Notes for Tuesday – May 24, 2016

On May 24th, 1775, John Hancock was elected president of the Second Continental Congress. He is best known for his large signature on the Declaration of Independence, which he jested the British could read without spectacles.

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Today, we present another entry for Round 64 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $12,000 worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A Tactical Self-Contained 2-Series Solar Power Generator system from Always Empowered. This compact starter power system is packaged in a wheeled O.D. green EMP-shielded Pelican hard case (a $1,700 value),
  2. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate that is good for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,195 value),
  3. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical 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,
  4. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 Nato QD Billet upper with a hammer forged, chrome-lined barrel and a hard case to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel, which can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools and a compact carry capability in a hard case or 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  5. Gun Mag Warehouse is providing 20 Magpul PMAG 30-rd Magazines (a value of $300) and a Gun Mag Warehouse T-Shirt; (an equivalent prize will be awarded for residents in states with magazine restrictions),
  6. Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  7. The Ark Institute is donating a non-GMO, non-hybrid vegetable seed package (enough for two families of four) plus 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),
  8. A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
  9. KellyKettleUSA.com is donating an AquaBrick water filtration kit with a retail value of $250, and
  10. Two cases of meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

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 transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
  3. A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
  4. A Trekker IV™ Four-Person Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $250 value),
  5. A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by PrepperPress.com,
  6. A pre-selected assortment of military surplus gear from CJL Enterprize (a $300 value),
  7. RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site, and
  8. Safecastle is providing a package of 10 LifeStraws (a $200 value)
  9. American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. A $245 gift certificate from custom knife-maker Jon Kelly Designs, of Eureka, Montana,
  3. 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,
  4. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  5. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
  6. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances,
  7. Montie Gear is donating a Precision Rest (a $249 value), and
  8. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value).

Round 64 ends on May 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.

The Prepper’s American Dream: A Practical Guide To Strategic Relocation- Part 1, by Charles T.

If you closed your eyes and pictured your ideal bug out location, what would your mind’s eye see? You’d probably see green grass, blue skies, rolling hills, fertile farmland, your family, friendly neighbors, and a basement stocked with a thousand years of food and supplies. Now, open your eyes. Is that what surrounds you now? If not, then why not? Are you stuck in a job, weighed down by family obligations, struggling with debt, or just filled with fear?

Many of us have an idea of what we want in life and what we think would be best for our family, but at the end of the day that picture seems a far cry from reality. Do we have the guts to change this, to actually do something about our current situation? Or, are we content just reading blogs and fantasizing about “some day”?

About four years ago, my wife and I started taking a difficult look at our current situation. Was the life we were living the life we wanted? And if not, could we change it? We had some hard talks about our individual and family values. Through a few months of discussion and learning we decided that:

  1. We wanted to live within our means and carry no debt, other than a mortgage.
  2. We wanted to get out of our apartment and buy a house.
  3. Our ideal location was somewhere rural, with mountains and plenty of outdoor places to explore.
  4. My wife wanted to stay home with any future children we had, and potentially home school.
  5. I wanted a career where I would work to live and not live to work.

Were these things happening already or were they possible in the future, with our current path?

The answer came back sharply as “no”.

  1. We had about 40k worth of debt from school and car loans.
  2. On one salary, we could not afford any house in our area, even with no other debt.
  3. We lived in one of the most over-priced and congested areas of the country.
  4. On one salary, we could not afford a house and kids.
  5. Conversations with my boss assured me that “in order to move ahead in this company, I would need to be prepared to miss my kids’ kindergarten graduations”.

So, basically, our current situation was the complete opposite of where we wanted to be, and it conflicted entirely with our personal values.

What to do? At this point there were really two options.

  1. Compromise on our core values and keep both of us working and struggling to get by.
  2. Make drastic life changes with high risk to get to where we wanted to be.

We chose option #2.

It took four years, but we accomplished our goals. We paid off all our debt, searched the country for a place with a more affordable standard of living and the lifestyle we wanted, applied to jobs in the target area, accepted a job, quit our current ones, and moved 1000 miles away from where we were born and raised. Since arriving at our new “bug in” location in a wonderful small town, we have bought a house, conceived a child, and are preparing for my wife to stay at home full time while I work at my very family-oriented job.

