Preparedness Notes for Tuesday — December 24, 2019

December 24 is the 20th anniversary of when John Joe Gray’s legal troubles began, in 2000. He and his family had been self-sufficiently holed up in their Texas ranch for nearly 15 years, in defiance of a warrant for his arrest, before the district attorney dropped the charges. This was the longest standoff in American history, in which he faced the administrations of four different county sheriffs.

SurvivalBlog Writing Contest

Today we present another entry for Round 86 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The more than $12,000 worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A $3,000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from veteran-owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
  2. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 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. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels 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. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  5. Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  6. A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
  7. American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.

Second Prize:

  1. A gift certificate from Quantum Harvest LLC (up to a $2,200 value) good for 12% off the purchase of any of their sun-tracking models, and 10% off the purchase price of any of their other models.
  2. A Front Sight Lifetime Diamond Membership, providing lifetime free training at any Front Sight Nevada course, with no limit on repeating classes. This prize is courtesy of a SurvivalBlog reader who prefers to be anonymous.
  3. 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,
  4. A $300 purchase credit for any of the products from
  5. A Three-Day Deluxe Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $190 value),
  6. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from (a $240 value).
  7. An assortment of products along with a one hour consultation on health and wellness from Pruitt’s Tree Resin (a $265 value).

Third Prize:

  1. is providing a $400 purchase credit at regular prices for the prize winner’s choice of either Wise Foods or Augason long term storage foods, in stackable buckets.
  2. Three sets each of made-in-USA regular and wide-mouth reusable canning lids. (This is a total of 300 lids and 600 gaskets.) This prize is courtesy of Harvest Guard (a $270 value)
  3. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  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.

Round 86 ends on January 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.


  1. “Local Henderson County Sheriff Ray Nutt stated “This kook is not worth it. Ten of him is not worth going up there and getting one of my young deputies killed.” [From Wikipedia]
    The Sheriff’s wisdom belies his last name. … +Sometimes people make their own prisons.

    The US Military is developing a ‘stink bomb’ weapon that might be a nonlethal weapon.
    “US military malodorant missiles kick up a stink” ~ New Scientist May 30, 2012.
    “IMAGINE being hit by a smell worse than anything you’ve ever encountered. It combines the reek of sewage with pungent rotting meat. It is nauseating, and so intense that you rush for the door. That is what it would be like to experience a malodorant – a non-lethal weapon being developed by the US to drive targets out into the open.”
    “The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) … already use a persistent malodorant called Skunk. The IDF has used Skunk, typically sprayed from a vehicle-mounted water cannon, to disperse crowds in the Palestinian territories. Critics, however, accuse the IDF of using it excessively, coating houses in villages after protests as a form of collective punishment.” [Why does this make me want to laugh?]

    Israel always gets blamed for something [Even the non-lethal Skunk]. If IDF Skunk malodorant was sold to the San Francisco Police Department, the people in SF would think it was an air freshener. … Apparently, there is so much public people ~poop in San Francisco, even the dogs dislike walking the sidewalks.

  2. I believe that preppers and patriots should get out of the habit of “blindly” making heros out of these occasional nutcases simply because they have some of the same habits or say some of the same things. I am a prepper and a patriot and I am also scrupulously honest and law abiding. I don’t want some crazy and larcenous person to be my hero. AND I don’t hate my government!!!

    1. I live near this guy. He was never truly self-sufficient. He was a know sovern-citizen and had a lot of supporters who would smuggle in food and other items to him over the years. He’s someone who believed the rules didn’t apply to him.

  3. I don’t hate my government. However, I do loathe 99% of the Democrats, about 80% of the Republicans, and about 95% of the bureaucrats (bureauRats). I’m no big fan of SCOTUS either, they make some really lousy decisions that we are all forced to live with. I loathe what these evil people have done to my country. I can read our constitution. I know what it says. I know what restrictions it places on the actions of this government. Unfortunately, all these people know that all they have to do is to choose to ignore those restrictions and there will be no repercussions.

    Sadly that is our fault. When was the last time you voted for a scumbag Republican just to keep a bigger scumbag Democrat out of office? I’m guilty of doing that myself. Yet the lesser of two evils is still evil, just maybe a little less evil. Some choice.

    Rant over.

