Showing posts with label Max Velocity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Max Velocity. Show all posts

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Train With Max Velocity This Fall: 28 SEP 6 Day Course

Posted: 12 Sep 2014 02:37 PM PDT
I have four spaces available on the September 28 – October 3 6 day combined CRCD / Combat Patrol Class.

This class is also running Combat Lifesaver (TC3) on September 27, due to most of the class having signed up for it.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Now Shipping to Patriots and Survivalists Near You The MVT Shield



The MVT SHIELD is a patent pending, commercially produced military grade thermal shelter. The MVT SHIELD is multi-purposed as a camouflaged thermally protected tarp designed to provide the user with a thermal shield to defeat FLIR/thermal imaging surveillance and targeting. The MVT SHIELD also functions as a lightweight, waterproof covering which also works as a rain shelter, ground cloth, survival shelter, sunshade, gear cover, emergency litter or overnight shelter against the weather. The MVT SHIELD is based on a high quality nylon  design rather than poly-pro, so it folds up and packs away just like a military ‘poncho’ shelter or equivalent nylon tarp.
The MVT SHIELD has been a developing concept since writing about out the ‘thermal poncho’ concept on the Max Velocity Tactical blog and in the novel ‘Patriot Dawn: The Resistance Rises’ and the manual ‘Contact: A Tactical Manual for Post Collapse Survival’. Max Velocity Tactical has moved away from the ‘thermal poncho’ name to avoid confusion over the utilization of the MVT SHIELD.

USE:
The MVT SHIELD is designed primarily for use in a static position, to be strung up like a shelter tarp, taking advantage of the air gap between the person underneath and the thermal shield properties of the tarp to defeat FLIR. Uses: rain shelter, thermal shield, emergency thermal blanket, primarily designed as static shelter but can be pulled over you in an emergency. The MVT SHIELD can be carried in a pack or pouch and deployed into a thermally shielded shelter as needed. The product is supplied with a stuff-sack pouch, with the packed size of that pouch being 12″ x 6″.
PRODUCT DETAILS:
The MVT SHIELD is 68″ x 88″ (5.6′ x 7.3′), coyote brown on both sides, weighing 2.5 lbs. It is constructed using a double layer of two strong, lightweight nylon tarps. The tarps are rugged, 1.9 oz rip-stop nylon with a waterproof, urethane coating. To allow deployment the tarps are constructed with reinforced webbing tie-outs, three per side including corners. In addition to the perimeter tie-outs there are also three additional tie-outs across the center ridge-line to aid deployment.
Thermal Shield Properties:
Between the two layers of the nylon tarps is sandwiched a double layer of LDPE-4 heat-reflective material, each layer individually  blocks blocks 97% of body heat emissions when held in contact with the body. Each single layer is 30%-50% thicker than a standard thermal blanket, making it more durable. It is also protected by the exterior sandwiching nylon tarps. The interior thermal layer is puncture-resistant and does not fracture if the edges are nicked, as metallized polyester blankets do. The layer is softer and quieter than products made from metallized polyester (“Mylar”), or the cheaper metallized polypropylene, which rattle with every movement.
Best use of the this product as a thermal shield and camouflage shelter will be attained when utilized with conventional camouflage and concealment techniques, in  particular terrain masking and camouflage utilizing foliage and/or the tree canopy. The MVT SHIELD has been tested utilizing FLIR thermal imagers. When correctly deployed as a shelter tarp with an air gap between the person underneath and the MVT SHIELD, there is no body heat transfer through the SHIELD, making the occupant invisible to detection by FLIR/thermal imagers.
Deployment & Customization:
The MVT SHIELD is designed to be deployed in the same way as military tarps that are utilized as rain shelters; the additional of a thermally protected layer providing full shelter from FLIR surveillance. The MVT SHIELD can be deployed using bungee cord or paracord/string tied to nearby trees or objects, or pegged to the ground; it can also be used with tent poles and tent pegs, purpose built or temporary, and it can be set up against any structure, including fence-lines or similar, even to screen the openings of foxholes, bunkers or observation posts.
Points:
1) The MVT Shield will, at least initially, be made in coyote brown. This provides an excellent base color that can be adapted to your environment and/or season. More on that in the photos, below. The size is 68 x 88 inches, which is 5.6′ x 7.3′.
2) The MVT Shield, both this specific design as well as the general concept using less effective methods, has been tested and will block viewing of your thermal image, including all thermal bloom through the material. The outer sandwich layers are constructed of 70 denier rip-stop coated nylon with an inner double layer of thermal blocking material.
3) The MVT Shield is designed to be optimally used in conjunction with good fieldcraft, i.e. terrain and vegetation masking, as well as with an air gap between the user and the material. It is designed to provide you with a usable and serviceable tactical shelter tarp, as well as an emergency thermal blanket. It is therefore multi-use, being a weather and thermal shield as well as a casualty blanket. If you put this up as part of your standard shelter SOP, you have also masked your thermal signature.
4) The MVT Shield is made in the USA, literally by  a cottage industry. They are made by the fair hand of the wife of a student who attended an MVT class.
5) Payment options will be either PayPal, or check/money order through the mail. You will go on the waiting list in the order that your payment was received. The price will most likely by $185 at this time, plus shipping.

Ryan here: This seems like a cool product and very useful if you plan to hide from folks with Thermals. If I get my hands on one (T&E would be a hard sell as hangs head in shame I do not personally own thermals) I will write more about it.

More pics and details as well as the link to purchase can be found here. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

RE: The Property Line Murderers by Max Velocity

Max Velocity talks The Property Line Murderers AKA 'retreat snipers' . Very interesting stuff. The discussion about property rights, self defense and common sense are excellent. They remind me a lot of a discussion on Applied Ethics and Ballistics with our bestie Blogger gal from OK pt 1, pt 2, that we had here way back in 2009.

To rehash:
Any way you cut it legally shooting someone for trespassing on a piece of land, especially from distance is a non starter. In most situations you are going to be held accountable for your actions at some point. Also even if you are remote enough, or the situation is bad enough that nobody asks questions you still have to live with your actions. I am not what you would call a touchy feely person but shooting some dude because he stepped off the county road (or whatever) is not acceptable.

Invariably the people who take this stance work under the assumption they, and all their loved ones, will be home at their magical retreat. That is, especially considering the distances one needs to travel to earn a living in the hinterboonies or reach basic goods and services, not especially likely. The we/ they paradigm is really strong here. Folks seem to believe it is acceptable to cordon off the county road and shoot anyone who happens to wander into their hay field but start talking about situations where they might be traveling and face similar problems it is "I'm an American and have rights! Nobody can tell me where I can travel and if they try I'll shoot em!"

