Top Survival Guns Every Prepper Should Own

This a guest post from author Norman Bobby. His site can be located at https://gunandshooter.com/

When you look at the subject matter around preppers and firearms, you find some obvious pillars of importance. Preppers need continuity; reasonableness (which may not be a word) and efficacy.

In the grand scheme of things, that means more often than not, you go with tried and true firearms that are easy to maintain; built incredibly well and shoot a very popular caliber and that’s that.

In this article. We wanted to take a look at the market with a fresh set of eyes, not to overlook the obvious choices on purpose but to see if there are any additions that need to be considered by the prepper community in their quest for the perfect firearm.

A quick note: 15+ years ago, the author would not have included a 5.56 gun on this list, and instead opted for a .308 rifle either in bolt action or in semi auto, but with the proliferation of the 5.56 ammunition at low pricing; the obvious status of the AR clone as a mainstream firearm and the clear advantages of improvement in stopping power through understanding of ballistics and improvement in technology and engineering, that has changed.

It’s just not as ideal anymore to recommend a larger caliber weapon. When given the apocalyptic scenario most preppers envision as “worse case” can easily be handled by a more abundant, easier to handle caliber.

 

Remington 870 or substantially similar pump action shotgun in 12 gauge

Tough as nails; made to spec in the millions of volume; for decades; and relies on one of the most popular and readily available and inexpensive cartridges in the history of shooting. That is a pretty good place to start for the Remington 870. But that’s not all…it’s easy to handle; can be used for long-range hunting and can handle every game animal from birds to caribou if given the right ammunition; mindset and conditions.

The trick to succeeding in the Prepper market from a gun perspective is offering capability without compromise. You’d need to be judicious with your ammunition purchasing but it can be done without negatively affecting whatever type of animal you want to hunt.

It’s also a short-range winner and will stop any human threat.

The Remington was an arbitrary choice when looked at from a realistic perspective, but you could insert Mossberg 500/590 or Winchester or whoever you prefer there easily.

That also comes with some need for explanation: it wasn’t an ONLY arbitrary choice, choice. It was the best from a historical performance perspective that was still readily available to the public at good price points.

Remington 870 because of aftermarket support; historical performance and maintenance.

 

Ruger 10-22

The workhorse of the modern Prepper’s gun stash, the 10-22 is accurate; proven historically, amazingly timeless in its aesthetic and build quality and inexpensive. It also shoots .22 LR cartridges which have been proven in awkward scenarios that they can be used for all manner of needs.

Hundreds of thousands of rounds have been shot through most of the available 10-22’s that span more than a single decade of use from a manufactured date perspective.

It’s cheap to outfit; everyone makes parts for them and the maintenance is best in class.

The high capacity, but still accurate platform makes it a must have in your home.

Having a Ruger 10-22 in your possession during a major event means your heavier firepower won’t have to be used and you will be optimizing bullet/cartridge usage during times of need.

You can reasonably take small game to over 100 yards with it; it’s unbelievably easy to maintain and it won’t stop working if you shoot too many rounds through it. Literally thousands of aftermarket parts exist for it; and everyone and their brother owns one. Besides, aren’t .22’s the best way to dispatch zombies anyway?

 

Kel-Tec PMR 30 (or their new .22LR variant)

This is a bit of an odd inclusion here, but the utility and overall novelty of the gun thus far pushes this into an unconventional list and makes you maybe wonder if the author has lost his mind.

The Magnum variant is concealable, offers great stopping power and hunting capabilities and is inexpensive relative to other market offerings that give substantially similar results.

It’s innovative and fun to use and despite having had some difficulties at launch it seems to have those problems ironed out now. The option to have a magnum 22 on your side or for small game hunting is fantastic, and yet, the rounds aren’t hard to come by in an emergency and it’s relatively easy to expect that a decent chunk of the population might have guns chambered in .22Mag and that you can scavenge ammo somewhere in dire situations.

You can also single shot .22 LR with the gun.

Glock 19

It’s probably a generation 5 Glock 19 too. As blasphemous as that may be to the seasoned prepper type, it just makes sense. Yes, you will not have the proliferation of parts on the market given many of them have changed in Gen 5, and you probably don’t get the benefits of the previous generation’s mag well designs, but you do get a gun that’s built nearly perfectly from a functional perspective and the good far outweighs the bad.

Rather than the 17, get the smaller framed variant which still takes nearly all Glock 9mm mags; shoots the ubiquitous and readily available 9mm Luger and can be handled by basically anyone from child to adult.

Proven reliable; durable; and made into the millions of copies this is a gun that won’t easily be outdone in your arsenal. It is also easy to maintain; inexpensive and accurate; reliable, and beloved by millions, so finding a part or service for the gun will be easy.

