Are You Neglecting Your Preps? Now Is Not The Time!

DSC_0393_zpsk611tjedWe live in interesting times. And I see the Prepper Community reflecting that. Up until the early morning hours on November 9th many people increased their prepper activities at a fast pace expecting Killary Clinton to become the 45th President of the United States. Myself included. That consisted of expending funds to buy items that I was concerned would be soon unavailable under a Clinton socialist regime. Across the country guns, especially AR’s were flying off dealer’s shelves (at least where I live).

On the morning of November 9th, you could hear a collective sigh of relief from across the country.  And especially in the Prepper Community. But many of us warned against that. I stated my case in Trump Won. So It’s O.K. Now, Right?

Those warnings have proven to be true. Even with a President who supports the Second Amendment, and will put decent judges on our Supreme Court, we still have a long way to go. And activist liberal judges still attack the Second amendment. This country did not get to the brink of disaster over night, and we are not going to be able to reverse directions overnight. President Trump cannot fix everything overnight with the stroke of a pen. I think he will begin to try to point us back in the right direction, but he isn’t God, and he is facing the most serious resistance of any President in my lifetime.  And the threats, man-made and natural, that we prep to survive, are pressing us even harder. Experienced preppers will tell you to constantly evaluate and modify you plan as situations change or develop. So what has changed significantly since the election of President Trump that would affect your level of preps? A LOT!

Domestic Violence

untitledThe street violence that erupted after the election will continue. These are not spontaneous protests against an unpopular election. These are well and organized riots. And the level of violence will escalate. The ANTI FAS, BLM, and other radical leftist movements are calling for armed resistance and violence. Police Officers have been increasingly murdered around the country in ambush. Many of us warned that the radical left is desperate and will not simply give up, and will resort to anything to reverse the election.  Unless the government is able to control these people, as the level of violence increase, people on the other side are going to take to the streets and meet violence with violence.  Our courts have currently ruled that we have to continue to take in thousands of “refugees”  from terrorists parts of the world.

Economic Collapse

I personally think that this is still a serious possibility. Barrack Obama ran up our national debt to about 19 TRILLION dollars. We are a serious debtor nation right now,Pylon_ds creative commons Even if the President was to get perfect cooperation (and he isn’t) this is going to be difficult to deal with and will take a long time. We have a ravaged military to rebuild, and a national infrastructure that borders on disaster. Our national electrical grid system is seriously weak and vulnerable. All of these things are not going to get fixed overnight. An EMP incident, either man -made attack, or from the sun, will shut the economy, and life as we know it, down for a seriously long time. A cyber attack on our electric grid is both possible, and evidently planned for by many of our major enemies.

Natural Disasters

Regardless of the reasons, natural disasters are continuing and actually increasing in both frequency and severity. Much of our infrastructure is outdated, out of repair, and failing. One need only look at the recent problems with Oroville Dam in California. 188,000 people had to be evacuated when it looked as if the dam would give way. I wonder how many of them had a three day bug out bag ready? Tornados, hurricanes, severe snow storms, all continue to happen with increasing severity.

Folks, regardless of the election, and in many ways because of it, we face some of the most dangerous times in our nation’s history. Now is not the time to be complacent in our emergency preparations.

 

Survival Hax Survival Shovel

survival_shovel_1_1024x1024One of the fun things about doing a survival blog is that manufacturers and dealers will often send you one of their items to test. I have some definite policies on this. I do not accept money for the review. I get to keep the item. And I will only write an honest evaluation. When Sara of SurvivalHax offered to send me one of their survival shovels I was glad to test it.

Before I discuss the shovel, let’s define what a survival shovel is. For my purposes, it should be lightweight and small enough to fit in a bug out bag. It should be sturdy enough to perform some basic functions. These would include digging a cat hole, digging a fire pit, digging a water run off trench around your shelter, driving tent stakes, and shoveling snow or sand from around a stuck vehicle tires. If you are planning on doing more heavy-duty digging, then you will need a larger tool. The SurvivalHax survival shovel will perform it’s intended functions very well.

This little shovel is basic military style with a folding spade and pick. This design was initiated by the Germans in WW2 and quickly copied by the United States and many other countries. The shovel has a two piece hollow handle which screws together and the end survival_shovel_6_1024x1024cap unscrews and has a ferro rod fire starter. Both handles are hollow. It also comes with a carrying case, as well as a lifetime warranty. When the shovel is unfolded it is 24 inches (2 feet) long. Its collapsible size is 8.6 x 8.2 inches. The head of the shovel is made out of manganese steel with a rigidity rating of 42-46. The handle is made out of steel as well, while the orange adjustment nut is aluminum alloy. It weighs in at about 2 pounds.

The blade is serrated on one side like many other shovels of this size. And like most of it’s counterparts, the serrated edges as well as the blade edge need to be sharpened with a file. This is not a criticism.   A few minutes with a file and the serrations and flat edge are nice and sharp. Again, most shovels of this type need to be sharpened. The three rivets that hold the blade to the mount seem solid. At 2 lbs. weight, it is solid enough to pound tent stakes in soft to moderately hard soil. I took the shovel out back and used both the pick and the blade to dig  around a bit. The soil here is gravely on top, sandy under. Both the pick and blade worked well and the locking nut stayed tight. There were no dings or bends to the blade.

survival-hax-shovel-dissassembledThe handle is a two piece hollow affair that screws together. The threads for both the handle and the end cap are cut clean and screw together with no problems. I recommend lubricating the threads lightly.   The black finish is smooth, actually slick. I solved this problem by wrapping the handle in paracord.

This not only adds no real weight, but gives a more solid grip on the handle as well as providing additional paracord for my kit. As the end cap is a ferro rod fire starter, I decided to use the hollow space to enhance  fire making capability. I took 5 Vaseline impregnated cotton balls and wrapped them in a plastic bag. I attached a piece of paracord to one end and a military p-38 can opener to the other. It works like a pull through with the p-38 being the weight that allows the sack to be pulled into or out of the tube. In addition, I have found a p-38 to be an excellent striker to use on a rod. I tested it on the rod that came with the shovel and got good sparks. I haven’t decided what to use the space in the upper handle for yet. Perhaps kindling.

The carrying case is adequate to store the two pieces nicely in a rucksack, but only has one belt loop and would probably not be too durable for long-term wear on a belt. If you wish to carry it that way, a very inexpensive military surplus e-tool holder can easily be found.survival_shovel_7_1024x1024

Summary

The SurvivalHax Survival Shovel is a well made, lightweight shovel of a proven design that is small enough to fit in a bug out bag, or under a vehicle seat and comes with a lifetime warranty. The hollow handles give you the option of storing additional items of your choice, which most other shovels of this type do not have. Mine is now in my get home bag in my jeep. Available on Amazon or SurvivalHax

Trump Won So It’s OK Now. Right?

donald_trump_by_gage_skidmore_12Not just yet folks. Not just yet. Like many preppers and patriots I fell into the trap of believing the news media polls that Donald Trump was behind, and even though a close election, Killary Clinton was going to be our next President. I went to bed early Nov. 8th, expecting to wake up to just that. And like many, I was in total shock (and joy) to find out that Donald J. Trump was going to be the 45th President of the United States. And all that it is going to mean for not only the United States but Western Culture as well.  With Trump as President we are going to have a Supreme Court that is going to slowly return us back to Constitutional values. Pro 2nd Ammendment laws and policies will be implemented. We are going to start implementing intelligent economic policies. And American social policies. Our religious freedoms will be restored. The list of benefits is endless.

But it hasn’t happened just yet!

