Sunday, July 5, 2015

Greece Votes No

Greece voted no in a referendum on the most recent bailout offer. It was pretty surreal because the offer expired a few days ago but that does not matter. It was a pretty solid 61 and change no 38 and change yes.

For background Greece is a giant mess. Greek debt is 178% of GDP. To make matters more complicated GDP is the whole economy and not government spending. Government spending is running about 50 some odd percent of GDP which seems like a lot (the US number last year was about 35% and Germany averages in the mid 40's). They are solidly in the IMF/ austerity death spiral. People are seriously unhappy after 5 years of a terrible economy. They recently elected a leftist government with the stated goal of easing up the austerity and getting the economy going.

What does this mean? Well it depends on who blinks first.

A likely outcome is a deal being cobbled together by some group of stake holders to kick the can down the road a few more months. The deal would not be the free and easy pay when you can that Greece wants but more likely something barely palatable to either side. I do not necessarily think that is the most likely scenario but it is certainly a distinct possibility.

On the other hand the current Greek government is extreme and or incompetent enough they might make a deal impossible. Also Europe and in particular Germany seems pretty tired of footing the bill for their lazy overspending cousins. To make matters worse the lazy overspending cousins are not even grateful.


Granted a counter argument could exist. Lets say you loan a lazy overspending cousin twice as much as he makes in a year a little at a time subsidizing his overspending and habitual layoffs, expecting to be paid back with interest. Over time you get him to promise, around the time he needs more money, to start a budget, quit drinking and gambling, put forth effort at work, show up to work on time, etc. You are really suprised that, despite his promises the basket case is still a basket case that you are at least as much to blame for the situation as the shiftless cousin. In any case however much we could argue the lender was foolish that actually does not help the argument that they should open up their wallet to pay the 3 month overdue electric bill and buy some groceries to eat till payday.

Not that it matters too much for Greeks (though for the other PIGS it matters now and arguably for the US it is something to keep your eye on) but I did a post on how I would have prepared for this and so did Alexander Wolfe of T Blog.



So what is going to happen? Peter of Formerly Bayou now Cumberland Renaissance Man did an excellent post on the ridiculousness of both sides and what may come next.

What would Ryan the Greek be doing now?

-Getting the little bit of money I had in the bank out at 60E a day.

-If we lived in Athens (or other major Greek cities, do they have other big cities?) we would be going to stay with relatives in more out of the way areas for awhile. 

-Getting as much of whatever medicines my family needed.

-Stashing as much food as we could, probably looking more to help family members and good friends with pantries on near empty. That being said we would try to close any gaps in our food storage.

-Talking with my neighbors. Setting conditions for potential security plans if needed and seeing how they were doing. Maybe try to help (Oh you are out of matches, I think we have two partial boxes. Bring a half box by the next day.) or at least help guide them to a potential solution (We are a bit worried so we are putting our 60E a day into shelf stable food like rice and pasta. We also filled up our car and the 5 gallon can we use for the lawnmower, you might want to do the same.)

So those are my thoughts on that. What do you think?

Larry Vickers Bans AIWB in His Courses and General AIWB Safety Discussion

Larry Vickers banned AIWB for his courses.

He cited safety as the reason as well as the varying levels of experience in open classes and the numerous times a pistol is drawn and holstered in a class.

I am neutral about this. I am absolutely for appendix carry but since I have no plans to attend a class with him it does not affect me. [Note I am not saying anything bad about LAV or his classes. So to me this is the equivalent of a gas station in Maine, where I do not live and may never go, stopping carrying my favorite type of beer. It just doesn't matter at all. I suspect he is a good instructor and if I was in the market for a specific type of class and he offered it in the area I would seriously consider that as an option.]

As counter points I feel it is important to note a couple things.

First if you read the Must Read Info Before Attending a Vickers Tactical Class info it is pretty specific about a whole lot of things. Among other things it urges students away from whole sweeping classes of firearms. Now I am not saying any of that advice is bad, in fact I agree with most of it. The point I am making with this is to put this new addition to the 'rules' into perspective. It's not like Vickers Tactical is completely cool with everything but just not appendix carry.

Second at least two of LAV's contemporaries Paul Howe and Kyle Lamb reportedly carry Glock 26's AIWB in kydex clip on holsters. Paul used his G26 in an AIWB holster for a portion of the Tac Pistol Course and for his personal CCW. I have seen videos of Kyle talking about his. Also if I recall he was involved in the design of the Blade Tech holster I currently have.

Paul Howe briefly addressed this in his monthly newsletter "At least one prominent instructor has banned the use of the inside the waist band appendix carry. Long story short, it can be done safely. Use a kydex one that does not collapse when the weapon is drawn. Also, look at the holster when you are putting it away if there is a doubt. It is the most visible holster to see when re-holstering.
 
Also our friend and SOF veteran  John Mosby carries a Glock 19 AIWB. 


All that aside this brings up an interesting series of questions:

1) Is appendix carry safe?

2) Is appendix carry of a modern striker fired handgun (Glock, M&P, etc) safe?

 These are of course just my personal opinions.

1) Is appendix carry safe. Yes. Though it is arguably less forgiving of mistakes than other methods.

Honestly the primary issue here is that us dudes get freaked about the idea of the gun being pointed at our dick. It is a psychological barrier because well, we really like them.  Some guys simply cannot get past it. Personally it took a lot of research, a bit of experimentation and lots of reflection for me. Eventually the significant benefits AIWB offers in control/ retention and draw speed outweighed the downsides of some negligible (because I use a good holster and keep my booger picker off the bang switch) added risk and that it is certainly noticeable when sitting.

