Jim’s Quote of the Day:

Dr. Rudi Gunn: “Hold on, how do I cross the border?  I never took survival training.”

Dirk Pitt: “Consider this your course, Rudi…”

Al Giordino (interrupting): “…It’s kind of pass/fail, which I was told is easier.”
– from the action-adventure film Sahara (2005)

Practical/Tactical Pre-1899 Guns Via the Web, Sans Paper Trail

I often have folks ask me where they can buy guns “without a paper trail.”  This is not a big problem for some of us: Just go to a gun show and buy only from private parties.  But this is a real dilemma for folks in those Blue States with the nasty Schumeresque gun laws. (Like “Kalifornia” and “Neu Jersey.”)  One great alternative is buying shootable cartridge guns that were made in or before 1898. These “pre-1899” guns are outside of Federal jurisdiction, and hence can be shipped across state lines without the usual FFL paperwork. (Consult your state and local laws before placing an order.) You can read my FAQ on Pre-1899 guns for some details.

One of our SurvivalBlog advertisers, The Pre-1899 Specialist has a great selection of  hand-picked and custom re-built pre-1899 rifles. Another good source is Dennis Kroh at Empire Arms, but I’ve noticed that most of his potentially practical/tactical guns sell out very quickly. For pre-1899 revolvers, try either Jim Supica, who runs The Arm Chair Gun Show  or The Pre-1899 Specialist for a smaller albeit more unusual selection.

I also occasionally notice some nice pre-1899 rifles and handguns at the Internet gun auction sites such as AuctionArms.com and GunBroker.com. For example, take a look at these current AuctionArms auctions: 

A Swedish Mauser Model 1896 (6.5 x55) made in 1898 (very rare): http://www.auctionarms.com/search/displayitem.cfm?itemnum=7050839

A Mosin Nagant Finnish (re-work) 7.62 x 54R: http://www.auctionarms.com/search/displayitem.cfm?itemnum=7068842 

A Model 1895 (Chilean Contract) Ludwig Loewe Mauser Model 1895 7 x57:  http://www.auctionarms.com/search/displayitem.cfm?itemnum=7066061

Although the auction prices tend to run high, if you are persistent you can find some bargains that are also Federally exempt.

“Where There is No Doctor” Now Available as a Free E-Book

In a recent evening of web surfing, I found that one of my favorite little references Where There is No Doctor by David Werner, is now available as a public domain e-book.  See: 


This is a very useful no-nonsense book, written for folks living in Third World countries. It has also been translated into Spanish. Since you obviously won’t have access to e-books in the event of a power failure, I highly recommend that you pick up one or more paperback copies. See: http://www.healthwrights.org/publications.htm.  I should mention that the companion volume Where There is No Dentist is also highly recommended.  I’ve observed that used copies of both books are often offered for sale at Amazon.com or on eBay.

From WorldNetDaily: Border Sheriff Warns “We’re Overwhelmed”–So Expect Terrorist Dirty Bombs

Our friends at WorldNetDaily.com recently ran a chilling article in which Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez, Jr, from a Texas border county warns that  the U.S./Mexico border is a veritable sieve through which a radioactive “dirty bomb” will almost assuredly someday get through. See:  http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=47376

Letter from: “Doug Carlton” Re: Discrediting the Lessons from the Big Sand Box: Firearms, Gear, and Tactics in Iraq Letter

Unless you can actually verify the identity of the author of the “Firearms, Gear, and Tactics in Iraq” e-mail, then it is bogus. I’ve seen it running around the net in several incarnations with different authors attributed to it for some time now. Some reasons to believe it’s bogus without any authentication: The part about the M249 being a POS comes from an early AAR about the invasion. Some USMC units had weapons that were VERY well-used and I know a Marine that went in with his M249 held together with zip ties. The Army, with newer weapons, report no failures. The USMC has replaced the worn out POSs that should have been condemned years ago. The M249 in Marine service now works great. Go figure how a new gun will work better than one that’s deadlined. Since this gripe in the e-mail is almost a copy-paste from the original Marine AAR that I’ve read (from the USMC itself and not 18th hand in a chain e-mail) it raises a stink right off the bat on this e-mail.

