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Authors Posts by Caleb

Caleb

Caleb
255 POSTS 691 COMMENTS
Caleb Lee is the #1 best-selling author of "Concealed Carry 101" and founder of PreparedGunOwners.com. He is a civilian (no law enforcement or military experience) who shares information about self-defense and becoming more self-reliant. He's a 1st degree black belt in Taekwondo, NRA Certified Basic Pistol & Personal Protection Inside The Home Instructor, Concealed Carry Academy Instructor certified & also a graduate of the Rangermaster firearms instructor course. He's also the author of numerous online courses including the UndergroundAssaultRifle.com course.

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Growing up I loved the RAMBO movies …

The RAMBO movies were based off a book written by David Morrell called “First Blood”(hence the name of the first movie). After I read First Blood, David Morrell has since become one of my favorite authors after I found him in my pre-teen years (I’ve always been a voracious reader of topics that interest me).

Thank God my parents didn’t shelter me too much during those years.

It’s also the same years I made it my life’s mission to become a Navy SEAL when I got older. Around 3rd grade I remember my mom refusing to let me jump into my neighbor’s pool with handcuffs on so I could do the “drown proofing” drills I had seen in Navy SEAL training on TV (Bummer!)

Anyways, for various reasons I chose not to become a SEAL when I turned 18, but obviously I still read like crazy and these things still interest me …

Being well read and somewhat knowledgeable about firearms and whatnot, it always drives me CRAZY when I watch a movie or read a book and the obviously do no research on the weapons or guns used.

David Morrell NEVER makes that mistake …

His books are always thoroughly researched, and many times he actually goes through intense training while doing research for his characters.

So what does David Morrell have to do with my new favorite pocket knife?

One day, I read the newest David Morrell book “The Protector”The Protector not only has the main character, a former Delta Force operator named Cavanaugh, using an Emerson CQC-7 knife, but the cover art itself is a blood-stained Emerson CQC-7.

Now, of course, I figure I can’t ever afford an Emerson knife, and after a little research the CQC-7 looked like it was out of reach too …

Who Is Emerson?

Emerson, to make a long story short is a “famous” knife maker.

Specifically, he was one of the first guys to custom make — as in hand make — folding knives for the US Navy SEALs. This custom version was named the CQC-6 — either after SEAL Team 6 or because it was the 6th model of design. CQC stands for “Close Quarters Combat”.

Ownership of a CQC6 soon became something of a status symbol among members of various elite military units, including Navy SEALs, Army Special Forces, German GSG 9, and British SAS …

When a bigger commercial manufacturer came to Emerson and wanted to produce them large scale, Emerson licensed them a similar design called the CQC-7.

Even though it obviously wasn’t handmade, everyone loved getting Emerson’s work, at an affordable price and without the five-year wait.

They’re still popular with elite special forces groups, in fact, in May 2013, a non-custom factory-made Emerson CQC-7 knife carried by the Navy SEAL who served as point man on the mission to kill Osama bin Laden was auctioned off for charity, netting over $35,400!

The problem with Emerson knives?

The price. I wouldn’t really consider myself a “hardcore” knife collector or aficionado. I might be getting there though …

Anyways, for a knife that starts around $150 and only goes up in price — it was a little steep for me to ever use as an EDC knife (that I’m going to use 90% of the time to cut boxes and other mundane chores–not take out terrorists).

Enter Kershaw …

Kershaw is a knife manufacturer that’s rather popular. In fact, for the past year or so I’ve been carrying almost every day a “cheap” kershaw pocket knife. I say “cheap” because it was low in price not quality.

I love it actually. It fits my hand good, has a nice tanto blade, is tough, and does every job I’ve thrown at it …

I actually respect Kershaw as a maker of pocket knives that you can count on for LESS than $50 all in.

Recently, we all lucked out because Kershaw teamed up with Emerson to make the Emerson designed knives available to everyone without deep pockets!

Introducing The Kershaw-Emerson CQC-7

Kershaw Emerson

As soon as I heard my favorite CHEAP knife maker — Kershaw — was teaming up with the maker of the most respected knives I knew — Emerson — I got super excited and ordered it the day I found it on Amazon.

For just $32.95 (shipping was free because I have PRIME) — I got this bad boy delivered to my door …

To make a long story short, I love it.

The cool thing about the Emerson design is the unique “Wave” feature. In short, it allows the knife to open as soon as you draw it from your pocket because a “hook” part of the dull side of the blade catches on your pocket as you draw it out.

Very useful if you ever need your knife out and deployed with just one hand.

Anyways, I’ve got this thing sitting here on my desk right now, it looks gorgeous.

The only complaint I might have is the size, it’s a lot bigger than my little EDC Kershaw folding knife — so I might try one of the Emerson CQC smaller knives — specifically the CQC-3k — as it will probably just a little bit smaller than the Kershaw I carry right now (see below):

Folding Knife

 

Anyways, I feel any of the Kershaw Emerson CQC knives are the best you can get for under $50 (under $40 in most cases!) and I can’t wait to add a few more to my collection.

Pick one up if you’re looking for a new, proven, EDC knife.

 

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    Un-armed fighting scares a lot of people …

    This is the reason so many people carry weapons of some kind: they’re trying to even the odds in their favor, give themselves an advantage.

    This is entirely understandable. Why should you EVER fight a guy on his terms when you can use a force multiplier of some kind to make the fight less fair in your favor?

    Whether you use a pocket stick, a bolt, a bandanna full of batteries that you can make into a homemade blackjack, a piece of rebar, a metal pipe, or whatever else, there are a lot of situations in which you can be armed.

    But there are others in which you can’t. (And it seems like the liberals want to pass every law imaginable to make sure you’re NOT armed).

    Especially when facing somebody who is a lot larger than you, or when facing multiple opponents, the idea of facing off and fighting somebody with your bare hands can be pretty intimidating.

    You may be wondering how you can get past his guard and take him down …

    You may be wondering if you’ll hurt your hands when you try to punch him …

    If he’s a lot bigger than you, you may have lost the fight before it’s even begun because you’ve psyched yourself out …

    Snap out of it!

    Every single guy in the world, no matter what type of build he has, no matter how large or small he is, possesses certain vital targets that you can exploit.

    You just have to find a way to get to these vital targets. They’re absolutely the same on everybody.

    Just so we’re on the same page these vital targets are NOT meant to cause “pain” …

    Pain is subjective. An assailant on PCP could take 3 rounds of 9mm to center mass and not feel “pain” (at least not for the next 30 seconds while he continues to do bad things to you or your family).

    When picking “vital targets” to hit when you’re unarmed you’re merely picking targets that will “break” the man in front of you.

    What do I mean by breaking the man?

    Simple:

    A guy hopped up on drugs like PCP will keep coming even if he’s hurt. Now, let’s say one of his legs falls off — his structure is broken — he can keep coming but he’d look like a zombie pulling himself across the floor … or hopping towards you because his entire body is not functional.

    That’s the idea — you want to destroy a part of the human body that’s needed for proper functioning. That way you have the advantage whether you’re smaller, weaker, older, less mean, and less trained.

    Make sense?

