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

Monday, February 23, 2015

Ice Storm and Max Velociity Talks M855 Alternatives

Down here in Louisiana we are finally getting a shot of winter. It is cold (35 when I got  home) and there is an 80% chance of rain. School was canceled today and is also for tomorrow. We had a late call today and have a later one tomorrow. Paw Paw shared a picture that pretty much sums up the situation.

 Max Velocity talks alternatives to M855.  Putting my money where my mouth is that case of 55gr M193 5.56 I just ordered showed up today. I need to get a 50 cal ammo can to store it in. Also need one for that case of 7.62x39 I bought when the Ukraine really kicked off. I probably need to order about 4 ammo cans.

500 rounds of Remington 110gr SJHP for $250. Fifty cents a round for any .357 mag ammo is a good deal. For Remington hollow points it is a darn good deal.

500 rounds of Independence 55gr M193 for $164.99 (.33 a rd). With the nature of 5.56 right now this is a good deal. If you are short, or just want a few months of training ammo this is a good way to get squared away.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Internet Preparedness Studying Trap

A conversation with our buddy Meister got me thinking about something. There is a serious risk of getting too caught up in blogs and videos and great reading material like Patriot Dawn by Max Velocity that you are too distracted to actually do anything to prepare! Don't get me wrong, I love blogs by folks like Commander Zero, Harry Flashman (in the mountains of Georgia who previously went by another name), Jamie of My Adventures in Self Reliance, Bayou Renaissance Man, TEOTWAWKI Blog and too many more to list. Heck I am a blogger myself. I also enjoy watching various youtube channels.

The problem is we need to actually do things to prepare and while we can occasionally get some really good hints and ideas from such entertainment they have to actually be acted on. I will confess to at times falling into this trap myself. Between reading other peoples blogs and my own blogging a fair bit of time is spent. While it is a fair bit of my entertainment and as such takes that time, often instead of watching tv or reading some junk fiction, it does take time. While my general trajectory in preparedness is forward it is often not as fast as I would like.

The way I plan to push myself out of this is to try doing something tangible, beyond physical fitness efforts, to improve my preparedness fox hole every single day. Do something every single day.... It doesn't have to be a big thing. I intentionally did not define the amount of time or effort beyond something tangible. It might be 5 or ten minutes working to finish up this or put some time into that. The point is that 1) regularly doing something is quickly habit building and 2) putting consistent time, even a little bit, into something with high regularity quickly adds up into a lot of movement.

So those are my thoughts on that.

Are you actually preparing or just studying preparedness?

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Book Review: 299 Days Books 1 and 2

Today I am going to be discussing the book series 299 Days By Glen Tate . I will be discussing the first two books in this post. Really I think the line between them is artificial so for the rest of this discussion they will be treated as one book.

Overview: This series of 10 books follows a man named Grant Madsen, his wife, family and friends living in the PNW through a partial collapse. It starts with the main character’s youth then goes through his childhood through college. His childhood was in a rural town in coastal Washington. He learned lots of skills but it was pretty bad growing up poor with an abusive alcoholic father. From different things I have heard that roughly mirrors the authors childhood which is unfortunate and I feel for the guy.

In college the author meets a girl and falls in love with her. They end up getting married. He becomes a lawyer and she becomes a doctor. They get jobs and settle into a comfortable upper middle class to kind of rich type life. Some years go by and he becomes a fat comfortable suburban guy. He refers to this period as ‘the Docker years.’

At some point the conservative lawyer realizes our system is quite vulnerable and decides to start preparing. He does so without the knowledge of his wife. The main character continues preparing for bad times. He is stashing food and buys a gun. He ends up becoming a regular at a local gun shop and buys a decent stash of guns and plenty of ammunition for them. Eventually after getting close with some of those guys he ends up meeting a group of people who shoot regularly together. He becomes friends with them and ‘the team’ shoots together regularly. The team also gets some training and advice from ‘SF Ted’ a Special Forces soldier stationed at nearby Fort Lewis.

At some point in his preparedness journey the main character ends up basically having a cabin fall into his lap through an early inheritance. He purchases a small but nice cabin with an unfinished basement on the water in a small inlet on the Puget Sound. His cabin is about 45 minutes from town.
The collapse happened very slowly at first over a few years. It started with economic problems. Eventually the stock market crashed, debt ratings were downgraded and the government couldn’t borrow any more money. They actually had to make cuts. Not trimming growth by 2% or vague cuts in the future but actual tangible cuts now. The unions got pissed and so did people on various benefit programs. There were large protests. The economy went into a death spiral. States started having diverging outcomes. California got particularly ugly but Texas was managing some of the same issues with much better outcomes. As fuel became more expensive goods were not moving so stores became empty. That part was pretty standard but it stopped there, short of a full on collapse. Things were bad though the power stayed on and some businesses were still open. Overall I think this is a very realistic scenario.

Onto the usual format

The Good:
A very realistic scenario is laid out. In fact one could argue some of the things mentioned in the book are already happening. In fact I heard in an interview with the author he had to slightly change some parts of the book because events he talked about did in fact occur. In particular the author highlighted the different outcomes rural and urban areas as well as different states will face. This is extremely valid because a collapse would have very uneven outcomes in this regard.

