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Christmas morning and all through the house, not a critter was stirring…..until my gun safe alarm went off….at 4:12 a.m. ……LOUDLY….
A little background first. This is one of those gun safes that holds one or two pistols, has a 4 digit combo lock on the top and uses a bunch of batteries inside to electronically lock/unlock the safe. When the batteries get weak, there is a 9-volt plugin on top to allow you to attach one of those 9-volt rectangular batteries to give it a little boost to allow you to open the safe to change out the regular AA batteries.
So at 4:12 a.m. this morning, suddenly the battery alarm for the safe starts “chirping”, to let me know it was weak. When I tried to open it up (naturally not thinking very well at that time of night), the alarm went off on the safe. For the next hour, no matter what I did, I could not get the safe to open. I am sure I plugged in the right combo many many times, I used multiple 9-volt batteries to boost the batteries inside, I tried combinations that I was sure would work, but nothing would open that safe up. I was getting a real headache from the alarm going off in one ear and the wife going off in the other ear. This was not fun!
Finally, I got out another 9V booster battery (probably the sixth or seventh one I tried), plugged it in, tried the combination and ka-ching, it finally opened. Immediately I took out the contents and placed them into my regular gun safe, then, I removed the batteries from inside this little safe. The alarm obviously stopped at about 6:30 a.m. on Christmas morning.
I have a few lessons learned from this wonderful experience (trust me, when the wife gets woken up at 4:12 in the morning on Christmas morning after having not gotten to bed until VERY late….it is not a “wonderful” experience.) First, I went a loooong time without checking this safe, so it made the combination not readily retrievable from my somewhat befuddled mind at 4:12 in the morning. Had this been a real emergency, it would have been a bad experience trying to get the contents out that I wanted. Second, batteries need to be rotated and used or get rid of them. The “new” batteries I tried to use were not cutting it because they had sat in the storage area too long. Maybe if I had them in a recharger it would have allowed me in the first time, but regardless, fresh, fully charged batteries are necessary. Third, have the combinations available to others in case you are not around. Write them down and place them somewhere not easily found but someplace that your spouse can get to if necessary, and as a reminder for you if you are not quite sure (at 4:12 in the morning).
I hope my attempt at humor and real life lessons learned is useful to some of you in the pack. This is just a friendly reminder to change out those batteries and the end of the year is a good time to go around and do that when the weather outside is not so pleasant !!! A great prepping 2017 to all in the pack.
1. Start a survival/prepper blog
Sometimes, I think that there are as many “survival blogs” and “doomsday prepper” sites as there are preppers – why 90% of people that’s been prepping over a week feel that they have to start a “survival blog” is beyond me. There are thousands of such sites online already, and most get little or no traffic and it’s a sure way to blow your operational security.
And to make matters worse the more popular a blog or website gets the less secure the owner is. Trust me, you can use a “pen name” or list your location as somewhere “west of the rock mountains” but if you run a blog and the federal government becomes interested they will have no problem finding out who is behind it.
I’ve read a lot of comments from folks expressing concerns about reading or commenting on such sites – but really, if they start rounding up ”survivalist” and “preppers” who do you think will be first on their list? Yep, that’s right… preppers with blogs and youtube channels.
2. Telling your neighbors who aren’t already preppers
We all know that long-term survival takes a community, after all, no one survivor can know or do everything needed themselves. We need the labor, skills, companionship and protection that is offered by a group. Unfortunately, most people aren’t prepared and will try to take what you have if they need it and know that you have it. And that includes your neighbors – It’s best to keep your mouth shut for now, then see how they react after the balloon goes up.
After awhile people will naturally start to form groups and communities for their own survival and you can become part of (or the leader) that group if you have skills to offer. Skills are more important than “stuff” when trying to join an existing group after a major long-term SHTF event because they will need your skills but they might just take your stuff…
3. Telling anyone other than your immediate family
See number two above. Not keeping everything on a strict need-to-know basis is one of the surest ways of blowing your operational security and chances of survival. Think before you brag, boast, rant or run off the mouth to anyone, because that stranger that you struck up a conversation with at the local hardware store or salon, and casually mention that you’re prepping and stockpiling will probably be the first on at your door when the crunch hits.
4. Not keeping your children under control
Kids like to talk and brag almost as much as adults, it’s in our nature. If they are teenagers make sure that they know not to say anything about what you’re doing or stockpiling. And heaven forbid, that they would actually, take their friends down to the storage area and show them everything that you have. I know a guy that this happened too – he wasn’t very happy.
With younger children, you’re probably better off letting them know as little as possible about what you’re doing. But remember they listen to everything you say, and know far more about what is going on in your home than you would think. Some “teachers” like to interrogate their pupils in an attempt to dig up dirt on the parents, so if possible home school your kids.
5. Get raided by police
I don’t believe that any of my readers are into or engage in illegal actives, such as drug dealing or manufacture, child abuse etc. and if you are then I hope that you do get caught. But some might have some “shady” stuff, that the law would frown upon and give you a 3:30 AM no-knock visit if they knew you had it. While I don’t advise that you have or own anything illegal, I know that some of you won’t listen and will do it anyway, if that’s you then go back and read numbers two, three and four.
