Saturday, May 20, 2017

Organization

so I am trying to organize some stuff in the basement. About 1.5-2 cubic yards of stuff. Mostly preparedness related clothing, sleeping bags, backpacks and such. My goal is something economical and modular. Totes seem like the obvious answer but old school green Army duffel bags would let me push more stuff in and if I don't need one I could just fold it up.  It occurred to me that some of you all have dealt with this type of issues before. So I figured I would see what kind of stuff has worked well for you.

How do you store stuff?

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Reader Question: Bug Out Realities

Harry Flashman said "If you have to flee, where (in general theory) would you go? I'm not asking specifically, just your thoughts. If I had to abandon my compound I'd be screwed. The only place I can think to go in the event of some major Black Swan event would be deeper into the Appalachian mountains, where I would surely starve when winter came. Remember the old guy in "The Road" played by Robert Duvall? I don't want to end up like that."

Ryan here: Harry, There is a disconnect between what I am thinking about and preparing for in this context and what you are thinking about. You are focused on a black swan type event sort of in line with what survivalist authors love writing about. I am focused on events which fall short of that. 

There are many reasons a person might need to leave where they live, if just for a period of time. Natural disasters such as storms, hurricanes, tornados, wildfire, etc come to mind. Social unrest is another. Various occasional events such as gas leaks, overturned rail cars with nasty chemicals, etc happen also. 

The point here is there are a bunch of actual real life (vs survivalist fantasy and or very unlikely events) reasons you might need to leave your home in a hurry. 

These problems also have the advantage of bejng much more manageable than an EMP and cannibal hordes. I am not "bugging out" to be mad max or the man and son from 'The Road', I'm probably going to be in a Motel 6 in the nearest unaffected city ordering take out and talking with my insurance company.

Along these lines my gear is set up accordingly. Stuff like sleepwear, deodorant, an IWB holster for the G19, clothes I could wear in normal society, etc. Sure there is good, water purification, first aid, etc. It is roughly a 50/50 mix between overnight bag and a more conventional 'bug out bag'.

I hope that explains my thinking. 

What you could do? 

For the more likely fire scare, sudden trip to the hospital, race up to see the kids in an emergency you could put together a kit like mine. 

For the black swan/ conventional survivalist scenario. I would find a couple of places that are abandoned or very isolated and cache a bunch of gear there. Lots of effort and implied tasks but it would give it the ability to leave your place quickly and have some logistics. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Systems and Progress

My BOB is repacked. I still need to add a couple things but the core of it is set up. I need to add one of those recharging things as well as a phone charger. Also a couple maps specifically for the bag. My safe stuff (cash, vehicle titles, etc) is in a small backpack ready to grab in the safe.

I repacked my Go Box A to reflect my current firearm stash. So .22lr for the 10/22, .380 for the LCP, 9 for the Glock, 5.56 for the AR and 7.62. A couple mags for the core guns and one each for the nice to haves plus a mag pouch for the AR, a holster for the Glock and cleaning stuff round it out.

A pair of pants sit by the speedy cabinet with 2x each Glock and AR mags n a holster. That sits on a very comfortable pair of leather slip on shoes. By that is a PC with 2 more AR mags, a Glock mags an a med kit. With that set up I would have 3 spare Glock mags and 4 AR mags. For me that's all I can see needing these days. Sure if things went totally to shit I might want more but that won't happen overnight and I have another rig for that anyway.

I would like to go to the new Haley DC3 rig and eventually I will.

At the current juncture I am pretty happy with this system. Next is the heavy bug out stuff. Also I might make a full on mad max set up just for fun.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Notes from Carbine Class

Pro- Driving the rifle aggressively
- Doing a good job of balancing acceptable accuracy and speed. For where my skills are now the balance is good. I'm seeming to be able to accurately judge how much time I need to make angoven shot.
- Generally getting solid hits on target.
- Transitions are going ok and more importantly becoming automatic. For a traditional Army Infantry guy getting used to transitioning to the pistol up close (vs getting the rifle back in the fight) takes some doing but it's feeling good.
- Shooting when my weak side foot is down has done wonders for my shooting on the move.
-Maybe some other stuff but enough self  ass kissing

