Showing posts with label TEOTWAWKI blog. Show all posts
Showing posts with label TEOTWAWKI blog. Show all posts

Monday, April 14, 2014

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

I was pretty late with this last week so not much this week. Also we had guests which was big fun but didn't lend itself to getting preparedness oriented things done. Anyway since I want to get back onto the more regular schedule you get this post again today.

Filled up some gas cans in the ever continuous struggle to ensure all our stored fuel is reasonably fresh.

Restocked some disposables.

When getting some admin stuff done I realized there was some unexpected cash in my Paypal account. Probably going to get a poncho and a Mountain Serappe like Alexander Wolfe's. Also looking at making a substantial food storage purchase. So not much happening this week but lots coming down the pipe. Also we'll have the last few posts from the Fighting Load contest to wrap it up.

What did you do to prepare this week?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

State of the Union and Linkeage

So it is about state of the union time. Currently watching the count down to it but don't see myself finishing it. Want to get a long nights sleep tonight. Do you plan to watch it?

A couple good articles came out recently I want to highlight:
Some notes on Sentry Neutralization by John Mosby

Reader Question: Do you have your Load Carrying Gear figured out? at Teotwawki Blog

Note: The way things cracked out I missed the SOU then caught some replies from various republican types. Am ambivalent about the whole thing.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Fighting Load Contest Entry #3 Alexander Wolfe of TEOTWAWKI Blog

Today I am proud to bring Entry #3 of our Fighting Load Contest by none other than Alexander Wolfe of TEOTWAWKI Blog.

We'll be talking chest rigs and battle belts as well as guns and get home bags/ assault packs. Get yours together to win some great prizes including:
1st: Blackhawk 3 day Assault Pack ($90) AND a $50 gift certificate from ($50 value) plus 2 copies of The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
2nd: HERC stove from Titan Ready Water ($169 value) plus The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
Note: Prizes 1 and 2 are really closely matched. As such the overall winner can pick the Lucky Gunner stuff OR the HERC. 2nd place gets what is left. 2 books will go to #1 and 1 book to #2.
3rd Place: 3 Sport Berkey Water Bottles donated by LPC Survival ($69 value)
4th Place:  A Lifestraw donated by Camping Survival ($20 value)
5th Place: A pair of Gyver Gear survival tin's
6th Place: The Western Front (hardcopy) or 3x e books by Archer Garrett.
Wildcard: This one goes to whoever I want to give it to for whatever reason I feel like. It will be a grab bag donated by yours truly. The exact makeup is TBD depending on what I have lying around  and may include books, gear, medical stuff or even a couple silver dimes. ($30+  value).
For a good example of a post reference my EDC Contest entry. Those should give you a good idea what type of thing I'm looking for. I will probably do a full fighting load post some time after the new year. 

The contest is going to run from today 16 December to  around 1 February. Voting will start after the last entry is shown on the blog. Voting will run for about a week and will decide the winner's who get the prizes.
Read all the details here

This is taking off a bit slower than I wanted. Depending on demand maybe it will last longer but you should still get your entry in ASAP.

Onto Alexander Wolfe's Entry:

Not shown are his AR-15 with an Aimpoint and Glock 17/19 (a 17 with the grip cut down to 19 dimensions) shown here. He might also be packing an S&W 642.

Criteria for the rig:

  • Carbine support + IFAK and water
  • Vehicle-friendly
  • Single-stack only & comfortable when prone
  • Able to wear with/over a vest or plate carrier
  • Compatible w/ an 'Assault pack' for a scout/overnight load or extra gear
Components (pattern is PenCott Greenzone):
Not pictured:
  • In-line Sawyer water filter on the hydration pouch + chlorine dioxide tablets. I have the old style Sawyer, but would probably buy the $20 Mini now.
  • The RAC has small velcro pockets on either side - they contain spare batteries (Aimpoint battery, CR123As), Bic lighter, SAR signal mirror, cordage and a couple other odds-n-ends.
Color Commentary:
I really like the Greenzone pattern for my area (woodlands), though at present, the selection of pouches is more limited. Very effective. These pouches are available in a variety of patterns if you prefer/need something different.

In my opinion, the RAC is a good starter/all-purpose rig that can grow with you. A few reasons:
  • Full MOLLE, so you can figure out what load works for you or change things up as needed, versus being stuck with a single pouch layout. Can be scaled up/down as needed.
  • Designed to be worn over armor, so it will still work if/when you get a plate carrier down the road
  • Very adjustable, very comfortable and stable even with a good amount of weight on it
Since the chest rig is designed to be worn over armor and opened or taken off if one needs to go lower profile (e.g. lying prone or crawling through a hole), a slick plate carrier underneath and a belt with a light fighting load would be a good companion to this rig.

A pistol could be added to the chest rig (lose a carbine mag) or carried separately on the belt line. At present, a drop leg holster is needed clear the med pouch. 

Tinkering is of course part of the game. The med pouch may be moved and a head/helmet light may be integrated. The mag pouch pull tabs will likely be switched out for the S&S Precision tabs. Black plastic will be rattle canned something brown/greenish.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with the rig. The RAC is probably the best chest rig of this type today and Tactical Tailor in general is hard to go wrong with.

A very comfortable, versatile and functional set up, and (as far as tactical rigs go) fairly affordable for high quality, made in America gear.

End Entry.

First of all a big thanks to TEOTWAWKI Blog for participating in our contest.  As to my thoughts on this setup.

-I like Tactical Tailor gear. Have a bunch of pouches from them that are well over 10 years old and still going strong. My assault pack is also TT of a similar vintage. I have used and abused that thing all over the world. Short of theft, fire or some sort of terrible accident with a wood chipper I anticipate getting at least another 10 years use out of it. Their stuff is not cheap but it is American made and hell for stout.

