Monday, September 29, 2014

Awesome Website: Sarajevo Survival Tools

This link takes you to “Sarajevo Survival Tools” a project cooperation between the Faculty of Electrical Engineering Sarajevo (ETF) and the Historical Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The link is in English and if you navigate through the different exhibits you will first see short video intros and then the different objects, which you can click on to see pictures, read more information and watch a dedicated video of that object.
The website is a bit messy to navigate around but once you get used to it you see that its packed with real-world information of the tools made an used by people to survive during the siege. It’s well worth the time!


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Defensive Tools for Women and Seniors

I enjoy reading your blog and have followed much of your advice.
My question
Do you have a suggestion of a defensive tool that would be appropriate for a senior woman who lives in a country where a gun would not be the answer.
Knives would be too easily turned against me, and has you have pointed out, are very serious in a close fight and hard to defend against.
Thanks for any suggestions and would bet that other women would benefit.

Thanks D.V.
Whenever possible I recommend having a handgun, but I do understand sometimes this is not possible, especially for defense out of your home.
As you correctly state, a knife requires a certain physical strength to be used effectively for defense. Women are more than capable of doing so but they are at a disadvantage compared to men when it comes to size and physical strength, and that difference can increase as years go by.

Knives can be very effective defensive tools, but some physical strength is required.

Defense for Seniors

The first line of defense here is the same no matter how old or young you are: Avoid confrontation whenever possible. Avoid dangerous areas and try not to wear expensive watches or jewelry in places where it may cause trouble.
When it comes to physically confronting attackers there’s a couple things to understand about a criminal’s psychology: Like any other living being, criminals don’t like getting killed or hurt. Put a gun to their face and they will not like it. More often than not they turn and flee. Something similar happens with knives, but we’ve already gone through the limitations of such a tool for some people. OC spray may not kill, but it does hurt and burn, another stimulus pretty much every living being tries to avoid. A criminal may not be as scared when facing OC spray, but a blast will burn his eyes and make it hard to breathe and see, giving you the time to escape or get help. As of recommended brands, Sabre Red has a well-deserved reputation for being effective. In places where pepper spray many not be legal, there may be other alternatives. In some cases you can still find spray that is intended for bears or dogs. These may be legal in your area and would work as well.

Still looking into what criminals don’t like, there’s one thing that doesn’t get discussed as much but it is very much true: Criminals don’t want attention while committing crimes. May that be trying to break into a house or mugging someone on the street, they don’t want people noticing them or approaching them during their criminal acts. Here’s where a small personal panic alarm may be very effective. The device produces a 130dB ear-piercing alarm when pulled from the keyring. This can be very effective when screaming or blowing a whistle isn’t possible due to being attacked or even frozen by panic.

Finally, as part of the often recommended EDC, a bright flashlight can be very helpful as well. Flashlights are legal everywhere, and a bright flashlight (+200 lumens) can be used to light up anyone engaged in suspicious behavior. Remember, criminals do not like being in the “spotlight” and literally doing so will surprise them and may make them feel uncomfortable enough about the hole thing that they may go looking for a more defenseless victim. Tactical flashlights that have a strobe more are powerful enough to momentarily blind and cause confusion. Cops know well how a flashlight shined into a person’s face puts you in a more advantageous position, both physically and psychologically. For specific tactical/defensive use application, the Surefire E1D is a good option. The small Eagletac D25C that I favor works well too, with a mode that turns on on high with a strobe just one click away, yet unscrewing the head of the flashlight it enters the most commonly used modes for utility use.
Stun guns may be another option as well. The electric cracking can be intimidating as well as effective. Some models resemble tactical flashlights combining both the advantage of a tactical light and a stun gun in one tool.


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Otterbox Defender Fail: Broken Clip and Cracked Case

In just one year I had two problems with my Otterbox Defender case.

 Just days after getting it the rotor of the clip broke, with the phone dropping and almost losing it. After contacting Otterbox a new case was sent soon enough. Now, the hard plastic case cracked where it makes contact with the clip, fitting loosely and easily falling from the holster unless clipped on the other side. While I still believe Otterbox makes overall quality cases, for the price, they should have a product that holds up much better. I haven’t abused the case in any way, just normal use.
The Otterbox does protect your phone, and that’s the point of the protective case, but for a top of the line case more is expected of it. While the customer care is excellent, the Defender case, one of Otterbox toughest models, should hold up much better to everyday use.

I’ll probably buy Otterbox again next time and I still do recommend it, but I’ll seriously consider other competitive options as well. I’ll think twice before paying premium price for a case that isn’t offering premium durability.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Reply: Practical use of Body Armor?

In reply to: Practical use of Body Armor?