 

An AR15 clone

We aren’t going to waste time telling you about a specific AR clone. That’s boring and unnecessary, when it’s already likely you own one or you are contemplating ownership. It’s a foregone conclusion that it’s the most popular gun in America, and the very reasons it makes sense is that predictable boringness that comes from the AR 15 marketplace.

  • Great caliber dynamics; readily available; cheap to shoot
  • Modular; customizable easy to work on as an amateur
  • Millions of parts floating around that bolt-on/drop-in
  • Shoots accurately to 350 yards and can easily stop human targets as well as slay game animals up to about 400 lbs. if done right

If you call yourself a prepper and you don’t have an AR-15 yet, you’re probably behind the curve. Catch up.

 

Honorable mentions:

A 308 rifle of some sort and a lever Action .45-70 of some type.

Both of these guns are not nearly as practical from an ongoing basis, but if you’re in the market for a group of prepper guns, these should probably occupy some time in your thought process if nothing else. Both offer moderate to intermediate shot stopping potential on targets that exceed the 350 lbs. range.

The rounds have been around for a very long time and you’ll be able to find them on the shelves of any sporting goods store, and 25% of American Gun owner’s closets.

They are understandable guns and built to endure heavy recoil and punishment over time, especially since they are both former U.S. Military calibers.

They aren’t ideal if you compare them to the above list, but they make sense of you want to cover the endpoints; or you’re looking for something else to spend your prepper gun dollars on. And by the way, stocking up ammunition and parts for these guns will run you a hefty premium, so those dollars would be spent quickly.

Conclusion

Buy guns that are easy to maintain and don’t suffer from ongoing problems; offer chamberings that are obvious and which can pull double duty as needed.

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.

Situational Awareness=Staying Alive

Radar2Note= As I began writing this, the Muslim terrorist attack in California began. It is time to wake up and stay awake in more ways than one people. There are no more civilians in this religious war that has been fostered on us. There never really were. The world is an increasingly dangerous place. Violent crime, expanding terrorist attacks, and the increasing possibility of economic collapse are all wake up calls to anyone with two brain cells working in tandem.  There are no magic bullets to keep you safe at all times. But there are techniques you can develop to give you the best chance. And that’s what it is all about.

Situational awareness is a topic that has been studied and written about for years. As a military and security professional, I have seen countless times where people have been killed or seriously injured because they walked right into a situation that they should have seen coming, and didn’t. The practice of situational awareness would have prevented much of this.

situational awarnessSo exactly what is situational awareness? It is paying attention to what is going on around you. But it much more than that. It is also the ability to recognize when things are not normal, draw the proper conclusion about the anomaly, and make the correct decision as to how to respond, and then acting on that decision. Situational awareness can be developed by understanding one concept and employing one basic technique. The technique is staying in Condition Yellow in the Color Codes of Awareness and the concept is Boyd’s OODA Loop.

The Color Codes of Awarenesscooper-color-code-definition

I wrote a more in depth article on this subject titled Defensive Mindset. The Color Codes.  But for our purposes here, it is important to learn to stay in Condition Yellow. This is a state of mind best describes as relaxed alertness. It is not paranoia. It is the state of  mind that a good driver is in. Head up and moving, checking the mirrors for what is behind and to the sides as well as what is at a distance up ahead. You are aware of what is going on around you 360 degrees and you are prepared to react to any immediate situation. This is the mental mindset you need to cultivate and stay in.  It takes practice, and later we will go over some techniques. If you really don’t understand the various mindsets as labeled by color, I urge you to read the article I linked to above. O.K., so you learn to pay attention to what is going on around you. So what more is required?

Boyd’s OODA Loop

Col. John Boyd

Col. John Boyd

For an in-depth discussion of this, I refer you to my article Boyd’s OODA Loop. No It’s Not A Cereal. Col. John Boyd was a fighter pilot who did a serious study of why fighter pilots won or lost a dog fight. The results of his study gave him a logical system that is applicable in any endeavor in life whether a one on one gunfight, a serious financial negotiation, or avoiding being done in by Achmed trying to get his 72 virgins. Lets analyse OODA.

Observe, Orient, Decide, Act.

OBSERVE= What is going on around you. Especially if it is something happening that concerns you,

ORIENT= Yourself to the situation. This may be a physical orientation, or a quick mental change based on factors such as long-term memory, training, past experiences, and your genetic heritage.

DECIDE= On a course of action based on your understanding of the situation.