The son is supposed to be in the USMC. The USMC doesn’t use the M24 sniper system. They use the M40A3. The M24 is based on a long action so it can
take the .300 WM, but the Army (which is the only service using the M24) isn’t using any in that caliber.

The new body armor isn’t six pounds. It’s more like 15–or20 if you add all the c**p. I’ve also noticed that your version has several differences than the couple that I’ve seen. Caliber and enemy weapons are referred to exactly the same, but with different calibers and even different weapons. That alone brings it’s validity into question. If it’s a real e-mail from a Marine,why has it been altered from version to version? Especially when these alterations were made to correct glaring faults in previous versions. There’s an almost endless supply of reasons to call “Bulls**t!” on this e-mail. Like most good lies, it has many truths in there to make it more believable. You can explain some of the inconsistencies with reality as the “straw view”
that a rifleman may have, or possibly seeing Army units with M14s and M24s. But when you see parts that have been obviously lifted from other sources, and seen the same basic e-mail for a couple times, with things changed, it becomes an internet urban myth. It may make for good reading if you simply WANT to believe truths/lies that support an opinion that someone might hold, but if you’re looking for truth it’s not in this e-mail. It’s like any useful observation. Once people start changing things to make it more dramatic, correct glaring flaws that
have been brought up with it in the past, or somehow show support for a particular position they have it’s worthless. Not to bust your chops, but information is useless if it’s coming from a
worthless source. Even if some of that information is good, there’s no way to trust it. – Doug Carlton

JWR Replies:  Your points are well taken.  I should have vetted the letter before posting it. I’ll leave your letter up for a couple of days as a teaching tool, along with the original post, so that readers will have a point of reference for your comments.  Then I’ll zap them so that the original letter doesn’t get taken out of context and re-posted by someone else. OBTW, I would greatly appreciate a first hand honest-to-goodness “I seen it with my own two eyes” weapons/tactics AAR from someone who is either  currently in-theater, or who has recently returned. 

Lessons from the Big Sand Box: Firearms, Gear, and Tactics in Iraq

We received this letter, ostensibly from a former Marine Corps First Sergeant, supposedly his second-hand assessment of weapons and enemy tactics in Iraq. This letter has subsequently been largely discredited, so I’m only leaving it up for a couple of days as a teaching tool. I’ve added a few notes. Special thanks to to another First Sergeant (1SG White) and to “Doug Carlton” for helping me with those notes.

Hello to all my fellow gunners, military buffs, veterans and interested guys. A couple of weekends ago I got to spend time with my son Jordan, who was on his first leave since returning from Iraq. He is well (a little thin), and already bored. He will be returning to Iraq for a second tour in early ’06 and has already re-enlisted early for 4 more years. He loves
the Marine Corps and is actually looking forward to returning to Iraq. Jordan spent 7 months at “Camp Blue Diamond” in Ramadi (a.k.a.: Fort Apache. He saw and did a lot and the following is what he told me about weapons, equipment, tactics and other miscellaneous info which may be of interest to you. Nothing herein is by any means classified. No politics here,
just a Marine with his own opinions:

U.S. Weapons and Equipment
1) The M16 rifle: Thumbs down. Chronic jamming problems with the talcum powder-like sand over there. The sand is everywhere. Jordan says you feel filthy just two minutes after coming out of the shower. The M4 carbine version is more popular because it’s lighter and shorter, but it also has jamming problems. They like the ability to mount the various optical sights and weapons lights on the Picattiny rails, but the weapon itself is not great in a desert environment. They all hate the 5.56mm (.223) round. Poor penetration on the cinder block structures common over there and even torso hits cannot be reliably counted on to put the enemy down. Fun fact: Random autopsies on dead insurgents shows a high level of opiate use.

2) The M249 SAW (Squad Automatic Weapon) .223 caiber.belt/magazine fed light machine gun. Big thumbs down. Universally considered a piece of s**t.
Chronic jamming problems, most of which require partial disassembly. (That’s great fun in the middle of a firefight.)

3) The M9 Beretta 9mm: Mixed bag. Good gun, performs well in desert environment; but they all hate the 9mm cartridge. The use of handguns for self-defense is actually fairly common. Same old story on the 9mm: Bad guys hit multiple times and still in the fight.

