Showing posts with label home security. Show all posts
Showing posts with label home security. Show all posts

Monday, February 1, 2016

Double Your Door Security

A power drill, a few minutes and $5 worth of screws.

Monday, August 4, 2014

RE: The Property Line Murderers by Max Velocity

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

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

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

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

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Pro Tip- Memorize Don't Compromize

The weak point in almost every security system is that people are involved.  We get busy, forget, are lazy, etc. From a security management perspective instead of wishing for more perfect people focusing on making good security practices easier is more likely to get success.

In this regard combination locks are good because you do not need a physical key, ergo anybody who finds, steals or fakes said key cannot get through the lock. The bad part of combination locks is that they require people to remember numbers, typically 3x 2 digit numbers in a specific order. Where many folks fail is that they write that down someplace they think is safe via concealment that in reality will only stand up to the most casual search. The matter gets even worse because most people have more than 1 lock. Have a couple at work and a couple at home and pretty soon it gets too hard to manage so they write em all down and keep it in their wallet/ desk/ etc.

These little pads make it easy to turn your hard to memorize. Turn your combination into a word. The Instead of trying to memorize 72-22-48 the combination to the gun safe is rabbit. Far easier to memorize than a bunch of numbers.

Memorize Don't compromise.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Book Review: Expatriates by Jim Rawles

Today it is my pleasure to review Expatriates: A Novel of the Coming Global Collapse by Jim Wesley Rawles. Like Jim' other novels Patriots, Survivors and Founders this one takes place during the same chaotic period of time set ominously in 'the not so distant future.'

Here is the promo blurb
In the latest survivalist thriller from founder of and New York Times bestselling author James Wesley, Rawles, two expat families struggle for their very survival in the midst of a global economic collapse.

When the United States suffers a major socioeconomic collapse, a power vacuum sweeps the globe. A newly radicalized Islamic government rises to power in Indonesia, invades the Philippines, East Timor, Papua New Guinea, and finally northern Australia. No longer protected by American military interests, Australia must repel an invasion alone.

In the thick of these political maneuvers, an American family of missionaries living in the Philippines and a Texan petroleum engineer in Australia must face the fear of being strangers in a world in flux. Are their relatives back home healthy and safe? Will they ever see them again?

In its depiction of the authentic survivalist skills and techniques needed to survive a global socioeconomic meltdown, Expatriates is as informative as it is suspense-filled.

The novel follows 3 groups; on  a family of Christian missionaries living in the Philippines, a  Texas oilman and some Australian folks he gets intertwined with and a family that run a hardware store in Florida. Like the previous books in the series it sort of flashes between the different groups in a generally chronological order.

Onto the usual format.

The Good: I really feel like Jim Rawles turned a corner in his writing with this book. Maybe it is personal development or learning from the last couple. Maybe it's some change in the editorial process or the slippers Jim wore while writing, I don't know. Regardless whatever it was should be kept the same for all of Jim's future writing. This book went a long way to address my (and some other folks) biggest criticisms of the Jim's last 2 fiction books that they jumped around too much and sometimes there were fairly long passages or even characters that didn't really tie into anything.

Expatriates keeps the multiple characters in different places format but this time it really works. The passages on an individual group are a bit longer so it flows better. Instead of reading 5 pages about Group A then 7 about Group B you will see more like (I didn't count it out so this is a rough guess) 20 on Group A then 14 on Group B. The overall result was a lot fewer transitions which made for a book that flowed much better. This was definitely a sustain.

The other good part is that everything tied together. The writing in this book seemed more intentional than in some previous books. There was not a point where I found myself thinking "Why am I reading this passage?" Everything fit in nicely and stayed on track. This added to my overall enjoyment of the reading experience.

Using the massive audience of Survival Blog Jim is able to bring in real world practical knowledge that surpasses what any one individual could possible accumulate. He can lean on 3 people who live in an area and another 4 who have decades of experience in whatever. I suspect this strongly helped with being realistic about technical details and the settings in the book. In particular, without getting too into spoiler territory this book has some very interesting stuff on taking long ocean voyages in relatively small boats and home/ small business security to continue operations in a dangerous environment. I found myself taking some mental notes on both of these topics. This authenticity/ factual correctness and high level of detail across a wide variety of areas really helps make the book useful, even for someone who has read his previous books.

