Letter From “Mr. Bravo” Re: Ballistic Protection of Building Materials

Jim, Joel Skousen writes in his book “The Secure Home” that a gravel-filled wall is better than concrete, for an exterior wall or an interior safe room. While persistent impacts will drill a hole in concrete, they will have no effect on gravel, except for slight settling and spillage, generating a gap only at the very top where protection is not needed. Gravel (1/2 to 3?4 inch, presumably fragmented and not rounded pea gravel) will deflect and destroy most rounds, unlike sand, which merely slows most rounds. In his book “The Secure Home”, Skousen advises using 5/8-inch or 3?4- inch …




Letter Re: Ballistic Protection of Building Materials

Mr Rawles, I saw the letter you posted asking about the ballistic protection afforded by common building materials. I did some experimenting on this topic, testing the protection of concrete-filled blocks against a number of common calibers. You can see my findings here: http://www.clairewolfe.com/wolfesblog/00001296.html and here: http://www.clairewolfe.com/wolfesblog/00001404.html Even 8 inches of concrete offers only temporary protection from rifle ammunition (though it’s quite good against pistol fire.) For info on other materials, you might direct folks to: http://www.theboxotruth.com/ – Ian




Letter Re: Tritium Sights and Night Vision Devices

Jim, What are your thoughts regarding tritium nights sights giving away your position to someone using Gen III or better night vision? – Gung-Ho JWR Replies: Thanks, Gungie, you raised an important point! Even first generation starlight (electronic light amplification) devices can detect the illumination of tritium sights. For someone looking at you through a starlight scope or NVGs, if you are holding a pistol in your hands that is equipped with fresh tritium sights, then it will give the same visual impression as if you had a penlight shining in your face. If holstered, this usually isn’t an issue, …




Letter from Dr. Sidney Zweibel Re: Recommended Ammunition?

Dear Jim: Congratulations on your blog’s tremendous success! I will continue to pray to Yahweh for your continued blessings. I have a few questions on the weapons topic that I would appreciate your learned response on. 1.) I certainly understand your opinion on the .223 round, but for those of us that currently possess weapons chambered in .223 what type and load of .223 would you recommend? Are you familiar with the Hornady 60 gr. Spitzer cartridge? 2.) What manufacturers and types of rounds do you recommend for the .45 ACP? Are you familiar with the Hornady FMJ flat-point? 3.) …




Letter Re: Armored Window Shutters, Ayn Rand, U.S. Military Organizational Structure

Dear Mr. Rawles, My copy of your book [Patriots] has been read by so many people that the binding is falling apart. I’ve read it three times myself. Are there photo examples of the retreat doors and shutters? Sorry, I cannot post pictures, due to OPSEC. I did my best to describe the shutter and door ballistic upgrades in detail in the novel. (In narrative form.) If you want to construct something similar, just be sure to take the weight into account when sizing the hinges, and remember that the hinges need to be attached to some substantial framing or …




Letter from David Crawford Re: EMP-Proofing and Other Nuke Preparations

Dear Mr. Rawles, Congratulations on your successful Web Log. I suspect that you will soon be counting your unique hits by the million instead of the thousand. I was very pleasantly surprised to see the mention of my novel, “Lights Out”, on your Blog today. It was fitting that you reviewed Texas, my home state, as well on this day. I must tell you that my writing was largely inspired by “Patriots“. I have two copies and the first has been read so many times that it is now held together by rubber bands. “Patriots” is the ultimate ‘How-to’ novel …




Letter Re: Retreat Architecture Options

Mr. Rawles, In your 09/19/2005 blog, you asked for input on different architectural techniques related to a retreat. Following is information on a type of construction that has some interesting potential. Take a look at the video at http://archnet.org/library/files/one-file.tcl?file_id=1385 . It is a high-resolution Windows Media Player file showing construction of sandbag shelters using very low tech methods and tools. The shelter exceeds all standard earthquake specs for buildings. Very cool idea and a very well done video. The objective was to find shelter for refugees rather than sticking them in tents. Adding Portland cement to the sand makes for …




Letter Re: Manufactured Homes Versus “Stick Built” Homes for Retreats + Gun Questions

Dear Jim: I am completely impressed with the level of data and analysis on your blog site! However, there is one subject I have yet to see discussed. When looking for a homestead/retreat have you evaluated a manufactured home versus a conventional\ stick and frame house? Around these parts lots of rural properties come with manufactured/mobile homes as part of the deal. What is your opinion as to the type of housing to be used for your homestead/retreat? I also have a few questions concerning some answers to a previous e-mail: 1.) You had mentioned a CETME weapon. What exactly …




Letter Re: Diesel “Rustling” in California’s Central Valley

Mr. Rawles, I thought you might be interested in this article from the LA Times today: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-rustle12sep12,0,5207254.story?coll=la-home-business With $3.25 per gallon diesel,we now have “fuel rustlers” stealing from ranchers. In your writings you always point out that our fuel storage tanks should be underground and the pumps disguised. Sound advice!




Letter: Regarding Rhodesian Ridgebacks

Hi Jim, Well, as requested, I’ll give a bit of a review of the Rhodesian Ridgeback dog breed – since it’s the one breed I’ve settled on. I’ve had two Ridgebacks so far, both females, and both were spayed. The first one was a first generation working Ridgeback – Red Mahogany color, 128# – exceptionally muscular dog. Muscular to the point of having a veterinarian that I took her to insist that she must have “undescended testicles” – otherwise there was no other explanation for the build. Well, she didn’t have those, but her sire and dam were big, tough …




Safety in Numbers

If you are setting up a remote retreat you should definitely plan ahead to double up or even triple up with other capable families to provide security, as described in my novel Patriots. The manpower required for 24 hour, 7 day a week, 360 degree security should things go truly “worst case” with a complete breakdown of law and order is tremendous. One family with just two adults on its own cannot both provide security and handle the many chores required to operate a self-sufficient retreat–particularly in summer and fall with gardening and food storage tasks. The physical and emotional …




The Illusion of Isolation

If you are an eastern urbanite and come to the conclusion that you need to buy “a cabin in upstate New York” or “a brick house in New Jersey’s Pine Barrens,” then you are wrong, quite possibly dead wrong. (By the way, I had both of those earnestly suggested, in e-mails from readers of my novel Patriots.) A rural area that is within an overall heavily populated region is not truly rural. It lacks real isolation from the basic problem–population. Most of these “rural” areas—except perhaps for a few fortunately bypassed zones, as I mentioned yesterday–will be overwhelmed by refugees …