Showing posts with label lights. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lights. Show all posts

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Wandering man with Alzheimer's shot, killed in Walker County

Tam brings us this sad story full of lessons. Point by point.

Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer, cop or self identified expert. The purpose of this blog as well as the post you are reading is to give you some things to think about while being entertaining. You are an adult and thus responsible for your own actions. Understand your local laws and consult experts as needed to get quality advice don't just run with the ideas of some yahoo on the internet. 

1- Low/ no light situations. For whatever reason self defense situations happen predominantly in no/ low light situations. Knowing this we need to be prepared to fight at night. In all but the most permissive environments you legally and ethically must identify a target before firing. Heck, taking a step back you need to see a person to know if they are actually a threat. The Goblin with a butcher knife in your imagination could turn out to be an elderly man carrying somebody's mail. The only way to know for sure is to see the person.

Obviously the way to see in the dark is some sort of light. I like weapon mounted lights for shooting. It is impolite and dangerous to go around pointing guns all over the place so I like handheld lights for looking around. Tactics could vary here and honestly I'm more concerned that you have a darn light then exactly what type of light it is. You don't have to break the bank to get a 3,000 lumen surefire made of adimantium a $5 plastic hardware store flashlight beats no light at all.

Some folks have talked about weapon mounted lights (and lights in general) saying you are identifying yourself so it is poor tactics. These folks fail to realize 2 key things. First you can have a light and not use it if the situation dictates; that being said if you do not have a light and the situation dictates using one you're SOL. Second as discussed previously in all but the most kinetic environment outside of a population center you need to identify targets before shooting. If I light somebody up and they are c

The endstate is that if you have a gun in the dark for self defense you should have a way to see what you might be shooting at. I strongly suspect the vast majority of self defense shooting tragedies are caused by failure to use a white light to identify a target before firing.

2- Staying Inside. Tam's advice to stay the heck inside and let the cops deal with the crazy guy in the yard is sound. A persons legal footing for self defense is a lot better if the recipient of the lead has forced their way into said person's home. You don't hear too often about people getting into trouble for shooting the guy who broke into their house.

Personally I am inclined to go investigate the weird noise outside myself. The reason for this is that almost all the time it is the neighbors cat or a tree branch or the wind blowing stuff over. If I called the coppers every time that happened I'd have to deal with them a lot and it would turn into a boy who cried wolf situation. Potentially like the scenario that spurred this discussion I could end up in a confrontation outside of my home. The big difference would be I'd have 2 tools to decide if there was a threat and thus whether my heater was needed. In any case I am going to give that plan some thought. It might not be the best course of action.

3- Sort of like Tam said it is good to think about these things now so we have answers in our heads at 3am when awoken by a weird noise. If I KNEW somebody was outside in the yard or whatever doing something crazy I would not go out there. I would arm myself (if I hadn't already) then wait for the cops to deal with it.

4- It would be hard in my mind to justify shooting somebody I didn't KNOW was a legitimate threat. Not "they kept walking towards me" but "they kept walking towards me with a butcher knife in the universal stabbing position" type thing. Even if you can legally justify shooting somebody you will have to live with yourself. This means blasting a mental patient or whatever is not the best course of action. Avoiding the confrontation (do you see a theme here?) is the way to go. I don't worry excessively about the 'they kept advancing but were not clearly a lethal threat' scenario. Though it does bear consideration so maybe some sort of less lethal implement like a big can of mace or a baton would be handy there.

 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Layered Systems and Redundancy

I believe in layered systems. Sort of did this before really learning the concept in a more formal sense but it is easier to do well with the basic concept in your head. It sort of goes like this. Instead of having a whole bunch of stuff all over the place you have a few systems. These systems are layered from smaller to larger moving from the most basic things in your pockets to larger systems that may fit in a backpack or even a vehicle. The saying that you survive out of your pockets, fight out of your kit and live out of a rucksack is a solid starting point.

The two systems we will talk about today are my everyday carry and my EDC/ Get Home Bag. I should post pictures of this stuff and talk about why this is there and that is not but that's another post.

On Friday I reached into my pocket for a knife and it wasn't there. For whatever reason the knife just didn't make it to my pocket that morning. A further inspection showed there wasn't a lighter in my cargo pocket either. This wasn't a huge deal as I was going to use it for something minor that I can't recall. I had another knife (as well as a lighter) in my bag but didn't bother to dig it out.

So this got me to thinking. Things happen in life. Maybe you leave home in a different pair of pants or an item is lost or stolen or whatever. Within a layered system you still need some redundancy of key items. The old saying two is one one is none comes to mind. Furthermore I think these redundant items should be spread out. Having two knives instead of one sitting in my other pair of pants at home would not help. On the other hand a knife in my bag is a lot more likely to help. This also has the benefit of letting you have slightly different tools for different jobs. Maybe a Leatherman and a more dedicated cutting tool for your knives or a Lazer Bright stick and headlamp for lights.

