Colt Mark IV Series 70 Review

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by Nicholas

Even those who aren’t familiar with guns should at least have heard of the 1911 before.  It’s one of the most popular and classic handguns of all time, and while there are many variations of the 1911 produced, perhaps the most iconic one of all is the G.I-style of M1911A1 that was used by American soldiers in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.

The G.I style of M1911A1 is notable for its short trigger, arched mainspring housing, small sights, short thumb safety, and small grip safety.  This is exactly what the Colt Mark VI Series 70 is: an almost identical replica of the original M1911A1 inside and out.  It’s not the most modern looking 1911 by any means, but it is easily the most classic.

Note the use of the term ‘almost identical’ replica instead of ‘identical.’  There are a few minor differences between the original M1911A1 and the Series 70.  To understand what these differences are, we need to go over the history of the two firearms.

HISTORY OF THE SERIES 70

Colt had been producing the M1911A1 for the military for many years when they decided to release it to civilians under the name the Colt Government Model.  To improve accuracy on the Government Model, Colt eventually modified the barrel bushing, and the new pistol was deemed the Colt Government Model Mark IV Series 70.

The Series 70 is also available in blued or stainless steel, in contrast to the M1911A1 that was produced in a dull gray parkerized finish.  The thumb safety is also slightly longer on the Series 70 as well, whereas it is distinctively shorter on the M1911A1.  The markings between the two pistols are also obviously different, although they both sport the Colt name and logo.

SERIES 70 VS. SERIES 80

The Series 70 is also different from the Series 80 1911, which are far more popular today, as well.  The Series 80 is simply a 1911 that’s has been installed with an internal firing pin block system.  It’s possible for a Series 70 to fire on its when dropped or thrown against a solid surface, but the firing pin block on the Series 80 prevents this.

One may wonder why you should buy a Series 70 if the 80 is the safer gun; the answer is that the firing pin increases the weight of the trigger pull on the Series 80.  One of the biggest appeals about the 1911 in general is its light and crisp trigger, and while the trigger on the Series 80 is by no means bad, it is definitely more pleasurable to shoot on the Series 70.  Furthermore, with more parts in the gun, there is also a slightly greater possibility for the Series 80 to have a breakage than the Series 70. In this regard, the Series 70 is regarded by some fans of the 1911 as the ‘original’ 1911 firing system, and is why it is still in production.

The outside features of the Series 70 and Series 80s have no difference whatsoever.  Even though Series 70s ship with an arched mainspring and short trigger, and Series 80 with a flat mainspring and long trigger like the original M1911, the two can be customized vice versa.  The only difference, therefore, is in the design of the internal safety system.

AESTHETICS

As mentioned above, the Mark IV Series 70 is available in either a blued or stainless steel finish.  While blued may look like a more classic finish, there’s no denying that stainless steel is the more rust and corrosion resistant finish.  If you’re going to be using your Series 70 as a range gun and will simply keep it in your safe, go with what you prefer, but if you plan on using your pistol as a duty, hunting, or SHTF sidearm, you should strongly consider the stainless over the bluing.

One interesting thing of note on the Series 70 is how while the finish is polished on the side of the gun, it is a duller matte finish on the top of the slide and on the bottom side of the frame.  This holds true for both the blued and the stainless steeled variations of the gun.

The Series 70 ships with beautiful rosewood grips, for both the blued and stainless versions, but these can be easily swapped out for any grips of your choosing.  The grips on this particular Series 70 have been swapped out for ones with the nickel Colt logo in the middle.

Colt 1911 Series 70

SIGHTS

One of the letdowns on the Series 70, however, is the sights.  They’re simply small black sights without white dots, and as a result, can be difficult to line up naturally.  If you’re planning on doing some extensive shooting with your Series 70, you may be wise to consider having the sights swapped out with ones that are larger or more visible.

 

SHOOTING

As with any 1911, shooting the Series 70 is a blast.  1911s are heavy, all-steel pistols, and this helps to dramatically soften the recoil of the powerful .45 ACP round.  As a result, new shooters should not fear firing the Series 70.

The Series 70 is also very well balanced and thanks to the design of the grip, it points very naturally in the hand.  This pistol is equally as fun to simply weigh in your hand as it is to fire it on the range.

Accuracy on the Series 70 is excellent for a variety of reasons: the natural point of aim, fine balance, soft recoil, light trigger pull, and the fixed barrel design (in contrast to the tilting barrel of more modern pistols).

Reliability on the Series 70 is also excellent.  Most 1911s need a break-in period in order to begin functioning reliably; in the 250 round break-in period of this particular Series 70, only one malfunction was encountered.  Afterwards, the pistol has functioned absolutely flawlessly.

Last but not least, the Series 70 is also a very smooth weapon.  Everything about it from racking the slide to pulling the trigger can be done without any grit encountered whatsoever.

CONCLUSION

All in all, the Series 70 is a very faithful reproduction of the original M1911A1 while also delivering on build quality, durability, reliability, and accuracy.  Not only will it be a fun range gun, but it’s also suitable for home defense or as a sidearm in a survival situation.

The New Remington 1911R1 10MM Hunter

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1_1911R1_10mm_hunter_featured

2_remington_10mmThe Remington Arms Company began making firearms in 1816.  Specifically, the founder Eliphalet Remington made his first handgun in that year.  Later, in 1830, the original factory armory building was constructed in Ilion, New York.  Other buildings were added in 1854 and again in 1875. As you can well imagine with an arms company that grew to be such a comprehensive manufacturer of firearms, the total history is complex and multi-faceted.  It would take a book to outline it all, and in fact there are many books on the Remington Arms Company for those interested in such things as firearms history.  The study of Remington is a good one.  

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

Remington Arms just celebrated their 200th Anniversary last year.  The company remains in a strong market position, though arms making these days is in a constant mode of flux as the markets and politics constantly changes.  And Remington has changed with the times, too.

Perhaps Remington is best known for their long guns including their benchmark bolt action rifle, the Model 700, as well as the 1100 Shotgun which became the 11-87 with enhancements, and their quintessential pump action shotgun, the 870.  But since 1816, Remington has manufactured countless models of handguns, rifles, and shotguns, not to mention ammunition, their famous Bullet knives, and other trademarked accessories.  

Remington was also a huge manufacturer of military arms from the Civil War’s 1861 revolver, various Derringers, pocket pistols, Calvary 1875 Army Revolvers, Rolling Block pistols and rifles, numerous percussion rifles, the US 1911 Remington UMC pistol, and rifles for World Wars I and II.  Their production of sporting arms is likewise legendary.  Their imagination and engineering creativity continues today.  

Recent Remington Renditions

3_remington_10mmRemington Arms Company has never been an industrial firearms manufacturing company to be satisfied with sitting on their laurels.  In just the past few years, Remington has gotten back into the pocket pistol, self-defense, personal protection and concealed handgun weapons business despite how crowded that marketplace is these days.  

First, Remington brought out their new .380 ACP semi-auto pocket pistol dubbed the RM380.  Next, they produced a pocket sized 9mm labeled the R51.  Finally, is their newest rendition, the RP9, a full sized personal protection 9mm that holds a fully stocked 18-round magazine.  

Check Out: Hiding Home Guns in Plain Sight

But along the way and besides these pistol introductions, Remington has stormed the classic 1911 pistol market with numerous variations on the 1911 frame theme including government models, commander models, enhanced versions, threaded barrel models, and more.  The 1911s come in blued steel and stainless versions in .45 ACP with limited models offered in 9mm and 40 S&W.

One of Remington’s latest 1911 renditions is the 1911R1 10mm Hunter Long Slide.  It is their first entry with a fully dedicated hunting 1911 version as well as a first semi-auto pistol chambered for the awesome 10mm round.  It’s not only handsome, it is totally purposeful for hunting, prepping, survival, and protection.

The Remington 1911R1 Long Slide

4_remington_10mmLong slide?  Yep.  Out of the box, the very first thing you notice if you are a true 1911 aficionado is that the muzzle tips over a little quicker than usual in the grip of your hand.  Why, you may ask?  Well, because this slide is six inches long, one inch more than a standard 1911 slide.  This extra inch of barrel and slide contributes to a number of enhancement performance features for the 1911R1.  Catalog specifications for this new 1911 besides the obvious six inch tube and slide includes the chambering of the 10mm Auto round.  The pistol’s magazine capacity is 8+1 rounds.  The barrel itself is stainless steel, six grooves with a 1:16 inch left hand twist.  Trigger weight pull is set at around 4.75 pounds.  Some say too heavy but it is completely manageable.

The trigger is a 3-hole design.  There is a beavertail grip and ambidextrous thumb safeties, a very nice feature.  The extractor is of the HD heavy duty type.  The pistol’s grips are the VZ Operator II type for durability, long lasting wear with aggressive checkering for firm gripping.  

The overall length of the pistol is 9.5 inches.  The gun’s carry weight is 41 ounces.  That is slightly over 2.5 pounds, so it is no lightweight.  The sights are fully adjustable, a match type with a serrated rear sight panel to reduce glare.  The front sight is a post type with an orange-red fiber optic insert.  They are highly visible and easy to line up.  The accessory rail under the frame can handle mounting a light or laser.

The gun itself is stainless steel, but it is factory finished in a black matte PVD-DLC coating.  PVD is a “physical vapor deposition” coating and the DLC is a “diamond like carbon” coating that provides a low friction factor plus a high micro-hardness feature.  So what does all that mean?  It means the metal or pistol itself is virtually impervious to moisture sink impact.  The DLC coating makes the moving parts of the pistol slick running.  

Though the factory guns are black matte as mentioned, there is a special version available now through Davidson’s Gallery of Guns.  This 1911R1 model comes with a special PVD oil rubbed bronze finish.  The VZ Operator II grips on this special pistol are a bronze reddish brown color.  It is not only unique but particularly beautiful.  These pistols should become collector’s models, but still with every bit of utility as the black versions.  Davidson’s also offers a full lifetime replacement warranty on guns bought from them.  Good deal, Lucille, as BB used to say.  

Factory delivery accessories includes a cool collectable Remington green box.  In the box is a fitted foam insert for the pistol, two silver chrome magazines, a cable gun lock with two keys, a hard plastic barrel bushing wrench, a 200th year Remington sticker, and a factory owner’s manual.  

The 10mm Auto Story

5_remington_10mmIn 1983 the earth shook.  The 10mm Auto and its first pistol, Crockett’s Miami Vice Bren Ten was introduced.  The initial load used a 200 grain fully jacketed truncated cone bullet with a muzzle velocity of 1200 fps.  The energy rating was set at 635 foot-pounds.  This meant it was more powerful than the .357 Magnum and the rather lackluster .41 Magnum police load.  

Related: How Much Ammo is Enough for SHTF? 

The Bren pistol and the 10mm came from development work by Jeff Cooper and his buddies trying to produce a new cartridge being touted as the ideal combat weapon’s load.  Some federal agencies adapted the 10mm, but in rather short order, users began to complain of recoil and training issues.  Ironically, the 10mm case was later shortened to create the .40 S&W, which is now nearly defunct in its own right.

The 10mm remains a good choice for defensive work and small game hunting up to deer sized game at reasonable ranges.  Colt, Glock, and Kimber still offer pistols chambered for the 10mm in addition to Remington’s new 1911R1 Hunter Long Slide.  

Factory ammunition is available from Hornady, Remington, Sig-Sauer, American Eagle, Armscor, Buffalo Bore, Cor-Bon, Double Tap, PMC, Prvi Partizan and Sellier & Bellot.  Bullet weights vary from 135 to 220 grains.  The standard is a 180 grain jacketed hollow point bullet.  Plenty of reloading supplies are also offered for home brewed 10mm loads.  

The Remington 1911R1 Hunter’s Purpose

6_remington_10mmSo, what is this new Remington pistol and the powerful 10mm Auto round to be used for?  There is no denying that the 10mm is a hummer, but having worked with a 10mm pistol for a couple years, I find it no more difficult to control than a full powered load in a .45 ACP.  If the .45 Auto is not for you, then the 10mm may not be either.  But try it before you dismiss it wholesale.  

In this Remington 1911R1 long slide delivery platform package, the 10mm is even more tamed with the extra inch of slide and barrel.  The increased sighting radius of this handgun also makes getting on and staying on target much easier.  The weight of this pistol dissipates both excessive recoil and muzzle blast.  

I look forward to further testing.  The bronze model came too late for my fall hunting seasons to get the new pistol into the white-tailed deer hunting stands.  Next year will not come soon enough for me.  

I have experience with the 10mm and feel confident it is suitable for hunting and gathering at stalking ranges under 100 yards.  I am not a proponent of long range shooting with a handgun or a rifle.  In a hidden ground blind, or up in a tree stand over a woods lane or food plot, I fully expect the 10mm to perform well, and the new Remington 1911R1 Long Slide even better.  

Personal defense?  Once the shooter-gun handler gets accustomed to firing the 10mm and targeting with a 10mm handgun of any brand, then for sure this combination will deter threats with authority.  So far, the edge in this regard fully goes to this new Remington.  

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How to Make a Survival Bow

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How to Make a Survival Bow Survival bows can be made from various materials. I have not personally shot the PVC creations by many YouTubers but I have to imagine they would be capable of taking small game and perhaps some bow fishing as well. Still, there is something incredible about a hand crafted bow …

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The post How to Make a Survival Bow appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.

Survival Gear Review: The Council Tools Apocalaxe

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Featured_Council_Tools_ApocalAxe_multi-too-axe_ulu_grip

First of all, regardless of the name, this Council Tool ApocalAxe has uses well before the apocalypse arrives. And while it would certainly make a formidable and handy zombie stopping weapon (seems killing a zombie is redundant), the ApocalAxe will work fine on those that haven’t had the privilege of dying the first time.

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

1_Council_Tools_ApocalAxe_multi-too-axe_blade_handgripMade of hammer-forged steel, the ApocalAxe is far stronger than stamped steel that would save costs and simplify manufacturing. The ApocalAxe on the other hand has its iron grain aligned through being smashed with 20 tons of force while glowing red hot. Although the forging process might produce superior strength, it is a little rough around the edges from a finishing standpoint. But as a fan of hand-forged Swedish axes, the spit and polish of modern high speed manufacturing is easily overshadowed by performance and durability.

Thor’s Hammer

3_Council_Tools_ApocalAxe_multi-too-axe_leather_sheath-caseCouncil Tools has been forging American-made cutting, digging and striking tools since 1886 when John Pickett Council founded the company. Based in Lake Waccamaw, North Carolina, Council Tool has been instrumental in not only forging some of the best US-made traditional tools, but also in the design of new lines of tools for specific purposes. For instance, when the US Forest Service approached Council Tool in the 1930s to create forest fire fighting implements, one outcome was the Fire Rake, or catalog number LW-12 in case you want to order one.

Read Also: Estwing Survival Tomahawk 

The ApocalAxe contains a set of essential tools and grip choices, and one not-so essential bottle opener. However, the near-six-inch cutting blade, the hammer head, gut hook, and the pry bar end are truly go-to essentials of any large survival multi-tool.

Home Front

6_Council_Tools_ApocalAxe_multi-too-axe_forged_gut_hookThe domestic chores the ApocalAxe can handle need little introduction, but the survival elements of the ApocalAxe cannot be underestimated. On the domestic side, the blade is both a hatchet and a knife. An Ulu knife to be more specific. With a gripping surface above the blade edge, it is a direct and complete transfer of precise force from the hand to the cutting surface. Traditional knives have the blade leveraged from a distance, but the Ulu is more like brass knuckles.

9_Council_Tools_ApocalAxe_multi-too-axe_compared_Estwing_hatchetAs a hatchet, the ApocalAxe behaves itself quite well. The head weight of the ApocalAxe is low compared to axes with edge lengths this side. Well, actually, I don’t have a traditional axe let alone hatchet that has an edge anywhere near this size. In fact the only edge close to this is the Timahawk, another tool with tremendous survival leanings. Even my 35” Gransfors Bruks Felling Axe has a blade a full inch shorter than the ApocalAxe.  On the far end of the main blade is a smaller blade in the form of a guthook/seatbelt cutter. Due to the placement of the grip handle forged into the main blade area, this gives great purchase and tremendous leverage when using the gut hook. The grip also provides the same advantage but in the opposite direction when applied to the main blade. This is much like the classic Ulu Knife that has provided Eskimos and vintage hunters a fabulous knife design for meat slicing, light chopping, and skinning.

A hammerhead is found opposite the main blade. It is smaller than a traditional framing hammer face. In fact, one would have to drop down to something in the 12 ounce claw hammer range before finding a similar hammerhead size. Notably, the head is also quite smooth, and could use some texture if pounding nails is a major use of the ApocalAxe. But for general pounding, breeching, and occasional self defense, the hammer head works quite well as-is.

Another feature of the hammerhead is as handguard keeping a secure fist on the forward grip. When using the blade as an Ulu, or yanking on the gut hook, the web of your hand butts up against the neck of the hammerhead.

Pry Me

10_Council_Tools_ApocalAxe_multi-too-axe_bottle_openerThe southern end of the ApocalAxe features a lightly tapered prybar edge, a bottle opener, and a lanyard hole. In between the main edge and the pry bar is a rubberized grip almost five inches long. And hidden under the grip are a series of holes that will make excellent paracord anchor points should the apocalypse outlast the rubber-covered handle.  This would be a good time to address the overbuilt and uber functional sheath. Similar to many full-cover axe sheaths, the ApocalAxe cover is a full leather, fully stitched complete cover with no less than eight steel rivets. Belt slots outfit the back of the sheath along with a single D-ring to use in a dangling configuration. But the real advantage is that with the blade cover on,  full access to the hammer head and pry bar features are accessible and encouraged. A fold-over flap with a single snap secures the cover.

In the field, the ApocalAxe chops very well. Not quite a dedicated axe, but plenty good enough. In fact, for general chopping chores, the ApocalAxe could easily be a go-to hatchet, no questions asked. Even though the blade is on the larger side, it chops like a smaller edge in average sized workpieces. If you put the entire blade to work such as on a larger diameter branch or trunk, you would quickly hit the end of the leverage of this tool. But again, these are not intended functions of the ApocalAxe.

When choking up on the blade using the Ulu-like handle, the axe behaves better when punched or swiped. Pounding straight down into wood does little since the small amount of force is distributed over too large an area.

As a hammer, the ApocalAxe pounds with more force than you usually need with a head this size. Common outdoor hammer uses are nails and tent stakes, but as a weapon, this is pretty good choice. It is also the ApocalAxe surface of choice for breaking glass, windshields, and lightweight breeching. The axe blade is for chopping. The hammer is for pounding and breaking.

As mentioned, the gut hook does an admirable job especially after a touch up with file and ceramic rod. Council Tool knows that those serious about their edged tools often prefer to do the final detail sharpening. While the blade of the ApocalAxe comes sharp enough to get the adventure going, power users will want to hone the edge to their preference. However the gut hook could use a polish no matter who uses it. Out of the box, the gut hook had a tough time with elk hide. But a few minutes with a file, stone, and ceramic, the ApocalAxe could be yanked through thick hide and seat belts alike.

11_Council_Tools_ApocalAxe_multi-too-axe_gut_hook_elk_hideSince hunting season is still a ways off, I went to work on a roadkill to see how the ApocalAxe worked processing game. Well, gamey game, that is. Like the guthook, the main blade would do well for a customized sharpening for specific tasks whether wood or meat. Not that the factory edge wasn’t sharp, but it was not at the level of sharp that I am used to handling.

The prybar aspect is as functional as any quality forged 16 inch straight pry bar. And “forged” is the key word here. According to James Elkins, a vice president at the company, “Council Tool Designed this tool to be a highly reliable, tough, and multi-functional tool that does quite a few jobs efficiently and well and it is again the only tool in its category that is drop forged out of a single 4140 high carbon steel billet, heat treated and tempered so that it will not break or bend.”

Stamps are for Licking

12_Council_Tools_ApocalAxe_multi-too-axe_on backpackCompared to some of my other stamped steel options, this Council Tools ApocalAxe is vastly stronger, and you can easily feel it when in use. In fact, I would like to reference Snap On again. Tools might look the same, but the forging, heat treating, and especially the very iron from which it was birthed, makes all the difference in the world. And there are plenty of YouTube videos of catastrophic failure to backup my personal experiences. A human under an adrenaline rush due to escape, evasion, defense, or panic can easily deliver enough force to fail a foot-and-a-half pry bar. Heck, even without adrenaline I’ve bent spud bars that are inch-thick circular steel about five feet long. I bent Estwing axes, bent large screwdrivers, bent crowbars, and snapped sockets. I’ve broken pipes with a wrench, crushed oil filters, and snapped off lug nuts. So unless your survival tool has that final 10% stronger everything, you literally won’t know it’s limitation until you actually need it. I mean really need it.

Likewise, if your intended needs may include some precision in your prybaring then the somewhat coarse taper on the pry bar tip could use some thinning. Now I am comparing the ApocalAxe to my go-to pry bars made by Snap On. But those are dedicated pry bars and have little use elsewhere. Council Tools thoughtfully ships the ApocalAxe with the option to remove some material if desired which is infinitely easier than to add missing iron.

Check Out: Building an Emergency Shelter With no Tools

4_Council_Tools_ApocalAxe_multi-too-axe_bottle_opener_Magpul_beerFinally there is the bottle opener. The one on the ApocalAxe is fun to use simply because it has such a brute force lever arm behind it. It opens bottles as well as any good bottle opener, and just might displace my favorite opener namely the Magpul Armorer’s Wrench. But opening bottles is not the only use for this tool. The prying feature of a bottle opener can be applied to anything else that needs prying and has a similar lip geometry as a bottlecap.

Don’t Wait

While the ApocalAxe will certainly be an exceptional heavyweight multitool for darker times, the ApocalAxe is also a necessary car, truck, or bug out tool for both escape and rescue. And should the zombies attack, the ApocalAxe will make a fine defensive and evasion tool. But seriously, zombies are little more than a metaphor, and EMPs are (hopefully) a fictional vehicle for prepper fiction. But non-fiction vehicles often need a little assistance when bent or rolled over. Glass needs breaking. And wood needs chopping. So while the ApocalAxe might have some heavy overtones in its name, you don’t need an apocalypse to put this essential tool to work.

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Survival Gear Review: Estwing Survival Tomahawk and Double Bit Axe

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1_featured_Estwing_EBTA_Tomahawk_EBDBA_Double_BIt_Axe_stump

2_Estwing_EBTA_Tomahawk_EBDBA_Double_BIt_Axe_head_compare_3The company Estwing makes some of the most ubiquitous and diversified hammers, camp axes and hatchets ever to roll around the bed of a pickup. Ernest Estwing’s steel tools are the industry standard from framing hammers to camp axes, and the ones we grew up with and loved for their simplicity and durability since 1923. But tomahawks? Well, let’s take a closer look. The Estwing brand is an American made all-steel uber-strong set of striking tools from pry bars to drilling hammers, to camp hatchets, to full-sized axes. And two diversions from the traditional line of swinging tools includes some even more traditional tomahawk-like tools.

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

These are single-bladed, pick iron variants of the same tools the Algonquian Indians used to crack skulls and carve up meat before the Europeans came to North America. Jumping into the 21st century, the tomahawk, and even “tactical tomahawk,” have entered the mainstream bug out vernacular with a vengeance. To the point that any major knife or axe maker worth his or her survival salt makes a tomahawk or tomahawk-ish hand tool. I included the “ish” because one of the earth’s premier axe maker failed to market a “tomahawk” but does have an excessively expensive “Outdoor Axe” that easily mimics a tomahawk for most practical purposes. But enough of the Sweed.

Related: 12 Things You Should Know About Knives

In Estwing’s lineup of tools that fall under the axe/hatchet variety are a series of tomahawks that two head designs and a series of colors and handle options. Actually, Estwing only lists one head as a tomahawk but I am lumping their double-bit axe into the tomahawk category due to it’s size. I consider double-bit axes as those twice-as-big lumber tools that Paul Bunyan would have slung over his shoulder, not a two-pound 17-inch double-headed hatchet. So I’ll take the liberty and consider them together and both in the tomahawk family.

Two Bits

3_Estwing_EBTA_Tomahawk_EBDBA_Double_BIt_Axe_chopping_doubleThe double bit axe has two of the same edges. Often double bits are ground at different angles for two distinct chopping experiences. But this is more of a case of redundancy than duality. For throwing, camp chores, and general small-scale slicing, a double-edged axe like this works great. Very great, in fact. This is certainly not a felling axe, but it would easily be a go-to camp axe, or bug out tool. Like all Estwing tools I’ve had the privilege to use, the double bit axe preforms like a champ. Maybe not the world champion, but certainly a national champion.

The thin-thickness of the Estwing double bit places this tool outside the common axe/hatchet/wood splitting duties where lateral forces are as important as downward chopping forces. So more angled chopping is needed if using the Estwing double-edged axe for traditional firewood preparation. Throwing, on the other hand is truly a forte compared to those wood chopping tools with little personality.

Tom-A-Hawk

The Estwing Tomahawk is a precision chopper. The balance is wonderful, and the grip to blade ratio leans heavily toward small work. Small accurate work to be more specific. The proportions of this tomahawk’s design supports a fine woodworking talent that make the Estwing Tomahawk a great piece of camp gear for minor woodworking, kindling chores, and even some kitchen duties.

5_Estwing_EBTA_Tomahawk_EBDBA_Double_BIt_Axe_choppingUnlike the Double Bit axe, the Estwing Tomahawk has a vastly different back end. Protruding opposite the Estwing Tomahawk’s main feature is a powerful spike that is as deadly as is it is functional. When you need a hole in something fast, the Estwing Tomahawk will deliver with the speed and force of a quality geology hammer. The pick is not sharp like a blade, but more of a blunt sharp, to coin an oxymoron. But anything organic that gets in its way is history. Between the two, I really like the precision chopping of the Estwing Tomahawk over the double bit axe. But if I was to carry one in my truck for camping duties, it would be a toss up with a leaning towards the double bit. Luckily I don’t have to choose. And given the relatively low street prices, you might not need to either. But no matter which Estwing you carry, you will be able to push it to your limit before reaching it’s limit.

Check Out: How to Pick the Best Personal Protection Firearm

Overall, both tools are in the thinish metal Estwing tradition with excellent rubberized shock-absorbing grips. They lean more towards value than brute strength or selective steel. But for 95% of users, those potential limitations are not limitations. So when it comes to outfitting your bug out bag or bug out vehicle, I can whole-heartedly suggest either of these Estwing tools. And even another one. But that is for later review. Stay tuned.

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How To Protect Your Ammo Stockpile

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Even though you may make every effort to become self sufficient, there are some things that cannot be made without a good bit of help from modern tools and equipment. Some of the best ammunition in the world will no longer be available once society collapses and the technology and skills are lost for making it.

Under these circumstances, you may feel that it is best to store away as much ammo as possible. At the very least, if you have a bigger stockpile left, there is a chance that you or your survivors can command greater resources once societies begin to form again.

In the meantime, storing ammo properly is also very important so that you will be prepared for smaller emergencies that require the use of the items in your stockpile.

Here are some basic guidelines for keeping your ammunition safe in a world where new technologies may make it a bit more complicated than expected.

Making Your Ammo Invisible

Ground penetrating radars, X-ray scanners, satellites, and other devices make it very hard to hide metallic objects even in your own home or in the ground beneath it. This, in turn, means that making ammo invisible will be harder than you may have expected. Here are some things you can try:

  • All of your ammo should be impossible to trace to you. When you buy ammo, always pay cash and only divulge your identity to people that you can trust. Never buy all your ammo in one place. If someone is watching your purchases at one location, they may not be able to gauge your stockpile as easily if you buy elsewhere.
  • Pack your ammo into smaller cans that can be harder to spot by scanners from above or at ground level. Smaller boxes can be hidden among metal pipes or other “scrap” as long as the metals in question are similar to those found in the bullets. If there is a reason why you would store away bullets with aluminum or steel casings over brass ones, this would be it!
  • If you purchase a square or rectangular shaped ammo can, it may be very easy to spot on some scanners. You may want to make unevenly shaped boxes from polymer or other materials that will keep the ammo dry, cool, and safe. When using polymer, do not forget to cover the outer surface of the container with rocks, bits of metal, or anything else that will help scramble the signature of the ammunition hidden within the can.
  • You may also be able to find paints and other materials that will absorb scanner signals or reflect them in a way that masks the presence of the ammo can. You will need to have a good idea of the technologies used to scan for ammo or metal, and then figure out which coatings will best suit your needs. While you may be tempted to try and jam scanners, the consistent failure of these devices in certain areas may draw unwanted attention. It is truly better to make the signature of your cache as small as possible so that it is overlooked or mistaken for something else.  Just remember that it can be harder to fool modern computers that do not get tired, bored, or lose focus as a human viewer would.

Click here to get your Green Beret’s Guide to combat shooting mastery & active shooter defense!

Making Your Ammo Stockpile Mobile

One of the most important, but overlooked aspects of ammo stockpiling is making sure that you can move everything around with ease.  Here are some things you can do to make the task easier:

  • If you have ammo stored away from home or underground, make sure that you have pulleys, carts, and other devices to move the ammo around with ease.
  • Always make sure that you can clear pathways easily, yet cover them back up so that the presence of your ammo remains undetected.
  • Have a locus of four or five locations nearby that you can rotate each can in and out of. If you have two cans of ammo in your home, then you should have at least 10 hiding places that the cans can be moved in and out of.
  • Take the time now to practice moving ammo around so that you know what to expect. In an emergency, there is nothing worse than being pressed for time and unsure how long it will take to accomplish a task. Even if something does go wrong or the unexpected happens, these time frames will help you make better decisions about what to take along and what to leave behind.
  • Never forget that lighter weight is easier to carry around. Lighter weight cans are also less likely to break apart or puncture when jolted in transit.
  • When you practice moving ammo from one place to another, always include awareness of fires, excess heat, and water. Never put ammo near heat or flames even if you want to test your skills. It is safest to make sure that you are aware as you go through your drills. If you truly feel compelled to drill with live fire, then use ammo cans filled with sand; this will keep you safe and help you gain a sense of what must be done. Don’t forget to include a thermometer on top of the can and one that will record temperatures inside the can. If nothing else convinces you to avoid drilling with ammo in the presence of fire or excess heat, this may well do the job.

Video first seen on Patriotsurvival

Avoid Indirect Damage from EMPs and Nuclear Blasts

It is true that nuclear blasts and EMPs cannot directly cause primers to explode or gunpowder to ignite. EMPs are well known for causing fires.

If you have ammo cans stored near wires, cables, or anything else that might burn up from the EMP, then the heat from that fire may be enough to cause the ammo to explode. The thermal wave from a nuclear blast and the fires caused by it can also affect ammo in a harmful way.

There is only one real way to prevent EMPs and nuclear blasts from ruining your ammo supply. As with protecting yourself, all of your ammo will have to be stored in an underground bunker or shelter. Never hesitate to build additional tunnels or layers of tunnels so that you can move the ammo around underground.

If you cannot store ammo underground, then you can still take some steps to reduce the risk of ammo related explosions caused by an EMP. If you decide to stash ammo in the walls of your home make sure that the cans are far enough away from electrical wiring, metal pipes, or anything else that might conduct electricity. You should also avoid storing ammo in any location where only a bit of plaster or wood stands between an electrical appliance and the ammo hiding in the wall.

When storing ammo in a bug out bag, make sure that all electronic devices and conductive materials are stored away in EMP proof bags. As long as no fires start in the bug out bag, and everything stays cool and dry, then the ammo should also remain safe.

Safeguarding Your Stockpile

There are many different ways to safeguard your ammo stockpile. If you are prepping with a group, then you can always look for way to use conventional guard duty systems. That being said, no matter how much you trust the people around you, it never hurts to have a few hidden caches of ammo that only you know about.

If you have ammo stored in remote locations, the geography of the region itself should be able to deter electronic scanners and curious people. While you may not be able to actively patrol these areas, you should still be able to draw adversaries into fire zones or use traps to neutralize them.

When setting traps in areas you don’t plan on visiting very often, just make sure you remember what you did. There are few things worse in life than going to a cave where you hid some ammo, only to wind up hung up by a snare you set in front of the entrance, and then forgot about.

Depending on the location of your stockpile, some defense methods may be more feasible than others. For example, if you rent an apartment, or have very little room to hide ammo, then decoys, distractions, and diversions may offer some viable options.

Consider a situation where you have only one room suitable for storing ammo, you can still put one can in plain view. Even if it is empty, the invader may well move over to that can first. From there, you can choose any number of actions.

First, you can detonate traps that will prevent the invader from taking further action. If there is more than one person, you may want to use this diversion to grab your bug out bag and run. Should you be fortunate enough to have several minutes to make your escape, then you can always try to move one or two ammo cans to your bug out vehicle.

Without a question, if you have been drilling on moving ammo from one place to another, you will know pretty much how long it takes and then make your decision from there. If you feel that you cannot get the ammo out in time, it is truly better to escape with your life rather than lose it for the sake of a few rounds of ammo.

At its simplest, you can keep your ammo storage plans to choosing airtight and waterproof cans that will be stored away in a cool, dry location.

As a prepper, however, it is also important to be able to move, manage, and care for your stockpile even in extreme circumstances. Being able to effectively hide ammo, move it around, and use simple tools will all make it easier to have plenty of ammo on hand for years to come.

Keeping up with electronic technologies and polymers will also go a long way towards helping you keep your stockpile safe, sound, and in good condition.

No matter whether you are storing rounds or gunpowder, following some basic rules and maintaining a good level of stockpile awareness will truly be of immense benefit.

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

Let’s Talk Knives: 12 Things You Should Know

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kk_skeleton_review_fallkniven_survival_knifeNo survivalist’s kit is complete without at least one knife, and there’s always an open space in the collection for just one more perfect specimen. (I know many who refuse to leave the house without theirs: When going hiking or camping, you’ll almost always have a use for one.) A knife is the one thing you’d rather have and not need.

By Alex Coyne, a contributing author of Survival Cache & SHTFBlog

Here’s what you should know about buying, using, maintaining and owning your knives…

1. You should never buy cheap.

Aron Ralston, better known as the subject of ‘127 Hours’, was forced to amputate his own arm after getting trapped in a canyon. After the event, he stated that the knife he had bought was nothing more than a standard cheap gas-station pocket knife – dull, at that. Don’t buy cheap knives. Always buy the best you can possibly afford: Something that’s going to last you a long time, something that’s not going to rust, bend or break. You never know what you’re going to need it for, and that’s a perfect example.

2. Know what to look at for quality.

Article_SOG_PIllar_Knife_USA_Made_hand_choil_full_viewJust what makes a quality knife, then? Consider brand-name manufacturers rather than something you’ve never heard of that costs half the price – sadly, that is a good rule of thumb if you’re going to need your knife for life-and-death. Generally, buy something that comes recommended: Ask around. Try several in your hand before you buy one. You want to purchase a knife that feels right – something that’s too small or too big for your hands is going to be more of a danger and annoyance to you in the long-run.

Read Also: The SOG Pillar

3. Flashy is not always better.

A lot of people pick a flashy blade for their first (or carry-on) for no other reason than… It looks flashy. Don’t do this. Buying a knife because it looks flashy and cool assumes you’re going to have a situation come up where you’re going to want to flash it. (That, if you’ve seen anyone come out of a knife fight recently, is a terrible idea.) Buy a knife for practicality, never for show. (If you want to buy a piece simply for its beauty, that’s fine, but in the case it goes!)

4. Know the laws about knives in your state.

Laws on knives (and the concealment thereof) vary by state and country: Familiarize yourself with what you’re legally allowed to carry (especially in terms of blade length) and how you’re allowed to carry it before you take your knife out on the road. It can land you in far more trouble than it’s worth.

5. Always handle your knife with care.

Zero Tolerance EDC KnifeKnives are sharp; if not, they should be sharpened accordingly. Handle your knife with care (always!) and teach anyone you give a knife to as a gift to do the same. There have been far too many accidents involving knives, and we don’t want to be responsible for any more. (Note: When storing knives in your pocket, make sure that it’s one that won’t fly open and stab you in the leg by accident.)

6. Knives can be an heirloom; consider a customized piece.

Customized pieces are available online from many excellent, specialized knifemakers. Consider this as a long-term goal, especially if you’re a keen collector or would like to pass something like this down.

7. There’s a knife for almost everything.

knives_cheap_good_average_bargainAsk yourself what you’re going to need from your knife: Is it something exclusively for preparing food when camping? Is it something for taking plant samples? Are you going diving and need a good diving knife to take along? Do you need a knife with a built-in flashlight or compass? (At this point, you might have realized that there’s a knife for almost everything and that you might need to get several to fit your needs.)

8. Learn how to sharpen a knife properly.

Fallkniven_A1-Pro_survival knife_batonSharpening your own knives is a skill that both comes with time and is best practiced on one of the cheaper knives (trust us on that!). If you don’t yet trust your own hands, have your knives sharpened professionally – it’s not as expensive as you’d imagine and it’s much better than ruining your grandad’s favourite hunting knife. For those who want to learn how to do it themselves, there are great guides on YouTube, like How to Sharpen Kitchen Knives and How to Sharpen a Knife with a Flat Stone, or you can take a look on Amazon.com for knife sharpeners.

9. What knives can and can’t do.

Never over-exert a knife: Know what kind of pressure your knife can handle. I’ve seen people try to do excessively stupid things with their knives, and well, put simply… You really shouldn’t.

10. The danger with knife-fighting.

Knife-fighting is an art unto itself, and not one that should be practiced lightly. Ever. (Open up your search engine and look up “injuries from a knife fight” if you’ve got the stomach for it; your entire perspective on knife-fighting should change right about there). If you want to learn how to fight with a knife (or take a knife off of someone in self-defense), your best bet is to take classes from a professional in the field. (Anything, and we mean anything else is bound to lead to serious injury.)

11. Knife-throwing: The cool stuff.

You might want to learn knife-throwing as a way to show off your skills, improve your dexterity or simply demonstrate that you can be bad-ass with a knife. It goes without saying that safety applies (never practice this near children, animals, other humans; anything you can hit that you shouldn’t, basically), never indoors (no matter what you’ve seen on tv) and always with proper knives (not all knives are throwing knives). There are some great lessons available on YouTube, check out these from Tim Rosanelli for starters.

Check Out: Mora Knife

12. Using knives in the kitchen, too.

chef_knifeKitchen knives deserve a special mention, as you’re going to want special knives for food preparation. Chef’s knives can be expensive, but they are guaranteed to last a lifetime if taken care of properly. Again, there are several varieties so you should shop around: From stainless steel to ceramic. There are also paring knives, scaling knives and a range of others, each suiting your individual needs.

Use the comments to tell us about your favourite knife or some handy skills you’ve picked up over the years.

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The Ruger 10-22 Rifle: The Quintessential Survival Rifle

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rifle_ruger_22The number designation 10-22 has universally become synonymous with America’s most popular rimfire rifle.  It is perhaps the most prolific semi-auto rifle firing the venerable .22 long rifle rimmed cartridge ever to be manufactured in this country.  There is little doubt this very capable .22 rifle is a perennial favorite among shooters.  This admiration, too, is carried on by many preppers and survivalists as a most basic firearm for a SHTF arsenal.

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

The gun manufacturer Sturm, Ruger and Company first introduced the 10-22 Ruger rifle in 1964.  Since then, it has sold literally millions in its same basic configuration, though it has seen some upgrade modifications, and has been offered in a wide variety of models and versions.

The 10-22 is ideal for every rimfire application including informal plinking at tin cans, safe targets of opportunity, small game hunting, and even formal rimfire related action shooting events.  Survivalists even argue its use for close quarter’s defensive work if needed.  

The Basic Specifications

ruger_magazineThe initial model 10-22 for which the base model remains essentially the same includes Ruger’s legendary semi-auto rifle action.  Fed from a detachable 10-round rotary magazine that drops from below the action out of the stock, its reliability in feeding is renowned.  The rifle just simply, rarely, ever fails to feed and function when using quality ammunition.  It can function virtually indefinitely even when black dirty with powder and bullet fowling. The cold hammer-forged barrel comes standard in an 18.5 inch length with a gold bead front sight and a simple adjustable rear in the base model.  The barrel is locked into the receiver via a Ruger designed 2-screw V-block system.  The rifle’s overall length is 37-inches with a weight of only 5 pounds.  

It is indeed lightweight, easy to handle, and shoulder for firing.  The length of pull from trigger to buttstock end is 13.5 inches, so the rifle fits nearly every shooter from adult veterans to youth shooters, and lady’s alike.  It is a highly adaptable rifle, easy to tote and quick into action.  

Read Also: Ruger 10/22 Upgrades

ruger_stockThe standard stock is hardwood finished in a handsome walnut color.  Black synthetic stocks are now available as well.  Ruger 10-22’s come in either alloy steel in a black satin finish or stainless steel with a clear satin finish.  The rifle’s safety is a positive push-button cross bolt manual safety positioned just ahead of the trigger guard. Also ahead of the trigger guard is a bolt hold open slide lever as well as an extended magazine release for easy removal of the flush mounted rotary magazine.  Many “banana” type 25-round magazines are available as well including Ruger’s own fine BX-25 magazine.

Ruger 10-22 rifles come standard with an included scope base adapter that handles both Weaver-type and .22 tip-off scope mounts.  The Ruger can handle a wide variety of conventional optics from glass scopes to battery powered red dot sights, to more sophisticated electronic tactical type sights.  This makes the 10-22 very adaptable to a variety of missions.  

The standard hardwood stocked model with blued steel retails for about $210.  The stainless version with a black synthetic stock goes for roughly $260.  They could be less when sales are shopped a various outlets and used ones occasionally come up for sale at gun shows.  

Ruger 10-22 Model Variations

The Ruger factory now produces 11 model variations of the 10-22 rifle.  By model name these include the Carbine, Sporter, Compact, Tactical with flash suppressor, Tactical with target trigger, heavy contour barrel and bipod, Target with target trigger and heavy contour barrel, and the Takedown.  Several sub-models exist within these main model categories.  For full details, model variations and exact specifications, consult Ruger’s web site www.ruger.com.

The Ruger 10-22 Charger

Newly designed in 2015 from the original 2007 model, Ruger re-introduced a very unique 10-22 model trade named the Charger.  This is a short-barreled pistol version using the same 10-22 action with a new BX-15 magazine with 15 round capacity.  This pistol version has a 10-inch barrel.  The rear of the pistol sports an AR-15 type A-2 pistol grip.  The overall length of the Charger is 19.25 inches and weighs just over three pounds.  

The receiver top comes standard with a factory installed Picatinny rail for optics mounting.  The barrel’s muzzle is pre-threaded and security capped for the simple screw on installation of a suppressor.  The cap serves as a thread protector.  The stock of this model is a brown laminate.  

ruger_compactBrand new for 2015 came the takedown version of the Charger.  This makes for a super compact and concealable pistol package with the Ruger quick take apart design that permits the pistol sections to be quickly taken apart or as quickly assembled.  The laminate stock of the takedown version is a handsome, cool, green mountain coloration. Both the regular and takedown Chargers come supplied with a bipod that affixes to the front sling swivel stud.  The bipod legs are adjustable for height.  This permits steady shooting off the bench or other stationary platforms.  The Charger comes with either a soft carry case or a hard plastic carry case.  

