Metallic Cartridge Reloading In The Prepper Tool Kit

14 Jul

Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This post was an entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Matt W in January of 2017. I am re-posting it because I have had many questions of late on the cost effectiveness of reloading vs stockpiling commercial ammunition and I am still on the fence on the subject in general.

Being a “doer” like most preppers I have always been fascinated with the idea of loading my own ammo. Perhaps caught up in the advertising that shows a rugged individual working a re-loader in a nice wood-paneled room full of hunting gear and trophies, wearing a plaid flannel shirt, a steaming cup of coffee (or hot chocolate) on the bench, with trees in autumn colors outside the window, and of course, his favorite hunting dog laying at his feet in anticipation of time in the field filling his head. 

The cold hard fact from my point of view is that I did not do enough shooting to really justify the initial investment. I once actually had the whole deal in a shopping cart at a favorite supply store. I love hunting upland birds and shooting skeet and trap, but life has gotten in the way of that almost daily. Am I the only one who realizes the more time-saving gadgets I have the less time I have to take advantage of them? So I returned everything to its rightful place back on the shelf. I was looking at $900 and couldn’t justify it not having shot that much commercial ammunition in the preceding 18 months. Of course I would be ahead now, 6 years later, but just barely. And now, looking at favorite pistol and rifle calibers, I see some sense in it as I once had a 264 Winchester Magnum that was a GREAT varmint rifle but commercial ammo was expensive, still is. Traded it away when $$$ was tight. Don’t know that I would have shot it enough to recoup the investment but I would love to have that rifle back. The clarity of hindsight.

In any case I would love to hear what other preppers think on the subject. Wild Bill


With the interest in the preparedness lifestyle growing at an explosive rate, one important skill is often brushed aside: reloading ammunition. Often, persons embarking on their own personal prepping journey will procrastinate on learning to reload their own ammunition. The reasons to put off learning to reload are understandable. Often, many people would rather just buy more firearms and more ammunition than put the time and money into learning reloading. People usually are put off by the expense of reloading equipment, feel that they do not have the time to learn reloading, or they do not have a person available to teach them.

Learning about all the reloading equipment and techniques can seem daunting at first but the skill is worth the effort. The initial investment in equipment and supplies for reloading can cost as little as about $300 or as much as one is willing to spend. However, there are many benefits to making the investment. First, a person can save a lot of money reloading, quickly recouping the startup costs. Second, by reloading ammunition a person can get much improved accuracy over using only factory ammunition. Third, for many rifle and pistol calibers a hand-loader will have many more choices available than solely relying on factory offerings, the combinations of components are near infinite. Fourth, reloading will allow a person to have ample supply of hard to find ammunition for a favorite pet caliber, unusual and rare cartridge, or old hunting rifle. Finally, when the next ammo shortage happens the reloader will be able to maintain his / her stockpile. As can be seen, there are many good reasons for preppers to take up reloading and each one will be looked in more detail.

Lee Precision Breech Lock Challenger Kit – Great starter reloading option.

Without a doubt, one of the most popular reasons that persons learn to reload ammunition is to save money. Ammunition is expensive and it is not getting any cheaper! However, anywhere from 65% to 80% of the cost of ammunition is in the cartridge case. Therefore, a person should always pick up their spent cartridge cases. That reusable brass case ties up a bunch of money, too much money to just leave laying on the ground like garbage. For example: if a box of rifle ammunition cost around $20 then about $15 of that is likely tied up in just the cartridge cases. No one would walk by $15 laying on the ground and not pick it up but people will leave perfectly good cartridge cases laying all over the range. A person could reload that box of ammo for $5 or less. That savings adds up fast and recoups the initial investment in equipment. The amount of money saved can be used to buy more ammo, more guns, optics, range time, training, prepping supplies, and on and on. If shooting those big safari rifles is appealing, the savings to the reloader are truly amazing. Some big game rifles cost the shooter anywhere from $5 to over $25 every time the trigger is pulled. This cost can prevent any frequent or meaningful target practice, often even impairing properly sighting in the weapon or zeroing a scope. Reloading can make shooting these big guns affordable and fun. As mentioned earlier, cost savings is a major motivator for reloaders. As a person living the preparedness lifestyle, allocating money and resources properly to maintain a regular life while preparing for the worst events is an ongoing process. Reloading is a good way to help preppers cut cost and spare resources.

Obtaining greater accuracy is another good reason to learn reloading. Many people who start reloading just to save money quickly discover this benefit. The quest for peak accuracy is what gets many people really fired up about reloading. Once a person experiences how easy it is to increase accuracy for a given load, they are well on the way to a life time of reloading. Firearms are expensive. Many times, people have been very disappointed with a new firearms shot groups, assuming there is a problem with the expensive new weapon. After hand-loading some ammunition, they have discovered there is nothing wrong with the weapon and that factory available ammunition is causing this sub-par performance. For example: this is very typical for 45 Colt revolvers. Historically, there has been some variation in bore diameters of production revolvers in this caliber. For safety reasons, the major ammunition manufacturers will produce loaded ammo with bullets in the smallest produced bore diameter. In some guns, these too small bullets will not engage the rifling’s and just rattle down the barrel, flying erratically out the muzzle. Accuracy is unbelievably poor when this happens. An easy fix for a reloader is to determine the bore diameter and reload using bullets of the appropriate diameter. This method has been proven to turn poorly grouping guns into tack drivers. Sometimes, the problem with a firearms accuracy is not in the gun but in the ammunition. Loading one’s own ammunition can help correct that.

Reloading greatly improves consistency and uniformity in the loaded cartridges. Hand-loading can definitely help with increasing accuracy over the modest distances of handgun ranges but the most dramatic improvements can be gained over the longer ranges usually shot with rifles. Some factory ammunition is very good. However, hand-loads will give the best and most accurate results over factory loaded ammunition. Much of the accuracy potential in a batch of hand-loads comes from consistency gained through precise attention to detail. With factory ammunition, there can easily be a 5% to 10% variation in muzzle velocity from shot to shot. A careful hand-loader can greatly reduce that variation in muzzle velocity, which will give a more consistent point of impact. Reloaders can also adjust the overall length of the loaded cartridge by adjusting bullet seating depth to better match the specific weapon they are using. This will improve accuracy by reducing bullet jump (distance a bullet travels before engaging the rifling) and more closely aligning the bullet center with the bore axis when the rifling is engaged, resulting in a better spin and truer flight. A careful reloader can more precisely align the bullet into the case, keeping the center of the bullet more closely on the axis of the weapon’s bore. The reloader is in control of every variable of the cartridge. The case lengths can be trimmed to exact specifications. Case mouths and crimping can be uniformed. Any possible variable can be minimized or eliminated to produce the most consistent ammunition, which all leads to better shot groups. Competitive shooters have long known that hand-loading is the way to get out the most accuracy from their weapons.

If a person is not shooting one of the more popular calibers, they may be disappointed with choices in factory available ammunition. Some of the lesser known, newly introduced, or very old calibers will not have enough choices of bullet styles and weights available in factory production ammunition. Some very capable cartridges are no longer offered in newly manufactured ammunition. A reloader will still have the ability to produce ammunition for these discontinued calibers. Dies and cartridge cases can still be purchased for calibers that have been discontinued long ago. Handloading or reloading ammunition is a way to get around these limitations.

The combinations of components are limitless. Bullet weights and shapes can be chosen specifically for maximum efficiency for any given purpose. Different bullet tip shapes, ogives, and base configurations can be chosen to fit a rifle or load for greater accuracy, consistency, or function. A person can load expanding bullets into cartridges for old surplus rifles that are generally only available in full metal jacket configuration, turning that old surplus rifle into a viable hunting weapon. Different propellants will burn with different rates and characteristics. This will affect muzzle velocity, consistency, and accuracy. With so many possible combinations of bullets, propellants, primers, and cases, a person can tailor a specific load for any purpose. If the goal is to get maximum efficiency, maximum utility, maximum accuracy, or effectiveness over a wide range of shooting distances, reloaders can tailor ammunition to any purpose. The sky’s the limit on possible loadings.

Money lying on the ground?

One very important thing to anyone living the preparedness lifestyle is securing and maintaining an ammunition supply. In recent years in the United States, we have experienced several ammunition shortages of varying degrees and durations. Everyone knows that is not a question of whether or not there will be another ammunition supply interruption but when the next big one is coming. The author remembers a time when he would give no consideration to leaving the house with a firearm without any ammo thinking “I’ll just pick up some on the way to the shooting range.” It is getting better but not quite back to those days yet. Certainly, anyone reading this article has not so distant memories of going to wally-world and seeing the ammo shelves empty. During the last ammo shortage, reloading components were still available for a time after all the ammo was off the shelves, allowing reloaders to stock up on components before the supply temporarily dried up. Reloading components are easy to stock up on. For example: at the time of writing this article Unique and Power Pistol powders were about $20 a pound. A person could load up around 1,150 rounds of 9mm ammo with one pound of these powders! Store a few pounds of powder and a person is set up to last through the ammo drought. Another way for a reloader to cut cost and extend his or her ammo supply is to cast lead bullets. After the initial cost of equipment, money saved by casting bullets will quickly recover the startup costs. Additionally, lead could be gathered from alternative sources instead of buying it. This will allow the resourceful prepper to make lead bullets at no cost. With some components in storage, the resourceful prepper can spend a little time in the evening reloading and replenishing his or her ammo supply when everyone else is scrounging for ammo or getting gouged by online price hikes.

