Thursday, December 29, 2011

Importance of Medical Accessibility!‏

Just wanted to reinforce the correctness of your stance on being close enough to town/city to get good medical care in a timely fashion. 
My aunt lives in the Western US 2+ hours from any specialist type of medical care and even hit and miss ambulance type access if the weather is bad.  This remoteness came back to bite her this last week when she had an emergency and was not able to get to a specialist until 4 days later when the roads/weather cleared enough to drive into where they needed to go. 
She did finally get an ambulance to her on the icy roads, but they where not able to help her and she did not receive any help until my uncle was able to drive her into the city 4 days later.
As a result of burst blood vessel in her eye or some such thing she not only was in excruciating pain, but is also likely blind now as well.
-SD

Hi SD, Indeed its one of those things that people overlook. They will chose to live 100 miles from the nearest town because its supposedly safer when the hordes of stupid city folks suddenly turned into zombie locusts come rolling down, yet they completely ignore the most logical, most probable causes of death which usually requires immediate medical attention and your odds of survival drop 5% every minute you delay it.
FerFAL
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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Argentina-USA Pictures

A picture says it better:

Buenos Aires, December 2010

Mc Pearson Square in Washington DC, December 2011

Occupy L.A.: Clearly a sad unemployed worker, this lady tries to overcome unemplyment anguish using a Hula Hoop…

Window to the future??
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-11996556

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FerFAL

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Why is Gold Important for Preparedness and Survival


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas Everyone!


I hope you have a happy Christmas with your loved ones.
I thank God for everything He has given me, including this community of wonderful people which, if you are reading this, most likely belong to as well.
God bless you all and may you have a Merry Christmas!
FerFAL

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


I’ve actually used these in the last few days with pretty good results so I thought I’d share them. These days with the economy as it is, every buck counts, and sometimes the savings can be significant.

1) Buy used. Not only is it obviously cheaper, it also allows more haggling opportunities to being with. Check Craiglist but be careful, check out the neighborhood and don’t take any chances. If it looks like a set up don’t risk it, its just not worth it. What I do is look up the address and find it in Google maps, then drag the little yellow guy next to the zoom buttons and drop him in the map for the street view. This is an outstanding tool that shows you the pedestrian view of the street, as if you were standing there yourself.

2) Actual haggling tip number one. I was buying a second hand desk at already a very good price from one of these second hand websites. While I was arranging the meeting I asked  that since I was coming from so far away, if they could drop the price 30 bucks because that would be my fuel expenses just getting there. The seller simply replied that it seemed fair and accepted right away. I already saved 30 bucks without even being there looking at the item.

3) Magic words to live by right before saying “yes, I´ll take it: “I like it and  want to take it. Closing the deal right now, cash in hand, whats the best price you can give me?”. The first time I tried it the person said the price was already very good. A while later after driving around the car a bit more I repeated the exact same question, this time it got me a 100 buck price reduction. Cash generally appeals to people a lot, hard cash usually feels much nicer than credit card payments or transfers that may take days. You should always ask  for an attention or discount of some sort when haggling with cash in hand.

Haggling is an art, it improves with practice. Never be shy about it. If you save even 10 bucks you’ll feel good about it, and as for the seller if you don’t haggle some he will feel he could have gotten more for his product and that he sold for too cheap. Finally, remember to inspect whatever it is you are buying carefully. When it’s a car look for dents, scratches, make sure absolutely everything works, from opening and closing the glove compartment (a car I was considering had a glove compartment that didn’t shut closed after I opened it to check) to the window openers and windshield sweepers and water jets. Check the engine for oil leaks, use and rust. Everything. And every little detail you find should be mentioned. When finalizing the negotiation, note that this or that will require a certain amount of money to get fixed and ask for a discount because of it.
Take care,
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FerFAL

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

How hard a target should my house be?


