Notes for Thursday – July 31, 2014

July 31st is the 94th birthday of Army Air Corps veteran David Thatcher, one of just three living Doolittle Raiders. He lives in Missoula, Montana. Those interested in learning more about America’s First strike against Japan should read “The Doolittle Raid”.

July 31st is also the birthday of free market economist Milton Freidman, who was born in 1912 and died November 16, 2006.

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Today we present another entry for Round 53 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The $11,000+ worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course (a $1,195 value),
  2. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  3. Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  4. A $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear,
  5. A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value),
  6. A $300 gift certificate from Freeze Dry Guy,
  7. A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo,
  8. A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of GoldAndSilverOnline.com, (currently valued at around $180 postpaid),
  9. Both VPN tunnel and DigitalSafe annual subscriptions from Privacy Abroad (a combined value of $195),
  10. KellyKettleUSA.com is donating both an AquaBrick water filtration kit and a Stainless Medium Scout Kelly Kettle Complete Kit with a combined retail value of $304,
  11. APEX Gun Parts is donating a $250 purchase credit, and
  12. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $300 gift certificate.

Second Prize:

  1. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
  2. A FloJak EarthStraw “Code Red” 100-foot well pump system (a $500 value), courtesy of FloJak.com,
  3. Acorn Supplies is donating a Deluxe Food Storage Survival Kit with a retail value of $350,
  4. The Ark Instituteis donating a non-GMO, non-hybrid vegetable seed package–enough for two families of four, seed storage materials, a CD-ROM of Geri Guidetti’s book “Build Your Ark! How to Prepare for Self Reliance in Uncertain Times”, and two bottles of Potassium Iodate– a $325 retail value,
  5. $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P),
  6. A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials,
  7. Twenty Five books, of the winners choice, of any books published by PrepperPress.com (a $270 value),
  8. Two cases of meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value),
  9. Dri-Harvestfoods.com in Bozeman, Montana is providing a prize bundle with Beans, Buttermilk Powder, Montana Hard Red Wheat, Drink Mixes, and White Rice, valued at $333,
  10. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $150 gift certificate,
  11. Organized Prepper is providing a $500 gift certificate, and
  12. RepackBoxis providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
  3. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  4. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security,
  5. A MURS Dakota Alert Base Station Kit with a retail value of $240 from JRH Enterprises,
  6. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances,
  7. Ambra Le Roy Medical Products in North Carolina is donating a bundle of their traditional wound care and first aid supplies, with a value of $208, and
  8. SurvivalBased.com is donating a $500 gift certificate to their store.

Round 53 ends on July 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

Survival or Sustenance Gardening, by D. B. Prepper

I’ve had a garden on and off again over the past 30 years, depending on where I lived, whom I was married to at the time, and whether or not my job allowed me to be at home frequently enough to care for it. So I have followed the recent spate of gardening posts with some interest, especially those who have struggled to start a garden. I thought I would take an opportunity to add my own two cents on how to create a garden that can support you and your family in good times or bad.

It’s a Learning Experience

Gardening is a learning experience. The more you do it, the better and more experienced you will become. Once you have seen blossom end rot or leaf blight, you’ll spot it earlier the next time, know how to respond, or even how to prevent it. Even though you may be able to learn by doing, it is best to have some basic knowledge before you start. Articles like this one cannot make you a gardener, but they can point you in the right direction. I suggest you read books, search out online articles, scan forums, and get related magazines. Look to your county extension office, local agricultural universities, and local garden clubs for printed and online information that are specific to your locale.

You will definitely have more success if you start your garden before a disaster strikes, and it is easier to expand an existing garden during hard times than start one from scratch. There are also obvious advantages to plowing and installing a fence now, while there is power, plentiful fuel, and stores are open and well stocked. So, if you plan on gardening your way through TEOTWAWKI, I recommend you get started this fall. Why this fall and not next spring? We’ll get to that in a minute.

Get your whole family involved. Gardening is a good experience, good exercise, and while it is work, it can also be fun. It’s also an easy way to be prepared without scaring the kids.

Where to Put Your Garden

Where to place your garden is critically important to its long term success. Look for three things in this order: 1) Full sun for all or most of the day (at least 8 to 10 hours); 2) a mostly level or gently sloping field that is well drained but not steep enough to have significant run off and erosion; and 3) room to expand in the future, because you will probably find that your first garden is not large enough. Less important considerations are proximity to your house and proximity to water, because you can run a hose or even a pipe pretty easily. However, with no sun, all the water in the world won’t make a difference, so pick a sunny sight first and foremost.

In general, a garden needs at least an inch of rain per week. If you do not have this much rain, you will need to provide water, especially when fruits and vegetables are setting. That may mean hauling water from the nearest source in a grid-down situation. Look into water catchment systems and drip irrigation if you have limited natural water resources as drip irrigation is far more efficient than spraying water from a sprinkler.

When to Dig and Till Your Garden

If you plan to dig up the lawn to put in a garden, I recommend you stop treating the lawn with any chemicals at least one year in advance (18 months or two years is even better), especially herbicides that are designed to suppress broad leaf weeds, crab grass, and the like, as these could cause problems with your garden plants. I also suggest that you dig up or turn over the grass and till your garden the summer or fall before you plan to start planting. Then work in plenty of natural soil conditioners such as compost, composted animal manure, and whatever your county agent or extension office suggests, based on the soil sample you give them to test. Getting ready in the fall will give you a big leg up in the spring, both in terms of time and soil conditions.

After sunlight, the quality of your dirt is probably the second biggest factor in the success of your garden, so condition your soil every chance you get. Good soil is rich, dark loam that in which you see worms in almost every shovel full. It is not solid like clay, nor sandy, but somewhere in between the two extremes.