You see, the winners of this election, you and me, weren’t the only ones in shock. Killary was supposed to have it sowed up. The news media said so, therefore it must be true. Obama would have a third term to solidify his legacy. And his real legacy, which he had always intended, was the total destruction of American society and to have it re-built in the socialist progressive mold.  They are mad as hell. They are shocked. They are desperate! All of George Soros’ money, even with the collusion of the mainstream media, couldn’t  buy this election. The American people repudiated Barack Obama and his socialist agenda. As I stated in my article This Election As a SHTF Scenario, whichever way the election went, we were subject to be living in dangerous times. And Donald Trump doesn’t get sworn in until January 20th. A lot can happen between now and then.

The radical left has spent 50 years slowly chipping away at the fabric of the American constitutional republic. And they just saw all their efforts potentially go up in smoke in one election. And they are not going to stand still for it.

You Need To Stay Even More Vigilant Now and Continue Your Preps

It is well documented now that the ongoing riots in major cities are being conducted by people being paid for it. This is not a grass roots objection to Trump’s election. This is deliberately organized violence. And it is also happening in colleges and even high school students are walking out of class and demonstrating. These things are being  planned, organized, and paid for. And I think it will continue for a while until after the inauguration.

Notice Trump’s Conciliatory Demeanor

A lot of people are wondering about that. I will tell you what I think. I think he is aware that we are all walking on a tight rope right now, and he has to play it cool until Jan. 20th. I have never been partial to conspiracy theories. I tend to be down to earth and pragmatic. But I have seen a lot improbabilities happen recently. And I think it is possible that a lot of improbable things could still happen before Jan. 20th. In my lifetime I have seen one Presidnet assasinated and one wounded in an assasination attempt.

So I advise all of you to stay alert, do not get complacent and remain vigilant until our new President actually takes the reins of government in his hands and sorts some bastards out.

Because the people who are bent on our destruction are not going to lay down and quit!

 

 

An Open Letter to President Elect Donald J. Trump

trump-top_20161109_090434Dear Mr. Trump,

Well, I went to bed last night thinking I was going to wake up to Killary being our president, and the horror show that would entail. I woke up this morning to find that the Trump Train choo-chooed accross the country. Congratulations Sir!

Now, Donald, the American people voted you into office because of the promisses you made. And we expect you to keep those promisses. Build the wall and make Mexico pay for it. Deport the illegals, Stop the Haji invasion of our country. Get rid of this abortion called Obama Care. Nominate Supreme Court Justices who have actually read the Constitution and understand what it means. Restore our Second Ammendment rights in places they are being abused.  Rebuild our economy. LOCK HER UP!!!!!!!!!

We don’t expect you to get it all done overnight. But we expect you to make serious progress right off the bat. If you do what you promissed, your name can be listed in the history books next to Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln.

But if you have lied to us, or start doing the typical politician tap dance “compromise” we will toss your butt out. You actually have the opportunity to make America great again. Don’t blow it.

Sincerly,

Johnnie L. Mock

How To Prepare Your Homestead or Property To Protect You During SHTF Situations

mummonmokkiSurvival is a job that modern civilization makes very easy. Do you have plans to keep on doing it when the support structure you rely on falls away? Survivalists call this the “Sh#t Hits The Fan” or SHTF scenario. It means making your household safe and self-supporting for an indefinite amount of time. Here are some important general strategies for getting your property or homestead ready for such a situation.

Always Have A Bug-Out Plan

To start with, you need to consider a fundamental question of survival strategy: Hunker down or bug out? Do you stand firm on your existing property and make it self-sufficient and secure, or do you flee to a less dangerous place? There is plenty of helpful advice for pursuing both strategies and a healthy SHTF plan may well combine the two – bugging out of your day-to-day home to settle on a prepared rural property, for example.

Bugging out Regardless of what you plan for, put emergency plans and supplies in place to make retreating an option at any time. Bug-out bags aren’t just for escaping a city that’s become too dangerous to live in. You should have one prepared at all times so that you can get mobile without placing yourself in any more danger than is absolutely necessary. Plan redundant lines of retreat. The further down the list you get, the less preparation and research you’re going to be able to do, but that’s alright. Even a plan as simple as, “grab this backpack and head north” is preferable to being stuck in a dangerous place without options.

Balance Convenience Against Visibility

 Most survivalists who are seriously considering SHTF scenarios aren’t thinking about short-term interruptions of emergency services and the rule of law. They’re planning for an indefinite time frame where every instance of human contact is likely to be a risk. This is why you need to consider how visible your occupation of your survival property is going to be. Taking steps to conceal your presence can save you a lot of trouble.

In rural survival scenarios, for instance, being close to a reliable source of water is a huge convenience. It makes gardening, cooking and cleaning much easier for you. It also makes your property much more??????????????????????????????? attractive and tempting to outsiders. Strike a balance between concealment and convenience when you pick out your property and start making survival plans.

 Practice Vital Skills In Advance

 Keeping yourself and your loved ones safe in an SHTF scenario requires good timing and fast, efficient work. These qualities are tough to achieve if all of your survival skills are based on something your read months or years ago and then forgot. Organize your day-to-day activities so that your ordinary mode of life gives you opportunities to practice survival skills.

Start a garden in your backyard or join a community garden if you live in an urban area to keep your 110701_BURKARD_50075thumbs green. Get out into the wilderness regularly to camp and be sure to camp a little rougher thanbill_stagg_turning_up_his_beans_pie_town_new_mexico__he_will_next_pile_them_for_curing_loc pulling your RV up to a campground with plumbing and wi-fi. If your SHTF plans include defending yourself with lethal force and they probably should, make sure you put in plenty of practice hours at your local gun range. All the plans in the world won’t Front Sight 5help you if you don’t have the skills to execute them.

 Detailed planning for an SHTF scenario is going to depend heavily on the type of property you have to work with, the skills your household brings to the table, and even the general climate conditions in your region. Regardless of the details, you should not lose sight of these basic principles. They will serve you in good stead in virtually any survival situation.

About the author

William Sheridan is a successful businessman and operates the site, Best Home Security which provides answers and solutions for all your home security needs. Visit today to discover on-topic and useful information that can help keep your family safe.

Notes on Keeping Your AR Running

m-4-soldierThe world is rapidly changing and smart preppers pay attention and try to adapt to the changes. In regards to firearms and ammunition, there is a very real possibility that we will elect a President who is an avowed enemy of the 2nd Amendment. I have discussed the ramifications of this in my article This Election as a SHTF Scenario. Many concerned citizens are continuing to purchase firearms for the hard times they feel are ahead. And many of them are selecting AR style rifles for their personal defense and as part of their preps. I discussed one I recently bought here. And a lot of these folks are not military veterans who have had the luxury of marrying the “Little Black Rifle” in the past. This article is for the new  owner of an AR, or someone with not a whole lot of experience in running or maintaining it.

First, if you are a new AR owner, you need to learn to disassembly your rifle properly. ( I use the term AR to describe the AR-15, M-16, M-4 series of rifles, both military and civilian versions). I’m not going to cover that here. There are a lot of excellent references on the AR system. If nothing else, get a copy of the military armorer’s41fdjvw3mrl__sx387_bo1204203200_ manual or any of the commercial manuals on it

Understanding the Operating System

directm16The AR uses a direct impingement gas system. This means that there is no piston, rather the gas is bled off the barrel and impinges directly on the bolt through the bolt key. This is why cleaning certain areas is critical to keep it running and has an effect on ammunition selection as well. I will discuss ammo in a future article. Here are some of the special cleaning and inspection considerations with the AR series rifles.

Cleaning and Inspecting

Barrel:  The barrel is cleaned like any other rifle from the chamber end using a bore brush,solvent and correct size patches.. But special attention must be given to the chamber due to the design of the locking lugs. A special chamber cleaning brush ischamber-brush needed to properly clean the chamber and the locking lug recesses. This is a critical area of this rifle and causes the lion’s share of malfunctions when excessively dirty! The brush will clean not only the chamber but the locking lug recesses as well. Use Q-tips and pipe cleaners to clean the recesses. There are also special patches and wipe mops designed for this that you can find online.