The Ruger SR-22

I have only seen one of these and the dealer sold it in fifteen minutes before I could secure it.  Eventually the supply lines with fill up, I hope.  The SR-22 is an AR-15 type configured rifle, but built on the 10-22 receiver action.  At a distance you would swear or think this rifle was truly an AR-15.  

Check Out: The Walking Around Rifle

rifle_sr_22_rugerSpecs on the SR-22 include a 36-inch overall length, 6.9 pounds, matte black (Or other colors.  I have seen coyote tan.), a flash hider, M-4 type collapsible stock, and front and rear flip up adjustable open sights atop a short front Picatinny rail riser, and a rear Picatinny rail riser.  The rifle retails for roughly $550 if or when you can find one at a gun shop dealer.  

A Plethora of 10- 22 Aftermarket Accessories

If you thought the world of accessories and goodies was crazy for the AR-15 breed of rifles, just check into what is available for the Ruger 10-22s.  If you’re curious, then check out Cheaper Than Dirt as just one example.  

The list of add-ons is long but it includes for the standard rifles many types of replacement stocks including popular pistol grip tactical type black synthetic stocks as well as the new Magpul Hunter stock.  All kinds of replacement stocks of wood, colored laminates, thumbhole stocks and other configurations are available.  

ruger_clear_magazineOther accessories for the 10-22 includes laser sights, all kinds of magazines including 50-round drums, butt pad extensions, extended magazine releases, hard and soft cases, custom barrels, muzzle brakes, flash hiders, triggers, recoil buffers, magazine speed loaders, scope mounts, rings, and armorers component bench mats.  For example CTD lists 273 separate items for the 10-22.  Let the shopping begin.  One other minor sidebar here.  It has been reported, but perhaps just a rumor, that the Takedown standard rifle, and the Takedown Charger’s components can be interchanged creating an impromptu SBR or short barreled rifle, but it could be just a rumor.  

The Ruger 10-22 in any configuration demands to be included in any prepper or survivalist weapons cache.  There are few other firearms so universally adaptable to multi-tasking for SHTF purposes.  It may just be a meager .22 long rifle shooter, but its applications are just too suitable to be passed over.  In fact, a prepper ought to have several of them.  

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Survival Gear Review: Magpul X-22 Hunter Stock for Ruger 10/22 Takedown and TANDEMKROSS Upgrades

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Magpul_X-22_Hunter_Stock_Ruger_1022_snowbank

1_Magpul_X-22_Hunter_Stock_Ruger_1022_boxThe Tree Trunk of a rifle is the “stoc” or as we say today, stock. In a nutshell the stock holds the important gun parts and is placed against one’s shoulder when shooting. I think tree trunk is an apt description since until recently, gun stocks have evolved about as fast as trees. But today there is little sacred ground with rifle stocks to the point they have jumped species and the thing we used to call a stock might now be called a chassis and could be confused for an alien visiting from another planet.

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

I decided I was done with wood stocks back in the 1980s and have never looked back. Sure I enjoy the beauty of a artistically carved and finished gunstock, but for real world applications in my life, tree trunks are out. So with my loyalty to the woodstock in the rear view mirror, I am quick to adopt new designs and new technology especially when it comes to interface points between me and the machine. So optics, triggers and stocks are are always on my radar.

Magpul Magic

2_Magpul_X-22_Hunter_Stock_Ruger_1022_apart_sunlightFew companies in the history of the world have revolutionized the rifle stock as fast Magpul. And given that the stock has been referred to as such since 1571, Magpul’s ability to shake up an almost 450 year old technology really says something. Of course, others have dabbled in the buttstock but none with the same vim and vigor as Magpul and its polymer wizards. Beginning with the AR-15 platform, Magpul quickly diversified our appreciation for choice and customization. And then just as fast, Magpul moved beyond the AR and just recently entered the glorious 10/22 marketplace.

See also: 10/22 Takedown Review

Magpul’s first 10/22 stock was the Hunter X-22. An overbuilt chassis with fabulous ergonomics and features. Frankly, my first thought when I held an X-22 Hunter was that Magpul cares more about the 10/22 than Ruger does. My feeling was an outgrowth of something I’ve noticed in the past, and that is that often aftermarket builders of gun parts put quality into their designs proportional to the initial cost of a gun or by its cartridge. And thus the lowly .22 Long Rifle was not worth a full-on stock. Just plastics, lookalikes, and underbuilt experiments. Sure, some were much better than others, but it seemed any major upgrade in .22 stock was as special order.

Compared to the base model Ruger 10/22 Takedown’s black plastic factory stock, the Magpul takes all of the “toy” feel out of original and moves the gun into a whole new rifle experience. There are two primary pieces to a takedown stock, the buttstock with grip and the forend which in the case of the Magpul also contains a separate barrel tray. The weight of the Magpul buttstock is 29.6 ounces while the factory Ruger buttstock weighs 16.7. The Magpul forend weighs in at 8.6 ounces, and the factory Ruger forend is 5.7 ounces. So overall, the Magpul X-22 Hunter stock adds about one pound more than an out-of-the-box Ruger 10/22. The price in weight of the X-22 Hunter is more than made up in performance and off-hand accuracy.

There are two ways to look at the 10/22 Takedown. One way leans heavily towards minimalism. And the other is to overcome the limitations or shortcomings of a light rifle that breaks in two. The Magpul X-22 Hunter Stock clearly bends towards making the 10/22 a better shooter regardless of adding some additional size and weight. But don’t fear, Magpul is working on bending the otherway as well. Stay tuned on that.

3_Magpul_X-22_Hunter_Stock_Ruger_1022_buttstock_mounting_pointThe Magpul X-22 Hunter stock has an M-Lok friendly forend, and a sling-ready back stock. There are also several points to screw in Quick-Detach receptacles. To adjust the length of pull, the Magpul X-22 Hunter comes with additional buttplate spacers. Two spacers are installed at point of purchase, and two more are included in the box allowing the shooter to dial in the perfect length of pull to fit their needs. Additionally, Magpul sells cheek risers that fit the X-22 Hunter. So you can really customize this chassis for serious precision shooting and hunting.

4_Magpul_X-22_Hunter_Stock_Ruger_1022_stock_slingIn my case, I installed a M-Lok AFG or Angled Fore Grip on the underside of the X-22 Hunter’s forend. On the right side of the forend I M-Loked (there is no noun I can’t verb) a QD Sling Mount. So of course I put on a Magpul MS1 Padded Sling. I’ve been using Magpul slings since they first appeared in the homeland, but this is the first padded Magpul sling I’ve used. First of all, the MS1 works as great as the other Magpul slings but the padding really takes the bite out of a long carry over the shoulder or across the back. And for those high-speed situations, the I attacked an Magpul MS1/MS4 Adapter to add a QD or Quick Detach option to the top end of the sling. The Adapter snaps into the M-Lok QD attachment point on the forend

Read also: Leatherman MUT Gun Tool Review

The forend of the Magpul X-22 Hunter stock has a reversible barrel tray that accommodates the so-called “pencil barrel” of base model 10/22s as well as the 0.920 diameter bull barrels. And proving that Magpul really loves us, adjustable shims are included that allow the shooter to adjust the barrel harmonics through a set screw directly under the shim.

The Next Level

5_Magpul_X-22_Hunter_Stock_Ruger_1022_Tandemkross_bolt_leupoldTo trick out my 10/22 Takedown Hunter X-22, I first swapped out some internals of Bill Ruger’s 10/22 clockwork. There are obvious upgrades that 10/22s need right out of the chute. The first is a bolt buffer pin and the second is a bolt release plate. To soften the bolt’s equal and opposite motion backward when a shot is fired, I replaced the metal pin from the Ruger factory with a TANDEMKROSS “Shock Block” Bolt Buffer. The Shock Block is a polymer cylinder that works like a drift pin, but is softer and absorbs the shock of a cycling bolt. The Shock Block also reduces the wear on the bolt from repeatedly slamming into a metal stop. I’ve struggled to insert a softer pin into the 10/22 receiver on many occasions so I usually put a mild taper onto the far end of the buffer pin, a TANDEMKROSS Shock Block in this case. To install a subtle taper on the polymer pin to aid in seating without risk of mushrooming either end, I first insert the polymer pin into the jaws of my drill’s chuck. Then I spin it with a piece of sandpaper pinched around the the tip. Ten seconds later I have just the hint of taper to make the pin behave just like a metal one. Better in fact.

See Also: Survival Rifle Debate

In order to sling-shot the bolt closed, I used the TANDEMKROSS “Guardian” Bolt Release Plate. Rather than the “tired but true” clunky bolt release plate of the factory 10/22, a quick swap of the plate makes the 10/22 behave like one would expect this far into the 21st century.

Another important TANDEMKROSS upgrade I made to my X-22 Hunter 10/22 Takedown included swapping out the factory bolt for hardened tool steel CNC-machined “KrossFire Bolt. The KrossFIre is a thing of beauty and has a vertical movement restricted firing pin for more reliable and predictable .22 ignition reducing misfires.

Since I was replacing the bolt, I also swapped out the small but dense factory charging handle with a longer Spartan Skeletonized Charging lever. The TANDEMKROSS Spartan is easier to grab thorough its larger and more ergonomic human interface. But the low mass of the skeletonized grip keeps the bolt cycling at the proper speed.

Check Out: How to Pick the Best Personal Protection Firearm

6_Magpul_X-22_Hunter_Stock_Ruger_1022_Tandemkross_slide_LeupoldThe final receiver upgrade I made, well almost the final one, was to replace the factory bolt-on scope rail with the TANDEMKROSS “Advantage” Charging Handle and Picatinny Scope Base. While providing a slightly elevated scope platform, the real advantage of the “Advantage” is that you can easily cycle or charge the 10/22 bolt from both the left and the right side of the rifle. Rather than being a total rework of the bolt, the Advantage charging handle is component that engages the existing charging handle but offers an ambidextrous option. When I first saw a picture of the Advantage charging handle, I was skeptical that it would offer the fluid and smooth charging of the factory bolt. But at the 2015 SHOT Show I got some hands-on time with one and was impressed. It worked beautifully.

Shooting the Dream

In the field, the Ruger 10/22 Takedown with Magpul X-22 Hunter stock was like a whole new level of 10/22. The feel of the stock in hand felt so much more precise and natural compared to the classic but ancient lines of the traditional stock.
The Ruger rotary magazines are legendary for their durability and reliability. But there is still some room for improvement and I thought I would take a few mag upgrades for a spin. First is a TANDEMKROSS “Companion” magazine bumper. The Ruger magazines are known are smooth and fairly featureless which makes them difficult to extract when they don’t pop out on their own. The Companion bumper adds a rigid base with wings onto the factory magazine.

7_Magpul_X-22_Hunter_Stock_Ruger_1022_Tandemkross_magazine_enhancementsAnother TANDEMKROSS adventure is the “Double Kross” dual magazine body. The Double Kross is a transparent housing that combines two magazines into one piece with a two 10-rounds mags 180 degrees apart but in one housing. The Double Kross works great, just like the original. However, it uses the internal parts of two existing magazines so one must swap out the guts, twice. And that is where the adventure is. If you’ve never disassembled a Ruger rotary magazine, you are in for a treat. So much so that TANDEMKROSS makes a “10/22 Rotary Magazine Tune-up Tool which I can attest is worth it’s weight in gold when the springs start flying.

With all this 10/22 magazine goodness, I went ahead and installed a TANDEMKROSS “Fireswitch” extended mag release lever. Using a cantilevered design, the Fireswitch will release the magazine with either a push or a pull on the lever. The Fireswitch is also much easier to use while wearing gloves compared to the stock mag release.

9_Magpul_X-22_Hunter_Stock_Ruger_1022_backpack_slotsRuger packaged the 10/22 Takedown with an oversized backpack. I was not thrilled with the pack, and considered it far too large for the svelte Takedown. But a 10/22 Takedown wearing the Magpul X-22 furniture fits wonderfully into the Ruger backpack. So I put it back into service again.

Big Boy Pants

The Ruger 10/22 Takedown is finally maturing into the rifle I knew it would be someday. But wait, there’s more. But you will have to wait. So stay tuned right here.

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BMS Custom Made Rifles

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bms_rifle_customJust the idea of having a custom rifle built to your own specifications is enticing.  In fact, having anything created on our own behalf for personal use is rather satisfying.  For the prepper looking for something a little more special than a stock weapon, a firearm from a custom machine and gun manufacturing build shop is the way to go. Sure you can pull completely utilitarian products right off the shelf and in most cases they perform well.  Sometimes not.  

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

Ever bought a new pair of tactical pants or a jacket at the store or mail order, then after a few times of wearing it, the garment just does not feel exactly right?  Back in the closet it goes. Maybe later, you’ll sell it at a garage sale.  In fact, how many pieces of gear do you have collecting dust right now that just did not work out as expected?

The Custom Concept

bms_custom_builds_riflesEver attended a really big knife show?  Looking at all the blades hand shaped and hewn by small shop custom steel smiths is exhilarating.  Then examine those individualized handle panels of exotic woods, or high strength synthetics, all shapes, all colors, palm swells, fits and finishes.  Owning a new custom made knife is special.  Using them is even more special.  

Read Also: The SOG Pillar Knife

It is the same with having a custom firearm built to your own specifications.  There is usually a general platform, design, configurations, and materials, but many of the final details are left to the customer.  Options are the element of customizing the firearm to the customer.  That is the purpose after all of having a custom made gun.  It is tailored to just you and virtually nobody else.  

BMS’s Custom Manufactured Rifles

bms_rifle_top_profileBryant’s Machine Shop in Jackson, Mississippi creates specialized rifles from solid billets of aluminum or other materials.   This is not a factory assembly line rifle by any means of the imagination.  It is not a back room sweat shop either where assorted export parts are assembled in dim light to produce a finished rifle.  Quite the contrary as a matter of fact. BMS’s equipment is the best state-of-the-art CNC machines available on the market today.  They design and manufacture a lot of custom parts and pieces for a lot of different industries and purposes all in house.  For our interest, they also manufacture some of the finest AR platform rifles made as well as other rifles, rimfires, and now suppressors.  

They offer the complete package for sport shooting, hunting, and defensive work.  All of these purposes should appeal to preppers and survivalists of all survival core values.  

BMS has been manufacturing custom AR-15 type rifles for several years and can offer an amazing array of customer specific demands for that one-of-a-kind special rifle.  They can also custom build a more standard rifle built in the precision care mode for an exceptional firearm.  

BMS AR-15s can be customized with any number of features including different barrel types, styles, and lengths, various types of forearms, flattop rail configurations, pistol grips and stocks, and other hardware accessories.  Custom colors and coating finishes are also a trademark of BMS.  I suspect if you can think of it, they can figure out a way to do it.  

Related: How to Pick the Best Personal Protection Firearm

BMS can even supply optical options from conventional optical scopes, red dots, electronic sights as well as night vision and thermal units for night hunting operations.  You just have to contact BMS to explore all the varieties of customizations they can do with an AR rifle.  

BMS’s New Build

bms_rifle_custom_excellenceFor survivalists wanting to add a substantial increase in firepower to their prepping arsenal, BMS is now building AR-10 units chambered for the .308 Winchester or the 7.62 NATO.  The .308 of course amps up considerably more terminal ballistics on target, thus allowing shooters to reach out to touch longer range targets with greater target impact.  Bryant’s new AR-10 is configured from 7075 billet aluminum for both the upper and lower units.  

The set up includes a 556 barrel, a Velocity 3 pound trigger, a Strike Industries stock, Magpul pistol grip, and an extended charging handle for easier reach and operation.  The slim line type handguard can be offered with either M-Lok or KeyMod accessories attachment modes.  

If the idea of having a custom AR-15 or AR-10 built for you sounds intriguing, then contact BMS for details.  Pricing depends on which rifle is ordered and the features specified.  All you need on your end is a licensed FFL for the local transfer shipment.

 

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20 Alternative Weapons for Preppers After SHTF

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The only weapons that most preppers own are a gun and/or a knife. But in a long-term survival scenario, you’ll need a wider variety of weapons. For example, bows are quiet but can hit targets from a long distance. Sling shots don’t reach as far, but there’s an unlimited supply of ammo on the ground. […]

The post 20 Alternative Weapons for Preppers After SHTF appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

Self-Defense Weapons That Are Not Lethal

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by Ryan

We all know that we live in uncertain times. Whether you are in your home, in your car, at work, or on the street you have to be prepared to defend yourself. I do not want to sound like the word is coming to an end and it is every man for himself, but you still have to be practical.

The simple solution is to get a conceal and carry permit and carry a handgun. However, the issue is not always so simple. Some people cannot afford a handgun. Others cannot get a permit or do not wish to go through the hassle. There are some areas when carrying a gun is not a legal option.

On the other hand, some situations do not justify killing somebody. If three or four assailants started a shoving match with me I would not want to kill them, but I might want to avoid a trip to the hospital. Some people are not comfortable with the idea of killing at all. Every person has to decide what they are willing to do to defend their families and themselves.

There are other scenarios to consider. What happens if you are caught unprepared and cannot get to your gun? It is always nice to have a backup plan. If you are sitting at home you may not have your gun on the table next to you, but having something non-lethal may make more sense. Here are some of the top non-lethal weapons you can use for self and home defense.

Conventional Pepper Spray

This product is small, light, inexpensive, and effective. Pepper spray uses a variety of spices and chemicals to blind a person before they can cause you harm. It is easy for a person to keep pepper spray in their pocket or purse, and has been used for decades. The two biggest advances that have been made are in the potency and the distance from which you can be effective. Many of these sprays have a great deal of pressure behind them and can be accurate at up to 10 feet.

The beautiful part about pepper spray is that it disables your attacker and it temporarily blinds them. It puts your attacker in the optimal condition for you to safely escape. The only real downside to pepper spray is wind. If used in windy conditions it could easily blow back in your face, so it is best used indoors. It is reusable, and a typical can should be good for around 35 uses. When the cost is less than $10, it is a great deal.

Sabre is the brand most often used by law enforcement. It has proven to be 30% more effective than competing brands. This means the pain will be that much more likely to put your attacker on the ground. Pepper spray should be a serious contender when you look at non-lethal weapons.

Stun Gun

This device is not quite as risky or messy as pepper spray. It delivers over 30 million volts into an attacker to instantly put them on the ground. It does require you to get close enough to your attacker to apply the electrodes to their body, so you have to be comfortable getting in close quarters.

The biggest downside of the stun gun is the range, while the disabling force is really unmatched. It instantly interrupts the nervous system of the attacker rendering their arms and legs useless. Stun guns are also quite affordable and can normally be purchased for under $20.

Tactical LED Flashlight

I remember back in the day when Mag-Lights were considered self-defense weapons because they were so long and heavy that you could beat somebody over the head with them. These days there is a better option. Small tactical flashlights are great to blind your attacker when somebody comes at you. My own blasts an LED beam at 1000 lumens. This is great when you are tromping through the woods. It is also strong enough to temporarily blind an attacker.

In addition to its standard function, many tactical flashlights have a strobe feature that will keep blasting your attacker with light. This puts them in an even more disoriented state. Mine is completely waterproof so operation in the rain is no concern. It also has a beveled edge which will serve as an excellent striking weapon if things come to blows. While you can spend much more, mine was less than $20. I would buy exactly the same one if I ever had to replace it.

Stun Baton

A stun baton is often used by police or security officers. It combines the power of a stun gun with the range of a baseball bat. One of the biggest concerns with a basic stun gun is that you have to get close to your attacker. They could easily stab you if they had a concealed blade, or you might get accidentally stunned yourself.

The stun baton allows you to reach out from several feet to send around nine million volts into your attacker. Many have a flashlight built into the end for better visibility and the option of blinding the attacker. It is also heavy enough that you can use it like a baseball bat if absolutely needed. These non-lethal weapons have come down considerably in price and can typically be purchased for less than $50.

Bean Bag Gun

I know it may seem a little futuristic or extreme, but sometimes you just want a gun. You may want to be able to knock somebody down from across the room without killing them. The bean bag gun could be the option for you. The weapon is both spring-loaded and gas-powered. A nitrogen cylinder launches the bean bag at 135 feet per second.

The purpose of the gun is to keep your distance and put your attacker on the ground. The bean bag will easily knock the wind out of just about any person coming your way. It is as simple as pointing and firing. The only real downside is the cost. One of these self-defense toys will set you back around $200.

Pepper Spray Gun

Keeping in the realm of weapons that allow you to keep your distance, the pepper spray gun is an interesting option. This gives you the blinding capability and disabling pain of pepper spray. However, it also has the look of a handgun so the appearance may scare away your attacker. It fires at a whopping 320 feet per second. This is about as fast as a major league fast ball, so the rounds sting.

The rounds themselves are small compressed balls of powdered pepper spray. Here is how it works. You pull the weapon and the attacker freezes. He sees what he thinks is a gun and is instantly surprised. You fire a round and it reaches your target faster than he can blink his eyes. The pain on impact is intense, but a cloud of dust is created. The attacker is now blinded and drops to his knees in pain. There cannot be a much more confusing or disabling scenario for an attacker.

This weapon is actually accurate at distances of up to 100 feet. This makes it the longest range non-lethal option we have reviewed. However, because it looks like a gun it is not legal in every state. It will also cost you almost as much as an actual handgun.

Taser

If you like the idea of the stun gun or the stun baton but want more range, the Taser is the option for you. This device is effective at up to 15 feet. It delivers the same 9 million volts as the baton, but keeps you at a very safe distance.

The device fires barbs at the target with wires attached. The barbs stick securely into the skin of the attacker, and the wires deliver a blast that will instantly disrupt the nervous system. Many law enforcement agencies use these devices, especially when dealing with people under the influence of drugs or alcohol. However, be prepared for a hefty price tag. This is by far the most expensive option we reviewed.

Honorable Mention

There are a few other non-lethal weapons that should be considered in your search for the best option. Do not discount the good old baseball bat. This weapon is simple enough that virtually any adult can use it. Just pick it up and swing. It is inexpensive and plenty intimidating against somebody that is without a firearm. It is just a bit bulky to take out of the home.

Tactical pens can be a good choice for non-lethal self-defense.  However, they are the only option we considered that requires some training or skill to use properly.  In inexperienced hands, a tactical pen is likely worthless. However, if you know what pressure points to strike on an attacker and how to strike, you can easily put somebody on the ground.  They also look like any other pen, so you can carry one without drawing attention to yourself.

A dog is another good option. While it requires ongoing care, dogs are naturally scary to intruders. They make noise, and many will defend their owners. They are again hard to take out of the home.

Perhaps a security system is your best bet. There are dozens of options available these days for home security and for personal security. Do your research and find the one that works best for you.

Survival Gear Review: The SOG Pillar – A USA Made Knife

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Featured_SOG_PIllar_Knife_USA_Made_in_hand_choil

Article_SOG_PIllar_Knife_USA_Made_hand_choil_full_viewSOG Knives in general need no introduction, but a few SOG blades in particular do require a few minutes of your attention. And one such knife is The SOG Pillar.  The SOG Knives company takes its name from a Vietnam-era covert US Special Ops unit known as Military Assistance Command, Vietnam-Studies and Observations Group or MACV-SOG. But the real story here is that the SOG part of the MACV-SOG was a cover name to hide the real nature of the entity. Soon SOG began to be shorthand for “Special Operations Group” which was a little more descriptive and honest given the nature of SOG work.

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

Many know SOG knives to be of good value and often of excellent performance. The Washington-based company named SOG began in 1986, but can trace its inspirational roots to special operations during the Vietnam War. The SOG Speciality Knives company began as the dream of Spencer Frazer who, as a UCLA math/science graduate, worked in the aerospace defense industry. The first SOG knife was the SOG Bowie, a commemorative nod to a fighting blade Frazer could feel was magical when he held one.

The SOG Bowie was the extent of the entire SOG knife line for a while and retailed for $200. And that was over 30 years ago. Sometimes events in a corporation’s history are not so much circular but spiral in quality and design while maintaining a familiar form. And thus is the case of The Pillar.

SOG began its journey into our hands with fixed blade knives and USA-based manufacturing. As time went on their designs diversified, so did their manufacturing options. In 2016, SOG had its blades and multitools manufactured in forges and tool factories in Asia. But 2017 brings some of that knife forging and construction home. So in a twist of inevitability, SOG presents a USA-made fixed blade of exceptional steel and design.

A Pillar of Society

The Pillar is the single fixed blade in the USA-made release of knives. There are three folders, all automatics, that also carry the USA pedigree. But the Pillar represents a homecoming of sorts, to the point it first caught my fancy, and then my desire, and finally my loyalty.

Related: The Fallkniven Professional Hunting Knife

As many readers know, I have a fondness for super steels and cutting edge designs. And I am happy to say that the SOG Pillar is a knife worthy of the respect any top-shelf knife deserves, whether custom or off the assembly line.

The Pillar, and note that I choose to capitalize “The” out of respect, is a blade of the highest performance and sharpness. The Pillar is a 7.4 ounce, 10-inch masterpiece of stonewashed S35VN steel. The five and a half inch blade is all business, and the canvas Micarta scales form a near-perfect union between human hand and tool.

Downstream

Article_SOG_PIllar_Knife_USA_Made_choil_close_jimpingOn the blade-side, the clip point is classic SOG with a traditional edge belly, but an embellished spine carrying forth three transitions from aggressive jimping at the grip end, to a graceful dip in the spine-flow, to a classic focus to the tip. While SOG does get creative with its spins including full rasps, the treat The Pillar shares with us is what I believe to be the sharpest 90 degree spine bevel in recent memory. Corner turning on the spine of The Pillar will strike fear in firerods the world over. In fact, you can just wave The Pillar close to a fire steel and sparks will fly. It’s that sharp.

The choil just forward of the index finger guard (where all choils are found) is pronounced enough for functional use, but not so deep to interfere with full blade-length cutting tasks, or large enough to impede with precision grip-close bladework. Some knives have a chasm between grip and blade causing trimming and paring work to suffer due to the leverage distance between hand and true edge. This is exactly why the sharp edge most kitchen knives begins immediately where the handle ends, and even sometimes flows back under under the grip to get a headstart on the slicing chores.

Upstream

The balance point of The Pillar is distinctly within the handle. The fore-aft flow of the knife centers just behind the index finger in a regular forehand grip. Many blades of this stature have skeletonize steel under the scales that moves the balance forward. Not The Pillar. The only absent steel out of sight under the grips are the two small holes where the fasteners bolt the Micarta scales to the blade. A balance behind the index finger makes for a very solid feel in-hand. The tradeoff of a balance-back design is found in a decreased chop force for a knife of this weight. Batoning with the The Pillar is a real treat however, especially with the plentiful flat shelf running from the midsection of the spine to the tip. But using The Pillar for such crude tasks could be viewed as an insult to the intelligence of this blade. However, that did not stop me from splitting some pine rounds with a diameter three-fourths the length of the blade.

The overall grip size of The Pillar falls somewhere between medium and small. Unlike Gerber’s blocky LMF or KaBar’s Becker series that leans on the circular, the greying canvas Micarta scales on The Pillar provide a firm handshake without making themselves the life of the party. This means they do not attract undue attention during use. Some blades have grips that consider themselves more important than the overall knife. Grips and scale must know their place in the knife dynamic. For grips and scales, serving the human hand is, as Ford says, job one.

Popular handle materials for fixed blade knives these days include good old wood and a pile of synthetics and composites including various plastics, G10, and Micarta. For the record, Micarta is a layered composite that could contain linen, canvas, paper, fiberglass, carbon fiber or other fabric which is then pressed and heated into a strong plastic that feels great in the hand. Micarta can trace its roots back to 1910 when its properties of electrical non-conductivity, temperature insensitivity, and disregard for moisture were new in such a strong material.

Rounding out the back end of The Pillar is a protruding tang with both pronounced jimping and a large diamond-shaped lanyard hole. The curved steel on the back end of The Pillar presents a viable surface upon which pressure can be applied, and even blows if absolutely necessary. But pounding on the knife might constitute abuse under the SOG Lifetime warranty, as it should.

Steel Valor

Article_SOG_PIllar_Knife_USA_Made_Scales_removedSo what’s up with the fancy steel? S35VN is a powder steel from Crucible Industries (CPM) that abbreviates stainless (S), Vanadium (V) and Niobium (N). This precision mix of elements including carbon, chromium, and molybdenum makes of a blade of exceptional durability, sharpenability, and resistance to chipping and folding. The S35VN steel is tougher than even the famed S30V that I’ve sung the praises of in other reviews. Furthermore, The SOG Pillar’s Rockwell hardness of 59-61, and a glorious mix of metallurgical alchemy in the steel, The SOG Pillar is about as stain resistant and corrosion resistant as a fine knife steel can be given our current mixes of earthly elements.

Read Also: Swedish Steel Mora Knife

The SOG Pillar leans more towards the tactical/combat side over a survival/bushcraft blade. The Pillar has hints of that mean look we love about the SOG Seal Pup but with better steel, a more refined finish with less of the black special ops persona, and a vastly stronger handle design using scales above a solid steel frame over the Seal Pup’s glass-reinforced nylon handle. Fully enclosed handles are necessary to reduce the chance of electrocution if the blade encounters a hot wire, and also to reduce the thermal conductivity to a bare hand of hot or cold, but mostly cold.

A Sheath Done Right

Sheath_Article_SOG_PIllar_Knife_USA_Made_sheath_tech_lock_pmagThe Pillar comes with an outstandingly well engineered friction blade cover complete with locking mount that will clamp securely to a belt up to 1.5 inches wide and a quarter inch thick. In the field, The Pillar is as fast to deploy as to stow, all one-handed. And about the only way to knock The Pillar free from its sheath would be to fall about six feet landing on your head. Needless to say, that would likely negate your need for a knife, possibly forever.

Removing The Pillar from the sheath is a real treat. The highest grommet hole on the spine-side of the sheath has jimping on it and is an excellent thumb ramp allowing, the extraction of The Pillar in one clean safe move.

The Pillar and I have made several trips now and it’s still dangerously sharp. I’ve come to appreciate the handle size even more, and enjoy The Pillar’s fluid ability to slice with precision. Despite its tactical leanings, The Pillar works wood very well and shaves fire sticks with ease. The Pillar is just as comfortable working in the kitchen slicing meat and veggies as it would be, and this is just a guess, separating life from a bad guy during government sanctioned wet work.

On a more domestic tone, The Pillar is presented well in its box at point of sale. When you open the cardboard, The Pillar is floating in space centered in the rectangle. In actuality, The Pillar is secured in transparent plastic. Compare this to being stuffed in a sheath and wrapped in a piece of paper, then stuffed again in a box. Presentation of the knife might end the moment the knife goes into service, but the pride of workmanship comes across even before you touch the knife.

When it Matters

Article_SOG_PIllar_Knife_USA_Made_baton_woodAlthough the tactical edginess of The Pillar might scare some hunters and outdoorsmen away, I can say with confidence that the classic lines and proven clip point are more than capable of cutting up whatever needs cutting up whether bush or beast. Those folks with survival bends might find The Pillar alluring as a bug out knife or primary resident in the Go Bag. And I would certainly agree. In fact, The Pillar is like a stick of cutting dynamite that can sit quietly on belt or pack, and does basic work without complaint. At a moment’s notice, The Pillar can step up to be the most aggressive and angry knife in the room. Instead of pushing a lesser knife to work above its pay grade, The Pillar hedges your bets towards the Big Survival side, which is exactly where they should if you’re serious. Mall ninjas need not apply.

The SOG Pillar is not an ordinary knife. The Pillar can play well with the little jobs yet jump to the front line and charge into battle when things go bad. Spencer Fraser, the founder of SOG has said about his company, “We don’t settle for ordinary. “We never did, and we never will.” And The SOG Pillar proves that. Again.

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Back to Basics: The KISS AR-15

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KISS_SHTFblog-survival-cache-tactical-magpul-aimpoint-comp-ml3-fenix-pd35-troy-magpul-dissipator-stramlight-tlr-1I admit it – like most gun culture involved individuals in America, I also got way too caught up in building an “ultimate” AR-15.  While I didn’t go as wild as some, I definitely spent way more money buying and trying different setups until I settled on my current “Goldilocks”configuration. I use and shoot the hell out of that AR – it’s my SHTF “gotta go!” rifle – but I’ve figured out with actual use that the rifle just has a lot going on for occasional range use, training, and scouting/small game hunting.  It’s heavy for an AR, to boot.

By Drew, a contributing author of Survival Cache & SHTFBlog

The basic rifle uses a Windham Weaponry 16” heavy barrel SRC upper, modified with a Troy low-profile gas block, 13” Troy Alpha rail and aluminum Sig Sauer flip-up BUIS.  The lower has a Magpul MOE grip and a Magpul ACS stock, both stuffed to the gills with extra springs and pins, small sample tube of CLP, a spare firing pin, and a full complement of CR123 batteries for the 1000-lumen Fenix PD35 TAC light.  With the rubber-armored Aimpoint Comp ML3 red dot optic and steel LaRue M68 QD mount, the rifle weighs over nine pounds with a full 30 round magazine and BDS sling.  It’s set to go for a SHTF event and is a very capable, reliable, great-shooting rifle.  You could ask almost anyone and probably get the reply that it has everything one might need on an out-the-door grab-and-go SHTF AR platform.

But does this AR have things I don’t absolutely need (besides weight)?  Since building that SHTF rifle, my mind has been drifting occasionally to a “KISS” (Keep It Simple, Stupid!), rifle that is lighter, has no frills, and just works for a variety of uses and missions.  I recently assisted my father with assembling a rifle that he dubbed his “ULWC” (Ultra LightWeight Carbine) that utilized a lot of really high-end lightweight parts and a dash of simplicity to create a nice, functional AR that tips the scales at under 7 pounds with a micro red dot optic and 20-round P-Mag.  I wanted to straddle the line between the weight of my father’s ULWC, the utility and mission of Doc Montana’s “Katrina Rifle”, and what I had built already.  Nothing battery-powered, (though retaining the capability of mounting a light)  just tried and true simplicity.

Opportunity Provided By Colt

I’ve had a Colt Match Target Sporter HBAR for years, and I never really shoot the rifle anymore due to its competition-designed setup: it is a standard AR-15A2 configuration, with a 20” very heavy barrel, non-removable rear “carrying handle” adjustable sight, and fixed rear stock with added weights. The rifle shoots great, but its 1:7 rifling rate of twist means that it doesn’t group my preferred 55-grain bullet handloads very well – the 1:7 twist spins the fast-moving little pills too quickly, and the rifle grouped badly with 55-grainers as a consequence.  I didn’t want to stockpile another bullet in the 69-75 grain range and develop another handload for a rifle that didn’t have the capability to mount an optic optimally, so the rifle sat in the safe and gathered dust for a long time.

However, one day I was talking with my brother about possible upcoming AR builds, and he said, “why don’t you just throw a collapsible stock on your Colt?”  A light bulb went off.  I have built up a cadre of friends and local shops who were very capable of excellent AR builds and had all the tools I hadn’t accrued yet….so indeed, why not modify the Colt?  It possesses all the basic upper and lower receiver ingredients for a great KISS rifle – it just needed a different barrel and stock configuration.  I rooted through the couch cushions for extra change and set to work once I had the funds.

The configuration I knew I’d go to was one I’d had in mind for years: Dissipator, baby.

Dissa-whaaaaat?

KISS_SHTFblog-tactical-survival-cache-dissipator-colt-ar15-streamlight-TLR-1sI remember being quite young – probably before my teens – and perusing through the many stacks and stacks of gun magazines my father had accrued: my earliest firearms education.  I remember seeing an a picture of an AR-15 that still sticks with me – it looked like a mean-looking chopped-off standard AR-15A2; and really, that’s what it was.  Later in life, I found that the then-Maine-based company, Bushmaster Firearms, had put a name to the design that Colt had pioneered years ago: The “Dissipator.” A classic Dissipator is a standard AR-15A1/A2 with the barrel –  usually 20” on a standard A1/A2 – lopped off to a handier 16” length.  The flash suppressor sat just beyond the fixed tower front sight and full-length rifle handguards, giving a stubby, businesslike appearance.  But even in my now long-gone younger ages, I knew that the rifle had a longer sighting radius for better accuracy, while boasting the handier CAR-15 shorter overall length.

Original Dissipators had issues with reliability; they had a full-length rifle gas system on a carbine-length barrel.  Gas impulses and resulting short dwell time were funky and the guns had a habit of not cycling properly unless the gas ports were opened up significantly.  Modern Dissipators usually utilize M4-pattern barrels and carbine-length low-profile gas systems under full-length rifle handguards, with the fixed tower front sight not being utilized as a gas block, as per the usual.

Today, things have come full circle.  After the A3/M4 AR variant reared its head, sprouting its myriad spawn and video game experts, shooters started to realize that the extra handguard length meant more rail room for more goodies and sling mounts.  It also lead to a longer sight radius for any attached sights, and with the modern arm-extended “C” clamp method of holding the rifle, more space to muckle onto the forward end of the rifle and not get your phalanges cooked medium rare.  You’ll see many modern builds are actually de facto Dissipators – short barrels with full-length handguards/rails growing around them, and sights that are placed almost to the muzzle.  Hey, if it works, people will figure it out eventually, right?

But I’d figured out long ago that it looked purposeful and damned cool.  And I was gonna get one, dammit. Or, y’know, in this case I’d build one.

Putting the Puzzle Together

Okay, so I had a Colt rifle and the entire interwebs to help me figure the best way to modify it.  Really all I needed was a barrel, appropriately-lengthed gas tube, and a collapsible buttstock.  I’d had the receiver extension, end plate, buffer spring, and carbine buffer kicking around already, waiting for a build.  I sourced a black milspec Magpul CTR stock from the local Cabela’s, and converted the lower from a fixed A2 stock to a 6-position telescoping rear stock one evening after dinner.  Mission one complete.

Related: Theory and Practical Application of the Walking Around Rifle

KISS_SHTFblog-survival-cache-best-ar-15-colt-dissipator-streamlight-magpul-MOE-tlr-1SNow for the upper receiver modifications, which were going to require more digging to make sure I did things right.  I searched the catacombs of online sources for a couple days, looking for the proper barrel for my build.  I definitely did not desire another heavy barrel; nor did I want a flyweight barrel and its walking groups.  Finally, I found that my local boys at Windham Weaponry do indeed offer Dissipator setups – I could have bought an entire completed Dissipator upper receiver, but settled on just the barrel and gas tube to replace the 20” heavy barrel that was on the Colt.  In the Dissipator models, Windham Weaponry offers a heavy barrel setup, as well as a stepped, lighter M4-pattern barrel.  I opted for the latter, and was 100% confident I’d have a great barrel; I’ve personally toured the Windham Weaponry facility, and their quality control is second to none.  Every person who works there is fiercely proud of their product and what they represent.  As stated before, my other AR build has a W-W upper, and with a good field rest, that rifle will keep 4-5” groups at 200 yards with no issues if I do my part behind the Aimpoint.

Windham Weaponry offers the ability to purchase directly through their website and I could have installed all the hardware, but I wanted to support another local business.  I called on an old schoolmate, Jeff Furlong at Furlong Custom Creations in Raymond, Maine, to order the parts and assemble them to my upper.  I’d had a custom kydex holster made by Jeff years ago, but had never had any rifle work performed.  He has a stellar reputation for his builds here in the area, so I called on him to help with the build.  Jeff helped me sort out what I wanted and needed, and he got to ordering the barrel and necessary accoutrements from Windham Weaponry.  While he was at it, I asked him to source a set of black rifle-length MOE MLOK handguards from Magpul, and a new charging handle.  He had a BCM Mod 4 charging handle in stock, so we threw that on the pile of parts.

I dropped the upper off at Furlong Custom Creations, and less than a week later, I got the message that the parts had arrived and the new parts were assembled on the upper.

And the Survey Says….

Huzzah! I buzzed up to Furlong Custom Creations to collect my upper.  Jeff remarked that it looked “badass” with the Magpul handguards, and I was inclined to agree.  Though aesthetics aren’t exactly the only thing we aim for with our ARs, you know we all smirk inwardly with unabashed satisfaction when another gun guy tells us our rifle looks “badass”, or some variation thereof. I probably would have skipped back to my truck if it wasn’t for the icy driveway.

Once home, I reunited the old receiver mates and assembled the newly transformed upper onto the Match Sporter lower.  The end result was, in my eyes and hands, delightful.  The weight sits just a bit further forward than a standard M4, and the handling qualities are excellent.  The initial handling time I got with the rifle, comparing it to its fully decked-out brother, made me like the Dissipator more and more – maybe there really was something to this simple, lightweight thing.

The first range trip was short – I barely got it on paper at 50 yards before the Maine 4th Keyboard Commando Brigade showed up at the pit with their AKs and .45 Glocks and started performing breathtaking 7.62 drum dumps and even occasionally hitting their Bin Laden targets.  I packed up and headed home before the cops showed up.

I finally got a few minutes to do some accuracy work while on my lunch last week, and the results were very good.  With Federal 55-grain FMJBT ammunition, I was able to keep 5-shot groups to 1” or so at 50 yards offhand.  Benched groups at 100 yards with the same Federal load hovered in the 2”-3” range – adequate for the purposes I need. I’ll try a few different factory loads and also try a handload – but for all intents and purposes, I’m happy with groups this size from an open-sighted rifle.  My old Winchester Model 54 in .30-06 shoots 2-3” groups at 100 yards with open sights, but will cloverleaf three rounds at the same range when scoped – so I know that the larger groups at long range are due to my aging Mark 1 eyeball’s capability, and I’m fine with that.  I accept it, anyway.

Though I’ve only run about 300 rounds through the rifle thus far, I have been very happy with the package and the performance.  Reliability has been flawless – though one really can’t gauge long-term results from just a few rounds downrange.

A Couple Additions

I didn’t want – or really, need – to add a bunch of crap to this rifle; I wanted to maintain the KISS principle to the best of my abilities.  Light weight and no-frills are the core concepts in this build. In my mind’s eye, I only needed two accessories: a good sling, and the ability to mount (and dismount) a light.

For the sling, I ordered a Magpul MLOK-compatible QD sling mount, and attached the circular mount at the 10 o’clock position, as far forward as I could place it.  The Magpul CTR stock already had a quick-detach sling swivel mount built in, so I sourced a pair of Midwest Industries Heavy Duty QD sling swivels from Amazon.  The space in between the swivels was filled with an adjustable Wolf Grey Blue Force Gear Vickers Combat Application sling to keep the whole rig in place on my body.  For those of you who haven’t tried a Blue Force Gear Vickers sling, they are phenomenal and highly recommended.

For illumination, I obtained a 3-slot MLOK picatinny rail attachment point, which I mounted at the 2 o’clock position, also as far forward as was allowable.  The small, simple rail is just the right size to mount a Streamlight TLR-1, which can be activated by my support hand fingers without adjusting my grip.  Simple, easy, tough…and with enough illumination power for what I expect to use the rifle for.

