Showing posts with label TEOTWAWKI blog. Show all posts
Showing posts with label TEOTWAWKI blog. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Assault Packs, Rucks and Sustainment Loads Revisited

I tend to break down these different loads into the fairly well recognized 3 tired system (level 1 survival, level 2 fighting and level 3 sustainment). The primary reason I do this is that due to a lack of common vocabulary different names such as get home bag, assault pack, bug out bag, etc all mean drastically different things to different people. The end result is that unless a common terminology is established we are talking apples, oranges and potatoes instead of apples and apples.

The day pack/ assault pack arena really muddles the waters. Personally I bend convention and call them level 2.5 because they do not cleanly fit in either category. Depending on the use they may be an extension of a fighting load to carry stuff that does not fit in a LBE/ Chest Rig/ whatever or special equipment. This might be machine gun ammo or a spotting scope or whatever. On the other hand this might be a light sustainment setup with a few snacks and a jacket, some extra water and a poncho/ poncho liner to roll up in. Often the load in these bags is some combination of the two or a
murky in the middle item. Anyway right or wrong I call this assault pack range level 2.5.

In recent discussions I have talked about overall tiered gear and specifically my level 2.5 bag a couple of notable comments came up. Specifically I recall comments by River Rider and Alexander Wolfe of TEOTWAWKI Blog.

The main point of their comments was that both ended up going with smaller lighter sustainment setups more akin to my level 2.5 'assault pack' than a larger more traditional rucksack. River Rider mentioned weight as an issue and that he was not as young as he used to be. Alexander Wolfe mentioned the speed of lighter systems and leveraging modern technology to get similar capabilities
(to larger/ heavier items) in smaller and lighter packages. Note I do not mean to disparage either of these fine individuals or their ideas even though we might not agree on everything. It is more that I want to talk about the pro's and con's of lighter vs heavier sustainment loads in no small part because the idea has been stuck in my head for two days.

Personally I went through this struggle myself about 2 years back. I was trying to come up with a 'be all end all' system that covered the capabilities I needed yet was still relatively light and easy to carry. I ended up with more or less the worst of both worlds in a pack that weighted close to 30 pounds but did not really fill all of my goals. To complicate matters I tried to do it in a frame less 'assault pack'. It just didn't work.

The end result is that I personally moved to two different sustainment systems in the form of the level 2.5 assault pack/ get home bag and a true level 3 Rucksack. Furthermore for my concept of use these bags need to be more independent than purely tiered. So instead of items existing in my BOB
and flexing to the assault pack as needed, the pure tiered approach, there is a decent amount of redundancy between the two systems. The reason for this is the lighter level 2.5 bag is compact enough that it often comes with me and is not a hassle to haul around. If I were to start using them together I would likely need to do a marriage style combining of stuff then leave behind/ trade off/ etc the left over redundant items. [I suppose another option would be to treat the level 2.5 bag as an offset of the ruck and get a simple little backpack to roll up and stick in my level 3 bag as it's companion assault pack. Not a bad idea really. Might just do that next time I see a cheap but decent earth tone day pack. Think Chris mentioned something like that] Basically in realizing a system could not meet the top end of capabilities and stay within a weight range that was conducive to moving as fast as I might want to in some situations.

This brings up an interesting point. Weight gives you (at least the ability to have) more capabilities but it also slows you down. If this push pull relationship is not handled carefully you can get to a feedback loop where you are slower so the trip will take longer and since the trip is longer you
need more stuff.

It can be said that you want to pack a certain system/ bag with a specific scenario in mind. In the survivalist speak you could say a bug out bag needs to be designed specifically for the scenario in terms of range, climate, etc it is to be used in. Obviously a long distance trucker driving across the
northern Midwest needs very different gear than a person who lives in Florida and works 4 blocks from home. An individual scenario needs to be taken into account. However I have some concerns that 'if it fits your scenario' can be taken in silly directions and becomes the system equivalent of 'shooters preference' run amok or the tactical equivalent of "everyone gets a trophy" no matter how uninformed or even stupid their setup is. Generally speaking right answers from different smart people look a whole lot alike which sort of goes against the "whatever fits your scenario" argument.

For a specific discrete event it would make sense to look at your kit to add or remove items as needed, obviously within reason. However I find that, especially for kits/bags/systems regularly carried for contingencies, this could rapidly become onerous. I am not going to dump my level 2 bag every day based on the days plans. "Well, I will need to add 2 granola bars for today because I am going an extra 5 miles from home, it is warm outside so I do not need a jacket, yadda, yadda, yadda." That is just not realistic. Honestly if I replace stuff that gets used, make sure nothing goes bad and do the seasonal gear shift I'm doing well. I find that coming up with a solid plan that fills my general perceived needs and just sticking with it is probably the best option for normal every day stuff.

To the discussion of your more assault type bags vs a full sized ruck/ hiking backpack:

In general it is important to prepare not only for the conditions you plan to face but those you could reasonably face. This means more food, clothing, tools and equipment than you know you will need.

Case in point: The winter before last I was hiking up in the Huachuca Mountains kind of a scenic work out as I was carrying my BOB. At the time I was alone in the house and it was a Saturday afternoon. It started to rain then snow. As I was jumping rock to rock across a tributary I casually wondered "what will happen if I break my ankle right now?" There was no way I could get out on one leg. The answer was that in two or three days I would have be found. They would have found me with a nice shelter set up laying in my sleeping bag by a fire, probably sipping a hot beverage and playing solitaire. With a 20 pound assault pack I would have been alive but cold, hungry and pretty unhappy.

Bigger heavier systems are going to have more capabilities than smaller ones assuming you make semi reasonable choices for stuff. It is true leveraging newer lighter items and dual use stuff helps.
However without ridiculously gaming the scenario those gains are not that enormous. The gaps I find most problematic in smaller systems in order are lack of cold weather clothing/ shelter, lack of provisions and lack of tools. Along this line you can get away with a lot lighter systems in warmer
areas. Valid points can be made about the need for some of this stuff. However there is danger of going down the 'capabilities' slippery slope where folks say 'well I have a cutting tool' and somehow convince their self a razor blade has the same capabilities as a full tang 8" survival knife and an ax or that a little tin foil emergency blanket 'shelter' the equivalent to a Swack Shack and a military sleep system.

