Saturday, February 6, 2016

Unraveling From A Move- Survivalist Style

I am in Kansas now. Found a place to live and had my stuff delivered. I need to unpack and organize and all that but things are here. I feel better about things now that my guns and other valuables are (relatively) safe in a nice heavy gun safe. Having thousands of dollars of stuff in the closet of a hotel room is kind of sub optimal.

Transition related thoughts-
-Ammo is heavy, really heavy. The amount it is reasonable to move with anything less than a heavy duty V8 engine/ tranny combo and a dual axle trailer is a lot less than many of us probably have. Even then we would want to be moving other stuff also.
-Some stuff that is heavy doesn't need to be moved. Obviously you can dump out water. Fuel can be used then replaced on the other end. It is a good way to ensure it's all rotated and stored for the net place.
-When possible spreading out compact high value items is prudent. Even multiple not ideal locations is better than one not ideal location. A car might get burgled but the odds your car, motel room, buddy's place and rental storage all get burgled are low. Spread out your risk.
-If at all possible (distance, time) if you can manage to have the old place and new place overlap so you can move in an orderly way that is ideal.

To Do-
-Refill fuel cans
-Solidify bug out set up and pack it in a quick to move way (totes, etc)
-Look over preparedness (as well as everyday) stuff and discard what is not needed then organize
-Acquire regional maps for my kits
-Look at new items/ quantities needed for the new location. My heating capabilities need to be beefed up.

I need to get a piece of land to stash a bunch of stuff at so I don't have to move it around. That may actually be feasible in the not that distant future.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Random Thougbts on Combatives

I recently got back into combatives after a long break. Specifically the BJJ/ MMA striking combination that is pretty much the gold standard in unarmed combatives these days. I could go through a long detailed history of how we got to this combination of wrestling, jui jitsu, boxing and muy thai kick boxing. I could talk about how when people of different backgrounds started competing the ones who were good at those arts (minus boxing for whatever reason) destroyed people from other backgrounds for years. Eventually folks started putting it all together (striking and grappling) such that one dimensional single discipline guys, even the really good ones, were forced to adapt or get out of the competitive fight game.

I do not want to get into a style vs style fight. With the exception of  few really stupid martial arts doing something is better than doing nothing. As John Mosby would say I am for anything that fosters aggression and warrior spirit.  Of course if you are going to take the time and energy to do combatives enough to really build and then maintain some skills you should pick a style that is effective. If your goal is to get a black belt in 3 years then go to tournaments where you dance around and high kick (like a style that starts with a T and is from a country that rhymes with Shmorea) that is great. Just don't confuse that with a fighting system that will work on anyone with a tiny bit of experience.

The sucky thing about combat sports is that as civilians the people who are least likely to actually need the training are the ones doing it. I am an early 30's healthy decent sized man. I have a build and a way of carrying myself that says it probably wouldn't be a great idea to physically attack me. I am too old to be involved in the right of passage of drunkenly fighting over pride and women and too young to look like an easy victim. Of course I will be much better able to defend myself once I knock the dust off my old skills and build some new ones. I will be more likely to be able to handle a situation without lethal force, which is always desirable. Also if needed my odds of being able to create the time and space to employ my pistol are going to be way higher.

The flip side is that people who really need combatives training are the least likely to do it. I recall a comment by a famous blogger who happened to be female. She was talking about SouthNarcs ECQC and how she did the first half with the class but skipped the force on force piece because she did not feel she was physically ready or something like that.

The reason this thinking is flawed is that (presuming a person is capable of legitimately judging their own skills) a person who is totally confident they would smoke ECQC doesn't need the course in the first place. You aren't going to see Bass Rutten or Randy Coulture taking that class, anyone stupid enough to go hands with them will be a bloody pile of meat on the ground in a few seconds. On the other hand it is the people with the least experience in these areas that will benefit the most from that type of specialized training.

