Total Survivalist Blog

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I was over at Aesop's Blog which led me to his ( well him and some other folks) other blog Hogwarts School of Grid Down Medicine and Wizardry. Lots of good stuff there. A specific post on vaccination jumped out at me.

One of the interesting things about survivalism/ preparedness/ pro freedom people being such a varied group. They come with different concerns and motivations is there are some folks who are against vaccination for what they believe are medical reasons. Also there are anarchist types whose immediate instinct is to do the exact opposite of what anyone says because it is obviously a conspiracy.

Jimmy Kimmel did a funny but valid bit on vaccination.


Also the piece Pen and Teller did (NSFW due to foul language) is excellent.
Vaccinations are one of (along with clean water and waste disposal) the biggest single reasons childhood mortality in the developed world has dropped so much in the last century. From a preparedness perspective it makes sense to get vaccinated not just for common things in the US but for things that could happen in a longer term emergency. I hesitate to say exactly which diseases that would be as it is outside my area of expertise but small pox comes to mind. Seriously, get your kids vaccinated and make sure all your stuff is up to date.
Author: Theother Ryan
Posted: March 1, 2015, 6:36 pm
Was running around today and swung through the local gun store to fondle a Ruger LCP. They had one of those new Ruger LCP Custom's. I handled it and liked it. The price difference between it and the baseline one was $30. The money gets you actual sights and a different trigger. Decided to go for it.

So now I am the owner of a Ruger LCP Custom. Picked up a box of JHP ammo and a box of FMJ to try it out with. Ordered a Safariland 25-1881-21 Inside Pocket Holster to carry it in. Going to have to get some spare mags and more ammo as soon as the budget and other projects will allow.

Do you own a pistol in this category? If so what are your thoughts on it?
Author: Theother Ryan
Posted: February 28, 2015, 10:43 pm
Sold my Kahr CW9 today. The S&W 642 is also on dangerous ground waiting for the right sale or trade. If things go right it will be gone inside the week. A couple of things drove that decision.

Primarily I have gotten back to packing around my Glock 19 a whole lot more. How did I do this? Well I had to get some new pants. A couple pair of my pants were just plain worn out. So when I replaced them I bought pants 2 inches bigger around than I am around. Actually brought my Glock to the store when I purchased them to try them on with it. After that I went into the closet and threw out my shirts that were not sufficiently sized to let me wear the Glock 19 at 3 o'clock discretely. That combined with my blade tech belt and Bianchi professional 100 and I'm back to packing the G19 a lot.

So how does this relate to the Kahr? Well given these, not entirely insignificant accommodations the concealability of my Glock 19 is not very different from the Kahr CW9.  Since they fall into the same general footprint if I could carry one I could carry the other. Why would I carry a gun with half the bullets that I do not shoot as well? Meister was right to carry a bigger gun and dress around it a little bit. Still there are some situations where you just can't carry that much of a pistol. Or maybe you are running to the corner store for milk in a sleepy, safe area. Or it is August in Louisiana and 100 degrees with sauna like humidity and blazing sun. A smaller gun does have a role.

Looking hard at getting a pocket sized .380. It is true this is another caliber but it is the quint essential carry a lot, shoot a little gun. The kind of gun where you get 4 or so mags, 150 or so rounds of good JHP ammo, 250 rounds of FMJ for practice and call it good.

Specifically I am looking at the Ruger LCP. The price difference between them and the Kel Tec is negligible and well, Ruger makes better guns than Kel Tec. Also Kel Tec's business model of making guns with an enormous lemon rate and offering a lifetime warranty knowing they sell a price point gun to people who, on average shoot very little bothers me. A defensive firearm should work out of the box, not after being sent back to the factory twice, you doing an internal polish job and racking the slide 10,000 times to smooth out all the manufacturing mistakes. It would take a lot to convince me that Kel Tec guns to a professional standard with any consistence. I know some KT's work but many do not. Also KT's seem to have gone up in price considerably. The difference between a Kel Tec P3AT and a Ruger LCP in my AO is about $50. That is the price of a decent bottle of Scotch or a meal out for the family. If it was $100+ that would be a different discussion but for such a small difference I see no reason to settle, especially since I have the money.

So those are my thoughts on that. What do you think? Personal experiences with the Ruger LCP?
Author: Theother Ryan
Posted: February 27, 2015, 1:48 am


T Blog wrote a post On Gear Consolidation that I have been thinking about.


Also a few years back I sold off a few guns to fund Project AR. They were either oddballs or outliers from the rest of my collection. I do not miss any of them. Selling stuff you no longer have a use for makes sense.

Now selling something useful I have a bit harder time with.

If you can afford it there is a lot to be said for keeping the servicable rigger belt with the clip you don't love as a back up belt, especially if it will fetch a negligible price.

Ditto for that $400 AK you bought a decade ago when such things were available.

It is worth considering if these items have a purpose. Do they fit into some part of your plans or is it just more junk?

It is also worth considering what the cash is going to purchase. Is it fundamentally making our situation better, neutral or arguably worse. If you want to sell odds n ends to buy super pails of food then rock on. On the other hand if you are selling that AK to spend on $400 tactical urban operations Crye Precision pants so you can look like some 'operator' on youtube that is stupid.

Something to consider is what sort of loss you take by selling that item. Some items like guns hold their value pretty well, especially if purchased used. Other items, with any degree of use, have values fall my a third or even half. These items I would have a hard time selling if they had any use because what you'll get out of them might not be worth it. Especially if you are a person always chasing the coolest new thing selling kit for a 30% write off to buy new stuff all the time will add up in price.

