Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Here are some things I have with me every day.  Only some of these things I carry on my person and others items I have in the bag I carry for my work.  Other bags stay in my vehicle.  I say that these things are my EDC (Every Day Carry) items because there are always close enough to me that I have access to them at any moment I may need them.  For me EDC does not necessarily mean only what I can carry in my pockets and on my belt.

First, the 'traditional' or basic EDC items that you may also carry with you all day every day.  XD-9 sub-compact handgun, additional magazine, small swiss tool, spiderco Manix knife, Fenix PD-20 (single CR123) flashlight, paracord bracelet, wallet with some cash, smart phone, watch.

From there my EDC expands to my 'briefcase' which holds a swiss card, light stick, pens, sharpie, Fenix E-11 (single AA) LED flashlight, a little more cash, one ounce silver coin, power bars or other energy bars, small fixed blade knife (Tops FDX), Essential oils, Excedrin Migraine, duct tape, AA batteries, notepad.

A 'get-home' bag stays in the back of my vehicle and has additional supplies and tools I may need in case I have to abandon my vehicle including: water filter and pouch, purification tablets, emergency blanket, 100' paracord, small first-aid kit, 50rds of 9mm ammo, fire starting supplies including tinder and fuel tablets, signal mirror, work gloves, heavy duty garbage bag, light sticks, power bars, large swiss tool, small socket set, additional flashlight and batteries, pen and notebook, cash.

A fully equipped medical 'jump kit' also stays in my vehicle along with 2.5 gallons of water, 8000 lb winch (on the front of my vehicle), CO2 tank (for airing up tires, etc.), extraction gear including snatch block, shackles and straps, hatchet, folding shovel, jumper cables, small socket set and other basic tools as well as a tire repair kit for patching holes made by screws or nails.  Other gear also includes a 400 watt inverter, fire extinguisher, wool blanket, tarp, hand saw, gloves, empty stow-able bag, 1 gallon gas can, complete maps of the areas I travel, phone charging cords and tire pressure gauge, A good gore-tex jacket is also an essential item any time of the year.

I have been doing this a long time.  Everything I carry has a purpose and is not more or less than I need to be prepared for myself alone or to assist others. For my work I do plenty of driving by myself.  When as a family we go on any kind of extended driving trip this list of items grows significantly mainly because of the needs of my 4 daughters and wife.  :-)  When fall and winter hit an additional bag of cold weather gear gets added to my rig that includes winter gloves, socks, baklava, glove liners, winter hat and additional warm layers.  I may also even throw in my snow boots, snowshoes and gaiters depending upon where I am going.  When my kids go on a trip without me I always tell them to be prepared to walk home if they have to.  

Additional gear that I take with me on extended excursions includes:  additional loaded magazines, AR-15 or shotgun & ammo, weather appropriate gear, additional batteries and solar battery charger,          

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Choose to Be Prepared.

With the anniversary of 9/11 very near the propaganda concerning a possible terrorist attack in the USA is obvious and blatant from the mainstream media.  While the possibility of another major terrorist attack similar to or larger than that of 9/11 is real and most definitely possible those who are prepared do not need to fear.  Here are my recommendations as to what you should do to prepare for this possibility as well as any other incident.

1.  Have some cash on hand and out of the bank.  I recommend that you have at least a few weeks worth of cash on hand for necessities.  Events like the 9/11 attacks can interrupt banking and make it difficult or impossible to make basic purchases.

2.  Keep your gas tanks full on all your vehicles. At the very least don't let them get below a half tank.  Have a few 5 gallon gas cans filled and stored in a safe place.  Rotate this fuel regularly or use a stabilizer so that it does not become stale.

3.  Get your grocery shopping done early.  Stock up on your daily supplies so that you can hunker down at home if you really need to.  Staying out of public places decreases your exposure and vulnerability.

4..  Stay close to home.  If you are a business professional and find yourself traveling a lot I recommend that you don't schedule meetings requiring you to travel.  Plan on working at the office or even take a few days off before and after the 11th.  Take this time to enjoy being with your family at home.  Stay out of public places; especially high profile locations or other events with large crowds such as sporting events.

