Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day

I do not have deep thoughts about Labor Day. Organized labor did some great things for people and arguably was a major contributor to America forming a strong middle class and becoming a great nation. On the other hand in the last couple (or arguably few) decades Unions have lost sight of reality and one could say they have driven some businesses into the ground. The historically strong union areas of the upper mid west recent history read like an article about how to fail at business. I hesitate to say unions no longer have a place because I think they do. Also in other countries, most notably Germany unions are very strong and businesses do quite well. I do not know the answer to this and honestly don't really care.

Without getting muddled into the current state of unions; I greatly respect the sacrifices of folks in the first half of the 20th century. Those men who organized and stood up to exploitative and intentionally neglectful businesses in the face of clubs and bullets from hired guns as well as various levels of murderous thugs for hire with badges 'law enforcement officials' to be respected and treated decently. People like my uncles are able to make a good living for their skills and sweat in no small part due to their sacrifices. Maybe I should be more thoughtful about the whole thing but I am not.

I did not have to work today. It is approaching dinner time. I'm cooking ribs and having some Blue Moon. So it's a pretty good day here.

Hope you all have a great Labor Day.


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Single Stack 9mm Rabbit Hole, General CCW and Random Thoughts

I talked a good bit about this recently and it has been on my mind for awhile. Recently I came to a realization on the topic. The type of firearm dimensions I am talking simply do not support the concept of use I had in mind. The combination of enough grip (height) to handle decently yet quite short to theoretically allow pocket carry in 9mm from a company that builds to a decently professional standard is a bridge too far. Granted it isn't looking for a 20 round 10mm the size of a Beretta .22 Bobcat but it's still a bit too aggressive all the same.

The truth in the back of my head that it took some time for me to admit is that I have actually been talking about two pistols. The first pistol is a single stack 9mm with enough grip to get a decent grip and thus be reasonably accurate. Rough stats would be about a 3in barrel and height over 4 in but under 5, probably in the 4.5in range. Weight dictates a polymer frame and anything in that class is plenty light. The second pistol is a tiny pocket sized .380 acp. Something in the Kahr P380/ S&W Bodyguard W/O laser/ Kel Tek P3AT size range.

I then stumbled into the 'what to buy first' train of thought. After looking at both options I took a deep breath and got back to my original intent. My original intent was to acquire a thin subcompact (if narrowly) single stack 9mm that would be comfortable to carry IWB and be more accurate with a higher round count than the S&W 642.

So it is pretty apparent to me the 9mm needs to come first and potentially down the road maybe a .380 will come into play.

So where does that leave me? The Kahr CW9 is a viable option though it's Shield sized. Of the two I prefer the Shield. The Kel Tek fits well in my hand and is a nice balance of size but well I would be lying if I said Kel Tek makes consistently reliable guns to a profession standard. Certainly some of them work, Archer Garret loves his F9 and P3AT. However I do not feel like rolling the lemon dice, especially since I have the additional $50-100 to buy a well built weapon with a nominal couple percentage point dud rate (that exists with any good product it is just life).

Anyway I am looking hard at the Shield. Honestly all roads seem to keep coming back there anyway. I really wanted one maybe two years ago but they were brand new, untested which concerned me and unobtanium. Fast forward a couple years and whatever minor issues existed then have long been addressed. Availability is pretty much full and correspondingly prices are down a little bit. Seems like a good time to snag one.

So that is where I am with this today. I'm leaning hard towards the Shield though I might just get a .380 or bin the whole damn thing due to confusion.

What do you think?

More Thoughts on Ammo Counts

Displaced Louisiana Guy's thoughts on Ammo Counts. His counts are significantly lower than mine but, especially since they are not for some Mad Max scenario, reasonable all the same. If you are worried about generic defensive situations as well as providing protein via hunting with an eye to normal commerce being disrupted in the short term his ideas are solid.

Anyway this is another take on the discussion I wanted to share with you all.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

How Much Ammo Is Enough?