Anyway read Max's post and do some thinking about realistic defensive plans that are legal, logical and ethical.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

RE: Camping After The Collapse

Max Velocity is off training great Americans to be more capable small unit fighters. In his absence Max did a repost of an entry that I either missed or have forgotten about  Re-Post: ‘Camping’ After the SHTF. I found it an interesting topic and it grabbed my attention. My thoughts in no particular order are:

-SHTF can mean a lot of different things. Maybe the mythical grid down collapse or class/ religious/ racial trouble or some sort of an economic collapse or whatever. The point I am driving at is twofold. First there are many types of SHTF. There are folks today who, part due to life choices and plenty due to luck (to be born smart and healthy or to have issues to land in a good family or not, also just the craps shoot of life) are homeless and living in isolated camp grounds or national forests. S has definitely hit F for them. What I am getting at is that S might hit F for Tom but not for Sam. It could be economic or social or racial or religious. People have hurt each other a whole lot of different ways in history.

Second obviously the circumstances of a particular SHTF scenario will dictate a lot of your tactics. While it is unlikely due to our economical situation, having a bit of savings and some good family relationships to fall back on let us say for whatever reason tomorrow my family was back in the general pacific northwest homeless living out of an RV or a truck and a trailer on national forest land moving a mile every 14 days (or whatever the current requirement is). I would make sure someone was around to look after our belongings but we would not need to worry about noise and light discipline at night, etc. The circumstances would not dictate it.

-As to locations. There is something of a balancing act that needs to be done here. Max hit accurately on the benefits of avoiding places you do not want to be near. On the other side of that coin you must consider places YOU NEED TO BE ABE TO ACCESS. Obviously water and the ability to gro/ harvest food come to mind. In anything but a complete collapse we might also consider the ability to work/ look for work and get supplies from town.

Coming back to the scenario where my family is living out in the woods on forest service land. One of the adults, probably me, is going to either be working or trying their best to work. Given that we are living out in the national forest I'm not making much money (or we wouldn't be there for very long if at all) so transportation costs must be considered. Maybe things are even worse and I am riding a bike or even walking. Obviously if I am walking to a job, or to look for a job, it would be somewhere near people Hoofing it more than a handful of miles to work, probably given our circumstances at a low end very physical job, is not very realistic.

-Security. Max pretty much hit on it.

-Bugging out or otherwise being ready to move. All the way back from the boy scouts I have kept my bag(s) pretty much packed. Obviously the Army greatly enhanced that. The general trend to be generally packed and ready to move quickly is valid.

- Moving. Circumstances vary widely here. In a more tactical scenario (admittedly not the topic of this post) I would not spend more than a day in the same place often and would have to require some serious recovery to to stay somewhere for more than 2 days. On the other hand if we were unable to afford better options or our better options were no longer available due to social/ ethnic/ cultural issues and the place we were at was safe I would not be in a big hurry to move all the time.

-Max hit on many valid points but either I did not read well of I missed a couple things.

-The first is rally points.

 [Rally points work like this..Basically as you go along the leader designates rally points at which your group might gather if something bad happens.  Everything goes to S*&T and the leader yells out the name of a rally point then you all fight through and go there. In the context of a fixed site if we were in an untenable situation the leader would call the name of a rally point and we would gather there.

I suppose it is worth discussing what makes a good rally point. Here you need a geographic or terrain feature that is readily identifiable but not so much that it is too obvious. If something goes to hell at 2am you can't expect folks to run 600 meters at 35 degrees due north. You need a terrain feature that is outside of sight and sound range from the campsite/ patrol base. Example the big ole oak stump on decent terrain in the middle of the woods would be a fine rally point while the same stump in the middle of 5 square miles of open prairie would be a problem.]

As a general rule it is a good idea to have rally points intermittently when on the move. In a conventional sense you want them far enough apart to make it a hassle for the guy spotting for IDF to have a hard day. In an unconventional situation I would at least look to have points outside of machine gun range with a terrain feature in between.

For Patrol Bases and  I suppose a more long term camp sight the general rule is to have 2 rally points at generally opposite cardinal directions. The theory is if you get attacked from one side you run to the other. Of course terrain dictates so maybe it is north and south or east and west, whatever. The man who taught me went ran with Tyson and Budweiser which I suppose dates him. Black and Gold or Red and Blue are fine too.

Thee second big thing I personally feel this article missed is caches. If this was my life situation 50 tp 75 percent of my stuff would be burred over 8000m from my location.

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

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Riddle of Steel and Home Brewed AR-15 Lesson

Commander Zero as well as Conan can be credited with the Riddle of Steel becoming part of my vocabulary.

I was at a shooting range yesterday. Was going about my business there when a guy pulled up and went to a bench near me. He had an AR-15 of the M4 variety with a pretty big scope on it. I didn't think much of the whole thing. He set out a target at 50m when it was cold then shot a little. His AR jammed in short order and I sat there watching him become increasingly frustrated trying to clear it.

I normally do not do this. I find giving folks unsolicited gun advice is almost as jack assish as giving unsolicited critiques of someones exercise routine. Aside from general shooter talk I leave folks alone to their business. However this guy was clearly stuck. There was no way he could solve that problem. Also since I've been shooting AR's for over a decade I figured the odds I could fix the problem were pretty high. Anyway I felt bad enough for the guy that I wanted to help him.

After waiting a couple of minutes, to the point where he had taken a break from even fiddling with it, I walked up to him.

"Sir, would you like some help?" I said. He was probably 40 so certainly not old enough to justify the formality age offers but I figure men, who all think we are gods gift to weapons as well as general athleticism, who are having trouble with a gun will respond well to a respectful tone.

I do not remember what he said but it was an enthusiastic yes.So I took a closer look at the rifle.

It was  a bolt override, in this case there was an expended round above the bolt and another in the chamber. I 'pogo sticked' it which got the bolt back far enough to get the first round out. At this point another guy came over to join the discussion. I used a screwdriver to pry the brass casing from above
the bolt.

 The guy was pretty frusterated about the whole thing. Turns out it was a new gun and he fired 2 rounds before it jammed. Not a good sign. I had noticed the gun was bone dry. The other dude had some gun oil and offered it up. I uncharacteristically did not have oil since it was just a quick trip. I explained to the guy that AR's run optimally with far more lubrication than other rifles.

After lubrication I stuck a magazine in it and went to test fire. It shot 2 rounds then failed to feed. Took the mag out, it was some cheap aftermarket BS. So maybe it was the mag. Looked at his pile of mags, there were a couple more of the junk ones and a decent metal mag of some sort. Metal mag did the same thing. Not the mag. Not good.

At this point Other Guy brought over his AR. I hadn't brought one. After some process of elimination we figured out it was the buffer spring. He had a commercial tube and what appeared to be a mil spec, probably heavier tension, spring. Other Guy put his standard commercial spring in and the gun worked just fine.

I told him to hop onto midway and order a standard buffer spring.

It turns out this guy's rifle was home built, I strongly suspect by someone he knew personally. Needless to say he was not happy and was bringing it back to that person to fix the problem.

I felt for the guy. He surely paid a decent amount of money for an AR with a quad rail and  Burris scope with a back up fast fire red dot site. Aside from the scope having way too much magnification for a 14.5in barrel (it was a 3x9 or maybe even a 4x12) it was set way too far back so you couldn't get a decent site picture. I recommended he move it up.

What are the morals of this story.