While there are some things I insist on doing in a garden by hand, turning over the soil is not one of them. Use a tiller, get the appropriate implements for your garden tractor, or ask someone with a tractor to help you out, especially the first time you break new ground. If you are using a tractor, it might be best to do the plowing and discing before you put up the fence. Tractors need turning room and fences constrain them.

Once you are done digging, get some garden catalogs and order the seeds you will need. Pay close attention to the zone you are in and be sure the varieties you buy will be suitable for your locale. I also recommend having more seed on hand than you think you will need. Rotate your seeds like you would your food, using the oldest first, and keep good records so you know what varieties did well for you in which locations. In addition to keeping records related to seeds, keep a garden chart that shows what was planted where so you can rotate your crops to avoid depleting your soil by planting the same crop in the same location over and over again.

Fencing Basics

Fencing, as BPW said in his recent article on starting a garden, is critical. I have found that metal T-posts or metal U-channel fence posts and welded wire fencing is an excellent way to put up a decent fence relatively quickly and inexpensively. Woven wire fencing is more expensive and might be a bit of overkill, unless your garden fence is also part of a livestock enclosure, but if you have the money, go for it.

You should use at least 7-foot posts for your fence, which have about six feet above ground and will therefore accommodate six feet of wire fencing. This is the minimum height necessary to discourage deer and other large pests. If finances allow, go with the 9-foot posts, which can use one 8-foot roll of fencing or two 4-foot rolls placed one on top of the other. This latter approach allows you to use a fence with smaller, tighter holes (2”x2” or 2”x4”) on the bottom half to keep out small critters, while a less expensive fence using 4”x4” squares is used on the top. Check out your local farm store, such as Tractor Supply, or building supply places, like Home Depot, and price out the different options. While you are there, you may see some plastic or poly fencing. I do not recommend this, unless you require a fence for only a few years or if that is all you can afford.

I definitely recommend you invest in a manual fence post driver with a handle on each side. I cannot begin to explain how so much easier and safer this is than using a sledge hammer, plus it will make your work go faster. If your wife is helping you, the fence post driver is a marriage saver!

On the last garden I put in, I used metal fence posts intended for chain link fences at each corner and cemented them into place. This gave the fencing a degree of sturdiness that cannot be achieved with T-posts alone. I also installed a 6-foot wide chain link gate between two similar posts to allow easy access for people and equipment. You can buy the gates pre-configured and ready to install. In this case, having the gate post held into place with 50 pounds of cement was more than enough to support the gate.

I should note that wooden fence posts also work but cannot be driven in using a fence driver. You will need to dig or drill an adequate hole. A properly constructed wooden fence is a thing of beauty compared to one with metal posts, but it is significantly more work, and I would not attempt it without renting a post-hole auger that runs off a tractor’s PTO. If you have sufficient timber to harvest and produce your own posts, however, this could be a winning combination for you. Be sure to read up on how to properly install a corner or gate post when using wooden fence post to support a wire fence.

When installing your metal fence posts, keep them eight feet apart, and use a string guide to assure you keep the fence nice and straight. I find it easiest to put the corners in first, using a long roll-up tape measure and some simple geometry to keep things square. Remember, measure two or three times and dig once. Be sure to pull the fence tight between the posts so that it does not sag or buckle.

Sizing Your Garden

It’s a good idea to size your garden to match your fencing budget. Since fencing is often sold in 50- or 100-foot rolls, aim for a total circumference that will allow you to maximize your materials. For example, instead of a garden 100’ x 50’, I would actually go with the dimension of 96’ x 48’ to allow 8-feet between fence posts and only 36 posts (37 if you add an extra to install a gate). Sure, if you buy 300 feet of fence, this leaves you 12 feet of extra fence, but you will probably lose some when you go from one roll to another. Besides, having a little extra is a heck of a lot better than being 3 feet short!

Speaking of sizing, I believe it is always better to go bigger, if you have the land and can afford the fencing, especially since we are talking about sustenance gardening, where you need to generate as much food as possible. A 96’ x 48’ plot is 4,608 square feet, which sounds really big, but it’s only about a tenth of an acre. If you can double your materials to 600 feet of fencing and 74 fence posts, you can fence a space 200’ x 96’ and have four times the space, or 19,200 square feet, which is 0.45 acres. This larger plot will also be much more useful if you grow rows and rows of grains or beans, and it allows you more room to rotate crops from one area to the next from year to year.

A large garden also gives you room to space out your rows to allow both roots and the crop to grow and to have room to walk or move equipment down the garden. At the very least, you should have a four or five-foot wide path down the middle that can accommodate a lawn tractor, 4-wheeler, garden cart, or wheel barrow.

There are worse problems than what to do with too much harvest. First, not every plant or crop will live, so a large garden gives you some redundancy. Second, you may well have additional friends and family you need to feed. Third, you may be able to trade or barter with it. Fourth, you can store some items to eat during the off season. Finally, if you have too much of a crop, allow it to ripen and harvest the seeds, then throw the remnants in the compost pile or use it to feed the livestock, and use their byproduct for the compost pile. Plow under the remaining plants, but try to avoid plowing under the fruits or vegetables; otherwise, the seeds could ripen next year, and you’ll find a “volunteer” squash vine in your patch of peppers.

The Truth About Raised Beds

Now you can probably tell from the size of these gardens that I don’t do raised beds. Raised beds are great for urban gardeners who do not have a great deal of space and need to concentrate their crops, and they’re helpful for those who cannot get down on their knees and work in the dirt or bend over and use the hoe. They are also good where the soil is poor, because you can load them up with top soil imported from elsewhere.

In my opinion, raised beds are good to supplement your storage food or in urban areas where you do not have the acreage for a full-size garden, but you will be hard pressed to generate sufficient food to keep hunger at bay with a couple hundred square feet of raised beds. You cannot plant enough corn, oats, beans or potatoes in a few raised beds to keep your family fed over a long-term event.

