Saturday, October 3, 2015

Vehicle Discussion Update

Thanks to those who replied to yesterdays post 'vehicle discussion'. You all brought up some excellent points.

-I think two vehicles is the way to go. Something pretty fuel efficient to putter around in most of the time and a bigger vehicle that can tow stuff if needed.

-For the commuter vehicle I plan to hold onto the vehicle I have. The point that an occasional $500 fix is a lot cheaper than a new vehicle with a corresponding loan is very valid. It gets decent, if not amazing, gas mileage and I do not plan on having much of a commute in the near future. Realistically it should have a couple of pretty reliable years of service left.

 -I do not think I want to get a vehicle loan. Honestly if at all possible I plan to be entirely debt free in the future.

-For a hauler/ BOV I agree with Peter's advice to go with a 3/4 ton. Given my need to have a real back seat for the kids it is an SUV or a crew cab truck.
- From my anecdotal research the best values seem to be 80's Suburbans. A truck certainly has some benefits but crew cab vehicles were pretty rare in that period so there are a lot less out there.

-Best of all two vehicles have a lot of benefits. The potential to have a vehicle down for bit is a lot more tolerable if I can start another one and drive to work in the morning. Also I can realistically buy vehicle #2 (an older full sized truck or SUV) with cash. Planning on buying a vehicle every other couple years or so is realistic especially if I am talking ones in the several thousand to 10k price range.

So that is where I think I am going to go. Your input is always welcome.

Note to Grasshoppa

Thanks for the kind words. My email is being a jerk so I just replied here. If I am ever in that area we should try to get together. -R

Friday, October 2, 2015

Vehicle Discussion

Tpals brought it up and well I can not think of another thing to write so here we go. Vehicles.

The vehicle I have and am going to get in the split is a Korean soccer mom SUV. It is a fine enough vehicle for what it is. However the soccer mom SUV has a shade under 140k on the odometer. Korean vehicles aren't the junk they used to be (nor are they the amazing value they were after they fixed the issues but before people realized it) but 140k is getting close to the danger zone. It is showing its age these days.

The goal would be to sell it before it starts to have the kind of issues that cost me money or really falls off the cliff in terms of value. On one hand I could sell it ASAP but an already paid off vehicle is a darn nice thing. If I could drive the soccer mom SUV for a year to let me save up for a newer vehicle that would be great. However that could backfire and instead of being able to sell it for a few grand I end up with NADA out of it. On the other hand buying a vehicle now is a less than optimal option. I am not really at a good place for big purchases.

For the next vehicle I want more towing capacity. Like enough to move a decent sized travel trailer if I choose to go that way for housing down the road. That means a V8. 4wd is a must. Also darn it I have wanted a real no BS truck or awesome SUV for a couple decades and darn it I am getting one for my next vehicle.
If/ when I decide to buy a new vehicle I have a decision to make. Part of me wants to buy an old school, EMP resistant, vehicle like an 80's Blazer or Suburban. The up side is I could buy one comfortably with cash and they are awesome. Anything with a Chevy 350 and associated drive train is about as common as it gets in the US. The downside is those things are about 30 years old, often have some miles on them and there is a real potential to have it $500 the crap out of me.

 On the other end I could get a newish (say 07 or better) SUV or quad cab truck like an F150. The up side is everything except cost. Realistically for something with sane mileage (say under 60k) I am looking at about 20k. This means either hitting my cash reserves pretty hard or taking a loan, neither of which exactly appeal to me.

Then again if I have a long commute for the cost of a newer truck I could have a sweet old school SUV as well as potential, at some point, a little daily driver car to putter around in. Have a sweet older vehicle for that role and if I have a long drive just buy a little car. If cost was spread out by awhile I could probably wrangle paying for both in cash. Best of all that is just if I work far from home. I could realistically drive an 85 Suburban 5 miles to work and 5 back for a long time without any real issues. 

Your input is appreciated.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

RE: Economy Watch with Bayou Rennaisance Man AKA What To Do With Money Today?

