we find it.


The Speaker of the House isn’t merely a career politician’s to win.  Written in plain English the Constitution is clear that the new speaker need not be a member of the People’s House, though it always has.   Interesting.  So since the path we are on is so brutal, why not mix it up?  Who should we draft to take over the post?  I’ve got a few ideas.

Bill Belichick

Why He’d be Great – He’s the son of a military man so you know he was raised right.  He has a deep and rich understanding ofsurvival blog strategy and game-planning better than anyone else on the planet.  He also is adept at managing conflicting egos and putting the team above all else.  Perhaps most impressive, he’s shown the uncanny ability to know when to cut a veteran or change course.  Most of all, he’s the master at doggedly pursuing his end goal through any means necessary, something Republicans really and I mean REALLY suck at.

Downsides – Moral baggage and questionable ethics.  He once allegedly dated his secretary and destroyed her marriage.  Oh yeah and the fact that he cheats to win football games.  Wait, no moral compass and a willingness to break the rules?  How is this guy not already in congress?

Dr. Condaleezza Rice

Why She’d be Great – Russia is a major player these days and Dr. Rice is the foremost authority.  She’s got the foreign policy Survival Blogchops for the gig and seems like a real bridge-builder in terms of getting things done.  She balanced the books at Stanford, how much harder can the federal government be?  Has the federal government ever won the Pac-12 North?  I rest my case.

Downsides – Our president is an academic with very little experience as a leader, it would be pretty tough to counter with more of the same.  Add in the fact that she’s lukewarm on protecting the unborn and it is all probably too much to overcome.  That and she’d have to resign her seat on the College Football Playoff Selection Committee and that’s unlikely.  Priorities people!

General David Petraeus

Why He’d be Great – Military man and leader of men.  To whip these clowns into shape it may take a General.  He’s obviously got the leadership piece down cold, understands our foreign policy and likely still has connections with a few CIA spooks to get some good covert shit going with ISIS.  Heck the guy even makes a cameo in Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 so he’d for sure get the nerd support.

Downsides – He’s currently on probation for sharing classified materials and once slept with his biographer.  But hey who among us can’t count those same exact sins?

Elon Musk

Why He’d be Great – He may very well be the smartest guy on the planet.  PayPal, Tesla Motors, SpaceX et al.  Everything the Survival Blogguy touches goes on a steep trajectory up.  He’s clearly an idea man and the Repubs could use a few of those in advancing legislation.

Downsides – He’s probably not even a Republican.  He says he likes the fiscal side and not the social side of the platform, that’s tough.  That and he currently lives in Bel Air.  I have yet to meet a fiscal conservative from that zip code.  Plus to take the $223,000 salary would be like a million percent pay cut for him.  Hard to picture someone staying focused after that.

What do you think?  Who can we draft to pull us out of this mess and get shit done? Your nominations are welcomed in the comment section.

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Erik H
Maurizio Pesce

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Prep For The Future

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How to be a prepper

I recently read that “The future is where we will spend the rest of our lives.”  Ponder that one for a few minutes.  If you live in SurvivalColorado, you would maybe be headed to the local neighborhood pot store to get some encouragement for taking on any philosophical debates to discuss that statement.  In Alabama it would take at least a couple six packs to prep the mind to rationalize the wisdom in that comment.  Just kidding.

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

In a ZITS cartoon strip this month the main teenage character Jeremy Duncan was saying to his bud Pierce, “Do you think about your future, Pierce?”  He replies, “I try….but technically every second my future becomes my past.”  Jeremy says, “So, it’s almost like you have no future.”  Pierce answers back, “That’s what the guidance counselor keeps saying.”  Humor aside though, truth is the future is inevitable, it is every second just ahead of us.

Also Read: SHTF Firearms Training

The question is serious though and remains one of the most critical a prepper needs to ask themselves.  Exactly what kind of a future do you want for yourselves, family, or survival team in a post-SHTF environment?  What level of existence or sustenance are you planning for?  These are tough issues and even tougher to fulfill.

Try a Bit of Daydreaming

An employee came into my office a while back as I sat in my chair with my feet up on the desk.  She asked what I was doing.  I How to get ready for the apocalyspetold her “I am doing something you probably never do….I am thinking.”  I mean, when was the last time you just sat quietly at your desk or in your recliner at home and just simply thought about things?   Indeed, I propose to you that the concept of thinking is a dying art.