Regarding the letter of the previous post and some of the comments, I was left with the impression that some of you believe that I think a house should be a bunker with two foot concrete walls and welded hedgehogs and barb wire around the perimeter and that’s just not the case.
Ideally we would all have houses designed specifically for our intended purposes, both secure and tasteful, safe as a bunker but worthy of Architecture Digest. It can be done, but its expensive.
As for a realistic approach, we will often have to settle for something in between, both because of expenses and because we have to accept that little fact about living with other family members that may not think as you do, because the people around you may not see things the same way. Do you really want to pile up sandbags around your home, dig fox holes in preparation for the “golden horde” that just wont come? Knock yourself out! Then tell me what your wife had to say about it, your neighbors, your kids and their friends, if they get a hard time at school because dad is a nut case or not. And its not even about what others think, its about the pro and cons of doing so. Digging fox holes and trenches and setting military stile defensive positions is a solution for a type of problem you don’t have. Your problem isn’t getting attacked by a North Korean platoon, your problem is the burglar breaking in when you go to the supermarket or visit your parents in Florida for the weekend. Your problem is getting forced inside at gunpoint after opening the garage door.

So how much security do I need?

The short question to that and the one that I know because of lots of experience with this kind of problem is: At least better than the guy next door!!
It will all depend on the standard set by others. In Buenos Aires if you don’t have burglar bars  and a gated perimeter, there’s many neighborhoods where you’d be the only one without those.
If you live in a nice little quiet town in a safe part of the world where people barely lock their doors at all, remembering to lock the doors and setting up an alarm system that is noticeable from the outside means that any bad guy will move on to the next house which is easier to break into.
We’d all love to have the super house with the fancy security system, poured concrete walls, safe room and underground bunker to top it off. In general we have to settle for less. Still we have to remember that minimum we must achieve, our security setup must be better than the neighborhood average at the very least.
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FerFAL

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Young Adult Prepper


Hey there Ferfal,
My name is Taylor and I am a 24 year old male living on the outskirts of a major metropolitan US city (population ~ +1 million) in the south (no snow). First of all let me just say that I purchased your book “Surviving the Economic Collapse” a little over a year ago and I learned a great deal. I took your adivce and went and participated in a high quality defensive firearms course back in January and have continued my training ever since.
I am stuck on something but first let me fill you in on my background. I just turned 24 years old back in August and recently graduated Florida State University with a degree in finance (after studying finance for 5 years, I know for a fact S is about to HTF). I just started my first job working for my father and though I do not make much ($500/week after taxes), I am happy in my occupation. I have zero debt, no student loans, very little (>$500) credit card debt, and a nice little savings that I store in physical silver. I have accumulated 4-5 months worth of food for my entire family as well as a great water filter (Katadyn Combi) good for 10,000 gallons of drinkable water. I have my rifle (AK47), handgun (Glock 26), and my shotgun (Remmington 870) and am adequately proficient with all three weapons. I have a minimum of 1000 rounds stocked for each gun plus other types of ammo that might be valuable. I have also taken measures to be prepared for turmoil by having a lot of extra necessities stored in my home.
Now here is my dilema. My current living situation is less than ideal. I am currently living with my parent’s in their suburban house. It is about 30 miles away from downtown in a pretty densely populated upper-middle class suburb. Once SHTF, these spoiled, unprepared people are going to lose it and turn into animals for sure. The house isn’t fortified in any way, has very poor outdoor lighting, and is overall pretty undefensible. I am not able to make any of the necessary changes due to the fact that my parents still can’t fathom a world without complete safety everywhere you go and will not let me alter the house.
Now here is the idea that I am toying with.
PROS: I am thinking it might be a good idea to buy a house that is in a rural area and that I can make the adjustments to it that I see are necessary. If you go out about 10-15 miles further away from the city you get into a nicer area that is more rural and is a little more secluded. You have neighbors, but you have your privacy and have much more room for fences, gardens, and animals. Housing prices in my state have fallen like a rock and even though I know the price of homes are still going to fall, things are becoming somewhat affordable. If I did purchase a home like the one I described, I would put up a nice fence, have a good lighting system, start a decent sized garden, and also get a good breed puppy that can grow up and defend the household. This would definitely not be cheap but this is something that I long for. I want a simpler, more in touch with nature, way of life. Also during a period of devaluation and calamity, not only will the currency your debt is denominated in decrease (therefore lowering the debt you owe), but there will be mass defaults to a point where the banks simply cannot take everybody’s house from them. I am sure that when the devaluation took place in Argentina, the debtors got a huge break.
CONS: This idea would require me to not only require me to use all of my savings(selling my silver) as a down payment, but it would also put me in a large amount of debt. Now this debt would not be gigantic and my parents do have a good amount of physical gold and silver stored up, I just don’t like the idea of being in debt. Its very risky. I would also have to pay for repairs, homeowners insurance, and many other bills I don’t pay now. My job is also not 100% safe. My dad’s company has fallen on hard times and it is not beyond the realm of possibility that it could close and that I could lose my job.
What do you think Ferfal? I am torn between the two decisions and time is running out.
Thank you for your help,
Taylor
Hi Taylor. These days your situation is pretty typical. It used to be that at your age a guy could just go rent a place, gain independence from their parents, have some fun, meet someone, get married, then together buy a white picket fence place in the suburbs and get a kid or two to send to school and take to soccer on weekends. Now its more like losing your job, moving back to your parents, sometimes even with a family of your own. Even for people that can afford a place of their own the costs are sometimes too high, even worse when there’s kids, so grandma or grandpa have to put aside their retirement for a while and watch over the kids during the day because the money for daycare or nursery just isn’t there.
I think you have several important decisions to make.
First of all, you have to decide if the family business you’re working on currency is capable of getting through the crisis or if you’re just trying to postpone the inevitable. Usually there is a way of making it work making some hard choices, reducing costs, improving marketing, getting more clients, etc. But if you feel that’s not the case, or if you feel your father is not willing to listen to you and include you more in the family business, then I’d say its time for you to get a better paying job and one in which you have a future.
About your house where you currently live. I’d talk it over again with your old folks as adults. Instead of talking about fortifying the place which may sound a bit extreme, talk about improving the security a bit given current events. It’s the choice of words that sometimes scares families  away from taking some common sense security measures. Installing an alarm, better locks and maybe even getting a family dog will improve your security greatly. Its not that expensive and it doesn’t ruin the house’s esthetics.
Regarding getting your own place, I think it’s a good idea, especially if prices are down as I’ve seen in some places in USA, there’s some very nice opportunities out there. Again, USD 2000  wont leave you much room between mortgage and living, but while your living at your parents house you could do it, on the meantime decide between staying in the family business and seeing if you can make it work or looking somewhere else. I’d try hard to make the family business work, try getting your father to listen to you more and accept your advice and letting you take charge little by little.
Careful about going too rural. You got my book so you know what I think about being too far away from help, friends, family, resources, etc.
Take care,
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FerFAL

