Starting a Firearms Battery Over

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We can use a good cliché gun porn post. Thankfully no tragedies have happened but it makes for an interesting train of thought. Say the guns I currently have were ALL lost in a boating accident/ fire/ etc. Anyway for the discussion I would find myself starting over with the knowledge I have today and in todays market.

Core guns:
-Glock 26
-Glock 19 (Both with the same sights and modifications, if any.)
-AKM x 2 (If you said AR I wouldn’t argue. Honestly get whichever of the two you prefer.)
-Remington 870 12 gauge with long and short barrels. Light attached to short barrel.
-Savage .308, probably the Hog Hunter model, with a mid size variable power scope.

Nice to have:
-Marlin model 60 .22
-Some sort of tiny pistol.

If I wanted to make caches down the road I would use these same models of guns.

Basically the big differences would be that I would keep things really simple. Also there wouldn’t be a log of churning stuff. I would minimize the use of magazines in non tactical weapons (When does a speed reload for a .22 squirrel gun/ plinker ever matter?).

I would take advantage of high value weapons. I would use the money I saved not building uber expensive AR’s and put it into a good scope for the Savage as well as lots of mags, spare parts and ammo. Also by keeping things simple and affordable it would let me rather quickly check the ‘guns’ box and put energy as well as money into other areas.

If you were doing it all over again what would you get and why?

How does this differ from what you have now and why?

Accuracy Standards- Rifles

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Thinking in groups of people can kind of move in cycles. This is true in meat space social networks as well as internet ones. Internet ones are different because we tend to be reading things instead of having conversations. So while Bob, Jim and Jill might have a conversation here Harry, Sally and Frank can hear the same thing the next day. Anyway…..

The American Partisan folks and I seem to be thinking a lot alike lately. American Partisan wrote a good post on practical carbine accuracy. Their points about practical field shooting being different from a nice day on the range with a rest being different are totally valid but that isn’t where I am going.

I am reminded of the old construction saying that there is fast, good and cheap but you only get to pick two. (So you can have fast and good but it won’t be cheap, or cheap and good but it won’t be fast, etc) In this context we would have accurate, reliable and affordable. Admittedly that is an over simplification. With rifles we also have the variable of weight but then we are getting pretty far down into the weeds with concept of use and such.

The important question at hand is how much accuracy do we need. I suppose we would have to categorize rifles into a couple concepts of use. Categories need to be defined.

Fighting rifle. A magazine fed semi automatic rifle used for personal combat. Ranges will vary but in a non military context 3-50 meters are most common with occasional shots closer to 100m.

(Seriously cases where a civilian or cop is shooting past100m or so are at best rare. Off hand I can not think of any though admittedly I haven’t proactively looked. If you know of any please shoot me breakdowns of the stories.)

Precision rifle. Scoped rifle used for shooting at longer distances or situations where a high degree of accuracy is needed. Call it a sniper rifle or a hunting rifle, whatever.

Accuracy Standards:

Fighting rifle- 4 MOA

Precision rifle- 2 MOA

Discussion:

Fighting rifle- 4 MOA. Why 4 MOA? That is a solid head shot at 100 meters. At 300 meters its a 12 inch circle which is a very good chest shot. At 600 meters it is a 24 inch circle which probably puts the round in someone’s torso.

4 MOA is also, if I recall, the contract standard for the Colt M4 rifles we carry at work. Someone probably did the same kind of thinking I did in the previous paragraph.

I would argue that a 4 MOA rifle will do anything you can reasonably expect out of a fighting rifle.

Pretty much any serviceable rifle will shoot this. If an AR can’t shoot 4 MOA something is wrong with it. (though typically AR issues manifest themselves more in reliability than accuracy). Most AK’s can shoot under 4 MOA. Every AK I have personally fired can meet or exceed this.

Precision rifle: What just 2 MOA? That is a shot on a partially concealed head at 100 meters or a full head at 200. That keeps you in good torso shots (12″ is a pretty vital circle when centered on the sternum) out to 600. Honestly unless you are a legitimate military sniper or some sort of championship high power guy an honest 2 MOA rifle will out shoot you.

Reliability- For fighting weapons reliability is obviously important. Nothing is absolute and mechanical devices sometimes fail. However if your gun is failing regularly then you need to address the issue.

In firearms (at least in the modern era, I can’t speak to before that) there is traditionally an inverse relationship between reliability and accuracy. To make a gun more reliable you increase clearances between parts to allow for dirt/ sand/ carbon build up/ etc. Bigger clearances mean movement between parts which ultimately means less predictability in where the bullet goes AKA wider shot group. Think about say an AKM. On the other hand especially with precision machining capabilities now available it is easy to make for really tight clearances which means less movement and more accuracy. However the gun is less reliable because those tight spaces between parts offer little room for dirt/ sand/ carbon build up.

1911’s are a good case for this. A mil spec 1911, even a new one, has some play between parts, that in part makes them reasonably reliable. I probably make fun of 1911’s sometimes but a Colt or Springfield will work fine if you have reasonable expectations. Even those shot out WWII guns will typically run. However accuracy is nothing to write home about. On the other hand a target model 1911will be a lot more accurate. The modern ability to make parts accurate to a tiny fraction of an inch allows this. However the same super tight build that makes the gun accurate means it is a lot less reliable. This brings us back to the good fast and cheap. You can have accurate, reliable and affordable but you only get to pick 2. A $700 1911 can be accurate or reliable. Now a $3,000 super fancy boutique production Ed Brown/ Nighthawk/ Wilson Combat will be accurate and reliable but cheap is out the window.

It is easy to exceed both of these numbers. Finding standard production AR’s that shoot 2 MOA is easy. These days really accurate bolt action rifles are out there also. There is a pretty good chance that the Hunters Special Rem/ Sav/ Moss package with a scope on sale at Wally World is a 1 MOA rifle. There are a lot of reliable options at a variety of different price points.

The point I am striving for here is that the odds are high whatever guns you have are accurate enough so quit worrying about that. Put the time/ energy/ money into worrying if the meatsack behind the gun can do its part.

Thoughts?

 

BloggerRobert Kirk said…

I try to have on-hand weapons without magazines like SKS or M1 and revolvers instead of semi-autos. The volume of fire is lessened, but the trained quality should be better (vs “spray & pray”). Using weapons without magazines cuts down on “overhead” cost for mags, meaning you can spend more for ammo. It also means no mag issues like the ARs incompatibility or mag use damage. You might eventually, possibly, have a weapon that is only good for a doorstop in TEOTWAWKI. Not good.


Rucksack Rob said…

RK.
You do have a valid point…almost. I like revolvers a lot! They are dependable, spit out any ammo fed to them and are great for both novice and expert.
My disagreement with your statement is the M1 (Garand I’m assuming). The Garand was and still is one of the best rifles ever designed but let me ask you, how many enbloc clips do you have? When that rifle was standard issue, the military had unlimited clips pre-loaded as issued to the “Joe’s” who carried it. Now again I ask you… how many do you have stashed away to reload w/ 8 rds. of 30-06 after said firefight? Did you stop to pick up the clips that were thrown 3-6 ft. away in the tall grass in the dark?
Yes 20-30rd magazines may be a slight logistical problem for some preppers / soldiers but it’s much easier to stock up now on brand new mags (vs. surplus clips) which, during the heat of any type of battle would be easier to pick up off the ground at your feet or to perform a tactical reload and stuff the mag in a pouch or down your shirt than a clip that was thrown out to ‘tim-buk-tu’
After 24 years in the Army, all in combat arms, I do have some working knowledge of combat rifles, both foreign and domestic and as stated earlier, the Garand is a fine rifle but because of the clips, is one that is slightly outdated for that one reason only. I do own one and love to shoot it but it would not be my first choice for a MBR in a SHTF scenario unless of course, it was the only one I had with me at the time…lol
I forget who said “Be cautious of the man with one gun, for he probably knows how to use it.” and for all I know, that could fit you to a ‘T’.

Ryan here. This sort of statement about mag fed weapons and ‘spray and pray’ has been thrown out enough over time that I feel like addressing it. I also plan to touch on the M1 Garand and revolvers.

I try to have on-hand weapons without magazines like SKS or M1 and revolvers instead of semi-autos. The volume of fire is lessened, but the trained quality should be better (vs “spray & pray”).”

This kind of thinking conflates skill, tactics and technology. In simple language people mix stuff together and come to an overall flawed conclusion. Lets look at them in order then bring it all together.

Skill- The ability to accurately engage a target comes from your ability to apply the fundamentals of marksmenship. Presuming a weapon is mechanically accurate, which most of them are, a person who can shoot will be able to hit with whatever gun. If we look at it most civilian defensive shooting problems they are not particularly difficult.

Tactics- Moving, shooting, use of cover, etc all. One could say “spray and pray” is a tactic though I would say it I say it is a bad tactic. At best it is a fundamental misunderstanding of small unit tactics (fire and maneuver, etc) but at worst it is utter stupidity.

Equipment drives tactics in the big picture though for an individual with a rifle or handgun not much has changed really in awhile.

Technology- The AR and AK are 50’s technology and semi automatic pistols have been standard across the vast majority of the worlds militaries since WWII. Cops in the US used revolvers for longer than that till say the early 90’s.

Where the conflation occurs in this thinking is that people think by limiting their technology they will somehow magically get better results. At best this thinking is ignorant. People who think this almost universally lack training or experience.

Put it like this, Would an older less capable racecar improve the performance of the driver in a race? Obviously not. The idea is laughable. The answer to improving discipline, taking good shots and getting hits is about training. A shitty shot who is scared can empty a wheel gun or SKS into thin air just the same as they could a tricked out race gun or high end AR-15.

So aside from being fundamentally flawed limiting capacity and reload time via technology are problematic. The issue is that even if somehow a 6 shot revolver made you into a steely eyed killer, which it doesn’t, you would still be a steely eyed killer with a 6 shooter. If you get into a situation where that’s not enough you have a problem.

There is also a layer of economic resentment or jealousy in any of these discussions. The economic classism in American society does not vanish in gun/ preparedness culture. Some folks feel compelled to say their choice, made mostly for economic reasons, is better to feel good about it. Instead of saying “I know its not ideal but its what I can afford” guys have to somehow try to justify it being a better choice.

So in closing using a different gun to try to fix (lack of) training issues is not a useful idea.

Now to revolvers and the good ole M1 Garand.

Revolvers:

1-  Reliability/ durability. We have a tendency to look back at revolvers with rose colored glasses.

As someone much more experienced than I (who was also a LEO in the wheel gun era) said “Revolvers handle neglect better while semi automatics handle abuse better.” If a gun is going to sit indefinitely in a drawer somewhere a revolver is more likely to work a couple years down the road. On the other hand if it might get carried through a mud puddle or dropped in sand a modern universal service pistol is far more likely to function.

They had issues with getting dirty, timing and failing. A local agency used to stop partway through their 60 round qualification to use a brush to wipe out under the star extractors because otherwise the guns (S&W model 66’s) wouldn’t extract properly.

Also revolvers are considerably more fragile than one might think. People think about the big heavy metal frame with a fixed barrel but forget about the little parts like the cylinder stop that are pretty fragile and when broken stop the gun cold.

A lot of revolver owners these days have selective memory in part because they tend (there are exceptions but they are rare) not to shoot much. Any halfway decent gun will be pretty reliable if you shoot 200 rounds a year through it.

2- Revolvers excel at the ends of the size spectrum. The difference between a little 5 shot J frame and a 6-7 shot single stack .308/9mm are minimal. For larger magnum type guns revolvers are stronger and much more affordable. In the middle with compact/ duty sized guns revolvers really lose out. A S&W k frame, probably the epitome of a duty revolver holds 6 shots. A Glock 17 is about the same size, lighter and holds 2.5x the ammo. Multiply that by a couple reloads and a double stack auto is a whole different ballgame than a wheel gun.

3- From a preparedness angle (vs general defensive use) revolvers have a couple of unique pros and cons. Pro- Ability to handle a variety of ammunition. Since a round doesn’t have to cycle the action revolvers are more tolerant of weaker loads than an automatic. Con- Fitting parts. Modern universal service pistols have drop in parts. That means any chuckle head with basic tools can swap out parts. Good luck trying that with a wheel gun. The saying that fixing a Glock involves a tool box and fixing a revolver involves a gunsmith has more than a little validity.

M1 Garand:
I honestly can’t believe we are discussing this. The Garand was the peak of fighting rifles from its adoption in 1936 when everyone was shooting bolt guns we had a semi auto. Then in about ’43 the STV-40 and STG-44 came to be. Certainly by the late 40’s to mid 1950’s when reliable mag fed rifles such as the AK-47 and FN-FAL were fielded the Garand was obsolete.

They feed from an 8 round en bloc clip and are pretty picky about ammunition. Modern 30’06 ammo (the one exception being specially loaded ammo from Prvi Partisan) is too powerful and will potentially bend op rods. To cap that all off the Garand’s in existence are usually 70 some odd years old. Even if they were properly stored and cared for metal fatigues over time.  Also to make matters worse these guns aren’t cheap anymore. A moot point if you own a couple already but at the price these days you could get a new quality AR or AK.

If you are a salty old WWII or Korea vet who is intimately familiar with a Garand that has one and a bunch of spam cans of ammo in the basement then stick with it. For anyone else having a Garand as a fighting weapon is silly.

If you want to own a Garand as a history piece for your collection then rock on. By all means do it, they are a neat piece of history. In the unlikely event you are in some crazy siege thing and have more shooters than guns by all means toss someone the Garand. However planning to use a gun that has serious limitations in a primary defensive role is foolish.

As a final thought despite spending however many words and an hour or so of my time guns really don’t matter that much. If you look at realistic defensive shootings guns don’t matter that much. It matters that a person has a loaded gun, can get that gun into play and shoot it accurately in a timely manner. Somewhere after that it matters what kind of gun the person has.

Put it like this. People tend to be way too focused on the gun itself and in that focus miss the real point that it is about themselves and their capability. A person with the right skills and frame of mind can win a fight with a shitty old .38 wheel gun. A guy who lacks the right skills and frame of mind could be carrying a $3,000 high end pistol and it doesn’t matter. To get it out of the gun discussion I could show up to the course with $20 Goodwill golf clubs and if I swapped clubs then played with Tiger Woods he would still kick my ass.

 

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BloggerRobert Kirk said…

I try to have on-hand weapons without magazines like SKS or M1 and revolvers instead of semi-autos. The volume of fire is lessened, but the trained quality should be better (vs “spray & pray”). Using weapons without magazines cuts down on “overhead” cost for mags, meaning you can spend more for ammo. It also means no mag issues like the ARs incompatibility or mag use damage. You might eventually, possibly, have a weapon that is only good for a doorstop in TEOTWAWKI. Not good.


Rucksack Rob said…

RK.
You do have a valid point…almost. I like revolvers a lot! They are dependable, spit out any ammo fed to them and are great for both novice and expert.
My disagreement with your statement is the M1 (Garand I’m assuming). The Garand was and still is one of the best rifles ever designed but let me ask you, how many enbloc clips do you have? When that rifle was standard issue, the military had unlimited clips pre-loaded as issued to the “Joe’s” who carried it. Now again I ask you… how many do you have stashed away to reload w/ 8 rds. of 30-06 after said firefight? Did you stop to pick up the clips that were thrown 3-6 ft. away in the tall grass in the dark?
Yes 20-30rd magazines may be a slight logistical problem for some preppers / soldiers but it’s much easier to stock up now on brand new mags (vs. surplus clips) which, during the heat of any type of battle would be easier to pick up off the ground at your feet or to perform a tactical reload and stuff the mag in a pouch or down your shirt than a clip that was thrown out to ‘tim-buk-tu’
After 24 years in the Army, all in combat arms, I do have some working knowledge of combat rifles, both foreign and domestic and as stated earlier, the Garand is a fine rifle but because of the clips, is one that is slightly outdated for that one reason only. I do own one and love to shoot it but it would not be my first choice for a MBR in a SHTF scenario unless of course, it was the only one I had with me at the time…lol
I forget who said “Be cautious of the man with one gun, for he probably knows how to use it.” and for all I know, that could fit you to a ‘T’.

Ryan here. This sort of statement about mag fed weapons and ‘spray and pray’ has been thrown out enough over time that I feel like addressing it. I also plan to touch on the M1 Garand and revolvers.

I try to have on-hand weapons without magazines like SKS or M1 and revolvers instead of semi-autos. The volume of fire is lessened, but the trained quality should be better (vs “spray & pray”).”

This kind of thinking conflates skill, tactics and technology. In simple language people mix stuff together and come to an overall flawed conclusion. Lets look at them in order then bring it all together.

Skill- The ability to accurately engage a target comes from your ability to apply the fundamentals of marksmenship. Presuming a weapon is mechanically accurate, which most of them are, a person who can shoot will be able to hit with whatever gun. If we look at it most civilian defensive shooting problems they are not particularly difficult.

Tactics- Moving, shooting, use of cover, etc all. One could say “spray and pray” is a tactic though I would say it I say it is a bad tactic. At best it is a fundamental misunderstanding of small unit tactics (fire and maneuver, etc) but at worst it is utter stupidity.

Equipment drives tactics in the big picture though for an individual with a rifle or handgun not much has changed really in awhile.

Technology- The AR and AK are 50’s technology and semi automatic pistols have been standard across the vast majority of the worlds militaries since WWII. Cops in the US used revolvers for longer than that till say the early 90’s.

