The latest posts from TEOTWAWKI Blog
|Leave this at home when the crap hits the fan? Crazy?|
In full apocalyptic battle gear, with a rifle in hand and a load of mags to back it up, carrying a sidearm is still considered pretty standard wisdom. If your primary goes down, at least you've got a pistol to turn to, right?
Of course, at standard rifle engagement ranges, a pistol isn't worth a whole lot. Better than throwing rocks, yes, but a guy with a pistol versus a guy with a rifle is not an especially fair fight...put 50 to 200 yards between 'em and it just keeps getting worse. At that point, you better hope you brought friends.
You did bring friends, right?
Let's face it--rifles don't have catastrophic, 'out of the fight' failures very often. If your primary goes down due to a common stoppage, then it can be resolved and put back into the fight quickly. Being able to instinctively ID a malfunction and resolve it is critically important and something you should train for anyways.
So, 99% of the time, if your primary goes down it's due to running outta ammo or some variety of simple malfunction.
Transitioning to a sidearm is faster than reloading or clearing a malfunction--no argument there. But fighting and especially reloading should be done from cover, not standing out in the open with bullets flying around you. You should also have those well-armed friends you brought along with you, to pick up the cadence of fire when you need a few seconds to get your weapon back up and running. Fighting from cover, with teammates fighting with you, you've got that extra second to reload your rifle and get back into the fight in a meaningful way.
What if you run out of ammo for your primary? If the gunfight is that bad--if you're only left with a pistol to fight with, you should really be withdrawing or relying on your buddies to finish the fight. If you can't withdraw...well, I 'spose at that point you'd want a handgun for making your 'last stand' against enemy forces.
Talk to vets from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; read the accounts from the Special Forces guys. They rarely, if ever, use sidearms in combat.
And we're not soldiers. As a civilian in a post-collapse scenario, if you've got a rifle in hand, a load of magazines on your person and a couple of similarly equipped buddies in town, your odds of needing that handgun are really, really low.
Given the relatively low utility of a sidearm in a gunfight, would you be better off using that weight and gear real-estate to carry something else? How about more rifle mags? A loaded PMAG weighs in at just over a pound, so you could carry 3-ish extra rifle mags for the weight of a pistol + 3 mags. 90 (more) rounds of 5.56mm sounds a lot better to me than half as many pistol rounds. Not that the 3-ish pounds of total weight should be the deciding factor behind carrying one - just an example.
For further reading, Max Velocity - who carries a pistol on his battle gear - has a good post up on what he thinks is an over reliance on pistols in today's tactical training. Good perspective from someone much more knowledgeable than I.
Edited to clarify: This is discussing a scenario that would require you to don whatever full level of combat gear you have - chest rig, plate carrier, battle belt - and have your rifle within arms reach constantly. So you're on active patrol/guard duty after a major collapse, for example. Not a scenario where the rule of law is still largely in effect and concealment is important, or you're rambling around your homestead doing chores and may need to set your rifle down.
What do you think? Anyone purposefully run without a pistol? Would you?
The fridge is, well, a fridge, so nothing especially cool there, though it will be bigger, better and more energy efficient than the one that it is replacing.
The deep freezer is a bit more interesting - I may do a post or two on filling it up with food. Or let my wife guest post on some of that. I've wanted a freezer for a long while, haven't been permanent enough or had enough space to get one until now. It's getting delivered tomorrow, which reminds me that I need to go clear out the spot in the garage where it's going to live.
Of course, with a deep freezer comes a greater need for a generator :-)
I'll be taking advantage of the Tactical Tailor 30% deal to get some more stuff from them before the end of the week...just need to figure out exactly what I want.
How about you guys and gals? Get anything good?
|Image via SoldierSystems.