5.  Keep your eyes open.  Keep the radio on to your favorite news channel and be observant.
6.  Make sure your vehicle is stocked up on essential items.  Take a look at my EDC (Every day carry) blog post and adjust it for your needs and area you live.

7.  Be prepared to help others.  Since you are reading this i'm pretty sure that you can take care of yourself and do not depend on others for your safety and well being.  The opportunity for you to help others will be greatest in an emergency.  There is little more fulfilling in life then helping others who can not help themselves.  We find ourselves at our best and learn the most about our life, our earthly existence and about ourselves when we are in the service of others!  Be ready!  To some this advice may sound selfish, to help others for our own benefit, but I assure you that it is not.  Service to others can help heal wounds caused by traumatic events.

I don't feel that any of these recommendations are extreme precautions but rather common sense solutions to everyday situations that may arise with a few extra steps for extenuating circumstances.  I'm sure that many would say to carry on with life as normal; to not let the threat of danger effect our lifestyle, and that if we don't continue on as normal then the terrorists have achieved their purposes.  This may all be true.  However, it does not hurt anything to be prepared nor does it give power to our enemies but rather takes it away.

If you choose to go to an event, be prepared to know how to get you and your family out quickly and safely.
If you choose to travel a long way from home, be prepared to get yourself back.
If you choose to live with your tank and cupboards near empty be prepared to deal with the effects.

The beauty of this life is that you get to choose for yourself what you will do.  My advice to you: choose to be prepared.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Warning shot

Today I watched the morning post by Suspicious0bservers on YouTube as I usually do.  You can find the link below.  There was a massive solar eruption on the back side of the sun yesterday.  Even though this solar flare was not aimed toward earth it was so large that it weakened our magnetosphere and bombarded us with protons.  I am taking this was a warning sign; a shot across the bow.  Be prepared and watchful.  

Monday, August 25, 2014

Scrounging, The art of

Ok, maybe it's not an art.  But it's definitely an acquired skill.  I don't hear much if anything about this topic yet I consider it to be an important skill or trait of a prepper.

For those of you whom are experienced preppers the art of scrounging is already second nature.  You always have your eyes open for things of value that others probably don't readily recognize.  Those of you who don't really know what i'm referring to allow me to shed some light on the subject.

What I mean by scrounging is to acquire something from any available source by salvaging or foraging through items that are discarded or unwanted.  What I don't mean by scrounging is stealing or looting.

A part of my bug-out or bug-home bag is an additional bag that is durable and stowable to be used to collect other items that you may come across that would be of value when SHTF.

Here is a short list of items that would be plentiful that I would keep my eyes open for when making my way back home or to a bug-out location.

Tinder. (dry grass, bark, paper, rags, etc.) - Add a large heavy duty zip-lock bag to your pack to collect fire making materials as you go.
Lead tire weights.  Depending highly upon the situation, you can easily salvage many things from abandoned automobiles as you go.  Lead tire weights can be melted and used to cast bullets for those of you who reload or if you know someone who reloads it can be a good asset to barter with.
Car batteries.  Although these are much too heavy to carry long distances you should think about salvaging car batteries. You can use them in conjunction with an inverter to recharge other batteries, power small appliances, lights, etc.  You should have a solar panel and charge controller or other generator to charge a car battery.  Be careful!  Car batteries are very dangerous if shorted out between the positive and negative posts.  Try to protect/insulate at least one of them to minimize the danger.  Keep a small folding dolly and a wrench in the back of your vehicle so you can take your own battery with you if you should become stranded.
Water bottles.  Pretty much every where I go, even in remote places where it seems like no one has ever been, I find empty plastic bottles.  Use these to collect water that you may find along the way.  They can be filled up and left in the sun to allow the suns UV rays to purify contaminated water.  Keep your eyes open for other kinds of containers that would be useful for carrying water or other wild edible plants that you may find along your way.
Rope/Cord.  A myriad of uses.  Carry as much as you can.  Learn some good knots if you don't already.
Plastic bags.  Easy to carry and have lots of uses.