So, it’s easy to see how reloading is another valuable tool in well-rounded preppers kit. Many people tend to feel rushed and overwhelmed when coming into the preparedness lifestyle. Along with marksmanship, martial arts, archery, fishing, hunting, farming, canning, tanning, mechanics, carpentry, communications, first aid, sewing, sanitation, and land navigation (just to get started) reloading seems like a ton to learn. However, persons reading this already have a great asset: motivation. If a person is willing and motivated to learn, there is a wealth of resources available.

Everyone is different and learns differently. For some people, it will be very difficult to pick up a reloading manual and start off reloading without any issues. For most people, the easiest and fastest way to learn is to have a someone actually show them step by step how to do it. Unfortunately, unless someone already knows a friend or family member who reloads it can be difficult to connect with someone willing to teach. No one wants to deal with that grumpy old condescending jerk at the local gun shop or put up with the know it all attitude from gun show arm chair rangers. This is why I’ve taken it upon myself to bring reloading to the preparedness community. I had no one to help me when I was learning reloading. It was frustrating. There is a whole new crowd of people who are either first time gun owners or have a general interest in firearms but feel isolated because they don’t have good resource people in their social circle. Often these persons are turned off to guns or discouraged because someone at a gun shop or gun show discouraged them or talked to them like they were stupid. That is why I am passionate about teaching others to reload. I offer completely free help, advice, and information in an encouraging, supportive, and nonjudgmental environment through email. Even though anyone could pick up good info from my emails, my emails are geared toward persons who have no or very little knowledge and / or experience with reloading. All you need is an inbox and a desire to learn. I’m not compensated for this service in any way by any one. This is just my way to give back to a great community. I send out emails regularly with reloading related content. Additionally, anyone can send me a message and ask anything they want about reloading. It’s a totally free service. You can follow the link below to sign up to my email list or just message me directly at matt@mattseasyreloading.com or you can subscribe to my newsletter at https://forms.aweber.com/form/82/515771282.htm

I’ll look forward to your questions,
Matt “Papa Bear” Wooddell

The post Metallic Cartridge Reloading In The Prepper Tool Kit appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

The Tactics of a Gunfight After SHTF

21 Jun

Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Kirk Reynolds. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.


Looking around I couldn’t find an important piece of information – how one should fight in a SHTF situation. I think this is an important topic to cover because it has several special circumstances that need to be considered.

  1. Ammo will need to be conserved – I don’t care how many rounds you have saved up, it won’t be enough and the long-term of a complete collapse of society (potentially 40+ years) means that from the get go every single shot will be precious.
  2. Due to the fact that it is almost a certainty that combatants will be intensely familiar with the area and possibly have been residing for a long period of time it rather changes the mechanics of combat.
  3. Due to limited manpower and the fact that any attrition will be felt heavily, patrols, night combat, and outposts will be nigh impossible to field with regularity.
  4. Expanding on the above, most medication has a limited shelf life and even minor wounds will start to become quite threatening (increased risk of disease and infection) – Medication will run out fast.

With that in mind, let us analyse why tactical considerations are always important and what style of fighting we will have to adopt. Due to the fact that ammo will always be a luxury, modern tactics which rely on the idea of expending more ammo in a gunfight at the foe over men or positioning is obviously not possible.

Now – every weapon you should use should focus on stopping power, the smallest cartridge in your arsenal should be 6.5mm (handguns excluded). Whilst 5.56 has good aerodynamics and is plentiful it simply is designed to suppress whilst a mortar, grenade, or artillery piece does the killing – it simply isn’t designed with taking down man-sized targets with minimal rounds (I have heard anecdotes of anywhere between 5-15 torso shots on an adrenalized up foe before they go down).

With that out-of-the-way – let us look at the overall thought process and things to identify before you engage in any situation.

  1. Manpower: Who has more bodies at their disposal – do they look weak and ill-trained or are their movements/positions well thought out and the men (and women!) well fed? Are they all moving armed or do they have the luxury of people dedicated to guard duties?
  2. Armament: What weapons are they using – are they rusted and in ill repair? Can you identify if they are carrying enough ammo for everyone to fight adequately?
  3. Maneuver: Who is in the better position? – do they have a path of pursuit and escape, do they have a height advantage? Importantly are they defending something valuable (like a base or stash)? If so you may have the luxury of being able to attack at will, the same thing goes if you are on the defensive.

From these 3 guidelines a threat level can be deduced, obviously there will be some situation where one advantage is so great that it will offset disadvantages – this is a rough guideline. If they check off none, then you are probably in a position to utilize a diplomatic approach and join groups. If they check off one of 3 then you should approach with caution, maybe attempt to surround them at night and make your intentions clear – again diplomacy may be the best decision here. If they check two of three than combat should be avoided until you are in a position to use your advantage to overwhelm them (attacking at night, in an ambush, etc). Do not attempt diplomacy at this threat level as you will not be in a position to make a fair deal and all emphasis should be placed on evening the odds or avoiding the threat. Finally if they check off all three do not engage at all, the goal is survival not heroic death and if worst comes to worst retreating completely or surrendering goods is preferable to a bullet in the brain. They still are people and unless you are absolutely sure that they are completely hostile they may be willing to work with you.

Now with the overall threat assessment done we may now talk about the five stages of combat (Recce, Skirmish, Combat, Push/Withdraw, Decisive Blow/Total Withdrawal).

RECCE

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.” – Sun Tzu

Recce is often the most overlooked stage of combat but it is BY FAR the most important. Recce is the mode of thought that you should be on at all times, dispatching a scout if possible and identifying incoming threats. The more focus you place on recce the more forewarning you will have as to inbound threats, and more time to prepare/evacuate. Obviously you will be unable to have a complete recon net due to limited supplies but any extra hands should be trained for recce and dispatched when possible.

This is where you will identify your enemies capabilities on your threat checklist and decide whether to choose engagement/diplomacy/retreat. Just to outline how vital this is, 90% of a good tactician’s skill is how the deploy and utilize information from recce, with the other 10% being a good leader with good interpersonal skills and the ability to keep cool under pressure.

SKIRMISH

This is where you action your initial decision on engaging the enemy, it is the period where hostilities have begun but you are not locked into a fight. This will be the period where you harry the enemy with traps and marksman to attempt to pick off men before you attack or they reach your designated point of defense (usually your fortifications).

Some skirmishes may only last a minute or two and some may be the entire fight, note that your main focus should be leaders and sensitive targets (heavily armed fighters and if possible, medics). The goal of this will be to break your enemies organisation and morale when combat begins – that being said…

COMBAT

This will be the time when individual training counts. Communication will be close to impossible in this brief period and this is where the most casualties will be sustained – though despite this being the most calamitous point of a fight it will be the least important for you as the person in command. Your main role will be encouraging your men and stopping any obvious screw-ups.

What you should be watching closely is the movement of combat, are you making good progress towards your goal or are you sustaining casualties – are there hostile elements that you were unaware of?

Before I make my next point the thing to keep in mind is that in a ‘battle’ there may be multiple combats, intensive fighting between periods of skirmish, pushing, and retreat.

PUSH/WITHDRAW

This is as much a phase of combat as it is its own separate action, and the commands will have to be executed well and especially in the case of a withdrawal you need pre-planned points to ensure cohesiveness.

Really the most that can be said of pushing is that your enemy has begun to break or have thinned enough that they can no longer maintain the area their position demands, as I would expect almost all combatants to be ill-trained this will almost certainly result in a decisive victory as the enemy breaks completely.

However, keeping your men together in the case of a withdrawal is another issue. The things to watch out for: can you retreat to your designated point safely (if you have one – keep in mind most defense should take a multi layered approach), do you have enough manpower left to pursue another attack, is the enemy willing to pursue or are they holding position. If it is the latter the combat may switch to a skirmishing stance again.

TOTAL WITHDRAWAL/ DECISIVE BLOW

Decisive blow: Your enemy has completely shattered, this is the period encompassing cleaning up resistance before taking stock of supplies and beginning the process of recce again – re-assessing.

Total Withdrawal: This comes about one of two ways – Your force has broken and are fleeing in a blind panic, or it is (hopefully) an organised retreat to put some distance between yourselves and the enemy combatants and re-asses. You will again need to survey the situation and determine the next point of action for your group.