Most ways people carry a gun leave that gun pointing at an important part of the human body. Tight fitting (really everything except those huge Serpa and I think G Code holsters which are bulky modular jobs that snap on to a panel and stick out like 4 inches) holsters around the waist invariably leave the pistol canted at an angle towards the body and there is lots of important stuff in the upper thigh. Pocket carry leaves the gun pointed at the inner thigh which has that same big ole artery in it.

The thing about this is guns in holsters are safe. Tamra has made this point many times. For this reason I specifically lean to stiff leather or some sort of kydex/ plastic holsters these days. A gun in a holster will not go off. Now from a practical standpoint as Tam has noted it is a sound idea to do as little fiddling with your heater as possible. [I keep my carry handguns in their holsters all the time. I can slip the LCP in my pocket or put the G19 (though it is in house gun mode most of the time now due to the sauna like conditions down here) on and go. Get home, take off the holster and put the whole combo away. Every couple weeks I take them out for a wipe down and touch of oil. It is easy.]

Drawing should not be a concern as you should keep that nose picker away from the bang switch till it is at least in both hands.

Re holstering is the problematic part. The thing is 1) If you are re holstering time is not a big factor. and 2) If things get twisted up or whatever just take the darn holster off, put the gun back in it then put the whole safe setup back in your pants.

I will note that various super minimalist setups like the Raven Vanguard 2 are probably not a good way to go for newbies.

2) Is appendix carry safe with modern striker fired handguns? If your trigger discipline is solid then yes. If you have say been carrying DA revolvers forever and might be a bit loosy goosy on trigger discipline relying on a heavy pull to cover that problem then no. This played out over the 90's and early 00's when various police departments switched from revolvers and DA handguns with external safeties to Glocks. A string of bullet holes in department locker rooms, police cars, bathrooms and even officers followed in a very predictable pattern.

Instead of 'is it safe' a better question might be 'is it safe FOR YOU'. The answer might vary widely. That older shooter or cop might be well advised to carry a j frame revolver appendix or some sort of pistol (The S&W Shield with a safety comes to mind as does the Bersa line.) with a trigger pull and safety they are more used to.

As a serious note to close this discussion guns are dangerous. Guns are predictable, like most mechanical objects, but they are dangerous if you do the wrong things through ignorance, laziness or sloppiness.  Like a nail gun or a circular saw if you screw up the cost is high. I wouldn't try to use a plasma cutter or fly a helicopter tomorrow because I do not know how to do those things and they are dangerous.

Don't mess with dangerous stuff you are not qualified to use. Now to be fair I am not talking about absolute mastery but just safe use. This does not mean being able to draw a pistol from concealment and hit a tennis ball at 100 meters in .65 seconds. I am talking about being able to safely handle the weapon with a very high level of consistency. Too put it in a non gun way a relative of mine is a carpenter. While not a union guy I would describe him as a master carpenter. He literally designs and build entire houses by himself (I think he subs out some of the wiring and plumbing). He can surely do things with a skill saw and nail gun I can't but I can still use both of them safely.

 If you are not comfortable with weapons, or a specific gun/ carry mode then don't use it. That applies to all methods of carry, holsters, weapons types, (as well as power tools, airplanes, helicopters explosives) etc all. It doesn't matter if we are talking about appendix carry, a Glock, or Grandpa's Browning A5 the same principle applies

 I do not want you all to be paralyzed by fear but you seriously need to know what you are doing. Get training, practice what you learned until you are comfortable and otherwise hold off (while sticking to known systems) on new using new stuff for anything but training and range fun till the training/ familiarity issue is fixed.

Thoughts?

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Dry Fire Notes: From Concealment AIWB

Doing my dry fire when the kids nap (on non work days) seems to be a routine that works. I used the shot timer ap again. Unlike yesterday which was from my full fighting load setup today was from concealment. Appendix Inside Waistband (AIWB) with a Blade-Tech Holster Revolution Klipt Appendix IWB (Various models available)
I like a lot of Blade Tech stuff. They make good quality products at a very affordable price. Seriously they hit it out of the park on the quality to value equation. Their stuff shows you do not need to spend a ton of money on kydex holsters from some company that pays a former action guy to pimp their stuff.

Anyway I started with the par timer set at 2.3 seconds. That was more time than I needed. I was consistently in the 1.3-1.5 range with a couple outliers at 1.1 and really sucky.

It is interesting to me that the average times were almost the same as from a duty rig.

The duty rig got my fastest time to date (.87) but the time difference between the two (say 1.2 for the duty rig and 1.4 for concealment was a lot smaller than I thought it would be. I figured it would fall off the rails when I added clearing a cover garment but apparently it didn't. 

On the pro side of appendix carry the draw stroke is really short. Also it is closer to where you need the gun to be than behind the hip. With the appendix holster it has friction retention so there is not a device to engage before being able to draw. On the con side obviously it was FROM CONCEALMENT which necessitates clearing that garment. Trying to do that fast threw me for a loop a couple times in the first few draws. Also trying to focus on doing two intentional things quickly is going to take some getting used to.

For the next session I will set the par time at 1.6. My short term goal is to get consistently under 1.5 seconds. To achieve this goal I probably need to average under 1.4. I guess the long term goal is to be consistently under a second from either setup. I think at that point it may be pushing the point of diminishing returns on time required to maintain that level of proficiency.