Where the conflation occurs in this thinking is that people think by limiting their technology they will somehow magically get better results. At best this thinking is ignorant. People who think this almost universally lack training or experience.

Put it like this, Would an older less capable racecar improve the performance of the driver in a race? Obviously not. The idea is laughable. The answer to improving discipline, taking good shots and getting hits is about training. A shitty shot who is scared can empty a wheel gun or SKS into thin air just the same as they could a tricked out race gun or high end AR-15.

So aside from being fundamentally flawed limiting capacity and reload time via technology are problematic. The issue is that even if somehow a 6 shot revolver made you into a steely eyed killer, which it doesn’t, you would still be a steely eyed killer with a 6 shooter. If you get into a situation where that’s not enough you have a problem.

There is also a layer of economic resentment or jealousy in any of these discussions. The economic classism in American society does not vanish in gun/ preparedness culture. Some folks feel compelled to say their choice, made mostly for economic reasons, is better to feel good about it. Instead of saying “I know its not ideal but its what I can afford” guys have to somehow try to justify it being a better choice.

So in closing using a different gun to try to fix (lack of) training issues is not a useful idea.

Now to revolvers and the good ole M1 Garand.

Revolvers:

1-  Reliability/ durability. We have a tendency to look back at revolvers with rose colored glasses.

As someone much more experienced than I (who was also a LEO in the wheel gun era) said “Revolvers handle neglect better while semi automatics handle abuse better.” If a gun is going to sit indefinitely in a drawer somewhere a revolver is more likely to work a couple years down the road. On the other hand if it might get carried through a mud puddle or dropped in sand a modern universal service pistol is far more likely to function.

They had issues with getting dirty, timing and failing. A local agency used to stop partway through their 60 round qualification to use a brush to wipe out under the star extractors because otherwise the guns (S&W model 66’s) wouldn’t extract properly.

Also revolvers are considerably more fragile than one might think. People think about the big heavy metal frame with a fixed barrel but forget about the little parts like the cylinder stop that are pretty fragile and when broken stop the gun cold.

A lot of revolver owners these days have selective memory in part because they tend (there are exceptions but they are rare) not to shoot much. Any halfway decent gun will be pretty reliable if you shoot 200 rounds a year through it.

2- Revolvers excel at the ends of the size spectrum. The difference between a little 5 shot J frame and a 6-7 shot single stack .308/9mm are minimal. For larger magnum type guns revolvers are stronger and much more affordable. In the middle with compact/ duty sized guns revolvers really lose out. A S&W k frame, probably the epitome of a duty revolver holds 6 shots. A Glock 17 is about the same size, lighter and holds 2.5x the ammo. Multiply that by a couple reloads and a double stack auto is a whole different ballgame than a wheel gun.

3- From a preparedness angle (vs general defensive use) revolvers have a couple of unique pros and cons. Pro- Ability to handle a variety of ammunition. Since a round doesn’t have to cycle the action revolvers are more tolerant of weaker loads than an automatic. Con- Fitting parts. Modern universal service pistols have drop in parts. That means any chuckle head with basic tools can swap out parts. Good luck trying that with a wheel gun. The saying that fixing a Glock involves a tool box and fixing a revolver involves a gunsmith has more than a little validity.

M1 Garand:
I honestly can’t believe we are discussing this. The Garand was the peak of fighting rifles from its adoption in 1936 when everyone was shooting bolt guns we had a semi auto. Then in about ’43 the STV-40 and STG-44 came to be. Certainly by the late 40’s to mid 1950’s when reliable mag fed rifles such as the AK-47 and FN-FAL were fielded the Garand was obsolete.

They feed from an 8 round en bloc clip and are pretty picky about ammunition. Modern 30’06 ammo (the one exception being specially loaded ammo from Prvi Partisan) is too powerful and will potentially bend op rods. To cap that all off the Garand’s in existence are usually 70 some odd years old. Even if they were properly stored and cared for metal fatigues over time.  Also to make matters worse these guns aren’t cheap anymore. A moot point if you own a couple already but at the price these days you could get a new quality AR or AK.

If you are a salty old WWII or Korea vet who is intimately familiar with a Garand that has one and a bunch of spam cans of ammo in the basement then stick with it. For anyone else having a Garand as a fighting weapon is silly.

If you want to own a Garand as a history piece for your collection then rock on. By all means do it, they are a neat piece of history. In the unlikely event you are in some crazy siege thing and have more shooters than guns by all means toss someone the Garand. However planning to use a gun that has serious limitations in a primary defensive role is foolish.

As a final thought despite spending however many words and an hour or so of my time guns really don’t matter that much. If you look at realistic defensive shootings guns don’t matter that much. It matters that a person has a loaded gun, can get that gun into play and shoot it accurately in a timely manner. Somewhere after that it matters what kind of gun the person has.

Put it like this. People tend to be way too focused on the gun itself and in that focus miss the real point that it is about themselves and their capability. A person with the right skills and frame of mind can win a fight with a shitty old .38 wheel gun. A guy who lacks the right skills and frame of mind could be carrying a $3,000 high end pistol and it doesn’t matter. To get it out of the gun discussion I could show up to the course with $20 Goodwill golf clubs and if I swapped clubs then played with Tiger Woods he would still kick my ass.

 

Combat Loads, Mags n Ammo Stashes

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For a pretty long time I used the following as my standards:
Ammo
Fighting rifle- 3k
Fighting pistol- 1 k

Mags
Rifle- 20
Pistol- 10

A recent post at American Partisan got me to thinking about this topic.

In terms of magazines the numbers I gave above are kinda high by many peoples standards.

Basically they are 3x combat loads albeit rounded to even numbers. I figure one to be using, one to replace them and one for charity/ barter. So 3 combat loads of 3 magazines is 9 which I will round to 10 because its easy. 3 combat loads of 7 magazines is 21 which I round to 20. I round these type of things to get to an easy to remember number and maybe because I am a bit OCD.

Magazines are the weak link in the firearm chain in a couple ways. First that they wear out fairly often and honestly most failures in semi automatic weapons come from magazine issues followed shortly by lack of lubrication (particularly in the AR platform which needs to be lubricated heavier than most guns). Second magazines can and have been targeted successfully by anti gun types. I grew up as a gun owner during a magazine ban that made standard magazines very expensive. I remember  a buddy had ONE standard capacity factory Glock mag which he paid like $150 for (in 2002 dollars). Thankfully that ban passed. Once President Obama was elected I was concerned about gun bans and swore to myself I would do my best to avoid getting caught short. So I went long on magazines.

I figure 10 pistol mags is a good number. For rifle mags I stock, or try to stock, 20 per rifle.

If a person who is a bit less cautious about these things or shorter on resources said they were going to go with 2 combat loads instead of 3, so 6 pistol mags and 14 rifle mags, I wouldn’t really have any issue with that.

Other guns: I would probably cut these numbers in half for non core weapons. The plinker .22, your hunting rifle, the baby .380 CCW gun, etc. 5 or so mags is probably plenty for these guns. Though I have gone considerably longer for my 10/22

In terms of ammo I have done some thinking over recent years. One issue about my previous planning I failed to consider was training ammo. Ammo to keep skills up, test fire guns, zero new optics, etc all. So I got to rethinking my ammo numbers. Here is what I am thinking now.

Emergency Ammo- Lives in a box with a glass door that says “Open in case of Emergency”.

10 combat loads per gun albeit rounded to even numbers to make things easy. So that means 500 rounds of pistol ammo and 2,000 rounds of rifle ammo. PER GUN.

If a person said they were going to cut those numbers in half they would be fine in all but the darkest situations.

Other guns: I don’t necessarily have a strong opinion here. I like lot of .22 ammo on hand. A couple hundred rounds of good defensive ammo is a decent situation for a shotgun but 500 is better. Several boxes of ammo for a hunting rifle (that you don’t immediately rely on for defense IE you have an AR/AK and a hunting rifle) is decent but a 1-2 dozen boxes would be better.

Training ammo:
My goal is to have a years training ammo on hand. So if there was a shortage now I could train normally and replace it in 3/4/6/8 months when things go back to normal. Sandy Hook and that gun/ ammo crisis showed us it might take awhile for things to get back to normal.

In the last year I have probably shot 2,000 rounds of 9mm and 1,000 rounds of 5.56.

So what would this look like. Lets go through a hypothetical setup for one guy:
Pistols- 2
Emergency ammo-1,000 rounds (JHP)
Training ammo- 1,000 rounds (plinker FMJ)
Mags-20

Rifles- 2
Emergency ammo- 4,000 rounds
Training ammo- 1,000 rounds
Mags- 40

Various thoughts:
As I think about this my personal stockage goals have gone down a little bit per gun but I separated training ammo into a dedicated separate stash. So the total amount of ammo I would want to keep on hand really hasn’t changed much.

For a person like me who stocks magazines fairly deep we need to consider not only the cost of a gun but the cost of magazines. The price difference between a Glock 19 and say a HK VP9 or Sig 320 might be negligible but their mags could easily be 2-3x as expensive. Ditto say an oddball rifle like a Galil or Valumet vs an AR/ AK.

Mag pouches, slings/ holsters, cleaning kits, etc are also important. Spare parts are also important. All of this would be a good post for another day as I am working through this topic.

Ammo that is not loaded into mags currently should be stored in airtight ammo cans. I’m a big fan of surplus military ammo cans.

I would really recommend people get a gun fully squared away before they get another one. Also if you happen to exceed or even double the ammo counts that would be just fine. Consider using caches for excess.

So that’s what I am feeling on that topic today. You might disagree with me but I think you could use similar intentional thinking to get to numbers that suit your needs.

Thoughts?
 

Free Form Friday- Travel, Get One Gun Right and Ammo

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Travel- I think travel is a good thing. It broadens the mind and gives perspective. Americans travel very little compared to other affluent countries. In part because we travel more within our country because it is awesome and huge but also because we seem to be a xenophobic bunch and just stay here. I think that is probably not a good thing for our country.

If you pay some attention to the news, apply common sense about where you go and take basic stuff with you I do not think we need to forgo travel in order to be prepared. If you don’t want to travel or travel anymore, that is fine. What I am saying is that if you want to travel assuming you don’t have really stupid ideas like backpacking in Syria/ Afghanistan then you can go on the trips you want without excessive worry.

I have a post on travel related preparations in mind.

It is important to get things at least relatively squared away for one gun before running out and getting another. The reason is that once you get the new one the focus will shift away from the other one; which will make it even less likely that you get it sorted out in a timely manner. It is important and I suck at doing it. Not saying you need to have every accessory in the world a hundred mags and 10,000 rounds of ammo but getting the gun operational with basic necessary accessories sights if applicable, sling, holster and some sort of initial amount of mags n ammo is prudent. I am trying to get better.

This was brought to light recently in a conversation with a buddy. He isn’t a full on survivalist but has some of those tendencies. In the same conversation (we were talking shooting) he mentioned needing to finish a 1/4 built AR and also that he had like 100 rds of 5.56 for the AR he has and a couple mags worth of ammo for his Glock. I tried to get him to focus on putting back at least a bit more ammo before attacking the project.

That brings us to ammo levels. The folks at American Partisan did a post on that. It was good.

Begin tangent
If you looked at preparedness and the not exactly militia but “III” crowd the circles are definitely concentric. I am solidly on the preparedness side. I am ambivalent about the “III” thing for a few reasons not worth going into. There are some decent folks there but its not my scene. In any case when the folks in the Ven diagram overlap between preparedness and “III” want to talk preparedness stuff I am more than happy to participate.
End tangent

That got me to thinking about combat loads as well as amounts of mags and ammo I consider adequate. It made me go back and rethink the numbers I have been using. I will write about this soon. You may or may not care what Ryan thinks is adequate but showing the process of my thinking may bring value.

 

3 Gun

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Shot my first 3 gun match. It was really fun. Its not particularly ‘tactical’ but its fun. Also the general theme of putting lead on targets faster/ more accurately is of obvious utility. It is good for pure gun handling. Also I found the rifle stuff to be a solid balance of close and intermediate ranges (we shot from roughly 10-200 meters) that is probably super realistic for actual practical defensive rifle stuff.

I was happy with pistol (actually really happy since I’ve been slacking on dry fire and range work) and rifle. Shotgun was better than I thought it would be but still by far the weakest link. Pump guns really aren’t the way to go for 3 gun. I could also stand to buy some dummy shells and practice reloading.

I am looking at getting a gamer shotgun. Probably a Stoeger M3K. It seems to be a really good option and at $600 ish I can afford one as a gamer gun with a secondary benefit of being a useful defensive weapon. Incidentally I would mention seeing real problems with a Mossberg semi auto (which a cursory google search says is fairly common) and a couple of Stoegers running like champs.

I really wish the AK style mag fed shotguns worked reliably in general and specifically with the kind of target loads I plan to shoot mostly. A Kalashnikov K 12 would be great but I have this phobia of unreliable guns.

My gear set up was pretty good as a concept. I want to solidify things. Related to that I plan to offer some stuff for sale to fund a Ronan Tactical belt and a couple of taco pouches. That should give me a good combo of practicality and usefulness for my new hobby.

Get out there and shoot.

 

Glock Talk: Of Magazine Extensions, CCW and Glock ‘Generations’

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A couple of comments to the last Free Form Friday were worth replying to and it seemed to fit more as a post then a comment.

So here we go:

I actually happen to have some experience with the Glock 26. Having buddys who will loan you a gun for awhile to check it out is a pretty cool thing.

-Magazine extensions. I am pretty negative about these. For a concealment angle they make the gun print more. Yes they hold more bullets. Probably a bigger issue in single stack guns than the double stack baby Glocks. At 10+1 they are in a reasonable decent capacity group already. Also if an additional half inch or so of grip will be easily concealed I would probably be carrying my trusty Glock 19.

‘It gives you something to rest your pinky on’. If you are going to get into the subcompact range of handguns you have to get used to a pinky finger floating. It isn’t needed for accuracy. The benefit for recoil management is negligible in the cartridges (usually .38 special, .380 and 9mm) typically used for these subcompact CCW type guns.

Personally I might have a couple of magazines with an extension on them but would likely keep 3/4 of my G26 mags in their standard configuration. Since I would likely just carry a larger handgun if a larger grip would work in a situation I am inclined to carry a G26 with a flat bottomed mag.

-“Just carry a Glock 19 all the time.” Somewhere around half the time I carry a G 19 but that doesn’t work for the other half. It doesn’t fit with clothing I will be wearing and or non permissive environments where it is socially and/ or legally not acceptable to have a handgun printing all over the place.

In this area I own the Ruger lcp. I probably messed up getting it because its so convenient and not optimal. Buying it lead to using it a lot. If I had it to do over I should have bought something in the beefier end of the subcompact arena first.

Clothing and social/ legal situations as well as a perceived threat dictate which guns will fit. So to some degree it does depend on your own unique situation. I won’t strait call everyone who says they EDC a Glock 19 a liar. Some are certainly telling the truth. Some others carry a Glock 19 when they carry but they don’t carry that much. Carrying a Glock 100% of the time that you CC an average of 60 days a year isn’t the same thing as carrying one every day.

Other folks are strait bullshitting. Several years ago I heard an anecdote that “If anyone says they carry a 1911 every day ask to see it, right now. Almost without exception there will be a bullshit excuse about why their 1911 is in the truck or their nightstand. They are either carrying a little .380/.38 or nothing.” In fairness to 1911 guys the same can be said of other full sized pistols.

It is worth noting that concealed carry isn’t a binary thing, more of a range of grey. If on one side you have a gun that is covered (lets call that 1) but blatantly obvious and on the other you have one that is truly concealed such that it would escape a watchful eye (lets call that 10). The guy who says “Of course you can carry a full sized/ compact handgun every day, I wear it under a t shirt” is leaning pretty hard towards the ‘covered’ side of things. Me wearing the same t shirt with a subcompact handgun is leaning more towards the truly concealed side. So in many cases people are talking apples and oranges in terms of concealed carry.

-Of Glock Generations

Sticking to a generation for parts compatibility makes sense especially if you plan to have a few though I’m not super worried about it.

I am currently a Gen 3 guy. Honestly I sat out Gen 4 because it didn’t really change anything useful for me. Gen 5 on the other hand has some nice features and the redesigned barrel could be handy. After they get the bugs worked out in them I will likely buy a pair of them. At this point my trusty Gen 3 Glock will get a good cleaning then take the deep sleep in a cache somewhere.

So those are my thoughts on that.

 

Quote of the Day: Rifle Lubrication

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Shot my first 3 gun match recently. Our group was mostly Army guys (a mix of active and retired guys) with a couple other dudes. One of the other guys said something about the lubrication of my rifle. It was pretty well lubed. Not dripping but there was a good heavy coat of oil on it.

Co Worker “Well you don’t have to do some heavy desert style lube job.”

Me “I always lube my rifle this way, and it works….” (The kid who had criticized my lube job was having issues with his AR)

Co Worker- Laughter

Seriously the DI AR platform runs like crazy when it is lubricated. It can be pretty darn dirty and if there is still a good coat of lube it will run just fine. Not all malfunctions with the AR platform come from a lack of lubrication but a lack of lubrication is usually present during said malfunctions. To quote John Mosby “Its like a woman, the wetter the better.”

Free Form Friday

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On a positive note it is Friday. Its hot and sunny here, definitely feels like summer.

