Showing posts with label Jim Rawles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jim Rawles. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Book Review: Liberators by Jim Wesley, Rawles

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

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

So onto the usual format.

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

Begin potential spoilers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Bad:

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

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

The Ugly:

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

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

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

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

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


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

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.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Today and Random Thoughts Theiron

I like:
-Waking up fairly early feeling refreshed on the weekend
-Iced coffee
-The Savage Accutrigger
-Shooters. The Rangemaster and a buddy were playing clay pigeons on the berm at 100m with a pair of very nice .22 rifles.  Rangemaster's .22  had a can and a green lens flashlight mounted above the scope. Dude totally killissomething or another at night. As he worked at different types of ammo he asked to look at the box of .22lr I was shooting out of to look at the velocity or something. I said of course he was welcome to take a look. He then asked if he could have a few rounds to see how it shot in his gun.

[The last time I was at this range a 15ish year old teenager (from overhearing a conversation with his mom who dropped him off there) was shooting some sort of a Marlin .22 like the bullets were made of gold. Given availability these days and that he was too young to have likely stocked up in the old days to him those little suckers were very precious. Either they cost a bunch of money or he spent a ton of time and effort looking for them.

It made me sad for the kid. When I was that age .22lr cost nothing. Centerfire ammo cost money so on quarterly family range trips we usually went out with just a box or two of .38 special but there was always a brick of .22 present we could shoot it with reckless abandon till we got bored and wanted to go home. I was not shooting .22 that day so I didn't bring any but really wished I'd had some .22 ammo some with me. I would give him a handful and told him to have some fun. It'd cost me $3-5 in ammo to make that kids day.

Thankfully by a combination of prudence to have a decent stock beforehand and a few finds after firearmagedon I can afford to be a bit charitable. Anyway today I tossed an extra inflation adjusted 300ish round brick into my range bag before going out. Had I seen that kid or a Dad an Son short on ammo I would have given them some ammo.]

I said sure and told him to take a handful, genuinely meaning it. He took 5 rounds.

Later on we got to talking. As we discussed my effort to zero the .308 I confessed forgetting to look up the drop table for my round before going to the range. He came back in a minute with a smart phone and a convenient app to look it up for me. He also gave me some excellent pointers, albeit with occasional tangents and rants, about marksmenship. Anyway he was an interesting fellow. Anybody who comes to the range with a silenced SIG 1911 and a tricked out Savage .22 with a silencer and a light above the scope is worth having a few conversations with.

While that particular shooting situation was frustrating I had a nice talk with a good guy. Suppose there are worse ways to spend a Sunday afternoon.

-Jim Rawles's new book Liberators

-The news that DC's exclusively 'only one' carry policy was over struck. Unsure of what it means exactly yet but it seems good for team freedom and could have big implications.
-My gun belt and holster. This setup is working which makes me happy. More on this another day.
-Cold beer after a hot range trip
-That my family is coming home soon
-The part of my garden that is doing well. Should have some peppers and tomatoes around the end of summer.
-That tomorrow I will be near a Whattaburger around lunch time. Going to get the BBQ chicken sandwich. They are so good.
-That Pandora seems to have really figured out my old Country and Southern Rock station.

I dislike:
-Humidity
-That my years of training and shooting based around hitting a man sized target, albeit in different positions,  at various ranges, under various conditions and sometimes stress is not translating particularly well to making nice small groups in a precision sort of way.
-The moment when I realized either A) That an old scope I stored, pretty carefully though it surely got a few bumps, which in no small part made a current project affordable is not taking adjustments and/ or holding a zero or B) In the words of Tam I was 'holding it wrong".

Why I shoot much more accurately with an AR slinging respectable but nothing special   62 grain PMC M855 than a bolt action .308 caliber rifle that is theoretically capable of much more accuracy slinging Remington  Premier Match 168 grain Sierra Match Kings I am not sure. I am well under 2 MOA with the AR at 100 and today was over 3MOA with the bolt gun. Part of it is certainly that I shoot the AR platform a fair bit and am far more comfortable with it. The other part I am not certain about and it is leaving me more than a little frustrated. Really hate leaving the range without all my goals complete and frustrated.

