Thursday, April 16, 2015

Top Five Best EDC Flashlights for 2015

With so many great options available, choosing the best everyday carry flashlight is not an easy task. For the flashlight collectors or “flashaholics”, things have never been better. There’s hundreds of great lights out there, but which one should you carry? The flashlight industry is constantly evolving along with LED technology. Every year lights are brighter and use less battery power. A +100 lumen single AAA keychain light was unthinkable just a few years ago but today a 162 lumen 1xAAA light lives in my keychain (Thrunite Ti).
A survival-minded approach will help us narrow down our options considerably in spite of how overwhelming the offer out there can be. We want dependable, reliable flashlights. We want a brand that we can trust, enough lumen output for whenever we need it but also low modes for saving power when going without electricity for an extended period of time. Ideally, the light will take readily available AA and AAA batteries although CR123A are becoming more common and they do provide the most power for tactical lights. Strobe for disorienting attackers, beacon and SOS modes for signaling, these may be literal life savers during emergencies.
For the modern survivalist, the EDC flashlight (and most gear in general) is chosen keeping in mind a two-tier application: On one level the item, in this case the flashlight, must be useful and viable on a general purpose, every day use level. You’ll use it for looking into boxes, checking for things dropped under furniture, walking across a garage without turning the lights on, or walking across the parking lot at night without stepping on mud and getting your feet dirty. On another level, the flashlight should perform on a worst case emergency scenario. It should allow you to find people when someone gets lost while hiking along a trail. It should allow you to signal for traffic to stop if there’s an accident. It should run for several hours, maybe even days if power goes down after a disaster. It should be capable of temporary disorienting an attacker. It should take common batteries you may be able to scrounge. It should be capable of signaling for help when wounded, lost or otherwise stranded off the beaten track.
As you can see, we are asking a lot from this flashlight. Although there’s no one flashlight that is perfect in every way, these are some of the ones that fill all these niche applications the best:
Zebralight H52w AA
Zebralight H52w AA Headlamp Neutral White
The H52W is one of the most powerful 1XAA lights in the market today with an output of 280 lumens on high. It can also take 14500 li-ion batteries, which brings the maximum lumen output up to 500 lumens on high for one minute before dropping back to 280 lumens. The H52W has programmable brightness levels as well as beacon and strobe modes, making it easy to suit personal preferences. The H52W is a 90 angle light which combined with the strap turns the Zebralight into a headlamp, freeing one hand for use compared to normal hand-held lights. It also has a Low battery alert function. With great construction and design the Zebralight is as of right now one of the most capable flashlights in the market. For those that like these functions but prefer a normal straight reflector configuration, there’s the Zebralight SC52.
Streamlight Sidewinder Compact II

If you could only have one flashlight for the end of the world the Streamlight Sidewinder II would be it. It can be used as a headlamp or hand-held light. It’s a true mil-spec torch, tough as nails. It has various output modes and LEDs to choose from, including red, IR and blue (green in some versions). The included head strap turns it into a useful headlamp. Maybe its most impressive capability, the Sidewinder Compact II can digest most small batteries you come across: CR123A, AA, AAA, 14500, 10440, 16340. The downside is that the high mode is not as bright as in other models and the shape makes it less comfortable to carry than smaller, cylindrical tube format lights. Other than that, the Sidewinder Compact II is THE survivalist’s flashlight.
Eagletac D25C

The Eagletac D25C is a simple, no-nonsense 1XCR123A flashlight. In spite of the compact size, which is one of its strengths, it has a lot to offer: Tough and well made. Cree XM-L2 U2 LED. Maximum output is 453 Lumens (with 16340 li-ion) . You won’t bash anyone’s head in with this light but tightening the head it goes into “tactical” mode, high and strobe, while loosening the head allows you to access the different brightness levels, moonlight, beacon, strobe and SOS for general purpose and emergency signaling use. The D25C is one of the most compact CR123A clickly flashlights in the market. The Tintanium D25C looks fantastic.
Fenix PD22 Ultimate Edition

Featuring a Cree XP-L LED, the latest edition of the PD22UE uses a CR123A battery for a maximum output of 400 Lumens but also officially supports the use of 16340 batteries for an output of 510 Lumens which will run for 45 minutes. Modes include turbo, high, medium, low, strobe and SOS which can be accessed using the side switch.
The P22 is a classic EDC torch made by a reputable manufacturer. It is clearly intended as a tactical/utility light and should serve you well on both roles. The P22UE is also one of the few lights that officially approves the use of 16340 li-ion batteries.
SureFire E1D Defender