Bolt Carrier: There are some areas on this that you need to pay special attention to. bolt-2_2The gas key on top of the bolt carrier is particularly important. First, inspect the screws on top and ensure they are tight. Insure the stakes are good so the screws will not move. You should be able to grasp the key with one hand and the bolt carrier with the other and there should be no movement. The key needs to be solid on the carrier or you will have problems with it dragging on the gas tube which enters the mouth of the key. Clean the inside of the tube on the gas key with a pipe cleaner and solvent. A totally worn out .223 chamber brush can also be used. Insure you totally dry it so that there is no solvent or oil in the tube. This is where the gas impinges on the bolt and any solvent or oil will be turned to hard carbon immediately. Inspect the mouth of the hole in the key. See if it is pinged or split. If so, it means the key is striking on and dragging against the gas tube that enters the receiver. Take the stripped bolt carrier and replace it in the receiver and run it back and forth to see if it is dragging on the tube. If it drags, you are going to have to very carefully adjust the angle of the gas tube with a screw driver and bend it so it does not drag. I spent a year and a half rebuilding M-16s for the Army in a Depot level facility, and had to do this often. Care in cleaning the upper receiver and not bending the gas tube to begin with is important.

Bolt: The are a couple things on the bolt you need to pay close attention to. Make sure to clean all the carbon and brass particles from the bolt face, and especially ar-15-boltunder the extractor claw with a tooth brush and pipe cleaners. It isn’t necessary to take the extractor off each time, but if you do, insure you do not lose the pin and the small plastic piece that fits in the spring. Insure you clean the recesses between the locking lugs well. There are three gas rings at the rear of the bolt. Each has a space in it. Insure that these three spaces are not aligned. On the back side of the rings the bolt shaft carbons up heavily. Let it soak in solvent for awhile and scrub the carbon off with a brass brush.

Upper Receiver: The main thing here is to clean well around the gas tube but insure you do not bend it. A cleaning rag for most of it and Q-tips and pipe cleaners around the gas tube will get the job done. Do not get lubrication or solvent in the gas tube.

Lower receiver: Ease the hammer forward and clean the lower receiver with Q-tips and solvent. Lubricate the top of the hammer where the bolt carrier rides over it.

 Other things to inspect: Insure both take down pins are solid. You should be able to push them out with your fingers or a cartridge tip, but it shouldn’t be too easy. Check the flash suppressor on the muzzle and ensure it is not loose. The firing pin tip should be nicely rounded without sharp edges.

Spare Parts

Considering the political climate, having spare parts on hand would be a good idea.  Firing pin, extractor and extractor spring would be a couple of good ones. But there is one part that you absolutely need to have a couple extra of. The firing pin retaining pin

Otis Cleaning Kit

Otis Cleaning Kit

is basically a 3 cent cotter key, without which, you bolt will not function.firing-pin-retaining-pin And they are very easy to loose when cleaning your weapon in a field environment. Keep at least one spare in your field cleaning kit. For more information on cleaning kits, please see my article Weapons Cleaning Kits for the Bug Out Bag.

Lubrication

This is a seriously critical issue with AR style rifles, and is one area that AK’s are better in. You need to properly lubricate your AR to keep it running. There is an ongoing controversy about shooting steel case ammunition in AR’s which I addressed in The Truth About Steel Cased ammunition.  I have seen a pretty fair number of AR’s actually lock up using steel cased ammo and in EVERY instance they were pretty dirty71c-nbsrysl__sl1500_ and bone dry! There are a lot of really good lubes on the market, but if you are a new AR owner you can’t go wrong with Break Free CLP. You can use it as a cleaner, lubricant and preservative.

 Important Lubrication Points On The Bolt Carrier Group

Lube the entire bolt head including the gas rings. Lubricate the locking lugs, and place a couple drops of oil in the two holes in the side of the bolt carrier. Lube the rails on the bolt carrier that ride in the recesses inside the upper receiver.

bolt-1

Lubricate the cam pin and the bearing surfaces it cams on inside the bolt carrier.

bolt-2

If you are a new AR owner, keeping your AR properly cleaned and properly lubricated, will insure it  serves you well in the difficult situations you probably bought it for. As I write this, AR’s are flying off the dealer shelves.

These are just a few hints on keeping the AR running and many experienced AR shooters will probably have more to add so feel free to comment. In future articles I will discuss magazines and ammunition.

This Election As A SHTF Scenario

6080137063_71b986b12f_bIf your reading this blog, odds are, you are already aware of how serious this election in November is. Those of you who have been in the prepping community for some time are already taking prudent steps. I believe that the future of this nation is grim, regardless of who gets elected. I do not think Trump will really be able to slow the locomotive down that is rapidly taking us to the brink. It has been too bad for too long but at least with him, one can hope. And if Killary is elected, she will push the throttle to the wall. This nation is more seriously divided now than we have been since the Civil War. And emotions of the serious people on both sides are just as high. The vast majority of the Sheeple really haven’t a clue, although I do sense that a lot of people are starting to wake up.

If Trump wins, the radical left is not going to just lay down and disappear. You can expect to see serious increases in violence from BLM and other radical groups. You canCivil unrest expect to see an increase in radical Muslim terrorist activity. If Killary wins, do not expect the majority of the Republican gutless cowards to try to prevent her from shredding the last vestiges of the Constitution, even if they retain control of the House and Senate. They couldn’t even control Obama. But there are a number of armed Patriots who are just going to say NO! And that could get serious quickly. 2017 is going to be a seriously dangerous year, no matter who wins. And those of you who care enough to survive, are going to have to make some serious decisions based on your individual situation.

But what if you are a guy or gal new to prepping or are just waking up? January isn’t that far off.  So how do you achieve some semblance of preparedness in time?

Educate Yourself Now!

There are a lot of good prepping blogs on the net and a lot of armchair expert idiots. You have to do your own sorting. I have a series of articles that will help you get started if you are just beginning.

_WAAC_-_SILENCE_MEANS_SECURITY__-_NARA_-_515987_tifYou especially need to pay attention to your OPSEC. And learn to be the Grey ManInvisible

Regardless of what stage you are in your preps, the election may cause you to change your plan, especially in regards to equipment and supplies and your schedule of accumulation. I am specifically talking about firearms and ammunition. If Killary wins, there is going to be a mass rush of people buying all of the weapons and ammo they can get with the accompanying shortages as we have seen before. But much worse. m&P 2She is going to use the executive order to control the availability of firearms and ammunition.  She will use BATF to rule and regulate firearms dealers out of business at any cost. Expect to see the mail order sale of ammunition prohibited at the federal level.

If you feel that you have a good basic battery of defensive weapons, Hornady critical_defenseI think you should seriously consider moving ammunition up to the top of your budget bucket list while it is still available. This is just my suggestion and each person and family will have to set their own priorities. Freeze dried food and camping equipment are probably not going to be regulated, at least not any time soon.  But I honestly feel that ammunition is subject to become a scarce commodity after the first of the year, either by runs on stores by concerned citizens, or dictatorial edict by Queen Killary. Just my opinion. As always, do your research, think, and form your own opinion.

CrusaderThen survive whatever comes!

 

Smith And Wesson M & P15 Sport II

m&P 2Most of my readers know that I tend to favor the AK system over the AR system for a number of reasons. I describe them here. But for a while I have decided to add an AR platform rifle to my battery. First, in about nine months I plan on increasing my small arms classes for those who carry an AR as their primary rifle. Secondly, with the election coming up and the possibility of Killary being elected, I decided now was the time to get an AR .

