The latest posts from TEOTWAWKI Blog

Original post generated some good discussion, and I wanted to throw out a few clarifying points.

First, you of course have to use good judgement on your part. Selling something at a loss to only go a repurchase for substantially more is unfavorable math.

There's a bit of informal assessment to do when thinking about throwing something onto the trade blanket:
  • How useful is this to me? Can I re-purpose it?
  • How much can I get for this on resale?
  • What am I going to use those funds for?
  • Would I need to replace/repurchase this in the future? Will I be able to?
  • Will the item be worth more or less in the future if I hold onto it?
That kind of assessment should help guide good versus bad decisions. Useless, easy to replace, high value stuff that you're using to fund important project would be the sweet spot.

If you aren't really constrained for either funds or space, then selling off excess gear makes less sense. You don't need the $$$ to fund projects and you can store the excess away for a rainy day. Most of us aren't in that boat.

Personally, I go through a cycle of testing gear, selling off what doesn't work and then usually plowing those funds back into the same projects. Allows for progress while controlling (to an extent) the out of pocket costs.

That's why I refer to it as gear consolidation - selling an old stock and an unused hand guard to buy a new stock, selling an unused knife for a new / needed flashlight...clearing out the unused excess and turning it into something more needed/desired.

Of course, very often the keep vs. sell assessment often works out as a "naa, I'd better hang onto this", too.
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: February 26, 2015, 2:03 pm
There aren't a lot of things that you can buy, use for a couple years, and then sell at a small loss, or in some select cases, make a tidy profit. But one of the great things about quality gun and knife gear is that it tends to hold its value pretty well.

Case in point: Project AR-(20)15 is largely being funded by clearing out unused stuff. Projects that ended up going no where, ideas that have been abandoned or gear that I wanted to upgrade anyways. Stuff that was of little/no use and was just sitting there, collecting dust, and that sold off pretty quickly, painlessly and in some cases at a healthy profit over what I paid for it a few years ago. Made enough money to fund the purchase of a very nice BCM upper with minimal out-of-pocket cash.

Should have done that a while ago!

Yes, you can keep stuff around "just in case", put it in caches, and so on, but there's a bit of a false economy to that. It might not cost you anything out of pocket to keep, say, an unused hunting rifle around, but it is an unused resource that can be turned into cash. Sell or trade it in, and a new purchase becomes a lot less painful on the budget.

Sure, in some cases it makes sense to keep extra gear around, but that's not always that case.

So - if you have been eyeballing a new project, go clean out the part bins/drawers/closets and see what shakes out.
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: February 22, 2015, 10:24 pm

Picked these up for Project AR-(20)15, but they won't be hanging around here long term.

I know these are really popular, and they come in at a good price point. Nicely made and packaged, slim and fit nicely on the top rail. The front sight doesn't require a tool to adjust, which is awesome.

But the design has some deal-breaker flaws for me:
  • Slick / difficult to open. Especially with a pair of gloves on. If I'm going to need my BUISs, things aren't going well, and there's a pretty good chance I'm probably going to be wearing some kind of light glove, too. The low profile and smooth sides means the sights aren't easy to grab onto and flip open. It was taking me several tries to flip the things open, in the warm, dry, zero stress comfort of my living room. Cold, wet, stressful environment...even more trouble.
  • Don't lock open. The big deal to me is that they could get bumped, partially fold in and you not realize it, and then think the sight picture is still a good one. Then you're wondering why your shots aren't going where you intend them to go...that's bad. Less likely to happen, but completely plausible, especially with the front sight.
  • Rear sight's aperture. I prefer the 'big' aperture...the MBUS Pro's uses a 'nested' small aperture, that you have to flip out of the way using a finger nail to get to the big aperture. And then the small aperture piece is exposed and looks like it's just waiting to get snapped off...not a big fan of this.
So, nicely made, but design shortcomings were a deal breaker for me. Lots of people love 'em, but I am not one. Luckily purchase 'em from Amazon so the return process is simple.
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: February 19, 2015, 1:00 am

Via mi amigo Ed @ Ed's Manifesto:

"Friend of the page sent in this picture. He arrived in an unfamiliar place and went with the on site procurement method. Basically he built his cheap throwaway kit from just one trip to the Local Walmart. This method allows you to bypass a lot of problems as far as transportation of gear from one country to another for example." -  Ed

Commentary: Sometimes circumstances separate you from your tools. Air travel is a big 'un, especially if you're packing light and limiting yourself to carry ons. A little cash and improvisational ability can get you re-equipped in no time.
Or plan ahead and cache it.

