The latest posts from TEOTWAWKI Blog
Via Black Scout Survival
A scavenger's take on the basket fish trap. Easy to make, set and forget. Small fish aren't exactly a filling meal, but they work well for catching larger game.
MRE Heater Bomb
MRE heater(s) + water + a 2L bottle = loud boom. Don't try at home, kiddos. More of a distraction device than a weapon, though certainly not something you want to blow up in your face.
Happy to combine shipping if you buy multiple items to save some moola.
If you want an item, say so in the comments and shoot me an e-mail at email@example.com with the item name in the subject line.
And now, welcome to Barter Town...
Tactical Nylon Gear
Lightweight Assault Pack from Grey Ghost Gear in PenCott GreenZone, with Dead Coyote Tactical side pouches. Good, lightweight pack in a great pattern. Very light use. I have too many packs this size and this one has gotta go. SOLD, including the pockets.
HSGI Pistol Tacos in MultiCam with a 3-finger Raven Concealement Moduloader to allow for belt carry. The Moduloader was upgraded to the paddle attachment. More details on the Moduloader at RCS. Asking $60 shipped.
HSGI Bleeder pouch. $SOLD shipped.
Down Range Gear. Replaces the static back strap on many chest rigs with a bungee system. Much more comfortable. SOLD.
Maxpedition bottle carrier in tan. $ SOLD.
3x USGI two mag carriers. Molle with straps. Surplus but in very clean/unused shape. SOLD for all three.
Older, non-matched wood stock set for Mossberg shotguns. Stock has a 13"-ish LOP. Stock needs to be refinished or at least lacquered. $22 shipped. No bolt included for attaching the stock.
(top) Esee Izula II (black) with AZ Welk kydex sheath, plus original sheath. Knife has seen a little use, still in excellent condition. Has been stropped to touch up the edge. The sheath is awesome and comes with a mini-TekLok for belt attachment. SOLD
(bottom) Bradley Mayhem balisong. Awesome bali in great shape. Have box and papers. I don't think they make these anymore. $185 shipped & insured.
Iron Hammer Armory, with the Domari Nolo (booo!) logo on one side. I've added some camo form to help with the grip. Has seen some use, shows wear. Asking $45 shipped.
That's all for now - will be adding more later!
Shop & Survivalist Garage Sale
Leather patches are enroute - should be here within the next couple of days. Those who are waiting won't have to wait much longer. Edit: They're back in stock and glorious!
I figure I might as well give the tribe a crack at the loot before flipping it over to fleabay. Comment if you'd be interested.
On the survivalism front...
As I blogged a few weeks back, our primary goal at the moment is rebuilding our emergency fund. A portion of that money is allocated towards food storage and Rawles-style tangibles (we have both - this is adding to the stores), a portion is allocated to cash and money in the savings account.
All of that depends on having the leftover money to do so, which in turn depends on having and sticking to a budget.
Budgeting is one of the secrets to preparedness...you won't have the funds to do a whole heck of a lot without it. Increasing your income is another one of those secrets, but that's another topic.
We are generally fairly mediocre at sticking to a budget, and there are always things that can sneak up on ya and decimate your budget for the month. Not that we blow through it by hundreds of dollars, but there's often an extra trip to the store/Costco that bumps us over. TEOTWAWKI Wife has gotten pretty serious about getting our food bill in under budget this month, which will be a big help.
Sticking to our budget, we should be able to make some good progress in the emergency fund/tangibles/food storage front. I've got us getting to where I want us to be (for now) by spring of next year.
Along the way, I'm planning on doing some variety of 'food storage' series here to track our progress when we get things rolling. I'll write up a separate post on that topic.
Production from the garden has slowed, which is probably a good thing. I'm pretty sick of tomatoes at the moment and the garden never really yielded enough to break out the canning gear.
Reloading has been put on the backburner for the moment, in part because I haven't been able to get to the range, and in part due to focusing time on the fam/kiddos. I need to test out my test loads before doing some larger scale production runs, and they're ready n' waiting for me to shoot up.
