Showing posts with label John Mosby. Show all posts
Showing posts with label John Mosby. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Speed vs Accuracy

This post has been floating around in my head for awhile. I am thankful I did not write it earlier as the Clandestine Carry Pistol course heavily shaped my viewpoint on the matters at hand. I want to talk about speed and accuracy as they relate to practical shooting. By practical I suppose I mean shooting in the context of self defense and maybe hunting where accuracy and speed have to be balanced. This differs from more esoteric niche sports or just plain old plinking. First let us talk about speed. There is a fairly fixed reaction time a person has. The amount of time between when their brain says shoot and their finger pulls the trigger. 

In Johns class we tested this with a shot timer. With the gun ready we timed how long it took for us to pull the trigger. Just plain make the gun go bang downrange. Mine was like .21-.22, that was somewhere in the mushy middle of the averages. Sure you could game that by getting more used to shooting on the beep and maybe improve times a little bit but that doesn’t matter. The point is that there is absolutely no way I could shoot faster than that time. That is my absolute max for speed. 

Then there is accuracy. With more time people don’t have to rush and can be deliberate. Of course they can actually shoot worse by overthinking it but lets ignore that for now. At some point relative to the given shot you intend to take (a 10m shot with a pistol takes less time than a 1k shot with a rifle) we will not be more accurate with more time. We reach our maximum ability level for that given task. If a guy had say 2 minutes to shoot 5 rounds at an index card 10 meters away he has plenty of time. He likely won’t shoot better if he has all day to do it. We can call this our absolute max for accuracy. So we have our absolute max for speed on one side and our absolute maximum for accuracy on the other. At absolute max speed my accuracy was minute of dumpster at 10 meters. At maximum accuracy I am pretty slow. Now we have one variable left to talk about. Target size/ distance. The target size/ distance matters a lot here. It matters because it dictates how precise we have to be in terms of accuracy. Thus by controlling accuracy the target size/ distance really dictates how fast we can.

Example- Our friend Paw Paw does Cowboy Fast Draw shooting. Per the CDFA website they shoot at a 24” circular target centered 50” off the ground at distances between 15-21 feet. This target is pretty forgiving in terms of accuracy so the times are crazy fast. A quick look says at a national level the top 16 men were all under .358. That is smoking fast. Part of the reason these guys can get times like that, aside from naturally good reactions and a ton of practice is they are shooting at a frickin huge target. They are shooting one handed from the hip and obviously not using sights. If the targets were changed to say a 6X13 vital zone you would see times slow down. If it were changed to a 3x5 index card you would see times slow down. Or you would see the rate of misses rise. That brings us to the next point. How much accuracy do you need? It obviously varies situation to situation. The amount of precision needed to make a hundred yard pistol shot on an A zone target at 3 meters is very different than at 30 let alone 100 meters. Lets say there is an urgency factor throughout practical shooting so we can ignore that. The two factors that come to mind for me are what we are shooting at and the consequences of missing. Smaller (or further away) targets require a higher degree of precision that bigger ones. 

I can personally get away with being relatively sloppy shooting drills at a 6X13 or an IPSC A zone which is about 6x11. I can really just use the front sight and be quick, which for me means a bit jerky, on the trigger and still get consistent hits. To shoot at a 3x5 index card I need to really use my sights and deliberately squeeze the trigger. If I am shooting the dot drill I need to be even more precise. 

The other consideration is the consequences of a miss. If you miss in a competition it hurts your score or maybe you lose. If you miss shooting at tweety bird well you miss tweety bird. These situations encourage you to take a questionable shot because there really isn’t a down side. If you miss a shot in a self defense situation you might smoke a round into some little kid on the next block. 

Aside from obviously practicing to improve your capabilities the most important thing is awareness. Knowing how much you can push speed (and sacrifice accuracy) while still making the shot is huge. No point in shooting faster than you are actually able, and missing. In a civilian self defense context this is dangerous and not acceptable. On the flip side since time matters knowing how much you can get away with to put lead to face and end the problem gives you a better chance of having the best possible outcome. 

I think that’s all that comes to mind now. If I have any further thoughts on the topic I will edit this or do a follow up as appropriate.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Mountain Guerilla Clandestine Pistol: #1 Overview

This weekend I was fortunate to be able to attend John Mosby AKA Mountain Guerillas Clandestine Carry Pistol Course.

I wanted to go back to CSAT this year but with the travel time and expense it was not very realistic. I was going to take a local course but after doing the intro I wasn't very impressed. It was definitely old guy wannna be Jeff Cooper stuff. Not bad per se but very dated. Then I saw the Clandestine Carry Pistol offering in north east MO and jumped on it. Fortunately everything worked out OK and I was able to attend.

I am going to make a big fat disclaimer that everything said about this course is from my memory and notes. Not trying to put words in Johns mouth or say there are quotes here. If something sounds weird or stupid or wrong any fault is entirely my own.

The class goals were as follows:
1- Hit what you aim at.
2- Make rapid good decisions under stress.
3- Draw your pistol under realistic conditions.
4- Defend your pistol and fight to employ it.

 This course was different from CSAT's Tactical Pistol Operator Course and probably most other comparable tactical type handgun courses in a couple of significant ways.

First the accuracy standard was significantly higher. The goal is head shots on demand at realistic pistol ranges (Say 10-15 meters). We shot at index cards the entire time (mostly 3x5 and occasionally [think we ran out of 3x5's] at the end 4x6) to replicate the vital zone in the head. This was done for a three reasons. First the realistic chance that a person is either wearing an SVEST in which case punching a round into their torso is a bad idea. Second the in my opinion much more probable chance they are wearing body armor. Third is the classic aim small and miss small.

This was a significant difference from my CSAT experience where we shot predominantly at a 6x13 vital zone. Suffice to say this is a big difference. Also that I have been slacking on my training was a factor. I blew a lot of shots initially because I was relatively speaking jerking the trigger and rushing to get better times. That got slightly better over the class. Honestly I think I figured out the trigger piece shooting the dot drill at the very end of class.

Why is this different from other classes? Some of it is conceptual and some of it is about the fact that shooting at small targets is well humbling. Considering a large portion of running training classes is getting people to feel good and want to come back this is not a move calculated to be popular. John doesn't give a crap. He says the unpopular thing because it is what he believes. This is consistent throughout Johns methodology and teaching.

My personal belief is this is valid. You need that capability. Whether you should shoot for the head or not is context dependent. Obviously an S vest or body armor dictate a head shot. For a meth head in a t shirt bullets in the sternum are probably just fine.

The other way this class is different is that we shot EVERYTHING from concealment. I think this is totally valid in the context of this course and realistically any handgun training. Excluding law enforcement who carry openly I think this is the right answer for everybody. Why, well that is how the vast majority of us carry handguns. The only real exception would be home defense and that is mostly going to start with the gun in your hand anyway as it was either on your belt or cached somewhere. So doing all draws and reloads from concealment is the right answer.

Why don't other classes do this? Like the 3x5 card accuracy standard this is not mirrored throughout the training world. Seeing guys wearing big ole paddded 'war belts' and OWB duty type rigs is quite common. One class I looked at taking did not even allow IWB holsters! First it adds a layer of complexity. You need to clear the cover garment for every draw or reload. You need to clear it to reholster.Second and I think more significantly it makes peoples performance as measured by time worse. How much time it adds to your draw could certainly be debated but probably .2 of a second or so. When instructors want students to feel like they improved (so they want to come back)having them get times that make them happy is a big deal. Sammy Seal got my draw to first shot down to 1.XX makes a guy happy and want to come back. Getting a slower time is well not going to make people feel as good. The last reason I think other classes have people using LEO/ military type set ups is what John so nicely calls 'ballistic masturbation'. People want to wear cool guy gear, shoot a lot of bullets, be told they met a standard and get a certificate. I'm not knocking anyone getting training but the 'tactical dude ranch' angle is definitely there. You can take classes where you will shoot from helicopters and do fake ass tactical missions. There are probably worse ways to spend your money but saying shooting a rifle from a helicopter is in any way applicable to my life as a non helicopter owning person is ridiculous. This is another way John Mosby's course is in my opinion very realistic and practical for a normal guy who carries a gun to defend himself.

I am going to do at least two more posts on this topic. The first will be a discussion of accuracy as it relates to time and distance. The second will be an overview of the course material, what I learned, etc. After that I have at least one or two posts in my head that come more from discussions we had in down time BS sessions.


Friday, October 7, 2016

Black Swan Fixation

John Mosby recently wrote an excellent post. In his opening paragraph one part really spoke to me. He said something to the effect that survivalists spend a disproportionate amount of time and energy preparing for black swan type events that are statistically and historically unlikely. He referred to the general trend of focusing on these events at the expense of much more likely events as ‘semi conscious’

I want to delve deeper into this topic. There are two related questions that I will try to discuss. First why do people focus on black swan type events. Second why do people ignore or fail to seriously prepare for more likely events.