Alexander mentioned the false economics of holding onto stuff because it means you cannot cash out that value to acquire new stuff. I would agree but at the same time the economic power of already purchased gear cuts both ways. I could not have afforded to go out and set up my operational cache in one shot. That being said while it did theoretically represent value it was all stuff purchased years before sitting in closets and storage bins. I just about put that together from stuff on hand. Now I have a pretty good setup that really didn't cost me anything. In the next couple years I plan to set up another cache or two the same way. These are in my mind a great way to use serviceable stuff that is lying around, especially if you would take a decent write off by selling it.

While I do lean more towards the backup and cache side of the house I am planning (if I ever get off my butt) to sell some stuff I either no longer use or have in excess of my (redundant and paranoid) needs. This is mostly about clearing up some space and leveling out my stuff than anything else.

What do you all think?

Author: Theother Ryan
Posted: February 25, 2015, 4:16 am
Down here in Louisiana we are finally getting a shot of winter. It is cold (35 when I got  home) and there is an 80% chance of rain. School was canceled today and is also for tomorrow. We had a late call today and have a later one tomorrow. Paw Paw shared a picture that pretty much sums up the situation.

 Max Velocity talks alternatives to M855.  Putting my money where my mouth is that case of 55gr M193 5.56 I just ordered showed up today. I need to get a 50 cal ammo can to store it in. Also need one for that case of 7.62x39 I bought when the Ukraine really kicked off. I probably need to order about 4 ammo cans.

500 rounds of Remington 110gr SJHP for $250. Fifty cents a round for any .357 mag ammo is a good deal. For Remington hollow points it is a darn good deal.

500 rounds of Independence 55gr M193 for $164.99 (.33 a rd). With the nature of 5.56 right now this is a good deal. If you are short, or just want a few months of training ammo this is a good way to get squared away.
Author: Theother Ryan
Posted: February 24, 2015, 2:47 am
"I never planned on getting in a gun fight. I'm the first one to tell you that anyone who does involve them self in a gun fight usually made a mistake somewhere along the line."
-Bob Stash,
Lieutenant Chicago PD



The lessons of this interview are worthwhile. In his first shooting Mr Stasch's partner dumped a cylinder of .45 long colt in the goblins chest then a couple rounds of .38 special. Mr Stasch put 2 rounds of .44 mag in his chest then went for the pelvis and hit low putting one in the thigh and another in the knee which dropped him. It was a total of 13 rounds most of which were big bore revolver rounds and the man didn't die for days. Mindset was key there. This is something I learned in another place but mentality is key. Have the mindset that if someone shoots you, you will shoot them, or cram that gun down their throat. This mentality and the unwillingness to quit is very important.

Training to shoot at close distances with one hand was my other big take away.
Author: Theother Ryan
Posted: February 22, 2015, 2:29 am
 A few day ago I talked about my get home bag. It was bloated and a bit too heavy. It was 17 pounds dry and that due to an oversight (weighted it part way through the set up) did not include my HPG Serape in a pouch jerry rigged on top or some off my survival stuff in my HPG kit bag. So the total weight was probably closer to 23 pounds.

I went back and looked at it. Took out some stuff. There were a few more batteries than I probably need in there. Replaced a full roll of toilet paper with a half used one. Took out redundant baby wipes. Took out some bulkier food like an MRE and a couple things of top ramen. They will be replaced with lighter food. My food plan is to have about half eat on the go stuff like granola bars, peanut butter, etc and half dehydrated. Took out some 550 cord, that stuff is important but for this kit 20 meters or so is plenty. Took out a couple 5 hour energy shots. Took out the straps to hook the bag to body armor or a MOLLE vest. They will be stored elsewhere and added if I think there is a realistic chance of using them.

The hardest decision was replacing my HPG Serape with a wooby. The wooby is significantly less bulky and I suspect lighter. It isn't as warm but one does what one can. Between all my clothes, a fleece cap, wooby and a casualty blanket I will live through most typical winter weather down here.

I added my sawyer mini water filter, an extra lighter and a few candles.

As it stands now my bag weights 17 pounds with a quart of water in it (so 15 dry) which is right about where I want it to be.  That includes the wooby and survival stuff which was in the kit bag and moved to the backpack.

Need to add
-Silk weight top
Need to purchase
-freeze dried food in pouches 3-4 meals worth of it.

That stuff will add a little bit of weight but it will still be around the weight range I want to keep it in. Will post pics and a detailed breakdown when I get motivated to do so.
Author: Theother Ryan
Posted: February 22, 2015, 12:28 am
A conversation with our buddy Meister got me thinking about something. There is a serious risk of getting too caught up in blogs and videos and great reading material like Patriot Dawn by Max Velocity that you are too distracted to actually do anything to prepare! Don't get me wrong, I love blogs by folks like Commander Zero, Harry Flashman (in the mountains of Georgia who previously went by another name), Jamie of My Adventures in Self Reliance, Bayou Renaissance Man, TEOTWAWKI Blog and too many more to list. Heck I am a blogger myself. I also enjoy watching various youtube channels.

The problem is we need to actually do things to prepare and while we can occasionally get some really good hints and ideas from such entertainment they have to actually be acted on. I will confess to at times falling into this trap myself. Between reading other peoples blogs and my own blogging a fair bit of time is spent. While it is a fair bit of my entertainment and as such takes that time, often instead of watching tv or reading some junk fiction, it does take time. While my general trajectory in preparedness is forward it is often not as fast as I would like.