The next time you see a homeless person carrying a large backpack or pushing a shopping cart notice the items that they have collected.  These items would be useful to you as well.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

When in doubt, BUG-OUT.*

This is a very serious topic that each of you should be thinking about and planning for.  When the SHTF are you going to bug-in or bug-out?  It is the quintessential part of being prepared; of being a prepper.  It is potentially the life or death decision that you'll have to make at some point.  Have you already made your decision as to what you'll do and where you'll go?  I don't have all the answers myself yet and I can't tell you exactly what is best for you and your situation.  You'll need to seriously consider what I've outlined below and with some inspiration make the right decision for your family.  This all depends specifically and personally on your situation, location, level of preparedness as well as other conditions.

Here are some of my thoughts on when you should as well as should not bug-in/out.

BUG-IN if you already live in a rural community and have your garden and other resources all around you.  In my opinion, this is the ideal situation in an SHTF scenario.  This acceptable rural area must be far enough away from a major metropolitan area so as to eliminate or minimize the possibility of refugees spilling over into your community and ravaging its resources.  This means 200 or more miles away and should include some kind of natural barrier such as a mountain range, major river or deep canyon between you and most of the closest population.  A small rural community will be a valuable resource when you are trying to be self sufficient but make sure that you have something to contribute and/or barter with that will benefit the community.

BUG-IN if you live in a suburb and you live at the edge of it, near a rural area or wilderness boundary and if you are prepared.  If you are going to bug-in you should already have your food and water storage and a practical plan on how to obtain more resources once yours run out.  Hopefully you have a larger lot where you have planted a garden and have years of experience growing it, have a rainwater collection system as well as some solar panels on your roof with at least a basic battery system or other provisions for your most basic power needs.  You'll need to keep a low profile and have some luck with staying unnoticed.  Your home must be secure and you must be able to adequately defend it.  You should have a plan to cooperate with your neighbors on how to help support each other and combine your talents, efforts and resources to ensure everyone's needs are taken care of.  This, I believe, is the most critical part of your preparedness.  Your supplies will eventually run out and it is virtually impossible to prepare for every scenario unless you have limitless funds.  Having good relationships, and a preparedness plan with your neighborhood, can make the difference between comfortable survival and chaos.

On the other edge of the sword your neighbors can also be a detriment to your survival if they have not previously prepared adequately.  This will be entirely up to you to determine.  If you find that it will not be possible or feasible to work with your neighbors in a crisis you may determine that bugging-out is your best option.  If you have amazing neighbors that are currently a great support system to your family you may want to think very hard about leaving them.

When in doubt, BUG-OUT. *  The asterisks indicates the caveat.  *If you are not prepared to bug-out then don't.  If you don't have anywhere to go you shouldn't just bug-out without a plan.  Because you are reading this you are way ahead of most people who we all know are oblivious to the immediate dangers that currently face us.  If you haven't already you need to lay plans and determine your course of action now.  It is a fact that if you can live in a remote rural area with resources including water and crops as well as a supportive community you WILL be more successful at surviving difficult times.  This is why I say: When in doubt, prepare to bug-out.

BUG-OUT if you are not fully prepared to bug-in, BUT you must be prepared to bug-out.  It's a conundrum, I know.  It can be a confusing and tough decision to make!  If you don't already live in a rural area and you run out of resources you'll be forced to bug-out anyway.  Unless you get lucky you're gonna end up dead.  Don't count on luck.  Get prepared and have a plan.

Do NOT bug-in if you live in a densely populated city.  In an SHTF situation you could eventually lose both power and water.  (Let me clarify; SHTF could mean any number of various situations including: grid failure, financial system collapse, natural disasters, social chaos, pandemic, etc.)  Your access to water is likely dependent upon electric water pumps.  River or streams are possibly nowhere nearby.  Collecting rainwater may not be consistent enough to supply your needs.  A reliable source of water will be your most important resource for both drinking and sanitation.  As the storage space in an apartment is typically very small your ability to store enough supplies to outlast an extended emergency event will be limited.  When grocery store shelves are empty don't expect that they'll be replenished any time soon.  In large cities your biggest danger will be the population.  Unlike you and me most people only have 3 days worth of food in their cupboards.  This means only 9 meals until anarchy if the food supply is cutoff even if it's only for a relatively short period.  When people need food to feed their children they get desperate.  Desperate people can be dangerous.  Keep yourself out of this situation and bug-the-heck-out.      

