Three Letter Re: Internet and Search Engine Privacy

I’ve done a lot of experimenting on this and offer my take:

Rule Number One: The U.S. Government is monitoring domestic internet traffic. Anybody visiting Survivalblog is already suspect by the government because of it’s very subject matter. Assume that you are being monitored. Let’s not be naive here please.

Anonymizer is obviously monitored by the Government because it maintains logs of in/out IP Addresses.

Tor…the Onion Router is the best way to go if you have DSL or Cable high-speed internet connection because there is no central logging. I use it.

CCleaner [Cache Cleaner] at is the very best way to keep your computer free of what snoops want. It is FREE, tiny, fast, easy, and I click on it after every internet surf. It instantly removes all tracking cookies. It also instantly removes all those useless internet temp files that clog/slow your computer. Download it FREE right now. -Book



You mentioned that your readers might be interested in a brief write up of privacy on the Internet and how to keep yourself off of the radar. I’ll try to oblige.
First some background: My company and I do Information Security for small businesses, so we and I have experience in keeping private things private in the real world. What I’m doing is basically putting into text the Security Speech that I give any client who I consult for (and will sit still long enough to hear it). I’ll stay away from technical terms and specific products/’solutions’ until the very end where I’ll describe a few different levels of ‘security’ in real-world examples. Specific privacy stuff is further towards the end.
Rule Number One: There Is No Such Thing As A Secure Computer (or Anything Else)
Perfect security is impossible. Computer security researchers are fond of saying that the only secure computer is one that’s unplugged from the network, turned off, sealed in a vault and protected by well-paid guards, and they’re only partially joking. (Yes this is what passes for humor in the computer security profession.) No matter what steps you take to keep your stuff secure, someone, somewhere can break into it and steal them; given sufficient time and money all computers are vulnerable. The only thing you can do to an attacker is slow him or her down. All of modern security is devoted to slowing attackers down. This has two effects: it makes you less appealing to casual attackers and it frustrates determined attackers.
In WWII the Germans used an encryption device called “enigma” to send secret messages to their troops. They thought it was unbreakable. The allies broke it. The moral of the story is that what we think is ‘secure’ today will be as tough as tissue paper in fifty years.
Rule Number Two: Security Is Not A Product.
What I mean by this is twofold: one, anyone who sells you a “secure” widget is lying. Widgets, computers, servers and networks are not secure or insecure by their nature; they are merely tools. Any tool can be used for good or ill, just think of the climate concerning guns. This is a continuation of the first rule; not only is there no such thing as a secure computer, any steps that have been taken to create a more secure computer can be blown away by the mentality of the user. This rule probably should read Security Is A State Of Mind, but this way I can combine two rules into one. In a nutshell, every system is only as secure as the users of that system are willing to make it.
The canonical example of this is a hospital. Hospitals have insane oversight in terms of confidentiality of patient information and they can get in real trouble for letting the Wrong People see certain files. So the natural step is to make each level of access have a separate password and each user must login to separate authentication levels, blah blah blah. Its a ‘very secure system.’ End result? Nurses get tired of remembering so many passwords and write them down on sticky notes on the monitor. Security that is too hard to use will be defeated.
Rule Number Three: Your Computer Is A Castle.
Traditional security is a good analogy to computer security. Things that people would never do in the real world they don’t think twice about doing online. When you open an attachment you’re not expecting, its like licking your neighbor’s doorknob. When you blindly click ‘OK’ on every pop up window, its like walking around in a bad neighborhood with a roll of hundred dollar bills poking out of your pocket. Remember the Trojan Horse? Trusting everyone online will get you in trouble, just like in real life.
Likewise, when you evaluate a system for security the first place you look is the place where security is the weakest. If you double-encrypt everything and lock your computer in a safe but your password is ‘secret’, you’re not really secure. Always look at the big picture and don’t lose the forest for the trees. Likewise, if you have an uber-secure locked-down machine but its in an office where the cleaning staff have physical access, you’re not secure.
Rule Number Four: Security is Boring
This is the hardest thing to get right. The best way to be secure online is to do the little things all the time. Boring things like keeping your security updates up-to-date and getting an anti-virus. Being paranoid about your email and choosing the right software go a huge way towards keeping your stuff safe. Have a legal copy of all your software, especially your anti-virus. Pay for it. If you don’t want to pay for it, AVG anti virus is free and damn good. More detail later.
That’s it for the theory, there will be a quiz on Thursday. Now the practice. There are a few things that you can do to keep yourself secure and protect what little privacy you still have.
The first thing to know is that email is not secure. Think of email as sending a postcard, there’s nothing to stop anyone who touches it from reading it. Email is hard but not impossible to anonymize, but there are few remaining anonymizers left. Any old Hotmail or other free account will work for certain values of ‘anonymous’ but they probably will not stand up to a legal search warrant unless you are very careful. Gmail is not a good provider for anonymous email because of the invite system. Unless you can get an invite anonymously anyone tracing it can simply look up who invited you and compel them to spill the beans.
Another thing is that any site you visit on the web can get a huge amount of information on you that your browser just sends out on its own. Things like your IP address which can be traced to a rough location and if the government gets involved can probably be traced down to whoever pays the bills. This can be mitigated by using anonymizing proxies, Tor and privoxy. More detail further on
Yet another key facet is that anything that is on your computer is something that you are trusting fully. If you follow good protocol, you are trusting Microsoft with all of your data, and you are trusting whoever makes your anti-virus or firewall with all your data. There is precedent for law enforcement using the anti-virus update to compromise the computer of a group that was holed up in their cabin to prevent them from emailing out. In case I wasn’t clear, this has happened and will happen again.
Now for some details and the all-important links:
In terms of an operating system, Windows is the default and there’s no budging most people from it. With good practices and by keeping up to date you can keep windows tolerably secure. I would trust it for mildly embarrassing data but not critical data. Please upgrade to at least Windows 2000. Windows XP with Service Pack 2 is best. I know its expensive, but Windows 95, 98, and ME are outdated and not secure.
Since no one has access to the code that makes Windows tick, there is no way to determine for sure that there is not an easy back door that could be leveraged against you. I cannot recommend keeping mission critical data on a Windows machine. If you have a bit more freedom about what you run, I heartily recommend getting a Macintosh. The new Apple OS X is built upon a very secure BSD base and it strikes an excellent balance between usability and security. Any version of Linux or BSD can be made secure, but if you’re running those you probably know how to secure it.
Web browsers: There really is only one. Firefox is the best that has come along yet. It can be setup for decent everyday browsing and keep a good rein on your cookies and history. In the firefox settings, you can exercise very fine control over what sites are allowed to set cookies on your machine and when to expire them. Please do not use Internet Explorer on ANY OS. It is not secure in any way. A good addition is Privoxy and/or Tor. A must-have extension for Firefox is Adblock Plus and “Filterset.G”