As I advise my readers. I did my research. When looking for a firearm for serious social work, quality has to be your first consideration. Then price. There are a lot of high quality AR system rifles on the market. And many of them have prices that reflect it. But after careful consideration of quality, features and price, I settled on the Smith and Wesson M&P-15-II . MSRP is $739.00 from Smith and I was able to get mine for $690.00. If you shop around, you can often find them in this range. I consider it a good bargain.

Right out of the box I was impressed with fit and finish. There is very little play between the upper and lower receivers. The bolt parts are tight and well finished. This is the Second Gen version that has the standard spring-loaded ejection port cover and the forward assist. Except for barrel length and only semi-auto, this rifle is basically the military M-4. However, the trigger guard is one piece and not the military style that folds down for arctic gloves.

MP-15-II

Basic Technical Stats

  • Caliber: 5.56 mm NATO (which means the chamber will also seat .223 Remington)
  • Action: Gas Operated Semi Auto
  • Capacity: 30+1 Rounds
  • Barrel Length: 16” (40.64 cm)
  • Front Sight: Adj. A2 Post
  • Rear Sight: Folding Magpul® MBUS®
  • Overall Length: 35.0” (88.90 cm) Extended, 32.0” (81.28 cm) Collapsed
  • Grip: Polymer
  • Weight: 6.45 lbs. (2,925.7 g)
  • Barrel Material: 4140 Steel
  • Upper Material: 7075 T6
  • Lower Material: Aluminum
  • Finish: Matte Black
  • Forged, Integral Trigger Guard
  • Armornite® Finish (Durable Corrosion Resistant Finish)
  • Chromed Firing Pin.
  • Rifling: 1/9, 6 groove
  • Picatinny rail forward of the rear sight for mounting accessories.

Magazines, Sights and Sling

GetImageThe rifle comes with one Magpul Gen 2 P-mag. I ordered four more from Gabe Suarez’s One Source Tactical. This magazine is a highly tested and reliable mag used by military units around the world. There is now a Gen 3 version but I have not tested it.

The front sight is the standard A-2 sight with square post, and even has the bayonet lug at the bottom. Since federal regs require a rifle barrel be at least 16″ the barrel is too long to effectively attach a bayonet. The rear sight isGetImage3 a folding Magpul® MBUS®. This is a spring-loaded flip-up sight with two apertures. The smaller aperture is for fine shooting and the larger is for CQB applications. The rear sight is windage adjustable only as elevation adjustments are done on the front sight. ( Please note that the sights that came with my rifle are black and not green as pictured. These photos are from the Magpul site and the sight comes in various colors)

WINDAGE ADJUSTMENT3

  • ~0.7 MOA (0.754″/100m) per click with a 14.5″ sight radius
  • ~0.5 MOA (0.547″/100m) per click with a 20″ sight radius

I decided to fit the rifle with a simple military black strap sling. I have never liked tactical slings. Tried a number of them in Afghanistan and always went back to a simple strap sling. To each his own.

Range and Zeroing

I took the rifle to Joe Foss Range in Buckeye Arizona where I do most of my training classes. The M&P15-II comes with a 1:9 twist barrel. This is a good compromise to allow for the stabilization of both the M-193 55gr. bullet and the M-885 62gr. bullet. I decided to zero the rife with the M-193 round to begin with. I was using Federal M-193 military production from the Lake City Arsenal. The cases had LC 2013 and the NATO stamp on the cartridge base. I set up a military zero target at 25yds and began zeroing from the bench. I started out with sights as they came from the factory. AllIMG_0321 zero groups were three shot groups using the small sight aperture . The first group was way low right. I made a sight adjust ment and was then a bit high left. I then went to the second target (pictured) first group slightly right, and the second in the center. After getting a 25yd zero, I then moved the target out to 50yds and did three shot  drills on a silhouette target. The rifle grouped nicely in the center chest area.  I then moved it out to 100yds and did three shot timed fire drills from the bench. The group was nice and tight in the throat area. I brought the front sight down a bit so I was hitting a bit high in the chest area. I wanted a good 100yd zero, as this is the maximum range I would probably use this rifle at most of the time. I then moved the target back to 50yds and did Mozambique drills ( two to the chest, one to the head) from the standing ready position using the larger CQB aperture for the remainder of the ammunition. All chest shots were centered and all head shots were also, with no flyers. This is one accurate little rifle! I fired a total of 120 rounds out of four brand new magazines with no malfunctions. My next range foray I will try it with M-885 ball and see what zero and accuracy changes might ensue.

Summation

This is an accurate, reliable, well made and reasonably priced AR rifle. I am really impressed with it. I plan on working out with it a lot more and if accuracy and reliability remain constant, it may just end up being my primary go to rifle. If you are looking to get an AR before the election, the S&W M&P Sport II would be a good choice.

Documentation To Take If Bugging Out

1912_Birth_Certificate_Ken_BakerOften times when we think of bugging out we consider a number of tangible things: Vehicle to use, equipment, food, water, and defensive weaponry to have readily available for a quick move out are just some of the things to consider.The bug out bag itself is the center piece of much of the conversation in regards to prepping and survival. When planning on bugging out, there are a wide range of scenarios you need to consider. Is this a short-term trip to avoid a oncoming natural hazard, and you plan to return home eventually? Or is it a total societal breakdown? Or any of the hundreds of possible scenarios in between?

Many people who prepare to evacuate their home in any number of scenarios often fail to seriously consider one of the undeniable truths about bugging out depending on the severity of the crisis. You may not ever be able to go back to your home. And if you are able to eventually return, it is probable that all of your possessions will be gone, the home possibly destroyed, or even someone else now living there. So the next issue to consider is the distinct possibility of having to start your life completely over either at your old home or elsewhere. This is going to require important documents on your part.  Lets take a look at the two ways to carry documentation, paper and digital, and the types of documents you may want to consider. Remember, you are prepping for any number of situations, not just TEOTWAWKI. You should carry copies of important documents with you even when you go on vacation. You should also have a set in a bank safe deposit box. Remember redundancy? What happens if your house burns down when you are gone?

BF-AB155_02docJ_E_20110701215220Paper

Paper documents have the primary advantage of being readily accessible should you need them. Unless you are carrying a computer and printer in your bug out kit, you should have paper copies of your most important documents. And you need to keep them in a waterproof container of some sort. Keep in mind that paper can get heavy. You should limit your paper documents to just the bare essentials. But here are some recommendations of what you will probably need hard copy of:

  • Us-passportTwo forms of I.D. for each adult in the family. Preferably picture I.D.
  • Passport will work as one of the above. If you do not have one, get one. Even if you do not plan to travel.
  • Social Security cards.
  • Birth certificates (certified) for each family member.
  • Copies of all insurance policies( auto, life, guns, etc.)
  • Marriage Certificates( certified)
  • All property deeds.
  • Immunization records, if not complete medical records for each member of the family.
  • Vehicle registration documents, and title if they are clear.
  • Any unique documents that effect your identity: DD-214, adoption papers etc.
  • Bank records with all account numbers.
  • Prescriptions, both medical and eye glass.

Digital

As well as the hard copies above, you should have digital copies of them and any other documentation you may want to re construct ( family fotos, business records., etc.). You can place them on an encryption disk. Granted, you won’t be able to use them until you have access to a computer, but they are small, light, can hold much more information than you want to carry hard copy, and be safely encrypted. You can getSandisk Cruiser_ this ScanDisk Cruiser Fit  with built-in software very inexpensively.

Kindle Paperwhite_Another digital answer is a small tablet such as the Kindle Paperwhite. The advantage of this system is that not only can you store readable versions of your documents, but you can also store a large number of digital reference books such as survival books, weapons manuals, etc.

Every individual and family has a different situation and different needs. But to determine what documentation you should take with you in an emergency evacuation, short or long-term, ask yourself this question:

“If all I have is the rucksack on my back, what documentation would I need to reconstruct my life?”

 

Deadly Force: Have You Really Thought About It?

