Thursday, July 30, 2015

Under 1 Second!


Dry Fire: Gear- Glock 19 with Safariland 6125
Drill- 1 shot from concealment.
Par time- 1.5 seconds.
Extreme low- .88
Extreme high- 1.5 seconds
Average .97-1.2

The first shot was the slowest. The first couple were in the 1.3 range then it just kept slowing down for another few. Things consistently settled under 1.2. Got quite a few in the sub 1.1 range and several under a second (.97, .92, .90, .89 and .88 to be specific). This was pretty awesome as it is my goal to do this drill under a second. Of course the proof will be in the shooting but the speed has promise. The fastest ones would hit a man sized target at 7 yards but might be a coin flip for the Vital Zone. If nothing else the real fast ones might be iffy but I am pretty sure the 1.1 range were solid. Any way you cut it I am making measurable progress which is a darn good thing.

Going to adjust par time for this drill and gear setup down to 1.3.

I didn't want to dry fire today but made myself and was richly rewarded.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Bug Out Trailer #1 of ?

So after much deliberation I purchased a cargo trailer. It is a single axle 6x10 enclosed trailer with a side door and a ramp in back. Like most trailers in that size range it is rated for a ton of cargo.

On a related note Peter of Bayou Renaissance Man did a  couple good posts on trailers 1 and 2 that are worth reading.

I wanted the larger option (vs a 5x7-8) with moving various longer objects than with additional supplies. While weight is definitely a concern, especially since the tow vehicle is not entirely optimal the extra space could come in handy for lighter bulkier items like clothing or a couple of mattresses. Also my general observation from using trailers is that floor space is at a premium. A trailer will often, especially with odd items, have the floor fill up and only be packed halfway to the top. While not with trailers I have experience packing in a hurry and know we are always less efficient than when packing in a deliberate manner. As such it is probably wise to plan on having more cargo room than you really need.

Also the ramp will be very handy for moving heavier items.

I thought about doing some sort of travel trailer conversion setup but, at least for the time being abandoned that idea.  What we would like will not work in the space available so that idea is indefinitely postponed. For it to be feasible we would need to adjust expectations downward to say sleeping everyone but still storing stuff in tubs, cooking outside, etc.

Note to self: I might be able to figure out a way to set up some short (usually you can do say 1 6 foot high shelf or 2x3 footers) shelves on the sides  then put a piece of plywood with some 2x4 reinforcement down on top then put some foam or something on top to sleep on it. On a really budget side gas cans and or ammo cans would work till I could buy shelves. So this project could get in play for maybe $40. That is in my budget so it is a lot more actionable. If I put that in the back half the side door would still be accessible. May have a solution here.

On a semi related note a small travel trailer is a great option if you have the cash to afford one. A 'toy hauler' with the ability to comfortably sleep, cook, etc plus a dedicated cargo space would be awesome for this. You could use that space for a 4 wheeler or all sorts of sweet bug out stuff.

USNERDOC recently purchased a sweet trailer that looks to be totally set up for a bug out situation.


Seems like a sweet set up. The wood stove and solar being ready to go are pretty awesome. Nice work if you can get it I guess.

What are the next steps?

1- Really firm up my vehicle based bug out setup. Basically a cushy car camping setup along with food, the coleman stove and lantern with propane, pots n pans, some water, the Berkey water filter, the genny, chainsaw, fuel, solar and medical plus of course some guns n a half dozen cans of ammo.  May include my sun oven and some other things, will have to play with it.

2- Have this stuff ready to go in big rubber made type tubs. This stuff might potentially be stored in the trailer. I'll have to play with that one.

3- Figure out how I am going to put that stuff in the trailer in an organized way. Toying with the idea of shelving. Kind of want to have my cake and eat it too here as I want to be able to use shelves yet get them out of the way when they are not desirable. The best idea I have come up with yet is to get some of those pre fab metal shelves and strap them into the trailer.

4- Be much better prepared and happy.

Thoughts?


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Turkey vs ISIS and the Kurds, Silver and Dry Fire

Turkey finally decided to get involved in the regional war on their southern border. It seems their efforts are as much aimed at breaking up the development of Kurdistan as doing anything about ISIS. Ryan does not like this very much. The Kurds are hard working, modern minded, trustworthy people who treat each other like human beings. Also they are good fighters who have gotten a rough break of things and like most Americans I love an underdog.