For the live fire portion hits will be scored CSAT style on a  6x13 vital zone at 7 yards. Anything in the vital zone is a go though my preference is to stay in the top half of it. Paul Howe calls the top half (which roughly corresponds with the lungs and heart) the kill zone and the bottom half the 'colostomy bag' zone since it corresponds more with the upper part of the stomach.

One of the ways I plan to hold myself accountable and track improvement is by at least briefly talking about a days dry fire on here. Maybe posting some sort of basic data ( gear, drill(s) practiced, best time, par time and a rough average) in a brief post is the answer. I would include it as notes in the days post but that turns into a knowledge management nightmare.

I think I am going to push hard on frequency for dry fire. I tried 3x a week but that isn't enough to really make it a habit and defeat the enemy of laziness. So I am going to try 6-7x a week so I have to really have it as part of my routine. On the other side of the coin I am not going to push the time envelope or even really measure it. If I have a limited amount of time, say 8-10 minutes that is what I will use. If I have more time I will go till it stops being fun or I get burned out and times start to deteriorate. Down the road I will probably figure out an intentional program (I have a book John Mosby recommended on a shelf somewhere) but right now at least for a couple weeks my focus will be simply doing dry fire with a timer.

I am enjoying dry fire with a timer. It gives me a way to really measure how I am doing which is good. Also it is relaxing. I will probably start doing dry fire when I get home from work (on work days) to relax and transition into the evening. Also since it is free and can be done at home there really just isn't an excuse not to do it except laziness. It would be great to shoot a couple hundred rounds every day but aside from independently wealthy people (who probably do not have the time), sponsored shooters and SF/ JSOC types that is just not realistic.

Got dry fire?

JRH Enterprises PVS 14 Sale!

JRH Enterprises is running a sale on their PVS 14's. It is right about 10% off the normal price. I was able to purchase one awhile back and have only positive things to say about it. It's a big chunk of change but the capabilities are significant. With a NOD and a zeroed IR laser you can put a serious hurting on someone at night.


Friday, July 3, 2015

Dry Fire with Shot Timer AP Trial Run

In a quiet moment I busted out the Glock and that new shot timer ap. Set it for a 4 second delay and a par time of 1.8 seconds. The drill I chose to practice on was one round from the holster. I was pleased with the results. My best single iteration was .87, there were quite a few in the .9-1.1 range though the overall average was probably 1.2. Clearly my iniitial par time was a bit slow. Next time I will go with 1.5. I was pleased that it turned out to be able to pick up the sound of dry fire.

Of course I did pay attention to doing things right and consistently. It is going to take me some time to get used to beginning to pull the trigger as I punch out from the high ready but I am sold on the concept.

Next weekend I will try to take it out to the range and run through some live drills.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Handgun Shooting Evolution and Other Things

Since attending CSAT's Tactical Pistol Operator Course I have been working on training with pistols and solidifying my gear setup. I ordered an X Grip adapter for my Glock 19. Got to fiddling with it today.

I would prefer if it was a bit more squared in back but it seems to be an improvement. Certainly it helps me with indexing onto the gun a bit more naturally from my duty holster.

This should work out well. A Glock 19 (obviously without a light and G17 mag) is the largest handgun I can realistically conceal in anything less than a winter coat. With a 5 minute makeover it can go from a duty pistol with a light to a basic CCW pistol. While a Glock 26 and a 19 or 17 would be better I have not gotten there yet. Anyway for a single pistol I really like the versatility of the G19. 

After spending some time dry firing with the Safariland SLS I found that to disengage it I really just need to touch the hood/ thumb break and give it a light flick forward. Previously I was making a very exaggerated (and time consuming) movement. This should let me cut down draw time.

I definitely need a shot timer.
However at over a hundred bucks I have a hard time pulling the trigger on it. Would rather spend the money on mags, stripped lowers and ammo to get the incoming FAL equipped and prepare for the scheduled election based run on gun stuff.

Thanks to Paw Paw I found out there are free aps that serve the same functions. I recently got a life upgrade to a smart phone (though an LT at work told me they are just called phones now) so this might work out well. I will have to play with it but it beats the dedicated timer I don't have.

Sold my 30-30 and 200 rounds of 30-30 ammo.  Still have a bunch of ammo for it, I think 500 rounds and change. When I stumble onto some more of it I'll try to sell it. Will hold on to at least a couple hundred rounds because it is a common caliber that would be good for bartering or helping out friends/ family/ neighbors who get caught short.

So I eliminated a caliber which is nice. Now my centerfire rifle calibers are 5.56, 7.62x39 and .308. Not a bad place to be.

I have given some thought to ditching 7.63x39. There are 4 reasons I am hesitant to do this. 1) At this point in time I like having a rifle that is really cheap to shoot (1,000 rounds of Tula 122 grain FMJ for $225.) and reliable as can be. 2) unraveling selling mumble mumble cases of 7.62x39 and a whole bunch of mags would be a real hassle. Also 3) Even during firearmagedon 7.62x39 ammo was generally available. There are just so many rifles and cases of ammo in private hands in the US it is nice to have a rifle that feeds it. 4) While I am not so sure I would push somebody into the AK platform today since the economics are about a wash with AR's; for a person who bought one years ago at a far more reasonable price could have a nice cabin/ truck gun setup of an AK and a few mags for about what a Glock costs today. I should note there are still some good deals out there in the AK market. The Yugo NPAP is a heck of a rifle in general and especially for the money. Also I have heard great things about the new Century C39 V2's.