Clockwise from top left: Arid (desert), Tropic (jungle),
Black (urban) and Alpine (snow)
We are fortunate that we have gobs and gobs of patterns and colors to choose from these days, versus the old days where it was UCP (barf) or Multicam. These patterns join the myriad of stuff that's recently hit the market, namely the Kryptek, A-TACS, Pencott families, in addition to all of the solids, hunting, legacy and foreign patterns out there. The new Multicam stuff adds one more choice to drop down list, but I don't see these new patterns offering any kind of superior performance to the many choices already out there.
Here's my take on a pattern-by-pattern basis:
Arid: A bit browner/less green than traditional Multicam. In the very dry parts of the Southwest, this could perform marginally better than regular ol' Multicam, but certainly not enough to make a compelling case to switch over your patterns. I don't see this performing any better than the other current-gen stuff, or most legacy desert stuff for that matter.
Tropic: In the Southeastern U.S. and some parts of the North East, this greener version could work okay, though the colors are a bit off for woodlands - the dark color is more of a grey/green than a brown, for example. Pencott Greenzone has the colors about perfect, if you ask me.
Alpine: Unless you live in polar bear country, this is a specialty pattern; at most, you'd have a set of over whites. Better than a solid white jumpsuit, but nothing to differentiate it from the other 'snow' patterns out there. The white and grey shades are similar to what you'd find with Kryptek Yeti; Pencott Snowdrift mixes in some dead-brown, which helps to blend in more with natural surroundings.
Black: This is a fairly useless pattern - meant to stand out and provide an imposing presence for SWAT teams and such. We aren't on SWAT teams, so not a whole lot of use here. If you want a black color because it black is cool, Kryptek Typhon looks slicker (IMO). If you want an urban camo, you want more greys and (maybe) browns...if you just want to blend in, wear normal clothes. Why our police departments and other LEOs feel the need to have an imposing, Darth Vader-Esque appearance is another conversation entirely.
The chart below (also from Soldier Systems), shows how they think jack-of-all-trades nature of traditional Multicam compares with the new stuff.
Overall, the the environmental patterns seem fairly middle-of-the road. From a responsible armed citizen, prepper, survivalist, standpoint, there's not a whole lot to get excited about here. Neither Arid or Tropic look to be more effective than current environment-specifc patterns available.
These patterns will, I'm pretty sure, pair nicely with traditional Multicam stuff - if you've got a lot of Multicam stuff, but need to better match a desert or woodlands environment AND look good on the range with complimenting patterns from the same family, there might be something here for you.
There's also the fact that the Army is (supposedly) transitioning to this stuff. Using the same patterns as the Army has good and bad to it. Good: There will almost certainly be gobs of gear in these patterns available within the next three or four months and onwards, where other patterns like Kryptek, A-TACS and Pencott will likely remain (comparative) specialty items. (Potential) Bad: You look like a U.S. soldier.
Here's the linky: http://soldiersystems.net/tactical-black-friday-2014/
Of note, Grey Ghost Gear is having a 35% off sale - site wide - through tomorrow. Their stuff is already very affordable...35% off is a killer deal. If you're looking for a pack or nylon gear, check 'em out.
LA Police Gear is having a pre-Black Friday sale with 11% off. Last year, they had some killer countdown deals that I'm still kicking myself for not jumping all over.
Palmetto State Armory is having some "Pre-Black Friday" sales and will certainly have some good deals on BF itself. They've currently got a couple nice AR uppers for $400, BCG and free float rails included...hard to beat that kind of price.
Dave Canterbury's Pathfinder School Store is offering free shipping when you spend over $75. Through Cyber Monday.
Tactical Tailor just announced they are running an awesome 30% off through 12/6. They've also recently added Pencott Badlands and Greenzone to their lineup, if you're interested in getting in on some of that goodness.
I'll update as I see stuff come through, and feel free to point out deals as you see 'em.
I haven't read it yet, hoping to have time over the holidays to sit down and read it - I've heard really good things. Max is a career military dude and well regarded for his training in small-unit guerrilla tactics and light infantry ops. I have at least two books ahead of it in line, though. And, of course, before you remind me, I gotta finish my own book for self-publishing.