The E1D is as close as it gets to a pure breed tactical light in an EDC pocket format. This is a light flashlight collectors have wanted for some time, often modifying the larger E2D so as to make it a shorter single battery light. At 300 lumens the E1D may not sound very impressive but Surefire tends to underestimate its own lumen output. Surefire quality is legendary, its built like a tank and the strike Bezel makes for a nice compact defensive tool. There’s not a lot of output modes to choose from, its either the 300 lumen high or 5 lumen low. 5 lumen is a good amount of light for low battery drain yet enough light for most close range utility tasks. A strobe mode would have been a nice addition, although 300 lumens should be enough to disorient an attacker when dark.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Man fights three armed robbers with a Katana (GRAPHIC CONTENT)

Covered in blood: In the panic, the thieves only managed to steal the equivalent of £278 and fled in a Peugeot 206 car which was parked outside
When it comes to crime, some of the weirdest, craziest incidents happen in Argentina. Before you continue reading, some of the images below are very gory.
49 year old Dias Costa suffered a home invasion in his house in Cordoba, Argentina. Once inside the house, the three criminals armed with two handguns, started hitting Mr. Costa and his wife. When they tried to enter his son’s bedroom, Mr. Costa grabbed a katana sword he had hanging on a wall and attacked the criminals, cutting them in their hands, arms and face. The fleeing criminals left in a vehicle along with an accomplice that was waiting outside but the driver crashed shortly after due to blood loss. The four criminals continued their escape on foot, but the blood trail was so big cops only had to follow it to a nearby house to capture the attackers.
Dias Costa and his family have since received threats from the attacker’s family, forcing them to relocate elsewhere for their own safety.

Stitched up: The man has been left with a huge scar from where surgeons stitched his face back together
Lessons learned today:
1) Make sure your house is hardened. Good doors, locks and alarm.
2) Make sure you have a firearm for self-defense.
3) Even if you win the fight, that’s not the end of it. The bad guys’ family and accomplices may force you to bug out and relocate elsewhere so as to avoid retaliation. This is very common in Argentina and other countries where crime is particularly bad. You just don’t know what may force you to bug out one day.
4) I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: In very close quarters and in the hands of a person that knows how to use it, a combat blade will do more damage than a handgun.
5) Oh yes, don’t bring a knife to a gun fight, but if you do, make sure it’s a big one and know how to use it!
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Monsanto is Killing us with GMO and Pesticides

25 years after being denied by the Environmental Protection Agency, the World Health Organization has declared that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup pesticide, “probably” causes cancer in people. This is done using the same mouse study that was supposedly used to deny such allegations.
Roundup is the most used pesticide in the world, so its no surprise that where Monsanto rules, cancer does so as well. The only reason why we don’t hear more about this is because Monsanto pretty much owns the food industry by producing both the patented genetically modified Roundup Ready crops seeds used to grow food and the Roundup pesticide used along with it.
Here’s an interesting video explaining how Monsanto cherrypicks data to fit its own agenda. If you have more time, watch this longer documentary on Monsanto. The World According to Monsanto

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Advice on Cash and Precious Metals When Bugging Out

Hi Fernando
I was just wondering, a quick question out of curiosity.
When you moved into the EU, you left Argentina with most of your
Did you bring precious metals, like bullions/ coins etc, or did you
sell them before you left?
Now, if you brought them, how did you do with the declaration of PM in
I live in EU as well, and I know that you are allowed to travel within
EU with PM, no problem (but some declaration in some countries and
quantities), but how does it work with lots of PM going in to the EU?
Do you know?
I have your first book (The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse), and I recommend it all the time. Maybe you
mention it in your second book "Bugging out/ relocating", but haven't
read it yet.
Take care, Pete
A checkpoint in Crimea.
Hi Pete,
I actually took very few belongings when I left Argentina. It was pretty liberating to be honest. Preppers love talking about all the stuff you need for your INCH bag (I’m never coming home bag) or kit. They are so attached to their “stuff”, the INCH bag discussion quickly turns into the INCH trailer as folks keep piling up the material belongings they can’t figure living without. Ironically enough, and as someone that actually did this “I’m never coming home” thing for real, I could have left with nothing at all in terms of gear and supplies. All I needed was the plane tickets, passports and savings to start over elsewhere.
Regarding your question, I didn’t have a problem because even though I was taking cash and some precious metals, I was all within the limit of what you can bring in without declaring.