Violators-Will-be-Shot-K-7669My company teaches a range of defensive firearms classes including Arizona Concealed Carry. And it never ceases to amaze me how few people have ever really seriously  considered the ramifications of using deadly force against another human being, either in a current Rule of Law situation, or even TEOTWAWKI Without Rule Of Law.

Lets get the legalities out of the way. I am NOT an attorney, and nothing in this article should be considered legal advice. You should always talk to an attorney in the jurisdiction in which you live about this issue.

Many law-abiding citizens are arming themselves for personal defense currently, or to defend themselves in a survival situation. (assuming they live in a jurisdiction that allows it.  I know I have an international readership and many of you live in countries where self-defense is almost impossible. This article is primarily for US readers but the part on post TEOTWAWKI might have relevance to you).

And many of these people train with their defensive armament, but never consider when and if they might actually have to kill another human being. And under what circumstances would or could they do it. It is a subject that you had better think about long and hard before you are placed in that situation. Shooting at a target on the range is a far cry from shooting at another moving human being who is shooting at you. And especially if just six months ago he was your next door neighbor and you had frequent social gatherings together. And your wives were best friends. You prepped. He didn’t.

Beyond the physical manipulation of you weapons (skill at arms) there are two considerations you need to seriously take into account: Legalities and morality. And these two issues will apply differently depending on whether your situation happens in a Rule Of Law environment, or a Without Rule Of Law environment. Lets look at both.

Rule Of Law Environment

Although there are many differences in various jurisdictions, there are some general principles that apply. There are  basically two types of force. Physical Force and Deadly Physical Force. Either of these can be either lawful or unlawful. As a rule of thumb, the law generally only allows you to use that level of force that is being used against you.  If someone is using unlawful physical force (hitting, punching, biting, etc.) you can use the same level of force to defend yourself. Unlawful physical force is generally not Use_of_Deadly_Force_Authorized_(5730792058)necessarily considered life threatening. But if someone uses unlawful deadly force (shooting, cutting, attacking with any type of weapon, etc.) then you would usually be justified in using lawful deadly force to defend yourself.  The criteria usually are  would a reasonable person in your situation believe that they were in immanent danger of death or serious bodily injury. Again, various jurisdiction have different takes on these concepts. Most places do not require that you attempt to retreat first but some do. Some jurisdictions have Castle Doctrines and some don’t. Basically, you only have the right to use deadly force to defend your life or the life of an innocent third-party.

US_Army_CID_agents_at_crime_sceneHere is a quick scenario on the use of force continuum. A party crasher enters your home while you are entertaining guests and is drunk,  loud and boisterous. You ask him to leave and he refuses. You try to physically put him out the door and he strikes you, You strike him back and he pulls a knife and tries to cut you. You pull your gun and shoot him. The situation went from verbal to physical to deadly physical with you only using that level of force that was used against you. Simplistic, but it explains the concept.  In most places you do not have the right to use deadly force against someone running out of your house with you TV or driving off in your car.  MOST jurisdictions will place the value of human life above the value of your property. KNOW the laws where you live. Deadly force should always be the LAST resort, All the preps in the world will do you no good if you are sharing a jail cell with Bubba when SHTF.

Something that most people do not consider is how much even a righteous lawful self-defense shooting is going to cost them financially. It will run into the tens of thousands of dollars. Fortunately, there are self-defense insurance policies you can buy at a reasonable cost that will help you in more ways than one. I recommend you research them and buy it if you can afford to do so. The truth is, you really cannot afford not to.

Conclusion: In a Rule of Law environment, it behooves you to KNOW the laws of your jurisdiction. Invest in good self-defense insurance. It is just as valuable as the insurance on your life, house, and car. If not more so. If the law itself places you in jeopardy, consider moving if you can. That is why I now live in Arizona

Without The Rule Of Law

Now things get problematic. If you are in a SHTF situation Without Rule of Law, then to some degree you are your own law. If there are no Police or government still functioning then a Civil unrestlarge number of people are going to take advantage of that to do anything they want or feel desperate enough to do. Looting, arson, rape, murder, the list goes on. You have a moral right to defend you and yours and the things you have that keep you alive. The prohibition against taking human  life to protect property is not going to be valid if the property is the food and water you need to survive on, and without which you will die. Many preppers who plan their survival for a WROL situation often overlook one critical factor though. Total WROL will not last forever.

WROL creates a vacuum and all vacuums have to be filled. The original “authority” may eventually re-establish itself  and require people to give an accounting of themselves. An example would be the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. A new “authority” may evolve. People are going to form groups which will develop social norms or “laws” , and they may try to force or enforce those laws on anyone they come into contact with. Even on a local personal level you have to consider the effects of your actions. You may feel smug justification for shooting the kid who was stealing your carrots out of your garden, but his father, older brothers, uncles and cousins, who are all heavily armed, may not see it your way. Always keep in mind that you may very well be held accountable for your actions, even if totally justified, at some point down the road by somebody. As a practical, tactical matter, it is a good idea to avoid using deadly physical force unless you have no choice.

Conclusion:   Even in a WROL situation, you need to use good judgement before you use deadly force. The former Rule of Law may return at some point, or be replaced by a new version. And you want to avoid at all possible making serious enemies of other armed people unless you absolutely have no other choice.

When Killing Is Necessary

There are combat veterans, seasoned Police officers and even average citizens who have been forced by job or necessity to take human life. They understand what the experience can do to you. But I suspect that a tremendous number of decent people who are properly preparing have not had that experience. They soberly arm themselves and practice with their weaponry frequently. The problem is that many of them have not moved beyond the simulated paper target stage. For far too many honest people, actually using their weaponry on another live human being is still thought about in the abstract. If “They” come at me I will shoot. If “They” attempt to steal my food I will shoot “them”. “They” may be highly armed thugs that are running around looting, robbing, and raping. And having to kill these types in self defense is more than morally justified. But what if “They” are former neighbors that you know personally. Could you really pull the trigger? What if “they” are a group of feral children (and in a TEOTWAWKI situation, there will be a lot of those) can you pull the trigger on a 10 year old even if he is pointing a shotgun in your direction demanding food? Or stealing the last 5 gallons of water you have? And how are you going to deal with it afterwards? Can you?  You better know the answers to these questions before hand.

I’m not trying to be melodramatic here. But these are serious realities you may face. Nothing can totally prepare you for the moment you have to kill another human being, or even a lot of other human beings.  In the military, new units and new soldiers train extensively. But then they must go through a “Baptism of Fire”.

So how does someone who has never had this kind of experience realistically prepare themselves? Of course, skill at arms is important. Know your weapons and how to use them thoroughly. But you need to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally as much as possible. Forget the hype, macho slogans, and especially Hollywood. You need to at least understand the mental and emotional aspects of killing another human being, and the effects it can have on you. At least mentally understanding these things will help you prepare to effectively use deadly physical force if necessary. And to come to terms with it.

A tremendous amount of research has been done on the psychological and physiological effects of killing. Lt. Col. Dave Grossman is an internationally recognized scholar, author, soldier, and speaker who is one of the world’s foremost experts in the field of human aggression and the roots of violence and violent crime. He has written 41Bu29eZsZL__SX311_BO1,204,203,200_two books that I think would be highly useful reading for anyone who is anticipating having to participate in serious deadly incidents in order to survive . On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society. This was his first book. Many people do not know that only 1 in 8 Army Infantrymen fired their rifles in combat in WW2, whereas almost all crew served weapons gunners did. There is a psychological reason for this and this book will explain it. You can learn a lot about the types of thinking and emotions you will experience in a deadly situation. His second book, On Combat: The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and in Peace is a followup to his first. From the Amazon page, “On Combat looks at what happens to the human body under the stresses of deadly battle and the impact on the nervous system, heart, breathing, visual and auditory perception, memory – then discusses new research findings as to what measure warriors can take to prevent such debilitations, so they can stay in the fight, On Combat_survive, and win. A brief but insightful look at history shows the evolution of combat, the development of the physical and psychological leverage that enables humans to kill other humans, followed by an objective examination of domestic violence in America. The authors reveal the nature of the warrior, brave men and women who train their minds and bodies to go to that place from which others flee. “

As many of us continue to say, your mind is your best weapon. All of the best equipment in the world is no good if you are mentally unprepared to deal with serious and immediate violence, both when it happens and afterwards. Thinking about these issues in a sober manner, and then understanding what has happened to those before you will help you to at least know what to expect. And that gives you a better chance to survive.