Am going to take it out again in a couple weeks at my next opportunity. Pretty sure today that it was a combination of a long hot day at the range and over thinking the whole thing.

-The part of my garden that is not doing well
-Folding laundry mountain

So that has been my day. Thoughts?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Quote of the Day

"I encourage my readers to ignore unconstitutional laws. Lex mala, lex nulla"
-Jim Wesley Rawles

It is my general observation that most people ignore the laws that overly annoy them, I think Heinlen has a quote about on that. I would submit that you should be smart about this. The odds anyone will find out what recreational substance, let alone sexual act, you enjoy in private are about nil. On the other hand there are times such as speed limits and vehicle registration/ licensing you would be wise to play by the rules. Just think about the realistic gain vs loss before making a decision.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Book Review: Expatriates by Jim Rawles

Today it is my pleasure to review Expatriates: A Novel of the Coming Global Collapse by Jim Wesley Rawles. Like Jim' other novels Patriots, Survivors and Founders this one takes place during the same chaotic period of time set ominously in 'the not so distant future.'

Here is the promo blurb
In the latest survivalist thriller from founder of survivalblog.com and New York Times bestselling author James Wesley, Rawles, two expat families struggle for their very survival in the midst of a global economic collapse.

When the United States suffers a major socioeconomic collapse, a power vacuum sweeps the globe. A newly radicalized Islamic government rises to power in Indonesia, invades the Philippines, East Timor, Papua New Guinea, and finally northern Australia. No longer protected by American military interests, Australia must repel an invasion alone.

In the thick of these political maneuvers, an American family of missionaries living in the Philippines and a Texan petroleum engineer in Australia must face the fear of being strangers in a world in flux. Are their relatives back home healthy and safe? Will they ever see them again?


In its depiction of the authentic survivalist skills and techniques needed to survive a global socioeconomic meltdown, Expatriates is as informative as it is suspense-filled.

The novel follows 3 groups; on  a family of Christian missionaries living in the Philippines, a  Texas oilman and some Australian folks he gets intertwined with and a family that run a hardware store in Florida. Like the previous books in the series it sort of flashes between the different groups in a generally chronological order.

Onto the usual format.

The Good: I really feel like Jim Rawles turned a corner in his writing with this book. Maybe it is personal development or learning from the last couple. Maybe it's some change in the editorial process or the slippers Jim wore while writing, I don't know. Regardless whatever it was should be kept the same for all of Jim's future writing. This book went a long way to address my (and some other folks) biggest criticisms of the Jim's last 2 fiction books that they jumped around too much and sometimes there were fairly long passages or even characters that didn't really tie into anything.

Expatriates keeps the multiple characters in different places format but this time it really works. The passages on an individual group are a bit longer so it flows better. Instead of reading 5 pages about Group A then 7 about Group B you will see more like (I didn't count it out so this is a rough guess) 20 on Group A then 14 on Group B. The overall result was a lot fewer transitions which made for a book that flowed much better. This was definitely a sustain.

The other good part is that everything tied together. The writing in this book seemed more intentional than in some previous books. There was not a point where I found myself thinking "Why am I reading this passage?" Everything fit in nicely and stayed on track. This added to my overall enjoyment of the reading experience.

Using the massive audience of Survival Blog Jim is able to bring in real world practical knowledge that surpasses what any one individual could possible accumulate. He can lean on 3 people who live in an area and another 4 who have decades of experience in whatever. I suspect this strongly helped with being realistic about technical details and the settings in the book. In particular, without getting too into spoiler territory this book has some very interesting stuff on taking long ocean voyages in relatively small boats and home/ small business security to continue operations in a dangerous environment. I found myself taking some mental notes on both of these topics. This authenticity/ factual correctness and high level of detail across a wide variety of areas really helps make the book useful, even for someone who has read his previous books.