-Working under the assumption that a pistol is going to be on your belt, along with it's magazines I don't see anything big it is lacking. Mags, knife, water, IFAK are the big ones for sure. That being said personally I would probably put at least 1 admin pouch on there (not the IFAK) to have a bit of space to store a bit of food as well as some survival gear and small ancillary stuff (ear plugs, maybe a glow stick, etc) but that is just me. That the assault pack will presumably be worn or handy can arguably cover that niche.

-The color seems suited to the eastern woodlands. I use multicam because it is pretty good in most places but if I didn't move around so much I'd lean towards a more regionally specific pattern.

-The adaptability of MOLLE is just so awesome. Not too many years ago we had the limited modularity of ALICE and even then we were zip tying and 550 cording things together redneck style and the purpose made "tactical vests" where you weren't moving a thing. Being able to move a medical kit, try it out then move it back is so nice for assembling a setup to work for you.

-I appreciate that it is American made.

A big final thanks to Alexander Wolfe and TEOTWAWKI Blog. Check out their awesome site regularly, I do.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Project 870P Soliciting Input

I got a little bit of money so it's time to dust off the 870P and finally finish this project. Leaning heavily on TEOTWAWKI Blog's Project 590A1 here is what I am looking at:
Paint- DIY flat black. The finish on this gun is terrible so I'm going to rattle can it flat black. Honestly I don't care what it looks like but need a reasonably (more than exposed metal) corrosion resistant finish to be able to use the gun. Will keep the wood, well wood colored for aesthetic as well as social/ legal reasons. I want the gun to look as much like the same pump shotgun every Louisiana resident seems to own 5 of if I have to go to court.
Sling- Single point as of right now till I get a better plan though I may just stick with it. For a house gun honestly a sling isn't THAT important other than that I want one.
Light Mount- Elzetta ZMS
Light- Either a Streamlight or a Surefire G2. A good basic pretty bright light
Ammo carrying (on gun)
Sidesaddle- Essetac shotgun cards.
Buttstock- shot shell carrier generic type
Total this will be something like 21 rounds on the gun.
Ammo carrying (off gun)
2 more essetac cards in my Costa Leg Rig along with 2 pistol reloads and a hand held light. This will probably go on a duty belt with a holster, an IFAK and some zip ties to become the "bump in the night belt".
This will bring the round count to 35 shotgun shells and 3x pistol mags. Plenty for an HD setup in my mind.

A bag with about 35 rounds of loose OOB and 3x 5 rd boxes of slugs. I would like to replace this with a claymore bag (they have 2 pouches and would be perfect for this. If anybody has one to spare I'd love to trade something for it. I would grab this if I was going outside which admittedly is a point where I would think hard about switching back to my AR but who knows, this would be a nice hurricane setup. My shotgun has ghost ring sights so after I confirm zero for slugs it could reach as far as I can see myself shooting anyway.

To the ammo discussion. There are lots of options but as I've discussed before keep the birdshot for little birds.  I favor #4 BUCK because it gives a whole lot of sufficiently sized projectiles. More holes= more blood loss and more chances to hit the vital die right now body parts. If carrying this gun in the wild I tend to throw in some #4 or #6 shot just in case I need to do a Wilderness Walk Out.

Anyway before I pull the trigger I wanted to get your input. Maybe I'm missing something.


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Tripple Barreled Shotgun PF Edition Intro

TEOTWAWKI Blog teased it now we get a better look

Honestly an 8 pound short barreled shotgun seems like a hard sell to me. That you cannot select the firing order, to fire load A instead of load B based on conditions is also problematic. Heck an 870 with a 28" barrel that HOLDS MORE THAN 3 ROUNDS weight's 7 and change. They haven't mentioned MSRP but last time Chiapa tried to sell the triple threat the MSRP was in loony tunes land. I greatly admire Dave Canterbury and enjoy most of his gear but this does not seem like a winner to me.


Friday, December 6, 2013

Devils Advocate No Armor; My Thoughts

 Devils Advocate: a devil's advocate is someone who, given a certain argument, takes a position he or she does not necessarily agree with, for the sake of debate. In taking this position, the individual taking on the devil's advocate role seeks to engage others in an argumentative discussion process. The purpose of such process is typically to test the quality of the original argument and identify weaknesses in its structure, and to use such information to either improve or abandon the original, opposing position.

Too often we get into an echo chamber type group think so it can be good to take a step back to examine the underlying ideas of a given technique or strategy. I worry any time a group considers debate on a specific subject to be entirely closed to the point they refuse to consider alternative perspectives, especially ones based on new information or technology.

I linked to this excellent series a couple days ago. In that post I asked for your thoughts which were interesting as always. Now it is time for me to share my thoughts. For rules of engagement I am going to call it as I see it with an emphasis on adding value to the conversation and keeping argument to an acceptable level.

No Armor: Let's look at the up and down points for armor.
-It can literally save your life. The drastic decrease in lethal wounds over post 9/11 conflicts could be largely attributed (along with modern trauma training/ equipment) to the proliferation of hard body armor.
-Weight. Body armor weight's something. As a generic figure a plate carrier weights about 15 pounds and a full on tactical setup closer to 22. This means an individual fighter is carrying a heavier load which makes them (marginally) slower and is weight that counts against the total a fighter can carry.

-Cost. Body armor costs something. As of the last couple years a lot of new players have gotten into the game producing body armor for the civilian market at much lower prices than it used to be available. A solid setup of a plate carrier and rifle plates can be had from the under $500 range all the way up to 3-4 times that for state of the art ultra thin/ light stuff.

Max Velocity wrote about this awhile back. Our thoughts generally mesh.

