Guest Article: The MVT Lite Fight Concept- Part 2, by Max Alexander

Light Weight Gear

We’ve covered the first two components of the MVT Lite Fight Concept —Lite Hydration Pack (LHP) and plate carrier. However, I haven’t wrapped up my comments relating to plates. Here are my notes:

Ballistic Plates:

  • There is a persistent tomfoolery about steel plates. These are heavy, suffer badly from spalling (ever shot a steel target; you are wearing one). You cannot navigate while wearing them (magnetic compass). In the winter it would be like wearing a refrigerator.
  • Ceramic/hybrid plates are criticized for needing a little more care, like not throwing them off the back of your truck lest they crack (which in itself does not make them ineffective) and for not being as “multi-hit” as steel. I don’t throw my optics or night vision or radios off the back of my truck either.
  • Ceramic/hybrid plates are in fact multi-hit and due to the weight savings are a considerable investment in … Continue reading

Letter Re: Night Vision Gear and Infrared

Night Vision Gear


I’ve read JWR’s books and have been reading your site for a year now. I am a big fan. However, I’ve seen little or no verbiage on where to buy reasonably priced NVG or IR. Obviously your books and those of other good writers, like Joe Nobody, talk constantly about using them, and yet, it seems none are priced less than $1500. Any info would be appreciated. Thanks in advance. – J

HJL’s Comment:

As an entry level device, you can get a first generation device (usually Russian made) at nearly any sporting goods store that carries hunting/camping equipment for as low as $300. While these devices are okay for basic use, they have limited range and limited resolution. Unless they have been autogated (shuts off temporarily when bright lights are sensed) they can be damaged in normal light. They can also go completely white (well, really green) ruining … Continue reading

Bushnell Equinox Night Vision Scope, by Pat Cascio

Bushnell Equinox Night Vision

This week, I will be reviewing The Bushnell Equinox Night Vision Scope.

Most readers readily know that I’m a bargain hunting hound. I have to be. I simply don’t have enough income to purchase all the “toys” I want. It’s been this way my entire life, too. Several of my are amazed at my bartering skills and survival mindset, but I have to be this way. Now that I’m semi-retired and collecting my very meager social security benefits each month, I once again am forced by life to make do with what we have.

I know that many people believe that all writers make millions of dollars a year. If only that were the case! Most gun writers I know hold down a second regular job. They can’t live on what they are paid for their articles. What we do is akin to a “ministry”, if you will. Our hearts are in it. We love to pass along information to our readers. When testing various products, we all hope we get it right most of the time.

The local gun shop knows that I love a bargain. It has to be a bargain before I’ll even look at a firearm and consider purchasing it. Every now and then, the gun shop will set a firearm aside for me. They seem to know that I’ll probably buy it some how! I know I’m in trouble when I walk in the front door and someone starts waving a gun in the air to get my attention. Grrrr!! Continue reading

Firefield Nightfall-2 Night Vision Scope, by Pat Cascio

We all know, or at should know, that there are certain pieces of kit that we should have if we are truly preparing for a SHTF scenario of any type. We always discuss firearms, and that is first on most lists. We then have to add food and water, as well as shelter of some type, because we never know what the emergency might be that brings us to a scenario where we might have to bug out or are left to our own devices to survive as best we can. To many of us, this is an excuse to purchase more guns and ammo, and if that is your number one goal you aren’t really a Prepper, in my humble opinion. There is a lot more involved in surviving whatever may come our way than just owning a lot of firearms. As stated, food and water are a must. … Continue reading

Amazing Affordable Force Multipliers – Part 1, by Tupreco

Night Vision, Thermal Vision, Wireless Video, EMP Protection

I decided now is the time to put this together because the consistent theme in every prepper blog and financial publication today is that TIME.IS.RUNNING.OUT. Even non-preppers know something is up because it is starting to pop up now and then in random conversations. Many average people are finally realizing that something is different this time. However, they mostly still want to complain and do nothing, but at least it’s a start. In the meantime, the more motivated among us are making ready for the pending disruptions we know are coming. This remains an excellent strategy to provide for loved ones and do what we can to help put the pieces back together. Having a plan and working it is critical, and priorities should be reviewed frequently. Yet, even up to the end, we will all have loose ends and things … Continue reading

Scot’s Product Review: Armasight Night Vision Accessories

I recently reviewed the $549 Russian-made Armasight Spark Core night vision device and promised to do an update on some of the accessories that can be used with it. If you recall, I liked the monocular unit (which was $90 less when I bought it) and felt it offered a lot of bang for the buck, enough so that I purchased it on my own and then reviewed it. I still like it, but I am very concerned about not being able to get a response from Armasight on several questions. I contacted them both as a purchaser looking for product support and as a SurvivalBlog writer looking for information. I received no reply from emails or phone calls. They also neglected to answer a request to borrow some of the accessories for a review. Even if they don’t want to make anything available, courtesy should mandate a … Continue reading

Letter Re: Light Blocking Suggestions for Windows

Here in Alaska, people often block incoming light with a single layer of aluminum foil.. the kind from the supermarket.  It is difficult to sleep here in summer when the sun never sleeps.  This same method would work to keep light in. 

light weight
easy to store

Regards, – Carol S.

Letter Re: Light Blocking Suggestions for Windows

Hello Jim,
I’ve been following the window light blocking conversation with interest. The prospect of spending money and time for highly specialized fabrics or felts, for a highly specialized purpose, which may or may not be a future necessity, just doesn’t feel affordable or practical to me. In comparison, I believe my simple, flexible, and inexpensive alternative approach has much to offer.