As it's been awhile since I read Jim Rawles other fiction novels I found myself appreciating that these books nature is that they stand alone. You don't need to remember where one book ended to enjoy another. While continuations of the same theme they involve different places and characters. There is occasional overlap but you do not have to read Patriots to understand Survivors or either to get Founders or the newest in the series Expatriates. A person could pick up any of the books to read and enjoy as a stand alone novel.

Expatriates is by far the best written of Jim Wesley's fiction efforts and clearly the best of the Patriots sequels. It kept the interesting and plausible concepts of previous books but was wrapped in a far more readable package. I can see it gaining considerable traction in the adventure type circles; especially for folks who like a good read sans unnecessary gratuitous sex, profanity and graphic violence.

The Bad:

The only part I found a bit of a stretch was the non survivalist hardware store owners who happened to conveniently have a variety of unique characteristics in their home/ store setup AND lives that left them better set up than most survivalists. It was just a couple too many convenient things to be realistic without them making intentional choices in that direction.  Also it was probably implausible that the guy did all this other stuff and had a whole bunch of silver but didn't have a fighting rifle. Way more folks own an AR/ AK/ .308 battle rifle than own a couple hundred dollars face in 90% silver.

The Pre 1899 gun thing came up again albeit in the same gun ban as previous books. Again I have to say the idea that basically every modern gun could be banned yet this loophole would be carried over is just silly. While they do have a unique benefit TODAY if everything is being banned you would be far better off hiding/ fighting/ whatever with modern guns. A far more prudent course of action would be to buy a Glock/ Sig/ M&P/ 1911 and AK/ AR/ .308 with cash via a private party, maybe even get a spare set to stash away. Sure if you live in a totally anti gun area or like collecting old guns rock on but stash some modern defensive guns just in case.

The Ugly:

I wish whatever clicked to make this book such an easy, enjoyable fluid read happened earlier.

Overall Assessment:
Excellent book that is well worth the money. Folks who may have been turned off of Jim Rawles fiction would be well advised to give this book a shot as I think they will be pleasantly surprised.

Please wait till the 1 October Book Bomb Day to buy your copy of Expatriates!!!

Disclosure: I received an early copy of Expatriates to review. Also fundamentally Jim Rawles has been very good to me and my blogging efforts over the years. Not quite a mentor parse but more like that cool guy at the range who lets you always lets you shoot his cool new toy which you get to shoot and has the tool/ item you need but forgot to bring. How much that clouds my judgement on the matter I cannot say but there it is.

Buy your own copy of Expatriates on 1 October Book Bomb Day!!!



Friday, July 5, 2013

Survival Blog Down

Survival Blog has suffered another ping flood attack on the blog's main server. SurvivalBlog can be viewed from this temporary site: http://64.92.111.122.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Cache Location Ideas

Our ongoing discussion about caches largely follows my thoughts and stuff I see on youtube and whatnot. Take some clothes, simple affordable gear, a bit of emergency food, few one ounce silver rounds if you have em, a basic gun that is gathering dust and a couple boxes of bullets. If you can add a tactical manual like Contact by Max Velocity and a nice affordable Berkey Sport Water Filter then the cache is pretty well set. Many folks could do that with stuff that is lying around in piles of like gear at their house. Anyway the concept of locations has come up.

Fundamentally in terms of locations I fear people can get so focused on finding a perfect scenario. I do not have a trusted survivalist family member who lives on a farm 150 miles away from me in a very remote area. Most people do not have that perfect scenario either. The issue is that people get so focused on finding a truly perfect scenario that they do not actually take action on more realistic scenario. Inevitably realistic scenarios have downsides. That is called life. 

In his excellent article John talks extensively about picking a location for burying stuff.While a bit labor intensive the security of a well thought out buried cache is pretty awesome.

