14 Often-Overlooked EDC Items I Carry … Just In Case

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14 Often-Overlooked EDC Items I Carry ... Just In Case

P-38. Image source: Wikipedia

We survivalists tend to think of EDC (everyday carry) as our own invention. But it is not. The reality is that everyone has an EDC — just look at any woman carrying a purse. That purse, filled with miscellaneous things, is her EDC.

Of course, only survivalists (male and female) have taken the step to make that EDC useful to help us out in a life-threatening situation.

Still, I find that most preppers don’t bother with much of an EDC. They work under the assumption that whatever happens, they’ll be at home, where they have access to all their survival gear and supplies. While that would be an ideal way to start out any survival scenario, rarely do things work out that well.

Being prepared must mean being prepared for anything at any time. Therefore, a good EDC is an essential part of being prepared. While it is possible to survive many situations without having the right equipment on hand, having the equipment makes a world of difference.

I break my EDC down into two general parts. First are the things that I carry on my person at all times. This includes things like my pistol, two spare magazines, a pocket knife, a multi-tool, my cell phone and a lighter. In some circumstances, I might add other items, such as bandages for emergency first-aid or even a small survival kit.

Then there’s my EDC bag. That’s kept in my car. Actually, there’s one in each of our cars. Since I don’t go anywhere without my car, I can count on always having that with me. This is essentially a combination survival kit (a thorough survival kit) and get-home bag. It has enough in it for me to survive several days (other than water), either in an urban or wilderness situation.

Between the two, I have found that I have enough with me to not only take care of those times when I’m caught in a survival situation, but also to take care of many of life’s inconveniences. To me, my EDC is not just a decoration, it’s something I use constantly. That means I’m also constantly maintaining and refilling it with consumables.

Along the way, I’ve found a number of items that were not originally included in my EDC, so I’ve added them. Perhaps these are things that you should have added to yours, but never saw the need.

1. Cash

Today’s society is gradually becoming more and more cash-free. We generally use credit or debit cards for almost everything – even small purchases. That means that when the lights go out, so does our purchasing power. If there’s a blackout and you have to buy gasoline to get home, you’re stuck.

14 Often-Overlooked EDC Items I Carry ... Just In CaseCarrying $100 in cash may seem like a waste of a good $100, but in such a situation it could mean being able to buy food, water and gasoline. But don’t carry it as one single bill. Rather, carry a number of smaller bills. If all you have is a $100 bill and you need five gallons of gas, you might just end up paying $100 for it.

2. Spare magazine

The number of people carrying concealed has been growing in recent years. Overall, that’s a good thing for society, increasing safety and reducing crime. But few people carry a spare magazine with their pistol. I suppose if your carry gun has a 15-round magazine, that’s OK. But most concealable pistols only have a 5- to 7-round magazine. That may not be enough.

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While carrying a couple of spare magazines may be a hassle, it could be a lifesaver. I carry two extended capacity magazines, plus the normal capacity in my pistol. That gives me a total of 20 rounds. While not enough to fight a battle, I hope it will be enough for anything I face.

3. Lighter & accelerant

About the only other people who carry a cigarette lighter with them are those who smoke. I have one in my EDC kit in my car, but I also have a small one on my key ring. That way, I always have the means to start a fire. I also carry a small aluminum container, filled with magnesium powder. This burns readily and can be used in conjunction with the lighter to get a fire going, even when I’m having trouble finding dry tinder.

4. Rain poncho or umbrella

No, I’m not English and I don’t carry an umbrella around with me all day. But I have both an umbrella and a rain poncho in my EDC kit in the car. Even though I live in an arid climate, rain still happens at times. And because I live in an arid climate, when it does happen, it’s often a surprise.

While the human body is drip-dry, our clothing may not be. Besides, wet clothing will make you lose body heat considerably faster. If your clothes get wet toward sundown, when the temperature is dropping, this could set you up for hypothermia. Better to stay dry, rather than risk that.

5. Water

We all know that water is one of our top survival needs, but few of us carry water with us. I always have a gallon or more of purified water in my car, as well as a water bottle. Getting back to the arid environment I live in, it’s also hot here. Not having water with me can be dangerous, especially if I get stuck someplace where water is not readily available.

Granted, I’m not a big fan of drinking hot water on a hot day, but I’d rather do that than not have water to drink. Allowing one’s self to become dehydrated reduces the body’s energy and strength — two things that are essential to survival.

6. OTC medicines

Aches, pains and hay fever are realities of life. Carrying a few pain relievers and Benadryl in your EDC can make a huge difference on those days when your body just isn’t feeling up to par.

7. First-aid kit or supplies

Injuries are another reality of life. Whether it’s a paper cut in the office or skinned knuckles from changing a tire, I rarely get through a week without some minor cut or scrape.

While I’m used to ignoring minor scratches and scrapes, that can’t be done with larger injuries. Not only does the blood get all over everything, but the larger the injury, the greater the chance of infection. Properly treating an injury is an important part of maintaining your health.

Besides, you never know when you’ll encounter someone else that needs some first-aid. I was driving home from church one time and encountered a man who had just been struck by a car while crossing the road. I didn’t have a first-aid kit with me, so was limited in what I could do to help him. That was the last time I went anywhere without a first-aid kit.

8. Solar phone charger

Cell phone manufacturers love to brag about their products’ battery life. But I’m not sure how they calculate it. I rarely manage to get through a day without having to top off my battery, and I know I don’t use my cell phone as much as others do.

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To mitigate this problem, I keep a solar phone charger on the dashboard of my car. That way, it’s constantly being charged, so that it is always full to charge my phone. While I could charge my phone off the car’s accessory connector, that requires leaving the phone in the car. With my solar charger, I can take the charge with me, then return it to its home, when I go back to the car.

9. Collapsible stainless steel cup

How many times have you had something to drink, but nothing to drink it out of? Trying to drink out of a five-gallon jug is difficult. Carrying a cup with you is an easy way to solve this problem, and using a collapsible stainless steel cup helps ensure that your cup takes up the least amount of space possible. Besides, it’s hard to break those cups.

10. Spork

Like the cup, carrying a spork with you gives you something to use when you find something to eat. You can buy stainless steel, titanium or plastic. The best ones have a spoon at one end and a fork at the other. Between this and your pocket knife, you’ll always be ready to eat.

11. P-38 can opener

Speaking of eating, a military P-38 can opener — the type they used with C-Rations — is a great EDC item. I’ve carried one on my key chain ever since basic training, more than 30 years ago. While not as easy to use as a kitchen can opener, they are reliable. With one, you’ll never find yourself in a situation where you can’t open a can and eat the contents.

12. Spare batteries

14 Often-Overlooked EDC Items I Carry ... Just In CaseWe all carry and use a host of things that are battery powered. Today, we use more types of batteries than ever, including button cells that can be hard to find. Yet we act as if those batteries will last forever.

Carrying a few spare batteries along in your EDC bag will make it possible to continue using your portable electronics, long after the battery wears out. This is especially important for your flashlight, which I assume is already part of your EDC. The tactical flashlights we use today are great, but they go through batteries like crazy.

13. Copies of items in your wallet/purse

Ever lose your wallet or purse? Make copies of your driver’s license, concealed carry permit or passport. It doesn’t take much time, and it can save you a lot of trouble.

14. Emergency contact list

When I was a kid, we all learned phone numbers. Today, many people need to look up their own number, let alone those of family and friends. That means if they lose their phone, they can’t call anyone, even if they can find a phone to use. A simple laminated card, with important phone numbers on it, doesn’t take up much room in your wallet and can get you out of many a sticky situation, especially if you lose your phone.

What would you add to our list? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Make a Common Sense Survival Kit for Everyday Carry

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common sense survival kitOne aspect of the prepper philosophy is common sense. After all, it is just common sense to plan for the future, regardless of what may or may not happen. That’s why we have retirement funds, car, home and health insurance and regular well-checks with the doctor. Planning ahead is also why you may stick an umbrella in your brief case or carry a light jacket on a sunny day. And it would be stupid to not carry a spare tire and tools to change a flat!

So when it comes to wilderness or urban survival, being prepared is just common sense, and you should insert a healthy dose of that commodity into any disaster or emergency planning.

So, I propose that you, a prepper, should also make a compact, easy-to-carry wilderness and/or urban survival kit to include with all your other survival gear. One that is based on common sense, not necessarily what survival sites and forums tell you that you must have.

Are you committed?

common sense survival kit

Carry survival gear in your wallet. I always have (from left) firestarter, charcloth (in a waterproof, plastic bag) and a signal mirror with me.

 

What’s “common sense” for me, may not be common sense for you!

Your goal for this common sense kit is based on what makes sense for YOU to carry, not a former Navy Seal living in Costa Rica who has a popular blog. Toward that goal, then, start by asking yourself:

  • Can I dunk a basketball?

I can’t. Never could. But watch any NBA game and you’ll see the guys slam the ball home at every opportunity. If you watch the survival “reality” shows, you may also see incredible techniques done routinely, under the worst circumstances. So what? Use the common sense filter. Just because somebody can dunk a basketball or perform wondrous survival techniques on TV doesn’t mean you can, or might be able to learn. Don’t rely on gee-whiz technology or esoteric aboriginal survival techniques. The idea is to survive, and during a disaster you won’t have time for on-the-job training!

  • Do I know anything?

Be honest! It doesn’t matter how much survival stuff you have. It’s worthless if you can’t, or don’t know how, to use it. Take a good look at your skills and abilities, and face your inadequacies. (See on-the-job training, above.)

  • Will I make a commitment to learn?

Again, be honest, and don’t put this off. If you don’t know how to perform first aid or make an emergency shelter, learn now. Sign up for a community college course, read good survival books, and talk to folks like the Search and Rescue people who are actually using these skills. If a disaster happens this afternoon, maybe all you will have to work with is what you’ve got.

If you can, sign up for a course with Preppers University and their small group classes with live instructors. I’ve taken 2 of these courses and have learned a great deal from ultra-wilderness survival expert Toby Cowern, urban survival expert Selco, pandemic researcher and author Steve Konkoly, and Tammy Trayer who lives off-grid and explained in detail how I could set up my own solar system. Being able to ask them questions, face to face, was priceless.

  • What gear is practical?

I am honored to serve as an Assistant Scoutmaster of a Boy Scout Troop in Bend, Oregon. Over the past 10 years, I’ve noticed a lot of “survival gear” that is nothing more than expensive junk. Before buying this kind of stuff, talk to someone in the know, and find out what urban or wilderness survival gear they use. Assess those items with your skill level and then decide what you need.

  • Will I make a commitment to carry this survival kit with me?

The best gear in the world does you no good if you don’t have it with you! Your survival kit must be compact and convenient to carry or it will get left behind. If it’s too heavy, too bulky, contains things you don’t think you’ll ever use — it will likely end up in the garage or a closet.

Now start making that common sense survival kit

Here are a few suggestions, once you’ve made a survival kit commitment:

  • Make your own

Commercial kits may include cheap and worthless things in them to keep the cost down. You don’t ever want to be in a situation where your life is in danger, grab a tool out of your pack that could save your life, only to have it break after 2 minutes of use. The components in my pocket-sized Altoids tin kit would cost about $50 to $60 to replace. My life is worth that to me!

Is a pre-fab kit worthless? Not entirely, but they are generally filled with low quality items. However, if you start with one of these and then begin to diligently work to improve and customize it, it may be a helpful way to get prepped in a hurry.

  • Can you use everything in the kit?

Using some suggested items may be beyond your skill levels. Remember that dunk shot? Your choice is to learn how to use everything, or replace that particular component. YouTube videos, including this Survival Common Sense channel, is full of instructions for using survival gear. Just be sure to weed through videos from questionable “experts”.

common sense survival kit

Here’s one way to keep some of the basic survival tools with you at all times. On the keyring: LED flashlight, fingernail clippers, whistle, Boy Scout Hot Spark firemaker and Classic Swiss Army knife. The other knife rides in a pouch on my belt, wherever it is legal.

  • Don’t let your survival kit give you a false sense of confidence.

Gear doesn’t replace knowledge. I guarantee you that most everyone who buys a pre-fab “survival kit” from Amazon, packs it in the trunk of their car or in their house and doesn’t give it another thought. Survival kit = survival, right? Nope. Keep learning and practicing using the tools and gear in your kit and don’t assume that just because you have it, you have some sort of cloak that makes you invincible.

Every survival book or website has some variation of this basic list of essential outdoor tools. Some of the items are common sense, such as a survival knife (read this to identify the one that is best for you), fire-making gear, extra clothing, and a map and compass. Always make sure you have all the recommended items with you!

Finally, apply the common sense filter to anything associated with your survival. Beware of “survival experts” websites, TV shows and articles. Just because someone has a website, logo, book or magazine column doesn’t mean they know anything! Use the tips in this article to identify true experts in the areas of survival and preparedness.

View any information with your eyes open and apply the common sense filter. If your BS alarm starts to go off, there is probably a good reason for it! And how about that dunk shot!

Article contributed by Leon Pantenburg of Survival Common Sense with additional commentary by Noah.

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EDC for Regular People and Then Some! The One Item You’ll Go Back Home For!

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John started off Tuesday like every other day.  He dropped to the floor and knocked off 20 push-ups.  He turned on the shower, so it would get hot and then went to the kitchen to turn on the coffee pot.  Showered, shaved and dressed, John filled his Yeti and headed off to work.  His thoughts were on the big presentation that he and his colleague were in charge of.  This presentation could make or break his career.

Entering the freeway, John reached into his pocket to retrieve his smartphone and connect it to his car’s Bluetooth speakers.  A wave of panic hit him as he went from his front pockets to his back pockets looking for his phone.  He thought for a moment that he should turn back, but he was already on the freeway and he didn’t want to be late.

Seven minutes down the freeway, traffic came to a standstill.  He couldn’t see what was causing the hold-up, but he knew he was completely dead in the water.  He instinctively grabbed for his phone, but then remembered he left it at home.  With no traffic app, he turned on talk radio to try and get a traffic report.

After 20 minutes, traffic had inched its way to the next off ramp.  John decided to exit and take a different route.  He turned down one road and encountered a ton more traffic.  It seemed like everyone who wasn’t on the freeway was on this one road.  He quickly decided to turn on the next road.  After about a mile, the road filled with construction.  Two miles in, John received the notification that his front right tire was loosing pressure.  He screamed!  He didn’t have time for a flat tire.

He desperately looked for a place to pull over while he kept an eye on his instrument panel.  He finally found a flat driveway that would allow him room to change his tire.  He stepped out of his vehicle and straight into a puddle of water.  Feeling the water squish between his toes and socks, he punched the air and yelled, “What more?”

He walked over to the front right tire and noticed a huge nail sticking into the side of the tire.  He opened his trunk and pulled up the carpet to get to his jack and spare tire.  After unscrewing the placement nut, John’s heart sank as he felt the air in the spare tire.  It was flat!

He slammed the trunk down and again instinctively reached for his cell phone.  He hung his head as he remembered he forgot it at home.  He locked up his car and started down the road to find a convenience store, wet shoe and all!  He just hoped he didn’t miss one of the most important presentations of his career.

The fictional scenario above isn’t too far fetched.  When it rains, it pours!  But when it pours, you want to make sure you have one of the most important EDC (everyday carry) items in modern history, your smartphone.  A smartphone would have come in very handy in many instances in the scenario above.  From checking the traffic, finding the fastest alternative route, to calling for assistance, a smartphone would have helped this character out in so many different ways!

When preppers think about EDC, our minds go to the sexy stuff: knife, flashlight, firearm, ferro rod, paracord bracelet, etc…  But preppers are practical, commonsense people.  We like the sexy stuff, but understand that it is important to always be prepared.  And in this modern time, having a smartphone is really a no brainer.

APPS Galore

The beauty of the smartphone are all the APPS that are available.  You can find an APP for almost anything imaginable.  I don’t want this article to be about APPS you can download.  There have been plenty of those.  Recently, UrbanSurvivalsite did a good article on Survival APPS that I read on EP.9 of The Prepper Website Podcast.  But I’ve also linked to many other articles throughout the years on Prepper Website.  You can find them in the Tag Cloud – here, here and here.

Dont’ Be Afraid!

What I do want to suggest, is not to be afraid of using your cell phone.  Many preppers, because of our natural mistrust of prying eyes AND ears, tend to shy away from helpful aspects of having a smartphone.

For example, in the above scenario, if John would have had his smartphone on him with the location on, he would have received an alert telling him that the freeway was backed up.  Likewise, when he exited the freeway, if he would have had a map app and location on, he would have learned the best and fastest route to take.

“BUT, BUT, BIG BROTHER!”  I’ll get to that in a moment.

I don’t keep my location, bluetooth or wireless functions on my smartphone at all times.  I turn them on and off as I need them.  But I have had experiences, with like the MAP APP, that showed me the best route to take and it worked!  There were times that I thought I was smarter and knew better, and found myself in standstill traffic because I didn’t follow the Map APP.  I’ve learned not to be hardheaded!

Big Brother and Stuff

Yes, there are some who will rally against having a smartphone, APPS and all because “BIG BROTHER” is watching…and listening.  But I have continued to say, since the beginning of my time in preparedness, that the only real way of not leaving any digital footprint is to completely be offline!  That is almost impossible nowadays!  However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be SMART about using your smartphone.

One way to be “SMART” is to be the “gray man” while using your phone.  A gray man is someone who doesn’t stand out in the crowd.  He or she looks like the crowd and just blends in. You can say the same for your smartphone use.

This means that you aren’t looking up “FEMA camps” on your phone.  This means that you are not visiting militia websites.  This means that you use your smartphone for regular everyday purposes like everyone else.  But then again, if you are doing those things on your home computer, there is already a record of it somewhere!

Someone might say that you can be tracked by your phone number.  I will say, if they wanted to really track you, they would do it regardless of your smartphone use!  Again, you don’t make it easier.  Be smart!

Stay Powered!

One of the things that I don’t understand, is when someone lets their smartphone battery run out.  They have this great tool in their possession, but it is basically a brick since it doesn’t have power.  This happens often if smartphone users are playing games and listening to music.  I recommend everyone carry around a battery pack to power their smartphone.  A battery charger that I recommend is the GRDE 15000mAh Solar Panel External Battery.  It holds a lot of power and is about the size of a smartphone.  You could easily carry your smartphone in your back pocket, the GRDE in your other back pocket and your cord in your front pocket and not really feel weighted down.  The battery is under $18 and is rated at 4 STARS with over 500 reviews on Amazon.  I don’t use the solar aspect of it.  However, it is good to know that it can be charged (rather slowly) using solar power if needed.

Final Thoughts

Smartphones are powerful tools that everyone should carry every day.  Not only are they a means to communicate and entertain, but they provide helpful preparedness and survival information through many APPS that can be downloaded free.  The important thing is to have it on you and ready to use at all times.

Peace,
Todd

 

The Prepared Bloggers present - Everyday Carry Bag. What will you find in ours?

The Prepared Bloggers are at it again!

Everyday carry, or EDC for short, refers to items that are carried on a regular basis to help you deal with the normal everyday needs of modern western society and possible emergency situations.

Some of the most common EDC items are knives, flashlights, multitools, wallets, smartphones, notebooks, and pens. Because people are different, the type and quantity of items will vary widely. If you have far to travel for work or have young children, your EDC could be huge!

But, even if you’re just setting out for a walk around the neighborhood, taking your essential items with you in a pair of cargo pants with large pockets, may be all you need to be prepared.

Follow the links to see what a few of the Prepared Bloggers always carry in their EDC. Would you feel safer with these items close at hand?

Shelle at PreparednessMama always carries cash, find out why and how much she recommends.

John at 1776 Patriot USA tell us the 5 reasons he thinks his pistol is the essential item to have.

LeAnn at Homestead Dreamer won’t be caught without her handy water filter.

Justin at Sheep Dog Man has suggestions for the best flashlights to carry every day.

Bernie at Apartment Prepper always carries two knives with her, find out what she recommends.

Nettie at Preppers Survive has a cool way to carry duct tape that you can duplicate.

Todd at Ed That Matters tells us about the one item you’ll always go back for…your cell phone

Erica at Living Life in Rural Iowa knows how important her whistle can be when you want to be safe.

Todd at Survival Sherpa always carries 3 essential fire starters wherever he goes.

Angela at Food Storage and Survival loves her Mini MultiTool, it’s gotten her out of a few scrapes!

 

 

Why I Keep Two Knives with Me

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This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com   One popular topic around the preparedness community is the “EDC” or every day carry.  These are items we keep with us wherever we go.   I have a number of items I consider part of my EDC, but today, I’d like to talk about knives.  I have two favorites that I keep with me: My Swiss Army knife Gerber Knife Why do I have two knives? It might sound a little redundant, but […]

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3 Essential EDC Fire Starters I Carry Everywhere

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by Todd Walker

3 Essential EDC Fire Starters I Carry Everywhere ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

What’s in your pockets? If you look at the popular trend of pocket dumps on social media, the answer appears to be everything, except the kitchen sink. I seldom see fire tools in these pocket dumps. Of course, our Everyday Carry items will look different depending on our jobs, lifestyle, and skill level.

Several of us from the Prepared Bloggers are sharing different EDC (Everyday Carry) items we never leave home without. Being the pyro that I am, I choose fire. Be sure to read the other value-adding articles by my friends in the links below this article.

The concept of carrying essential items on one’s person is smart habit. If ever separated from your main preparedness kit, the stuff in your pockets, plus your skillset to use said items, may be the only tools available.

The tool doesn’t determine your success. Your skills determine the tool’s success.

The quote above applies to preppers, survivalists, campers, carpenters, homesteaders, accountants, school teachers, and, well, all of us.

Pockets of Fire

If you frisked me, no matter the locale (urban or wilderness), you’d discover a minimum of three ignition sources in my pockets…

  • Mini Bic lighter (open flame)
  • Ferrocerium rod (spark ignition)
  • Fresnel lens (solar)
3 Essential EDC Fire Starters I Carry Everywhere ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

L to R: Key chain Exotac fireRod, mini Bic lighter, wallet fresnel lens, and two wallet tinders: duct tape and waxed jute twine.

Let’s break these down and discuss the advantages, disadvantages, and a few tips to successfully use each fire tool. Keep in mind that these are simply ignition sources and do not guarantee a sustainable fire. For more info on the importance of fire, you may find this article useful.

Bic Lighter – Open Flame

Since a road flare isn’t practical for EDC, I carry a mini Bic. The resemblance of road flares to dynamite puts people on edge, especially law enforcement officers. I do have them in my vehicle kits though.

The times you really need fire is usually when fire is hardest come by. I’ll take an open flame over sparks, solar, and especially fire by friction every day of the week and twice on Sundays! As mentioned previously, you must put in deliberate practice to hone your fire craft skills by actually Doing the Stuff or these fire tools just look cool in pocket dumps on Instagram.

To learn more on building sustainable fires, browse our Fire Craft Page.

Cold hands loose dexterity and make normally simple tasks, striking a lighter, difficult. Modify your EDC lighter by removing the child-proof device wrapped over the striker wheel. Pry it up from the chimney housing. Once free, pull the metal band from the lighter. Two metal wings will point up after removal. Bend the wings down flat to protect your thumb when striking the lighter.

What if your lighter gets wet?

On a recent wilderness survival course, I taught our boy scout troop how to bring a wet lighter back to life. Each threw their non-child-proofed lighter into the creek. After retrieval, they were instructed to blow excess moisture out of the chimney and striker wheel. Next, they ran the striker wheel down their pant leg several passes to further dry the flint and striker. Within a few minutes, lighters were sparking and each scout had a functioning fire tool again.

The lighters I carry in my bushcraft haversack and hiking backpack are more tricked out than my plain ole’ EDC Bic. Here’s a few ideas I’ve picked up for adding redundant lighters which may be of interest…

3 Essential EDC Fire Starters I Carry Everywhere ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

This full-size Bic is wrapped in duct tape holding a loop of cord which attaches inside my haversack. The green cap (spring clamp handle end) idea came from Alan Halcon. It keeps moisture out and prevents the fuel lever from being accidentally depressed.

3 Essential EDC Fire Starters I Carry Everywhere ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

The cap removed reveals the child-proof device missing.

Advantages

  • A mini Bic will give you approximately 1,450 open flames.
  • A wet Bic can be back in service within a minute or so.
  • So easy to light a five-year-old can use one.
  • Designed to be used with only one hand.

Disadvantages

  • It’s difficult to monitor the fuel level unless the housing is clear.
  • They are consumable… eventually.
  • Extreme cold limits a Bic. Keep it warm inside a shirt pocket under your overcoat.
  • A mythical disadvantage is that lighters won’t work in high altitudes. If Sherpas use them on Mt. Everest, this lowland sherpa is sold.

Ferrocerium Rod (Firesteel)

In the bushcraft/survivalist/prepper community, ferro rods have the hyped reputation of being a fail-safe fire maker. The device is simple and won’t malfunction, they say. Scrap the metal off the rod, and, poof, you have a fire, even in the rain. Sounds good but don’t buy the marketing hype!

“Much of the social history of the Western world, over the past three decades, has been a history of replacing what worked with what sounded good.”
~ Thomas Sowell

In my experience teaching both children and adults, using a ferro rod for the first time ends in failure more times than not. Yet everyone is told to add one to their emergency fire kits. I carry a small one on my key chain because I enjoy practicing fire craft skills. They’re a novel way of making fire but, like any skill, require practice to become proficient.

3 Essential EDC Fire Starters I Carry Everywhere ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

The fireROD by Exotac  has a watertight compartment which will hold a full cotton makeup pad for tinder.

Of these three ferro rod techniques – push, pull, and thumb lever – the latter is my favorite on softer firesteels. It offers more accurate placement of sparks. The drawback is that the thumb lever requires more fine motor skills and coordination which go bye-bye in an adrenaline spiked emergency scenario. That’s why I carry a Bic!

If you’ve never tried the thumb lever technique, here’s a short video demonstration which may help…

One of the many reasons I practice fire by friction is the fact that it teaches the importance of preparing proper tinder material. Marginal tinder takes more heat to combust. Even with 3,000 degree ferro rod sparks, you may fail to ignite damp, finely shredded tinder. The amount of heat needed for ignition depends on the amount of surface area compared to its volume. Think in terms of small hair-like fibers. When you think you’ve got fine tinder, shred it some more.

Even without a “proper” striker or knife, any object hard enough to scrap metal off makes a good substitute.

A ferro rod/metal match is not my first choice in fire starters. It’s a fun bushcraft tool to use though.

Advantages

  • Scraped with a sharp rock, broken glass, or any object sharp enough to remove metal particles, 1,500º F to 3,000º F sparks spontaneously combust as they meet air.
  • Sparks even in wet conditions.
  • The average outdoors person will never use up a ferro rod.
  • Can ignite many tinder sources.
  • For more info on ferro rods, click here. My EDC rod is way smaller than the one in the link.

Disadvantages

  • They are consumable… eventually.
  • They’re difficult to use if you’ve never practiced with this tool.
  • Intermediate skill level needed.

Fresnel Lens

A quality fresnel lens is useful for starting fires, examining plants and insects, splinter and tick removal, and reading navigational maps. I carry a 4 power lens in my wallet. It takes up about as much space as a credit card. I ordered a 3-pack from Amazon for under $7.

Sunshine is loaded with electromagnetic energy in the form of photons. A fresnel lens simply harnesses the energy to a focused point creating enough heat to start a fire.

A few tips I’ve learned may help here. Not all tinder material will combust. You’ll get smoke and char but may never have an actual flame. In the short video below, within a second you’ll see smoke on crushed pine straw. Once a large area was smoldering, I had to blow the embers into a flame.

