Monday, February 29, 2016

Survival movie: “The Survivalist”

A very good film to keep in mind for those interested in survival and preparedness. If you get the chance, it’s worth watching.
The film is very intense and it is rated R, so keep that in mind if you have children.
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”.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Best Multitool for Survivalists?

For years I’ve adopted the same setup: My multitool on my right front pocket and a folder on the left front pocket. The folder is kept sharp, mostly intended for emergency use while the blade in my multitool is what gets used for most things for which a pocket knife is needed from opening wrappings, cutting cardboard, cutting food, cord and that long list of etceteras. For years this has worked for me extremely well. As years went by different items in my EDC have been upgraded. Flashlights seem to be the one thing that keeps improving the most and gets updated often. For years I carried a Cold Steel as my folder and still do on occasions, but mostly the folder in my left pocket has been updated to a Zero Tolerance 0630. It’s a rugged tactical folder that self deploys as it comes out of the pocket. That’s a speed advantage I like having.
Now, when it comes to the multitool, that has remained the same over time. I have tried others, but as years go by I still find the Leatherman Charge Tti to be the best multitool to have. I have tried others though, so here’s my top 3 list of best multitool:
Leatherman Sidekick & Wingman

The Sidekick along with the Wingman have been Leatherman’s best-selling multitools. Truth be told it’s the Wingman the one that sells best. The Wingman has large scissors that can be accessed from the outside of the multitool just like the blade. A lot of people favour scissors, especially good solid ones. The Sidekick drops the scissors in favour of having a saw instead which I like better. Most things that can be cut with scissors can be cut with the knife. The saw on the other hand is harder to get by without when needed.
Are these top quality multitools? Not so much. They are great budget tools and for a 40USD limit they are the best you can find in the market, but the metal used is pretty thin. With moderate use, you can expect the tool to show signs of wear, more wiggling and play between its parts so don’t expect it to last as long as the more expensive tools offered by Leatherman. It’s a good thing that Leatherman offers such a good warranty because there’s a good chance that after some time of heavy use it may need some service.
Leatherman Wave

Here’s were Leatherman shows what it’s capable of. The Leatherman Wave is a long time classic and often chosen by those that need a full size, hard use multitool. The choice of tools in it is very good. While made of folded metal, the steel used in the Wave is visibly thicker than the one used in the cheaper tools made by Leatherman. Even though it costs twice as much as the Leatherman Sidekick and Wingman, this is in my opinion the best bang per buck in multitools given the design, tools included, quality of construction and durability. Here’s a tool that will last you a lifetime and serve you well.

Leatherman Charge Tti

Best of the best. I haven’t found a MT that does so many things as well as the Leatherman Charge Tti. The charge is basically an upgraded Wave, which is already excellent. What the Charge improves on is on the steel used in the blade and the titanium handles. S30V is a premium steel, far superior to the 420C used in the Wave. While 420C is ok for a small folding knife, it is mediocre compared to the edge retention of premium steel like S30V. This may seem as a small detail since we all know that the importance of steel used in knives is often exaggerated. Having said that, the smaller the knife the greater the wear and the more important it is to have good steel, especially so in a small pocket knife that will see a lot of use and considerable wear. There’s where I’ll happily pay for good steel. A second trait I greatly appreciate of the Charge is the sculptured titanium handles. Having used both considerably, I can say the Charge is FAR more comfortable to use. For small jobs it’s not that big a deal, but when using pliers, the blade or screwdrivers for extended periods of time (say you’re putting together something from IKEA) the more comfortable handles does make a difference.
If you can afford it, this is the one you want for your EDC. It can take a lot of use, even a bit of abuse within a reasonable limit. Mine has served me well for many years of constant, daily use.
What about the Signal?