The characters were very plausible. First of all their skills, finances and the percentage of income they put into preps is realistic. They did not have a Special Forces medic or a master machinist whose hobby was running an organic hobby farm. 30 year old couples are not buying 40 acres with a nice house and a barn in cash then somehow making 100k a year out in the hinter boonies. Second of all they are flawed, Grant Madsen is preparing in secret because his wife wants nothing to do with any of that, one guy is really fat, older people cannot quite perform like younger ones. People have feelings and emotions and tempers.

Stepping away from characters but staying along the lines of realism I think the characters levels of preparation were far more representative of the overall preparedness/ survivalist community than many other fiction books. In books it seems that people are either super prepared or just normal folks who might happen to have some useful items around. It’s like all survivalists have a years worth of food, lots of guns and all this other cool stuff. In reality many people’s preparations are uneven as their resources were spent in areas they enjoy the most. It is not uncommon to see guys with a few grand in guns n ammo but not a month worth of food or women with huge stocks of buckets full of food but no way to protect their selves (of course these are stereotypes’ and don’t apply to all).

Relationships are also portrayed realistically including the honest fact that some spouses are not on board.

Every survivalist fiction book has to balance putting out some meaningful lessons through the story with the risk of turning into a disjointed half nonfiction ‘how to’ book. In the worst of these I have seen several pages of various military survival manuals and or standard ‘100 items to survive’ or ‘food storage guidelines’ stuff put in word for word. This book did a good job of straddling the line by giving some good core points yet not letting it detract from the book or break up the story.

The Bad

There was cheesy use of words like ‘gunfighter’ and ‘military contractor’ to describe members of ‘the team.’ I found it a bit cheesy and tacticool. Maybe it is me being a military guy and being long over those sort of things but it just irked me.

The break between books one and two was pretty artificial. It is almost like the author was writing one big book and said ‘We’ll split it at page 350’ with little thought to a logical breaking point. As such a person would get a weird impression if they only read book one not like a cliff hanger per se but of the book just ending.

Every character in the book seemed far more worried about other people’s feelings than I think folks are in real life.

It concerns me a bit that the impression was given that somehow a bunch of guys who don't know what they are doing going out to the range and shooting a bunch somehow means they are trained. They referenced getting a bit of help from 'Special Forces Ted' but unless it was pretty organized I am uncomfortable saying that replaces quality training by someone like Max Velocity or another organized type class.

Coming back to the preps the characters in the book had made. I hesitate to critique this too hard because Glen Tate the author did what I think was an accurate and honest portrayal of many prepared folks. That being said there were some significant holes in their plans.

First almost nobody had body armor. The characters had ‘tactical vests’ though I’m not sure if they really meant the cheese vests of late 90’s and early 2000 vintage or plate carriers or chest rigs. Anyway if I recall only one character Bill ‘Pow” had any actual armor. These characters, especially ‘the team’ spent a bunch of money on guns, lots of gear and ammo cans full of 5.56, 9mm, 12 gauge and 7.62x39 but couldn’t drop a few bills on plates. Guys on ‘the team’ had spare rifles and a couple had expensive shotguns like Benelli’s. The thing is rifle plates are simply not that expensive any more. For $450 or so you can get a setof AR500 plates in a plate carrier. At that price point with a bit of planning they are solidly in a normal middle class guy’s budget.

Their lack of plates was inexcusable. To illustrate the point Grant had 2 AR's, 1 AK-47, 2 AK 74's, a Remington 870, 2 .40 Glocks, a .38, a .380 and a 10/22. For the cost of one redundant rifle or pistol he could have had plates.  The characters were also universally without night vision capability. Given the much higher price point of anything better than Gen I this hole is still understandable but a couple characters seem like people who might have that sort of gear.

Water filtration/ purification was only mentioned briefly, IIRC Grant purchased a Big Berkey at some point. There was no mention of water storage in the books.

The medical preps they made were quite light. In the book it was excused as Grant Madsen (the main character) ‘Didn’t know how to use that stuff so he didn’t buy it.’ The explanation made a lot of sense to me till I put that together with the fact that HIS WIFE IS AN ER DOCTOR! He could and should have stashed all sorts of stuff. That is one of the few situations where the ’32 piece Czech surplus Stainless Surgical kit’ from Sportsmens Guide actually makes sense.

The biggest single hole I identified was ‘the team’ showed up with basically no food. On one hand this is accurate as a lot of tactical (or tactical wanna be) folks aren’t really survivalists/ preppers so they would not store food. However not even having enough food for an ice storm or power outage is just silly. It also seems the group had no stored fuel (except 2x 5 gallon cans Grant stashed at the cabin) or and very few gas cans.

Overall impression: I enjoyed these books and think you will too. They definitely spurred some thoughts that might lead me down productive roads. I will review book 3 as soon as I get around to it.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Reflections on My 14.5in BCM Mid Length Carbine "Project AR"

Alexander Wolfe of T Blog is thinking about upgrading his AR-15 to a BCM upper. I started a comment at his place then decided it was going to turn into a post of it's own. I built a BCM 14.5in mid length a couple years back. It's a great rifle and I love it. Some reflections on the overall experience of setting up and using this rifle might help my buddy out, plus also everyone, myself included, loves to talk about their cool toys.