Sootch did a good video on a storage space cache



I think this idea has some merit. Also this is a very good option YOU CAN DO. There are rental storage places in the burbs and cities. There really are not any excuses here. Storage units can of course be broken into however I do not personally know anyone who has had that happen to them. I would be discrete about putting stuff into the storage unit. Long guns in a duffel bag or something. Also I would have a decent percentage of the unit filled with mundane boring stuff. If you have 4 big boxes of old books, one of which has a case that is holding a couple pistols, a crook in a hurry isn't going to find it. Toss a broken down AR into box 3 of "Christmas Stuff" and you are good to go.

Even if a friend is located in the next town 10 miles down the road a cache at their place still has value. Your home might burn down. A localized disaster like a tornado might get you but would probably miss them. Some sort of situation like a chemical spill or wildfire could force you to evacuate in a hurry but leave his place unaffected. You could offer some space to the friend in return.

Some sort of cache could also be very useful in other scenarios. Claire Wolfe touched on this also.

A relative in an area you regularly travel to might have space for a Rubbermaid container in their garage or barn.

The point I am trying to get to is that there are options. Maybe some day when we all buy that little, or maybe not so little piece of land in the hinter boonies that will be a great option. However great these possibilities down the road are we need realistic options for today. The point I am trying to get across is that there are some realistic options for caches that most people can implement in the near future should they want to.


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Letter Re: Checking Your Handguns for Feeding Problems: Round Nose Versus Hollow Points

This chain Checking Your Handguns for Feeding Problems: Round Nose Versus Hollow Points, re, re has gone on long enough and got off track enough that I have to weigh in. In no way am I disparaging Jim Rawles or his excellent blog. Jim has been a friend to me and this blog. I read his excellent blog daily. When you accept guest posts inevitably some will be a bit off track. 

To briefly recap a guy has a pair of Taurus pistols (a .45 Millemium Pro and a  TCP .380)and prudently, though a bit late, decides to actually try shooting his chosen defensive ammo out of them. Go figure both of them failed to feed multiple times within a few rounds.

The first reply is from one guy who goes into the history of care and feeding on 1911's (don't worry we will get there in a minute) and rambled about how hollow point ammunition is just a marketing gimmick. The second reply is from some guy who suggests using a dremel to polish the feed ramp of your pistol to improve feeding.

Onto my thoughts in no particular order:

1) Go figure a couple of new unproven designs by a notoriously mediocre company with spotty quality control had issues. Taurus revolvers are generally servicable but newly designed auto's probably aren't a good idea. (Though I have heard good things about their 1911's) Seriously this is like Lou Gehrig dying of Lou Gehrig's disease, how the hell did he not see it coming.

Weapons you are going to use to defend yourself and family (vs hunting, plinking, fun, etc) absolutely need to be built to a professional standard. They need to be able to be shot a lot and feed anything. Glock, Sig, HK, Smith and Wesson (M&P and revolvers), Springfield (specifically the XD), Beretta and Ruger all build guns to a professional standard. It would be an uphill battle to convince me there is a Taurus (specifically their automatics) or a Kel Tech that meets such a standard.

I'm not saying you have to spend a ton of money on a gun. We all have competing priorities and budgets. If you aren't willing to save another C note for a Glock/ M&P get a basic gun like a good used revolver instead of some POS automatic.

2) To further elaborate a fighting pistol needs to feed all ammunition put into it. We can break feeding issues down by broad gun type. In order older guns, pieces of junk and 1911's.

2A) Older guns. The older military surplus and pattern guns (WWII through the 1970's give or take) were designed to shoot ball ammo either FMJ or strait up lead round nose. I do not fault these guns for that. It was the ammunition used at the time so it just makes sense. With these guns IMO you have two valid options. The first is to just shoot ball ammo. A good friend of this blog (though lately absent) who is big into surplus guns and has quite an enviable collection does this. He often swaps through various high power's of different makes and it would be cost prohibitive and impractical to test and keep track of which gun feeds what ammo. So he just shoots ball in them. I'm not in love with this option but for some folks it makes sense.