Related: Prepper Monthly Checklist

When I do the thinking thing, I am never without a notepad nearby.  At my age thoughts, concepts and ideas come and go like fireflies.  If I don’t jot them down pretty quickly they will likely be gone forever.  So don’t take any chances.  As you think, ponder, and plan, make notes, lots of notes.  Maintain a notebook, a folder, or a journal that compiles all your random thoughts and prepping ideas.  This will surely become your blueprint.  Add to it, take things away, but keep track of them.

This goes for watching television, listening to radio new or special interest programs or reading materials from other sources.  You may hear parts and pieces of a good idea or thought so write it down.  You can expand on it then or file it back for work later.  This goes for related magazine or internet site information or ads including web site contacts to check later on.

Daydreaming is a good virtue for a prepper.  It allows the brain free dimensional thinking.  There should be no limits to your dreaming in terms of plans or aspirations.   Always think positive about what you might be able to achieve or even for example afford to achieve.  Dream big, work hard and most likely you will find that you can get there if strongly enough determined to succeed with your plans.  It takes a lot of internal motivation to kick start any project and to keep it on track and running smoothly.

Conceive of a Post SHTF Life

It’s true I tend to watch a lot of apocalypse movies or post-SHTF programming just to imagine a flavor for what a taste of the Preppersnew reality might be like.  I also watch shows such as Alaska Bush People just to get a mindset on the hardships that could arise from starting over.  I try not to lose sight of the fact that film crews are just out of the camera view with the team eating fillets and lobster for dinner while the program characters crack another can of pork and beans.  I don’t know if that is reality or not, but I have my suspicions.

As a Bug In proponent, I try to frame my thoughts and plans on what resources I might have available after the storm.  I went through Katrina both at home and work so I have a sense of how bad things can get, but frankly we had it pretty good.  We continued to have city water service for drinking, cooking, bathing, and sanitation service.  Natural gas continued to flow so we had hot water and a gas stove to use.

Book Review: How To Survive TEOTWAWKI

We did not have electricity for a week at the house and in the south in August it is really hot and humid.  No AC, no ceiling fans, and no breeze.  I don’t fare well in hot weather, so it was a test for me.  Reality is how conditioned (or weakened) we have become to creature comforts.  Post-SHTF we might never get electrical power again or for a really long time.  Gasoline was in short supply and lines were long.  My full tank of gas in the truck lasted me the entire week of the power outage.  We had a second vehicle, but the family stayed home and did not travel.  We had food stores sufficient for at least a month, so we did OK.

Based on all that I have tried to project ahead to planning for worse conditions.  Despite no power, etc. we still preferred the relative comfort and security of our primary dwelling.  I am just not a camping person, so my secondary cache locale is a hunting camp cabin an hour’s drive away.  We could easily provision that Bug Out site, but by our standards it would be crude.  However, it is a world away better than living out in the woods under a blue plastic tarp with very limited infrastructure.  Can me (us) a whoos, but that is our reality.  What is yours?

Practice Supply Side Economics

The elementary foundational keys to SHTF survival is planning, knowledge, supplies and practice.  It is good if you can start a fire if need be with minimal effort, but you’ll need wood cut, stacked, or located.  Oh, get those waterproof matches, and a bunch of butane lighters, too.  Sure you can cook over open fires if you have pots, pans, and something to put into them and a ladle to get it out and a plate to put it on, then some utensils.  Don’t forget the heat pad pot holder and a grill frame would be nice, too.  See where I am going with this?

Related: The Ideal SHTF Bug Out Team

And sure there are a million other issues and things to take care of along the way.  While the blueprint lays flat, it still guides you to build up something much more substantial for the long haul.  Such is the flow of prepping.  So, you have also to deal with food, water, cover, security, medical issues, sanitation, comfort, self and team protection, clothing, tools, carry and storage containers, radios, lighting, batteries, solar devices, transportation options, fuel, on and on.  Basically prepping never ends, because you will always have some new skill to acquire and hone, new information to assimilate, additional gear to buy, and test out, plus hours upon hours of practicing all this under all kinds of simulated conditions.  It’s enough to wear you out isn’t it?  Just wait until a real SHTF event hits.  The future is now, your future is now.  Start visualizing it and planning for it.

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