My Thoughts: Throughout history we have seen weapons and various forms of armor designed to protect against them. The sword and the shield, lances and suits of armor, etc. With the advent of firearms it took awhile for armor to catch up. However now that there is viable armor to protect against small arms it is foolish not to utilize said armor.

As a general rule if I am carrying a rifle for social purposes I will be carrying spare ammo in a war belt, chest rig or whatever and wearing body armor. The only exceptions that come to mind are 1) In and around water when I assess the risk of drowning if I fall into the water with the extra weight is higher than the risk of being shot. In this case I would ideally bring body armor with me then put it on when I get onto land. 2) For longer duration missions where the weight of body armor needs to be replaced with food and water in order to not die. Maybe surface water is not available, such as in the desert, or we will be lying up in one place on a recon mission for awhile. If my basic fighting load and sustainment load weight 85 pounds total I'm not going to add armor on top of it. Those two scenarios or ones very similar to them are the only reasons I can see not wearing body armor along with carrying a rifle.

As to the cost of body armor. These days body armor is just not THAT expensive. An entry level setup in the four hundred and change range is doable for most folks with a bit of planning. I do not look down on somebody who hasn't got to purchasing body armor yet due to the prep money going for food, water, basic weapons, etc or those just plain can't afford it. That being said if you have a $1,500 Kimber 1911 and a $2,500 .308 (or a safe full of guns) but whine that armor is expensive I would submit your priorities are about collecting not being ready to fight. We discussed this awhile back.

As to the weight of body armor.
Some folks mentioned a lack of physical fitness, particularly cardiovascular conditioning as a reason not to wear body armor. By that thinking why don't you switch out that big heavy rifle which makes your arms sore for something smaller, maybe a nice little pink Cricket .22?

Don't carry the right gear because you're too fat and out of shape? You have got to be kidding me.  What the hell kind of feel good everybody gets a trophy and you all all special crap is that anyway? I am calling bull spit on this one. How about we use that as a motivator to get to eat better and exercise more to fix the actual problem.

Body armor slows you down but not that much. Awhile back I did a 2 mile run on a rolling course in boots n utes plus body armor. IIRC my time was 15:45. At that time my 2 mile run in shorts and running shoes was in the 14:45 range. The time difference is pretty negligible for the protection armor gives.

Consumer Reports says the average 6th grade student carrier a backpack that weights 18.4 pounds. If a little kid can carry that amount of weight while flirting and dodging bullies in the halls at break I would submit a healthy adult should have no problem carrying it.  If you are in such poor physical condition that the equivalent of a little kid's school napsack kicks your butt then it may be worth revisiting your potential as a fighter. Not everybody in the tribe fights enemies and hunt the meat, some folks cook the meat, some clean up the camp, some watch the children, etc.

As a final thought reasonable people may look at this issue differently. Overall we are probably too psychologically reliant on body armor anyway. People can look at body armor from different perspectives but the primary drivers should not be that you would rather buy something fun than spend money on armor and are in terrible shape.

This got a lot longer than I thought so we will talk "Rifle Only" another time.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Devils Advocate: No Body Armor and Rifle Only

An interesting series going on at TEOTWAWKI Blog.

No Body Armor questions the role of or arguably over reliance on body armor.

Rifle Only questions whether you really need a pistol in a full on kinetic/ WROL scenario.

Read the posts and tell me what you thing. Tomorrow I will share my thoughts.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

RE: What To Do With Extra Firearms

This came up in the comments for the latest chapter in You Took Away Tomorrow:

One question I've had off the top of my head is arsenal wise. If you were a guy that had hunting bolt and lever rifles or extra pistols laying around, would you take those? Say your .243, .270, .30-30? For me I can't imagine leaving them somewhere, but taking 5-10 non tactical weapons that wouldn't help a lot seems like a lot of space and weight to carry! Thoughts? Click to read the rest

My response:
I would recommend spreading your proverbial extra eggs out. Cache them or leave them in convenient locations. [EX if you always meet up at Jim's to go hunting leave the .243 and your big .357mag there with some spare ammo. This means you have couple guns in a place you regularly travel to away from home. Maybe they'll help you and maybe they'll help Jim. Either way it beats them sitting as extras you couldn't move in a bad situation.]

They key is doing these things, to some degree, now before you need to.

General diversification strategy aside I would not underrate non tactical type guns. A good .22 and a hunting type shotgun are some of the most practical guns out there and a scoped deer rifle can be pretty handy also. Not tacticool but really useful for game gathering.

What are you doing with firearms beyond your basic needs? There are lots of viable options but I would submit that putting them all in a big gun safe at home is  probably not the right answer.

On another note this evening somehow vanished so you get somebody else's stuff with my thoughts on it. Good news I ordered a bunch of stuff to complete various systems today; a couple metal sporks, another steel water bottle, a streamlight flashlight and some other things. Had craziness with amazon but eventually I got it to take the right payment and hopefully to ship to my current address. Expect a normal post tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Building a Financial Safety Net Part 1

TEOTWAWKI Blog talks this important topic

Short of physical fitness, financial health is probably the most under discussed topic in survivalism or it's better dressed cousin preparedness.  Everyone wants to be a cool guy and have guns, stash a bunch of food, etc but nobody pays attention to the novel concept of saving.

The brutal truth is that you are far more likely to need five hundred bucks right now than any preparedness item, certainly any preparedness item beyond your basic week long power outage type kit.  It could be many things from injuries, vehicle breakdowns, to job loss or whatever.

You need an emergency fund to prepare for all manner of potential financial emergencies. Amazingly once you have one emergencies seem to come less often. Maybe it's more accurate to say if you have the $500 to fix the family hauler it's an inconvenience, when you don't it is an emergency.

