Today’s article is aimed at doomers, and by doomers I refer to those folks who believe that our uber high tech society is prone to collapse at any given moment for various reasons.
You’re all talk. Yeah, that’s right, I’m talking to you, dear reader. Yeah, you say you’re a prepper. Or a survivalist. Or an outdoorsman. Or whatever. Yeah, you say you’re all set to survive after a SHTF event drops down around your ears. Your bug-out bag is packed and your AR-15 is oiled, sparking clean, and ready to go. You’ve got your stockpiled Dinty Moore and ramen noodles and MREs and rainwater barrels and your compass cost you a hundred bucks. But you know what? You’re full of shit. And you know what? I am, too.
Yeah, nobody likes hearing (or admitting) that fact. But here’s the deal: unless you’ve actually gone out and executed a real bug-out (hopefully before all that terrible “world-ending” type of stuff), and put your money where your damn mouth is, you’re full of shit. Long story short: you need to put yourself and your gear to the test before you can say with confidence that you’re good to go when the balloon goes up. I wasn’t happy with not being confident – so I’m bugging out.
Taking the First Steps
I’ve always considered myself an outdoorsman. My entire life, I’ve hunted, fished, camped, and hiked all across this great nation of ours. I’m very comfortable in the woods, and have spent countless days (and several nights) in the wild – and I loved it all. However, all this time spent in the outdoors was on MY terms – I knew where I was going, I knew what I would be doing there, and I knew how long I’d be there. Other people had been told where I’d be in case of emergency, and I had long beforehand printed topo maps and scouted any new areas – or I went places that I’d been going since I could remember. And while this is all well and good, I don’t exactly go out whitetail deer hunting with a bug-out bag while thinking I may never return home due to a catastrophic event. There’s a big difference between waking up bright and early in the morning to go spend a relaxing day hunting or fishing and waking up to find that if you don’t leave your house in ten minutes you die. So I wanted to explore that undiscovered mental territory.
Related: Survival Psychology – Why Me?
I also wanted answers to questions I had: Would the gear I have with me – from every day carry (EDC) items to my Bug-Out Bag to the kit in my truck – keep me alive in an unknown area over an extended period of time? Would I need to make any adjustments? Did I have the knowledge and skill sets necessary to survive in the wilds of northern Maine (or elsewhere) while others could not or would not? What would I be up against that I didn’t even expect?
I also wanted to check myself out before I started preparing to bug-out with my family; if I can’t keep one person alive, I sure as hell probably couldn’t keep four people alive in a survival situation. Having the basics in my mind of what I wanted to achieve and discover, I went forward with planning the actual bug-out.
In Case Of Emergency: Break Glass, Bring Bob
While “BOB” in this article translates to the traditional acronym for “Bug-Out Bag”, I also enlisted the aid of fellow SHTFBlog | Survival Cache writer Jarhead Survivor – who goes by “Bob” in his civilian life. Jarhead Survivor lives about two hours from my house, and we usually meet up once a year or so to go outside and camp or try out gear for reviews. He’s a hell of a good guy and we’d been planning a camping trip, so I suggested the idea of a Bug-Out trip. He was all aboard, and we went forward with planning. We had some basic emails back and forth but kept things slightly vague to keep the unknown spirit of a bug-out at the forefront of our minds.
Also Related: 7 Types of Gear You Need For Your Bug Out Bag
In full disclosure: we did eventually decide that once we acted accordingly and set up a camp, we wanted to have an evening of an actual enjoyable getaway camping trip too. Therefore, we agreed to bring a few beers and some decidedly non-bug-out food (sorry, we had to have camp-grilled burgers. So sue us). However, the overall premise was there and agreed upon. We were bugging out, and that mindset would drive our actions.
We were all over the place about where we wanted to go and what we’d bring, so I decided to create a basic scenario to guide our actions and reactions. While this may seem corny, dramatic, or lame to some, I would heartily encourage coming up with a big reason to bug out – be as detailed or a vague as you want. Coming up with a scenario for your bug-out forces you to evaluate the world around you and identify possible areas or events that could trigger a SHTF event; a scenario also makes you think about the follow-up events that would happen immediately after a catastrophe in your area, and you can prepare to act accordingly. In our case, Jarhead Survivor lives about 30 miles northeast of a major navy shipyard, so I went with that. Our hypothetical bug-out context is as follows:
I made the trek to Jarhead Survivor’s house to meet up with him to discuss blog posts, then head out for some canoeing in a large nearby river. Jarhead’s wife and kids are visiting family in Canada, and my wife and kids were away on vacation – so we both had some time away from responsibilities to enjoy ourselves for a day on the river.
Related: Jarhead’s Bug Out Bag
A few minutes after we sit down to chew the fat, the power goes out suddenly and a couple seconds later, a rumble shakes the house. After a couple minutes of “what the hell?” and realizing the power likely wouldn’t go off BEFORE an earthquake, we get a hand-crank radio to work. Not much is coming in, but we finally get a working station broadcasting a repeating warning that states several military sites across the northeast have been subject to nuclear strikes. The message provides no other real information.
Jarhead Survivor and I do some quick mental math, and realize that with the 10-15 mph NE prevailing winds, we have to get out of dodge fast – his house is smack dab in the path of incoming fallout and other nastiness. We look at a map and decide to head Northwest – perpendicular to the wind – this should get us clear of the incoming fallout in the most expeditious fashion. Figuring we have about two hours left to load up and get clear of the danger zone, we take stock. First check: the vehicles. Luckily, Jarhead Survivor’s truck starts up, has a mostly full tank of gas and runs smoothly, so we decide to take his vehicle. I have my Bug-Out Bag, my Sig Sauer P220 .45 ACP and a couple loaded magazines, a Ruger 10/22 takedown, my 16 foot Old Town canoe and its accessories, a #10 can of freeze-dried Mountain House Chicken A La King, a 10” cast iron skillet, and a cooler with some food and beer. Jarhead Survivor has his hasty pick of the equipment at his house, but grabs his bug-out pack, some clothes, a ground pad and sleeping bag, tarps, a LifeStraw family-sized gravity water filter, a Henry AR-7 .22 rifle, and other sundry items to eat and make the misery of survival a bit more comfortable.
Reviewing our Maine Gazetteer maps and planning a route that avoids major roads, we find a secluded lake with a large island, well off the beaten path about three hours northwest. This is our destination for the immediate future – devoid of people, out of the way, with (hopefully) plenty of resources to give us time for the emergency to settle, gather info, and help us form our plans for the long-term future.
Pedal to our Mettle
Writing the rest of this article (and following articles in the series) AFTER our bug-out trip, I should explain why we did what we did using the above scenario. Yes, I realize there may have been inconsistencies in the story – I have no freaking clue how a real nuclear strike would affect people and electronics and vehicles 30 miles downwind; we were simply using this “situation” as a general guideline to work with for a first bug-out trip.
The full-on intent was to go out with relatively limited supplies, just like you would have to do if you only had a half hour to get to your house, plan what you needed for yourself and anyone with you, grab the gear, pack the truck, and GO. I truly feel that though we had a rough idea of what we were doing before we took the trip, almost everything that we stuffed in the truck and took with us – canoe included – was considered, gathered, and ready to go within our self-imposed time constraints. We also needed to ensure that we were mobile with our equipment once we left the truck – and that meant fully man- and canoe-portable.
Also Read: KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) AR-15
The canoe was decided upon because it gave us extra flexibility to get away to an island, which we deemed to be desirable to limit our exposure to any indigenous or visiting people to the area. The lake itself was quite large, with only a couple rental camp outfits on the southern end. We decided to head to a rudimentary boat launch on the eastern end of the lake, park there, and launch the canoe to make for the island at the northern end of the body of water.
In the event of an actual bug-out getaway, we thought an island would be much less likely to receive unwanted attention. The canoe has a very low noise signature, so getting to the island could be made with as little attention drawn as possible. A canoe is also extremely portable, so the ability to drag the craft out of the water to be camouflaged onshore was deemed desirable. Provided the half-mile long island was anywhere close to habitable, we’d be set to evacuate to the island, be in close proximity to needed resources such as water and firewood, and be able to disappear off-grid to evaluate our situation – as long as we were careful. As things turned out (next article), we had a lot to learn. Speaking of learning…
Lessons Learned Before We Even Left The Driveway
The first thing I learned in this exercise was: Have a plan! Between Jarhead Survivor and I, well, we have a lot of camping and survival shit. Granted, in our hypothetical survival situation, we were not aware there would be a large-scale catastrophe that ruled out bugging-in. Therefore, I was limited to what I brought with me (more on that in a bit.). If Jarhead Survivor was on his survival game – and he was- he should have intimate knowledge of his available gear, location, and priority in the plan if a bug-out was called for. So stop number one on the knowledge train: Plan before a bug-out occurs. Know your gear, where it is, and what you need the most based on your perceived needs and go-to location(s). Make a physical list and prioritize the items in order of need. Perhaps even have gear cached at other locations in different directions.
The next lesson I learned is this: What you have when your bug-out kicks off is what you have. A bug-out, by its definition, probably isn’t going to be decided and acted upon in the most convenient of times. In our little scenario, I was at Jarhead Survivor’s house, and as a consequence I was stuck with the gear I had in my truck and on my person. Going home and grabbing the AR-15 and a bunch of food and sub-zero rated sleeping bag wasn’t in the cards. This hand was dealt the second I started my truck and departed the homestead. Make sure your kit is portable – it’s no use if you can’t bring it along.
Related: Staying Alive During a SHTF Winter
The third lesson I garnered right off the bat was: Know the capabilities and mindsets of the people you are with. I was with a seasoned survivalist former US Marine who had his shit squared away. His outdoors skill sets are very accomplished, his gear is top notch – and more importantly – he knew how to use it. I knew I was in good shape for the duration of our little bug-out fact-finding mission. However, if shit went down while I was at work, well, we’ll just say that I would be aggressively encouraging people to not come with me. Don’t be afraid to ditch people who will drag you down, are ill-trained or ill-equipped, or will get you killed through ignorance. Hell, if their very presence is intolerable on a day-to-day basis for any number of reasons, don’t feel obligated to hit the hills with them unless they have something substantial to offer. You could very feasibly be stuck with someone for a very, very long term in a SHTF survival situation. Do you want someone who isn’t ready – or doesn’t have the survival mindset – to be with you during those stressful times? I think not.
More to Come
There will be at least two more follow-up articles written on this bug-out trip: the next post, part two, will focus on what we actually did for the trip and what happened – we were thrown a curveball at the end for sure! Part three (and maybe more to follow) will explore the lessons learned on this self-induced bug-out trip – there were many that Jarhead Survivor and I came up with post-trip. Some were affirmations of the expected, some were honest learning points neither of us anticipated.
The point of all this is: before you have no choice, choose to make the unknown as known as you can make it. Get out there with your gear and make sure it works and you work and your plan works. You DO have a plan, right? Because if you don’t have a plan and you don’t know if your constitution can handle the stress of an actual emergency, well… you might as well scroll back up to the first paragraph and re-read it.
Questions? Comments? Critiques? Sound off in the comments below!
Today I have a couple of Freedom Arms Firearm Manuals to share. I owned a mini-revolver that was one of their designs but I bought if from North American Arms. Freedom Arms is a Freedom, Wyoming based firearm manufacturing company, known for producing powerful single-action revolvers. The company was founded in 1978 by Wayne Baker and Dick Casull to produce the Mini revolver then later a revolver chambered in Casull’s powerful .454 Casull chambering. This 5-shot revolver was the Model 83. Freedom Arms currently makes a single-shot pistol in addition to their revolvers. I have added a gunwebsites youtube video
We always assume we’ll have a rifle when hunting, but in a survival situation, we may be lucky to have a pocket knife. A rifle is the standard, contemporary tool or weapon for almost any hunting situation. It’s a highly sophisticated weapon customized with scopes and by caliber for a variety of game species and […]
The post 9 Improvised Hunting Weapons for Fish and Game in the Wild appeared first on Urban Survival Site.
In the U.S., the AK family of rifles has enjoyed considerable, if controversial, popularity among civilians and American enthusiasm for it is today higher than ever. The AK-47 and its variants are the iconic rifle of the Russian Federation, the former U.S.S.R. and a host of former Communist Bloc states. It is found in the hands of fighters and farmers in nearly every corner of the developed and undeveloped world.
The Kalashnikov family of rifles is renowned for ruggedness, simplicity and punch. It has been produced both by official and unauthorized manufacture across the globe in such vast numbers that today its numbers are literally countless. Whether or not you are considering an AK variant for your own purposes or dismissing it as the firearm of our enemies, it is in your best interest to learn the ins and outs of the globe’s most plentiful assault rifle, including its semi-automatic commercial cousins.
In this article we’ll examine the AK family in basic detail, covering the design history in brief, and major variants with their cartridges, operation and considerations for use and equipage. We’ll bust a few myths, and hopefully leave you with a better understanding of this most ubiquitous of rifles.
The AK-47: Design History and Evolution
The AK family of rifles was first properly conceived in 1947, by Mikhail Kalashnikov, one of the 20th century’s most prolific and respected small arm designers. In his youth, Kalashnikov was attracted to all kinds of machinery, and worked as a mechanic. During World War II, after conscription into the Red Army in 1938, Kalashnikov was made a tank mechanic owing to his engineering skills and small stature.
Later he was promoted to tank commander, and after being wounded in the Battle of Bryansk was recuperating in a hospital in 1942 when he overheard fellow soldiers lament the shortcomings of the Red Army’s issued rifles. Dismayed at their opinion of their weapons, Kalashnikov then had the idea to design a new one, one that would eliminate these shortcomings to give his fellow soldiers an effective battlefield weapon to compete with other nations. This idea would evolve into the basis of the AK-47.
The Soviet leadership during World War II was greatly impressed by the German progenitor of assault rifles, the Sturmgewehr 44. Chambered for an intermediate cartridge, this new weapon combined the accuracy and range of a rifle, with the maneuverability and firepower of a submachine gun.
The Soviets wanted something comparable, and badly, and so in 1944 devised an intermediate cartridge of their own, the 7.62x39mm. Kalashnikov, after much design and refinement, and several rounds of competition and trials against more experienced designers of small arms finalized his rifle design, chambering the new Soviet cartridge in the year of 1947, and calling it the Avtomat Kalashnikova, literally Kalashnikov’s Automatic Rifle, model of 1947.
The AK-47 later entered army trials in 1948, but was not formally adopted until 1949. Initial production was hampered by some difficulties and design revisions: the very first AK-47’s, the Type 1’s, were made of stamped steel receivers, but challenges with welding and alignment during manufacture led to the adoption of a second type, with a milled steel receiver. It was much heavier, but lent itself better to immediate production owing to the existence of the needed milling machinery and tooling. Thanks to these changes and other snags, the rifle did not see widespread distribution to the army until around 1956.
It is here that we encounter our first major variation of the AK family; the heavy, milled steel receivers are the archetypal AK-47, specifically the Types 2 and 3. They are easily identified by appearance, their lack of rivets on the receiver, heft and a distinctive milled rectangular lightening cut on both sides of the receiver over the magazine well.
The AK-47 was upgraded in the year of 1959, going back to a stamped sheet steel receiver, a slanted brake on the muzzle, internal changes to prevent the rifle from firing when the bolt was out of battery. This revision, the Type 4, is better known as the Avtomat Kalashnikova Modernizirovanniy, or AKM, the “M” meaning modernized.
The AKM and its variants are far and away the most plentiful and widespread, being the most commonly encountered today whether or not of licensed production. The AKM is easily identified by its light, riveted and stamped receiver, which also has a small pill-shaped detent just above the magazine well.
The AKM served as the basis of the AK-74, developed in the early 1970’s by Kalashnikov, and is identical in operation and function to the AKM, and differs predominately in its new chambering: the 5.45x39mm, designed to compete with the then new American M16 and its light, fast 5.56 x 45mm cartridge.
The AK-74 and its derivatives are today the main infantry assault rifle of most former U.S.S.R. countries.
A Note on Verbiage
Speaking strictly for American users, most will use “AK-47” or “47” as shorthand for any AK variant chambered in the original 7.62mm cartridge. Most will likewise use “AK-74” or “74” as shorthand for referencing a gun chambered in 5.45mm. “AK” or “Kalashnikov” is used broadly to refer to any rifle in the AK family, or a specific rifle. Individual countries or companies model names will usually be entirely different.
The total number of models, variants and country-specific permutations of the AK family of rifles is nothing short of mind-boggling, and beyond the scope of this article. Instead of making this a historical or reference work, I’ll instead paint with a broader brush and cover things pertaining to the AK-47/AKM and AK-74 designs at large.
The topics we cover will be applicable to the families of rifles as a whole, and will help you make informed decisions about selection and employment, if applicable.
Design Elements and Controls
The AK action is typified by a handful of hallmarks: great reliability and ruggedness in all conditions, a long-stroke gas pistol system, a distinctively slanted or vertical gas block, generous tolerances between moving parts, a large curved magazine and a large, somewhat unwieldy safety and selector lever on the right side of the receiver.
The entirety of the AK design is designed to enable cheap and quick production, and greatly simplified training in its manual of arms. Furniture can be made of any combination of wood, plastic, or metal, in a wide array of colors or finishes.
AK sights are a simple rear notch and hooded front post. The rear notch is usually graduated to allow adjustment for target distance without tools. Windage and elevation adjustment for zeroing is achieved with the front sight, being threaded for elevation and on a driftable base to allow for windage adjustment. This will typically require a tool for the purpose.
The AK, while renowned for its simple design and ease of manufacture also varies wildly in quality from country to country, or manufacturer to manufacturer. One of the most pervasive myths about the AK is that it simply will not break or malfunction as long as it is an AK, and that one hammered together by untrained laborers in a nameless town with no electricity will shoot and shoot and shoot until the end of time.
Like anything else, especially with guns, you get what you pay for, and an AK variant from a maker that is known for fine quality materials and fitment will be a far better and more reliable rifle than one dredged as parts from some undeveloped country and assembled by minimum wage workers. Do not believe the idea that you can pay $350 or $400 for a commercial AK in the U.S. and come away with a quality gun by virtue of it being an AK.
AK magazines are either made of metal or plastics, and vary greatly in their quality and reliability depending on pattern and country of origin. Due to the sheer number of variation between both guns and magazines, you will run into more occurrences of fitting and functionality problems here than, say, with an AR or G3 rifle.
Identification of AK magazines is another sub-article in itself, but let it be said you should give the same care and consideration to selecting your magazines as you do your rifle. 7.62x39mm magazines are easily ID’d against their similar 5.45mm cousins due to their more pronounced curvature.
Insertion of the AK magazine is accomplished by hooking the front tab of the magazine into a lug at the front of the magazine well and then rocking it reward until it engages the magazine release with a pronounced click. This operation will be very fiddly for those used to straight-insertion designs until practiced.
The magazine release is a lever directly behind the magazine well on the underside of the receiver. To remove the magazine, the thumb presses this lever toward the muzzle as the magazine is rocked forward out of the magazine well.
The selector lever of the AK is 3 position: Fully up is Safe, the middle position is Automatic, and fully down is Single, or Semi-Automatic. The design ideology was that a user under serious stress will swipe the selector from safe all the way down to single, and placing the gun on automatic requires a deliberate action.
The selector functions as a dust cover, sealing the receiver when on safe and preventing the bolt from cycling reward enough to strip and chamber a cartridge. Operation of the selector is challenging for right handed shooters, and typically mandates breaking of the firing grip entirely if not using an aftermarket selector lever.
A few countries versions have a modified selector lever that is also engaged by the shooting hand thumb, and consists of a lever on the left side of the receiver just above the pistol grip. This lever is typically forward for Safe, and Rear for Single, with the middle position being Automatic. Operation of this lever is slaved to the main selector lever on the right side of the receiver.
The charging handle protrudes directly from the bolt on the right side of the action, reciprocates with the bolt upon firing and can be grasped with either hand for cycling depending on the technique used.
The AK trigger is unremarkable, save for its typically middling pull. Some variations of the AK are known for a phenomenon known as “trigger slap,” where the trigger is somewhat violently reset by the reciprocating action, and causing discomfort or even pain to the shooter’s trigger finger.
The AK typically does not have a bolt lock, and the bolt not lock open after the last round is fired, and relies either on a notch in the selector lever for achieving this manually or a certain type of magazine equipped with a follower that will restrain the bolt in its reward position after the last round is fired. Using such a device, the bolt will close if the magazine is removed.
Loading and Unloading
To load any AK, follow the steps below. The following assumes you are starting with no magazine in the gun, and the selector off safe.
- Insert a loaded magazine at proper angle, rocking from front to rear until it engages.
- Grasping the charging handle with either hand, pull the bolt all the way to the rear, then release, letting it go home under full spring power.
- Rifle is now loaded and ready to fire. Engage safety if not firing immediately.
The unloading procedure is the reverse. Extra care must be taken during unloading of an AK compared as you must disengage the safety to retract the bolt enough to eject any cartridge in the chamber.
- Remove magazine by grasping magazine and pressing magazine release forward with thumb. Magazine is rocked from back to front out of magazine well.
- Move selector off of Safe position.
- Grasping the charging handle with either hand, pull the bolt all the way to the rear, observe for ejection of chambered cartridge.