The Leatherman Signal could have been a great multitool but I find the design to be inferior to what Leatherman is generally capable of. Maybe it’s not Leatherman’s fault, but the consumers. It was the consumers that asked for a multitool… with a whistle… oh, and a firesteel! Gotta have a firesteel! Oh, and I need to sharpen my two inch blade pretty often when I’m out in the woods doing survival stuff. I can imagine the smart people over at Leatherman pulling this one together, very much like Homer Simpson’s brother’s company workers putting together “The Homer”, Homer’s dream car. So yes, that’s the Signal.
Problems with the Signal?
The blade. It sucks. Both regarding the lack of strong fine tip and that combo edge and the choice of steel. I wont have a 420C steel blade when I already have the far superior S30V in my Charge. Pliers are nice, but having replaceable steel inserts in my pliers won’t make my day. I’d rather have that 154CM steel in the blade thank you very much.
The plastic whistle, firesteel and sharpener look gimmicky. Any serious outdoorsman or survivalist will have a better whistle and better fire starter. Oh but its an emergency, your Signal is ALL you have. Well, then I also need clothes, boots, first aid kit, a flashlight and a long etc. Since you cant have it all, at least have good things of what you have. And if you’re going to integrate a whistle and firesteel, do it right, meaning a)without compromising the rest of the tools, which are why you carry a MT in the first place b)Give me quality items that are up to the standards of the rest of the tools in the MT. Don’t get me started on the sharpener. Useless waste of space which could have been used to improve the other tools. And by the way, if you can’t sharpen a knife with a smooth stone well enough then the multitool won’t help you anyway. I see why I would like to access the diamond file on my Wave or Charge to sharpen the knife, sure would be nice, but a simple cut on the existing file in the Wave and Charge with little else being changed would make that possible, all while leaving me a much useful tool. Very likely to get lost or disengage unintentionally? Sure, but not more likely than loosing the already useless sharpener in the Signal.

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, February 24, 2016

BOV: Manual or Automatic Transmission?

Anonymous said...
    Nice vehicle. Hondas are pretty reliable vehicles. I would offer one thought though: how do you drive a standard transmission if one of your legs or arms is incapacitated ? Twenty years ago, I pulled a rotator cuff tendon on my right arm, forcing me to keep it slung for two weeks for it to heal. If I had to shift a manual transmission, it would have been very difficult. Likewise, a foot / leg injury would not allow me to disengage the clutch, not without some difficulty.
Just food for thought.
That’s actually a valid point.
On one hand manuals are more durable, simple and allow greater control of the car and engine. Having used nothing but manuals my entire life (other than some rentals here and there) I can drive one using one hand or even one foot. Granted, not exactly something I recommend doing.
On the other hand an automatic is easier to use if an arm or leg has been injured. It’s also better regarding fuel efficiency in most cases. The ease of use by drivers that don’t know how to drive manuals and the ease of use when injured are probably the reasons why military vehicles such as Humvee have automatic transmission.
 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, February 23, 2016

"Kidnap Scam" rattles small-town Oregon

I believe you called this "express kidnapping" in your book, where
somebody calls the mark and claims to have a relative of the mark who
they kidnapped, and to send money. Keep in mind that this isn't New
York or Los Angeles, but sparsely populated south Oregon-Medford is
the main city, but it only has around 80,000 people. It looks like
you're right yet again. I believe it was Mark Twain who said, history
may not repeat itself but it rhymes.
Before Collapse
That’s very interesting, thanks for the link.
Indeed, it happens a lot in Argentina. This is what we call “virtual kidnapping”. Basically “virtual kidnapping” is any kind of scam in which the victim is made to believe that a loved one has been kidnapped but no one has been actually taken. It can be anything from random calls to scams made with knowledge of the supposed kidnap victim being away, maybe on business, or otherwise. In one case I remember from Argentina, the “virtual kidnap” was perpetrated because the virtual kidnapper knew the victim would be away for several hours with his mistress, cell phone off to avoid being located. That gave the virtual kidnapper a good window of time to work with and collect the ransom money from this person’s family.
These kind of scams are precisely why it’s so important in a place like Argentina (and I guess now USA) to have your cell phone with you at all times so as to quickly contact family members.
“Express kidnap” is different. It involves someone actually being kidnaped. It’s called “express” because it’s usually a very fast action, not involving the intel often found in more elaborate, typical kidnaps. “Express kidnaps” often involve criminals simply driving around looking for targets that seem wealthy. This may be people wearing expensive clothes, location (wealthy neighbourhoods) fancy cars or private school uniforms. At one time several private schools encouraged students to stop wearing the school uniform because pupils were being kidnapped because of them. The amount of ransom money asked is usually far less than a classic kidnap. The idea is to get paid little money but get paid fast, minimising the chance of getting the police involved.
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”.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Tires after an Economic Collapse‏

Hi Fernando,
I've seen you write about criminals attacking cars using foam or other things to force a driver to stop so they could steal the car, did you ever see criminals attack a car's tires? Also did new tires become hard to acquire or did they just go up in price like everything else did?