In no particular order:

-Grades came in and I got an A and an A-. So, unless somehow I missed a class or something, the masters program should be complete. That is good. Hopefully it pays off in the long run but at least now I am done.

-A positive side of all the shooting I have been doing in the last year or so is that I have rotated a bunch of older ammo out. Lots of random boxes which had been around for awhile have gotten shot up. Don’t worry I am replacing it, if not 1:1 (somehow I ended up with a bunch of #8 shot I have no need to replace, etc) at least generally.

-I do not believe in constantly changing gear. Find something that works and stick with it. Replace stuff when it wears out or if something significantly better comes along.

-Carry the same guns in the same ways. For example I concealed carry AIWB. If I am carrying outside the waistband, which is defacto openly (not to be confused with ‘open carry’ like the guy who has to show off his Kel Tech, XD or 1911 in a shitty holster and scare soccer moms at the grocery store) in a heavier gear for training or whatever it is on my strong side hip. I shoot Glocks. The guy who carries a Glock appendix today and a 1911 at 3:30 tomorrow then a Beretta 92 in a shoulder holster this weekend is just asking for trouble. He has to remember under stress where the gun is and what gun. He also has to (though he probably doesn’t train or practice) train with all these different guns. Furthermore constantly changing guns makes having systems difficult. I have Glock 9mm mags all over the place. They are on my pistol belt, my PC/ chest rig, in the glove box, in my kits, etc. If I traded pistols every other week during the course of normal life I might find myself with the wrong stuff.

-Along these lines I am not a fan of the idea of having a dozen different sets of gear. The guys who have a different set of stuff for IDPA, another for 3 gun, etc, etc. These days I have 3 active systems: a CC set up, a pistol belt and a chest rig. I own different stuff and have multiples of fairly similar stuff but I don’t want to be thinking about whether this is the set up that has flaps on the pouches or tab pulls or friction retention or the one where the mags are here or there or whatever.

-Along these lines my current fighting load (civilian context) is an old TT pistol belt with a costa leg rig and a safariland holster. There is a medical kit on there as well. I would like to add a fixed blade knife but haven’t figured out exactly which way that will go yet.

I have fiddled with this setup before and generally like it. Its sufficient for any realistic home defense type situation and most training. Admittedly it is ad hoc from stuff I had on hand. I think a dedicated gear belt (which is also thicker and heavier) is the way to go over carrying this type of load on a rigger belt which also holds up my pants. So after an iteration or two I am back to this. If the concept sticks I will start window shopping to potentially upgrade the components down the road.

For the rare moments when this isn’t sufficient I have a chest rig, mostly to hold more rifle mags. It can be used alone or mounted to a plate carrier. When mounted to a PC I keep the straps handy in case there is a need for modularity.

The combination of a pistol belt and chest rig/ PC gives a lot of modularity. I think it is the way to go.

-If you can have a duty sized pistol and a smaller one that are different sized versions of each other that is ideal. A Glock 26 and 19 (or M&P/ .40/.45 equivalent) is a great example of this. You get the same trigger, sights and controls all the time. The upwards compatible mags are huge too.

-Along these lines I am looking hard at getting a Glock 26.

-If you all have any questions or ideas for posts you want please let me know. I will try as much as I can to accommodate you. Remember this is your chance to have content you want here.
 

Evaluating and Managing Risk: Part 6 The Conclusion

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So far we introduced the topic of Evaluating and Managing Risk and discussed some systematic ways to look at and manage risk by discussing SWOT and Risk Management. Then I did my own SWOT analysis. We looked at how to implement phased action against a risk. Now I want to bring this to a close.

It is my opinion that survivalists fail at risk management for a couple of reasons. First they fail to look holistically at life’s risks and instead look only at an arbitrarily narrow set of risks. This is a problem because it leads people to ignore risks that are more likely to affect their life (job loss, violent crime, etc). Second people fail to actually look at the rate at which risk events actually happen. This combined with the arbitrarily narrow scope previously mentioned leads to people focusing on highly improbable, arguably survivalist fantasy, scenarios.

 People avoid looking intentionally at risk management because it means they would need to prepare for realistic risks instead of playing survivalist and buying another rifle or some $400 tacticool pants. Savings accounts and PT aren’t catchy like bug out vehicles and new rifles. All I can say in defense of the non ‘sexy’ stuff is that we have to decide if we are actually preparing to handle life as best we can or whether we are playing fantasy and buying stuff we don’t need.

Evaluating and Managing Risk 5: Phased Implimentation of Risk Mitigation

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In this series we introduced the topic of Evaluating and Managing Risk and discussed some systematic ways to look at and manage risk by discussing SWOT and Risk Management. Then I did my own SWOT analysis. Then we looked to apply some risk management for the risks that came up in the SWOT analysis.

If I had really planned this out I would discuss the phased implementation of the risk management from the last step. That didn’t happen for a few reasons first I wanted to do the SWOT and subsequent risk mitigation on my actual life. Secondly while all of these strategies have value and can/ should be used they don’t all necessarily flow evenly between each part.

So we have a risk. We need to prepare to mitigate that risk. For a discrete event the risk mitigation we discussed earlier works quite well. What about risks that are cyclical or conditions based?

Being at 100% preparation for a risk that is not always present (like say wildfires) wouldn’t make much sense. There are costs (financial, emotional, logistical, etc) associated with being at a very high state of preparation so relaxing sometimes makes sense. That is what I want to talk about today.

We will use the Jeff Cooper Color Codes because they are something most of you are probably familiar with. The military force protection condition levels would work also. Anyway for this I will stick with the color codes. For those who need a refresher.

So we will have 4 conditions of preparation. Lets say the risk we are trying to mitigate is a wildfire.

White- We could spend most of the year in condition white. Not much wildfire risk about 9 months of the year. In condition white we would have adequate insurance to recover our losses including writers for various expensive items that could be lost. We would have our photos all on digits backed up in multiple places. We would have our bug out bags and such. We have a bug out plan for what we are taking as well as where we are headed.

Yellow- It is fire season and the conditions are right so there is a high risk but there is not a specific threat. We would do the bi annual or whatever look at our bug out bags and stuff. Clothes for kids who grow fast would get swapped out, etc. We would make sure our important papers, laptop, cash, etc is organized in the briefcase. We keep track of the fire risk as well as potential fires in our area.

Orange- There is a fire within X distance (maybe a couple miles, it would depend on local conditions/ terrain). Pictures come off the wall and heirlooms get packed up into totes. The briefcase and go to war guns get brought out of the safe and stacked by the totes with the photos/ heirlooms/ etc in the garage or by the door. Pets are in crates/ cages so they are easy to put in the vehicle if needed. After you pack you double check against the inventory. The TV/ radio are on so you can keep track of the fire.

Red- The fire is within Y distance (say a mile but a specific terrain feature like a road/ creek/ ridge is best) of your residence. It is time to go. You execute a quick pre evacuation checklist (electricity and gas off, etc all) THEN GO.

The hard criteria for going is essential. If the fire crosses Old Crow Creek to the north/ west, the ridgeline of hill 692 to the east or Highway 27 to the south, YOU GO. You don’t wait and see what happens. If it crosses the line you go, period.

The same sort of thinking could be used for a hurricane or other type disaster.

 

Evaluating and Managing Risk 4: My Risk Assessments

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So far we introduced the topic of Evaluating and Managing Risk and discussed some systematic ways to look at and manage risk by discussing SWOT and Risk Management. Then I did my own SWOT analysis. Now we will look to apply some risk management for the risks that came up in the SWOT analysis.

The risks we will be talking about are my currently not diverse income and our very divided society. It seems to make the most sense to consider the risks which came from the SWOT analysis as events to feed into the risk management process. The other way would be to look at them as the hazards which come from the event but I don’t like removing that initial analysis.

First to my non diverse income.

We will apply the steps of risk management:

Identify Hazards: Loss of income/ economic difficulties.

Assess hazards: Probability- Likely, Severity- critical. Putting those two together in our handy matrix and the risk level is high.

Develop Controls and Make Risk Decisions- Controls. Obviously there are two sides to anything financial, income and liabilities.

To the income side I need to get a couple of things going. Currently I have one side gig. I could use 2 more. The planned route for the second one is teaching. The other is still in the idea phase.

On the income side I  also going to save some more cash as a buffer.

On the liabilities side I am going to avoid debt. This is mostly just about maintaining. I use a credit card but rarely carry a balance from month to month.


Implement Controls: I will implement these planned controls over time. Like any plans these should have timelines with measurable goals associated to them but I am not going to go that deep in public.

For saving I will use a regular monthly plan paying myself first.

Supervise and Evaluate: Checking back monthly with these plans to see how things are going makes sense. I will adjust things as needed.

Next is  the very divided society in which we currently live.

Identify Hazards: Personal violence. Damage to property. Social/ economic problems.

Assess hazards

 

Personal violence- Occasional x catastrophic = High
Damage to property- Likely x moderate= Medium
Social/ economic problems- Likely x moderate= Medium

So I need to put most of my energy into managing the risk of personal violence then damage to property and social/ economic problems.

Develop Controls and Make Risk Decisions
Personal violence
– Avoid cultural clashes. Staying in areas where I have a shared culture. People who look different tend to be victimized much more than those who fit in. Being the one X in a bar/ neighborhood full of Y people is a bad idea. Going to political protests and such falls under these same lines. Yes America is a free country but being the one X in a bar/ community full of Y is asking for problems.
-Avoid controversial stances or displays. Avoid those lifestyle t shirts/ bumper stickers/ etc.
-Have the capacity (and inherent confidence that comes with it) to protect yourself by vigorously applying the combative and shooting skills you regularly practice as well as your PT to execute those skills.
-Leave hot button areas alone.  If your political views differ from the community and you can’t move keep your mouth shut.
Damage to property
– Avoid cultural clashes. Staying in areas where I have a shared culture. People who look different tend to be victimized much more than those who fit in. Being the one X in a bar/ neighborhood full of Y people is a bad idea. Going to political protests and such falls under these same lines. Yes America is a free country but being the one X in a bar/ community full of Y is asking for problems.
-Avoid controversial stances or displays. Avoid those lifestyle t shirts/ bumper stickers/ etc.
Social/ economic problems
– Avoid cultural clashes. Staying in areas where I have a shared culture. People who look different tend to be victimized much more than those who fit in. Being the one X in a bar/ neighborhood full of Y people is a bad idea. Going to political protests and such falls under these same lines. Yes America is a free country but being the one X in a bar/ community full of Y is asking for problems.
-Avoid controversial stances or displays. Avoid those lifestyle t shirts/ bumper stickers/ etc.
-Leave hot button areas alone.  If your political views differ from the community and you can’t move keep your mouth shut.
Implement Controls- Do the things listed above.
Supervise and Evaluate – See how things are going and adjust as needed.
 
I hope this gives you some insight into how to use risk management to everyday normal risks.

 

Vintage Sewing Machine Repair

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I have become a collector of vintage sewing machines.  It is an easy hobby to get hooked on as normally vintage machines are quite cheap. Most of them are not in working order and the people who have them don’t really know what to do with them. The first one I bought was a Singer 401A for $7.50 in a thrift shop.

I now have: 2 Singer 401A’s, Singer 15-90, Singer 128, a vintage Necchi, a 1913 White Rotary, a vintage Sears/Kenmore,   a 774 Singer Touch and Sew. and a Singer 215G.
None of these machines worked to begin with but none of them were really “broken”. They just had sat unused for so many years that they had seized because eventually oil goes bad and without oil these machines don’t move.  I spent about an hour oiling and greasing that first 401A before everything was moving good again. The light on it was the only problem as it blew every bulb and I finally bought a replacement on eBay for $10.
The Necchi came next. It was in a thrift store in NC by where my son lives. The cabinet was very dry and the legs fell off when you picked it up (they are supposed to come off) and they gave it to me for $5. I absolutely love this machine and I think it is just that pink color that I adore. It was also seized and took about an hours work to oil and grease. I used linseed oil on the cabinet and it is beautiful now. It had the wrong bobbin in it and once I got the right one it sews fine.

I won’t go through all the machines I have bought but all but one was seized. Only three of them had more serious problems. The second Singer 401A was missing the front door plate entirely and the knobs on it were also seized, the Kenmore had its needle in the wrong position but that also had to do with a knob that was seized on it. The Touch and Sew had the most problems. It needed the bobbin winding rubber replaced, the cam and a lever inside replaced and adjusted and the presser foot bar lowered.
Now keep in mind, all of these machines I have repaired and oiled before I even got a book on sewing machine repairs. The vintage machines just really aren’t that complicated.
Finding books about sewing machine repair is a lot more difficult. I found one, very expensive book that I did buy because it was the only one I could find. It is called “The Complete Handbook of Sewing Machine Repair”. It is anything but complete because it only goes through 4 different kinds of machines (none of which is Singer) and it was written in 1980 so all the information is quite old. It is also very technically written with few easy to see pictures so hard to get through the information and actually understand it. Still…I am trying to get through it.
I have also bought a few more modern machines. These really had nothing wrong with them and I cleaned and oiled them and re-sold them at a profit.
Last night I took apart my main sewing machine which is a computerized Brother CE-4000. Very different inside from a vintage machine but I could still see what needed to be cleaned and oiled. It was very dirty as I have had it over 10 years and never knew how to clean and oil it. It was all back together an hour later and working fine.
I don’t know if this little “hobby” will turn into something more or not. We’ll just see how much more I can learn.

White Rotary

Singer 15-90 (Centennial)

Singer 128 (Centennial)

Sears/Kenmore 158…

Singer 215G

Singer Touch and Sew 774

Evaluating and Managing Risk Part 3: Ryans SWOT Analysis

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So far we introduced the topic of Evaluating and Managing Risk and discussed some systematic ways to look at and manage risk by discussing SWOT and Risk Management.

Below is a SWOT Analysis I did for myself.

I knew all of these things but seeing them together was still interesting. The area that jumped out to use risk management on are my currently not diverse income and our very divided society. I am going to do that and will post it as part 4 of this series in the next few days.

It looks like this will be a 6 part series. I would have waited to get the next part and include it in this but the weekend might get busy. So the risk management piece will be part 4. In part 5 I will apply a deliberate phased process for managing a specific risk. It is not doctrinal or codified but I think it makes a lot of sense and may help people. Part 6 will be the conclusion.

Loaner/ Cache Pistols

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Our buddy Commander Zero has been stashing P series 9mm Ruger pistols like crazy. They are his ‘semi disposable’ handguns. The kind of thing one could keep in a glove box or loan to a friend in need and if something happens to it oh well. Certainly those handguns are robust and a lot of value for the money.

I have been thinking about this kind of thing. Part of me says the logistics of adding another platform (in addition to the Glock 9mm) isn’t worth the hassle. On the other hand a grand would buy 2-2.5 Glock 9mm’s and 4-4.5 Rugers.

Our Buddy Zero had previously said something like “everyone I know has plenty of guns but….”. He recently gave a real life example where a gun like this is handy. Tamra also spoke on the issue. As always whether I completely agree or not the two have solid reasoning.

Personally I see three primary roles for a handgun like this (in the order I thought of them, not importance):

1- Caches. Pretty much self explanatory.

2- Arming friends and family. The thing about this is inevitably someone says “My friends and family own guns.” I would rebut that while my friends and family also tend to own guns a fair share of them are not great about carrying them which I would say is pretty common. Quite a few situations could come up where all of a sudden cousin Timmy really regrets leaving his pistol in the nightstand. Crazy Cousin Ryans Glove Box clunker all of a sudden looks pretty good.

Tams point about someone needing a gun right now is valid. That happened to me in real life once. After something happened I ended up taking 2 girls shooting then loaning them a gun (a double action .22 revolver) for awhile.

Visitors traveling through are another good example. Uncle John doesn’t need to bother with checking a carry piece for the flight out if you have a loaner.

3- Situations where you might not want to bring a more expensive gun. Checking a gun at the airport would be an example. Guns at airports disappear or get damaged occasionally. Leave your $3,000 custom 1911 at home and take one that you can easily replace.

In support of number two I would want a gun to be something everyone in my tribe can safely operate. For us the gun that fits the bill is a double action revolver which would also have the benefit of not complicating my logistics. Otherwise I would be looking very hard at the S&W SDVE 9mm. Or maybe just save a bit more and pick up a couple Glock 19’s to use as cache/ loaner guns.

I am going to think some more about this.

What do you think?

Evaluating and Managing Risk 2: SWOT and Risk Management

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This series the second post in our series on evaluating and managing risk. In this post we will discuss a methodology for assessing and managing risk. We are going to look at strategic planning and risk management today. For strategic planning we will specifically examine SWOT analysis. For risk management we will use the US Army Risk Management model. I was going to do these the other way speaking more about risk management specifically first. The reason I am not is that logically one could use some kind of strategic planning method to get the big picture then use risk management to drill down into that piece. I think these two methods could complement each other well.

First we will look at SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis. This is a strategic planning technique, predominantly used in business, to see how different factors will aid and hinder in reaching organizational objectives.

 

This handy chart is used for SWOT analysis. The first column (vertical) is factors that are helpful and the second column is harmful. The top row (horizontal) is internal and the lower one is external.

The goals of SWOT are easily captured in another handy chart.

