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Sad news in hunting?: 2 things to consider about Pedals being killed by a NJ Hunter

Photo By: The New York Post

Photo By: The New York Post

It is with a heavy heart and sad visage that I must report to you the demise of the nations most beloved black bear, Pedals. Pedals was a stalwart and comely bear who had learned to walk around on two feet like a human after having probably been injured by a car collision. He lived in New Jersey.

Pedals has been the ire of many an over-enthusiastic would be Sasquatch hunter and has also sent lots of people fleeing into the underbrush screaming at the top of their lungs, while he simply ambled about looking hither and yon for any scraps which would be of interest to a bi-pedal bear. His demeanor was always one of mild disinterest and he somehow created an air of Narnian proportions as he strode about like an absent minded professor who had somehow mis-placed his car keys.

It is reported that a bow and arrow shooting bartender from Somerset County is the one who dispatched young Pedals to wherever it is that bi-pedal bears go when they get their birthdays turned off.  And the New York post further reports that this individual has been targeted with scads of offensive hate-mail, threats, and petitions for his revocation of hunting rights… he did, after all, kill a beloved New jersey icon.

I would like to point out however, two things that should be considered before passing judgement on the poor guy from New jersey.

  1. Pedals was a bear. And as such he was available for harvest in accordance with state law and game regulations. This means that even if the act of killing him was distasteful to some, he was open game during the hunting season. There had been a act afoot to have him removed from the public domain prior to his being harvested and the state of New Jersey had declined to remove him to a private sanctuary.
  2. He was wounded. This means several things. First of all, he wasn’t a Chronicles of Narnia character like Mr. Tumnus, he was a bear who was struggling to make a living because he was hurt. This is why he was often seen close to and in towns… he couldn’t compete in the wild. He was also dangerous. Since he was hurt, he was going to have to get food any way could and it is rumored that pets would disappear in any area he was seen at. This means that anything that was small and weak was at risk to become Pedals’ next meal… these are not conditions that make it favorable to enjoy a military surplus tent adventure anywhere near where Pedals was prowling around, especially if kids were involved.
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Spring Bear Hunts; 5 of the best spots for bear

Photo By: MPatterson

 Photo By: MPatterson

I have told you before about my favorite bear hunt plan that was going to be a combination military surplus tent adventure and hunting trip. In this endeavor, myself and The Wildman had planned on taking a black bear with a couple of spears in the Great Smoky Mountains, since we both fancied ourselves to be great hunters and survivalists. That was, until we actually arrived and found out two very key factors: 1. The black bears at the Great Smoky Mountains are protected, and 2. They are just little bitty  things that are nearly as tame as dogs. After having fed several of them bologna and cheese sandwiches, and hearing one of them literally cry like a baby when The Wildman cuffed it on the nose for getting a bit “nippy”, we both elected to amuse ourselves with taking pictures and we left the hand forged spears in the truck.

However, the North American Grizzly bear is another critter entirely, and if you are actually in the mood for a spring bear hunt, let me give you five recommendations, (according to LiveOutdoors), for an excellent bear hunt this year, where you will be more than happy in pitching your military surplus Army tent and making a week out of hunting this big, magnificent creature.

  1. Russia. In Kamchatka they offer more to enjoy than a milky butter rum drink, there are bear aplenty. Just a few miles away from Alaska, this territory is densely populated and very affordable in terms of actual cost. A guided hunt here starts at around $8,000.00 American and goes up from there.
  2. Romania. In the Carpathian Mountains is the place where 70 percent of the bear population can be found. These mountains stretch all of the way into the Ukraine, and this would be the site for a true and exotic adventure… there are many skeletons weathering on the crests and bluffs of these rocky mountains and not of them are quadrupeds.
  3. Canada. In Canada we have ample bear hunting in British Columbia, which will run you about $3,500.00 American dollars for a black bear and it just climbs from there for griz… however, there are ample griz and if you’re willing to pay you can harvest one for the hunt of a lifetime.
  4. Canada. Manitoba is another Canadian spot which just re-opened it’s bear season last year. Jump on the new season for a mere $2,650 dollars for a week in the wilds.
  5. Croatia. Gorski Kotar is a mountainous region in Croatia which is reportedly famous for it’s bears. Trophy hunting is the most expensive but is also most likely to be the most rewarding starting at $6,000.00 American.
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Think you could be a hunter – gatherer? Think again

Photo By: Wikipedia.com

                   Photo By: Wikipedia.com

Consider if you will, the Hadza people of Tanzania. They are a true hunter-gatherer society who’s men leave their grass huts at the crack of dawn, poison tipped arrows in hand, and venture out into the wilds of Africa in search of their next meal. This meal could be anything from a small frog or bird, to a full or half grown giraffe. The women also venture forth to perform the other aspect of their existence, the gathering. They go in search of berries, roots, vines and tubers which add supplement to their otherwise protein rich diets.

This is everyday life for this indigenous people, and it is the same lifestyle that your ancestors lived so many thousands of years ago. It is the same life that we practice, train, and prepare for as survivalists; however, a close look at these people reveals to us, if we are completely honest, a strong deficiency in our commitment to make a living like they do.

In all fairness it must be said that the ability to eek out a living on the plains of Africa is not going to be the same as trying to live in the wheat belt of America or in the mountains and fruited plains. However, it becomes apparent that society and evolution have not necessarily been good to us as far as keeping our survival skills keen goes.

A recent study from Yale researchers has shown that these people exercise vigorously nearly two and a half times as much as the modern athletic American or European.  As a result the studies further show that these people are extremely low risk for ailments such as heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, high cholesterol, and diabetes. They furthermore don’t seem to slow down as much or are effected as much by age as are their Caucasian counterparts.  Nor do they suffer from dementia.

Do you want to be a real survivalist? Take heed of these people then and see what it will really take in a post-apocalyptic society to stay ahead of the game… no pun intended.

 

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Fishing tournaments; 4 New IGFA rules apply

Photo By: IGFA.com

                             Photo By: IGFA.com

If you are going to pick a fishing tournament as a form of recreation this year, here are some changes being made to the rules by the International Game Fish Association that you might need to know about. Effective April 1, 2017, these rules come into effect and will be governing all tournaments which are being officiated by the IGFA. What this means for you is that if you choose to attend a sanctioned event as a military surplus tent adventure, or s a family camping trip, then you need to abide by the new rules or face disqualification from the tournament.  Here are the four new tournament rules.

 

 

  1. Backing. (Current rule), “If the fishing line is attached to backing, that catch shall be classified under the heavier of the lines”.  The new rule adds that backing can be used, but the catch shall be categorized by the first 5 meters of the line preceding the double line, leader, or hook.
  2. Assisting. (Current rule),  ” The act of a person other than the angler touching the rod, reel, or line either with the body or a device is grounds for disqualification.” The new rule clearly states that touching the angler in a manner which assists him or her is a disqualifying act.
  3. Game Fish Species. (Current rule), “… only certain game fish species are eligible in the additional line-class categories…” The new rule removes class-record consideration from the following saltwater species: Pacific barracuda, black seabass, Japanese parrotperch, spotted parrottperch, Florida pompano, doublespotted queenfish, black-blue rockfish, Atlsntic spadefish, oxeye tarpon. Freshwater: rock bass, shoal bass, white bass, yellow bass, bluegill, black bullhead, brown bullhead, yellow bullhead, burbot, white catfish, black crappie, white crappie, freshwater drum, Florida gar, shortnose gar, spotted gar, oscar, European perch, white perch, yellow perch, chain pickerel, red piranha, shorthead redhorse, silver redhorse, sauger, American shad, hickory shad, splake, green sunfish, redbreast sunfish, redear sunfish, tench, warmouth, lake whitefish, mountain whitefish, round whitefish
  4. World-record weight requirements. (Current rule), “…to submit a line class or tippet class (fly rod) world record, the only weight requirement is that the fish must weigh at least .45 kg (1 lb). As a result, the IGFA has accumulated a significant amount of records where the weight of the fish is much lighter than the size of the tackle used to land the fish.  The new rule for line class categories up to and including 10 kg (20 lb) and all tippet class (fly rod) categories are: The weight of the catch must weigh at least ½ as much as the line class it is eligible for. For example, a fish entered for the 6 kg (12 lb) line class or tippet class category must weigh a minimum of 3 kg. For line class categories greater than 10 kg (20 lb): The weight of the catch must be equal to, or greater than the line class it is eligible for. For example, a fish entered in the 24 kg (50 lb) line class category must weigh a minimum of 24 kg.
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Spring flings… 3 great ideas for spring military surplus tent adventures

spring

As the cold grasp of winter melts away and the sun begins to shine more regularly, it is again time to fish that old military surplus tent and equipment out of the garage, crawlspace, attic, or basement, and get her ready for some serious adventure and family fun.  March and April are just a stone’s throw away, and though we could still technically see some winter weather between now and the real sunshine, any inclement weather at this point will be like the dying twitches of an aged old bear, who, having spent himself in the agonies of winter, has just had his heart pierced by the razors edge of a young warrior’s bow.

So, the good news is that the joys of warm weather and summertime are nearly upon us. And here are three great ideas for springtime military surplus tent adventures for you and your fam…

  1. Let’s go fishing! Spring bass and crappie are going to be in abundance, and there are even going to be lots of fishing tournaments that you and the kids can go on together. Some tips for tournaments? Get local intelligence from the old guy who hang out on the docks every day. Develop a bait plan from that intelligence, and know the rules of the tournament.
  2. Attend fairs and festivals. There are lots of ideas out there for spring and summer fairs and festivals and we will be talking about each and every one as the time comes close to attend.  There is nothing more fun than taking a week or long weekend off and enjoying the atmosphere of celebration that corresponds with enjoying the music, food, and beverages of a summertime festival.
  3. Go ghost hunting. This might seem a little weird, and it might not be suitable for the little ones, but ghost hunting has become a fun and fairly lo-risk endeavor… depending on where you go.
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Found dead in their homes… The importance of always being ready

Photo By: WCPO.com

                          Photo By: WCPO.com

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Three people in their early 20s were found dead of gunshots wounds in a home in Florida after they were attacked during a Super Bowl party, police say… ¹

A 39-year-old woman and a juvenile girl were found dead Monday morning at a home in Highlands Ranch. ²

Eight members of a single family were executed in their homes in a matter of hours… ³

 

One thing is certain my friends, and that is the fact that this is still a dangerous world, and it is seemingly getting more and more dangerous and volatile as time goes by.  You are not safe in your homes anymore, if you ever were, because criminals do not hold anything sacred these days. Everyday, if you look, you can find a story about a home invasion that has left one or more, (sometimes all), of the members of a single family dead in their own domicile.

As I sit here in my sun room writing this, overlooking the pool and sipping a hot cup of java, I have in my waistband a Glock model 17, fully loaded and charged, in a DeSantis inside the pants holster. (There is an extra magazine in the pouch attached to the holster). Near me, leaning against a table, is a Remington™ 870 fully loaded and ready to roll with 00 buckshot. I am home on a day off and am catching up on my writing; however, even when I am home I am always armed and am always prepared to commit to violence if need be.

Many would think that I am paranoid… perhaps they are correct, however, I think the people mentioned in the above excerpts from recent newspapers would disagree. I think if they could do it over again, they too would have  been armed and ready. If you think about it objectively, you can probably relate to the fact that we as Americans have had it too easy for too long, in direct contrast to those in our ancestry who always had to worry about someone forcing their way into their cabin, teepee,  or house in an attempt to take their lives or possessions.

 

 

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4 uses for a rustic campfire oven

Photo By: Instructables.com

               Photo By: Instructables.com

I recently read an article on Freedom Prepper™ regarding the making of “bushcraft pizza” by a survivalist named Survival Lilly, who is reported to be incredible, talented, and very beautiful.  The article can be seen in it’s entirety here, and the gist of this writing isn’t an accolade to the claim that Survival Lilly’s pizza is in fact “delicious looking”, (there’s something about a wood ash dusting on melted cheese that puts me in the ditch theoretically), however, her cooking technique is awesome, specifically her quaint method of creating a minuscule Dutch Oven from nothing more than what she finds laying around the wilderness.