The consideration of speed/ ease of movement certainly favors lighter systems. I agree with this if it makes sense for the scenario (vs a bigger system with more capabilities). To me in this context making sense would be that the lighter bag meets your perceived needs with a reasonable margin for
error.

I guess my biggest reservations about the smaller sustainment load are a) it is not a replacement for a heavier sustainment load for a variety of realistic situations, especially in cold weather and b) that it could be chosen not because it is the right fit but because it is easier to carry around.

We should not discount the idea of using a larger bag and leaving it in camp, an ORP or caching it for the times we need to move faster. This might let you use a smaller bag in more of a traditional assault pack role filling it up with the items you will need for that day or maybe overnight scout.
Inevitably the 'but a ruck is heavy!" whine comes out. The answer is physical fitness in general and with a particular focus on moving over ground in general and carrying a load. Also while it is not nice to say if you lose 20 pounds of excess butt and or belly that 20 pounds of food/ clothes/ gear you could carry for the same amount of effort. Unfortunately less fit people do not somehow magically require less food/ clothes/ gear than fit people do. Bear this in mind when considering your body weight and physical fitness level.

Like I mentioned earlier I ended up with sustainment type systems in both of these loose categories. To which one I pick for a specific situation there is sort of a loose decision making/ risk assessment, most of the time I choose the smaller of the two. The bigger bag tends to come out when I am
going way out into the hinter boonies or in winter. 

Thoughts?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

My Assault Pack/ Get Home Bag AKA Level 2.5 Load- Including New Comments and Discussion

Awhile back TEOTWAWKI Blog did an everyday carry bag contest. Both to support that excellent blog and provide something I felt was lacking to the conversation I participated. Have been meaning to cross post that discussion here and today seems like as good a time as any.

 This is the bag I carry basically everywhere. It is a merger of my everyday carry bag, survivalist 'get home bag and military assault pack. It has plenty of room for the usual civilian EDC lunch, laptop, paperback book, etc all for when I go someplace. Admittedly the ratio of stuff in there to spare room is pretty high but the stuff in there already covers many of the anticipated needs I would be putting stuff in there to fill the bag with anyway.
This system presumes I am carrying my normal EDC stuff and have servicable clothing/ footwear. I keep some clothes and footwear in the vehicle in case I get caught in swim trunks and flip flops.
My system is carried in a Tactical Tailor backpack. It is about a decade old so names and models have changed but I think they still make a similar bag. This thing has been used and abused and just keeps kicking. There is something to be said for buying nice once. I attached a water bottle holder, want to say Maxpedition brand.
The whole system is shown on my HPG Serape.
Generally from left to right, grouped by rough system:
Food: I set this system up with the home made MRE day of food (oatmeal, ramen, tuna, granola bars, peanut butter) in the ziplock bag but ended up puttiing a bunch more stuff in there, plus an MRE plus a small baggie of granola bars and snacks that sits in the front pouch for easy snacking access. Without doing calorie math this is probably enough food to replace energy/ calorie loss in a high output environment for roughly 2.5 days. There is also a 5 hour energy shot in there. Also pictured are a plastic spork and a metal spoon.

Clothing: 2 pair of boot socks, a pair of nomex fliers gloves, a t shirt and underoos. Also there is a lightweight poly pro top and a fleece beanie. In putting this together I toyed with taking them out as well it is June in Louisiana but they are pretty light and small. Might be good to have in case I get wet and the temp drops a bit or something. The clothing currently rides in a white plastic trash bag in case my backpack gets moist.I would like to replace this with a USGI wet weather bag or similar civilian equivalent.
Over on the other side rolled up is a multicam soft shell type jacket. They are comfortable, breathe well and are good for wind as well as moderate rain.
Lighting: Shown is a Petzl headlamp and a little LED light. In making this my daughter got to messing with the small light and I found out it doesn't work..Next to it is a small bag with a variety of batteries (AA, AAA and CR2032) plus a bic lighter.
Tools: Ka Bar. I wanted a good fixed blade knife for this system and it seemed like a decent candidate. Certainly it was the best candidate already in my inventory. It is there for heavier survival type tasks my folder might not be ideal for. Also it is sharp and could hurt someone if needed. Given that this bag is often lying around here or there I want to stick to tools that are fairly low priced. Would be hesitant to keep a $400 Busse TGLB in here but a $50 Ka Bar is an acceptable risk.
I am looking at shifting up to a slightly beefier more survival (vs fighting/ general) type knife specifically one of those beefy British MOD Sheffiield survival knives or some sort of Ontario offering.

First Aid: I have a 'boo boo kit' with band aid's, tylenol, moleskin, liquid bandaide and athletic tape. The goal is to keep me walking and treat minor injuries. There is also a chapstick in there. Next to it are a pair of spare glasses and some ballistic eye pro.
Weapons Cleaning: A small cleaning kit plus a ziplock bag with an old toothbrush and some pipe cleaners. This is mostly because I use the bag for military applications as well as general/ survival use. Still being able to clean a weapon is a handy thing.
Honestly I dislike this kit and prefer the older ones with solid metal rods but well this one was handy.
Shelter: The system is shown on my HPG Serape. It is expensive but a real useful do a lot of things piece of kit. There is a generic casualty/ thermal type metalish blanket in the  middle and a survival solutions OPSEC poncho over on the right. Next to the poncho are 4 lightweight metal stakes wrapped with a wad of 550 cord and 2 bungie cords to aid in shelter making.
Between the poncho, serape and casualty blanket I have a decent 3 season solution for the South.

