Odds ‘n Sods:

SurvivalBlog reader “d’Heat” reminded us about http://www.tpub.com, which provides a wide variety of military manuals online, free of charge, with manual CDs available for purchase.

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In his Global Economic Trend Analysis blog, Michael “Mish” Shedlock recently quoted real estate market expert Mike Morgan of Morgan Florida. (Scroll down the piece titled “Ghost Housing Market” on July 20, 2006.) SurvivalBlog reader Bill in North Idaho comments: “There is a mountain of data in the article but the most salient point to take home is this: Combine increasing interest rates, a declining dollar and explosive increases in housing inventory and you have the recipe for a recession that could slip in to a depression rather easily when combined with other external factors such as war overseas, enormous debt and defecits–both trade and fiscal, uncontrolled spending by our masters and critical national outsourcing of traditional industrial strengths. 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.”

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Pakistan is rapidly expanding its plutonium processing facilities. This move could be powerfully destabilizing, and could have ramifications as far away as Iran and the Korean Peninsula.



Jim’s Quote of the Day:

"This is the law:
There is no possible victory in defense,
The sword is more important than the shield,
And skill is more important than either,
The final weapon is the brain.
All else is supplemental." – John Steinbeck

Letter Re: Advice on Surviving a Dog Attack?

Dear Jim:
The New York press recently reported on two pit bull attack on police officers. In the first incident, the companion officers, according to one article, fired 26 rounds in an effort to subdue the attacking animal which they finally did.

Your site ran an article on the danger of feral dogs in the case of TEOTWAWKI. What is the best method of dealing with an attacking dog without endangering the life of the person being attacked? – JH

JWR Replies: Dogs–domesticated, feral, or wild species–can take a lot of punishment before they are out of the fight. The best defense against a dog is not Pepper Spray or other ineffective repellant sprays. Nor is it a handgun, since most commonly handgun chamberings are under-powered for the task. At short range, a repeating shotgun loaded with #4 buckshot is the best choice for canine defense. Beyond 20 yards, a semi-automatic centerfire .30 caliber rifle is best. BTW, I do not consider .30 U.S. Carbine adequate (since it is essentially a pistol class cartridge), but 7.62 x39 Russian will do, since it has about the same energy as .30-30 Winchester. IMHO, the.308 Winchester / 7.62 mm NATO is the best and most sure stopper for both two legged and four legged predators in North America.

The greatest danger would be an attack by a pack of wolves or feral dogs on open ground. Climb a tree or climb on top of a large vehicle if need be, but don’t try to fight off multiple dogs at ground level, or odds are that you will lose. Just like with bears, your safest way to deal with them is from inside a vehicle or a building. In any confined space you will of course need proper hearing protection, preferably electronic ear muffs. One inexpensive brand that works remarkably well is the DeTune Model EO9240R, available from Law Enforcement Targets. Regardless of the brand that you buy, be sure to get a pair that has a noise reduction rating (NRR) of NRR-24 or higher!

MBR Scope Selection: Trijicon TA-11E Versus Leupold Mark 4 CQ/T

My 2006 Ten Cent Challenge contribution is on the way, via snail-mail. Congratulations on “cutting the cord”.