I was discussing how many guns you really need and Tpals asked for my thoughts on ammo. Also today I saw Peter of Bayou Renaissance Man's thoughts on How Much Ammo Is Enough today. Peters thinking certainly has merit. Take it for what it is worth.

I discussed that matter about 4 years back and again about a year ago.

To briefly recap my thoughts. The kind of scenario you are worried about matters a lot here.  Normal everyday defensive stuff just doesn't require a lot of ammo. If you live on a ranch out by the Mexican border and genuinely might end up in a running gun fight with a bunch of drug runners or could get caught in a Hurricane [While not part of our current topic Peters posts on Katrina and Rita as well as Gustav are definitely worth reading. Learn from others so you can avoid the pitfalls of their mistakes.] or a serious riot more ammo would make sense. If you are worried about progressively darker scenarios add ammo (and of course other supplies) as appropriate.
 
A big part of how much ammo is enough for you is WHAT MAKES YOU PERSONALLY COMFORTABLE. One could say this about preparedness as a whole. Anyway moving on.

Personally I am very comfortable with:
Defensive rifle- 3,000 rounds
Defensive pistol- 1,000 rounds
Shotgun- 1,000 rounds mixed between buckshot, slugs, small game shot like #4 and birdshot
.22lr- 5,000 rounds
Hunting rifle- 1,000 rounds/ 500 rounds*

Wish I could say these numbers were the product of painstaking analysis based on the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as riots, disasters and other events. However that is not the case. Somewhere between my various experiences and an affinity for nice even numbers I decided that the above listed numbers make sense for me. they may or may not work well for you.

* When I posted this a few years ago hunting rifle ammo was a topic of discussion. Anyway when relooking the ammo counts I came up with years ago I generally agreed with them all but the hunting ammo was worth revisiting. With 30-30 at 80 cents to a dollar a round for SP type hunting ammo, .308 FMJ (brass cased) around 90 cents; Federal 150gr SP hunting ammo at a bit over a buck and 30'06 about the same as .308 cost is definitely a consideration here.

Especially since actual harvesting of big game does not require a lot of rounds I can see the sentiment. On this subject Pastor Joe Fox mentioned that the year before writing The Survivalist Family he fired 6 shots, 3 to confirm zero and 1 each for the three deer he killed. Our longtime friend Chris's math figured pessimistically more like a box to zero and more for hunting to total 40 rounds a year.

My specific concern here is for folks who have a hunting rifle as their only centerfire rifle. Guys for whom the '06 or whatever deer rifle is their only real rifle.  The logic of 'I hunt on 20 rounds a year so 3x20 is 3 years of ammo' works sorta OK if the deer rifle is behind an AR/ AK in the safe but it doesn't work if that is the rifle you grab to get into a fight.

If folks have a defensive rifle with a decent stock of ammo and want to keep a bit less ammo for their hunting rifle I wouldn't argue against it. Also I would want to make sure they are not relying on that rifle for long range/ precision as part of a core defensive plan to hold say a long winding road going into a canyon or whatever. If those two conditions are both met less ammo seems just fine. I think 500 rounds seems pretty reasonable to me.  Anyway moving on.

The goals I laid out are not as ambitious as some but more than others. I think that for most folks given some planning they can be met within a reasonable time frame. Also they are generally high enough that if you are most of the way there the situation is pretty decent still. I generally try to set goals that are realistically attainable but aggressive enough that if you fall a bit low you're still in a good spot.

Honestly for all but the darkest scenarios half of what I like would likely be fine. If landed into the LA Riots (aside from that I wasn't shaving yet;) or Hurricane Katrina say visiting a friend or whatever with half of my goals; say an AK with a case and a half of Tuna 7.62x39 JHP, a Glock 9mm with 500 rounds of 9mm 115gr JHP, a shotgun with 500 rounds of ammo and a .22 with 2,500 I would be fine. Whatever issues I had they would not be ammo related.