- Release bolt, or engage bolt hold-open if featured.
- Rifle is now unloaded.
Cartridge Performance: Which Should You Choose?
The 7.62x39mm and 5.45x39mm are completely different cartridges. The venerable 7.62mm, with a projectile weight of 120gr. – 155gr. And muzzle velocity of 2,100fps- 2,430fps falls somewhere between the U.S.’s domestic .300 Blackout and .30-30 Winchester in performance. The .300 Blackout has a slightly better ballistic coefficient but is typically slower with a similar weight of bullet, while the .30-30 Win. can push heavier projectiles faster than the 7.62mm across all loads.
The 5.45x39mm’s closest domestic analogue is the 5.56x45mm, having been designed by Russia to compete with the 5.56mm after they took a good, long look at U.S. employment of that cartridge in Vietnam. The 5.45x39mm uses bullets weighing anywhere from 52gr. to 64gr., with muzzle velocities between 2,800fps and 3,200fps. The inspiration for this cartridge is obvious when ballistic data is compared to the 5.56x45mm.
The 7.62mm, while punchy with good penetration and performance against intermediate barriers, has a ballistic shortcoming in its significant drop at even close-mid range. The average 123gr. Bullet fired by an AK with a muzzle velocity of around 2400 feet per second will drop approximately 42 inches at 350 yards, and will have shed around 1000fps if velocity. That is almost 4 feet!
In comparison, the 5.45mm 7N6 standard load, firing a 53gr. bullet will only drop 28inches at the same distance. The 5.45mm thanks to its superior velocity and ballistic coefficient is much “flatter” shooting at typical engagement distances. Either will serve well for an anti-personnel rifle, but the 5.45mm has far less recoil than the 7.62mm, is significantly lighter, and has better effectiveness with most loads against a human target than the 7.62. Modern armies and agencies have moved away from .30 caliber rifles in the intervening decades for a reason!
Neither7.62 or 5.45 is known for accuracy, but this is mostly due to the majority of AK’s not being particularly accurate rifles, not because the cartridges are inherently inaccurate. Modern commercial ammo fired from another rifle, or even a high-end commercial AK variant can produce excellent groups all the way out to 300 yards and beyond, with many commercial loads being capable of producing around a 1 ½ MOA group at 100 yards.
Your biggest advantage selecting the 7.62mm in the US is going to be cheap and plentiful ammunition. If you do not mind the added weight and recoil, the 7.62 still serves well even today, and modern, high-performance bullets make it significantly more effective than with legacy loads.
5.45mm ammo is not nearly as easy to procure, especially since the ATF banned importation of common surplus military loads from Europe and Asia, but is available and affordable if one is willing to order quantity online. The lighter recoil, and flatter trajectory make the AK-74 a joy to use, and if optimized for accuracy, a real competitor against nearly any Western rifle.
A plethora of domestic and foreign aftermarket performance parts and modifications exist for the AK family of rifles, from tuned triggers to stocks, grips and extended handguards. Muzzle devices and extended controls are common, as are optic mounts. You will find modern AK’s equipped with everything one would expect to see on a fighting rifle: lights, lasers, foregrips, IR illuminators and more.
The issue with this newfound modularity is that of weight. Russians historically place weight-savings very low on their priority list when designing small arms and the AK is no different. An AK is a fairly heavy gun when loaded. It is even heavier when saddled with modern accoutrement, and a 7.62 gun can easily tip the scales at 10lbs plus.
The issue of optics mounting is more a problem of expectation than execution. Americans are used to simply mounting an optic to the top of the receiver of most guns, and expecting that rigid receiver to hold zero. Considering the AK’s entire receiver top cover is removable for disassembly and is far from an optically consistent fit, you have a couple of choices:
1.) Install an optics rail in a more rigid location, typically in front of the trunnion over the gas tube. This omits the use of most magnified optics.
2.) Utilize an AK specific side-rail mounted optics base. Contrary to popular opinion, a quality mount on an in-spec rail is very rugged, and not likely to lose zero, but it will necessitate either a cheek riser or more of a “chin-weld” on the stock to see through the optic.
3.) Gamble on some abominable Gun-Show Special replacement top-cover with a rail welded on and set screws to increase rigidity. Pray it works, then curse when it inevitably fails.
#3 is always poor decision unless the solution is from a high-end, AK-centric manufacturer. Numbers 1 and 2 are both acceptable depending on what optic is desired.
When preparing to purchase and install mods and accessories for an AK, you must keep in mind that the sheer number of variations means some parts are designed only for country or regional specific variants. Other parts which should be “bolt-on” will still require a degree of hand fitting to install. Things like trigger and hammer installation are just not as simple or as fool-proof as the installation on an AR. They are typically achievable for the average user, but may require a different approach or tools than normal. When in doubt, consult the manufacturer of either component or rifle.
Considerations for Domestic Use
If you buy a quality rifle and decent ammunition, you should expect a very high degree of reliability out of your AK, certainly comparable to most Western standbys. Do not expect to buy a dirt cheap $300 import parts-kit gun and get a 25,000 service life out of it; people that try to convince you otherwise citing that they “never had a problem” with their “flawless” cheapy have not even put 500 rounds through theirs. As I mentioned above, an AK is not invincible or trouble-free just by virtue of being an AK. Quality speaks. Seek it.
The AK is noticeably less ergonomic than the AR-15 family of rifles, specifically the safety, very short fixed or folding stock that lacks adjustable length of pull, and cramped stock handguards. Manipulations like reloads and taking the rifle off safe will be slower and more prone to error compared to an AR without practice. This is not to say that you cannot obtain a high degree of speed with an AK. You certainly can, but the AR and other western designs simply make some actions easier to accomplish.
A sort of elephant in the room may be the AK’s status as the “Bad Guys’ Gun.” This is probably too much to unpack in this article, but I will give you my thoughts and opinions on the matter and let you make your own decision. First, the AK is also the “Good Guys’ Gun” and serves in one guise or another as the primary infantry rifle of several allied or friendly nations, or as the basis of their domestic variant. I believe technology is agnostic in this regard, and the AK has only the cultural value we assign to it.
Second, the gun culture in the U.S. reflects, well, the rest of our culture: most Americans value merit over nationality, and we happily assimilate foreign people and products that offer benefits or improve our lives. A huge swath of U.S. manufacturers, gunsmith, customizers and gun owners have seen fit to enshrine the AK here and make it a part of our landscape.
The AK’s popularity is booming, and the commercial sector is responding in kind, thanks to a grassroots effort by enthusiasts. More quality domestic AK’s are available now than ever, along with a host of high-performance upgrades. A well-tuned AK is as much a hot-rod as any high-end AR.
All that being said, one must still stop to consider a more subtle issue. This is a rifle that has been depicted on targets, in movies and other media, constantly, and I do mean constantly as being the weapon of bad guys. I mentioned it above, but how would this possibly affect someone’s perception of the person who wields it?
I do not mean to insinuate that, for instance, using an AK in an otherwise righteous home-defense shooting would create any undue legal trouble if the rifle was legal, but I do worry about a case of mistaken identity if a cop or someone else happens upon me in some unknown situation, wielding the distinctive silhouette of an AK, one that he has no doubt engaged many, many times on the target range in practice of just such an occasion. This is admittedly probably only a plausible issue in times of serious societal unrest or worse.
I could be way, way out of my lane with that line of reasoning, and it will take a much smarter person than me to sift that for truthfulness, but there it is.
Bottom Line: If you like or prefer an AK for whatever reason, and spend the money and time to both invest in a good one and train with it like you mean it, it will serve you well, and is able to accomplish well most things you could ask of any general purpose intermediate caliber rifle.
The AK family of rifles is the world’s most ubiquitous and plentiful rifle, bar none. From the mind of a wounded tanker, the AK-47 spawned innumerable variations in the aftermath of World War II, and has been present in nearly every major conflict of the 20th and 21st centuries. If you love the AK loathe it, you’d be best served to know how to make the world’s most popular rifle work for you.
What’s your opinion of the AK? Do you prefer yours in 5.45mm or 7.62? Let us know down in the comments section!
This counter sniper guide from the U.S. Army Marksmanship Training Unit is designed to help a trained individual in the selection of equipment, training and employment of the countersniper. From the foreword: With the increase in civil disorders, the term sniper has come into common usage (particularly in the press) which is in general, erroneously used in that the term is commonly applied to any person who fires at a specific area or person with any type of firearm. Webster defines a SNIPER as “a sharp-shooter concealed to harass the enemy by picking off individual members, usually at long range,
The post Free PDF: US Army Marksmanship Training Unit Counter-Sniper Guide appeared first on Dave’s Homestead.
by Contributing Author
If you are a prepper, chances are you have made firearms a part of your plans. Maybe you are new to the gun, having decided to start prepping recently, or maybe you are a homesteader from way back, and been around guns your whole life. Either way, guns are a tremendously powerful tool, and an asset like no other when the time comes to save your own, or someone else’s, life from a bad guy hell-bent on doing you harm.
Seasoned gunslinger or brand-new greenhorn, you have areas you might improve on, facets of your shooting game that need a little tuning up. Your practice opportunities are limited: chances are you have neither time nor money enough to shoot all day, every day honing your skills. Therefore it makes sense to apply your efforts and money in a way that will let you see the most success in the shortest possible timeframe. Some of these things will be equipment choices, and others will be best practices for your time on the range.
Make no mistake, you’ll still need to put in plenty of sweat equity, dry-practice and blisters, but if you follow the advice and tips I lay out in this article you’ll be set up for success, instead of frustration and shorten that learning curve so it looks more like a bump, not a cliff. That’s enough preamble; let’s get to the good part!
What’s Your Objective?
Before you head off anywhere, you have a destination in mind. You don’t set off without a destination unless you are wandering, and if you are knowingly planning to wander along your training path this isn’t the article for you. Without a destination you don’t know where you are going, and worse, you don’t know how you’ll get there, or even tell if you have arrived.
“What do I need to accomplish?” is the question you should ask yourself. This is your mission, and the mission dictates the preparations. If you are the average, everyday citizen prepper, your mission is the protection of yourself, your family and loved ones.
“Protection” is subjective. Protection from what? Famine, economic collapse or a pair of scumbags in the living room at 2AM all require different proscriptions. This article is obviously about firearms and their use, so we are going to guide you to deal with the latter, today.
Preparing for human threats means you will likely be using a firearm in defense of yourself or others. This means it will be a fight, and preparing for a fight with a gun is a whole different ballgame than standing on the range plinking.
So let’s refine our objective. “I must protect myself and my loved ones from violence. To do that, I must be able to fight and prevail.” Better. Now, what tools would best help you accomplish that? Your body, certainly, the first tool. A gun, also. What kind of gun? Whether you use a handgun, long gun or both, will depend on your unique circumstances. We’ll get to that shortly.
It is not enough to merely have a gun without the skills to employ it effectively. Without skills it is no more than a loud, violent talisman, a good-luck charm. Luck is a fickle patron, and not one you must trust to.
Now our objective looks something more like, “I will protect myself and my loved ones from violence. To do that, I will use my gun to fight and prevail over those who would harm my family and me. I must be able to shoot fast and accurately to stop the people who are trying to kill me.” Now that’s a mission statement!
Training for a Fight
If you practice regularly on the range, that’s great. Sharpening core skills, especially accuracy is crucial. But, if all you do is shoot bulls-eyes on the square range, you aren’t gaining skills that you must have when the chips are down. Don’t misunderstand, you’ll need accuracy and plenty of it, but you’ll also need speed. You’ll need to be able to react, draw and fire decisively after confirming the threat. You may need to shoot from a compromised position, inside a vehicle or while moving.
Now, you may not be able to work on most of those skills at your local range, but there is plenty you can do “dry,” without ammo to perfect your techniques. And before you start practicing anything, it would behoove you to know what you are doing. If you have no prior formal training, or pertinent military or law-enforcement background, you probably don’t. That’s ok! Everyone started somewhere.
Before you start practicing techniques you picked up from YouTube or the latest, greatest how-to article on guns and gunfighting (ahem), you should drop everything and attend formal training classes, and do so in a progression that fits not only your current skill level, but also moves you toward fulfilling your mission statement. So, if you are a city or suburban dweller, no matter how cool it is you will not be best serving your family by springing for that long-range precision rifle class instead of concealed handgun skills or close-quarters rifle or shotgun. Be honest and realistic with yourself about your needs and requirements.
And don’t assume that any trainer is as good as another just because he has his shingle out. There are trainers who are transcendent in their discipline of choice, and only middling to fair in others. An honest one will tell you where his stronger and weaker skillsets, and hopefully direct you accordingly depending on the training you seek. We’ll touch more on this a little later in the article.
Ok, so we know what our objective is, and we know that we must be able to fight well to achieve it when the fated hour arrives. The next question is, where should we start? Well, Rule #1 of a gunfight is “Have a gun,” so we’ll start there.
Tools of the Trade
Handguns, rifles and shotguns all have their place in the prepper’s armory. Everyone has a favorite type, one that they naturally gravitate to and pull out to get in some practice on a range day. We’ll break down the perks and flaws of each below, but I’ll tell you right up front if you are a civilian prepper, and by that I mean you don’t carry a long gun for a living, you should be putting in the majority of your training time and dollars on handgun skills.
The handgun is the only firearm you’ll take with you everywhere, and actually have close at hand out in the world, unless you are one of these fruit bats that tries to make a point by open carrying their AR or AK into a Starbucks or the mall. First, don’t be one of those people.
Second, if you have some idea that, besides travelling out of state on a trip or vacation, you’ll keep a rifle in your vehicle and then somehow retrieve it to have a better gun to fight with, you are so wrong on so many levels it nearly defies description. I’ll bitterly address that can of worms a little later also.
Now, you will have handy access to your long guns at home, and you had better believe they will typically do a far better job of incapacitating a scumbag than your handgun will, and so you should be training with your rifle or shotgun, just not at the expense of getting rusty with your handgun. Your handgun is your constant companion. Like a faithful dog, it should go wherever you go. That’s the reason we’ll devote more of our training time to it.
Maybe you already have guns, maybe not. Below, I’ll list some of the factors you should consider in selecting a given type of gun, their perks and flaws, and tips and tricks I have picked up along the way with each. If you are looking to buy gun in order to equip yourself, they will serve as guidelines to help you buy intelligently. If you already have a few guns or a collection, then the following may help you make a decision as whether or not to trade-in for better one, or just train-up to the gun, ensuring you can get maximum effectiveness out of it.
Keep in mind while you read the following: all of my advice is based on the assumption that the arms in question will be used for self-defense against humans, not for hunting, or even defense against large animals. So, no kidding, a 9mm is not your first choice against grizzly bears or greater American saber-toothed weasels. Use common sense. I will make a few off-the-cuff statements about those considerations where appropriate, but that is not the primary focus of this article.
Guns, Guns, Guns
As you scroll through my points below, remember that the two major criteria for selecting a gun for defense are mechanical reliability and an adequate caliber, i.e. is the cartridge effective against humans under most circumstances, with or without a light barrier between me and him? There are a great many handguns that could fit this description, revolvers and autoloaders alike. If you can check those two boxes, though, and learn to shoot the gun fast and accurately, it can take care of you by taking care of business.
After those two criteria are met, everything else is a bonus, or an advantage. Please note here, I am not advocating for anachronisms: I am a wholehearted believer in autoloading pistols, rifles and shotguns, over revolvers, lever- and bolt-actions, or pump-actions. Technology marches on, and while I am as interested and sentimental over those designs from yesteryear as anyone, you should not choose one over a modern design if you have a choice.
Those older, manually operated actions can still serve just fine, though: if you have good lever action rifles, and the ability to train and practice with them, is there any reason seven or eight shots of .30-30 or similar won’t suffice? Or a 7-shot .357 Magnum revolver? Should you go trade in both and spend to get an AR and a Glock?
Not necessarily. I won’t lie to you and say that the AR and Glock don’t come with significantly more advantages than the lever-action and the wheelgun, because they do. They are far easier to shoot well, quickly, and have a great deal more ammo on board, on top of being easier and faster to reload. This may not make any difference at all in the short, sharp fight in your house at midnight, but it might in a prolonged situation involving bands of bad guys during some societal catastrophe or After-the-End scenario.
All I am saying is if you put in the time to become proficient with your gun, it will likely work fine. Hitting what you shoot at and doing that quickly is the key absolute. Any gun beats no gun, and any gun will do if you can do. Remember that.
Whatever gun you choose, you’ll want to make sure the gun is popular or common enough that you’ll have plenty of aftermarket support available for it: magazines, speedloaders, holsters, spare parts, accessories and service. If you are forced to turn to cheap, one-size-fits-all holsters or expensive custom options for parts, that will gobble up money that could better be spent on practice and training. Likewise, having a broad institutional body of knowledge to draw from, be it from the factory or from gunsmiths is crucial if you need replacement parts or repair.
A rare, oddball gun may promise a greater degree of effectiveness (or just stroke your ego) but I can assure you any luster it may have will vanish when you are having to hunt down magazines at $75 a pop on the secondary market and call every shop in town to try and get a broken part replaced.
For a handgun, your base choice will come down to a double-action revolver or an autoloading pistol (semi-automatic). The revolver is a much less popular choice than the autoloader these days, but is still viable. Autoloaders are the primary service pistols of military and police forces as well as the overwhelmingly popular choice among the citizenry for defense. The revolver is still found commonly in a backup-gun (BUG) role or in the holsters of diehard adherents.
The revolver has the advantages of a simpler manual of arms, less sensitivity to ammunition, and less sensitivity to neglect. The autoloaders perks are greater capacity, ease of reloading, typically a nicer, easier to manage trigger and overall greater durability than the revolver. The autoloader is also in most situations easier to conceal, apples-to-apples, lacking the revolver’s chunky cylinder.
If you are considering an autoloader, viable choices for cartridge for a primary gun are 9mm Para. and .40 S&W on the lighter side, or 10mm Auto and .45 ACP on the heavy side. Today, the 9mm has the most advantages owing to solid terminal performance, low recoil, high capacity and low cost. The 10mm and .45 ACP have more of what you don’t want and less of what you do, especially cost. They do however penetrate more deeply, as a rule of thumb, and show good performance through intermediate barriers like automotive glass, and so may have merit if you anticipate working around vehicles often.
The larger cartridges also make more sense if you live in a non-permissive state and do not have easy or legal access to magazines that hold more than 7 or 10 rounds, or are living and operating in an area where you have a legitimate concern about large or dangerous animals. In that case, depending on the critter, a magnum revolver could be a better choice.
Speaking of revolvers, your go-to cartridge options are .38 Special and .357 Magnum (which of course can chamber the .38 Spl). 9mm Para. is curiously becoming more common today in modern revolvers, and as is 10mm Auto. Note both will require typically require the use of moon clips thanks to those cartridges rimless design. Larger options for revolvers adequate for self-defense include the .41 Magnum, .44 Special and lighter .45 Colt loads, the big issues here for all being cost and for the first two availability as those cartridges are far from popular.
The .44 Magnum and other big-bore magnums, while certainly effective, have far too much penetration, recoil and blast for the average user to employ effectively without a ton of practice, and sometimes not even then; hard-kicking, thunderous magnums are notorious for instilling a bad flinch in shooters, and not everyone can overcome that kind of pounding to master such a handgun.
Some handguns with proven track records that you might consider:
- Glock Models 17,19, 22,23, 21 or 30; Generation 3, 4 or 5
- Smith & Wesson M&P9, M&P40 or M&P45
- Z. SP01, P07 and P10
- Sig P226, P228, P229, SP2022 or P320
- Heckler & Koch USP series, VP9, P30 or HK45
- Beretta Mod. 92/M9 series, PX4 series, or APX.
- N. Model 509, FNX series, or FNP series.
- Smith and Wesson J, K or L frame series
- Ruger Security Six, GP100 and SP101
You have more choices in actions for a defensive rifle: Semi-automatic, lever action, and bolt action are all popular, and you will occasionally see pump-action designs. Ideally, you will want a semi-automatic, one that accepts a detachable magazine, but pump and lever actions are quick enough, and are acceptable here if chambered in a modest cartridge. Bolt actions are best relegated to hunting or precision rifle roles.
Your go to rounds for defensive rifle, especially for in-home defense are the in the “intermediate cartridge” class: light, fast bullets, and mild recoil, along with modest penetration compared to the older full-power .30 caliber battle rifle and hunting cartridges from yesteryear. Trusty standbys are .223 Remington, 5.56x45mm or 5.45x39mm.
Your lighter .30 caliber rounds like .300 Blackout, .30-30 Winchester and 7.62x39mm can serve well in a home defense role with careful bullet selection, as can to a much lesser extent .308 Winchester/7.62x51mm NATO. Beware that that cartridge has a well deserved reputation for serious penetration, and the increased weight and length of rifles chambered in it will become a hindrance. Pay particular attention to load selection as you should be rightly concerned about over-penetration and downrange hazards using such a gun in the home.
If you are leaning toward a rifle that chambers a pistol cartridge stop and give that some thought. The whole reason you are reaching for a rifle is to get rifle performance. You don’t want a big pistol, you want a rifle! And before anyone says anything about the dinky pistol bullet picking up some extra velocity out of a long barrel, save it: It isn’t enough to turn it into anything except a slightly faster pistol bullet. The only other perk, having interchangeable ammo and possibly magazines with your pistol is a fringe benefit. Pick a proper rifle!
