Showing posts with label cache. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cache. Show all posts

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Reader Question: Bug Out Realities

Harry Flashman said "If you have to flee, where (in general theory) would you go? I'm not asking specifically, just your thoughts. If I had to abandon my compound I'd be screwed. The only place I can think to go in the event of some major Black Swan event would be deeper into the Appalachian mountains, where I would surely starve when winter came. Remember the old guy in "The Road" played by Robert Duvall? I don't want to end up like that."

Ryan here: Harry, There is a disconnect between what I am thinking about and preparing for in this context and what you are thinking about. You are focused on a black swan type event sort of in line with what survivalist authors love writing about. I am focused on events which fall short of that. 

There are many reasons a person might need to leave where they live, if just for a period of time. Natural disasters such as storms, hurricanes, tornados, wildfire, etc come to mind. Social unrest is another. Various occasional events such as gas leaks, overturned rail cars with nasty chemicals, etc happen also. 

The point here is there are a bunch of actual real life (vs survivalist fantasy and or very unlikely events) reasons you might need to leave your home in a hurry. 

These problems also have the advantage of bejng much more manageable than an EMP and cannibal hordes. I am not "bugging out" to be mad max or the man and son from 'The Road', I'm probably going to be in a Motel 6 in the nearest unaffected city ordering take out and talking with my insurance company.

Along these lines my gear is set up accordingly. Stuff like sleepwear, deodorant, an IWB holster for the G19, clothes I could wear in normal society, etc. Sure there is good, water purification, first aid, etc. It is roughly a 50/50 mix between overnight bag and a more conventional 'bug out bag'.

I hope that explains my thinking. 

What you could do? 

For the more likely fire scare, sudden trip to the hospital, race up to see the kids in an emergency you could put together a kit like mine. 

For the black swan/ conventional survivalist scenario. I would find a couple of places that are abandoned or very isolated and cache a bunch of gear there. Lots of effort and implied tasks but it would give it the ability to leave your place quickly and have some logistics. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Caches and Holster Thoughts

a recent trip saw me checking up on my operational cache. I swapped out my trusty Glock 19 which had been there for awhile. After consideration I realized with one alibi none of the core members of my tribe had ever shot a Glock. My folks like many non serious gun people of their age range got revolvers in .38/.357mag. As such adults in my inner tribe can all shoot double action revolvers comfortably. There is at least one in every household. Also my outer tribe does not have a single Glock 9mm in it. So putting a wheel gun there just made sense. It of course needed accessories like a belt, holster and speed strips. More on this later.

I inspected the guns there and they were fine. I then lubricated them heavily. Like jiggly butt in a rap video heavily.

Another cache was established. I had most of the core stuff on hand for it. As to description it is probably a mix of an operational cache with some survival stuff.

Still I needed some stuff to round it out. Mag pouches and ammo and some various odds n ends. I suspected it would be about $300 total but the actual cost was closer to double that. I wasn't super worried about it as eliminating dating and going to bars has left my checking account fairly flush. That said I probably could have done a better job estimating costs. The lesson for potentially when putting in a cache on a tighter budget would be to really look at the stuff you need to add and various costs such as shipping.

Also stuff grows faster than you would imagine. What you might envision as a day pack worth of stuff could easily be a full sized ruck. What you might have thought would be one ammo can could easily be 2. I need another ammo can.

Anyway the new cache is established so I am excited about that.

Stuff I forgot to add:
First aid stuff
Local and state maps

Stuff I wanted to add but couldn't afford to:
3x G22 mags with x Mark inserts
$10 face silver
Small solar charger with a few sets of batteries
Full sized Glock .40 cal

Back to holsters. So between swapping stuff out for one cache and making another I ended up bringing guns to a couple places. At both places the guns were compatible with ones the people at those places have. That wasn't an accident.

At both places this led to the inevitable dude gun show and tell. At both places somewhere in the conversation I realized the guy might not really have a holster. At the first he had no holster. So I handed mine to him. At the second he was using a cowboy style leather holster for a Glock.

At the first place I need to buy another holster. If things are bad enough I am carrying that particular gun he will want to be doing the same. Obviously two people cannot use the same holster at the same time. At the second place it wasn't an issue as I am holster rich for that gun and the open model one size fits any 9/.40 Glock Raven Concealment Eideon just happened to be surplus in my bag.