Kind of along these lines my EDC/ GHB bags contents has been evolving.  The new Pathfinder water bottle pouch helps because it is pretty large so a lot of those little survival things can go there. A box of granola bars was tossed in giving me about 1,500 calories worth of food to make up for a couple missed meals. I'll probably do a write up on the contents when it is a bit more settled.

Anyway that is what I have been fiddling around with lately.

Do you have some redundancy in key items? What items do you consider key?




Friday, November 16, 2012

Pic Post: Soft Body Armor and Streamlight TLR-1

Earlier this week I posted a Colt ACE II .22 Conversion Kit for sale. A fellow asked about trading then after some back and forth a set of soft body armor and a Streamlight TLR-1 were headed my way. Today they showed up.
Body armor taken apart and Streamlight TLR-1

The light is used but in very good condition.

Body armor put together and TLR-1 Streamlight on my EDC Glock 19.  I am pretty darn happy with this trade. The Streamlight TLR-1 was on my short list so that was cool. Not sure what I am going to do with it right now. Either it will sit around until I am running a dedicated house gun or I will pick up a concealment holster (the Raven one looks like the way to go) and give it a shot on the current EDC/ do everything Glock 19.  I wasn't necessarily in the market for a set of soft body armor but  it was on the long list and is something that's pretty handy to have around. Tomorrow morning or Monday the Colt ACE will go off to it's new owner. Both of us are happy about the deal which is how trades should be. Also I started talking to a reader who is a pretty solid dude so that is an added benefit.




Wednesday, November 14, 2012

All Sorts of Things

Well it looks like the Colt ACE Conversion Kit has a buyer. A fellow got in contact with me about trading. After some discussion (it takes awhile to narrow down potential trades to stuff a person wants) we came to a deal. I will be getting a used Streamlight TLR-1 and a set of pretty nice soft body armor with a plate for the front. A pistol light was high on my list and the vest wasn't exactly in my plans but it is a good thing to have around. The great thing about trades is that nobody is out any money, which is tight everywhere, and both parties can trade stuff they are not using for stuff they can use.

I fired up the Coleman propane stove with one of the big canisters as a test run. For whatever reason it wouldn't work with one hose but after realizing we had multiple sets I just swapped it out. The In Laws probably had 3 of the sets that let you run a propane Coleman stove and lantern off a big refillable canister. The one that worked was put away with the stove in the box. More testing or research than I am willing to do would have to take place to really know but I suspect one of those BBQ sized propane bottles would run a Coleman stove for a really long time.

Continuing on our trek towards getting rid of all the unused and unneeded stuff in our lives called minimalism we have sold 2 strollers and a coffee table. Another stroller should get sold tomorrow. We started organizing all of Walkers old clothes. Some sentimental stuff as well as a small set of things in each size will be kept but the remainder (far more than our kid wore) will be sold. The money will go towards purchasing things we need or want for kiddo #2.

Yesterday I made some pretty good corn bread. It was the normal recipe plus a bit more than half a jalapeno and a 1/2 cup of cheese. It definitely brought some life to an otherwise average side dish. We will do it again.

Survival Blog mentioned that Walmart is going to be selling Savage pump shotguns for $169 on black Friday. I am a Remington/ Mossberg guy but if you need a shotgun this is a heck of a deal for a new shotgun in a viable defensive configuration.

Our friends at Camping Survival did a video on long term coffee storage.

Check out the 10 Most Memorable Fictional Survivalists.

Anyway that is what's going on here.

Monday, November 12, 2012

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

It was a pretty solid week here. Exercise was solidly on pace with 3 runs, 2 lifts and 1 body weight/  lame Army PT session before getting sick. I fiddled with some gear which was good. Did some dry fire drills which are always a positive thing. Did some testing of the solar charger which turned out pretty good. Oh yeah and I purchased 2 BBQ sized propane bottles.

Between getting sick and recovering we pretty much lost the whole weekend which kinda hurt some efforts. However we are pretty much back to normal so that is good.

In terms of material stuff it was a great week. Ordered a year's worth (x1 pax or 4 mos x3) of grains and lentils, 40 pounds of rice and sugar as well as some oatmeal. Project AR Upgrade got some love too with a VTAC Surefire light and mount combo and a VTAC sling to go along with it.