Select a model with care, as the ability to mount an optic and light on a defensive rifle is very important. Some rifles that you should consider for self defense include:
- Colt, BCM and Sons of Liberty Gunworks AR-15’s.
- Arsenal and Rifle Dynamics AKM’s and AK-74’s
- Ruger Mini-14 and Mini-30
- Winchester and Marlin lever action rifles
- M1 Carbine
For serious social purposes, your only real choices will be semi-auto or pump action. If a break action is all you have, by all means giddyup, but the low capacity and cumbersome reload will be a significant liability. Cartridge selection is 12 or 20 gauge, either will work just fine for two-legged vermin, and pack enough shot at adequate velocities to work well. 10ga. is too much and too expensive, guns chambering it are heavy, comparatively rare and expensive. 16ga. is certainly adequate, but is hampered by poor availability and limited variety of factory loads. Discount entirely 28ga and .410 bore.
A quality semi-auto is a fine choice, but they are typically expensive, and may require tuning in addition to being ammo sensitive. The payoff is that their manual of arms is more forgiving than a pump action, they are fast cycling and they have less felt recoil than most pumps. Being able to place 3 loads of buckshot accurately into a scumbag’s thoracic cavity in less than a second is heavy medicine indeed. If you were using No.1 buckshot, that would be around 45 .30 caliber, deeply penetrating wounds. That’s a lot of trauma to deal with.
The pump shotgun is America’s favorite, and one of the most plentiful types of guns of all. A pump action shotgun is a good all purpose gun if one is willing to put in the work to be proficient with it; they are typically not ammo sensitive, robust, simple and inexpensive. However, manual operation of the slide is tiring and prone to being mishandled by the shooter, inducing a malfunction.
Another advantage that shotguns bring to the table is ammo versatility: by merely changing ammo types, you can be ready to engage targets at close range with dreadful effectiveness using buckshot, or reach out with some accuracy past a 100 yards and terrific penetration with a slug. The obvious double-duty application of shotguns for hunting mammals or birds is obvious, and so are very attractive options for a prepper on a budget trying to cover many bases at once.
Drawbacks of all shotguns include low to average capacity, excepting very long competition guns or specialized box-magazine fed variations and having a more diverse set of mandatory skills that must be practiced to attain proficiency: loading, patterning, running the slide on a pump-action, slug-exchange drills, and so on. Autoloading and pump action shotguns are as a rule pretty heavy, especially when loaded. Shotshells are also heavy and bulky, and takes up a lot of room both on your person and in storage.
Like rifles above, consider a light mandatory for a defensive shotgun, and consider a red dot sight as well; shotguns do have an increased hit probability compared to other guns, especially at medium range with shot, but they must absolutely still be aimed carefully at close ranges. There will be nothing like the cloud of lead flying out of the barrel as is commonly thought.
A few worthwhile shotgun models are:
- Remington Models 870, 1100, 11-87 and Versa Max.
- Mossberg Models 500, 590, 590A1 and 930
- Winchester Model 1300 Defender
- Benelli Models M1, M2, M4, Nova and Supernova
- Beretta Model 1301
- N. P12, TPS and SLP
Training: Your Ticket to Competency
Getting professional training is commonly neglected by most gun owners, and quite a few preppers. It is much more rewarding to go buy a new gun, deck it out in all the latest accessories, then head to the range to blast off half a case of ammo with your buddies. Listen, don’t threaten me with a good time, but that does not accomplish much in the way of growth. You have a mission, remember?
Instead, strong-arm your buddy into taking a class with you. This will be enjoyable for the both of you, and increase the training value; your friend will take away different points than you will and vice versa. Comparing notes after your training day is a great idea, too. You just paid a pretty penny to attend a decent class, don’t trust to memory to remember everything! Paper remembers what the mind forgets!
If you are a novice, or don’t already have your license/permit to carry concealed, make your first stop a basic pistol class that will certify you in order to obtain the license. If you already have it, or are a little more seasoned, you should look into a more advanced pistol skills class, preferably one with a focus on drawing and engaging targets from concealment. You will be carrying concealed, right? Everywhere you go, right?
Likewise, your long gun training should focus on closer ranges, including inside-the-home/close-quarters distances. You do want to be competent all the out to 300 yards or so with a rifle, but even in a true End-of-Global-Society level event, the chances that’ll you be slugging it out at 100 yards and closer is far higher than long or extreme range sniping.
Before signing up for a trainer’s class or attending a particular school, do your due diligence and investigate them. Look up reviews online and ask for references to prior students and alumni. See what the trainer is known for and what their professional background and continuing education looks like. Good training is expensive, a too-cheap price or complete lack of presence online or across gun-centric forums may be a warning sign.
Conversely, military or police experience is not the end-all, be-all word in the training world. Just because someone has done a job, even very well, for years does not mean they have the skills or attitudes to make a good teacher. This is where those references and online reviews will pay off. Ask about the person’s skill level when they attended the class. Was their skill level similar to your own? What did they take away from the class? Are they planning to take anymore training from that trainer? If not, then why? It’s your dollar; investigate who you’ll be learning from!
Practice: Putting in the Work
After you have taken training and now know why you will do things a certain way as well as how, you can take that education and go practice your newfound skills on your own. When you go to the range, treat it like going to the gym; go with a goal in mind, and track your progress. Use a shot timer, or timer app on your smartphone.
Maybe you will be working speed today, or perhaps accuracy. Will you be working on your handgun, rifle or shotgun skills? Maybe transitioning from long gun to handgun? Whatever skill you have decided to work, have a standard you are struggling to reach. When you start meeting that standard consistently, increase the difficulty. Push yourself!
When you go to practice, be present mentally. Shooting is largely a mental game, and this is a big part of it. Visualize positive outcomes. Mentally assemble the fundamentals necessary for a perfect shot: grip, stance, sight package, perfect trigger press and follow-through. If you can’t flush a bad day at the office or fight with your significant other from your brain to get in a little range time, consider what the stresses of a potentially lethal encounter will be like.
Whatever the results of your practice session, record the results in a training journal. Keep detailed notes on the distance, target, drill and gun and load used. Make notes of your thoughts and overall experience. Every so often, run benchmark drills, ones that are shot the same way each time so that you can accurately gauge your growth, and notate your current personal bests.
A good policy is to begin every practice session with a fundamentals drill, one you do well, and then end the session with the same drill, striving for perfection on both. One of my personal favorites, shooting for accuracy, 10 shots freestyle, on a B-8 target at 25 yards, for score. If you can routinely stack good groups on a target at 25 yards, you know your fundamentals are solid.
As I alluded to above, if you have a pistol, and can legally carry it, you should be carrying it everywhere you can. The pistol is every bit like a fire extinguisher or parachute; it’s one of those things you rarely need, but when you need it, you really, really need it, and it had better be close at hand and functional.
If you aren’t carrying it constantly, why not? Is it a “hardware” problem? Is the gun too uncomfortable, is it too big to conceal effectively with your usual attire in the local climate? Or is the problem a “software” issue, that is, something you are worried about or just don’t like? Maybe you only carry when you “feel” like you’ll need it, or do you worry that you’ll be spotted while carrying it? Do you lack confidence in your abilities? Like most problems, the obstacle points the way to the solution.
If the gun is uncomfortable or seems too hard to conceal, an upgrade in holster and belt (if applicable) is probably in order. Perhaps the gun is really too big to be easily concealed the way you want to conceal it. Try a different method, or trade the gun in for a smaller variant.
If you are carrying openly, and have the option to carry concealed, stop. Unless you are working on a ranch, private land or some such situation, your blatant advertising of the gun you are carrying is setting you up for disaster. Some proponents of open carry say it is a deterrent to criminals. Really? The how come hundreds of uniformed police officers are attacked yearly? Those same proponents will claim that their draw will be faster, and cleaner. Perhaps, but practicing your draw from concealment will fix any deficiency.
You must not assume that any criminal that sees your holstered gun carried openly on your hip will be “deterred.” In fact, for the really hardened badasses, they aren’t’ scared of your gun, having been shot at or shot before, and now they know where they can get a gun, and may not hesitate to relieve you of yours. It’s no one’s business that you are packing but yours. Keep it concealed. Stop advertising.
Now, if you are one of these people that openly carry a long gun, either for a demonstration or “spreading awareness”, I’ll come right out and say that you are part of the problem that 2nd Amendment proponents are currently facing. Your methods, while perhaps honestly motivated by a desire to do good, do nothing but alienate the general public, attract all the wrong kinds of attention and draw the worst conclusions about gun owners. Talk about “scaring the horses…” Knock it off.
A trend today is the carrying of a long gun and extra ammo in your vehicle at all times, due in part to the increase in mass shootings and terror attacks on crowded public places. This is understandable, but misguided. If you are not a cop, or working as a private security operative expected to respond appropriately to such a scenario, forget it. Let me lay out the scenario, and this scenario assumes you are carrying a concealed handgun.
You are out in public, say at the mall, when you hear a rapid string of shots ring out down the corridor. You have your holstered handgun and an AR in your car. If you decide to engage the shooter and stop the killing, but choose to return to your car, retrieve your AR, then return and engage the shooter, the shooter has been killing people the whole time. You would have been better off interdicting with your handgun.
Same scenario, shots break out much closer to your location. Go to car, or take cover and engage shooter with handgun? If you make it all the way out to your car, you have escaped! So escape, and call the police! I am not sure what the legal ramifications may be if you escape from a situation like that, and then go back in packing a long gun. Of course, you are trying to stop an evil person doing evil things, but this is the USA in 2018.
Ok, new scenario. You pull up to a location, say a busy restaurant and as you prepare to park hear shots ring out in rapid succession inside. What do you do? Grab your rifle and head in side or get the Hell out of Dodge? The correct answer is ‘Get the Hell out of Dodge.’ If you are still in your car, your best bet is to burn rubber away from a bad situation. Don’t become a casualty.
Let’s say you decide against reason to grab your long gun and head inside to confront the bad guy. You are now a non-uniformed person holding a rifle, in a situation where other gun-toting citizens may be looking for just such a figure. They don’t know you from Judas, and the optics of situations like this lead to good guys taking “friendly” fire because they fit the coarse description of an active shooter.
Don’t forget also that police will no doubt be receiving a torrent of calls with descriptions, often wrong descriptions of the shooter. You do not want to be holding a gun, any gun, when they get there, especially in an ongoing event. Think it through. Leave your long guns at home unless you are on a road trip.
Readiness and proficiency with your firearms is an important part of prepping, but knowing where to invest your time and money to achieve the best results is tricky. Using this article as a guide, you will be able to determine your needs, select the best guns for the job and decide where best to invest your effort.
What did you think of the tips in this guide? Do you agree with the recommended guns and best practices? Let’s hear what you think in the comments!
Previously, when it came to gun storage, you had to choose between keeping your guns secure (by keeping them in an actual gun safe) or keeping them concealed somewhere in your home. But as the firearms industry has grown, so has the number of firearm storage options, and today you no longer have to choose […]
Benchmade knives are often the gateway drug to the upper end of folding knives, and the Benchmade Griptilian is the gateway drug to Benchmade knives. For many, their first handling of the Griptilian is met with disappointment. The Griptilian, although a solid knife, does not have the heft and density often expected as the retail price goes north of $100. In reality a few minutes of use tells a different tail, but the lightweight and nimble mechanics of the Griptilian attest to its popularity.
By Doc Montana, a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache.com
Benchmade Griptilian: A Modern EDC Classic
There are several primary choices with the Griptilian including size (regular and mini), blade shape (drop point or tanto), steel choice (154CM or S30V), and color of scales (black and orange are popular but there are many other colors). From here the choices just continue including handle materials, blade coating, and edge serrations. In Benchmade parlance, each knife model is designated by a number that may or may not ever make sense. The Griptilian family of knives will be variations of 55x from 550 to 557.
What all Griptillians have in common is Benchmade quality and their famous Axis Locking mechanism. For those unfamiliar with the Axis Lock, it is a dual-sided lever bar that slides parallel to a deployed blade. The spring loaded lock is retracted away from the blade allowing the blade to swing freely. With the blade stored, the Axis Lock provides enough resistance to keep the blade in place, but easily lifted out of the handle as desired. However, with the blade extended, the bar of the Axis Lock snaps over a shelf in the blade back securing it to the point it will not fail under normal use, and even a considerable amount of abnormal use.
Also Read: Benchmade Adamas Review
Even better, the Axis Lock can be used in conjunction with a minor wrist flip that deploys the blade with a very satisfying snap. After a few practice flips learning to coordinate the Axis Lock retraction and the wrist flip, the Griptilian can go from pocket to action in one clean fast move. Oddly, there is a Griptilian blade style called a Sheepsfoot containing a deployment hole like a Spyderco knife. Personally, I have no need for such a hole with the effectiveness of the Axis Lock. Even so, the other Axis Lock versions have thumb studs for a less overt blade opening.
The Gateway Drug To EDC Knives
And speaking of overt, sometimes carrying an orange handled knife looks much less aggressive than a black or FDE colored handle. With a healthy 3.5 inch blade on the regular sized Griptilian and a just under three inch blade on the Mini, the handle color might affect the attitude of those around you when whipping out your EDC blade at the office.
Related: Tops BOB Knife Review
The company Benchmade offers some services to its customers after the sale. One in particular is what Benchmade calls their LifeSharp program. At any time, you can mail your Benchmade knife to the company and they will professionally sharpen it and replace any normal wear and tear on the mechanism, springs, screws, bolts, and replace the pocket clip if needed. More work can be done at a minimal cost including replacing the blade. There is no charge beyond the one-way postage to Benchmade headquarters in Oregon. I’ve used the LifeSharp service many times with many knives, both fixed blade and folding. It always over delivers.
The old saying that two is one and one is none is based on the most likely reasons gear won’t work; loss and failure. The problem with doubling up due to anticipated loss is that many feel prepared by having two half-quality items rather than one full-quality tool. And failure might be closer than it appears since simple tasks under a blue sky take little sophistication for a knife. But once the difficulties start to compound, two 50% quality knives can never add up to more than 50% quality.
Also Read: Benchmade Bushcrafter Knife Review
Enter the Benchmade Griptilian, a high quality tool that plays with the big boys, but has a price point closer to the usual suspects. The features of the Griptilian line include a rock-solid blade pivot and locking mechanism, and excellent form-fitting handles of durable and replaceable material. But best of all, a high quality Benchmade steel capable of more than most. Benchmade’s house steel of 154CM is an excellent steel, and easily makes the cut into the realm of so-called “Super Steels.” But there are other options available both at point of purchase, and later should you want to upgrade your Griptilian.
So don’t let the light weight and pretty colors steer you away from the Benchmade Griptilian. It might be cheap for a Benchmade, but its every bit a Benchmade.
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***DISCLAIMER: This article is not to be treated as a recommendation or instructions to install, modify or remove any component of any firearm. The author is not a gunsmith. Neither survivalsullivan.com, its principals, owners, operators, contractors or employees, or the author of this article, claim any criminal or civil liability resulting from injury, death or legal action resulting from the use or misuse of the information contained in this article. The reader should hire and consult with a competent gunsmith as part of your preparation to install or remove any part from a firearm. ***
Any gun owner is today confronted with a bewildering array of accessories, parts and enhancements to choose from. Flipping through any magazine, parts catalog or Instagram feed will give you dozens, even hundreds of examples of pistols, rifles and shotguns so thoroughly modified that they are barely recognizable.
Is any of it worth the investment? What is gained by adding to or modifying a host firearm? What accessories are viable for defense or duty use and not just “gamer gear?” In this article I will list and assess the pros and cons of most of the popular parts and modifications, as well as discuss where and when you should spend your money on a given gun upgrade. Some additions or modifications are so important they are essentially required, some may yield an instant improvement to capability or ease of use, and others may only provide a marginal benefit. We’ll examine them all.
A Word on Priorities
The idea of modifying a firearm, specifically one for self defense, is contentious for a couple of reasons. Some people believe that you shouldn’t modify a defensive or duty gun because it is “Gucci” or “gamer” crap that won’t make a difference in a real fight, or that it somehow hobbles you if you ever don’t have access to your hot-rodded personalized guns. Others will posit that you should not waste time or money on upgrades, saving both for training and practice.
A few people still worry over how any enhancements like an improved trigger or muzzle device will look to a jury or authorities in the event that gun is used in a shooting. There are some valid points throughout these criticisms, and I’ll do my best to address them here before we begin.
Pertaining to those that decry and modification or enhancement as “gamer parts” or worthless, I will counter with the objectivist viewpoint: a quantifiable enhancement, defined as something that improves upon innate capability or efficacy, is always an improvement. Take a trigger as an example: a 6 or 7 lb., slightly creepy, spongy stock trigger may be entirely adequate for the task, but a 4 lb., crisp, clean trigger is an improvement, owing to it being easier to manipulate effectively, and making it easier for the shooter to achieve the precision the gun is capable of. Stock may be terrible, acceptable, or even excellent, but better is always better. Just be sure you can define what “better” is for your situation.
For those that caution against buying parts and goodies ahead of training and practice, they have a more substantiated point: Americans in particular are notorious for trying to buy skill. “If I dress, use and equip a gun like the pros do, I will shoot like the pros and celebrity shooters do.” Not without the practice and training you won’t, and what’s worse, the pros equipment is dictated by their mission. Considering yours is likely different, you may be wasting money on additions that will not make a difference for your situation. If you only have the cash for a class or a batch of upgrades, choose the class.
For the last point about enhancements making you look bad in the aftermath of a deadly force situation, I am unconvinced, and unmoved. I have yet to find one example, or have one shown to me, of a self-defense trial case where a modification to an otherwise legal gun has resulted in an otherwise clean shoot resulting in a guilty verdict against the victim. If you have not compromised any safety systems on the gun, or done anything that could result in a negligently dangerous condition, then lethal force is lethal force. The weapon in question, if legal, should not make any difference, and expert witness testimony will dismantle the assertions of any weasely prosecutor’s claims.
Regarding this, many will bring up the case of the Mesa, AZ cop from December of last year, who had modified his AR-15 patrol rifle (against department policy) with a replacement ejection port door with a vulgar statement on the inside. Detractors to weapon modifications point to this instance as their prime consideration. Go examine the results of the case: not only is that a poor example, considering that the offending component was not admissible or germane to the case, but it is also a shining example of what not to do. We are discussing performance and safety enhancements, not juvenile, vulgar slogans or etchings.
With all this in mind, you can go too far in pursuit of “improvement.” An upgrade that compromises reliability, or creates a condition for unintended function is never worth it. An example could be radical cuts or windows cut into a slide, or an oversized magazine release that is too easily depressed unintentionally. Relegate such things to fun guns, or ones solely for competition. Before deciding to pursue a given modification, ask yourself, “What is the biggest shortcoming of this gun?” If it is one that is easily remedied by an item or two on this list, drive on. If it is not, you may be better off looking to upgrade to a better gun entirely. And before we proceed, define your mission, then upgrade accordingly.
ACCESSORIES / PARTS
In this section you will find enhancements that will typically bolt-up or attach to the gun with little if any modification. Other enhancements will require direct altering of the guns components, and I have grouped them together later in their own section.
Enhanced iron sights are one of the most common upgrades on a defensive gun, and are relevant to all pistols, rifles and shotguns. Typically, users will purchase sights with the intent of improving both visibility and adjustment capability, the latter being particularly important for long guns.
The current paradigm for iron sights on handguns is a thin, ultra-visible front sight, either painted or fiber optic, with a blacked-out rear notch to reduce distractions for the eye. Rifles and shotguns still see the post and aperture (or ghost ring) arrangement as best, and front sights will typically be high visibility like on handguns.
For a handgun, permutations could be taller sights for use over a suppressor or co-witnessed to a miniature red-dot sight, or ruggedized adjustable sights that allow simple, precise zeroing and are still tough enough for a fighting gun. Rifle sights today are most often a BUIS, or back-up iron sight, and designed to fold or stow so that the primary sight, be it a red-dot or telescope, will enjoy an unobstructed field of view. Some varieties of BUIS even angle off the top of the receiver, allowing them to be instantly employed if needed due to occlusion or destruction of the primary optic.
For rifles, Magpul make extremely rugged and easy to adjust iron sights.
The single biggest performance enhancing piece of equipment for a long gun is an RDS, and approaching ubiquity. The miniature variants (MRDS) are quickly establishing viability for daily carry on a handgun. A red dot allows greatly enhanced speed and precision when used with both eyes open while focusing on the target.
Modern, high quality sights from Aimpoint, Leupold and Trijicon have superb battery life, and are as rugged as the guns themselves in most cases, allowing them to be left on for instant use for months or years at a time, and withstanding abuse and environmental conditions that would have been unthinkable 30 years ago.
Not truly a must have on a long gun, but only barely, their advantages are so overwhelming. If you are not giving these consideration on a handgun, you may want to look into them, especially if you are struggling with poor or failing eyesight; the same benefits enjoyed on a long gun apply to pistols, but they take a little more work on the average pistol to install, as well as a little more training behind the gun to realize.
Aaron Cowan of Sage Dynamics recently published an impressive and thoroughly researched paper on the performance and efficacy of MRDS-equipped handguns and the various models available. I suggest you read it.