As it's been awhile since I read Jim Rawles other fiction novels I found myself appreciating that these books nature is that they stand alone. You don't need to remember where one book ended to enjoy another. While continuations of the same theme they involve different places and characters. There is occasional overlap but you do not have to read Patriots to understand Survivors or either to get Founders or the newest in the series Expatriates. A person could pick up any of the books to read and enjoy as a stand alone novel.

Expatriates is by far the best written of Jim Wesley's fiction efforts and clearly the best of the Patriots sequels. It kept the interesting and plausible concepts of previous books but was wrapped in a far more readable package. I can see it gaining considerable traction in the adventure type circles; especially for folks who like a good read sans unnecessary gratuitous sex, profanity and graphic violence.

The Bad:

The only part I found a bit of a stretch was the non survivalist hardware store owners who happened to conveniently have a variety of unique characteristics in their home/ store setup AND lives that left them better set up than most survivalists. It was just a couple too many convenient things to be realistic without them making intentional choices in that direction.  Also it was probably implausible that the guy did all this other stuff and had a whole bunch of silver but didn't have a fighting rifle. Way more folks own an AR/ AK/ .308 battle rifle than own a couple hundred dollars face in 90% silver.

The Pre 1899 gun thing came up again albeit in the same gun ban as previous books. Again I have to say the idea that basically every modern gun could be banned yet this loophole would be carried over is just silly. While they do have a unique benefit TODAY if everything is being banned you would be far better off hiding/ fighting/ whatever with modern guns. A far more prudent course of action would be to buy a Glock/ Sig/ M&P/ 1911 and AK/ AR/ .308 with cash via a private party, maybe even get a spare set to stash away. Sure if you live in a totally anti gun area or like collecting old guns rock on but stash some modern defensive guns just in case.

The Ugly:

I wish whatever clicked to make this book such an easy, enjoyable fluid read happened earlier.

Overall Assessment:
Excellent book that is well worth the money. Folks who may have been turned off of Jim Rawles fiction would be well advised to give this book a shot as I think they will be pleasantly surprised.

Please wait till the 1 October Book Bomb Day to buy your copy of Expatriates!!!

Disclosure: I received an early copy of Expatriates to review. Also fundamentally Jim Rawles has been very good to me and my blogging efforts over the years. Not quite a mentor parse but more like that cool guy at the range who lets you always lets you shoot his cool new toy which you get to shoot and has the tool/ item you need but forgot to bring. How much that clouds my judgement on the matter I cannot say but there it is.

Buy your own copy of Expatriates on 1 October Book Bomb Day!!!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Gun Safe Bleg

Hey All, It is time for Ryan to buy a real gun safe. Looking for some advice, I'll list my criteria below:
-Fairly respectable manufacturer who'll likely be around for awhile with decent customer service. I need to protect our guns, some cash and ancillarry stuff but don't a super safe to beat the kind of burglars who would come after a hundred grand in cash or drugs.
-Mechanical lock.
-Unsure of exact dimensions but one that could hold at least 16 long guns with room for pistols and various other stuff would be nice. I don't have any guns of unusual length so normal height would be fine.
-Finish. It would be nice to have a couple color options so we can get one Wifey likes best.
-Price. The budget is about a grand. There is some flexibility but the budget will also need to pay shipping (if applicable) and get it to my home so a base cost 30% over budget is probably a nonstarter.
 -A modular configuration that could be changed if needed down the road would be nice but is not essential.

So as to specific questions
1) What type of safe would you suggest?
2) Are these general criteria realistic at this price point?
3) Where would you recommend buying one?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Are You Making Yourself a Target?

I have avoided bumper stickers for as long as I have owned cars. Mostly they are just annoying. However the various gun/ lifestyle stickers were a particular problem in my mind. They bring up a slew of problems. First if a person ends up in some defensive scenario that winds up in court does a "keep honking I am reloading" sticker or a "I dial .357" sticker help them? No in my anecdotal opinion it is quite the opposite. Nobody in traffic needs to know you like Glock's, HK's, etc.

The primary reason I have avoided putting these stickers on anything regularly seen in public, especially a vehicle, is that they just scream "break into my car if you want a gun." Personally if I needed a gun and could not get one through normal channels for whatever reason I'd probably just break into a few vehicles that have firearms, NRA or hunting type stickers. Out of 3 vehicles you would probably score at least once.