Email client: I recommend either Mozilla Thunderbird, but basically anything but Outlook (Express) is acceptable. Outlook is massively insecure, Please do not use it.
Anti Virus: They’re all equally mediocre. I use AVG which is free for personal use. Pick one and keep it updated.
Firewall: Again, the windows firewall cannot be trusted. I recommend Kerio Personal Firewall, and I use it myself. Tiny Personal Firewall is good too. Zone Alarm is less powerful and Black Ice is worthless.
Proxies: Privoxy is a nice semi-anonymizing proxy that runs on your local machine. It can’t hide your IP but it will strip out a lot of identifiable information. Its pretty easy to set up too.
Tor is a very clever onion routing network that passes your traffic through a few levels of other machines so that theoretically not only does the site you’re visiting not know who you are, nobody could trace your connection back to you. An added benefit is that Tor servers are encrypted so your traffic is harder to snoop on as well as being more anonymous. The disadvantage is that this is SLOW.
Encryption: BestCrypt can create secure images that can be viewed on Windows and Linux.
Below I’m going to outline three levels of security and what they should be reasonably protected against.
The first is an easy to use everyday machine. You will be protected from most common automated and non-directed attacks but a determined attacker will still be able to penetrate as will a governmental entity. If there is demand I can work up a similar profile for a Mac.
Microsoft Windows 2000 or XP.
AVG anti virus or similar.
Kerio Personal Firewall of similar.
Firefox, Adblock Plus and Filterset.G set to only allow same-domain cookies.
The second is more anonymous but it sacrifices speed. You will use this if you want to do something that you wouldn’t want broadcasted.
The same as above except Firefox is set to expire cookies on close, and keep no disk cache or history. Privoxy is also connected to Tor for anonymization.
For email, Thunderbird and Enigmail can be setup to encrypt your email to a very strong degree, as long as the recipient has a similar setup. New Enigmail versions are very user-friendly in this regard.
Also, it is possible to have two different “profiles” of firefox on one machine, one that simply browses normally with sane cookie rules, and another that passes through Tor/Privoxy and keeps no history or cache and clears cookies on exit. This is simple to do and a good mix of usability and the ability to be more anonymous if desired.
One note: Remember that today’s “uncrackable” will be a joke in fifty years. Also, encrypted traffic will probably raise a certain level of awareness among those doing the spying. Legally this poses no problems but if you’re doing something you wouldn’t like discovered sending encrypted e-mails to it is probably a bad idea.
A Proviso: The above two systems rely on closed code and trusting updates. They would be very vulnerable to any form of governmental intrusion and nothing can be done to mitigate this. IF YOU ARE GOING TO DO SOMETHING ILLEGAL, DON’T USE ANYTHING CLOSED-SOURCE TO DO IT WITH. If you do intend to do something illegal, or even if you’re just paranoid like me, a good idea would be to have a second machine. This is similar to what the NSA does internally: Classified machines cannot talk to Top Secret machines, and none of them can talk to Unclassified machines.
A good Classified or Top Secret machine might look like this. This machine should be reasonably secure against anything but a direct, physical attack.
BSD or Linux OS, properly configured (details are outside the scope of this article. I will be happy to provide further information upon request).
A solid, encrypted file system or BestCrypt for any user data.
Not connected to the network. Use a USB flash keychain/thumb drive for getting data off of it.
Again, none of this is any good at all if your master password is your birthday.
I hope someone finds this useful and I’m happy to answer any more detailed questions either via SurvivalBlog or directly. – Paedrig Hawkwing (–change the “-at-” to an @ symbol)