For major considerations when choosing a RDS are reliability, durability and battery life. Aimpoint is the world leader in robust optics with a battery life measured in years. The Patrol Rifle Optic is modestly priced and an excellent sight.
Weapon Mounted Lights
Any of my regular reader will know I harp on endlessly about the importance of having a white light along with your defensive firearm, no matter if it is handheld or weapon mounted. I emphasize this point so often because it is that important, being utterly critical for positive target identification as well as backlighting your iron sights in conditions of darkness. For a handgun, WML’s allow you to marry this capability to the gun, allowing you to control both while keeping both hands on the gun, and as a rule this helps you shoot better than when using a handheld. They do add weight and bulk to whatever gun they are attached to, but are usually well worth it.
For long guns, weapon mounted is the default, as any technique for using a handheld light with a long gun is going to be pretty clumsy. Whichever setup you choose, low-light training is required to take advantage of a WML’s benefits while minimizing its weaknesses. When selecting a WML, the two major players are Surefire and Streamlight. Your criteria for selection is reliability, durability, output and simple switching, be it tailcap or pressure pad. Complicated multimode lights with staged or programmable switches are probably best avoided, as you may have a need for full-power, but due to normal use or accident the light has stepped down to low or “trickle” power.
A word on output, or lumens: you want all the lumens you can get. I’ll spare you the major dissertation for now, as that is a subject for another article, but go for the most throw and brightness you can get in a modestly sized light.
Lasers come in two major varieties, visible and invisible. Invisible lasers are used in conjunction with night vision to provide an easy aiming solution, while visible lasers do the same thing, only visibly to the naked eye. Visible lasers may not be very easy to see in bright daylight or when used with a high output white light.
On handguns, lasers can be had as standalone units that mount to a rail, combined with a WML unit, or with built-in switching as a pair of replacement grips, made famous by Crimson Trace Corporation’s Lasergrips. Less common examples today are the guide rod replacement systems, by Lasermax- Avoid those. On a long gun, they are almost universally a standalone unit or bundled with a WML.
Proponents of lasers claim they allow you to fire from compromised positions more easily and they may serve as a visual deterrent if an assailant sees they are “lased.” They also claim an increase in speed when using a laser. I can only speak on the latter point as a teacher; I have seen many shooters, even ones that are already proficient, slow down when using a laser in an attempt to steady that swaying dot on the target.
I have no experience using night vision systems, but it is the opinion of several industry experts I follow that an infrared laser is mandatory for effective use of a firearm when using night vision goggles. You’ll have to investigate that on your own.
I am not a fan of visible lasers on handguns or long guns, and believe your bucks are better spent on a red dot if an electronic sight is desired. Lasers can however make for handy training aids, as they can easily illustrate to both teacher and student concepts like minimizing sway, and what is happening at the gun the moment the trigger breaks.
You can find one of CTC’s many variations of the Lasergrip sight here.
Extended Magazines and Magazine Extensions
Ammo is a lifesaving resource for a defensive gun. The more ammo I have onboard without reloading, the better. For magazine fed semi-auto pistols and long guns, capacity is most often increased by simply purchasing a magazine with greater capacity. These can range from slightly longer box magazines to drums. Also take care that an extended magazine does not protrude so much that it compromises concealment, if applicable, or hinders you when slinging or changing position with a long gun.
Take care here, and be sure you are purchasing OEM or high-quality aftermarket magazines, as there are many companies that make poor quality high cap magazines for the uneducated to buy at gun shows. Many drum magazines are troublesome, having complicated loading or unloading procedures as well as poor reliability.
For detachable magazines of common pattern, say Glock, M&P, and AR-15 magazines, among others, extensions can be purchased for standard capacity magazines that will add anywhere between 2 and 10 rounds, depending on the model. These are commonly seen adorning the magazines of various action pistol and 3-Gun competitors.
Tube-fed shotguns, depending on the barrel lug arrangement, will usually accept a thread on extension increasing capacity between 1 and 4 rounds. Note that for detachable magazine or shotgun magazine tube extensions a replacement magazine spring may be required to ensure proper function.
Use discretion before trusting a duty or carry magazine to such a device. Rigorous testing is required to ensure reliable feeding and durability of the unit before carrying it in harm’s way.
Wide Magazine Well, or Mag-Funnel
Once the province of Open or Unlimited Class competition, enhanced magazine wells have been seen more and more often on semi-auto handguns and more than a few AR’s and AK’s. A good design for a handgun will still be low-profile enough to conceal easily, and still reduce snags and fumbles when reloading at top speed. Those will typically click into place or bolt on with a screw for a polymer framed pistol, but installation varies on metal framed handguns. On rifles, most units clamp on or around the receiver to function.
I find these to have merit for most any shooter if the well is conservative in proportion. They also seem somewhat more useful on handguns than rifles.
Control Accessories – Grips, Stocks, and Stops
These are the components that will make the most difference when it comes to the user interface; after all, these parts are the ones that will actually be your points of contact when handling or shooting the gun.
Look for parts that are ergonomically sound, well fitted, and made of rugged material. Any good choice here will provide an excellent grip whether wet or dry. Good materials are quality-made, heavy-duty plastic or G10 laminate. Save wood for your barbecue guns.
Pay close attention to fitment: stocks should not rattle, grips should not interfere with controls or interfere with you reaching the controls. Any support hand accessories for long guns should suit your shooting style and mate solidly to the forend.
Shorter vertical grips and simple handstops are the current ideal owing to the most modernized technique. Angled foregrips are preferred by some, and work fine, but may not allow you to use the grip in unconventional positions like a vertical grip can.
Handstops provide only a small reference point for consistently repeatable hand placement, or to prevent your support hand from slipping off the forend in front of the muzzle on a very short-barreled gun. A barricade stop is designed to be pressed into a barricade or obstacle, whatever it may be, and bite into it to help the shooter steady the gun. These can also serve as a forward handstop.
- An example of highly textured pistol grip panels
- Magpul’s excellent fixed MOE stock, with sling swivel socket
A time tested, inexpensive option to add grip to metal or plastic surfaces, wet or dry. If you buy a high quality deck or no-skid tape (from a skateboard shop or safety department at a home improvement store, respectively) and pay attention to prepping your surface you can get several months of steady use out of it before it needs replacement, or over a year under lighter use.
Some companies make specialty, die cut kits that perfectly fit certain makes of handguns, allowing you to try out a heavy, sharp texture before committing to having the frame stippled or purchasing new grips, both expensive enhancements, and in the case of stippling, often irreversible.
For a long gun, a sling is as essential as the holster is to the handgun; when you need your hands free If you don’t have somewhere to put your gun on your body, you must resort to putting it down, and that is a poor solution.
The most common sling designs today are single-point, two-point and three-point, with the last being much less common than in the early 1990’s.
A single point sling is attached to the gun at only one point, typically the rear of the receiver, hence the name. Single-point designs allow the gun a great deal of mobility, and an easy transition to the opposite shoulder, but really suck when it comes to carrying the gun, and doing it in a secure, stable way, which is the whole point of a sling.
A big flaw with a single-point sling is, when used on a rifle or carbine, if you drop the gun quickly, it will fall straight down and smack you in the nads. Ouch. Single-point slings do though have some utility for very short barreled guns, like the classic MP5, or AR pistols, which have a much shorter overall length and weigh less than a proper rifle.
Three-point slings attach to the gun at two-points, typically, but have a long runner between the two attachment locations, and a lot of other things in between there and you. Bottom-line, they are overly complicated and present significant snag and tangle hazards. Avoid them.
Two-point slings are what you want, as exemplified by the modern quick-adjust slings made by Blue Force Gear, the VCAS sling, and Viking Tactics’ VTAC sling. Using one of these slings will allow you to sling the gun in front of your body and keep it out of the way. Or sling it on your back, and cinch it down, if you need to climb, carry or what have you. Slings of this sort also allow you to “sling up” and use the sling as a support with traditional techniques to improve accuracy. They are eminently simple, durable and practical. Get one!
If your gun has a threaded barrel, you can take advantage of the wondrous selection of hood ornaments- er, I mean muzzle devices! Muzzle devices come in a few varieties that give different effects. Flash hiders are designed to reduce the flash signature at the muzzle upon firing as much as possible. Very good designs, coupled with the right load, can virtually eliminate flash.
Muzzle brakes typically feature one, two or more expansion chambers to lower gas pressure at muzzle, which is then expelled through large ports square to center line of bore. This provides stabilization of secondary recoil effects. Note correct usage is ‘brake,’ not ‘break’.
Compensators feature at least one expansion chamber and one or multiple vectoring ports located in varying patterns around the perimeter of the device which are clocked to counteract movement of the muzzle during secondary recoil effects. Note that so-called “hybrid” designs exist, which blur the line between the comps and brakes somewhat and may also feature some degree of flash suppression.
Lastly you have suppressors, or silencers. These control the expanding gases from a shot via routing them through (typically) convoluted baffles along the internal length of the device. A silencer provides blast noise reduction and major stabilization of secondary recoil effects, being in essence an enclosed mega-compensator. Today, most modern silencers will mount directly to a specific flash hider or muzzle brake.
These all have their place depending on what you want to accomplish, but bear in mind that many brakes and comps on rifles will dramatically increase pressure to the sides of the device, especially in an enclosed space. For a defensive or duty gun, a flash hider or silencer will serve best.
This category of enhancements rely on making permanent, physical changes to the chosen part of the gun, and as such, barring replacement of the affected component, are permanent. I.e. you cannot simply take it off. If in doubt of your abilities on any of these mods, let a professional do it!
Trigger Job and Action Enhancements
Trigger enhancement can be as simple as smoothing up the mating surfaces in the stock trigger group, and replacing springs with lighter versions, to completely replacing those same parts with purpose-made high performance components. A lighter trigger on any given gun is almost always an advantage, as it is easier to manipulate the trigger, especially at speed, and not disturb your sight picture.
Beware that you do not go too light on the pull! A trigger that is too light is more prone to be inadvertently pressed, whether from negligence, rough handling, or mechanical failure. Also, the ease and efficacy of this mod will vary greatly depending on the gun in question.
Other action enhancements, like polishing of slide, bolt or cylinder bearing surfaces, lighter action springs, hand mating and fitting of components and numerous other small refinements can add up to a tremendously slick and soft shooting gun. Without training and skill at the task, most of these are best left to a ‘smith.
Some guns, like Glocks, are so easy to detail strip and reassemble that a trigger kit install is within the abilities of a serious user. Some guns, like the AR-15, may be simple to disassemble but a little tricky to install the part on and reassemble. Others examples, such the venerable 1911 or Browning Hi-Power, require a significant degree of gunsmithing skills to perform a modifications on safely and correctly without compromising reliability.
For revolvers alone, chamfering of the chambers, a process where the opening of the chamber is beveled slightly to more easily accept the incoming cartridges off a reload, is an expensive but highly desirable modification. For a defensive revolver, the ability to execute a quick and fumble-free reload is high on the list of skills to train, and so anything that will help on that front is a boon.
If in doubt, leave it to a gunsmith or the manufacturer.
Stippling, Checkering and Other Texturing
Like grip tape above, these methods are all ways to add a non-slip texture to a gun. The exact method will depend on the host part’s material. Stippling is currently a part of the custom polymer gun craze, and is a fine way to add permanent grip to the frame or forend of a gun, as long as it is plastic. Typically done via a soldering-iron type tool, stippling at its simplest simply burns a series of dots or shapes into the part, and in doing so creates a texture that affords a good grip. With a little practice, the average owner can effectively stipple a frame or other part without damaging its structural integrity.
Checkering is seen often on metal guns, and is achieved by way of cutting perpendicular rows out of the surface of the metal with special files. These rows, interlaced, leave behind a field of tiny pyramid shapes that will bite into the hand of the shooter. Depending on how sharp or beveled they are they will provide good to excellent grip, and will go a very long time before being worn away.
Other textures, like striations, grooves and so on, achieve much the same ends, and though they vary in effectiveness and application.
When in doubt, texture: you never know if you will be wet, greasy or bloody when the time comes to use your firearm. The only consideration against it is for the purposes of concealed carry and high-volume training or practice. For carry, aggressive texturing will start to shred clothes in a short amount of time. Used in a long practice session, they will wear away skin and even draw blood with frightening rapidity. There is a happy medium here, experiment using grip tape or by stippling an old rail panel, unused set of grips or Pmag to see what works best.
Depending on the gun, controls are either too large or too small, stick out too far or not enough, and are too slick or too sharp. The trigger itself may feel too far away to enable proper placement of the trigger finger. Thankfully, replacement or modified controls are widely available and reasonably affordable for many major service handguns and rifles.
You might consider a slightly extended slide release on a Glock to help you utilize it on a reload, or more easily lock the slide open. A classic P-series Sig will benefit from a shaved slide release to help prevent the shooting hand thumb from depressing it, keeping the slide from locking open on the last round. If you have small hands or are dealing with a large gun, a “short trigger,” one that is thinner from front to rear will lessen the reach to get proper purchase on it.
A 1911 user may like a larger or smaller safety, or one that is ambidextrous. AK users will all enjoy a safety modified to be swiped off with just the trigger finger. This category is tone of the best places to make thoughtful modifications to your gun, as again, the way you interface with these controls will in part dictate how effectively you can run it.
A great example of an enhanced safety lever for a shotgun, in this case a Mossberg. The pronounced lip on the lever prevents the shooter from slipping off when pushing it forward to fire.
Any gun is a starting point. A stock gun may be superb, but without doubt it can be improved. It can be modified to better fit and serve the one who carries it. You may determine that you need very little in the way of customization, if anything, to fulfill your objectives. Or you may decide to wring out every last molecule of performance that it has to give in pursuit of maximum performance. The choice is yours. But whatever you do, make sure you are modifying and adding to your gun with purpose, not just in pursuit of attaching accessories for the sake of it.
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Americans are brand loyal, and Americans also love to fight about our preferred brands: ask any group of guys, “Ford or Chevy?” and watch the fur fly. People are passionate about their tools of choice, from hammers to boat motors, and this goes double for guns.
You will never hear such impassioned, intricate rhetoric and oratory as listening to two shooters debate the merits of their gun of choice while demonizing the failures of the other’s. One of the longest running debates in the gun sphere is that of comparing the Remington 870 to the Mossberg 500 and 590 families. And as well it should! Between those two guns alone more than 22 million have been produced! That is a significant fraction of the total guns in the U.S.
So is one the True King of the Pump Guns? Is one as good as another? If you lack either, which may be best for a new purchase? The answer, as always, is “it depends.” Instead of making this article a mere opinion piece, I will seek instead to equip the reader with a better education on the differences between them, the key features, design quirks and functional considerations that will help you make up your own mind.
Or, at the very least, give you the facts you need to win the next water cooler debate. Before getting into the main event, I will break down the major differences in the variants of both the 870 family and 500/590 family of shotguns so you can make a fair comparison.
Mossberg 500 and 590: What’s the Difference?
Before we go too far into the main event, we should clear up a few items on the 500/590 family of shotguns. In short, they are essentially the same action, with only a few design changes between the 500 and 590 series, and a few upgrades between the 590 and 590A1. These changes make no difference in the way you’ll operate the gun, but will determine the difficulty of upgrades and add-ons, especially magazine extensions and forends. I’ll detail these below for your enlightenment, and thereafter I will refer to the Mossberg guns collectively as 500/590, except where appropriate.
500 vs 590
The principal difference between the 500 and 590 series guns is in the way the barrel mounts to the gun. The 500 features a traditional barrel lug with a captured threaded screw that is mated into a corresponding hole in the end of the magazine tube. The 590 series guns feature a circular barrel lug that slides over the magazine tube like a hoop, and then is clamped in place with a separate cap.
What this means to you is that on the 500, you are more or less stuck with the magazine capacity it comes with from the factory, unless you want to replace the entire magazine tube and barrel assembly to accommodate it a upgrade, a costly propostion. The 590, on the other hand, can readily accept any number of thread-on magazine extensions if you want to increase capacity, with no change of barrel required.
The other change is a revision to the magazine follower that, in conjunction with the aforementioned difference in locking cap, makes room for one extra 2 3/4” 12ga. shotshell in the same length of magazine tube. Not a bad perk. Another item is the U.S. military standard bayonet lug, which the 500 lacks.
This is not the end of the world either way, but if you like the idea of simpler modification and a higher total capacity, get a 590.
590 vs. 590A1
The 590A1 is a “heavy-duty” revision of the 590, featuring a steel safety, steel trigger housing and heavier, thick-walled barrel. These enhancements add up to make an extremely durable gun that is resistant to brutal handling. It also keeps the bayonet lug from the standard 590. The 590A1 is noticeably heavier than the 590, but if one desires the most rugged variant available, it is the clear choice.
Note that some forends may rub on the thicker barrel of the 590A1 and require relieving of the material for smooth operation. Double check any prospective aftermarket upgrade before purchase.
Remington 870 Police, Express, Tactical and Wingmaster: What’s the difference?
When examining the Remington 870 variants, you will not be confronted with changes that are as obvious as the one son the Mossberg 500 and 590. Instead, think of the different “trims” as a quality gradient, with better materials, parts, and quality control (QC)and assurance (QA) going into the better grades.
The Express and Tactical grade guns are the lowest end, featuring cheaper machining and finishing of major components, and basic a basic finish applied to the gun itself, leading to a much rougher feeling action. Small parts, such as the extractors, are injection molded metal instead of machined stock.
The guns themselves are not assembled to the same standards as the Police or Wingmaster guns, and not subject to as stringent QC. Magazine and other essential springs are of lower grade. Trigger guards on Express and Tactical 870’s are plastic, but are metal on older Police and all Wingmaster variants.
If considering a gun for serious use or self defense, seek out a Police model or Wingmaster. Note that the Wingmasters as commonly fitted have a long barrel and short magazine tube, and both will need replacement to bring them up to snuff for defensive use.
Remington vs. Mossberg: Two Enter, One Leaves
Ok, it isn’t quite that dramatic. Below is an analysis of the differences in major design elements between the 870 and 500/590. We’ll have a recap and intangibles at the end.
All 870’s are steel, where all 500/590’s are aluminum. Both have well-earned reputations as rugged, hard running guns, and the lockup of both is steel to steel, so aluminum is not a disqualifier out of hand. The aluminum will, though wear, faster than steel if we are talking about truly heavy use over the life of the gun, as the action bars (see below) of the 500/590 do mate with the softer surfaces of the aluminum receiver.
Both the 870 and the 500/590 feature twin steel action bars. Where they differ is in their attachment systems: the Remingtons have action bars and slide assembly (the “pump”) as a one piece unit, where the Mossberg guns have action bars pinned to a separate slide assembly. The tendency of the 500/590 action bars to wobble, in addition to its slightly oversized slide assembly makes for an action that feels looser, and less refined than the 870, and is sometimes described as “chattery”. This looseness does nothing to affect reliability however, and the 500/590 guns benefit from easier replacement in the event of a bent action bar.
photo: Remington 870
A lightly used or tuned action is a thing of beauty, and quick. Without significant tuning, the 500/590 guns just tend to feel a little sloppier over time. This is not a practical consideration, but will irk some users.
The 500/590 guns feature twin, machined extractors, whereas the 870 features a single extractor that is either MIM or machined depending on variant. For assured extraction of a stuck or stubborn shell, the Mossberg wins handily. Also of note here is serviceability of other parts in the receiver: the 500/590 shell stops (the small arms that hold the subsequent shell for chambering in the magazine tube) and ejector are replaceable without special tools or procedure. The 870’s shell stops are staked in place and the ejector is riveted. Replacing either is no picnic for the average owner.
The magazine tubes themselves are likewise affixed: the Mossberg’s is threaded into the receiver, and very tightly. The Remington’s is soldered on. Again, replacement of one is achievable with minimal effort, the other is not.
The 870’s all have shell elevators (lifters) that protrude to the bottom of the loading port, and fold out of the way as a shell is inserted. The 500/590’s all have elevators that fold up flush with the bolt, meaning less clutter as a shell is inserted. This again, makes so little practical difference as to be nearly not worth the mention, but I mention it here for completeness. Some users think the Mossberg is easier to load because of it.
The 500/590’s have a tang mounted safety mounted on top of the receiver; forward is fire, back is safe. It is an excellent design feature, and completely ambidextrous, but does not lend itself well at all to using a pistol grip stock, owing to the need to completely break down the firing grip to reach in that case. The 870’s have a safety located immediately behind the trigger on the trigger housing. It is pressed from right to left for fire, and the reverse for safe. Think “Flush on the right, ready to fight.” The 870’s design lends itself well to pistol grip stocks, but can be awkward for lefties. Neither gun is drop safe.
The forend release for the Mossberg is located immediately behind the trigger on the left, and is pressed up to release. The Remington has the same control on the front left of the trigger guard, and is pressed rearward to release. Both are completely serviceable for lefties or righties.
Remington has been having some well publicized QA/QC issues since acquisition by Cerberus Capital Management back around 2007, shortly after forming the Freedom Group with many other gun and ammo manufacturers. There are many accounts, including several witnessed by the author when he was still selling guns commercially, of lower end Remington offerings having substantial extraction and ejection problems, actions far rougher than the 870 was rightly famous for, broken small parts and improperly applied finishes that were vulnerable to rusting. I would recommend seeking out an older 870 Police model, well-equipped from the factory for a defensive role, or an 870 Wingmaster to tune up if you wanted a quality Remington gun free from their current troubles. This will not be too difficult owing to the great number of legacy guns on the open market.
