RE: Math for Marksmen by John Mosby

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John Mosby has been doing some good stuff at Prepared Gun Owners. Math for Marksmen is an excellent post. I do not disagree with any parts of it. In fact most of my thoughts come back to other stuff from Johns class.

– Practical shooting be it for defense, hunting, skeet, whatever always has some time pressure component. As such I think we need to think and train that way.

– I think accuracy demands have to drive speed. There is little value in shooting faster than you can make hits or at least distract them.

– How much accuracy you need is relative to the situation. With a prairie dog at 400 meters you need a lot of accuracy. On the other hand at 3 feet you can shoot minute of barn and still torso punch someone.

-Self awareness is so important here. Knowing how fast you can get away with shooting lets you end a violent scenario as quickly as possible. Giving someone less time to potentially hurt you is a good thing.

Prepping Lifestyle? 3 Unique Degrees That Fit The Survivalist Lifestyle

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If you’re the type who wants to live out in the wilderness on your own, or want to be well prepared to survive the apocalypse should it come to pass, you might be interested in degrees you can earn that would be best suited for someone who wants to live your lifestyle. Fortunately, there are plenty of different types of degrees that offer practical survival skills, but these three are by far some of the most helpful.

  1. Agriculture Sciences

    To survive on your own, knowing how to grow your own food is essential. You will need to have an extensive knowledge of different kinds of crops, how to properly care for the soil so it is not stripped of nutrients, how to properly irrigate the fields, recognize and fend off plant diseases and more. You will also need knowledge of how to sustain your food supply and stockpile food, as well as maintain healthy plant genetics, all of which an agriculture sciences degree teaches.

  2. Gunsmithing

    Very few schools around the country offer this degree, but a select few do. Being able to make your own firearms is an invaluable skill if you wish to live out in the wilderness. Currently existing programs not only teach how to manufacture guns, but also to repair them – another critical skill for survivalists. You will need guns to hunt for food, defend yourself against animal attacks, and possibly against people. Most gunsmithing programs also have knife making elements as well, which is an added bonus for an aspiring survivalist. Knives are just as important as guns when you’re on your own, and can be used to defend yourself, create tools and prepare food.

  3. Nursing

    Nursing, or any medical knowledge like an msn degree, is very useful when you must fend for yourself. If you or a loved one is injured or sick, having intimate knowledge of the human body, various conditions, and how to treat them are invaluable. As an added bonus, treating patients in combat zones will prepare you even better, as you might not have access to modern technology. Any number of accidents or conditions could befall you when you’re out in nature, relying on yourself for survival, and so getting a nursing degree is a great choice.

So if you wish to live a survivalist lifestyle, and want a formal education to supplement it, these three degrees are some of the best choices. They are not the only options – among the others include engineering degrees, animal husbandry and culinary arts. Pick the subject you think you’d benefit most from a formal education, and then learn the other skills through other sources or on your own. You’ll be prepared to live a survivalist lifestyle in no time.

Emma is a freelance writer living in Boston. When she manages to tear herself away from the computer, she enjoys baking, rock climbing, and film noir.

Skull Stomping Sacred Cows

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https://mountainguerrilla.wordpress.com/2017/02/07/skull-stomping-sacred-cows-reality-isnt-nice-its-a-2×4-to-the-teeth/

Sometimes in life the truth hurts. Maybe it’s a girl you love who makes it painfully clear she doesn’t give a fuck about you but still wants to use you. She wants stuff from you and to ‘be your friend’. Maybe it’s a drill where you perform like shit. Maybe it’s a fight (training or real) where somebody kicks your ass because they have better skills or are more physically capable or better conditioned. 
This all sucks. The thing is you can be a wimp who goes home and cries or you can learn from it. 

Fitness Training For The Smart Prepper

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When the grid fails, only the strong survive, so you’ll need to be in the best physical condition of your life. Just start early, because by the time you need this strength and endurance it may already be too late. Here’s a look at how you can develop your own boot camp using the workouts military experts use to increase flexibility and improve strength.

The Basics

While fancy weight machines and free weights might look impressive, they won’t build the flexibility and strength that come in handy in a gridless world. Some of the best fitness standards are ones you can achieve without expensive equipment. Minimum requirements for the Army PFTs are simple, from ages 17-21, men must be 42 push-ups-strong and women 19. Both should reach the 53 sit-ups requirement, and a 2-mile run should take a man no less than 15 minutes and 54 seconds, and a woman 18 minutes and 54 seconds. Keep in mind that, as age increases, minimum requirements decrease. The best part is you can keep up this regimen anywhere in the world and don’t have to worry about being bogged down by equipment.

Track Fitness

Sometimes tracking your progress isn’t easy. State-of-the-art mobile devices, like the Apple Watch and the Apple iPhone 7 can monitor your step count, heart rate and even calories burned each workout session. There’s even an app that allows you to pick a charity of your choice and, as you run, walk or cycle, a corporate sponsor donates a few cents for every mile you manage. Of course, you can do more than this with your new iPhone and Apple Watch, which are both compatible with medical-grade hardware and software. For instance, the Kardia Mobile smartphone case and the Kardia Band can capture EKG measurements, electrical measurements in your heart, and send the data directly to your doctor.

HIIT Training

HIIT, or High-Intensity Interval Training, is a technique that builds endurance, strength and recovery time. HIIT focuses on all-out, one hundred percent bursts of activities for a short time. These bursts are followed by short, and sometimes, active recovery sessions. Many people use HIIT techniques to increase their metabolism. The metabolic boost you get from a HIIT workout can raise your metabolism for 48 hours. Another reason HIIT routines are so popular is they’re quick. Giving one hundred percent of your physical effort, even for a short time, wears you out quickly — which is why most HIIT workouts are 30 minutes or less. Lastly, no equipment is needed for a HIIT workout. HIIT promotes workouts that use body weight, which promotes optimal muscle gain and fat loss.

So how do you get started with your first HIIT workout? It’s easy. Start off slow — or at least follow a routine that won’t cause you to pull a muscle or strain a tendon. For instance, your first workout might consist of a 10-minute routine, 20 seconds of exercise, 10 seconds of recovery. Start with 20 seconds of cross-punch jabs. Make sure you stay on the balls of your feet and pivot with each jab, which will turn your body and work your abs. After 20 seconds, take 10, then transition into jumping jacks for 20 seconds. Your last set will be 20 seconds of sumo squats. Once you’ve done each exercise, begin again from the start. Repeat until ten minutes is up. While this is just a sample workout, there are far more you can explore that will work other parts of your body to get you in peak physical condition when you need it most.

Slicing the Homemade Bacon

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Phil found another hunk of our homemade bacon in one of the freezers and took it out to thaw but because he was helping Michelle move furniture in her room last week, he never got around to slicing it so that was one of my jobs today.
I still use that cheap little Oster slicer that I got at the thrift store and it still works great. This hunk of bacon was a bit fatty so it must have been from that second hog who got too big. I sure could smell that plum wood we used to smoke it with from that plum tree that died in the yard. I don’t think I’ll ever look at a dead fruit tree the same way again, that wood will always be something to save for smoking. That wood from the plum tree had a much better taste than any wood smoking chips that we could get from the store.
This made several packages of bacon for us. I believe we will have breakfast for supper tonight and use some of it up.

In other news, I am still crocheting and knitting and selling what I can…and maybe a little ribbon embroidery just because I had never done it before. These are some fingerless gloves that I made.

Let’s see what else….Miss Suzie…well, she turned into Poozie..and that just stuck and no one remembers that her name was Suzie now. So Poozie has gotten big and she is definitely the most challenging of the dogs we have. She manages to get out of the fenced in backyard all the time…either by jumping higher than we thought she could or fitting through smaller spaces than we thought she could. How I wish I had known about Jack Russell behavior when I got her…though I am sure I would have still taken her. the other three dogs are fine as well, just growing older and dealing with what comes with that. 

My chicks have all grown into adults now and all are laying. There are roosters to give away and hens who are stealing nest (viciously!) again. I believe I will have chicks to sell this spring but that will be an interesting venture too, I’m sure.
Spring is coming though this winter has been so mild, it is as if we never had winter. I’m hoping we can find house to buy this year. Will keep you all informed on that as we go along.

Flying with Guns

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Weapons Man  did a post on this. As always it is good. I have some thoughts.
– Obviousky make sure whatever you are flying with is legal on both ends of the trip.
– In case of fbe off chance they cut your locks have spares. A 4 pack of normal master IDK pas locks is like $20.
– Like weapons man said plan in time. An extra half hour,  which probably puts you there 2 hours early is wise.
– Know the airlines policies. They vary. If in doubt call the airline and ask.
– Unless there is some compelling reason I wouldn’t fly with real expensive or heirloom type guns. Guns do occasionally go missing. Take a $500 Glock and a $600 rifle not your nighthawk custom 1911 and full auto FAL.
-Deensinf on the company you can have different amounts of ammo. All I’ve used let you take some and have it in the case with the guns. I’ll bring at least enough to load the gun 1-2 times. If I wanted more ammo for whatever reason at the end point I would get it shipped there. Most classes will let you send ammo to them.
– Weapons Man mentioned loaner guns. That is definitely an option if the people you are visiting have appropriate guns to spare.
-If your host does not have spare guns to loan and you go there often consider staging a cache there. The cost and moderate annoyance of checking a gun a few times justifies leaving an old revolver an a long gunnifnyiu want one along with some speed strips and a knife. This also helps with your risk management. If your house burns down an whatever is in it is gone the gun at Grannies may be handy.

House on Lockdown: How to Secure Your Home for Any Eventuality

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Protect your family and valuables by learning how to put your house on full lockdown. Whether you’re worried about the weather or intruders, you can take steps to ensure that your property can easily be secured when you need it most. Here’s what you should know about preparing for those emergency situations.

Keep the Trees and Shrubs Maintained

In storms, projectiles are one of the biggest threats. Weak and dead branches are easily torn from trees and sent flying through the air. One way to make your home safe in severe storms is by keeping the trees maintained and strong. Bushes should be trimmed so that they don’t touch the house. This will also limit hiding spaces for intruders.

Go with Security Window Tint

Window tinting is great to improve the energy efficiency levels in your home. You’ll improve the comfort levels in your home, and you’ll also make it harder for people to break in. The great benefit of security tint is that it helps hold glass shards together even if the window is broken. Thieves are thwarted, and projectiles are less likely to be hurled through the window in a storm.

Hide the Valuables

They say that if someone really wants into your home, they’ll find a way. However, they will need to get in and out quickly to avoid being caught. You can further protect your belongings by keeping them in secure places. Put them in hollowed out books hidden on a bookshelf or get a safe.

Security Cameras with Remote Access

Another option is to install security cameras with remote access. When you can log in from your phone and see what’s going on at home, you’ll have peace of mind. Some companies, like Johns Brothers Security, know that having peace of mind is incredibly important. If anything seems amiss, you can call a neighbor or police to check on the property.

The Right Door Design

The best lock on the market is still only as strong as the doorjamb that’s holding it in place. A common method of entry is to just forcibly kick a door in. This splinters the frame and bypasses the lock completely. Special metal doorjambs can be used to replace the wood support that’s in place. The jambs are screwed to the framing, and they transfer the force of a kick along the full height of the door. The result is a door that’s virtually kick-proof.

Protect your home by getting it ready for a lockdown. It’s a smart idea to protect your property from storms and intruders alike. You’ll sleep better at night, and you’ll be ready for all types of emergency situations.

Written by Rachelle Wilber

Battle Drills and Decision Making

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i spent a recent weekend in Cecil Birchs immediate action class. A full review will come.  It brought up a couple of points worth discussing. The first is the danger of being a technique collector. Setting aside that those guys are usually clowns anyway it’s a problem. As a normal, hopefully decent citizen the violence you are going to be involved with is going to be defensive and reactionary. It is cute to say your situational awareness is amazing and no one gets within 21 feet without an ocular or down and eh f cleared but it’s bullshit. You might get some clues a few seconds out or you might just get jacked in he face.

For this type of situation you do not need a dozen techniques,  you need like 1-2 you are comfortable with and can do rapidly. At the beginning of a fight you are behind the power curve and need to survive the next couple seconds before you can get your head right and start making decisions.

Think of these as individual battle drills. A pre planned response to a given event which is rapidly executed with minimal decision making.

So at the start of a fight fewer decisions is better. Have a plan and violently execute it till you get your head into the situation and go from there.

Conversely at the later part of a fight you need to be more flexible. You can’t say ‘I’ll always shoot if x’ or ‘if I get in a fight that guy is going to the ER, best case.’ Aside from being machismo ish bull there is always an exception. Life has violent situations where you actually don’t want to hurt the other person, let alone kill them. The right answer for a mugger or a bar fight is different than your confused 80 year old neighbor or drunk asshole uncle.

This is a place where jiu jitsu is so handy. You can control people without actually hurting them. This gives you options that guns and striking do not offer.

So in conclusion. Have a planned reaction that works under stress. Develop the situation and be flexible about how to end it. 

Yugo vs AKM Parts Bleg

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Hey Folks, Sorry to have my first post in awhile be a bleg but a friend asked so I’m trying to help him out. He is curious about specifically what parts are not compatible between the Yugo pattern AKs (which rock and are a heck of a deal) and the standard AKM. Does anyone know?

My laptop is still being a pile of shit. Maybe I’ll write a real post on my phone tomorrow.

Thanks in advance

Doomsday Survival Priorities that Everyone Needs to Know

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Arguably, every human being should know some necessary skills for doomsday survival, since we never know when it will happen. But, what are these priorities? Let’s face it;

  1. Finding and sterilizing drinking water

    In a survival situation, water is one of the most important resource you will need. You may go for 3 days without water but, you will easily become incapacitated in those 3 days. This may lead to serious health problems, or worse, making very obvious and stupid mistakes. In the long run, not drinking water can lead to dehydration and eventually death. Plus, if you don’t have the right skills to purify water, you could drink all nasty stuff filled with bacteria that could eventually get you sick.

  2. Learn first aid skills

    It is always a good idea to know some of the basics of first aid – in fact; it should be on the top of your priority list. Remember, injuries and accidents are unpredictable. You should take some classes to learn the basics of first aid so that you can be ready when you need to be ready.

  3. Self defense

    Learning how to counter attack with or without a weapon is important. Some of the best fighting forms for self-defense is Krav Maga. Obviously, the best way to master any kind of self defense is to go to a nearby studio where experienced defense masters teach you how to defend yourself. However, if you are not a big fan of taking classes you can easily find a DVD or an online class from which you can learn some self defense skills at home.

    You should also learn which type of weapon you should carry and the best way to use it for self-defense.

  4. Build your own survival bunker and library

    Having a survival bunker with preserved food stocked can increase your chances of survival significantly. It goes without saying that the more information and resources you have, the higher your chances of survival. You can find many valuable resources and guides that can assist you to learn about survival tactics and how to escape an emergency.

  5. Building a shelter

    A decent shelter will protect you from strong wind, rain, and bad weather. This is crucial skill for those people that did not or could not afford to build their own survival bunker. It’s also an important skill to know for general winter wilderness survival. So, you should learn how to build a proper shelter in case of an emergency.

  6. Food

    Food is important for long term survival. While you can survive for a couple of days without food, eventually without food you will starve and die. You need food to give you energy and provide those necessary calories. So, you should learn food preservation techniques to avoid running out of stock during crucial moments.

The bottom line;

At the end of the day, you must know what your survival priorities are, its important so that you can still survive when doomsday comes. With the tips highlighted in this article, I am sure you will do well.

About the Author

Tom loves spending time outdoors learning new survival techniques, when not outdoors, he shares his learned skills on his blog Thrifty Outdoors Man.

The Survivalist’s Pantry

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Lots of bottled water There is a lot that goes into prepping. We all know we need to stock up on food, but we aren’t always sure what needs to go in our emergency food supply. Every prepper should have a fully stocked pantry in case of emergency and we’ve got a few tips and tricks for you to start yours or update it a little to give maximum preparedness.

Start by getting water. Water is essential to having a successful pantry in an emergency. You will need it to cook many things and clean up messes, not to mention you can’t survive without it for longer than three days. Products like dehydrated and freeze dried foods need water to be edible. According to Utah State University, a family of four needs 270 gallons of water to have a three month supply, or 90 gallons per person. There are many things that require water so you can never have too much.

Many people go for canned foods and MREs (meals ready to eat) when stocking up their pantry, but these aren’t always the right choice. Those are good basics to have just in case you run out of everything, but start with foods you know your family will eat. You don’t want to take them totally out of their comfort zone and people are more likely to stay optimistic if there is something familiar to them. Buy items you know your family will eat in bulk when they go on sale in order to stock up. Foods you think will be easy to buy and store but your family might not like can be implemented into your diet before a disaster so when the time comes, they will be used to the food. You should also Make sure you try items to make sure they will be eaten before you buy too much.

If you learn to can or dehydrate food, you might be able to increase your stockpile faster and cheaper. Dehydrating food isn’t the fastest process, but it is a healthy and rewarding process. Your family will be able to eat all the foods they’re used to without it taking up as much space to save or effort to make. Canning isn’t for everyone, but it can be a cheaper alternative to buying canned foods and you know exactly what is going into the food you’re feeding your family. Here is a beginner’s guide to canning.

When you think of pantry, you think of food. Things like cleaning or sanitation supplies don’t really come to mind, but they are just as important as food to making a useful survival pantry. You’re going to need some disinfectants to clean up mess or pots after cooking. If the sewer system isn’t working, you’re going to need somethings to get rid of waste products, like buckets and heavy duty trash bags. Dish soap and laundry detergent should round out your cleaning supplies. You can’t wear the same thing every day and might want to wash your hands every once in awhile. Other bigger items like a washboard, broom and drying rack aren’t entirely necessary, but aren’t a horrible addition to your pantry.

Now you have all the essential foods, but how are you going to cook them? Pots, pans, bowls, and a grill are vital to have in your pantry. Cooking on an open fire might not always be a possibility and you will want to have a backup grill for those times. While everyone else is worrying about how they’re going to eat, you’ll be sitting in comfort with your meal cooked on your camping grill. Gas for your grill is something we overlook as well. And for when you are cooking on an open fire, you can take the cooking grate off your camping stove to grill your food. You’re killing two birds with one stone having that grill. Stock up on paper plates and plastic utensils so you don’t have the hassle of cleaning dishes when you’re already dealing with the hassle of the world ending.

There are many skills preppers need to learn (ACLS renewal, CPR certification, water purification, gun safety), but knowing how to create a well stocked pantry is the most important. We can survive without knowing how to shoot a gun, but we absolutely cannot survive more than a few days without food and the proper equipment to eat.

Ryan is an emergency preparedness blogger who is passionate about helping others prepare for the worst. Follow Ryan on Twitter, @ryan_thompson03, for more emergency preparedness tips.

4 Keys to Maintaining Communication in a Disaster Situation

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When faced with a disaster, either human-made or natural, it’s critical that you and your family are prepared. Have you thought out and gone over what everyone is supposed to do? Do you have an emergency supply kit that could save your lives? But perhaps the most important thing is planning to be able to communicate, with your family, loved ones, friends and relevant authorities, in a disaster situation. Here are the keys for how to do that.

  1. Have a Meeting Spot

  2. Technology can fail, so if communication is ever cut off or you can’t get a hold of anybody, have a previously-established meeting spot or place to go in case of an emergency. This should be near your home but not too close to it, as buildings can collapse due to earthquakes or fires could spread to nearby vegetation and structures. You could even have a reciprocal arrangement with a neighbor or neighboring family, making their home a designated meet-up and safe space for your children or vice versa.

  3. Have a Way to Charge Devices, or Batteries

  4. Batteries last a long time, and can easily be purchased and kept in an emergency kit for years and still be functional. Most devices come with rechargeable batteries now, so keeping a spare, fully-charged battery for important devices like your mobile phone is a very good idea. You can also charge cell phones and most other devices in your car if you have an adapter, so keeping those spare adapters and cords in your vehicle is a good idea as well.

  5. Prepaid SIM or Phone Cards

  6. You can purchase a SIM card to install in an old cell phone to be used only in case of an emergency. Old cell phones without service plans can be used to dial 911, but won’t be able to contact friends and family members, hence why a SIM (possibly a prepaid one) is a good alternative. Prepaid phone cards are also a good option that allow you to make calls only when the need arises, so you don’t have to pay monthly service fees on it like usual.

  7. Keep a Battery-Powered Radio and Two-Way Radios

  8. Keeping a battery-powered radio you can use to listen for updates on the situation, as well as battery-operated two-way radios to stay in contact with the other people with you, can help you maintain communication without having to worry about having to recharge cell phones. Also, make sure you are signed up for federal and local emergency alerts on your phone, so you can receive information and be better prepared in case of an emergency.

Being able to communicate with loved ones and authorities during an emergency situation can mean life or death, and it’s imperative that you think ahead and have some kind of preparedness and plan ahead of time. Do try and limit cell phone calls or data usage during an emergency to free up networks so emergency calls can get through for other people affected in your area. Establish the four things listed above and you and your family should be all set!

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.

Onion Soup

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For a long time, I didn’t like onions at all. As a kid we hated them but as I have grown older my tastes buds apparently have died off some and I like onions just fine now. I saw a recipe on facebook for onion soup that was very simple and had few ingredients so I thought I would try it. You took 6 large chopped onions (I had some small ones but only did seven because it seemed like an awful lot of onions to begin with), cooked them in butter for a few minutes until they softened, put them in the crock pot and added a teaspoon and a half of Worcestershire sauce and beef broth. I added two 32-oz containers of beef broth. You then just let it cook.
Now, all day this was cooking and I could only think of how disgusting I thought it smelled. It also tasted very bland.

 I read the comments on the facebook video and decided to add salt and pepper as one person on the comments mentioned…it was a bit better…still not good. I really felt that if we were going to have it for a meal….it needed meat. I scrambled up about a pound and a half of hamburger. Then shortly before Phil got home I put a few spoonfuls of hamburger in an oven safe bowl, ladled the soup on it, then put three pieces of sliced French bread on top with a shredded Italian cheese mix on top of the bread. I put it under the broiler until the cheese browned.

I just can’t tell you how incredibly wonderful this was. So GOOD! Definitely going to have to make this again.

Too Many Eggs!

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For a while I was selling some eggs and that was keeping their numbers down in my refrigerator..but egg prices have gone down again and I got tired of delivering eggs to people so they have been piling up a good bit in the fridge and today I collected these beautiful eggs along with a dozen more of the small bantam eggs and there just wasn’t anywhere to put them. Time to do something with these eggs before they go bad and just have to be thrown out. With all the animals I have to feed, there really is no excuse for throwing out eggs. But I started with the dozen or so fresh bantam eggs I had and made Phil some pickled eggs. I haven’t made any for a while so I know he is going to like these. It is just the standard recipe: 
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pickling spice 
2 cups vinegar 
2/3 cup water
Boil this for a few minutes and pour through a strainer over boiled eggs. 

So that got rid of a dozen eggs but there were at least ten dozen more in the refrigerator…..so I boiled a pan full, then another very large pan full and peeled, and peeled then cut them up a bit. I fed a plate full to the cats outside. They seemed very appreciative. Then I took two bowls out to the chickens and fed them. These chickens had never had eggs before but they seemed pretty happy and it didn’t take them long to finish them. They were all running around snatching pieces from each other.
They don’t get much variety here in the winter since I have no real good grass and weeds to pick for them. 

I then, put the rest of the eggs I collected today in the fridge and we have almost 8 dozen….looks like I may need to do this again tomorrow.

Prepping for a Winter Bug-Out

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As the climate begins to take a turn for frigid and icy conditions, make sure your doomsday prepping skills are a match for the weather. Your normal bug-out bag will just need a little tweaking and your vehicle may need to be upgraded. Here are 5 tips to how you can successfully survive a winter bug-out situation when disaster hits!

Vehicle

For a winter bug-out you will not want to be on foot or left out in the cold when your little car breaks down. You will want to invest in a proper winter vehicle that includes the following features;

  • 4-wheel or all-wheel drive
  • plenty of cargo space
  • all-terrain capability
  • reliable
  • comfortable capacity for you and your escape party

These are just the bare necessities, but ideally you would also want your vehicle to have protection against bullets and be able to run on flat tires if it ever came to that. Visit a store like Dualtone Muffler Brake & Alignment if you have any concerns.

Layer Clothing

Polyester is the best bottom layer because it won’t soak up your sweat like cotton will. You will want 2 layers of synthetic material. The middle layer will serve as insulation. Fleece and wool are a great choice. The outer layer should be waterproof and breathable. Make sure that these layers can be taken off easily so start with the shortest sleeves and work your way up.