What worked out well:

-The choice of a BCM upper and bolt carrier group. It's great. BCM is IMO a producer of legitimate professional grade rifles on par with Colt. That being said they hit that mark without getting into the stratospherically expensive boutique semi custom range of Daniels Defense, Knight, Noveske and Larue with 2-3k plus price tags.

-Standard weight 14.5in barrel. I toyed with the lightweight barrel idea but decided against it after a couple very experienced people (former SOF NCO's) said to go with a standard weight. Upon reflection after a couple years with the gun I am glad I did it. I can shoot all day long in 100 degree temps without barrel heat being an issue. There are lots of places to shave weight on an AR but A) the barrel is not the place to do it and B) fundamentally it's a light rifle anyway.

As to length 14.5in is as short as you can get without  treading into the (now especially nebulous) AR pistol territory. This is good for moving in and around vehicles as well as structures. Before the barrel length and velocity argument starts our guys in Iraq and Afghanistan have killed enough bad guys out past 400m with M4's that, at least as far as this guy is concerned, any debate about this not being an effective fighting rifle is moot.

-Upgrading the muzzle device. Call it a flash hider, call it a comp, call it a break, whatever. There are a lot of really good options out there at a variety of price points. The BCM comps look good and come in at a wallet friendly price. The only reason I can see not to upgrade the muzzle device for a pinned/ welded barrel, where it is a lot harder to do it later, would be for a really budget conscious build.

What I have mixed feelings about:

-Mid length gas system. It's a bit softer but not like these things are shoulder busters anyway. It makes replacing parts a bit more complicated. I like it but from both the accessorizing and scavenging parts angles a standard carbine length has advantages. My half hearted current answer to this problem is that I'm keeping the one I have but do not plan to get another mid length system on a future rifle.

-Battlecomp. Don't get me wrong I like it a lot but it is worth noting my concept of use for this rifle was 'build it so I won't go back and do it again in a couple years' so budget was not a primary driver. Also looking back I'm not sure those funds wouldn't have been better spent going towards an upgraded trigger or a rail (we'll get to that). Then again I wanted the BCM comp but they were between versions or something so it was perpetually out of stock at the time.

What I'm not so sure about:

-Not buying a rail right away. I was trying to keep the price sane and the fixed front sight of a normal A2 style gas block appealed to me. That combined with a pinned receiver made putting a rail on it down the road a problem. Combining that with my rail preference (free floating and not a quad rail) made it a downright hassle. I ended up with a nice and surprisingly affordable free floating MIDWEST INDUSTRIES S S G/2BLACK 12rail but it was a big hassle that could have been easily avoided. 

To the specifics of Alexander's situation:
- You can't go wrong with a BCM build though I do recommend a standard weight barrel.

-If you choose to run with this plan I would build a whole rifle. The upper is at least 75% of the cost, more if you factor in rails, optics, lights, etc. Would you have two trucks and swap a set of rims and tires between them.

-I am solidly in the 'keep the old rifle for a rainy day' camp. Use the older cheaper rifle as a 'truck gun' or make an operational cache.

-As an outside of the box idea if the only thing that really bothers you about the current rifle is the carbine length handguard why now just change/ cut down the gas block then put on whatever length rail you want?

Don't get me wrong, the last thing I'm trying to do is talk him out of buying a great AR. I have a very similar rifle and love it. If there are other reasons, including just wanting something shinier, to purchase the new rifle then roll with it. However if the hand guard is the only problem with the current rifle that is an easy fix. Instead of being a several hundred dollar project it would be 2 or 3 bills.

Anyway I hope it helps Alexander with his project.

What do you all think?

From our sponsors:
500 rounds of Brown Bear 7.62x39 for $109
An update on the MVT Shield from Max Velocity
Camping Survival has sandbags starting at 35 cents a piece going down to 27 in bulk
At LPC survival they have a Mountain House classic assortment on sale for $71.99

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

From Around The Web

Euro at 9 year low vs the dollar.  I wish it would have been 1.19 to a dollar when I was in Germany.
Deflation in Europe
The Greeks elected a leftist government that is anti austerity which could lead to them breaking the current agreement. The problem is once a country enters the IMF death spiral there really isn't a way out. Some smart people have argued that is intentional.

From Weapons Man
Some predictions for 2015
The Big Lie about Wanat (AKA why M4's aren't jamming and getting soldiers killed)
Wars to Study, to Study UW

From American Mercenary
Fake cell towers, IMSI grabbers, and how to secure communications through an unsecure medium

From Max Velocity
Max Velocity Riflemen training plan
1978 Nuclear Holocaust: March or Die 40 miles with 40 pounds in 24 hours is a darn good goal yet, for a healthy adult who is willing to do an extensive and deliberate train up, a reasonable goal.

From Sheriff Jim Winson
If You Can Shoot AKA why the gun famed border patrolman, shooter and writer would bury for bad times is an S&W Model 19 with a box of shells.
 