JWR Adds:  Our web statistics show that 19% of our readers now use the Firefox browser, up substantially from the 16% when we started SurvivalBlog back in August of Aught Five. My advice:  DUMP that back-door ridden, data mining Microsoft Internet Explorer. Firefox is free!

Hi Jim,
Another option for anonymous web browsing is to install Tor, an “onion routing” package that sends your data through ‘layers’ of different servers before reaching your desired destination. After I first installed Tor, I visited Google and was surprised to see it looked a little different — Google detected that I was coming from Austria (since the last server ‘layer’ was located there) and presented me with “Google Österreich”! Tor is free and easy to setup. The EFF has instructions for Windows ( and OSX ( ). Regards, – MP

Odds ‘n Sods:

A handy website for retreat location research can be found at:

  o  o  o

A SurvivalBlog reader mentioned that nationally syndicated radio talk show host Derry Brownfield has been talking about NAIS for years. See:

  o  o  o

There are some great links at:

  o  o  o

The Pre-1899 Specialist reports that they have been going fast (since SurvivalBlog readers have been cleaning them out), but they still have a few Model 1893 Oberndorf Mausers available. They are considered Federally exempt “antiques”, so no FFL is required!

  o  o  o

As reported by Voice of America (FWIW, since it is produced by the U.S. Government), Israel has hinted at possible military action against Iran.

From David In Israel: On Suture, Staples, and Glue for Wound Closure

One of the most used high skill medical interventions is suturing. In times of disaster when qualified medical practitioners are not available, suturing can be performed easily as long as it is not in nerve rich areas such as the face and hands. (Sutures in these areas could cause debilitating nerve damage and should only be attempted by a person that is specially trained.)

1- Suture. I will not attempt to describe the knot in writing but practice with forceps and pre-threaded suture packs on raw chicken or turkey skin on the bird (sew then eat). Keep Ethylon 5 and 3 as well as chromic gut 3 in your gear. Generally, gut is used for internal sutures and Ethylon for removable [external] sutures.

2- Surgical Staple Guns. For surgical closure, staple guns are an easier but messier way to close a wound. Stapling can even be performed one handed.

3- Glue A close chemical relative of cyanoacrylate “super glue” (2-octyl cyanoacrylate) is available from veterinary suppliers as vetabond. See:
Super glue cyanoacrylate is an irritant, so sensitive tissues especially need the dermabond/vetabond formula. For the face and hand wounds just butterfly closures or glue [instead of sutures], unless you have special training in nerve and vascular location.