This brings me to the topic of today’s conversation, the many uses of a Dutch Oven when out in the bush. We previously discussed a commercial style solar powered oven that you can take with you while camping; however, I want to expand that notion to the realm of extremes survival situations, or at the least, military surplus tent adventures.  So, here are four uses for a Dutch Oven in the bush. (Perhaps next I will delve into the many ways of making a dutch oven, but the theory is pretty sound and simple. It is, in effect, an oven within an oven… you’re smart, you can figure out how to get that). Here are four uses for a survival Dutch Oven:

  1. To make survival pizza. I have to admit that I’m not a big fan of this notion, especially while I’m sitting at McDonald’s using their internet connection and sipping hot coffee out of a paper cup; however, if I were in the bush for a few days, that dust encrusted bit of flatbread might appear Heavensent. You be the judge…
  2. To make acorn cakes. I have given this recipe before and acorns are plentiful all over the nation. I will only say, however, you better learn how to remove the tannins from your flour or you are in for a bitter surprise.
  3. To cook a meal unattended. There is nothing more rewarding to me than consuming the flesh of one of God’s creatures that I battered the life out of myself, skinned, and placed on a spit over a hot bank of coals, however, I do find it tedious having to spit cook the thing and spend so much time preparing my victuals. It is much better to set up the food, and be able to busy myself doing other things while the oven cooks it.
  4. Making survival bread. This oven will bake any type of bread that you choose to put together and will often keep it from getting too dry providing that you keep an eye on it.
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Survival 101: 3 ways The Art of Kleptoparasitism can serve you

kleptop

 

The art of kleptoparasitism, though not very chivalrous, can be quite profitable in a survival situation. The act is so prolific globally that there are actually  tribes of indigenous Africans who still practice the stealing of another’s meat to this day. Even some who will fight lions off a kill.

Though I’m not a proponent of trying to steal a fresh kill from a grizzly bear or a pack of wolves, there are several cases where I can see the advantages to taking another’s food in a survival situation, and can think of at least two incidents where I would do it unequivocally; and one other where I would do it grudgingly, depending on the situation. Here are the three times I think that stealing is ok.

klepto

 

  1. When you are robbing the hoard of a gatherer. In this instance I’m thinking specifically of squirrels and their nut caches. Though in reality I would want the squirrel and his nuts, I would just take the nuts if that is all I had. A good way to find caches is to wait for a light snowfall and follow the ambling tracks as the little varmint scampers about checking on his stashes.
  2. When you are robbing a bird of prey. This takes more luck than skill, as most birds of prey are hunting at night. However, if you are in a survival situation and you see a hawk, eagle, or owl make a kill on the ground, prepare to beat it away from that fresh meat; however, take care that you prepare for a fight, these things are pretty badass.
  3. Other humans if the situation applies. From a moral standpoint, this would require either dire consequences or an act of war whereas I was looting the reserves of an enemy. I could live with myself in either situation, providing I wasn’t taking their resources strictly from laziness, or if others more needy than they were depending on me.
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Rddusa product review: The Solavore Solar Oven

Photo By: http://solarovenshopblog.com/

Photo By: solarovenshopblog.com

SOLAVORE SOLAR OVEN

As an extension of recent prior posts about wilderness cooking, and in celebration of the upcoming SPRING weather and the camping/survival trips that accompany it, I want to introduce you to a wonderful new gadget that is sure to add hours of hiking/fishing/camping time to your outdoor excursion, strictly for no other reason than the fact that it will limit significantly the time that meal preparation normally takes. It is: The Solavore Solar Oven. This device simply focuses and retains the sun’s energy in the form of heat to bake a meal without electricity or gas.

The Solavore weighs in at around nine pounds and it only costs around $229, (MSRP). With it you get a plastic oven, 2 three pound cooking pots, and a temperature gauge. (For $40 more you can also get a reflector, there is also a shoulder strap, carrying bag, and pot holders available as other options).

The tech team at GearJunkie® recently did a review of this oven where they used it sans instructions as most of us would. They found that the oven quickly heated up to 300 degrees in moderate sunlight, and sufficiently cooked a pot of pulled pork, (from chops), and a pot of tubers after letting them set in the sun most all day. Their review indicated that they didn’t produce anything that Gordon Ramsey might consider brag worthy, but they did maintain a steady 250 degree temperature the whole time. One important thing of note, they did report that as the food cooked it emitted an attractive aroma, one which wouldl ikely draw animals to your campsite… because of this, you might consider erecting the device in an open area away from camp, and maybe even putting it up high and out of reach somehow. This would protect your campsite and your meal, and give better exposure to the suns rays as the earth rotates.

You can read the original GearJunkie® article here: http://solarovenshopblog.com/

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Survival gardening: steps to take beyond concealment

seed

In past articles we have dealt with techniques for growing concealed gardens that will blend in to the fauna which is present in any given territory that you find yourself in. In a recent article I read on “Freedomprepper.com”, I found some further information that you might find useful in determining the type of garden plot you wish to grow in a survival situation or if you were to ever find yourself in a post-apocalyptic survival environment.
The use of heirloom seeds is one aspect of gardening that I had never truly considered, always thinking that heirloom seeds were merely fertile and not taking into account that they are actually selected for a multitude of more functional reasons than that.

 

“Heirloom varieties are seeds that were passed down because they were particularly good at what they do, whether growing in a particular area, producing an abundance, being cold tolerant, bug tolerant, drought tolerant, or some other good quality. Gardeners saved these seeds because they were reliable and good tasting. Heirloom seeds will give you the same type of plant as the parent plant. In some cases, particularly squash, in order to avoid open cross pollination, you should grow the plants in separate areas.”–Michelle Carol, Freedomprepper.com

The above article excerpt was taken from a renowned ShadowfoxHQ herbalist who notes that while some people are natural gardeners, there are aspects of gardening that anyone can use to their advantage, especially in a survival situation. She further states that gardeners who are not experts should take the time to at least read the bag that their seeds come in to determine whether the seed characteristics are enhancing or detrimental to the environment where they are to be planted. Tomatoes for instance, are the examples she gives, citing the fact that tomatoes are Indeterminate, that is “vine ” tomatoes, or they are Determinate, “bush” tomatoes.

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Free survival training: 3 ways to get better prepared for free

Photo By: theactivetimes.com

Photo By: theactivetimes.com

FREE SURVIVAL TRAINING

If you want to find some ways to become a world class survivalist, but you don’t really want to spend a bunch of money doing it, there are several ways that you can do so.  Not everyone has the inclination or the wherewithal to invest several hundred or thousands of dollars to go to Tracker School or some of the other fine survival institutes available today.  The good news is that in todays times you don’t really need to. There are plenty of survival resources out there for free. Here are three excellent resources for survival training, all of which are absolutely free of charge.

 

 

  1. The public library.  When I first wanted to learn wilderness survival, back in the 1980’s,  I occupied my time in two ways. Either I was reading books from the Wilderness Survival Series by Tom Brown Jr., or I was practicing the skills relayed therein out in the Ohio woods of the family farm.  The best place to get these books was, of course, at the public library because I didn’t have to pay for them. Some great titles to get are: The Wilderness Survival Series by Tom Brown Jr. The Foxfire Series released by Eliot Wigginton and his students from the 1970’s, Any of the Peterson Field guides by Lee Allen Peterson.
  2. Youtube. This is probably the best survival tool available in today’s technology, because the practice of “monkey see monkey do” can be implemented much easier in video than can be relayed in a book. If you have a smart phone, you can get hands on instruction during the actual practice of whatever survival skill you’re trying to learn.
  3. State and public parks. I just read that the Tyler, Texas Department of Parks and Recreation has recently offered free survival classes to it’s residents and clientele as part of their wilderness and ecological outreach. This is a great opportunity and one which I wish would have been open to me in my youth.
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Survival 101: three ways to boil water in the wilderness

water

BOILING WATER IN THE WOODS

So, in our last post we discussed why it can be important to boil water in a survival situation, but we did not delve into the methodology of boiling said water, so, in this insert we will discuss three very easy yet effective methods of boiling water in a wilderness situation. Now notice, I said wilderness situation and not necessarily survival situation. The fact is that the only way I’ve ever been able to get water to boil in a survival situation, (one where I didn’t even have so much as a tin cup to boil with), is the hot rock method. So here are three methods that you can use to boil water in the wilderness.

  1. Fresnel Lense. I’ll mention this first because it is the least practical; however it is probably the most fun, rewarding, and the greenest. The Fresnel Lens harnesses the power of the earth’s sun to boil your water or to otherwise cook your food. This would be a great apparatus to have for a military surplus tent adventure, family camping trip, or any other planned outing. It is kind of big however, so in order to get one together that will be effective you will need to have room in your camper, truck or Subaru.
  2. Fire and iron. Or aluminum, or steel, or ceramic, copper, tin, brass or anything else that can withstand the heat of a fire or cookstove. Most non-ferrous metals other than lead, zinc, etc… The trick here, regardless of the heat source, is to get the water hot enough to boil by getting the vessel hot. This is how we boil water all over the world, the most common method.
  3. Hot rocks. This is the easiest method when in a survival situation because you can use a wood container, clay, mud or even a thick leaf container, or bark, to hold the water while it is being heated to boiling by placing egg sized hot rocks in it. The rocks should not be sedimentary, rather you should use igneous or metamorphic rocks.
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Boiling Water; 3 Reasons to Know How to do it in the Bush

Photo By: Alderleaf Wilderness College

        Photo By: Alderleaf Wilderness College

I can remember going through old Tracker’s wilderness survival school back in the eighties and having him lecture me and the others quite soundly on the need to be able to boil water in the bush. Now at the time I fancied myself to be a survivalist of dynamic proportions and a hard hitting, white knuckled purveyor of the finest degree of manhood one could ever expect to encounter,  either here or there for that matter.  And I thought that it was much more likely that I would sip the filthy pooling from the bottom of a coyote track than to ever have to boil water for any reason… needless to say I hadn’t spent much time in the bush up to that point. I have to say that I have matured in my old age,  and considerable excursions into the wilderness has definitely changed my opinion of myself in many ways. One of the things I have changed my mind about is the need to boil water. The truth of the matter is that there are several reasons to know how to boil water in the wilderness, here are three:

  1. To purify it for drinking. I know this is pretty parochial, but the basics are sometimes best reviewed before advanced knowledge is explored. Water should be boiled well for about twenty minutes to ensure that all of the bacteria ave been properly killed and it is safe for drinking then.
  2. To make stews, soups, etc. It never occurred to me until I lived it how much easier it is to gather food items in small quantities and then consume them in the form of stew than it is to say, spit them and eat them from the bone. So much nutritional value is wasted when we don’t boil them up into a soup that it is disgraceful.
  3. To make hot drinks. I love to make myself a hot dup of chicory coffee or pine needle tea when I am out in the bush on a military surplus tent adventure or a family camping trip. In the next installment we will discuss ways to boil water without the use of a tin cup or bowl.
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Survival weaponry; 4 Reasons to Use a Shepherd’s Sling for Survival

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One of my favorite stories from the Bible is that of David and Goliath. It’s not so much that it is a story of great heritage and tradition, it is that of course, rather it is the concept of a man using what he had to get what he wants. It is, in fact, one of the ultimate stories of survival. And it warrants discussion, I think, because the weapon of choice for David was one of the most basic of all survival weapons, a simple stone sling.

Now, a stone sling is not the most simple survival tool, that honor goes to the throwing stick, a solid bow of wood about the circumference and shape of your bent arm which you can hurl at enemies or prey with fairly amazing accuracy. But a sling is a very close second. A sling involves nothing more than two pieces of cordage, (rawhide or shoelaces will work), that holds a pouch for a stone in between them. (I have use the insides of pants pockets and shoe tongues before). The premise is to use centrifugal force to generate velocity and to direct the generated velocity at your target in an accurate manner, or, in layman’s terms: to get a good spin on it and give it a fling! These things are highly accurate and are used the world over to bring down some pretty hellacious foes. In survival, you will use what you have on hand.  In any event, I have compiled four good reasons that a stone sling is a good choice for survival… enjoy!

