Monday, July 30, 2012

Review: Wenger Executive Knife

Wenger Pocket Tool Chest Genuine Swiss Army Knife
Wenger 16958 Pocket Tool Chest Swiss Army Knife Executive Micro Size 2.5-Inch $25.08

Survival Video Game: I am Alive

I saw a review for this videogame some time ago and it immediately caught my attention given that its promoted as a “survival” video game. Often enough so called survival videogames are as unrealistic as you would expect but in this case I was pleasantly surprised. Not only was it fun to play which is the point of it all, but besides that it soon became clear that a lot of thought had been put into the game.
So as to provide a more thorough review, this humble servant kicked his two kids out of the game console and tortured himself playing until 5AM. :-)
The game?
The world has been left in ruins after a series of earthquakes. You start alone, at the edge of a destroyed city where you hope to find your wife and daughter alive. It took you almost a year to return from a trip that you did in a 4 hour flight before the event. As you stand there trying to figure out how you will cross the collapsed bridge into the city a quick assessment of yourself gives you little hope. Though in good physical shape, you look dirty and all you have left is a can of food… and a gun… with no ammo.
Yes, it is a videogame of course, but the execution is very well done in terms of what your priorities are and how you deal with problems.
What do you do if an angry person turns a gun on you and threatens to shoot you? You leave of course! And that’s exactly how it works in this game. When a man with a machete ambushes you, just pointing the gun at him makes him think twice. Of course you’re bluffing because you don’t have any ammo, but it works. You can then just keep walking away while keeping him at gunpoint, he may surrender and throw his knife or you can hit him over the heat with the gun when kneeling. Some other times they may call your bluff and things get ugly. Later when you get a machete, you see that its more effective when used in surprise attacks at close distance. Through out the game you rarely have more than one or two rounds in your gun, and as in real life people tend to leave you alone when you point at them with a gun. This I haven’t seen as well implemented in any other game.
Through the game just like in real life, you´ll need food. You find canned food, water and very rarely fresh meat and vegetables. While the character you play can jump and climb like only a pro climber would, he also gets tired and loses stamina. You cant just hang there on the edge of a building. After a few second you get tired and fall so you have to hurry. You also use pitons to assist you when climbing through the rubble. You’ll be asked to search a radio, signal for help and get medicines to help others. During sandstorms a respirator mask proves to be very valuable.
The other survivors are well addressed too. Some just want to be left alone, some need your help, others want to steal from you or kill you and some cant take it and just end their misery.
The game is only available through the xbox marketplace, so you’ll need to buy a few points in a store to buy and download it. I suppose it could have been done better in certain aspects, but for someone interested in survival and preparedness its an enjoyable game to play for a few hours and relax.
Interested but never tried playing one before? Ask your kids or nephews for some help. Hey, it sure beats watching the London Olympics! :-)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Carrying Gear and Small Children

I am a mom in the (safe) suburbs of a major Midwestern city (Chicago), blessed with seven children. You have excellent advice on always carrying a light, weapons, etc. As a homeschooler, I wind up being home almost all the time (which I love). However, with lots of little ones constantly climbing all over me/being carried, I find it hard to even clip a flashlight on, much less anything else. I’m afraid to keep a weapon on me, for fear a little one could get hurt. I thought of trying to clip a Swiss army knife somewhere, but often I’m not wearing anything that I could clip it onto, and since my youngest ones are carried on my hips, it would be very uncomfortable for them. Even clipping it to a lanyard around my neck would mean it becomes a chew toy for the baby. Any suggestions?

Hi Lori, seems you have your hands full! I understand your concern, I have two boys of my own.
The good news is that it can still be done. I know they chew your hair, tug on your clothes, touch everything and everywhere all over you. It does however require gear made for being carried all day and in some cases it may even require a change in wardrobe. Carrying some of this stuff while using skirts with no pockets, that would be a challenge, jeans or other pants with pockets are more practical. Sometimes people find a solution in a small fanny pack, and that would work pretty well for most EDC items, some are especially designed for carrying concealed firearms.  Its also a matter of getting used to it. I hear people complain about this or that knife being an inch too large or an ounce to heavy. When you’re committed and make the effort to get used to it, eventually that’s what ends up happening.  One day you simply forget you have a Cold Steel Voyager clipped to your right pocket and a Fenix PD10 in your left one. That is, you forget until you need it! These clipped to your pockets, it wouldn’t be a problem at all. I’ve played with my kids many times with these in my pockets, not a problem.
In terms of firearms it can also be done, but this yes, requires discipline and training so as to do it safely and efficiently. The idea here is first of all, carrying so that its not a risk to you or your loved ones, otherwise just better leave the gun in the safe. Second, you carry because you want to be able to defend yourself if there’s ever a serious threat towards you and your family. That may never happen, but you may still want to be ready for that, if nothing else because of principle. Now, carrying a gun doesn’t make you a gunfighter any more than me sitting on an Airbus cabin makes me a pilot, so a good CCW class and at least a basic pistol class is strongly recommended. For carrying safe in the kind of circumstances you describe, appropriate wardrobe would be needed including pants, a gun belt, and a good holster. Bladetech, CrossBreed and Galco are some of the most recognized ones. Crossbreed is pretty comfortable and I’ve had good results with my Blatech Phantom.
I would avoid neck carry because of the reasons you describe. Victorinox isn’t exactly ideal for carry as most lack a proper pocket clip. In your case a Spyderco Delica would work nicely. Its well made, has a nice flat profile and 4 position clip.
 Spyderco Delica4 Lightweight FRN Flat Ground PlainEdge Knife