Wounds needing suture must be fully cleaned, preferably with betadine and even then they still have high risk of infection. If there is sign of infection open and drain. Consider systemic antibiotics.

NAIS: What Does it Take to Raise an Alarm These Days? by Ken Anderson of “All Maine Matters”

I can remember when 1984 was a scary book. Today, it seems that we worry only about those things that we’re told to worry about, and accept the answers that are given to us, no questions asked. On September 11, 2001, three passenger planes were crashed into the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon, while a fourth came to fiery rest in a Pennsylvania field. Less than a month later, the USA PATRIOT Act was introduced in Congress, to be signed – more than 300 pages of it – on October 26, 2001 with few objections from the public or its elected representatives.
I am not about to join those conspiracy theorists who claim that an agency of the United States government was responsible for the 9-11 attacks, but it does seem clear to me that the USA PATRIOT Act had been already prepared, waiting in the wings for just such an occasion.
United States citizens were happy to trade in their rights for the sense of security offered by this Act.
Certainly the 9-11 attacks justified the media frenzy that followed it, but it also served a number of purposes that our government took full advantage of. But that’s not what this article is about.
Over the past couple of years, we’ve been subjected to a series of media scares relating to our meat supply. From Mad Cow, to swine flu, to e.Coli, to mutant flesh-eating viruses, and now the Avian flu, we’ve been led to believe that if we don’t act immediately, we’re all going to die.
Enter the National Animal Identification System, a governmental program which utilizes public-private partnerships in an attempt to identify and track every animal in the United States.
And despite the fact that we haven’t had a single case of Mad Cow or the Avian flu transmitted to humans in the United States, and that the NAIS couldn’t possibly do a thing to prevent contaminations of our meat supply occurring after the meat has been processed, we’re all expected to expel a deep sigh of relief.
Uncle Sam has come through for us again.
But at what cost?
The National Animal Identification System will force farmers, hobbyists, and even pet owners to register each animal they own, and tag that animal with an identifying tag, band, or implanted electronic chip, for the purpose of tracking that animal through the food chain whether or not it even enters the food chain.
When fully implemented in January of 2009, the NAIS will require two types of mandatory registration: registration of the premises, and registration of the animal.
Anyone who owns even one horse, cow, pig, sheep, chicken, pigeon, or any other livestock animal will be required to register their home, including the owner’s name and other identifying information, along with the address of your farm or home, to be keyed to global positioning system (GPS) coordinates in a federal database under a 7-digit “premises ID number.”
Additionally, each animal will have to be identified with a 15-digit ID number, also to be kept in the federal database. Even if you are raising your own food, your animal will be required to have an ID number if it is to be sent to a slaughterhouse. Animals that do not have an ID number cannot be bought or sold, or used to obtain stud service.
Any animal that leaves the owner’s premises for any reason will be required to have an ID number, and be tagged. This includes animals that are shown, as well as horses that may be ridden off of the owner’s property.
The costs of this program are to be shared by the animal owners and the larger base of taxpayers, meaning that there are likely to be significant fees connected with full implementation of the NAIS program.
Large-scale meat producers are on board with the program, perhaps because they’ll be given a break. Large herds of cattle, pigs, or other animals raised and processed together can be identified by a single group ID number, while farmers and ranchers with small groups of animals will, in most cases, have to identify each animal individually for purposes of breeding, sale, or slaughter. If you own two cows, a horse, and twelve chickens, each would require an individual ID number if the animal is ever to leave your property for any reason, or have any contact (commingling) with any other animal.
The form of identification will most likely be an ear tag or implanted microchip containing a radio frequency identification device (RFID) which can be read from a distance. In addition to RFID tags, some industries may require the use of retinal scans or DNA identification for all animals.
The costs associated with this program may well be beyond the reach of small farmers and hobbyists, and make it impractical, from an economic standpoint, for people to raise their own meat.