Keep Dry

This is essential to a winter bug-out. If you happen to get wet, you need to remove the wet clothing immediately and dry them next to a fire. If you continue to wear wet clothing then you will be exposing yourself to hypothermia when if freezes.

Bug-Out Bag Essentials

You will, of course, want all the bug-out bag essentials such as a hatchet, food and a first aid kit, but there is more to be added when you consider a winter situation:

  • gloves
  • boots
  • snow goggles or glasses
  • warm headgear
  • insulated bottles
  • Mylar or “space” blankets
  • shovel
  • winter socks
  • wool clothing
  • warm portable shelter

Not much needs to change about how or where you house yourself as long as you prepared well enough for wet conditions. One thing you will want to keep in mind is even though it is freezing outside, you will want to make sure that you keep the air moving in your shelter. Another tip to your shelter is to keep someone else in there with you to cuddle up to. This may be awkward depending on who you bring along, but it could save your life.

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.

Life and Times, Operational Cache, Et All

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Hey Folks, I sort of took a break over the holidays. I went home and saw my kiddo’s, family and friends. The way things worked out I got to see a relative at the opposite end of the PNW so that was cool. Also my first time traveling long distance in the US by train. The trip there was pretty awesome. Very old school with some nice touches of class. The one back sucked as there were delays and all sorts of drama. Now I am back to work and normal life.

Over this trip I accessed my operational cache. Everything was fine. I sort of took a cue from Meister and added some good stuff to it. I tossed in my normal EDC knife and flash light as well as a more duty oriented pistol. Also a good set of long johns, a pair of multicam pants and some other odds n ends. I was going to put in a better backpack but the one I planned to use had a buckle break on the trip so I need to get it fixed.

Sort of along Meisters theme I literally cached stuff I regularly use. Motivation to spend hundreds of dollars on stuff to cache can be hard to find. So as a forcing function I put my normal stuff in there. Finding motivation to replace the thing I carry every day that is gone should be much easier to find. Of course if you genuinely can’t afford it this is a bad plan but for those who can it is a good way to get priority #10 which never gets done up to priority #2 or 3.

I wanted to go through all of the contents and toss some less than entirely needed stuff. As I put in better items the newly redundant and inferior stuff can get tossed. Space is a consideration.

 I am looking hard at setting up another cache soon. Hopefully this spring. It will be another operational cache. Good to have goals anyway.

My stupid computer has really been giving me problems. Honestly it is hindering blogging as a 10 minute post takes more like a half hour between it freezing and re starting. I am going to either fix or replace it in the immediate future. My goal is to get to blogging 2-3x  a week.

Anyway that’s what has been going on with me. Hope you all are well. Talk to you soon.

Most Common Prepper Mistakes

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Hurricane Isabel flood damage Maryland Many people think they are prepared for an emergency because they have a large stash of food and guns, but there is a lot more that goes into being prepared. I know when I started out, I fell victim to this thought. There are many common mistakes preppers make. Here are a few of the most important ones to be aware of and how to fix it if you realize you’ve been making them.

The most vital mistake preppers make is not preparing for the right situation. Many preppers think they need to prepare for the apocalypse or some other freak event and when the likely earthquakes or wildfires come they aren’t ready. Someone who is really prepared has what they need to get themselves through even these little events. Knowing your area is the easiest way to overcome this mistake. Most cities have an emergency preparedness site with tips for your specific area. It’s not impossible for catastrophic events to happen, but the smart prepper is ready for what could happen tomorrow and not in hundreds of years.

Another huge mistake that is made is not having all the skills necessary to survive. Preppers tend to think having food and gear is all they need to be prepared, but those things only last so long. Food will run out and then you are on your own. You need to know how to grow crops and hunt in order to provide for your family. Being able to defend yourself is another life or death skill most people overlook. This is more than just having guns and ammunition. You need to be able to properly use it and so should your family or others you plan to be around in an emergency.

Along with defense, treatment of injuries or disease often get overlooked. There may not be anyone within miles to help you if something goes wrong and you don’t want to get infected or just sit around weak and useless. A first aid kit would be the first place to start, but ACLS recertification, or certification if you don’t have it yet, is also a good step. For those that don’t know what that is, ACLS stands for advanced cardiac life support and teaches how to deal with cardiac arrest and other life threatening medical emergencies. Becoming certified in this and other life-saving courses, such as CPR, you should be more prepared than many others in the same situation.

When it comes to food, there are a few common mistakes among preppers. Stockpiling the wrong items is a big one. Most people like to stock up on items that last a while, like SPAM or MREs, but we aren’t usually used to eating these things. When it’s time to actually eat these, no one wants to because they never have before. Buy things you know you will eat or try to start implementing them into your diet now. If you know that you want to grow a certain crop come doomsday, start making recipes with that in it now, so when the time comes, everyone is used to it. Store what you eat, but also eat what you store. A lot of times people store the food away for an emergency and don’t look at it ever again, but you should be rotating pieces in and out. Eat things before they are going to expire and replace them with something new. Otherwise, it’s just a huge waste of money and you end up without anything edible come emergency time.

Storage is another mistake preppers make. Many people have all their food in the same place, but you shouldn’t do this. If something were to happen to the area of your house where you store everything, you would lose it all. Keep some of it inside the house, other stuff in the garage, some at a storage unit, and even some in the dog house. This way if something were to happen to one area, you won’t lose everything. It’s almost inevitable that one of your stockpiles will get ruined, so don’t be disappointed and have more to go to. There are also some elemental factors that play into storing food. You can read about them here.

A mistake that doesn’t have to do with supplies or skills people tend to make is trying to do everything on their own. Preppers get this mindset that they have to keep to themselves and prepare for everyone to turn against them. Use the community of other like-minded individuals to support you before and after an emergency. You can learn valuable information from others and form alliances. If something were to happen, you would have this group to fall back on for help with food, shelter, and defense. Find those who are also preparing for the worst by telling those you trust what you are doing or finding a support group. There are many out there who also prep, you just don’t know it yet.

There are many more common mistakes, but if you fix these areas most of us struggle with, I guarantee you’ll be a more successful prepper.

Ryan is an emergency preparedness blogger who is passionate about helping others prepare for the worst. Follow Ryan on Twitter, @ryan_thompson03, for more emergency preparedness tips.

4 Ways To Protect Your Home From Intruder Invasion

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It’s difficult to find specific statistics regarding the precise number of home invasions that occur each day in the United States. The reason for this is that quite often if intruders are caught, they are charged with a crime such as burglary, assault or various other charges rather than their crime being recorded statistically as an invasion. There are numerous steps you can take to avoid becoming a statistic of any type of intruder invasion.

Security system

Having a security system installed, especially one with a video monitoring system is one of the best ways to prevent intruder invasion. Take time to explore the many types of systems that are available and select the best system your budget allows. Preventing intruder invasion isn’t just about theft, it’s also about keeping yourself and your family safe.

Keep quiet

Keeping quiet can reduce your risk of intruder invasion, especially when theft is the intruder’s motive. Refrain from revealing travel plans or your daily schedule to others or as a status update on your social media networks. Don’t brag about new purchases you’ve made, especially when they involve electronics or other items that are enticing to burglars. Revealing travel plans on the phone in a public place or putting out boxes and old equipment that indicate you’ve made new purchases or updated electronic equipment are two ways to make your home a target for thieves.

Seek advice

Take advantage of the resources available to you to help keep your home safe from intruders. If you know or can be directed to a person who has achieved an online degree in criminology, they can provide you with invaluable information on ways to keep your home and family safe. In the course of their study, they will have acquired knowledge regarding what burglars who have been arrested say deterred them from targeting certain homes. They will also have learned tips that they can pass onto you regarding measures you can take to make your home more secure.

Get a dog

Noise scares intruders. A large dog may provide physical protect, but a small, barking dog stirs enough noise to attract attention and discourage an intruder. Small dogs can be excellent at warning you or alerting neighbors to unusual activity around the house.

Intruders aren’t always strangers. You need to be selective about the personal information you reveal to others and who you invite into your home. It’s also essential that you invest in quality locks and that you be diligent about locking windows and doors in order to keep your family, and your house, protected.

Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure. You can connect with her on Facebook right here and Twitter right here.

5 Easy Steps for Emergency Preparedness at Home

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Nobody likes to think the worst, but being prepared can make you feel more secure about the future. These five strategies can help you deal with a multitude of scenarios.

Invest in a Security System

A security system not only deters burglars, but the company that monitors the home can alert the police and send you messages in regards to the status of your house. Invest in a security system that will provide you peace of mind in the event of an intrusion or other home front emergency. Alarm monitoring can also detect detect smoke and fire, whether they’re the result of an electrical issue, a cooking mishap or a spark from a heating unit.

Prepare an Emergency Kit

An emergency kit should contain a NOAA weather radio, flashlight, cell phone, whistle, dust masks, antibacterial wipes, manual can opener, local map, and enough food and water for at least three days. Keep in mind that you’ll need one gallon of water per day per person, and don’t forget supplies for pets, if applicable. Additionally, keep extra batteries and an emergency gas shut-off wrench with the kit.

Learn Basic Emergency Skills

If you don’t already have a fire extinguisher, get one and make sure to familiarize yourself with the instructions. Consider getting trained in basic first aid such as CPR. You can find classes by contacting Red Cross, a local community college or your library.

Learn How to Shut Off Utilities

If your home uses gas, familiarize yourself with the shutoff valve on the gas meter. The utility line closes when you turn the valve a quarter in either direction. The goal is to have it run crosswise to the pipe. Once the gas is shut off, only a professional can turn it back on.

The location of the valve for the waterline depends on your home and location. In warm climates, it’s usually located near the water meter. In colder regions, you might find it in the basement or near the pipe that leads to the water heater.

In regards to electricity, always turn off all individual circuits before switching off the main breaker.

Have a Plan for Pets

If you need to leave your home in an emergency, keep in mind that pets aren’t allowed in most designated evacuation shelters. Prepare for that scenario by making arrangements with a friend or family member beforehand. You should also microchip any pets and invest in a GPS tracker.

While you can’t prepare for everything, completing these steps beforehand will allow you to keep your focus when dealing with a potential emergency. Make sure that everyone in your family is on board with these steps, and discuss your safety plans regularly.

Rachael Murphey is an entrepreneur and writer on topics relating to business, personal finance, personal growth, and emergency preparedness. She currently lives in Denver, CO with her dog Charlie.

2016 New Years Resolutions Final Review

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Sustain
Start hunting-No
Continue fishing -No
Organize/ refine food storage. Emphasis is less on sheer bulk but more on filling holes and putting it all together. -No

Better organize caches-Some stuff is in the works here. Nothing has been finished yet.
Get another grinder (Corona?)-No
Pick up some additional rechargeable batteries to have 2 (3 is better) spare sets per new piece of commo gear -No
5gal kerosene-No
1x kero lantern w/ 4 wicks and spare globe-No
Various tools TBD maybe
1x brace and bit-No
1x buck saw or large bow saw-No
Chainsaw support gear (me thinks gloves, chaps, spare chain, file, plenty of 2 cycle oil, spark plugs, bar oil, etc)-No
Files for chainsaw and hand saws

Cordage: 1 spool of 550 cord, 5x 100 ft light rope-No

Medical
Organize a good household first aid kit-Yes
Beef up my vehicle first aid kit.-Yes

Inventory gear, spare parts and other moderately priced items
Better organize gear and such-No

Life (personal):

Fill my newfound spare time in useful ways.-No

Solidify existing relationships and put time/ energy/ money into that effort.-Wash I guess.

Build new relationships.- Well I made some new friends, sadly they don’t live near me.

Have some fun. – I met a lot of people around here and had a variety of different experiences. That was a thing that probably needed to happen in my life, if just to get it out of the way.  I had a lot of fun in Europe and a nice trip to Montana.

Watch more live music.- A resounding suuccess.

Life (functional/ goals):

Establish a zero or near zero based budget to manage my current financial situation allowing me to save, have fun and pursue preparedness goals.- I saved some cash and kinda had a budget. Call it a mixed bag.

Go back to school.-No

Figure out 1/3/5 year goals for where I want to be and backwards plan from there.- This was good but took a major change recently.

Overall my goals are to work on my life, get/ stay healthy, and figure out what my life is going to look like. In terms of preparedness I want to work hard on skills, firm up communications, get better organized, get some ammo and another AR then work on smaller stuff to round out what I already have.

I got a couple other things done. Bought an FJ Cruiser and did a decent amount of Jiu Jitsu. 
Overall this years was not a preparedness success. Maybe next year will be better. If nothing else I will work on setting better goals.

Multiple Streams of Income

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When talking with John Mosby during down time at class the group discussion hit on some other things. One of them was that our empire is deterioration. A sub set of that particular problem is the economy.

He mentioned to the group that we should be thinking about ways to diversify our incomes. One guy was high up in a big city fire department so his job was probably secure and I am in the military so my job (especially since President Trump was elected) isn’t likely going anywhere. To the rest he said they should think about ways beside their normal job to earn some money.

I have been thinking about that myself.

A couple ideas come to mind.

First we have to consider when we are looking at this stream of income working. Do we want it to work now? Or are we angling for some sort of worst case scenario type thing?

Obviously a lot of stuff that could work now would not work in some worst case scenario, like say doing tax accounting part time or selling digital books on amazon. On the other hand lets say, as I am seriously considering doing, a guy takes up leather working. I could get really good at it and still not be able to meet the quality to price ratio of a lot of mass production shops like Bianchi or Galco. When a guy can get most imaginable items in 2-4 days on Amazon for a mass produced price how can I compete without being a legitimate master? I probably can’t, especially when true professionals are a  phone call and a UPS package away. Now lets say our world got a lot smaller in a hurry. Like walking/ bicycle distance smaller. How many guys are going to be making custom holsters for whatever handgun people pull out of their closet in a 5 mile radius? Probably not many. Figure you do mag pouches and sheathes also and it could be a decent job.

The point I am getting at is to figure on when you are looking for the income then make a plan.

I pay a lot in child support but I also make good money. Not like my expectations or lifestyle are too fancy so stuff works out just fine for now. Still I don’t like single points of failure.

So I want to have a couple other streams of income. Lets say 3. How much money do I want to make? Well I would like to make 500k a year. More realistically if I made somewhere between several hundred to a couple grand a month that would give me a lot of options. Even if my normal job fell apart somehow I would have something coming in. Maybe even enough to pay the no fail bills like power, fuel and food. On the high end of those figures I could even pay rent.

So how could I do this?

My first plan is to get the blog earning again. For a few reasons I plan to do it more on a commission basis than folks paying for advertising.

Writing. I have been writing fiction again. Hope to put a book out on Amazon in the first quarter of next year.

Also to ask you all a question. If I put together a nonfiction type work that is a mix of selected blog posts and some new stuff then charged say $5 for it would you all be interested? I’m definitely still framing this out in my head but it would give you my take on a lot of stuff in one place.

Both of those are in the works. If you have constructive ideas I would love to hear them. 

How to Keep Your Students Safe in an Era of Random Violence

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An uptick in violence has taken place in the United States in recent years. With over 10 incidents of school shootings in 2016 so far and additional incidents expected before the end of the year, it’s more important than ever that school staff prepare themselves for these and other so-called “random” acts of violence.

Students and adult campus visitors acquire weapons from:

  • Family members and friends
  • 3D printer designs shared freely online
  • Merchants who don’t follow gun control laws
  • Domestic and international terrorist groups

To keep students and yourself as safe as possible when violence erupts, do the following at your school immediately.

Educate Students and Staff

Educating students and colleagues about random violence is critical to their safety. Speak with your school administrator about providing classes that deal with situational awareness and recognizing the signs of a potential sudden violent event, protocols for reporting these signs and appropriate reactions to violence. Run live drills involving different scenarios to help students and staff better understand what to expect so that they’re more likely to remember their lessons during the real thing.

Involve Parents and Guardians

A community that works together to prevent violence has a better chance of doing so. Beyond asking parents/guardians for permission to teach their children critical survival skills, ask them to become active participants in the process. If any parents/guardians or their relatives are emergency first responders, ask them to speak at the school about their jobs and their protocols for responding to different worse case scenarios of random violence. Prepare parents/guardians for the potential questions about random violence that they might receive from their children. Additionally, talk to them about their own situational awareness and the actions they should take if they observe questionable events taking place when visiting the campus.

Take Self Defense Classes

You can’t hope to protect others if you don’t know how to protect yourself. Seek out a self-defense teacher who has a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice. Keep in mind that the degree is important as post-graduate studies often focus on individual and group security measures related to random acts of violence. Take notes so that you can pass the knowledge and guidance you receive from your own teacher to students, teachers, other staff members and parents/guardians.

You can’t always prevent violence from occurring on a school campus, but you can help reduce injuries and deaths. Be as prepared as possible by implementing these techniques into your educational routine. Preventative safety measures save lives.

Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure. You can connect with her on Facebook right here and Twitter right here.

Leftovers!!

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We have leftovers from two turkey’s this year. One from our Thanksgiving dinner at home and one from our family Thanxmas dinner with the family. I didn’t really realize how much was left until I looked at it today and realized I really needed to can some of it or we were just going to waste all that good turkey.
The spare room is kind of full right now. The big fish tank/brooder is still in there and several rather large presents, bags of smaller presents, empty boxes to send presents in or sent of Etsy orders, just a lot of stuff but I managed to reach the canner and find jars enough.
Canning meat is no more difficult than canning anything else. I did the ‘hot pack’ method with the turkey where you boil the meat first. I then packed it in the jars using the same liquid, added a little salt,  and pressure canned it for 75 minutes in pint jars.

I ended up with 7 full pints with some leftover. The leftover meat was in all that good juice too and there was no reason to let all that go to waste either so I poured it in the crock pot, added some onions, salt, pepper, a little sage and a jar of canned carrots. I will add some kind of pasta- maybe egg noodles– later when it is close to time to eat so the noodles don’t overcook.

Realities of Defensive Conflicts

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I have seen a couple good things recently and addressing them both at once seemed to make the most sense. The first is a post by Larry Correia “The Legalities of Shooting People”

The second is security camera footage of a real life defensive shooting in Brazil a few days ago. I will talk about them in order. This is intentional because legal realities affect our tactical options.
Larry Correia is not a lawyer. You should not consider his excellent post to be legal advice. I am definitely not a lawyer or in any way qualified to give legal advice. If you are making life and death decisions based on random crap you read on the internet from a guy who admits he is not a specialist in the area you are an idiot. 


That disclaimer aside Larry Correia’s post is excellent. Other people such as Massad Ayoob are probably more knowledgeable but the way this post explains the issue is clear and simple. If a normal person without a legal background were to read one document to understand the criteria for use of lethal force this may not be the absolute best document but they could certainly do a lot worse.
The Reasonable Man point is key. In the event of a shooting you will need to convince somewhere between a couple and a dozen plus people that your actions were in fact those of a reasonable man in order to not go to adult time out. 


The discussion of the breakdown on Ability, Opportunity and Jeopardy needs little addition. The only real point I would make is that if you are a healthy normal sized adult man (being loose with all those terms) convincing people you were in legitimate fear of your life from another normal sized man; who does not show a weapon and isn’t stomping you while your on the ground or slamming your head into something is not a situation I would want to be in. 


Hell George Zimmerman was getting the shit beat out of him and he, though ultimately (legally at least) was vindicated had a heck of a time. 


The point there is unless you are elderly (I mean real old like 70+), a woman or an actual midget there are violent situations that can occur where you will not be able to justify going to guns.
The article then starts talking about police use of force and to be honest shifted out of my area of interest. The first half or so is gold though.

In closing a point that a girl I used to date brought up after her CCW course came to mind. Taking a handgun out in a dangerous situation is a bit complicated because as we have learned from South Narc stuff and Street Robberies and You it is a lot better to get your gun out earlier instead of later. At the same time you can’t just be whippping out guns or  pointing guns at people all the time. There is some ambiguity in situations where you might draw a handgun. When it comes to situations where you would shoot someone it is a lot simpler. The situations where you should shoot another human being in self defense are usually pretty clear cut. If you are in doubt that you should be shooting another person the answer is no you should not.

Next we have a video of an off duty Brazilian cop who was the victim of an attempted robbery. I find stuff coming out of South America particularly interesting as the level of crime in some areas is high, verging on completely ridiculous. Where it is now is also where we are generally headed as our country slips down to whatever state of collapse it will end up at.


The breakdown on The Firearms Blog is very good. My thoughts.
Mindset
The scenario of 2 or 3 goblins with guns is becoming fairly common. The old (3 shots, 3 yards, 3 seconds) conventional thoughts about self-defense are becoming less and less accurate. Since we want to prepare for violent conflicts today and TOMORROW, not a decade ago we need to consider this.


Also notice the bad guy’s waited until they were right on the cop to draw their guns. This is realistic. Bad guys aren’t going to take out weapons 50 yards away, or probably 10 yards away. They are going to get right on you. Like John Mosby said they will get close to you with some pretext like “Hey can I get a dollar” or “Can I borrow your phone?” to get close then the weapons will come out.


Coming back to the first point about legality. The time you are probably going to be justified in taking out your gun is probably (lots of scenarios and different thing can apply) when the bad guy takes theirs out so that means they will have the jump on you. Also they will probably be relatively close. 


Training:
This particular fight was close to but just outside contact range. Remember within a few feet the odds of a fight having a hand to hand component are high. As Tam says ‘You don’t have a gun, y’all have a gun.’


While partly a awareness/ mindset issue the time of getting your gun into action from the training side is based on your draw stroke to first shot. Faster is better. This is why you train for a reasonably fast draw.


The TFB post mentions the drill of 6 rounds at 6 feet in 6 seconds from the holster. Solid idea. It does not mention target size in the standard. My gut says that is a bit slow, especially for that distance.


Depending how far down this particular rabbit hole you want to go the case that a little .380 pocket pistol or ambiguous .38 snubby is not sufficient for this task can be made. This is certainly a complicated thing and I would prefer you carry a small gun to no gun but at least consider for some situations a small gun may not be enough. Filling one of the 2-3 armed men with bullets then running dry could leave them quite mad and you with an empty gun.


Certainly in a realistic violent encounter such as the one shown (as well as most potential scenarios) you need to be carrying a handgun where you can get it in a hurry. Basically this means on your waist or, while few if any serious instructors recommend them unless you are spending hours in the car, a readily accessible shoulder holster. This means that carry on ankles, in backpacks/ purses, fanny packs, in those under shirt holster things, etc are all no go’s. You aren’t going to be able to get to the damn gun in time. 


Reload, carry one. This is by far most important for lower capacity guns but depending on the level of risk a good idea in general. As my buddy Commander Zero put it a G19 is a snubby with 3 reloads. There is some truth to that statement. Still putting a reload in your pocket won’t kill you. 


Anyway I think these are a couple things you should think about.

A Few Items for Your Dog’s Bug-Out Bag

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California Mountain Dog If you haven’t considered your pet for bug in and bug out situations, it’s about time you should. We’ve all seen videos of people caught in disasters who’re more concerned about finding their cat than they are about where they’re going to sleep at night. Besides, pets will be of immense value post-collapse when it comes to moral support. To them, all it matters is that you’re still together…

In today’s article I want to focus on dogs and their needs in bug out scenarios. Depending on its size and strength, a dog may or may not carry his own stuff. The rest will either go in your bug out vehicle’s trunk or inside your own BOB.

So let’s see some of these items that you should make part of your survival plan.

An Emergency Leash

If your dog is anything like mine, he’s going to be really, really scared if and when general panic sets in. You’re going to want to keep him on a leash at all times, particularly if you’re bugging out with your car. If you’re the one driving, you can’t afford Lucky to distract you, so have someone sit with him on the back seat.

Food and Water

Don’t pack too much, because they’re heavy. It all depends on the size of your dog. Store extra food and water in your car’s trunk and beware of high temperatures. Anything inside your car’s trunk that’s perishable should be rotated more often than what’s in your pantry or basement.

A Collapsible Dish

You can use it for other things, such as collecting rainwater or foraging. The more containers you have with you, the better. You never know what you’ll end up putting in them.

A Dog Crate… Also Collapsible

This is something you could add to your car bug out bag and even use it to store other supplies. Particularly useful if you’re going to camp in the woods, if you don’t want your dog to run away while you’re sleeping.

A First Aid Kit

You can opt for those pre-packed ones on the market or you can assemble one yourself. Just keep in mind that there’s a difference between a FAKs for people and those for dogs. If you do decide to assemble them yourself, I suggest you keep them separated.