What to Plant

Traditional garden vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, melons, and zucchini are relatively easy to grow, and while they deserve a place in your survival or sustenance garden, they should not make up the bulk of it. If you expect to live largely on your garden bounty, then you want to concentrate on foods that provide maximum calories and can be stored over the winter. So eat all the tomatoes and zucchini you want in the summer, but plant corn, oats, beans that can be dried (like lima, beans, pinto beans or black-eyed peas), potatoes, onions, several varieties of thin-skinned winter squash, cabbage, beats, Jerusalem artichoke, rutabaga, and parsnips. I would also encourage you to grow greens that might not be part of your diet, as they can be grown quickly and often early or late in the season, stretching the amount of time you can eat out of your garden.

We all know that fruits and vegetables can be a key source of nutrients in a TEOTWAWKI situation, but fruits will not store well, unless you have stored sufficient materials to can them– jars, lids, pectin, and sugar, plus the fuel for your heat source or the equipment and low humidity required to dry them. Apples are a notable exception as some varieties can keep for months in cold storage.

Tomatoes are also great for canning and can be an important ingredient in meals all year around, but storing potatoes is much less labor intensive. So make sauce from your tomatoes, pickles from your cucumbers, and sour kraut from your cabbage, if you have sufficient supplies, time, and labor, but be sure to plant enough root vegetables that can over winter without canning or drying so that you have something to eat all winter. Many of these root vegetables are great in soups or stews throughout the year.

Other vegetables we like for canning include green beans, sweet corn, and peas.

Starting Plants vs Planting Seeds

Starting seeds indoors is important when you want to get a jump on the growing season, if you live in a cold climate (or if we were to have nuclear winter or the volcano-induced equivalent), but there are plenty of times where planting seeds directly in the ground is the best bet. You can start most anything indoors, but I find that some plants, like cucumbers, melons, and zucchini, are so prolific that there is no need to start them indoors. They will do fine on their own once the ground has warmed up.

I have a long growing season, so others may argue with this list, but here are vegetables that I do NOT start indoors:

  • Corn and other grains
  • Greens, including spinach, kale, Swiss chard, mustard, collards, lettuces
  • Root crops, like carrots and potatoes
  • Late-season crops, like cabbage and turnips
  • Beans

Just remember that it is better to plant a week late, when the soil is warmer, than a week early. Even if there is not a frost, cold soil can cause problems with rot and fungus.

When it comes to starting plants indoors, pick a very sunny window on the South of your house, as we will probably not have artificial light in a TEOTWAWKI situation. There are lots of options suitable for starting plants, from peat pots to commercial plant trays to paper cups. My favorite is the Jiffy 70-cell “self-watering greenhouse” available at Walmart for around $16. (It is neither a greenhouse nor self-watering, but it is convenient.) I have accumulated several of these trays over the years and buy the little peat disks separately now. You can buy a box of 1,000 compressed peat cartridges for less than $80, which is very cost effective.

Organic vs Chemicals

I like the idea or organic gardening, but the practice is harder. I have found that it is relative easy to use natural substances to avoid commercial fertilizers, as long as you start out with good soil. Proper weeding (i.e., continuous) is also sufficient to eliminate the need for herbicides. Going organic when there is a fungus or an infestation of bugs strikes your garden is much more difficult and avoiding the use of pesticides and other chemicals will reduce your garden’s productivity. You’ll have to make the final call, but I recommend you keep some Sevin dust in your garden shed, just in case. It might mean the difference in a grid down situation when you really need that food.

Sustenance Gardening is a Full-Time Job

If you are counting on your garden to feed you and your family, then you have to work on it just like you work at the job that puts food on the table right now. You need to weed constantly. You need to water regularly. Most importantly, you need to be in the garden looking around for something that might be going wrong. This means getting to know each plant and keeping an eye on them. Look for signs of infestation, like a bug eating the leaves, or rot starting to form. (Cutworms, aphids, or mites can do significant damage if you do not control them.) Look for plants that need poles or something else to climb, and construct it for them. Look for fruit or vegetables that are doing fine and suddenly die or rot. Inspect the fence. Keep an eye on what you can harvest early and plan what to do when the full crop comes in.

Keeping your garden healthy and producing might require spending the night in the garden with the .22, or being the human scare crow during the day. It might mean shooting four-legged or two-legged critters that want the bounty for themselves.

Even when the harvest ripens, the work is not done. Not only do you have to pick the garden’s bounty, but you must prepare it for storage. Canning, drying, pickling, and storing in the root cellar are all good options, if there is no refrigeration or freezer. You also have to let some items go to seed, so you can save seeds for next year. Then, when the harvest is done, you need to turn the plot over, add more organic material and compost, and start planning next year’s garden.

Gardening for sustenance is not easy, but it has been done for centuries. All it takes is hard work, perseverance, and knowledge– which you could say about pretty much any survival skill. Start a practice garden today, and you can have the skills and materials you need to see you through hard times. In the meantime, you’ll have fresh fruits and vegetables to lower your food bill, sell at a road-side stand, or simply give to those in need.

Three Letters Re: Killing, Dying, and Death

This was very well written and made salient points about mindset, which is the one issue that could nullify all physical preps in the future, if we don’t address it now.

I am glad M.H. returned safely and decided to raise a family. – D.D.

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Bless you M.H. for your candor and honesty. Most people cannot imagine the sights, sounds, and smells of war and death. Without that, experience is only imaginings. Nothing changes a person like “seeing the elephant”. It is a personal experience for each. There is not a right or wrong way. It is about getting on with the job. – J.D.

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Hugh,

Excellent article.

About the reluctance of so many to expose themselves to danger, he describes the human condition.

As an example from history, in the American Revolution, the militia was notoriously unreliable. If memory serves me, it was at the Battle of Cowpens that Daniel Morgan, after pleading with the militia the night before, was able to get a commitment that each man would fire at least two rounds before he ran. Mel Gibson’s “The Patriot” borrowed from this historical precedent.