The costs are not only economic, but time consuming as well. Within the system, animal owners will be required to report the birth date of each animal, including chickens, as well as the application of the animal’s ID tag. Every time the animal enters or leaves the premises, this will have to be reported. When a tag is lost or replaced, this will need to be reported. If an animal dies, or goes missing, there will have to be a report. These events will have to be reported to the government within 24 hours.
With full implementation of this program in 2009, the USDA intends to ensure compliance with NAIS regulations in a manner not yet specified, but which could be expected to include fines or seizure of animals.
Another possible reason for the enthusiastic support of the NAIS program by large-scale meat producers is that, as stakeholders in the program, they will likely have control over much of it, perhaps putting them in a position to exert economic pressures on competing small farmers and homesteaders.
Will implementation of the NAIS make our meat supply safer? Probably not, and it’s not likely that we’d know if it did. It’s not like people are dropping like flies from Mad Cow disease, as it is. The NAIS might be compared to using a cannon to hunt black flies in February.
The NAIS is likely to drive small meat producers out of business, placing an unfair economic burden on the traditional American businesses that have fed us since we’ve existed as a nation. Once the program is established, animal owners will bear the costs associated with the requirements for registration, identification, and reporting.
Costs to large-scale producers of meat will be absorbed by consumers, raising the cost of living for all of us.
The NAIS will prevent many people from raising animals for their own food. The NAIS is said to be necessary in order to make our food supply secure against disease or terrorism, yet what can be more secure than raising your own food or buying from a local farmer who you actually know?
What of those, such as the Amish in Smyrna, who may have a religious objection to participating in a system of electronically numbering and identifying their animals? When fully implemented, the NAIS is a compulsory registration with the government of all people who wish to raise their own animals for food. As written, the NAIS will force these people to make a choice between abandoning their livestock or violating their religious beliefs.
As I read the documentation put out by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and as I have searched for additional information on this program, I was struck by the fact that so little has been said about it in the media. Search engine results yield almost exclusively web sites put out by various federal and state agencies, and associations of large-scale meat producers, all of whom are enthusiastically supporting this program.
Sadly, it seems that opposition to the program appears to be limited to the Countryside & Small Stock Journal, published in Wisconsin, and someone in a forum on the Mother Earth News site.
Further information about the National Animal Identification System can be found online at Please read it through for yourselves, but the scariest stuff that I found came from the USAIP’s own FAQs. You’ll find that when they ask a question and answer it no, the text often goes on to explain that, when the plan is fully implemented, the answer will be yes.
Never one to pass up federal funds or to neglect an opportunity to make government bigger, the State of Maine has implemented its own program, funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Its web site can be found at
Although it seems to be slow in coming, there is yet time for an outcry over this program to have some effect. Small farmers and landowners can take action to oppose implementation of this plan.
First, do not participate in the “voluntary” state program to register either your farm or your animals, as they’ll use your willingness to participate in the program as justification for making it mandatory for everyone in the near future. If state or federal officials urge you to register either your premises or your animals, ask them whether your participation is voluntary or mandatory. Ask to see a copy of any legislation that gives them the authority to require compliance.
More importantly, contact any farming, breeding, or other associations that you might be a member of, asking them to oppose the NAIS. Ask these organizations to sponsor letter-writing campaigns to elected officials, both state and federal. Individually, you can write to your state and federal legislators. Letters sent via the postal service carry more weight than emails or form letters, but anything is better than nothing.
The United States Department of Agriculture plans the issuance of a NAIS rule for public comment in July of 2006. Be aware of this when the time comes, and be prepared to submit an individual comment opposing this rule.
Also, you should be aware of any state rules that might mandate earlier compliance. For example, Maine farmers are already being encouraged to voluntarily join the state’s ID program, and it intends to implement mandatory registration of livestock premises by March 7, 2005.
I am surprised, and discouraged, that there isn’t already an outcry over this program.
” … and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name.” — Rev. 13:17 (NASB)