There are a ton of ways to establish an emergency fund but they all boil down to spending less than you make and saving the difference. As noted in the article I think it is very important to be smart with new money be it a raise, inheritance or whatever. We've gotten into a pretty decent financial spot largely because every time new money comes in we make intentional choices with it some to saving for this, some to saving for that, some to lifestyle, some to fun.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Ammo How Much Is Enough? How Much For Training?

Alexander Wolfe asked about Minimum Ammo Levels and I replied there but it seems worth discussing today. Also I'm in a bad mood today so am going to do what I feel like even though it is not gun porn Friday.

I talked about ammo levels some years back:
defensive rifle- 3k
defensive pistol- 1k with no formal breakdown mine is half hollow points and half FMJ due to economics
shotgun- 1k split between target shot, game shot, buckshot and slugs
rimfire- 5k
hunting rifle- 1k

Looking at those levels now I have softened a bit on the last 3. For shotgun and rimfire it is mostly that I feel OK slipping below these levels if you are going to accumulate more than 2 guns in a category. Since these guns are affordable it is easy to accumulate them. 1k between 2 shotguns or 2k in various shotgun shells spread between 3 or 4 shotguns would probably be fine. Ditto 10 or 15k in .22 ammo between a few guns. As to hunting rifles I sort of re looked the economics of the issue. Putting a grand into ammo for a $300 30-30 seems like a bit much. This is especially true if you have a defensive rifle like 5.56 AR or an AK in 7.62x39 with ammo stacked deep to fill that fighting role. Used only for hunting or once in a blue moon precision use 500 rounds would probably last a couple decades. For the sake of full disclosure I am there on a couple things and between 65-75% on the rest.

As to training ammo. This was my biggest take away from Firearmagedon. I didn't really have a dedicated stash of training ammo. Either shot some from the stash and put money away to replace it in the next bulk buy or just went to the store and grabbed what I wanted. When ammo stopped being available/ got really expensive this was an issue. My take away was that I needed to keep a dedicated stash of ammo for training that was distinctly seperate from my operational stash.

My training stash (separate from and in addition to the op stuff) goal is as follows:
12 gauge-500 rounds mostly target shot with say 100 each buck and slugs.
.22- 2k.
.38 spec-250.
Hunting/ precision-100 rounds per caliber. Just 30-30 now though I would like to add a .308  next year.

The last two are low because I do not shoot them very much.  (This is total rounds, not per gun.) I figure that will get me through several months of normal operations if there is another dry spell and let me take a short course if desired. 

How much ammo do you think is enough? How much do you keep stashed for training?

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Three Knifes For......

It seemed like talking knives would be fun so here we are. I got to thinking about which knives I would want if only a few could be had. I discussed a five knife scenario awhile back and wanted to update it to include some new purchases and be a bit more limiting. Decided on three knives partly because it is the number most of these type discussions seem to go for.

Concept of use/ generic type of knife:
1- EDC Folder
2- Belt knife
3- Large camp/ survival/ fighting knife

I intentionally did not consider multi tools. The primary reason for this is they fall more into the tool category than the knife category. Sort of like a leatherman is not a bottle opener just because it has one on there. The secondary reason is I simply do not find much use for them. It's a nice tool and a nice idea but I rarely find use for them in a place I could not have a whole box of tools. Sure there is one in my BOB and another in the car kit but I do not feel the need to carry one every day.

The EDC folder is my Benchmade auto. The belt knife is a Pathfinder trade knife. The camp knife is my camp knife from JP's Custom knifes. After a semi gratuitous picture of the knives closed I will talk about the decisions I made and some sticking points that came up in them.

I really like the Benchmade so it was an easy choice though really any quality folder could fill the roll. The belt knife is where I had to do a lot of thinking. I was totally up in the air between the Pathfinder and my Ontario RAT 3. The RAT 3 is pretty handy with a nice sheath but is just a bit too short to fill this role. When testing the RAT 3 I found myself jamming part of the handle into a roast or large piece of meat to get the blade all the way through. While the Pathfinder Trade Knife narrowly wins I am not entirely thrilled with the choice. A slightly larger RAT like the 4 (reviewed at TEOTWAWKI blog) or 5 would probably be a great option, for more money the new Benchmade Bush Crafter would be great also.

My camp knife was an easy decision, it is pretty awesome. Recommend JP's Custom Knives for your premium cutlery needs. One could argue my Cold Steel kukuri fits in the same niche but I disagree. That machete on steroids is great for brush and small wood but that's it. My Camp Knife can do light brush or small wood tasks but is still handy for cooking or general use which cannot be said of the kukuri. To me the debate would not be between the Camp Knife and the kukiri but between the kukuri and a hawk/ hatchet/ small ax.

With these three knives I could complete every semi normal knife type task readily imaginable. Aside from Wifey not liking me taking a knife off my belt to cut dinner with there would be no real downside. That makes my inner (he rarely wins) minimalist want to start getting rid of stuff and my paranoid side want to start caching stuff. 

What would your three knives be? I am curious about broad type/ concept of use as well as specific make/ model. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Random Tuesday Thoughts

-It might be time to re read the Matthew Bracken novels as they seem to be playing out in real life.

-This whole discussion about the NSA, Verizon, etc all data gathering is interesting. First that stuff called 'meta data' matters, modern computers using well designed programs combined with various other open source stuff can come up with huge amounts of information. Think pattern and link analysis that is largely automated based on huge amounts of information. Along these lines the idea that has been posed "it is legal under our law but may not be constitutional" says a lot about the current problems in our country.

-Silver is at 21.5ish right now. If you have a few dollars to spare that is definitely a buy. I cannot say why gold is down either but if you can afford it that is another fine place to park a few dollars.

-Ammo prices seem to be coming down (except .22lr which is going up) but availability is still spotty for sure.