The same could be said about combatives at large. It is the smaller people, women and folks with injuries who (aside from the aforementioned rights of passage) are more likely to be physically attacked by criminals. This is particularly true since this new blatantly racist "knock out game" has started. There is a reason you don't see "340 pound Samoan D1 Offensive lineman was victim of the knock out game" on the news well EVER.

Aside from trying to get the people in our lives to take some responsibility for their self defense I don't know what the answer is.

Furthermore modern effective hand to hand combatives are largely ignored in survivalist/ preparedness circles. The only people pushing it are guys like me and John Mosby. Also one yahoo who claims to be a martial arts instructor. As far as I can tell he has very questionable credentials in a martial art that well, sucks. Also he is a classic con man with a penchant for baseless law suits and a convicted felon.

Why is combatives ignored? First and foremost you can't buy it. Like it or not survivalists are mostly Americans. We like to be able to buy a solution to a problem. Even worse than requiring effort combatives requires physical effort. You can't learn it watching youtube videos or readng a book. You have to get out and learn it. At any gym worth the gear inside it you are going to be actively resisted by other people. There will be bumps and bruises. Lastly and specifically for men it is an ego thing. The same way men think, almost entirely without any basis in reality, we are Olympic athletes and bad assed gunfighters we are sure we are the shit in hand to hand. Getting into an organization with people who actually know how to fight is a very humbling experience.

Consider adding combatives to your self defense training.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Double Your Door Security

A power drill, a few minutes and $5 worth of screws.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Guest Post- Fltactical EDC

I chose the following items to carry:

Spyderco Tenacious: It is a 3 1/3 inch spring assisted knife. Opens easily with a flip of the wrist, but stays closed and thanks to the multiple screw hole points, I can put the clip at any position for my comfort. The clip is attached high on the blade handle so the knife rides low in the pocket with little of the top of the knife showing. The steel is 8Cr13MoV which is a good knife for corrosion resistance *thanks to the Chromium in the steel, and takes an edge well. It doesn’t hold the edge as well as most, but sharpening it is simple and easy. The base of the blade has excellent jimping for a tactical situation and weighs in at only 4 oz.
Winchester Multi-tool: I honestly don’t remember when I got this. It was a bundled add-on when I purchased an optic for my AR-15. It is half the size of a Leatherman but with all the same bells and whistles. The only difference is that the size difference means I won’t be able to torque large bolts, but that isn’t usually in my normal day to day life.

Streamlight Stylus-Pro: I have many flashlights, but none of them come close to the comfort and utility of this 20 dollar wonder! It shoots a beam of 65 watt lumens with a nice tight beam and just enough splash that I can use it in a movie theater, and still have it effective for tactical purposes. It is less than 4 ounces and has a high clip that again, makes it disappear in my pocket.

Finally, my handgun is a Ruger LC9s. I put night sights on it and it is the lightest 9 mm out there. It is smaller than a Glock 43, but has a 7 + 1 capacity. One more than the Glock. The trigger is smooth and it is small and light enough to put in my pocket if I must. Otherwise, it fits nicely into my outside the waistband holster.
The common theme is weight and reliability. Ruger has a good rep for eating the bullets I feed it, and I have over 200 rounds through it with one double feed. I have 2 spare mags, one 8 and one 7 round magazine. 

Alternate carry for light shorts:  Taurus TCP 380 and Spyderco Delica for knife. Not pictured.

Anyway, I found that the less weight I put on my hips, the more likely it is I will carry. I live by the motto: If you are not always prepared, you are not prepared.
-FL Tactical

Thursday, January 28, 2016

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

I picked up 2 mags for the LCP and 50 rounds of ammo to load them to fill a recently identified need. I will load up one mag to use as a reload and keep the other in my vehicle with the ammo in case I am caught in need.

Also window shopped rifles at the LGS. Looked at a folding stock AK-47. Either that or an AR will be my 'truck gun'. Have some soul searching to do on that one. Your input is of course welcome.