 

 

 

The Survival Mule. A Combination Locker/Trailer

3d4d00626ce4649714784624e563b73eNecessity is the mother of invention. A lot of good ideas are born when someone has a need, can’t find it on the market, so developes it himself. The Survival Mule falls into this category. I hasten to point out that I have not personally tested this item, but it seems like such an interesting idea, I thought you might like to hear about it. Chris Koelzer, the developer, is a 23 year Marine veteran who wanted to solve the problem of both prepper storage, and the ability to bug out quickly if necessary. The Survival Mule was the result.

The Survival Mule is basically a strong vertical storage cabinet that can be quickly DSC_0393_zpsk611tjedconverted to a vehicle trailer. The advantage of the vertical locker is that it can store a lot of gear in a space-saving manner. The advantage of the trailer is that you can take9418ee52d0cfa022562621f3d21cceea this stuff with you quickly if you have to get out of Dodge pronto. It is like having a prepackaged large bug out bag ready to go. The locker itself is made from galvanized 1136a435c180662aaa7d22b1a74dfd8esteel and has four rollers on the bottom to aid in moving it around in the vertical position. The cabinet has four movable shelves. The concept is modular.  There are a number of accessories available including tail lights and wiring028ff6bedc5c686cd6e79158e2e9a25a harness to make it street legal if your jurisdiction requires. Chris claims that the maximum load is approximately 1600 lbs. He also claims that he has driven it from Minnesota to Montana and back, for a total test trip of 4000 miles.

I e-mailed Chris and asked him about off-road endurance and he replied saying “The rubber torsion half-axles provide independent suspension rated to 2,000 pounds gross weight.  The MULE itself is about 400 pounds, so these allow about 1,600 max pounds of cargo.  I have loaded it to almost 700 pounds internally, which is the configuration I drove it on a dirt cornfield border road behind the Suburban.   Production axles info here:  http://www.ucfamerica.com/flexhalf.html”

9b39051db0b09f2b1e174b57498eb68eThe cabinet can also be removed from the trailer frame and an appropriate size piece of plywood can make it a flatbed trailer. The wheels come on and off quickly and there is a spare tire mounted on the tongue. The Survival Mule is assembled right here in Minnesota USA of primarily American and Canadian parts. This combination storage locker/trailer seems like a pretty neat idea and you can learn a lot more at the owner’s website.

The Zika Virus. What It Means To You

Anopheles_stephensiMosquito borne diseases have been the bane of mankind from the beginning.  Malaria, for example, is an ancient disease that probably originated in Africa. It has been described by the Chinese as far back as 2700BC and the Sumerians from 1700 BC

Mosquitos can carry, and transmit to humans, diseases such as : malaria, dengue, filariasis, West Nile virus, chikungunya, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, Saint Louis encephalitis, Western equine encephalitis, Eastern equine encephalitis, Venezuelan equine encephalitis, La Crosse encephalitis[.     

Zika

Zika is a relatively new mosquito borne virus that we really don’t know a lot about. What we do know isn’t good. Zika virus is carried by the Aedes mosquito, It seems to have started in equatorial Africa and is now running rampant in South America. There are also now cases reported in the United States. It is especially harmful to pregnant women, and can cause serious birth defects in the unborn called microcephaly. The child can be born with an abnormally small head diminishing mental capacity, and in some cases it can be fatal. For adults, the resulting illness only lasts a few days. The symptoms, including a rash, joint pains, inflammation of the eyes and fever, Basically, serious flu like symptoms. However, it is important to note that evidently a large percentage of infected people seem to show no signs of having the virus. It has been reported that Zika can possibly  be sexually transmitted. It can rapidly spread when a mosquito bites an infected person, and then transmits it to another, uninfected, person.

Prevention and Treatment_Are_you_a_mosquito_breeder__-_NARA_-_513877

There is no vaccine to prevent or cure Zika. However, prevention techniques are the same as for any other mosquito borne disease. Avoid traveling to those areas where a large number of infections have been reported. The Center for Disease Control has a list of travel warnings on their website. If you have to travel to these areas, try to avoid areas with a lot of mosquitos, wear Sawyer 51sMNFe6SiLlong pants and long sleeved shirts, and use EPA-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), or IR3535.. Consider using mosquito nets when sleeping, and even wearing insect repellent clothing.91ureNoVsPL__SL1500_

Right now there is serious ongoing investigation into the Zika virus. It is important to stay up to date on the findings. There is a lot that we do not know about this virus yet.

 

Oral Hygiene When SHTF

Toothbrush-20060209Sometimes when prepping, it is the little things we forget to prepare for. And often, it is things we do daily, like brushing our teeth. Not as glamorous a subject as the fastest way to reload an AK, how to build a fire in the rain, or how to find water in the desert. But it is a subject, that if ignored, can put you down seriously. And possibly permanently.

Death from tooth abscess was a fairly common occurrence up until the 20th century, even though  methods of tooth cleaning were practiced for thousands of years.  Just like you need to prep for all forms of hygiene, you need to seriously consider oral hygiene preps. And in SHTF, you need to clean your teeth as often as possible.

Tooth Brushes

Toothbrush_x3_20050716_001Store a good quantity of spare tooth brushes. You should change your brush when the bristles start flaring out. Don’t throw them away though, they make good additions to your weapons cleaning kit.  There are some natural alternative to factory tooth brushes. For centuries people have used “chew sticks” to clean their teeth. This is simply a small twig flared on the end to simulate a tooth-brush. Find a twig about the thickness of a pencil and chew on the end until the fibers separate. Not all woods are suitable. Some that work well are Willow, Ash, Chestnut, Peach, Hazel, Apple,  and Birch.

Tooth Paste and Substitutes71Z69w3M5bL__SL1500_

Factory tooth paste is good to stock up on. Estimate a tube a month per person. There are a number of alternatives that are just as good though. Brushing with even plain 81P54GuNR1L__SL1500_water can help. 81qUyZl7G4L__SL1500_Baking soda and salt are also good substitutes. If you are planning on bugging in for extended periods, you will want to stock up on these two items anyway. You can make an effective tooth paste by combining the two.  Mix one part salt to two parts baking soda after pulverizing the salt into powder. It will remove plaque and help keep your gums healthy.

Flossing

Flossing is actually more important than tooth paste. Your tooth-brush can only reach about 2/3 of the teeth surfaces. If you run out of floss, thread from your sewing kit can be used. Flossing is an essential part of oral hygiene, especially in the field.

Rinses

31MDnnk+8xLEven just rinsing your mouth with water by forcing it between the teeth will help. An excellent mouth rinses is 3% Hydrogen Peroxide, mixed with an equal amount of water. Rinse your mouth with while forcing it through the spaces of the teeth for about 15-30 seconds before brushing. This will kill a lot of the bacteria that causes oral health issues.

 

Dental First Aid

Many preppers will go to considerable lengths to stock first aid supplies, manuals, and take first aid training courses to be prepared for SHTF scenarios. But even under ideal conditions, with a dentist available, many people will have dental issues. In a SHTF situation, without the availability of a trained dentist, this situation becomes serious.61emvBmNwYL__SX337_BO1,204,203,200_ An abcessed tooth can end up killing you as dead as a looter’s bullet. Learning to apply dental first aid is a critical skill all preppers should consider. Where There Is No Dentist is an excellent book that covers a broad spectrum on oral health, and dealing with many of the oral health problems you would find in a SHTF situation, and how to handle dental first aid in a primitive setting.  It is a first aid manual for your teeth. It should be in every prepper’s library.