I should note these counts are for core type weapons. I'm not saying you need to go this deep for every gun that you own. Like many folks maybe you happen to have an oddball (common caliber or otherwise but doesn't fit your plans) like the .38 S&W revolver Grandpa passed down, a .22-250 you shot Coyotes with for awhile or whatever. What it is smart/ necessary to do for that gun depends on how deep you are in core type weapons and ammo. If you have four AR's with a deep stash of ammo and a pair of .308 hunting rifles with a case of ammo between em you can go light on the heirloom/ oddball in the safe. On the other hand if you are a bit lighter on guns then everything matters.

Of course next is the guns overall viability. Say a little heirloom Browning knock off .25 that hasn't been fired since political candidates wore hats is worth a spare mag and a box of ammo while a more viable weapon like a .303 Enfield or .30 Carbine a relative brought back from the big one it would be smart to stash at least a couple hundred rounds.

I should note these counts have some margin for barter/ charity as well as sighting in optics, periodic test fires, etc but do not specifically include training. I keep a bit of ammo above that for training.

Think that pretty much overs my thoughts on ammo. 

Suppose I should touch on mags.

I like 20 per fighting rifle, and 10 per fighting pistol. As to pocket pistols, hunting rifles, rimfire, etc 4-6 seems sufficient. In this context I am more concerned about replacing a mag that wears out than fighting reloads.

Anyway I think that covers my thoughts on ammo and mags. Am interested in hearing the numbers for mags and ammo that make you happy and probably more interestingly the thinking behind it.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Ryan vs Everything: Opening Discussion

For the sake of adding a bit of variety to the blog I am going to discuss my take on a variety of different issues in contemporary society. Sort of my thoughts on the matter and in some cases how, if given a free hand, I would fix the issue. Potential topics include:
gay marriage
food stamps
rape culture
affirmative action
social security
gun control
illegal immigration
border security
the war on drugs
taxes
politics
political zoning
political parties
anarchists
republicans
liberterians
Israel and Palestine
the IRA and Northern Ireland
drunk driving
open container laws
open carry
concealed carry
the National Firearms Act
Obama Care
Baby Boomers
Other topics as they come up

Pic Post

















Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Single Stack Compact 9mm Round Up

I do not mean this to be comprehensive. Instead it is going to be a brief and totally subjective view on some of the single stack 9mm's out there. For background I have been anecdotally in that market for awhile and recently put away the cash to do it so the looking has gotten serious.

-Beretta Nano. Very small but odd looking. Does not feel good in my hand.

-Sig 938. Has a lot to offer but a $700+ subcompact 9mm carry piece is a hard sell for me in a land full of very good $300-450 options.

-S&W Shield. Definitely the big boy on the block. Aside from initial minor issues which exist in all guns it's reputation is rock solid including some serious shooters. Feels good in my hand. Cost is pretty fair at around 4 bills. The downside is that for me it is a little big. Honestly I think it handles more like a very thin compact single stack 9mm than a subcompact. Probably the perfect IWB solution for a lot of people but I am not sure that I am one of them.

-Kahr CW9. Basically the same dimensions as the Shield. Ever so slightly thinner (than the Shield) due to a flat grip. Basically it is a single stack rendition of a Gen 1 Glock 19 (actually it is 4.5 in tall while the G19 is 4.9 but I digress).

-Kahr CM9. Basically a single stack G26.

As of right now I am mulling hard on a Kahr CM9. The grip is definitely a 2  finger job but you can get extensions if that is desired. Personally, without getting into specifics, I think for small guns it is better to have a shorter frame and add a longer mag/ mag extension when you want. A lot more versatile to slap in a +1 mag which has room for the pinky when you need to than to try and make a bigger gun fit a smaller role

Or honestly I am seriously just considering buying a little .380 either a Kahr or an S&W Bodyguard (w/o laser).

Am open to your thoughts and experiences on the subject. Comments that do not apply to the post such as 'Carry a 1911/ Glock 17 every day' or 'buy a J frame' will be ignored. What do you think?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

How Many Guns Do You Really Need?

