Showing posts with label Camping Survival. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Camping Survival. Show all posts

Sunday, October 26, 2014

RE: Bayou Rennaissance Man: How to Prepare Under These Conditions

Bayou Reconnaissance Man wrote an interesting post How To Prepare Under These Conditions.

The basic highlights of the question:
I'm stuck with an unemployed partner and teenage kids who can't earn their own living.  We haven't been able to afford reserve supplies for an emergency, yet it's clear that even harder times are on the way.  I want to build up reserves for my family to help cope with them, so I'm selling a bunch of our stuff at garage sales and through Craigslist.  By mid-November I hope to have $2,000 to spend.  What's the best way for me to use that money?

(Peter's notes) A bit of background:  she lives with her husband and two kids, a boy of 15 and a girl of 17, in a small suburban home in a Missouri city.  The local crime situation wasn't bad until recently, but it's getting worse as economic hard times bite deeper.  The family owns one older car free and clear - they sold a second, newer vehicle when they couldn't afford the monthly payments.  The mortgage on their home runs about $650 per month, which isn't too bad if both of them are earning, but for the past year her husband hasn't been able to find work.  Her income isn't enough to cover all the bills.

Peter added his thoughts in a subsequent post. It is worth reading both of these posts before continuing.

Ryan here: 

We need to look at the issue of the family income and housing situation separately from the question of how they could potentially prepare.

Due to a limited amount of information I have to make some assumptions which will be based on general trends and may or may not be accurate for this particular person.

One particular assumption based on the tone of the whole conversation is that we are talking about a fairly small ($$$) wise gap between their current situation and making it. This assumption is largely because folks tend to buy homes slightly proportionately and we aren't talking about a $2,500 mortgage here, we are talking $650. Of course any income gap over basic expenses is an issue but this problem is more manageable than a much larger one.

The income/ budget/ housing situation can be broken into 4 main areas: income, income stimulus via selling stuff, overall budget and housing.

Income: First and foremost this family has an income problem. Dude (dad or male partner/ whatever) needs a job time now. Unless there is some information I'm not tracking, like he is paralyzed, has terminal cancer, etc, Dude needs to be a man and start providing for his family right blankety blanking now. End of story.

Since he has been unemployed for a year I assume things are not going well finding a job in his previous field in their area. Maybe Dude needs to seek lower prestige/ compensation work in his chosen field. A legitimate mechanic becoming the oil change guy at Quicky Lube or a journeyman carpenter fixing decks and building sheds won't feel great or pay as well but we aren't trying to get rich, we are trying to keep a roof over the families heads and food on the table. The advantage of this COA is that if he gets a foot in the door and proves to be a decent worker when a better job (that he is qualified for) opens up he should be a lock. A potential additional option for Dude exists if his skill sets lend themselves to odd job type work and he has the gear to do it on his own.

 Another option is to get a very low skill anyone can do it type job. Dude could be a temp worker at UPS and sort packages, mow lawns, dig ditches, sweep whatever. This is not the forever plan. The goal is to keep things going till he can get back into a better job.

Honestly Dude needs to get the first job he can find. I really don't care if it is swing shift mop boy at Show World. He needs a check time now. I'm not 100% sure he is in a funk but it would fit with the long term unemployment. Once he gets back to doing something, anything, hopefully he can get back into something better.

One could say you can put effort into job searching and be picky in relation to your options. If the family was making it on Momma's income then he has time to be picky and look for a job at his leisure. If they had a 50k safety net that would replace his income for a year I'd say he can be picky and have some lazy mornings or whatever. In this families situation I would say job searching is his job right now so he should do it from 8-4 every day. Given the inability to wait he has to take any job he can do.

Ditto for Dude potentially going to a different location from the family for awhile. Maybe dude needs to work someplace else for awhile to make the family budget work. Depending on his skill set(s) some parts of the country, specifically south Texas, the Gulf Coast and North Dakota are booming. Many of these jobs have employees work long days for a stretch then have more time off. Several weeks on and a couple off is not uncommon. This would work well for him to be able to stay busy (and not bored/ lonely) wherever employment is then spend some time at home.

Again I do not know the whole scenario and maybe there is a valid reason for this long term unemployment and not getting any sort of job but were I the spouse (of either gender) when the family is in this situation a serious conversation would have happened awhile back. This person needs a self esteem boost and a loving but firm push out of apathy in the right direction.

As to the kids. Personally as a father (of little ones) I am disinclined to tell school aged teens they have to get jobs to help the rents fill an income gap, doubly so when a parent is not working. However letting them know that we will meet their needs for shelter, clothing and good it might not be exactly as well as we (and they) would like.

(Slipping into the budget part because it makes sense to finish this small part here. I wouldn't ask them to put their part time earnings toward my mortgage problem. However they would be nicely informed, in as soon as possible, that their basic needs would still be met by us but any desire for fashionable clothes, cell phones, spare cash to go to the malt shop, etc all were regrettably going to be unfunded by the family budget. If they want these things in the near future they would need to earn the money to pay for them.)

Income stimulus via selling stuff: In his response Peter hit on this a fair amount. Admittedly part of the original question mentioned her selling some stuff to free up cash for preps so that is a big factor I imagine.

I do not find selling stuff to help with the economic situation to be a meaningful option unless they have some big ticket items like a 10k Harley in the garage, gun/ stamp/ coin collection sitting around it's not going to do much to close this gap.

As to selling stuff for preps. Selling unused items to buy preps is a fine idea.

Overall Budget: This has  probably been done already but it is worth relooking the budget. Things that used to fit might need to be cut out for awhile. The short term prioritization of food, energy, mortgage, insurance, bills is probably a good way to look at it.

Wifey brought up an excellent point. Since Dude isn't working he could look at it as his job to save as much money as possible. Cutting coupons, making bread from scratch, making lunches for people to take to work/ school instead of eating there, etc.

Housing: Peters comment about relocation are valid. If they want to stay in the area and want to try and make it work that is one thing but it doesn't seem like they really do. Additionally the potential implications of being come after for the balance of the loan are worth looking at though if the family is in effect judgement proof (no significant assets, big retirement accounts, etc) it is less of a concern than if they had 100k in an IRA and another property.

The amount of equity in the home is a big consideration here. If they have 50k in equity in the house  I'd say fight like hell to hold onto it at least long enough to sell and get that money out. On the other hand if they are underwater or have a few grand in equity that would be eaten by various home selling costs it's probably not worth the emotional struggle to prolong the matter.

The cost of other housing in the area (if they choose to stay there) is a consideration too. While home ownership has costs if the complete mortgage including taxes, etc is $650 and an apartment is $650 moving to one won't really save money.

Overall (again I do not know their income level, etc) it does not seem these folks bought an unreasonable home. It's not like they have a $1,400 a month mortgage and a $2,400 take home or something. These folks do not seem to have a house problem, they have an income problem.

Onto the prep discussion:

Really conflicted about this as I am pretty into preparedness and all that stuff. That being said I honestly do not think this family needs to be worried about making preparations for some SHTF or economic collapse scenario. It is my belief that they are currently in a pretty nasty situation that if handled wrong could potentially leave them 'outdoors' and that this gal, and by extension her spouse, need to focus their energy( emotional as well as physical), time and resources towards figuring out the situation they are currently in. All the way from the short term of next months bills, the mid term goal of them getting the income up enough to stay current on essential bills including the mortgage and the long term goal of replacing some or most of their income so they can get some breathing room, have some financial stability and get this stress out of their lives.