Spyderco Delica4 Lightweight FRN Flat Ground PlainEdge Knife (Purple)
As for flashlights a small one just drops easily in your pocket. The Fenix EO5 I recently wrote about is as small as it gets for a single AAA LED light.
Fenix E05 LED Waterproof Mini Torch Flashlight (Purple)

Fenix E05 LED Waterproof Mini Torch Flashlight (Purple)
(Purple combo shown just becuase its pretty and women seem to like it :-) )
Again, check the fanny pack. A lot of people find a solution for their carry needs in them.
Good luck!
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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Making a Hank of Cord


Monday, July 23, 2012

Surviving Mass Shootings

As awful as a mass shooting can be, there are things you can do so as to at least somewhat improve your chances of survival, and its not just about shootings, these same principals apply to disasters such as fires, or terrorist attacks where you want to evacuate a building as fast as possible. It wasn’t that long ago that I posted about the fire in “The Station” night club where 100 people lost their lives, a post called “Surviving a Fire”. Given the recent shooting that took place in the movie theater in Colorado, here’s some easy to remember advice that will improve your survival odds. Its not about living in fear, just a couple quick mental notes that eventually become second nature to you:

1)Exits. Notice the different exit points when entering any room. The obvious first one is the one you just walked through, but look around for more. In many cases people rush to the main entrance ignoring other emergency exits that are closer. In a crowded room this may be the difference between life and death, surviving or getting crushed by the mass of victims.

2)Two ways out. When seated, make again a mental notice of your exits, especially the two closest ones to you. Why two? Because the threat, whatever that may be, mass shooter, fire, terrorist, it may be standing between you and your exit, leaving you with the second one as your best chance of survival.

3)React. In “The Station” nightclub fire, the fire was started by the special effects that were clearly getting out of control yet the band kept playing and the fans kept cheering. During the Batman movie massacre in Colorado people heard the shots and thought it was part of the movie, or part of the premier show. There’s a moment where your primal instinct kicks in, that gut feeling that has kept our species alive for thousands of years. Don’t ignore it, don’t suppress it. If you feel something is wrong, take action and assess the situation. In the case of a shooting in a movie theater, getting down provides both concealment by the rows of seats and to some degree, given the angle and number of seats, it can be cover as well. As soon as you hear shooting get down and crawl away from the threat using the cover provided by what hopefully will be several rows of seats.

4)Escape. As soon as you hit the floor crawl, away from the threat towards the exit. Making a quick exit is key to your survival. In the footage of “The Station” nightclub fire you can see how the place was all engulfed in flames in just two minutes. Seconds make the difference, so exit as fast as possible.

Run, walk, crawl…?

It will depend on a number of factors including the proximity of the exit, the attacker, how many of them are there and the amount of people all around you just to mention a few. The basic gun fighting rule is to take cover as soon as possible, in this case that means ducking behind the rows of seats. In most cases thats the best course of action when under gunfire. Maybe if the exit is close enough you can make a run for it. It is true that a running target is much harder to hit. Then again running increases the chances of falling, so that’s why running wouldn’t be recommended during a fire where falling to the ground means you’ll get crushed under the feet of the human wave trying to escape. The right amount of space, few enough people, close enough distance, you might want to run, if not walking quickly is almost as fast and you’re not as likely to fall in the confusion. Walk fast, duck or even run, it will depend on each specific case.