I was chatting with a co worker about carry handguns and my upcoming purchase of well, something or another, and this topic came up. He asked myself and another guy (both gun owners, the question guy has a pretty good collection of a couple ar's, a few pistols, a shotgun or two, a .308 bolt gun and some other stuff. The second guy has a Glock 17, a .45 and a Sig 556.) how many guns we feel like we really need to have all the realistic bases covered.

They both laid out what they thought. I can't recall exactly what each said but both said some sort of defensive rifle, a hunting rifle, a pistol and a shotgun. Each had other stuff on their list but I can't exactly remember.

Of course this does not consider redundancy or caches. I will realistically keep buying guns as long as the process does not become too much of a hassle and I can afford it. I would like to have a room like the one in The Matrix in my house, a few Sara Conner Terminator style caches and numerous operational caches well, everywhere I can find to put one. Maybe it is better to call this a discussion on how many types of guns I think you really need but anyway. Do note that I am not going to get bogged down into models of guns or even caliber unless it specifically applies and then I'll give more of a general range.

My list in the order they popped into my head (so not by priority):
-Rifle, scoped hunting type. Something fairly flat shooting with a decent punch for big game.
-Rifle, defensive. Something military pattern and mag fed; AK, AR, etc.
-Handgun, service. Good old house gun. Caliber 9mm/ .38 special or larger. My preference would be for a modern double stack semi auto.
-Handgun, concealed carry. Options vary wildly based on environment, body size and such. Caliber 9mm/ .38 special or larger though a .380 isn't terrible I guess.
-Shotgun, pump in 12 gauge due to commonality. If restricted to 1 barrel it would be a 20-21 in and accept chokes. Otherwise I would have 1x 18.5in riot barrel and a longer hunting barrel that took chokes.
-.22 rifle. Something that is rugged and is accurate enough to train and pot squirrels if needed.

That's it for the 'need' list and really it has some luxury with two rifles as well as a dedicated CCW pistol.

Now for the 'nice to have' list:
-Handgun, .22lr. For training and pest erradication.
-Handgun, tiny. I'm talking Beretta .22/.25, NAA .22 revolver, etc. Arguably the difference between the CCW pistol and the tiny one can be split. I know a couple guys who have full sized handguns and little .380's they carry around most of the time and all things considered that's not a bad setup.

So my 'must have' list is 3 rifles, 2 handguns and a shotgun. The 'nice to have' list adds two more handguns.

What is your 'must have' list? What is your 'nice to have' list.

Monday, August 25, 2014

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

We picked up a large Coleman family sized car camping type tent

I am actively shopping for a single stack 9mm pistol

Over the last week or two I have been refocusing on physical fitness and
diet. Let a few pounds slip on and now it is time to eat less and move more
to lose them.

What did you do to prepare this week?

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Police and Law Enforcement Today: Part 2 Modern Vs Militarization

We began this conversation

Police and Law Enforcement Today: Part 1Beginning the Discussion awhile back and for reasons I cannot recall it fell off. Anyway with the whole Ferguson, MO mess and the discussion that came from it we are back here.


I should note that in terms of police equipment and behavior it is easy to look back with rose colored glasses. 

Tam brought up the point that at least during the early part of the 20th century Police were better armed than our military and used some very aggressive tactics.

She is interviewed about this topic by Cam and CO on NRA Radio, that section goes from roughly 1:20 to 1:29.

Also as Tam noted there was certainly rather arbitrary use of force in a lot of places. Skipping ahead I would note this force was generally confined to folks acting a fool or outright bad guys, though as AM noted everyone is innocent until proven guilty. That being said there were certainly some abuses and if I were brown, black, in a union, or a hippie I might feel a lot differently on the matter from roughly the beginning of time till not too long ago.

Going back a bit further in American history and I think the pool of guns available to law enforcement was largely the same though they might individually prioritize them higher and thus end up with say an early pump action shotgun vs a generic coach gun or the like.

I want LEOs to have access to the modern tools they need. We do not expect them to ride horses or drive Model T Fords so why should their weapons and PPE be any different.