Do NOT bug-in if you are not prepared to bug-in.  That's kind of a stupid obvious statement.  What i'm trying to communicate is if you only have enough supplies for two weeks you need to get out early.  In all cases, if you plan on bugging out, you need to get out early.  Don't wait until you are down to your last can of chili and then realize that you are unable to get more.  Make a plan to go to a friends or families place as far away from a major population center as possible.  Take all of your supplies with you so that you won't be as much of a burden on your hosts.  This will hopefully give you some time to prove yourself an asset and not a liability as a guest in someone else's home.  Have some tools and skills that will contribute to everyone's self-sufficiency and you will be appreciated and not unwelcome.  Always keep your gas tanks full and leave early.  If the emergency gets resolved you can always go back home.  You've got to watch what is happening in the world and anticipate.  If you are trying to get out of a densely populated area during an emergency you are likely to get permanently stuck in traffic which would be a really bad scenario for anyone! Plan your route as well as alternate routes but know exactly where you are going first.  Have a way to carry as many supplies as possible with you such as an enclosed trailer.  

Plan to BUG-OUT if you live in a densely populated area.
Plan to BUG-OUT if you have friends or family who live away from dense population centers who are willing to take you in.

One thing that I see often are videos on YouTube from preppers that plan on bugging out with only what they can carry and plan to live off the land.  This may be possible for them but it is not for me and my family in our situation.  As a family of 5 children we would never make it that way.  That is a hard way of life and would be our last option as it would not be a very successful option.  In this situation do NOT bug out unless you already have a bug-out location ready for you that is already prepared and stocked with supplies.  Leaving your home where you have resourceful and prepared neighbors to a place where you are all by yourselves may not be your best option.

Make an arrangement with a farmer in a rural community to work their land in exchange for a place to pitch your tent or park your trailer.  If you have friends or family nearby you could plan on consolidating resources and moving in together.  There is safety in numbers.

When is it time to bug-out?  Your answer is as good as mine.  If you are prepared to bug-in that makes the answer much easier.  If your bug-out location is 250 miles away that's a different story.  When the banks say they will be closed on a Friday but will be back open on Monday that may be a good indication of when to head to the hills.

You must also consider your method of transportation to get to your bug-out location.  Do you need an EMP resistant vehicle in order to get you, your family and additional supplies to your bug-out location? Personally I feel that this is a low percentage possibility.  But, if this did happen, for me to move my family hundreds of miles to a bug-out location would be impossible to do if we did not have a vehicle that could get us there.  Having a vehicle that is appropriate should be an essential part of your bug-out plans.

When in doubt, bug-out.  Again, this is a very personal decision which should not be taken lightly.  If you can get prepared to bug-out your chance of comfortable survival in an SHTF scenario will be much more likely in a remote rural area.  Decide what is best for you and get to it.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Every Day Carry

Do you have a concealed carry permit for a firearm?  If so, how often do you carry?  Why do you carry? How do you carry your handgun?  Where do you carry it?  Do you carry it loaded, with a round in the chamber?  If you don't, why not?  What kind of training do you have?  How often do you go to the range?  What kind of a handgun do you carry and why?

If you hold a CCW permit it is important for you to know your own answers to these questions.

I got my CCW permit nearly 15 years ago.  At that time I only carried my firearm occasionally.  Actually, very infrequently would be more a more correct statement.  I have been carrying my firearm with me everyday for only about the last four of those years.  For only the last few of those years I had decided to carry with the chamber loaded.  For me it has been an evolving and learning process.  I've decided to share with you to what I have learned and what my experiences have been with the hope that it may help you shorten your learning curve and help you better make your decisions.

Here is a link to a guy that I have learned a lot from.  I trust and respect his opinions and follow many of his training methods.  There are many other great instructors out there that I learn from also.  Hopefully you'll take the time to expand your knowledge and understanding.

During all this time I purchased and carried several different weapons including revolvers, pocket pistols and full size handguns.  I have settled on and been carrying the same firearm for nearly 4 years.  It's not a full size semi-auto pistol or revolver and it's not a pocket pistol.