Survivalist Charlie got me now I'm broke so next weeks plans include the usual dry fire and PT (3 lifts, 3 runs, 2 rucks and at least 2 APFT oriented body weight sessions) as well as a contest brought to you by our new but good friends at Camping Survival. If things work out I will look over our kits again and go through the 'go food' as well as testing out some cooking options. We *should* have the right connectors to run our Coleman propane stuff off the big BBQ bottles from the stuff we got from the in laws but well that is why we test things. Also I am still fiddling with the Sun Oven and Solo Stove.

Some good stuff if I do say coming up  so myself. What did you do to prepare this week?


Friday, November 9, 2012

RE: John Mosby's Notes On Setting Up The Modern Fighting Rifle

John Mosby wrote a great post recently. It is jam packed with sound practical advice. Seriously read the whole post before continuing. What I say here will not make much sense otherwise. Needless to say I have some thoughts on the matter.

As to optics. John Mosby says there really isn't an excuse for not running an optic. I do not think that is exactly true. The one valid excuse I can see is economics. Somebody who scraped up enough cash to get a rifle that is smart and putting money into food, energy, medical, training and such instead of just gun junk might need to save for awhile to get an optic. I have some respect for a guy who is waiting to buy an optic instead of shorting important areas to get one right now.

If there is a serious viable fighting optic available for under $400 I have not seen it. A $140 Walmart red dot is cool for plinking with a .22 or whatever but you get what you pay for. Either these optics fail or they fail to hold a zero or generally just suck. I talked some about specific optics like the Eotech, Aimpoint and ACOG awhile back. Any of those models or some of the new low power variable scopes by folks like Trijicon or Leupold are also very good candidates. Personally I am running an ACOG. I got it because they are what I use at work and it is easy to shoot them well. The new 1x4ish power scopes are a really good option and in 10 years when the ACOG's half life is up I will likely replace it with a Leupold variable power 1x4ish scope.

Running iron's as a backup is IMO absolutely essential for a fighting gun. Modern optics and in particular the Aimpoint CCO/M68 and the ACOG are really rugged and rarely fail. However optics are complicated and relatively fragile all the same. If the scope on a hunting or target gun fails it is an inconvenience or might ruin the day's hunt. In a fight it could conceivably get you killed. I am running the Magpul BUIS simply because of cost.

I am sold on the concept of free floating a rail. Phase 2 of Project AR Upgrade will be a free floating Troy Rail. Assuming the world doesn't end I'll get one in a few months.

Tactical lights are the way to go. They make such a difference in being able to identify targets. Especially considering the realistic real world use for most of our rifles would be a home defense situation lights are very important. Sticking with serious manufacturers like Surefire or Streamlight is probably smart.

Incidentally I had a few bucks that I was trying to decide what to do with for the last week or so. I was sort of at a log jam with a bunch of gear that really needs to be purchased together. After reading John Mosby's excellent article I was reminded that the new M4 needs a light sooner instead of later and picked up a VTAC surefire light and mount combo.

On the topic of slings. The old 3 point sling really came into existence as a viable tactical way to sling an M16 rifle with the old school strap under the rifle musket style hardware. They were fine for what they are but since pretty much everybody is running an M4 or an M4 style butt stock these days it isn't needed. Also because of their excessive webbing and attachments these things can tangle you up like some sort of bondage setup.

I do not like one point slings. For me the rifle hangs too low and is really floppy. I like modern adjustable two point slings. The adjustable feature is important for transitioning to the weak shoulder if needed. Also in a much more practical everyday way it allows you to adjust for wearing a plate carrier or not, winter clothes or even different users.

The only time I run a vertical foregrip (a grip pod to be specific) is at work when I expect to be using my IR laser enough to justify the optional pressure switch. Really this is just to buy me some more real estate. Some folks like them, or an AFG like the Magpul but I am not part of that group.

I think there is way too much potential for fiddling with the AR platform. Rifle, optic, light, BUIS, sling and if you can afford it an IR laser. No real need for anything else all the time. If you are going to be in a support by fire position doing some varmit shooting then stick on a bipod but I wouldn't run one all the time.

As to custom type parts I am generally not a fan. Some parts are just a better version of the original and that is fine. People do the same thing with AR's that they do with 1911's in that they stick a bunch of random parts together, find it doesn't work and say the platform sucks. The issue is that they are not a gunsmith and are stacking tolerances like crazy. Also I do not like products that change the way a gun is operated. Products like the Magpul BAD change the way you run the gun. I am running a BCM gunfighter charging handle but it does not change the manual of arms. You should be able to shoot any rifle that ends up in your hands well not just one specific set up.

Well those are my thoughts on that.




