Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Various Thoughts

Hey Folks, I'm not dead.

I have been trying to refocus on fitness/ health, jiu jjitsu and dry fire. The core of my survivalist individual skills. That has been occupying a lot of my time and energy this week. I am trying hard to refocus. Also I have a class coming up in January to get ready for. It will challenge my combatives skills and fitness so I want to do my best to get ready.

For fitness I am going to be focusing on endurance for awhile. A friend wants to do some races this winter/ summer so I need to get working on that. Also it is as good a goal as any. A marathon is probably on my bucket list anyway.

I realized that maybe I need a handgun in between the Glock 19 and the Ruger LCP. I end up carrying the LCP a lot which is probably not ideal. Recently carrying a borrowed air weight J frame I noticed I could carry it appendix in most of my normal clothing. It vanishes under a normally fitting T shirt. I would get an S&W with an exposed hammer and try some different grip options to get the right balance of concealability and shootability.

Potential candidates beside a .38 would be the Glock 26 or a Walther PPK. I am going to borrow and experiment with both in coming weeks. I am open to your thoughts here. No urgency as the weather is rapidly cooling so I can just wear a sweatshirt or loose ish flannel type shirt which will hide anything. The easy days of CCW are getting to be upon us.

I am looking hard at purchasing a new (to me) vehicle. Probably a Toyota FJ Cruiser. If you have personal experience with them please share.

Recently I put together a plate carrier as part of my home defense set up. May talk more about that later.

The only up side of this post election rioting light is the darn clowns seem to have calmed down.

Sort of like Zero and I both said. I am not sad I bought the stuff I did for the election. Now I have it. I can't see a situation where 5.56 ammo, Glock or AR mags get cheaper than they are today so it is all good.

So what is coming up in the next couple weeks on the blog.

A post or two about the Mountain Guerilla Clandestine Carry Pistol course.

A post on realistic vs fantasy worst case scenarios.

A post on multiple streams of income.

A post on my home defense gear set up.

A fighting load post.




Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Post Election Hangover

This was an interesting election cycle. The lack of panic was oddly palatable. Paw Paw and Tam both talked about it. I think there are two main reasons for this. In general people with the money and desire have been panicking pretty hard for at least an election cycle, two if they are old enough. Also well the real economy in our country is hosed and inflation have made it so many people are worried about a kid who keeps jumping clothes sizes and grocery bills. They don't have much spare money for anything.

I made some significant purchases in preparation for this election. Built a spare AR, bought 2 cases of 5.56 and 20 ish each AR and Glock mags. Yesterday, obviously early I personally urged two people to get some more mags for their handguns and have at least some ammo on hand.

Now it is very unlikely any sort of ban will happen. Do I regret my purchases or actions?

NO!!!

NOT AT ALL!!!

I mean I didn't do anything crazy like do that stuff on a credit card I couldn't pay off. I did what I could with the money I had.

I don't regret it at all. Why? I bought stuff I can use and wanted. Probably front loaded my gun related purchases for at least a few months. The way I look at it now I have more time.

In the short to mid term since I front loaded a lot of gun stuff my next quarter or so's purchases will likely be non gun stuff. I need to round out some other gear and want one of those new FLIR scouts.

In gun stuff I am going to build an AR pistol. Yeah I did that before but saw a couple game changers. Got to handle a sweet one that probably cost 3 grand. Mine won't be that fancy but I am taking the core ideas from it.

In the long run I am probably going to get into the AR-10 game. I messed up when I got the FAL. If I keep it or sell it is an open question.

Politically I am neutral about this whole thing. The only real up side is President Trump does not want war with Russia. That means the odds they will drop our power grid and things will go all One Second After are substantially lower. Gives me a few more years to get my stuff together.



 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Speed vs Accuracy

This post has been floating around in my head for awhile. I am thankful I did not write it earlier as the Clandestine Carry Pistol course heavily shaped my viewpoint on the matters at hand. I want to talk about speed and accuracy as they relate to practical shooting. By practical I suppose I mean shooting in the context of self defense and maybe hunting where accuracy and speed have to be balanced. This differs from more esoteric niche sports or just plain old plinking. First let us talk about speed. There is a fairly fixed reaction time a person has. The amount of time between when their brain says shoot and their finger pulls the trigger. 