  1. It is easily made. Whether you find yourself in a survival situation, are with your family on a camping trip or a military surplus tent adventure, or are embroiled in the most desperate of apocalyptic measures, you can always find what you need to make a sling. Even the half rotten carcass of a deer can yield enough rawhide to fashion one as will the inner bark of a willow tree.
  2. The ammunition is cheap. It shoots rocks, arguably the most common resource on the planet.
  3. It is quiet. Except for the spin of the sling through the air, and the whack of the stone on target, this thing is whisper quiet, unlike a bow that produces a “thwack” when the arrow is released, or even an atl atl which makes a bit of a snip when thrown.
  4. It is ultra portable. This thing folds right up into a pocket or will hang around your neck quite nicely. Also works in a pinch for other uses.
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Urban tactics 101: The 3 Lessons of the Trailing Gunman

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As part of this series of urban tactics for the survival minded, I’d like to bring up a great proponent of survival and combat thinking: No matter how much you train, prepare, and develop strategies, you should never lose sight of the fact that your opponents are just as likely to train and prepare for their nefarious activities as well.

This brings us to this writing’s lesson, that of the tactics adopted by the bad guys. As our counterparts in Mumbai, Paris, Mali, Savoy, and other places have unfortunately discovered, not every mass killer is an inadequate and unsophisticated personality who is a lone wolf style gunman that will kill himself when confronted by an opposing force. Some of these guys are the sick and twisted equivalent of SEAL Team Six and have had vast amounts of training to prepare for the attack that  they are generating. Therefore, we must never underestimate them my brothers, and one of the ways we can keep from doing so is to be aware of the tactics that they might use. In this instance, the trailing gunman. So here are three lessons we should learn from the tactic of the trailing gunman.

  1. Always check your six. Always, always, always check your six. Defend your back. That is your most vulnerable spot and you should monitor it constantly. Tunnel vision will get you killed.
  2. Distance is your friend. Once I heard Old Master Chief of Seal Team Five, Hershel Davis, comment on his preferred weaponry in any given situation and wasn’t surprised to hear that his favorite long gun for combat was either the M-14, or the M-1 Garand.  I know why too. It’s because you can really reach and touch a MF’er with both the .308 and the .30/06 round. You can touch them from as far away as you can see them and it is better to settle the thing from a distance than to engage in CQB… it just is.
  3. Strike quickly. Forget the bullshit of offering an active killer the opportunity to surrender. That will only get you killed, even the cops don’t do that anymore, their only goal is to stop the threat. Take your shot as soon as you get it, and scan the area for further threats… from cover!
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Urban warfare tactics 101: three reasons we don’t draw on a pulled gun

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It’s been on my mind lately to cover some specwar tactics regarding urban warfare. The good news is that there is an excellent resource out there for good, common sense strategies regarding urban tactics and if you care to subscribe to these guys on youtube, you can see dozens of cases involving survival gunplay and self defense tactics. The name of the channel is “ACTIVE SELF PROTECTION” or “ASP” which carries a dual meaning.

So, the first thing I want to cover is the topic of the linked video, and that is the fact that we should never draw on a drawn gun… unless, that is, there is sufficient opportunity to do so.  I’m going to warn you right off the bat, the first part of the video is a bit hard to watch as it shows an altercation between an obviously fit and capable police officer who loses a gunfight for two reasons in my opinion. First, he tried to draw on a drawn gun, and second he hadn’t performed nearly enough muscle memory drills with his equipment to be proficient with it. Drawing a duty weapon is not a two handed, several second endeavor. I personally break leather at least several dozen times per TOD just to be ready to perform in an altercation with no aforethought or struggle.

In any event, the scope of this writing is to stress the importance of not drawing against a drawn weapon and here are three reasons it’s a bad idea to be committed to such an act.

  1. Action is faster than reaction. I often stress to my counterparts and cohorts the fact that in order to be successful in a gunfight we need to shoot the other guy before he shoots us, or at the very least shoot him better than he shoots us. The problem is that the bad guy, bushwacker, ambusher, or cretin who slinks in the shadows knows that we are in a gunfight way before we do.
  2. It causes you to rely too much on a firearm. I have said this many times in the past decade and I say it again: the main reason the police have lost so much credibility with the public is that they are more prone to shoot you these days than they are to go hands on with you. I blame this on a lack of defensive tactics training and too much confidence in “gadgets”… among other things.
  3. Firearms are most effective when used from a position of cover. Fight or Flight is an ingrained survival instinct for a reason. The best thing to do before you engage a gunman is to find a position of cover to engage him from. Matt Dillon facing down Black Bart in Gunsmoke was a Hollywood fantasy… even at that Matt got shot a lot.
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Survival canning; 4 things you didn’t even know you could can

Canned "King White Salmon" rom the annual NY trip

Canned “King White Salmon” from the annual NY trip

Recently I was working a long shift with my good friend Tom L. when I suddenly detected the odor of sweaty socks and fishy garbage wafting through the office at about chest level. Since I was sitting down I got the maximum effect out of this phenomena and immediately jumped to the most likely conclusion.

“Tom!” I yelled, “What the hell are you eating?”

He appeared quickly from around the corner, eyes gleaming with devilish lust, a small canning jar hanging limply from one hand. In his other hand he brandished the fork side of the hobo knife I had given him for Christmas, the year before. He gestured towards me with the jar and the knife at the same time.

“It’s fish sarge, canned salmon from last year’s run in New York. Me and Jerry got twenty-seven pounds of this stuff apiece. I been canning it.”

It smelled like hell, but I had to admit that he had my interest. I am a sucker for canned things. I love sardines, clams, oysters… all of it. Even canned crab meat. So it was with very little trepidation that I took a bit of old Tom’s canned salmon and ate it… It was like a party in my mouth!

I decided then and there to accompany Tom and Jerry, (yes, I know!),  on their next fishing trip for no other reason than to stock up on a supply of fish for myself. Tom is going to can it for me too.  Here are things that Tom cans that would make an excellent addition to any military surplus tent adventure, survival trip, or existence after a coming apocalypse.

  1. Venison and other meats. Tom has his own special seasonings he adds and he won’t tell me what they are; however, the point is that you can preserve any kind of meat, fish, chicken etc… by canning it.
  2. Casseroles and meals. I never thought of it, but Tom had canned many different already cooked meals to include stews, spaghettis, and lasagna.
  3. Dried beans. Very effective for if and when you don’t have a bagging system and you need them to last for food or seed.
  4. Gravy. Perfect way to save sausage gravy for a time when there is no refrigeration process.

 

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Survival needs: 3 question you should ask before you invest in gold and silver

gold coins

One of the questions that I hear quite often about prepping and survival in general is that age old quandary of whether one should invest heavily in silver and gold in preparation  for the coming apocalypse.  The answer to a question like this is never really cut and dried, because there are too many possibilities involved with an apocalyptic event. Whether it is a full collapse of the government for instance, whether martial law is declared, etc…

It is my practice therefore to prepare for the very most minimalistic scenario, that of full economic and societal collapse resulting in the degradation of society to it’s maximum deviation. The fact of the matter is that you can not eat silver and gold. It doesn’t keep you warm at night, doesn’t fashion well into arrow heads and knife blades, and can’t help you build a fire as far as I know.  So, in order to help you answer this question for yourself, I have developed three survival questions that I ask myself each and every time I put something into my bug out kit or take out into a survival situation or military surplus tent adventure.

  1. Can it feed me? In other words can I eat it or use it to get something to eat? I’m not talking about bartering here, I’m talking about a specific directed use. Everything you have should be able to perform three or four functions. A knife for instance is good for many things from fire building to self defense. The same is true for many, many other survival items. Paracord for instance. If it doesn’t have a dual role it is probably not needed.
  2. Is it worth it’s weight? No pun intended here, but there are many times that jerky will be more valuable than gold… like when you’re hungry for instance. You may want to consider whether the gold/silver would be more valuable than bullets for instance. I can assure you that in most situations you won’t be able to get more for gold than for bullets… one way or another.
  3. Can I find it in the wild? Well, this goes without saying, but gold and silver are just lying around in some places, why would you take with you something that is the equivalent of a rock, (albeit a shiny one)?
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RDDUSA product review: Buck 110 automatic

 

Photo By: Buck Knives

Photo By: Buck Knives

 

Having seen a lot in my lifetime, I’m not usually easily impressed, but I am very  impressed by the recent release of the Buck 110™ Folding Hunter Automatic.  Now there are very few things that get my blood pumping like a switchblade knife. I don’t know why that is other than the fact that my grandmother used to accuse me of being a warmonger, (and my father used to get exasperated by my making weapons in his garage). But there is something very satisfying by the crisp “snick” that a switchblade makes as it locks into place.

My first Buck 110 came to  me under the tutelage of the Wildman, an iconic miscreant of dynamic proportions who haunted the creeks and valleys of my native southern Ohio farmland. Wildman was notorious for flagrant poaching and common degeneracy. He was about as nefarious a mentor as a boy of twelve or thirteen could get, and luckily for me I was best friends with his cousin, Lonnie Bridgeford. Now Wildman very rarely if ever profited off of the deals that he made with Lonnie and I. As a matter of fact, he quite often suffered greatly at our expense, he even told us so.  So it was lucky for me that I was able to get my first Buck 110 as a trade from the Wildman for nothing less than a rifled Remington™ 870 barrel, a hand forged tomahawk, and two boxes of twelve gauge buckshot. Later in life I got better at gun trading. However, that does not change the fact that the Buck 110 is arguably the single most iconic American blade of all time. There is something especially engaging about those Dymondwood® grips and brass bolsters, so much so that they elicited many acts of counterfeiting by every cheap Pakistani knifemaker in the country. I can remember the proliferation of the design being made available at every flea market and gun show in the eighties.

Though this blade has had a customization following who converted it to an automatic for several years, this is the first time since 1964 that the design was offered from the manufacturer and has recently been unveiled at the 2017 SHOT show.  Retail is going to be around $200 but I personally can’t wait to get one.  There s no greater blade to carry on a family camping trip, military surplus tent adventure, or survival excursion than the buck 110.

 

 

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Welcome to my office: 3 things you need to be a freelance writer

"My Office" Photo By: Covenant Images

                                     “My Office”
                        Photo By: Covenant Images

There is truly no greater vocation than that of being a writer. With a simple canvas stretched before me of a plain white, unadulterated field of expression I get the opportunity to take the English language and formulate, for you my reader, an expression that is built of both cognitive thought and imagination… and in the process I am building that thought and provoking that imagination in your head, utilizing your facilities, with nothing more than prose and the elements of creative writing. Of the many jobs I have held in my life, freelance writing is truly my favorite and the one for which I have never lost my passion.

So! “What does this have to do with military surplus tents and equipment?” you might ask. And the answer is that it has everything to do with military surplus tents, Army tents, surplus military equipment, guns, knives, survival, prepping, and anything else you might find yourself interested in. Because the writing process is the means by which we share our information, especially in today’s technological era. This web content, you see, doesn’t write itself. So, here is my pitch for the day, why not consider some freelance writing to get the knowledge and skills that you have at your discretion out into the public eye? The fact of the matter is that there is a definite shortage of writers right now. I turn down business every day from agencies and outlets that I have no interest in, and instead focus on those that I have a certain degree of expertise in. You can do the same thing and here are three things you need to get a lucrative full or part time freelance writing business going.