4) Mossberg 12ga. Military shotgun: Works well, used frequently for clearing houses to good effect.

5) The M240 Machine Gun: 7.62 NATO (.308) cal. belt fed machine gun, developed to replace the old M-60. Thumbs up. Accurate, reliable, and the 7.62 round puts ’em down.
Originally developed as a vehicle mounted weapon, more and more are being dismounted and taken into the field by infantry. The 7.62 round chews up the structure over there. [JWR adds:  According to what I’ve read, they are not being dismounted in any large numbers–rather, it is the version made at the factory with the bipod, buttstock, and carrying handle that have been added to unit TO&Es.]

6) The M2 .50 cal heavy machine gun: Thumbs way, way up. “Ma Deuce” is still worth her considerable weight in gold. The ultimate fight stopper, puts them in the dirt every time. The most coveted weapon in-theater.

7) The .45 pistol: Thumbs up. Still the best pistol round out there. Everybody authorized to carry a sidearm is trying to get their hands on one. With few exceptions, can reliably be expected to put ’em down with a torso hit. The special ops guys (who are doing most of the pistol work) use the HK military model and supposedly love it. The old
government model [M1911] .45s are being re-issued en masse. [JWR adds:  According to what I’ve read, the venerable M1911 .45 ACP are only issued in small numbers.  I wish that they were issued en-masse.]

8) The M14: Thumbs up. They are being re-issued in bulk, mostly in a modified version to Special Ops guys. Modifications include lightweight Kevlar stocks and low power red dot or ACOG sights. Very reliable in the sandy environment, and they love the 7.62 NATO round.

9) The Barrett .50 caliber [.50 BMG] sniper rifle: Thumbs way up. Spectacular range and accuracy and hits like a freight train. Used frequently to take out vehicle suicide bombers (we actually stop a lot of them) and barricaded enemy. Definitely here to stay. [JWR adds:  According to what I’ve read, they are primarily used by EOD teams for blowing up suspected land mines and IEDs, rather than against moving vehicles. The latter is the job usually handled by the M2 .50 BMG.]

10) The M24 sniper rifle: Thumbs up. Mostly in .308 but some in .300 Win Mag. Heavily modified Remington 700s. Great performance. Snipers have been used heavily to great effect. Rumor has it that a Marine sniper on his third tour in Anbar province has actually exceeded Carlos Hathcock’s record for confirmed kills with OVER 100. [JWR adds:  The Army uses the M24.  The marines use the M40. I believe that he may be mistaken about either being issued in 300 Win Mag.  Perhaps somebody with “boots on the ground” in OIF can correct me if I’m wrong about this.]

11) The new body armor: Thumbs up. Relatively light at approximately six pounds and can reliably be expected to soak up small shrapnel and even will stop an AK-47 round. The bad news: Hot as s**t to wear, almost unbearable in the summer heat (which averages over 120 degrees). Also, the enemy now goes for head shots whenever possible. All the bullshit
about the “old” body armor making our guys vulnerable to the IEDs was a non-starter. The IED explosions are enormous and body armor doesn’t make any difference at all in most cases. [JWR adds: The weight of a full Interceptor armor system is more like 20 pounds.)

12) Night Vision and Infrared Equipment: Thumbs way up. Spectacular performance. Our guys see in the dark and own the night, period. Very little enemy action after evening prayers. More and more enemy being whacked at night during movement by our hunter-killer teams. We’ve all seen the videos.

13) Lights: Thumbs up. Most of the weapon mounted and personal lights are Surefires, and the troops love ’em. Invaluable for night urban operations. Jordan carried a $34 Surefire G2 on a neck lanyard and loved it.

I cant help but notice that most of the good fighting weapons and ordnance are 50 or more years old!!! With all our technology, it’s the WWII and Vietnam era weapons that everybody wants!!! The infantry fighting is frequent, up close and brutal. No quarter is given or shown.