In 1890 an LEO might have had a SAA or new fangled DA revolver in .44/.45 on his hip and a .45 colt or 45-70 lever action in a scabbard on his trusty horse. 

In 1960 an LEO almost surely had a DA service revolver in .38 special or .357mag on his hip and a pump shotgun in the trunk of his big ole Ford sedan.

Today an LEO almost surely carries some sort of double stack semi automatic pistol, probably a striker fired 'universal service pistol' like a Glock or M&P. That LEO might also have a semi automatic AR-15 in an M4 type configuration and a plate carrier in the back of a Crown Vic or Interceptor. This is just the modern equivalent of the same thing. As Tam mentioned it would be pretty hypocritical to say a cop should not have an AR and a plate carrier but I can

 Tam said the problem is "tactics not tools" and up to modern individual weapons and PPE I agree. Some folks say that stuff should just be for SWAT teams but I disagree. I disagree for two reasons. First those tools are the modern equivalent of older tools long used by normal lawmen. Second and arguably more importantly the first officers on the scene at the next school shooting or Chechen style rampage attack will be some normal cop nearby on patrol, not Sammy Swat. 

Now if we start talking about MRAPs, belt fed automatic weapons, anti material rifles, etc I do not personally see legitimate reasons for cops to have them, especially in the numbers and locations they currently are at. Maybe one could argue Houston, LA, ATL, etc could use a (single) MRAP and a pair of Barret .50 cals due to the large area and the relative propensity for major violent crimes but Anytown USA population 35,000 doesn't need a pair of MRAPs, a few machine guns and some .50's.


I feel like this piece of the overall topic has been covered. Next we will talk the 'tactics' piece.




 





Saturday, August 23, 2014

Family Tent, Single Stack 9mm's and a Saturday Night ER Trip

Awhile back our larger tent finally kicked the bucket. Since, IIRC, my Dad bought it for me as a Freshmen in highschool it stopped owing us anything years ago but it still left a vacuum. Also honestly we needed a bigger tent. The one I had technically slept three which actually means it sleeps two unless 2 of the 3 are small children or all three are very intimately close.

Walker has been asking about it and since the budget was looking OK this month we decided to go get a tent. So we went to Academy in the nearest decent sized town and walked down to the tent aisle. Ended up with a big ole Coleman. Honestly it is a bit bigger than we want/ need but there is sort of a size gap in options and we'd rather be on the big end. It is like 12x7. Definitely a car or other mode of conveyance type tent.

We set it up in the living room so kiddo and I can sleep in it. Honestly sleeping outside when the low is 80 or so sucks so we are doing it inside.

On the door of the tent there is about an 8 inch lip at the bottom. Walker tripped on it and slammed his face into the floor biting his lip pretty bad in the process. Of course there was some blood and lots of crying. His sister joined in with some sympathy crying for good measure.

We got him cleaned up and the cut was pretty good, solidly in the 'maybe it needs stitches' range. So we hopped in the family hauler and went off to the ER. Just what everyone wants to do at 6pm on a Saturday. The injury was more in the 'urgent care' range but with our medical coverage it is ER, a few rare same day appointments (M-F of course) or waiting several days to a month for an appointment. Consequently in addition to relatively minor issues like Walkers there are always lots of moms with kids who have the snivels.

I dropped Wifey and Walker off then went to do a couple things with Princess.

Walker got checked out and the verdict was since the deep cut is inside his mouth (vs the lip) they would not do stitches due to infection concerns (and I think the mouth cures pretty well plus a scar there is not an issue).  The advice was to feed him lots of popsicles and keep an eye on it.

We had a quick drive thru dinner on the way back. After getting home we let him watch a tv show then it was bed time. Read stories in the tent and he passed out shortly after.

I have been doing some more thinking and research on Single Stack 9mm's. I have been looking at the S&W Shield for awhile but recently came to a revelation. I think the Shield is a tiny bit too big to really be a meaningful difference from other guns on the inventory.