Some people reading this have already walked this path. To others, this sounds like something out of dream that you could never imagine doing. However, you could do it. It just takes a lot of hard work, determination and luck.

This article will share how you can plan your own strategic relocation, follow the American dream, and stop living for other people’s desires instead of your own. In this article, we will cover:

  • Creating a plan,
  • Executing the plan, and
  • Surviving the plan.

Step 1: Creating A Plan

Before you start making any changes in your life, you need to plan. As Benjamin Franklin once wisely said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”

Planning task 1: Identify what you want.

This is the absolute most crucial part of the entire process. If you fail to accurately determine what you actually want to accomplish, you will spend a life time chasing the wrong dreams and suffer a lot of unnecessary hurt, anxiety, and frustration along the way. Sit down by yourself or with your spouse, and list out what you want in life.

Answer questions like:

  • If you could live anywhere, where would you live?
  • If you could work any job, what would you do?
  • How much do you value self-sufficiency over convenience?
  • How important is it to have neighbors close by or at a distance?
  • What type of work environments do I thrive in?
  • What are my financial priorities?
  • Would I rather have something I want now and be in debt or wait until it could be bought with cash?
  • What are my career aspirations?
  • What kind of luxuries could I not live without?
  • If I had a $5000 tax return, would I save it for an emergency or spend it on a vacation?
  • Do I want other people to educate my children or take that responsibility myself?
  • Do I want to run my household off one income or two?
  • Do I have hobbies that take a lot of time that I want to prioritize or can only happen in certain areas?
  • Does legislation in my current area negatively affect the freedoms I would like to pursue?
  • How important is being close to immediate family?
  • Would I be comfortable staying in my current residence in the event of societal collapse?

As you answer these questions and the many more you will think up, write them down and then share them with your spouse (or someone you trust, if you are single). Hopefully, your spouse’s and your answers will be pretty complementary. Now look carefully and with an open mind at each other’s lists. These are things they just charted out as life goals and desires. Some may seem odd or trivial to you. They are not! These are your spouse’s passions, dreams, and visions. You need to realize that if they wrote them down, they are important and need to be valued just as highly as your own desires.

I cannot overemphasize how critical it is to get this step right. Take your time. My spouse and I took months hashing this step out. It sets the direction for the rest of your life, so don’t rush it. Find the big things that you most agree on, and use those to determine your path.

Planning task 2: Identify the gaps and prioritize.

Now that you know what you want in life, check it against reality. For some of you, you are already living your dreams. Keep it up and enjoy your life. Others will notice significant gaps between what they desire and what they have.

The odds are you identified quite a few things that you would like to have or do. As best you can, you need to condense, cut, and optimize your goals. Are there any that are related and would fall into place if you hit a bigger goal? Any that really aren’t that important? Any that can be squeezed out for the sake of something better?

Try to come up with five core goals, and then document their current situation. Are they a reality, or does some hard work need to be done to get there? These are your core values and will drive the rest of this process.

Planning task 3: Plan your attack.

Now that you have identified your core values and where your current life deviates from what you want, it is time to start identifying some practical next steps. Merely knowing that things are not where you want them to be will leave you hopeless, if you fail to take the next step.

Once you have identified your core values, you may realize that you can live the life you want in your current location and relocation is not necessary. If your primary goals are career related, then moving to an area far from the city may be out of the cards, and you will need to focus more on doing the best with what you have where you are. Maybe you could develop an extremely solid alternative bug out location and escape plan for if there was an emergency.

Similarly, if you currently live close to family and have an extremely tight set of relationships and community that you are a part of, it might not be worth trading those human resources for a little more land. Groups of survivors will have a huge advantage over even individual family units in a collapse, and you want to make sure you don’t undervalue your current situation.

If you decide to stay where you are, fully commit to that vision. A less than optimal plan that is fully executed is better than a perfect plan that never gets started. There are people that will survive in every area of the world if there is a societal breakdown. Just focus on being the guy that survives and not the guy who dies.

Whether you decide to stay or go, you can still tackle your gaps. Let’s look at how to break down a gap and then accomplish it. I like to explain concepts with math, so I created a formula here to help you understand your next task.