    (BTW, I learned this all from the guy who helped developed the Navy SEAL unarmed combat methods … more on him later)

    Now I’ll share one of these vital targets with you.

    Let’s start with the throat, because it’s the only area of the body you might be thinking can be reinforced by working out.

    Have you ever seen a picture the famous Karate instructor, Ted Gambordella, bending a knife with his neck muscles?

    Well, if you work out hard enough and long enough, yes, Virginia, you can have a gigantic neck like that. And if you place a piece of metal gently against your neck muscle, and you hold it just right, and you exert your muscle strength against the flat, not the edge, of the blade, then yes, you can make that knife flex.

    This is a parlor trick.

    No matter how strong a man’s neck is, he can’t strengthen the hollow of his throat. This is the front of the throat where a man’s adam’s apple is.

    Spear him there with a solid part of your body (or any other rigid object) and he will react immediately, choking and recoiling. This is called a spinal reflex — like when you touch a hot stove, your spinal reflex will pull your hand back immediately without you thinking about it.

    If you maintain pressure on that spot you can choke him. Hit him hard enough and you will immobilize him while he chokes or possibly dies.

    The throat is a tricky target because all it takes is a dropped chin to protect it. Your chin and your forehead are both bone shields. You don’t want to punch a person in either location. Punch the forehead and you’ll break your hand. Punch the chin and you could wind up with teeth in your knuckles. Either way, it’s not a fight-ender unless you manage a knockout blow.

    The throat, then, is a target of opportunity just like other targets.

    You’ve got to wait until the throat is unobstructed … and when it is … you can ram your forearm, hand, fist or any other solid body part as hard as you can into that area.

    The idea is to focus on hitting “through” his throat — like your target is on the other side of it …

    Put you full bodyweight into it — yes, even if you’re a frail 98 pounds — and that’s 98lbs of force into one, small, easily broken part of the human machine.

    And the best part?

    Does it matter if your attacker has a knife? A gun? A machete?

    No.

    To a man who has just been hit with (a minimum) of 98lbs of force in his windpipe — the brain short circuits — he forgets about intent or even if HE still desperately wants to murder you — his brain is desperately trying to get his throat to work again because his brain/nervous system knows that it needs the body to breathe.

    You’ve made his windpipe non-functional, and that tilts the odds heavily in your favor.
    Obviously, if you hit it hard enough, this target can cause death.

    But it might just save your life.

    One more advantage to the throat as a target …

    Think through almost every possible scenario in which a “bad guy” gets close enough to do you or your family harm … or is already attacking you … in most every way someone could attack you … their throat is exposed.

    Next up, another (Ahem) sensitive area…

    Have you ever been kicked full-force in the groin?

    If you haven’t, trust me: It’s like an off switch for some people. You hit the ground before you realize why… and then the pain rolls over you.

    Some people can shrug off a ball shot, especially if they’re full of adrenaline from a fight, but in most people, getting nailed in the nads is no joke.

    Now, here’s how to make a groin kick work on EVERYONE.

    Again, we don’t want to focus on pain — pain is subjective.

    We need to focus on WRECKING the target.

    When attacking the groin, you’re focusing on rupturing testicles. (If for some strange reason, your attacker is a woman, you’re focusing on rupturing whatever is in the groin area all the same). Plain and simple.

    A kick to the groin hurts — ruptured testicles is a traumatic injury.

    Once again, destructive trauma to the body sends a whole lot of signals to the brain and nervous system …

    When a man’s testicles are ruptured (or someone attempts to rupture them) — the brain sends a signal and the body reacts predictably …

    The man bends over, both hands reach for the groin and he typically takes one and half steps back from the point of impact …

    In the picture below you see the beginning of this process — the man has already lifted up onto his toes. He is about to move backward and bend down to grab his groin (the point of impact):

    groin kick
    WRONG way to kick a groin.

    Now, please only pay attention to the man in that picture … because she is kicking his groin all wrong.

    Again, as with the throat strike — intent and penetration is everything here. You must be trying to break the target.

    Again, you are not kicking “at” the groin/testicles — you’re kicking THROUGH them — you are aiming to have your shin/foot go through his groin and up into his chest.

    If you don’t aim through your target you won’t break it (ask any karate student who has tried to break a board or brick — you don’t “hit” the board — you hit through the board)

    Her foot should be sticking out from between the back of the man’s legs because she should be stepping INTO the kick, putting her entire body weight into and THROUGH the man.

    Again, even if you’re just a frail 98 pound senior citizen, this ensures that all 98 pounds of you is focused into one small area — his groin. In that case, it’s a simple matter of physics, the groin goes down as your bodyweight goes through it.

    Now …

    The thing about groin kicks is that everybody expects them.

    All men know their groins are very vulnerable targets. It’s easy to protect your groin. You turn your hip, turn your leg in, even lift your leg to intercept an incoming blow, and you can stop the worst of the attack from hitting your balls.

    First off, that’s not your concern. Try to ram your shin/foot through his testicles and deep into his body and rupture your target. It’s not your job to worry about “what is he going to do” — your job is to worry about injuring him.

    However, if for some reason that strike doesn’t fully land …

    In order to make full use of the groin as a target, you may have to wait until the groin is within reach of your hands.

    A lot of the same people who expect a kick or a knee to the groin don’t expect you to just reach out and touch them there. It goes against our natures to reach out grab a man’s groin (unless it doesn’t, in which case, “Not that there’s anything wrong with that”).

    All kidding aside — if a bad guy is trying to do bad things to a woman — this is very important. He must be close enough to touch her, so she’s probably close enough to “touch” him back.

    When you grab the groin in the course of a close-quarters fight, you’ve got to do something pretty horrible to make the technique work for you.

    Grab and twist the balls as if you’re trying to twist and rip them right off the body. Don’t be afraid to punch the abdomen while you’re pulling and ripping with the other hand, too.

    This technique is harder to do on tight, heavy jeans or leather pants, which will make it harder to grab the other guy’s sack through the cloth, but on regular slacks or cargo pants, you can do a pretty horrible job on somebody.

    For women, If he’s in a state of undress because the violent attack has gotten that far (God forbid) at least you stand a better chance fighting back in this manner than by taking the liberal rape defense approach of urinating on yourself.

    Again, think through multiple situations in which you might be attacked … as you can see just the 2 targets we’ve covered thus far … are almost always available to you.

    The man might attack you from behind … but as soon as you realize you’re being assaulted you can turn and as soon as you see his throat or groin — HE becomes the victim.

    You can’t prepare for “every scenario”. Real life is too complicated.

    But you CAN prepare for the right targets because … 100% of every man that has ever attacked someone had:

    1.) a throat and
    2.) a groin

    Finally, let’s talk about the eyes.

    The eyes are the most sensitive targets on the human body. Whole UFC matches have been stopped when somebody got accidentally poked in the eyeball.

    A finger touching your eye GENTLY produces an immediate adverse reaction …

    Ever held a baby who is being cute, thrusting around in your arms, waving her little tiny hands all over the place and one of those tiny, small, frail fingers accidentally touches your eye?