I had this example in mind when I recently wrote about how a person would benefit after a societal collapse if they could simply get a computer nerd or soccer mom to fire a warning shot. – H.S.

Odds ‘n Sods:

America’s Militia Movement is Back From the Dead – H.L.

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UK police to start seizing drivers’ mobile phones after all crashes. – T.P.

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Paying Ransoms, Europe Bankrolls Qaeda Terror. – P.M.

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Mom Arrested for Letting 7-Year-Old Son Walk to Park Alone. – D.S.

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In boiling hot suits with silent death lurking everywhere and the fear that a mistake could be fatal: Doctors give a gripping insight into their battle in the crucible of the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. – B.B.

Notes for Wednesday – July 30, 2014

Today, we remember the birthday of author Reginald Bretnor. He was born Alfred Reginald Kahn on July 30, 1911, in Vladivostok. He died on July 22, 1992 in Medford, Oregon. In addition to penning many witty science fiction novels and short stories in his characteristic style, he also wrote non-fiction articles for Mel Tappan’s P.S. Letter.

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Today, we present another entry for Round 53 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The $11,000+ worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course (a $1,195 value),
  2. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  3. Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  4. A $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear,
  5. A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value),
  6. A $300 gift certificate from Freeze Dry Guy,
  7. A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo,
  8. A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of GoldAndSilverOnline.com, (currently valued at around $180 postpaid),
  9. Both VPN tunnel and DigitalSafe annual subscriptions from Privacy Abroad (a combined value of $195),
  10. KellyKettleUSA.com is donating both an AquaBrick water filtration kit and a Stainless Medium Scout Kelly Kettle Complete Kit with a combined retail value of $304,
  11. APEX Gun Parts is donating a $250 purchase credit, and
  12. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $300 gift certificate.

Second Prize:

  1. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
  2. A FloJak EarthStraw “Code Red” 100-foot well pump system (a $500 value), courtesy of FloJak.com,
  3. Acorn Supplies is donating a Deluxe Food Storage Survival Kit with a retail value of $350,
  4. The Ark Instituteis donating a non-GMO, non-hybrid vegetable seed package–enough for two families of four, seed storage materials, a CD-ROM of Geri Guidetti’s book “Build Your Ark! How to Prepare for Self Reliance in Uncertain Times”, and two bottles of Potassium Iodate– a $325 retail value,
  5. $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P),
  6. A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials,
  7. Twenty Five books, of the winners choice, of any books published by PrepperPress.com (a $270 value),
  8. Two cases of meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value),
  9. Dri-Harvestfoods.com in Bozeman, Montana is providing a prize bundle with Beans, Buttermilk Powder, Montana Hard Red Wheat, Drink Mixes, and White Rice, valued at $333,
  10. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $150 gift certificate,
  11. Organized Prepper is providing a $500 gift certificate, and
  12. RepackBoxis providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
  3. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  4. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security,
  5. A MURS Dakota Alert Base Station Kit with a retail value of $240 from JRH Enterprises,
  6. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances,
  7. Ambra Le Roy Medical Products in North Carolina is donating a bundle of their traditional wound care and first aid supplies, with a value of $208, and
  8. SurvivalBased.com is donating a $500 gift certificate to their store.

Round 53 ends on July 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

Prepping During the Calm After the Storm, by D.L.

One of the hardest things to do in prepping, especially if you were inspired by a specific incident or disaster, is to maintain your preps long after the initial threat seems to have faded away. There’s an initial burst of energy and acquisition of skills; then there is a slow fade and then a rapid fade. Eventually, something will happen, and you will find yourself unprepared again.

It’s a bit like dieting before your high school reunion. Then, once the reunion is over, trying to keep your diet going but allowing yourself a weekly cheat day, then adding a cheat weekend, and then also adding a cheat Wednesday. Before you know it, there’s another reunion coming up, and you need to diet again.

The Earthquake Diet

We live just outside of Tokyo and started prepping seriously after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Although we were barely inconvenienced, for several months we suffered daily aftershocks and the threat of rolling blackouts.

As a result, we plunged ourselves into prepping education, including discovering several useful websites, and started building our water and food supplies. We managed to put together a blackout kit of lanterns, batteries, and flashlights, even though all of those things were scarce in the aftermath of the quake. We assembled bug-out kits for every member of the family and get-home kits for the days we had to travel down to Tokyo or for days I was working but the trains home weren’t.

Since knives are about the only form of self-defense allowed in Japan (and even that is questionable) and are necessary for bug-out kits, I assembled a small collection of knives and retaught myself how to maintain and sharpen them. I revisited the handful of outdoors skills I’d learned way back in Boy Scouts.

We got good at filtering the propaganda from both sides of the nuclear debate and found private sources for good information on radiation and radiation levels in Tokyo.

We were also painfully aware of the weaknesses we still had in our preps.

For example, we live just 20 miles from the heart of one of the most densely populated cities in the world and were lucky that it wasn’t hit by anything worse than a few rolling blackouts. Although the Japanese were fairly calm, there was a lot of panic buying and no way to resupply anything. If Tokyo ever gets hit by a major quake (or more accurately WHEN Tokyo gets hit by a major quake), we are smack-dab in the middle of the main escape route.

Although phones didn’t work during the crisis, the Internet worked as did data service on cellphones. That inspired me to research possible communications sources. I discovered it’s difficult to find communications devices that are both useful and legal in Japan, and I put further research on those aside for later.

By the one year anniversary of the quake, we were prepared for another major quake. However, that’s when things started to change.

The Cheat Days

Starting about one year after the quake, three things happened that caused everyone to calm down.

First, and most importantly, the aftershocks stopped. It suddenly became possible to relax for more than a day without literally being shaken out of a stupor. Second, in the Fukushima Number 1 discussion, both the fearmongers and the calmmongers were discredited, and we began to get much better assessments of the situation that let us make cool-headed decisions. Third, the threat of rolling blackouts ended, which also let us relax.