Possible future upgrades that are not necessary for this rifle to complete is mission, but are desireable to help improve user-friendliness:

  • a three-dot tritium sight set to replace to stock A2 adjustable sights, as budget allows – but with the Streamlight mounted, the need for the illuminated sights is negated mostly.  If I don’t go with tritium sights, a finer post front sight will find its way on the rifle.
  • An Odin Works extended magazine release is definitely on the list; they are a vast improvement over the stock magazine release, and I install them on all of my AR platform rifles.
  • A Magpul MOE Enhanced Trigger Guard will also be installed in the future to allow for improved access to the trigger with gloved hands.  They are more smoothly contoured as well, and don’t have a tendency to shave skin on my fingers as badly as the stock sharp-edged metal one.  I saw a screaming deal for a BCM extended trigger guard, so that was ordered and installed on the rifle instead of the Magpul part.

Defining the Mission for my KISS Rifle

While some may say the need for this rifle may be vague or non-existent, it fills a very vacant hole in my lineup.  I’m very fond of running guns that are sans optics unless I need them; I like the lighter weight and better handling qualities…a good aperture sight setup is all I need for 90% of my rifle use.  I’m comfortable and pretty quick on target using the built-in, non-removable sights.  For a few bucks, I can always drop some cake on a new flat top upper and have the Dissipator parts swapped on, once my eyes finally give out (I’m fighting it as long as I can, dammit) and I require an optic to keep my rounds heading in the right direction with anything resembling a modicum of precision.

KISS_shtfblog-tactical-survival-cache-KISS-rifle-dissipator-blue-force-gear-vickers-snowBut, what will I do with this rifle?  I’m glad you asked.  Like the aforementioned Katrina Rifle engineered by Doc Montana (check out his article here for a similar rifle concept that is different in execution), I built a rifle around an idea that requires a simple, light, rugged, and above all, reliable rifle that is capable of security detail/protection, hunting, and scouting.  Light weight is essential so that the rifle can be on my person perpetually if the situation demands it.  In a true disaster or SHTF event, having a lightweight rifle as a force multiplier may be the difference between life and death – and if the rifle is so heavy or obtrusive that you leave it at home standing in the corner, it is of no benefit.  This KISS rifle is also a second primary rifle, so that I may outfit my teenaged-but-larger-than-me son with an effective rifle in case of severe emergency and extra security is required.

I also wanted a platform for my KISS rifle that was easily serviceable, with parts readily available, either aftermarket or from salvaging “found” guns if needed – the Colt fit the bill flawlessly in that department.  However, since the Colt is an older “pre-ban” (is that still a bragging point anymore?) rifle, it has larger .169” trigger/hammer pins, not the Milspec standard .154” pins.  This necessitates a couple spares taped to the inside of the Magpul MOE grip….just in case.  A complement of easily-lost detents, springs, and pins also reside in the grip cavity along with a shortened 1/16” hardened steel pin punch and a small sample tube of CLP.  I like being able to effect small repairs and lubrication in the field if necessary, but big parts replacement, if required, and deep cleaning can be carried out at the home/BOL armorer’s bench.

Read Also: The AR-15 Bolt Carrier Group

The rifle will likely stay at the homestead, but remain ready to fulfill its duties with a ready complement of four loaded (and regularly rotated) and ready-to-rumble Magpul P-mags for immediate danger work, or a couple five-round magazines with a small-game/varmint handload in case I don’t feel like taking my Walking Around Rifle for a jaunt in the woods.

This KISS Dissipator (KISSipator?) fulfills all the basic requirements I was looking for when I started building the gun in my head.  I got the Dissipator I’d been dreaming of for 20 years, and was able to tailor the long lusted-after rifle and its few accessories to fill a hole in the SHTF arsenal, all while not overloading the rifle with gadgets and battery-powered weights. Mission accomplished.

The Sum of its Parts

The Dissipator configuration is a great choice if you’d like the longer handguards for mounting and grasping real estate, but without the added cost and/or hassle of free-floating rails.  Really, if I didn’t want to retain the capability of mounting a light to the gun, I could have left the standard A2-style handguards on the rifle, mounted the sling to the standard swivels, and had a great rifle for even less money.  As it stands, the cost for the barrel and gas tube assembled to the Colt upper, BCM charging handle, Magpul MOE rifle-length handguards, Magpul CTR rear stock, Blue Force sling and mounts, and the MLOK attachments is $407.00 – much less than the cost of a new, high-quality rifle (with no accessories!), even in this heyday of the AR rifle and aftermarket parts glut.

Check Out: Windham Weaponry

And keeping it simple?  That’s a personal choice.  I like having a rifle that is 100% effective at its intended job without any additional tactical detritus that weighs the rifle down and requires a larger stockpile of batteries.  I was pleasantly surprised at the utility of this rifle, even without all the gadgetry installed.  The fixed rear sight A2 platform is the ultimate in platform simplicity and ruggedness, and may even be the direction you want to go in if you’re looking for these same qualities in a SHTF rifle.

What are your thoughts on this setup?  A waste of a good Colt, or the right direction to go in? Sound off in the comments with your thoughts if you have a minute to share.

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Top 5 Best .380 Pocket Pistols for Concealed Carry

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by Nicholas

More Americans are concealed carrying today for personal protection more than ever before. The result of this in recent years has been an explosion of sales for pistols designed specifically for concealed carry.

For this reason, in the past five or so years, the market for .380 pocket pistols (also known as pocket rockets) has skyrocketed. Now, there are more pocket pistols available than ever before.

But does this mean that every pocket pistol is worth your consideration to serve as your concealed carry piece? Not at all. Some pocket pistols have proven themselves to be of the utmost quality, while others have demonstrated repeatedly that they are unreliable or simply poorly made.

To help you along, we’ve compiled a list of five of the best .380 pocket pistols that are currently available for concealed carry. No pistol is 100% perfect by any means (what gun is?), but they have shown through their track records to be the most reliable and practical offerings for a pocket .380 today.

Presented in alphabetical order, here they are:

COLT MUSTANG XSP

If you ever wanted a 1911 small enough to fit in your pocket, the Colt Mustang is definitely the gun for you.  The Mustang was actually one of the most successful pocket rockets ever produced, and in the 1980s and 90s, it was especially popular as the Pocketlite model.

But the one big downside to the Pocketlite was its all-steel frame, which made it heavy (at least for a pocket pistol).  In 1987, Colt remedied this by re-crafting the Mustang Pocketlite into the Mustang XSP, which is a more modern and polymer framed version.

The Mustang XSP features a total weight of 11.8 ounces, with a length of 5.5 inches.  It holds 6 rounds in the magazine, though an extended 7 round magazine is also available.

Like the 1911, the Mustang XSP is a single action handgun, meaning the gun can only be fired with the hammer cocked back. This means that there are two different ways to carry the Mustang: either with the hammer cocked back and the safety on (cocked and locked), or with the hammer down. Although the latter method may feel safer, it will be significantly slower to draw and fire since you’ll need to manually pull back the hammer before firing.

Colt still produces the Pocketlite variant today, so you do have options.  But the XSP represents the lighter and more modern option.

GLOCK 42

While the G42 is easily the biggest pistol on this list, it’s still small and light enough to fit into a pocket.  As with the rest of the Glock line-up, the G42 is striker fired.  It has no manual safeties, other than the blade on the trigger that must be depressed to the trigger to be pulled back.  In other words, takes the reliability and the simplicity that Glock is known for and has condensed it into their smallest package yet.

The G42 weighs less than 14 ounces and is just under six inches in length. While that’s slightly larger than the other pocket .380s on this list, the trade off is that the G42 to be easier to fire (.380 pocket pistols tend to be snappy in general). The higher profile sights and longer sight radius are two more major advantages.

If there’s a downside to the G42, it’s the six round capacities. While that’s the standard capacity for a pocket .380 pistol, the slightly larger size on the G42 should make one expect a larger capacity of seven rounds at least. If you train yourself to be accurate with it, it shouldn’t be an issue.

RUGER LCP II

The Ruger LCP II is the second generation of the LCP pistol and makes several significant improvements over the first generation.  It’s safe to say the original LCP took the pocket pistol market by storm, and become enormously popular with civilians as a CCW and with law enforcement officers as a back-up weapon.

Nonetheless, the original LCP has many flaws. The trigger pull in particular is regularly condemned for being long and gritty. The slide won’t lock open on the last round signaling the gun is empty.

Ruger has completely redesigned the LCP with the LCP II, and while retaining the original size of the LCP, they have greatly improved the trigger and included a slide release that works on the pistol. For safety reasons, the Glock-style blade safety is now present on the front of the trigger and must be depressed for the gun to fire.

All in all, the LCP has proven itself to be a reliable and dependable .380 pocket rocket.  The sights are minimal, but a Crimson Trace laser sight can always be installed as well to help increase accuracy.  The original LCP is still available from Ruger for sale, but the LCP II makes many significant improvements and may be the more desirable option for you.

SMITH & WESSON M&P BODYGUARD .380

Smith & Wesson’s answer to the Ruger LCP, the Bodyguard .380 is the smallest gun in Smith & Wesson’s world famous M&P line-up. But unlike other M&P semi-automatic pistols, the Bodyguard is hammer fired. Other than that, it’s basically a full size M&P that’s been shrunk down and re-chambered for .380.

The M&P Bodyguard has a weight of 12.3 ounces and a length of 5.25 inches. The slide is constructed out of a rust resistant stainless steel and then coated in black so it’s less visible. It features a slide stop lever so unlike the original LCP, the gun will lock back after the last shot to tell you it’s empty.

Two variants are available, one with a manual safety on the frame and one without it.

TAURUS PT738 TCP

There are those who will be looking for a gun on a budget, and for those looking for a .380 pocket pistol on a budget, the Taurus PT738 TCP will be their answer. The TCP can easily be found new on the market for less than $200, which is far less than other pistols on the market.

You might think that this means the TCP is of lower quality than the other pistols on this list because of the price reduction, but the opposite is true. The TCP has been found to have equal reliability and quality as its predecessors.

Coming in at just over 10 ounces in weight and with a 6 shot magazine capacity, the TCP is optimal for deep concealment in the pocket. Thanks to its locked-breech design, recoil is manageable for a pocket .380.

As with all Taurus firearms that are produced today, the TCP comes with Taurus’s trademark security system. If a key that comes with the gun is inserted into a lock on the gun and twisted, the gun will be rendered useless and unable to fire.

This could either be a plus or a minus depending on how you look at it. A plus is that your gun will have virtually no chance of firing should a child find it while it’s being stored away, but a minus if you forget to switch the key off when you carry it, you won’t be able to defend yourself with it in a life-or-death situation.  For this reason, you have to make it a habit to make sure that the lock has been switched off before you carry.

CONCLUSION

Any one of these pocket .380s represents a solid option for deep cover pocket concealed carry.  None of them are perfect and none of them are going to be the most fun gun to shoot, but they are perfectly at home in your pocket and will be reliable in a self-defense situation.

Since your pocket .380 is a pistol that you will be likely be carrying with you every single day, it’s vitally important that you choose the one that is the most comfortable to you. This importance simply cannot be overstated.

Physically hold onto each of them at the sporting goods store and even consider shooting a few of them at a range that has them available for rent. This is the only way to truly determine which pistol will be the best choice for you and deserves to ride in your pocket on a daily basis.

Hiding Home Guns in Plain Sight

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hiding_guns_plain_sight_featured

hiding_guns_dog_couchThe idea of packing iron around the house at home every day does not appeal to everyone.  So, what are some alternatives to toting your favorite personal defense gun from room to room all the time?  It may sound problematic to hide multiple guns around the house all day or night, but some other approaches can put defense guns within reach as needed.

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

First of all, if you want a hide gun in every room of the house, then there is nothing wrong with that “overkill” concept as it were, but just be certain that your domicile is secure inside and that everyone residing there knows guns are hidden around the place and where exactly they reside.  Ideally they will be trained in quick response actions as you cannot be home all the time.

If you have young children at home or school children in and out, then extra caution is needed to avoid accidents or misuse.  One idea is to place firearms up in higher places not easily accessed by young prowling eyes and fingers.  

In reverse, if you are retired and at home a lot, then you can pick your own strategies for placing easy to reach firearms so long as you can remember where they are.  That is not as funny as it might seem.  Us older folks often go to the garage, freezer or work room and forget why we are there.  Deal with it.  

The Home Scenarios

city_dangerous-2An investigation of national crime statistics does reveal an increase in home invasions over the past decade especially in certain high crime areas of America.  Think also in terms of such crimes that could just as well impact your bug out location during a SHTF event.  Wherever you reside at any given time is under the same potential threat.  This extends to travel. Whether you stay in a motel, an RV camping area, an interstate highway rest area, a national park, or at any bug out location, the threat potential remains the same.  

So, what is defined as a home invasion?   We typically think of this crime as somebody breaking in our house while we are at work, school, shopping, or just gone.  They steal easy to grab valuables or stuff to hock at a pawn shop or on the street, then are gone in a flash.  Don’t ever discount securing your home against these crimes in the first place by installing extra locks, hardened secure doors, and monitored security systems.  

Read Also: Handling an Active Shooter Situation

Such break ins are one thing, but an invasion implies that somebody is at home at the time and therefore subject to the active threat.  Often these threats can turn violent. Sexual assault, battery, and even death can result from such home invasions.  “Leave no witnesses” is the standard mantra of scummier home invaders.

So, there you sit watching television in the den, office, or man cave, your wife is in the kitchen, or sewing room, and the kids are playing on their Wii.  In such a scenario, you have little precious time or none to unlock a safe, open a locked gun closet, or other security practice to grab a gun to defend yourself in order to confront the threat that crashes violently into your house.  Multiple Hornady gun vaults might be an option.   

What you need is a defensive gun you can grip as you dash from your chair to the breeched entryway.  It has to be conveniently placed and easy to grab virtually without thinking about it.  It is a mindset for sure, that should be practiced.  

hidden_gun_bathroomSee just how long it takes you to get out of your repose, grab a gun across the room, or in the TV controller console or off the top of a bookcase.  Practice also lying on your bed, as though awakened at night, reading your favorite magazine in the restroom, or other common in home activities.  Become comfortable in your movements, time response, and skills at getting into a defensive mode.  It might stop an invasion and save lives.

Selecting Home Guns

browning_hi_power_close_upPicking just the right home hiding gun is about as difficult as selecting ice cream at a Baskin-Robbins.  There are a lot of flavors to choose from and a whole bunch of them are really good.  This is a decision you have to make for yourself and other family members in terms of what you are comfortable with using, handling, loading, charging, aiming and shooting well especially in tight, pseudo-confined spaces such as down a hallway, or foyer, or room doorway.

The best probable choice would likely be a handgun, revolver or pistol in the category of a universal concealed weapon.  That means small, easy to grip, handle, and to hide.  Sure, I like a big Smith .44 Magnum with a 4-inch barrel, but it would not be the ideal handgun for this task.  For this purpose, look at the 9mm or perhaps a .380 ACP with proper specialized defensive ammunition.  

Related: The Unappreciated 10mm Auto

If you like and can handle a 1911 semi-auto in the .45 ACP, then more power (literally) to you.  These are not choices anybody else can make for you.  The same principle stands if your choice, or a secondary hide gun would be a shotgun in 12 or 20 gauge.  Some even might be thinking a defensive rifle such as an AR-15 as a selection, but these could become problematic once a threat is already inside the house.  

In this discussion, one also has to consider the issue of bullet penetration when shooting inside a dwelling.  There is ammunition available now that is intended for interior defensive use.  The penetration and bullet expansion is controlled so as not to overpower the construction materials of a typical house, therefore not creating a threat to innocents in other parts of the dwelling.  If you question this, practice your ammo choices on some sheetrock, 2×4 lumber, and plywood, so you’ll know its capabilities.  

Also consider now whether to reply on one gun model with multiples placed in the house, or a one or two gun approach.  Whatever route you choose, make certain every participant in the family is fully versed and practiced with your in home hidden defensive gun(s) defensive plan.  

Hiding Home Guns

guns_hidden_doorWhere to hide an easy to grab defensive weapon?  Walk the house, tour every room, including the kitchen and bathrooms.  Where do you spend the majority of your time in the house?  Scan each room with the singular goal in mind to identify secure locations to place or hide a firearm.  Maybe among the books in a bookshelf, on a fireplace mantle, down beside the cushion of a couch, next to the television or stereo system.  

Nearby every entry door, maybe on an umbrella stand, or next to a flower vase on a table.  Perhaps there is a foyer piece of furniture to hide it.  At other entries, maybe hangers mounted above the doors, or a window sill.  They may be placed visible inside, but never allow them to be spotted from the outside.  

Be creative where you hide home guns, but always with safety in mind.  Propping a shotgun in the corner of a room may be convenient, but not secure.  Place them with care, and practice moving to those locations, and drawing the weapon into a defensive position.  And then hope it never comes to that.  But, if it should, you’ll be ready.  

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9 Ammo Storage Tips Every Gun Owner Should Know

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If you’re like most preppers, you’re already a stockpiling pro. You’ve got food, supplies, a bugout bag, the perfect weapons, and a great plan. Chances are high that you’ve also begun stockpiling ammunition like a reality TV hoarder. Having a million rounds of ammo is great, but without proper storage those potential projectiles will be […]

The post 9 Ammo Storage Tips Every Gun Owner Should Know appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

Back in the saddle

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Well it seems like winter is over despite hearing predictions of really cold spells for the last fortnight. It fills you with confidence that they can predict to a few degrees what it will be like in 2050 when they can’t even get anything more that a few days right.

I’ve been busy over the […]

Storing Ammo: A Guide For Preppers

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Storing Ammo

When most people think about organizing their ammo stockpiles, they do so based on cartridge or shell type. For example, if you have four or five different types of ammo, you may be inclined to store them all in separate containers.

While this method seems practical at first glance, you may find that other methods will work better. In particular, you should not keep all ammo of the same type together in the same location.

Let’s say you have five different ammo types, and ten boxes of each one. You also have five ammo cans that you can use to store the ammo. Instead of putting all of one type in each can; put only two boxes of each type per can. In this way, you will have five cans of diversified ammo.

Here’s why this arrangement has a few advantages:

  • If you have to move quickly, grabbing even one can will ensure that you have at least some ammo for any gun that you are able to bring along.
  • It will be much easier to store your ammo in different locations without having to worry about which one holds the ammo you need at some point in the future. As long as you are able to retrieve one can, you will know that you have at least some usable ammo on hand.
  • You will find it much easier to practice with all of your weapons on a regular basis. Just make it a point to use all of the ammo in each can and you will never have a gun laying around that hasn’t been fired in years because you put the ammo in some place that isn’t easy to get to, or worse yet, you forgot the location.

What a Good Storage Location Is

Good storage locations for ammo aren’t as easy to find as you might think. Many people try to bury ammo stockpiles under their home, stash boxes behind closet walls, and even put ammo cans under their bed. While these places may be safe, dry, and cool, they are also the first places thieves, rioters, and others will look if they invade your home.

Click here to get your Green Beret’s Guide to combat shooting mastery & active shooter defense!

When hiding ammo, you should make it your business to find locations that:

  • Are easy to defend. It is very important to make sure that you can arrange zones of fire around your stockpile. Always consider that people may stumble onto your stockpile by accident, or they may even be watching you as you put items in the stockpile or remove them. It is always best to choose a place where you have an advantage in terms of defending the area if needed.
  • Choose a location where you can make more than one entry point. If someone does find your stockpile, you should be able to enter through another location and neutralize the invaders
  • Look for an area where it is safe to destroy the ammo if needed. When you know all is lost, there is no point to letting thieves and rioters steal all you worked so hard for. It is better to have the stockpile in a place where you can destroy it rather than see it be stolen.
  • It should be easy to move the ammunition out of the area and into another one with ease.
  • There should be enough room to expand if needed.
  • You should be able to keep surveillance on the area from a distance without being detected.
  • The area should be hard to spot by satellite or other overhead scanning systems that might be used to locate the stockpile. In addition, you should also be able to get to the location without being easily spotted.
  • High temperatures and moisture are extremely damaging to ammo. Try to pick a place that is as cool and dry as possible. If you have to choose between cool and dry, choose the area that is cool, and then make sure that the ammo itself is packed carefully away in moisture and water proof containers.

Choosing the Right Containers

Today, there are many different kinds of containers that you can use to store ammo.

If you are budget conscious, then go for the metal ammo cans or boxes. You can purchase them new or used at surplus stores as well as at gun shops and gun shows. Before you buy an ammo can, make sure it is free of rust, holes, and other signs of corrosion.

ammunitionThe lid should fit properly and create a waterproof seal.

It may also help to have some extra room in each box, especially if you haven’t purchased all of the guns yet that will be part of your permanent stockpile.

When choosing containers for ammo, think about what will happen in those first hours after a major crisis occurs.

To be fair, if you aren’t on a heavily guarded estate with plenty of supplies and acreage, you might have to leave your home and the majority of your stockpile behind. This is why your ammo storage plans must also include ensuring you can bug out with enough supplies to meet your needs.

Have a dedicated backpack or ammo pouch with at least five boxes of ammunition for the one gun you will absolutely take with you no matter where you go.

If this is your everyday carry gun (a.k.a. EDC), then by all means, go ahead and carry the bug out ammo with you as well. The backpack or pouch should be comfortable to wear and not be noticeable to others. Make sure that the internal pockets are waterproof, yet breathable so that moisture does not collect in the bag.

You will also need to inspect the pack on a regular basis to make sure that the constant weight of heavy ammo rubbing against the fabric does not lead to wear that will let water get into the ammo.

Storing Gunpowder

Many mid to advanced level preppers store away gunpowder in the hopes that they will be able to reload ammo in a time of need.

Storing gunpowder is not as easy or as safe as storing away cartridges and shells. Because gunpowder releases gases upon ignition, you should never store it away in an ammo can.

If the building the can is stored in catches fire, or the temperature reaches a critical point for some other reason, the ammo can will explode and cause major damage.

Also avoid storing gunpowder in the house or in a building for the same reason.

It is best to store gunpowder in a dedicated and well built outdoor magazine where it will be heavily guarded and safe to be around.

Supplies and Equipment to Have Onhand

Overall, there aren’t many supplies that you need to keep on hand to store ammo and keep it in good condition for years on end.

Desiccant

Regardless of where or how long you are storing the ammo away for, each container should have a few packets of desiccant in it. This will help reduce moisture and condensation.

Waterproof Ziploc Bags

Every can should also have a few extra waterproof Ziploc bags and a permanent marker. If a box happens to break or is damaged, then you can always put the cartridges or shells in the bag to keep them safe.

Clean Rags

It is also important to store away clean rags so that you can clean ammo off if needed.

Pull Cart

When you first buy an ammo can, you may not think it is very heavy. By the same token, lifting one or two boxes of ammo may not seem like much. Once you start adding a few dozen boxes to the can, you will find it very hard to push the can from one place to another let alone pick it up to move it.

This is why you will need to have a pull cart or some other kind of wheeled bed that you can use to move ammo cans from one place to another.

The cart should have some kind of pole or extension that you can raise up and use as a post for a pulley system. All you have to do from there is store some rope in the can and a pulley that can be attached to the pole.

At the very least, if you have to lift the ammo can into the back of a truck, you will be able to do so faster and with less risk of injury to yourself or others.

Video first seen on AnalyticalSurvival.

Why Storing Multiple Ammo Caches Is Important

Let’s say you are a homeowner, but you don’t have much property; or you rent an apartment and also don’t have access to much land. Let’s also say that you have decided you are going to bug in regardless of what happens in your local area and in the rest of the country.

Many people that decided to sit it out through a hurricane or other natural disaster can tell you that one bad situation was enough to last them a lifetime.

While some people may have been lucky and got through several storms with no problems, a major social collapse is a very different and far longer lasting scenario. As a result, it is best to try and make at least some bug out plans and factor ammo storage needs into those plans.

Most people that plan to bug out after a major crisis actually have five or six locations that are located at different distances from their current position. These places may be the homes of family members or friends, or even areas where they have visited and feel they can live comfortably.

No matter where people are planning to bug out to, they will usually set up caches of supplies that can be accessed along the way.

When it comes to ammo, small caches like this in multiple and diverse places is just as important as food, water, and medicine. Just make sure that the areas you choose are safe and hard to find by others. If you do leave ammo with friends or family members, make sure that these are people you can trust regardless of what is going on.

Even if you are absolutely certain that you aren’t going to bug out, it will be to your advantage to store away ammo in several different locations.

If you are storing ammo in your own home, make sure that you have five or six locations that are hard to find, and one that is somewhat more visible.

You can use the more visible cache as a means to lure invaders into a zone of fire, or allow it to be taken in the hopes that invaders won’t go looking for the more important items in your stockpile. You can also set up snares and other booby traps that will neutralize invaders.

Never use explosives or anything that will start a fire near the ammo cans or you can wind up making the situation even worse.

Rotate Your Ammo

No matter how carefully you store ammo away, some condensation will always build up, temperatures will change, and the ammo itself will begin to deteriorate. This, in turn, means that you should be using ammo even while you are building up your stockpile.

Always use the oldest ammo first and make sure that you replace it with the same or better quality rounds. For example, if you have about half your stockpile dedicated to rounds with steel casings, do not backtrack and buy more aluminum rounds to replace the used ones. Instead, go for more steel casings or see if you can afford rounds with brass casings.

Keeping your ammo stockpile in a steady state of rotation also helps ensure that you will actually practice shooting. From developing muscle memory to gaining confidence with cleaning and caring for weapons, just about everything starts with shooting on a regular basis.

If you can’t find a reason to go to the range other than rotating your ammo, at least it’s better than not doing any shooting at all.

Inspect the rounds on a regular basis. There are few things worse than having ammo cans sitting in the attic for decades without paying any attention to them. During this time, you may not know about rust that may have developed on jackets and casings.

If you wind up needing decayed rounds, you won’t be able to use them safely. If you rotate ammunition on a regular basis, you will isolate problems quickly and replace ruined ammo with something that you can use in time of need.

Gain as much experience as possible with different kinds of ammo. Once you know what kind of rounds your gun can take, try ammo from different manufacturers.

When you routinely rotate and use part of your stockpile, test out different products and see how they work for you. Later on, if your stockpile is gone or inaccessible, you will know how any ammo you find will work to suit your needs in a self-defense situation.

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

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Concealed Carry Revolvers

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by Nicholas

Even in the 21st Century where concealed carry semi-automatics from .32 to .45 gauge have taken the market by storm, the traditional revolver holds strong. Revolvers continue to sell off the shelves in droves, and the likely reason is that people know that you can always depend on a revolver to save your life.

The semi-auto vs. revolver debate has been going for many years and will likely never end. Every individual has their preferences. But even though semi-automatics have become more modern and updated with each passing year, the basic design of the revolver still holds many advantages over a semi-automatic.

Let’s go over what these advantages are, and then talk about 5 of the best-concealed carry revolvers on the market.

WHY CHOOSE A REVOLVER OVER A SEMI-AUTO PISTOL FOR CONCEALED CARRY?

There’s no denying that there are many appealing reasons to own a semi-automatic rather than a revolver. Semi-autos typically hold more bullets, are easier and faster to reload, and today’s models are highly ergonomic.

Still, revolvers continue to hold their own against the semi-automatic when it comes to concealed carry. There are many advantages with a revolver that you won’t get with a semi-auto and that benefit you for concealed carry and self-defense. These advantages include:

It’s Simple

Revolvers are so simple that even those who have never even touched a gun before can figure out how to use one. Ease of use can prove to be immensely beneficial to you if you need to use your backup revolver to arm someone else in an emergency defense situation. There are no safeties to switch off or slides to manipulate, just point and shoot.

It’s Reliable

Yes, semi-automatics are reliable too, but all a revolver needs to do is turn the cylinder to fire the next round. For overall reliability, a revolver is hard to beat.

You Can Jam It into Someone in a Close-Range Fight

In a close fight where an opponent is physically attacking you, you would have to fire your weapon at point blank range. The problem with a semi-automatic in this situation is if you jam the muzzle into your attacker, the slide will be pushed out of battery and cause it to jam or not even fire. The barrel of the revolver has no effect on the cylinder, so you can jam it into an opponent up close and still fire all of your rounds if you had to.

It’s Safe

While revolvers don’t have manual safeties, they do have long trigger pulls (at least on double action). The long trigger pull makes them safe guns to carry.

These are just four of the biggest reasons to carry a revolver over a semi-auto. Semi-autos have their advantages as well, but the advantages to owning a revolver are undeniably compelling.

Now that we know the reasons to owning a revolver over a semi-auto, let’s find out about what some of the best-concealed carry revolvers are:

RUGER LCR

The Ruger LCR was revolutionary upon its first release in 2009. It was the first successful polymer-framed revolver available (although the inside of the frame is aluminum alloy). The polymer frame made it very lightweight in comparison to its main competitor, the Smith & Wesson J-Frame series or Ruger’s SP101. Lightweight and reliable, the LCR is an excellent choice for concealed carry in general.

Today the Ruger LCR is available in numerous calibers, including .22 LR, .22 Magnum, .38 Special, 9mm Luger, .357 Magnum, and .327 Federal Magnum. In other words, you have options!

Beyond calibers, the LCR is available in numerous configurations. While the standard model has a 2-inch barrel and covered hammer (called hammerless), it is also available with an exposed hammer and/or a 3-inch barrel instead.

As with all Ruger DA revolvers, the LCR features a push button cylinder release that will allow the cylinder to swing out when depressed.

RUGER SP101

The Ruger SP101 is built like a tank, and you’ll feel it when you hold it. While the SP101 is easily the heaviest revolver in this list, the trade off is enhanced durability and shoot ability. A major complaint about compact or snub nose revolvers, in general, is that they are difficult to shoot and have heavy recoil. Recoil is severely mitigated with the SP101.

The SP101 holds five rounds of .357 Magnum, which means it can also chamber and shoot .38 Special if you desire a lighter round. Also, Ruger also makes the SP101 in .327 Federal Magnum, which holds six rounds.

Standard SP101’s have exposed hammers, but so-called ‘hammerless’ variants are also available. You also have your choice between a 2-inch, 3-inch, or 4-inch barrel.

All in all, even if you find the SP101 a little heavier than you would like for concealed carry, you should at least find it to be one of the more easy-to-shoot compact revolvers on the market. Just like the LCR, it features a push button cylinder release on the side that will swing out the cylinder when depressed.

SMITH & WESSON J-FRAME

There are so many Smith & Wesson J-Frame designs in general that we cannot narrow it down to just one specific model for this article. The J-Frame, which has been around since 1950, is simply the smallest frame of the revolver in Smith & Wesson’s lineup and is designed exclusively for concealed carry.

J-Frame revolvers are small, light, steel framed, and reliable. They’ve served as CCW weapons for civilians and as backup guns for detectives and police officers for decades, including today.

While the J-Frame wasn’t the first snub nose revolver ever released (the Colt Detective Special had been out for over two decades beforehand), it was arguably the gun that made the snub nose revolver iconic and popular with civilians.

The success of the J-Frame has prompted Smith & Wesson to release several variants. All variants feature a standard capacity of five rounds either in .38 Special or .357 Magnum and feature a cylinder release on the side that must be pushed forward (rather than down on Ruger models), to release the cylinder.

Here are the basic types of Smith & Wesson J-Frame revolvers currently offered and the features of each one:

  • Model 36 – Original J-Frame, still in production
  • Model 642/442 – hammerless .38 Special J-frame; 642 is stainless, and 442 is black
  • Model 637 – hammered version of the 642
  • Model 60 – .357 Magnum version of the Model 36
  • Model 640 – hammerless version of the Model 60
  • M&P Bodyguard – polymer-framed, hammerless J-Frame with Crimson Trace laser sight

TAURUS 85

The Taurus 85 is essentially a cheaper clone of the Smith & Wesson J-Frame series, but that doesn’t make it poor quality. If you desire a concealed carry on a budget, you’ll want to give the Taurus 85 a hard look. On the outside, the Model 85 resembles a J-Frame clear and through. Like the J-Frame, it features a five-shot cylinder with a cylinder release that must be pressed forward.

But an interesting feature of the 85 is the option to remove the hammer to create a ‘hammerless model.’  Simply twist the hammer to the side, and you will then be able to remove it from the gun. It’s a neat feature for a revolver and one that gives you the option of having either a hammered or ‘hammerless’ revolver without having to buy one of each.

The Model 85 is offered as a blued model or in stainless steel. As with all Taurus guns, it comes equipped with Taurus’s Trademark Security System: insert a key that comes with the gun into a keyhole behind the hammer, twist it, and the gun will be rendered inoperable. The security system you some peace of mind if you store the 85 in your house and have small children running around.

TAURUS JUDGE PUBLIC DEFENDER POLYMER REVOLVER

Another interesting concealed carry revolver from Taurus is the Judge Public Defender Polymer Revolver. This is the famous (or infamous) Taurus Judge .410/.45 LC that has been shrunk down for concealed carry. As the name suggests, it has a polymer-frame to reduce the weight.

The Public Defender offers you devastating self-defense capabilities in either chambering. A .45 Long Colt round offers far more power than the standard .38 Special or even the .357 Magnum. A self-defense buckshot load of .410 Bore will be near the equivalent of shooting three 9mm FMJ rounds at once.

It should be noted that the Public Defender is designed for extremely close-range defensive use only. To this end, it may be more suited as an anti-carjacking gun rather than for concealed carry, but still, there’s something very comforting about having five shots of .410 buckshot on your person.

CONCLUSION

All in all, revolvers are old, but they’re not yet antiquated. They’ve been around for many years, and they will be around for many more years. While they have their pros and cons, it’s incredibly unlikely that a revolver will fail you in a self-defense situation. And that reliability is what matters the most for a concealed carry weapon. Any one of the five types of concealed carry revolvers we’ve gone over is a suitable choice for concealed carry and armed personal defense.

Big Bore Single-Action Auto Shootout, Part One

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sig_sauer_hi_point_1911

gun_store_1911_sig_sauer_browning_hi_pointWhile we are surely in the age of the striker-fired pistol ascendancy, the single-action (SA) pistol still has a strong, iron-headed, devoted following.  The siren song of crisp, short trigger pulls and positive external safeties, coupled with (usually) stellar accuracy and rugged dependability is a sweet song indeed – and when one throws in the romanticism of big bore, slab-sided pistols defending our country and ideals, well…it’s hard not to look at a high-end 1911 or Browning Hi-Power in the gun shop’s glass display case and wipe away just a smidgen of salivation.

By Drew, a contributing author of Survival Cache & SHTFBlog

marines_saipan_american_ass_kickingHolding an early military contract 1911 makes me think of our WWI doughboys, knuckle-duster trench spike in one fist, cocked .45 retained with a lanyard in the other, fighting for their lives in damp, brutal trench warfare.  Or maybe it invokes  Alvin York on Hill 223, running out of .30-06 ammo for his rifle, then fending off a six-man German bayonet charge and capturing 132 of the enemy single-handedly – with a 1911 and one round of ammunition remaining.  Perhaps we remember the legend of Sergeant Thomas Baker fending off a Japanese assault on Saipan, with a 1911 and his unit’s last eight rounds of ammunition – he was found dead, with a slide-locked pistol and eight dead Japanese before him; his men were able to withdraw and fight another day.  (York and Baker both won the Medal Of Honor for their actions.) You see, the single-action auto is a symbol – some say THE symbol – of defiance, competence, ingenuity, and good old American ass-kicking, ensuring that no matter how many Glocks are made, the single-action auto will always have a strong place in our hearts.

And so it was inevitable, I suppose.  All three of these magnificent handguns happened to be available at the same time, so I had to compare them – and definitely shoot them, right?  Two of John Moses Browning’s most beloved and war-tested pinnacle designs from the early 20th century, and an example of Swiss ingenuity applied to the combat pistol concept – all three highly sought-after single action semi-automatic handguns, all three pistol perfection in their own right.

The Subjects

The three pistols we will be examining are lustworthy indeed: A well cared-for Colt Series 70 1911 Government Model in the classic .45 ACP chambering, a mint Browning Hi-Power Practical in .40 S&W, and a serious-looking Sig Sauer P220SAO, also in .45ACP.  The 1911 and Hi-Power are loaners; I wanted to compare them to my single-action Sig Sauer P220 to see if the more modern design eclipses – or falls short of – the vaunted John Moses Browning designs.

The Colt 1911A1 MK. IV Series 70 .45 ACP

SHTFblog-tactical-survival-cache-colt-1911-series-70-45-acp-40-big-bore-1911A1-MKIV-2The Colt 1911 is, without a doubt, America’s pistol.  Designed by the illustrious John Moses Browning in the early 20th century as an answer to the U.S. Military’s call for a new semi-automatic service pistol that “should not be of less than .45 caliber”, the 1911 was the final evolution of a series of pistols and calibers that started with the framing-square-profiled .38 caliber Colt M1900 and the improved Colt 1902.  After the U.S. Military fought drug-addled knife-wielding Moro guerillas in brutal close-in jungle warfare and found that their issued .38 Special revolvers did not provide the needed stopping power, a request was issued for a .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol design after the US military found that the stop-gap older 1873 “Peacemaker” .45 Colt revolvers stopped Moro charges with authority and saved our boys from being hacked to bits at bad breath distance by fanatics.  After a gestation and trial period that lasted from 1906 to 1910, Browning’s new pistol – built by Colt –  and its purpose-designed caliber, the .45 Automatic Colt Pistol (or ACP for short) won a military competition handily, beating offerings from Webley, Savage Arms, Bergmann, and others.  The new service pistol was formally adopted by the US Army in March 1911, leading to the year moniker all gun enthusiasts know and love. The Marine Corps and Navy followed suit two years later, and adopted the “Model of 1911” in 1913.

Related: 1911 or Glock

The 1911 went to war a few years later in 1917 when the United States entered The Great War, now known to us as World War One.  The 1911’s most famous feat was the aforementioned capture of Hill 223 during the Meuse-Argonne offensive on October 8, 1918 by then-Corporal Alvin C. York: a story that captured the imagination of every American who heard it.  York’s bravery and skill with his firearms – a GI .45 included – made the hearts of every patriot swell with pride and astonishment for the feat of arms and marksmanship that was Alvin York’s story.

Wartime experience with the 1911 ushered in several improvements on the initial design, and these minor changes were implemented in 1924 with the introduction of the M1911A1 variant.  The easiest modifications to spot are the cutouts in the frame immediately behind the trigger, a shorter trigger, and arched mainspring housing.  Other modifications included simpler-to-manufacture grips, a shorter hammer and longer upper tang on the grip safety – these latter two modifications adopted to prevent “hammer bite”: the painful pinching of the web of the hand by the hammer coming back to the cocking position when the slide reciprocated.  Better, more solid sights rounded out the list of changes between a 1911 and a 1911A1….and since then, the basic design really hasn’t changed much.  Sights may be improved, ambidextrous safeties and beavertail grip safeties may be installed, but today’s production 1911 differs very little mechanically from a 1911A1 produced in 1924 – and if you had the two of them side by side, it’s a safe bet that almost all the parts would interchange.

SHTFblog-tactical-survival-cache-colt-1911-series-70-45-acp-40-big-bore-1911A1-MKIV (1)The 1911 loaned to me for this evaluation is a box-stock, near-mint Colt MK IV Series 70 Government model, meaning it sports the 5” barrel and full-sized grip; the largest 1911 model aside from any “longslide” variant.  This particular Colt has the standard small plain black sights with no white dots or tritium inserts.  The Series 70 is a highly desirable collector’s item, since it was the last model made before the introduction of the integral firing pin safety that came with the following Series 80 guns.  Many 1911 purists eschew the now-standard firing pin safety of the later 1911 models, claiming that the added moving parts affect the trigger pull quality and offer one more place for the gun to malfunction – it’s also contended that John Browning didn’t put the safety there in the first place, so therefore it clearly wasn’t needed!  Original Series 70 1911s were made from 1970 to 1983 (though Colt has brought them back into production), and are beautiful pieces of machinery, with high-polished flawless bluing and tight manufacturing tolerances. This particular Series 70 is no exception, with deep lustrous bluing that is only slightly worn, and nary a wiggle between the frame and the slide.  It’s beautiful and businesslike….and it has a big damn hole in the dangerous end.

The Browning Hi-Power Practical .40 S&W

browning_hi_power_close_upIf I had to choose one semi-automatic handgun to be crowned “The classiest pistol of all time”, the Browning Hi-Power would be it.  Any firearms enthusiast who has spent an extended period of time with a Hi-Power would likely agree; Hi-Powers are svelte, trim, and fill the hand perfectly, with graceful lines and a purposeful form.  Hi-Powers – also known as P-35s or BHPs – were one of the 20th century’s most prolific combat handguns, serving in almost 100 different nation’s armies as the primary sidearm.  In fact, many countries still issue the BHP: the Belgian Army, Australian Defense Force, and Israeli Police – amongst others – issue and carry the venerable design to this day.

The Browning Hi-Power (BHP from here on in this article) was John Moses Browning’s final design – one that was not completed upon his death in 1926.  However, when the French Army issued a call to the Belgian arms company Fabrique Nationale (FN) for a pistol to meet stringent requirements, FN called upon the genius of John Browning to design it.  Some of the requirements for the pistol seem yawn-inducing now, but were quite forward-thinking in the early 1920’s.  The French wanted a compact gun that held at least 10 rounds in a removable magazine, have a manual thumb safety, external hammer, and magazine safety that denied the gun firing without a magazine inserted.  They also issued the need for the gun to be able to kill a man a 50 meters and be easy to disassemble.

Read Also: The Katrina Pistol 

FN commissioned Browning to work around these requirements, but there was a caveat – initially, he could not impede upon his own patents that worked so successfully with the Colt 1911. Browning started from the ground up, and created the framework for the innovative pistol we know today as the Browning High Power.  There were several industry firsts introduced with the BHP, including the staggered double-stack magazine (holding 13 rounds of 9mm Luger), and the short recoil camming tilt-barrel locked breech design that almost all modern recoil-operated semi-automatic pistols employ today.  Though Browning would not live to see the fruits of his labor completed, Fabrique Nationale ran the natural evolution of the design and completed Browning’s work, along with the help of a few design tweaks that were available after the Colt 1911 patents expired in 1928.

The reliability, high capacity, and inherent accuracy of the BHP during wartime exploits earned the pistol a hushed, subdued respect that still soldiers on to this day.  Today, people who use Hi-Powers regularly are pistol connoisseurs – users of the world’s greatest firearms designer’s penultimate handgun design.

SHTFblog-tactical-survival-cache-sig-sauer-p220-sao-p220sao-browing-hi-power-high-power-practical-40-big-bore-cocked-and-lockedThe Browning Hi-Power tested for this article is a two-tone HP Practical variant, in .40 S&W. The slide has been beefed up very slightly to help compensate for the sturdier high-pressure caliber, but other than that, the pistol feels very similar and works identically to a standard 9mm Hi-Power.  The safety is ambidextrous, and the sights are fixed – but improved over the standard MKIII version with a higher profile and white contrast bars.  A neat upgrade to these later-production Hi Powers is an external magazine spring that ejects the magazines out of the grip with the utmost haste once the magazine release has been pressed.