Hi Sean,
Thanks for your email. There’s actually a few things worth mentioning.
First, yes tires did become pretty expensive, even more so than in USA or Europe, especially if you wanted to get good ones and not some cheapo ones made in China.
You have to understand that once a country goes down like Argentina did after the economic collapse, there’s an amazing number of factor that come into play all at the same time and tires are just an example. A bankrupt government means very poorly kept roads. Roads fall apart surprisingly fast if not cared for. There’s potholes all over the place and are at times impossible to avoid. Sometimes they are downright craters that can not only ruin a tire or rim but break an axis as well. Suspensions need to be changed pretty frequently as well because of this. No money means no cleaning and the roads are full of all kinds of litter and debris, the chances of getting a punctured tire are pretty big. An economic collapse means people are desperate for money… including mechanics and tire shops. It was and still is pretty common for shops to “spike” the roads with nails so as to get more work repairing flat tires. At one point the roads were so full of nails you could easily get two or three flat tires a week until you realized which roads had been spiked.

Criminals also use this same method to force you to stop and carjack you or mug you. The most sensible thing to do if you got a flat tire in an isolated part of the road was to keep driving anyway you could until you got to a gas station or more populated area so as to avoid getting attacked. Even then there were no guarantees but yes, it was a tactic commonly used by criminals as well. Maybe the most common one is to simply throw a brick through your windshield to force you to stop. People have been serious injured, even killed because of this.

Stanley J5C09 1000 Peak Amp Jump Starter with Built in Compressor
This is yet another reason why I believe a SUV makes so much sense. A bigger car with bigger tires is more likely to have more rubber and hold on better against nails and such. If possible, I think it’s a great idea to get runflat tires just for this kind of situation. If anything, at least check your spare tire, have an inflator (or better yet a charger compressor combo like the one above) and know how to change a tire.
Take care,
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, February 17, 2016

Arrive home to an ongoing robbery …

Henderson County man Arrested After Shoot-out With Homeowner story image

This guy came back shooting. Crazy!
Thanks for the link.
Notice a couple things,
1)The window of opportunity. The two most vulnerable moments of the day in high crime areas (and the most vulnerable even in safer ones) is when leaving or entering the house. That’s when you’re more likely to be attacked, that’s when you should be extra careful and aware of what’s going on around you.
2)The legality of the shooting. The attacker threatened the victim first with a gun. The home owner didn’t rush in guns blazing. While in some States you can use lethal force in defense of your property, in others you are required to be in legitimate fear of your life. In this case there’s no doubt about the house owner being threatened with a firearm and the justification of the shooting. It could have easily been a very different outcome with the victim in jail instead. Make sure you know your local laws and make sure you know them well, especially when it comes to the legal status of the use of firearms, self-defense and the use of lethal force.
I'd rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6. Sure, no argument there. But you know what’s the reality-based survival twist to that saying? If I’m getting judged by 12, I sure as hell want a “not guilty” verdict.
Counting on WROL working in your favour is as wise as counting on getting away with doing something illegal, its just a VERY bad idea.
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, February 15, 2016

Pocket EDC Update and my BOV

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Reply: WROL? You better know your Local Laws

Hey amigo. I haven’t heard from you for some time. Good to know you’re still out there writing excellent, realistic articles like this one. I think in any Argentina-like inflationary situation cash, especially in the form of gold and silver, would rule.
I agree with you that WROL is unlikely to occur (failing a truly catastrophic event that shatters all infrastructure). The U.S. government and most State governments have “continuity of government” plans to insure their survival and ability to remain in power. They even have plans for dealing with such horrifying events as a massive or nuclear EMP. Note that I don’t claim their plans will be effective but they do exist. So a total collapse of police or fire protection, or medical services is unlikely–though a severe decline in or corruption of such services is possible.
About shooting looters or home invaders. In most States, killing someone is deemed justified if you feel like your life (or that of a family member, etc.) is threatened. Colorado has a “Make My Day” law that allows a person to use deadly force to defend their home and that has been held to apply to “on their property” not just “inside the house.” The law you cited is that “Make My Day” law and anyone who kills someone under paragraph 2 of that law is immune from prosecution (paragraph 3) or from civil liability (paragraph 4).
Still, not all States have such laws, so it is wise to know the laws of the State in which you reside.
I have enjoyed reading your books and found them very informative. My own are fictional and envision a total societal collapse caused by a massive asteroid impact. If you haven’t got around to reading them yet I’d love for you to click on my website link and check them out.
Hello Ray,
That’s why its so important to know not only exactly what the law says, but also what it means. For this last part most folks will need to have a conversation with a lawyer or attend a shooting class which includes legal advice.
Fearing for ones life for example, means there has to be a believable threat. This usually does not include shooting people in the back while moving away, especially when outside private property. This is why it’s a VERY bad idea to chase criminals. Its practically impossible to claim self-defense when the criminals are traveling away from you while you chase them.
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, February 9, 2016