6. The scorned ex-lover
It’s a fact that most marriages and relationships don’t end well and that most of the time the ex-lover knows details of your life that you probably, would not want them to “share” with others.
Keep your preps on a need-to-know basis for as long as possible.
7. Go on national TV to tell the world you’re a prepper
Doomsday Preppers – need I say more?
Probably, 98% of the population in any given town in the U.S. isn’t prepared for even the most basic disaster, but most everyone watches TV. It isn’t difficult to figure out what will happen to those “Doomsday Preppers” who’ve appeared on the show when their neighbors get hungry.
That show isn’t on anymore and that’s probably a good thing.
8. Join a “survival group” or “survival community”
Joining a survival group or community may sound like a great idea, after all, there is “safety” in numbers and everyone wants to belong. But the trouble is that many groups and their organizers/ leaders have their own agendas and not the interests of the group in mind. And making matters worse – most large prepper/militia groups have federal agents or informants embedded within the group structure or at the very least are being closely watched by federal agents even if they aren’t doing anything illegal.
See number two above:
After a while, people will naturally start to form groups and communities for their own survival and you can become part of (or the leader) that group if you have skills to offer. Skills are more important than “stuff” when trying to join an existing group after a major long-term SHTF event, because they will need your skills but they might just take your stuff…
My advice is to stay away from survival groups unless they’re made up of very close, long-term friends or family. And don’t let any strangers in. Never.
9. Allowing people to roam around your house without having your stocks well hidden
Let’s face it… most people are nosy. When you have company at your home, I can guarantee that they’ll be scanning the area and your stuff. When they go to the bathroom, they’ll be looking in your medicine cabinet and under the sink. And if no one is around they’ll stick their head in and have a look inside any room that isn’t locked. Keep your preps locked up and away from prying eyes. And don’t leave any prepper/survival type books or magazines out in the open when just anyone can pick them up and start reading….
10. Stay off the booze
The only people who like to brag and run off from the mouth more than people in general are drunk people. Yep, drunks have big mouths, and being a drunken prepper isn’t cohering with keeping your operational security intact. Lay off the booze. Or at the very least, be like George Thorogood and drink alone then you can talk and brag all you want without blowing your operational security.
Have you blown your operational security? How? What have you done to mitigate the risk now that your preps aren’t secret anymore?
“According as circumstances are favorable, one should modify one’s plans.” Sun Tsu
(For the sake of continuity all facts pertaining to ballistics are listed as links at the end of the article, and not within the article. I have not submitted my own testing results, simply because from experience I have found people ignore my results if they go against what they believe. When it comes from someone else, eg., the FBI or some other organization, they believe it.)
Lists are always difficult, reasons are very simple. We all want what we have been told is best by people we trust or what we have grown up believing is best. My list is based entirely on firearms I have or currently own and use and have proven themselves to me entirely. My idea of having a firearm proven too me is simple, 1000 rounds with no hiccups. Minimum 200 rounds of my chosen SD ammunition, no hiccups. Accuracy, sandbagged must be within hunting needs, eg, two inches at 100 yards for ALL rifles, 4-inch max for handguns at 25 yards, sandbagged. Lastly, shotguns, I do not use shotguns for numerous reasons*. As a result, even though I can suggest** two names that most will agree with, I will not include them on the list.
Agree or disagree, however, here is the list and I can honestly say, it is based entirely on personal experience as well as the experience of a close group of individuals. We run firearms, and we run them well. Reloading, shooting, etc., the people I surround myself with all are at the very top of their profession whichever that is. The list will be in three parts, rimfire firearms, rifles (including carbines) and handguns. So here is the list, without further ado.
- Mossberg 702 Plinkster, like all rimfire guns, clean it well after shooting or every 200-300 rounds. Do so and you wont have problems with it, 4lbs of lightweight accuracy and more importantly, accurate, reliable and less than $150.
- Ruger SR22 handgun, reliable, accurate, and with all rimfire again, clean it well after shooting. I love my Walther P22s (threaded) however, they are not inexpensive. Ruger SR22s can be had for under $300 and many times used for under $200.
- FegPa63, P64, Makarov 9×18 virtually any Eastern European 9×18 handgun, the round works well, it will work in self defense, I use Hornady 9×18 critical duty, NOT other rounds, some are too hot, these are blowback handguns and surplus, not designed for the +p novelty rounds out there. Most can be had for right at $250, well worth every penny. I prefer the FEGPa63 and the P64.
- Glock 19 or 17, denigrate the 9×19 with a solid defensive round all you want, sure BALL ammunition sucks, it sucks in everything! Modern self defense ammunition makes the 9×19 round better than the .45 and virtually equal to the ,40 or .357 and does it at half the cost. Gold Dot 115 or 124 grn, NOT 147 grn, too slow doesnt penetrate well. Or the Hornady Critical DUTY 135 grn round. These rounds have been tested and approved for carry by the FBI which is switching too the Glock 19. Accuracy folks, is far more important than a near miss with a wide projectile. I can guarantee my Glock 19 will meet and equal or beat any other firearm out there in terms of reliability, accuracy and putting a target down. Plus being 9×19 (not plus P never plus P) means even my 7 year old daughter shoots it well! Pricing is $300 – $500 depending on used or not, and remember, unlike other firearms, used only means broken in on a Glock. I prefer buying used, after all, there are changes I make automatically too mine. Personal preferences and all.