Also if they are intense and fix this problem in 3-6 months and are back to normal in a year think of the energy, intensity and resources they would be able to throw at preparedness,

Put it like this: Lets say there is a bear out in the woods near your home being a jerk and eating people but there is an angry wolf in the kitchen. Yes the bear is bigger and more dangerous but THE WOLF IS IN YOUR KITCHEN. The bear *might* be a threat someday but THE WOLF IS A THREAT RIGHT NOW!!! Also if the wolf kills them today it doesn't matter what great plans they have for the bear whenever it maybe shows up.

I cannot in good conscience recommend putting any meaningful amounts of money (if a few batteries, cans of food or a box of ammo for the family gun makes you feel better than by all means) into preparedness until the family is:
A) Current on basic bills. I do not care about a visa card but do care about the mortgage, water, sewer, electric, insurance and the like.
B) Making enough money to stay current with basic bills and life needs, even if at a new lower standard and.
C) They have $1,000 saved for Dave Ramsey's baby step 1

However since it is part of the discussion. 2k rough breakdown:
Food- $600 to start. Split between easy to eat stuff like canned goods, PB&J, etc and rice n beans.
Water filter- $150. Basic Berkey setup like a Go Berkey Kit. Or if handy you can do the bucket and black filter element  route. Total $750.
Alternate cooking source- $80. I would go with a basic 2 burner Coleman camping stove and several gallons of fuel. Purchased used these can often be had under $50. That leaves thirty bucks for fuel. Total $830.
Lighting- $90. A couple good candle lanterns and a bunch of candles. Say that runs $60. Spend $30 on batteries for whatever flashlights are already in the house. Total $820.
Medical- $80. We could square this a lot of says. Lets say they spend about $30 on some sort of decent basic first aid kit (or find a knowledgeable friend to help them assemble one) and the rest on OTC drugs and various disposables: band aids, Tylenol, benadryl, 3x5 gauze, etc. Total $1,000.

Defense- $600. There are a lot of ways to go here. I laid some out in my Basic Guns series. Peters recommendation for a good basic pump shotgun like a Maverick 88 or Mossberg 500 is sound. Personally I would try to get a handgun. That is a whole nother ball of wax. I like revolvers but if you don't care about common calibers a Makarov or whatever commie nation clone in 9x18 can be had for under $200 USD and ammo is dirt cheap. If you want to stick to wheel guns and are willing to shop a serviceable (I would ask to test fire) Taurus or Rossi .38 can be had in the same price range. Toss in some ammo in 9x18 or .38 special [Incidentally Lucky Gunner has a case of CCI Blaser .38 special ammo for $329/1k] and call it $250.

Used pump shotgun such as a Maverick 88 or Mossberg 500 in 12 or 20 gauge. Factor in about $200 for the gun, $70ish for a case of bird shot to get everyone familiarized, some buckshot at least 100 rounds though 250 rounds of buckshot would be even better, a  few slugs and that closes out defense.
 Total $1,600

Additional Fuel- $225. Fill up whatever gas cans they have, ditto the BBQ grill. Maybe get an extra 5 gallon gas can and fill it up or extra fuel for the Coleman stove. If there are decorative storm lanterns in the house get some fuel for those. Whatever is left after that goes to batteries for flashlights, the ambiguous AM/FM boom box, etc. Total 1,825.

Hardware This and That- $100. A roll of clear plastic to temporarily replace a broken window, a tarp, some duct tape, a but of rope, etc. Logically fill some shortages in existing tools and stuff. Total $1925.

Comfort Items- $75 (Remaining Balance). During hard times it is nice to have some comfort items. Mom likes tea or coffee so get some. Dude likes salted pretzels so get a few bags. Kid #1 likes gum so get some. Kit #2 likes chocolate so get a couple big bags of M&M's.

Total 2k. (Edited to include: Think I messed up the math on this by a C note. It's too late and I'm too tired to go back through it. If that is the case pinch a few bucks from each category to get it back to 2k.

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




Saturday, October 25, 2014

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Libertors, Emergency Funds and Random Thoughts

I finished the new Jim Rawles book Liberators: A Novel of the Coming Global Collapse . It was excellent. Started working on the review and should have it done in the next couple days.

TEOTWAWKI Blog wrote an excellent post on Emergency Funds. This utterly non sexy part of preparedness is equally important and ignored in survivalism. The honest truth is you are going to need $500 to pay for a car repair or an unexpected doctor visit or cover a short paycheck than you will need a case of Tula 7.62x39 hp ammo (on sale for $229!) for the family AK or fish antibiotics.

You, yes you, seriously need an emergency fund. I do not care what sort of preps you have put back you need cash. Buckets full of rice will not put a new transmission in the family hauler a hundred and fifty miles from home.

As Alexander Wolfe noted it is prudent for some of this money should be in physical cash and readily available. It doesn't take much for the credit card system to fall apart in a disaster as there are a lot of potential points of failure. How much physical cash should you have on hand? I think for most people a months cash expenses (typically food, fuel, incidentals) is a pretty decent starting point.

It was not an accident that I picked a months cash expenses over a $$$ amount. The reason is dollar amounts do not factor in your situation. Jamie of My Adventures in Self Reliance is single and lives disability [Due to a medical issue, not the point of this post. Only mentioned it because it speaks to her income and applies to this situation]. $500 would last her a whole lot longer than Justin C's family of 8.

As of late I have started putting a little bit of money into different kits. $40 in various small bills will help in a lot of scenarios. I keep a fair bit of cash in my wallet shooting for around $200 and using $100 as 'zero' but maybe somehow I could end up with my bag but not wallet.

The idea of an S&W Shield is popping into my head again. Maybe next month.

Anyway I've got to go read some stories. Should have the Liberators review out for you tomorrow.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Ammo Delivery Day!!!

Today a couple boxes showed up at my door. The first was 200 rounds of Remington Premier Gold Match 168 Grain plus a bit of overage to zero a scope and the second was a case of 7.62x39 Wolf.

The Wolf was sort of an impulse purchase based on the ban on some Russian AK's. It honestly shorted the prep fund which means some other projects will slide to the right but I'm not sad to have my ammo situation a bit better off. In 2 months things will be moving fine and I'll still have the ammo.

It might seem like I've gone into overdrive on ammo lately. In part I am making up for a tendency to not get something squared away before buying the next cool new gun over the years. Also my biggest take away from Firearamagedon was the need to have some ammo for training, test fires, zeroing new optics, etc that is separate from my operational stash. Obviously this meant buying ammo.

Furthermore I have tentatively penciled in some sort of a gun related hysteria for the general period of the 2016 election cycle. It makes sense to purchase a bit more ammo now then go harder into food or the titan ready water barrel system I really want a bit later.

Remember smart people buy when the prices are low then hold or sell when they go up. Suckers miss the low points and only buy when prices are way up.

Have you been taking advantage of the good prices on weapons, mags and (excluding .22lr) ammo?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Stormy All Over

The weather here in Central Louisiana has been crazy. This morning it poured down rain, calmed down for a bit but was still a cool mid 70's and dark. This afternoon it dumped down rain again. I suspect we've had a few inches of rain today. When it rains like this everything floods down here. The general lack of meaningful terrain combined with the clay soil makes for water pooling up all over the place in fields, slightly low points in roads and the like.

As to the world it is all pretty much going to hell in a hand basket.

Pretty much the entire Arab world is a mess. Specifically Syria and Iraq have significant issues as of late. I have been meaning to talk about them in detail but that is for another day.

