Let’s explore the concept of wandering. If you’ve been involved in the world of preparedness for any length of time, you’re familiar with terms like “Bug-Out Location” (BOL) and “Bugging-In”, and you have probably read or participated in discussions about ways to go about securing your house/neighborhood/compound/town. Humans as a species tend to be social animals, and gathering in fixed locations in large groups has always had many advantages, including security, stable relationships, sharing of labor, farming, et cetera. But there have always been individuals and small groups who prefer (or are forced) to minimize their interactions with “society” and not be tied to any specific location.
These have traditionally been called wanderers, travelers, gypsies, nomads, et cetera. While these types of itinerant peoples have existed in one form or another for centuries, the pressures of modern society and the desire of governments to exercise an ever-increasing degree of control … Continue reading
In “Part One of Basic Handgun Marksmanship Skills”, we looked at some firearms 101 and gave instructions for a test to determine if you are right eye dominant or left eye dominant. We also went over bone support and stance as well as safety procedures and basic rules to prevent accidental shootings. Today, we will dig into the basics of handgun selection, ammunitions, and becoming proficient in the use of your handgun. I will also share my recommendation for how to train under pressure. This is a means to prepare for the stressful situation of a self defense scenario.
Choosing a Handgun
For many people, choosing a handgun is confusing. I always ask people who are interested in buying a handgun for the first time, what they are interested in using it for. Most people I encounter in my gun store tell me that they are looking for a gun … Continue reading
These days, we “evil gun owners” are blamed for all sorts of despicable acts. Acts such as the horrible terrorist shooting/mass murder in California. Muslim extremists used legally purchased weapons that they had been given by a friend of theirs. Typical of our leftist, non-American former President and his liberal communist-minded minions, their message was to blame gun owners, the NRA, and the ease of availability of firearms for that senseless incident of terror. To their way of thinking, it couldn’t possibly be because some Muslim terrorist hated our culture and simply wanted to kill as many of us as he could.
Basic Handgun Marksmanship
Most Americans could benefit from some basic “firearms 101” education, if only to better understand firearms. Guns do not kill people; people kill people. And every firearm that I possess, combined, has been used to kill fewer people then Ted Kennedy’s car. Firearms are simply … Continue reading
A few hours later, after dawn, we began our death march back to the USMC Mountain Survival Course base. To add excitement to our return, the instructors gave us several “casualties” that had to be carried out. We cut poles and ran them through our buttoned blouse sleeves to make stretchers. We soon realized that even with the casualty holding on, they would need to be tied onto the litter. As we carried it over rocks and up and down inclines, they would slide around and fall out. We almost made them into a real casualty several times.
This was extremely draining, but it was uplifting to know we were on the home stretch. At this point we were all emaciated and filthy. The hump back seemed to take forever. We moved continuously, passing the casualty from group to group of six people. As one group passed the … Continue reading
Phase 3 – Group Survival (continued)
Relocation and Warmth
We had been in the field on our USMC Mountain Survival Course for four days in Phase 1 and five days for Phase 2. Phase 3 was just beginning. We had taken in roughly 1500 calories over nine days. After everyone had arrived from our isolation locations, the group went for a hump. We moved about five klicks up and down a couple of mountains and posed at the top in some snow for a couple group pictures. Then we humped back down into a large, mostly barren valley, which had a grassed stream running through the center about 4-5 feet across.
We arrived around afternoon and dropped our packs and gear in formation, except our personal survival kits and knives that were strapped to our bodies. After the hump and with the rising sun, we warmed up. Most had stripped … Continue reading
Second Phase – Individual Survival in the USMC Mountain Survival Course (continued)
I was on the third day of my individual isolation survival of the USMC Mountain Survival course. By mid-afternoon I had improved my fuel (wood) situation, improved my shelter and signaling for rescue, and boiled enough water to fill my plastic bladder and two Nalgene bottles. So I went scrounging for food.
Food for Day Three
I was five yards from a small running stream that provided just enough running water to scoop some out with a metal cup. Another 50 yards downhill from my shelter, the stream emptied into a larger stream several feet across. The stream was small. The fish in it were, at best, three or four inches long. I hooked some line to some low hanging branches, baited the smallest hooks from my fishing kit, and dropped them into … Continue reading
On the evening of the first night of being in the instructional phase of our USMC Mountain Survival Course, we were handed a pet shop rabbit. The Marine Corps had bought a batch of larger farm raised rabbits, only to find out they carried the nasty Tularemia (rabbit fever). They discovered the disease after looking at the first rabbit’s liver, which was spotted white/yellow and/or swollen. They weren’t willing to accept the risk of disease transmission. So, they searched all the nearby pet shops and bought up all the pet bunnies they could find. Those bunnies were small and cute instead of large and fluffy and full of meat. Mine was black and white. I had always wanted a pet rabbit. Just the same, I didn’t bother naming him since he looked tasty.
Butchering a Rabbit
Using one as an example, the instructors showed how to kill, skin, and … Continue reading
Preparations For Mountain Survival
I spent June of 2014 in Bridgeport, California at the USMC’s School of Mountain Warfare undergoing the grand reopening of their Mountain Survival Course. Over the span of 13 days, I lost 31 pounds while in training. Here’s my story and lessons learned.