-TEOTWAWKI Blog's post on Resupply Caches is worth checking out. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Putting Together Bags and Systems

Alexander Wolfe has been talking about the Good Idea Fairly lately in terms of how it relates to different things, in this case hygiene kits. In choosing what to pack/ carry there are always choices. Sometimes there is an element of personal selection within a given category. A guy I know carries a big knife and a folding saw. Personally I am more of a medium sized knife and hawk/hatchet guy. Both are fine options and personal preference can dictate the choice. Assuming relatively similar capabilities and weight it doesn't matter what people choose.

To some degree I think personal preference can dictate some smaller items that one chooses. Maybe some playing cards, a book, smokes, a pint of booze, whatever. However the amount of weight that goes to discretionary non essential items does need to be seriously managed. 10% probably isn't a bad fraction. 

There are inherently choices to be made. The problem is that inexperienced people who do not actually carry or use their stuff tend to choose everything. Hygiene kits that would take care of a model for 2 weeks, seven cutting tools, 4 full changes of clothes, etc. These folks end up with huge bags full of excessive, redundant stuff, they are too out of shape to actually carry any distance. In a fully catch .22 they never use the stuff to get past the point of inexperience. Implied task, start carrying your stuff and using it!

This discussion combined with Joe Fox's book (which I owe a review on) and my general desire to do something productive got me looking at my bags. Part of the change in my setup was transitioning to summer stuff. Since I'm in Arizona the low's this time of year are not exactly low so one doesn't need much warm stuff. On the plus side the weight dropped down some. It went from almost 60 pounds to 44 wet/ 40 dry. I would like to shave a bit more off so it's closer to 40 wet. Went through things looking at what I would be comfortable taking out and did not come up with anything. Maybe a complete bag dump and relook in the next couple days will help me find some stuff to ditch.

Took the new leaner and meaner bag out for a ruck today. While I could carry the heavier one fine the lower weight was sure appreciated.

Anyway I'm not sure where this is going so it's time to wrap it up. In coming days I will be talking more about my gear. Maybe it will give you some ideas or at least make someone go over their stuff.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Caches Continued

 TEOTWAWKI Blog  asked  if anyone actually has caches (obviously bear in mind considerable OPSEC when answering) to which I responded "When it comes to caches I think we can get too narrowly focused to only stuff buried in the ground. A tuff box full of gear and food in Dad's barn is a cache. A couple guns in the basement of a buddy who you visit and sometimes go shooting with is a cache. A rental storage locker a mile from home (or in a neighboring town, whatever) that stores Christmas stuff, off season sporting goods/ lawn stuff and in the back has some gear, food and a couple of hidden guns is a cache.

In that explanation is a combination of things I have done, am doing or will do."

Now the discussion of different potential types of caches has come up. It seems like a worthy one to chime in on. In no particular order here we go.

Contents: Alexander is absolutely right that your concept of use needs to dictate the contents of a cache. What makes sense to have is definitely driven by your plan(s). Two thousand pounds of wheat isn't very handy if you really just need 30 gallons of gas, some water and a couple days worth of food.

That being said I think there is some small, fairly affordable essential stuff that is too useful to not put into just about every cache.  A few lighters, a good basic knife, a water bottle, some water purification tablets, a few batteries, a bit of food, etc. You could do this or under $20 if you have the knife already or $50 if you don't. Not perfect but better than nothing. If you need to get into a cache odds are somebody around needs this stuff. If space allows I would add a full change of clothes per family member (including footwear and appropriate outerwear) to that essential stuff.


-E&E. The point of this cache is to provide you the necessary equipment, clothing and food to make it from point A to B during an escape and evasion scenario. Since you might get away from an ugly scenario barefoot in boxers or gym shorts it makes sense for this sort of cache to have a set of suitable clothes including footwear and some basic survival type equipment, a bit of food and probably a weapon.

John Mosby described the contents of a 5-6 gallon bucket E&E type cache "What survivalist/prepper doesn’t have a metric shit-ton of plastic, five-gallon buckets with resealable lids laying around for food-storage. As long as they are not buried too deep, where crushing from pressure becomes an issue, these are almost perfect cache containers. One bucket can hold almost an entire outfit of gear for one man (LC-2 type LBE, a can of ammunition in magazines, a change of clothes, some boots, and some food. Even a small carbine or rifle, broken down, can fit. A shop-built SMG would be a good fit here, after it had been thoroughly tested for function. Snipped for brevity Ryan)

I think we need to fight the temptation to think all 'hide in the woods' here unless your environment and skill sets really lend themselves to that. Lets face it, bad things sometimes happen to good people. A pistol, some EDC stuff, a change of clothes, a bit of basic survival stuff just in case, a wad of cash and if you are so inclined and can wrangle it a set of clean ID might be a whole lot more useful than an ax to build a cabin in the woods.

[Note- In re reading John Mosby's excellent article on the matter I was able to better organize my thoughts on cache types by blatantly stealing his concepts of cache types.]

-Resupply. This would have a resupply of consumables and probably some likely to break key gear. I like the speedball idea. I am familiar with the concept though not in the cache context. For reference a speedball is a  relatively small  pre packaged set of stuff to resupply a unit in a prolonged fight. It would certainly include ammo, water and medical supplies, a bit of food and some batteries might be included depending on the situation. For folks operating mounted fuel would be included also. This sort of thing would be the perfect between point A and B cache. For those who might plan on a long drive it makes sense to have fuel, a bit of oil, water, some food and a bit of ammo stashed away. Driving beats the hell out of walking but you need a plan to support it.