I’ve decided against the Trijicon TA-11E ACOG purchase. I interviewed a local who owns one of the Trijicon fiber-optic scopes. It has cracks in the fiber optic element, but the scope still works. I spoke with a Trijicon customer service representative who said:
1. The fiber optic often breaks from stress or impact. The tritium will not power the scope during daylight so the scope is “down” until dim light or the fiber optic is replaced.
2. The company is aware of the problem and is addressing it. That may be why we’re seeing the Docter red dot being mounted on some models. I did not verify that with the customer service rep.
One other drawback IMHO is an ACOG-series scope is protected by a cover that is relatively slow to remove.
I’ve settled on the Leupold Mark 4 CQ/T for my Main Battle Rifle (MBR), instead. It’s more robust than the fiber-optic ACOG and uses flip-up lens covers for inclement weather.
It also has two integrated MIL-STD-1913 rail mount cross-slots for accessories like lights.
Its field of view at 3X is three times that of the 4X ACOG.
Like the ACOG it needs no battery. Unlike the true “red dot” sights, the night-vision compatible circle dot reticle is always present but requires a AA battery only for illumination. The CQ/T can be used as a 9 MOA dot sight with no magnification or [it can be] be turned up to 3X for a more precise 3 MOA dot.
And it costs several hundred dollars less! No bullet drop compensation (BDC), though. (You have to go to the company’s MR/T line for that.)
I’m sure that the CQ/T has its limitations, too. Just thought I’d give you some food for thought.
I am eagerly awaiting delivery of my copy of your “Rawles Gets You Ready” preparedness course.
Regards, – “Redmist”

Jim’s Quote of the Day:

“And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling in terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand? […] The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt!” – Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago (Chapter 1, “Arrest”)

Five Letters Re: Selecting a Martial Art and a Dojo

Mr. Rawles:
Having done this (being involved in running a professional [martial arts] school) for ten years, and having studied twice that long, here’s my $1.83 (two cents, adjusted for inflation). First, what does your gut tell you about the place and the instructor? If you get an uneasy feeling, listen to it, and back off a bit. It may be that the guy exudes an Alpha-dominant energy, and that’s what’s making your hair stand on end. Then again, it might be your rip-off alert/ BS detector going off.

1) Take a couple of days to think it over, and:

2) Ask for references. Talk to students away from the school; talk to parents at the school. If this guy is any kind of sensei, sifu, professor, or whatever handle he hangs on himself, his students’ parents will overwhelm you (to the point your BS detector may begin giving false readings!). Kids in today’s world crave the structure that society used to provide as reinforcement for parental structure. Sadly, society today denigrates parents’ best efforts. Your children will thrive in a good school;

3) Does the school have a children’s program? Private instruction? Specialized classes? While the art of aido (drawing and striking with the Japanese sword) has a great esoteric appeal to me, it is not of any particular immediate value, as I rarely carry a katana with me. An HK USP, now that’s a little different story. This brings us to;

4) Does the school teach a rigid style, a system, a hodgepodge of many styles, or do they teach movement and the underlying principles contained therein? In other words, are they going to waste your time with a lot of semi-mystical crap about chi-force coming from your tantien, or do they explain that the power you gain comes from leverage generated by your strike aligning with your center of gravity, and timed with backing mass, body alignment, and relaxation/tensing at the time of impact. Again, do they deal with the esoteric historical context of the Far East, or the reality of the world and Newtonian Physics? (hint, folks: it’s all about leverage and timing).

5) Does the school teach self-defense? This may seem like a redundant question, but again, if you’re studying Japanese swordplay, you’d better be carrying a Japanese sword! Obvious, yes? Did you know that International Tae Kwon Do emphasizes, in fact encourages use of the most difficult technique in any given situation? That many “sport” karate schools teach students to break contact immediately after “scoring”? I have had personal experience with both. This is not how you learn to defend yourself, if that is your goal;

6) Be an informed consumer. This means a couple of things here: What do you want from the experience? We had a special class for home-school kids, and it became the nucleus of their social life (a lot more useful than dodgeball in the future, as well). Are you interested in learning to fight, to improve your reaction response, to get your butt back in shape with something a little more useful than step-aerobics? Or does the Eastern influence of many styles provide you with a new perspective on your world? When Bruce Lee talked of “style with no style” he wasn’t advocating an anything-goes attitude; rather that one should not be constrained by traditional techniques. “When one is bound by tradition, the one must serve it, when tradition is bound, then it is our servant”.