Yes, I could have, maybe even should have, obtained a “classic” 9mm Browning Hi-Power to shoot and write up – but I wanted big bores, dammit – so I borrowed the .40 over the 9mm. It’s a choice I’m okay with.

The Sig Sauer P220SAO (Single Action Only)

sig_sauer_p220The Sig Sauer P220 is the first design in a long and highly-respected series of pistols, the Sig Sauer “Classic” line of handguns.  This series includes the models P220, P224, P225, P226, P227, P228, P229, P239, and P245.  This family of pistols – especially the P220 and P226 – are the rock upon which Sig Sauer built its current reputation of “To Hell and Back Reliability”.  Though the design was introduced in 1975 as a replacement for the highly vaunted P210, the P220 ushered in a new era of reliability, accuracy, and utter quality that still runs strong – and other manufacturers are still trying to match today.

A single-stack DA/SA (double action/single action) design traditionally, the P220 was redesigned in the early 2000’s to offer a SAO (Single Action Only) configuration.  The familiar Sig Sauer thumb-operated decocker lever was eradicated, and an ambidextrous thumb safety, a la 1911, was installed at the rear of the frame.  Other than these simple modifications, the internal mechanisms and external ergonomics remain mostly unchanged, and the P220SAO is as supreme a fighting and target pistol as its vaunted DA/SA brethren.

I’ve often said that the P220 will do everything a 1911 can do, but better (a phrase that has gotten me in some heated arguments over the years) but I stand by the proclamation – and now that the P220SAO is on the books, Sig Sauer has made my argument that much easier.  The P220SAO is a marvel of modern engineering – beautifully made, reliable to a fault, and just ridiculously accurate.

SHTFblog-tactical-survival-cache-sig-sauer-p220-sao-p220sao-45-acp-streamlight-tlr-1s-racen-concelament-vanguard-tritiumThis particular P220SAO was obtained by yours truly after a long and heartfelt desire was churned up in my innards – this emotion struck me the second I heard that SIG Sauer was offering a single-action auto version of the P220.  It was one of those “SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY” moments that we all experience at some point or another, and it’s a special feeling. My P220SAO is bone stock, with Siglite tritium three-dot night sights and a factory two-tone finish, with the slide natural stainless steel, and the earlier German-manufactured aluminum frame (all current P220SAOs are made in Exeter, NH) in black anodized and blued controls.  The P220SAO is the only pistol of the trio to sport a dust cover mounted accessory rail for lights and lasers, and it is the only pistol of the three to have an aluminum frame – the 1911 and Hi-Power are all steel.

The Big-Bore Nitty Gritty

All three of these pieces of weaponry art are what I would consider full-sized guns. Here is a basic run-down of the pistols’ particulars:

COLT 1911 SERIES 70 GOVERNMENT MODEL

Caliber: .45ACP, also available in 9mm, .38 Super (current production Series 70 guns are .45ACP only)

Length: 8.5”

Width:1.25”

Height: 5.5”

Barrel Length: 5”

Weight Unloaded: 37.5 ounces

Magazine Capacity: 7 rounds standard in .45ACP, higher capacity magazines available

BROWNING HI-POWER HP PRACTICAL

Caliber: .40 S&W, 9mm

Length: 7.75”

Width: 1.4”

Height: 5.02”

Barrel Length: 4.6”

Weight Unloaded: 32 ounces

Magazine Capacity: 10 rounds in .40 S&W, 13 rounds in 9mm

SIG SAUER P220SAO

Caliber: .45ACP, 10mm

Length: 7.7”

Width: 1.5”

Height: 5.5”

Barrel Length: 4.4”

Weight Unloaded: 30.4 ounces

Magazine Capacity: 8 rounds standard in .45ACP

As you can see, the basic pistols are all very close in size: less than an inch in length, a quarter inch in width, a half inch in height, and a third of a pound separate the three platforms. However, specifications alone don’t tell it all; each of these pistols has its own legion of heartfelt, ardent fans. In part two of this article, we’ll line them up at the shooting bench and dig into why each of these pistols is so successful, and popular – over a century after the single-action semi-automatic pistol came into its own.  Stand by!

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Design Your Own Weapon, In These 14 Steps

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Survivopedia Design Your Own Weapon In These 14 Steps

Weapons are the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones. Having the proper weapon makes self-defense much easier.

You don’t have to ruin your budget on the perfect gun, but you can challenge your skills and build your own homemade weapon. Learning how to build your own weapon is a handy skill that will serve you well in a survival situation.

It may be time consuming, but you will have a weapon that will perfectly fit your needs. It doesn’t matter whether you plan to build a knife that can be held better in arthritic hands or you want to design a super gun that breaks all the rules insofar as barrel length and projectile launching methods.

This article covers a step-by-step guide on how to build your own self-defense weapons.

If you follow these steps carefully and take your time with each phase, you will produce better weapons that will meet your needs.

Choose the Purpose of Your Weapon

Start off by deciding what you want to use the weapon for. Are you planning on building a self-defense weapon that will be used within arm’s length, or do you want to be able to attack something several feet to several yards away?

When considering this question, decide how lethal you want the weapon to be. If you are the kind of person that believes you cannot kill, there is no point to making a weapon that has a high chance of taking a life. In these cases, focus more on weapons that act as diversion, or those that will wound long enough for you to make your escape.

At this stage, it is also very important to decide how much you want to reveal about the weapon when you are carrying it. Do you want something that you can completely conceal regardless of where you are? If so, then you will need to list that as a priority so that you can fully evaluate which materials will meet your needs.

Click here to get your Green Beret’s Guide To Combat Shooting Mastery & Active Shooter Defense!

Choose a Relevant System to Study

Once you know what you want the weapon to do, look at systems that have already been developed.

For example, if you know that you want to make a bladed weapon, study knives. If you want something more lethal, then go ahead and study systems that include adding poisons to the knife.

During this stage, try to find at least 100 designs so that you know as much as possible about what has been developed through time. If you are combining systems, such as a knife and a poison delivery system, make it a point to find 100 designs for both.

Narrow Your Selection to One Design

Out of 100 designs, you may only find 5 or 6 that have sufficient appeal to work with. You will need to find one design that has the most appeal, and then keep detailed notes on the other systems that may work for your needs.

Make sure that you have a clear understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of each design.

Create Your Own Design

When it comes to developing new personal defense weapons, many people are tempted to start here instead of studying other systems first. If you did your research well, you will find this step easy.

Take the time at this stage to make sure that you have all the best ideas in place for each part of the weapon. If you are going to innovate or bring in ideas from other weapons systems, make sure you understand how all the pieces will fit and work together.

At this stage, it is also very important to figure out how you will make allowances for wear, repair, and making changes based on available materials.

You should also make sure that you know what tools and skills will be required to make the weapon, use it, and maintain it.

Make a Blueprint with Scaling and Measurement Notes

There are few things worse than building a weapon without a detailed blueprint. When you don’t have a solid pattern to follow, it can be very hard to make precision parts. You will also find that it becomes all too easy to go off on a tangent.

No matter whether you get hung up on adding a style element, or you cannot seem to get the right shape for a part, a fully scaled blueprint can help keep you on track.

Make a List of Materials and Tools

Once you have a clear idea about what you are going to build, it is time to start assembling the tools and materials. You should also have a list of alternatives on hand in case you cannot obtain the items that you identified as ideal.

This list will also come in handy if you find out that you first choice wasn’t as good for one reason or another.

Create a Production Timeline

Before you begin working on the actual weapon, it is important to know how much time you plan to spend building the prototype, and then a full working version. This can help you save time as well as ensure that you make enough room for this task.

The last thing you will want to do is try to build something at the last minute, and then find out you needed far more time than expected.

Test the Materials

From polymers to metal and wood, there is a definite learning curve that you must go through. Simply reading a package or some instructions will not prepare you for all the things that come up when you work with the materials.

It is very important to know that you are comfortable with each material so that you know exactly how you are going to work with it while making the weapon.

This will also give you a chance to see if you need additional tools, or if you would be better served by using a different material.

Build a Prototype

Many people do not build a prototype because they think it is best to just aim for something that will work. When you don’t have a prototype, you waste material and time.

When you build a smaller working version, it gives you a chance to build and test your skills as well as see how everything will fit together. Even though a prototype won’t detect all your design problems, it can still be very useful.

Build a Functional Weapon

If you have been eager to build your weapon, then this stage is bound to be your favorite. Now is the time to put everything you learned plus your skills into making the finest weapon possible based on your plans.

Do not rush through this stage. Make sure that all the modules work correctly, and redo parts if they don’t come out right. Remember, your goal is a final product that will work to save your life, not put it in danger.

Test the Weapon

Once the weapon is built, you will need to test it out for strength and functionality. Each weapon design will require different testing strategies.

Do not test on live animals or other human beings. There are many ways to use dummies, blocks of wood, or other materials to see if you have a weapon that works properly.

When testing weapons, do not forget to wear adequate safety gear. Never assume that the weapon will work correctly. It is best to be well protected in case you made a mistake in the design, or something unexpected happens to turn the weapon against you.

For example, if you are working with poisons, gases, or liquids, make sure you are wearing full eye and face protection as well as an appropriate coverall and footwear.

Store the Weapon

After you know the weapon works, set it aside for a while. Give yourself some time away from the active development and building phase so that you can go back later and look at it with fresh eyes. This will also give you a chance to see how the materials change over time.

If a material is going to degrade over time or lose its usefulness, then it is best to find out before you need to use the weapon for self-defense.

Continue Testing and Studying Your New Weapon

From time to time, it is very important to test the weapon out and practice with it. This will give you confidence in using the weapon and help you find design and material flaws.

Make Modifications as Needed

If you find a problem with the design or materials, it is important to go back and fix them as soon as possible. In some situations, you may have to go back to the design and development stages and then build another version of the weapon.

As time consuming as this may be, it is better to take these steps with care and come out with something better the next time around.

Remember that a personal defense weapon should be something you feel comfortable carrying at all times. Learn from the experts the secret of self-defense. Click the banner below to grab your guide!

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

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Top Five Best Double Stack .45s for SHTF

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by Nicholas

The top three calibers that you should consider for an STHF sidearm are 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP simply because they are the most popular and easiest to find. If you decide that .45 ACP is the caliber you would like in your sidearm, it’s time to do your research on the best specific .45 pistol for you.

While the most famous .45 pistol of all is undoubtedly the 1911, it’s also an older design and has a limited magazine capacity of just seven to eight rounds. These days, there are double stacked .45 pistols that are simpler and hold more rounds. Let’s find out about the advantages to owning such a pistol and then discuss the top five best double stack .45 pistols on the market:

ADVANTAGES TO OWNING A DOUBLE STACK .45

While a double stack .45 pistol is easily going to be bigger than its 9mm counterparts, a .45 round on its own also creates a substantially bigger hole than a 9mm does. The tradeoff you get with a larger and heavier double stack .45 is an overall increase in firepower, which can be a big plus in a home defense or any self-defense scenario.

Double stack .45 pistols are admittedly not the best for concealed carry, especially for people who are shorter or smaller in overall stature. A .45 double stack pistol will instead be best suited to resting on your nightstand for home defense or in an OWB holster on your side as an SHTF sidearm.

All in all, the biggest advantage to owning a double stacked .45 pistol is how it offers greater stopping power than a 9mm or .40 caliber version of the same gun while coming close in overall round count. As an SHTF sidearm, a dependable .45 double stack pistol represents a solid choice.

Next, here are five of the top double stack .45 pistols currently available on the market, presented in alphabetical order:

FN FNX-45

Do fifteen rounds of .45 ACP sound appealing in a single magazine?  If it does, then you should point yourself in the direction of the FN FNX-45. With the highest standard magazine round count of any of the pistols on this list, the FNX should already be one of the .45 double stack pistols you consider. The more rounds in the pistol, the less frequent reloading needed, a major benefit if you have to defend your property or family against multiple attackers.

The FNX-45 is a hammer fired polymer-framed pistol that sports all the features you would expect on a pistol these days. The gun is double action, or single action fired. The first shot is double, and subsequent shots are in single, while you can flip down the decocking lever to return it to double action (which is safer for carrying). The FNX-45 also comes equipped with a loaded chamber indicator, night sights, an accessory rail, and four separate backstraps of different sizes.

As a whole, the FNX-45 is a large pistol, but also one that’s high-quality and loaded with a lot of firepower.

GLOCK 21

You probably expected to see a Glock on this list, and you were right. The Glock 21 has long been a mainstay in the .45 ACP world because it combines Glock’s simplicity and reliability with 13 rounds of .45 ACP in the magazine.

There are many reasons to own a Glock regardless of the model or caliber. Glock is currently the most popular gun manufacturer in the United States, meaning that spare magazines and accessories are virtually everywhere. The customization options are also endless. Also, Glock pistols are extraordinarily simple and reliable. It is for these reasons that their design has been copied by many other pistol manufacturers.

While the Glock 21 is big and bulky, it’s also not a pistol that’s going to fail you anytime soon. The third and fourth-generation models, which are both available, offers an accessory rail for adding lights or lasers, while the fourth generation gives you the option of replaceable back straps. For many, the Glock 21 represents the gold standard of .45 double stack pistols, and that alone secures it on an automatic place in this list.

HECKLER & KOCH HK45

Just like the USP pistol (still in production) that was made before it, the Heckler & Koch HK45 is a double action single action hammer fired pistol with a polymer frame. However, the HK45 also offers improved ergonomics over the USP. This combined with the fact that the USP-series may be discontinued should HK’s new pistols prove popular, is why the HK45 comes recommended first.

The HK45 has a ten-round magazine, which admittedly is lower than some of the other pistols on this list. Nonetheless, the HK45 is also the issued sidearm for many military and special forces units across the world, and that says a lot.

The ergonomics of the HK45 are like what they offer on their P30 and VP series of pistols. There’s an accessory rail on the front of the frame for adding lights and lasers, while the external frame mounted safety also acts as a decocker to make the weapon safe for carry after firing.

Heckler & Koch is known for making reliable and innovative firearms, and the HK45 is no exception. While accessories may not be nearly as common as Glock, the quality is equal if not even a little superior.

SIG SAUER P227

The SIG Sauer P227 is the only steel-framed .45 pistol on this list. For many years, its ancestor the P220 was the most successful DA .45 pistol on the market, and it remains popular today. But if there’s one thing that people complained about the P220, it’s that the magazine was single stack and only held eight rounds like a 1911. People had long been craving a double stacked version of the P220, and SIG Sauer responded with the P227.

While the P227 is wider than the P220, the standard magazine capacity holds ten rounds of .45 ACP instead of the P220’s eight rounds. A longer magazine with an extended base plate is also available for the P227 and increases the capacity to fourteen rounds. SIG also has installed the P227 with their new and improved E2 grips, which offer far better ergonomics over the grips they used on their previous models.

SIG Sauer is widely regarded as a premium gun manufacturer, and thus the P227 does not come cheap. You’ll have to plan on saving up nearly a grand to purchase a new P227, and while that may sound like a lot for a pistol, it’s an excellent value when you consider the superb craftsmanship that SIG Sauer provides. Plus, if you prefer to have a steel-framed pistol like a 1911 over a polymer-framed one, the P227 is easily going to be your best choice for a double stacked .45.

WALTHER PPQ 45

Last but certainly not least, we come to the newest pistol on this list, the Walther PPQ 45. The PPQ 45 holds the distinction as being the very first .45 pistol that Walther has ever produced. The story behind the PPQ 45 is also simple: Walther released the PPQ in 9mm and .40 S&W in 2011 and updated them with the M2 model (with an American-style push button magazine release) in 2013. A .22 LR version of the PPQ followed soon after, but for two years a .45 version was missing.

Finally, in late 2015, Walther released the PPQ 45 to the masses. You’ll notice right away that it’s bigger than its 9mm and .40 S&W brothers, but this is because the magazine must accommodate twelve rounds of .45 ACP.

While the PPQ 45 is young, reviews have still been overwhelmingly positive as it maintains the excellent ergonomics and superb trigger of its previous incarnations. The PPQ is marketed by Walther as having the smoothest and lightest trigger pull of any striker-fired pistol on the market. It’s up to you to decide if you agree with that, just know that the PPQ 45 has the same light trigger pull as the 9mm and .40 versions do.

Magazines and accessories can be difficult to find for the PPQ 45 since it’s so young, but as it becomes more popular this is likely to change. As it stands, Walther has had difficulty keeping the PPQ 45 on the shelves, which says a lot about it.

CONCLUSION

A double stack .45 pistol offers you a lot of firepower, but it’s also important that you make sure your money is spent wisely by purchasing a pistol that is reliable, accurate, and comes from a reputable manufacturer. Each of the five .45 pistols that we have gone over in this article fulfill that criterion perfectly, so any one of them represents a solid choice.

The Stihl Pro Universal Forestry Axe: A Civilized Battle Axe

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Stihl_Pro_Universal_Forestry_Axe__chopping

Stihl_Pro_Universal_Forestry_Axe_head_profileWood and zombies have a lot in common besides their acting abilities; an axe easily splits them in two. And surprisingly, both zombies and iron battle axes share a similar timeline more than a dozen centuries long. Sure, stone axes were chopping coconuts and skulls as far back as 6000 BCE, but metal ones took longer to develop. Gunpowder displaced the battle axe as a primary weapon in the 1600s, but the modern zombie craze has caused a resurgence of interest in the swinging heavy blade.

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

Battle axe evolution followed technology improvements as well as battlefield tactics. The early wood handles were often the target of the enemy combatant’s own axe since axes cut wood and a broken handle makes the weapon as useless as an empty magazine. Seems every weapon can be reduced to a club.

Stihl_Pro_Universal_Forestry_Axe__precision_choppingMetal handles were the natural outgrowth of adding metal reinforcement to the traditional wood handle. But metal adds weight and if of sufficient strength, the wrought iron handles of battle axes relegated them to two-handed use except by those humans of the heavily muscular variety. A six-pound head on a battle axe was huge with single-pound heads not uncommon. Since battle axes were more for chopping flesh than chopping wood, the blade could be narrowed and have a longer, more curved presentation. They could also be thinner overall prior to where handle mounts. If a wood axe was designed as such, it would chop much like a machete meaning it would stick into wood and provide little splay.

Recommended Daily Allowance

Stihl_Pro_Universal_Forestry_Axe_glovesA distinct advantage of the axe as a tool is that it really is a tool. Nobody doubts the utility of a good axe to the point that even the U.S. Government’s National Forest Service lists the axe as an essential part of the “Responsible Recreation” kit. But not all axes are the same. While a steel head is uniform across the axe platform, it all ends there. And even steel has a host of variations: from overseas iron that is soft and rusty to finely crafted German blades polished and sharpened, to hand-forged Swedish steel that preserves the old ways of doing things. Handles range from Ash, to Hickory, to fiberglass, to plastic, to nylon, to a continuous steel extension of the head. All have their disadvantages, but a few materials and designs have very distinct and important advantages. And Hickory is one of them.

Related: Stihl Splitting Hatchet

In the case of the Stihl Pro Universal Forestry Axe, a high quality Hickory handle is used for durability, strength, power transfer, and shock reduction. However, wood is easily damaged by water, impacts, and time. Stihl addressed the impacts issue by adding a heavy steel collar around the neck of the axe to prevent overstrikes damaging the handle. And even more, the collar protects a super-thick neck that is a third more robust than traditional axe designs. And that’s on top of already being exceptionally hard Hickory with proper grain orientation.

With a length of just over 27 inches and a head weight of just under three pounds the Stihl Pro Universal Forestry Axe lands in the middle range of battleaxe demographics. And it looks the part. Compared to traditional axes you are likely to find around the woodpile, the Stihl Pro Universal Forestry Axe stands out as something different. And it is different.

Hang Your Head

Stihl_Pro_Universal_Forestry_Axe_in_handIn addition to the overbuilt handle and steel sleeve, the head of the Stihl Pro Universal Forestry Axe is manufactured by Germany’s oldest axe forge, the Ochsenkopf company. So with all this brute strength in components, Ochsenkopf designed a system to hang the head on the handle with more than the the usual flat or round wedges. The Stihl Pro Universal Forestry Axe head is literally bolted onto the handle with a long screw and additional metal wedge plug and steel endcap all securely attaching the axe head and collar to a fitted handle. Ochsenkopf calls this their Rotband-Plus system. So not only are the pieces ready for battle, but the entire mechanism is assembled to outlast axe traditions that usually outlast their owners anyway.

Check Out: Granfors Bruks Hand Hatchet

Stihl_Pro_Universal_Forestry_Axe_posing_logThe head of the Stihl Pro Universal Forestry Axe is forged with the German equivalent of 1060 steel they call C60. The “C” stands for carbon, but a 1060 steel is on the low end of high carbon steels. Not low in quality, but in carbon content. This minimal amount of carbon is fine as long as the heat treatment is correct for the tool. Axe heads are often of variable heat treatment with a different hardness at the bit (cutting edge) end compared to the eye (handle hole). Ochsenkopf axes are known for moving the hardened heat treatment further back than the usual half-inch or so from the sharp end. The 1060 steel in the Stihl Pro Universal Forestry Axe bit area appears to have been heat treated a full inch-and-a-half from the edge as noted by the change in light reflection off the blade. The variability in hardness of an axe head is a dance between sharp and brittle. Too much and things chip and crack. Too little and they bend and deform. Further, shallow heat treatments are often ground off during the axe’s short life of sharpening. A downward sharpening spiral begins when softer metal becomes the blade.

…But Prepare for the Worst

It wasn’t just gunpowder that sent battle axes to the back of the line, but also their overall durability especially when encountering an armor-clad foe. Battle axes were fearsome but fragile. In proper hands, they were nothing short of harbingers of death and dismemberment. But swung wildly and with disregard for the landing zone, the axes broke with unnerving predictability. And the same can be said about today’s modern forest axes.

See Also: Why the Tomahawk? 

Double-duty is name of the preparedness game. Just as the ancient grindstone handle can be found in modern configuration as a side-handle police baton, the battle axe could be hiding in the woodpile or by the campfire. While any axe can be dangerous (even to the user), not all axes are the same. Survival requires an unbroken chain of good decisions, and with the Stihl Pro Universal Forestry Axe, we have an exceptional hard-use tool for the homestead, and a dangerously strong striking weapon for breaching, rescue, and self defense.

 

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The Best Survival Weapon For a Collapse: The Big Badass Machete

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When people hear the term “survival weapon,” usually the only weapons that come to mind are guns and knives. But for Jeff from Modern Combat And Survival, the weapon that comes to his mind is: a big ass machete. In this article, he makes a good case that a machete is a great thing to […]

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How To Make A Longbow: Tricks Of The Trade

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If you like making your own weapons, or just enjoy woodworking in general, you should check out this guide to making your own longbow. This detailed guide is about 2000 words long and explains longbow making terms, lists all the tools and supplies you’ll need, and even includes several videos to show you how it’s […]

The post How To Make A Longbow: Tricks Of The Trade appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

The Survival Staff

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survival_staffs_standing

survival_staff_inhandIn this “back-to-basics” article, we will look at a basic building material, tool, and weapon- one that can be used for shelter, a tool handle, walking stick, and the most basic and primitive weapon.  As a weapon, the more-or-less six foot staff is one of the most universal among many martial arts traditions, and often the first taught.  Shaolin, Wing Chun, Kobudo and other schools of martial arts teach staff “forms”, or choreographed practice sequences that have been passed down through the ages.  For basic utility, the staff can be used to carry firewood and water (by hanging bundles or buckets at the ends and carrying over one’s shoulders), and for other forms of transport (such as game, strung up between two people; or to craft a sled or skid).  Sturdy poles can be used to build tripods, lean-tos, and other structures you might need around camp.  A staff can also be used to make a spear or whittled down for a tool handle.

By Nathaniel Whitmore a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache

There are many articles online regarding various types of survival staffs that are basically types of walking sticks, perhaps of lightweight material, that have chambers to hold objects for survival.  There are many clever designs.  I do like the idea of such staffs, but wonder how well they will hold up.  For this article, we are discussing the primitive staff.  It might seem a very simple subject, but there are many considerations worth becoming familiar with, including wood selection, crafting tools and handles, building possibilities, self defense, and weapon-crafting possibilities.

Gathering Resources

survival_staffs_hemlock_and_white_pineAt my campsite in the Catskills there were White Pines (Pinus strobus) and Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) saplings about 10 years or so in age and thick enough to block visibility and make walking difficult.  Besides other considerations regarding location, it seemed fitting for a campsite to clear the thick trees that were already shading each other out.  Small trees a few inches in diameter can be easily cut with a hatchet, camp saw, or machete.  They provide material for building structures and for other craft.  The unused material dries relatively quickly to provide future kindling and firewood.  Plus, depending on the species of trees being felled, food and medicine can also be gleaned.  In the case of White Pine and Hemlock the needles and bark can be used to make “tea” for medicinal use, pleasure, or as a nutritional supplement.  Many tree barks have medicinal uses and sometimes leaves or other parts are also useful as food or medicine.  

Related: Medicinal Uses of Pine Trees 

Once felled, the branches can be removed from the saplings with a machete or hatchet.  A small saw can be useful.  I also like to have pruners in my pocket and some loppers nearby.  Though more time consuming to use, such tools can more cleanly remove branches if desired.  I like to leave interesting branches and crotches in case they are useful for some project later.  But for the most part the idea is to work the sapling down to a relatively uniform building material.  After the branches are removed the poles can be organized by size.  This process gives you lots of material to work with for shelter building and the like.

survival_staffs_red_cedarYou might consider removing the bark while the saplings are still green.  For one thing it is easier to remove than when it dries to the trunk.  You also may want to use it for making rope, baskets, and the like.  It can be used as lashing for certain things right away.  You probably can’t get nice sheets of bark from small trees such as you would want for bark baskets, but the possibilities with even small strips of bark are many.  In some cases you will be able to find a stand of smaller trees that died from being shaded out.  The wood might still be good quality.  The Cedar (Juniperus virginiana) pictured is good quality even though it died as taller trees outgrew it.

Use as a Walking Stick  

survival_staffs_cabinA primary use of a staff is as a walking stick.  My first mentor in the world of wild edibles and survival skills, Taterbug Tyler, used to walk with a garden hoe that had been cut down to just a small triangle left of the blade.  He claimed that he once saved himself from falling over a ledge by grabbing onto a tree root with the hoe.  Mostly he used it as a walking stick in the rugged territory we hiked through looking for Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius).  The blade came in handy for unearthing roots and flipping over rocks.  It is a good tool and could be reproduced with the natural form of a hardwood staff.  

Another use for a staff as a walking stick is for crossing streams.  In certain territory you might have many streams weaving around, or you might need to repeatedly cross a stream that you are traveling along.  Even if you find logs and rocks to help you cross, a staff can help you maintain balance.  Without rocks to cross on a staff can be used like a pole vault to help you jump across what you otherwise could not.  For these reasons, it is useful to carry a staff.

As a Weapon

survival_staffs_cut_woodI am fascinated with the bo staff and like to go with just over six feet as a standard cutting length.  Particularly when Hickory (Carya spp.) or some other hard wood is found, it is an ideal size for a weapon as well as to begin making a bow or spear.  When cutting the trees down and into length, look for nice straight six-foot sections.  It is generally good to cut the trees where they bend in order to preserve straight sections and removed the crooks.

The staff has been a most basic striking implement since ancient times.  Needing to use a weapon against wildlife is an unlikely scenario, but not impossible.  Certainly, it could make you feel better to have some protection in hand.  There has been more than once when the sound of coyotes or something unknown has prompted me to pick up a stick.  Better yet is the feeling of knowing how to use it.  Most people should be able to wield a staff should an emergency arise and be able to perform basic strikes to protect themselves.  With training, the staff becomes an increasingly useful weapon, with several distinct benefits: there are reasons otherwise to keep it at hand, it is superb blocking instrument, any part can be used as the handle, and it can be used for a variety of strikes to virtually any part of the body.  It can be swung with great momentum.  It can strike low or high, as well as both in relatively rapid succession, and one can thrust with the end of the staff with the potential for damaging penetration.  For these reasons, the staff is a primary weapon of many styles of martial art.

Read Also: Low Profile Survival Weaponry

bruce_lee_bo_staffKobudo – the martial art of the Okinawan weapons (which is often integrated with Karate), Shaolin Kung Fu, Wing Chun Kung Fu, Ninjitsu and many others have their study of the staff.  Learning the forms, or kata, of these arts is a way to learn special combat moves.  Becoming proficient with these moves not only makes the weapon more effective, but provides a healthful exercise that improves balance, coordination, circulation, immunity, and awareness, all of which are important in a survival situation.  Plus, study of the forms could provide a pastime during life in the wilderness.

Shelter and Selecting Wood

survival_staff_witch_hazel_shrubWhen selecting a location to set up camp one should consider finding a nice stand of relatively young trees or saplings that can serve as a source of materials.  Your lean-to could be positioned centrally to reduce expenditure of time and energy.  Of course, you also want to consider exposure to sun and other elements.  In the part of the world where I live you generally want your lean-to opening toward the south to increase sun exposure in cold seasons.  If there is a strong prevailing wind you will want to put the back of the lean-to toward it.  You can also look for suitable trees to support a lean-to before you chop them down.  

Of course, when gathering trees for utility, one should consider the various types of wood and their pros and cons.  Generally, hardwoods are prefered.  “Hardwood” usually refers to deciduous trees, even the softer ones.  And “softwood” refers to conifers, which are usually softer than hardwoods (though soft hardwoods are softer than hard softwoods).  Hemlock and Pine are both softwoods.  Particularly White Pine is soft.  Although both softwoods, Hemlock is much harder than White Pine.  The White Pine saplings that are staff size (naturally or whittled down) are quite weak.  They have certain uses, but would break far too easily under any significant weight or force.

White Ash (Fraxinus americanus)  has a low moisture level, even when green.  My freshly cut staff looked stouter than it felt, compared to the heavier woods (Witch Hazel, Iron Wood, Hickory…) I had been working with.  Regarding bushcraft, one advantage of a lower moisture percentage wood is that building materials have less time to rot.  If you are planning to turn the bush into a campsite there is a good chance you’ll be using some green wood.  If you are building with green wood, there is a good chance for mold to develop as the wood dries out.  Thick, heavy, damp wood will dry out much slower than something light like Ash.  In fact, Ash has so little moisture that it can be burned green.  As we all know, the drier the better.  The survivalist, however, should be aware of the low moisture content of Ash in the event of finding no dead wood.  Perhaps green would might be a better choice than soggy logs from the ground.  Regarding a staff, Ash has the interesting benefit of being lighter.  So, the strength of a green stick with the weight more of a dry one.  Ash is the primary wood for baseball bats as it has strength but receives the vibration.  Although not nearly the strength of Hickory, Ash is used in much the same way for bows and tools handles.

The bushcrafter should be aware of the various kinds of woods, including their benefits and weak points.  Although the basic staff (or bo) seems simple, it’s uses are many.

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Need An AR But on a Budget? Build It!

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Many people would love to own an AR style rifle, but most of them simply can’t afford it. Sound like you? Well, James from Plan And Prepared has the solution: build your own! He put together a detailed guide that covers all the basics of building your own AR. I haven’t tried this myself, but […]

The post Need An AR But on a Budget? Build It! appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

Top 5 Brands of 1911 to Own

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by Nicholas

Easily one of the most iconic and beloved semi-automatic pistols of all time, the 1911 is a timeless design that has been around for over a hundred years and will likely be around for a hundred more.

But what makes the 1911 so adored by shooters? Just as importantly, what specific brands of 1911 stand out above the rest and should be the top ones for you to consider should you decide to buy a 1911?  We’ll answer these questions in this article.

WHAT MAKES THE 1911 SO GREAT?

The reality is that there is a great multitude of things that make the 1911 a great pistol. The 1911 is not for everyone. There are pistols out there that are lighter, simpler, and carry more bullets, but no one can deny that there are specific attributes about the 1911 that have made it such an enduring pistol.

These attributes include:

  • Accuracy. The 1911 is a highly accurate pistol thanks to its fixed barrel design, light trigger, soft recoil, and longer sight radius. Is it the most accurate production pistol made? That’s debatable, but its accuracy is a major plus.
  • Light Trigger. The trigger of the 1911 alone makes it a dream to shoot. It’s very light and crisp, with a relatively short reset. The light trigger pull makes it unsafe to carry the 1911 chambered and cocked without the safety on, so you must train yourself to manually switch off the safety when drawing the weapon to fire. Nonetheless, the trigger on the 1911 is one of the biggest appeals. It makes it an excellent handgun to shoot for target practice, competition, or for tactical training.
  • Slim Design. The 1911 is a naturally slim possible, which means shooters with smaller hands can comfortably grip the weapon and it’s easy to conceal carry. The obvious trade-off is fewer bullets in the magazine (the standard 1911 magazine holds either 7 or 8 rounds).
  • Customization. The 1911 is one of the most customizable firearms on the planet. The AR-15, Glock, and Ruger 10/22 are the only other guns that can match it for the number of spare accessories and add-ons that you can buy. This means you can customize your 1911 to be exactly the way you want it to be. For SHTF purposes, this means that spare magazines and parts will be relatively easy to find in comparison to other pistols.
  • Power. Most 1911s are chambered for the .45 ACP caliber, which is a very powerful bullet that will put a big hole in its target. While 1911s are also available in other calibers such as .22 LR or 9mm, if you’re going to buy a 1911, most would agree that it should be in .45.

None of this is to say that the 1911 is not without faults. It has a more complicated takedown procedure than more modern pistols. It is heavy, only holds 7-8 rounds in the magazine. And most 1911 guns require a break-in period of around 200-300 rounds before they can become reliable.

Still, the 1911 reigns supreme as one of the most popular pistol designs of all time. It’s a perfectly valid option as a range gun, for professional competition shooting, as a home defense gun, or for an SHTF sidearm.

Since the 1911 is so popular, there are naturally many different brands and models available. Narrowing down our selection to just five brand recommendations above the others is difficult, but here are five of the best 1911 brands available:

Colt 1911 Series 70 photo 1

COLT

Colt was the original manufacturer of the 1911 (using John Browning’s design), and the phrases “Colt 1911” and “Colt 45” have now become iconic. Colt 1911s today are known for their reliability right out of the box.

Go to Colt’s website, and you will find a wide variety of different models available. Colt produces classic models such as the Mark IV Series 70 based on the original M1911A1. It was issued to troops in World War II, but they also make modern options such as the Rail Gun that are made for duty use, the Gold Cup built for competition shooting, the Commander model with a shorter barrel, and the Defender with an even shorter barrel and grip.

Colt 1911s are not cheap by any means, but you will get what you pay for due to their exceptional quality. Besides, there’s something cool about saying that you own a true ‘Colt 1911.’

KIMBER

Another high-quality option for a 1911 is Kimber, with their custom model available in a wide variety of calibers and configurations. Not only can you buy the Kimber Custom in .45 ACP, but it’s also available in .38 Super, 9mm Luger, 10mm AUTO, and even .40 S&W.

The Custom model uses a full-length guide rod (in contrast to most 1911s that use a shorter length guide rod), and modern upgrades such as forward serrations, a beavertail grip safety, extended thumb safety, and a beveled magazine well for faster and smoother reloading.

The Custom TLE II and Warrior models are also available, which are designed for military and law enforcement use. These are an excellent choice for a duty weapon or as a durable SHTF sidearm. As with Colt, Kimber 1911s are highly expensive, but as the old saying goes, you have to pay for quality.

RUGER

Ruger began producing 1911s only a few years ago, but they have quickly proven themselves to be one of the best 1911 manufacturers on the market. The Ruger SR1911 is their standard line, which is available in both the full 5-inch and the shorter 4.25-inch Commander sized barrel versions.

Whereas most 1911s use a Series 80-style firing system, the SR1911 uses the more traditional Series 70-style firing system just like the Colt Mark IV Series 70. Many 1911 aficionados prefer a Series 70-type model. It’s regarded as being the original firing system of the 1911, and 70 models also tend to have a lighter trigger system than 80 models.

‘Series 70’ and ‘Series 80’ are currently trademarks owned by Colt, but the terms are still used to denote the specific firing systems. The Series 80 simply has an internal safety system that prevents the possibility of discharge should the gun be dropped and the hammer falls on its own.

The Ruger SR1911 also comes equipped with modern parts such as an extended thumb safety and beavertail grip safety, and forward cocking serrations. In essence, it represents the traditional 1911 firing system integrated with modern upgrades. The SR1911 is also very reasonably priced in the $700 to $800 range and sometimes can be found for even less than that.

SPRINGFIELD

Many consider Springfield to offer the best quality for the money. Their 1911s are routinely priced less than $1,000 (other than the premium models), and they make an extremely wide variety of model options.

Springfield makes practically any kind of 1911 you can think of, from the standard G.I models, like what the troops carried in World War II, to competition ready guns or duty 1911s with modern upgrades and concealed carry variations with shorter grips and barrels. They are also available in different calibers as well.

The neat thing about Springfield is how they will ship many of their 1911s with three magazines (instead of the standard two), with a holster and double mag holder. This essentially gives you a complete kit right out of the box and can save you on money for accessories that you would have to buy anyway.

WILSON COMBAT

If you want the best 1911 possible and are willing to pay for it, many would say that you should go with Wilson Combat. Not only does Wilson manufacture high-quality parts and accessories for 1911s that can be added to other brands, but they also manufacture actual 1911’s themselves.

Wilson originally got started manufacturing spare parts and customization options for the 1911, Smith & Wesson Model 10, and Remington 870. Since then, however, they have become the most well-known for the aftermarket parts they produce for the 1911. Some other 1911 manufacturers will even install Wilson Combat parts on their production guns, and many people also will customize their 1911s with Wilson Combat parts to enhance performance.

Wilson Combat 1911s are not only popular with civilians. They also have been utilized extensively by military and police forces. They have seen action all around the world, and are guaranteed to deliver one-inch groups at twenty-five yards.

For a premium 1911, Wilson Combat should be a top option. Even if you can’t afford a Wilson Combat 1911, you can always buy from another manufacturer and then customize it with Wilson parts.

CONCLUSION

If the 1911 is your dream gun, these five manufacturers should be your top choices. Even though the 1911 has become a little outdated in some ways when compared to the more modern, polymer framed guns, it’s not a gun that’s going to be going away anytime soon either. They truly are a joy to shoot, and if you spend the time learning how to use one, the 1911 can save your life in a life-or-death situation as well.

 

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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6 Basics To Follow When Building Your Weapons

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Basics To Building Weapons

From self-defense to fighting terrorists, the question of how to build newer and better weapons will always be a challenge. Where to start from? What weapon is the most effective one? What features to have in mind? A lot of questions are to be asked, and finding the answers isn’t the easiest task.

The basics are always where you will return to solve problems as well as where you will go to explore new innovations and ideas.

So let’s start with the basics!

When it comes to the arena of personal defense, a good quality weapon must have at least six basic features. We’ll take them one by one in the following article.

Be Effective Within the Limited Scope of Self-defense

Consider a situation where you believe that a nuclear bomb is the most powerful weapon on the planet, and a ballpoint pen the weakest. Do you really need a nuclear bomb (as they exist in known modern technology) to take out a thug trying to get into your home?

While you may be enraged enough to lob a nuke, that doesn’t mean it is an effective weapon for your situation. Oddly enough, the ballpoint pen will actually make a better weapon against a single attacker. A modified ballpoint pen that can deliver poison or a dart will work even better.

Video first seen on ValvexFTW – ” How-to’s Weapons Inventions “

Put the Element of Surprise Back on Your Side

There is no question that an AK-47 or an AR-15 can be used to deter one person or several from harming you and your loved ones, but the size of these weapons makes them a bit hard to hide.

If you are out in public, carrying these weapons can alert more determined attackers to the fact that you are ready and able to defend yourself. This, in turn, takes away any element of surprise that might have bought you both leverage and a second or two of time.

Because there are limits to legal weapon ownership, but no limit to what criminals can obtain, this can put you at a serious disadvantage.

Perhaps we can even say never bring an “assault rifle” to a machine gun fight. In this situation, you might be better off carrying a concealed handgun because it won’t be noticed unless there is a need to use it. At that point, your attacker will have already underestimated you and followed through with an opening action that you have a better chance of defeating.

Even if you have a .45 caliber handgun, you may be overpowered after taking out just one adversary. This is just one area where being able to innovate and design better weapons will serve you well as a prepper. Being able to pack the power of a machine gun with the selectivity of a conventional rifle into something the size of a handgun would put you well ahead of any attacker.

Be Focused in Target Acquisition 

As far as small, effective weapons go, grenades are certainly easy to conceal and add plenty of surprise to a situation. Now let us look at a situation where someone pulls a gun on you, either in your own home or while you are in public. Let us also say that a family member, or even other innocent people are in the area.

No matter how carefully you aim the grenade, there is a chance that innocent bystanders will be hurt by the shrapnel. Unless you have a well-staged fire zone to throw the grenade into, and an ability to limit damage to bystanders, it won’t make for a good personal defense weapon.

In a world where terrorists are running rampant, it can be said that a weapon with too limited an impact has just as harmful an impact on bystanders as one that is too far reaching. For this scenario, let’s say you are out in public and a terrorist wearing a suicide bomb vest pulls a gun on you.

Even though a grenade won’t work in this scenario, a knife or a ballpoint pen won’t do much good either.

A rifle, on the other hand might be more suited to stopping this tragedy because it will be possible to shoot the terrorists while he/she is still further away from large numbers of people. This is yet another area where innovation in consumer level self-defense weapons might do far more good than you realize.

Be Free of Interference by Others

This includes free of the cost of ammunition, repair, and legal oversight.

Many people look to guns as classic self-defense weapons because they are effective, reliable, and efficient.

As effective as guns, tasers, and other projectile based systems may be, they also come with a number of prohibitive costs that include:

  • The actual cost of the weapon. A good quality handgun from a reputable manufacturer can cost several hundred dollars even before you add on better sights and suitable hand grips.
  • The cost of basic training and practice. If you weren’t raised in a community where gun ownership is part of the society, then it can be quite expensive to learn how to shoot, store, and manage a gun. In a similar way, if you live in a city or other restrictive area, honing and keeping your skills up can be quite expensive. Aside from paying for time at an indoor range, you may also have to pay for ammunition provided by the facility.
  • The cost of advanced courses and situation awareness training. The legal definition of a crime includes having making a specific, knowing decision to commit that act. As such, it should come as no surprise that someone intent on committing a crime will also be as well prepared as possible to carry it out.

If you are interested in self-defense, then you must also be prepared with as many skills and strategies as possible. Unless you are in law enforcement or in the military, the cost of that kind of training is very expensive.

Click here to subscribe to Survivopedia’s newsletter and get this month’s Free Report about the fundamentals of self-defense weaponry.

No matter whether you choose knives, bows and arrows, guns, tasers, or swords, the cost associated with advanced training and practice may well be beyond your budget.

