Showing posts with label Chris. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chris. Show all posts

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.

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?

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.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Alternative Energy Levels of Capability, Foundations and Concepts

In our discussions on Honda EU2000 Generators and an excellent Alternative Energy Guest Post by Chris made it apparent to me that a more foundational post is needed.

Alternative Energy is sort of an umbrella term for all electrical power that is not from the conventional power grid IE the lines that run to most homes and businesses. In the most narrow sense generators that run on gas, diesel and propane are 'alternative energy'  though for some inclinations people are more inclined to lean towards 'green' options such as solar, wind and or water power.

People are interested in alternative energy for many diverse reasons. Some people have an application that simply not able to be met with grid power. Maybe they are in a place where grid power is not available or is prohibitively expensive. This is the case for many small home/ cabin/ retreat sites. Also there can be permitting issues that prohibit bringing available grid power to some alternative type (ie not conventionally built or necessarily permitted) structures.

Along these lines temporary applications that require a fair amount of power are often met by generators. This is big for contractors who might need to run power tools to build a shed, gate or structure where power might not be available. 

Other people are interested in alternative energy due to environmental and or 'global warming' and carbon footprint issues. I do not want to get into a discussion on the science (or lack thereof) any more than  I want to get into the politics involved. While I might disagree with a lot of things these folks think I respect that they are taking steps to help the causes that concern them.

Another reason people pursue alternative energy in order to meet their needs and wants during times when normal grid power is interrupted. At home in the PNW ice storms during the winter are a common culprit for power outages. In the Southern coastal regions hurricanes are the primary concern. Ice storms often knock out power for a week or more and hurricanes can go from a week to over a month. The emergency angle is where the majority of our focus is going to be directed.

It is often useful to break concepts down into levels of capability s they exist in my mind so we will do that. It is worth noting that I believe these systems should be acquired sequentially. Having a more robust setup doesn't detract from the benefits of a box o Duracell batteries and a couple kerosene lanterns.

I Dowanna

Concept of Use: Maybe you are not interested in alternative sources of electric power. Maybe you are interested but just haven't got there yet. In any case you are not currently putting resources into alternative energy.

Systems: Spare normal batteries to get you through whatever type event concerns you are essential here. Area lighting is probably going to be done via kerosene lamps/ lanterns. This leaves energy for stuff that really has to be electric such as radios and a few flashlights. If you are reasonable about goals and conservative about items used (# and amount of total use) a hundred bucks worth of Energizer/ Duracell batteries in a shoe box will go a really long way.

Limits: You are relying exclusively on disposable batteries. Works for a short period but once your box o batteries runs out you'll be back in the 1890's.

Cost: Maybe a hundred bucks in batteries. A bit more money to make sure other non electric systems can compensate. 

Absolute Bare Bones

Concept of Use: Getting started in alternative energy. This will be a very small/ light system with modest capabilities. This is a good place to start as it can become the redundant/ travel/ back up system if/ when you develop other systems.

Systems: A small compact solar charger, probably in the 5-7 watt range. This system will be able too rechargeable batteries to power small devices and potentially charge some small devices themselves. Most chargers will do AA and AAA batteries. If you pick carefully it is reasonable to power a radio for communication, some flashlights and maybe some Motorola type radios for inter group communication. You probably want 2-3 sets off batteries per device.

Limits: You are limited to recharging a few batteries and maybe some small devices. Use of all this stuff will have to be pretty limited due to the modest nature of your recharging capabilities.

Cost: Approximately $100 for a charger and $150-200 for batteries. Of course a harbor freight setup will be cheaper than say a Goal 0 setup.

Almost  Getting There 


Concept of Use: A more robust solar setup with some capacity for energy storage. This will allow for a larger amount of use (in the first setup charging time/ capacity off the small panel is a log jam), the capacity to charge some larger devices and storage to get through short overcast periods.

Systems: A 10-15 watt solar panel and a battery cell to store energy. You might want to pick up a few small lights and or individual devices (like a lantern or radio) that could be charged by the battery taking the strain off your rechargeable battery stash.