Otherwise, I'm culling through some of the unused/unallocated gear that we've got kicking around (see above 'survivalist garage sale') and intend to plow those funds back into the emergency fund and gear.
That's about it from me at the moment. Now it's your turn. What are you working on? Let us know in the comments section below!
And while we're distracted by the antics in Ferguson...
In Iraq, ISIS has been massacring Christians
Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, is the "first cradle of Christianity in Iraq," Habash said.
But after Islamic militants seized the city on June 10, Arabic letters with a chilling ultimatum were left at the homes of Iraqi Christians.
"The letter said that if you don't convert or if you don't pay, there is a sword between you and us, meaning execution."
ISIS has been targeting Christians specifically and slaughtering them in horrific ways...crucifixion, be-headings, murdering whole families - done out of pure hatred and for shock value. We're only hearing bits and pieces reported back by the media.
They're also massacring other non-Muslim minorities:
Militants in northern Iraq have massacred at least 80 men from the Yazidi faith in a village and abducted women and children, reports say.
"He told me that the Islamic State had spent five days trying to persuade villagers to convert to Islam and that a long lecture was delivered about the subject today," said the villager.
"He then said the men were gathered and shot dead. The women and girls were probably taken to [the city of] Tal Afar because that is where the foreign fighters are."
U.S. forces are launching airstrikes in Iraq to help loosen ISIS' hold on the northern part of the country...
U.S. airstrikes helped Kurdish and Iraqi forces retake the unstable Mosul dam. The Kurdish Peshmerga are the best, most organized fighting force in Iraq. And they have cool technicals, too.
And as of last week, Max Velocity is trying to get a trip to Kurdistan together to roll in and kick some ass.
And civil war still rages in in Ukraine...
On Monday, Ukrainian officials said a refugee convoy of several vehicles was displaying white flags as it traveled through an area where intense fighting had taken place. The buses were hit by rockets and mortars, the officials said, leaving some of the occupants, including women and children, to burn to death. The officials said dozens of people who had left the besieged rebel-held city of Luhansk were killed, though an exact death toll wasn't available. Source.
The police officer (Darren Wilson), whether it is determined to be a good shoot or not, has pretty much had his life thrown in the blender. He's had to bug out from his home, take the family and into hiding while the shooting is investigated. He's been the target of hacking attacks, had personal info dumped onto the 'web and received who knows how many death threats. If at the end of this, he's cleared of wrong doing, he'll still have to live his life as a pariah.
A private citizen could face similar circumstances (see: Zimmerman), and without whatever protection/resources available to a police officer in a situation like this. Your name and info would be out in the media within hours. You'd potentially be in police custody while your family freaks out at home.
|"Kids"? Matching red a coincidence?|
While we've seen store owners standing guard over their businesses with ARs and AKs in hand (or both, in this guy's case), more have left their businesses to be looted, trashed and burned.
Your initial reaction might be to question why these shop owners wouldn't take up arms like the others to protect their businesses and livelihood?
But, take a step back. If you were to shoot a looter or two trying to loot your store, how quickly might you find yourself the target of violent backlash and legal action? Violence against you and your family, potential jail time (state laws vary wildly on using force to protect property), thousands in legal fees...not pretty.
Naa, that's is why you get good insurance. Shut it down, board it up, take pictures of your inventory/equipment and set up some web cams. Call the cops if/when the looters start smashing and grabbing. Record the call, just in case.
If there's no threat to your life or the safety of customers...let 'em torch the place. Then, the insurance company will cut you a check and you can set up shop somewhere safer and less riot prone...Avoid the potential violence, threats, legal entanglement, and get paid to relocate elsewhere. Smart move.
Finally, if you've got friends/family who are (still) oblivious to how quickly the thin veneer of law & order can fracture, here's (another) wake up call.
Not two or three weeks ago, my wife and I had a long chat with a friend about prepping, gun ownership, etc. A good chunk of that was talking about what happened post-Katrina--the rampant looting, lawlessness and general lack of police intervention for many days afterwards--as an example of what has happened in the U.S. in recent history. That seemed to be news to her.