Communication: A couple 3x5 cards and a variety of writing implements. Also a piece of VS-17 panel for signaling.
Navigation: Compass, a Silva base model I've had for half my life. It still points north and is light n easy to stick anywhere. The 1 gallon bag has my navigation stuff which consists of a couple maps, a protractor and a couple pencils.
Water:a 1qt steel bottle with nesting lid. For resupply I have a Sawyer Mini water filter and a bottle of purification tablets.
Hygiene: I have a roll of TP for obvious reasons. 
Cordage: There is a wad of 550 cord in a small ziplock bag.
Self Defense: This system presumes I have my normal CCW pistol. Shown are 2 33rd Glock magazines and a G19 mag. They are empty currently. Also 100 rds of 9mm ball is there. I'm still sort of feeling this one out. Honestly I'm not too concerned about firepower but the idea from Ed's post to keep a couple extended mags seemed sound, the G19 mag is just in case I forget to bring a reload or otherwise need a normal sized mag. The ammo is enough to load the Glockamole mags and the spare G19 mag plus reload my 2 edc mags.
Honestly in my area if things developed in such a way I needed them there would be plenty of time to load them. I carry 2 mags for CCW so this is not a huge concern.Got to figure this part of the system out.
To Do (at some point or another):
Replace small LED light
Purchase USGI WW bag.
Get mag pouch to hold 2 extended glock mags. Probably load said mags. Figure out how I want to carry any extra ammo.
Replace plastic spork and metal spoon with 1x metal spork.
Replace cleaning kit with a better one.
Relook food and maybe remove some through attrition.
Add an IFAK for trauma. I have the stuff, just need to put it together and toss it into the bag.
Add a pair of cheapo foamy ear plugs.
Put a bit of cash in there. I typically carry $150-200 USD in my wallet but $40 in mixed bills with a few quarters wouldn't hurt.
Get a stuff sack for the stakes, cord, etc.
I am toying with putting a hydration bladder into this system. It would boost the water capacity a lot and be handier on the go. I have a minimalist camelback and a couple spare bladders so it will not cost me anything to try.
Discussion:
My concerns in rural Louisiana are not the same as many peoples. As such you can see it is far more outdoor survival oriented than on more urban concerns of riots and such.
This bag is rather militaristic and full of multi cam as well as various USGI stuff. That is because I am in the Army and A) this setup is dual use for comparable military and civilian applications.  B) It was largely put together of stuff on hand. Aside from duplicates (headlamp, water bottle, etc) the only stuff purchased intentionally for this kit were the bag (about a decade ago for Army stuff) and the HPG Serape. The rest was already on inventory.
If I was a civilian the bag would likely be a quality Kelty/ REI type day pack in an earth tone. Ditto for the multicam being replaced with green and the USGI stuff with civilian equivalents.
If folks were interested in setting up a similar system I would recommend they focus more on type/ capabilities of stuff than exact make/ model. No real reason you should get a basic Silva compass like mine over say a comparable Brunton model that is on sale. 
Edited to include:
Part of the reason I wanted to to do this is because this bag is going to receive some attention in the near future. My goal is to make it a bit more versatile to a wider variety of more modern concerns. As such I wanted to document the original and then look at/ talk through the changes that will be made. More to follow in coming weeks. 

As always your thoughts and suggestions are welcome.

Edited to include:
I was going to write a couple of lengthy replies so it made sense to bring them up to the main page. Comments will be in italics and my replies will be bold.

Anonymous Commander_Zero said... (note Zero replied to my thoughts so my original words are normal, his are in Italics and my reply to his reply is Bold.
"Purchase USGI WW bag." - Whats a WW bag? Wet weather bag.
Get mag pouch to hold 2 extended glock mags. - I use the Maxpedition MP5 mag pouches, or the Blackhawk 3x MP5 pouch.
Noted, Though the 2x melee mags might be a casualty in the new revision.
Replace plastic spork and metal spoon with 1x metal spork. - I went with the Titanium spork. Practical yet tacticool. I have a Light My Fire Titanium Spork  in the BOB. Reviewed them awhile back. Actually I think there are a couple floating around our various kits. The downside of multiple fairly redundant systems is that I end up needing a few of the same thing. Another will get tagged onto an order in the near future.

I am toying with putting a hydration bladder into this system. It would boost the water capacity a lot and be handier on the go. I have a minimalist camelback and a couple spare bladders so it will not cost me anything to try. - Im playing with the military ones from Source and am so far pleased, esp. with their little 1-liter that will fit in a GI canteen pouch and lets me refill without taking the bladder out of the pouch.

Tossed a  CamelBak Hydrobak 50oz Black that was already on inventory into the rig. That way I could take it with and have the option to put it into/ on the bag or use it independently. Will fiddle with this system more to see how well it works.Those Source ones are nice. I had one at some point but think it got thieved by an Army buddy.


October 14, 2014 at 12:40 PM
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Blogger TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf said...
Ryan -

Thanks for the kind words about T-Blog. Looking forward to seeing where you're taking your bag.

October 14, 2014 at 4:55 PM

Alexander, The general trend will be adapting it to have some more urban type capabilities. A full set of clothes in a naked bag, burner cell phone, maybe some little E&E gadgets and potentially a multi tool.
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Anonymous Anonymous said...
Good article!

We have been working on our get-home bags, recently.

There is always room for improvement. I am still adjusting the food element/clothing element of our bags. It is an ongoing process.


I find our systems are rarely static. 

October 14, 2014 at 9:26 PM
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Blogger tweell said...
I've added a bit more hygiene for mine - a hotel soap and a couple wet alcohol wipes, along with a comb. The comb is handy for combing cactus off - here in the SW that can be a problem.
There's just hard candy in my bag for food. Empty calories, but non-perishable and doesn't require extra water. 3L water, because this is a desert. A multi-tool, since I can't carry one at work. 


Tweell, I often rock wet wipes exclusively for hygiene though a tooth brush would be a good idea. The multi tool I am really on the fence about. In the woods not that awesome but in town a pair of pliers and some screwdrivers can be darn handy. May include one if I can find a place to trim some weight off.

October 14, 2014 at 10:50 PM
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Anonymous riverrider said...
nice setup. this is pretty much what i was talking about using with my enhanced lbe setup. been looking for a knife sheath that drops a couple inches to clear the pistol belt and/or ruck belt. i liked it better when there wasn't any choice of gear. it was alice, suck it up. now there's too much out there to choose from i suffer from decision paralysis.
October 15, 2014 at 9:25 AM

RR, Great minds think alike. For your knife problem it is hard to give a good answer without knowing all the variables (knife, sheath, what it is attaching to, etc). Generally speaking SPEC OPS makes a pretty decent looking Spec-Ops Brand Combat Master Knife Sheath 6-Inch Blade (Coyote Brown, Short) or for Ka Bar length knives the Spec-Ops Brand Combat Master Knife Sheath 8-Inch Blade (Coyote Brown, Long). Of course they are one size fits most but if it's along fairly general utility/ fighting knife lines it'll probably fit. Another option is a dangler to go on your existing sheath. A third option depending on your budget to gear snob ratio is to rig up something with either 550 cord or zip ties. Hope that helps.
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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Gun Safe Discssion: Options I Have Used

TEOTWAWKI Blog asked about gun safes in a recent bleg. I thought it would be a good bridge to discussing different options for securing firearms (or I suppose other valuables). To keep the discussion more bout my personal experiences than something conceptual we will discuss mostly options I have used.