The Shield is 4.5in tall which for reference is roughly in the middle between a Glock 26 (4.1in) and a Glock 19 (4.99in). Honestly (and interestingly my initial observation from the first time I handled it) the Shield is sort of closer to a single stack COMPACT pistol in terms of height and grip length than a true subcompact.

As I have learned with small guns you can always get a bit more grip (and usually an extra round) with a mag extension but if you want a gun to be smaller, to say fit in a pocket, you cannot remove a half inch off the grip of a larger handgun.
Now I want to get my hands on a couple other guns to see if they might better suit my needs.

Going to read some junk on the net, watch a bit more TV then go to sleep in a tent that's in my living room.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Tiny- A Story About Living Small

We started watching Tiny- A Story About Living Small on Netflix. Pretty interesting. Lots of people living in tiny houses between about 120 to 250ish square feet. Lots of them are built on utility trailers. Their individual reasons vary between environmental and economic with lots of intermix between the two. Honestly the whole thing is pretty hipsterish so if that bothers you it might not be the movie for you.

A pretty interesting concept for sure. However the need to seriously minimize possessions is a bit problematic, especially for us survivalists who tend to accumulate all manner of stuff.  Honestly I am guilty of this. Part of it is practical. Having redundant redundancy to your back up's as well as more than a few guns, cases of ammo and a bunch of food won't work in a house that is smaller than my kitchen.

Wifey mentioned early on a lot of these folks would be better off just buying RV's or travel trailers.

Also noteably they seem to be single or couples without kids.

The concept of having a paid off home is huge. Honestly this is something that seriously interests me and even at the best possible projection I could not have a paid off more conventional, even pretty normal, home inside of a decade. We would have to seriously adjust our expectations to shave that to cash on hand or say a 2 year plan.

This sort of thing certainly is not for everyone. I have difficulty imagining living in such a tiny house for any length of time. Honestly I could do it but would need a shed or big ole barn with a root cellar to store supplies, bolt down the gun safe, etc. That is admittedly sort of gaming the scenario and it would make more sense to just have an apartment in the loft of the barn.

I cannot imagine living in such a place with kids.

I do not think the truly tiny homes are a break through so much as I think the idea of smaller, generally more affordable, homes is. A family of 4-6 in a 200 square foot house would not work but the range of options between say 300 square feet and 1,000 sf has a lot of space to work with.

Personally I can think of two individuals I know who have done things that roughly fit 'in the middle'.

An uncle has lived for years in a roughly 600 square foot cabin. It is well designed with 2 small bedrooms, a bathroom and 'not so' great room with the kitchen and living room divided by a nice big brick fireplace. He loves it though admits if he built it (he is a contractor) it would have a loft.

A friend of mine built a small 1 bedroom house a few years ago. All in it cost him about 40k spread out over 2 years. His place is about 800 sq ft. Next he built a huge 2 story shop. When they had the second kid an always conceptually planned addition of 2 more bedrooms a family room and another bathroom got put into motion. With cash of course.

Anyway that movie was pretty interesting. Also it lead to some interesting conversations with Wifey. You might want to check it out.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Just A Quick Trip To The Store

Today after making a nice dinner of beef fajitas it came up that somebody needed to run out to the store to pick up an item. So I got ready to go to the nearest place that offered said item, a five minute drive away. Put on a belt, stuck a subcompact handgun (in holster) in a pocket, a reload in another picket, grabbed my wallet, phone and keys then threw on the first footwear I found and was out the door.

Since I was planning for the next day at work my usual knife and lighter were in the gym bag.

I got to the store and in a typical survivalist way thought "what would I do if something happened right now." Lets ignore the fact that I could easily walk home barefoot from there. Well I had the basic capacity for self defense, almost surely sufficient for a small town store at 7pm on a Thursday. My footwear were iffy, I didn't have a knife or a lighter.

However all of these things were in the modestly sized but fairly thought out set of stuff in my vehicle. My GHB, a pair of running shoes I no longer use with socks in them, a good knife, fire, food and water a plenty (I often forget to bring lunch to work or can't leave so I keep a few cans of food, some oatmeal, ramen, etc above and beyond the food in my bag) if needed.