Many people are just too busy working and raising their families to pay a whole lot of attention to what's happening elsewhere. A well timed nudge can be helpful.
Now it's your turn--have the current events caused you to re-think any of your plans or change priorities?
A preliminary autopsy requested by the family of Mike Brown has found he was shot 6 times, all shots fired from the front and at a distance, not that he was shot in the back while fleeing or shot in the back of the head at close range as some have alleged.
There are at least two other autopsies being performed (one ordered by Holder/DOJ), forensics and other details we're all still waiting on.
Ridiculous but not too surprising cluster going on in the welcoming town of Ferguson, MO these days.
Cop shoots thug - he was stopped for stopping traffic by walking down the middle of the street and then resisted arrest, probably went for the officer's handgun and ended up shot dead.
Whether it was a good shoot, accidental shooting or a bad shoot...we don't know at this point. Officer is put on admin leave, shooting being investigated. If he murdered the kid, he should deservedly face the consequences.
Bored, bitter and entitled within the community see this as an excuse to freak out, riot, smash and loot themselves some free liquor and candy.
No one is particularly surprised by this...we've seen it before. There are gangs of bored criminal types just looking for an excuse to loot and plunder.
One of their buddies gets shot? Lootin' time!
Of course, the riot cops show up to protect local businesses and law abiding citizens. That's their job. Tear gas, rubber bullets...yep, if you're NOT looting and smashing, you don't usually have to worry about those hazards.
Enter the media. By and large, the media in this country sucks. They dislike the police, the military and to an extent, America and what it stands for. They don't understand any of them.
Reporters have a handful of standard themes that they report about the military or law enforcement - and abuse of power is their favorite.
They're in it for ratings. They're in it for money. Officer shoots suspected robber during struggle doesn't do much for the ratings. Cop executes church-going young man in broad daylight sure does.
So, media takes the side of the looters. They take the word of this dude (friend of the thug who was shot edited: and admitted accomplice in the robbery that happened minutes before)...
Over that of the local law enforcement. And make the situation worse.
Don't get me wrong. From accounts, it sounds like the police have handled things badly. But you go into a community of hundreds of pissed off, entitled thugs rioting, throwing rocks, and then you try to keep your cool.
So, media reports about abuse of power. Interweb and D.C. freak out. Riot cops get pulled back.
Highway patrol (???) gets pulled in. Cops seem to be ordered to stay away from the mobs, letting them run amok to avoid 'inciting' anything more.
Realizing that the police are no longer around, the looters goes back to looting...
From the local news station:
A reporter from the [local] station tweeted that police cars were seen driving past some of the stores being looted and did not respond. It rained in Ferguson Friday night and protesters could be seen outside until 6 a.m.
Two store owners, standing outside their business holding guns, told Fox2Now.com that when they called 911, they were sent from one police agency to another, and got no response.
One of the owners, with a large black gun resting on his shoulder, told the station that police were lined up blocks from the looting, and did not engage looters making off with large boxes from these stores.
"There's no police," he said. "We trusted the police to keep it peaceful; they didn't do their job."
Anyone surprised by this? Frustrating? Yes. Surprising? No. We've seen it more than a few times.
The situation is just more evidence of what happens rapidly when law and order break down, and one of the many reasons why law abiding citizens should be well armed to protect their family and property.
You can't count on the cops. This is a few days of some intermittent rioting, casual looting and racial tension. Doesn't take much imagination to think about what things would be like were the situation worse.
Here's some photos and story of what happened Friday night.
Apparently two groups amongst the crowds in Ferguson. Peaceful protestors and looters. Looting breaks out, peaceful protestors try to stand in front of/protect local businesses. Pretty cool.
Lots of stories of looters turning violent. Chasing reporters. Threatening to get guns and come back to fight their way through lines of protestors protecting shops.
State of emergency and a midnight to 5am curfew declared tonight. We'll see what how well that works.
And, sounds like it's not going to go over very well.
"Imposing this curfew is justification now for more people to be murder! Watch it's gonna happen! People are going die."
Most of the crowd dispersed peacefully last night, but a group stuck around to tangle with the police and defy the curfew.