Increase your odds of solar ignition by keeping the lens perpendicular to the sun’s rays and the tinder. Move the lens closer or further away until the smallest dot of light strikes the target. Brace your hand to steady the spot of heat. Smoke should appear almost immediately. Afternoon sun is stronger than morning sun. Keep this in mind when practicing this method.

3 Essential EDC Fire Starters I Carry Everywhere ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Keep the lens perpendicular to the sun’s rays to concentrate the most radiant energy on your tinder.

Just for fun, I discovered that cocoa powder, which I carry in my bushcraft kit, makes a useable coal with solar ignition. Have fun playing and experimenting with fire!

Advantages

  • Beginner skill level. Ever drive ants crazy with one as a kid?
  • Can ignite different tinder materials
  • Lightweight
  • Saves other ignition sources on sunny days.
  • Never wears out. Always protect your lens from scratches and breakage.

Disadvantages

  • Dependent on sunshine.
  • May only create an ember which can be coaxed into flame.

EDC Fire Tinder

Duct tape and waxed jute twine ride alongside my fresnel lens in my wallet. You’ll also find a full-size cotton makeup pad stuffed inside the cap of my ferro rod. Wrapping a few feet of tape around an old gift card gives you an emergency tinder source for open flame ignition. Setting fire to a foot long strip of loosely balled duct tape will help ignite your kindling. There are so many multi-functional uses of duct tape, fire being one of them, that you should always carry at least a few feet in your wallet.

The waxed jute twine can be unravelled to create surface area for spark ignition. Unraveled, it can also be used as a long-burning candle wick. Either way, it’s nice to have another waterproof tinder in your pocket/wallet. Here’s a link if you’re interested in making your own waxed jute twine.

If all you have for ignition is a ferro rod, duct tape will ignite, but again, don’t count on it if you haven’t practiced this method. See our video below…

It never hurts to have multiple fire starting methods on your person. Drop us a comment on other EDC fire starters that I haven’t mentioned.

Be sure to scroll down and check out the other articles by my friends at the Prepared Bloggers.

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,

Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook… and over at our Doing the Stuff Network.

P.P.S – If you find value in our blog, Dirt Road Girl and I would appreciate your vote on Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding sites while you’re there…

Thanks for Sharing the Stuff!

Copyright © by Survival Sherpa: In light of the recent theft of all my content by a pirate site, my sharing policy has changed. I do not permit the re-posting of entire articles from my site without express written consent by me. My content on this site may be shared in digital form (200 words or less) for non-commercial use with a link back (without no-follow attribute) to the original article crediting the author. All photos, drawings, and articles are copyrighted by and the property of Survival Sherpa. You are more than welcome to share our photos and articles on social media for educational purposes as long as you link back to the original article/photo with credit to the author.

 

The Prepared Bloggers present - Everyday Carry Bag. What will you find in ours?

The Prepared Bloggers are at it again!

Everyday carry, or EDC for short, refers to items that are carried on a regular basis to help you deal with the normal everyday needs of modern western society and possible emergency situations.

Some of the most common EDC items are knives, flashlights, multitools, wallets, smartphones, notebooks, and pens. Because people are different, the type and quantity of items will vary widely. If you have far to travel for work or have young children, your EDC could be huge!

But, even if you’re just setting out for a walk around the neighborhood, taking your essential items with you in a pair of cargo pants with large pockets, may be all you need to be prepared.

Follow the links to see what a few of the Prepared Bloggers always carry in their EDC.

Shelle at PreparednessMama always carries cash, find out why and how much she recommends.

John at 1776 Patriot USA tell us the 5 reasons he thinks his pistol is the essential item to have.

LeAnn at Homestead Dreamer won’t be caught without her handy water filter.

Justin at Sheep Dog Man has suggestions for the best flashlights to carry every day.

Bernie at Apartment Prepper always carries two knives with her, find out what she recommends.

Nettie at Preppers Survive has a cool way to carry duct tape that you can duplicate.

Todd at Ed That Matters tells us about the one item you’ll always go back for…your cell phone

Erica at Living Life in Rural Iowa knows how important her whistle can be when you want to be safe.

Todd at Survival Sherpa always carries 3 essential fire starters wherever he goes.

Angela at Food Storage and Survival loves her Mini MultiTool, it’s gotten her out of a few scrapes!

The Best Concealed Carry Pistol for a Defensive Prepper

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The Best Concealed Carry Pistol for a Defensive Prepper   A concealed carry pistol could make the difference between life and death. A properly trained person with a CCP can make a whole area safer, but you already knew that. You’re here for the best concealed carry pistol on the market. The truth is, the …

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The post The Best Concealed Carry Pistol for a Defensive Prepper appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.

Is This The Most Comfortable & Secure Concealed Carry Method?

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Is This The Most Comfortable & Secure Concealed Carry Method?

Image source: Dara Holsters

Renowned firearms trainer and the founder of Gunsite Academy, the late Col. Jeff Cooper, is credited with having said, “If you don’t have a gun within arm’s reach, you’re unarmed.” It’s a sound observation, considering that most criminal attacks transpire in five seconds or less.

As a concealed carry instructor, it’s no longer a surprise to hear more than half of the licensed carriers I encounter say they never, or rarely, carry a firearm on their person. Most have groomed a sense of satisfaction based on their handgun being a permanent resident of a car door pocket or nightstand. Unless a threat to their lives occurs when they are in the car or near the bedroom, however, they likely will be defenseless if that critical moment comes to pass.

Why do most folks who’ve gone to the trouble of receiving training and purchasing a handgun not carry? Most haven’t found a method of carry that is comfortable and secure for their typical day.

My own carry habits and methods have evolved over the 12-plus years since I made the decision not to outsource my personal safety. Purses, pockets, ankle rigs, “four o’clock” inside-waistbands, and various belly bands all had their turn. Now, and for the past few years, my everyday carry (EDC) gun has occupied either the right or left quadrant of the front of my waistband — commonly called appendix inside waistband (AIWB) position. Of course, it’s not the only way to carry; everyone needs to find what works for them. For purposes of this article, a working assumption is that any gun, carried in any manner, is inside a sheath of some sort that prevents penetration of the trigger guard.

Be Prepared. Learn The Best Ways To Hide Your Guns.

Here’s why AIWB works for me:

1. Accessibility

There is no fuss associated with drawing the gun. Simply lift the shirt hem with the support hand and draw. It’s simple and fast, and works regardless of whether I’m standing or strapped inside a car seatbelt.

2. Security

Is This The Most Comfortable & Secure Concealed Carry Method?

Image source: Monderno

AIWB and front pocket carry are the only positions about which I’ve not encountered a news story in which a concealed carrier was relieved of their gun by a common thief or mugger. Of course, there’s probably a story about that somewhere, but compared to other methods, AIWB makes the would-be thief’s job nearly impossible. It also makes the gun inaccessible to children, unlike off-body methods. Compared to otherwise equally secure methods, AIWB prevails due to factor No. 1 in this article — ready access.

3. Comfort

With a compact firearm, AIWB carry allows me to move from attending a meeting, to going for a run, to doing outdoor chores, and even driving long distances with the gun on my person. No need to take the gun off every time I get in the car. No more digestive issues from a belly band that feels like a boa constrictor when adjusted so the gun won’t pull it down. No more blistering from the seam of an ankle holster — you get the picture. It just works. There is no concealment system that offers zero discomfort, but AIWB has been the least bothersome for me.

4. Discreet carry

While I’ve had to abandon tucked-in dress shirts worn without a sweater or jacket, as well as giving up proper dresses in favor of shirt/skirt ensembles for dress-up occasions, AIWB offers one of the least obtrusive methods of carry. I thought the purse was discreet, too, until a co-worker asked why I carried it with me even for minor tasks.

5. Least disruption to my mornings

Sticking a holstered gun into my waistband every morning is fast and easy — which makes it easier to be a habit, and thus easier to be prepared. Systems that entail fiddling with straps, clips and the like are not likely to become a part of an already full routine.

Every method of carry requires compromise, and AIWB is no exception. The holster I use must be set aside when using the restroom — an act that requires one to be extra-present, mentally speaking, in public facilities. This isn’t true of all AIWB holsters. The slightly looser shirts this method requires hide the waistline that is a benefit of exercise. As a female, the biggest compromise has been the kind of pants or shorts I wear. An adjustable drawstring or substantial belt loops are a must.

There are some holsters, like the magnetic Quick Click & Carry (QCC) made by JM4 Tactical of Abilene, Texas, that even overcome some of these minor drawbacks. Holstered AIWB carry isn’t for everyone, but it’s been a panacea for me after having tried numerous other methods. What’s your favorite method?

Do you use AIWB carry? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Pump Shotguns Have One BIG Advantage Over Other Shotguns For Home Defense. Read More Here.

EveryDay Carry (EDC) Long Term Review

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Everyday carry is a popular subject, often interlaced with the two is one and one is none concept.  There are multiple ends of the spectrum as with anything, folks who go bare essentials and others who have 2 or 3 of everything they carry (read: redundancy) complete with stuff loaded into cargo pockets and strapped to their ankles – or in the pockets of their super incognito fisherman’s vest.   I must admit that my EDC loadout changes sometimes as I tweak things or change out kit, what follows is a long term review of the items I have carried on my person for at least the last year.  I should add one note in that I do not believe my personal loadout is the be all end all, everyone has their preferences which align with their comfort level and training.

EDC Loadout

You’ll see in the above picture my basic loadout, I’ve included my belt because I think that is a very important and often overlooked item.  After all almost everything pictured hangs off of my belt, that leather braided belt from 1991 won’t cut it in 2017 if one is serious about stability and comfort.

Glock 19 / Surefire XC1 / G Code XC1 Inside the Waistband (IWB) Holster

Glock 19 with Surefire XC1

I won’t spend much time here as everyone has their personal preference with respect to weapons but I totally dig the Glock 19.  I’ve carried many other weapons and I think the Glock 19 offers the best combination of concealment and performance.  The Surefire XC1 is a great light which isn’t too bulky, I’ve seen folks run a Streamlight TLR IWB and it’s just too much for me.  Granted the XC1 doesn’t put out as much light but it does the trick.  All this fits nicely into the G Code holster, a nice sturdy holster which is also very comfortable and functional.  I’ve run many holsters in the past and my current favorite and go to is the G Code (I have two of them).;

Benchmade Mini Barrage (Serrated)

Benchmade Pocket Knife

This has been a fantastic pocket knife which I use almost on a daily basis.  I’ve done everything from start fires with it to cut gouda cheese on the countertop.  I have carried a few knives in the past and for me this size (2.91 inch blade) is perfect, I’ve yet to encounter a situation where I wished I had a larger blade.  The blade does keep its edge very well, I use a Spyderco Tri Angle sharpener to tighten it up occasionally.

Casio Pro Trek Watch

Casio Pro Trek

I’ve worn this watch just about every day for over 2 years and have found it to be a key addition to my EDC.  Although it has a boatload of features I primarily use it for: current time and date, stopwatch, altitude check, compass (occasionally).  The fact that it keeps a charge via the sun is a bonus, no batteries to worry about changing out.  I’ve worn it on long hikes and jumped out of airplanes with it, it’s a great watch at a decent price point.

KA-BAR TDI Law Enforcement Knife

KA BAR TDI Self Defense Knife

I run this knife on my left side, pretty much centered between my spare mag holder and belt buckle.  Good placement for a quick grab with my non-dominant hand but still accessible with my other hand.  Fortunately I’ve never had to use this knife but it is there in case I need it.  The small kydex holster with clip work well and slide in and out nicely.

Bravo Concealment Spare Mag Carrier

Bravo Concealment Mag Carrier

Lots of options out there for spare mag carriers, all of which pretty much do the same thing.  I will say that I prefer to run a single mag carrier, OWB, on my left hip.  It’s what is comfortable for me and even though I carry my Glock 19 IWB (Appendix) I still prefer my spare mag to be in the traditional location.

5.11 1.75 inch TDU Duty Belt

5.11 Duty Belt

Simple, sturdy, effective.  This belt really doesn’t have any of the fancy features of many other duty belts but at $15 who is going to complain?  These can be picked up just about anywhere and are reversible for all of those who need to color coordinate.  Great belt which I highly recommend.

The Bottom Line

There is no one right answer to EDC, what I run and you run may be completely different.  What I run today I might not be using in 6 months or a year as I try out new gear or make adjustments in what I carry.  I do believe the most important thing is that the gear you carry is tested, ready to use and comfortable in an all day (wearing it) setting.  On a final note I should mention that I sometimes run a CAT-TQ and Quikclot Combat Gauze on my person but when I do not it’s always within reach.  Since I do not carry those items 100% of the time I intentionally left them out.  Good luck with your own EDC and remember to train with it!

 

7 EDC Items Every Person Should Carry EVERY DAY

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7 EDC Items Every Person Should Carry EVERY DAY

Image source: Pixabay.com

The topic of everyday carry is not that popular on many survival blogs. I think the reason is that a lot of people worry too much about EMPs and other large-scale disasters and catastrophes — and too little about personal emergencies.

Yet there are a number of things that can happen to us … from getting mugged to getting stuck in the middle of nowhere because our car stalled. Avoiding all of these and more require not just knowledge and skills but also a number of essential items that you should at least try to carry with you every day.

No. 1. A folding knife

A folding knife fits in your pocket and, besides the infinite numbers of ways in which it can assist you, it has a great advantage: People won’t label you as a prepper for having one.

In fact, no small self-defense weapon (such as pepper spray) will get people to label you as such. You just tell them it’s for protection and they’ll leave you alone.

No. 2. A way to navigate

Whether you get lost in the wilderness or in a big city, you should always have means to find your way back. Leaving EMP events out of the equation, you should at least have GPS maps on your phone. Keep in mind that, even if the phone lines are down, satellites may still be working, showing you your location.

Another thing you should consider in your phone’s maps app is the ability to download them offline.

The Survival Water Filter That Fits In Your POCKET!

Lastly, it wouldn’t hurt to add celestial navigation skills to your “mental EDC,” as well as to practice the ability to orient yourself relative to various points of interest.

No. 3. A bandana

Bandanas are amazing survival items that have a huge number of uses. Besides the obvious one — to protect your head from extreme heat — you also can use them to:

  • melt snow.
  • pre-filter water.
  • hold a broken arm as a sling.
  • collect foraged food.

No. 4. Lighter

Not just to light a fire and keep yourself warm, but there are other situations it could be useful:

  • to melt a zip tie if someone ties you up.
  • to start a fire to use as signaling.
  • to light your way in absence of a flashlight.
  • to open a bottle.

No. 5. A multi-tool

7 EDC Items Every Person Should Carry EVERY DAY

Image source: Pixabay.com

Whether you opt for one of those micro multi-tools made by Leatherman or for one that’s credit-card shaped and fits in your wallet, you can carry with you at least 10 tools to aid in your survival: scissors, tweezers, screwdrivers, a ruler and many more.

No. 6. A “prepped” cell phone

When I say prepped, it should not only have a shock-absorbing case, but it also should be equipped with the apps and information you may need in an emergency. There are plenty of apps related to survival, and let’s not forget a maps application (with the option to download those maps for offline use).

No. 7. A mini-flashlight

I got the tiniest flashlight I could find on the market and attached it on my keyring. Sure, I can always use my phone, but what if I run out of batteries? Redundancy is never a bad thing.

Final Word

One last thing … don’t let anything stop you from expanding your EDC to your wallet and your pockets. Also, if you carry a laptop with you every day, don’t be shy about adding extra items in the laptop bag.

What would you add to our list? Share your tips in the section below:

Learn How To ‘Live Off The Land’ With Just Your Gun. Read More Here.

Survival Hax Survival Shovel Review

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I was recently approached by Survival Hax to review a new shovel they had come out with.  The Survival Hax Survival Shovel is filling a void in the marketplace for a budget-friendly, collapsible shovel.  It’s small and lightweight which makes it conceptually ideal for hiking and backpacking.  Likewise, it’s adjustable which promotes ease of use.

Survival Gear Review: Springfield Armory XD-S 9mm

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Best Concealed Carry Pistol

A few years back, Springfield Armory came out with a single stack 9mm to much fanfare and then as quickly as concealed carry pistol review XD-Sthe pistol launched, they promptly recalled the pistol due to a possible unsafe condition. The recall read as follows (from manufacturer): “Springfield Armory is initiating this voluntary safety recall to upgrade 3.3 XD-S 9mm and 3.3 XD-S .45ACP pistols with new components, which eliminate the possibility of a potentially dangerous condition. We want to emphasize that no injuries have been reported to date. Springfield has determined that under exceptionally rare circumstances, some 3.3 XD-S™ 9mm and .45ACP caliber pistols could experience an unintended discharge during the loading process when the slide is released, or could experience a double-fire when the trigger is pulled once. The chance of these conditions existing is exceptionally rare, but if they happen, serious injury or death could occur.”

By Mark, a contributing author to Survival Cache & SHTFBlog

Springfield Armory apparently learned the lessons of Remington and as soon as this unsafe condition was brought to their attention, they leaned into getting back every XD-S 3.3″ barrel pistol that they sold.  They then repaired the pistols and returned them to the customers.  They also changed the manufacturing process on all future pistols from the factory.  Now every XD-S 3.3″ off the line has the new improvements.

Related: The Katrina Pistol

If you are looking to buy a used XD-S 9mm 3.3″ pistol, you can tell very quickly if the pistol has been upgraded by looking at the outside grip safety without disassembling the pistol.  XD-S 9mm 3.3″ that have been upgraded have a visible roll pin on the left and right side of the grip safety.  See below.

Best Pistol

 

 

 

 

 

With the new upgrades and the bugs worked out, we loved the XD-S 9mm.  As promised, it shot great.  The stock fiber optic sights were better than average and the slim profile of the pistol is very appealing to concealed carry customers and under cover police.  The downside of the single stack is a magazine that carries 7 rounds in the flush fitting mag and 8 rounds in the extended magazine.  Like I always say, I have never heard someone say “I wish I had less rounds in a gun fight.”

Specs

Caliber: 9mm
Recoil System: Dual Spring w/ Full Length Guide Rod
Sights: Fiber Optic Front & Dovetail Rear (Steel)
Weight: (with Empty Magazine) 23 ozs.   Height: 4.4″ w/ Compact Mag, 5″ w/ Mid-Mag X-Tension™
Slide: Forged Steel, Melonite Finish
Barrel: 3.3″ Hammer Forged, Steel, Melonite® / 1:10 Twist
Length: 6.3″
Grip Width: .9″
Frame: Black Polymer
Magazines: 1 – 7 Round Flush Fitting, 1 – 8 Round With Mid-Mag X-Tension™, Stainless Steel

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Top 10 Everyday Prepper Habits

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This week I have another awesome video for you from City Prepping. In it he talks about 10 things preppers should do everyday. The list is below. 1. Carry Cash. 2. Keep Your Gas Tank Above 1/2 Full. 3. Stay Informed. 4. Make Sure Your Finances Are In Order. 5. Take Your E.D.C. With You. […]

The post Top 10 Everyday Prepper Habits appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

Survival Gear Review: Magpul Tejas Gun Belt

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magpul_tejas_gunbelt_katrina_pistol

magpul_tejas_gun_belt_packagingThe Magpul Tejas “El Original” Gun Belt is what happens when tradition falls into bed with technology. By combining the best leather with the best polymer for the purpose,  Magpul invented a whole new genera of gun belts. The top grain bullhide is taken only from the shoulders of the finest English speaking bulls, while the polymer is mixed from the finest carbon atoms harvested from dinosaurs buried deep in the earth.  The result is a belt that has all the style of a traditional belt with increased functionality and strength. 

By Doc Montana, a Contributing Author of Survival Cache and SHTFBlog

At 1.5 inches wide and a quarter-inch thick, the Magpul Tejas Gun Belt would be a formidable weapon on its own. The belt’s true purpose in life is to carry your weapon with style, grace, and undying devotion. What makes the Magpul Tejas Gun Belt unique is that it successfully mates reinforced polymer with leather forming a cohesive and practical belt. The polymer lines the user of the belt ring while the bullhide rounds out the public side.

The strength of the polymer allows the adjustment holes to be closer together at about ¾” apart. This is closer than usually found on more fragile leather-only belts. The Original Tejas Gun Belt retails for about $85. For a hundred bucks more you can get one that substitutes sharkskin for the bullhide. Or for $25 less you can get the Tejas “El Burro” that lacks both the sharkskin and the bullhide leaving you with just a heavy duty polymer belt. Plenty functional, but less the fancied-up materials.

Open Carry

The human-facing side of the Magpul Tejas Gun Belt handles sweat like a champ. The polymer side of the belt is impervious to water, salted or not. In fact the polymer of the Magpul Tejas Gun Belt is impervious to just about everything. Modern synthetics are amazing.  The fact that they have incorporated synthetics into a leather belt is a game-changer.  

Related: Escape and Evasion Gun Belt 

magpul_tejas_gun_belt_ruger_super_blackhawk_alaskan_riding_perfectlyTo test the limits of the Magpul Tejas “El Original” Gun Belt, I packed a particular handgun all over the grizzly infested snow-covered backcountry of my neck of the woods. Strapped to my hip were 3.5 pounds. I carried a Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan, Galco Leather Holster, and six rounds of Buffalo Bore 340 grain .44 Magnum ammo. That’s over 55 ounces of asymmetrical belt tugging gun weight! For reference, a fully loaded Glock 17 with 17 rounds weighs just a little more than one-half of the weight of the Alaskan. It’s like wearing a fully-loaded Glock 17 and a fully-loaded Glock 26 on the same side of the belt.

After hours of hiking through the snow on many occasions, I have to say that the Magpul Tejas Gun Belt is by far the best gun belt I’ve ever used. Not that my other gun belts don’t serve me well, but the overbuilt composite (leather and polymer) design is impressive. The weight of my holstered gun and big bladed sheath knife distributed all around the waist, and there was no twisting, sagging, or leaning off the hip. Honestly, at first i was aware of the heft of the gun on the belt, but not much later, even the heavy Alaskan melted into my stride as the Magpul Tejas Gun Belt carried the weight with no added attention. Contrary to some range reviews of the Magpul Tejas Gun Belt, the true merits of this belt begin to shine many hours into packing a heavy gun.

Buckle Up

magpul_tejas_gun_belt_skeleton_cowboyThe stiff Magpul Tejas Gun Belt requires a bit of patience when buckling up for the day. Unlike thin leather or nylon webbing belts, the Magpul Tejas can be difficult to adjust. Unlike others, the Magpul Tejas Gun Belt is a rock-solid platform to wear your gear. Sometimes I wonder if the Magpul Tejas Gun Belt is more of a gun belt than a pants belt, but I’ve not yet reached the level of bodily decay to need a belt to prevent dropping my “trou” unintentionally.

See Also: External Belt Gear Rigs 

And since the sales of the Glock 19 compare to the Ruger Alaskan at probably 10,000 to one if not more, I did plenty of “lightweight” testing carrying a G19 around. Compared to the Ruger Alaskan, the G19 was weightless and rode on the Magpul Tejas Gun Belt with invisibility.

Dress for Success

The Magpul Tejas Gun Belt, while an excellent gun carrier, is also a fine looking piece of your dress-up kit. You can rock this belt at the office, the night life scene, and of course the gun range. At no time does the Magpul Tejas Gun Belt feel like it doesn’t belong.

The Magpul Tejas Gun Belt is not your grandfather’s gun belt. It is a modern take on a historical weapons carrying trend. The combination of leather and polymer should satisfy the most discriminating belt wearers. Due to the balance between leather and polymer, I am 100% sold on the Magpul Tejas Gun Belt as the best dedicated gun belt.

 

The First 5 Items That Should Be In EVERYONE’S Everyday Carry

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The First 5 Items That Should Be In EVERYONE'S Everyday Carry

You likely already know that what you carry with you on a daily basis is influenced by whether you live in the city, in a small town or on a farm, as well as by the job you have and the mode of transportation you use.

Nevertheless, there are a few everyday carry (EDC) items that should be in everyone’s pockets, purses, briefcases and so on. Here are five:

1. The band-aid

I took part in an experts’ round-up a while back, which is in essence a mega-article where they take survival “gurus” and ask them what the most important survival item is. Everyone said knives and multi-tools, but I said band-aid.

Why? You never know when you might get a cut or a bruise. It is much more likely than landing in the middle of social unrest and having to make your way home through angry mobs and tear gas. Even then, you could still get injured and need to patch yourself up.

I carry a band-aid in each wallet, in my gym bag and, of course, a few in my car. They’re cheap, lightweight and small.

2. The phone*

Duh, everyone carries a phone, right? Maybe, but is your phone prepared? I’m talking about loading it up with survival eBooks, GPS apps, offline maps and so on.

The Survival Water Filter That Fits In Your POCKET!

If you live on a farm or spend a lot of time outdoors or on construction sites, do you have a rugged phone, or at least a shock-absorbent case?

Whether or not you’re a HAM radio enthusiast or have a couple of walkie-talkies in the trunk of your car, your phone is likely to be the thing you use to call for help in an emergency or to make sure your family is safe.

3. Cash

You don’t have to believe ATM machines will stop functioning in a disaster situation. You should always have some cash on you, because it can get you out of a pickle fast. It’s accepted everywhere.

4. A pocket knife

The First 5 Items That Should Be In EVERYONE'S Everyday CarryThere’s nothing like a knife to make you feel safer. Well, maybe a gun, but not every location allows it to be legally carried. A pocket knife is the next best thing. It can help you escape an attacker, and you can use it to cut and open things.

Whether you sleep with a gun under your pillow or you think guns are evil, a pocket knife can be your everyday best friend.

5. A fire-starting device

It doesn’t matter if it’s a lighter or a magnesium fire-starter, the ability to ignite fire should never be ignored. You can use fire in a variety of survival situations: to signal someone, to cook a meal, and, of course, to keep you warm.

Get Out Of The Rat-Race And Make Money Off-Grid!

So there you have it: The minimum number of EDC items (according to my humble opinion). Now, I know I left out things like your house keys, but I don’t really consider those to be survival items. I also know you can add dozens of other things to your EDC, and I encourage you to do so.

You can build on them by adding things such as:

  • a larger wallet to fit more items.
  • a mini first-aid kit.
  • a credit card shaped Fresnel lens
  • a multi-tool
  • a compass
  • a concealed carry revolver
  • … and so on

What would you list as your five “minimum” everyday carry items? Share your advice in the section below:

Learn How To ‘Live Off The Land’ With Just Your Gun. Read More Here.

36 Best EDC Knives On The Market

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If you’re a knife enthusiast, then you should definitely be following the blog, More Than Just Surviving. The owners/writers, Thomas and Elise Xavier, are both experts on knives and have written dozens of articles and reviews of them. In this particular article, Thomas made a massive list of the best EDC knives on the market. […]

The post 36 Best EDC Knives On The Market appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

Daltech Force Bullbelt & IndestructiBelt Gun Belt Review

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bull_belt_gun_daltech_review_ccw

Let me start by saying that my primary objective in buying a new belt was not to get a belt for carrying a gun. No, I needed a new belt because the leather belt I’ve been wearing the past few years gets that inevitable sag where it doesn’t look right any more. I mean look at the curve that developed in these things. old_belts_indestructibelt_bullbelt_daltech

By Derrick of Prepper Press

That sag is without carrying the weight of a handgun attached to the side, it’s just normal, day-to-day work and leisure wear. Those are not cheap belts mind you. I don’t remember where I bought them, but probably a place like Bass Shoe. They’re genuine leather belts, but if you’ve been in the market for a belt, and head to many department or even “quality” name brand stores, you’ll notice that, like most things made these days, they’re all… weak. Can I complain about getting a few years use out of two belts for the probably $20-$25 each that they cost? I guess not, but… I’m happy paying a bit extra for something rugged that’s made in the U.S.A.