The other option is to get your gun worked over by a qualified gunsmith who specializes in your particular type of gun. Send your high power to a high power guy, your older surplus 1911 to a 1911 guy, etc. This can be cost prohibitive. Unless there is some compelling reason you want to carry that particular gun it might be better to buy a modern pistol of professional grade.

2B) Pieces of Junk. Yes, I am saying that currently produced pistols which do not reliably feed modern defensive ammunition are pieces of junk. Do not buy a piece of junk for defensive purposes. Expecting a piece of junk to work when you need it is just not realistic. You wouldn't get upset when $10 Soldiers Choice scotch doesn't taste like Ballantine's let alone Glenlivet. Why should guns be any different? I am on the record as being in favor of quality used guns instead of new lower quality guns.

2C) 1911's. We addressed the older milsurp type 1911's already, as to the rest. At the risk of offending somebody here is my observation on 1911's. Two types of 1911's actually work reliably. The first are basic Mil Spec type guns from quality manufacturers specifically Springfield and Colt. These guns will shoot all day long with the accuracy you would expect from a service weapon (good but not amazing). The second are really high end custom guns like Ed Brown and Wilson Combat or the high end Colt's. These guns work well but they cost as much as a decent used car. Probably outside most peoples budget for a carry gun. If you can afford it without shorting yourself elsewhere then rock on.

The problems with 1911's come, in my not so humble opinion, from fly by night custom 'Bob's Mom's basement' makers and lower end "target guns". Bob sucks as an armorer and certainly is not a craftsmen. He slaps together a bunch of different brand parts without a clue what he is doing. There are issues with fitting and stacking tolerances. As to the lower end "target guns". Modern manufacturing technology makes it easy to crank down tolerances which makes guns more accurate but at the expense of reliability. Tight tolerances without serious quality control and craftsmen level fitting make for an unreliable gun. There is a reason AK's and those old WWII 1911's (with ball ammo they are designed for) will run all day long dirty as can be, they have fairly loose tolerances.

3) Good on this guy for actually testing his gun with the defensive ammunition he carries. I think far too few people actually do this and it is important. We could debate round count here. I've seen some folks say you need to shoot 500 rounds of carry ammo to know it is reliable. Honestly I am not doing that unless someone else foots the bill. Typically I shoot about 50 rounds. Since the only centerfire semi automatic pistols we own are Glock's there are never any issues, this is just a check.

4) To support #2 I do not carry super expensive all brass hollow points like the new Cor Bon stuff. I carry 115gr JHP Federal Classic Personal Defense. Awhile back I got a case of the stuff from Lucky Gunner for like .35 cents a round. They have it in stock now but given the state of things prices are considerably higher. They will come back down in due time at which point I will buy another case.

5) I am strongly against any home gunsmith work (not to be confused with basic armorer tasks like swapping out a simple drop in part) on defensive weapons unless you have some training and genuinely know what you are doing. By all means explore and try new things. Just do it with plinking/ fun, hunting or sporting guns. If your home repair/ work on a clay shooting shotgun or deer rifle fails worst case your day at the range or hunt is ruined. In the grand scheme of things neither of those are a huge deal. On the other hand if defensive weapons fail you and your family could end up dead.

This means either buy guns that work reliably which can be repaired using drop in parts (the way to go) or if that does not work or the problem is too serious take your defensive weapons to a legitimate gunsmith who is competent, or even specializes, in that particular weapon.

6. In conclusion- Buy modern professional grade guns for defensive use. If they break take them to a legitimate gunsmith to be fixed.


Thoughts?