Before I get started the saying “If you are prepared for the Zombie Apocalypse/ TEOTWAWKI you are prepared for anything” is going to come up. If the appropriate layered planning and logical progression was used maybe that is true. Still we have finite resources and energy to contend with. For all but the largest budgets a lot of choices made for the very unlikely scenario can leave you will a less than firm plan for far more likely scenarios. Agree or disagree lets ignore this saying for the rest of the discussion.

To the first question of why we spend disproportionate energy and resources on unlikely black swan events. A list seems most appropriate:

-Doomer Porn. Yes I think people enjoy reading (hell I am guilty and part of the problem myself as a blogger) about fantasy situations. We day dream during boring or unactive times, it is just people. Everyone day dreams about the cute guy/ girl who we see repeatedly in our everyday lives. This is a non sexual version of the same thing. In the same way that sexual fantasies ignore stuff like the other person not being interested in us or doing whatever the fantasy involves doomer fantasies skip the associated realistic limitations.It is an escape from reality and form of entertainment.

-Marketing. There are people who make a living selling stuff that you will only really need in very unlikely situations. Ten year food supplies, fifty caliber rifles and radiation detector sets for normal ish folks and intentionally built BUG OUT VEHICLES or survivalist bunker retreats for the really well healed. People selling things will inevitably try to convince you that you need their things. These people advertise in magazines and with websites such as mine.

-Justification of purchases. People will conveniently find a way to convince their selves they need stuff they want ‘to be prepared’. One guy who I would describe as a fairly average suburban survivalist type had three, not one, not two but three motorcycles for SHTF.

-Justification of lifestyle. The homesteading movement and survivalism come together in complicated ways (which I might write about later) but people sometimes use very unlikely situations to explain why and where they choose to live. I am not saying there are not benefits to homesteading or rural living. There are many benefits. I would however submit that in reality people should move to a rural area or start homesteading because they want to do those things, not because they feel they should just in case of a very unlikely event.

-Confirmation Bias. All of your like minded friends worrying about the same thing for the same iffy reasons makes you think everyone independently came to the same conclusions and as such many sources proved the same thing.

-Elitism/ bragging. A rapper might have a gold chain that costs a hundred thousand dollars. A preparedness oriented person who wants to show off their wealth might build a fancy bunker. 

Reasons for fail to seriously prepare for more likely events:

-They are scary. John noted this in his post. The idea of dealing with violent crime in the real world today in say the parking lot of a grocery store with your family is very different than some fantasy of shooting people with your Super Blastomatic 9000 like some first person video game. Defending the bridge with your buddies against the unprepared masses is different than 3 Jihadi's with AK's at the mall.

-Reality still exists. Some degree of our economic system will still exist. You will still have bills. If you are fortunate enough to have a job you will still be going to work. Your favorite brand of political philosophy is not going to be immediately adopted. Government is still going to exist in some form or another.

-Effort vs stuff. Often, especially when we talk about self defense the answers involve work. They involve training and regular practice with your CCW set up. They involve physical fitness and combatives training. Lifting weights takes effort. Getting off your butt and practicing in legitimately useful combatives takes effort and costs money. All of these efforts can be seriously humbling. More guns in your safe for SHTF time won't make you safer. Working on your own capabilities with your body and the gun you carry will make you safer.

-Not sexy. Often the right answers of realistic preparedness can be less fun. Your need for a savings account (maybe in silver and gold if that is your thing) is significant but it is not fun. It isn't a safe full of rifles or an excuse to buy more tactical gear or anything like that.

There are probably some more ideas but I think this covers the general themes. I hope it gives you something to think about that can help improve your own preparedness efforts. This is more philosophical than useful which is my general desire here. I may follow up with some more concrete suggestions that fit into this theme.


Sunday, February 7, 2016

Caching Your Guns for a Civil War PT I and II

Weapons Man did an excellent post.

Credit to Mason Dixon Tactical and Knuckle Draggin My Life Away for bringing it to my attention.

I would feel this was incomplete without mentioning some thoughts. I don't really like that this title ends in 'for a Civil War."

It is IMO unnecessarily confrontational and limiting. There are many reasons you might want to cache some guns. You might want to minimize the risk of a theft or house fire wiping you out. I genuinely believe, for a lot of reasons, that survivalists are at a higher than average of a house fire. Maybe you have a location which you travel to often and flying with a gun every time is a hassle.  

Also John Mosby's seminal work on the topic

Resistance S4: The Logistics of Successful Re-Supply Cache Planning

should be considered. I reposted the two articles mentioned so it would be easier for you to see them.

Obviously a cache needs to be tailored to a specific purpose. Looking at cache types helps here.

As John Mosby said more or less you have to consider what the purpose of a cache is. I would loosely (also probably stolen from John) break them down into:
Resupply- Replacement of consumables, repair parts, also has the sub set of a speed ball
Storage- Put 20% of your stuff in the barn, 40% around the cabin, etc (in a dream world)
E&E- What you need to implement an individual evasion plan.
Operational- From naked to functional combatant with some consumables.
Survival- You had to use Plan D and run to the woods maybe with a vehicle and worse case with a ruck and game cart. Bulk food, ammo, a real axe, a cast iron pot, shelter stuff, etc would be really nice.

It is worth keeping these types in mind even if you might sort of combine them for a specific purpose.  A guy trying to escape and evade on foot in an urban environment does not need camouflage clothes, flint and steel and a full sized FN-FAL. Conversely a guy trying to escape and evade in a rural environment does not need average guy but functional clothes, subway tokens and an SBR/ sub gun that  fits in a generic back pack.Neither of them need 6 months of mountain house or 500 lbs of rice.

Locations should have the same consideration. Where may you be when you need this cache? How much mobility will you have? Will you be on foot? In a vehicle? This bears specific consideration. A cache of a bunch of guns n ammo and a years worth of mountain house 20 miles away is easy to access. What if you had to walk there and carry the stuff back? Caches designed to be carried by people need to be appropriately sized in say 50 pound packages. ALICE packs and such are so cheap these days I would probably just have bags co located with the stuff.

Anyway I need to go be productive before Super Bowl time.

Resistance S4: The Logistics of Successful Re-Supply Cache Planning by John Mosby

John Mosby who writes the excellent blog Mountain Guerilla was nice enough to let me cross post this article. John reminded me that guns which are in a cache cannot be used to shoot somebody in the face. this is of course a worthwhile point. If you have a basic 4 (rifle, pistol, shotgun, .22) I would not be inclined to cache anything. A gun that you need to defend your home or put food on the table needs to be at home, not buried off in the woods. However if like may folks reading this you happen to have a spare rifle and pistol or 4 that have lived in the safe forever it might be prudent to consider caching these weapons to resupply you later on.

Anyway for those who did not see it at his excellent site Mountain Guerilla here is an article by John Mosby on caches.