 

Using SWOT we want to match our strengths against opportunities while minimizing our weaknesses and avoiding threats. It is also a good way to look at whether our unique situation is well suited for the goal/ mission. An opportunity I am well suited to take advantage of might not work for our buddy Zero and conversely an opportunity that would be perfect for him might not work for me. I am not going to write a lot more about this because while I have worked with it in school I haven’t really used it professionally so my experience is a bit thin. I would rather toss out the ideas and yet you, if you want, do your own research than unintentionally send you down the wrong path.

Next we will look at the US Army Risk Management model. I will use this model because it is the one I am the most familiar with. Some folks in the blogosphere have written about it but honestly I don’t think they had any actual experience with it and thus their articles were a rewording of some overview they found on google. Not saying they were wrong but simply that their discussions lacked the experience that comes from practical implementation of the topic.

Risk Management has 5 steps:

Identify Hazards

Assess hazards

Develop Controls and Make Risk Decisions

Implement Controls

Supervise and Evaluate

 

Core Principles of RM are:

Risk management should be integrated into all activities. This is important because the actually risky stuff is typically related to boring day to day things in part because we do them so frequently. Complacency is a serious problem.

Accept no unnecessary risk. We should try to mitigate as much risk as is practical.

Apply the RM process cyclically and continuously

To expand on the core steps. We will also do a walk through Risk Management for an event. We will do riding a motorcycle.

Identify Hazards: Taking a step back one might say “The hazards of what?” I would reply with “Your life.”

We need to apply the RM model generally to our lives to see what all could go wrong resulting in injury, death, loss/ damage of equipment or any other negative consequences such as financial loss (including the opportunity cost of an action). I would submit to you that a general assessment for your life is important. Additionally you could apply the RM process to specific events such as a trip or activity.

So we have to identify hazards for our life. Experience would show that a normal person has risks of injury while operating/ traveling in motor vehicles, risk of injury doing certain jobs/ tasks, risk of criminal actions, risk of natural disasters, etc plus of course pandemics, foreign invasions, grid down TEOTWAWKI collapses, Zombies, etc.

I would say that a big mistake people make is by arbitrarily narrowing the hazards they choose to assess. They tend to do this by drawing some magical line between normal life shit and ‘preparedness’. I recall a very famous survivalist who mentioned keeping a spare computer for the family hauler in a tin foil package in the trunk in case of am EMP but didn’t carry a concealed handgun! Not naming names but he entirely missed the point. I believe this was in part because he looked at preparedness or its less politically correct, maybe more racist, cousin survivalism as some discrete thing for extreme unlikely situations.

We need to look holistically at identifying the hazards that might impact our lives.  

To our scenario. The hazards of riding a motorcycle would be accidents or getting run over by a car.

Next we will Assess Hazards.

We want to rank hazards in terms of its probability and severity.

New Computer Enroute!

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Hey Folks. I’ve given up trying to work around or unscrew my current computer. Pulled the trigger on a new one which will be here early next week. So the post I planned to do today will be up then.  

Life and Risk Management

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Hey Folks, I figured I should say hello. Things have been busy. On a positive note for me and by default you all school just finished up. Waiting for grades to post but if everything goes well I will be done. I can use a mental/ financial/ emotional break for awhile. With more available time I may blog more. No promises but it might happen.

Anyway our friend Meister did a Couple of posts about risk management which are worth looking at. He brings up some excellent points. Specifically looking objectively at our potential risks, focusing on more realistic risks instead of unrealistic ones, mitigating risk whenever possible, making are the residual risk is worth the benefits and constantly reassessing. You all should go there and leave a comment to encourage his efforts.

My next risk management post is written. It is 6 pages long albeit with some lists and pictures. I am going to review it and hopefully get it out to you all this week.

For me currently the big pushes are financial and fitness. I need to rebuild some savings and plan for a transition. Also lose a shade under 20 lbs and get faster. Other then that my main goals are rounding stuff out to really get my systems right.

If it works out ok I have some training opportunities on the horizon but that’s not really my focus right now.

So anyway I’m not dead and that’s what is up with me. 

Peaches This Year….Many, Many Peaches

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I know, it’s really hard to see because everything in the background is green too, but this is my peach tree (with some roses in the flower garden to this side of it). It is loaded again with peaches this year. I haven’t done a thing to the tree, no pruning, no fertilizing, no nothing. It is just out there growing on its own beside the house. We haven’t even used the peaches I already canned. Three people apparently don’t eat many peaches…I really don’t know why we haven’t eaten them. When there is only three of you, big meals aren’t necessary or meals that take a lot of time –when you all work, so we just haven’t done anything with the peaches.
I must say that at one time I thought to be self sufficient as far as fruit went, you would need several trees of each kind of fruit to get enough to last you a year but now I think one of each fruit you really like with maybe a couple apple trees (since apples are used for more things) and a few berry bushes (if you don’t have wild ones to pick) would be more than enough.

I will be lucky if the branches don’t break and I know you are supposed to take some off if they get heavy enough to break the branches. The rain we have had lately has bent them down quite far and I may have to take some off soon but I usually don’t. We’ll see how it goes. 

Recipes from Gram’s Recipe Box- Cakes/Candy

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A lot of the recipes in my grandmother’s recipe box tend to have ingredients with no or very few, instructions. That is because she already knew what to do with the ingredients and didn’t waste time and space writing down what she didn’t have to. Today I’ll share some of the dessert or candy recipes from the box.

Evaluating and Managing Risks 1 of 4

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We are going to do a series on evaluating and managing risk. Survivalists habitually screw this up. They screw it up in a couple of ways. First and foremost survivalists often fail to use a disciplined program to do this. They fail to use evidence based analysis to assign relative, if not absolute probability to risks. Furthermore by taking an artificially narrow view of what they are preparing for they often miss many far more likely risks!

To say it bluntly I see many, if not most, survivalists screwing up by putting time/ energy/ resources into preparing for very unlikely or outright fantasy scenarios instead of far more likely real world risks. Survivalists do this for a few reasons. The lack of a disciplined approach is first. Listening disproportionately to well meaning ‘experts’ who almost surely failed to use a disciplined approach in is number two. Third is that people avoid tough problems in favor of fantasy problems that justify their mid allocation of resources and the gaping holes in their plans.

This is part one which is an introduction. My tentative plan is to do 3 more posts on this topic in the next couple of weeks. I will look at a couple of risk management techniques, how to prepare for a risk in a tiered organized way and then wrap it all together.

I hope this will provoke some thought and get you all to think critically about your own preparations. 

Real World Emergency Considerations

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1- Quite a few of the times you might need that emergency cash you won’t be able to go to the bank. Physical cash on hand is king.

2- Along these lines depending on the scenario it might not work to go home and grab your emergency money (and stuff). Having a plan that adjusts for your risk level in terms of what gear is where, the kind of BOB and weapons that are in your vehicle and what is cached could change depending on the situation.

3- Caches are just so important.

4- Emergencies by definition are unplanned. Your ability to make preparations during them will be limited and you will be stressed.

4- This is obvious but if someone wants to do things you don’t want (like say arrest or hurt you) then don’t be someplace they can easily find you. 

Real World Emergency Considerations

1- Quite a few of the times you might need that emergency cash you won’t be able to go to the bank. Physical cash on hand is king.

2- Along these lines depending on the scenario it might not work to go home and grab your emergency money (and stuff). Having a plan that adjusts for your risk level in terms of what gear is where, the kind of BOB and weapons that are in your vehicle and what is cached could change depending on the situation.

3- Caches are just so important.

4- Emergencies by definition are unplanned. Your ability to make preparations during them will be limited and you will be stressed.

4- This is obvious but if someone wants to do things you don’t want (like say arrest or hurt you) then don’t be someplace they can easily find you. 

Top 5 Survival Items for Air Travel

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1- Decent footwear. It doesn’t have to be some kind of military or hiking boots but wear something you can run/ jump and walk a few miles in.
2- Cash. A wad of cash can solve a whole lot of travel related problems. Even in a grid down type disaster cash is how you buy the things you need. Depending on the trip, obviously Syria is more dangerous than Saratoga, and your financial situation the right amount varies. Several hundred dollars  buys some options and several thousand buys a lot of them.
3- First Aid gear. You can carry a very complete first aid kit onto a plane. The only items I would otherwise include would be a needle for chest decompression and a pair of scissors.
4- A credit card with a high limit. One could argue this is an extension of number two. I look at it differently because it has different pros and cons. Credit cards are a bit harder it use with say a random guy you want to give you a ride (though 4 square, Venmo, etc are changing that) but the risk of loss via theft is less. Also you don’t have to have the money. For a fairly normal middle class person having a credit card that would buy a used car to drive out of an area is very realistic.
5- Passport. We take this for granted in America but a passport gives you options. Maybe it is difficult to get out of an airport in Seattle or San Diego but if you hop across the border there is an airport you can easily travel out of. Maybe for whatever reason you have to make a change in plans.

I have traveled commercially for work. Often we can travel on orders or with an official passport. It is  not inconceivable that something could happpen where I needed to make alternate arraignments and using my blue civilian passport is a good idea.

Anyway there 5 items will solve the vast majority of your preparedness problems while traveling. 

2018 Preparedness Plans

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Trying to plan this years goals. Physical I have got and also financial. Preparedness stuff has been the hard one. 

Learning from past years I decided to start with a budget. Would like to say that I figured out a great amount based on my perfect zero balanced budget. In reality I took a SWAG at what should work and was conservative enough that it should be doable with a healthy margin for error and other financial goals. 


Check out the Top 10 Survival Kits of 2018. Plenty of good stuff for those in the market to get a ready to go survival kit. Worth looking at. 

I decided that for me $400-500 a month seemed realistic. Since there are 8 months left of the year I based my plans on those goals. Since I tried to put it into monthly goals not all are totally cohesive. In no particular order. 

– Scanner

– Primary weapons spare parts kits both backpack and heavy bug out. 

– Flir Scout

– Antibiotics and trauma stuff (generic medical beef up)

– Satelite phone 

– Ham radio (if I get my shit together and get the license)

– 1k 5.56, 500 rounds 9mm

– Freeze dried food and a couple propane cans.

Thoughts on the list? Thoughts on the order the stuff should be acquired in?


2018 Preparedness Plans

Trying to plan this years goals. Physical I have got and also financial. Preparedness stuff has been the hard one. 

Learning from past years I decided to start with a budget. Would like to say that I figured out a great amount based on my perfect zero balanced budget. In reality I took a SWAG at what should work and was conservative enough that it should be doable with a healthy margin for error and other financial goals. 


Check out the Top 10 Survival Kits of 2018. Plenty of good stuff for those in the market to get a ready to go survival kit. Worth looking at. 

I decided that for me $400-500 a month seemed realistic. Since there are 8 months left of the year I based my plans on those goals. Since I tried to put it into monthly goals not all are totally cohesive. In no particular order. 

– Scanner

– Primary weapons spare parts kits both backpack and heavy bug out. 

– Flir Scout

– Antibiotics and trauma stuff (generic medical beef up)

– Satelite phone 

– Ham radio (if I get my shit together and get the license)

– 1k 5.56, 500 rounds 9mm

– Freeze dried food and a couple propane cans.

Thoughts on the list? Thoughts on the order the stuff should be acquired in?


The Old Stuff- Pending Anthology

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I am toying with doing something with the older stuff on here. Probably moving it off the blogs viewable portion. Does anyone ever look at that stuff with any regularity? I am also toying with doing  some sort of best of or anthology type thing. Details would have to be figured out but cost would be modest, like a few bucks if it was digital or a few bucks plus the cost of the media if say it was on a thumb drive. Trying to get a sense of if they interests folks. Would you buy something like that? If so what would be he preferred format?

Upkeep

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So I guess the mobile blogger app doesn’t say anything if there are comments that need to be approved. I only approve older comments half to make sure I see them and half to avoid excess spam.

So I had like a hundred and fifty something comments to approve. Most were spam.

Now that I know I will try to keep up on it better.  

Preparedness By Avoidance

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I had really awesome plans for today after work. Things had lined up wonderfully and I was going to get to do two things I enjoy very much. The downside is these plans were about 40 miles away and this morning we had about an inch and a half of ice come down. During the day it sort of melted and froze into a solid mass. So I cancelled my plans. That sucked a lot. It was the smart move though.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Sure I can drive in bad weather and have survival gear in my vehicle. I can do first aid and have a serious kit in the vehicle. Yet if I keep my happy ass at home till this all melts I won’t have to do any of that stuff.

We would all benefit from thinking a bit less like Sammy Seal  and a bit more like Grandma. Sammy has big tires on his truck and went to an extreme off roading class. He had a high lift jack and a winch.   Granny has an old Buick. The thing is Granny stays home when the weather is bad. Sammy might need that winch but Grannies Buick is staying in the garage.

To quote our friend Tamra  who was talking about the topic of self defense though it equally applies here “I actively don’t go there so I don’t have to do that.”

Star Cluster

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Hey Folks, It’s been awhile. Life has been pretty busy. Between jobs, school, PT and various self improvement I am a fairly busy guy. Won’t apologize for that. A lot of the meaningful self improvement we do isn’t necessarily good blog fodder. This spring when school wraps up I may take up writing more frequently, if I want to, unless I don’t.

The financial markets are getting downright sporty. While huge moves to time the market are generally foolhardy a bit of rebalancing is probably a good idea. Taking a few profits out of equities isn’t a bad idea. Today on CNBC someone called the current market “picking up dollars in front of a steam roller.”

The topic of inflation is reading its head.

Money is under mentioned in preparedness. Part of this is the inherent oddly American trait to not talk about it and all call ourselves middle class. In our systems aside from some basic stuff like a pocket knife, a flashlight, comfortable footwear and a first aid kit money is probably the most important part of our systems for realistic emergencies followed closely by a concealed handgun. A roll of 20’s can solve a whole lot of problems. A comparable roll of 50’s can solve even more. A credit card with a high limit can get you a room to stay in, plane tickets or even buy a car to drive away if needed!

For a real world get home I am pretty comfortable with a day pack that has some basic stuff and a wad of cash. I am unlikely to be using a survival fishing kit but cash to buy lunch would be nice. Even in a realistic bug out situation I will have my pre packed bag, some guns and such but what I really need is a Visa card to get a motel room and a pizza!

Money also buys gear and bigger items like buy out vehicles and fancy survivalist retreates!

While not a sexy part of survivalism the answer to work more and scrimp to pay for stuff is really important. It applies at different relative levels for most everyone.

In a very transitional American view get out and earn that cool new thing you want!

One of the cool things about survivalism is that t is so broad. When life throws you a curve in one area focus on others. PT and dry fire are free. Organizing your stuff into cohesive systems is free. Rotating stores food and relaxing it as part of your diet is cost neutral if not free. The point I am trying to make is that there is a lot of stuff you can do even when money is tight.

Get out and do something this weekend!

2017 Review

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Good: Started doing IDPA, did a local rifle class, got into grad school, got a couple guns, bought some ammo.

Bad: Haven’t been as consistent at Jiu Jitsu or dry fire as I would have liked.

Ugly: PT and health have not been improved and in fact have degraded. 

Life and Travel

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Work and school are done for a bit. Time to go full bore into family stuff.

For me part of that is traveling. Yes the TSA is ridiculous but sometimes for work or family stuff flying is the only option. If I had to guess I’ll fly 8-10 times this year All said and done. So I kinda know the drill. Being aware of the rules and following them is simple enough even if they sometimes defy common sense. Just know the rules and follow them.

In terms of preparedness. For the trip:
-Wear comfortable clothes and decent footwear. It doesn’t have to be hiking boots and multi cam, just some kind of clothes you can move in and shoes you would be comfortable walking a few miles in.

– Cash money. People get all stirred up about not having a gun on the plane but a far more likely situation is getting stuck somewhere. How much cash depends on your finances and the risk of the trip. A domestic flight from the Midwest to the PNW has a pretty low risk level. A flight from Somalia to Afghanistan has a high risk level. For the first I’m comfortable with a couple hundred bucks in cash. Enough to buy some food and get a room for the night or a bus/ train ticket if needed. For the other I would bring a few thousand dollars, more if I was in a place where I could risk losing more.

-A credit card. A card with enough room on it to stay in a motel and eat for a few days then get another flight or bus/ train ticket covers a lot of ground. Since I am a grown up who generat uses a credit card responsably I have asked them over time to raise the limit. If need be I’ll buy a darn car to get out of somewhere!

– Passport/ alternate ID. Keep it in a bag or not in your purse/ wallet. That way if your wallet/ purse gets stolen you still have a form of ID. I usually keep a card and some checks with it also.

-Medical stuff. I put together a combination first aid kit/ ifak light to keep in my carry on backpack. The items omitted from the IfAK piece are the sharp stuff so scissors and a 12 gauge needle. Pastor Joe Fox of Viking preparedness did a video on travel first aid kits which I used as a guide. Google it.

– The only other preparedness item I put in was a pair of leather gloves. Good for moving in and around sharp stuff.

– As to guns and sharp stuff. Traveling with guns isn’t really a huge deal. If you go somewhere regularly set up a cache so you don’t have to mess with it. 

Peanut Butter and Sinus Infection

The tail end of this term has been kicking my butt ar school. I’m pretty burned out and ready to be done. This week especially sucks as a sinus infection is kicking my ass. The meds are working just a lot slower than I would like.

When sick I fall back to old comfort foods. Today for brunch I wanted eggo waffles with peanut butter and jelly. I don’t eat much peanut butter but knew I had some around. It is a good source of protein plus cheap, ready to eat, shelf stable, calorically dense. A pretty good survival food.

