How many preppers pay as much attention to their firearms maintenance preps as they do to food, water, and med supplies? I discuss it here.
This is a guest article by John Lewis, a blogger, survivalist and outdoor enthusiast. You can follow him over at Epic Wilderness.
Archery is a sport which does not cost you too much money, but still gets you physically and mentally fit. Many people are now moving towards archery equipment for hunting and survival because the cost of getting archery equipment is much lower than getting a firearm.
While you are in archery, the gear that you may need to invest in include bow stabilizers and bow sights. If you want to check out this gear, you can check out this blog here. This gear is tailored to get your aim right to that you can shoot your target accurately as many times as possible.
So, still thinking whether you want to acquire archery skills in your self-reliance journey? Here are 3 reasons to consider while making that decision.
Reason 1: Using it to hunt
Hunting in general is an important survival skill by itself too because you may need to obtain food sources while you are bugging out. If you have archery skills in the bag, it can help you hunt fish, bear or deer depending on your preference.
Also, bows are much more effective for hunting because of the low-level noise that it makes. For guns, you need silencers to make the noise bearable. Otherwise, the amount of noise you cause would catch unnecessary attention. Especially when you are hunting, if you are not careful enough and cause too much noise, your game will be aware of your presence and react accordingly.
But even for bows, you may want to invest in bow stabilizers to reduce the amount of noise that you make while shooting. Trust me, this is a worthwhile investment.
Even if your bow is not strong enough, you can aim to get small game like rodents and rabbits. Another aspect you can look into is to bowfish as well. To bowfish, you can add a line to the arrow but make sure that the line is sufficiently strong to carry weight.
Reason 2: Being able to build it yourself
This reason would be more in reference to practicality. When you are caught in a really bad disasters, we can reasonably assume that all supplies and equipment would be gone. Your access to bullets and firearms would be limited which means the next best ranged weapon to protect yourself would be your archery gear.
You can use a boot knife to craft wood that is strong enough such as oak or lemon trees into the base of your bow. Next, you need to utilize items like ropes or fishing lines to make your bowstring. If you are in the wilderness, you can use vines or strong fibrous stems and make it into your bowstring.
While things like sticks can be used to make arrows and stone chips can be the broadheads. If you want sharper broadheads, you can try to use glass by breaking a window or some glass bottle.
The goal is to make a bow and an arrow into something that can shoot accurately and consistently. Not to mention being able to make powerful shots too!
Reason 3: It is cost-effective!
So, there are two ways how getting archery gear is cost-effective. First, your archery gear is more versatile. The arrow can be used as a drill to help you with kindling a fire. The string for the bow can be used for other purposes such as a fishing line, to set traps or help build your survival shelter. This is in comparison with other gear of course.
Next, arrows can be reused again and again, until the fletches come off or the arrow-point becomes dull. To do this properly, you may want to choose an arrow which is made from durable materials. Usually, the body of an arrow is made from wood or carbon which are usually enough to sustain force.
You may also want to learn about the various arrow tips that are available such as using blunt tips for small game. People would get arrow-tips which are pointed with larger broadheads to do more lethal shooting.
After you are convinced about learning archery as a survival skill, it is time to delve into getting the best kind of gear. In looking out for a good stabilizer there are several things to consider including getting one with the perfect length and weight, ensuring that it is made from sufficiently durable stuff and ensure that it is adjustable (depending on your preference of course).
Getting the best gear would not end it all yet. You still have to find out how to utilize this gear to make your shots consistent and accurate. You have no choice but to practice shooting consistently and find out what works! If you have any other ideas you would like to share, feel free to comment below!
Like most preppers, I am constantly re evaluating my gear. And you should too. Situations and needs change. I still live on the edge of Phoenix in the Sonoran Desert. And up to now, my basic brush blade has been my Nepalese Kukri. But some of my plans have changed, and I decided I needed a full bladed machete. I have always like the Kukri blade design. This type of blade was believed to have been first used by the ancient Greeks as a cavalry sword called a Kopis, itself derived from an agricultural tool. It it is also suspected that this design was introduced into Nepal during Alexander the Great’s invasion of India. Whether it was or not, this is an outstanding blade design. I decided to go with it when selecting a full blade machete.
It is important to understand the proper role of the machete. It does not replace a good ax or hatchet for chopping thick wood. It is designed to clear brush, cut smaller items of wood, and is useful as a close combat weapon.
I studied the reviews of the various models in this design and settled on the Schrade SCHKM1. I am glad I did. The blade is full tang and constructed of 3cr13 steel. This was a good choice because it has a good hardness but is soft enough to withstand constant high impact use. The blade came nice and sharp. The Kukri design allows for powerful chopping strokes. It has a blade length of 13.3 inches (33.8 cm) and a weight of 1 lb 6.6 ounces, and the blade is 1/8 inch thick. It is full tang. The holes in the blade are to lighten it and serve no real functional purpose unless you want to imitate the main character in “The Book of Eli”. I haven’t had the chance to put it through hard paces yet, but did trim some branches off a Palo Verde tree that was blown over in a recent monsoon storm. I like the balance and heft. The blade is thick powder coated and the handle is what Schrade calls their safe-t grip. It is rubberized and non slip. The handle has a front quillon which is extremely ergonomic and safe.