Limitations: (Edited the name from almost there to getting there after Chris brought up a good point about power use and functionality. While far better than the previous absolute bare bones level there are still significant limitations of total amounts of device use here even when we are just talking small electronics. This level will not let you run a base station type radio for communication all day long, talk to 4 family members all day on motorola's and watch dvd's on a laptop all night in a room lit up by 6 led lanterns or lights.)

Cost: Somewhere between $250 for a harbor freight type setup and closer  $500 for a ready made setup like a Goal 00. As a guideline name brand setups are more expensive and ready made portable setups are also more expensive.

Good:

Concept of Use: A small generator to power a variety of small devices up to fairly large household items such as a TV/ fridge/ freezer/ small AC unit. Typically these generators will run most household items (exceptions being water pumps, large heating/ ac units and other high demand items) but not all at once. Running a couple small lights, charging some stuff and powering a fridge/ freezer is reasonable.

These generators typically come in between 1,000 to 3,000 watts. Looking at the market and how people use them 1800-2200 seems to be the popular 'sweet spot'. This makes a lot of sense. The 1k units are on the verge of being too small for many applications and users will be pretty limited on using multiple items at once. The 3k units are almost too big to merit for a limited concept of use (especially due to lower fuel efficiency)  without being big enough to just run everything. These generators are generally pretty easy on fuel consumption which makes stocking sufficient fuel a reasonable proposition.

Limitations: Cannot run some larger household devices. You are limited in terms of how many smaller items can be used at once.  Obviously you need to store fuel and keep it fresh via preservation and rotation.

Cost: There are many options from $300ish Chinese made no name brands all the way up to the Honda and Yamaha's at about $1,000. The cheaper generators can work fine but a notable percentage do not. Finding horror stories about people having endless problems is not uncommon. There are issues with getting spare parts and maintenance.

The Honda and Yamaha are standard setters for small generators and roughly equivalent though minor differences might make one person choose a Honda and the next guy a Yamaha.

Chris mentioned the Hyundai 2200 watt generator.  I looked at the Hyundai a lot and we had some discussions about it. It is worth noting these generators are not made in Hyundai plants in the US or South Korea but are instead made in China. They are priced between $550 and 600ish. They are 2200 peak and 2k running load but also come in closer to 70 pounds than 50.Fuel consumption is similar to the Hond/Yamaha. They have been described as a middle ground between the cheaper Chinese made generators and the much more expensive Honda and Yamaha. There are however several factors that concerned me. First of the available reviews a notable percentage (10%ish) were very bad. Like 'opened the box and it wouldn't work' type bad. This was compounded by universally poor reviews of the customer service and warranty. Also of the good reviews nobody had used theirs all that much. Folks got them, used it a few times and are happy. This is notably different from the Honda and Yamaha who have a real following with the offshore sailing and RV community who use their generators an an almost daily basis for years.

Better

Concept of Use: A large generator sufficient to power any household devices as well as many items, including larger ones at once. Basically fire up the generator and go back to business as usual.

Systems: Power requirements vary but this range of generators is typically over 5,000 watts though of course the needs of one household may differ widely from another. These generators are widely available in gas, diesel and propane. Often they are hard wired into the house letting you use existing circuits vs running extension cords all over the place.

 Pineslayer brought up propane as having some advantages. I agree it does offer some good stuff but personally if/ when I look at a large generator like this I am inclined to go with diesel. I think that for a few reasons. First of all diesel engines are notoriously reliable.

Second and in my mind most significantly diesel is more divisible and portable for the average end user than propane. Can't exactly walk over to the neighbors with an empty can and say "Hey Brother could you loan me a gallon of propane?" let alone buy large amounts from most anybody except those set up for retail sale. Propane on a large scale (vs BBQ tanks, etc) is set up to be delivered into your tanks. I think the exception here is if you already are deeply vested in propane and have a few big tanks already.

Limitations: These generators burn through fuel. Stashing a few cans will let a small generator, especially an efficient one run for awhile. What would run an EU2000 for a week might run one of these for a day. It's sort of like saying you have 2 months worth of Whiskey, till Ron White comes over then it is a wild weekend's worth.

For all but those willing to store huge amounts of fuel these generators work best for very short term events or as an option in conjunction with a smaller generator and or very robust solar setup to run bigger devices for high demand times. Say you use a small generator to run the freezer, charge batteries and have a few lights then when you need to use a bunch of power tools and some big shop lights fire up the big generator.