To Shoot or not to Shoot

If you are armed, do you open fire on the attacker? It will depend on a number of factors too. Are you trained well enough so as to take that shot? You fall down to your lowest level of mastered training, you´ll rarely rise to the occasion. Do you have a clean shot? If not are you willing to risk shooting innocent bystanders?  In the Colorado theater, the shooter was wearing full body armor, a helmet, armed with an AR and using a gas mask after deploying tear gas.
I was shooting a competition this Saturday along with some other people. While I’m not a good shooter by the standards of guys that compete seriously, out of the six shooters in the line that day, I was the fastest one. I can draw and shoot accurately pretty fast, but If I have to take that shot inside a dark theater, with my vision impaired by tear gas, with the place full of people running around scared, and I have a guy armed with an AR, wearing body armor and a helmet leaving me with a small amount of face (covered with a respirator!) so as to shoot at, chance are that I wont risk taking that shot. Honestly I don’t think I could unless I felt I had a clear shot, a window of opportunity of some sort.  Having said that, being close enough and if the attacker happens to be distracted or turning his back you can put him down, even disarm him, stab him or pin him down. Yet you have to be there, fighting to breathe because of the tear gas, in a dark room with mayhem erupting and a mad man shooting everyone down. Much easier said than done doesn’t begin to describe what It must have been like in there.

A few more final tips:
1)Whenever possible, avoid crowds if you can. When a movie I like comes out, I personally avoid the first couple of days when I know the theater is packed. I can catch the movie next week in the early screening when I know there will be fewer people. I don’t like crowd anyway and I enjoy the movie more.
2)Whenever possible, think restaurants, fast food joints, etc, sit a) close to an exit b)facing the main entrance c) with your back against the wall. It eventually becomes a habit of your and its funny how when you go eat with cops, soldiers or other like-minded people they all want to sit in the same place.
3)Carry your EDC, 24/7. If you use your gun or not, its still another tool that gives you options, and its good to have those. Same for your knife, your LED torch, and other EDC often mentioned here. If you don’t carry every day, every single day, it will not be with you when you need it.
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Friday, July 20, 2012

Preparing for Blackouts

I’ve been through many blackouts. At times we went through one every two days all summer long, sometimes it was a week without power, even more in other places. Summer time was particularly bad because of the greater demand and lines would burn up and transformers explode, but that didn’t mean you didn’t have them every once in a while the rest of the year too. That’s just the way it is in most South American countries. Even if you have power, and this again happens during Spring and Summer, we experience “dirty power”, low voltage power that is often not enough to make appliances work and even ruins many of them. Instead of having 110V, you just get 100V or 90V. Some appliances tolerate this better than others. I remember that the microwave simply would work, and the AC and washing machine would make awful noises while working at half of its normal performance. The “dirty power” issue isn’t part of daily life in most of USA, but as decay spreads due to the financial crisis it could eventually become an issue. The day you have this feeling that the light bulbs just look dimmer than usual… yes, that’s it.

You can solve this by finding a voltage elevator. This may not be available now but if the problem becomes common soon enough electricians will start putting these together, its not that difficult for a pro electrician. The one I had in Argentina solved my “dirt power” problem, and was build by an electrician that saw the business opportunity. Thank you Capitalism! This guy, he was selling thousands of these to happy customers like myself. You might want to add to that a surge protection as well, or get a proper power stabilizer that either increases or decreases so as to always provide 110V or 220V, depending on where you live.

Regarding blackouts in general, many of these points I’ve covered before, in more detail, but a quick list of tips would be the following:

1)Have plenty of LED flashlights. Don’t bother with anything else since LEDs are by far more efficient than incandescent lights. I’ve used candles extensively, but the fire hazard is considerable and always there.

2)Get used to having a LED light with you at all times. With the gadgets available today, no one should be without a nice 1xAAA LED or at least a button cell keychain flashlight in their keychain.

Streamlight 73001 Nano Light Miniature Keychain LED Flashlight, Black

3)Be very careful regarding going to bed and leaving candles lit. A curtain blown by the wind, a candle that falls after melting, glass container shattering due to temperature or accidentally spill, any open flame indoors is a considerable risk.

4)A headlamp can be your best friend during blackouts. Its one thing to go without light for a couple hours, its another to go for a couple days. You cant just sit it out, you have to do stuff. With a headlamp, you get to use both hands while putting that light exactly where you need it. Thing doing repairs, washing the dishes, working, heck, even the military understands this and has helmet mounted lights.

5)Whenever possible, use flashlights and other devices (radio, etc) that run on a single battery. Sometimes 1xAA is all you have left, and it means that you can power two separate lights instead of just one.

6) Go for lights that use commonly available batteries for blackout flashlights. Even if you have CR123A tactical lights, also keep more common AA and AAA flashlights at hand. If blackouts become common, you’ll need to get yourself rechargeable batteries and these also tend to be cheaper (and safer) in the AA and AAA variety.