In Johns class we tested this with a shot timer. With the gun ready we timed how long it took for us to pull the trigger. Just plain make the gun go bang downrange. Mine was like .21-.22, that was somewhere in the mushy middle of the averages. Sure you could game that by getting more used to shooting on the beep and maybe improve times a little bit but that doesn’t matter. The point is that there is absolutely no way I could shoot faster than that time. That is my absolute max for speed. 

Then there is accuracy. With more time people don’t have to rush and can be deliberate. Of course they can actually shoot worse by overthinking it but lets ignore that for now. At some point relative to the given shot you intend to take (a 10m shot with a pistol takes less time than a 1k shot with a rifle) we will not be more accurate with more time. We reach our maximum ability level for that given task. If a guy had say 2 minutes to shoot 5 rounds at an index card 10 meters away he has plenty of time. He likely won’t shoot better if he has all day to do it. We can call this our absolute max for accuracy. So we have our absolute max for speed on one side and our absolute maximum for accuracy on the other. At absolute max speed my accuracy was minute of dumpster at 10 meters. At maximum accuracy I am pretty slow. Now we have one variable left to talk about. Target size/ distance. The target size/ distance matters a lot here. It matters because it dictates how precise we have to be in terms of accuracy. Thus by controlling accuracy the target size/ distance really dictates how fast we can.

Example- Our friend Paw Paw does Cowboy Fast Draw shooting. Per the CDFA website they shoot at a 24” circular target centered 50” off the ground at distances between 15-21 feet. This target is pretty forgiving in terms of accuracy so the times are crazy fast. A quick look says at a national level the top 16 men were all under .358. That is smoking fast. Part of the reason these guys can get times like that, aside from naturally good reactions and a ton of practice is they are shooting at a frickin huge target. They are shooting one handed from the hip and obviously not using sights. If the targets were changed to say a 6X13 vital zone you would see times slow down. If it were changed to a 3x5 index card you would see times slow down. Or you would see the rate of misses rise. That brings us to the next point. How much accuracy do you need? It obviously varies situation to situation. The amount of precision needed to make a hundred yard pistol shot on an A zone target at 3 meters is very different than at 30 let alone 100 meters. Lets say there is an urgency factor throughout practical shooting so we can ignore that. The two factors that come to mind for me are what we are shooting at and the consequences of missing. Smaller (or further away) targets require a higher degree of precision that bigger ones. 

I can personally get away with being relatively sloppy shooting drills at a 6X13 or an IPSC A zone which is about 6x11. I can really just use the front sight and be quick, which for me means a bit jerky, on the trigger and still get consistent hits. To shoot at a 3x5 index card I need to really use my sights and deliberately squeeze the trigger. If I am shooting the dot drill I need to be even more precise. 

The other consideration is the consequences of a miss. If you miss in a competition it hurts your score or maybe you lose. If you miss shooting at tweety bird well you miss tweety bird. These situations encourage you to take a questionable shot because there really isn’t a down side. If you miss a shot in a self defense situation you might smoke a round into some little kid on the next block. 

Aside from obviously practicing to improve your capabilities the most important thing is awareness. Knowing how much you can push speed (and sacrifice accuracy) while still making the shot is huge. No point in shooting faster than you are actually able, and missing. In a civilian self defense context this is dangerous and not acceptable. On the flip side since time matters knowing how much you can get away with to put lead to face and end the problem gives you a better chance of having the best possible outcome. 

I think that’s all that comes to mind now. If I have any further thoughts on the topic I will edit this or do a follow up as appropriate.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Mountain Guerilla Clandestine Pistol: #1 Overview

This weekend I was fortunate to be able to attend John Mosby AKA Mountain Guerillas Clandestine Carry Pistol Course.