The scabbard is in itself well designed. Double stitched and designed to be worn on your belt with leg straps, slung over your back, or attached to your ruck. It also comes with a quality sharpening tool in a detachable pouch as well as a ferro rod fire starter.
If you are looking for a lightweight, well designed machete of the Kukri design, this would be a good selection. Available from Amazon.
(This is a guest article by Brandon Cox)
Learning survival skills isn’t everyone’s plans as most people rarely plan to become survivals one day. What if the worst happens and you have to hunt for food to survive? Chances are you’re not one of those many people if you’re reading this post. As a modern-day prepper, the idea of bow hunting might not sound ideal but remembers bullets eventually do disappear. You need to learn stealth to survive.
These are the times when you realize a bow is your best option. Tracking your target with the focus on stealth hunting is one of the best skills any prepper can learn. Learning how to use a bow and arrow for hunting is an art of the highest kind that might one day be the only option you’ve got.
When stuck in the wilderness, nothing beats what a bow and arrow can do for you. There is always a reason to learn bow hunting for survival especially if you’re a fan of primitive hunting skills.
For those that think bow hunting has no place in the modern world, here are six why you should learn bow hunting for survival.
Ordinary take down bows weigh just a few pounds making them extremely portable. The last thing you would wish for when in a survival situation is a weapon that weighs you down. Bows consist of only three pieces; the two limbs and a mid-grip section. You just need to twist a few lug screws, and you’re ready to aim. The portability of the bow along with the arrow arrangement means you can easily pack the bow and some arrows in your bug out bag with ease.
Bows and strings are multi-purpose
The bow is a multi-purpose weapon that can be used to achieve several other functions. You can all agree with me that it feels great to have a weapon that can be used to serve several other purposes. Pieces of the takedown bow arrow kit can be used different functions.
One of the parts you can use for example is the string. The string is usually 4-6 feet and sturdy. It can be used as a trot-line for fishing and a cordage for building shelter. The string can also be used in traps, making a snare and even starting fire via a bow drill. Go ahead and improvise anything that helps you from the string as a long as you don’t damage it.
Also, the arrows can be used as a spear for hunting small game and fish. There is just a lot you can do with your bow and arrows apart from hunting.
Observe a low sonic profile
This is probably one of the compelling reasons to start learning bow hunting for survival. A bow and an arrow make up a silent weapon. Who knows, there will come a day when you will need a deadly but silent weapon. Consider a situation where you have to maintain a low sonic profile and to bug out isn’t an option. Archery will turn out to be your only survival option.
A bow and arrow are wise ideas, especially when hunting in an area with a lot of competition. Bow hunting for survival guarantees you stealth takedown. You also get to return to your camp safely without drawing any unnecessary attention.
Bow hunting as a plan B
Any prepper can agree with me that the key long-term survival and emergency preparedness is having a plan B. While guns have taken center stage over the past few years, they can run out of ammunition. In such scenarios, your only plan B is a bow. This is further supported by the fact that a bow is quite light and can be packed together with the arrows in your bug out bag with easy. There even places around the globe where you can’t use a gun freely. Such places require you to have a bow and some arrows with you.
Regulations and legal laws regarding the use of bows and arrows are also more lenient compared to guns. There is no cumbersome paperwork required for people to own bows and arrows as with pellets and guns.
Precision long-range damage
There is no better weapon as a bow and an arrow when in a long-range situation. This simply means you don’t need to get too close to your target to kill it. With good practice, you can shoot targets from as far as 50-100 yards and hit them accurately. This is not something that you can do with spears.
Bow hunting is a fun DIY project
This is another great idea to learn bow hunting. Most preppers will tell you they just need a few materials to make a good bow and arrows. This cannot be said of other weapons in a real survival situation. A few straight sticks can make an arrow while a hardwood can make the bow itself. Use stone chips to make the broadheads. It is fun making the bow and arrows. If you have a glass bottle with you, then you can break it and make broadheads. The string is the only challenging thing to find, but plants like vines can give you strong strings. You can even use threads from your clothes.
Now you know why you need to learn bow hunting right away. With a bow and some arrows, you can not only hunt down a prey but also defend yourself. When we talk about bow hunting for survival, it is not just how you can use the bow to kill a prey; it is how you can employ a bow and an arrow in a survival situation.
Brandon Cox is the founder of StayHunting, who is passionate about all things of hunting and fitness. Through his hunting website, he would like to share tips & tricks, finest tech that will excite all of the intricacies of hunting whether you be an amateur or a professional.
Most 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.
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
The 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 is 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)
- ~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. All 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.
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.
Springfield Armory is well known for its continued production of the military’s M-14 rifle and naming it the M-1A.They also make a very fine line of handguns. And they used to make a highly useful and interesting little survival rifle that should be known better than it is. Their version of the military M-6 survival rifle. They call it the Scout.
By Johnnie L. Mock PSP