Letter Re: A Combat Gear Primer

Mr. Rawles, This a reply to the reply to “A Combat Gear Primer” by WildcatActual.  While it is true that a direct hit from a high-powered rifle such as a Russian Dragunov firing a 7.62x54R will not/should not penetrate military grade body armor I would like to add to the comment of “These are but two examples of the fallacy that blunt force trauma from a bullet hit will incapacitate an individual wearing body armor”: I have a personal experience in this.  I was in Mosul, Iraq in 2006.  Our unit was tasked to clear and old cement factory in the city.  This cement factory …




Letter Re: A Combat Gear Primer

Greetings Mr Rawles, “G.I. Jim” recently opined in follow-up to “A Combat Gear Primer” that while effective in stopping bullets, modern body armor will not protect you from blunt force. While true in a general sense, Jim’s comment that blunt force will incapacitate someone is simply untrue. The documented history is clear on this but two individuals immediately come to mind: 1.) Richard Davis, the founder of Second Chance Body Armor, who routinely had himself shot with a .44 Magnum at contact distance to prove the value of his product. He was never incapacitated in any way. 2.) Fast forward …




Letter Re: Body Armor Bans in Australia and Canada

Dear James: There is a nasty trend to require a government permit to possess body armor.  This is very disturbing because the right to protect yourself is the most basic of human rights – the right to life.  It is  a slap in the face to deny law-abiding people protection that is [in itself] purely passive and harmless. Australia has “led the way” in telling citizens that they need state  permission to protect themselves – armor is illegal to import without permission, and illegal to own “without authorization” in several Australian states. Now this evil idea has caught on with …




Letter Re: Securing Windows With Plywood The Fast And Easy Way

Dear Jim: To follow up on the recent letters, we supply roughly half inch thick ballistic steel to stop .30-06 AP threats. (NIJ  Level IV ). The tradeoff is that you are looking at roughly double the weight — 20 lbs. per square foot.  So for the hypothetical 36″ by 36″ piece it adds up to roughly 180 lbs.  Ceramic tile can provide AP or Level IV protection at less than half that weight – but much more expensive. Your point about spall is well taken. I would worry most about the bullet splatter or ricochet from a round plastering …




Letter Re: Dressing for Self Defense

Mr Rawles, I found A.Y.’s suggestions to be very astute and workable, and wish to add a few of my own. Underclothes: fencers over the years have pressed the bounds of stab- and slash-proof clothing. There are a number of SPECTRA fencing undershirts, that are of the same quality, if not better, as LEO anti-knife gloves. They also have the added bonus of being made with the express purpose of being stab proof. That said, still hurts like the dickens when one really gets gut stabbed. Having worn one in 90 degree sun, I can attest that not only are …




Letter Re: Carrying Body Armor When Traveling

Dear Jim: I was in Cairo with my wife and two kids six weeks ago at the tail end of a 13 country 3 month trip. I was traveling with some custom bulletproof vests for all of us (thanks to Nick at bulletproofme.com). They were inserted in our backpacks and no one was the wiser at airport security. In Cairo, I had no sense whatsoever that it was a powder-keg, ready to explode. My wife laughed at the extra weight I hauled around with us. Now seeing on television the places where we walked looking like a war zone, she’s …




In Defense of the Fortress Mentality–and Architecture

I recently got an irate letter from an outspoken Peak Oil commentator who often stresses “community agriculture” and “sustainable development.” He castigated me for “advocating a fortress mentality…” and “encouraging gun-buying…” I think that he meant those as insults, but I took them as compliments. I am indeed an advocate of the fortress mentality, and fortress architecture. The two go hand-in-hand. As I pointed out in my book “How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It”, modern American architecture with flimsy doors and large expanses of windows is just a 70 year aberration from a global …