Before we start it is important to have a common foundation. In no particular order here we go:

-There are many reasons for wanting to lock up/ secure guns. The most common are to prevent them from being accessed by unauthorized users such as young children, preventing theft and protection from fire and or water damage.

-The reason you are looking to secure guns matters considerably in the methods and type of containers that make sense.

Case in point; when Walker was a tiny baby we went on a family vacation. Naturally a pistol, in this case my trusty Glock 19 came along. I needed a way to keep him from potentially getting his hands on my pistol while I was not wearing it when in the place we were staying. I purchased a small plastic case that closed tightly with two zippers you could slip a small lock through. Simply placed my (unloaded) pistol in this case, locked it and put it on top of a tall piece of furniture. A fine and very affordable solution for that specific situation. Honestly just putting my pistol 4 feet off the ground would very arguably be sufficient but I wanted an additional barrier in case say I took my pistol off and set it on a bed while changing and forgot to move it.

[Furthermore fundamentally in houses with small kids my fundamental belief is that guns need to be under the control of an adult or secured to prevent children from inadvertently accessing them. I know there are a multitude of viewpoints on this topic and what exactly constitutes 'small kids'. There are certainly a range of reasonable viewpoints. This is really all I plan to say specifically on this topic.]

However a couple years later with kids who can walk and get into all manner of stuff that option would obviously not work.

The solution for preventing unauthorized access may be entirely insufficient for preventing theft.  A solution that prevents theft might not work for fire.

You get the idea.

-In securing anything there is a give and take relationship between accessibility and security. More accessibility means less security and visa versa. This has to be balanced depending on your needs. In my mind this relationship leads itself to a split between primary defensive and very regularly used sporting firearms and whatever else may be in your collection.

-The hard truth is in the vast majority of violent crimes around the home you are not going to have time to go to the big ole gun safe, open the combination lock you probably mess up about half the time (when not under pressure), get a gun and load that gun. This already unlikely scenario is even less likely if your safe is in a less trafficked part of the home like a basement or garage and even worse if all ammo is stored separately. More on this later.

-When it comes to criminals of the burglar type or whatever. Typically they are not in a house for very long. If they can't carry it off strait away the odds they will bother are minimal. Of course sometimes they know you are gone for a week and the house is secluded or they know something particularly valuable is present at which point they will break into safe's, tear up walls and floors, etc all. Along these lines it is important to remember that people can break into anything if given sufficient motivation. Crooks regularly break into jewelry stores and bank vaults which have far better security than any normal person can afford.

- A sense of proportion both to what you want to secure in a safe and your overall financial situation is important. An average guy getting a several hundred dollar gun safe to secure several thousand dollars combined value in guns, jewelry, precious metals and cash makes sense. A well off enthusiast twenty thousand dollar safe to secure a high 5 to low 6 figure Class III collection makes sense. A twenty thousand dollar gun safe to secure Joe Everyday's 7-10k in stuff fails the common sense test.

- As a general rule it is smart to buy a bigger gun safe than you currently need or anticipate needing in the immediate future. The reason for this is many, if not all, gun collections grow over time and you cannot really add more capacity to a safe once it is full. Many people end up selling a smaller safe to fund a larger one or picking up an additional safe to close the gap.

I use the 'buying beer to take to a party' rule. If you(r group) want a 6 pack bring a 12, if you want a 12 bring an 18 or a case, you get the idea.

-Generally speaking I dislike electronic locks. The exception is if the speed of access they offer is needed for defensive weapons. Don't buy electronic locks from cheap manufacturers. Make sure there is a back up combo or key.

-The biometric (finger print) safe's are a nice idea but I dislike depending on a fairly cheap electronic device to read a finger print AND myself to present my finger print onto the scanner the same way as I entered it at 3am when men are talking in the living room. I'd rather have a combo type electronic lock. 

Now that we have that stuff out of the way lets get to some specific products.

For readily accessible defensive use:
-The GunVault NV200 NanoVault with Key Lock, Fits Full Size 1911 Style Pistols as well as many similar products is a little locking metal box that holds a handgun and some stuff like a light and a mag or two smaller handguns.

My GunVault NV300 NanoVault with Combination Lock (several manufacturers make very similar products) opens with a 3 number dial combination lock akin to a bike lock. This is handy to me because it avoids the 'where is that #*$*#*' key' problem which could be devastating in a crisis.  Access is fairly quick. Security is good for small children and keeping from getting shot with your own gun though a crook would likely take the whole thing and sort it out later. I find these quite handy for traveling. Their affordable cost and compact nature makes these ideal to securely stash in a hall closet, behind some books on a shelf or in a drawer. A couple of these paired with your back up .45 and the J frame you got for a great deal are an excellent way to have some defensive options around the home.

In our bedroom we keep a Sentry Safe HDC11E Home Defense Center 2.1 Cubic Feet with my 870P and Glock 19 with a light as well as Wifey's revolver. This is an excellent product that lets you have a long gun and a pistol (or two) very quickly accessible. The downside is it's expensive. If a long gun  being secure AND very accessible is not a deal maker for you the expense would be hard to justify.


There are lots of small quick access type pistol sized gun safe's like the Sentry Safe Biometric Quick Access Pistol Safe that can be mounted by the bed or whatever. These can often be mounted to a floor or piece of furniture. These can be easily concealed or obscured due to their small size. If money was less of an object I would have one in every room of our house.

There are other products available but these  are generally representative of  the general types of containers I like for securing primary (grab at 3AM, etc) type weapons.

For a more bulk storage of guns you do not need to access immediately a larger container is the answer.

For smaller collections and budgets a 'gun cabinet' is a good option. These are basically steel cabinets (think industrial filing cabinets) with a lock that can be screwed/ bolted in place.

In college I purchased a Stack-On GCG-910 Steel 10-Gun Security Cabinet, Green when I lived with a couple guys and there were often people over. These are a good option to keep several guns locked up away from unauthorized users and have some theft deterrent, A normal sized guy can carry one, even full of guns, but especially if secured to the wall/ floor, it is a lot harder than shoving a handgun in your pants or a few handguns in a pillow case and wrapping a couple long guns in a blanket. Still I would say the primary benefit of these is security from unauthorized users with theft a distant second.