In Economics Watch our friend Peter talked about some applicable news and his current actions. In many ways it is a lot like my post a month or so back. In order of Peters comments:

-The housing market. Well this depends a lot on how you look at it. As an investment I would say there is considerable risk. As a way to meet your basic needs for housing well that is another discussion. If I was able to pay outright for a small cabin or cottage on a little bit of land that would be high on my list of things to do. I would rather have a cabin on a couple acres than live in a rental place and have 50 or 100k in the bank.

-Peter put his retirement funds into cash. I think the need for this extreme principle protection (At least as cash, now of course big mac's might cost $100 but there is risk in everything) may make sense if you are closer to the age where you will be using those funds. If you are younger I am less sure that trying to time the market then catch the knife is a sound move vs just riding the wave. You will have to make your own decisions.

-Precious metals and cash on hand are both pretty common sense measures.

-Storage of precious metals at an outside non bank vault certainly has potential. I would have to look into it some more.

Also of course as River Rider mentioned in my previous post buying those big ticket items you have been putting off, replacing tires on the family hauler before they are totally worn out, etc are good ideas.


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Heavy Unfortunate News: Separation

Wifey and I are separated and moving towards divorce. I am down here and she is at home with the kids and dogs. Of course nothing is over till its over but it sure looks unlikely the current course will change. I didn't see it coming though I should have. The unfortunate truth is that we have probably been throwing good money after bad for awhile now. I wish her the best going forward. Hopefully we can settle things as painlessly and quickly as possible.

So that is what's going on with me.

So what am I going to do moving forward. I am going to keep writing (need this little invisible community more than ever) while I try to figure things out. Heck I've started writing fiction again. No promises on when anything might come out but it is still progress.

How am I doing? Emotionally I am all over the place. Mostly moving between a sort of one foot in front of the other OK and sadness. On a positive note I am at least somewhat trending in a good direction and getting used to things. Figuring out what my new normal looks like. Working hard to forge stronger connections with friends and fill my time with positive, or at least neutral things. Have some self improvement to do also.

I am scheduled to leave here in the winter and go to a new duty station. Going to go home to see the kids as much as I can. Also I am looking hard at a new plan where I end there for good (and could be a meaningful part of their lives) a lot sooner than planned.

I don't write this to solicit advice or pity and for goodness sake I do not want to talk about my feelings. My intent is to let you know what is going on with me and get it off my chest. Please bear with me, the usual regular quality posting will continue in due course. In fact from a preparedness angle some pretty interesting things are probably going to happen.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Various Things

Part of me wants to get in a fight on a crowded dance floor with techno music going and kick butt while somehow staying generally in time with the music.

Tam brings up the excellent point that you can't lose a fight you do not get in. Discretion is the better part of valor folks.

Weapons Man's original quote:
These odds of survival are improved by training to hone your skills and survive an armed encounter, but they’re improved more by using your superior judgment so as not to have to make a vulgar display of your superior skills. Too few people do the former, and far too few people do the latter. (A lot of cops who are involved in shootings are just unlucky. But there are others, where none of their cop friends are surprised they were in a shooting. Why do you think that is?)
Most of us are not cops, and not soldiers (any more), and therefore, do need to saddle up and go into places where you’re likely to be engaged by gunfire. So here’s our version of some guidelines for fight avoidance:
  1. If you must go where the sharks feed — you may have reasons; we had a friend whose elderly mother would not leave her house in South Central LA until the Rodney King riots burned it down and settled the question for her — don’t look like bait. Don’t act timid, walk boldly with your head up, like you belong there — and are the baddest mother in the valley. Also, don’t flash stuff that is irresistibly attractive to the sort of people who have been listening to TV and therefore think they’re entitled to take it from you.
  2. When you have to go into the badlands, take a lesson from the cops and don’t walk alone. If you can’t help looking like prey (maybe you’re small, or elderly person), bring a buddy who looks intimidating if you can.
  3. Don’t get distracted. This is the wrong time to be facebooking, texting or reading on your jeezly phone. In fact, it’s the wrong time to be taking calls. You need to be 100% in the analog world. We don’t know what the percentage of mugging victims in NYFC and San Francisco is, who had their ear buds in, but we’d take a guess it’s fairly high.
  4. Be conscious of concealment. Don’t give anyone the chance to ambush you.
  5. Manage the Clock. Most criminals stay up late and sleep late, too. If you have unavoidable business in their precincts, do it at seven o’clock in the morning when they’re down for the count, not at midnight when they’re just warming up.
  6. Be conscious of the fact that you may have to be ready, and always be ready to deliver a violent counterstrike.
  7. Work on avoidance, but once avoidance fails you should immediately execute a drilled, conscious plan. Strike hard and decisively. (George Z. got this bit exactly right, and every day’s life he has now, he only has because he did).
  8. If you err, and are attacked, act. Save regrets and recriminations for later.
FerFal shows the contents of various refugees bags. Interesting stuff. If they could have had (or retained) compact handguns, secure rugged USB storage devices and rolls of Krugerrand's I bet those would have made the cut for their small bags.