The problem is Kurdistan is split pretty evenly between Turkey, Iran and Syria with a touch of Iran thrown in.  Aside from being a significant minority in all those states their homeland has a crap ton of oil. I really hoped this was a chance for them to get at least a viable rump state then finally have some security and peace. The Brits did that intentionally. The Kurds are, if I recall the second largest stateless people behind the Pastuns. That one is also Britain's fault. This brings further weight to the argument that every war after WWII has been the fault of the British.

What will this bring to the area?  Well on one hand since the rest of the world is not getting meaningfully involved with either the civil war in Syria or the rise of ISIS in eastern Syria and Iraq  the only way either situation is likely to improve is by local powers getting involved and Turkey is a big, fairly reasonable kid on the block. On the other hand when has another country getting sucked into a regional war ever made it better? I cannot think of an example. 

The closest thing would the the Balkans but 1) that was much more of a regional. European effort 2) The states doing the intervention were larger and more powerful than the states in the conflict. 3) The states in the conflict had no significant foreign backing, which is absolutely not the case with Syria who is backed by Iran and Russia.

Aside from the fact that Turkey, while it may be down with pushing ISIS back if IMO mostly to have an excuse for a spoiling attack against Kurdistan, does not have the stomach for a full on winner take all regime change type fight in Syria. They might be willing to try to make a safe zone but they are not trying to reestablish the Ottoman Empire.

I do not know where this will all go but the odds it will make for a smaller, less violent conflict aren't one I would bet on. This conflict will grow larger and more violent.

On a positive note as Commander Zero noted Silver is down big time. I blew my wad on a gold coin a couple days ago otherwise I would make a purchase. Gold is also down.

Dry Fire: Gear- Glock 19 with Safariland 6125
Drill- 1 shot from concealment.
Par time- 1.7 (I don't know why) seconds.
Extreme low- 1.01
Extreme high- 1.7 seconds
Average 1.1-1.3

The slowest ones were not better than last time but the overall cluster is moving in the right direction. There was a solid cluster between 1.1 and 1.3 or so. Since I was particularly paying attention to draw and acquiring the front sight it was a solid effort and I would say an improvement. Will try it out this weekend at the range to see how things go on paper.

Communities, Retreats and Retreat Rules




-One Retreats Rules at Survival Blog

-Retreat Rules a discussion

Interesting points for starting a discussion.

Monday, July 27, 2015

End of Empire

I stumbled into this series while aimlessly looking for the end of the internet. It is about the end of the British Empire. How they left all, well most, of their various overseas holdings and all that came afterwords. For historic and survivalist (great powers decline, we are arguably doing that now) purposes the end of the British colonial period interests me. This series, albeit incomplete on youtube, goes a long way to fill in my lack of knowledge about this very interesting period of time. Each episode talks about how events unfolded in a specific area.

Anyway if you have the time this series is pretty darn interesting. 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Hot Summer Days EDC


It has been awhile since I have done one of these and things change. Right now it is a hundred degrees outside with humidity in the 35-45% range. It's pretty much like a sauna all the time.  So right now my EDC is set up to be as light as possible while still having the core needs covered.

From left to right.


-Knife Al Mar Eagle HD.

-Chapstick. Not a preparedness item but can have a handy second use for fire starting.

-Spare mag for Ruger LCP

-Bic Clic Lighter

-Ruger LCP ina Safariland Model 25 pocket holster. I love this little holster. You might notice the spare mag is loaded with plain ole 90 grain FMJ. There are a couple of reasons for this. First and foremost ball ammo is 100% in my gun. Hollow points gave it at least one jam and with the price of em I can't put enough through to be sure it will be reliable without going broke. Second with a caliber that has notorious penetration issues (over for FMJ and under for many other offerings) I am confident FMJ is going to make two holes in a person. More moles equals more bleeding which, for my purposes is a good thing.

-Wallet. Usual ID, cards, etc and cash. I try to have $100 as my 'zero' so it floats between 200 and a hundred.

Not shown. Phone because it is taking the picture. Keys because, well I am not sure why.