I'm seeing maybe $40 worth of stuff here, but well rounded set for daily carry.
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: February 18, 2015, 12:00 am
The $1K Cache post inspired some good discussion on the topic, here and elsewhere. Frequent commenter / T-Blog buddy Meister has been pumping out some thought-provoking posts on caches over at his place.

Meister's put some heavy investment into diversifying his preparations into well thought out and well placed caches. Recommended reading:
Some specific comments:
  • Meister-level caches are probably impractical / out of budget for most folks, but a cache doesn't need to have $3-$5k worth of stuff in it to be worthwhile
  • Be smart, responsible and aware of local laws if you include firearms in a cache
  • Meister's paid special attention to where he stores his caches...very secure, out of the way and private locations
  • They're not buried in the ground. That's so 1990s, people!
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: February 17, 2015, 3:47 am

The depress-fest continues on the Walking Dead...

Synopsis of the episode: the group mopes and stumbles around for 40 minutes, then meets a "friend" who looks like he's straight out of an Eddie Bauer catalog.

It is good that the squad had to face lack of resources (food/water), and struggle with the psychological toll of little/no hope for tomorrow and losing many of their friends and family. That's often what a real survival scenario looks like...pretty grim.

Unfortunately, it's also not a lot o' fun to watch. In terms of "interesting stuff happening", outside of the dude at the end, this was pretty much a throw away episode after last week's Tyrese: This is your Life special.

The storm - zombies - holding the barn door scene was especially odd. The way that it was shot, the wife and I thought it was a dream sequence. Became clear that it wasn't afterwards, but confusingly shot/edit.

We did get to see the first appearance of a classic post-apocalyptic trope: a wild dog attack. Exciting! Also worm eating, too.

I was hoping the "friend" who donated the water to the group was Morgan, and he'd stroll out of hiding to say "Look, cheer up dudes, I have something interesting for us to do!" - but alas, it looks like that was mysterious stranger (Aaron), instead.
So - to the real talking point of the episode: who is this Aaron dude and where does he come from? Obviously has showered and put on a set of clean clothes recently...if he's a bad guy--maybe a member of the Wolves bandit group from last week--then he's got an odd approach for waging an attack on the team. He knows that Rick is the leader, too - how'd he figure that out?

Spoiler: If some logic, a bit o' Google and the storyline from the comics don't lie, he's not actually a bad guy and instead comes from the Alexandria Safe Zone. Maybe Morgan is there, too, and told 'em about Rick being the leader and all that. I'm looking forward to their arrival in Alexandria, as it'll end the aimless wandering they've been doing since the fall of the prison.

Your thoughts about the episode?
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: February 16, 2015, 9:36 pm
Had some good comments around optics in the prior post, and Ryan shared his thoughts on optic choices, so I thought some follow-up discussion was in order.

Aimpoint PRO vs Micro Dot
My current optic is an Aimpoint PRO. It's been very good, zero issues, and a solid choice for a $400 red dot w/ mount. Great budget conscious choice, but the only real reason that I can discern to run a PRO is if you can't afford the $200-ish extra for a H1, T1 or T2 Micro Dot.

Budget constraints aside, the Micros do the same thing for substantially less weight. The PRO weighs 11.6 ounces, where a Microdot weighs something like 5 ounces, depending on your mounting option. That's a nontrivial weight difference - nearly half a pound of excess when running the PRO.

Weight isn't of course the be-all, end-all, especially on a weapon platform that is fairly lightweight to begin with.

But, I am really enjoying the light weight and balance of my new ELW / KMR13 upper. Having a fatty optic on there just seems non-congruent. A micro dot would be soooo nice -- and it seems like a bunch 'o of today's top carbine trainers are running a pretty similar set up, too. Travis Haley, LAV and others.

Micro Dot vs. 1x-Nx
One of the commenters mentioned that variable power 1-6x magnification scopes are all of the rage now. The Vortex Viper HD seems to be the go-to recommendation, but it's also $1400. Trijicon has a similar optic in a similar price range, as does Leupold. So, off hand I replied that a $1000 optic wasn't in the budget.