These sorts of events happen in life and when you least expect is is when you are inevitably slammed. Establish and maintain systems to help cover for human shortcomings that inevitably occur.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Book Review: Liberators by Jim Wesley, Rawles

Today I will be reviewing the new Jim Rawles bookLiberators: A Novel of the Coming Global Collapse Before getting started in case anyone has not read some (or all) of his previous works let me talk about some unusual elements of these books. This book is the 5th book of his 'series' that started with Patriots. I use the term series loosely because of the contemporaneous nature of these books.
The different books cover more or less the same time period from different perspectives and locations. There is some inter twining between characters and events through the books. The nature of these books is that unlike a more conventional series you could, in theory, pick up book two or four and read it as a standalone without being behind or confused about the story. Another feature of these books is that they move between characters/ groups throughout the book. I do not mean simply shifting point of view from Bob to Tom but essentially entirely different stories in different areas that may, or may not come together. For example the last book Expatriates: A Novel of the Coming Global Collapse was split between central Florida, Australia and the pacific in general. This part of the Rawles books has taken some criticism, including from me, for making things a bit disjointed but in the last couple books those kinks have been ironed out.

For the sake of full disclosure I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher with a loose agreement that I was interested in reviewing it. Of course there was no talk, let alone pressure, about the content of the review. I also fundamentally like Jim Rawles as he has been good to me and my blogging efforts. This does not mean I would be consciously biased towards his works. However arguably there could be some unconscious bias, sort of how you are less annoyed when the cool guy or cute girl you casually know at the local coffee shop flubs your order than if it is a person you don't know.

So onto the usual format.

I will do my best to avoid spoilers but if you genuinely want to have no clue about the contents of this book then stop reading now, buy and read it then come back and see what I think. However if you do not mind having a little bit more of an idea than reading the back cover but a lot less than say, a kids
500 word book report, then continue reading.

Begin potential spoilers.

The general outline of the story is that it follows two groups one an older couple living on a remote ranch in British Columbia along with their children (the sisters from the last book) and the second a family living in Virginia. It follows them through the beginning of the collapse through the UN invasion and the subsequent conflict. The ranch group has some folks who travel to get to the ranch and the other group had a loose plan at the start that led to a very long bug out type scenario. They all ended up resisting the UN troops in different ways. While the books run more or less contemporaneously this book tends to be more focused on the latter part of that period than the initial part.

The Good: The trend of an easy to read book that flows continued. Earlier books issues with short chapters and lots of jumping around are not present.

I am pleased to say people, even survivalist types were portrayed in what I feel were very realistic ways. The types of situations and levels of preparedness of both survivalists and non survivalists meshed with what I have seen to be accurate.

Along these lines the situations characters were in seemed much more representative of our society at large and arguable as such realistic than previous books. There was a divorcee facing home foreclosure and a writer toiling away at a half done work who cut wood for a living. Folks were
meeting each other and sometimes finding love during a chaotic situation, in other words being actual people not survivalist automatons.

Furthermore the groups people formed into were much more organic along family  and friendship lines than the much spoken about but rare (in actual implementation and rarer in success) survivalist type group. Folks were trying  to get by with their loved ones and friends, some of whom were survivalists.

Additionally it was a pleasant breath of fresh air that characters were equipped with a wide variety of gear, weapons and vehicles. There was never totally unauthentic moment where only a 1911 .45 from X manufacturer, some  specific rifle or vehicle was the cure all to a situation. More like "Tim had  a pistol, rifle and shotgun with some ammo so he was reasonably well armed."

Of course the huge pool of free research assistants the massively popular Survivalist Blog offers gives Jim a huge advantage. He can talk to three people who live near the Whatever Forest, Any County, Anywhere to find a nice location that has the  sort of caves/ roads/ permissive border the story needs. This brings a huge level of authenticity and arguably actionable information not present in other books of this type.

