Prepare for Disaster with a Portable Generator

16 Jul

Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

Living or working in a disaster-prone area always requires that you be prepared for the worst. When a natural disaster strikes, you might not have the time to take the right recuperative measures if you were ill prepared. It is vital that you have an electric portable generator in standby just to be on the safe side.

If you live in such an area, it could mean having to survive some uncomfortable situations like enduring darkness for days, eating canned foods and having a lot more store in your fridge or freezer going bad due to lack of power.

 If you are experiencing floods, you will have your basement filling up with water since your sump pump stops working and have mold growing in your house.

In a business premise, you risk losing a lot of your products especially if you deal with perishable goods. Finding an emergency generator to rent for the period that you stay without power can be very challenging since they are in high demand at that time.

Statistics show that the demand for these generators rises rapidly during natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods, ice storms, and others and that businesses with emergency power kits record minimal losses. Here is what you need to ensure when setting up an emergency power tool kit.

Know Your Power Needs

Before you buy your emergency generator, check the maximum amount of power needed in your building and compare that to the generator that you wish to buy. You can check the power rating of your building on the nameplate of the main electrical panel.

Take some time to determine the probable load of your house or building. You can connect an ammeter to the various electrical panels when power is being used at its peak. Do this for about two weeks to determine the amount of power that your generator will have to provide during the disaster period. You can also check your monthly utility bills over several months and get an average to find the approximate load.

Knowing your power needs will guide you to the size of the generator you need at your home or at your business premises.

Placement and Security

When you finally settle on one particular generator, you will need to find a suitable place in your building to place it. The generator, whether it is at home or in business premises, should be at a location where you can easily access it.

 It should be near the building’s electrical panel so that you use a little amount of electrical cable and reduce the cost of installation.

The generator’s location should be away from traffic for safety issues and in a dry area. If you can, have the generator completely away from public access.

Finally, ensure that only certified electricians connect your generator to the electrical panel. If you are not a qualified electrician, never try to connect it yourself. Never handle your generator with wet hands or in a wet environment.

Fueling:

When using your emergency generator, you will need to fuel it. During the disaster period, you may need to use a lot of fuel to keep it running for the period you will be without power.

We recommend that you go for one with a large fuel tank that you do not have to keep refueling. Know how much fuel per hour the generator you want to buy burns when at both full and half loads. This data will give you an estimate of the amount of fuel you need to have and at what intervals.

It would be counterproductive to run out of power in the middle of the night while using a generator yet it is that very situation that you got a generator for.

Avoid such scenarios by calculating properly the amount of fuel that your generator will burn up at a go, and have some reserve fuel within reach to refuel if need be especially during odd night hours. As a safety measure, you should not store gasoline and diesel for an extended period of times as will then need some chemicals to use them safely which will add up to your cost. 

Inspect and Maintain Your Generator

Now when you have your generator, you need to ensure that it is always in a top-notch condition. You never know when disaster will strike and you need to use it again. Even then, there will be instances at one time or another when there is a power outage in normal days.

These come as a blessing in a way since they remind you to once in a while run your generator to keep it in a good condition. You might also want to have annual maintenance, especially when expecting a harsh weather season. Always ensure that you use clean fuel.

Be Safe out there and be sure to check out The Prepper Journal Store and follow The Prepper Journal on Facebook!

The post Prepare for Disaster with a Portable Generator appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

If You Only Had One Tool

11 Jul

Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

What if you were suddenly overwhelmed by an event? An earthquake, a micro-burst along a lonely road that did in your vehicle, you barely got out before it was washed down a swollen creek during a flash flood? An avalanche that cut off your trail back to civilization? Heads down in your work and you step out the door to finally head home for the night and you step into the middle of a riot? Or a pandemic? The world suddenly gone mad!

Assuming being prepared is a habit chances are you have your EDC (every day carry) with you, and we all have a general idea of what that  should be, but most of it was in that car now heading down the river to a used car lot in rural Arizona to be sold in the future as “newly arrived.” Or your pack stolen the minute your emerge from your office door, headphones still on, oblivious to the SHTF going on all around you? What is the one tool that would serve you the best if you were smart enough to keep it close?