National Animal Identification System Timeline

  • April, 2005 — The USDA issued its Draft Strategic Plan & Draft Program Standards for public comment, which ended in July of 2005.
  • July, 2006 — The target date for the USDA to issue a proposed rule setting forth the requirements for NAIS premises registration, animal identification, and animal tracking. There will be a limited public comment period after publication of the rule.
  • Fall, 2007 — The USDA will publish a final rule to establish the requirements of the mandatory NAIS.
  • January, 2008 — Premises registration and animal identification become mandatory.
  • January, 2009 — Animal tracking becomes mandatory, including enforcement of the reporting of all animal movements.

This article was reprinted with permission from “All Maine Matters” which can be found online at

Letter Re: Supplementing The Medical Kit

Mr. Rawles:
The two links listed below provide good basic information to supplement the low cost medical kits previously discussed on your site. This information is available free for downloading and printing. This link is to the Virtual Naval Hospital which is being discontinued due to a lack of funding. It was set up for use by military medical personnel:

The link below is another free link that was mainly for use where there is no doctor and pharmacy available and would be helpful in an emergency situation. One example of a good source of information is Chapter 7 which provides information on the types of antibiotics and things to consider before using them.   See;

These two links provide information that information that should be made available to assist people in an emergency situation when there were no doctors or pharmacies are available due to a loss of power, lack of fuel, or a major disaster Regards, – S.F.

Jim’s Quote of the Day:

"The people of the various provinces are strictly forbidden to have in their possession any swords, short swords, bows, spears, firearms, or other types of arms. The possession of unnecessary implements makes difficult the collection of taxes and dues and tends to foment uprisings." – Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Lord Chancellor of Japan, August 1588, the order that instituted "The Great Sword Hunt"

Note from JWR:

Please spread the word about SurvivalBlog. Just a brief “bcc-ed” e-mail to the folks on your e-mail address list would be greatly appreciated.  Remember: Every friend, neighbor, and co-worker that gets squared away logistically will be one less individual that comes begging on your doorstep, come TEOTWAWKI+1.  So it is in your own best interest to let them know about SurvivalBlog.

Search Engine Privacy–And Google’s 30 Year Cookie Retention Iniquity

Part of being a prepared individual is keeping a low profile. I don’t heavily emphasize privacy issues on SurvivalBlog, but I do recommend that you learn how to fly under the radar, just on general principle. My philosophy: Don’t leave big paper trails or bit trails. An interesting article recently appeared at Wired News, titled “How to Foil Search Engine Snoops”  See:,70051-0.html?tw=wn_tophead_2

For greater privacy, the author recommends using either the Firefox PC browser or the Safari Macintosh browser. He states: “In Firefox, you can go into the privacy preference dialog and open Cookies. From there you can remove your search engine cookies and click the box that says: “Don’t allow sites that set removed cookies to set future cookies. In Safari, try the free and versatile PithHelmet plug-in. [See:] You can let some cookies in temporarily, decide that some can last longer or prohibit some sites, including third-party advertisers, from setting cookies at all.”
He also recommends: “If you are doing any search you wouldn’t print on a T-shirt, consider using Tor, The Onion Router. [See:] An EFF-sponsored service, Tor helps anonymize your web traffic by bouncing it between volunteer servers.”

The article also mentions the tried and true (but slow) See:

OBTW, if any of you techno gurus would be so kind, I’d greatly appreciate a summary article about Internet privacy to post on You might even win our non-fiction writing contest. (The prize is a four day course certificate at Front Sight!)

“Shooter” on The Draw Technique, or “Shooter’s Five Steps to Keeping Ten Fingers”

