The latest posts from TEOTWAWKI Blog

Some tools of the trade shared by Ed - some supplied by yours truly, in conjunction with blog friends OscarDelta and sponsor Vigilant Gear.

Good to know the loot is being put to good use!

via Edpoint
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: December 15, 2014, 11:55 pm

The Christmas season is one our favorite times of the year. Time off work, good food, giving and receiving of gifts.

For whatever reason, it seems that we survival/prepper types can be difficult to shop for.

Back in 2009, we started up an annual "Christmas gifts for survivalists" series to help you guide friends and family in the right direction for their gift giving.

For 2014, we're continuing that tradition, breaking down a slew of stocking stuffers and affordable gift ideas that fit any budget. If you order quickly, most of these should make it to your door by Christmas without issue.

$10 and Under

ResQMe Keychain
These lightweight little tools combine a window punch and seat belt cutter in one compact little package. Hope you will never need it, but have it on hand just in case. Link

Breakfree CLP 
CLP is the good ol' standby when it comes to gun cleaning and lubricant. It gets the job done well and it never hurts to have a lil' extra on hand. Link

299 Days: The Preparation
Set before an economic collapse, this is a different kind of prepper novel. It's low on action and instead focuses on how the main character gets motivated to get off his butt and start preparing. Good for both new and seasoned survivalists alike - either educational or affirming, depending on how far down the path you are. Link

McNett Gruntline
A lightweight, multifunctional bungie cord that you'll almost certainly find a use for - even if it's hanging laundry while traveling.

12v Clip on Cigarette Lighter Adapter
Clip onto a battery to get a 12v cigarette lighter outlet when you need one. Car batteries are an abundant source of electricity, and one of these inexpensive gadgets would enable you to scavenge it while on the move. Link

Brass Catcher
Straps onto any AR-15 style rifle and catches brass as it is kicked out. Great if you're a reloader or just sick of picking up brass off the ground. Link  

$25 and Under

Cold Steel Special Forces Shovel
I love this thing. Shovel and a great chopper in one bomb-proof package. It's one of my favorites for work around the yard and comes along for every camping trip. And, by the very metal Cold Steel montage, looks like it'd do alright as a weapon, too. At $15, they're one of the best bargains out there. Link 

Sawyer Mini
Fits in the palm of your hand, weighs a couple ounces yet will filter 100,000 gallons of water. The Sawyer line blows every other filter out of the water. Link

Anker Astro E3 10000 mAh Backup Battery
Most of us carry around little pocket computers that were once the stuff of science fiction. They can do a whole heck of a lot...unless the battery is dead, in which case they might work as a signal mirror. A backup battery is an everyday carry must-have, and Anker makes some of the best in the business. Link 

Firearm Magazines
Mags are one thing you can never have too many of them. Most will run in this $25 ballpark. Buy factory, branded magazines--don't cheap out on Korean surplus, TAPCO, etc. They won't work right, and the shooter will probably waste valuable ammo trying to figure that out.

Mold it, shape it, fix stuff...this self-setting rubber is good for all kinds of repairs and modifications. Once cured, it's water proof and withstands both high and low temperatures. Multipurpose problem solver. Link

Gator Grip Universal Socket
I've had one of these for the past six or seven years, and it's gotten me out of some jams. It works very well in a pinch, when you don't have the right sized socket to work on a bolt. A heck of a lot more compact than a full socket set, too. Link 

1 Oz. of Silver
Hard to go wrong with a chunk of precious metals. There are lots of cool designs, old coins and such to choose from. Silver is cheap right now, too. Link

That's should be a good list to get your friends and family kick started! Stay tuned for more.
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: December 15, 2014, 11:24 am
Via Black Scout Survival:

Cool product - gets you a really nice custom lightweight map for your bug out needs.

Never hurts to have a map on hand, even just as a backup.

Available on eBay.
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: December 11, 2014, 11:29 pm

A sneak peak of this movie took Comic Con by storm, and the full length thing just gets better...pumped to spend some more time in the wastelands with Max!

Some friggin' insane practical car 'sloding effects in store...
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: December 11, 2014, 11:23 pm
Wanted to put a quick plug in for the garage sale from a while back - still have some nice pouches up for grabs.

Also - patches and stickers still in stock in our store. Grab some for holiday stocking stuffers. We'll be closing up shop for the holidays a week from today (Tuesday, 10/16), so act quickly.
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: December 10, 2014, 3:35 am

Discussion came up in the $1k arsenal comments around the reliability of carbine-length gas systems on AR-15s. Wanted to share a couple good reads on the subject:

AR-15 Buyer's Guide at the New Rifleman (good overall guide, scroll down for the gas-system discussion)

"Even though the carbine has an “aggressive” gas system, it is still a reliable machine. It may experience parts breakage sooner in its life than the other configurations, but we’re talking many thousands of rounds before that *might* occur."