Sunday, May 27, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend

I guess the standard thing to do is to write some post about sacrifice and duty and all of that stuff. I  don't have any desire to do that. My life has enough of that stuff that on the other 360 some odd days of the year. Quite frankly I find the whole thing depressing. I have lost people and don't feel like dwelling on it over a nice sunny long weekend.

We would have gone someplace this weekend but with my lingering illness it didn't seem smart. I am feeling decent and all but things can happen and I don't want to go to the hospital in some random country. It turns out to be for the best I think. It has been a very quiet weekend which is a good thing.

I don't know exactly why but I have been a crazy machine of productivity this weekend. Like the 1950's stay at home mom who had 5 cups of coffee and a handfull of uppers that cleans the whole house, organizes the garage, weeds the garden, makes a beautiful dinner for the family and does 57 projects before hubby comes home. Well except it is not the 50's, I am not a woman or on drugs. Anyway my point is that I have been really productive.

I cleaned the floors and reorganized the kitchen. A bunch of stuff that should have been in storage got moved there and junk got tossed. More cleaning occured in closets and other storage places. This included the kitchen closet which has been a black hole of chaos and unhappiness in our home. Our vehicle got cleaned out, vaccumed and organized.

We went shopping for some odds and ends. I didn't plan to get anything else but went through the usual aisles (outdoor, tools, etc) anyway. Inventory changes sporatically and sometimes sales come up. I saw 3 D cell Mag Lights for $13 and picked up a few.

Over the weekend I found a slightly used (marker and a bit of paint on it but totally functional) generic rubbermaid type tub. These bins are one of those weird things for me. I have it in my head that they are really expensive when they aren't. Well some of them aren't anyway. The one I got costs about $8 new. A half dozen tubs worth $60 would probably fix a lot of problems and maybe even change my life as I know it. It is pretty dumb I guess.

We keep the usual sort of stuff in our vehicle: kid things, a first aid kit, warning triangles, jumper cables, some tools, jackets, socks and boots for me (I habitually wear comfortable/ nonpractical footwear and am not changing), a blanket, etc. Anyway since I got the junk out I wanted to get everything organized. Prior to now everything has been just floating around. I cleaned out the tub and got it ready to use. Since our sweet free tub is kind of big I added some more tools, a bag with some spare batteries, one of the new mag lights and some other things. Anyway now everything is nicely organized and neat which is pretty nice.

No big plans for tomorrow. Another quiet day and probably some stuff with the kid. Going to try and tie up some loose ends around the house before going back to work. If I feel motivated there are a couple closets that it would be nice to get taken care of.

Anyway I am happy with the progress this weekend. Getting things done that have been bothering me is a good feeling. We have also had some pretty nice family time. It has been really nice.

I hope you have a great weekend. Relax and enjoy some time with friends and family. If you are so inclined try to get some productive things done.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

My EDC

You showed me yours, now it is time to show you mine. It is always better to do it that way;).

I carry the typical stuff like a cell phone, keys and a wallet with some cash. In terms of survival stuff I carry a knife, typically a buck 110,  a bic lighter and a tiny led flashlight. Often I carry a Cold Steeel push knife and when legal/ practical I also carry a Glock 19 with a spare magazine.

My everyday life takes place in a pretty small area. If it was more open a sniper with a .50 could just about cover the whole thing. As such I don't worry about EDC all that much. When I go further away I add items to supliment my EDC.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

It Was a Merry Christmas

It was a very nice Christmas Day for the TOR Clan. Pretty traditional really; we opened presents, had some breakfast, relaxed for awhile, watched some movie FIL watches every year (don't remember what) and then had a big dinner. After that we watched Toy Story 3 which little sister in law really enjoyed. It has been a quiet evening. I really enjoyed being able to take about a nice long nap between lunch and dinner.

We had a really good Christmas haul this year. I got a mag light, an energizer LED lantern, a Garmin E Trex series GPS, a Kindle, a silver dollar (I was pleased to hear they got it awhile back when silver was a lot lower), enough cash to buy an external hard drive and a few other things. Wifey got some cash, a Kitchen Aid mixer with some accessories, a kit to make baby food at home and some various other stuff. Walker got a ton of clothes, toys, various other stuff and almost a hundred bucks to go into his college fund.

I noticed that most people spent about as much as they normally do this year. The last couple of years may have been down a bit. I did however also notice that people (us included) seemed to put more thought than normal into the gifts they purchased. Instead of just grabbing something as people can do they seem to be putting some real thought into it.