Gear Pro
-The set up I used today with my pistol, 2x Pistol mags in a sxs pouch and 2x rifle mags in a double stack pouch on a rigger belt is a winner. It has some kinks to work out but to me for a home defense type set up the concept is proven.
- While too early to say for sure I'm happy with the new Glock magpul mags. Flawless.
- My guns worked great

Now to the less good stuff

Cons
- Head shots and POA/POI on the AR. Under 25 meters or so the 2. whatever inch difference between the line of your sights and where the bullet goes matters. I know the concept but am not doing well performing it quickly. Putting my sights on someone's hair to shoot them between the eyes is hard to remember when I go fast.
- The push/ pull method of seating a magazine is superior to the old army slap but I'm having a serious issue with the slap being so ingrained in me. Need to dry fire it a lot.
-I should shoot offhand at 50-75m more. That's not a strong area for me.
- On transitions to pistol I need to push the rifle a little bit further to the side instead of trying to game it to make time.

Gear Cons
- While the concept I used today of a pair of pants with rifle and pistol mags on a normal type belt was validated some the components were not. For the pistol mags I basically had a normal TT 2 mag pouch. Reloads from it sucked. I'm looking at some other options.
- The VTAC Cobra belt should replace the random rigger belt I am using.
- As another option I really like and will eventually get is probably the Hailey Strategic DC3 cheat rig. None of the chest rigs I have can accommodate a standard strong side holster as they come too far into my side. I have holsters that work for that but in a modular set up I like a standard strong side OWB holster. Also civie Ryan probably doesn't need 10 mags an if he does he will wear a full on belt kit.



Thursday, May 4, 2017

Bug Out Realities

I am in the midst of redoing some systems. It is important to do this every so often. This is important to do regularly to rotate items, make sure everything is still working and such. Also from time to time it is important to re look out concepts.

I have been trying to step back and look more realistically at things. Less red dawn/ walking dead fantasy and more everyday real life. Also as I do move I need to adapt to different environments.

What is changing these days:
- My fighting load plans in concealing the pistol and it's spare ammo if just under a normal shirt. Also working on being able to conceal rifle ammo.
- My bug out bag is getting heavily re done. It will basically be my car 'get home bag' beefed up a bit.   Much heavier on low profile with a concept of use more focused on the realistic scenario where I end up crashing at someone's place or in a motel then some live in the woods fantasy. Kind of an overnight bag with some survival stuff in it.
- This bag is going to stay in my vehicle which eliminates unneeded redundancy. The only exclusion will be the stuff that currently lives in my safe. I am going to organize that stuff into a small easy to grab pouch which will be ready to go in the safe. With this set up I could be out of the house with the absolute must grab stuff in well under 5 minutes.

More to follow later.

Are your systems tempered for your area and realistic scenarios?

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Training and Dry Fire Thoughts

People can tend to over train in rarely used and unrealistic areas. Two examples would be speed reloads and rifle to pistol transitions. Statistically speaking in a civilian gunfight you won't shoot a .38 snobby dry let alone a modern double stack handgun holding 15 ish rounds. I won't say t never happens because sometimes it does but it's very rare.

Ditto rifle to pistol transitions. For that to make sense 3 things need to happen simultaneously. First a modern rifle which usually holds 30 rounds and certainly 20 plus needs to run empty (or jam which I didn't mention in pistols because if you use decent modern guns and aren't a complete buffoon it's very unlikely.). In a civilian or even law enforcement context rifle fights end really fast. The reason for this is that rifles stop people, even the much picked at 5.56, very well. Also critically rifles and shotguns are much easier to shoot well than pistols due to a longer length between songs and so many Points of contact. Second I would have to be at pistol range which we could define as 25 meters for simplicity. Third I would have to be in the open otherwise I'd just reload my rifle behind concealment/ cover. The idea of people blazing away at each other at pistol distances in the open until  I run dry won't happen outside an action movie.

These skills are good to know how to do. They are also good to practice. It's just a question of how much of our limited time should go to them. I would be inclined to mostly practice the stuff that will help me win the fight. The biggest single shooting skill there is getting the first hit on target. Shooting someone gets you all up in their OODA loop.

Dry fire training with a timer is essential to improvement in these skills. Unless you have a range outside your back porch and a huge ammo budget you can't shoot every day. You can do dry fire at home for free.

Today's notes.