And another good 'un:
Carbine vs. Mid-length on 16" Barrels

My thoughts: A carbine-gassed 16" should still run plenty reliably, just harder on the parts and with a bit more recoil impulse. My personal AR-15 has been a carbine-gassed 16" gun for years and has run 100% with mostly Wolf/Tula crap ammo run through it. If you have the choice, I'd go with a mid-length on a 16" barrel, but I wouldn't loose much sleep over it if you can't.
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: December 6, 2014, 4:02 am

We survival types like to toss around arbitrary dollar figure for buying up an armory o' guns. $1000 seems to be the average starting point, and for a long time it was something like an SKS, a budget shotgun and a lower-end semi auto like a Sigma or Ruger P95. Nod to TotalSurvivalist for the conversation starter.

My take:

The Long Gun - an AR-15
With a glut of ARs out there and prices dropping like it's hot, the ~$500 AR is not just a reality, it's pretty easy to achieve.

There were several deals out there this past weekend that woulda made it easy. But, those deals have past. Quick search this evening (Wednesday post-Black Friday) shows several possibilities:

Kit + Lower Build
  • PSA "Freedom" Kit for $420 Link
  • Take your pick of $40-$60 stripped lowers plus $25 FFL
  • Total: $505 plus some shipping, and looks like you'd need a rear BUIS
Complete Upper and Lower
  • Hardened Arms complete 16" upper for $349 Link
  • PTAC Blackhawk Lower for $146 Link
  • $495 and you don't even need to build anything. Plus FFL, maybe some taxes and shipping. And BUIS.
So, we're easily in the ballpark during the middle of the week, without sales and without trying very hard.

Will a $500 AR run? It should. I wouldn't buy anything too sketchy looking, but there are lots of shops out there putting together quality, very functional ARs for not much. I also wouldn't be afraid of building up a lower  - morons like me have been doing it in their garages for years.

Hard to go wrong with the carbine - it's become the go-to firearm of choice for freedom-loving survival types. Accessories, mags and ammo are everywhere.

For this thought exercise, I'll be lazy and allocate $600 to an AR-15, which will include back up iron sights, taxes and FFL transfer fees.

The Glock is the ol' standby recommendation for good reason. They just run, and they don't have a whole lot to go wrong with 'em.

Police Departments use them and eventually surplus them out in favor of newer models. These often get the refurb treatment and make it back out to dealers in excellent shape.

Surplus Glocks aren't that hard to track down, and they can be a steal of a deal. Here's a very tempting example - Glock 17 Gen 2 with night sights - at AGS Armament for the low-low price of $337. Toss in FFL fees and any shipping and you're still easily under $400.

Not satisfied? A very quick Google search turned up J&G Sales, Centerfire Systems and others with fairly similarly priced .40 S&W Glocks in similar price ranges. This place has one for $299, shipped!

When you can pick up a Glock for $350, it's hard to recommend any other budget semi-autos. They're by no means perfect, but Glocks have become the standard by which all other pistols are judged.

If you wanted something more easily concealable, the Shield is easy to get under $400, as are several other similar guns.

So, for right around $1000, you can grab yourself an AR-15 and a Glock with night sights--and be pretty well equipped in terms of firearms. Then comes range time, ammo, etc.
Under $500?
Rarely though do people with no guns suddenly come up with $1k to dump into guns. Budgets are often tight and $1k is still $1k.

$500 is a tougher budget to work with, and at that point you're often deciding between one quality firearm or two budget guns. I've become a fan of buying quality and what you want over the years, and would lead you towards picking one good gun over two lesser examples.

For one gun, a $500 AR is a decent choice for an all-arounder, but I think most average joe's would benefit more from a quality handgun. As an alternative, a pump shotgun with a light, sling and sidesaddle is very do-able at the $500 price point.

For two guns, if you really shopped around, you could land on a surplus/used Glock and a good pump shotgun for right around $500. There have been several waves of just over $200 police surplus 870s lately, and Mossberg Mavericks can be had in the $200 ballpark, too. For the price range, that'd be a pretty darn good combo and set one up well for home defense, zombies or what have you.

What's your take? Your $1k arsenal? What about $500? Pontificate in the comments section below.
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: December 4, 2014, 5:01 am
I've had several lousy experiences with companies in the past year or so, but I wanted a good experience for a change.

I purchased a Velocity Systems plate carrier from OP Tactical during their Black Friday sales. First time purchase from OP, first Velocity product that I've purchased as well.

Sizing information on the Velocity plate carriers was/is a bit sparse across the interwebs, so I went with what looked to be the right choice based on a chart that I dug up on another website.

Received the carrier really quickly and determined that I'd ordered the wrong size on the cummerbund/cumberbund.

Contacted OP Tactical and offered to send in for an exchange or refund with shipping on my dime.

OP Tactical responded quickly, saying they'd get in touch with Velocity Systems to see if they could coordinate an exchange.

The Velocity rep reached out within about twenty minutes, saying they'd send out the size that I needed and include a return shipping label in the package.

That is how you do it!