The Israelis invaded Gaza early this morning their time. This most current bout of that old fight seems to have started with 3 Israeli teenagers getting killed which lead to various retaliatory measures which were answered with rocket attacks. That led to the Israeli ground invasion.

Oh yeah and somebody, probably Russia backed paramilitary and or Spetznaz rebels, shot down a commercial airliner over Eastern Ukraine. It was a Malaysian flight (talk about bad luck after the Lost plane crash) that seems to have been predominantly full of Dutch people. For one this goes to show  the chaos of that situation. For two this sort of incident can draw the public eye and lead to other nations getting involved. Reference the Lusitania.

Our friend Harry talks about all this stuff as well as how our economy as well as our Southern Border are entirely screwed

Some days are certainly worse than others but this one does not seem good.

Here at TSLRF we recommend investing in canned food and shotguns. For those who already own a smooth bore or two put your money into shotgun shells.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Pre Power Outage Test, Drill and Checklist Sorely Needed

We get power outages down here when it rains heavily, especially for a few days in a row. Usually it is an hour or two. It has been raining real hard and flooding south of here so my threat meter was pegged a bit higher. If power dropped it could be widespread and maybe even last awhile. 

The weather down here has been nuts for the last few days. It's like a monsoon or something. Tons of rain and thunder/ lightning all over the place. We had a couple blips in the power. It seemed prudent to take some steps. Here is what I did. Not saying this was really thought out or perfect by any means, it is just what I decided to do between aproximately noon and two.

-Started the dryer to finish the load that had been sitting in the washer from this morning. (Incidentally I was trying to get ahead on chores so I'd already washed clothes and ran the dishwasher.)

-Went to the store for a couple bags of ice. One to toss in the freezer and another for the cooler.

Incidentally and almost surely due to the power brown out's the small stores card reading machine was down. Between the ice and some snacks it was $9 something. The guy was apologetic and I paid cash. That left $143 in my pocket. I considered hitting the ATM but didn't bother. We keep cash at home so it wasn't a concern. If a hurricane was coming I'd grab more cash, mostly so we could spot friends or co workers some if needed. Left the store.

-Plugged in the power supply.

-Plugged in Goal 0 battery powered lantern I'm testing.

(More on both of these later after I do some more testing)

-Nuked some leftovers for lunch.

-Filled up the bathtub water bladder. These things are pretty cool and can really work for semi predictable events like hurricanes or power outage. I really need to save a bit of coin then swing by Titan Ready Water to get a couple of 55 gallon barrels or even better one of their hydrant storage systems to boost out water storage to more acceptable levels.

-Took a shower.

After that I was pretty much done with everything I wanted to do. The storms are supposed to continue through early tomorrow. I don't really care much as I'm prepared for what is expected.

Again note that I'm not saying these actions were perfect. I had a realization that we might lose power then acted.In fact I'm open to your thoughts on what I could do better. My realization is that it would be awful handy to figure out what, in order of priority I would want to accomplish then make a list so it is easy.

Do you have a checklist for power outages? Pre outage and post or just one of them? If you don't mind sharing I would be quite interested in what is on your list. By all means answer in the comments section.

Thoughts?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Fighting Load Contest Official Results

To recap here is what the excellent prizes are:

1st: Blackhawk 3 day Assault Pack ($90) AND a $50 gift certificate from LuckyGunner.com ($50 value) plus 2 copies of The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
2nd: HERC stove from Titan Ready Water ($169 value) plus The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
Note: Prizes 1 and 2 are really closely matched. As such the overall winner can pick the Lucky Gunner stuff OR the HERC. 2nd place gets what is left. 2 books will go to #1 and 1 book to #2.
3rd Place: 3 Sport Berkey Water Bottles donated by LPC Survival ($69 value)
4th Place:  A Lifestraw donated by Camping Survival ($20 value)
5th Place: A pair of Gyver Gear survival tin's
6th Place: The Western Front (hardcopy) or 3x e books by Archer Garrett.

 The winners are:

Mike P-18
Kang-16
Carry Alert-15
Prairie Patriot-10
Meister-9
Jake-8
Max Velocity-6

If you won please contact me using the email your post was submitted from  and include your mailing address within 7 days. Note that #1 gets to pick between the Lucky Gunner stuff or the HERC so please specify. I realized I still need to figure out the wild card so I'll do that ASAP. 



Saturday, June 7, 2014

Fighting Load Contest Entry #21- Kang

Today I am proud to bring Entry #21 of our Fighting Load Contest by Kang

We'll be talking chest rigs and battle belts as well as guns and get home bags/ assault packs. Get yours together to win some great prizes including:
1st: Blackhawk 3 day Assault Pack ($90) AND a $50 gift certificate from LuckyGunner.com ($50 value) plus 2 copies of The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
2nd: HERC stove from Titan Ready Water ($169 value) plus The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
Note: Prizes 1 and 2 are really closely matched. As such the overall winner can pick the Lucky Gunner stuff OR the HERC. 2nd place gets what is left. 2 books will go to #1 and 1 book to #2.
3rd Place: 3 Sport Berkey Water Bottles donated by LPC Survival ($69 value)
4th Place:  A Lifestraw donated by Camping Survival ($20 value)
5th Place: A pair of Gyver Gear survival tin's
6th Place: The Western Front (hardcopy) or 3x e books by Archer Garrett.
Wildcard: This one goes to whoever I want to give it to for whatever reason I feel like. It will be a grab bag donated by yours truly. The exact makeup is TBD depending on what I have lying around  and may include books, gear, medical stuff or even a couple silver dimes. ($30+  value).
For a good example of a post reference my EDC Contest entry. Those should give you a good idea what type of thing I'm looking for. I will probably do a full fighting load post some time before the contest is over.


The contest is closed and this is the last entry that will be posted. Voting will start early next week. Voting will run for about a week and will decide the winner's who get the prizes. Onto the Entry.....


My Fighting Load  -- Kang














This is my complete fighting load, including chest rig, plate carrier, battle belt, rifle, and 'assault pack'. The rifle is a bushmaster/rock river AR mutt with an eotech 512 (because AAs are easier to find), a magpul STR stock for carrying replacement batteries, light, BUIs, single/double point sling and ready mag system that lets me carry 2 mags on board for extremely rapid reloads (excuse the pink tape...). To Be Done: the rifle is lined up to be painted once temperatures permit.

Chest Rig



  
   
The chest rig is an HSP D3 chest rig, it carries 4 rifle magazines, 2 pistol magazines, multitool, admin stuff (notepad, pencils, etc) and an Israeli bandage.  To be done: I need to purchase another tourniquet to go in/on my chest rig.

Battle Belt




The battle belt is an HSGI sure grip padded belt with riggers belt.  It carries 2 Esstac single mag pouches for quick reloads and 1 Esstac pistol pouch.  A dump pouch, tear away first aid pouch (with israeli bandages, tourniquet, gloves and other stuff), a 1 liter water bottle pouch that holds my 1st line survival gear (steel water bottle, cordage, firestarter, compass, water purification, folding knife, gun lube, etc) and has a giant Shadowtech bushcraft blade whose name I don't recall (I can't say enough good things about Shadowtech's blades, check them out).  Finally a G-code holster carries a Springfield XDM9 as my backup firearm. To Be Done: I need to replenish my stock of Datrex ration bars after I introduced them to my daughters.