    Just a small scratch to the delicate eye causes a whole waterfall chain of automatic reactions …

    Shove your fingers in someone’s eyes and you’ll immediately cause them to try and flinch away. The eye typically waters, and the eye lids close to protect against the threat.

    In a fight, therefore, the eyes are excellent targets.

    The easiest way to attack them is to open your hand into a “rake” and claw your fingers across the eyes — much like a violent slap except with the tips of your fingers raking the eyes.

    You only need the tip of one fingernail to catch a delicate cornea to inflict damage.

    If the fight becomes up close and personal, you will try to get one hand around the back of his head and work your fingers into his eye area with the other. Or shove both thumbs into an eye socket …

    Be aware that this will cause him to thrash violently. Any of us would react the same way to the potential of being blinded.

    We will absolutely FREAK OUT when another man’s fingers touch our eyes, and we will do everything in our power to kill the person trying to blind us.

    But again, you must think in terms of penetration and destroying the target. Even if you get jumped, once you start attacking his eyes — YOU become the attacker …

    Tim Larkin, the founder of Target Focus Training, the man I alluded to earlier who helped the Navy SEALS develop their system of unarmed combat demonstrates this below:
    Unarmed Combat Training

    When targeting the eyes, the throat, or the groin, don’t head into the fight TRYING to get them. You need to wait for the opening. The fight has to make it possible for you to get in on those targets; you don’t march blindly into the conflict and think ahead of time that you definitely will hit him in the throat, or that you can only hit him in the eyes.

    Instead, strike whatever is most accessible. Use your nearest weapon to his body and put it in and through whatever is the closest available target.

    Your goal is not to “win” the fight. Your goal is simply to get away as unhurt as possible. It’s called Survival. That’s the only thing that matters in the real world.

     

     

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    By now, you’ve heard about all the hubub a while back over Kendall Jones, a pretty blonde high school student who posted some pictures to her Facebook account of a big-game hunting trip to Africa.

    Here’s one of my favorites:

    Kendall Jones
    Kendall Jones

    The pictures are what you would expect from such a trip: She’s posing with animals she shot and killed, including a lion.

    For people who find satisfaction in hunting, this is meaningful.  You may not agree with hunting lions or other big game, and you may not agree with sport hunting at all.  (Sport hunting we can define as the hunting and killing of an animal not to eat it, but to have the experience of killing it.)

    I would basically say you’re free to find such a sport repugnant, too… although I would also say if you’re against hunting altogether and you eat meat, you’re a hypocrite.

    People on both sides of the gun ownership issue can and do argue about these issues all the time. The reason Kendall Jones represents a newsworthy and special case, though, is because her story went “viral.”

    Her Facebook pictures were circulated by people outraged that this girl dared to engage in sport hunting in Africa — an activity that is perfectly legal and whose requirements Kendall followed in pursuing her hunt.

    Now, you may be thinking, “Hunting is immoral,” or just, “Sport hunting is immoral,” and that therefore Kendall deserved to have strangers angry at her on the Internet.

    After all, there are consequences to free speech, especially in our Internet-connected age.  Say unpopular things, you will be unpopular.  Post unpopular pictures, people will detest you for it.

    The fact is, though, that to most rational, reasonable adults, until very recently, the fact that some people engage in “big game hunting” is not remarkable.  The United States has a long history of hunting, and before the Europeans and their neighbors allowed themselves to be neutered and disarmed by the marching forces of socialism and political correctness, they, too, engaged in hunting.

    For all human beings, hunting was once a way of life, and while the advent of modern grocery stores (and a rise in popularity of vegetarianism and veganism) means that far fewer people hunt these days, there is still a large portion of the American population that sees it as perfectly normal.

    This is important, because it is tied to the decline of the gun culture in the United States.

    As rural living declines (a huge chunk of the United States population lives in a few major urban centers on the coasts, such as New York City and Los Angeles) and fewer Americans are raised, by default, to be familiar with guns, shooting, and related sports and activities, the gun culture in our nation is slowly dying.

    Liberals have tried for years to equate guns and gun shops with vices, like porn stars and head shops and other unsavory places.  If a gun store is in proximity to a school or playground, for example, they wail for it to be shut down, as if a gun store has anything to do with children in any way.

    The rise in bizarre interpretations of “zero tolerance” policies in our school helps make everything worse:  If a child can be suspended or expelled for drawing a picture of a gun, or even for nibbling his toaster pastry into a gun-like shape, then kids are brainwashed into believing guns are inherently evil and should be avoided if you are a “good person.”

    They grow up into people who vote Democrat and therefore support infringements on the Second Amendment and your firearms rights.

    The problem we have within the gun culture, however, is almost as bad as the one we as a gun culture have with the rest of society.  Yes, gun ownership is increasingly becoming equated with vice.  Yes, there are more and more gun-ignorant liberals brainwashing our children and clogging up society with their hatred of self-defense and their irrational fear of guns.  But we, as a culture of gun owners, are becoming split, and not in the way you might think.

    Do you remember the name “Zumbo?”  

    Jim Zumbo was a firearms and hunting writer who was the hunting editor of “Outdoor Life” and the host of a television program called “Jim Zumbo Outdoors.”  One day back in 2007 or thereabouts, Zumbo decided that he didn’t like those evil black scary assault rifles, and he spoke out against them.  Just what prompted him to wake up insane that day isn’t clear, but Zumbo was rightly termed a “Fudd.”

    If you’ve never heard of a “Fudd,” the name is based on the witless hunter character, Elmer Fudd, from the Bugs Bunny cartoons.  It’s not a flattering comparison.  The term “Fudd” is used by us “tactical” minded gun owners — people who think assault rifles are cool and useful — to describe those old-fashioned hunting guys who have no use for any gun that isn’t clad in varnished wood.

    Fudds turn up their noses at black plastic and, as long as their “right to hunt” isn’t interfered with, don’t much care about the Second Amendment or Second Amendment Rights.  A Democrat who hunts deer could be thought of as a Fudd, in many cases, although there are always exceptions.

    For years, the Fudds have tried to push out younger, more self-defense oriented shooters, sometimes going as far as banning the shooting of AR15s and AK47-pattern rifles at their gun ranges.

    These types of political fights go on more often than you might realize.  They’re always a bad idea and they do nothing but chip away at all our gun rights.

    The Fudds think it “can’t happen to them” because traditional hunting arms typically are the last ones regulated.  But the anti-gun people, the people who hate your right to self-defense and who will never be hunters …

    … want to take away ALL guns, everywhere.  

    If you doubt this, just look at what happened in the UK for the model.  A society that once begged the United States for guns to help fight World War II has now made it extremely difficult for most all its citizens to own firearms.  Their violent crime rate has soared and their citizens are at the mercy of criminals who don’t care about the law.

    What we’re seeing, now, though, is sort of a Fudd-ism in reverse: Tactical shooters, people who otherwise support firearms rights, are coming out against hunting and against young women like Kendall Jones, sneering that sport hunting is evil and wrong and anyone who does it should be reviled and shunned.

    Kendall Jones was not only threatened with death and harassed by liberals all around the Internet; she was even targeted by a sleazy Democrat politician who put up thousands of dollars looking for naked pictures or a sex-tape of her.  (A Democrat politician soliciting kiddie porn is apparently nothing new to the Dems, who didn’t give a damn that this guy behaved in so sleazy a fashion.)