- Springfields XD series in 9×19. I do not like this gun, however, I cannot in all good conscience not include it, it works, it is accurate, and absolutely reliable. There is nothing to dislike other than personal taste for myself. Thats all, and thats it. $400-$700
- Canik 55 TP9SF a new arrival to the scene, but at a price point of $350 brand new, you cannot miss this as a possibility. If you are prepping on a budget and new to firearms, THIS is the way to go. Reliability to date is amazing, accuracy very good and it comes new with spare mags, holster, etc., I mean whats not too like! Honestly, if I didnt already have too many Glock 19s, I may have switched to these.
- AR15 platforms, there are dozens of approaches, builders and several calibers. My suggestion, stick with what is most popular currently, 5.56 is what you want it chambered in, or .223 wylde. I would suggest 1/8 twist or 1/9 to start, these twist rates are good in between and allow you too shoot 55 through 77 grain accurately, the 1/9 is better with 55-62 grain, however, I continue to be able to out rounds on target easily at out too 500 yards with a nice 1/9 twist nitride barrel. If you go with 1/8 it truly is a solid twist rate, at 16” MINIMUM length it is amazing. Under 14” the 5.56 loses effective velocities. For personal defense I prefer 55 grn ball ammo, again, per FBI testing it penetrates less than 12 gauge 00 buckshot in drywall. (see links) So here are the brand names I suggest, Palmetto State Armory, Delton, DiamondBack and Olympic Arms are all solid AR15 builders, they may need minor work as they are not as highly polished as a $1200 plus rifle. However, they are absolutely reliable and more importantly, the bottom side of all of these rifles can be found for between $500 and $700 apiece. (Magazines are simple, get Hexmag or Magpul magazines.)
- AK47 platforms or AKMs, here is where things get fun. See the simple reality is I do not have as much trigger time behind one as others do. However, I do absolutely believe in the necessity of having multiple calibers available especially in popular calibers. As a result I do use them, just not as much as my AR’s. Caliber, honestly, I prefer the 7.62×39 caliber. It works as a deer round, and other medium game as well as self defense. And anyone that tells you an AKM is inaccurate, hasnt used one. Brand names suggested are as follows, take this with a grain of salt. Red Army standard, Serbian NPaP, Definitive Arms DAKM and lastly I own and currently enjoy an IO AKM, though these have serious issues on occasion and I cannot recommend one as a survival tool. Pricing ranges from $500- $1000 for the above listed names. There are other brands and I am sure they are wonderful. But under $1000 and what I or my core have personal experience with were the guidelines. Now for the caveat, the IO after the first 200 rounds had a failure to cycle, the gas tube was 1/16th too short. I called them, they sent another immediately and it has been rectified. It has been accurate and I have successfully put another 1200 rounds through it without a failure. Hence it passed the test. By accurate I do mean well within parameters set.
- This category has a different approach, it is something many people do not consider. Hunting and shooting over 500 yards. Though there are thousands of people on-line especially who make wonderful claims regarding their prowess as a shooter, distances past 500 yards are not easy, and when you hit the 800 mark, things start getting REALLY fun. Personally I have shot past 1000 yards only a few times, and while I am a very good shot from 0 through 500 yards with simple iron sights, past this is not easy. My observations and experiences are much more refined in this area, leaving the last two spaces for un-scoped milsurp and scoped non milsurp. Iron sights at distance there are only three rifles I can honestly suggest, that meet the criteria as stated. Enfields .303 (I prefer the MkIV or III), Mauser 8mm K98, Swiss K31 in 7.5×55 (my personal favorite, and a rifle I have taken to 1100 yards four times now, with iron sights, amazingly very very nicely. Each of these can be had for between $300 and $600 and should be looked at closely prior to purchase for signs of wear. (Side note my first rifle at 16 was a MkIV Enfield that I took jackrabbits at 400 to 600 yards regularly, quite fun when young, but the eyes go with age.)
- Long distance rifles, non milsurp. Remington 700, Mossberg 100 ATR, Weatherby Vanguard are all wonderful rifles, I have owned them all and shot them all, and loved them all very much. The Vanguard was a sub MOA model, (not normal) and shot under an inch off of a bipod at 100 yards. The Remington and Mossberg both shot very well also. Pricing ranges from $300 – $600 for these rifles. You can upgrade all of them as you go and get the money, however, an inexpensive Bushnell scope will get you on paper well for around $200 or less.
There you have my list, again, subjective, absolutely! But realistic, also ABSOLUTELY!