Mossberg has suffered from its share of lemons over the years, but the 500/590 series shotguns never faltered as badly as Remington has due to corporate shenanigans. Remington is also, as of this writing, currently in bankruptcy, and these ongoing issues are unlikely to resolve themselves in the near future. This is not a knock against the 870 design, but any company can have good times or bad. Remington is currently, and has been for a decade, having a rough go of it.
Both guns benefit from extraordinary popularity, the Remington being considered truly ubiquitous, and both have excellent aftermarket support for nearly any part desired. Sights, lights, stocks, forends, safeties, rails, sling attachments, chokes and magazine extensions, everything you might need to modify either is readily available. The 870 does still have a slight edge, here.
As mentioned above, a pistol grip stock should be discounted entirely with a 500 or 590 due to the placement of the safety. If that is a must have item for you, the Remington is the de facto winner. Lefties, though, will find the 500/590 a boon after a lifetime of being forced into a less than ergonomic world of right-hander’s guns.
If one is looking to tune an action and take it as far as it can go for performance, even with its quirks the Remington 870 will be the best basis for such a project, and there are several gunsmiths who will perform excellent work on them, the great Hans Vang, of VangComp fame is one such smith, as are the wizards at Wilson Combat. The 500/590 lend themselves a little better toward a more “working-class” gun, one that does not have as refined an action, but one that is more easily user serviced.
The Remington 870 and Mossberg 500 or 590 are both iconic American shotguns, and both are more than suitable for any task that may be required of them. Each has its own quirks and perks, but neither is so glowingly superior as to render the competitor the clear loser. Choose the one that works best for you, work to minimize it shortcomings, and get to training with it. They will both shoot as well as you can.
Which is your favorite, the 970 or 500/590? Did you pick a third option? Let’s hear about it in the comments!
Rabbit Shooting, Hunting Tips with a Ruger 10/22
Let’s face it, not everyone has an entire weekend to go deer hunting. Young kids, people with limited land to hunt on, or even people who just don’t like sitting in a tree may still love hunting. Well, rabbit hunting is about as accessible as you can get.
Nearly everyone these days has the ubiquitous semi auto .22lr rifle. Usually a Ruger 10/22, but sometimes a Marlin model 60 or Savage Autoloader, whichever your pick there’s no reason to not grab your gun and get in the field.
Dane… “The Gunmetal Armory” Audio player provided!
On this episode of the GMA, we are gonna talk all about Survival Rifles. A few months ago, we did a show on AR15 Survival Rifles… This is a follow up to that show. We are going to talk more about the AR15 and setting it up to be a more efficient Survival Rifle platform. We are also going to discuss other modern sporting rifles and how they can be converted into a more “Survival-Minded” platform.
Is it possible to defend your home with just a slingshot. Before you say “no way” think about how powerful a slingshot truly is.
The last time most of us picked up a slingshot was when we were kids. Before we were entrusted with firearms, we roamed the world with our slingshots, ready to take on any challenge. Some of us even learned to hunt small game such as rabbits, squirrels and birds, but quickly set the slingshot aside after gaining access to guns. Perhaps in our maturity we have become too quick to dismiss the slingshot as merely a kid’s toy. It’s time to take another look at this classic tool.
There are three basic versions of the slingshot in existence. The first is the ancient sling used by David in the biblical story. It consists of a leather pouch and a bit of rope or leather. A stone is placed in the pouch and the sling is spun over one’s head to build momentum. When one end of the cord is released, the stone is sent on its way at a high velocity. Slingshots of this type are the most powerful, easiest to construct and also the most difficult to use.
The next modern evolution used a piece of rubber suspended between a Y shaped support. This is the slingshot most associated with children’s toys and is simple to build. Unfortunately, slingshots of this type do not generate much force and are not terribly useful in a survival situation.
Defend Your Home With Just A Slingshot?
Modern technology has given us the final version of the slingshot. This type is an improvement on the Y design, adding a wrist support to allow you to generate more power. Stronger bands also aid in the generation of velocity. These types can be found in folding models and can even include front stabilizers to make aiming easier. Though not quite as powerful as the traditional sling, these “wrist rocket” slingshots produce sufficient velocity to easily kill or incapacitate small game and cause serious injury to humans. You can buy a slingshot like this in most sports supply stores for around $20.
As kids, the perfect slingshot projectile was a rounded stone. As an adult you have several better options. Ball bearings are the best ammo. These small steel balls fly straight and true and can be launched at an extremely high velocity. As a substitute, lead fishing weights can be used. It’s also easy to form lead projectiles from any piece of salvaged lead by melting it down over a campfire and pouring into an improvised mold. Any other hard object, such as marbles, can be used in a pinch, though their flight might not be as true. The good, old fashioned stone can also be used if necessary, with an unlimited supply.
Slingshots require a little practice to use effectively. A few hours spent in the backyard shooting at a cardboard target should provide you with the skill you need. Please avoid the temptation to take a quick practice shot at the neighbor’s cat.
In Many Cases It Might Be Preferable To Defend Your Home With Just A Slingshot
Firearms are the first choice for hunting, but they are not always available or practical. Often noise is a concern and the slingshot will allow you to secure food without announcing your location. If ammunition is in limited supply, you won’t want to waste it on small game when you can use another method. And never forget that using a gun to defend your home could land you in a heap of trouble.
Additionally, for many of us, there will likely be children or others present who may not be prepared to use a firearm effectively. A slingshot gives them a great, non-lethal weapon. If you have a few kids or other people who are not comfortable with firearms, but they have a slingshot in hand and a handful of ball bearings, you’ve assembled a formidable self-defense force. Imagine some thug with a knife or a pistol facing down a family where every member has a slingshot and can encircle him, if necessary?
The danger may not even come from a street thug; it could be a pack of ravenous dogs. A young person otherwise undefended would be a easy target for a formerly domesticated animal that hasn’t eaten in weeks, but a kid with a pocketful of ball bearings can ward off a number of animals and give them reason to move on.
Don’t dismiss out of hand the slingshot as a little boys’ toy. It is an inexpensive and versatile addition to your survival stockpile. After all, if the slingshot was good enough for David, who are we to dismiss it?
You really can defend your home with just a slingshot. Just lock and load.
You may also be interested in reading, Eat Those Varmints: 3 Nuisance Animals that Make Tasty Meals.
The post Can You Really Defend Your Home With Just A Slingshot? appeared first on Off The Grid News.
A crossbow, resembling something between a rifle and a bow, uses a fast string to launch projectiles—just as a bow does—but also has a stock and trigger like a rifle. Although we don’t know exactly when the crossbow was invented, they were discovered in Chinese graves dating back as early as 2500 B.C. The crossbow was also used by the Greeks in 5th century B.C. The Greeks realized that there was a definite advantage to the crossbow over a traditional bow and this discovery revolutionized their success on the battlefield. The crossbow became the weapon of choice because of its versatility and accuracy.
Although the first crossbow doesn’t look anything like what they do now, early crossbows were constructed in much the same manner; primarily, they were bows mounted across wooden tillers or stocks. When the crossbow was fired, an arrow or bolt moved down a channel in the tiller/stock. Later, devices were built in to make it easier to draw the string back. One common device was called a stirrup and it was built on the front of the crossbow. This allowed the archer to brace the crossbow with a foot and draw the string with both hands. Some men used hooks attached to their belts.
The design of the modern crossbow has many improvements over the earlier design. Earlier crossbows were simple pieces of wood with ends that were connected by a bowstring. Modern bows have more effective shapes and are constructed out of better materials. As a result, they are much more accurate and far more powerful.
Crossbows versus Traditional Bows
Ordinary bows require a great deal of physical strength and training, where crossbows do not. With a traditional bow, the archer must draw, aim, and shoot in rapid succession. The longer it takes to aim, the more tired the archer’s arm becomes, which lessens his accuracy. If one uses a crossbow instead, he can draw the string, cock the crossbow, and then leave it cocked until the archer is ready to fire.
Another benefit to the crossbow takes the archer’s stature into consideration. If an archer is short in stature, it may be difficult for him to use a long bow and the crossbow then becomes a better option. If the archer doesn’t have a lot of upper body strength, drawing back a traditional bow can be difficult. Unlike a traditional bow, the archer’s size and upper body strength doesn’t come into play quite as much with regards to the crossbow. With a crossbow, an archer can use his thigh and buttock muscles (the body’s strongest muscle groups) to cock the crossbow. There are also tools available, like levers or cranks, available to him to increase his ability in this area. So basically, a crossbowman is able to use a more powerful weapon than a traditional archer with the same amount of physical strength.
How a Crossbow Works
Modern crossbows are usually made from very strong, lightweight materials like various woods, plastics, and even bone. They also have accessories such as adjustable stocks, scopes, and other attachments to make the use of the crossbow more efficient. Yet, they are still basically a bow and arrow that is operated by spring action. What happens when you draw a bow is that you pull one end of a spring and it stores elastic potential energy until you let go of it. Its potential energy becomes energy movement, which allows the spring to snap back to its original shape. The movement and energy of the spring action propels the arrow from the bow at a high rate of speed.
The amount of energy a bow can hold is called the draw weight. It is the amount of physical force required to draw the bow. A bow’s draw weight increases as the distance you pull the string back increases. The overall strength of a bow depends on how hard it is for an archer to pull the string back as well as how far back it can be pulled. Manufacturers call this bow energy, which is measured in foot-pounds, and arrow velocity, which is measured in feet per second.
There are several factors that affect a bow’s length and draw weight, and that will change the velocity an arrow will travel including its size, shape, and composition. As a result a simple short bow will not be as powerful as a simple long bow. Larger crossbows that a crossbowman aims from the shoulder are more powerful than smaller, handheld crossbows. Because some crossbows can have an arrow speed of 292 feet per second or more, it is absolutely critical that you know how to safely handle your crossbow.
Handling Your Crossbow Safely
The crossbow is a lethal weapon and it is important to follow assembly instructions provided with your crossbow. The crossbow is a weapon designed primarily for hunting large game, so it is fast, powerful, and it produces high energy. Therefore, care must be taken to handle a crossbow safely. Here are some safety tips:
- Before using your crossbow, examine it for worn cables and strings, missing strings, and loose or damaged parts. Never use your crossbow unless it is in top condition.
- The forehand grip on a crossbow is positioned to keep your thumb and fingers from getting injured. Never hold the forehand grip in a position where your thumb extends above the flight deck in the way of the strings. Always keep your fingers on the forehand grip above the flight deck so they don’t interfere with the string. Never have your hands or fingers positioned on the forehand grip where they are in front of the cable or string.
- Don’t cock your bow until you are ready to use it.
- Use the proper arrow for the model of crossbow you possess.
- Grip firmly when you cock your crossbow, otherwise the string can slip and cause serious injury.
- Never point at anything you don’t intend to shoot.
- When pointing at a target, make sure people are standing well behind you.
- Never release the trigger safety until you are aiming at your target. Crossbows have an automatic safety that engages as soon as you cock the bow. Some have a separate manual safety that you can engage yourself. Either way, the safety will keep you from firing the bow accidentally. However, once you release the safety, be sure your target is in sight.
- Never walk or hike with an arrow loaded in your crossbow.
- It is not safe to manually unload a crossbow. So if you don’t take a shot, carry old arrows with a field tip and fire it into a bale of hay or some other inert object to discharge the arrow.
- Never dry fire your crossbow or use it with bolts lighter than those it’s made to use. Choose bolts that correspond to the size and weight of the bolt your model of crossbow fires. Using a light bolt with a very strong crossbow can cause the bolt to fly erratically and can damage the bow and cause injuries to you or others.
Today crossbows are popular weapons amongst recreationists and big games hunters alike. They recreationally, can be a great deal of fun for both amateurs and pros. But before using a crossbow, be sure to research the laws in your state, because laws governing crossbow use vary widely from state to state. Some laws allow only disabled hunters to use crossbows, while others allow anyone to use a crossbow. So know the laws, understand that this is a lethal weapon, and if you decide to buy a crossbow, learn how to handle it safely to avoid unnecessary injuries.
The post The Crossbow: An Alternative Weapon for the Modern Day appeared first on Off The Grid News.
Hollywood is an easy target for the teaching of poor to impossible gun skills. The number of errors and impossibilities in any gun-filled movie gives the general population a wildly distorted understanding of guns, shooting, and expectations of a bullet; all a good thing in my survival book. As long as potential adversaries are living in a fantasy world, there is a direct and severe survival advantage to a confrontation where Hollywood’s magic has taken its toll. The list of humorous gun behavior is long. From the inevitable click whenever a gun is pointed, to the ability to send someone airborne with a well placed hit, to anything and everything sparking when touched by a bullet, we come to expect the fairy tales of film firearms.
By Doc Montana, a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache.com
But all that comic book action can be a good thing. Here are seven wonderful misconceptions that are sure to take the neophyte gun owner into bad territory when it really Hits the Fan.
- The pre-shot pause: Most movies build tension during an armed conflict through dialog and well planned pauses. What that teaches is indecisiveness and introspection at the absolute wrong moment. When a couple of cowboys with antique wheel guns are squaring off fifty feet apart there is a poker-faced dance taking place. Not just draw speed but also hipshot accuracy. But in a true survival situation, Magpul got it right with its unfair advantage catch phrase. No reason level a tilted playing field by a calling time out. Act fast and without discussion.
- The lack of aiming: This fallacy hardly needs explanation. It’s misfires on two fronts. First is the wildly skewed probability of a successful hit that Hollywood encourages. And second is the ease at which one can hit a target with a moment or two of actual aiming. Especially moving targets. Aiming a gun takes practice and is a perishable skill so knocking a few cans off a fence post twenty years ago is not of much comfort today. But the opposite is true. Even a little occasional practice can keep your shots in the center of mass rather than in the ceiling.
- The bottomless supply of ammo: Usually the easiest criticism of any Hollywood gunplay, the belief in endless ammo is pretty common. Outside of Dirty Harry counting his shots, most shooters have no idea how many bangs went bang and most importantly how many bangs have yet to go bang. Add some stress to the poop salad and who’s counting? Right, nobody. So plan accordingly because they aren’t.
- Weightless guns: Anyone who has really carried a long gun around for any length of time knows that the weight and size of the rifle makes a difference on what you can do and where you can go. Not many of the untrained can run through a forest with a rifle, nor tread water let alone swim while carrying a useful firearm even if the stock is made of wood. Walking from pickup to range table is not a workout. Ten hours of stalking during a mountainous hunt is a good start. Even after a couple hours of carrying around your rifle I can guarantee that you will want to set it down no matter how much you think you love it.
- Easy long shots: Whether a headshot from 200 yards while standing in a row boat (Bob Lee Swagger) or knocking a helicopter out of the sky with a .380 (James Bond) or bouncing a metal bucket at a quarter mile with a Sharps rifle, (Matthew Quigley), taking time to aim can make an accurate shot possible, but still unlikely. The movie Shooter did put an opposite spin on this theme as well by making a long shot seem superhuman. So illusive in fact that only a few snipers on earth could do it. In reality only a few snipers on earth are ever given the training and opportunity for a verified quarter-mile plus shot, but anyone with a bit of money, time, skill and a wide open space can ding steel at a thousand yards.
- Loud but not too loud: It would really a be a downer if the good guys always went deaf during a shootout. In reality there would be very little dialog following gun fire. Just a lot of confused looks and bleeding ears. Now double all that when shooting inside a car. Triple it when shooting next to someone’s head. In real life, guns are absolutely silent until they’re not. And when they are not, gunfire is one of the loudest things anyone ever encounters in life. That fact is hard to portray in the movies, and really is a buzzkill for plot lines. Actual gun loudness is ignored. Perhaps that’s why silencers are so common in movies. It’s a Star Trek fix to an obvious physics problem.
- Faith in bad shots: The film vaults in Hollywood are stuffed full of movie footage where thousands of rounds zinged back and forth with not a meat hit in sight. There’s some truth to the accuracy outcomes of spray-and-pray, but the statistics of sustained auto fire in general directions lean heavily towards something bad happening. The happy takeaway here is that the uninitiated might suspect a positive outcome when hiding behind a telephone pole waiting for your reload.
We all owe Hollywood a collective thank you for planting the seeds of misconception in the general population. Tactical advantages are where you find them. Long before Hollywood, about the fifth century BC to be exact, Sun Tzu penned (or penciled, or scratched or whatever the heck they did back then) that letting the enemy believe the world is what it seems is truly an Art of War.
“Engage people with what they expect; it is what they are able to discern and confirms their projections. It settles them into predictable patterns of response, occupying their minds while you wait for the extraordinary moment — that which they cannot anticipate.”
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The everyday carry has changed the game for many people who have concerns about self-defense in the public. Still, there is so much more to the everyday carry. There are things in the EDC that just help people with everyday tasks. One that many people find incredibly useful is the pen and pad. Now, the …
You now, a chest rig may not be one of those things that you think is necessary. If you are a prepper you should listen to the podcast that is part of this article. When you think of a chest rig you might thing about something that holds knives, grenades and magazines for firearms. Have …
The post What to Keep in a Chest Rig – Gear Tasting Radio 60 appeared first on SHTF Prepping & Homesteading Central.
European American Armory Inc. is a Rockledge, Florida based firearms company which imports a number of different handguns, shotguns and rifles to the United States. EAA firearms is best known for importation of the Tanfoglio T95 as the “Witness” line of pistols. The Witness is a modified clone of the Czech CZ-75/CZ-85 pistol. I have 40 EAA Firearms Manuals to share with you today. EAA Bhbb EAA Bhsb EAA Biathlon EAA Brno98 EAA Bunda EAA Cm2Youth EAA Ea380 EAA Easa EAA Fab92 EAA Hw660 EAA Izh3Kh EAA Izh18 EAA Izh27 EAA Izh35M EAA Izh43 EAA Izh43K EAA Izh43Kh “EAA Izh46
Book Review: CCW Carrying Concealed Weapons Ahern brings more than two decades of concealed carry writing experience (and more than a quarter century of actually carrying concealed weapons on a daily basis) to his new book This is the definitive “how-to” book giving step-by-step, illustrated instructions on how to carry concealed weapons and how to know when others are as well. Sound advice and alternatives are provided from choosing your weapon, to body language, to holsters, to clothing restrictions, ankle and leg carry options, off-body carry, fanny packs, and much more. This book also provides information on concealed storage of weapons, spotting
While it is a hard thing for us to admit, the active shooter is part of the American culture. Its an ugly thing but its reality. If you decide to just ignore the ugly than you are putting yourself at a great risk. To remain vigilant takes the will to do so. You must look …
Should you use a handgun or a shotgun as your primary home defensive firearm? Short answer: Both, if you can. Just have a shotgun under your bed and a pistol on your nightstand. But if you don’t own any firearms yet and don’t have the budget to buy both, you will have to choose between […]
Firearms are an essential part of the preparing puzzle. Without the power and security that a gun provides you will struggle to survive the collapse. It could be impossible. There has been an explosion in building firearms at home because of some great build kits on sale and the help of videos that detail the …
The post The 3 Best 1911 Upgrades After You Finish Your Build appeared first on SHTF Prepping & Homesteading Central.
After World War II the whole of humanity has been paying attention to various alliances. There is a degree of fear in regard to multiple powers pulling resources and working on the side of evil. This was communism for a while. American spent many lives in far away lands just crushing what looked like it …
The post North Korea and Syria: A Chemical Weapons and Missiles Dynamic Duo? appeared first on SHTF Prepping & Homesteading Central.
This is a very important topic of discussion. There are serious issues when it comes to self defense techniques. In fact, even with the quality of fighting techniques that have been exposed due to the UFC and MMA there are still somethings that need to be driven home. Ninjas don’t exist anymore because of guns. …
If you do anything with a firearm, you probably have the “perfect” ammunition for that purpose. It may be unsuitable for some or even all other purposes, but as long as you have a well stocked gun store nearby, who cares.
But consider a survival situation. What kind of situation, we don’t know, but one thing we can be absolutely sure of: there will NOT be a well stocked gun store nearby (for more than a few hours, anyway). This means, that the gun or guns you have for survival purposes need to use ammunition which is adequate for their purposes, you have a reasonable supply of and is common enough that your odds of finding more is not close to zero.
So what ARE the purposes of survival guns? Hunting for food (small game, medium game, birds and large game near and far), getting rid of varmints and pests, and protection (dangerous animals, people close by and people far away). In addition, ammunition can be used for emergency barter, and as a subset of the primary purposes, for training and practice.
What are the most common calibers, in the U.S. at least? Those would be 9mm and 5.56x45mm (.223), the current military pistol and rifle rounds. Which is sad, because the military versions of these seem to have been chosen by bean counters rather than firearms experts.
Although cheaper, easier to carry and ship and store and even shoot, they are not as effective as the calibers they replaced due to their smaller diameter bullets. These are, by international convention, “ball” rounds, or Full Metal Jacket.