The way I plan to push myself out of this is to try doing something tangible, beyond physical fitness efforts, to improve my preparedness fox hole every single day. Do something every single day.... It doesn't have to be a big thing. I intentionally did not define the amount of time or effort beyond something tangible. It might be 5 or ten minutes working to finish up this or put some time into that. The point is that 1) regularly doing something is quickly habit building and 2) putting consistent time, even a little bit, into something with high regularity quickly adds up into a lot of movement.

So those are my thoughts on that.

Are you actually preparing or just studying preparedness?
Author: Theother Ryan
Posted: February 20, 2015, 3:03 am
Too much heavy stuff floating around right now. I had a good little talk with a buddy last night and there is a post in my head from that but today I want to lighten things up a little bit. So I introduce you to Dynamic Pie Concepts.

 


Author: Theother Ryan
Posted: February 19, 2015, 3:15 am
Walker looks accusingly across the table at Wifey "Mom, This is a terrible dinner."

A couple minutes later after the kids went to play in the other room out of earshot for normal conversations. She leans over and says quietly to me.

"4 year old's are assholes."

For the record she made us philly cheese steaks with fries and salad. It was really good. The kids had cheese sandwiches and fries, usually one of their favorite meals but apparently not today. It as classic kid, say something very matter of fact that is totally outside of social norms.
Author: Theother Ryan
Posted: February 19, 2015, 1:25 am
I'm starting to learn about Ham Radio. On the plus side the test seems to actually have some useful stuff in it instead of just lines of federal code so that is good. It helps that some of it is interesting and I think a decent bit is educational.  Don't have a ton of time to study but I do have a few brief moments during the day and some time at night. Hopefully I'll be ready in a month or so to take the test.

We are starting to talk about gardening plans for the spring. Looking at bringing in some dirt and doing a slightly raised bed in one place and some pots. This year it will be a lot better planned than last (as I didn't think a garden would be possible till well past the ideal start time) and try to do 3 or so iterations of the same stuff to have a better staggered garden. Well that is the plan anyway.

I have also been working on making my new Tactical Tailor Removable Operator Bag into a leaner, meaner version of my level 2.5/ get home bag. Almost got it set up how I want. Right now the bag is about 17 pounds (dry) with a 1 qt water bottle and a hydration bladder. It is just a little bit too much bulk for the bag to comfortably handle. Generally it is slightly above my overall goal to move fast and have enough stuff to not die. I either need to ditch the Hill People Gear Serape, trim a fair bit of weight elsewhere or figure out a better way to load it all up. The hard part is that I've really made all the easy cuts. Part of the issue could be that a sub 20 pound day pack setup with a couple days worth of food and a solid setup of survival stuff is a pretty tall order. Add in the capacity to survive a 25 degree night, without significant shelter making and or a roaring fire andI'm not honestly certain it is possible. Might need to stick with the bigger day pack or even a small framed one during the winter and use the smaller one in the summer. Will play with it some more then let you know what cracks out.

Anyway those are some of the things I have been up to. What have you been up to?
Author: Theother Ryan
Posted: February 18, 2015, 3:00 am
Alexander Wolfe discusses optics for the AR. He is leaning hard towards a red dot, specifically an Aimpoint Micro. His comment about weight is valid. The weight of my MTAC is listed by midway at 17 ounces. Of course it needs a mount so that is is going to be a few more ounces. Alex's figure of one weighing a pound and a half is not unrealistic. Depending on how heavily you weigh those ounces in your overall equation that could be a significant consideration.

Then again to play devils advocate the way to make a light weight AR is to keep it simple, iron sights, plastic hand guards, etc. The only additional piece I would put on is a light as that is a genuine capability you can't work around. This means no rail, no optic, no fore grip, no lasers, etc. 

Whether this weight is worthwhile as a trade off is an interesting question. Overall the AR is a light rifle so an extra pound isn't going to make it a drag to pack around. Next we have to talk about accuracy. In my moderately informed opinion pretty much everybody shoots better at any distance over 100m with a magnified optic. While it is true red dot's can be used to engage targets out to, and past, 300m that is usually for a basic body shot against a silhouette of a standing man sized target. Also worth noting the ability to really identify an distinguish targets at any distance with a red dot (0 magnification) is nil. Yes you can shoot to 300-400m but you probably can't really tell if that person is an actual threat or not.

The point that a normal civilian (vs a soldier, etc) will not likely need to fight with a rifle at a couple hundred meters is valid. Cases of normal folks getting in legitimate (vs murder) gun fights at or past 100 meters or so are at best very rare. Honestly I have never heard of one but admittedly I haven't done a ton of research into the topic. That being said one can also make a very legitimate argument a normal American does not in fact need a mag fed military pattern rifle at all. A good shotgun set up for defensive use like my 870p or Alexander's 590 is plenty of gun for burglars or to make someone get off your lawn in a hurricane.

The thing is that I did not put the money and effort into setting up a pretty nice AR because I am worried about a couple meth heads trying to steal my TV. My shotgun amply covers that scenario. I own a military pattern rifle because I enjoy them and am ever so slightly worried something really bad could happen. I'm talking riots, civil unrest, EMP, racial crap, war, etc. The kind of ugly scenarios where I might have to fight multiple individuals in a defensive situation or engage in offensive operations against some sort of threat. If the situation is bad enough that I need my AR I might well need to use it at a 2 or 3 hundred yards.