Cost: From a few hundred bucks at the low end to many thousands of dollars for the generator. Fuel will need to be stored also and that costs something. I wouldn't go through the hassle and expense of getting a big generator then stock enough fuel to run it for 3 days.

Best 

Concept of use: Honestly this is getting out of the short to mid term emergency range into an alternative energy lifestyle that is handy for today and would let you maintain some capabilities over a long term energy shortage. For the long term you need to get past burning stored fuel to producing your own energy.

Systems: What works best depends on where you are. Usually folks use some combination of solar plus wind and potentially water power. In any case you are probably looking at multiple ways to produce power in conjunction with a robust battery bank.

Limitations: It is cost prohibitive to run a normal American home with all of it's high and or constant energy demands with solar. You need to expect a whole lot less power and make choices within the amount of power you will have.

Cost: From several hundred dollars for a good solar setup and a few batteries to whatever you can afford to spend.

In due time I will go over my Absolute Bare Bones and Almost There systems.

Thoughts?

Sunday, May 18, 2014

SO YOU WANT A BACKUP ELECTRICITY PLAN- Guest Post by Chris


This post is intended to lay out what you need to plan and implement a backup electricity plan.

FUNDAMENTALS

Electricity is measured with three key variables.  I find it easiest to imagine them as a river, and will use that analogy.
AMPS:  The amount of current.  Think of this as the width or volume of the river.
VOLTS:  The force behind the current.  Think of this as the speed of the water in the river.
WATTS:  A unit of measure that combines both of the above using the following formula:  Watts = Amps x Volts.  They are a handy measure for comparing total juice across systems.

Alternating current systems, like the plugs in your house, are typically 110-120 volts.  A typical household circuit (i.e. all the plugs in one room) is 15 amps A/C.  Therefore, a typical household circuit is about 1650 watts.  Some circuits in your home, like the kitchen, may have higher amp limits.

Direct current systems, like those used by solar systems or your electronics, are often 12.6 volts.  Most batteries will measure their capacity in "amp-hours," or the number of hours that you can pull 1 amp out of the battery at 12.6 volts.  A large car battery will have something on the order of 100 aH.  The actual capacity of the battery will vary (generally go down) in cold temperatures, with heavy loads (hold that thought), and a few other factors.  Additionally, it is unwise to pull more than half the amps out of a battery.

It is possible to convert 110 volt AC to 12.6 volt DC and back again.  To go from 110v AC to 12.6v DC you need a device called a converter or a power supply.  Your laptop uses a power supply, for example, to convert the wall plug power into 12.6V DC for your computer.

To go from 12.6v DC to 110v AC, you need an inverter.  Inverters are usually measured in watts.  For example, a small 200 watt inverter intended for use in a cigarette lighter can generate about 1.8 amps of AC power (200 watts / 110 volts).

As an example, 10 amps of 12.6V DC power is 126 watts (remember, W = A*V).  If you convert that to 110v A/C through an inverter, you should get 1.14 amps (126 watts / 110 V = 1.14 A).

Neither of these devices are 100% efficient.  Expect losses due to heat, fans, internal circuitry, wiring, etc on each of them.  So, while the real ratios are 12.6 vs 110 volts, it is fair enough to simply use a factor of 10 or 100 when converting between the two.  So, as a simple rule of thumb, a 2000 watt generator should make 20 A/C amps.  A 2000 watt inverter requires 200 D/C amps to operate.

Finally, A/C current from generators and inverters can either be PURE or MODIFIED sine wave.  Pure is better for things like electronics that need clean electricity.  It also costs more.

DETERMINE YOUR NEEDS

Before going any further you need to determine how much juice you need.  You need to determine three things:
1)  Peak load.  This is the maximum number of amps your devices draw at any one time if you turn everything on.  Additionally, you must consider startup loads.  A lot of motors (such as compressors in A/C units or fridges) triple their power consumption for a few seconds while starting up.  This will be measured in amps (at a given voltage) or watts.
2)  Typical load.  What does the unit draw on a typical basis?  This will be measured in amps (at a given voltage) or watts.
3)  Average daily load (don't worry about this for generators).  This will be measured in amps (at a given voltage) or watts.