I left an elevation of 3,300 feet in the mountains of North Carolina for Bridgeport, which is at 6,500 feet. The first morning we ran our PFT with less than 12 hours of acclimation to the new elevation. We were required to score a First Class PFT before continuing the course. We had one Marine fail to achieve first class score twice and was shipped back to his unit. That left 26 students with three instructors. Our class consisted of all NCO’s, with a 1st Lieutenant and a Captain thrown in. We were a handful of Scout/Snipers, a Polish Commando, a Headquarters guy … Continue reading
Steps 1 and 2
We started this series by recommending a .22 rifle as a first gun for a prepper battery or as an important addition to a well-stocked arsenal. We specifically suggested a 10/22 Takedown or any other 10/22 model and recommended dedicating enough time to become confident using this wonderful little rifle. The two structured alternatives we described for building competence and confidence were the Appleseed Project and Rimfire Challenge.
In the second article we provided much more detail about Appleseed and Rimfire. We also described the specific upgrades recommended by Appleseed and four more that would improve the reliability and functioning of any 10/22.
This article and then the final one in the four-part series provide more information and additional resources on the upgrades covered in the second article and provide details on a few more changes to enhance the performance of an already outstanding rifle. Part … Continue reading
Appleseed or Rimfire
Are you still pondering whether to get a 10/22? Or, have you already added a stainless Takedown to your gun safe and made several trips to the range? If you have also taken a class or done some serious practice, your round count is likely to be 300 to 500 rounds or more. You will have built some confidence in your rifle and yourself.
The next step is really a personal choice. Either of the two recommended options, Appleseed or Rimfire Challenge, will result in a major improvement in your skills and put you on the path to becoming a very good shooter or what we call a “capable defender”. (Capes are optional.)
Our advice: Go with your gut after reading the pros and cons of each. Whichever option you select to upgrade your skills, make a genuine commitment to one or the other. Stick with it.
… Continue reading
Leather has been used for millennia as a durable resource for clothing, shelter, armor, and more. If you pay attention, there is an abundance of leather all around you. It’s on furniture and baseball fields, in cars, and on garment racks. If you found yourself in a post-collapse situation, leather is a readily available scavenge resource. If you know how to work with it and have a few simple tools and supplies, you have the solution to countless problems. Later I’ll explain some basics. My journey with leather began a few years ago.
I was attending a homeschool conference and saw a beautiful leather backpack. It was extremely durable, functional, and handsome to look at. It had been constructed to minimize points of failure and last a lifetime. Zippers, for example, were eschewed in favor of buckles, as zippers are typically the first thing to fail on a bag … Continue reading
Just an FYI that I saw the WaterBob on Amazon. Not sure if it is indeed “discontinued”, but it’s still for sale–it looks like. I have one. Thanks for your blog. I have received good info on it to help my family prepare for all sorts of scenarios. – MHC
o o o
Thanks to JWR’s post, I just ordered two WaterBOB’s from Amazon for $40. I checked and the Reservoir cost was about $75 for one. The WaterBOB is a one time use. Not sure that’s the case for the Reservoir. I assume the supply of WaterBOBs won’t last long. Thanks for the heads up.
I’ve read with interest and amusement the recent firestarting articles (https://survivalblog.com/letter-re-easy-fire-starting-article/ ) and wanted to add my 2¢.
For everyday firestarting in the wood stove at home, I use egg cartons dipped in melted bacon fat. We have bacon once a week and save the drippings in a big plastic coffee container. (I also cook with bacon fat, but that’s another story!) Once a month or so I carefully melt that fat in Mr. Microwave until it’s clear-ish. Then I dip the egg carton egg “cups” into the container and put them in an open gallon Ziploc to cool. (Yes, I have laying hens, but some of them are slackers and so we also buy a dozen eggs a week for cooking and for the Dogs of Doom. Hence the surplus egg cartons!)
The bacon grease penetrates the cardboard nicely. They start quickly with a long-reach lighter, and they … Continue reading
Once upon a time after the passing of my father, I told my wife I needed to go on a hike. Being the good woman she is, I went with her blessing. I loaded up early in March and went to a park near Silva, North Carolina, near a place known as Stone Pile Gap. I was drawn to the site because of that name and my fascination with the ancient custom of first building a cairn in the memory of a loved one and subsequently for travelers to add a stone and say a prayer. That people have been doing that in a spot for a couple millennia is just aweing to me. It is very human and attached at our most spiritual level.
On that hike in the leafless forest, I came upon a shoulder where a rather large family cemetery was located. You could see quite … Continue reading
Next to water, fire is one of the most essential needs for survival. No doubt you have six different ways to start a fire you call favorites and another twenty more you could use in a pinch. Here’s a twist on an old tried but true method.
I first learned this method from Boy’s Life many, many decades ago. I wasn’t even a Boy Scout. (They didn’t want me, but that’s another story.) Anyway, I’ve always liked this method for it’s simple elegance. However,, I thought of one tweak to make it an awesome choice.
Making the traditional fire starter is easy as pie. You’ll need an old newspaper, some paraffin or beeswax, and some string. You’ll also need two pans and a source of heat to melt the wax. I recommend using something disposable for the wax. Even a steel can should work. Make sure you have some tongs … Continue reading