7) Does the system fit you, as it should, like a suit of clothes. Not only will different fashions look and fit differently on each individual, but also, the last time I looked, clothing, like people, came in different sizes and widths. I’m 6’/250 lbs…for me to try shaolin wu shu is almost a guaranteed trip to the emergency room…grappling, however… and,

8) If self defense is your pursuit, does the school teach a brad range of technique(notice, technique, as in broadly applied, NOT technique(s), as in a new one for every situation). Bruce Lee’s analogy to water was only partially complete: water, like motion, exists in a constant state of transition, from solid (ice, rigidly applying the same motion to whatever comes, whether appropriate or not, the beginner) to fluid (constantly seeking its own level,moving all things to that level, the intermediate student) to a gaseous state ( where it expands to its volume, true mastery of motion…the technique is formed by the attack). Don’t think this is important? I can almost hear the grapplers grumbling… Okay, you’ve just slipped behind your attacker, and nabbed him in a perfect naked choke…now what do you do about him comapdre who’s immediate plans are to stove in your head? You can only wrestle one guy at once, and all too often, bad people come in bunches…About martial arts, Zen, and bushido being antithetical to Christian views: Poppycock! Bushido, at its core, is founded in the ideal of devotion of one’s life, in every moment and every way to a set of values and principles, defined in the heart of each man. Zen is the pursuit of oneness with the Universe (i.e. God, the Divine and Benevolent Creator, and all His Creation). At its core, you’ll be learning to beat people up. In the process, hopefully, you’ll be learning about yourself. If that is part of the journey that doesn’t rest well with you, then maybe this path is not for you. I, however, rabidly endorse martial arts training for EVERYONE!!! By the way, I’m not in the business anymore, so I’m not trying to gin up customers.

One final thought on selecting a dojo, and probably the area of most dissatisfaction, ultimately: never forget when dealing with ANY school that you are in charge! You are the consumer,you are the customer! The school, and its instructors are making their living by providing a service to YOU!!! Be clear on this. You do not have the right to dictate what the school will teach (unless you’re running it) but you do have a right to be told, in clear and certain terms, what is expected of you, and what the organization you’re dealing with will deliver. Assert you rights as an informed buyer, and don’t go in for that Shiloh/ servant manure manifestation. This is the 21st Century America, not feudal China or Japan.

Study that which is practical, but remember not all things fit. as Niestchze once observed “If the your only tool is a hammer, you must treat all problems as nails”. Techniques are either useful (fit the situation at hand), not useful (fit, but not necessarily THIS situation), and useless(or, you’ve got to be kidding!?! I paid you to show me this?!?). More than whatever you study, you MUST practice until you reaction comes without conscious thought involved. Therefore, find something useful to practice, as practice DOES NOT make perfect; it only makes PERMANENT what is practiced. Study hard, learn well, live long, and keep The Faith.

OBTW, Teddy Roosevelt practiced jujitsu in the White House, moving furniture from the Main Floor Living Room, and installing mats! Bully! Regards, – Bonehead


Hi Jim!
My name is Frank, I’m an Aussie guy living up in Queensland, a survivalist and a Christian by belief in Jesus. As a regular reader of your blog I came across the recent post “Eight Letters Re: Selecting a Martial Art and a Dojo”. I was surprised to see the lack of mention about karate and the fact that its only mention was in reference to it being a “hard” martial art, with the inference that a law abiding Christian should perhaps not pursue such a path. I have studied karate for some years now and it is definitely a decisive and effective form of self defense, but one that most all of its practitioners rarely if ever use outside of the dojo. The reason for this I learned is that training in traditional karate gives a person an ‘air’ of capability that is obvious to the average punter in the street and tells them in no uncertain terms to “look for a softer target… or else”

I know this sounds arrogant, but it’s true, and I have met many practitioners of the ‘soft’ arts and they just don’t seem to carry this tangible warning around with them. They will allow total strangers to stand close, “in the danger zone” and rarely seem to be aware of who and what is going on around them. These are the basics of karate training. Personal protection through awareness and keeping threats at a manageable distance. To me self-defense should not rely fancy wrist locks or nifty grappling techniques, although I have learned these. Because the reality is that once an attacker has you in their reach, or the ground, you are in real danger of getting your eye poked out or your spine kicked in. Karate works well because it works at a distance and relies on speed and precision of attack, and believe it or not, a great deal of training is devoted to “getting out of harms way”, to avoiding an attack by retreating. But if attacking is unavoidable, a quick fist into someone’s nose or a kick to their groin will knock them off balance for several seconds and allow you to get away from a dangerous situation. This is all that matters, avoiding a dangerous situation.

