The latest posts from TEOTWAWKI Blog
From dude wearing a backpack to armed and armored in a couple seconds. Very cool product...can hold SAPI rifle plates.
I know I've been hitting the YouTube videos hard this week, but there's some good stuff out there...
The Hoss covers off on some of the advantages of diversifying your arsenal in case of a jack booted thug gun grab.
We've been talking about diversification for a while here - pretty basic strategy, tough to implement at times, but an all around good idea.
He's also 100% spot on that a gun fight on your front door against a government or vastly superior force is an all around bad idea. Best case, you see them coming and get out of dodge. Going to war on their terms, time table and where their superior force can be brought smashing down on you like a hammer of doom is a losing proposition.
Roam the apocalyptic wastelands in style with a Conqueror UEV 490 off road trailer.
Sadly, only in Australia and not cheap. But very cool. Mad Max needs one in matte black.
First up, time to correct myself. Bug out bags and go bags are not really synonymous. At the end of the day, they're slightly different ways to solve similar problems.
If you actually Google "go bag", you'll actually come up with a bunch of messenger/shoulder type bags, with some smaller backpacks thrown in for good measure. Soldiers, spec ops and especially contractors operating out of vehicles often like to have a bag of gear with them in case they need to ditch the vehicle and E&E back to safety. The size of the kit is obviously limited - it needs to fit in the nooks and crannies of a vehicle and it needs to be a manageable enough size to grab out of a burning vehicle in the middle of a gun fight and run for the hills.
A go bag's gear is usually a supplement to the operator's on-person gear--more mags, smoke grenades, IFAK stuff, comms, some spare batteries and E&E gear with snivel gear mixed in.
There's not much of a focus on wilderness survival stuff - ain't much bush crafting to do in Iraq or Afghanistan, and the cavalry will probably show up fairly quickly. Instead, the focus is on breaking contact with the enemy, evading back to safety and/or signalling for rescue.
Here's one example of what I'm talking about: NOLATAC: Operational Go Bag.
In contrast, bug out bags, as least amongst typical survivalist circles, are typically larger, multi-day packs, with a focus on food, water, shelter, fire starting and similar. They're usually more geared towards wilderness survival and heavier in weight. 72 hour kit type stuff.
Which kit is going to be more useful to you will depend on your area, plans and the particular disastrous situation you find yourself in. Like most, the best answer is probably to have both - more options.
Thoughts? Which makes more sense to you - go bag or bug out bag? Regardless of what you call it, has anyone gone down the path and built what they would call a "go bag" like we're talking here?
Before we dive in, it's important to cover off on an idea that many people miss out on: a bug out bag should be built for fast movement towards an area of safety, with capabilities to overcome any obstacles in your way.
An evac is not a camping trip or a backpacking trip--it's not a happy, leisurely thing. You're running for your life. If it's safe for you to be moving, and you have the physical ability to do so, then you should be getting out of dodge, not hanging out bushcrafting or whatever. A lot of people get confused here.
We also often overlook our primary form of transportation - the ol' family bug out vehicle. The BOV will to get us to our safe location faster than on foot, and should only be ditched if absolutely necessary - ambush, utterly impassable roads, out of fuel with no hope of refueling or broken down with no hope of repair. These are the kinds of dire situations that would push us to abandon our vehicles, extra gear and bail out on foot.
This all helps shape our choices for shelter. We should attempt to have something that is:
- Light and compact enough to allow for fast movement
- Quick to set up/take down
- Multipurpose if possible
- Robust enough to provide life saving shelter in killer weather conditions
- Subdued color or camouflage pattern
Setup and take down times on these kinds of shelter can vary, and improve with practice. Bivy bags are mostly just roll out and jump into. Tarps can be a bit trickier. I would not hesitate to add shortcuts like bungie cords to help ease setup - yes, you should know the knots, but if you can save time/effort for a minimal weight savings. Worry more about set up times than about how fancy or perfect of a shelter you can pitch. From packed to under shelter in 5 minutes is a good baseline.
Robustness on tarps and bivy bags is going to vary fairly greatly - I would be cautious about going with too thin/lightweight of material. But, you probably don't need the item to last for months of use - it needs to hold the weather at bay for as long as it takes you to move from your point of danger to your targeted safe zone.
The old USGI poncho used to be the no-brain option, but they are getting scarce and running up in price. Many use the bivy bag from the military sleep system. There are numerous tarp, poncho tarps and bivy bags on the market, though - Go Lite, Seek Outside, Kifaru, SnugPak, Dave Canterbury's Patherfinder School, Bushcraft Outfitters USA and others all have solid options in their product lineups. A green, brown or tan hardware store tarp can work in a pinch, too. Not ideal, but not much money, either.