In situations like this, I've had other companies say "Sorry, that's your problem, not ours." Or even just refuse to answer the e-mails.

OP Tactical was on the ball quickly, despite the hectic time of year, and took ownership of helping me out. Velocity System swooped in like a jet pack wearing bald eagle and took steps to fix my problem, on their dime.

Yep, it took OP Tactical a bit of time and Velocity is out a few dollars of margin in shipping costs. But, they've both exceeded my expectations, won me over as a fan and future customer, and led me to share the goodness with others.

That's how you do business and how you treat your customers. There are many out there who could take a page from their playbook!

Thumbs up to both.
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: December 4, 2014, 2:55 am
Spoilers/discussion after the jump.

Looks like Killer Carol made it through the midway point of the season, and little Beth bit the bullet.

The opening scene, with Rick chasing down the escaped cop, was well done. At this point, giving the dude a chance to surrender and then running him down was about the best way to handle things. 

Rick had the decency of gunning him down, too, instead of leaving him to serve as a live walker snack.

Back at the church, we learn that crazy Gabriel left the church to go to the school...apparently to verify that the cannibals that Team Rick killed were indeed cannibals. Unfortunately, a mini-horde of zombies breaks out from the school and follows him back to the church. Michonne has some good zombie/katana action as they bug out.

Is anyone else getting annoyed that Gabriel ISN'T dead yet? Anyone think they should cut him loose for being crazy? Drop him off in a safe place with some food and say adios?

After some dialog between various characters that didn't matter a whole lot, we find ourselves at the initial encounter between Rick and two of the police officer's, with the rest of the group set up as snipers.

Nice touch to this scene - it looked like Rick had set up a wind flag with an old grocery bag, to help the rest of the group read the wind and make adjustments. It didn't look like they were really far enough to need to make adjustments for wind, but a nice add none-the-less.

Now, due to lazy writer syndrome, Team Rick moves deep into enemy controlled territory (a hallway within the hospital) to make the actual prisoner swap. This is a terrible idea on so many levels, but it was done so that a) the ending could happen and b) they wouldn't have to scout/build another location for the prisoner swap.

We enter into a tense standoff. The close range and lack of cover mean that if anything goes wrong, a whole lotta people are going today.

Swap goes off seemingly well until the group goes to leave and head police woman demands that they leave Noah as well. After some arguing, Noah volunteers to stay. Beth takes exception to this, goes all crazy and stabs head police lady with a little pair of scissors she had stashed in her cast.

Head police lady shoots Beth in the face, and then a heart broken Daryl finishes head police lady. At this point, I was thinking we might have multiple characters dying - with everyone at spitting distance raising their guns, it was gonna get ugly. Luckily, the cops call off the ensuing gunfight and calmer heads prevail.

Now, you'd never let crazy, pissed off Beth get in head police lady's face to begin with. Not a good negotiation tactic. But then you wouldn't have had the ending that the writer's wanted.

Meanwhile, Team Glenn, Maggie & Associates return to the church, pick up Michonne, Cawrl and baby, and then head to the hospital. Maggie gets her hopes up hearing that Beth is still alive, only to have them dashed when they show up at the prison to see Daryl carrying her lifeless corpse out.

Overall, I was a bit disappointed by the episode. Beth's death was fairly pointless, action was a bit of a let down for a mid-season finale and the ending left you with nothing but "Ok....now what are they going to do?"

At least the group is re-united once again (finally).

And hey - whatever happened to Morgan? We got a brief tease of him following the group early in the season and then...nothing!

Edited to add: If you're cable-free and buy the shows, you need to be more patient than I was and wait 'till after the credits for a sitrep on Morgan. We see him wandering, Book of Eli style, following the trail markings left by the cannibals. He makes his way to the church, where he finds the map left by Abraham - "the new world's going to need Rick Grimes" - queue surprised reaction and then the episode really ends.

That's it from me - what did you think of the episode? If you were in Rick's shoes, where would you go next?
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: December 1, 2014, 11:47 am
Went out and picked up the Liberty Revolution 12 safe from Gander Mountain for about $70 off its usual price. Not a screaming deal, and there were bigger safes out there for not much more money, but I had some specific reasons for picking a smaller safe

One of those reason being that I could move it via personal vehicles, unload and move it into place with a dolly and my wife's help. Guy at Gander was a big help loading the safe up. Wifey had a bit of a struggle helping move it up the three steps into our house, but beyond that, pretty smooth sailing. 

Pretty happy with the safe thus far - I'll get a review up after some more time with it. Very nice quality, works in the space that I needed it to. Fits my current collection with room to spare.

Also picked up a Goal Zero Yeti 150 on an Amazon Lightning sale. I've been eyeballing a portable battery to go with a 28 watt panel for a long while, and this was a pretty good deal. There are several options out there, and it bares a standalone post or two to discuss. I am slightly leery of Goal Zero's stuff, but the battery is theoretically end-user replaceable. Initially, a nice all-in-one package. Review also in the pipeline.