Related: External Belt Gear Rigs

A Durable Alternative

Enter the Daltech Force gun belts.  So, why a gun belt if you don’t carry every day?  Because they’re better built, that’s why. They’re built to carry extra weight, to stay stiff, to stand up. So unable to find anything decent for my normal office and leisure attire, I reached out to my firearms instructor homeboy, Steve Markwith.  He informed me the Department of Corrections have a lot of positive things to say about the Daltech Force. I do a quick search and like what I see: free shipping, lifetime warranty, hand crafted, and American made. bull_belt_brown_review_ccw

I ordered the “Double Stitched Bull Hide Bullbelt” in “Rich Brown” color. There are a few options you can choose from (you won’t be able to select options on a belt at any department store). I opted for a belt width of 1.5”, standard thickness, 9 holes at ¾” spacing, and a solid brass “squire” buckle. Shipping was free and fast, and the belt came with a spare screw.

Putting it beside my old belt, it’s easy to see the difference in quality. The leather is better, the stitching is significantly better (double stitched with better material). My old belt is stitched to hold the buckle on, whereas the Daltech Force belt is held with screws (hence the spare). The buckles themselves are comparable. I don’t know what forces all of my belts to inevitably sag, whether it’s poor stitching or inferior leather, or because they’re too thin, but the Daltech simply has to end up lasting longer just by design (though this is not a longitudinal review covering years’ of use, it’s my suspicion that the belt will last much longer). In fact, I was so happy with the belt I contacted the company and got another!

A Different Kind of Belt

Enter the second belt, their “IndestructiBelt SuperBIO” belt. This one, not of leather, is “unbelievably tough” they claim, “absolutely no stretch or sag.” The strongest belt you’ll ever ow, they say, which is probably true. You can feel the difference in it. “Made of thermopolymer polyurethane leather-like textured material with internal integrated daltech_force_belts_indestructibelt_bullbelt_reviewpolyester webbing, making it durable, waterproof, easy to clean and stronger than natural leather,” according to their website. Daltech Force really pitches this belt for CCS concealed carry. It’s scratch resistant and comes in either black or brown. While I think it could use a different name, there’s no denying that their “IndestructiBelt” is a well-built belt. I like it, I use it, but good ole leather is still my favorite.  Both of these belts are fashionable and rugged.

Read Also: Escape & Evasion Gun Belt Review 

On a scale of one to five, I give the leather Bullbelt a 4.5. It would have made it to a full 5 if it was just a tad less costly. I’d rate the IndestructiBelt a 4.5 as well. I like the feel of the leather better, but the IndestructiBelt fits a particular need very well and it’s a tad less costly than the Bullbelt.  

All Photos by Derrick

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Survival Gear Review: Zero Tolerance 0770CF Knife

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Zero_Tolerance_0770CF_pivot_edc_knife

Most who consider themselves prepared would rank the humble pocket knife as a survival essential of the highest Survival Knifedegree.  In fact, the sharp blade often exceeds even fire and water in immediate importance.  So having a sharp edge ready to go no matter the situation means carrying a quality blade with you 24/7 or at least whatever part of 24 fits your lifestyle.

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

Therefore the place to cut costs is certainly not with your EDC blade.  Everyday Carry is code for that which we have on us as much as possible. Not a tent or sheath knife, or even water bottle, EDC means right here, right now, and everything you have with you when you take off running.

A Lightweight Heavyweight

Zero Tolerance has generated a reputation on above average knives that not only vastly exceed traditional quality Best EDC Knifeand performance, but actually set the bar high for everyone else. In other words, unlike many other brands, Zero Tolerance, or ZT, starts at the high end of knives and goes up from there.  The problem, however, was pretty much the entire line of Zero Tolerance knives were huge and heavy, not to mention expensive. Now while ZT did address the huge and heavy with their 0770CF knife, they kept it expensive if you consider ~$200 for a factory folder.

Also Read: 6 Tools To Survive Anything

ZT began its journey back 2006 when, as they say, “We saw a place in the market for a Made-in-the-USA line of Best EDC Survival Knifehard-use knives that would meet the needs of professionals in the military and law enforcement, as well as other first responders, such as firefighters and emergency medical personnel.”  Considering themselves “Proudly Overbuilt,” I just had to see for myself with their lightest, smallest, thinnest offering.

Of the Zero Tolerance knife lineup, most of them overlapped what was already in my EDC stable. For a new ride to tickle my fancy, it must occupy a empty space in my knife quiver. The ZT I chose was a carbon fiber scaled assisted opening flipper with great steel and a most importantly a blade profile that I can really use for the ED part of EDC.

The USA, well Tualatin, Oregon to be specific is where ZT knives are born. American manufacturing by American workers is a significant selling point of ZT. For me, I have to wonder what is it with Oregon? Not only are there a couple dozen popular custom knife makers inside the Oregon borders, but also a company named Benchmade. Heard of them?

Although ZT traces its roots to its 2006 KAI Cutlery spinoff, many consider it a premium brand of Kershaw knives. But it’s more like the smarter better looking sister of Kershaw.  Kai USA Ltd. is the parent company and in turn the Kai Group is the grandparent. Regardless of the Japanese connection, Zero Tolerance claims all its knives are built in Tualatin, Oregon which happens to be the headquarters of Kershaw. So you can see how some confusion could arise.

Crash and Burn

The Zero Tolerance 0770CF is a super tough lightweight assisted flipper with ELMAX steel and carbon fiber scales. Zero Tolerance vs BenchmadeThe 0770CF is essentially the new and improved version of the short lived and ultimately doomed Zero Tolerance 0777 which was an amazing folder of mythical features. So much so that when the “Triple Seven”  went from computer screen to factory floor, there were just too many design obstacles and engineering overlaps to overcome. Hype turned to horror and the knife disappeared almost as fast as the Remington R51.  Or in Zero Tolerance parlance the 0777 was a “very limited-run.” And to further hide the past, ZT released the 0770CF with the added feature of being, “much more generally available.” Either way, the 0777 was a $475 unicorn, and the 0770CF is a glass of icewater in the face at less than half the price.

Phoenix This

The shape of the 3.25 inch blade on the 0770CF combines several useful design elements including a slightly full Survival Knifebelly, a gentle interpretation of a Wharncliffe tip, aggressive jimping for thumb purchase on the back spine, and an effective swedge riding the spine before expanding to full thickness just prior to tapering to the tip.

Related: Survival Knife vs. Hatchet

A Wharncliffe blade, as described in Wikipedia, is “similar in profile to a sheep’s foot but the curve of the back edge starts closer to the handle and is more gradual. Its blade is much thicker than a knife of comparable size.  Wharncliffes were used by sailors, as the shape of the tip prevented accidental penetration of the work or the user’s hand with the sudden motion of a ship.” I’ve also read that the Wharncliffe shape makes for better penetration into an opponent’s muscle behaving more like a can opener than a slicer. But the 0770CF, not quite so much. Instead the 0770CF blade profile scores high in daily slicing, but benefits from a precision tip while maintaining Wharncliffe strength.  The overall length of a deployed 0770CF is 7.5 inches, and when in the pocket, the handle alone takes up 4.3 inches of space. The thickness of the knife is a hair over 3/8ths of an inch, and the blade at its thickest is 1/8th inch thick.

Flipping Out

As with most flippers, the deployment lever of the Zero Tolerance 0770CF doubles as a finger guard which in my Zero Tolerance EDC Knifeopinion is over half the reason to carry a flipper. The SpeedSafe® assisted opening spring assist mechanism rockets out the blade with minimal effort, and the inset-liner lock snaps into place with a satisfying click. A added bonus with the 0770CF is that the assisted opening mechanism is completely isolated from the locking bar. Some assisted blade designs package the deployment and locking as one unit meaning that if the spring fails, so might the lockup. In the case of the 0770CF, complete failure of the spring assist would not render this useless as a locking knife. I do notice, however, that the longer the time between blade deployments, the more force needed on the flipper lever. Sometimes I am quite thankful for the heavy duty jimping on the lever as it digs into my index finger when trying to wake up the knife after a long sleep.

Related: Neck Knives For The Masses

The oversized and overbuilt pivot is the only obvious ornamentation on the naked carbon fiber scales. Three small  Good EDC Knife black screw heads grace each side of the scales on the in a row along the palm-side of the handle connecting the scales to a steel spacer that occupies the rear portion of the grip spine. The foremost portion of the grip spine is fully open completely free from obstructions making the removal of debris painless whether dried blood, bone fragments, or more likely pocket lint.

The deep carry pocket clip is reversible, but only in the tip-up (when folded) configuration.  Out of the box I found the pocket clip to be a little weak.  After removing it and rebending the clip to my specifications, I now find the clip worthy of the rest of the knife.  The blade is billboarded with the ZT logo on one side, and four lines of info on the other including a serial number.

Related: Fallkniven Jarl Knife Review

With a weight of three ounces soaking wet, the 0770CF fights much harder than it’s weight class. By using ELMAX Zero Tolerance Knife Thicknesssteel, Zero Tolerance provides an in-house super steel choice that claims the best of all options. In my experience, the edge retention is on par with Benchmades house iron 154CM.  The ELMAX seems not quite as durable as S30V steel but resharpens more easily.  But we are splitting hairs here.

The balance point of the 0770CF is just where it should be, right at the index finger point behind the guard.  Because the balance is where you hold the knife for precision work keeps the blade on task with little fight from gravity.  Heavier blades can drop or twist when lightening or adjusting your grip.

A Knife in the Hand

The Zero Tolerance 0770CF is decidedly angular with pool table-flat scales that turn corners just barely slower than Zero_Tolerance_0770CF_Benchmade_Volie_EDC_Knife90 degrees with one flat bevel splitting the difference between across and down. But that’s a good thing.  The platform that houses the blade leans more towards the carry side of the EDC equation.  The 0770CF disappears into your pocket barely printing even in dress pants.  Considering that nearly 100% of the knife’s service life will be awaiting orders while tucked discreetly along a pocket seam, it is easy to overlook the lack of ergonomic elements when drawing, deploying and dissecting with the blade.

Better Than Two in the Bush

Any EDC blade worth its salt is a knife you can count on for daily hard use, as well as being worthy as a survival tool. EDC is as entertainingly controversial as is the contents of one’s bug out bag.  Everyone has an opinion based on some fantasy of what will be needed when you really need something.  As card-carrying EDC aficionado, I have carried folding knives from the lightweight Fallkniven PC, to the heavyweight Benchmade Adamas 275. So for me, the Zero Tolerance 0770CF is truly a lightweight heavyweight.

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Survival Gear Review: Glock 42

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EDC pistol

Does your carry pistol limit what you do? Do you worry about exposing your gun to the elements? Best EDC PistolIs your carry preference too much of a burden for many activities? If you answered yes to any of these questions then you should consider the Glock 42.  For me, I wanted a familiar handgun but in a small form factor that would be barely noticed when hiking, running, mountain biking, backcountry skiing, fishing, boating, and almost everything else.  Of course if you rarely do any of the above, then a .45 strapped to your leg is fine.  But for all those other activities, a Glock 42 is an excellent choice. And even more, the Glock 42 might just become your BBFF (Best Bugout Friends Forever).

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

Good News!

I remember clearly when I heard that the next new Glock was a .380 instead of the highly Survival Pistolanticipated single stack 9mm.  Frankly, the .380 should have been a predictable release given the global reach of Glock and the .380-sized hole in Glock’s public lineup.  I always figured that Glock could gut the 9mm market with a winning release just like Apple could dominate the tablet market if it dropped the price of an iPad Air to $199.  But not this time. That came later.

For years I had a Ruger LCP.  It’s a tiny polymer framed .380 of great reliability and limited accuracy.  Plus it’s what I like to call a singularity.  At the time it was alone in its detailed design meaning nothing else acted quite like it in both operation and takedown.  But still it was a great gun. Some were close like Kel-Tec and historical Colts, but price and performance allowed the LCP to become the meme of its tiny slice of the gun market.

Glock is Knocking

The Glock 42 is like a miniature Glock.  And when we say “Glock” we really mean the Glock 17, Survival Pistolthe 9mm that started it all.  In case you were confused by Glock’s odd naming conventions where a 17 is 9mm and so is an 18 and 19, but a 20 is a 10mm and a 21 is a .45.  But yet the Glock 40 is a 10mm, but there is no Glock 10 firearm.  The reason is actually quite simple.  Glaston Glock names each of his new patented inventions with a new ascending number.  His first invention was the 1. His first pistol was the 17. His next the 18. Next the 19, then 20 and so on.  And the next as-yet-unreleased Glock will be the 44.  But don’t expect it to be in .44 magnum. My hope, now that you asked, is a .22LR.  But I might be alone in that wish. Or not.

Also Read: Bug Out Gun Lights

Although I am quite pleased with the 42, I’ve long thought the 26 was an excellent bug out gun due to its small size and big performance.  And I still believe that.  The issue is that the 42 is just such an excellent gun at half the weight.  By following the playbook of the Glock 17, the 42 maintains all the forward thinking advantages of “Glock Perfection” but in a tiny (for Glock anyway) pistol.  The robust but simple aspects of every Glock are alive and well in the 42. Just smaller. Yes, I am well versed in the 43, Glock’s single stack 9mm.  It’s a great gun, but as one deeply involved with the G17, 19 and 26, the G43 is little more than a need for new 9mm mags. And if I’m going with new Glock mags, I am going with a new and smaller caliber.

Ballistics Mallistics

Decades or more ago, the ballistics of handgun cartridges seemed to solidify in the collective Bug Out Pistolconscious of mainstream gun-owning Americans, turning to concrete and changing at the pace of gun writer retirements and funerals.  Unfortunately, all that old info is old news rivaled only its speed of obsolescence as are books about Windows software and Apple hardware.  New gunpowder, new bullets, new primers, and new guns all have tipped the playing field in the direction of smaller cartridges.  Even the flip-flopping FBI is sniffing around the 9mm again. No longer is there a search for rifle power in a EDC handgun.  Sure in the old days where you needed a four-barrel carbed big-block 427 engine to be Boss Hog on the road, but now a Subaru STI could smoke the Chevy in every category except nostalgia.  Same with carry pistols.  Packing a big-block six-shooter, especially a single-action like the one Stallone carried behind his back in the Expendables makes no sense against real world threats, not just Mel Gibson with macho attitude but with terrorism on the rise, and active response training to mass shooter events as common as a training as how to use the new copy machine, packing real heat means more than big guns.  Staying warm means carrying any gun and the mouse guns of yesterday have grown up into the mean dogs of today.

However…

However the Glock 42 has another use for me.  And one that larger guns just cannot fill.  I love EDC Pistolthe outdoors.  All of it.  From the snowy mountains of Alaska to the stone deserts of Utah.  From mountain bike trails of Montana to the canyon rivers of Wyoming, carrying a gun must be as convenient and versatile as carrying a pocket knife.  I’ve run into hikers packing giant caliber revolvers strapped to their chests, but that’s not for me (and makes little sense in the big picture). I’m not scared of bears or mountain lions.  Instead it is the wacko drug-crazed two-legged variety that cause me concern.  When relaxing at the apex of a mountain bike ride, or scratching out a campsite near a high mountain lake, or just wandering through the woods towards a secret fishing hole, carrying a larger gun on the hip is often not an option worth considering. But slipping a Glock 42 into the side pocket of a Camelbak, or dropping a 42 next to my iPod for a mountain run makes more sense than trying to justify not carrying iron at all because of its weight, size and snag-potential.

Related: 1911 vs. Glock

You see, if you always want to be armed, then there are two avenues you can drive down.  Either Survival Pistolonly travel on those roads where you can pack the sizable bore you need to feel comfortable.  Or get a vehicle that will allow you to drive those roads less traveled.  Far too many good folks never venture out beyond where their equipment and imagination lets them.  What I’m here to tell you is that if staying armed is keeping you too close to home then get some lightweight firepower that frees you up to go fast and go light and go far. And of course go often.

Until now, I’ve opted to carry either my Glock 26 or my Ruger LCP backpacking, hiking, and just generally wandering around in the woods.  I liked the capacity and umph of the 26, but not its weight.  But the Ruger is a true mouse gun with mouse sights, mouse capacity, and a mouse feel. Popping off a round or two into a large aggressive animal will do little more than make the violent critter more identifiable to Fish and Game when they track it down after finding what’s left of my corpse.  But if push comes to pull on a fellow man, I want to tip the situation in my favor and even the LCP can help.

Although the Glock 42 has the roughly the same ballistics as the LCP, the handling and Best Bug Out Pistoldependability make it a better choice in my opinion.  The Ruger LCP is a hidden hammer-fired machine while the Glock is, well a Glock meaning it’s a striker-fired autopistol.  And don’t get me started on the sights.  Well, actually do get me to rant on them.  Not the G42 sights which happen to be pretty much the same as every other stock Glock on this planet, but instead the sights, or lack thereof, on the LCP. Most shotguns have better sights than the LCP.  In fact most sticks and stones have better sights than the LCP. Well, maybe an exaggeration, but not by much. The LCP is designed to be pointed, not aimed.  The Glock 42 is decidedly one to aim.

Not So Terrible Twos

Now that we’ve got two years of Glock 42 under our collective belt, it is time to talk frankly about the .380 cartridge, this particular Glock pistol, and the so-called “mouse guns” in general.  The rough spots about the initial Glock 42 have been discussed to death online.  But to review, the early runs of Glock 42s had specific failure to eject (FTE) and failure to feed (FTF) issues. The issues were real and almost immediately addressed (but not really admitted) by Glock.  More recent copies of the Glock 42 rolling off the assembly line have upgrades to the magazines, internal parts, and some believe the polymer frame as well.  A quick swing through the top internet hits on about “Glock 42 problems” make this particular pistol one to avoid, but pretty much every negative review is pre 2015.  Later in 0-15, there is little but flowing Glock love around the mouse gun campfire.

Related: Bug Out Long Term Pistol

Handguns are like pickup trucks; there are more opinions than actual models to have opinions EDC glock handgunsabout. Personally I am a six-cylinder Toyota Tacoma kind of guy.  My friends drive F-150s or bigger, diesel Dodge Rams (note the oxymoron), and I got only one friend who drives a Chevy Avalanche. Whatever.  But the reason I tell you this is that trucks like guns are a personal choice. We place our loyalties where we want, and base them on many factors including ones that don’t match the cold hard facts.  But perceptions don’t have to match reality when reality is a rare commodity these days.

Actual studies have shown that most encounters where a gun is pulled in self defense involves holding and/or shooting the gun with only one hand.  No perfect two-handed Weaver or isosceles stance, or aiming with any other perfect triangle of stability.  Instead, the pistol is held out, arm bent and shaking, one hand gripping what it can of the gun.  In fact, standing on one’s feet is for the lucky.  For many actually trigger pullers they are flat on their back, bruised, injured, some even near blinded by fist blows.  And in all cases your heart rate will be red lined and your breathing will be anything but slow and steady.

Where a mouse gun comes in handy is it by being handy.  It’s easier to shoot. Lighter in weight. And the low recoil keeps the pistol in the fight almost regardless of the injury, grip strength, or limited vision.  Those with dreams of sending .454 Casull bullet after Casull bullet downrange with accuracy are dreamers whose heads are filled with the stay-on-targetness of video games. Sadly but truthfully, most law abiding citizens would be better off with a .22 than a .45. Of course proper and real-world training changes almost everything.  But for those who handguns lean towards the just-in-case preparedness side like food storage and flint-and-steel fire starting, the smaller caliber mouse guns may actually be a better choice.  And certainly the Glock 42 is a viable and excellent backup or or bug out gun.

All Photos By Doc Montana

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Survival Gear Review: Cold Steel Pocket Bushman Knife

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Survival Knife

It seems that everyone’s favorite piece of gear to carry and discuss are knives. With the variety of survival knifestyles, shapes, sizes and the jobs they can perform, it is easy to see why they are a favorite piece of gear. When it comes to folding knives, I am very particular and will not carry an old pocket knife. I have seen a lot of guys carry those five to ten dollar knives that are piled in a box on a gas station or sporting goods counter top.  Those guys always love to show off that new, shiny, cool looking knife.

By Tinderwolf, a contributing author of Survival Cache & SHTFBlog

Of course within a week or two, the blade locking mechanism has broken, the edge of the blade is Survival Knifeas dull as a butter knife and some of the screws or rivets are falling out. Those guys might as well have thrown their money into the garbage can because that is where their cool new knife ended up anyway.  For most of my life I carried a Schrade Old Timer, Swiss Army knife, or a Gerber Paraframe.

All three of these knives held up well, never broke, kept an edge and paid for themselves time and time again.  The only down fall of folders, is that they generally don’t stand up to the activities I would use a fixed blade for.  I know that I should not expect that kind of strength and durability from a folding knife as it is a completely different from a fixed blade.  However, I always wanted that out of a folding knife, and I think I have finally found a folding knife that will perform as closely to a fixed-blade knife as possible.

Also Read: Fallkniven Jarl Knife Review

Over the years I have owned a few fixed, full-tang knives from Cold Steel and have always been Survival Folding Knifevery happy with their products and their prices. So, a few years ago I decided to purchase a folder from them and I decided on buying the Pocket Bushman. It is probably one of the plainest looking knives you can buy, but boy is this knife a BEAST! The blade measure in at 4 ½” inches long with an overall length of 10 ¼”! All the reviews said that this knife was big and it did look big in the photos, but I really didn’t appreciate how big It was until I was holding it in my hands.

It felt more like a fixed blade knife than a folding pocket knife. Unlike other pocket knives, the Cold Steel Pocket Bushman does not whiz open with a flick of your thumb. It is rather slow and you need both hands to properly open it and shut it. When closing the knife you have to be extremely careful.  The knife has a rocker lock which is tough as nails but it is a bit different to close than other folders.  In order to close the knife safely and properly you need to place one hand on the spine of the blade and the other hand needs to pull the paracord lanyard at the bottom of the handle.  The first time I tried this it was a bit awkward and I almost cut myself. After opening and shutting it a few times the motions became very natural.

The handle has a very large and deep groove for your index finger.  This helps in keeping your hand from slipping forward to the blade when working with the knife.  The handle is probably the only downfall I can find with this knife.  While I like the smooth steel finish, it makes it a bit tough to use the knife if your hands are wet.  It would have been nice to see some kind of textured finished on the handle.  However, there have only been a few times that I have tried to use this knife in wet conditions and most of the time when I am using this knife I am wearing gloves, which I highly recommend.

While this is a folder and it fits well in my pocket, I love that it can handle the big jobs as well.  I have used it for making tinder, cutting cardboard, tape, ropes, tie downs, zip ties, carpet, to baton wood, gutted fish, and even split small logs.  I still remember the first time I showed it off at work. The guys thought I had wasted my money on some big knife just to be a show off.  While they were chuckling I bent down and picked up a broken piece of wood from a pallet.  I then commenced beating the back of the blade into a very tall, thick stack of cardboard. Once I got halfway down the stack I turned to a pallet that was leaning against a nearby shelf.

Also Read: Benchmade Bushcrafter Knife Review

The Pocket Bushman easily took chunks out of the pallet and after a few minutes it came out the Bushcraft Survival Knifeother side of the board.  I turned around to the guys, showed them there was no damage to the knife and no wiggle in the blade, folded it up, placed it in my pocket and walked away.  A few years have passed and I have used this knife so much, yet there is still no movement between the blade and handle, and it still sharpens very easily.  I have added paracord to the loop hole in the lock release slide at the bottom of the handle.  This is by far, hands down, the best folder I have ever purchased and would recommend it to anyone looking for a new tool.  I believe, when I bought this knife it was forty dollars.  I checked out the knife out on Amazon the other day and it was listed for fifty nine dollars.  I have been thinking about getting another one and I would not think twice about paying that price for this knife. If anyone else has used this knife I would love to hear about your experience with it.

Photos By:
Turetsky
Dan P
Matt Coz

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Survival Gear Review: GunfightersINC Ronin Concealment Holster

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Best OWB CCW Holster

There are, according to a completely-made-up-by-me-but-probably-not-too-far-off-number, Best Survival Holsterapproximately six billion custom kydex holster makers in the world.  Don’t believe me?  If you belong to Facebook, find a large Facebook group (or internet forum) for a handgun you have, join it, and then post the following query to the board: “I just got [insert make/model of handgun here] and I’m looking for the best holster for it. What do you guys use?”  Sit back and prepare for the maelstrom.  An example: I belong to a Sig Sauer P320 board on Facebook.  Someone recently asked for the board’s opinion on the best inside-the-waistband (IWB concealment holster).  In 21 responses, there were 14 different holster manufacturers named, and 16 different models.  I hadn’t even heard of most of them.

By Drew, a contributing author of Survival Cache & SHTFBlog

With all these options available to a consumer, it’s really, really difficult to narrow your choice down to one offering for you to plunk your hard-earned greenbacks down on.  A company/product would truly have to stand out to be noticed.

…And notice a company called GunfightersINC I did.  Initially their “Kenai” chest-mounted holster caught my eye on a Facebook feed ad, so I contacted GunfightersINC to purchase a Kenai rig.  While I was perusing their catalog, I noticed a slick-looking outside-the-waistband holster they had dubbed the “Ronin Concealment Holster”.  The interesting little details they put into their holster, plus the overwhelming need I had to find a hip-mounted home for my then-new full-sized Sig Sauer P320 meant that I felt compelled to order a Ronin up at the same time.  To, y’know, save on shipping, I told my wife.

Who is GunfightersINC?

GunfightersINC is a small, veteran-owned holster making company that found its beginnings in Best Pistol Holsterthe year 2010 when – like many other company beginnings – the owner/founder decided to make his own holster after finding a glaring lack of gear that fit his stringent needs, for his brand of pistol (HK USP45, according to their website).  Soon, the holster-making hobby turned into a business, and GunfightersINC has since been pushing forward-thinking, practical ideas and design philosophies of simplicity, ergonomics, and durability into the world of quality kydex holsters.

GunfightersINC uses only US-made materials, and all their products are made by Americans in Leavenworth, Washington.  A perusal of their website will inform you that GunfightersINC is fiercely proud of their innovations, quality, and product lineup.  That product lineup encompasses several practical designs – some mainstays of any holster manufacturer like the Outside The Waistband (OWB) “Ronin”, Inside The Waistband (IWB) “Wraith” holster and the “Spectre” shoulder holster – but they also offer belt-mounted magazine pouches for rifles and handguns, as well as the aforementioned “Kenai” chest-mounted holster.  They also offer a gorgeous-looking leather gunbelt that is simple and unobtrusive, but designed from the ground up as a sturdy, long-lasting platform for your holster, mags, and pistol.  Their product line is not cluttered with bells and whistles and unneeded glitz; it’s simple and straightforward and worth a look or three when you need a new holster, mag carrier, and/or belt.

Enter The Ronin

The Ronin Concealment Holster is an all-kydex, outside-the-waistband belt-mounted holster.  Do Best SHTF Holsteran online search for “kydex holster” images, and you’ll see that there may be a couple variations on a theme, but most kydex OWB holsters pretty much look the same.  So the question arises: if all kydex holsters look the same, what sets them apart or makes individual designs better than others?