From the synopsis, looks like Max Velocity and I picked some similar enemies for our stories - like You Took Away Tomorrow, he's got Iranian terrorists and Chinese cyber-warfare. Not sure if the North Koreans and/or AQ make a guest appearance. There's only so many plausible international threats to go around these days :).
Those Ruskies need to pick up the slack.
Polaris's unstoppable Sportsman® WV850 H.O. Worth about 5x more than the pickup I drive around every day.
Scout Base Camp's Ultimate Scout Kit. FLIR, PVS-14 and some cool long range shooting stuff...my descriptions of night vision would be MUCH more accurate with this stuff around the fortress. Only $14,599 from Scout Base Camp.
All right, all right. I don't want you guys to have to live off Ramen for the rest of the year. Here's something (a bit) more affordable if you're going to cheap out on me.
A semi-auto M249 SAW for the low, low price of $9,998 - and that's with the Christmas special. But really, fire superiority in the post-apocalyptic wastelands of America will be PRICELESS. Available from U.S. Machine Gun Armory, though you'll have to wait 6 months for this puppy to ship.
Let's hope the crap waits at least another 6 months to hit the fan :).
Actually, one of these babies, mounted on the Polaris...Anybody?
Pre-order on Brownells.
While I'm content with Project 590A1's current stock, I'm curious about the Magpul offering. Might pick one up for review if there's interest.
And a can of Red Feather butter 'cuz I'm curious.
|Image via Grey Group Gear, where you can buy this setup.||
Had a few people asking for the 'best' body armor out there today, so here's my take on it. There's probably some ultra-cool voodoo magic thing out there, but this is a pretty wicked setup if you've got the cash to play. I don't.
Velocity System's Ultra Low Vis (ULV) plates are standalone, multi-hit level III rated plates - that measure 1/5 of an inch thin. That's ridiculously thin - you can get over an inch plus very easily with most normal plates, plus backers and a bulky plate carrier, which ends up being like wearing around a life vest.
This allows 'em to be reasonably concealed under light clothing, which is a huge asset to someone trying to maintain a low-profile (like a civilian or, more commonly, a special ops type).
Weight is still not insignificant - you're at 11-ish pounds with front and back plates - but certainly on the low end. The cut is also a heck of a lot more ergonomic, leading to a better fit and longer comfort.
The cost? $1500-ish...a bit less if you shop around, but well over a $1k for sure.
Body armor has become a hugely important tool in increasing the modern soldier's survivability. It's saved countless lives. If you're expecting a high likelihood of getting shot in the chest, there's no better idea than donning a set of good rifle plates.
Of course, body armor undeniably weighs a lot - 15 pounds of additional weight is a decent average. It also restricts movement to some degree and is fairly uncomfortable to wear. At the end of the day, those add up to reduced speed and reduced endurance, especially if you're not in excellent physical shape to begin with.
The weight may also mean tradeoffs between other critical gear--if 60 pounds is the most you can realistically operate with, that 15 pounds of armor probably means less food, water or other survival gear. What if it's 45 pounds? Or 30?
I know of at least a few occasions where Tier 1 SF guys, facing a long hike over difficult terrain have ditched their armor in favor of the lighter load, speed, mobility and added stamina that choice afforded them. And these guys were facing certain combat at the end of their journey, versus a citizen survivor who would be avoiding trouble whenever possible.
What do you think - is the body armor tradeoff always worth it? How do you run your gear - plate carrier or no plate carrier? When would you leave your rifle plates behind - if ever?
A good overview from the Hoss on different tactics for hardening your home pre and post crap hits the fan.
If you want more on the subject, I did a short series of posts back in 2011 on securing your home - this one, on improvised firing positions - is most relevant to this subject.
I'll add that basements and crawlspaces are usually pretty good and easier to harden than a typical wood framed home.