  4. Off the Wall: 5 Things You Need To Know About The AK

    I’m a big fan of the AK-47. Here is a 28 year Army, and SOF (Special Forces) guy who can speak with authority about his favorite combat/survival rifle, the AK-47. This is a good one for even those who already have this rifle. If you are looking for another one, try to find a MAC90, or better yet, look at the Arsenal brand, like the ones used in this demonstration. To enhance the effectiveness of this platform, inexpensive. yet reliable self defense loads that are Wolf, Tula, and Silver Bear soft point ammunition, is a game changer, and makes his comparison to the .30-03 valid.

    Things You Need To Know About The AK

    1. An AK47 Plus 300 rnds of ammo weighs 20.76 lbs.

      An M16 plus 530 rnds of ammo weighs 20.76 lbs.

      That single fact was why the M16 was chosen over the other options. Put simply: firepower. A soldier can carry far more ammo with the M16.

      1. Anon,
        There are many factors to consider. Agree that weight is a big factor, because many fights and battles have been lost due to a lack of ammunition. However, ammunition management can mitigate this problem. The Army recommends double tapping because the 5.56 is so weak, and recognizes that it often require 5 rounds of 5.56 to stop the attacker. I argue that if soft point 7.62×39 ammunition is used, that the number of rounds needed to stop an attacker, would be half the number that is needed for 5.56, and the requirement to hit the target might only once instead of twice, or more. Therefore one would need to carry only half the ammunition, or about the same weight one would need to carry when using 5.56. Where 5.56 shines is in maneuver warfare, however, few preppers are capable of such warfare techniques, and will more often than not, be defending their personal property, and tend to fight from prepared defensive positions.

        The SOF guy in the video was impressed by the AK’s reliability in real world conditions, and the fact that it could run without lubrication. In a survival situation, or in the harsh reality of warfare, it is not easy to find the time, or perhaps the materials to service one’s weapon. General’s are said to fight that last war that is usually a losing strategy, because the attacker’s are fighting with newer, or a different strategy than used in the previous war. In a war of attrition, the AK-47 will stay in the fight longer, because it’s maintenance, and the training requirements to keep it functioning are much less. The AR, or M4’s are currently being used, are well supported, and the vast majority of AR-15 owners are not properly trained in maintenance of the rifle. The reason I also own an AR-15 is because 5.56 ammunition will be most common. And my AR-15 can perform a special role. And of course it is lighter, and at some point as I age, this lightweight platform comes more useful.

        1. I disagree with the comment that “the 5.56 is so weak, and recognizes that it often require 5 rounds of 5.56 to stop the attacker.” It sounds like rationalization and not fact.

          1. Re:” 5.56 is so weak”

            I apologize that I cannot remember the U.S. Army document that states that it can on average take 5 shots of 5.56 to stop the fight, or “put out the lights.” This is the basis of my opinion, yet it is also supported by the observations of several acquaintances who have been in combat. They prefer 7.62 Nato, especially at night, because it hits harder. Yet it is a mixed bag as some would prefer to stop the fight immediately, while others see value in wounding instead of ‘stopping the fight” quickly, and would use 5.56. And we consider that ‘weak’ verses ‘powerful’, is a comparative measure. As someone who attempts to develop ‘powerful’, and humane hunting loads that kill 150-200 pound deer quickly, I’ve had the opportunity to make those comparisons. And consider the fact that, in many states, it is illegal to use any cartridge that is .224 caliber and smaller, for the purpose of hunting ‘big game’, that is more often than not, deer sized, and larger.

            It is my strategy to stop the fight quickly and move to the next target quickly, therefore the weight of the ammunition is not as important, and therefore the ability to ‘hit hard with .30 caliber, or larger expanding ammunition, with 3 times higher muzzle energy, would be a huge advantage. As I would be defending from not one, but many prepared defensive positions, so I do not have to carry the largest quantity of light weight ammunition to a fight, as I might be physically capable of. My combat load is light because the bulk of it will be preposition at these various developed fighting positions. Therefore it makes sense to have available, a large quantity of ammunition in magazines, at each position that is more ammunition and water, at each position, than the attackers can carry. I would rather be able to keep shooting, and force them to run of their limited supply. I would also use several rifles, 2 or more per defender in each position, and alternate, so that the rifles will not become too hot to handle, and risk ruining the barrels, or jamming. Also a stoppage will not be as critical as a fresh rifle will be at hand . 300 rounds during training will heat up rifle good and hot. By alternating between two rifles, it would be possible to provide sustained “grazing”, or “suppressive” fire that will hopefully prevent them from maneuvering and deny cover…. and cause them to expend their limited supplies, before I expend my very large supply of loaded magazines. I would also carry a small load, and be as light and maneuverable as I can be, perhaps lighter, faster and more lethal than those who would be attacking up hill and be channelized and funneled, up to my advantage. Of course I would also have lots of help….