The jar I found happened to have a Best Buy date in 2012. Some oil had separated and the remaining peanut butter was a bit thicker. Poured most of the oil out. The smell was fine and the taste was fine also. The only difference in texture was a mix of the thicker parts and the thinner oilier parts from when I mixed it back together.

I will let you know if I get sick. Presuming no illness I will do a pic post in a few days.

Otherwise the next thing on my agenda is putting winter gear into my vehicle. Commander Zero did a great series of posts on that topic.

Peanut Butter and Sinus Infection

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The tail end of this term has been kicking my butt ar school. I’m pretty burned out and ready to be done. This week especially sucks as a sinus infection is kicking my ass. The meds are working just a lot slower than I would like.

When sick I fall back to old comfort foods. Today for brunch I wanted eggo waffles with peanut butter and jelly. I don’t eat much peanut butter but knew I had some around. It is a good source of protein plus cheap, ready to eat, shelf stable, calorically dense. A pretty good survival food.

The jar I found happened to have a Best Buy date in 2012. Some oil had separated and the remaining peanut butter was a bit thicker. Poured most of the oil out. The smell was fine and the taste was fine also. The only difference in texture was a mix of the thicker parts and the thinner oilier parts from when I mixed it back together.

I will let you know if I get sick. Presuming no illness I will do a pic post in a few days.

Otherwise the next thing on my agenda is putting winter gear into my vehicle. Commander Zero did a great series of posts on that topic.

Sportsmens Guide Free Trial and Shipping

Hey Folks, Sportsmens guide is offering free shipping on (at least some) ammunition and a free trial of their membership. That means you can get ammo at the members price and have it shipped to you for free. With a large purchase the savings involved could be significant.

I used this deal to maximize my funds and get 4 cases of ammo. Among other things they have Wolf 7.62×39 at $200  a case! That is about best price I’ve seen in awhile even without free shipping!

I don’t get anything from mentioning this. It’s just a very good deal I wanted you all to know about. 

Sportsmens Guide Free Trial and Shipping

Hey Folks, Sportsmens guide is offering free shipping on (at least some) ammunition and a free trial of their membership. That means you can get ammo at the members price and have it shipped to you for free. With a large purchase the savings involved could be significant.

I used this deal to maximize my funds and get 4 cases of ammo. Among other things they have Wolf 7.62×39 at $200  a case! That is about best price I’ve seen in awhile even without free shipping!

I don’t get anything from mentioning this. It’s just a very good deal I wanted you all to know about. 

Sportsmens Guide Free Trial and Shipping

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Hey Folks, Sportsmens guide is offering free shipping on (at least some) ammunition and a free trial of their membership. That means you can get ammo at the members price and have it shipped to you for free. With a large purchase the savings involved could be significant.

I used this deal to maximize my funds and get 4 cases of ammo. Among other things they have Wolf 7.62×39 at $200  a case! That is about best price I’ve seen in awhile even without free shipping!

I don’t get anything from mentioning this. It’s just a very good deal I wanted you all to know about. 

Quote of The Day

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“What kind of preacher goes around carrying a pistol and shoots like that?”-reporter

“A well prepared one”- Preacher

After the preacher took out his revolver and engaged a drive by shooting on the church wounding one. On the rather interesting USA series Damnation.

Posted for my buddy Bayou Renaissance Man

FN-FAL Sold

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Today I sold the FAL. It’s a great rifle. I didn’t really use it and it was expensive. With the cash I just freed up I am going to buy a bunch of ammo and put some money towards spare parts.

RE: Using vs Collecting

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http://booksbikesboomsticks.blogspot.com/2017/11/using-vs-collecting.html?m=1

Admittedly while there is some overlap between her huge blog and my tiny one (I’m not sure if she knows I exist) we have different angles. Hers is a little more guns and such and mine is more preparedness.

In general I find her reasoning sound. From what I have seen in the survivalist world I have two concerns though.

First people who try to press collectible guns into a working gun role. The guy whose go guns are a P1 Walter and an M1 Garand. He is making a very stupid decision. Without going deep into this gun vs that guns collectibles should be enjoyed and modern designs from post WWII should be used for work.

Second is similar putting money that should go to a working gun towards a collectible one. Don’t get me wrong, collect whatever you want. The thing is if you need a defensive handgun buy a Glock 19 or similar gun. Use your non preparedness fun cash to buy that S&W pre model 10 you really want. 

Lube and Spare Guns

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My recent post got a couple comments worth addressing.

-Different forms of firearm lubrication. I should give the disclaimer that some guns have specific needs for specific reasons. You should always do what the manufacturer recommends. That said…..

It is my somewhat experienced opinion that any/ all commonly available lubricants perform Very similarly if not the same. Typically I will just use motor oil. The people making claims about this special lubricant or that one almost invariably have a vested financial interest in selling said product.

– Using spare parts to build more guns. Don’t get me wrong if you have all the parts to make a gun make a gun. That said you still want spare parts, now for your two guns. Look at it like this. Most of us own a car. That car has a spare tire. If it goes through a certain fuse/ bulb you probably keep a couple around. You don’t need he added expense of a whole other car just to get the tire and bulb!

On the bright side most of the parts that typically would need to be repaired are pretty cheap. Pins, springs, etc. Buying a whole second $800 rifle to get $200 in spare parts doesn’t make sense. Plus when you take the first $5 part now that while gun is deadlined! Buy a second (or 5tg!) rifle if you need/ want one but don’t ignore spare parts. 

RE: Brushbeater: Running Spares Keep Your Weapon Going

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https://brushbeater.wordpress.com/2017/04/02/running-spares-keeping-your-weapon-going/

An excellent post that frames the problem in a balanced way considering parts can/ do break with the reality that’s we all have competing financial demands.

I would add the following:

Even if they don’t break small springs and pins are the items most likely to be lost in cleaning/ disassembly. Related to this in field/ emergency conditions just field strip weapons for cleaning. For the AR I would not even disassemble the complete BCG. Clean it off and re oil it. Now if there is an issue you don’t have a choice but as a matter of normal course keep all the small parts together where they should be.

Consider having a spare set of ancillary stuff. Pouches/ etc. it doesn’t have to be expensive Gucci cool guy stuff. A cheap surplus LBE with mag pouches and a canteen works. Just a decent intentional way to carry your gun stuff in case your primary stuff is lost or fails.

For rifles commonality dictates standard 5.56 DI AR’s and AKMs in 7.62×39. The other viable choices lack a sufficient base. For pistols it’s a much more spread out mix. Standard Glocks in 9mm and .40S&W probably have a slight edge but a dozen or so various pistols follow closely.

If your this worried stack cleaning stuff Deep also.

FN-FAL for sale

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My DSA Voyager 21″ with a full embell spare parts kit, 20×20 red mags and 6x 30rd mags.

It’s a great set up. I am selling it because an opportunity to buy a truck came up at a time I can’t really cash flow it.

I have over 2k into it all and would ideally like to get 1,700 out of it. I would Ben willing to separate the spare parts it to sell separately if someone wants that.

I would be open to a partial trade for a nice AK or a Glock 9mm.

Serious inquiries only please. I want to see and am willing to play some let’s make a deal but it’s not like I’m desperate to sell today. Leave a comment or drop me an email if you are interested.

State of the .22 LR

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Today I found myself at Cabellas. It was a convenient central point to meet a guy to sell an item

I don’t need anymore. I took the opportunity to restock my 9mm ball range ammo. I looked around. Lots of everything but I don’t need everything. I decided to grab some .22lr. They had Blazer bulk pack at 500/$27 but most were $36/500. I just grabbed a couple of the 100 round CCI Mini Mag plastic boxes. At this point I don’t shoot much .22lr so it’s just for the stash. Back when there was a big difference in price between the cheap stuff and the good stuff, which CCI Mini Mags are was 2x it made some sense to get the cheap stuff. These days it’s negligible so I might as well have the good stuff put back. 
I think the 8-9 cent range is the new normal for .22 ammo. It’s probably never getting much cheaper. It used to be cheaper and thankfully I got a reasonable amount but I know some folks didn’t. It is currently widely available. Stock up or be sorry later. $10 a week would be a box of 100 CCI Mini Mags and over a year you would put back over 5k. Remember, lots of friends and family have .22’s and maybe a partial box of ammo. Also they are the perfect survivalist small change. 
Got .22lr?

Upcoming Plans

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One of the cool things about survivalism/ preparedness is that it has so many facets. You can pursue a lot of things within it. That may be part of the reason it has kept my interest an this blog has stayed alive as long as it has. 

Things that I am going to be working on and likely talking about. 
-Physical fitness. I need to get back to my roots here. Reestablish good patterns and stay consistent. 
– Handgun shooting. Specifically shooting, ideally at least one IDPA match a month. 
– Combatives. Keep pushing to improve. 
– Finances. The essential topic almost every survivalist ignores. 
– Organization/ systems. I really want to firm up my heavy bug out and bug in stuff. That will give me a better idea why I really need and an opportunity to get rid of the rest. 
– Caches. I can improve my situation and know most of you could stand to do the same. 
Honesty I’m not going to promise anything in terms of regularity of writing. Honesty the blogs healthy priority is somewhere below practicing guitar and above watching tv so it naturally comes way after relationships, work, school, fitness, jiu jitsu and other work. That’s part of the reason I demonetizes the blog, so I don’t feel like I have to write. Things go in cycles aandnright now it’s a busy life/ slo blog time. 
If this hurts readership honesty I don’t care. I hope core people stick around. Maybe setting up email alerts for posts is a good idea. Anyway be well folks. 

Not Dead, Just Busy

Hey Folks! I’m not dead. Between a heavier class load, both of which were real math heavy (which immbad at), a new part time job, a budding relationship an the normandemands of work/ pt/ etc I’ve been a busy guy.

Lots of good things happening in meatspace though!

In terms of preps I have been filling some little holes. Got a kydex double mag pouch for the G19 and another Swiss Army knife. Also the local Walmart knocked the 150 gr SP ammo my bolt gun likes down to $15 an change from the usual shade under 20 so I got 4 boxes.

Reorganized my vehicle kit down to about half its previous size. Basically it’s a book bag sized backpack, a change of clothes with boots and the usual jumper cables/ flares/ etc. I think it is at a good balance between functionality and space/ bulk.

It looks to me like the current Bull market is reaching the point of irrational exuberance. A big correction is coming soon. At 23-24k I see a psychological barrier coming in and of itself and there is a lot of crazy floating around. Yes I am calling it publicly. I shifted to investment grade bonds to ride out what I see coming. I’ll buy back in progressively after the dip. You might want to consider your own preservation of capital moves. Obviously having a tangible safety net of physical precious metals, ammo, etc is prudent but you really do need growth for the long term. Make your own assessments and decisions.

Anyway I hope you all have a good weekend.

Not Dead, Just Busy

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Hey Folks! I’m not dead. Between a heavier class load, both of which were real math heavy (which immbad at), a new part time job, a budding relationship an the normandemands of work/ pt/ etc I’ve been a busy guy.

Lots of good things happening in meatspace though!

In terms of preps I have been filling some little holes. Got a kydex double mag pouch for the G19 and another Swiss Army knife. Also the local Walmart knocked the 150 gr SP ammo my bolt gun likes down to $15 an change from the usual shade under 20 so I got 4 boxes.

Reorganized my vehicle kit down to about half its previous size. Basically it’s a book bag sized backpack, a change of clothes with boots and the usual jumper cables/ flares/ etc. I think it is at a good balance between functionality and space/ bulk.

It looks to me like the current Bull market is reaching the point of irrational exuberance. A big correction is coming soon. At 23-24k I see a psychological barrier coming in and of itself and there is a lot of crazy floating around. Yes I am calling it publicly. I shifted to investment grade bonds to ride out what I see coming. I’ll buy back in progressively after the dip. You might want to consider your own preservation of capital moves. Obviously having a tangible safety net of physical precious metals, ammo, etc is prudent but you really do need growth for the long term. Make your own assessments and decisions.

Anyway I hope you all have a good weekend.

Re: Quote of the Day, Be Real Edition

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This Fact Bomb over at Tams Place. 

You need to be able to defend yourself bare handed and fight your way to the  employ a handgun. Rifles/ carbines are great and the ideal answer for home defense. Still if you were being realistic that training would be shooting the rifle at 0-10, maybe 20 yards wearing your choice in sleepwear. Also it would be mostly done in the dark. 
The one valid dissenting opinion I could see is based on what you think the next few years will be like. The rate of home invasions may well increase. Still you aren’t going to be headed to work or the grocery store (which you will be doing) with a PC, rifle and a dozen mags. Reality is that most fights are going to be hands/ knives/ pistols. Rifles are less likely and, at least in the context of CQB, easier to use effectively. By virtue of multiple points of contact, long sight radius, increases lethality and inherent shootability there is a reason that (non military) rifle/ shotgun fights don’t last long! 
I think it is important to differentiate between useful training you need and fun, which may be semi useful. Take the cool guy class where you shoot from a helicopter and do precision rifle stuff at 800 meters. Just do that with your fun time and money. 

Re: Quote of the Day, Be Real Edition

This Fact Bomb over at Tams Place. 

You need to be able to defend yourself bare handed and fight your way to the  employ a handgun. Rifles/ carbines are great and the ideal answer for home defense. Still if you were being realistic that training would be shooting the rifle at 0-10, maybe 20 yards wearing your choice in sleepwear. Also it would be mostly done in the dark. 
The one valid dissenting opinion I could see is based on what you think the next few years will be like. The rate of home invasions may well increase. Still you aren’t going to be headed to work or the grocery store (which you will be doing) with a PC, rifle and a dozen mags. Reality is that most fights are going to be hands/ knives/ pistols. Rifles are less likely and, at least in the context of CQB, easier to use effectively. By virtue of multiple points of contact, long sight radius, increases lethality and inherent shootability there is a reason that (non military) rifle/ shotgun fights don’t last long! 
I think it is important to differentiate between useful training you need and fun, which may be semi useful. Take the cool guy class where you shoot from a helicopter and do precision rifle stuff at 800 meters. Just do that with your fun time and money. 

Happy Paratus!

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Today is Paratus! Our buddy commander zero was kind enough to give me something so of course I had to reply albeit last minute. 

If you don’t exchange gifts with survivalist friends maybe try to help someone. A small pre made kit or a book like Patriots or One Second After is a good option. 

Preparing For The Apocalypse By Living Off-Grid

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Living “off the grid” to most people sounds like something only someone with a secret to hide might do — but the truth is, when it comes to the end of the world, it’s going to be the safest place. Not only are you likely already well out of any nuclear and zombie-attack range brought about by big cities, but if you’ve been doing it for a few years and are settled into a regular day-by-day operation, you’re going to survive a lot longer than anyone in the city who thinks it’ll be easy.

Maybe they know about water filtration and how to start a fire, but what about after the portable camping generator dies? What about after the gasoline runs out? Or the RV, tent, or supposed-to-only-be-temporary tarp shelter is torn to shreds by a wild animal? There are only so many defensive bullets and safe spaces available to those who flee into the woods, thinking they can survive with no problems.

Today, I’m here to shed some light on a few of the things overlooked in the common escape plan. After all, the world hasn’t ended just yet, so we’re all still on the same team.

  1. Electricity

    If earlier it sounded like I was ragging on generators, don’t get me wrong: they’ll still incredibly handy for quick electrical pick-me-ups, especially as technology continues to advance and they don’t need as much outside power to keep chugging along.

    But the fact is, most portables generators sold on the market today still require some sort of charging through an outlet or a fuel source. While that might be feasible for a time, chances are even if you’re able to support one, it’s not going to be enough for everything you’re hoping to accomplish, energy-wise. So, unless you plan on packing 20 generators up into the hills, you’re going to have to think of something else.

    The solution is already pretty mainstream: Solar energy, in the form of panels. No longer are they reserved only for the rich man, and are becoming increasingly more popular amongst regular joe-schmoes living in suburban neighborhoods (assuming their HOAs allow them). By 2015, more than a million homes in the USA used solar power.

    What’s better, by utilizing solar energy, you’re not tied down by monthly bills to companies that know and store your personal information — hence that ever-so-desireable off the grid aspect. With the power company no longer able to find you, that one employee who’s sentient even as a zombie won’t be able to use Google Maps to find where you live.

  2. Irrigation

    Along the lines of cutting ties with any big-city company that knows where you live, the water company is next on the list. But without running water, how can you expect to do things like bathe, clean, or raise a sustainable garden in the backyard?

    Off The Grid News gives a thorough guide to creating your own self-sufficient irrigation system, in reference to something that sounds more like a category in competitive sports than anything off the grid: Survival Gardening.

    According to this guide, you’ll likely be getting your water from one of many sources: a spigot (if you still remain on municipal water), a well or reservoir, a natural source like a river or stream, or rainwater. They each have their own pros and cons, but all need a few things: filters ranging from screens to cartridges, water pumps if you’ll pulling from a natural source, and the correct tubing/drip system and layout of your garden.

    Luckily the end of the world will be happening in the future, and there’s nothing wrong with hoarding a bunch of high-tech modern tools to help with this part of the plan — especially since you already have everything hooked up to solar energy and seeking out things to power. There’s nothing in the “Off The Grid Rulebook” that says you have to live like an ancient human, with only rocks and planks of wood at your disposal.