7)Don’t get a huge generator. They are heavier to move around, noisier, more expensive and use up more of your precious fuel resources.  A 35oo watt generator (more or less) will run your fridge, washing machine, water pump, PC, lights and charge your tech devices. It wont be doing all at once but you can run some at the same time. If you run your fridge three hours a day and keep good fridge door discipline (open it only when absolutely needed) thats usually enough in most temperature condition.

Yamaha EF2000iS 2,000 Watt 79cc OHV 4-Stroke Gas Powered Portable Inverter Generator (CARB Compliant)

DuroStar DS4000S 4,000 Watt 7.0 HP OHV 4-Cycle Gas Powered Portable Generator

8) Know what you need in terms of power. Some appliances have particularly demanding starting watt needs. A microwave or well pump for example may not work at all with a smaller generator. Check each specific appliance so as to see how many watts it needs to run, and double that so as to approach the starting watt demand.

9)A chest freezer is more efficient. Because of the shape and the way the door opens alone, it works better for when you only turn it on a couple hours a day. In very general terms, cold air works like a liquid. With a vertical fridge cold air will “spill” out of it each time you open that door. A chest freezer or fridge is better in that regard. Another tip: Throw a few soda bottles into the freezer. When lights go out you can move these in the bottom of the fridge along with your food (all together piled up) and cover it with a plastic tarp, even several plastic grocery bags will do, the more layers of insulation the better. This way you can keep food cold enough for a couple days in hot summer conditions. I’ve done it before myself several times so I know it can be done.

10)Don’t run your generator for stuff you don’t need. TV, videogames, even AC Is a luxury you may not be able to afford. If you have one of these poorly designed boxes of a house where natural ventilation doesn’t occur, then run the AC for about an hour before going to bed. As for kids, tell them go play ball with their neighborhood friends. You might want to keep them within sight in your back yard for security reason.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

When Will SHTF in USA?

I got asked this question on a radio interview recently. It’s a popular question that I avoid answering as much as possible because there´s no right answer. You can´t predict these things with any degree of practical accuracy. No one knows when S%@! will Hit the Fan, and those that venture guesses always claim the sky is falling next year. Claim the same thing year after year and who knows, eventually you might get lucky.
U.S. ElectionsNow, in spite of my rule regarding this question this time I ventured a response of some sort.  Not a SHTF date, but lets say a time when I’d be just a bit more concerned than usual. As always, I gave it based on common sense, logic, a percentage of guestimation and a dose of my own experience in this field.
When Cristina Kirchner got reelected with 54% of the votes I knew we had to hurry up our plans and leave as soon as possible. The logic behind this was the following: We had four years of Nestor Kirchner, then four more years of her wife Cristina as president. Then Nestor died and Cristina got reelected. There’s no husband anymore to take office after her and unless she changes the constitution (which she is trying to do) this will probably be her last term. Before the reelection Cristina played it safe trying to keep things calm so as to not upset people. It was safe to assume that after the reelection she would let go and run with any plans she didn’t dare put into motion before the elections. Not a week after her reelection, she started with some of the most draconian financial measures, banning the purchase of dollars, increasing taxes and the cost of living and inflation jumped when most services went up in price.
If I had to bring out the crystal ball for what´s going to happen in U.S., I´d say that Obama will play it safe also until the elections and only afterwards play some of his more unpopular cards.  Here again, there’s nothing to lose after the election is won, and what he didn’t dare go for in the first term he will try to do in his second one if he wins.
Things I’d watch for:
1) Attempts to restrict the 2nd Amendment. Get your concealed carry permit now, just in case.
2) More taxes and controls for people that want to be self-reliant. (food production, power, taxing the use of water) Try keeping a low profile and fly under the radar.
3)As Obama said, “If You’ve Got a Business, You Didn’t Build That”, so expect more controls and more start up costs for starting businesses after the elections. Better do it now if you had something planned.
4)Because presidents that start wars tend to get reelected, the Iran card may be the exception here and may be used before the elections. A tragic incident of considerable proportions or terrorist attack (foreign or domestic, as Matt Bracken would say) may also work.
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Monday, July 16, 2012