Related Article: Holsters 101

The answer is “attention to detail”.  Placement of belt loops/clips, rivets vs. screws, gun cant angle, materials, retention, and the way the holster’s contours fit your body and keep the firearm pulled into your body and hidden (if that is your goal.)  Pretty patterns and colors are irrelevant (though GunfightersINC offers many) if the function of the holster is not thought out and executed properly.  It takes a lot of testing, modifying, and holster evolution before a holster can be really good at its intended job – any schmuck can buy kydex and some tools in an attempt to make his own holsters, but chances are the final product is not going to be truly great at what it needs to do.

The Ronin Concealment Holster shows this attention to detail in a couple really useful ways.  The first thing you notice that is a little different from most kydex holster offering is the belt loops.  Instead of cast-off pre-made belt loops, GunfightersINC installs hand-formed, contoured loops that accomplish three holster-essential missions: they pull the holster closer to the body by hugging your body contours, the loops keep the holster secure and fixed in one spot on your belt, and they also maximize the comfort of carrying the holster and pistol.  I will tell you after several weeks of wearing this holster and accompanying magazine pouch on a frequent basis, this holster is undoubtedly the most comfortable holster to wear – leather, kydex, or otherwise – that I own.

The belt loops are solidly hard riveted onto the body of the holster, ensuring the user that the holster will not move, wiggle, loosen, or work out of place.  Many holster manufacturers offer a multitude of adjustment holes, with small philips head screws and rubber grommets so you can move the angle and placement of the belt loops to suit your needs.  If you like a bit of adjustability in your holsters, I can see the draw (pun intended) to that sort of thing.  However, for my money, I prefer a well designed holster that has gone through lots of testing to provide optimally-placed, fixed, hard-riveted belt loop attachment points.

The Ronin Concealment Holster also features a small strip of friction grip tape on the inside of each hand-formed belt loop.  I thought this was a great feature, and it’s very effective when combined with the contoured loops: once the holster is installed on your body with a high-quality gun belt (I’ve been using the Magpul Tejas El Original) the holster DOES NOT move.  This is a great thing once you have the holster on and where you like it; however, it does make getting the holster to that “just right” position a bit more of a tedious process – one must loosen the belt and pull the holster away from the body to adjust the Ronin’s position on the belt.  But once the sweet spot is attained, rest assured – your Ronin will stay put tenaciously.

Also Read: E&E Gun Belt Review

I’ll be honest: the grip tape did pull off the inside of the belt loops eventually with use.  After trying the holster with and without the grip tape, I can tell you that the holster works fine without the tape’s presence, but the grip tape definitely adds a bit of traction on your gun belt.

The holster materials are nice, high-quality slightly textured kydex.  The form and fit to the gun is tremendous, which surely helps with the GunfightersINC motto of “Retention Defined”.  The form is so detailed that you can actually see all of the accessory rail slots molded into the outline of the gun.  While I’m sure this helps with traction on the gun, it also makes a weird “brrrrrt” noise as the gun is drawn and all those pistol rail stations have to slide through all those holster slot indentations.  I’m sure this is quite gun-specific; the P320 full-sized gun has a full five accessory slots; most handguns have one or two, so your gun may not have this fun design auditory attribute.

The Ronin Concealment Holster – and all other holsters from GunfightersINC – come in a multitude of colors for the discerning buyer.  I ordered Storm Gray, with black rivets – both no-charge options.  For a slight upcharge, camo patterns or fabric coverings can be yours as well. GunfightersINC also offers custom touches as well, such as unit insignia on holsters and other cool items – contact them through their website to see what they have to offer.

Wearing The Ronin Everyday

So the Ronin OWB holster became my go-to holster when I could get away with wearing it – Best Holstersummer months came upon us quickly, making me don lighter clothing options if I didn’t want to sweat my posterior off.  In addition, the sheer size of the gun I was putting in the holster – a full-sized Sig Sauer P320 with a 17-round capacity and 4.7” barrel – meant that the holster itself was quite long, and often protruded below the shirt or jacket I was wearing for gun-concealment purposes.  But this is no fault of GunfightersINC or the Ronin design; it’s simply difficult to hide large, long-barrelled pistols – especially when worn outside the waistband.

However, when my exterior shell clothing was long enough to cover the holster adequately, the Ronin Concealment Holster was aces.  The formed belt loops really suck the holster into the body nicely, and the general curved shape of the Ronin really helped blend the outline of the holster to my natural form.  Grip printing – again, with a full-sized duty pistol – was there, but lessened compared to other OWB pancake  leather holsters I’d tried in my local gun shop.  After I obtained my P320 Compact, I gladly slipped the new, smaller pistol into the Ronin and the results were gratifying – much less grip printing under a one-size-too-large T-shirt.

But the real takeaway I have from wearing the Ronin is that the holster is, without hyperbole or blowing smoke, superbly comfortable – easily the most comfortable holster I own, as a matter of fact.  With the holster and matching mag holder, and their respective payloads sucked in tight to your body, the rig feels like part of your person – not an added-on burden that slaps or shuffles around.  Note: an essential ingredient to this recipe is a solid, sturdy 1 ½” gun belt.  A good gun belt doesn’t allow the holster to flex,  pivot, or pull away from the body, and should be considered essential to any holster use.

Related: 10 Tips For Concealed Carry

I’ve really fallen in love with this holster as an open-carry setup for when I’m out fishing, hiking, or canoeing.  The excellent holster posture is a remedy to any ailment caused by other holstered handguns.  In times past, I’ve gotten in the truck after a nice outdoorsy jaunt, only to discover foliage and other detritus finding a home between my body and the holster and/or belt.  Pistols banging on gunwales, catching shirtsleeves, and pistol grips clunking on stocks of shoulder-slung rifles are maladies I’ve encountered with previous holsters – so far, the Ronin has combated these problems with comfort and excellent firearm retention.  While this holster may be marketed and designed with concealment in mind, I feel it also comes into its own as an excellent outdoors use general purpose gun transportation apparatus.

I used this holster through many days of frequent one-handed draw drills, one-handed reloads and other manipulations, both strong- and weak-side.  Draws were quick and positive, and the 10° forward cant helped hide the gun against my body without compromising access with the off-hand too badly if needed.  The outside kydex shell was strong enough to allow me to rack the slide using the flat of the rear sight, though the edge of the holster got a little chewed up – this is to be expected with any kydex holster used similarly.

What I Didn’t Like About The Ronin

My complaints with the holster that are genuine faults of the holster are few and, to be sure, GunfightersINC Ronin Holster Reviewtrivial.  The edges of the holster are cut with wonderful precision, but then only minimally polished or sanded.  This leaves a sharp edge that can scrape skin and abrade clothing.  A simple light scuffing around the perimeter of the holster with a small scrap of 220-grit sandpaper remedied this problem nicely.

The aforementioned grip tape strips jumping ship from the inside of the belt loops was another small issue – but a little degreasing, sandpaper, and a very, VERY light application of epoxy (I used Brownell’s Acraglas because I had a bit left over after a stock bedding project) has fixed this problem so far.  Other than the two small issues above, I have no cons for these holsters.  Some may like a bit more adjustability or a steeper cant angle, but I am extremely pleased with this holster design and intend to buy another for my P320 Compact.

Related: 8 Tips For Flying With A Firearm

I did have an embarrassing and painful anecdotal experience with the Ronin Concealment Holster that I will share with you.  The body side of the Ronin sports a sweat guard, which is a tongue of holster material that rides between your body and the interior side of the pistol slide.  This sweat shield does indeed guard against sweat as its moniker suggests, and also keeps any pistol terrain like slide serrations or sights from rubbing against your clothing or body – it’s a great idea that is effective when done well.  I once went to re-holster the gun after a spirited range session, and the searing pain that immediately resulted informed me that I had pinched a tiny bit of the ol’ love handle between the outside of the holster sweat guard and the gun.  I had a hell of a sharp red mark on my torso just above the holster, and my wife definitely capitalized on my pain for her mirth.  I guess the moral of the story here is that maybe if you run a bit of a spare tire and a close-fitting holster, you may want to seriously consider getting rid of one of them – preferably the couple extra pounds.  Looking down at the holster while you re-insert the handgun is usually wise too.

Wrapping It Up

In conclusion, I was very impressed with the Ronin Concealment Holster and GunfightersINC’s product line.  The holster’s design is excellent, the comfort level is through the roof with a good belt, and it’s a solid, no-regrets choice for someone who wants a good, all-purpose OWB holster that performs above and beyond most other kydex designs.  Several weeks’ worth of EDC use with this holster indoors and outdoors, concealed and open, on and off the range, cements that opinion.  I have every confidence that this holster is worth your extended consideration and hard-earned greenbacks the next time you’re looking for a great OWB holster.  Shoot GunfightersINC a line and tell ‘em Drew from Survival Cache sent ya…and keep an eye open for the upcoming “Kenai” review…it’s a badass setup.
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Survival Gear Review: Streamlight Stylus Pro Pen Flashlight

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LED Flashlight

Everyone has their thing that they geek out about, firearms, accessories, knives, etc. I geek out when it comes to LED Pen Flashlightflashlights.  I can never have enough flashlights and find it very hard not to buy one when I come across a “new” one at the store.  Due to my job, I carry a flashlight on me every day and depend on it quite heavily.  Years ago I started out using a pen light due to its convenient size but shortly thereafter became disappointed with their lack of illumination and durability.  So, I went to carrying a midsize flashlight.  The bulky nature of even this size of a flashlight was starting to annoy me.

By Tinderwolf, a contributing author of Survival Cache & SHTFBlog

One day a good friend of mine and I were cleaning some firearms when he pulled out the Streamlight Pro Pen Light. I was very surprised of the brightness of this little pen light and asked him if I could take a look at it. He told me his opinion of it and the cost and I decided to give it a try.  I picked my Streamlight up at a local shop for around $25 but found it at a lower price through Amazon.

Related: Compact Flashlight Comparison

This Streamlight Stylus Pro Pen is extremely lightweight and compact, I really don’t even notice it when I am carrying it and it has been in my pocket every day for the last six months.  I highly praise the quality of the pocket clip that Streamlight made. With the everyday use I put my lights and pocket knives through, the pocket clip usually does not hold up for long. For most, the pocket clip might not be a significant part of the product to be concerned with.  However, I am not always working in the upright position, I am on the ground, crawling over and under objects, scaling ladders, I am on the move for most of my day. I do not have to worry about my light falling out during the work day, it will stay exactly where I put it.  In this pen light the tension of the pocket clip has remained just as strong as the first day that I bought it.

50,000 Hours

The 50,000 hour LED is listed to have an output of 65 lumens though it appears to be much brighter when I use it. I Streamlight Penbelieve this is due to what the manufacturer calls a micro optical system that is supposed to optimize the lumen output.  The lens of the light is made up of unbreakable polycarbonate.  In my experience the lens also appears to be scratch resistant.  After the constant use, in and out motion action of taking it from my pocket and it rubbing up against my pocket knife, has not put a single visible scratch on the lens in six months of using it.  There are two modes on the pen light. Momentary on and full on.  You can press and hold the button for the duration of time that you need light or fully depress the button to keep the light on.  There is no lock out mode to keep the light off while in your pocket, which is a nice feature to save battery life.  However, the button on this light takes quite a bit of pressure to fully depress to the on mode.  Because of this, I have not had the light come on once while stowed away in my pocket.

Related: Bug Out Flashlight Wisdom

When it comes to flashlights that I own, they all have to have one thing in common.  The have to use common batteries.  Those are the type of batteries that you can pick up at any store, relatively cheap.  Primarily AA and AAA batteries.  This pen light uses two AAA batteries and has a listed run time of six hours.  In my use of it I have found that I change the batteries roughly every three weeks.  Of course, I don’t always run down the batteries completely. When I notice a significant output in lumens I will change the batteries.  Using equipment with these types of batteries makes replenishing those batteries much easier, especially if you have to scrounge for them in some type of emergency.

The last quality that this light has that I require, is that it is waterproof.  I have not worked up the courage to fully submerge the light but it has gotten doused plenty in the time that I have used it, with no negative effects.  I give this pen light five out of five starts due to its affordability, durability and light output.

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10 Tips Everyone Should Know Before Carrying Concealed

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best ccw tips

With more and more states (fourteen, per Wikipedia – not counting Puerto Rico) giving the green light to some form Tips for CCWof “Constitutional Carry” – that is, carrying a legal concealed firearm without a state-issued permit – citizens have been heading to gun shops and training facilities in droves to enable themselves to exercise their right to defend themselves.  Compact, concealable handguns are flying off the shelves, handgun training courses are filling up as people want to refine their skills and learn laws.  People putting their freedoms to use is a wonderful thing.

By Drew, a contributing author of Survival Cache & SHTFBlog

However, many of these people are complete newbies to the wide world of concealed carry – some of them have never fired a gun before.  It’s an interesting mish-mash of emotions carrying a firearm that nobody else knows you have – elation, invincibility, nobility, trepidation, sometimes outright fear.  It’s something you have to experience yourself before you can fully understand.  Some of that fear comes from the fact that this new-fangled power is manifesting itself via a whole new experience for a gun owner: What the hell is the best way to do this?

I’ve been carrying concealed handguns for 18 years.  I don’t consider myself a newbie at concealed carry anymore, but I certainly haven’t done it all and i don’t consider myself an ”expert”.   Rather, I’ve found a couple methods of carry that work for me, and I rarely stray from them.  But the purpose of this article isn’t to debate gear, technique, or methodology – I’d just like to tell people who are just starting out in concealed carry a few things that I wish I’d known when starting out.  There are probably millions of articles out there that will help you find the best carry pistol or holster or ammo; I’d just like to share what I’ve learned from my 18 years of carrying a hidden gun.  Let’s get started with the most important one to accept.

1. It’s Not Easy & It Sucks

Once you get over the rush and sheer amazement that you’re carrying a concealed handgun, reality sets in.  It’s Best Concealed Carry Tipsuncomfortable.  It’s a hassle.  You’re constantly paranoid that your gun is printing and some kid will point at you and scream, “MOMMY! HE HAS A GUN!”.  Spare ammo is never easy to carry unless it’s on a belt-mounted pouch that prints worse than the holstered gun.  That super expensive hybrid leather/kydex rig that everyone online raved about?  It doesn’t fit your body type and pinches and chafes.  So does the one you bought to replace it. Handgun grip panels rub, wear through, and catch on clothing, not to mention that custom grip stippling job you HAD to have will treat your love handle like a cheese grater.  You bend over and oops, your shirt hikes up and there’s your gun for everyone to see.

Also Read: 8 Tips For Flying with a Firearm

You sit down and the handgun goes “THUNK” against the seat and people look at you funny.  Your ankle holster slips and rotates around your leg and allows dirt and crud into your gun.  Your guns get rusty from being close to your sweaty body.  You have to dress appropriately to cover the gun – no tight fitting T-shirts!  You have to stop at the post office?  Gotta take the gun off.  You go to your favorite burger place and notice that they just posted “no guns allowed”?  Gotta walk back to the car and secure the pistol, or find a new place to eat (recommended).  Picking your kid up from school?  Oops, guns are a huge No-No there, gotta leave the gun at home.  If your holster doesn’t clip or snap on, you have to take your belt off, pull the gun off the belt, and run your belt back through the loops.  Carrying concealed is a thousand tiny hassles that conglomerate into one big pain in the ass.  Luckily, time and experience (and a lot of money) will help you work through the gear and body location issues, making you more comfortable – but it’s something that can only be worked out over an extended period of time carrying.  But have no fear: once you have everything worked out, it still sucks.  Anyone who says differently is probably lying or selling something.

2. Stop Fidgeting & Carry On

You have a gun on, and like we just discovered in the previous paragraphs, it’s uncomfortable and not in the right CCW Tipsspot.  (Even just a quarter inch difference in placement can make a huge difference in comfort.  No, really.)  You keep trying to adjust, or maybe you’re nervous about the gun printing, so you constantly screw with the gun and holster and attempt adjustments while you’re in public.  Here’s a tip from your buddy  Drew: KNOCK IT OFF.  Run-of-the-mill people aren’t geared to analyze bumps and lumps sticking out of people’s shirts.  I’ve walked around wearing full-sized pistols obviously printing under sweatshirts, but nobody stole a second glance.  If you’re worried someone will see it, dress differently.  If it’s uncomfortable, deal with it, or go into a restroom where you have privacy, and re-adjust your rig until you are comfortable.  By fiddling with your gun nobody can see, they’re seeing you act suspicious with something hidden under your shirt – and THAT will raise alarms.

3. Get a Good Holster

When looking for gear, it’s all about what you like.  This is a very personal matter; no one holster fits everyone’s body.  We don’t need to debate inside the waistband carry vs. outside the waistband, or 4 o’clock carry vs. appendix carry,  leather vs. kydex, blah blah blah.  The only requirement I personally would recommend is that the holster completely covers the triggerguard, for safety.  Go to a good, high-end local shop (avoid the big box stores – chances are excellent anyone there won’t know a good holster from a New Balance sneaker) and ask to try different holsters.  Bring your pistol with you, unloaded, in a locked carrying box.

Related: Tips to Stay Alive When the Bullets Start to Fly

Ask to try the different holsters out with your pistol.  Take your time, figure out what you like.  Then spend the money and don’t look back.  A good holster is worth its weight in gold, and you two will become best friends…so don’t go cheap.  Expect to spend $60-100 on a good rig – and don’t buy cheap “universal” holsters, dammit.  They’re awful.  So are SERPA holsters.  There, I said it.

4. Get a Good Belt

In my eyes and experience, a good belt is just as, if not maybe a bit more, important than your holster.  You need a dedicated gunbelt.  They are thicker, wider, and reinforced to hold the holster and its precious cargo close in to your body and not let it shift around.  And when you do draw, the belt ensures the holster stays fixed with your body, and not going for a joyride with the pistol.  I used to pay no mind to my belt and just used cheapo Wal-Mart belts – until one day, I was practicing drawing from concealment and the belt actually broke (more like ripped) out of the buckle, and I presented a holstered gun with a trailing broken belt to the target. Oops.

Related: Escape & Evasion Gun Belt Review

The belt is the heart and soul of your concealed carry setup, so get a damned good one.  I know I said that I wouldn’t debate gear, but the new Magpul Tejas “El Original” gun belt is unbelievably comfortable and rugged – and it’s a classic design; I wear mine every day in a business casual work environment.  If you’re looking for a place to start, you can’t get any better than the Magpul offering.  A good belt will run you another $60-100 or so.

5. The Gun You Have When You Need It Is The Gun You Have

This one probably needs to be explained, but it’s a simple concept: if you KNEW you were going to be in a gunfight Best CCW Guntoday and you couldn’t bring a long gun, what handgun would you want with you?  Exactly – the biggest, baddest lead-slinger on the block that you knew you could shoot effectively, had a large magazine capacity in an effective caliber, with excellent sights, probably a weapon-mounted light, and spare mags, right?  Right.  Well, part of the concealed carrying mindset is that you have to know that there is always a possibility you will get in a gunfight today.  To this end, I am positively baffled when people tell me they carry a small .22 derringer or a tiny single-stack .380 as their everyday carry (EDC) gun.

Now, I fully understand the limits and the inherent Catch-22 of concealed carry – the smaller the gun, the easier it is to carry.  The easier the gun is to carry, the more likely it is that you’ll have it on your person.  The gun you have on your person is the one you’ll be defending  your life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness with.  Yes, full-sized guns are a pain to carry and conceal, especially in hot summer months – but newer subcompact variants of full-sized pistols are still effective, and can usually use the magazines, holsters, etc., from their bigger brothers.  Just remember that the the threat of multiple badguys who are also armed is always likely, and plan accordingly.   It’s only your life we’re talking about here, after all.

6. Carry Spare Ammunition

This is another convenience issue: it’s always a pain to carry spare ammo.  Belt-mounted mag pouches invariably Spare Ammoshow through clothing, usually worse than a smallish pistol in a good holster.  Having a spare magazine or speedloader in your pocket is annoying too, as they flop and move around and they are never in the orientation you need/want them in.  But if you’re ever, God forbid, in a situation where you need to deploy that firearm you carry, I’m guessing you could never have enough ammunition.  If your gun runs dry and your opponent(s) is/are still shooting, you’d better hope your life insurance plan is paid up and you told your wife you loved her when you left.

Related: Rothco Concealed Carry Jacket Review

To make things easier, you can carry filler items in your pocket to keep your magazine oriented properly, or try something like the Raven Concealment ModuLoader Pocket Shield, a neat rig you can mount mag pouches to and put the whole works in your pocket.  It stops magazine printing and keeps the magazine wight where you need it.  Or, you can always run a belt-mounted mag pouch and dress to conceal.  Just have spare ammo with you.

Also, know how your ammunition performs. Full metal jacket ammunition will likely over penetrate and can hit bystanders.  Carry suitable defense ammunition, and no hand-loaded ammunition.  You don’t need that round you carefully crafted for accuracy, power, and reliability to be misconstrued as a “deadly mankiller”.

7. Know When To Hold Them

Just because you have the pistol on your person, there is no rule that says you HAVE to use it.  The very best way to Concealed Carry Lawavoid being shot is to not get into gunfights.  Your brain is a much more powerful weapon than any gun you can carry; if you see or are in a situation developing with escalating threat, get the hell out and call the police.  There is zero shame in leaving when things get ugly.  As a matter of fact, in many locales – including my home state of Maine – you have a duty to deescalate and/or leave if you can, and lethal force is only given the blessing if you did everything you possibly could to disengage a threat and evacuate.  If you flipped the bird to the biker gang that cut you off and as a consequence, a fight develops to the point where you had to use a firearm to save your life, you can expect to spend a healthy chunk of that life behind bars.  Take a deep breath, walk away.  Be smart enough to keep yourself out of situations and places where you are forced to use your firearm.  It’s common sense: pride and braggadocio will get you or others killed, while having a head on your shoulders will keep you out of trouble.

8. Carry a Less Than Lethal Deterrent

Not every defense situation calls for the nuclear option.  Giving a belligerent drunk or an aggressive dog a heady blast of pepper spray in the kisser and walking away is a lot easier on your lifestyle than trying to explain to the judge why you had to empty the magazine into some family’s pet Labrador that got loose and jumped at you aggressively.  Also, if you attempt less-than-lethal deterrents and they don’t stop the threat, requiring you to then have to default to the concealed gun, a jury will definitely see that you tried other options before having to use lethal force as a last resort.  If you’re already carrying more gear on your belt than Batman, a Kubaton or OC pepper spray isn’t going to be an issue.

Related: Timbuk2 Aviator Backpack Review

As an added bonus, it is generally not illegal to carry pepper spray or similar non-lethal deterrents in areas where you can’t carry firearms.  So if you have to take the pistol off to go into a movie theater that’s posted as “no firearms”, you can still have a measure of protection on your person.

9. Nobody Should Know You have a Firearm Until It’s Time To Start Shooting

I agree with the political fundamentals and theory behind open carrying a gun; that is, having the gun exposed for Best Concealed Carry Jacketeveryone to see.  Many people open carry because they CAN, dammit, and that’s fine with me.  However, all I can think of when I see someone open carrying is, “well, there’s the first target”.  If nobody knows you have a concealed firearm, you have a definite and absolute tactical advantage you can press if needed.  In my opinion, if anyone knows you have a gun, it should only be because you have cleared leather to engage a target, and that trigger is getting pulled because you perceive your life or others’ lives to be in danger from your target.  If you’re in a heated argument or other ugly situation, and you think “brandishing” (showing off) the gun will be a deterrent to further crime, well, you just gave up every advantage you had.  You’d better re-read that “know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em” paragraph again.

10. Know The Legal System

Unless you just used a firearm in a righteous self defense shooting right in front of four honest cops, a judge, and The Pope and they all collaborate your story, you will likely be treated like a criminal at the outset.  Once first responders show up, you will be quickly and probably roughly disarmed and handcuffed.  Remember, law enforcement officers don’t know what happened here – they are responding to a person shooting another person.  You can help your cause by having the handgun holstered and unloaded (if the threat is perceived to be gone) and your hands in the air when law enforcement shows up; you don’t want responding officers to see you with a gun standing over a body.  Saying something along the lines of “I was afraid for my life and I used my firearm in self defense.

I would like my lawyer” and then saying nothing more until a lawyer shows up is probably a good idea (though I’m not a lawyer and I do not profess to be; talk to a lawyer, KNOW YOUR LAWS before you even strap on that holster. They will differ!)  You will likely be a mental and physical basketcase, and will need time to sort out in your own head and cope with what happened before you give statements (with a lawyer present).  Remember: every American is guaranteed the right of due process before a sentence is handed down – and you just were a judge, jury, and possibly an executioner in one fell swoop.  You will likely be arrested, you will likely go to jail, you most certainly will stand trial where you will have to prove your innocence and your story.  And if a judge deems your situation a righteous shooting in a criminal trial and dismisses the case, just remember that you will probably have to face a civil trial, especially if your assailant had a family.  You have an excellent chance to possibly lose that civil trial.

Yes, you just defended your life or the lives of others, but you still could be found guilty of manslaughter or murder down the road because you had to deny someone their life, limbs, happiness to save your own.  This is the way it is; and it’s definitely an unsavory reality of carrying a concealed firearm.  Not everything is black and white, cut and dried, Cowboys and Indians.  You will be alive, but you may lose everything to save your life.

There are many great articles online about what happens after you have to use a firearm in self defense.  This one is excellent, and I would definitely read this article by the US Concealed Carry Association.  I would consider these articles to be essential prerequisites to carrying concealed.

Wrapping It Up

One of the best parts about carrying concealed is that in terms of technique, gear, and mindset, you only improve Best Concealed Carry Gunwith experience.  You try things that work, ditch things that don’t.  It’s a very personal experience, and most of it can only be learned by jumping in with both feet and giving it a go.  However, the tips listed above are definitely things that I’ve learned along the way that I wish I’d known when I started carrying a concealed handgun.

So if you’ve been debating carrying a concealed firearm to defend yourself, try it out – just be sure to take training courses – not just in firearms handling and safety, but in law.  Know the consequences of using your firearm.  Research, research, research, then go wear out holsters and figure out what works best for you.  I sincerely hope that none of us ever have to use a firearm in self defense, but if you do, I hope that your preparation, knowledge, and mindset will keep you from being a victim – before and after drawing that concealed gun.  Did I miss anything?  Do you have anything to add to the list?  Sound off in the comments below!

This article is for informational purposes only.  Consult local & state laws before you do anything.

All Photos By Drew
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Survival Gear Review: Escape & Evasion Gun Belt

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Shark Tank Belt Review

Since the Bronze Age belts have been worn by all ages and all genders.  A belt round the waist is a fashion statement money belt review(1), holds utility essentials (2), and is safety equipment in all manner of work-related and recreational applications (3). And it is those very same three aspects of a special purpose belt that make it an essential component of anyone who considers himself prepared.  The Escape and Evasion Belt addresses the three components through style, function and strength.

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

Only in death will I relinquish my belts.” – Manny Pacquiao

As well as being a stiff leather gun belt, the E&E has three inside zippered pouches that will easily hold a few simple tools and some cash. The nickel-plated brass buckle is first class and won’t raise a single eyebrow unlike tactical belts of any flavor. But the buckle’s heft will certainly make a good weapon, and make short order of car windows and most other non-bulletproof glass when at the flying end of a yard-long lever arm.