Subsequent comments pointed out that there were more cost-friendly variables out there.

Primary Arms has a 1-6x for under $300...but honestly, I wouldn't put a Primary Arms on my go-to, primary defensive rifles, and I think PA would agree with that--they've put notes on their optics that they are for training purposes / not patrol in the past.

Vortex and several others have 1-4x optics at around $500. Vortex also just announced their 1-6x Strike Eagle which would probably be at the top of my list to check out.

A variable optic has a lot to like about it - red dot like performance at 1x and the ability to zoom in for distance shooting. The 'recce' - shorter, railed carbine with a variable power optic - has become the go to choice for a versatile, do-all AR.

Variables also have a big downside - weight - with a mount, you're talking somewhere around ~1.5 pounds extra. That tradeoff can often be worthwhile, sometimes not.

Personally, I don't have ready access to a range that goes much beyond 50 yards. When I lived in rocky mountain west, long range was the norm - heck, I lived around the corner from a range that went out to 400 yards. In the heavily forested south east, I'd have to drive an hour or two to get to a range that was 100 or 200 yards. And even then, 200+ yards isn't that hard with a red dot. You won't get tiny groups like you can with a magnified optic, but combat effective ain't hard.

And there's also the point things would have to be waaaay down the crapper for me to be taking potshots at bad guys out at 300 or 400 yards.

So, for my situation and for this particular lighter-weight, go-to defensive carbine, I'm feeling like a variable would be more than what I need and more weight than I want to strap onto the gun.

Of course, minds can always be changed and switching out optics isn't that tough. But for now, I'm hunting for deals on an Aimpoint Micro - if anyone has any screamin' deals, let me know.
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: February 15, 2015, 1:19 pm
Recommended reading over at the Spartan Monkey's place -> The SFODA as a model for the modern tribe.

Short version: Army SF Operational Detachments / "A-Teams" are structured such that each member of the ~12 man team specializes in a certain primary skillset, but all cross-train in a variety of disciplines.

Spartan Monkey suggests a variety of well-thought specializations that could apply to a preparedness / survival tribe.

My Thoughts: I think the small SF teams have a lot to extrapolate from in terms of how they structure themselves and some of the strategies that they are known for, especially unconventional warfare (typically, organizing, equipping, training and leading friendly indigenous forces into battle). More on that later.
As the SF has realized, there are huge benefits to having specialized, in-depth skill sets, especially to small groups operating with little/no outside support.

A survival / preparedness group or tribe could certainly take a page or two from their playbook.

Specialization seems somewhat counter-intuitive to our 'self-sufficient' mindset, and really, many of us focus on try to learn a little about the broad array of related skills.

But, specialization is a lot more efficient and viable than trying to do it all.

As an example, four of the potential specializations Spartan Monkey suggests:
  • Electronics expert (commo, security systems, off-grid electrical)
  • Medical expert
  • Food expert - storage and production
  • Weapons expert (weapons repair / maintenance / gunsmithing / reloading)
How long would it take one person to get really proficient in each area? How much would they need to invest in training, tools and mistakes? How would they have time and opportunity to gain experience using each of those skills?

Now -- what if, instead, you could largely focus your time and efforts on one or two areas that you had a natural aptitude for? You develop a deep understanding, experience and the associated tools in that one area, while relying on other group members to do the same for their areas of specialization?

And then, as you each build up your specialized knowledge, capabilities and tools, you shared that with the rest of the tribe?

The vehicle expert, who has invested in a pretty capable at-home repair shop and the skills to use it, helps the tribe repair their own vehicles.

The food specialist, who grew up on a small farm, has been canning food all their life, raises backyard chickens and grows prize winning vegetables, helps group members build and maintain their food storage, plant gardens or raise small livestock.

The weapons expert, who has invested in gunsmithing tools, formal training and a healthy inventory of spare parts helps tribe members with repairs, maintenance and gunsmithing.

The medical expert, who teaches the group members first aid, tactical combat casualty care, and maintains comprehensive medical kits. 

And so on, training the rest of the group, building up their knowledge and skills as you go.

To the extent that its feasible and practical, this concept makes all sorts of sense.