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Knife Attack‏ Video and the Tueller Drill

(CAREFUL: EXTREMELY GRAPHIC IMAGES)

I don’t know if you have ever heard of Dennis Tueller but in 1983 he wrote an article in SWAT magazine entitled “How Close is Too Close?” The article discusses how someone armed with a contact weapon such as a knife or club can close with and attack a police officer from 21 feet away in the time it takes the officer to draw and fire his weapon. Here is a link to the article, an interview with Dennis Tueller, and a video showing what happens when you underestimate a guy with a knife. Note how the officer with the AK climbed over the fence to the same side as the guy with the knife and that he didn’t have his rifle at a ready position. After stabbing the officer with the AK the suspect then chases the other three officers stabbing them. Trying to run away didn’t work too well for the officers. Sometimes it is better to stand your ground and fight it out especially if you have a weapon. The officer with the AK should have stayed on the other side of the fence which would have at least slowed if not prevented the suspect from attacking him. All the officers should have had their weapons drawn and ready to shoot the suspect if  he attacked. While encircling the suspect forces the suspect to divide his attention to what is behind him it also creates a situation where if the officers have to shoot, they risk hitting each other if they miss or the bullets pass through the suspect. Since I don’t speak Spanish maybe you can briefly explain what is being said.

http://www.theppsc.org/Staff_Views/Tueller/How.Close.htm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JxeTNnEWmbY

http://gunfreezone.net/wordpress/index.php/2011/05/10/and-then-everything-failed-nsfw-very-violent-graphic/