1) Unless you know what you are doing and have a specific reason to deviate from the military or factory specifications for a working part of a firearm it is best to stick to the standard option.

2) You can spend a lot of money on a gun and still not have a damn clue what you are doing. Get training from guys like Max Velocity, John Mosby or other experienced combat based trainers to fix your deficiencies. Remember that the root word of gunfight is not gun but fight.

3) Get out and make sure your stuff actually works when the worst consequence is an annoying range day.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Quote of the Day

"Time is short people, don’t squander it on trivial BS. You have a responsibility to take care of your family by planning ahead. Even if you only buy 2 or 3 extra cans a week at the store, in a month you have 8-12, in a year you have 96-144 (doesn’t seem like much, but it is). Are you prepared to defend them?  “But guns and ammo are so expensive!” So was that new game system or IPhone you just bought, Dumbass! You should be actively prepping and planning to defend your family and friends “when” not “if” this storm comes. If not you are an irresponsible, self centered, Slug, and you deserve what happens (unfortunately, your family doesn’t.). I don’t care if you don’t come train with me, but by God, get it somewhere! Go to Max, or Defensive Training Group , or Sierra 12 or Mosby. YOU are responsible for what you do, AND DON’T DO! Be the person that sees and carries out the responsibilities the Founding Fathers expected of Citizens. If not, no big deal, it’s just an idea past its prime…..right?"

Mason Dixon Tactical

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Heat Shoot Out Recreated by NRA Media Labs



A pretty cool clip to watch on a coffee break or whatever. The fundamentals of individual and buddy movement do not change just because you are in an urban environment. Contact Drills like Max Velocity teaches are still the order of the day for surviving, let alone winning this sort of gun fight.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Bugging Out Of The US VS Patriotism



This video is worth discussing for a few reasons. First to attack if not completely crush some silly myths. Here and there are folks who talk about how the US is doomed and you should move to Central or South America. Some of the countries people talk about moving to, ironically including Argentina, would be terrible choices in terms of stability and personal freedom, while others like Costa Rica are have notable good points yet also significant downsides depending on a persons situation and goals.

In the 'move to X' crowd one of two things is almost always going on. First the people promoting these places have a vested financial interest in folks going there. They are selling real estate, invariably 'perfect prepper setups' some of which are also 'ready made turn key profit making businesses' or aiding in immigration or selling books or something else. I am not saying people who are selling a service or product may not sometimes genuinely believe in said product but that at a minimum they some conflict of interest. Second the folks who do not have a vested interest are rarely actually living in these places, they are (and I know this is a touch ironic) just some guy in the US sitting on his couch typing away.

For an individual really set on central/ south America I would take a look at the floating option.

I talked about this some time back but it is worth hitting some key points: 

Of course individual circumstances matter a lot. If a person has social/ language connections, let alone family and business opportunities a place that might not make perfect sense for another individual might work well for them.

A persons particular concerns weight in heavily as to what locations might be an improvement over the US. Some places offer amazing personal freedom but are economically problematic. Others like places in the Middle East and South Asia offer excellent economic freedom with negligible taxation but are absolutely socially repressive. Whether you can separate the two is a valid discussion but you get the point. Interestingly unless I am very poorly informed it is almost impossible to beat the availability, freedom and lack of government records keeping in the free parts of the US without being in a completely lawless dump. In any case the point I am trying to get to is that what is a better than the US location for Tim the Money Manager might not be right for Al who lives a socially unconventional lifestyle.

The point in this recent video that relocation can absolutely make sense is valid. If just sending ones family away so they could gather clarify and focus on the task at hand knowing their family is safe sometimes moving makes sense. It doesn't have to be forever. Moving for awhile to avoid a terrible situation then coming back in a year or 5 could be the smart call.

Interestingly since I wrote the original post a couple years back the outcomes of different states and regions in the US has increased significantly. Some states are doing better and others worst. Some states are rolling back old, bad gun laws while adding new protections while others are doubling down on restricting citizens rights. If anything I believe the difference between states coupled with our federal governments inability or unwillingness to meddle excessively in local affairs (well at least the liberal ones) gives more room for this trend to continue.

I think that after some consideration if a person compared X country to Texas/ Montana/ Idaho/ Wyoming they might end up getting a Uhaul instead of a passport.

Thoughts?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Smokin Deals and Cool New Products From Our Advertisers

9mm 115gr Blazer FMJ for $320/1k

5.56 62gr M855 PMC for $380/1k

Both of those are solid buys in terms of price. If you need ammo, aside from .22lr, the situation is solid and you should buy soon.  Don't come into the next gun/ mag/ ammo shortage madness in anything less than the best place you can afford. Should things go all Patriot Dawnyou will wish you'd picked up at least a case of each.

Lucky Gunner also has these cool 'battle packs' of 9mm. 300 rounds of ammo in 6x 50rd boxes wrapped inside of a sturdy plastic battle pack. Perfect for an operational cache. They are also available in 40S&W for guys like Max Velocity and .45acp for folks into that.

LPC Survival still has the whole line of Berkey filters. Our Big Berkey is a big part of the families water purification plan. Also they have Tattler reusable canning lids.

I have been meaning to purchase some 'fish' antibiotics from Camping Survival for awhile now. When I do a pocket constitution will be a likely add on.

Max Velocity is still training people. Probably a good idea to schedule a class before the summer heat hits in full.

Airsoft Atlanta has all manner of stuff. They have airsoft gear if that suits your fancy. They also have a lot of more practical gear from a variety of manufacturers including Blackhawk and Condor

Hurricane Season coming has me thinking about a more robust water storage setup like a Hydrant System. A 2 barrel system would fit easily in a garage and provide a months worth of water for 3 people or more like 3 weeks for 4 people. Titan Readywater also makes and distributes the HERC tea candle oven. I may be doing a T&E on one of these in the future.

When you make a purchase please consider doing so from the folks who support this blog and be sure to tell them I sent ya!!!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Max Velocity Thermal Shield Testing

Very interesting stuff from Max. I am looking forward to the production of his thermal shield. Crossing my fingers that just maybe I'll end up with one somehow.

Friday, April 18, 2014

New Classes from Max Velocity

A note from Max Velocity

The new ‘Square Range’ at the MVT site is under construction. I’m going to make sure it is not quite square, maybe rectangular. Photos to follow next week ;-)
The Rifle Manipulation Primer (RMP) class is already scheduled to run prior to CRCD classes, as part of a TC3/RMP day.
The following classes:
Combat Rifle Manipulation (CRM)
Combat Handgun Manipulation (CHM)
Have been developed and will be scheduled shortly.