In The Prepper Journal’s opinion it is a knife. The universal tool that has served humans since we first picked up a stick and realized we needed something to sharpen it order to make our point and carrying a boulder as a sharpening implement was not working out.

And knives throughout history have been made from many interesting materials from sticks and stones and animal bones and are at the foundation of the development of metallurgy throughout human history. History actually defined as the Stone Age, The Bronze Age et al. 

So, whether you are a newbie to prepping and survival or an expert,  the importance of survival knife for not only a planned adventure but a true survival situation, is clear.

While some people may consider knives as a prized possession, I for one have a special one as a wall decoration hanging between two black-powder pistols, all in their own clear display cases, I also have others for use as survival equipment to their full potential when faced with dangers of the unknown, the unexpected.

From self defense to making fire to making traps and spears to obtain food to opening found supplies to making shelter the knife is the singular tool I would never want to be without (other than when the government makes me – airports, government buildings, public schools, and the like.)

As Caityln Bell says, finding the best survival knife is not just about convenience  – it’s about safety. If you don’t have a good knife in your survival kit, you are not prepared. So, with hundreds of options in the market, it can become hard to choose the right knife that would suit your needs. That’s why she is going to break it down for you today and make  choosing the best survival knife more an intelligent process than a random selection on factors that may catch the eye but not preform when the rubber meets the road. 

These are a few factors that you must keep in mind while choosing the right knife.

Blade Type and Material

While a pocket knife is convenient to carry and use, the fixed blade knife is really the best bet for survival. Fixed blade knives perform well from carving to chopping and they don’t have a built-in fail point where the blade connects and folds into the handle. Of course folding knives are easier to pocket, but at a price – durability. Therefore, you should go for a knife with a spine ranging from 0.6 to 0.25-inch thickness, which lasts longer without failing on demanding functions. 

Talking about the blade material, you can pick from carbon steel and stainless steel to find your right match. Carbon steel blades last long but get rusted if you don’t take proper care of them. On the other hand, stainless steel blades don’t rust- but are more difficult to keep sharpen.

Blade Size

Size matters! When it comes to picking the right survival knife, it is important to choose a knife that comes in the right size. Since you’ll be using the knife for multiple functions, don’t pick one that’s too broad as you cannot use the same for cutting down snare traps. Similarly, a small blade might be too delicate for cutting wood. 

So, pick an average sized knife, of about 10 to 12 inches, that is good enough to do most of the tasks that require the use of a survival knife.

Now, carrying a 12″ knife everyday, to work and play is a challenge in itself, so temper this with your attire and your daily travels. A knife with a blade of less than 4″ is not going to be a true survival tool. 

Handle

Just because the blade is strong enough to cut a piece of wood doesn’t mean that the handle is not important. If you go wrong with the handle, you might be putting a lot at stake. The knife with a small handle can give you blisters while the one with a large one might not have an excellent grip.

That being said, go for a knife that has a firm handle and facilitates better action. Also, make sure that the guard of the knife is sturdy enough and excels at keeping your hand from running up onto the blade.

Shank

A shank or tang is the back portion of the blade component that connects the blade and the handle. If you are looking for a reduction in weight, then you can choose between the partial tang and half tang, but if you are after something that helps you tackle extreme conditions, then the only tang worth your money and time is full tang. 

Since the handle is connected to the tang through bolts, pins, glue and more, opting for a full tang allows for great balance and leverage capabilities. The bottom line is a full tang will reinforce stability, ensure a firm grip and enhanced strength when in use.

These are some of the things you must consider when you are out picking a survival knife for long trips in the back-country. Just make sure the survival knife you choose, is the right one for you.

Fixed Blade V/S Fixed Blade: The Knife For You

Choosing a survival knife is mostly a matter of personal choice. And when it comes to picking either a fixed blade or folding knife, the debate has been going for years among knife aficionados and we already gave our two-cents above but…

Every knife owner has their opinion on what works the best given the tasks they face in their everyday life. Therefore, the following section of the article looks at some general areas for both types of blades.

Folding Knives

When it comes to everyday survival, folding knives are generally considered the most popular for their ease and convenience. Generally, folders are associated with everyday carry because they are perfect for routine tasks that make people want to carry a knife in the first place. 