*Why dont I use a shotgun, this is an interesting question with a VERY simple answer. Here is my response. I have grade v spondylolisthesis (since I was 12- and yes I worked for over two decades full time with grade IV before it went to grade V), nerve damage down my left leg below the knee and in my right leg is permanent and severe. When I am tired or in pain (which is daily, pain can be a friend) I drag my feet and eventually my legs simply stop working. Literally I fall straight down several times a week. Weight is NOT an option, shotguns equal weight. 10 shotgun shells weigh the same as 200 rounds of .22lr or 50 rounds of 5.56. Eating birds shot with a shotgun is a process filled with fun times and occasionally cleaning lead or steel shot out of your teeth. I can build a live trap for birds easily, that works and the parts are found growing around us. As a self defense weapon it is NOT the “just aim at the general direction” that people like to say it is. Even from a 18” barrel the shot WILL not spread enough at defensive distances to allow that approach and honestly, if you have children or animals, why would you want stray shots anyhow. So there you go. An AR is MUCH easier to shoot far more accurately, as is a solid 9mm handgun.
**If a shotgun you must have, Mossberg 500/ 590/88 (Maverick), Remington 870 – there easy, yes ive owned them, no I wouldnt again simply because everything I have must have a use.
See the links below for statistical real information regarding ballistics.
CNN reports that a man in Berlin used a truck to plow through a group of people at a Christmas market, killing 9 and injuring 50 more. The tractor-trailer appeared to deliberately ram through several stalls at what is estimated to be 40 miles per hour; German authorities are treating the incident, at present, as a terror event
The attack appears to parallel the cargo truck killing of 86 people and the wounding of 434 others in Nice, France during a fireworks display on a national holiday. On a smaller scale, a Somali student at Ohio State University recently ran down a number of people before leaving his car and stabbing several others with a large knife. A pattern seems to be emerging where a vehicle is used to cause casualties in public spaces.
This pattern is not occurring by accident. The English-language ISIS magazine “Rumiyah” has recently called for vehicle attacks on the West. An article that discussed which vehicles are best to do the most damage was titled “Just Terror Tactics”. Al-Qaeda has made calls for similar attacks, calling pickup trucks “the ultimate mowing machine”.
The article was quoted in the Business Insider: “Though being an essential part of modern life, very few actually comprehend the deadly and destructive capability of the motor vehicle and its capacity of reaping large numbers of casualties if used in a premeditated manner…Vehicles are like knives, as they are extremely easy to acquire…”
Ordinarily, terror attacks are associated with guns, but these items are difficult to come by in most countries. Bombs, another preferred terrorist weapon, require expertise to assemble safely. Owning or renting a vehicle, however, is much more common and requires little skill to operate. Trucks and cars can cause mass casualties if wielded as a weapon; obtaining one elicits no suspicion.
Therefore, would-be terrorists now have a new blueprint for causing mayhem among an unsuspecting public. There are few who pay much attention to traffic unless they’re in a vehicle themselves or crossing the street. The speed at which a vehicle can accelerate and turn into a crowd leaves little time for reaction. Hence, the “success” rate of this type of terror event may surpass even a gunman’s ability to cause deaths and injuries.
The increasing number of terror events around the world underlines the increasing need for situational awareness. Situational awareness is the mindset whereby threats are mentally noted and avoided or abolished. Originally a tool for the military in combat, it is now a strategy for the average citizen in these uncertain times.
The situationally aware person is always at a state of “Yellow Alert” when in crowded public venues. By that, I mean a state of relaxed but vigilant observation of what is happening around him or her. When an action or behavior occurs that doesn’t match the surroundings and situation, it’s an anomaly.
When a vehicle moves erratically or leaves the normal pattern of traffic, it’s an anomaly that requires rapid action. Mentally noting routes of escape whenever you’re in a crowd will give you the best chance of getting out of the way. Just as knowing the location of exits in a mall or theatre is good policy, a heightened awareness is now important at any outdoor event or popular public area near roadways.
For vehicular terrorists, the target will be crowds of people near the street. Their objective is mass casualties, and those pedestrians nearest the curb will bear the brunt of the attack. Consider walking on the fringe of a crowd away from the road to give yourself the most options. In the center, the masses, not your own good judgment, will dictate your movement. Take a walk along Times Square and you’ll see what I mean.
Municipalities can protect their citizens by constructing barriers known as “bollards” which would stop vehicles from entering pedestrian areas. These can be seen outside many government buildings and airport terminals. Expanding their use to areas that attract crowds would be an important consideration for the future.
I’ll admit that the likelihood you’ll be in the path of a terrorist using a vehicle, or any other weapon, is very small. Panic isn’t the answer, but these are troubled times; the more situationally aware you are, the safer you’ll be.
by Dakota Murphey
There are many different reasons why you might find yourself with a vacant property. Maybe there’s been a bereavement leaving a property empty and you need time to sort out the estate, or it’s a rental property without a current tenant, or perhaps you’re spending some of your time abroad, or it’s a bug out property that you can’t live on full-time because of work or some other reason.
Whatever the reason, protecting vacant property can cause a real headache, especially when you’re not in the vicinity to keep a check on what’s going on. Fear of vandalism, arson, squatting or theft can be a constant source of worry, but there’s plenty you can do to keep potential problems at bay.
- Keep the garden pruned, and waste and post collected
Nothing draws more attention to a vacant property than an overgrown garden and a whole load of waste sitting outside the front door. It doesn’t take long for waste to build up around the building from littering and adverse weather conditions. That, coupled with a pile of post on the doormat, gives a sure signal to unwanted intruders that the property is unoccupied.