A tarps, poncho tarps or bivy bags are the common answer to the survival shelter problem, and it's a good one. If you need to go really fast and light or find yourself without your kit, here are a couple options to consider:
Having the tools and know-how to build primitive shelter, ala the Discovery survival TV shows. A fixed blade knife, saw and cordage are go bag staples, and they're all you need to build a variety of primitive shelters that will keep you alive in nasty weather. Throw in an axe and you can do even more. And, these tools are useful for more than just shelter building, too.
This "Bear Grylls" approach has a major downside to it - shelter building is time and calorie intensive, and your time and energy would probably be better spent moving to your final destination. It also exposes you to greater risk of going without shelter - if you're injured, don't have adequate materials, run out of time in the day, etc.
Use Existing Shelter
Most areas of the U.S. are populated and developed - lots of existing buildings and other hidey holes. In a bug out level disaster scenario, a large number of buildings are likely to be completely abandoned -- office buildings, unimportant stores (not many people shop for furniture during the apocalypse), barns and utility buildings and so on. All certainly potential options.
Private residences will be hit-or-miss--hard to determine if they're actually abandoned, potentially deadly if you barge into someone's occupied home by accident. Certainly risky.
The home of a friend or acquaintance would be another matter - if they are home, you may be able to hunker down in the basement or garage for an evening. If they aren't, well, at least they might not shoot you if they show up while you're riding out the storm in their living room.
And, of course, lots of other options - access tunnels, bridges and overpasses, etc.
Either of the above - primitive shelter or leveraging existing shelter - can also of course be combined with any shelter that you have with you. For example - a tarp can do a considerable amount to reinforce a debris hut or lean-to.
Anyways, quick overview of some of the options that are out there and how to think about your selection when packing shelter for your bail out bag.
What shelter do you carry in your bug out bag? Let us know!
Well, it's got a pandemic, Phalanx systems, big explosions, a big budget and Jayne from Firefly (Adam Baldwin - also a great patriot and pro-2A guy). I'm in. Coming to TNT in 2014. What think ye?
Apparently, the show is loosely based on a book of the same name - The Last Ship by William Brinkley. Anyone read it? Any good? Amazon reviews are mixed.
Good video from the HossUSMC on various cornering techniques with a shotgun, which of course can be applied to a rifle as well. The longer the barrel, the more of a problem you'll have.
I would add that if you need to enter a doorway, you want to get through it as quickly as possible - you're most vulnerable to a gun grab if you're slowly edging your way into a room. You're also usually silhouetted in the doorway, making you an easier target - hence the nickname "funnel of death." Don't hang out their any longer than you need to.
No one will argue the superiority of a long gun in a firefight, but when bringing 'em indoors or in vehicles, they bring some special considerations - compromised maneuverability and leverage during a gun grab being two of the biggies.
Another consideration - it's tough to use a shotgun one handed - same goes for rifles, but to a lesser extent. If you need to open a door, pick up a child or shove a loved one out of the way, that long gun can be sub-optimal.
While the long guns win in terms of terminal effectiveness, they have their own tradeoffs that you need to be aware of and train for. And, for many, a handgun may be the better choice for use in the home.
There's an interview floating out there on the interwebs with Chris Costa, where he talks about his choice for home defense: a suppressed handgun. Costa is a guy who has access to pretty much any kind of firearm he wants and has more than a fair amount of knowledge and experience with long guns. He's weighed the options and chosen a handgun over an AR or a sweet Benelli semi-auto for defending his home, at least in normal times.
Interested to hear your thoughts, experience and personal choices.
I try to clean out and repack my stuff every couple of months. Different seasons bring different needs. Plus when it comes to EDC stuff, if I haven't used an item in a few months it probably doesn't need to be in there anyway. I used to carry around a full fire starting kit complete with tinder in my EDC but never used it. Eventually it slimmed down to now being just a Bic lighter, magnesium rod for backup, and my boo boo kit has hand sanitizer (fuel) and plenty of bandage stuff (tender) that could be improvised if needed. In many years of carrying my EDC bag to and from work I can confidently say that I've never had to start a fire, build a shelter, boil water, trap food, etc. That being said, I seem to become much more equipped and redundant when hiking in the woods.
I do the same thing with reducing unused items - if it doesn't get used, it is up for removal.
Part of the challenge, though, is balancing the oft used daily items with the "I hope I never need this" disaster/emergency stuff.