  • Weapons, like any other machine, require maintenance and repairs. Contrary to popular belief, guns aren’t the only weapons on the market that come with a high repair and maintenance costs. Bows, knives, and swords can also cost several hundred dollars to repair or maintain over time.
  • The cost and availability of ammunition. If you remember the scandal surrounding the cost and lack of availability of .22LR ammo? No matter how you look at it, the cost of weapons that launch projectiles can be very expensive. To add insult to injury, ammo scarcity can act as a control point that may make it difficult, if not impossible to use the weapon you bought for self-defense.
  • The cost of permits and licenses. While terrorists and criminals who get away with murder and mayhem on a routine basis never worry about these costs, the average prepper has to deal with them along with every other expense on this list.

In these times, you might not always feel comfortable with learning how to make your own weapons and ammunition. At the very least, the basics may come in handy if a social collapse occurs and you wind up having to develop designs that go beyond a crudely fashioned spear made from a sapling and knapped stones.

Even something as simple as understanding what kind of blade shape will be most effective can make the difference between life and death.

Expand Your Strategy Options, Not Limit Them

In the arena of self-defense, it is very easy to have too many weapons that don’t work well at close range, or ones that don’t do enough damage to the target regardless of the distance. Avoiding both traps will require a good bit of trial and error. Before you even begin designing a new weapon, take time to study existing weapons and try them out.

While you are studying different weapons, pay careful attention to the basic parts and how they work. Think about how the weapon would work in a building, in a crowded area, or in very close quarters.

By the time you complete your study, you should have a list of weapons that will work well within arm’s length, some that will work several feet away, and others that will work up to or beyond 100 yards away.

No matter which one you plan to build, think about how existing devices limited defensive and offensive strategies, and think about how you can change the fundamental parts of the weapon to better suit your needs.

The Best Weapon is One You Have

Over the years, considerable controversy has emerged over the “Top 5” guns, knives, tasers, crossbows, swords, and other weapons. People in the military, law enforcement, or other walks of life are always more than happy to share their experiences with any given weapon.

For every testimonial shared, you are sure to find dozens that had a similar experience, and just as many others that had differing outcomes.

If you actually go out and try these different weapons, you will more than likely find yourself agreeing with some people, but not all of them. From that perspective, the best self-defense weapon isn’t one that you heard about, and should aim to acquire. Rather, it will have the following features:

  • It should be a weapon that you are comfortable using. Just because a .45 caliber semi-automatic has plenty of stopping power, that doesn’t mean you should give up a lower caliber revolver that you feel comfortable with. In a similar fashion, if you feel more comfortable wielding a knife at close ranges, it doesn’t make much sense to draw a gun just because you have it on hand.
  • Your personal defense weapons should fit your needs, budget, and comfort levels. In a stressful, life threatening encounter with a criminal or terrorist, a weapon that you are uncomfortable with can cause you to freeze up, miss the target, or lose complete control of the weapon and the situation.

A personal defense weapon should be something you feel comfortable carrying at all times. Remember, even a ballpoint pen can kill at close range in numerous ways. Never underestimate the simplicity of a device just because it looks harmless, or others don’t see it for what it is.

Within some limits, a weapon that you design yourself can truly be more effective and more efficient than anything you might buy based on the beliefs of others.

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

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An assault on our right to self-protection.

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In legal terms, Australians have a right of self-defence. While some states rely on the common law and others have it enshrined in statute, the right itself is never questioned. Moreover, juries consistently refuse to convict those charged with serious offences whenever self-defence is made out.

What we don’t have is the practical ability to exercise that right. Possessing any object specifically for the purpose of self-defence, lethal or non-lethal, is a criminal offence. There are many women, raped and/or murdered, who would have been liable to prosecution had they been carrying anything that might have saved them.


The Unappreciated 10mm Auto

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glock_29_sf_10mm_bug_out_survival_hunting_gun_pistol_2

glock_29_sf_10mm_bug_out_survival_hunting_gun_pistol_buffalo_boreThe 10mm auto is a fine cartridge that was created as a very real solution to a very real problem. Unfortunately the 10mm performed exactly as designed while predictable humans went and messed it all up. But before we start, if you are quite familiar with the 10mm auto and perhaps even happily own one, you likely live in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Alaska or Texas. According to a contact at Smith & Wesson, the vast majority of 10s are sold in those states and thusly the vast majority of appreciation for the 10mm is found on those vast states. By the way, if you add up the entire populations of MT, WY, ID and AK, it is still less than one-sixth that of Texas.

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

Revolvers these days seem to jump from .22 to .357 without so much as changing shelves in the gun store. And then they go up from there to .41, .44 Mag, and onto the wrist-snapping .454, .460, .480, and a choice of .500s. While pistol cartridges, on the other hand, look like a bunch of inbreeds sharing the same clothes and bald heads. In fact it can be comical debating the differences between the .380 through the .40 like little kids acting tough in the sandbox. The .45 struts around like the big man on campus, but is actually just an old guy driving a sportscar. And then there is the 10mm looking like the giant blond Russian villain in a Bond movie. A huge side of beef that can throw a man across the room.

You’re The Man

glock_29_sf_10mm_bug_out_survival_hunting_gun_pistol_cooper_bookJeff Cooper was instrumental in the design of the 10mm and as a .45 fanatic, Cooper’s standards, while socially abrasive, were high, and the 10mm reflects that quest for handgun perfection (yes, that’s a not-so-subtle nod to Glock). The original 10mm produced over 600 pounds of energy by firing a 170 grain jacketed hollow point at 1300 feet per second. For reference, a Buffalo Bore +P+ 9mm can generate about 500 ft-lbs of energy with a 115 grain bullet at 1400 fps (if your gun can handle it), while regular 9mm loads often carry less than 300 ft-lbs of energy. But for further reference, stuff some Buffalo Bore 155 grain into your 10mm and you can easily get 774 ft-lbs of energy. Even the 220 grain hard-cast bullet bear loads I use in my 10mm scream along at 1200 feet per second and still exceed 700 ft-lbs of energy. And that’s out of a gun not much bigger than my subcompact Glock 26!

Related: The Katrina Pistol

To handle a real 10mm cartridge (not that watered down FBI stuff) a new gun was needed and the Bren Ten was born. Unfortunately health problems prevented the Bren Ten from reaching puberty, heck it didn’t even reach kindergarten before going bankrupt, but in it’s short life it did become a meme for Miami cops just like the 24-hour five-O’clock shadow. However, the genie of autopistol power was out of the bottle. On a side note, the actual Bren Ten used on the Miami Vice TV show shot .45 blanks and was heavily chromed to show up better in low light scenes.

The generally accepted demise of the 10mm’s popularity is from a recoil level that is certainly more than the 9mm that many LEOs were qualifying with. The FBI was all hot and heavy for the 10mm when it arrived on the scene, and it is easy to imagine why the serious government shooters would be excited about what the 10mm offered. But for the vast majority of special agents and desk jockeys who draw down on paper as rarely as possible, the 10mm felt like Dirty Harry’s hand cannon. And don’t get them started on follow-up shots.

There was also another issue at work to shove the FBI in the direction of the .40 S&W and that was flat-out pistol durability. The 10mm is a much hotter load and all that bang takes it’s toll on hardware. Machining and metallurgy at the time was about as good as the music from the 1980s. But there were some winners in that decade with Guns N Roses and Glock among them. Unfortunately Smith & Wesson was not one of them. Smith produced a pistol named the 1076 and nicknamed the “FBI Pistol” after the bureau placed an order for 10,000 of them. But it only took 2400 of the pistols to arrive before the FBI canceled the order and moved on.

Tap Twice, They’re Small

glock_29_sf_10mm_bug_out_survival_hunting_gun_pistol_compare_9mmThe initial attempts to dilute the 10mm cartridge into something you could drink all day long punched a hole in the auto-cartridge lineup. And the .40 S&W stepped in and saved the day. Or so we thought. Today the difference between a 9mm and a .40 is minor in the big picture, but the difference between a 10mm and everything less than a 10mm is significant. Not only does the 10mm punch much harder, but also carries that energy far down range. So much so that a real 10mm (not that wimpy FBI stuff in the white box) has more umph at 100 yards than a .45 has at the muzzle. Even more, if you walked into a bar, the 10mm would be drinking beer with the .357/.44 magnum crowd rather than with the parabellum and its friends sipping cocktails. In fact, the 10mm routinely beats the .357 in arm wrestling, and often ties with the .41 Mag.

Is That Real?

If you saw a foot-and-a-half long auto pistol with a bore big enough to plug with your finger sitting in the display case at the gun store, you’d probably think it was a fake handgun, or at least a one-off custom job. And it’s true that autopistol designs present very real limits on cartridge size and design, but that’s no reason to throw out a perfectly good caliber just because the Feds found it a little too snappy for their manicured hands.

Related: Project Squirrel Gun

The two things the 10mm has over the smaller rimless cartridges is a longer case and a bigger bullet. The larger case holds enough powder to launch 200 grains of lead over 1200 feet per second, and light rounds at over 2400 FPS! That’s rifle territory. So with the right driver behind the wheel, er I mean slide, the 10mm is a serious deer hunting round coming out the chute of an auto-pistol that some choose to carry inside their waistband.

For decades, the .357 was the minimum gun in black bear country and the .44 Mag at the bottom of the list for trespassing on grizzly land, especially in Alaska where everything really is bigger. So when you reduce bullets to numbers, the 10mm puts some outstanding points on the board. Delivering over 600 foot pounds of energy was Cooper’s goal for his super cartridge. You can always downshift the powder load or bullet weight for lesser tasks, but you cannot put more power where it won’t fit. History recorded that the 10mm was uncomfortable to shoot by the average G-men and G-women. So while the 10s were being emasculated leading to the so-called “FBI Load,” the .40 S&W jumped in bed with the Fibs. Before we knew it, the 10mm auto was a footnote and if it wasn’t for a rabid constituency of 10-lovers, it would have died. Luckily Colt Firearms was one of those 10-lovers and produced the Delta Elite in 1987. The Delta Elite was a 1911-esque design that surely pleased Jeff Cooper who probably appreciated the 1911 in .45 more than Browning himself.

Colt to the Rescue

glock_29_sf_10mm_bug_out_survival_hunting_gun_pistol_billboardThe Delta Elite is considered the first successful 10mm pistol but slow sales stopped production in 1996. Then at the 2008 SHOT Show, Colt announced the Delta Elite in 10mm would return. Overlapping the Colt timeline, Glock produced its first 10mm in 1990, a large frame named the Glock 20. But in a twist of fate, the Glock 22 (.40 S&W) was released first because the FBI flip-flop from 10mm to .40 S&W thus back-burnering the 20 for a few months. Six years later in 1996, the subcompact 10mm named the Glock 29 was released into the wild. And today there are two 29s (Gen4 and SF) along with a new long-slide MOS version named the G40. So in case you lost count, your local gun store could four distinct versions of Glocks in 10mm. And there are at least half-a-dozen other major manufactures producing 10mm pistols as well.

Ten is the New Ten

bear_countryToday, the cult-like following of the 10mm is being replaced by the mature appreciation of the cartridge that Colonel Cooper wanted. 10mm ammo is plentiful with bullets for self-defense, big game hunting, and even hard-cast bullets for the most dangerous animals in North America including grizzly and polar bears. It should be obvious that if your stable of survival-oriented handguns has increased beyond the traditions, them give serious consideration to the 10mm auto. In fact, think long and hard about the 10mm as a single solution for both defense and hunting when the World goes all ROL on you. And for the record, I think of Glocks like food storage; more is better and I don’t get rid of the old just because I got something newer.

Related: Glock 42 Review

Being essentially a .40 Magnum, the 10mm auto has changed from a choice between pain or power, into a fighting man’s cartridge that has the respectable knockdown energy and flat trajectory that lesser rounds can only dream of. So like the rattlesnake, yes it bites, but those new to the 10mm most likely just misunderstand it. And that is all about to change…again.

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Prepper Planning Tips for 2017

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new_year_prepThe coming of any new year starts out of the gate brimming with a plethora of opportunities to achieve many things.  This includes wrapping up goals, projects, and missions from the previous year and a new chance to sit down to lay out the priorities for the year ahead.  All of this should be approached with a fresh breath of air.  You know how it feels and smells just after a big storm has passed, especially a lightning storm that charges the air with fresh ozone.  You can smell it.  Take it in, breath deep, chin up and embrace the coming 12 months with a positive attitude to keep plugging away at your prepper initiatives.  

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

The virtual plague of the past eight years is ending.  Pro or con, this country has slipped into an international quagmire of disrespect and disregard.  We hope this status can be regained in short order. Domestically, the economy is beyond flat.  Regardless of what the administration peeps say, nearly 8 million Americans are out of work and countless more are underemployed.  All of this is seasoning for a SHTF recipe.

The New Political Climate

irs_logoFive generations of citizens have been on welfare now to the point that it is considered the entitlements of all entitlements.  This needs to end, too.  And the “government” still does not get it.  The IRS just rolled back the per diem expense allowance for vehicle business travel for 2017, ostensibly because they say fuel costs are down.  Today at home, unleaded gasoline is $2.19 a gallon.  Up over twenty cents in a month.  An executive order just cancelled more offshore drilling and the huge new oil field in Texas cannot be tapped even if we had the pipelines to transport it to refineries.  All this adds stress to an economic recovery.

Related: Prepper Guns on a Budget

Health care for the working class is in crisis.  My wife and child pay $1100 a month for basic care with a huge deductible.  It is only good for a catastrophic health incident or accident.  Doctor and hospital costs are totally out of control.  My GP’s office charges $65 for a flu shot, while a local pharmacy charges only $25.  Go figure.  And on and on it goes.  

Taking Care of No. 1

money_budget_gunsNot to be purely selfish, but this is the age of taking care of you and your family first, then help others as you can.  This includes the entire realm of personal attentions to health and welfare for you and family, then taking care of business in preparation against any potential threats that might develop this year and beyond. Once you have your own affairs relatively in order, then you can reach out if you choose or then direct your efforts or attention to other projects.  This is a tall order, so there is no better time to take it all on than right now.  Nothing happens all at once.  It’s like a huge marble statue that you chip away at day after day.  You may never see the final product, but you can take pride and honor in the constant effort toward the final goal.  

Review the Current Plan

This is assuming you have a plan or sort of directional guide in hand and that it is written down to pass around, invite comments, add to, take away, alter, shift, redirect, adapt, adopt, and then initiate.  If not, do this first, now.  Perhaps reconsider bugging in or out. For existing plans, review them now, item by item.  If you have achieved some of the steps, check them off and or add comments about parts that need to be rechecked, revised, or completed.  Try to add completion dates so that some achievement schedule can be established.  Otherwise, everything is just floating out there undone or half done.  

Things change all the time.  Adjust your plan according to changes that you anticipate or not.  For example, maybe you plan to acquire a new bug out property or perhaps an RV, camping trailer or other major purchase to give you options during a SHTF event.  Such changes can produce a number of new tasks to accomplish.  Plan accordingly.  

2017 To Do Tips

bug_out_essentials_stuffDefensive security should be reviewed and shored up if lax.  Add new supplies, weapons, ammo, accessories, and gear to fulfill your security needs.  Again, review what you have and then move forward.  Perhaps it is time to beef up your home security with heavier locks, window storm covers or other precautions. This first initiative includes inspection, maintenance, repairs, or replacements of weapons, gear, and equipment already in hand.  Add to this additional time for training, shooting practice, formal shooting course training, and then more practice for everyone.  This should include reactionary drills at the bug in or out location.  Have everybody comfortable to respond as necessary.  If needed, buy an extra firearm and add to ammo supplies.  

Unpack your bug out bags, inspect everything, recycle old out of date supplies and repack.  Inspect the bag, too for wear and tear, zipper function, clean it up.  Refresh the entire kit bag.  Same for other quick grab bags full of gear for a bug out.  Do the same for your EDC satchel, bag, or backpack.  Clean guns, oil knives, refresh batteries in everything, and get the everyday carry squared away again.  

Read Also: Survival Books for Your Bunker

Check out your entire bug in food stocks and supplies both at the bug in locale and the secondary bug out site, camper, trailer or whatever.  Recycle dated foods, snacks, staples like beans, rice, flour, sugar, etc.  Add new canned goods, and other foods you eat regularly. Restock or recycle water stores and add more as space allows.  

batteries_prepReplace batteries in everything you own including house smoke alarms, security system backups, communication radios, AM-FM-Weather radios, flashlights, electronic or regular illuminated gun scopes, rangefinders, bore lights, lanterns, cameras, hearing aids, and such.  Charge or replace vehicle batteries, ATV or SUV batteries.  Replace old batteries in storage with fresh ones.  

Revisit all medical supplies, personal medicines, aid devices, CPAP, and OTC med stocks.  Check first aid kits, refresh as needed.  Add new boxes of band aides, gauze, wraps, bandages, and other medical supplies.  Check stocks on antiseptic ointments, creams, Vaseline, lotions, and other supplies to support health care and injury recovery.  

Do an inventory on all other kinds of consumable supplies.  The list could include all types of paper products from paper towels, toilet paper, paper plates, a variety of tapes, glues, oils and lubricants, grease, chainsaw oil, and anything else other than cooking materials that you use up on a regular basis.  Inventory all types of parts for plumbing, HVAC, motor parts, etc.  

Refresh fuel supplies from regular gasolines, diesel, white gas for lanterns or camp stoves, bottled propane, and charcoal lighter if used.  Ditto on charcoal for outdoor cooking, newspaper supplies for charcoal chimneys, and stock up plenty of matches and butane lighters.  

Now is the time to take advantage of New Year sales, too.  Watch newspaper ad flyers, visit the big box outdoor stores, gun shops, and gun shows to stock up or shop for advantageous price points on gear and stuff you need or want to add.  

A bright horizon comes with 2017 but that is no reason to let our guards down.  Natural disasters cannot be controlled.  Terrorism is still viable and a threat.  Our borders remain open for now.  Crime is still rampant.  There is plenty to be considered about to remain vigilant.  

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15 Gun Safety Tips Every Gun Owner Should Know

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Over the weekend, thousands of lucky people got a firearm for Christmas. For many of them, it’s the first firearm they’ve ever owned. If you or someone you know is a brand new gun owner, then check out these gun safety tips. They should be practiced over and over until they become second nature. Preppers […]

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Prepper Guns on a Budget

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money_budget_gunsIf you were charged with putting together a basic 3-gun set of weapons for prepping and survival use, how much money would you need to spend to get the job done.  If you are new to this game, then this may be a perplexing question.  It is one I highly recommend for some judicious research, reading, inquiry and shopping. After all, in a tight situation, your life may depend on the answer. There are a multitude of choices. Think of this guide as a baseline for your budget picks.

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

Let’s suppose we gave you $1000.  Could you assemble a weapon’s set including a basic handgun, a rifle, and a shotgun with that amount?  We’re talking good, serviceable guns, too, not rusted junk either.  Let’s explore the options.

A Presumptive Assumption

shotgun_prep_budgetBefore we wrestle with the suggestion of a mere three gun weapons set, know we are simply laying out the most basic defensive weapons deployment for personal and property security, hunting, and other prepper uses.  We know full well that most preppers will have many more options, but we have to start somewhere, then build on it.  For the purposes of these recommendations, we are limiting our selection to one handgun, one rifle, and one shotgun.  The idea is to suggest that such a cache could be acquired for at least $1000, possibly less.   And we are not necessarily talking used guns either, but that option should be left open.  There is nothing wrong with used guns in great condition.  

Our choices may not be your choices, as there are many, many options in today’s gun market.  Enough so as to be rather confusing to those just getting into prepping and deciding that some form of personal protection in the manner of firearms may be needed.  To that end, our suggestions are focused to fit these restrictive budgetary limitations.  

The Basic Prepper Handgun

For practical purposes here, we are not going to engage in a full or detailed dissertation on all the potential choices as to handgun type, brand, model or caliber.  Thus we are not going to mince words either.  

Read Also: The Katrina Pistol

handgun_bug_outThe recommended choice for a first prepper handgun or rather pistol to be used primarily for self-defense is a semi-automatic pistol chambered for the highly common and widely available 9mm.  Sure there are other choices, but this is a solid middle of the road choice between the .380 ACP and a .45 ACP.  Sorry, but the .22 rimfire is not on the list for defensive purposes.  

Why a pistol and not a revolver?  For a one gun choice, the capacity to quickly change out loaded magazines is paramount.  Indeed, revolvers may be easier to learn to handle and shoot, but they are too slow to reload under most conditions.  A pistol is a better choice when used correctly.  

With very careful shopping, a consumer can find a 9mm pistol in the $300-400 range, $500 tops.  Among the list to inspect would be the SCCY (pronounced sky), Beretta Nano, Glock 43 (used), Hi-Point, Kel-Tec, Ruger LC9 (used), Ruger P-Series, Smith and Wesson (used), Stoeger, Taurus and perhaps some others.  There is no evaluation of these models here, just cost considerations.  

As with all gun purchases, a trustworthy gun dealer can steer you to a quality gun either new or used to suit your purposes.  Just do your research, inquire of other shooters, and go into any gun deal with eyes and ears wide open.  

The Survivalist Rifle

ar_15_budget_rifleNow it gets a bit tougher.  It would be easy to simply suggest getting an AR-15 platform rifle in 5.56/223 or even perhaps the .300 Blackout or 6.8 SPC for a bit more power.  You make that choice, but know the AR-15 would be a good choice.  For some, a bolt action rifle would be good, too.  An AR could be used with basic open sights, but likely a bolt action will need a scope for an extra cost.  Optics could be added later of course.  Either can be used for hunting.

Right now AR prices have moderated especially since the election and the 2nd Amendment scare is over for now, we hope. Dealers overstocked thinking Hillary would win.  Now they are trying to sell off their inventories.  Right now is a good time to buy an AR.

Working gun shows regularly, I have seen new, in the box ARs selling for slightly under $500, $600 tops depending on the exact model.  Check out these brands: DPMS or Bushmaster.  They offer utility bare bones models.  Used ARs can be found, but inspect them thoroughly before buying or get a return guarantee if possible.  Avoid buying somebody else’s trouble.  

As with the pistol, the AR rifle offers quick change magazines that can be pre-loaded and ready.  Under dire circumstances sustained fire can be critical.  The AR accessory aftermarket is loaded with options.  For a basic first prepper rifle, the AR is hard to beat.  

The Elementary Smoothbore

shotgun_stock_ammoBuying a decent shotgun is probably the easiest of the triple threat.  Recommendations are easier, too.  Buy a pump action shotgun, either a classic Remington 870, a Mossberg 500 or Savage in 12 gauge.  Get serious and forget the 20 gauge.  Stick with a basic hardwood stock, but synthetic is OK if the price point is right.  An ideal defense shotgun would have a barrel of 26-inches or less.  The 20-inch tactical barrel is easier to handle indoors and around barriers.  Make sure the barrel accepts screw in choke tubes so the shotgun can be used for multiple purposes such as hunting.

Related: Survival Shotgun Selection

Good, serviceable used pump shotguns can be found for less than $200.  New ones can be found for $269-329 with some companies offering rebates as well.  I just saw an H&R Partner Protection model at Academy for $179, new.  There may be additional sales after the New Year begins.

If you work hard, shop smart, and have some luck, this 3-gun set can be bought for $1000 or close to it.  Next as appropriations become available start stocking ammo.  How much?  At least 1000 rounds each of pistol and rifle ammo and 500 shotshell rounds.  Again, these are starting places.  

Undoubtedly, these recommendations will spark debate, criticism, and opinions.  We welcome that.  The ultimate goal here is to outfit new preppers with the basic gear they need to survive a host of SHTF scenarios.  

These Survival Weapons Will Keep Zombies at Bay

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by Jeanie

In the post Apocalyptic scenario when rule of law breaks down then householders need to protect their families – but aren’t we almost there already with home invasions and zombies hell-bent not just on taking your stuff but causing harm?

And it’s your right to do everything in your power to protect your family? Well, unfortunately, protecting your family comes with all sorts of rules – make one wrong move and there’s a big fat court case waiting which doesn’t seem fair since it was the zombies who went on the attack.

FBI crime statistics for 2015 released in late September 2016 put the violent crimes figure at 1,197,704. That is a lot of crime and one can expect the 2016 figures to be even higher- it takes them around nine months to collect and process all the data.

Weapons

The weapons you use will depend on the situation. If you are outside in a bug out situation and have a reasonable early warning system – like people standing watch – you can get into position to take out at least some of the zombies before they even know that you know they are on the attack. If you can see them coming across the lawn/through the garden and you have a clear view then the bow and arrow may be a way to engender fear and perhaps stop the attack.

First off you want weapons that can be fired from a long range to deter a zombie mob – you certainly don’t want to be up against them at close range As soon as you fire a gun the zombies know where to fire back – but a silent arrow coming out of seemingly nowhere that finds its mark gives you an advantage.

Longbow versus Crossbow

The entry level and basic longbows aren’t too pricey but as you move to the high end of the range used by professional hunters they get very expensive. The pros are that they have a decent fire rate if you are experienced but you have to nock the arrow – that means adjusting it into the bowstring and pull the string each time.

Long Bows require quite a bit of power and suit the more burly types with plenty of strength in their arms. They are also deadly and silent – just what you need for to surprise a group of zombies on the attack and throw them into disarray. But if you are going to be dodging around trees and buildings fast they can prove unwieldy.

The crossbow is like a longbow placed on its side, set onto a stock and is fired from the shoulder. It is both powerful and accurate even if one isn’t an expert. The advantage lies in being able to nock an arrow and carry it around ready to fire in an emergency – but that’s only once – after this you have to nock the next arrow.

It is also easier to fire so women and men who don’t have the requisite strength (around 80 lbs draw weight and upwards) in their arms to use a long bow, but have the accuracy, can handle the crossbow very efficiently. With the long bow you have to maintain that draw weight until you have loosed the arrow – with the crossbow once you have the arrow in position you don’t have to maintain that pressure – you just fire when you need to.

The cross bow has a slower rate of fire than the longbow and also it is not as silent – you can hear the shudder from the bowstring if fairly close to the target so this may alert zombies. Arrows from both types are reusable but in a zombie attack you are unlikely to have time to go around retrieving arrows.

Before considering these as defense weapons check your state laws – some states have placed bans on certain bows. You know the situation – zombies out to kill you family invade your property, you save your family yet you get stuck in jail anyway because you were in possession of an illegal weapon.

Guns

They are fairly light weight and easy to carry around and almost anyone can use one. Every person who knows guns well will have a personal preference so remember anything said here is just an opinion. The main thing is to know your weapon. Buying a gun and keeping it in an gun safe for an emergency  then taking out  the unfamiliar weapon is a waste of time – chances are you will be disarmed by the zombies and have your own gun used against you. Statistics in the US indicate that people are more likely to have their guns stolen than to actually use them in self-defense! The good thing about guns is that people don’t usually argue with someone holding a gun – so there may be no need to actually fire it.

The pro-gun and anti-gun lobbies are both vociferous in quoting the statistics that ‘prove’ their point of view but let’s just record here that no one wants to feel the guilt of causing the accidental or unnecessary death of another human being.

Dr Garen J Wintermute is the Director of the Violence Prevention Research Program at UC Davis Medical Center. He is an emergency medicine physician with a great deal of experience in gunshot wounds. In an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine titled Guns, Fear, the Constitution, and the Public’s Health Wintermute says that there are risks if you keep guns at home, mentioning figures of an increase in the risk of homicide from 40 to 170% and the risk of suicide from 90 to 460%.  Youngsters who commit suicide with a gun usually do so with a firearm kept at home.

To keeps kids safe guns are legally required to be locked away in gun safes – meaning in the chance of an attack you are unlikely to get to the weapon in time. To be effective the gun needs to be carried on your body at all times– like a police officer. How many homeowners are ready for that?

And as for women who carry guns in their handbags – what chance to they have if the handbag is ripped off them in the street? A gun needs to be in a shoulder holster or ankle holster or tucked into the waistband of pants where a person can reach it immediately if necessary.

Which Gun do I Choose?

What you are looking for in case of a zombie attack is stopping power before the maniacs have a chance to injure or kill your family.  There’s a reason law enforcement agencies worldwide choose the Glock 17 9×19 pistol.  The GLOCK “Safe Action”® System has 3 independent, automatic safeties to ensure it does not go off by accident and zombies aren’t going to be hanging around to wait for the click when all 17 rounds are used up.

Popular too is the Sig Sauer P229 a more compact version of the SIG P226 – again one favored by law enforcement and the military worldwide.

Making the lists of the most popular handguns in the US are also the Beretta PX4, Taurus, Kimber, Ruger P89 and the Smith and Wesson Model 29, .44 Magnun Revolver. Many homeowners favor a shotgun but it is hardly a personal weapon that is carried at all times – however if you can get to it in case of a zombie attack it can be very persuasive when loaded with #8 buckshot but it is not a long range weapon. For that you need a rifle.

Although they are probably illegal in almost every single state in the US the AK47 is am amazing assault rifle – it normally takes 30 rounds, but you can get 40 and even 75. Easy to reload, they work even if they get wet or are mishandled and with their rapid fire rate are perfect for stopping zombies in their tracks – unless the person using it doesn’t use the standard spray pattern of firing.

Pepper Spray

Don’t waste your time with inferior sprays. You need the police strength one capable of disabling a person for around 20 minutes giving your family a chance to escape, or restrain the zombie. SABRE produces police grade pepper spray that is used by law enforcements agencies worldwide.

Check the range advertised on the canister before buying. Also when using pepper spray it must always be sprayed downwind otherwise you incapacitate yourself. If kids are given pepper spray they need to be made aware of this.

Attacks happen so fast that even if you do have masks for the pepper spray there probably won’t be time to put them on, but especially for kids, masks could be useful.

Flashlights

A serious flashlight can be used to blind an attacker but if the zombie is armed it will usually shoot slightly to the left of where the flashlight is assuming the person is right handed, so hold the flashlight in your left hand and as far away from your body as possible. The TL 1000 Raybeck Outdoor  has 1000 lumens –blindingly bright and also gives the user a pretty good idea as to which zombies are creeping across your front lawn.

Stun Guns

They can be useful as a back up if kept charged and someone comes into range that is not carrying a gun.  The TASER is the best brand to incapacitate a person giving you enough time to escape or tie them up for the authorities to deal with in a normal situation or for you to make alternative arrangements in a total breakdown of law and order situation. However take a look at this video to see why you should NOT rely on one as your only weapon of defense:

Yellow Jacket Case

The yellow jacket case for the iPhone – sorry not other phones at this stage – provides a back up battery for the phone and with a flip of the switch converts to a stun gun. This is perfect for teens – you probably have gone through the drama when they are separated from their phones for a couple of minutes – so you know with this is will always be with the youngster for defense. There is a video attached here but please ignore the comment section where it says the company went “belly-up”. A different group in fact bought out this company.

says this, “Yes we are still in business and we will have iPhone units for all iPhone Models except Plus in January 2017 during our launch at CES and SHOT show.” This is definitely one weapon to add to the arsenal.

Tactical Tomahawks

Refer to our article on tomahawks and how to choose them. The tomahawk makes a self-defense weapon most zombies won’t argue with – unless they have a gun in which case you should be deadly accurate with your tomahawk throwing skills before they see you. Like the Vikings, you should go into battle with two tomahawks – and be good at using them with both hands.

Machete

The machete with its far longer handle can make a useful weapon to get yourself out of danger. Use it as a staff to deflect a knife attack and wait for your opening.

Airguns

Although these don’t actually have the stopping power of a rifle or handgun they can keep the zombies at bay while you reinforce defenses. In certain gun free zones you can carry an air gun, so this video shows some ideas of how to pick one:

Staffs / Clubs

Don’t underestimate the power of a club in self-defense – it gives you a longer reach to put someone out of action. The thing is you don’t particularly want to close with a zombie wielding a knife.

In bug out situations finding suitable sticks to use for defense is usually pretty easy From an early age both boys and girls can be trained to defend themselves in stick fighting – around the home in an emergency a hockey stick, baseball bat, stand up paddleboard oar, or a lamp stand could help them defend themselves. Kids are much more agile than most adults – train them to use this agility to either escape or slow up a zombie. Here’s another video on the Bo staff  – what kids see as agility and fun spinning of the stick could one day save their lives by being able to disable a knife wielding zombie:

Watch the Zulu and Filipino stick fighting styles demonstrated here:

In Africa people carve themselves a knobkerries – it is basically a branch of a tree with the part where it grows from the trunk left attached and carved into a circular knob. This can easily be done in a bug out situation if you don’t have access to other weapons.  Usually one stick is used in the defensive position as shown in this video  but here people are showing off their skills not aiming to kill each other, so two sticks are used instead of the second one being a knobkerrie or a spear:

Spears

You can either make your own by attaching a knife or dagger to a strong stick or metal shaft or you can order a Spartan spear from this website. The spear is 83 inches long giving a person lots of reach but using such a long weapon if the zombies are inside the house could be problematic.  This is where a short stabbing spear is better as used by the Zulus where the length of the traditional spear was shortened for more maneuverability in closer in-fighting.

Slingshots

Highly effective to take out zombies at a distance –and the slingshot has been around since long before the days of David and Goliath. A well-placed shot can take out a much larger enemy. Some people use steel balls and lead balls instead of the usual stones. This guy has made some adaptions to his slingshot that zombies would find pretty off-putting; it combines knives, tear gas and a slingshot!

The Western Dankung slingshot is one to go for – it is flat and fits in a back pocket easily and with a few lead balls in the pockets is always ready to use in a tight self defense situation. The product is made in China from titanium – be sure to order the “Western” model that will be more suited to the size of hand rather than the more complicated Eastern models for smaller hands.

Knives

If you are prepared to use a knife for defense you need to know how to use it and be careful not to be disarmed otherwise it can be used against you. Here are some tips on choosing a knife:

When buying one, take into account the particular laws for your area or state  regarding the  type of knife and blade size.

Bottles

These are other survival weapons you can use in an emergency – if caught in the kitchen by an a intruder smash a wine or spirits bottle and keep it in front of you to deflect someone trying to pin you down – remember to reverse your grip on the bottle for better use as a weapon.

Lamb to the Slaughter written by Roald Dahl is a short story in which a pregnant woman, whose husband who has mentioned that he is going to leave her for someone else, murders him with a frozen leg of lamb. So just about anything hard and heavy could be used to disable a zombie from vases to the frozen Sunday roast.

10 Bug Out Bag Essentials

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zyon_pack_bug_out_bag_essentials

bug_out_essentials_stuffCall this back to basics, or getting started from the get-go, but there are as many varieties of opinions on bug out bag contents as cats have lives.  And then some.  Then there are the definitions of exactly what constitutes a bug out bag, but no two preppers or survivalists bags are the same much less their contents. So, up front, let’s politely agree to disagree if this suggested list varies from yours.  After all, my bug out bag is not your bug out bag.  Your circumstances are not the same as mine. 

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

You may live in a congested mega-city.  Others live in rural areas or in the suburbs.  All of these conditions allow for differences in what we put in a bag to grab on the way out of the house, office, or vehicle.

Bag for Bugging Out or a Body Bag?

My idea of a Bug Out Bag is a single source medium sized bag with the bare minimum of supplies to last 24-48 hours with some potential stretch.  This bag was created to last long enough to get out of Dodge to an alternative secure location or to a pre-determined supply cache or a more permanent pre-supplied bug out location.

Related: More Tips for your Bug Out Bag 

This Bug Out Bag is not intended to be a long-term supply resource.  It will not weigh a hundred pounds or contain long range subsistence or gear for a camp out in the wilderness.  Your bag may be designed for other types of missions or alternative plans.  That is fine.

Bug Out Bag Priorities

handgun_bug_outThis is where the fight of opinions usually starts.  What to pack first and what items are most likely to be needed initially with other bag items being needed or available as the bug out ensues.  It is easy to argue that the choice of any self-protection defensive weapon, most likely a handgun and ammo should be readily available for access or as appropriate worn in a weapon ready condition.   Let’s accept this as the first item in a bug out bag.  

Sure, when you grab your bag to jump in your escape vehicle or head down a long flight of stairs to evacuate a work site or other location, you may be darn thirsty or maybe even needing a boost of energy from a bar, but first, you’re going to want to secure your mode of personal protection.  From there the other items in the bag don’t matter in terms of priorities until they are needed.  So, grab a drink, but go slow on it.  Some of the items in your BOB you may not end up using at all, but it is nice to have them along just in case.  

Read Also: Knee Deep in Bug Out Vehicles

So, here are the ten items of basic need or utility I place in a BOB.  Other than the pistol, no particular order of priority.  Also, note, there is no suggestion of which specific item or brand to get or have, just the categories are listed here.  You figure out what you want on your own.  

The Other Nine Essentials

Meds or OTC.  If you have to have certain medications to live, then you best have them.  This goes for diabetic supplies, heart meds, or any other life essential medicines.  Support that with over the counter pain medications, antacids, antiseptics, etc.   You can keep these in the original bottles or boxes, or get a little personal med kit to store them.  Just organize them so you can find what you need quickly.  This could include a small, basic first aid kit, too.  

Water.  Have several bottles of water or a canteen.  Have more in your vehicle, but always carry some along.  Make the judgement on how much to carry balancing weight and volume in the bag with your hydration habits.  

Food Items.  Pack energy bars, not candy bars.  These should provide carbs, but some real nutrients as well.  Small bags of nuts, trail mix or other snacks that are not junk food.  Check the contents and calories ahead of time so you know how much to take along.  Again, you can store additional food in your vehicle, assuming you get to it.  

knife_handgun_bug_outKnife.  Have some sort of cutting instrument.  You choose, but be practical.  Remember, reliability and function are absolutely crucial. You may not need that huge Bowie knife on a bug out.  A good, solid, sharp folding knife that locks for safety works.  Multiple blades are great, but not the 87-blade-tool version.  I could be talked into a multi-tool that has a good cutting blade.  

Flashlight.  Gotta have one or two.  Pick a light that is super durable, extra bright, uses standard batteries, and has shock resistance in case you drop it, which is likely.  Some like to add a red or green lens cover for clandestine hiding or in vehicle use at night to reduce drawing attention to your location.  

Cell Phone/communications or News Radio.  A way to call or get calls is important, so long as the towers function.  Add to that a good basic emergency radio even a hand crank variety.  You need to get news and government broadcasts if there are any.  Ironically, even being able to get a music channel can add some comfort factor during a stressful situation.  

Firestarter.  If your travel plans get waylaid for any multitude of reasons, you may have to stop over and spend the night somewhere.  A fire can be a great comfort and under some conditions a lifesaver.  So, have a selection of ways to ignite a fire from simple matches, butane lighter, or a strike stick.  Pack a tiny bag of wax soaked cotton balls, too.  

bug_out_clothingSeasonal Clothing.  Pack a jacket, preferably a rain jacket that doubles with some insulation with a hood.  Depending on the season, add items like a warm hat and gloves, or a lightweight shirt, jeans or shorts, hiking shoes-boots and socks.  Of course, pack according to your environment. If you are in more northern environments, be sure to have warmer clothing. Additionally, more clothes should be kept in your vehicle.  

Cover Tarp and Cord.  Finally, if you have to camp out, have a temp-tarp.  Staying in the vehicle may or may not be comfortable.  A good cover will give you extra options.  

There, that’s one BOB equipped and ready to run.  Is it perfect?  Hardly.  Some can do with less, others will admittedly want to add more.  That is why we are all individuals.  Regardless, have one, supplied, packed, and ready to grab.  

Photos Courtesy of:

Dr. John Woods

8 Tips to Consider When Buying a Knife

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8 Tips to Consider When Buying a Knife They say that the best knife is the one you carry with you when disaster strikes. While this may be true, knowing that you can depend on your knife and that you can use it without problems is what makes survival possible. There are a lot of …

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Primitive Living Skills: How To Make a Bow and Arrow

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Primitive Living Skills: How To Make a Bow and Arrow If you live self-sufficiently, you know how much time is spent on getting food for the family.  Gardening and livestock management stay at the top of your priority list, since one bad season can lead to disaster. For this reason, it’s important to know how …

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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.

 

Top 5 Walther Pistols to Own

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Walther is a gun company that always seems to introduce a new innovative feature with each gun they make. They’ve gone from a simple target rifle manufacturer in the 1880s to now being one of the most famous firearms manufacturers in the entire world. Walther produces an assortment of high-quality handguns for law enforcement, military, and civilians alike.

The special thing about Walther is how each of their handguns is unique from other guns in their respective classes. Some of their guns have been enormously successful, to the point of becoming iconic, and others not so much. But there’s no denying that Walther is a gun company to be reckoned with when it comes to innovation and reliability.

Regardless of whether you want to begin collecting Walthers or are just looking for a single Walther handgun to own, take heart in knowing that when you buy a Walther, you’re buying a gun that’s going to last you for life.

Here are the top five Walther pistols to own, presented in the order that they were made:

WALTHER PPK OR PPK/S

The PPK is probably the gun you think of first when you hear the name ‘Walther.’  After all, the Walther PPK in .32 ACP is well known for being the sidearm of choice for James Bond 007. Not only is the PPK easily the most iconic Walther handgun, but it’s also one of the most iconic handguns period.

There are more reasons to own a PPK (or a PPK/S) than just to say that you own the James Bond gun. First and foremost, the PPK was one of the most innovative pistols of its time. It has been so successful that numerous other famous pistols, such as the Russian Makarov, have since copied it. Walther originally released the PP in 1929. It became the first successful blowback double action single action pistol ever released. A year later, Walther cut down the grip and barrel to make the most concealable PPK.

The PPK quickly found favor as a concealment and a backup weapon with law enforcement and people across the globe. It remained a favorite for many decades. The PPK built a reputation for durability, reliability, accuracy, and slimness. By all accounts, it was the gun that brought Walther worldwide attention.

Because of the Gun Control Act of 1968, the PPK was deemed too small to be imported into the United States. Walther remedied this situation by taking the slide and barrel of the PPK and slapping it on the frame of the PP to create the PPK/S. The PPK/S holds one more round than the PPK in .32 (8 vs. 7-round) and .380 (7 vs. 6-round).

Today both the PPK and the PPK/S are produced by Walther at their factory in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Smith & Wesson used to manufacture the PPK and the PPK/S under Walther licensing from 2002 to 2015, but they have a mixed reputation at best in comparison to the genuine Walther’s.

While the PPK has been largely eclipsed by more modern pistols in its class that are lighter in weight, it truly is a timeless and proven design.  It’s an accurate and well-balanced firearm that’s equally at home in your gun safe as it is in your waistband.

WALTHER P38

Another highly successful design from Walther is the P38. Like the PPK, its basic lock-breech design is seen in many other famous pistols, including the Beretta 92. The magazine holds eight rounds of 9mm and can be released by the European style heel mag release.

The P38 was designed chiefly as a military sidearm for the German Army in the late 1930s. Not only did it serve with distinction in World War II, but it also continued to be used by German police and military units in the decades afterward. It was only completely phased out in 2004 which says a lot about the overall quality of the design.