I wanted to go back to CSAT this year but with the travel time and expense it was not very realistic. I was going to take a local course but after doing the intro I wasn't very impressed. It was definitely old guy wannna be Jeff Cooper stuff. Not bad per se but very dated. Then I saw the Clandestine Carry Pistol offering in north east MO and jumped on it. Fortunately everything worked out OK and I was able to attend.

I am going to make a big fat disclaimer that everything said about this course is from my memory and notes. Not trying to put words in Johns mouth or say there are quotes here. If something sounds weird or stupid or wrong any fault is entirely my own.

The class goals were as follows:
1- Hit what you aim at.
2- Make rapid good decisions under stress.
3- Draw your pistol under realistic conditions.
4- Defend your pistol and fight to employ it.

 This course was different from CSAT's Tactical Pistol Operator Course and probably most other comparable tactical type handgun courses in a couple of significant ways.

First the accuracy standard was significantly higher. The goal is head shots on demand at realistic pistol ranges (Say 10-15 meters). We shot at index cards the entire time (mostly 3x5 and occasionally [think we ran out of 3x5's] at the end 4x6) to replicate the vital zone in the head. This was done for a three reasons. First the realistic chance that a person is either wearing an SVEST in which case punching a round into their torso is a bad idea. Second the in my opinion much more probable chance they are wearing body armor. Third is the classic aim small and miss small.

This was a significant difference from my CSAT experience where we shot predominantly at a 6x13 vital zone. Suffice to say this is a big difference. Also that I have been slacking on my training was a factor. I blew a lot of shots initially because I was relatively speaking jerking the trigger and rushing to get better times. That got slightly better over the class. Honestly I think I figured out the trigger piece shooting the dot drill at the very end of class.

Why is this different from other classes? Some of it is conceptual and some of it is about the fact that shooting at small targets is well humbling. Considering a large portion of running training classes is getting people to feel good and want to come back this is not a move calculated to be popular. John doesn't give a crap. He says the unpopular thing because it is what he believes. This is consistent throughout Johns methodology and teaching.

My personal belief is this is valid. You need that capability. Whether you should shoot for the head or not is context dependent. Obviously an S vest or body armor dictate a head shot. For a meth head in a t shirt bullets in the sternum are probably just fine.

The other way this class is different is that we shot EVERYTHING from concealment. I think this is totally valid in the context of this course and realistically any handgun training. Excluding law enforcement who carry openly I think this is the right answer for everybody. Why, well that is how the vast majority of us carry handguns. The only real exception would be home defense and that is mostly going to start with the gun in your hand anyway as it was either on your belt or cached somewhere. So doing all draws and reloads from concealment is the right answer.

Why don't other classes do this? Like the 3x5 card accuracy standard this is not mirrored throughout the training world. Seeing guys wearing big ole paddded 'war belts' and OWB duty type rigs is quite common. One class I looked at taking did not even allow IWB holsters! First it adds a layer of complexity. You need to clear the cover garment for every draw or reload. You need to clear it to reholster.Second and I think more significantly it makes peoples performance as measured by time worse. How much time it adds to your draw could certainly be debated but probably .2 of a second or so. When instructors want students to feel like they improved (so they want to come back)having them get times that make them happy is a big deal. Sammy Seal got my draw to first shot down to 1.XX makes a guy happy and want to come back. Getting a slower time is well not going to make people feel as good. The last reason I think other classes have people using LEO/ military type set ups is what John so nicely calls 'ballistic masturbation'. People want to wear cool guy gear, shoot a lot of bullets, be told they met a standard and get a certificate. I'm not knocking anyone getting training but the 'tactical dude ranch' angle is definitely there. You can take classes where you will shoot from helicopters and do fake ass tactical missions. There are probably worse ways to spend your money but saying shooting a rifle from a helicopter is in any way applicable to my life as a non helicopter owning person is ridiculous. This is another way John Mosby's course is in my opinion very realistic and practical for a normal guy who carries a gun to defend himself.