The thing is that this got me thinking. Lots of people own handguns that live in glove boxes and safes and nighstands without holsters. If you are (as I suspect most here to be) the survivalist in your group and have the resources/ space it might not be a bad idea to fix that. Or give them as Christmas/ b day gifts.

The same could be said for ammo. To a lot of folks 2x 50 drive boxes is a lot of ammo. This reminds me I need to order 500rds of .38 special.


Sunday, March 5, 2017

Reader Comment- Cache Stuff

Good to hear, you do have that stuff on hand now right!?

Like most survivalists who have been at it awhile I have put a decent amount of stuff back over the years.   I hesitate to pick an exact start point for me as a survivalist as I always had some of those tendencies but if I did it would be roughly a decade ago. 
On a tangent to newer survivalists overwhelmed with all the stuff they think they need I would say to be patient. Even on a fairly tight budget if you are consistent you will have all the stuff you need in a lot less time than you would think. 
As survivalist we have a nasty tendency to just stockpile stuff in our garages, basements and barns. Same with guns in our safes. You don't need the stuff for a 3rd or 8th spare bug out bag at your primary residence. You need it somewhere else. Somewhere you could end up in a bad situation. 
For this cache the only stuff I have purchased is the ammo and a can to put it in. There is some fudging that because I put in stuff like underwear, some jeans and a pair of boots I will probably end up replacing. However at a minimum that will let me spread out the cost of the cache over a little but more time. 
Sort of like Meister said I am caching good stuff. For me the caveat to that is I think caches can be a great place for functional but maybe not perfect stuff. Like in this cache I'm putting an Ontario Air Force Shrvical Lnife I ordered once just cuz I was curious about them. Fine serviceable knife, just not one I see myself putting into a core system. For clothes useful outdoor stuff that may not be fashionable for everyday wear makes sense. Example, in this cache I am including a green fleece with a unit logo I got at a goodwill for like 3 bucks and an old BDU gortex jacket I must have stolen a decade ago as a dirty specialist. Fleece and great outdoor stuff, just not what I would wear for everyday stuff.

So I put together kind of a combination operational/ survival cache. Basically the stuff to go from being normal everyday Le to an active combatant and some outdoor gear too. Roughly equivalent to a level 3 sustainment set up with a ruck n some sleeping stuff.

I guess the total cost of this cache would be about 3 grand but I had the stuff on hand minus the amp which I'm having delivered there.

Sorry about the lack of links and probably some spelling stuff. I'm posting from my phone as my laptop is basically toast. 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Life and Times, Operational Cache, Et All

Hey Folks, I sort of took a break over the holidays. I went home and saw my kiddo's, family and friends. The way things worked out I got to see a relative at the opposite end of the PNW so that was cool. Also my first time traveling long distance in the US by train. The trip there was pretty awesome. Very old school with some nice touches of class. The one back sucked as there were delays and all sorts of drama. Now I am back to work and normal life.

Over this trip I accessed my operational cache. Everything was fine. I sort of took a cue from Meister and added some good stuff to it. I tossed in my normal EDC knife and flash light as well as a more duty oriented pistol. Also a good set of long johns, a pair of multicam pants and some other odds n ends. I was going to put in a better backpack but the one I planned to use had a buckle break on the trip so I need to get it fixed.

Sort of along Meisters theme I literally cached stuff I regularly use. Motivation to spend hundreds of dollars on stuff to cache can be hard to find. So as a forcing function I put my normal stuff in there. Finding motivation to replace the thing I carry every day that is gone should be much easier to find. Of course if you genuinely can't afford it this is a bad plan but for those who can it is a good way to get priority #10 which never gets done up to priority #2 or 3.

I wanted to go through all of the contents and toss some less than entirely needed stuff. As I put in better items the newly redundant and inferior stuff can get tossed. Space is a consideration.

 I am looking hard at setting up another cache soon. Hopefully this spring. It will be another operational cache. Good to have goals anyway.

My stupid computer has really been giving me problems. Honestly it is hindering blogging as a 10 minute post takes more like a half hour between it freezing and re starting. I am going to either fix or replace it in the immediate future. My goal is to get to blogging 2-3x  a week.