Plate Carrier

       The plate carrier is a Mayflower from Velocity Systems.  I have ceramic front and rear plates, and steel side plates.  The D3 chest rig snaps directly onto the plate carrier, and additionally, I have two 3 magazine pouches in the side plate pockets (for a total of 14 AR magazines, if required and 4 pistol magazines), and a 'flat' style Source 3 liter hydration carrier attached to the rear (I've found it's really hard to carry packs with one of the standard cylinder style hydration pouches on your back).

Assault Pack

 


      Last is the 'assault pack', which is a Tactical Tailor bag whose name escapes me.  It carries a standard camelback 3 liter hydration bladder (total of 7 liters of water immediately available), enough ammo for 10 magazine reloads in bandoliers / stripper clips, a Striplula for rapid reloading, poncho, cordage, headlamp, spare batteries, food, and firearms cleaning kit. To Be Done: more food, I think. See Datrex bars above... Also, I just realized I carry no additional 9mm ammo.
The best aspect of the D3 chest rig is how modular it is.  I can carry just the rig on its own, strapped to the plate carrier, as in the above pictures, or I can even attach it directly to the assault pack.  I can wear just the chest rig under a jacket or even a sweater if I'm trying to be low profile.


 The assault pack even fits quite nicely on the back of my 3rd line gear pack.

Ryan here: As always thanks for the entry. I should note Kang used this setup at Max Velocity's 5 Day Combat Rifle and Contact Drill /Patrolling class and it worked well for him. As to the setup I like it a lot. Modular and good for a variety of situations. General notes:
1) Do not see a way to purify more water. He could have a little bottle of the purification pills someplace and have overlooked mentioning it. If not I'd add some and or a small filter like a Sawyer Mini.
2) The assault pack has plenty of ammo which is great but I would look at the clothing situation. At a minimum a set of spare socks would be prudent.
3) You mentioned an IFAK type kit but what about more common injuries? Some band aid's, asprin, moleskin, etc is a good idea.
4) You hit on it (think it got eaten) but incorporating some food into your fighting kit and more into the assault pack is a good idea.

With those modest additions (that can probably be found lying around in 20 min at home) this is an excellent setup.

Thoughts?

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Fighting Load Contest Post #20 Chris's Go To War Rig

Today I am proud to bring Entry #20 of our Fighting Load Contest by Chris formerly of AK.

We'll be talking chest rigs and battle belts as well as guns and get home bags/ assault packs. Get yours together to win some great prizes including:
1st: Blackhawk 3 day Assault Pack ($90) AND a $50 gift certificate from LuckyGunner.com ($50 value) plus 2 copies of The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
2nd: HERC stove from Titan Ready Water ($169 value) plus The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
Note: Prizes 1 and 2 are really closely matched. As such the overall winner can pick the Lucky Gunner stuff OR the HERC. 2nd place gets what is left. 2 books will go to #1 and 1 book to #2.
3rd Place: 3 Sport Berkey Water Bottles donated by LPC Survival ($69 value)
4th Place:  A Lifestraw donated by Camping Survival ($20 value)
5th Place: A pair of Gyver Gear survival tin's
6th Place: The Western Front (hardcopy) or 3x e books by Archer Garrett.
Wildcard: This one goes to whoever I want to give it to for whatever reason I feel like. It will be a grab bag donated by yours truly. The exact makeup is TBD depending on what I have lying around  and may include books, gear, medical stuff or even a couple silver dimes. ($30+  value).
For a good example of a post reference my EDC Contest entry. Those should give you a good idea what type of thing I'm looking for. I will probably do a full fighting load post some time before the contest is over.


The contest is closed but we still have a few more posts to show due to my technological issues and some field time. Voting will start after the last entry is shown on the blog. Voting will run for about a week and will decide the winner's who get the prizes. Onto the Entry.....

 Awhile back Chris sent in a post on his budget travel rig. Now we get to look at his primary setup.  

Ryan,

The first submission I put in was my "on the road" low quality comblock kit that lives in the trunk as I was travelling.  Now that I'm home I figured I'd share my primary rig.  I'm not trying to game the system -- just figured I'd get some feedback and maybe give some ideas.

I have a flexible setup which revolves around a few key components:
- 3A Vest
- DBT "Victory Vest" slick plate carrier
- Tactical Tailor Mini Mav Chest Rack
- Eagle War Belt
- FLC
- LAPG "Zombie Hunter" bag

The idea is that you layer with whatever is needed so you can adjust your profile as needed.  Some examples:
- "Low Profile:"  Slick plate carrier or soft armor under sweatshirt or soft armor with LAPG Zombie Hunter bag close to hand, and normal CCW/duty belt.
- "Medium Profile:"  Slick plate carrier or soft armor with Tac Tailor MiniMav, plus LAPG zombie hunter bag close to hand.  I call this medium profile because even under a sweatshirt, a chest rack + PC is going to show.
- "High Profile" Vehicle Ops:  Slick PC with FLC
- "High Profile" Dismounted Ops:  Slick PC with War Belt and Chest Rack.  Option to ditch the PC and/or chest rack depending on METT-TC.

I'll walk through the contents of each of the key components next.

3A VEST
- Sourced from BulletProof Me.  Nothing fancy.  Just a basic NIJ 3A soft vest.  Pairs well with the mini mav or LAPG bag for a lower profile.

PLATE CARRIER
- Diamond Back Tactical Victory Vest.  DBT went out of business and sold off their gear at pennies on the dollar.  It is all made in the US, GI spec stuff.  I picked up a bunch of PCs (some slick, some with molle) for about $20 each.
- 3A inserts:  I repurposed NIJ inserts for the soft frag armor.  The vest is intended to take special SPEAR or BALCS cut armor but the NIJ stuff fits fine; I just get a little less coverage.
- Plates:  I run medium SAPIs and have steel as a spare/training set.  My wife runs 8x10 level IV ceramics with steel as a spare/training set.

MINI MAV
We each have similar mini-mav chest racks.  These are pretty low profile and can fit under a bulky sweatshirt as well.  The idea here is that I could run with nothing but my standard CCW stuff and a mini-mav and be able to fight.  From left to right as pictured:
-  Tactical Tailor small radio pouch with FRS/GMRS
- TT tourniquet pouch with CAT
- Velcro for ID/morale patch on triple shingle (20 rders)
- Single mag pouch:  Usually used for a Surefire G2X but will also fit a pistol mag or multitool

Future thoughts:  I am considering swapping out the 20-rd shingle for a full-size 30-rd shingle and putting an admin pouch on the front.  The admin pouch would let me store key documents as well as give one more flashlight/knife sized pouch at the cost of increased bulk in the front.  Right now the CAT is "squishy" so it isn't bad to get prone.


WAR BELT
This is a medium USMC surplus molle belt supported by a Tactical Tailor "fight light" harness which is super comfy, even under armor.  I have a total of 5xM4 mags and 1xpistol mag on here.  Combined with the minimav that's 8xM4 mags on board.  Otherwise I envision this as a dismounted patrol load suitable for a day or night out.  From left to right, as pictured:
- Tactical Tailor "kangaroo" magnapouch.  Holds an M4 mag and a pistol mag on top in "quick draw" fashion.  These are expensive so I just opted for one on the centerline.  I shoot pistols right handed and rifles left handed so there's no ideal place for the fast reload (my rifle reloads should be on the right, and pistol mags on the left) so I figured centerline with a bias towards the fast pistol reload was a compromise.
- Double M4 pouch (USGI surplus)
- USMC surplus canteen pouch.  Upgraded with nice Nalgene brand 1qt canteen.  Side pockets hold water purification tablets and matches.
- 100 round SAW pouch at small of back.  Currently empty.  I can stuff it with mission-specific gear.  As a default some snacks and maybe spare socks go in there.  As it is on the small of my back I don't like to put hard metal things there but you can fit 3xM4 mags easily.  My NVD would fit too.
- Surplus IFAK pouch.  Set up as a combined IFAK/patrol pouch.  The front subdivider has a compact TK4 tourniquet (not as good as the CAT but compact), an H&H Israeli-style compression bandage, triangular bandage, and an NPA.  All the stuff I'd want quick access to.  The large big compartment has a baggie with first aid "boo boo" stuff:
Sterile Gloves, 3xAspirin Doses, Medi-Lyte (electrolytes for dehydration), Diamode/Loperamide (diarrhea medication), Bug Sting Wipe, Antiseptic Pads, Alcohol Prep Pads, Two 2" gauze pads, 3" wide elastic wrap, 2x4" moleskin strips, EMT Shears

That won't sustain you long but should be good for a day or two until you can get to a bigger medic supply stash.