The Taliban have taken Kunduz. I knew they would do well when we left but they are exceeding my expectations. I figured the government would at least hold on for the most part until we stopped giving them enough money to fund their Army and buy off warlords. In light of this the already low odds the 'legitimate GIROA' could somehow keep violence below the (admittedly pretty high) accepted cultural boiling point and not have the kettle spill over while they eventually shrink the massive Army and Police forces to levels they can actually afford to fund seem pretty low.

Anyway that is what seemed worth mentioning today. Tomorrow I'll get you a real post.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Skill, Size and Strength in Fighting

My post yesterday on Joe Rogan vs the Aikido guy got a comment from our friend Pineslayer. I felt the need to reply in this venue and also didn't have a post idea for today.

Anonymous" Pineslayer said..
I'm with Joe on this one. Real world vs. Dojo. Full disclosure here Rogan hosted Fear Factor and UFC color guy. God Bless Joe Rogan.

Seriously, I trained with a few different styles, technique only goes so far. Focused rage and desire trumps belts on the street. In the ring with rules, it is a different game, but still brute force and strength can't be discounted."

I agree with the first half of what Pineslayer said and almost entirely disagree with the second half. Point by point.

Pineslayer says 'technique only goes so far'.
-Techniques can be very valid and useful or complete crap. Many martial arts that are popular these days are so far from their martial roots that either they are no longer relevant ideas, looking at you Kendo, or they have evolved into an art or sport, looking at you Tai Kwon Do.
-Practical arts and the skill derived from them is very useful, less useful ones, less so. 
-The combination of skill, mindset and physical size/ strength/ conditioning that makes a fighter is opaque. What separates a crappy fighter from a decent fighter or a decent fighter from a great one can be subtle but it is still absolutely relevant.

Generally speaking I find fights are decided by violence of action/ will to win, skill and size/ strength. Pretty much in that order. As to violence of action/ will to win. The amount of people I could beat up expands greatly if I bring an ax handle. It takes willingness to go all the way but if you have it a lot can be done; my AARP aged mother could take Mike Tyson if she walks up and dumps a .357 mag into his chest. Next comes skill.

Presuming equal or roughly equal violence of action/ will to win skill is what determines the outcome of fights. Sure anybody could slip on a banana peel and get beaten up by a chump but the more capable fighter will win the vast majority of the time. People, particularly men, need to understand fighting is a learned skill. I can look up how to fix something on youtube but that does not mean I am a legitimate trained mechanic, let alone a master mechanic. Ego aside thinking Joe Everyday could cook eggs like a trained professional chef would be stupid. Thinking Joe Chef is going to do them like Alton Brown or Nigela Lawson (wow she is a babe) would be silly. Next comes size/ strength.

Size and strength are less important than skill. To this I have to caveat that any time one fighter has a massive size/ strength advantage they have a chance, no matter the other fighters skill level. Mongo a 350 pound power lifter might land a blow on a legitimate professional fighter than ends things, or get his hands on the guy and slam his head into a wall. Note I say size/ strength because they generally track together. However while 350 pound Mongo has an advantage over most other fighters sheerly due to size he is not going to beat a guy like Randy Coulter or Bass Rutten because they have enough skill to overcome his size advantage

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

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

From Around The Web

Tam is about halfway through her now standard 2k with no lube or cleaning test with her sweet 1911. So far there are two failures (one of which might well be attributed to questionable random ammo she had) which is pretty solid. Without doing math in public that is well under .01%. Also it looks good.