While the P38 was not the first DA/SA pistol ever produced, it was the first successful such pistol. Like the Beretta 92, the safety is located on the slide and acts as a decocker when depressed. A loaded chamber indicator slightly protrudes out of the rear of the slide when the weapon is chambered. Also, the P38 also uses the same open slide design that the Beretta 92 has become famous for.

Today, P38’s can be found floating on the used market in the $500 to $700 range. Surplus parts and magazines are relatively plentiful. For these reasons, the P38 would even be an appropriate choice as an SHTF sidearm.

Note: the aluminum-framed version of the P38 is the P1. Other than this, the two guns are identical and spare parts are interchangeable.

WALTHER P5

The Walther P5 is affectionately known by Walther aficionados as the ‘forgotten Walther.’  While successful with police units in Europe, it gained significantly less attention in the United States. However, there are still some who consider the P5 to be the finest Walther ever made, and there are good reasons why.

The P5 is essentially an updated version of the P38. The story goes that in the 1970s, German police were looking for new sidearms to replace the World War II-era ones that they had been using. Many companies submitted designs, and Walther’s entry was the P5. It was quickly accepted by multiple police agencies in Germany, Finland, and the Netherlands (the latter of whom issued it until 2013).

Like the P38, the P5 utilizes a locked breach design with a heel magazine release (though it does not have the open slide design of the P38). It fires the 9mm Luger round from 8-round magazines, but it will accept P38 magazines if the magazine heel is swapped out for the P38 heel.

One of the most notable features of the P5 is how the spent shell casings eject to the left side of the frame rather than the right. This is obviously a major plus for left-handed shooters. The reason for this design in the P5 was because if a jam were to occur, the shooter would be able to see it instantly without rotating the gun to view the ejection on the other side.

All in all, the P5 is a fantastically well-made firearm. Admittedly it’s better suited these days as a collector’s item rather than as a duty or a concealed carry firearm. This has nothing to do with the quality of the weapon, but rather with the fact that the P5 is no longer produced. This means spare parts and accessories are difficult and expensive to find.

WALTHER P99

The P99 was Walther’s first polymer framed striker fired handgun, riding on the heels of the Glock tidal wave. The P99 is still far from being a Glock copy.  Whereas the Glock and most other striker fired handguns have one consistent trigger pull, the P99 utilizes what Walther calls the Anti-Stress (AS) firing system that is modeled more after a DA/SA handgun.

It works like a double action pistol. The first trigger pull is long and heavy. After the gun cycles, all subsequent shots are much shorter and in a single action. A decocker is present on the slide that returns the pistol to the double action pull mode when depressed for safe carrying. However, the unique feature about the P99 is how it can be cocked. When the gun is in double action mode, and the slide is pulled back slightly, the ‘AS’ mode is activated. In this position, the trigger is still in the position of the DA mode but has virtually no take-up, similar to if you were to manually cock a DA/SA hammer fired pistol.

The P99 fires from 15 shot magazines in 9mm or 12 shots in .40 S&W. It features an ambidextrous paddle magazine release on the side. While successful in Europe, like the P5, it garnered significantly less attention in the United States. Walther recognized this and decided to update the P99 with a single continuous trigger pull. The result was the PPQ.

Note: the P99 is also available as a Compact model with a shorter grip and barrel, with a 10+1 capacity for 9mm and 9+1 for .40 S&W.

WALTHER PPQ

As mentioned above, the PPQ is essentially the P99 only with the same trigger pull for each shot (called the ‘Quick Defense’ trigger by Walther), which is like the Glock. This trigger is widely regarded as being one of the smoothest and lightest of any production pistol on the marketplace.

Walther also produces the PPQ in two separate variations. The M1 model that features an ambidextrous paddle magazine release. The M2 model features a reversible push button release. All accessories between the M1 and M2 models are compatible except for the magazines.

Today, the PPQ is available on the American market in four separate calibers: .22 LR (12 rounds), 9mm Luger (15 or 17 rounds), .40 S&W (11 or 13 rounds), and .45 ACP (12 rounds). It’s also offered in two different barrel lengths: a 4-inch barrel for duty use, and a longer 5-inch barrel for competition and target use.

The PPQ has become the flagship model in Walther’s lineup. In addition to its smooth trigger, it has gained a reputation for improved ergonomics, accuracy, and reliability.

CONCLUSION

Walther produces top quality pistols designed to be used for life. Just as importantly, their designs are among the most innovative of any gun manufacturer in the world. While all their handguns are undoubtedly well made, the PPK, P38, P5, P99, and PPQ are the five that deserve the most recognition.

Building a Basic Defensive Arsenal

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oil_well_americaTimes are tough. The economy is rolling, but not like a freight train. The country is in heavy debt from social spending and the support of conflicts abroad that are not really our conflicts. The middle class is taxed to death. The oil industry is still dragging. Ironically, we continue to import oil from the Saudis just as we discover a huge new oil field in Texas. Families struggle to support themselves with two or more jobs. Medical care costs are out the roof and insurance is crazy expensive. The post-election turmoil continues. Who knows how that will turn out?

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

With all this going on, how can any person, family or team interested in prepping afford to supply themselves with essentials much less build a decent protective weapons cache? It can be done. It has to be done with consideration for a bare bones approach. Here are some suggestions to formulate a plan if you are just getting started.

Begin with the Basics

chevy_truck_articleA good Ford F-150 or Chevy pickup will get you to work, and to bug out camp just as well as a $100,000 Land Rover. Actually, the pickup is probably the better choice anyway. It is the same concept in putting together a starter kit for personal protection prepping weapons. You don’t need the top bill guns to start out. What you need to do is shop smart and buy wisely.  With all kinds of debates on this topic, everybody has their own thoughts and opinions on what to get. The bottom barrel scratch kit should include a basic defense handgun, a good pump shotgun, and a defensive rifle. Again, this is not a wish list, but a base set of guns to get the job done.

Handgun of Choice

In the realm of handheld weapons there are base choices: a 5-6 shot swing out cylinder, double action revolver, or a magazine fed semi-auto pistol. The choices for a newbie are overwhelming. If you are so new to this game that you know virtually nothing about guns, then do your homework. There are plenty of resources: shop a good prepper gun book, the internet,  and seek out advice from firearms professionals.

As for revolvers, I suggest you find a good .357 Magnum, six shot, 4-6 inch, double action. With this handgun you can also shoot less recoiling .38 Specials in the same gun. There are two bonus features to that. Learn to shoot with less powerful loads that are cheaper to shoot, then have the full power .357 when needed.

9mm_handgunsIf these revolvers are too large to be comfortable for your grip, then opt for a smaller .38 Special with a four or six inch barrel. This is a protective wheel gun, not a concealment firearm. Go with fixed sights such or quality adjustable sights.  If you want to tackle the more complicated semi-auto pistol that is magazine fed through the base of the grip, I highly recommend the 9mm. This is a widely available, mid-range power pistol cartridge.I also recommend professional shooting instruction. Pistols have various safety mechanisms and other factors that demand instruction. Reading the owner’s manual is not enough.

There are dozens of choices for this type of pistol on the market. Choose a high quality pistol brand such as a Beretta, Glock, Colt, Smith and Wesson, Ruger, SCCY, SIG, or CZ. Handle as many full-sized pistols as you can. Steer away from the pocket pistol for an initial handgun.

Handgun costs vary widely for new and used guns. Revolvers can be found from $300 to $1000. Pistols are the same pricing from $400 on the low end to $1000. If you shop carefully, I think you can find a good pistol for $500 or less. Add a couple extra factory magazines and at least 500 rounds of ammo.

Smoothbores

shotgun_stock_ammoLet’s go simple here. Buy a pump action, 12-gauge shotgun. The 26-inch barrel is good, but some can handle an 18-20 inch barrel. Get screw in chokes so you can hunt with the gun. Choose either plain hardwood or black synthetic stocks. These shotguns will only have a bead sight up front to align when looking down the barrel. I am biased toward the Remington 870, but other brands are available.

In regards to bird hunting, buy several boxes of hunting shells with shot load sizes in #6, 7 ½, and 8. For defense, get some loads in buckshot or high brass #2s or 4s. Add a box or two of shotgun slugs for heavy hunting or heavy threats.

A good used 870 can be bought for $150-250. A brand new one can be had for $289 at Academy or other outlets. Buy the base model with matte finish and wood stock at this price.

Prepper Rifles

There is plenty of content available on prepper rifles. Treat this purchase as mentioned above for handguns. Again, let’s cut to the chase. If you could only have one defensive prep rifle to start with, then it needs to be a basic AR-15, 5.56 Nato/.223. There are dozens of options to buy.

ar15_purchase_gun_storeThe basic AR that offers the most versatility is an “optics ready” version or a model with a flat top Picatinny rail for mounting open sights or an optical scope. The hand guard should offer an accessory mounting system, Picatinny rail, M-Loc, or KeyMod arrangement so you can add sling mounts, flashlight, or handstops as needed.  Don’t go wild with accessories on a first, primary rifle. Learn to handle it, shoot it, maintain it and carry it. Accessorize it later. A good AR should cost no more than $800. At present there are nearly 500 AR rifle makers. Stick with a well-known, common factory rifle. Buy a manual on its upkeep, running, and maintenance.

For basics, add at least 10 high quality polymer magazines. Build your ammo stock up to a minimum of 1000 rounds. Add some practice, hunting, and defensive rounds. Load all your mags and mark them accordingly.

This is your basic piecemeal prepper gun kit. At the very least, this is a good place to start: one handgun, shotgun, and a rifle. The options are many. Wade into the swamp as soon as possible, get instruction, and practice. Advance your strategic and tactical skills with time. Soon you’ll be ready.

Photos Courtesy of:

John Woods
Diane Webb 
Stokes-Snapshots

The Ubiquitous 30-30 Lever Gun

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lever_action_chamberDear survivalists and preppers, have we gone AR and AK nuts? Hey, you know what, there are viable alternatives to the multi-round, mag latch, muzzle flash black guns so often associated with the bug out movement. For one, this author contends a good ole reliable, lever action 30-30 has a role to play in our survivalist work. Sometimes the best choice is the most iconic one.

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

If you’re into such things, you can revisit the original lever action rifle developed in 1894.  The Henry “load once, shoot all day” rifles, among other efforts, pre-date the early Winchesters that ‘won the American west‘. The 30-30 came a year later as the first American centerfire smokeless powder load.

Even today, the so-called aged 30-30 Winchester remains the benchmark deer hunting cartridge mainly because it delivers ample killing power at reasonable ranges. Still widely available in factory ammo loads using 150-170 grain bullets, the 30-30 is no magnum, but is still effective.

The Outfit that Fits

lever_actions_saleA lever action 30-30 rifle is a versatile bug out rifle for woods, field, or ranch. It can be used for protection, patrol, varmint control, and hunting. These rifles are generally lightweight, handy to wield, and easy to shoot with low recoil. It is just as useful for protecting the bug in residence. The common variety 30-30 lever gun offers a 20-inch tube with some models sporting carbine, or compact rifled barrels. The under-barrel magazine tube holds 5-6 rounds with one additional loaded in the chamber. Sure, not a mag change, but cartridges are easily inserted into the side action loading gate. Lever action cycling is fast, effective, and accurate. What’s more, the lever action rifle is a reliable, well-tested choice. The lever gun is a good alternative fit for many preppers.

Related: Ruger Charger Takedown

As promoted, the typical lever action rifle is a handy tool. It is straight-forward in its use with no complicated buttons, switches, releases or other distractions. This rifle format is easy to load, operate, and chamber. The lever action is a positive camming action that rarely fails to work.

Normally, the external hammer is positioned in a half-cock safe position prior to fully cocking the hammer for firing. Many of today’s new factory lever guns also offer a slide bolt safety lock that is simple to manipulate. First time and experienced shooters will find the lever gun easy to operate. The mechanism becomes second nature.

Barrel lengths of lever guns vary from short carbine lengths of 16-inches to the factory standard barrel of 20-inches. There are some models that have longer tubes and some with intermediate barrel lengths. Shop for what you can handle best.

Lever guns most often come supplied with factory installed open sights, usually a simple buckhorn adjustable sight dovetailed into the barrel. The forward front sight can be a simple ramp or hooded ramp to reduce glare. Most current production lever guns have the upper receiver drilled and tapped for installing a scope mount for an optical riflescope.

lever_action_kid_rifleLever guns weigh in the neighborhood of 6-7 pounds, loaded. Many models have sling swivel studs to install a shoulder sling for ease of carry or for shooting support. They are not cumbersome to tote and can be pressed into service quickly and smoothly onto a distant target. A sling can be carried across the chest to free up both hands for other tasks, yet the rifle can be rolled out of the carry mode and easily shouldered for shooting.

Lever guns usually come with wood stocks but newer versions are now offering black synthetic buttstocks and forearms. Rifle finishes vary from a standard blued metal, matte finishes, or stainless steel models. Select the features that suit your needs and applications best.

The Lever Gun Market

Lever action rifle models are currently available from Winchester, Marlin, Rossi, Mossberg, and Henry Repeating Arms. These manufacturer’s offer models in 30-30, smaller handgun equivalent loads, and heavier loads like the 45-70. The 30-30 remains the moderate alternative.

See Also: The Theory and Practical Application of The Walking Around Rifle 

A new lever action rifle is going to set you back from $450 to upwards of $600, maybe slightly more. They are certainly cheaper than most AR rifles. Sales on lever guns can be found and shopped. Gun shows will have new and used rifles. If you go the used route, just be certain you are confident the rifle is in excellent condition. Stay clear of rifles with rust or an abusive appearance. You’ll know an overused gun when you see it.

Distractors?

lever_action_standingTo be honest, the typical lever action 30-30 rifle is no AR-15. But, let’s not get lost comparing apples to oranges. The obvious distractor could be the loaded ammunition capacity. However, load up the magazine, put one extra in the chamber and use a buttstock ammo holder to carry six more rounds on the rifle. That is plenty of ammo for hunting and deterring threats. Put twenty more rounds on belt loops or in an easy access pouch on your carry backpack. It sure beats lugging along a half dozen AR mags in a heavy, hot front carry vest. ARs definitely have their places, but not all the time. Preppers should always be open to alternatives; adopt them and adapt to them.  Is the 30-30 lever action rifle an ideal set up? Well, no. It probably isn’t ideal for every bug-out or bug-in application. But, it is another choice worthy of serious consideration. Easy to operate, carry, deploy, shoot, and maintain, the 30-30 lever gun has a lot going for it.

Photos Courtesy of:

John Woods

Interested in writing for us? Send a sample of your work and an introductory statement to joel@survivalcache.com. Please use subject line: ‘Write for SurvivalCache/SHTFBlog’. If you’re a good fit, we’ll publish your work and compensate you accordingly.

The Fallkniven Professional Hunting Knife: When Quality Really Matters

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fallkniven_phk_professional_hunting_knife_closeAs knife designs evolve they have to overcome the traditions and stereotypes of the past. In an effort to drive knife sales, manufacturers have produced more versatile, creatively inspired blades. While this has yielded a multitude of blades, some manufacturers have missed the mark entirely with poorly designed, gimmicky knives. Others, like Fällkniven, produce modern blades that are just as useful as traditional blades. In 1984, Fällkniven opened its doors to the world and pushed blade technology to new limits. 

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

There seems to be very few constants in knife making these days. I can think of two constants: human strength and cutting capacity. The ideal blade isn’t too dull, flexible, or blunt. If you will, the ideal blade is a ‘Goldilocks Blade’. Beyond that, there are few rules. With this being said, there are many traditions and these must be properly navigated in order to innovate.

The Hunted

fallkniven_phk_professional_hunting_knife_blade_profileSince the mid-1980s the Fällkniven Knife Company has served the needs of those who might find themselves floating to earth under a parachute, or working their way back home after a crash landing. The Fällkniven F1, also known as the Swedish Pilots Knife, is a small package of cutting dynamite. With the F1, hunting is on the menu, but the menu is quite large with many vegetarian options. I carried the F1 in my hunting kit, but often found myself looking around for something better when it came to hunting tasks and game processing. Fällkniven, in usual fashion, answered the call.

Read Also: Survival Gear Review: Fällkniven A1 Pro

The Fällkniven Professional Hunting Knife, or PHK, is a gorgeous upswept-point blade of mildly larger proportions than dusty traditions would specify. Frankly, the moment I saw the design of this blade, I knew it would be good. There was just something so right about it. It carried forward the belly of a skinner with the rigidity of a wilderness blade while offering the user more control. The Fällkniven Professional Hunting Knife has an upsweep-drop point which seems like it could be an oxymoron, but in fact it’s the best of both worlds. Perhaps it is the best of all worlds.

The potentially contradictory blade shape of upswept-drop point is an irony of iron that really works. Traditionally upswept designs are elegant but small slicers are arguably more effective. When the blade exceeds the distance between palm and index finger, the whole hand must move beyond the grip. This motion compromises safety and is simply inefficient. It’s a dangerous move that requires practice especially when done quickly or blindly. On traditional larger drop point blades, the tip of the blade rides below the index fingernail meaning it’s easier to poke a hole into the skin or membrane during a slice. The pros can drag the tip precisely like a surgeon’s scalpel, but anything done in the field or elements is risky. And the more blood and sweat in the mix, the more likely the game won’t be the only one skinned. However, on the Fällkniven Professional Hunting Knife the upswept drop point allows fairly precise driving even from the back seat. The thick spine provides firm control and the added length in front of the fingertip is user friendly.

Iron Maiden

The iron coursing through the veins of the Fällkniven Professional Hunting Knife blade is a 3G laminated steel scoring a 62 on the Rockwell hardness scale (HRC). The tang is a broad protruding one that, like Fällkniven’s survival blades, pops out the back of the grip completing the solidity of this package. A single grommeted hole graces the far end of the kraton grip allowing a lanyard to be attached.

Related: Fallkniven A1 Survival Knife

fallkniven_phk_professional_hunting_knife_archeryBut with change comes controversy. If mildly noticeable deviations from the blade norm raise eyebrows, then drawing your PHK from the sheath will leave mouths agape. Without knowing it, most survivalist and hunters are carrying on a tradition that began long ago. The camo-clad crowd spouts “two is one, and one is none.” Big blades and little blades have been complementing each other for millennia. Big jobs are for the big knife and small jobs are for the small knife. A further refinement of this concept did develop further prejudice and that is with the sacrificial blade and the primary blade, or the Pawn and the King, if you will. In hunting circles, there is the hunting knife that is cared for, babied, and often rides safe and warm in the hunting pack instead of on the belt. Then, there is the working knife that does all the daily maintenance and dirty jobs far below the noble duties of the king. I admit that I practice this bit of favoritism, but in terms of survival, the OO knife (double-oh knife), or Only One knife concept is very real when the hunting gear must be high speed, low drag.

Traditions Change

I think hunting knives began to evolve when hunting moved from an out-the-backdoor activity to a pseudo-military expedition into the untamed wilderness. There’s not a lot of hardware to carry when popping a Bambi off the back porch. You gut the beast right there donating the innards to the predators that keep the place clean and tidy. Afterwards, you drag the carcass back home and string it up on a tree to cool. When ready, you head to your  kitchen for some meat and bone-specific cutlery. 

All is fine and dandy until you are miles into the woods and your quarry might not go down willingly like the whitetail snacking on your hedges. Enter the big hunting knife. When money and carry-weight is tight, items seem to gain more uses. Military knives moved from BDU belt accessory to top-tier hunting wardrobe. The knife needed to run triple-duty as a camp knife for those lifetime adventures in the national parks, off-grid hunting expeditions, and self-defense.

Like all evolutionary change, as one critter specializes, another pops up to capitalize on the available niche. So as the hip-hugging hunting knife moved away from the detailed work and more towards bigger cruder jobs, little knives moved in like tiny mammals taking over the mini-landscape left behind as the dinosaurs grew bigger. Then, when the mighty asteroid dirtied up the place 65 million years ago, the little furry warmbloods made their move. And here we are, more or less.

fallkniven_phk_professional_hunting_knife_gutting-birdSpecialized knives started to weigh down the hunter who might actually carry a combat blade for general outdoor use, a razor-sharp cutting knife, a skinning knife, a bone saw, and perhaps even a hunting hatchet to split open those pesky big game rib cages and detach bony limbs. What drove this equipment frenzy was the search for exactly the right tool for the job, and not the best tool for many jobs. While at home, you can have all the specialized tools and blades you want. Carrying them on your back and belt is a different story. Especially when you know you will need to use the knife for many other non-hunting chores and rarely for the chore it was designed for.

Small is Big

In a strange twist on a perpetual theme, there was a movement that started out with good intentions but ended up causing a mess. That movement was fueled by the belief that the better a hunter you were, the smaller the knife you needed. This was the opposite of the Bowie and Tennessee Toothpick persona. Imagine Rambo whipping out his Spyderco Ladybug. Maybe let’s not. The issue rose to epic proportions when a hunting knife could be mistaken for a scalpel complete. Of course, another knife was needed for regular camp tasks, and an even larger blade was carried for the traditional forest duties. So add to the growing pile of knives the sharpening tools and extra blades necessary to keep the knives in the fight.

Further Reading: Three Excellent Survival Knives for Under $100

But the same evolutionary rules that lead to the population explosion of knives can also lead to extinction. Blades were staying home and hunters were squeezing more performance and specialized jobs out of knives obviously not designed for such work. As the proverbial pendulum began a healthy swing back towards center, so started another renaissance of sorts with hunting knives. The short ones got a little longer, thin ones got a little thicker, the pointy ones got a little more dropped, and knives of all kinds implemented the full belly of the skinner.

fallkniven_phk_professional_hunting_knife_carvingTaking advantage of this enlightenment in hunting knives was none other than Fällkniven. By creating an obviously unique take on the philosophical concept of a hunting knife, the Fällkniven PHK has hints of many different blades from Samurai Sword, to Tanto fighting knife, to skinning blade, to wilderness knife, to survival blade. In fact, the PHK is like a piece of contemporary art that assumes the preferences of the viewer as much as standing on its own. In other words, the PHK does it all, and most things well. At five millimeters thick, the PHK blade shares a level of strength uncommon to traditional hunting knives. And its blade length exceeds the hunting industry standard by about an inch. Further, the attention Fällkniven gave to hygiene is something more in line with the butcher shop than the killing field. The stainless steel and kraton grip clean up nicely and provide few homes for bacteria.

In general, the PHK guts like a gutter, skins like a skinner, chops like a chopper and slices like a slicer. It does none of these things quite as good as a blade specifically designed and dedicated to such tasks, but the PHK is well within the margin of error for modern task-specific cutlery. Adding to this list, the Fällkniven PHK also worked great as a minor clever as it crunched through upland game bird wings and legs with skill and finesse. The full belly rolls smoothly through all things aviary, and breaks the bones of any fish you can lift. But big game is another story. Processing hundreds of pounds of animal requires some seriously edged firepower so pushing eight inches of blade length around a carcass is a task well within the Fällkniven Professional Hunting Knife skill set.

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Doc Montana

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10 Best Survival Rifles To Protect Your Family

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Today I want to share what has become my favorite article on rifles. When it comes to rifles–and all firearms, for that matter–there isn’t a perfect choice that would be ideal in every situation. Rather, it depends on what your goal is. As the author says, “In the right application, a dump truck is extremely […]

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Survival Gear Review: The Mora Camp Axe

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mora_orange_cutting_axe

Mora knives are the paracord of survival blades. Their utility is unquestioned, but not so much is their reliability as a true survival mora_axe_riverinstrument. Having a partial tang, thin blade, plastic sheath, and average steel, the Mora Knife is more of an inexpensive convenience, but by no means the last word in survival blades.  However, the Mora Knife is just the beginning of the Morakniv tool offerings to those with a survival bend. Among other things, Morakniv carries axes.  One particular axe caught my eye for review, the compact Mora Camp Axe.

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

The Morakniv company began its journey in Mora, Sweden in 1891, with knives being little more than a product diversification to their lineup of timber sleds. That’s almost a century-long head start in front of Fallkniven, another well known Swedish blade maker. After 125 years of changing names and products, the formal company of Morakniv was born on January 1, 2016. No more timber sleds, no more ice drills, just knives, hatchets, and a few other things.

Small Bites

Speaking of Mora Hatchets, I thought it a good time to take one for a SurvivalCache spin. The Mora Camp Axe has much of the flavor of the famous Mora Knife with a plastic handle, thin blade, and utilitarian steel. One of the packaging options is a combination box that includes both the axe and a matching Mora knife.

Also Read: Why the Tomahawk?

The hatchet-sized axe is 12.5 inches long with a 3.5 inch blade face. The quarter-inch flat steel axe head does some things well, while others not so much.  Lacking the wedge head of classic hatchets, wood is only mechanically forced a sixteenth of an inch in either direction off center. This makes for better slicing. The remedy is to vary the pitch of the blade during strikes.

Featherweight Fighter

Another variable here is that this hatchet weighs in its entirety just an ounce over one pound. That certainly makes for easy carry, but also severely limits its multiplied force as a tool. So of course, there are tradeoffs. For smaller camp and survival chores, the Mora Camp Axe is a fine little worker.

The plastic handle of the Mora Camp Axe is described as “reinforced” but I have no idea what that really means in this case. mora_orange_hatchet_and_knifeModern reinforced plastics are polymers with low modulus strands and high grade plastics. At the moment, I will just have to take Mora’s word since the handle of the Mora Camp Axe feels and looks like basic plastic to me. When I hold the handle up to a bright light, I cannot see any enlargement of the metal head within the plastic so the plastic’s grip on the head as is is all she wrote. However, I do see a couple quarter-inch holes in the metal where light gets through, along with a half-inch notch at the top. I assume that these holes and the notch are filled with plastic infill securing the head to the handle.The hatchet head is painted with a black epoxy that protects the steel from rust. It seems fairly durable, but you will need to touch up the exposed steel blade.

Related: Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe

The steel is listed as a boron steel which I find unusual for a common camp hatchet. Boron steels are special purpose steels found mostly in automotive applications. This steel can be incredibly strong, but also quite susceptible to heat tempering. Mora seems to have done this boron steel well since it remained quite sharp even after repeated chopping events. The poll or back end of the axe head is a quarter-inch by two-and-a-half-inch rectangle; hardly enough to do much work. This is worth consideration since the Mora Camp Axe costs about twice that of the $25 Fiskers X7 hatchet.

Test Driving

Two of my many field trips with the Mora Camp Axe were eventful. One was an outing with some high school boys, one of whom was infatuated with hatchets. When a ten-inch thick tree crossed our path, he was initially happy to clear the trail. What would have been a two-minute job with a full sized forest axe (something in in the 20-inch handle range and a two pound head) took more than 10 minutes with the Mora Camp Axe. And as fatigue set in, the number of misstrikes increased to the point I had to intervene on his technique for safety reasons.

Related: Good, Cheap Knives

Another trip had the Mora Camp Axe tucked into my belt while fly fishing. A small creek I like to wander up has some great little holes with cutthroat and brook trout. High winds in the area had created plenty of trees we call “widowmakers.” They are the dead or dying trees that lean at obscene angles just waiting for an unsuspecting hunter, hiker or fisherman to pause under it, then crash. Wind, rain, and time will bring down the tree. So, when a leaner was shading a fine looking Brook Trout hole, I decided to assist the tree in its suicide. Slipping the Mora Camp Axe from my belt, I surveyed the hazards of felling this tree and went to work.

With a larger axe, the job would have been much faster, so with the tiny bites the Mora Camp Axe took out of the tree’s base, I could sense the will of the tree giving in as it lost circumference. So much so that I was able to step away and film the trees last moments.  Here it is on my first of many Youtube videos for Survival Cache and SHTFBlog.

The Final Chop

The Mora Camp Axe has a place in the survival pack primarily in that it can be in a kit that would normally exclude a larger, heavier hatchet. The simplicity of this tool is that it takes up little space and never complains. It chops wood better than a knife, and does lighter blade work duties much better than a larger axe. Another area where the Mora Camp Axe excels is with smaller hands helping out. Larger tools take larger muscle and larger hands to work with them safely. So smaller tools can shave weight, open opportunities, and be darn handy around camp.

All Photos Courtesy of:
Doc Montana

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9 Best Firearms To Have After SHTF

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After the basic survival necessities of shelter, water, fire, and food have been satisfied, acquiring a firearm should be one of your highest priorities after the SHTF. In the event of a post-apocalyptic scenario, however, you may not be able to find one. For this reason, a good firearm is one of the most important […]

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Book Review: Air Rifles: A Buyer’s and Shooter’s Guide

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air_rife_great_quality_prep

I’ll say from the outset that I’m less familiar with air guns than “traditional” guns. Air rifles, to me, have always fallen into the christmas_story_markwith_airrifle_bbguncategory of a BB gun, the “Red Rider” type that Ralphie wished for in the classic movie, A Christmas Story. A “rifle” that kids use as a precursor to getting a rimfire rifle, something they can use to understand the principles of gun safety while knocking soda cans over with an air-powered BB.  This book, along with some independent research, shattered my preconceptions of the air rifle. As it turns out, the air rifle has a rich history and a variety of applications. As much as it hurts to admit, the air rifle may be a valuable tool in skirting gun control laws.  As bleak as it may sound, plinking around with an air rifle may be the only option in the future.

By Mark Puhaly, a contributing author to Survival Cache & SHTFBlog

In any event, let’s dispense with the gloom and doom and get into the world of air rifles. Exploring the details of miscellaneous weapons types is always fun.  It’s even more fun when it brings you back to the days of plinking around the backyard as a kid.

Overview 

The modern air rifle, in case you’re unaware, is vastly different from its predecessor. The first air rifle, it seems, dates back to around 1580 air_rife_book_markwith_survivaland now sits in a museum in Stockholm.  After a bit of cursory research, I learned early, advanced air rifles were used for hunting wild boar and deer.  Of course, these rifles were a bit more hardcore than your traditional BB Gun.  In fact, old air rifles were used in military applications as well.  Today’s more modern air rifle can do just that in a survival situation.  And with what seems like ever-increasing risks of additional gun control measures and expensive ammunition, the air rifle makes sense to add to anyone’s collection of survival firearms.   The book covers air rifles from start to finish. All types are covered: CO2 powered guns, spring guns, multi-pump pneumatics, single-stroke pneumatics, and pre-charged pneumatics. The book then moves into the many types of projectiles (more than a novice might think).  For preppers, there’s even an entire chapter devoted to “The Survival Springer”.  These include models of all types and price ranges.  The book also covers sights, scopes, velocity, accuracy, range, targets, training tips, and accessories. Truly, this book seems to cover everything on air rifles.

Related: Back to Basics – Rifle Accuracy 

After reading “Air Rifles: A Buyers and Shooter’s Guide” by Steve Markwith, I’m much more familiar with the versatility of the air rifle and have a newfound respect for them. I’m even itching to buy one (or two) now.  The modern air rifle could serve as an excellent, low-cost training tool for people that live in more suburban environments where shooting bullets off your back deck is less of a… neighborly thing to do.

Likes & Dislikes 

Rich in photos and description, Markwith’s conversational yet informative writing style from his Survival Guns – A Beginner’s Guide holds true here, too. This should be a go-to book for, as the title suggests, anyone thinking about buying an air rifle or anyone that shoots one. I don’t care if you’re a beginner or an expert air rifleman, there’s something in this book that will help.

Also Read: The Evolution of the Black Rifle 

My biggest complaint is that, like Survival Guns, the images are informative but are presented in black and white. The book would be richer if they were in color. The writing is better than the image presentation. $12.95 seems fair for the paperback, but $7.95 for a Kindle version feels a bit high. I generally prefer paperback anyway, particularly where this one is in 8×10” size, but Kindle buyers should be able to get this book for something more like $5.95.

The Verdict 

If you’re new to air rifles, or are even a moderate user, there’s something of use for you here, I’m certain of it. This book would, however, best serve the individual that’s thinking about getting an air rifle, because the money spent on the book up front would save you money many times over by both helping you choose the right air rifle to suit your needs from the outset, and also help you get the most out of it.

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Christmas StoryPrepper Press

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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. […]

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Good, Cheap Knives

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The prepper survivalist can never really have too many knives. And of course, there are more knives to be knives_cheap_good_average_bargainhad than the Clinton Foundation has mysterious dollars in their bank account. By the way, just curious, but where exactly is that bank account? But, then again, your everyday bug in or out blades do not have to bear such names as Loveless, Randall, Dozier, Morseth, Randy Lee or so many other well recognized blade masters with retail pricing to match, not to mention waiting times for their products. Average, good knives can serve you well.

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

Nope, us everyday folks can obtain and use a slew of good quality, multi-purpose blades and tools at the fraction of the cost of a custom fabricated knife from a named maker.  Right now I bet you can search your kitchen drawers, workbench, tool bags, and cases and probably find a dozen decent knives that will serve you well and do all the cutting jobs you need done.

A Blade Goldmine

So, to prove it, I did just that. I started opening drawers around my man cave, plastic storage boxes, and other hidey places just to see what would turn up. Like most preppers, I tend to horde and, from time to time, I have to do a reassessment inventory just to see what I have picked up since the last accounting.

Related: Three Excellent Survival Knives For Under $100

And, yo ho, what a treasure trove.  Category wise I found pocket knives, hunting blades, multi-tools with cutting blades, a box cutter, an electricians blade, a kitchen paring knife, a cook prep/garden harvesting knife and a handmade knife I got on a fishing trip to Homer, Alaska.

These few do not even scratch the surface of my odd collection of blades. Any and all of these suit me fine as a prepper. You just have to dig around to see what you have on hand now, then fill in the gaps if something in particular is really needed for specific projects or jobs.

Blade Investments

As I hinted early on you don’t really need a $500+ Randall knife to do the majority of prepper work. If you have one or want one, fine, but all it will give you is an elitist edge, which doesn’t really cut cheese. That pun was not intended, but it did work out well.

Common propriety brand knives work well, too, but shop around and make sure they are not the low end, foreign made junk. That stuff is creeping into what was once fine lines of knives, so be careful. Blade brands like Remington, Browning, Kershaw, Ruger, Schrade, Gerber and many others are still selling some decent knives even though they may be made in China. Not everything from China is junk. Remember what Japanese-made used to mean?good_cheap_knife_budget_prepper

All of the blades shown in the accompanying photos cost under $100, most of them well under $50. The most expensive was probably the IISAKKI Puukko knife I bought at a hunting and fishing shop off the main square in Helsinki, Finland years ago on a moose hunt with Sako firearms. The Puukko is a classic Scandinavian blade of high quality, and fine workmanship. That company has been making such knives since 1879.

Also Read: Cold Steel Pocket Bushman Knife Review

The common tools like a box cutter, a very useful and necessary cutting implement, can be bought at any hardware or building supply store for under $10. Buy several of the disposable ones for just a couple bucks apiece. These blades are razor sharp so don’t take them for granted.  Same can be said of the electrician’s blade used to trim insulation off wiring. I talked an electrician out of that one at a trade show job fair. It has turned out to be a very handy little knife for many jobs around the house and campsite.

Other Blade Applications

Again, this is just a sampling but a good cross section of what every prepper ought to consider having in their Bug Out Bag, EDC, SHTF tool box, house, camp or escape hideout.  A multi-tool like this little Gerber is a must.  This one was on sale for $25 at a big box store during hunting season.  It has a couple cutting blades, small tools like screwdrivers, and when folded out, it is a set of pliers.  I use these all the time for a variety of jobs.  Preppers should have several of these in different sizes, and one to carry on their belt at bug out camp.

See Also: DMT Diamond Sharpener Review

The pocket knives are just that.  They are useful for cutting nearly anything from gutting small game, to cutting rope, twine, string, tape, rubber tubing, gasket material, you name it.  I suppose a good pocketknife is just about the quintessential cutting tool that every prepper must own.  In fact, it’s a good idea to own several of different sizes with different blade configurations, shapes, and locking mechanisms. Small ones can easily be carried.  After all, one should always be at hand.

The hunting-camp curved skinning blade by garage knife maker Maynard Linder of Homer, Alaska is a multi-use caribou_knife_good_cheap_budget_toolblade.  I went to Linder’s house years ago to watch him make knives with his trademark native Alaskan animal bone handles, mostly Caribou but other types as well.  He makes all types of hunting, camp, cooking, kitchen and utility knives.  They are reasonable in price, durable, and well made.  His wife made the leather sheaths.  The whole point here is that there are a lot of good, decent quality knives out there for a wide spectrum of uses for preppers, and survivalists. Whether it is for food foraging, repair work, building projects, general cutting and trimming, food preparation, or whatever, you need to assemble a good selection of knives for multi-tasking around your bug in residence, a bug out tent camp, or an SHTF escape domicile. There are plenty of good, cheaper blades available that do not have to slice up your prepper budget. Take care of them and they will take care of you for a long, long, time.

All Photos Courtesy of Dr. John J Woods

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What Skills Will Allow You To Do & Not Do.

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Medical Kit.

Medications.

Food bags & containers.

Water bottles or flasks.

Tools for hunting & defence.

Shelter & bedding.


What Skills Will Allow You To Do & Not Do.

The debate regarding equipment versus skills is ongoing, in my personal opinion, both are of equal importance. We are not just talking about survival; we must also be concerned with our quality of life. Yes learning primitive skills for long term survival are very important, but you have to think about what these skills can provide you with & what they can’t. For instance, if you need to cook a stew, then you need a fireproof container. You could experiment making clay vessels, you can also use animal skins & use the hot rock method. But how much easier is it to carry a metal kettle with you?

So why am I mentioning this? I am mentioning this because weight matters if you have to carry it on your back when travelling on foot. There has to be some compromise between two principles, minimum weight & maximum self-reliance. When people are asked about the hunting tools/weapons, top of the list is usually high powered breech-loading firearms. These are fine for self-defence, but how practicle are they for long term survival? The larger the caliber, the more the ammunition weighs, & the more space in your pack it takes up. We need to prioritise, is it more important to carry a lot of weight in modern ammunition? Or is it more important to carry more medical equipment & supplies, vitamin supplements, more food & more water? If we are travelling alone, we can not carry both.

If we are only carrying a modern firearm & we intend to use it for hunting & defence, then the ammunition will not last long. We can of course avoid a fire fight by keeping a low profile, & we can save on ammunition by setting up a trap line for meat. But how secure will you feel knowing that when your ammunition runs out, you will be left with nothing with which to defend yourself or procure game? Your alternatives are: carrying an air rifle, carrying a traditional bow & arrows, or carrying a flintlock muzzle-loading gun/rifle & pistol. Another alternative for those in America might be to carry a modern sidearm in combination with one of the aforementioned hunting tools, or carry a bow & a modern firearm.


Weight is the all important factor, that & sustainability. Solid form medications have a long shelf life, so we need to take advantage of this. Dry foods too have a long storage capability & it is important that we carry as much food as we can. Eventually we hope to be able to take the time to forage for edible flora & hunt & trap game, but until that time comes, we are on the move & we need to keep a low profile.

Can primitive skills supply you with medications? Yes of course they can, but finding the herbs you need will not be easy, & especially so if you are already feeling ill. We need to think about our well being, our comfort. Any item that is sustainable & will make life easier is worth carrying, within reason. Skills will enable you to make a survival bow & arrows, but if you should ever come up against someone with a gun, you may have some difficulty surviving. Something that people often fail to take into account is the shock factor of a firearm, the noise & the impact of the missile. A bow against a firearm can not deliver this.

Anyway, the purpose of this article is to make you think before you leap. Think about the equipment you are going to carry & how it will best benefit your survival physically & mentally. Learn all you can about primitive skills, & if you plan to survive on your own retreat, then think about the living skills you will need to keep things in good repair.

When it comes to transporting equipment on foot, you can use a hiking trolley, but like all forms of transport from vehicles to animals, there will always be a negative side. The tracks you will leave to be followed, the places you can’t go, the noise you will make.

2 Self-Defense Handguns For About $50 Each

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There are many people out there who would love to purchase a gun for concealed carry or home defense, but they just don’t have any extra money. Ever since the Great Recession began, more and more people have been living paycheck to paycheck with barely any spending money to speak of. If that sounds like […]

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The Katrina Pistol

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glock_19_katrina_pistol_trijicon_streamlight_tlr2_surefire_with_gerber_lmf

Ever since I created the Katrina Rifle, I’ve considered adding a Katrina Pistol to my loadout. glock_19_katrina_pistol_trijicon_streamlight_tlr2_surefire_with_gerber_lmf-2 So when Glock read my mind and released their Modular Optics System (MOS) pistols, I knew the time was right to build a Katrina Pistol.  Based on the same survival philosophy as my Katrina Rifle, the Katrina Pistol needs to be good enough to sit at the top of my short list of things to grab when running out the door for possibly the last time.

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

Symptoms and Solutions

The features of the Katrina Pistol are based on the need for a versatile, multi-purpose firearm.  To be clear, the Katrina Pistol is not intended to be the simplest gun on the planet.  If that were the case, the Katrina Pistol would be an overbuilt revolver in .22, .357 or .500 S&W.  Instead, the Katrina Pistol is a hard working gun with features specifically chosen to make it effective and manageable.  The Katrina Pistol needs no instruction book, fires when the trigger is pulled, lights up the night, paints the target, floats a red dot on the point of impact, and launches jacketed lead downrange with extreme prejudice.

When developing this pistol, it was not hard to outline the general features. Choosing a Glock for the platform was an easy choice.  Perhaps, it was the only choice.  No other pistol has the same reliability and lack of external safeties as the Glock.  The cartridge, a 9mm, was another easy choice.  The ubiquity and global popularity of the parabellum round minimizes the likelihood that this bullet will ever be in short supply.

Read Also: Glock 42 Review 

The two Glocks most likely to claim my Katrina Pistol title are the Glock 17 and Glock 19.glock_19_katrina_pistol_trijicon_streamlight_tlr2_surefire_red_dot Both are 9mm, have rails, and double-stack magazines. Since the G17 and G19 are available in MOS, or Glock’s Modular Optics System, it was a no-brainer to move in that direction. To be clear, the capabilities of an optics-ready pistol are a game-changer. In the same vein as the Aimpoint on the the Katrina Rifle, a red dot on the target can make all the difference in the world for the shooter.

The rail is necessary for a weapons-mounted light. If possible, so are attached lights and lasers. Running a weapon-mounted light is essential for one-handed operation and positive target ID. If two hands are needed to operate both a light and a pistol, then you are out of hands when it comes to climbing, carrying, and breaching. Without a weapons mounted light, there is a very real chance of needing to put the gun down in order to light the way. That’s just not in my plan.

Follow The Laser Brick Road

Adding a laser is an excellent sighting solution that does not require alignment of front and rear markers, or a red dot superimposed on the target. Lasers can mark the aimpoint right on the target so there is no need for the gun to be aligned with a dominant eye. A laser-aimed Katrina Pistol can be fired from the hip, around corners, and off balance.