SEALs go Glock: Naval Special Warfare to adopt Glock 19

It had already been in use by several special forces units but its now official and the Glock 19 will slowly replace the venerable SIG226.
Personally I think it’s the best choice they could possibly make. In fact, the Glock 19 is the handgun I specifically recommend in my book “The Modern Survival Manual”, both for novel shooters and experts. In my opinion it combines reliability, compactness, accuracy, light weight, ease of use, ammo capacity and ease of maintenance like no other firearm in the planet. Of all the people I taught how to shoot, without exception all of them, men and women, large hands or smaller ones, they all shot considerably better with the Glock 9mm than with any other gun. At the same time 95% of expert shooters that I consider worthy of taking note of what firearm they carry, they all choose Glocks.
As a one and only firearm I have a tad of a preference for the slightly larger full size Glock 17 (the smaller Gen 4 is just perfect IMO), but I understand that for special forces operators that already carry a rifle and considerable weight, the lighter weight and more compact model 19 is better suited as a small yet fully capable, full capacity secondary firearm. The shorter barrel of the Glock 19 also means that the addition of a sound suppressor does not excessively extend the overall length of the firearm, which is yet another desirable feature. The Glock 19 is perfect for covert operations where better concealment is important, while still retaining the same firearm used as a sidearm along with their long arm during training.
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, February 8, 2016

WROL? You better know your Local Laws

Colorado homeowner robbed at gunpoint may face charges for killing suspect
"...any occupant of a dwelling is justified in using any degree of physical force, including deadly physical force, against another person when that other person has made an unlawful entry into the dwelling, and when the occupant has a reasonable belief that such other person has committed a crime in the dwelling in addition to the uninvited entry, or is committing or intends to commit a crime against a person or property in addition to the uninvited entry, and when the occupant reasonably believes that such other person might use any physical force, no matter how slight, against any occupant." 18-1-704.5 Use of deadly physical force against an intruder."
One of the things I constantly remind people of is the importance of reality-based survival and preparedness. It’s hard to think of another field of study where fantasy and reality get mixed up so often and to such extent. I participate in various forums and always look forward to people’s thoughts and concerns. It is amazing to see how many times people take fantasy as facts, make unfounded assumptions or even prepare based on completely fabricated suppositions.
A favourite classic of mine: “When SHTF no one will care how much silver/gold is worth”. Really? What makes you think that? Based on what exactly are you making such assumption? Do you have examples of this ever happening? These are just some of the questions such people have no answer for.
In the case of firearms and self-defense shooting, another myth I work hard to dispel is the idea of “WROL”. The weekend survivalist, uneducated other than his Master’s degree in The Walking Dead Sciences, gets on his tactical soapbox and begins: “cuz.. after SHTF… you know… there aint no police… cuz everyones on his own and the law don’t matter no more.. cuz dat’s WROL.. ya know… without rule of law”.
OK, so maybe this is a mild exaggeration but dear God its concerning how many people out there go for a slightly more polished version of what I just quoted.
The reality is a tad more complex. For those of us that have been through what self-claimed experts theorize about, and have gone a step further beyond just having personal experience and spent literally years seriously studying and researching these topics, we know better. The simple truth is that society doesn’t disappear, it may get chaotic at times but it’s still there, and more relevant to the topic the laws don’t go anywhere the day you’re brought to justice and asked to answer for your actions.
The problem with all these fantasies about going out shooting raiders and looters is that there are real looters and real criminals out there. Before the world goes Mad Max and you start kidnapping people and using them as walking blood banks because the world run out of food (but somehow managed to retain the ability to build the most insane custom vehicle with horrible fuel efficiency) before any of that happens you will have to go through very hard times. You will have to avoid getting kidnapped in parking lots or carjacked, defend your home from home invaders, somehow make your home safe when away, find ways of defending your income, you will have to survive for REAL, not Man vs Wild but REAL SURVIVAL folks, do you understand what I mean by this?
Argentina is a country where unbelievable things have been happening for years. It’s a country where those that manage to survive have to go through their own trials in more than one occasion and many fail to make it through every day.
I’ll give you an example. Argentina has suffered an 80% inflation since 2014. 40% for 2014, 40% for 2015. That’s official World Economic Outlook numbers. That’s the second worst inflation in the world after Venezuela, where people kill each other over a pack of food. That’s double the inflation of Iran and almost four times the inflation of Ukraine. Just ask yourself, how would you cope yourself with prices going up 80% in two years? Where would you be, how would you support your family?
And yet, the world hasn’t ended. No Mad Max, just the same crap as always, only worse. When it comes to crime, you better know how to avoid trouble, you better know how to defend yourself, but you better know the law as well because the minute you screw up they will come after you.
This is true for Argentina and its true for America as well. Before you prepare for Mad Max, before you ride eternal, shiny, and chrome, you have to survive the real world. You have to survive the looters and well organized criminals yes, but before that you have to survive the carjacks in parking lots, the meth heads, muggers and home invaders, and you have to survive them within the margins of the Law. Sorry friend, no WROL for you. The law is still very much there, not to protect you, but to answer to. And if you fail to be prepared to do so, if you’re not prepared to fight armed with your firearm but also armed with the knowledge of your local laws, you won’t have to bother with preparing much because you’ll have the State housing you and feeding you, in prison.
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, February 3, 2016