Pic Post

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Book Review: 299 Days Volume 4

 Today I will be reviewing Book 4 of the 299 days Series by Glen Tate
Warning, I can't really review this book without some spoilers
This book continues where volume 3 left off. In the very first part Grant is going on and on about the 'Patriot Republic' he wants to set up. Next they end up coming into possession of a semi truck full of food. This leads to a potential conflict with the government in the nearby small town.

There is a debate over what to do with the food. The community ends up voting and using a meal card system similar to the one described in 'One Second After'.

The next significant event in the book comes when they trade some weapons to the town leadership for medical supplies.

Like the series tends to do the book ends in a cliff hanger that starts the next book.

The Good:
This book had action/ conflict but it was realistic. Too often in survivalist books folks get in these crazy gunfights where one dude with his magical prepper skills and wiz bang 7000 rifle kills 20 bikers with AK's or something else similarly stupid.

Building on this after every significant event the characters learned some things through their own failures. We should have had/ done X came up often.

The community had people with a realistic range of perspectives on most things. Viewpoints differed and there was natural, plausible conflict. Everyone is not going to agree and despite what some idiots think, the answer is not to shoot everyone who disagrees with you.

In terms of setting up this 'Patriot Republic' Grant hammered home the point that providing services and meeting people's needs matter a whole lot more than arguing ideology. In many ways an insurgency is more a race to administer to peoples basic needs with an armed component than the other way around. This is for a couple reasons. First most people are pretty ambivalent about politics and government in general. The side that meets/ helps them meet/ creates an environment where they can meet their basic needs is probably the one they will gravitate towards. Like American elections it is the soft supporters and mushy middle folks whose swing decides insurgencies. Hard core socialists or die hard Patriots waving Galdstead Flags are not going to be swung to the other side in any big numbers. They can be marginalized, isolated, killed or forcibly migrated but convincing them to go with the other teams program is unlikely. Second actions speak a lot louder than words. Having a great idea is going to be less important than being able to provide an area with security, a predictable method for resolving disputes and maybe help with different things is what matters.

The Bad:
I think the level of independent government these folks were trying to set up was awful premature in relation to being only a couple weeks after the collapse. It did not in my opinion match with the (otherwise realistic) scenario within the book. I think this reaction would be a lot more reasonable after a few months of 'collapse' especially a soft collapse.

Also fundamentally they made a big mistake in saying 'Patriot Republic' instead of 'community'. "Our Community needs a way to resolve disputes" just sounds a lot better than "Let's set up a court for our patriot republic".

While the characters in the book acknowledged failures in hind sight they failed to pay any costs for these oversights/ failures. While they didn't need to kill off a bunch of random characters to prove their point but my experience is that more often than not we pay for tactical mistakes.

Why did Grant not say in more medical supplies? In an early book he said "he didn't know how to use them" BUT HIS DARN WIFE IS AN ER DOCTOR. He should have gotten all sorts of tools, sutures, etc.

The concept of controlling peoples movements in the book was not in my opinion acceptable. They had security which is great. However the non elected (though one could argue there was at least a loose consensus) leaders of this area deciding who gets to go out the gate to town or whatever, or for what reasons they get to go is simply not acceptable. I would not tolerate that and I do not think many freedom minded people would.

Also the author specifically mentioned he didn't want people going on 'vice runs' for booze, drugs or whatever. That the community needed to trade their valuables for food. I get the sentiment but that is not the choice of a non elected leader and that attitude has no place in a supposedly free area.

Ugly:

They traded some guns, mags and ammo to the local town, which is their self described enemy. We could get into a long discussion about the concept of trading weapons in some sort of a collapse. One fairly extreme view is that you should not trade any guns or ammo because they are useful to you and could potentially be used against you. I do not necessarily take this viewpoint. Say in some sort of a collapse a neighbor wants to get a pistol for their wife or older teenage kid. They have something pretty valuable I want and I have a redundant pistol gathering dust in the safe. Seems like an easy decision to me. On the other hand trading military rifles to someone I consider an enemy and believe I will have to fight at some point seems rather foolhardy.