But with modern versions of the bullets in these calibers, they can be made to serve. Besides, there is an awful lot of that military grade ammunition out there, and it is not useless. Other than the military, there are a zillion calibers in use by civilians. The most common “civilian” rounds are 22LR and 12 gauge shotgun.
22LR (Long Rifle)
This cartridge is good for small game but for every other survival use, it is significantly sub-standard. However it is cheap, small, light, low recoil, low noise and very common, so it is worth having a bunch. It is very useful for practice and training, and many defensive arms have a 22LR version or conversion kit available to assist practice.
In a SHTF situation, this ammunition may become a de facto currency. With a price as low as $0.04 a round, it would be wise to stock up. For hunting purposes, High Velocity Hollow Points are best, and for the best accuracy or quietness, Standard Velocity (sub-sonic) Target rounds fill the bill. Unlike most calibers, it is a RIMFIRE, which means it does not have a primer in the center, but primer material inside the rim all the way around.
9x19mm Parabellum (aka 9mm Luger)
This cartridge is supposedly a defensive cartridge. As used by the military, it has a pointy, fully jacketed bullet which does not have a reliable ability to stop an attacker, and when you get right down to it, that is the primary purpose of defensive ammunition. Because it is the most common military and police pistol and sub-machine gun cartridge here and around the world, and there are a number of excellent guns to use it, it is wicked popular.
Fortunately, there are effective (expanding) rounds available for it, which ARE more able to stop an attacker. What you are looking for is a JHP (Jacketed Hollow Point) which is “bonded” (the core is fastened to the jacket so they do not separate). Examples are Speer Gold Dot and Federal HST which may not be the “best” but are pretty good and the price is not outlandish.
At twice the price, Hornady Critical Duty (service pistols, barrier defeating) and Critical Defense (short barrel, no barrier) have the hollow point cavity filled with a polymer plug which is claimed to make them a tad bit more reliable feeding and expanding. This self-defense ammo test is a great resource to see how each round compares to the others available for sale to civilians.
There are technologies other than JHP, but they have not been proven yet, and the price discourages experimentation. A simple Jacketed Hollow Point will probably cost around $0.25 a round, with the Gold Dot or HST more like $0.40 a round and up. Military ball can be had for as low as $0.14 a round.
Bullet weights usually are between 65 grains and 158 grains, with the most common being 115 or 124 grains. I’d pick one of those (124 grain works better for me) and get some highly effective defensive rounds and a bunch of ball all of the same bullet weight and similar velocity (to have close to the same trajectory). Make sure that any hollow points feed reliably in your gun before getting a lot of them.
.223 Remington & 5.56x45mm (aka 5.56 NATO)
These two calibers are very similar, with the .223 being the civilian version and 5.56 NATO the military version. Unfortunately, they are not identical. If you have a .223 chambered weapon, you should use only .223 ammunition in it. The military ammo will fit, but has a slightly different dimension, and worse, a higher pressure.
If you shoot 5.56 NATO in a .223, it may work or you may have trouble getting the empty case out, which will disable the weapon until you get it removed. If you have a 5.56 NATO chambered weapon, you can also use .223 ammo in it, but will probably lose a bit of accuracy. There is a .223 WYLDE chambering which is the best in order to use both calibers interchangeably.
Stock up on the caliber which matches your weapon, and when you find any after the SHTF, make sure you know what you are getting. Personally, if I had a .223 chambered weapon I was planning to use for survival, I would exchange it (often just the barrel) for a .223 WYLDE chambering or at least a 5.56 NATO. These are all so close that attempting to rechamber a .223 to one of the others is likely to make things worse.
The primary uses for this cartridge are defense, medium game hunting and long range varmint control. As with the 9mm, the military rounds are pointy and fast, and they penetrate well; too well. As such, for their intended purposes, they are not optimal. They are, however, common, and have a low recoil, and many of the rifles which fire it are suitable for combat applications.
Fortunately there is ammunition which improves its effectiveness, which will run you from $0.35 a round to $1.00 or more. You can get cheap import JHP (or ball) .223 ammo for as low as $0.20 a round, but check out some in your gun before buying case lots, to see how well it works and how reliable it is. Military grade ball seems to go for around $0.27 a round.
Bullet weights generally are between 40 grains and 87 grains, but there is a problem. You need to know the “twist” of your barrel, because that determines which bullet weights should work “best” in your gun. If your twist is 1:7 (1 revolution in 7 inches), then you’ll get your best results with 69 grains and heavier, and you don’t want to go below 55 grains.
With a 1:9 twist, you will be happiest with 62 grains and less (great with the common 55 grain bullet weight), and should avoid anything above 77 grains. For versatility, my preference is 1:8, which works best with 62 grains to 77 grains, and will be adequate down to 40 grains and up to 87 grains. With this twist, in ball, I’m fond of SS109 (M855, Green Tip) 62 grain and try to match its trajectory to a 62 grain hollow point (Spear Gold Dot plus some cheap stuff). For varmints, I’d want a longer barrel with 1:9 twist and 50 to 55 grain varmint bullets. With an AR-15 platform, I could have one lower and two uppers instead of a separate gun for each purpose.
There is no gun which will “do it all”, but the 12 gauge shotgun comes close. With the proper ammunition, you can hunt any game and defend yourself. The only weak point is this is strictly a short range weapon. Not to mention that the ammunition is big and heavy and the recoil can be severe.
A pump shotgun is probably the best all around choice for survival. A semi-auto can compensate somewhat for the recoil, but costs a lot more, is a bit less reliable, and some models have part of the “works” below the barrel, which means you can’t put on an extended magazine tube, important for defensive use. You’ll want one with easily changeable barrels, and a short, cylinder choke (no restriction) barrel for slugs and defense, and a longer, multi-choke barrel for hunting birds and small game.
12 gauge ammunition is specified by the length of the shell in inches, the size of the shot, the amount of shot in ounces, and the amount of powder in “dram equivalents”. Back in the day when black powder was used, it was measured in drams.
Modern smokeless power then, is specified as providing the same velocity of the shot as the specified amount of black powder did (to help people transition from black powder to modern powder). Thus if a load is specified as being 3 1/4 dram equivalents, then the amount of powder in it will boost the shot to the same velocity as if there were 3 1/4 drams of black powder in there.
I’ve noticed that ammunition sold today sometimes has the velocity specified rather than the dram equivalent; I guess the black powder guys don’t need to be considered any more. In any case, you can usually tell at a glance whether a shell is “high power” or “low power” by looking at the brass base of the shell. If the brass part only reaches up about a 1/4″, then it is “low brass”; a light load. If it reaches up over a 1/2″, then it is “high brass” and will kick pretty good.
“Magnum” shells are even higher power; usually they are high brass. Common available lengths are 1 3/4″, 2 3/4″, 3″ and 3 1/2″. Most (modern U.S.) guns are chambered for 2 3/4″ and many are chambered for 3″. You can use shorter shells than a chamber is cut for although the greater the difference between chamber length and shell length, the more effect on performance it will have.
Personally, I’d prefer a 3″ chamber for maximum versatility, but would accept a 2 3/4″ chamber, and would mostly stock 2 3/4″ shells, as they have the best variety and most reasonable cost. In case you are wondering, the purpose of the 1 3/4″ shells is strictly to allow more to be carried in the magazine tube and they are only available in defensive loads.
Of course, you can get exactly the right load for any particular usage in normal times, but it would be impractical to do this when stocking for a disaster. You want the minimum number of different loads which will adequately cover the likely uses.
For small game and birds, a light load with #6 shot is the most versatile, although having some smaller #7 1/2 shot for such game birds as dove or quail would be helpful if practical. If you have a good chance of being able to hunt ducks, geese or turkey, there are additional loads you’ll need; be aware that they outlawed lead shot for hunting water fowl, so that messes up the ammo requirements we old timers are used to (because lead and steel don’t fly the same). Shells with 1 oz or 1 1/8 oz of #6 shot run about $0.22 each and up; #7 1/2 shot seems to be a few cents cheaper per shell.
For hunting large game, slugs are optimal. These are usually “high brass”, although they do offer “reduced recoil” loads these days. Keep in mind that the shotgun bore is smooth and so does not impart any rotation to the slug. This means it does not have gyroscopic stability, which results in less than stellar accuracy. You can get “rifled” slugs which improve the accuracy a bit, or get another, rifled, barrel just for slugs.
Unless you do a lot of big game hunting with a shotgun, the additional barrel is probably not worth the effort. The other option is “sabot” slugs, which are smaller in diameter, encased in a plastic sheath which falls away when you fire it. These slugs may be lighter and have a more aerodynamic shape, so are more stable, giving you better range or possibly trajectory than a normal slug. Rifled slugs go for around $0.60 a round and up, and sabot slugs start around $0.80.
Slugs can be used for defense, and there are even some specialty slugs for maximum effectiveness… and maximum price. Generally, however, Buckshot is optimal for defense, and for that matter, decent for hunting (the “Buck” in Buckshot refers to a male deer). As with slugs, these are high brass; you may find some “reduced recoil” versions, but the selection and price are not great.
Generally you will be steered towards #00 Buck, by people educated by TV and the movies. It will work and may be more available, but with only 9 pellets in a standard load, it is not the best choice. That would be #4 Buck with 27 pellets. Expect to pay $0.30 and up a round.
So far we have a good selection of common ammunition which can meet all our needs, except long range. Handguns are generally best under 50 yards. A 12 gauge with Buckshot is also best under 50 yards; with a slug good up to 75 yards or 100 yards if fired from a rifled slug barrel. A .223 with 16″ barrel will reach out 300 yards, or with the correct barrel and ammunition, perhaps 600 yards or even more, but it is not really effective against man or large beast.
We need to add a big bore, long range cartridge to the list to be considered. There are many effective cartridges which would serve, but for versatility and availability, it would be hard to surpass the venerable 30-06. This round will do anything you need a large rifle cartridge to do (in the U.S.; its not a good choice for an African safari), except it’s too long to work well in a semi-auto combat rifle, with the obvious exception of a M1 Garand. Otherwise .308 Winchester/7.62x51mm is a good alternative, designed to have nearly the same ballistics in a shorter, self-loader friendly cartridge.
As with the .223/5.56 NATO pairing, these are also a civilian and a military pair, which are similar to each other but not identical. In this case, the military version is the lower pressure one, with thicker brass and a bit longer headspace. Thus you can fire the 7.62 NATO ammo in a .308, but if .308 is fired in a 7.62x51mm (aka 7.62 NATO) chamber, there is a good chance the brass will rupture.
The .308 chambering would seem to be a better choice under most conditions. If you have a 7.62 NATO chamber, you can measure how dangerous it would be to fire .308 in it by using a set of .308 headspace gauges. If the bolt closes on the No-Go gauge, the brass will probably be over stressed, while if the bolt closes on the Field gauge, it would be risky to fire .308 rounds in that gun.
If you will be using it in a bolt action rifle, 30-06 is a very good choice. If you want to use a semi-auto, .308 may be a better choice, but if you do go with .308, you should consider also having a bolt action rifle for long distance accuracy. Think counter-sniper. Bullet weights vary from 100 grains to 240 grains, with 150 or 165 grains being good choices for defense or deer, and heavier bullets like 180 grain suitable for larger game like elk or moose.
For large, dangerous animals such as grizzly bears, 220 grains would not be too much. Quality ammo starts around $0.60 a round, with the fancy hunting ammo over $1.00 a round. You can get cheap imports and military surplus, particularly for .308, as low as $0.30 a round, but try it out in your gun before committing to it.
So far we have looked at the best choices giving good service with top availability (#1 most popular handgun caliber, and the three most popular rifle calibers, all of which are, or used to be, U.S. military calibers). Of course there are alternatives for some of these, with decent availability if any of the top choices are not desired for some reason.
For defense with a handgun, .45ACP ball is more effective than 9mm ball and is fairly available (ex-military caliber, #3 on the handgun caliber popularity list). Alternatively, in a revolver, .357 Magnum (#2 in popularity) is pretty good, not only for defense but decent for hunting, and can also shoot .38 Special which if using a light target load is great for small game.
If the 12 ga is just too much to handle, 20 ga will do much of what 12 ga will do; not as well but adequately.
The Russian answer to the 5.56 NATO is the 7.62x39mm. It’s a more effective round close up, and at the current time there is plenty available and much of it is cheap in cost. Whether it will be available in a SHTF situation is unknown; it is only #9 on the rifle cartridge popularity list. In the same performance class as the 7.62×39 is the 30-30. It is very popular for deer hunting (#4 on the rifle caliber popularity list), so you may find some at places when nothing else is available. And the lever action carbines which shoot it are pretty sweet and can even be used for defense in a pinch.
As for 22LR there really is no alternative; everything in its class is more expensive and is not particularly popular, so availability will be low. Looking at 30-06 and .308, there are a lot of calibers in their class or even higher, but none of them come close to the availability of those two. A decent round with fair availability might be .270 Winchester, #5 on the rifle cartridge popularity list.
Our primary goal has been to consider those calibers which are adequate for a variety of survival purposes AND are most likely to be available during times of crisis. If there is a caliber which is significantly better, or you already have, that you like in place of or addition to, any of these, it is certainly an option to stock up on that caliber.
Just keep in mind that when you run out of ammo, your gun becomes a finely machined stick or rock, or if you desperately need something and the person who has extra cannot use the ammo you have, a satisfactory exchange is not likely.
Ammunition tends to be fairly pricey these days, so although going to the gun store to get a box may be convenient, it often is a poor choice for buying in quantity. Of course, you can always talk with the person in charge and see what kind of deal you can work out, but usually you will be best served by finding good deals online. This methodology may also prevent you from being charged sales tax.
On a daily basis, you can get an idea of the current market by using ammoseek.com; however, these are usually not the best possible prices. For that, you need to get on the mailing list of several suppliers and wait for sales. Be careful; ammo is heavy and shipping costs can sometimes turn a good deal into a not so good one.
Concealed carry and gun ownership are two very hot topics in today’s world. It would seem that we are staring down the barrel of the unknown. On one hand we are looking at a reciprocity bill that would allow people to rightfully and lawfully carry firearms all over this nation with a permit. There are …
The post 5 Worst States for Concealed-Carry and Gun Ownership Rights appeared first on SHTF Prepping & Homesteading Central.
Today I have 38 HK firearm manuals to share Hk 4 Hk 11 HK 33 Automatic Rifle Cal 5.56mm x 45 Nato Hk 33E-53 Hk 91 Hk 93 Hk 94 Hk 270 Hk 630-770-940 HK Binelli Shotgun Training HK G3 Automatic Rifle Cal 7.62mm Nato Hk G3 Hk G11 Hk Gpt Hk Mark23 Hk Mg4 Hk Mp5 Armorers Manual Hk Mp5 Hk Mp5A4 Hk Mp5N Hk Mp5Sf Hk Mp7A1 Hk P7 Owner HK P7 Pistol P7 9mm Hk P7 Hk P2000 HK Pistol P9S 9mm Hk Psg1 Hk Sl6 Sl7 Hk Sl81 Hk Sr9 Hk Ump 40 Hk Usc 45
Ammo Storage & Stockpiling
Dane… “The Gunmetal Armory” Audio player provided!
On this episode of the Gunmetal Armory, we discuss Ammunition Storage, Ammunition types, and Ammunition Stockpiling. We are also going to do the usual Product Pick Of The Week, cover any “Ask Dane” questions, and do a Give-Away. We’re going to be giving away an LAPG Ultimate Survival Pod from LA Police Gear. We will be doing a trivia question just like we usually do.
Knife throwing is an ancient technique, and it has been around for centuries. It’s a known fact that American soldiers in the Civil War practiced this “sport” in camp to kill time so to speak. Since then, the technique survived as an art form, as a sport or for entertainment purposes.
Ahh. The building of medieval weaponry. Is there anything better to do on a warm Sunday afternoon? This thing looks like something that would appear in the Lord of the Rings. It also looks like something you would crack zombies in the head with. How about a time, long after the last gun has fired. …
There are hundreds of reasons people prepare for emergencies, and hundreds of scenarios that could occur that you may consider preparing for. Natural disasters, civil unrest, war, pandemic, solar flares – the possibilities are incredibly varied and no list of necessary tools can possibly encompass every scenario. In this article, we are focusing on high […]
The post 6 High Tech Gadgets That Would Come In Handy During a Disaster appeared first on Urban Survival Site.
A tool that has been around since mankind first began chipping rocks into weapons, few items are more essential to an outdoorsman or survivalist than a quality knife. As with any versatile tool, though, knives serve a wide range of purposes – some better than others, depending on the blade you choose. From skinning an […]
Who saw this one coming? Its really not surprising that when congress makes a run for guns that the public bristles and does the same. You will find that this is just how the pendulum swings. People want to be safe and when they see other Americans getting shot up it makes them want protect …
Like it or not, these types of conversations are those that need to happen between parents and children today. A lot of people get upset and think its not fair that we live in a society like this. They are right. But what does fair have to do with anything. Fair is not what keeps …
The post 2 Safety Tips For Your Kids: The Sound of Gunfire & Concealment vs. Cover appeared first on SHTF Prepping & Homesteading Central.
The world of survival and tactical supply is on the verge of a tremendous change. We are at the very beginning of a material revolution. We are finding out how to splice materials, weave micro fibers of incredibly strong materials and create things no one ever thought possible. This movement is just in its infancy. …
The post Carbon Fiber or Micarta? The Battle Between Two Chris Reeve Inkosis appeared first on SHTF Prepping & Homesteading Central.
This is a survival board on our groups forum. Many of our members joined our 18th century Living History forum because they had a strong interest in survival & prepping, so we also added The Survival Connection board.
This board is like a separate forum, it is not just for primitive gear & primitive skills, it covers anything & everything in regards to survival.
The Survival Connection Forum: http://neclhg.freeforums.net/board/18/survival-connection
Never talk about religion or politics. That used to be an old adage. Of course, since then people have had amazing careers doing just that and berating both subjects. A similar train of thought could be had for people in the firearms industry or gun enthusiasts. If you really wanna fire some people up talk …
The post What’s the Best Cartridge for Personal Protection and Concealed Carry? appeared first on SHTF Prepping & Homesteading Central.
Hidden in Wall Gun Cabinet With Hidden Keypad Where are your guns right now? Have they checked in lately? While I kid about guns and their overwhelming affect on society, I think its important that we realize our responsibility as preppers and gun owners. Many preppers are not trained on how to use guns and …
AR Adapter for glock Style Mags: American Tactical Imports Does it Right Ya know, sometimes its night to discuss articles that are deep in prepper philosophy. Other times I really enjoy bringing you articles that get into the homesteading aspect of prepping and self-reliance. These are gateways into freeing yourself and your soul. You know …
The post AR Adapter for glock Style Mags: American Tactical Imports Does it Right appeared first on SHTF Prepping & Homesteading Central.
Preppers And Gun Safety Can you remember the first time you heard the word prepper? What about he the first purchase you made as a prepper? The reality is that some preppers get started on this journey with no experience in the military, outdoors or anything of the type. You begin to invest in survival …
Preparing for Gun Control as Responsible Gun Owners
Host: James Walton “I Am Liberty” Audio player below!
While we have seen quite a bit of blame laid across the board I have noticed that the AR15 is taking a lot of heat. I have heard some of the solutions proposed and of course, for the average responsible gun owner its all very nerve racking.
No gun owner wants to see children shot and they don’t want to exist in a world where maniacs have access to guns.
Arming A Squad Of Untrained Family Members To best understand the importance of this article you have to understand the acceptable casualties. In war or in a battle of any kind there is a fighting force. This fighting force comes to war with weapons and the assumption of acceptable casualties. There will be a certain …
With all the different makes and models of guns, it can seem impossible to decide which ones you need in your disaster arsenal, especially if you’re new to guns or prepping. But in reality, selecting the right guns doesn’t have to be difficult. Not all guns (or calibers) are created equal, and the result is […]
The post 6 Survival Guns You’ll Need After The End Of The World appeared first on Urban Survival Site.
SHOT Show 2018 What is more exciting than SHOT Show? Its one of the only good things about January, in my opinion. A giant collection of the latest and greatest equipment from brands that support the cause of preparedness and tactical thinking individuals. Well, I searched all around the internet for just the right resource …
This post contains 32 Anschutz Firearm Manuals. I figure anyone who owns a specialized firearm from this company probably owns the manual, but in the interest of sharing, I had them, I share them. I’m trying to get all the firearm manuals from manufacturers that I have multiple models out first, and its easiest to stay basically alphabetical. I am not going to swear I will stay in order because I also jump around to what catches my eye at the time. From Wikipedia: J. G. Anschutz GmbH & Co. KG is a sporting firearms manufacturer based in Ulm, Germany,
Like the Browning manuals from last week, I am sharing my collection of Colt Firearm Manuals in the event you buy a gun and don’t have a manual. There are a lot here, some 46 different PDF manuals, so it may take a second to load. I probably should have loaded them individually, but even doing it this way I still have over 500 posts to write and schedule so you can access this free material. Colt 22 Caliber Conversion Series 80 Colt 22 Caliber Conversion Colt 22 Target Model Colt 25 Hammerless pdf-embedder url=”https://www.tngun.com/wp-content/uploads/Colt-25-Hammerless.pdf” title=”Colt 25 Hammerless”] Colt 32
Best Non lethal EDC items
When selecting a weapon for non-lethal self-defense, there are several essentials to keep in mind.