We did keep our eyes on Fukushima and had our bug-out bags and radiation pills ready. We also still knew our escape routes and bug-out locations and alternate bug-out locations, but the sense of urgency was fading.

We also updated the supplies, or at least some of them, and updated some of the food in our bug-out bags.

However, over time, as we relaxed more and more, the bug-out bags got pushed to the side again and stuff got stacked on top of them again. Supplies were allowed to expire, as we began to dedicate resources to other, more immediate needs.

Keeping the Fat Off

Because the initial disaster or motivation for starting prepping eventually fades into the distant past, keeping and maintaining all the supplies and gear begins to seem more trouble than it’s worth. You not only have to dig everything out and spend time sorting through it, you have to spend time shopping to replace items that are past their “use by” dates. It’s possible that a once willing spouse becomes one that questions, “Is this really necessary?” Even your friends might be asking, “You aren’t still into that stuff, are you?”

At this point, serious discipline and habit has to take over. It’s helpful to begin expanding your skills by taking survival courses or first aid classes. We always remind ourselves that it’s best to learn these things when it’s calm. (Once your car is in a slide, it’s too late to learn how to steer out of a slide.)

If you’ve already taken such courses, you can work on updating your skills. You can also work on refining your prepping system and updating your supplies.

We’ve partially automated the process of updating supplies. I’ve marked on every calendar, both paper and electronic, which days we should check the emergency supplies. I’ve also set my electronic calendars to send me reminders as the check dates approach.

Fortunately, as we assembled our gear and supplies, we kept good notes about what was in each bag, the expiration dates of each item, and when each item was last checked. Because we live in a humid climate with hot summers, we find it important to check any metal cans for signs of rust and the batteries for signs of corrosion. The rest we check to make sure there’s no damage.

Each bag contains an inventory sheet with key information. As of now, the sheets are handwritten with a fountain pen using Noodler’s Black (Bulletproof) ink, which is a waterproof, archival ink.

These are samples of our inventory sheets. Please note: Because the actual sheets are handwritten, these are merely examples. They also do not represent the complete lists of everything in the bags.

Large Bag

Supply

Amount

Placed

Expiration

Checked

Water

12 liters

6/20/12

7/11/17

6/20/13 7/26/14

Food (cans)

10

6/20/12

6/15/15

6/20/13 7/26/14

Food (MRE)

12

6/20/12

4/30/15

6/20/13 7/26/14

Maglite(s)

1

6/20/12

 

6/20/13 7/26/14

Batteries (AA)

8

6/20/12

5/15/15

6/20/13 7/26/14

Butane Lighter

2

6/20/12

6/20/15

6/20/13 7/26/14

Large FAK

1

6/20/12

6/20/15

6/20/13 7/26/14

Silver Bag

Supply

Amount

Placed

Expiration

Checked

Water

6 liters

6/20/12

7/11/17

6/20/13 7/26/14

Food (cans)

4

6/20/12

6/15/15

6/20/13 7/26/14

Food (MRE)

8

6/20/12

4/30/15

6/20/13 7/26/14

Maglite(s)

1

6/20/12

 

6/20/13 7/26/14

Batteries (AA)

8

6/20/12

5/15/15

6/20/13 7/26/14

Butane Lighter

2

6/20/12

6/20/15

6/20/13 7/26/14

Large FAK

1

6/20/12

6/20/15

6/20/13 7/26/14

As batteries reach expiration, we pull them out of the bags, and they are relegated for use in household items. Also, regardless of what it says on the package, our plan is to never have batteries older than three years in our bags.

We store the kit flashlights without batteries to prevent corrosion; we have other flashlights for immediate emergencies, but once a year we take them out, put in some of the old batteries, and make sure the lights still operate.

To check the butane lighters, we simply flick them to make sure they still produce flame. They are also replaced after three years.

The First Aid Kits have their own inventory sheets, and expiring contents are replaced every three years as is anything with yellowing paper.

The Family Diet

Because our girls are now older, we’ve also been able to keep our focus by teaching them how to assemble and check gear, use small knives, and start fires with our various fire starting materials. Each has her own bug-bag she’s responsible for checking, using the inventory sheet. She also has to make sure any clothes in her bag still fit.

At this point, we also assess the bug-out bags themselves. Are they still in good shape? Are they still adequate for the job? Is something better available? Our youngest is about to turn nine. Her current bag is small and pink and holds a couple of bottles of water, some snack food, a small first aid kid, extra clothes and a couple of toys. It’s little more than a way for her to pretend she’s involved. However, now that she’s taller and stronger, we can give her a slightly larger, slightly heavier bag with a few more actual supplies. This year we also plan to replace our silver bag, which is little more than a shiny duffle bag that is common in Japan. We want to get something that both holds more items and is easier to carry, as the current one lacks a hip belt.

One way we try to keep the checking and updating process fun is to have meals based solely on our old supplies (mainly the dried goods and intact canned goods). We once ate six year old cookies and five year old canned bread. We also regularly have meals with new kinds of emergency food, just so we can figure out what we all like and what is easy to prepare. At the same time, we cycle out our stored water and begin cooking our regular meals with it.

We buy and try new gear, including flashlights and small stoves, to keep our equipment up to date. We also swap out parts of the bags depending on the weather. Because of our environment, we won’t need heavy gloves and wool caps and scarves during the summer. We therefore swap those things out with extra bug spray and cool packs.

Although this is fun, the hardest part is keeping up the interest in doing drills. Every couple of months, we practice evacuating the house. Everyone gets their gear, and we report to a place outside. The girls used to enjoy it. Now, especially to the teenager, it all seems silly. During the sweltering summer months, it all feels sweaty and exhausting, and it’s very easy for us to say, “Let’s just wait until autumn to do this.” There’s no way to make this fun, though. It just has to be done.