Goal-Reality=Work

The difference between your goal and reality will determine how much work you have to do to get to where your goal is. The farther your reality is from your goal, the more work it will take to get there. If your goal is to be a self sufficient farmer in a Redoubt state, but you currently live on a beach in Maine, you have a very large gap and a lot of work ahead of you. You need to decide now that you will take whatever steps are required to get to your goal. If you don’t, you will never get there.

“A goal without a plan is a wish.” ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

For each of your goals, come up with a detailed plan of how to get there and put dates next to each step. Here is an example.

Goal: Be debt free.

Reality: 40k in debt.

Plan:

  1. Take an extra job on weekends to help pay down quicker. $200 per month.
  2. Divert “fun” expenditure money into loans. $100 per month.
  3. Skip $3600 vacation each year until debt is paid off. $300 per month.
  4. Don’t attend that cross country wedding for a cousin you haven’t seen in three years. $800 one time.
  5. Sell motorized toy that is underutilized. $3000 one time.
  6. Continue making normal payments of $500 per month.

After dumping the one time money into the debt, you will have 36200 left. Keeping the current level of monthly debt attack going, it will take you three years to get out of debt. Is this a long time? Yes. However, three years will pass quick, and you need to remember the options that will open up to you after your debt is paid off and you are not obligated to $1000 per month of payments.

Here is another common example that we will spend the rest of our time on.

Goal: Live a reasonably self-sufficient lifestyle in an area off the beaten path from the golden hoards.

Reality: Live in a third floor apartment by a major city.

Identifying that the place you currently live is most likely a death trap in a SHTF event and is not where you want to be long term is one of the most difficult Goal-Reality formulas to solve. Where you live has enormous implications for your lifestyle. Changing your current location without adequate foresight can have catastrophic consequences for yourself, your family, and your career. As a result of these consequences, the plan here needs to be detailed, well thought out,and created with full buy-in from all interested parties.

Letter Re: Hobbit Houses

Hugh,

I looked at these houses you can bury. We found a few areas of concern. They are joined together in such a way that we were concerned about leakage. Also, you can only bury in about 6″ to 8″ of dirt, which doesn’t give much protection.

We are planning to get InterShelter Domes. They come in 14′ diameter or 20′ diameter, and domes can be attached to each other to make bigger dwellings. InterShelter Domes withstand hurricane force winds, earthquakes, and require no maintenance.

InterShelter Domes are made of aerospace fiberglass, and you would have to hold a blow torch in one spot for some time to get it to melt.

With the insulation package, the AT&T Dome in the Arctic has daily sustained winds of 225 mph and minus 40 degrees temperature. The inside stays a comfortable 72 degrees using only a space heater. In over ten years of use, it has required no maintenance.

A dome can be put up by two people in four hours, using only a screwdriver, wrench, and ladder. The dome can be hauled to your site in the back of a pickup or on a small trailer.

Domes come in several colors to blend in with your environment OR the dome can be covered with cob made from local dirt to make it almost invisible.

InterShelter Domes are considerably less expensive than Hobbit Houses. The 14′ dome is $7,500 and the 20′ dome is $12,500. By using the code MOGL, you can get $1,000 off your dome!!!!

The domes can be put on a concrete pad, deck, or even the dirt. There is also an optional flooring system.

Here is a link to see what they look like http://mountainviewoffgridliving.com/InterShelter-Domes.php

If you install the Kimberly Stove, Sun-Mar Composting Toilet, and Propur Water Purification System, you have the ULTIMATE retreat. – S.W.

News From The American Redoubt:

John Jacob, of Radio Free Redoubt, has sent in the link to a document from IdahoFreedom.org on the “Freedom Index” of the various Idaho candidates up for election. If a candidate rated a “D” or an “F”, vote them out. There are far too many candidates that do not value your freedom! You can also get more voter information and election resources/articles to help you decide at http://www.redoubtnews.com and http://idahofreedom.org.

In the primaries, there were some good outcomes, but mostly Bad ones. Let’s stay on top of this as we get closer to November.

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Wyoming welder, facing $16M in fines, beats EPA in battle over stock pond

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Video Blogger “ttabbs” posted a new educational video to help folks become more aware of the geological history of the inland NW related to the ice age floods as seen from the air. There is some beautiful scenery, and it’s a great educational video for the kids.