Resistance S4: The Logistics of Successful Re-Supply Cache Planning

(Originally published on the old site, APR 2012–J.M.)
Of the four major aspects of support in military and paramilitary operations–personnel, intelligence, operations, and logistics–the fourth is often the most misunderstood by aspiring students of resistance theory and history. As the oft-cited cliche so accurately states, “Amateurs study tactics. Professionals study logistics.” When Napolean famously stated that “An army travels on its stomach,” he wasn’t talking specifically about the quality of the food in the French military, but about the importance of ensuring that the logistics train managed to keep pace with the fighting force, in order to keep the men re-supplied and fed.
For the inexperienced, the amount of material logistics support necessary to support even a single twelve-man SF ODA over the course of a six-month long deployment can be mind-numbingly massive (plane loads, not duffel bags full). The idea that a resistance cell will grab their individual rucksacks, LBEs, and weapons, and run off to the woods to fight it out in some Red Dawn, live-off-the-land scenario is a fantasy of hubris at its best. At its worst, it’s just fucking stupid.
Similarly naive however, is the typical survivalist/prepper idea that, in a totalitarian regime, ruled by the force of ninja-clad stormtroopers who kick in doors at 0300, stomp puppies to death, and jerk citizens from their beds by the hair, a stockpile of food and supplies in the pantry and basement will be adequate or secure.
The key to successful logistics support if a resistance movement is the establishment, by both individual tactical cells as well as dedicated auxiliary logistics networks, of widespread, secure, and well-equipped caches of critical supplies (for the record, it’s pronounced “cash,” “cashes,” and “cashed,” not “cashay,” “cashayes,” and “cashayed!”). Caching is the process of hiding equipment or other necessary logistics materials in secure storage locations with the express intent to later recover those materials for future use (hiding them without the intent of later recovery is referred to as “losing shit.”) In a resistance movement, cached materials may provide numerous benefits to resistance forces. They may meet the emergency needs of personnel for items that can no longer be procured on the open or black markets, due to regime interference or lack of supply, or they may provide necessary travel documents and funds for the initiation of escape-and-evasion corridors by compromised personnel. Most critically perhaps, caching provides a realistic supply solution for long-term operations conducted over wide areas, far from secure bases of operations. In the specific words of the doctrinal literature on caching for UW, “caching can also provide for anticipated needs of war time operations in areas likely to be overrun by the enemy.”
Cache Planning Considerations
Selection of the specific contents of any particular cache requires a thorough analysis, careful estimation, and more than a little scientific, wild-ass guessing (technically termed “SWAG”), regarding the needs of particular resistance elements for particular operations. Fortunately, we still have the benefit that procurement of most of the likely candidate items for future re-supply caches currently pose no significant difficulties. In fact, as has been repeatedly belabored in this blog previously, the relative ease of procurement before hostilities become any more heated is the major benefit in favor of caching logistics materials now (fundamentally, it goes back to a previously asked question. How serious are you? Is it real, or are you playing “Gus the Guerrilla” so you can dress up in multi-cam and shoot guns?)
Planners, whether members of an individual tactical cell, or a dedicated auxiliary logistics cell, must determine the purpose and contents of specific caches, since these basic factors influence the location of the cache and the necessary methods of concealment. A cache containing liquid assets, such as silver or similarly small, readily concealable items may be established in relatively accessible places, since the recovery agent of the cache can simply conceal the contents on his person with ease. A cache of rifles and ammunition for a raiding party however, will require establishment in a less accessible, more remote location, since hiding the weapons from casual observation will require more effort than simply shoving them in a pocket (honestly, one of the few benefits I can see of owning AKMs, other than the fact that there are hundreds of millions, of not billions of 7.62x39mm ammunition floating around this country, is the convenience of a being able to conceal a folding stock AKM under a jacket like a Carhartt barn jacket).
Further, certain items, such as medical items like antibiotics, painkillers, IV saline bags, and other consumables do possess limited shelf-life and may require periodic rotation or other specific storage considerations. This may require easy access for the planners to service these caches, as needed. Ultimately, resistance planners must balance the logistical objectives of the cache with the actual possibilities when selecting items and locations for a cache. Realistic options for items included in re-supply caches may include, but certainly not be limited to: money, weapons and ammunition, explosives components, medical supplies, tools, food and water (water purification methods may be more appropriate in many environmental areas), batteries (overlooked far too often by amateur guerrillas. Realistically in modern conflict, even guerrilla warfare, combatant elements will go through batteries like shit through a goose), clothing, and spare/replacement load-bearing equipment (I utilize ALICE load-outs for cached load-bearing equipment, since it’s cheap and will suffice, even if it’s not as ideal as my current or future load-outs. If I’m to the point of relying on LBE cached months or years before, I’m probably not going to be too particular about how Gucci it is. If it’s gear to outfit new resistance recruits, they don’t get to be picky).
When planning a resistance supply cache, planners absolutely must remember that “the enemy gets a vote.” The successful recovery of a combat re-supply cache will ultimately depend on how well the planners anticipated the various obstacles to successful recovery, which will be created, intentionally or not, by the enemy if he occupies the area of the cache. Hiding a weapons cache in a small meadow surrounded by brushy woods because it is near the junction of several major roads may seem ideal, since it’s hidden and yet readily accessible. Unfortunately, those same considerations may lead the regime to decide to plant an encampment of security forces troops there. It might be difficult to recover a buried barrel of M4s when there are a bunch of guys in blue helmets with funny accents eating supper over the top of it. Further, future non-conflict related obstacles may arise (Anyone remember the incident last year when an arms cache was found buried under the right-of-way for a highway being constructed? I personally know of a guy in the northern Rockies who has several cases of dynamite cached. Unfortunately, it is now buried about eighteen feet below a road-side DOT weigh station).
In addition to regime security forces activities, actions of the local civilian populace may interfere with the security and/or recovery of caches. Planners must project how the local populace will react to the pressures of occupation/war-time living. One likely reaction is that many people, even those unaligned with the resistance, will resort to caching their personal and family valuables to prevent theft or confiscation by either criminals or the regime (but then, I repeat myself, right?). In such an event, ideal cache locations may become too well-traveled for the security of recovery teams, as well as gaining greater scrutiny by security force intelligence units looking for such cached materials.
Often overlooked in theoretical discussions of supply caches is the actual task of transporting the materials to be cached to the location. The most secure packaging of cached items is performed in secure areas, rather than in the field or at the cache location. While it may be simpler to transport a pre-packaged supply of cache items to the cache site from a safe house, than to transport the goods and the packaging material, it will still not be a simple task (consider the weight and space needs for a cache of six M4s, plus a basic load of 210-330 rounds each, or for food supplies, even in dry staple items like rice and wheat, for a two-week supply for a four- or six-man element).
Finally, anyone who is involved directly in the placement of the cache, from planning the location, to actually placing the cache in its determined location will know where the cache is located and is thus subject to compromising that cache location if captured and interrogated (as we will discuss in a forthcoming article, if you are captured and interrogated, you WILL talk. Everyone talks. It doesn’t matter how tough you think you are, a skilled interrogator can break your will to resist. Unfortunately, it’s even easier if the interrogator is from the same cultural background and speaks your language than it is if he’s a foreign invader). The same considerations apply to recovery personnel. While a cache site that only one person knows the location and contents of is of little use to the resistance, and the members of a logistics cell will need to share the information data on various caches, there must be serious consideration given to the operational security requirements of doing so. Among these is limiting the access to information to the actual emplacement personnel and planning cell until the need for the contents of any particular cell is required, and spreading the planning and emplacement duties for various caches to various independent cells within a network.
Caching Methods