  1. A good grasp of your native language. It would also be a good idea to understand the elements of style, (Strunk & White wrote an excellent reference entitled the same for American English). As part of this skillset it would also benefit you to gain an understanding of the seven aspects of fiction.  Though as a freelancer you will find yourself writing in many different genres of the craft, you will find that being able to write good fiction is beneficial.
  2. A good writing medium. In this day and time that equals a computer of some sort. The good news is that nearly anything can be used to write… nearly anything. I have in my example photo four different mediums; there is a MacBook Pro, an iPad, a Kindle Fire, and an iPhone, (used to take the photo). And I have used each and every one of them at one time or another to write stories and articles, even books. If I had to I could use any one of the four and never miss a deadline.  One friend you have that you might not even realize is there is the “voice to text” application that comes with Apple products. This is a great way to get caught up when you find yourself in the parking lot of a rest area at 0300 and you have a 0400 story or blog deadline and have nothing with you but your iPhone.
  3. An internet connection. My favorite place to write is at an all night McD’s that offers free internet. However, I have plied my craft in other places such as public libraries, Starbuck’s, hospitals, and filthy alleys behind seedy bars.
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Vanlife: how the nomadic lifestyle is appealing to modern survivalists

Photo By: hivewire3d

     Photo By: hivewire3d

Though it’s usually military families, or prior military personnel, there is a movement afoot that is as old as the taming of the horse and the invention of the wheel; that of the nomadic lifestyle. The newest twist on this way of life is reminiscent of the Vardo caravans of Gypsy lore. And the fact of the matter is that it isn’t really a new lifestyle, rather it is one that comes and goes in it’s appeal depending on the going culture.

Many of us, for example, can remember the free loving spirit of the 1960’s and the allure of Haight-Ashbury that drew so many of the countries youth away from the Viet Nam war and into a nomadic culture of free existence and community living. And though that movement has died for the most part, and was replaced by the yearning for a house in the suburbs and a nine to five, so does the dream come alive again, many times it seems on the heels of a war.

It was after WWII that we saw a rise in the biker clubs of the 1950’s and following Viet Nam that we saw the hippie movement. And now, in the wake of the war in the Middle East, we are seeing a new nomad emerge from the ashes, gather his horse and wagon, and drive off into the horizon to live closely with nature. In this instance horse and wagon has been replaced by mini-van and RV. In the 1960’s we saw the VW Micro-bus, and post WWII the Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

And so the question is posed regarding what makes veterans of foreign wars so adept at the nomadic lifestyle? What is the allure that draws such men and women into a wandering existence, traveling light and sleeping at night beneath the desert sun, or pitching a military surplus Army tent in the mountains? The answer I think is defined in one word: “freedom”. Many find freedom – true freedom- for the first time in an Army base on a foreign land. And once they get a taste of that freedom, they become possessed by the notion of it and it drives them then… into the wilderness.

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USMC Jungle boots head for last big test: 3 things this means for you

Photo By: RDDUSA

                       Photo By: RDDUSA

After a five month evaluation period that wrapped up just before Christmas, the USMC is assessing feedback from the 400 odd Hawaii based “boots on the ground” Marines who put the newly designed footwear to the test. Reports say that at this point no company has been specifically eliminated from the original evaluation period, and it is possible that at least two more boot makers will be allowed to take part in the testing.

While there were supposed to be four combat boot prototypes made available form different bootmakers, sources say that only two: Rocky Boots™ and Belleville Boots™ were prepared with enough boots for the deployment test period. [1]

So what you might ask, does this mean for you the consumer of the finest quality of military surplus tents and equipment? Well, specifically it comes down to things. Considering the fact that military contracts are designed to provide for so many units to be produced for so many dollars, it is inherent that there will be extras left over. These extras will then be provided to you, the citizen consumer, as an auction item for surplus, and this is what you can expect to obtain from this process.

  1. Quality. These boots are being put through the most rigorous of tests by the toughest men and women on the planet.  The United States Marine Corps is quite arguably the roughest knuckled fighting force that has ever been assembled and as such the equipment that they use has to be tough too. If you buy their surplus, you are getting military surplus equipment that can take nearly anything tat you can dish out to it.
  2. Consistency.  How many times have you bought the same item only to have it fit differently and not be as expected? The good news about military surplus is that it is built to very specific guidelines and as such the manufacturing is going to be the same every single time. It would be rejected by quality control otherwise.
  3. Affordability. Let’s face it folks, the U.S. Military isn’t in the profit business. They are in this to wage war and win those wars. The selling offof military surplus equipment items is done strictly to try to get some of the loss back. The advantage goes to you the citizen consumer.

 

 

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The Appalachian Trail; using military surplus for the adventure of a lifetime

Photo By: romanticasheville.com

             Photo By: romanticasheville.com

If you’ve ever dreamed of testing yourself to the fullest, and you haven’t hiked the Appalachian Trail, you should consider all or a portion of it as one or more of your coming summer adventures. Though the trail is roughly 2180 miles long and it encompasses 14 states, it has many numbers of accommodations available for travelers.  Many travelers along the Trail have found that used military surplus and tents have come in quite handy while traversing the trails. It stands to reason that military equipment would be quite well suited to travelling the Trail. Military backpacks and clothing, not to mention wool blankets and portable cots were designed to offer the best comfort and greatest mobility.

In the summer months, there are thousands of volunteers who commit thousands of hours of community work to the trail. This includes upkeep on the more than 250 three sided shelters which are available to those who do not want to pack the weight of a tent around. If you are a novice hiker, then Maryland and West Virginia offer the easiest parts of the trail to hike, and if you are a hard core adventurer with granite thighs and stainless steel sinew you should jump in at Maine or New Hampshire, where the hard parts are. Those who have traversed the Trail from Georgia to Maine are said to have at some time or another been in the company of black bears, Moose, porcupines, snakes, woodpeckers, salamanders, foxes, chipmunks, bobcat, and whitetailed deer.

You’ll meet plenty of other hikers too. Two to three million hikers walk a portion of the Trail every year, and there are literally hundreds of access points. Of those that try to hike the entire trail from Georgia to Maine, (usually about a six-month journey), only one in four make it, (no, they don’t die, they just give up).  You could be that one in four, especially if you give yourself the advantage of gearing up with used military equipment before you start out.

The time is nearly upon us as we start planning our coming Summer endeavors and this one is a dandy.

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Survival prepping: 7 places to get gear cheap

Photo By: Do it Yourself World

Photo By: Do it Yourself World

One of the things that I hate the most about prepping and disaster preparation is the fact that this ideology, which is really just one of basic survival, has been capitalized on as a money hoarding endeavor. Anyone who makes a trip to any outdoor store will be bombarded by a plethora of survival themed items that are being sold for top dollar.

The good news is though that it is not necessary to buy top of the line overly expensive items to survive effectively or to prepare several bug-out kits for yourselves and your families. You need look no further than your own local neighborhood outlets to find many deals available for your needs. Here are seven options for cheap, (or free), gear and essentials.

  1. The local military surplus store. This goes without saying. The best made equipment is usually that which is used by the military to win wars. As a result of bureaucratic inefficiency, this equipment is regularly offered for sale as surplus at a fraction of the cost that it was purchased for… many times when it is still brand new.
  2. Thrift stores. This is like a civilian surplus store. Again, thanks to government bureaucracy, Americans can get a tax credit for giving their unwanted but valuable items to thrift shops… the savings go to you.
  3. Dollar stores. These things are incredible, and you can find anything in dollar stores that you need, from knives to bags of dried beans. You could literally fill every need for survival in a dollar store from shelter to food.
  4. Antique shops. Again, another example of civilian surplus. These shops are crammed full of formerly necessary items which have become unneeded as technology has advanced… things which will be needed again if the power grid were to fail.
  5. Gun and Knife shows. This form of collective bartering will get you all sorts of deals as you gather with like-minded people who are in need of resources, cash, or a change of scenery.
  6. Garage sales. It goes without saying that you can find all sorts of deals in your own neighborhood particularly if someone has recently been deceased.
  7. Dumpsters. Not just at apartment complexes near major universities, dumpsters hold lots of treasures especially near retail outlets.
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Big city prepping: 3 things you should prepare for

apts

If you are at all like me, then the worst thing that you can ever find yourself doing is going to a big city. I am not joking when I say that I’d rather be poked in the eye with a stick… not a sharp stick, than to go to the big city.  The reason is that it is just so full of people. I, as a survivalist, see other people as competition for resources.

Unfortunately there are many times that I have to go to the city for business, taking the wife to a broadway show, etc… However, whenever I do, it doesn’t leave the back of my mind that we are just one act of terror away from a full blown survival situation, and because of this I try to prepare accordingly. There are three main concerns that I have whenever I’m in the city and they are fairly common sense.  I call them the sacred city three in contrast to the “sacred four” of survival: Shelter, Water, Fire, and Food.  Here are the three things I worry about and how I try to prepare for them.

  1. Water. This is a pretty easy one. After my wife and I get our baths/showers for the night, we fill the tub up. That’s it; fill it up in case you need it to fill bottles, wet towels, wet blankets, wet yourselves, etc…You can drain it if you need to use the tub again. As a matter of fact we often leave it full when we vacate just in case.
  2. Fire. I don’t mean the making of it, in this instance I mean the escape from it. The water from number one can come into play here as well, and one of the reasons we leave the tub full is so that we can wrap wet blankets and towels around us to protect us from heat if we have to make a hasty retreat in the midst of flames.
  3. Weapons. When I fly I don’t take guns with me. Therefore, I make a mental list of non-typical weaponry that is available to me for the event of an emergency. don’t limit yourself, there are lots of non-traditional options available which are the equivalent to the “lock in a sock” of prison fame.
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Military Surplus Forecast: Blast Protective Pants

Photo by: Army Times

         Photo by: Army Times

According to the Army Times, the military is rolling out a new set of combat fatigues that we can expect to see appearing on the surplus market very soon.  These “Blast Protective Trousers” come equipped to keep the boys safe from shrapnel as a result of IED’s and other detritus driven injury devices. In a recent article it was reported:

The Army is rolling out a new pelvic protector to shield soldiers from painful and potentially life-threatening injuries caused by the debris, dirt and dust kicked up in an improvised explosive device blast. 

The blast pelvic protector, a lightweight ballistic harness that protects soldiers from underneath, was designed by a team at  the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development & Engineering Center . It is meant to avoid the multiple surgeries it takes to remove the debris that commonly gets lodged in a soldier’s groin area in the event of a blast. Those wounds are not only painful but can lead to deadly infections. 

The piece is meant to improve on the groin-protecting flap that comes with a body armor kit, which can only protect against a fragmentation explosion from the front, said Kristine Isherwood, a mechanical engineer at NSRDEC and the project’s lead, in a Tuesday phone interview with Army Times. 

“It’s meant to mitigate not so much a life-threatening situation as a quality of life,” she said. 

The harness does, however, cover a good portion of the inner thigh, protecting the femoral artery and making it look like a very short set of chaps or a pair of shorts rather than the diaper-like design of some other blast protectors on the market. 

That design was the key to the whole project, said lead designer Cara Tuttle, because they knew if it looked too ridiculous, soldiers wouldn’t wear it.  

“The shape of the design came about due to considering soldier acceptability. If something isn’t designed with this sort of ‘cool’ factor, then soldiers are less likely to wear it,” she said. “The factor that it looks like a harness and not a diaper, for instance, helps make it more acceptable to soldiers to wear.” 

The team decided early on that it should be worn outside the uniform, rather than as an undergarment or built into uniform pants, for several reasons. 

“One clear thing is hygiene issues,” Isherwood said. “It’s easier to have a separate piece where the guys can launder their trousers separate from this protective equipment. And you can visually confirm that yes, they’re wearing it, they didn’t forget it over at the laundry.” 

The good news is that it is detachable and therefore doesn’t necessitate the purchase of one per pair of trousers as some security devices may. We look forward to seeing these on the shelves very soon.

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Switchblades: 3 reasons they are a good idea to re-legitimize

Photo By: The Cross and the Switchblade

      Photo By: The Cross and the Switchblade

In 1958, after a wave of Hollywood driven rhetoric, the Switchblade Act came into effect which essentially took the ability of millions of honest Americans to have a spring assisted knife from being carried on the person. It had a lot to do with the gang violence of New York, and the knee jerk reactions of politicians and bureaucrats who believe in the demonization of everything. Thank God the movie “Gangs of New York” hadn’t been made yet or we would have one hell of a time getting hatchets and meat cleavers… but I digress.