I am going to do at least two more posts on this topic. The first will be a discussion of accuracy as it relates to time and distance. The second will be an overview of the course material, what I learned, etc. After that I have at least one or two posts in my head that come more from discussions we had in down time BS sessions.

 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Organizational Fail- Where the Heck is My 9mm Ball Ammo?

Writing about our failures is never fun. It is always more fun to talk about a cool new toy or something awesome we did. This is not one of those posts.

I needed 500 rounds of 9mm ball ammo today. The reason will be clear later,  that isn't what this post is about. I went to the first place I thought I would find 9mm ball ammo in quantity and it wasn't there. Went to the next place and it wasn't there either. Went back to the first place and really looked.

I thought for a second and went to a third place where I found a can of 9mm ball. Winchester white box from probably 2008. Good solid ammo. Wish they had prices on them to show what I paid.

Anyway this was a big ole ball of fail.  The bottom line is I currently have serious organizational issues beyond the home defense set up level. Access to ammo  isn't a realistic problem it is just a canary in the coal mine. We talked about ammo which I am not really concerned with. In my bedroom I think there are 5 loaded AR  mags between my fighting load (hd) and a sort of active shooter bag. Also at least 3 spare glock  mags. That more than meets any home defense needs I could possibly have.

My stuff both preparedness and otherwise needs to get better organized.  I really don't have any excuse except laziness for not doing this. Currently I don't have anything big going on for most weekends so I could easily put in 3-4 hours 2 days a week working to fix this. Just need to get off my ass and do It.

So what are my goals:
1- MOP-After this weekend which is busy I want to spend st least 6 hours a week (probably on the weekend) on sorting and organization.  The girl I'm seeing works weekends so I have the time. I plan to do this until the organization is done.
2- MOE- Within 30 days have full fighting load, bob and bug out stuff separated, organized and ready to go.
3- MOE Within 60 days have all prearedness related stuff organized.
4- MORE- Within 90 days have all of my various possessions organized. Donate a lot to good will, unneeded camping stuff to local Boy Scouts or survivalists,, sell some stuff and organize the rest. 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Glock 19 for the Win!

Weapons Man wrote a seminal article on why SOF forces have almost universally transitioned to the Glock 19 (with one exception who may still be shooting .40S&W) as their go to war hand gun. I agree with everything he says. However I do have some potentially redundant thoughts of my own.
The Glock 19 is obviously a Glock. For the uninitiated it is on their ‘compact’ frame and chambered in 9mm. We will briefly talk about each of those characteristics.
Glock pistols:
-Reliable. They are pretty much the gold standard in reliability for handguns. They perform well under adverse conditions with minimal maintenance. You might argue a SWAT Blaster 900 is equally reliable but finding one that is more reliable is going to be difficult at this time.
-Repairable. They can be repaired by a non expert with a single punch and true drop in parts.
-Long life. These guns can put a whole lot of rounds down range without serious damage. (particularly in 9mm, .40S&W Glocks actually have some issues here.)
-Price. They are very affordable pistols.
-Ease of use. Easy guns to learn and shoot well.
-Commonality. If people make a holster they make it for Glocks, ditto sights, etc all. If a store sells gun stuff they have Glock stuff.
Compact size:
-About the largest size handgun a normal sized person can conceal with minimal hassle. I didn’t say no hassle. Personally I think people who believe they are concealing a Glock 19 under a normal sized t shirt are probably unaware or being dishonest with their selves. Maybe they can from one angle standing still but moving and doing normal life tasks not so much. To actually hide the gun a pair of pants that will allow the gun to be carried IWB and a larger shirt are going to be needed.
-Best all-around option. If you want to balance shooting (either recreationally or for defense) and concealed carry this is probably the sweet spot for most people. So if a person was going to have one handgun with them to do a couple different things this size is the way to go.
9mm:
-It works. With modern defensive ammunition the difference between any of the common defensive calibers (9mm, .40S&W, .45acp) is mental masturbation. Sorry folks, I really don’t care what Jeff Cooper said 30 or 40 years ago, it is true.
-More bullets. It will probably give you 2 more bullets than .40S&W and 3+ more than .45acp in the same sized gun. More bullets is better.
-More controllability. Better for smaller and weaker people. Also this means faster follow up shots for everyone.
-Commonality. If a place sells bullets they will have 9mm. Compared to the other 2 options it’s at least slightly more common. This is more important for international types as .40S&W and .45acp are not going to be common elsewhere.
Note: The primary difference between the Glock and the various competitors (S&W, Ruger, etc) in favor of Glock is going to be reliability and commonality. You might not be able to get mags/ parts/ accessories for a Ruger SR9 or those new FN pistols but the gun shop will have Glock mags.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Black Swan Fixation

