Why I hate the Glock and the .40 caliber round–or do I?

Today we present another article for this round in our non-fiction writing contest – by B Wilson.

I recently found myself reading an informative article on this site about purchasing a Glock, even though the writer admittedly was not a Glock fan. The article had several very valid reasons for the purchase. I found myself reading the article looking for some vindication of why I was sitting here with my new Glock 17.

I have been around firearms all my life and have true appreciation of shooting and collecting. I want to emphasize shooting. If I cannot fire a fine collectable it’s not for me. For me that is the joy of ownership. I am an avid marksman and enjoy fine wheel guns, automatics, and long guns. There is not much out there I have not had the pleasure of shooting, as my aging eyes will attest to!

Until I moved to a large urban area in Florida twenty years ago I never saw a need to carry a firearm or prep for whatever may come my way. Well hurricanes, topical storms, and crime soon changed all of that! But carry a Glock? Nope never will, hate that gun.

You don’t have to go far to read all the Glock haters and lovers out there. This is a conversation that gets way to much time on the Internet. Glocks are fine firearms, tough, reasonably cheap, something I find very interesting on this blog, affordable! But for me save your peanuts and buy Sig, (So the door opens for the sig haters!) a quality Smith Performance center wheel gun, or one of many fine firearms out there. Just not a Glock they are not safe (M.D. adds : Glocks are as safe as any firearm – if you can’t handle a Glock safely, then you need to get training before buying ANY firearm.)

For me a Glock was a plastic firearm with a horrible grip angle and a trigger that to this DA/SA shooter found just damn horrible (M.D. adds: I love the grip angle and the trigger pull is just fine, remember we are talking about self-defense and not competition target shooting)! I felt the same way about the Sig P250 line and Sigs DAK triggers. My neighbor once proudly called me over to show me his new toy a Glock 27 which he proceeded to accidentally discharge, damn near killing me while taking out the mailbox! Yep Glocks not safe? No– gun owners that do not practice safety are not safe. The only safety as said by many is between your ears!

Yes, I have owned a Glock before, sold it within two months. I am a person that hates what many folks love. Low bore axis, consistent trigger that is to light for carry and to heavy for quick follow up for me. After I started prepping several years ago, and looking at all variables, I never considered firearms.

I am well trained, shoot weekly, have a safe full of firearms of numerous calibers and I buy bulk ammo. My get home bag has a quality firearm in it, not a cheap hope it fires gun, and I shoot it often. Its not ideal, anything not on my person is useless to me, but my carry is always there so a good back up is available.

If I truly needed to leave my home, I already know what firearms I am taking, or do I? Since I began prepping I have made every mistake out there, so “what did you do this week” rings very true to me.

So I began to reexamine my firearm choices just like everything else. All the police officers here carry 40 caliber Glocks as their primary duty gun. The Glock website claims that they supply 68% of law enforcement. There are a lot of fans of the Glock in general. Many of my friends carry the Glock in 40 and 9. I love .45, 45 colt, 357, 357sig, and 9s, but never cottoned to the 40.

In my opinion the 40 is a round that was driven by an unfortunate event and a rush to find something different. I don’t own one round. For me the 45 and the 357sig are better shooting rounds. If I were in my home state a large part of law enforcement carry a Sig in 357 sig and I might not have this on my list of preps.

But given if I have to scavenge for magazines and parts, at least in these parts Glocks parts will be everywhere as well as the 5.56, even though my choice would be an Arsenal AK (still is). So my new weekly prep will be to get to love the Glock and the 40. Yes my new Glock is in 9mm, but not a 10mm, which I doubt I can find on the side of the road! So practice starts tomorrow.

Prizes for this round (ends July 10 2015 ) in our non fiction writing contest include…

  1. First place winner will receive –  A case of Yoder’s Canned Bacon (12 cans, $169.95), a case of Future Essentials Canned Green Coffee Beans (12 cans, $143.30 value), and a case of our Future Essentials Canned Breakfast/Cold Cereal Variety with Milk (12 cans; a can each of Raisin Bran, Rice Krispies, Corn Flakes, Apple O’s, Whole Grain Frosted Wheat’s, Cocoa Rice Krispies, Honey & Nut O’s, Fruity O’s and Frosted Flakes, as well as three (3) Cans of Powdered Milk Substitute (18 oz. each) – (a value of $62.90) all courtesy MRE Depot and a  WonderMix Bread Mixer courtesy of FoodPrepper.com a $300 value. Total first place prize value over$674.
  2. Second Place Winner will receive – A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $283 value) and an autographed copy of 31 Days to Survival
  3. Third place winner will receive –  A gift certificate for $150 off of Hornady Ammo courtesy of LuckyGunner Ammo.

Weapons and tools for foraging and self-defense

In this article I’ll be talking about choosing the right firearms for self-defense, and for foraging. I’ll try to keep this as short and to the point as possible while still covering everything that you really need to know, in order to make an informed decision when buying and learning how-to use those tools to feed yourself and your family.

Shotguns

No foraging arsenal would be complete without at least one shotgun. By simply changing shot loads or moving up to slugs the shotgun can be used to take every game and predatory animal in North America out to 100 yards. And let’s not forget that a pump-action or semi-auto shotgun loaded with buckshot or slugs makes an excellent self-defense tool, especially if the shooter knows how to use it to its maximum effectiveness.

The shotgun that you choose for foraging purposes need not be expensive; the simple single-shot break-action shotgun is an excellent tool when foraging for food, and best of all they can be bought new for under $200 in most areas, are light-weight and extremely rugged and reliable.

Add a carry sling and a way to carry some extra ammo (I like the Voodoo Tactical Shotgun Shell Ammo Pouch) and you’re ready to go foraging for small game, foul or even larger game if the opportunity should present itself.