What did you do to prepare this week?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Thoughts on Self Improvement Part 2: Making it Stick then Upping the Tempo

Awhile back I talked about self improvement in a boringly titled post called Thoughts on Self Improvement. As I progress through some of my own self improvement I have been thinking more about the issue. Today I want to share those thoughts.

So we began action on the issue we want to improve. Generally speaking there are two ways we could do this.

We can totally modify the behavior all at once cold turkey. Stop drinking, stop smoking, stop eating crap, stop finding potential mates drunk at closing time, whatever. In some cases when the behavior is dangerous this is a good option. On the other hand in some cases stopping using substances cold turkey can actually be dangerous. Those are the extreme pro's and con's. In general I am against this approach because it is harder to stick with but sometimes you wake up and don't want to do something anymore and it sticks.

The other option is a more gradual approach. Instead of a heart attack in a bag every day get a turkey sandwich or salad 2x this week, next week do that 3, etc.

How do we make this progress meaningful? I believe we need to make our plan measurable.

Drink less beer is not a measurable plan. Drink 2 or fewer beers Sunday to Thursday and not more than 6 on Friday/ Sat is measurable. Work out isn't measurable. Exercise for 20 minutes 3 times a week is measurable. A measurable goal matters because that way you can know if you are succeeding or not.

Now we know if we are making the initial plan stick.

I should note that these are measures of performance not measures of effectiveness. These are not a long term answer because they are not performance rated. The weakness of measures of performance is you might not be measuring the right thing. You could exercise for 20 minutes 3 times a week (meeting the measure of performance) but not improve at all and thus fail your measures of effectiveness.

I like to start with measures of performance for three reasons.

Image courtesy of Kenny AKA Knuckle Dragging

First the primary goal early on is habit building.

Personal case in point. Leave was chaotic and I a only really getting back to dry fire practice this week. My goal was simple. Do 5 sessions of dry fire this week. No agenda, no time goals, no measures of effectiveness. Just do some dry fire most days of the week.

Why did I do it this way. My goal is just to get back into the habit of doing dry fire.

Second is that in the beginning of many self improvement areas or fitness/ skill building you will make progress right away so that isn't an issue.

Third in some cases you may not have a baseline from which to develop meaningful Measures of Effectiveness.

So how do we up the tempo?

It looks different for different things.

Lets take my dry fire. Next week I will probably do 10 minute sessions and use a shot timer. No real agenda and no par times. Just dry fire for 10 minutes 5 times using a timer. The week after that I will go to 15 and have a rough agenda. A week or two after that and I will probably have a program similar to something John Mosby would use. About that same time I will start keeping track of measures of effectiveness and setting short to mid term goals for them.

So those are my thoughts on how you can work towards self improvement. Get out and do it.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Ruger LCP Spare Mag in EDC

In my recent EDC post someone noted the lack of a spare mag for the LCP.

I carry a spare for the LCP but not that consistently. It goes in a pants pocket if there is room and doesn't if there isn't room. I don't stress it that much. In situations where I am even semi worried I carry a Glock with a spare mag.

Somewhere in my recent move the spare mag I carry for the LCP went, well somewhere. I am sure that I tucked it into the pocket of a bag but heck if I know which bag. It was a chaotic period. I am sure the mag will turn up eventually. I do own more mags for it but they are not very accessible right now.

Is that a good reason? Eh probably not but I am honest here. Lots of it is good and some is bad.

A consideration I had is there isn't a good excuse for not at least carrying a reload in my coat. I will try to get this done tomorrow. Can use more mags for the LCP anyway.

Friday, January 22, 2016

EDC Dump 22 JAN 16

Blade tech belt (I owe a review on it)
Bic lighter
Wallet with the usual cards and $117 cash
Ruger LCP Custom in Safariland holster
Spyderco knife (worn on left side)

Not shown keys and phone
Depending on the situation I may add the G19 and a spare mag.

I have a decent defensive option for likely encounters, a good knife and a lighter. Those plus a phone and money cover a lot of bases. I am not in any way knocking people who carry a full sized handgun with 2 reloads and a fixed blade knife. Good for them and in some situations I do that.