The reason pocket pistols are made is because they are lighter, slimmer and much smaller than a standard 'full-size' semi-auto which makes them easier to conceal.  Being able to stick them in a pocket holster or IWB holster with minimal discomfort and intrusion is a definite benefit, especially to accommodate your particular wardrobe.  But does this benefit outweigh its disadvantages?  To retrieve a pistol from a holster in your pocket can be slow and awkward.  For me, no matter how small the pistol is, it's too heavy and uncomfortable for it to stay in my pocket all day long.  Reaching into a pocket to grab a pistol and place your hand properly on the grip and extract it without having to re-situate your hand on the grip after it is out of your pocket can be tricky and slow, unless you have petite hands.  If your wardrobe isn't oriented toward pocket carry your hand could get stuck in the cookie jar.  Pocket pistols carried in an IWB holster can also be difficult to grip because they are just plain small.  A good pancake or 'crossbreed' type holster could eliminate this problem.  Many if not most pocket pistols are double action only.  This action is just like a revolver without an exposed hammer.  Pull the trigger which pulls the hammer back and drops it in one motion.  This trigger pull can be long and somewhat heavy which makes accurate shots difficult.  Pocket pistols are small, which makes them more difficult to manipulate, less comfortable in the hand and less fun to shoot.  The small size makes them less accurate and harder to be accurate with even at close range.  They are meant for very close distances only.  As always there are a few exceptions but in my opinion they are all a compromise to a full size pistol.  The felt recoil of a pocket pistol can be more than that of a full size pistol because of their lightweight frame and small size.  Pocket pistols also are generally smaller and less effective calibers because they have to be so to make them small.  As you can tell, i'm not a fan of the 'pocket pistol'.  That being said, they do have a purpose and a place.  Just not as many as I believe most people assume.  Don't assume that you have to compromise.    

Carrying a firearm in a purse or other bag is always an option if you don't have the options to carry it on your person.  It is always better to have a firearm with you than not.  However, do remember that whatever bag you carry your weapon in will need to stay with you at all times when you are away from your home.  Don't leave it sitting by the side of your desk when you are not there with it.  Also, consider how much additional time it takes for you to draw your pistol from a bag.  It will always be much faster to draw and fire from a holster on your waist especially in a stressful or close quarters situation.

Personally, I always make sure that my wardrobe permits that I carry the most effective way possible.  There are many ways to carry and many different weapons that can be carried in many different ways.  You'll need to experiment and put the thought in to determine which method is best for you.  You will also need several different kinds of holsters to accommodate your various wardrobes and activities.  Like me, you will or already have purchase several different holsters that didn't work just right.  Your choice of holster(s) is almost as important as your choice of firearm.

I tried carrying in the small of my back for a while but I did a lot of driving which made it quite uncomfortable.  Then I read several articles about how people were severely injured in car crashes because of where they carried their pistol.  Ouch!  I'd have to take it out when I sat down in the car which is not very convenient.  I'd also have to be discrete and careful about handling my weapon inside my car.  You may consider mounting a 2nd holster in your vehicle which can be a more effective way to draw then trying to extract it from an IWB holster while you are buckled in.

Just a quick word on revolvers; they are great!  Just aim and pull the trigger.  Simple and reliable but maybe a little bulky depending upon which one you choose.  There are many designed for CC and holsters that work extremely well for this purpose.  The downside is that they have lower capacity and can be slower to reload unless you are very well practiced.  A revolver may be a great choice for someone new to firearms and carrying concealed because of the simplicity.

So, for me, no pocket pistols and revolvers don't have the capacity or versatility of a full size handgun.  A 'full-size' semi-auto handgun will always be the most accurate, most comfortable and most fun to shoot, have the most capacity and are available in most any caliber.  The problem is that they are usually a little to large to conceal adequately.  My conclusion is the sub-compact.  Not every manufacture makes one but most do.  The sub-compact is a full size version of a semi-automatic but with a shortened grip and barrel which makes it easier to conceal.  The shortened barrel doesn't make it easier to conceal but it does cut down on it's weight.  The sub-compact is definitely heavier and bulkier than a pocket pistol but carried the right way, with the right holster in the right place/position makes it perfectly concealable.  The sub-compact is just as fun to shoot, as accurate and has as much capacity as a full size pistol.  Most sub-compacts come with a short magazine because of the shorter grip to keep it easy to conceal as well as a full size magazine with an extension to match the size of a full size grip size and capacity.  Carrying a sub-compact is almost as good as carrying a full size.  In my opinion there are no compromises.  If you carry a pocket pistol you are compromising comfort, capacity, accuracy, etc.