Two Letters Re: Force Multipliers for Retreat Groups

Dear Jim: Regarding force multipliers, you touch on early warning with SIGINT, HUMINT and night vision, but I would argue that more immediate early warning through intrusion detection or perimeter security should be stressed as well: If you are not aware of the bad guys approach, then all your other defensive measures are for naught.  Even just having a minute to muster a defense, instead of 10 seconds, could make all the difference.  Imagine an early warning on the approach of intruders at O-dark-thirty, with your entire team wide awake and suited up in defensive positions, vs. waking up to …




Letter Re: Prepping and Pregnancy

Good Morning Mr. Rawles, Last year my former boss–with whom we used to have a Bible study–and who is a former Marine, called me up on a Saturday morning, and inquired about a firearm that I would recommend for a semiautomatic sidearm that he and his wife would be able and to shoot comfortably. Without knowing much about what he had in mind, I told him about the top companies, and that a 9mm would be sufficient for his wife, as long as they used +P or +P+ defensive hollow-points with a heavy bullet weight, and if even this was …




Suburban Survival, by The Suburban 10

I am a public school teacher with five kids and one income. There is little in the way of extra cash to protect the family, but I will do my best to prepare for TEOTWAWKI. If you want to plan well; plan as if it was a lesson plan and you are going to teach it to a class. My class is my family the the goal being not to get anyone panicked (Refer to # 9 below). Having a receptive audience is difficult, because of what I deem…complacent comforts. These are built into the core and routine of our …




Letter Re: Kevlar Helmets and Head Protection

Most folks focus on vests first when it comes to ballistic protection, but the head should not be neglected. Obviously your brain is one of your most important organs, one of the most sensitive to blunt trauma – and the body part most likely to be exposed when you are behind cover! A helmet is not a “discreet” piece of gear, and not appropriate for everyday use, but helmets are much-needed ballistic protection in a bad to worst-case situation, e.g., a homeowner in a Hurricane Katrina type situation, or a patrol officer rolling up on a potential shooting. In that …




Field Gear on a Shoestring Budget: Ten Project Examples, by George S.

The following are some hopefully useful field expedients, substitutes and spares, all of which can be had for a buck to about ten bucks each: #1: Drywall Saw: if you don’t have one of those all-purpose $49.95 survival knives or field shovels from Gerber or Glock with the accessory root saw, or you’ve found that the finger-length saw blade on a Swiss Army folder leaves a lot to be desired when cutting a 2×6 [board] down to size? A bow saw or flexible survival kit saw are a couple of possible candidates that may be up to the task, but …




Letter Re: Sources for Fasteners for D.I.Y. Web Gear Fabrication

Good Morning, Jim! I am a long-time regular reader here with a question. On your blog you’ve been recently posting about various web gear, etc. I have long desired to build some of my own gear using nylon straps and high strength plastic buckles, tensioners, and adjustment components typically found on outdoor gear. The problem has been finding a source/supplier for these components. Do you have any recommendations? Thank You, – John Geerman JWR Replies: In my experience, piece parts for Fastex buckles and similar parts are ridiculously expensive if bought new in small quantities in a “brick and mortar” …




Two Letters Re: Seeking Advice on Assembling Web Gear

Sir, In a recent post you mentioned unbuckling your ALICE belt when going prone. I learned a little trick in ROTC using a carabiner and two pieces of 550 [parachute] cord. First, adjust belt the way you want it. Second, tie the two pieces of 550 cord onto the end of the ALICE belt and hook them together with the carabiner. Adjust the length of the 550 cord to get the slack needed when going prone. This allows you to keep your belt buckled but when you need additional slack, just release the buckle and the 550 cord keeps the …




Letter Re: Seeking Advice on Assembling Web Gear

I love the questions on web gear. Best advice I can give, having gone through multiple iterations of trying this and that, is to divide up your load. What do I mean by this? In the military they have a “combat load” and an “approach load” concept. Your “combat load” is the web gear that you see troops with all the time – their “battle rattle.” On the other hand the “approach load” is similar to what we would refer to as a survival load (roughly). The major problem with web gear is that it does not work with any …