I have taken on a new AI, Aaron, who is an excellent instructor with a depth of knowledge, three combat tours, and a great teaching manner. He will be primarily responsible for these new manipulation classes, which will be mostly held on the new ‘rectangular range.’
The intent of the weapons manipulation classes is to provide a more in-depth training service, while remaining focused on the MVT philosophy of progressing students towards realistic combat tactical training. ‘Square range’ weapons manipulation classes are part of the transition from basic marksmanship to field firing tactical training. The MVT manipulation classes are focused on transitioning the student towards  tactical training, such as found on the CRCD classes. The danger of ‘square range’ training is that it becomes an end in itself, a diversion from the real purpose of the transition, which will give students a false sense of their training level, and in many cases teaches habits that are harmful to your health in a combat environment.
MVT ‘square range’ weapons manipulation training remains focused on the progression to tactical training. These classes can be taken as precursors to the tactical classes, as additional skill builders, or as stand alone classes in their own right.
The new classes will often run concurrently to the tactical classes. Schedule coming soon. Questions about a new combined CHM/CRM/TC3/RMP/CRCD/Combat Patrol 10 day class will be politely ignored ;-)

Ryan here: I should also note Max's new 5 day Combat Rifle/ Contact Drill and Patrolling class seems to have been a big hit ( AAR 1, AAR 2, AAR 3) on it's first go around

Got Training?

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Sunday Open Line

I've got nothing and my brain is completely fried. Offer up a suggestion of what you'd like to see more of here and I'll consider it. Ask a question and presuming it doesn't compromise my personal opsec or slip into anything blatantly illegal I will answer it.

So fire away....

Edited to include Max Velocity linked to this funny video titled How to be an Operator

For whatever it's worth I think that whole dress like a cool SOF dude fashion thing is totally silly. If SOF types wear those clothes, which is a big IF, it is because they got the stuff for free at work. You are far more likely to see a SOF guy walking around in a random t shirt, jean/ cargo pants/ work out shorts and a beat up baseball hat from his favorite college team than looking like a catalog for "Urban Ninja Elite clothing'. Throw an ambiguous fleece plus a set or two of sterile uniforms into the mix and that guy's good to go for an actual deployment.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Field Gear, Fighting Loads, Assault Packs and Bringing It All Together

Max Velocity talks rucks, kiddie book bags assault packs and battle belts. Good stuff.

We could quibble between different types of gear and methodologies associated with them. At the end of the day you need a fighting load (level 2) and a sustainment load (level 3) that work together. Basically this means if you use a battle belt you are stuck, by process of elimination, with a short fat ruck that clears the belt. This is best personified in the ALICE system. On the other hand if you want to carry a longer type mountain climbing/ civilian backpacking bag with a big thick waist belt it ain't gonna work with a Battle Belt. With a civilian type backpacking bag you are really limited to some sort of chest rig or assault vest type setup. I'm not saying you must use this setup or that. The point I'm trying to make is that your gear has to be able to work together.

The ALICE is not a comfortable pack to carry. They will never be as comfortable as a quality commercial type hiking bag but still the ALICE isn't like dragging around a Crucifix or something. Get it out on the road or trails, become used to it and big momma ALICE will treat you just fine. Also since they are routinely available for under $40, slightly modular and absolutely hell for stout the ALICE brings something to the game.

As to shack assault packs. You can in theory fully load these and attach them to a ruck but I haven't seen that out in the woods. Honestly folks do that if they are carrying their gear a couple hundred feet from the truck to camp. The weight, even more if you are wearing a plate carrier, would just be too heavy to do much of anything.

Personally the way I go with this one in conventional light infantry operations is to leave the assault pack mostly empty. If it doesn't weight anything you could just crush it up and secure it wherever makes the most sense. I might keep a couple spare mags, a few granola bars and a poncho/ gore tex or whatever in there but that's about it. First of all this keeps my total load weight under control. Second it gives me a lot of options. I could fill it with machine gun ammo for a raid or optics n stuff for a recon or whatever.

In a vehicle based or localized patrolling situation I use my assault pack differently. In this contest I typically use it as a mini rucksack. Sort of in the level 2.5 range many people use these days. It will usually carry  some clothes/ shelter stuff, some snacks, a bit of food, maybe a toothbrush and some baby wipes, a paperback book or my kindle, etc. This is good for a little bit more support/ food/ gear than you can really carry in a fighting load or unexpected overnights.

In a survivalist context I go with the light infantry option though right now it's serving as a 'get home bag' so it is slightly heavier.

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

Friday, January 24, 2014

RE: Debate: The Handgun as the Primary Weapon

Max Velocity wrote  Debate: The Handgun as the Primary Weapon.

Personally I think the conversation got too bogged down in the term "primary". The comments section was disjointed with people talking apples and oranges because they were all using generic terms like SHTF to describe different scenarios. I do not plan to weigh in on whether a handgun can be "the primary weapon". Instead I plan to discuss the times and circumstances where one might choose, if only by process of elimination, a handgun vs when they might choose a rifle.

Before we go any further it is worth noting that any firearms battery that is smaller than a basic 4 of handgun, shotgun, .22 rifle and a centerfire rifle is a compromise that is inevitably missing some important capability. One could take that a level further and include the next logical 3guns (dedicated CCW pistol like a 642 (presuming the first pistol is larger) or a baby Glock, a bolt gun if your first rifle is a semi auto or opposite if rifle #1 is a bolt gun and a .22 pistol) in that argument. Anyway this isn't a what to buy first discussion though I am on the record about that. Also a lot of that sort of discussion is touched on in my basic guns series.

For a home defense gun Chris Costa makes an interesting case for the utility of handguns.  Personally in our Sentry Safe Home Defender I keep a Glock 9mm with a light and a Project AR which has a light as well as Wifey's .38. Next to the safe sits my plate carrier and battle belt. In any case for home defense use whatever you prefer.

So when does a handgun make sense? A handgun makes sense all the time. I carry one as much as I am functionally and more or less legally able to do so.

To further define that question. So in what SHTF/ disaster type situations does being armed solely with a handgun make sense? Basically being out and about in any sort of situation on the continuum between normal everyday and Mad Max thunder dome time. This could include riots, natural disasters including large regional ones, economic collapses, etc all.  While my default answer to most problems is to avoid them by staying home that is not quite realistic. Say the figurative drunk driver that is our current economy takes a turn a bit slow then over corrects and ends up in the ditch. I am almost surely still going to work and will be seeking to continue purchasing food, etc all. In this case I might upgrade from the S&W 642 to a Glock with a light. Might add a couple extra mags to my belt or even stash a couple of those big 33rder's in a cargo pocket. I might even choose to wear soft body armor or a stripped plate carrier. However I'm not going to get away with walking into the store to buy $20 milk and $5 banana's with an AR-15. I'll keep the AR handy at home and might even start keeping a long gun in our vehicle but when I part and go to do errand's it is going to be the pistol that I'm relying on to defend myself.

Conversely when is a rifle useful during a SHTF type scenario? Well they are always handy things to have around the house. For fun shooting as well as a handy capability to throw accurate hate down on somebody multiple football fields away nothing beats a rifle.

Having one at home is handy. Having one in a vehicle can be quite comforting. I like my odds against the EBT deprived hordes much better if my AR and battle belt are sitting under an old blanket in the floor of the back seat. 

When would a person carry a rifle around? I have heard of people doing it during various Hurricanes. Folks doing neighborhood watch type patrols armed with long guns during Katrina and the like. We all know the Korean grocers found rifles and shotguns pretty handy during the LA Riots.