Making it happen in real life is unfortunately squishy, since we're usually friends with people who have fairly common interests, not completely diverse and different ones.

But, where it makes sense, making the effort to get your tribe organized to that level would be worthwhile.

Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: February 13, 2015, 4:34 am

The BCM upper discussed a little bit back was purchased and arrived in short order. The stats:
  • 14.5" Enhanced Lightweight Barrel (ELW)
  • Pinned BCM Gunfighter Comp Mod 1
  • KMR13 Free float handguard 
The combination shorter barrel along with BCM's proprietary ELW profile and magnesium alloy KMR rail make for a lightweight, agile and all around handy carbine. It's very slick.

Moving from a short, fat carbine length MOE handguard on my old carbine to the long and slender KMR stands out as the biggest upgrade. Modernized ergonomics / grip is hugely important, and that was one of the real driving factors behind the upgrade. Now I get to shoot like the cool kids do.

The buying experience from BCM was awesome, as expected - fast shipping, got to my door two days ahead of schedule, and the package included the customary pile o' BCM loot, too. Pretty much perfection. If you're in the market for AR gear, you won't find any who does it better.

The carbine is still obviously a work in progress. Back up iron sights (BUIS), light, sling mount and a hand stop will be added. My Aimpoint PRO feels like a pig on this thing, too - an optic change may be in order. The upper destined for another lower, too. I've got no plans to obsess over a particular weight threshold as some folks do, but I do want to retain the balance and handiness of the carbine. I'll check in as things evolve.

First range trip / break in / sighting is planned for this weekend. The folks at Lucky Gunner were kind of enough to volunteer a supply of ammo for the cause, which is very cool of them. The ammo shipped wicked fast, too - got from their door to mine in around 24 hours. So - go buy ammo, tell them T-Blog sent you, and hopefully I'll get more free ammo, which will in turn lead to more range trips for me and more gun blogging for you to read. Thus, the circle of ammo will be complete.

Stay tuned for more.
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: February 11, 2015, 5:19 am
This showed up on my doorstep...hmm, what could it be?

Damn you, BCM, for announcing the end of your perpetual free bolt carrier group sale! Damn you!

Also - try not to get too jealous of my rug.

That is all.

For now.
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: February 10, 2015, 10:45 pm
Spoilers after the jump!

No! Like T-Dogg before him, Tyrese falls victim to the Walking Dead's "there can be only one black dude" trope. No...wait, there's preacher man and Noah left in the group, so maybe that trope is dead and gone.

Ahh - no wait - it's "there can only be one tough black dude" - that's the trope, and neither preacher man nor Noah fit that bill. Tyrese replaced T-Dogg, and my money has it on Morgan finally joining the group and replacing our dearly departed hammer wielding friend Tyrese.

I was sad to see Tyrese go - I liked his character, though this past season he's been kind of a downer...all depressed and mopey. Surprised to see him get killed off, too, what with Beth getting offed in the episode prior to the break. I'm going to wager the actor took up another gig so they needed to kill off Tyrese.

And the big man goes down due to a real rookie mistake...going into an unknown area with someone clueless and then not paying attention. That's always when the creepy little kid zombies pop outta nowhere and take a bite out of your arm.

Survivalist Sidebar: Tyrese's unfortunate demise highlights the dangers of not having an adequately capable battle buddy to watch your back. Noah's not a bad guy, but clearly not capable of protecting himself, let alone someone else. Without someone to watch Tyrese's back, he was ambushed by kiddo walker, injured, then left to bleed all over the place, tangle with another walker...and ultimately it killed him.

Running solo will get you killed, and running with people who are essentially a liability will get you killed even faster. In many, many cases, loved ones - children, maybe spouses, relatives - may be that kind of liability in a crisis situation. Honest self assessment here, folks. Not that we're going to abandon our responsibility to protect those loved ones, but we also shouldn't count on them as that battle buddy / capable backup unless they really are.

Back to the episode: Downer of an episode in general (what else is new?), though I did appreciate how they faked us out in the beginning (they're burying Beth, right?), and then came back around in the end. Guest stars in the flashback were all creepy, especially the Governor. Forgot what a good actor that guy was.

Glenn picked up his baseball bat, which I think was kind of a trademark brain smasher for him in the comics. We'll see more of that in episodes to come.

