Letter Re: Purifying Water with Bleach

Mr. Rawles,
I’ve received and read the “Rawles Gets You Ready” preparedness course package. It made me think twice about a few things, since I do most of my prepping at Costco. I notice that someone has already mentioned the vitamin thing. Thanks for the tip about bear liver!

I also noticed that you recommended having bleach on hand, and in the storage life section, bleach is listed as having an indefinite shelf life. I’m sure you already know that is not the case. Regular liquid bleach is not stable, it breaks down gradually and eventually becomes just salt water over a period of 2 years, it’s still usable at 1 year but you must use twice as much. We think dry swimming pool shock is better than liquid bleach because calcium hypochlorite will store in dry form nearly indefinitely (10 years), whereas liquid chlorine bleach loses half of it’s potency after a year (use twice as much for the same effect) and is next to worthless after two years. Using dry swimming pool shock (calcium hypochlorite) you can mix your own liquid bleach on an as-needed basis and have it fresh and fully active. Its very much like the difference in storage life between whole kernel wheat versus ground flour. Dry shock (get the plain variety, with no algaecides or fungicides) is very inexpensive and can be gotten at any pool supply store. Here are some links with details:
The Epicenter
The relevant portion from the second site above: “Dry chlorine, also called calcium hypochlorite has the added benefit of extended shelf life. Providing it is kept dry, cool and in an airtight container, it may be stored up to 10 years with minimal degradation. If you want to keep chlorine in larger quantities, this is the item to store (according to Bingo1). It must be ONLY 65% calcium hypochlorite, no additional anti-fungals or clarifiers. In an EXTREMELY well ventilated area, (Hint: OUTSIDE!) add and dissolve one heaping teaspoon of high-test granular calcium hypochlorite (approximately 1/4 ounce) for each two gallons of water. Five pounds of dry pool bleach costs about $10-15, which will make about 92 gallons of bleach, which will sterilize 706,560 gallons of clear water, or 353,280 gallons of cloudy water.”

Here are some additional tips on using calcium hypochlorite (swimming pool shock) for water purification:
From the EPA site:
“Granular Calcium Hypochlorite. Add and dissolve one heaping teaspoon of high-test granular calcium hypochlorite (approximately 1/4 ounce) for each two gallons of water. The mixture will produce a stock chlorine solution of approximately 500 mg/L, since the calcium hypochlorite has an available chlorine equal to 70 percent of its weight. To disinfect water, add the chlorine solution in the ratio of one part of chlorine solution to each 100 parts of water to be treated. This is roughly equal to adding 1 pint (16 oz.) of stock chlorine to each 12.5 gallons of water to be disinfected. To remove any objectionable chlorine odor, aerate the water as described below.
The treated water should be mixed thoroughly and allowed to stand, preferably covered, for 30 minutes. The water should have a slight
chlorine odor; if not, repeat the dosage and allow the water to stand for an additional 15 minutes. If the treated water has too strong a chlorine taste, it can be made more pleasing by allowing the water to stand exposed to the air for a few hours or by pouring it from one clean container to another several times”

Okay, a lot of people don’t have a 12.5 gallon container laying around, so let’s break it down. To make two gallons of the bleach, one heaping teaspoon of the calcium hypochlorite goes into 2 gallons of water. To make drinkable water, 2.5 tablespoons of the bleach goes into 1 gallon of water. Let stand covered 30 minutes, aerate to taste. Thought you would want to know. – J.W.

Letter Re: Selecting a Martial Art and a Dojo

I’d like to suggest yet another art for you to consider: Arnis. (often referred to as FMA, or Filipino Martial Arts.) It is also referred to as Escrima or Kali.
It is a predominately stick and knife based art, with open hand techniques following.
Most Eastern arts I have been exposed to stress the empty hand and move towards weapons, Arnis is exactly the opposite, the thought being a stick is easier to defend one’s self with than bare hands, and it is more logical to begin as such.
Another fundamental difference between Arnis and other arts is the assumption your opponent is armed. I’ve seen many techniques taught in my study of ju-jitsu that work well against a punch, but would end very badly if used against a knife. As you may not have the luxury of knowing what you’re being attacked with before hand, I prefer a technique that will work well against either, rather than having to choose.
As Mr. Williamson astutely noted, a walking stick or cane is very acceptable to carry with you everywhere (even places you cannot carry a knife, much less a gun), and the techniques transfer well to other “weapons” (an umbrella or rolled up newspaper, for example) as well as a knife.
FMA has been criticized as being too “complex” (you do this, then I do that, etc), and perhaps correctly. As with any art, the important thing is your choice of instructor is as important if not more so than your choice of art. An instructor who stresses the basics over increasingly fancy techniques is crucial, in my opinion. I specifically study Modern Arnis and Sayoc Kali, I have been very happy with both.
It may be worth mentioning that these arts evolved from a predominately Christian culture, so the Eastern religion components that were of concern to some of your readers would not apply. Best of luck with your search and your studies. – Patrick R.