I’ve been stocking up on large Polar Fleece blankets, as a multi- purpose basic material, from my local thrift store, where I can often find a queen or king size for around $10. Two or three folded layers will block out any light as necessary. The fabric can also be used for clothing, for insulation, for padding, and for so much more. I prefer to think in terms of basic “building block” materials that can serve many functions, and this is one good example.

Keep up the … Continue reading

Letter Re: Low Voltage DC LED Strip Lights for Disaster House Lighting

Dear JWR:
This might have been thought of before, but I just stumbled into something called LED strip lights. Here is a sample.

They come in 15 meter rolls, are about 1/2 inch wide and have 300 individual LED lights. They can be cut into segments between every third light. They run off of 12 volts DC and are actually rather bright while using little electricity. If you purchased one of those little strips the reloading companies sell to mount inside the press so you can see what’s going on, it is probably this stuff. There are several versions. Some have 150 light and some have larger LEDs that put out more light. There are several colors available including multi-color ones for holiday lighting.

I’m seeing a lot of possibilities for emergency use. A strip with six LEDs on it will light most … Continue reading

Letter Re: Light Blocking Suggestions for Windows

Mr. Rawles,
I’ve just listened to another interview you gave, and noted yet again that you consider light control of utmost importance.  I have several suggestions from the fabric store.  There is a material that really does work perfectly for light control at a reasonable cost (helped by the readily available Joann Fabric Store – also online – 50% off coupons): drapery lining material referred to as ‘blackout’ fabric.  A common brand of this fabric is Roc-Lon, if searching online for it. 

Another fabric I’ve worked with is the Warm Window insulated shade system ( and also carried at most Joann Fabric stores).  This system uses multiple layers of fabric which not only produces a blackout effect but also provides a vapor barrier and a nice layer of insulation for windows.  This fabric can be used to make something like a balloon shade, which can be raised and … Continue reading

Letter Re: Selecting a Prepper’s Firearms

James Wesley,
I have found red dot scopes to be real helpful, and great for target shooting and plinking.  The problem of course are the [button] batteries. I have a cheap red dot on one of my [Ruger] 10/22 fun plinking gun.  Everyone loves it.  However, too Many times I have left the sight turned on only to have a useless device atop my rifle. I have spent much money on the special “photo type” batteries for these illuminated scopes (with and without reticles). Those scopes that have a regular reticle and the option of illumination is not as catastrophic as a red dot with a dead battery and no quick back up iron sights.  I have added Trijicon RMR Dual-Illuminated Sight (Ruggedized Miniature Reflex) to two of my survival rifles. The illumination of the dot is done with with ambient light and has tritium illumination for low light/night … Continue reading

Pat’s Product Review: Crimson Trace MVF-515 Laser

I know that over the years, and in many articles, I clearly stated that when lasers for firearms first came on the market, they were mostly considered “toys” by most professionals, myself included. The lasers back in the day, were big and bulky, cost a lot of money, and the battery run-time was short. Additionally, there really wasn’t any way to holster a handgun with a large laser on it – no one made holsters to fit the cumbersome handgun lasers. So, for the most part, lasers didn’t catch-on, at least, not right away. They were a rich man’s toy.

Today, there is a  huge line of laser products for rifles, shotguns and handguns made by with Crimson Trace Corporation (CTC). I’ve tested a number of CTC products over the years, and have been totally impressed with all of them. I’ve toured their manufacturing plant, and got a real … Continue reading

Pat’s Product Review: LED Lenser Flashlights

When the power goes out, the lights go out – simple as that! Many people will then reach for a flashlight, only to find, that the batteries are dead, or dying – assuming they can even find a flashlight at night, when the power goes off. I have to admit, in my younger and dumber days, I fell victim to this many times. Living in a rural area, especially during the winter months, our power goes out several times due to trees falling over on power lines. Last time, we were without power for several days, in the winter when a huge snow storm knocked down hundreds of trees onto power lines. We have electric heat, too – but we keep a kerosene heater on-hand, and it really heats our house nicely – thank you!
Look, let’s be brutally honest here, old-style D-cell flashlights, that cost a … Continue reading

Letter Re: Trijicon — What’s the Right Color for a Color-Blind User?

Good Morning Mr. Rawles,
I too suffer from color deficiency and have had first hand experience with Trijicon, ACOG and other illuminated optics.  For me the red and green reticles “disappear” on any background other than white. 
With the assistance of many a friend and family member we have done extensive testing to be able to determine what works for me. The answer to my color woes is amber reticles. No mater the background the amber stands out brilliantly.  I’ve had the opportunity to view the amber reticles against woodland, desert, tiger stripe, Multicam, ACU and a dozen other types of camouflage and have yet to find a color or pattern (including natural backdrops) that caused the amber disappear.  I’m blessed in the fact I didn’t have to waste hard earned money trying to find what works for me and haven’t had to play the “return and restock” game with any … Continue reading

Letter Re: Trijicon — What’s the Right Color for a Color-Blind User?

I live in the hinterboonies — hours from anywhere where I can ‘try-out’ the different colors of Trijicon ACOG sights.  God willing, I’d like to purchase one for my .223.  Since I’ll have to purchase by mail-order I want to specify the right one the first time.  I’m hoping for help from you, or one of your experienced readers.

In my early 20s I had to take a flight physical.  Boy was I surprised to learn, for the first time, that I had a degree of red/green color blindness.  I can see red.  I can see green.  I can match my clothes.  But, the charts don’t lie — I am color blind.  I’ve been told that 10% of men have the same condition.

So, here’s my question.  What’s the best color ACOG for a heavily-forested (conifer) environment for a user such as mine?  I’ll bet the … Continue reading