-Bill







Very interesting, thanks for the links.
The video basically shows a women that went to file a complain against her ex, the ex being the madman that later attacks with a large knife, at least a 10 inch blade. The knife looks like a fac√≥n or verijero like the ones used by Argentine gauchos (think cawboy but with a dagger rather than a gun), though it could be a simple large “chef” knife which is of similar blade shape. Either way, it’s a large knife with a narrow tip that penetrates very well.
At first what you hear being shouted in Spanish is “don’t get so close”, obviously someone realized the danger of the situation. Too bad the cops didn’t follow the advice. What you see then is the officer with the AK trying to use a baton. Awful idea. The mad man stabs him just once, puncturing the right lung and killing him. The other two officers survive after some time in the intensive care unit. The mad man was shot four times and died as well. He was drunk according to the news reports I found of the incident. Once he attacks, what you hear being shout is “matalo, disparale”, which means kill him, shoot him.
Lack of training cost this officer his life. A baton is not the weapon to be used against a mad man with a dagger. Keeping his distance and covering him with the AK, he should have shot him as soon as he moved and failed to comply. Not go after him with a baton.
This sort of incident is fairly common in South America. I know a police officer that has some experience with knife wielding country folk. He told me he’s far more afraid of them than punks with guns. Always keeping a safe distance, always being very alert and careful not to upset them. If one of these gaucho folks feels disrespected, you’ll have to put him down, and chances are he´s not going down alone so he´s always very careful in these country parties where countrymen with knives abound.
Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight was it?
The other two survived by pure miracle.
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FerFAL

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Giving in to Muggers


Hi Ferfal,

Lately here in the states muggings and violent home invasions have increased. In the past week 3 pizza delivery drivers have been lured to an area with an order and then mugged at knife point by a group of two criminals. This seems to mimic tactics you've discussed. In response the police are telling people that should the get mugged to comply with the criminal. To me this seems like it might become a dangerous response as it empowers someone that is already threatening people's lives. From what you've seen in Argentina; do you think this will lead to people getting harmed or murdered when someone puts their live in the hands of their mugger?
 -Sean

Hi Sean. As you noted crime is on the rise. Well, officially its not but then again what matters is what you see for yourself, not what a media network with an agenda to push has to say in terms of statistics. We keep hearing of home invasions and violent crime of the type that was very uncommon not that long ago. It used to be that it was likely that you´d life your entire life without ever seeing the wrong side of a gun or knife. Now, things have changed.
I was in Barcelona last week and a cab driver told me how a passenger mugged him. He suddenly felt the tip of a knife in his neck, he froze out of pure fear but three quick pokes to his neck made him give up his wallet fast. The cab driver, clearly overweight and in poor physical condition, suffered a heart attack. Heart attacks during robberies? It happens a LOT, people! Ive heard it so many times. Please work out within your means and limitations but do it. We´ve covered extensively how important this is, SHTF or not.
As he was driving me to the airport he was telling me all this, apparently forgetting that ten minutes ago when he picked me up he had told me that crime wasnt a problem in Barcelona.
When I asked about the economy he went into a rant ¨ How is it possible that a person like me got loans to buy three different houses? Now I have to work all day to pay for them! Even the rent is not enough to cover the mortage¨. Pathetic, he was upset that he had been allowed to borrow beyond his means, like a child complaining that he was allowed to each too much candy and now his stomach hurts. This cab driver was the living example of what´s wrong in many places around the world.
About your question, that´s the standard police reply around the globe. Truth is, its not that bad an advice for 95% of the population who are untrained, unarmed and wouldn´t even know what to do if the criminal gives you several windows of opportunity. Its the kind of advice that incentives criminals even more though. As seen in CCW states, when criminals fear getting shot, crime goes down.

Even if armed and trained and having the will to fight, sometimes the ego gets in the way and makes us do stupid things. If a mugger acts cool, all he wants is my wallet or car keys (the vehicle is even insured) do I really want to leave him dead in the sidewalk for a couple hundred bucks tops? Only to spend thousands in legal defense, wasting time and money? Maybe the right attitude sends the would-be mugger away, maybe its just a brat and you can disarm him, slap him a bit and send him away. Maybe you just hand in the cash you have and get over with it or maybe you see that the situation is potentially dangerous for you and your family and you fight back, believing this is the best thing to do because giving in will do you no good. I can´t give you a straight answer becuase unlike some people that will, I know how complex it can be. All situations are different, criminals come in different ways and you´ll have to make one of those split second decisions right then and there. As always, its better if you have the tools so as to deal with different possible situations.

Based on what I´ve seen in Argentina all these years, I think that in general, most people are better of just giving up their wallet/purse. In general that´s the best thing you can do even if you can kill your attacker because of the reaons mentioned earlier. I honestly have no moral struggle regarding defending myslef from a SOB that is willing to hurt innocent people for money or pleasure. They can all rot in hell for all I care and their life isnt worth the ammo needed to put them down. But looking at it with a cool head the time and financial cost is just not worth it.