Anyway that's what has been going on with me. Hope you all are well. Talk to you soon.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

How Much Stuff Do We Need- A Rational Systems Based Approach 2- A Comment and the Cost Of Not Using This Approach

Yesterdays post

How Much Stuff Do We Need- A Rational Systems Based Approach 

received a comment I thought should be addressed. It also lead to a larger issue. The comment was:

What's the causative event? Duration? Any secondary or cascade failures? What geographical area? Season? Localized, regional, or nationwide? Just John, or does he have his young son for the weekend or aging parents to care for?

Whatever you guess you're most likely you're going to be wrong, so "P for plenty" here. Can't make a plan until you can define the problem(s), but once the problem(s) are known it's often too late to stock up on the gear/supplies to execute the plan.

My response is as follows:  First of all thanks for taking the time to comment. To the first paragraph I was attempting to do something fairly generic. By region we can take a pretty good swag at what the threats are. The gulf coast has hurricanes and the west coast has earthquakes. In the middle are some mountains and a lot of rivers that flood. Obviously if John lives in the inland PNW say in Spokane, WA his winter gear will be very different than if he lives in south Texas. We know what family members we have. I'm not saying every person has the exact same needs though I think if we really look at it aside from regional weather and family size needs differ very little. The question of how much we can and want to prepare is an open ended one. 

To the second paragraph I have to disagree.

 Look at it like this. You are going to the grocery store but forgot the list. You need to shop now for some reason so you can't go get the list from home. Do you 1- try to remember the list? 2-Make a new list? Or 3- Do you just throw random shit in the cart and to make up for it being totally random buy a lot of it? No sane person would do #3. If you would not grocery shop that way why would you possibly prepare that way?

To paraphrase Eisenhower 'plans are useless but planning is indispensable'. What are you buying? Why? How much? How did you decide how much? The honest answer is most people are pulling it out of their butts.

More to the point I want to talk about the downside of haphazardly buying more and more stuff.

Everyone has limited resources and space. 

 If you spend money on stuff that does not fit into cohesive and logical systems you are not using your resources as efficiently as possible. Either you are buying one thing when you should be buying another or you are unable to afford something because you bought another thing instead. Two examples here.

First is an older Southern Man I know. He is a serious survivalist with an enviable set up. The thing is he doesn't have body armor or modern night vision. He described them as ruinously expensive. This is ironic to me because the man has a massive gun collection. He has to have 50k in guns, probably more like 100K. He could sell a Colt 1911 he never shoots, an M1A he wouldn't miss and one of his HK 91's and buy a NOD for him and body armor for his whole family while still having way more guns than he could ever use. His resources are miscalculated. This is partly because he just kept buying guns instead of building cohesive systems.

 The other is anecdotal to me working on my own systems. The things I need multiples of are often unexpected ones. I DO NOT NEED a bunch more guns but I do need another couple of gun belts and weapons cleaning kits. Footwear is also a theme that keeps coming up but not usually Army boots, actual stuff I would wear in real life that I can comfortably walk all day long in. Hygiene kits as well. These are all things I would not have thought of unless I started looking at systems.

 That new FLIR Scout TK is $600 (I want to see some reviews vs the normal Scout model and stuff but in principle I am really excited as its solidly affordable) and I want one. Instead of buying some items I might not actually need I could add this really cool capability to my BOB. 

Even if you have a lot of them its still limited. To paraphrase Jim Rawles of Survival Blog "For $500 I could fill my garage with toilet paper". Obviously if your garage is full of TP you can't store 5 years of Mountain House goodness in it. 

Finally it is not that I am against having a lot of stuff. By all means keep developing systems to suit your worries as far as your finances and space allow. If you want and can afford a fully stocked doomsday bunker then get one. My concern is about using the money and resources you have as efficiently as possible. To get the most out of your dollars and space by planning instead of just going about it haphazardly.


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

How Much Stuff Do We Need- A Rational Systems Based Approach

I have been working, albeit slowly, on trimming down the amount of stuff I have. Eventually the elephant in the room of survivalist stuff has to be confronted. Otherwise it would be like talking about the US budget without touching entitlements, totally pointless.

Part of the first look will be easy. Unnecessary older junk. What may have been a better than nothing back up for a college kid may not be necessary for me now. Also if I just toss the random junk in a dozen boxes it might go far enough to eliminate a box. You get the idea.

What to do with the significant accumulation of stuff is a more pressing issue. This made me ask myself "How do I figure out how much stuff I need?"

