Letter Re: A Street Gang Rapid Response Kit

I visit your blog daily and the link to a map showing gang presence in the United States caught my eye. I note that my home is within one of the “moderate” gang activity areas. That is not news to me. We are about a mile from the perimeter of the “war zone” of our city in a semi-rural part of town. We hear gunshots (within a half-mile of the house) nightly and the roofers who replaced our shingles last year remarked at the number of bullet holes in our roof. Those shots came from the street in front of …




Letter Re: The Importance of Rural Retreat Light Discipline

Jim: I’m writing to comment on something in your nonfiction book “How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It”: On page 206 you state: “Without proper blackout precautions, your house will be a ‘come loot me’ beacon that can be seen for miles at night.”I can’t stress light discipline enough. Here’s an example: About fifteen years ago my parents went to dinner at The Cougar Inn on Lake Wenatchee [in eastern Washington]. It was a dark night and on the way back from dinner they looked across the lake and saw a faint green flashing light …




Pat’s Product Review: LaserLyte Products

I still remember when some of the first lasers for handguns came on the commercial market. At the time I was working for the late Col. Rex Applegate, and he received several handgun lasers to test. As was usually the case, the job of testing was passed along to me, and I reported my findings back to Applegate. At the time, I thought that lasers on firearms were more of a gimmick or for that matter, just plain ol’ toys. No one made holsters for handguns with laser – simply because the lasers were so big – it wasn’t practical …




Letter Re: Advice on AN/PVS-14 Gen 3 Night Vision Monoculars

Hello Mr. Rawles, Could you post some qualities to look for in an AN/PVS-14 Generation 3 night vision monocular/weapon sight? I would like to support one of your advertisers, but the different quality levels (apparently due to the sensor quality) is different even within the same make/model across different US manufacturers, but at very different prices.  Have you any thoughts? Best Regards, – Tom JWR Replies: If you want to buy the best, then you need to get a military specification Gen 3+ AN/PVS-14 monocular that comes with a Litton factory data sheet.  Have one hand-picked for the maximum number …




Retreat Security and Other Observations, by Chino

In a world where everything normal has been turned up-side-down and chaos and anarchy may be the order of the day, we will have to adopt a “security first” attitude.  Where our attitude today may be “trust but verify”, our attitude post-TEOTWAWKI should be “verify then cautiously trust.”  Whether it’s dealing with a stranger in person or talking over the radio, we should exercise extreme caution and be on guard against providing information that someone with ulterior motives can use against us. In a situation where a few people have provisions to sustain life but most people do not, there …




Letter Re: Night Defense on a Budget

Mr. Rawles:   I ran a recon/sniper unit in Viet Nam.  We had first generation starlight scopes and tweaked M14s and we shot the dickens out of the bad guys.  I was tasked with keeping a critical part of Hwy 1 open and would often do road security taking a jeep with a borrowed xenon searchlight to provide additional infrared (IR) support for my snipers. It would cast shadows at 500 plus meters and you could not see it with the naked eye.   Many of us have more prep to do than budget to spend… but being able to …




Letter Re: Lower Power DC Lighting

James Wesley: I am writing by the light of a post-apocalyptic reading lamp I just constructed. From a string of LED Christmas lights, I removed two sections of just three LEDs each. To each of these I attached in series a single 100 Ohm resistor from the parts bin at Radio Shack. A goose-neck work light provided a good reflector and glare control. I cut the plug off the other end and crimped on the connectors appropriate to my battery. The battery was salvaged from a defunct computer UPS. They are common to alarm systems and are not expensive new. …




Letter Re: The Bosnian Experience, Part 2

Sir: The next thing that I would like to cover is mode of transportation. When the society collapses more likely you will have to leave your home. Having a 4×4 vehicle that is equipped with everything that you need to survive would be everyone’s choice for travel but that sometimes might not be possible. In the broken society there is no law. Everyone and everybody is a target. Traveling in the vehicle on the road or off the road is extremely risky. First, vehicles make noise and everyone can hear you. Second, vehicles are big and they can be seen. …




Letter Re: Infrared Imaging Countermeasures

Mr. Rawles, There are several proven, low cost techniques that can be used against thermal/infrared imagers. But none of them last an extended period of time. While they are not fool-proof they certainly do work well enough to frustrate the US military in Afghanistan. The first method being used is for men to lay down in a small depression in the ground and cover themselves with a heavy wool blanket every time they hear an engine overhead — be it a helicopter or the lawn-mower whine of a drone. This technique is well documented based on visual surveillance of groups …




A Wilderness Hide Location for a Planned Evacuation, by J.I.R.

A period of lawlessness may prevail after any major interruption of services. We all know this and try to plan. But have we really realistically faced what this means? Once the food trucks stop arriving, US cities and towns have less than a week before food riots and general looting begins. If things get really bad, there are going to be literally millions of people starving, thirsty and sick, willing to do whatever it takes to survive. The simple math points to a huge die-off unless the government can maintain control and re-institute some emergency measures. In the worst case …




From David in Israel: Off Grid Alternatives to Utility-Supplied Electricity

James One of the most troubling things I see when speaking to people about going off grid is how badly they want to keep all of their electrical appliances and just spend many thousands of dollars on a battery bank more appropriate for a U-boat and solar cells or generators to keep them topped off. Having had a minor role in a micro-satellite system design proposal one thing you learn when confronted by limited power supply is to either economize or do without. The appliances you own for on grid use are not efficient. They are built to be inexpensive …




Letter Re: How to Make Your Own “Black Out” OPSEC Window Panels

James, Another good product for light shades is Reflectix Insulation. Basically Reflectix is bubble wrap with aluminum foil bonded to one or both sides. I have used it to make thermal drapes for my home, and know that it blocks all visible light. You can buy it at most Home Improvement centers. It commonly comes in 25′ rolls that are 16″, 24″, or 48″ in width. Last winter I bought a 4’x25′ roll and had enough to do my entire house. (9 windows of various sizes) the cost was about $40. Manufacturers claim that reflects up to 97% of all …




Letter Re: How to Make Your Own “Black Out” OPSEC Window Panels

Sir, In the film industry we use a very cheap and very opaque product to block out windows. We often need to shoot [indoor] night time scenes during the day and can’t have any stray light. Product is called Duvetyne, it’s a very, very heavy black cloth. We even use it for flags and cutters, which are light-blocking pieces that we put in front of lights as big as 20K (20,000 watts) to deflect and control stray light. This stuff works great. Here is a supplier of Duvetyne. Has it for $8.25 per yard (60″ wide), so it really is …




Bug Out and Refugee Considerations, by Brad T.

I’d like to shed some light on what it might be like to move across an unfamiliar area without money or adequate supplies. This might come in handy when you have to bug out following a natural disaster or other societal disruption. It might provide tips on how to avoid apprehension or detection while traveling. In addition, it might help you in determining a place for your retreat and anticipating refugees. Finally it might prepare you for some of the emotional and physical stresses you will face if you find yourself bugging out. I live on the US Mexico border …




Surviving an Expedient Ambush Roadblock While Traveling by Vehicle, by M.W.

In the days following a societal collapse, there will be some people who will be on the move from where the problems exist to where they hope safety lies. There can be many reasons why people are on the move, and an equal number of reasons why someone else may wish to stop your progress. Getting on the move and out of a hostile area as early as possible in the wake of a collapse is a significant key to one’s survival, as well has having buddies to cover you during your travel. The sooner you get on the road, …