This has me really wanting to do some sort of 1911 project. I wanted a cool pistol to go with my FAL and have been thinking about different ideas. A nice 1911 would fit the bill. I kind of want to build a cool old school (well to me anyway) 80's era Colt 1911 with Pachmyr rubber grips and Novak low profile sights. Or I could go with the Longmire and get a plane jane one with Elk grips.

[Don't have a clue how I would fund it. Also it would not be the best way to spend that money which if I shopped hard could get a serviceable but budget M4 pattern AR-15 for a truck gun and another Glock for a rainy day but I digress. Thinking about what we want to buy/ build is half the fun anyway and 2-3 times a year money has a way of appearing so who knows. On a serious note I will get a case each of 5.56, 7.62 ball AND a truck gun M4, though maybe not in that exact order, before thinking about it.]

Oleg Volk talks about Selecting Handgun Pairs for Carry and Home Defense. My thoughts on the subject:
-Oleg makes a good point about similar methods of operation, especially for an inexperienced shooter. Commonality is good as one system is easier to become proficient with.
-The two guns need to be different enough in size to really be distinguishable. A full sized handgun and a gun on the top end of the compact range (I'm talking to you G19 and Commander Sized 1911's) do not really offer much in terms of different options.
-Magazine and caliber commonality is good if you can get it. 
- Modern upwards compatible handgun systems (Glock, M&P, XD, etc) that offer sub compact if not quite pocket sized models as well as larger compact to service sized handguns offer really good possibilities in this area. A G26 to carry and a G17 at home with a light on it by your bed is a heck of a set up.
-If wheel guns are your thing the classic combo of a little j frame .38 and a big ole .357 mag is a great option.
-I know a couple guys who have a full sized .45 for a house/ woods/ range gun and a little .380 pocket rocket to carry. This is a pretty decent set up; the only criticism I could bring of it is that they probably carry the .380 when they should have a real gun.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Foundational Precious Metals Post 2 of 2

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Foundational Precious Metals Post 1 of 2

Our friends Peter formerly Bayou Renaissance Man and Jamie of My Adventures in Self Reliance have both recently mentioned precious metals. I got to looking and realized I did not have (or could not readily find) a good foundation post on precious metals. So my intent is to write one.

Before getting started it should be noted I am  not a doctor, lawyer, accountant, financial adviser or anything like that. I speak solely of my own experiences, observations and beliefs. You should check with whatever sort of people, officially licenses or otherwise, then make your own decisions. Consider yourself officially disclaimed.

First we should narrow the scope of this post. My intent is to talk about the purchase of physical precious metals. So immediately I am excluding ETF's and various places that offer to store PM's for you in terms of purchase options. Next I intend to focus on bullion metals. Bullion being various bars, coins, etc that are purchased for the value of their physical metal content. This is different from 'numismatic' or collectible type coins. Numismatic coins carry a value based on their age/ history and condition; a rare 300 year old coin in excellent condition might have a bullion/ melt value (the actual value of the precious metals in the coin) of $300 but a collectible value of $5k. Numismatic coins are a whole different ball of wax and outside the scope of this discussion. We are also not really talking about jewelry. The primary reason we are not talking about jewelry is that it tends not to be a good deal in terms of bullion value and a lot of stuff floating around is fake. The one exception I can think of is for countries where the purchase of non jewelry precious metals is heavily restricted. At that point I would buy simple jewelry like plain wedding bands, bracelets and necklaces but I digress. So we have narrowed the scope of this discussion. Also I guess to further narrow things down I am talking about silver and gold. I am not talking platinum, palladium, copper or my favorite precious metal lead.