I am looking forward to getting the GPS up and running. I have an old Magellan somewhere but the user interface is seriously lacking. That was back when them and Garmin were neck and neck. Since then quality has improved a lot and the Etrex is pretty darn easy to use. I am quite eager to check out the Kindle. I think it will be useful instead of hauling a dozen books here or there. It won't replace a good old fashioned book for situations where there is inclimental weather, rough use and such. However for something like a deployment or other situation where I will have decent (using a very low standard of dry, minimal electricity acccess, etc) accomodations this will be a lot easier than  30 pounds of books. Also seeing as we move a lot sooner or later the sheer weight of physical books will start to be an issue. Of course I will continue to purchase prep type books in a physical format but for a new fiction novel or just something I want to read the Kindle may be the way forward.
I hope everybody had a really nice Christmas.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

We had a pretty darn good preparedness week. First we went and got a bunch of extra formula for Walker which was really good. We already had a stash but now it is a pretty solid stash. Next I put a small Gerber folding knife onto my keychain. I just about always carry a knife anyway but knowing that if I am out of the house I have at least one knife won't hurt. Next time I go to the clothing and sales I will get a small led light to go on there also.

After a lot of consideration I decided that instead of getting body armor at this point I am going to take care of a couple things that have been on the list for a long time and a couple recent additions to the list that we can just really use. I ordered a Bianchi 100 Professional IWB holster for my Glock 19. I really wanted a good holster for it to carry while I am home on leave. I have holsters (full sized Glock size) that fit the 19 but not perfectly. The difference between a real good fit and an OK fit is readily apparant in concealed carry.

When it comes to ancillary equipment for my AK I have been way off of my own desired levels (for a rifle like this 3k roounds and 20 mags) for a long time. For awhile it wasn't really even on the radar and after that it has been towards the bottom of the list. It has been on the list for awhile now and the ammo was even on this years New Years Resolutions or at least the first round of them. I should also be able to get a full case of 9mm JHP ammo by years end.  So I went ahead and ordered a case of 7.62x39 JHP Wolf ammo and 10 Eastern European surplus mags to round things out. I will go home and toss that stuff into an ammo can and aside from picking up a couple boxes now and then to go shooting not need to think about it.

Also I went out and ordered a brand new ECWS 3 Piece Sleep System. Now both Wifey and I have one. We have a couple other sleeping bags floating around but these things are a really good piece of kit.

I feel relieved to have the AK setup finally meet my own rather ambitious standards. Especially given that AK stuff is almost universally imported it gives me a lot of peace of mind to know I have a comfortable amount of ammo and plenty of mags put away. Before I had enough mags and some ammo for me to use but not much of a margin for field loss or helping a friend. Now I have that margin. Having another serious sleeping bag coming into the inventory is sure a good feeling.

I am going to let our Awesome Ammo Giveaway Contest go for a few more days as technological issues and life have put it, despite my best intentions, a bit onto the back burner. Seriously it amazes me how many people will gripe and complain about how expensive ammo is and how they can't afford it but won't put forth a little bit of effort to get a solid chance at willing a half case of the stuff for free. If you don't own any of the calibers you could stand to win (9/40/45) then enter anyway and sell or trade the stuff and buy something you want.

Also if you want extra special reader points (redeamable for all kinds of great prizes and trips) then please mention this blog to a friend, family member, gun buddy or like minded individual. Send them a link to your favorite post or just the blog itself or tell them our name and let them look us up on google.

I have some awesome stuff in store for next week so stay tuned. Got one in my head about staple cooking. Another one about chest rigs and gear. Maybe one about knives too. Probably something or another about money or home finances. Best of all you just might hear from Wifey.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Radio Advice

Dear TOR:
 
I noticed on your New Year's list that you got a radio. Is it a Grundig? Can you write about them a bit on your blog, esp. how big they are (portable enough for a backpack?), expensive, etc.
 
We have lots of different radios, including the car radios, of course. Some are battery-optional, and all can be run using our generators.
 
One that I got particularly for my BOB is a Red Cross crank model with AM/FM, NOAA channels, cell-phone carger, flashlight and emergency siren, TV-VHF channels and inputs for AC adaptor and earphones. It also operates on 3 AA batteries and weighs a little over a pound. I got it at Bed, Bath and Beyond for around $50 several years ago. I'm sure that the same model is also available at other outlets. The price has probably gone up, but Christmas sales are starting.
 
Since we planned to keep the BOB at my husband's work location in DC, we thought the flashing light and emergency siren would be useful in case of another terrorist attack or building collapse where rescuers would use it to find him under rubble. Fortunately, he doesnt work in that building anymore (he's now at Fort Belvoir, VA) and security is much better. The radio is still in the BOB, but that BOB is now in my car trunk. His BOB is much lighter - he's disabled and cannot carry more than a small briefcase size bag. His car BOB is more substantial, but still very restricted. We live in a very accessible area (State police, cell phone towers, homes and shopping areas, etc.) and seldom roam off our routine path, so true wilderness survival materiel is not really required in our day-to-day ops. That said, we do have guns, ammo and CCPs.
 