Personally, if it is a "just in case" emergency item, really, it's probably not going to get used, so I am especially conscientious of the weight and bulk. I look to balance the likelihood of needing the item and the consequences of not having the item on hand when needed with the size/weight penalty for adding it to my pack.
Fire is one of those largely "emergency" capabilities--I need a lighter for the occasional melting of paracord ends and not much else. I unfortunately spend most of my time trapped within suburbia, so the consequences of not having fire starting gear, even in a disaster, would be fairly minimal. But, simple fire starting gear is compact enough and important enough that I make sure to have some. My EDC bag has a regular sized Bic and a pocket survival kit that, amongst other things, contains a mini Bic, a small fire steel and some TinderQuik.
And, as you noted, many of the bag's other contents could be used for fire starting. Gauze in the blow out kit, hand sanitizer, alcohol-based lens cleaner, alcohol swabs, travel pack of kleenex, 100% cotton shemagh and so on. Lots of options.
Another example: water filtration is another one of those capabilities that I'm really only going to need in a bad situation. Again, I run light there--a 1 ounce water filtration straw and some chlorine dioxide tablets. Less than 2 ounces total and takes up very minimal bulk. Probably won't be needed, but a capability that I want to have none-the-less, so I ensure that it's light, compact and doesn't really get in the way.
My Blow Out/Gunshot Wound kit is the same way--I sure do not plan to every need a tourniquet, Combat Gauze and so on, but it doesn't weigh much, and if I really needed it, I would not want to be without it.
So, while some of the gear in my daily carry bag doesn't see a lot of use, if it performs a critical enough task and isn't too bulky, I make sure to include it where I can. Certainly, evaluate your situation and your potential scenarios and tailor as you see fit.
What "emergency-only" gear do you carry in your daily carry gear? How conscientious are you about the size/weight of said gear? Has it ever saved your bacon from trouble?
At the same time, I also took some time to repack my go bag - shifted placement of items, added a few things from my EDC bag and removed a few things that had been shoved in for the move. I'm going to trim a bit further here and want to re-do some areas. Example: somehow, my go bag ended up with a crappy fire kit, and the good stuff got put into storage. Yarg.
I find that there's something calming and a bit soothing about repacking. Focus in on the task, bust out the scale, trim the excess and zone in on what you need. It's fairly rewarding too - you end up with a pile of unneeded gear and tactile weight cut from the pack in question.
If you haven't repacked one of your bags or kits lately, I highly recommend it.
Jam packed the remainder of our belongings in our vehicles and caravaned on out to our new locale and made it without major complication. Only about a 500 mile journey, so not too bad.
Anyways, recuperating and focusing on getting up to speed at new responsibilities at the real job. Haven't had a lot of time and energy to devote to T-Blog, but don't worry, I haven't forgotten you!
Yep, Surefires are expensive - the EB1 set me back just under $160. But, they are made in the USA (yay!), they are really high quality and my original little light had gotten tons of use. I know they are many reading who would not spend more than $20 on a flashlight, and that's fine, too. I'm not opposed to investing some added money to get something that is going to work exceptionally well for a very long time, especially when it comes to my daily carry tools or for home defense.
There are a few things that drew me to the new EB1 over the original E1B:
- Brighter - 200 lumens max
- Same great low-ride pocket clip
- Similar run times despite the higher output
Here's the measurements of the new EB1:
Length: 4.4 inches
Bezel Diameter: 1.1 inches
And the original E1B:
Length: 4 inches
Bezel Diameter: 1 inches
While on paper, those differences don't seem major, they work to make the new EB1 feel light a much larger light. And, in fact, it is quite big for a single cell light, defeating the purpose of having a small, handy, pocket sized single cell flashlight to begin with. It's almost a two cell sized-light, and in fact there are a few two cell sized lights from other companies that come in at sizes smaller or similar to the EB1. For example, a 4Sevens Quark Tactical QT2L-X is 4.5 inches in length and kicks out up to 432 lumens.
Aside from the bump in size, the Surefire build quality and ruggedness were there, the great pocket clip was there, and the light certainly was brighter. There's a lot to like.
I carried the EB1 for a few weeks but eventually went back to the original. The increase in lumens was certainly noticeable, but the bump up in size meant that the EB1 just did not carry as comfortably, where the original simply disappeared. The new EB1 is really an odd, in-between size category--if I wanted a bigger than the old E1B, I might as well step up to a two cell. Your mileage may vary on this - the bump in size may be no big deal, and the EB1 is still one of the smallest available lights from Surefire. But, for me, the EB1 was too big for what I was looking for in an EDC light.