Something to note – Overall your group should always be prepared for a total retreat, even an easy fight could be a ruse and you always need to be prepared to move and maintain as many supplies as possible.

The post The Tactics of a Gunfight After SHTF appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Mechanical Gun Safes – Bedside Pistol Safe

20 Jun

Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter the Prepper Journal’s Writing Contest today.


In this conversation, we’re discussing pistol safes for use in a defensive situation where everything’s on the line.

I imagine myself in a scenario where I’m woken up by a bump in the night. Likely taking place in the wee hours of the morning. An uninvited guest decides to bless me with their presence and take what they please. When my life is threatened, I’d confidently respond with a Glock® 17 and the necessary amount of Speer +P Gold Dots. Now, to get this out of the way. I have a love for all things Glock®, and think the Glock® 19 is the pinnacle of well-rounded self-defense weaponry in pistol form, and this is my scenario, so we’re sticking with the Glock®. To that end, I choose the 17 for my bedside defense out of a healthy respect for the benefits of increased sight radius. Also, I’m not confined by space for concealed carry, nor do I care about printing. Insert your firearm of preference for use with your imagination.

Obviously, in nearly any circumstance I’d always choose a rifle given the option, but remember, this conversation is about a bedside pistol safe for defensive use, that are accessible quickly. If we wanted to get into it, we could discuss benefits of room clearing, and reduced penetration through drywall of some pistol rounds in comparison to rifles. We’ll save this for another discussion, however.

RFID

I move towards my pistol safe and realize my RFID bracelet is in the kitchen next to my wallet. I don’t sleep in my kitchen. I don’t sleep wearing a Live Strong bracelet, and never will. No Bueno.

Digital

Adrenaline flowing, I roll towards my pistol safe and enter the super-secret passcode. I expect a loud Bleep, Bleep, Bloop, followed by a holy presentation of my Glock®. Only this time, the batteries are dead… Also, I left the override key near my wallet, in the kitchen, with my RFID bracelet from above…

Fingerprint

You know where this is going. My IPhone 7 only works a third of the time when trying to unlock it in perfect conditions. My SpeedVault pistol safe set me back $180. No chance this is an improvement over the IPhone. I’m not even going to risk it. This is something I’d never consider as a defensive and readily available gun storage container with its challenging, at best, unlock mechanism. Not ideal for reliably dispensing my Glock® on demand.

Mechanical

Now we’re talking. Through muscle memory and repetition, I effortlessly enter my code. Feeling the quiet yet audible tactile clicks of each button, followed by a quarter turn of the release knock. I know what comes next. The safe opens via spring hydraulic lifts with a perfect presentation of my Glock®. It’s reliable, predictable, and highly resistant to failure – unlike many things in life. There are many good mechanical safe options on the market but look at www.Fas1safe.com for bed side or floor mounted placement.

Why a pistol safe?

In a perfect world, I’d have my rifle sitting bedside. One problem. In my perfect world, there are other people. Some of these people make it not so perfect. For my safety (i.e. unwanted access), and theirs, particularly with children in mind, a safe is the responsible option for me. The best I can do is apply the most effective tool for the job, and for me, that’s a mechanical pistol safe. Failure of deployment is unacceptable; it must be mechanical.

Mechanical safes are where I put my trust. I refuse to rely on electrical opening mechanisms, finger print scanners, and RFID bracelets to stand between me and my firearm. With that said, I’m a millennial, I love polymer guns, and 1911’s equally, and I have children, so I train for and prep with their safety in mind.

Soon, we talk large gun safes, mechanical vs. electrical.

FAS1Safe

The Plate Carrier is an AR500 Armor® Micro Plate Carrier loaded with Level III+ Lightweight Body Armor:

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4 Absolutely Necessary Things Every Prepper Must Realize

17 Jun

Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Kirk Reynolds. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.


Now, I have been doing this for over ten years and have been actively involved in a small community of like-minded people for almost as much time – and I have seen plenty of folks come and go (especially since the rise of the show Doomsday Preppers). I – more so than a lot of people involved in this – have dealt with A LOT of other preppers face to face and I want to talk about the patterns that I have seen form over the years.

Before anything else I will quickly mention one thing that has been repeated a lot but is always worth mentioning – physical fitness! I have met people who hold the belief that it doesn’t matter if they cannot handle a flight of stairs as ‘the weight will come off when it needs too’ and ‘my body will adapt’. You can be the best prepared and equipped person on Earth but the harsh reality is that day zero will involve a lot of hard work, even if you intend to hunker down, you need to take into consideration preparing your AO and getting there. The reality is that no matter the event, prepping without the willingness to make some sacrifice to fitness is hoarding under a different name.

Now with that over with…

Skills – not stuff!

All too frequent is the mentality that having lots of “things” is going to make a SHTF scenario easier; while yes, there is a baseline amount of prepping supplies that will improve your chances and are basically necessities (A good knife, a map, a plan, and a gun depending on how you feel about the situation) that isn’t everything. What I am talking about is the huge tendency to believe that having an object is the same as being able to use said object proficiently.

Using a knife as an example – I believe that you will be hard pressed to find a single prepper that doesn’t carry a knife and have a good fixed blade somewhere. However I would say over 80% of preppers do not have knife skills, what I mean by this is do you know you to whittle, make traps, baton well, the uses for various knife blades and shapes, and how to dress a kill for hide and meat?

The same can be said of maps – yes navigating when you know your initial position is easy, but in the event you get disoriented can you triangulate your position with landmarks. What if you do not know the area, can you still find your way around?

Chances are that no matter how well prepared you are, a SHTF scenario will – eventually be similar to living in a completely infrastructure-less environment. Backpacking over a multi-week time period and hunting are excellent ways to learn many skills to make your life easier.

What are your gear priorities?

people tend to think of prepping items of - it is good to have. Instead try to think of it in a mindset of ‘what else could I bring instead’.

People tend to think of prepping items of – it is good to have. Instead try to think of it in a mindset of ‘what else could I bring instead’.

Prepping – like engineering, is not about having the most of everything, it is about having the right amount of everything. Whether you intend to stay or bug out, it is of course important to have the skills (Can you pack a bag correctly etc). However I see many people approaching with a mindset of hoarding will make things easier, as an example I spoke to a man whom had 43 different weapons with almost 500 days of non-perishable food. This mindset of buying without realizing that in a SHTF scenario every item you bring or stock has a cost.

For example with every weapon that man owned he was paying a price in 3 different ways.

  1. Obviously, space and weight. That 2.5 Kg rifle could be swapped for 2.5 Kg of water purification tablets, ammunition or tools – people tend to think of prepping items of – it is good to have. Instead try to think of it in a mindset of ‘what else could I bring instead’.
  2. Ultimately guns must be maintained regularly and more guns will mean more maintenance and man hours spent tending to your weapons.
  3. Finally, almost everything that is a tool for your own survival is also a tool AGAINST your survival. A bigger stash makes you more attractive to bandits and in this situation the only reason to have that many weapons was to maintain a guard force large enough to protect 200-300 people. If your plan is to conscript people and form a sizable community for survival that is fine, but having 40 people armed and only having enough farming tools and equipment to support 10 long-term is very dangerous.

Learn to maintain and make everything!

Learn as much passing knowledge on simple items as possible, learn to make bows, furniture, simple houses, simple clothes, simple bags, and anything along that line

Learn as much passing knowledge on simple items as possible, learn to make bows, furniture, simple houses, simple clothes, simple bags, and anything along that line

This is less applicable for people prepping for 3-4 day events like earthquakes and more aimed at people prepping for a complete breakdown of human society for an indefinite period of time. All too often I hear statements like ‘I have these 2 really super high quality solar panels so I will be fine’ unfortunately the reality is even the most expensive and well made tools money can buy are unlikely to survive 10 years of use. It may not be a nice reality but the reality is that any tool that you bring that cannot be replicated with basic machining knowledge and tools is temporary.

Learn the basics of reshaping scrap metal and wood – learn to make a furnace with materials that are renewable (Think clay and charcoal for the fire). Learn as much passing knowledge on simple items as possible, learn to make bows, furniture, simple houses, simple clothes, simple bags, and anything along that line – not only will it be useful in equipping your group but also for trading, a working and replaceable long-range weapon like a bow will be worth more than luxury cars 15 years after a collapse.

And finally, learn how to lead and how humans think.

People, given tools and direction can and will work and provide for themselves and the unprepared group who bands together will outlast the lone prepper.

People, given tools and direction can and will work and provide for themselves and the unprepared group who bands together will outlast the lone prepper.

Prepping has a strong theme of different strokes for different folks but one of the most common themes is ‘Everyone is going to be marauders and is going to be after me and I am going to have to kill so many hapless raiders and that justifies my federal armory of weapons!’. I have served, and I have been in disaster situations both long and short-term and the reality is there will be raiders for maybe a week – tops.