Further Reading: Bug Out Long Term (B.O.L.T) Pistol

Green lasers are physiologically more advantageous than their red counterparts. The human eye is much more sensitive to short wavelength green than long wavelength red. There is an issue with green light than can be both an advantage and a disadvantage. Particles in the air will reflect (or Rayleigh Scatter) the shorter wavelength green light more than red light. This bit of physics is the reason a green laser visibly shoots a line through the air, and even into outer space if you point your gun skyward. The danger is that a bad guy can trace back the green line to its source. This can be to your advantage if you work it right.

Back on Task

The Katrina Rifle article followed two lists: things I did and things I avoided. The semi-auto handgun, like the semi-auto rifle, is a mainstay of any modern planning. Glock is an obvious choice for handgun load-outs. Here are seven features I chose for the Katrina Pistol

1. Caliber: The cartridge of choice is the 9mm. No questions asked. The parabellum round is likely the most common defensive round in the global arsenal. It’s a battle-proven round with plenty of bullet options. Other considerations include the .45, the .40, the .22 Long Rifle, and the .380. But those other calibers, while effective, each carry their own inherent disadvantages. So to simplify the start of this project, 9mm it is.

2. Weapon Mounted Light: There are small lights available today that fit small pistols, glock_19_katrina_pistol_trijicon_streamlight_tlr2_surefire_front_endproduce small lighting areas, and have short lives from their small batteries. For my Katrina Pistol, I want a huge, mountable light output. The perfect choice is one that blasts out hundreds of photons across a wide area for a long time. CR123 batteries are fine since they are powerful and have a 10 year shelf life. Moreover, they work in freezing temperatures.

For this build I went with the Streamlight TLR-2G.  It’s a rail-mounted 300 lumens light with integrated green laser. Three hundred lumens is bright enough to travel fast and ID targets, but not so bright to impede your own vision. Just be careful not to Barney Fife a hallway mirror and blind yourself. I played with smaller light/laser options like the TLR-4, as well as slimline brighter lights including the Surefire X300-Ultra. In both cases, I felt the green laser was necessary for a pistol to be Katrina-worthy. If needed, the laser can be turned off or run separately from the light. 

3. Green Laser: The concept behind a laser is simple, but the execution of using one is a little more complex. Painting a target with a laser mounted on your handgun expedites ballistic performance.  Where a laser really comes into play is when using the pistol away from your face.  While red dot sights negate all discussion of sight radius, lasers negate the need to have your eyeballs behind the gun.  A further benefit is that he laser can be used for one point-of-impact distance and another sighting option can be for a different, likely much greater distance.

4. Red Dot Sight: As anyone who uses a red dot on their AR 15 knows, it simplifies the aiming process to epic proportions. One eye, two eyes, blurry eyes, daylight, darkness, through a gas mask, offhand, weaver stance, flat on your black, strong hand, weak hand, both hands, it doesn’t matter. The bullet hits the dot. 

For this Katrina pistol build I am going with toughest sight I know of, the Trijicon RMR. The RMR is glock_19_katrina_pistol_trijicon_streamlight_tlr2_surefire_slidea battery operated reflex red dot sight that is small, lightweight and one of the top choices for the Glock MOS system. Running for years on a single 2032 battery, the RMR, Ruggedized Miniature Reflex, is an adjustable-brightness red dot optic available in several MOA dot sizes. Furthermore, the red dot system is housed in an incredibly tough aluminium housing with specially engineered corners to distribute force. 

5. Co-Witnessing Iron Sights: Co-Witnessing is often overrated. Mostly it is used to guarantee that the backup sights or iron sights will work fine with the optic in place. In other words, a single sighting plane must contain both both the red dot, post, and valley of irons. For this Katrina Pistol, I selected the all-black Ameriglo Tall Flat Black Sights. Besides being on the inexpensive side, the Ameriglos are a fast and simple replacement for the factory glock hard sights. Rising above the fray, they are, unlike standard sights, easily visible through the Trijicon RMR. Alas, the Glock MOS for RMR does not entertain such indecision.

6. High Capacity Magazines: Sometimes called “Happy Sticks”, the Glock-branded 33 round magazines are worth every cent. While it’s true that some other guns will run oversized mags, few do so with the reliability, durability and capacity of the Glock’s. But that is not surprising. In reality, the Glock 19 will happily accept any magazine sized for the Glock 17,19, 34  and larger. In fact, the only double stack 9mm Glock mag the 19 won’t eat is the 10 rounders for the Glock 26. This particular Katrina Pistol will be running mags with 15, 17, and 33 round capacities.

7. T-Reign Lanyard: Ripping a page from military history, this Katrina Pistol has a lanyard option in the form of a T-Reign retractable lanyard. Using theglock_19_katrina_pistol_trijicon_streamlight_tlr2_surefire_go_box factory-installed hole at the base of the Glock’s grip, the retractable lanyard is easily attached and detached using a Nite-ize clip. It has the retention necessary to keep the pistol tethered under reasonable conditions. Moreover, it does not impede aiming the weapon. If this feature becomes unwanted, it can be detached with little effort. 

Related: Prepper Pocket Pistols 

There are many reasons to include a pistol lanyard. A Katrina-level event will provide plenty of opportunities to lose one’s grip on a pistol. Having a gun just a yard away is always a good thing. Furthermore, the lanyard will not interfere with holstering.

Taking it Home

The next step is to assemble the components and take them from theory to practice. I can’t initiate a Katrina-Level event to test the gun. This doesn’t mean I can’t test the Katrina Handgun in other ways. Keep an eye out for Part 2 to see how well the Katrina Pistol works.

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Doc Montana

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3 Threats To Your Ammo Storage

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People don’t normally think of non-food items as having expiration dates. As long as it’s not something you consume or some kind of liquid, it should last forever, right? Wrong. There are plenty of solid, non-food items that go bad, and many people are surprised to learn that ammo is one of them. As long […]

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What You Need For A Secure Storage Room

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Another Guest Post today. This one from the folks at Delivering Customers on a Secure Storage Room. Hope you enjoy. — What Should Your Secure Storage Room Contain? The Secure Storage Room: What you Need Read More …

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5 EDC Folding Knife Features To Consider

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While several icons of the American knife industry have faded away in recent years, they have been replaced by a new crop of forward-thinking knife companies that have introduced many new and innovative knives designed for EDC (everyday carry). Larger than most traditional pocket knives and more modern in appearance than the classic folding knives […]

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Survival Gear Review: SIG SAUER MPX-C 9mm REVIEW

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sig_sauer_mpx

I was fortunate enough to be able to have some trigger time recently with a Sig Sauer MPX-C 9mmsig_sauer_mpx_firearms_9mm_modular carbine.  It wasn’t nearly enough time – probably 200 rounds over a couple of days – but it was enough to form an opinion on Sig Sauer’s next-generation pistol caliber carbine.  It was also enough to help me learn about the limitations and viability of the 9mm carbine as a tool in a SHTF-type environment.  I wasn’t able to run any drills or courses, unfortunately.  However, I was able to collect some ballistics information and run a few different types of ammo through ‘er, and found some interesting tidbits of information along the way.

By Drew, a contributing author of Survival Cache & SHTFBlog

A Quick Overview of the MPX

The Sig Sauer MPX family of guns is a modern take on the submachine gun class of firearms that started with the Best submachine gunThompson “Tommy” gun, and has since evolved into well-known guns such as the German WW2 issue MP40, the Israeli Uzi, and the ubiquitous Heckler & Koch MP5.  These pistol-caliber carbines are defined by smaller frames than their rifle-caliber counterparts, light, quick-handling characteristics, fast rates of fire in full-auto versions, and mild, controllable recoil.

The Sig Sauer MPX, on first glance, appears to be a conglomeration of an AR-15 and an MP5.  Take the upper/lower receiver design of an AR, along with the AR’s charging handle, control placement, and general order of operations, then combine with a short magazine well and collapsible stock from an MP5, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what an MPX looks and feels like.  All of the MPX’s controls are fully ambidextrous – including the magazine release, charging handle, and bolt stop – usually rarities from the factory on an AR platform.

Read More: AR-15 Magazine Management Strategies 

The operating system is still gas-operated, even with the comparatively low-intensity 9mm round.  It’s a short-stroke best home defense gunsgas piston system that sports an auto-regulating gas valve that allows the MPX to theoretically run all weights of projectiles, from target subsonic ammo to full-tilt +P loads without a hitch…and should also allow the use of a suppressor with minimal hassle.  A nice design feature – especially since many of those who purchase 9mm carbines will do so to run them with a suppressor.

The Sig Sauer MPX platform sports an innovative free-floating rail with keymod attachment points, that interfaces into the upper receiver with a slick groove setup – and it is completely removable with no tools required.  Once one pushes out the forward takedown pin, the rail is unlocked and is free to slide forward and off the gun.  ost AR type handguard rails are clamped on the barrel nut with set screws in some fashion or another; the MPX’s system is slick and clean with no extra hardware needed.  Rest assured that it is solid enough for a sighting system to be mounted; at the range I pulled the rail off the gun and reinstalled several times between magazines, and the sights’ point of impact remained unaffected.

Speaking of the sights, The Sig Sauer MPX comes standard with Sig Sauer’s line of folding iron sights, but the full-length picatinny rail in the top of the rifle, combined with the keymod accessory mounting points, allow you to mount your choice of optics, red dots, lasers, flashlights…you know the drill.  Overall, the Sig Sauer MPX-C that I tried did not leave the user wanting or needing to modify the gun with aftermarket go-fast gadgets; the gun already comes ready to rumble once you add your accessories.  It ought to; the MSRP of this little beast is just a bit over $2,000.  Luckily, if you can find them on the open market, they usually bring between $1,600-$1,800.

The Sig Sauer MPX-C model I was able to test had a 16-inch overall barrel length, the last 2 inches or so of which was 9mm Submachine Gun Reviewa three-pronged flash hider.  The stock was a metal-framed collapsible unit that retracted fully to the back of the receiver, as well as having an intermediate length and a fully-extended length, for a total of three positions.  However, one quickly notes that this is not a collapsible in the fashion of an AR-15, where the length of the buffer tube dictates overall shortest length. The MPX-C’s stock rails slide forward to nest in grooves built into the upper receiver, and the buttplate rests solidly against the back of the receiver when collapsed fully; this makes for a very short resulting 28.5 inch overall length on a full 16-inch-barrelled rifle.  With the stock extended, the MPX-C measures in around 33 inches long.

The MPX also comes in much shorter and alternate configurations, some of which you’d need tax stamps for.  For further information on other MPX setups, you can visit their MPX site here. The rumor is that the MPX platform is made to be modular, with easy-to-change barrel/bolt setups, so one can swap the 9mm barrel out for a higher-horsepower .40 S&W or .357 Sig setup.  I didn’t test this personally, but it makes sense, with the increasing demand for modularity in the firearms world today.

Shooting The MPX-C

I only had the Sig Sauer MPX for a couple of quick range visits, so like I said, I can’t give you a full, strong overview of the system, with multiple different loads including handloads, across a spectrum of distances.  I was able to run three different loads through the MPX: Federal American Eagle 115 grain FMJ, PMC “Bronze” 115 grain JHP, and Sig Sauer’s own Elite V-Crown 124 grain JHP, the defense round I use in my carry guns.

Once I got to the range, I deployed my gear and let the others at the range “ooh” and “aah” all over the MPX.  The rifle does draw a crowd, and when handling the gun and admiring the fit, finish and the overall quality the gun exudes, well, I must say it deserves every bit of drool and coveting that is a consequence of its very presence.

Also Read: Survival Gear Review Talon Grips

Once show and tell was over, I stuffed one of the two 30-round translucent polymer magazines full with the little Best 9mm Home Defensecartridges, seated the magazine, and pulled back the charging handle to find my first surprise: the charging handle only pulls back maybe two inches before it stops, fully extended.  Of course, because of the short length of the 9mm cartridge, this makes sense once one subjects a few brain cells of thought to the matter.  However, when one is used to a 5.56/.223 AR platform and the much-longer charging stroke, the short MPX charging handle yank catches you off guard at first.  This short charging stroke is just one of the ways Sig Sauer reminds you that they engineered this platform from the ground up to be made for pistol calibers.

I shouldered the rifle, and happily peered through the standard flip-up sight picture.  And I squeezed the trigger.  And squeezed.  And pulled.  The second surprise of the day came from the vicious, gritty trigger pull of a $2,000 rifle.  What the hell?  Expecting a fine-tuned machine and discovering a heavy, ugly trigger pull wasn’t what I’d come to expect from Sig Sauer – especially at this price point.  I ended up inadvertently yanking the trigger and the round nose-dived into the lower edge of the target, 25 yards away.

Surprise number three came as soon as the trigger decided it would actually go off: BRIIINNNGGGGGG.  The Sig Sauer MPX fired the round and cycled as it should, but the cool-looking, probably-maybe-effective three-pronged muzzle brake rang like a tuning fork that had been tapped on a steel plate.  And it didn’t stop immediately; I had to reach out and physically grab the muzzle device to make it cease and desist the F sharp or whatever the hell note it rang.  I pulled the magazine, jacked the round out of the chamber, so I could safely inspect the muzzle brake – and I noticed that just cycling the action of the MPX made hell’s bells ring again.  Interesting – and I was rather taken aback that this was a feature that Sig Sauer let roll out the door.  I checked the brake – it was pinned and welded properly and legally.  I don’t know if this is the way all factory MPX muzzle brakes work, but I know this one did – and damn, was it annoying.

I ripped off the rest of that one magazine just to have some fun, but then put the MPX away for the afternoon to focus on the guns I brought with me that had nice trigger pulls, and the only noise they made was “bang”.

Nurse, SCALPEL!

At day’s end, the owner of the MPX met back up with me, and we retired to my man cave to see what we could do best 9mm gunabout the trigger pull.  He’d agreed it was pretty miserable; but he just wanted it smoothed out – no reduction in weight of pull.  We stripped the gun into its main components – upper receiver, bolt and spring assembly, lower receiver, and rail.  I dived into the lower to see what made it tick…

…and I was tickled pink to find out that the innards of the MPX’s fire control group are identical to an AR-15.  That was a shrewd move on Sig’s part – if you want to drop in a Timney or Geiselle other such aftermarket trigger group, you just need to find the standard AR-15 parts…no proprietary parts searching, or waiting for the aftermarket to adopt the particular platform…if the aftermarket adopts it at all.  Probably helps with inventory on Sig’s end, too, since Sig Sauer offers a full line of AR type rifles, as well as their new MCX rifle.

I pulled the basic fire control group out of the MPX’s lower, and treated the appropriate parts and areas to a nice loving 2500-grit polish.  A liberal coating of bearing surfaces with TW-25B grease (I love that stuff) completed the package.  About 45 minutes and an adult beverage later, I re-assembled the MPX’s lower and was pleased to find a nice, smooth trigger pull that weighed, by my guess, about 6-7 pounds.  There was zero grittiness, and the pull was acceptable and useful for a MILSPEC type trigger.  I didn’t touch any springs or remove any metal other than what was polished, so the trigger pull weight was largely unaffected.

Second Time’s a Charm

We hit the range again a few days later to finish sighting in the MPX and to do some more testing. I couldn’t do Best 9mm Rifleanything about the musical muzzle device (he will be swapping it out down the road for something that will interface with a suppressor) but with the trigger straightened out, we felt we could try our hand at some accuracy testing.  I brought my chronograph and EDC Sig P320 Compact along too, because I was very curious to see how much velocity the 16” barrel of the MPX was worth over the 3.9” barrel of the P320 compact.

We dialed the gun in using the American Eagle 115 FMJ ammunition, since he has a readily available supply of this fodder.  We sighted the rifle in at 50 yards per the owner’s wishes.  The windage was spot-on from the factory, with just the front sight needing to be adjusted.  My Real Avid AR tool came in handy to get the front sight to the desired elevation, and we were soon in business.  Offhand, we were consistently getting 2” five-shot groups at 50 yards with the American Eagle ammunition.  From the bench, we were able to tighten it up and pull in regular 1 ½” groups with the stock iron sights.  Accuracy was very good; I’m sure if one was to run several ammunition makes with varying bullet weights, you could find a load that performed better.  But the owner was very happy, and that’s what counted in this particular instance.  100-yard offhand fun shots at milk jugs were a hoot, with every shot connecting offhand once we got the “Kentucky windage” dialed in for the added distance.

We ran a few PMC “Bronze” 115 JHPs (I only had one box with me) to test function, group size, and velocity.  The MPX fed the more open hollowpoint with nary a burp, though group sizes opened up to about 2 ½”  at 50 yards, benched.  I borrowed a few Sig V-Crown Elite 124 grain JHP rounds from my Sig P320 carry magazines for function, group, and velocity as well.  These turned in the best group (just over 1 inch across, a ragged 5-shot hole) and functioned beautifully as well.

Overall, my time spent behind the trigger of the SIg Sauer MPX-C was thoroughly enjoyable. The gun shot quite well with open sights, and we had zero malfunctions over about 200 rounds.  Not much of a long-term test, but one hell of a promising start.

Check Out: Buying SHTF ammo

Is a 9mm Carbine Worth It?

So, after having run a full-sized 9mm Sig Sauer MPX-C for a little while and having crunched some performance numbers out of the ammunition to compare a 9mm carbine to a 9mm pistol, I personally have to wonder if the 9mm carbine is worth the added bulk.  The performance gains over the handgun just weren’t as high as I’d thought they would be.  I’ll get into this further in another article – but for those of you like myself, who geek out over such things, I present the following data:

Federal American Eagle 115 grn FMJ:

Sig MPX average muzzle velocity: 1,321 fps

Sig MPX average muzzle energy: 446 ft. lbs.

Sig P320 average muzzle velocity: 1,113.3 fps

Sig P320 average muzzle energy: 317 ft. lbs.

Difference: 208.31 fps / 129 ft. lbs.

Difference per inch of barrel length: 19.65 fps/12.17 ft. lbs per inch of barrel

PMC Bronze 115-grain JHP

Sig MPX average muzzle velocity: 1,238 fps

Sig MPX average muzzle energy: 392 ft. lbs.

Sig P320 average muzzle velocity: 1,052 fps

Sig P320 average muzzle energy: 283 ft. lbs.

Difference: 187.67 fps / 109 ft. lbs

Difference per inch of barrel length: 17.61 fps/ 10.2 ft. lbs per inch of barrel

Sig Sauer Elite V-Crown 124-grain JHP

Sig MPX average muzzle velocity: 1,315 fps

Sig MPX average muzzle energy: 476 ft. lbs.

Sig P320 average muzzle velocity: 1,105 fps

Sig P320 average muzzle energy: 336 ft. lbs.

Difference: 210 fps / 140 ft. lbs

Difference per inch of barrel length: 17.35 fps/ 11.6 ft. lbs per inch of barrel

For comparison’s sake, a 62-grain M855 5.56mm bullet, traveling at 2,900 feet per second out of an M4 carbine, Best 9mm SMGgenerates 1,158 foot pounds of energy.  There are other factors to consider (muzzle blast/volume, magazine size, ammunition availability/expense, controllability under rapid fire, weight/added size of an AR or similar carbine), but this is something to consider when weighing the purchase and consequent utilization of a 9mm carbine vs. a 5.56mm carbine for a SHTF gun.

The other issue a potential purchaser would run up against is cost and accessories: When a new Sig Sauer MPX will run you $1,800, and then use proprietary magazines, you have to look long and hard at the system.  If the MPX ran with P226 or c, I could see some definite appeal and justification on the price – you could stock one type of magazine for your carbine and your sidearm.  But it doesn’t, so you can’t.  This is a logistics conundrum you would have to figure out for your own SHTF/survival setup if you want to integrate a 9mm carbine into “the plan”.

For yuks ‘n’ giggles, I priced out a build using a Palmetto State Armory 9mm billet lower that accepts Glock 17/19 magazines.  If you want to buy a pre-assembled upper and a pre-assembled lower through PSA, you can have a bare-bones 9mm carbine that feeds from Glock magazines for between $650-$900, depending on the configuration you like.  You could upgrade to a couple Magpul accessories and throw an Aimpoint T-2 on top of it, and still have enough money left over from your Sig Sauer MPX fund to take the wife out someplace nice for dinner.

If you wanted to go higher-end than PSA and you have the ability to assemble an AR from parts, you could do a ground-up build using the PSA billet lower and high-end aftermarket parts to the tune of $1,200, no optics.  Just something to consider, especially if you’re running a Glock.

I’m not trying to downplay the Sig Sauer MPX, but rather show that there are other options out there that will to the same thing for less money.  However, what you will not have is Sig Sauer’s stellar customer service, unreal build quality, superb reliability, and the smug satisfaction that you have the best of the best protecting you.  Your call.

Wrapping It Up

I thoroughly enjoyed every second I spent with the Sig Sauer MPX-C.  It is a thoroughly thought-out platform, Best SMGdesigned to be the very best at what it does within its envelope.  And the gun certainly does that; the MPX is beautifully made, very accurate, and from what I could tell from my experience, flawlessly reliable, even with gaping hollowpoint ammunition.  If I decided I needed a 9mm carbine for my arsenal and I had the money to buy and support it (extra magazines, spare springs/parts/bolt) I wouldn’t think twice before reaching for my wallet.

Where the Sig Sauer MPX-C would really shine is running with a suppressor and subsonic ammunition.  A fast, light, quick-handling carbine that is quiet is definitely an arm that would be the pride and joy of any survivalist/prepper’s arsenal.  This would go doubly if you lived in an environment where you would be indoors much of the time or clearing houses/apartments or other similar tight spaces.  Even without a suppressor, the blast of a 9mm carbine is timid compared to a 5.56mm carbine or shotgun if you have to pull the trigger indoors.

However, even for a high-end system that will run you towards $2,000, it does have a couple caveats – that miserable trigger and the singing muzzle brake.  Replacing these parts with items that are equal to what SHOULD have come on a firearm with this price tag could set you back another $300 or more – then you add in the price of a few extra magazines ($60 a copy) a high quality optic (at least $300 before mounts), and suddenly you’re sneaking up on 3 grand without even blinking.  Considering that you could build/purchase two extremely badass AR-15s for that price tag, you have to think long and hard about your situation and whether or not the Sig Sauer MPX is the perfect fit for your situation.  If it is the perfect fit and money is no object, you can truly do no better.  It’s worth every penny if you have the niche to fill and the dough to spend.

Questions or Comments – please make them below!!!

All Photos By Drew

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Survival Gear Review: The Tactical Timahawk

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Crovel Tim Ralston

Few things turn on a survivalist like a new piece of kit that has tremendous potential. And two oftimahawk_tomahawk_axe_pry_bar_tree_punching them just landed in my bug out loadout. Cutting to the chase, they are Timahawks. ‘Timahawk’, you ask? Yes Tim-a-Hawk. The designer Tim Ralston got to choose the name so it only makes sense. Had I created the tool, it would be the Docahawk. You’ve got to admit that Timahawk sounds better.

 

By Doc Montana, from Survival Cache and SHTFBlog

The Modern Middle Age

Although the Timahawk is a modern take on a multipurpose survival tool, it traces its roots to medieval times when survival really did depend on skill and edged weapons. Ripping a page from the battle axe manual, the Timahawk put a contemporary twist on a bearded battleaxe.

Like a hornet, the bright orange color is a warning that messing with this axe will cause injury or death in every state including California. But seriously, there is so much more to this tool than it’s overt muscle. The Timahawk is an everyday survival tool that moonlights as a weapon.

timahawk_tomahawk_survival_hatceht_bugoutAs a war axe, the Timahawk contains the necessary features to fight old-school as well as provide a platform for necessary day-to-day survival tasks. I have to admit that I was skeptical about yet another heavyweight survival implement, but this turned out to be different. In the past, combination tools from the Leatherman forward have given those with a survival bend more of an advantage than the sum of their parts, but as the tools got larger, the differences got smaller. Axes, hammers, pry bars, and breeching tools were somewhat the same so a combination of those similar metal ends was useful but not exciting. Enter the Timahawk.

By combining a powerful curved battle axe with a bearded edge, with a heavy steel handle with a welded adz, the Timahawk quickly rose to the top of my heap of multipurpose heavy tools. Philosophically speaking, the Timahawk can replace many of the big tools freeing you up to carry more smaller, more precise tools. This is an important consideration since with a Timahawk and a neck knife, you could rule the world…or at least your little bug out slice of it.

Check Out: Survival Gear Review: Cold Steel Pocket Bushman Knife

Blunt Force Precision

I won’t sugarcoat this and say the Timahawk is a precision device for fire starting and minor defense. No, the Timahawk is a brute force weapon that has plenty of gross motor skill options for breaching, pounding, chopping, stabbing, and digging. In a nutshell, the Timahawk is the big stuff that you can carry while running.

As a battle axe, the beard or extended lower blade aspect, forms a hook that in ancient times was used to yank away the shields of foes during hand-to-hand combat. By latching onto the unfortunate foe’s defensive tools, the bearded axe would pull down and expose the fleshier parts of the adversary. As a deadly side note, the beard also made a wonderful horizontal impalement tool complete with a knife edge.

There are two versions of the Timahawk, a 27” 4lb version that steps on the toes of axes, and a  15.5” “Tactical” version that weighs three pounds. The heads on both versions are exactly the same but the handles and grip ends are different. Part 1 of this review will focus on the Tactical Timahawk, or the shorter version.

At three pounds, the Tactical Timahawk weighs about 1.2 pounds more than the industry standard hatchet, namely the leather-handled Estwing Sportsman’s Hatchet. That’s about one-and-a-half times as much, meaning the Tactical Timahawk is a formidable tool that is only two inches longer than the Estwing.

The Tactical Timahawk and it’s big brother the Timahawk proper are both made of pre-hardened 4130 steel. Compared to many of the knives I review, 4130 is an uneventful metal in the 41xx family of steels. It is a workhorse steel that wears the moniker “aircraft steel” when used for such things. It is a strong, dependable alloy with great properties for big jobs including crankshafts and roll cages, two things that when when I think about it might make a heck of a survival tool somehow. Maybe Tim has some ideas? Anything for preppers with the name “Crank Cage” has potential in my book. For reference, a similar steel known as 4150 (with just a little more carbon) is one of the few steels cleared for duty by the US Military in M16 and M4 carbine barrels.

It Adz Up

The Tactical Timahawk has a six inch curved cutting blade that chops, slices, and dices like any good battleaxe. A two-inch adz blade runs perpendicular to the grip and primary blade. An adz is a carving tool that dates back to the stone age. It also happens to be a formidable digging and breaching tool, but I doubt there was much to breach 8700 years ago, let alone structures to breach into.

My experience with an adz, or adze as Tim likes to spell it (both are correct), comes from mountaineering and ice climbing. Today the adz is a working tool for digging and carving when things are calm. For those with forestry timahawk_tomahawk_little_small_tacticalbends, an overgrown adz is found on the famous Pulaski Tool named after the great Edward Crockett “Ed” Pulaski who is a US Forest Service Ranger credited with saving all but five of his 45-man team during the Great Idaho Fire of 1910. Taking no crap, Pulaski held his men face down in a mine tunnel at gunpoint until the fire passed. Five souls and two horses were lost, but it was a major credit to Polaski to restrain panic while applying his knowledge and science of forest fires. The “Pulaski Tunnel” still exists and is listed on the Registry of Historic Places for those who would like to vacation into my neck of the woods but over in Idaho just a few clicks west of my bug out usual stomping ground. And as far as Pulaski tools go, yes I have one as does anyone else around here who dabbles with living off the land.

The far end of the Tactical Timahawk contains a pointed butt with a sharpness angle of 70 degrees. The unhoned 5/16” thick steel is a blunt instrument at best. But blunt is exactly the personality you want when you need to call to action the base of the Tactical Timahawk. And given the grip and handle of the Tactical Timahawk for just such a butt-end announcement, there is little to argue about when push comes to breach.

Barehanded the 5/16” steel fights both directions so wearing a glove is a good idea. However, if you are in a life or death situation, a comfortable grip is for sissies. The same holds true for the punching grip of the bearded main Timahawk blade.

Bug Out Loadout

The never ending quest for the perfect bug out loadout just got easier. The Tactical Timahawk, at only three-and-a-half inches more than a foot makes for a serious contender for title of best bug out battle axe.

Also Read: 2o Things You Need In Your Get Home Bag 

One of Tim Ralston’s missions in life is to combine multiple tools in one. The Tactical Timahawk is brought to you by the creator of the Crovel (crowbar and shovel), a Nax (knife + axe), the X-Caliber (multi-caliber gun), and many timahawk_tomahawk_axe_pry_bar_glock_26others from firearms to aggressive tools to watches. So the Tactical Timahawk was a natural progression, and tip of the survival iceberg, so to speak. Or perhaps the tip of the survival spear.

Real World

Using trees as aggressors, the Tactical Timahawk put a serious dent into any and all foes that got too close to me. It removed limbs, gouged holes, and punched debilitating slices into any bark that invaded my space.

The battleaxe is an evolved tool that provides both offensive and defensive aggression. When on the attack, the Tactical Timahawk force multiplies through mass, sharpness, and blade size. Rolston even sells the Tactical Timahawk as something you can throw. As one who has spent much time throwing conventional metal tomahawks, I’m not sure I could find the balance of the Tactical Timahawk without practice so if you intend on using Tactical Timahawk as a projectile, practice first since the disproportionately shaped head will throw off (pun intended) your usual rotation, and the adz is not much of a sticker. But at three times the blade size than a regular “hawk” you will have more rotation angle to consider a successful hit.

Related: 10 Tips For When You Get Lost In The Woods 

The adz is a two-inch horizontal blade that runs perpendicular to the main blade. Adzes are great at carving, precision chopping, and digging. In winter, the adz on an ice axe is used to chop steps, carve ice ledges, and flatten the tent space. Opposite the adz on an ice axe is a pick used to support weight or arrest a fall. But it should be obvious that the pick has little use during a bug out except for those who also pack zombie fantasies in their BOB.

As a digging tool the Tactical Timahawk lacks the volume to make a major dent in soil anytime soon, but if that soil is filled with rocks and debris, the Tactical Timahawk’s adz garners the same advantage the made the Pulaski tool rock the fire lines.

The scales (handle covers) on the Tactical Timahawk are recycled plastic. They are too smooth for my taste but that is easily remedied with a little rough sandpaper.  I also added a paracord lanyard through the thankfully included quarter-inch hole in the base.

Something included on the larger Timahawk but not on this one is blade cover.  When the  Tactical Timahawk is timahawk_tomahawk_axe_pry_bar_estwing_sportsman_axe_comparewaiting for use, like an angry rattlesnake or a bored kitten, it’s six-inch blade sits ready to attack anything that comes close to it. So a leather or Kydex sheath would be a welcome feature. And a place to start designing would be to pay attention to Pulanski covers which have endured years of trial and abuse. My Pulaski has a simple vertical/horizontal strap that covers the blades with mundane effectiveness.

The Tactical Timahawk’s beard has functions beyond those of the fighting kind. The balance point on the Tactical Timahawk’s handle is at the lowest point of the beard. This means the Tactical Timahawk will hang just fine on its beard hook. Whether on branch or rope, the Tactical Timahawk will grab on to anything that fits in the one-and-a-quarter inch channel between handle and blade with little chance of falling off.

The Tactical Timahawk aggressively attacks the single handtool space in the bug out bag. Classic hatchets like the Estwing and my favorite, the Gransfors Bruks, provide an effective bushcraft-level tool, but fall short when addressing the downside of mankind. For those darker events, tools such as the Tactical Timahawk are the best option. Maybe the only option.

Stay tuned for part 2, the full-sized Timahawk: An Epic Tool for good and bad times.

Photos By:
Doc Montana

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5 Worst Types Of Firearms To Use For Home Defense

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With home invasions becoming more common in urban neighborhoods, having a way to defend your home from violent criminals is crucial. After all, the police can’t be everywhere at once. So despite the exorbitant prices charged by some gun manufacturers these days, gun sales are on the rise. In fact, the AR-15 may be the […]

The post 5 Worst Types Of Firearms To Use For Home Defense appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

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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Best Finishes For Your SHTF Gun

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best cerakote paint

We recently had a reader email into the Survival Cache team with a couple suggestions for articles he’s like to seecerakote colors(those types of emails are always welcome, by the way!).   He’d mentioned one specific item he’d like to see gone over.  He wrote, Another article I’d like to see if/when you and your team get the time is something on gun coatings. Like cerakote vs blued finishes etc.”

By Drew, a contributing author of Survival Cache & SHTFBlog

It’s a great question – what firearms finish will work best to protect your gun from corrosion and wear during a long-term SHTF event, or over a long duration of time between cleanings and maintenance?  Well, as someone who was a professional firearms refinisher for many years, with lots of experience in cold bluing, hot tank bluing, nickel plating, and spray-on finishes, I’ll walk you through the differences of some of the most commonly encountered finishes, and the pros and cons of each.  Hopefully this will help some of you decide where to plunk your hard-earned bucks to help preserve your “oh shit” guns when the chips are down.

Why Refinish Your Gun?

Most people that I encountered when I was refinishing firearms brought their guns to me for restoring – they had cerakote rifle finishloved and used and/or neglected a firearm to the point of the finish completely wearing off a gun.  Sometimes they’d been in house fires (brutal on firearms, even when they are in safes), or the gun was found in grandpa’s attic and was covered in bat crap, or they’d found a good deal on a gun they’d wanted because the finish was worn.  In any of these cases, the reason to refinish was generally obvious and easily remedied.

These days, gun owners will bring their perfectly good, sometimes brand-new, firearms to a local finisher, looking to achieve a new finish for reasons other than restoring.  Sometimes they’ve seen that sexy-looking camouflaged AR-15 or Glock on their (insert your choice of social media here) feed and GOTTA HAVE that same look…or maybe Multicam and brightly-colored metallic red/blue/green controls and accessories (why do people do that?!? All I can think of when I see those is those vinyled and painted up tuner cars in the early “Fast and the Furious” movies. But I digress.).  Others, such as predator or turkey/waterfowl hunters, need their dedicated hunting gun camo’d up so as not to draw their quarry’s eye.  I know some people who live for duck hunting will bring their shotguns in to be Duracoated or Cerakoted because of the superior resistance to saltwater corrosion.

Also Read: Top SHTF Guns You Haven’t Considered

However, for the purposes of this article, we will be looking at what available finish will help preserve your gun best when you are most likely to neglect the firearm.  We are also assuming you are bringing your firearm in for a refinish (or possibly refinishing yourself); however, a variety of finish options – most of the ones listed here, as a matter of fact – are available on new guns as well.  Remember, a certain finish won’t protect from serious abuse, i.e. hard drops on concrete or banging into rocks or being run over by National Guard tracked vehicles.  What it will do is block moisture, skin oils and salts, sweat, and mud from contacting the metal and components directly.  This effectively combats corrosion and rust – which we all know will screw your gun up and render it inoperable faster than we can say, “Ahh, shit.”

Cold Bluing

I’m not going to dig too deeply into the ins and outs of cold bluing because I wrote an article about it in one of my Rifle Bluing“SHTF Armorer” DIY posts on SHTFblog.com.  You can read the article here.  However, in a nutshell, cold bluing is the easiest way for most of us to restore a blued finish on our carbon steel guns.  (Cold bluing does not work on stainless steel or aluminum.)  It’s as accessible as going to our local gun shop and grabbing a bottle off the shelf or ordering it off Amazon.  I like Brownell’s Oxpho-Blue, and I have had good results with Birchwood Casey’s Perma-Blue as well.  And when applied properly, it can look pretty good and generally protects raw metal acceptably well.  As a counterpoint to all this convenience, cold blue does not hold up well to long-term use and will quickly wear off.  But it never hurts to have a sealed bottle (it evaporates) in the armorer’s box to throw some finish on a worn gun if needed.

Cold Blue Pros:

  • Cheap and accessible – around $10 for a 3 oz. Bottle of Birchwood Casey Perma Blue, available at most gun shops, even Wal-Mart
  • Do-it-yourself compatible – refinish a gun while you watch “Hogan’s Heroes” and “Desperate Housewives” reruns
  • Looks pretty good when applied properly with attention to detail
  • Good for spot touch-ups

Cold Blue Cons:

  • Does not offer very good corrosion protection – but it’s better than nothing
  • Wears very easily under frequent use, necessitating re-applications or a more serious finish
  • Looks awful and splotchy when not done properly or if oils are present when applying

Hot Tank Bluing

Hot tank bluing comes in a couple different forms, but far and away the most commonly used is a Caustic Black finish.  This method involves immersing cleaned and degreased carbon steel parts into a bath of “bluing salts”, which are made up of sodium hydroxide, sodium nitrite, and sodium nitrate (plus other proprietary ingredients, depending on who you source the salts from.).  The salts are mixed with water at certain ratios, then boiled at between 275-315° F.  The chemicals in the boiling bath interact with the steel of the firearm, and convert the exterior surface metal of the firearm to Magnetite, which is also known as “black oxide of iron”.  Magnetite provides a deep, rich blackish-blue color to firearms, and is the most common finish used by many firearms manufacturers due to the ease of consistent finishes in large quantities.  I worked with hot tank bluing for many years, and the chemical composition is corrosive as hell and can burn your skin badly if care is not taken, and specialized equipment, burners, and boiling tanks are required to do the job correctly.

Related: SHTF Guns On A Budget

Hot tank bluing provides very good rust resistance that is made better with the application of a good penetrating gun oil.  Its wear resistance is much better than cold blue, but the finish can still wear over time with daily use – just go into any gun shop and take a gander at any well-used hunting-type rifle.  I bet it’s got use and silver bare metal wear on the high-traffic carrying areas areas.  However, since bluing salts react with the carbon in the steel, hot tank bluing cannot be used on most types of stainless steel – and it definitely cannot be used with aluminum.  Aluminum will usually either get eaten away by the salts or react adversely, possibly causing super heated gas “explosions” in the tank that can cause your boiling hot caustic bath to spray everywhere.  Care must also be taken with firearms like double-barreled shotguns that have a rib between the two barrels.  The rib must be vented with drilled holes, or else the air inside the rib can heat and expand, blowing the barrels apart.  But I digress.

Here is a picture of a rare Marlin “Marauder” in .35 Remington that I reblued probably 12 years ago – it has seen Rifle Finishingregular hunting use in the Maine woods since then.  The finish is barely worn at the carrying points, showing that hot tank bluing is very attractive durable and when taken care of.

Hot Tank Blue Pros Pros:

  • Provides a beautiful, consistent, deep black finish to steel
  • Long lasting, durable, provides good corrosion resistance – especially when combined with regular maintenance and oiling
  • Pricing to refinish by a professional is usually reasonable
  • Has been used for for decades as the go-to finish for most commercial firearms – so you know it does its job well
  • A great way to go to refinish your steel firearm or if you’re buying new

Hot Tank Blue Cons:

  • Lots of specialized equipment and experience required, large initial investment to get set up to hot tank blue
  • Wears, especially at high points/corners after use
  • Can resist corrosion for time, but if no oil is on the surface of the bluing, it can be compromised quickly by humidity, skin oils and salts, etc.
  • Easily scratched if abrasive contact is made by metal, rocks, sand.

Parkerizing

Parkerizing is a finish commonly encountered on many US military firearms from the immediate pre-World War 2 era through the late 50’s, early 1960’s, I’d guess.  If you’ve seen a WWII era 1911 Colt, Springfield 1903, M1 Carbine, or M1 Garand – even up through the M14/M1A, you’ve seen a parkerized finish.

Parkerizing comes in many forms, but usually involves immersing a steel firearm in a manganese, iron, or zinc phosphate bath.  The bath electrochemically deposits a dark gray coating on the metal that is very tough and useful.  The dark gray can sometimes fade to a green-gray color over time or with the application of certain oils or coatings like Cosmoline.  As a primary finish, parkerizing’s porous surface traps oil beautifully, keeping the firearm from rusting for longer periods of time between maintenance or wipe-downs.

Related: Best Handgun Calibers For Survival

Parkerizing is very commonly used as a base coat for other finishes such as paints or spray-on coatings like DuraCoat or Cerakote, due to its granular surface and phosphates in the finish.  According to Wikipedia, Glock also uses parkerizing over its proprietary Tenifer finish as a tough, matte colored surface coat.  Parkerizing is very durable, and its granular-feeling surface deposit finish can hold oils well, helping to preserve the finish that much more.  If your SHTF gun is parkerized, no need to look any further for a battle-ready, rugged finish – WW2, Korea, and Vietnam proved parkerizing’s ready-to-rumble attributes.

Also Read: Survival Guns – A Beginners Guide

Here is a picture of a Ruger MKI target pistol customized by Angus Arms with lots of goodies including a Clark Parkerizing Gun Coatingbarrel, Ultra Dot red dot, Marvel trigger, and a full parkerized finish.  This finish job ran about $125 or so, according to Angus Arms.

Parkerizing Pros:

  • Attractive, matte low-glare finish
  • Battle-proven durability and long life, especially when maintained and oiled
  • Already the go-to, as-bought finish for many popular SHTF-type guns
  • A fantastic base coat with enhanced “tooth” for spray-on type finishes

Parkerizing cons:

  • A bit of a lost art, fewer and fewer gunsmiths parkerize anymore
  • Can’t be used on aluminum, polymer, and other firearms materials. Steel only.

Sprayed-On Finishes

Over the past ten or so years, sprayed-on finishes  – I’m not talking spray-paint here, by the way – have started to really take the firearms market by storm.  These finishes are a superb way to get colors other than the forever-available blacks, grays, and silvers that have been the norm on guns since firearms were invented.  Though there are many spray-on type finishes to consider, we’re going to look at what are arguably the two most popular: Duracoat and Cerakote.

Duracoat

Duracoat, produced by Lauer Custom Weaponry, is a two-part finish that is comprised of a colored resin and a best diy gun finishseparate hardener.  The two parts are mixed like an epoxy and applied via a spray gun, such as an airbrush (my preferred method) or by HVLP paint guns.  When applied, Duracoat dries to the touch in about 20 minutes, and is fully cured after a few weeks.  However, after drying overnight, you can reassemble your firearms if you’re careful not to scratch the finish.

Duracoat was engineered with the DIY guy/gal at home in mind.  With an airbrush or paint gun, a compressor, some scouring pads and sandpaper, and some acetone, (a respirator, safety glasses, and ventilation is also HEAVILY recommended if you’re spraying indoors), the regular gun guy/gal can apply their own finish with excellent results that are generally easy to attain provided the metal prep work is done properly.  There are also certified Duracoat appliers across the country.

Lauer Custom Weaponry has expanded their product line to offer Duracoat in an aerosol spray-paint can, as well as high-temperature coatings (great for suppressors), camo packs (stencils and Duracoat colors required for specific camouflage patterns), spray-on bluing (I’m interested to see how that works), gun “tattoos” (pre-cut patterns for your gun), as well as many, MANY different color offerings.

Duracoat is permanent, and very tough to remove if it is properly applied.  It has a high elasticity for a finish, allowing it to flex slightly and absorb impacts reasonably well, as well as prevent scratches.  I’ve personally Duracoated many guns, including my personal AR-15, and the finish is very tough once properly cured.  Duracoat is air-cured, meaning you don’t need any special equipment to bake the cure.  This makes it superior for items like optics, or any items with electronics/heat-sensitive components.  According to information I found online, Duracoat resists 100 inch-pounds of direct impact, and has passed a 300 hour salt spray test, which exceeds military requirements for finish.