Also

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Eureka!!! Potential Battle Belt and Sustainment Load Solution

I was about at the end of my battle belt journey. Was looking at transitioning to a pistol belt with my Costa Leg Rig (review coming whenever I get to it) and a chest rig like the Blackhawk one I got some time back in order to transition away from the ALICE pack. My two biggest issues with the battle belt concept were that I wanted to carry a modern reasonably comfortable ruck and the whole vehicle problem.

For some reason this weekend I got to thinking "I wonder if just maybe my battle belt will work with an issue MOLLE ruck?" Since there was one in my garage I figured it wouldn't cost anything to try. TURNS OUT IT DID!!! The ruck was just squat enough to work and the hip belt/ pad (the problem I had with more modern civilian type bags) was thin enough not to get in the way. This had potential.

Yesterday I took the combination out for a quick little ruck and it worked fine. It wasn't conclusive because my ruck wasn't really loaded, it just had whatever happened to be in there.

Fast forward to today and I put all of my gear into the issue Multicam ruck that was just sitting in the garage. Took it out and did an easy little 20 minute ruck and the combination worked good. My battle belt and the ruck worked well for the most part.

The issue of vehicle use is still present but I can't see too many situations in a civilian emergency context where I would want to wear a battle belt and be driving around.

That means the battle belt is going to stick around. Since I am wearing it low (to clear a ruck and or PC) and relying on suspenders I might as well up the mag count. Also my Safariland 6285 holster doesn't really work in this context. It really needs a tighter belt to be able to get a decent draw out of. So the holster isn't really working well and it monopolizes a ton of MOLLE space. Also the suspenders are not really working for this (heavier than originally planned) concept.

I went back and looked at Max Velocities battle belt for inspiration. Think I am going to change my belt over to be a lot more like his. I will transition to a Condor Tactical H- Harness and add a 4-6 m mags worth of 2 mag shingles (or maybe 3 mag ones) to boost the mag count to about 10. Also plan to change to a basic Condor holster. The sacrifice is I'll have to ditch the light on the pistol to make this work.

[Note the reason  I am leaning towards Condor is it's servicable and affordable enough to experiment and maybe end up tossing items in the 'random gear' box without going broke. I've probably bought too much expensive high end gear for the project without getting my hands on it first. Might just do a garage sale.]

Anyway that is where I stand with things today.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Thoughts on Land Nav

Max did an excellent post on Land Nav. I do not disagree with anything he says but do a few minor things differently.

I am going to do the rest of this post figuring people understand what Max wrote but are not used to doing it in the field. Honestly I cannot teach you land nav in a written document any more than one could teach how to shoot a handgun,  shoot a takedown or make love via the written word. To actually learn this stuff you are going to have to get out and do it. This post is not intended as a replacement for that but more as a helpful tool in getting there and being successful. The hope here is that I will be able to distill many years of experience into some hints so that when you go out in the woods (hopefully with someone knowledgeable to help) you get off to a good start by using some solid practices. Or maybe just avoid some pitfalls I have seen.

I use a protractor and a piece of paper to get my route direction. Some folks poke a small hole in the middle of their protractor and put a piece of 550 cord guts through it. They line the string up with the direction they need to go and it shows the GRID azimuth.

For going from grid to magnetic SUBTRACT EASTERLY, at least within the US. If in doubt the declination as well as instructions to calculate it are at the bottom of your map.

Gear

MAPS: I usually use 1/50k. 1/25k is fine but a bit small. The downside of these more detailed maps is they cover considerably less ground. Given that our lives are mostly vehicle oriented and, especially for rural folks, we tend to cover larger distances over the course of a day this is an issue. For a normal day when you would go 30 miles this way and 25 miles that way a guy would need several 1/50k maps and x2 as many 1/25k. Personally my kits have a 1/50k of my immediate area and a larger state map so if I get caught out I'm not totally hosed. Along these lines I recently stumbled into some 1/250k topographic maps. They might be a good middle ground between the two extremes. Big enough that 2 maps can cover 95% of my driving yet small enough to see minor roads, terrain, etc.

Compass: I use a tritium military compass made by Cammenga. They are hell for stout and work at night but are expensive. A $20 silva is a decent alternative. As long as it reliably points north and can take the abuse of the field you are good to go. Aside from buying a decent brand (Silva, Suunto, Bruno, etc) the only feature I would pay extra for is glow in the dark/ illumination.

Writing: Mechanical pencils are handy and more precise than the ole #2. Keep a couple #2's for back up's. Rite in the Rain All Weather Tactical Pocket Notebooks 3" x 5" - Tan should really be standard for use in the field.

Holding it all: Some folks use fancy map cases. I tried that and ended up deciding a 1 gallon plastic bag works just as well.

Before taking off:
 Route Planning:
There are two basic ways to move from point A to point B; you can use distance and direction (dead reckoning)  or what I call 'attack points'.

Dead reckoning is traveling using distance and direction, generally in a strait line. This is slow because you are watching the compass. Dead reckoning is inherently flawed. Lets say a really good person at land nav has an error rate of 2 degrees. Over 100 meters it does not matter but over a thousand it matters and 10k it matters a whole lot. Now lets say a less experienced person might error by as much as 10 degrees. That will screw you up over much shorter distances.