The biggest benefit of these is cost. As a broke college kid when the local 'Mart had em on sale for $88 I crapped up the cash. Today at $130ish to secure a few long guns and as many pistols as you can shove in these are a smoking deal. With a little bit of prioritization anybody can afford one of these. cabinets and prevent small kids from accessing their guns while also deterring theft.Also being (relatively) small and light these can fit discretely in a normal sized closet and are easy to move which is handy for young people as well as folks who are semi nomadic or in transition.

For a bigger and more expensive collection a real safe makes sense.

It is worth mentioning a gem I found on ARF.

Safe threads are always fun, I'll give you the cliffs notes for the next twelve pages:

1> Someone will post that you need to spend $25k on a real safe, everything else is just a big coffee can
2> He'll be plus one'd for a few posts
3> Then someone will post a video of that $25k safe being broken into by a toddler with a toothbrush in 13 milliseconds
4> He'll be plus one'd for a few posts
5> Someone will post that you need to spend $50k on a real safe, everything else is just a big coffee can
6> He'll be plus one'd for a few posts
7> Then someone will post a video of that $50k safe being broken into by a toddler with a toothbrush in 13 milliseconds
8> He'll be plus one'd for a few posts
9> Someone will post that you need to spend $75k on a real safe, everything else is just a big coffee can
10> He'll be plus one'd for a few posts
11> Then someone will post a video of that $75k safe being broken into by a toddler with a toothbrush in 13 milliseconds
12> He'll be plus one'd for a few posts
13> ...

End quote

I ended up with a few hundred dollar  Field and Stream 24 gun safe. It has a manual lock and a 30 minute fire rating. This safe is big enough to hold a pretty decent stash of guns, especially if you really organize it well. I will get a few G.P.S. Pistol Soft Foam Cradle Holder to help with that as the safe fills up. Beyond that when the safe gets full I will likely set up another cache someplace.

You can certainly spend more money on larger and fancier safes. Personally the 500 pound range is about the top limit I am going to be able to move with a good dolly and a buddy so I do not want a larger one. At that point I would likely just get another safe.

The last option if you are pretty permanently settled is to build a gun room. If you are going to have 2-3 big heavy duty gun safe's the cost is not really that different. 

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

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Libertors, Emergency Funds and Random Thoughts

I finished the new Jim Rawles book Liberators: A Novel of the Coming Global Collapse . It was excellent. Started working on the review and should have it done in the next couple days.

TEOTWAWKI Blog wrote an excellent post on Emergency Funds. This utterly non sexy part of preparedness is equally important and ignored in survivalism. The honest truth is you are going to need $500 to pay for a car repair or an unexpected doctor visit or cover a short paycheck than you will need a case of Tula 7.62x39 hp ammo (on sale for $229!) for the family AK or fish antibiotics.

You, yes you, seriously need an emergency fund. I do not care what sort of preps you have put back you need cash. Buckets full of rice will not put a new transmission in the family hauler a hundred and fifty miles from home.

As Alexander Wolfe noted it is prudent for some of this money should be in physical cash and readily available. It doesn't take much for the credit card system to fall apart in a disaster as there are a lot of potential points of failure. How much physical cash should you have on hand? I think for most people a months cash expenses (typically food, fuel, incidentals) is a pretty decent starting point.

It was not an accident that I picked a months cash expenses over a $$$ amount. The reason is dollar amounts do not factor in your situation. Jamie of My Adventures in Self Reliance is single and lives disability [Due to a medical issue, not the point of this post. Only mentioned it because it speaks to her income and applies to this situation]. $500 would last her a whole lot longer than Justin C's family of 8.

As of late I have started putting a little bit of money into different kits. $40 in various small bills will help in a lot of scenarios. I keep a fair bit of cash in my wallet shooting for around $200 and using $100 as 'zero' but maybe somehow I could end up with my bag but not wallet.

The idea of an S&W Shield is popping into my head again. Maybe next month.

Anyway I've got to go read some stories. Should have the Liberators review out for you tomorrow.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Fathers Day and My EDC/ GHB/ Level 2.5 Bag Post At TEOTWAWKI Blog

Well it is Fathers Day. Cheers to all you fathers out there. Taking care of and raising children is a heavy and at times thankless job for sure.

My fathers day was nice. Had a quiet morning, well as quiet as you can have with two little milk drunk Anarchist Rioters anyway. Went to Wally World to check for ammo. They had plenty of different stuff but I was just cruising for .22lr.  Didn't see any of it.

Had a quiet afternoon then Wifey made a really nice dinner. While she was cooking I relaxed outside with the kids. Dinner was excellent. After that I had a good talk with Pops. We have a good relationship but don't talk enough. Turns out if neither person is any good at picking up the phone and making a call there are not a lot of conversations. We both recognize the problem and are at least conceptually trying to work on it so that is something.

My  EDC/ GHB/ Level 2.5 Bag post is up at TEOTWAWKI Blog. You might want to check that out.

Anyway Happy Fathers Day.


Friday, June 13, 2014

RE: Deep Thoughts: EDC Bags At TEOTWAWKI Blog

TEOTWAWKI Blog is running an EDC Bag Contest. In this post he discussed the issue at a conceptual level. I find it interesting and honestly am too worn down (seriously I think it is the humidity) to put in the effort to do one of the posts I have in the pipeline so you get my thoughts on his post. So in no particular order here we go:

1) Obviously the exact makeup of a bag type kit is going to vary from person to person based on their situation and what sort of concerns they have. A college student in Vermont will not need exactly what a cop down in Ole Mexico like Ed Wood needs any more than a subway commuter in a massive urban center will need all the things I carry down in empty Central Louisiana. You get the point.

2) While #1 is true the real variance in well thought out decent kits is a lot less than you might initially think.Any well thought out methodology such as E&E or SF Survival Doctrine (John Mosby mentioned SMOLLS-E or something, I cannot find the post though) or Dave Canterbury's 5 C's is going to have a lot in common. An EDC type kit (on body stuff plus bag if applicable) is going to include a knife, a way to make fire, a container to hold water, some food, some first aid stuff, etc. It is sort of like recipes for say wheat bread. A dozen good recipes will all be slightly different but it is in small ways such as the ratio of wheat to white flour or seeds added or exact amounts of sugar and salt, the addition of butter or raisins, etc. The point I am making is that at their core good kits are going to be a lot more alike than different. So if your kit looks radically different from that of smart, capable people with a generally similar concept of use I would recommend you rethink it and potentially consider further education/ retraining on the topic.