Monday, December 17, 2012

Quote of the Day- Jim Rawles on the Economics of an M1A

"For the same money as a "Loaded" M1A with one magazine and no scope, you could buy a PTR91-GI rifle (a HK91 clone), AND 100 spare alloy G3 magazines (under $3 each!), AND a Savage Model 10 .308 bolt action that is sub-MOA, right out the box.

For comparison, 100 spare original M14 magazines would cost you around $2,600. And just a spare USGI M14 operating rod ("op rod") now costs around $250. You should dispassionately consider not just the initial cost of the rifle, but rather the full lifetime cost, including magazines and and a supply of repair parts  (my emphasis, TOR)."
-Jim Rawles

I love the M1A. They are beautiful and accurate though if we are real probably not a gun that should ever have existed. It says something about America that we invented an inferior gun instead of just buying the much superior FN-FAL which if I recall beat the M1A twice in our own tests, which were promptly ignored. However some time ago I came to terms with the fact that it was a gun whose price was pegged (inflation, gun cost increases, etc) above what I was ever going to be willing to pay.

Incidentally at one point I planned to get an M1A and even picked up some magazines. They are the Checkmate 20 rounders which are currently being used by .mil. Brand new still in their wrappers. Think I've got 10 of them. Will sell for $25 a piece plus a few bucks for shipping. Will definitely trade for PMAGS or USGI AR-15 magazines and may trade for other mags or gear. If you've got something else to trade we can figure it out. Shoot me an email at theotherryan@yahoo.com if you are interested.

Mags are pending sale at this time.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Book Review: Founders by Jim Wesley, Rawles

Founders is the third fiction book by Jim Wesley, Rawles. These books are a bit different than most because they run contemporaneously. So  in other words Patriots, Survivors and Founders are all happening at the same time.

This book covers the Layton's cross country treck from Chicago, Ill to the super retreat in Idaho in significantly more detail than it previously was touched on in Patriots. It also wraps in a couple other sets of characters from the second book.

The book spends a good bit of time on the composition of the new Provincial Government out of FT. Knox and how it occupies new areas and regulates occupied areas. I don't want to get too much deeper into the plot and spoil anything.

I have heard some criticisms of this book that deserve to be addressed. Some folks said they got less out of this book then previous ones. These books, in particular Patriots, have been characterized as survival manuals worked into fiction novels. This viewpoint certainly has at least some truth to it.

Using the old fiction series The Survivalist as an example you are going to get less out of book 6 than book 1 if you have read them all in order. It isn't that book 6 necessarily has any less value than 1 but that you have heard most of the authors major points and pet ideas by then. At some point in a series it is sort of inevitable that you will have been exposed to most of the major lessons the author has to give.

That point aside onto the usual format.

The Good: I appreciated that this book displayed a lot of fairly regular folks and their effort's to make it through a hard time. It had some interesting points where characters tried to stock up at the last minute and found the obvious guns/ammo/fuel missing. This is good because too many books let folks somehow get 4 guns, 12 cases of ammo and a years worth of food after an economic collapse. The characters then picked up some other useful items that were still available. Stuff like extra rifle scopes, hunting clothes and such. Interesting food for thought.

Even the more skilled and prepared folks made some good moves and some less good ones. There were not John Rourke figures who get into gunfights with 40 hard core bikers and kill them all. The more survivalist fiction I read the more I appreciate this.

Now that I think about it the book was fairly low on violence though some is realistically present. The book dealt more with folks getting prepared, day to day issues and the structure of both Pro Gov as well as the resistance. This worked well and made things interesting without getting all ridiculous. In this regard the book had a sort of different focus than Survivors which focused on less prepared folks figuring out how to get by or Patriots which had the uuber prepared group with the sweet survivalist retreat.

The threads about folks in the US military and how they did and did not cooperate with the Provincial Government and UN were pretty interesting. This part was well thought out and entirely plausible. Also it gave us some credit which is appreciated. Definitely something to think about.