    Even porn stars went after Kendall Jones online, calling her “bitch” and other gross names.  I don’t know about you, but I can’t imagine how a woman whose job it is to receive multiple sex acts from strangers on camera thinks she has the moral high ground when attacking a high school student.

    Kendall Jones posing with a lion she hunted and killed in Africa.
    Kendall Jones posing with a lion she hunted and killed in Africa.

    Bitch? Or just a really good shot? 

    We expect the liberals to be ignorant, hateful, and liars.  They’ll do whatever it takes to steal your gun rights and make you just another potential victim.  And liberals, while they are individually pretty weak minded, have no problem attacking conservatives in groups.

    Remember when the Obamacare debate was raging, and a bunch of SEIU union thugs beat up a black man at a rally?  His only crime was holding the wrong sign — he didn’t agree with socialized medicine. So a bunch of Democrats beat him up and called him racial slurs.  Again, none of the Democrats or their pals in the media cared about it.

    Bad as that kind of thing is, I think it’s worse when our fellow shooters think they’re better than people who hunt.  It’s just as bad as when the Fudds think it “can’t happen to them” with regard to gun laws and outright gun bans.

    If we become anti-Fudds, if we start turning up our noses at hunting, we end up cutting up the gun culture into smaller pieces.  The smaller those pieces get, the less influence we have as a voting whole, and the more hostile society at large becomes to all gun owners.  The libs don’t make a distinction between hunters and self-defense shooters (although they often lie and say they do).  They want to take everybody’s guns away and they don’t care how they have to do it.

    Whether you are a Fudd, an anti-Fudd, or like me, just a dedicated gun owner who believes in the Second Amendment, remember that our gun rights are everybody’s responsibility.

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    The Cold Steel Recon 1 was first introduced quite a few years ago…

    The basic knife back then was your usual black-on-black folder. I liked it then, but over the years, Cold Steel has really beefed up the model, making it heavier, thicker, and stronger…

    The result is a great all-around daily carry knife that, while not small or subtle, is strong, powerful, and shows good fit and finish.

    Knife

    Here are the stats (from Knifecenter):

    Blade Length: 4″
    Blade Thickness: 3.5 mm
    Steel: AUS 8A coated in Black Teflon
    Weight: 5.3 oz
    Overall Length: 9 3/8″
    Handle Material: G10 (5 3/8″ length)

    The pocket clip on the Recon 1 is a little small for so large and heavy a knife, but I actually like that, because it helps the knife to ride low and appear unobtrusive.

    The G10 handles are aggressively textured, providing a firm grip, and the scallops in the handle scales really fit my hands well.  This is a blade that just kind of locks into your mitt when you grab hold of it.

    The Recon 1 is one of my favorite blades for working what’s called pattern drills (you’ll find more on pattern drills as a paid up 3-Percenter Report subscriber!).  The generous clip-point blade has good belly for slicing and slashing, and the point is nice and sharp for deep penetration on thrusts.

    The lock might look like a traditional rocker-bar lock, but this is Cold Steel’s Tri-Ad lock.  It operates like a rocker-bar lock but has some added features for greater strength and security.

    Say what you want about Cold Steel, its marketing, and Lynn Thompson, its often bellicose owner, but the company prides itself on the strength of its knives and you can generally count on a folding Cold

    Steel knife to stay open when you want it to.

    This is a great all-around EDC for both self-defense and general utility. It also isn’t terribly expensive. That puts it within the reach of just about anyone.

    If you’re in the market for a great knife, you should pick one of these up right away. You can click here to see the reviews for it on Amazon and pick it up at a decent price.

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    The Best Tactical Accessories for your AR-15

    If you have an AR-15, or you are in the process of “acquiring” one — then you know there are countless options when it comes to accessories for your rifle.

    Most people just buy what looks “cool” without any thought to form, function or actual tactical usefulness.

    If you want to know the accessories that are actually worth your time, then read on…

    A running joke among shooters is that some gun owners will mount everything and the kitchen sink to their rifles, resulting in weapons so overloaded with gear that they’re heavy and awkward.

    There aren’t that many accessories you truly have to have for your rifle. Out of the box, a stock AR is a very effective rifle.

    The following are two accessories you might consider, however, some of which are more important than others.

    Accessory Rail:

    You can’t mount accessories at all if you don’t have accessory rails. Consider changing out the forearm on your AR to a model that has accessory rails if you don’t already have them.

    There are some clamp-on accessories for the AK that mount a few rails forward of the forearm, for mounting flashlights or even a foregrip.

    Foregrips:

    Picture a 1920s-era Thompson gun. It has the round drum magazine deemed too bulky and noisy for warfare (which is why US troops used stick magazines during World War 2). It also has a grooved vertical foregrip. The weapon is iconic of the era. But have you stopped to think about that foregrip?

    The fact is that it’s easier to shoot a weapon if both of your hands are positioned in roughly the same way. You should, therefore, install a foregrip on your AR-15 if it is possible to do so.

    Where to Get These Accessories?

    Almost every gun shop sells AR-15 accessories now … and … they carry a lot of brand names. Which to choose?

    It’s up to you of course. I will say that many, many people like the company Magpul.

    A very popular Magpul product is the Magpul MOE Furniture Set as shown below:

    magpul
    As you can see, you get the complete upgrade with this one purchase. A good butt stock, comfortable hand grip, a solid handguard with the MOE vertical foregrip that I was talking about (that you can detach on and off if you like or don’t like it).

    You can even pick up the whole set from a trusted online retailer like Brownells for a little less than $85 bucks (at the time of this writing).

    Click here to see it.

    BONUS: 3 more “must have” AR-15 accessories

    Remember, there are (literally) THOUSANDS of accessories for your AR-15 that are available … but … you only want to pay for and put on the ones that help you the most.

    That’s what we’ll cover right now …

    Let’s jump right into it …

    Flashlight:

    Mount a flashlight on your weapon. It’s very difficult to manipulate a flashlight while also handling a rifle. Mounting the light directly to the weapon solves this problem.

    Avoid any light or laser system that includes a cable attached to an activator switch, however. These cables can snag on things and get broken or ripped out, rendering the light useless.

    Instead, choose a light whose switch is still part of the body of the light. Whenever possible, mount the light at six-o’clock position, under the rifle, so that it can be activated with either hand.

    Magazines:

    You need extra magazines. Buy a bunch of 30-round magazines (as long as they’re legal where you live). You can either get the metal, GI style 30-rounders or a lot of people like the Magpul 30-round mags. Along with this, a good purchase is a “mag pouch” to carry at least two of these extra mags if you need it.

    Rifle Sling:

    If you put a sling on your rifle, make sure it is a 3-point or a single point sling. These will make sure that you have optimal carrying ability and you can still bring your rifle to the ready position as quickly as possible.

    Summary …

    Those are just some of the accessories you can use.

    Remember, it’s not about how many “cool things” you can stick on your Rifle, it’s about finding out what you personally NEED to make it better for self defense.

    Think efficiency, not “collect it all!”

