JWR’s Recommendations of the Week:

Here are JWR’s Recommendations of the Week for various media and tools of interest to SurvivalBlog readers. The focus is usually on emergency communications gear, bug out bag gear, tools, books and movies–often with a tie-in to disaster preparedness, and links to “how to” self-sufficiency videos. You will also note an emphasis on history books and historical movies. This week the focus is on the upcoming release of the Kevin Sorbo movie The Reliant. (See the Movies section.)


40th Edition Blue Book of Gun Values. When visiting a gun show, knowledge is power.

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The Dehydrator Cookbook for Outdoor Adventurers: Healthy, Delicious Recipes for Backpacking and Beyond

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Hidden Success: A Comprehensive Guide to Ghillie Suit Construction

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The Complete Illustrated Guide to Furniture & Cabinet Construction


Reader T.J. dropped me a line to mention Kevin Sorbo’s upcoming faith-based action film The Reliant. A fairly even-handed review of the film recently ran at Fox News.

Here is a description: “When the economy collapses, widespread rioting and looting leaves a 21-year-old lovesick girl struggling to care for her four younger siblings in a stretch of woods on the outskirts of their burning town, wondering why a good God would let this happen.”

The movie will play in selected U.S. theaters for one night only: October 24, 2019.

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Instructional Videos & Vlogs:

IV8888 Range Review: Stern Defense 9mm AD-9 Conversion. JWR’s Comment: I have two of these Stern lower conversions (Glock and SIG P320) and I really like using them.
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This looks promising for any of you who are bullpup fans: IWI Tavor 7. But it is sad to hear that it has only 1.5 MOA accuracy.

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Avoiding the Knock—Stealth Parking Tips and Tricks

Blog & Vlog Posts:

Notes From The Bunker: Mylar after two years of exposure

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Tim J. wrote to mention this video blog post from Wranglerstar: We Got Electric Bikes (They are Too Fast….) Ariel Rider

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Wendy McElroy usually has a nicely curated aggregation of news, over at her site. It is worthy of a bookmark and a regular visit.

Gear & Grub:

Reader S.O.G. wrote to mention these “mailed to your doorstep” persuaders: Diablo Break Open, Blued Finish, 12 Gauge Pistol, Black Grips. Perhaps a decent choice for home defense for those trapped behind enemy lines in one of the Gun Grabby states.

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Fox Tactical 38 Inch Double Long Rifle Gun Case Bag Outdoor Tactical Carbine Case, O.D. Green

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Plano 1919 Sportsman Trunk with Wheels, Grey

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Hormel Compleats – Tray Retort Packaged Meals

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You have wheat and a grinder, but do you have storage yeast, in bulk?

Make a Suggestion

Want to suggest Recommendations of your own? Then please send them to JWR. (Either via e-mail of via our Contact form.) Thanks!


  1. Storage yeast is great – BUT – please learn how to make it yourself.
    It’s as easy as mixing two (2) ingredients: FLOUR & WATER.
    And like all things, don’t just read about it…
    Do it
    Practice doing it
    So it’s part of your routine

    1. One can also find yeast on wild growing berries like grapes/ muscadines, juniper, etc., and on some trees like aspen.

      With wild yeast it is a roulette of characteristics, do not expect performance like modern baking or brewing yeast.

    2. And if you place your starter out under the green plants in the spring (typically between Passover and Pentecost), you get much cleaner microbes than you would get from household dust.

  2. About the: ‘Plano 1919 Sportsman Trunk with Wheels, Grey’ = In the >Amazon comment section was this ~question and ~answer: =

    Question “The interior dimensions listed don’t seem right–you lose almost a full 10 inches in length??”

    Answer: “Per the norm the Amazon description is wrong. I usually find what I want and research elsewhere, Cabela’s has the best research and product info and sometimes the best prices.
    Capacity: 108 quarts. Exterior Dimensions: 37.75″ X 18.25″ X 14″. Interior Dimensions: 34.75″ X 16″ X 13.5″.”
    [I have >NO personal knowledge about the Piano brand trunk. I was just curious myself. The larger interior provides for more uses.]