Having said this sometimes even if you give up they will still hurt you and your family. The quesiton you have to ask yourself now is, can you live wth yourself if you allow that to happen? I know I could never forgive myself, that´s why at least for me I draw the line regarding my house, home invasions and such, or when my family is involved. Mugged alone on the street? I´ll probably hand over my wallet and car keys, if the mugger is cool enough maybe ask him to just take the cash and spare me the trouble of getting my cards back. Sometimes they do that and save you a lot of trouble.
I´ll let all the super manly macho type say how they would beat to pulp anyone that looks at them wrong, shoot everyone that approches their homestead within a thousand yards and such.
This would be my advice for avoiding criminals and muggers to begin with:

1)Body Language/ DFWM Attitude:
Looking sure of yourslef will go a long way. Yes you can fake it, but its much better if this confidence comes naturaly out of actually knowing you can handle threats. This isnt about being billy bad ass, but its more about confidence, and getting that DFWM (dont f with me) air about you. You´re a good natured person, but still emit that signal that tells people looking for trouble that they are better off looking elsewhere

Awarenss:
Detecting people around you, recognizing possible threats and acknowleging them with clear eye contact. You see me but I see you, I”m aware of you and anything yo may try will not be catching me completely off guard. DFMW attitude. Go look elsewhere for an easier victim.

Grey Man/Appearence:
Dressing down sometimes helps, so does blending in, yet again if you weight 300 pounds, have a bikers jacket and arms and face coverd with tattoos, most of them being daggers with snakes around them or the Repaer, then you´re not exaclty gray man but I doubt many will come try to mugg you. A clean cut dressing with mild gray, black or earth tone colors helps you blend in and go unnoticed, for those that do notice you, they should notice someone that is both aware and confidnet. Of course if you dress with clear name brand tags all over you, or for the ladies if you have gold all over, bags that cost as much as a nice used car, then you will attract the wrong kind of attention.
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FerFAL

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Bull Terrier as a SHTF dog


From a survival/preparedness point of view a dog offers a series of advantages that should not go unnoticed, yet at the same time we have to consider the disadvanteges as well.
Feeding a dog during an economic downturn can be a problem. Proof of that is the ammount of abandoned expensive dogs we see in cities becuase of the crisis. At the same time we may want a dog for security and need a certian size and intimidation factor which the smallest pets will not deliver. Their keen senses alert them and they can bark so as to warn you but sometimes you will want a dog criminals will have respect for.
Maybe their most important real world role, a dog means fun and entertainment for both adults and children. At the same time a needy dog will take up more of your time. A dog that sheds too much hair will also force you to clean more if it sleeps indoors.
For these reasons I feel that a Bull Terrier is an interesting alternative, mostly for people with time and space restrictions, a good comprosmise between feeding costs, intimidation and friendlyness towards kids.
The Jack Russell is also an interesting choice, especially if small game hunting is in the picutre, but it lacks the size for a  security dog.The Bull terrier isnt very big,  but still big enough o bite and scare would be robbers.
Take care,
FerFAL

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What ammunition to choose?

I just wondered if you had any experience with HORNADY CRITICAL DEFENSE 
AMMUNITION?  What do you carry, assuming availability?  As for me, I 
currently carry Hornady HP XTP.  I have kept about 1400 rds. of 
Winchester FP full metal jacket ammunition for my backup cache in the 
event of market collapse such as happened after the last presidential 
election. These are available locally in Wal-Mart for about $34.00 for 
100.   The price and availability permits regular range trips and 
training classes while giving a little peace of mind about what the 
future might hold.
        -Mike

Hornady makes good ammo. I dont have experience with that particular model but in general Hornady will not let you down.
This is basically what I go for in the different calibers.

22LR
As awful as it is for defense, if this is all you have you do not want to go with bulk ammo since the reliability of bulk is mediocre to say the least. I preffer CCI Stingers which are one of the hottest offerings. Velocitors are also pretty hot and a bit heavier which is good since a light 22LR HP may fail to penetrate. If you can´t find that then Yellow Jackets are an acceptable alternative. Whatever it is you´ve got to shoot at least 500 rounds of it before you trust yor life to that particular 22LR (Ah!)