Anyway, I'd like to get a really good crank or battery-operated radio for our home base use and thought the Grundig would be a good choice. I tried talking to DH about it, but got the usual "What do you need THAT for?" I do most of the prepping on my own, but could use a little help in the techno-babble dept.
 
Particular model you might suggest? General comments?

Say hi to Wifey and Walker.
 
SaddleTramp
 
TOR here: I own a Grundig 350DL. You can read some of my thoughts about it here 1, 2, 3. The Grundig 350DL is fairly large, about the size of a mans shoe box but a bit more square. I would say they are good for a fairly stationary situation. If you are going to live/ operate out of a car or a backpack then there are a lot more compact radios. 

I am pretty happy with the Grundig though after reading the extensive reviews in Passport to World Band Radio you might be able to get a bit more for your money with some other radios in it's nitche/ price range. I like it's easy controls and good sound. However it's dial tuner is not as precise as a true digital one (with up and down arrows) would be nice. Sometimes it is kind of hard to get to the exact frequency in the busier areas of the spectrum. However with the right antenna and a bit of practice it is easy enough to do what I want with it. I would say the Grundig 350DL is a solid choice for the preparedness type  If you want to get into World Band Radio with pretty general aims and a modest budget you could certainly do a lot worse.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

A Lazy Independence Day

Someone recently made a point about calling the holiday today Independence Day instead of July 4th. Kind of a misnomer because America wasn't actually free on July 4th 1776. Some could say that while America declared independence on July 4th 1776 it wasn't free for some time. They eventually got that freedom by outlasting the British and with the help of France convincing them the cost of continuing the war was higher than they were willing to bear.  To be honest I have previously used the two interchangeably. The distinction is however meaningful and I will try to use the more historically accurate phrase from now on. In honor of Independence Day I took some time to read the Declaration of Independence. You should do the same.

It is my birthday today. Other then copious amounts of great food and some real good beer it will be a pretty normal day. Wifey insisted I have a couple of presents to open today. Yesterday we went and got a couple mag lights which I have been wanting for awhile, a pint of Crown Royal and two big Belgium Trappist beers. Wifey said it does in fact say something about me that the small stuff I wanted was flashlights and booze. I am however OK with that. Also did some optic shopping. Got to decide on a specific EOTech model then go price shopping. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Also click on my advertisers links and check out their great stuff.

No huge plans for the rest of the day. We had a pretty busy week and a half so are just kind of chilling out now. May do some reading or maybe just idle around watching TV and on the net. If so inclined I will go watch the fireworks later.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Battery Semi Failure

I have been feeling kind of out of sorts when it comes to preparedness and the blog for awhile now. Just kinda in a funk if you will. I think it has shown in my writing too. I have been doing this whole blogging thing for awhile and this happens sometimes.  If it goes on for a short period I just plod forward (even hobbies aren't constantly fun in every way, they just have to even out to be a majority of fun) in the normal fashion. If it goes past that stage which I think it did a couple weeks ago I have to break out of that stagnation by getting back to concrete preparedness. Often for me somehow these stagnation's correspond with getting away from concrete preparedness and towards more conceptual type stuff.

I seem to do best all around when I do stuff and write about it or what I think about it. Of course I enjoy writing about work stuff which interests you guys and analyzing news and fun debates but those are really more of side dishes.  

Anyway I felt the need to  do something. As it is late and I wasn't feeling THAT motivated it had to be something already lying around the house. I remembered a box full of Eneloop batteries that have been doing nothing. I went and dumped it out on the bed. My intent was to discharge some of the batteries (they come already charged) and then when it gets sunny use my also untested Bruton solar charger to recharge them.

I got to thinking about what stuff I have around that would discharge batteries the fastest. I figured my big d cell Mag Light would be it. That was also a happy coincidence because I also wanted to fiddle with the AA-D spacer/ adapter things I got. In past talks people suggested I just get AA's and spacers/ adapter thingies instead of D sized rechargeable batteries. It made sense as well as being logistically simple and cheap so I went that route. Tossed some AA's into the thingies and put them into the Mag Light and got nothing.

Fiddled with it some more and still nada. The Mag Light would run with 2 normal D batteries and one of these AA's in a spacer but now 2 AA's with spacers and one normal D battery. I thought this was peculiar but not a big deal. I grabbed one of the LED lanterns we keep near the bed for when the power goes out. These things are energy sippers and last about a million hours on 3 D batteries. Put them in and NADA.

I got curious if these batteries were charged at all. Grabbed my electric electric shaver and threw a pair of AA's in. It ran fine which confirmed that they were charged.