Obviously in your Red Dawn/ Mad Max/ Civil War type scenarios rifles are pretty darn important. If you are in a fight with a person who has a rifle and have anything less capable you are at a real disadvantage. Also a rifles range is pretty darn handy. At this point the odds are you won't be going many places anyhow. The issue of taking my AR to the grocery store is moot if the store is empty and closed down if not burned. Also if things genuinely got that bad folks would probably carrying guns a lot more anyhow.

In conclusion.

1)You genuinely need a pistol. Right now the hard truth is that it is the weapon you are most likely to defend yourself with given that it can be readily carried outside of your home/ property.

2)There are many realistic situations where even though you might WANT to carry a rifle you will not be able to do so. One could argue these numerous realistic situations are more likely and more of a concern than the largely apocalypse porn fiction based  'Mad Max without rule of law shit hit the fan time'.

3) All of that being said you do need a rifle. Look at it like this. Most of us probably carry a folding type knife to do normal everyday tasks. However sometimes that knife will not cut it and we need a big butcher knife. The butcher knife is the rifle. You don't need it very often but when you need it you really need it. However while you do need to own the butcher knife you don't need to carry it around all the time to open envelopes and cut string, that is what your folder is for.

You need a rifle to TRAIN now while you still have the chance. If the day comes when you need to grab a rifle and a chest rig/ battle belt to go protect home and hearth then no other gun will substitute and the pistol takes a much less important role.

Thoughts?


Friday, January 17, 2014

Max Velocity on Realistic Rucking

Max Velocity on Realistic Rucking: My point is this: don’t set unrealistic goals and don’t head for overuse injury. It is not so important to listen to what people said they did “back in the day,” but better to worry about what is right for you now. Don’t try and carry too much weight in your ruck, and don’t try too much running downhill to make up pace time. You mostly won’t be doing that when carrying a ruck SHTF anyway, because you will be in a tactical environment. So, get the cardio and muscular system ready to tolerate the load, without breaking yourself doing it.

I talked about it in Rucking 101 1, 2, and 3 and so has John Mosby

We have all talked about rucking looking at it from slightly different foxholes. However the fundamentals remain the same.

1) Establish a baseline for your CURRENT CAPABILITY. Maybe to keep it simple that baseline is putting on a ruck and walking 2 miles at a brisk pace.

2) Now you start to slowly over time push harder than that initial baseline performance. If your neighborhood 2 mile ruck walk was 35 minutes try to get 34: 50, next time try to beat that record, etc.

3) Over time increase the distance of your rucks along with the load.  I am inclined to say you want at least some of your rucks to be relatively brisk, otherwise rucking degenerates into a lethargic walk that has to be done for hours to get any actual physical fitness value. Working towards the goal of doing a given distance/ weight at say a 15 minute mile pace before progressing to longer/ heavier is probably a good idea. Then as your rucks get longer you can push harder in terms of time on the shorter ones. I'd say for a reasonably fit person doing a sub 13 minute split is very realistic.

Once you hit the distances you plan to peak at (there is only so much time in the day) then you can get a better workout without wasting the whole day by upping the weight and trying to go faster. Combining this with occasional (probably bi weekly) longer rucks would be a good solid program. Mix that in with your weight lifting and running and it might look like this:

Monday- 3 mile ruck with equivalent weight of your full fighting load and sustainment load
T- Speed work and other exercise (lift, crossfit, whatever)
W- Active recovery like a rower or bike or whatever.
Th- Terrain run and other exercise (lift, crossfit, whatever)
F- 10k ruck 1 week 15k the next
S- Other exercise (lift, crossfit, whatever)
Sun- Rest

4) As long as you stick to some basic principles (work under your maximum capacity, progress over time, exercise consistently but allow recovery time, etc) whatever rucking program you do should work fine.

5) As a final thought I am very strongly against jogging let alone running with a ruck on a regular reoccurring basis. If you can ruck and can run you can run with a ruck. This isn't something I think you need to train on. The physical toll it takes on your body is not worth the negligible gains in performance. If anything it is more likely to hurt you because after a few weeks you'll be broke and thus no longer training. (Yes I know cool guys do that stuff occasionally as part of their training and qualification stuff. They are in really good shape and still a whole lot of people get broke. Also the cool guys are only doing that stuff for a short period of time, not years and years..)

 Unless a tactical situation calls for running somewhere with a ruck or realistically with a fighting load and maybe an assault pack I wouldn't do it regularly. Sure once in a blue moon to change things up is probably OK but even that is sketchy. Your foot lands wrong in a hole or on a rock running with 45+ pounds in addition to your body weight it ain't good. Anyway I would submit that if you are on a good rucking and running program you will have the fitness necessary to run with a ruck or gear when it is needed.

Anyway those are my thoughts on that.

Personally I am not currently rucking. The holidays were a much needed break for me. After that some medical stuff happened so I'm not really going to be doing much good PT until O/A 1 FEB. When I start to get back into it I will let you all know what I do and how it works. Might be helpful for somebody.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Fighting Load Contest Entry #2 Max Velocity

Today I am proud to bring Entry #2 of our Fighting Load Contest by none other than Max Velocity.

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

For a good example of a post reference my EDC Contest entry. Those should give you a good idea what type of thing I'm looking for. I will probably do a full fighting load post some time after the new year. 

 
The contest is going to run from today 16 December to  around 1 February. Voting will start after the last entry is shown on the blog. Voting will run for about a week and will decide the winner's who get the prizes.

Read all the details here

This is taking off a bit slower than I wanted. Depending on demand maybe it will last longer but you should still get your entry in ASAP.

Onto Max's Entry

While not shown/ explicitly stated Max's choice in weapons are the Colt LE 6920 and a Glock 23 .40S&W. (TOR)






I have 6 mags on my left hip. Four are in flapped double mag pouches, two are in rapidly available open top pouches – I like this system, because it allows the battle belt to compete with a PC/Taco belt in terms of readily available mags.

On the right hip, I have two open top pouches, one double flapped mag pouch, and my handgun. So basically I put my handgun in place of a double magazine pouch on the outside of one of the open top mag pouches.
 
I have a double handgun mag pouch on the right side front, in front of the plane of my hips. Yes, I know, it should really be on the left side, but its a real estate compromise – and being right handed, when I take a knee, my right knee goes down – if the handgun pouches are on the left front, they jam between my thigh and gut, so not ideal for patrolling and taking a knee etc. You need to think about these little things, and try your gear out.
 
I had to lose the dedicated FLIR pouch in order to keep the ammo pouches back behind my hips.
Someone was waffling in comments that with a MOLLE handgun pouch there is no retention – all I was hearing was tacticool-repeated-but-not-understood-tacti-speak – well, it has a thumb break and also an elastic retention strap if I want to use it. I’m not really worried about it, and how I carry my handgun gives you a sort of idea of how high I prioritize the whole transition thing. I’m not worried about someone taking my handgun when I’m out on patrol, I rarely get stoppages on my rifle, particularly ones that I can’t clear in rapid time, and I expect to have team members to back me up if I do. I’m not in law enforcement, don’t want to be, a rig like this is for light infantry work out in the boonies, and those that focus on the tacticool often forget the primacy of TEAM in all this. Team is something that people’s eyes are opened to when they come on one of my CRCD classes, and the force multiplying effect.
 