Body Armor

Come again? Why would your dog need it? Because you’ll never know when a wild animal might attack him… or get hit by a bullet You don’t want him unprotected when he’s trying to protect you. Soft armor vests are lightweight and have lots of pockets where you can fit many of the items given in this article.

Two Inflatable Mini-Beach Balls

This may sound weird but consider the scenario where you all need to cross a large body of water. Even if your dog can swim, can he do it with weight on his back? If you add something inflatable on both sides of the backpack, it’ll be much easier. A couple of small inflatable 5” beach balls will do.

Glow Sticks

Glow sticks make great emergency lighting because they have a 5-year shelf life (so long as you don’t crack them open), they pose no fire risk and are powerful enough to light your way. Tie one to your dog’s collar to be able to see him in the dark.

A Few Ziploc Bags

They have numerous alternative uses so it’s always good to have a few. These should be in every survival bag (GHB, BOB, car BOB) and even as part of your edc – they are crucial for survival because they have so many uses.

Vaccination Records

If you can laminate them, even better. If your dog gets lost and someone finds him or if he bites someone, they might help.

Dog Nail Clippers…

…because SHTF hygiene is crucial.

Dog Boots

During a bug out, it’ll be easier for your pup to run and walk on uneven terrain. Boots don’t add too much extra weight on its back. The only thing to do beforehand is getting it used to wearing them.

A Small Toy

A toy might keep a scared dog busy. If you put it in your own bag, you can use it to make him come to you if he strays away.

A Muzzle

A scared dog is an aggressive dog, and you don’t want him biting someone to hinder your bug-out. A muzzle will also tell other people that your dog bites (even if he doesn’t), and some of them will be discouraged to attack you.

A Respirator Mask

…in case Yellowstone decides to erupt, but also useful in case of a nuclear meltdown to keep radiation particles out of his respiratory system, though these respirators aren’t bulletproof; they’re just better than nothing, for larger particles such as dust.

A Few Items for Your Own Use

If you have enough room, you might as well put things that are really for the benefit of everyone. For example, you can put some dryer lint, because it’s a great fire-starter as well as lightweight…

Now What?

One you start getting some of these things, you’ll need to get your dog accustomed to wearing boots and having a backpack on his back. Heck, you can even go as far as simulating a bug out situation just to see how much Lucky will slow you down and see how easy it’ll be to keep him near you when you’re in a hurry.

The writer of this article would like to follow his own advice and remain anonymous.

Clandestine Carry Pistol by John Mosby

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I have talked about Clandestine Carry Pistol a couple times. First with an overview then with a roving discussion of speed vs accuracy.  I confess that a full and proper review sort of stalled out. Well John Mosby linked to my posts and had some comments to clarify things. I made some minor errors which is the nature of writing stuff down later.

Today I am going to be writing a proper review of Clandestine Carry Pistol with John Mosby. I will talk about the general flow of the class then get into the usual good, bad and ugly. There will be some redundancy but that is ok.

Again as this post comes from my notes and memory it is almost surely flawed in some ways. As my intent is more to share my impressions of the course than to give you some training POI the differences are probably not too important. So disclaimer if it sounds weird or dumb its my fault and mine alone. 

Day 1- Link up and move to training site. BS session and then safety brief. Relaxed and informal but very professional covering all the key points.

Began with forming a proper grip and slow deliberate fire at 3 yards. The goal was to keep every thing on the index card. Various individual issues were addressed. We gradually worked backwards to 10 yards. Individual students were mentored as needed while the group took breaks.

“Even height, even light, don’t disturb the sights with trigger press.”
Next we moved to multiple shots. We did this using a rhythm method and progressively getting faster.
One thousand and one, one thousand and two, one thousand and three, one thousand and four.
1 and 2 and 3 and 4
1,2,3,4 (spoken speed)
1,2,3,4 (spoken fast)

We were reminded to be aware of how fast we can shoot. If you can only accurately shoot at spoken 1,2,3,4 no point in going faster. Ditto distance.
Self awareness of your own level of capabilities was emphasized.

Next we moved into multiple targets. We used the same rhythm method. After last shot on target breaks move your eyes to the next target then the gun follows. It was emphasized to focus on the target you are on. Don’t stress the next one. Deal with the one you are on now.

In terms of prioritizing targets John said to shoot the most dangerous target first, until he isn’t the most dangerous then repeat as needed.
After that we closed with a roving conversation about gear, tactics and shooting.

Day 2
Draw. John teaches a 4 step draw stroke.

  1. Lift cover and grip gun
  2. Draw to chest retention (gun angled/ canted out)
  3. Hands together and finger on trigger
  4. Press out to shoot

This is, despite some slight individual variances, basically standard in the modern shooting community.Interestingly at CSAT with did a very similar draw stroke but not broken down into individual parts. Paul cited Army Marksmenship Unit studies that the artificial break down into parts slows things down. I can’t say one is right or wrong, thats way above my level, however it is interesting to see differences in instruction. Johns method lets you shoot from position 2 which is pretty handy. I like that and it is my preferred method of shooting from retention.

We started drawing by the numbers.
Practice- 1 free then 2-4 by the numbers.
1-2 free then 3-4 by the numbers.

Then after everyone was in a satisfactory place we moved to draw and shoot.

Live (take 1x shot)
Do 1-3 by the numbers then 4 and shoot.
Do 1-2 by the numbers then 3-4 and shoot.


We tried to keep it to the index card.

Next we shot from retention.
The way John teaches you can shoot from position 2. Obviously you need to have your other hand out of the way. For training keeping it on your chest is sound. In practice it will probably be entangled with the shootee. We practiced this.

Then we drew to position 2, fired 2 rounds, took a step back, fired 2 from position 3 and then another step back and 2 from position 4. It was explained that in reality it was more likely we would be static and the other person moving.

John explained the movement through the drawstroke as freeway to city streets. You can go as fast as you safely can from 1-4 then you have to slow down enough to get the sights right and make the shot. Think of it like a long drive. Get on the freeway and put the hammer down. Then once you get off the freeway do the last couple blocks at an appropriate speed. Its 80 then 35 not 55 the whole way.

Next we talked about creating time. This was more conceptual and I may address it in a different post.
This was followed by reloads, admin and tactical. John had us use the slide release. He explained the sling shot idea (gross vs small muscle movement) is invalid because handgun shooting is inherently a small muscle skill. Also this is much easier to train on as the mag release reload works with an empty mag so you don’t need to mess with dummy rounds.

The last instruction on day two was briefly discussed hand to hand in the context of armed self defense. The goal was to protect your gun and then create space to employ it. This was basically a technique for surviving initial attack and closing with the opponent. Building a helmet with your arms and aggressively stepping in to collide with your opponent and achieve a clench.

We then ran through an iteration of easy live drill to try this.

That ended day 2. We had dinner that night which was nice.

Day 3 started with a warm of of drawing to 4 rounds on pace.
The main point of day 3 was decision making. We shot a lot of drills that make you think before and during shooting. This is a heck of a lot harder than it sounds.

We used Frank Proctors 3rd grade math.

Next we used what I’ll call the Mosby 1-5. 5 numbered targets in mixed order. You are shown a card with 3 numbers on it. You shoot the 1st one once, the second one 2x, the last number 3 times then put 4 rounds in the second number and 5 in the first.

Targets were set up in front of each other or at angles which necessitated movement. We messed with each other pretty successfully.

It is timed and only clean runs get a time. I think there was one clean run in the class.
We then began the AAR. It paused so we could shoot dots to work on trigger control. Next we talked about how the right answers for self defense could change in time if/ when America’s slide out of being an empire continues. We also covered a variety of different points and John answered a lot of questions.

That was, based on my memory and notes, what we covered in 3 days of Clandestine Carry Pistol.

Now to the good, bad and ugly.

Good:
All of the shooting instruction. John is an excellent instructor. Also he has a pragmatic way of looking at things. Instead of chest thumping and saying “We do it this way!” he is more likely to say “There are 2 valid methods to do this. I prefer method one because it offers the following advantages. Try them both and see which you prefer.” When a student came up with an idea that was strait up stupid John would take the time to explain exactly why that idea was flawed.

We had a 5 minute demo on why SERPA holsters are a really bad idea. Hint, aside from maybe shooting yourself in the leg the catch can be jammed with mud, twigs or various junk making it so you can’t get the darn gun out.

This course was realistic in that it dealt with how we will actually employ pistols as civilians in real life. That means from concealment, around civilians/ no shoot targets and with legal constraints. Use of force was not a huge topic though it came up on several occasions. The bottom line is that you are going to need to be able to convince a series of people that your actions were reasonable based on the scenario.

So much more good.

The Bad: I was let down in the close quarters/ hand to hand portion of the class. Definitely thought that piece was going to be a bigger part of the course. The little bit we did was decent enough stuff but not much and very basic. For anyone with a modest background in BJJ or wrestling it is not new territory. That said in the class only 2 of the students had any such background. So for me it was a bit disappointing but for them it was probably a lot to take in.

In fairness to John he explained in class does not feel especially qualified to teach an in depth piece on this. There are some folks with deep martial arts background who are already teaching this stuff. John seemed to feel his efforts would not necessarily bring real value to the arena so he just leaves it alone. Any guy who leaves money on the table (and classes are money) with other peoples best interest in mind has some real values.

I will be going back to that area to take a Cecil Birch class early next year. That should help me feel a bit better about the specific skill set in question.

The Ugly: The pre class administrative side of this class was not great. I found out about it on fairly short notice which complicated things a bit by making the timeline a couple weeks not a month or more. You don’t know where the class is being conducted at or have a number to get ahold of him. Payment is by cash or USPS money order sent to a drop box. Still I did not know they had my deposit (which is basically fire and forget since its not like I can cancel a blank money order) I was good for the class until 2 days prior. People not being registered for a class till they put up money is pretty standard in training circles. That said with other guys you can call and ask if they got the check. Everything is done by email. In my case an email got lost in the web or missed, which happens. This is why we always preach to avoid single points of failure for communications. I believe people have taken the time and traveled for classes in the past but due to some sort of admin issues not been able to attend.

For an event that occupies days of time, requires travel and costs a few hundred dollars, several hundred dollars after expenses this is not very satisfactory.

John is non banked (no bank accounts) and understandably has personal security concerns. That complicates things considerably. Still though…. I really don’t want to be harsh but there simply has to be a better way to manage this, probably without much more effort on his part. Maybe he could keep a burner phone for training courses and turn it on in town a couple times a week and check for messages. Maybe a pre class webinar type thing a week out to get everyone on the same page and deal with nagging admin issues.

Overall impression. Take the class. You will get a ton out of it.

Various notes:

As John mentioned almost the entire class shot AIWB with Glocks. The group in general were in the beginning range in terms of legitimate tactical training and such. Mostly gun guys but not a lot of formal training. Over the class there were several hundred rounds fired and probably a hundred draws per student. Nobody shot their dick off. Nobody came close to shooting their dick off.

It can be easy to get fixated on training for yesterdays threats. The classic one guy, 3 yards, 3 shots, 3 seconds. Todays threats may say that two guys are more likely. This means we need to shoot faster and carry a gun with more bullets. Tomorrow we could be facing larger groups of armed men or beatings by mobs of BLM type thugs as less than an occasional thing.

Natural Disaster Prep: Essential Supplies for a Local Emergency

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A disaster caused by a severe storm, earthquake, volcano or other natural event can happen at any time. Although you should always prepare for a natural disaster based on the types of emergencies that occur in your geographic region, you should also prepare by having the following supplies in emergency kits in your home, office and vehicle:

Medical Supplies

Natural disasters often cause physical injury to people and pets. These injuries can range from small scratches and cuts to broken bones, burns, concussions and blocked airways. Set up a tote or pack with the most important common medical supplies, including bandages, antiseptic, burn cream, wraps, antihistamines, pain killers, splints, cold and heat packs, and a folded heat reflective emergency blanket. Additionally, add an emergency event common injury and treatment guide to your kit and a 30-day supply of medicines sealed in a water-proof plastic zipper-style bag.

Clothing and Blankets

Sometimes a disaster forces individuals and families to relocate at a moment’s notice. Pack at least three outfits and a week’s worth of underclothes and socks in your kit along with a tightly rolled up regular blanket secured with a belt. Although an emergency heat blanket is smaller and great for short-term use, it’s also wise to have a non-thermal regular blanket handy for more frequent use when you’re displaced from warm conditions for longer than a day. You can also use the blanket to cover the ground to create an eating area or as a privacy screen at a shelter.

Activated Charcoal Filters

Dehydration is always a possibility after a natural disaster. Although you might add bottled water to your natural disaster kit, a water purification system offers a more lightweight and long-term solution. You can easily buy activated charcoal filters to add to your emergency kit. Keep them in your kit or even a backpack to remove many types of contaminants and impurities like dirt, sand and organic and inorganic chemicals from rain barrel, stream, river, lake and other water sources.

Non-Perishable Foods

Beyond clean water, you also need to have access to nutrient-rich foods. Regularly refresh your emergency natural disaster kit with non-expired granola bars, dried fruit, vegetable chips, canned foods and other non-perishables so that you don’t have to worry about dealing with low energy, poor thinking and hunger right after a natural disaster. Don’t worry about the expense of creating your emergency kits. You will see that the upfront investment of time and money was well worth it when a disaster happens.

Written by Rachelle Wilber

Ways to Secure Your Home if You Can’t Afford a Home Security System

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Having a security system is one of the best ways you can protect your home against burglary and intrusion. However, since most of today’s surveillance systems come with expensive price tags, they aren’t always convenient to have, especially if you are on a tight budget.

If you are looking for ways to secure your home without relying on a security system, here are a few ideas you should try.

  1. Change your locks

    Traditional locks may not be enough to protect your home anymore, especially with how smart burglars are getting these days. If you can’t get a security system, you should consider changing your locks to tougher and more durable ones.

    Deadbolt locks are a great option since they are more resistant against lock picking and bumping. They extend deep into door frames which means they won’t easily get broken in case an intruder uses brute force on your door.

    Your locks, however, can only be effective if used properly. Leaving your doors unlocked most of the time only defeats the purpose of upgrading them.

  2. Get a good door

    Your door should be of the same strength as your door lock. If your lock is durable but your actual door isn’t, it can still break and give access to intruders. In finding a good door, make sure it’s sturdy and isn’t hollow.

    If you can’t get a solid door, you can reinforce its back with a metal plate. You can just paint it over to make it look more appealing. It’s a cheaper yet effective alternative to having your entire door replaced.

  3. Know who knocks on your door

    Burglars and intruders are finding more ways to access homes without getting caught or even drawing suspicion. They can wear uniforms or claim to be somebody they aren’t. If someone knocks on your doorstep, make sure to verify his identity first. It’s not enough to check his uniform and identification cards since they can easily be forged.

    In protecting yourself and your home, you’ll want to prevent an incident from happening in the first place. Before someone could hurt and attack you inside your home, you should prevent their access in the first place. Take, for example, one of the recent cases of home attack where a man was found fired, bound and beaten by a home intruder.

  4. Build a connection with your neighbors

    Your neighbors are the first people who can sense something’s wrong in your home. They are also the first people who can recognize strangers in your neighborhood.

    If your area doesn’t have an existing neighborhood watch program yet, you can try organizing one. This type of program is one of the most traditional and effective ways to secure homes. If you can’t build one, you should, at least, get to know your neighbors. You can invite them over for dinner or gift them with freshly baked cookies or your specialty dish.

  5. Secure your valuables

    Since there’s no security system to ward off burglars or notify you in case of an attack, it’s a good idea if you can keep an inventory of your valuable items. You can list them down and take pictures of them so that in the event that someone steals them, you can provide a proof that the items are yours.

    Consider getting a safe and hiding it in an area that isn’t too obvious. There are also a lot of DIY hiding spots you can make at home, such as hidden book storage, extra slot in your cabinets or little storage boxes that mimic regular wall sockets.

Author’s Bio: Rose Cabrera specializes in reviewing home security products and systems. She has covered a wide range of brands with Ezviv Mini Security Camera as one of her latest reviews.

Various Thoughts

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Hey Folks, I’m not dead.

I have been trying to refocus on fitness/ health, jiu jjitsu and dry fire. The core of my survivalist individual skills. That has been occupying a lot of my time and energy this week. I am trying hard to refocus. Also I have a class coming up in January to get ready for. It will challenge my combatives skills and fitness so I want to do my best to get ready.

For fitness I am going to be focusing on endurance for awhile. A friend wants to do some races this winter/ summer so I need to get working on that. Also it is as good a goal as any. A marathon is probably on my bucket list anyway.

I realized that maybe I need a handgun in between the Glock 19 and the Ruger LCP. I end up carrying the LCP a lot which is probably not ideal. Recently carrying a borrowed air weight J frame I noticed I could carry it appendix in most of my normal clothing. It vanishes under a normally fitting T shirt. I would get an S&W with an exposed hammer and try some different grip options to get the right balance of concealability and shootability.

Potential candidates beside a .38 would be the Glock 26 or a Walther PPK. I am going to borrow and experiment with both in coming weeks. I am open to your thoughts here. No urgency as the weather is rapidly cooling so I can just wear a sweatshirt or loose ish flannel type shirt which will hide anything. The easy days of CCW are getting to be upon us.

I am looking hard at purchasing a new (to me) vehicle. Probably a Toyota FJ Cruiser. If you have personal experience with them please share.

Recently I put together a plate carrier as part of my home defense set up. May talk more about that later.

The only up side of this post election rioting light is the darn clowns seem to have calmed down.

Sort of like Zero and I both said. I am not sad I bought the stuff I did for the election. Now I have it. I can’t see a situation where 5.56 ammo, Glock or AR mags get cheaper than they are today so it is all good.

So what is coming up in the next couple weeks on the blog.

A post or two about the Mountain Guerilla Clandestine Carry Pistol course.

A post on realistic vs fantasy worst case scenarios.

A post on multiple streams of income.

A post on my home defense gear set up.

A fighting load post.

6 Vital Emergency Kit Additions

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Emergency kits contain many items that you’ll need during a crisis, such as flashlights, flares, bandages, radios, and bottled water. These items are necessary staples, but there are plenty of useful items that aren’t usually included in your basic kit.

Water Purifier

Bottled water is a definite necessity to include in your kit, but there’s always the possibility that you will run out. Keeping a purifier on hand will allow you to purify nearby sources of water if your stock of bottled water runs out.

Vitamin Supplements

You never know when your alertness level could be the difference between life and death, so it’s important that you stay awake during a crisis. Vitamin supplements can help with fatigue by giving you bursts of energy, and can also help to boost a person’s immune system when they’re dealing with high levels of stress. The last thing you want to worry about is getting sick during a crisis. Pre-packaged vitamin blends often have daily essentials in addition to energy boosters.

Power Banks

You may not have cell phone service during a crisis, but you should still keep your phone fully charged. Your cell phone is your lifeline, so make sure you have a spare charger to put in your emergency kit. Power banks are more useful than standard chargers because they can charge your cell phone even if you don’t have electricity. Many crises leave victims without electricity, so a power bank definitely qualifies as a necessity.

Pepper Spray

Criminal activity still occurs during natural disasters, so it’s important to be prepared for it. Protecting yourself from the immediate danger should be your first priority, but that doesn’t mean you need to leave yourself defenseless to other threats. Pack one container of pepper spray for each member of your home so that no one is left defenseless.

Portable Toilet

You might not have access to a bathroom during a crisis, so it’s vital that you have a portable toilet to avoid any discomfort. Many outdoor retailers, like Blackpine Sports, offer high quality portable toilets for camping or emergencies. If you invest in a portable toilet, be sure to also get plenty of extra waste disposal and odor control bags to go with it to keep sanitary and comfortable.

Cash and Copies of Identification

If you’re forced to evacuate your area, you’ll need cash and identification down the line. Identification is especially important in the event that your home is destroyed or your property is damaged, as you may need it to present to law enforcement or your insurance company.

You can never be too prepared for a crisis. Prepare for any emergency and pack your provisions accordingly. Stocking up on necessities now is the best way to reduce your risk of danger later.

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and recent graduate of the University of New Mexico. She writes for many online publications and blogs about home improvements, family, and health. She is an avid hiker, biker and runner. Contact her via twitter @BrookeChaplan.

Post Election Hangover

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This was an interesting election cycle. The lack of panic was oddly palatable. Paw Paw and Tam both talked about it. I think there are two main reasons for this. In general people with the money and desire have been panicking pretty hard for at least an election cycle, two if they are old enough. Also well the real economy in our country is hosed and inflation have made it so many people are worried about a kid who keeps jumping clothes sizes and grocery bills. They don’t have much spare money for anything.

I made some significant purchases in preparation for this election. Built a spare AR, bought 2 cases of 5.56 and 20 ish each AR and Glock mags. Yesterday, obviously early I personally urged two people to get some more mags for their handguns and have at least some ammo on hand.

Now it is very unlikely any sort of ban will happen. Do I regret my purchases or actions?

NO!!!

NOT AT ALL!!!

I mean I didn’t do anything crazy like do that stuff on a credit card I couldn’t pay off. I did what I could with the money I had.

I don’t regret it at all. Why? I bought stuff I can use and wanted. Probably front loaded my gun related purchases for at least a few months. The way I look at it now I have more time.

In the short to mid term since I front loaded a lot of gun stuff my next quarter or so’s purchases will likely be non gun stuff. I need to round out some other gear and want one of those new FLIR scouts.

In gun stuff I am going to build an AR pistol. Yeah I did that before but saw a couple game changers. Got to handle a sweet one that probably cost 3 grand. Mine won’t be that fancy but I am taking the core ideas from it.

In the long run I am probably going to get into the AR-10 game. I messed up when I got the FAL. If I keep it or sell it is an open question.

Politically I am neutral about this whole thing. The only real up side is President Trump does not want war with Russia. That means the odds they will drop our power grid and things will go all One Second After are substantially lower. Gives me a few more years to get my stuff together.

 

Preparing Your Kids with Gun Safety Lessons

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If society collapsed, would your children know how to handle themselves in a world where knowledge of firearms was elemental to survival? Or, in today’s society, say your child visits a friend’s house when their parents aren’t home and they find a gun in the closet. Would they know enough to be safe? These are questions that matter to every mother. 41 percent of Americans have a gun in their home, according to a 2015 Gallup poll, so your child is likely to be around guns at some point whether you own one or not. Here are some basics that every parent should teach their children about gun safety.

Set the Example

The most powerful lesson is a good example. If you’re well-versed in gun safety, you’ll able to teach your child more effectively. Even if you’re already familiar with guns and gun safety, it’s a good idea to take a refresher course and brush up on the basics so they’re fresh in your mind when you teach your child. The National Rifle Association publishes a directory of training courses taught by qualified instructors that you can browse to find a course near you. Learn with the type of firearm you intend to use or the type of firearm you intend to get your child when they’re old enough. If you’re looking to save money, try browsing a wide selection of quality used firearms from a trusted online supplier.

Follow Gun Storage Safety Rules

A big part of gun safety is storing your guns where your children can’t get them. As they get older, you can take the opportunity to teach them how to properly store guns.

Project ChildSafe recommends that guns be stored unloaded and locked in a gun vault, safe or cabinet. Ideally, your storage location should not be known by your children, especially if they haven’t been taught gun safety. Furthermore, ammunition should be kept in a separate location, as should keys.

For additional protection, you can use a gun locking device to prevent the gun from firing. Yet another option is to break a firearm down and store the parts separately to ensure that it won’t be misused.

Guns should always be unloaded and cleaned after use and before storage. Even if you think the gun is already unloaded, double check. Sometimes ammunition remains in a gun’s magazine after it has been fired.

Teach Gun Safety Rules

Learning how to handle guns safely is another part of basic firearms safety. The most fundamental rule is to always point a gun’s muzzle in a safe direction, meaning away from yourself and other people so that if the gun were to go off, it would not harm anyone. When holding a gun at your side, make sure it points to the ground and not at your feet or another part of your body.

Another basic principle is to always assume a gun is loaded. Don’t assume a gun is unloaded just because you took it out of storage or because someone told you it was empty. You never know what someone else may have done with the gun before you had it, and you should never just assume that the magazine is empty without.

A third basic principle is to never load or cock a firearm before you’re ready to actually fire it; keep guns unloaded when not in use. Also, pick guns up with your finger outside the trigger guard rather than inside.