Also - what was with the truck load of zombie torsos? Who does that? Why?

That's it for my thoughts - how about you?
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: February 10, 2015, 3:19 am
And in case you can't wait, here's the first 2 minutes of the new episodes...looks like another road trip is coming.

Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: February 7, 2015, 8:31 pm

Art of the Dynamic Long Bow: Archery CQB

In a follow-up to his initial video back in 2013, Lars Andersen shows off even more incredible archery skills, apparently unearthed through research, lots of trial and error.

Pretty cool that literally no one else on earth knew how to shoot a bow like this until this dude 'rediscovered' the forgotten technique.
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: February 3, 2015, 2:28 am
Had some interesting commentary here and over at Total Survivalist that I wanted to follow up on.

First - why $1k? Round, attainable number. Enough to do some, but not enough to do everything. Some compromises have to be made, and limitations often end up driving creativity. Things get start to get interesting.

I didn't prepare my list list with any specific circumstances / situation in mind, but instead went with gear that I use daily. It's already intended to get me through a pretty bad day. Short of open warfare, this is the stuff that I would want at hand.

Are these $1k cache lists a good 'starting point' for someone just getting into preparedness? I'd say yes and no. A good portion of my $1k budget was spent on clothing--hopefully noob preppers already have some clothing--and a Glock. For someone brand new to prepping, owned no guns, only had $1k to spend, I don't know if I'd have 'em blow half their budget on Austrian tupperware.

Outside of that, then sure, there are certainly some good ideas in my list and other lists shared in the contents. I typically steer folks to every day carry, then vehicle kit and then to start building food, water storage and other capabilities at home, so keep that in mind, too. If you are new and need some guidance, hit me up in the comments section with questions and I'll be glad to help steer you in the right direction.

Looks like Total Survivalist has posted up his own take on the $1k kit, too - in fact, he's doubled down with two separate lists. Check 'em out.
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: January 31, 2015, 2:54 am
So $1000 - a pretty decent amount, but not enough to really go wild. A backup vehicle loaded down with gas, water, food and guns would be nice, but...

I'd focus on socking away backup / redundancies for EDC gear - down to decent clothing. An operational cache, but geared towards equipping me with daily carry tools instead of a full battle rattle.

Basically, I could show up in my flip flops and underoos and leave fairly well set up.

Lean would be towards those things that would be difficult or impossible to get in a crap-hit-the-fan scenario.

A Glock 9mm would form the core of the cache. 17, 19, 26 - doesn't matter much, a Gen 2 is fine. A couple mags - maybe 33rders, a decent holster, spare mag holder and quality ammo. $500-$600 if you shop around, buy used, etc.

Why a handgun and not a pump action shotgun, WASR AK or something like that? As a CCW-licensed average everyday dude, a concealable handgun is more useful to me in a broader array of circumstances than a long gun. If it looks like the USA is going to turn into Syria, then that might change.

After the handgun, I'd have a low profile, EDC-friendly backpack, set up similarly to the one I carry daily. Maybe with some EdWood-style tricks up my sleeve.

Leatherman, flashlight, metal water bottle, burner cell phone, batteries, chargers, some toiletries, basic snivel kit, USB with backup info, etc.

Added to the pack would be a spare set of clothes - jacket, fleece, button up, t-shirt, cargo pants, beanie and work gloves. Broken in hiking boots. Basic, sturdy, earth-toned. A good belt, too.

I'd throw down ~$250 for the bag, contents and clothes. So we're at $750-ish now.

Remaining funds would be spent on medical stuff (fish biotics, gauze, thing of bleach, wound cleaning), a decent sleeping bag, a couple flats of water, basic ready-to-eat foods, spare batteries and a 5 gallon can of gas w/ stabil added.

That should get close to $1k, with a cache equipped the deal with a fairly broad array of troubles. Up the budget, and I'd likely set the rest aside in cash. After a healthy pile o' cash, then I'd look to add a long gun and ancillaries.