The best way to determine your energy consumption for A/C devices is to use a Kill-a-watt meter.  This handy device costs about $20.  Just plug the device into it and you can see the amps or watts drawn; it will also keep track of total watts drawn over time so you can let it run for a few days to determine average daily load.  It may not properly capture peak loads, however, so be careful there.

For D/C devices, you need some sort of in-line amperage meter.  One example is made by PowerWerx (http://www.powerwerx.com/digital-meters/dc-inline-watt-meter-power-analyzer-powerpoles.html).

The manufacturer's notes may also give you some idea of your device.  You can also make some assumptions based on similar devices.  Finally, the Energy Star rating and cost per year estimate gives an idea of the average daily load.


SELECT A GENERATOR

If buying a generator, this is relatively easy.  Most generators will advertise their peak power, as it is the bigger number.  For example, the popular Honda EU2000i can surge to 2000 watts at 120 volts (aka 16.6 AC amps), but it is only rated to run at 1600 watts (aka 13.3 AC amps) for long durations.  The surge can help the generator handle peak loads.

If buying a generator I suggest you pick one of the following four:
- Harbor Freight Storm Cat.  You can get this for about $80 if you get a coupon off ebay.  It generates 800 watts continuous (6.6 amps), which is enough for a window air conditioner, a fridge, or some electronics (not all at once).  It is a two stroke engine so you'll need to mix gas and oil like you do for a chainsaw or weed whacker.  This is a marginal-quality device but it is a great price and for most people will meet emergency or camping needs just fine.  I personally have one.  For the price you could easily put away a spare.
- Honda EU2000 or Yamaha 2000i.  Both are great machines, gold standards for generators--at a commensurate price.
- Hyundai's 2K generator.  Similar to the Honda or Yamaha, but cheaper and with slightly lower quality.  Just like the cars -- do you want a Honda Civic or a Hyundai Elantra?

Some people may be able to get by with a 1000 watt generator.  You will save some money, weight and gas.  Look at your load requirements carefully and remember the difference between peak and continuous rating.


SELECT A SOLAR/BATTERY SYSTEM

Many people want to try solar.  It is important to be realistic about what you can get out of solar.  The math -- which we'll explore shortly -- is cruel.

Let's look at a basic solar system and the components:
- PANELS:  These are measured in watts.  Most panels intended for 12.6V batteries actually put out 18V or so which allows them to charge the batteries.  Every 100 watts of solar panels thus produces about 5.5 amps of 12.6 DC power.  Panels cost about $1 per watt, but the price is higher for smaller panels.
- CHARGE CONTROLLERS:  These are measured in amps, usually 12.6V DC.  You need a controller which can handle the input of your panels.  For example, if you have three 100 watt panels, you need at least a 15A controller.  Controllers can be PWM (cheaper, less efficient, requires thicker gauge wires from the panels) or MPPT (10-20% more efficient, can use thinner wire).  Price for a good controller is about $3/amp (PWM) or $10/amp (MPPT).
- BATTERY:  Your charge controller juices up batteries.  There are many options for batteries but the simplest is AGM.  Battery capacity is measures in "amp hours" and known as "C."  The optimal charging rate for an AGM battery is about C/8.  The optimal discharge rate for an AGM battery is about C/20.  Using our hypothetical example with 15 amps of solar coming in from the panels, we'd be best off with a battery around 120 aH (8*15 amps) in size.  AGM batteries cost around $2/aH.
- INVERTER:  If you want to convert your stored 12.6 volt energy in the battery to A/C so you can plug in your TV or fridge, you will need an inverter.  These are measured in watts, as we've discussed.  The optimal discharge rate for our 120 aH battery is thus 6 amps -- at 12.6 volts DC.  That would correlate to 0.6 amps A/C -- or about 66 watts.  Youch!  That wouldn't run much.  Break out your Kill-A-Watt and see what 0.6 amps will power...  Much like generators, inverters need to be sized for peak loads.

The other complication is that we don't get 24 hours a day of sun.  Thus we need to collect enough during the day to make up for our energy consumption at night.  Most places in the US get about 4.5 hours per day of optimal sun on average.  This can vary up to 6 in the SW or down to 3.5 in the far north.  Thus, our 300W of panels making 15 amps of juice will generate a total of 67.5 aH (15 amps x 4.5 hours) each day.  That is where factor three above (total daily consumption) comes in.