Teach Your Children What to Do if They Find a Gun

There’s always the chance that a child will come across a gun before they’re adequately trained and old enough to safely handle it. If this happens, they need to know what to do. Make sure they know that if they find an unattended weapon they should get an adult to deal with it rather than trying to handle the gun themselves. Explain that a gun can accidentally go off and should only be handled by someone capable of handling it safely. Some toys resemble guns, so teach your children to be careful about assuming a weapon is a toy and to assume it is real unless they know otherwise. Likewise, teach them to never to point a gun at anyone and to always assume a gun is loaded.

Roy Rasmussen, coauthor of Publishing for Publicity, is a freelance writer who helps select clients write quality content to reach business and technology audiences. His clients have included Fortune 500 companies and bestselling authors. His most recent projects include books on cloud computing, small business management, sales, business coaching, social media marketing, and career planning.

How Solar Panels Can Be a Boon in an Emergency Situation

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How Solar Panels Can Be a Boon in an Emergency Situation

In an emergency situation such as a power outage, natural disaster or man-made disaster, being able to generate your own electricity can help to keep you and your family safe. One of the most cost-effective and easy to use ways to generate electricity is with solar power. Solar panels can be installed onto your rooftop, requiring as little as 12 square yards of roof surface.

Operating Heating and Cooling Systems

A wintertime blizzard, ice storm or nor’easter could result in widespread wintertime power outages. Having solar panels on your home could supply enough electricity to keep your heating system on. This would allow you to stay in your home and off the unsafe roads. A summertime severe weather event such as a derecho could also cause widespread power outages. Your solar panels could deliver enough power to keep your air conditioning working.

Maintaining Essential Appliances

If you have a medical condition such as sleep apnea or COPD that requires the use of breathing machines or other appliances, having a steady supply of electricity is crucial to your health. With solar panels in place, you would have enough energy to power these life-saving systems. The solar panels can also power a refrigerator to keep baby formula safe and can even run your hot water or oven for cooking.

Do-It-Yourself Solar Kits

Do-it-yourself solar panel kits allow you to save money on the cost of installing a solar system. A typical 4kW system can cost a homeowner about $18,000 in 2016, explains the Energy Informative. About 15 percent of that cost is the installation fees. By installing your own solar panel kit, you could save about $2,500. This level of savings shortens the payoff period of your solar system.

Security Systems

Solar panels can also help to keep your home safe in an emergency situation. The panels can be linked to an inverter that stores the energy you do not use. Some professionals, like Jeff Long, know that the stored energy can be used to power your home’s security system even if the electrical grid is down. You can also use the power to charge your cellphone in order to call for help or make contact with family. Solar panels are an environmentally friendly way to generate your own electricity. The systems pay off in 18 to 22 years, but their lifespan is about 25 years. By installing a solar panel system on your home, you can be safe in any type of an emergency situation.

Written by Rachelle Wilber

Speed vs Accuracy

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This post has been floating around in my head for awhile. I am thankful I did not write it earlier as the Clandestine Carry Pistol course heavily shaped my viewpoint on the matters at hand. I want to talk about speed and accuracy as they relate to practical shooting. By practical I suppose I mean shooting in the context of self defense and maybe hunting where accuracy and speed have to be balanced. This differs from more esoteric niche sports or just plain old plinking. First let us talk about speed. There is a fairly fixed reaction time a person has. The amount of time between when their brain says shoot and their finger pulls the trigger. 

In Johns class we tested this with a shot timer. With the gun ready we timed how long it took for us to pull the trigger. Just plain make the gun go bang downrange. Mine was like .21-.22, that was somewhere in the mushy middle of the averages. Sure you could game that by getting more used to shooting on the beep and maybe improve times a little bit but that doesn’t matter. The point is that there is absolutely no way I could shoot faster than that time. That is my absolute max for speed. 

Then there is accuracy. With more time people don’t have to rush and can be deliberate. Of course they can actually shoot worse by overthinking it but lets ignore that for now. At some point relative to the given shot you intend to take (a 10m shot with a pistol takes less time than a 1k shot with a rifle) we will not be more accurate with more time. We reach our maximum ability level for that given task. If a guy had say 2 minutes to shoot 5 rounds at an index card 10 meters away he has plenty of time. He likely won’t shoot better if he has all day to do it. We can call this our absolute max for accuracy. So we have our absolute max for speed on one side and our absolute maximum for accuracy on the other. At absolute max speed my accuracy was minute of dumpster at 10 meters. At maximum accuracy I am pretty slow. Now we have one variable left to talk about. Target size/ distance. The target size/ distance matters a lot here. It matters because it dictates how precise we have to be in terms of accuracy. Thus by controlling accuracy the target size/ distance really dictates how fast we can.

Example- Our friend Paw Paw does Cowboy Fast Draw shooting. Per the CDFA website they shoot at a 24” circular target centered 50” off the ground at distances between 15-21 feet. This target is pretty forgiving in terms of accuracy so the times are crazy fast. A quick look says at a national level the top 16 men were all under .358. That is smoking fast. Part of the reason these guys can get times like that, aside from naturally good reactions and a ton of practice is they are shooting at a frickin huge target. They are shooting one handed from the hip and obviously not using sights. If the targets were changed to say a 6X13 vital zone you would see times slow down. If it were changed to a 3×5 index card you would see times slow down. Or you would see the rate of misses rise. That brings us to the next point. How much accuracy do you need? It obviously varies situation to situation. The amount of precision needed to make a hundred yard pistol shot on an A zone target at 3 meters is very different than at 30 let alone 100 meters. Lets say there is an urgency factor throughout practical shooting so we can ignore that. The two factors that come to mind for me are what we are shooting at and the consequences of missing. Smaller (or further away) targets require a higher degree of precision that bigger ones. 

I can personally get away with being relatively sloppy shooting drills at a 6X13 or an IPSC A zone which is about 6×11. I can really just use the front sight and be quick, which for me means a bit jerky, on the trigger and still get consistent hits. To shoot at a 3×5 index card I need to really use my sights and deliberately squeeze the trigger. If I am shooting the dot drill I need to be even more precise. 

The other consideration is the consequences of a miss. If you miss in a competition it hurts your score or maybe you lose. If you miss shooting at tweety bird well you miss tweety bird. These situations encourage you to take a questionable shot because there really isn’t a down side. If you miss a shot in a self defense situation you might smoke a round into some little kid on the next block. 

Aside from obviously practicing to improve your capabilities the most important thing is awareness. Knowing how much you can push speed (and sacrifice accuracy) while still making the shot is huge. No point in shooting faster than you are actually able, and missing. In a civilian self defense context this is dangerous and not acceptable. On the flip side since time matters knowing how much you can get away with to put lead to face and end the problem gives you a better chance of having the best possible outcome. 

I think that’s all that comes to mind now. If I have any further thoughts on the topic I will edit this or do a follow up as appropriate.

Disaster Ready: Best Ways to Insure Your Family Against the Worst

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Family Being the head of a family requires taking on many different responsibilities. The most important of which should always be providing security and safety for your family. To do this, you must always plan for the worst. Below are some ways you can protect your home and family from disaster.

Homeowners Insurance

First of all, you need to make sure you purchase homeowners insurance to protect your house against a disaster or act of nature. Homeowners insurance should cover acts of nature such as lightning strikes, fire, strong winds, and hail. According to Bachus & Schanker Law, good homeowner’s insurance policy should also pay for damage done by criminals such as vandalism or burglary. Check with your provider to see what might be missing from your policy and what you should think about adding.

Earthquake and Flood Insurance

Even basic homeowner’s insurance policies won’t cover everything. In certain cases, you may need to purchase extra coverage to protect against certain kinds of disasters more likely to occur in certain areas. You may need earthquake insurance if you live near a fault line and alternatively, you may need flood insurance if you live within a flood plain. Keep in mind that even if earthquakes or flooding happen rarely in an area, it is still a possibility in many parts of the country.

Health Insurance

Not all emergencies affect your property, some affect the livelihood of your family directly, as is the case with medical emergencies. Make sure everyone in your family has adequate health insurance coverage. If you don’t receive health insurance through your employer, purchase it through a state run healthcare exchange to receive a discount from the federal government. Obtaining state healthcare insurance or federal coverage such as Medicaid, Medicare, or health coverage from the Veteran’s Administration is another good option to save money.

Legal Representation

Some injuries are the result of the negligence or malicious acts of others. You or your family members may have received a significant disability due to the action or lack of action of another party. However, health insurance may not provide for everything in this situation such as loss of income or loss of quality of life. If this is the case, it may be best to contact a personal injury lawyer in Denver or your local areas to represent you or your family members in court. Civil court exists to help correct losses brought on by the negligence of others.

These of course are only a few of the things you should do to protect your family members and home against disaster. Stay vigilant and be proactive about providing physical and financial security for your family. You’ll be able to rest much easier if you do.

Eileen O’Shanassy is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to research and write. She enjoys baking, biking, and kayaking. Check out her Twitter @eileenoshanassy.

Mountain Guerilla Clandestine Pistol: #1 Overview

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This weekend I was fortunate to be able to attend John Mosby AKA Mountain Guerillas Clandestine Carry Pistol Course.

I wanted to go back to CSAT this year but with the travel time and expense it was not very realistic. I was going to take a local course but after doing the intro I wasn’t very impressed. It was definitely old guy wannna be Jeff Cooper stuff. Not bad per se but very dated. Then I saw the Clandestine Carry Pistol offering in north east MO and jumped on it. Fortunately everything worked out OK and I was able to attend.

I am going to make a big fat disclaimer that everything said about this course is from my memory and notes. Not trying to put words in Johns mouth or say there are quotes here. If something sounds weird or stupid or wrong any fault is entirely my own.

The class goals were as follows:
1- Hit what you aim at.
2- Make rapid good decisions under stress.
3- Draw your pistol under realistic conditions.
4- Defend your pistol and fight to employ it.

 This course was different from CSAT’s Tactical Pistol Operator Course and probably most other comparable tactical type handgun courses in a couple of significant ways.

First the accuracy standard was significantly higher. The goal is head shots on demand at realistic pistol ranges (Say 10-15 meters). We shot at index cards the entire time (mostly 3×5 and occasionally [think we ran out of 3×5’s] at the end 4×6) to replicate the vital zone in the head. This was done for a three reasons. First the realistic chance that a person is either wearing an SVEST in which case punching a round into their torso is a bad idea. Second the in my opinion much more probable chance they are wearing body armor. Third is the classic aim small and miss small.

This was a significant difference from my CSAT experience where we shot predominantly at a 6×13 vital zone. Suffice to say this is a big difference. Also that I have been slacking on my training was a factor. I blew a lot of shots initially because I was relatively speaking jerking the trigger and rushing to get better times. That got slightly better over the class. Honestly I think I figured out the trigger piece shooting the dot drill at the very end of class.

Why is this different from other classes? Some of it is conceptual and some of it is about the fact that shooting at small targets is well humbling. Considering a large portion of running training classes is getting people to feel good and want to come back this is not a move calculated to be popular. John doesn’t give a crap. He says the unpopular thing because it is what he believes. This is consistent throughout Johns methodology and teaching.

My personal belief is this is valid. You need that capability. Whether you should shoot for the head or not is context dependent. Obviously an S vest or body armor dictate a head shot. For a meth head in a t shirt bullets in the sternum are probably just fine.

The other way this class is different is that we shot EVERYTHING from concealment. I think this is totally valid in the context of this course and realistically any handgun training. Excluding law enforcement who carry openly I think this is the right answer for everybody. Why, well that is how the vast majority of us carry handguns. The only real exception would be home defense and that is mostly going to start with the gun in your hand anyway as it was either on your belt or cached somewhere. So doing all draws and reloads from concealment is the right answer.

Why don’t other classes do this? Like the 3×5 card accuracy standard this is not mirrored throughout the training world. Seeing guys wearing big ole paddded ‘war belts’ and OWB duty type rigs is quite common. One class I looked at taking did not even allow IWB holsters! First it adds a layer of complexity. You need to clear the cover garment for every draw or reload. You need to clear it to reholster.Second and I think more significantly it makes peoples performance as measured by time worse. How much time it adds to your draw could certainly be debated but probably .2 of a second or so. When instructors want students to feel like they improved (so they want to come back)having them get times that make them happy is a big deal. Sammy Seal got my draw to first shot down to 1.XX makes a guy happy and want to come back. Getting a slower time is well not going to make people feel as good. The last reason I think other classes have people using LEO/ military type set ups is what John so nicely calls ‘ballistic masturbation’. People want to wear cool guy gear, shoot a lot of bullets, be told they met a standard and get a certificate. I’m not knocking anyone getting training but the ‘tactical dude ranch’ angle is definitely there. You can take classes where you will shoot from helicopters and do fake ass tactical missions. There are probably worse ways to spend your money but saying shooting a rifle from a helicopter is in any way applicable to my life as a non helicopter owning person is ridiculous. This is another way John Mosby’s course is in my opinion very realistic and practical for a normal guy who carries a gun to defend himself.

I am going to do at least two more posts on this topic. The first will be a discussion of accuracy as it relates to time and distance. The second will be an overview of the course material, what I learned, etc. After that I have at least one or two posts in my head that come more from discussions we had in down time BS sessions.

 

Organizational Fail- Where the Heck is My 9mm Ball Ammo?

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Writing about our failures is never fun. It is always more fun to talk about a cool new toy or something awesome we did. This is not one of those posts.

I needed 500 rounds of 9mm ball ammo today. The reason will be clear later,  that isn’t what this post is about. I went to the first place I thought I would find 9mm ball ammo in quantity and it wasn’t there. Went to the next place and it wasn’t there either. Went back to the first place and really looked.

I thought for a second and went to a third place where I found a can of 9mm ball. Winchester white box from probably 2008. Good solid ammo. Wish they had prices on them to show what I paid.

Anyway this was a big ole ball of fail.  The bottom line is I currently have serious organizational issues beyond the home defense set up level. Access to ammo  isn’t a realistic problem it is just a canary in the coal mine. We talked about ammo which I am not really concerned with. In my bedroom I think there are 5 loaded AR  mags between my fighting load (hd) and a sort of active shooter bag. Also at least 3 spare glock  mags. That more than meets any home defense needs I could possibly have.

My stuff both preparedness and otherwise needs to get better organized.  I really don’t have any excuse except laziness for not doing this. Currently I don’t have anything big going on for most weekends so I could easily put in 3-4 hours 2 days a week working to fix this. Just need to get off my ass and do It.

So what are my goals:
1- MOP-After this weekend which is busy I want to spend st least 6 hours a week (probably on the weekend) on sorting and organization.  The girl I’m seeing works weekends so I have the time. I plan to do this until the organization is done.
2- MOE- Within 30 days have full fighting load, bob and bug out stuff separated, organized and ready to go.
3- MOE Within 60 days have all prearedness related stuff organized.
4- MORE- Within 90 days have all of my various possessions organized. Donate a lot to good will, unneeded camping stuff to local Boy Scouts or survivalists,, sell some stuff and organize the rest. 

Glock 19 for the Win!

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Weapons Man wrote a seminal article on why SOF forces have almost universally transitioned to the Glock 19 (with one exception who may still be shooting .40S&W) as their go to war hand gun. I agree with everything he says. However I do have some potentially redundant thoughts of my own.
The Glock 19 is obviously a Glock. For the uninitiated it is on their ‘compact’ frame and chambered in 9mm. We will briefly talk about each of those characteristics.
Glock pistols:
-Reliable. They are pretty much the gold standard in reliability for handguns. They perform well under adverse conditions with minimal maintenance. You might argue a SWAT Blaster 900 is equally reliable but finding one that is more reliable is going to be difficult at this time.
-Repairable. They can be repaired by a non expert with a single punch and true drop in parts.
-Long life. These guns can put a whole lot of rounds down range without serious damage. (particularly in 9mm, .40S&W Glocks actually have some issues here.)
-Price. They are very affordable pistols.
-Ease of use. Easy guns to learn and shoot well.
-Commonality. If people make a holster they make it for Glocks, ditto sights, etc all. If a store sells gun stuff they have Glock stuff.
Compact size:
-About the largest size handgun a normal sized person can conceal with minimal hassle. I didn’t say no hassle. Personally I think people who believe they are concealing a Glock 19 under a normal sized t shirt are probably unaware or being dishonest with their selves. Maybe they can from one angle standing still but moving and doing normal life tasks not so much. To actually hide the gun a pair of pants that will allow the gun to be carried IWB and a larger shirt are going to be needed.
-Best all-around option. If you want to balance shooting (either recreationally or for defense) and concealed carry this is probably the sweet spot for most people. So if a person was going to have one handgun with them to do a couple different things this size is the way to go.
9mm:
-It works. With modern defensive ammunition the difference between any of the common defensive calibers (9mm, .40S&W, .45acp) is mental masturbation. Sorry folks, I really don’t care what Jeff Cooper said 30 or 40 years ago, it is true.
-More bullets. It will probably give you 2 more bullets than .40S&W and 3+ more than .45acp in the same sized gun. More bullets is better.
-More controllability. Better for smaller and weaker people. Also this means faster follow up shots for everyone.
-Commonality. If a place sells bullets they will have 9mm. Compared to the other 2 options it’s at least slightly more common. This is more important for international types as .40S&W and .45acp are not going to be common elsewhere.
Note: The primary difference between the Glock and the various competitors (S&W, Ruger, etc) in favor of Glock is going to be reliability and commonality. You might not be able to get mags/ parts/ accessories for a Ruger SR9 or those new FN pistols but the gun shop will have Glock mags.

Journalists in Danger: What Writers Face on the Front Lines

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Field journalists are daring enough to face the reality of a situation in order to reveal the truth and get the real story. Many have fallen prey to risks that not only hinder their ability to produce a hard-hitting story, but create a situation that could threaten their very lives. It’s crucial to learn what you can do to avoid these outcomes when reporting from the front lines. Here are three of the most common risks that apply to a broad base of field journalists.

Disease and Illness

When abroad, traveling journalists are at risk for mild to severe diseases after being exposed to a foreign environment. To avoid getting sick while in the field and thus jeopardizing your news story, be sure to be aware of the specific environmental risks of the location you’re visiting. For intercontinental travel, this would mean researching water conditions and food quality. Even US-based journalists visiting a neighboring state must look into the local health hazards of a location. For example, that restaurant you visit for lunch could give you food poisoning, so check the Yelp reviews before putting anything in your body that may have harmed others before you.

Legal Troubles or Imprisonment

Even if you have a Master’s in global affairs, there are undoubtedly some important laws you should be aware of in your new location. Do some research before risking becoming imprisoned in a foreign land. Though close to home, visiting a different state or province could be risky if you are unaware of regional laws such as speed limits, cell phone regulations, even eating while driving.

Culture Clashes

As a journalist, it’s natural to want to push boundaries, but sometimes this could cause a situation that not only prevents you from getting your story, but from leaving the area safely. A lot can be avoided by respecting a region’s local culture. This can come down to a question of altering your personality, such as keeping quiet when you disagree. Remember, your goal is to create a story worth sharing. Remain tactful and polite, so as not to spook the locals and spark suspicion. Before traveling, be sure you are up to speed with the local values and customs.

You may have noticed a common strain in avoiding field journalism pitfalls is research, research, and more research. Now that you’ve gotten some tips, it’s your turn to prioritize and research the stigmas, taboos, and legal regulations of the place you’re visiting. Remember, you have a greater purpose of spreading truth, so don’t get in your own way.

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and recent graduate of the University of New Mexico. She writes for many online publications and blogs about home improvements, family, and health. She is an avid hiker, biker and runner. Contact her via twitter @BrookeChaplan.

Black Swan Fixation

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John Mosby recently wrote an excellent post. In his opening paragraph one part really spoke to me. He said something to the effect that survivalists spend a disproportionate amount of time and energy preparing for black swan type events that are statistically and historically unlikely. He referred to the general trend of focusing on these events at the expense of much more likely events as ‘semi conscious’

I want to delve deeper into this topic. There are two related questions that I will try to discuss. First why do people focus on black swan type events. Second why do people ignore or fail to seriously prepare for more likely events.

Before I get started the saying “If you are prepared for the Zombie Apocalypse/ TEOTWAWKI you are prepared for anything” is going to come up. If the appropriate layered planning and logical progression was used maybe that is true. Still we have finite resources and energy to contend with. For all but the largest budgets a lot of choices made for the very unlikely scenario can leave you will a less than firm plan for far more likely scenarios. Agree or disagree lets ignore this saying for the rest of the discussion.

To the first question of why we spend disproportionate energy and resources on unlikely black swan events. A list seems most appropriate:

-Doomer Porn. Yes I think people enjoy reading (hell I am guilty and part of the problem myself as a blogger) about fantasy situations. We day dream during boring or unactive times, it is just people. Everyone day dreams about the cute guy/ girl who we see repeatedly in our everyday lives. This is a non sexual version of the same thing. In the same way that sexual fantasies ignore stuff like the other person not being interested in us or doing whatever the fantasy involves doomer fantasies skip the associated realistic limitations.It is an escape from reality and form of entertainment.

-Marketing. There are people who make a living selling stuff that you will only really need in very unlikely situations. Ten year food supplies, fifty caliber rifles and radiation detector sets for normal ish folks and intentionally built BUG OUT VEHICLES or survivalist bunker retreats for the really well healed. People selling things will inevitably try to convince you that you need their things. These people advertise in magazines and with websites such as mine.

-Justification of purchases. People will conveniently find a way to convince their selves they need stuff they want ‘to be prepared’. One guy who I would describe as a fairly average suburban survivalist type had three, not one, not two but three motorcycles for SHTF.

-Justification of lifestyle. The homesteading movement and survivalism come together in complicated ways (which I might write about later) but people sometimes use very unlikely situations to explain why and where they choose to live. I am not saying there are not benefits to homesteading or rural living. There are many benefits. I would however submit that in reality people should move to a rural area or start homesteading because they want to do those things, not because they feel they should just in case of a very unlikely event.

-Confirmation Bias. All of your like minded friends worrying about the same thing for the same iffy reasons makes you think everyone independently came to the same conclusions and as such many sources proved the same thing.

-Elitism/ bragging. A rapper might have a gold chain that costs a hundred thousand dollars. A preparedness oriented person who wants to show off their wealth might build a fancy bunker. 

Reasons for fail to seriously prepare for more likely events:

-They are scary. John noted this in his post. The idea of dealing with violent crime in the real world today in say the parking lot of a grocery store with your family is very different than some fantasy of shooting people with your Super Blastomatic 9000 like some first person video game. Defending the bridge with your buddies against the unprepared masses is different than 3 Jihadi’s with AK’s at the mall.

-Reality still exists. Some degree of our economic system will still exist. You will still have bills. If you are fortunate enough to have a job you will still be going to work. Your favorite brand of political philosophy is not going to be immediately adopted. Government is still going to exist in some form or another.

-Effort vs stuff. Often, especially when we talk about self defense the answers involve work. They involve training and regular practice with your CCW set up. They involve physical fitness and combatives training. Lifting weights takes effort. Getting off your butt and practicing in legitimately useful combatives takes effort and costs money. All of these efforts can be seriously humbling. More guns in your safe for SHTF time won’t make you safer. Working on your own capabilities with your body and the gun you carry will make you safer.

-Not sexy. Often the right answers of realistic preparedness can be less fun. Your need for a savings account (maybe in silver and gold if that is your thing) is significant but it is not fun. It isn’t a safe full of rifles or an excuse to buy more tactical gear or anything like that.

There are probably some more ideas but I think this covers the general themes. I hope it gives you something to think about that can help improve your own preparedness efforts. This is more philosophical than useful which is my general desire here. I may follow up with some more concrete suggestions that fit into this theme.

Thoughts?

Off-The-Grid Food: How To Create Your Own At-Home Farm

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More people are choosing to live “off-the-grid” because they feel that it gives them more freedom to live in an environment that has less government monitoring. There are no city utilities, such as water or electricity, and they even grow their own food to avoid having to purchase it from grocery stores. But while there are numerous individual residences of this style, a portion of off-the-grid establishments contain a much greater population of 20 people or more. This means that a larger number of resources are needed to provide for them all, especially when it comes to food. Because of this, a small garden plot of vegetables just won’t do. Instead, an entire farm must be created.

Get Your Equipment Ready

It helps to have proper equipment and tractor care, from places like TractorTool, to help you prepare the land with if you will be farming quite a few acres. It simply takes too much manual labor to attempt to dig up so much soil by hand. Sometimes, off-the-grid communities put their money together to buy farm equipment, so they can all share it.