    1. Plano 1919 Sportsman Trunk with Wheels,

      Back in January of 2014, I’m walking through a Walmart sporting goods section after hunting season, they had a pallet stacked high with these 1919 trunks, OD camo, with a scent controlling water resistant O-Ring seal, marked down to $19.99. I bought about five of them. After testing them out, I went back on bought five more, and now wish that I had bought a lot more of them.

      The wheels are superior to similar products and the lid is reinforced to allow for stacking when loaded. You can pack a lot of weight into these and still move them around. The hard part is getting them into the back of a truck, sometimes I have to use a folding ramp.

      The O-Ring seal can be separately purchased from Plano for this box and several other sizes. I believe they make these trunks good candidates for use in caching…

      I keep hoping for a another great deal on these, but the price just keeps going up… And most they sell now do not have the O-Ring…

      I highly recommend…

      1. You have a good review, for the Plano Sportsman Trunk, Anonymous. … Loading the Plano Trunk into your truck, with the use of a folding ramp is a >good idea. … God only gives each person ONE spine in the back. The spine in the back has to last a lifetime. … The information indicates the Plano Trunk has wheels.

        One of the reviewers on Amazon said, he just used household window-gasket as a dust seal; he said he used the Plano-Trunk for camping.

        I had to load big, heavy metal-tool chests into my pickup for work. I just made a ramp out of plywood. Holes were drilled near the end of the ramp, to secure it to the pickup, when being used.
        1. I first used a Come-Along to load the Big Tool-Chests. (Too slow; winch too bulky. +The Come-Along would bite my hand, once in awhile.)
        2. Then I tried a ‘store-bought’ deer-hoist (Block and Tackle). The pulley’s had plastic parts; plastic broke.
        3. I finally made my own small Block and Tackle out of inexpensive all metal pulleys. (Worked fine).

        I would pried-up a big tool-chest, and then put a furniture dolly under it. I could then get the Chest up the ramp quickly. I used a chain/rope as the ‘pull point’ in the truck-bed. ~ The chain/rope was secured to the (inside bed) tie-downs near the cab.

  3. The SAF Yeast, as listed above, is excellent for my home ground whole wheat bread, pizzas and more. GFS Stores in Ohio and other States carry it. Keep it in the freezer where it lasts and lasts. Excellent product.

  4. That electric bike looks like it could be very useful. A comment on that youtube refers to the cost as $2000. I wonder how that compares to other electric bikes. If any reader has experience w/ an electric bike, I’d like to hear it. Or if there’s another electric bike you’d recommend.

    1. Others are “Rambo” and “QuietKat”. But depending upon battery power, tires and accessories they can run up near $5000. That seems horrifying to me until I see my son’s collection of non-electric mountain bikes and road racing bikes..not difficult at all for one of them to get up to that cost. Still a big NO for me.

        1. Once a Marine always a Marine. Here’s two articles about off-road Motorcycles. =

          1. “Marine dirt bike ‘gangs’ of Afghanistan”

          “A silent, nimble, two-wheeled killing machine.
          That’s what Pentagon researchers envision, now that they’ve greenlighted developing a hybrid motorcycle powered by two sources: an engine that burns several types of fuel and a stealthy, super-quiet electric motor.

          Imagine an elite U.S. fighting force deployed in a mountainous region of Afghanistan, riding motorbikes that are nearly silent. The loudest sound is tires on dirt as they twist and turn down dried river beds and up narrow goat trails. When they launch their assault on a Taliban stronghold, the enemy is taken by surprise.” [Evil CNN, April 28, 2014<~ I couldn't find the status today]

          2. "Here's the motorcycle of choice for special operators"

          "American special operators are known to have exacting standards for their weapons, vehicles, and other gear. When it comes to motorcycles, elite troops across the Pentagon have settled on one very specific type.