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Recall petition filed against Harney County Judge Steve Grasty -If every patriot just cleaned up in his own neighborhood of scum bags like this we could have this country cleaned up in a couple of weeks. – RBS

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Finicum Shooting: Was Bundy Driver/“Bodyguard” an FBI Agent Provocateur? – RBS

Economics and Investing:

Reader S.M. wrote in to say:

“At times I need to ship gold coins so I joined the North American Collectibles Association. That gave me access to their private insurance program, which covers up to $75,000 per shipment. The rates for insurance are way lower than USPS registered mail, or the rates charged by UPS and Fedex. You can ship via USPS, FedEx, UPS, even domestic freight. I paid less than $100 to insure $75,000 shipments.

“They state that most claims are settled in 30 days. I’ve never had a claim with NACA, but the one time I had a USPS registered mail shipment get stolen, the claim process took 6 months and a lot of hassle.”

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Putting it on plastic again – Record number of credit cards issued in 2015 surging 90 percent from 2009. 60 million credit cards issued last year alone.

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Why The Arctic Oil Dream Is Not Over Yet

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Next Up For Our Chaotic World “What will happen in our increasingly chaotic financial world? For sensible analysis, seek the most intelligent, least biased, and experienced people … central bankers, most economists, and all politicians are, of course, not eligible.”

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SurvivalBlog and its editors are not paid investment counselors or advisers. Please see our Provisos page for details.

Odds ‘n Sods:

Need more evidence that public schools are nothing more than Marxist propaganda tools? Portland Public Schools ban textbooks that cast doubt on climate change. Get you kids out while you can! – C.T.

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Four Refugees With Infectious Tuberculosis Sent to Indiana in 2015. – Our Govt. does not protect us! TB is nothing to fool with, especially the resistant kind. Costs America dollars and is a health risk. – H.L.

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The most dangerous, and underreported, part of Obama’s transgender edict – RBS

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Several readers sent in this link: Scenes From The Venezuela Apocalypse: “Countless Wounded” After 5,000 Loot Supermarket Looking For Food

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Believe in Biology? Canada To Sentence ‘Anti-Trans’ Speakers to Prison… – B.B.

Notes for Monday – May 23, 2016

May 23 is the birthday of George Lars Kellgren (born 1943 in Borås, Sweden), the founder and chief engineer of Kel-Tec. According to LeftistAgendaPedia, he designed many firearms for Husqvarna and Swedish Interdynamics AB in Sweden. He moved to the U.S. in 1979 and his original U.S. designs were for Intratec and Grendel brand firearms. He founded Kel-Tec in 1991.

This is also the day on which, in 1934, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were killed by police near Gibbsland, Louisiana.

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Don’t forget! We are coming up on the end of Round 64 of the SurvivalBlog Writing Contest. If you have an article you would like to submit to the contest, finish it up and email it to SurvivalBlog. If you haven’t read the list of prizes that are going to the top winners, you should take the time to read them below. Sometimes I look at these prizes and wish I could enter the contest! Remember, if you have won the contest before and it has been longer than a year, you can enter and be eligible again. Past winners of the Honorable Mention prizes can enter the contest any time.

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Ready Made Resources is having a sale on the Night Vision Depot. PVS-14 3GEN hp+ Autogated ITT PInnacle Night Vision Unit. These are the best there are and come with a 10 year factory warranty. At only $2950, it is a must have.

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Camping Survival just received a large shipment of Mountain House foods and is wanting to move them out the door quickly. Up to 40% off of all MH foods from May 23rd to the 29th.

Pat Cascio’s Product Review: CRKT Ken Onion “Outrage”

I’ve personally been designing knives for about 30 years. I commissioned various custom knife makers to produce my designs, most of which were for my own personal use. However, several of my designs are being produced by Mil-Tac Knives & Tools and Columbia River Knife & Tool for retail sale. I’m honored that these companies thought enough of my designs to produce and sell them to the public at large.