John Mosby recently wrote an excellent post. In his opening paragraph one part really spoke to me. He said something to the effect that survivalists spend a disproportionate amount of time and energy preparing for black swan type events that are statistically and historically unlikely. He referred to the general trend of focusing on these events at the expense of much more likely events as ‘semi conscious’

I want to delve deeper into this topic. There are two related questions that I will try to discuss. First why do people focus on black swan type events. Second why do people ignore or fail to seriously prepare for more likely events.

Before I get started the saying “If you are prepared for the Zombie Apocalypse/ TEOTWAWKI you are prepared for anything” is going to come up. If the appropriate layered planning and logical progression was used maybe that is true. Still we have finite resources and energy to contend with. For all but the largest budgets a lot of choices made for the very unlikely scenario can leave you will a less than firm plan for far more likely scenarios. Agree or disagree lets ignore this saying for the rest of the discussion.

To the first question of why we spend disproportionate energy and resources on unlikely black swan events. A list seems most appropriate:

-Doomer Porn. Yes I think people enjoy reading (hell I am guilty and part of the problem myself as a blogger) about fantasy situations. We day dream during boring or unactive times, it is just people. Everyone day dreams about the cute guy/ girl who we see repeatedly in our everyday lives. This is a non sexual version of the same thing. In the same way that sexual fantasies ignore stuff like the other person not being interested in us or doing whatever the fantasy involves doomer fantasies skip the associated realistic limitations.It is an escape from reality and form of entertainment.

-Marketing. There are people who make a living selling stuff that you will only really need in very unlikely situations. Ten year food supplies, fifty caliber rifles and radiation detector sets for normal ish folks and intentionally built BUG OUT VEHICLES or survivalist bunker retreats for the really well healed. People selling things will inevitably try to convince you that you need their things. These people advertise in magazines and with websites such as mine.

-Justification of purchases. People will conveniently find a way to convince their selves they need stuff they want ‘to be prepared’. One guy who I would describe as a fairly average suburban survivalist type had three, not one, not two but three motorcycles for SHTF.

-Justification of lifestyle. The homesteading movement and survivalism come together in complicated ways (which I might write about later) but people sometimes use very unlikely situations to explain why and where they choose to live. I am not saying there are not benefits to homesteading or rural living. There are many benefits. I would however submit that in reality people should move to a rural area or start homesteading because they want to do those things, not because they feel they should just in case of a very unlikely event.

-Confirmation Bias. All of your like minded friends worrying about the same thing for the same iffy reasons makes you think everyone independently came to the same conclusions and as such many sources proved the same thing.

-Elitism/ bragging. A rapper might have a gold chain that costs a hundred thousand dollars. A preparedness oriented person who wants to show off their wealth might build a fancy bunker. 

Reasons for fail to seriously prepare for more likely events:

-They are scary. John noted this in his post. The idea of dealing with violent crime in the real world today in say the parking lot of a grocery store with your family is very different than some fantasy of shooting people with your Super Blastomatic 9000 like some first person video game. Defending the bridge with your buddies against the unprepared masses is different than 3 Jihadi's with AK's at the mall.

-Reality still exists. Some degree of our economic system will still exist. You will still have bills. If you are fortunate enough to have a job you will still be going to work. Your favorite brand of political philosophy is not going to be immediately adopted. Government is still going to exist in some form or another.