The reason I am posting this is to show you can have some basic core capabilities without carrying a ton of stuff. Too many people see what awesome guys like John Mosby carry then go into overload and carry nothing. An LCP in the pocket beats a 1911 in the glove box or nightstand.

Better to carry some stuff then none. Got EDC?

To Steve

Steve, I saw your email but my acct is being a jerk. I am in the area you go to occasionally. Drop me a line if you are headed to this area.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Checking Batteries and Fighting Load Out Conveyance

While on vacation I visited some family in Montana. We did some shooting. Took out my AR for them to play with. While shooting it the illuminated reticle on my Burris MTAC died. I did not have another battery readily available and forgot about it.

Later that trip I grabbed a random mag light (they are fairly cheap and I have a half dozen or so) to use in the dark and it didn't work. Grabbed another one and got on with my day.

There is not a good excuse for my failure to keep a good battery in the MTAC. I check it most times when I handle the rifle but the way it died after 5 minutes on the range showed that plan is a failure. Clearly I need to just replace the battery at some regular interval like 2x a year. The only plus side is with the MTAC you an still shoot just using the normal reticle. Granted that is less than optimal at night but if I am shooting a long gun at something in the dark it will probably be pretty close. Also I may want to look into one of the pistol grips that would hold a set of batteries for the rifle and maybe some spare parts.

Went to change the batteries in the darn mag light and I guess they had corroded in there. Managed to knock them out by slamming the light on a hard (carpet over concrete) floor. Went to put new ones in and they would not go in as it was corroded. When I have my tools back I will scrape it out and try to put some batteries in, mostly just to see if it still works.

At the start of this move I wanted a relatively discrete way to move my rifle and fighting load into and out of places. Went with a pretty standard gym bag because well I had it. All I did was put my rifle, pistol, pistol belt and chest rig in the bag. The bag is a bit short for the rifle, it fits but not optimally, though otherwise it works OK. A better bag is eventually in order but right now I am working with that I have.

Got to thinking about what I might reasonably do with that system to enhance it.

-First I want to put some more first aid gear in a side pouch. Something closer to a trauma kit than an IFAK.

-Second as noted by the recent issues with batteries a small container with spare batteries, cleaning stuff and some likely to break parts would be a good idea.

Since I can do these largely with stuff I have on inventory it is an easy decision to implement. This should leave me with a discrete way to transport (albeit taken down) my rifle and fighting load plus some likely to be needed items. A simple grab and go solution.

I am curious about whether any of you have thought about this issue and what you have done. Bonus points if the answer isn't throwing money at the problem as I'm not long on that these days.

As always the comments section is open

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Concealed or I Suppose Open Carry and Social Interactions/ Dating- My Take

I threw out

Concealed or I Suppose Open Carry and Social Interactions/ Dating

just to see if you all came up with any special gems or blind flashes of the obvious.  


 My take is as follows. 

I believe in being armed unless:

-Carrying a gun is a felony (or I suppose a maxed out gross misdemeanor which is basically the same). Not asked to leave or a ticket but a serious crime.

 -I am unable to make life and death decisions due to the medicinal or recreational substances consumed or some medical condition that inhibits judgement. 

 -Carrying a gun is physically prohibitive due to clothing and activities being done such as swimming. 

There are invariably some occasions where being even somewhat visibly (yes a Glock 19 under a t shirt on a normal sized person prints some) armed is not desirable.

So where does that leave me?  

If I want to be armed but do not want it to be visible a smaller gun is often the answer. Meister hit the nail on the head that a deep concealment hand gun like my Ruger LCP buys a lot of options. Any normal male attire can hide that little gun. A gun nobody can see is a gun that is not going to cause any sort of issues. 

 Granted it is not optimally armed in my book (even as handguns go) but I only go to to polite social events at places where the risk is pretty low. 