Getting On the Scale

At this point, I’d say we are still prepared, but it is a lot of work. Prepping is not something you do once, even if you live in an area that’s not prone to regular earthquakes. It’s a process, and it takes discipline, especially when things have been calm for a long time.

Letter Re: NYC Chokehold

Hugh,

The man resisted arrest. Do you think he was right to do that? Don’t you agree he had other options, like complying, and he exercised a poor one? Is it the officer’s fault he’s obese and at great health risk before he was contacted? Do you or anyone else expect any officer intending to make an arrest to change their mind because you disagree? The suspect, God have mercy on him, did the wrong thing. When you do the wrong thing, you end up with undesirable results. Those officers effected the arrest of a much larger man by the means available.

He was given opportunity to comply. He refused and physically resisted.

They were under no obligation, while making the physical arrest, to be “fair” or make themselves vulnerable to assault. If he had complied, he’d be alive and able to appeal his arrest. Make your case of police abuse somewhere else. There are certainly better examples. I hope you don’t hold this suspect and his actions out as some sort of example to be followed.

Hugh Replies: There is a greater issue at stake here than just this one man’s experience. Non-violent civil disobedience has a longstanding tradition in the United States as a valid form of resistance to effect change of public policy. I would point you to the Civil Rights Movement in which citizens disobeyed laws in order to lay claim to rights that were being denied to them. While those who participate in civil disobedience often expect to be arrested and maybe even beaten, death is usually not an expected outcome, especially in the United States of America.

In addition, when you are the guardian of a minor, there is a certain expectation of protection of that person’s well-being, even when you are disciplining them. Though this person was not a minor, when the government decides to place you under arrest, they place themselves in the position of guardianship over the person being arrested, and they assume the responsibility for the well-being of that person. There is reasonable expectation that they will act only with the appropriate amount of force in order to affect the desired outcome. When a person is resisting arrest, there is an expectation of escalating, but still appropriate, force. There is no reasonable expectation that death should be the outcome of a non-violent resistance. Contrary to your statement, they do indeed retain the obligation to be fair and reasonable, because they are asserting themselves as “guardian”.

In any case, even if the alleged “chokehold” was necessary to take the person down, they are still on the hook for his health and well being. When the person claimed he couldn’t breathe, they were obligated to make sure he could. When he quit resisting because he went unconscious (due to their direct actions), they were obligated to begin lifesaving measures. CPR is a basic skill and is tough to do wrong. The responsibility to provide life-saving CPR, which all LE are trained in, is an aspect of this situation that I can’t imagine anyone defending these officers for denying.

This, of course, brings to the forefront the greater issue of why non-violent offenders are treated, arrested, judged, convicted, and incarcerated as if they are extremely violent. Our legal and penal systems are choked by this lack of differentiation, and we are creating “hardened” criminals by the thousands because of this.

Odds ‘n Sods:

Photos Emerge Of 10 “Active Militia Teams” Securing The US-Mexico Border. – H.L.

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Worth 1,000 words: Pictures of Hamas tunnels in Gaza. – JMC

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Video: Illegal aliens get more money than most Americans: Collect More Than $7,000 Per Month for ‘Fostering’ Adult Illegal Aliens. – P.M.

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SurvivalBlog Reader K.S. wrote in to tell us that those who are interested in “Slow Sand Filter Plans” can save lots of time and effort by using a swimming pool sand filter. They are built the same way but are smaller because they use a pump vs. gravity to push the water through the sand. You may need to enlarge the depth of the tank, but the basics are all there, including the ability to back flush and clean the filter.

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Stopping Deadly Ebola Outbreak Will Be a ‘Marathon,’ CDC Says. – A.D.

Hugh’s Quote of the Day:

“Just as the soul gives life to the body, so faith is the life of the soul. And just as life cannot be maintained within the human body without nourishment, so likewise faith (the life of the soul) requires its own sustenance: the Word of God.” – Pierre Viret

Notes for Tuesday – July 29, 2014

July 29th, 1805, is the birthday of Alexis-Charles-Henri Clérel de Tocqueville, who died April 16, 1859,

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Today we present another entry for Round 53 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The $11,000+ worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course (a $1,195 value),
  2. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  3. Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  4. A $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear,
  5. A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value),
  6. A $300 gift certificate from Freeze Dry Guy,
  7. A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo,
  8. A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of GoldAndSilverOnline.com, (currently valued at around $180 postpaid),
  9. Both VPN tunnel and DigitalSafe annual subscriptions from Privacy Abroad (a combined value of $195),
  10. KellyKettleUSA.com is donating both an AquaBrick water filtration kit and a Stainless Medium Scout Kelly Kettle Complete Kit with a combined retail value of $304,
  11. APEX Gun Parts is donating a $250 purchase credit, and
  12. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $300 gift certificate.

Second Prize:

  1. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
  2. A FloJak EarthStraw “Code Red” 100-foot well pump system (a $500 value), courtesy of FloJak.com,
  3. Acorn Supplies is donating a Deluxe Food Storage Survival Kit with a retail value of $350,
  4. The Ark Instituteis donating a non-GMO, non-hybrid vegetable seed package–enough for two families of four, seed storage materials, a CD-ROM of Geri Guidetti’s book “Build Your Ark! How to Prepare for Self Reliance in Uncertain Times”, and two bottles of Potassium Iodate– a $325 retail value,
  5. $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P),
  6. A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials,
  7. Twenty Five books, of the winners choice, of any books published by PrepperPress.com (a $270 value),
  8. Two cases of meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value),
  9. Dri-Harvestfoods.com in Bozeman, Montana is providing a prize bundle with Beans, Buttermilk Powder, Montana Hard Red Wheat, Drink Mixes, and White Rice, valued at $333,
  10. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $150 gift certificate,
  11. Organized Prepper is providing a $500 gift certificate, and
  12. RepackBoxis providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
  3. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  4. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security,
  5. A MURS Dakota Alert Base Station Kit with a retail value of $240 from JRH Enterprises,
  6. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances,
  7. Ambra Le Roy Medical Products in North Carolina is donating a bundle of their traditional wound care and first aid supplies, with a value of $208, and
  8. SurvivalBased.com is donating a $500 gift certificate to their store.