Here is a look in detail:
 
1 & 2: 4 mags total, this is a Condor double flapped mag pouch. This pouch is attached to the MOLLE on the outside of pouches 3 & 4.
3 & 4: 2 mags in a double open topped Condor pouch.
5: Medical pouch – enhanced IFAK (UFAK).
6: GI Canteen pouch – containing night vision: PVS 14 & FLIR Scout.
7: GI Canteen pouch – admin/emergency rations plus other bits and pieces, including a lifestraw.
8: GI Canteen pouch – BrtiMil black canteen plus metal mug.
9: MOLLE handgun pouch containing Glock 23.
10 & 12: Mirrors 3 & 4.
11: Single version of 1 & 2. This pouch has 2 mags in it. However, it does fit the FLIR Scout. So depending on the mission I can change out the FLIR with the mags and have it more handy. I can also put other stuff in there such as smoke. Remember that you should also have an assault/patrol pack and stuff can be prioritized and traded between.
13: This is a VTAC battle belt. Condor also do a version.
14: Condor harness.
15: Blackhawk riggers belt. The roll-pin style belt is ideal.
Yes: Opinions on Condor vary. Its probably not the best stuff around, but it works and I can get it on Amazon.com in about two seconds of searching, cheap. Many of these pouches are multi-cam that I use krylon on to get my preferred green camo color.
The GI canteen pouches have little pouches on the sides whcih are really useful for stuff such as water purification tablets, lighters, batteries, paracord etc.
Other views:
 
 
 
It’s always a good topic – gear! I recently posted about how I had been making up my battle belt with a mixture of purchased, re-purposed and acquired pouches. HERE for the original post.
There were a number of things I didn’t like about the old set-up, so I have amended it. I bought a couple of pouches online to better suit the purpose of the belt.
Here is the old belt:
Here is a commercially available example of the Brit PLCE webbing belt that this concept is modeled after:
There are a number of issue with my original concept and set-up:
1) The original webbing set-up does not account for a handgun. It is designed on the idea that you will have two double mag pouches on each hip each one containing 3 magazines. That total of 12 magazines is great for feeding ammo to your battle rifle, but leaves you with no back-up handgun (the priority here is actually debatable, especially if you are in a  team with others to back you up if your rifle fails).
2) You cannot have ammo pouches forward of your hip bones, forward of the front plane of your hips. If you do your thigh will bang into them every time you walk/run/go uphill.
3) In order to account for carrying a handgun on my right hip, I put a triple mag assembly on my left hip, to keep the magazine count up. This meant that it came a little forward of my hip bone, and was not ideal.
So really, the problem was to find a solution where I could keep the magazine count up, probably with magazines on both hips, but not forward of the hip bone, while still carrying a handgun as backup. Compromise would be needed, but I felt there was a better solution out there. There was. Here it is:
In this evolution, I have 6 mags on my left hip. Four are in flapped double mag pouches, two are in rapidly available open top pouches – I like this system, because it allows the battle belt to compete with a PC/Taco belt in terms of readily available mags.
On the right hip, I have two open top pouches, one double flapped mag pouch, and my handgun. So basically I put my handgun in place of a double magazine pouch on the outside of one of the open top mag pouches.
I have a double handgun mag pouch on the right side front, in front of the plane of my hips. Yes, I know, it should really be on the left side, but its a real estate compromise – and being right handed, when I take a knee, my right knee goes down – if the handgun pouches are on the left front, they jam between my thigh and gut, so not ideal for patrolling and taking a knee etc. You need to think about these little things, and try your gear out.
I had to lose the dedicated FLIR pouch in order to keep the ammo pouches back behind my hips.
Someone was waffling in comments that with a MOLLE handgun pouch there is no retention – all I was hearing was tacticool-repeated-but-not-understood-tacti-speak – well, it has a thumb break and also an elastic retention strap if I want to use it. I’m not really worried about it, and how I carry my handgun gives you a sort of idea of how high I prioritize the whole transition thing. I’m not worried about someone taking my handgun when I’m out on patrol, I rarely get stoppages on my rifle, particularly ones that I can’t clear in rapid time, and I expect to have team members to back me up if I do. I’m not in law enforcement, don’t want to be, a rig like this is for light infantry work out in the boonies, and those that focus on the tacticool often forget the primacy of TEAM in all this. Team is something that people’s eyes are opened to when they come on one of my CRCD classes, and the force multiplying effect.
Here is a look in detail:
1 & 2: 4 mags total, this is a Condor double flapped mag pouch. This pouch is attached to the MOLLE on the outside of pouches 3 & 4.
3 & 4: 2 mags in a double open topped Condor pouch.
5: Medical pouch – enhanced IFAK (UFAK).
6: GI Canteen pouch – containing night vision: PVS 14 & FLIR Scout.
7: GI Canteen pouch – admin/emergency rations plus other bits and pieces, including a lifestraw.
8: GI Canteen pouch – BrtiMil black canteen plus metal mug.
9: MOLLE handgun pouch containing Glock 23.
10 & 12: Mirrors 3 & 4.
11: Single version of 1 & 2. This pouch has 2 mags in it. However, it does fit the FLIR Scout. So depending on the mission I can change out the FLIR with the mags and have it more handy. I can also put other stuff in there such as smoke. Remember that you should also have an assault/patrol pack and stuff can be prioritized and traded between.
13: This is a VTAC battle belt. Condor also do a version.
14: Condor harness.
15: Blackhawk riggers belt. The roll-pin style belt is ideal.
Yes: Opinions on Condor vary. Its probably not the best stuff around, but it works and I can get it on Amazon.com in about two seconds of searching, cheap. Many of these pouches are multi-cam that I use krylon on to get my preferred green camo color.
The GI canteen pouches have little pouches on the sides whcih are really useful for stuff such as water purification tablets, lighters, batteries, paracord etc.
Other views:
Does this gear have weight to it? Yes, it does, if you pack it up with mags and gear. That’s kinda the point – to carry the gear on your person. I’m used to wearing it all day every day, only taking it off to get into a sleeping bag, sometimes even sleeping on it to get off the ground. I wear it all day on the ranges on my CRCD class and Combat Patrol classes- it’s tradition where I come from that range safety will dress as per the exercising troops, except they will not carry a rifle and will have high vis bands/vests on as appropriate. If you are going up and down the range with gear on, so am I. When I put a good battle belt like this on, unlike any other means of carry gear such as a vest or PC, I feel comfortable, it just feels right, like an MV comfort blanket.
End Entry
 
Discussion:
The more I mess with my Battle Belt the more it looks like Max's.  Right now I'm not packing as many mags as Max but if I feel the need for more they will be on a chest rig/ my PC. My HSGI suspenders are probably fine as backup for a light belt but that didn't really pan out for me. To clear an ALICE pack my belt has to be lower than it will naturally sit on my hips so I've got to rely almost solely on the suspenders. Toying out swapping it for an H harness like Max's. 