Ammo selection will of course depend on what you’re hunting for; I like to keep several different types in my sling loops, where I can quickly get to it and change out one round for another, if needed. Say for example; that I’m hunting rabbit, and happen to spot a deer in the distance, it’s a simple matter to quietly and quickly, switch from a chambered shot-shell (I like #6 shot for small game) to a rifled slug and effectively and humanly take the deer.

For self-defense purposes I suggest a pump-action or semi-auto (I prefer the pump-action but there are also some good semi-autos available) shotgun in 12 gauge, however for smaller shooters a 20 gauge will suffice.  There are so many great brands and models available that it would take several chapters to go into any detail on each, so I won’t waste your time doing that here.

Two of my favorite pump-action shotgun manufactures are Remington and Mossberg, with my personal home-defense shotgun being a Mossberg model 590 with ghost ring sights and speed fed stock. In my opinion the Mossberg 590 is the best “out of the box” pump-action defensive shotgun available today.

.22 Rifles

No survival “arsenal” would be complete without at least one high-quality .22lr caliber rifle. Because there are literally, hundreds of quality brands and models available, I won’t take up your time by trying to go over the details of each one here, but I will instead mention several of my personal favorites.

My first choice for a semiauto .22lr would be the Ruger 10/22 takedown model; this is essentially the same rifle as the super trusted and reliable standard 10/22 but with the ability to be taken apart for transport and storage.

My first choice for a bolt-action .22lr is the Ruger American .22lr with 18 inch barrel. It’s well made with fewer parts to break than a semi auto, and I’ve found it to be more accurate out-of-the-box than any standard our-of-the-box semi auto .22lr that I’ve tested it against.

Another one of my favorite .22lr rifles is the Smith and Wesson MP 15/22, mine has been ultra-reliable after thousands of rounds, and is a perfect training tool for new shooters or for cheap live-fire practice for AR-15 owners. However it’s not my first choice when small game hunting, the .22lr that most often accompanies me on small game hunts is the Ruger American .22lr mentioned above.

My first choice when adding an optical sight (scope) to a .22lr is the Nikon ProStaff Rimfire 4 x 32 Black Matte Riflescope. I’ve tried other cheaper (and a few more expensive) alternatives when scoping .22lr rifles and found the Nikon ProStaff to be the best option.

Centerfire Rifles

Here again I’ll not waste your time by trying to cover 101 different manufactures and models of centerfire rifles, but will instead elaborate on my two of my personal favorites.

For hunting larger game in my area (Tennessee) I don’t need anything more powerful than a .308 win, however if you live in grizzly and moose country then you may want to move up to something like a .338 magnum or similar to be sure of a clean and humane kill.

My first choice for a .308 semi auto is the Smith and Wesson M&P 10. The M&P 10 is built on an AR type platform with a standard 20 round magazine. I’ve found it to be a well-made, accurate and reliable rifle. It can be used for both hunting large game and as a main battle rifle, however the current, 2015 price tag of over $1,600 will no doubt be a road block for many (I had to save for almost a year to afford it).

My first choice for a bolt-action .308 is the Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle, but with a standard rear mounted optic sight instead of the forward mounted “scout” configuration.

All of my .308’s are topped with the Nikon ProStaff 3-9 x 40 Black Matte Riflescope (BDC) optics and also have backup standard iron sights, and a sling. If you’re serious about using a rifle for defense of your property and for hunting then please get a copy of “The Art of the Rifle” by the late Jeff Cooper, it’s a great book that is full of tips and advice that will help to increase your on target accuracy.

Handguns

This is one of those subjects that I hate to even get into here and that I purposely, avoid discussing in public, because it never ends well, because nearly everyone has their favorite and are unwilling to consider anything else. I too have my own personal favorites, but I’m not like some and unwell to consider other alternatives if something was proven to be better, or just as good but at a better price.

So like we’ve already done above, instead of going into a hundred different manufactures and models, I’ll simply, tell you my favorites that have proven to work for me after years of shooting, hunting, plinking and competition.

Well start with the .22lr – of which my favorite is the Browning Buckmark.  This is the top .22lr handgun made today, period. I’ve carried mine all over the forests of Appalachia, and can shoot it accurately enough to make head-shots on cotton-tail rabbits at 50 yards.

I have no idea how many rounds that I’ve put through mine but it has to be ten-thousand or more and I’ve never had a failure that was not ammo related.

Another excellent .22lr handgun is the Beretta 21A Bobcat. The Bobcat isn’t ideal for small game hunting or self-defense, but it’s weight and compact size will allow you to have it on you at all times, and any handgun that you have with you is better that the one you left at home or back at camp because it was too large, heavy and inconvenient to carry.

I carry mine when I’m on the river fishing, camping, hunting ginseng or just working around the homestead, it’s weight and size make it easy to go armed at all times. The Israeli Mossad has proven the effectiveness of the .22lr as an offensive / defensive tool with its use of the Beretta 70 in .22lr. The Beretta 70 is also carried by Israeli Sky Marshals.

By far my favorite center fire handguns are made by Glock, however they’re not the only quality choice on the market, there are many different handgun manufactures that products worth considering. The most important consideration is to purchase the handgun that fits your hand best. If the handgun fits your hand correctly, you’ll naturally shoot it more accurately.

Out of the Glock line up my favorite model is the Glock model 19. The Glock 19 is a medium-sized 9mm handgun that is the perfect size for open carry, in a belt-holster, yet small enough to be carried comfortably concealed under summer cloths. Another plus is that the Glock 19 has a 15 round magazine capacity, which is comparable with other, larger and heavier 9mm handguns such as the Berretta 92.