For instance, trimming a wire, cutting open a box, cutting a rope or paracord or self-defense. There are some more advantages of the folding knives:

  • They are more discreet and easy to conceal
  • Th blade of a well-constructed folded knife is as tough as a fixed blade

On the other hand, the biggest disadvantage of a fixed blade is that their folders are tough to clean and also have, historically at least, been known to break easier.

Fixed Blades 

Perhaps because of the way they have been introduced in the movies, fixed blade knives have a reputation for being the more serious type. That’s definitely true. But, this doesn’t mean that they cannot be used in almost any situation. 

There are a lot of advantages to the fixed blade. For the most parts, they are associated with rough outdoor work – jobs like splitting, food preparation, skinning a buck, digging etc. Other advantages include:

  • They are big and come in whatever size you need, from a small handy blade to a large-monster sized blade. One trait that is common among all sizes is the strength of the blade 
  • They are easier to clean and maintain. So, you don’t have to worry about the hinge as you have to with a folding knife
  • They don’t break easily as there are no moving parts on fixed blades 
  • Fixed blades are generally twice as long as folding blades
  • During tactical situations, a fixed blade knife can be brought into play faster than a folding knife.

On the other hand, the biggest disadvantage of fixed blade knives is that they are not as convenient to carry and are harder to conceal.

There you have it – Advantages and Disadvantages of Fixed and Folding Blades. The ultimate decision comes down to the buyer and how they plan to use the blade! 

Be Safe out there and be sure to check out The Prepper Journal Store and follow The Prepper Journal on Facebook!

The post If You Only Had One Tool appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Mobility vs Armored: Which is Better?

10 Jul

Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

Survival is more of an art than a science and there are as many opinions on the “right” way to do it as there are preppers. While everyone isn’t certain they have the final answer, the truth is, no one really knows because the showdown, apocalypse, calamity, SHTF, disaster, fall of America, whatever you want to call it, hasn’t happened yet. Since it hasn’t happened yet, and reliable prophets are few and far between, there is no way of knowing what kind of situation you’ll find yourself in when it arrives.

If history has taught us anything it is that the earliest ones to recognize the coming change will be mocked and chastised by the masses, and persecuted by those bringing about the coming changes. It will be subtle, covert and matter of fact as the spin is set into motion. A transgression here used to quell the first flash points by complicit and coordinated judgement by the 5th estate, supported by the social media infrastructure we see as more benevolent that would George Orwell. History abounds with such grant illusions, the sheep in denial until slaughter is inescapable. The government of Venezuela has been killing its citizens for months, do you see that on the news or do you see the latest tweet from some troll elected to Congress by a disconnected populace?

Since we all like planning for vacations and trying to get the best travel bargains so should we also be trying to plan ahead for the long term when it all goes south. That means you need to consider which option is better for you and your family. Should you hunker down in an armored bunker and ride out the storm? Or, should you opt to be mobile so you can stay one step ahead of the storm? (taking into consideration the lessons of the Golden Horde, of course.)

Armor Up

If you’ve ever been in the military you might be familiar with the saying among tank crews about scratching each other’s backs. This happened a lot in Vietnam, where a VC would wait until a tank got right up close to them. When it was close enough they would jump up on the tank and try to stuff a grenade or something down the hatches. They were locked of course; after all, what good is armor if you leave the door open?

Then a second tank would radio in that they were going to scratch the back of the first tank with the VC on it. The second tank would hose down the first tank with machine gun fire until all the enemies were gone. They knew the crew inside the first tank was safe behind all that armor so they could fire away.

Is that your goal?

A heavily armored bunker dug deep in the ground with limited access in or out, is a tough nut to crack. When the balloon goes up you’ll be safe and sound behind steel and concrete walls while the world tears itself apart outside. This is an especially good option if the outside world is engaged in a war of all against all. Widespread guerrilla warfare, mainly dependent on small arms, doesn’t generally include the use of the kind of heavy-duty explosives that could breach an armored bunker.

Properly constructed and camouflaged, your bunker might not even be noticed during that type of conflict. Once all the heavy fighting is over or has moved out of your area, you can emerge with all your own firepower intact and ready for action.