Anonymous said...
I wonder if buying this stuff over the internet gets official notice. I also wouldn't be surprised if a zealous prosecutor used your body armor against you after a home burglary gone bad. Wouldn't they try to convince a jury you were looking to have a shootout with the criminal?
I'm not opposed to body armor, I'm seriously asking questions and would love to hear other people's opinions.

I think that while you may come across a stupid prosecutor in the case of body armor, there should be no doubt: It literally catches a bullet that would probably kill you if it didn’t, so its clearly better to explain yourself while alive than avoid the possibility of explaining something that you are legally entitled to do anyway, and be dead.
You are right though about something. The second amendment covers guns, not armor, so regulations are very much possible. I’d get armor while I can and if anyone comes asking, which is highly unlikely, then there’s a chance you may have sold it by then, or lost it in a fishing trip.
Anonymous said...
I'm confused about the life-span of the soft vests. Kevlar, although it expires in 5 years or so, has been tested to be good many years later. There are complaints on the internet, however, about some of the laminated fabrics like Goldflex and Twaron delaminating.
If I convinced myself and my wife to get a vest, I wouldn't want something that's going bad in a few years. Especially if body armor is legally unavailable some time in the future.
Does anyone know where to get well built kevlar vests for a reasonable price?

Zylon is the material to be avoided. It has some serious failures and NIJ decertified all vests containing Zylon. Goldflex® is an aramid like Kevlar®, and makes for thinner (up to 35% thinner) yet effective vests. It tends to be more expensive than Kevlar as well, but due to being thinner and flexible its well suited for concealed armor. The debate on laminated or not is rather academic. No matter what brand name of aramid its made of, no vest is intended to take multiple shots in a same area anyway. If you’re lucky enough to survive getting shot a bunch of times, then count your blessing and buy a new vest.

Don Williams said...
1) I think the 5 years refers to 5 years of police-like use --i.e worn constantly 8-10 hours per day soaked in perspiration and in contact with a 98.6 deg F human body. I would think that Intermittent use would extend that working life well out past 5 years.
2) To mimick such usages, the latest NIJ Testing protocol --NIJ 0101.06, adopted 2006 -- added a conditioning treatment to body armor in which it is tested for bullet resistance after 10 days of being tumbled in a
drum, 5 revolutions per minute for a total of 72,000 tumbles. At 80% humidity and 149 deg F.
3) Maybe Fernando would like to give his opinion/experience on some details of selection criteria for body armor. A lot of police get killed wearing body armor --as shown in the FBI report -- because crooks now know they are wearing it and go for head shots. So it seems to me it would be important to conceal the armor because it loses much value if an attacker can see you are wearing it.
4) On the other hand, level IIIA is not much thicker than level II and IIIA can stop some penetrating rounds like 357 Magnum in FMJ (level II just tests 357 in JSP), 38 super, 357 sig. I don't know if IIIA can stop the 7.62 Tokarov round but I would think it would do better than II.
5) In hot climates, however, Level II would probably be more easily concealed under hot weather light weight shirts. Some argue it is not as hot as IIIA but I wonder whether heat is more a matter of whether the sides are left open for ventilation. Some armor wraps around to cover the sides below the armpit but I would think that adds heat while the shoulder opening to the heart is left unprotected.
6) Level II vs IIIA is Tough decision -- like the 45 vs 9mm argument. One survey of USA police that I've seen indicated 41% of police use Level II and 35% use IIIA. No indication of whether the IIIA people are in the colder north and II people are in the South. Or if regular patrol police in uniform wear IIIA while undercover cops wear II since body armor is a tipoff that one is a policeman (US law bans convicted felons from owning body armor.)
1) True. Police officers wear their vests all the time. Lots of wear and tear, sweat and sunlight exposure. For the average person, you wont use and abuse a vest nearly as much and it will last decades if properly taken care of (avoid moisture, too much sunlight)
3)There is a chance of getting shot in the head if armor is being visibly worn. My advice is to keep it concealed as much as you can so as to avoid just that as well as attracting unwanted attention in general.
4)IIIA would do better against all rounds including 7.62 Tokarov. The 7.62 Tokarov is a small, fast round that has a good chance of penetrating level II armor. When possible I would go for IIIA.
5)Armor can get really hot, but then again if you’re not a cop its no big deal and you can just suck it up when you consider its important to wear it. For everyday carry though, it can be an issue and its better to get armor that fits well but allows enough ventilation.
6)Most police officers are likely to go for II because it is still enough to stop the threats they are likely to come across while being less bulky and more comfortable to wear in general. Now as a civilian that isnt wearing armor every day you may not have such concerns.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Lessons from Argentina: WROL vs Real Post-Collapse Daily Crime