Attacking the American Dream

I recently started reading your blog a couple of weeks ago.  I am slowly working my way up from 2008 to present.  Excelent material!  I love your no nonsense writing.
I opened this article this morning and I was blown away.  Just thought you would be interested to see this….
Apparently, we the people, can’t do anything on our own.  Our brave new world is coming very soon, especially if he is re-elected!
Hi James,
Isn’t it surprising, the things you see that you thought you’d never live to see, right?
Take away a persons pride by leaving him unemployed. Check.
Destroy his dignity by reducing his purchasing power, so that even if employed its just not enough. Check
Make sure he collects a welfare check in one form or another from the benevolent state. Check.
Make sure that even if in spite of this the individual succeeds financially, that he feels its not because of his own merit. Yup, now checked.
I’ve been talking lately with American that tell me how increasingly complicated its getting to start and run a business in USA. More taxes, more regulations and controls, more inspections and restrictions.
They just don’t want people to be independent, they’ll even send SWAT kicking down your door for dealing with milk. Not a code word for some drug but real pure cow milk can get you arrested!
I wont get into why they are doing this but I will tell you the consequences: A degradation of the American middle class along with greater levels of poverty and a concentrated all-mighty elite that profits from this very effective wealth distribution. Distributing mostly to themselves, that is, through various bailouts and government schemes.
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Friday, July 13, 2012

Modern Survivalism: To worry or not to worry?

I was reading a couple days ago a thread over at Arfcom(ar15.com, survival forum)  called “Fear for Sale” about how often fear is sold to us and many end up buying it one way or another. The discussion later turned towards preparedness, fear in general and at some level how fear of not being ready is what differentiates survivalists and preppers from those that don’t worry and plan for unfortunate circumstances.

Is it really fear what makes a survivalist? To some point I believe it is, even though the key part of the survivalist recipe is actually doing something about it, develop a strategy and execute it, have plans for some of these events and set them in place. If we look at it from the chicken and egg perspective regarding which one was first, yes, I’d say that to some degree you must have at least some concern so as to get off your butt and start doing something. The person that never worries about anything is unlikely to make much preparation for disaster. 

The problem I at least see is when fear is beyond rational, consumes your life on every level, from your finances to your loved ones and relationships with friends. Its in this point where fear becomes counter-productive and instead of becoming truly prepared for disasters or simply tougher times you become isolated and enclosed in your world of fear, doom and negativity. Rather than begin helpful, these negative flaws of character impair your ability during real tough times. If you cant stay positive during the good or at the very least ok times, then you will not make it during the truly tough ones.

When the world you end up living in gets turned upside down, then you cant afford to live in a constant state of fear. We recently talked with a good friend of ours who lives in Argentina and she was telling us how bad things are getting, how its worse than when we left and how we left “just in time”. There’s been a series of robberies in her block, armed burglars entering the apartment buildings at gun point.  A few days before, she was chased by a man and run into a store for safety. Robberies and muggings are part of everyday life. She said she’s now afraid to even throw the trash within the building, scared of getting attacked in the corridors. Then she said something that stuck and now thinking about this topic of living in fear comes to mind. “I realized I cant live afraid all the time. I try being careful but now I just go out and throw the trash and try not to even think about it so as to not worry. You cant live in fear your entire life”.

That’s called resignation folks. Its what the brain does so that you don’t go nuts over things you have no control of.  While this is far from ideal, I do understand it because I’ve been there myself. Now looking it from another perspective I don’t know how we lived that way ourselves. 

Its one thing to live in denial, that gets you killed. Its important to recognize and acknowledge the threats, but eventually you have to live life in spite of how bad things have turned.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Guns, OC Spray and Halfhearted Preparedness

I simply don't get it. While I am a gun owner, I have **bear spray** in my room. Bear spray will **categorically** stop even a charging grizzly (I refer you to the top grizzly bear expert in the world, Stephen Herrero, at Univ. of Calgary, for verification). With bear spray (not the wimpy, short-distance human stuff), I don't have to worry about bullet penetration through walls, kids getting into it (it sure will hurt, but it's not fatal), having a precise aim, or killing some teenage prankster (I had a friend many years ago in high school who was killed breaking into factory on a lark). Yes, there is a place for guns, and, as noted, I own a number. But right now, in suburbia, this is my first choice. Maybe when things get much more out of control I will change tactics, but not at present.

I’m addressing this because I’m afraid that some readers may be doing these same mistakes and may one day pay for it with their lives.