Equipment. G19 and appendix holster.
Consistently hitting 1.5 from concealment. Dropped to 1.4 and ran 50/50 ish but get rushed and was making mistakes. I'll stick at 1.4 for at least a week. My short term goal is to get dry fire from concealment to 1.3 which giving a little extra time for real shooting get me at 1.4 there. The long term goal is sub 1 second from concealment but that's beyond a dream now.

After that I did a few rifle to pistol transitions to get ready for shooting this weekend. More on that topic later. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Reader Question Burris MTAC vs Vortex 1-8

How do you like the Burris MTAC? I'm personally between that and the new Vortex 1-8x Strike Eagle. Didn't know what pushed to one versus the other. Any advice on low power variables? Keep your powder dry.

Ryan here: I really like the Burris MTAC. To my best memory what pushed me to the MTAC over the Vortex was that I liked the reticle better and the Burris MTAC had a good reputation. I have the 1-4X model. I sold an ACOG to get it and finance some spare parts. I wanted a ‘do everything optic’ and a 1 power (or darn close as a lot are like 1.1 to 30 feet or something) scope that could be magnified for longer range work with an illuminated reticle. I shoot better at distance with a magnified optic, honestly I think everyone does. Also the big difference between red dot (or irons) and a magnified optic is that I can see well enough to make good decisions. Yes you can hit at 300-400+ yards with a red dot but you can’t really tell if that person is a threat or a friend coming to help. My experience with shooting the MTAC has been quite positive.

Pros: It holds zero and adjustments are consistent.

The circle and dot reticle is pretty cool. The circle will work for really fast up close stuff and the dot is sufficiently precise for my needs. Its illuminated reticle is nice.

It is a rugged optic. John Mosby had one leave a vehicle onto pavement at freeway speed and all that happened is it jammed one of the adjustment knobs so you could not move it by hand. Short of an ACOG or say a Leupold HAMR I don’t think there is a more rugged optic out there and those are 3x plus the cost of the MTAC.

Cost- The Burris 1-4X MTAC is about $300 with mounting options for $60-200+. In this range the MTAC is pretty affordable and on par with an Aimpoint patrol or Eotech. All of these are within the range of a normal person given some planning.

Cons- Weight. Amazon says it weighs 1.1 points which seems about right.

Battery- They use the CR2032 which is kind of a special snowflake battery. I wish they used CR123 or AAs.

As to the Burris MTAC vs other offerings. I purchased my MTAC a few years ago,I was in Arizona so it would have been roughly 2013. At that time the moderate cost offerings from Burris, Vortex, Leupold, etc that had a 1 (or close) power bottom end topped out at 4 power. One power scopes with higher ends existed but not in my budget. The 1-6 and 1-8x offerings were in the high end Leupold, Vortex Razor and Night Force type with a cost range starting at a grand. I have been quite happy with the Burris MTAC 1-4x and think you would be too.

Fast forward to 2017.  Things have changed. One power scopes with higher top end have matriculated into the moderate budget range of optics. The 1-6 and 1-8x Vortex Strike Eagle offerings look very appealing. Additionally the ability to put a quick switch lever on the scope to make rapid transitions is pretty cool. I really like that.

The Firearms Blog did a review of the 1-6X which seemed positive.

http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2016/04/12/vortex-strike-eagle-1-6x24-ar-scope-review/

I am happy with the Burris 1-4x MTAC on my rifle but that doesn’t mean it is the best thing out there today in that same general (say $300-500 for the optic) price range. New stuff is available and in particular the Vortex offerings look very attractive.

I would have to look at the difference (beside the $100 or whatever cost) between the 1-6 and 1-8 power but unless there is a big downside a higher top end is better. A 1-8X scope from a good manufacturer that fits in an average guy budget without too much pain is pretty neat. At this current time with what is available now should I find myself in the market for another variable 1X scope I would look hard at the Vortex Strike Eagle 1-8X. I would spend the money to put it on a good mount.
For full disclosure I have no personal experience with the Vortex scopes in question so what I say is relying on a quick google search and Vortex generally having a good reputation.
Hope that helps,

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Carbines, Gear and Life Update

Hey Folks, I've been traveling for work and pretty busy in general. 