-Redundancy. Redundancy in alternate locations like the coveted "Bug Out Location" is something survivalists generally understand. Redundancy in place is something I think people often ignore at their peril. Far too many survivalists have all of their proverbial eggs in the basket of their home and out buildings. If their home was lost due to fire or they needed to leave (maybe not by choice) they would be hosed. Even folks who plan on staying at home AKA bugging in would be well advised to spread their stuff out a bit. On a large enough piece of sufficiently isolated property burying stuff a terrain feature away (out of sight and ideally sound from the house) is an option. Other options exist.

Cost: Alexander Wolfe hit on cost. Tactical types and survivalists tend to accumulate stuff. Part of it is the nature of finding the right gear for us. We inevitably work out way through some knives/ flashlights/ chest rigs/ holsters/ in some cases guns that are perfectly serviceable but just don't quite fit us right. These boxes/ bags/ piles of stuff are the perfect starting point for caches. I sort of look at caches as a natural outgrowth of said accumulation. Get to a point where you have a bunch of stuff around, look at making a cache, repeat until you feel comfortable then stop.

[The topic of guns inevitably comes up. I cannot tell you what to do or whether you should or should not include guns in caches. First as John Mosby told me in his ever blunt manner a gun that is cached cannot shoot anybody in the face. It also will not kill a deer or whatever. If you have a basic firearms setup (and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that) thren caching guns does not make sense. However many, probably most, of the people reading this do not fall into that situation. They have a few extra guns lying around, extra's we got as back up's as well as guns we got because they were too good of a deal to pass up or we moved on but could not bring ourselves to sell them, whatever.

If you have more than a couple extra guns lying around I would think really hard about spreading them out a bit. We talked about this before (albeit in the context of gun confiscation) and it brings up a variety of opinions. However I think a rational person can see that having a nice setup of guns at your house and a few that are not really used set away here or there makes a lot more sense than a whole bunch of guns at your house and no backup plans. ]

Other times we do need to procure stuff to go into caches. Cache gear is far more likely to come from Old Grouch's Surplus or Sportsmens Guide than the a cool tactical company or REI. Military Surplus stuff that is rugged, cheap and readily available are perfect candidates here. Ditto bic lighters, Mora and buck 110 knives, etc. If you can afford to toss in a Solo Stove and a bunch of emergency food  plus some sweet gear and guns that is cool but not required. When it comes cache raiding time pants the Mrs said you had to stop wearing, a ratty wool sweater from Goodwill, a Mora knife and a Maverick 88 12 gauge will be awesome to have.

Anyway I cannot think of anything else to say and am bored of writing so I will wrap this up. As always your input is welcome.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Excellent Linkeage

John Mosby continues the Combat Rifle Craft discussion

American Mercenary talks IED's

Chris reviews a Gen I night vision device

Teotwawki Blog's You Took Away Tomorrow series 

How to spot a concealed firearm. I see a lot of guns. If forced to unscientifically guess I see half to 2/3rds of the guns that are carried concealed in my immediate area. Bulges on the side of the waistline are an obvious one. Right or wrong I assume anybody wearing tactical garb (5.11 pants, Multicam hats with morale patches, etc all) is packing. Obviously folks wearing concealed carry/ photographer type vests who do not have a huge camera are packing. ANYBODY wearing a vest when it is 90 degrees outside is hiding a gun.

It isn't so much that these folks are doing anything wrong in terms of concealment. Just that folks know their own. Potheads can find potheads, gays can find gays, CCW folks can often spot their own. The guns I miss are 1) Particularly small and discretely carried. Hard to tell if somebody dressed normally has a little .22/.32/ .380 in their pocket or 2) The gun is on the side away from me or I just miss it thinking about other things or whatever.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Lines of Gear and Go Bags/ Assault Packs/ Get Home Bags

Alexander Wolfe wrote an excellent post today discussing Go Bags and Bug Out Bags. I am going to talk about my thoughts on 'lines' of gear. In doing so we will talk about go bags/ assault packs/ get home bags and such. 

First line gear is the most basic survival and defensive gear. You really shouldn't be leaving home without it.
Military- Survival gear (knife, fire, etc) and weapon with reload. For most deployed personnel the weapon is an M4 variant but that doesn't really matter.
Civilian- EDC/ Survival gear and potentially CCW pistol with reload. You can see mine here and also a lot of other peoples.

Second line gear is your 'fighting load'. It stores ammo, water, basic first aid stuff, a small radio, maybe a more substantial knife, etc all.
Military- Old school would be your LBE or whatever and a rifle if your first line gun was a pistol. The contemporary equivalent would be body armor, a chest rig if your pouches aren't mounted strait to the vest.
Civilian- There are a lot more options but the basics are the same. Ammo, medical, maybe a more substantial knife, water, etc. This could be a direct or linear descendant of some military system of a smaller lighter setup designed to more closely suit civilian needs. War belts and Active Shooter kits fall into this category.

Third line gear is for sustainment over a longer period. Depending on how your stuff is set up and the conditions the second line is good for a short operation or up to a day or so.The third line is for sustainment beyond that time frame.
Military- Ruck Sack with food, water, warm clothes, hygiene stuff, batteries, maybe ammo, etc all. Set up to sustain an individual within their current environment for a reasonable amount of time.
Civilian- Large bag with food, water, warm clothes, hygiene stuff, batteries, maybe ammo, etc all. Set up to sustain an individual within their current environment for a reasonable amount of time. This is where the BOB AKA 'Bug Out Bag or INCH "I'm Never Coming Home Again" type systems fall.

We could quibble about what exactly should go where and other minutia. However it's basically the way our military operates these days so I do not think many folks would disagree with the general concept.

So now we are back to the Go Bags/ Assault Packs/ Get Home Bags. I will briefly discuss my thoughts on them then move forward.