Consider employing a friend, neighbor or local gardener to regularly keep weeds and rubbish cleared from your garden and doorstep, as well as to collect any post. The tidier your garden and property look, the less likely the property will appear unoccupied. If there’s a sense that the property is occupied, that in itself is a great crime deterrent.
You may wish to set up mail re-direct to avoid excess post accumulating. There’ll still be some junk mail delivered, along with advertising leaflets and possible the local newspaper, so it’s still worth asking a trusted neighbor or friend to pick that up.
Remove any expensive garden furniture and bins as these provide something a criminal could climb on to. Cut down high bushes and hedges as these provide places for thieves to hide and stake-out.
You may want to consider an exterior clean and inspection before you leave your property vacant. Cleaning gutters will help with upkeep and ensure there are no minor maintenance issues with rainwater drainage while the property is empty.
- Keep doors, windows and outbuildings secure and locked
Make sure you have approved locks on all doors and windows. If you regularly have contractors entering the building, consider changing the locks after the work is finished. Keep a track of who has a set of keys. Check your gates, garage and sheds to make sure they are also secure and in sound condition.
- Neighbourhood watch and Guardians
Getting trusted neighbors to keep an eye on your property is an excellent idea. Ask them to contact you (or a designated guardian) if they notice any suspicious activity or weather damage. That way you’ll be able to deal with any problems straight away. For example, dealing with a broken window quickly could prevent squatters or theft. A regular visitor parking on the driveway can create the illusion that the property is occupied. You could even ask a neighbor if they have more than one car if they would park one of them on your drive.
- Warning signs
Sometimes it’s pretty obvious that a property is empty. You may, for example, have extensive work being carried out or have had the windows boarded up. In this case, you’ll need other deterrents. Even if you don’t have an alarm, a warning sign that you do could be enough to ward off potential intruders. Even a sign saying Beware of the Dog could make the difference between someone choosing to break in or not.
- Alarm and CCTV
Paying particular attention to security is definitely worthwhile. While signs alluding to an alarm will go some way as a deterrent, there’s nothing like the real thing for peace of mind. Alarm systems with movement sensors will help to alert you of any intruders, so the situation can be dealt with immediately. CCTV will not only act as a deterrent, but could provide useful evidence if you do find yourself the victim of property vandalism or theft.
Monitored alarms is one thing you may wish to consider, although this will add to the cost of the upkeep of your vacant property. However, it does mean that someone will notify you and/or attend the site to check for any security breaches.
If your vacant property is in a remote or industrial area, security fencing may provide some of the protection your property needs. It will make it harder for intruders to break in. The more you do to prevent crime, the less likely it will be to occur. The visible presence of a security fence, coupled with signs, may be enough to deter an opportunist.
- Barriers and bollards
If there are large open spaces around your property, you’ll want to protect against fly-tippers, vandals and intruders. Blocking vehicle access is important as the getaway options for thieves will be high on their agenda. There are many different types of barriers, from concrete road barriers to plastic, water-filled options. They come in all shapes and sizes and can be arranged to best protect access to your vacant property. Simple metal bollards are also an option in preventing vehicle access.
Bio: Dakota Murphey is an independent writer, working with Protect Vacant Property to put together these 7 tips to help keep your bug out property protected from crime and damage.
DIY Security Systems: Are They Worth It?
Are you thinking of buying a new home in the year or getting better security for your current one? If you’ve started shopping around, you’ll soon realize that monitored home security systems can get pretty expensive.
Like most DIYers, and survivalists for the matter, why pay someone else to do it, when you can get it done yourself?
Pros vs. Cons of DIY
It might seem like less of a hassle to call up a professional and have them come out and handle the installation, but for those focused on a budget, looking into a DIY security system isn’t a bad idea. Most of the top-reviewed brands, like Kuna Light Fixture or Nest Cam, come in at under $200, not too bad for a one time only cost. First, let’s look at the pros and cons of handing it at home on your own.
Pro: No cosmetic damage. You won’t have to drill holes and mess up your walls due to the installation of the more advanced system. This is big plus for renters who don’t want to deal with the damage that may result and the dwindling security deposit that may result.
Con: No professional monitoring. When you get installation from a reputable company, you also have the advantage of their ongoing monitoring and alerts. When you decide to DIY, there’s no one else keeping on an eye on your home system, but you.
Pro: No contracts. Maybe you’ve signed up for a professional system in the past and it ended up being too expensive without adding much value. By tending to the matter yourself, you don’t have to be locked into a contract or pay monthly fees for ongoing maintenance, monitoring, and other taxes and fees.
Con: No setup help. When you decide to tackle a DIY project, you have to commit full force, in order to get the project done in an optimal amount of time. With a professional security company, things move along pretty quickly. For a DIY home security system, you’ll have to make sure you have already set aside time to research, buy, and affix all the supplies and tools you need – plus, test it.
Pro: No useless products or fees. You don’t have to pay for what you don’t want. You can keep it as simple or make your system as complex as your budget will allow. Most DIY security systems include cameras and door sensors. Rental homes should already come equipped with working smoke detectors. If not, contact your landlord to have them replaced right away.
Getting Started with a DIY Security System
After weighing your options, decide if DIY is for you. If so, then there are a few tools to get you started with installation. A basic DIY home security system will include door (and possibly, window) sensors, motion lights, an alarm, and an in-home video monitoring system depending on your budget and needs.