I’m not familiar with this grizzly bear expert but I can assure you one thing, no spray of any kind will stop a charging big animal on its tracks at short range, let alone a bear, while a bullet in the brain or spine will indeed do the trick even if just inches away. Same goes for armed criminals. Bear Spray sure works, but you are greatly overestimating its usefulness.
If an armed intruder breaks into your home and you do what you claim, two things will happen. First, you’ll fill the room with bear spray, affecting everyone in it including yourself. Second, the armed intruder will start shooting in your direction, maybe even hit you, and now you have a pissed criminal shooting in your house sending rounds himself through the walls, those same rounds you didn’t trust yourself to fire. By now you’re probably realizing your mistake and desperately looking for your firearm to put down the intruder that keeps shooting inside this deathtrap you created yourself. Blinded, struggling to breathe, your entire face burning and your eyes tearing out of control, getting hold of your gun in this cloud of bear spray is much easier said than done. And the bad guy keeps shooting killing you kids, your cat, and the neighbor’s dog. Lets be optimistic and assume its only ONE intruder, rather than the usual two or more.
Another thing, and this is something I’ve often addressed. You wont get any invitation to SHTF, burglars will not email you before breaking in. How will you know when “things get much more out of control”? When a break-in happens in your neighborhood? When two happen a year? Two a month? What if that one break-in is you? There’s no official “out of control” day, you have to do these things now, or maybe just not do them at all. Having a firearm for self-defense yet not trusting yourself to use one clearly shows you’re now sure about the idea of armed self-defense and owning guns for that purpose simply  isn’t a good idea.

I don’t know where you’re from, but back home and here in Northern Ireland, its already bad enough to jump into someone´s back yard, let alone break and entry. Someone that breaks into a house isn’t a teenage prankster, he’s someone that can get rightfully shot in most US states!

OC Spray has its place, so does bear spray (outdoors!) and guns, and knives. You can have lots of weapons depending on where you are and whats legal there, but the only thing you CANT have is doubt. Going about it half-hearted is the kind of mistake that gets people killed. While you are doubting and making up your mind about this home invader that just broke in, asking yourself if he’s just a teenage prankster, just a misguided youth, maybe a disturbed young man looking for drugs or stuff to steal and sell, maybe a poor man with mental disorders that simply want to break in and rape women in their homes, while you decide if the person is dangerous or not and if you should use a gun or not, this person already shot you ten times, stabbed you twelve  and is having his way with your family.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Reader’s Experience and Lessons Learned

I just started reading your blog a few weeks ago, and have begun implementing a few of your suggestions.  Even with the little I have done so far, an incident last night showed me just how valuable a little bit of preparedness is.
At 4AM my wife shakes me awake and whispers, "I think someone may be in our house."  I jumped out of bed, fumbled around a bit for my 9mm Glock, then though, "Oh crap I need a flashlight!"  Obviously what I needed was a tactical flashlight, but those were in another room.  However, what I did have was a keychain LED I started carrying after reading your blog.  Not much, but at least I could see.  I then proceeded to check the house.  Thankfully it turned out to just be our cat making some noise. 

Even though it was a false alarm, I was glad I knew the basics of how to handle it.  Also, I knew that if it came to a fight, I at least had some knowledge of how those go down.  Nowhere near as good as actual training, but better than nothing.
Here are my lessons learned:
ALWAYS keep a tactical flashlight with my gun
Install a light where I keep the gun that comes on automatically when I open its container so I'm not fumbling around with a loaded gun.  I'm thinking one of these magnetic switches wired to a AA battery and a red LED.

Buy some JHP ammo.  I did not enjoy having to worry about overpenetration from my FMJ rounds.
Sleep in something I can clip a knife and a reload mag to.
Secure my doors and windows better.  It was hard to feel like I had fully proven that there was no intruder when there are so many EASY ways in.
Make sure my wife knows that if she thinks there is a problem, wake me immediately.  I later found out she had been awake for 10 minutes worried that someone had broken in but thinking it was probably the cat and therefore did not want to wake me up.  I told her what I read on your blog, that she has to wake me any time she thinks something is wrong because even though 99% of the time it will be nothing, that 1% could be life or death.  I will gladly trade a little lost sleep for the safety of my family.

Also, before I read your blog I had kept my gun with the magazine removed.  Now I keep it with the magazine in but no round chambered.  This is because my wife is absolutely not ok with having a round chambered before we go through Front Sight.  However, I was quite thankful last night that I at least had the mag in because finding both the mag and the gun in the dark and getting the mag in correctly would have taken a LONG time.
Of course, most of these are things you have said over and over.  They made sense when I read them, but now I am quite motivated to actually do them.  Even the few changes I have made over the past few weeks in both preparedness and mindset helped tremendously.  If this had happened a month ago, I would have been fumbling around with a magazine in the dark, blundering about the house with no light, and still convinced that a round or two of FMJ 9mm will put down an intruder no problem.
So in sum, thanks for writing this blog!  My family is and will be safer because of it.