The IFAK pouch also has some misc "patrol" stuff:  Mylar blanket, Single-use poncho (green), 4 oz emergency water pouch, Water purification tabs, Uncle Ben's DEET Bugspray Wipe, SPF30 Sunscreen Wipe, Cyalume Milspec Glowstick, "Foamie" Ear Protection.

- Tactical Tailor MOLLE holster.  This is sized for a Beretta 92.  I do not like this holster in this application.  It rides way too high for an easy draw.  Additionally, our primary household sidearm is the S&W M&P, and TT doesn't make a pouch for that.  My wife just has a cruddy condor pouch on her belt for now until I find/finance a better solution.  There's some good low-ride MOLLE holsters out there but they seem pricey.
- Single grenade pouch riding on TT holster.  Currently I have a $10 NCStar 8x monocular in there.  It seems to work fine.  The location is easy to access.
- Double M4 mag pouch.  For mags, and my NVD will also fit in there.

My wife's rig is identical except her belt is smaller, so she is down two M4 mag pouches.  Her kangaroo pouch rides on top of a single M4 shingle though, so she has a total of 2xM4 mags and 1xpistol mag.  Given that her primary role is close escort for kiddo she doesn't need as much ammo anyways, so a self-protection load is sufficient.  With her mini-mav she's up to 5xM4 mags.

I can easily layer this with the minimav plus an assault pack (for more gear such as a woobie and poncho, or even goretex) or a simple camelbak carrier.

Future thoughts:  I am considering adding two double mag shingles, one on each side of the buckle.  This would either up the mag count by four, or let me replace a double M4 mag pouch with a double pistol mag pouch for a flashlight and multitool without losing AR mags.  Right now between the war belt and minimav I don't have a good way to carry a multitool or other knife.  I'm also a bit worried that if I lost the minimav and was down to just the belt I'd have no light source other than the glow stick.  So ditching a double M4 pouch for some utility pouches seems reasonable, especially if I offset the lost M4 pouch with some shingles.


FLC

The concept of the FLC is vehicle mounted ops which require something more robust than the minimav.  The war belt is just not super comfortable in the car when seated.  The pouches are empty as I currently only have enough gear (other than mags) to keep one set of LBE stocked.  I'd have to transfer the stuff off the mini-mav/war belt onto the FLC.  Total mag carriage is 10xM4 mags and 1xpistol mag.  

The detail photos show the left and right sides of the FLC.  The side on the wearer's left is equipped as follows:
- Double pistol mag pouch, for pistol mag and surefire
- Double M4 mag pouch x 2
- Canteen pouch (identical to battle belt)
- Up on the mesh vest:  Small radio pouch for GMRS, grenade pouch for monocular

The other half of the FLC on the wearer's right has, from centerline out:
- Double M4 mag pouch x 3
- IFAK pouch set up as on war belt
- Up on the mesh vest:  Multitool, CAT, grenade pouch for admin items (will fit a basic flip cell phone)

The FLC is paired with a thigh drop holster.  I have a Serpa drop leg left over from work which also carries a spare pistol mag, so currently use that until funds allow a nice Safariland.

I am considering dropping 2xM4 mag pouches and replacing with a 100 round SAW pouch for more utility storage space for stuff like nomex gloves and a stripped MRE.  That would drop the total M4 mag count to 6.

Finally, I had a bunch of ACU pouches laying around so I got two cheap ACU FLCs from ebay and set them up similarly as backups.  They will be stashed in cars soon, I think, unless I can think of a better cache setup.

NOT PICTURED:  "LAPG Zombie Hunter Bag"

LAPG has some neat bailout bags.  They are super simple but pretty handy.  Contents of mine:
- 3 x M4 mags
- IFAK pouch contents set up as on war belt
- Compartment for handgun (I don't like off-body carry but it is an option)
- Compartment for radio (CB handheld or GMRS) -- normally the CB lives in the car but it could move to the bag if the threat level increased
- Water bottle
- Cheapo "tactical" light
- Ear Pro

The zombie hunter bag can be used to keep a lower profile, or to supplement the FLC/mini-mav in a vehicle-ops mounted role.  If you have to dismount you can grab the bag on the way out for a few more reloads.  They also work great as range bags.


FINAL THOUGHTS

I feel like this gear lets me adjust profiles from low, to medium, to high.  I can be comfortable for dismounted ops or in the car with similar rigs.  Coyote brown is nice as it blends with lots of colors/environments, and it isn't camo pattern (any LBE will draw attention from onlookers; camo LBE doubly so).

Big picture I want to continue to get more gear to round out the FLCs so they are "grab and go" ready all the time, but surefires and leathermans are expensive.  I also need to continue to work towards fixing the pistol situation on the war belts, and ditching the SERPA for my FLC rig.  I also do not have a great way to carry a knife right now other than maybe a multitool.  I have some KABAR adapters for my mini-KBAR but no good place to attach them.

To keep costs low, I used USGI surplus where possible and supplemented with Tactical Tailor as needed, taking advantage of their annual 30% off sale to get the key gear that just couldn't be sourced with cheap surplus.  TT is not too bad if you stick to the smaller utility pouches and their "fight light" line.

Please feel free to weigh in with any questions, spears, or comments.

Cheers,
Chris


Ryan here: As always thanks to Chris for playing. He liked doing the first post so much he did a second one! Thoughts in no particular order.

Why the Mini Mav vs a rig that can hold more mags? Most folks will go lighter on the warbelt and heavier on the chest rig. If the rig held 2-3 more mags you could arguably eliminate the need for the FLC kit (except as a backup). 
On the subject of the Mini Mav I disagree with the 20 rounders and would replace them with 3x standard 30 round magazines post haste. That gives you 30 more rounds on the kit.  A small admin pouch would be a good idea. 

War Belt: Yeah I have that same holster. They are OK but sit pretty high. Personally I keep my mags on the off hand side so all my rifle mags are on the left side. The exception is my second pistol mag as it went where it could fit (the other option was not having it). 

You mentioned not having a place to put a more robust knife. Why not on the War Belt? You could Jerry Rig it so the knife was just below the belt (thus not taking MOLLE space) and held on my a couple of big zip ties or something. 

The bail out bag should have some food in it, probably some clothing too.

Agree with ditching 2 mags from the FLC to create an admin pouch for some food and various stuff. 

I love how your system is modular so it can work for a variety of situations. 

Thoughts?

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Fighting Load Contest #19 by John Dozier

Today I am proud to bring Entry #18 of our Fighting Load Contest by Crankjob.