Bad Guy Weapons and Equipment:
1) Mostly AK-47s. The entire country is an arsenal. Works better in the desert than the M16 and the 7.62 x 39mm Russian round kills reliably. PKM belt fed light machine guns are also common and effective. Luckily, the enemy mostly shoots like s**t. Undisciplined “spray and pray” type fire. However, they are seeing more and more precision weapons, especially sniper rifles. (Iran, again) Fun fact: Captured enemy have apparently marveled at the marksmanship of our guys and how hard they fight. They are apparently told in Jihad school that the Americans rely solely on technology, and can be easily beaten in close quarters combat for their lack of toughness. Let’s just say they know better now.

2) The RPG: Probably the infantry weapon most feared by our guys. Simple, reliable and as common as dog leavings. The enemy responded to our up-armored Humvees by aiming at the windshields, often at point blank range. Still killing a lot of our guys.

3) The IED: The biggest killer of all. Can be anything from old Soviet anti-armor mines to jury rigged artillery shells. A lot found in Jordan’s area were in abandoned cars. The enemy would take two or three 155mm artillery shells and wire them together. [Note from JWR: I think that he meant to write 130mm or 152mm (Russian). The 155mm is a U.S. artillery round, and the Iraqi insurgents wouldn’t have access to those.] Most were detonated by cell phone, and the explosions are enormous. You’re not safe in any vehicle, even an M1 tank. Driving is by far the most dangerous thing our guys do over there. Lately, they are much more sophisticated “shaped charges” (Iranian) specifically designed to penetrate armor. Fact: Most of the ready made IEDs are supplied by Iran, who is also providing terrorists (Hezbollah types) to train the insurgents in their use and tactics. That’s why the attacks have been so deadly lately. Their concealment methods are ingenious, the latest being shape charges in Styrofoam containers spray painted to look like the cinder blocks that litter all
Iraqi roads. We find about 40% before they detonate, and the bomb disposal guys are unsung heroes of this war.

4) Mortars and rockets: Very prevalent. The Soviet era 122mm rockets (with an 18 km range) are becoming more prevalent. One of Jordan’s NCOs lost a leg to one. These weapons cause a lot of damage “inside the wire”. Jordan’s base was hit almost daily his entire time there by mortar and rocket fire, often at night to disrupt sleep patterns and to cause fatigue (It did). More of a psychological weapon than anything else. The enemy mortar teams would jump out of vehicles, fire a few rounds, and then haul a** in a matter of seconds.

5) Bad guy technology: Simple yet effective. Most communication is by cell and satellite phones, and also by email on laptops. They use handheld GPS units for navigation and “Google earth” for overhead views of our positions. Their weapons are good, if not fancy, and prevalent. Their explosives and bomb technology is TOP OF THE LINE. Night vision is rare. They are very careless with their equipment and the captured GPS units and laptops are treasure troves of intel when captured.

Who are the bad guys?: Most of the carnage is caused by the Zarqawi Al Qaeda group. They operate mostly in Anbar province (Fallujah and Ramadi). These are mostly “foreigners”, non-Iraqi Sunni Arab Jihadists from all over the\ Muslim world (and Europe). Most enter Iraq through Syria (with, of course, the knowledge and complicity of the Syrian government), and then travel down the “rat line” which is the trail of towns along the Euphrates River that we’ve been hitting hard for the last few months. Some are virtually untrained young Jihadists that often end up as suicide bombers or in “sacrifice squads”. Most, however, are hard core terrorists from all the usual suspects (Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas etc.) These are the guys running around murdering civilians en masse and cutting heads off. The Chechens (many of whom are Caucasian), are supposedly the most ruthless and the best fighters. (they have been
fighting the Russians for years). In the Baghdad area and south, most of the insurgents are Iranian inspired (and led) Iraqi Shiites. The Iranian Shia have been very adept at infiltrating the Iraqi local governments, the police forces, and the Army. The have had a massive spy and agitator network there since the Iran-Iraq war in the early 80’s. Most of the Saddam loyalists were killed, captured or gave up long ago.