          In July, officials with the U.S. Air Force's 1st Special Operations Wing approved a plan to buy more than 50 Christini Technologies all-wheel drive 450cc motorcycles for special tactics personnel. These air commandos work with other special operators to coordinate air drops and parachute jumps, help secure drop zones and call in air strikes.

          "The Christini Technologies, Inc. AWD Motorcycle is the only AWD tactical motorcycle on the market," the flying branch's contracting officers explained in a so-called "justification for other than full and open competition" document. "There are no other tactical motorcycles on the market that provide the AWD function needed by Air Force Special Tactics."

          Government agencies need to submit one of these reviews any time they want to give a contract to a specific company and avoid a lengthy bidding process. To back up their argument, the Air Force pointed out that Navy SEALs, Army Special Forces troops, and the super-secretive Joint Special Operations Command were all using the Christini bikes.

          To the casual observer, the AWD 450 probably looks like any other high-end dirt bike. At a glance, the vehicle appears is something you might expect to see at the X Games or a Motocross rally.

          Despite being derived from a Honda CRF 250, the motorcycle is far more rugged than its commercial competitors. The Christini model has a top speed of over 60 miles per hour on roads and a range of approximately 90 miles without needing to stop for gas.

          The bikes feature rugged suspension and a modified seat for long missions rather than laps around a track. An enlarged, bullet resistant radiator helps keep the cycles working in extreme weather conditions. On top of that, they have run-flat tires and a headlight that can be switched to shine infrared light. … [The rest of the story at ~wearethemighty site, Aug. 04, 2016<~]

  5. About this being the anniversary of the tragedy in Benghazi, I will admit that I have not researched the development of the situation minute by minute that night. What I do know is that Hillary Clinton’s State Department left the Benghazi mission hanging out to dry as the anniversary approached.

    Once the attack began, the powers that be left those on the ground to their own devices without making a serious effort to get them help. Help could have been sent from Italy. Sure, some general (no doubt not wanting to compromise his next opportunity for promotion) was trotted out to say that help would not have gotten there in time. This begs the question: “How would anyone have known at the time how long the attack would last?” The problem is that no one tried to send the troops in Italy.

    As one of the characters in the movie “13 Hours,” said, even an F-18 screaming over at a couple of hundred feet would have been very useful in influencing the will of the Jihadi Muslims. The movie, of course, showed, very effectively, several F-18s sitting on the tarmac in Italy without any crewmen or ground crew in sight.

    Note that no one has ever said where Obama was in the White House that night. What we do know is that he flew the next day to Las Vegas where he had a fundraiser with Beyonce and Jay-Z. When the facts come out years from now, I am confident that the facts will reveal that he was catching some “Zs” in advance of his flight, and couldn’t be bothered to remain in the Situation Room while others were dealing with the situation. And then, of course, he sent Susan Rice out to numerous media outlets to lie to the country and say that the incident arose out of a protest over a YouTube video.

    Had the truth come out, it would have spoiled the Obama Administration narrative that Al Qaeda was on the run. Given how close the race with Romney was at the time, the truth could very easily have become the tipping point in the race. It was the lie that saved Obama’s chances for four more years in the White House.

    1. The US Army had airborne Units in Italy at that time, where could they land around Benghazi and then move air assault has afaik not the reach to get even near enough to be of any use

      If the F 18 had started from Sicily that would be a flight About 800 km one way, that wouldn´t have left them much [loitering] time if any [over the target] for air support

      1. All I know is that reinforcements, Delta Force types and others, from Tripoli including Ex-SEAL Glen Doherty, were able to land at the Benghazi airport and make their way to the compound where the rest of the security team was located. Of course, Doherty was killed after he got there.

        In any event, you are missing the larger issue. Until the attack was over, how, would anyone have known if reinforcements from Italy could have gotten there? Fire engines aren’t dispatched because someone has made the determination in advance that they will “get there in time.” No one knows. In the case of Benghazi, every effort should have been made to get reinforcements there, and if they didn’t make it, at least it would have been an honorable effort. As it was, the people in the compound were hung out to dry, both before the 9/11 anniversary and after by Obama and Clinton’s minions.