How much cash and gold can you take to or from the United States or EU?
It works the following way. There’s no real limit as of how much cash or precious metals (PM) you can bring or take out of the US. What you have is a limit of how much you can travel with without declaring. In the case of US, that limit is USD 10.000 and that’s for cash, precious metal or any other “monetary instrument”. If you have more than USD 10.000 worth of cash in any denomination or equivalent monetary instruments you have to declare it and fill a form FinCEN 105 called "Report of International Transportation of Currency and Monetary Instruments" . This form is intended to stop terror funding, money laundering and drugs, and will of course raise a big red flag so you probably want to stay under 10.000 USD when traveling. Keep in mind, this limit is for the entire group that is traveling together. You can’t travel with other people, family members or associates, and distribute the money among everyone.
The European Union has a somewhat similar limit. In the case of the EU the limit is €10.000 or its equivalent in other denominations, or monetary instruments such as precious metals, diamonds, etc. The big difference is that in the case of EU, for persons travelling in a group the € 10.000 limit applies to each person individually.
At the end of the day, it’s a good idea to have different options and diversify.
You certainly need cash for getting around and precious metals are a great asset to have as well in case of a serious currency devaluation. If you have to travel, I would stay within the limit and use credit cards or debit cards instead. It’s a good idea to have a bank account in the country you’re planning to bug out to so as to be able to quickly transfer funds if things start looking bad. A foreign bank account can be your best financial asset when evacuating or bugging out abroad. If nothing else, open an account in Canada next time you’re visiting. It’s easy enough for Americans, you don’t need some fancy Jason Bourne secret swiss bank account.
When it comes to precious metals, one of the things I learned was that even a small amount of money in silver can get very bulky and very heavy.

Preppers like silver because its “cheap”, meaning you don’t need to break the piggy bank to put aside a couple silver eagles each month. Soon enough you can have a pile of silver, but this is not be as practical during an emergency as you may think. At a 70 silver ounces per 1 gold ounce ratio, gold coins are far more compact. Thinking of a scenario such as the one playing out in Ukraine, with checkpoints where you are likely to get stopped and “liberated” of any money that you may have, being able to hide your values is of great importance. 1/10th of an ounce gold coins are very compact, about the size of a dime, and a ½ ounce Gold eagle is about the size of a quarter. You could even hide them in your wallet along with your pocket change coins. A wallet with a couple 20 dollar bills and a few coins jiggling in the coin pocket of the wallet wouldn’t look all that suspicious. Stacks of neat plastic tubes full of silver Eagles are likely to be taken away at such checkpoints. People in Ukraine have hidden cash and other valuables in baby diapers. Small coins could even be swallowed. Gold rings and chains have been swallowed throughout history when escaping persecution. Again, don’t underestimate the importance of a bank account in a foreign country. It just takes a couple minutes to access your account on your cell phone and send money abroad, with a bit of luck you may be able to do so before all hell breaks loose and accounts are frozen. If you don’t have such an account, this won’t even be a possibility for you no matter how you saw it coming before the masses.
Diversify and be smart about your money for emergencies and worst case scenarios. In cases like these, planning and having a good strategy will go a long way and make all the difference in the world.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Kershaw Rocks!: Broken Kershaw Lifter Update

About five months ago I did a review of the new Kershaw Lifter. At that time, for 19 usd, that was a no brainer of a deal. The knife looks good, feels good, and is well put together by a well-known company with a lifetime warranty.
Ironically enough, a few days later I ended up breaking the tip of the Lifter. Maybe I applied a bit too much force to the tip when cutting some wood, maybe the heat treatment of the humble 3Cr13 blade material wasn’t done properly. The grainy texture of the exposed broken tip suggested this. I decided not to waste any time and sent it back to Kershaw so that they could take a look and decide for themselves it was within warranty or not. Today, a few weeks later after sending it back, a brand new Kershaw Lifter was delivered to my door!

Today the Kershaw Lifter costs around 23 usd, which is still very reasonable for the knife you’re getting. I personally find the blade geometry very appealing. Although I wouldn’t abuse the tip given that its quite fine for a tanto, it still allows for detail cutting while the recurved portion of the blade is great for slashing and you can safely apply as much force as you want. It’s a very functional shape for a 3.5 inch blade. The Speedsafe assisted opening system is very fast when used along with the flipper. The blackwash finish simply looks fantastic and the entire knife just looks well-worn, tough and plain cool.
If you want to spend a bit more money, maybe check my Best EDC Folders for 2015 post, but for 23 bucks, the Kershaw Lifter is hard to beat.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.