Take a walk through your home and along the perimeter and mark prime areas for installation and setup. Make sure you place the equipment where it’s easy to access. Whether you decide to make it obviously visible or not is up to you. On one hand, you don’t want to unnecessarily alarm visitors of your house. On the other, you want intruders to know you are secured.
If you have a floorplan of your home, even better, because you can see an overview of the areas of your house all at once. If you are a renter, be extra mindful of the equipment you install. Read through your lease agreement to check if installation is allowed and what’s expected if you should move out.
Many DIY installation kits for home monitoring comes with everything you need. iSmartAlarm, for example, has a Preferred Package that comes with a CubeOne, two contact sensor, a motion sensor, and two remote tags. You can add a la carte items, as well to amp up the security.
The iSmartAlarm is then linked to your phone where you can set up “alerts” to what you want the system to do at any given time. Do you want your home lights to go on at intervals throughout the day? Configure it ahead of time and execute through the app on your phone. Easy.
If you require any tools to affix cameras or sensors, you can easily perform this project with DIY tools from WORX or Ryobi. They both offer an arsenal of tools focused specifically for taking on DIY projects, including a SD Driver with a screw holder, which has an easy, one-handed operation to keep any cords or equipment firmly in place.
Ultimately, the choice is up to you to keep your home and valuables safe. Do you want to employ the services of a professional or give it a go yourself? Seems like the advantage leans toward DIY in terms of cost, connectedness, and ease of installation. What do you think? Will you be DIYing a security system in the new year?
The first kit that we will look at in this article is what I refer to as “the bedside kit” and as the reference implies, this kit is kept beside your bed in a drawer or under the bed in a small box with a lid such as a plastic storage box with a snap on lid, you could of course just toss the kit under your bed, but that would allow dust, and grime to accumulate and the items to be more likely to be scattered and difficult to find, especially in the dark, when you’re most likely to need them.
Of course, if you have small children living at home, you won’t be able to do this, you’ll need to secure your handgun from being assessed by them while still being available to you. There are a number of ways to do this, but I like the Gunvault MV500-STD Microvault Pistol Gun Safe for this.
The kit above is good for most home-owners that are concerned about crime, theft or home invasion, but my readers aren’t usual nor typical and most (as I do) see it necessary, to be even better prepared and armed with an extended bedside kit, because you never know what, or who is going to burst through your door in the middle of the night.
The photo below shows my extended bedside kit…
After Argentina’s economic collapse home invasions by well-armed gangs was common place. According to the accounts of people who were there, the gangs would invade the homes, (they targeted rural secluded homes and farms mostly), and then tortured and rape the inhabitants for days… I see this also being the case in the U.S. (or any other country) after a major long-term social upheaval. Have your bedside kit ready because you never know when they are going to come through the door at 3:00 AM.
Guest post by Janet Miller
When a person has a great deal of money and accumulated wealth, there is one thing that is absolutely constant and for sure: there will be someone, somewhere, who wants to take it, or at least some of it. Kidnapping and hostage situations are also not uncommon amongst the extremely wealthy, and security plays a huge role in seeing to it that it does not happen. So how do the rich secure their homes, valuables and loved ones?
Artificial intelligence plays a big role in their security and the AI is usually connected to, and sometimes run by, their smart phones. Software that employs facial recognition can, over time, learn to “recognize” the faces of frequent visitors and quickly pick out who is not.
They are then able to alert the homeowner of said stranger. If a stranger is detected, information is sent to the homeowner via smart phone app, which allows them to view the person in question right from their device. This same type of learning ability also gives some motion detectors the ability to determine whether movement was caused by an actual intruder or by an animal or some other nonthreatening situation.
Smart shutter systems are another form of security device that is often used. It can seal off entire rooms in the event of a break in and many of the super-rich have blast-proof windows. If there is employed staff in the home, smart keys often give them access to certain rooms, but can also determine how long they are allowed to stay in said room. In addition to all of this, some have installed helipads atop their homes in the event that emergency evacuation is deemed necessary.
Different Kinds of Security Devices
Infrared cameras are one device that makes securing a perimeter quite a bit easier. Reading thermal heat signatures from great distances is not a hard feat at all regardless of what time it is and even reads through atmospheric conditions such as smoke. Since humans have a much higher thermal heat signature than trees or animals, they can be picked out quickly and at great distances.
There are also home security systems for inside the home that emit smokescreens that can be mounted in inconspicuous areas and utilized to disorient intruders. Or you can move up a security level or so and go for the system that sprays out gases meant to disable the intruder, sometimes for as long as 24 hours after the event. Other gases still attach themselves to the DNA of the intruder and can be read under UV light and traced back to a specific home.
There has recently been a trend in a more old-fashioned type of security as well: the secret passageway. If all else fails, you can escape through an obscure doorway otherwise disguised as a bookcase, wardrobe or wall.
The address, One Hyde Park, London, is home to Sheikh Hamah, foreign minister of Qatar, and is the world’s most secure home. Some of this penthouse’s specific features include purified air, bulletproof windows, a panic room, various recognition scanners as well as license plate recognition software, which was the brainchild of, and designed by, the British Army’s special elite forces.