-Effort vs stuff. Often, especially when we talk about self defense the answers involve work. They involve training and regular practice with your CCW set up. They involve physical fitness and combatives training. Lifting weights takes effort. Getting off your butt and practicing in legitimately useful combatives takes effort and costs money. All of these efforts can be seriously humbling. More guns in your safe for SHTF time won't make you safer. Working on your own capabilities with your body and the gun you carry will make you safer.

-Not sexy. Often the right answers of realistic preparedness can be less fun. Your need for a savings account (maybe in silver and gold if that is your thing) is significant but it is not fun. It isn't a safe full of rifles or an excuse to buy more tactical gear or anything like that.

There are probably some more ideas but I think this covers the general themes. I hope it gives you something to think about that can help improve your own preparedness efforts. This is more philosophical than useful which is my general desire here. I may follow up with some more concrete suggestions that fit into this theme.


Thoughts?

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Stash Guns- Man Vs Zone

Paw Paw and Tamara talked about this awhile back. I have been meaning to address it for some time.

While I don't disagree with them I look at the issue a bit differently. Given the people I am disagreeing with one might go as far as to say I am wrong. I don't really care.

When it comes to guns in the home we have two fundamental options. To steal basketball language they are Man and Zone.

Man would be the gun is on you. This works great if you legitimately do it all the time. Also if you have a small number of handguns (like 1) or little kids in the house this is really the only way to go. It also will give the bestest/ fastest deployment times. The rub is many if not most people will not do it consistently. Either they get home and take off their clothes to put on comfy stuff or they want to get that heavy gun off their hip.

One interesting option here is to have a small, LIGHT, little piece to carry around home. The Ruger LCP and all manner of light weight J frame .38's come to mind here. This is nice because it is also a good low profile carry piece as well as a 'run to the corner store for a quart of milk' gun. My LCP fits this role.

Tangent. While there are certainly other valid options the LCP has a lot going for it. Prices have come down so they are commonly in the $250 range at local gun shops and 220ish online. At that price it is easy to justify owning one. I am planning to get a spare myself. End tangent.

Recognizing this natural laziness the zone plan is an option. Say a gun in the living room, one conveniently stashed by the front door, whatever. In a normal average house smartly stashing 3-4 pistols means you are always pretty near one.

A real belt and suspenders approach would be to do both. That way you have one on you all the time but for the occasional walking to the bedroom in a towel moments there is coverage.

Whatever plan you choose just have it in place. Be prepared to defend yourself with lethal force at a moments notice in your home at all times.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Vehicle Gear #1 A Conceptual Discussion

Our recent post Urban E&E/ Get Home Kit got me thinking about this. It also works conveniently because that is the current push in my personal preparations. My initial goal was to beef up the first aid kit there but I decided it was as good a reason as any to re look all the stuff in my vehicle.

I say 'all the stuff' instead of implying it is a cohesive system because there are multiple somewhat independent systems in play instead of one large system. This is complicating for at least three reasons. First because we have to figure out what all we want this stuff to do. Second instead of being sub systems we really end up with different systems that live in the same place instead of say sub systems in a larger cohesive system. Third we have to be cognizant of unintended redundancy/ duplication between the largely independent systems that live in the same place.

In a most basic sense the stuff in our vehicles can be broken down by vehicle stuff or people stuff.

Vehicle stuff would be spare fluids, tire and jack, tools for basic repairs, etc. Depending on your automotive skill set, vehicle reliability and access to repair assistance this could be a little or a lot. If you have some skills and drive a less than reliable vehicle on empty roads a lot a very comprehensive kit would make sense. On the other end of the spectrum a not so handy person with a new ish car might just have jumper cables, a spare tire/ jack, a couple road flares, some fluids and a few basic tools.

People stuff is a bit more nebulous. Personally mine is roughly broken down to the following:
Overnight bag-  A change of clothes, sleeping gear, shoes, toothbrush, etc. Alternate title is 'ho bag'.
First aid- A mix of emergency first aid trauma stuff with everyday type things like band aids, pepto, aspirin etc.
Get Home Bag- Kind of a bug out bag that lives in my car.