There is a new bill in the works which will  reverse the act of 1958 and make switchblade knives a legitimate set of working tools again. The Knife Owners’ Protection Act of 2017 was drafted by Arizona Representative Andy Biggs to counter this asinine offensive against cutlery freedom in the nation, which limits the ability for interstate trade and travel with switchblades. Nearly 40 states in the union have already legalized the use of switchblades in one form or another according to Knife Rights Chairman, Doug Ritter, as quoted in a recent article in Knife News.

Switchblades are a long time favorite of law enforcement, the military, preppers and survivalists. They are also pretty popular with people with disabilities.

Here are three good reasons to invest in a switchblade for survival beyond the fact that they look cool as all hell.

  1. The psychological effect. This effect doesn’t just work in favor of the bearer of the knife by scaring the shiz-izzle out of a potential adversary, but it also emboldens the bearer and elicits a feeling of power whenever wielded as a defensive weapon. Much the same as a policeman’s asp.
  2. It offers an excellent backup weapon. Let’s face it, we’re all vulnerable to catching a round and I have seen plenty of footage where a fellow man at arms caught a round which disabled him and which was soon followed up with a coup de gras… not good! A one handed man’s knife can come in very handy in a situation like that.
  3. They are highly collectible. Not only are these things effective, they are highly collectible if they are well made and produced reputably, specifically German and Italian manufacturers, Boker Knives being a prime example. They are perfect additions to the arsenal whether you are on a full blown survival trip, a military surplus tent adventure, or a family camping endeavor. There are even military surplus switchblades available though federal law prohibits their being sold.
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Cracker Barrel to donate rocking chairs to military families

Photo By: Cracker Barrel

Photo By: Cracker Barrel

In a recent partnership with Operation Homefront, Cracker Barrel, (the world renown restaurant which has brought Southern Tennessee to every state in the nation), has made a push to donate their iconic rocking chairs to military families in conjunction with home purchases made possible by Operation Homefront.

quote

According to Military Times, Cracker Barrel senior exec Sloan Lucas has commented on the fact that military families quite often move around a lot, and the idea behind this initiative is to bring a sense of civilian normalcy to a family that has likely not had a “home” for a while other than a military facility, tent, or complex. The way it works is this: Every time a customer purchases a Cracker Barrel rocking chair online, the company then donates one to a military family who is buying a new home. Furthermore, a customer who doesn’t want to buy a rocking chair, or doesn’t have the need for one, can simply donate up to five dollars by texting SALUTE to number 27722.

For those of you who don’t know, these families can live in the Operation Homefront homes for up to two years as the company helps them to come to an understanding of the intricacies of home ownership. They learn how to manage home costs and the program even assists them in making home repairs and in helping the family navigate the Veteran affairs system.

“Nothing says home like a rocking chair on the front porch” says Margi Kirst, the Chief Development officer at Operation Homefront.

Cracker Barrel and Operation Homefront have pledged nearly half a million dollars to this endeavor which is above and beyond that of whatever donations are received for the program. Both companies have said that they are finalizing plans to launch these campaigns in a grand way.

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Survival paracord; 4 handy uses you can implement today

Picture1

We’ve all been there. One minute you are out in the bush enjoying a camping or hunting trip and the very next minute you are engaged in a fight for survival, depending on nothing more than the items you have on you and your steely wit to save from certain death and damnation.  In times like these there is nothing in the world that you need more than some para-cord.

Of course we all know how to make cordage out of the inner bark of certain plants and trees, or how to cut cordage from rawhide, but to be honest, having some prepared and quality manufactured cordage on hand can be the difference between a fun survival trip and one which is just a miserable struggle. So here are four ways to be prepared for a survival situation by having paracord on hand as a replacement for everyday items.

  1. Wear a survival bracelet. You know what these things are, they are all the rage today, and most of you probably even know how to make them. If you don’t and you want to learn, watch a youtube video. Not only are they snazzy and you can make them to represent your favorite sports team or whatever, but they are easily incorporated into everyday dress.
  2. Craft a belt from paracord. Let’s face it, you need a belt anyway, why not make one from paracord and then you will have plenty of cordage with you at all times?
  3. Make a rifle/shotgun sling. This concept is relative to the concept of having a belt made of paracord. Why not craft your own long gun sling that you can use as a functional sling and put to use as cordage in a survival situation?
  4. Use as a wrap for your water bottle. Not only does this concept allow you to have a non-slip grip on your water bottle during a military surplus tent adventure or outdoor excursion, but it also supplies you with a plethora of cordage to use in a survival situation. As with all of these concepts, instructional videos are easily located on youtube.
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Some good news for military veterans… maybe

Photo By: Drexel University

Photo By: Drexel University

United States President elect Donald Trump has recently announced that he wants to nominate David Shulkin as the new Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Already at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Dr. Shulkin had been charged with transforming the country’s largest integrated health system. In 2014, CNN reported that at least 40 U.S. veterans had died while waiting for care at the VA facilities in Phoenix, Arizona, and internal investigations revealed that the problem was widespread. 1

Shulkin was nominated by President Elect Trump, and is yet confirmed by the Senate in 2017. For a physician with decades of experience across the private and academic sectors, the challenge of bringing help to American veterans is going to be daunting, but will not necessarily be anything new to Shulkin.

In this case, that help means bringing business experience from the private sector to the federal government. It means looking for processes that are cheaper, better and faster. It means questioning the status quo to make sure that the system truly benefits veterans and improves access to care. 2 And if his nomination is confirmed, he will have the power to do it.

President elect Trump thinks that he will “Do a truly great job.” And having been a senior advisor and faculty member on Drexel University’s medical school as well as a savvy physician and businessman who knows the ins and out of the medical care industry, it stands to reason then that Shulkin is a great pick for the job.

For too long now, it seems, as if  America has treated it’s military veterans like any other piece of military surplus equipment. Often trying to store them on the shelf, or sell them off to the highest bidder so that they can be someone else’s problem; and President Elect Trump has stated that this is a horrendous practice that must come to an end. In his recently publish book “Crippled America” he has made the claim that he is going to take measures to ensure that the American men and women, who serve this country’s military, deserve to be treated like the first class citizens that they are.

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Product review: 3 reasons to buy a Stevens 320 home defense shotgun

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When I first saw the advertisement for a $179.00 12 gauge home defense shotgun, I was a bit skeptical concerning the quality. There was no way, I was convinced, that this thing could stand the rigors of a mission into the wilderness with me. I however, am a man of vision so I made it a point to go buy one; it is , after all… $179.00.

There are several things that I look for in a shotgun, most of them are attributes of the Remington 870. I don’t think that I have made it a secret that I adore that platform and would actually choose it over any other if I could only have one firearm in a survival situation. But… I digress.

The first thing I noticed when I got this assembled and out of the box is the fact that the slide release is in an out of the way place. At least for me, it is necessary to twist the weapon a bit and engage it with my thumb. This is not an insurmountable problem though, I don’t really need a slide release in a combat scenario because I will be shooting to release the slide. I keep my shotgun in condition ready, (full tube, hammer down, safety off, empty chamber), so that I can rack and attack.  I found that it fell well into my shoulder and though a bit heavy fully loaded, it holds five 2 3/4″ 00 buck rounds nicely, it is well balanced and easily maneuverable. At the range it performed flawlessly with #7 shot and 00 buckshot. Though it is chambered for 3″ magnum loads, I only fired the 2 3/4″ loads… it is after all a $179.00 shotgun and I did not buy it to go into combat with. This is strictly for home defense and maybe some rabbit hunting later on. So here are three key points to support the claim that this is a good buy:

  1. The price. You really can’t beat this price for this shotgun. I have been burned in the past by buying sub-quality guns of Ohio manufacture… ahem! However, this shotgun doesn’t feel like trash, it has a nice heft and good balance.
  2. Dual slidearms. One of the worst habits I have acquired over the years is this propensity to twist a foregrip when I’m under fire and trying to reciprocate with a shotgun, (training with simunitions), and I have actually locked up an 870 temporarily in my haste. I shudder to think what I would have done with a lesser made pump shotgun which only has one slidearm by design.
  3. Chambered for 3″ magnums. Even though I wouldn’t take this thing into the bush with me as my sole source of defense, that doesn’t mean it couldn’t go… it just couldn’t go with me. I’m too much of a die hard fan of the Remington 870. That being said, Savage/Stevens is a fairly reputable gun manufacturer, and I’m comfortably convinced that an array of testing has gone into this design so it should be fine.  I wouldn’t hesitate to take this with me as a mobile defense option, either on a military surplus tent adventure, or on a family camping trip for instance… However, I’d probably still have a Glock 17 tucked in my pack somewhere.
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Hunker Down in Your Freezer; Surviving a blizzard, power outage, etc…

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It wasn’t too awfully long ago that we suffered the carnage, nearly nationwide… (or high, as the case may be), of Hurricane Katrina. Power was lost to a good part of the lower eastern United States, even in some places in Ohio. This mess lasted for three days, and it was during this outage that I discovered a couple of things about survival:

  1. I and my family have wasted a lot of money and resources buying food that we don’t use.
  2. It really doesn’t take much to get by in an emergency.
  3. We are all probably  a little better prepared than we think… at least a little.

What I am referring to is the fact that where I lived at the time, Southern Ohio, we were not forewarned of the fact that prevailing winds would come through as a result of the hurricane and wipe out the power grid for our area. Therefore we did not stock up on milk, eggs, bread, and taters; that strange combination of proteins and carbs that can seemingly get anyone through anything. And we were instead forced to rely on what we had in stock in order to get by. Two things were of issue, we had no electric and therefore the deep freeze was going to be thawing out and allowing our frozen food to ruin, and the stores weren’t able to sell anything due to not having electricity to their point of sale devices.

Good for me that I’m a survivalist. The very first thing I did was start a big fire and I began to cook. I started of course with every survivalists mainstay… stew. WHAT-YA-GOT stew to be exact.  I began to take inventory of the deep freeze and found the following items:

  1. Chicken thighs, (bone-in)
  2. Brussel Sprouts
  3. Whole turkeys, (3 of them)
  4. Hams, (2)
  5. Ground lamb, (3 packages)
  6. Beef roasts, (4)
  7. Pork roasts, (3)
  8. Bags of green beans, corn, lima beans, broccoli, and onions
  9. Pizza rolls
  10. Hot pockets

The first to go of course were the pizza rolls and hot pockets. The kids prefer them over lamb succotash for some reason. The hams and the roasts were all rendered to thin strips that were smoked into jerky, as were two of the turkeys. One of the turkeys was rendered to stew after I had good luck making a stew out of the chicken thighs, but I found that a turkey breaks down into too many small bones to make a good stew, unless you like spitting and digging bones out of your mouth. I also made a bunch of pemmican.

The point is that we didn’t starve, we didn’t even come close. And this was more like a military surplus tent adventure than anything else, we even pitched the military surplus tent on the second day because we were all getting a little rank from not getting showers. So, make sure you keep your deepfreeze in mind when you come into an emergency. You should probably look in there too if you haven’t for a while… you might be surprised at what you find.

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RDDUSA goggles and other headgear

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I have written before about the need to protect ones eyes to great length. And I have also touched on the importance of having adequate protection in terms of kevlar or steel helmets. In particular, I wrote briefly concerning the officer who had his life saved in Orlando last year by a kevlar helmet that partially deflected the bullet that would have killed him.