The attack point method goes something like this. Find a KNOWN POINT as near 'point B' the place you are going as possible. This needs to be something you can say with a very high level of confidence is exactly what/ where you think; I'm talking a road intersection (be careful about trails or logging roads as they can regularly change), bridges, a sharp turn in a road that is otherwise strait, a unique terrain feature for the area, etc. You can just move there without excessive worry about keeping an eye on your compass or pace count. Then once you get to this much closer known point you dead reckon. The advantage of this method is threefold. First you are dead reckoning for a much shorter distance than if that same A-B trip was done strait line. Coming back to the percentage of error in dead reckoning we spoke of earlier, shorter distance means much lower cumulative error. Second if you get turned around you can simply go back to that known point and start again. Third it is generally faster. Bushwhacking is slow and bushwhacking while trying to keep a pace count and hold a bearing is even slower. Also this gives you many more options in route planning to take a faster route through a more open area.
 
I sit down and plan my whole trip (multiple points) before moving. Many people want to get their first point plotted as quickly as possible then take off frantically. I would rather sit down for 5 or 10 minutes and plot my route well then double check it. You do not need to mess up too much for an extra 10 minutes of plotting to be canceled out.

On many land nav courses you will get a bunch of points to go to in a given time period.
I will start by plotting all the points on the map. While doing this I will mark the start and if applicable end points. After that I will look at the places I need to go. I'll do the same thing you do every time when out running errands. You don't go to the west side for a medical appointment, over to the east side to hit the gun shop, back to the west side for lunch, down to the southern end of town to the farm supply store then north to go grocery shopping and return east to go home. You would want to combine and group things in the most logical way possible considering the routes available/ terrain and other factors.

In a more tactical environment your mission will largely drive route planning. I do not mean to say too much about this. Suffice to say you will need to consider the patrol's objectives as well as the enemy threat as part of your overall route planning.

Either way you are going to move from point A to point B (to point C, to point D, etc).

From A to B I will figure out direction then distance. For direction I will use a protractor. When starting out I did this all on paper after a couple false starts.

It might look like
Point A to point B
Direction 240 deg grid
- declination of lets say 3 degrees

Magnetic 237 degrees

Distance 750 meters.

repeat as needed.

I usually put all of my directions onto one piece paper for easy reference. That might look like-
Point A to point B (using dead reckoning)
237 degrees 750 meters
Point B to point C
189 degrees 400 meters
 Point C to point D (using attack point method)
Move to sharp bend in forest service road 6623 vic ET 12345678. Go 180 degrees for 150 meters.

When I am done my map goes into the plastic bag facing one way, my piece of paper with the directions is on the other and my protractor is in the middle. That way I can see both my map and directions with my ghetto map case securely fastened. Then I get moving.

While moving:
Max is right about the speed of movement needing to be in relation to the amount of attention you need to pay to distance/ direction/ looking for your target location. That is one of the reasons I really like the attack point method, I can just walk fairly fast to the point without worrying about whether I'm going at a given declination or keeping count of distance. That being said sometimes maps are funny so I do like to have a casual pace count, especially if I do not know the area well.

When moving with a compass along a specific declination (angle/ direction) inevitably there will be objects in the way. There are really three ways (at least that I know) to get around without blowing your pace count or bearing. First is the box method. Do a 90 degree turn in either direction then walk away from the obstacle counting your paces. Then walk back on your bearing till you are clear of the obstacle and do a 90 degree turn back, walk the same number of steps and you should be clear of the obstacle on the same bearing with a good pace count. This can get to be problematic in say a dense forest. Another method good for smaller obstacles is to simply alternate going left and right. This should let you stay generally on the correct bearing. Keep in mind it adds to distance so your pace count for a given distance is going to be higher. The last method is best for large obstacles like a cliff or lake. In this method you look past the obstacle, find an object you will be able to clearly identify on the other side, estimate the distance, then move over/ around the obstacle, get to the point and CM. I have had good results with this when there is a solid feature to identify. If there are not solid features or you (guess how I know this) choose one that is clear from 100 meters away but not from 10 meters it is not so effective.

As to how close you can realistically get to a given point on the earth utilizing solely a map and compass. Max's point that a 6 digit grid (100m square) is the best you can do is IMO pretty realistic unless there are some features to aid you (the ridgeline, by the creek, etc). That is IMO sufficient for anything except caches or calling for fire. As to caches I have to refer you to John Mosby's excellent article for specifics only a complete idiot would establish a start point, travel 700 meters at a grid azimuth then bury a cache and expect to find it using a map and compass. Nobody is that good.
For a buried cache you are looking at very short distances, probably dozens of meters or less that are typically cross referenced with other known points/ distance/ direction.  It would be more like 18 meters from the old graveyard's corner fence post at 45 degrees and 15 meters at 0 degrees from the grave marker for Old Man Smith. As to calling for fire if you do not know how to establish where you are and where the bad guys are I would not recommend bringing down the steel rain.

There are a couple skills Max did not touch on. These skills relate to establishing the location of unknown points.