After that people will work together on a small-scale (think tribes) because we are naturally altruistic. After maybe a year or two and people are established raids will begin again. Preppers are almost always very exclusionary – I have met people who think the world will end if you share your beans but it is almost exactly the opposite.

People, given tools and direction can and will work and provide for themselves and the unprepared group who bands together will outlast the lone prepper. Television always portrays survival groups as a bunch of assholes all fighting for dominance all the time but really, it is the opposite! Almost always everyone just agrees they need food or whatever and no one steps up to the plate to really make decisions. Be that person and you will form a group of 20-30 people who will work for you and with you to make everyone’s lives better – it is how we are programmed.

The final note I leave you with on this topic is that people always form tribes and tribes are ALWAYS communal. Don’t expect that refusing to share what you have will extend your life at all.

The post 4 Absolutely Necessary Things Every Prepper Must Realize appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Essential Disaster Preparedness Tips for College Students

14 Jun

Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: Today’s article is courtesy of Gloria Kopp. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter the Prepper Journal’s Writing Contest today.


No one likes to think about it, but disasters can happen anywhere, and that includes at college. If you’re studying away from home, it’s a good idea to have a plan in place, just in case the worst happens. How you view your own personal disaster preparedness options could be the difference between life and death. Here’s what you should do if a disaster happens at your school.

Prepare before the worst happens

Being prepared is the key to avoiding the worst in any disaster. If you take the time now to get a plan together, you’ll be a step ahead if anything occurs:

  • Find out what’s likely in your area: Depending on where you’re studying, you could be at risks of floods, or maybe earthquakes. Take the time to look up what natural disasters are likely to occur in your area. That way, you can start planning for these properly.
  • Put essential contacts in your phone: If you don’t have your emergency contacts in your phone, now’s the time to program them in. “When you do so, make sure you start the contact name with ‘ICE’ or ‘In Case of Emergency’. That way, emergency workers can easily contact the right people if needs be”, – says Emelle Ruth, a College Coordinator at Paper Fellows.
  • Know your escape routes: In the buildings you frequent most, like your dorms or your classrooms, know where your nearest exits are. In the event of a disaster like a fire, you’re going to need to know how to get out quickly. It’s worth practicing these routes a few times, so you know where you’re going if the eventuality occurs.
  • Take a course in first aid: This is always a useful skill to have, but especially in a disaster situation. A course in first aid or CPR won’t cost you much, but you’ll have the means to help yourself and others if the time comes.

Make a disaster kit

Another good way of making sure you’re prepared is to make a disaster kit. Keep it stored in a safe place in your dorm, and you’ll be ready if you find yourself without power, or stranded in the building or an extended period of time. This should include:

  • First aid kit: This doesn’t have to be too involved, but you will need the essentials. Buy items such as bandages, non aspirin painkillers, anti septic cream, burn spray, and gloves. Make sure you have enough to patch somebody up if you need to.
  • Food and water: Keep some non perishable food around, as well as a few large bottles of water. The water will be a great help if the water is cut off, and the food should last for a few days if needed. Check the dates on the food regularly, as even emergency rations do have an expiry date.
  • Flashlight: Essential if the lights are shut off. Make sure you put fresh batteries in it, and put away some spares, too.
  • Blankets: If the heat goes off and it’s the middle of winter, you’re going to want an easy way of staying warm. A pile of thick, warm blankets will do the trick.

Prepare for the most common emergencies

Now you have the basics down, you’ll need to ensure that you’re prepared, no matter what happens. Here are some of the more common emergencies that happen, and how to deal with them.

Fire

Fires can happen anywhere, but they’re an eventuality that most schools are actually well prepared for. Mary Walton, psychologist and author of SimpleGrad comments the issue: “When you start at your school, you’ll have the fire alarm system explained to you. Ensure that you’re listening carefully, as there’s a lot of important information you’ll need to know”.

Typically, you’ll see fire exits clearly marked in every building you go into. If you hear the alarm go off, you need to exit using these routes, without stopping to collect your belongings. At your school there will be clearly marked meeting points. Make your way there, and wait for further instructions.

If you encounter a fire, the best thing to do is to set off the fire alarm yourself, and then exit the building. If you have the means to fight it and you feel safe to do so, you can attempt to put it out yourself. If you’re unsure though, it’s best to remove yourself from danger.

Earthquake

There’s no pre-warning system in place for when an earthquake hits, so the first you’ll know of it is when it happens. However, you can still keep yourself safe.

If you’re in class, your teacher will instruct you to drop to the ground and take shelter under the desks until the earthquake subsides. Then, they’ll evacuate you as soon as it’s over. This is to get you to safety before aftershocks occur.

Hurricanes

These sound frightening, but you’ll usually get good warning before a hurricane reaches you. This means you can be prepared.

Make sure you’re paying attention to warnings when they occur. Take heed, and get to safety as soon as you can. Your school will have a plan to get students out of danger, and into a safe place, so look into yours. You’ll want to stay away from buildings with large windows, as the risk of breaking glass is high.

Tornadoes

Tornadoes can have up to 3 minutes warning time, but they can often have little to no warning at all. Once they form, they move quickly, so you must be prepared. The key is to move quickly once you know it’s coming.

You’ll want to evacuate to an area that’s lowest on your campus, and stay away from any span roofs or windows. Staying crouched down on the floor is the safest place to be, until the tornado passes. Your school will hold drills for this kind of emergency, so make sure you’re paying attention during them.

Disasters sound frightening but you can get through them if you’re prepared. Use these tips to get a plan together, and know what to do if the worst happens. Being prepared is the best way to get through any disaster.

About the author: Gloria Kopp is a content manager and an elearning consultant from Manville city. She graduated from University of Wyoming and started a career of a business writer and an educator, now she works as a tutor at Assignment help company. Besides, she is a regular contributor to such websites as Engadget, Academized, Huffingtonpost etc. Read her latest blog post here.

The post Essential Disaster Preparedness Tips for College Students appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Start Gardening Differently

13 Jun

Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter the Prepper Journal’s Writing Contest today.


Preparedness and self-sufficiency usually turns to food production at some point. Whether we’re old hats or just getting started, there are some set standards that tend to take place in the veggie garden. Sometimes they’re very well deserved. Sometimes, though, changing things up can make a difference in our ability to produce foods. Small scale or large, when it comes to the veggies, doing things differently can buy us the time and space to get started or expand our harvests.

Doing Things Differently

We may not have time for the conventional annual-veggie garden. The big square or rectangle of bare earth set off from the house takes a fair bit of time and water to maintain, even if there’s best management practices in place that return organic matter and keep the soil healthy.

Changing things up can help us save time, especially.

Where we place our veggies alone makes a huge difference for a lot of people. Growing in a bed system is its own article. So is mapping a home, yard, or larger property with a process called zoning. We can automatically make a few changes, however, to bring our veggies to more convenient locations.

Why is convenience entering the conversation?

Right now, few of our primary “jobs” is producing food. Right now, gardens are in competition with jobs, overtime, family time, sports and activities for spouses and kids, caring for the home and property, volunteering somewhere, grooming and training pets, and keeping vehicles in good shape. We have to work in learning to darn holes and fix zippers and knit, making cheese or butter or bread from scratch, practice with firearms or hand-to-hand or primitive skills, and canning or dehydrating produce. We’re trying to slate time to hit Craigslist and yard sales to pick up the gear we want for a disaster or daily life. If we have an unrelated hobby (and for mental health, everybody needs a murder mystery or softball type hobby), that needs some time too.

We’re also tired, as a nation. A lot of people are up on their feet, working high stress jobs, or traveling. When we’re home with fifteen minutes between dinner, clean-up, and before-bed routines, we want to spend them with our feet up seeing what the Reality TV world or the sports world has been up to without us.

If our gardens aren’t convenient, they’re going to fall lower and lower on the list of what actually gets our scattered attention.

When our gardens are tucked further away, it’s easy to put them out of mind or say “later, tomorrow”.

If we have to criss-cross back and forth for tools, seeds, and water, drag out a hose, wheel a water barrel around, or even just hike thirty or fifty paces to get to our plot or beds, we’re less likely to be able to use that fifteen or thirty spare minutes we can scrounge, because we’ll eat up a big chunk of it just setting up.

That means gardens produce less, or end up in enough need that it becomes daunting to catch up. Then we’re even more likely to put things off.

Siting New “Beds”

The first thing we can do a little differently is change where we garden – or produce foods, period. We can work windowsills, the verges of where we park vehicles, and areas that we pass regularly.

Some of us may hit our mailboxes from our vehicles, but some of us have them surrounded by low-need perennials – or weeds we don’t weed-whack as often as we should that we think about as we fetch in our junk mail and catalogs and then promptly forget about again. Most homes have a front stoop, a patio, or a deck or balcony somewhere.

Those are all places we can be producing foods pretty easily.