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    0 929
    It costs less than $15. And like the shovel, it’s incredibly important.

    Let’s get started…

    One of the facts of any survival situation or low-light utility scenario is that you need light.

    Any prepared citizen carries a flashlight, probably several, as a result.

    If you’ve ever broken down along the side of a highway late at night, you have known the feeling that comes with the thought, “I need a flashlight… do I have one?”

    We are fortunate that a variety of products are available today that put flashlights at our fingertips in a variety of form factors. But most of these flashlights depend on power sources such as batteries…

    Dynamo and solar emergency lights require time to charge if they run out of batteries.

    What, then, is a good alternative to a light source that does not need some external means of making it go?

    If we are willing to be a little fast and loose with the definition, there is a new category of emergency light on the market. These are sort of luminous crystals, or plastics that have luminous crystals or substances embedded or suspended within them.

    They must be left in the sun or under some ambient light source in order to charge them up, yes, but once charged, they simply glow all night long.

    The idea is that you could have a light that always works at night and then charges itself during the light of the day — something that requires no batteries and no other intervention save for leaving it out on a dashboard or hanging from a pack.

    Doesn’t that sound perfect?

    Well, your results are going to vary. I’ve tested a few of these lights. Some looked like round pendants; others looked like tubes; still others looked like little bricks of glow-in-the-dark crystal. The crystal feels like plastic (and probably is closer to plastic than to “crystal”) and glows green in the darkness.

    The fundamental problem with these light sources is twofold… 

    You’ve got to have light for a while before you can have darkness, so these are not a good light source to keep in your car tucked away for an emergency. (A standard cyalume chemical light stick would be better for that.) You can keep the glow crystal on your dashboard to charge up in the sunlight during the day, yes, but on cloudy days the charge you get won’t be very impressive.

    I got the best results by keeping my light crystals hanging inside a lampshade in a standard incandescent light during the hours that I was working and it was dark outside.

    After that, the light glowed pretty well and did so for several hours.

    What you will find, though, is that most of the company literature for these products includes the caveat that your eyes must be “adjusted” to the darkness.

    In other words, while these glowing crystals are better than pitch blackness, they simply aren’t that bright, nor will they illuminate much for any distance around you. Even when your eyes have adjusted to the darkness, you’ll barely be getting by with these as your light source, and you won’t be doing any late-night hiking.

    Still, these are preferable to complete blackness. Especially as a backup to other redundant light sources, these are worth hanging from your rearview mirror or pack and left to charge up in the sunlight or under your desk lamp whenever you can.

    Keep in mind, however, that you can’t turn them off.

    They’re going to glow when it gets dark, and even if they don’t “throw” a lot of illumination, they will mark you like a beacon at a distance. They might even keep you up at night if the crystal’s in your room.

    Come to think of it, these just might be the coolest “night lights” ever…

     

     

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    0 967
    When a crisis hits, you’re going to need more than your guns…

    That’s why I urge you to listen closely as we talk about…

    Shovels.

    Yep, shovels.

    Here’s the deal…

    First, you should know that I really don’t like folding shovels for any situation.

    The reason I don’t like folding shovels is because folding simply isn’t something a shovel should do. Think about it: you use folding shovels for digging. Digging puts a lot of stress on a tool. I can’t count the number of inferior digging tools I’ve snapped while gardening or working with landscaping. The ground simply doesn’t abide weakness.

    You can imagine my skepticism when I encountered a tri-fold shovel from the knife company, SOG. Their entrenching tool folds up into a great little package that even has a compact nylon cover. That’s wonderful if you don’t want a tool like that taking up a lot of space in your go-bag, but there’s a reason that most military entrenching tools have just a folding head and a wooden handle. That’s because a folding handle isn’t reliable!

    Shovel

    I’ve used cheap folding entrenching tools that just folded right up against the resistance of the ground when you tried to dig with them. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to dig with a shovel that doesn’t do it.

    The key to the SOG entrenching tool is a retaining ring that you loosen or tighten to facilitate folding and unfolding. Unfolded, with the ring tightened up, the shovel feels a little wobbly. I figured it would collapse as soon as I put it to the test… but I was wrong.

    The SOG entrenching tool, as it turns out, digs really well. I didn’t try to dig an entire foxhole with it (I don’t have that kind of time in my day), but if you had to, you eventually could. The shovel stays open and performs well when digging.

    It has a section of saw teeth that aren’t very sharp, but you could sharpen these if you wanted to. I don’t see much reason to do that because digging will just make them dull again, and I don’t need my shovel to also be a saw. But as a survival tool the option is there if you needed to find a rock to hone up the teeth in between digging tasks.

    The only problem I had with the entrenching tool was that when dirt and grit get in there under the retaining ring, it can be hard to move the ring in order to collapse (or extend) the shovel. You’ll want to keep this ring clean and keep an eye on that to make sure the shovel is properly secured when you open it. I could see tightening it with dirt in there and failing to get it tight enough to keep the shovel open.

    Ergonomically, the handle and the little horizontal end handle work well and are comfortable enough for digging. Again, with a little honing, you could also use this tool as a makeshift hatchet or even a hammer.

    There’s a video floating around the internet of a super duper Chinese military shovel that is supposed to do everything, and the video shows these little Chinese military dudes climbing mountains, building shelters, sawing pipes in half, and generally using their shovels to do everything in the world. About the only thing I want MY shovel to do is dig, and the SOG entrenching tool does that and does it well.

    Overall, especially given the cost, this tool is a good buy. The compact way it folds up doesn’t hurt, either, once you have to stow it away. This might be a little heavy in a bug out bag, depending on what else you may carry, but it’s perfect for throwing in the trunk of a car or truck along with your other survival and recovery gear. To be honest I always keep a shovel of some kind in my vehicle so I can dig myself out if I get mired in snow or mud.

    The utility of a shovel should be obvious. The utility of a shovel that can be folded up but still perform is even more so. While I will never prefer folding shovels to shovels that don’t fold (I really like the Cold Steel shovel, for example), this SOG entrenching tool goes a long way toward restoring my faith in folding tools of this type. It’s worth considering if you’d like a digging tool to keep in your car or your bug out bag.

    Best of all, you can buy one for less than $20 on Amazon right here.

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    0 939

    I still remember the first time I opened a gun magazine and read the term “airsoft…”

    At the time, the technology wasn’t quite defined for the masses; the “airsoft” guns in that magazine fired a kind of marking projectile, rather than the little plastic BBs we’re all accustomed to now.

    The guns were reasonable realistic and some were full-auto. The article was about how this new “airsoft” technology could be used for training law enforcement and military personnel, giving them a way to simulate their weapons that was better than an unwieldy Nel-spot paintball pistol.

    The fact is, however, that a quality airsoft gun is NOT a toy; it can be, when used in conjunction with realistic live firearms training, a very good way to fill in the gaps.

    What do I mean by filling in the gaps? And how could this save your life? Let me explain…

    What I mean by “gaps” is that there are things an airsoft gun can’t do for you. If you understand the limitations of these stand-in weapons, however, and you tailor your training to take advantage of these while remaining realistic about them, you can enhance your overall training regimen.

    First, while you don’t need much more than a spring gun, you do need a high-quality model.