But, if really compromised for space: I'd take the handgun stuff, a good knife, flashlight, burner cell phone, a lighter and a fat wad of cash.
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: January 29, 2015, 1:32 am
Some recent talk of caching got me thinking along these lines, and I thought I'd throw a scenario out to the tribe for a fun thought exercise. Time to put your planning caps on. Here's the  scenario:

Whether through good fortune, a little bit of legwork or the help of a trusted friend, you have the opportunity to set up a small cache. For purposes of the scenario, assume that it is either stored with a trusted friend/family member or in a secure and relatively anonymous storage locker.

A few things to note about the cache site:
  • It's indoors and relatively climate controlled
  • You'll be able to lock up whatever you decide to cache; unauthorized access is a non-issue
  • Privacy concerns have all been addressed, and the site can be accessed as needed
  • The site is located a relatively convenient area for your and your plans
You have a total of $1000 in resources to devote to equipping the cache. Note that if you'll be caching old/used stuff, factor in the going the market rate for those items.

What do you include in your cache?

Updated to include: There's no specific disaster/crap hit the fan/zombies arising scenario in mind -- consider your current environment, concerns, and what would be of most use to you (or most interesting to plan out). Do you go full operational cache? A speedball/consumables cache to help you get where you need to go? Preposition some needed supplies or tools?
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: January 28, 2015, 12:13 am

My Cold Steel Special Forces / Spetsnaz shovel, during a break in cleaning up around the homestead. Digs, chops, hacks, hammers, smashes...one of my favorite tools for working outdoors. Hacked down saplings, cleared a trailed, helped cleanup a truckload of leaves...

It's been kryloned with their brown camo, wrapped with camo form and has had the edge honed a bit with a file. I've had this thing for years now, riding in the back of my truck. It's seen a lot of hard use, still going strong.

Available on Amazon >
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: January 24, 2015, 11:50 pm
As mentioned in my 2015 goals, one of my big goals is a less specific "General consolidation of stuff / updating / completing various systems (go-to AR, battle rattle, EDC, etc.)."

A commenter asked for specific plans r.e. the AR-15, so here goes.

My current go-to AR-15 is a Stag carbine-length 16" upper w/ MOE handguards and an assemble-it-yourself lower. Current config:

The upper has been 100% reliable through the variety of ammo that I've run through it and ~8 years of use, but it's also pretty outdated, and I find that the carbine-length handguards put a limitation on adopting a more modern grip.

I've had a more up-to-date AR on the back burner since literally the last election cycle (pre-Sandy Hook). I tend to have 1 or 2 major firearms related purchases in finances per year, I decided 2015 was 'bout time to get AR upper done. Prices and availability are not going to get any better, that's for sure.

Current plan, as it stands, is a BCM lightweight BFH 14.5" Mid-length with their 13" KMR rail. Likely the BCM "tactical" gunfighter comp, perma-pinned. That should bring me pretty current in terms of AR-tech, da?

To get ahead of the follow-up questions:

Why BCM? They're pretty universally well regarded as high quality, go-to level stuff. You can save a few hundred bucks going with other brands, and you can spend several hundred more going with others. I'm concerned with having something that I can put confidence in right out of the box, and BCM is one of the brands that I'd put that trust in.

They also do a lot of cool marketing, collaborations and support for the firearms industry as a whole, and I don't mind supporting that, either.

Why 14.5 inches with a pinned comp? It's the shortest you can get without either getting into an SBR or the now questionable AR pistol / SIG Brace territory. Moving indoors and in vehicles is a part of life, and having a maneuverable gun helps make that a bit easier. The downside is that it makes switching out muzzle devices harder, though a capable gunsmith can cut off a pinned on comp if a change is needed down the road.

Why mid-length? Longer gas system = lower pressure slamming through the direct impingement system, less wear and tear and softer recoil impulse.

Why the KMR rail? Ridiculously light weight for a full length rail, super strong, and direct mounting of tacticool accessories via keymod. Does look a bit like hardware store shelving, though.

Why the gunfighter comp? It's a combo flash hider and compensator, so you get goodness from both worlds.

Looking at other options as well - nothing being set in stone at this point. I might go for a 16" barrel, different rail, different comp, etc. Arranging federal reserve notes now. Will make the purchase within the next month or so.

I'm undecided about what to do with the Stag upper - it will be collecting dust in the safe after new upper arrives.

The minimalist don't have excess stuff part of me wants to sell it and roll said funds into the purchase of the new upper. I'm not the type who wants lots of average firearms...I want a few, trusted and higher quality ones. The extra cash to dump into the new project would be welcome.