Intersection is where you use two or more known points to find the unknown point you are currently located at. This requires some distinct terrain to really work so it's not an option in deep woods or the wide open prairie.

Basically you will:
1) Lay your map out and properly orient it to the ground (north to north).

2) Look around to find an identifiable feature. Long linear terrain features (a highway, river, 10 mile long ridge) are great for getting a general idea of your location a la 'We are definitely North of I-10" but not really good for this. Now a distinct bend in an otherwise strait road or a dam on a river would be perfect.

3) Find the point you identified in step 2 on the map.

4) take a compass bearing to the first point, point A.

5) You then convert that from magnetic to grid by adding the westerly declination. Now you convert that from an azimuth to a back azimuth. A back azimuth is the reverse of your azimuth. Think of it like this, if your head is pointing north your butt is pointing south. This is real simple to do, if the number is more than 180 you subtract 180, if it is less than 180 add 180.

6) On your map draw your back azimuth from the known location. You should be located somewhere along that line.

Now repeat steps 2-6 for point B and you the point where they intersect is, assuming you accurately identified the known points, your current location. The utility of this is obviously figuring out where you are located.

Next we have resection. Resection is finding an unknown point from 2 known points. The real difference between this and intersection is you are not located at the unknown point. Also it requires two people at different known points who can do land nav and communicate with each other. The utility of this in a military context is calling for fire or reporting enemy movements/ activities. In a civilian context it might be calling 911 to help somebody hurt on a mountain or whatever. Resection works like this.


1) Person A takes a compass bearing to the first known point, point A to the unknown point.

2) Person A then converts that from magnetic to grid by adding the westerly declination. Since we are shooting an azimuth from the known point there is no back azimuth to worry about.

3) On your map draw your back azimuth from the known location. You should be located somewhere along that line.

Now Person B does steps 1-3 from point B and you the point where they intersect is, assuming you accurately identified the known points, the unknown location. The utility of this is identifying the unknown point for situational awareness or so you can go to it.

Anyway those are my thoughts on land navigation.






Thursday, December 4, 2014

Max Velocity: The PT Thing

The PT Thing: Clarification

The reality that  many people aren't a young, fit early 20 (even 30/40) something anymore. At the same time there are significant physical demands involved in the realities of realistic survival scenarios, let alone combat.

To paraphrase from John Mosby on the FO Podcast 'If your particular flavor of worst case scenario involves oppositional situations with LEO/MIL types you are not going to be facing starving cannibal San Franciscans. You will be facing young fit 20-early 30 somethings who run and or lift heavy weights daily. Guys who get paid to work out and do things like Jui Jitsu and powerlifting tournaments for fun AFTER their physically demanding jobs.'

 I think being brutally realistic about your capabilities (maybe you are 30 pounds overweight) and potential for improvement then pursing that goal in a slow incremental way is the best answer. Challenge yourself but not to the point of significantly risking injury and slowly increase the time/ speed/ weight.

Anyway that's the periodic PT reminder.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Random Thoughts

Today I spent some time reading about Operation Gladio the NATO stay behind plan for a USSR invasion of Europe. The plans and logistics alone deserve significant study. The actions of the stay behind forces in all manner of political shenanigans range from quite interesting to complete conspiracy fodder.

That lead to thinking about caches. Always more work that could be done there. Some I could probably do now and some for that mythical future time when resources are available. It also brought up the point of commo. You really need to set those sort of plans up in advance to have a decent chance of them working. If there are people you want to talk to it would be prudent to get those plans set up sooner instead of later.

Also it seems the younger chickens are starting to lay as our egg production is definitely up. That is good. We are getting a lot closer to producing what we use or at least a good percentage of it which makes me happy.

Gas prices dropping is an interesting development. Turns out the Saudi's and majority of OPEC must want to hurt Iran and Russia enough to take the short to mid term hit. The extra cash going back into the family budget is sure nice though. 

Between baby sitting two kids and a baby this weekend and Walker getting sick we are pretty beat.

John Mosby's second book is written. He is currently selling E Books and a physical book will follow and the E Book (for the very reasonable price of $15) will not be offered again. This book is more about the underground, logistics and living in a collapse type situation. I am psyched for the physical book to come out.

Max Velocity is offering $100 off his January Combat Team Tactics class.

The folks at Lucky Gunner did a pretty interesting review on the Glock 42. Personally if I were to get a .380 it would be of the tiny pocket variety (Ruger LCP, etc) .380 and if I went bigger it would be a Walther PPK but I can see how this gun might fit some needs. I can't wait for Glock to make a single stack 9mm and will likely sell my Kahr when they do.

If I had the jingle left in my pockets I would purchase  308 - 147 gr FMJ-BT - PMC - 500 Rounds for $335.
James Yeager did a video titled 'Ballistic Baller on a Budget'. He looked at two guns for under a grand My choice in that scenario would be a Yugo PAP M-70 and an S&W SDVE-9. Taking those two guns home for under a grand would be quite reasonable and a solid combo. Between the CZ-75/ Cannic and the M-70/ SDVE 9 choices it's 6 of one and a half dozen of the other though my choices offer better spare parts availability. Anyway that is what's floating around in my head today.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

AR-15 Build vs Buy: Unique AR Platform Characteristics, Quality, Economics, Value and Customization

Commander Zero wrote a post called Stripped Lower Deals that put this into motion. I was going to write a comment but that was not sufficient so it stewed in my head for awhile and turned into a post. In this post I am going to share some ideas about the benefits of building an AR-15 as well as the potential downsides where just buying a rifle turns out better.