I need to pick up some sandbags for our new place. Low priority, but on the long list of things to do. Anyone got a good source?
Figured I'd give one a whirl, intending it for Project 590A1.
Unfortunately, a poorly designed pressure switch kills the good stuff that the light has going for it, at least in this version, from Haley Strategic Partners.
The problem - the switch is big and rubbery, but has a "sweet spot" that you have to press firmly to actually get the light to turn on. Too high on the switch, too low or off to one of the sides and the light will not activate correctly. The switch will actually even "click" like it has been depressed, but no light.
In the picture below, I've depressed the big pressure pad a little low. The switch has 'clicked' but obviously, no light.
In a perfect world, you'll hit the 'sweet spot' every time, but any time you find yourself needing a weapon light, things are not likely to go smoothly. In training and practice, I've found myself - numerous times - trying to activate the light, only to get nothing, or a dim flicker as the switch is only partially activated. The problem - my thumb is pressing too high or too low on the pressure pad/switch.
This particular model is the momentary-only from Haley Strategic Partners, so there's really no getting away from the lousy switch.
It's got fresh batteries and as far as I can tell, the problem is truly the design of the switch versus a defective unit. If I press the switch in the middle, with normal pressure, the light engages like it should.
I only have the one light, and I haven't heard others complain about the switch, so I'd be interest to hear if others have noticed similar problems. If you've got a momentary-only WML, let me know.
As-is, it's a complete deal breaker. Something like this needs to work predictably, every time.
My Opinion: Save your dough and get a Surefire.
Note: This light was purchased independently and not a sample provided for review purposes.
Update: I've reached out to Inforce, and they've asked me to send in the light. We'll see what they say.
There are the shortages--clean water, food, shelter and medical supplies. Relief from government forces has been slow to come. No matter how well organized the relief forces are, rebuilding a broken supply chain and mobilizing vast amounts of resources takes time.
Folks now have been on their own for days and are getting desperate. Even many of those had prepared for the storm by stockpiling food and water found themselves separated from their things by flooding and the tidal surge. With homes washed away, people are sleeping in the open or under what shelter than can improvise from the wreckage.
Of course, there has been widespread lawlessness, violence and worse. In Tacloban, one of the hardest hit cities, there are reports of escaped prisoners running wild. Without food or water, average people have turned to looting the remnants of malls and supermarkets to feed themselves.
We've seen these kinds of stories play out time and time again - Hurricane Sandy (to a lesser extent), the 2011 tsunami in Japan, Hurricane Katrina, the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean and countless others. While you may be preparing for something other than a major natural disaster, they provide clear lessons for what happens when modern society falls apart.
FerFal has a good 'lessons learned' video up on YouTube. Lesson 1 - get out of dodge beforehand, if at all possible.
From the mad scientist at Demolition Ranch, explosive tipped crossbow bolts. Don't try at home unless it's the zombie apocalypse.
The reveal - big red arrow should help. 3rdman spotted it first.
Tactical Tailor just announced they're making pouches in Greenzone - the forest/jungle/green places pattern - and Badlands - the transitional, rocky, less green places pattern.
The pack used here is a Grey Ghost Gear Lightweight Assault Pack. Pretty cool little pack - more details coming.
After the jump for another one.
This one is harder. Click to get a little bit bigger view. It's within 10 yards. Big red arrow when you scroll down, but try to pick it out on your own. It's like Where's Waldo - the fun is in looking.
Even with the arrow, you can still hardly see it. I'll get some comparisons up with multicam, foliage, coyote and we'll see what else I can drag up.
I predict these will be the currency of choice in the post-apocalyptic world. Rat...lizard...Dinky Di dog food...a little bit o' Frank's makes everything better.
If you don't have a local source, Minimus sells them for a reasonable price. They've also got Cholula if that's your thing.
This one is pretty easy. Assault pack in full view, within 10 yards. Click to expand a bit if you need it.