I like the way Max's handgun is out of the way but still accessible. Wish I could find a similar holster that would support a Glock with a light. May just shift to a pistol with a light in a HD role but not for a full on load out. That would buy a lot more flexibility. 
 
Max haz FLIR and I haz jealous.

The only thing I see arguably lacking from Max's setup is a sheath knife with the concept of use as a survival/ camp tool. Sure Max is packing some sort of a folder but I like having a tough small knife like a RAT 3 on my belt in addition to the ambiguous folder in my pocket.
 
What do you all thing about this setup?
 

Fighting Load Contest Discussion

It has come to my attention that the first entry in the Fighting Load Contest was a bit intimidating. Prairie Patriot has a really nice setup; a Bravo company rifle, multiple sets of armor, DBAL, NOD and FLIR. Probably over 10k in stuff right there. 

It is true this is a contest. However my goal behind having prizes is to jump start a conversation about different types of fighting gear, load out's, etc all. I am more concerned with what you are using, why you are using it and how it's set up to meet your needs than how Gucci the kit is.

We have a broad range of income levels here all the way from very modest to pretty flush. Looking back at our last big EDC contest entries ran the spectrum from $1,500+ stainless Colt 1911's to Kel Tech's and no name .22 revolvers. The discussion was about what folks use, accessories that work and why they chose this or that not just how cool stuff is. We are not going to play the whole class warfare thing here. The ideas that everyone who has a dollar more than you do to put into gear is a yuppie survivalist or that anyone with a dollar less is trashy and doesn't really care about their gear will not be entertained. I will delete comments and or openly mock people if need be.

The point I am trying to make is that if your fighting load is a Mosin Nagang and an H&R .22 mag revolver with a belt of stripper clips and a day pack or a Remington 870 with a S&W revolver and a cheaper than dirt tactical vest I want to talk about it just as much as if you have a SCAR H and a Night Hawk 1911 with the coolest new stuff. You might have a setup or widget that will benefit somebody else in the same situation.

So take a picture of your stuff and do a quick write up. I received a question about whether video entries are acceptable. I hadn't thought of that but as long as I can post it on here (youtube would work) that is just fine. So all you youtube folks talk about your stuff and show it in a video and send me the link.

Fitting in with my overall tiered gear philosophy this is going to expand beyond the obvious war belts, chest rigs, plate carriers, duty belts, etc all to include  the level 2.5 sustainment of assault packs, get home bags and other smaller than a full ruck type setups to include the tactical man purse. I am not specifying that you must (or cannot) have guns in the picture. Everybody likes guns and talking about guns but if you do not want to include them that is fine too

Get your entry together.

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

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

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

The contest is going to run from today 16 December to at least 1 February. Voting will start after the last entry is shown on the blog. Voting will run for about a week and will decide the winner's who get the prizes.

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

So pull out your fighting load, grab the guns from the safe and take some pics.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Fighting Load Contest Entry #1 Prairie Patriot Part 2 of 2

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

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

The contest is going to run from today 16 December to  around1 February. Voting will start after the last entry is shown on the blog. Voting will run for about a week and will decide the winner's who get the prizes.

Read all the details here

This is taking off a bit slower than I wanted. Depending on demand maybe it will last longer or maybe I'll adjust next years goal downward. Anyway for you that means the odds of winning one of our awesome prizes are really high if you throw together a quick entry. Seriously at this point it would be foolish not to enter.

Prairie Patriot’s Integrated Systems to Get Home and into the Fight

 Read Part 1 of Prairie Patriot's Entry here

Everybody has a routine to their life.  Some folks commute into the office, work their daily grind and then commute back home at the end of the day.  Others are fortunate enough to be able to “tele-commute” and work from the comfort of their own home.  And some have the privilege of flying into entirely different cities to do their work.  I fall into this last category.

I have always tried to look at my level of readiness through the lens of what I do in my day to day routine.  Almost half of my week is spent in the Detroit Metro Area.  The other half is spent in my hometown of Kansas City, MO.  Therefore, I have two “get home” bags.

Escape from Detroit Get Home Bag

If the SHTF when I am in this area, then chances are likely that I will want to get out right away.  Detroit is about what most people imagine it.  A person does not want to be caught up in that mess if the shoe drops.  I want to try and get to my family back in Kansas City “right f’ing now”.

If the airport is still open, then the plan is to get on my flight home.  Otherwise, I will drive my rental car the almost 12 hour drive back to the KC metro area.  This is assuming I have been lucky and recognized the signs of urban unrest, sudden infrastructure collapse, etc before the interstates become parking lots.

Thus, my Detroit Get Home System relies on items I can comfortably carry with me on a weekly basis and also in conjunction with my cache that is on site



Swiss Gear Laptop Computer Backpack (not pictured) which contains:

·         40 oz Klean Kanteen – Stainless steel so that I can boil water in it in a pinch
·         Katadyn Micropur water purification tablets – When boiling is not an option
·         Butane lighter
·         Cliff Bars - As many as I can stuff into the remaining space in the pack
·         Altoid Tin Minor Boo Boo Kit - includes ibuprofen, band aids, alcohol wipes, and insect sting wipes
·         Blow Out Kit - Adventure Medical Kit with CAT Tourniquet.  The AMK contains a 25 g Quikclot sponge, (1) 5” x 9” Trauma Pad, Pair of Nitrile Gloves, (1) hand wipe, (1) duct tape 2” x 26”, (1) Bandage, Triangular, (2) Sterile Gauze Dressing 4” x 4”, (2) Sterile Gauze Dressing 2” x 2”, (1) Bandage, Conforming Gauze 3”, (4) After Cuts and Scrapes Antiseptic Wipes and the bag is re-sealable for bio-waste and sucking chest wounds.  The kit costs about $25 last I checked.
·         Craftsman Keychain Screwdriver widget – Has four different flat heads.  Has come in handy in several situations!
·         SOL Emergency Bivvy – About the only emergency shelter that is practical when traveling for business on a weekly basis.  It packs tightly down and weighs just a few ounces.
·         Suunto Vector – This has a built in compass, altimeter and barometer.  I have used the compass and altimeter in conjunction with a topo map when hiking.  I have confidence that I can navigate if I were to lose or damage my lensatic compass.
·         Paracord Bracelet – The bracelet unravels to approximately 10-12 feet of cordage
·         Paper Maps of the Detroit Metro Area – Picked these up as a AAA member for free
·         Cammenga Model 27 Phosphorescent Compass – If you do not know how to use a lensatic compass, then do yourself a favor and either read up, or, better yet, take a wilderness navigation course.
·         Garmin Nuvi GPS unit – Loaded with maps of the entire United States.  Always charged and ready to go.
·         Loratidine Tablets (Anti-histamine/Allergy) – Generally, I do not have bad allergies, but sometimes they do flare up.
·         Loperamide Tablets (Anti-Diarrheal) – I really hope I would not have to use these in a SHTF situation.
·         Nylon Cutlery – Used for eating pouched foods
·         Paper Napkins - multiple uses, hygiene, fire starter, etc
·         Fenix PD32 Flashlight – This has actually saved my bacon while in an electrical grid power outage at the hotel I was staying at.  The power was out for 12 hours.  While I do like this flashlight for the price point, I have a few concerns about it when used in a life threatening situation.  The tail cap is a clicky cap, meaning, that while the adrenaline is surging, it may be activated and stay on when I do not intend to.  Also, the bevel around the edge does not allow me to press the button against a flat surface.  This limits how I use it with my weapon.  I am looking at switching to a Surefire Fury that has the ridges built into the body of the flashlight for manipulation in conjunction with a pistol.
·         Hot Hands Chemical Warmers (when appropriate for season)
·         Handkerchief – Multiple uses including filtering out particulates in water, cold compress, etc.
·         Sunglasses – El Cheapo pair until I can afford something nicer.
·         iPhone (not pictured) – Assuming it still works, then this becomes a huge asset when trying to figure out how to make it home.  There are apps that crowd source real time traffic information that will allow for alternate routes to be plotted.  Obviously, this can work against you as well.
·         Wallet with Cash (not pictured) – I mention this only because if there is a infrastructure outage, then cash may be the only accepted form of payment in times of crisis.