Another nice thing about quality gear: it has good resale value. My EB1 has been moved along to a new home--it sold in a few hours and I lost out on maybe $10.
Pretty crazy happenings in Boston. As I type this, they're reporting the remaining brother is surrounded with possible shots fired. He's probably not long for this world...EDIT: Looks like they got him, alive. Musta ran out of bombs, ammo or the jihaddi will. We'll see where the media circus takes this.
My guesstimate for Al Queda sympathizing extremists looks to be fairly close. Surprising that they were able to ID the bombers as quickly as they did, though apparently the brothers didn't bother to bug out from Boston or take measures to avoid confrontation with police. Some of the family members are saying that it's a big conspiracy...which, well we'll see. Though engaging in a gun battle with police and lobbing home made hand grenades at them does not bode well for that theory.
The citywide lock down was fairly unprecedented, and of course brings up the questions of what you would do in that kind of scenario. Most people have enough food for at least a day or two in their home, and utilities were not cut off, so it's not a major hardship in that way. More concerning would be having a running gun fight break out in my neighborhood or having the lone, armed and desperate brother barge into my house and attempt to take my family hostage.
Solution to the first is knowing where you can take cover in your home. Exterior walls do not do a whole lot to stop bullets. Thick stacks of books/bookcases will do a pretty good job. Having a bathtub or heavy appliance between you and the gun fire would be a heck of a lot better than nothing, too. Stay low, keep your head down.
And, the solution to having a terrorist bust into your home is owning home defense firearms and knowing how to use 'em. Problem solving with hot lead.
SKD Tac is having a 4 for the price of 3 sale on multicam Esstac Shotgun Cards, which I just reviewed a couple days ago. Awesome way to organize reloads for your gauge for not a lot of money. Here's the deal >
Call for Artist/Graphic Designer
I'm looking for a new banner design and logo for the blog. Probably a little less intense and foreboding. If you've got skills and can deliver high quality image files, e-mail me over your design portfolio and rate to email@example.com. If I'm interested by what I see, we'll chat more.
The President also forgets that his camp is the one who uses lies and half-truths to promote his platform--for example, here's a blurb that the press is running about the bill:
"The proposal would have expanded background checks to gun shows and Internet sales while exempting personal transactions."
Which is, of course, silly, because Internet sales and FFL sales at gun shows are already subject to background checks. The bill was actually aimed at restricting the in-state sale/trade of firearms between law abiding individuals, and would have forced them to go through the standard NICS background check in order to make the exchange.
So if I want to give my friend, who I know is not a felon or otherwise prevented from legally owning a firearm, an old shotgun for his b-day, I need Uncle Sam's say-so or I'm suddenly a felon.
And, of course, the bill would do nothing to prevent gun runners, drug dealers and would-be mass murderers from illegally selling guns in a parking lot at 2am, but hey, they've gotta throw something out there, right?
More lies from the Obama Camp--
"This pattern of spreading untruths about this legislation served a purpose, because those lies upset an intense minority of gun owners, and that in turn intimidated a lot of senators."
Since when is millions of gun owners writing their representatives about supporting the 2nd Amendment "intimidation"? Isn't that what we do in a democracy? Or did Obama forget that this is not, yet, a dictatorship?
Of course, he places the blame squarely on the NRA, not the American people for pushing their Senators to vote "nay" on measures to restrict their freedoms. And look at how he paints his opponents as "an intense minority"--crazy fringe group in more diplomatic terms.
Anyways, since this isn't the last that we've heard of this bill, I'd say it's probably time to do some more of that writing. Those who voted against the bill are facing some heat now, while those who voted it for it need an earful from the "intense minority of gun owners."
For the Project 590A1 shotgun, I've added a patch of industrial Velcro to the left side of the receiver and attached an Esstac Shotgun card. When empty, the shotgun card can be peeled off and a new one slapped in its place.
The elastic shell loops on the Esstac card are quite tight, which means they have great retention and a firm grip on the shell. But, that also means they can be a bit difficult to load the shells onto the Shotgun case. and a bit slow to retrieve. They should loosen up well with use, though. I doubt they will be as fast as a kydex type material, but they are pretty good.
Running a shotgun is a lot about managing your ammunition and regularly topping off. The shotshell cards are excellent for this--fire one, load one; fire two, load two.When the card is empty, slap on a new one and continue.
The shotgun cards are $15 a pop, so you can pick up a few for what you'd pay for a decent conventional side saddle. And install takes all of about 5 minutes--cut Velcro, add to receiver and then let the adhesive set.