Generally speaking the benefits of a rifle are that they are effective at long distance and hit really hard. For military pattern rifles add self loading and high capacity to the mix. I fear that parts of the 'tactical community', including some big names are so focused on absolute speed in CQB and end up making optics choices that hinder 400+ meter guns from their maximum potential for the trade off of being a bit better at 0-25/ under 100m.. This neuters the power of the rifle to reach out and touch someone. You could make a legitimate argument all CQB type concerns can he handled with a shotgun. If the goal is a rifle set up for a CQB/ home defense or something is great but for a more general purpose rifle, that might need to reach out and touch someone it is not my ideal setup.While the modern defensive rifle is arguably handier than the shotgun the real benefit is that while it can also be used for door kicking it can also be used to shoot people at a quarter mile or more away. I am not anti red dot it is just that a magnified optic brings so much to the table and the low bottom end (say 1-1.5) mitigates most of the down sides. As to CQB speed at in home ranges, say under 6 or 7 meters one could make a legitimate argument it will be front sight them bang. Heck, I've done some pretty decent CQB stuff by reflex without looking at any sights.

On another note our friend Meister wrote about his 'grey man cache.' Very cool stuff. That is something I would like to emulate in the not so distant future.

On a really weird note Bradley Cooper and Betty White made out on SNL. That is so random I don't know what to say about it.

This evening we watched The Interview. It was enjoyable. I would recommend it to others.

Hope you all have a good night.
Author: Theother Ryan
Posted: February 16, 2015, 7:10 am
MAC did a good video on the whole M855 situation. YOU NEED TO WRITE THE ATF AND YOUR ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES ABOUT THIS NOW!!
Peter noted that the panic is on for affordable bulk 5.56 like M193 (PMC X Tac M193 at Lucky Gunner $390/1k). His point that you shoulda stocked up awhile back is valid but not particularly productive. I suppose there is some value as a reminder but if a person is reading either of our sites that is probably common knowledge. It is also easier to say as an older guy who has been at this for awhile. Younger people and folks with families or tight budgets may have been meaning to do it and either not had sufficient funds or just hadn't gotten to it yet.

As noted I bought a case of  M193 yesterday, thankfully before the morning price bump. I had planned to get some 5.56 this year anyway and it seemed like the obvious time to do it. Looking back I wanted to get 2 cases but right now that is looking uncertain. I am not in a place where I need to pay silly prices, aside from maybe a box here or there just to sight in an optic or whatever.


Author: Theother Ryan
Posted: February 16, 2015, 3:56 am
Well today is Valentines Day. It was a pretty good on. We did normal stuff during most of the day. This evening I cooked up some Chicken Parmesan with noodles, salad, broccoli and french bread. In hindsight cooking an untried recipe that's pushing my skill level hard probably wasn't the smartest thing to do but it worked out well. Everyone enjoyed the meal.

Now that the kids are fed, bathed and in bed we're going to have a few drinks and watch a movie together. A nice quiet night.

On the downside the whole M855 thing has me pretty irritated.

My rifle likes M855 so I tried to get some from Lucky Gunner but they were sold out. Ended up with  a case of 55 grain 5.56 instead. Honestly I hate to incite a panic but there was plenty of M855 yesterday and probably this afternoon but now there is none to be had. A run seems to be on big time. I suspect more than a couple people had the same thought I did. (Note in 45 seconds by their live inventory LG sold 2 cases of 55gr 5.56). Well I wanted a case of training ammo for the next ban and it looks like I got one. Right now I am, at least once the newest purchase shows up, probably honestly at my happy number ratio in 5.56

Of course the panic is slipping into other bullet offerings in 5.56. Thankfully if you are not too picky about an exact offering there is plenty of 5.56 still available. I don't know what, if anything, is going to happen next but I'd say if you are short on whatever your SHTF goals are for 5.56, plan on buying more in the next year or shoot 5.56 regularly I'd buy enough to ride out at least a few rough months.

Looks like an end run of administrative actions, import regulations, etc all is being used instead of some sort of actual law which given the R's running the house and senate would be DOA. Aside from .22lr Firearmagedon is over and things have been good for awhile. I hope you didn't waste that time. Money is tight all over and there are bills to pay but I hope you have purchased, if not everything you want, at least everything you NEED.

To balance out my, buy all the 5.56 right now OMG tone earlier step back and take a look at your situation. If you are totally happy with your situation in that caliber then don't do anything crazy and spend a couple grand on ammo just because. What I am driving at is that if you own an AR/ Mini 14/ Sig 556 and are not happy with your ammo stash then you should look at doing something about that while it is still fairly affordable.

High Desert Livin asked

I recently traded a glock 26 plus 3 bills for for a colt magpul (total 850 out pocket). Now I have a psa complete lower that I'm not sure what to do with. I thought about dropping a bravo co. On top, but am unsure if a awesome upper on a so so lower makes any sense? 

My thoughts:  It really depends on what you are going for with the build, concept of use if you will. Since you mentioned BCM I presume the goal is not a budget build. As to the upper/ lower question let us go part by part through the lower.

-Lower receiver/ stripped. Any aluminum lower with normal specs is just fine. Unless we are talking about some BS Bob's Basement lower made from melted Busch can's they are all the same. Honestly as Chris noted 'the most important thing about a lower is the roll mark'. With a stripped lower folks mostly pay for a name to brag to their friends about. If you want to pay 4 bills for a Noveske instead of $45 for DPMS or Anderson Arms then by all means do so, it's your money, but don't trick yourself into thinking it's going to make the gun run any better.