        About the F-18s, I don’t see your point. The SEALs on the roof would likely have benefited with a simple flyover that would have increased the Jihadis pucker factor. Beyond that, if even one strafing pass had occurred, it very well could have had wondrous effects. You weren’t there. I wasn’t there. All I know is that the SEALs believed that the F-18s would have helped. I’ll go with their opinion.

        So thanks to Susan Rice’s “Big Lie” at Obama’s bidding, Obama retained enough support to put the country through four more years of effete leadership. No wonder so many military servicemen and veterans had such a low opinion of him.

        1. The range of the Black Hawk was to short for air assault About 250 km to short, so at best the they´d 250 km walk through Lybia, which are at the very best 5 days of forced march in full kit, that is if they hadn´t to take a swim in the mediterrean to the shore before marching if the US had air assault Forces in sufficient strength in italy.

          A flyover could´ve motivated the jihadis to assault or at least get very close to their enemy, a proven tactic if your enemy has the air get very close to his Ground Forces, and then i don´t know if a strafing ´d be a legal and ethical act or would´ve risked to many civilian lives.

          1. Why focus on a Black Hawk? Why not look for other transport? Maybe I am missing something here. They had no C130s in Italy to use? And if not, why not?

            Several F18s screaming over the target would have to have changed the dynamic. The next one might have been unloading a ____load of ordnance, as far as the Muslims knew–and, of course, we will never know now because no one tried.

          2. A group of Marines in Sicily was loaded on helicopters 3 times and unloaded, they had tanker support and everything else needed to go. They were stopped. Strafing is a standard tactic in airstrikes. Has been for longer than my 51 years.

          3. Correct, Duane. Anyone with “a lick of sense” would call in an air strike or an artillery strike “danger close” in any combat situation where they were expecting to get overrun.

            Those left of center never understand military operations or procedures, but they always have opinions.

          4. There was a safe “LZ” in practicable distance to the threatened area? They ´d a force of paratroopers in italy?

            A strafing or bombing run was practicable and legal?
            IIRC if the expected civilian losses aren´t in balance to the Military effect and necessity it´s a crime and maybe worse than that a mistake.

            I don´t see how much difference a group of about 12 marines could´ve made, and going close to the enemy is a bit longer a Military tactic used by professional soldiers than 51 years

          5. ThoDan have faith in the US Marines to prevail. The 12 Marines would have been an >overwhelming military force, against the mob of attackers. +There’s no such thing as a ‘safe Landing Zone’ in a combat area.
            ………. +The Marines only had to be landed close; they would have then double-timed it to the USA-Compound.

            The sporadic attack lasted all night. Other reinforcements could have been sent. Apparently, Obama and his cronies were snoozing, when they should have been sending military assistance.
            ……. Maybe, Obama was having sweet dreams about collecting campaign cash.
            [From Fobrbes Oct 25, 2012] =
            By the evening of that next day, Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama was jetting off to a campaign fundraiser in Las Vegas, followed by parties with Jay-Z and Beyonce.
            Chris Stevens was already out of sight, out of mind.
            Except that Commander Obama could not wash off the stench of dereliction of duty, duty to far more worthy American warriors and servicemen, dereliction in failing to authorize worthy security for those who were sent in harms way under his leadership, and to order a timely rescue when he could.
            For such failure, any commander serving under the commander-in-chief should be court martialed.”