After multiple warnings from police, they ended up getting the tear gas treatment. Shots fired from the crowd. One person apparently shot and in critical condition...and this person was not shot by police. (Update: Apparently the person shot Saturday night was a reporter, shot by one of the protestors).
From the local news:
One person shot, a police car hit by gun-fire, and seven arrests as police enforced the governor’s new curfew. Police fired smoke bombs and tear gas at protesters who didn’t want to leave after the midnight curfew rolled around. Police got reports of people on the roof at Red’s Barbecue. Then they saw a man in the street with a gun and they found a man shot in the neck, critically hurt. That is when the SWAT Team came in.
Police tried to move back the crowd with smoke bombs and tear gas to try to get to the shooting victim. By the time police got to the scene near Red’s the victim was already gone. He was taken to the hospital in a private car.
Authorities arrested seven people for failing to disperse the area around. At around 1am it appeared that police had removed all of the protesters.
Meanwhile, a family friend of the police officer calls into a radio show with what she claims is the officer's side of things:
And a taped account from the scene has emerged that seems to confirm this story. Still all conjecture, but makes more sense than the random execution in broad daylight in front of numerous witnesses.
Groups of protestors continue to flock to Ferguson. Mobs continue to destroy their own community. Violence breaking out elsewhere. We'll see what tonight holds, but over the past couple of days have sent race relations back a couple decades over this madness.
Meanwhile, Obama is, of course, on vacation...
And some truth, sanity and hilarity for your evening:
So many possibilities.
Continuing this series where we examine common household items to and brainstorm useful survival and contingency uses for them, it's the soda bottle, found in stores, recycling bins and trash piles across the globe.
Yep, the container part is obvious and quite useful. They pretty darn good containers. Many folks recycle 2 liters for use storing emergency water or staple foods. They tend to hold up to some decent abuse, too.
But, soda bottles can do more than that...time for a knowledge share amongst the T-Blog tribe. Let's see what ya got.
I'll go first. Well, really, I'll flip over something I'd seen, forgotten and then had blog amigo EdWood remind me of when he shared on the Libre MX Facebook page (in Spanish but good pictures).
Take your N95 mask (or soaked cloth...I've seen vinegar, lemon juice recommended, water is better than nothing), some duct tape or scavenged foam rubber, cordage and a scavenged 2L or other similarly sized plastic bottle. A little bit of craft work and you have yourself an improvised gas mask.
Complete instructions here.
Note that this is clearly an improvised, last-ditch kind of thing and your results will vary. If you have a high likelihood of dealing with tear gas or worse, get a real mask.
Now, let's see what creative, nefarious and useful uses you can come up with or track down for the good ol' 2 liter bottle.
Links to pictures, instructionals, YouTube videos encouraged. E-mail me if you've got original images or instructions you'd like to share.
Slight increase ($0.50) in shipping costs per order to better cover our expenses.
Found a minor problem with the new patches (not the leather ones - those are coming, these are more conventional vinyl ones) - my fault, no less. So, those are not going to be sold, but will be offered as freebies to contest winners and such.
The shop will be re-stocked with goods tomorrow evening. Stickers, some new patches...good stuff. Stay tuned.
The 'book' version of You Took Away Tomorrow is taking shape, but slower than I'd like. It's a significant, end-to-end re-write - essentially a brand new book. I'm not going to throw down any timelines at this point, but it's still definitely in the works.
...and, we'll get another contest rolling here in the near future. Got a couple ideas for fun ones.
Thanks all for your readership and support!
|Image courtesy Max Velocity Tactical|
Those who have been following MVT should be aware of Max's 'thermal poncho' concept, which pairs a tarp with a thermal blanket to provide shelter, increased visual concealment and--the key--concealment from thermal optics, like those used by many modern military vehicles. Thermal can be a tricky thing to hide from otherwise.
Max has been working on bringing the Shield to market for a long while, and it looks like it's finally here. They're made by hand in the U.S. of A and priced accordingly, and I'd wager they'll be a bit of a wait to get your hands on one.