This article brings up another compelling reason to avoid lifestyle type bumper stickers. Maybe not a likely scenario but depending on your environment who knows. The people behind me in traffic do not need to know I am in the military, have deployed multiple times, am a member of the NRA, love Glock's and Bravo Company stuff, etc all. Put those free swag stickers up in the garage or on the gun safe (which folks generally assume has guns inside anyway) or whatever but keep them off your vehicles.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Quote of the Day and Discussion

"A gun you can’t reach in an emergency is useless. When I read that book (Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, TOR) as a high school kid, it struck me that since I had long possessed guns in my bedroom including a loaded Colt .45 automatic, I would have had a lot more options than Clutter’s son did when the homicidal intruders entered his bedroom…and, knowing my dad, in Herb Clutter’s situation my old man’s regularly-carried Colt Cobra .38 revolver would have probably gone into action long before things got even that far.

In a lifetime among cops since, I’ve noted that investigators who piece together the aftermaths of home invasion murders tend to keep their guns on all the time after that, even when off duty in their own house, and keep them by the bed when they go to sleep.

They have learned from the helplessly-murdered dead"

-Massad Ayoob


I don't really have anything to say about the quote. It pretty much stands for itself.  The more worthwhile discussion is to the larger issue of deployment of defensive weapons at home.

If you think getting to the bedroom/ basement, turning the combo on the big ole gun safe left to 12 right to 6 and left again to 3, pulling out and loading a gun is going to work you are kidding yourself. For defensive purposes you might as well not own guns if you can't get to one very quickly. If somebody boots the door you need a gun right now, like almost immediately.

There are two basic options here. Carry a piece or have a bunch of them all over the place. There are some considerations which may affect your choice. The biggest consideration without a doubt is the occupants and regular visitors to your home. I won't tell you how to live your life. However if there are residents like young children (the age could be debated, some folks think a 4 year old having access to a gun is safe and others think it is closer to 25) or adults without the mental capacity to be responsible with firearms then having them lying around all over the place is stupid. Note that I didn't say everybody who is in your home needs to be an expert with guns or even know how to use them. Just that they have the mental capacity to be safe around them. Example, My 28 year old defacto sister in law hates guns and to the best of my knowledge has never touched one. She comes to visit. Her default reaction would be to leave a gun alone if she found it. She would either reach past it to grab something from the cabinet or whatever or ask one of us "could you grab the X from the cabinet with the handgun in it?" Even without the head knowledge she has the adult decision making to leave guns alone.

We could debate putting a gun outside of the physical reach of a kid, like on a high shelf or something. I know folks who have done it without incident. My buddy found out there was a 1911 in the cabinet above the kitchen stove when he was 13, it had been there his whole life. YMMV but personally I do not feel at all comfortable with this plan. Kids get into all sorts of stuff and tend to do it when they are in the dangerously curious accidentally shoot somebody age range.

Anyway to me when it comes to residents or very frequent visitors this is a GO/NO GO thing. Moving a few things around when your sister who has a pair of toddlers comes over for Christmas is easy but if there are regularly little kids or adults with diminished capacity due to mental health issues or drug use having unsecured guns all over the place is a NO GO.

If there are only adults in the home having guns all over the place is an option. Obviously this will only work if you have multiple viable guns to place around your residence.  If you have just one gun it would end up in a nightstand all the way in the bedroom which is a bad option. In Alabama I had a pistol and a shotgun by my seat in the living room, a pistol and a shotgun by the bed, and a handgun in the other rooms. At the furthest point I might have been 4 paces from a loaded gun and that was from an awkward point in the hallway.  This plan was sufficient to me and looking back I can't find fault in it. They were not locked up (which could be debated) but were concealed. With the exception of the steriotypical bedside none of them were in places you would look for a gun. As an option you could get a few of those convenient little quick opening hide a piece type safe's. Put one in the bedroom, one in the living room, etc. Slightly slower but it would be secure.

The other option is to just carry a handgun with you, physically attached to your person until you go to sleep at night. This is really probably the best option as a lethal option is on your person at all times. It covers everything. Working out in the garage, fiddling around on the deck or in the yard, etc. Just continuing to wear whatever setup you use out of the house is a very valid option if you will actually do it.

Regardless of your choice to carry or stash guns having a long gun quickly accessible is a good idea also. You probably won't carry one around the house all the time so it would need to be stashed, maybe in some sort of quick to open safe. Maybe something like this. Long guns are far more lethal than pistols. If memory serves me correctly the boring old 30-30 crushes the venerable .44 mag in terms of energy. Also probably more importantly most people shoot them a lot better. Folks shoot at each other at CQB ranges with pistols and miss all the time. The longer sight radius and multiple points of contact of a long gun make them much easier to shoot well.