  3. Supplies

    This step is pretty self-explanatory: stock up on non-perishables. This Doomsday Moose article on Prepping Your Homestead for a Natural Disaster specifically lists food, water, and batteries, but I’m going to take it one step further: toiletries, sewing/mending supplies, weapons, books, tools, clothing, shoes, and even some sentimental items.

    In one of my previous articles, I list a few more things like tires, waste treatment systems, and metal detectors, too. Not everything has to be rugged, dirty, and “manly” — creature comforts like a shaved face, deodorant, wet wipes, etc., are going to be just as important once a week turns into a month.

    To touch on weapons, especially — everyone brags about their firearms, everyone dreams about shooting a zombie in the face with a shotgun, but those are: 1. Only favorable to those who actually know how to use and maintain them, and 2. Will eventually run out of ammo.

    Instead, focus on things like baseball bats, knives, swords/blades, and compound bows, whose arrows can be retrieved and reused. Basically, reusable ammo and objects for bludgeoning are best. Also, mace for bears and stuff.

  4. Shelter

    Hopefully by the time the world crumbles, you’ll already be nice and comfy in your mountain cabin, warm by a crackling fire and eating corn on the cob straight from your garden. In that case, good on you, props.

    But, if you aren’t, here are some suggestions: While a fancy, vacation cabin site might be appealing, in the event the world ends, it’s likely going to be less secure, sturdy, and formidable, especially if someone or something comes knocking wanting to remove you from it. Whether that be bears, zombies, or suburban Joe who left his morality back home, giant front-facing windows and low-hanging eaves aren’t going to do much to keep them out.

    I’m not suggesting setting up metal traps, spikes, or trip-wires — unless that’s what you want, in which case, it’s your land and you’re welcome to do that. Moreso, I’m suggesting a few key features to keep your eyes out for:

    1. Secure, heavy doors and entrances, to keep out any unwelcome guests
    2. An underground cellar, in case of unsavory (hurricane level) weather
    3. Thick walls, in case of a nuclear blast — but can also be used to thwart zombies biting through the walls
    4. Just for the fun of it, weapons hidden throughout — over the doors, under the floor rugs, in the mouth of the taxidermy moose hanging over the fireplace

Conclusion

When the end of the world really comes, you’re likely going to be in one of three positions:

  1. Surprised and unprepared.
  2. Surprised, but prepared.
  3. Already living it up with everything in place and no one to fight for supplies at the nearest grocery store.

Which would you prefer?

Not to mention, all of the perks that come with living off the grid anyway, even if the end never comes in your lifetime — disconnecting from municipal government entities like water and power providers, being completely self-sufficient without having to give your money and time away to giant corporate entities, and the overall thrill of living in and of nature, as a non-detrimental entity.

That means no environmental footprint, no destruction of trees or natural springs, living off the land and even contributing fairly to the ecosystem there. Even if the world was destined to keep spinning unchanged for the rest of eternity, doesn’t that still sound like an ideal way to live?

About the Author:
Brooke Faulkner
‘s mission in life is to be prepared for anything life throws at her. As a mother of two, more often than not that includes legos and snotty viruses. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found zipping around the wilderness on her ATV.

Rained Out: 3 Ways To Prepare For Inclement Weather During Outdoor Activities

If you love to spend your free time outdoors hunting, fishing, camping and more, you may be well-aware of how quickly weather conditions can change. A single cold front can blow through the area, dropping temperatures by 15 or 20 degrees or more within a very short period of time. Strong winds, heavy rain, hail or snow can also move into the area quickly. If you are caught off-guard for rapidly changing weather conditions, your outdoor adventure may be ruined, and you may find yourself quickly heading back home. These tips can help you to more easily manage any weather conditions that you may face while outdoors.

Invest in the Right Gear and Equipment

From boots and jackets to sunglasses, flashlights, waterproof tents and more, you must have access to the right gear in order to stay safe and remain comfortable while outdoors. It is wise to review your current equipment and gear to determine which items are no longer in good condition. Then, review the options available online from retailers like Kidron Sports Center or in local stores well before your next trip. Make plans to upgrade any items that are in poor condition so that you can enjoy reliable functionality on your trip.

Dress for the Forecasted Weather Conditions

When you are caught outdoors during strong storms or during times of rapidly changing temperatures, you need to be able to protect and cover yourself as well as moderate your temperature. You must have the right combination of clothes and shoes available with you, and this includes everything from a hat and sunglasses to a jacket, multiple changes of dry clothes and more.

Know When to Reschedule Your Plans

With some changing weather conditions, you can quickly adapt to the new environmental factors by altering your clothes or using some of the equipment that you have brought along. However, there are times when it may be best to simply reschedule your outdoor adventure for another day. Consider how long the conditions may persist and how extreme the conditions may be. Pay close attention to the amount of precipitation that may fall as well as to the strength of the winds.

In some cases, preparing for inclement weather can make your time outdoors more comfortable. In other cases, it is best to simply stay home and plan a trip on a day when the weather conditions are improved. As you prepare for your next trip, focus on the weather conditions, and use these tips to stay safe and comfortable.

About the Author:
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.

F You Money, or Maybe Just I Quit Money

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I am going to curse in this post. If that offends you I am sorry.

Our buddy Commander Zero brought this phrase into my vocabulary. Today I got bored and googled it. Basically Fuck You money is an amount of cash where you would never have to work again. Not do anything you want forever but live at a certain income level without needing to work.

Obviously what constitutes fuck you money is based on a multiplication of your desired annual income so it depends on the lifestyle a person wants to keep.  Fuck you money for a guy who lives in a trailer in the desert on 20k a year would be a lot less than for me in a fairly average middle class income. What would be F U money for me would be a kind of bad weekend at the tables for Dan Blizerian.

We could calculate this a couple of ways. One would be strait years X dollars but realistically unless you are pretty old we are talking about living off of interest. So you need a chunk of cash sufficient to pay interest at the level you would be planning to live at. We could debate this realistic interest number on a balanced portfolio (I have seen 8% a lot) but lets say .05 so some rolls over for inflation protection. Say you want to make 50K a year and figure your money can make .05% so  you would need an even million dollars. A smart person would realize inflation exists so to keep the same relative lifestyle it will obviously cost more in the future. So say you keep some interest rolling into the principle.Or if we want it to be 100k annual income we are talking like 2 mil.

Now 1-2 million dollars is a lot of money. It is not like crazy Warren Buffet/ Bill Gates money though. Not unrealistic if you have an OK income and a good savings plan or the ability to get a couple of big, but not insane, pay days.

That got me to thinking.

In Dave Chapelles recent comedy special on netflix, which you should check out if you like that kind of thing, Dave describes Kevin Hart as having “Shut the Fuck Up Money.” Like he could tell a partner to STFU an they would deal with it because he is ridiculously rich. Dave then says that “he has please be quiet money at best.”

So in this spirit I got to thinking about what would be a short term goal on the way to FU money? I realized I already knew the answer.

I quit money. Not a place where you can burn every bridge an never work again but one where you can decide you do not want to take the transfer to Los Angeles or that you are tired of putting up with a terrible boss and want to just find another job. Or maybe there is a major life event going on and you are going to take a month off, whether the boss likes it or not.

Then I realized this is simply a good emergency fund. The smart money people say 3-6 months expenses is a good emergency fund. Some in this market where people, especially upper middle class older people say 50+ can be unemployed for a long time, say 6-9 months. Obviously your individual situation matters. How vulnerable you think your situation is, how much back up you have (does the Mrs have a great job or is she a stay at home mom) an how easy it is to replace a job where you are all matter.

I think a fully funded emergency fund in cash (bank or safe) or items that can be immediately converted to cash like silver and gold gives you a lot of options. Also it is a reasonably attainable goal for most people with some savings and maybe increased earnings.

Preparedness and normal life event benefits aside being able to politely tell your boss you quit or not take that new client/ contract an know you have some wiggle room to find something else sounds pretty darn nice. Also this seems like a good motivator to save and earn to stash that cash.

 Got emergency fund?

How to Escape 3 Scary Movie Scenarios in Real Life

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Every scary movie enthusiast has pictured him or herself in the shoes of the protagonist — and allowed his or her imagination to run wild as he or she considered what he or she would do in a similar situation. Most scary movies are filled with monsters, fantasy creatures, and unrealistic scenarios. But, every once in awhile you’ll watch a thriller that closely represents a real life situation. Those are the scary movies that hit home. Here are three scary movie scenarios that could happen in real life and what you should do to escape … alive:

Home Invasion

The best way to escape a home invasion is to be prepared. This means installing security measures such as cameras and alarms to deter invaders. Your household should have a plan in the case of burglars, identifying where you would go, how you would protect yourselves if the person is armed, who would contact law enforcement, etc. Having a back door, safe room, escape ladder, or some other conspicuous exit route will allow you to quietly sneak out of your own home while you contact the police. If possible, have an escape vehicle available to flee the premises and be sure to know who you need to buddy-up with if you don’t have your driver’s license or only have a learner’s permit. If you want to protect yourself, take self defense courses or purchase a gun and learn how to use it. If you plan to use a gun, be a responsible owner and purchase a gun safe and be aware of your local gun laws to avoid any issues. 

Open Water and Predators

Whether you actually suffer from Thalassophobia, or movies like “Jaws,” “Deep Blue Sea,” and “Open Water” just happen to haunt you in your sleep, fear of the ocean and creatures within is not irrational. If you’re a scuba diver who gets lost, if you fall off a boat while out at sea, or find yourself in a rescue boat, being stranded in open water is a frightening experience. Surviving opens water requires you to stay calm, preserve as much of your energy as possible, and use whatever tools you may have wisely. Use the mnemonic device STOP to stop, think, observe, and plan. 

When stranded in water, your No. 1 priority is to stay afloat, find shelter if possible, and find a source of water and food. If the water is calm, float on your back with your head up to the sky and if the water is choppy, float face down, only looking up when you need air. If you’re moving to find shelter, move with the current and don’t waste your energy fighting it. Don’t bother paddling or swimming against a current unless you can visibly see shore, in which case you should take your time and understand your physical limitations. When you’re ready to look for water, collect rain water at any given opportunity and take advantage of fish liquids, extracting fluid from their vertebrate or eyes.

Zombie Apocalypse 

Whether you’re dealing with a viral outbreak or real life zombies, being clever and maintaining your will to live are key factors to survival. If you haven’t watched the AMC thriller sitcom, “The Walking Dead,” start now. The show presents realistic zombie encounters, and studying how characters in the show survive is a great way for you to prepare. First, consider your escape vehicle. You don’t want a gas guzzling SUV or mini-van since you don’t know at what point you will be able to re-fuel. Since zombies can’t drive, you’re better off fleeing on a bicycle or skateboard — something that’s man powered and doesn’t require fuel. Choose your weapon wisely and make sure to practice using it. Zombie experts recommend a machete or bolt action rifle; both do the job quickly and accurately. Lastly, remember that zombies aren’t your only enemy and as resources become slim, your friends could turn against each other. 

About the Author: Natalie Posdaljian is a naturalist and environmental advocate who prefers to be outdoors whenever possible. When she’s not soaking up Vitamin D, you’ll find her planning her next adventure, reading or on her yoga mat.

I Can Haz Podcast?

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Hey, Do you guys and gals listen to podcasts? If so where do you download/ stream them from?

Would you be interested in listening to a podcast if I were to produce one?

If so any thoughts/ ideas/ suggestions would be appreciated. If any of you are involved in a podcast please drop me an email so we can discuss some of that stuff.

No major decisions made yet but it seems like a newer format with more room for growth would be a good thing.

Thanks in advance.

Prepper Perfect: 4 Essentials Every Serious Survivor Needs

Anyone serious about survival in dire straits needs a plan. More importantly, they need the resources that help support that plan, covering everything from staying fed to staying mobile and well-protected. Listed here are some of the bare-bones essentials that should be any prepper’s supply list.

Firearms and Ammunition

A Gun Digest survey emerged recently and provided results about what readers felt more important in a long-term survival situation: hunting guns or food stores. The ubiquitous answer was in favor of the firearms, for a few reasons. Firstly, food stores that can’t be protected from hungry animals or people won’t last long. Second, guns will help you secure a long-term source of nourishment through hunting. Lastly, guns are valuable, and can always be traded should they outlive their usefulness to you. A steady supply of bullets means a steady supply of food. For those without extensive shooting experience, plenty of ammunition is a must. You’ll need enough to get over the learning curve at the expense of many rounds, so be sure to have many more afterwards.

Long Term Shelter

Holding yourself and loved ones down in an area familiar to you provides a serious advantage for survival. Combat veteran David Kobler suggests putting less emphasis on bomb-proof bunkers and ramping up security around your premises more generally, as fortifying too small an area eliminates mobility. Kobler adds that sustainability is key, urging preppers to think about heating, water collection, and generating power for extended time periods.

Means of Evacuation

Sometimes the best way to ensure survival is to get out of an affected area and get to a better place. Guaranteeing that you can move quickly and efficiently affords assorted options when an area becomes compromised.

Marine Options

All-terrain vehicles take the cake on land, but shouldn’t be your only option. If you’re near water, consider building a boat dock for private use and equip it with a raft and fishing gear. Some companies, such as Abbotts’ Construction Services Inc., know helpful this can be in an emergency situation. Water also provides anonymity and a consistent food supply.

Having a variety of mobile, pre-packaged supplies all in one place is an invaluable way to supplement the bigger things on the list. Think about immediate necessity, starting with water bottles, iodine, and two filters. Layer in a first-aid kit and know how to use it. Take a small, collapsible shelter, and ESS Recon 3 sleeping bag (or something rated for similarly cold temperatures). Top it all off with calorie-dense freeze-dried rations and a folding knife.

About the Author: Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn’t on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook: @RachelleWilber

Prepper Perfect: 4 Essentials Every Serious Survivor Needs

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Anyone serious about survival in dire straits needs a plan. More importantly, they need the resources that help support that plan, covering everything from staying fed to staying mobile and well-protected. Listed here are some of the bare-bones essentials that should be any prepper’s supply list.

Firearms and Ammunition

A Gun Digest survey emerged recently and provided results about what readers felt more important in a long-term survival situation: hunting guns or food stores. The ubiquitous answer was in favor of the firearms, for a few reasons. Firstly, food stores that can’t be protected from hungry animals or people won’t last long. Second, guns will help you secure a long-term source of nourishment through hunting. Lastly, guns are valuable, and can always be traded should they outlive their usefulness to you. A steady supply of bullets means a steady supply of food. For those without extensive shooting experience, plenty of ammunition is a must. You’ll need enough to get over the learning curve at the expense of many rounds, so be sure to have many more afterwards.

Long Term Shelter

Holding yourself and loved ones down in an area familiar to you provides a serious advantage for survival. Combat veteran David Kobler suggests putting less emphasis on bomb-proof bunkers and ramping up security around your premises more generally, as fortifying too small an area eliminates mobility. Kobler adds that sustainability is key, urging preppers to think about heating, water collection, and generating power for extended time periods.

Means of Evacuation

Sometimes the best way to ensure survival is to get out of an affected area and get to a better place. Guaranteeing that you can move quickly and efficiently affords assorted options when an area becomes compromised.

Marine Options

All-terrain vehicles take the cake on land, but shouldn’t be your only option. If you’re near water, consider building a boat dock for private use and equip it with a raft and fishing gear. Some companies, such as Abbotts’ Construction Services Inc., know helpful this can be in an emergency situation. Water also provides anonymity and a consistent food supply.

Having a variety of mobile, pre-packaged supplies all in one place is an invaluable way to supplement the bigger things on the list. Think about immediate necessity, starting with water bottles, iodine, and two filters. Layer in a first-aid kit and know how to use it. Take a small, collapsible shelter, and ESS Recon 3 sleeping bag (or something rated for similarly cold temperatures). Top it all off with calorie-dense freeze-dried rations and a folding knife.

About the Author: Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn’t on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook: @RachelleWilber

Prepper Perfect: 4 Essentials Every Serious Survivor Needs

Anyone serious about survival in dire straits needs a plan. More importantly, they need the resources that help support that plan, covering everything from staying fed to staying mobile and well-protected. Listed here are some of the bare-bones essentials that should be any prepper’s supply list.

Firearms and Ammunition

A Gun Digest survey emerged recently and provided results about what readers felt more important in a long-term survival situation: hunting guns or food stores. The ubiquitous answer was in favor of the firearms, for a few reasons. Firstly, food stores that can’t be protected from hungry animals or people won’t last long. Second, guns will help you secure a long-term source of nourishment through hunting. Lastly, guns are valuable, and can always be traded should they outlive their usefulness to you. A steady supply of bullets means a steady supply of food. For those without extensive shooting experience, plenty of ammunition is a must. You’ll need enough to get over the learning curve at the expense of many rounds, so be sure to have many more afterwards.

Long Term Shelter

Holding yourself and loved ones down in an area familiar to you provides a serious advantage for survival. Combat veteran David Kobler suggests putting less emphasis on bomb-proof bunkers and ramping up security around your premises more generally, as fortifying too small an area eliminates mobility. Kobler adds that sustainability is key, urging preppers to think about heating, water collection, and generating power for extended time periods.

Means of Evacuation

Sometimes the best way to ensure survival is to get out of an affected area and get to a better place. Guaranteeing that you can move quickly and efficiently affords assorted options when an area becomes compromised.