Called the local gun shop to see if my FN-FAL had arrived. They didn't have it. Check with Atlantic Arms and it had not shipped. It turns out the local gun shop didn't put my order number and name on their FFL when they sent it in (despite me clearly saying to) so it did not get associated with my order and shipped. My FN-FAL finally shipped. Could be worse but I did want to shoot it this weekend which is almost surely not happening. So far from my various sales and purchases 20 FAL mags and 400 rounds of Federal XM80 149gr FMJ have arrived. I have the cash to buy a case of ammo and am waiting on a possible deal to be confirmed one way or another before pulling the trigger. A parts kit is in bound as my birthday present. As to parts I'll likely order additional spares of the most common to break/ wear out type parts (FAL guys feel free to chime in here).

Would like to get 20 more mags for it and plan to do that over the next 2-3 months.

My plans for the rest of this year (in terms of gun stuff) is to buy ammo. If it worked out so I could buy a case of 5.56 and one of .308 that would be great. I also plan to buy some panic prep stuff specifically a lower or two, a half dozen Glock mags, more FAL mags and ammo.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Greece Revisited

Yesterday I talked about Greece. This morning I was listening to the radio and heard that Greece shut down their banks and is having a referendum on austerity, and by default whether to stay in the Euro, on the 6th. This is bad. Granted Ryan the Greek would have acted awhile back but in general I figured there was a bit more time. Well at this point it is too late for Joey behind the power curve Greek to get his money out of the bank.

I am not saying Greek people should be putting up punji stakes in their yards and turning empty wine bottles into Molotov cocktails but it  is going to be an interesting few weeks/ months.

Now the point SD3 brought up is valid. Leaving is worth considering. This was clearly a glaring omission in my post. Can't see how I missed that obvious point but I did. That part of the discussion is complicated. I sort of talked about the pro's and con's of this awhile back. Family stuff as well as opportunity both at home and elsewhere matter a lot. A person with a deep social network who is happy where they are and doing OK, if not amazing money wise might not want to move. On the other hand a young well educated professional who is not especially tied to a specific area would be well advised to move to Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg or maybe Northern Europe.

Of course the point to physically hold precious metals and or Euro's is totally valid. That is where Ryan the Greek would be. Ryan's pantry would be stocked, his safe would be full of PM's and Euro's and his bank account would be empty. 

Where I disagree with SD3 is that I do not believe the overall level of violence in Greece is going to be particularly high. I could be wrong but I just do not see it. Some rioting seems likely in Athens at this point but if I lived in a small town or village the odds of encountering a notably different level of violence seem minimal.

At the risk of generalizing I would say Europeans, and especially southern Europeans tend to be less economically oriented (cause or result of the countries being economic basket cases I can't say) and more family/ socially oriented. Many of these people are far less likely to immigrate if they are making it, even just barely.

So that is the update on yesterdays post and the current events in Greece.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Scenario Discussion: Greece June 28 2015

When I solicited for input somebody mentioned doing scenario type posts. I thought Greece today (well more this general period not the specific day) would be a good one.

So what is the scenario. The Greece economy is a mess with high unemployment and a boat anchor of debt. It is clear in my mind Greece will never be able to pay their debts off. Whether they are written off by choice or when Greece simply does not pay is a separate discussion and not really relevant to this post.

Greece recently elected an anti austerity government. This government has the unenviable job of trying to placate their creditors/ neighbors and delivery some sort of a win to their people to get the economy moving.

This is significantly complicated because Greece is part of a common currency, the Euro. The good is that they have been able to exploit being linked to much stronger neighbors. The flip side of the coin this is bad (for the government) is they can not simply inflate the currency; lowering its value and making their goods/ services cheaper giving the country more competitive and giving it an economic boost.

Even more troubling the country is in what I call the 'IMF Death Spiral'.

My current working definition of the IMF Death Spiral is "The situation where a country is deeply in debt and continues to receive loans on the conditions that it will follow certain conditions set forth by the IMF or other national/ international organizations. The conditions of the loans typically include cutting government spending, laying off government employees, raising taxes across the board and various social policies that suit their agenda. The stated goal of these reforms is to improve the economy of the country. However at least in the short term it has exactly the opposite effect. High unemployment inevitably follows and the increase in taxation crushes what is left of the economy."

Now one could argue once countries reach the point of the IMF Death Spiral they are a lost cause anyway. On the other hand we could look at results and say the IMF intervention certainly does not help matters any. One could argue the IMF, etc all's goal in lending out huge sums to countries that cannot possibly pay it back is about extracting a profit, offloading the losses to the citizens of first world countries and having a measure of control over the debtor nations. The little I have read on the IMF was pretty eye opening.

I confess to be almost hopelessly stalled halfway through but this book is a good place to look at the business of big banking.

Anyway back to Greece.

There is a distinct possibility that Greece will A) default on it's debts by failing to make their payments. This would be bad. Another possibility is A) and B) Exit the Eurozone AKA Grexit. This would lead to Greece moving back to their own currency which would be valued on the merits of their economy AKA not worth very much.

Basics-

Of course the basic preparedness stuff of long term shelf stable food, water filtration like a good Berkey, first aid gear, alternate cooking like a Coleman stove, etc apply.