SOLAR EXAMPLE:  RUN A FRIDGE

So, let's examine what would be necessary to run, say, a fridge.  I slapped a Kill-a-Watt on my fridge and saw that it pulls about 200 watts (~2 AC amps) when running, with a surge up to around 400 (~4 AC amps) on startup.  Daily consumption was about 1500 watts (~15 AC amps) because it is not on all the time.

- This means I would need at least a 400W inverter to handle the peak load.  This would suck up to 40 12.6v DC amps at once out of a battery.  Peak loads above 40A are problematic; voltage loss (from resistance in wires) at 12.6v are high as the amps ramp up.  You will need thick wires to run this.  40A is the most that typical automotive fuses will handle for a reason.
- The sustained load would be about 200W, or 20 12.6v DC amps.  This implies that my battery needs to be 400 aH in size (20A*20 optimal discharge factor).  We could likely get away with a smaller battery, but exceeding the C/20 recommendation reduces the efficiency of the battery and thus we'd get fewer amps than the rating out of a smaller unit.
- Daily consumption would be 1500W, or about 150 12.6v DC amps.  That means in the 4.5 hours a day we get good sun, I'd need to collect at least 33 amps every hour to charge up my batteries enough to pull out those 1500 watts over the course of the rest of the day.  If you recall, our optimal charging rate is C/8, so I'd need a battery of at least 264 aH, which shouldn't be a problem based on our discharge requirements which mandate a 400 aH bank.  Additionally, it is bad to pull more than half the amps out of a battery.  So, my battery needs to be at least 300 aH in size (150A per day x 2), again, not a factor based on the discharge requirement above.

We can estimate the cost of such a system:
- Solar Panels sufficient to generage 30 amps:  500 or 600 watts in panels should do this.  ~$550.
- 30A Charge Controller:  $120 (PWM Morningstar) or $355 (MPPT Morningstar).  If you opt for PWM the panels must be close to the controller (around 10 feet).
- 400 aH battery bank:  $800.
- 400W inverter:  <$100
- Misc wires, breakers, fuses, etc:  ~$100-200
- Transfer switch which will flip our system from solar to shore power if the power comes on or the battery gets low:  ~$50
- Low Voltage Disconnect to turn off the inverter if our battery gets low:  ~$50

The total is around $2K, more or less.  This is about the same price as the nice generators but it runs a LOT less stuff.  Your 1600 watt generator gives you 1600 watts every hour.  The 400 aH battery bank gives you about 2500 amps -- all day, with much lower peak and sustained loads.


SOLAR PAYBACK

It takes about 14 years to payback a moderate solar system as described above, based on typical electricity costs.  The good news is that certain residential systems qualify for a 30% rebate in the form of a tax credit.  Additionally, if you pay a surcharge for electricity at peak hours (usually mid-day) you may get back your investment sooner.

CONCLUSION

Solar is attractive as it is silent, renewable, and can save you money in the long run.  The downsides are that it takes a ton of panels to run even modest appliances, the system is not particularly mobile, and it is far more expensive watt-for-watt than a generator and a few cans of gas.  As you can see, it costs $2K to run a fridge -- and that assumes no cloudy days!  Nothing beats dead dinosaurs for compact energy sources.

You will need to decide what meets your needs best.  Personally, I have the harbor freight generator to run a fridge or window A/C plus 250 watts of panels going into a 110 aH battery which gives me enough to run some 12V lights, fans, and electronics indefinitely.  I have interest in upgrading to a Honda or Yamaha as well as a 1-2KW solar system but those are relatively low priorities.

Remember, if you are unclear of the details, you should experiment with a subscale system to learn how to safely make connections, fuse things properly, etc and/or consult a professional.  I shorted a 12 aH battery and generated quite a little fire with melted wiring; I'm glad I learned my mistake with a small battery and limited consequences before messing around with my much larger system!

I now have a safe, quiet solar system that works for me every day, along with a generator for larger loads like the window A/C.  It is a good combination.  We use them for camping now but they would be equally useful in an emergency situation.

I hope this was helpful.  I have researched the topics substantially and hope you can apply this information to your own scenario.

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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