The aforementioned cache is made up of the following supplies:

·         Gerber Ripstop II – Small, but wickedly sharp blade.  Also, extremely light weight.
·         Bottled Water
·         Non-Perishable Items including nuts, Cliff Bars, Protein Bars, Uncle Ben’s Pouched Rice, Pouched Tuna, Pouched Chicken
·         Michigan Road Atlas – This will get me to the southwest Michigan border once I am clear of the Detroit Metro Area.

As an aside, I have a good pair of hiking boots and weather appropriate hiking clothes with spare changes of socks packed along with my business clothes in my carry on duffel bag.  I never check my bag and have never had to plane side check it to date.

You may be wondering where my personal protection items are.  I have wrestled with this one.  I considered leaving a pistol on site, but the cache is in an office building and I do not have complete control on who accesses the office/building.  That leaves me with the option of checking the pistol every week.  I have heard some stories of firearms “disappearing” in the Detroit airport.  I simply do not feel it is worth the risk of losing one of my pistols and the hassle it takes to do this on a weekly basis.  That is just me.  If I had a way to secure the weapon on site and leave it, then I would.  I have considered purchasing a large knife and pepper spray to leave on site.  It would be better than nothing.

Thank God I’m Not in Detroit Get Home Bag



Let us say that I am fortunate enough to be in KC, but still away from my house when some bad stuff comes down the pike.  I then will rely on my kit that sits in the vehicle and goes with me all over the KC metro area.  This is much better equipped than the Detroit Get Home Bag since I am not as constrained by carry on size and, frankly, convenience/practicality.  Keep in mind that I have my EDC with me in addition to the below.

Eagle Industries A-III Molle Assault Pack contains:

·         Hiking Shoes (not pictured) – Merrell Moab Mid Ventilators.  They fit perfectly.  I am looking into a full on boot and am interested in the Merrell Sawtooth.
·         Smartwool socks – I wear these socks all year round.  They feel great on my feet and wick moisture away very well.
·         Pants – For the summer I have North Face hiking pants (pictured) that can be converted to shorts.  The material is lightweight and wicks moisture very well.  The pants have cargo pockets for additional storage.  In the winter, I pack Wrangler Riggs Workwear cargo style pants.  These are made from a heavy material and are resistant to ripping and abrasion.
·         Base Layer – In the summer I wear Underarmor boxer briefs and Russell athletic shirts.  These both wick away moisture very well.
·         Rain jacket (not pictured) – I have found that Columbia rain jackets have been breathable enough for me while keeping me virtually dry.
·         Winter Gloves (not pictured) – Heritage Ranch Winter Work Gloves are my all time favorite gloves for cold weather.  They are warm due to the Thinsulate 40 and waterproof.
·         Stocking Cap (not pictured)
·         Heavy Jacket (not pictured) – I wear a M65 style type heavy coat.  Plenty of pocket room and comes with a removable liner.  Perfect for up or down layering depending on the temperature and activity level.
·         Mid Layer (not pictured) – I prefer a zip up Patagonia fleece.  It has only one vertical zip pocket that I tend to keep my iPhone in.
·         Work Gloves – Leather work gloves are a must if you are on the go and you need to do any kind of hands on work that includes cutting, chopping, etc.
·         Shemagh – These have multiple uses.  Head wraps, cold compresses, etc.
·         Spork – I went all out and went titanium.  Hah!
·         1 MRE
·         Cliff Bars
·         Jerky
·         Nuts
·         5 hour energy drink – Got to stay alert on the go.
·         Klean Canteen (not pictured)
·         Bottled Water (not pictured)
·         Water Purification Tablets 
·         Emergency Bivvy (not pictured)
·         Spare mags for EDC pistol and rifle
·         Crossbreed IWB magazine pouch – To be honest, I am not a big fan when using this in conjunction with my IWB holster.  It tends to be too much around my waist.  But, if I needed to keep a low profile, then this would be better than going without.
·         Tom Tom GPS – I got this for free from a co-worker who didn’t want it.  Now it sits in the bag charged and ready to go.
·         Map of KC Metro (not pictured)
·         Cammenga Model 27 Phosphorescent Compass
·         Iphone 4S (not pictured)
·         Motorola Talkabout Two Way Radio – Be sure to agree ahead of time to channels that you will use with others you are trying to hook up with.
·         Signal Mirror – The one I currently have is plastic. I would like to get one that is made of actual glass which tend to be more reflective.
·         Flare – Can be used to signal for help or to mark a spot for others.
·         Whistle – This can be used to call for help or to communicate to others if need be.
·         Chap Stick
·         Benadryl
·         Ibuprofen
·         Altoid Tin Boo Boo Kit
·         Adventure Medical Kit Trauma Pak
·         Tourniquet
·         Chem Lights – Backup light source
·         Coleman Headlamp – This is lightweight and comfortable with three different intensity settings
·         Butane lighter
·         Matches – Regular and waterproof.
·         Toilet Paper – For obvious reasons as well as tinder
·         Cash
·         Chemical Hand Warmers (not pictured)
·         Sunglasses (not pictured)
·         Ball Cap
·         Skyline Kershaw Fixed Blade Knife with custom Kydex sheath – This blade is lightweight, thin and it came wicked sharp from Kershaw.  If you can find this still, then I highly recommend getting one.

End Entry

Ryan here. I like a lot about these bags and it makes sense they are both adapted to the specific environment/ situation they are for.  I am however a bit concerned that the Detroit bag needs to be part of a larger plan given the distances involved though admittedly that slips out of the scope of this contest. Additionally it might be worth considering storing or caching a cheap handgun up there. An old revolver or a S&W Sigma can be had for around $300. Sure there is risk to everything but if you get creative and tape/ texture/ paint it into a wall or something the risk of theft drops a lot. Also worst case you'd have a heater lying around in Murder Central. Just things to think about.

What do you think of these bags?
 
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