Greece gun laws are fairly European (stupid and strict) so legal modern defensive weapons are out but shotguns are allowed for hunting. A double barreled shotgun and a case of buckshot or large game type shot that is legal and stored in your home would be darn handy if/ when things go sideways. Now on the less legal side I am sure there are plenty of AK's floating in from the Balkans and Romania. If a person had the connections, could afford and didn't care about the laws a concealable pistol and a AK with a dozen mags and a couple cases of 7.62x39 ($220 for 1k of Tula 122 gr FMJ at Lucky Gunner) in some hidey hole sure would be darn nice if things went worse than expected. However I would still want that legal shotgun. It will probably be sufficient and a self defense option on the right side of the law is a good thing to have.

I would look to stock up on normal easy to cook shelf stable foods my family ate. Pasta, canned soup, rice, crackers, PB&J, etc. If/ when the Grexit happens inflation and short term shortages would almost surely follow. About 3 months of normal food your family ate and some long term emergency type food/ big buckets of bulk staples would be a good place to be.

Also the possibility of a job being lost now, and especially if/ when things get worse is higher.

Money-

I would seek to get as much of my money out of the banks as possible. Might leave enough in the bank for convenience to pay a couple small bills with a card or order a thing from amazon, etc. Max $500.

Money in banks would almost surely be converted to Drachma at the official conversion rate which is laughably unrealistic. So hypothetically Greece moves to the Drachma with an official exchange rate of 1 Euro to 2 Drachma. A Greek persons 20,000 Euro's would turn into 40,000 Drachma. The problem is things that used to cost a Euro actually cost 4 Drachma which is functionally a 50% loss in purchasing power overnight. The Greek Government would take all the Euro's it stole and use them to buy things they need or to pay enough to their creditors to get a little but of breathing room.

So Joe Greek goes to the bank and pulls out all his Euro's. What to do with this money?

The basis that we mentioned earlier come to mind. As does the shelf stable food. If those bases are not already covered I would put some money towards them. However for the sake of discussion lets say those issues were already addressed.

If I had between one Euro and 20,000 Euro's (the exchange rate right now is 1 dollar to .91 Euro so for normal people amounts we can speak of them as about the same value) I would find a good place in my home, bolt down a compact but quality safe and put my money in it.

If I had more than 20,000E I would take the first 20k and put in a good safe in my residence. This would be my money to buy food, fuel, etc in the short term if/when things go downhill. I figure for most people 20k E is at least 3-4 months cash expenses (food, fuel, etc not rent/ mortgage, eating out, cable/ internet, car insurance, health insurance, taxes, etc) to ride through a rough time. If your family/ lifestyle is such that 20k E is not sufficient for 3-4 months cash expenses adjust the amount upwards accordingly. Maybe a multi millionaire with 7 kids would need 50 or 100K to ride out a few rough months.

For money beyond that 20k/ 3-4 month cash expense level up to say 200k. I would go to a different country for a long weekend of sight seeing and visit a bank. To the best of my knowledge a country defaulting has not been able to confiscate foreign held bank accounts in different (than the defaulting countries) currencies. I would probably go to Switzerland but Cyprus, England and Luxembourg might be good candidates also. Since I have never had enough money to need to look into it I can not say specifically which countries have the strongest protections of bank accounts for in Europe. If a person could get some interest then a savings account is worth thinking about. Then again if a bank in a stable country is going to pay less than 1% and I did not foresee needing the money soon (Say I have an income and am not retired relying on this money to pay my bills.) I might just toss it in a safe deposit box in a stable country like Switzerland.

Of course if I could swing stashing a bunch of alternate passports and a handgun in that safe deposit box that would be cool. The Jason Borne safe deposit box is to safe deposit boxes what the Sara Conner connex is to caches.
A safety deposit box to envy. Only way it would have been any cooler would be some sort of an SBR like an MP-5K and a black velvet bag full of diamonds.
Don't see any food but the Sara Conner Terminator Cache has guns and ammo covered.

As to cash beyond 200k. Honestly a person with over 200k in liquid assets is not going to be looking at some yahoo on the interwebz for advice on financial stuff. At this point you talk to an accountant and a lawyer then posture your financial situation accordingly. Best do it now as big moves take time and there might not be much time left.

Debt-

-If I were Greek my biggest concern would be Euro denominated debt. If we look at different economic collapses the trend is that the government screws the people and the banks help, if just to come out OK. So it is government before banks and banks before the people. A scenario that has plaid out more than once is suddenly all accounts are in the new, less valuable currency at an artificially high exchange rate (say the official rate is 1 Euro to 3 new Drachma but the street price is 1 to 6) but euro denominated debt might still be in Euro's.

Honestly we have not seen this play out with a common currency. The best I can do for actual facts is to look at Argentina's collapse and the recent mess in Russia as their currency has gone down like a desperate aspiring actress on a casting couch with a big name producer. Loans in dollars (in Argentina) and Euro's (in Russia) were fine and dandy till the exchange rate went crazy. Put it like this. Say Joe Greek makes 90k a year and has a 3 year car loan for 30k.  Not the way my family handles money but still pretty reasonable. Lets say the Grexit happens. Now overnight Joe's $30k car loan in Euro's might functionally turn into 60 or 90k value since he is suddenly paid in Drachma which are significantly less valuable than Euro's, far beyond the official exchange rate. Joe's reasonable car is now eating up a quarter or more of his income.