    What this means is that the cheap gun-shaped airsoft pistols that don’t have much in the way of realistic features, magazines, or operation should be left on the shelves of big-box discount stores where they belong.

    A decent spring gun will have a magazine release where the magazine goes. It will have decent sights that simulate the sights on a real handgun, and it will have realistically sized (and, if you’re lucky, weighted) magazines. (I have one that also has a slide stop. If you lock the slide back and insert an empty magazine, the slide will stay back unless you release it. If, on the other hand, you insert a magazine with a pellet in it, the slide will go forward if you just run it like you normally would.)

    If you use accessories like a mounted light, your airsoft gun should have strong, realistic rails that work just like the real thing.

    You can, of course, upgrade to an even more realistic airsoft gun, like a gas gun, but it doesn’t matter.

    For our purposes, we just need a gun that is reasonably accurate in terms of sights and controls, which will also put a pellet downrange. That’s how we take advantage of the gaps I talked about. Let me explain, finally, how you do that.

    Benefits of Airsoft Training…

    Dry-fire practice gets you familiar with the actual trigger pull of your gun. It lets you practice drawing, presenting, and breaking the trigger on that gun. But what it doesn’t tell you is whether you’re jerking the trigger or actually managing to send shots downrange with anything resembling consistency.

    With your airsoft gun, practice with the holster you would normally use (as you should pick an airsoft closely matching your carry gun if at all possible). If you can’t match the gun exactly, use the same type of holster with similar retention. Get into your shooting stance, draw your weapon as you normally would, and engage a stationary target. Ideally, this target should be made of paper.

    You can cut a hole in cardboard box and tape paper over it to make a quick-and-dirty trap target for collecting airsoft pellets. You shouldn’t reuse the pellets because they might deform after firing, but cleaning up preemptively saves a lot of trouble from spouses or roommates who trip over the little pellets

    Make sure your paper target has an actual mark on it that you’re shooting for. Make the target a face and shoot for the “eye box,” for example. The idea is that if you cannot learn to draw, shoot, and hit accurately and consistently using a weapon that has NO recoil, you will never be able to do so with a weapon that fires rounds.

    Once you’ve gotten good with stationary targets, try varying them. You can’t really set up moving targets, but what you can do is place a number of targets around the room and try engaging different ones at different times and from different positions and angles. Can you draw, present, and shoot without jerking, flinching, or otherwise screwing up?

    These skills can then be taken to the range and adapted to live fire. At first, you may not see a real improvement, but trust me, if you get really good at pulling a no-recoil trigger consistently, that will become the skill of pulling the trigger of a real pistol without jerking. Your airsoft training will thus reinforce and facilitate your live training.

    This is really the whole “trick” to enhancing your dry fire training with airsoft. You’ve got to do it in conjunction with live fire, and with a mind toward your ultimate goals. As long as you keep all that in perspective, you WILL succeed, and the training you do — whether at home, at the range, indoors, outdoors, with blue guns, with empty firearms, with airsoft guns, with laser training guns — will all build one to the next to reinforce what you are trying to accomplish.

    Your goal is to become a solid shooter, someone who can engage targets under stress with consistency and accuracy. This isn’t all there is to defensive shooting, but you can’t do any of the rest of it without this vital foundation.

    Where Can You Guy a Good Airsoft Gun?

    Once again, I think Amazon.com is a good solution.

    Why?

    Because you can look at various airsoft guns, see the reviews from other people, and how it held up for them. You can get a little feedback on quality and such.

    So I’ve been researching what makes a “good” airsoft gun better than the cheap ones you get at big box stores …

    In fact, in my last NRA instructor class, a defense contractor (spent a lot of time overseas in middle east hot spots) told me he highly recommended the newer, mostly metal, blowback airsoft guns for training in your house. Told me he would of laughed about it 5 years ago, but now they’re so realistic he uses them to practice clearing his house, etc

    Which Gun To Get …

    Here’s something really cool now: most of the big gun manufacturers have “licensed” their design to airsoft pistol companies.

    So what does that mean:

    1. If you have a popular hand gun, you can train with a similar airsoft model
    2. It should fit your normal holsters, etc
    3. Which should overall make you even more proficient with your real handgun!

    I did some searching for you…

    I have a Beretta pistol, so for more it would make sense to find a similar airsoft pistol to train with. So I first found this electric airsoft Beretta on Amazon for $35.30 with free shipping:

    Beretta 92 FS
    Beretta 92 FS. Electric. Takes Batteries. Magazine and slide function like a real gun.

    And I also have a couple of Sig Sauer hand guns … and they have a REALLY high quality Sig Sauer P226 — Full Metal — Blowback that runs off CO2:

    Sig Sauer P226
    Sig Sauer P226. Full Metal. CO2 Gas Blowback.

    Lastly, I don’t have one, but I know many people LOVE their Glocks. I couldn’t find a Glock replica, but this seems to be pretty close. In some of the comments people compared it to your standard G17 (Glock 17, the “original” Glock):

    Metal Glock 17 clone
    Metal Glock 17 “clone”. Realistic weight. Not too pricey.

    So the point I’m making here is that there are plenty of Airsoft guns out there, and at varying price ranges. The more expensive ones–around $100+ — should get you a very realistic training aid.

    You Can Even Get “Full Auto” Airsoft AR-15’s!

    If you really want to step it up … you can even get a “full auto” M4 replica (M4 is the military code for the shortened M16 rifle, the civilian equivalent is the AR-15. Much like M9 is the military code for Beretta 92 handgun).

    The description said you can fire semi-auto or switch to full-auto. It’s electric. One 5 star review said this “is the best entry level M-4A1 available”.

    So if you have an AR-15 but don’t get to go to the range to practice much, this might be worth looking into as well (Great price too!) You can find it by clicking here. Its a great price for what you get.

    Full Auto AR-15 Airsoft Gun
    Full Auto AR-15 Airsoft Gun

    Hope that helps you find an airsoft gun that will meet your training needs.

    As you practice your skills, there’s one thing you won’t be able to do without in a true survival situation…

    And that’s ammo.

    In 2014 we saw some serious ammo shortages. So let’s move on to another loophole I know you’re going to love…

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    0 1614

    “DON’T snap the GUNS.” 

    If you’ve ever stepped into one of those old gun shops, the kind run by an old guy with a gun on his hip, you’ve heard the words above…

    In fact, there’s a very good chance you have pre-programmed into your skull the notion that dry-firing is BAD.

    Maybe you’re just superstitious, in that way that those of us who learned to shoot in the seventies and eighties tend to be. You know; you’re firmly convinced that ball ammo cycles more reliably in your autos, you’ve actually contemplated the use of “slide grease,” and you firmly believe that dry firing will snap the firing pin in your gun (unless it breaks something ELSE).

    Well, to a certain extent, this is true, but it’s true of only certain guns.

    I’ll show you why you may want to ignore those old growls you used to hear. And why it may just save your life. Let’s get started…

    If you’ve got a pot-metal, mostly-zinc Saturday Night Ring of Fire Special in your arsenal, like a Raven .25 automatic, then yes, you don’t want to dry fire the weapon any more than you have to. (You actually have to pull the trigger on an empty chamber in order to disengage the striker on the gun, or you can’t disassemble it.)