Personally I will not do that, it is a fine idea but not something I will actually do. After getting off work and changing out of my stupid greyish monkey suit and boots I almost immediately change into comfortable clothes that are not carry friendly. Some sort of alternate carry method like a shoulder holster or one of the belt and pouch type holsters like the smart carry  or the belly band would be options worth looking at.  When we get back to the states my plan is a loose combination of both. Having weapons readily accessible but secured in a couple key places and one on me. Maybe it is a little belt and suspenders but nothing succeeds quite like excess.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wednesday Randomness

China is buying oil from Iran with yuan.

Check out this interesting infograph on Zombie proofing your home.

For no particular reason I want to talk about a couple of rules or guidelines.

The first is that in firearms there is an inverse relationship between reliability and accuracy. Obviously a gun that shoots minute of barn at 10 paces is not useful but a jamamatic that shoots 1/10th moa when it occasionally decides to function isn't either. Personally for real world applications I am inclined to lean a bit toward reliability. Really you just need minute of man (or deer or elk or whatever) accuracy to get the job done and if a weapon is capable of that then the rest is on the shooter. Also most weapons will outshoot people anyway.

The second is that you typically get what you pay for. Expecting more than that out of a tool/ weapon is just not very realistic. Given comparable models/ styles a more expensive product is probably better. A $15 Wally world special is not going to perform like a Buck 110. Expecting a $550 "plinker" AR to perform like a rifle from Bushmaster, Smith and Wesson or Colt is not realistic. Some products do offer a lot of value and while they don't break this rule they might just bend it a bit. Glock and XD pistols, Buck and Cold Steel knifes and REI brand camping gear come to mind.

Also I would like to let you know that LPC survival an authorized Berkey water filter dealer and long time advertiser are launching a completely redesigned website on the 21st. I got a chance to preview it and the new format is very nice. Much easier to use and a better shopping experience. You should definitely check it out.

Anyway that is about all that is floating around in my head today,

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Home Defense

I stumbled into this video. There really isn't anything (big picture) in it that I disagree with. I like the emphasis on preventing people from breaking into your place to begin with. An alarm (or at least the placards), a big  barking dog and some motion lights will go a long way to making the neighbors house seem inviting. As the old cliche says "you don't have to outrun the bear, just the slowest member of your party."

The only real point that I would add that is within the video's scope is about OPSEC. Often, and probably more often than not, burglaries are not random. Crooks don't just decide to rob your house at 1832 Woodland Street out of the blue. They decide to rob you because you sold a car for 10 grand a few days ago and they think the cash is in the house. They decide to rob you because you showed a dozen people a safe full of sweet guns at a party a year ago and one of them (probably just making conversation)  told somebody who is a crook. Limiting public displays of stuff worth stealing by using common sense measures goes a long way.

Also having a gun on your person, a plan and a long gun handy for if goblins decide to actually come into your house is very sound advice.
John Mosby recently wrote an interesting article about defensive considerations aimed more at the survivalist/ wanna be G angle. Like everything he writes it is worth checking out. There were a couple points that made worthwhile additions to this piece. What will deter the appearance of a tweeker or keep them from being successful will not necessarily deter a dozen motivated and well equiped goblins of any variety. If an organized and motivated group decide that a hard nut is worth cracking they will probably crack it, especially if that nut is composed of just you and the missus. However unless you really piss somebody off or have something very valuable this shouldn't be an issue. In that unlikely situation your options are to fight valiantly and die in place (IMO that is what you do when your plan and contingency plans fail, not the primary plan) or get out of there. Depending on your lifestyle this may or may not be a concern for you. Personally I don't lose any sleep over this sort of thing. All you can do is prepare then give it your best there is always a situation that you can't handle.