Bad Guy Tactics:
When they are engaged on an infantry level they get their asses kicked every time. Brave, but stupid. Suicidal Banzai-type charges were very common earlier in the war and still occur. They will literally sacrifice 8-10 man teams in suicide squads by sending them screaming and firing AKs and RPGs directly at our bases just to probe the defenses. They get mowed down like grass every time. (See the M2 and M240, above). Jordan’s base was hit like this often. When engaged, they have a tendency to flee to the same building, probably for what they think
will be a glorious last stand. Instead, we call in air and that’s the end of that more often than not. These hole-ups are referred to as Alpha Whiskey Romeo’s (Allah’s Waiting Room). We have the laser guided ground-air thing down to a science. The fast movers, mostly Marine F-18s, are taking an ever increasing toll on the enemy. When caught out in the open, the helicopter gunships and AC-130 Spectre gunships cut them to ribbons with cannon and rocket fire, especially at night. Interestingly, artillery is hardly used at all. Fun fact: The enemy death toll is supposedly between 45-50 thousand. That is why we’re seeing less and less infantry attacks and more IED, suicide bomber activity. The new strategy is simple: attrition.

The insurgent tactic most frustrating is their use of civilian non-combatants as cover. They know we do all we can to avoid civilian casualties and therefore schools, hospitals and especially Mosques are locations where they meet, stage for attacks, cache weapons and ammo and flee to when engaged. They have absolutely no regard whatsoever for civilian casualties. They will terrorize locals and murder without hesitation anyone believed to be sympathetic to the Americans or the new Iraqi government. Kidnapping of family members (especially children) is
common to influence people they are trying to influence but cannot reach, such as local government. officials, clerics, tribal leaders, etc.). The first thing our guys are told is “don’t get captured.” They know that if captured they will be tortured and beheaded on the Internet. Zarqawi openly offers bounties for anyone who brings him a live American serviceman. This motivates the criminal element who otherwise don’t give a s**t about the war. A lot of the beheading victims were actually kidnapped by common criminals and sold to Zarqawi. As such, for our guys, every fight is to the death. Surrender is not an option. The Iraqi’s are a mixed bag. Some fight well, others aren’t worth a s**t. Most do okay with American support. Finding leaders is hard, but they are getting better. It is widely viewed that Zarqawi’s use of suicide bombers, en masse, against the civilian population was a serious tactical mistake. Many Iraqi’s were galvanized and the caliber of recruits in the Army and the police forces went up, along with their motivation. It also led to an exponential increase in good intel because the Iraqi’s are sick of the insurgent attacks against civilians.

The Kurds are solidly pro-American and fearless fighters. According to Jordan, morale among our guys is very high. They not only believe they are winning, but that they are winning decisively. They are stunned and dismayed by what they see in the American press, whom they almost universally view as against them. The embedded reporters are despised and distrusted. They are inflicting casualties at a rate of 20-1 and then see s**t like “Are we losing in Iraq” on TV and the print media. For the most part, they are satisfied with their equipment, food and leadership. Bottom line though, and they all say this, there are not enough guys there to drive the final stake through the heart of the insurgency, primarily because there aren’t enough troops in-theater to shut down the borders with Iran and Syria. The Iranians and the Syrians just can’t stand the thought of Iraq being an American ally (with, of course, permanent US bases there).

JWR Replies:  The foregoing letter has been largely discredited.  DO NOT repost it!

Letter Re: State Boundaries (Expanding on “The State Line Game”)

Hi Jim,
Your comments on building a house straddling a state line brought me back to my Navy days in Pensacola, Florida. It may be difficult to build across a state line but not impossible. There is a bar that straddles the state line between Florida and Alabama called – of course – The Floribama. As I recall it, there was a different last call time on opposite sides of the bar as the two states had different alcohol serving times. In any case, if it can be done with a commercial establishment (particularly a bar!) it can be done with a house. I also seem to recall an article in National Geographic a few years back where they featured a bar/restaurant that straddled the border between Canada and the US. I even recall a picture of a pool table with the border line drawn across it. Somehow I doubt its still in business but I do recall seeing the images. In any case, it has been done. – "Some Call me Tim"