First, the weapon should be easy to carry on your person, located in a place that’s not too visible but not too hard to reach, either. Second, it shouldn’t be complicated to use since most of us don’t have time to go to a training session or five when we just want to protect ourselves.
Carrying a handgun for self-defense (where lawful) is one of the most basic steps of being a prepared person. The old saying is that “God made All Men, and Samuel
The post How to Turn a Handgun Into a PDW using KPOS kit from FAB Defense with a SIG Brace appeared first on Ask a Prepper.
Host: Dane… “The Gunmetal Armory” Audio player provided!
This week on the GunMetal Armory, we go much deeper into the Armory where we store the Primitive Weaponry. Our topics will cover things like the AtlAtl, throwing/thrusting spears, blow guns, clubs & impact weaponry, tomahawks & hatchets, knives, bow & arrow, arrowhead types, bolas, throwing sticks, slings, etc.
Listen to this broadcast or download “Primitive Weapons” in player below!
Gun Control Epic Fail The battle for your guns will rage on for as long as you are alive and beyond. Even in the future I think we will see the AI and robots fighting over ways to pull the guns away from the crazy monkey people who made them. There is no getting away …
The most popular self-defense weapon is a firearm, but that doesn’t mean it’s always the best self-defense weapon. Many people are uncomfortable carrying a gun (as it is a major responsibility) and would prefer a non-lethal weapon instead, or they may live or work in an area where carrying firearms is not allowed. If either […]
The post 11 Great Self Defense Weapons That (Probably) Won’t Kill Anyone appeared first on Urban Survival Site.
John Moses Browning is the World’s Greatest Gun Inventor he is regarded as one of the most successful firearms designers of the 20th century, in the development of modern automatic and semi–automatic firearms, and is credited with 128 firearm patents. He made his first firearm at age 13 in his father’s gun shop, and was awarded his first patent on October 7, 1879 at the age of 24. Browning is no longer with us, but the Browning Arms Company is. While it is now a fully owned subsidiary of FN Herstal, its firearms are all over America. The odds of seeing a Browning firearm at a range, deer
Video Monday: Pimping out a Mossberg 590 Shockwave How about a little fun. For many in the prepping world there is just something about guns. I love looking at them, shooting them and day dreaming about them. I don’t know many preppers that aren’t up for a good mod video of a Mossberg. This video …
The post Video Monday: Pimping out a Mossberg 590 Shockwave appeared first on SHTF Prepping & Homesteading Central.
Homemade Gift Knife Yes, the handle on this knife build is pink. I want everyone to know that you can change that if you want. It is incredibly intriguing that people all over the nation are making knives from scratch. Its also interesting how benign the knife has become. The idea that the knife is …
Movies and TV present seemingly magical scenarios where the good guy always wins and high impact action scenes are over in a matter of minutes. While these forms of entertainment are designed to make you suspend judgment and go with the flow of the story, they do not accurately portray how guns work in real life.
If you tried to use a gun as they are used in the movies or on TV, it may well get you killed or, at best, seriously injured. There are no shortcuts to becoming a safe, well educated gun owner and user. If you gain nothing else from this article, at least know that movies, and TV (including reality TV and the news) are not good places to learn about guns.
Seek a qualified instructor and good quality courses. Now let’s look at some of those misconceptions.
The “Gangster Grip” is as Useful as it is Cool
When criminals shoot in the movies or on TV, they tend to hold handguns so that the magazine port is angled about 90 degrees from the ground. Two things always amaze me about these scenes.
First, I can’t imagine how they hit the target with the sights so far out of alignment, let alone put enough lead into the other shooter to kill him/her 10 times over. The other thing that amazes me is that the gun never has a fail to feed problem.
Shooters that use the “gangster grip” claim that they hold the gun this way so they can shoot faster. The fact is they aren’t doing more than “spraying and praying” they hit what they think they are aiming at. In a lot of shootouts the target individuals are missed and simply escape.
Sadly, given the large number of bullets flying around, it is more than likely innocent bystanders will get hurt or killed.
The major problems with this way of shooting are:
- You can’t accurately measure movement left or right.
- You can’t get a reliable sight picture because you are aiming down the slide instead of via the sights.
- There is also no way to know if the pistol is pointing down below your field of vision from the back of the pistol.
- Even if you do hit your target, it is likely you will not make the same shot again because you are never actually aiming the same way twice.
Big Caliber Guns are Fine for Beginners
In movies and on TV, they often show a complete novice picking up a large caliber gun and firing it with no problems. This simply isn’t the way to developing good marksmanship and safe shooting works in the real world.
You will need to start off with small calibers and master them before moving on to larger ones. If you use a gun that has too much recoil, or is too powerful for you to control, you can easily hurt yourself and others.
Case in point. I have personally witnessed people using guns like the 50 Caliber Desert Eagle and winding up with severe head wounds when the gun escaped their hands and hit them after firing. Aside from that, never forget that you won’t be just carrying a gun for a one or two hour TV show or movie.
You may carry the gun for years on end and never need to pull it let alone get through a problematic situation. During that time, you will still need to practice and make sure you do not develop problems such as jerking the trigger, flinching, looking away from the target when you shoot, or being totally afraid to handle or shoot pistols.
You Will Shoot Like a Pro from the Beginning
In movies, the good guy always shoots perfectly even if they have never fired a gun in their lives. No matter whether they got a “lucky shot” at just the right moment, or managed to be some kind of genius that engaged in a complex shootout, chances are you will not have the same experience during a time when your life depends on it.
Not only will you have to manage the gun itself, your own adrenaline and stress responses can, and will wreak havoc on you. It takes years of training and practice to become a master at shooting a pistol.
Getting Shot Looks Obvious
When a person gets shot in a movie, they are lifted up off the ground and thrown many feet behind them into glass window or some other spectacular background. In reality the victim may only move back a little bit and then fall over dead.
If the gun is of a smaller caliber, the person is likely to remain standing. In most cases, the impact of the average bullet has about the same force as the recoil. This occurs mainly because the body has much more weight and mass than the bullet. In addition, remember, the bullet isn’t made to just push the target, it is made to lodge in it or punch through it.
As such, you simply won’t see a lot of movement backwards when the bullet hits a live target. Check with FBI’s Handgun Wounding Factors and Effectiveness Manual for some further insights.
The Ammo Supply is Never Ending
Even though large capacity magazines may seem like they hold a lot of bullets, the fact is even 18 rounds can go very quickly. Some researchers have found that even trained law enforcement officers in a situation may fire their gun many times before hitting their target.
In a situation, it is likely you will run out of ammo and still not hit your attacker. While they never count their bullets in the movies, you must always know how many bullets you have left at every second. You should also remember to carry spare, loaded magazines and extra ammo.
Treating ammo like they do in the movies is a good way to wind up dead regardless of your experience and skill level.
You Will Always Be Thrown Backwards When You Fire a Gun
New shooters, or those with little shooting experience believe that they will be thrown backwards regardless of the caliber of the firearm. Smaller caliber guns have less felt recoil. Unless you are firing a weapon that is well beyond your capability, it is likely that only your hand and forearm will move out of position.
With proper training and skill development, you should have no movement at all backwards from the recoil of a gun.
Semi-automatic Weapons Fire Like Machine Guns
In a lot of action movies semi-automatic weapons are portrayed as if they are full-automatics. There is a big difference between the two, which leads to the false claim that semi-automatic weapons are “assault weapons”.
A semi-automatic weapon shoots one bullet with one pull of the trigger even with or without it has a bump stock on it. Without this type of stock, AK, AR, and other semi-automatic weapons are no different than any other gun insofar as the trigger operation.
A full-automatic weapon, which can be called a “assault weapon” shoots many bullets without needing to pull the trigger again. This type of gun will only stop firing when the trigger is released. It takes a lot of training to shoot a full-automatic weapon accurately.
Without this training, all the shooter is doing is wasting ammunition and spraying the area vainly hoping to hit something. Both semi-automatic and full-automatic weapons must be aimed to get the best target accuracy.
Guns Will Always Fire When Dropped
In the movies, when actors or actresses drop a gun, it always goes off (and more than likely kills someone in the bargain). Today, guns are designed to not accidentally fire when dropped as required by The Gun Control Act of 1968.
Guns designed before The Gun Control Act of 1968 have no safe guards to protect shooters from a dropped firearm going off. This one movie myth alone has probably negated dozens of modern alibis to murder made by people that claimed they dropped the gun and it fired “by accident”.
While it is still possible for this to happen, the drop safety test conducted by the manufacturer ensures that 99.999% of the time, a dropped gun will not go off. If the gun does fall out of your hands, never try to catch it while it is in motion. It is very easy for a finger or something else to get into the trigger guard and pull the trigger.
There is no Need to Aim a Shotgun
In many movies and on TV, people just point the shotgun in a general direction of the target and fire. To add insult to injury, once the shotgun pellets hits, everything and everyone is destroyed, dead, or dying. You can’t just “point and shoot” a shotgun and expect to hit the target.
Good aim maters just as much when shooting a shotgun as it does shooting a pistol. With a shotgun, the further away the target is, the greater the shotgun pellets will spread. As such, it is easier than you might expect to completely miss the target.
Even if you shoot slugs out of the shotgun, you must aim at the target and compensate for the weight of the slug at different distances. The farther away from the target you are, the more the slug will drop.
It is Easy to Buy Firearms and Ammo
Movies and TV often show people walking into a gun store and simply buying whatever they want. Others show people walking in and flashing enough money to buy something “off the books”. Even worse, there are many other movies and TV that show people buying a whole arsenal from gun shows or off the streets.
The false idea here is that all you have to do is go to your friendly neighborhood gun runner and get everything you need at cheap bargain basement prices. These movies never show the gun blowing up in the buyer’s hands, or all of the problems that occur as a result of buying low quality junk that probably won’t hit the target even if it does fire.
Sadly, these movies and the cultural opinion are also being used endlessly to drive gun control legislation.
It is true that private gun sales can be made in some states without the seller having to do a background check. Depending on the state, the seller may still have to make sure they are not selling to a convicted felon or someone else that is not supposed to have a gun.
Even in these states, it is already a crime to sell a gun to someone that shouldn’t have it. As a result, if the buyer does get caught, the person that sold him/her the weapon will also face criminal charges.
Insofar as gun shows, there are some individuals that believe anyone can go to a gun show firearms retailers booth, lay down some money, walk out with a gun, and never file any state or federal forms. Buying a gun at a gun show retailer’s table is no different from buying from any legitimate gun store.
All firearm retailers in the business of selling firearms must due the following:
- Have a Federal Firearms License(FFL).
- Perform background checks through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System(NICS).
- If you pass the background check, then and only then can you pay for the firearm and then take it home.
- If you don’t pass the background check because you can’t legally own a firearm, you will be arrested either right there at the show, or at home.
- At all legitimate gun shows you will find local, state, and federal law enforcement officers there to monitor sales and be sure all sales are lawful transactions.
- The so-called “gun show loophole” is a completely false construct. It is said that people can simply meet up outside the gun show and sell there; thus getting around straw purchase laws. This is no different from making a private sale in a remote location.
In fact, it is less likely these kinds of sales will be made on the ground surrounding a gun show because the police are actively looking for such sales and will act to put a stop to them. If anything,outside of a gun show is the worst place to make a private gun sale.
Never forget that gun shows, like most gun stores, utilize cameras and other forms of surveillance equipment. This includes on the grounds surrounding the gun show as well as inside the buildings.
In conclusion, if you believe everything you see at the movies or TV dealing with firearms you can wind up in some very bad situations. This includes being unable to defend yourself in a time of need as well as being largely uninformed about how gun laws work in the real world.
If you don’t want to wind up dead or on the way to the pokey for breaking the law, it is best to relegate “action” TV and movies to entertainment purposes only and find a good instructor that will train you properly in gun use and ownership.
This article has been written by Fred Tyrell for Survivopedia.
Watch: Learn To Build Improvised Body Armor Ahh, the plate carrier. It’s something many preppers watch from the periphery. Looking at body armor is a powerful moment in your life as a human being. That is particularly true if you have been a civilian all of your life. I liken it to looking at the …
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Today’s PDF is Gunstock Finishing & Care. I don’t know any serious gun owner that hasn’t tried their hand at minor gunsmithing – normally it starts with refinishing stocks or bluing old guns. There isn’t anything wrong with someone modifying their own possessions, but I do caution on home gunsmithing. If you have a collectable […]
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The post 15 Improvised Weapons You Can Find Around the House appeared first on Urban Survival Site.
How To Prepare A Prepper Battle Box You may not think of it as much as you should but your job has a emergency response plan. Hopefully, they have briefed you on that plan and offered you a packet that lays out the whole thing. This is the law and they are supposed to make …
In my opinion, conceal carry is the best method to carry a personal protection handgun. To me and most folks, it has numerous advantageous over open carrying. Naturally, in a bad situation you wish to capitalize on all the advantages you can in order to survive and concealed carry gives you some advantage. In my role as a firearms sales person at a big box store, firearms instructor and educator, I constantly get approached by folks that are seeking firearms for personal carry. In most cases, the individuals are new to carrying a handgun; in some cases they have some experience with handguns, but not carrying.
And finally you have those with lots of carrying experience, but no exposure to training for bad events. In all cases the buyers are purchasing a personal protection handgun for the right reasons, but have a total lack of understanding about carrying in particular, the full dynamics of how to carry and the vital role it plays when you need to access your weapon rapidly.
So with that in mind, I wish to cover “five” major factors that you should consider when buying a carry handgun. Keep in mind you cannot pick any one of the 5 factors independently. The value in their roles is the sum total of all the factors combined. If you chose any of the factors independently or only pick a couple of them, then you are likely to fall short of the full advantages of carrying a concealed handgun.
It always amazes me, the number of folks that want to buy a small handgun, just because it is small. In most cases this is the first indication that the individual has very limited handgun shooting experience. So the first step in the process is to educate the individual about the role of ‘grip’. As mentioned in my previous articles “grip’ is one of the most important factors in buying a handgun. So it is important if you are considering a carry handgun, purchase one that you can grip well. Small handguns are exceedingly hard to grip correctly and thus more difficult to shoot, which means less practicing if you do not enjoying shooting it. So as much as one might think small is good, in most cases as it pertains to hand guns, small in not good. It is much better to buy a larger handgun that you can grip well and shoot comfortably than to buy a small one that you hate shooting. This point goes deeper than just practice. It also affects your mentality when a bad event happens. So if you have a handgun that you do not like shooting, you may have a reluctance to pull it out when you need to, due the negative feelings and lack of confidence you have about shooting the gun. Then what you thought was an advantage has now turned into a disadvantage, right when you need all the advantages you can muster.
Also Read: 20 Things You Need In Your Get Home Bag
So when choosing a carry handgun instead of first looking for something small, focus on a handgun that you “grip” well, feels comfortable in your hand when shooting. You will be far more confident should you ever need to draw your weapon.
Carrying concealed is an art. It is not always easy nor does it work well without planning. Carrying a handgun for personal protection takes planning, preparation and wardrobe consideration. In order to carry effectively you must do some planning. That means you must first determine how you wish to carry and then make subsequent decisions based on that decision. I cover the topic in more detail below, but I feel inside the waist band (IWB) is the best location to conceal a carry handgun.
The next part of the planning phase is to find a very snug, well fitting holster that will provide retention for your handgun. This process has two components: (1) the holster and (2) your ability to comfortably wear the holster. Though these two components must be considered together, they also are totally independent.
As mentioned above, you want to find a holster that fits the requirements mentioned above. I prefer a kydex one that allows you the ability to change the cant. For those that are not familiar with “cant”, let me explain. The “cant” of a holster is the angle in which the holster sets in relationship to your body. I like mine to cant slightly forward thus allowing me to grasp the handgun easier and it keeps the grip close to my side when bending over. I feel leather or holsters made of malleable material inhibit your ability to reholster your handgun and sometimes can make it harder to draw from.
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Once you have found a good holster, now comes the hard part for most folks, what to wear when conceal carrying. Get ready because I am going to cover territory here that some might be sensitive. The recommendations below are for both men and women. If you are going to wear a handgun for personal protection, then you must have the mindset that you are going to need to dress differently and take that into consideration every time you get dressed and buy clothes.
If you are used to wearing your shirts tucked in, now you will need to buy shirts that are designed to be worn untucked. In most cases to wear inside the waist band you will need to wear your shirt untucked. In colder weather you can wear a tucked in shirt then a sweater or jacket over it to conceal your weapon.
Wearing inside the waist band has several more aspects that you need to take into consideration. If you are overweight or like to wear your pants or skirts very tight. Then you are going to have a problem. In each of these cases, to address the extra space need by your handgun and holster you will need to buy pants and skirts that are at least one inch larger than you normally wear.
Also Read: Survival Situational Awareness
Next you need to consider a belt that is firm enough to hold the weight of your handgun and holster. That means even when you dress up, you are going to need a belt that has more rigidity to it. A flimsy belt or a leather one that stretches will make carrying your firearm cumbersome and uncomfortable.
Attire is the one consideration that most folks completely forget about. Most folks that wish to carry feel that they can do so with their existing wardrobe. In most cases that is NOT the case. Dena Adams makes some great undergarments for women that enable them to carry a wide range of handguns completely concealed and still wear very feminine clothing. However, in most cases, you will need to revise your attire to comfortably carry your CONCEALED handgun. For me, that meant changing the type of shirts I wore. I traditionally wore all my shirts tucked in. But when I started carrying more inside the waist band I had to start buying shirts that were designed to be worn untucked. I also had to buy belts that were able to hold my holster more secure to my side.
So once you begin wearing your concealed carry handgun more frequently you will then learn that you must dress differently. Women have another option most men don’t and that is purse carry. Again, many women look for something small to carry in their purses. My limited experience in trying to find anything in a woman’s purse is that something small is sure to get lost in there.
Related: How to Spot Someone Carrying a Gun
So what can a woman do to enhance the finding their weapon in a time of need. Here is my suggestion. Go to your local hardware store and buy and piece of Velcro that is about 4 inches by 4 inches. Then empty your purse and glue the Velcro to the inside of your purse on one of the lateral sides. Next buy a holster that has Velcro on the outside of it. Stick that to the Velcro in your purse in a position such that when you open your purse, your handgun is perfectly positioned for you to withdraw it. This will greatly enhance the likelihood of finding and drawing your handgun from your purse smoothly, quickly and confidently in the event a bad situation should arise. Remember, drawing from your purse should be practiced often so you can become very comfortable with the technique. This brings us to Accessibility.
This is the most important aspect of carrying a handgun for personal protection. If you cannot readily access your firearm when you need it then you are at a major disadvantage. There are lots of sources that provide a wide range of data on shootings, but most confirm that shootings are usually fast, last less than 5 seconds and involve at least 8 shots fired. So if you cannot access your weapon fast and get on target, you are most likely not going to be in a good position. Just a note here…. Just because you draw your weapon does not mean you are going to fire it. In many cases, weapons are drawn, but the need to fire it does not happen. However, the fact that you felt the situation was significant enough for you to draw your weapon, then you must be prepared to use it.
One of the most common forms of carry that I get asked about and many buyers consider is “pocket carry”. Pocket Carry to me, is most likely one of the two worst places to carry your “primary” handgun, ankle carry being the other. The reasons for my position on this are based on the following factors. First, you must have a very small handgun to fit in your pocket. So as mentioned above, the small size will make it hard to shoot, fairly inaccurate and there are far less rounds in the magazine than I would like. Secondly, it is going to be extremely or almost impossible to retrieve your handgun from your pocket while you are experiencing a bad event, just getting the handgun out of your pocket without any extraneous factors can be problematic itself. But add to it you may be running, knelling, squatting or laying down in response to the bad event that is in progress. That even makes it more unlikely you will be able to get your weapon out of your pocket in a timely manner. So my recommendation is that you never want your “primary” personal protection handgun in your pocket or on your ankle.
In my experience the best way to carry a handgun is inside the waist band. I carry my two “go to” weapons (Sig P320 compact or Sig M11-A1) inside the waistband at 4:30 at about a 12 degree cant forward. Again, for those that might not understand this terminology, the 4:30 location is just past your hip. I feel the 4:30 location allows you to readily access your weapon while in almost any position and even while running and the 12 degree cant keeps the grip of the weapon close to you body even when bending over, thus not exposing the fact you are wearing a handgun.
Many well respected firearms experts like the appendix position and I think there is nothing wrong with that location as well. But for me and my size, the 4:30 position is more comfortable.
Now I will say that there are times when I was working private security and or based on my attire I would wear in the middle of back. There are several factors you must take into consideration when wearing in that location. First, your holster must be reversed. So if you are right handed, you will need a left handed holster to correctly position the handgun in the middle of your back. Secondly, you must consider it is going to be much harder to access your weapon and that it takes extra practice to be proficient at drawing your weapon from this position. And finally, when you are sitting down it can be very uncomfortable and in some cases your handgun can get caught on seats, if the back rest has opening in it. So there several limitations you must consider when wearing in the position.