Marine Options

All-terrain vehicles take the cake on land, but shouldn’t be your only option. If you’re near water, consider building a boat dock for private use and equip it with a raft and fishing gear. Some companies, such as Abbotts’ Construction Services Inc., know helpful this can be in an emergency situation. Water also provides anonymity and a consistent food supply.

Having a variety of mobile, pre-packaged supplies all in one place is an invaluable way to supplement the bigger things on the list. Think about immediate necessity, starting with water bottles, iodine, and two filters. Layer in a first-aid kit and know how to use it. Take a small, collapsible shelter, and ESS Recon 3 sleeping bag (or something rated for similarly cold temperatures). Top it all off with calorie-dense freeze-dried rations and a folding knife.

About the Author: Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn’t on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook: @RachelleWilber

Real World Bug Outs Continued

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Yesterdays Real World Bug Outs post got a lengthy comment from Aesop that I wanted to discuss. I will post it and my comments will be in italics.

My bug-out prep would be for 5 minutes and 30 minutes, but with kids, I could see a 15 minute instead of 5 becoming necessary.

It always takes more time to parade the troops.

Anything not important enough to grab and load in 30 minutes isn’t vital anyways.
BTW, That’s 10 3-minute round trips.

I think we could talk in circles about what the right time amounts are. As I look at my list the initial 15 minute time hack is way longer than I would need to do what is on the list. 5 might be a bit optimistic (where are my darn keys right now, etc all) but I could certainly call it 10. It would be 15 at least with kids. 

For the long time I need to think about it a bit more.
So besides figuring what you’re carrying, break down those ten (or whatever, your house may be shorter trips than mine) trips into what you grab with each one, based again on triaging priorities. That way, if things get worse, you still got the most important stuff first.

I like the list broken down by trip idea. That is neat. 
 
i.e. Notional trip List

1) Important stuff – briefcase and B.O.B.
2) comms, backups, maps, compass, GPS, etc.
3) Weapons & ammo
4) Water and filters
5) shelter – tent, sleeping bags, etc.
6) medical
7) tools, traps, & gear
8) food
9) more clothes, boots, etc.
10) more food, water, addl. supplies

(And don’t forget the carrier(s) for Fido and Fluffy, their food, bowls, leashes, waste management supplies, etc.!)

This is where the real world part comes in. We aren’t fleeing the zombie apocalypse to go camp in the woods or something. Thus a need for a tent and traps and a bunch of bulk food isn’t present. I’ll be living on a couch or in a cheap motel eating pizza or microwave food from the grocery store. So I do not need to waste time and space on that stuff. Having some capability, like a BOB makes sense but that time and vehicle space would be much more useful for Great Grandmas rocking chair or something. I suppose the specific event and your plan will ultimately dictate. I can see myself ending up with 2 lists, one for an event during normal times and another or the dreaded zombie apocalypse.

More trips?
Make a longer list, as appropriate.

Then print it out.
Then put a house plan map, with trip number items color-coded, circled, and pre-packed into appropriate bags/bundles, on the back side.
Then make several two-sided color copies.
Then laminate them, and put them in appropriate places.

You kind of lost me with the talk of color coding and circling. Pre packing stuff makes sense though. I am pretty much there. Concur about the list. My plan is to firm it up an then do just that.

Anything not hot/cold/time sensitive, as much as possible, should be pre-staged in the vehicle(s), which saves you needless trips.

Pre staging stuff in a risky situation (there is a fire nearby, not quite close enough to evacuate yet, etc) certainly makes sense. Having your normal vehicle loaded to bug out at all times sounds kind of problematic. A full set up ready to go in a dedicated vehicle would be cool if you have one and a relatively secure place to store it.

(cont.)

Aesopsaid…

(cont.)
(Oh, and it should go without saying, your vehicle(s) should already have a list of items always in them 24/7/365 – tools, spares, flares, fluids, fire ext., first aid kit, etc., and a schematic of where they’re stored, and what needs to be checked/replaced, at least twice a year. Just like the .Mil has done with jeeps, trucks, HMMWVs, MRAPs, APCs, and tanks since we stopped using horses. Doing this on the changes back/forth from Daylight Savings Time, which is always a Sunday, gives you winter/summer changeovers, along with swapping out stored batteries, rotating stored food, and changing active batteries in your smoke and CO2 detectors, and checking your household fire extinguisher(s). All of which people have, right? RIGHT?)

I concur with this and have more or less the same set up in my vehicle.

Kids bags being “too hard” is a cop out.

I am inclined to agree with you. The difference is you and I are fairly committed to all of this stuff. Normal folks aren’t. So what is an acceptable level of hassle to you is not to them.

If they grow that fast, just put one full set of clothes into the bag once a week with laundry, and swap ’em out. You’re gonna wash them and fold ’em anyways, so it ain’t that tough. Or even once a month.

So obviously what’s really kickin’ somebody’s butt there is self-discipline.

Excuses are just wallpaper for a pile of crap.

The briefcase idea is always right, going back to the second Bond movie.

Having your passport/IDs, important stuff, emergency cash, and some handy weapons and gadgets in a Get Out Of Dodge case or carryall is Survival 101, going as far back as the WWI precursors to the OSS 100 years ago.

I use a small backpack so I can stuff it into my BOB if needed.

Go over each item on a monthly basis, i.e. one item per month.

E.g., on that list, in February, you’d put fresh road maps, topos, state gazeteers, etc. in your map case, put in fresh stored (NOT kept inside the devices) spare batts for your GPS and handhelds, make sure your personal CEOI (local freqs, buddies’ freqs, cellphone, e-mail, and snail mail addys for family, friends, neighbors, important contacts – banks, utilities, credit card companies, insurance agents and companies, emergency resources – Poison control, doctors, hospitals, red cross, state and federal FEMA, and anything else you want/need/think is cool etc. is all up to date and current, laminated, duplicated, etc.

And everything should be in both paper copies, AND a bombproof/waterproof/disasterproof encrypted thumb drive or three. You should have some of those stored/buried/cached offsite in redundantly redundant places, with all your important records archived.

This is on my to do list.

You can also fit more photos than anyone should own on the newer high-cap drives, and save yourself toting cartons of albums of otherwise irreplaceable family pics.

Scanning photos is a great idea. I will add it to my to do list.

For one example, you can put one or more such drives in one of the cute anodized, o-ring sealed aluminum “pill carrier” tubes, go to a close relative’s house outside your region, unscrew the center latch of an interior door like a closet, get a paddle bit, and put a suitable hole into the jamb. Deposit the tube, put the latch back in place, screw it down on most of the screws, and epoxy in a broken-off dummy screw head for the remaining hole(s), and unless their house burns down or washes away too, it’ll be there until you need it, or get old enough to go senile and forget you put it there.

I would probably just ask them to hold onto said thumb drive for me.

If you have masonry bits and some camo skillz plus a glue gun, you can do this with a brick in a pile, a rock, a tree trunk or stump, a plug/switch box in conduit, or about 1000 other places. The places where you can stash stuff you might want, but don’t want to carry are mainly only limited by your imagination.

This kind of thing definitely has some cool possibilities. I am certainly a fan of caches.

And the fatter aluminum tubes about 3″ long hold 30+ quarter-sized coins. Imagine pre-65 silver, or 1/4 oz. gold Canadian Maple leaf coins, and each one is a stash of $90-9000 US dollars of actual money. Just saying.

Top 7 Deer Hunting Bullet Types – An Optimum Guide to Get the Success

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You are probably finding the best bullets to hunt the deer species in the best way possible. But the most common problem is to opt the hunting bullets out of the piles of countless types.

So, here is a good news for you:

I have researched upon the various kinds of hunting bullets that can give a 100% of success ratio to the deer hunters. I am going to share all those top bullets with you right now.

There are a few qualities that must be present in the deer hunting bullets for more accuracy:

  • Deer hunting bullets should provide a proper expansion.
  • They should give deeper penetration.
  • They should provide the proper destructive power to knock down the game.
  • They should provide the maximum accuracy and speedy flight.

So, all these above mentioned qualities, if present in your bullets, can give you the optimum outcomes undoubtedly.

Not only this, but also there are many other ideal features that must be provided by the deer hunting bullets to achieve the perfect results.

For this purpose, you must have to check out the Hunting Mark infographic. It contains all that necessary information that a hunter should require to get the 100% outcomes. You will have a better understanding of the subject after checking it out.

Conclusion:To sum up, a deer hunter can achieve the best outcomes by using the above mentioned 7 types of bullets. All these bullet types are chosen after a massive research and they are pretty much suitable for the deer hunting. So, the successful hunting experience is waiting for you. Just grab the right bullets and get the success guaranteed!

My name is Jessica Kelley and doing the hunting from my childhood. I spent lots of time in the hunting fields with my dad from childhood. I also have my blog named as Hunting Mark where I often write about hunting & survival.

Real World Bug Outs

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My friends house almost burned down. There was a fire in the immediate area. It happened during the day when B was at work. Maggy was home with the kids. She realized it was time to get out of there. She had the kids (they are young) pack bags while she put some other stuff together. Thankfully the issue was localized so a friend was able to come over and help with the kids which gave her a lot more freedom of movement.

She mentioned that it was a good thing that it wasn’t a real emergency because between their kids bags was “3 pair of underwear, 4 shorts, 8 shirts, and 28 pair of socks.”

This got us talking about preparing. I mentioned maybe having some bags ready to go. She, somewhat correctly, said for little kids whose sizes change constantly that would be sort of a constant mess. After some consideration I got back to her and told her what I actually do.

For my kids I keep a kid sized backpack in the car with a full set of clothes, 2x underwear, shoes, a coat and a few small books/ toys. This is basically their bug out stuff. It sits in the vehicle because kids are messy and crazy. Also it keeps this stuff relevant because it fits a normal life role and is getting used somewhat often. 

Other things that came up from this conversation are lists and drills.

Having a list of what you should take helps in stressful situations. Do the thinking when your mind is clear. Also this may well lead you to having things more organized. For example having your important papers in a folder or briefcase with your passports, documents, cash, spare keys, etc together in the safe makes it much easier than doing a scavenger hunt.

I broke my list into 15 minutes and 1 hour. To me much less than 15 is grab your wallet, BOB and run so no point in that. The other time of 1 hour seemed realistic for needing to leave soon but having more time.

Maybe you could do 4 hours and 24 but for me they seem to be getting less likely. Unless you have a bunch of guys to help and several large trailers you will see that the 1 hour plan has your vehicles pretty much packed up.

I am going to firm up my list a little and will publish it, or maybe a sanitized version of it, later.

Drills are important. Even relatively small kids can do stuff. Also if the kids are busy it lets parents be much more productive. Even something as simple as “Get dressed, pack a bag of toys, go to the bathroom and get into the car.” would be a huge help. The kid drills are something I am kind of light on. I will have to take a look at Joe Foxs Book.

Anyway what are your thoughts on real world bug out’s?

Mechanical Tips Every Survivalist Should Know

Regardless of what particular survival situation you might find yourself in one day, mechanical and repair skills are important to have — and not just for your car. You should be able to repair and maintain power tools, diagnose vehicle problems and fix them, and patch things up around your house and yard. Here are some mechanical tips every survivalist should know — take notes!

Generate Electricity with a Running Vehicle

If you have a vehicle, you have a source of electricity. However, you’ll need an inverter to convert your vehicle’s output into a usable form called alternating current. Simply start the vehicle, let it run, and attach the inverter to your battery. Be careful not to do so without starting it, as your battery will quickly die.

Be Able to Signal for Help

Whether you’re lost on a hiking adventure or in an end-of-world situation, it’s important to have experience in building a fire for attracting others’ attention. You’re a survivalist, so you should already keep matches or flint and hatching around for starting fires. Build three separate, equidistant fires in the shape of a triangle. If you don’t have fire-starting materials, make sure to preserve a fire if you can start it. However, if you’re able to spark flames at will, add green plants, tree moss, rubber, plastic, or oil to the three piles. This will cause thick smoke, alerting anybody who sees it. Wait… what if I can’t start a fire?

Start a Fire from Battery and Gum Wrapper

Batteries are solid sources of energy, although most people think of them as fuel for television remotes and radios. Survivalists with nothing more than a battery and a wrapped stick of gum can start a fire. Cut a long, narrow strip of gum wrapper. Or, tear one if you’re without scissors. Place each end of the cut wrapper onto the positive and negative ends of the battery. Within seconds, you’ll find yourself with sparks.

Barricading a Home

Every survivalist should know how to keep out unwanted visitors whether that’s zombies or a tornado. Barricade windows with boards diagonally across the interior of windows. Fasten hooks to the side of doors for you to place sturdy boards in, keeping intruders out of doorways. Use tarps to cover glass windows and entrances where the elements might get in more easily.

Easy Auto Repairs

Every survivalist should know how to complete a few simple car and auto repairs. This can keep your car on the road, even when you’re in the backroads. It can also keep you mobile should you need to travel through any event. Keep an air compressor on hand and a tire plug kit in the back of your trunk. This can keep your tires filled even when they are starting to go flat. Keep a gas tank patch handy as well. These can be purchased as most stores and will be invaluable should a gas tank start leaking. This can help with ATV, motorcycle gas tanks, and other vehicles as well as a car.

Modern society has businesses, government agencies, and individuals that provide virtually every service imaginable to people in need. However, in a survival situation, the benefits of society go out the window. Learning, practicing, and mastering these tips will help you survive troubling situations.

About the Author:
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.

Mechanical Tips Every Survivalist Should Know

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Regardless of what particular survival situation you might find yourself in one day, mechanical and repair skills are important to have — and not just for your car. You should be able to repair and maintain power tools, diagnose vehicle problems and fix them, and patch things up around your house and yard. Here are some mechanical tips every survivalist should know — take notes!

Generate Electricity with a Running Vehicle

If you have a vehicle, you have a source of electricity. However, you’ll need an inverter to convert your vehicle’s output into a usable form called alternating current. Simply start the vehicle, let it run, and attach the inverter to your battery. Be careful not to do so without starting it, as your battery will quickly die.

Be Able to Signal for Help

Whether you’re lost on a hiking adventure or in an end-of-world situation, it’s important to have experience in building a fire for attracting others’ attention. You’re a survivalist, so you should already keep matches or flint and hatching around for starting fires. Build three separate, equidistant fires in the shape of a triangle. If you don’t have fire-starting materials, make sure to preserve a fire if you can start it. However, if you’re able to spark flames at will, add green plants, tree moss, rubber, plastic, or oil to the three piles. This will cause thick smoke, alerting anybody who sees it. Wait… what if I can’t start a fire?

Start a Fire from Battery and Gum Wrapper

Batteries are solid sources of energy, although most people think of them as fuel for television remotes and radios. Survivalists with nothing more than a battery and a wrapped stick of gum can start a fire. Cut a long, narrow strip of gum wrapper. Or, tear one if you’re without scissors. Place each end of the cut wrapper onto the positive and negative ends of the battery. Within seconds, you’ll find yourself with sparks.

Barricading a Home

Every survivalist should know how to keep out unwanted visitors whether that’s zombies or a tornado. Barricade windows with boards diagonally across the interior of windows. Fasten hooks to the side of doors for you to place sturdy boards in, keeping intruders out of doorways. Use tarps to cover glass windows and entrances where the elements might get in more easily.

Easy Auto Repairs

Every survivalist should know how to complete a few simple car and auto repairs. This can keep your car on the road, even when you’re in the backroads. It can also keep you mobile should you need to travel through any event. Keep an air compressor on hand and a tire plug kit in the back of your trunk. This can keep your tires filled even when they are starting to go flat. Keep a gas tank patch handy as well. These can be purchased as most stores and will be invaluable should a gas tank start leaking. This can help with ATV, motorcycle gas tanks, and other vehicles as well as a car.

Modern society has businesses, government agencies, and individuals that provide virtually every service imaginable to people in need. However, in a survival situation, the benefits of society go out the window. Learning, practicing, and mastering these tips will help you survive troubling situations.

About the Author:
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.

4 Simple Staples to Take with You on Your Next Camping Trip

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Camping is an outdoor delight but requires a lot of hard to work to make it a fun experience. In this article, we will be discussing the four basic staples you should be taking on your next camping trip to make it a great experience and an eye opening adventure in the outdoors.

Tent

Unless you enjoy sleeping on a pile of rocks and dirt, you’ll need to pack a tent for you and your companions. There are a variety of tents you can choose from, but if it’s just you, you should choose a two-man tent to have enough room for you and your gear. Plus, you should also make sure it is waterproof or water resistant in case you run into inclement weather. Not to mention, you can easily pick up a tent at your local Target, Walmart, as well as a number of online retailers as well. Keep in mind that tents range from $100-$500, so choose your budget wisely.

Long Sleeve T-Shirt

A long sleeve t-shirt is a must have no matter if you are going on a small hike or a full-fledged camping trip. Even if the weather is extremely warm, a hike to a summit can get surprisingly cold and you’ll be thanking yourself that you packed a warm long sleeve t-shirt, like those available from Over Under Clothing, to toss on. Plus, hiking with layers is extremely important due to the amount of sweat you shed throughout your trip. You should look for a wicking t-shirt or a shirt that is partially made from spandex to absorb your sweat.

Fire Starter

Is there anything better than cooking marshmallows over an open flame? In order to start that fire, however, you need a working fire starter. This could be a lighter, matches, solar fire starter, or flint and steel starter. Most people prefer standard lighters as they are the easiest to use, though matches are a useful backup to bring. No matter which one you prefer, you will need to have a working fire starter so you can build your outdoors campfire.

