Notes from JWR:

Today I’m posting the first column written by my new bride, Avalanche Lily.

I’m also presenting the final two entries for Round 31 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round will include:

First Prize: A.) 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, and B.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees, in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $392 value.) C.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from (a $275 value), D.) A 500 round case of Fiocchi 9mm Parabellum (Luger ) with 124gr. Hornady XTP/HP projectiles, courtesy of Sunflower Ammo (a $249 value), and E.) An M17 medical kit from JRH Enterprises (a … Continue reading

The Truth About Your Local Grocery Store, By Jay M.

I’ve been reading your Blog for a little over a year now and find it very interesting.  Not long ago there was an entry about trying to convince your family about the need to get prepared.  I to have the same issue when trying to get others on board.  They always seem to give me the “RCA dog look” — like I’ve lost my mind.
However, I do have the advantage of some work experience that helps.  I’ve worked for a major grocer / big box retailer for the last 25 years.   In that time things have changed an unbelievable amount.  Twenty or even ten years ago we stored tons of merchandise in the back room and restocked throughout the day.  Now due to the wishes of Wall Street all retailers are required to very closely monitor their inventory levels.  If you want your share price to go up … Continue reading

The .357 Magnum: An All-Around Survival Cartridge

As an avid reader of SurvivalBlog I know that most preppers like the .45 ACP round as their standard. That’s a great choice and an excellent round. It has a long and solid history as a combat round. It falls short in the arena of woods carry and most don’t consider it a hunting round. This report is not to compare the .45 to the .357 Magnum as it is an overdone conversation. Instead, I would like to outline the facts about the .357 Magnum and discuss some of the misconceptions as well as the viability of this classic as an all around survival round for everything from personal protection to hunting and woods defense. This round is very sensitive to barrel length and has many bullet options. I would like to show how using a longer barrel maximizes the round and makes it very devastating. I would also like … Continue reading

Avalanche Lily’s Bedside Book Pile

This new column is where I will list–and sometimes include short reviews–the books, periodicals, web pages, and catalogs that I’m currently reading. There will also be occasional mentions of DVDs that we’ve watched. We don’t own (or desire) a television, but we do have a Netflix subscription. (We watch DVDs on our laptops.) Our evenings here at the Rawles Ranch are very quiet, especially in the winter months. We’re all voracious readers.

Here are the current top-most items on my perpetual bedside pile:

Letter Re: A Veteran Policeman’s Observations on The Golden Horde

A lot has been written warning us of what will happen when the City Dwellers find their homes are untenable and vacate [en masse as The Golden Horde] for “the country”, but I haven’t seen anything on what the make-up of these hordes will be. The generic term “city dwellers” encompasses a lot of territory. Who will they be,what kind of shape will they be in, how will they be armed…all of these need to be examined.

One category needs to be examined, I feel, more closely than others. Since I have seen posts on your site lately dealing with the nitty-gritty, unpleasant aspects of prepping, I think this is a needed look into what’s out there. I’ve been a cop over 20 years, my last uniform assignment before moving to Investigator being a two year stretch of Anti-Crime patrols in the Section 8 Housing projects … Continue reading

Letter Re: Relative Costs of Food Storage Approaches

Hi James,  
First and foremost thank you for all of your efforts and wonderful guidance in the art of survival.  I am currently about 70 pages into your novel Patriots and I love it!   I have a quick question that I can not seem to get great advice on with regards to food storage.  Is it better (cost effective, overall nutrition, and space saving) to purchase pre-packaged “kits” like eFoodsDirect’s one-year or six-month supply of dehydrated foods, or build your own storage?  I know that most may say get all you can or do both…but if you had to do one or the other, what would you prefer?   Thank you in advance for your time.   Kind Regards, – M.S.

JWR Replies: In terms of Dollar per Pound of storage food, it is almost always best to pack it yourself. The nutritive value and … Continue reading

Two Letters Re: Tactical Movement in a Post-TEOTWAWKI World


The author mentioned odor control: Do not use deodorant or “foo foo” water. Use rubbing alcohol to deal with odor-causing bacteria. it evaporates leaving no scent. It can be used as an antiseptic and as a fire starter. My family carries a quart of isopropyl alcohol in each of our “git kits” Keep the Faith. – Bill in North Alabama

The writer has some great tips but I have to disagree with one thing he says. As for sleeping in old tractor trailers and old railroad cars, I say nay. These may be dry enclosed places, but they are just that, enclosed. You have no retreat options if discovered nor do you have a defendable position. Anyone with a rifle can walk alongside these and shoot them (and you) to pieces. A campsite must have the ability to be defended and at least one covered retreat route out … Continue reading

The Wikileaks Backchannel Fiasco

It will be years before the full implications are felt from the unauthorized release of 251,287 U.S. State Department cables. (Of these, 15,652 of the cables were classified Secret or Secret/NOFORN.) In the end, the Wikileaks fiasco might even destabilize a number of governments, including those in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain, the U.A.E., Egypt, and Turkey. The most immediate effect may be seen in Saudi Arabia. Starting in the 1930s, a status quo developed there through tacit agreements between the House of Saud, its rival princes, and the Wahabbist clerics. In essence, King Abdulah ibn Abdul Aziz’s ruling faction is still paying off its rivals–as they have done for decades–with countless billions in oil money largesse. The Saudi government has also allowed radical madrassahs (training schools) of the Wahabi sect to remain in operation, but only so long as they discourage any attempted coups or terrorist acts insideContinue reading

Economics and Investing:

Kleptocracy in action: France seizes €36 billion of pension assets. We’re told that this was done to pay off some of their welfare debt. I thought that the French had done away with pissoirs, but apparently they still have a very large one. But of course the French are tres brillant, so I shouldn’t doubt their judgment.