When it comes to ammo choices and “stopping power” there are just as many opinions as there are for handgun choices, but my personal carry load in a 9mm round is the Corbon 115 grain +p. Ballistics for this round is close to those produced by the 357 magnum and it is a proven stopper according to both ballistic research and actual real-life use.

Air Rifles

Air rifles are often overlooked by survival planners and this is unfortunate because they have a lot to offer, with the most notable being the ability to quietly take small game out to approximately 35 yards.

However to get this kind of performance from an air rifle you’re going to have to look past the $45 models like those often seen at Walmart, these don’t produce the energy or velocity that is needed to cleanly take small-game. You’ll probably have to spend over $150 at current prices before getting one that will do take small game effectively.

My personal choice and the one that I’ve taken the most small-game with is the Benjamin Titan GP Nitro Piston .22 caliber air rifle. I’ve found the .22 caliber air rifles to provide much better on target effectiveness i.e. dropping small-game in their tracks, than those in .177.

The Benjamin Titan GP .22 caliber air rifle features a 19 inch fully rifled barrel and a muzzle brake, both with a nice looking deep blued-steel finish. I also have a Ruger .177 caliber air rifle and comparatively the finish on both the metal and stock is much nicer on the Titan GP.

As with most air rifles of this type, the Titan GP has no iron sights but the rifle is grooved for mounting an optical sight. The addition of a good set of metal sights would greatly add to the overall functionality and dependability of the rifle.

But as a rule, I prefer all of my rifles to have the choice of iron sights as well as scope-mounting with see through mounts. Scopes can break, become fogged, lose zero etc., and the ability to quickly change from one sighting option to the other without losing the target aids greatly to the utility of any rifle.

The Titan GP features an ambidextrous thumb-hole stock with dual raised cheek-pieces, and while well designed, I found the reach from the grip to the trigger to be a bit long. But, this would not be a problem for shooters with larger hands or longer fingers. Even with the longer reach to the trigger from the grip, I have no problem pulling the trigger or shooting the rifle.

The rifle also has a 2-stage adjustable trigger for fine tuning to the needs of each shooter; however I found the factory setting to be very good for my needs so I left the settings as is. But, adjustment is an option and a welcome addition that I’m sure many will find very useful.

One of the main selling points of the Benjamin Titan is the Nitro Piston system and a velocity of up to 950 FPS. The Nitro Piston offers a several advantages over rifles with a metal mainspring system, such as smoother cocking, no spring fatigue, reduced vibration, functions well in cold weather and the Nitro Piston system is also much quieter.

In fact, the Titan is noticeably quieter than my other air rifles, and is much quieter than my Ruger air rifle which is the loudest of the lot.

Bows, Arrows and Blow Guns

I’ve used blowguns for small game since I was in my early teens, and I can assure you that there’re not toys, far from it. In practiced hands (and lungs) the blowgun can be used very effectively, to take small game and are much more accurate and deadly than the slingshot.

There are currently three sizes of mass marketed blowguns in the U.S. one in .40 caliber, .50 caliber and .625 caliber diameters.  Each has different advantages over the other, but I personally prefer the .40 caliber versions, because I’ve found that I can shoot them further with more accurately, and haven’t noted any difference in effectiveness when taking small game.

Fortunately, blowguns are priced so cheaply that you can buy several (or make your own) to see what works best for you. If you’re interested in finding out a wealth of information on blowguns, and how to make your own Michael Janich has an excellent book available to help you with that it’s called “Blowguns: The Breath Of Death” and covers everything blowgun related.

Another favorite weapon for foraging is the bow and arrow. In skilled hands the bow and arrow can be used to take both large and small game and like with the blowgun you can make your own. However it’s likely that nothing that you can make in the home workshop will compare to the power and velocity of commercially manufactured compound and crossbows.

Bows are like handguns in that you should try out several before deciding what works best for you. Personally, I prefer a more traditional recurve bow with a 45 pound draw weight over a compound, but that’s a personal choice and only one that you can make after gaining experience.

How to Carry a Gun

Hunting and Gun Safety – Facts You Might Not Know

By Scott M

Hunting and firearms go hand-in-hand. That is the reality of the sport. While there are people who are avid bow hunters, guns provide hunters a more humane way to kill game effectively and at a distance. Unfortunately, far too many people assume that hunters are trigger-happy fools just waiting to shoot anything that moves. Reality says otherwise. Hunters are among the safest gun owners around.

Below we have listed some facts about hunting and gun safety you may not know. However, before we discuss them, we want to talk about hunting lease liability insurance. As safe as hunting is, statistically speaking, the presence of firearms always carries with it a measure of risk. Hunting insurance protects you against liability in the event of an accident. It also covers intentional or unintentional property damage, slip and fall accidents, and liability issues that may arise from disputes with neighboring landowners.

With hunting insurance out of the way, here are those facts we mentioned:

Hunting Is a Safe

Hunters know their sport is safe despite what non-hunters may believe. Statistics show that more people are injured every year playing baseball or riding bikes than hunting. Furthermore, approximately 100 hunting-related deaths are recorded in the U.S. every year as opposed to 1,500 related to swimming accidents.

The fact is that hunting is statistically safer than most recreational sports. The problem we have in America is one of perception. It is no different from those who possess an unhealthy fear of flying despite statistical proof that one is more likely to die in a car accident than a plane crash.

Hunters Are Trained

The vast majority of avid hunters do not just pick up a rifle at age 25 and head out to shoot at deer. Most are exposed to the sport at a very young age and, as a result, they undergo extensive firearms training. Most states make training of younger hunters mandatory as a matter of licensing. Minnesota is just one example. Their mandatory training program enlists 4,000 volunteer firearms instructors to train some 20,000 hunters annually.

In states where firearms training is not mandatory, it is not uncommon for hunters to take safety courses anyway. The average hunter is fully aware that it is better to be safe than to be sorry.