    2. Benghazi, No one is asking the more basic question-what was a Ambassador doing in a country that we had no relations with,we had bombed and invaded illegally to overthrow the legitimate government(even if we didn’t like it) doing at a MIDNIGHT meeting in a CIA safehouse in the middle of nowhere with the Ambassador from another country? They were there for illegal dealings that could not happen any other way. Was it Clinton/Obamas’ Iran/Contra deal with Clinton stealing Libyas’ weapons for ISIS(how else did the CIA supply that program?) in return for Turkey processing Afghani opium to heroin to be sold on US streets(CIA was caught doing it before in Vietnam and Clintons in Arkansas) to flood the cash back to any number of black ops(Syria,ISIS etc). Most personel were no longer military but mercanaries for hire and enhaging in criminal activity and needed to die (dead men tell no tales) to cover up what was happening if any real investigation was to happen. Ask yourself if you would of taken a mission to nowhere in a combat zone at midnight for Hillery? The otherside were not jihadis but Libyan military that infiltrated CIA/State Dept. Security,the only jihadis were CIA bought fighters from Saudi sources and were well away from that remote area.

  6. Re: Yeast

    That was timely reminder. Storage yeast loses it potency over the years, so more is needed to use for the same raise. The problem of course is getting the additional amount correct, and this can result in uneven results, as the additional amount might be too little and sometimes too much, and there can a too much of a yeast favor imparted as well. It is best to renew stocks from time to time. I wish I had a schedule. So far as baking soda goes, I am not aware of an expiration date, yet like anything, it would be subject to oxidation and degradation like most things, so storing in mylar and oxygen absorbers is good idea.

    If we have ton or 2, it would be best to buy the relatively cheap insurance and renew our stock of yeast, every few years, adding it to the pile. Baking soda is so inexpensive, the same could be done there as well. Hopefully someone with some better information will share, yet I know mine is so old that it is a ‘no brainer’ to once again, buy some fresh yeast.

    1. I bought a 2 lb. bag of yeast in 1999 that I am still using and it is perfectly fine. The key I think is that I store it in the freezer. And my freezer is a manual defrost so it doesn’t go through the periodic partial thaws like most. I take out what I need of the yeast and let it come to room temperature before I use it.

  7. Re: Diablo Break Open

    Looks like a blast for those stuck in the Big City. Of course, the best way to safe guard your family’s safety is to leave. If looking for at something like this, I’d go for a follow up shot version, the double barrel. By looking at the powder load suggested, recoil and effectiveness is roughly the same as .410 magnum shot shell in performance, certainly adequate for close up work, perhaps 15 yards, or less if heavy buck shot is used. A ffg black power equivalent might also be used to make loading easier, but I would ask the manufacturer if they recommend Pyrodex and how much. The trouble with black powder, is one must keep the powder dry. If stored loaded in regions where there is high humidity, over time, the power charge may become less effective. You have to have to ‘keep your power dry.’ Pyrodex may solve that problem. What does the black powder guys have to say about this?

    1. I keep my pyrodex in a o-ring-ed plastic lock top dry goods thingie I got at Walmart. Never had problems, but I also keep it in A/C.

      If black powder gets damp it will destroy the uniform grain structure, which is critical to consistent burns. Non-corned powder would be unpredictable in strength.

      I’m not sure, but I’d bet black powder is more powerful. I’ve bought some before from re-enactor vendors, but the regs are tight enough that most don’t bother to carry it.

  8. Re: Diablo Break Open

    Manufacture has a max load of 60 gr ffg and a suggested load of 40 gr ffg, I have read shooting reviews in excess of 70-80 gr ffg

    Also the manufacture had production delays at the start of this year but now positive reviews are showing up, they are stating 6-8 weeks on current orders placed

    1. Re: Pyrodex for the Diablo Break Open

      I believe their load data is conservative given the low pressures. While not having examined the Diablo, it probably uses modern steel, and proper barrel thickness, yet what if it is made from inconsistent Chinese steel? Steel type is not as important as the tempering.

      Did a search and found this sample discussion: https://www.thefirearmsforum.com/threads/pyrodex-select-rs-ffg-equivelent.163569/

      Hodgden makes Pyrodex, and there is also Triple 7. Black Powder is hard to find while Pyrodex is not. Look before you leap, and see if you are comfortable with the potentially steep learn curve. I would ask the manufacture for their recommendations and experience. The weapon must be loaded correctly to be used not only safely, but effectively. In a society that is accustomed to convenience, and user friendly devices, operating a club, or other archaic weapons might be hazardous to the user.