I want to have the right stuff in the right quantities. Space is limited and will be a real issue for some of my upcoming plans. So the P for plenty plan doesn't work. If you have a big house with a barn and a shop then then space not likely a concern. However even if space isn't an issue money, to some degree or another, almost surely is. So while you might have a lot of space to store stuff that doesn't fit into your plans it would still be better to spend your limited money on the right stuff.

What I realized is that I was looking at this from the wrong angle entirely. Instead of arbitrarily deciding how many of a given item I need to keep around what if I look at it from the other

The realization I had was that I should decide what systems I want to have and then figure out what stuff is needed for them. This way instead of a wild assed guess on how many pistols or multi tools or knives or backpacks I need I could actually have a number that comes from somewhere.

I am still working on this one for myself. Honestly I'm not sure how much of it I would wnt to share anyway so lets instead discuss a hypothetical persons set up.

Lets say John is a survivalist. A pretty normal guy who lives in a mid sized town. He has a normal job and makes decent money. 

EDC light- concealable pistol, folding knife, light, etc.
EDC heavy- full sized pistol, robust folding knife, spare mag pouch, light, etc.
Fighting Load- EDC heavy plus rifle, body armor, chest rig, hydration system and light day pack.

Get Home Bag- lives in vehicle. Usual get home stuff. May include a hand gun.

E&E set up. Change of clothes, cash, pistol, day pack, etc.

Light bug out set up- Bug out Bag plus fighting load weapons. Suitable clothing and footwear.

Heavy bug out set up (vehicle based)- Think car camping on steroids with stuff to sustain for awhile.

Operational Cache- A rifle and pistol, chest rig, hydration system, medical gear, day pack.

JIC go to war set up- One EDC light pistol, two full sized pistols, two rifles, a pump shotgun and a precision rifle. Decent amount of ammo, mags and all the usual nylon, leather, etc. This would ideally be at some sort of bug out type location.

JIC survival set up- Think mountain man. A deer rifle, shotgun and a .22 pistol with ammo. Ax, shovel, saws, seeds, salt, shelter like tarps, cordage, etc. Buried where you can see your self going for a Plan D if things go all Zombie Apocalypse.

Another persons systems might differ. They might have 2 E&E caches and no JICC go to war set up. The exact quantity and make up of their systems could differ based on their needs/ wants. Also obviously I did not try to list the entire composition of every system.

The point would be to decide how you want to be set up and make that happen instead of just getting more and more stuff.


Monday, August 8, 2016

Cache Discussion: Risks, Benefits and Costs

Caches are on my mind so that is what we will discuss today.

Our buddy Meister and I have talked back and forth about this.  Riverrider and I have as well. These discussions to some degree inspired my thoughts but in a general sense. I am probably going to completely mess up their thoughts so just consider everything mine or a common sentiment.

Folks can get really wrapped up in having an absolutely perfect cache situation. They seem to have a mindset where they are looking to sharp shoot any cache plan instead of figuring out how to make it work. The conversation goes like this.

Rental storage space-Expensive and they get robbed all the time.

Bury it- Someone will see. The land is open everywhere around here.

Friends house- I have no friends.

Buy a junk acre someplace- there will be a record of it.

Etc, etc.

It would be one thing if they threw out any of these ideas alone. They favor burial instead of a rental space, all well and good. These guys don't like any realistic option they have or are likely to have. They are so worried about losing stuff they keep all their eggs in one basket even when they know better.

The reality is most situations will be less than perfect. Of course risk needs to be weighted relative to the potential loss. I would think a lot harder about where to bury 50k my fake passports and a roll of Krugerrand's than an old .38 with a box of shells, a folding knife and a change of clothes. Make that cache a consumable resupply of water, a couple MRE's, etc and if worried I'll just put in two.

A persons individual risk situation matters some. Geography is one angle. Odds someone is going to start knocking on doors to take guns in Montana are laughable. Odds in the greater LA or San Fran areas still aren't high but I wouldn't laugh at the idea. Whether you might be a crime victim or need to leave without notice is another. Tony Soprano needs a stash with an overnight bag, a bunch of cash and a handgun more than Tony Anderson a supervisor at a local machine shop.

The concept of paying for caches also comes up regularly.  I discussed this some time ago. My caching has largely been done out of existing inventory. Like any survivalist I like some redundancy at home. A spare of pretty much everything makes me happy. Beyond that if stuff will benefit me more to put in a cache then have in my home I try to put it into a cache.