Max specs the weight of a kryloned Shield at 2.5 pounds, which is ok given the multipurpose nature. You'd be in that rough neighborhood a sil-nylon tarp and one of the re-usable casualty/space blankets, which would be an alternative.
Now, should you be concerned about enemies with thermal (U.S. forces gone bad, foreign forces, etc.) trying to hunt n' kill you? That's up to you to you to decide.
If you're fall into that camp, check Max's site for more info about the MVT Shield.
Over the past few months, we've been hit by more than a couple less-than-planned for expenses. Nothing abnormal - just a series of fairly large bills that we couldn't have foreseen this time last year.
By the end of the month, those less planned expenses will have pretty much wiped out a good chunk of our emergency fund.
While it sucks to see the fund significantly drained, it's been a blessing to have the reserves to handle these expenses. If not, we'd be forced to take out debt for stupid stuff, borrow money family, maybe raid some of the retirement fund. Stress and worry where the cash was going to come from.
We haven't had to do any of that. We've been able to financially handle the costs as they come in. It's been frustrating, because it's a challenge to put money away in the first place. It's meant vacations not taken, meals not eaten out, purchases not made and so on. You know the drill.
So, it is time to start replenishing the emergency fund.
In my opinion and experience, having some kind of emergency financial reserves set aside is one of the most prudent and practical real life preparations you can make. If you don't have 'em, start setting something aside. Large or small...be consistent and it can add up quickly.
Anyone else have their emergency fund come in handy recently?
Edited to add: Along similar lines - folks often forget the power of contingency currency putting together bags, kits and so on. A handgun, a good blade and a couple thousand bucks can solve a lot of problems...
Creative problem solving with limited resources. Finding uncommon uses for common items. A useful exercise and valuable knowledge.
Take the humble safety pin. What unconventional purposes can it be used for?
Let's see what the tribe can come up with.
On the occasions that I do get out to the range, I have a bad habit of just plinking away with the couple hundred rounds that I've brought. Here, Travis Haley shows an excellent 'warm up' using 100 rounds and focusing in the on the shooting fundamentals.
Testing out Brite Strike APALS as an ultra-compact, low cost emergency light source and beacon. Built in weatherproof adhesive strip allows you to stick 'em where you need 'em. Switch allows you to move through flashing and constant on, and shut the thing off to save it for another day. They're flat versus round, which lets the slip more easily into the tight spaces of small kits.
At $3-$5 a pop and with 80+ hours of useful life, these are a great option for contingency kits or for marking/signalling purposes. Available in a variety of colors, including IR.
Yeeehaw! Sign me up for this one.
Not available for public consumption, but footage of the new, long awaited Mad Max movie debuted at Comic-Con and has folks raving. Crazy, intense, channeling the aesthetics of the original trilogy...here's a snippet from one viewer's description:
At one point, muzzled Max, chained to the back of Hoult’s car, watches in awe as trucks and cars get swirled up into a flaming dust storm, exploding and sending bodies flying every which way. The shot is unflinching, the violence unforgiving; the scene seems to be on the edge of ending at every turn, but it just keeps going, getting more and more brutal and loud, until Hoult finally cuts the tension:
“What a lovely day,” he shouts. “What a lovely day!”
Write-ups with some spoilers are out there (see: MTV, iO9) if you're interested. Folks are going nuts about the footage, which is pretty frickin' great news.
They also released some promo posters, which I'm not in love with.
Only the mad survive!
BTW, Max looks to have added some new weapons to his arsenal (AK mags, pistol mags added to the outfit), but still has the old, iconic sawed off double.
Trailer for the new season of TWD dropped at Comic-Con. Looks like Team Rick is teaming up with the scam artist cannies from Terminus.
I'm going to guess that's a match that doesn't last...
Share your speculation about what we're seeing in the trailer in the comments.
Doug Marcaida demonstrating possibilities with the karambit - impact striking to dynamic deployment of the blade. We're big fans of the k-bit in various forms and Marcaida is one of the best edged weapons dudes in the world...good stuff.