Hunting Methods Are Specific

Hunters dispatch various types of game using specific methods. What does this have to do with gun safety? A lot, actually. In order to quickly and safely kill a deer, for example, a hunter has to know the best position to place a shot. Then it all comes down to practice. This is why hunters spend so much time at the gun range shooting targets and practicing with clays. The result of all that practice is a level of accuracy that reduces wayward shots. This makes hunting even safer still.

Adding to the practice hunters get is new firearms technology that make weapons more accurate and more reliable. As technology advances, hunting becomes a safer sport all the way around.

There is no arguing that the sport of hunting does have its rogues with a tendency to do things unsafely. Nevertheless, the same principle is applicable to any sport. Statistics show that hunting is very safe. It is safe enough that children can participate as regular hunters.

As part of your safety mindset, never go hunting with firearms without proper hunting insurance in place. Whether you lease land, belong to a hunting club or use your own land, hunting insurance is a great asset to have should something unfortunate happen.

Sources:

  1. Minnesota Department of Natural Resourceshttp://www.dnr.state.mn.us/hunting/tips/myths.html
  2. American Hunting Lease Associationhttp://ahuntinglease.org/hunting-lease-insurance

Rifle Setup Tips

AR-15 Quality – What is Your Money Getting You?

AR-15 quality – What is your money getting you?

The Cowboy Assault Rifle

An alternative working tool … with less  social  indigestion.  Opinion by .. Thomas T. Tinker

Marlin Model 336 30-30 

Winchester Model 1894 30-30 Nice simple looking rifle isn’t it!  Gotta be one of the most common, run of the mill deer rifles ever made in one of the most common calibers produced in mass in the United States.  It is a Marlin 30-30 Mod. 336.   An incredible piece of work, the lever gun.  Winchester, Savage, Ruger, Marlin, Rossi, Uberti, Browning, Henry even Sako … I missed somebody.  No matter .. This posting is for the purpose of haggling over the virtues of Prepper hardware … which always starts a brawl and always has everyone talking about things other than the subject of the article.  Yeah…. It does .. We are going to discuss the “Pros” of the Lever Action Cowboy Assault Rifle.

Winchester Model 1894 30-30

Winchester Model 1894 30-30 You can dump a lot of cash into the lever action platform…  (None of those in the photos here happen to be any of those.)  Copy rights prevent me from showing you some of them but I will leave you with a couple of sites to go look at some very high $$$ examples.  For myself,  as you can see, I leave them ‘as is’ and find them just as reliable, sturdy, hard working tools.  Mine have put me back from $200.oo to $…well I ain’t gonna say cause Momma san is going to read this… but nowhere near some of the sweet iron at Grizzly Arms. ( Http://www.grizzlycustom.com  )  also  (  Http://www.brockmansrifles.com  )

My family has used the C.A.R. from as far back as the 1860s.  My Great Grandfather was a wrangler for the Central Pacific Railroad until 1869.  My Grandmother carried his Henry 44 rim fire when she followed Gramps and the 11th. U.S. Cavalry to New Mexico and Northern Mexico in 1914.  I believe… hope… that rifle is still with my ‘Kin’ in Blue Field W.V.  My Uncle Buck Crosser sat guard in a Fort Robinson, Nebraska bank with a ‘newfangled’ Savage 99 … it is still in his family with his grandson Bronc… Yepper… Bronc.. and my Grand Mother was named Bessie and my Great Aunt was named Saddy (Say-de).  My Dad passed on his Savage 99 in 300 savage to me.  I passed it on to my nephew who fills his ‘tags’ with it each season in the Eastern Cascades.

The C.A.R. … , lever action rifle has defended Banks, Stages .. trains (wagon and steam) homes, soddys, ranches and ranch hands .. and just everyday folks in the wrong place at the best of times.  The lever gun has done this for the last 167 plus years.  The ‘Legs’ of the rifles design are what have placed it in more gun racks, closets and truck cabs .. of more than a few Preppers and none preppers .. alike.  Caliber choices run form lil olde 22. To the far end of the scales .. 338 Weylin .. 444 .. 45-70 .. 308 ..30-06 ..7mm-08 and a number of wildcat rounds limited only by the ‘Owners’ budget and love for the design.

Henry 22 Magnum & it’s partner in 22 Magnum

Henry 22 Magnum & it’s partner in 22 MagnumMy first lever gun on my own dime was my first rifle period.. on my own dime.  Dad’s 300 Savage was still in his closet.  The K-Mart on Reynolds Road in South Toledo, Ohio, 19*4.  A 30-30 Marlin 336 $159.tax and all the 150 and 170 gr. Ammo they had at the time, $5.69 per box x11.  I do indeed still have the till receipt.  I am a lucky fellow.  I’ve traded .. sold .. bought, through the years, more than I should have let go of.  I will not let go of any … lever gun ……. or any kind of pistol, revolver…..

Many of us in this “Prepper Culture” want to adhere to the notion… the ‘need’ for a center fire, Mil-spec, MBR.  Many a budget and male ego have been used and abused to put more than one in these in the  closet.  But… Many a budget has faced down our ego and put ‘Us’ into a  commercial bolt gun or surplus.  I submit to the pack that the lever action C.A.R. rifle fits into a rifle rack slot in the middle of these two .. the MBR black rifle and the commercial bolt gun.  The lever enjoys a larger on board round counts in general than commercial bolt guns … a faster action and second shot.  Now as to the benefits of “partnering”.  A good number of C.A.R. pistol caliber rifles are very nice fits for those of us that value a good solid revolver.  Our house has a ‘partnership’ for each of us.  My partners are in the last photo below.

