Odds ‘n Sods:

I was recently given a braided paracord belt, hand made by Ridgerunner Belts. I was impressed by the quality of the construction and its sturdiness. In my estimation it has a bit too much stretch to be useful for a pistol belt, but otherwise it is a very practical belt. (Pistol belts should be thick and stout, so that they don’t “give” vertically, when you draw your pistol.) I’ve found that one advantage of paracord belts is that you can insert the belt buckle toggle anywhere along their length, at about 1/4 inch intervals. This means that in addition to getting a “just right” fit as a waist belt, the same belt can be used for various utility “tie down” purposes like securing items to a vehicle roof rack. Yes, this opens up a lot of possibilities.

This belt is just one example of the creativity that is going into modern paracord braiding. There are a lot of new patterns being developed, with varying degrees of difficulty for unraveling, if the paracord or its internal strands are needed in extremis. (See the many recent YouTube instructional videos.) I predict that the popularity of paracord braiding will soon exceed that of macramé, in the 1970s. And I’d like to suggest that the new paracord art form ought to be called Paracord Tacramé: tactical macrame. This is a fun, mildly addictive, and relatively inexpensive hobby that creates truly practical gifts. BTW, one of our advertisers, Camping Survival, sells paracord in umpteen colors.

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Reader Stephen C. sent this piece from Oz that subtly gives survivalism a bad name: ‘Bad bush tucker man’ Malcolm Naden captured after seven years

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This headline ran in The Independent: Hippies head for Noah’s Ark: Queue here for rescue aboard alien spaceship. Thousands of New Agers descend on mountain they see as haven from December’s apocalypse. JWR’s snarky comment: I don’t mean to rain snow on their parade, but if the Mayan Calendar Crowd’s goal is to be safely above 1,230 meters of elevation, because they envisioned giant tsunamis in their dreams or while watching some Hollyweird movie, then why don’t they just check in to the La Quinta Inn, in Silverthorne, Colorado? The elevation there is 2,660 meters. There, they’d be safe from even giga-tsunamis–more than twice as high as their peak in the Pyrenees. That seems a lot more hospitable than camping out on a barren mountaintop in France, in December. In Silverthorne, or better yet in Leadville (3,094 meters), they could call for room service to deliver extra blankets and mugs of cocoa, instead of calling for paramedics and rescue helicopters.

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G.G. suggested this slide show at the Popular Mechanics site: The Ultimate Survival Preparedness Kit for Your Car

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I heard that ATI now makes their Strikeforce series adjustable stocks for Saiga and SKS rifles. (See Mike Williamson’s recent review of the Strikeforce stock for the AK.)