3) The ratio of space allocated to preparedness type items is something worth discussing. I think this depends a bit on your bag needs and a lot on your worst case scenario combined with the bags concept of use.

If you want a normal sized backpack to carry a lunchbox, a big thermos of coffee, a water bottle and a book there is not going to be much room left for preparedness related gear. So you can either be happy with a modest but well thought out kit in the smaller pouches on the bag, downsize the non prep stuff you carry daily or get a bigger bag.

4) Generally speaking for whatever amount of space I chose to allocate in said bag the categories of stuff are going to basically be the same type of stuff with larger kits getting bigger items or more stuff to meet the same basic needs. A personal survival kit could fit in any bag and I would have a water bottle for general use. A box of granola bars or comparable food plus a pair of socks and a fleece watch cap could easily fit someplace in most bags and is a pretty decent setup in and of itself. 

5) Personally to the maximum extent possible is to use preparedness functional items for everyday type use. Instead of a cheesy plastic bottle I use a stainless steel one with a removable lid. I keep some food in there that could be used in an emergency or just to replace a forgotten lunch.

This is admittedly a lot easier for me as a service member because 1) Overtly tactical type stuff is acceptable as well as common place and 2) My military as well as generally wilderness/ rural movement type concerns largely overlap. A lot of the stuff I would need for a no notice long day or overnight in the field is pretty similar to what I would need for a day and a half to two day long forced march home or a couple days stuck someplace. We could debate the exact place one type of bag or system stops and another starts. Honestly this is somewhere Alex and I see things differently.

As you will see when my entry hits the TEOTWAWKI Blog EDC Bag Contest mine is a bit more comprehensive in some areas than most. That being said.

6) Alexander is absolutely right there is serious potential for 'mission creep'. I personally had this the first time I really set up my current EDC bag for preparedness. It weighted 40 pounds, was absolutely jam packed and I was looking at tying a darn sleeping bag onto it!  Quickly I realized that while 40 pounds of stuff fit into my TT glorified day pack it would carry like doo doo. I ended up putting that stuff into an internal frame pack and it became my BOB.

While I fully recognize the problem I am not entirely sure I have an answer to it. Personally I solved my problem by establishing, or trying to anyway, a tired system of everyday carry, fighting load, level 2.5 assault pack/ GHB/ EDC and my BOB. Eventually I would like to firm up a heavy vehicle based bug out system. Knowing there is a kit that meets a more comprehensive specific need lets me accept that another system is a bit lighter in certain areas.

7) Multi functional gear makes a lot of sense here given the relative size and weight constraints. When space is limited items, especially bulky and or heavy ones being multi functional is ideal. That is why despite the expense and relative bulk I love the HPG Serape.

8) #2 and #7 being said you have to look at potential (or actual) items for what you use in the field or whatever type situations your bag is set up for while keeping items needed for contingencies. Example, After some consideration I decided not to include a multi tool in my EDC bag (or on my person). I simply do not use them often enough to justify one in these systems. Many folks look at that problem differently and I do not fault them for it.

9) Talking about gear, kits and systems is fun.

10) I am bored of writing so it is time to end this.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Fighting Load Contest Voting and A Weeks Preps

The voting for my Fighting Load Contest has officially begun. Look just to the left of this and you will see the poll where you can vote for your favorite setup. Voting will run for a week with winners announced next Monday or Tuesday.

This last week sort of got away from me. A few good things still happened though. I caught up on some admin stuff here which isn't exciting but helps fund stuff that is. Went over my level 2.5 Backpack/ Get Home Bag/ Assault Pack to do my entry for the TEOTWAWKI Blog EDC Contest. Identified some issues that need to be addressed ASAP and others that can wait a bit.

Finally started reading The Creature from Jekyll Island about the Federal Reserve. It is not as dry as I feared it would be for such a heavy topic. Still not exactly a quick and easy read.

Signed up for an Appleseed Clinic later this summer. Very excited about that. Was looking and found one in my general neck of the woods. Got to get my 10/22 decked out pretty soon. It needs new sights and a USGI web sling. Thank goodness I do not need to try to find .22lr  in order to attend the class. Would be nice to find some but it is not essential. I have the ammo, heck I have the ammo allocated for training, but it'd be nice to set some of that away for just in case. All survivalist annoyance at digging into stocks aside it is a good cause and I will bring extra to spot folks who are short.

Crushed the gym which was cool. Also the transition to minimalist running is getting to the point where I can start doing it for more normal work out's.  Even went for a barefoot run this weekend. Yeah I am crazy like that.

In the near term I am looking at picking up a few things: A spare parts kit for a rifle, a British MOD Sheffield survival knife, a Marine ILBE ruck and some various doo dad's. Sort of got to prioritize, in the interim I think the knife and pack will be most useful but some part of me says to buy rifle parts now since knives and packs will not be involved in the next round for gun hysteria. In any case some purchases will likely be made this week. Along those lines I'm going to try and get off the fence and make a decision then potentially buy a bolt action rifle.

Still got to fill up the last 2 gas can's also.

So that is what I have been up to and what I'm trying to get done next week.

What did you do to prepare this week?

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Bag DIscussion and TEOTWAWKI Blog Contest

Alexander Wolfe is running a Everyday Carry Bag contest over at TEOTWAWKI Blog that should be fun to watch. I plan to watch the development for sure. Don't really have a bag that fits that bill anymore. Given the nature of my work the get home bag/ assault pack and the bag that might carry a lunch and water bottle from my vehicle 20 yards into work ended up divorcing. I got tired of hauling my half full TT bag into work every day full of stuff I did not need. On the same token since I was trying to keep it light I had a bunch of stuff in the vehicle anyway. Around a year ago I was garage saleing and found a nice almost new fancy name brand backpack for sale in Army palatable khaki/ light tan. Dude wanted forty and I think we settled at thirty. Bag was $100ish new. So I carry that from the vehicle to work with a book for lunch time, my lunch, coffee cup and the other various small things it is awkward to carry in my hands.

The TT bag goes with me in situations where I leave my vehicle, go into the field, spend a day driving around with someone, etc. Times I am more than 100 meters away from it are few and far between. It is set up for a pretty comfortable spring/ summer night or surviving a winter one with enough chow to eat decently for a couple days or a bit lean for 3.