The specific methods used to cache materials for future use are as varied as the people who cache those items. The most obvious (and probably the most common) method, of burying goods, may be of limited value in some operational environments (it would be harder to bury a cache of arms for a platoon-sized element of resistance fighters, with adequate ammunition, in a large urban enclave, than to hide them in attics or basements. Burying items in a swamp is far less efficient than underwater cache methods). This wide variety of possibilities open to cache planners means there is little value in laying out general rules, or even too many specific concepts for caching. Nevertheless, one rule remains inviolate when developing a network of caches for resistance supply: Planners must always think in terms of suitability. The method most suitable for each cache, considering its specific purpose, the actual and projected situations in the particular location, and the impact of possible regime courses of action.
  1. Concealment of the cache means utilizing permanent man-made or natural features to hide or disguise the cache. Focusing on superb concealment of caches offers several benefits for planners and installers. Employment and recovery of the cache can both be accomplished with minimum labor, in a minimal amount of time. Items concealed in buildings or caves are protected from the elements and extreme weather, thus requiring less elaborate packaging (a cache of medical supplies concealed in the walls of an otherwise abandoned barn or out-building may need little more than to be placed in a plastic garbage sack before being concealed). A concealed cache may be more readily accessed from time to time, in order to replace perishable items that may be nearing or past their expiration dates. The potential risk of accidental discovery of concealed caches however, means that this method is most suitable for extremely secure sites safe from search by regime security forces (concealing a stockpile of old Mosin-Nagants in the basement of the president of the local gun club would be pretty fucking pointless, no?), or situations where rapid access to the cached items is of high enough priority that it outweighs the chances that the cache will inadvertently be discovered. Concealment may range from securing a small pouch of “junk” silver coins behind a heating vent in the wall, to building a false wall in a basement to hide a cache of workshop-manufactured mortars and ammunition.
  2. While burial is not always the best option for cache establishment, there is a reason that, when people think of caches, they almost invariably consider it first. Suitable burial sites can be located damned near anywhere, and if the cache is properly established, it will be next to impossible to find, without the utilization of very expensive, highly-technological equipment, and ample amounts of time. While the security of a well-placed buried cache is without compare, unlike simple concealment, burying a cache is an extremely labor-intensive process, requires severe and thorough packaging of the cache to protect it from the burial process and the exposure it faces from dirt, moisture, burrowing fauna, etc.
    Burial of caches almost invariably requires the use of specialized containers and/or special wrapping to protect the contents from the environment. Emplacement and recovery of a buried cache often takes so long that it can only be accomplished during the night, to preclude discovery, unless the cache site is placed in such a ridiculously remote location as to completely preclude any effective usefulness whatsoever. It can be extremely difficult, even for the initial emplacement element, to successfully locate and recover a buried cache after any length of time.
  3. One method of cache emplacement that is often overlooked (for good reason) is the submersion method. If the cache is properly prepared; and the cache site is genuinely secure; and the recovery team can actually locate it; and the tides or currents don’t move the cache in the intervening time between emplacement and recovery, the submersion method may work. However, submersion sites that are suitable for secure concealment of a cache of any size are exceedingly rare, even in swamp/jungle environments. Further, the container for a submerged cache must be of such high quality that it almost requires the use of specially-manufactured containers to ensure adequate water-proofing and protection from other external pressures. Field expedients are seldom successful.
Selection of Cache Sites
The most thorough, careful study and hypotheses regarding future operational conditions cannot guarantee that a cache will be readily accessible when it is needed. It is crucial to remember the now-overused maxim, “Two is one; one is none.” Establish as many re-supply caches, in as many widely spaced locations as you can afford to establish, including duplicate caches of critical items such as weapons, ammunition, and foodstuffs.
Site selection criteria should center on three basic questions of absolute importance to the resistance element: a) Can the site be located by someone who has never been there, through simple, easily-understood instructions? A site may be absolutely ideal, but if your hillbilly Cousin Billy-Bob from East Toadfuck, Texas cannot find it using simple verbal instructions, it’s going to be useless. It must have multiple (at least two, preferably three or more, for compass triangulation) distant landmarks, and at least one suitably near landmark that is not likely to be moved between emplacement and recovery (don’t use a fucking tree as a landmark. I always assumed it went without saying, but I’ve seen cache recovery instructions that included “use the old dead tree as the near landmark. Take a magnetic bearing of ___ and walk fifteen meters.” Seriously? Because, you know, old dead trees don’t get blown the fuck over and rot away?) b)Are there a minimum of at least two access routes to get to and away from the cache site? Do both the primary and secondary approach routes offer concealed movement corridors so that both the emplacement and recovery parties can access the site without being seen by anyone who normally transits the area (I’m a big believer in at least tertiary access routes as well)? c) Can the cache in question be emplaced and recovered at this site, anytime of the year (A cache located in the Teton Mountains on the Idaho/Wyoming line might be pretty tough to recover if it were needed in February or March, since it would be under five or six feet of snow…assuming you could even find it, since many landmarks would be buried under snow as well)? Snow or frozen ground can make recovery impossible, since it is difficult or impossible to dig in, and snow means it is impossible to hide the presence of tracks leading to the cache site.
The first step in developing a cache site is the utilization of a map survey. By carefully scrutinizing the map, planners can decipher whether a specific area must be ruled out for cache emplacement, due to the nearness of human activity and facilities. A good topographical map can be used to determine all the positive features of a given area for a potential site, including the topography, proximity of roads, trails, and buildings, natural concealment such as vegetated terrain and/or rocky outcroppings, and adequate drainage. A map can also provide the indispensable reference points that will be necessary for development of a recovery plan for the cache, such as the geographical coordinates of nearby peaks and ridges, stream confluences, and deserted man-made structures and features.
Once several promising possible cache sites have been discerned through the map survey, someone in the caching element must conduct a personal surveillance of the potential sites, in order to determine that the on-the-ground reality matches the theory of the map. The survey member will need to carry adequate maps, a method of measuring distance, a compass, and a notebook to record specific coordinates and directions for potential emplacement sites (I hope it goes without saying that you should not record GPS way-points for cache locations). Since this individual will seldom be able to complete a field survey without being observed by members of the local civilian populace, even his neighbors, a solid cover story for his actions of critical. The observer’s story must offer a quick, concise, but logical reason for his being where he is (the local couch-potato who everyone knows sits in his mommy’s basement playing XBox all day claiming he’s always secretly been an avid outdoorsman and is simply out for a jaunt in the woods, isn’t going to fool anyone. It’s likely to get the local constabulary called on you for suspicious behavior).
Reference Points
When a planner or member of a dedicated logistics auxiliary network has located and determined to emplace a re-supply cache in a given location, he will need to include easily discernible key reference points in the cache report to help the follow-on elements to locate it.