-Lower Parts Kit. This is all the little springs and pins that make the gun work as well as the hammer and trigger. I would be more cautious here than with the actual lower itself. Wouldn't go lower than decent sporting brands like DPMS/ Stag/ CMMG/ Bushmaster. That being said it would be an uphill battle to convince me a Daniels Defense LPK (if they sell one) is vastly supperior to say a DPMS LPK.

Personally I have seen very few rifles get deadlined with lower receiver issues. The way the AR works there just isn't that much stress down there.  Sure a spring can wear out over time but that is part of life, not an inherent failure of the weapon.

Presuming mechanically sound parts the only exception to my 'an LPK is an LPK' is the trigger. If you are serious about accuracy, and capable of holding up your end, a good trigger matters a lot. There are a lot of ways this one can go from just getting a good match trigger from say Colt to a drop in upgrade like a Geissele trigger. If I was going to put any extra cash into a lower it would be into the trigger.

-Receiver Extension/ buffer tube. These are all basically the same. They come in mil spec and commercial but otherwise I think they are a common entity.

-Buffer and buffer spring. These matter but any decent one will do. DPMS/ CMMG/ etc are just fine. Actually where people get into trouble here is when they want to upgrade and get fancy messing with spring tension and buffer weight. I'm not a professional firearms builder or a mechanical engineer so I just buy mil spec buffers and buffer springs.

-Stock. These are easily replacable so get whatever one you like. They all work fine.

That lays out my thoughts on each individual part of the lower. As to your situation if you want a BCM upper I'd say get one. If you don't like the trigger in the lower you have then upgrade it. That's really the only part in the lower that is going to affect shootability. If you are somehow unhappy with the PSA internals for a hundred bucks or so you could upgrade the LPK to Rock River or Stag if you really want. The point is that letting a roll mark on the side of a common part built to standard specifications dictate the way you go with the rifle doesn't make too much sense to me.

There are a lot of smoking deals on uppers right now. A buddy mentioned seeing a complete COLT upper in Cheaper Than Dirt's newsletter for 5 and change. Since it would have a bolt, charging handle and hand guards, which a current BCM would not,  that is a darn good deal.

Anyway I wanted to
Author: Theother Ryan
Posted: February 15, 2015, 4:57 am
So the ATF is looking to declare most common misurp 5.56 ammunition.

This is bad. Write your representatives and the ATF. Get the word out and do everything you can to stop this madness.

Edited to include:  I believe the email address to send your comments to is APAComments@atf.gov

A letter that specifically states the sporting purpose you use, or could use, M855 for might just help. I saw this form letter online.

"Hello, as my email address implies, my name is (name). Please refrain from banning M855 greentip, I use it as an inexpensive ammunition to hunt for hogs in the summertime and it is more effective at passing through thick hog skin than lesser soft point, hollow point, or regular fmj ammunition designs. Banning this ammunition expressly puts me in danger since other ammunition are less effective at dispatching hogs and have a tendency to charge at hunters. The nature of it being "armor piercing" is a false claim as it cannot penetrate plate armor level III and up, which were specifically designed for rifle rounds. 5.56 was designed to be and primarily used as a rifle round.

Thanks you for your time and consideration
-(name)-"

Note  please edit it a little so that it doesn't sound like its coming from the same person.
Author: Theother Ryan
Posted: February 14, 2015, 7:44 pm
Alexander Wolfe bought himself a fancy new Bravo Company AR-15. We talked about this before and he was fortunate to pull the trigger before they stopped the free BCM bolt carrier with every upper special which ran for a pretty long time. He went with the lightweight barrel, while I chose the standard weight on my rifle, but for most civilian applications the difference is probably academic.

On the plus side for him our mutual advertiser Lucky Gunner hooked him up with some 5.56 ammo to zero/ test fire the new toy with.

Alex doesn't buy guns often so when he does it is usually well thought out and a significant event. The topic of optics came up. It looks like Alex is planning to upgrade. He mentioned the Aimpoint micro. There are a lot of really good scopes in that general price range. I tried to throw out the topic of low power variable scopes. For a do everything rifle a low powered variable with an illuminated reticle has a lot going for it. Best of all even if you run out of batteries you still have a day optic.My Burris MTAC is pretty darn nice. However I do find the 4x max a bit lower than I would like. As Alexander noted 1-6's are great but really expensive. Burris makes a 1.5-6x MTAC which I've heard good things about. Also Vortex recently put out their 1-6x Strike Eagle with a projected street price under 4 bills.

Am helping a friend do an AR build. They got a deal on a lower now we are looking for an LPK to put it together. The goal is to get a decent to good duty type rifle at a reasonable price so while not necessarily the cheapest gun out there it should be a lot of gun for the money. This means no derp tier 'Bubba's Basement Armory's rusted thrown together 2nds LPK' is out. Any recommendations? Any smoking deals going on right now?

I've decided to finally get off my duff and get moving on the ham radio thing. There is a club that meets once a month in a bigger town not so far from here. So to get a license I need to pass a test. Any recommendations on how to study? Good websites you have used?

Tonight I'm watching the new episode of The Walking Dead. On the downside instead of a parade I think tomorrow there will be a trip to the hospital as Walker seems to have an ear infection.