ACT= On that decision.

situational awareness._You then start over as the situation developes. This mental process is a continuum of beginning at Observe and working your way through the situation, and the idea is to get inside an adversaries (or situations) loop. So how does this work in real life? A quick example= Terrorist points a gun at you (he has Observed you, Oriented on you, Decided to shoot you, and is now Acting on that decision).  He is committed to an action and you need to disrupt and get inside his loop. You do something unexpected like throw your keys at his face while attempting to escape or fight. You just got inside his loop because now he has to process what you are doing that he didn’t expect and go through the OODA process again because the situation has changed for him.. You are now ahead of him. This is a simplistic explanation but it serves to show how the process works.

Developing a Habit of Situational Awareness0e5587a45a951c15f4dcb5a8514b31c4

Learning to live in Condition Yellow . Keep your head up when walking around. Develop the habit of scanning what is going on around you. Learn to pay attention to all of your senses, including hearing and smell. When using your cell phone in public, stop and place your back against a wall and use your peripheral vision while glancing up and around frequently if texting. Look around you constantly if speaking. When approaching your car in a parking lot, is anybody near it and how do they look? Anyone in the back seat or under it? When in a public eatery, try to sit where you can observe the entrance and know where the exits are. Use windows as mirrors to keep track of whats behind you. At the ATM do you look around to see if anyone is coming up on you? Always try to keep yourself in a position of optimum observation. Once you get into the habit of doing things like this, many other techniques will come to mind.

O.K. so you are alert. What are you looking for?

Do your due diligence. Have you ever walked into a place and felt that something just was not right but you were not sure what?  Well, something wasn’t right. It may not have been dangerous. it may have been something as simple as the flowers arranged wrong. But your subconscious was telling you that something was out-of-place. Trust your instincts, but you have to develop them first.

Schizophrenia_PET_scanBefore you can identify that something is wrong, you need to know what “right” is. Start with your home. You should be so familiar with where you live that you can navigate your house in total darkness. How about your route to and from work? Do you really pay attention to what goes on with the houses and business along the way or do you just focus on following the car in front of you? At your workplace, how well do you know your co-workers? Do you know them well enough to detect if they are acting strange? The places where you shop. What is the normal situation there? Start paying attention to the small details. Really look at things around you as you go about your daily business. Make a game of it. What color eyes did the waitress at lunch have? Can you tell me right now what color the houses on either side of yours are? Can you count the number of windows in your own house from memory? Once you have programmed your subconscious to understand how things should look right, it will be easier to suddenly spot when they look wrong. And once you have Observed that something is wrong, you can quickly Orient yourself for possible action, Decide on what that course of action should be, and then Act on it.

Conclusion

Situational awareness is a combination of staying alert in condition yellow, being able to identify when something is out of order, being trained well enough to draw a proper conclusion, and quickly acting on the decision you made. Stay alert and watch six.

Should You Mount A Light On Your Handgun?

surefire x 300 ultra_Weapon mounted lights have been around for some time now. Various people have different views in regards to them. Are they a help? A hinderance? Are they worth the financial expenditure out of your preps budget? Lets see if we can answer these questions.

Since many, if not most, violent encounters happen in darkness, being able to control illumination in the situation could be vitally critical. Consider also, that in a grid downlighted target situation, inside of buildings will be dark even during daytime. Weapon mounted lights come in a number of varieties and configuration, but for our purposes, we will discuss those you might mount on your handgun. Many lights will also incorporate a laser in green or red combined with the flashlight, as well as giving strobe capability to the flashlight. Some also incorporate Infrared capability, although laser and infrared add considerably to the price. The majority will incorporate on/off switches that you can leave the light on,  tap for a quick look, or switch to strobe.

Most modern firearms manufactures are making mounts for lights on the frames of their handguns. Mounts come in two styles, the Picatinni rail and the Weaver rail. The better light manufactures are designing their lights to work on either. For handguns that do not have a dedicated rail there are companies that have made add-on rails that connect to the trigger guard. Most lights that you can use on your handgun can also be used on a long gun or shotgun that has a rail.

Flashlight_carryBefore weapon mounted lights became popular and available, many techniques were developed to incorporate using a regular flashlight held in the off-hand while the handgun was held in the firing hand. These are illustrated to the left. These techniques are still valid, however they have been supplanted to a large degree by weapon mounted lights.

Advantages Of Mounting A Light On Your Handgun

It is attached, so this leaves your off-hand free for other things like opening or closing doors, etc. In addition, a handgun is usually more effective when used in a two hand hold. The light allows you to do a quick on/off look, or to keep it on if you are navigating a dark area where you require light to manuever. If your light has a strob feature, it may be useful to blind and temporarily confuse and adversary. If you are using a laser equipped light, the laser will pinpoint exactly where the bullet will strike.