First Aid Kit

Many people overlook the importance of bringing a first aid kit. However, it is crucial to be prepared for the worst case scenarios. You never know when you may trip and hurt yourself. Your first aid kit should contain Band-Aids, bacitracin, gauze, duct tape, ibuprofen, and moleskin. You may also want to include aloe vera gel in your first aid kit if you are prone to getting sunburns. Camping is an incredibly fun activity that people of all ages can enjoy. With these four essentials, you will be able to survive your weekend in the woods and even have a little bit of fun while you’re at it.

About the Author: Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn’t on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook: @RachelleWilber

4 Simple Staples to Take with You on Your Next Camping Trip

Camping is an outdoor delight but requires a lot of hard to work to make it a fun experience. In this article, we will be discussing the four basic staples you should be taking on your next camping trip to make it a great experience and an eye opening adventure in the outdoors.

Tent

Unless you enjoy sleeping on a pile of rocks and dirt, you’ll need to pack a tent for you and your companions. There are a variety of tents you can choose from, but if it’s just you, you should choose a two-man tent to have enough room for you and your gear. Plus, you should also make sure it is waterproof or water resistant in case you run into inclement weather. Not to mention, you can easily pick up a tent at your local Target, Walmart, as well as a number of online retailers as well. Keep in mind that tents range from $100-$500, so choose your budget wisely.

Long Sleeve T-Shirt

A long sleeve t-shirt is a must have no matter if you are going on a small hike or a full-fledged camping trip. Even if the weather is extremely warm, a hike to a summit can get surprisingly cold and you’ll be thanking yourself that you packed a warm long sleeve t-shirt, like those available from Over Under Clothing, to toss on. Plus, hiking with layers is extremely important due to the amount of sweat you shed throughout your trip. You should look for a wicking t-shirt or a shirt that is partially made from spandex to absorb your sweat.

Fire Starter

Is there anything better than cooking marshmallows over an open flame? In order to start that fire, however, you need a working fire starter. This could be a lighter, matches, solar fire starter, or flint and steel starter. Most people prefer standard lighters as they are the easiest to use, though matches are a useful backup to bring. No matter which one you prefer, you will need to have a working fire starter so you can build your outdoors campfire.

First Aid Kit

Many people overlook the importance of bringing a first aid kit. However, it is crucial to be prepared for the worst case scenarios. You never know when you may trip and hurt yourself. Your first aid kit should contain Band-Aids, bacitracin, gauze, duct tape, ibuprofen, and moleskin. You may also want to include aloe vera gel in your first aid kit if you are prone to getting sunburns. Camping is an incredibly fun activity that people of all ages can enjoy. With these four essentials, you will be able to survive your weekend in the woods and even have a little bit of fun while you’re at it.

About the Author: Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn’t on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook: @RachelleWilber

Going Hunting? 7 Ways to Best Prepare for Your Hunting Trip

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You have a hunting trip coming up in the very near future and want to be sure that you are well prepared for your excursion. Following these suggestions and tips will have you up and ready with a minimum of fuss and stress. They include the following:

Clean and Check Weapons

Make a point to clean and oil all of your weapons before heading out on your trip. Take them to a safe area and shoot them off a few times to ensure that they are safe and fully operational. Put them in a secure location until it is time to depart.

Stock Up on Bullets and Other Supplies

Check all of your supplies before departure. The last thing you want to do is end up in a great hunting zone and run out of ammunition. Be sure to also stock plenty of safety supplies, clothing, food, and water for the duration of your trip.

Purchase Proper Clothing

Hunting can be a rough sport so be sure to dress accordingly. Sturdy, waterproof boots, heavy camouflage pants, heavy jacket, and gloves if necessary. Dress for the weather – layering clothes from companies like Over Under Clothing can be quite effective in keeping hunters warm and cozy in very cold weather.

Apply for Hunting License

Double-check all of your hunting permits and licenses. Make sure they have not expired and that they are the correct ones for the areas you will be visiting. Keep them in a safe, waterproof place in case the game warden needs to review them.

Research Hunting Destination

If you know exactly where you are going, be sure to research the location you are heading to. This way you will know exactly where to go when you get there. Research the quality of the hunting in that spot as well as the weather expected during the time you are there. If you don’t know exactly where you are headed, research various routes and plan out exactly how to get there in advance so you don’t get lost and lose valuable hunting time.

Get in Shape

Hunting may not seem to be a strenuous sport, but it actually is. You have to be in fairly good physical condition to move across rugged terrain and treacherous water. If you have any serious health conditions, be sure to get clearance from your physician.

Practice Your Aim

Be sure to practice your aim before embarking on your hunting trip. It may have been awhile since you have had any practice, and you do want to be successful in hunting your specific game. Take extra care in selecting a target practice area that is safe and where the bullets will be effectively contained.

As you can see, preparing for a hunting trip can be quite an ordeal. Remembering all the little things that need to be done and purchasing necessities are all part of the process of ensuring a successful hunting outcome.

About the Author: Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball. Twitter: @LizzieWeakley Facebook: facebook.com/lizzie.weakley

Survival Skillset: How to Build an Emergency Tarp Shelter

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In a survival scenario, your first and most important need is a place to shelter. A well-made shelter will keep you both warm and dry when it is built right. Since you need all the energy you can muster to survive, making an emergency tarp shelter is a much better alternative than finding materials and building your own. With that being said, this article will show you how to build an emergency tarp shelter of your own.

  1. Find a Good Anchor Point

    The first thing you must do when making a tarp shelter is to find an effective anchor point. Usually, two closely placed trees will make excellent anchor points but another area you may build a tarp shelter is in a large rock crevice. Consider choosing surroundings that will block out the wind and keep you warmer. Also, try to choose an area that is visible to rescue crews.

  2. Tie a Rope to Both Anchor Points

    After you have found two suitable points to have your tarp shelter between, now you must tie a rope to both areas. Secure the rope tightly so your tarp does not blow away in the wind or adverse weather. Another alternative to a rope is a very long and strong stick that can be wedged between the forks of two trees. When you don’t have a rope, you can also prop the tarp up by putting sturdy sticks into the ground and putting the end of them through the metal rings on the tarp. In this case, you should consider choosing a spot that has one to three sides completely wind-blocked so you have less to secure.

  3. Drape the Tarp over the Rope or Sticks

    Try to secure the tarp shelter over the rope so that it equally blocks the wind on both sides. Pull the ends so they reach the ground on both sides equally. If your tarp shelter is being propped up by sticks, you will have to secure the tarp to the sticks so that it is leaning downward at the entrance of your shelter to deflect rain.

  4. Stake the Tarp Down Tight

    Now it’s time to tie your tarp down tight to trap out the wind completely. When using a rope, simply place large sticks in the holes of the tarp nearest to the ground so that the bottom of the tarp is tightly touching the ground. Make sure that the sticks you are using have some type of knot or fork in them so they hold the tarp securely and don’t slip. Fill in any open areas with as many leaves or foliage as you can find to tightly insulate your shelter. Lean branches over your doorway that you can also have foliage placed over.

Conclusion That’s all there is to it to make an effective tarp shelter. If you ever do need to use one in an emergency then we hope that this article will help you out and that a rescue team is sent to you quickly.

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.

Air Travel an Preparedness

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I travel for work sometimes. I also travel to see my kids. Both are at least in the short term unavoidable. Also traveling for fun is nice.

Traveling by vehicle is easy for preparedness. Assuming you have some space in the vehicle you can just bring whatever. Also your ability to control your own travel means you can choose to leave right now. You can go a hundred miles the wrong way to avoid a big problem.

Air travel is more difficult. Still I think you can be reasonably prepared for most even semi likely events if not the end of the world.

The most restrictive set of stuff for air travel is if you are only using a carry on. It is also what you can have on your person on the plane. What can you have? Listed in rough order:
-Good footwear. You don’t need hiking boots but shouldn’t be wearing flip flops or heals either. A decent set of close toed shoes you can walk a few miles in can fit with most styles and are very prudent.
-Decent all around clothes. Not combat or hunting gear but some kind of reasonable clothes in case you need to do something or get stuck in them for awhile. Also reasonable outer wear for your area.
-CASH. Probably the biggest single problem solver in real world survival situations. 
-Credit Cards. Having a card with a big balance gives you options. Need a last minute ticket, OK. Heck if you need to buy a used car to drive out of a problem it is an option.
-Medications. Having a week or even better a month of medicines you need is very wise.
-OTC meds. Stuff for standard travel sickness like diarrhea, Tylenol, Benedryl, etc.
-First aid gear. Minus the needle I can’t see why you wouldn’t be able to have a full IFAK in a carry on bag.
-A water bottle.
-Compass.
-Maps. This is wonky as planes cover huge distances but even a state road map is better than nothing. Doubly so if you are not familiar with the area at all.

Now lets say you check a bag. For the sake of this a bag to anywhere. What can you add.
 -A good knife.
-A multi tool.

Checking guns. Obviously on a flight to most foreign countries this is not an option. However when it comes to traveling in most of the US it is not a big deal to fly with guns. I have done it a few times and the only one where it got any scrutiny was in Louisiana at a local airport where the guy just wanted to see what I had. Really flying with a gun isn’t anywhere near as big a deal as people make it out to be.

That said if you travel to the same place often and can afford to do so it isn’t a bad idea to consider an operational cache.

How serious about all of this should you be? I suppose it depends. Primarily in my mind it depends on the risk level of where you are going. If I was flying into Northern Iraq or Pakistan or Indonesia would have things locked down. Thousands in cash a full on BOB, an as many weapons as you can get in and carry would be prudent. On the other hand if you were flying to a few hundred miles from home and it isn’t to a place with a high threat then some cash, decent clothes, a compass and a map an your not doing bad at all. Toss in a good folding knife and a gun or two and its a good set up for a relaxed area.

Thoughts?

3 Overlooked Doomsday Prep Essentials

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Preparing for life after disaster requires superhuman organization. Hell, most of us have trouble keeping track of everything we have to remember in our current, convenience-filled reality, let alone keep track of survival essentials like food storage rotation. You’ve likely made a number of difficult decisions already — living after disaster will require a much leaner lifestyle, and that means preparing to give up much of what we take for granted. Maybe you’ve done that already, to make the transition easier.

There are some modern conveniences, however, which will be conspicuous in their absence. Preparing for the need, and stockpiling difficult-to-produce items now — well, you do that already anyway. Here are just a few priorities that often get overlooked, and that you might want to add to your stockpile list today:

  1. Tires

  2. There’s a lot of talk about the best vehicles for doomsday situations. No matter how advanced a vehicle is, none of them are designed to function in less-than-ideal conditions indefinitely, so the more preventative maintenance you can do, the better. A big part of that preventative maintenance is going to be picking a role for each vehicle and making sure you have a few sets of tires stockpiled away for that purpose.

    Mud & road tires

    Tire tread technology is improving all the time, and while it may not necessarily be a bad idea to run a vehicle with mud tires on asphalt, there are better ways to organize your fleet of survival vehicles. There is a lot of argument about whether mud tires are or aren’t safer, noisier, or less fuel efficient on asphalt; it seems to depend a lot on the brand you buy. In rural areas, if you’re expecting blocked roads, it might even be a better idea to just run muds all the time and have a few replacements on hand. But there is one reason to consider taking those muds off your road vehicle: fuel efficiency. When gas becomes a rare commodity, every little you can do to conserve will help. Low-rolling-resistance, fuel-efficient tires could be a good purchase for supply runs close to home or local patrols, to save your resources.

    Snow tires

    Your muds will work great in rain and light snowfall, but you’re going to want snow tires, plus replacement sets if your area gets battered by heavy winters. Unlike mud tires, these guys are absolutely not meant to be used on dry asphalt. The rubber is softer than other tires and will wear out quickly, especially in the heat. Store these away and break them out when the snow falls.

  3. Waste Treatment Systems

    Have you thought about where you’ll be dumping your garbage and refuse? Even if you pick a site that is away from the water sources you use, it will only be a matter of time before waste begins to seep into the groundwater, which could have disastrous effects for miles. Once that happens, it may well be beyond your ability to fix.

  4. There have been advancements recently in stand-alone, self-contained waste treatment systems that recycle gray and even black water. Some are complex, using solar energy to treat waste, and others are much simpler, making use of worms to create compost while cleaning the water.

    Even if you have plans for plumbing and waste disposal, don’t rely completely on infrastructure. Sanitary disposables are other examples of difficult-to-produce items that will make life a whole lot more bearable when the worst strikes.

  5. Metal Detectors

    This one might not be as immediately obvious, but I promise you won’t regret keeping one of these tools around.

  6. These days, metal detectors are generally used by hobbyists and amatuer fortune hunters, but other uses are emerging that could have significant value to the well-prepared family. A number of people have started using metal detectors for geocaching. I immediately thought of prep applications. If you have a fallback shelter location or a carefully charted escape route, it could be worth your while to leave dead drops for yourself along the route. Memorize the locations, bury supplies in metal containers, and keep a metal detector in your bug-out vehicle. Not needing to physically mark the exact dig location makes the drop a lot more secure.

    If you ever have to drop everything and leave supplies behind, or you’re caught out away from home, you’ll know that you can get right on the road and pick up your supplies along the way, rather than having to improvise.

I hope this has given you a few more things to think about in your disaster preparation process. Good luck out there.

About the Author: Brooke Faulkner’s mission in life is to be prepared for anything life throws at her. As a mother of two, more often than not that includes legos and snotty viruses. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found zipping around the wilderness on her ATV.

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week? Ammo Cans and BOB Reorganization

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It was a pretty good week here in preparedness. Jiu Jitsu, PT and dry fire were good.

I got a deal on a bunch of ammo cans I have been sorely needing. Had a couple cases of 5.56 and some various other ammo that needed to get properly stored in cans. I had to dig around to find it all. Still fairly certain there is a case or two floating around somewhere that needs to go into cans but oh well.

Today I reorganized my bug out bag and assault pack. I worked on this recently. The resulting bag was good but the overall plan somewhat lacking. For most of my local situations I do not need a full up BOB. Having a full up 40 LB ish BOB to get me a few miles home is unnecessary and even counter productive. I need some of that stuff though.

Often survivalists end up with 2 totally separate systems. A get home bag and a bug out bag. I wasn’t in love with this idea. Basically it leaves you with 2 really redundant systems. Also the BOB really needs an assault pack anyway.

The idea I had was to shift items between the BOB and Assault Bag to make it so each is useful on its own. We want redundancy in essential items anyway right? So putting one item in one bag and another in the other leaves you with 2 relatively useful kits.

I rebalanced my BOB to 2 bags. Both come in around 20 pounds so 40 total. I will likely add a few things to the BOB since it has space now but the whole thing staying well under 50 total is very realistic.

There is some playing to do between them still and I can use a few more things. Specifically I can use another sawyer water filter, a flashlight and another poncho (my last one went into a cache). Also I wish I could find my darn Ontario Rat 3 knife an the pouch it is on.

Generally I am happy with this set up. Once I get it fully sorted out maybe I’ll take pictures and do an inventory. Fundamentally though I think the plan is a winner.

What did you do to prepare this week?

Stuck in the Woods: How to Truly Prep Your Homestead for a Natural Disaster

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A natural disaster happens in any corner of the world with some or little warning. These situations are frightening, especially when you live in a rural region. When it comes to your homestead, you need to be prepared for almost any situation. Consider these top tips that truly prep your home in the event of a disaster.

Stock up on Supplies

Canned food, water and batteries should be prioritized as your homestead stock. Disasters often cut off food and water supplies almost immediately. Be sure to have enough water for both drinking, cooking and cleaning. Nearby municipal supplies might be out of commission for several days, depending on the disaster’s extent. Always rotate your canned-food stock too. You don’t want to experience a disaster, and the food has expired several years ago.

Inspect the Building Envelope

Before a disaster occurs, make it a habit to inspect your home. Look at the roof, walls, and foundation. Collectively, these components are referred to as the building envelope. Deal with any minor issues that you observe, such as cracks or broken materials. If these items are ignored, a disaster can quickly worsen them. In fact, it’s possible for the homestead to have severe problems as the disaster weakens any cracks or compromised areas.

Invest in a Generator

Don’t rely on nearby electricity because it can go out for days or weeks at a time during a disaster. Ideally, purchase a portable power generator. Some companies, such as Renogy, know that these kinds of devices uses oil, gas, or a battery to generate electricity. You’ll have limited power with the generator, but it’s enough to keep you going through a disaster. Without power, boiling water and heating your house can be nearly impossible.

Prune Away Hazards

When your homestead is in the wilderness, you’re surrounded by nature’s beauty. Be aware of the hazards that are all around you, however. Dangling tree branches and brush on the ground can quickly become hazards. Branches might fall on the home, or the brush goes up in flames. Prune away these items so that they’re a safe distance from the home. You can still have nature to enjoy, but just at a distance where the home is safe from immediate harm.

Practice disaster scenarios with your loved ones. Create drills that everyone participates in so that you’re ready for almost any disaster. Although it’s impossible to be completely ready for the unexpected, these drills will simplify your response as you keep everyone safe from harm.

About the Author: Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball. Twitter: @LizzieWeakley Facebook: facebook.com/lizzie.weakley

Summer Complacency

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Summer Complacency