The cards will also fit in most magazine pouches--I've run mine in my Costa Leg Rig, where they work quite well. The Leg Rig's mag pouches, at least, oddly had some loop strips on the inside, which needed to be removed/covered, else the shotgun card's Velcro hook would latch on and make drawing the shotgun card quite difficult.
Overall, I'm pretty happy with the system. If you're planning on running a sidesaddle for reloads, this is probably the best way to do so.
The Shotgun cards are available from SKD Tactical or direct from Esstac. Industrial strength velcro can be found at your local hardware store.
If we do not include active shooter situations like Sandy Hook and Aurora, this is the first large scale terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11. It's been a long stretch, and I think many of us have been waiting for the next big attack. As technology to perpetrate these kinds of attacks becomes more and more easily accessible, and more fractured extremist groups emerge, I fear we will see more and more attacks of this nature in the coming years.
My guess would be a home-grown Al Queda sympathizing cell is behind the attacks. Some in the liberal media, with no proof, are clamoring about right wing extremists (of course), but the nature of the attack and indiscriminate targeting make that unlikely, at least in my mind.
We had a few friends who were right at the finish line within a few minutes before the bombs detonated, and have family of other friends who were running in the actual marathon and finished just a few minutes prior to the attacks. Very close calls in all cases.
We're hearing lots of stories of improvised first aid--belts used as tourniquets, t-shirts to compress wounds--small IFAK-type kits with tourniquets, gauze for packing, etc. can and do save lives. One can be put together for under $40 and can fit in a cargo pocket, EDC bag or purse without adding much in the way of weight.
Again, our thoughts and prayers go out to those effected by the attacks. Stay vigilant!
Edit: Looks like the bombs were pressure cookers loaded with black powder and shrapnel. Not a very sophisticated device at all; certainly something pretty much any whacko could put together in his basement over a weekend.
When TEOTWAWKI hits, gold and silver will be nothing more than useless shiny metals--why would I want those instead of more beans, bullets and bandaids?
Precious metals (PMs) are a hedge against currencies collapsing, which has happened far more often than all-out-end-of-the-world, blasted back to the stone age scenarios. So if the US dollar collapses and you have, say, $10,000, that $10,000 would suddenly become worthless. But, if you'd taken that $10,000 and bought gold and silver with it, your investment would be preserved and you could eventually convert it over to another currency when that came along, and then use that to buy whatever you needed.
The principle behind it is that fiat currencies have a strong tendency to eventually go belly up, while the relative value of gold and silver stay relatively stable on a barter basis. A chest full of gold and silver was worth a fortune 3,000 years ago and it's worth a fortune today. Good luck finding a fiat currency that can say that.
Of course, the barter value of gold and silver depends on having a functioning economy/society. If you're alone on an island or in a Mad Max/Walking Dead, every man for himself apocalypse, then indeed, they're not going to do you much good.
But, history has shown that, typically, currency/economic collapses are far more common and likely threats than zombies or alien invasions.
But, I'd add, that there are numerous areas to focus on before worrying about PMs--food, defense, reliable vehicle, emergency cash, etc.
What is the difference between junk silver (or gold) and coins like American Eagles and Canadian Maples?
Junk silver and gold are typically old coins--the most common being old US currency, which had varying degrees of silver in it prior to 1965. But, the term can also refer to old jewelry, silverware, and so on.
The upside to junk PMs is that you can often get them for close-to-spot prices, whereas coins like American Eagles carry a premium over spot prices.
The downside being that they can be harder to sell/trade when that time comes. You have to "know" a bit about PMs to know that, say, an old Morgan dollar is 90% silver and has just over 24 grams of silver in it. They don't say their weight and metals content on the coin.
On the other hand, coins like American Eagles, Canadian Maples and Krugerrand are more well known and have their weight and metals content printed right on the coin. You pay a premium for these coins up front--for example, a silver eagle will usually cost $5-$8 or so bucks above spot, but you will usually recoup that same premium when selling off a coin anyways.
Personally, I prefer the minted coins like Eagles and Maples, but both kinds of PMs have their place.
Gold or Silver?
I don't think silver or gold make a massive amount of difference. Silver seems to be a bit more volatile than gold, and it's also much less compact, but it also can be purchased in much smaller quantities. I tend to like gold because you can fit a massive amount of wealth in a small, easy to carry package, which is just cool.
What role do you think PMs play in survivalism?