I make no claims to being any sort of world famous knife designer. I just know what I like and what works. I wish I had the talent to actually make handmade knives, but, alas, my hands and brain won’t work together. I’ve had a professional custom knife maker try to teach me to make knives, all to no avail. It’s no easy task, designing a knife that has all the elements that most people will like. Everyone’s hands are different sizes, and we all know what we like in a knife when it is in our hands. A knife design has to flow. If it doesn’t, then it is nothing more than a sharpened crow bar of sorts, and at that, a poor substitute for a crow bar. My only claim to fame as a knife designer is what I learned in my high school drafting classes. However, if you were to see some of my original designs I put down on paper, you’d wonder how the final product turned out as well as it did.

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Ken Onion, who is a world famous knife designer and custom knife maker, is one of those knife designers whose designs always seem to flow. No matter what knife he designs and has made, they all have that “flair” that is distinctly a Ken Onion design. Onion has collaborated with several knife companies over the years to produce some of his designs so that we all could afford to purchase them. I wish I could afford one of his custom hand-made knives, but they seem to start at about $4,000 and go up from there, and there is a waiting list to buy his knives. They are always in great demand. If you’re lucky to catch Onion at a knife show and you want one of the knives on his table, don’t put it down; write him a check on the spot. If you put the knife down, the odds are that someone next to you will buy it.

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Enter the Columbia River Knife & Tool’s Onion “Outrage”– one of Ken’s newest and hottest designs in a folding knife. The Outrage is produced in China; however, as I’ve stated over the years, you get as good of a knife as you want made in China or Taiwan. So don’t let that “made overseas” moniker scare you away. The Outrage is 7.88 inches in overall length when opened. Closed it is 4.67 inches, and it weighs 4.5 oz, with a blade length of 3.19 inches made out of 8Cr13MoV stainless steel. The Rockwell hardness of the blade is 58-60, which is about perfect for this stainless steel. It has a nice satin finish on the blade with a hollow grind, and the blade is a drop point design. The handle material is 6061 aluminum with some beautiful sculpting on it for a sure grip, and there is a small lanyard hole in the butt of the blade. The locking mechanism is a locking liner, and the liner is made out of 2Cr13 stainless steel.

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The aluminum handle scales are dark gray in color– gun metal gray! The blade comes out of the handle with a simple push of the “flipper”; there are no thumb studs at all. The blade rides on the IKBS ball bearing pivot system that deploys the blade ever so smoothly (effortlessly). With just a light push on the flipper, and the blade is out and locked. It is butter smooth, for lack of a better description. We also have the pocket/clothing clip, which allows for tip up carry in the right pocket. However, the knife can also be deployed from the left front trouser pocket as well.

I like to call the Outrage a “Gentleman’s folder”, but I’m not making any claims to being any sort of world recognized “gent” of any sorts. Still, the Outrage has that certain style and flair, and when you pull it out of your pocket to do some serious cutting chores it just screams “Gent’s” folder to my way of thinking. It’s very classy looking, to say the least. CRKT is so proud of this newest Onion designed folder that they have featured it on the front cover of their 2016 catalog.

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Now, don’t let the term “Gent’s” folder fool you into believing that the Outrage is only meant for pulling out of your pocket at a meeting and cleaning your finger nails with it. Such is not the case. To be sure, when working corporate security, I’ve seen guys pull their pocket knives out and clean their finger nails. I don’t know if their fingernails were dirty, they were just showing off their folding knife, or they were just bored to death, like I have been in many meetings that produced no results.

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For the better part of a month, the CRKT Outrage rode in my right front pocket. I actually do carry all the folding knives I get for testing, sometimes for a week and other times, if time permits and I don’t have too many folding knives on-hand for testing, for a month or so. I hardly knew the folder was in my pocket; it rode nice and low, with the somewhat wide pocket/clothing clip, but it was still readily accessible for fast deployment.

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During the course of my testing, the knife was used around the kitchen, even though it wasn’t designed for this sort of work. It did fine cutting veggies and meats. I also tested it against some poly rope, which is super tough stuff to cut, and I did have to cut through the rope twice to cut completely through it. It is thick rope. However, the blade didn’t slip off the poly rope; it dug right into it. Almost daily, I have either USPS, UPS, or FedEx bringing me packages that need to be opened. They’re usually boxes, and this is always a good test of any knife. Cardboard is really tough on a blade and will dull one in short order, too. The Outrage had no problem handling any of the daily tasks I set it against.