9mm
When a round is designed to be light and fast then that´s often your best shot and this is the case of 9mm, In Argentina they´ve  experimented a lot with 147g truncated cone FMJ. This was supposed to be marginally better than 124 FMJ round nose, marginal being the part to keep in mind. For 9mm I like Gold Dots +P 124gr JHP. These have a 90% one shot stop rate according to some studies, and the street reputation is very good. Basically its just good ammo that should do its part if you do yours, and always remember there´s no magic bullet so train to shoot as much as needed until the bad guy goes down.

40 S&W
My Glock seems to like Wolf ammo a lot. I”ve heard some bad things about it but in mine it works nice. That lacker its painted with sometimes sticks in the chamber when the gun is hot but it has still worked reliably for me. If push comes to shove its acceptable ammo for defense as well, pretty hot stuff. For defense, I also preffer light weights offered by Gold Dot or Federal.

357 SIG
This is my favorite caliber for defense. For 357 SIG I choose Gold Dot as well. It will push the 125gr JHP at over 1400 fps in the Glock 31.

12 Gauge
While 00 buck is supposed to be the best shotgun load for defense, I”ve heard from people that have shot more humans with it than most experts tell me that 4 Buckshot has worked even better for them at the typical close ranges. Either load will be effective and the old wives tales of people always standing and laughung at you after getting a blast of 12ga in the chest are just that. Granted, no single round of any kind gives 100% stopping power, but the Argentine cops I´ve talked to that have used it often against criminals all tell the same thing: After putting a shotgun shot into the bad guys center of mass, the threat is very much over. He may live or not but he´s out of the fight (again, most cases, there´s never 100% certainty)

Rifle Ammo
The bulk ammo available for rifles is generally of the military type that will perform well. Stick to military type ammo for semi auto rifles and avoid shooting hunting ammo in them unless you´ve extensively experimented with them. There´s two reasons for this. First, it may be designed for bolt action rifles and may not feed well in your semi auto. Second, it may not have a strong enough crimp on the projectilce, and this may loosen with the back and forth ratling of recoil.
Hornady and other brands make excellent premium ammo for semi autos for defensive purposes. If you can afford to test it until you're sure it works in your gun well, that's your best option.
In general avoid ammo that over fragments since this has proven to be a poor stopper. If you have choices between JHP and soft points, in general soft points will hold together better. This is just in general cases and it may vary depending on what brand and type of ammunition you´re shooting.
Take care!
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FerFAL

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Reply: The Myth of Revolver Reliability and 22LR for Defense

Anon said…
Revolvers are more user friendly than semi automatics and that’s where the myth of revolver reliability finds it’s origin. A person who operates a semi automatic needs to actually know something about the pistol to operate it reliably. There’s the basic things like turning off the safety, not limpwristing, but what about keeping it oiled, using the correct ammunition, replacing springs when worn out and using clean and reliable magazines. Even very reliable designs like the 1911 and Browning Hi-Power had their serious issues. The 1911 for quite a while only reliable with 230gr FMJ ammo and the BHP needing to have it’s magazines underloaded. Then there was the not uncommon practice of leaving the chamber empty and forgetting to cock the slide. How many times has someone fired a semi automatic and heard it go click? Then you have firing pins breaking due to dryfiring. A revolver (Ruger/S&W at least) in contrast doesn’t really have any of these issues.
Nowadays with the prelubed, no external safety, difficult to limpwrist Glock’s the semi auto pistol is a lot more user friendly. Leaving the chamber empty seems to be the biggest issue that still remains and so anyone that might be tempted to do that would better be served with a revolver. (where the practice of leaving a chamber empty for safety purposes is rare and more importantly easily rectified by pulling the trigger again, unlike a semi auto) The slide being pushed back isn’t an issue if the gun comes with a holster.
Revolvers though have become less reliable nowadays. First we have the ‘safety lock’ mechanism in some S&W’s, the real issue of using overpowered ammunition in an older revolver and S&W’s use of exotic revolver material like aluminum alloy and polymer, the former well known not to stand the test of time if used regularly. (I think that was the problem with your Model 12 airweight Ferfal http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smith_%26_Wesson_Model_12). There’s the issue of rounds coming unstuck and jamming the cylinder in lightweight revolvers using .357 ammo. Getting dirt in it’s mechanism jamming it. The real possibility of hitting your cylinder on something hard and it jamming.
Inspite of all those above problems many involving serious downtime of minutes to days, as long as we are talking about quality steel revolvers by Ruger and S&W for the average civilian a revolver is still more reliable.
But anyone who would be considered to be ‘above average’ in regards to learning new skills or better yet sees the their purchase of a handgun as a serious decision that they are willing to pay to learn how to use (training class), deserves a semi auto. A more reliable and a more effective handgun than a revolver.
I agree with most of your post (the hammer is cocked, not the slide). The origin of the revolver reliability reputation comes from way back when autos failed miserably often. They didn´t feed reliably, they broke and jamed often. Reliable autos were rare.
Today the story is very different. You have pistols like the Glock that can fire thousands of rounds without a problem, drop the thing from a speeding car in the pavement, pick it up and keep shooting, something that would be short of miracle in a revolver with its comparably much more delicate revolving sistem.
Even in the old days, pistols like the 1911 and Hi Power were much more resistant and reliable than the revolvers of their age. Proof of that is that if you pick service revolvers from the 50´s or 60´s  that have been well used, they generally work much worse or dont work at all, when pistols general age much better. Its common to find fifty year old 1911s and Hi Powers, just to mention a couple, that still work reliably and shoot accurately while revolvers that have been used extensively from that era will spit lead all over or dont work at all.
There´s nothing wrong with a good revolver, but you have to understand what it can and what it can´t withstand.