I think a holding of PMs has a place in your financial preparations, similar to a supply of emergency cash. Exactly how much that might be will be up to your individual circumstances, lifestyle, etc. I'd pick a time period worth of expenses or enough $$$ worth to do a specific thing, and then work towards that. So, a month or 3 months worth of expenses, or enough $$$ worth of gold to relocate you halfway across the globe. The idea being that, even if the economy collapses, you'd still have the PMs and their intrinsic value in-hand in order to pay those expenses or buy that thing.
Beyond that rainy-day/economic collapse fund and you're getting into investing territory. PMs are going to be more desirable when you think the market is going to go bust or inflation is going to run wild, and less so when the market does well. I think they certainly have a place in everyone's savings/investment portfolio, but how much will depend on your circumstances, outlook and financial goals.
What's your outlook on the PM market?
Personally, I've felt PM prices have been too high for the past several years. The 12-year upward trend has been well known and a lot of people have bought into PMs...heck, watch any of the cable news channels and you'll see a handful of commercials for investing in gold and silver. We've passed the height of the market a while back, and I sure hope a lot of folks did not dump their savings into $50/oz silver or $1800/oz gold.
I'm not particularly shocked that we're seeing the prices drop as much as we are...the timing is a bit odd, as most of the market's fundamental problems (weak economy, QE4ever) remain. And I didn't think we'd see it drop so dramatically over the space of 2 days...but a big correction is not a big surprise to me.
That said, I think the panic is pushing prices below where they should be. We'll see where the prices of these metals bottom out...that would be the time to buy in. We'll bottom out, see a rally and then have things stabilize, at least for a while.
4/16: Edited to add, it looks like PMs are bouncing back today as bargain hunting sets in.
The sell off is being blamed on a variety of factors, mostly boiling down to two big uns:
1. Cypress and other countries perhaps being forced to sell their gold reserves in order to receive the ECB bail out - read more here. This would dump several tons of gold onto the market, increasing supply and theoretically driving down demand.
2. As the general investing public is gradually perceiving markets to be recovering from the crash and the Fed is starting talk about easing off the money printing quantitative easing train, there's been a slow move away from precious metals. Today's slide started as a more moderate down turn but then triggered off automated sell positions as it descended down past $1525 and $1500. As these price levels were passed and more sales book, more gold was dumped onto the market, further driving down prices.
So, at the end of the day, an ounce of gold is worth fewer USD at the end of today than it was this morning.
What action you'd take depends on your long term view of the economy. If you think we've turned the corner, the economy is stabilizing and that we'll see some good growth in the stock market, you may want to think about selling some PMs and parking that cash elsewhere.
On the other hand, if you feel like the future of the economy still looks grim and the recovery uncertain, this weekend might be a pretty good time to jump in and buy some discounted gold and silver.
What are your thoughts?
The 590A1's factory stock has a very long length of pull - 14.5 inches, I believe. For a modern shooting/fighting stance, standing squared up towards the target, it just does not work unless you have very long arms. It's just too darn long. So, pretty quickly after purchase, I went out in search of a more useful stock.
Originally, I went with Hogue's 12 inch length of pull stock. Despite great reviews, I was unimpressed. The build quality was no better than the stock Mossberg, and, instead of being too long, the 12-inch length of pull was too short. Doh!
In working with these conventional style stocks and the 590A1, I also began to notice the shotgun's weight, especially during reloads and one-handed manipulations. The 590A1 is not a light gun, and when you add 8 shells to the tube, it only gets heavier.
So, I decided to stop screwing around with different fixed length stocks, and try out something with an adjustable/collapsible stock length. I was also curious to see if a pistol grip stock would help better control the 590A1's weight.
I contacted Choate Machine & Tool and asked to give one of their telescoping shotgun stocks a try. I've previously reviewed their AR-15 collapsible stock and knew their shotgun stock would be solid and sturdy, certainly what I'm going for with this build.
|The Choate Mossberg Telescoping Stock and a Magpul K grip - a great combo.|
The Choate stock finally provided a "just right" length of pull--awesome. However, the ergonomics made reaching the shotgun's pump release a challenge. The angle of the supplied AR-15 grip just made the pump release too far of a reach for my thumb to hit, and awkward for my middle finger to reach over and depress. There are ways around having to use the pump release, but I'm not a fan of using workarounds to compensate for shortcomings in your gear.
All hope was not lost, though. The Choate stock allows you to swap in pretty much any standard AR-15 grip - just remove the grip screw, attach the new grip and re-tighten. I picked up a Magpul K Grip, which has a less dramatic, more neutral grip angle, and presto--problem solved.