Anyway JM talks about some steps to harden your doors against breaching. Given that every yahoo has seen enough cops to know about battering rams and hooligan tools, both of which are readily available on the internet, don't be suprised if these tactics are used. [Up to now we have pretty much talked about free or fairly inexpensive simple things you can do to become a harder target. Hardening entrances may be worth considering depending on your situation. There are probably a lot of ways to harden a door. Something like this seems like a good option on the cheap/ low impact end. Making sure you have a door that doesn't suck and sticking a couple extra hinges into it and replacing all the little screws with 4 or 6 inchers isn't that complicated. These are probably things anybody can do. Going a bit further reenforcing the frame and putting a serious door on is a good way to go, especially if you are going to be there for the long term. Along these lines I am a fan of steel "screen doors" with deadbolts. It is another layer somebody needs to go through. They are also useful in the summer if you don't have AC. ] JM's recommendation to put a good door into a reenforced frame with lots of hinges and multiple deadbolts is hard to argue with. It will stop, or at least seriously screw up the tactical momentum of a crew trying to breach with a shotgun or tools. If folks coming after you are serious enough to competently breach with explosives I suggest escaping, evading, relocating and seriously thinking about who you piss off in the future.
I have some more thoughts about realistic and affordable harder homes and gardens.
Additionally I would say that using the new DIY type window glass laminates has some fascinating possibilities for delaying forced entry. I estimate that you could harden doors as described above and windows in this fashion for the cost of a nice rifle or a long weekend at the beach. Not exactly cheap but also not an unrealistic amount of money for most people.
Also if you have a suitable choke point I like interior security gates.  Also it is yet another layer that folks would have to go through to get to you and yours. Remember that layers equal time. Also if a concealed guy at the top of the stairs behind a gate says "if you come up here I will shoot you" goblins would have to REALLY WANT IT to try and breach the thing. Assuming your family is safely upstairs this should make securing the choke point to wait for the cops/ cavalry a pretty doable task.

Of course you can go further and build some sort of a bunker house if you have the coin and desire.

Anyway I hope this gives you something to think about in terms of home defense.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Stay At Home

The other day I ended up watching 20 minutes of a movie. According to the cover it was Needfull Things by Stephen King. A bunch of folks were going nuts or something and running around reaking havock on what by Stephen King's predictable pattern was almost surely a remote small town in Maine that the main character just recently moved to.
In any case something occured to me. The right answer is almost always to stay home. If you look at likely and realistic situations far more often than not the right answer is to stay home. Implied tasks of this is to A) getting home and B) having the capability to sustain yourself, C) being able to protect yourself comes up but nowhere near as often as the mall ninja's in various internet forum's would have you think.
Unless you live in a major urban center the odds of any kind of significant unrest are minimal. If there is a natural disaster it is prudent to leave but the majority of the time the right answer (which coencides with the boring answer) is to stay home, much on some preps and hang out.
You WILL need fcash, food, water, the means to cook, lighting, some sort of heating plans and a plan for sanitation. You probably won't need but would be well advised to have and be compitent with a couple of useful firearms as well as other security plans. A shotgun is aweful comforting during a black out.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Spreading My Eggs Out

The owner of the Warehouse had mentioned that while it was fine for the TOR Armory to stay there it would probably be smart to spread it out. After consideration it made sense. The TOR Armory is pretty decent in size and resale value. It would also suck a whole lot if it was lost in one fell swoop to theft, fire or a tornado. Anyway I found an alternative location. During my time at home I moved some guns to an alternate location to be known as the cave. Sort of like on Lost I enjoy having names for places. (Also saying my stuff is at Cousin Timbos and that he gets drunk and leaves the back door unlocked on Saturday and lives at 9247 Johnson street, Hicksville, ID would be an OPSEC fail.)

I moved basically everything except what I plan to use and shoot while at home. I also kept a revolver, a shotgun and a .22 in the warehouse because you never know. When we move back to the states our residence will become the primary location for weapons storage. That will make the warehouse our alternate and the cave our contingency. I plan on keeping some weapons in home territory for the foreseeable future. We will likely live outside of convenient commuting range of home forever and keeping a few guns there makes sense. Thataway I can fly home empty handed or drive home with just a carry piece knowing their are weapons prepositioned. If I had a long term secure piece of land available such as a piece of land owned by a very close friend or relative with no plan to move I would set up a cache as my emergency portion of the firearm security PACE plan. I have some potential ideas on that one but not quite good enough. Before I go to all the hassle of properly burying guns I want to be sure they can rest undisturbed for the foreseeable future. Once we set down some roots the E location will figure itself out. Anyway I feel a lot better about the security of my eggs now.  If you have much more than a basic 4 (pistol, rifle, shotgun, .22) or especially if you have duplicates then it is probably worth looking to store a few off site. Remember Primary, Alternate, Contingency, Emergency.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

An Interesting Discussion Going On At Surviving In Argentina, Again

Apparently I used this exact title before, go figure FerFal writes good stuff and his very practical ( and somewhat different) angle questions things. The discussion (1, 2, 3) is about rural living and security if things get weird. It goes pretty directly against a lot of what comes out of, for lack of a better word, the American Survivalist school. Personally I don't have strong opinions (we will get to my thoughts) but any time someone is really questioning things with some good points it is worth considering.To my thoughts.