Thanks to Pierre M. for this item: Hungary Follows Argentina in Pension-Fund Ultimatum, `Nightmare’ for Some

Marc the former 91B mentioned Chris Martenson’s commentary on Peak Oil: It’s Official: The Economy Is Set To Starve

B.B. sent this news item from Oz: Millions cashless in bank glitch. (A preview of coming attractions?)

Euro Debt Crisis Bankruptcy Bailout Queue, Protect Savings & Deposits From Banks Going Bankrupt!  (Thanks to John R. for the link.)

Also from John R.: The Fiscal … Continue reading

Odds ‘n Sods:

J.D.D. sent this inaccurately titled article: U.S. Army Unveils ‘Revolutionary’ XM25 Rifle in Afghanistan. It is actually a 25mm grenade launcher, not a rifle. This seems to be sort of Niblick: The Next Generation.

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The odious S. 510 food bill looks like it may come up for a vote in the full Senate. Please contact your Senator and insist that this piece of bad legislation be stopped.

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Our friend Patrice over at the Rural Revolution blog suggested this article about EMP: Report warns Obama about ‘new’ Dark Ages. “Airplanes would fall from sky, cars would stop, networks fail.” (OBTW, SurvivalBlog readers may find Patrice’s posts on preparedness of interest.)

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Shop like a Man, Man! Driving own Armored Carrier to Mall. This appears to … Continue reading

Jim’s Quote of the Day:

"I foresaw that, in time, it would please God to supply me with bread. And yet here I was perplexed again, for I neither knew how to grind or make meal of my corn, or indeed how to clean it and part it; nor, if made into meal, how to make bread of it; and if how to make it, yet I knew not how to bake it. These things being added to my desire of having a good quantity for store, and to secure a constant supply, I resolved not to taste any of this crop but to preserve it all for seed against the next season; and in the meantime to employ all my study and hours of working to accomplish this great work of providing myself with corn and bread. It might be truly said, that now I worked for my bread. I believe few people have … Continue reading

Notes from JWR:

The Rawles Gets Your Ready Family Preparedness Course is only rarely offered at a discounted price. Until Monday December 13th, the publisher is running a special sale. Don’t miss out on the chance to get a copy for yourself, or to give one as a Christmas gift.

Today we present another entry for Round 31 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round will include:

First Prize: A.) 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, and B.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees, in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $392 value.) C.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from (a $275 value), D.) A 500 … Continue reading

The Disappearance of the Anasazi Explained, by Ben F.

Staring at the “Arrival: Imminent” message flashing on the screen of my Garmin Etrex, I stumbled into the canyon below the Banister Ruins cliff dwellings in Grand Gulch Utah at about midnight. I couldn’t be sure where I was, because darkness obscured the familiar landmark of the ruins.
I dropped the 50-lb pack with 10 days of freeze-dried foods and other paraphernalia, marked the spot on the e-Trex GPS, and then tried to follow the shifting arrow to the spring that was supposed to be there.    

Instead, I would confront an 800-year-old secret for which my technology would be no match. The nemesis of an ancient people would confound my high-tech gadgets and leave me with a renewed sense of wonder and uncertainty.

I checked the coordinates with my nifty waterproof map of the Cedar Mesa Plateau and the lines looked pretty close.
But pretty close isn’t very … Continue reading

America’s Terrorism Problem Isn’t Domestic

SurvivalBlog reader R.F.J. sent me a link to a recent news account about the would-be Portland, Oregon bomber, Mohamud Osman Mohamed. Reading that article confirmed something that has been very clear to me for more than 20 years: America’s terrorism problem isn’t domestic. As others have already pointed out, the purveyors of terrorism in America and elsewhere are mostly Islamic Middle Eastern Men, predominately ages 18 to 30. All the leftist hand-wringers whine on endlessly about “fairness”, and decry that horrid “profiling.” But the latest incident in Portland is just another in a long, long, string of Islamic Middle Eastern Men that have demonstrated that they want to set off bombs in America. The fact is that we need more profiling. Why is the TSA still bestowing extra scrutiny at random? Do you feel safer, knowing that the TSA flunkies are Continue reading

Letter Re: Modern Motor Vehicle Reliability

I have worn many hats, but the one I wore the longest was as a 12-volt installer. You know, stereos, alarms, custom fabrication; think Unique Whips, but with less drama and more snow (I live in Canada). After working as a mechanic, it seemed a lot more interesting and enjoyable than getting filthy fixing other people’s problems.                 What I have learned during my years working on vehicles has led to a personal conviction: I will never rely on a newer vehicle. I have seen too many newer vehicles  brought in on a hook with no-start issues, no-shift issues, and have diagnosed my fair share of gremlins. In the end, almost all of the problems result from over-complexity and/or cost-saving shortcuts taken during the design and manufacturing process.

My goal here is to inform any who might not already know how this could affect them in the future. Did … Continue reading