With the K grip installed, I can now reach the pump release with ease--either by reaching around and hitting it with my middle finger, or by rotating the shotgun on my shoulder and depressing it with my thumb. The shoulder rotation, for whatever reason, helps with the body mechanics and makes depressing the release much easier--it also has the nice side effect of giving you a clear view into the chamber.
|Close up of the Magpul K grip - the more neutral angle improves access to 590A1s controls.|
It's also got the rugged build quality that I've come to expect from Choate - very solid. In a pinch, hard use and smashing stuff would be no problem.
The stock also has two compartments, which will be used to store spare CR-123As for the to-be-added weapons light and a basic cleaning kit. Choate's telescoping stocks offer the best quality built-in storage compartments that I've come across. It also offers multiple sling attachment points, giving plenty of options for the end user.
The stock doesn't offer any kind of recoil mitigation--no springs or contraptions--but I've fired a plenty of bird shot, buck and even 1 ounce slugs through it with relative comfort. There's no doubt that you're shooting slugs, but it's not painful. TEOTWAWKI Wife shot a box worth of shells through the 590A1 this past weekend without troubles--her first time shooting a 12 gauge.
If you're looking for a pistol grip telescoping stock for your evil black shotgun, definitely check out the Choatte stock + Magpul K grip combo. Certainly zombie apocalypse ready.
Check out Choate's Mossberg Telescoping Stock >
For non-Mossberg folks, Choate offers the same stock for the Remington 870.
Pick up a Magpul K grip on Amazon >
Thanks to Ryan at TSLRF for pointing this one out.
Great basic overview from FerFal r.e. steps to take to prepare for an economic collapse - legitimate good advice.
Like we discussed here a while back, FerFal talks about the importance of having cash on hand in a situation like this. Most currencies will take a while to collapse - or at least for the market to realize that they have collapsed - but banking systems collapse much faster. In that initial "gap" period, as FerFal says, cash is king.
This is what happens in the real world...not an immediate descent to Mad Max anarchy, but freezing of assets, inaccessibility of banking and cash, etc.
Definitely worth a watch.
To FerFal's advice, I would also add that, eventually, you consider having some cash in alternate currencies. BitCoin is getting a lot of press these days and the value has sky rocketed since the beginning of the year. Worth a look. If you live near a border or have family in an international country, it'd be prudent to have some of that currency around. A little bit of diversification is a good thing, amigos.
I took Friday off, ran some errands and spent some time with family and friends. And then Saturday, went out with friends and family to do some shooting. Mostly shotgun - Project 590A1 got a good workout - but with a bit of pistol and carbine thrown in. Really, there's not much better than dumping a couple mags of 5.56...Makes you feel all alive and happy. Thankfully, not $1 a round 5.56, either.
TEOTWAWKI Wife got in some trigger time, too, which I think was the first time in a while. Hard to get us both out to the range with the kiddos to wrangle.
Since my last one of these updates, I've been on a bit of a knife kick, picking up a couple blades that have been on my wish list for, oh, several years. I'll talk about them at some point--have an "exotic blades" series on the back burner of my mind at the moment.
I also picked up a CMMG .22lr conversion kit for my AR a while back - local good gun shop had 'em in stock for pre-panic prices, and I could not resist. Not that .22lr is any more available than .223 locally, but hey, I've got thousands of rounds of the stuff put back.
We've been buying 12 gauge here and there to add to the stash. 12 gauge you can find without too much trouble--specific loads may be a problem, but every ammo retailer I've been in has some variety of 12 on the shelves. Looking to have a stash of around 300 buck, 100 slug and 400 bird, but some of that will probably wait 'till we're moved back...mostly the bird shot.
Tinkering with Project 590A1, too. Quite happy with how its coming along. Will probably have the next entry up on Wednesday.
Have been looking at putting together a solar set up. Think I've made up my mind on direction...hopefully. There's a broad spectrum between the DIY stuff through to the Goal Zer0 type stuff, and I will probably land somewhere in the middle. Will update with details when it's bought, tested and validated.
Otherwise, we've largely been starting the process of figuring out logistics for the six month work move, starting packing and sorting through stuff. What to bring, what to store, what to ditch, etc.
We're really not going to bring a mountain of stuff--probably only what we can fit between my pickup and the family SUV--so we'll be rolling fairly light...but hey, as they say, light is right.
I've sold off a few things that I haven't really been using and have more that will be going on the chopping block shortly. Have not yet decided where the funds will be rolled into.