The final reference point; the key to unlock the ultimate lock on locating the useful cache; is referred to as the FRP, and within the instructions, the FRP must meet four basic requirements. It must 1) be readily identifiable and at least one element of the FRP must be useful as a precise reference point (i.e. the northeastern-most corner of the abandoned church, or the last headstone on the southern corner of the cemetery, etc). 2) it must be something that will not be moved or disappear as long as the cache may be in place. 3) It must be near enough to the cache location to pinpoint the exact location of the cache by using precise linear directions and measurements from the FRP to the cache location (a 186-degree magnetic azimuth from the corner of the church is far more precise than a 186-degree magnetic azimuth from the front door of the church…). 4) The FRP must be related to any en route reference points by a simple route description proceeding from the intermediate reference points to the FRP (follow the old logging road from the intersection with County Road 99 south for two kilometers until you see the abandoned cemetery on the left side of the road). The route descriptions and reference points should be minimized to the absolutely essential details while being readily identifiable but still secluded enough to be functional for the role. Some commonly used reference points operators have used in the past for reference points include, but are certainly not limited to: small, infrequently used bridges or dams, geological boundary markers, mileage markers and culverts along infrequently used roads, monuments, churches, and other cultural reference markers with respected, but not commonly voiced local significance to ensure that they will not be “paved over” in the interest of development in the immediate area. When all else fails, it IS possible to use specific geographic coordinates for references, assuming that both parties involved, emplacement team and recovery element, will have GPS and the ability to utilize it for the task without compromise (far from certain in the coming struggles).
Using the Final Reference Point
Recovery instructions MUST include precise details to explain the EXACT location of a cache. These instructions should describe the location of the cache in relation to the FRP. For concealed caches, it is generally sufficient to precisely describe and locate the FRP, with the cache concealed inside the FRP. For the far more common buried cache however, there are four basic methods.
The simplest method is for the emplacement team to simply bury the cache directly next to the FRP. Pinpointing the cache location is then simply a matter of describing the precise reference point on the FRP. A second method is sighting the cache by projection. This is useful if the FRP has a flat side long enough to allow for precise aiming along the flat side of the FRP to the cache. The cache is simply buried a precise distance away from the FRP along the sighted line. The critical key here is to remember that the slightest deviation error in sighting the line will be magnified as the distance increases, so the cache should still be placed as close to the FRP as practical.
The third method of using the FRP is the use of two or more FRPs within a close proximity (ideally within a couple of meters at most). This is the most difficult method of precisely referencing the cache location and should thus be a last-ditch method (I’ve used this method on numerous occasions. It HAS always worked, but never well. I once solo backpacked across the southern half of Utah, from Cedar City to Moab, without following roads. At one point, crossing a small two-lane blacktop, I decided my pack was overloaded with extraneous shit, so I decided to cache a large portion of it. Since I was in the middle of fucking nowhere, I didn’t even bother to bury the cache. Instead, I wrapped all the material in a large trash bag, then placed it in a USGI waterproof bag, and tied the cache in the forks of a juniper tree. I used a mileage marker on the roadside as my intermediate reference point, and two nearby mountain peaks as my FRP to shoot magnetic azimuths from to intersect the exact location of the cache tree. I dutifully recorded all of it in my ever-present notebook/journal, and proceeded with the rest of my trip. Three weeks later, at the end of the overall four week trip, I got my shit back in order, and the following weekend, jumped in the truck and drove to the mileage marker. I easily identified the two peaks, shot azimuths, and walked to the cache tree….which wasn’t fucking there! I shot another azimuth, realized I was a degree or two off on one of my bearings, so I fixed it and adjusted. Still no cache tree…I started a search pattern, walking in increasing spirals, looking for the tree. Twenty minutes later, I found the tree, recovered the cache, and got back in the truck, and left. While I’m a HUGE fan of using azimuth bearings to locate the cache, this is ample evidence of the difficulties of using intersection/resection of multiple FRPs to locate a cache. If I had needed to locate the cache in a hurry, under cover of darkness, with my life and that of my comrades on the line, we’d have all been fucked.)
The final method of locating a buried cache reliably from the FRP is sighting with a magnetic azimuth from your compass (if you don’t know what the fuck a magnetic azimuth is, quit reading, right now, and Google your local orienteering club. Go join them and learn how to use a fucking map and compass!). It is utilized by simply taking a bearing with your compass from the precise reference point of the FRP to the cache location (this is generally my favorite method of locating caches. Every time I’ve ever used it–a lot–over the years, I’ve had no trouble whatsoever with locating the cache later). The only potential drawback is the level of ability and precision of the emplacement team and the recovery team to accurately read a compass and shoot an azimuth. Like sighting by projecting, any error will be magnified by distance. In general, either method should locate the cache within fifty meters of the precise reference point on the FRP.
Measuring Distances
While the mythical standard of measuring distances for caches in paces (walk ten paces from the big rock in the meadow) sounds simple and effective, if a moment of thought is put into it, the resistance element will realize what an incredibly fucking stupid idea it actually is. What are the chances that the emplacement operative will have the same length of pace as the recovery operative? Slim to none. Even if they turn out to be the same person, any number of issues could change the individual’s stride length from the time of emplacement to the time of recovery. Instead, use the normal, standard of measurement for linear distance in your area (for most of us, that’s yards. I use meters a lot, because of the military, but I still use yards when describing distances for most Americans.)
Concealment Sites
The “ideal” cache concealment site seldom is, simply because it IS “ideal.” Do not for one moment think that Sam the Stormtrooper will not check likely concealment locations for cached contraband when the door-kicking starts. Even in the event of a warrantless “sneak-and-peak” entry, Ned the Ninja is going to look for cached goodies. Do not, do not, DO NOT cache critical items in your home! Instead, seek out good concealment cache sites in the area, and consider the habits and customs of your neighbors and other local civilian populace when developing your cache resupply program.
Seek out abandoned buildings that are unlikely to be destroyed (or moved into by refugees!) public buildings (assuming you can figure out a way to smuggle your cache contents in), infrequently used facilities like stadiums, or other public venues, culverts, abandoned mines and quarries, and sewers/septic tanks.
The concealment location must be equally accessible to both parties. While it might seem feasible for the logistics cell to emplace a concealed cache in the attic at Aunt Myrtle’s, since she’s a nice old lady (if a touch daffy), and a vocal supporter of the regime, if she’s not related to the recovery team as well, it might be difficult for them to come up with a legitimate reason to show up and demand to grab some shit out of her attic!
Further, in case the cache IS discovered by regime security forces, it must be in a location that will not compromise individual network members. If Aunt Myrtle finds the cache of 10,000 rounds of 5.56 M855 in her attic, you better bet your ass she’s going to call the local constabulary. They’re going to start looking for Nephew Neil the gun-nut in a hurry. Besides, if Aunt Myrtle passes on or ends up in a nursing home while Cousin Connie sells the house, getting in to recover the ammunition is going to be a bitch.
Burial Sites
There are six critical considerations when planning a buried cache, along with the standard concerns about suitability and accessibility. Drainage considerations include both the elevation of the cache site and the surrounding ground, and the type of soil in the area. Clay or swamp muck is going to be far more difficult to work with than loam soil or an old garden spot. If the cache is located near a river or stream, the emplacement team must ensure that it is above the flood-plain to ensure that the cache doesn’t end up washing away.
Local vegetation is a far more critical concern than it would first appear. Deciduous forests, while a perfect choice at first glance, can be a bitch, since the roots of the trees make digging extremely time-consuming. Coniferous trees on the other hand have far less extensive root systems, typically indicate well-drained soil, and have the added benefit of doing a pretty good job of masking thermal signatures of human beings (oops…did I just type that?). This of course, ties into the third consideration of natural concealment on the location. Not only do you need to hide the personnel who are placing or recovering the cache, but you have to do something to conceal the burial site as well. For those who operate in deciduous forest country (God bless the spruce, pine, and juniper trees of the Inter-Mountain West!), consider the impact of seasonal variations in foliage and the resultant changes in natural concealment.
For those of us who do reside in high elevations and cold-weather country, it is critical to consider the impact of normal snowfall, depth of ground freeze, and the usual freeze and thaw dates. Since it will be almost impossible to mask the disturbance to snow cover in winter conditions, cache locations should take this into account by emplacement in areas that mask the snow fall and drift to some degree, or where the disturbance to the snow cover will not seem out-of-place.
Finally, consideration must take into account the possibility of underground obstacles such as large rocks or sewer, subway (in urban environments), or water main lines that can interfere with the ability to dig a burial site for the cache.
Nous Defions!
John Mosby
Somewhere in the mountains