First I think it bears worth repeating to be distinctly in town or out of town. Three acres with a little barn on a cul de sac or quiet side street at the edge of town probably often has the worst of both scenarios. Also the theme that small towns are safer but you can grow food in the country is rehashed.

After that I am less sure. One place where America might be different than Argentina is that by pretty much any measure rural and smaller town areas have far lower crime rates (particularly violent crime) than suburban and urban ones. I don't know exactly why this is but well it is. If things got bad in America crime rates would go up. I have a hard time seeing how they would not go up more or less proportionately with some reflection of economic changes by area.

One notable issue with the rural retreat plan is that its security relies on being able to bring 2 or ideally 4-6 couples (assuming no 16+ kids who would count as the same) together to provide local security. It is easy to say "when things go all Mad Max everyone goes to the Johnson place" and in that respect it is a solid plan. However are you going to go to the Johnson place because unemployment is at 18% and the crime rate has doubled? Can you commute to work from the Johnsons spiffy rural retreat? Sleeping in the living room at your buddies because there is a bad depression going on is a stretch in anybodies imagination. How would everybody live their lives and pay their bills with 4/12 adults pulling security at any given time? For many realistic situation especially a hyper inflationary economic mess or a slow slide it isn't going to be 3-4 families together. It is going to be you and the spouse and the kids all alone. Most likely at least one adult is going to spend a good amount of time elsewhere working, because well you need money.

One benefit of rural living, particularly if you can get at least a few acres away from the main road is that space buys you time. I've lived in places where you can see a car coming your way for a quarter mile. You just can't do that in town. A gate at the end of your road (depending on your setup) coupled with some sort of anti intrusion devices is a hard setup to beat. On the low end this could just be a dog and a motion light aimed at the road. If money is a bit less of an object a comprehensive system of intrusion devices and cameras would be difficult to beat. Realistically even without anything fancy a gate, a dog or two and some motion lights from home depot you have (before even factoring in harder homes and gardens stuff) a huge advantage over someone in the city. Time to grab a gun and if you are so inclined put on body armor. I do not know a ton about home invasions but would bet a lot that people who are awake and holding a gun (+2 for a long gun and +5 for body armor) when somebody tries a home invasion fare pretty well.

Then again if you are walking out of the shop in pajamas on a Saturday morning that one time you don't throw on a pistol and some bad folks show up the situation can get pretty ugly.

I don't know what is best. Guess it depends on where you want to live and what sort of scenario you are worried about. I hesitate very much to give a strong opinion but this has been a darn interesting conversation.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Special Considerations for Women

Something struck me last night. It was a thing my Grandfather told me a long time ago. He said that every woman needs to have the ability to earn about 35k a year to support herself and her children should something happen. Often this means a degree but a certification or a skill or whatever could suffice. Simply put things go bad in life. A guy can turn out to be a scumbag. often this happens fairly quickly but sometimes it is spontaneous after some time together. Also relationships (divorce is a long complicated conversation but anyway) do fail. Men, particularly in more dangerous professions sometimes die. Through injury or illness primary wage earners can find themselves no longer able to make a living.

I personally know a couple women who have gotten married, had a kid or two and then been in an ugly situation where they were either stuck with a total jerk or left without the ability to support them self and their children. A woman who can support herself has options.

Also I believe women should have the ability to operate the defensive firearms around them. It is pretty common knowledge that some men can get a bit too preoccupied with self protection. Sometimes women go entirely the opposite way. They will be in a great place on food and fuel and such but the plan for dealing with a crazed violent criminal involves some spicy stuff in a can or a doohickey that goes on their key chain. Ideally women should have their own designated firearms for self protection. However often if there are already guns in the house picking up new ones is a low priority. In a world with tight budgets and all sorts of other preps to get to low priorities are often slow in being filled.