Odds ‘n Sods:

SurvivalBlog reader Jim K. sent us a link to this interesting tale from the web: A lucky fellow in New York City has the notebook in his jacket pocket stop a bullet.

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Michael Z. Williamson pointed us to a site that proves that Glocks can take a lot of abuse and still function.

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Zimbabwe’s hyperinflated currency follies continue: They are lopping off three zeroes. Now (at least for a few days) a loaf of bread costs only $1,000 instead of $1,000,000. To solve the fundamental problem, some observers in Harare suggest that something else should be lopped off.

Note From JWR:

Today is the First Anniversary of SurvivalBlog! Thanks for making the blog such a great success.Wow! We’ve had 566,000+ unique visits in just the first year.

Special Announcement: To celebrate the First Anniversary of SurvivalBlog, Jake Stafford is putting the “Rawles Gets You Ready” preparedness course on sale for just the next seven days. The course is on sale at a very special price. If sending payment via snail mail, be sure to have your order postmarked no later than August 11th to get the special blog anniversary sale price.

Letter Re: Real Estate Crash Followed by a Hyperinflationary Recession?

Mr. Rawles,
Again, for your very useful posts, thank you. I have a question if you have the time. It was in regards to your real estate post: “My advice to home owners is pay it off and my advice to prospective home buyers is wait for the crash and pay for it with cash.”
This is my current plan: I’ve sold my home and am renting now. But do you believe (in the hyper-inflation scenario) that there will be a lull to allow for your statement above? Will there be a time in between when recession/depression and when hyper-inflation takes hold and the money we have in savings will be about worthless? – C.K.

JWR Replies: Unless there is a full scale dollar crisis that is coincident with a real estate slump, then you are probably fairly safe from U.S. dollar inflation in the short term. You will have your lull. In fact, there is still the outside chance of a deflationary recession. But I’m fairly confident that America’s next deep recession or depression will be inflationary. House prices may eventually again start to increase as inflation kick into high gear, but if the dollar itself is wiped out in hyperinflation, owning a million dollar house won’t mean much–at least it won’t when an SUV costs six figures! The crucial thing is NOT the dollar value of a piece of real property. As with any other tangible investment, the true value of land or a house is intrinsic. The currency unit de jure is just a way of expressing that intrinsic value.

One key proviso: Timing markets can be tricky. The key is to not get greedy. Once you think that a market is nearing a top or bottom, then make your trade. If try to catch the very tip of a peak or the very bottom of a trough, then you are likely to wait a bit too long, and hence lose out. It is better to be a bit early and safe, than it is to be a little too late, and sorry.

Letter Re: Constructing Roadblocks for Retreats?

Hi Jim:
Will your book “Rawles on Retreats and Relocation” contain any information on blocking roadways/driveways etc?

One of the retreats I plan to use (disaster dependant) has a single roadway access that would easily be block with a landslide. Do you have any suggestions on the best ways to cause landslips to block roads? Regards, – Jeremy in New Zealand

JWR Replies: That was not an issue that I had intended to discuss in my upcoming book, but perhaps I should.

Unless you are facing an absolute-worst-case-mutant-zombie-bikers-are-painting-themselves-and-eating-your-neighbors situation, then I don’t recommend anything so drastic as blocking a road with a landslide. Roadblocks work both ways–they also block you in. I generally favor mobile roadblocks. A Caterpillar D4 (or larger) tractor parked crossways with the blade dropped usually works great for blocking a single lane roadway, at least in hilly country. A large truck or car parked similarly works nearly as well. Removing the tire stems makes the roadblock even more effective, but of course takes longer for “friendly forces” to get the vehicle ready to move. One important proviso: If you use a vehicle, be sure to disable the ignition system by removing a key part, since ignition switches can be bypassed.(“Hot wired”.) With diesel-powered heavy equipment , this is particularly easy, since many Cat keys interchange, or even a screwdriver can be used to engage the starter.