For my AO, this stuff is frickin' amazing. More to come.
Yaeger is opinionated as heck, but more often than not, I agree with him. I've been digging his new series on the "bug out bag experiment" - in part, because he's reading the comments and responding to suggestions for gear to include in his bag.
He's got three installments up now, and gets progressively more fed up with stupid comments as the videos progress. There's some good rants around toilet paper, cookware, bugging out versus bushcrafting, setting up camp and more.
I've never personally posted up my bug out bag here on T-Blog, partly because what works for me, my situation and my environment are going to be different than what works for you, and partly because I've never gotten to the point where I've been totally happy with it. I'm getting there.
I agree with Yaeger's advice to keep the kit small, as light as possible, and focused on getting from Point A to Point B. Not some giant, 5-day backpacking kit with a full camp kitchen in tow. It should probably be small enough to ride comfortably next to you in a vehicle or on the lap of a passenger, so that you can grab it on the way out if needs be.
Small assault pack size, 1200 to 2000 cubic inches and some good choices will do it. Assuming you're dressed for the weather and don't live in the arctic.
Focus on the stuff that is going to be mission critical, not every odd-n-end, contingency item that you can think of. Shelter, water, food. Contingencies are why we pack duct tape.
I'm sure the actual, in-the-field portion of the bug out experiment will be even more entertaining.
Some colorful language, as usual. Worth watch, even if you disagree with him, to get a different point of view.
Interested to get your thoughts--what you agree with, disagree with, etc.
Chapter 25: Smile for the Flash
To Be Continued...
(And yes, the cliff hangers and loose ends are all on purpose. I've got to give you a reason to read the sequel!)
The kit became part of her daily carry since then, getting moved to different bags and used on a fairly regular basis when out and about. Motivated by finally running out of bandaids, she recently reminded me that it needed to be restocked. Probably a bit of an understatement.
Having spent 3 years in several purses and diaper bags, I thought it was interesting to see what had fared well under the wear-and-tear, what had been used up and what hadn't been needed in 3 years of daily use.
What Didn't Get Used:
None of the medication was really used--the kit had Tylenol, Imodium, and chewable Pepto. It's all expired at this point. My wife is not a big medication taker.
The Pepto was smashed into a fine powder and the packaging failed, spreading a pink dust over many of the kits contents. I would avoid these in the future.
Anything bandages for a wound larger than a small cut was mostly unused - butterfly closures and gauze pads. Steri-Strips were added at some point and went unused, too.
Also lightly used - Alchol pads - 2 of 10 used and Triple Antibiotic Ointments - 1 of 3 used
What Got Used:
Bandaids! All long gone, and I'm fairly certain it's been restocked once or twice.
Also, the wife reminded me that while she was on a cruise without me (can you believe that?) my brother (yes, this was with my immediate family) cut his knee pretty bad on some rocks while they were on a random beach in Bermuda. A few of the gauze pads, gauze tape and large bandaids were used to patch up his wound. This was a couple years ago, and the stuff used up was never replaced.
Safety pins are long gone. My wife also raided my stash of safety pins in my EDC bag.
The rest of the gauze tape and moleskin are gone - used to treat a couple blisters
The Gorilla tape is also gone, but I'm fairly certain it was ditched from the kit at some point, not actually used.
The Containers - aLoksaks and craft bags:
The kit has two aLoksaks--one large one, and one smaller within the kit. Neither will reliably seal at this point and are worn to heck, but they did do the job of holding the contents and generally protecting them from wear. They need to be chucked out and replaced. Not sure if I'd buy these again, but for a couple bucks each, they should be viewed as a disposable step up from a ZipLock freezer bags.
It also had a pair of little bulk-pack zip baggies from the craft store - these are $2 or $3 for a hundred or so. They were held within the large aLoksak and are also worn to heck at this point, but they still seal, where the small aLoksak doesn't.