As to buying precious metals you can primarily go to a local dealer or an online one. Both have advantages and disadvantages. That is a long conversation. I will note that it is important to consider the complete out the door cost of a given item. Online guys charge for shipping, etc sometimes at high rates. Brick and mortar guys can be a real asset, especially if you want to make a big purchase today. Also the local PM guy can be a pretty handy 'grey market' asset. Their downside is often these folks do not treat smaller, normal Joe Everyday purchasers, very well. The premiums some of them charge are ridiculous. As to putting my money where my mouth is on buying PM's. For the last 3 years or so I have been buying from Montana Rarities and have no complaints though if a local dealer would treat me square he could earn my business in short order.

The pricing of precious metals is a little weird. They are traded on the open market like any other commodity such as wheat or pork bellies. This is called 'spot price'. That being said spot price does not tell the whole story in terms of precious metals for physical delivery. This is called a premium. It is probably a touch more complicated with a wide array of fees, long term contracts, etc all but we will keep it simple.

Theoretically an ounce of gold is worth spot price when it is a bunch of little flakes in a tiny container. The folks at the South African mint making Krugerrands or any other coin have costs to turn those flakes into the shiny coin we covet. Also they have this crazy desire to make money. Those folks sell the coin along with a bunch of its friends to a dealer. That guy also has costs and a desire to make a profit. Depending on the size of the operation there may be a couple progressively smaller dealers between production and the point of sale to Joe Everyday. In fairness to the people involved in this chain they obviously should be compensated for their efforts and they operate on razor thin margins.

These costs generally represent the premium between spot and the real physical price of a given item. Generally premiums are pretty level. Say it is spot plus 5-10% depending on the item involved. This baseline part of the premium is theoretically static or at least pretty consistent.

However sometimes premiums go crazy. At times we can see significant gaps between spot prices and the actual price of a coin in your hand. Why does this happen?

In general I can see two real reasons. One I know and one I think I have seen some evidence of and tend to believe. They both tend to flow together.

One piece is good old economics 99. The reasons large institutional investors buy (largely paper/ electronic) gold is different than the reasons people buy physical precious metals. If the indicators for institutional investors are down and the indicators for buying physical PMs are up you can get a gap. Think of it like this. The Jim Beam factory had a fire so they are having a rough week but it is Friday night and bottles of the stuff are flying off the shelves inn your town. Also physical PM's are a surprisingly small market. A modest increase in demand will mean shortages. Pretty quickly this new demand will get built into the market, maybe within a week or two.

The other piece is that arguably there is considerable evidence that big banking interests, specifically Goldman Sachs manipulating gold and silver prices. With those resources it would not be hard to do but this manipulation would not necessarily cross over to the physical PM market.

Why would a person choose to buy precious metals? In my mind there are four readily apparent reasons.

-First is some sort of speculation. Buy low/ sell high, that sort of thing. Though most people do this with ETF's or such maybe a person might want to physically hold the metals because they are a contrarian investor, have some sort of worst case concerns or something. I am neutral about this sort of plan. It has worked out well for some folks so I am not against it per se, just that it is outside the scope of this discussion.

-Second is some sort of tangible investment but in a more buy and hold kind off way than the first option. I generally like this plan. PM's do not grow via compound interest the way some other investments might. On the other hand when you look at compound interest and factor in inflation the tale is a bit less favorable to those 3-4 percentage points a year. It is said in the time of Shakespeare an ounce of gold would buy a fine men's suit and it still does. If you wanted to stash say a few grand (or more) for ten or twenty years especially if the local currency is unstable or you see bad times coming PM's would be a good way to go.

-Third is as a hedge against inflation or a currency collapse. We will get to it later but I really like PM's in this context. A situation with high inflation or maybe even a currency collapsing but where the fabric of society doesn't entirely break is where I think PM's thrive.

-Fourth is for some sort of mad max type scenario. I do think silver and gold would be traded in this type of scenario but that their value would pale in comparison to say fishing hooks, AA batteries, condoms, etc or especially .22lr, various 12 gauge ammo or guns (purchased for good prices and thoughtfully sold with a decent holster/ sling a few boxes of ammo and if applicable a few mags). In this scenario a person would be most prudent to be thinking past the immediate event a year or two to the recovery which of course implies you have put considerable energy and resources into getting to that point, then put some money into a big ole bag of silver or 5 and as much gold as they can afford.