Also this book did a pretty good job of staying off the gear and all too common specific model gun porn soap box. It seemed much more 'got a pistol, a rifle and a .22' so guns are covered than folks falling short because they lack the coolest Blast O Master 6000. This made me happy.  

The Bad: There were a couple gun porn .308/30.06 moments. At one point a character inferred that the M4 was not effective at intermediate distances (I think it was about 300 meters) which is just ridiculous. There was also another moment that fell into the 'battle rifle' long distance 'ambush' point of view which in my opinion is not really a viable strategy. That being said we all have our 'things' and the 'battle rifle' is one of the author's. It didn't detract from the book and was easy enough to just ignore.

Also the 'pre 1899' firearms came up in what I think is a less than plausible context. The new evil government that was banning pretty much everything kept the current loophole of exempting pre 1899 firearms. Like some evil UN Mercenary is going to stop and look up if a 30-30 or a 12 gauge was made in 1899 or 1935 or 1957? These guns have some distinct benefits today but thinking this would help you out in a totalitarian gun grab is probably wishful thinking. 

The Ugly: Like the second book Survivors this one follows multiple characters and sort of jumps back and forth between them. It just didn't to work quite as well here. I think it just moved a little too fast. Sometimes we just stayed with a character for just a few pages and then moved on. A couple character threads would have been better served by either getting filled out a bit more or otherwise cut out entirely.

Overall Assessment:  I liked this book and enjoyed reading it. At this point if you have read the previous books Patriots and Survivors you know JWR's beliefs/ writing style and generally what to expect. If you liked his previous fiction books (particularly Survivors as it is more similar to Founders than the first book) then I think you will like this book. Founders can be purchased here.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book to review.






Monday, October 1, 2012

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

I got some trigger time which was cool. Stumbled into a bunch of camping gear which is pretty awesome. Also I read Max Velocities book Contact: A Tactical Manual for Post Collapse Survival as well as the new Jim Rawles fiction book Founders. Picked up some interesting ideas from both.

Also while moving stuff I did some informal ammo inventories. On the plus side we have more 7.62x39 and shotgun shells than I thought. On the downside we have only about 150 rounds of .357 magnum ammunition. It is not totally critical as we have a decent stash of .38 special but I would like to get the most out of those big revolvers. In any case that will have to be remedied in short order. A few more bricks of .22 and some small game  loads for the 12 gauge would be nice though they aren't critical. Heck 2 more cases of each caliber we stock would be great but unfortunately resources are finite.

Anyway what have you been up to this week?








Friday, September 28, 2012

All Sorts of Awesomeness: Free Clothes, Camping Gear and a Great Meal

Today was pretty darn good in general and from a free stuff angle.

We stumbled into a big box of little girl clothes from a friend of a friend who has a girl Walkers age. She was just waiting for somebody who could use them and we lucked out. Wifey took a look and most of them were tiny baby stuff. This means right away we do not need to buy any clothes for when she comes which is great. This means we can shift focus on getting the next size or two filled out.

We are getting a whole bunch of free camping gear. The in laws are downsizing and thus getting rid of a lot of stuff. FIL and the boys were really involved in scouting for years and acquired enough stuff for a squad minus to go camping either from a car or via backpack. Seriously too much good stuff to list, that will probably be another post. It was like a crazy survivalist Christmas for me.

Today dinner was particularly awesome. We had stuffed pork chops, basically a big 2 inch thick chop,slit down the middle and filled with stuffing. The result was wonderful. We had them with mashed potatoes and veggies. They went well with a bottle of Moose Drool.

I started reading the new Jim Rawles new book Founders today and am about halfway into it. A review will follow in due course but so far it has been a nice part of a pretty nice day. Huge thanks to Jim Rawles and Simon and Schuster for sending me a copy to review.

On yeah and I have run 4 more miles so far this week which puts me at 28.5. Not ideal and far from 50 but considering I am on leave; where my track record of doing any PT is terrible I am happy with it.