Admittedly at just under twenty pounds my bag is pushing the limits of being comfortable for an uuber rugged glorified childs school pack. I would upgrade to one of the MOLLE II multicam medium assault packs which are slightly bigger and have a frame but am loathsome to pay the money. I do not need the additional space and would guard against filling it just because and suffering BOB mission creep but for a long walk the comfort of better straps and a light frame would be nice.Those things are just expensive though. 

Do you have an EDC bag? What sort of stuff does it carry? What about a slightly more survival oriented bag of similar size?

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Hill People Gear Mountain Serape Other Peoples Impressions

Commander Zero asked some questions about my HPG Mountain Serape. While it is far too early for a full review I can give some initial thoughts to help answer his questions. In putting that post together I did some looking on the HPG forum to grab some stats then ended up finding some good stuff to bring over here. It turned out the stuff I got is lengthy enough that I thought it would be best to differentiate what others said from my thoughts. So you'll get this today and shortly I will follow up with my initial thoughts.

I should also note that Alexander Wolfe of TEOTWAWKI Blog reviewed the HPG Mountain Serape a couple years back. His favorable review was a considerable part of my decision in purchasing the Serape. [At the risk of muddling the waters between other peoples thoughts here and mine later I should add the later version, which some call the second generation, has a couple changes. First the quilting is only to the back (inner) side giving the stability of insulation but letting the outer fabric retain it's full moisture resistance. Also the changes in material quality when they moves to the US version reportedly upped the weight to closer to 2.5 pounds.]

Onto stuff snagged in their forum. I am alternating fonts to show different authors. 

What are the dimensions in sleeping bag mode?
33"x88" laid flat.

Conditions Tested- 40F, Cloudy, Light Drizzle, Wet & Soggy Ground, 10-15 mph Winds.
The 4 Modes:
  • Serape- no brainer, works awesome. Glassed some whitetail on my property and some squirrels panacking for winter. Stayed warm toasty and dry, cinching up the waist shock cord helped keep in core warmth from wind drafts. Felt no wet spots when sitting.

  • Blanket- my dog and I headed out to our ground blind for a few hours to check on activity. I laid out the MS like a blanket and he claimed it pretty quicky, we both enjoyed an afternoon siesta on it. I did not notice any appreciable conductive heat loss while sleeping on the gound in 40F weather.
  • Sleeping Bag- I am 6'3 around 210lbs and was pretty shocked that the MS actually had full overhead coverage for me as advertised. I have very broad shoulders so the top half was a bit snug, but the bag doesn't zip up all the way which makes things more comfortable for bigger guys. One thing that I never saw mentioned that I found out was the zipper ends at the foot area,  opening it a little allows you to use sleeping bag mode while keeping your boots on, which is a great no mess feature.
  • Great Coat- I think I have this down based on the photos posted, but would still like to see a video tutorial. To be honest it felt a bit awkward using the MS in this mode, that was until I dawned my Tara over it which cut the puffy bulkness down significantly. I overheated rather quickly in this configuration but I am anxious to try it when the temps drop here and in a open landscape exposed to the elements.

Craig Robertson wrote
Gentlemen - I have a Kifaru woobie, does anyone have one that they can offer a comparison between the mountain serape and K woobie?  I am talking about warmth and weight, I know the MS outclasses the woobie in terms of versatility.  I am a complete HPG convert.
  Someone replied:
    Well, I traded my Mountain Serape (thought the new ones would be available sooner - oops), but I had one and also have the Kifaru Woobie as well. They're not really comparable items in a lot of ways, but if you're looking strictly at warmth and weight:
    The M.S. is considerably heavier than the Woobie - by about 14oz IIRC, and doesn't pack near as small. I can fit either in a Kifaru Large 3-String stuff sack, but the Serape will be stuffed to brink whereas the Woobie fits pretty easily and compresses very small. I haven't slept with either item outside more than a handful of times (although I sleep with a Woobie/Doobie every night at home) so bear that in mind. That said, my impression is the Woobie is a little bit warmer, though not drastically so. I can't say for sure, but I think the quilting on the Serape might be a factor... it just seems to let cold leak in more than I've experienced with the Woobie. My understanding is the Serape v2.0 eliminates the quilting though so that may even things up a bit.
    If I just wanted a blanket that was relatively lightweight and warm and I wasn't bringing my down JRB quilt, the Woobie would be my choice. The strength of the Mountain Serape is the versatility and that it replaces a jacket AND adds a sleep insulation layer, either alone or to boost a sleeping bag rating. That's why I owned both and will in the future, when the M.S. is available for sale again 

     Consensus seems to be it works as a stand alone sleeping bag to 45 degrees F or so. 
    Ryan here. Hope you got some value out of that. 
     So to recap other peoples answers to Zero's questions are:
    Is it long enough to fold some material under your feet to keep them warm and still be long enough to cover your neck/head when used as a blanket? Yes if you are within the average height range there is plenty of room for that. How small can it compress? Roughly the size of a 2 liter soda bottle, How noisy? Quiet. How does it drape? Pictures probably answer this question best.
Here is Alexander Wolfe wearing his Serape in 'poncho mode' as part of it's product review.
     Evan Hill wearing an HPG Serape in 'greatcoat mode.'
     Coming soon are my initial thoughts on the Mountain Serape 

Monday, April 14, 2014

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

I was pretty late with this last week so not much this week. Also we had guests which was big fun but didn't lend itself to getting preparedness oriented things done. Anyway since I want to get back onto the more regular schedule you get this post again today.

Filled up some gas cans in the ever continuous struggle to ensure all our stored fuel is reasonably fresh.

Restocked some disposables.

When getting some admin stuff done I realized there was some unexpected cash in my Paypal account. Probably going to get a poncho and a Mountain Serappe like Alexander Wolfe's. Also looking at making a substantial food storage purchase. So not much happening this week but lots coming down the pipe. Also we'll have the last few posts from the Fighting Load contest to wrap it up.

What did you do to prepare this week?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

State of the Union and Linkeage

So it is about state of the union time. Currently watching the count down to it but don't see myself finishing it. Want to get a long nights sleep tonight. Do you plan to watch it?