 

 

The M-1 Garand As A Plan B Rifle

m1_garand_rifle_-_usa_-_30-06_-_armc3a9museumThe attack on “assault rifles” has begun anew. Regardless of the hoopla in the media, the odds of any significant restrictive legislation being passed at the federal level is slim until the results of the next presidential election at least. However certain local People’s Republics continue to assail the Constitutional rights of American citizens in regards to the types of firearms they can own. Primarily, they are directed against those evil, pistol griped, detachable high-capacity magazine holding, bayonet hanging black plastic THINGS. If you live in one of these occupied areas, move. If you are forced to live in, work in, or navigate through one of these regions, and need a dependable combat rifle, take heart. You have options. I described the Lever Action Rifle for Preppers. These rifles have evaded the restrictions placed on AR and AK platforms in some areas. But I think there is another viable option. The venerable M-1Infantryman_in_1942_with_M1_Garand,_Fort_Knox,_KY Garand. I am only going to discuss the suitability characteristics  of the Garand in regards to restrictive firearms areas, but for a good general history of the rifle as well as some useful links check out the Wikipedia article on it.

So what would be some of the advantages of the Garand in an “assault rifle” hostile jurisdiction? It has no pistol grip, no detachable magazine, the stock is made of wood, and if necessary the bayonet lug could be easily ground off.

GarandpartsThe M-1 is a rugged rifle. It is chambered for the cal.30 cartridge known to civilians as the .30-06. This is an extremely powerful cartridge compared to 5.56mm or 7.62×39. It is capable of long-range engagement of hostile targets out to 600 yards easily with iron sights if you do your stuff, and even longer if you are a seriously accomplished marksman. 1274In 30-06, Federal even makes a 150gr FMJ bullet load specifically for the M-1. This load duplicates the ballistics of the M-2 Ball round issued with the M-1. The rifle will typically digest a large range of sporting loads, however you  to test any you plan to use, as individual rifle can be finicky with soft nosed ammo. In hunting loads, it will take down all big game inM-1 owners guide bookpng North America. Many have been rechambered for 7.62mm NATO and you can have a specialty gunsmith do that if you want, but it will add on to the overall cost of the rifle.

The rifle has an excellent adjustable peep sight that can be adjusted for both elevation and windage. There are commercial scope mounts available if you want to mount glass on it and make it your long-range rifle.  It is a bit on the heavy side and will average about 11+ lbs. fully loaded with sling and cleaning kit in the butt stock, depending on the density of the stock. But then again, I have clients with tricked out M-4s that weigh that much. Spare parts are readily available from a number of sources and there are gunsmiths that specialize in accurizing and repairing them. The M-1 Garand has one potential weakness for the M-1 clipsurvivalist/prepper though. It uses an 8rd en bloc clip that the cartridges are fed into the magazine with and which gets ejected when the last cartridge is fired. This means you have only an 8 rd. capacity. That isn’t  really all that bad. But the problem is that without these clips, the rifle is effectively a single loader. Luckily, spare clips are readily available and you should consider stocking up on these for future use. They are cheap, light, easily transported and easily loaded.

The M-1 is a rugged, dependably, battle tested rifle. I have a mint International Harvester  that is my plan B rifle.

My Top 10 Favorite Prepper Blogs For 2015

Picture1There are a LOT of prepper oriented blogs on the internet. A LOT! You could spend a whole day (or more) trying to do just a brief visit of many of them. As a prepper blogger myself, I spend a bit of time reviewing other blogs for some essential reasons. Partly for my own education and entertainment, and partly to see what trends preppers seem to be interested in. I then try to fill gaps with my own articles. Some sites, like my own, publish original content with the occasional guest article. Other sites re post good article and serve as sort of a “Readers Digest” for the prepper community.

The following 10 sites are simply my favorites currently. They may or may not be listed on anyone’s “Best” prepper lists, but they are the ones that I enjoyed the most this last year, and had the most influence on both my writing and personal prepping direction. Check them out. They are listed in no special order.

Thoughtfuly Prepping

This is a U.K. based site that has some really interesting content. The owner is former Brit military, and has some very interesting points of view that are often not in line with “mainstream” preppers. Much of his content revolves around U.K. politics, but he also has a large archive of practical prepping articles. “Thoughtfully” will often cause you to stop and re-evaluate pre conceived ideas you may have. Many Americans forget that there are other defenders of Western Civilization that see the issues through different eyes. Worth reading and  worth subscribing to.

Graywolf Survival

When I came home from six years of security contracting overseas and settled in Arizona, I began re doing my preps based on the desert location I was in. This was the first blog I began actively reading because the content is written by a combat vet with much of the same experience I have, and he also resides in Arizona. His articles tend to be longer than the average “puff” prepper reads and he focuses on practical, useful information. And he does it in detail. His articles are well researched and well written and you actually get knowledge from what you read. Worth subscribing to.

Handy Granny in da Woods

Granny is a relatively new site and has a lot of good articles from the homesteading natural living point of view. She will tell you a lot of things your granny would have told you were she still around and she links to a lot of very readable articles on other sites. She wrote a good book on surviving Grid Down.

Backyard Preppers US

This site has a large amount of archived material that runs the entire gamut of prepping. Like Graywolf, their articles tend to be a bit longer and more informative that your average prepper “Puff” posts. Great for research on subjects that interest you.

The Defensive Training Group

These folks post a large amount of tactical oriented material. Their articles are well written and illustrated. Large amounts of tactical training tips and equipment reviews. I use them often for research and general knowledge. They also provide online training courses, but since I have not taken any, cannot comment of them.

Backdoor Survival

This blog has been around for some time and is currently number 2 on the Prepper Website Top Prepper List. ( I think I am somewhere around 37). Great archive of articles and I use it some for research.

US Crow

This is a seriously patriotic blog that tends towards a lot of tactical information. They have an extensive archive of articles of use to preppers. They also advertise an “elite” membership but I havn’t indulged. Their free content is very useful.

Doom and Bloom Survival Medicine

Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy are a husband/wife doctor/nurse team that has one outstanding blog that deals primarily with medical issue related to survival. They have a TREMENDOUS archive of survival medicine oriented article and I highly recommend you spend some of your prepping studies on their site!

SHTF Prepper

This is a relatively newer site that posts not only his own written material but re posts really good articles from other sites.  (He has re posted a number of mine).

Prepper Website

And finally, the grandaddy of them all. Prepper Website is a daily reader’s digest of current prepper articles. He reviews articles on a daily basis and posts links to those he thinks the prepper community will benefit some. If your article makes it to his daily page, your hits explode! This is a great place to start and he also has a tremendous archive by subject. A great place to prepper research. He also hosts the Prepper Website Top Prepper Sites list where the prepper community can vote for their favorite prepper blog once daily. I am now #37 out of 167 listed sites.

So, those were the top 10 sites I spent my time on in 2015. I am sure the list will change a bit in this coming year, but I can highly recommend all ten of the above.

 

 

 

Protective Masks For Preppers

M50_gas_maskDepending on what you perceive to be the major threats you wish to prepare for, there is a tremendous amount of equipment and supplies to choose from. Should a protective mask be a part of your preps? How do you go about making that decision? And what kind of mask would you want?

Like most issues involving equipment selection, this one needs to be looked at with sober thought before you run out and buy. So first, lets take a look at some possible reasons you might need a protective mask.