(In the previous installment of this article, we discussed–well, I discussed, you read–a great deal of the art and science of locating and hiding caches, in an overview sort of way. In this installment, I will endeavor to get you thinking of methods of packaging the materials to be cached, the contents of the different types of caches, and how to develop a written cache report format. –J.M.)
In reference to caches, the term packaging refers not only to whatever container you decide to hide your goodies in, but also the additional processing needed to protect those items from adverse storage conditions. Proper packaging is absolutely crucial, because inadequate packaging, in the face of those adverse storage conditions (and let’s face it, being buried in the dirt, or exposed to the elements, is generally adverse for most manufactured goods), WILL render the cached items useless in short order (how bad would it suck to be ten days into a planned four-day foot-mobile patrolling movement, dig up your food re-supply cache…and find out the cans of Spaghetti-Os had rusted through, leaking them all over the beef jerky, which had been gnawed on and shit on by mice?).
Determining Factors
All packaging needs to be tailored to the specific cache. The method of packaging, size, shape, and weight of the container need to be predicated on what items are to be included in the cache, as well as how you anticipate it being recovered (in MY dream world, all my caches would be in 24′ CONEX boxes, would include a generator, refrigerator full of Coca-Cola, a month’s supply of Copenhagen, a queen sized bed, and recovery would be accomplished with a Case backhoe…). For individual-specific caches, intended to be recovered by one person, the container should generally be no larger than a small suitcase or backpack, with an upper weight limit of around 30-40 pounds, to facilitate ease of recovery and the necessity of moving the cached goods. Obviously some equipment will automatically negate this as a possibility, but those should be the exception that prove the rule. If more than one person will be expected to recover the cache (i.e. a cache of ammunition re-supply for a 4-6 man paramilitary team), then the packaging should still be divided into separate packages that are readily portable by the individuals.
 When it confronting the specter of those adverse environmental conditions, the logistics cell must recognize that any or all of the common threats to caches may be present: moisture, external pressure, freezing temperatures (in the northern Rockies? No way….), bacteria and chemical corrosive agents found in much soil, and even the threat of animals digging into the cache (insects or rodents…in larger caches, concealed in exterior sites, larger animals may pose a threat of damage. There’s a reason Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks require bear-proof containers for food storage in the backcountry). The suitability of packaging typically depends on the care taken in analyzing the site-specific considerations during the planning process (Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance, remember?). The method of cache to be used (concealment, burial, submersion), must be determined in the earliest planning stages, long before any packaging is undertaken.
Even in typical, active UW scenarios, it is often difficult to know when a specific cache will be needed. In the case of the modern American resistance, most do not even know when the active phase of operations will begin, let alone how soon after that a specific cache will be called on. For these reasons, a doctrinally sound rule to follow is to design the packaging to withstand adverse storage conditions for at least the duration of the normal shelf life of the contents of the cache.
The Packaging Process
The exact process for packaging a specific cache will depend upon the unique requirements of the cache and on what packaging material is available. Typically however, there are certain steps that are almost always necessary:
  1. Inspection: Inspect any items to be included in the cache for serviceability. It would suck doubly bad to be running an E&E corridor, recover an arms cache to re-arm yourself, and discover that the dumb motherfucker who established the cache didn’t know that the AKM he cached was missing the firing pin.
  2. Cleaning: All corrodible parts, such as unfinished metal, must be thoroughly cleaned immediately prior to packaging, before any final preservative coatings are applied. Any foreign matter, but especially any known or suspected corrosive agents, should be removed completely. It is a good idea, and generally accepted best practice, to handle any items to be cached, with rubber gloves between the cleaning stage and final packaging, to prevent corrosion from the salts and acids in human sweat from your hands (never mind the whole reality that any fingerprints inadvertently left on the materials would paint a giant target on your back if the cache was discovered by regime security forces!).
  3. Drying: Following the cleaning process, items should be thoroughly dried. While any one method might suffice, I suggest a three-fold process. Wipe the contents down with a dry, highly absorbent towel, then oven-dry or air-dry on a sunny day, and finally, add a desiccant packet inside the packaging. To oven-dry items, place them in an oven for at least 3 hours at a temperature of about 110 degrees F.
  4. Coat with Preservative: A light coat of preservative oil may be applied to weapons, tools, or other unpainted metal surfaces.
  5. Wrapping: Items should be wrapped in a suitable material for the added protection offered. The wrapping material should be as nearly waterproof as possible. Each item should be waterproofed individually, in order to prevent one un-noticed perforation exposing all the items in the cache. The wrapping needs to fit as tightly as possible, with little or no air remaining, and any seams or openings should be sealed with a waterproof substance.
  6. Packing: When final packing of the cache is conducted, all moisture should be removed from the interior of the container by heating or applying desiccant (again, there’s no harm in overkill–do both). Air pockets should be eliminated, as much as humanly possible, by tight packing within the container. If nothing else is necessary, or desired in the cache, use clean, dried clothing, or other soft, dry padding material that might be useful to the recovery party, whenever possible, to fill in the extra space, and to provide extra protection against shock.
  7. Enclose Instructions: If necessary, or possibly necessary, enclose instructions in how to use the specific items in the cache to facilitate use or assembly by recovery party personnel. If a weapons cache, it might even be a good idea to enclose the technical manual for the particular weapon, including armorer’s instructions for field-level repairs of the common shortcomings of the weapon(s) systems in the cache.
  8. Seal and Test: When packing is complete, the lid of the container must be sealed to make it watertight. Testing should be conducted to ensure that it is, in fact, waterproof. Testing should be conducted, if possible, by completely submerging the container in a hot water bath and watching for escaping water bubbles (hot water will reveal leaks that might not be revealed by cold-water. I don’t understand the science behind it, but that’s why I’m not a fucking scientist).
Wrapping Materials
The single most critical characteristic of wrapping material is that it is moisture-proof. Additionally, it should be either self-adhesive, or allow the use of an adhesive sealing agent. The material should be pliable enough to to wrap tightly, with close folds and it should be tough enough to resist tears or punctures during handling. The simplest way to ensure both pliability and durability, is to combine two layers: an inner, pliable layer, and an outer, more resilient barrier. The tough outer wrap is absolutely essential, unless the container and padding is adequate to prevent items from scraping together inside the cache. There are several generally recommended wrapping materials that are easy to use and readily available, and I’ve used everything from aluminum foil and trashbags wrapped with 100-mph tape, to Zip-Lock baggies, to Tyvek house-wrap that I taped tightly and then glued the seams shut on. For my use now, I stick to two methods, both of which I heartily recommend:
  1. For items small enough, the best wrapping available is a FoodSeal-type vacuum sealer. Simply place the item in the plastic, cut it to size, use the vacuum-sealer, and you have a waterproof wrapping, with little or no airspace left inside. It’s idiot-simple.
  2. For larger, bulkier items, I wrap the item tightly in heavy-duty kitchen-grade aluminum foil (one of the most highly recommended wrapping materials, doctrinally. It’s waterproof, unless it gets perforated or torn, self-sealing, and conforms tightly to the shape of whatever is being wrapped), then I wrap it in asphalt-type roofing felt, sealing the edges together with roofing tar. It seems to work like a charm, even for several years.
Container Criteria
While many items could theoretically be concealed in just the inner wrapping materials (especially when using the roofing felt method), the outer container helps to protect the contents from shock, pressure, moisture, animal depredations, and other hazards that the cache may be exposed to, especially when buried. The ideal container should be completely waterproof and air-tight after sealing, resistant to shock and abrasions, able to withstand crushing pressures, lightweight, and equipped with a sealing device that can be closed and reopened easily and repeatedly, and capable of withstanding highly alkaline or acidic soil conditions.
  1. instrument containers: high-end containers such as Pelican cases are resilient and waterproof enough to be used for caches, and they come in various sizes. The biggest drawback to the Pelican cases is, of course, the expense. A less expensive alternative would be to scour military surplus stores and government liquidation auctions to find the steel containers that aircraft and other precision instruments are shipped in. These have waterproof seals, for obvious reasons, and range from 1/2 gallon to 10 gallons in size.
  2. Ammunition cans: the standard favorite of “survivalists” and “militia” types everywhere, steel ammo cans with the rubber gaskets intact do work remarkably well, and are relatively inexpensive. The only potential drawback is the size limitations, which are negligible, since you can find anything from a small .30-caliber can, all the way up to the larger cans used for 40-mm grenades, or even rockets.
  3. Steel Drums: the other classic favorite, the steel 55-gallon drum, actually suffers from a couple of drawbacks. The obvious one is the sheer size. No recovery team is going to get that barrel out on a hurry, and depending on what the cache contents are, they might not even be able to carry all the shit that will fit inside. Secondly, the most common types available lack suitable sealing lids. If used, waterproofing sealant must be used around all openings (seriously, unless you’re planning an arms cache to resupply a fucking platoon, I recommend staying away from 55-gallon drums. If you must use them, use the heavy-duty plastic type, since they will withstand corrosion better.
  4. Paint cans: Often overlooked by most, these are actually a recommended container in SOF literature on the subject. They do require a waterproofing seal around the re-closeable lids, and they are thin metal so they don’t hold up to corrosion for very long, but they are almost a perfect size for a one-man pistol and ammunition re-supply, if placed for an evader who will be using it within a short period of time. It is highly recommended that you either paint the exterior of the can, or, better, treat it thoroughly with several coats of roofing tar compound.
  5. Five-Gallon buckets: What survivalist/prepper doesn’t have a metric shit-ton of plastic, five-gallon buckets with resealable lids laying around for food-storage. As long as they are not buried too deep, where crushing from pressure becomes an issue, these are almost perfect cache containers. One bucket can hold almost an entire outfit of gear for one man (LC-2 type LBE, a can of ammunition in magazines, a change of clothes, some boots, and some food. Even a small carbine or rifle, broken down, can fit. A shop-built SMG would be a good fit here, after it had been thoroughly tested for function. I may have a couple of these with AR lowers, complete, and SBR uppers stashed away somewhere. Or I would, if it wouldn’t be a violation of BATE fiat regulations…)
Types of Caches
(The following section is completely non-doctrinal. While it may have existed in SF doctrinal literature at one time, I am not aware of it. These are strictly my personnel concepts. –J.M.)
For an underground resistance, I envision three basic types of cache functions.
  1. The first is the guerrilla re-supply cache we’ve been discussing. These would be widely dispersed over an organization’s entire projected area of operations, to facilitate re-supply on the move in the future. These may also, in the future, be short-term emplacements made by members of the subversive underground or the auxiliary, to facilitate operations by the subversive underground or the paramilitary guerrilla force, based on specific operational requirements.
  1. The second is the “storage” cache. This is a method of dispersing your normal preparedness supplies stockpiles. Instead of having everything in your basement or “doomsday bunker-retreat” where it is easy and convenient for regime security forces, foreign peacekeepers, or roving bands of criminal looters to locate and steal it, this would allow you to maintain control or possession of various critical elements of your preparedness items, even if you had to “bug out” into evasion mode.
  1. The third, and final cache function, as I see it, is the individual evasion cache. These would be small, one-man re-supplies, along planned evasion corridors (primary, secondary, and tertiary, at a minimum). Caches should be placed within one or two days’ walking distance of each other, to act as en route waypoints for re-supply as the evader moves. This would allow him to minimize the load he carried in his “go-bag” evasion kit, facilitating faster travel during the evasion.
Potential Cache Contents Concepts
Caches typically contain certain combinations of items, based on the mission requirements of the recovery element unit, and the projected operational needs within the area. An alternative way of looking at possible cache contents is to consider the “go-bag” paradigm. What categories of items would you include in a “go-bag?” Include those categories in your caches, unless it is a specialized cache (such as an arms cache, or a water or food-resupply cache). These might include:
  1. Water: again, canteens, bladders, filters or other purification methods.
  2. shelter and clothing: sleep systems, clothing, tarps, tents, etc.
  3. Fire starting methods: matches, lighters, tinder, magnesium strikers.
  4. Food: MREs (the only application I still have for MREs, because I’d have to be dying to eat the fucking things!)
  5. Medical supplies: A feasability study should be conducted to determine the need for caching medical supplies. While some items, such as CAT-Tourniquets, bandages, and other non-perishables is self-evident, the expiration dates and the actual expiration of other medical supplies, from blood-expanding fluids in IV bags, to anti-biotics (tetracyclines, for example go toxic after expiration, instead of just losing potency), must be weighed against the projected time-table of recovery.
  6. Communications: GMRS/FRS two-way radios, HAM receiver, or complete radios.
  7. Light Sources: flashlights, candles, lanterns, batteries, fuels.
  8. Tools: knives, hatchets or axes, saws, wire, repair kits, pioneer tools.
  9. Money: silver, gold, or cash, depending on the projected scenario, and who exactly you expect to be spending it with. For use in the black-market, any of the above might be an option. For use with the civilian populace, cash will generally be the most readily exchangeable, since they will be able to turn around and spend it as well.
  10. Weapons: Whether complete weapons, critical parts, support supplies (cleaning kits, magazines, load-bearing equipment, etc), these are an obvious cache item (all three cache functions).