I have done some homework in the past and must agree that the lever gun does not, and cannot, claim tack driving accuracy.  Barrel bands, fore ends, cartridge tubes… yadayada… on a ‘stock’ rifle just tend to widen the groups.  Something about harmonicvibration..  pressure points er something..   Maybe that is why they are often called ‘Brush guns’.  The common sense logistics of ‘partnering’ make packing out a ‘weapons system a one line item event…. Unless you feel the need to carry standard vs. magnum rounds…. Or both!  (I do)  In hotter calibers the new “Hornady ” ( Http://www.hornady.com )  “Leverevolution” rounds are faster –  flatter – extend range and +% down range punch!  You can think of that as an endorsement if ya care to.  Take a look at the video for the 357 round and take note of the entry retention!

I had thought about bringing up the ‘Social’ aspects of displaying a Lever vs. bolt vs. black rifle.  Naw!  It’s a bleeding ‘gun’.  Half the population has been made to “Feel” that firearms are the curse of our time.  A majority of the other half don’t take the time to understand the interest of the minority.  Of that Minority …. You have the good folks and the 10 percenters that always… always make firearms a prudent  ‘Prepper’s’ line item.   Then…. We have the normal arguments that emerge in the comment section below after some fool like me posts an article like this one on a blog like MD’s.

My Go to Iron … Marlin Model 1895 38/357 and it’s partner Mr. Ruger SP101

My Go to Iron … Marlin Model 1895 38/357 and it’s partner Mr. Ruger SP101I can’t say I care for the new safety … but then… I just don’t use it.  This rifle will get a mittin lever and “True Glo” sights.

Now, my fellow packers, let the argument begin.  I only ask one more question of you …… as your first response, I’d like to know if you in fact OWN a Lever Action Rifle.

OK…. I’m done now ….. again.  As always, comments, questions, suggestions, rants or death threats are always welcome.  Just no pointless flaming OK?   XOXO , your fellow loyal ‘Packer’.

Prizes for this round (ends April 23 2015 ) in our non fiction writing contest include… Please send your articles now!

  1. First place winner will receive –  A  case of six (6) #10 cans of Freeze Dried Military Pork Chops a $300 value courtesy of MRE Depot, and a  WonderMix Bread Mixer courtesy of FoodPrepper.com a $300 value and five bottles of the new Berkey BioFilm Drops a $150 value courtesy of LPC Survival – total prize value of over $750.
  2. Second place winner will receive –  A gift a gift certificate for $150 off of  Federal Ammunition courtesy of LuckyGunner Ammo.
  3. Third Place winner will receive –  A copy of my book ”31 Days to Survival: A Complete Plan for Emergency Preparedness“ and “Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat” courtesy of  TheSurvivalistBlog.net and copy of “The Survival Medicine Handbook” courtesy of www.doomandbloom.net.

Iron Sights vs Optics

M.D. Adds – my favorite sights for the AR-15 is the EOTech or Aimpoint, neither are cheap to purchase but you get what you pay for here…

Stupid Internet Gun Stuff – The Best Gun to have in a Gunfight

M.D. Adds: the best gun to have in a gun fight is…

pic of AR-15

Ready to rock!

What do you think is the best gun to have in a gun fight? Would love to hear your comments below…

Survivalize your gear with survival cord

by Jim Ballou – Author of –  Long-Term Survival in the Coming Dark Age – Preparing to Live after Society Crumbles

We visited this basic idea in a prior article describing how it might be utilized with a survival carbine, but here we will consider a broader application that involves wrapping other suitable survival gear with cordage. Tubular bodied flashlights, certain knife handles, fishing rods, walking staffs, cylindrical containers, ax and hatchet handles, and other tools and gear often lend themselves well to being wrapped with cord. The practice can be a practical one in my view, for at least three good reasons:

Miscellaneous tools and gear wrapped with survival cord to give it added utility.

Miscellaneous tools and gear wrapped with survival cord to give it added utility.

Reason 1: it guarantees that if you happen to have the wrapped item with you in an emergency situation, you will automatically have with you a supply of cord. The value of cord to someone in the wilderness is beyond description. If you endeavor to build a bow and arrow, you’ll need a bowstring.

If you decide to firmly bind a spearhead to a stick, or fabricate a throwing sling, you’ll need lengths of cord. Whenever you lace up your boots, tie down your gear to secure it, suspend your supplies or food high in a tree, lash poles together to make expedient camp furniture or emergency shelters, build survival snares, weave some netting, repair torn clothing, catch fish, pull an oil rag through the barrel of your shotgun, or rig a trip-wire alarm around the perimeter of your camp, chances are some type of cord will be used for the task. In my opinion you can never really have too much of the stuff at your disposal in the remote places.

Reason 2: a tight wrapping of cord can provide a certain layer of surface protection. Especially on something like the neck of an ax or splitter maul that is repeatedly subjected to the shock of impact with tough firewood during chopping and splitting, a cord-wrapped handle will sustain this shock arguably better than will an unbound handle.

Finally, a cord-wrapped surface provides a more secure grip than, say, a smooth bare wooden or plain steel handle. Sometimes simply maintaining a firm, no-slip grip on a tool can help prevent potentially nasty accidents. Additionally, a cord-wrapped handle tends to provide a more comfortable (or tolerable) grip in very cold or very hot weather.

Small items might also be wrapped with small cord, thread, or lace. This Zippo lighter’s surface was first wrapped with duct tape to help hold the cord in place.

Small items might also be wrapped with small cord, thread, or lace. This Zippo lighter’s surface was first wrapped with duct tape to help hold the cord in place.

Okay, so now that I’ve given you my three main reasons in favor of the survival cord wrap, I have to acknowledge that an argument against doing so also exists, and this was pointed out in comments following the article wherein I described wrapping the stock of a carbine.