A lot of homes already have flower or tree or shrub beds somewhere around them, or foundation plantings. Expansion is regularly easier than bucking space out fresh. We can introduce a different type of annual or perennial to our aesthetics garden without losing much if any beautification value, or we can add a foot or two to the established spaces along verges. We can build up layers around the bases of trees, then add a solid top of soil or work smaller, and add just plugs and mounds of dirt to the top to garden in as we have time and money.

Trash cans and recycling don’t get a lot of aesthetics and are usually tucked somewhere out of sight, but are sometimes something we’re visiting a couple of times a week. If we only see them in the dark but for dragging them back around the garage, they’re not going to add much to the convenience of a garden bed or containers. However, if we see them in afternoons or early daylight, they can also be good places to stick veggies.

Water

One thing all gardens need is water. Even if we really only water to establish seeds and transplants, whether we container garden or grow in beds, or have big tilled plots, we’re going to have to provide some water. Even young trees and shrubs need some help with water in all but the rainiest areas.

In drought years, we have to plan on using more water yet.

There are two fixes there.

On one hand, we can put gardens close to water collection barrels or to hoses (but leaving convenient access for dragging the hose over for dogs baths, car washing, and cleaning camping gear or cleaning and butchering game and livestock).

The downside to that is they may be off our daily beaten path. Ideally, we’ll keep at least some of our gardening right there where we’re passing daily or multiple times a day.

On the other hand, we can try to work things so we’re gardening in places where we can add water collection along our daily paths, such as drip lines from porches, carports, and gutters. Other water sources include the trough(s) we dump regularly, the outside dog water dish that gets dumped and refilled, and coolers that get drained weekly.

We can add water collection along our daily paths, such as drip lines from porches, carports, and gutters.

We can add water collection along our daily paths, such as drip lines from porches, carports, and gutters.

If we set up watering cans or buckets on carts that can get moved around readily as well as refilled easily, we’re even more likely to maintain our plants.

Mulch

Mulch is our friend. We have to use it correctly to gain the most benefits, though.

A loose scattering of straw and large bark mulch aren’t going to help repress weeds, and have limited value in reducing soil compaction or evaporation. Using organic mulches without a weed exclusion barrier like newsprint or landscaping fabric can help, but weeds are going to start popping through it faster, reducing the benefits.

In some environments, we are going to burn through mulches pretty quick, especially the “soft” mulches like grass straw. If we use things like short-cut grasses and soft cover crops, we’ll have to be prepared to poke some holes through the crust that forms so air can still circulate and water can still infiltrate.

Even so, mulches make a huge difference in our gardens, and the work required to spread and maintain mulch has to be compared to the time it takes to water, weed, and till our garden plots and beds that are left with bare earth.

Weeds will blow in and be dropped by birds, and can establish in the surfaces of our beds, but it’s a hundred times easier to pull those from a nice, thick mulch bed than it is the soil, and those weeds aren’t in direct competition with our plants – it’ll take time for them to work their roots down and start stealing their nutrients. Mulch gives us a chance to catch those weeds before they impact our plants, and to get them out whole and completely, so we don’t fight the same ones over and over.

Research Growing Methods

We don’t want to rely too heavily on bagged soil, chemicals, and commercial products, even for veggies to go with our stores wheat, rice and beans. We’ll do better to start finding homeopathic, sustainable solutions.

Things like companion planting where the plants growing together provide the resources each other need – from pest protection to extra boosts of fertilizer – and self-feeding, self-watering hugel mounds/beds, or self-composting keyhole beds can all help reduce our dependency on fuels while also making our garden veggies easier and faster to care for, and more productive. Other bed designs such as the layered lasagna or trash-beds, and no-till or perma-mulched beds can let us quickly get started or expand, and limit the effort and resources our gardens need.

Pigs turning the garden – TheGoatWorks.net

Pigs turning the garden – TheGoatWorks.net

Chickens are happy to help us both turn and spread our compost.

Cover cropping our veggie gardens, practicing crop rotation even if we grow in small containers and buckets, and even the ways we incorporate our small or large livestock into our garden practices – for more than cured manure – can all contribute to thriving plots and beds that take less work.

We do want to be mindful of the alternative methods that maybe look great, but that take a lot of outside resources like peat moss or straw, or that require a lot of soil rejuvenation each year, but there are a million and five ways to produce a tomato, a pumpkin, and a bean.

Some of them involve soil and plants only, while others stretch creativity with duck-aponics and chicken moats that create weed barriers and limit pest invasions.

Beating the Normalcy Bias

Switching up how we garden, from location to type of growing style, can greatly affect our success even with time and budget constraints. All we have to do is step away from the way people have “always” done things.

That can be hard.

It doesn’t matter that we as a species accept change when it comes to medicine, travel, communication methods, and vehicles. People like to garden the way generations have gardened before them, even when those methods result in deficient soils and take a lot of time and effort, year after year. “Till” and “lime the soil” are passed down like genetics.

As preppers, we pride ourselves on being more aware than the average bear, and doing things differently so our families can weather future storms. Maybe if we apply a little of that mentality to our gardens, we’ll be a little more comfortable doing that differently, too. It can result in an easier garden to maintain, a more fruitful garden, and a little more time to spend on all the rest of preparedness and daily life.

The post Start Gardening Differently appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Top 9 Reasons Why You Need a Revolver for Self-Defense

12 Jun

Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: Today’s article is courtesy of Ben Baker. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter the Prepper Journal’s Writing Contest today.


Packing heat is always a good idea because you never know what this world is going to throw at you next. Revolvers make an excellent choice as a Concealed Carry Weapon, backup or self-defense piece. Here are seven reasons why the wheel gun excels.

Dependability

Revolvers have the earned reputation of being dependable under pressure.

A wheel gun can put up with a lot more abuse than an auto-loader. Drop it in the dirt. Roll it around in the mud. It is still going to function. Semi-autos are a lot more finicky about dirt and dust.

Even a cheap revolver is going to shoot a round that fits correctly in a cylinder chamber. New ammo or reloads, it does not matter. You can mix loads too. Load the first one or two out the barrel with a hot JHP to avoid over-penetration. Then, lower power loads behind that like lead ball to fill the rest of the cylinder.

Auto-loaders definitely express preferences in ammo. I once had a 1911 that digested factory JHP and FMJ just fine. Drop some hand-loaded round ball and it jammed every time.

Revolvers do not jam. Auto-loaders can. Misfeeds can be caused by a bent lip that you didn’t notice before slapping a new mag home or a weak mag spring. Auto-loaders are also susceptible to “limp wristing”, a problem that a revolver never has.

Fits your hand better

Even a cheap revolver is going to shoot a round that fits correctly in a cylinder chamber. New ammo or reloads, it does not matter.

Even a cheap revolver is going to shoot a round that fits correctly in a cylinder chamber. New ammo or reloads, it does not matter.

Revolvers come in all sizes from the diminutive North American Arms .22 and .22 Mag to the behemoth North American Arms BFR in .45-70

Auto-loaders do get small, but not as small as the NAA revolver.

The BFR is not suited for concealed carry, unless you are about 12 feet tall. A lot of people say the NAA revolvers are also not suited for concealed carry. If you must have maximum concealment and minimum size, the NAA offers fit both categories. If the choice is between no gun or an NAA revolver, these pocket powerhouses win every time.

Read More: Top 5 Firearms you need to get your hands on now!

Auto-loaders do not reach the sheer size of the BFR either.

A new generation of auto-loaders with different grips is out. Revolvers have had this for years and the choices are much broader.

A good revolver will also fit in the best hunting backpacks as a backup.

Shooter Friendly

Light loads are the perfect way to get used to shooting a revolver and to teach newbies. Shoot light and carry hot.

Light loads are the perfect way to get used to shooting a revolver and to teach newbies. Shoot light and carry hot.

The revolver is more shooter friendly than an auto-loader. Because the revolver does not require recoil or gas to cycle, you can load revolver rounds very light. If you load auto-loader rounds light, you run the risk of a jam. The slide may not come all the way back. It may come back just far enough to begin the ejection of spent brass, but not complete it. There is another jam.

Light loads are the perfect way to get used to shooting a revolver and to teach newbies. Shoot light and carry hot.

Auto-loaders have a slide that comes back to cycle the weapon. More than one person has been pinched by the slide, usually because of limp wristing.

Easier to repair

A revolver has just a few parts. Most revolver parts can be milled in short order by any good metal shop.

Greater Durability

Revolvers have the least chance of failure of any handgun except single shots and the derringer.

Revolvers have the least chance of failure of any handgun except single shots and the derringer.

The revolver is older than the auto-loader. What we know from a century of using both firearms is that the revolver lasts longer. Shooting does wear both firearms, but a well-built wheelmen will last longer than all but the most expensive semis.

The move to polymer parts on handguns in the semis is another reason many of these guns will not last as long as a wheelgun. Plastic, call it what it is, won’t hold up the way steel does.