-Of course interest rates in Greece would go through the roof if any of this happened. I would run, not walk, away from any variable interest debt that you did not have the resources to pay off at any time.

Contingency Plans

-If I lived in Athens, and in particular it's downtown/ historic and or financial districts, I would find a friend or family member who lived elsewhere to stay with for a few days if things got weird. I would look to position some food, clothes, etc there. You probably would not need to leave forever but a place to lay low for a couple weeks could come in handy.

For the sake of full disclosure I have lived in Europe but never been in Greece, somewhat ironically because they started having all the money problems and riots. My general sense is that things could get pretty ugly in Athens but a person who lives in a medium sized town or little village is unlikely to have any contact with riots and such. I believe the general security situation would deteriorate if things went downhill but mostly the bad stuff would play out in larger cities. A village of 300 or town of 3,000 is going to fair better than a big city, let alone an urban center.

-I would look hard at what my financial situation would be after a significant loss in purchasing power, say two semi arbitrary numbers 30% and 50% respectively.  Could I pay my bills? Would it be prudent to sell the fancy car (with a loan to match) and downsize to a more modest but decent paid off car now, before other people are trying to do the same thing?

-What is my plan if I (or we in a dual income household) lose my job in an environment where there is very high (say over 30%) unemployment and many well qualified people are out of work? Do I have an in demand or easy to get into (family business, etc) back up gig? Maybe you are in sales but were the best bartender in town and still have a bunch of contacts that would give you a job tomorrow? Sure welding in one's parents or Uncle's shop is not what a mechanical engineer wants to do but if it pays the bills till a better job can be found it is what people do. A union plumber probably does not want to fix clogged toilets for $100 but that is a constantly in demand job. Point made.

-Presuming Joe Greek, like most people including yours truly, does not own his residence free and clear. Since t is very realistic that he could be unemployed for a long time Joe should be working hard on a back up plan. Say Joe loses his job and is unemployed for a year (not unrealistic, Greek youth [which might be a pretty wide group I can not recall actual ages to go with the stats.] unemployment is about 50%.) and thus are not going to be able to pay the mortgage/ rent. If Joe has some money a modest little cottage or just a piece of land would be great. Depending on where Joe is located camping after the collapse might be an option. However a much better option would be to stay with your parents or relatives in their paid off modest, avoiding high property taxes, home.

For this problem let us look at  a variety of options for different  financial situations:

'I have resources'-A little cottage on the coast in a small village/ town with enough room to put in a garden and host  a few relatives or friends  would be awesome. You could enjoy it for vacations during good times and be ready if bad times come.

'I have some money'- A piece of land that is paid for free and clear where you could put a travel trailer or at least set up some sort of decent camp would not be a bad setup at all. Things would be kind of rough but at least you could pre position supplies and nobody could hassle you for living there on your own land.

'I can scrap up a few bucks' - A travel trailer you could park at a relatives or move from place to place as needed. Living at a relatives is going to be a lot more palatable for everybody if you all have a self contained space to live, or at least sleep in.

'Resources are very limited'- A good 3 season tent with a tarp big enough to cover it, a Coleman stove, some sleeping bags and good sleeping pads. Maybe you can live or at least camp at a relative or friends place.

'Broke as a joke'- A cheap tent and a tarp.

 I feel the need to reiterate these are worst case back up plans. Obviously Joe Greek, and more importantly the Mrs Hellena Greek, would prefer to stay in their normal residence but having a plan in case that is not an option is prudent.

Well I hope this gives some insight on how I would handle the localized but really bad situation that might unfold in Greece.

As always I am eager to read your comments.






Friday, June 26, 2015

Selling Stuff

As you have likely noticed I have been doing some spring cleaning. Sold a couple of things this weekend (a brewing kit and a knife) then today sold my 30-30 Winchester and 200 rounds of ammo. Still have some ammo left, will likely sell some around hunting season and keep a couple hundred rounds because it is a pretty common caliber and that's a sunken cost anyway.

I do not have a lever action Winchester any more which kind of sucks but I eliminated a caliber which is cool. The only situation where that old 30-30 would out perform other rifles on inventory is if I needed a nanny state legal rifle.

What am I planning to spend these newfound gains on? Will see how my birthday cracks out then make a decision based on what I get. ? Probably a case of good surplus 7.62 ammo for the FAL.

At that point I'd probably look hard at some sort of mag fed bolt gun or maybe a .357 mag lever action rifle. Down the road I will get some sort of lever action .357 but that is pretty far down the road; like after another AR, 10-22, Glock 9mm and a Para FAL kind of down the road.

Well this has turned out to be a win win. I have cleaned out a good chunk of space in my garage and store areas and freed up resources to buy some things I can really use but can not afford to purchase outright. I am about out of stuff to sell but it has been a very positive experience.

Barter Town: Spring Cleaning 2015

Updated 6/26 No reasonable offers will be refused.

If I earn another hundred bucks I can get a case of 5.56 which sounds pretty darn good to me.


 I teased it before. Folks seemed to think my idea not to include shipping in costs as it would drag up the price of items but instead have a surcharge for smaller purchases. After deliberation I set the amount (under which a $10 surcharge will be added) as $60. The reason for that instead of $50 is that price would let someone buy an item, toss in a $10 pouch and avoid paying the surcharge. In effect I would be giving away the smaller item.

 As to procedures either leave a comment or email me at theotherryan@yahoo.com and include Barter Town in the subject line (both is the best approach). Obviously the first person to make a full price offer gets the item. If they want to bargain (which is totally fine) I will do one of four things: A) accept right away B) counter offer, C) tell them I'll see how much interest the item gets and maybe get back to them or D) outright reject their offer.