More Than Skin Deep

The main body of the belt is pure English harness leather which is one of the few best choice for a belt there is. The CIA Money Belt1.5 inch thick cowhide looks as good as it feels. To avoid the effects water and sweat, the leather crafters in the mountains of Utah used polyester thread instead of cotton. And to take the picturesque illusion of a magical belt further, the edges of the belt are burnished with 100% pure beeswax from Heaven.  Ok, maybe not Heaven, but a small farm in Colorado. Almost the same thing, right?

Also Read: Tips For Flying With A Gun

The quality continues on the inside as well.  Using YKK zippers, a long service life is expected. But still, as and Escape and Evasion Belt, you won’t be opening and closing the zippers every day.  YKK is known as the world’s largest zipper maker and arguably the best zipper on earth.  Despite their implication a 2007 price fixing case with other zipper cartels, YKK has a stellar reputation for quality and durability.

My Lowdown

In the three zippered slots in the belt, I have the following:
1. One full lenght (12”) hacksaw blade that has 18 teeth per inch.  Any more teeth and it will struggle with wood, and Best Money Beltany fewer teeth and it will be difficult to cut metal without the blade in a frame with handle.  While I could snap or cut a hacksaw blade into halves or thirds to make it more compact or flexible, the reality of needing a functional hacksaw blade for a true E&E situation necessitates having a long draw and enough length for real cutting and a real handle.

2. Another pocket holds $500 in cash in five $100 bills.  Some think smaller bills would be a better choice, but I figure that a $100 bill will work anywhere a $20 would.  And the bribe factor goes up proportional to the denomination. Imagine an auction breaking out for the last few gallons of gas.  Two zeros beats one zero every day of the week.

3. A metal handcuff key resides in another pocket.  I’ve tried to come up with scenarios where I might need the key yet still be wearing my belt.  I figure that there more possibilities that the key will be handy to help someone else in a jam rather than me needing it personally.  But you never know.  And yes, I know that a handcuff key is one of the easiest things to fabricate out of almost anything, having the right tool for the job is more than just a cute saying if one needs to shed some bracelets because I also cannot come up with a scenario where time is not a major factor.

But Wait, There’s More

Other E&E tools can include lock picks, wire, even Kevlar cord.  I don’t plan on adding any first aid equipment in myJason Hanson Belt E&E belt, and while thinking about that omission, I realized that it might be hard, make that impossible to use the E&E belt as a tourniquet.  Since the E&E belt moonlights as an excellent gun belt, it follows that it won’t make the tight turns necessary to stop blood flow.  On the other hand, it seems that this Escape and Evasion belt will provide a solid platform for towing cars so it will certainly provide enough strength to save your bacon when you need a lift…or to be lowered.

Last Chance

The main idea behind the Escape and Evasion Belt is to have some survival essentials around your waist at all times and without further thought.  While the E&E belt is not the end-all-be-all, it does serve an important purpose in many survival scenarios.  And should the need never arise, you still have an exceptionally nice gun belt that can be worn every day.  And if that is not already enough to convince you to enjoy the comfort of an E&E belt, the idea of a 100% American made product should be.

Related: SHTF Wardrobe List

Each E&E gun belt is made by hand in Cedar City, Utah by a real American worker.  Each stitch, each hole, each rivet.  I understand the allure of inexpensive Chinese products when some mass-produced overseas copy costs half of what an American made one does.  But like the old saying goes that “You are what you eat,” where you put your money is not only confirmation of your patriotism, but a testament of your conviction to America.

All Photos By Doc Montana

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Survival Gear Review: Talon Grips

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Best handgun grips

So I’d just like to come right out at the outset of this review and state that Talon Grips have best handgun gripsprobably provided the most satisfaction-per-dollar of any of the firearms modifications I’ve tried in recent memory. They are quite inexpensive, easy to install, non-permanent, and 100% effective at the specific improvement they offer. They’re just damn cool too. All pros, no cons. This will probably be a short review, now that I think about it.

By Drew, a contributing author of Survival Cache & SHTFBlog

A Cut Above

If you read my article “12 Great Preps for Under $30” you’ll remember that I’d listed stick-on gripBest Pistol Hand Grips tape as a great buy, due to the fact that you could buy it in strips at cut it to any desired shape, to add texture and “grippyness” to any item that needed it. Specific examples are: handgun and rifle grips, cellphones and cellphone cases, knife handles, etc.

Talon Grips – hailing from Steamboat Springs, Colorado, takes that idea and go one step farther, providing laser-cut application-specific pre-made grip tape sections. With over 200 different designs available from 22 different firearms manufacturers, it’s a safe bet that there is a patented wrap-around pattern that fits your exact gun. Talon Grips also offers a bewildering array of stick-on grips for smartphones, rifle grips, shotgun fore ends, extended magazines, tasers…even a stick-on bottom coaster pad for YETI Rambler travel mugs.

Also Read: Which Dog is the King of Survival

Talon Grips got their start back in 2009 when a duty Glock 21 was fitted with a set of grip panels Best Pistol Gripmade from skateboard tape. Others in the department had to have their Glocks likewise upgraded. Soon thereafter, sales on eBay started taking off, and more designs were developed – first more Glock models came around, then Springfield XD grips, all cut by hand from rolls of skateboard tape. Soon they were farming out the product to a local die cutter for mass production, and in 2011 a proprietary rubber material was developed specifically for firearm grip application, and a laser cutter was purchased to allow for much more intricate designs. In 2012, a patent was received for the one-piece wrap-around die-cut grip design Talon Grips had perfected. The sky has been the limit for Talon Grips since then, and this 100% Designed- and Made-In-USA product has been taking the firearms world by storm.  Law Enforcement, competition shooters, military operators, and the civilian market all have flocked to this easy to install, effective modification.

The design is deceptively simple in theory, yet intricate in execution.  Talon Grips are comprised of one-piece wrap-around laser-cut (you can see the scorch marks on the white peel-off grip backing when you get the grips) stick-on grip panels that utilize an adhesive that has been formulated to stick to guns (especially polymer) like crazy, yet is (relatively) easy to remove with no gluey residue remaining behind.  The panels are notched, relieved, and contoured to look like they grew on the gun; all of the sets I got had cutouts for existing logos, reliefs for thumb rests, and cut-outs for existing terrain on the gun.  So, like I said: while these are very simple, there has been a lot of time spent designing the grips to fit perfectly…and fit perfectly they absolutely do.

Get A Grip!

The grip material is offered in two configurations: granular (feels like fine 150 or 220 grit sandpaper) and textured rubber, with both makeups being very thin – less than ½ millimeter thick – for no added bulk to the gun.

The granular material is the epitome of traction for those who need 100% hold on their gun no matter what the conditions – sweat, rain, mud, blood. The aggressiveness of the grip has a trade off if you wear your gun concealed: the grain of the grip would be awful rubbing against your skin on an inside-the-waistband holster, and I imagine it would fray or even wear its way through clothing given enough time and movement. But, if you have a belt gun that rides in a holster on the outside of your body (think uniformed law enforcement officer), there’s no better way to go if positive handgun retention and grip is what is needed.

Related: Personal Defense Weapon – Do You Need One?

The rubber material is textured to provide a pattern a bit like a stippled grip, but the formulation Best Handgun Gripsof the rubber is far more tactile and positive than a stippled polymer grip. The rubber grip is far and away the more user-friendly and versatile of the two materials: it won’t harm clothing or skin with contact, but still provides almost a sticky gripping surface for the user to really muckle onto. The only time the grip was anything like compromised was when I submerged the grip module of my test Sig P320 in water. The Talon Grip stayed on the gun just fine, but it had a sort of “squishy” feeling that was definitely odd. However, the valleys of the grip surface allowed water to ooze out, and while it felt weird, the gun wasn’t about to squirt out of my hands. If you’re in a really wet environment frequently, I might lean towards the granular grips. Otherwise, the rubber ones are terrific – and the rubber grips are the ones I personally chose to leave on my Sig.

Talon Grips doesn’t just do handguns – they offer a lot of other cool grips for non-traditional items. I also ordered up a Talon Grip for my Remington 870 home defense shotgun – I’d seen a grip was offered for the Magpul MOE shotgun fore end so I had to try it. I also ordered a wrap-around rubber grip for my work-issued Apple iPhone 6S cellphone.

Also Read: The Rebuilding Survivors

The Magpul grip had slots cut into it to allow the MOE fore end’s molded-in ribs to come through Best Forend Gripthe grip, and there were also cut-outs for the Magpul logo.  The only issue that I ran into with the Talon Grip for this application was minimal: I had to pull the light and rail off the fore end to get the grip on – and to re-install the rail and light on the fore end means pulling the gun apart to access the inside of the fore end.  Not the end of the world for me since I’ve had Remington 870s apart more times than I can count and have all the proper tools, but for the run-of-the-mill gun owner it might be an inconvenience.  But the pros definitely outweigh this small malfeasance, because the traction I get on the fore end for fast, aggressive cycling is unparalleled.

The iPhone grip was pretty cool.  I pulled the iPhone out of the Magpul Bump Case it had been residing in, cleaned it off with the supplied alcohol wipe, and installed the grip.  For clumsy people like me, it felt a touch alarming to have the phone out of a nice protective case, but the positive grip that I now had on the iPhone thanks to the Talon Grip allayed (most of) the anxiety. If you’re someone who doesn’t need a protective phone case but would like more traction on a phone, the Talon Grip is absolutely the ticket. All the cutouts for rocker switches, power button, charger port, and input jack were all precisely placed, and the rubber grip didn’t create any issues slipping the phone in an out of pockets.  While it was really great and I used the phone with the Talon Grip for a week or so, I eventually peeled the grip off and let the phone live in the Magpul case again since I drop phones with alarming frequency, and I have a 2-year-old running around that likes glowing devices.  That’s not a detraction of the Talon Grip; I just needed the protection over the traction – even though the added traction DID keep me from dropping the phone on numerous occasions.

Getting It On

Installation of the Talon Grips is a breeze if you have any attention to detail and patience – you Best Handgun Gripsdon’t have to be a gunsmith to get the benefits of the grips – installation is almost dummy-proof.  You’ll need the Talon Grips, a hair dryer or heat gun, and (optional) a couple Q-tips and some rubbing alcohol. A full read-through of the included instructions is definitely recommended.

First off, disassemble the gun if you can.  You’ll be moving the gun around, pivoting, turning, twisting it to get the best angle to install the grips. Remember, these are a wrap-around design, so at one point, you’ll likely have the gun pointed at yourself or other things that don’t need extra holes. Be smart, take the gun apart.

Also Read: A Community to Die For

Next, we’ll need to clean the application area.  Talon Grips provides an alcohol pad to accomplish this; however, I found that the pad didn’t really reach down into my Sig’s existing grip texture that well, so I chose to soak a Q-tip in rubbing alcohol and really get down and dirty with the cleaning.  The alcohol will eradicate any gun and/or skin oils that have accumulated on the gun and provide a really positive adhesive surface for the grips. Let the alcohol evaporate fully before moving on.

For handgun grips, you start on the left-hand side of the gun, when viewed as if you were Best Handgun Gripsshooting the gun.  I did a dry run first, trying out the alignment of everything instead of peeling the backing off and just going for it. Personally, when getting started, I didn’t remove all of the paper backing from the grip at once – I really didn’t want to deal with multiple adhesive surfaces flailing about mid-way through the process, sticking to things other than what I intended them to. I started with just peeling the left-hand grip side and leaving the remainder attached to start – it was easy to pull the backing as you went around the gun.

Using the existing Sig Sauer logo that was on the gun‘s grip, I lightly aligned the Talon Grip on the frame, getting the orientation perfect. I had to pull the grip off once to start again – this didn’t seem to have a detrimental effect on the grip material or the adhesive.  But once I got the initial start of the Talon Grip on exactly right, the rest of the installation fell into place. I just rolled the grip around the gun slowly, adjusting each tab where I needed to. The instructions said not to pull or tug, but a small amount of gentle stretching was required on the right-hand side of the grip to get the opposing-side Sig Sauer logo cutout to align properly.

Also Read: Gun Rights & Common Sense

A little tip from your buddy Drew: don’t press the whole grip down on the left-hand side starter panel when starting out. Be sure to leave the frontstrap side of the grip unattached if possible. I’m telling you this because you’ll find that as you wrap the grip around the gun, you definitely have too much grip for the frontstrap.  Don’t cut this off! Peel back the left hand grip slightly, and tuck this excess material underneath the left-hand grip. Then, once you’re happy with the alignment of the whole system, press the Talon Grip grip down firmly to get the adhesive to grab.

After I was happy with the placement of the grip on the guns, I stole my wife’s hair dryer (for the love of God, don’t tell her please) and secreted away to my basement workshop. I set the hair dryer to “low warm” and directed the hot air stream onto the Talon Grip.  I took care to keep the hair dryer moving and to not let one area of the grip get too hot – Talon recommends getting the surface about the same temperature as a hot cup of coffee. You could watch the rubberized material almost shrink a little and work its way into grooves and recesses, ensuring the adhesive got a firm grip. Once I was satisfied, I let the gun cool completely and returned the thieved hair dryer to its proper location. Once everything was set up, the Talon Grip was adhered strongly to the gun – definitely in it for the long haul. In the time I’ve had the grips on, no edges have peeled and there has beed zero bubbling or relocation needed – a tribute to a sound design, quality products, and a proper cleaning.  As an aside, I might hold off from using the hair dryer on Talon Grips that are applied to electronics – I didn’t use it on the iPhone, and the grip stayed on just fine.

Related: Review Windham Weaponry AR-10 .308

When it came time to peel off the Talon Grip from my iPhone, I really had to work at it to get an Best Pistol Gripedge pulled up enough to get a grip on it.  Once I did have enough for a good purchase-and-pull, the Talon Grip really fought me to stay on the phone.  But, I eventually prevailed (how sad would it have been if I didn’t?) and removed the grip. I’m happy to say there was zero need for removing sticky, gluey residues – because there weren’t any.  Talon Grips are 100% reversible if you want to change to a different texture or want to sell/trade the gun – you can’t say that for a custom stipple job on your gun…and I daresay the Talon Grips function better than a stipple job.

Conclusions

What can I say?  Order some Talon Grips.  Right now.  If you don’t like them, you’ll be out less than $20.  But were I a betting man, I’d wager that you’ll love Talon Grips on your handgun/shotgun/taser/YETI cup that you’ll be a return customer.  They’re effective, inexpensive, easy to install all by your lonesome, an completely reversible. How can you go wrong? Give it a whirl, you’ll be glad you did.

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Tactical Pen – My Most Used Everyday Carry

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Tactical Pen Everyday Carry One of the greatest benefits to being a woman prepper is the use of a handbag.  I store a variety of everyday carry items in it like a knife, duct tape, pepper spray, key chain light, multi tool, small firstRead More

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Survival Gear Review: Sig Sauer P320

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Best Survival Handgun

So I got a Sig Sauer P320.  I saw it in a local pawn shop, sitting there in the glass case, perched on green velvet, Survival Handgunlooking all blocky and businesslike and badass.  I handled it, fondled it, wiped the drool away, and made a trade for it. It went home with me where I glared at it in consternation, half furious with myself and half in wild elation.  You see, I really wanted to not like this pistol.  I really wanted to chalk this one up to “the next flash in the plastic pistol pan” and go back to being ensconced in uninhibited true lust over my beloved P220ST.  I wanted to eschew the molded polymer grip with its slight seam lines and go back to trusty, heavy, metal pistol frames.  But the more I handled the P320 and the more I shot it, the sweet siren song of a single trigger pull to master, brutal simplicity, accuracy, and large capacity called to me, and pulled me in.  I finally gave in to the dark side, and am now firmly in its camp. Let me explain.

By Drew, a contributing author of Survival Cache & SHTFBlog

You see, I grew up in a transitional period in firearms development.  In the late 1970’s and early 1980s, police Best Survival Pistoldepartments were starting to replace their time-honored .357 Magnum and .38 Special revolvers with semiautomatic handguns.  The 9mm was starting to gain traction, as high-capacity double-action handguns were starting to come unto their own with designs that were reliable enough to feed hollowpoint ammunition regularly.  Also aiding the 9mm’s acceptance was the U.S. Military’s adoption of the 9mm caliber in 1985, along with the Beretta M9/92F platform. Sig P226 pistols, S&W 59s and 459s, and several other designs were starting to be seen in Law Enforcement holsters when one of the most decisive and studied gunfights in history – the 1986 Miami FBI shootout – occurred.

In the Miami shootout, FBI agents went up against two combat-hardened military veterans who had some serious armament – a semi-auto 12-gauge shotgun, a Ruger Mini-14 with multiple 30-round magazines, and several handguns.  To counter this, eight FBI agents fielded just two 12 gauge shotguns loaded with buckshot, and mostly revolvers – though two agents had Smith 459s in 9mm with Winchester Silver tip ammo.  Although the two suspects were neutralized eventually, they wounded or killed all but one of the eight FBI agents who engaged them.  One agent named McNeill suffered one of the worst fates possible in a gunfight: he was shot in the hand by one of the suspects, and when his revolver ran dry, he could not reload due to blood and gore in the gun, and his injuries.  He was then shot in the head and neck and though he survived, he was left paralyzed for some time.

I remember my father talking about the gunfight when it occurred, and reading about it in gun magazines – notably Pistol Defensein several analyses by Massad Ayoob.  (A 25-years-later article by Mr. Ayoob is here, and is excellent.).  Firepower and semi-autos suddenly became the have-to-have for LE.  Gaston Glock’s entry into the marketplace in 1985 couldn’t have been better timed.  Officers quickly flocked to Glock’s first offering, the Glock 17.  A reliable, tough, 17-shot 9mm semi auto was a peace officer’s dream, and as we now know, Glock quickly took over the market, where it still remains the king of the pile.

Related: Sig Sauer P227 Nitron Review

I also remember hearing my father complain about the flood of  “those damn plastic pistols”, and he clung to his Smith & Wesson revolvers tightly (he only started to begrudgingly accept “tupperware” Glocks in the past couple years – and he refuses to try any other polymer framed pistols!) His grousing led to permanent impressions being left in my young brain, and to this day, I have a tough time embracing modern, polymer-framed, striker fired handguns.

Back To The Sig

To bring this around full circle: Glock’s striker-fired monopoly on the handgun market was definitely noticed by all Survival Pistolthe other handgun manufacturers, and some decided to do what they could to dig their heels in and try to push the king off the mountain.  Initial offerings weren’t enough: Smith & Wesson’s Sigma and SW99 offerings were lame ducks, but they evolved into the excellent M&P series of pistols that have been taking the market by storm since 2005.  Others have jumped into the fray, and now there are many polymer framed, high-capacity contenders out there to keep Glocks and M&Ps company: the H&K VP series of guns, Walther’s PPQ/PPM, Springfield’s XD line, and the FN FNX series (and others) have all been gaining traction.

However, one of the premier firearms manufacturers in the world were strangely silent: Sig Sauer, a German company that has a huge manufacturing facility and new headquarters in New Hampshire, USA, never said “peep” about making a “Glockfighter” handgun.  Maybe it was because they’d always made expensive, high-end DA/SA handguns; they didn’t want to undercut their niche.  However, you could see that maybe they were testing the waters on lower-cost handguns:  The SP2022 was a polymer-framed evolution of the 226/228/229 family, and the P250 was an innovative hammer-fired handgun that used a stainless steel fire control group chassis that could be interchanged into inexpensive grip modules.  All of these were well-received as being high-quality handguns worthy of the Sig brand, but they weren’t what the world wanted.  But then, in January 2014, Sig unveiled their new P320 to the world and promptly dropped the mike.  BOOM.

For the past few years, Sig had quietly been watching and researching.  They wanted to address the major shortfalls of the early striker-fired genre (we’re looking squarely at you here, Glock): terrible out-of-the-box trigger pulls, blocky grip frames, glaring lack of ambidextrous controls.  Sig had been waiting in the wings, interviewing veteran military and police officers to get their take on what makes a good handgun great, to make sure their offering was just right…and it was worth the wait.

Also Read: Smith & Wesson M&P 40C Review

Sig Sauer wasn’t content with having tacky add-ons for existing designs to address issues – the Glock Gen 4’s feeble attempt at fitting differently-sized hands with add-on backstraps being a good example.  They wanted a full-tilt modular pistol, and that’s what they rolled out.  The P320 isn’t just a great, reliable design that shoots well; it is a masterpiece, a platform of unequaled modularity.  You see, the P320’s design is centered around a central stainless steel fire control group chassis. This small chassis is serial numbered, and is considered the firearm.  As a consequence, the owner of the pistol can completely swap out the rest of the gun…the grip module can be swapped out to full sized, carry (full sized grip length with a shorter railed dust cover for a shorter slide), compact, and subcompact sized frames.  Each of these sizes of frames are also available in large, medium, and small grip frame girths to accommodate almost all sizes of shooter hands.  Likewise, the slide, barrel, and recoil spring assemblies can be swapped out as well; Sig offers multiple lengths for these as well.  Want a different caliber pistol?  No sweat!  The 9mm, .40 S&W, and .357 Sig barrels and magazines all drop into the same grip/slide assemblies.  Sig offers “X-Change” kits that let you select the configuration/length/caliber you’d like, and buy them all in one shot.

This all ensures that you can have the pistol you want, in the caliber you want, in the configuration you want, tailored to fit your hand.  This sort of modularity is a game-changer, and leaves all the other manufacturers with pin-on grip adapters and change-out backstraps way back in the dust.  It also ensures that the military is certainly considering it deeply in their new MHS (Modular Handgun System) platform competition, and it cinched the American Rifleman Golden Bullseye Award for the 2016 Pistol of the Year.

The Nitty-Gritty

Let’s take a look at what all this modularity specifically brings to the table, as well as some other great stuff the P320 offers.  There are four basic platform sizes available for the P320, each of them with three different grip sizes: small, medium, large. The platforms are:

P320 Full-sized: 8.0” overall length, 5.5” overall height.  The Full-sized configuration sports a 4.7” long barrel, and a 17-round magazine in 9mm.  Weighs 29.4 ounces with the magazine in it, unloaded.  Five slots on the dust cover accessory rail, to mount lights, lasers, etc.

P320 Carry: Same grip frame as the Full-sized with 17-round 9mm magazines, but with a shorter 7.2” overall length and 3.9” barrel and 26.0 ounce weight unloaded.  Shorter dust cover, four slots in the accessory rail.

P320 Compact: The Compact has the shorter 7.2” overall length of the P320 Carry, but utilizes a grip that is a tad shorter, at 5.3” high. 25.8 ounces unloaded.  The magazine capacity is reduced to 15 round in 9mm due to the shorter grip. Four slots in the accessory rail.

P320 Subcompact: The Subcompact model pares away everything not needed, and enjoys a small 6.7” overall length and 4.7” overall height to enhance concealability. 24.9 ounces unloaded.  The 9mm version carries only (!) 12 rounds in the magazine.  The subcompact also has sleeker lines, eliminates the accessory rails, and sports a rounded, no-snag triggerguard in place of the familiar square, hooked Sig Sauer triggerguard.

Okay, so there are four basic pistol offerings.  That’s all well and good. But a really cool thing about the P320’s design is that you can, to a reasonable degree, mix-and-match frames and barrels.  You don’t have to stick to the Sig standard factory-offered configurations.  For example: you can buy a full-sized P320 like mine.  Then, for about $45, you can purchase a P320 Compact grip and mount your full-sized slide and barrel to it. I’ve seen lots of cool builds online from P320 owners making custom configurations out of their guns, even to the point of people cutting off sections of grip frame to make offball configurations like a full-sized slide that sits on a subcompact frame.  And before you ask, yes – the full-sized mags all fit and function in the smaller grip frames.  All of the sizes are available in 9mm, .40 S&W, .357 Sig, and .45ACP. Caliber X-change kits are $399 from the Sig Sauer online store – however, I’ve seen them sold privately and locally for less than that.  I don’t believe the .45ACP components will marry with the smaller-caliber components due to case size – but I don’t have one to test, so I can only surmise.

Also Read: Rothco Concealed Carry Jacket Review

The glass-reinforced polymer grip frames all have nice grippy texture on them – likely a response to many polymer framed gun owners sending their guns out be stippled or have grip texture enhancements.  The triangular shaped Browning-style magazine release is reversible for southpaws, and the small black steel slide catch is 100% ambidextrous with catches on both sides of the gun.  Looking at the grip, you’ll notice the pistol has an odd profile at the magazine well at first glance.  However, once you realize that it’s notched to enable the user to grasp the magazine baseplate for a good hearty magazine rip-out in an emergency, you wonder why other guns don’t have similar features.  A lanyard hole in the back of the grip is standard – a slick offering for people who appreciate the retention possibilities of a good lanyard.  The only other control on the frame is the takedown lever, which is on the left side of the gun.  Mine is an earlier generation gun and as such, the takedown lever is slightly stepped and contoured.  Newer model takedown levers are flat to the frame – however, I really like the tapered design of mine, since it provides a bit of a natural thumb rest for the off-hand thumb in a modern thumbs-forward shooting hold.

Solid 9mm Pistol

The slides are matte black Nitron coated, and are beveled and contoured to keep weight down and allow the gun to be re-inserted into holsters more smoothly.  Sig is offering standard on the P320 what is an expensive custom detail on other pistols: forward slide serrations in addition to the standard serrations at the rear of the slide.  These forward serrations are a godsend when doing press-checks to see if there is a round in the chamber, and all the serrations are deep, wide, and very positive to utilize. Really a great feature of this gun.  Also of note: every P320 I’ve ever seen comes with SigLite night sights.  I’m told they come with Sig 3-dot standard contrast sights, but I have yet to see them. So chances are you’ll find one with night sights installed– and they’re right about the same price as a Glock without night sights.  Just sayin’…I was at the local Cabela’s last night, and a brand new P320 with night sights was $599.  A new Glock 17 without night sights was $549.

Related: Survival Carbine

The stainless steel Fire Control Unit (FCU) is the heart of the whole gun.  It encompasses the trigger, frame rails, ejector, and all the necessary safeties and guts that make the gun work.  The FCU sits in the top of the grip frame, and runs from just forward of the takedown lever, back to the rear of the frame.  Removing and reinstalling it is a breeze, and a tip of the hat is required to the engineers who designed it.  The FCU, as stated previously, has the serial number stamped on it, which shows through a window that is moulded into the right hand size of the frame.  It’s an ingenious setup, one that I bet will be imitated by others in the future.

As a side note: The Sig P320 and P250 platform are brothers – the P320 is striker-fired, while the P250 is double-action-only hammer fired.  As such, magazines and grip frames are interchangeable between the two guns. A nice little tidbit to know while looking for accessories such as holsters.

First Impressions

The first time you pick up a P320 Full Size, you immediately think, “Geez, that’s BIG”.  And it kind of is big, but much of it is due (in my eyes) to the deep, long, blocky dust cover that runs from the triggerguard all the way to the end of the 4.7” barrel; it makes the gun seem taller than most other handguns.  But the grip is long as well, made to house a magazine that holds 17 9mm rounds or 14 .40 S&W/.357 Sig cartridges.  The overall size is probably close to a Beretta 92/M9, though not quite as long.  The Sig feels much more svelte than the M9, though, and points better in my hand, feels more intuitive.  When making the obvious comparison to a Glock 17, the P320 is indeed bigger, but not by much…and the P320 grip feels like it was made for your hand when comparing it to the made-out-of-Legos feeling Glock grip.  The contours, the balance, the reach to the controls – all are very well thought out and executed on the P320. And then you get to the trigger.