The good news is that RDDUSA has several options that you can utilize to protect both your head and, more specifically, your eyes. While the goggles that are offered are military surplus and definitely don’t carry the Rothco name or logo that I am so fond of, they are very well made and are highly effective for combat or training situations. They are also highly affordable and are easily transitioned for use with the three types of military surplus helmets that RDDUSA offers for sale as well. The three types of helmets available are as follows:

  1. The French Motorbike Helmet. The French Motorbike Helmet is an excellent way to protect your head. This helmet is light and mixes exclusive unique designs with all the features that you need for a full face helmet, all at a low price.The helmet is used and in really good condition. It is only available in size small. The color of the helmet is olive drab with white straps. The French Motorbike Helmet is a good helmet for protect your head from accidents. Designed to be used as an alternative to combat as well as for combat… if it gets too hairy, you can always jump on your Spree and fly away into the Paris sunset.
  2. The GI Steel Pot. The U.S. G.I. Steel Pot Helmet includes a plastic liner with an adjustable leather and fabric head band and chin straps. The helmet is used and in very good condition. It has typical scuffs and scraps from storage. It does not come with original liner. However, this thing serves as more than just a means to prevent the perforation of your scalp, many soldiers in Vietnam, and other conflicts, used this thing to shave with, to cook in, for a pillow, and as a chamber pot in a foxhole.
  3. Israeli Kevlar Helmet. G.I. Israeli Kevlar Helmet is vintage orlite helmet (Cold War era 1947-1991). Helmet is made of G.R.P. Glass Reinforced Plastic and inside of it has a suspension system made of nylon and leather. It includes a leather sweat band (adjustable to perfectly fit the diameter of your head). This helmet does not include the rubber front, side or rear padding. They are made from Kevlar and the color is Olive Drag Green. Used and in good condition.
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MARSOC chooses G19 over .45… 3 reasons why

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Photo By: Covenant Images

                  Photo By: Covenant Images

While this might be old news to some of you, (it certainly is to me),  I had first learned of this proposed transition in October of 2016, it has taken me this long to weigh in on this due to the fact that I literally knew nothing about the Glock 19 other than it seems to be a shortened version of my beloved Glock 17. However, recently I had the opportunity to purchase a Glock 19 and I did so eagerly, intent on seeing why the Jarheads are so fond of a mini version of a man’s handgun that carries two rounds less.

For those of you who are unaware, the Marine Corp Special Operations Command has decided to scrap their tried and true .45 1911 custom close quarter battle system in favor of the Glock 19… a 9mm. The reasons that they give according to Kitup™ is that the parts are more readily available worldwide, as is the ammunition, and they are Glocks; therefore, dependable.  I however wasn’t convinced that the transition is a good idea, as I tend to favor a larger frame handgun for accuracy and control. I learned a long time ago that the ability to reach out and touch a motherstrucker from a distance is a great advantage in combat… why bother with CQB when you can settle the matter from afar? For this reason alone I have always been partial to the 1911.45 and the Glock 17, because it is built similarly in feel to a 1911 .45.

Here is what I found out about the 19: Though it is a bit small, it fits the hand nicely as a Gen4 series which comes with backstraps. My hand fits the Large beavertail backstrap grip perfectly, and at 100′ I was hitting a mini metal human silhouette nearly everytime after I figured out that the 19 came out of the box sighted in for a six o’clock hold at 25 yards… (Thanks to rangemaster and exquisite combat pistolero Don Delph, who was watching me wear the hillside out just above the target to begin with.)Here are three more reasons the Glock 19 is as fine a handgun as you could ever want:

  1. The Glock 17 magazine fits it. As do several other magazines designed by Glock. Put off by the loss of two rounds in your mag? Don’t be, these things work like Apple computer products, they all fit together seamlessly.
  2. The ammunition is both plentiful and easier to carry. It goes without saying that the .45 ammo, while larger, is also heavier and bulkier.
  3. It’s a workhorse. While this pistol isn’t the show pony that the 1911 often turns out to be, it is much like a trusty old hammer which, while not much to look at, will deliver blow after blow with remarkable accuracy.
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Watch your carbon; three ways to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning

posters

If you are a survivalist who grew up in the eighties, then you undoubtedly know three things like the back of your hand. These are “My Side of the Mountain”, “Jeremiah Johnson”, and “Billy Jack”. If you don’t know all of these movies then you definitely should, because you will find them all to be deeply edifying of your lifestyle and beliefs.

In particular, the scene from this dynamic trio that truly stands out for me as the topic of this blog is the one which nearly ends our heroic protagonist in “My Side of the Mountain”, the fact that he built a fire in his hollow tree and nearly suffocated himself by breathing the smoke of the fire is what I want to address, so, here are three ways to not die of asphyxiation when keeping warm in a survival situation.

  1. Have a good chimney. This is common sense that is not necessarily common knowledge. Our heroes of the past, the Native Americans of the plains often built fires in their teepees, which were conical in shape and had a hole at the top. In essence the entire structure was a big chimney which carried the smoke of the fire, along with the carbon monoxide, up and out of the living area and into the atmosphere.
  2. Have even better ventilation. One of the things your chimney needs to work properly is a good supply of airflow to keep the cycle moving. Even though it is not the most fuel efficient way of heating a structure, to  have air flow ensures that you will have fresh clean air for breathing as well as ensuring that you will be expelling the bad stuff out. Ventilation down low, below the source of the fire is the best.
  3. Use dry, combustible fuel. The wetter it is the smokier it gets and, it stands to reason, the more carbon monoxide it produces. Good seasoned wood will offer you a hot fire with fewer harmful emissions.
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What’s Next? Three things to have beyond the camper

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               Photo By: Edward S. Curtis

I have long been a fan of the Apache indians and most notably, the Chiricahua Apaches. The reason for this is the fact that they were the single most able holdouts to the United States military occupation, and are rumored even to be living still free somewhere in the Mexican mountains south of the border to this day. Though it is likely that there is some truth to that, the Chiricahua were experts at acclimation, and therefore are more than likely alive and well, but they will be living in mainstream society and not out in the bushes.

What is important here is noting the understanding that the Apache had for survival, especially in a hostile country surrounded by enemies. Most important is that they were able to survive because they were so mobile and unpredictable, characteristics that you can adopt as well to blend into the environment in the event that a bug out is necessary.

Beyond the camper:

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So, the question is: What do you do when the opposing factions have infiltrated your utopia?

We have discussed the concept of a survival camper that will get you off of the grid, but you need to be able to take it a step further in case off the grid isn’t far enough, and then you will want to be prepared to go off even farther than that. So here are three more things you need in order to get out of harm’s  way like the Apaches.

1. A military surplus tent. This is one step away from your survival camper and will be perfect for setting up various areas of base. The tent is cacheable where the trailer isn’t, and the two can be easily used in conjunction with each other, giving you the opportunity to move your base camps easily as the need arises.

2. Knowledge of survival shelters. By this I mean advanced shelters like the wickiup, or lean-to. These shelters are more permanent than a debris hut, but are not dependent on supplies for construction, all materials are at your disposal in the wilderness.

3. A good sleeping roll. You really can’t do better than a military surplus sleeping bag and ground mat for those times when you have to be in the wind and either have to sleep in a cold, quick camp, or you have to curl around a small fire.

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3 reasons to get a bug out camper now

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I have been following the current state of affairs fairly closely and am appalled to see some of the poorly,( in my humble yet informed opinion), choices being made by current governing officials.
Though I will not go into detail here, let’s suffice it to say that if you are so far off the grid that you haven’t been following the current state of affairs, you should hop on your mule and ride into town and buy a newspaper… you might be appalled yourself at what you discover. In any event, if you do know what I’m talking about, you might find this bit of knowledge useful; the notion of creating a bug out camper for you to use if the proverbial SHTF as a result of at least two of the major world super powers being poked at like a bear tethered to a stake. The fact of the matter is that it might not be a bad idea to have a way to get off of the grid, and actually have a backup plan to get even farther off of the grid, which I will touch on in the very next blog on the subject.
My friends at offgridworld.com have recently posted plans for having a fully equipped bug out camper at your disposal for the event that it is ever needed, and if you reference the above photo you will see that they have included nearly everything that you might need to bug out with, including fuel in the form of propane and gasoline, a generator, and spare tires.
Here are three reasons to have a bug out camper at your disposal.
1. It is portable and transportable. With the short wheelbase, this option will give you greater range into the bush and will also leave you with a shelter that you can detach if needed. Having a truck, SUV, or Hummer type vehicle to pull it with will be priceless in the event that you need to be easily mobile to gather supplies or flee quickly from danger.
2. It is secure. Having substantial sides, roof, and floor is an excellent option when you might need to protect life and property from marauding predators of both the bipedal and quadruped variety.
3. It offers a several base option. This type of shelter, coupled with other more transportable options makes for a great method of unpredictability, a facet of survival that is absolutely necessary when you find yourself in a full blown survival situation. More on this to follow…

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Terrorism Incorporated; 3 reasons you must read this book by Colin Clarke

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If you have ever wondered how and where the terrorist are able to get the funding that they need in order to pull off a caper like the 9/11 attacks, or, more recently, the attacks in Paris France, then you really must read “Terrorism Inc. The Financing of Terrorism, Insurgency, and Irregular Warfare” by political scientist Colin Clarke. Mr. Clarke is an associate at the Rand Corporation, and in this publication he uncovers how terror and insurgent groups get funded.

This book follows the financial structure of every organization from the IRA to Hezbollah, and goes into detail on the Islamic State and other middle east terror organizations.

 

In this book Clarke discourages focusing on strict definition of terms and instead fixates on problem solving policies that target each groups tendencies towards fundraising on a case by case basis. His research investigates the rise of the sideline financiers who have come to power in the cold war era, and he focuses specifically  on the diffusion of radical ideology in volatile states that go to great means to support  terrorism and the advent of radical Muslim and other agendas across the world. There are lots of reasons why this is important to know, as every member of the free world is in danger from radical terroristic behavior, but here are three main reasons to read this book:

 

  1. You can get a good understanding of how the Patriot Act and other questionable decisions have effectively stymied the ability of terrorist organizations to pull off their nefarious acts. This will not only give you a better understanding of how the free world governments work, but might even give you more confidence in their abilities to keep the free world free.
  2. You can gain insight into the intricacies of the terrorist plots to supply their organizations and become savvy to their ways and methods. Possibly even becoming key to foiling some of the never ending plots that these organizations are constantly trying to accomplish.
  3. Probably most important for me and others like me, you can take a pro-active approach to understanding the mindsets and means of these people. Fore warned is fore armed as they say.
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Making your own cough drops; 4 necessary ingredients

coughdrop

If you have ever been out on a prolonged survival trip and have gotten a sore throat and caught a cold, then you know the true extent to which you are capable of suffering the misery of existence. The good news is that even if the world apocalypse comes to pass you will not have to be without the relief that comes with many of life’s simple pleasures… throat lozenges for example.

It goes without saying that the value of cough drops has as much to do with the act of sucking on the lozenge as with what it contains. Sucking on a cough drop promotes the flow of saliva which lubricates and soothes the throat, helping with the flow of the mucus. That being said, the same thing can be achieved with a piece of hard candy. However, since cough drops are made pretty much the same way hard candy is made, but with a few additions to further alleviate symptoms, you can make them in much the same way as a basic horehound candy of old… which is a cough drop itself in it’s own rights. Here are four common ingredients which are often found in natural, homemade cough drops.

Ginger root: Loaded with antioxidants and other virus-fighters, this “heat agent” helps sooth cold symptoms . The flavor of ginger is strong, but is tamed by other ingredients used in this cough-busting recipe.

Honey has antimicrobials and antibacterials long used to soothe coughs and other cold symptoms.

Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral elements and has been used for centuries to help speed recovery from colds.

Lemon provides vitamin C and has other antiviral properties helpful in combating coughs and colds.

These cough drops don’t have dose limits, and use familiar ingredients that may already be in your kitchen. They are perfect for cost cutting means and can be made up en masse for distribution during emergencies; however, they will serve as a candy to soothe an irritable child or to satisfy a sweet tooth on a camping adventure or during a military surplus tent adventure as well.

In another blog we will go in-depth into certain methods of making cough drops as well as exploring a recipe for a traditional horehound drop as well… if you can stand it.

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3 reasons to attend Tom Brown Jr’s Wilderness Survival School

Photo By: Tracker inc.

                          Photo By: Tracker inc.

When I was a youngster, just interested in wilderness survival and becoming a mountain man, the go to book of the era was Tom Brown Jr’s field guide series. Tom Brown came closely on the heels of Billy Jack. Though the two are unrelated to each other dimensionally, metaphysically they are kindred spirits. A prelude to the field guide series of Tom Brown Junior was a bibliographical account of Tom’s life which reads like an adventure novel entitled the tracker. Now, this is a great read for anyone who has any interest in anything outdoors, and even if it’s not true it really should be, and it makes for a great story. That being said Tom Brown juniors wilderness survival and tracking schools are second to none when it comes to learning how to live off the land. Here are three reasons every survivalist should attend one of Tom Brown Junior’s basic courses.