Survivalist side of me has me holding onto it for a backup / hand out. I have extra lowers hanging out, so it's a complete carbine with a good track record. Not bad to have around.

And the cheap side of me says scrap the new upper, just dump a couple hundred bucks into the current upper to modernize it a bit. New hand guards/rail, maybe free float it, and a few other enhancements to bring it more up to speed.

Thoughts from the tribe?
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: January 22, 2015, 12:42 am
In a case of epic flip flopping, the ATF has now officially flip-flopped on their prior position and now says "NEIN!" to the shouldering of a pistol equipped with a SIG brace.

According to ATF logic, the act of shouldering the brace automagically redesigns said pistol into an SBR. Now, if this was the ATFs POV all along, why give the thumbs up to the SIG brace in the first place? Why the earlier letters giving the "ok" to shoulder the brace? Why let an entire sub-industry develop in support of using the SIG brace as an occasional shoulder stock?

Utter incompetence if I've ever seen it. With SHOT show kicking off, oodles of SIG brace related products on the market and our friends at the ATF in attendance, I'd expect to see further developments. Would also like to see the industry push back against this kind of garbage oversight from the ATF with some variety of litigation. A lot of people will be losing money over this decision, completely due to the ATFs unclear, flip-floppy oversight.

Link to the official open letter from the ATF
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: January 17, 2015, 12:47 am

 via Soldier Systems - HSP announced four new products today: The D3 Sling, D3 FlatPack, Incog Shadow and MP2 Rifle Mag Inserts. The announcement was also accompanied with a slick catalog, great photography and much fanfare.

Photos and discussion after the jump

The D3 Sling
Similar to the popular MS2 and MS3 slings that Haley developed during his time at Magpul, this sling is designed to transition from two point to single point in moments. It attaches via QD-swivels, which have become the standard for sling attachment over the past few years. Unlike the old Magpul slings, the D3 sling features what looks to be a pretty cozy layer of padding, which is important when actually employing the sling over long periods of time.

Looks good to me...I've used a half dozen different slings at this point and haven't found one that I love. This one could be a winner.

The D3 FlatPack

I actually had some brief hands-on time with the FlatPack during a visit to the HSP showroom last month - they've had a prototype on display there for a little while. It's pretty small and, being made of 500D Cordura, quite lightweight - the HSP catalog has it weighing in at a mere 16 ounces.

The FlatPack will integrate with the D3CR chest rigs or any PALS/MOLLE surface big enough (plate carrier or backpack, for example). And, as you can see in the pictures, it can grow from a slim hydro carrier (HSP says a 1L bladder - so very low profile) into something with a bit more cargo space - the main compartment grows from 200 cubic inches to 600 cubic inches, and the lower admin pouch will expand from 50 to 100 cubic inches.

That's a pretty cool feature for a carrier mounted pack - most of the time, you'll just have water and some basics, but you can expand the pack out to carry more if needed. HSP claims it'll fit a helmet or one of their chest rigs, fully loaded.

The shoulder straps are lightweight and not ideal for carrying heavy loads, but the limited capacity kind of precludes carrying 50 pounds of stuff in this little pack. 

Design is subdued enough to be discrete out and about, too.

The photo above doesn't do a particularly good job of showing the size - and it is really pretty small. If you have a D3CR, it's roughly the same footprint. HSP says max computer size is a 8x12, so roughly the height and width of a piece of paper. Here's a photo with some other gear to give you an idea of what you're looking at:

Incog Shadow

A light bearing version of the popular Incog holster, which is my current go-to when I wanna IWB my Glock 17. An excellent choice if you need to conceal a pistol with weapons light.

MP2 Rifle Mag Inserts

When I bought my D3CR, I'd read somewhere that ESSTAC's KYWI - kydex wedge inserts - would work in them, allow me to ditch the annoying bungee retention and run open top w/ kydex, as is my personal preference. Unfortunately, that turned out to not be the case - they most definitely did not fit well.

The MP2 inserts look to resolve the problem for not only the D3CR, but a host of other mag pouches as well - HSP lists Tactical Tailor, LBT, Mayflower, First Spear and others. The MP2s also look like they're a bit more refined and nicely finished than the DIY look of the KYWIs.