A couple good articles came out recently I want to highlight:
Some notes on Sentry Neutralization by John Mosby

Reader Question: Do you have your Load Carrying Gear figured out? at Teotwawki Blog

Note: The way things cracked out I missed the SOU then caught some replies from various republican types. Am ambivalent about the whole thing.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Fighting Load Contest Entry #3 Alexander Wolfe of TEOTWAWKI Blog

Today I am proud to bring Entry #3 of our Fighting Load Contest by none other than Alexander Wolfe of TEOTWAWKI Blog.

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 Alexander Wolfe's Entry:

Not shown are his AR-15 with an Aimpoint and Glock 17/19 (a 17 with the grip cut down to 19 dimensions) shown here. He might also be packing an S&W 642.

 
Criteria for the rig:

  • Carbine support + IFAK and water
  • Vehicle-friendly
  • Single-stack only & comfortable when prone
  • Able to wear with/over a vest or plate carrier
  • Compatible w/ an 'Assault pack' for a scout/overnight load or extra gear
Components (pattern is PenCott Greenzone):
Not pictured:
  • In-line Sawyer water filter on the hydration pouch + chlorine dioxide tablets. I have the old style Sawyer, but would probably buy the $20 Mini now.
  • The RAC has small velcro pockets on either side - they contain spare batteries (Aimpoint battery, CR123As), Bic lighter, SAR signal mirror, cordage and a couple other odds-n-ends.
Color Commentary:
I really like the Greenzone pattern for my area (woodlands), though at present, the selection of pouches is more limited. Very effective. These pouches are available in a variety of patterns if you prefer/need something different.

In my opinion, the RAC is a good starter/all-purpose rig that can grow with you. A few reasons:
  • Full MOLLE, so you can figure out what load works for you or change things up as needed, versus being stuck with a single pouch layout. Can be scaled up/down as needed.
  • Designed to be worn over armor, so it will still work if/when you get a plate carrier down the road
  • Very adjustable, very comfortable and stable even with a good amount of weight on it
Since the chest rig is designed to be worn over armor and opened or taken off if one needs to go lower profile (e.g. lying prone or crawling through a hole), a slick plate carrier underneath and a belt with a light fighting load would be a good companion to this rig.

A pistol could be added to the chest rig (lose a carbine mag) or carried separately on the belt line. At present, a drop leg holster is needed clear the med pouch. 

Tinkering is of course part of the game. The med pouch may be moved and a head/helmet light may be integrated. The mag pouch pull tabs will likely be switched out for the S&S Precision tabs. Black plastic will be rattle canned something brown/greenish.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with the rig. The RAC is probably the best chest rig of this type today and Tactical Tailor in general is hard to go wrong with.

A very comfortable, versatile and functional set up, and (as far as tactical rigs go) fairly affordable for high quality, made in America gear.

End Entry.

First of all a big thanks to TEOTWAWKI Blog for participating in our contest.  As to my thoughts on this setup.

-I like Tactical Tailor gear. Have a bunch of pouches from them that are well over 10 years old and still going strong. My assault pack is also TT of a similar vintage. I have used and abused that thing all over the world. Short of theft, fire or some sort of terrible accident with a wood chipper I anticipate getting at least another 10 years use out of it. Their stuff is not cheap but it is American made and hell for stout.

-Working under the assumption that a pistol is going to be on your belt, along with it's magazines I don't see anything big it is lacking. Mags, knife, water, IFAK are the big ones for sure. That being said personally I would probably put at least 1 admin pouch on there (not the IFAK) to have a bit of space to store a bit of food as well as some survival gear and small ancillary stuff (ear plugs, maybe a glow stick, etc) but that is just me. That the assault pack will presumably be worn or handy can arguably cover that niche.

-The color seems suited to the eastern woodlands. I use multicam because it is pretty good in most places but if I didn't move around so much I'd lean towards a more regionally specific pattern.

-The adaptability of MOLLE is just so awesome. Not too many years ago we had the limited modularity of ALICE and even then we were zip tying and 550 cording things together redneck style and the purpose made "tactical vests" where you weren't moving a thing. Being able to move a medical kit, try it out then move it back is so nice for assembling a setup to work for you.

-I appreciate that it is American made.

A big final thanks to Alexander Wolfe and TEOTWAWKI Blog. Check out their awesome site regularly, I do.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Project 870P Soliciting Input



I got a little bit of money so it's time to dust off the 870P and finally finish this project. Leaning heavily on TEOTWAWKI Blog's Project 590A1 here is what I am looking at:
Paint- DIY flat black. The finish on this gun is terrible so I'm going to rattle can it flat black. Honestly I don't care what it looks like but need a reasonably (more than exposed metal) corrosion resistant finish to be able to use the gun. Will keep the wood, well wood colored for aesthetic as well as social/ legal reasons. I want the gun to look as much like the same pump shotgun every Louisiana resident seems to own 5 of if I have to go to court.
Sling- Single point as of right now till I get a better plan though I may just stick with it. For a house gun honestly a sling isn't THAT important other than that I want one.
Light Mount- Elzetta ZMS
Light- Either a Streamlight or a Surefire G2. A good basic pretty bright light
Ammo carrying (on gun)
Sidesaddle- Essetac shotgun cards.
Buttstock- shot shell carrier generic type
Total this will be something like 21 rounds on the gun.
Ammo carrying (off gun)
2 more essetac cards in my Costa Leg Rig along with 2 pistol reloads and a hand held light. This will probably go on a duty belt with a holster, an IFAK and some zip ties to become the "bump in the night belt".
This will bring the round count to 35 shotgun shells and 3x pistol mags. Plenty for an HD setup in my mind.

A bag with about 35 rounds of loose OOB and 3x 5 rd boxes of slugs. I would like to replace this with a claymore bag (they have 2 pouches and would be perfect for this. If anybody has one to spare I'd love to trade something for it. I would grab this if I was going outside which admittedly is a point where I would think hard about switching back to my AR but who knows, this would be a nice hurricane setup. My shotgun has ghost ring sights so after I confirm zero for slugs it could reach as far as I can see myself shooting anyway.

To the ammo discussion. There are lots of options but as I've discussed before keep the birdshot for little birds.  I favor #4 BUCK because it gives a whole lot of sufficiently sized projectiles. More holes= more blood loss and more chances to hit the vital die right now body parts. If carrying this gun in the wild I tend to throw in some #4 or #6 shot just in case I need to do a Wilderness Walk Out.

Anyway before I pull the trigger I wanted to get your input. Maybe I'm missing something.

Thoughts?
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