Of course it would be ideal if women (and men too but this is an issue less often) practiced regularly with firearms and maybe sought professional training. However again since women are often less concerned about protection and quality training is fairly expensive this goal may never be met. At a minimum women should know how to load, shoot, clear malfunctions and unload the defensive arms they have access to. Of course more training is better but being able to load the darn thing, make it go bang, keep it going bang and unload it is a darn good start. If the nightstand pistol is a .357 magnum that is what you need to know how to shoot. If Dad or your roomie or whomever has a pump shotgun then you should know how to shoot it. If Hubby's Winchester 30-30 is the go rifle then know how to use it. Being able to work most common firearms is a great goal to focus on AFTER YOU CAN USE WHAT IS ALREADY LYING AROUND THE HOUSE.

I have thought about this a lot. Our collection includes a variety of different firearms including some that operate rather uniquely. Does Wifey really need to learn the eccentricities of the 1911, I don't think so. She can shoot (rather well actually) Glocks and revolvers which given our collection is sufficient. Down the road when I teach her to shoot long guns I see no reason (unless of course she wants to) to teach her to shoot oddballs like the Garand. Instead of spreading out the limited time and energy Wifey is probably going to spend on firearms training in a manner where she does a short  familiarization fire on everything; I think it might be better to spend more time focusing on the guns we rely on; the Glock 9mm, revolvers, pump shotguns, and the AR.

So ladies, in my personal opinion you would be well advised to get (via a degree/ certification/ skill) the ability to support yourself and your children regardless of if you plan to work. Also if you have not already done so then learn to operate the primary defensive firearms around you. The world is a crazy place; if you can earn a living for yourself and shoot the guns around you then you are far better able to deal with its crazy twists.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fun With Books

This is brought to you by our VP of Awesomeness who awhile back was kind enough to send me a few books as well as a Glock mag. Today I will be talking about the book Home Security: How to select Reliable Locks and Alarms for Your Home, Office or Car by Carl Hammer.

I want to start by saying that I did not read this book cover to cover. There are some books (novels, etc) that you almost inherently need to read cover to cover. There are others that probably fall more into the reference category from which you read the parts you want. No reason to read 10 pages of super detailed directions  on canning stewed tomatoes unless you have a pressure canner, ample jars and a whole bunch of tomatoes lying around.

I guess lets stick with the normal book review format.

The good: I really liked that this book was realistic. Don't get me wrong, harder homes and gardens is a nice idea. It is just that unless you are looking at some sort of underground structure or very thick reinforced concrete walls it is not very realistic. Even then unless you have an almost unlimited budget anything beyond trying to find or building a brick home is probably a miss allocation of resources. There is a reason that people stopped building Castles when cannons were invented!

This book focuses on hardening entry ways, windows, locks and doors against discrete covert entry and slowing overt entry to give residents time to react. On this topic I recall something. For a long period of my life I occasionally spent time waiting outside of a particular arms room. That arms room had an official like sign on it. It said the arms room was rated to be secure for 400 hours (or something like that) against covert entry. It was only rated to be secure for 20 minutes against forced entry. Basically it would be impossible to ninja sneak into the darn thing but if you show up with a tools to destroy cement and metal or just strait up explosives it won't take long. The thing is to focus on reality, I know it is hard for us sometimes. However if somebody with a Browning .50 cal and plenty of ammo or even a small amount of explosives and the know how wants to get in they will. However you don't (if you do then think seriously re evaluate your lifestyle;) need to worry about that. You need to worry about 3-5 armed criminals either conning you to open the door or doing some sort of a forced entry. Ignore the books and people in forums and look at what you see on the news and read about in the paper. Following the advice in this book will take you a long way toward having a secure home.

The Bad: Being written in 2001 the book is a bit dated. In particular the relatively new do it yourself glass lamination film is a real cool product for realistic home security on a normal budget. I imagine security systems have improved some since then also.

The Ugly: No serious ugly though some stuff did bother me. However the vague hints at somehow having inside knowledge of para military and covert government activities that is often present in Paladin Press books was there. Also it was a bit needlessly redundant. When it comes to locks and stuff the guy could have gotten a camera and taken some pictures instead of only doing cheesy windows paint drawings.

I got some stuff out of this book and if you are looking to make your home more secure it is well worth reading. The copy I have is going to the shelf where it will stay until I purchase a home and want to secure it.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Taking Over A Town: I Call Bull Spit

This recent article on survivalblog reminded me of something I have been meaning to write. There are always bunches of ideas floating around in my head and often it takes a post somewhere that touches on the topic to remind me that I had a strong opinion/ article idea.

I grew up on Westerns. When I was in my mid teens and we got non antenna TV Dad and I would often pass windy and rainy winter days by watching the Western Channel. With rare exceptions there were only a few different plots. One of those plots was taking over a town.