Finally, picked up a few bits for an AR pistol build that is very slowly coming together. Odin buffer tube kit, carbine spring and buffer...will get my lower squared away and then start working on the upper.

Haley Strategic let me down with their sales - no discount on the D3CRs, so I passed on that for the time being.

That's it from me. What did you get? Any Cyber Monday deals that you're eyeballing?
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: December 1, 2014, 1:38 am
Like usual, tough times appear to be ahead for our heroes. This time around though, the ending to this season's mid-season finale had actor Norman Reedus (Daryl) apparently crying for an hour straight before filming the scene - via TV Guide:

Reedus describes the hour's final moments as so "devastating" that they unleashed an intense wave of feelings before the cameras rolled. "I sat on an apple box with my head between my legs and just bawled for an hour," he says. "I really wanted not to tear up during [the scene] — I wanted to be like I had wasted every tear in my body before we started shooting — so I just sat there and cried and cried and cried.

The theory has been for a while now that Carol is going to be the next one to become walker-bait, and the recent Carol-centric episode, plus Norman Reedus having a "devastating" scene seems to support that theory.

We'll see if Team Rick makes it through the face off with Team Hospital intact!

Stay tuned for our after show write up tomorrow morning!
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: November 30, 2014, 10:47 pm
Well, Thanksgiving is nigh upon us, and with that comes the steepest discounts of the year.

Slickguns has ad scans for many of the major firearms-related retailers if you're looking for a one-stop-shop.

Soldier Systems has a really good listing of deals from online merchants, found right here.

Amazon of course has lots of  deals, including night vision and thermal stuff at a pretty steep discount. We're an Amazon affiliate, so if you do any shopping through one of our Amazon links, we get a small kick back from them. Costs you nothing and is one of the primary sources of fundage for the blog, so we certainly appreciate it. Click here to start shopping.

If you find some scorching deals that you want to point the tribe too, post 'em up in the comments.

This year, I'm shopping for some deals on a closet-sized gun safe, a HSP D3CR (original flavor), Mayflower or Velocity plate carrier and general AR-related goodies. Need to buy some uppers, so we'll see if there's anything that has me biting. Also in the market for a subcompact 9, but haven't made up my mind on model and don't anticipate any scorching deals.

Closet-friendly Gun Safe
Safe is looking like it'll be a Liberty Revolution, which Gander Mountain has on sale for a decent discount. I've got limited real estate in my current house, so whatever safe I end up with needs to be on the small-ish side. The Liberties seem to be the best-in-class for this size o' gun safe--made in the USA, 30 min fire rating, S&G lock, Liberty brand/warranty and the 'military-style' locking mechanism is better than the handful of bolts similar safes use. Local pickup and being able to move and install it myself is another (very) big plus.

I am well aware of the general advice to buy bigger than you think you'll need for a gun safe. I'm big on diversity, though, and believe I'd rather have a few decent quality safes in various locations than one big ol' papa bear safe that takes a crane to move. More work for a B&E crack head to find multiple safes and break into each of 'em separately, while alarm system is going off and police are incoming.

I have a pretty modest firearms collection, too, and a smallish safe should suffice for the next several years. Down the line, I will get an upgrade and this safe will serve as a backup and offer some additional diversity in secured storage.

If anyone has a Revolution, let me know how it's treated you.

If you're not size constrained (or you're better at persuading your wife), there are some good deals on bigger safes -  plenty in the some $400-$800 price range.

D3CR & Velocity/Mayflower Plate Carrier
I actually had a D3CR last year and sold it off. Had been intending to use it as a standalone chest rig, found the straps lacking and did not have an easily compatible plate carrier. After playing around with a couple other rigs this past year, I've come full circle and am looking to do the plate carrier + D3CR + light belt rig thing. Some basic thoughts are included in my blurb on the D3CR-Heavy from yesterday.

If you've run this combo, welcome your thoughts.

I need me moar ammo and/or reloading components. Can never have enough of that, right?

Also have several projects that are stalled at the moment, waiting for funds and good deals to move forward

With the evil black rifle market in a bit of a lull these past few months, hoping for some scorching dealios to hit. I'm looking at Weapon Outfitters, BCM and some of the smaller shops to see what they come out with.

Small 9
I was planning on getting the Shield, but took it for a rental test drive at my range and found that the grip did not agree with my hand particularly well, which was a bit of a surprise. Otherwise a very nice gun and a great size.

There are a half dozen alternatives that I need to get hands on and shoot--Sig 938, other compact 1911 flavors in 9,  Beretta Nano, Kahr, etc. Heck, should probably give the Glock 26 another look, though I'm thinking it's wider than I want.

Being a snubbie revolver guy for the past several years has me looking at the Ruger LCR-9, too.

Not planning on seeing any scorching deals on these, though.

Anyways, that's what I'm shopping for this Black Friday / Thanksgiving shopping extravaganza weekend. What are you looking for?
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: November 25, 2014, 10:15 pm
Image via HSP.
For those of you who run the .308 battle rifles, HSP has added a chest rig for you: the Disruptive Environments Chest Rig - Heavy, designed by Travis Haley and Eggroll from Extreme Gear Labs.