Do you all have any big plans this weekend?
Author: Theother Ryan
Posted: February 14, 2015, 1:46 am
To the guy who sent me an email about swapping a metal detector for that old bow I threw up to trade awhile back. Sorry but I'm no longer interested. In a conversation during our Christmas trip it came up that my bro in law was interested in such a bow. I negotiated the excellent trade of a 6 pack of tall boys.
Author: Theother Ryan
Posted: February 13, 2015, 2:53 pm
I think I'm going to sell my Kahr CW9 and S&W 642. Going to simplify to my trusty Glock 19 and a little .380 probably a Ruger LCP. Honestly I realized awhile back I made a mistake with the Kahr and didn't want to admit it to myself or take the modest 10% write off to make a fairly convenient sale. The Kahr, while a fine weapon, just isn't different enough from the G19 to truly be distinguishable. Have yet to see a situation where I could carry the Kahr but could not pack, albeit with some clothing selection, my G19. For the rare situations where a very high level of discretion is needed the CW9 won't cut it and the 642 is just a touch too big.

Part of this effort is intentionally selling off intermediate options to force myself to do the right thing and carry the Glock 19. Also I want to free up some cash for other things. My intent is to carry the G19 almost all the time and the LCP when I genuinely can't make the 9 work.

Recently I mentioned the FBI switching to 9mm. Surprisingly there was not a huge blow back from folks. Maybe they knew that arguing the actual points the FBI threw out in their letter was an uphill battle. Anyway today I was reminded of something valid to the topic. I'm going to link to a video of CSM (RET) Kyle Lamb killing what looks to me to be a pretty big hog with one shot from a 9mm.

This goes to prove a couple of points. 1) All reasonable CCW calibers are similarly (in)effective. 2) Shot placement is absolutely king. If you can knock out the ten ring all day long with a Walther PPK in .380 (1k American Eagle .380 ammmo for $385) but can barely clip the 7 ring with an almightly .45 acp one could legitimately argue you should pack the .380.

Incidentally Lucky Gunner has 1050 rounds of blazer brass cased 9mm for $225 and 1k of PMC X-Tac M855 for $369. Both of those are smoking good deals I wish I had the cash to pick up today. All pimping of my loyal advertisers aside right now, aside from rimfire, the ammo and gun situation is damn good.

You can read my thoughts on how much ammo to stock here. Seriously these times are good, minus rimfire, for ammo and guns. We do not now what is going to happen in terms of war, legislation or economics. Buy from Lucky Gunner my longtime advertiser (mention you came from my blog) or somebody else, I really don't care much. The point is that, within reason, you need to get the ammo to defend yourself now, while it is still widely available and reasonably affordable. In plainer language buy ammo like you were ordering drinks 5 minutes before last call at the bar, because that may be the situation.

On a more random note I stumbled into the top 10 bad assed Tony Soprano scenes on youtube.Good times.


Author: Theother Ryan
Posted: February 12, 2015, 4:10 am
Normally we would be a week into living off of stored food, testing our preps. This year got derailed by German shopping and the situation with Russia, so our preps are for the first time going to be focused on the real world task of evacuating my wife and children.

My thoughts. While the Ruskies were pretty quiet during my time in Europe I have been in this general situation and given the contingency some thought....

The break down of a 3 day 'traveling by bus' pack based tier and a heavier vehicle based setup combined with some food to shelter in place makes sense.

3 day packs-

Cash- I'd stick mostly with Euro's as they are widely recognized.  A wad of cash plus a credit card with a high limit are going to be the kings of this problem set. If you can afford it I would have enough cash on hand for a week living in a hotel, eating in restaurants and 3 expensive plane tickets back home with a bit left over for extra. That is probably about the price of an OK used car but given that banks pay jack in interest these days why not.

Passports- Obviously I'm sure this is covered but make sure they are nowhere near expiration dates and packed in the 3 day kit.

Contact book- Names, numbers and physical addresses of people you might want to get in contact with. A cell phone might get lost or stolen in a chaotic situation.

Vehicle Kit-

Store extra fuel and keep the tank in the car topped off.

Maps- Have physical hard copy maps. You/ she might end up on backroads and the GPS system might not be working.

Shelter in place-

- As to food don't you have a commissary? That should give some better options for more Americanized food.

-Worst case go home and google the ingredients in stuff at the German markets then come back to buy later.

As a final thought I would look at setting up a trigger for the Mrs and kiddo's to go home to the US preemptively.  Call it a short notice trip to visit a sick relative or whatever, the point being they pack some bags and go home for a bit. Maybe that trigger would be 'Russian forces moving 50k west from their current Ukraine positions' and or a widening of the conflict to another nearby nation? The point being to get the family home BEFORE they are fleeing west to get away from the oncoming columns of Russian tanks. Getting it wrong would cost you a few grand in airfare but given the risk the other way (especially if you are in the eastern part of Germany) it's better to be safe than sorry.

So those are my immediate thoughts on that matter. Am curious about what you think our friend should do to help prepare his family for this unlikely but dangerous possibility. Thoughts?