Misc- There is some stuff in there that defies ready categorization. For instance a ziplock bag with a spare Glock mag, 50 rounds of 9mm, probably some .22lr an maybe even a .38 speed loader.  Also a set of bolt cutters and a big ole crow bar. I could arguably say it is part of one of the 4 general systems I laid out but I don't really care to.

There are other plausible systems a person could have. They might have a long gun with ancillary stuff or a robust wilderness survival set up. Folks who are often in wild places in cold winters need a sleeping bag, heavy coat, gloves, hat, boots, etc. Nothing else comes directly to mind but other options could certainly exist.

Now we have to talk about constraints. What are the constraints to stuff we keep in vehicles.
-Space. Obviously less of an issue if you drive a full sized truck with a canopy or a Suburban but more problematic in say a little sports car. In any case space is still finite and using it for emergency and preparedness stuff competes with your normal everyday use.
-Cost. If you need to purchase stuff for these systems it obviously costs money. If you pull stuff from elsewhere it is a loss there. Anyway stuff costs money.
-Risk of loss. Vehicles get broken into regularly. An awesome bug out bag with all the coolest gadgets like night vision, FLIR, sat phone, cash and weapons could easily cost several thousand dollars. For all but the richest the loss of that would be very hurtful. 

My intent is to look at all of these systems. First alone and then together. I intend to do posts on each of them.

Your input is welcome now and later if/ when I do future posts on the topic.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Urban E&E/ Get Home Kit

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Cash As A Survivalist Tool

I don't think we put enough emphasis on cash.

I carry a knife and a lighter and a gun pretty much all the time. I use the knife and lighter for everyday tasks but the gun just kinda sits around. Odds I need a couple hundred bucks cash all of a sudden are probably higher than needing the gun.

If we look at realistic emergencies that are likely to befall us most of them will go a whole lot better with cash. Are we more likely to need a few hundred bucks during a regional disaster or a dozen buckets of wheat? Sorry folks but it is the cash.

Of course everything needs to be in proportion to your life. For an average guy a couple hundred bucks in his wallet, a few hundred in his BOB/ GHB and several hundred or more (say a months cash expenses) in the safe at home is realistic and covers a lot of bases.

Those numbers were for an average type income. For a lower income person cut those amounts in half. For a person with higher income and expenses add more money accordingly.

In most realistic situations cash is the way you will buy the goods and services you need.

Someone is inevitably going to say "cash will be worthless in a hyperinflation scenario so I use precious metals/ beads/ etc all". This person is ignorant. First because you aren't going to be able to readily trade those things in MOST REALISTIC SCENARIOS. Second of all cash is essential in the beginning of that type of situation, read some FERFAL. You just spend it. Third we are talking about a relatively small amount of money. Say add it all up and maybe a months income. If you wanted to keep however much gold and silver put back with the cash I would say that is fine.

Got cash?

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Movie Night: Range 15 For The Win

Check out a review here. Definitely adult language and sexual content. If you are ok with that it is a hilarious movie that in many ways catches the modern veteran and shooting/ gun enthusiast groups.

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.

Thoughts?

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 side.....systems.

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.

Thoughts?

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Election Prep- Just In Case

I talked about this awhile back. The election is closer and Hillary Clinton is in it. We all know her ability to blatantly cheat and get away with it so she could very well win the presidency. Also she is running against a giant offensive ass hat. So I wanted to prepare. For the next 2 or so months I am going to put my investment money into precious metals, specifically steel and lead.

I built the rifle and bought some AR/ G19 mags. Also ordered 2 cases of 5.56. Next month I will buy some other ammo probably 7.62x39 and the FAL mags. The month after that if its available I will buy 7.62x51. Ammo availability at current prices may not happen again so it could be a major savior for me and mine. Absolute worst case (best case overall but worst for this choice) nothing happens and I'll still have the ammo.

It isn't too late but the time is getting short. You may want to look at your own stuff as well as your finances and fill in some holes.
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