Prepare the Land

The soil can be tilled as soon as the last frost of the season has finished. If the ground is wet from spring rains, wait until it is dry though. Add manure from any cows or pigs that you are raising over the top of the soil beforehand. This way, it will be worked into the soil as you use the tractor.

Gather Your Seeds

It is too expensive to purchase pre-grown plant seedlings when growing several acres of crops. Seeds are a much more cost effective alternative. To determine how many seeds that will be needed, one must do some math. Calculate the amount of land that is available for growing. Then, determine how much space each type of plant will need and how many plants will fit in the area. Draw a grid out on a piece of paper that shows where each one must be planted. Add up all of the plant types too. All of this information will give you the seed volume for each type.

Plant Your Crops

Use the grid that you made to plant the seeds. Be sure to include some extra seeds in each spot in case some of them don’t sprout. If space is an issue, and you are hoping for a large volume of crops, it might be tempting to overcrowd the plants. But this is actually detrimental to their health because they will not get enough sun if planted this way.

Overall, there are tons of great ways to create your own farm and grow your own crops. This is definitely a great way to have access to fresh and natural food every day.

Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah and enjoys writing and spending time with her dog, Max.

Stash Guns- Man Vs Zone

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Paw Paw and Tamara talked about this awhile back. I have been meaning to address it for some time.

While I don’t disagree with them I look at the issue a bit differently. Given the people I am disagreeing with one might go as far as to say I am wrong. I don’t really care.

When it comes to guns in the home we have two fundamental options. To steal basketball language they are Man and Zone.

Man would be the gun is on you. This works great if you legitimately do it all the time. Also if you have a small number of handguns (like 1) or little kids in the house this is really the only way to go. It also will give the bestest/ fastest deployment times. The rub is many if not most people will not do it consistently. Either they get home and take off their clothes to put on comfy stuff or they want to get that heavy gun off their hip.

One interesting option here is to have a small, LIGHT, little piece to carry around home. The Ruger LCP and all manner of light weight J frame .38’s come to mind here. This is nice because it is also a good low profile carry piece as well as a ‘run to the corner store for a quart of milk’ gun. My LCP fits this role.

Tangent. While there are certainly other valid options the LCP has a lot going for it. Prices have come down so they are commonly in the $250 range at local gun shops and 220ish online. At that price it is easy to justify owning one. I am planning to get a spare myself. End tangent.

Recognizing this natural laziness the zone plan is an option. Say a gun in the living room, one conveniently stashed by the front door, whatever. In a normal average house smartly stashing 3-4 pistols means you are always pretty near one.

A real belt and suspenders approach would be to do both. That way you have one on you all the time but for the occasional walking to the bedroom in a towel moments there is coverage.

Whatever plan you choose just have it in place. Be prepared to defend yourself with lethal force at a moments notice in your home at all times.

Vehicle Gear #1 A Conceptual Discussion

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Our recent post Urban E&E/ Get Home Kit got me thinking about this. It also works conveniently because that is the current push in my personal preparations. My initial goal was to beef up the first aid kit there but I decided it was as good a reason as any to re look all the stuff in my vehicle.

I say ‘all the stuff’ instead of implying it is a cohesive system because there are multiple somewhat independent systems in play instead of one large system. This is complicating for at least three reasons. First because we have to figure out what all we want this stuff to do. Second instead of being sub systems we really end up with different systems that live in the same place instead of say sub systems in a larger cohesive system. Third we have to be cognizant of unintended redundancy/ duplication between the largely independent systems that live in the same place.

In a most basic sense the stuff in our vehicles can be broken down by vehicle stuff or people stuff.

Vehicle stuff would be spare fluids, tire and jack, tools for basic repairs, etc. Depending on your automotive skill set, vehicle reliability and access to repair assistance this could be a little or a lot. If you have some skills and drive a less than reliable vehicle on empty roads a lot a very comprehensive kit would make sense. On the other end of the spectrum a not so handy person with a new ish car might just have jumper cables, a spare tire/ jack, a couple road flares, some fluids and a few basic tools.

People stuff is a bit more nebulous. Personally mine is roughly broken down to the following:
Overnight bag-  A change of clothes, sleeping gear, shoes, toothbrush, etc. Alternate title is ‘ho bag’.
First aid- A mix of emergency first aid trauma stuff with everyday type things like band aids, pepto, aspirin etc.
Get Home Bag- Kind of a bug out bag that lives in my car.

Misc- There is some stuff in there that defies ready categorization. For instance a ziplock bag with a spare Glock mag, 50 rounds of 9mm, probably some .22lr an maybe even a .38 speed loader.  Also a set of bolt cutters and a big ole crow bar. I could arguably say it is part of one of the 4 general systems I laid out but I don’t really care to.

There are other plausible systems a person could have. They might have a long gun with ancillary stuff or a robust wilderness survival set up. Folks who are often in wild places in cold winters need a sleeping bag, heavy coat, gloves, hat, boots, etc. Nothing else comes directly to mind but other options could certainly exist.

Now we have to talk about constraints. What are the constraints to stuff we keep in vehicles.
-Space. Obviously less of an issue if you drive a full sized truck with a canopy or a Suburban but more problematic in say a little sports car. In any case space is still finite and using it for emergency and preparedness stuff competes with your normal everyday use.
-Cost. If you need to purchase stuff for these systems it obviously costs money. If you pull stuff from elsewhere it is a loss there. Anyway stuff costs money.
-Risk of loss. Vehicles get broken into regularly. An awesome bug out bag with all the coolest gadgets like night vision, FLIR, sat phone, cash and weapons could easily cost several thousand dollars. For all but the richest the loss of that would be very hurtful. 

My intent is to look at all of these systems. First alone and then together. I intend to do posts on each of them.

Your input is welcome now and later if/ when I do future posts on the topic.

Home Should Be Your Sanctuary: 4 Security Options For The Constant Worrier

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The home is considered to be a place to retreat and feel safe from the outside world. Unfortunately, there’s a risk of break-ins if the home isn’t properly secured. To ensure that you avoid worrying about your home security and can protect your possessions, there are a few important security options to utilize.

  1. Motion-Sensor Lights

    It can be easy to worry about someone lurking in the dark outdoors late at night when you’re home. Make it difficult for intruders to hide in dark corners or areas that aren’t visible on the property by using motion-sensor lights. The light will make it easy to spot someone outdoors once motion is detected, which will reduce the risk of a break-in.

  2. Security Doors

    The most common place where intruders enter homes is through the front or back door on the first floor of a building. Although locks are used to secure the homes, they can easily be broken if the door is kicked down or if there’s enough force on the other end. Install a custom-made security door that is extremely durable and will make it difficult to access the building with the use of Bonds Security products.

  3. Cameras

    More people are using cameras to monitor the activity on their property when they’re away from the home. This makes it easy to keep an eye on different entry points and alert the authorities if suspicious activity is detected. Some security systems include cameras and will send you a photo of anyone who takes a step on the property or knocks on your door during at any time of the day.

  4. Door Stop Alarms

    Door stop alarms are an extra precaution to use to secure your front or back door. The product detects when a door is opened and will immediately alert the homeowner if someone has entered the house. The door stop is durable and portable, making it easy to use on different areas in the home or even take with you when you’re staying in a hotel.

Theft and home intrusions continue to become more common, making it important to secure your home and remain safe on the property. Although it can be difficult to prevent a break-in, you can make it extremely challenging for someone to enter the property with the right tools used. You’ll not only reduce the risk of a break-in but can have peace of mind while you’re home.

Meghan is a freelance writer from Oklahoma. She enjoys being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise as well as researching new topics to expand her horizons.

Urban E&E/ Get Home Kit

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How to Make a Trailer into a Suitable Camper

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How many times have you seen a travel trailer zooming by on the interstate and thought, “Boy, I wish I could travel in one of those?” It may not be as unreachable a dream as you think. Even though most of the ‘silver palaces’ of the 1940s–1960s are gone, and modern RVs are prohibitively expensive, there is another option.

Cargo trailers, like the Endura Cargo Trailer by Hillsboro Industries, can be easily converted and customized into a comfortable tiny home on wheels.

Advantages of Cargo Trailer Conversion

  • Fully-customizable – Classic travel trailers were designed to serve a different lifestyle, and may not be suitable for modern living. Many feel like dark, claustrophobic spaces. Cargo trailers are an empty, open space, just waiting to be built to your specific needs. Straight-hitch trailers can run from fourteen to twenty-eight feet in length. Fifth-wheel models vary between fourteen and thirty-four feet. Cargo trailers come in a variety of widths and heights, unlike pre-built travel trailers, and include many options for the numbers and types of doors and windows.
  • Less expensive – Starting costs for a customized cargo trailer are considerably less than an RV.
  • New – With a brand-new cargo trailer, there are no concerns over the condition of the frame, exterior, or electrical systems. When you buy a used travel trailer, you’re never sure of the condition it’s in.
  • Lighter – Aluminum, double-wall construction is light, stronger and more durable than steel. You can control how much weight you want to add to your mobile home-away-from-home.
  • Unobtrusive – Many people prefer using a cargo trailer because it attracts less attention. Traditional RVs may be subject to restrictions on where they can be parked, but those restrictions do not apply to cargo trailers.

Things to Consider First

] The first decision that must be made is, how will the trailer be used? Do you want to live in it full-time year round, or only as an alternative to a tent when camping in the great outdoors? How much do you want to spend? How much time and effort do you want to invest in the project? What climate zones do you plan to visit in your customized RV? What functional areas are most important to have in your trailer? What conveniences do you require?

External Functionality

Most cargo trailers include a standard side door and double rear doors. However, if you want the option of an outdoor room, or you want to use your RV as a toy hauler, consider buying a trailer with a rear ramp door. If you arrange supports to lower your ramp door so that it is level with the floor of the trailer, you can create an instant outdoor deck. Some people prefer to live in a trailer with no windows, or small windows set high up along the walls. This design is optimal if being unobtrusive is an important feature. In this case, you might want to consider installing small skylights.

Insulation Is Key to Comfort

One-inch aluminum studs are readily available and would support both rigid and soft foam insulation in walls and ceiling. However, insulation in the floor will be the most important factor in keeping the heat in during the winter, and out during the summer, especially if you plan on living in the RV full-time. Installing studs and internal walls are also necessary if you wish to install plumbing, additional electrical features (like outlets and specific lighting), and propane lines for furnaces and ovens.

Many Design Options Available for Wall Panels and Flooring

Many people choose aluminum panels or 3/8” wood panels for walls, but pre-fabricated wall panels are available in hardboard, MDF, fiberglass and vinyl with almost any decorating style including brick, tile, bead board, wood planks, and 3-D textures. Subfloor panels should be at least 3/4” thick, or the floor will feel spongy when you walk on it. Once that is installed, almost any type of flooring would work well, including vinyl flooring, wood parquet tiles, or small ceramic tiles. Another quick, easy and attractive option is to paint the subfloor with a few coats of marine varnish and leave it bare.

Utilities Needed

If you plan on living in your camper full-time, you will probably want both a furnace and an air-conditioner. Choose appliances that are designed for use in an RV. Used appliances can often be found in good condition if you are on a budget. Plumbing will be crucial if the trailer is your main residence. Most campgrounds offer public showers, so you may not require one of those in your trailer, but at least one sink and a toilet are important. PVC works great in RVs, and supplies can be found at almost any hardware store.

The principles of gravity are simple and almost anyone can install their own plumbing lines. Tanks for fresh, gray and black water add weight and take up space. If you design the drainage lines at the correct angle of descent, you can avoid installing tanks altogether. Most campgrounds provide sewer and water hook-ups. Since you’ll never know the quality of the water before you arrive at a campsite, installing a small water filter is a good idea. Also, look for a water heater that is designed for RV use. If you do want a shower, you might want to search for a used one from an old RV. Installing gas lines to the propane tanks is a job best left to professionals, though, so keep that in mind.

Appliances

Most campgrounds provide 120V and 240V electrical hook-ups, so once you’ve installed basic electrical wiring and outlets, you can fill your customized cargo trailer with whatever standard appliances you prefer. Small or medium-sized refrigerators, microwave and convection/toaster ovens make the most sense. Propane RV oven-stoves are also popular.

Off-Grid Living

If you don’t plan on berthing your new converted RV in a campground, there are a number of options like solar panels, chemical toilets, tent showers and other features you could install to save money and energy.

Interior Design

Once the basics are installed in your converted trailer, the real fun begins. Many people install customized shelving and platform or bunk beds. One unique idea is to use a pop-up trundle bed in conjunction with a daybed. During the day the daybed acts as a sofa. At night it converts into a king-sized bed. Not many RVs, even the really expensive ones, can support any bed larger than a queen-sized mattress. Multipurpose and convertible furniture ideas will also help make your new residence more livable.

No Limits

With the emergence of the tiny home movement and a robust RV industry, once you’ve decided to embark on the cargo trailer conversion adventure, there really are no limits as to the RV you can create. Visit a trailer dealer to see what brand-new, customizable cargo trailers are available and begin the journey.

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.

Cash As A Survivalist Tool

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I don’t think we put enough emphasis on cash.

I carry a knife and a lighter and a gun pretty much all the time. I use the knife and lighter for everyday tasks but the gun just kinda sits around. Odds I need a couple hundred bucks cash all of a sudden are probably higher than needing the gun.

If we look at realistic emergencies that are likely to befall us most of them will go a whole lot better with cash. Are we more likely to need a few hundred bucks during a regional disaster or a dozen buckets of wheat? Sorry folks but it is the cash.

Of course everything needs to be in proportion to your life. For an average guy a couple hundred bucks in his wallet, a few hundred in his BOB/ GHB and several hundred or more (say a months cash expenses) in the safe at home is realistic and covers a lot of bases.

Those numbers were for an average type income. For a lower income person cut those amounts in half. For a person with higher income and expenses add more money accordingly.

In most realistic situations cash is the way you will buy the goods and services you need.

Someone is inevitably going to say “cash will be worthless in a hyperinflation scenario so I use precious metals/ beads/ etc all”. This person is ignorant. First because you aren’t going to be able to readily trade those things in MOST REALISTIC SCENARIOS. Second of all cash is essential in the beginning of that type of situation, read some FERFAL. You just spend it. Third we are talking about a relatively small amount of money. Say add it all up and maybe a months income. If you wanted to keep however much gold and silver put back with the cash I would say that is fine.

Got cash?

How Much Stuff Do We Need- A Rational Systems Based Approach 2- A Comment and the Cost Of Not Using This Approach

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Yesterdays post

How Much Stuff Do We Need- A Rational Systems Based Approach 

received a comment I thought should be addressed. It also lead to a larger issue. The comment was:

What’s the causative event? Duration? Any secondary or cascade failures? What geographical area? Season? Localized, regional, or nationwide? Just John, or does he have his young son for the weekend or aging parents to care for?

Whatever you guess you’re most likely you’re going to be wrong, so “P for plenty” here. Can’t make a plan until you can define the problem(s), but once the problem(s) are known it’s often too late to stock up on the gear/supplies to execute the plan.

My response is as follows:  First of all thanks for taking the time to comment. To the first paragraph I was attempting to do something fairly generic. By region we can take a pretty good swag at what the threats are. The gulf coast has hurricanes and the west coast has earthquakes. In the middle are some mountains and a lot of rivers that flood. Obviously if John lives in the inland PNW say in Spokane, WA his winter gear will be very different than if he lives in south Texas. We know what family members we have. I’m not saying every person has the exact same needs though I think if we really look at it aside from regional weather and family size needs differ very little. The question of how much we can and want to prepare is an open ended one. 

To the second paragraph I have to disagree.

 Look at it like this. You are going to the grocery store but forgot the list. You need to shop now for some reason so you can’t go get the list from home. Do you 1- try to remember the list? 2-Make a new list? Or 3- Do you just throw random shit in the cart and to make up for it being totally random buy a lot of it? No sane person would do #3. If you would not grocery shop that way why would you possibly prepare that way?

To paraphrase Eisenhower ‘plans are useless but planning is indispensable’. What are you buying? Why? How much? How did you decide how much? The honest answer is most people are pulling it out of their butts.

More to the point I want to talk about the downside of haphazardly buying more and more stuff.

Everyone has limited resources and space. 

 If you spend money on stuff that does not fit into cohesive and logical systems you are not using your resources as efficiently as possible. Either you are buying one thing when you should be buying another or you are unable to afford something because you bought another thing instead. Two examples here.

First is an older Southern Man I know. He is a serious survivalist with an enviable set up. The thing is he doesn’t have body armor or modern night vision. He described them as ruinously expensive. This is ironic to me because the man has a massive gun collection. He has to have 50k in guns, probably more like 100K. He could sell a Colt 1911 he never shoots, an M1A he wouldn’t miss and one of his HK 91’s and buy a NOD for him and body armor for his whole family while still having way more guns than he could ever use. His resources are miscalculated. This is partly because he just kept buying guns instead of building cohesive systems.

 The other is anecdotal to me working on my own systems. The things I need multiples of are often unexpected ones. I DO NOT NEED a bunch more guns but I do need another couple of gun belts and weapons cleaning kits. Footwear is also a theme that keeps coming up but not usually Army boots, actual stuff I would wear in real life that I can comfortably walk all day long in. Hygiene kits as well. These are all things I would not have thought of unless I started looking at systems.

 That new FLIR Scout TK is $600 (I want to see some reviews vs the normal Scout model and stuff but in principle I am really excited as its solidly affordable) and I want one. Instead of buying some items I might not actually need I could add this really cool capability to my BOB. 

Even if you have a lot of them its still limited. To paraphrase Jim Rawles of Survival Blog “For $500 I could fill my garage with toilet paper”. Obviously if your garage is full of TP you can’t store 5 years of Mountain House goodness in it. 

Finally it is not that I am against having a lot of stuff. By all means keep developing systems to suit your worries as far as your finances and space allow. If you want and can afford a fully stocked doomsday bunker then get one. My concern is about using the money and resources you have as efficiently as possible. To get the most out of your dollars and space by planning instead of just going about it haphazardly.

Thoughts?

How Much Stuff Do We Need- A Rational Systems Based Approach

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I have been working, albeit slowly, on trimming down the amount of stuff I have. Eventually the elephant in the room of survivalist stuff has to be confronted. Otherwise it would be like talking about the US budget without touching entitlements, totally pointless.

Part of the first look will be easy. Unnecessary older junk. What may have been a better than nothing back up for a college kid may not be necessary for me now. Also if I just toss the random junk in a dozen boxes it might go far enough to eliminate a box. You get the idea.

What to do with the significant accumulation of stuff is a more pressing issue. This made me ask myself “How do I figure out how much stuff I need?”

I want to have the right stuff in the right quantities. Space is limited and will be a real issue for some of my upcoming plans. So the P for plenty plan doesn’t work. If you have a big house with a barn and a shop then then space not likely a concern. However even if space isn’t an issue money, to some degree or another, almost surely is. So while you might have a lot of space to store stuff that doesn’t fit into your plans it would still be better to spend your limited money on the right stuff.

What I realized is that I was looking at this from the wrong angle entirely. Instead of arbitrarily deciding how many of a given item I need to keep around what if I look at it from the other side…..systems.

The realization I had was that I should decide what systems I want to have and then figure out what stuff is needed for them. This way instead of a wild assed guess on how many pistols or multi tools or knives or backpacks I need I could actually have a number that comes from somewhere.

I am still working on this one for myself. Honestly I’m not sure how much of it I would wnt to share anyway so lets instead discuss a hypothetical persons set up.

Lets say John is a survivalist. A pretty normal guy who lives in a mid sized town. He has a normal job and makes decent money. 

EDC light- concealable pistol, folding knife, light, etc.
EDC heavy- full sized pistol, robust folding knife, spare mag pouch, light, etc.
Fighting Load- EDC heavy plus rifle, body armor, chest rig, hydration system and light day pack.

Get Home Bag- lives in vehicle. Usual get home stuff. May include a hand gun.

E&E set up. Change of clothes, cash, pistol, day pack, etc.

Light bug out set up- Bug out Bag plus fighting load weapons. Suitable clothing and footwear.

Heavy bug out set up (vehicle based)- Think car camping on steroids with stuff to sustain for awhile.

Operational Cache- A rifle and pistol, chest rig, hydration system, medical gear, day pack.

JIC go to war set up- One EDC light pistol, two full sized pistols, two rifles, a pump shotgun and a precision rifle. Decent amount of ammo, mags and all the usual nylon, leather, etc. This would ideally be at some sort of bug out type location.

JIC survival set up- Think mountain man. A deer rifle, shotgun and a .22 pistol with ammo. Ax, shovel, saws, seeds, salt, shelter like tarps, cordage, etc. Buried where you can see your self going for a Plan D if things go all Zombie Apocalypse.

Another persons systems might differ. They might have 2 E&E caches and no JICC go to war set up. The exact quantity and make up of their systems could differ based on their needs/ wants. Also obviously I did not try to list the entire composition of every system.

The point would be to decide how you want to be set up and make that happen instead of just getting more and more stuff.

Thoughts?

Election Prep- Just In Case

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I talked about this awhile back. The election is closer and Hillary Clinton is in it. We all know her ability to blatantly cheat and get away with it so she could very well win the presidency. Also she is running against a giant offensive ass hat. So I wanted to prepare. For the next 2 or so months I am going to put my investment money into precious metals, specifically steel and lead.

I built the rifle and bought some AR/ G19 mags. Also ordered 2 cases of 5.56. Next month I will buy some other ammo probably 7.62×39 and the FAL mags. The month after that if its available I will buy 7.62×51. Ammo availability at current prices may not happen again so it could be a major savior for me and mine. Absolute worst case (best case overall but worst for this choice) nothing happens and I’ll still have the ammo.

It isn’t too late but the time is getting short. You may want to look at your own stuff as well as your finances and fill in some holes.

Concealed Carry and Self Defense Discussion/ Observations

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These are interesting times. I have seen normal people who are neutral about guns arming up. The kind of mid western women who grew up around guns and were ambivalent about them. I suspect men are doing the same but the kinds of men I interact with socially are usually already gun people so I can’t say it from personal observation.

A young woman I know recently took a CCW class. She recently got stuck in a traffic jam caused by the BLM crowd and it worried her. So she took a CCW class. Later that night we talked about it and some various related topics.

One of the biggest points that was driven home was minding your own darn business. Anecdotal stories mentioned were about this where CCW holders who were foolish but well meaning ended up shooting people who didn’t need to be shot. The grungy looking guy pointing a gun at another guy might be an under cover cop.

This fits pretty directly with my opinion. I am not getting involved in other peoples business unless it is really clear life/ limb/ eyesight are at risk. Two guys fighting isn’t my issue. Guy beating up a girl (who I don’t know reasonably well) isn’t my issue. Guy starts stabbing girl I’ll get involved. If I see a crime like say a robbery I am not inclined to get involved.

This is where I have a big issue with that whole sheep dog idea. I carry a gun to protect myself and mine not the whole world. For a whole host of reasons I do not feel the need to act like a non paid cop. Clearly for me and arguably for society people doing that causes more problems then it solves.

Another excellent point came up in the inevitable what if discussion. When it comes to employing a handgun if you are not sure you need to use it then you shouldn’t do so. The point was that the kind of situations where a handgun can legally/ ethically be used are pretty clear cut.

Mixed feelings about this. I agree though at the same time I believe in being proactive within reason. Think about  South Narc stuff and Street Robberies and You. First and foremost you potentially have criminal encounters not become full bore crimes against you. Second if things go sideways I would rather be in the best position to win possible. I can draw from concealment in about 1.5 seconds. That drops considerably if my hand is on the gun, also more importantly there is a lot less that can go wrong. Now have the gun out and I’m around .75 of a second without anything (employment of the firearm wise) significant left to go wrong. This is a pretty big grey area. There are lots of potential variables. What makes sense in an empty parking lot with 3 shady guys at 2 am would be completely overkill for a pair of tweener kids who probably just want you to buy them beer in the Safeway parking lot at 7 o’clock on a Friday.

They talked about guns a lot. It was a SIG vs Glock thing with one each older male representatives of teams wheel gun and 1911. This brings up a couple significant points.

Firstly most guys worry about things in exactly the wrong order. We think guns/ gear then skills then legal stuff and prevention. It should be the exact opposite. We should care about avoiding problems/ knowing the right response then shooting skills and after that the gun we carry. A bad ass like Paul Howe or John Mosby is going to win a gunfight with a rusty Charter Arms snubby. Heck a moderately trained guy like me probably will. On the other hand a person without a clue what is going on who can’t use a gun can have the best gear and they are next to useless.