Hi John, thanks a lot for sharing your experience.
You’re correct in assuming that time can be a significant factor. Sometimes you have more of it, sometimes its just a matter of seconds! A bad guy just kicking down the front door and walking inside can be in your bedroom in a matter of seconds. You’re reaction has to be as fast as possible. As soon as you’re conscious, WLL YOURSELF INTO MOVING, jumping out of bed, picking the gun, in your case chambering a round and get ready to face any intruder. Sometimes we hear something and just freeze. That’s our gatherer/pray instinct kicking in. Like a deer we straighten our head and listen to see if we hear that noise a second time, a very typical instinctive reaction. On the other hand, a predator would charge the noise the first time. What we have to do is will ourselves into developing a predator reaction in which we quickly move to fight instead of freezing. 

Should you stay put and defend your bedroom instead? I prefer to first and foremost react as if the potential threat was already attacking, think worst case scenario. If later I decide that its better to go pick the kids and get them to the master bedroom, confront before the breaking in is completed, the variations are infinite, but in my opinion the key is avoid freezing and move, react to the potential threat as fast as you can.

About gun, mag and flashlight, you might want to look into getting a load bearing vest with molle attachments for those as well as a holster, even better, make the vest one that includes body armor panels. That way you just get up, put your vest on, and all your stuff AND boy armor are already on you.
Again, thanks for sharing, take care,

Friday, July 6, 2012

Argentina: Now you CANT leave

As I read some of the latest developments in Argentina, I’m being reminded of the all-time classic scene from “A Bronx Tale”:

When Cristina Kirchner was reelected with 54% of the votes, that was as clear as a sign can get. You’re not welcomed any more. Even more important, the country isn’t the problem anymore, the problem is YOU. Most others have agreed on what they want their future to be like, you’re the one that thinks different. You’re the one that doesn’t fit, politically, economically and morally speaking. In a serious country you can tolerate a term or two of a president that you don’t agree with, but when the same authoritarian family has been in power for over a decade and people still vote that way, that’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back. The 54% of the country wants more totalitarianism, more corruption, more taxes, more inflation, less freedom, they want criminals to walk out of jail or not even set foot in one in the first place. They like the poverty, the socialized welfare state. That’s what the majority chose. I knew well that after the reelection things would be getting much worse. There’s no need to play nice anymore. Once they won they can show their true colors and that’s what they did within the first week. After the reelection, it was the “I have to ask you to leave” phase. The cards are on the table, this is how its going to be from now on. Fortunately I saw that balloon go up and left quickly. A few months later the “now you’s can’t leave” phase started, and today it has been made official.

Argentina now officially banned saving in USD currency. Its was already impossible to buy dollars, now its been made official. Remember what I said before, that with the stroke of a pen they can make things legal or illegal, suddenly moving the line of the law under your feet and leave you standing on the criminal side. This is the perfect example. As form now on, they can hunt you like a dog for saving in USD. Soon enough the USD accounts will be converted to dollars, and you wont be able to get dollars to leave. Buying a plane ticket to leave the damn place will be hard to say the least, and how exactly will you save money to start elsewhere if you cant legally save up dollars or buy them? This is the invisible iron curtain being lifted. First you don’t allow people taking their money out of the country. Then when they want to leave themselves, you don’t want that to happen either, because you’re left with unproductive, state sponsored welfare recipients that don’t produce anything and you cant steal from them, but they keep you in office. You need the hard working ox middle class to suck the blood from. When the ox makes a run for it, well, you have to find ways to stop that from happening.

Clarin and La Nacion newspaper show headlines of the official dollar ban, along with the new increase of electricity and heating, which have gone up 350% and up to 576%( yes, not a typo, 576%!) The price of stoves has gone up 50% as well. Keep in mind its winter right now in the southern hemisphere.

You can draw parallelisms from this to different moments in history and in different countries, ethnical, political or religious persecutions. You are first asked to leave, later you’re not allowed to do it. When it comes to bugging out and relocating, timing is everything. A day too late may make all the difference in the world.  I hope you never have to make that call yourself.

In a nutshell: The modern survivalist should understand and look for these signs, identify the time when you are indirectly “asked” to leave. If you don’t identify that moment, its just too late when the “now you cant leave” moment comes.