Maybe we could say there are some other reasons but one could probably generalize them under one of the ones I mentioned at least for the purpose of this conversation.

Something The Money Changer said is worth mentioning here. I think he stays heavy on silver for longer than I would but still generally good advice to consider.

So we have talked a bit about precious metals and briefly described the reasons a person might choose to purchase them. Those reasons matter because different purposes are best suited by different kinds, or at least quantities of silver and gold.

Let us talk about the pro's and con's of silver and gold in general, before getting to specific products.

- Affordable. Right now spot is around $15 which puts a generic 1 ounce silver round a shade under $18 and pre 64 US Coinage 90% is at about 16x face. (This is slightly skipping ahead to specific products but my goal is to illustrate affordability here which necessitates it.) Assuming you are not a homeless junkie these are prices at much anyone can get into precious metals. Buy an ounce or two every payday and over time it will add up.

-Divisibility. The smaller dollar value per bar/ coin make silver the small bills of the PM world. If you wanted to trade for a weeks groceries either strait across or, more realistically, by selling some coins to a dealer then using the cash to buy the groceries a few ounces of silver are the ticket, not an ounce of gold.

-The small dollar amounts involved let you start off small. There is a reason a baseball player doesn't start with the NY Yankees, a lawyer doesn't argue his first case to the supreme court, etc. This way when you screw up, which you will (spending way too much on shipping, pay a silly premium to a local pawn shop, etc) the real dollar amounts involved are negligible. Ten percent screw up factor in a couple hundred bucks of silver purchased while you are learning is the cost of a pizza. 10% screw up on a 10k USD purchase after you unload those jet ski's hurts.

-Heavy/ bulky. You do not need to have too much money in silver for it to get heavy and to a lesser degree bulky in a hurry. A decent normal guy stash of 3-4 grand in silver is going to be heavy. Much more than that and it gets quickly into wheel barrow/ pick up truck territory. If your goal is to have a whole bunch of silver to trade for things over the long run this is a good thing. The downside is if you have to go somewhere.

I know a guy who has a lot of silver. He is well past wheel barrow territory and deeply into pickup truck territory. If he needed to move in a hurry, say to avoid a natural disaster or some sort of crime thing, a good chunk of the weight his truck could take would be silver. Obviously if he could only leave with a backpack the vast majority of that silver would have to be left behind. Now if he had half or two thirds of that value in gold it could fit in a small pouch in a day pack.

-Compact. An ounce of gold is worth about $1,200 bucks. A little tube holding 10 ounces of gold would be worth $12,000. You could fit that in a pants pocket.

-Recognizably.  Gold has a weird almost magical attraction. A fractional gold coin might just get you through a checkpoint you are not supposed to get through or convince a crooked official to look the other way.

-Compact. Think being in a store that only accepts bills under $20 with a hundred. In some scenarios making change could be very difficult so at a minimum your negotiating power is bad and at the worst the price of the thing could just become the coin in your hand.

You probably noted that the pros/ cons of silver and gold are polar opposites. Both have valid roles and they compliment each other well. For pretty much every scenario a person will end up with some mix of gold and silver.

As to the ratio between them.

On the lower end it favors silver. A guy who has a few hundred bucks to put into PM's should probably jut buy silver.

Long term trading favors silver.

If portability and extreme compactness are issues then gold is the way to go.

On the high end it favors gold. If a person had a bunch of money, either in one shot or over time, to put into PM's the compactness of gold is needed.

I am going to break this into a 2 part post because I am tired of writing and need to get something up since it has been a few days. In part 2 I am going to talk about specific types of gold and silver products and throw out some recommended ratios/ products that might fit different needs.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

From Around The Web

Tam is doing one of her 2k tests on her sweet custom 1911. This should be interesting. On a somewhat related note my inner non financially responsible gun nut has been whispering about 1911's in my ear for a couple weeks. I might just cancel my queued mental order for a stainless .357 mag (which has long been on the list) and go that way. A .45 wouldn't be a bad BBQ/ woods gun. Maybe at some point I will treat myself.