The more I think about it more I lean towards Meisters point to cache good stuff. It will motivate me to get new good stuff to use. Say I buried Project AR and kept a $500 no name rifle on hand, I would be a lot more motivated to buy another good rifle than if I cached the $500 rifle and kept the good one on hand.

It is entirely possible you have zero interest in caching. I say well and good. If you are interested in caching I would urge you to get past the problem admiration phase and DO IT within a reasonable timeframe.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Life and Various Things EDC, Caches, ETC

Hey All, I spent about half the summer in Eastern Europe for work. Maybe I will talk more about that at some point but I am back in the US now. I also have the kiddos with me for the remainder of the summer. So I went from being busy with work to being busy with the kiddos. Thoughts have been brewing in my head lately. Also since the kids go to bed early and I have them with me there isn't a ton of stuff to do after they go to bed so you may hear from me more in coming weeks. No promises though.

Here in eastern Kansas it is hot and humid. Not quite the sauna that is Louisiana but still a hot and humid. So I am pretty much living in shorts and tank tops outside of work. This has some EDC challenges as cargo shorts have officially jumped the shark. I am toying with some new carry methods for my Ruger LCP and a new knife. The theme is maintaining basic capabilities in a way that fits within my lifestyle. In a couple more weeks I will talk about the specifics of these things some more.

Along these lines I have been thinking about the 'naked bag' that lives in my vehicle. I got the idea from Pastor Joe Fox's book The Survivalist Family. I have it in a separate bag in my vehicle so I can change, if needed, then rock out in some functional clothes. One might say this is redundant as I am obviously wearing clothes in the vehicle but I may be coming or going from the gym, being lazy on the way to the store for milk, etc. The first time I did this the clothes in it were really pretty outdoors/ paramilitary in nature.

I realized this is dumb. Odds are far, far higher I will be using the clothes in this bag for some sort of normal mundane reason than some emergency scenario. Maybe I cover my shirt in BBQ sauce at the beginning of a day in town. Maybe I forget to pack something for a trip. Maybe some nice young woman takes me home for the evening. All of these things have happened and not once have I needed to change into my crazy pants (literally) and run off into the woods with a back pack. Also I no longer live in a rural area. I live in a mix of suburbs and exurbs of a city with intermittent farms in between.

So what does this mean? My 'naked bag' looks a lot more like a generic overnight bag then some survivalist thing. I need to choose clothes I would actually wear that would work for me to actually wear and have a useful secondary function of JIC clothes. This means sturdy non cotton clothes and a good pair of shoes. I added a fleece and a rain jacket which generally lived in the back of my vehicle anyway. In addition to those items I included a pair of gym shorts to sleep in and a hygiene kit. Maybe I will post on it later.

For whatever reason the idea of caches has been in my head for awhile now. Maybe I was bored and had wandering paranoid thoughts or maybe that little voice is telling me to spread out my risk. Recently I was visiting family in a place where I could potentially end up if things go sideways. Having an EDC setup, a rifle, ammo n ancillary stuff next to an old ALICE pack full of camping/ survival stuff in their attic would be a win win as they are like minded but on a tight budget. Depending on some other things I may put together a couple more caches.

Before we get into a discussion about money where people call each other poor or yuppie survivalists I should note I do most of this type thing with stuff already on hand. The costs are sunk so its not like I am writing big fat checks today, which I could not afford.

The next post I write will probably be on some things I am working on right now.

Take care of each other

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Thoughts on Commercial Air Travel and Preparedness

Wear decent shoes and serviceable clothes.  There really isn't an excuse not to do this.

Within the limits of dress for your trip pack the most practical clothes possible including synthetic outer wear, fleece vs a sweatshirt, etc.

You are a lot more likely to need a credit card and a wad of cash than fishing gear and a signal mirror.

If going to some third world place OTC meds particularly those to control diarrhea are a good thing to have.

If you are checking a bag and flying to/ from free areas you can bring a normal EDC set up or even a rifle. Heck bring a whole extra get home bag if you are willing to pay to check it.

If you fly to/ from the same place often a cache is worth considering.

What are your thoughts on preparedness and air travel?