In my last article (posted on SurvivalBlog on Thursday, January 5, 2006), I discussed some basic range manners and the only three rules I live by. I hope it serves as a starting point for good gun handling skills. After reading the recent letter about loaning out weapons to ‘untrained’ neighbors during times of crisis, I thought best to move along to the second lesson we all must be concerned with when dealing with handguns. You can use this and the first lesson I wrote about to help bring your neighbors up to speed when the need arises.
The basic handgun draw has five simple steps. In about an hour, Instructor Greg had me drawing like a pro and safely putting my gun in play. Going into the “Tac Tuesday” class with my handgun skills was humbling to say the least. As mentioned, there are five steps to drawing a handgun. 1) Master Grip, 2) Lift and Clear, 3) Rock ‘n Lock, 4) Hands Merge, & 5) Extension. Let’s examine them step by step:
1) MASTER GRIP: As we train during Tac Tuesday, the class either assumes the ‘interview stance’ (or as I call it, the two handed French Salute), or just practices with hands at their sides. On command, Master Grip is achieved by placing the web of your strong hand firmly against the butt of the pistol grip. This should be as high up as possible to attain the maximum effective grip. Wrap your fingers around the grip, remembering to place the trigger finger in register. [Extended straight out, outside of the trigger guard.]
2) LIFT AND CLEAR: After Master Grip, lift the gun straight up and out of the holster. Don’t try and bring it away from the body or move it towards the target just yet. Muzzle should still be down at this point and just clear of the holster. Remember to keep your elbow and arm close to your side (I had chicken wing syndrome when I first did this).
3) ROCK N’ LOCK: Like the old gunslinger of the West, rotate that gun 90 degrees and point it at the target. From here you can go Braille Method (touch index) against a very close in target and still count lethal hits. Don’t forget to think about weapon retention! Like the chicken wing elbow, the gun should stay close to your body in case of a CQB situation.
4) HANDS MERGE: The strong hand should be moving close against the body to the ‘anchor position’ to join the weak hand. Remember how you open a jar of pickles? Keep that gun close against the body to allow for the strongest retention. If you let that gun get away from your body, someone is very likely going to be able to take control of it. Don’t let that happen!
5) EXTENSION: You should have the weapon in both hands now. Press through the target with your gun and bring sights on target. Don’t tomahawk chop, overhand sight, throw the gun out there, sweep the floor to the ceiling…just press the gun smoothly towards the target and align the sights. One smooth and fluid motion will help prevent any pitched shots.
I did not gain confidence in my draw until I practiced for an hour or so each evening. As I have heard, ‘slow is smooth,and smooth is fast.’ I practiced this by calling out each step in turn. I didn’t speed up until I felt confident in each phase of the draw.
There are a couple of points to remember when working on your draw. One is the ‘Laser Rule.’ Pretend that the muzzle of your gun is shooting out a high power laser. Nobody wants to be sliced with one of these, so naturally, you don’t want it pointed at you. That being said, keep all excess appendages away from said laser beam. With that in mind, during steps ONE through FOUR, the support hand should be FLAT AGAINST THE BODY!!! Unless you have a body like mine, then it is not merely flat, but dome shaped. Keeping the support hand against the stomach will help keep extra appendages away from the muzzle of the gun. Practice and follow through on this step and during the heat of battle, you will not succumb to any self-inflicted injuries.
When your hands merge, take a moment to examine how you grip the gun. The thumbs should be resting next to each other along the slide rail and not overlapping. This takes stress off the hands and presents a calmer sight picture. The support hand should be wrapped around the strong hand doing what it is intended to do, support. If you know of anyone who “tea cups” their grip (support hand under the gun), after explaining that what they see in the movies is bunk, correct their grip so they improve their shooting. Be sure to correct anyone else you see who uses the support hand to brace their strong side wrist. I don’t see how this is an effective technique. Chances are, you will run across the one or two people who think that “lobster clawing” with their support hand is good. “Lobster Clawing” is when someone stretches the support hand all around the gun with the thumb firmly planted behind the slide. You will know of those who’ve learned their lesson by the sizable chunk of flesh missing from their support hand thumb.
Re-holstering your weapon is the exact opposite of the draw. Pretty simple, just go through the five steps in reverse. When the muzzle is ready to be placed in the holster, move your thumb up to press against the back of the slide (I am assuming, of course, that we are all using some form of Tactical Tupperware, or one of John Browning’s wonderful inventions, circa 1911). Keep the thumb against the back of the slide to prevent the gun from coming out of battery. If you are forced to draw again, in the heat of the moment, you may find yourself inventing new expletives when the bang button only CLICKS. It is a tried and true method for all people because we all don’t have the same holster. I am a Kydex man myself, but there are others out there with dead animal skin or someone’s recycled leisure suit (cordura nylon) that won’t hold its shape. Remember, Mr. Murphy is always out there to foul up your plans. Pay attention to the details, for they may save your life.
This is the second course of instruction for those who wish to teach their neighbors and friends about proper gun handling. Follow it step by step, and they will quickly come up to speed and be as proficient as you.

Letter Re: Stocking Up on Shoes and Boots for Survival

In regard to Matt’s statement in his letter on survival footgear: “BUT, you cannot fake or approximate footwear!” Don’t be so sure about that. See: I have yet to scale a 10,000 foot peak in tire sandals or moccasins, but I’m going to give it a try one of these days:  Less along the lines of “field expedient footwear” and more along the lines of “Post-TEOTWAWKI skills,” here’s a link to a site that deals with making “medieval style” shoes:
If things ever get bad, having the skills to make well-fitted shoes could make one a welcome addition to any community. Regards, – Moriarty

De-Nuked Tridents?