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Kyle Lamb talks Concealed Carry

CSM (ret) Lamb has mentioned his preference for a sub compact double stack auto's in appendix carry in the past. The other options he mentions are good too. Pretty much a 4 minute knowledge bomb.

Incidentally Paul Howe carries a G26 appendix. John Mosby packs a Glock 9mm of some flavor appendix also. It is interesting to see commonalities in the equipment set up's of really experienced people.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

RE: Prior Proper Performance Prevents Piss Poor Planning

"A man's got to know his limitations" -Inspector Harry Callaghan AKA Dirty Harry

John Mosby wrote a post worth thinking about.

-John's half sarcastic point that we all need to train to measurable standards or we honestly don't have a clue where we are is 100% valid. We really do have to train to measurable standards, otherwise it is just screwing around. How ever I sort of look at this article from a different angle. 

-As an 'O' in the Army I am not a trigger puller per se. My primary job, at least in a general sense, is planning and supervising operations both in garrison and the field. It would be reasonable, though simplistic, to say as an Officer my job is to assess situations, make plans to achieve a desired end state, help to ensure those things are properly executed then adapt those plans as needed. I guess the point is I plan a lot of stuff.

-During the planning of an operation at work we are encouraged to use METT-TC to understand the situation prior to making a plan. METT-TC means Mission, Enemy, Terrain, Troops, Time, Civil Considerations. Moving past the other pieces since they are not part of this discussion we can focus on the Troops piece.

-What I am getting at is that leaders/ planners need to know their people's equipment, skills, fitness, maintenance status, capabilities, supply situation and current state of health/ rest.

-While it should be obvious why we need to know this stuff let me illustrate. Say the goal is to conduct a raid on an enemy outpost of several men with 1x light armored vehicle with medium machine gun. Am I a Mech Infantry Platoon Leader with 2x M2A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicles, 2x medium machine guns, a gaggle of light machine guns and 30 some odd decently trained fit soldiers? Am I an SF A Team leader with a dozen very well trained very fit guys, probably a couple of medium machine guns, maybe a DM/ sniper rifle or two? Am I a leader of a local guerrilla group with a dozen guys of very questionable fitness levels armed with a mix of civilian military pattern (AK/ AR/etc) and hunting rifles whose standard of marksmanship is hitting an 8" paper plate 8/10 times at a hundred meters?

-Are my guys healthy and well rested or have they been fighting out in the woods for a week or two strait with maybe 3 hours of broken up sleep between guard shifts per 24 hour period? Have they been well fed or have we been on starvation rations? Do we have enough ammo/ batteries/ etc or are we short?

-What I am getting at is that the honest no crap capabilities of your force matter significantly when you go to make and then ultimately try to execute a plan. If your troops can't hit squat past a hundred meters then a 'long range ambush' from 400 meters is just a waste of ammo. If your troops can't get their fat non muscular selves over an 8 foot wall then you better come up with a plan that doesn't involve climbing over the wall. If your only potential 'covert operative' is a white guy with a crew cut, USMC tat's and a Southern Drawl you are not going to infiltrate the local La Raza branch.

-Make reasonable plans based on the force you have, not the one you wish you had.


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Cache Types, Escape and Evasion and Ancillary Thoughts Theiron

In a recent post about m Operational Cache there was a comment which I just wasn't sure what to do with.

Matt LBS said "If you can do so without giving away too much OPSEC, I'd love to hear about how your current cache is set up as far as location, access, etc. I can't remember if you've discussed that previously. Might help out with the one I am planning for myself currently. I am struggling with location and accessibility on mine. Not that I live my life generally outside the law or anything like that, but I also am debating over whether or not to place at a location that someone looking for me when I might need to disappear might expect me to go for such a thing. Think storing at a "peripheral" friends house, rather than your best friends house. Using a cousin, rather than mom and dad. That sort of thing. The "closer" to you a person is generally the easier the access, but it's also the most obvious choice that may hamper your ability to go off the grid in a pinch. Hopefully I'd never need to disappear, but I don't want to just forfeit that ability either. Of course if you are burying a cache somewhere random, then you don't have that problem, but might lose on the accessibility factor. So many things to consider for an operational cache."

So I thought about it for awhile. Also I couldn't really do a good post on it with my phone so I was halfway stalled out (the other half still thinking). Last night and this morning I pretty much figured out my response.

First I got to thinking about the fundamental goal of a cache. In my mind the fundamental goal of pre placing potentially needed items in a location where you will need them (caching) is to go from the logistical situation you anticipate arriving at to the one you want to be at; with budget, item shelf live/ storage, available space and the security/ integrity of the cache as  our biggest constraints.

Taking another step back I got to thinking about specific types of caches, a categorization if you will. From John Mosby's seminal post on the topic we get 3 types of caches:
Types of Caches
For an underground resistance, I envision three basic types of cache functions.
  1. The first is the guerrilla re-supply cache we’ve been discussing. These would be widely dispersed over an organization’s entire projected area of operations, to facilitate re-supply on the move in the future. These may also, in the future, be short-term emplacements made by members of the subversive underground or the auxiliary, to facilitate operations by the subversive underground or the paramilitary guerrilla force, based on specific operational requirements.
  1. The second is the “storage” cache. This is a method of dispersing your normal preparedness supplies stockpiles. Instead of having everything in your basement or “doomsday bunker-retreat” where it is easy and convenient for regime security forces, foreign peacekeepers, or roving bands of criminal looters to locate and steal it, this would allow you to maintain control or possession of various critical elements of your preparedness items, even if you had to “bug out” into evasion mode.
  1. The third, and final cache function, as I see it, is the individual evasion cache. These would be small, one-man re-supplies, along planned evasion corridors (primary, secondary, and tertiary, at a minimum). Caches should be placed within one or two days’ walking distance of each other, to act as en route waypoints for re-supply as the evader moves. This would allow him to minimize the load he carried in his “go-bag” evasion kit, facilitating faster travel during the evasion.

Personally I see two additional types:
 4. Operational Cache. Hoss USMC called this a 'Minuteman Cache'. To me the goal of this cache is to equip an individual to conduct defensive and offensive combative as a rifleman. So we are going to have a rifle, probably a pistol, ammo, ancillary gun stuff (mags, cleaning junk, etc), field clothes, sleeping gear, some food, basic survival stuff, some food, etc. One could argue this is part of Johns #1 and I might even see it that way myself. [I am putting this together on the fly since I have computer access and idle moments while the kids nap. Will thing and update as applicable later.]

5. Survival Cache. Say my plan E was to go to the Big Ridge Wilderness Area and live out in the woods. This cache, or more realistically series of caches would be set up to help support that plan. Since I have worked through the P, A and C plans things are not going well so I do not expect to drive out there with the family hauler and a loaded trailer. Lets say I expect to arrive there via LPC with individual weapons, the gear in a ruck and not much else.

Say I do up a big cache in 2 barrels 200 meters apart. They each have 2 tarps, an axe, a saw, a hatchet, rope, a gun with some ammo, a pair of hunting knives, a poncho, wool blanket and full set of clothes/ boots per person, a cast iron frying pan, a couple pots, some metal bowls and silverware, 60 pounds of dried staples, some spices, some OTC meds, a gun with some ammo, some fishing stuff, an emergency radio, some candles, rope and other doo dads.

Say throughout the larger area I have a dozen smaller caches with matches, a knife, some ammo, some water purification tabs, etc and as much food as I can shove in that are in 5 gallon buckets.

Anyway getting back to the original comment reply. Matt LBS said "If you can do so without giving away too much OPSEC, I'd love to hear about how your current cache is set up as far as location, access, etc. I can't remember if you've discussed that previously. Might help out with the one I am planning for myself currently. I am struggling with location and accessibility on mine. Not that I live my life generally outside the law or anything like that, but I also am debating over whether or not to place at a location that someone looking for me when I might need to disappear might expect me to go for such a thing. Think storing at a "peripheral" friends house, rather than your best friends house. Using a cousin, rather than mom and dad. That sort of thing. The "closer" to you a person is generally the easier the access, but it's also the most obvious choice that may hamper your ability to go off the grid in a pinch. Hopefully I'd never need to disappear, but I don't want to just forfeit that ability either. Of course if you are burying a cache somewhere random, then you don't have that problem, but might lose on the accessibility factor. So many things to consider for an operational cache."

I think what you are describing is more of an Escape and Evasion cache than an operational cache. Though in fairness we could break down E&E caches to urban/ grid up and rural/ grid down/ red dawn. One would be used if you need to get the heck out of there because Tony Soprano, The Trilateral Commission/ Illuminati or the cops are after you and you need to get out of dodge. The other would be handy if you are running from the UN/ Chinese invaders who want to send you to a labor camp or I guess if you want to pull an Eric Rudolph.

The gear needed for these caches is going to be fundamentally different. An urban/ grid up E&E cache is going to be something like 'change of clothes. handgun with spare mags, a few burner cell phones, lots of cash, the best fake ID you can put together'. This is going to be a small kit like day pack to small duffel bag sized. Think more Jason Borne safe deposit box
and less Terminator 2.

A/ grid down/ red dawn E&E set up might contain a lot of the stuff for an operational cache albeit with the goal of staying light and on the move. So maybe a change of clothes including boots and outerwear, a rifle or sub gun, a pistol and a day pack with a bunch of granola bars, some survival stuff and a poncho with woobie.

As to locations to store these types of caches.

I would not want to be running to a family member/ friend if the Tony Soprano/ the FBI or the UN/ Chinese invaders were after me. Many criminals get caught when they are stupid and go to Momma's house, or call her. Sure a second cousin is less likely to be watched but it is still well within the realm of possibility someone could be watching so that is a bad risk.

For a rural cache I would put it between where I anticipated being and where I planned to go. If doing multiples I might put one near my start point and one part way.

For an urban one on a more permanent basis you can get storage lockers anonymously if you are stashing that much stuff. For smaller stashes in a discrete way I am less sure about good options.

I should also note that one may be discrete from the other. Maybe you have a urban E&E cache near home/ work in case something bad happens and a couple AK's or AR's buried on Uncle Jebs Farm or in the nearby National Forest in case it turns out you need them.