    With a gun like that, if you spent a morning cocking it and pulling the trigger on an empty chamber, there’s a pretty good chance you could break that cheap firing pin, yes. This is true of other cheap guns as well.

    Now let’s look at the other end of the spectrum. Say you’ve got a Glock, which is another striker-fired gun. If that gun is used at, say, a training academy, and it gets used day in and day out, and thousands of rounds go through it, and trainees are dry-firing the crap out of that thing day in and day out, then yes, eventually, something’s going to break.

    The reality of modern firearms is squarely in the middle of those two extremes. A well-made, brand-name, modern firearm can be dry fired for practice now and again without doing any major damage to the firearm.

    Dry-firing lets you practice drawing, presenting, and pulling the trigger on your carry gun. It lets you feel what the trigger break is like. This type of training, while it doesn’t include the recoil of the actual shot going down range, can be invaluable in familiarizing you with your weapon… and with your sights.

    If you’re serious about self-defense with a handgun, you should spend enough time staring down those sights that you memorize what they look like — every flaw, every scratch, every bump in the finish and every dimple in the paint.

    Dry firing familiarizes you with your weapon and how it feels, what it weighs, how it handles when you manipulate it, and everything else about carrying and using it (EXCEPT for actually launching a shot). Most importantly, dry fire practice costs absolutely nothing.

    Your weapon, provided it is of good quality from a reputable manufacturer, will endure a moderate amount of dry firing. You shouldn’t do it all day every day, of course, but dry-fire practice with your weapon once a week shouldn’t harm it anytime soon.

    You should strive to make regular dry fire practice part of your training regimen. Work it into your routine. Do it at the same time every week. You’ll see real benefits if you do. But dry fire practice isn’t just playing around, snapping the trigger of your weapon. There are specific drills you can do to hone your skills through using dry fire.

    We will give you one of them here…

    Safety First. Every. Single. Time.

    First, check your weapon to make sure it is unloaded. Remove the magazine, check that, and check the barrel with the slide locked open and your finger in the chamber. Once you have prepared the empty weapon, repeat the process and work the slide back and forth a few times. When you’re all done checking the gun to make sure it is unloaded… CHECK IT AGAIN.

    The idea is that you want to make your dry fire practice as safe as you can. Keep all live ammunition out of the training area. If you practice magazine changes, make sure you have individually checked all magazines to ensure they are empty… and don’t have any loaded magazines anywhere near your training space.

    When you choose a spot to train in, choose one that has a natural backstop. That is something that can safely absorb bullets. Natural backstops include things like major appliances (your refrigerator, for example) or, say, a potted indoor plant with a huge pot full of dirt. You can also buy backstop pads that are designed to stop bullets.

    When dry-firing, remember that your gun is not a toy. It is still a deadly weapon,

    and all the rules that would normally apply still do apply. That means that wherever you point that weapon, the barrel should not cover something you are not willing to destroy.

    You NEVER engage in dry-fire practice with another person, for example, no matter HOW many times you have checked the gun to make sure it is safe. It only takes one negligent discharge, one “freak accident” that nobody saw coming, to ruin everything for everyone forever.

    Dry Fire Drill 101

    Now, let’s get to a basic, progressive dry-fire drill. Wear the holster you would normally wear with your carry gun, and position it on your body as you normally would. Most importantly, wear the clothes you would likely be wearing on a day-to-day basis. Don’t change into something that makes it easier for you to draw the gun.

    If you’re going to practice with a real, unloaded weapon, you should make the conditions as close as possible to what you will experience under stress.

    Choose a target that will be the simulation of your enemy. If that target is humanoid in shape, so much the better. (The topic of targets for dry fire drills could take up an entire issue on its own. We’ll address this in the future.) You want to be drawing and firing (well, triggering) at a consistent point each time until you get the first part of the drill down.

    When you start your dry-firing practice, just drill drawing, presenting, and pulling the trigger from a neutral, natural stance. There’s no need to get fancy. Just practice getting your cover garment out of the way, if applicable, then putting the gun on target and pulling the trigger when you get there.

    You can vary your distance to the target, once you’re comfortable with drawing, presenting, and pulling the trigger. Remember that the closer you are to the target, the more likely you are to be shooting from retention. That’s something your instructor will have to give you. Obviously, if the target is right on top of you, you don’t want to be shoving your gun into the guy’s chest and inviting him to wrestle it out of your grasp.

    It helps to be able to practice drawing, presenting, and triggering your gun from different positions, too. Once you’ve mastered doing this from a standing position, try it sitting down in a chair. You can get up from the chair and then draw, or you can draw while sitting (simulating sitting in an automobile).

    If you can find a safe place to park your car with safe backstops around you, you could even practice drawing and deploying your gun while seated in your actual automobile, but that is very risky. There is a good chance someone could see you unless you are locked away in a garage, and if someone sees you drawing and pointing a real firearm, they might call the police out of alarm.

    Shoot Or No-Shoot Drills …

    In more advance stages of this drill, you could try drawing, presenting, and triggering your weapon at a random signal. This means a signal that you yourself do not make mentally. When you choose when you draw and fire, you are mentally prepared. Action beats reaction. In a real-life self-defense scenario, however, you do not usually get to choose the moment you’ll need a firearm. That moment is inflicted on you by someone else. It is chosen by your aggressor, and you react to it to save your life.

    There are multiple ways you can simulate a “shoot or no-shoot decision” from outside yourself. The simplest way is with a partner. You simply have a training partner (who is well out of the path of your weapon and its barrel) call out, “Shoot! Shoot!” or something similar.

    You can make this more complicated, and require more decision making on your part, by having that training partner voice the part of an aggressor. (Do NOT let the training partner get in front of your weapon. They’re just providing a voice from “off camera,” so to speak. You could have the training partner game out a conversation in which someone approaches you on the street acting suspiciously, asking for the time or a cigarette or five bucks.

    When the training partner indicates that he or she is attacking (“…NOW I’M COMING AT YOU WITH A KNIFE!”) then you would draw and fire, or you could draw and fire at any point during the scenario (and then find out from your training partner if that was the right call if you’ve just shot an “innocent” person).

    Dry-fire practice helps you train many of the critical aspects of shooting. It doesn’t help you train EVERYTHING, of course, but it does help you hone many important skills. It costs nothing, it can be done safely and without damage to your weapon if done in moderation, and it allows you to engage in a variety of scenarios that help you develop your shoot/no-shoot decision-making skills. This is why dry-fire practice like this progressive drill is so important.

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      0 921

      If you could only have one gun, which one would it be?

      (I’ll pause and let you think about your answer…)

      It makes for a compelling mental exercise if you ask yourself what you would carry if you truly needed it in a given scenario.

      I’ll show you what I’d do. And what I’d suggest any of my friends and family do, too. Let’s get started…

      First, you consider a survival scenario. You won’t always be able to hunker down in your well-equipped survival retreat with your vault full of guns and your stockpile of ammunition.

      “Survival” implies a certain flexibility.