Also Read: Magpul Armorer’s Wrench Review

Oh, the trigger! The trigger on the P320 was the deal breaker that sold me on the gun.  Sig obviously directed a LOT of time and effort into getting this aspect of the pistol right.  And if you’ve shot a box-stock Glock or M&P, you know why: the factory triggers of most striker fired pistols are just plain awful.  They have a ton of takeup and creep, and the sear letoffs are gritty and mushy.  It’s understandable, though: There are many internal levers, safeties, draw bars, strikers, and interfacing parts that need to move, slide, drop, and actuate in concert to allow the gun to fire. And while all of those parts do a wonderful job of ensuring that the guns will not fire until the triggers are fully pulled to the rear, they also ensure that the trigger pulls are less than stellar.

This can all be addressed with aftermarket parts, for sure: Ghost and others make great drop in springs and disconnectors for Glocks, and Apex’s Action Enhancement Kits are wonderful treatments for ailing M&P triggers. But the P320? Well, it has a wonderful trigger, straight from the factory.  It’s not “tuned 1911” perfect, but the trigger is definitely head and shoulders above the similarly-priced competition.  There is a slight takeup, maybe 1/4” of travel, but then the trigger breaks cleanly and crisply after about 7 pounds of pressure.  However, the pull seems lighter than the advertised 7+/- pounds due to the exceptional action and clean break.  Apex and others are starting to make aftermarket triggers and other goodies for the P320, but I simply haven’t felt the need.  The trigger is superb for a striker fired gun, straight from Sig. If it ain’t broke…

Also Read: Firearm Maintenance When The SHTF

The rest of the gun on first inspection just exudes Sig quality.  The finish is beautiful, hard-wearing and even, the sights are well-defined and highly visible, and all the controls feel solid and look good.  The only thing close to chintzy in the whole setup isn’t even the gun – the P320 comes with an almost-an-afterthought paddle-type plastic holster. It’s nice that Sig made a holster available to the owner upon purchase, and the holster works okay – it holds the gun on your hip, the triggerguard is covered, the pistol is reasonably secure.  But the moulded plastic is kind of cheap, the design is blocky and it doesn’t hug the body.  I’ll admit I used it, but only until my GunfightersINC Ronin OWB kydex holster came in the mail. After that, the stock Sig offering went into the dusty black-hole bin of forgotten holsters.  Honestly, I would have rather paid $15 less on the overall price and not had the holster come with the pistol. But that’s my call; the included holster is a nice thought for the run-of-the-mill pistol owner who goes out the range with his buddies three times a year.  But, for serious usage and hard duty, spend the money and get a good holster.

Breaking It All Down

Taking the P320 apart into its key components is a breeze.  Sig also incorporated a safety feature into the P320’s Best Survival Pistolfield-stripping method: you don’t have to pull the trigger (like a Glock) or need special tools (like an M&P) to disassemble the pistol. The magazine needs to be out of the pistol as well.  These two attributes are designed to eradicate accidental discharges that could come hand-in-hand with the other offerings of handguns of this ilk.

To disassemble, clear the gun.  Make sure it’s empty.  Then do it again.  Drop the magazine out of the pistol if you haven’t already, then lock the slide ito the rear.  Rotate the takedown lever just over 90° clockwise, until it stops.  Then, controlling the spring tension the slide is under, release the slide by pushing the slide stop down or pulling slightly back on the slide, allowing the slide stop to drop out of its engagement catch.  Let the slide ride forward and off the frame.  The recoil spring assembly and the barrel can then be removed out of the bottom of the slide, just like most other semi-auto pistols. The pistol is now essentially field-stripped for cleaning.

However, to clean the FCU or to change grip modules, you simply take the field-stripped grip frame, grasp the takedown lever, and give it a pull while rotating it slightly back and forth, removing it from the frame.  Then, hook your finger under the front of the FCU, and pull it up and out.  That’s it. The whole process is brutally simple and easy.  The FCU can then be cleaned up, or placed in a new grip module if you so desire.  Re-assemble in reverse order.  That’s it, folks.  It likely took you longer to read this paragraph than it would to disassemble a P320 down to its key components of slide, barrel, recoil assembly, takedown lever, FCU, magazine, and grip frame.  The simplicity and modularity is breathtaking, and worth every penny of the price of admission.

Shooting The P320

I’ll admit, it took me a bit longer that I would’ve liked to find my “groove” and get familiar with this pistol to the Best Survival Handgunpoint where I shooting it well.  Maybe my mind was thinking it would feel like my old familiar M&P when I shot it, or possibly I’m too used to my P220ST.  But after launching a couple hundred rounds of ammo downrange, I can positively tell you that this pistol shoots like a laser beam once you get it dialed in, and once you find ammo it likes. Let me explain.

When I first got the pistol, the pistol was hitting high.  Way high.  Like 8 inches higher than point of aim at 15 yards. I tried different bullet weights – 115s, 124s, and 147s – and they all shot similarly high.  I then jumped on my laptop, took a deep breath, and waded through the mall ninja dribble online.   A bit of internet research eventually informed me that this point of impact issue is a common problem with the P320s with the 8/8 sights.  Sig Sauer numbers their sight heights to denote levels of impact – the higher the number on the sights, the higher the point of impact.  I had these sights – #8 front, #8 rear.  I contacted Sig Sauer, explained my problem, what I’d done to make sure it wasn’t me, and sent pictures of the groups in.  Three days later, I had a new #6 SigLite front sight in my mailbox.  How’s that for customer service?

I installed the new front sight, and the point of impact came right down.  It’s still slightly high, maybe 1 ½ inches high from point of aim at 15 yards, but now it’s usable, and I’ve gotten used to it.  I now cut the target in half with my front sight, and if I do my part, the pistol rewards me with solid hits time and time again.

I really wanted to use this Full-Sized 9mm P320 as a steel plate match and IDPA gun.  To shoot lots of matches on a budget requires reloading ammunition, so I took the plunge.  I purchased 2,000 124-grain lead round nose bullets and several different powders that friends had recommended for 9mm loads.  However, I’m finding that even after trying several different handload combinations, 4”-6” groups are the norm at 15 yards.  I’m planning on trying other powders and other bullets, but I have yet to find a 124-grain lead bullet load the pistol likes.  To Sig’s merit, there are many people running P320s as match guns with several of the loads I tried, resulting in excellent accuracy.  Mine just doesn’t like the handloads I’ve tried so far.

However, factory ammunition is a different story altogether. My pistol dearly loves Winchester “white box” 115-grain full metal jacket ammuntion, and routinely shoots ragged one-hole two-inch 10-shot groups with it. It also shoots Sig Sauer’s Elite V-Crown 124-grain JHP ammunition superbly, so that is the defense load I carry in the pistol.  PMC Bronze 115 grain FMJ ammunition and Federal American Eagle 147-grain FMJ both shoot very well out of the pistol. I rested the gun on a shooting bench, and was rewarded with a 20-yard, 10-shot group with Winchester 115-grain FMJ measuring just under two inches. The Sig Elite V-Crown 124s performed similarly.  That’s excellent accuracy for an out-of-the-box pistol…I’m pretty sure that with ammunition it likes, this pistol will shoot better than I can. Functioning over probably 750 rounds so far – mostly dirty, lead-bullet handloads – has been absolutely flawless.  You can’t ask for more than that, friends.

Wrapping It Up

In conclusion, it’s definitely telling that Sig Sauer took their time and made an outstanding offering straight out of Best Survival Handgunthe gate…and they did it without breaking the bank or compromising the high-end reputation the Sig Sauer brand has come to represent over the years.  I’m a serious gun snob and admitted fanboy of the Sig Sauer “Classic” line (P220, P225, P226, P228, P229, et al), but I like this P320 so much it comes with me everywhere I go now, even if I’m not carrying it on my person.  It’s a great choice as a gun to have with you or in the vehicle as a serious defensive tool you can rely on when the chips are down.  The accuracy is excellent, the pistol is dependable, the gun is light for its size, even when stuffed full of eighteen 9mm rounds.  Keep an extra couple magazines in a mag pouch, and you have 52 rounds of warm and fuzzy ready to go when you are.

Related: SHTF Grab ‘N’ Go Pistol Bag

The P320 platform, on a whole, makes an excellent choice for the person who needs multiple roles in their pistols (full sized “belt” gun, concealed carry gun, plinker, training firearm, home defense, etc.) but can’t afford multiple pistols or doesn’t want the maintenance or liability hassles that owning many guns can bring.  If Sig Sauer would follow suit with many of their other handgun designs and offer .22LR conversion kits (you hear me out there, Sig??) you could truly have a damn-close-to-perfect-do-it-all handgun.

Do me a favor, especially if you already own a polymer-framed striker-fired handgun.  Next time you see a Sig Sauer P320 in a gun shop’s case, ask to handle the gun.  Ask to dry-fire it.  Ask to try out or be shown the disassembly feature, and how the modularity comes into play.  I bet you’ll be impressed; maybe even impressed enough to look sideways at other striker-fired guns, give in to the dark side like I did, and buy a P320.  Trust me, it was worth the wait.

Photos By:
Drew
Panteao Productions
The Miami News

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Survival Gear Review: Kershaw OSO Sweet Pocket Knife

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pocket knife review

I have never owned an assisted opening pocket knife before but have always wanted one. From the outside they Best EDC Pocket Knifeseemed like they would be flimsy and their action was all for show.  Most of the people I had met that brandished an assisted opening blade, were of the “mall ninja” type. I had no real basis for that thought process but it was a gut feeling I had from secondhand experience.  Since I love a good knife and I’m always looking for a new one to try, I decided to take the plunge to find an assisted opening blade for my EDC.  I did not want to spend a lot of money on something that I had never tried before.

By Bryan, a contributing author of Survival Cache & SHTFBlog

Under $20 Bucks

I found the Kershaw OSO Sweet Assisted Opening Pocket Knife on Amazon for under $20 and figured I couldn’t go wrong for that price for this particular brand.  The first thing I noticed when I took the knife from the box was how lightweight it felt. At 3.2 ounces you almost don’t even notice the knife in your hand, let alone your pocket.  At four and one-eighth inches long this knife fits diagonally in the palm of my hand with the blade closed.  I felt a bit like a kid in a candy store the first time I engaged the assisted opening.  The quick hard snap of the blade opening and locking up, was quite impressive.  Shutting and opening the blade one handed is very easy and requires almost no practice as long as you are familiar with pocket knives.

Related: Smith’s Pocket Pal X2 Sharpener & Survival Tool

Normally I am not a huge fan of stainless steel blades but this particular knife came razor sharp out of the box.  Yes, EDC Pocket Knife Reviewit shaved hair off of the top of my arm.  Thus far the blade has held its edge quite well through extensive use every day for months.  I have used the Kershaw OSO Sweet Assisted Opening Pocket Knife to cut everything from cardboard, carpet, rope, to shaving tinder from branches.  This knife wasn’t really meant for the use I have put it through because it is not a survival knife, nor is it a utility knife but the stainless steel blade has held up well and I like to test my blades outside of their normal use parameters.  The Smith Pocket Sharpener does an Ok job putting an edge back on the blade but I have much better results if I put in the time with some Arkansas stones at home.

Specs

SpeedSafe® assisted opening
Liner lock
Reversible (tip-up/tip-down) pocketclip
Steel: 8Cr13MoV, satin finish
Handle: Glass-filled nylon
Blade length: 3.1 in. (7.9 cm)
Closed length: 4.1 in. (10.5 cm)
Overall length: 7.25 in. (18.4 cm)
Weight: 3.2 oz. (90.7 g)

The black injection-molded glass-filled nylon handle has held up extremely well to the abuse I have put it through.  I cannot count how many times I have dropped this knife onto the concrete or how many times it has rubbed up against other tools and there is not a scratch on it.  In some customer reviews that I have read they have negative opinions of the handle, though, from an aesthetics standpoint rather than functional one.  Personally I like the “spider web” look of the scales and the feel of it in my hand.  All knives are slippery to a degree when they are wet and this knife is no different.  The few times I have used it while wet, the slippage was not great enough to be a concern.

Conclusion

Out of all the EDC knives that I have owned over the years this knife beats them all hands down.  For the price, the Model 1830 Kershaw  OSO Sweet Pocket Knife cannot be beat.  I love the balance of the knife when it is deployed, especially when transitioning from a standard forward position to a reverse hold position. It is just as fast to deploy as it is to put away which I think is an important aspect to note.  One other EDC knife that I owned had an additional safety lock on it.  I can see why they would put such a feature on a knife but it did make it difficult to close and place back in my pocket.  I think Kershaw did an outstanding job on this model as I have zero complaints and would not change a thing.

All Photos by Bryan

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Everyday Carry: The 5 Dumbest, Craziest Mistakes People Make (Do No. 4 And You May Lose All Your Gear)

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Everyday Carry: The 5 Dumbest, Craziest Mistakes People Make (Do No. 4 And You’ll Lose All Your Gear)

In a way, our everyday carry kit is our bodyguard: It’s always with us to keep us safe. But even bodyguards make mistakes, and the EDC is one aspect of survival that needs to be fine-tuned.

One way of adjusting your EDC is to look at all the possible mistakes you can make — the topic of today’s article. So let’s see them!

Mistake No. 1: Carrying Too Much Stuff

Should you really be carrying a personal water filter with you all the time? Not unless you have a large purse or a belt pack and you’re in a rural or wilderness setting. The reason you’d want food and water in a get-home scenario is that it could take you hours or even more than a day to come home — if the roads are blocked, for instance. But your personal water filter can be stored just as well in a get-home bag, and there’s no need to have it on your person all the time.

Articles with EDC items lists have way too much stuff in them, and it’s not the authors’ fault: They’re giving you all the options so you can then make your picks. But it’s up to you to choose the items that apply to the emergencies for which you’re preparing.

Compact Water Filter Fits In Your POCKET And Removes 100 Percent Of Water-Borne Bacteria!

As I said, the starting point is you listing the emergencies you want to prep for and THEN figure out which items to purchase. Never buy something just because it’s on a list inside some survival article.

Mistake No. 2: Carrying Items That Are Too Big

Why carry a mini flashlight when you can carry a micro-flashlight and keep it on your keyring? Why carry a small multi-tool when you can have one that fits in your wallet?

Smaller items are easier to keep in your pockets; the issue is getting quality ones. It takes more work and higher quality materials to squeeze the same durability and functionality into something smaller, and that will reflect in the final price. But with proper research, you’ll be able to find the items that will not fail you in an emergency.

Mistake No. 3: Not Checking Gear Periodically

Everyday Carry: The 5 Dumbest, Craziest Mistakes People Make (Do No. 4 And You’ll Lose All Your Gear)

Image source: Pixabay.com

Just like your get-home bag or bug-out bag or your stockpile, your EDC items also need to be verified to make sure they’re working. When was the last time you turned on the flashlight on your keyring? Since virtually all smartphones have flashlights, you probably use that instead of your actual flashlight.

In addition, you may want to check your lighters, emergency radio, space pen and even your multi-tool to see if they all still function properly.

You’ll also want to make sure that you have enough cash and change for emergencies and that you are familiar with the vending machines in your area. If they don’t take the types of bills and change you have, then you won’t be able to get that bottle of water or that energy bar.

Mistake No. 4: Talking About It

The more thought you put into your EDC, the more you’ll feel the need to brag with it. Even if it’s just you wanting to use your micro multi-tool to open up the drink bottles before the waitress gets a chance.

Portable Device Restores Your Old Blades To A Razor’s Edge In Just Seconds!

Don’t do it. You don’t want to be labeled a prepper and be ridiculed. In addition, the odds of people asking you to let them borrow some of your gear will increase and, if you ever loaned anything to anyone, then you know sometimes, they keep that item for so long you have to borrow it back!

Mistake No. 5: Not Seeing the Phone as Part of EDC

You’d be amazed at what your smartphone can do for you besides allowing you to call people in case of emergencies. Check the list below to see why your phone may be the most important item in your kit:

  • Some of them have AM/FM radio that will allow you to hear the news even when the phone lines are down.
  • You can download a number of free survival apps that you can use in offline mode (the SAS survival guide, a compass, offline maps, first-aid apps and so on).
  • You can download books, ebooks and save blog articles using the Pocket app.
  • You have a flashlight.
  • And you can even use them as signaling mirrors.

In addition, you can find on the market the so-called rugged phones, such as the Samsung Galaxy S5 Active, that are shock and water resistant.

Have you made any regrettable mistakes with your EDC? Share your experience with a comment below:

Learn How To ‘Live Off The Land’ With Just Your Gun. Read More Here.

33 Survival Items You Can Fit In Your Pocket

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When most people think about disaster survival, they assume they’ll need a big bag of heavy gear. When the disaster strikes, they frantically throw things into a bag only to realize they don’t have nearly enough room and it already weighs over 50 pounds. It’s easy to get carried away. Most of us are so […]

The post 33 Survival Items You Can Fit In Your Pocket appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

Neck Knives For The Masses

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Best Neck Knife

The definition of a neck knife pretty much begins and ends with it being a blade worn on a Best Neck Knifelanyard around one’s neck.  Rather than in a belt sheath, pocket, pack clipped anywhere else, the neck knife offers a deployment option and carry strategy that opens some doors especially during specific activities and positions.  Neck knives can be tiny and as small as an index finger, usually carried tip-up.  Or they can be near full sized and carried tip-down on a substantial neckstrap.  Those are the small size can take many additional forms depending on anticipated use from EDC to the edges of survival.

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

The larger end of the spectrum are more for daily use and easy access during general outdoors Best Neck Knifeand bushcrafting tasks. The particular reason I wear a neck knife is two-fold; first as a sport-specific knife, and second, for survival applications when things might-could get dark (using some small-town parlance).

Four situations I wear a neck knife over a knife in my pocket (or in addition to) include skiing, mountain biking, watersports like paddleboarding, and backpacking and hunting.  A main reason I got into neck carry is because I either am not wearing any pockets, or I may need to deploy the knife in a partially immobilized or even inverted state.  And I have different neck knives for each activity.  For downhill skiing, I wear a Boker Magyar.  It’s a stout little beast with a large finger hole and a thick drop point blade. The 440-C stainless steel is a must, like the mountain biking knife, because it will be soaked in salty sweat.  I like the finger hole to keep the Boker Magyar under control when hands are cold or a drop in the snow might as well be overboard in the ocean.

Related: Tops Brothers of Bushcraft Knife Review

For mountain biking, I like the Boker Grasshopper.  It has more handle than blade and is of a Survival Neck Knifemore traditional look as if just a small belt knife missing its scales.  The Grasshopper has a titanium-coated 440-C stainless clip point blade that can drill and stab better than drop points. It can also be held comfortably in a reverse grip as needed even though it weighs less than an ounce. And it’s near weightlessness makes it almost invisible even when bouncing down the trail.

Backpacking is another matter.  I prefer a workhorse of a neck knife because I will be using it ESEE Candiru often. The previous two are more for emergencies, or for that occasional extra-strength food wrapper.  For camping trips I want a neck knife that will get some daily if not hourly use.  I prefer the ESEE Candiru with G-10 scales.  It’s a tiny little critter, both the knife and its namesake, but the tales of it swimming up your, well, private part (the critter not the knife) are overblown (pun intended).  However, as a carbon steel the Candiru will rust if left alone, but the powder coating protects all but the very edge of the edge. After a day of wear, tiny orange flowers start growing on the shiny metal.  But the quality ESEE 1095 tool steel touches up beautifully with little effort to kiss the oxidation goodbye until next time.  Of all my neck knives, the has the best grip, but also the thickest footprint.

Also Read: Fallkniven Jarl Knife Review

And for paddleboarding and sea kayaking, I like the Boker Gnome.  Why?  Well, partially I justTop Neck Knife like the Boker Gnome and am always looking for a reason to wear it.  It’s a funny little knife with an apt name.  The Gnome has a very thick blade for it’s size and two of the cutest little micarta scales you’ve ever seen.  It is the best prybar of my neck knives and it’s 440-C steel resists rust better than most, even in salt water.  The knife is held only between the thumb and index finger because that’s all there is to hold.  So you could say that this is not a high leverage knife even with a 2 ⅛” long and ¼ inch thick blade.  But where the Gnome does shine is in brute strength if you have to pound on it like a piton.

…And Eat It Too

The question as to why a tiny fixed blade instead of a robust folder is a good one.  Especially since folding knives today are better and stronger than ever.  But not at under two ounces, or even under one ounce.  Hinged blades require robust parts and dual reinforcement in the handle.  Locking mechanisms, by nature, can never be as strong as as a solid shaft of steel for the same weight.  And even given the added weight, deployment still requires gravity, muscle or a more complex spring system.  The simplicity of a tiny fixed blade cannot be argued within those parameters.

Gallows Humor

A neck knife has only three parts: a knife, a sheath, and a loop of cord that allows the sheath to Survival Gear Neck knifebe worn around the neck.  There are no size or weight restrictions.  The blade can point up or down.  And the sheath can be molded Kydex, or elegant leather or even bland plastic. In my case, I prefer the uneventful durability of nylon-like scabbards.  A durable, but breakaway neck cord should be a must, but we put many strong cords around our necks quite often, so I’m not really worried that my last breath will be a swear word directed at a loop of paracord around my trachea.  Especially when the point of a neck knife is a rapid and convenient deployment of a blade that will easily cut through paracord.

Chains of small balls like the pull-chains on floor lamps are popular neck knives lanyards.  They will break away before killing you.  At least that’s the plan, but I haven’t personally tested it in all cases.  So use your brain.  But more important that lanyard strength is blade retention. While easy extraction is important, should unintentional deployment happen you will find a sharp blade wandering around your belly region just looking for something to cut.  There is no happy ending to that story except relief when you find it before it finds you.

Related: Benchmade Adamas Knife Review

As neck knives gain popularity it becomes clear that the design is still in its crude phase of evolution.  Not that the knives are rough, but like early days of powered flight, the designs are all over the place.  From mostly handles to almost no handles.  From full-bellied blades to narrow scalpels.  From finger holes to featureless grips.  And from skeleton to scaled. All of these differences give the wearer plenty of options for job-specific carry even when the particular feature set seems oxymoronic like the Boker Gnome.

All Photos By Doc Montana

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15 Different Key Chain Tools for Preppers

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I like having a couple key chain tools as part of my everyday carry gear because they’re very difficult to lose and impossible to forget if you want to go somewhere. In this video, Tim from Everyday Tactical Vids talks about 15 tools you should consider getting. For the full list of items and links […]

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How to Charge Your Phone With a 9 Volt Battery

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Here’s a great tip that could come in handy whether there’s a disaster or not. In the video below, CrazyRussianHacker explains how to charge a cell phone with a car charger, a house key, and a 9 volt battery. All you have to do is touch the ends […]

The post How to Charge Your Phone With a 9 Volt Battery appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

Professional Level Key Fob Lights

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surefire_sidekick_keyfob_light_review

A growing space in the world of personal lighting (flashlights) is the USB rechargable key fob light. These are not Nitecoreyour grandma’s key ring lights of yesteryear, but powerful photon blasters that in some cases outreach even your dual-celled flashlights.  Like any new tangent in lighting, there are tradeoffs. Being rechargeable, you cannot simply replace the depleted cells with new ones when the light blinks out.

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

On the other hand, you can re-power the light with a computer, cell phone charger, backup battery, solar panel, or any other creative solution that provides a five volt DC stream of electrons into a micro USB cable.  Another issue at play here is the form factor.  As light manufacturers explore new designs, we need to consider the opportunities of shape and not just be resistant to change.  The flatter design of these keyfob lights is possible due to the flatter design of their batteries.  Like the traditional car lock remotes, the key fob lights easily disappear into a pocket.

The three main lights highlighted here are the Surefire Sidekick, the Nitecore Tube, and the Factor Ghost 130. One other will be mentioned but it’s not currently available to the public. But I have a feeling that within a year, quality rechargeable keyfob lights will be the new norm and offered by every reputable brand, as well as many not so reputable.

The Two Elephants in this Room

First into this space was Nitecore and it’s low cost decent-performance light named the Tube. Recently, the Best mini flash lightarguably best mainstream flashlight maker jumped into the game with its entry, the Sidekick. As expected, the Sidekick costs more than the Tube; six times as much in fact, but the Surefire blasts out six times the lumens if needed. Both lights recharge their lithium polymer batteries through a standard micro USB connection. The Ghost is in the middle and of conventional shape with the bonus of micro USB rechargeability. However, the build quality of the Ghost 130 is seriously beyond the paygrade of entry level tech. Don’t let the size fool you. The Ghost is scary good.

Kick Me

The Surefire Sidekick has three level of brightness and the Nitecore Tube has two. I’ve always found that the low Best Key Fob Lightsetting is just as an important consideration as the high beam. Surefire’s low end is five lumens, a number common to many of their other lights. Five is an excellent amount of glow for reading a map in the dark or even lighting a path over smooth terrain. However, Nitecore opted for one single lumen as its low setting. One lumen is enough to help a key into a lock or read a watch, but not much else in my opinion. Well, I guess it would appear as a lighthouse in night vision goggles even at a distance.

Related: Bug Out Bag Flashlights

The Nitecore maxes out at 45 lumens and the Surefire’s middle setting is a similar 60 lumens.  But then the Surefire does what Surefire does best.  When it shifts into high gear, a full 300 lumens pump out the business end end this tiny block.  Runtime at full speed is about 85 minutes with 45 hours on low, and about four hours on the medium 60 lumen setting.  Nitecore’s Tube offers up about one hour of full blast and claims two full days at one lumen starting with a full charge.

Light Heavyweights

Weight wise, the Nitecore Tube tips the scales at just under a third of an ounce. The Surefire Sidekick, on the other hand, is four times heavier at a massive 1.2 ounces. So both lights tug on gravity much less than a small pocket knife. Another comparison would be that the Tube is a dime and a quarter in your pocket, while the Sidekick is more like a buck and a half worth of quarters. Noticeable, yes. But since the light is not as dense as a quarter, it’s girth distributes its weight better and becomes more a question of size than weight.

System Operation

Operationally, the Surefire is classic Surefire.  The interface is responsive yet firm as it toggles through its four Best Key Fob Lightchoices of high-medium-low-off.  It is possible to reverse the sequence by connecting the light to a charger and toggling the power button three times, then back to off, then disconnect it from power.  The light will now be low-medium-high-off. I much prefer this order as I find low plenty for my immediate needs.  Be advised, however, that the light will turn off with the next click only after a couple seconds have passed. Otherwise the light will change to the next level. With low as the first, I have blinded myself trying to turn the light off quickly.

The Tube is a simple and unchangeable low-off-high-off as long as you depress the single button within a second of the previous click. Otherwise it will turn off and restart on low again.

Accessorize

All three lights have a lanyard or split ring attachment point. In the non-symmetrical body cases of Sidekick and SHTF SurvivalTube, the hole is perpendicular to the light’s major flat surface. This keeps the light in line with keys, when on a larger ring, but can also make the light wider in the pocket depending on what is attached. On my Sidekick, I attached a loop of paracord along with the incredibly small spring-loaded hook Surefire provided with the light. I use the loop more for an extraction handle when pulling it from deep in my pocket, as well as an extra grip when the light is not in its most common other use positions; wedged in my hat like a headlamp or in my mouth.

By far the best feature about lights in this space is that they recharge.  Battery management is important when you are paying for disposable batteries.  So if you are picking up the tab on your own batteries, you are likely shutting the light off as soon as possible, and using the lowest setting possible.  Knowing that you can conveniently recharge the light makes it easy to leave the light on longer and not shut it off between repeating needs such as when working on a truck, or lighting a camp or work space.  Plus, you can leave home with a full charge everyday.