Our friend Harry, who has been around for awhile, wrote a couple of excellent posts recently.

-Well buckets for drilled wells

-If I could only have a few survival books on the shelf

Good stuff. I will add the books I don't have to the list for sure.

Reid Hendricks talks his current EDC

My light summer EDC

The Basics of Handgun Shooting in 60 Seconds

Normal posting will resume this weekend.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Cache Types, Escape and Evasion and Ancillary Thoughts Theiron

In a recent post about m Operational Cache there was a comment which I just wasn't sure what to do with.

Matt LBS said "If you can do so without giving away too much OPSEC, I'd love to hear about how your current cache is set up as far as location, access, etc. I can't remember if you've discussed that previously. Might help out with the one I am planning for myself currently. I am struggling with location and accessibility on mine. Not that I live my life generally outside the law or anything like that, but I also am debating over whether or not to place at a location that someone looking for me when I might need to disappear might expect me to go for such a thing. Think storing at a "peripheral" friends house, rather than your best friends house. Using a cousin, rather than mom and dad. That sort of thing. The "closer" to you a person is generally the easier the access, but it's also the most obvious choice that may hamper your ability to go off the grid in a pinch. Hopefully I'd never need to disappear, but I don't want to just forfeit that ability either. Of course if you are burying a cache somewhere random, then you don't have that problem, but might lose on the accessibility factor. So many things to consider for an operational cache."

So I thought about it for awhile. Also I couldn't really do a good post on it with my phone so I was halfway stalled out (the other half still thinking). Last night and this morning I pretty much figured out my response.

First I got to thinking about the fundamental goal of a cache. In my mind the fundamental goal of pre placing potentially needed items in a location where you will need them (caching) is to go from the logistical situation you anticipate arriving at to the one you want to be at; with budget, item shelf live/ storage, available space and the security/ integrity of the cache as  our biggest constraints.

Taking another step back I got to thinking about specific types of caches, a categorization if you will. From John Mosby's seminal post on the topic we get 3 types of caches:
Types of Caches
For an underground resistance, I envision three basic types of cache functions.
  1. The first is the guerrilla re-supply cache we’ve been discussing. These would be widely dispersed over an organization’s entire projected area of operations, to facilitate re-supply on the move in the future. These may also, in the future, be short-term emplacements made by members of the subversive underground or the auxiliary, to facilitate operations by the subversive underground or the paramilitary guerrilla force, based on specific operational requirements.
  1. The second is the “storage” cache. This is a method of dispersing your normal preparedness supplies stockpiles. Instead of having everything in your basement or “doomsday bunker-retreat” where it is easy and convenient for regime security forces, foreign peacekeepers, or roving bands of criminal looters to locate and steal it, this would allow you to maintain control or possession of various critical elements of your preparedness items, even if you had to “bug out” into evasion mode.
  1. The third, and final cache function, as I see it, is the individual evasion cache. These would be small, one-man re-supplies, along planned evasion corridors (primary, secondary, and tertiary, at a minimum). Caches should be placed within one or two days’ walking distance of each other, to act as en route waypoints for re-supply as the evader moves. This would allow him to minimize the load he carried in his “go-bag” evasion kit, facilitating faster travel during the evasion.

Personally I see two additional types:
 4. Operational Cache. Hoss USMC called this a 'Minuteman Cache'. To me the goal of this cache is to equip an individual to conduct defensive and offensive combative as a rifleman. So we are going to have a rifle, probably a pistol, ammo, ancillary gun stuff (mags, cleaning junk, etc), field clothes, sleeping gear, some food, basic survival stuff, some food, etc. One could argue this is part of Johns #1 and I might even see it that way myself. [I am putting this together on the fly since I have computer access and idle moments while the kids nap. Will thing and update as applicable later.]