We'll be talking chest rigs and battle belts as well as guns and get home bags/ assault packs. Get yours together to win some great prizes including:
1st: Blackhawk 3 day Assault Pack ($90) AND a $50 gift certificate from LuckyGunner.com ($50 value) plus 2 copies of The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
2nd: HERC stove from Titan Ready Water ($169 value) plus The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
Note: Prizes 1 and 2 are really closely matched. As such the overall winner can pick the Lucky Gunner stuff OR the HERC. 2nd place gets what is left. 2 books will go to #1 and 1 book to #2.
3rd Place: 3 Sport Berkey Water Bottles donated by LPC Survival ($69 value)
4th Place:  A Lifestraw donated by Camping Survival ($20 value)
5th Place: A pair of Gyver Gear survival tin's
6th Place: The Western Front (hardcopy) or 3x e books by Archer Garrett.
Wildcard: This one goes to whoever I want to give it to for whatever reason I feel like. It will be a grab bag donated by yours truly. The exact makeup is TBD depending on what I have lying around  and may include books, gear, medical stuff or even a couple silver dimes. ($30+  value).
For a good example of a post reference my EDC Contest entry. Those should give you a good idea what type of thing I'm looking for. I will probably do a full fighting load post some time before the contest is over.

The contest is closed and this is the second to last entry I am tracking. If you sent one in and have not seen it please get with me ASAP.  Voting will start later week. It will decide the winner's who get the prizes. Onto the Entry.....

 

 

In the attached image you will see my fighting load. It is a work in progress.
Starting with the weapons: my AR15 is a cmmg lower with a Palmetto State mid-length upper. For optics I have an Aimpoint comp m2 mounted with a LaRue QD mount, and mounted on the left side of the rifle I have a flashlight for illumination. My Coldsteel SRK and Gerber multi-tool I carry on my belt. My glock 17 is mounted on my plate carrier, but I am not sold on it staying there.
The plate carrier is Condor and holds front and back AR500 steel armor. These are heavy but durable and very affordable. Coupled with the hard armor is a level 2 soft armor wrap-around vest.
The chest rig is a Blackhawk low profile model, with 6 rifle mags, 2 pistol mags, and a small IFAK. I plan on adding additional mag pouches, a radio pouch, and improving the IFAK when possible.
This kit is very minimalist, and I am not including information on my clothing or pack. I chose to make this kit very modular, and easier to conceal if necessary. I can conceal both sets of armor under a fleece jacket or softshell easily. I am not sure about the weight, but I would estimate the armor, ammo, and plate carrier/chest rig combined are under 40 lbs easily. And before anyone asks, yes I exercise regularly, including lifting weights and hiking with 30-50 lb packs. I would also recommend running hills and a good diet for anyone looking for PT advice.
I would appreciate any constructive feedback, thank you.
Best regards,
John Dozer

 Ryan here: As always thanks for playing. Let's see. Like the rifle, everything you need and no silly stuff bolted on. Good call not going cheap on the optic. Personally I'd rather run iron's for an extra couple months and get something reliable than buy a $100 red dot that is sure to fail in some way or another. Yeah I am generally not a huge fan of PC mounted handguns though they do have a place. I'd want a small concealment belt type holster somewhere in there to give a low profile option. Also personally I would look at the soft armor and vest more as a this or that than a both option but that is just me. Otherwise not a lot to add.

Thoughts?

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Tom of Camping Survival Talks Water Filtration


Another excellent video from Camping Survival. The approach Tom lays out would be a fine way to go for really nasty (hurricane, Africa in general, etc) water. While one could argue it is a bit 'belt and suspenders' redundant it's important to note this is a multi layered approach that will let you develop an approach that works for different situations.

In my mind it would go something like this depending on your situation. Cloth pre filtering with a shemag or a t shirt is only really necessary if there are a bunch of floaties (pine needles, etc) or the water is muddy or otherwise filled with sediment. Next I would be inclined to go with some sort of water purification tablets for real quick/ light trips. Easy to have a small bottle of them in a daypack in case you happen to need them. They often have an after taste of varying degrees. You can try a few different kinds to see which are the least unpleasant for you. The simplest option is to just deal with the slight after taste. The next option in my mind is to mix your water with something. Those little pre measured gatoraid/ ice tea/ flavor drink packets would be good for the short term and could provide some arguable benefits.

In a more static home disaster type situation bleach would be easy to substitute here.  It is lower cost and at 16 drops of bleach to a gallon the half empty jug o bleach under the sink could purify a whole lot of water. The only downsides of bleach are that it has a shelf life and is (though more in larger quantities used for cleaning) relatively bulky. I think there are powdered chemicals that store better and can be used in it's stead but have not really looked into it. (Need to do that.)

If you just want to taste good old water a filter is an excellent approach.

Personally we have a few options at home for filtration and purificatiion. The smallest are a life straw and a mini sawyer, with a Katadyn Pocket Water Filter as our larger model for a longer term situation or a small base camp setup. We also have a Big Berkey for our home setup. The lifestraww and Sawyers (think we have 2) are designed to be replaced when the filter goes. We keep a spare set of elements for the Katadyn. Those things are super rugged and used by a lot of folks like the Red Cross in Africa. We need to get a spare set of elements for the Berkey. Additionally most of our systems include the ambiguous bottle o tablets.

Do you have a plan to make water safe for drinking and cooking?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Last Call For Fighting Load Contest Entries

 Our Fighting Load Contest is wrapping up fast. Between field time and technical issues it went on longer than planned but now we are closing it out. This is my last call for alibi posts that were sent but have for whatever reason not been published. If you have not seen it on the blog I am not tracking it.

Also given that I was not exactly timely in this it isn't a big deal if you for whatever reason did not previously submit an entry and now want to do so. If you submit an entry between now and Friday at noon I will publish them. So if you wanted to play and didn't get to it here is a chance to do so. Any posts I get will be published rapid fire. Voting will start early next week.

To recap here are the prizes and details.

1st: Blackhawk 3 day Assault Pack ($90) AND a $50 gift certificate from LuckyGunner.com ($50 value) plus 2 copies of The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
2nd: HERC stove from Titan Ready Water ($169 value) plus The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
Note: Prizes 1 and 2 are really closely matched. As such the overall winner can pick the Lucky Gunner stuff OR the HERC. 2nd place gets what is left. 2 books will go to #1 and 1 book to #2.
3rd Place: 3 Sport Berkey Water Bottles donated by LPC Survival ($69 value)
4th Place:  A Lifestraw donated by Camping Survival ($20 value)
5th Place: A pair of Gyver Gear survival tin's
6th Place: The Western Front (hardcopy) or 3x e books by Archer Garrett.

Wildcard: This one goes to whoever I want to give it to for whatever reason I feel like. It will be a grab bag donated by yours truly. The exact makeup is TBD depending on what I have lying around  and may include books, gear, medical stuff or even a couple silver dimes. ($30+  value).

For a good example of a post reference my EDC Contest entry or Max's  Battle Belt discussion. Those should give you a good idea what type of thing I'm looking for. I will probably do a full fighting load post some time.

 Voting will start after the last entry is shown on the blog. Voting will run for about a week and will decide the winner's who get the prizes.

Disclaimer: As far as this contest is concerned I am a totalitarian dictator albeit a benevolent one. I reserve the right to remove, add or change prizes, edit entries, reject entries, scrap the results of voting or otherwise do whatever I want at any time with no advance notice. I will also retain rights to use all entries on the blog or in other way's. While I'm a reasonable guy and will listen to your concerns there is no appeals or arbitration process. Whatever I say goes so if you don't like it then don't play.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Camping Survival Memorial Day Sale

Camping Survival is offering 5% off site wide if you use the code "memorialday".