Second she showed me a picture of them all sitting around. The reason this was noteworthy was the handguns on the table. Full sized double stack pistols, some of them with lights. My general observation is this is almost intellectually dishonest. Most people simply will not regularly carry one regularly. The joke that when someone says they carry a full sized handgun to ask them to show it to you NOW (and they will mumble an excuse and probably be carrying nothing) comes to mind. I worry some people have an all or nothing idea and instead of being like cool guy John Mosby and carrying a G19/17 with 2 spare mags, medical stuff, etc which is a hassle they instead carry nothing.

I’m done writing for today. Maybe more will come out tomorrow.

The Complete Guide to Controlling Weed Growth without Chemicals

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Whether you are just beginning or are already experienced at gardening, you have probably found out how annoying weeds can be in the garden. And, while the use of herbicides and other chemicals are slowly becoming popular, it is still important to keep in mind that they kill not just the weeds but also the soil. Certain chemicals can persist in soils for up to 20 years and that is something you would surely want to reach your food, right?

In addition, exposure to herbicides can also result to devastating effects to a person, if it is continued for a long time. Immediate side effects that one will experience can be as mild as rashes, nausea and headache but it can go towards the severe end such as seizures and even death.

So, how do you prevent those annoying weeds from growing out and competing with your plants for space and nutrients?

The answer depends heavily on the type of plants that you are growing in your garden. Basically though, the best and most recommended method would be hand pulling and using pre-emergent but there are also methods that you can use. It is also important to get to know each gardening tool a little bit more as they play a role in making sure that the weeding and cleaning process goes as smooth as possible.

You will have to remember though that taking out the weeds is not just a one-time session. In fact, you might expect to be doing the same thing during certain phases of your plant’s growth. It is also important that you know a few more prevention tips to help keep the weeds out for as long as possible.

So, avoid the herbicides and keep your plants, yourself and your family chemical-free. Surely, you wouldn’t want to stop and smell the roses – and inhale those nasty and toxic chemicals, right?

Lisa Farland is a content writer in Happy to Survive – a blog that will help you thrive and survive, and offers articles about preparedness, and off-the-grid, self-reliant living. Lisa is an avid minimalist camper, prepper and survivalist.

State of Myself, Preparation and Lastly The Blog

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Hey Folks, I figured it was time to touch bases. I am doing pretty decent. Some time for reflection was good. As to where life is going I have a better idea then before so that is good.

I have been sober for a minute now. Won’t say that has been a magical solution to all of my problems but it certainly helps. If nothing else I am creating life problems at a much more sustainable pace. Figuring out what makes me happy now has been interesting. I like live music and ice cream a lot.

Some of my time and energy is going towards getting my body back to where I would like it to be. That mean weights and running, also eating better. Working on my skills also. Regular dry fire and after my time with the kids is done I will get back to combatives and a regular shooting regimen.

Most of my preparations and energy towards that is the stuff listed above. The rest of the energy is really going to solidifying my systems. In an incremental way I am working on setting up EDC (light and heavy) then my fighting load, get home bag, heavy bug out set up etc. This is moving pretty quickly as I am really just rounding things out, not totally reinventing them. My EDC is done and the fighting load only needs a couple things (I think a single double taco and the belt that will come from replacing the EDC one). The GHB can use a phone charger and I think that is it. Beyond that the issue is mostly organization. Small holes will likely come up when things are organized but the right stuff is generally around.

I am also working on organizing normal life stuff and getting rid of excess. I hesitate to use the word minimalism as it doesn’t exactly apply. Maybe getting rid of excess stuff is a better way to put it. This applies to all sorts of stuff that is not regularly used without a valid purpose as a back up or contingency. I have considered some alternate housing options and to make that kind of thing work I would need to have a lot less stuff.

As to the blog. Consistently posting a couple times a week is the plan for now. As to focus I want to catalog my efforts to focus on realistic preparations for likely survival related events. I think we can get too focused on very unlikely events at the expense of much more likely ones which is a big mistake. I hope to get people thinking in the right direction.

The commercial side of the blog is in limbo. I am toying with setting up a much more automated model. This way I can eliminate or at least minimize administrative hassles. Also I won’t feel like I owe an advertiser something as much as I did in the past. If I get busy and blog a bit less it is fine.

So anyway that is where things are. Your input is always appreciated.

From Survival Blog: Is Being Prepared Getting In The Way of Living?, by M.

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What are you preparing for? Are you getting ready to survive an EMP attack? A financial meltdown? Flu pandemic? Nuclear holocaust? Regardless of what we are preparing for, sometimes it is healthy to ask ourselves how we are living in the meantime. Those of us who feel a need to prepare do it with a passion, but are we preparing in sensible ways that allow us to enjoy life each day, or are we so busy watching and waiting for the chaos of life to justify the time and money we’ve spent on our “preps” that we miss a lot of the important business of living in the moment?

I was born in the late 50’s and grew up just outside of Washington, D.C. The Cuban missile crisis happened while I was in kindergarten. To this day, I remember it vividly. We were sent home early from school wearing name tags. When my sister and I walked up to our house, my father was loading up the car so we were ready to flee at a moment’s notice. Around that same time, I remember touring a fallout shelter, which my parents were considering buying and burying in the backyard. Living where we did, they thought long and hard about that one. Lots of our neighbors did, too. A few years later, I remember standing on the porch of our suburban D.C. home with my father after Martin Luther King had been killed. Riots quickly erupted. We could hear the explosions in downtown D.C., only a few miles away, from the rioting and devastation. The experience was chilling. Then Richard Nixon resigned after Watergate. I was in college at the time and working a summer job at the Pentagon. I listened as people I worked with, who came from all different backgrounds, actively talked amongst themselves and wondered if the government was going to fall and if the guidelines provided by the Constitution were gone forever. I remember sitting in line for gas during the gas crisis of the 70’s and creeping along mile after slow mile (on odd or even days, according to your license plate number) for a turn to fill up the tank. When I married a career Army man, we spent years living overseas, mostly off-base in German and English neighborhoods. During the first Gulf war, while my husband was deployed to the Gulf, military families living off base were given very specific safety instructions. One of the things I had to do every morning was get down on my hands and knees to check under the car before I drove our children to school to see if there was anything suspicious under there. I would always keep the children inside while I turned the key in the ignition, just to make sure I hadn’t missed anything and the car didn’t explode. Sound to you like maybe I was overreacting? My husband was the duty officer of the day when the Red Army faction tried to blow up the NATO school in southern Germany with a car bomb in the 80’s. He only survived because of a faulty timing mechanism on the bomb. 

So what else is new, you might ask. You say that you already know we live in an unsettled world. My point in rehearsing my little history is to share the fact that, although I grew up in a home where we were always prepared and my husband and I continued to practice always being prepared, I never felt like a prepper. I applaud prepping. I respect independence and self-sufficiency. However, I see too many people today who are so busy prepping that they seem to have forgotten how to live happily in the here and now. I offer up the following guidelines as examples of my own benchmarks. They are my mental safeguards that help me to be prepared but keep me from crossing over into an unhealthy obsession with prepping. And yes, there is such a thing as an unhealthy obsession with prepping. Any virtue carried to an unhealthy extreme becomes a liability. 

Rule #1: Prepping supplies cannot spill over into the comfortable living areas of my home. I don’t care how valuable certain items might be for bartering after the SHTF, if they interfere with my ability to provide a comfortable living environment for my family, then they have no place in my home. Making memories in the here and now is important, and I don’t want my child’s predominate memory being that there was never a clear path to walk between rooms and that she was embarrassed to invite a friend over because the clutter was so bad. I believe in stocking up; I really do. I have a tower of TP out in the shed and buckets of wheat in the downstairs closet to prove it. However, my family members feel like they live in a clean, comfortable home, well, at least most of the time.

Rule #2: Every spare minute cannot be devoted to prepping. Prepping takes time and careful thought, but every hour spent prepping is an hour that you will never get back with your family for family memories. We combine the two when it makes sense. Working in our garden together as a family teaches many valuable lessons. However, if the kids are endlessly waiting around to play football with their dad and he is always too busy because it is more important to organize his bug out bag, then the wrong lesson is being taught. I have watched parents justify all of their time spent prepping by saying that they are doing it for their family. In my experience, children would rather have their parents’ time than just about any other resource. Okay, so maybe they won’t have the coolest gadgets or the greatest variety of foods in a crisis situation. But if they have good memories with their parents in the here and now, most will consider that a more-than-fair trade-off. There is also a much greater likelihood that they will function more effectively as a family unit and know how to support each other. They will also probably be happier and more adaptable.

Rule #3: Prepping decisions need to be jointly agreed on by both spouses. Otherwise, resentment simmers and eventually boils over. The biggest argument my husband and I ever had (and this is the truth) was about shipping empty Clorox bottles I had saved for water storage from Massachusetts to England during a military move. He was livid that I would even think of expecting the U.S. taxpayers to spend their hard-earned dollars on such folly. My position was that it had taken me two years to save up that many empty bottles. I made enough sacrifices as a military spouse already. It wasn’t fair that every two years I had to go back and start from zero again. In the end, we compromised. Mostly, I gave in. We shipped a few empty bottles– just enough so I could start a water storage plan as soon as our baggage arrived. The rest were thrown away. Prepping decisions always involve time or money, and both are important resources. Both parties need to be equally invested in those decisions. Even if one party is willing to do all of the gardening chores, both parties need to be in agreement on the amount of lawn to dedicate to the garden as opposed to, say, a hot tub and pool.

Rule #4: Specialization is smart. Be grateful for the skills of others. They save you boatloads of time and effort, which allows you more time to enjoy the genuine pleasures of life. None of us is good at everything. I am really good at sewing, storing and preserving food, and gardening, but I am hopeless at figuring out solar energy configurations and options. In fact, pretty much anything having to do with energy seems to slip right out of my brain, no matter how many times I try to get it to stick up there. Luckily for me, my brother helped me to set up a very efficient and functional off-grid solar system that would power our freezer, fans, wheat grinder, lights, and other small electrical appliances if the power went out. I am now looking for a smallish fridge that will work well given the capacity of the system. My brother is my best source of advice. Likewise, he was thinking there was no point in his trying to garden at his cabin, which sits above 8000 feet in the Rockies. I was able to share with him some tomato seeds I had that were developed in Russia during Soviet times for a short, cool summer growing season. He hasn’t planted them yet, but the growing seasons aren’t that different, and I think there is a good chance that they will work. Being able to share your individual areas of specializations with those you trust can save everyone valuable time, which can then be spent on simply enjoying life.

Rule #5: Keep the Sabbath Day holy. I find that if I focus on worshiping my Savior on the Sabbath, my time during the rest of the week is expanded to compensate. My financial resources also seem to stretch further. It has to do with the economy of heaven, and it really does work. My husband and I never prep on the Sabbath, and we feel that we have been blessed in our preparedness efforts as a result. Try it for yourself. If there is a particular area of being prepared that challenges you, or if you are short of funds for a particular purchase and you can’t see where the money is going to come from, or if your spouse or other family members are not as supportive of your efforts as they could be, try simply keeping the Sabbath day holy; test the Lord. He always comes through. I can say that miracles have happened in my own life by following this simple principle.

No matter how many years we are blessed with, life is short. While there is no denying that we live in a dangerous world that challenges us with a multitude of different scenarios to prepare for, we always need to be mindful of the need to live our lives each day with gratitude and joy and to set the example for other family members in this as well. Peace comes from being prepared, yes, but joy comes from living. Here’s to finding a sensible balance.

From the excellent Survival Blog managed by Hugh and owned by JWR. I think they are OK with stuff being reposted as long as it is attributed to them. 

My thoughts:
I wish I would have read and internalized this excellent article a long time ago. I would write a rule very similar to the one about not spending every minute on prepping that says not to spend every spare dollar on prepping. Balance kiddos. Figure out a reasonable amount of money to put towards preparedness. Also put money towards entertainment, travel and whatever other stuff you enjoy.

The part about relationships, heck if I know. For me this wasn’t a huge marital issue. Preparedness relate conflicts were mostly about space with stuff trickling into living space. Beyond that I am 0/1 for marriages so I do not feel qualified to give advice there.

Prepping Is Not Just for Men: How Women Can Prepare for Social Instability

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The prepping movement may have a lot of men, and male preppers certainly have significant visibility, but there are plenty of female preppers out there and many reasons for women to join the prepper movement. Here are some of the reasons women should consider preparing for the social instability that is very likely in our future:

  • Women may have more safety concerns than men in an unstable environment.
  • Women with children need to be prepared to safeguard the lives and well-being of their children and other family members.
  • Single women on their own need to be able to defend themselves and be prepared to survive.

At its heart, being a prepper just means being prepared. Most women are already engaging in prepping behavior, from having first-aid kits in the home and the car, to stocking up on food items. For the woman ready to dive deeper into being prepared for disaster and social unrest, here are some ways to do so.

  1. Learn Self-defense and Get Comfortable with Weapons

    Take a self-defense class so you’re prepared to defend yourself physically. Additionally, learn how to shoot a gun and consider buying one. Get a concealed carry permit and use it. There are even great options today for a stylish concealed carry purse, and being a prepper does not mean you have to give up your femininity.

  2. Learn How to Use Tools and How to Handle Various Basic Repairs

    Get your hands on some basic tools and get comfortable using them. Try learning some repair skills with your tools. From changing tires to repairing something broken in your home, if you’re prepared with skills like these, you won’t have to rely on others.

  3. Make Plans to Fortify Your Home

    You don’t necessarily have to put bars on the windows now, but you should be prepared with what you need to fortify your home against intruders in the future. Have strong locks for all doors and windows, consider creating a safe room with extra security, and have the items necessary to defend yourself.

  4. Learn How to Grow Your Own Food and How to Store Food

    If disaster strikes and going to the grocery store is no longer an option, you need to learn how to grow and store your own food if you want to survive long-term. Start doing research by reading prepping blogs. Put what you learn into action, starting right away.

  5. Learn as Much as You Can About Potential Disasters and How to Survive Them

    The number of different potential disasters that preppers are guarding against, and they all present different challenges. Learn more about things like nuclear attacks, biological attacks, natural disasters, and major social unrest. Find out how these potential challenges are different and make a plan for how to respond to various scenarios.

  6. Teach Others

    One of the biggest strengths women have is their connectivity and community building skills. Once armed with knowledge and skills, it’s your duty to share what you know with other women and the men in your life. Plus, although some people prefer to go it as a “lone wolf” in survivor scenarios, having the right allies with complementary skillsets can be a huge boon to survival efforts.

We all hope none of these disasters ever come to pass, but to ignore these ever more realistic scenarios is something no woman can afford to do. Face the possibilities and start to prepare! Whether or not you have a man by your side, you need to accept that you have unique challenges as well as unique strengths that can help ensure your survival and will even allow you to thrive, no matter what. With planning and training, you can hold your own against any man, and you can protect yourself and your loved ones against threat.

About the author: A recent college graduate from University of San Francisco, Anica loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.

Preppers Checklist: Everything You Need for Any Disaster

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From earthquakes to fires, there are a number of natural disasters that can take place when you least expect it. Unfortunately, most people are not prepared for the worst to occur. To ensure that you have everything you need during an emergency situation, there are a few important supplies to have on hand.

Emergency Water Filter

Water is a resource that will allow you to stay alive after a disaster occurs. A compact water filter is an essential product that you can take on the go without having to carry extra weight. This will allow you to have safe drinking water to ensure that you survive.

Portable Camping Toilets

Portable camping toilets are essential for emergency situations when you need to use the restroom in a public setting. Some companies, like Blackpine Sports, know that having a compact and lightweight toilet makes it easy to take them on the go. You can enjoy using something that is easy to sit on instead of trying to find a grassy area or an empty lot.

Solar Flashlight

A solar flashlight will allow you to use a flashlight without having to use batteries to power the device. You’ll have more light at night when walking on trails or trying to flag down other people. The product must be exposed to sunlight to obtain power at night and work for several hours. Magnetic shake lights are also ideal because they don’t require batteries and are powered by shaking the product for several seconds.

Multi-Tool

A multi-tool will come in handy when you need to cut through rope or cut a cord. Multi-tools are a convenient item to carry with you and often include a small saw, a folding knife, pliers, a hole punch, and scissors. You can carry the product in your pocket and even survive the great outdoors while using the tools.

Lighter and Matches

Many people are cut off from gas and heat during a disaster, making it important to have a lighter and matches on hand to start a fighter when you need to boil water or want to keep warm at night. You can easily light cotton balls that are dipped in petroleum jelly, which will work as a sparking device when you need a fire.

Although no one can anticipate a disaster from occurring, there are several ways to prepare ahead of time by having the right products on hand. With the right materials, you can get through the emergency with ease.

Written by Rachelle Wilber

RE: Pistol Mounted Lights

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In reply to my recent post Fighting Load Evolution a comment came up that I wanted to address.

Anonymoushighdesertlivin said…
As I have kids, I’m not a fan of weapon mounted lights. If I’m clearing my house in the middle of the night, my light hand is supporting my gun hand. However I maintain my muzzle down and left of my center illumination point. I know that’s not text book, but with kids in the house it is how I roll. With the weapon mounted light, if you light something up you are also muzzling it as well. Unless I’m missing something here? Glad to see you are in better spirits Ryan.

Ryan here:  I can not say if you are missing something as I do not know what ideas you are aware of and have for some reason discarded. There are so many variables with the use of lights and room/ structure clearing that we could run hypothetical scenarios forever. I will give you a couple of things from my perspective to consider.

In my mind there is a continuum of aggression when it comes to the use of lights and weapons based on the situation. On the more peaceable side would be investigating a generic noise with a flashlight and a holstered pistol. Somewhere in the middle the pistol might be out but pointed in a progressively less safe direction. At the more aggressive end I would have both ends on the pistol using a weapon mounted light or just night sights. (Yes this is a really complicated conversation and I am really simplifying.)

The specific case for a weapon mounted light on a pistol (and for using the pistol over a long gun) is that you can operate it with one hand. While not optimal I can use the light and shoot one handed. This is significant if (as is the case now) the kids are with me. Hard to use a light in my off hand if that off hand is full of eighty pounds of little kid.

 The thing about a weapon mounted light is that you can always choose NOT to use it. The added bulk/ weight is negligible in a home defense set up. Once a holster is purchased (lack of said holster is the reason I do not have one on my G19 today) a pistola with a mounted light can be treated like any other holster.

A weapon mounted light is always in addition to a stand alone hand held light. If forced to have just one it would be the hand held. Yes it is belt and suspenders but it gives option and the word every survivalist loves redundancy.

The people who clear buildings to save lives and kill bad people have lights mounted on their weapons. The similarly experienced people I personally know are using lights mounted on their weapons. Just saying……

Right now due to the cobbled together nature of my set up there is not a light on my Glock. I would like the change that. The need to adjust things anyway has me re looking the light situation and considering a move to something with IR to kill two birds with one stone. Before long I will probably have the gear to use the same set up with or without a light.

 Well those are my .02 cents on the subject of weapon mounted lights for home defense. As always the comments section is open.

Fighting Load Evolution

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I took a kydex OWB holster and put it on a pair pf cargo pants. Stuck a cheap folding knife in the pants pocket. Put some medical stuff on the cargo pockets. A flashlight in the off hand front pocket. On the weak side I put a condor double rifle pistol mag pouch. Put it in the bottom of my nightstand with a pair of boots.

Good: Now I could wake up and throw on a pair of pants n boots in a hurry. Open the quick access safe to grab the Glock 19 and or AR and I am good to go.

My new set up and a slight change in my light/ summer EDC means my handgun and knife are always in the same place. This obviously has a significant benefit in terms of simplifying my life.

Made entirely of stuff I had on hand. 

Bad: Generally that it is all cobbled together and not necessarily with components that are fit for prime

The belt sucks. It is just a generic nylon web belt. I need to put a dedicated gun belt on there. That means I need to replace the one I am currently wearing and retire it to this rig. The new Magpul belt looks promising. Though I may just replace the one I have with another Blade Tech. The one I am wearing has been my only belt for 3 years and still works good. Just aging past every day wear for cosmetic reasons (mostly because I spilled some paint on it). As I write this it is clear I will buy the blade tech belt.

The knife isn’t great. I have a serious case of missing knives in my residence. At least 3 good folding knives are MIA in my residence. Honestly I don’t plan to do much cutting with it so the Wally World knife is fine for now.

I am going to think about the mag pouch situation. Maybe to make it lower profile I could put a double pistol mag pouch on the belt (I have a good TT one somewhere) and stick a spare rifle mag in the cargo pocket. Honestly I’m not too worried about doing rifle mag changes in my house.

The flashlight needs a more secure situation. It is just flopping in the pocket. It probably came with a pocket clip which I might still have. 5.11’s have a pouch that would work if I could find a pair in my place.

I can probably fix most of these issues by spending a day digging through my house.

Holster- It probably won’t work well with a ruck. However realistically I can’t see myself carrying a ruck much. If I do I’ll probably stuff the pistol in a rifle mag pouch or something. Also I could just use the old belt for that unlikely scenario.

Also my current holster will not accommodate a weapons light. I have mixed feelings about this.

I will play with scientifically tactically test it some and let you know how it goes.

Cache Discussion: Risks, Benefits and Costs

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Caches are on my mind so that is what we will discuss today.

Our buddy Meister and I have talked back and forth about this.  Riverrider and I have as well. These discussions to some degree inspired my thoughts but in a general sense. I am probably going to completely mess up their thoughts so just consider everything mine or a common sentiment.

Folks can get really wrapped up in having an absolutely perfect cache situation. They seem to have a mindset where they are looking to sharp shoot any cache plan instead of figuring out how to make it work. The conversation goes like this.

Rental storage space-Expensive and they get robbed all the time.

Bury it- Someone will see. The land is open everywhere around here.

Friends house- I have no friends.

Buy a junk acre someplace- there will be a record of it.

Etc, etc.

It would be one thing if they threw out any of these ideas alone. They favor burial instead of a rental space, all well and good. These guys don’t like any realistic option they have or are likely to have. They are so worried about losing stuff they keep all their eggs in one basket even when they know better.

The reality is most situations will be less than perfect. Of course risk needs to be weighted relative to the potential loss. I would think a lot harder about where to bury 50k my fake passports and a roll of Krugerrand’s than an old .38 with a box of shells, a folding knife and a change of clothes. Make that cache a consumable resupply of water, a couple MRE’s, etc and if worried I’ll just put in two.

A persons individual risk situation matters some. Geography is one angle. Odds someone is going to start knocking on doors to take guns in Montana are laughable. Odds in the greater LA or San Fran areas still aren’t high but I wouldn’t laugh at the idea. Whether you might be a crime victim or need to leave without notice is another. Tony Soprano needs a stash with an overnight bag, a bunch of cash and a handgun more than Tony Anderson a supervisor at a local machine shop.

The concept of paying for caches also comes up regularly.  I discussed this some time ago. My caching has largely been done out of existing inventory. Like any survivalist I like some redundancy at home. A spare of pretty much everything makes me happy. Beyond that if stuff will benefit me more to put in a cache then have in my home I try to put it into a cache.

The more I think about it more I lean towards Meisters point to cache good stuff. It will motivate me to get new good stuff to use. Say I buried Project AR and kept a $500 no name rifle on hand, I would be a lot more motivated to buy another good rifle than if I cached the $500 rifle and kept the good one on hand.

It is entirely possible you have zero interest in caching. I say well and good. If you are interested in caching I would urge you to get past the problem admiration phase and DO IT within a reasonable timeframe.

Stuff I Need to Get/ Do

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Buy Now (this weekend):
G19 recoil spring (Zero said it should be replaced as preventative maintenance)
USB battery pack to charge small devices (phone, etc)
Ammo. Kinda thinking about this but I may make a significant purchase of 5.56 and 7.62×51 very soon.

Do  Now:
Run generator and chainsaw
 Move trailer

 Buy Soon (this month):
A bag that could discretely carry an AR. Either a smaller stand alone bag or a bag that could also be my bug out/ get home bag such as a smallish hiking pack.
A more intentional pair of shoes for my  ‘hoe bag’.
OWB holster for my new vision of a pistol belt and pants set up.

Do Soon:
Organize camping (also conveniently mostly the same as heavy bug out) stuff and put it into totes
Maybe move some money around
Decide if I am keeping my current vehicle for a few more months or selling it. 
Assemble new pistol belt and pants set up.

Honestly this is more for me than for you all. Maybe somebody is interested or will get something out of it.