Anyway I am out of thoughts on this subject for now. If I have enough new thoughts maybe I will do another post.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Knowledge Bombs with John Mosby and FerFal

John Mosby was on some pod cast called the Spearhead Transmission last Wednesday. I noticed on his blog and listened to it tonight after the kids went to bed. So much great stuff.

FerFAL talks 'An Economic Collapse: What it means and what it is really like.' FerFAL drops some very depressing knowledge bombs on an economic collapse. In the type of scenario he lays out which is quite plausible typical survivalist thought is in many ways flawed....

 You are still going to be working at some sort of job, or trying to find one, you are still going to be paying bills, you will not be able to shoot the neighborhood troubleshooters with an AK and put their heads on fence posts. You will have to pay taxes on that doomstead and hiding in a bunker for a decade or two is a hard plan to work out. Like will be like it is now but crappier in pretty much every way.

Derek Weida AKA the jacked dude with one leg who does videos with Matt Best AKA MBest11X does an excellent video on losing weight. Warning rated R for language. It is not IMO offensive but there are quite a few F bombs and some mildly sexual comedic tangents. Still one of the better basic diet/ nutrition things I have seen.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Max Velocity Talks Normalacy Bias and Load Out's

Posts that directly inspired this:

To Chest Rig or Not? This is a well thought out post that has, itself, little I disagree with. However the comments coming from it have brought some strong opinions and interesting discussion.

John Mosby talks Normalcy Bias

Max Velocity talks Normalcy Bias

Max Velocity talks Two Tactical Worlds

First I want to address the mindset issues here. The reason for this is mindset is more important than stuff. Also that mindset drives stuff, not the other way around!

John Mosby's points that you need to 1) Accept that “normal” is no longer “normal.” This requires more than simply telling yourself. It requires internalizing it as reality and truth. It’s great for patriotic, conservative, Americans to long for yesteryear, and the greatness of the Pax Americana. It’s also completely fucking delusional. America is only a superpower now, among nation-state actors. The transnational terrorist groups do not recognize American sovereignty and superiority. If they did, they would never have started fighting, or would have yielded by now. A wall along the Mexican border is great…except we already know there are more tunnels than an goddamned ant farm, traversing the border. So, sure, let’s drop several billion dollars building a wall that won’t be any more useful than the locks on your car door are (remember, as my grandfather told me when I was a kid, “car locks only keep honest people honest.”). Illegal aliens are going to continue crossing the border, and there’s not a damned thing you can do about it, outside of genocide, or the total collapse of our economy. 2) Recognize what the “new normal” implies for you and yours. This may range from reduced police presence in your neighborhood or community, especially for dealing with property crimes and other “minor” issues. Think about what happened in NYC last year after two officers were assassinated, sitting in their cruiser. If you live in a really shitty neighborhood, where people are as likely to assault cops as help them, you should—justifiably–expect the same thing. As my wife pointed out yesterday, when she heard that people were “acting out” in Ferguson, on the anniversary of the Wilson-Brown shooting, “if I was a cop, I wouldn’t even respond to calls in their neighborhood. Fuck them. If they hate me, why help them?”

Ryan here: 
I think it is worth noting the situation at an individual level is very localized. I'm talking tank of gas and maybe the nearby big town you go to quarterly for doctors appointments, to the airport, etc. While national trends and events are symptomatic of a larger issue they are mostly just noise. Case in point I could give a rip about Detroit turning into Tijuana or Ferguson because I am nowhere near them. However there are some trends that are truly nation wide like say certain groups being given special snowflake status which further emboldens bad behavior and individuals of non special snowflake status almost certainly getting the book thrown at them for legitimate self defense. Also that, while crime rates may not be that high on the large average predominantly urban problems slipping out to the burbs, small towns and rural areas.

Max (Actually some guy named DIZ on the MVT forum) describes the 'new normal of today' and 
'what may reasonable come in the near future' as  conventional crime and unconventional crime. 

I think this is an OK way of putting it though a bit binary. Reality is a lot more of a continuum of potential outcomes ranging from rising crime and a bad economy (we are very arguably there now) on one end through some sort of unrest and a full on economic collapse through civil war and eventually passing the historically likely to say an EMP and then ending with a strait up nuclear war.

Also I feel strongly that we should put more energy into preparing for the statistically much more likely events than less likely ones. You are way more likely to get in a fist fight that may go to concealed handguns than do battle drill 1A for real out in the woods with your buddies. It is important to prepare for the less likely contingencies but you need to survive today to get to that potential dark future. I think a big part of preparedness is preparing for various scenarios we might face now in order to minimize their impact on us if/ when those events happen. Tactical Tommy might be preparing for a car jacking or an active shooter situation as his worse case scenario. However Survivalist Sam is training for that and to do battle drills with his buddies.

I think that sufficiently covers my opinion on the mindset piece.

Now onto gear.

It seems logical to me that we would first decide on how many mags to carry and then on the best way to carry them. Of course not all defensive carbine related scenarios are created equal. Here is my take on some realistic scenarios. Lets presume a pretty standard 30rd magazine. Just my opinion.

Home defense: 1-2 reloads. Even in the wildest and least likely scenario of 3-4 Goblins all off whom have guns this is still PLENTY of ammo. At in house ranges no way I am shooting off that much ammo without stopping the bad guys or getting stopped by the bad guys.

Active Shooter: 3-4 reloads. Lets say Mumbai or crom forbid Beslan type with multiple shooters armed with rifles. Honestly this is more from an LEO type perspective because Ryan is going to GTFO of one off these situations and won't need that much ammo. However an LEO might get in a relatively prolonged fight and or potentially use some fire and maneuver techniques.

Some sort of riot or localized civil unrest such as say Hurricane Katrina for the most part falls into this range also. That being said I see long guns as having a narrow role here. If I was moving around it would almost certainly be armed with a concealed pistol and maybe a rifle handy. I find it unlikely that I would be moving around with a rifle because well it would cause attention and potentially get me arrested.

Lets say I was say helping a friend guard their pawn shop LA Riots or Hurricane Katrina style. I would be quite comfortable with having about this much ammo on my body. Sure there is some violence in this type of scenarios and gun fire people are not, to the best of my personal knowledge, getting in tons of crazy gun fights. Since the only place I would really be wielding a rifle would be a fixed location a few mags in a bag or something would be available for resupply.

Full on fighting load. Like for a war or some sort of Mad Max ish scenario: 6+ reloads. We could quibble about exact numbers but they would be situational/ mission dependent. For reference I think my battle belt is set up for 10. My pistol belt with Costa Leg Rig and chest rig holds 9 or 10.

Now to how to carry this ammo.

The fluidity of events combined with the benefits of keeping things the same as much as we can in our setups heavily favors some sort of tiered system.

For the home defense setup if a person decided on one reload they could legitimately have it on the gun, like a ready mag or a buttstock pouch. More than that and you need some sort of gear. It could be a pair of pants with some pouches on a belt, a chest rig, a battle belt or a PC set up with your stuff on it. [As a tangent I generally disfavor this method except at the real bottom end. If you are going to have 2-3 reloads, maybe a med kit and a knife AND plan to use a PC I'd just put the stuff on the PC. This really tops out at the 'active shooter' ammo count.]

After a lot of consideration I went with a pistol belt an Costa Leg Rig.
 From left to right Costa Leg Rig with 2x rifle reloads, 1x pistol reload, flashlight, TK4 Tourniquet and Compressed Gauze. Safariland holster with ghetto rigged leg strap and kabar knife. Not shown Glock 19 with Streamlight TLR-1.
 As worn with the front to the bottom. Costa Leg rig on one side, knife and holster on the other.
Leg rig up close. Yes that is tape holding it in place.

To do:

There are some non padded belts that have inner loops which would be great for this. Might upgrade from this decade old TT belt at some point.

Get a pair of light suspenders. For prolonged use my lack of behind or hips tend to make it move towards the ground.

Get a small admin pouch that could hold a few items like a compass and a lighter. Maybe a NOD pouch too.

Active shooter setup: I don't really have a great plan for this. It would be my pistol belt plus a way to carry a bit more ammo and maybe an admin pouch. Guess either I would add a couple mag pouches on the front of a PC or use one of those minimalist chest rigs that are all the rage. Or slap a mag on the butt stock of my rifle/ put one in a pocket and call it good.

Full on Fighting Load: Pistol belt plus chest rig. The chest rig isn't totally set up but I'll get there. Honestly I need to think this out a bit. I have a chest rig and a variety of pouches so I probably have a 75% solution in the garage.

The modularity of this setup is handy. I could remove the chest rig, say when doing work, around camp, etc but keep the pistol belt and have a pretty decent bit of capability.

I am not ditching the battle belt as it has a place but I think this setup is forming into my go to. 

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