Bottom Line Up Front: The unique characteristics of the AR-15 can let an individual looking to maintain privacy yet still own specific weapons, interested in a rifle configuration that is not currently available or looking to secure potential options/ profit do better by starting with a stripped lower than a complete rifle; provided they are able to make reasonable parts choices and stay on (or close to) budget.

Two specific traits of the AR platform make this conversation very different than most other weapons. First as I read someplace online AR's are not so much built as assembled. What I mean is  that assembly does not require lathes, presses, significant mechanical aptitude/ knowledge or fine fitting of components. A person with lower than average mechanical aptitude and a few basic hand tools can put together a totally functional AR-15 at the kitchen table. Sure they will lose a detent pin and a spring, plus there will be a couple tiny scratches by the roll pins but that's about all that will happen. Second the serialized part of the AR which is for all legal purposes the firearm is a small, cheap piece of aluminum. For reference I spent more on the muzzle device for my AR than the (stripped) lower receiver. These two reasons make the discussion very different than with say an AK or M1A.

Now we will talk about the specific areas that will be discussed: Quality, economics, value and customization.

Quality: Quality in an AR comes from using serviceable, or even good parts and putting them together properly. I'm sure there are some total AR guru's out there who do things with fit and small amounts of thoughtfully applied gunsmithing that can make an AR more accurate. However I will submit that unless a total guru or buffoon are putting together a gun the difference is going to be negligible. What I am getting at is that a complete rifle from whoever is not going to perform differently than if the owner put together the lower and slapped the manufacturers upper onto it.

Of course people can totally screw up AR builds. Zero's example of an AR built out of all of the cheapest random parts is manifested in more than a few rifles. Go figure some of them just don't work well. This is my surprised face. Then again companies totally screw up some rifles too, it just happens. An advantage of buying a complete rifle from a reputable company is that if a problem happens they are usually pretty good about making it right. Some guns just have phantom problems and often a company will just give you a new rifle. If your Franken AR has problems fixing them is on your dime, basically you are hosed.

In terms of quality I'd say Project AR is certainly as good as comparable (BCM, Colt, etc) complete rifles.

Economics: This is an interesting discussion. The way to get the cheapest possible AR would be to shop around and find the cheapest individual items. Thus a person could say you can save 60% by building your own. This is not accurate because to compare value we have to talk apples to apples.

Saying "I built a $524 AR so that is a 50% savings over a Colt 6920 LE" is stupid because your budget build is almost surely not in the same league as the Colt. The point I am trying to make is that you need to compare the total cost to build a given quality rifle with the cost to just go out and buy one.

The other problem is people who spend a ton of money buying all sorts of random parts. I regularly see 2K+ AR's up for sale where the guy spent that much or more on parts. These guys read all kinds of stuff and get their roll pins from one guy, their trigger spring from another, etc. They
 really do believe they are building great rifles. In reality they are spending Ferrari money on Fords because they do not have the experience to actually know what matters. These very expensive guns are nowhere near as good as a comparably priced rifle from Daniels Defense or LaRue. Heck, some of them aren't on par with Spikes or S&W.

The 'A La Carte' model of AR building can work in some situations but you definitely have to keep an eye on the bottom line and compare that bottom line to a similar quality complete rifle. Situations exist where you can save money building but there are also others where the numbers do not work. I would say you also have to consider shipping costs as part of the total cost. This makes ordering parts from fewer places advantageous.

Comparing sale items is problematic because it depends a lot on what is on sale today, not yesterday or tomorrow. Looking at normal prices is probably a fair indicator. It is often, though not always, possible to save ten or even twenty percent by getting a stripped lower, LPK, stock and upper vs getting a complete rifle. I did this once. The difference in that particular case was closer to 30% for getting all the parts vs a complete rifle. Exact same parts from the exact same company. Found an acquaintance who put the lower together and I was good to go. That was a good rifle.

Recently with Project AR I probably saved some money. It gets hard to really compare equitably because I upgraded some components and got a less expensive LPK.

Customization: This is really where building makes a lot of sense. The AR is really a grown up male lego set in that a normal guy can pretty much make one into whatever he wants. In general I would say that all other things being equal if you only want to change a superficial thing (furniture, charging handle, etc) there isn't a huge need to go out and build a rifle. On the other hand if you want a configuration not currently available or are otherwise going to change more than a couple things it might make sense to build your own. If you want a different barrel or whatnot the cost of buying all that stuff once then changing it out can get silly fast. When building your own you can avoid duplicate costs for stuff that's going to be thrown into the AR parts bin.

For people with specific tastes who like private party anonymity building is a good option. I say this because while you can (except in panic times and even then if you're willing to pay panic prices) buy AR's PP no problem finding a 16" BCM Middy with a certain barrel twist is going to be really hard. If you get a lower (complete or stripped) then it is easy to build what you want without the high expense of buying a complete rifle you do not want.