Life and Various Things EDC, Caches, ETC

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Hey All, I spent about half the summer in Eastern Europe for work. Maybe I will talk more about that at some point but I am back in the US now. I also have the kiddos with me for the remainder of the summer. So I went from being busy with work to being busy with the kiddos. Thoughts have been brewing in my head lately. Also since the kids go to bed early and I have them with me there isn’t a ton of stuff to do after they go to bed so you may hear from me more in coming weeks. No promises though.

Here in eastern Kansas it is hot and humid. Not quite the sauna that is Louisiana but still a hot and humid. So I am pretty much living in shorts and tank tops outside of work. This has some EDC challenges as cargo shorts have officially jumped the shark. I am toying with some new carry methods for my Ruger LCP and a new knife. The theme is maintaining basic capabilities in a way that fits within my lifestyle. In a couple more weeks I will talk about the specifics of these things some more.

Along these lines I have been thinking about the ‘naked bag’ that lives in my vehicle. I got the idea from Pastor Joe Fox’s book The Survivalist Family. I have it in a separate bag in my vehicle so I can change, if needed, then rock out in some functional clothes. One might say this is redundant as I am obviously wearing clothes in the vehicle but I may be coming or going from the gym, being lazy on the way to the store for milk, etc. The first time I did this the clothes in it were really pretty outdoors/ paramilitary in nature.

I realized this is dumb. Odds are far, far higher I will be using the clothes in this bag for some sort of normal mundane reason than some emergency scenario. Maybe I cover my shirt in BBQ sauce at the beginning of a day in town. Maybe I forget to pack something for a trip. Maybe some nice young woman takes me home for the evening. All of these things have happened and not once have I needed to change into my crazy pants (literally) and run off into the woods with a back pack. Also I no longer live in a rural area. I live in a mix of suburbs and exurbs of a city with intermittent farms in between.

So what does this mean? My ‘naked bag’ looks a lot more like a generic overnight bag then some survivalist thing. I need to choose clothes I would actually wear that would work for me to actually wear and have a useful secondary function of JIC clothes. This means sturdy non cotton clothes and a good pair of shoes. I added a fleece and a rain jacket which generally lived in the back of my vehicle anyway. In addition to those items I included a pair of gym shorts to sleep in and a hygiene kit. Maybe I will post on it later.

For whatever reason the idea of caches has been in my head for awhile now. Maybe I was bored and had wandering paranoid thoughts or maybe that little voice is telling me to spread out my risk. Recently I was visiting family in a place where I could potentially end up if things go sideways. Having an EDC setup, a rifle, ammo n ancillary stuff next to an old ALICE pack full of camping/ survival stuff in their attic would be a win win as they are like minded but on a tight budget. Depending on some other things I may put together a couple more caches.

Before we get into a discussion about money where people call each other poor or yuppie survivalists I should note I do most of this type thing with stuff already on hand. The costs are sunk so its not like I am writing big fat checks today, which I could not afford.

The next post I write will probably be on some things I am working on right now.

Take care of each other

Three Ways To Prepare Your Finances For Disaster

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Most people will experience a catastrophe in their lifetime. Beyond the emotional damage, these events can cause serious financial hardships that only prolong the pain and anxiety. Often, these hardships are the result of a failure to prepare. Simply addressing three key areas of you finances can put you in a position to protect yourself, your family, and your legacy.

De-risk Your Portfolio

Eliminating risk from your investment portfolio is no longer as easy as moving money from stocks to high quality bonds. Investments that were once considered safe now appear vulnerable.

A perfect example is American International Group. Formerly the world’s largest insurer, the once-AAA rated company nearly brought down the banking industry when it found itself on the cusp of bankruptcy.

When a crisis hits, bond and equity markets can become irrational. In order to combat this, avoid these investments and move your cash into liquid instruments like an FDIC-insured money market account. You also want to make certain that your deposit does not exceed the insurance limit.

If you have significant assets, you may find it difficult to withdraw your entire balance in cash. Many banks are only obligated to pay you an equivalent of cash. For instance, if you ask for $50,000 in cash, banks can deny your request and instead offer you the same amount in the form of a bank check.

If you believe that you’ll need hard currency, it would be wise to get a head start and accumulate funds over time.

Diversify Your Assets

One of the most overlooked aspects of financial disaster planning is diversifying currency. History is littered with examples of nations whose currency was devalued into oblivion.

Fiat money is only as strong as the government that backs it. For example, if you believe that the United States’ excessive borrowing could become a serious problem, it would behoove you to open banking accounts that would allow you to exchange your dollars for another country’s currency.

Another way to hedge yourself against a devaluing currency is to buy a hard asset that can be used as a medium of exchange, such as gold or silver coins. One thing to be cognizant of is transportability. It may be difficult to travel with significant assets across borders, especially by airplane.

If you believe that you may need to leave the country, you should open accounts abroad. Many foreign banks will allow you to open an account online as long as you can meet minimum deposit requirements and send copies of personal documents such as a valid passport.

In addition, programs like the Perth Mint will sell, store, and ship to you either your precious metals or its value.

Find a Lifeline

Disaster planning begins with creating an emergency fund. However, when the cost of an unexpected event depletes your savings, you may be left to choose between car payments, mortgage payments, and food.

The best solution to plugging a temporary gap is to utilize a financial supercenter such as Tracy Rawle’s Check City. Express cash loan centers allow you to turn future paychecks into cash today. In addition, you can use your assets or current employment as leverage to obtain short-term loans on the same day that you apply. This strategy should not be viewed in the same light as a credit card. Rather, this source of funds is an excellent way to solve cash flow issues that you expect to be resolved in the near future.

How To Find the Right Balance

Determining how to best protect your finances can be emotionally draining. Protection usually requires that you take something away from another area. It could mean saving instead of spending on a vacation, or forgoing the possibility of an early retirement by moving money out of the stock market and into safer assets.

Nothing feels better than the peace of mind in knowing that your loved ones are protected in the event of a disaster. Focusing on how you would like your family’s future to look, and that of generations to come, can help guide you in making the right decisions today.

Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure. You can connect with her on Facebook right here and Twitter right here.

Keeping Your Teeth Healthy While Roughing It

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Good oral hygiene is no joke when it comes to maintaining your overall health, and this can be especially hard when camping or on a long outdoor trip. Tooth and gum infection can come on quickly and even cause other health problems. It does not matter if you will be out-of-pocket for a few days or years. You will never regret taking the time to discover the best ways to maintain a healthy smile when hygiene facilities are miles from your location.

Travel Size Toothbrush and Toothpaste

If you will be anywhere near civilization, these may be the best items to bring. Simply use a small amount of toothpaste and rinse. You do not even need water. Be careful not to spit the toothpaste anywhere near a campsite. Bears and other wild critters will be attracted to the smell. You could have some unexpected and unwelcome guests at that point.

Sticky Gum and Floss

Chewing xylitol gum is a great way to keep your teeth clean no matter where you end up. The gum makes your teeth slippery and harder for bacteria to stay on them. It is cheap, practical and works. Along with gum, a small roll of dental floss can be best friend. It will help pull out trapped food between the teeth. A long strand of hair works well as floss in a pinch.

Sap Gum

When convenience stores are miles away, grab a gob of sap and chew it like gum. It works just as well when there is nothing else available for miles. Chewing stimulates your salivary glands, which can help fight bacteria on your teeth and gums. American sweetgum trees has a resin you can chew on, as do pine trees. You can also chew on beeswax or bark in a pinch.

Teeth Cleaning Twig

Break off a small branch and remove the bark. Cut off a bite size piece and carefully chew it. Make sure you rotate it throughout the mouth and spit out all the wood. The abrasive actions will clean the teeth pretty well, and once the end is frayed, it acts as a brush for your teeth. You can also make your own flat end toothpick and scraper of sorts using a tiny branch. It takes very little woodworking skill with a small pocket knife to shape.

Fir Branch

Seek out a thick fir tree. The small pine needles can be trimmed down in a one-inch section and removed along a 5 or 6-inch portion of the small branch. You want a bare part of the branch long enough to firmly grasp with your hand. It will resemble a small toothbrush. It is not perfect, but if you are diligent, it works well if you have no alternative.

Baking Soda

If you are worried about a buildup of stains on your teeth bring a small bag of baking soda. Wet the tip of your finger and sprinkle on a little baking soda. Use the finger to scrub the surface of your teeth. Twice a day and your pearly whites will stay white.

Avoid High Sugar, Acids and Coffee

If you are going to be deep in the woods or on extended trips with limited hygiene facilities it is best to avoid certain foods and drinks to preserve the health of your teeth and gums. This means you need to pass on the taffy, caramel, candy bars, fruit juice, strawberries, citrus and soda. Eliminate highly processed foods from the diet. Foods and drinks with high sugar and acid content will promote thinning of the tooth enamel, which sets you up for the start of tooth decay. Drinks like coffee and tea can really stain your teeth. Avoid smoking, as it also stains teeth.

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband. Dixie got information from this piece from Crest Hill Family Dental.

On the Safe Side: Tips for Teaching Your Teens Better Driving Skills

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Parents and guardians often believe that teaching their teens better driving skills is as simple as riding along in the passenger seat as they practice. In today’s fast-paced world, teens need a broader education that focuses more on detailed explanations, positive reinforcement, and guidance about bad personal habits that increase accident risks on the road. Modern teens also need visual and experiential learning tools that take into account the general ways they learn best. Consider these tips to teach your teens better driving skills as you get started.

Show Patience and Understanding

It is okay to point out incorrect driving maneuvers and actions, but you need to balance your critiques with positive examples, explained in a patient and understanding tone so your teen does not shut you out, or feel less motivated to listen. Whenever possible, lower stress by telling funny anecdotes about your own early driving experiences. Negativity can demotivate your teen and even result in errors caused by nervousness and low self-esteem so keep things in their court with what positive statements you say.

Record Them While They Drive

A recording always has a greater impact than words, because it shows your teen visually the driving problems you see. Ask someone to record your teen from outside of the vehicle at a distance during practice lessons so they can review it later. Set up an interior camera in the back of the vehicle that records all of your teen’s physical actions while in the driver seat. They can watch and review mistakes and you can even show them through example what the right move might be in certain situations.

Show Them the Consequences

Since better driving skills include not being distracted, provide lessons about distracted driving. Show your teen statistics and videos related to distracted driving accidents. Afterward, show your teen the consequences in real life so that the experience has a greater impact on their understanding of common safety issues. Introduce your teen to injured accident victims or a Clearfield & Kofsky personal injury lawyer who can generically outline some worst case scenarios. Having a tangible result in front of them is a lot more impactful than just listing statistics.

Some of these tips may seem embarrassing or severe, but using them to teach your teen better driving skills can only make them safer. The most important thing to remember is that better driving helps prevent injuries and costly insurance premiums.

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and recent graduate of the University of New Mexico. She writes for many online publications and blogs about home improvements, family, and health. She is an avid hiker, biker and runner. Contact her via twitter @BrookeChaplan.

And Then There Were 9 More

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My little hen that hatched the one chick before ended up losing that chick and then she abandoned the nest and I cleaned it out. Then she started setting again on the eggs her and the others laid in that nest again. Because she had only hatched on the last time, I was not real worried when she set again and I was busy (and sick) and just kind of let her go and collected eggs out of the other nest.
Today I got a surprise when I went out. I thought I heard peeping and I was thinking well one more chick…and then looked in the nest when she got off and there were NINE chicks!
Unfortunately, she is in a community pen with several other chickens who killed her last chick so I had to get them out of there. I got my brooder, cleaned it out and then went looking for the brooder lights. I found two but only one worked. Unfortunately, you need a bulb that produces heat and the new bulbs don’t really do that. I found one 60 watt one but it did not produce enough heat to get the brooder up to the 98 degrees that I needed (I would have settled for 95 if I could have gotten it but it wouldn’t go past 85–not hot enough for the first couple weeks).  So I Phil and I went to town and picked up a new light and bulb.

I had already realized by then that the big fish tank I had in the spare room would make a better (bigger) brooder. It didn’t take long to put it all together when I got home and go get the chicks. The hen still has 4 eggs so I will have to watch in case she gets them to hatch.

Anyway, here are the new babies. They were very happy with the food and water as there was none in the nest box.

Various Rambing Thoughts

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Hey Everyone, I hope you are well. Things for me have been pretty good. Between work and exercise I have been reasonably busy. I have been lifting and running a lot which is good. I haven’t done anything preparedness oriented to speak of. Just life stuff, working on me and relaxing. Every couple days I cruise the blogosphere but haven’t bothered to comment. So much of that interaction is about validation anyway and I don’t feel a need to get that from you all.

I have watched very little tv since we talked last. Probably 2 or 3 hours total which was mostly one day killing time till we all went out. I have followed the news with equal enthusiasm. That is something I should work on as I am not staying informed on events very well. Maybe give myself 20 minutes a day to cruise the local news and check the BBC.
For preparedness stuff I haven’t done anything but have done some thinking. It is becoming clear to me a disproportionate amount of preparedness efforts are spent on unlikely to happen events. People worry about the magical TEOTWAWKI and want to have this little farm/ fortress but ignore the actual reality of how bad scenarios unfold. The honest truth for most ugly scenarios riding it out anywhere but downtown in a major urban center is a decent option. For a situation where that does not work the best course of action is to leave and go somewhere else. If you stay plan on going about a slightly smaller version of your life with a concealed pistol, not a rifle and a cheat rig. Furthermore realities like mortgage payments, bills, etc are not going away. Folks need to read a lot more FerFal, Matthew Bracken and Selco.  I am not saying the homesteading folks aren’t without many great points in other areas but they are not a magical solution. 
As such I think having an enhanced edc set up not dis similar to some light fighting loads in composition my be wise. I usually carry my little LCP but if the situation merits having a system to carry my G19, a couple spare mags, etc that is concealable and realistic to carry on the situation I see myself being in is smart. Toss on a chest rig and pc and it’s a full fighting load. This makes more sense to me right now then my current pistol belt set up. I won’t part out or sell that but I do plan to replace it for the current primary role. 
When it comes to stuff such as gear, guns, etc I think we look at it all wrong. It should go without saying stuff is at the low end of the prioritization list. Mindset and decision making come first. Having a tactical mindset and mental wil matters a lot. I would however argue decision making matters more as you win 100% of the fights you are not in. Think Grandma’s points not to be out too late, in bad neighborhoods, etc. The 3’s saying not to do stupid things, in stupid places with stupid people comes to mind. You can bend one and usually be fine. Example meeting your addict cousin for lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings. Now if you bend two and take him ‘to a friends house’ you are asking for bad stuff to happen. 
Next comes fitness and tangible skill sets. You need the skills to fight (and do other things) because all the will in the world won’t make you hit the damn target with a handgun if you do not do the work. You also need the fitness to survive stress and unknown physically demanding situations. 
Gear comes last. An aware and skilled healthy person will win a fight with a damn high point 9mm ghetto blaster. An unskilled fat lazy slob can have a $3k Wilson Combat 1911 (probably in his nightstand/ gun safe but we will gloss over that today) and it won’t save him.
You should use quality serviceable gear but it does not have to be the coolest Gucci kit. That stuff is used by famous guys mostly because they get it for free; to convince guys like you they need it. A $350 Ruger SR9 will work just fine if you do your job. 
I have some more thoughts about gear, systems and caches that will make another post in the near ish future.

Prepared for Anything – 5 Ways to Secure Your Home

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Burglars don’t care if you rent or own your home. They don’t care if you moved into your home recently or lived in it for years. The only thing that they care about is whether you have made it easy or hard for them to commit theft. To make it difficult for them, improve your home security via these five methods:

Invest in the Right Locks

Some locks like standard handle locks and padlocks fail to offer adequate protection. For doors, invest in deadbolts or wide security bolts. Also, consider investing in a key-less system that utilizes an encrypted passcode keypad lock. For windows, invest in double locks, key-based mechanisms and window stops that force thieves to break a window and risk an alarm to gain access.

Choose a SMART Security System

Some clever thieves make it past the first line of security. An alarm system, security cameras, and motion sensor lights provide added security on their own. Professionals, like those at Johns Brothers Security know that the best secondary line of defense is a SMART home security system that utilizes all of these tools plus a few others that make your home more secure. Many of these types of systems include breach alerts to your phone, and automatically alert the police and a monitoring firm if there is a problem. Many of them also include remote access to the cameras and other systems.

Set up Security Signs

Whether you choose to use a security system or not, outdoor security signs on doors, windows, and lawns make thieves reconsider their plans. The mere presence of these signs warns them that you have secured your property and that they risk setting off alarms. Sometimes these signs discourage thieves more than locks.

Talk to Neighbors

Seek out your neighbors as a security resource. They might know if anyone in the neighborhood has been accused or suspected of theft and tell you of strangers lurking around your home. Additionally, a neighbor you trust might pick up your mail and check for breaches when you need to go out of town.

Educate Your Family

Teach your loved ones to lock access points and set alarms even if they only plan to leave your home for a few minutes. Also, teach them to watch for red flags, such as strange footprints near windows, the sudden appearance of litter, new neighbors overly interested in your family’s schedule and personal drones that hover around a lot.

These methods don’t always stop a highly experienced thief. Instead, they give you peace of mind that comes from knowing that you’ve done everything possible to secure your home. Written by Rachelle Wilber

7 Survival Mistakes to Side-Step If You’re a Newbie

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If you just found out about prepping, you most likely reacted in one of two ways. You either thought the idea is silly or you started reading more and more. The more you read, the more unprepared and vulnerable you felt.

Since you’re reading this article, I’m assuming you’ve swallowed the red pill. But before you rush over to Amazon and spend all your money on gear let me tell you about some the mistakes that either I or other preppers have done. Why not learn from us so you can side-step them?

Mistake #1: Buying Low Quality Gear

If you’re like me when I started doing this, you’ll probably get the cheapest multi-tool you can find. Since you won’t be using it much, you may ask yourself: why spend money on something expensive? Well, because cheap gear can fail you when you need it most. The only way you can win with it is if nothing ever happens and you’ll never have to use it. Other than that, it’s a gamble.

You don’t need friends in the army to tell you what to get. You’ve got plenty of blogs, forums and the comments section on Amazon to make the right decision.

Mistake #2: Not Acting on the Info They Read

If all you’ve been doing is sit inside your home on the Internet, reading and buying things, you’re not as prepared as you think. Your purchases are giving you a false sense of security and that’s downright dangerous. Prepping involves activities such as:

  • getting in shape
  • going camping and/or hiking to see how you and your family like it
  • testing your weapons, tools and gear
  • inspecting and rotating your stockpile
  • taking first aid classes
  • going to flea markets to learn how to negotiate
  • meeting preppers and likeminded people
  • taking free or paid survival classes
  • making a plan of action to cover the most important scenarios they might have to face

Mistake #3: Putting All Their Eggs in One Basket

Newbies focus on having a bug out bag because it’s what most people recommend to get started. But instead on focusing on making that bag perfect, how about you start doing other things, such as stocking up on supplies in your car’s trunk or on getting a few items for your everyday carry?

The reason is, you’re more likely to need that bottle of water in your car or use a bandage than to actually bug out through the woods, as the classic survival scenario goes. Think in terms of maximizing your chances of coming out unharmed from any critical scenario and you’ll also be more likely to spend less.

Mistake #4: Talking About It

Needless to say, the less you talk, the less you reveal about yourself and your preps, so the safer you’ll be. I know you probably feel like telling everyone about this new community you’ve discovered of people who want to prepare, but just because it makes sense to you, this doesn’t mean it’ll make sense to them.

Some people get it, others don’t, so the best thing to do is to keep quiet, keep prepping and worry less about the fact that most people are severely unprepared for disasters and personal emergencies.

Mistake #5: Ignoring Mental Preparation

Have you seen YouTube videos of people in distress? Do you think you would’ve done the same if you were in their place? If you’ve never been in close combat or, at least, in the army, chances are you’re overestimating your ability to keep your cool when facing your own death.

What can you do? A few things:

  • visualize successfully escaping danger
  • watch as many videos as you can (flash floods, earthquakes, firearm assaults) and see yourself in the middle of the action
  • take a first aid course
  • start a martial art class and make it a goal to become good at it (at an amateur level, of course)

Mistake #6: Focusing On Food More Than on Water

You obviously need both but water is more important. Remember the rule of threes? You can live up to 3 weeks without food but up to 3 days without water. Besides, stockpiling food is more complicated because you need a cool, dry, dark place to maximize the shelf life of your food. You also need the right containers and preservatives (Mylar bags, plastic food-grade buckets etc.)

On the other hand, stockpiling water is easy. You still need to keep it in a cool dark place if you have large quantities but, as a newbie, you can store your bottles pretty much anywhere (except your attic). Don’t forget to keep a bottle in your car.

Mistake #7: Spending Too Much Money

Ok, this somewhat goes against what I said in the beginning, that you usually get what you pay for… but there are exceptions:

  • you can assemble your first aid kit and bug out bag instead of buying pre-made ones
  • you can start your own food stockpile instead of buying ready-made buckets
  • you can choose generic equivalent medicine instead of branded ones that do the exact same thing (full list here)
  • you can take a look inside your attic, tool shed and all your drawers to find items you haven’t used in years that might be useful

Final Word

I hope you don’t think this list of mistakes is, by any means, comprehensive. These are just a few of the most important ones that should save you some cash. You know what it would really help other readers? If you posted your own mistakes below. Let’s try to make this list bigger, share your experiences below.

The writer of this article would like to follow his own advice and remain anonymous.

Staying Cool in the Collapse: 5 Must-Haves for Every Hardcore Survivalist

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Humanitarian Aid Drop DVIDS280836

There have been many warnings issued over the years about the possibility of a total collapse of the national electrical grid. Blackouts occur in some parts of the country during the summer months. They may be planned rolling ones to keep the entire system from being overwhelmed or they may be catastrophic unplanned ones. Thunderstorms or even hurricanes are additional reasons to be prepared for the unexpected havoc from weather related outages. There are several items that are a benefit to have on hand should this scenario occur for any length of time. Survivalists of all levels—especially hardcore enthusiasts—may already have them in their possession. Here is a list of five must-have products that will keep things cool during a collapse.

Golf Cart Batteries

These types of batteries power items for a long period of time in comparison to car batteries. They are similar in size, but can provide hours of use for refrigerators, fans, and medical machines. An inverter is needed to charge appliances and cell phones using a 120 volt outlet. Well pumps will also stay in operation so clean water will be available for drinking, cooking, and bathing. It is a good idea to purchase at least two or more, if budgets allow. Recharge one while the other is in use. A caveat is to keep batteries of the same age in use at all times.

Ration Protection

Having plenty of food to eat is critical, although humans can live for up to three days before symptoms of malnutrition kick in. An unbeatable option that can facilitate making ready to eat meals is sealed bags. They store a wide variety of food stuff from dried fruits, nuts, crackers, cereals, and more. This can be accomplished by using chamber vacuum sealers to seal bags for storing foodstuffs. Look for BPA-free products in several sizes such as three, four, or five milliliters that can accommodate sharp foods. Boil-able bags can withstand extended boils without losing food quality and taste, so look for this feature too. Consider zipper bags that can be resealed and those with tear notches for meat and dairy products such as jerky and cheese.

Mini-fan With Misting System

A compact and portable mini-fan is ideal for those times when a burst of cool is needed instead of using the resources of batteries or generators. There are plenty of alternatives to choose from, but look for ones with a built-in mister. The larger reservoirs will usually come with a flat-bottom so they stand upright when not in use. Lithium battery powered units last longer and perform better than those with alkaline batteries. Use the misting function sparingly to conserve its water content.

Two-Season Tent

During power outages, homes heat up almost as quickly as cars do. If there is no breeze, opening the windows will only invite the hot temperature inside. A two season tent is a great option for placing under a nearby tree. The spring and summer version is perfect especially when it has a ventilation screen to keep bugs out and let breezes in. Some may also come with poles and a hammock to enjoy in a shaded area.

Backpacks with Bladders

This is an excellent choice that can be storage for batteries, flashlights, and wick and lightweight clothes. They also come with different size water bladders and built-in cooler versatility. Fill them up with fresh water as soon as the outage occurs or ice would be a better alternative. Manufacturers include a straw for drinking or spout for pouring so there is no need to open it. This keeps the water cold and ice frozen as long as possible.

Hardcore survivalists are generally prepared for what may come in diverse scenarios, but this will serve as a reminder of what keeps them cool in extreme heat. The everyday individual will benefit from the information outlined here as well. Stocking a personal inventory of these items in advance is a sure way to mitigate the inconveniences associated with a collapse.

Emma is a freelance writer living in Boston. When she manages to tear herself away from the computer, she enjoys baking, rock climbing, and film noir.