Anyway that is what has been going on here today. It has been a real nice day here and I hope things are going equally well for you.

Have a wonderful weekend.








Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Monday, September 24, 2012

Coming to a Bookstore Near You: Founders the Newest Jim Rawles Novel


About the novel (from JWR): Founders is the third novel in the Patriots series.  It is set in several locales including the vicinity of Fort Knox Kentucky, Chicago, Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana, and  Israel. A few of the characters are cross-overs from my previous novels.  These include Ken and Terry Layton, and Andy Laine. Since my novels are contemporaneous, there is no need to have read the previous novels to enjoy reading Founders.  

TOR here: I have enjoyed both of the previous novels in the series so needless to say I am very excited for the new book to come out. Please wait until Book Bomb Day on the 25th of September to purchase your copy of Founders. I would recommend just saving shipping and order a second copy with the first. I always end up giving away/ loaning out into space a copy of books like this so it saves the hassle of reordering and waiting.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Survival Blog Down

JWR sent me an email about Survival Blog being down. Below is the pertinent info.

This weekend, our server in Sweden was put under a "ping flood" Denial of Service (DOS) attack that resulted in 65% packet loss for a few hours.

This attack was most likely orchestrated by the man in Texas who last week anonymously sent me a racist rant and threats against both my blog site and my books. (His e-mail began: "You ni**er lover you have five days to take all links and any [sic] metion for [sic] links below off your site. If you [sic] dont [sic] do it I will post [sic] everyone [sic] of [sic] you [sic] cr***y books on [sic] prirate [sic] sites and kiss your ni**er loving income from them good [sic] by [sic] .")

The attack was timed for a three-day holiday weekend, because the miscreants expected that the staff at our ISP would be unavailable to help up reconfigure.

OBTW, the attack did not initially include our dotted quad backup address: 95.143.193.148 (Which is explained here.)

At least this provided a good test for our Continuity of Web Services (COWS) defenses. Obviously, we are now going to need multiple mirror sites as well as an adaptive cloud server that can handle any future DOS onslaught.

The other lesson this teaches is the importance of having a backup. We provide an offline archive of the past six years of SurvivalBlog posts, available for a modest price.

~Jim Rawles~
Editor, www.SurvivalBlog.com


TOR here: I tried to go to the site this morning and couldn't get there. I figured it was just one of those internet things that just happen. You know the kind where a little something is off on one side or another and you just can't get to a site, happens all the time. Apparantly it wasn't. Obviously this is lame. Hopefully it will get figured out sooner instead of later.

I guess this is a good lesson about relying on online information or resources. Between Survival Blog, stuff I have in the cloud and various sites I go to for this or that I am guilty of this. In the immediate future I will look to pull some stuff off the web. In particular I  will be ordering the Survival Blog archive and copying stuff out from other places.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Survivalblog Article: A Practical Utilitarian's Take on Firearms and Calibers

Worth looking at and thinking about.

I respectfully disagree on the overall assessment of M16/M4/AR-15 platform. They do need to be cleaned now and again but nothing crazy. They don't need to be spotless, just have the inside free of junk (chunks of carbon usually being the culprit) and some lube in there. If you are unwilling to do that then buy an AK. As to durability. I haven't seen the Buttstock/ buffer tube of an AR series rifle break during the course of military operations.  Like any precise mechanical object they can be broken; I confident it would be easy to destroy any of the old WWII bolt action warhorses, a Remington 870, AK, Glock or whatever in 60 seconds flat by slamming it repeatedly into a rock or a curb. (The exception to this is the old M2 .50 cal because it is too heavy to swing well and has really thick metal components, I would have to take off the barrel and mess up the threads or take pliers to the trigger mechanism which would kind of be cheating).

In my opinion the M16/M4/AR-15 platforms ergonomics and commonality/ availability of parts/ accessories/ ammunition as well as the unparraleled modularity outweigh it's modest negatives.

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