I believe Karate has been downplayed over the last decade due to the perceived fashionably of the myriad of other arts. This and the fact that we modern western people have grown lazy. Karate training is very demanding physically and injury, though usually minor, is unavoidable. But that is the world we now face, a world full or stress and danger. I see karate fighting as an invaluable tool to carry with me through life, to protect myself and my loved ones. Violent, aggressive, yes! But thoroughly decisive against one or several unskilled attackers. Best wishes and I’ll see you when were together with the Lord. – Frank H.


Dear Jim:
I trained with a school that had a traditional martial arts progression, but more importantly, also did PRACTICAL self defense. It became very obvious after a couple of years of training that much of the martial “art” or “sport” was not directly relevant to surviving on the street. High kicks, spinning movements, complicated katas and the like, all look impressive, but have little practical value in street clothing, on uneven ground, against a surprise attack – you shouldn’t be spending valuable time on these unless you are so wealthy you don’t have a day job.
If it isn’t something you can see yourself using right away after you learn it, it’s probably too complicated to work on the street without years of training to ingrain your muscle memory. The real litmus test is whether you learn SIMPLE gross motor movements that you can duplicate without very much training, and under extreme stress.
If they teach elbows, knees, eye gouging (and biting when appropriate) in the introductory class, then you know you have a good school! Even better – do you get to practice all the skills, half speed, Force on Force with a well-padded instructor? (Yes, even the eye gouging on a fully visored instructor, but not the biting!) Ground fighting is critical too, if that is ignored, you do not have a complete training regimen.
The best proponent that I know of this practically-oriented philosophy is Tony Blauer who has refined it to a high level.
I have taken just a short seminar with him – very impressive. Jump on it if you get the chance.
Perhaps even more important for gun carriers, is integrating hand to hand techniques with drawing, moving and shooting skills, and/or knife or pepper spray,
You may not have much luck finding a practical school out in the boonies, but for those in larger metros you can find a few truly practical schools, in a sea of traditional martial artists. Regards, – OSOM


I was thinking further on martial arts and believe it is possible and indeed preferred to incorporate shooting survival skills into your martial arts regime. Progressively more difficult skills could be added, as you become more proficient in your studies:
Consider the use of martial stances in firearms training. The “Horse Stance” taught by many arts is very similar to the FBI “Combat Crouch” and the modified “T-stance” is a strong or weak side forward stance, which could be combined with a two hand Weaver grip to make a very stable shooting platform. Ritual katas, or a predefined set of martial arts movements -which helps improve technique and body awareness can be combined with pistol draw, tap and rack drills or rifle to pistol transition practice. Rondori or sparring “free practice” could be combined with weapons draw, disarm or weapons retention drills. Muzzle awareness should be stressed. [Solid plastic training] Red guns could be used due to safety concerns. Advanced students could “ratchet up” their stress training, by substituting soft pellet or paint ball guns (with face masks or goggles) into their firearms drawing or retention drills. – Terry in the Northwest.