EDITED TO INCLUDE: Payment can be done through paypal (theotherryan@yahoo.com) or USPS money order.

Anyway here we go.

Knives:
British Sheffiield made OEM Survival Knife. It cost me $85 plus shipping. I received this knife and immediately just didn't like the way it handled. Too heavy for it's length in my opinion. I never used it as I planned to return it. For reasons lost to time the return got messed up and in frusteration I put it on a shelf and a few months went by. 

Holsters:
Safariland 6285 1.5in drop holster for a Glock 17 with TLR-1 light. I know they also fit a G19 just fine. Also I believe they fit the G22/23 as holsters are generally compatible between the two.
Decided to keep this.

Bianchi Model 7/7L pancake holster for a full sized 1911.Slightly used in excellent condition Asking $35.

Quality leather OWB holster for a Glock 26 though it will fit a G19 just fine. Got it in a complicated trade and don't need it. Manufacturer is unknown but it is a nice well made holster. Used in excellent condition. Asking $40.
Cross breed style holster (manufacturer unknown) for a Glock 9mm. Used in VG/G condition. Asking $30.
Sold

Bianchi (I'm pretty sure) leather IWB holster for a Walther PP/PPK. Would presumably fit similar sized guns like a Bersa .380 but again do your own research and take your own chances. It was barely used as I owned the PP for about a week but probably sat on the shelf at the gun shop for a minute so the leather is pretty stuff. A rub of saddle soap or leather conditioner should fix that minor problem. Asking $15.


Other Stuff:

Springfield leather (National Match?) sling. In very good condition. I purchased it because the Garand needed a sling. Took it off when I sold the rifle and do not have a use for it. Asking $25.

Side saddle for a Mossberg 500. Can't remember who made it and the bolts to mount it were lost who knows when. Asking $10.
 

Leather sling. Asking $20.


PUR hiker water filter. Asking $40. They don't make these anymore but they take Katadyn replacement filters.

PUR water filter. Asking $40. They don't make these anymore but they take Katadyn replacement filter.

My goal is to make enough cash to fund some projects. Honestly as such my primary goal is to turn this stuff into cash. Inevitably the topic of trades will come up. First of all valuing trades is hard, everyone wants to value their stuff close to new and the other guys at half the value. I tend to look at both sides stuff based on % of new price and factor in condition. If you have something else to trade I might be interested in I guess let me know. Worst case I will say no thanks.

Well that is what I have up for sale now. Please let me know if you have any questions. Barter Town is now officially open.

Edited to include:  I am going to start selling this stuff in other places so if you had an eye on something it would be smart to move sooner instead of later.

As to trades if I can use something I'll probably take it. Make me an offer.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Comings and Goings

The last few days I have been out of town. It was an interesting time that I will probably talk about soon but right now that doesn't matter. Am trying to catch up on the blogosphere.

 Weapons Man did a post on Appendix Carry that I am going to reply to tomorrow or the next day.

Awhile back I went through on something I'd been thinking about and  built an AR Pistol on an 11.5in BCM upper. Nice idea but iffy in reality. With the butt collapsed it was functionally the same size as Project AR. The negligible difference in overall length did not merit the lack of ability to extend the butt stock for more intentional shooting. It just didn't quite work out like I thought it might. Thankfully I got a good deal on the components and was able to get that value out in a trade.

Some discussion of defensive works is in order based on my recent travels. Maybe more on that later.

Hope all is well for you all. Will write a more substantive post tomorrow.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Precision Rifle and General .308 Rifle Pair Discussion

Today I want to talk about 'precision rifles' a little bit.To avoid rehashing here is an old post on bolt action rifles and a follow up on precision rifles.

To define a precision rifle " For the sake of this conversation I will define a 'precision rifle' as "A combination of rifle, optic and ammunition capable of achieving 2MOA accuracy out to 600 meters chambered in a cartridge that moderately resists the pressure of side winds and can penetrate moderate cover".  The specs to facilitate that are going to be a bolt action or semi automatic rifle chambered in a relatively high velocity cartridge over .26 caliber for which modern match grade type ammunition is reasonably available. We are talking .270, 7mm mag, .308, 30'06, etc."

From a lot of recent reading I should note this is being able to CONSISTENTLY perform under 2 MOA under a variety of conditions with a variety of ammunition. Sure it is great if you had eggs benedict for breakfast, it is 1045, the temperature is 68 degrees with  55% humidity and you are shooting one specific load like 168 grain Sierra Match Kings loaded by Cor Bon or 165 grain Hornady Interlock BTSP but with a variety of different decent ammo like Winchester 150 grain Powerpoint or 180 grain Remington Core-Lokt ammo.

For a precision rifle semi automatic's are an option. Most M1A's and many of the better AR-10's can meet the prescribed standard. As noted before the issue is cost. A $1,600 AR-10 might be able to perform like a $700 Savage. Both are great, it is just a question of what you want and your budget.

The topic of optics came up recently in a discussion. The US Military used 10X fixed scopes for a long time. Those have benefits but I would lean towards a variable power for general civilian use. The reason for this is the potential need to shoot at shorter ranges than military snipers. A civilian might use a very capable bolt gun to shoot a deer at 50 meters where a 10X scope would suck.