Also the group formed an immigration group who get to decide WHAT PEOPLE ARE ALLOWED TO LIVE ON THE PRIVATE PROPERTY OF OTHERS! This is especially ironic because the main character brought out a bunch of friends with guns who are living, without the knowledge or permission of the owner, in another persons cabin! That he brought a bunch of folks in then was part of a decision that the community should control who else comes in seems ridiculous to me. This is not freedom, it is some sort of totalitarian form of government.

I get the sentiment, especially since they were really talking about gang bangers (though it did show a generational thing with tattoos). However I do not believe it would be appropriate to A) tell a person who can stay with them on their private property or B) pre judge people based on appearance. As far as I can recall in the book this issue never came up but the way they planned to deal with it is not in my opinion acceptable. If the Jones family brings in a person who causes trouble then the community has a right to get involved and maybe somewhere in the continuum of agreed upon consequences is banishment. The difference between the community getting involved after a person does something vs before in some sort of thought crime way is significant and the difference between a valid community function and totalitarianism.

There is a fair bit of bad and ugly in this book. I think this is disproportionate because most of the general good stuff from the series has already been well covered in other reviews. That being said no way around me significantly disagreeing with some of the things our little 'Patriot Republic' does during this book.

Overall impression: An enjoyable read with enough excitement to keep things moving but still be realistic. The parts I disagreed with did not retract from enjoying the book.

Edited to include:
PT: Speedruck of 3.25 with 35-40 pounds. Time 44:07 or a 13:30ish/1 mile pace.

Dry Fire: Gear- Glock 19 with Safariland 6125
Drill- 1 shot from concealment.
Par time- 1.5 seconds.
Extreme low- 1.04
Extreme high- 1.6 seconds
Average 1.1-1.4.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

More on Ammo and Magazine Numbers

I talked about this recently and a couple things seemed worth mentioning.

As to ammo numbers. My stated numbers, long on the record, do not factor in training, zeroing a new scope, etc all. This was my biggest lesson from Firearmagedon. To include training ammo one could be really intentional, figure out how much ammo they average shooting every month and how many months they think a shortage will last. So if I shoot 100 rounds of 9mm a month and believe a shortage will, as is about average, last almost 6 months that would be 600 rounds of 9mm I need for training. Say I might want to take a class during that time, well we should round it up to at least an even case of 9mm, maybe even a case and a half. Ditto for the rifle. On a lazier end a person could just get 500 rounds if they do not shoot a lot.

As to mags the primary driver of my minimum magazine numbers is not some SHTF Rorkes Drift storming the walls gun fight scenario. I have no illusion about living through so many SHTF gun fights that 5.56 30 rd PMAG # 20 is going to come into play. Instead it is actually a ban scenario where, as Commander Zero says, what I have is ALL I AM EVER GOING TO GET. Having 10 or more factory full capacity mags per Glock might seem silly now. Say a ban happens (though I think we are safe for 2-4 years). In 2 years I have a good buddy who buys a Glock 19 and really wants just 1 full capacity mag to keep with the gun in his bedside table. He was dumb for not buying mags for a gun he planned to get but he is a buddy and I want to help. In 3 years a mag gets lost in the grass while shooting. In 5 years a mag has the feed lips just plain wear out. You get the idea.

When it comes to mags I stock them DEEP. As a shooter I had the unfortunate luck to come into gun owning age during the tail end of the 1994-2004 Assault Weapons Bag. Full capacity factory Glock mags were going for $150 (in 2002/3 dollars) and it was a sellers market. As soon as that ended I snagged some full capacity mags. (Note, they will not make the mistake of allowing a sunset clause into anti gun legislation again) As I became more of an intentional survivalist I bought more mags. At that point good surplus AK mags were going for 6-7 bucks a pop so even a college kid could afford a dozen. Fast forward a couple years and there was a presidential election coming up. Of course one side wanted to get rid of all that stuff. I happened to graduate from college and start a big boy job where I made decent money.

Swore to myself I would do everything possible to avoid being stuck without the tactical advantage that a good supply of full capacity magazines offered. So I did without other non essential things I wanted and spent some money on mags. Bought mags not just for the Glock,  AR or AK I had but for the one I wanted to purchase down the road some time. Not going to say my situation there is perfect because of course resources are finite and there are competing demands. Still you won't see me paying silly panic prices for mags and if I want to give a couple to a buddy I have them to spare.