Put another way, revolvers have the least chance of failure of any handgun except single shots and the derringer.

Safer

The revolver does not have a safety by and large. A few, like the Heritage rim-fire, do have a safety, but this is not common. Why no safety? Not needed. To make the revolver fire, the hammer-firing pin has to hit the primer hard enough to effect a detonation.

Double action revolvers do take some strength to pull that trigger to cock the hammer. Single action means you have to manually cock the hammer.

If the hammer is back, you know the gun is ready to fire. In a semi auto, especially with no exposed hammer, you have no idea if the gun is ready to fire.

Easier to Clean

Cleaning a wheelgun means running a patch down the barrel and through the cylinder chambers. Cleaning an auto means field stripping and putting it back together. For experienced shooters, this is not a problem. For someone who is new to guns, it can be daunting.

Law Friendly

Getting a permit to carry a revolver is easier in states that link a carry permit to the type of gun. Even New Jersey is more likely to issue a permit for a wheelgun than an auto. If you live in a state where the permit is keyed to you instead of the gun, a revolver still makes a good choice.

Conceal-ability

Hiding a revolver is easy. Modern holsters hide the profile very well. The holsters also come with features that make the holster snag in your pocket when drawing. You come out with the gun, the leather stays behind.

Revolvers also carry well in a shoulder holster, if that’s your thing.

I carry a Cobra hammerless snub .38 in a Bianchi 152 holster. The pistol is rated for +P ammo. The little holster fits most snubs. This is the second .38 snub I’ve had as a carry piece. The first one was traded to lady who wanted something for her purse and had a rifle I wanted. If I ever trade this one, its replacement will be a .357 snub hammerless or shrouded hammer. That way I can carry .38 Smith & Wesson, .38 Short Colt, .38 Special or .357.

About the author: Short, round, genius with a thing for hunting, fishing, well-aged bourbon and dark beer, Ben Baker is a hunter and fisherman based in South Georgia. He’s traveled North America hunting and fishing. You can read more articles from Ben at https://stayhunting.com.

The post Top 9 Reasons Why You Need a Revolver for Self-Defense appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Survival Fishing With Just a Hook, Line and Sinker

10 Jun

Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This post was contributed by Ben Ayad. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter the Prepper Writing Contest today.


When people plan for survival scenarios they often times gather supplies in large quantities in hopes to wait out any chaotic breakdown of civil order. The truth is in a real SHTF scenario chances are you will be bugging out and not hunkering down in some urban or suburban area. That means you will be travelling light because you will be in a hurry to get away from large population centers. It also means you will only be carrying the absolute essentials on your back and one of those better be a means to fish.

Why be prepared to fish? That is because chances are, it will be one of the most abundant and nutritious food sources available wherever you go. Fish can be found anywhere from mountains, to coasts to flat plains. So it’s best to be prepared to catch them. You and your family’s health may be wholly dependent on survival fishing at times.

Another big advantage you get when you catch fish is that you can safely dry them and store this dried fish for long periods of time too. Think of fish as the survival gift that keeps on giving.

Types of Survival Fishing

A hook, line and sinker kit can be packed so that it is smaller than a miniature travel medical kit. This kit will be virtually weightless too.

A hook, line and sinker kit can be packed so that it is smaller than a miniature travel medical kit. This kit will be virtually weightless too.

Here are some of the main ways to fish when you are in a survival situation and available fishing gear is most likely limited:

  • Simple hook, line and sinker setup – Our preferred choice as we will discuss throughout this article.
  • Fish trapsFish traps can be made using such things as plastic bottles (see catching minnows under bait below), using net traps and even just configuring rocks in a way where fish can swim in but not swim out. Some of these methods have been used successfully for centuries.
  • Spearing – If the fish are there in the shallows and you have some good hand/eye coordination this is never a bad way to go.
  • Netting – If you have a big enough net it can be strategically placed to catch fish or moved along in body of water by two people to simply net the fish swimming in there.
  • Noodling – This is when you gently put a large fish in a hypnotic state and then simply catch it by hand. It may not catch you any fish but it most assuredly will be good for some laughs and breaking up the stress in a SHTF scenario.

The ability to catch fish is definitely one of the essential survival skills that you need to know.

Why Chose A Hook, Line and Sinker Over the Others?

If you have a big enough net it can be strategically placed to catch fish or moved along in body of water

If you have a big enough net it can be strategically placed to catch fish or moved along in body of water

So why are we high on using hooks, line and sinkers to catch fish in our survival scenario? The answers are not all as obvious as you might think. Take a look at a few of the main reasons why we would fish using this method.

  • Easy to pack/space-saving/Lightweight – A hook, line and sinker kit can be packed so that it is smaller than a miniature travel medical kit. This kit will be virtually weightless too.
  • Other uses – We will go ‘Rambo’ here and tell you that a fish-hook and fishing line can come in very handy to stitch up a deep cut in a pinch. Not to mention that fishing line itself can be used in hundreds of different ways when trying to survive.
  • Its versatile – Fishing setups with a hook line and sinker can be successfully used in so many different types of bodies of water.
  • Easy to use –  In just minutes you can have a hook, line and sinker rig in the water so you can try to catch fish.

How to Effectively Fish With Hooks, Line and Sinkers

It’s important to remember when you set up your fishing rigs that you are not out to pass the time on a sunny afternoon and relax. You are trying to survive so traditional fishing tactics and methods just won’t cut it. You have to be creative and maximize your chances for success. Get as many lines as you can in the water to increase your chances of success.

When fishing with crude hook, line and sinker setups, experimentation is the key. Just like when you are recreational fishing you don’t know what the fish will be hitting on at the time or where they will be at. That is why you need to rig your lines to do such things as float the bait on the surface, weigh the bait down towards the bottom or drift the bait in the flow of water.

Move your lines around to different spots in the body of water you are fishing. For instance, if you are fishing in a stream look for areas where overhead branches provide shade during the day and hang a few fishing setups off those branches. Remember fish usually go down deeper during the day to stay cool but move closer to the surface at night.
Most fish do not hang out in swift currents either. So look for places in a steam that have deep pockets of water with very little current. In larger bodies of water try weed beds, rock outcroppings and docks where fish can find plenty of food sources nearby.

Again the key to successful survival fishing with a hook, line and sinker setup is to experiment until you find what works on a regular basis for you.

Maybe you don’t think it can be done successfully? Check out this YouTube video and see just how fast this gentleman catches a fish using just a hook, line and sinker setup.

Suggestions for Bait to use

Many people worry about packing bait in a survival scenario to help than catch fish. Sure some small bait can be packed and fish luring scents used on a regular day, but once again we are talking about a possible survival situation where you bring the essentials and get the rest from the land. That is exactly the way you should approach finding bait. Please don’t waste your time packing those annoying rubber worms in your survival kit either.

  • Dig for worms – You can’t be too picky about the type of fish you are catch when you are trying to survive. Worms can be easily found by digging in most places and many different fish are attracted to them.
  • Catch craw-fish, crabs and frogs along the banks – These are favorite foods for many types of larger fish and can be cut up to attract smaller fish too.
  • Food scraps – Just about ant meal you eat will have some scraps left over that can be used for bait. Leftover fish guts and other animal guts make great baits for your hook, line and sinker setups.

Make a minnow trap

Most anywhere in the world you go during a survival situation you can find a plastic bottle lying around. These can easily be made into a trap to catch minnows. This YouTube video will show you how.

Make Sure You Have a Hook, Line and Sinker Packed in Your Survival Kit

Sure it would be nice to have your several hundred-dollar fishing rod and reel setup with you in a survival situation but it’s just not practical. So when you have to travel light and move fast in a SHTF situation make sure one of the essentials you have packed is a fishing kit that consists of hooks, lines and sinkers. It can mean the difference between having healthy food to eat every day or having to forage for scraps and greens that may not keep you and your family healthy enough.

About the author: Ben Ayad is the owner of a new blog, outdoorstime.com 

The post Survival Fishing With Just a Hook, Line and Sinker appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Will You Survive If You Have to Bug out to the Forest?

8 Jun

Written by John D on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from John D. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.


In a SHTF situation where you can’t stay in your own home, and moving in with a friend or relative is not an option, what will you do? If bugging out to the wilderness suddenly becomes your only option, will you survive? Probably not for very long, if you believe the experts. Nevertheless, if your survival plan doesn’t include a bug out to the forest option, it should, but coming up with a good plan might be more difficult that you think.

For starters, do you have a reliable bug out vehicle? If your bug out plan has you escaping the city or suburbs in a modern vehicle, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise. Most modern vehicles won’t survive a strong EMP event. You may find yourself traveling on foot, away from a major metropolitan area, in search of food and water. But at least you won’t be alone. When food and water run out, millions of others will be traveling, mostly on foot, away from large centers of population. Even if you have a working vehicle, it may be useless, due to the gridlock created by people and disabled vehicles, all on the same escape routes. You may avoid some of that if you get away quickly, but will you? How much time will pass before you’re packed, and ready to go? Will the roads already be jammed by the time you depart? As time passes, the situation will get worse. Can you imagine what starving, desperate, people are capable of doing? I’m thinking “zombie apocalypse”.