  1. You’ll learn the theory of the sacred four, and believe me there is nothing more rewarding than coming to the understanding that you only need four things, in order, so that you may survive in any environment in the world. Those four things are shelter, water, fire, and food.
  2. You will meet lots of interesting people, and you will network amongst other survivalists. That being said you need to understand that you will be running into doctors professors tree huggers left wingers Democrats and all sorts of other environmentalist types who believe that Tom is some sort of awe inspiring Maharishi   (Believe me, he is not!)
  3. You will be resume building. Believe it or not being a certified tracker carries a lot of weight in certain fields of employment. Even possessing the basic certification is impressive, and your certificate comes in a very professional format which really adds some pop to your resume.

 

Rddusa military boots; 8 great choices

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The time of year has come again where it is imperative that you clad your feet with the proper footwear to see you through until Spring. Luckily for you, there is a plethora of military surplus available so that you too can afford the best that the United States military has to offer at Wally-world prices.

At RDDUSA there are lots of options when it comes to foot wear. All of these options are battle tested, tried and true combat boots or imported clones which are made to the same military specifications. Here are eight examples of the type of quality that we have to offer, quality that comes to you compliments of the U.S. Military.

  1. U.S. G.I. BLACK RIPPLE JUNGLE BOOTS NEW. Check out these U.S. G.I. Black Ripple Jungle Boots New. They are made in the U.S. by Mcrae Industries. Perfect for any rugged adventures these are built to withstand harsh conditions. Produced by a DOD approved manufacture these boots feature coated aluminum speed laces, tipple sole pattern, and nylon webbing collar. In-step drainage vents keep feet comfortable and dry. Also contributing to the comfort of these boots are removable Cambrelle® covered innersoles. Pair this great boots with one of our many BDUs for great style and functionality you can trust.
  2. U.S. G.I. TAN DESERT BOOTS. These U.S. G.I. Desert Boots are specially designed to keep you cool and comfortable even in the extreme heat. They are made in the U.S. by Mcrae Industries. They feature a padded collar, midsole heat barrier, and military specified outsole made of vulcanized rubber. In addition they have a quick lace system that includes both eyelets and hooks for a strong secure fit. They come in a desert tan color that looks great with one of our desert BDUs.
  3. U.S. G.I. DESERT BOOTS TRIPLE SOFT SOLE. Ripple Sole Desert Boot for men feature a comfortable 10-inch cotton duck and suede upper with a speedlace and eyelet lacing system. The rubber, ripple-design outsole helps provide traction, while the full-length polyurethane midsole offers cushioning. A triple layer superflex/foam sandwich innersole and cambrelle-covered molded polyurethane removable innersole also help to provide a comfortable, cushioned ride.
  4. U.S. G.I. 3LC BLACK JUNGLE MIL SPEC BOOT. If you want an outstanding boot at an even better price, then look no further than our U.S. G.I. 3LC Black Jungle Mil Spec Boot . They are made in the U.S. by Mcrae industries. Built to Military specifications these boots features three layers of comfort that will keep you protected, comfortable, and looking your best. The mid-sole is made of cushioned polyurethane perfect for long hours of walking in the jungle. Made out of quick drying Cordura® & black leather, these boots also feature in-step drainage vents making them durable and perfect for wet conditions.
  5. U.S. G.I. OLIVE DRAB RIPPLE JUNGLE BOOTS. U.S. G.I. Olive Drab Ripple Jungle Boots are brand new U.S. G.I. Issue Made by Mcrae Industries in the U.S. Packed with features these boots include removable cambrelle® covered innersoles and in-step drainage vents. In addition these boots have coated aluminum speed laces and come in a stunning olive drab green color. The collar is a nylon webbing material that is both comfortable and functional at the same time. Selling for half the retail price, get these before they are gone.
  6. U.S. G.I. OLIVE DRAB JUNGLE BOOTS. Olive Drab Cordura® and Black Leather, Nylon Webbing, Removable Cushion Insole. This is the original jungle boot that was made famous in Vietnam.
  7. U.S. G.I. WELLCO BLACK JUNGLE BOOTS. U.S. G.I. Wellco Black Jungle Boots with Panama Sole fights through thick brush and hot temps! Trekking through thick jungles in blazing-hot weather is no treat, but your feet will be protected every step of the way! Tough, 1,000-denier plain-weave Cordura / flesh-out leather uppers are breathable to keep your feet from sweating bullets. The long-lasting, direct-injected Panama sole is made from vulcanized rubber for ground-gripping traction you can trust. The rest: Contoured polyurethane cushioning insert for comfort; 2 eyelets and 5 speed hooks on each eyestay for quick lacing; Counter pocket: 3 1/2-4 ozs. of split leather; Tan Cordura gussets; Has 2 nylon-coated brass drain vents on each foot; Each Boot weighs approx. 36 ozs. State Size. Enlist these bad boys today! Men Wellco Hot Weather Jungle Boots with Panama Sole. Trudge through the Jungle with this hot-weather military boot from Wellco. The lightweight boot includes a sturdy lace-up front and a deeply-tractioned rubber sole that will get you through even the toughest obstacles.
  8. U.S. G.I. BLACK JUNGLE BOOTS (imports).  Black Jungle Boots. Each Boot weighs approx. 36 ozs. Quality at a reduced price made by workmen in other countries.
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5 modifications for your 870

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I have always said, and still do, that my favorite platform of all time is the 12 gauge Remington™ 870 pump shotgun.  The reason for this is the fact that this shotgun will literally fit the bill for any firearm related activity that you find yourself in. You can literally use this firearm to kill anything on the North American continent from chipmunks to griz…

The 870 is far and beyond any other pump shotgun as well, being the number one choice across the world for law enforcement and military personnel. If you can only have one gun, you want it to be the Remington™ 870 pump shotgun and a variety of shells to shoot out of it.

Here are 5 modifications that will make it perfect for every occasion.

  1. A stock with a grip. You can find hundreds of different stocks to choose from, but a stock with a grip on it is priceless. Especially if you are slinging it across your chest with a one or two point sling and want to bring it to bear quickly.
  2. An 18″ – 20″ smoothbore barrel. This is perfect because you can shoot everything from number 8 shot to 3″ magnum rifled slugs. This makes your 870 very versatile, limiting you to only not being able to fire sabot rounds out of it.
  3. A rail system. You will want this for whatever sight system you choose. The options are either a ghost sight or  red dot. The rail will also work for a flashlight, extra ammo holder, or both.
  4. Sight system. As listed above, a ghost hologram sight or red dot 1x will get you on target and on kill quickly.
  5.  A sling. It goes without saying that you want the option of being able to have your hands free on occasion without having to set your weapon down, a one point or two point sling will give you the option of getting into the fight at a moments notice.

 

 

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The things they carry… at least six of them

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Photo by: Mr. X, Survivalist

        Photo by: Mr. X, Survivalist

If you were drawn to this article by the title then you must be at least somewhat familiar with the short story by Tim O’Brien by the similar title; The Things They Carried. If that is the case then my hat goes off to you for being a fellow sophisticant and purveyor of fine literature… if not, you should go read that as soon as possible… it’s about Vietnam.

I write this having just returned from a deer hunting excursion with my fourteen year old son. We didn’t see anything; however, we heard two and I found sign for about seven more, including a very nice sized buck whom I am convinced is nocturnal. But the purpose of this article is to share with you the bare essentials, at least in this survivalists eyes, to have with you at all times. I snapped this photo with my iphone as the boy ran into a local UDF for snacks and a soda, as evidence of what I have with most all of the time, and which I feel is the essential for having the maximum percent chance of survival for whatever situation you might find yourself in. Here are six things I never leave home without:

  1. Rifle plate. We’ve been through this before but with my rifle plate you should bnotice that I have two things attached via the MOLLE connectors.
  2. Extra mags for the weaponry. You can see two of the AR mags, but you can’t see the other three on the back or the four 1911 mags.
  3. A medical kit. Tourniquets, combat gauze, duct tape, occlusive dressings, etc… Yes, you need these things even on a simple hunting trip, blaze orange vest or no.
  4. An assault pack. This should be packed full of MRE’s, firestarters, reading material, a thermal blanket, ziplock baggies for deer entrails… and anything else you might think of.
  5. A sharp blade. This should be your main blade but there should be other lesser blades in the assault pack somewhere… just in case.
  6. A flashlight. Again, it should be one of many with several backups located in the kit.
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5 great modifications to your AR

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Photo By: IIIBlackhartIII

                   Photo By: IIIBlackhartIII

So, in light of the last blog, and in order to be fair, I have to give press to my favorite rifle platform of all time too, the Colt AR rifle platform.

Not only are these rifles great for combat, but the .223 or 5.56mm round is excellent for hunting and plinking as well. These things are especially good for varmint hunting. The fact of the matter is that this rifle platform is so versatile that there is no way in one blog that I can do it justice by noting its many attributes; therefore, I will focus primarily on the Ar rifle as a defensive/offensive weapon to be used primarily in the event of social breakdown, or for other combat style purposes. Here are 5 great additions to your base AR.

  1. Rail foregrip. These rails will hold everything from a laser sight to a flashlight, and are pretty much a necessity for other modifications. One thing you will want to make sure of is that you save the rubber inserts that come pre-installed so that you can fill in the gaps with them after you have added all of the extras that you are going to want.
  2. Red Dot sight. This is not something you really need unless you have used one before and have gotten used to actually getting into the gunfight faster and with more reliability. I have talked to a lot of specwarriors, including some Navy Seals, and many say that it is better to have iron sights that are always dependable. As a compromise I use a 1x Vortec red dot that allows me to shoot through it with my iron sights… I still love the red dot though.
  3. A flashlight. There are many available, some that add to your rail and others that bolt to your barrel. My favorite bolts to the barrel and has a push-button on its butt. I’m not a big fan of the pressure switches that go on the grip handle.
  4. Grip handle. If you’ve never had to cover a doorway with a rifle for a long time while your team dicks around making a tactical entry then you don’t know what true misery really is. A grip handle helps out a lot, allowing you to hold the front of your AR up, while resting your elbow against your body for support.
  5. 1 point sling. Bar none, this is the finset contraption ever invented. It gives you a great amount of freedom of movement, but secures your rifle when you need your hands to be free.
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5 great modifications to your 1911

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If you are reading this blog then it is likely that you are a survivalist, hunter, prepper, woodsman, adventurer, shootist, marksman, warrior, or a combination of three or more of the aforementioned.

In any event, most of you may have had incident to have used a 1911 style handgun before. The Colt 1911, in my modest opinion, is the finest semi-auto handgun of all times. Not only is it very well built, versatile, and pragmatic in function and reliability; but, it is also the “Windows™ pc” of the handgun world, in other words: everybody and their brother makes a lot of different components to fit it. The good news is that if you are any sort of gun-whacker at all, you can modify your very own 1911 .45 handgun like a pro.

Generally, if you are not an armorer or gunsmith, you will want to buy “drop in” modifications for your 1911. Be sure you know the difference between the full size government model and the officer’s model before you start buying parts. Pictured, is the authors personal 1911, a Colt MK IV Series 80. Here are five common modifications that are inexpensive and easy to do.