This leaves me a bit confused and perturbed. I am confused because I don't understand what the problem is. Honestly I know essentially nothing about electricity or batteries. Am I doing something wrong or does the whole using a spacer/ adapter to have AA's in a D cell item idea just not work? Also about half of our significant battery powered stuff runs on D cells so this is not cool. 

Ideas or suggestions?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

It was a pretty busy weekend here. We did all sorts of shopping for great deals. Got cases of paper towels and toilet paper and cereal and brownie mix and some other stuff at awesome prices. Also got a used $4 Coleman battery lamp. When I got it home it didn't work but I will see what can be done at some point. We needed to pick up some more batteries and since AA's were on a great sale we got 3 big packs instead of 1.

Today was a cleaning day and that included the medicine closet. We got everything organized and put it back into there in an organized manner. Stuff was all over the place now we have shelves for preparedness stuff/ first aid, Wifey's 'essentials', over the counter medicine and extra hygiene stuff . This let me get a good look at what we have and also what we do not. It was helpful that I had a piece of paper and a pen there to write down gaps I noticed in our inventory. I will take that list to the store this week and pick that stuff up.

Ordered a pair of new boots. My old Altama Exospeeds are still in fine condition but are getting to the point where they are not cosmetically fit for work. They will become dedicated ruck marching/ backup boots. They are still plenty good for functional use and good to keep around.

We realized a couple of holes in our preps that need to be addressed. Every sort of life change leads to new preparedness needs. I will write more about that later as those holes get plugged.

Also I started a spreadsheet for stuff to get. Seeing how useful they can be at work I want to use that same technology at home. It will probably take a long time to get that figured out so it is halfway useful but small steps are still useful.

What did you do to prepare this week?

Jericho and a Random Thoughts

I recently picked up Season One of Jericho off the DVD rack and watched it again. I enjoyed it immensely on the nice new TV. Yeah since it was network TV there wasn't cannibalism, gang rape and massive violence but it was still good. Sorta got my thinking shaken up a bit. Even despite ones best intentions to prepare for a variety of scenarios it's easy to slip into worrying about just one thing. I will order Season Two on the next Amazon order. TV here isn't so good and that is a lot of entertainment for about $20. These days I am honestly more worried about economic troubles and inflation than anything else. Having my financial house in order, stashing some PM's and such consume the majority of my preparation type thoughts.

Jericho got me thinking about other scenarios. Not just the dreaded EMP but a variety of more generic survivalist scenarios. There are a few odds and ends we can use. A couple more cans of gas and some propane would be good. If nothing else we just need to stash more fuel to give the SUV a comparable range as we would have had in the gas sipping Jalopy. As it is bigger and would hold more stuff, plus is more reliable makes its default BOV status a non decision. I have a hard time envisioning a scenario where we would just drive somewhere but it is better to have the option. In that respect $100 will greatly increase our preparedness level.

Also I would like to pick up a couple more Mag Lights, the big 3 D cell ones with the new LED bulbs. Yeah surefires and LED flashlights in general have spun the flashlight world on its head. Our total amount of flashlights is quite comfortable now but I rather like these. Their biggest benefit might be being big enough that they are hard to lose and easy to find. Also they are pretty darn rugged and make a good discrete impact weapon. Some more bedding would be nice. We have a mish mash of different blankets and sleeping bags and such but a few wool blankets would be nice.

Reconsidering non economic/ inflationary scenarios a little bit is a good thing. 

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Interesting Turn For The Evening

We had a pretty normal day. A leisurely morning followed by doing some stuff then grabbing dinner and settling in for a quiet night. At about 10:30 our power went out, then on, then out for awhile. I went to the bedroom to grab my sweet LED lantern and of course Wifey's too.

Those lights aren't great to read by and I wasn't ready for bed yet so I grabbed a beer and went into the spare room where the shortwave radio is set up. Also grabbed a notebook to start a permenant hard copy radio log. The waves were hopping tonight. Got broadcasts (in English) from Russia, Bulgaria, China and Serbia as well as a few others that didn't say where they were from. Since radio isn't visual I took the time to go through our paperwork that resides in the cabinet the radio sits on. Separated a bunch of redundant and otherwise useless paperwork which is good. Going to check through it again tomorrow (good to check twice) before tossing it into the shred box at work.

All and all not a bad way to wrap up the night.  Now pretty obviously the power is back on. I really enjoyed the time fiddling with the radio. It is a lot more fun now that I am getting decent reception. Tomorrow I will likely find some time in the evening to mess with it more.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Power Outage Fun

It has been pretty windy all day. Started out like a normal Sunday. I drank some tea (since I gave up coffee for Lent) and we were fiddling around online. Went to the store at about 11 like normal. After buying our food we started driving home. A bit out of the grocery store we saw a tree down over the road. Easy enough to drive around it and go to our next destination. On the way home from there we noticed a big sign was black and thought that was interesting. About 50 meters down the road we saw why, a power pole was down, like the pole broke and fell on the ground.