My Bug-out Plan

Understanding the predicament, I don’t have to look any farther than my garage for a solution. My bug out plan doesn’t depend on a full-size vehicle, but I won’t be bugging out on foot either. I suspect that I wouldn’t last very long, with just the items I can carry on my back. Instead, I’ve decided to use my garden tractor (riding lawn mower), pulling a small trailer. Don’t laugh, it’s more practical than it may seem.

  • It would probably survive an EMP event.
  • It can travel off-road, avoiding traffic jams and bypassing bottlenecks.
  • It can pull a small trailer, loaded with essential supplies.
  • I can avoid people who may want to harm me, or take what I have.
  • I’ll have a 360 degree view, helpful for situational awareness, and if I have to use a firearm.
  • I’ll be able to travel to places inaccessible by car, which in theory will make me more secure.
  • My getaway will be at a whopping 6 miles per hour, maximum, but it beats walking.
It’s not how fast you bug out, it’s how well you bug out fast

It’s not how fast you bug out, it’s how well you bug out fast

There are drawbacks, of course. I’ll have no shelter from the elements, as I would in a car or truck. My traveling companion will have to ride in the trailer, or walk along side. Perhaps the biggest drawback is that I won’t be able to outrun anyone. For that reason, it’s important to pack and leave quickly, before things get out of hand.

The bug out location I’ve selected is far from the densely populated area where I now live, and is an area that provides opportunities for hunting, fishing, growing crops, and is near a fresh water source. I know what some of you are thinking… A city boy, living in the wilderness, wouldn’t last long. You might be right, but what choice do I have? Since I don’t own a wilderness cabin, or even a camper, how can I best prepare for a situation that forces me to abandon my home? For starters, I’ve compiled a virtual library of information that will be helpful in such a situation. I’ve also purchased some basic survival equipment and supplies. I practice the skills I’ve learned, and I’m a pretty good gardener.

While living in the wild will be a challenge, I first have to arrive there safely. Traveling with a fully loaded trailer screams “Hey look at me! I have food, water, and survival gear!” How do I get to my destination without being robbed or killed? I see two main problems:

  1. Starving, thirsty, desperate people won’t hesitate to attack me and take what I have.
  2. Those already settled in, near my bug out location, won’t appreciate the competition for limited resources.

To make matters worse, the noise of the tractor will announce my presence. In either case, one bullet could ruin my day.

Bugging out is risky, but I’m thinking of a scenario where I have no choice. I’ll improve my odds somewhat by getting away quickly, before anarchy is commonplace. To do that, all of my things need to be organized, and ready to toss into the trailer. This includes items that are protected from EMP’s. The list that I’ve already prepared helps to make sure that I don’t forget anything.

As I travel, I expect to cross paths with others who are also bugging out. The majority of the people I encounter will be just like me, trying to survive. Many of them will be traveling on-foot, with very limited supplies. My survival odds will improve if I join a like-minded group of travelers, or convince others to travel with me. I’ll bring extra food to share. Travelling with a well-fed and motivated group should help to keep the criminal element away. I’m not trying to be a group leader, or a macho tough-guy, but just one of the many people fleeing an area that has become unsafe. Being armed, and avoiding likely trouble spots, will also help.

With luck, I’ll make it to my bug out spot, probably with a number of other people who’ll soon become my neighbors. As I settle in, I’ll begin to implement a plan that might be described as “Living in the Wilderness, but Not Wilderness Living”. After food and water, my top priority will be the construction of a substantial shelter. As Pat Henry put it “your tent offers zero protection from a sharp stick, much less bullets.” I’ll use modern tools and technology to deal with challenges that come with living in the wild. I’ll have lights when and where I need them, and I’ll use sensors to alert me to intruders, and garden pests. Some of the pests that would otherwise be a threat to my garden, will become food, if I can kill or capture them. My garden tractor-trailer combination will continue to be an asset, as long as gasoline is available. I’ll be able to haul whatever useful items I can find, including building materials, firewood, and water. It’s likely that some of my traveling companions will become the nucleus of a survival group, and the benefits of belonging to a group are many. One could be hunting or fishing, while another guards the supplies and equipment. One could be on the lookout for intruders, while another prepares food, or tends to a garden. One could sleep, while another stands guard. Portable two-way radio equipment, as well as low-tech devices, such as whistles, may be used to alert group members to emerging threats.

Plano 1919 Sportsman’s Trunk

My trailer is approximately 48” by 30”. If stacked 30” high, I’ll have about 25 square feet of cargo space. My supplies will be covered with a tarp, protected from rain and wind. My supplies will be similar to those mentioned in a recent TPJ article by Pat Henry. Pat suggests using 3 plastic containers. One is for food, another for shelter, and the third for cooking, cleaning, hygiene, health, and miscellaneous supplies. Those containers account for about 15 square feet, and mine will be similar, leaving me with at least 10 additional square feet. Because I’m thinking long-term survival, I’ll pack clothes and bedding for all weather conditions. I’ll use the additional space for items that will help me survive in the long-run. Included will be the components of a small solar electric system that can be easily reassembled at my destination. I’ll have lights, and a variety of electrical devices that can be powered by the solar electric system. Sensitive electrical items are pre-packed, wrapped in aluminum foil and insulated from each other, which is the equivalent of a Faraday Cage. The ability to use power tools will make construction of a shelter much easier.

Because of the trailer’s small size, I look for ways to conserve precious space. I won’t bring bulky items, like table lamps. Instead, I’ve assembled small and simple light fixtures. I won’t bring a pedestal fan, or even a tabletop fan. Instead, I’ll use small muffin fans, similar to those you find in computers. I’ll mount them on frames, made from pvc tubing, that can be disassembled, saving space when packing. I’ll make good use of paracord, rope, and plastic sheeting. I need not carry books, and volumes of survival literature, because all of those things have been scanned, and stored on a KindleFire. Likewise, carrying a large quantity of water is not practical. I don’t have space for large containers. Instead, I’ll pack several collapsible water containers. I won’t bring a propane stove, or even a charcoal grill, but I will bring a grill top. I’ll assemble a fire pit with stones that I’ll find at my bug out location, and finish it off with the grill top. I’ll pack my cast iron Dutch oven, overlooking my concern for weight, just this one time. Once settled in, my tractor-trailer’s ability to haul things contributes to my bartering opportunities.

The bug out location I’ve selected will be a 7 to 8 hour trip by garden tractor. I have to make sure I have enough gasoline, but my preliminary estimates indicate that I can make it with just the capacity of a full tank, and a full 2 ½ gallon container. I’ll also carry a tube for siphoning, in the event I’ll need to do that. I’ll be carrying a shovel and an axe, helpful if I get stuck or need to clear a path, and very useful when I’ve settled in at my bug out location.

I’ll have the ability to collect and store rainwater. I’ll be prepared to filter water, and boil it, making it safe for drinking. My bug out supplies will include heirloom and hybrid seeds for food crops. Traveling light is an important consideration, and for that reason I’ve created a separate list of items to acquire, once I’m settled in at my bug out location. For the most part, those additional items will make life more comfortable, but are not essential for survival.

Once I’ve settled in at my bug out destination, my first priority will be a sustainable source of food. I’ll start a garden of course, but I’ll need to have other food while I’m waiting for my crops to mature. My bug out supplies include a live trap for small animals, but it is safe to assume that others will quickly decimate local population of rabbits, squirrels, and other edible creatures. My bug out location is near a large lake, and I suspect that I’ll be able to catch fish.

I’ve used Pat Henry’s food list as a starting point, but modified it to reflect my own tastes and preferences. In an effort to avoid bland meals, I’ll pack items such as olive oil, spices, sauces, flour, and corn meal. My list for shelter is similar to Pat’s, but I’ve added an air mattress for additional comfort. I’ll have construction tools, and plan to make tent-living a very temporary arrangement. My list for cooking, cleaning, and hygiene is different from Pat’s list, because I put more emphasis on long-term survival. While I will pack items such as soap and dish detergent, I’ll place a high priority on reusable items, such as wash cloths and towels. Instead of a propane stove, I’ll pack a rocket-stove, and reusable cooking supplies. I’ll have a solar-heated camp shower, wash basins, and collapsible containers for water. I’ll have a good first-aid kit, a variety of medicine, alcohol, bug spray, toilet paper, and other items for health and hygiene. One container, perhaps a backpack, will be for items that need to be easily and quickly accessible. Items in this container will include a flashlight, weapons, maps, a compass, binoculars, cash, a lighter, a KindleFire, snacks, a pocket knife, basic tools, and a rain parka.