Some situations such as plains and prairie lands–where a locked gate can be easily be bypassed by cutting a fence–present unique challenges. Constructing long stretches of anti-vehicular ditches is very labor intensive if you don’t have access to earth moving equipment.

Also don’t overlook the advantage of a series of small obstructions on a road, versus one big one. For example, a series four or five locked steel cables stretched across road at 50 to 100 foot intervals may slow down a group of marauders more than just one custom-built extra-heavy pipe gate. You can use just one of the cables in “peacetime”, but then put them all up if and when things get unpleasant.

Lastly, as mentioned previously in this blog, no obstruction is truly effective unless it is under the gaze of alert riflemen.

Odds ‘n Sods:

I just got the latest issue of Disaster Recovery Journal in the mail–their special Avian Flu issue. It seems that the Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity community has caught on to some of the bigger issues related to a pandemic–at least things like absenteeism, telecommuting, and crisis communication. For their spin on a possible flu pandemic as well as some useful links to the CDC and other sites, see: http://www.drj.com/special/avian

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Richard Celata (of KT Ordnance and Promised Land Products) recommended this vendor site: http://www.shooterready.com/

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Iran warns of $200 per barrel crude oil if U.S. imposes sanctions

Jim’s Quote of the Day:

“Our England is a garden, and such gardens are not made
By singing: – ‘Oh, how beautiful!’ and sitting in the shade.”
– Rudyard Kipling, “The Glory of the Garden

Note From JWR:

Tomorrow will be the First Anniversary of SurvivalBlog! Thanks for making the blog such a great success. Please continue to spread the word.

Jake Stafford tells me that he will be making a special announcement tomorrow, regarding the “Rawles Gets You Ready” preparedness course. Stay tuned.

Three Letters Re: M1911 Pistol Modifications


First, the 1911 was designed to make you take it out of your firing grip to release the slide – this way it won’t accidentally be released.

Second, a la the Clint Smith school of gun fighting, if you are using the slide release you are wrong anyway. He teaches that you take your support hand, reach over the top of the pistol and pinch the slide between your four fingers and the bottom of the palm of your hand, then “tear the slide off” by jerking the slide back until it is pulled from your grasp. This way you get an extra 1?4″ of spring energy to chamber the next round. That may not seem like much, but if you have dropped the pistol into the mud, it has blood on/in it, etc., the extra bit of energy could just be enough to get your gun back into the fight. It also works with ANY slide/semi-auto pistol, so you learn one manual of arms versus where each weapon’s unique slide release is located. Great for battlefield pick-up, as you might not fight with your own pistol. Fine motor skills go down the toilet when under stress – this is much easier than finding a little lever. I am surprised at the small number of people that have heard of this approach. – Beach


Extended slide releases are considered a dangerous modification for defensive 1911s. The added weight can and does cause
the slide to lock on a loaded mag. They bounce. Can be life ending situation to have slide locked prematurely. Proper technique is to actuate slide release with support hand thumb, not with grip hand. This technique is taught by 99% of the defensive handgun schools. You insert a magazine, roll support hand up into position while dropping the slide with support thumb. All in one smooth motion. Even IPSC guys that need every little speed advantage they can get, DO NOT use them.
Here are some references. First:

“The Thunder Ranch thumb safety and slide release are of standard size. Now I know that this is not quite as dramatic as some would want, but it makes infinitely more sense. In the defensive handgun classes at Thunder Ranch, Smith teaches that the shooting thumb should ride the safety down and stay on top of it in order to keep the thumb safety from being accidentally flipped up during the frantic shooting of a gunfight. At the same time the thumb of the weak hand holds the slide stop down so that it cannot be accidentally engaged during the fight. This sort of training makes a great deal of sense to my way of thinking. In fact, I find it very rare to see extended slide stops and extended thumb safeties on the guns of real fighting men”

Second: “An extended slide stop is the answer to a non-existent question, and no serious defensive handgunner should use one (slide stop operation should be with the weak hand in a reload situation, not the shooting hand). So if you are tempted to fancy up your pistol with an extended slide stop, don’t.”

Contact the top ten 1911 smiths in the country and ask them what they think of putting a extended slide release on a 1911. I will bet 100% of them will warn against it. Likewise ask same of top 10 defensive handgun schools. Ditto. Re-read Tappan’s “Survival Guns” for more info. Also check out “The Combat Auto” book by Bill Wilson Just trying to save some grief and maybe a life.
Best Regards, – C.W.