Count me in for at least four...of HSPs new products, I'm most excited about these.

So - any thoughts? If T-Blog was going to pick up one of these products for review, which would you vote for?
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: January 16, 2015, 11:35 pm
With SHOT 2015 kicking off,  Magpul has dropped two big product announcements.

The D60 - 60 Round PMAG

The D60 gives us the hope for a sturdy, 100% reliable 60 round drum at the $100-ish price point. It's made of Magpul's super sturdy, polymer, easily dissembled, lower profile than a Surefire 60 and has a special loading mechanism. A reliable drum mag or two ain't bad to have around, especially for those bump-SAWs out there.

The PMAG17 - Glock 17 mags

A Glock mag that will likely have a street price in the $12 ballpark - with Magpul's track record of rugged reliability? These things will sell faster than bricks o' .22lr! Count me in for ten of these.
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: January 15, 2015, 11:29 pm

And I thought walking dead were bad enough...parkour dead are much worse.
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: January 14, 2015, 12:33 am
With the start of a new year, it's goal making time.

Here are some of my big 'uns for the year:
  • Rebuild emergency fund after last year's decimation; have refunded by year end
  • Get down to 195 by June; generally improve overall fitness level
  • Training course or two in the 2nd half of the year - book in the second quarter, attend in the 3rd quarter
  • General consolidation of stuff / updating / completing various systems (go-to AR, battle rattle, EDC, etc.)
I find it generally helpful to break big goals up into smaller goals - compartmentalization, if you will. So for weight loss, I have a per week and per month goal that are the main focus. For emergency fund, it's a monthly savings goal, etc.

Check-in points and milestones are good, too - e.g. have X completed within the first quarter, which will allow you to do Y in the summer. Throw 'em on a calendar, set up reminders, tell somebody else about 'em and get things moving.

Like most, I'm not the bestest at completing all of my annual goals. I get lazy, busy and distracted by new shiny things like everybody else. But, in writing down some goals at the beginning of the year, I find that I usually get the majority of them done.

How about you guys and gals? What are your big goals for the year, prep related or otherwise?
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: January 12, 2015, 6:27 pm

I'm not an expert in dynamic entry, but when you've got a stack of 100 guys in full kit and only one makes it through the door, things probably didn't go as planned.

From someone who is more of an expert - Travis Haley:

Come on guys... Damn... I mean good job getting the goons but watch the Blue on Blue... (when bad guy comes running out the door) not to mention the 1 man entry with 100man stack behind him...

A messy looking entry like this isn't uncommon. The lead guy(s) go in, bullets start flying and confusion, emotion take over and the rest of the stack ducks for the nearest cover.
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: January 10, 2015, 6:41 pm
Training with Ed and crew on the mean streets of Tijuana...sounds like an adventure in waiting. Via EdPoint.

Tijuana, Mexico — July 18 and 19 of 2015 Reaper Method/Black Box Level One Certification.

This class will be comprised of an international student base, taught in both English and Spanish (bilingual knowledge is not required of students). Those in the USA, Mexico, and abroad are encouraged to apply.

Space will be limited to 10 participants and will have an entry fee of $380 dollars.

Due to the nature of the material being covered, this will NOT be an open seminar. Those interested should submit an email containing a brief personal biography, military and/or law enforcement service history, a list of any physical conditions or limitations, any history of PTSD related disorders, and any martial arts background for consideration. Applicants should be prepared to undergo a basic criminal background check.

This is a physically and mentally exhausting course, taking place in a very dangerous part of the world. Students will live on-site for the duration of the training. Food will be provided.
This course will include:
-Basic Edged Weapons Work
-Improvised Weapons
-The Garrote
-Basic Escapology
-Surviving Simulated Abductions (these are intense simulations)
-Confronting Multiple Opponents
-Concealment of Escape Tools
-Basic Lock Picking

Reaper MX: http://youtu.be/5_b3ovGveoA

In addition, students will learn how criminals think, first hand, by learning to operate as criminals. Students will take part in planning simulated abductions and attacks that mimic real-world scenarios.

Finish the course and you get the reaper patch and gain entry in to further levels of training and become part of the family.

Please submit your inquiry to: caidamuerta@gmail.com
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: January 9, 2015, 4:00 pm

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