Pat Cascio’s Product Review: Survival, Escape & Evasion

Back in November of 1969, during my infantry school at Ft. Lewis, WA, we were afforded a one-day Survival, Escape & Evasion training course. The entire day was spent learning how to forage food and cook it, along with learning to read the sun during the day and the stars at night, for navigation purposes. We were also taught how to escape and evade capture by enemy troops, who were played by soldiers from other military units.

During our training, we were shown a map of where we were. It also showed some of the terrain we had to cover to get to “freedom”, once we were lucky enough to escape our captors, played by drill instructors. To this day, I can still picture in the very center of the map, a swampy area that we were instructed to stay out of, for obvious reasons. There were also boundaries that we were instructed to stay within. At the end of the course, we were told we would see lights (from buses), and that was our ticket back to the barracks.

When chaos broke out, we were instructed to make a break for it, which most of us did, while others were captured right at the start and taken to the “prison” camp, where they were tortured and interrogated. One method of torture was to put you in a coffin-like box with holes in it, through which they dropped garter snakes. Of course, we didn’t know for a fact what was crawling around our body inside that box.

Myself and two other soldiers made our escape and headed for freedom, as best we could. Now, it occurred to me that playing by the rules set out to us simply wasn’t going to suffice. Who plays by the rules, when you are attempting to escape capture by the enemy? So, during the course of the night, we traveled through the swampy area as well as going outside the boundary lines, one of which were some railroad tracks. I still remember watching “enemy” soldiers walking along the railroad tracks, always looking in the direction of the area where escaping soldiers would be, never once looking in the opposite direction, where my three companions and I were often skirting the area.

At one point, we heard the sound of engines running and saw lights. We thought it was the buses running with their headlights on. Nope! It was the “prison” camp, and we almost walked right in the front gate. Needless to say, we ran off in the opposite direction with the enemy hot on our heels. We did manage to survive, escape, and evade during that 24-hour time period, but not by playing within the rules!

This brings us to a new DVD I recently had the opportunity to review for readers called Survival, Escape & Evasion, produced by with a running time of 1 hour and 37 minutes. There is a lot of material covered in this DVD. According to the DVD, in 2014 alone there were an average of 700 abductions, 8,000 home invasions, and 40 murders per day in the USA alone. If you put pencil to paper, that comes out to a violent crime every 25.3 seconds, and this is during a “safe” time. Just imagine what it will be like in a SHTF scenario?

The instructor on this video is Jack Richland, a U.S. Marine Corp veteran and the CEO of Black Scout Survival. He has attended just about every escape, evasion and survival course that has been offered. Now, this is the only negative comment I can give on the DVD; when Richland is static, just standing there, giving the viewer instructions at the start of the DVD, his delivery is a bit dry, not boring but dry, and you will need to focus on the outstanding material he is presenting. Once you get past this at the start of the video and Richland is out of this portion of the studio, things pick up. Once again, the material he presents is outstanding, second to none. I watched this DVD several times with my wife at my side. She also commented on the presentation being a little dry, and she is a teacher. Now, with that out of the way, let’s take a look at the material covered in this video.

Richland covers escape from all types of restraints, including handcuffs, duct tape, zip ties, flex cuffs, ropes, and locks. You will also learn how to escape from the trunk of a car while handcuffed. I love this part of the DVD; you will learn how to use everyday items carried on your person to help you escape. I especially enjoyed his section on lock-picking. I took a locksmithing course many years ago, just out of curiosity, and learned how to pick all kinds of locks. Many, everyday common locks are easy to pick with very little training, while other types of locks are more difficult to pick open. Richland spent a lot of time demonstrating lock picking, and I enjoyed it.

There is also a section on how to lose someone you believe might be following you with some simple and effective methods. There are some anti-kidnapping methods also taught in the video. Then there are everyday, very simple disguises that you can use to change your appearance.

Without a doubt, there is a lot of material covered in this DVD, and you won’t be able to take it in during one viewing, so you’ll need to watch this DVD several times and practice what is presented to you. The DVD is well done, professionally done, not with a cheap camera and some no-talent actors. Jack Richland obviously knows what he’s talking about and teaches this material all over the country.

Today, we all feel safe when we leave our homes; however, with each passing day, it does get more dangerous out there. In a scenario where the grid might go down, or a serious SHTF scenario takes place, things can and probably will go very bad for us, and there are a lot of bad people out there who want to do us harm. If we learn to fight back, especially if we are captured, it can make the difference between life and death. If you escape, you will live to fight another day.

“Survival, Escape & Evasion” is a DVD that can save your life, if you train and practice the techniques that are presented in it. This DVD from is only $29.95 and is well worth the asking price. It is not only entertaining, but you will learn some valuable skills that will save your life one day. Pick up a copy and have your entire family sit down and watch it with you.

– Senior Product Review Editor, Pat Cascio