Letter Re: America at the Crossroads

Perhaps it was the camping and outdoor adventures of my youth that led to a desire to be self-sufficient and ultimately to my own “survivalist” attitude, but it’s been more a change in society that has formed the current “survivalist” movement than any of our own individual experiences. Modern society has reached it’s pinnacle, and we are now in a very awkward period when society as we know it will spit and sputter and flare up before it burns out entirely, at least society as we know it. The time of great  achievement has passed and society is now working to “reclaim” many great works. As an example the Hoover Dam would never be built today because American society no longer has the will to take on great projects. People are choosing sides; the earth worshipers versus the Christians, the Socialists versus the Constitutionalists, and the Muslims against everyone. There is no clear path for American society, but one thing is for sure: our future is not bright. There are too many factions tearing at the fabric that was a great American society, no longer are we united in any common cause. Are we fighting for liberty and freedom or are we fighting to be an imperialist power? Are we spreading democracy and justice around the world or are we responsible for spreading abortion rights and homosexual “marriage”? Are we outsourcing to spread healthy economic development worldwide or are we simply exploiting slave labor? One thing for sure: we are choosing sides. The recent events following Hurricane Katrina demonstrate the tenuous thread by which the fabric of our society hangs, many amongst us are looking for any excuse to revolt. Society no longer has any common purpose.
I know that I have chosen sides and I am comfortable with my choices. I have friends and family that are aware of what is going on around them and  understand the issues. amongst friends here, that I know. You are reading this because you are uncomfortable with many of these issues. You know that rampant consumerism and the “disposable” society cannot go on forever. You are reading this because it is too late to do anything about this at the ballot box.
Something somewhere inside you has been telling you that the answer is not in a Spotted Owl or an X-Box, but somewhere else. Where do we go from here? I’m not sure! I do know we are going to be the ones that can form a new society, we are the ones that want a return to Constitutional government. I have no idea what any of the other factions of our society wants, but I know it is not that. You know that I don’t support slavery, nor do I think that blacks are 2/3rds. of person, nor do I want to legalize cocaine, but I can’t tell many people that because they have already chosen sides and refuse to listen. Many have chosen sides by simply stating they will not chose sides, to not be involved. You and I are simply an ignored part of the population that cannot be bought with government handouts, farm subsidies, or promises for a zero pollution automobile. We aren’t lobbying to remove all references to God from society or for homosexual adoption of children. We aren’t begging for a new five hundred million dollar bridge to service fifty people and we aren’t asking for a new courthouse with English Walnut paneling. I don’t know what to do other than my duty as a citizen; write letters, call my representatives, be informed and responsible for myself. I don’t think society as we know it now can be fixed, but we are obligated to try. Our current government has largely been formed to service the bureaucracy and pander to fringe special interests, rather than provide a very limited framework in which all of society can operate. Change at this point is meaningless. Reform? Out of the question.
Are you armed with knowledge? Are you prepared for disaster? You are ahead of 90% of the population if you are reading this. You care or you wouldn’t vote, you wouldn’t write legislators, and you would not participate. Participation here helps those that will stand with you in difficult times. Whatever the future holds we will be there, we will have a common purpose and we will share high ideals. We will share the burden and overcome the hardships together. We will not blindly follow the mainstream into the abyss, but rather prepare to build a society that is once again tempered with truth and justice. – A. Friend

Jim’s Quote of the Day:

"Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat." – Theodore Roosevelt

From David in Israel Re: Body Armor and Handguns

About some of the subjects addressed by Fernando in Argentina: For a while people were really into getting body armor here [in Israel]. It was popular during the start of the intifada, but the problem was the bad guys mostly used rifles so you had to use the mega-heavy ceramic chest/back plates. Nobody uses them anymore, I suppose they might come out of the closet if things heat up again.

We can also legally get snap in shoulder stocks for handgun here. I believe they are an NFA item with $200 transfer tax with background investigation in America. It is amazing what these do for aiming, but they fit into your pack when the gun is on your belt. The rail station security guards carry them slung like a rifle.

JWR Replies: David is correct that most pistol stocks are unfortunately banned in the U.S., and are subject to a Federal transfer tax. There are, however, a few exceptions in the ATF’s interpretation of the U.S. law for some antique and Curio/Relic pistols, most notably C.96 Broomhandle Mausers, Lugers, and Browning Hi-Powers. In most cases the stock must either be an original, or an exact replica. And BTW, I concur that they do wonders for long range pistol accuracy.  I once owned an Inglis (Canadian) Hi-Power with a tangent rear sight and shoulder stock/holster.  With the sight set for 200 yards, I was able to hit an 18″ diameter tractor disk roughly every-other shot at 220 yards. That would have been very difficult otherwise–except perhaps if when shooting prone.