      You may be at home, with the hatches battened down, sure, especially if the problem causing an emergency is civil unrest or a temporary power outage.

      But what if you’re called on to use your survival skills because a wildfire is forcing an evacuation? What if a flood or some other natural disaster is bearing down on you? What if your government mandates an evacuation for one of any number of reasons, and all you can have with you in terms of supplies and equipment is what you can carry?

      Realistically, you’re going to be able to carry a long gun, maybe two if you’re feeling youthful. More than that just isn’t going to work out unless you want to struggle to move and wear yourself out quickly.

      You may think you can “cheat” these limitations by carrying a handgun or some sort of short-barreled weapon, such as a handgun fitted into a personal defense weapon stock (essentially producing a short-barreled rifle or even a semi-automatic “submachinegun” envelope).

      The problem is that “survival” firearms needs aren’t usually “combat” firearms needs…

      Combat takes place at relatively short ranges, especially in urban environments.

      That is where any sort of short-barreled weapon shines.

      But “survival,” especially survival in any sort of long-term capacity, implies longer distances. You may need to hunt game; you may need to fend off hostile parties from a distance.

      “Survival” also implies you’ll be alone or working with a small group of fellow survivors. You’ll be outnumbered by the myriad hostiles you could face, from government forces to looters to rioters and other citizens who want what you could be carrying.

      What all this adds up to is that, yes, you may well be carrying a pistol or personal defense weapon, but that’s your fighting and self-defense tool, not your survival weapon.

      Your survival weapon is a long-range tool, a means to reach out and get someone or keep someone off you.

      Survival weapons can also be used for long-range destruction of personal property.

      You may be wondering how this is a “survival” function at all, but it may be the case that you need to make it more difficult for people to track you or for authorities to intercept in you a full-blown, collapse-of-law-and-order emergency. In that case, your survival weapon can be used to strike everything from cameras (a particularly pesky issue these highly monitored days) to electrical transformers and a variety of other equipment.

      So now that you know you should be carrying a long gun, what’s the best long gun to have?

      (Again, I’ll pause for your answer…)

      Now, you might choose to go with a shotgun as your general-purpose survival weapon. The shotgun has a lot to recommend it…

      A good pump-shotgun is very simple and readily available. In a time when there are more and more unconstitutional gun laws hemming in your ability to purchase and own a firearm, pump shotguns offer decent firepower that is usually quite legal (given the pump shotguns traditional standing as a hunting weapon, one of the few firearms the political left will still grudgingly allow you).

      A typical pump gun holds five rounds or so, which is more than enough firepower for limited engagements.

      At relatively close ranges, the shotgun has great knockdown power. A variety of loads are available for it, including “specialty” rounds that let you tailor what the weapon is supposed to do (such as busting door locks).

      Realistically, though, there are only two loads you should be considering in a twelve-gauge pump gun…

      The first is double-aught (00) buck shot, which is basically nine metal pellets (each of them about the size of a nine-millimeter bullet without the cartridge case).

      The second is deer slugs, which are just a single heavy projectile. If you’ve ever shot a deer slug through plywood, you know it makes a hole about the size of a quarter.

      At closer ranges the fearsome power of either load should be obvious. (Every other load is a waste of your time; bird shot and other lighter shot don’t penetrate deeply enough for self-defense use, which is why the fellow Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot in the face didn’t actually die from getting hit.)

      This is why the twelve-gauge shotgun is so well-regarded as a home-defense weapon. It puts immense power and moderate range in an affordable, legal, durable, and reliable package that almost anyone can own.

      But here’s the thing…

      As the distances get longer, the shotgun looks less desirable as a survival weapon.

      The farther the distances get, the more 00 buck shot will spread. This means that if you’re shooting at a target that is near anything (or anyone) you DON’T want to shoot, you have no real idea where the pellets are going to go. Even if you have taken the time to gauge different shooting distances and work out the spread zones for each, this is still just a guess.

      You can compensate for this problem by loading only slugs, or carrying slugs with the weapon (such as on a sidesaddle or in a bandolier sling) and loading them for when you anticipate needing them.

      But this brings us to the other problem of shotguns…

      They are very loud, and if you are using your weapon to destroy equipment in order to foul pursuit by enemy forces or compromised authorities, your long-term-survival or “bug out” situation could quickly become an active pursuit. The same is true if you are using your survival weapon to hunt game. The boom of a shotgun will give away your position for a long way around.

      Before ammunition shortages and skyrocketing prices made the lowly .22 Long Rifle hard to find, it was the easiest thing in the world to recommend a .22 Long Rifle weapon for all-around survival.

      Provided you take care to stockpile ammunition, this is still the case.

      A good .22 can handle all the basic utility, hunting, and even equipment destruction needs you might have while surviving, evading pursuit, foraging in hostile territory or non-permissive environments, and even fighting off enemies. While not the most powerful defensive round by a long shot, the .22 LR still takes more lives on an annual basis (or it did, domestically) than any other round simply because it is (or was) so common.

      A .22 enables you to carry a lot of ammunition in a relatively small space with low weight requirements. It has long range, is relatively quiet (and can be made more quiet with subsonic ammunition and improvised silencers), and can be very accurate, which is desirable in a survival long arm.

      You want to hit what you’re aiming at and nothing else, and you want to be able to do this without drawing too much unwanted attention.

      A good all-around semi-automatic choice for a .22 survival rifle, which does everything we’ve described and more, is the Ruger 10/22.

      These are common, accurate, and very well made. Models on the market now include a take-down version that breaks in two for easy storage and transport. Equipped with a scope, the Ruger 10/22 is capable or excellent accuracy, which makes it ideal for small game, but also gives you ten quick shots with which to take down an adversary.

      With factory rotary magazines, it is quite reliable. A five-round magazine is available for those states that have draconian magazine limits, too.

      Finally, if you have made the decision to carry a .22 Long Rifle survival weapon, there is one more weapon you might choose: The Henry .22 Lever Action.

      This rifle has a tubular magazine that holds a great many .22 rounds, but that it is not the weapon’s primary advantage. What makes the Henry a great choice is that it can fire .22 Short, .22 Long, and .22 Long Rifle.

      That means that even in times of ammunition scarcity, you can find some sort of .22 ammo that will fire in your gun. .22 Short is also a great caliber for taking small game and shooting practice rounds while making very little noise.

      Finally, in a survival weapon, you could choose to upgrade to what is considered by some to be a glorified “varmint gun” anyway — the AR15 platform.

      The 5.56mm / .223 round this weapon fires (and please be careful when selecting ammunition, because the two are not necessarily interchangeable depending on the weapon) does everything that the .22 Long Rifle does, but with longer reach and greater power. This makes it a better compromise if you’re worried about engaging hostile forces or taking heavier game than the .22 Long Rifle can reliably kill.

      The tradeoff for stepping up to a .223 from the .22 LR in a survival weapon is noise and ammunition capacity. You can’t carry as much ammo with you for the AR as you can for the .22 LR. The weapon is also louder, raising your profile in a survival setting.

      Regardless of the platform you choose, always keep in mind your intended purpose…

      Your survival gun and your combat gun aren’t necessarily the same thing. Choose your weapon accordingly.

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