Staying Mobile

But what if a situation develops where two large enemies are fighting it out with heavy artillery and bunker buster bombs, going after anyone who won’t declare for their side? In a case like that, you might want to get out of Dodge. That means you need to stay mobile.

Wherever the fighting is, you need to be somewhere else. If you’re in a jeep or truck of some kind you’ll have to sleep in a tent or portable shelter at night. If you’re running in an RV, then you’ll be sleeping in your RV when you have the chance.

An RV is certainly an attractive choice since it has so much storage room inside and acts as a home away from home when you’re on the road. It is also clearly a civilian vehicle, one of the millions on the road, which allows you to perhaps hide in plain sight, lost in the crowd. Any military style vehicle will draw unwanted attention but an RV, the vehicle of choice for aging (and “harmless”) snowbirds, will have a much greater chance of letting you fly under the radar. 

Now driving one while armed to the teeth, decked out head-to-toe in camo and wearing your body armor might make yo boil to the top of the “harmless” crowd, but having all those items at the ready affords a measure of confidence, and preparedness that, as preppers, give us some comfort.

Staying Healthy in the Apocalypse

Weapons, armor, and mobility aside, you need to stay healthy while the world around you is eating itself. Water first, a well-stocked medical cabinet and first aid supplies is next, of course. After that, you need to ensure your and your family have a balanced diet, enough to last for several months during the initial unrest, then a good supply of seeds to grow your own food after that.

And son’t forget the value of sleep. Sleep deprivation is a well-known tactic for wearing down prisoners. Don’t do that to yourself with primitive sleeping quarters or rotten mattresses that kill your back. When it comes to survival, you need to be bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and bring back a sense of balance to a world that has gone crazy.

Be Safe out there and be sure to check out The Prepper Journal Store and follow The Prepper Journal on Facebook!

The post Mobility vs Armored: Which is Better? appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

The Mental Health Benefits of High Concentration Sports

28 Jun

Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

As you know The Prepper Journal usually doesn’t republish already published articles, but every so often we come across some that truly add value to our followers and warrant further exposure. And with the “internet” being like the universe, ever expanding in every direction, some valuable content can easily be missed. While the focus here is the United Kingdom, population 65,000,000 it is simple to project the statistics on the United States, population 327,000,000.

So, thanks to permission from the Team at Target Crazy, I am sharing their article on The Mental Health Benefits of High Concentration Sports herein. While it focuses on archery it can be applied to any of the shooting sports as well as others, golf and billiards come to mind, as does chess.

If there’s one topic which appears regularly in the media at the moment, it’s mental health. It might be celebrities coming clean about their previous hidden mental health problems, or journalists and pressure groups highlighting the chronic under-funding of our health services over the last few years.

I often think… is this epidemic a by-product of modern western living? 

Perhaps a result of economic wealth and the influence and interference of technology such as social media. Mental health issues seem less prevalent than say fifty years ago among previous generations. Are they even seen at all in the developing world?

Data reveals that mental health problems are definitely on the rise and here are some enlightening statistics:

1 in 6 have issues

NHS Digital reveal that at any given time, one sixth of the UK population between the ages of six and sixty-four have a mental health problem  

6,000 suicides / year

There are about six thousand suicides per year in the UK, the largest proportion of these people are male, accounting for three quarters of this figure.  And it is the biggest killer of men up to the age of forty-nine reveals the Office for National Statistics who have control of the data gathered from the registrations of deaths in the UK

1 in 5 Women, 1 in 8 Men

Women are more commonly affected than men with one in five women reporting a mental health issue compared to one in eight among the male population, these figures come from NHS Digital and their Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey in 2014.

75% affected before age 24

The majority of mental health problems begin in childhood or early adulthood, with three quarters of problems established by the age of twenty-four, the Mental Health Taskforce revealed in 2016.  Young people do seem to be particularly susceptible.

Services are underfunded…

A whopping 23% of NHS activity is taken up with mental health issues but the corresponding funding is only 11%. (The Kings Fund 2015)

Medicine use is growing…

The number of medicines dispensed for mental health related conditions and illnesses such as depression and panic attacks, has more than doubled in the last ten years; this data comes from an NHS Prescription Survey over the decade 2006-2016. These statistics may be tempered somewhat by the growing evidence that anti-depressants are a more effective way to treat some of these conditions, therefore patients tend to be prescribed these drugs for a longer period of time.