5. Survival Cache. Say my plan E was to go to the Big Ridge Wilderness Area and live out in the woods. This cache, or more realistically series of caches would be set up to help support that plan. Since I have worked through the P, A and C plans things are not going well so I do not expect to drive out there with the family hauler and a loaded trailer. Lets say I expect to arrive there via LPC with individual weapons, the gear in a ruck and not much else.

Say I do up a big cache in 2 barrels 200 meters apart. They each have 2 tarps, an axe, a saw, a hatchet, rope, a gun with some ammo, a pair of hunting knives, a poncho, wool blanket and full set of clothes/ boots per person, a cast iron frying pan, a couple pots, some metal bowls and silverware, 60 pounds of dried staples, some spices, some OTC meds, a gun with some ammo, some fishing stuff, an emergency radio, some candles, rope and other doo dads.

Say throughout the larger area I have a dozen smaller caches with matches, a knife, some ammo, some water purification tabs, etc and as much food as I can shove in that are in 5 gallon buckets.

Anyway getting back to the original comment reply. Matt LBS said "If you can do so without giving away too much OPSEC, I'd love to hear about how your current cache is set up as far as location, access, etc. I can't remember if you've discussed that previously. Might help out with the one I am planning for myself currently. I am struggling with location and accessibility on mine. Not that I live my life generally outside the law or anything like that, but I also am debating over whether or not to place at a location that someone looking for me when I might need to disappear might expect me to go for such a thing. Think storing at a "peripheral" friends house, rather than your best friends house. Using a cousin, rather than mom and dad. That sort of thing. The "closer" to you a person is generally the easier the access, but it's also the most obvious choice that may hamper your ability to go off the grid in a pinch. Hopefully I'd never need to disappear, but I don't want to just forfeit that ability either. Of course if you are burying a cache somewhere random, then you don't have that problem, but might lose on the accessibility factor. So many things to consider for an operational cache."

I think what you are describing is more of an Escape and Evasion cache than an operational cache. Though in fairness we could break down E&E caches to urban/ grid up and rural/ grid down/ red dawn. One would be used if you need to get the heck out of there because Tony Soprano, The Trilateral Commission/ Illuminati or the cops are after you and you need to get out of dodge. The other would be handy if you are running from the UN/ Chinese invaders who want to send you to a labor camp or I guess if you want to pull an Eric Rudolph.

The gear needed for these caches is going to be fundamentally different. An urban/ grid up E&E cache is going to be something like 'change of clothes. handgun with spare mags, a few burner cell phones, lots of cash, the best fake ID you can put together'. This is going to be a small kit like day pack to small duffel bag sized. Think more Jason Borne safe deposit box
and less Terminator 2.

A/ grid down/ red dawn E&E set up might contain a lot of the stuff for an operational cache albeit with the goal of staying light and on the move. So maybe a change of clothes including boots and outerwear, a rifle or sub gun, a pistol and a day pack with a bunch of granola bars, some survival stuff and a poncho with woobie.

As to locations to store these types of caches.

I would not want to be running to a family member/ friend if the Tony Soprano/ the FBI or the UN/ Chinese invaders were after me. Many criminals get caught when they are stupid and go to Momma's house, or call her. Sure a second cousin is less likely to be watched but it is still well within the realm of possibility someone could be watching so that is a bad risk.

For a rural cache I would put it between where I anticipated being and where I planned to go. If doing multiples I might put one near my start point and one part way.

For an urban one on a more permanent basis you can get storage lockers anonymously if you are stashing that much stuff. For smaller stashes in a discrete way I am less sure about good options.

I should also note that one may be discrete from the other. Maybe you have a urban E&E cache near home/ work in case something bad happens and a couple AK's or AR's buried on Uncle Jebs Farm or in the nearby National Forest in case it turns out you need them.

Anyway I am out of thoughts on this subject for now. If I have enough new thoughts maybe I will do another post.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Unicorn horn and Tiger Blood Gun Lube: Save Your Money Folks Look folks, don't waste your money chasing the newest it gun oil. Many, if not all the cool guys hawking it have a financial interest in doing so.

As Amerc says simply buy some darn motor oil, it is cheap and works just fine.
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