Headaches

For all their goodness, two of these lights have significant but correctable drawbacks. The biggest problem with the Surefire Sidekick is that when recharging the battery, and I’m not kidding here, the light blinks while charging and then stays on when done. Seriously, WTF? I actually have to cover up the light when charging it or the incessant blinking drives me crazy. I talked to Surefire about it, and it sounds like the issue is so obviously a bad idea that future versions will hopefully not carry the “feature” forward.

Related: Bug Out Gun Lights

The main problem with the Nitecore Tube is that the it’s LED is essentially unhoused. This means that the nub of glass on the business end of the Tube spills light in all directions around as well as forward. So looking down on the light when 90 degrees forward-facing, light fills your eyeballs with brightness. I tend to slide my thumb up over the top of the LED in order to kill the spill. Electricians tape around the light would also fix the problem, but so would a design refresh. However, since the light is only slightly thicker than the LED in the first place, I can see why they didn’t bother to thicken up the light’s front end. And for ten bucks, how much can you complain?

The Tube does have a rubber USB port cover that I like. The Surefire’s electronic mouth is open wide and will collect pocket debris and lint over time. Surefire recommends a squirt of compressed air to relocate any transient fuzz. On the other side, the water resistance to the interiors of the lights might be affected by the need and/or absence of a rubber cover. A necessary extra cover might also indicate a potential weak point.

In all cases, there are no deal-killers here. Both lights are exceptional and well worth their price, especially the Tube, which, by the way, comes in almost a half-dozen color flavors including the Surefire’s only Model-T black. The Surefire Sidekick retails for $79.99, but can be easily had for ten bucks less. And with that $10, you could buy the Nitecore Tube as well.

Seen a Ghost?

A new company on the scene grew out from a need near and dear to my heart: real quality.  Spelled out frankly on Key Fob Ghost LED Lighttheir website, “where junk gear is not an option” pretty much says it like it is.  And just off their drawing board is an extraordinary little light that has the durability of a bad internet rumor, and the output of a light saber.  At 1.5 inches in length and half that in thickness this shiny silver cylinder has a blast radius well beyond it’s paygrade, and a durability factor beyond any other small USB light on earth.  In addition to the intricately machined aircraft aluminum housing, the light is sealed on both ends by O-rings.  The front head is unscrewed and removed exposing the USB port.  The glass encased flashlight head also unscrews leaving the center of the cylinder filled with a replaceable battery.  Two light output options are available, low and holy-moly that’s bright!

Also Read: Milwaukee Work Lights

The two-stage lighting is activated by screwing down the head. First low output, then high. A screw-down head also allows for toggling the light either between off and low, or low and high by adding a little more downward pressure with one’s finger rather than the threads. It also means that a little pocket pressure could activate the light (on low) if the electrical contacts are just barely out of reach when in the off position. The only downside of this light that I can tell is it’s heft. At 0.74 ounces with battery, which by any other standard is ignorable, the density of this whole light is not too far off the metal it’s made of so you might feel it in your pocket.

When recharging, once the cord is connected, a tiny internal red light indicates charging and a green light makesBest Survival Light obvious that charging is finished. Surefire could sure learn a thing or two from Factor.  In fact, the gun light industry might get a little spine shiver if Factor popped out an inexpensive tail switch onto the Ghost 130 along with a rail mount.  For thirty bucks, a new space in weapons mounted lights could emerge.  But it might be a waste if this light spends its days in a bedside biometric handgun safe.

Related: Compact Flashlight Comparison

The Ghost’s MSRP $29.95 and will likely be a hot seller with good reason.  With lithium-ion batteries having a 500-plus recharge lifecycle, that means at five bucks of replaceable batteries, this little beast of a light could save you $2500, give or take.  And that’s almost enough for a Daniel Defense DD5v1 .308 if that’s what’s on your list today.  I know it’s on mine.

And even better is that Factor Equipment is so sure you will be thrilled with their lights that they offer a 30-day-Buy-and-Try. That means you’ve got a month of personal use and abuse  “abuse within reason” in their words) before you totally commit to keeping the light. If you return the light within 30 days, you will be credited your purchase price towards something else that Factor Equipment makes.

Last Call

One more light in this USB rechargeable Keyfob space includes a yet to be released Fenix light that very much Survival Key Fob Lightmirrors the Tube. The Fenix light that is in development is an effective lighting solution addressing the exact same space as the Tube. I know because I got some hands-on time with both of the only examples in existence at SHOT Show; a blue one and a pink one presumably covering the entire gender spectrum of potential buyers. It’s flat profile and unhoused LED provides plenty of work area lumens, but less reach except for easily avoiding confrontations between your shins and furniture in a dark house. The build-quality of the Fenix seems a step up from the Tube, but the as-yet unpublished price point will be quite similar to the Tube.

Morning Light

No doubt, as this space evolves, there will be some amazing new lighting opportunities. Just as every other electronic space that ditched the round cells for built-in rechargeables opened doors, the future of mico-lighting is brighter than you can imagine.

All Photos By Doc Montana

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8 Life-Saving Items Every Woman Should Have In Her Purse

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8 Life-Saving Items Every Woman Should Have In Her Purse

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Ladies, this is for you. When it comes to carrying survival items with you wherever you go, you’re extremely fortunate. You have an entire purse at your disposal to stash as many survival items as you want. In what follows I’m going to show you how to cleverly turn your purse into a solid everyday carry (EDC) kit which might even act as a get-home bag (GHB) due to the size.

Speaking of which, the first thing you need to have is…

A Bigger Purse

I won’t go into too much detail on what to get, but suffice to say that bigger is better, more are better and if you can get one with exterior pockets, you can keep a self-defense weapon there for quick access.

1. A mini first-aid kit

I’m sure you already have some sort of medicine inside your purse (for headaches, for instance). There are plenty of mini first-aid kits on the market but, if you want to save some money plus the joy of doing it yourself, even better. Band-Aids, ibuprofen, alcohol wipes, finger splints, antibiotic ointment, burn and trauma dressings – put all of these in a Ziploc bag to keep them waterproof and then inside an airtight plastic container to keep everything puncture-proof.

2. Keyring items

There’re quite a few mini-survival items you can have on your keychain and, as a lady, this is a lot easier because you can keep the whole thing inside your purse and not show. We men, the more items we add, the harder it is to conceal everything inside our pockets.

New Water Filter Fits In Your Purse And Removes 100 Percent Of Water-Borne Bacteria!

Some of the items to consider for your EDC keychain: mini-flashlight, mini-multitool, a USB drive, a whistle, a lighter or even a striker.

The only downside is, you’re gonna have to pick all of these items up whenever you’re using your keys.

3. Self-defense weapons

Now I don’t know whether you like to conceal carry in your purse, so I’ll leave it up to you on what to add: a 9mm, a folding knife, pepper spray, a stun gun or a tactical pen. I would suggest you have at least a couple, just in case your attacker disarms you the first time.

4. Your cell phone

Everyone’s buying iPhones and Samsung Galaxies but have you ever heard about “rugged phones”? Some of the best such phones out there are the Galaxy Active, the Casio G’zOne Commando and the Sonim XP1520 BOLT SL Ultra Rugged IP-68.

And if you’d rather stick with your iPhone, that’s OK, too, provided you get a shock-absorbing case.

5. A multi-tool

8 Life-Saving Items Every Woman Should Have In Her Purse

Image source: Pixabay.com

A good multi-tool can help you in numerous situations, including getting home or even bugging out if going home to get your bug-out bag isn’t an option.

You don’t need something as big as the Leatherman Wingman. The company famous for its multi-tools has smaller options such as the Micra Multi-tool or even the Squirt PS4 which you can attach to your keychain.

6. Shelter

Obviously, packing a tent or a tarp inside your purse is impossible but there are two good options out there. One is to get a smaller tarp, one that’s 5 feet x 7 feet, for instance. The other is to have a space blanket. Emergency blankets, though you can only use them once, are smaller and lighter.

7. Water purifier

Throw in a Paratroopers Water Purifier, a few water purification tablets and you’re good to go. Now, you could add a small bottle of water but then you’d have to carry it with you everywhere you go. Up to you.

8. Food

Energy bars, raisins, hard candy – those are all light and jam-packed with calories.

Restore Your Old Blades To A Razor’s Edge In Just Seconds!

You should also keep some cash on hand in case you need to get some food from vending machines.

Anything Else?

Sure. How about adding the following to your purse:

  • a few hair pins.
  • manicure scissors.
  • a pack of salt (use it as a self-defense weapon by throwing it into your attacker’s face).
  • chewing gum (can help relieve stress) when everything around you is falling apart.
  • a credit card knife (so you have a back-up self-defense weapon inside your wallet).
  • tinder (which needs to be kept inside a waterproof container)
  • an extra phone battery.
  • extra phone charger.
  • a whistle.
  • a bandana.
  • waterproof matches.
  • spare AA or AAA batteries (provided you have gadgets that use them).
  • Chapstick.
  • pen and paper.

So, can your purse make a good bug-out bag? I would say “no,” but that doesn’t mean you’ll be unable to bug out from your office directly to your bug-out location if needed. Maybe your home is in a restricted or inaccessible area or maybe it’s already down to the ground. Bugging out using only your EDC and get-home bag is a scenario I highly recommend you think about. Provided you won’t have to travel for days on foot, the items we talked about above are a good start.

And if you use your car every day to get to work, you can just keep adding stuff to your trunk instead of cramming them inside your purse. On the other hand, if you walk to work, reaching your bug-out location without going home first to get your bug-out bag is something you need to put some thought into.

What else would you put in a purse? Share your tips in the section below:

Harness The Power Of Nature’s Most Remarkable Healer: Vinegar

Imodium’s Survival Applications: Why Carry It Everywhere

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Imodium’s Survival Applications: Why Carry It Everywhere Ever heard of Imodium? It’s an anti-diarrhea medication that we happen to think you should carry absolutely everywhere. In fact, it’s something that we do carry every single day – no matter where we are or where we go. Over the counter medications like this one, that are …

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Survival Gear Review: ESEE-6 Knife

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Best Survival Knife

ESSE knives are the real deal.  In fact, they are so darn good and in such high demand by users on the front lines Best Survival Knifethat people have started trying to counterfeit them.  Let’s say up front, if you intend to shop for an ESEE knife on line in particular, buy it from a reputable dealer with established business credentials.  Steer clear of generic populous sales sites that individuals use to scam buyers with knock off junk.  ESEE does have authorized dealers, too.

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

The Catalog Profile

Both preppers and survivalists seem to like to know “just the facts, ma’am” when it comes to presenting or reviewing a product of interest.  So, let’s cover a little history on this company.  ESEE under the direction of president Jeff Randall, has been creating gear and training for survival in some of the most hostile and remote areas on Earth.  They have been doing this for some eighteen years.

They build among other things some of the finest, heavy knives in the world that can withstand the most demanding punishment.   The company resides in Alabama, but the American-made knives are forged in Idaho Falls, Idaho.  You can check them out completely at www.eseeknives.com.

Related: 7 Things You Should Consider Before Buying A Survival Knife

There you will find all sorts of specialized survival gear, kits, ESEE knives, and much more.  They also offer a SHTF survival knifecomprehensive survival skills training school for which you can find courses and schedules on their web site.  It is all very impressive.

The ESEE-6 knife I have to review was obtained via the local authorized dealer David Graves of Brandon Sporting Arms in Brandon, Mississippi, not as a prop or select loaner direct from the company.  They have no idea I have one of their knives and I doubt they care.  They stand behind every knife with a lifetime warranty on all 1095 steel blades.  If you break it, just return it for a replacement.  The warranty is transferable and is warranted no matter how many times the knife has traded hands, no sales receipt required.  It is not guaranteed against rust, normal wear and tear, loss or theft.

The No.6 knife has an overall length of 11.75 inches with a cutting edge length of 5.75 inches.  The total blade is 6.5 inches in length.  The blade width is 1.56 inches making it hefty, strong, and authoritative.   The handle end is fixed with a rounded pommel with a lanyard hole.  The knife weighs only 12 ounces without the sheath, which by the way is a molded ploy with an optional clip plate that can be installed by the owner with provided attachment hardware.

The 1095 carbon steel with a 55-57 Rc produces a fine blade for multi-task cutting, chopping and blade work.  The Best Survival Knifegrip handles are made of Linen Micarta.  There are four models of the ESEE-6 based mainly on blade colors, blade edge type such as plain or serrated, sheath color, and handle colors.  Other options are available, too.  The ESEE-6 retails for around $150 at their network of authorized dealers, but can be found elsewhere if shopped around.
The ESEE sheaths are special as well.  The knives are shipped with a fully ambidextrous molded sheath, a clip plate, paracord with cord lock, and hardware, screws, rubber washers and barrel nuts to attach the clip to the sheath.  The sheath is made with lashing and cord storage holes, hole spacing for MOLLE locks, and a drainage port.  The knife is held in the sheath by friction retention with a thumb grip surface used to withdraw the blade from the sheath.

One additional feature to this knife is the information provided on the knife packing container.  The ESEE boxes include survival, navigation, and emergency signaling information printed on the box sleeve.  The sleeve information could be cut out, folded, and stored in a bug out bag or out the door bag.

Handling and Use

For me first impressions are lasting and my initial handling of the ESEE-6 was positive.  The Micarta handles are a Best Survival Knifegreenish-grey with a fine gripping texture though the surface is slick.  Handling with Mechanix gloves would be advisable as you work with the knife.  The full tang blade is heavy making the butt end pommel substantial.  The knife feels hand fulfilling, stocky, but not overly heavy.  The blade thickness and weight is well proportioned throughout.

In my hands it balances very well and swings with authority.  The steel is coated with a black, grainy textured finish which adds some rust and stain resistance and extra use durability to the blade. All this sweet talk is flattering, but does the ESEE cut it, pun intended?   I took the ESEE to Bug Out Camp this past weekend to wield it in person.   I cannot imagine any other knife in this size and weight category performing any better.  It chops through saplings with dedication so it would be good on camp establishment work, and such.

I walked out into the thick briar section of woods and though the ESEE-6 is not machete, it hacks right through vines and trash.  We have a particularly tough, clingy, green sticker vine in the south and the ESEE waded right through this.  Also this is with the factory edge as I did not even attempt to sharpen it further.

Again, the weight and balance of this knife is great.  I confirmed that gripping gloves are best with this knife doing tough work as the knife’s handle is smooth without an aggressive texture.  For an all round camp knife from cutting meat or foods, and such it would perform very well.  Same for rope work, and such.

The snap-in sheath is sturdy, and holds the ESEE knife with authority.  I don’t see this knife ever falling out of the sheath.  In theory it could be grabbed by woodland vines or such and pull the knife free, but that would be unlikely in my estimation.  The ESEE is good to go.   Whatever size ESEE you pick, I think you’ll be completely satisfied.

All Photos By Dr. John J. Woods

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7 Items You Should Carry Every Day

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As the Boy Scout motto goes, “Always be prepared.” It’d be nice if you could always have your bug out bag with you, but that’s simply not realistic. You can keep it in your car, but occasionally you’re going to go somewhere on foot and have nothing on […]

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Survival Gear Review: Fallkniven PC Folding Knife

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best survival pocket knife

Let’s cut to the chase. The point of an everyday carry (EDC) knife is to always have a sharp blade just a pocket awaybest pocket survival knife (sorry for the triple pun).  And with apologies to restrictive jurisdictions, the choice of an EDC knife is wide open and up the the carrier.  For me, I am an unabashed Benchmade user.  I have a dozen different Benchmade folding blades, and every morning I savor the choice of what blade will ride with me matching my edge to my calendar.  But I’ll be the first to admit that I need to get out more.

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

Beyond Benchmade

Not partying on the town, but enriching my carry options to better understand the the intersection of knife, Best Survival Pocket Knifelifestyle and cutting job. For starters, let me put a finer point on my Benchmade preference by saying that in particular Axis Lock drop point knives really tickle my fancy with prejudice towards those knives that contain artistic elements that prove that Benchmade loves me and wants me to be happy. Sadly, Benchmade has it limits and there are other outstanding knife makers in the world that I need to spend more time with.

“Fallkniven” Means Folding Knife

As I stared at open the Fallkniven PC folding knife in my hand, the first thing I noticed is that it required using a pinch grip or the fingernail groove to open it. Wow. I had not carried a knife that that in years. It was Spyderco that opened my world to something other than nail grooves and thumb studs. The so-called Spyderhole was revolutionary and I carried a Police model, a Delica and a Rescue for years, with a Ladybug and Assist for special occasions. I drooled over any of the pricy Spyderco designs and carried some of them more as pocket art than for their cutting talents since I considered their steel often robust but still pedestrian. But while the Spydercos still required a blade deployment not to far evolved from a thumb stud, which in turn was still in earshot of a fingernail grove, the Benchmade Axis deployment, especially their assist and partial assist won me over. And until now, I’ve never looked back.

Also Read: Fallkniven F1 Review

I quickly warmed the dual-sided nail notches, and realize that my prejudice towards that type of blade deployment was due to a childhood of chipping fingernails on Swiss Army and Buck knives. And don’t get me started on that Swiss Army knife awl!  But no pocket clip? I could see that the Fallkniven PC was going to be a challenge to my personal paradigm, but I was going to pack the PC everywhere and find out more.

Is That A Scalpel In Your Pocket?

Now that I am many months into carrying the Fallkniven PC, I realize that I may have overlooked some things. It’sbest fallkniven pocket knife a tall order to outperform 154CM or S30V alloys. Super steels are, well, super. But just as the super steels raised the bar more than just a notch or two over the 440 stainless series of irons, Fallkniven’s Cobalt superduper steel has lifted the bar yet again forcing me to reassess my evaluation methods. Imagine using your knife everyday, yet only needing to sharpen it once year or so. Sure that might be a stretch, but the simple fact of considering that possibility required me to rethink my EDC principles since I can noticeably dull a 154CM edge in a single outing.

As I type this I am packing a Benchmade 300 as well as the Fallkniven PC. For those uninitiated in the Benchmade nomenclature, the 300 is their first attempt at a flipper. It has a wide but slightly short full-bellied clip point 154CM satin blade with scales graced with three finger grooves of sandstone-colored and textured G10 including the index finger depression supplemented by the flipper trigger. To me the knife has hints of Native American style steeped in early Americana. The layered G10 is exposed like sedimentary rock stratification common to the Grand Canyon or the Morrison Formation in Utah where I love to experience the hostile desert surrounded by dinosaur bones. Yes, the 300 is thick and heavy and expensive and marginally a flipper, but like the Macbook Air I am typing this on, I love using it. So much so that I literally seek out uses to launch it into action.

Superman Is Made Of Cobalt Steel

Fallkniven literally means folding knife, and the PC is Fallkniven’s second version of its P-series folder. Anyone best pocket folding knifenew to the PC folder is understandably stunned into silence by sticker shock. Yet anyone familiar to Fallkniven would be surprised by the low cost of this ubersteel folder with it’s street price barely topping a single Benji. Like Apple Computer, Fallkniven is not interested in the mass market appeal of low prices. Fallkniven is interested in the highest quality, most technically advanced steel blade available on earth. In hindsight, the PC is quite affordable and has a street price much less than most Benchmade Blue Class knives (which are their working “blue collar” blades, not their fancy Gold or tactical Black classes).

Also Read: Parry Blade Hunter Review

Many knives come out of the box “shaving sharp’” but Fallkniven PC arrive “scary sharp.” It was more like a surgeon’s scalpel than a pocketknife. Which the more I think about it, is a good thing. A really good thing. Where the problem lies is that many other knives simply cannot hold such a sharp edge, while the rest simply don’t want to put the time or risk into taking their edge to razor sharpness. Literally, with the Fallkniven PC we are talking the molecular metal limit of sharp steel here. The theoretically maximum knife blade sharpness possible by ferrous metal alloys! To get any sharper, you need smaller molecules.

Comparables

My Benchmade Mini-Griptilian is a select version with S30V supersteel. I’ve got a lot of miles on it and it performssurvival knife wonderfully. But head-to-head with the Fallkniven PC, the S30V blade loses a few tenths of a percent of sharpness well before the PC’s cobalt steel does. But of course, sharpness is only one half of the equation; edge retention is just as important. If retaining a razor edge was easy, we wouldn’t be clogging our landfills with disposable razor blades. To kick a dead pun, razor-sharp is barely a comfort when you know it’s a short-term phenomenon.

Although the Benchmade is much faster to deploy through its Axis lock release or thumb stud flick, once both blades are ready for action, the Fallkniven PC is a noticeably more precision instrument. Not that the Griptilian is blunt by any stretch of the imagination, it’s that the PC is more like a tool of surgery and the Benchmade is a little more like a crowbar. Just kidding. The BM mini’s blade is fairly traditional for a folding knife. On the other hand, the PC looks traditional, but cuts far beyond its apparent pay grade.

Related: Sypderco Bushcraft Knife

The PC’s scales do have one flaw I’ve noticed. If you pack the parallel lines embedded within the scales with cheese, it is hard to remove. And frankly, this happened more times than I care to admit since I too was surprised at how much cheese cutting I do in the wilderness.

The Nuts and Torx

The locking mechanism of the Fallkniven PC is a traditional liner lock of spring steel. The knife would probably survival shtfhave to break for the lock to fail. The teflon-bearing blade pivot his held in place by a T10 Torx screw making the deployment tension adjustable, and easy to keep the scales snug against the blade.  The five-bolt stainless steel blade housing is skeletonized allowing for easy cleaning and drying; something very important for a knife that lives among pocket lint. And the black fiberglass reinforced Grilon scales are secured with two T5 Torx bolts in addition the pivot bolt.

As to the lack of a pocket clip, I grew used to the Fallkniven PC in my pocket. If it migrated horizontal, I would simply run my finger along the outer fabric of my pants and return the PC a vertical position snug against the right hand seam of the pocket. With narrow side down, it would generally remain there. And either way, the 2.3 ounces (66 grams) was hardly going to make a pocket dent no matter which way it rides.

At the end of the day, the Fallkniven PC is an exceptional yet simple knife. It rivals my Benchmade 470 in size and look, but the PC costs only half to two thirds as much, has arguably better steel, fewer moving parts, and a stately grace about it that just makes you want to carry it. But If I had to ask for more, it would be for handle colors other than black. Orange perhaps? Seems Fallkniven already heard my suggestion. Before this article even published Fallkniven released PCs with grips in orange, blue, red, military green, with gold highlights, oh, and black.

So before you jump on the tactical train with your EDC blades, give some thought to the grand tradition of high performance in an understated package. There’s some serious blade happiness with the Fallkniven PC.

All photos by Doc Montana

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Survival Gear Review: Rothco Concealed Carry Jacket

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Best Concealed Carry Jacket

With the onset of fall up here in northern climes, my fellow concealed firearms carriers and I perform a collective best survival jacketsigh of relief. With colder weather comes warmer, bulkier clothing that allows more comfortable methods of carry, with larger, more effective sidearms.  Gone, for a while anyway, is the season of constantly wondering if my mildly uncomfortable IWB holster and its passenger S&W M&P Compact are printing through my t-shirt; I can now carry a full-sized SIG Sauer P220 in an outside-the-waistband rig under a heavy fleece pullover or a winter jacket.  Easily-identifiable spare mags in belt rigs aren’t poking out, my underwear doesn’t get wear holes from IWB kydex holsters, everything is comfortable and life is good.

By Drew, a contributing author of Survival Cache & SHTFBlog

On October 15th, Maine’s new “Constitutional Carry” (anyone who is legally able to on a handgun may carry one, with a few exceptions) law went into effect (thanks in a large part to my brothers and friends in Gun Owners of Maine! Consider joining their ranks if you live here in the Pine Tree State), and the state joins the growing roster of locales that are allowing permit-less carry.  With the new law will come, I’m sure, a large number of people who have never carried a firearm concealed – and they don’t realize what a pain in the hind end it can be.  Even just deciding on what holster to purchase is a great way to waste hours in front of your computer or smartphone, searching products and reading reviews.  There is a HUGE market for the concealed carry crowd, with many, many big-name holster and belt manufacturers, plus literally thousands of guy-next-door custom kydex holster makers that will make a holster to the configuration you wish.  However, I recently came across another option that piqued my interest: a jacket designed to carry the handgun for you, and it’s a pretty slick idea.

In my insatiable daily search for cool gun-related stuff, I ran across a feed from a company that showed a jacket built for concealed carry – and they mentioned that they sourced the jacket from Rothco, a Long Island, NY, based company that has been supplying the police, military, and civilian market with gear since the 1950’s.  I’ve owned a couple packs and other items from Rothco, and they’ve been decent, solid pieces of gear that held up well to the abuse I’ve put them through.  Knowing where the jacket came from, and knowing that Rothco offerings have held up well in the past, I soon had one winging my way to try out for myself.

The Jacket

Okay, let’s get past the one first obvious problem the jacket has when you get it:  It does indeed say “Made in Best Survival JacketChina” on the inside of the jacket.  We try to support “Made in USA” gear as much as possible here at Survival Cache, but we’ll make an exception for this jacket because it’s pretty innovative.  Before we get into the nuts and bolts of how it carries and hides guns, though, let’s look at its primary function:  how does it perform as a jacket?

The Rothco Concealed Carry Soft Shell Jacket is made up of a polyester exterior shell that is advertised as waterproof, and it has a fleece and mesh interior. The good thing about this makeup is that it has a very high wind- and water-blocking ability; the downside is that the material isn’t very breathable.  I would wear this jacket when I got up in the morning to do outside chores around the house, go to work in the early a.m., or when it just got chilly out. However, once the sun came up and it warmed up, I definitely got sweaty.  The fleece liner keeps it quite toasty, and the polyester outer shell doesn’t let ventilation through.  This is the point, though: The jacket is meant to be a cold-weather jacket, and to keep you warm and dry on the inside even when it’s snowing or raining on the outside.  Keeping in mind that this is not a year-round outerwear, it performs admirably.  It definitely did keep me warm, dry, and toasty even during local October rainstorms that can get pretty cold.  The jacket boasts a detachable concealed polyester hood that rolls up into the collar when you don’t need it deployed, which is a nice touch.  I haven’t worn the jacket out for extended periods of time in the rain or snow, and I do have a feeling that eventually it could waterlogged and soaked through – but you’d have to be in some pretty miserable circumstances for a long time for that to happen.  However, I am happy to report that the jacket has yet to wet through on me, even in some pretty nasty rain; water beads up and rolls off.

Also Read: Survival Footwear

Now, even though the Rothco jacket materials don’t breathe terribly well, that doesn’t mean that the designers didn’t recognize the problem:  There are long ventilation zippers under the armpits that can be opened up to let some airflow into the jacket, and heat out.  They work well and are appreciated; the armpit area is one of the areas of the body that builds up heat rapidly, and the underarm location means that ventilation is assured without letting rain or other precipitation into the jacket.

Compartments? Zippers? The Concealed Carry jacket definitely has those – but not to the point where you just look at the jacket and remark (with a roll of the eyes), “for real?” From top to bottom, there is first the aforementioned hood compartment zipper in the collar. There are two shoulder/bicep located outer zippered pockets – one on each sleeve – sized appropriately for a medium-sized cellphone or similar device. These shoulder pockets have headphone wire pass-throughs so you can rout your iPod earbuds though and have some tunes while keeping your device dry.  There are hook and loop patches outboard of these pockets, in case you’d like to have unit identification or morale patches for everyone to check out.  On the outside forearm of the left sleeve, there is a mission documents pocket that’s smaller than the shoulder pocket, but still big enough for firestarters, keys, small Leatherman, compass, etc.  If you’re right-handed, it’s pretty great.  If you’re left-handed, it’s maybe not going to be used as much. Still a nice feature though.