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FerFAL

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Water, Chlorine and other Purification Methods


I work as a water engineer in emergencies – refugee camps, war zones, etc.. There is basically nothing wrong in using chlorine – indeed this has been the standard sterilization route for water in the West for the last century. Very small systems use high concentration powder, medium systems liquid and large urban systems normally use gas chlorine. There are limits with regards residuals after treatment. These are designed so as to sterilize pipes in case of leakages sucking dirty ground water back into the pipe system – something which happens frequently, and to allow sterilization of any contaminated outlets – i.e. taps. If the water smells strongly of chlorine at the tap, allow it to sit for a while and the chlorine will eventually gas off. Normal contact time for the chlorine from being added to the water to sterilization is usually 30 minutes. Another reason for there being a residual of chlorine after this process is to ensure that enough chlorine was added to begin with to actually kill all bacteria. Testing for chlorine residual is simple – a basic swimming pool tester is more than adequate.
Ceramic filters are good but need to be maintained. The real problem with them is that they produce water only very slowly. The candles can be removed and gently scrubbed to clean them. I have kept the same filters going for considerable lengths of time by doing this. They can even be put into lightly chlorinated water with no damage to them – just rinse them off in fresh water after.
A good, standard way of producing drinking water which is very basic, and which can produce fairly large quantities quickly, is a slow-sand filter. This works by a biological filter developing on the surface of the filtrate medium – the sand – which actually eats any bacteria in the water. These are standard filters used around the world – in the case of dirty or turbid (meaning not clear) water, a gravel roughing filter and/or also a rapid sand filter can be used – these basically take out any suspended solids in the water. Removing turbidity if it is dissolved solids, especially organics, is more complicated and can require aeration as well as filtering, before going into the slow-sand filter.
Slow-sand filters can be built from household size up to large, village level sizes.
Information on design and use of slow-sand filters is widely available on the web. They are easy to construct, easy to use and pretty much low maintenance.
Another, very basic way of sterilizing water of bacteria is of course to boil it – at least 3 minutes at a low boil. This is not sustainable in the long term, but can produce drinkable water in small quantities relatively quickly – even turbid, or dirty water can be treated this way. It might not taste perfect but, unless it has a load of chemicals in it, it won’t harm you. And don’t forget, ceramic filters will not remove that many dissolved chemicals either!
    Don’t rely on a TDS meter for water potability. It is what it says – a total dissolved solids meter. Basically it detects salts and other minerals dissolved in the water. It does not give any indication of bacteria such as cholera, or viruses. If you are using ground eater, it could indicate if there is arsenic present – though it will not distinguish between arsenic and common salt – only tell you there is a presence of dissolved solids. Primarily, they are used as an indicator of acceptability of water with regards taste, etc. If you check on any website dealing with water quality, you will be given acceptable limits with regards TDS for drinking water.
Hope this is of use.
-WaterEngineer
Thanks for the information!
About chlorine, you say there´s nothing wrong with it but what would be a safe amount of it in water?
For example in Buenos Aires, water doesnt just taste like chlorine and smells like it, it even itches after taking a bath and sometimes you need to use body cream to calm it down. People coming from Europe or USA that arent used to it suffer it even more.

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