From “Dr. Sidney Zweibel” — Review of a Front Sight Shotgun Course

Dear Jim:
Well, I’m back from my trip to Front Sight and I believe that it was very informative. Some of the things I learned I would like to share with you and your readers:.
1. There were several policemen in the class and they, along with the instructor, do NOT recommend using a sling on a shotgun for home defense.

2. One cop was using Federal Tactical buckshot and was getting the best groupings and patterns on his targets.

3. The lecture on the color-code of awareness is vital to understand.

4. They really stress being able to load your shotgun WITHOUT looking at either your shotshells or your weapon.

5. They also emphasize doing “tactical reloads” as frequently as possible. (That is, if you shoot two, reload two if you shoot one then reload one.)

6. The simulator scenario at “Shotgun Canyon” was very revealing as to learning to break the habit of “tunnel-vision” in a scenario of multiple targets and assailants. They teach to scan in all directions and to differentiate between cover and concealment.

7. One of the hardest things for me, at first, was to learn how to sling the weapon muzzle down.(Don’t ask.)

OBTW, I used one of the school’s Remington 870 pump actions. Surprisingly I did not experience any soreness in my shoulder after firing approximately 150 rounds. But I did sustain a minor cut on my left hand when I pinched it on the foreend pump. Oh well, a little blood kinda adds to the realism don’t you think? Baruch HaShem Yahweh, – Dr. Sidney Zweibel, Columbia P&S

Letter Re: Hunting and Trapping Hazards

Mr. Rawles:
All the talk about snares and traps and hunting… You’d better inform people about the proper precautions concerning RABIES in wild game. – Tamara

JWR Replies: Yes, you are right. There are risks involved with hunting and trapping. But there are also risks involved with walking down a city street, or buying potato salad at your local delicatessen, or picking berries in bear country. As with anything else in life you need to weigh cost/benefit ratios, and learn to take appropriate precautions.

Here are some basic precautions about hunting, trapping, and handling raw meat: 

Always wash your hands very thoroughly after gutting, skinning, butchering, or otherwise handling any raw meat–store bought, home raised, or taken in the field. Never touch your hands to your mouth, eyes, or nose until after that washing.

Use great care not to cut yourself or your helper(s) while handling raw meat.

Use separate, designated, and preferably color coded cutting boards for meat versus all fruits, vegetables, and other foods.

Be careful not to pick up ticks from wild game.  I carry an aerosol can of “Off” insect repellent whenever I hunt. I spray my arms and legs before reaching down to bleed out a deer or elk.  Then right after that, I spray the entire carcass thoroughly and wait a full ten minutes before dragging it about 20 feet and then gutting it out.  (BTW, I’ve found that that same ten minutes is a good chance to sit down and thank God for His blessings.) Lyme disease is widespread. Odds are that deer ticks and brush ticks will be carrying it.

Don’t trap skunks for food unless you are absolutely desperate or starving. Rabies is endemic in both striped and spotted North American skunk populations.

Tularemia is is endemic in wild rabbits. The old sayings about inspecting rabbit livers for abnormalities is just an Old Wives’ Tale.  (It is not a reliable indicator of Tularemia infection.) However, if you do see white cyst-like spots on a rabbit liver, then the rabbit is almost certainly infected, and and should be discarded.

Cook all meat–regardless of its source–very thoroughly. And then be careful not to cut the cooked meat with the same dirty knife that you used before cooking.

Never hunt any animal that its not acting alert and lively. If  you find that an animal that you’ve shoot looks like it is in poor health, leave it lay for the scavengers.

A little common sense goes a long way. (OBTW, the encyclopedia references above are courtesy of  Wikipedia.)

Reader’s Book Recommendation: “Wilderness Medicine” by Auerbach

This book is full of ideas and know how on wilderness survival/medicine. I would like to share my find with others. It is called “Wilderness Medicine”(4th edition.) It was written by Paul S. Auerbach, M.D. and is essentially a text book about 1500 pages. Its somewhat spendy but worth it. I have provided a link if you are interested. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0323009506/002-0312643-5760820?v=glance&n=283155&v=glance . Thanks for your book (Patriots) and the great web site. – Josh