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Burying a Rifle for 15 Years

I may have posted this before. A guy with a spare rifle and or pistol lying around could certainly do worse than giving them a dirt nap just in case. In any case hat tip to Paw Paw for bringing this worthwhile topic to our attention.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Survivalblog: Off-Paper: The Importance of Making Private Arms Purchases

Off-Paper: The Importance of Making Private Arms Purchases

Firearms sales in the United States, as measured by the number of completed National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) background checks, are near an all-time high. In February, 2016, there were a whopping 2.6 million background checks! But those sales numbers only reflect the sales of new guns sold by Federal Firearms License (FFL) holders. The bigger and largely unreported news is of the upswing in the sales of used guns (“secondary sales”) by private parties. At a recent gun show, I observed that the folks who were there selling guns from their private collections were met by very eager buyers. At one private party sales table a gent sold out of every gun that he brought with him, all on a Friday– the first day of a three-day gun show. Everywhere at the show I heard and saw the same thing: Buyers who were primarily looking for battle rifles, scoped long-range rifles, and handguns with double-column magazines, and looking to buy them without any paperwork. Twice, I heard husbands say to their wives: “No, not that table, they have a license.” The tables being run by FFL holders were not nearly as busy as the private party tables. This was the busiest Friday I had ever seen at a show.

Understanding the Federal Gun Laws

Up until 1968, guns could be ordered by mail. With the enactment Gun Control Act of 1968, the sales of all new guns could only be made by FFL holders. Under current law, any FFL holder who brings any new or used gun into their inventory must log it into their Bound Book (or computerized equivalent) by the close of the next business day after the acquisition or purchase, and they must record sales or other dispositions within seven days. When a FFL holder sells any post-1898 manufactured gun, the buyer must fill out a Form 4473. Starting in November of 1998, the NICS phone system went live. So now, a NICS check must be accomplished before the buyer walks away with his purchase from an FFL. The Form 4473 is a permanent record, and any FFL holder who lets his license lapse must turn in his books and forms to the BATFE’s Out-of-Business Records Center. There, the records are digitized for future reference, making them a de facto gun registration database.
In addition to Federal law, America has a patchwork of state and local gun laws. This can be both good and bad. The good side of this is that if you dislike the laws in your state, you can simply “vote with your feet” and move to another state. The bad part is that when you travel, you might unwittingly come under the jurisdiction of some strange gun laws. For example, in Massachusetts, shooting ranges are prohibited from posting up targets that resemble human beings. In North Carolina one cannot carry a firearm in a funeral procession. And in Illinois, some local governments have enacted magazine capacity limits, including Chicago (15 rounds), Oak Park (10 rounds), Aurora (15 rounds), and Cook County (10 rounds).
Under Federal law, since 1968, it has been illegal to be “engaged in the business” of buying and selling firearms with the principle purpose of earning a living without obtaining an FFL. Oddly, neither Congress nor the BATFE has ever set a threshold of how many gun sales per year constitutes being “engaged in the business”. Thus, it has been largely up to the persuasive power of Federal prosecuting attorneys to convince juries of such status, on a case-by-case basis. The ambiguity has never been resolved. And recently, it got even worse. In January 2016, President BHO announced executive actions that were intended to intimidate private gun collectors, threatening them with prosecution, even if they sold just an ambiguously “few” guns a year with the intent of making a profit. A newspaper account stated: “Obama said that anyone ‘engaged in the business’ of selling firearms would need to obtain a license [or face prosecution]. Attorney General Loretta Lynch further clouded the water by saying this could mean as few as one or two gun sales.” These executive actions are unconstitutional, because they were aimed at intrastate commerce. It will surely eventually be tested in the courts, but for now, Obama’s expansive “redefinition” of the term gun dealer seems to be intended to put fear, uncertainty, and doubt into the minds of private collectors who sell guns from time to time, to upgrade or reduce their personal collections.