  1. Barrel bushing. This is the little doohickey at the front that holds the whole thing together. Some of the later model 1911’s have a bushing that is segmented. I get rid of those and usually purchase a stainless steel bushing for a blued gun and a blue one for a stainless steel because I like the contrast.
  2. Barrel/threaded barrel. I have a few barrels that go onto my 1911, including threaded ones. These are nice for adding flash suppressors and elongating the barrel for states that allow handgun hunting from certain length gun barrels. Also great for silencers if you do the ATF paperwork to get them legal. There are lots of cheap and economical ways to silence a .45… most of which are legal.
  3. Ambidextrous safety. As a left hander and a person who trains with both hands for combat purposes, one of the first modifications I ever make is to add an ambidextrous safety.
  4. Beaver-tail grip/Skeletonized Hammer. The two go together for the most part, at least you must have a beaver-tail in order to have the skeletonized hammer, (actually there is a workaround but it looks like shit), the hammer strikes the back of the stock grip safety otherwise and won’t reach full cock.
  5. Extended slide release. Wilson Combat offers many of these modifications, and they are excellent quality. The extended slide release makes for a much easier reload in a combat situation and will get you back in the fight with a fresh mag asap.
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Survival lockpicking; four reasons you should know how

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There have been many times throughout my professional career that knowing the basics of lockpicking has come in quite handy for me. Now, that being said, I am not a nefarious individual by nature; however, I have been involved in some nefarious situations in the past, either on one side or the other… most commonly on the other…

Because of this I have found it necessary, on some occasions, to know the fundamentals of surreptitious entry as opposed to those of dynamic entry or entry through sheer force. And if you find yourself in a similar situation, you may well find these skills useful as well. Now for those of you who have a bad feeling about this, let me assure you that there are several reasons to know these skills, all of which serve a completely legitimate function. Law and order every time, that’s my motto, and I lean much more towards the role of steely-eyed lawman than I do the persona of shifty-eyed miscreant.

So, with that in mind, here are four reasons to know how to pick locks for a survival situation.

  1. In case you lose your key. I almost feel guilty about listing this, but you need to think, if there is an apocalypse and you happen to lose the key to your house, cache, shelter, etc… there will be no place to go get one made easily.
  2. If you need to get in quietly. The explanation speaks for itself and if busting the door in just isn’t a viable option…
  3. In order to claim old property that has been locked and abandoned. Even now there are thousands of abandoned properties that are under lock and key that you may have every moral and legal right to.
  4. In case you need to get in and out unbeknownst. Sometimes you need to go into a place and it not be discovered that you were there. This is most often for law enforcement to plant bugs and other surveillance devices; however, you might need this option in a survival situation as well.
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Revolver vs automatic; which is better for survival ?

pirev

One of the age old debate’s amongst sportsmen is the question of which type of handgun is best suited for a survival situation.

Now, bear in mind, I’m not talking about the best make or the best caliber, but rather I am focusing on whether it is best to have a wheel gun as opposed to a semi automatic.

I personally am a proponent of both wheel guns and autoloaders, however I believe that each has its own strengths and weaknesses depending on the situation. Therefore I will break this article down into a series of pros and cons for both a survival as opposed to a combat situation, then you can compare and contrast and make a decision for yourself.

Revolver.

Pros:

  1. Generally gives a full charge to the round, without losing velocity due to automatic action
  2. Generally has a smoother action, and less recoil due to reduced cybernetic function,
  3. Generally is heavier and more well-built then an Auto loader

Cons:

  1. For a larger caliber handgun only holds six rounds maximum.
  2. Is not quickly reloaded.
  3. Is generally more cumbersome and the ammunition requires speed loaders or to be loaded by hand.
  4. Doesn’t give as many shots on target as quickly as an auto loader does.

 

Auto loader

Pros:

  1. Is slimmer and easier to carry than a revolver
  2. Holds more rounds then a revolver.
  3. Is much easier to reload on the fly
  4. Generally allows for more ammunition more quickly
  5. Is lighter for the most part

Cons:

  1. Greater cybernetic function, (more moving parts)
  2. Less velocity to the round due to loss during discharge and ejection of casing. (Some of the charge goes to throwing brass instead of lead)
  3. Mostly considered to be less accurate for precision shooting

For the most part I can say that I would prefer to have one or the other for different scenarios. If I am on a normal camping trip or military surplus tent adventure with my family then I’m more mindful of self defense and survival and would therefore want to have the tool with me that best fit the mold for self defense; however, if I were hunting, the revolver would be the only way for me to want to go.

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5 uses for a survival still

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Alcohol has been around for thousands of years in the form of wine, whiskey, and beer. And the uses that man has found for this substance are plentiful. Alcohol has been used as a medicine, a disinfectant, a suppressant, a depressant, and an anodyne… most often as an anodyne.

Now I can’t think seriously of any uses for survival beer or survival wine even for that matter. However, I can think of several likely purposes for distilled liquor in a survival situation, and it may even be a good idea for any prepper or survivalist to have a working knowledge of how exactly a distillery, or “still”, works for in the event of a climatic event.

I am not going to go into detail on the making of a still in this writing; however, you can watch a fairly detailed video here.

What I am going to do is list 5 uses for a survival still and the substance it produces.

  1. An anodyne. This is raw pure alcohol, and can be used to a great extent just like alcohol is used already.
  2. As a trade item. Other survivalists and preppers will be in need of an anodyne as well, and many -if not most- will not have the skills needed to supply alcohol for themselves.
  3. As a disinfectant. Alcohol kills, this much is true and it kills on a micro-molecular level. One of the oldest uses of alcohol was for sterilization of both wounds and implements. This makes it invaluable for sterilization purposes even if it isn’t used for anything else.
  4. A painkiller. Though you might feel as if this is the same as an anodyne, I can assure you that it is not. Sometimes an edge is needed to help get through a toothache, earache, etc…
  5. A project. This is more of a utilitarian use for a still, something to occupy your time and mind and to keep you from considering the fact that the end of the world as you know it may have come upon you.
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Survival 101; Why we don’t Eat More Crow

CROW

There’s much to say about the relationship of crows and men. I refer of course to the similarities that the two species share. Crows, like humans, hang together in flocks and will fight each other for turf, food, and principles.

The Crows are a warrior society in the fact that they will post several guards in trees as the flock feeds on the ground and these guards will sound a warning cry when a predator is near. If one of the guards fails to give the cry and a member of the flock is killed, the flock will fly him down and kill him. At least this is some of the lore that Wildman shared with me when I was young. Wildman is a self proclaimed expert on nearly everything outdoors, as a matter of fact, Wildman hasn’t spent one day more in school than he had too, but he does seem to know a lot about crows.

One of the things that Wildman pointed out to me once, when we were hunting and we saw a group of purple grackles harassing a crow, is the fact that the crow had a young purple grackle in it’s beak, evidently having just absconded with said young-ling grackle. Evidently crows like the taste of young grackle meat… perhaps it is like veal to them.

It was Wildman who taught me that crows are good to eat. What he failed to tell me is that they are as wary as deer and as smart as MIT graduates. They also seem to be very fond of their lives because for the longest time I was unable to successfully kill one, even with a shotgun. The key I found , is to remain very still and quiet, while keeping your long gun in your profile. Do not look directly at the crow, because this raises their level of alarm.

The fact of the matter is that it is much easier to hunt rabbits, squirrels, groundhogs, and doves while on a camping trip or military surplus tent adventure. There’s a reason the term “eating crow” is akin to having to humble ones self, it’s because hunting crow is a humbling experience.

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Survival bread, 3 keys to making it

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Survival bread-making is a skill that needs to be cultivated in order to come to fruition, in other words, like all survival skills, you need to practice, practice, practice the making of basic survival bread in order to get proficient at making it.

The concept is simple, in a survival situation, you will want to store the essentials. Flour, of course, is an essential. The carbohydrates produced from the consumption of flour products is essential, but what do you do when the flour is all gone? Well, you make more. How do you make more flour? You grow wheat, or steal it, or barter. The wheat makes the flour which in turn makes the bread. The bread is the sustenance of life. Luckily, bread is not difficult to make. The American Civil War was fought on Hard Tack, at least the Southern part was. Hardtack is nothing more than flour, water, and salt. You don’t have to have leaven in the form of yeast, lard, oil, soda, or anything else though these things are nice to have. Everything else is optional. Here’s a very basic recipe for survival bread that will sustain you for as long as you need it to.

The only required ingredients are flour and water. Anything else is just luxurious accommodation and high faluting  excessivism.

Here are some good additions:

  • 2 tbsp. of olive oil (optional, also regular vegetable oil works too)
  • 1 tsp. salt (optional, add more or less to taste)
  • Spinach, nuts, fruits, or herbs
  1. Mix all the ingredients and scoop together into a ball. Lightly dust a rock or other flat, non flammable surface with flour.
  2. Pour the dough ball out and knead for 5 mins. Roll out to about 1/8 inch thick and bake at  for 20 mins.
  3. Throw it on a heated flat rock – or even in the ashes, and flip it a couple of times till lightly brown and firm.

This is not good mind you. It will do well to sop the grease off of the groundhog that you are spit roasting, or to collect the juices that seep from the fattened squirrel or goose that you have occasion to snare or trap, but it is definitely not a dinner roll from Texas Roadhouse. It will however keep you alive in the event of an emergency.

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RDDUSA product review;Rothco sunglasses to goggles

Image courtesy of: Rothco

 Image courtesy of: Rothco

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The Rothco Interchangeable Optical System converts from goggles with an elastic strap to sunglasses with bayonet temples. The lens have UV400 protection and are anti fog and anti scratch. To switch from goggles to glasses simply replace the elastic straps with the bayonet temples.–Rothco.com

I am a strong advocate of Rothco goggles, as a matter of fact I have a set with me nearly everywhere I go in the continental United States because I concealed carry, and I found out a long time ago that when I get caught in a situation where copper plated lead chunks are being blasted in anger, they have a tendency to shatter when they collide with concrete and steel and even an indirect hit from a piece of copper jacket can result in injury. In a gunfight an eye injury is as good as a shot to the heart if you’re dealing with an experienced foe.

My Rothcos usually ride atop the brim of whichever camouflage baseball hat I have on my head at the time, and their presence really irritates the piss out of my wife; however, irritated though she may be I never go anywhere without them. I love the way they grip my face and seal against my eyes with their shatter resistant protection. However, I really like the design of  the newly released RIOS™ which stands for Rothco Interchangeable Optical System. These goggles allow you to be less conspicuous than my other models do, and I can foresee that they will offer great protection while also letting my wife have the liberty of not having to walk around with a man who looks like a mad bomber. I like the look and feel of Rothco goggles even though there are a plethora of great goggles out there, including some very fine military surplus options that are very affordable.

The only thing I’m not really excited about is the fact that they only come in Coyote tan, while I am an OD green or a black ops sort of guy.

Photo By: Mr. X, Survivalist

                  Photo By: Mr. X, Survivalist

 

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Survival fitness, how much should you run?

Photo By: GaborfromHungary

Photo By: GaborfromHungary

So you want to get ready for the apocalypse? Well, you better get in shape! We have covered what is a good idea for strength training; however, an even better idea is getting ready for increased cardio abilities, because as good as it is to be able to fight well, sometimes it is even better to be able to run away and fight some other time.

The fact is, plain and simple, you need to get a running routine down and stick to it. Now, that being said, I’m not talking about running a marathon here. Those of you who have been in the military know that a ten mile run, though painful, is not something that is out of the question. However, in this day and time that kind of conditioning isn’t necessarily practical even though it would be beneficial.

Instead, I am currently conditioning for the lowest level of the Spartan race. This 5k-ish race is fraught with mud and blood and obstacles, and it is a good level of fitness to maintain for the event of a survival situation. My normal routine is to run three miles three times a week on a track or other level course. I try to average a 9 minute maximum per mile run for the duration of that three miles. This is nothing special and if you are even in kind of good shape you can get to this level in a few weeks at the most. Then, once a week I run a 5.35 mile course that incorporates winding streets and five really steep hills. I allow myself 10 minute miles for this run, (most of which are achieved running down the hills from having lost time running up them). If you haven’t ran for a while, or ever, here is a great way to get started:

  1. Start out at a ten minute mile pace if you can, twelve minute mile pace if you can’t. (This is a lap in 2.5 minutes for 10, or 3 minutes for 12 on a standard track). Run one and walk one at first if you have to.
  2. The goal should be two miles to start. After about a week of run one walk one, Run two and walk one until you can run two miles without stopping either at the 10 or 12 minute mile mark.
  3. Increase your distance weekly, trying to get at least three runs in per week. Every other day is fine with weekends off.
  4. When you can run three miles without stopping, (regardless of the pace), you can begin doing your 5.5 mile run once a week. 3 miles seems to be the magic number for me, if I can run three, then I can control my wind to run 5, or 25, or whatever.
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