A tip of the hat to Noah at the DefenseTech Blog, who alerted me to a recent Washington Post story. Apparently some 24 submarine-launched Trident missiles will be converted to carry improved conventional munitions for a “global strike” capability See: According to the story, some observers suggest that a launch of any of these retrofitted missiles (which could carry up to four MIRVs each) might cause a false alarm in
trigger-happy nuclear nation states like North Korea. That could create the excuse for a retaliatory strike with nukes, which would of course be a very bad thing.

Letter Re: Stocking Up on Shoes and Boots for Survival

Hi Jim,
As always, SurvivalBlog is the top of my morning reading list. Great discussion today about arming your unprepared non-shooting neighbors during or after TSHTF. I have always considered the training of non-shooters to be almost a sacred duty. Just as we do not turn away the repentant prodigal son from church when he awakens, we must gratefully take the opportunity to train and arm our neighbors when crisis hits. This is an example of enlightened self interest at work, for as you say, it is hard for a family to protect four quadrants. Much better to have semi-trained “flankers” out, even if they only provide a trip wire or early warning. In time, they can be trained to a higher level.

On to my idea of today: shoes for survival. I would advise folks to hang onto their halfway worn out shoes. Just store them somewhere that they won’t rot. After TSHTF, survivors will be able to fake or make do for most clothing articles. You can wear clothes that are far too big, you can hitch up big britches with a belt, you can cut a hole in a blanket and call it a poncho. BUT, you cannot fake or approximate footwear! Going about with rags wrapped around your feet (think Valley Forge or the rebels at Appomattox Courthouse) will afford us ample opportunity to wish that we had not thrown out our partially worn out shoes! I have saved a few “worn out” pairs of sneakers that I would not be seen wearing in public for filthy jobs and yard duty, and it’s surprising how much “life” they usually still have in them, often as much after being “worn out” as they had before. Sometimes they just keep going and going for an incredibly long time before actually falling apart. So my suggestion is to never throw out any partially worn out shoes. They may be ugly in good times, but they will sure beat rags and cardboard wrapped around your feet in bad times. Of course, it goes without saying that when you find a good pair of shoes or boots for sale on closeout or at discount prices, don’t buy just one pair! But a few extra pairs and store them away unused in their boxes for a time when good footwear in your size may simply be unavailable anywhere at any price. – Matt

Odds ‘n Sods:

Can anyone in this country do anything without their cell phone? Today a co-worker told me that her husband refused to keep a date to go out to dinner because he had misplaced his cell phone. Instead of spending a romantic evening together, they spent two hours frantically searching for his cell phone. They finally found it in his car, where they had searched twice before. If I recall correctly, life was possible before everyone had a cell phone.

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The RWVA’s Spring Appleseed Tour series of rifle training sessions/matches is shaping up. They have shoots scheduled for North Carolina and Kentucky (both in March), Indiana (in April), and Wyoming and possibly Wisconsin (both in May.) It is dirt cheap to attend, so don’t miss it. “Goooood training!”  OBTW, I’ve also found that the marksmanship targets that they sell are a great training aid for youngsters and newbies–and a good refresher for older shooters.

  o  o  o

Warren Buffett has issued a new warning on the trade deficit, saying that it does not bode well for the economy.  See:

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Winchester, now owned by a foreign conglomerate, has just closed its last U.S. plant. The Winchester lever action –“the rifle that won the west” will be dropped from the line, and the remainder of their line will be made exclusively off-shore. Signs of the times.  See:

  o  o  o

Aerial IEDs?  Those insurgents are getting crafty. See:

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The folks at the Sniper Country website now offer free on-line instruction.  Their long range shooting and field craft techniques have some applicability to folks interested in preparedness, so take a look.  See: http//

  o  o  o

The RWVA’s Spring Appleseed Tour series of rifle training sessions/matches is shaping up. They now have shoots scheduled for North Carolina and Kentucky (both in March), Indiana (in April), and Wyoming and possibly Wisconsin (both in May.) It is dirt cheap to attend, so don’t miss it. “Goooood training!”  OBTW, I’ve also found that the marksmanship targets that RWVA sells are a great training aid for youngsters and newbies–and a good refresher for older shooters.