  9. I have a simple recommendation to tickle your funny bone.

    Murphy’s Law:
    If anything can go wrong, it will.

    If there is a possibility of several things going wrong, the one that will cause the most damage will be the one to go wrong.
    If you perceive that there are four possible ways in which a procedure can go wrong, and circumvent these, then a fifth way will promptly develop.
    Every solution breeds new problems.

    The Murphy Philosophy:
    Smile… tomorrow will be worse.

    O’Toole’s Commentary on Murphy’s Law:
    Murphy was an optimist.

    Scott’s First Law
    No matter what goes wrong, it will probably look right.

    Scott’s second Law
    When an error has been detected and corrected, it will be found to have been corrected in the first place.

    Carry on

  10. We got our ebikes from Rad in Ballard. We love them. I got the Radwagon for cargo hauling. Cost was 1600 each. But they ran a special for 200 bucks off when buying two. They just came out with a cheaper one.

    It took me an hour to unbox and assemble. Then I took it to the bike shop for fine tuning and checkup. $49.

    The tech at the shop warned of just two things: the tendency to ride like a motorcycle with heavy breaking at stop signs, and how fast brake shoes wear out that way. He reminded me this is a heavy bike, so combined with me is 350 pounds. Slow down before applying the regular bicycle brakes supplied with the kit.

    My ebike can run entirely off the battery to go, or I can pedal with assistance, or turn battery off and pedal.

    Big warning is to invest in good bike security, and especially the battery security. Thefts are frequent, especially by bolt cutter.

      1. https://www.radpowerbikes.com/

        They put together bikes and sell from their shop, but we just ordered ours on line, shipped to our door.

        These are the budget version with quality. Excellent customer service. When anything is damaged in shipping, we just took the photos they advise you to get upon arrival, ans emailed them in. We got the two parts replaced for free from the UPS shipping damage within 4 business days.

        We learned that some bike shops refuse to service any ebikes except their own. One bike shop wanted to charge $550 to put our two RADs together, after we never purchased their $3000 bike. The shop we had test my assemblies only charged $49 to test and adjust everything.

        One Bike fork was bent in shipping. RAD sent replacment for free and even paid the bike shop to switch it out for us.
        Shout out for Bike Garage in Port Angeles, WA.

        The Rad Owners Facebook page was wonderful reading for a few weeks prior to pulling the trigger for us.

        Best wishes and God Bless

  11. Diablo 12 gauge pistols……oh my. Just when I thought my locker was full..

    Christmas is coming so I need to get wish list circulated.

    Wonder if I could get the multiple-pistol sash like Blackbeard the pirate wore.

    1. Re: Diablo 12ga Black Powder Pistol

      Here is Hickok45 demonstrating a sawed- off black powder shotgun that can purchased on line. This might be a better option that the Diablo pistol as it can be loaded heavier, and aimed straighter. The recommended load for the Diablo pistol might closer to a .410 shot shell, simply because a full load may injure the hand and wrist, but with a stock, the load can be full power, and closer to standard 12ga loads.
      Once again Hickok45 does a great job and even walks us through the process of reloading one. This could be a great option for those in the Big City.

  12. Re Hormel tray meals, a coworker tried these and declared them inedible(took two bites and threw it out and went hungry). I would recommend the Dinty Moore beef stew in cans instead(non pull top for maximum shelf life).
    For the price of electric bikes a moped should be a better option.

  13. I just got my hands on one of these. I heard some people were having a wait but it looks like they\’ve got themselves all caught up. The quality of this item seems top notch.You can really tell that They take a lot of pride in their product simply based on the packaging the ship it in. everything was pristine and very well kept. The item came to me just as expected and even included a very nice stowaway bag. I can\’t wait to take this thing out to the range because it\’s sure not to disappoint. Discussing recoil Management is kind of moot since you\’re able to pick your own loads. If anybody is still scratching their heads about the quality of this product… scratch no more! This thing is a winner!

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