Travis's impressive marketing machine is rolling this out to the tactical world post-haste, and he's provided a to-the-point overview of the new design and features of the new chest rig.

In my opinion, the D3CR line is one of the best options out there for a compact, out-of-the-box solution. Their expansion system lends some additional versatility, too. And, no fiddling with friggin' Malice clips, either.

The shoulder strap system on the original is a bit lame, and it doesn't look like they've upgraded the straps for the Heavy, which would have been a good idea. If you're wearing it regularly as a standalone chest rig, I imagine you'll be hunting for an upgrade before too long.

The D3CR really excels at being mounted to the front of a plate carrier. In that case, it gives you the ability to go from a low-profile, slick (no pouches) front plate carrier to an attached fighting load within seconds. You have better integration, less webbing tangle and more stability than trying to wear a chest rig over a plate carrier. I'm moving my kit in this direction and looking to pickup a few pieces to that end during upcoming Black Friday sales.

A slick carrier concealed under a jacket or button up is likely to be more useful to most folks in civvy shoes, and having the ability to ammo up in a moment gives you the best o' both worlds with one rig. Keep the shoulder straps in your go bag as a backup, too.

The D3CR's velcro and swift-clip docking capability gives you the ability to very easily flip between rigs. ITS Tactical has a good overview of the versatility this can give you--go from shotgun to carbine, for example. Now, you can flip from a the original D3CR running 5.56 to the Heavy running 308 by un-clipping a couple buckles and peeling bag some velcro.

Yep, the default mag count is just 4 on both the original and the Heavy. For the original, you've got the 2 mag expansion, which bumps you up to 6, a respectable mag count by most anyone's standards. HSP may/may not release the expansion for the Heavy--as Travis notes in the video, that's a fair amount o' weight to strap on.

Your belt line is usually a better idea for those few extra mags, anyways. A couple belt mounted pouches or a drop leg rig would get you to the standard 6-8 magazine capacity pretty easily, and gives you some primary mag reloads on your first line to boot.

The D3CR is narrow enough to work well with belt-mounted gear, too. Wider, more fatty chest rigs or plate carrier setups will tend to prohibit access to anything on your belt line, but with the narrower width of the D3CR/D3CR-H, you should still be able to access belt mounted pouches without too much trouble.

Hey, even if you're not interested in the D3CR-Heavy (I own exactly zero 308 rifles), there's some perty 308s in the product photograph. Check it out via the HSP web store.
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: November 24, 2014, 11:59 pm
Rick planning out the episode we want to see...

So, episode starts out good. Rick's laying out the plan to take the hospital. They set up a distraction and draw out some of the cops, then move in stealthily. Daryl will take out the first guard. How's he going to do that? Slit his throat. Then they move in with blades and suppressed weapons.

Sounds like we're in for a rocking, action packed episode, right?


Tyrese, Mr. Gentle Giant, comes up with the "safer" plan of capturing some of their people and using them as bargaining chips.

Ya, look how well that worked out for the Governor last season.

The remainder of the episode is fairly mediocre: Team Rick tries to catch some of the hospital's people and all does not go according to plan. We jump between Team Rick's main plot line and some filler material with Team Glenn stranded on the highway and Secret Agent Beth trying to help out Carol.

Pretty much a tease from the set up provided by last week's episode, with some fairly weak writing. Making the characters look stupid/incompetent in order to move the plot along is a major cop out.

That said, there were a few upsides.

Guns. I am digging Rick's suppressed pistol, which looks to be a H&K with Silencerco Osprey.

Glenn and Maggie are now rocking some nice hardware, too. Maggie's looks like a S&W R8, which is a variant of one of my grail fun guns, the S&W 627

While Glenn has a chromed out Colt 1911, complete with Colt mag and some passable trigger discipline. Pretty nice. Hadn't noticed this one yet.

And last spot o' goodness, some good zombie makeup effects used for the melted zombies.

The end of the episode seemed to set up for the big action next week...the filler does get old.

Anyways, what did you think of the episode? Good/bad? Any takeaways?
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: November 24, 2014, 8:52 pm

After a couple snoozer episodes, I really dug this past week's episode of the Walking Dead, titled "Consumed".

Some great post-apocalyptic scenery as Carol and Daryl returned to explore the ruins of Atlanta in search of Beth. And I am certainly a sucker for exploring desolate apocalyptic urban landscapes...for some reason, strangely beautiful and fascinating. Felt a bit like the zombie classic 28 Days Later.

Thumbs up to the show here for some good work here. Excellent cinematography, set design, etc. And cool to revisit some of the iconic places from earlier in the series.