Something in the 3-9 or 4-12 range with a reticle that lends itself to measuring distance and wind (mil dots are optimal) would be really nice. Turrets to make adjustments on the fly, at least for distance, are handy but not absolutely necessary for most civilian applications.

We could discuss the .308/7.62x51 cartridge here. Certainly there are other options but I think the .308 is a pretty solid choice. They are chambered in about all of the common rifles out there which would fit this applications. One of the biggest benefits is they are chambered in a round that is also available in common (yes the BAR exists but they are rare and expensive) military pattern mag fed rifle. So you could have say a scoped bolt action rifle for long or very precise shots and a semi auto rifle for other work. If I was forced to own one caliber of rifle it would be .308. Also if a guy was setting up a cabin or retreat set up he could bring two rifles and just one type of ammo.

 Bearing in mind the .308 is an expensive cartridge, and a two gun setup like this is not going to be cheap any way you cut it, there is room for a fairly modest budget. A guy could get a used Savage 10 with an optic for a few hundred bucks and a PTR-91 for around $900. Sure he would need some good precision or hunting type ammo and a bunch of milsurp ball for the PTR. Still just for guns under 2k would give a guy a rifle that can reach out several hundred meters and another than can shred light cover and kick butt to 400-500 meters. For a bit more money a guy could get a nice Remington 700 and a DS Arms Voyager FN-FAL. Another bump up the socio economic ladder might be a CZ Varmit and a Sig 716. For those who are completely loaded a Steyr SSG or Accuracy International bolt gun combined with a real high end AR-10 like a LaRue, Knight Armament SR-25 or LWRC Repr would be a sweet set up.

For folks who really want to shoot LONG (say 500+ meters) something like Federal Premier Gold Match 168 gr or Lake City XM118 would make sense to feed the precision rifle. That being said many of us do not have enough range, enough rifle/ optic or enough skill to see the difference between that ammo and say Winchester 150 grain SP Power Point ammo that will certainly stop a man or animal out to 400 meters. I would try to find a pair of rounds that suited my needs and were more or less similar in drop and general performance. My gut says a 150 grain SP round and generic 147-149 gr ball ammo probably perform fairly close to each other. A handloader could probably do well by using the same brass, powder and primer but a 150 grain SP/HP round for precision and a generic 147-149 grain FMJ for the semi auto rifle.

I would use standard MILSURP or NATO spec type brass cased ammo to feed the semi auto rifle. I would have each rifle zeroed for it's ammo but know how they shoot with the other one. I would probably stock a ratio of about 1 match/ hunting bullet to 10 standard bullets. The reasons for this are 1) you are likely to shoot much more when firing the semi auto. 2) The precision gun should still get adequate performance with standard ammo. 3) Cost effectiveness. 4) For most realistic applications within the skill levels of people reading this blog normal decent ammo will do the job.Of course the guy shooting a Steyr SSG or Accuracy International in F Class Competitions every weekend and consistently placing can disregard this part but he isn't learning anything from me about distance shooting anyway.

If this discussion is really going anywhere I would say the theme is that a person could do well to own a pair of rifles in .308, one of which is set up to shoot long distance and the other of which is more suited to medium range work with a semi auto capacity to put rounds down range to break an attack or gain momentum for an attack. 

Got .308?



Saturday, June 20, 2015

Budget Preparedness: Twenty Bucks at The Dollar Store

Today we went to the dollar store. Wifey goes there semi regularly. They have little art projects that suit my kids age bracket's short attention span and destructive nature. Also they have a smoking deal on frozen fruit my kids love.

I wanted to see what sort of preparedness stuff a person could get at the dollar store for twenty bucks. Well it was twenty items and there was tax so I guess 21 or 22 depending on your area but close enough. Other than spending twenty bucks I didn't really have a plan. I used criteria pretty heavily channeled from Glenn Tate of 299 Days: The Preparation (Volume 1) (books 1 and 2 reviewed here) by choosing food that can be cooked by boiling water or just heated up. I also got some spices because we can probably use more of those.

What I bought:
A 5 pack (for $1) of top ramen
3 things of pasta
3 cans of pasta sauce
3 things of just add water pancake mix
2 things of syrup
2 things of instant mashed potatoes
2 things of garlic sale
1 bottle of hot sauce
1 can opener
1 bottle of bleach
1 bottle of vegetable oil

As you can see I pretty much went for food. Tossed in a can opener because everyone can use a spare. Also tossed in a can of bleach because you can always use some extra disinfectant in bad times.

Part of this little experiment was my own curiosity. The other part was to show people what you can do with twenty bucks. That semi  arbitrary number was chosen because anybody but a hobo could put into food storage say every other week or so. For my twenty bucks we got a lot of easy to prepare food that will store for awhile.

Say a person spent twenty dollars every other week on food. Granted this is just food storage, you need water filtration, ammo, fuel, medical and all sorts of other stuff.  I hesitate to lay out a plan off the cuff here but maybe on the non food weeks a person spends $20 on the other stuff in some sort of rotation (ammo, water filtration [till you have at least a good water filter with a spare element], fuel, medical/ hygiene, misc). There would be some build up time while a person had money stashed in envelopes or something saving up for bigger ticket items but a dozen cans of food and some spaghetti one week, a box of bullets for the family deer rifle the next, more food then hygiene stuff, food, fuel, etc).

What I am driving at is that even on a pretty modest budget ($20 a week) you can really get somewhere over time. Of course if you can add a little more things will add up even faster.






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