Learn about UK Junk Silver Coins

Some interesting info worth remembering. When it comes to British coins, Pre 1920 coins are sterling silver, meaning 92.5% silver content. From 1920 to 1946, these are known as Pre-1947, these are 50% silver.
For more information, examples and a couple other things a junk silver buyer should know, check the video below!

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, February 1, 2016

5 important Street Survival Lessons

During a verbal altercations, stay out of range. This is particularly important when interacting with strangers during arguments and discussions. Think car accidents, altercations with neighbours, etc.
This happened in Argentina just a few days ago. The fat guy hitting the victim is a “trapito”, these are gangs of semi-legal criminals that charge you a fee, sometimes pretty high, for parking in public, no charge areas. The victim suffered a fractured jaw, hit his head when he fell and is still in critical condition.
Notice a few things.
1)The victim is a pretty big guy. Taller, muscular and more fit than his attacker. Given that he continued the interaction rather than just getting in his car may indicate that he’s used to having the upper hand during arguments. This takes us to the main lesson, which is never to engage in a fight unless you have to. Insults, verbal taunts and gesturing means nothing. If you get into your car and just leave you won the fight. Lesson#1: The best outcome is avoiding the fight in the first place.
2)The attack is clearly overweight, and seems shorter than the victim, but none of that matters. Check out the speed. Turns out he’s got a black belt in karate. He’s very fast for his size and knew exactly the mistake the victim made by stepping too close Lesson#2: Never underestimate your opponent, big or small, fat or skinny. A bullet in your head or blade through the ribs kills you just as well.
3)A concealed carry firearm or knife or OC spray would have made no difference in this case. It’s not all about the weapon you carry, or even how good you are at shooting it. Its about fighting and being smart about it. Lesson#3: Gun fight, knife fight, fist fight. Fight is the key word. The verb is what matters, not so much the noun.
4)Keep out of punching/grabbing range. Distance gives you time to react, deploy weapons, get behind cover or simply run. Big, strong, being armed, even being a trained fighter, none of that matter if you get KO. Lesson #4: Keep your distance.
5)Lesson #5: Bring your hands up during a discussion. This is essential to avoid getting sucker punched and would stop 95% of the sucker punches you see in videos of attacks. Rarely will you see a perfect straight punch, let alone one with enough power to KO. Its rare enough in pro boxing and UFC, even more so in a street fights. A boxer stance may seem intimidating and probably escalate the level of violence. The boxer stance is what you do when you’re in the fight, not when trying to avoid it. It is usually recommended to bring the hands up to face level, palms forward in a “wow, calm down dude” attitude. This isn’t bad, a) it brings your hands up, face level in front of your which is what you want b) it is a stance more likely to deescalate the level of violence. c) It is instinctively perceived as conciliatory body language “Look, I’m unarmed, look, I mean you no harm”. In my experience it is very likely to deescalate the violence unless the attacker already made up his mind about attack you no matter what. The problem with this stance is that if this is the case, it leaves the underside of your wrists exposed. A sudden knife attack would damage your Radial and Ulnar artery as well as tendons, disabling the use of your hand and causing life threatening bleeding. You don’t want that. I suggest the “old lady stance”. Hands up but palms facing towards you. Imagine and old lady pleading with her grandsons “Boys, can you please stop fighting!”. Either that or the “lying fisherman” stance, perpendicular palms facing one another. It doesn’t protect your wrists as much but may seem more natural and would be faster for striking or grappling.
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”.