Also enjoyed a few of the urban survival elements that were comparatively well done, if you were paying attention:
  • Struggles with locked doors, chains and other barriers (and having the tools to deal with them)
  • Acquiring transportation when needed
  • Using existing shelter
  • Scavenging water and other supplies
  • Importance of stealth and observing unknown forces from afar
  • Necessity of traveling light
Next week should be action-packed, as Daryl rallies the troops and brings 'em in guns blazing to rescue Beth and Carol.

What did you guys think? Think anyone will catch a bullet or walker bite in next week's jail break episode, "Crossed"/
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: November 18, 2014, 2:38 am
Continuing from the previous post. Comments generated some good discussion, responses started getting long so I broken them out here.

Contractor-style "Go Bags" - maybe a bad example
I used these as an example of a lighter weight, purpose-driven kit, but may have taken the conversation sideways a bit

For some context, an example from Bubba over at DVM of a go bag (he calls it a red zone bug out bag) he carried as a backup:  http://www.deathvalleymag.com/2010/03/16/civilian-contractors-red-zone-bug-out-bag-part-1/

A man purse with mags and tactical gear isn't something I'd make an across the board recommendation on, especially for a civvy survivalist. In fact, it's tough to make any kind of across the board recommendations. Why?

A really good quote from the DVM article:

It’s all about defining the threat environment you operate in, the problems you will most likely face, and sorting out the tools that are the best fit for you and your mission, as well as what you can reasonably expect to carry.

The contractor go bag is an example of a solution for the problems those guys were facing in Iraq. They were almost exclusively operating out of vehicles in a quasi-urban environment, and were primarily concerned with attacks from heavily armed insurgents, IEDs or a combination of the two. If the bag needed to be employed, it'd need to be grabbed quickly, and would be used to retreat under fire and either get to safety or survive until help showed up.

Your threat environment, the problems you will most likely face, and the problem solving tools that will work for you will likely be different from a contractor in Iraq circa 2009.

Bug out bag or Ruck
These are two terms that are tossed around a lot in the same discussion--I'll define them in terms of capacity and weight and discuss.

Bug out bag (aka patrol pack, go to hell bag, go bag): A typical bug out bag is going to be around assault/3 day pack size. Or similar to the size you'd take on a long day hike or 3-season overnighter.

Less than 3000 cubic inches and 30-ish pounds or less in weight.

Intended to grab and go in an emergency or support short term operations away from a vehicle or base camp. Keep you alive until you can reach safety, get back to camp or help arrives.

Ruck / rucksack: A larger internal or external frame pack intended for heavy loads.

 >3000 cubic inches, 40+ pound loads

I view rucks as more of a special purpose item. These haul the larger quantities of crap you need to set up a comfortable base camp and live longer term in the wilds. These are intentional off-grid operations (e.g., you planned on walking into the woods to spend a week reconning an enemy position) or cold weather ops, where you need a lot of bulky stuff to stay alive.

Due to its size and weight, mobility is hindered while wearing the ruck, more calories are consumed and there's more wear and tear on your body. Thus, a bug out bag is often integrated with the ruck, in case the larger pack needs to be ditched in an emergency or left behind after base camp is established.
Ideally, you would have both a bug out bag and a ruck to work with, or a ruck that can cinched down to a smaller size fairly easily. Options are good. But, they're also costly.

IMO, if you're going to have just one, the bug out bag is the more useful, general purpose of the two.

And, as we've been discussing, you need to consider your environment and the mission at hand--as an example, if you're preparing for the contingency that you might need to walk a hundred miles through the frozen north when it's -40 out, you're going to have a hard time getting away with a smaller, lighter weight pack.

"Civilian" scenarios & loadout

From RH:

Speaking in terms of situations (and I'm hoping somebody will correct me if I'm wrong), I feel like a civilian loadout is going to be much different from a combat one (aside from the obvious). If you're a soldier and SHTF, then doesn't that mean people are shooting at you, or pursuing you? Bottom line, you are in an actively inhospitable environment. Whereas a civilian SHTF scenario is probably not going to be as actively hostile. A car crash, an earthquake, even (the vastly less likely) event of some sort of terror attack--these are all going to be over quickly. Aftermath, yes, absolutely. That's obviously a danger. But I don't see survival gear as being all that important in a civilian bag unless you're in the boondocks. In an urban setting, E&E isn't as important as being able to render aid to yourself or others in the immediate aftermath of an event. Being mobile (as Theother Ryan pointed out, just walking half a mile would take you out of danger) is the second most important factor.

In thinking this through, there's really kind of a split.

In the more common situations you're talking about, a bug out bag isn't really needed. Earthquake...you're going to just bug in. Car crash...more of a personal SHTF, where you'd want some first aid gear, vehicle extraction tools and a cell phone. Bugging out after a large-ish terror attack (say bio attack or chem weapon)...you pretty much just need distance and a bit of time to let authorities clean up the mess. Cash, a CCW, working cell phone and a hotel room 300 miles away get you through most of this stuff.

But in the above situations, you have the luxury of remaining a regular old civilian.