Dear Jim,
Jiu Jitsu and other grappling arts are an excellent choice for defense and fitness. As noted author Steven Barnes (who is belted in multiple forms) told me, one can grapple in training repeatedly, but it takes only a few blows before practice must stop to prevent injury.
I have found the Kung Fus to offer an excellent balance of striking and grappling. While much of the mystique is no longer relevant, there are certain mindsets and processes that do go along with a school of training. A lot of the newer forms are simply refined and more limited derivations of earlier styles (Such as Kung Fu). Why limit oneself to part of an art?
Quite a few schools have oriented their philosophies more in line with the West, and incorporated Christianity into the structure. While not Christian myself, I approve of this because it makes the arts more accessible to Western mindsets, and still provides a necessary guiding philosophy (necessary when we’re discussing the ethics of potentially maiming opponents).
I studied for several years Song’s Kung Fu, and can recommend it to anyone in the Illinois area. Master Song is one of the most competent yet truly modest men I’ve ever met, and provides an excellent program with good explanations of the principles. His teaching is aimed at defense rather than sport, and in fact, advanced students wishing to compete have to take an extra course to learn competition rules to avoid disqualification or injuring opponents.
Generally, Tae Kwon Do in the US is taught as a sport. There’s nothing inherently wrong with learning it, as it will improve fitness and teach good balance, etc, but it will be of much less effect in a no-rules brawl.
I agree with others who have said that a few good moves well rehearsed are adequate for most circumstances. To that end, the Marine Corps manual on combatives is excellent, covering a handful of grapples, strikes (including common military weapons such as knives, sticks, shovels and helmets) that can be learned quickly and studied in short time each day. It’s practical and concise. Also, the Marines now have a dedicated martial art they are teaching. I haven’t seen a lot of it, but I assume it will run on the same practical principles.
If one can find a school that doesn’t over-stress the mysticism, Indonesian Pentjak Silat and similar forms are absolutely brutal and designed for multiple opponents. There isn’t much in the way of restraint or low-end force; these are styles to kill with. The disadvantage is that they are predicated on having all four limbs functional. The Kung Fus are adaptable for temporary or permanent disability including wheel chairs.
It is a combination of these two forms (Silat and Shaolin Kung Fu) the Freehold forces use in my novels.
One of the best hand to hand weapons to learn is short staff/cane, as it’s societally acceptable for almost anyone to carry a walking stick. A stout piece of rattan (light) or cocobolo or maple (heavy) is a devastating weapon in the hands of someone determined to use it and with some basic training in checks, blocks, hooks and strikes. Since I occasionally need a stick for support anyway, I practice regularly with one. Worst case, stick like things are very common either lying outside (“sticks”) or in most buildings (brooms, handles, etc) and readily obtainable. Actual walking sticks run from $5 rattan at Farm and Fleet stores to pricier carbon fiber or fiberglass sticks with metal heads from Cold Steel. – Michael Z. Williamson


Jim’s Quote of the Day:

"Develop a a passion for hoeing. To cut down a weed is, therefore, to do a moral action. My hoe becomes an instrument of retributive justice. Hoeing becomes, not a pastime, but a duty. Nevertheless, what a man needs in gardening is a cast-iron back with a hinge in it." – Charles Dudley Warner, My Summer in a Garden. 1872

Note From JWR:

The high bid in the SurvivalBlog benefit auction (for the RWVA Super Shooter’s package is still at $150. The auction ends on Monday. Our special thanks to the RWVA and Fred’s M14 Stocks for sponsoring this fund raiser! (The prize is worth $250+.) Please submit your bids via e-mail. This auction ends on the last day of July. OBTW, speaking of the RWVA, they have a Rifle Instructor’s Camp coming up at the end of August in Ramseur, North Carolina–a great opportunity for you to learn how to teach others how to shoot like a pro, including your own family members.

Letter Re: Transportation for the Disabled in the Event of TEOTWAWKI


Thanks for such good reading. I had a copy of “Patriots”but lost it in a house fire last year. I was able to find TEOTWAWKI [the draft edition] through eBay and was happy (it was a signed copy-YEAH!) but am thrilled that you will be releasing the updated version along with the ‘Retreats and Relocation’ book.

What I am interested in is finding the best way to transport my wheelchair bound, handicapped son and my elderly (near wheelchair bound) mother in the event of TEOTWAWKI. I am in the process of getting completely out of debt, which will help tremendously in any plans (provided WTSHTF holds off a little while) and my son and his soon-to-be bride have purchased property that is deeper in the boonies that I am now. Can you recommend any specific books or sources of info for this situation? I was very well prepared before the fire but that just drilled home the wisdom of NOT putting all your eggs in one basket! Thanks again for a wealth of information and God Bless you and yours! – R.B.