It was explained that cordage, like any other fabric, tends to hold moisture and if kept close against most metal or wooden surfaces for a period of time will contribute to the rapid rusting, rotting, or corroding of these surfaces.

I believe this is a perfectly valid concern. I also understand that the idea proposed here isn’t for everyone, or necessarily even appropriate for every piece of survival gear. I think we should identify our priorities, and weigh all of the pros and cons whenever adding to or altering any important piece of equipment.

The handle of a stainless steel diver’s knife wrapped with #550 parachute cord.

The handle of a stainless steel diver’s knife wrapped with #550 parachute cord.

I will say, however, that I have been wrapping many of my own tools and other equipment with all kinds of cord for nearly three decades, and I have yet to ever personally observe this kind of problem with any of my wrapped gear. My guess is that nowadays with polymers, aluminum, and stainless steels being such popular materials comprising so much of our modern survival gear, this is perhaps not as common an issue now as it might have once been.

My answer to this controversy is simply, if our goal is to maximize the utility value and versatility of our gear for survival, then we need not concern ourselves much at all with these aesthetics issues. The possibility of causing a little surface rust over the long term would likely be the least of my concerns when faced with any immediate real-live survival situation.

Now, for those who ultimately decide to wrap their gear with cord, I have a few thoughts I wish to share with you. The type and size of cord will naturally be a very important consideration. Certain types of cordage are simply more practical for certain applications than others, and we have to think about our survival tasks. For sewing, I tend to lean toward heavier-than-necessary sizes of thread, to ensure maximum strength where long-lasting strength could be preferable.

For general-purpose small diameter cord (larger than thread but still smaller than parachute cord), I personally prefer Polyester Dacron instead of nylon for the material of composition, simply because Dacron stretches less (I have heard that Kevlar exhibits little or no stretch under tension as well, but I have no personal experience with it to share).

My thinking is that I might use it to improvise a bowstring, and I don’t want the cord’s length to start growing after a few shots. I also don’t have much faith in artificial sinew, because my understanding is that it is comprised of stretchy nylon. The American Indians used real animal sinews for bowstrings quite a lot, however, and it obviously served them very well.

Okay, so now let’s say you’ve chosen your cord and have decided to wrap it on some of your survival gear. We briefly discussed how to do this neatly and securely in the previous article, but it might warrant repeating for any new readers.

First, form a bight in the standing end of your cord and lay this stretched out flat along the length of the object being wrapped. Then wind tight and tidy coils of cord around the object (and over this bight), progressing towards the kink in the bight until only a small “eye” is left of it protruding from under the final end of the wrapping.

Now simply feed the running end through the eye and firmly pull on the standing end of your cord to draw the eye together with the trapped running end under the coils. Trim away any excess cord (and maybe melt the ends with a lighter to prevent fraying) and the task is complete.

If you wish to create a very temporary wrapping, it is easy to form a “quick release” in the running end that allows the cord to be removed quickly and without any cutting, or time-consuming prying and un-tying. While feeding the running end through the eye just before drawing everything together, simply double it back and run it though again so that the eye actually traps a bight in the running end. This leaves you an end of cord that can be pulled to undo the whole works.

Here a clear plastic jar used to store miscellaneous small hardware also serves as a handy spool for small-diameter survival cord.

Here a clear plastic jar used to store miscellaneous small hardware also serves as a handy spool for small-diameter survival cord.

I have found that the surfaces of some types of gear – glass jars come to mind – are slick and very difficult to firmly wrap with cord without having the coils sliding unmanageably all over the place. This is sometimes remedied by wrapping a layer of duct tape around the item before applying the cord, to give the cord something to grip onto.

I have also found that it is very easy to attach a lanyard cord to most objects by wrapping over the lanyard’s running end/ends. This could make an item more accessible perhaps by providing a convenient way to hang it from a hook or a branch, as well as making it easier to tie securely to something else like a belt loop or a backpack.

Needle cases normally just hold sewing needles, but yours can be wrapped with various sizes of thread to make them into complete little sewing kits, saving space in your gear.
Hopefully I’ve given you some food for though here. With just a bit of preparation to some of your gear as described in this article, you might never be without valuable cordage in the wilds.

Bio : Jim Ballou has worked as a self-employed, independent insurance agent and a freelance writer for over sixteen years. More than sixty of his magazine articles on a variety of topics ranging from primitive and early American crafts and tools to wilderness survival skills have appeared in five periodicals since 2000, includingBackwoods Home Magazine, The Backwoodsman, Wilderness Way Magazine, Primitive Archer Magazine, and Modern Survival Magazine.

Mr. Ballou’s first non-fiction book titled: Long-Term Survival in the Coming Dark Age was published by Paladin Press in 2007, and it quickly became a Paladin best seller. This was followed by four other popular non-fiction titles with Paladin Press, including: Makeshift Workshop Skills for Survival and Self-Reliance, MORE Makeshift Workshop Skills,Arming For The Apocalypse, and the most recent title, The Poor Man’s Wilderness Survival Kit.

Ballou’s interests are too varied to list here but include blacksmithing, gun collecting, target shooting, reading and learning about history, writing, camping, hunting, fishing, treasure hunting, exploring, experimenting with tools and creative processes, survival and self-reliance related topics, plus all of the primitive skills, among numerous other interests and hobbies. He lives with his wife and two kids in Idaho.

Review of The Ruger Scout Rifle in .223

Today’s non-fiction writing contest entry was submitted by WVMike

Ever since I bought the Ruger Scout Rifle in 7.63/.308 I have been hoping they would come out with one in 5.56. Two weeks ago I saw (and bought) one. One of the first things you will notice is the price tag. $1039 for a bolt action rifle is in my opinion very high. I ended up paying $850 out the door and traded for two more Magazines to go with it ($70 each from Ruger).