 They also recently added some new selection to their lantern line The UCO candle lanterns are a pretty cool piece of equipment, far superior to cheaper models, and come in a variety of colors.

They are also stocking bulletproof clip boards. At first I thought that was sort of silly. In the time it's taken to write this my opinion has changed. One of these would be awful handy to keep in the back of an everyday or school bag given the whole active shooter risk these days. Given that they are light, compact and affordable it is a handy option to have.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Maine Prepper Talks Combat and Survival Knives, I talk Knife Fighting and My Preferences




I heard a great quote once on soldier knives "Soldiers buy these $300 super SERE SPECOPS Tier 1 fighting survival knives then they use them to whittle stakes to make a poncho hooch, open MRE's and boxes." This does not mean that we do not need, in rare occasions significant capabilities, but just that we should be a little more realistic about what is a genuine need and what is a want. By all means use quality tools but the difference between a $50 Ka Bar or $80 Ontario RAT and a $300+ Busse, Randall, etc is not likely to be an issue in your survival over any number of ridiculously unlikely situations.

Don't get me wrong I like nice knives. Have always loved them and as I go on in life and finances allow I indulge in them. I own 3 Benchmade's, an Al Mar and a beautiful custom Camp Knife. Have a serious knife crush on the Busse TGLB. Want to get another Benchmade folder and for no real reason an Emerson. However at some point we do have to  look at if we are paying for a functional tool or a cool name (Busse) to make us happy and brag to our buddies or folks on the net about.

Personally I view knives as tools for well cutting things. Specifically I use them for everyday camp and life tasks such as preparing food, cutting small pieces of wood for whatever, 550 cord or rope and the like. Stretch these tasks a bit and you've pretty much hit the 'survival knife' arena. 

As a soldier I carry a rifle that holds 30 rounds and reloads rapidly plus sometimes a pistol with spare mags handy. As a civilian in normal circumstances I carry a handgun of some sort, in abnormal times I would carry a rifle that holds 30 rounds and a pistol that holds 17. In my opinion the whole 'shoot once then let em have it with your tomahawk' mentality stopped being meaningful when relatively large capacity rifles that reload rapidly came into play. Based on these weapons relatively large capacity and speedy reloading it is a lot more likely I will just shoot somebody who is close to me. If that doesn't work and they also fail at shooting me I'd try to bring a handgun into play, then a knife before going to hands. There have been anecdotal cases of people using bayonets or in some cases going hand to hand after that date but the ratio of those circumstances is honestly not very high.

I look at knives to suit my given purpose first with some consideration for defensive capabilities as a distant second. Why do I say this? Well people have been killing each other with pointy objects for a really long time. If we looked at ratios in terms of relatively modern life (say post 1900) I suspect far more people have been killed with their time and place's equivalent of Pakistani gas station folders and Chinese steak knives than super CQB folders and SWAT Survival fixed blade knives.Yes, that speaks more to the readiness of these knives in homes and pockets than their effectiveness vs quality knives (sort of like how more people are killed with .22lr Saturday night specials than say HK or SIG.45's.) but the point is that basically all pointy knives can cut and thus kill people.

Put it like this, if I am holding a shovel nobody is going to kick my ass cuz well I would smack them with the shovel. It doesn't mean a shovel is the best weapon, just that it is a tool that can function as a weapon if needed. Knives are the same way. I carry a folding knife all the time to cut all manner of stuff in everyday life and be there in case of a survival situation. If need be I will repeatedly stab someone in the lower part of the torso or neck with it.

Generally I carry a single blade knife which clips to my pocket and opens with a convenient thumb stud. I do this not because I'll really need to stab somebody with it but because invariably when I need to cut something I'll be holding it with the other hand. This, aside from it weighting a pound or something, is why I do not carry a Buck 110 everyday.  For everyday tasks and of course self defense I need to be able to get to a knife one handed.

Awhile back John Mosby and American Mercenary discussed knife fighting. I am too lazy to go find their posts and link to them but both guys are in my blog roll. I sort of meant to address knife fighting then but never got to it. Anyway to make it as simple as possible do not read or watch cheese 80's videos about dudes fighting with knives in some south east Asian opium den. If you want to spend 5, 10 or 20 years learning Asian knife fighting (Kali, Escrima type stuff) that is totally cool. If you do not want to do that just go all singer sewing machine on the bad guy. Knives you would reasonably carry regularly are not big and heavy enough to slash very effectively. They will cut into skin but will not go through bone or get deep enough to incapacitate somebody quickly. With very rare exceptions you need to get deep into the body to get to the places where a normal sized knife will do sufficient damage to kill someone. Slash somebody and they'll almost surely live. Stab em once and their odds of living are good. Stab them a dozen times then shove your knife in their carotted (sp) artery and twist then it's all she wrote.

The difference between lethality and incapacitation is important here. It is worth touching on the 86 Miami Shoot Out here. Let's say you "defang the snake" slashing the heck out of somebodies limbs as they expose them to attack and it is going well up to the point that they will likely die but that guy with the cut up hands bashes your head on the concrete till you die you well, lose. He might bleed out or die of an infection later but it doesn't help you much.

 This is an interesting point. In a lethal fight it is best to kill the other guy(s) as rapidly as possible. If you screw around hoping to out skill somebody thus avoiding any injuries instead of just killing them and being done with it you risk their friends showing up, slipping on a rock doing something cool you saw in a Van Dam movie or them getting lucky. Honestly this whole strategy reminds me of a guy who took 2 months of boxing classes that wants to hang back and throw jabs to avoid potentially taking a shot while KOing the other guy.

The point of where I am going, pun intended, is that 1) All knives are inherently lethal. Presuming they are sharp and pointy they can stab and kill people. 2) Look to a knife's primary purpose first and self  defense second.

My personal preference for knives is as follows:
1) The point should be roughly in a line with the hilt. In a combat perspective this is for stabbing. For me it is more that when I aim a knife at something to cut it I want the darn point to go where my wrist aims it. Exceptions are for special use knives like butcher knives.
2) Knives should have a grip that you can hold onto, particularly if they are for field or 'fighting' use.Wood and leather are good, G10 is good, textured plastic is good. Smooth materials like ivory or non textured aluminum are probably less good.
3) Folding knives will have a lock of some sort. The exception is for tools like multi tools that have a knife blade almost as an ancillary feature to the pliers, screwdrivers, etc.
4) Fixed blade knives will be have a tang that runs through the handle to the hilt. At a minimum a thin 'rat tail' tang but the ideal situation is a tang that is the width of the handle all the way to the hilt.

The Mora is worth discussing here because they are a useful tool that does not meet my preference. They are a fixed blade with a half to 3/4 handle rat tail type tang. Honestly I consider them a very affordable beefier version of an everyday carry folding knife. They are a great light to medium duty belt knife at a price that allows them to be almost disposable. Presuming normal knife use you will probably never destroy a Mora.

5) For a general use knife 3/8th's to 1/4 is a good width. I think proportion is significant here. My big ole camp knife is 1/4 inch thick but it is over a 9.5 inch blade with a total length of 15 inches. I probably wouldn't want a quarter inch thick knife with a 3 inch blade.

6) For a general use knife I favor lengths between 5 and 7 inches with a half inch or so error on either side for good tools like the Mora or  Ka Bar.

7) For outdoor or tactical use I favor stainless steel or coated carbon steel blades. The ease of cutting and ability to resharpen of  non coated carbon steel knives is great but they are hell to maintain in wet environments.