The Last Bastions of Firearms Freedom

In most States it is perfectly legal for used guns to be bought and sold by private parties, with no paper trail. Under the protection of the Second Amendment, this is the way it should be! The government has no business restricting private sales of used goods inside of any of the 50 States. (The Interstate Commerce Clause only gives jurisdiction over interstate sales. So, by definition a used gun that stays within the boundaries of a State is no longer in interstate commerce and has no Federal legal nexus. It is just another piece of private household goods. And as long as both the seller and the buyer are adult residents of the same State, then they are conducting legitimately intrastate commerce. No nexus means no jurisdiction.)
A few States now require private party sales of used guns to be conducted through FFL holders with NICS background check and the Federal paperwork. If you live in a state where private party sales have been banned, then you should either move or get busy trying to get those laws changed. If you feel stuck in one of these States because of family or work obligations, then you might have to make do the best you can. One good approach in these States is to acquire cartridge guns that have frames (receivers) that were manufactured in or before 1898. These Pre-1899 Guns thankfully are not classified as “Firearms”, and as Antiques they are exempt from Federal recordkeeping requirements and are also exempt under most State laws. (Be sure to consult the laws in your jurisdiction.)
Another possibility, at least in some States, is to manufacture your own guns. Again, be sure to check on your State and local laws, but even in most of the States where private party sales are banned, there is no paperwork required for gun receivers that you manufacture yourself. Nearly anyone with basic mechanical skills can finish up an 80%-complete receiver and then assemble an AR-15 with the other readily available (unrestricted) parts that make up the rest of the rifle. Even someone who is a klutz at machining can set up a Ghostgunner automated milling machine or get through the many steps in casting an inexpensive “Pour Freedom” polymer receiver, using molds available from
Under current U.S. law it is only the serialized receiver that constitutes the “firearm”. That is the only restricted part and hence the only part that requires the Form 4473 paperwork. All of the rest of the parts required to assemble a gun can be bought via mail order or at gun shows without any paperwork. In many other countries, any gun part that is under pressure when firing (barrels, bolts, and gas pistons) are also restricted, and their purchase comes under the same scrutiny as would the purchase of a complete firearm. This same legal standard might eventually become adopted in the United States, so it is important that you not just acquire your AR receivers but also your complete upper receiver/barrel and bolt assemblies without paperwork, soon.

Their “Loophole” is Your Freedom!

The gun-grabbing Leftist-Statists have recently become fond of the phrase: “Closing the gun show loophole”. This is purely a political phrase with no basis in fact. Their goal is to turn all gun sales into paper-traced transactions with a Federal background check. If they succeed in this, then they may end our firearms ownership privacy in just one generation. Once this system is in place, then there will be no firearms ownership privacy and there will be no free secondary market. The pool of privately-owned arms is presently quite opaque, but they aim to make it all-too transparent and fully accountable to Big Brother. Don’t fall for their rhetoric. Their real goal is to enslave you. They are just doing this under the guise of “commonsense gun regulations.”

Keeping Kosher

Every freedom-loving American gun owner should maintain at least a part of their gun collection that has no paper trail. And this should include at least one battle rifle chambered in 5.56mm NATO or 7.62 NATO. This sans papiere part of a gun collection is what I call my Kosher Collection– the guns that are not traceable to me as an individual. This is important, because the day may come when laws change and Federal agents (or their local minions) will come knocking on doors, collecting papered guns. So you will want to have some guns that are either entirely untraceable, or that have broken paper trails that you’ve bought anonymously with cash from private parties.
Ideally, your Kosher Collection should be stored so well hidden that it cannot be found, if burglars or other miscreants ever seized possession of the rest of your other guns. In essence, your rule should be: Keep your papered guns stored in your gun vault and your paperless guns hidden in your walls or cached underground. Your Kosher Collection must be kept as viable tools for self defense or for the common defense, for the long term. Therefore, it stands to reason that you should also keep stored with them a good supply of ammunition, spare magazines, cleaning equipment, and a few spare parts. These too should be kept well-hidden.

Shortages Are Looming

The current surge in gun buying is not public hysteria. It is just people looking out for themselves and their families, in their rational self-interest. I believe that it is just a precursor of more frantic buying in the next eight months. Don’t be surprised to see significant shortages of battle rifles (with commensurately higher prices), particularly AR-15s and AR-10s, and full capacity magazines, before November. Also in anticipation of the presidential election, I expect to see shortages of gun burial tubes and perhaps even some shortages of 6″ and 8″ diameter PVC pipe threaded end caps.
Remember: We are living in the Age of Deception and Betrayal. Conduct yourself stalwartly, in ways that are fitting for these parlous times. – JWR

(Note: Permission is granted for re-posting of this entire article, but only if done so in full, with proper attribution to James Wesley, Rawles and SurvivalBlog, and only if the included links are preserved.)

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Caching Your Guns for a Civil War PT I and II

Weapons Man did an excellent post.

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

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

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

Also John Mosby's seminal work on the topic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Popular Posts