Maintaining situational awareness and elevator tactics from Tony Blauer. Good one to watch - elevators are a common site for criminal attacks.
NRA's Media Lab with Dom Raso has been some fun viewing. Dom takes scenes from action movies and does the whole Mythbusters - 'would this work' deal. For the record on this specific episode - plausible. Jerry Miculek could do it.
Speaking of Jerry, this is one I've been wanting to share for a while. Jerry quick scopes a friggin' grape faster than most people can clear their holster.
Via Edpoint. If you're not following Ed, you should be.
BTW, more swag restock is incoming. Stickers will be here in about a week, leather patches a couple weeks after that.
Everyone, every blog and every site I read (especially in English) always talks about self defense and using arms but what if you had none?
Even still - when faced with multiple aggressors, even a skilled, fit combatant is at a disadvantage...especially if those multiple aggressors are armed and you're not.
Never fight fair. Minimize any advantage an attacker might have. You'll want to be armed, and you'll want to have friends who are armed. The more the merrier.
If you don't have allies at your back, all the more reason to have something more than your fists and feet, even just to hit and run from trouble.
Even in a state that fears private ownership of modern firearms, there are usually still lots of options for weapons.
Black powder or air powered firearms are sometimes option.
Bows, crossbows and sling shots are all rarely banned and simple to make with basic tools or a trip to the hardware shop. They give you some range and can be deadly as hell.
Blunt instruments - hammers, sticks, bats and so on are also an option. Outlawed exactly nowhere.
And so on...lots of options out there. Training is key to effectively using them.
Reworked the overnight bag to a light, grab-n-go sub-load to toss into a bag if/when needed. Contained in an Eagle Creek Pack-It Cube:
T-shirt and skivvies, ranger rolled for compactness
Merino wool hiking socks
Toiletry kit with toothbrush, toothpaste, floss
Simple, practical and inexpensive to throw together...clothes you've got lying around. Just pick 'em out and set 'em aside.
We're in the process of getting stuff restocked and maybe get some more variety to add to the mix.
Ultimately, I'd love to be able to expand this side of what we do and offer a bunker full o' fun stuff and hard-to-find gear. Certainly baby steps for us along that path here--Thanks for your support!
The Hoss' American Militia
We're Hoss fans over here, and he's getting fairly close to funding the project with 9 days left.
And hey, if you have $10k lying around to throw Hoss' way, he'll come visit you and let you buy him dinner! I'd figure Hoss-a-Bossa could pick up the tab for some Denny's Grand Slams, but hey. He may even let you lend him your couch to sleep on!
Capricorn Pocket Tool
Next up is a project by a reader who has been following T-blog since the pocket survival kit contest way back when. Pretty cool little pocket bling, the Capricorn Pocket Tool:
The Capricorn Pocket Hook is a titanium design that weighs less than three quarters. Its main purpose is as a keychain dangler. The three hooks (main hook, pocket clip, and shallow hook) allow keys to be suspended in a variety of ways. Furthermore, the hooks also lend themselves to other uses, such as carrying bags, lifting hot dutch ovens, attaching items to backpacks, and more. The Capricorn is equipped with a bottle opener and a slot to drive 1/4" hex bits. At only $17 for the standard early bird option, we feel it's an economical way to augment one's EDC.
They're just over halfway to their goal with 12 days left. Check it out here:
The bag is a Camelbak Urban Assault, going on 4 years old. Still lookin' good, no rips tears or busted zippers. Excellent bag, with a dedicated laptop pocket and lots of useful internal pockets. The gear pictured goes into admin pockets, leaving the main compartment wide open for whatever I might need.
The bag's contents are a mix of daily-use items, snivel gear and lightweight contingency kit. Doesn't weigh much, provides some good capability and keeps oft used items at hand.