Also Read: First Aid – An Essential Survival Skill
In an article posted by Greg Ellifritz titled “STAND, MOVE, OR SEEK COVER…WHAT WORKS IN A GUNFIGHT? They found if you stood still during a shoot out there was an 85% chance you would get shot, if you moved it dropped to 47% and if you found cover it dropped to 26%. So as we all know, there is tremendous value in moving when the shooting begins. With that said, it is important and vital that you can access your weapon while you are moving and seeking cover. So it needs to be in a location that you can readily access in those situations.
Thus, I highly recommend that your personal protection handgun should be worn on your waist, where it is readily accessible no matter how compromised your position.
The last thing you want in a bad situation where you need to draw your weapon is to wonder whether it is going to function or not. Nothing can be scarier than not having confidence in your weapon. To prevent this from happening your must do a few things.
First, spend your time researching the firearm you think you might like to purchase, secondly, get lot of advice from seasoned experts and finally shoot the firearm before you buy it. Remember, the Manufacturer should be your first consideration, followed by Grip, Trigger Control, mag capacity are your main aspects of choosing your handgun. You can read my article on this site on “How to Choose the Best Personal Protection Handgun”. My top 4 personal protection handguns you may wish to explore are the Sig P320 compact, Sig M11-A1, Ruger SR9C, Glock 19 Gen 4. I firmly believe the Sig P320 is the best personal protection handgun on the market.
Secondly, get good training from a well qualified instructor. There are lots of firearms instructors out there, but there are very few good ones… Find a good one…. Then practice practice practice. Be exceedingly comfortable handling and shooting your firearm. Semi-automatic pistols can experience malfunctions due to not holding the gun’s frame firmly enough when shooting, which can allow the frame to move back at the same time the slide moves back. This is called “limp wristing” and it can happen to even strong men who have the wrong grip or arm position as they fire the gun. It is one of the last things you want to happen, so having a good grip is essential to functionality.
The discussion is always about what round is the best for personal protection based on the effectiveness of the bullet. I strongly endorse the 9mm round. Here are my reasons for that caliber, not necessarily in the order of importance, but as a sum total of all the factors.
- It is the cheapest of all ammo so you are more likely to practice more.
- Most 9mm handguns have larger capacity magazines than other calibers, so you have more rounds if you need them.
- There are more handguns made in 9mm than any other caliber, so you are more likely to find one that fits your grip.
- The lethality of a 9mm is the same as a .40 or .45 when a vital area is hit.
- It is easy to manage the recoil and shoot thus you are more likely to hit your target.
- The various sizes of 9mm make it an easy caliber to carry.
The second component of effectiveness is to get good training. To know the correct method for drawing from a holster, have an experienced instructor teach to the skills of safely drawing, presenting of your firearm, quick target acquisition and trigger control. In addition, you must learn the correct and safe means to reholster your handgun. There are numerous videos on Youtube that demonstrate great techniques for drawing from your holster. However, there is no better way to learn the skill than from a qualified instructor.
Also Read: B.O.L.T Pistol (Bug Out Long Term)
The most important aspect of effectiveness is practice. If you do not practice drawing from concealment, drawing from your purse, quickly acquiring your target and placing rounds accurately, then you are setting yourself up for failure if a bad situation should occur and you need to use your handgun. Practice creates confidence, helps you overcome fear, and builds muscle and mental memory; all important factors when dealing with a crisis situation.
So, in summary, concealed carry is not as easy as most folks assume it is. It requires you to take several aspects into consideration prior to putting conceal carry into action. Naturally, you hope you never had to access your handgun in response to bad situation. However, if you do, you want to be able to do safely, quickly and confidently.
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When assembling your survival armory, you will need to focus on buying guns that each fills a specific need. I recommend that at least one of those guns should be a bolt-action hunting rifle in a long-range caliber such as .308 or .30-06, fitted with a scope.
While a bolt action rifle may not be the gun that you use the most (in fact, it might be the gun you use the least in a SHTF situation), no gun collection or survival armory is complete without one. Let’s go over the reasons why you should own one, and then talk about the top five models to consider.
WHY OWN A BOLT ACTION RIFLE?
To many, a scoped bolt action hunting rifle with a blued barrel and wooden stock is the archetypal American firearm. That being said, there are still many more reasons to own a bolt-action rifle beyond trying to fit in with fellow preppers:
Big Game Hunting
First and foremost, a long-range rifle in a larger caliber does something that a smaller rifle in an intermediate caliber (such as an AR or AK) cannot do. It can take down big game. Granted, people use AR-15s in 5.56 for deer hunting all the time, but a larger round such as .308 or .30-06 is still a better choice. Especially if you plan on going after even larger game such as elk, bear, or moose.
Long-Range Anti-Personnel Weapon
All the same, you can also use the old hunting rifle you keep in your closet as a long-range anti-personnel weapon if you have to as well. If your home or property is being attacked by opponents at distances that are too far away for your pistols, shotguns, or even your AR-15, a hunting rifle in a bigger caliber will do the job. Yes, it has a slow rate of fire and reloading times, but it will still accurately reach targets at distances that none of your other weapons can.
Using a rifle as an anti-personnel weapon at great distances can be tricky, but one fellow writer (Reaper) breaks it down in his article “How to Shoot Like a Sniper”. In that article, he describes various techniques you can use to accurately engage targets at long distances. Since we’re on the subject of bolt-action rifles that can reach out to greater distances, check it out.
These days, there are plenty of semi-automatic rifles such as AR-15s, AR-10s, and FALs that are chambered in .308 Winchester. You might question why you need a bolt rifle when you could go with a semi-auto. When it comes down to it though, a bolt action is simpler. There are less parts that could fail. Simply load the magazine and chamber with a new round by manually cycling the bolt. If you’re out hunting and desperate for food, you simply can’t afford for your hunting rifle to fail. This is one advantage that a bolt gun provides over a semi-automatic.
For these three reasons, you need to have at least one bolt action hunting rifle with a scope in your survival armory. Your choice of caliber is up to you, but most survivalists would recommend that you stick with .308 Winchester or .30-06 Springfield. Both will kill practically any game in the United States, and they’re easy to find. Nonetheless, other calibers you could consider as well include the .338 Winchester Magnum, .300 Winchester Magnum, .270 Winchester, or 7mm Remington Magnum.
The next question then comes as to what specific manufacturer and model you should choose when looking for a traditional bolt hunting rifle. While there are a nearly limitless number of options, these five stand out above the rest:
REMINGTON 700 / OR REMINGTON 770
The Remington 700 earns a spot on this list simply because it’s the best-selling bolt action rifle of all time. Not only does that say a lot about its quality, it also means that spare parts and accessories for the rifle are incredibly easy to find.
The Remington 700 was originally introduced in 1962, with the first models chambered in Remington’s new 7mm Remington Magnum round. Since then though, the 700 has been made available for practically any major bolt action caliber you can think of.
When the 700 was first released, the Winchester Model 70 was the top selling rifle in North America. But the Model 70 had just one problem: it was expensive to make and, thus, expensive to buy. Hunters in need of a high-quality rifle for less money were naturally drawn to the new Model 700, and it became a huge success.
The Model 700 has gained a strong reputation for accuracy, ruggedness, and reliability. Subsequently, not only has it been used extensively by civilians, it’s also been adopted by a variety of military and police forces. It features a push feed action, single stage trigger, and a two-position safety, which differed from the Model 70.
Today, the Remington Model 700 is still an excellent all-around option for a hunting or a sniper rifle. They are produced in a countless number of variants with different lengths, finishes, and stock types available. It shouldn’t be the only rifle you consider, but it should at least be one of them.
The Remington Model 770 is very similar to the Model 700, but is a more basic model. The Model 770 is limited on its options compared to its counterpart (barrel size for instance), but is less expensive. Because of this, the Model 770 is a great option for preppers looking for a more inexpensive way to engage targets at longer distances.
The Ruger American is the budget option on this list. Reasonably priced in the $300 to $400 range (sometimes with a scope combination), it certainly doesn’t offer the same level of eminence as a Remington 700 or a Winchester 70. But it does offer you the best quality for the price range.
The Ruger American is a unique rifle because it feeds from a rotary magazine, which can also be removed from the gun, so you can swap out magazines in a tactical fashion if you want to. Even though it’s fairly low-priced, Ruger still invested much time into making the American rifle as good as it can be.
To this end, the Ruger American is installed with a hammer forged barrel that has been coated in a rust resistant black oxide finish with a tang mounted safety that’s easy to use. It has a fully adjustable trigger and a composite stock that’s available in a variety of colors.
In short, if you need the best quality bolt rifle you can get for less than $500, the Ruger American should be your first choice.
RUGER GUNSITE SCOUT
Another option for a bolt action rifle from Ruger is the Gunsite Scout Rifle. This is a short, carbine length rifle with a detachable 5 or 10 round magazines, a rail for adding scopes, and chambered in the .308 Winchester round. While the Gunsite Scout doesn’t have quite the range as the other rifles on this list due to its shorter length, the trade-off is it will be more nimble in tight situations and better suited as a brush or truck gun.
The Gunsite Scout is today offered in a number of different configurations, including synthetic or wooden stocks, blued or stainless finishes, and right-handed or left-handed bolts. It’s also available in 5.56x45mm NATO. The .308 version is far better suited for big game hunting.
WINCHESTER MODEL 70
Also, known as the “Rifleman’s Rifle”, the Winchester Model 70 is perhaps the most iconic bolt action rifle of all times. The models made before 1964, also known as the “pre-64” variations, are considered by many to be the finest rifles ever produced in history.
Facing tough competition from the lesser priced Remington 700, Winchester lowered the price of the Model 70 after 1964, but they also changed the design to use a push feed operation rather than the Mauser-inspired claw extractor that the pre-64 used. This new Model 70 was regarded as lesser quality, so Winchester returned to producing the “pre-64” type action (only using CNC machining techniques) in the 1990s.
Winchester briefly went out of business in 2006, but in late 2007 it was announced that FN would be manufacturing new Model 70s under the Winchester name due to licensing agreements. Winchester Model 70s have been produced by FN ever since, and have sold well.
The Model 70 is today offered in practically any caliber and configuration you can think of. Not only are they very sleek looking and smooth in operation, they’re also very durable and accurate. The Winchester Model 70 isn’t cheap by any means, but it truly offers the best you could ask for out of a production bolt rifle.
WEATHERBY MARK V
The last bolt action rifle that we will talk about is another highly influential design: the Weatherby Mark V. The Mark V was specifically designed to handle the biggest Magnum calibers there are. As a result, it uses a more durable receiver, bolt, and lugs. However, the Mark V is also available in more common calibers such as .300, .30-06, or .308.
Out of all the rifles on this list, the Mark V is easily the most prestigious and expensive. But you definitely get what you pay for, because the Mark V is specifically designed to last for many generations while also being able to handle the largest and hardest hitting calibers out there. If you want to find just the right blend between strength and luxury, and have the budget for it, the Mark V should be your top choice.
As with the other rifles on this list as well, the Mark V is available in wide variety of configurations, with different options for barrel lengths, stock types, and finishes.
In conclusion, every survival armory needs to have at least one rifle that uses a bolt-action operation and has a scope. Such a rifle will be the best gun to use for long-range anti-personnel use or for big game hunting. It’s also important that you select a rifle that will last you a lifetime and will deliver optimal performance, something that any of the rifles in this article will do.
Pros And Cons Of Modifying Your Firearms The thoughts of a great light and a laser on your sidearm is enough to make the tactical minded prepper swoon. Maybe add a silencer to combat that attention catching gunfire and you have something that any prepper would except among their ranks. We live in a time …
There are many reasons to be armed when a disaster strikes. Hunting food could be the difference between survival and starvation. A defensive weapon could prevent death by predators, both four-legged and two-legged. On the other hand, not all guns are created equal. Each caliber has its own advantages and drawbacks, and you need to […]
Hello, my name is Drew, and I’m a concealed carrier. I want to stand up and admit to everyone that I perform a cardinal sin in the tacti-cool carry world – but I know a lot of you (probably) do it too. I find strength in numbers – solidarity! – so here goes: *deep breath* I carried a spare magazine for my EDC gun by throwing it in my weak-side front pants pocket. There, I said it.
Yes, I can feel the great disturbance in the force caused by millions of tattooed, appendix-carrying, Glock-19-with-RMR wielding pistol hipsters rolling their eyes at once. (Maybe I can alienate some more readers later.) Not only is it not terribly trendy to pocket carry a spare magazine loose, it’s admittedly not a great idea for a few reasons: Dirt, lint, and other items that are in your pocket can enter the magazine through the cartridge count holes or magazine feed opening and gum up the function of the magazine. The distinctive pistol magazine shape prints through the fabric of your pantaloons. The magazine re-orients itself constantly, since there is nothing in your bare pocket to keep it in place: one minute it can be sitting proper and vertical; a couple steps later, and the magazine has dropped down to lie horizontally with unknown cartridge orientation.
Once that happens, trying to extract the magazine (especially during a high-stress period of your life, for instance: someone shooting at you) is damned difficult at best, and requires concentration, patience and dexterity – three qualities that you may not be blessed with if you REALLY need that spare magazine. If you carry a flashlight clipped to the inside of your weak-side pocket, add scraped knuckles and swearing to the magazine retrieval process. It’s not a great system, but like I said, I’m sure many of you also pocket carry your spare magazine – at least you have the forethought to have the extra insurance with you.
But what if I told you that there is an easier, more reliable, and straight-up better way to pocket carry your spare magazines – and other items?
Salvation By Raven Concealment Systems
Raven Concealment Systems, a company hailing from Ridgeville, Ohio, has the perfect solution to this particular concealed carry malady: the Moduloader Pocket Shield. An odd-looking, shield-shaped polymer affair with a multitude of slots incorporated into the flat, you would never guess its purpose in life just by looking at it. However, the proudly USA-Made Pocket Shield is the perfect solution to low-profile pocket carrying and organizing EDC gear – knives, spare magazines, flashlights, even small pistols. It’s so simple you’ll feel stupid you didn’t think of it a long time ago.
The Moduloader Pocket Shield was designed by Chris Fry of MDTS Training, in conjunction with Raven Concealment Systems, to be able to retain a number of items in a fixed location while installed in your forward pants (or, upon further reflection, I suppose rear too) pocket. The slots allow the securing of any number of accessories to be mounted – MOLLE gear, Kydex holsters, clip-on accoutrements, screw-on accessories. Hell, you can even tie things to it – Raven Concealment provides line and a few Chicago screws for you to attach items to the Pocket Shield with. Your imagination, and the Moduloader Pocket Shield’s pocket-sized dimensions, are the only limitation you have for attachment possibilities.
Related: Ronin Concealed Carry Holster
The Pocket Shield is a flexible polymer that can be warped, bent, and moved around to conform to your pocket. It doesn’t have a memory per se to keep whatever shape you leave it in, but Raven Concealment Systems recommends wrapping a heavy rubber band around it (think breaking in a baseball glove) to help it keep a more curved, contoured shape.
Two hooked outer edges ensure the Pocket Shield grabs fabric and stays inside your pocket, even if you are performing a hasty emergency deployment of your pocket contents. If the provided shape doesn’t suit your needs, the unit can be cut and trimmed to your heart’s desire. Aesthetically speaking, the Pocket Shield follows the Henry Ford mentality – it comes in any color you want, as long as it’s black. (edit: it appears that Raven Concealment actually now offers Gray and Coyote Brown options as well.)
Setting up the Moduloader Pocket Shield
As stated before, the Pocket Shield is designed to be extremely adaptable, and can be fitted with any number of accessories. I personally wanted to be able to carry a spare magazine and a larger flashlight than my usual EDC Streamlight Microstream AAA flashlight. I set out researching accessory options that would best fit my needs.
I read about the Blue Force Gear Ten Speed mag pouch someplace – I don’t recall where – and the Ten Speed mag pouch was specifically listed as a great fit for the Moduloader Pocket Shield. The Ten Speed pouch is made from an elastic material that holds magazines and other are extracted. The Ten Speed mag pouch has a simple strap that can attach similarly to a MOLLE setup, and is retained by a hook and loop patch at its tag end. It sounded right up my alley, so I ordered one off Amazon -it set me back all of twenty dollars.
The Blue Force Gear Ten Speed pouch was indeed perfect for what I needed. The fastening strap weaved its way between the Pocket Shield’s slots, and fit perfectly, snugly. The spare 17-round magazine for my EDC Sig Sauer P320 Compact fit superbly in the pouch with perfect retention (single stack mags work too) – and there was room to spare for other goodies on the Pocket Shield.
In retrospect, I wish I’d ordered a double Ten Speed mag pouch so I could have some carry options – two spare mags, a magazine and a flashlight or larger folding knife, or flashlight and knife – or anything else I could stick in the little elastic pouch. I’ll have to remedy that someday.
As it is, the Blue Force Gear Ten Speed pouch and Raven Concealment Moduloader Pocket Shield are a dynamite EDC one-two punch. Having a spare magazine for my carry pistol and a Fenix TK20R 1000-lumen light make me feel better about life in general when the chips might be down.
Moduloading the Moduloader
So how well does this odd contraption work at its intended purpose? I have found, over the course of the past few months of using the Pocket Shield, that it works very well indeed. I keep the Moduloader Pocket Shield in my Grab ‘n’ Go pistol bag where my EDC Sig P320 and other always-with-me gear resides if it’s not on my body. When it’s time to load up, I know right where all my gear is, and I extricate it for body deployment…and the Pocket Shield is the easiest piece of kit to deploy. My spare magazine is already in the Ten Speed pouch, the Fenix flashlight is clipped on, ready to go. All that’s left is to grab the assembled unit, pinch it slightly to fit in the pocket opening, and push it right into your front pants pocket – good to go. Done.
Pulling the Pocket Shield out of one’s pocket isn’t quite so easy – those small retention spurs do a pretty danged good job at their intended purpose – namely, keeping the unit from popping out of the pocket. While that’s a desirable asset when quickly ripping out a needed reload, getting everything out at the end of the day is a wrestling match whose difficulty is directly proportional to the size of your pocket. If you wear cargo pants or BDUs, you’ll find that removing everything comes relatively easily. If you wear skinny jeans (and why would you?), you’ll need a prybar and probably a couple friends or a team of draft horses to extricate the Pocket Shield – that is, assuming you could even get it in your front pocket at all in the first place.
Is that a Moduloader in your pocket, or are you happy to see me?
I’ve been using the Moduloader Pocket Shield for several months now and have found that it fulfills its intended role admirably; here’s my take on utilizing it in daily use. It was weird at first. As someone who really hates carrying extra stuff in his pockets (including the loose spare magazine), it was mildly annoying carrying the extra bulk in that front pocket. As an added bonus, the bulk of the extra gear (spare P320 magazine and the aforementioned Fenix flashlight) in my pocket definitely made a pronounced bulge in my front pocket. It was awkward and foreign, but I stuck it out even though I was sure the gear in my pockets for stuck out….like a sore thumb.
Also Read: Rothco Concealed Carry Jacket
I found with use that this resulting payload bulge needs to be put out of mind; 99% of the people you interact with or pass by won’t be looking at that one pocket. Besides, people carry license-plate sized cellphones, wallets, car keys,and other sundry items in their pockets; bulges or printing is present on almost everyone. The bulge in one’s front pocket resulting from a loaded Pocket Shield is much less expected than a spare magazine carrier on one’s belt – that sort of printing is harder to ignore and dismiss away.
Once I got over the fresh experience of a new, foreign method of carrying gear on my person, I began to really enjoy the Moduloader Pocket Shield and all it offered. I have one set up for pistol carry, and one set up with non-lethal options for areas when I can’t carry a pistol – the Fenix TK20R is still present, but a ASP Keychain Defender OC spray/kubaton takes the magazine’s place. There’s room for a multitool too, if I feel so inclined.
Wrapping it up… and stuffing it in your pocket
The Raven Concealment Moduloader Pocket Shield is a brutally simple and brutally effective way of adding extra gear to your EDC while keeping it accessible, organized, and well hidden. A couple extra accessories (such as a magazine pouch or flashlight holder) will make the usefulness of the Moduloader Pocket Shield’s utility skyrocket. The Moduloader Pocket Shield will set you back $24.99 through Raven Concealment’s website. A 3-pack is a deal at $59.99 (when they have them in stock!).
Also Read: 10 Tips For Concealed Carry
My favorite result of carrying a Raven Concealment Moduloader Pocket Shield is the sheer convenience of having a basic EDC kit ready to go at any given time. My carry pistol’s reload and a powerful flashlight can live in my nightstand drawer, ready to plop into my pants pocket without having to thread a still pistol belt through mag carriers and other Batman gear. When the day is over and I’m home, I simply extricate the Pocket Loader and payload out of my pocket, and place it in the drawer or in my go-bag, ready for the next day.
I’ve often found that simple items work best – and the Moduloader Pocket Shield is the essence of simplicity, ease of use, and sheer effectiveness at its intended job. Get you one and discover the new best way you never knew about to carry extra gear concealed.
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AR15 Survival Rifle Set Up: Part 1-
Dane… “The Gunmetal Armory” Audio player provided!
The survival rifle is a timeless classic in the rifle community and all throughout the world. Many versions of the survival rifle exist, from a specially designed rifle that a pilot might carry in his plane, to a 3 barreled rifle/shotgun combo that was carried by Cosmonauts, to an over-under rifle/shotgun combo, or just a simple 12 gauge shotgun with a couple extra accessories added to it.