Coming in at a close second is the home of Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan. The $135 millon Hala Ranch is located in Aspen, Colorado and has surveillance cameras that keep an eye on every square inch of the 95-acre property as well as a staff that monitors everything that goes on there full time.
Al Corbi lives in a residence in Hollywood that features some outstanding safety features. Biometric recognition software means that they do not need keys to enter the home, steel reinforced concrete caissons lodged 30-feet deep protect against the threat of earthquakes and panic suite that is completely ballistics proof allows for an incredibly good night’s sleep.
These houses typically feature high-level security cameras and incredibly sensitive motion detectors, but they also have features that are not quite as readily heard of. One such feature is rooms that are safe from biological attack as well as ballistic steel, armor-plated building materials. All this is equipped with night vision surveillance recording at 240 frames per second with the ability to monitor remotely.
Janet Miller lives the RV life and is a survivalist and cofounder of JenReviews. She writes regularly and has been featured on Forbes, MindBodyGreen, Tiny Buddha, The Huffington Post and Fast Company.
What is the single most important firearm type for TEOTWAWKI: Reviewing four modern semi-automatic 22lr caliber rifles.
by Jesse Mathewson
In these United States, we have seen hundreds if not thousands of 22lr caliber rifles come and go over the years. Arguably the Ruger 10/22 is the most well known and oldest version of the semi-automatic 22lr rifles still in production today, originally coming onto the scene in 1964 with a rotary style magazine, as compared to the other rifles in today’s review, which all utilize stick style magazines. This rifle was ahead of its time and served to make Ruger a household name, along with the further innovations in the Mini (14, 30 etc.,) series rifles and a variety of handguns.
It is important to understand that my choice personally for 22lr caliber rifle; for the purposes of this article, is not based on anything other than testing, function, weight, price and overall effective efficiency in filling the role as meat provider for the table in a grid down situation, or even as a defensive tool. (And all arguments aside, 22lr is a deadly round, this has been proven time and again over the years, I will attach links to several factual stories of defense against BG’s with the lowly 22lr, not too mention its use as a premier fly swatter for individuals intent on fulfilling pest control of a two-legged variety of varmint.)** On a personal note I have used it quite actively over the years for varmint control, freezer filling and more, sadly the caliber .22 being banned for hunting in many states now, though this is not a serious issue in a grid down situation. After all, some laws are simply not moral or necessary.
The following four rifles include four of the top brand names and are modern, still in production, semi-automatic magazine fed 22lr caliber rifles. The specifics for each are listed below for your perusal. I am not including bolt action .22lr or tube fed, I am not including any 22lr caliber clones of AR, AK or other military variants. I am also not including conversion kits for AR styled rifles as these have their own set of issues and costs.
Marlin Model 795
- .22 long rifle
- 10 round stick magazine, 1 in chamber
- 18” barrel
- Sights, adjustable open rear, ramp front sight with grooves in receiver for scope mounting
- 1: 16 rh twist
- 4.5lbs unloaded
- 37” overall length
- Suggested retail is 239.99
Relatively new, not many aftermarket parts, somewhat based on the Marlin 60 which was a truly fine 22lr and shone in many areas. Very accurate rifle and for the cost is extremely nice. Only ammunition issues were Remington flat tips, otherwise, shoots everything.
I had one, and loved it, however, as the cost is more than the Mossberg 702 which follows, I haven’t invested more in additional copies. And as I am a KISS proponent and fan, it is essential that those within my core group are armed in a similar fashion so as to reduce the number of possible problems when arming, rearming etc.,
Mossberg 702 Plinkster
- .22 long rifle
- 10 round stick magazine/ 25 round factory extended magazines available
- 18” barrel
- Adjustable sights (replace with Tech Sights) grooved for scopes, not milspec, you will need to get a 3/8” scope mount or adapter, which is easily found on Amazon for milspec additions and rails.
- This is not abnormal with non AR styled .22lr firearms, to be more pointed, many hunting rifles come with this mount approach. So it is in fact a standard mounting for hunters.
- 1:16 twist rh
- Synthetic Stock, Wood Stock and or additional colors available if needed. However, the standard black synthetic stock works effectively.
- 37” overall length
- Suggested price 176.00
Based on an older model, several companies make aftermarket parts, however, magazines are still only available from the factory. It is not as popular as the 10/22 and as such suffers from a lack of aftermarket parts availability. Extremely reliable and accurate. Only ammunition issues were Remington flat tips, otherwise, shoots everything.
This is my top choice, they can be found for around $100 at most Wal-Marts, or used for even less depending on location, rarely have I seen them over $160. Pinned barrel, simple action blowback action. A bit of sandpaper and a philips head screwdriver will have the barrel free floated in under 15 minutes. I currently own several, with 10 magazines for each one. An inexpensive one-inch nylon sling, $79 on Tech Sights (Amazon), and you will have a rifle that will easily get you a rifleman badge at the local Appleseed shoot, keep it clean and you will never have an issue with it.