I read the post from August 1st on Model 1911 pistol upgrades. IMHO the best way to upgrade your 1911 is to upgrade to a Glock. Simply put they are, for a serious, practical thinking person the best pistol overall. All the parts fit in the palm of your hand, they operate near flawlessly out of box, are less expensive than the majority of over-tuned 1911s and are a breeze to break down. Full parts kits are available from GLOCKMEISTER in Arizona for around $150–my Glock 17 digests all ammo I put through it. I used to frequent a range were they had Gen 1 Glocks that had one million rounds thru them with little more than a pin replacement. Sorry, but the overpriced, finicky and quite frankly antiquated 1911, though a great pistol for the serious collector is not an ideal survival tool–thanks!–Jason in Idaho

JWR Replies: I’m always willing to admit it when I’m wrong, and clearly I must be wrong in this case since the majority of experts favor leaving 1911 slide releases “stock.” (Unmodified.) I must admit that using an extended slide release requires specific training on thumb positioning. That is the way I was trained from day one, and it has become ingrained. When I grasp a pistol, my strong side thumb automatically goes into the up-left position, and the weak hand thumb goes right alongside it, forming a “baby’s bottom.” (It looks comical when I grab a revolver the same way, but that is muscle memory for you!) OBTW, in a separate e-mail, C.W. mentioned a similar technique called “thumb-over-thumb” which is favored by a number of instructors, including Jim Crews.

We now have extended slide releases on all five of our family’s Colt M1911s, and we have never had any problems with inadvertent manipulation or slide stop “bounce”, but again we consciously train to avoid unintended slide release contact. My only reluctance with giving them up and going back to a “stock” release is that the Clint Smith et al technique requires the use of the weak hand to get the pistol back into action after shooting the pistol dry. That hand might be injured. Or that hand might be holding a steering wheel. Or that hand might be engaged in fending off an opponent that is trying to strike you, stab you, or grapple with you. So in my opinion it is important to learn a one-handed strong side slide release technique to at least supplement the Clint Smith “rack it” technique. An extended slide release makes a one-handed release much faster, and fosters better pistol retention. Two of these reload techniques–both admittedly for “worst case” situations–include a “thigh pinch” and an “armpit pinch.” They can be accomplished without any use of the weak side hand.

Combat is incredibly stressful. In combat people can only expect be about half as fast, and half as accurate as they were on their best day in training. People tend to get flustered in combat and do stupid things–something akin to what hunters call “buck fever.” It is not realistic to expect that anyone–even someone that is highly trained–is going to be able to count their rounds and hence know when to perform a tactical reload. Even the folks with double stack (high capacity) pistols will find themselves shooting their pistols empty and will be surprised to see their slide locked back. Expect this to happen, folks! Thus, it is important to train how to handle both sorts of reloads, as well as Type 1, Type 2, and even dreaded Type 3 clearance drills, repeatedly, until you find yourself doing them on “auto-pilot.”

Parenthetically, I should also add that I’m big believer in carrying plenty of extra loaded magazines–at least four spares for single stack pistols at all times, and perhaps four more stuffed into a front pants pocket if combat looks imminent. Here at the ranch, we use Blade-Tech Quad Kydex magazine pouches. We also like their holsters.

As for Jason’s comments on Glocks: I agree that they are great guns, and I highly recommend the Glock Model 21 and the Model 30. (The latter is the two column magazine mini Glock in .45 ACP) for folks with large hands. In my case, I’ve concluded that I have too many years of training invested in Model 1911s to switch at this stage of my life. Okay, so I’m a dinosaur. Doubtless, they’ll find a Model 1911 under my pillow after they wheel me out to the funeral parlor. Also doubtless, there will be contention among my future grandchildren about who will inherit the pistol

Odds ‘n Sods:

SurvivalBlog reader Rourke mentioned in a recent e-mail: “It’s coming” as some Aussie’s say. China is taking concrete steps here, to pardon the pun. We know they won’t try anything until after the 2008 Olympics. We also know they want Taiwan; and the fear is that the day comes when the person in charge of China thinks he can take it.”

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The real Federal budget deficit is measured in trillions of dollars.  


Jim’s Quote of the Day:

“But war, in a good cause, is not the greatest evil which a nation can suffer. War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse. When a people are used as mere human instruments for firing cannon or thrusting bayonets, in the service and for the selfish purposes of a master, such war degrades a people. A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice – a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice – is often the means of their regeneration. A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other.” – John Stuart Mill (1806-1873), “The Contest in America.” Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, Volume 24, Issue 143, pp. 683-684. Harper & Bros., New York, April 1862