I like magnified variable power optics on a carbine. I think Iraq got people so focused on super close range stuff we forgot sometimes we might want to reach out aways. True this is unlikely in my house or right outside it where a fight is likely to happen. Then again if my only concern was that a $300 pump shotgun would be by my bed not a $1,500+ M4. To make good choices shooting at any distance people need magnification. Yes you can hit steel at 300m with an Aimpoint or irons but can you tell if a person is the goblin  you are trying to kill or your cousin running to help?

One guy I was shooting with has a belt and suspenders approach of a scope and a red dot both in good as mounts. He switches to the red dot for use as a house gun and the scope in case he needs it. Expensive but an interesting idea. 

I am halfway through a local carbine class. Some interesting things have come from that. The instructor is an old time Cooper purist so he wants people to use OWB strong side holsters. I actually didn't have one for my g19 without a light. So I ordered one. I didn't have a single chest rig that was compatible with it. So with that holster set up I can use a plate carrier with a couple mags stuck on or the costa leg rig. I like the Costa Leg rig though I need suspenders for it if I'm going to wear it all day.

I am pretty happy with the Burris MTAC. Seems about the same as a red dot up close and way better for distance.  

I could see that as something I could wear all the time and still do stuff. 

For a house setup I'm thinking I'll have a pair of pants with a holster and handgun stuff. Good for a knock at the door. Carbine stuff will be on the PC with an IFAK. 

As to life. I'm pretty busy with work, school, running and BJJ. 

Doing a diet thing and will talk more about that later. 

What is coming up? More shooting. Maybe another class. More organization. 




Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Quote of the Day

Tam said "One of the hardest parts about writing my "Good Guys Win" column for S.W.A.T. Magazine is trying to ensure that any reported home invasions are not actually Bad Guy-on-Bad Guy incidents, and I'll bet I only bat about .750. The vast majority of home invasions are either on dope dealers or at least think they're invading a dope dealer's home."

http://booksbikesboomsticks.blogspot.com/2017/03/no-really.html?m=1

While some crime is legitimately random most is not. Mostly criminals break into places they know/ thjnknthey knownhave stuff worth taking. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Caches and Holster Thoughts

a recent trip saw me checking up on my operational cache. I swapped out my trusty Glock 19 which had been there for awhile. After consideration I realized with one alibi none of the core members of my tribe had ever shot a Glock. My folks like many non serious gun people of their age range got revolvers in .38/.357mag. As such adults in my inner tribe can all shoot double action revolvers comfortably. There is at least one in every household. Also my outer tribe does not have a single Glock 9mm in it. So putting a wheel gun there just made sense. It of course needed accessories like a belt, holster and speed strips. More on this later.

I inspected the guns there and they were fine. I then lubricated them heavily. Like jiggly butt in a rap video heavily.

Another cache was established. I had most of the core stuff on hand for it. As to description it is probably a mix of an operational cache with some survival stuff.

Still I needed some stuff to round it out. Mag pouches and ammo and some various odds n ends. I suspected it would be about $300 total but the actual cost was closer to double that. I wasn't super worried about it as eliminating dating and going to bars has left my checking account fairly flush. That said I probably could have done a better job estimating costs. The lesson for potentially when putting in a cache on a tighter budget would be to really look at the stuff you need to add and various costs such as shipping.

Also stuff grows faster than you would imagine. What you might envision as a day pack worth of stuff could easily be a full sized ruck. What you might have thought would be one ammo can could easily be 2. I need another ammo can.

Anyway the new cache is established so I am excited about that.

Stuff I forgot to add:
Compass
First aid stuff
Local and state maps

Stuff I wanted to add but couldn't afford to:
3x G22 mags with x Mark inserts
Gps
$10 face silver
Small solar charger with a few sets of batteries
Full sized Glock .40 cal

Back to holsters. So between swapping stuff out for one cache and making another I ended up bringing guns to a couple places. At both places the guns were compatible with ones the people at those places have. That wasn't an accident.

At both places this led to the inevitable dude gun show and tell. At both places somewhere in the conversation I realized the guy might not really have a holster. At the first he had no holster. So I handed mine to him. At the second he was using a cowboy style leather holster for a Glock.

At the first place I need to buy another holster. If things are bad enough I am carrying that particular gun he will want to be doing the same. Obviously two people cannot use the same holster at the same time. At the second place it wasn't an issue as I am holster rich for that gun and the open model one size fits any 9/.40 Glock Raven Concealment Eideon just happened to be surplus in my bag.