How High Concentration Sports Can Help

The situation in the UK with regard to mental health is quite closely reflected in the US so apart from investing more money in diagnosis and treatment services, is there anything that individual people can do to help themselves? 

As Prince Harry said quite recently, “everyone no matter who they are has physical health and mental health“.

Physical activity and sport has a huge part to play in promoting and sustaining good mental health but surely it is not as simple as saying, ‘go for a run, it will take your mind off things’?  Sport in general is very much in vogue at the moment, not just for the evident physical health benefits but for the well documented effect that physical activity can have on the mind.  

This is because when we exercise, the brain releases certain chemicals which can help with mood and alleviate issues such as anxiety and depression, even if only for defined periods.  And of course collective sport, where we engage with other people whether as a group or in a team, also promotes our mental health as it offers interaction with others, fundamental for a healthy mind and outlook.

If sport is beneficial therefore to the state of our mind, surely high concentration sports must be the best elixir for those struggling with mental health issues? 

The four key mental factors in sport are considered to be:

  • Concentration
  • Confidence
  • Control
  • Commitment

The demand for concentration varies with the sport and is divided into three types:

  • Sustained concentration – relevant to sports with an endurance element such as long distance running, cycling marathons or tennis matches
  • Short burst concentration – evident in golf and cricket and short sprint field events
  • Intense concentration – sprinting, bobsleigh, target archery, darts, skeet or clay shooting

Negative emotions such as anxiety, anger or depression can affect the ability to concentrate so is this not a chicken and egg scenario?  

Learning techniques to concentrate intensely for short periods of time are fundamental to sporting success and can also have proven benefits for those who are struggling with mental health issues, ergo high concentration sports can be an excellent mechanism to help support mental health in a whole range of people. Whether it is supportive to existing conditions or to some degree preventative.  

This is because the amount of focus required trains the brain to concentrate on the here and now, to ignore negative self-talk and doubt by utilizing positive self-talk. Employing strategies such as ‘parking’ techniques to temporarily remove unhelpful thoughts and emotions and put them to one side for a defined period of time. 

Focusing on the here and now and forgetting your negative emotions is key to sporting success

From this, it is easy to understand why all these techniques used by successful athletes in high concentration sports, can have a positive effect on almost anyone.

Archery and Other Target Sports

Archery as a target sport requires high levels of concentration and offers to the individual perhaps not such an obvious benefit and that is one of self-discovery and self-truth, in fact a road to mindfulness and inner peace.

Mindfulness is a heightened state of self-awareness, a way of slowing down the moment and focusing only on that point in time, developing deep levels of consciousness, of how the body feels rather than by being solely driven by the constant jumble of thoughts and emotions in our heads.  Becoming more aware of immediate physical sensations and our environment allows us to understand and process our mental traffic; it’s not about changing it but more the ability to disassociate ourselves from it and see it for what it is which is something that does not need to govern and define our lives.

The Japanese who have not picked up a bow in anger for centuries (Editors Note: I challenge this statement) use archery, the ‘Way of the Bow’ or Kyudo as a mechanism to provide focus and self-discipline.  Kyudo has strong links with the teachings of both Shinto and Zen, providing a whole body and holistic experience of focus and concentration – whole body control means that the mind is also completely focused; Kyudo is sometimes referred to as ‘standing Zen’ because of the total immersion that is required in the technique.

How You Benefit

Archery requires significant mental input from the archer but this high level of concentration also gives rise to and develops many other faculties and emotions and some among these include:

  • Focus and concentration – mindfulness
  • Motivation
  • Self-efficacy
  • Patience

This can lead onto the following, positive lifestyle developments:

  • Improved sleep
  • Reduced levels of stress and depression
  • Sharpening mind and mental faculties including memory
  • A lessening of anxiety
  • Increasing brain capacity and power including problem solving skills

Other benefits may include:

  • Enjoying the great outdoors
  • Aesthetic appreciation
  • New experiences
  • New friendships and social engagement with real people rather than the virtual world
  • Improved self-esteem
  • Prevention of depression – just one hour’s exercise a week can help manage existing depression and help guard against future bouts through the physical activity and engagement with others
  • Relaxation
  • Fun and enjoyment
  • Healthy competition
  • Equality of participation, a level playing field for those who may be marginalised for example, due to physical disability
  • Co-operation, teamwork and leadership skills
  • Improved social skills through changes in brain function due to mental training and focus

Inclusion

Target archery is an all inclusive sport so can be enjoyed by children, older people and the less than physically able.  There is a level and involvement for everyone.   But don’t let me wax lyrical about how inclusive a sport archer is, meet Martin Douglas who suffers from Asperges Syndrome and let him tell you how archery has helped him deal with this condition and how in fact, mild autism has made him a better archer.

Mel Clarke, originally from Norfolk and now living in Worcestershire, is just one example of how disability is no bar to participation in archery.  A former European Champion in 2002, Mel was the first disabled archer in Europe to make it onto the able bodied team a year later in 2003. Mel has since gone on to compete at the World Championships and the Olympics with considerable medal success of different colors.

Participation in archery is possible with all types of disabilities and impairments and perhaps the most difficult one can imagine, being blind, is also no bar to involvement as there is a thriving organisation called British Blind Sport which promotes archery among many other disciplines.  Visually impaired archers use what is described as a tactile sight to help them take aim in case you are wondering.  

Archery has a place for all age groups from the young to the elderly and embraces a whole range of archers in between including those with disabilities as well who compete on a level playing field with their fellow archers – it is one of the most inclusive sports.

More Than Just the Mind

So is target archery really a physical sport?  

If it is possible for the young, the old and the less physically able to participate in it, does target archery offer any physical benefit to the participant? 

Yes it does.  

The connection between mind and body welfare has already been discussed but target archery does offer many purely physical benefits including:

  • The development of upper body strength through the shoulders, chest and arms
  • Hand co-ordination and control
  • Balance and co-ordination
  • Flexibility
  • Core strength and endurance
  • Calorie burning
  • Weight loss and enhanced body shape and posture
  • Improved mood and well being from endorphin release

Target archery is a year round sport which promotes the benefits of the great outdoors and the friendship and camaraderie of others before you even lift a bow to take a shot.

The average 35 year old female can burn 144 calories per hour target shooting and that is not within a hunting environment which clearly offers even more potential for calorie consumption with the hike to and from the target destination across varying and perhaps challenging terrain.  And don’t forget, the weight of your bow and pack and, the energy required for mental focus and concentration either when you take a shot.

Target archery and bow hunting is a sport that is hard to beat in terms of what it can offer the participant – stated mental health benefits, physical exercise and the companionship and friendship of other archers, with plenty of healthy competition to boot.  Inclusive to all types of people and set in the great outdoors, you will be hard pressed to find a sport that can offer as much to the individual, sustaining good mental health being just one among many of the key benefits.

Be sure to check out The Prepper Journal Store and follow The Prepper Journal on Facebook!

The post The Mental Health Benefits of High Concentration Sports appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

OMG, Now What?

26 Jun

Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

While we all hope to never have to make the decision to use deadly force to defend ourselves and our loved ones, it happens everyday somewhere and with an opposition party in the USA that incites and advocates violence, hate and criminality in the place of reasoned debate and an open mind, criminals may not always be that person kicking in your front door.

From road rage escalating to flag burning to destruction of public and private property to the assault on our history, the flash points can be anywhere and escalation is sometimes impossible to control.

The Christian approach of “turning the other cheek” can often result in that one getting struck as well or worse. 

“How Did This Start?”

Always the first question, how did this start, how did it escalate so quickly, how did it come to this? This is also the map of the trail that is going to play out in your life going forward. Like the 5 steps of grief each must be examined under a microscope and defined ad nauseum before moving on to the next step.

The temptation to find self guilt in your actions will be real, no matter what endless keyboard warriors and armchair quarterbacks claim. Every soldier and every police officer goes through the same process, or lies about it. 

And this is your most dangerous time, as you try and process what happened those tasked with determining what happened will not give you the time to process your actions. Memories go stale and get convoluted by time and distance from any event. And every word spoken in that first hour will haunt you forever, set the trail map mentioned above and map out where things will go from there. This is your most vulnerable period.