In my opinion the best place to carry is on your strong side hip in a inside the waist band (IWB) holster such as the Galco King Tuck.  This position allows for very fast extraction and presentation from a concealed holster.  This holster allows me to tuck in a shirt so that I can have my firearm with me while wearing a suit.  Although open carry is legal in most states I feel that it is better to be covert than overt.  Be prepared at all times and nobody has to know or question your reasons for carrying or get scared and cause a scene because they don't get it.

Which comes to the question of why.  Why do you carry a concealed weapon?  Your answer may be because it is better to have it and not need it then need it and not have it.  Because it's my God given right to choose for myself.  That's good enough for me.  However, when it comes down to drawing and using that weapon I believe that you'll need to have a better reason why.  For me it's a lifelong string of events and reasons that I won't go into here.  It's about responsibility and duty as well as freedom.  Hopefully you have figured out your reasons why already.  If someone asks that question what are you going to say?  Hopefully you don't feel like you have to say anything but it may be a good opportunity to teach them something important so be prepared to do so.        

Friday, May 23, 2014


Gold and Silver will always go up in value during an economic decline.  This is what happened during the great depression and is what will again happen as the US dollar continues to decline and eventually collapses.  Gold and Silver are the only true forms of money.  Precious metals should be a part of your preps.

For many hundreds of years silver is how men were paid their wages.  1/10th of an ounce for a days wage.  It may very well revert to this during a financial collapse.  Although silver is currently priced at around only $20 per ounce right now it is highly undervalued.  It costs the mining companies a minimum of $25 per ounce to get it out of the ground.  The USGS has reported that by 2020 we will be out of silver, at least economically feasible silver.  Silver is used in many consumer and industrial products.  It is rare, scarce, is typically found in small volumes and is produced as a by product from other mining operations such as copper and zinc mines.  The US government has long since exhausted its stockpile of silver which at one time was many millions of ounces.  More silver is currently being consumed than is being produced.  The US mint has seen record demand for US silver eagles and is rationing them this year to the tune of one million plus ounces per month.  Silver typically sells at a ratio of about 50:1 compared to gold yet it is mined at a ratio of approximately 9:1.

What does all of this mean?  It means that silver is actually worth much more than what the manipulated markets say it is.  It means that if you don't already have a stack of silver coins or bars, you should get on it.  Take some of your debt based dollars and exchange them for some real wealth.  If you don't hold it you don't own it.  

One ounce silver coins and silver rounds will be an excellent bartering tool, and in my opinion, the best way to preserve as well as increase your wealth in the coming years.  Concentrate on your food storage and other necessities first and then buy silver.  If you have money in savings I feel you should consider taking it out of the bank and trading it for silver one ounce coins and rounds.  This is only my opinion because most banks pay a very low interest rate to use your money.  If you hold physical silver your wealth can never go away unlike our debt based currency in a financial disaster.

Stay away from proof coins and numismatics as the premium cost does not represent actual silver content value but rather its value as a collectible.  The premium (the cost added on top of the current cost [spot cost] of the metal) on coins such as the American Eagle or the Canadian Maple Leaf are higher than that of silver rounds, which are not considered coinage but are the same 1 oz. of .999 pure silver.  To get the most out of your money consider purchasing mostly 1 oz. rounds as the added premium is typically about half the cost or less.  These rounds are not usually as 'pretty' as a government issued or other premium coins.  The higher the premium the less silver you can buy with your money.  However, the benefit of purchasing government minted silver coins is that they are widely recognized and may be easier to barter with.


There are plenty of excellent resources on the web for you to learn more about why you should own precious metals, especially silver.  Here are a few of my favorites:

The purpose of this site is to provide you with information about what I have learned, my experience, and what my motivations are as a prepared guy. I have always felt driven to be ready for any situation by something powerful deep inside me. Being prepared has always served me well. I feel compelled to help others do the same.
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