The first thing I would change on it is making them both accept AR Mags (or even M14/mini 14) as the ones they have are not only expensive but hard to find. The next thing I would change is nothing. This gun is great!

The 1 in 8 twist make it fine for your 55 grain military rounds but shines with 62-69 which give you a great deal of versatility in your hunting ammo selection. The optimum range from a 16” barrel in my opinion is going to be 300 yards and closer and at that range this gun shoots less then MOA. This will not replace the sniper rifle in your arsenal but be able to handle most shots that an average shooter will take.

A lot of thought went in to the making of this rifle, out of the box it has very usable ring and post sights that are usable for precision shooting out to 100 yards and would be find on man sized targets out to 300. It has a forward rail for a scout scope or any electronic sights one might choose. It also comes with rings for a normal scope but the rear sight needs to be removed to put them on. The birdcage flash suppressor is removable to allow a silencer or other attachments, and the stock comes with several spacers to allow a change in pull of the rifle.

If you have the money and are looking for a nice do it all rifle I would strongly suggest this one. If you are looking for a tool to fill a specific role, this is probable not the one for you. An AR is almost as accurate and can be deployed as a defensive rifle much more effectively.

A higher powered scoped rifle can reach out further and hit harder then this one for hunting and sniping. A Ruger 10/22 will take small game with less damage to the meat. While I really love this little rifle, honestly for the money I would make sure you have your other bases covered before purchasing unless you only plan on one firearm.

My final opinion of this rifle is it is a fast, lightweight, accurate firearm that can be used in a variety of roles form taking small to medium game (rabbits to deer) and even large with head shots. It could be employed in as a defensive rifle with interchangeable magazines and would be especially good for people with smaller frames or ones who could not handle a lot of recoil.

Over all it is a great fill in gun that I plan to take on camping trips or day hikes where I don’t expect to need a firearm.

Prizes for this round (ends April 23 2015 ) in our non fiction writing contest include… Please send your articles now!

  1. First place winner will receive –  A  case of six (6) #10 cans of Freeze Dried Military Pork Chops a $300 value courtesy of MRE Depot, and a  WonderMix Bread Mixer courtesy of FoodPrepper.com a $300 value and five bottles of the new Berkey BioFilm Drops a $150 value courtesy of LPC Survival – total prize value of over $750.
  2. Second place winner will receive –  A gift a gift certificate for $150 off of  Federal Ammunition courtesy of LuckyGunner Ammo.
  3. Third Place winner will receive –  A copy of my book ”31 Days to Survival: A Complete Plan for Emergency Preparedness“ and “Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat” courtesy of  TheSurvivalistBlog.net and copy of “The Survival Medicine Handbook” courtesy of www.doomandbloom.net.

How To Prepare a Survival Carbine

By Jim Ballou

For a lot of potential wilderness survival emergencies, a carbine of one variation or another chambered for a versatile hunting/defense cartridge seems especially practical in my view. With such a weapon you’d have rifle-like accuracy and power in a comparatively compact, portable platform, and for this reason I believe the carbine lends itself well as the basis for an emergency survival kit.
I chose to make my own such survival kit out of a Winchester Model 94 “Trapper” carbine with a legally minimum 16-inch barrel, chambered for 44 Remington Magnum (an earlier glimpse of this same project is featured in my book, Arming for the Apocalypse, available from Paladin Press).

The survival kit carbine

The survival kit carbine

I like this gun for this particular purpose because it’s a fast-handing repeating lever-action of a conveniently short and handy size, and its cartridge is not only interchangeable with my favorite revolver, but is also quite versatile. The 44 Magnum has been used since its introduction in the mid-1950’s to successfully hunt every species of North American big game, if my information is correct. My little carbine holds nine loaded rounds in its magazine tube, plus one in the chamber. For me, this is the perfect sit-around-the-campfire kind of gun. If some beast were to suddenly burst into my camp in the middle of the night and threaten my being or the safety of anyone else in the camp, I believe I would feel fairly secure having nine or ten fast rounds of 44 Magnum at my disposal to answer the threat with.

I am aware that this particular variation of the Model 94 is no longer manufactured by Winchester, but I still frequently see plenty of used ones offered for sale. I purchased mine new in 2002 when they were still in production, and I paid around $300.00 for it at that time. The used ones I’ve seen lately have been priced considerably higher. By the way, this same model was also offered in .357 Magnum, and I believe one in that chambering would also be an excellent choice for this purpose. Additionally, there are at least a few other lever-action rifles and carbines chambered for 44 Magnum currently available from other gun makers.

No doubt readers will think of other viable or possibly even more suitable carbine designs for their purposes, but whether we opt for a lever-action, semi-auto, pump-action, single-shot, or bolt-action, I think the general idea of a survival carbine would be basically the same.

Plate removed, showing small cavity in butt of stock for housing small survival gear.

Plate removed, showing small cavity in butt of stock for housing small survival gear.

I began my project by removing the butt plate and drilling a 5/8” diameter hole into the wooden stock, just deep enough to hold a few wooden matches, a hobby knife blade, some sewing needles with a length of thread, a cotton ball (for emergency fire starting tinder), and some fish hooks. I avoided the temptation to drill a larger hole that would house more gear, being careful to avoid compromising the stock’s structural integrity. After screwing the plate back on, I decided to sew a tiny pocket to the gun’s sling for stowing a short key-shaped screwdriver with the gun that fits the screws used to hold butt plate to the stock.

A tiny pocket made from leather scrap was stitched to the sling to house the key-shaped screwdriver for the butt plate.

A tiny pocket made from leather scrap was stitched to the sling to house the key-shaped screwdriver for the butt plate.