My “electronics” box will include all of the components for a small solar electric system, except the solar panels and batteries. It will include test equipment, extension cords, power strips, lights and light fixtures, fans, portable alarms, an AM/FM radio, and a GPS device.

Items that will be packed separately include tools, solar panels (mounted on a hinged aluminum framework), batteries (for the solar electric system), weapons and ammo, live trap, gasoline container, tackle box with fishing supplies, shovel, ax, rake, grill top, and a jump starter (includes tire pump and light). I’ll have the tools and supplies needed to make repairs to the tractor and trailer tires.

After I’ve set up camp I’ll be on the lookout for anything that might be useful, such as a propane stove with a full propane tank, table and chairs, buckets, tools, food and water. If I can find them, I’ll increase my stockpile of disposable items, such as paper towels, zip-lock bags, trash bags, aluminum foil, toilet paper, soap, dish detergent, laundry detergent, insect repellent, toothpaste, shaving cream, alcohol, and other items for health and hygiene. I’ll also stock up on firewood and tinder.

Perhaps the most important item I hope to acquire after I’ve settled in, is an energy-efficient chest freezer. In the event that I have success hunting, fishing, trapping, or growing crops, the freezer will provide an easy way to preserve food. Not needing to find and process food everyday will give me opportunities to rest, and attend to other aspects of survival. The smallest of the chest freezers on the market today are very energy-efficient, meaning that they can be powered by a small off-grid solar electric system. According to the energy-guide tag, 600 watt-hours per day is required for a 5 cubic foot chest freezer. I can get that much power with just 2- 100 watt solar panels, and 2 – 100ah batteries. My system will be a little larger than that, to accommodate the other things needing power, and for extended periods of cloud cover.

Cold Weather Considerations:

Where I live, the months of December through February can include some very cold and nasty weather. Extreme weather may force me to deal with the danger, and postpone bugging out. I may instead choose to make my home as secure as possible, and prepare to defend it. Those traveling through my neighborhood would also be susceptible to extreme weather, perhaps giving me a bit of an advantage. If I’ve already bugged out, and set up camp in advance of cold weather, preparing to survive cold conditions will be a high priority. This includes the construction of a substantial shelter, and a way to provide heat.

The Long Run:

In the event that federal and state government no longer exist, law and order will be maintained at a local level, by an assembly of the people of that area. A protective force can be created, and guard duties shared. Efficiency can be realized in areas such as food production and cooking. Those with special skills will be highly revered, and will serve the entire community. Bartering will be commonplace.

I don’t expect my wilderness life to last more than a couple of years. In a serious SHTF situation, many people will die off from lack of food, or simply from the inability to survive without the conveniences we take for granted today. If that happens, there will be plenty of empty homes to move into. I would choose one with a fenced back yard, to help protect my food source. Most of my food will come from my garden, and perhaps some fish, chicken and rabbit.

Summary:

If I can’t safely stay in my own home, which is at the edge of a big city, or move in with someone else, far from a densely populated area, moving to the forest may be my only option. I need to be ready to bug out quickly and travel safely. I’ll need to bring the appropriate equipment and supplies. And finally, I need to be able to survive wilderness living. I’ll have to depend upon my hunting, trapping, fishing, and gardening skills. My prepping includes the equipment and knowledge to do those things. I don’t expect it to be easy. The competition for limited resources will be fierce, and not everyone will be honest and ethical. Still, I plan for a comfort level far exceeding that of tent camping. I applaud those who can live in the forest with only a knife and the clothes on their back, but I can’t do that.

Perhaps the best things I have are a list, and a plan. I don’t depend upon a modern vehicle, since impassable roads, or an EMP event, could stop me dead in my tracks. My pack-out list helps to ensure that I’ll bring the essentials, while not being overloaded with items I can do without. My extensive database of information will be useful in the event of a medical emergency, or other unexpected circumstances. Moving quickly, with a destination in mind, might prevent me from becoming a victim of the lawlessness that would likely follow a SHTF situation. Getting to my destination quickly means that I’ll also be able to “scavenge” more quickly than some, and acquire useful stuff before it’s all gone. Banding together with trust-worthy, like-minded others may offer the best odds for survival.

John D

The post Will You Survive If You Have to Bug out to the Forest? appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Popular Knife Myths Debunked

6 Jun

Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: Today’s article is courtesy of Paul Burton. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter the Prepper Journal’s Writing Contest today.


Given the fact that knives are among the oldest tools which humans have been using, there is no surprise that there has been a wide array of myths associated with this universal tool. These myths include the various types of knives, the way they should be used as well as with the proper ways that they should be maintained. Here are some facts which you may want to consider before purchasing a new knife, which may debunk some of the common knife myths many people have come to believe over time.

1st KNIFE MYTH: Giving a knife to someone as a present will have a negative effect on your relationship with them.

Possibly one of the oldest myths associated with knives, this one is associated with the cutting function of a knife and the “cutting” of bonds between two people. When you think about it, this is a completely unrealistic perspective, and the symbolism of a knife can hardly have an actual negative impact on your personal relationships and interactions. So, if you think that a friend or other close person will be really happy with a new knife, do not hesitate to go ahead and buy one for them. How your relationship goes with that person depends on you both, and not on the present you give them!

2nd KNIFE MYTH: the harder the blade of the knife – the sharper it will stay for longer.

While the hardness of the blade can ensure that it stays sharp, too much hardness can actually make a knife brittle. This can cause chipping, dulling and the loss of the original sharp edge over time. If you want to make sure that your knife remains sharp for a longer period of time, you should choose one with a resilient blade, but one which does provide some give, so that the edge does not break or become dulled quickly.

3rd KNIFE MYTH: the duller the blade, the safer the knife is.

It may seem like common logic, but in actuality, this belief is false. The idea that by using a dull knife you are less prone to cutting yourself is not true, because dull knives require the use of excessive force for cutting, slicing and other actions, and this extra force increases the risk of losing control of the knife and injuring yourself.

4th KNIFE MYTH: stainless steel blades cannot keep an edge.

In the past, people found that their stainless steel knives were way too soft and their edges couldn’t stay sharp for long. In modern times, lesser chromium is used in the alloy for the stainless steel blades of the knives, and new more resilient alloys have been added, which ensure that the blades hold a sharp edge for longer. So, when looking for a new stainless steel knife, make sure it has been manufactured relatively recently.

5th KNIFE MYTH: there are knives which never need to be sharpened.

There are some knife manufacturers which advertise their knives as ones which do not require sharpening. These are knives with serrated blades which can still do the job of slicing and cutting when the edge becomes duller, but if you really want an efficient and safe knife, you will need to sharpen the blade periodically, even if it is a serrated one.

6th KNIFE MYTH: it is the food and not the cutting board which dulls the blade of a knife.

This is another false myth. While the blade will be cutting the food, it is the cutting board where it stops. Using a hard board, such as a granite, hard acrylic or stone cutting board can be very damaging to your knife. This is why you should stick to plastic or wood ones. The problem with wooden cutting boards is that they are tricky to sterilize.

7th KNIFE MYTH: automatic knives are the best choice for fast deployment.

The verdict is that this is a false myth. The fact is, with modern knife production the difference in the speed for opening and deploying a knife between a good quality automatic knife and a spring-assisted one is absolutely tiny and in some cases even non-existent. The deployment speed depends on the specific brand and model of knives you are comparing.

8th KNIFE MYTH: A dull knife has an edge which has worn away.

Nope. Contrary to what you may think, a knife which has lost its edge has its edge folding on itself. This can occur because a sharp edge is microscopic and can be deformed from use.

9th KNIFE MYTH: The higher the price of a knife – the better its quality is.

This is not always the case, unfortunately. There are some overly expensive knives which are of lower quality that the cheaper ones. For example, some of the older S30V steel knives are much better from their more expensive upgraded S35VN ones. There are also some very good and reliable knives which you can get at a reasonable price.

10th KNIFE MYTH: don’t bring a knife to a gun fight.

This myth was actually tested and debunked in the Mythbusters show. The fact is that the person with the gun will feel overly confident that they will win, but when the fighting occurs in a closer space, the knife can be a really efficient weapon. The Mythbusters found that it is especially useful when the distance between the opponents 16 or fewer feet. Other experts claim that the distance is actually up to 21 feet.

11th KNIFE MYTH: A sword or knife can be stopped by a book or by a pocket full of coins.

A thick book can actually prevent getting stabbed by a sword, but the part about the coins is untrue. The coins are not fixed one to another which means they cannot stay in place no matter how packed your pocket is with them. The knife or sword can slide off of a coin, but the pocket full of coins is very unreliable protection from stabbing. So next time you are in a sword fight, leave the coins at home and take a thick book with you!

About the author – P.Burton – Paul is the founder of Perfect Blades where he and his team review knives, tools and knife sharpeners

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