- .22 long rifle
- 10 round cyclical magazine/ 25 round factory extended magazines available
- gold bead front sight (replace with Tech Sights)
- 1:16 twist rh
- 18.5” barrel
- 37” overall length
- Suggested price 379.00
Extremely popular there is no shortage of aftermarket kits, parts, and the bells and whistles you may require to make your survival gun both pretty and relatively functional. Have owned 4 from the mid 80’s through 2009, all were ammunition specific firearms, or finicky. Accuracy was decent, however, magazine issues (factory magazines) and some ammunition feed issues had me selling them all.
After spending two years helping out with local Appleseed shoots in Arizona, I witnessed two or three failures every shooting day of every Appleseed from the Ruger 10/22. Now, this does not mean you wont find solid shooting 10/22s, it just means that during that two year time, my Mossberg 702s never failed, not once, and the 10/22 in multiple configurations from factory basic through $2000 plus add on configured did.
Savage 64 F
- 22 long rifle
- 10 round stick magazine
- open sights, drilled and tapped for scope mounting
- 1:16 rh twist
- 21” barrel length (slightly better accuracy and ballistics should result)
- weight is 5lbs.
- Suggested price $140.00
True free floated barrel, several variations available, generally considered to be most accurate out of the box and having shot one or two, I would tend to agree. It is an extremely accurate, ammunition picky, but VERY accurate. It has also been out since 1964, though the first model met with bad reception due to using plastic magazines. Its following is not nearly as large as the base for the Ruger 10/22. Less market share, less possibility for parts being made by companies other than Savage.
I really enjoy this gun, and you will as well. Make sure you can get magazines for it, and check ammunition reliability in it. Otherwise, it’s a great firearm.
Remember, in a TEOTWAWKI situation, .22lr is going to be a very important caliber. Local harvesting laws will not matter with regards to game, they are relatively quiet, and with an accurate (sandbagged and properly sighted in) version of one of the above models you will do fine. Personally, I prefer Mossberg 702’s and will gladly submit to competition between any one of the several owned and any .22lr you choose. I do not like the AR styled, AK styled or kits that allow shooting of .22lr in regular firearms. Though I can understand the desire for some people to keep things as similar as possible, in most cases, practice is severely lacking in individuals preaching this approach.
If you need to practice with your AR then, practice with the AR. Recoil, noise and all the accompanying parts of shooting the .223 or 5.56 round is essential to solid practice. If you want to practice fundamentals of shooting and accuracy, the type of firearm will not matter nearly as much as the fundamentals themselves. If you are able to “run and gun” than do so, but make sure you practice and train with legitimate trainers in these areas. In my strict opinion as a lifetime shooter, who does okay for himself when shooting, rifleman basics are not stylistic or reliant on type of rifle, but rather on the approach used and fundamentals practiced.
This is why I do not have, recommend or use three point slings, single point slings or any number of special “tactical” attachments that so often take a 6lb AR and make it a 15lb monstrosity. KISS, always, for the sake of those reading, this is a very easy word to decipher. Keep It Simple Silly. A solid two point sling, understanding why laying down is more stable than seated and seated is more stable than standing and resting the rifle is more stable than standing without resting the rifle is essential to accuracy. Hollywood does a great job of making gun owners stupid, its up to us to ensure we don’t reinforce the ridiculous notions regarding gun owners in the media, politics and Hollywood.
So now you have four choices for a TEOTWAWKI rifle, remember, even in “gun free” nations, .22lr is used and owned in most cases by people interested in hunting, target practice and simply having for self-defense. A .22lr firearm must be cleaned every 300 rounds on average or after every practice session, I clean all my firearms every two weeks with a basic rubdown and lube, in depth twice a year, and after every range session. The sole exception being cached and or stored firearms- which are stored soaked in lubricants and in ZCORR storage bags, review to follow. These .22lr firearms also work very well to introduce non-shooters and or non-preppers to the world of prepping/ shooting without hurting their shoulders, ears and easily showing them the benefits and sheer pleasure of hitting a target where you want too.
Shoot on fellow Wolf Pack members, be safe, smart and above all, be free!
**Links follow, some are graphic in nature, please be aware.
http://www.activeresponsetraining.net/using-the-22-for-self-defense (statistics regarding various calibers used for defense of self)
http://bangordailynews.com/2012/02/20/news/bangor/man-who-shot-home-invaders-in-hermon-i-had-to-protect-myself/ (self-defense with .22lr handgun)
http://www.wlwt.com/news/local-news/news-northern-kentucky/Boone-County-homeowner-shoots-kills-intruder/16463942?item=0 (92-year-old man shoots and kills home intruder with .22lr rifle)
https://www.learnaboutguns.com/2010/04/29/elderly-iowa-woman-uses-her-22-handgun-in-self-defense/ (89-year-old woman uses 22lr handgun to defend herself)
http://gunssavelives.net/self-defense/13-year-old-armed-with-ruger-1022-saves-his-mother-from-intruder-thought-to-be-on-drugs/ (13 year old uses 10/22 to defend family)
There are many, many more verifiable stories, and I am sure if any of us has spent time in the woods, we all know someone who has harvested game with a .22lr, legal or not. (Though I do not openly recommend doing anything that will bring you in contact with authorities, eg., don’t do illegal things. Understand there is always consequences to every action, always.)
Free the mind and the body will follow.