Remember kids, the second amendment does not cover full capacity magazines. From a legislative perspective they are definitely the most vulnerable piece since 1) they are not protected and 2) they wear out and are at best semi disposable.

That is all I have to say about that. Thoughts?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

 Ordered another dozen mags for the FAL as well as the sight adjustment tool it needs.

Ordered a Dutch Oven which was long overdue.
Dry fire-
Gear- Glock 19 withBlade Tech AIWB holster.
Drill- 1 shot from concealment.
Par time- 1.7 seconds.
Extreme low- 1.3
Extreme high- 1.8 seconds
Average 1.35-1.55

This session was better than yesterdays. The overall average was down .05-.1 of a second but the extreme high was down more like 2 tenths of a second.

Oh yeah almost forgot WE GOT A CARGO TRAILER! More on this later. All in all between the FAL, spare parts kit, mags, the case of Federal 7.62x51 XM80 and the trailer this was the most expensive month of preparedness ever. Not intentional, just sort of how things worked out, but still a lot happened. Obviously most months are not like this. 

What did you do to prepare this week?

Monday, July 20, 2015

Be The Hero of Your Own Movie


PT this morning- Sprints. Not sure how many as I did not count. It's been awhile since I did sprints so it shook things up.
Dry fire-
Gear- Glock 19 withBlade Tech AIWB holster.
Drill- 1 shot from concealment.
Par time- 1.5 seconds.
Extreme low- 1.3
Extreme high- 2 seconds
Average 1.4-1.6.

Overall this session sucked. I really didn't feel good about it. Hopefully tomorrow will be better but at least I did it so that is something.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Range Report and Sunday Randomness

Took my DSA Arms SA 58 Voyager, which for the sake of simplicity will hereby be referred to as FN-FAL or simply FAL out to the range today. Apparently you need a tool to adjust the front sight. Not like a tool is nice to have but like you need one, or maybe 4 hands. I need to So that downgraded this trip from a zero session to a familiarization fire. The gun was pretty close to zeroed for Federal XM80 149 grain FMJ out of the box though it seemed to shoot a bit left.

Zero is an interesting discussion for 7.62x51 as it's trajectory is a bit more angled than the 5.56. In 5.56 I favor a 50 meter zero though the angles are flat enough one could argue the whole discussion is just mental masturbation. The point for a fighting or  general purpose rifle is to keep the rise and fall of the round inside a fairly narrow box, both up and down, for as long as we can. Of course less up means the down comes sooner but life is full of trade offs.

Generally speaking for 7.62x51 if you are 2 inches up at 100 you will be 2 inches down at 200. Beyond that one will need to adjust their sights (including utilizing some sort of BDC) or hold over about 18 inches for 300 meters and a yard or so for 400. In any case that didn't get done today.

The recoil on the FAL was suprisingly light which makes sense I suppose due to the adjustable gas system and fairly heavy weight of the rifle. The trigger was a little heavy but crisp. It'll do fine, I just have to get used to it.

On a random note in case you weren't already feeling inadequate this guy played (well was drafted and practiced) in the NFL then became an astronaut. Like an actual NASA went up to space astronaut. Talk about excelling at a truly elite level in two widely varied fields.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Response to Reader Questions

(1)Blogger tpals said...
Showing my ignorance: what exactly is a stripped lower?
July 17, 2015 at 5:10 PM
Delete
(2)Blogger Matt LBS said...
Also, I've seen your thoughts on ammo quantities, but what is the number of mags per weapon that puts you in a happy place?


Ryan here:
1) A stripped lower is technically the serial numbered part of an AR-15. It is the metallic piece of the lower without the internals gut and such.
 This is all the parts for an AR-15 lower receiver (and a sight/ carry handle). Put this all together and you have an AR-15 lower. Note the trigger, hammer, springs, take down pins, receiver extension, butt stock, etc. All of these are put together to have a functional AR-15 lower.
The stripped lower is shown in the picture above this text. Saying it is 'stripped' just means it is without all the pieces (trigger, hammer, takedown pins, receiver extension, etc) attached or included. You need to order a lower parts kit, receiver extension, buffer and buffer spring to make this into a complete lower that you could attach an upper to and make a complete rifle.