Round 53 ends on July 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

Killing, Dying, and Death – Part II, by M.H.

Are fighters born or made? Who knows. That has been well analyzed by many psychiatrists who generally lack the key ingredient of first hand combat experience. Research that on your own if you choose. I will tell you it does not matter. If you were born that way, good for you; if not, MAKE yourself the fighter!

What does it take to become the fighter though? It takes mental training, physical fitness, and of course both general and specific training.

Mental training.

Some call it visualization training. You go over the scenario of choice in your head and examine the ways to make the outcome in your favor, and then you make them work. It is used as positive imagery, to help you think you can defeat Goliath rather than be overcome by fear. Visualizing yourself getting defeated is a sure way to make sure you get defeated. God’s will aside, and faith in God aside, David had an “I will kill this giant” attitude. Do you think the outcome would have been the same if he would have thought like every man in King Saul’s army?

Every day in Iraq, I would mentally go over possible scenarios that could happen, and in those scenarios I would always make myself win. When I say win, I mean that I and mine live and my enemies die. To this day, I still use this method of mental training. If I am walking through the woods with my wife and kids and a black bear runs into us and does not run away instantly, I will be dropping my ruck/daughter for my wife to grab, and I will be going head on, running fast, into the animal. However, what if there is no time to drop my ruck that I carry my daughter in? Well, I may not charge the animal, but rather I’ll go lateral to it while instructing my wife the other direction as I shoot. What if, for some retarded reason, I don’t have my gun? I will dump my ruck, regardless of it all, and go at the animal with my knife or whatever weapon of opportunity I can grab, so my family can get to safety. Is that likely to result in my getting mauled rather than my kicking a bear’s butt? It’s likely, but I’d rather get eaten fighting than never think about it and stare in panic, or try to outrun a bear while carrying my three-year-old and my wife carrying our two year old. The key is that I will make the most aggressive, violent action possible to the point that that bear wonders what is happening to him, as I stab him in the eye with a stick, repeatedly. I do not let anything but my winning enter my mind, no matter the odds. If I had the thought that there was no possible way I’m going to fight off or kill a bear with my pocket knife, then I have already accepted defeat and may as well lie down in the trail and let him eat me and my family. (This is just an example. If you live in Alaska and want to fake dead for a grizzly, work through that in your own mind.)

Throw an angry squirrel into a van full of linebackers. That little guy, through rapid aggressive action, will have big “tough” men jumping out the doors in no time. One good smack is all it would take to kill the squirrel, but the squirrel does not care. All he knows is he wants to destroy everyone in the van, and he will.

What choice should you make? Is there a right choice or a wrong choice? No. Just make a choice, and make it fast, aggressive, and violent. Hesitation will get you killed. Having already lived through similar scenarios in your mind will help your auto pilot work how you taught it to work. All the while, you know if you do die, it will be taking as many of your enemies with you as humanly possible, before you choke to death on your own blood.

Physical fitness.

This may seem insensitive and harsh, but if you are obese, all the mental visualization training will not get you whopping up on anybody who requires you to do much more then throw your weight on them. Get off your butt, and go hike up a mountain. Don’t give me that “I’m putting on fat for food when the supply dwindles down” excuse. Do you need to look all muscular and fit? No, nor should that be a goal. It may be a byproduct of your training, dependent on your body type, but it is secondary to the focus of being strong, fast, agile, and having endurance. You need endurance to thrown on a ruck and go hiking for ten miles in the dark because your retreat was burned to the ground and half your friends were killed. You need speed to run into firefights or away from firefights, depending on the situation (that is another topic). You need strength to grab your buddy and throw him on your shoulders because his leg just got blown off, or to pull something up a cliff. You also need agility as you run through the woods or walk over rough terrain with your weapon at the ready. Some are born for more of one then the other, but don’t excuse yourself because of your body type. Work is the key word here folks. Do the best with the body type God gave you. If you are truly “big” boned, you should be stronger than an ox without much trouble, but you may have to work for endurance. Smaller builds may have to work more for strength, but you will have better speed and agility. We are all here for different reasons and with different gifts, just make sure you don’t so limit yourself to one thing that you are hopelessly lacking in another.

Ladies, you too can be much stronger than you think. Will you match the strength of a man? No, but that does not mean you should limit yourself to elliptical machines and long walks. Do some pull ups and squats!

I currently work in the medical field, and I can tell you that overweight and obese patients cannot hardly help themselves out of bed when they are remotely sick. Healthy-weighted, 90 year old ladies may have a horrible pneumonia, but they can still walk around. Fat is also harder to grab onto. Take two unconscious men– one who is 200 lbs of muscle, at 5’8′, and the other who is 200 lbs of fat at 5’8″. The fat guy is twice as hard to pick up and move around as the other. So, in addition to making yourself more useful in general, by having a healthy body fat percentage, you make it easier for your buddy to help you if needed.

You will be a better fighter if you are fit. No question about it. Your body will handle stress better. You will live longer, if you don’t get killed first, and you will feel better, sleep better, and even look better. You can get more work done. In general, it just makes sense, but it’s hard to workout. Cry me a river. You think TEOTWAWKI is going to be easy? Your 1-week practice run of living out of the pantry was easy; try doing that while running security patrols in 0 degree temperatures, getting your compound shot to bits, carrying buckets of water ½ mile since the well went dry, explaining to your kids that Grandma and Grandpa’s house just got burned down since there will be no “sheltering” your children from what will become the new norm. It’s all hard. So go do something that gets/keeps you in shape.