Author: Theother Ryan
Posted: February 11, 2015, 2:40 am
"I think I'm going to sell my Kahr" -Me

"You're going to sell the CAR!"- Wifey

"The Kahr, K-H-A-R or maybe K-A-H-R, I'm not sure but it doesn't matter, that gun over there." as I pointed to where it was stored."- Me

"Oh, OK, that's great hun." - Wifey


Author: Theother Ryan
Posted: February 10, 2015, 1:31 am
Since I have been the crazy survivalist who buys a bunch of food and she does most of the cooking things have gotten pretty crazy in our kitchen.  Also since this involved me putting things (she wasn't thrilled about me getting in the first place) into her area (the kitchen) it was sort of a delicate matter. I kind of put things where they could fit easily and not cause an issue instead of where they might make the most sense. Essentially I'm a crazy jerk who shoved a bunch of stuff in every nook and cranny of the kitchen. As we've been down in Louisiana for awhile the problem has been compounding. Wifey inventoried the majority of our shelf stable food and totally reorganized the food in the kitchen. It was a really cool thing she did to help with my interests and our preparedness efforts.


To close out the inventory I need to do the buckets of food and someone will end up doing an inventory of some canned goods that are in the other part of the kitchen.

The intent is to maintain a running inventory and keep things organized. I would like to put it on a spreadsheet with column's for goal (I want to figure out a methodology for stocking specific amounts of stuff instead of just buying arbitrary amounts.), on hand and to mark when things get used to replace them.

Not surprisingly due to the lack of good organization, inventories or a central plan efforts were a bit uneven.

What we have plenty, some might even say too much, of:
Peanut Butter
Tin Foil
Coffee
Coffee filters
Flour
Canned corn
Coctail sauce
BBQ Sauce

We need:
Dry beans other than black beans-We have a bunch in buckets but don't use it for normal stuff.
White vinegar x2 gal
Pasta (other than spaghetti) about 20 pounds
Red sauce- About 20 cans.
Single serving pouch sides- Rice- O Roni, that type of pasta stuff, etc.- 5 or 7
Jam/ Jelly x3
Iodized salt x6
Salsa x1

Since Wifey spent all day reorganizing this stuff in the kitchen the prep budget ordered pizza for dinner.
Author: Theother Ryan
Posted: February 9, 2015, 2:38 am
Meister was nice enough to do a nice breakdown of one of his caches in a post. This is a pretty darn nice, well thought out set up. That bin plus 2 cases of MRE's and a pair of cami's is an awesome setup that doesn't take up too much space. I would say this setup could work very well as an 'Operational Cache'.

Inevitably after the round of back patting for a job well done comes some hopefully constructive criticism. I didn't see a knife listed in there. Maybe a knife was in there and I missed it but with a cache of this size I think some basic survival implements such as a knife, lighter, water container, compass and such. Some sort of a knife should be present. We could debate a folder or fixed blade or both but IMO this setup should have a knife. At lease you could include a cheap but decent knife like a $15 Mora Companion.

Depending on how kinetic of a situation you anticipate I might throw a touch more 5.56; though I'm not entirely sure how much 5.56 is in there. Another of those 150 round Federal 5.56 boxes would be awful handy, after all if you have to shoot a rifle past a mag you probably have to shoot a lot.

Minor criticism's aside this is an awesome setup I would like to emulate. May have to look at setting one of these up myself.
Author: Theother Ryan
Posted: February 7, 2015, 12:30 am
Today I am going to be discussing the book series 299 Days By Glen Tate . I will be discussing the first two books in this post. Really I think the line between them is artificial so for the rest of this discussion they will be treated as one book.

Overview: This series of 10 books follows a man named Grant Madsen, his wife, family and friends living in the PNW through a partial collapse. It starts with the main character’s youth then goes through his childhood through college. His childhood was in a rural town in coastal Washington. He learned lots of skills but it was pretty bad growing up poor with an abusive alcoholic father. From different things I have heard that roughly mirrors the authors childhood which is unfortunate and I feel for the guy.

In college the author meets a girl and falls in love with her. They end up getting married. He becomes a lawyer and she becomes a doctor. They get jobs and settle into a comfortable upper middle class to kind of rich type life. Some years go by and he becomes a fat comfortable suburban guy. He refers to this period as ‘the Docker years.’

At some point the conservative lawyer realizes our system is quite vulnerable and decides to start preparing. He does so without the knowledge of his wife. The main character continues preparing for bad times. He is stashing food and buys a gun. He ends up becoming a regular at a local gun shop and buys a decent stash of guns and plenty of ammunition for them. Eventually after getting close with some of those guys he ends up meeting a group of people who shoot regularly together. He becomes friends with them and ‘the team’ shoots together regularly. The team also gets some training and advice from ‘SF Ted’ a Special Forces soldier stationed at nearby Fort Lewis.

At some point in his preparedness journey the main character ends up basically having a cabin fall into his lap through an early inheritance. He purchases a small but nice cabin with an unfinished basement on the water in a small inlet on the Puget Sound. His cabin is about 45 minutes from town.
The collapse happened very slowly at first over a few years. It started with economic problems. Eventually the stock market crashed, debt ratings were downgraded and the government couldn’t borrow any more money. They actually had to make cuts. Not trimming growth by 2% or vague cuts in the future but actual tangible cuts now. The unions got pissed and so did people on various benefit programs. There were large protests. The economy went into a death spiral. States started having diverging outcomes. California got particularly ugly but Texas was managing some of the same issues with much better outcomes. As fuel became more expensive goods were not moving so stores became empty. That part was pretty standard but it stopped there, short of a full on collapse. Things were bad though the power stayed on and some businesses were still open. Overall I think this is a very realistic scenario.