The 'Go Bag' is pretty much set up to supplement your fighting load. More mags, medical stuff, food, batteries, etc all. It typically stays in a vehicle and is grabbed to resupply or if you need to bail out on foot.

The 'Assault Pack' is used to carry equipment beyond your fighting load needed for a particular mission. Potentially that could include bino's/ spotting scopes, batteries, clothes, food, additional ammo, explosives, breaching gear, land mines, signaling equipment, etc all.

The 'Get Home Bag' is a bag designed to have sufficient stuff to get a person from where they are to back home. Generally set up smaller and lighter than the 'bug out bag' though one mans BOB might be another's GHB.

So where do the Go Bag/ Assault Pack/ Get Home Bag fall into this general system?

We could analyze the exact composition of every single kit or just make it simple and call them level 2.5. That is sort of awkward but since these kits are typically a split between supplemental fighting load and short term sustainment I think it's the best fit. This is further made awkward because many civilians do not have a 'fighting load' in their general commonly carried systems. They may have a hodge podge of stuff floating around their vehicle or a few spare mags in their level 2.5 system. Also I find the conceptual level 2.5 useful because the level of sustainment is generally for a shorter period of time than the more traditional Ruck/ BOB 3rd level of sustainment.

Yes I categorize these systems in the same range. Furthermore I would go as far as to say they are just variations of the same kit adjusted to different circumstances. A soldier or contractor operating out of a vehicle will probably have a go bag. Inevitably some chow and supplemental clothing plus life's random junk (paperback book, MP-3 player, gum, flashlight, etc) can slip in there. Really while the bag might vary that isn't any different than an Assault Pack. These kits exact composition varies in part based on your fighting load. I've seen contractors who wore 2-3 spare mags for their rifle and 1-2 for the pistol (often in a ghetto made war belt from some pouches and a spare rigger belt) then carried a bag with more of each plus smoke/ grenades/ etc. If for whatever (IMO foolhardy) reason a person in a highly kinetic situation goes with way their  2.5 line is going to have a lot of ordinance in it. On the other hand a guy carrying 8-12 mags on his body has more room for a spare sweater in the 2.5 line.

To me the 'Get Home Bag' is a civilian equivalent of the same kit. It is a fairly small purpose built kit designed to help you with a specific mission, in this case getting home. They tend to be far lighter on ordinance than a soldier or contractor's Go Bag/ Assault Pack. The reason for this is simple. Despite some folks Red Dawn or whatever militia porn fantasies the odds Joe Everyday is going to need a first aid kit, some chow, a coat and a flashlight are a whole lot higher than that he will need an AR with a dozen magazines. Now if you want to carry a dedicated fighting load plus a 'Get Home Bag' type setup good for you but as a survivalist do not carry the ammo instead of the sustainment stuff.

So anyway those are my thoughts on that. I am eager to hear yours.


Friday, May 3, 2013

Living With My J Frame

I've had my little Smith and Wesson 642 for a little while now. Since it's purchase I removed then ended up selling the Crimson trace laser grips and replacing them with Hogue boot grips. The boot grips are a lot smaller which lets the gun better suit my concept of use which is a little concealed carry piece. Here is what my little J frame looks like now.
I am pretty happy with it though at some point plan to set it up like Alexander's J frame with the wood S&W grips and a Tyler T grip. Aside from looking really good that setup will probably shoot better than my current grips. The only reason I haven't done it is that $60-75ish discretionary gun purchases are a long list.

My holster is a Blackhawk IWB.
It is perfectly adequate for carry in its intended role and does OK as a pocket holster. I'm not in love with it but it works; given the price point around a half rack of cheap light beer it offers a lot of value. If money were no object I would have a nice soft leather IWB holster, a Safariland pocket holster and an ankle holster for this gun. However as mentioned before gun stuff that would be nice to have is a really long list.

Awhile back Alexander Wolfe and I had a discussion about the size difference between compact Glock's like the G19 and J frame revolvers. Since I have been alternating carrying the two for a few months now plus the camera was already out I figured it might be fun to take some pictures then talk about my thoughts on the matter.
The Glock 19 and Smith and Wesson 642 side by side. Man who is the lucky duck that has both of these great carry options. At the first glance they look very similar in size. However as we will see appearances can be deceiving and the differences, however small, are in places where they matter a lot.

The Smith & Wesson 642 sitting on top of the Glock 19. The picture does not really show it bit the J frame is slightly offset and higher than the Glock 19 just because of the way the angles of the two guns came together. This is where the first significant difference in size becomes apparent. The length and height of the two guns are not THAT different. However as you can see the back of the J frame is curved while the back of the Glock 19 is roughly in the same location as the furthest point back on the pistols grip. The backstrap is one of the two points on a pistol that prints (shows through clothing while concealed) the most. Also it is one of the reasons the J frame vanishes under anything except a skin tight t shirt.
Looking at the two guns from the back we get a better picture of their relative height. The S&W is just a little but shorter than the Glock 19. However when we look at width it's a different story. Aside from the cylinder and the fattest part of the grips the S&W 642 is significantly thinner than the Glock 19. Also very significantly it is a lot thinner at the end of the grip. Combine that with the grip being shorter and you have most of the reason the J frame conceals much easier than the Glock 19. Personally I can hide a J frame under almost anything while the Glock 19 takes a loose button up or polo shirt that's roughly a size larger than my body.

A top view of the guns in the same position. Shows the overall differences in width and length.

Bottom line is the J frame is smaller in all the right places (barrel, width, grip size) to make it a much more concealable gun. It is much easier to conceal than the G 19. I can conceal the J frame wearing anything other than a swim suit. On the other hand the Glock 19 takes a polo or button up shirt 1 size larger than my body to conceal with a real belt to hold it.