Then, there are collapse scenarios, where there's little/no rule of law, and you may not have the luxury of remaining a regular old civilian. A prepared person might be pressed into a combat/peace keeper role, find themselves specifically targeted by hostile groups, etc.

In my opinion, this is when the bug out bag starts to become more relevant to your immediate survival, the civilian lines start to blur and the contents take on a more tactical lean.

See the crap going on with ISIS right now for an example...a lot of people who were previously 'civilians' have been forced to bug out from their homes and take up the fight against Islamic extremists. Or areas in Mexico, where citizens are taking up arms to secure their towns and fight back against corrupt law enforcement and drug cartels.

Of course, there's blurring of lines and levels in between the two. A slower slide into collapse or quasi-collapse, where there's sort of a rule of law, but crime is rampant. Dudes who bust out the long guns when looting breaks out. That sort of thing.

As before, do your own threat assessments and considerations, though it always pays to have options that you can scale up/down and adjust as necessary.
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: November 16, 2014, 1:42 pm
When plans have gone to hell, when your commandeered short bus is going up in flames...that's when you need a bug out bag.

As popular as bug out bags are, their role in survival/preparedness plans is often misunderstood.

You'll often hear stuff like "Man, bugging out is crazy! I'm going to bug in and stay home!" or "Why would I choose to be a refugee with nothing but a backpack on my back?"

And then on the other hand, you'll have others who for some reason plan to start marching off into the woods with a giant pack to pitch a tent, hang out and start bush crafting.

It's all too common, and unfortunately both are completely missing the point.

I agree - bugging out shouldn't be your primary plan. Or even your secondary. Yep, you'll want to bug in...at least as long as it is safe to do so.

If you're forced to leave your bug in location and retreat to safety, you'll want to load up your truck/SUV with every possible thing that you can for that journey. Gear, food, water, fuel...heck, hook up that bug out trailer, too.

There are of course various things that can go wrong or draw you away from your vehicle. Crash, break downs, getting stuck, running out of fuel, getting hopelessly stuck in traffic, floods, impassable roads, attacks on your vehicle...or, even just heading out on foot for a scout/patrol of an area.

That's when you want your bug out bag.

In the Walking Dead screen grab from above, they crashed their short bus and it burst into flames. Crap - there goes their transportation as well as the majority of food and weaponry they appeared to have brought along for their journey.

In You Took Away Tomorrow, the characters first attempt to bug in at Jack Rourke's home. Then, when their home is compromised, they try to bug out via their vehicles. When the group's makeshift convoy falls under attack from machine gun wielding neo nazi bikers, they resort to a bug out on foot.

Soldiers and especially contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan have been well known to carry 'go bags' in their armored SUVs - small bags that they can grab during an attack. They pack them with spare mags, medical gear, radios, smoke grenades and other assorted cool guy stuff to help them get back to safety or hold out until rescue arrives.

An example of a 'worst case' for this in action. This was shared by a recent Haley Strategic class participant - think instead of just grabbing long guns, they'd be throwing on bug out bags as well.
Post by Ryan Smith.

In my opinion, a bug out bag should work in this kind of environment and scenario. You should be able to move quickly, even move and shoot while wearing it. It should also be of a size 'works' around a vehicle and can be retrieved and donned quickly if needed...not some giant hiking pack that you can barely lift.

If you had gunfire (or quickly rising flood waters, or fire, or whatever) coming in your direction, how long would you spend screwing around with a pack? Be able to grab and move - that's the point.

Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: November 14, 2014, 4:09 am
Fruits of my reloading press...

Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: November 13, 2014, 12:08 am

To those who have served, currently serve or will serve our nation - thank you.
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: November 12, 2014, 12:52 am
Back with another lot of gear to clear out from the bunker...

Prices include US shipping, which will be sent via USPS.  No international shipping...I don't have time/interest in dealing with the customs headaches at this time.

I will mark off gear as it is sold...if the price is there, it's still available.

E-mail me at teotwawki.blog@gmail.com with "Garage Sale" in the e-mail title if you want to buy something. Payment will be via PayPal.

Tactical Nylon Galore
Unless otherwise noted, gear is in excellent shape.

KYWI pouches in Multicam from ESSTAC. These are widely regarded as the best open top mag pouches for AR mags.

Double M4 mag pouch: $30
Single M4 mag pouches (2 available): $16
Double pistol mag pouch: $17.50