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Many people tend to forget that a knife, any knife, is a tool first of all and can substitute as a weapon secondly. Now, I wouldn’t want to go up against someone who is armed with a firearm, or for that matter a baseball bat, armed only with a folding knife. However, there are circumstances where I can see a folding knife used for self defense, especially in some of the big cities where there are restrictions on carry handguns or they are flat out prohibited from being carried. If stopped by the police for whatever reason and they spotted the Outrage, the knife doesn’t scream “tactical” to my way of thinking; it is just a very classy looking folder. Some folding knives look vicious, and the police might really start to question you as to why you are carrying such a knife. With the Outrage, if questioned, you would simply state you use the knife to open your mail at work or for daily cutting chores. The Outrage really grew on me during the long-term testing, and I hated to put it aside when several other folding knives arrived that I needed to test for future articles. The Outrage feels really good in the hand, and I let a lot of people handle it. They all commented on how good it felt, and said it’s not too big or too small, either. I prefer folding knives with blade of 3.5 to 4.0 inches for the most part, but this Outrage just really caught my attention.

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Full retail on the CRKT Outrage is only $69.99, and it is a bargain. If you shop around, you can often find most CRKT products discounted deeply. Now, here’s the bad news; I checked the CRKT website while working on the article and found that the Outrage is currently out of stock, which doesn’t surprise me in the least. Ken Onion knives, either factory produced or his hand made versions, are always in great demand. Check out the Outrage at your nearest knife or gun shop. I’m expecting you’ll break the wallet out and buy it!

– Senior Product Review Editor, Pat Cascio

Pat Cascio’s Product Review: Black Hills Ammunition .380 ACP Xtreme Defense

I have been running Black Hills Ammunition through my firearms since 1992, when I first started writing gun articles. I have yet to have a single round fail me in any way. I think it is safe to say that I’ve easily fired hundreds of thousands of rounds of Black Hills ammo through various firearms for articles. And, to be sure, Black Hills is always on the cutting edge of new products. However, with that said, they do not just jump on the band wagon because everyone else is doing so.

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Jeff & Kristi Hoffman are the owners of Black Hills, and they are very proud to be one of the leading ammo manufacturers in this country. They even produce a proprietary round for all our of Special Forces. They are the only ammo maker producing this round, and that says a lot. They go to great lengths to test their ammo, and we aren’t just talking going out and shooting into ballistic gelatin either. There are many protocols that they have to go through to produce this specialty ammo for our military.

About six months ago, I asked Jeff Hoffman about this new “Xtreme” all-copper bullet that is not a hollow point; it is a solid. However, unlike a FMJ bullet, the “Xtreme” has a frontal section that looks like an “X” as you look down on the round. It isn’t just that simple, either. This bullet is designed for deep penetration, and it does not simply slip and slide through a body; instead, it rips through, creating a massive temporary wound channel.

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Hoffman promised me that he was experimenting with this new bullet and I would get some for testing. True to his word, he provided me with 300 rounds of his .380 ACP 60-gr Xtreme Defense round. That isn’t a misprint. These are a light-weight bullet at only 60 grs. Many .380 ACP bullets are in the 95-100 grs bullet weight. I received .380 ACPfrom the very first batch of this new ammo. Nice!

Now, you have to understand that, once again, this round does not perform like a FMJ round, nor does it duplicate a JHP round. Instead, as already mentioned, this round was designed to rip and tear through a body, doing the maximum damage possible, all the while penetrating deep enough to get the job done. Many JHP rounds, in lesser calibers like .380 ACP, expand nicely but they just aren’t penetrating deep enough to stop a bad guy. Penetration is king, when it comes to lesser calibers. However, you have to have a balance between penetration and having the bullet do as much damage as possible, too.

I routinely carry a little Ruger LCP.380 ACP in an ankle holster. It is a back-up to whatever my main gun is. It has been a real challenge to find just the right balance between power and penetration. I’ve used standard velocity round in FMJ and JHP as well as +P round, again in FMJ, JHP, and even Hard Cast bullets. The little Ruger has taken a beating but never failed. Needless to say, +P rounds are a real bear to shoot in the little LCP, and Ruger advises against using +P ammo in this itty-bitty gun.