Logo_iso_radiationNuclear, Biological, Chemical Agent (NBC): If you are concerned about nuclear attack, live near a nuclear plant and worry about leaks and  meltdowns, or are concerned about a terrorist chemical or biological attack, you might have use for a mask.

1918FluVictimsStLouisDisease Pandemic: Concerned that you may have to travel through an areas where a pandemic is taking its toll on the local population?

Exploded_tear_gas_can_on_the_flyRiot Control Agents: If you get caught up in a civil unrest situation where the authorities are using crowd dispersal agents, a mask could be useful.

Traveling Through an Area With A Lot Of Decomposing Bodies. Human or animal.  Not a pleasant thought, and unfortunately a subject that seems to be avoided in most prepper circles.

surviver nuclear book_O.K. So any of the above scenarios might indicate that having a proper protective mask might be useful. But there are some limitations to masks you have to understand. A protective mask is designed to protect your lungs. To prevent you from inhaling harmful substances into them. It will not protect your body from radiation, nor will it protect you from absorbing harmful agents through your skin. To get the full benefit of a mask, you have to also know how to protect the rest of your body from a variety of harmful agents. Masks are uncomfortable and many restrict your vision. Depending on design, they can be difficult to operate a shoulder weapon when worn. And when you need it, you need it NOW! That means you need to get used to having it pretty much on you constantly, or at least in danger areas, and you need to practice, practice, practice putting it on quickly and correctly. Just like the military. Still interested?

Types Of Masks: There are types of standards you need to be aware of. These standards determine what level the mask will filter. FFP3 Filters at least 99% of airborne particles. (European standard EN 149 ). P3 Filters at least 99.95% of airborne particles.(European standard EN 143 )  P99-P100 Filters at least 99%, 99.97% of airborne particles (NIOSH-Approved U.S. standards). Make sure the mask and filter is rated for chemical blowing and riot control agents, designated by the CBA/RCA rating, and nuclear, biological and chemical agents, carrying the NBC rating.Air_Raid_Precautions_on_the_British_Home_Front-_Anti-gas_Instruction,_c_1941_D3948

Surplus or Commercial: Be very leery of surplus military masks. There is a reason they are surplus. They may be old, worn out, or out dated. Masks are relatively an expensive investment for militaries. However, there are some good ones on the market that have been in storage since manufactured and were simply replaced by newer models. You want to insure that you have a mask that will take the standard NATO 40mm filter. Regardless of the date of your mask, you need to have relatively new filters. And a number of spares! Shelf life of filters will depend on the packaging, but if they are in vacuum sealed packets they should last a lKidsInGasMasksong time before use.

Desirable Features: The first issue is that the mask will have a good seal. I will discuss checking your mask later in the article. Some masks have drinking tubes that you can connect a canteen to and drink water while masked. You mask should be able to use NATO standard 40mm filters (LEARN the markings on the filters. Some filters are for training use only and would be useless in a real scenario. Some filters are good for riot control agents but not other threats. Buy new manufactured filters and avoid surplus filters with old dates). A voice enhancing mechanism would be desirable for communication.

What To Avoid

Old US M17 series masks with cheek filters. These are hard to replace and tedious to change. These filters are now difficult to find. Trust me on this one. I have spent hours on them in the Army. All Russian, East German surplus masks. Poor quality and dubious condition.  M9 gas masks with the 60-mm size cartridge. The filters for these masks are oddly sized and are not compatible with the NATO standard 40mm filters.

Mask availability: This is an area you really need to do your research and shop around. Since the Ebola scare, quality masks are being bought up rapidly.  A good quality mask that you can rely on may either be military or commercial but can cost you some money. Do not let price be a deciding factor. Do your research, learn the subject, shop around. AGM stocks a large number of masks, filters and accessories. They also sell a kit to enable you to test your mask to check the fit of your mask. Another company, The Survival Center, also carries masks and supplies. There are two masks I have extensive experience with. The U.S. M-17 masks I used in the Army, and the GermanM65Natogasmaskwithcasecut Draeger M-65 military mask. I still use the Draeger I bought brand new years ago. It is a good mask. They can be bought very cheaply on E-bay but make sure they are unissued (not surplus) the rubber isn’t brittle or cracked, and TEST THEM FOR PROPER FIT AND BUY NEW FILTERS before you commit to relying on them.

Testing Your Mask

You can buy a kit as mentioned above or you can perform your own test. Remove the filter(s) and cover the intake hole with your hand. Breathe in and the mask should collapse on you face and remain collapsed for at least 10 seconds. If it doesn;t make sure you are closing off the air intake completely or adjust the fit using the adjustable straps. Do the test in reverse. Exhale and the mask should not alow air to escape. Guys, understand that facial hair may and probably will interfere with the proper sealing of the mask.

Training

Like any other item of survival equipment, having a mask doesn’t mean you know how to use it. Military standard is to don, and clear your mask in 9 seconds. Are you willing to train with your mask until you can do that?

Conclusion

Having a protective mask may or may not fit into your prepping plans. But if you decide one is appropriate, do your research, know the subject, and buy the best quality mask you can afford. Then TRAIN with it.

 

 

 

 

10 Items To Stockpile For A Disaster

This is a guest article by Barbara Allen (Nom de plume)

TornadoNature is known for not giving a rat’s about humanity and what we do in relation to politics and war. If you’re someone who isn’t afraid of a future economic collapse (and therefore refuse to buy gold to prepare for it) or afraid of the amount of war going on in the world right now, that is completely fine.

There is something you do have to be very afraid of, and that is a natural disaster. This is the one thing that humanity has no defense against. When nature decides that it has had enough of a particular part of the world, the scale of the disasters that occur is so terrible and huge that it will leave your jaw on the floor.

Indeed, the aftermath of a disaster is almost as bad as the pain that is inflicted during it. For example, when a hurricane hits a city, it can easily be blocked off by stormy weather conditions and debris. This can lead to the hundreds of thousands of people in the city being trapped without food, water, emergency services and a way out.

Be prepared for anything

However, you won’t have to suffer as much if you are stranded after a disaster has happened, as long as you prepare yourself, your home and your family for the eventuality. While mankind can’t defend against the disasters, we do have early warning systems in place to warn people long before the event actually occurs. If you are prepared even before this system warns you, you are immediately going to have the tactical advantage in the field right after the disaster takes place.

For example, if the disaster that is coming in is a storm with a chance of floods, the early warning system would allow you to move all of the items you have stored for a disaster to higher ground. This will prevent your food and water as well as your medicines from being washed away. When a warning does come through, drop what you are doing immediately. If you have an evacuation plan, take it. Leave your material possessions behind – nothing is more important than your life.

10 essentials for survival

If you plan on riding the storm out in your home or a safe location, there are some items that you need to keep in storage for this situation. When it comes to it, you are definitely going to need these in order to get the best chances of survival and possible comfort.

1 – Water

Water brickStore enough water for every person to have a gallon a day. Get a water filter as well. This should be one that is portable so as to take it up to the roof if you need to. It will serve you well if flooding causes the government supply of drinking water to become polluted. If you live near the CDC, it would be best not to touch the flood water unless your need is dire. Just saying.

2 – Non-perishable foodMRE_20071124

Canned food is a good example of this. Any food items that can be kept for years without an expiry date fall into this category too. You need to make sure that you have the right items to help you get through the experience in one piece. Make sure that you also stock a can opener or two in there. The last thing you want is to be surrounded by cans of food without a way to open them up.

These are the two most important things to have. In addition to this, have a supply of:

Mini%20Mag%20Lights3 – Flashlights and extra batteries

4 – Candles, lighters and matches

5 – Clothes and blankets

6 – Cooker (stove)esbit 1_

7 – Source of heat (kerosene heaters are good)

8 – Alcohol and cigarettes

9 – First aid kitIFAK

10 – Basic tools

These are just 10 of the hundreds of items you can have to survive and barter with in a disaster situation.