I said before that the lower is the serialized part of the firearm. In the eyes of the law that little block of aluminum is the gun. You can buy the rest of the pieces anywhere and just walk out or order it online, then get it shipped right to your house.

Stripped lowers are quite affordable. They are regularly available under $50 and always under $100. I don't care about brands much though I do avoid polymer lowers. As Chris said "the most important part of a lower is the roll mark (that shows brand). Brands only really matter to brag to your friends that you have a Noveske, LaRue, Daniels Defense or whatever lower. If that matters to you and you have the extra cash then by all means do it. I would rather put that money into P mags, and start saving for a case of 5.56 ammunition.

The specific advantage a stripped lower has is that under most past US gun laws older pre existing stuff is grandfathered in. So if a gun ban were to happen which I think we are safe from for at least a few years that stripped lower is 'the gun' and is grandfathered in. You could order the stuff to finish it later when you can afford it.

This probable grandfathered status plus the affordability of stripped lowers makes them pretty handy. For a likely gun ban scenario a stripped lower is in effect a physical version of a stock option to have an AR in the future. Maybe you cannot afford to buy an AR today but want one down the road. Most folks can probably scrape up sixty or eights bucks to get a lower then just put it away. Case in point I would like to be able to have a rifle for each of my kids but right now I do not have 1,600-2,000 dollars to do that. On the other hand I could buy a pair of lowers and build the rifles in the future.

A person looking for profit who found a good deal on lowers and mags could do very well in the gun run I have tentatively scheduled for this fall/winter or even better than that if a ban happened. A 'AR party pack' of a stripped lower and 7 new in plastic PMAGs could probably triple their money.

(2)Matt LBS said...
Also, I've seen your thoughts on ammo quantities, but what is the number of mags per weapon that puts you in a happy place?

Yes my thoughts on ammo are on the record.

My thoughts on mags are also but to briefly recap:
 Core Defensive rifle-20
I stock AR-15 mags

Core Defensive pistol-10
I stock Glock 9mm magazines

That roughly correlate to 3x combat loads rounded out a bit. My general thinking is one set to use, one set to replace those when they are worn out/ damaged/ lost and one set for trade/ charity. Lots of people have a rifle and 2-3 mags or a pistol with two. I am happy with those numbers though more is of course merrier.

It is worth noting those numbers are PER WEAPON not per weapon type. So if you have 2 rifles it would be 40 mags. Buy a third rifle and get another 20 mags.

I hope that answers both questions. If not hit me up in the comments section.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Rucking N Other Things

5 miles with 35 pounds in 70 minutes. 14 minute miles are not amazing but aren't too shabby either.

Next week I will be doing a speed ruck so it will be shorter but a faster per mile split will be the goal.

Also I picked up that stripped lower I have been wanting.

So now when things get silly, say this fall, I will have a viable option to build the budget(yet still serviceable) AR that is my next planned rifle acquisition. The concept of use will be a reasonably priced AR that can serve as a backup to my primary rifle, a 'truck gun' and such.

Tomorrow after running some math I will pick up more FAL mags. The planned purchase should put me into 'happy numbers' of mags. To round out that setup I will still need to buy a couple cases of good 7.62x51 surplus in due time. Ammo matters a lot but for a ban scenario ammo, which could feed Bubbas bolt action deer rifle, is a lot less likely to be targeted than say guns and military pattern rifles and the standard capacity mags that feed them.

The Max Velocity VERSA chest rig is almost ready for sale. I am excited and totally want one. My Costa Leg Rig it can rock FAL mags. That this setup can rock 5.56 and 7.62 in the same rig is a huge plus. I need to buy a chest rig for the big boy rifle and being able to swap out to AR stuff is a plus. I plan to purchase one of these to fill that role.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Neutral and Bad News: Greek Debt and Iranian Weapons

The Greek parliament voted to accept basically the same deal its people rejected with a 61% vote.  I would call this neutral and it generally favors my hypothesis that the can is going to get kicked down the road a little bit.

The Iran Nuke Deal has been announced. I confess not to understand the finer technical points but some smart people, including Weapons Man have some real concerns about it. Also Bayou Renaissance Man paints a plausible picture on how this could get very ugly.

 So all things said the international news today ranges from neutral to bad.
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