It basically goes like this a fairly large group of say 12-40 bad guys show up in a town and ride roughshod over the sheriff and push people around generally doing whatever they want, until the hero comes......The thing is that in real life a loner who has a questionable past but is pure of heart with a white hat who is lightning fast with a Colt .45 doesn't show up. Also more importantly towns wouldn't need one anyway. They can take care of themselves pretty well.

If you think of the bank robbers of that era they did not stick around in an isolated town with their speed of drawing and shooting a 6 gun securing their safety. They grabbed as much cash as they could quickly and rode out of town (hopefully for them) before getting shot to ribbons by farmers and store keepers with rifles and shotguns. Most of the reason people did this is that in the pre FDIC days, if a bank got robbed the money people kept in it was gone. Nowadays average people have little to no incentive to get involved in this sort of crime but if the money in the bank/ grain in the silo/ whatever was essential to the towns very survival people would not just stand by.

I remember in one book Louis Lamour gave his opinion on that plot. Basically he talked about how it would never work and was totally rediculous. There were just too many veterans of the Civil War and the Indian Wars and too many guns in the hands of the townspeople. Some things have not changed. It is often difficult to wrap ones head around how many guns are privately owned by every day, law abiding average Americans. Not everyone is a gun enthusiast with a Glock/Sig sticker on their car but Americans own a ridiculously awesome amount of guns.

This reminds me of my late Grandfather. He was a normal professional guy, pillar of the community, member of the Kiowas and all that stuff.  In their nice normal home in a mid sized town he had a snubby .38, a full sized .357mag, a couple shotguns, a couple .22's and a bolt action rifle. Also one of my old Scout Masters comes to mind. Somehow when I was a bit older we got to talking about worst case scenarios. This Vietnam vet and normal retired guy casually mentioned that he had 4 AK-47's and 10 cases of ammo for them stashed away, as well as enough rimfire for a lifetime of small game. Few veterans I know are without a firearm and most have some sort of a defensive pistol as well as a defensive rifle (mostly AR's in this generation), not to mention whatever sporting arms they own.

Once you start looking at how many people are veterans, cops, hunters or just plain angry rednecks there are a lot. Thanks to the almost 10 year long GWOT we have a lot of young veterans and those Nam era guys are still around, heck a few Korea and WWII vets are still alive and kicking.  There were simply way too many armed, trained and experienced individuals in even the smallest town of say 750 people a lethal proposition.

I can only speak with some measure of experience about the Pacific Northwest and the Deep South as I have lived there. In either of those places there is probably more firepower in 3 or 4 city blocks than any group of bikers/ raiders would want to deal with.  A couple of smart local cops or city officials who are either veterans themselves, which is pretty common or have the basic sense to listen to those with applicable military experience could easily make the juice not worth the squeeze.

People talk about how the gloves would be off when it comes to dangerous, violent criminals (alone or in groups) doing whatever they want. That is true but those folks pretty much do what they want now, if they followed the rules they would not be dangerous violent criminals. The real game changer in the criminal to citizen relationship would be that the gloves would be off for the citizens. The idea of a group of bikers storming into town on screaming Harleys and taking over is the stuff of bad 60's era movies. Citizens and cops have a pretty good idea who the scumbags are, they are just currently bound by rule of law. I can see law and order societies, sheriffs posses, healthy reserve police forces and maybe just strait up vigilantes becoming the norm if things get bad. If you add up the police force, the local gun club, the Elks lodge, angry rednecks and all the veterans in a town of 750-2,000 there are ample numbers to make some thugs seek a weaker target.

If things were bad enough that nationwide law and order were gone and biker gangs could act without any fear of legal consequences they would likely meet a volley of rifle fire about a quarter mile from town. A biker on the move with a rifle or submachine gun (being a crook means you can ignore firearms laws which is a plus) would be no match for a deer hunter in a fighting position with a scoped flat shooting rifle, especially at a couple hundred yards.

Personally I see this sort of roving biker gang being a real issue for travelers, isolated farms, ranches and retreats. Without a serious plan to get outside reinforcements a group of 6-15 adults would have a very hard time dealing with a group of 1-2 dozen armed hard core criminals, especially if a couple of them had even minimal military training. I would be a lot more worried about relatively small groups doing what amounted to home invasions on steroids than some mobile mega gang a la Mad Max.
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