Next I wrapped the entire butt stock of the carbine with several sizes of utility/survival cord. If there is one type of product more generally utilitarian to a wilderness survivor than cordage, I am not aware of it. When I visit the woods I invariably end up using cord in shelter building or tent raising, tying down gear, repairing items, hanging supplies from tree branches, replacing boot laces, etc.

The task of wrapping a rifle stock with cord can be tricky, but I’ve learned a few little tricks that make this process easier and more successful. First, it is much easier when attempting to tightly wrap any tapered object with cord to start the process from the smaller diameter end of the thing and progress toward the larger portion, because the windings of cord have a tendency to slide apart while wrapping them on a body tapering downward. You will want to keep your wraps even and tight together.

A second trick involves using a wrapping technique commonly employed in whipping the ends of rope with small cord, and this is how you can avoid entirely the use of bulky knots that eventually unravel, while also maintaining a more permanent and tighter wrap. This can be done simply by forming a bight in the standing end of your cord and laying this bight stretched out along the length of the item you want to wrap, and wrap your windings of cord over it together with the (gun stock, in this case) until your windings approach the remaining eye in the end of the bight.

At that point you feed the running end through the eye, and pull on the standing end of your cord to draw the bight and running end under the tight wraps. I sometimes use two pairs of pliers to firmly grip and keep both ends of the cord taut during this finishing stage.

Finally, I discovered that by adding a furniture tack at the comb of the stock I was able to provide a much-needed ledge to hold back the wraps of cord at that point. Without something like this, there is nothing to prevent the windings of cord from merely slipping over the edge of the comb.

Close up view of the wrist area. Note also that the lever itself has some cord wrapped onto it.

Close up view of the wrist area. Note also that the lever itself has some cord wrapped onto it.

Wrapping the wrist area of a Model 94 Winchester requires some care, because there is a safety button in the lower tang that must be depressed by the closed lever before the gun will fire. So, any wraps of cord around that area must not be too thick or interfere with that little button, because if they do the weapon won’t work.

After I had wrapped several layers of small cord on the carbine’s stock, I decided that a cloth shell holder that goes over the butt stock could be a handy thing. After adding that, I found that a lock-blade knife with a belt clip that would firmly slide under the back end of the shell holder could also be very handy to have in the woods. I eventually secured this knife into position more permanently by tying it on using several lengths of small diameter cord.

A lock blade knife with a belt clip fits conveniently onto the stock’s shell holder.

A lock blade knife with a belt clip fits conveniently onto the stock’s shell holder.

At some point it occurred to me that the gun’s sling would lend itself quite well as a shell holder as well as a pouch for more small survival gear. The sling I had purchased for the carbine came with a few cartridge loops already, but I wanted a few more. I discovered that a belt slider with six cartridge loops could be positioned in a convenient section of the sling and stitched into place to prevent it from sliding around. I also discovered that this created a sort of convenient pocket between the belt slider and the sling, inside which I managed to fit a small bag of some basic survival items like a ferrocerium sparking tool, a small knife, a wire saw, bandages, more small-diameter cord and fishing tackle, a button compass, etc.

Examples of lightweight survival gear that can be carried on a rifle sling: 1) small knife, 2) sparking tool, 3) wire saw, 4) button compass, 5) #6 barbed fish hooks, 6) needles & thread for emergency repairs, 7) birthday candle, will sustain small flame for 35 minutes, and 8) band aids and butterfly sutures.

Examples of lightweight survival gear that can be carried on a rifle sling: 1) small knife, 2) sparking tool, 3) wire saw, 4) button compass, 5) #6 barbed fish hooks, 6) needles & thread for emergency repairs, 7) birthday candle, will sustain small flame for 35 minutes, and 8) band aids and butterfly sutures.

To make all these goodies thus mounted on the sling (including those spare rounds stowed in the cartridge loops) more secure, I ended up wrapping a handkerchief around the whole works and binding it up with a few lengths of small cord. While the sling may now be a tad more bulky and heavy with all of these things on it, it is still nevertheless usable as a carry sling.

A handkerchief tied on helps to protect the ammo in cartridge loops and all the survival gear on the sling.

A handkerchief tied on helps to protect the ammo in cartridge loops and all the survival gear on the sling.

Ultimately I ended up with not only a handy little 44 Magnum carbine to take along camping and scouting around in the woods, with its spare ammunition stowed “on board”, but in fact a survival kit system of its own. So, will this resulting mess of outdoor gear form part of my emergency Bug-Out Bag arsenal? You bet it will. With a set-up like this a survivor would have plenty of possibilities available to him in an emergency.

Bio:  Jim Ballou has worked as a self-employed, independent insurance agent and a freelance writer for over sixteen years. More than sixty of his magazine articles on a variety of topics ranging from primitive and early American crafts and tools to wilderness survival skills have appeared in five periodicals since 2000, includingBackwoods Home Magazine, The Backwoodsman, Wilderness Way Magazine, Primitive Archer Magazine, and Modern Survival Magazine.

Mr. Ballou’s first non-fiction book titled: Long-Term Survival in the Coming Dark Age was published by Paladin Press in 2007, and it quickly became a Paladin best seller. This was followed by four other popular non-fiction titles with Paladin Press, including: Makeshift Workshop Skills for Survival and Self-Reliance, MORE Makeshift Workshop Skills,Arming For The Apocalypse, and the most recent title, The Poor Man’s Wilderness Survival Kit.

Ballou’s interests are too varied to list here but include blacksmithing, gun collecting, target shooting, reading and learning about history, writing, camping, hunting, fishing, treasure hunting, exploring, experimenting with tools and creative processes, survival and self-reliance related topics, plus all of the primitive skills, among numerous other interests and hobbies. He lives with his wife and two kids in Idaho.