Duracoat Pros:

  • Relatively easy to apply by the average Joe
  • Very effective at resisting corrosion and mild impacts
  • Has some lubricating properties
  • No expensive special equipment required
  • Much higher on the toughness scale than a rattle-can Krylon finish
  • Huge amounts of attractive color options, plays nice with stencils
  • Can be applied over any metals, plastics, wood.
  • Over 250 colors available, colors can be mixed to make custom colors
  • Banned in NYC – Lauer Custom Weaponry has its own line of “Bloomberg” colors, just to piss off a certain billionaire who thinks he knows how you should run your life.

Duracoat Cons:

  • Susceptible to some solvents like acetone or lacquer thinner
  • Takes a long time to finish curing
  • Not as tough as coatings like Cerakote, but still tougher than most standard firearms finishes

Cerakote

Cerakote is the current king of the hill when it comes to firearms finishes.  A ceramic-polymer compound, it’s specially formulated specifically for high-use, high-abuse-destined firearms.  Several firearms manufacturers offer Cerakote as their standard finish since its wear and lubricating characteristics are excellent.  There are two basic Cerakote offerings: Cerakote “C” are a single-component, air-cure finish.  After it is fully cured, Cerakote “C” will endure temperatures of 1700°F, and and has been tested to withstand 550 hours of salt-spray.  Cerakote “H” is a two-part, thermally cured (heated) system.  The heat levels that Cerakote “H” will withstand are lower (400°) but has been tested for 2,500 hours (!) of salt spray endurance.  Needless to say, Cerakote’s resistance to corrosion is superb.  Cerakote “H” also is practically impervious to solvents like acetone and MEK, and can resist impacts of up to 160 inch-pounds.

Related: 6 Tools To Survive Anything

According to their website, Cerakote now offers over 60 different colors, and can be used with stencils and combines with other colors for camouflage patterns- though I’ve read that Duracoat is a bit easier to use with stencils.

Cerakote requires a bit more attention to surface prep than other spray-on finishes, usually requiring a surface blasting with 120-grit aluminum oxide for a proper rough-up so the finish can properly grab.  Hanging racks and a drying oven are also required for heat curing.  Degreaser soak tank, HVLP spray gun, and a good air compressor for spraying and surface blasting are all required, not to mention the proper eye protection and respirator.  An at-home guy can get set up for Cerakoting, but usually, due to the space and tools required, we leave Cerakoting to the professionals who can finish many guns in one shot.

This picture was supplied by Furlong Custom Creations, a local Maine builder/finisher, as an example of cerakoting.best firearm coating

Cerakote Pros:

  • Tough, tough, tough! Probably the most rugged finish available for your firearm.
  • Impervious to solvents, cleaners
  • Can be applied over metals, polymers, wood
  • Can be used with stencils, camo patterns
  • Over 60 colors to choose from
  • Did I mention it was tough?

Cerakote Cons:

  • Usually needs to be applied by a professional with the appropriate gear; not DIY friendly on a low-quantity basis.
  • Generally expensive to have performed, very labor intensive to do properly
  • Once it has been applied to your gun, best of luck getting it off the gun!

Other Finishes

There are other relative “newcomers” to the finish scene that were originally proprietary to specific firearms, like Sig Sauer’s Nitron finish (actually a DLC – Diamond-Like Carbon– Finish from a company called IonBond…it’s expensive, but extremely hard-wearing), or Glock’s Tenifer and Smith & Wesson’s Melonite – which are the same family of coatings that fall under “Ferritic Nitrocarburizing” or Black Nitride.  I know ATEi is offering Melonite finishes if you’d like to get your steel parts finished in this coating.  Robar’s NP3 is a form of electroless nickel plating that has excellent corrosion and wear resistance, as well as looking pretty cool if you like colors other than black for your gun.  Gun-Kote is another type of spray-on finish that meets or exceeds military and aerospace requirements.

Also Read: 5 Ideas For Fire Tinder

There are many other extremely attractive, rugged finish options out there – and third party finishers are starting to come online to provide these finishes to the general public.  I will hang my head and admit that I’m not terribly familiar with these newer types of gun finishes, so I won’t pretend that I do.  If there is a proprietary coating or finish out there you’ve seen or heard of, the best bet is to do your internet research, talk with people who have that finish on their guns, and call the company who applies the finish, and see what they have to say.  It’s your hard-earned money that you’re plunking down to protect a gun that may well protect you one day, so it’s worth the little bit of extra effort to make sure you get what you want.

Which Do You Choose?

So, there are myriad options out there – which do you choose for your SHTF gun?  Personally, if money was no object, I would gladly bring my firearm to a quality Cerakote finisher – even if you just want a black gun – and plunk down my hard-earned dead presidents, knowing that I’d be giving my gun the most love I could.  Cerakote’s hard-wearing properties and resistance to corrosion really make it a stand-out in the finish world.

However, I’ve personally Duracoated my SHTF guns and couldn’t be happier. I painstakingly prepped the surface to be sprayed, and Duracoat hasn’t let me down in two years.  I’m not a crazy high-volume shooter like many – but I’ll shoot a couple thousand rounds out of my AR, and hunt with it every year.  The only visible damage to the finish has been the end of the brass deflector, where it takes many, many high-velocity empty brass impacts.  I have a Remington 870 I’ve Duracoated as well – and it gets almost zero use, standing vigilant guard as a home defense shotgun.  The 870 receives no maintenance and no oil except for its yearly check-up, and there has been no corrosion, even in high humidity Maine summers in a damp basement.  If I was more the DIY type, I’d go Duracoat and never look back.

As far as the chemical finishes go, I’d look at parkerizing, hot tank bluing, and then cold blue – in that order.  These finishes are excellent to good, but require higher maintenance, especially in high-use and high humidity environments.  I certainly don’t turn my nose up at these finishes – I dearly love a high polish, deep hot tank blue on a classic hunting firearm – but for a SHTF gun that needs to perform in ugly environments, the spray-on finishes are the way to go these day.  That’s my opinion – how about yours?

Photo credits: Drew, Angus Norcross, Jeff Furlong

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Survival Gear Review: Fällkniven A1 Pro

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Best Survival Knife

Being a restless survivalist, I find the endless pursuit of the best single knife to be both a noble Fallkniven_A1-Pro_survival knife_river-work_teotwawkione and and endless one.  Or so I thought.  The Fällkniven A1 Pro may have brought an end to my quest for the perfect survival knife, and become the life-long quest of other like minds.  Could the Fallkniven A1 Pro be the best survival knife?  The knife to end all survival knives?  Let’s consider it.

By Doc Montana, of Survival Cache and SHTFBlog 

Is the Fällkniven A1 Pro the Ultimate Survival Knife?

The Fällkniven knife company has decades of experience at the unique and effective intersection Top Survival Knifebetween necessary traditions and technological innovation. Some knife brands lean so far to the innovative side that they never quite fully bake an idea while others swing the pendulum too far the other way and hold a knife design to archaic steel and features that work well, but are far from what’s possible.  Not that I’m encouraging the use of performance enhancing chemicals, but I am thrilled that Fällkniven has put its indomitable and proven A1 knife on steroids. And the results are astonishing.

Department of Redundancy Department

What makes the A1 Pro survival knife so amazing is that Fällkniven took an already amazing knifeTop Survival Knife and made it even more amazing.  And as one who considers himself an aficionado of survival knives, I don’t say this lightly.  The Fällkniven A1 Pro is related to the A1, but kind of alike a tough kid that has a Navy SEAL for a big brother.  The A1 Pro  is a complete and total upgrade of already high performance option.

Taking a step back, let’s look at how the Fällkniven A1 Pro came to be, and why the A1 Pro will not have be a serious contender for the World’s Best Survival Knife for a long time.  Fällkniven began building on the Swedish blade traditions back in the early 1980’s.  It’s F1 knife was chosen as the singular survival blade for the Swedish Air Force.  And the F1 also gained respect and notoriety as an excellent solution when a smallish survival knife is needed.  What makes the F1, and later the A1 and now the A1 Pro such definitive blades is their steel technology.  And a few other things.

Now this is a Knife

Jumping ahead, the Fällkniven A1 quickly became a survival success story by providing the Best Bushcraft Knifeessentials and much more.  By laminating two supersteels, into a configuration that makes it not only outperform most other high end blades, but its combination of blended steels in a single blade puts the Fällknivens out of reach of other knives in overall strength, raw performance and technical prowess.

Also Read: Fällkniven F1 Survival Knife Review

But what happens when a purveyor of extremely high end blades takes a step back and assesses the performance of its own best edges, then turns up the volume on one of its best sellers and highest achievers.  Well, I guess you get the A1 Pro. So it’s official. Fällkniven goes to 11!

The Fällkniven A1, the original one, was a test bed for all things survival.  It pushed the limits of laminated steel giving the serious knife user a glimpse of what’s possible when performance outweighs tradition. From that point on, the world got a taste of things to come.  Now imagine Fällkniven taking everything good about the A1 and pumping it full of steroids.  The passing similarities between the A1 and the A1 Pro are only apparent from a distance.

While the grip size is the same, the material is different and the sometimes-debated finger guard Fallkniven_A1-Pro_survival knife_diamond-stone-DC4shape is reversed. And best of all, the already thick blade is even thicker and made of a ultra-high end cobalt-laminated steel.  The sheath is beefier and stronger.  The edge is a more refined convex shape. And the knife comes in a presentation box that doubles as a waterproof container complete with Fällkniven’s professional quality diamond sharpening stone, the DC4.

Brass Tacks

The A1 Pro contains a core of cobalt steel rather than the VG10 of its father.  Cobalt steel (CoS) Top Survival Knifecontains about 2.5% Co, along with a slightly higher chromium content. This magic mix of alchemy provides a better edge that stays sharp longer while hovering around 60 on the Rockwell (HRC) Scale.

Related: ESEE 6 Knife Review

Cobalt steel is not a recent phenomenon for Fällkniven. It was experimented with in prior Fällkniven knives including the KK and the PC.  As the results came in, it was clear that cobalt steel was the next go-to steel when the best was desired.  Add to that an “Improved Convex Edge” and you are on the literal and figurative bleeding edge of cutlery technology.  Cobalt steel blades truly are playing with sharpness at the molecular level of steel, not just the crystalian level.  In other words, sharp is a cousin, and cobalt steel is your filthy rich uncle.

Thick as a Brick

Seven is the new norm.  At seven millimeters thick the blade has added strength beyond the already ridiculous strength of the regular A1.  And that strength has extended into the grip with a thicker and wider tang that, like the A1, extends the all the way through and out the other end.

Consider the Bar Raised

Fällkniven admits that to claim something “professional” requires a corresponding and honest Best Survival Kniferaising of the bar. And Fällkniven delivered to an astronomically high level.  At the time of this writing, the Fällkniven website shows the A1 Pro as “sold out.”  Think about that for a moment.   In a world hip-deep in survival knives priced from the same as a couple gallons of gas to more than a car.  Then Fällkniven comes along and makes survival knife along with its dozen other survival knives already on their resume.  And this newcomer sells out before most folks even hear about it.

What’s in the Box?

The Fällkniven A1 Pro arrives inside a black watertight plastic box complete with foam liner and Top Bushcraft Knifeembossed lid.  Inside the box is the Fällkniven A1 Pro knife, it’s sheath, and Fällkniven’s DC4 diamond sharpening stone.  The box is a nice touch and Fällkniven encourages its use for storing other things like electronics. It’s not quite a Pelican but certainly more than a Plano.

The stone is an excellent choice. In addition to high end survival knives, Fällkniven also makes top notch kitchen cutlery and the tools to keep them razor sharp. The DC4, or Diamond/Ceramic 4-inch stone has a gold diamond surface of 25 micron grit on one side and a synthetic sapphire ceramic stone on the other. In addition to being able to sharpen the hard laminate supersteels, no lubrication is needed for smooth sailing.

Also Read: Smith’s Pocket Pal Knife Sharpener Review

The zytel sheath is an upgrade over the standard A1 model.  The Pro sheath is beefier with more Survival Knife Reviewpronounced strengthening fins. It also is more adaptable to MOLLE and other attachment systems with its inch-wide wings that will accept horizontal straps.  The Pro sheath uses the same riveted strap for a belt loop and friction retention.  In lieu of the thumb ramp present on the classic A1 sheath, the strap’s ear has the job now.

And the Knife

Even a cursory glance at the A1 Pro says this knife is all business.  From the grip to the guard to Best Survival Bladethe blade to the frighteningly thick spine, this knife demands respect.  At 11.2 inches overall length, the A1 Pro is not for the faint of heart or for those with low muscle tone.  The 6.3 inch blade, while not the longest tool in your bug out bag, is actually plenty for any confrontation with a human or larger critter outside those of the Grizzly variety.

Unlike the regular A1 knife that used a Kraton plastic for a grip material, the A1 Pro takes a cue from the Fällkniven F1 and runs Thermorun plastic on the handle of the A1 Pro. To quote myself in my review of the F1, Thermorun, “As an olefin thermoplastic material it is extremely durable, and has great properties for a survival knife grip. Thermorun is an electrical insulator, resistant to weathering, impervious to most chemicals that a knife would encounter, and pretty much ignores temperature changes. It feels great in the hand with just enough rubbery texture to keep the blade from sliding around, but still firm enough to avoid that tacky feeling of softer plastic grips.”

Also Read: Parry Blade Knife Review

Like the regular A1, the tang of the A1 Pro extends throughout the grip and out the top.  However, Fällkniven did upgrade the tang by making it larger, thicker and tapered.  But the real change is in the finger guard.  On the regular A1 the guard was covered in the same Kraton plastic as the grip, and leans just slightly back towards the hand.  The finger crossguard on the A1 Pro is polished, stainless steel, thicker welded to the frame, and opens out towards the blade.  Why this is important is due to some index finger strain when using the regular A1 for repetitive long-duration woodworking tasks.

Sorry About That

Fällkniven is apologetic about the price of the A1 Pro.  They defend the higher cost of the A1 Pro A1 Pro Knife Review(presumably compared to the regular A1) because of the more expensive steel, more expensive grip and guard, and more expensive containment and sharpening solutions included with the A1 Pro.  But frankly, if one compares the A1 Pro to anything custom, the A1 Pro seems mainstream in its pricing.  Either way, at the time of this writing, Fällkniven lists the A1 Pro as “sold out” so discussion about price are somewhat recreational.  Personally, I find the price of the A1 Pro completely reasonable, but like any pro-level piece of equipment, it only seems expensive if you don’t have the skills to extract the benefits from it.

Riding Into The Sunset

Like many preparing for SHTF events and the likely WROL that will follow, I’m always looking Best SHTF Knifefor the next big thing in bladeware.  Until now I was restless, always looking over my shoulder to see what else was out there.  But with the A1 Pro in hand, a calm settled over my quest for the ultimate survival knife.  Fällkniven’s Pro version of one of the world’s best survival knives, their own A1, as moved the bar so high that most general arguments are moot. With the Fällkniven A1 Pro on the scene, the quest for perfection is now simply a question of preference.

All Photos By Doc Montana

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How To Make Bottle Blasters (Exploding Targets)

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Okay, so this is a little different from the kind of videos I normally share, but I just couldn’t resist. Grant Thompson came up with an idea for exploding targets that are cheap, easy, and safe to make. Shooting these is a lot more fun than shooting tin cans because they make a really loud […]

The post How To Make Bottle Blasters (Exploding Targets) appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

5 Ways To Hide Your Guns During Martial Law

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: disasters are when you need your firearms the most! During major disasters, police are stretched to the limit while desperate people loot their neighbors’ homes and criminals take advantage of the lack of law enforcement. Robberies, assaults, and murders skyrocket during such times, which is why […]

The post 5 Ways To Hide Your Guns During Martial Law appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

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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The Best Rifle for Survival

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by Jack Woods

Well, its time for some more back woods wisdom from me, Jack Woods. We all have our opinions on our favourite rifle for our favourite job. However, the question here is; what is the best prepper rifle?

If… you only can have one rifle in your bug out bag, what would that be Jack?

What would it be… is it that large calibre rifle that the often, very knowledgeable preppers like to see in those bugout bags? Is it the biggest, the nastiest full auto machine gun that we can find. Perhaps a Rifle capable of mowing down wave upon wave of brain eating zombies, hordes of the oozing- infectious undead. Fellow citizens suffering with some designer Ebola viruses created in a secret lab, right down the street in Main Street USA. A Psyop gone terrible the nightmare they keep warning us about.

Alternatively, on the other hand is it the best rifle able to perform most jobs well enough when the time comes. Like, feed our families, and maybe drop a zombie or two when presented with one.

Custom multi Calibre/Barreled rifles that are available

Now, aside from the obvious over and under models of custom guns by those talented old time gunsmiths like “Krieghoff, Carl Stiegele, or even Savage Arms, theirs are usually referred to as the “Model 24s”. Most are rare guns mostly made by the high-end designer rifle companies?

We often wonder whether they are a myth, to good to be true. How can a rifle do it all? Maybe they are just another example of an all season tire that doesn’t perform well in any season. These fancy checkered stocked shiny hunting irons are being produced with some very expensive tropical woods and gold plated triggers, but sorry they are are not the topic of this article.

These rifles from the fancy sporting makers have dual barrels that often have a shotgun barrel on top, and small calibre like a .22 underneath it, or some have a large bore rifle on top and a 410 under that. Some even have as many as 4 barrels in total. However, I am doubtful about how long you could stand and aim such a weapon accurately. They are beautiful to look at and great, but lets talk about what we can commonly find on most gun store racks, in our lower price range, CHEAP.

Let us look at a rifle as more of a tool than a defense weapon too.

What do you need ideally?

Well let us see, using my infallible back woods reasoning here, lets try to narrow it down a bit. First, we need to consider the scenario of the collapse. What kind of collapse is it? One collapse might be something different to one person then to another. It may simply be that your local Seven Eleven has run out of wonder bread, and cold beer or perhaps it is a short-term food shortage down at the Quickie-Mart, due to a truckers strike.

Alternatively, maybe it is a Katrina hurricane like aftermath, were the National Guard is called in. On the other hand, some kind of apocalyptic Mad Max home coming, that is unfolding uncontrollably across the entire globe, with insurrection, martial law, armoured vehicles roaming the streets, cholera, or some other nasty epidemic. Future calamities, like these hat present themselves this way will create an entirely different set of challenges to most trying to survive, be it by him or her self, or when trying to hold a frightened family together.

The Short List of Survival

Therefore, I always like to start with my favourite list of necessities for your long-term survival.

THE SHORT LIST:

Water

Food

Shelter

Heat

Safety

(Not necessarily in that particular, order either.)

The Zombie Apocalypse

If you ever to find yourself in one of the aforementioned scenarios, and you are missing any one of the five items from the above list, you will understand what I mean by long-term survival. For instance, you might want to get out and procure said essential item right away, while you still can.

Before the looters take it all. That is to say, do it, get out into whatever calamity you find yourself in, which usually happens under the strife of some social upheaval. They always are manifesting themselves in some violent form or another. Your objective is to then try, and flee town for higher ground and some safety for your family. At least until things blow over.

This can be a dicey maneuver for a lone prepper, and trying to do this little reconnaissance move unarmed, and during the heat of an uprising or total collapse, can be impossible. Perhaps there is looting, or better yet, a riot, or maybe there are predatory gangs of miscreants wandering the streets, hunting humans for sport. Yet, all you really need is to do sneak down to the corner store and procure some milk for the wee one who will not stop driving your wife nuts.

This is how that scene could play out.

Your choice of prepper rifle is… “Well easy then”, the man behind the counter slides the rifle across the glass counter, with a squeal. “The rifle of choice is an AK-47 still smelling of the gun oil it is packed in, or an AR-15 with well-stocked 30 shot banana magazines taped back-to-back, and ready for action. Better, yet,” he then heaves from the rack behind him a monster of a gun a flat black M-60 complete with a 6 foot bandolier chock full of shiny 30 calibre brass cartridges. You can see yourself now in the blazing sun of the aftermath. Can’t you?

You fondle it, “This will work nicely to deter those crack heads and losers down at the quickie- mart, simply by its merit of pure intimidation”.

As soon as they take one look at that babe hanging from your shoulder, they will not be messing with you my friend, trust me.

Now for My Devils Advocate

What if on the way back from the corner store you come upon a covey of quail or fuzzy bunnies, or maybe that big city vermin, the common pigeon. What luck an entire flock has alighted on that statue of that dead president you always-hated, right there in your favourite park.

Then you think to yourself, “darn, I forgot to pick up that can of baked beans and Vienna sausages for the kiddies”.

You don’t, want to make your way back through those zombie hordes surrounding the Quickie-mart, or wade across those cholera-choked drainage ditches, all for a simply can of beans, do yeah?

Then it hits you, “I have a weapon, sure it’s a might bit big for the job, and not for hunting but who cares? Besides, the little woman has been hankering for some squab. She said so just the other day. So why not stop by the park test it out on a bevy of pigeons. Turn the shiny new 30 cal. Monster that you purchased at “Big Bob’s Battle Emporium”, into a fowling gun”, why not?

“Besides, it’s on the way, and those gang bangers and crack heads won’t bother me for sure”, not while you are spraying the park for pigeons, with your new toy.

You think to yourself, “This is a great idea”, and all seems right with the world again; except after you gather the remains of your quarry in one of those plastic bags from the Quickie-Mart. You arrive home, and present the prize to the little woman. She looks at you disappointed, then at the bag of gore and feathers, then back to you. You swell up proudly. Unbeknownst to you, you have just presented her with what you thought was a fine dinner. She waves the dripping plastic bag of mush like a hypnotist waves a gold watch, back and forth in front of your vacant stare. You smile ear-to-ear thinking “what a great provider I am”.

Then you really see it… for the first time.

The bag of bird parts, and your ever-beautiful ever patient honey bun glaring back at you with that look… you know the one… the one she uses when you have disappointed her yet again.

She then points her trembling finger at the barricaded door, and before you even have a chance to pull your combat boots on, she swings the bag at your head containing what should have been some fine dining for you and the missus, but now have cat food in it for Mr. Tickles. How can this be?

Your intentions were right on. It was such fun spraying the ex president’s effigy with a barrage of gunfire, unseen since the battle of Iwo Jima. Never realizing as you collected up the thoroughly masticated pigeon parts, looking as if they went through a Cuisinart, that bag now looks so silly in her hands, you look away.

How did this happen?

You stare back at her confused, you wondering why is life so unfair. Surely, the nice man with the tattoo that read KILLER on his bicep would not have steered you wrong. After all it is a reputable downtown gun store surely he, was telling the truth when he sold it to you. You spent all afternoon reliving his old combat stories from Iraq, and it was all in good fun. He said it was the best weapon for anything you might come across during an apocalypse. Your only decision was whether to get it in flat black or desert storm beige. Eventually settling on the black, after Killer told you how he used it to mow down that Taliban hooch.

Back to Reality

I know this may come as a surprise to some of you preppers out there, and perhaps this way of thinking, does go against every John Wayne moving ever made, but BIGGER AIN”T ALWAYS BETTER when it comes to food gathering…

Affordable Choices

Now lets look at the affordability factor of your rifle of choice. I assume there is a budget in mind, unless you are independently wealthy. When it comes to basic surplus military rifles and there are plenty around nowadays. Even the low-end sporting models of rifles are cheap enough to buy if you are not seeking brand new.

They are in pretty much the same price range with either choice of low-end sporting model or surplus bolt action. A novice prepper can certainly pick up any one of the older 30 calibres like a Lee-Enfield, or a 30-06 US, or even a 30 calibre Garand or some NATO rifle in the 7.62 range. Getting any post WWI or WWII surplus rifles easily, they run under $400 bucks nowadays but check, the rifling to be sure they are not bagged-out. You might want to find some reproductions instead, like brand-new copies as long as the fact that they are not being made in American does not bother you.

They are new, and right out of the box, or maybe something cheaper like a .22 rifle. Perhaps an old used Coey or Martin .22 calibre for under $250 bucks. Therefore, if this fits into your price range we still are on the right track.

Ammunition Availability

Now lets consider ammo, and availability here and the cost of ammunition. The cost of ammo and availability after such an end of the world collapse will most likely begin to rise soon after it happens, due to supply and demand. Some of the most popular calibres out there from North America are according to Sales in 2014 by Federal Ammunitions are as follows:

In order of popularity;

  1. .223 Remington/5.56mm NATO
  2. .308 Winchester/7.62x51mm NATO
  3. .30-’06 Springfield
  4. .30-30 Winchester
  5. .270 Winchester
  6. .243 Winchester
  7. .300 Winchester Magnum
  8. 7mm Remington Magnum
  9. 7.62×39
  10. .300 Winchester Short Magnum
  11. .22-250 Remington

(I cannot help noticing that they do not list 22 Long Rifle here at all.)

Reloading your own Ammunition

Now, a true gun enthusiast, one that reloads his or her own ammunition might not care about availability after a collapse. Reloading can save plenty of dough if you shoot plenty of targets. Though I am sure if you are an avid shooter, you have probably stopped reading this article several paragraphs ago, with the pigeon story, and so be it. However, I bet this rant will still give even an avid gun enthusiast something to consider when choosing another rifle for their bugout bag.

Either way, if you are still are reading, then great, nice to still have you here. I must assume that if you are that novice, and you do not have a thousand dollars worth of reloading equipment in your bugout bag, and you do not make your own gunpowder, and food is still a major consideration for your rifle of choice. Then we have a different situation here, and not the same as the old time veteran survivalist, or well-heeled prepper finds himself or herself in.

For instance, the equipment alone for reloading your own ammo, can run you minimally, as much, if not more then the rifle that you just purchased. So, do not forget for a minute that the “reloader-guy” the prepper with everything might be better off, as he needs some of those tiny little projectiles we call bullets and a lot of new primers as well as a pound or two of smokeless powder to reload that ammo he or she makes for their sheer enjoyment.

Unless, you are SO SKILLED, you can make your own modern smokeless gunpowder, and cast your own bullets from old car batteries or the chimney lead off the neighbour’s house. So, if you can’t, and I recommend you do NOT try this yourself by the way, without some guidance. If you do not know how to make gunpowder already, and you still want to learn, then watch some one else first, because at best, it will not light and at worst, it will light when you do not want it to, and there goes the damage deposit.

Tried and True Black Powder

Perhaps soon I will write an article about homemade black powder for the future for you guys, but not now.

Black powder is one thing, and a black powder rifles are certainly a fine consideration as an alternative weapon for when things get scarce. Like ammunition, and factory made bullets. A smooth bore black powder gun with a flintlock can be used any old day, with just a lead ball or shot, even just about anything that fits inside it in a pinch will do. However, either way, black powder is relatively easy to make at home, unlike smokeless powder.  So read, read , read before trying it.

My Experience

Yet, this is not the original question is it? The original question was what is the best prepper RIFLE.

In short, and in my humble opinion since I am the one writing this article, is this. What is the best calibre for all around use?

Here is my honest opinion, be it as it may…

First, what makes me an expert on this you ask? Well nothing really, I guess. I have not lived through an apocalypse or even killed any zombie hordes, or even lived through an economic collapse, great enough to cause a long-term food shortage. Nevertheless, I have lived in some very rural areas of wilderness; where it was necessary to hunt or gather food for a living.

Taking from the wild surroundings, and preparing it each fall for the winter, usually just before freeze up. I have also, made black powder at home, and reload my own match grade ammunition for my rifles. I own half a dozen rifles and several shotguns, as well as many handguns too. I have been a hunter and a trapper all my life, and have lived well off the land, at least for my meager 53 years. So the answer finally, what is my favourite calibre of rifle you ask…. Drum roll please…

My Choice

The .22 Long Rifles, TA-Daaaa…

I can almost hear the crickets and groans of disappointment from the readers, but here’s why I chose this often over looked rifle:

To begin with, it is reasonably priced. Most .22s can be picked up used for less then $200.00 bucks. Certainly, that is within our budget. The ammo is readily available anywhere in the world. You will find it from the far north all the way to the tips of the Dark Continents. It is certainly the cheapest and no less available then any other ammo, due to the recent shortages in North America. I will not get into that right now. DHS might be hogging it I guess.

Next, it is the least expensive per round to buy of any kind, and averages about  .05 cents a cartridge, if you buy bulk. That means you can buy as many of the tiny little buggers as you can afford, and no reloading required. This calibre is very versatile, and works across a wide range of practical hunting applications. Birds, small game, varmints, and yes in a pinch even larger non-lethal game animals such as small deer and feral pigs. You might even be able to afford one that takes .22 magnum and .22 long rifle cartridges. (MY WAIVER IS: Although using small calibre on large game is immoral and illegal in most any country. And I would only endorse it in a dire situation of a family starving.)

Nevertheless, all of these aforementioned tasty critters are potential food for the prepper’s pot. Lets face it, if we look back to the original list of five basic human needs. Food is definitely way up there for any prepper. The .22 rifles can still be used for a self-defense too. No, it will not cut a zombie in half with one shot, but it is small enough to be used by everyone in your family. That means Mom as well as the kids are not going to be afraid to pull the trigger when the time comes. Another bonus is its power; it is certainly enough to easily drop a pigeon or two at the park, pecking around those dirty hypodermic syringes in the grass.

Well, let us see does the mighty, .22 rifle also has a fair shooting range for its tiny size, but yes it does, and it still packs a punch too. Its able to kill small game out to 200 yards on a good day. Unfortunately, the arch of this tiny calibre resembles more of a rainbow then a straight line, at that distance. However, anyone who has shot gophers on the back forty, or squirrels out of some tall trees will attest to being able to do it with ease.

The newer .17 HMR arguments

I am not going to debate the .17 HMR caliber’s velocity with anyone here or argue stats with those who own these rifles. They are not common enough in most areas and therefore I have ruled them out, and will not being considered them here for that reason. Therefore, the champion and still my choice for best rifle for a prepper in my honest opinion one that you can and should be able to use to feed the family everyday, the .22 long rifle. Because, lets face it that is the number one consideration in any prepping situation, feed the spouse and kiddies.

My Opinion about defense

Therefore, in my now frequently over stated and forever contradictory humble opinion, I will say this one and salient fact. Unless you are a trained warrior and hanging around with a platoon of other trained warriors, you are probably NOT going to be fending off an onslaught of brain eating zombies by yourself. Just you and the missus in some twisted version of the Last stand at the Alamo you firing away and the kids and Mom reloading your M-60 while you swap it out for the AK-47 you got thrown in at “Big Bob’s Battle Emporium”, I don’t think so.

However, WHAT you most likely ARE GOING to be doing, is trying to survive by being stealthy, using those evasion apache ambush tactics from that Calvary survival book of 1865. (Or like us lay persons, you will be using the reliable running away tactic, with you and your kid’s arms pin wheeling as Mom tries to keep up.)

Whatever way you shake it, the zombie hordes are not getting you, and your family. They duck into a drive through car wash, and the kids shake them using those revolving doors at derelict shopping mall. Then, you and your love ones quietly bugger off to somewhere safer, and with less hostile horizons about you. Go now, get out, ride off into that sunset, well past the blazing apocalyptic burning city skyline, and get the hell out of dodge people.

Although most likely you will still find that there are not tasty cakes hanging from the branches of trees out there, and the term out in the woods means just that out in the woods. The inevitable fact is this, these .22 rifles are relatively light, they’re cheap, they shoot well, and they are easier to run with when zombies are chasing you, and just fine for shooting grey squirrels, or red, or what ever you prefer; from out of that pine tree at 50 yards.

What more could a prepper possibly want, and when you get to the woods, in any event, you and your .22 rifles, are going to be the best of friends. Because it is the best tool for the job, even the tiniest creatures, DO taste far better then nothing at all.

What do we have so far fellow preppers?

How about another list of the Pros and Cons of a .22 rifle. Just before I conclude this:

Pros for .22 Rifle Cons against the .22 Neither good nor bad
Ammo is cheap can buy 500 hundred rounds at Wal-Mart for less then $25/ box

 

Great for small game and you won’t need to pick pellets out of your ducks.

 

The whole family can shoot it with ease.

 

Its lightweight makes it easy to carry, for long distances.

 

Very common calibre ammunition, in any country.

 

Cheaper for shooting fish in a barrel.

Sorry won’t cut a brain eating zombie in half with one shot, but can kill a pigeon.

 

Not recommended for large game or zombies for that matter.

 

Not very good for long range shooting.

 

Not very intimidating to the rioters looters, and crack heads, until you shoot a few, first.

 

Not ideal in ever situation but it comes close, you can still kill a zombie if you have to (but you may have to beat him with it too).

Most big calibre rifles are just more expensive then a .22 rifle.

 

If you run out of ammo, both are just an ergonomically designed club, and quite useless.

 

Both types will kill large animals at point blank range. (Do not try this with a .22 on a Grizzly bear though.)

 

Guns aren’t dangerous Zombies with guns are…

 

 

My Conclusion

I know I have not convinced everyone with my back woods logic. Nevertheless, I hope that I raised some valid points here, and entertain a few of you a little bit any way. I’m an avid outdoorsman, I honestly hunt for my own food, and eat what I kill, I always feel munch better prepared to bag some game in the short term with 500 hundred rounds of .22 in my survival bag, and a decent .22 rifle, then having a box of twenty or so 308 rounds and a deer rifle only.

Your chances of finding a meal that very day is far better with a rim fire then seeing a big game animal the first day out. Besides a .22 shot from a tree stand, only twenty feet above the game (Especially a magnum), and right at the old brain pan, is going to kill any small deer or pig, even if unethical or illegal. I contest, those who disagree that with a starving family at home, this gives you that right.

I could be wrong… probably am.

I was never very good at following rules; when my family is hungry, I hunt:

Happy hunting,

The Practical prepper Jack Woods

The EMP Threat: Nuclear and Man-Made

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The EMP Threat: Nuclear and Man-Made Bobby Akart “Prepping For Tomorrow” On this week’s episode of the Prepping for Tomorrow program, Bestselling Author Bobby Akart, will begin a two part series on the threats our nation faces from an EMP: Electromagnetic Pulse. Bobby’s poignant analysis of the EMP threat has achieved #1 Bestseller rankings on Amazon … Continue reading The EMP Threat: Nuclear and Man-Made

The post The EMP Threat: Nuclear and Man-Made appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

10 Best Places to Hide Your Guns in Plain Sight

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If you’re a gun owner with young children, then at some point you’ve faced a dilemma: You want easy access to your gun in case of a home invasion, but you don’t want to just leave it lying out where your kids can find it. Even if you’ve taught them gun safety, there’s still the […]

The post 10 Best Places to Hide Your Guns in Plain Sight appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

Survival Gear Review: Magpul MBUS Pro Offset Sights

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back up rifle sights

Backup Iron Sights probably got their start by doing absolutely nothing when an optic was bolted onto a rifle that back up rifle sightscame from the factory with irons. But when modern sporting rifles (or whatever silly name the AR15 is being force-rebranded as these days) irons became an deliberate option.  BUS or back up sights (whether iron or not) appeared as conventional sights left in place, as well as sighting tools such as notches and even dedicated sight-like things bolted onto scopes, red dots and anything else someone somewhere thinks might fail.

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

Where the problem really started is with the quality, cost and effectiveness of our current crop of backup sights. The BUS concept was just too great to ignore in the highly unlikely event that a battery would die four years too soon, or amazingly strong optics in cushioned metal tubes might crack. Or that drop out of a helicopter knocks your scope out of alignment but leaves the rest of your gun safe to operate. In other words, people wanted to use the fabulous iron sights as well as their optics extracting the benefits from both.

Use Me

The odd thing about the Magpul MBUS Pro Offset Iron Sights are that they are not just for backup anymore. In fact the term “backup” has been relegated to just a single letter in the MBUS trademark, and never mentioned again. By offsetting the sights, they work fine even with a heavy optic running on the top rail. In fact, they don’t just back up the optic, they supplement it by being just as effective doing their job as a 3-9x scope.  And the offset aspect of these offset sights allows a natural platform for iron sighting with a slight twist of the gun. Forty-five degrees to be exact. So perhaps a MOSS (Magpul Offset Supplemental Sights) trademark is in order?

Using the same steel processing method as the Magpul MBUS Pro sights I reviewed earlier, the Magpul MBUS Offset Sights give you a similar high performance but at a 45 degrees east option.

The rear Magpul MBUS Pro Offset Iron Sight weighs in at about two ounces flat, and is priced at $105. It has two Back up right sightsapertures just like the other MBUS sights, one 0.07 inches in diameter and another almost three times larger at 0.19 inches. The front Magpul MBUS Pro Offset Iron Sight weighs just two tenths of an ounce more but costs twenty bucks less at $85. Both occupy about two inches of rail space when stowed

Twice the Fun

BUIS or Back Up Iron Sights are a staple to any AR user who employs electronic or magnifying optics. Until recently, the main concept behind BUIS was far more the BU than the IS. But with the Magpul MBUS Offset Sights, the Iron Sight aspect gets 24/7 attention, and not just when the optic goes down which happens…like never.

In fact, the Magpul MBUS Offset Sights offer an additional level of sighting ability given that they allow for zero to 100 meter sighting capabilities in 100% addition to whatever optic is above the receiver. In other words, you have two complete and independent rifle sighting solutions. One works close up and the other for whatever the glass on your rifle frame is best suited for.

As Magpul was busy finding bolt-on aiming solutions, they were also listening to customers. And one of the rifle sightsinteresting requests from actual users was for a smaller front sight pin allowing better accuracy….well, rather better precision if we want to split etymological hairs…which we do. For the record, accuracy is how close you are to the bullseye. Precision is group size.

Related: Magpul MBUS Pro Sights Review

The MBUS Pro Enhanced Front Sight Post, or (MBUSEFSP?) is a screw-in replacement to the regular MBUS Pro and back up front rifle sightsMBUS Pro Offset front sights. The Enhanced post is a match-grade scant 0.04 inches wide, or a full 0.02 inches narrower than the standard post. While talking in hundredths of an inch doesn’t seem like much, it makes big difference in the real world. For most, the MOE 0.06” front post is plenty small. But for those who anticipate more a 50 or 100 meter use of the backup or offset sights, then the the enhanced post is an excellent option, and well worth the paltry ten bucks Magpul asks for it. But wait, there’s more. Since the post does not rotate as you adjust the elevation like the old A2 front sights did, you can physically rotate the post 90 degrees and wa-la! You now have your thicker 0.06 post painting your target just like old times.

So my question: Why is the MBUS Pro Enhanced Front Sight Post not standard equipment on the Pro sights? Or MOE (Magpul Original Equipment) as Magpul likes to say. But I digress.

The Magpul MBUS Offset Sights have the same look and feel of the regular MBUS Pro sights including the non-locked positioning, solid detents at flat and deployed, and the same easy tool-less adjustment front and rear.  All the MBUS Pro sights are made of case-hardened steel and finished with Melonite QPQ™ which is just a big fancy way of saying that one of the final finishing steps uses a quench-polish-quench nitrocarburizing case hardening process.

Related: Magpul PMAG D-60 Ammo Drum Review

The gamut of BUIS materials runs from plastic, to polymer, to aluminum, to basic steel, to hardened steel. And I assume that titanium is not far behind, but with a price tag halfway to four figures. The material of a back up sight is not inconsequential. Nor is the build quality. Ignoring the constant usefulness of the Magpul MBUS Offset Sights for a moment, let’s consider some scenarios where you really need back up iron sights.  If running a magnifying optic, the two main reasons you need back up sights (ignoring the offset, remember), is when you optic is broken or knocked too far off zero. In both cases there is a good chance the backup sights also experienced the turmoil that killed the optic.

If a 1x electronic optic is the main player in your sighting system, the same two maladies as with the magnifying optic are still real, as well as an electronics failure or dead battery. In all cases, the backup sights need to be robust enough to take some shots without complaining. Otherwise they are little more than rail candy.

What’s The Catch?

Being offset sights, the mounting position cannot be directly under the sight since there is usually nothing under the magpul_offset_backup_sights_charging_handle_comparisonsight 45 degree off vertical. Therefore the sight works best when clamped to a rail in the 12 o’clock position. Usually never a problem on the muzzle end of the long gun, but it can present a quandary for some billet uppers (rather than forged), and non-GI issue charging handles like those with ambidextrous controls. On one of my testing carbine-length platforms, the rear Magpul MBUS Offset Sight conflicted with my Raptor charging handle.

For proper operation I would need to either swap out the Raptor for a lower profile handle, or move the rear Offset sight further forward. But it just got more stinky from there. The offset sight could not overcome my billet forward assist/case deflector, and I certainly did not want it hanging out above my ejection port. Soon I had the rear sight forward of my Aimpoint Micro T1. Now I was able to employ only half the possible sight radius, and the peep hole was anything but quick on target. I had to rethink the point of back up sights, and especially offset ones that I fully intended on using in addition to my optic but not a enhanced charging handle.

Also Read: Magpul Armorer’s Wrench Review

Another issue I encountered is that my rifle-length AR has Magpul furniture with no flat top up front.  The rear sight back up magpul sight reviewbehaved itself this time, but there was no easy solution to mount the front sight.  I almost added a inch-long Magpul rail the top of my handguard, but that would put the sight up half an inch and out of reach of the rear sight. So for now, that rifle will have to wait.

To explore the right/left handedness of the Magpul MBUS Offset Sights I mounted them correctly but held the rifle left-handed. I also mounted them backwards on the left side of the rifle for muscle-memory comparison.  Left handed shooting is a mirror of right handedness.  Shoulders are switched. Hands are reversed.  And barring backwards eye-dominance, everything else is the same.  Other than non-ambidextrous fire controls, the operation of the gun is symmetrical. 

Which means the right-hand preference of the Magpul MBUS Offset Sights requires a slightly unnatural counter-rotation of the rifle to engage the sights with the eye.  Instead of the trigger-side elbow rolling away from the body, the trigger arm must fold under the rifle leading to a counterintuitive twist where holding the rifle still is a new skill to be mastered.  I’m not sure the market for left-handed Magpul MBUS Offset Sights is deep enough for Magpul to take the financial plunge, but it would be a nice offering to our often neglected left-handed brethren.

Magpul Shoots! Magpul Scores!

The weight and cost of the Magpul MBUS Pro Offset Iron Sights are commiserate with others in this space.  So what does Magpul have to offer that the other options don’t? Three things immediately come to mind.  First, the performance of the Magpul MBUS Pro Offset Iron Sights is exceptional and does exactly what it needs to do.  Second, the low weight, low profile sights become almost invisible when you don’t want them active.  And third, being Magpul offspring, they have a proven warranty and exceptional customer service to back up their products even when your backup is a primary.

All Photos by Doc Montana

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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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25 Ways You Can Arm Yourself For Survival

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For many people, self-defense after a disaster is a frightening topic. It’s much more fun to think about food, water, survival gadgets, and so forth. But the reality is that your chance of being attacked, robbed, or worse after the SHTF will be significantly higher than it was before. People will be desperate, so you […]

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