Onto the usual format

The Good:
A very realistic scenario is laid out. In fact one could argue some of the things mentioned in the book are already happening. In fact I heard in an interview with the author he had to slightly change some parts of the book because events he talked about did in fact occur. In particular the author highlighted the different outcomes rural and urban areas as well as different states will face. This is extremely valid because a collapse would have very uneven outcomes in this regard.

The characters were very plausible. First of all their skills, finances and the percentage of income they put into preps is realistic. They did not have a Special Forces medic or a master machinist whose hobby was running an organic hobby farm. 30 year old couples are not buying 40 acres with a nice house and a barn in cash then somehow making 100k a year out in the hinter boonies. Second of all they are flawed, Grant Madsen is preparing in secret because his wife wants nothing to do with any of that, one guy is really fat, older people cannot quite perform like younger ones. People have feelings and emotions and tempers.

Stepping away from characters but staying along the lines of realism I think the characters levels of preparation were far more representative of the overall preparedness/ survivalist community than many other fiction books. In books it seems that people are either super prepared or just normal folks who might happen to have some useful items around. It’s like all survivalists have a years worth of food, lots of guns and all this other cool stuff. In reality many people’s preparations are uneven as their resources were spent in areas they enjoy the most. It is not uncommon to see guys with a few grand in guns n ammo but not a month worth of food or women with huge stocks of buckets full of food but no way to protect their selves (of course these are stereotypes’ and don’t apply to all).

Relationships are also portrayed realistically including the honest fact that some spouses are not on board.

Every survivalist fiction book has to balance putting out some meaningful lessons through the story with the risk of turning into a disjointed half nonfiction ‘how to’ book. In the worst of these I have seen several pages of various military survival manuals and or standard ‘100 items to survive’ or ‘food storage guidelines’ stuff put in word for word. This book did a good job of straddling the line by giving some good core points yet not letting it detract from the book or break up the story.

The Bad

There was cheesy use of words like ‘gunfighter’ and ‘military contractor’ to describe members of ‘the team.’ I found it a bit cheesy and tacticool. Maybe it is me being a military guy and being long over those sort of things but it just irked me.

The break between books one and two was pretty artificial. It is almost like the author was writing one big book and said ‘We’ll split it at page 350’ with little thought to a logical breaking point. As such a person would get a weird impression if they only read book one not like a cliff hanger per se but of the book just ending.

Every character in the book seemed far more worried about other people’s feelings than I think folks are in real life.

It concerns me a bit that the impression was given that somehow a bunch of guys who don't know what they are doing going out to the range and shooting a bunch somehow means they are trained. They referenced getting a bit of help from 'Special Forces Ted' but unless it was pretty organized I am uncomfortable saying that replaces quality training by someone like Max Velocity or another organized type class.

Coming back to the preps the characters in the book had made. I hesitate to critique this too hard because Glen Tate the author did what I think was an accurate and honest portrayal of many prepared folks. That being said there were some significant holes in their plans.

First almost nobody had body armor. The characters had ‘tactical vests’ though I’m not sure if they really meant the cheese vests of late 90’s and early 2000 vintage or plate carriers or chest rigs. Anyway if I recall only one character Bill ‘Pow” had any actual armor. These characters, especially ‘the team’ spent a bunch of money on guns, lots of gear and ammo cans full of 5.56, 9mm, 12 gauge and 7.62x39 but couldn’t drop a few bills on plates. Guys on ‘the team’ had spare rifles and a couple had expensive shotguns like Benelli’s. The thing is rifle plates are simply not that expensive any more. For $450 or so you can get a setof AR500 plates in a plate carrier. At that price point with a bit of planning they are solidly in a normal middle class guy’s budget.

Their lack of plates was inexcusable. To illustrate the point Grant had 2 AR's, 1 AK-47, 2 AK 74's, a Remington 870, 2 .40 Glocks, a .38, a .380 and a 10/22. For the cost of one redundant rifle or pistol he could have had plates.  The characters were also universally without night vision capability. Given the much higher price point of anything better than Gen I this hole is still understandable but a couple characters seem like people who might have that sort of gear.

Water filtration/ purification was only mentioned briefly, IIRC Grant purchased a Big Berkey at some point. There was no mention of water storage in the books.

The medical preps they made were quite light. In the book it was excused as Grant Madsen (the main character) ‘Didn’t know how to use that stuff so he didn’t buy it.’ The explanation made a lot of sense to me till I put that together with the fact that HIS WIFE IS AN ER DOCTOR! He could and should have stashed all sorts of stuff. That is one of the few situations where the ’32 piece Czech surplus Stainless Surgical kit’ from Sportsmens Guide actually makes sense.

The biggest single hole I identified was ‘the team’ showed up with basically no food. On one hand this is accurate as a lot of tactical (or tactical wanna be) folks aren’t really survivalists/ preppers so they would not store food. However not even having enough food for an ice storm or power outage is just silly. It also seems the group had no stored fuel (except 2x 5 gallon cans Grant stashed at the cabin) or and very few gas cans.

Overall impression: I enjoyed these books and think you will too. They definitely spurred some thoughts that might lead me down productive roads. I will review book 3 as soon as I get around to it.


Author: Theother Ryan
Posted: February 6, 2015, 12:27 am
"Good news is your guns. The bad news is you have become fat and lazy. We will see which part of you wins."
-Dimitry in 299 Days Book 3

In the series 'Dimitry' was a Russian who lived through the collapse of Russia speaking on his observations about Americans during the 'partial collapse' laid out in the very realistic story portrayed in 299 days.
Author: Theother Ryan
Posted: February 4, 2015, 7:00 pm




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