We came home and it was obvious the power was out. We sorted through the groceries to get the stuff that had to go in the fridge and freezer then quickly opened them one at a time to put the stuff in. After that we just sorta hung out. Our dinner plan changed slightly to make it easier to cook on a camping stove but that was more about convenience than necessity. We had a radio to listen to if we wanted. Lanterns and flashlights to see when it gets dark. I pulled the chair over towards the window to get better light and read most of The Modern Survival Retreat by Ragnar Benson. Wifey worked on some book or another. Also we talked a lot which was nice.

In short our plans for the day changed very little. We were not worried about putting together a decent dinner and cleaning it up afterwords or how to get around once it got dark.

The nice thing about being prepared for reasonable situations is that you can continue life in a more or less normal fashion when things happen. We could continue this way for a long time.

Since the power came on I was able to post today which was nice. After I wrap this up I am going to finish the book and then cook a nice simple dinner of hot dogs, beans and chips which was the power outage plan. 

Saturday, February 13, 2010

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

It was a good week for preparedness here. I was finally able to make time to go to the bank here and get my card fixed (for the secondary account).That let me clear up a log jam of stuff. Ordered a 4 tray Excalibur dehydrator. Excalibur seems like the company to go with and this one cost about $100 so wasn't too much more expensive than most of the competition. Also got a bunch of those eneloop batteries, a normal charger and a solar charger. A few books also.

Read a pretty long and interesting article. Got some good stuff out of it.

Went through the primary first aid kit. Replaced everything that was expired and added a few more items like neosporin, crazy glue and an Israeli bandage. I mentally added going through the medicine cabinet (actually its a closet) to my list of stuff to get around to. I need to organize what we have, tossing long expired stuff and filling any gaps that become apparent. 

Next week I am going to be away for a few days. Posts are scheduled so there will be no interruptions for you folks. I don't think much is going to happen in terms of preps but that is just fine. Some weeks you do a ton and some little to nothing.

What did you do to prepare this week?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Solar Ambitions

One of the few benefits of my current work situation is that I have a lot of time to think about stuff. Solar power has been on my list for awhile now and since it is #12 on my New Years Resolution list and I am looking at it in late Jan the odds it will get done are very high. Anyway here are my thoughts.

In some ways my current situation is not ideal. Heck, in a few ways it is not ideal. Then again I have a well compensated stable job in the middle of the worst depression in 80 years so it isn't all bad. I sort of try to strike a balance between getting stuff I can use now and getting stuff that is on my longer term lists. Stashing a case of ammo or a gun or some gold is an easy decision because this stuff is long term durable and nice to have around. For some other stuff I lean more towards what I could really use NOW. I think my immediate solar ambitions need to lean more towards NOW then stashing in the warehouse for the future. 

The right setup for me right now might just be a solar battery charger and a bunch of rechargeable batteries. My goals for a small solar setup are rather modest. I would like to be able to have some lights and run the Grundig radio. If I could charge AA and D (ideally AAA also) batteries that would meet my goal.

Part of this was thinking about what I could really use now. I do not have the ability to mount stuff on the roof nor do I have a private yard at this time. If I recall correctly Conservative Scalawag mentioned having a similar dilemma. We have a big South facing window so I am sure I could set a small charger (or one per battery size as may be necessary) in a place where it would be able to do its job. Also the eccentricities of shipping my stuff back to the US mean I would likely need to either ship the marine style deep cell batteries which are the core of most small solar systems USPS or leave them behind. I learned an expensive lesson about shipping big heavy stuff last move and do not want to do that again. However a shoe box or two worth of AAA, AA and D batteries would go a long way towards meeting my immediate self sufficient power goals and would be easy to ship back home.

I have been meaning to make the move to rechargeable batteries anyway. Picking up a normal battery charger also would be easy to do.

In a few years when our housing situation is more compatible with solar and we are back in the US a couple of solar panels with an inverter and a couple big batteries will be purchased. I will pick up some LED lights that will be situated around the house and run off of the big batteries. Eventually when we are permanently (or at least relatively so) settled getting a half dozen big panels and a corresponding amount of batteries to run a whole slew of low power stuff. At that point I will stash the small and medium size setups for a rainy day, probably in a Faraday cage just in case of a One Second After scenario.

Do you have experience with any products that would fill my current need? Thoughts on the plan in general?

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