Sunday, January 17, 2016

Posts of Note

In response to my recent post Commander Zero wrote his own post. The issue of balance is one we agree upon. He brought up one valid point I practice but fail to consider. Some items are arguably at risk of being available in the future. Guns, mags, ammo, body armor, night vision, etc are widely available now but may well not be in the future. On the other hand some items like tools, food, etc are likely to be available in the future. Within reason (balance and financial) front loading at risk items makes sense.

Also Kenny did a great post on how we actually use expensive tactical knives. For military folks substitute MRE for Amazon.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Is Preparedness Category based, Linear or All Over The Place?

A recent talk with Commander Zero inspired this post. Since memory is fallible and I am uncomfortable putting words in other people mouths (especially if I didn't ask to share them) I will not try to quote him. Just assume everything smart comes from Zero and the boring/ stupid stuff is me.

We could look at a few different ways to prepare. Lets discuss some generalities and what I consider the pro's and cons of them.

Category based. Lets say the categories are guns/ ammo, food, energy, comms, medical, tools, gear and misc. We could debate them but for the purpose of this discussion you get the point. You would work on one category until it is complete then go to another, then another, etc.

Pro- Mass. In this way you are going to see significant progress. Seeing progress has a real motivational component in keeping people working.

Con- Not balanced. In almost every preparedness situation you need some stuff in many if not every category. A whole lot of food doesn't cancel out the need for self defense. A great communications system is not a substitute for a spare pair of boots. You get the idea.

Linear- Working to move all categories forward in a reasonably balanced way. Say get ready for a normal black out with a few days of food, some spare batteries and flashlights, a hand gun with some ammo, etc. Next work towards a longer 2 week type event. More food, some sort of power generation plan, a long gun of some sort, water purification, etc. Move on to a nasty 6 week Katrina type event. You get the idea.

Pro- Balanced. You are working forward in a way that relative to your overall level of preparedness there is not a weak link. You aren't all guns/ammo and no food or all commo and no tools, etc.

Con- Progress is slow. Even as a fairly motivated person after a quarter or a year of putting not insignificant resources into preparedness it is hard for me to really see progress. It happened but a little bit in each area isn't very fulfilling.

All Over The Place- Work on what you are interested in at the time.

Pro- By doing what you are currently interested in you are very likely to go hard and make real progress. The newest/ weakest guy in an active ham radio club is going to crush a prepper with a radio and a license. The newest guy in a GSSF/ 3 gun club is probably better than a prepper with a safe full of guns.

Con- This lack of any meaningful plan leads folks to go too deep into their passions and ignore the other stuff at their peril. I have seen guys who are beginning to intermediate level survivalist with not one, or two but THREE 'bug out motorcycles.' Its his life and money but if that guy thinks this is the motorcycle collection is a good preparedness move for his situation he is at best not looking objectively.

What is the right answer.

Personally my core plan is linear. It is hard to do and I do it imperfectly cough clearly I need another AR-15 and G19 cough but it is the goal. Now for hobbies/ spare time stuff I tend, thanks to Chris's excellent advice, to generally pursue hobbies that are helpful for preparedness. Fitness, fishing, shooting, etc.

The difference is past some point with most of these things there is a point of diminishing returns as it relates to preparedness. I will talk fishing since I know a tiny bit about it. Getting a fishing pole, a cheap Wally World spare, a bunch of gear and some sort of cheap (under $500 unless it can be a major food source IE you live on a river/ swamp/ coast) small boat could make sense if you live near water. On the other hand that third $500 fishing pole and a 20k fishing boat are not preparedness items. These are hobby purchases, which isn't a bad thing, just that they should come from hobby money not prep money.

Thoughts? How do you prepare?

Friday, January 15, 2016

Concealed or I Suppose Open Carry and Social Interactions/ Dating

I am interested in your experiences, both good and bad, as well as thoughts on being armed during social interactions, dating, etc all. I know not all of my circles are rabid gun people and suspect yours aren't either. No right or wrong answers, I am just curious.

Thanks in advance
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