Disadvantages Of A Light On Your Handgun

Unless you have a holster designed to accommodate a light on your handgun (many are available) it will be an on/off affair. With the light mounted directly on your weapon, it will illuminate your position dead center.  There are a number of proper techniques for properly using a weapon mounted light in a low-level light situation. Tactical advantage_One of the best training manuals that cover this issue is Gabe Suarez’s Tactical Advantage. Keep in mind for a SHTF situation that these lights are battery-powered, and although they last a long time you need to keep spares, or be able to recharge them solar.

What To Look For In A Weapon Mounted Light

Like many things in life, you get what you pay for. Quality needs to be your first consideration.  The light needs to be able to withstand the recoil of repeated firing, especially if you are considering using in on a rifle or shotgun also. The amount of light projected is measured in Lumens. A lumen range of between 100 and 400 is satisfactory.

The following are examples of some of the most popular lights that have a good reputation for reliability. They have a variety of capabilities and span a fairly broad price range.

surefire x 300 ultra_SureFire X300 Ultra LED Weapon Light

SureFire makes a wide range of quality flashlights and weapon sights. This model is one of the most popular and widely used. It can also be had with a red or green laser sight   incorporated as the X400 Ultra.   Projects an estimated 600 lumens of light. The x300 is powered by two CR123A batteries.

Streamlight 69120 TLR-2 C4 LED with Laser Sight Rail Mounted Weapon Flashlight.

Streramlight is also a major provider of weapon mounted lights, and along withStream light TLR-2_ Surefire, they garner most of the market.  The TLR 2 can be had in a variety of models from basic light to those with green or red laser or strobe. It projects 160 lumens of light and has an ambidextrous switch. It comes in various models and price ranges depending on if you want laser capability or other features.

 Nebo 6109 iProTec RM190

The Nebo 6109 is a very inexpensive light compared to many others. It has an NEBOambidextrous on/off switch that has a strobe option which is something that costs more  in other brands.  This light would be suitable as a first budget light for training, to be mounted on a .22 cal weapon, and for those who would be using it very little. It has a lumen output of 190 lumens.

There are very large number of weapon mounted light available. Decide on what your tactical use for one might be, shop around, read the reviews and buy the best quality you can afford.

Front Sight Firearms Training Institute 2 Day Defensive Handgun Class

Front Sight 4As a professional firearms instructor, I know that you never learn it all. And it is important to take additional training from other instructors and organizations to stay on top of your game. So when a former boss gave me a Front Sight Legacy Membership which included a lot of free classes, I took the opportunity to start with their basic 2 Day Defensive Handgun class. So how did it go?

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The Lever Action Rifle for Prepping and Survival

1873--outside-spurs-etcThe subject of weapons for survival is hot and heavy in the prepper community. Magazines and blogs offer all kinds of opinions and solutions. If you follow the mainstream “Prepper press” you would be convinced that unless you own the most modern military style battle rife, then you are SOL when SHTF. Not necessarily so.

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Oldie Military Firearms For Prepper Survival

m1doesmytalking_smIf you read the modern prepper press and peruse the current prepper websites, you would be convinced that unless you have a modern tricked out M-4 or a upgraded AK with all the bells and whistles, then you are simply out of luck when it comes to surviving a SHTF situation with WROL or even TEOTWAWKI. Guess what? They are lying to you.

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Shotgun, Rifle, or Handgun? Defending Your Home

welcome to my homeI am often asked by students which I would recommend as the ideal home protection weapon. A handgun, rifle, or a shotgun. This is not a question that has a cut and dried answer. Each weapon has it’s own supporters and each weapon has both pros and cons compared to the others. So what do you need to know to make the right choice for your home defense?

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Warning Shot. Do You Ever?

DIN_4844-2_Warnung_vor_einer_Gefahrenstelle_D-W000_svgAs a firearms instructor I am frequently asked by students if it wouldn’t be a good idea to shoot a warning shot before having to shoot another person in self defense in their home. This is an honest and legitimate question asked by intelligent people who would prefer not to harm anyone if possible. I get very few questions that have a cut and dried answer, but this is one of them.

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The Dog as Defensive Weapon and Alarm

CASWD-Katrina-profile-picMany people own dogs as pets, and many don’t. For those who do not, I suggest that you seriously consider a dog as an adjunct to your defensive arsenal and alarm system. Conventional wisdom indicates  that the bonding between humans and dogs occurred between 19,000 and 30,000 years ago and most domestic dog breeds are descended from the Gray wolf.

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Surviving the Active Shooter

“An Active Shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area, typically through the use of firearms”

Department of Homeland Security

These incidents are happening more frequently in public places, schools, and work environments. So how do you increase the odds of surviving?

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