Up high on the body of the jacket, at about nipple height, there are two deep slash pockets with zippers for the Best Concealed Carry Jacketmain storage of the jacket, also with wire pass-throughs.  These pockets are, in my opinion, rather inconveniently placed for those who like to walk around with their hands in their jacket pockets; but I will admit that the location was probably dictated by the interior pistol pouch location (more on that later.).  It’s just pretty awkward to get your hands and elbows high enough to use the pockets, but not impossible.  Rounding out the external compartments is a pocket located low in the small of the back of the coat, with zipper access on either side.  This pocket is sized appropriately so you could carry documents, a box of ammo, a medical/survival kit, a water bottle, or other flat items with you. I could even see it being a small-game carrying pouch in a pinch if needed.

Also Read: Pocket Carry vs. Concealed Carry

The sleeve openings have hook-and-loop fasteners that you can snug up to tighten around gloves or mittens, or to keep airflow out in cold weather.  The hood and the bottom of the jacket both have nylon pulls with push-button keepers to help tighten the jacket around your body to keep it snug and secure it from loosely flopping about your body.  As with the other attributes, it’s been thought through.

The jacket is visually stylish and good-looking, but it doesn’t scream, “Operator” or “Mall Ninja” like a lot of other offerings that are marketed towards the firearm enthusiast.  Several people have told me, “hey, that’s a nice looking jacket”, and I really actually enjoy wearing it.  Whether I’m carrying a gun or not, it’s now my go-to jacket since the temperatures have been dropping with the seasons changing. So, as an overall jacket, it really works pretty well, and I’m a fan so far.  Going outside in brisk New England mornings with just the jacket on over a polo shirt is very comfortable, and I’m confident that with the addition of a couple well-planned layers underneath, this jacket would keep you quite toasty and dry through most conditions you’d find yourself in through winter.

The Good Stuff

I’m guessing you’re not reading this review because you’re an outerwear aficionado, so let’s get to the man behind Best Survival Jacketthe curtain here.  This jacket is designed to hide a handgun and spare magazines in comfort, and to do so without tipping the user’s hand that he/she is armed.  It’s a simple system, so let’s take a second to see how the jacket accomplishes its mission.

When one dons the jacket, the first thing you immediately notice are the four hook-and-loop fastened magazine pouches, two per side.  These pouches reside upon the wearer’s upper chest, and hold full-sized pistol magazines in a horizontal orientation.  These hold full-sized double-stack pistol magazines snugly – my 15-round S&W M&P40 magazines fill the pouches completely, and take a little bit of wrestling to pull the securing flap over the end of the magazine baseplate.  A pair of Sig Sauer P220 single-stack magazines are swallowed up by the pouch, with no problems pulling the flap shut. Here, we have the potential for some serious firepower backup: if you have a full-sized Glock 17 as a carry gun, you’re looking at 68 rounds of spare ammunition, not including what you have in the pistol itself. If you have the mags to pull it off, you could carry 56 rounds of .45 ACP in eight single stack magazines, two per pouch.

Also Read: M1951 Fishtail Parka Review

But what about the pistol?  It’s rather the reason for the jacket, right?  Well, lower on the interior of the jacket, near Best Survival Jacketyour waistline, are two pistol carrying compartments, one per side. These measure approximately 9 ½ inches deep by 7 inches wide, making them large enough to carry most full-sized handguns pretty comfortably.  A nylon flap with a small hook and loop fastener tab forms the outside of the compartment; the flap is continuously sewn to the jacket interior on the bottom and one side, while remaining open at the top and front for easier pistol access.  The hook and loop tab is meant to keep the flap closed around the pistol until the wearer needs it, and it is small enough so it tears open when drawing the pistol quickly.  The front zipper is of the two-way configuration, meaning it can open from the top or the bottom, to allow the wearer to access the pistol in the jacket or on a belt holster in a variety of methods.

A full-sized Sig Sauer P220 fills the inside of the pocket pretty well, as does a Glock 17/22. However, the jacket works a little bit better with mid-sized pistols, in my experience.  My EDC S&W M&P40C with a Streamlight TLR-3 sits in the pocket wonderfully, and the weapon mounted light keeps the pistol from rocking fore and aft too much.  Mid-sized revolvers play nicely with the jacket, too, with a 3” S&W M65 working quite well, once you figure out a place to carry spare ammunition – the Rothco jacket was definitely meant for autopistol users.  Everything has been pretty well sorted out for a wide variety of pistols so that the purchaser won’t be limited by what pistol they currently own and use.

Drawing and Reloading

Reloading from the pouches is definitely not as smooth and fast as a belt-mounted mag carrier.  A reload entails Survival Jacketdropping the empty magazine from the pistol, reaching into your jacket, ripping open the mag pouch, then trying to wrestle the magazine out of the pouch by the baseplate.  If the magazine has been sucked down inside the mag holder (say you carry a subcompact pistol like the Glock 43 or Kahr MK9), you’re in for a marathon of first finger and thumb dexterity trying to wrench the magazine out.  I combated this issue relatively effectively by making sure the magazine baseplate stayed outside the pouch; others may want to push a small block of wood or other filler in the back of the pouch to keep your magazine from being pulled inside too far.

Also Read: 8 Tips For Flying With A Gun

However, once you get used to the “jacket reload”, it’s not hard to do and works reasonably well.  I kept the magazines with the bullets pointed up, so I could index them a little easier upon reload.  Your technique and mileage may vary. Strong-side spare magazines are a bit easier to get than the weak-side, but luckily the jacket can move around and open up, so accessibility to both sides of the jacket-mounted magazines isn’t too much of an issue, generally.  Having magazines on both sides of your body also increases the likelihood that you have access to spare ammunition in you are, say, in a car or floor-bound, laying on your side.  Accessibility plus a lot of spare ammo sounds like pretty good insurance to me. Southpaws should be pretty happy with the setup, too.

Using the Jacket Everyday

So we get that this thing is innovative and a bit different than traditional methods of carrying a concealed sidearm. Best Survival JacketBut how does it work when used as designed, in real life?  Well, as I’ve stated, I like the jacket quite a bit and I wear it every day now, with or without a gun, as the Maine weather gets brisk and we head towards the snow months. So in that regard, it’s worth the price of admission, carrying a gun or not.

As I’ve been wearing the jacket and using it for the purposes of this review, nuances have started coming out.  Some are mere annoyances, and there are a couple things that really irk me.  But I still use it as a method of carrying a concealed gun, so that should tell you that these problems aren’t insurmountable – they just require a bit of careful attention.

Also Read: SHTF Wardrobe List

As far as the jacket being a jacket – a piece of outerwear meant to keep you warm, the only real issues I have are few, and trivial, really.  Behind door number one is the fact that once you unzip a pocket, you open a direct portal to the inside of the jacket, essentially.  The pocket liners are pretty thin and allow cold air through pretty quickly.  The other nuance is the fact that the armpit vent pocket zippers have backings on the inside of the jacket, that are sharp and have a rough texture. If you wear the jacket with just a T-shirt or short sleeved polo, these will abrade your flesh lightly.  I’ve cut the sharp corners off mine and just make sure to wear long sleeves if possible.

When you drop a pistol into its holding place and throw a couple magazines in the pouches, we start discovering a Top Survival Blogcouple less-than-ideal circumstances, especially if you’re used to a nice, solid, secure belt holster.  I guess my biggest concern is the fact that the gun is not held securely inside the holding pocket, nor does it have a trigger-covering/securing feature.  The gun can and does shift around as you move, so it may not be in the same orientation as when you put the pistol in the pocket, requiring you to fumble around a touch to get a proper grip on the firearm to start your draw.  This condition is obviously exacerbated by extreme movement like running, going prone, bending over, etc.  The pistol CAN fall out – trust me and the scuff on my M&P on this one – so care must be taken to keep your pistol secure at all times when wearing this jacket.  Taking the jacket on and off, and slinging it over a chair back or couch can be a little adventurous, as you are not in control of your muzzle.  The magazine pouches also need to be checked occasionally, especially with full-sized magazines in them – if you have to stretch the securing flap over the baseplate and argue with it to catch, chances are excellent that with movement, the pouches will eventually open and your mags can work their way out.

Related: SHTF Sewing

Since the trigger is not covered (most holsters sport covered triggerguards), there is always the possibility, however remote, of the trigger catching a foreign object – with obvious less-than-desireable results.  So, if you want to be as safe as you should be, you can do one of a couple things: carry the gun with an empty chamber (how I’ve been carrying with the jacket…flame all you want, it’s my personal decision after much deliberation) or look into a push-out trigger block like this one by Saf-T-Blok.  Neither is a really stellar option, but both of them beat an inadvertent bullet in the buttcheek or bystander.

Once the pistol is in the pocket, some care has to be taken that the jacket doesn’t fly open. Only the very top outermost corner of the pistol retaining flap is secured by the hook and loop tab, so the front and top are open – and your pistol can be seen under some circumstances if you’re looking for it.

One fun fact is that the jacket gets very heavy with its full payload of four loaded magazines and a loaded full-sized pistol, and as such it might lay oddly on your body. It moves differently than other jackets as well, so observers with a keen eye might notice something funky going on. But the firearm doesn’t print, so they’ll just have to wonder. It’s a winter jacket, and winter jackets are bulky. Most people won;t give it a second thought.

Conclusions

To sum everything up, I like the Rothco Concealed Carry Jacket.  And I think that it’s a good idea that could be a great idea with a couple modifications, like snap buttons on the magazine pouches instead of hook-and-loop, and a wide sewn-in elastic band to keep the gun oriented properly inside its retaining area.  Add YKK zippers instead of the current zippers and this would really be an awesome system.  For the safety conscientious, those who are willing to pay a little bit more attention to the pistol that’s in their jacket, it’s a good system and a viable alternative to a holster, especially if you’re in a situation where you’ll need to take your jacket off and can’t have a pistol on your belt, but your jacket can be hung on the back of the chair you’re sitting in.  Thought will have to be put into how you secure the pistol at all times, but once you’re aware of how the jacket works, it becomes second nature.  My worries stated above are sincere, but can be negated with a thought for safety and a little planning.

I really like the placement of the mag pouches, and the pistol – if you are used to a cross-draw holster this will be very familiar to you.  The double-acting front zipper is a stroke of genius, and once you remember that it’s available to you, the motion of zipping UP then reaching in is more intuitive than DOWN then in.  To top it all off, it’s just a good, nice looking jacket that’s warm and useful.  If you’re looking for a cold-weather alternative to wearing a holster on your belt, definitely give it a serious look.

Rothco Concealed Carry Jacket is available on Amazon (click here)

Questions? Observations? Sound off in the comments!

Stay Safe!
-Drew

All photos by Drew

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Survival Clothing

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Survival Clothing One of the most overlooked aspects of survival has to be clothing. Most preppers already know they shouldn’t be wearing survival clothing such as camo or all-black outfits unless they want to become a target for both the unscrupulous angry mobs as well as the law enforcement… but there are a few more […]

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Survival Debate: Pocket Carry vs. Concealed Carry

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Survival Concealed Carry

Several years back I got into a discussion with my brother who lives back in the Midwest about concealed carry Best Concealed Carry Gunoptions.  At the time, I was living in Seattle and had obtained my concealed carry permit from the state of Washington and was carrying a subcompact .40 cal S&W.  My brother liked my choice of carry pistol but also stated that when he went out for the night or took his dog for a walk, he liked to just pop his KelTec .380 pistol into his pocket and walk out the door.  He liked the little .380 so much that it became his primary carry pistol in his front pocket.

By Jimmy C, a contributing author to Survival Cache & SHTFBlog

At the time I found that concept very interesting.  I was in agreement with my brother that there were times when carrying a subcompact or compact pistol was a pain in the ass.  For instance, when I just wanted to wear shorts, t-shirt and flipflops.  Shortly thereafter, we took the KelTec .380 to the range and I found the small pistol wanting.  My exact words were, “I wouldn’t trust my life or my family’s life to this thing.”  The sites on the KelTec were terrible at best and I think it might have even jammed up a few times.  After that experience, I decided against pocket carry.

Several years later I got into another discussion with a friend of mine who served as tank officer with the US Army.  SHTF concealed carry gunHe had a similar attitude as my brother’s about pocket carry but he also carried a compact pistol in certain situations.  His choice of pocket carry was also the KelTec .380 but his decision was a little bit more involved than my brother’s criteria.  He stated that his concealed carry decision came down to three factors:
1.  Threat Level
2.  Clothing
3.  Situation

For the first factor, Threat Level, at any elevated threat or concern my friend would upgrade his pistol, which in this case was the Glock 19.  This would include trips to the mall, grocery store, hiking, driving downtown, strip malls, gas stations, road trips, and many other daily activities.  Low threat levels might be walking the dog, back yard BBQ, bike ride, etc when he would just use the pocket carry .380.

The second factor, Clothing, is pretty self explanatory.  Sometimes if you are wearing a t-shirt and shorts on a hot Best Pocket Carry Pistolday, the last thing you want to add to your person is a belt, holster, and pistol.  The last factor, Situation, is sort of the X factor.  If you are going a place with a high police presence, such as dropping a friend off at a major airport, you might just go with pocket carry.  But if you are going to a backyard BBQ at a friend’s house who lives in a tough neighborhood, you might upgrade from pocket carry to concealed carry.

What do you think?  Do you have multiple options for concealed carry?  Or do you prefer one over the other – pocket carry or concealed carry?

Pocket Carry Pros:
Light weight
Less detectable
Quick draw from hand in pocket position
More clothing options
Easily concealable
Low recoil (small caliber pistol options)

Pocket Carry Cons:
Smaller Magazine Capacity
Less knock down capability (there are exceptions to this)
Some pant or short’s pockets are not designed well for pistols
Some pockets show pistol print

Concealed Carry Pros:
Higher magazine capacity
More options for personal defense calibers
Better fit for adult hands
More pistol options
Better sights

Concealed Carry Cons:
More weight
Sometimes requires a belt
More recoil (*higher caliber rounds)
Less clothing options

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Survival Gear

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If you are not content with sheltering in place during an emergency, then you need to think about what you will take with you when you leave — specifically, the weight of the gear you plan to grab and the length of time your gear will enable you to survive. Choose correctly, and you will […]

The post Survival Gear appeared first on Expert Prepper Blog.

Survival Gear Review: Fallkniven Jarl Knife

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Best Survival Knife

It wasn’t until I wore the Fallkniven Jarl on my belt for a while that I realized that the majority of the art we will Best Buscraft Knifehave with us during a bug out will be the art of our equipment.  Now while I find the Glock as sexy as any other gun, I do have a personal affinity for fixed blade knives since they represent thousands if not tens of thousands of years of human evolution.  In other words the Glock is a memory from my senior year of high school while the long knife is part of my genetic code.

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

Old World Craftsmanship for the Future Old World

The Fallkniven Jarl draws upon the craftsmanship and technology of Fallkniven we come to love and turned up the Best Bushcraft Knifevolume on while turning down the tactical implications. The Fallkniven Jarl is not a survival knife in the traditional sense, nor is it a massive blade with which you could hack and slash your way out of a world WROL. Instead, the Jarl is a precision instrument of impeccable quality, refined fit, and unusually high performance steel. In other words, the Fallkniven Jarl is cutting edge art for the bleeding edge of survival.

High Tech for Light and Dark Times

From the oil-treated curly birch handle, to the nickle-silver fittings to the unbelievably sharp blade. As much as I’mBest Survival Knife drawn towards tactical knives for their utilitarian design, I am confident that the finer points of humanity will backfill the tactical aspects of survival. While a Gerber LMF might be the one to grab when you race out the door into the fight, the Fallkniven Jarl is the one to grab when you want to represent what made dignified society in the first place.

Unfortunately the Walking Dead and its kin have taught the public that true survival will be with a blunt instrument.  Regardless of the Gerber product placement and its run of zombie tools (not to be confused with the truly deadly Zombie Tools made right here in my neck of the woods).

Also Read: Gerber eFECT Military Tool

What we have now is a failure to communicate the finer points of cutlery when it comes to the survival genre. Those in the mature hunting stage of life have plenty of fine cutting accoutrements to grace their belts and kits, but the younger set is still infatuated with mean looking knives regardless of their contribution to the collective finer points of life. And the onslaught of Chinese blades, whether knockoffs or one-offs, has left us with a confusing array of steel edges that do more then cut; they represent what we think of ourselves.

Survive or Thrive?

It might be controversial to say, but survival is more than surviving, it is thriving. And to thrive means excitement Best Bushcraft Knifeabout the tools we wrap our hands around every day. I learned long ago that half the fun of pushing the limits outdoors is trusting your equipment to be a full partner in the adventure. So now imagine that your choice in gear today must last you the rest of your life. I know the price of this blade can put it out of reach.  At a flat 300 Washingtons (current Amazon listing), make you ask if this really is the edge you need. However, when compared to custom builds, three bills is a steal. Some of my new favorite customs have base models more than this and the good ones exceed five Benjis just to play.

Don’t Hurt Yourself

The Fallkniven Jarl is a medium sized 3.8” clip point blade of 3G steel.  The name Jarl is Swedish for Duke or Earl, or in other words, the right hand man to the King… going back a thousand years that is. The Jarl is the middle child of three brothers, one smaller, one larger.  An inch shorter in blade length is the Fallkniven Juni, and the older, bigger bro is the Fallkniven Krut.  Not quite a fancy mythical name, but it does have a 6.2 inch blade. From what I can tell, krut means gunpowder. Interesting moniker for a knife.

The 3G steel of the Jarl’s convex ground blade is hardened to a Rockwell of 62. In some circles, this number wouldSurvival Knife Reviewbe on the high side for a field knife, perhaps too high. But that kind of thinking works better with lesser steels or for other knife purposes.  There is a perpetual trade off between edge holding hardness and sharpening hardness so when one overlays the duties of hunting onto this blade, it make perfect sense to have a very strong ultra sharp edge that may require more attention than most when in need of a bath and a shave.  I’d suggest that carriers of 3G blades extend the same courtesy they do as with their gas tanks.  In other words just as you keep your tank above half full and top it off whenever the wind changes direction, keep your 3G blades sharp by giving them a touch-up whenever the edge moves out of perfection. If you wait until you knife needs to be towed to the shop, the amount of bench time needed to find edge perfection will be plenty.  So to compare steel hardness it is important to weigh all the variables in the equation and not just the Rockwell number.

Another consideration is how you will use the knife.  Imaging you slip the Jarl from its warm sheath in order provide to an exit for the guts of your deer. If the blade only contacts organic material, then great.  However, if your critter happened to give up the ghost in the mud or sand, your knife may encounter small but formidable obstacles that will do more than dull the edge. It might actually chip it.  3G steel has a great reputation for durability in such environments, but getting the dings out of 3G will make anyone want an electric belt sander like the Work Sharp.

One in the Hand

If you were to grab a cylinder of clay and squeeze it like you would a knife handle, you would end up with a knife Best Survival Knifehandle in almost the same shape as the Fallkniven Jarl’s knife handle. A slightly barrel-shaped grip swollen in the middle but just the right amount of constriction at the ends. To ensure a the smooth handle doesn’t end abruptly with your fingers continuing onto the blade, a subtle nickel-silver guard stops your hand mid-slide keeping it firmly where it should be.

The curly birch wood handle is about as far from textured as naturally possible. While some knives advertise their grips as grippy or their scales as scaley, the Fallkniven Jarl is just the opposite, at least when dry. While it could be argued that a silky smooth handle is not the most desirable of knife traits, especially with a fairly directional clip point blade, the feel and hand rotations of the Fallkniven Jarl’s grip is nothing short of magical. But when a little sweat, blood or water enters the mix, the grip gets a little grippier.

Related: Fallkniven A1 Review

One of the qualities of wooden knife handles is that wood has low temperature conduction.  Unlike dense handle materials, the wood warms quickly to the comforting embrace of palm and fingers.  And like other hand tools, there is just some primal attraction about wood compared to modern synthetics.  But primal does mean care which is why many modern designs have evolved beyond natural fibers.

The clip point blade has an otherworldly sheen that proves that Fallkniven has been busy making this knife more Best Survival Knifethan special. Normally clip points better serve the hunter crowd over the bushcraft folks. In this case, Jarl’s belly is full of life and will process wood better than most. The sharp point can pose a snagging problem in lightly trained fingers, but the cost of this blade should prevent it from landing in the wrong hands.

The spine of the blade has a sharp 90 degree edge that combined with the steel hardness easily scratches the hell out of any ferrocerium rod it contacts. The unsharpened swedge that occupies about half of the upper side of the blade leaves a smaller length of spine compared to traditional bushcraft-specific rides.

Like all other Fallkniven knives, the Jarl arrived more than shaving sharp. The build quality is exceptional and sheath was free of even minor imperfections. That didn’t last long however as the few days of hard forest wear challenged the leather’s self-healing properties.

Holstering

The minimalist sheath for the Jarl is a piece of fine leather artwork complete with dangler. The highly consuming Best Survival Knifefriction fit of the sheath confines the knife in all positions except an inverted heavy blow. Extracting the Jarl from its home is done with thumb-forefinger grip either all the way, or until enough of the grip is exposed to slide down the birch for a firmer grip. The Jarl can be dropped into the sheath for temporary holding, or pushed down into its upright and locked position for serious carry.

For those uninitiated to carrying danglers, they are reminiscent of Deputy Best Bushcraft KnifeRick’s Python carry in The Walking Dead TV show. The sheath, or holster in Rick’s case, swings freely on a D ring that allows a fairly large amount of movement compared to the common belt-loop variety. Danglers are a throwback to a simpler time when carrying a knife and gun was part of normal life. They ride lower. They swing freely. They don’t hide at all. What dangler sheaths do well is provide excellent service when sitting as well as standing. And danglers also provide an easy deployment and resheathing depending on the particular design. For riding horses, driving cars, and even sitting on a stump around a campfire, the dangler is a fine choice. Maybe the best choice. No thigh straps needed.

Final Cut

Normally survival situations have little room for creature comforts. But that is only if the features providing the comfort come at a cost. In the case of the Fallkniven Jarl, the only cost is upfront. So when you have to rely on your gear as much as your pulse, don’t forget the finer points of life. Those points that remind us all why we will hang on and fight towards the future. There is no turning back when the downhill slide begins, so how you prep your kits now is what you will have then. Me? I have some useful and deadly things that remind me of just how good we once had it. And the Fallkniven Jarl is one of them.

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Creating Emergency Preparedness Kits

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Several of the most frequently asked questions in emergency preparedness have to do with kits: “Check out my kit–What am I missing?” for example, or “Help! My bugout bag is too heavy!” When I put together emergency preparedness kits, I go through three mental checklists. These checklists are flexible enough that they are useful whether I am building an EDC, an Altoids tin kit, a Nalgene bottle kit, a get-home bag, a bugout bag, or a 72-hour kit. All I need to do is adapt the requirements for the space and weight constraints I’m facing.

pskThe Rule of Threes

One can survive for:

For air, I might consider such items as a gas mask, an N95-rated particulate respirator mask, and first-aid treatments for bleeding. For shelter, I think in terms of starting a fire, keeping warm, keeping dry, and replacing electrolytes. For water I consider what containers I might want and how to disinfect and filter water for drinking. Because food is something I can go without for weeks, I not only pack food as space permits, but I also think about getting food–purchasing (so cash), fishing, or hunting, etc.–and also I think about what happens when eliminating bodily waste at this point.

Second, I run through David Canterbury’s 10 C’s of Survival.

David Canterbury’s 10 C’s of Survival

The 5 “must have’s:”

  1. Cutting tool (knives, saws, razors, etc.)
  2. Combustion (ignition, tinder, fuel)
  3. Cover (tents, raincoats, ponchos, blankets, garbage bags, survival blankets)
  4. Container (canisters, bladders, pouches, etc. for water and cooking)
  5. Cordage (rope, 550 paracord, thread)

The 5 “should have’s:”

  1. Candle (illumination)
  2. Cotton
  3. Compass (compass, maps, GPS)
  4. Cargo tape (duct tape)
  5. Canvass Needle (AKA sail needle)

I like to add another 5 “nice to have’s:”

  1. Conflict (firearms, pepper spray, batons, etc.)
  2. Communication (radio, whistle, marking tape, Sharpie pen, paper, signal mirror, etc.)
  3. Constitution (first aid, medicine, wellness)
  4. Connectors (sewing kit, superglue, safety pins)
  5. Cells (batteries, solar power)

Third, I make sure I can document what Shane Steinkamp calls my IESSEP. This can be documented on paper or some sort of flash memory.

IESSEP

  • Identity
  • Education
  • Skill Set
  • Earning Potential

I travel quite a bit, and having an electronic copy of my passport, drivers license, birth certificate, etc. could come in handy if the original documents are stolen or not available. In the case that I can’t go home again, it makes great economic sense to be able to document my degrees, certifications, skills, etc. and to be able to produce a résumé. I generally include a collection of precious family photos on any flash drive as well.

In terms of quality, I find myself going two ways. On the one hand, many of my kits are only meant to get me through a few days or so. Combine that with the fact that like many preppers I have many kits (OK, maybe I have too many kits), and it’s no wonder the gear in my kits is not necessarily top quality; it doesn’t have to last me for the rest of my life, just for those few days. On the other hand, if I am going to be trusting my life to the gear in my kits, I want the quality to be high enough that I can rely on it if needed.

What am I missing?

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7 Everyday Legal Weapons

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First time I went to the Statue of Liberty, I came close to getting arrested. I was with two active duty military friends. We passed through the post 9-11 metal detectors, and alarm bells went off. What happened next still makes me smile, years later. And it’s got me to thinking about everyday carry legal […]

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Applying the Ten Essentials concept to EDC

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Much has been written about the
“Ten essentials”. The Ten Essentials were developed by a group of climbers and
adventurers called “The Mountaineers” in 1930. It’s a list of ten items to
carry with you in the backcountry to be better prepared for any accident or
event that you may come across to better help you survive. In the future, Ill cover EDC’s further and go over my EDC.
            Today we
are going to incorporate these to an Everyday Carry Scenario. Here is the list
of the Classic Ten Essentials:
  1. Map
  2. Compass
  3. Sunglasses and sunscreen
  4. Extra clothing
  5. Headlamp/flashlight
  6. First-aid supplies
  7. Fire starter
  8. Matches
  9. Knife
  10. Extra food
Now
the adaption:
  1. Map-most of the population
    carries some type of smart phone that either has GPS function or Google
    maps access
  2. Compass-Also a function most
    smart phones have…if not wearing a button compass on your watch strap can
    facilitate this
  3. Sunglasses and Sunscreen-I
    wear sunglasses religiously as most folks should, sunscreen if you so
    desire
  4. Extra Clothing-This is a
    common sense item, if it’s cold outside dress for it. Carry a jacket
  5. Headlamp/flashlight-Carry
    Microlight on your keychain, or a Mag lite in your bag or laptop case
  6. First-aid supplies-Always
    carry any medication that you may be taking on a regular basis, Carry in
    your bag or vehicle a small first aid kit
  7. Fire starter-Disposable
    lighter
  8. Matches-not important, due to
    carrying lighter
  9. Knife-small Swiss Army knife
    on keychain, tactical folder, or Multi-tool on belt or in bag
  10. Extra Food-This could be
    protein bars or snacks in your bag or vehicle. Also I would suggest water
As
you can see, there are many modern day tools and items we carry to get us
through the day. This list is just a reference and supplement and change as
your needs may vary.