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Mini Dynamic Duo: Fenix E05 & Leatherman PS4

Just as the first rule of gunfighting is having a gun, we could go along those same lines an say that the first rule of preparedness is, (like the Boy Scout motto)  being prepared. Here is where all the will power, skill and resourcefulness clashes with the cold hard wall known as reality. Do you have a knife when you need it? Do you have a light with you when the building you are in starts shaking and lights go out? In most cases, no, people don’t carry these things. Its heavy, its expensive, its just a drag to worry about such silly things when I have so much going on right now, correct?. Well, these past few weeks I’ve been trying out some gadgets that may fill that bill.
Leatherman PS4

The Leatherman PS4 is the evolution of the Leatherman P4. The P4 had no scissors but had a punch/owl tool which I liked for general picking and crapping and a small flat screwdriver. Is it better to have those instead of the scissors? I happen to like them better because I just think that anything that such a small scissor can do, can be improvised with the blade you have. Maybe a short emergency blade/owl combo tool and a small flat screwdriver would have been interesting.
In spite of that, it is an impressive little tool. Blade, big flat screw driver, bottle opener, spring-loaded pliers, wire cutter, scissors, file and flat Phillips screw driver. While a bigger multitool would be better and more capable, something like the Wave or Charge Tti which I personally favor, if the options are either not carrying anything or carrying one of these, then the niche of the PS4 becomes obvious.
Maybe of interest for you guys looking to get your better halfs better prepared or interested in modern survivalism, my wife defined the PS4 as “cute” and asked for a red version for her keychain.
Fenix E05

The Fenix E05 uses a single AAA battery that is readily available and in a worst case scenario you can sure scrounge one from remote controls or other gadgets.  The highly efficient LED will provide 30 lumens for 2 hours And 50 minutes. This is the smallest AAA LED light made by Fenix, the smallest AAA in the market as far as I know. While their E01 model is cheaper at nearlt 12 dollars and lasts for nearly 24 hours which is pretty sweet, the E05 is simply brighter and has a nicer light coloration and an especially made lens that provides a wide, even hot spot. This light has little throw and lots of flood, clearly intended to light up a room during a blackout rather than search around for critters or suspects in dark streets.
Compact and Affordable way to have your Bases Covered

The only thing missing here from what I call the sacred EDC triad you should never be without would be a lighter or small firesteel. (I’ll do a video on how to improvise something in that regard soon) Oh! By the way, the file in the PS4 makes a good striker if you happen to have a firesteel to use.
The Leatherman Ps4 costs about 20 USD and almost the same for the Fenix E05. Compact, not that expensive and you can throw both in your keychain and forget about them. That is, until you need them!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Video: Pregnant Woman Shot

This happened yesterday in Buenos Aires, Castelar.
10.07PM  a young couple arrives home. The pregnant woman “keeps an eye” on things, while the husband parks the car in the garage. A criminals rushes in, struggles with the husband and shoots the pregnant woman. She’s in critical condition, the baby died today.

What went wrong here? First of all, this is Argentina, ok? Its not a normal country. I’ve blogged about this more than enough I believe. In normal countries there is crime, but its not this bad. In Argentina, every morning, “sabes que salis, pero no sabes si volves” (you know you leave, but you dont know if you will make it back).

Some of the mistakes made in this case.
1)Some of my friends in Argentina, they don’t enter the car to the garage. They prefer to leave it outside and make a quicker entry to the house. This is standard procedure for many.

2)The wife was obviously looking around when he was entering the car to the garage. It was clear to me that she knew well it was a dangerous moment. Problem is, what could she do if someone did come after them like it ended up happening? Just looking doesn’t work when there’s actually dangerous people out there. The way I did it was parking with the gun ready, looking yes, but ready to throw lead in their direction if something like that happened. You drive in, gun drawn and in your hand, looking around expecting these bastards to come after you. That´s how you mentally prepare yourself. That’s how instead of being surprised, you have a target to shoot.

3)The husband struggled with the attacker, and the attacker instinctively did what we often do it training: Use the “sacrifice” hand to create distance and keep the adversary away from our weapon. The husband then does another mistake, instead of keep going at him, closing distance and trying to get control of the gun, punch or kick him, he hesitates and stays back. That’s when the criminals puts a round into the chamber and instead of shooting the husband, does what his natural evil nature dictates and shoots the pregnant woman instead. Notice how in this case, if the husband had at least grabbed one of the criminals hand, he wouldn’t have been able to rack the slide and put a round in the chamber. If he had continued fighting, he could have stopped him from shooting at all. For this same reason, if you carry a firearm, you NEVER carry in condition 3, empty chamber.


EDIT UPDATE: The woman and baby are ok. It was ANOTHER pregnant woman that was shot the DAY BEFORE THIS ONE, also in Buenos Aires, the one who lost the baby. I made the confusion becuase when reading Clarin news paper one news headline was next to the other. What a sad situation it is, that this happens so often that confusions like these are even possible!!