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The first thing my wife (who also carries her LCP on a regular basis along with another gun was to see if these unusual rounds would even feed in our guns. There were zero malfunctions. The rounds fed and ejected nicely, and an added bonus was the very light recoil with the 60-gr bullets. It makes the little LCP very controllable, to be sure.

I also did some limited testing against water-filled milk jugs, and the Xtreme Defense round easily penetrated three gallon jugs. It didn’t just slip and slide through them; it caused massive damage, much the same as a JHP would do. Yet, it penetrated deeper.

Ammo makers are producing this round at higher velocities and are using a heavier bullet. However, Hoffman has decided on the 60-gr bullet for use in the .380 ACP, and I’m certainly not going to second guess his extensive testing and experience as an ammo maker. This is now my default round in my LCP–, as it is in my wife’s LCP, too. I’m extremely impressed with this round, and you should be, too. Black Hills Ammunition doesn’t even have this round on their website yet, but you can call and order it. I think you’ll be impressed with it.

– Senior Product Review Editor, Pat Cascio

Recipe of the Week: Corn Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 3 slightly beaten eggs
  • 2 cups cooked or canned whole kernel corn, drained
  • 2 cups milk, scalded
  • 1 Tbsp instant minced onion
  • 1 Tbsp melted butter
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Combine ingredients and pour into a greased 1½ qt baking dish (or any baking dish that fits into a 4½ quart or larger slow cooking pot).
  2. Cover with foil or a lid (but do not use plastic).
  3. Set a metal rack or trivet on the bottom of the slow cooking pot. Pour 4 cups of hot water in the pot.
  4. Set the baking dish on the rack in the hot water.
  5. Cover pot and cook on high for 2 to 2½ hours or until done.

Makes 6 servings.

o o o

Do you have a favorite recipe that would be of interest to SurvivalBlog readers? Please send it via e-mail. Thanks!

Letter Re: How To Trim Your Horse’s Feet

Hugh,

There’s a lot of good information in the article on trimming horses’ feet. The old saw is “no hoof, no horse.” So you have to be able to provide good hoof care. I don’t have the education or breadth of experience that RB does, but I’ve been trimming my band of horses for more than 20 years. I’ve found some things over the years that make things easier that folks may want to consider.

I prefer to trim sitting down. I’ve never developed the skill that lets me trim comfortably standing the way a farrier does. I bought a mechanics stool on wheels. It’s low and has a place under the seat for tools. On the front feet I position the seat of the stool about even with the horse’s leg and then sit down. If I’m doing the left front, for example, my left leg will be a little behind the horses leg, and I’m sitting facing about 45 degrees to the rear When the horse lifts its leg, I put it under my left knee (which is bent at about a right angle at the knee) and then let it rest on top of my right thigh just behind my knee. I do all the cleaning, trimming, cutting, and rasping with the foot in this position. I ground tie my horses and they stand quietly for the trimming. A horse that’s not familiar with the procedure usually needs the help of a handler the first few times. A horse needs to be gentle and quiet to work with them this way. If they’re not that way, that’s the first thing they have to learn. Standing for trimming and shoeing are skills the horse needs to excel at.

On the rear feet, I use a hoof stand to support the hoof and the leg. Doing so lets me work either sitting or standing without having to support the leg. The stand I use is made by Equine Innovations and comes with a cradle for supporting the hoof and a hoof jack for the bottom of the foot to rest on when it’s being rasped from the top. There are other hoof stands as well. Find what works for you.

A good source for hoof stands and all the necessary farrier tools is NC Tool. If it has to do with maintaining horses’ feet, they have it. They carry a very good selection of high quality tools and supplies, ship quickly, and have always given good service. If you’re looking for hoof knives, nippers, rasps, or anything else, you won’t go wrong.

Horses can perform at high levels without the need for shoes. For them to do so requires the trimmer to know what he/she is doing and may require transitioning the horse to being barefoot. There’s a lot of information available on this. In my opinion, this is one of the best sites. This is Pete Ramey’s website, and it has a lot of useful information on barefoot trimming and hoof maintenance. – M.