 Not so long ago I took a Mora to the field for a month. It was great till I had to work for half a day setting up tents in the rain. To the point my carbon steel mora companion got wet and rusted. In general I think folks who do not get to choose when they go to the woods need to be prepared to get wet. I'm looking at getting the same military companion knife in stainless steel.

8) Do not bring a knife to the field you are not willing to use. Going full in with a ka bar will get you a lot more than worrying if a Busse will get scratched. I'm not saying you shouldn't bring an expensive knife to the field just to do so if you will actually use it. If you are so worried about it getting scratched then be honest, call it a safe queen and get another knife to use.

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

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Fighting Load Contest Entry #18 by Crankjob


Today I am proud to bring Entry #18 of our Fighting Load Contest by Crankjob.

We'll be talking chest rigs and battle belts as well as guns and get home bags/ assault packs. Get yours together to win some great prizes including:
1st: Blackhawk 3 day Assault Pack ($90) AND a $50 gift certificate from LuckyGunner.com ($50 value) plus 2 copies of The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
2nd: HERC stove from Titan Ready Water ($169 value) plus The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
Note: Prizes 1 and 2 are really closely matched. As such the overall winner can pick the Lucky Gunner stuff OR the HERC. 2nd place gets what is left. 2 books will go to #1 and 1 book to #2.
3rd Place: 3 Sport Berkey Water Bottles donated by LPC Survival ($69 value)
4th Place:  A Lifestraw donated by Camping Survival ($20 value)
5th Place: A pair of Gyver Gear survival tin's
6th Place: The Western Front (hardcopy) or 3x e books by Archer Garrett.
Wildcard: This one goes to whoever I want to give it to for whatever reason I feel like. It will be a grab bag donated by yours truly. The exact makeup is TBD depending on what I have lying around  and may include books, gear, medical stuff or even a couple silver dimes. ($30+  value).
For a good example of a post reference my EDC Contest entry. Those should give you a good idea what type of thing I'm looking for. I will probably do a full fighting load post some time before the contest is over.


The contest is closed and this is the last entry I am tracking. If you sent one in and have not seen it please get with me ASAP.  Voting will start soon and run for about a week. It will decide the winner's who get the prizes. Onto the Entry.....


Hello Sir,
Here's my entry, also included some pics of the kit being worn, in case that helps.
So what we have here is a kit that is designed to be versatile, kinda cheap, kinda lightweight, legal in most states, and in 3 common calibers: 30-06, 12 gauge, and .357 magnum.

Here's the rundown:
Rifle- a used Savage 110 in 30-06 caliber with a Nikon 3-9x scope w/ flip up lens covers, leather Ching sling, and cheap-o bipod.  I made the cheek rest with closed cell foam, duct tape, and camo-wrap.  I've managed to put a couple sub-MOA groups onto paper with this setup, and it cost less than $400 for the whole shebang.  The 30-06 has alot of bullet drop, but carries enough energy to be dangerous out as far as 900 meters.  A BDC reticle is important to get the most out of this cartridge, and carry a ballistic table/BDC chart for your scope/cartridge combo!

Shotgun- a Mossberg 590 Mariner w/ choate Mark IV stock.  The safety location is kind of annoying now, but I treat it sorta like an AK safety (i keep my thumb wrapped around the pistol grip, and use my index finger or whole hand to flick the safety button forward and back).  There is a Streamlight Microstream AAA flashlight duct-taped to the magazine tube.  It's not especially bright, but it's better than nothing.  I used some closed cell foam as a shock absorber/ spacer and it's been working well for more than 100 rounds.

Sidearm- a Ruger LCR in .357 magnum, with Crimson trace laser grip.  (I also keep an empty pocket holster in my pocket in case I gotta ditch the battle belt).

Ancillary gear:
Water- behind the rifle is a mil-surplus Camelbak with 96 ounces of water

Backpack-  a Kelty, some discontinued model.  Inside I keep extra ammo, a cook pot, home-made MRE of 4,000 calories, along with basic supplies such as lighter, cordage, AAA batteries, wool socks, gloves, fleece hat, headlamp, tarp, extra clothing, sunblock, a whistle, binoculars, laser rangefinder, etc., while leaving room so I can stow the clothes I'm wearing.  it's just a little bit of the basics to keep me going.

Ear pro-  Howard Leight Impact Sport

Battle Belt- A Blackhawk molle belt. From left to right: shotshell pouch w/ buckshot, shotshell pouch w/ slugs, 5.11 6x6 pouch containing IFAK with zip-ties and a good quality glow stick attached externally, Camelbak pouch containing a metal nalgene style bottle, Glock field knife, nylon flap holster and a nylon shell pouch containing speed strips.


What I like: The guns are all California/ Massachusetts/ whatever-dumb-state legal, and use common ammunition. 30-06 and 12 gauge slugs can potentially penetrate many types of cover, body armor, and engine blocks. If needed the rifle and shell-belt can be ditched or handed off to a buddy and I'm still pretty well armed.



The entire rig, with ammo, 1 gal of water, food, clothes, boots, EVERYTHING weighs under 50 lbs, and the weight is spread out evenly. I could conceivably breach into a building with the 12 gauge, set up a fire position for the bolt gun, and still have a CQB weapon. It doesn't interfere with climbing, hiking, or going prone at all, and I can access all the equipment pretty easily.


What I don't like: Good at distance, good up close, not so good from 100-300 meters.
Limited capacity; If I shot all 3 guns dry It would be only 18 rounds, then I need to reload (and they all reload slowly) . The shotgun is slow to deploy from the scabbard, I'd have to draw my little 5-shot sidearm for a surprise close-encounterLimited suppressive-fire capability.
A little bit sloppy with all the straps and buckles, and the shotgun muzzle bumps around when I'm in tight spaces.

So that's my rig as of today, I should say that it takes about 15 minutes to go from my skivvies to full gear.  This gear setup is of course not as kick-ass as having an AR, but I'm sure many readers are in a similar situation, with a couple hunting weapons and looking for ways to integrate them.
Also, I keep all of the elastic shell-holders empty so they don't stretch out, with the shells kept in ziploc bags nearby and all the web gear is in one duffel together.   For the middle-of-night quick access, I have the shotgun locked in a wall-mount and a belt of shells hanging next to it.

Thanks Ryan, and good luck to the other contestants!

- Crankjob



 Ryan here: As always thanks for playing. I have a question and a thought
1) You mentioned legality in anti gun states. That can be a concern for folks who live in or near such areas. It lost me when you mention California AND Massachussets, given that they are well pretty far apart. Do you find yourself traveling in/ through anti gun states frequently?

2) Not entirely sure how I feel about the LCR (actually I am entirely ambivalent about it but I digress) or a comparable J framed type revolver in this role. On one hand the system could certainly support and arguably benefit from a larger hnadgun. On the other hand if an '06 and a shotgun won't solve it the negligible difference between a mid sized and small handgun probably won't. Also the smaller handgun would be handy for being discrete like going into a gas station or something, especially if CCW is not exactly legal in the area.

Edited to include 3) Generally speaking when I see a 2nd long gun as part of a load out it is for a specific purpose on an as needed type basis. Example a sniper would carry his sniper rifle and an M4 for personal protection, though the trend towards semi auto bolt guns on the AR platform is making that unnecessary. A breacher carrying a pistol grip 12 gauge is another example. However as a general rule a 2nd long gun is probably ovverkill for a man portable kit. 

Thoughts?
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