JWR Replies: Your situation is unusual but hardly unique. I have an acquaintance in northern Idaho who is wheelchair bound. He is a fine shot with both rifle and pistol, and he can do some simply amazing shooting with a submachinegun. (He is a Class 3 licensed dealer.) When the Schumer hits the fan, I would much rather have someone like him at my retreat than most other “able bodied” men. BTW, he was the basis for one of the minor characters in my novel.

I strongly suggest that if it is at all practicable, that you make arrangements to have your family live at your retreat year-round. And needless to say, that habitation should be a one story structure, on level or nearly level ground, with an easy retrofit for a wheelchair ramp to the main door. Also, if either (or both) your son and mother currently use electric wheelchairs, get old-fashioned wheelchairs for backups in the event of a long term power failures.
As for transportation over longer distances, plan ahead for providing for your disabled family members. One great option, in my opinion, is a 4WD drive full size van conversion. See:

Note: Be sure to read this FAQ in detail. Beware of buying an older 4WD conversion. Some of the 4WD van conversions that were done back in the 1970s and 1980s were plagued by reliability problems–mainly involving front differential linkage and other power-train problems. But in more recent years the conversion companies seem to have “gotten it down to a science”–at least for some models. Just be sure to get a written warranty! OBTW, With the current high cost of gasoline, many of these companies have cut their prices to stay competitive. So this is a great time to have a conversion done.

These can be “dual converted” with a wheelchair lift apparatus. See:


Also see:
And in Canada: http://www.clydesdale.bc.ca/

OBTW, in the event of a worst case scenario, don’t underrate the value of disabled people at a retreat. Most can “stand” watches of guard duty at an LP/OP, providing extra eyes and ears. So stock up on cold weather clothing for those folks, too!

Three Letters Re: Push or Pull Carts For All-Terrain Hauling

In discussing all-terrain hauling and bug-out travel I’ve not seen comments regarding flattened tires. We may have a tire repair kit and air pump handy, but there is a better way to ensure that our ATV, cart or bicycle is not plagued with tire failure. Replace those air-filled tires with closed-cell polyurethane foam tires. Leave the spares, the tire repair kit and the tire pump at home. – Redmist


Hey Jim,
Thought I would send you a couple of links to carts that many country people find to be useful: Vermont Garden Carts I have used this cart (the large one) at a relative’s house and find it useful. But I think that the cart I am going to get is the Smart Cart which I believe will be more useful to me. – S.C.


Hi Jim,
The letters on the Carts are good. Who in U.S. history had lots of use with hand carts? Might look at L.D.S. church history, This might be looked at because it could happen to ALL of us in one way or another soon. Well, give a think, I will be looking back with all that has been talked about carts. It just might pay off. Best wishes, – Paul in Seattle

Odds ‘n Sods:

I just finished reading Michael Z. Williamson’s well-crafted trilogy of counter-terrorist sniping novels, set in the present day. (The Scope of Justice, Targets of Opportunity, and Confirmed Kill.) All three were very well written, believable and downright riveting. The first is set in Pakistan, the second in Romania, and the third in Indonesia, but all three feature the same duo of U.S. Army snipers. Unlike most of the schlock military fiction that pervades the mass market, Williamson’s books are technically and tactically correct. By describing both urban and wilderness engagements, tailored equipment to suit specific missions, and using widely divergent locales, the author avoided the all too common traps of repetitiveness and cliches. I highly recommend these novels.

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SurvivalBlog reader “AK ” in Costa Rica mentioned this site that shares intelligence on global terrorist groups. AK says: “Scroll about half way down the page and take a look at the amount of military instructional pieces these jihadists are putting up on their sites. Pretty scary stuff!”

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British PM Blair declares: Situation in Lebanon is a Catastrophe