With all that being said, I’m 30 years old. A 50 year old may have a hard time doing what I do. Recognize your limitations but don’t use that as an excuse. I would not currently go on an event that involved swimming a mile. I know that I would be a hazard at this time, since I have not been keeping up on my swimming! Don’t be the one who becomes a liability because you can’t physically do something you should have known was impossible or too difficult for you. If you cannot do a pull up, perhaps you should avoid the event that would require a lot of rope climbing or rock climbing, eh?

Training

Training is getting up and doing it! That is the only way you will learn new things and perfect them. Ever hear about the guy who buys all the latest gear to go hiking with and ends up dumping it or quitting, because he never tried it in the field before he went out on a seven day hunt? The same applies for preparedness. You have a state of the art piston driven AR15 with a $2000 Nightforce scope and Surefire flashlight that you have only shot 40 times out to 100 yards with plinking ammo instead of your “survival” ammo. So, let’s say I come along at 400 yards with my spray painted, scuffed up, AR with a $800 scope with ammo that I know what it does and have it written on my gun because my gun is a tool, not a pretty thing to look at. I am going to kill you and give your fancy AR15 to one of my buddies. Not really, because I am not a murderer, but you get the point, I hope.

I hand-built a child carrier for my 35-pound daughter to attach to my Kifaru ruck, and I have since built a second one that works better. Why? Because I noticed on a 12-mile hike that it did not ride quite right, and I knew I could make it better. The better it rides me, the further I can go and the more useful I am when I get where were going. I no longer wear hoodies with the pass through waist pocket or leave my right lower pocket unzipped on my coats, if I’m openly carrying in the woods, because I’ve noticed a tendency for that little bit of material to stick out enough to catch my muzzle as I draw. How do I know that? I know that from experience drawing in different clothes. If somebody would have told me that, it would have made sense. However, nothing is as good as doing it yourself to figure things out.

Thinking I’m just going to shoot bad guys from my retreat hill top without getting on said hilltop, with my rifle of choice and ranging stuff out and making range cards so I KNOW I can shoot bad guys from said hilltop, is foolish at best. Reading about how to start an IV because your kid got a gut bug and is severely dehydrated is great. Try doing it sometime, because it’s not as easy as it looks on YouTube. If you can’t get it, get an ER nurse to teach you, lest the time you really need it, you cannot do it. Doing mag changes standing in your living room watching a Die Hard 3 is better than nothing, but how about magazine changes while lying in the mud or snow? Or while running? Or after a max set of pullups? Better yet while your buddy throws a bucket of sand or mud on your face?

Train with your gear on that you plan to use! A popular movement now is the IPSC-style shooting. Running from obstacle to obstacle, shooting around stuff, under stuff, and so on is great, right? Aside from the fact that there are some incredible shooters doing these events, let’s look at it in terms of combat patrolling, climbing up mountains or buildings, crossing rivers, and riding horses and four-wheelers, while snowshoeing, and so on: Do you plan to put on a belt that pushes your mags and pistol 2″ out from your body with no form of retention other than friction? What happens when you put on a chest rig for that AR you plan on carrying? What about the body armor and plates you plan on putting on before you hike to your retreat? What about putting on a ruck with all your gear to get from A to B? While not trying to take away any value from IPSC events, I want you to train how you plan to fight. I love friction retention mag holders, for the SPEED and simplicity. Would I jump out of a plane, rappel a cliff, or cross a raging river with such a device? Let me see… No way. Would you? I really like the buckle on my drop holster right in front of my thigh, right until I lay down and it makes more noise than needed by hitting/scraping the floor. So, I move the buckle more to the inside of my thigh and I use retention mag pouches. Is it slower, yes, but they are always there.

Do I like all my gear on my waist? Of course. Well the waist belt on my ruck doesn’t do much good if it has to go around a pistol, three mags, a flashlight, and a knife. Not too long ago, in the Marine Corps as a Scout Sniper, I never used a waist belt with a very heavy ruck at times, just so I could dump that thing faster than a hot potato, if need be. Now I’m not so tough, and my scapula’s hurt from all that abuse, so I use a waist belt most of the time. Other gear is adjusted accordingly. Occasionally, in getting off my rear and putting my gear on, I find the shortcomings in both my setup and my training, so I know what to adjust and/or practice more.

You must also continually train. This may be hard to do, but I think of all the times I have sat on my rear and watched a movie when I could have been training, even in a small way. What a waste. People often think that the military’s special forces are just super human and have so much cool gear that they can’t help but be awesome. Not really, they just train more than the conventional military. Training will make you learn what works and what does not. Head knowledge is nothing, if you have not tested and proven it.

Put the big three together and you will be better at killing the enemy and protecting the good people– family or not, whomever that may be. A fit, trained guy scared of dying is worth little when the going gets rough. A mentally prepared fit guy with no training is worth a little more. A mentally prepared, trained, fit guy or gal is priceless. Remember though, just because you train hard and prepare does not mean you won’t end up crawling through a ditch holding your bowels in with your foot blown off and no ammo left. However, you still have a knife that will take one more evil guy out, right?

A sidebar

As I mentioned earlier, I would return to a certain point about the so called “tough” guys in the Marines I dealt with. They were pansies, thugs, disgraces to the real fighters. Sure, not everybody was a motivated fearless fighter, but at least some did not run from trouble. Remember, that Nazi storm troopers or typical thugs are tough when the odds are in their favor. One thug by his lonesome is going to try to blend in, so he can live another day. He is not likely so dedicated to his cause that he is willing to die for it. A perfect example of this mindset, politics aside, is the Bundy Ranch incident. All the BLM guys were real tough and aggressive until they were massively outnumbered. All of a sudden a bunch of guys “just doing their jobs” were not so anxious to do their jobs any more. Currently, we have SWAT teams taking down one man in one house with MRAPs and 20 officers. If they know the guy is a potential fighter, they up that significantly, like in Waco Texas. I am not using these examples to encourage anything lawless but rather to demonstrate the very common lack of combat mindset that individuals have.