One plus for buying quality gear is that, if, down the line, you decide you no longer need it, you can usually sell/trade it for close to purchase price. Sometimes more. Bargain bin stuff...not so much.
Anyways, that's what's happening 'round here. What have you folks been up to?
Thought I would pass this along...trailer for a free web series starting up on YouTube called Omega. Some decent production values; aliens take over the world and turn people in zombies type deal.
First episode is up right here - language warning for the sensitive. Not exactly stellar, but it's 7 minutes long and it does look like the series could have some potential. And it's free, which I know you guys like.
Anyone know of any decent quality post-apocalyptic web series out there? This can't be the first one...I know the Walking Dead has done a couple during their off seasons...anything else?
CommanderZero posted up a run down of Choate's upcoming bucket planter kits. There are certainly DIY solutions out there for bucket gardening, but if you can have a higher quality, pre-built product for around the same price...sounds pretty good to me.
Travis Haley & Haley Strategic posted up the following video with weapons light comparison. Not often that you can see side-by-sides of $1000+ in lights. The Inforce light looks pretty good to go, and runs around half the price of a Surefire light. My only question would be long term durability...Surefires can stand up to a serious beating.
Author Larry Correia posted up a seriously funny rant about Pres. Obama's decision to return 5% of his salary in a show of solidarity over the sequester. BTW, government leaders have been instructed to make those cuts in very painful, publicly visible ways...not where the fat can be most easily trimmed.
D.B. passed along the following:
Would like to ask if you would not mind letting your readers know that NatGeo’s show, “Locked Up Abroad” will be airing this week with a show about John McCain and other U.S. servicemen’s’ ordeal at the Hanoi Hilton as POWs. It is a powerful story and one that I think your readers would appreciate. Regardless of his politics or what anyone may think of him today, John McCain’s story is a powerful one that demonstrates the best in Americans – determination, courage in the face of long and seemingly overwhelming odds, hope, mental discipline and outlasting your enemy. Just wanted to share.
|View down the barrel after swapping in a night sight bead.|
First up in our 590A1 upgrade series is some work on the sights, or perhaps more correctly, the sight, as the stock 590A1 ships with a plain jane bead front sight.
Bead sights on shotguns are fine and dandy, but when things get dark and chaotic, they can be tough to see. Sure, you might say "Bro, it's a shotgun--who needs to aim?". To which, I call BS. Yes, buckshot will spread, but only a few inches at home defense distances we'd be employing a shotgun in. Aim poorly and you can miss, and who is to say if you will get a second chance to hit.
So, aiming is important, and having every edge to help you get buckshot on target is smart. And that's why they invented night sights, which we're used to seeing on pistols but maybe not so much on shotguns. Replacing a stock bead with a tritium night sight is a simple, inexpensive project that takes only a few minutes to complete.
For a Mossberg like we're working on, the sight you want is the Meprolight Tru-Dot Night Sight, available from Amazon for under $35 ($32.88 at time of writing). If you've got a Remington 870, the process is the same but you'll need a different model night sight.
Install is simple.
Remove the factory bead sight. It is a hex base, and the Mossberg is reportedly a 5/32" size. I just used my Leatherman and went slowly and carefully to avoid marring the barrel - consider taping the area around the bead to provide some added protection.
To install the new sight, add some loc-tite to the threads of the night sight, and then screw it in. On some thinner-barreled Mossbergs like a stock Mossie 500, you may need to file off some of the bottom of the sight to get it to fit correctly. With my thick barreled 590A1, the Meprolight sight did not require any fitting, so your mileage will vary.
|Side profile of the 590A1 after installing the tritium sight.|
The last turn of the night sight may require some pliers. Be careful not to over tighten the sight...the threads are quite small and can be damaged them out if you keep tightening.
Obviously, you want the tritium facing you and centered up in the middle of the barrel.
Give it some time to let the loc-tite set and you're done.
The tritium tube is a huge help for aiming in low/no light situations - just put the glowing orb over the target and blammo. It's also easier for aiming in daylight too - the white dot is much easier to visually ID than the black bead sight. An all around improvement--definitely recommended. Enjoy!
Back when I lived in Utah, his break-in spree was often mentioned on local news media--we moved back in 2009, and I hadn't thought much about the stories since then. Pretty amazing that it took them that long to catch the guy.
At this point we don't know if he lived entirely removed from civilization during this time--heck, maybe he drove into town for McDonald's Happy Meals and a haircut every now and then, or pawned off stuff stolen from cabins and stayed at Motel 6s--but I'll be interested to find out the details as they emerge.
Full story here >
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