That people were portrayed as an active part of the overall guerrilla/ counter insurgency situation was excellent. Fence sitters can be spurred into action based on something bad being done (by either side) to their loved ones.

Also a significant part of the action being intelligence related folks brought the book more into Jim's (former) area of expertise which let him write realistically and with some authority. In fairness we will revisit this topic later from another angle.

Surely more stuff was good but I cannot think of it specifically right now.

The Bad:

JWR's military background is in Intelligence which was a not insignificant part of this book. However that experience is pretty dated and I strongly suspect more along Cold War lines than the guerrilla/ counter insurgency lines of the book. At times he wrote at some length about various topics that are arguably not that applicable to the type of fight going on. I know it is tempting to talk about your area of knowledge but sometimes that can lead to talking more about what you know than stuff that really applies to the situation, also it can somewhat detract from the story. These parts would have been better served by being adapted more to applicable guerrilla/ counter insurgency situation, potentially with some help, or snipped down.

[Without getting into my background I know what I am talking about with this stuff.]

The Ugly:

I was frustrated at the end that the book seemed to end too fast. Some individuals from the last book arrived on the scene with considerable build up  then it just ended. It felt like when someone has to write a minimum 5 page paper and is cranking away then realizes they are at 4.5 pages and throws in
the cliche restate the point ending paragraph to close it out.

The book would have been well served by being 20 pages longer (or if X pageswas the goal snipping a bit here and there from other parts to free up the space) to do service to that part of the plot line.
.
To me some of the connections between characters from different groups from previous books (Specifically the sisters from the last book and the original group from the first book )was forced yet for what did not really lead anywhere.

It is confusing to me that forethought (at least a book or two back) was put into inter twining characters in different areas to come together but it almost seems like the planning on how to do it was deeper than the planning on what they would do, or why the thread of connection added value to the bigger story.

In this book I would probably have had one group in this book who was not really connected to the previous books fight the good fight supporting different resistance cells. That would have seemed less forced and also given a good platform for different TTP's and lessons learned (good as well as bad).

I should note the bad and ugly are very relative and did not significantly detract from the overall book. Sort of like if the waitress is a bit slow bringing your second beer/ cup of coffeee so it arrives less than optimal temperature at an enjoyable meal with friends, and everything else is good.
It is a minor annoyance but a few days later you remember the dinner and have forgotten the less than optimal beverage.
My overall assessment is this book was excellent. I tried not to get into spoilers but there is a lot on bugging out by vehicle as well as by foot. Additionally many interesting lessons for potential insurgency situations as well as more general survivalist ones were present. Furthermore I found it a
very enjoyable read with characters you can really relate to and root for as they go through the events that unfold. This is probably the best book in the series. Buy a copy of Liberators: A Novel of the Coming Global Collapse to read and get another to give away or loan to a friend and not get back.


There may well be a second more free form thoughts and lessons post on the book down the road. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Kangaroo Carry and Other Outside the Box Ideas

You probably notice I have mentioned the S&W Shield a few times recently. Then I took a step back and checked the whole concept a little bit. May be the answer is to find a more comfortable way to carry a gun I already have like a Glock. Got an OWB kydex holster that I really like but it does not offer the level of concealability I desire. Also I just am not loving IWB these days.

While it is very pro gun it is not, at least in my observation one where people carry in a marginally concealed way. So my need to conceal deeper is at least worth thinking about. It got me looking at different outside of the box options.

The first one I stumbled into was Kangaroo Carry. Sort of a hybrid shoulder holster/ belly band type of thing. The ability to carry a large end 'compact' pistol like a Glock 19 in a solidly concealed fashion with a pretty high level of concealment appeals to me. Also for drives it is off the waistline which is good. Also handily with a very affordable price of $50ish on their website and closer to $30 elsewhere it is solidly in the 'I'll give it a shot' range.

If anyone has personal experience with this setup I am quite interested to hear about it. There is another similar maker, deep concealment if I think, to which the same applies.

Also if you use some other outside the box type carry setup I would be interested in hearing about it.

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