Contents after the jump:
- Guyot stainless water bottle with CapCap
- N95 mask
- Mechanix gloves
- Military Energy Gum x2
- Metrx Bars x2
- Clif Bar
- Electronics kit contained in an Eagle Creek Pack-It:
- Bic lighter
- SAR signal mirror
- Pocket survival kit similar to this one, with a repair card ranger banded to the back
- 25-feet of Technora 400 survival cord
- Leatherman Charge xTi (apparently has been replaced by the TTi) with extra bits and bit extension
- Leatherman PS4 with pliers swapped for scissors
- Lamy Tri-function pen
- Spare reading glasses
- Lens cleaner
- Headphone case with Bose MIE2 headphones
- $125 in cash, mixed bills
- Microfiber cloth
- Stanley Mini-tape measure
- Lip balm
- Altoid tin with Fisherman's Friend
- Hand sanitizer
- Boo-boo kit
- Titanium Spork
Some additional commentary:
Pretty simple, but it works for me.
If you look back over some of my older dumps, you'll note that I've trimmed out quite a bit. I used to carry a toiletry kit, more food, etc. - it didn't get used and it wasn't worth carrying around. There are certainly still some non-essential pieces of gear, but I keep them on hand 'cuz they're convenient for daily use and/or weigh little.
Example - I could drop all the snivel gear and only suffer some inconvenience as a result...but, it'd gain me a few ounces that aren't really needed for my purposes.
I've misplaced my little notebook that I keep in the bag - need to replace that. Somtimes have a glow stick or two in the bag, used those for kiddo entertainment and need to replace them. Other contents added based on needs.
My personal laptop is beefier than I'd like or need it to be for travel - it's something like seven or eight pounds with the cable/adapter and makes up the heaviest component by far. I need to get a tablet of some variety for trips, reducing that down to 1 whole pound.
That's about it! Happy to answer any questions, open to suggestions.
Yep, you read that right. It can run off of any of those battery types. Streamlight doesn't advertise AAAs working, but they most certainly do. The single cell battery compartment is smartly designed to expand/contract to fit the cell size - it's spring loaded, so it adjusts automatically when you slip a different cell in. And it actually works, too.
Keeping on that theme of versatility, while the Sidewinder is primarily likely an upgrade to your headlamp, it can do more than that. It has a very useful and bomb proof metal clip for attaching to webbing, belts, shoulder straps, etc. Or use it as a pocket clip. There's even a hole for adding a dummy cord or lanyard.
The light has negligible weight - only a few ounces - and fits well in the palm for hands-on lighting.
The UI is very good, and one of the few that easily can be used by touch alone. The various modes come on at their lowest setting and step up in brightness from there, which is exactly what you'd want in a tactical situation and to preserve battery life.
The switch operates silently, without the tell-tale clicking of many switches. Similarly, rotating the light is also silent - no ratcheting noises.
The light is constructed from a very durable polymer, with an unbreakable lens and rated for full submersion for at least 30 minutes. It feels solid, rugged and tough in hand.
Battery life is pretty good. With a CR123A, the Sidewinder is advertised to get 70 hours on low (10%), 6 hours on high (100%). With an AA, you'll see about 40 hours on low, 4 hours on high. Streamlight doesn't provide data for the AAA, but it would be obviously shorter. Since it's a single-cell light, those numbers are all with one battery.
For its awesomeness and versatility, the Sidewinder ain't perfect.
The light provides plenty of usable brightness for navigating around (around 45-55 lumens with white light, depending on the kind of battery), but it isn't capable of the eyeball blasting lumens that other lights are (see: the 500-lumen Surefire Maximus). In most situations, that level of output is overkill for a headlamp or task light, though. The low/med is what you'll be using most of the time.
It'd be great if Streamlight actually slowed down the flashing for the beacon mode and/or lowered the brightness a notch or two and doubled or tripled the run time. As-is, the red/IR bulbs are rated at 24 hours in beacon mode, plus whatever else it can squeeze out of the battery - ok but not great.
Anyways, if you're in the market for a headlamp or looking to upgrade, the Streamlight Sidewinder Compact II is worth a serious look. The ability to run on CR123As/AAs and AAAs is huge and can mean the difference between having a topped up light or not. The different modes give you lots of options, the UI is great and the build is rock solid.
It ain't perfect, but it's pretty darn good.
Buy the Streamlight Sidewinder Compact II on Amazon >
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