            In the end, tactics, and the shooter could be more important than the rifle, and the ammunition used, yet each advantage adds up, culminating in a decisive, or superior force. I’ll bring all the rifle and ammo I can to a defense. A patrol may choose a light rifle and lighter ammo, as their job is different. I would want all the golf clubs in the bag for different situations and jobs. Unfortunately I can no longer afford a PTR 91, or similar. If I could, I would be removing the FMJ bullet from the ball loads, and loading soft point ammunition using the powder that is in the case.

            The AR has it’s place, and I have one, however it should not be the only golf club in the bag. Just ‘winging’ an attacker with an expanding .30 caliber bullet could be devastating. In a comparison of battle field effectiveness, I see it first hand each year when I process deer and elk, it is far more powerful than 5.56, expanding ammunition or FMJ. Lots of hunters know the difference. We examine the effectiveness of many different types of ammunition, calibers and bullet types. You’ll want a balance of deep penetration with adequate expansion to accommodate a variety of shooting angles, as they might present itself. Deer, btw, are easy to kill, but only if you take ethical shots. Pumped up on adrenaline, they can run away if one misses the vitals… and they do not shoot back. Attackers will not go down easily. They will show up because they are highly motivated, and will already be pumped up on adrenaline. They will not simply run away if wounded, and they may not be distracted by their buddies calling for help.

            Sorry to be on this topic tonight, but the question arose.

          2. The comments on here about the 556 are telling of who has really done and who just talks. Wheat from the chaff
            Carry what you want because America But save the comments because many of us out here are actually doing.

          3. Anyone who touts the 5.56, which I started using in 1973, BTW, over the AK really needs to watch many of the real life videos of our soldiers in AFGN who are in fortified positions where they are not having to carry all those pounds we freely discuss as discriminator for weapon selection.

            As you watch the combat footage videos, see how the young, trained, US infantrymen are dumping mag after mag through their M4…..and jamming their weapons. It becomes a useless club.

            I am USA retired with 34 years, and it always frosts me how stupid and untrained our actual warfighters behave with the M16 and M4. They aren’t oiling their bolts frequently when firing from cover when they obviously could and must do to keep their AR platform functional.

            Use your 1st Amendment freely, but see the actual evidence for yourself and then you too can explain why the AK47 with no frequent oiling required is a
            wiser choice than the current 5.56 platforms……in real combat.

          4. I think what you are really saying is you like the larger caliber and don’t like the small 5.56. IMHO this is exactly the argument I used to have with my friends about Ford vs Chevy. And the argument always goes to the extremes to support their personal bias. So understand I am NOT arguing for or against the 5.56 I am merely pointing out the advantage of weight not just of ammunition but also the weapon. THAT advantage is why the U.S. military adopted the M16/5.56 weapon. And that advantage is considerable and not to be cast aside lightly. Are there disadvantages to the M16 platform? Yes. Are there advantages to the M16? Yes. Will the grunts always disagree about their weapons? Yes. Is it any more meaningful than the argument about Ford vs Chevys? Nope! Same thing; personal opinion.

            I still disagree about the lethality of the 5.56. I think it is pure rationalization to defend a bias. My advice would be to choose some of the actual problems with any caliber or weapon to support your argument and not to make stuff up that is on it’s face laughable.

          5. Tunnel Rat,

            “I apologize that I cannot remember the U.S. Army document that states that it can on average take 5 shots of 5.56 to stop the fight, or “put out the lights.””

            That statement can apply to any FMJ round. Open tip and soft point 5.56 round are far more affective. We should only train with FMJ not fight with it. Do you only carry FMJ in your defensive pistols or hollow points?

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