Or buy 'em all for $100

Not pictured:
500 pieces of once fired 40 S&W brass. Unprocessed, unpolished, mixed headstamp, hand sorted. Some nickle, mostly brass. From an indoor range that does not allow reloads. Weighs out to closer to 600 pieces, but we'll call it 500. $35 shipped.
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: November 8, 2014, 3:07 pm
After a long while of mostly doom, gloom and attacks on our liberties, some good news for a change...
  • The economy is doing better. Unemployment is at a 6-year low. Markets have reacted well to the elections and are generally doing fairly well--closed at a record today.
    • The drop in PM prices is tied directly to the market performance--gold and silver prices go up when markets are bad (flight to quality), and go down when markets are good.
  • With Republicans in control of Congress, our gun rights are protected for the next 2 years. Public sentiment is swinging away from gun control in recent polls (something like 60% oppose new gun control legislation), and the Dems have suffered for their brainless attacks on the 2nd Amendment.
    • Most of the "revolutionary" talk comes from the legit concern around the .gov trying to forcefully disarm the populace. Simply put, that's not going to happen in the immediate future.
  • We've got ISIS and a bunch of other Islamic extremists to worry about, but the scope of these conflicts is unlikely to escalate to the scale of the Iraq/Afghan wars.
Given the state of the world today, what's your threat level assessment? Lower than in previous years? Have we stabilized, even recovered a bit? Are we entering a period of relative peace and calm, at least relative to the post-9/11 world?

Or, is the guillotine just waiting to drop?

What do you think...and, are you doing anything differently?
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: November 7, 2014, 11:33 pm
Good job, 'Merica. Gun rights protected for 2 years, at least at a federal level.

Republicans - now it's time to put up or shut up. Let's see the smaller government, sensible spending, lower taxes and pro-2A legislation you have been promising.
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: November 5, 2014, 1:56 pm
Been busy on good stuff lately, as you may have noticed by a dip in posting frequency.

For the few who have been asking, yep, I am working on You Took Away Tomorrow, or what I should probably at this point just call THE BOOK. It's going to be dramatically different from the story you read here...bigger, badder, better. I have time off scheduled this month and I plan to use a good chunk of that to make some really good progress on where I want to take THE BOOK. Thank you for your continued interest on that front.

299 Days
I've been listening to the first of the 299 Days series during my daily commute. I'm sure I'm probably one of the last to the party on this one...honestly, I mostly do audiobooks these days, but had heard enough good things about this series to give it a try. About 3/4 of the way through. It's a very different take on the 'survivalist' novel...essentially, talking through the preparations a country boy turned lawyer is making to prepare for what he envisions as a coming collapse. I'm enjoying it, and largely because I see bits and pieces of myself and my experiences within the main character, Grant. He's an easy character to relate to--family man, professional trying his best to prepare for uncertain times. Looking forward to seeing where the story goes...there are 10 books in the series thus far, so I've obviously got some catching up to do.

Food Storage
Having been making decent progress here. We used up a fair amount of our commonly used items after the baby this summer...almost cleared the deep freezer out. So, have been replenishing those stocks, adding canned goods and staples here and there. I am planning on mylar bagging and boxing up some bulk staples this coming weekend.

Diet & Exercise
Working on shedding some poundage. Eating less and substituting a protein shake for one meal. Walking during breaks at work; 1 to 3 miles a day, usually. Will start weights again this week. Really a top priority for me.

Range & Reloading
Got a membership to a local indoor range last month...I went shooting more in October than in the entire year prior. Feels good to have a regular place to shoot again...a void in my soul has been filled.

In support of my range visits, I've been reloading a bunch of 9mm 124 grain FMJs. I've got the Hornady LNL dialed in well and am comfortable running the press. I took a couple months break from reloading after the new baby, it's good to get back into it. Very rewarding to hear the sound of new ammo clunk into the output bin. And, I've worked up a pretty decent load, too - I prefer it to the factory American Eagle ammo I have put back for practice purposes.

Gear Clean Out
More clean out is underway and Survivalist Garage Sale Mk2 is imminent  I just need to snap some pictures and post it up. Will have a nice rolling PowerFilm solar panel, lots of Pencott Greenzone gear and other stuff up for grabs.

As a reminder, I've got lots of the bomb rider patches and stickers in stock, too. Hit up the T-blog store to buy 'em.

Phewf! That's it for updates from me -- what have you been up to?
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: November 4, 2014, 5:39 am
Winning entries for the latest contest are:
Please e-mail me (teotwawki.blog@gmail.com) to arrange your prizes.

Thanks everyone for playing!
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: November 2, 2014, 2:25 pm
Some more brave monster slayers show their wares...reminder that we are accepting entries through end of today (November 1st), giving you time to edit those Halloween shots.

From S.C.-

Tools of the trade for Lady Curtice's Vampire, Werewolf, and Dark Fae Exterminators.

Tools include: Holy water spray bottle with suspended garlic and silver, earth salt, powdered garlic and wolfsbane, naturally holey stone to gain the second sight, Bible, and thorn branch for protection.

From J.A.-

Since the dragon horde came out of the north, any human activity has to happen at night.  This is a quick shot of our mission, to take out a standard green dragon nest sighted NW of what was Austin.  For this type of work I carry a Mosin-Nagant for distance and a tomahawk for melee.  Fine weapons for the small green ones, I just hope we don't run across any red or black dragons tomorrow... 
From A.F. -

Hunting for Olaf the overly friendly snowman from Frozen...a truly terrifying movie if you have a 4 year old that sings "Let it Go! Let it Go!" all day long.....
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: November 1, 2014, 12:14 pm

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