Between the two there is no dispute the Glock 19 is a superior firearm. It holds 3x the darn bullets plus it's a much easier gun to shoot well. However that is not the point of this comparison. It's great for folks to pack a full sized Glock, M&P or 1911 with 2x reloads. Seriously good for those guys. However my observation is that most people will not actually pack a full sized heater with any regularity. The running joke that if you ask any guy who says he packs a full sized 1911 to show it to you right now he will mumble some BS about how it's in the glove box/ nightstand/ safe runs true far more often than not.

I genuinely believe in high percentage carry. Personally I carry a gun unless it is really illegal, like years in prison not 'asked to leave the establishment' kind of illegal. When you carry all the time the inevitable 'running to the store for a gallon of milk' scenarios come up. Also there are times you just plain don't feel like strapping on a larger pistol. Plus it is hot and getting hotter down here. Any gun beats the hell out of no gun.

Personally I go back and forth between carrying the J frame and the Glock 19. There is a sort of informal risk assessment for every trip. If I'm leaving our little town it's the Glock 19. If it's after 8 o'clock or so it is the Glock 19 with a light. If I am carrying a lot of cash or making a significant trade it is the Glock 19. Last weekend between my wallet, some garage sale cash and money for the the gun show I was walking around with about a grand; so I carried the  G19 on my right hip and the .38 in my off side cargo pocket.

However all things considered my lifestyle is pretty safe as there are not a lot of muggings and shootings between 3 and 6 pm. Since the risk assessment of going to the store for groceries at 4pm on a Tuesday is pretty low the J frame wins a lot. It wins because I should have a gun but don't need that much of one.

I feel adequately armed with the J frame and 2 reloads.  Sure it's not a Glock 19 with a reload. That being said what realistically concerns me these days is 1) somebody trying to rob me in the parking lot or 2) getting carjacked, the distant 3rd would be just getting caught in something here or there. Either of those  (2 probable) situations will be over one way or another before I shoot 5 rounds. The cold hard truth is that I'll have won, lost or be behind something with time to reload by then.

That being said I am in the market for a Glock 26. Sooner or later one will be saved from a life of an owner who is not me. That might just be the setup. Until then I will split my time between the Glock 19 and the S&W 642.

As always your opinion is welcome.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Project 870 Paralysis

Alexander Wolfe and Tam's shotguns are coming along nicely. My project is stalled. A week ago I would have said it was pending funds. However upon reflection I just haven't been quite sure where exactly it was going.

At this point instead of turning my shotgun into what I want the idea of simply purchasing a slightly more purpose built gun has come up. For the cost of buying an extension plus what I could probably sell my gun for one with a factory extension could be purchased. Once I $25 in a couple doo dads plus pay for shipping everything this option would probably SAVE me a few bucks. Given the randomness of used gun availability this option may or may not pan out. I'll give it a couple weeks to see what happens.

For lights I'm going to go with the surefire forend. Probably the most expensive way to skin that cat but I think its the best.

Anyway that is the status of Project 870.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Cyprus, Herbs and Taters, Smith and Wesson M&P and Ramlings

That whole mess in Cyprus was pretty interesting. The model that government will screw citizens to protect banks is proven yet again. At this point banks are playing like Nicki from Casino. Gamble and collect if they win; should they lose they do not pay. If I was a Cyprusian, or whatever they call themselves, who happened to of had 100k Euro's in the bank I would be a lot poorer and very angry right now. Like buy a hoodie and a bandana then start burning stuff down angry.

The jilt of the situation is that bank deposits were stolen levied in a one time tax to help support the EU bail out of the countries banking industry. Cyprus is unique as it is a popular place for rich to moderately well off sometimes crooked Russians to stash money. Needless to say Russians are not a big fan of this. Maybe President Putin who is a real life bond villain and the most awesome man in the world will kill them all. I'm not sure.

This brings up a couple interesting points. As TEOTWAWKI Blog noted it is important to have some cash on hand. A month's cash expenses (food, fuel, medicine, incidentals) is a good reasonable goal. More would not hurt if your overall situation merits it. Given the effectively negative interest rates these days if you have more lying around one could go to 2-3 months cash expenses.

Claire Wolfe brought up a good point about considering how much cash you have in the bank. This is something that concerns us. We have a lot of money, by percentage and considering our life situation in the bank. Over the next several months we are going to do something about that.

Some dude in Tuscon is looking at handing out shotguns to low income women in high crime areas. I cannot see how it could make the war zone that is low socioeconomic status Tuscon any worse. Heck it might just make things better.

Today for dinner I heated up some frozen meatloaf MIL made when she was here. Did up some crashed potatoes to go with them. I liked that Greek oregano and green onions from the gargen were part of it. That is pretty cool. It looks like one of the strawberries died. The other strawberry plant I think is going to be fine.

So I've been hanging around in gun shops to buy ammo recently the opportunity to handle a couple of guns has come up. I really liked the ergonomics of the Smith and Wesson M&P. That gun feels great in my hand. It would be a very hard sell to get me to purchase a 9mm that isn't a Gen 3 Glock but I like the M&P a lot. Should I decide to buy a .45 it might be an M&P.

Also handled a Rossi Ranch Hand. That thing might just be a stupider gun than the damn Judge. A lever action pistol caliber gun you need to hands to reload, seriously people. If it's compatible with a bigger stock you could (of course pay $200 and fill out some forms first) make a Cowboy SBR I guess. Seriously folks just get a revolver that beats this piece of junk in about every possible contest.

Been doing a lot of reading about the battle of Grozny (the first one in late 94 to early 95) for some work stuff. Will probably talk more about that later. There are definitely some lessons to be learned and it is pretty interesting.

Well I'm bored of writing now so it's time to end this.

Hope you all are having a great weekend.

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