Why Should I Learn Infant CPR?

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Learning baby CPR is not just a practical thing to do when you have some spare time; it is something that should be made a priority. Thankfully, as the below guide clearly illustrates, it is not a complicated procedure. Just about anyone can learn how to perform baby CPR on a young child and the following points can give you the motivation you need to either learn or refresh your skills in this area. 

CPR Will be Vital in a Doomsday Scenario

Don’t expect hospitals, doctors, nurses and paramedics to be available should a doomsday scenario occur. Such individuals are likely to be caring for their own families, fleeing danger zones, or will be so overwhelmed that they won’t be able to provide proper assistance. Knowing infant CPR can enable you to save your child’s life if there is no one else around to turn to for help; what is more, you may even be able to trade this skill for food and/or other items or services you may need in a disaster scenario. 

Babies Are Prone to Dangerous Accidents

Babies grow quickly and tend to put dangerous things in their mouths, drink or eat poisonous substances and engage in other unsafe behaviors. While there are a number of things you can do to protect your little one from serious accidents, you cannot expect to be able to shield your child from danger all the time. Your child can have a bad accident when left unsupervised for a few minutes or when visiting a less than safe relative’s or friend’s home. A car accident could also result in serious injuries that may require your CPR skills.

Bystanders Are Reluctant to Help

It may be a simple procedure to learn, but you want to practice CPR regularly to ensure that you do it correctly in the time of need. Unfortunately, many bystanders are reluctant to help because they are afraid of doing something wrong. Don’t refrain from offering CPR even if you don’t remember the exact procedure or feel less than confident in your skills. In a traumatic situation, you may not remember how many compressions should be given per second, how deep the compressions are meant to be, or whether or not you should flick a child’s feet first before giving CPR. However, even flawed CPR is better than none at all if there are no signs of circulation. 

Written by Audrey Jenkins

Prepare for Disaster with These 5 Home Essentials

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Though disasters like floods, earthquakes and hurricanes are rare, they can wreak havoc for whatever lies in their path. But even if your home is not damaged, the lack of electricity or functional roads can quickly cause problems. Be prepared for disaster with these five home essentials:

Nonperishable Food

Keep a sufficient supply of nonperishable food items that will last your family several weeks in an emergency situation. These need to be items that will not go bad without electricity, and they should be eatable without stove, oven or microwave preparation. Keep in mind that people need more calories than usual to recover from a disaster.

Fully Stocked First Aid Kits

Have a first aid kit that can treat most basic injuries like cuts, scrapes and basic infections. This will help keep any injuries from getting worse while emergency medical services are overtaxed by the disaster. Try to include any prescription medications that family members will need.

Clean Water

Experts recommend that families have two weeks’ worth of clean water in case of emergencies. Each person typically needs one gallon of water per person per day. If you store the water jugs in your garage, make sure that you can access them easily, especially if the power goes out. Companies like AAA Garage Door, Inc. specialize in durable garage door systems. In addition to drinking water, clean water can also be used for hygiene purposes.

Battery Operated Flashlights

This one might seem obvious, but a surprisingly high number of families do not have alternative lighting sources other than the flashlight on their smart phones. If the electricity goes out, this can be disastrous because people may be hurt while attempting to move about. Be sure to have a lot of batteries on hand too.

Communication Tools

Being cut off from the outside world can be dangerous during a disaster, so it is important to have a battery powered radio that can alert you to shifting weather patterns or other dangers. Local cell phone towers may be down, but a hand-cranked or solar cell phone charger can still be useful.

No one can really say when disaster will strike. But if you keep your family prepared and ready for anything, it won’t matter as to how and when emergencies arise. These items can be very helpful in keeping your home and family safe during a disaster. Following these guidelines will give you an advantage in disaster recovery.

Meghan is a freelance writer from Oklahoma. She enjoys being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise as well as researching new topics to expand her horizons.

First-Time Rider: Safety Tips for Motorcyclists on the Road

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Riding a motorcycle can be a thrilling experience, especially when it’s new or your first time riding. Bikes are also a generally safe mode of transportation, though because riders aren’t as protected in an accident as automobile drivers, the fatality rate is 26 times higher here than people in a car. To help keep you safe, we have gathered some tips for when you’re out on the road.

Wear a Helmet

This is probably the most important tip on this list and also the most obvious. Helmets save lives and prevent long-term or permanent brain damage. While 31 states don’t require wearing a helmet, you’re about 40 percent more likely to survive a crash if you’re wearing one.

Gear Up

Gloves, boots, pants, and a jacket are all necessary to protect you from nearly whatever the road can throw at you. Even just a simple spill can give you pretty bad road rash if you’re not wearing the right gear, to say nothing of a nasty accident. Denim and a t-shirt will just leave you with less skin than you want so you’ll want to invest in some leather accessories.

Get Defensive

According to Scherline And Associates, most accidents between a car and a motorcycle are the car driver’s fault, mostly due to violating right-of-way rules. Assume that drivers will not see you, whether when they’re changing lanes, at an intersection, or pulling out of a parking lot. Also, scan for things up ahead that might cause traffic patterns to change quickly (such as construction or an accident). It sounds intimidating, but the awareness does become second nature pretty quickly and can even save your life.

Be Road Ready

Before you set out, walk your bike, and make sure it’s ready to go. Check the chain or the belt to make sure they’re in good condition and moving smoothly. Tires need to be in good shape and inflated to the right pressure. When you get on the bike, make sure the mirrors are adjusted properly as well.

Learn From a Pro

Learning to ride a motorcycle is not something you should try to learn on your own, or something your buddy can teach you. Look into a rider class through the Motorcycle Safety Foundation or a similar group. You learn the basics, laws for your state, and may even get a break on your insurance.

Safety isn’t the first thing people think about when getting a motorcycle, but it should be. Staying safe when you ride will ensure you’ll be riding for years to come.

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer, recent graduate from the University of New Mexico, and avid runner. She loves to blog about fitness, health, home and family. Contact her via twitter @BrookeChaplan.

Save on the Essentials: 5 Frugal Ways to Prep for Any Disaster

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In the face of looming disaster, you may find yourself unable to cope with the expenses of properly preparing your home. However there are many steps you can take to prepare yourself on a tight budget with little stress. Getting the family together and making a list of set goals for everyone to work towards can be a good start.

Prioritize

The first step to preparing for any disaster is to prioritize your needs. What items, tools and foods are essential for survival when you are in the most need? Food storage is something that every person that prepares has plenty of, it’s an essential. Create a short list of the items that you believe are 100% necessary, and then add optional items afterwards. Make sure all of the essentials are marked off your list before you begin on anything else. A great deal on ice cream won’t help you if you run out of flashlight batteries in a storm that takes out your electricity.

Compare Prices

If you have the luxury of preparing for a disaster before it is upon you, you certainly have the option to shop around and price match the essentials. Take control of the situation ahead of time and give yourself options to choose from instead of having to pay a higher price at the last second. See which stores offer a price match guarantee or price match and discount deal. Look in the paper for case lot sales, and search online for more readily available discounts.

Coupons

While you’re busy comparing prices and brands, make sure to stop by sites that offer discounts and coupons for specific items. For instance, you can find a Brownells coupon and many others on sites like Discountrue.com. Using coupons effectively can greatly reduce your preparation costs. Put your accumulated coupons together in a binder for easy access when you need them.

Stockpile

One of the biggest challenges of being frugal in the case of an emergency is that you often don’t have time to do much research or planning. However if you make a habit of taking advantage of good deals all year long, then you should have a healthy stockpile built up before trouble arises. As a result, you won’t be forced to pay higher prices when supplies are running low.

Barter

There are now many communities of people who love to barter and trade. Usually the people in these groups have access to a specific product or skill that may be in short supply. They may be willing to trade and barter for your supplies and services as well, which can allow you to broaden the scope of your preparations without spending any additional money up front.

There are many ways to prepare for a disaster in a budget friendly way. Take the time to decide what you need and then do the research to ensure you are getting a good deal on those items first. Shopping and trading effectively is the only way to save yourself money when the pressure is on.

Written by Rachelle Wilber

Aftermath Automobiles: 4 Options for Bug-Out Vehicles

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It’s hard to overlook the appeal of an automobile if something goes wrong. A good car is one part transport, one part hauler, and one part mobile fortress. Given the sheer amount of vehicles on the market, though, it’s good to know your options for when things go bad and it’s time to bug out. Below are four of the best options for bug-out vehicles, as determined for disaster type.

Short-Term, One-Way Escape: Hybrid SUV

While staying on the grid might rankle a hardcore survivalist, you want to look for high gas mileage in a one-way escape. A good hybrid SUV combines the best of all world when on-road, giving you plenty of room for passengers and gear while still allowing you to go the distance. According to Edmunds, you can expect to get around five hundred miles on a single tank with a 2016 RAV 4, which should get you clear of any disaster.

Short-Term, Off-Road: Traditional Off-Road SUV

While a hybrid’s nice for staying on the roads, you’ll need something more rugged if you don’t think the roads will be available. This is perhaps the trickiest category, because you’ll need to consider taking everything you need while still having the full expectation of someday coming home. A traditional off-road SUV can get you there and back again, but be careful—there are plenty of SUVs out there that look rugged but can’t actually leave the road.

Long-Term, Shelter: Minivan

While conversions might offer you more space, you do want something that will keep you on move on a more limited amount of gas, such as a minivan. A modern van not only provides ample space for both passengers and goods, it also has the requisite hookups to provide both power and entertainment for those inside. Consult a car dealer like Woody Sander Ford if you have questions about the available features you need. While vans aren’t ideal for going off the road or long hauls, they can make for a fantastic shelter when you have no other choice.

Long-Term, Shelter Provided: Rugged Truck

You’re looking for a farm truck here, not a luxury model. A good truck can handle a lack of roads, deal with the weather, and provide you with hauling capability. If you have a fallback location—and you should—the lack of passenger space in the cab should become a non-issue. In a worst-case scenario, you can even bring several passengers with you in the truck’s bed. Trucks aren’t always ideal because of their lack of fuel economy and passenger capacity, but they can’t be beat for long-term survival.

This article was written by Dixie Somers. Dixie is a freelance writer and avid blogger who gets her inspiration from her wonderful husband and three little girls.

About those New Releases…

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I’ve been so busy writing books that I’ve gotten behind on updating all my various sites, especially this one. If you’ve been a long-time reader here at Bug Out Survival, you know that most of the articles posted here are from the recent years past when I was writing my non-fiction books on the topic, beginning with Bug Out: The Complete Plan for Escaping a Catastrophic Disaster Before it’s too Late.

While I enjoyed writing those books and sharing the information I’ve posted here over the years, my long-term goal as a writer was to write fiction, and now with seven novels published and more coming this year, I have become a full-time novelist.

As many of you know, my main two fiction series: The Pulse Series and The Darkness After Series both deal with the topic of survival in the aftermath of a catastrophic solar flare, so my current work is not really so far removed from the topics covered here at Bug Out Survival. I have left this site intact for those who might refer back to it or find it in the future, and I may get back to posting here after completing more of my novels.

Someone commented just this morning on my last post here that they were not even aware that The Forge of Darkness (Book III of The Darkness After Series) was released, and I apologize for not posting about it here sooner. The forth book in The Pulse Series is also on preorder at Amazon and will be coming in August.

The best way to stay up to date regarding my upcoming books, if you’re interested, is to join my mailing list. You’ll get advance notice when a new book is on preorder so you can grab it at the reduced preorder price before release, and I’ll let you know about other discounts and deals from time to time. I’ve also got a completely new series in the works that I think readers of this site will really like, and I’ll be sending my subscribers the details soon. Right now you can even get a free book just for signing up. 

And for those of you interested in The Forge of Darkness and Landfall: Islands in the Aftermath, clicking on the covers below will take you to the Amazon pages where you can read the descriptions and either Look Inside or download a free sample.

4 Signs Your Security System Is Failing You

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Security systems are getting more sophisticated. The downside to this is when it comes to knowing whether or not they are working perfectly. If you install a new set of motion sensors tied to the internet, you will instantly know when someone is inside your house. But if the sensors are not working well, they may not actually inform you that you are getting incomplete data. Here are 4 signs that your security system is failing you:

Trouble finding events

If you have cameras in your security system, they should faithfully record every disturbance or problem in their field of view. Yet in some cases, an event will occur that will not be saved to the system that is storing the recorded video. So if you have trouble finding video of a security problem that happened, it can either be a computer problem or you may have had a camera go bad or lose power at a certain point at night.

Electronic unpredictability

Most security equipment is built to handle the indoor or outdoor conditions that it is designed for. When there are fluctuations in temperature, humidity, or when the electric power source is unstable, it can degrade their performance and cause malfunctions over time. Having a strong partner that can regularly validate your key security electronics provides you with the ability to have complete confidence that your system will operate as flawlessly as you intend it to.

Errant alarms

When there is a problem, you want your alarm system to tell you about it. When you don’t have a problem and your alarm system goes off, then it is likely the case that you have an incorrectly configured system or the electronics require repair.

Non-functioning equipment

One of the most popular types of security door upgrades uses biometrics or fingerprinting to allow access for employees. The software is not always perfect and sometimes people registered for access are denied. If it isn’t possible to return your faulty equipment for a refund or exchange, experienced technicians at Contec Direct and other electronic support services specialize in home security repair.

Security systems protect the valuables you have in your home and business. Knowing the sign of a faulty operating system can mean the difference between security and taking a loss. Ease your mind by routinely checking on your security system and catch any faulty bugs before misfortune comes knocking on your door.

Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She also enjoys being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise as well as researching new topics to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure

Peach Pie

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I had to go to town today to get my prescriptions filled and when I got home I just couldn’t stand the thought of peeling a million peaches for jam. Something about 7 cups of sugar for jam which we really don’t eat, just didn’t motivate me today. Maybe I will do some tomorrow but I still have all those peaches and had to make a small dent in them anyway so I made a peach pie….well, a peach/cherry pie because I still have all those dried cherries my sister-in-law gave me (as a matter a fact, they gave me another quart bag after the first ones) and they need to be used too.
I didn’t use a recipe. Nothing wrong with using a recipe but after years of cooking, I think I can put together a simple pie without one. It’s a lost art, I know but really pies are pretty easy. I peeled, and peeled, and peeled my peaches until I had a pie tin full, then I put them in a bowl, added a cup of sugar, a handful or so of the dried cherries, some cinnamon, a little less nutmeg, and a little flour. Readied the bottom crust and put it in the pan, poking holes in it here and there, put in the peaches/cherries, dabbed some butter on top and then put the top crust on.

I cooked it for 40 minutes and the crust was not real brown but since I tend to get it too brown usually, I thought this was good enough and took it out. Will let you know how good it is tonight after dinner (in the comments) but I imagine this is going to be pretty tasty.

Canning Peaches!

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So the peaches on my one tree finally got ripe and it was time to pick them. Phil and I picked the ones we could reach and then we used the can (although we use the bottom of a Poweraid bottle) on a stick trick to try to get the ones we couldn’t reach. It worked but not well so there was still a lot of peaches left even after we had a big basket and grocery bag full.
That problem was solved yesterday when some storms came through.

Yeah, half the tree just bent right over. Too many peaches, then water weight on the leaves and it was way too heavy. It did not break the tree but I will have to cut it back pretty good this year because those branches aren’t going back up even though I have picked the peaches now.

Yes, three more bags of peaches.

It sounds so simple to can peaches when you read it on a website. Just pop them in boiling water, then cold water and the skins will just peel right off…….LIES! Ha, yeah, that only worked for the larger, riper peaches, the smaller, harder peaches (which was 75% of them) have skin that just doesn’t come off and you spend forever peeling them. Then the website said just look for the line already on the peach and cut on it and most of the peaches will just break in half….LIES! I had one that broke in half…..some had oddly shaped pits, some had pits that weren’t entirely in the center…most would not come away from the pits at ALL! In the end, once the big peaches were done and I was stuck with the smaller ones, I just sat down and peeled them with a paring knife and cut off all the good peach parts I could.  I used Fruit Fresh to keep the peaches from turning brown while I peeled (forever! a whole large bowl for ONE quart!).
I made a sugar syrup of 1 cup sugar to one quart of water and put the peeled peach pieces in the jars, added the syrup, made sure to remove the air bubbles but running a knife through it, cleaned the rims and then water bath canned for 20 minutes.

Yup, a whole 8 quarts for 5 hours (5 HOURS!) worth of work. Tomorrow I will have to do some more (I am thinking about peach jam ) because there are still 2 1/2 bags of small peaches left.

Six Things Your Business Can Do To Prepare For Emergencies

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Unfortunately, not all things that can really hurt a business can be foreseen. Accidents, disasters and emergencies can happen at any given time. As a business owner or manager, you need to be prepared. Being prepared can mean saving the lives of employees as well as the financial health of the company overall. Below are six things you can do to prepare for emergencies.

Have the Proper Insurance Coverage

Businesses spend a decent amount of money on insurance but not without good reason. A sudden fire, flood or earthquake could do irreparable harm to your facilities. Make sure you have the right insurance policies to protect your business if an emergency were to occur.

Have Safety Plans on the Books

How a company deals with emergencies shouldn’t be an open question. You must have rules and regulations in writing that determine how safety hazards, accidents and other emergencies are dealt with. All employees must also be trained on how to follow those rules.

Have the Right Equipment Installed

Another responsibility of a business is to have the proper safety equipment installed. This should include alarm systems that tell employees to evacuate in case of a fire, chemical spill or other emergency. It should also include things like sprinkler systems and emergency stops for equipment.

Hire Employees with the Right Degrees and Experience

Being prepared for emergencies also means having the right staff on hand. If you have facilities like factories where safety hazards could pose a real threat to employees and others, you should probably have experienced staff members on hand. Professionals who have been through emergency management degree programs can help make sure the workplace remains safe.

Make First Aid Available

First aid should be made available for employees that are injured on the job. The proper supplies should be located nearby all workstations. You should also have staff members on hand that are trained on how to properly administer first aid until EMTs arrive.

Backup Important Data

Many companies store very important data on their computer hardware regarding customers, sales, products, marketing plans and more. You should make sure such data is backed up either at multiple locations or in the cloud. Even a simple thunder storm can wipe out all the data on a company’s local servers. Anytime the weather gets bad, that is a real risk.

Devastating emergencies that can harm a business and its employees could occur at any time. Make sure you are always prepared for worst case scenarios if they ever do come to pass.

Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She enjoys writing about home, family, business and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys spending time with her family and reading a good book when she isn’t writing.

The End of the End?

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I’ve had a few good folks reach out to check on me, make sure I had not been abducted by aliens and generally to see what’s up with the blog. There’s been not much noise out of me since January; I went AWOL without advanced notice, yet again. I apologize for that.

Over the past year, I’ve taken several long, unplanned breaks. Priorities in life moved T-Blog to the back of the line. I’ve tried many times to jumpstart with regular updates again, but end up staring at the blinking cursor for a while, perpetually re-writing a paragraph and then moving onto something else.

T-Blog has been rewarding and vastly educational for me, and I’ve been able to interact with a bunch of very cool, like-minded, good people. It’s humbling to know that the blog has been viewed almost 10 million times, and that literally hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of people have been helped or educated by the blog in some small way. I had absolutely zero plan for any of that when I started writing way back in the day; T-Blog took a life of its own and I have been happy to be there for the ride.

At this point, though, it’s a ride that I am going to get off.

Probably not a huge surprise, given no updates for 5 months, but I owe an announcement to the few of you out there checking T-Blog occasionally to see if there are any updates or wondering where I am.

At this point, there are no plans to re-start active updates to T-Blog. The site and its years of archives will continue as-is for the foreseeable future.

I am considering launching a new, quasi-related project that will require a more minimal time investment to keep updated, but no promises there.

Thanks to all for your readership, commentary and support over the years. Stay safe.

State of the Blog

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To be honest I am pretty tired. A lot of stuff is up in the air with my life and at times it takes all the energy I have to do basic essential life stuff. Writing on a regular basis at all, let alone posts that are any good is more than I am willing to do.

Towards the end of my marriage this was a welcome diversion. A place where people appreciated what I did and only had good things to say. Of course it helped that you only saw what I wanted to share. Anyway the blog and preparedness at large got way out of balance in my life across the board from time and energy to money and space/ logistical constraints. Not living the right way to prepare for stuff that will probably not happen is stupid.

After consideration of your input I am going to give the blog a stay of execution. One of my character failings is that I want to do everything 120% or failing that to not do it. In the past I have quit things I enjoyed when my energy to go full bore faded and regretted it later. I do not want to do that here. I have put a lot of time into this and made some really good friends. At a minimum it is something I want to be very deliberate about quitting. Also so much is up in the air right now that I am sort of spinning so I’m not sure it is a great time to make any major life decisions anyway.

So what happens now?

In the short term I am going to take a break for a few weeks. I need to work on myself and get my head in a better place. There will not be new posts for this time. All content will stay up but comments will be closed (tomorrow). Say that puts us in mid summer.

Since I will be offering a much less consistent service I plan to cease advertising except contracts that have commitments attached. This is easy as I haven’t even bothered to do my admin stuff like ask people for money in months. It says a lot about how little you care when its too much trouble to ask people for money. I haven’t felt great about the service I was offering anyway.

From there my current intent is to shift from almost daily posts to well whenever I darn well feel like it. I am not going to make myself write at any set interval. I will write when I feel like saying something and have the time/ energy to do it. After awhile I will re evaluate how I feel about the blog.

So that is the plan as of today.

4 Ways to Storm-proof Your Home

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Throughout the year, especially in the spring and summer, you might experience severe storms at your home. Protect your home before severe weather arrives by walking around the home and making a list of what needs to be done. When you know what you need to fix, then you can begin to get the materials that are needed so that your family is protected.

Roofing

Check the shingles of the roof to make sure there aren’t any that are loose. If there are strong winds in the storm, then the shingles could get blown away. At times, the roof could receive damage to the point that there are small holes, which would allow water to get inside the home. When you’re checking the roof, it’s best to check the gutters as well to make sure they are clear of debris, allowing water to drain. If your roof needs repairs, be sure to consult a roofing and construction professional.

Trees

Keep limbs of trees and hedges cleared away from the sides of the home, windows and the roof. You should also check with the electrical company to see if limbs can be cut away from power lines. If a tree limb, or tree, were to fall in the direction of the home or near a line, then it could prove disastrous as windows could be broken, and power could be lost. Any dead trees should be cut down as they are the weakest in the yard and the easiest to blow over.

Shutters and Doors

Make sure the windows and doors are supported. Qualified construction companies can install shutters on the windows to help decrease the possibilities of debris flying into the home during a severe storm. Ordinary glass windows usually don’t withstand against harsh winds the way stormproof windows can. Doors can also be reinforced with a second storm door to provide a bit of protection if hail, rain, or debris does get blown into the front of the home.

The Extras

One of the things that you might not think about right before a storm is that there are toys and other items outside that can get tossed in the air. Keep all of the loose items, such as water hoses, toys and gardening tools, in a secure area. This could be a storage shed or a small plastic container that is secured to the ground.

Before storm season arrives is the time to make sure the home is protected. Examine the windows to see that they are reinforced. Check the roof as well as the limbs on the trees to minimize damage. Keep the little things put away so that they aren’t blown into the side of the home. These tips can help keep your home and family safe.

Information credit for this article, particularly the information on roofing, goes to D.S. Bahr Construction, Inc.

Emma is a freelance writer living in Boston. When she manages to tear herself away from the computer, she enjoys baking, rock climbing, and film noir.

Reader Questions: Meister on my changing family situation

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Meister said “Have you thought about doing a post on your changes to your basic plan with the new familial arrangement? Lots of people in your position would like to hear a fresh perspective.”

-Ryan here.

The just Ryan in Kansas plan is really easy. If you prepare for a family for 4 and are (in hindsight not so) suddenly alone the person to calorie/ days math goes long really fast. Also being a fairly hearty guy I’m just not worried about too much. If I had to hunker down or leave in a hurry I could do that.

As to the kids and Baby Momma. They are with family who have made some pretty solid preparations in an area where they have a solid network of people. For any semi realistic scenario that group will be fine.

That is not question I think Meister is really getting at. What I think he wants to know is how these plans may/ will come together in a way that I provide value to my children (,by default the people around them) and Baby Momma?

I am not ignoring this question but I am not ready to answer it I am going to hold my cards pretty close to my chest here. Stuff is in the works that I am not yet ready to discuss. Some time after those things happen I will decide if and when to talk about them.