The thing is that this got me thinking. Lots of people own handguns that live in glove boxes and safes and nighstands without holsters. If you are (as I suspect most here to be) the survivalist in your group and have the resources/ space it might not be a bad idea to fix that. Or give them as Christmas/ b day gifts.

The same could be said for ammo. To a lot of folks 2x 50 drive boxes is a lot of ammo. This reminds me I need to order 500rds of .38 special.

Anyway 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Reader Comment- Cache Stuff

Good to hear, you do have that stuff on hand now right!?

Like most survivalists who have been at it awhile I have put a decent amount of stuff back over the years.   I hesitate to pick an exact start point for me as a survivalist as I always had some of those tendencies but if I did it would be roughly a decade ago. 
On a tangent to newer survivalists overwhelmed with all the stuff they think they need I would say to be patient. Even on a fairly tight budget if you are consistent you will have all the stuff you need in a lot less time than you would think. 
As survivalist we have a nasty tendency to just stockpile stuff in our garages, basements and barns. Same with guns in our safes. You don't need the stuff for a 3rd or 8th spare bug out bag at your primary residence. You need it somewhere else. Somewhere you could end up in a bad situation. 
For this cache the only stuff I have purchased is the ammo and a can to put it in. There is some fudging that because I put in stuff like underwear, some jeans and a pair of boots I will probably end up replacing. However at a minimum that will let me spread out the cost of the cache over a little but more time. 
Sort of like Meister said I am caching good stuff. For me the caveat to that is I think caches can be a great place for functional but maybe not perfect stuff. Like in this cache I'm putting an Ontario Air Force Shrvical Lnife I ordered once just cuz I was curious about them. Fine serviceable knife, just not one I see myself putting into a core system. For clothes useful outdoor stuff that may not be fashionable for everyday wear makes sense. Example, in this cache I am including a green fleece with a unit logo I got at a goodwill for like 3 bucks and an old BDU gortex jacket I must have stolen a decade ago as a dirty specialist. Fleece and great outdoor stuff, just not what I would wear for everyday stuff.

So I put together kind of a combination operational/ survival cache. Basically the stuff to go from being normal everyday Le to an active combatant and some outdoor gear too. Roughly equivalent to a level 3 sustainment set up with a ruck n some sleeping stuff.

I guess the total cost of this cache would be about 3 grand but I had the stuff on hand minus the amp which I'm having delivered there.

Sorry about the lack of links and probably some spelling stuff. I'm posting from my phone as my laptop is basically toast. 

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Health Update

The anti biotics seem to be kicking in. My ear is better. It was between 3-8 on the pain scale before. Now it's probably 2-4. This is good. Today I was able to organize a bunch of stuff and set aside items for the cache. It was a good productive day. 

Friday, March 3, 2017

Life

Hey Folks, Its been awhile. Figured I would say hello. Not a ton of exciting stuff going on here. I recently got back into school for a masters so that's good. Between that, BJJ and trying to refocus on fitness I'm kinda busy. Doing dry fire also but nothing too crazy.

Kinda taking a break from dating to work on myself and just decompress. Stuff is exhausting.

On the downside I got a cold which turned into an ear infection. So that sucks.

On the up side I will be establishing a new cache soon. So that is good.

So all in all except for my ear hurting, which antibiotics should fix soon, I am doing pretty well. Hope the same can be said of you all. 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

RE: Math for Marksmen by John Mosby

John Mosby has been doing some good stuff at Prepared Gun Owners. Math for Marksmen is an excellent post. I do not disagree with any parts of it. In fact most of my thoughts come back to other stuff from Johns class.

- Practical shooting be it for defense, hunting, skeet, whatever always has some time pressure component. As such I think we need to think and train that way.

- I think accuracy demands have to drive speed. There is little value in shooting faster than you can make hits or at least distract them.

- How much accuracy you need is relative to the situation. With a prairie dog at 400 meters you need a lot of accuracy. On the other hand at 3 feet you can shoot minute of barn and still torso punch someone.

-Self awareness is so important here. Knowing how fast you can get away with shooting lets you end a violent scenario as quickly as possible. Giving someone less time to potentially hurt you is a good thing.


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