Various Thoughts:
Do you want to build a rifle for the fun and learning experience or do you just want to get a gun and be done with it? I wanted to build my rifle to have that experience and am glad I did it. Other people might not be interested in doing that for it's own sake and should probably just buy a rifle. Down the road if / when in the market for another carbine I will probably just do like Max Velocity and buy a Colt 6920 LE. As to other AR configurations I will run the numbers to see which makes the most economic sense.

In Closing:
Depending on your wants, needs and budget there are times when building a rifle makes the most sense. If you choose to build be sure to keep an eye on part quality while simultaneously staying within your budget.

Thoughts?

Friday, November 28, 2014

Black Friday Deals at JRH Enterprises

Too any things are on sale to list at JRH Enterprises. To highlight just a few:

Mt. House Chicken Teriyaki Case
Chicken Teriyaki YUM YUM!

PVS14 P+ 3RD Gen Night Vision Monocular Upgraded Version on sale for $2,995 with a TEN YEAR WARRANTY. For TRAINING with Night Vision devices, we highly recommend Max Velocity Tactical's Night Optical Device Firing Class

 DBAL-I2 IR with Visible GREEN laser for $795

Black Friday Special Midnight Rider Loaded Battle Belts

Awhile back an invisible friend reached out. I was asked to review a battle belt system for them and talk about it. The gear was sent and I have been testing it. Ashamed to say I am woefully behind on getting a full review done on this set of gear.

Basically $110 (shipped so equivalent to other folks charging $95ish) gets you a ready to go battle belt setup with a decent budget IFAK and some other items. A breakdown of the components is:
  • Padded War Belt:  The core of the Midnight Rider battle belt is a new USMC-issue Padded War Belt (NSN 8465-01-615-5140).  This comes with an as-issued "Y" harness but has extra attachment points to be compatible with four-point "H" harnesses.
  • GP Pouches:  We add two surplus USMC-issue general purpose/IFAK pouches (NSN 8105-09-000-2725).  These pouches have a convenient internal subdivider and measure about 6"x6" with about two to four inches of depth, making them great general purpose pouches as well.
  • Canteen Pouch:  Each belt is equipped with a NEW USMC canteen pouch.  These have a convenient buckle closure and fit a canteen with cup.  Each pouch has side pockets useful for water purification tabs, paracord, or other small accessories.  
  • Mag Pouches:  Finally, we round out each belt with USMC double magazine pouches.  These pouches will fit two standard capacity 30-round AR-style magazines, including PMAGs.  Small belts can fit only two pouches, medium belts fit four, and large belts can pack six.  If you don't need to carry magazines they provide handy storage for smaller items like monoculars, NVDs, or radios.  Some of the surplus pouches show some evidence of wear but most are in excellent shape.  You could use magazine shingles under these pouches to increase the capacity of your belt system.
  • "LOADED!"  The "LOADED" battle belt also comes with a USGI canteen and the Midnight Rider Patrol Pouch (consisting of Trauma, First Aid, and Patrol Modules -- see below for details).  I toss in a canteen cup for free, but these cups are not to milspec and thus won't nest with the canteen.
[Edited to include:
For any readers that are on the fence, They are offering a Thanksgiving/Black Friday special this week.

BLACK FRIDAY DEAL! All orders placed between 28 November and 5 December will receive a FREE mystery item! Items could be more MOLLE pouches, rifle targets, an extra tourniquet or med gear... who knows! Additionally, for every two belts you order, I will throw in a free hydration carrier (while supplies last) or free assembly for one belt (please indicate choice when you order). Finally, for each LOADED belt ordered during the holidays, a portion of the proceeds will support the TOYS FOR TOTS drive run by the USMC Reserve. What a deal!

A sampling of the mystery items I've shipped out this week:
- .22 rimfire scopes
- Hydration packs
- Backpacks
- Extra MOLLE pouches
- Random upgrade to handpick stuff (like nice nalgene)
- Extra tourniquets and random med stuff
- Rifle slings
- Pistol Holsters ]
This is a solid system. You can certainly assemble a better one out of new top tier (HSGI, etc) gear but can easily spend twice as much money in doing so. Depending on your budget and priorities they are both valid options.

As to concept of use and where this system fits in the big picture. It is definitely a high value to cost system. For a person on a budget who wants something more modern and ergonomic than ALICE that is not going to fall apart the first time you take it out training with somebody like Max Velocity or John Mosby this would be a fine choice. The person who put this together has been using one exclusively for awhile. It works fine and I would have no issue using it exclusively.

What I really like this setup as is a sweet spot between expensive new gear and budget but aging and not exactly ideal ALICE stuff. I believe every rifle needs it's own mags and fighting load. That means per rifle not per platform. So if you own 3 AR's it would be three separate sets of gear. The cost of doing that at $200+ a pop can get cost prohibitive in a hurry. At the same time I would like something more along the lines of my primary rig than the old ALICE. That's where Midnight Rider's Battle Belt's come in.

A full review will follow in due time.

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.
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