Refinements for Mk II:
The wifey needs more of a boo boo kit versus a first aid kit. I'll still include a few things for dealing with a larger cuts, but more bandaids for the kid's various nicks and scrapes are what she really needs. Medication did not get used, so we'll trim back there, too.
To stand up to the long term abuses of riding in a purse or diaper bag, I'm going to invest in a sturdier container for the kit - probably one of the small Maxpedition pocket organizers.
Spoilers after the break.
So, the Walking Dead's writers sat around and started brainstorming ways to kill off the townspeople of Woodbury and came up with a case of killer swine flu. Of course, the filth, grime, close quarters and not to mention the zombies make it a perfect breeding ground for something like that.
The nerdy kid (Patrick) dying and coming back to life inside the prison was fairly creepy.
We've all been anticipating Tyrese's girlfriend's untimely demise after the reaction shot they featured in the trailers leading up to the season, so that surprised exactly no one.
Tyrese's lady friend was at least torched by an insider--we don't know if she was dead and zombified or if the prison's self-elected hazmat squad killed her off as a precaution. Either way, not good mojo.
And then there's the matter of whoever is feeding the zombies mice. I'm guessing its the stupid older sister and unrelated to the hazmat torchings, but maybe not.
Anyone else think the inside man is the vaguely creepy black guy - the one who got pinned under the alcohol display in the season opener? My money is on either him or Carol.
The next few episodes will be the Walking Dead meets CSI. Rick is done with his brief turn as pacifist Farmer Rick and will be the lead investigator on the case.
Why anyone would object to teaching their kids how to defend themselves in the current environment is beyond me. If you were old enough to use a gun, you'd have one. And if you weren't old enough for a gun or we didn't have enough to go around, you'd have bow, spear and some variety of ice pick/stabber. We'd practice for a couple hours a day.
We'd also have a buddy system in place. Nobody goes anywhere, even inside the prison, without their buddy. None of this wandering around zombie-ville by yourself.
And 24/7 watch on each cell block and a better organized QR force.
And probably more armor. I still need to watch the Mythbuster's Walking Dead special from a week back, but apparently duct tape can make some effective walker armor. Chain mail would certainly be back in fashion, at least in my group.
Anyways, hoping to see the pace pick up a bit, but generally an enjoyable couple of episodes.
What do you think? Any lessons learned or things they've done wrong that you would do differently? Let us know!
We're experimenting going without cable TV for a few months at least. We'll be buying a handful of the "must see" shows on iTunes or Amazon (The Walking Dead!), watching some of the others on Netflix or Hulu, and generally watching less TV in general. Should save us some money and give us a better viewing experience, too. I find myself watching less TV and more YouTube these days when I want to kick back and relax anyways.
Speaking of TV, NatGeo recently shot me an e-mail about the upcoming premiere of Doomsday Preppers season 3 and, more interestingly, a 2-hour special called American Blackout - here's the synopsis:
American Blackout (premiering Oct. 27) is a two hour film that imagines life in the days immediately following a blackout, from an EMP cyber-attack. Unlike shows like “Revolution”, American Blackout relies on expert analysis to illustrate the challenges we’d face in that scenario. Also cool – the film mixes in crowdsourced material – home footage from real Americans during recent blackouts. Premiering just two days later is the new season of Doomsday Preppers (premiering Oct. 29), which focuses on bigger builds and elaborate survival plans.
So, next Sunday for American Blackout, then next Tuesday for Doomsday Preppers. Given my lack of cable, I probably won't catch these on first-run, but wanted to pass along a heads up to those who might be interested.
Otherwise, the Alexander Wolf clan is getting unpacked and doing small fixes/updates to the new place and running errands. Have been busy, busy, busy and lamely have been light on posting as of late.
But, I will be taking some time over the next week to focus on T-Blog and kick off some fun new stuff. There's been some clamoring for a new contest...no promises, but we'll see what we can pull together :)
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