“MAKE IT STOP!”

When someone escalates a confrontation to the level of using deadly force every one who has faced this, including professionals like police officers and soldiers, has the same gut reaction – NOT to shoot to kill, but to shoot to make it stop. That they may be one and the same is situational. This is why your first reaction is to keep pulling the trigger until it doesn’t go “bang” anymore, why suspects in armed confrontations with police are often shot multiple times. It isn’t some macho thing, it is preservation of self and loved ones. It is subduing the threat. 

I for one blame the mind-numbing desensitization of this on the media, from the old westerns of the post WWII period to the movies to TV news who refuse to show the reality. (Thank goodness Sam Peckinpah finally showed up.)

If you take nothing from this article other than to make your first statement as to what happened “I shot to make it stop!” as opposed to “I shot to kill” then I will have provided some value. 

Remember, the Police Want to Go Home that Night too

To quote Hans Gruber from the first Die Hard Movie “Relax, police intervention was inevitable….” And it will be in your case should you be involved in any self-defense using firearms.

Understand that they are responding to an “active shooter situation” and are clueless as to who shot who or why when they arrive BUT will engage, with gunfire, anyone they see with a gun, so, if the threat has been neutralized by you, make sure to holster or put down your weapon before they kick in your door and keep your hands in clear sight. And answer from cover and then follow their demands. They will arrest you and handcuff you and take your weapon. So would you if you were in their role. They want the situation completely defused, the same “make it stop” mindset.

Do not, under any circumstances pass the weapon you used to anyone else, not a trusted family member, no one. It is now a crucial piece of evidence in your defense and you do not want it convoluted by others fingerprints, etc.

Lawyer Up

No matter how justified, no matter how many witnesses, get professional council immediately. Look into Texas Law Shield or USCCA now, before you need it. There are others, these are the two I have used, and still do. KNOW what they do and do not provide.

Know also that it only takes one prosecutor looking to make a name for him or her self and further a political career to make a justified shooting in self defense into a jumping off point for their gain, at your expense. And don’t lose site of the fact that criminals have families and they can hire lawyers too and they have a complicit media always willing to give them public voice. 

Now is NOT the time to tell your side of events other than to state you were assaulted and you want your lawyer.

The ten (10) things NOT to do are:

  • Call 911 in a Panic
  • Leave the scene
  • Move or tamper with evidence
  • Have your gun in your hand
  • Make a statement to police without your lawyer
  • Fall for the “good cop/bad cop” routine
  • Try your case on the spot with them
  • Lecture them on “your rights”
  • Fail to address them as either “sir or officer”
  • Be surprised if you are treated as a criminal

In a society so over-burdened with laws by so many governing agencies you can be assured you have broken at least on law, if not several, in your act of self defense. For example most cities make it a crime to discharge a weapon within their limits, no matter the reason. The list could be long. Even if the city doesn’t have that law, the county may, or you may be withing a restricted distance to a school, government facility, and on and on. 

Consider simply stating “My gun is laying over there, and that is the gun that I used to shoot my attacker in self defense because I feared for my life. I do not want to say anything else until I have had time to talk to my attorney. I want to cooperate with the investigation completely, but I’m very upset right now and I need to talk to my attorney first. I hope you understand.”

Believe me, if you can say the above in a clear controlled voice you are better than 90% of you fellow citizens who will be traumatized by the situation. Taking a life is a necessary evil sometimes, but it is never easy, and you will never be the same.

Better to be judged by 12 than carried by six, you will be judged. Try and not be your harshest critic and seeking professional counseling is not a sign of weakness.

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Modern Minuteman – Yes-No-Maybe Skillsets Vol. 2

25 Jun

Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

Many aspects of the Modern Minuteman toolbox apply to preparedness in general, however personal and small-scale or widespread and earth shaking our pet disasters may be. As with overall preparedness, our exact situation and our expectations of disaster scenarios affects what we prioritize for our finite time and attention.

Last time, I concentrated on an “early/now” frame for prioritizing a handful of commonly recommended skills. This time, I’m actually taking the “at all” perspective, be it amped-up community watches, riot control, or some NWO-EROL situation we’re gearing up to oppose.

As always, opposing opinions are welcome. The more perspectives available, the better everyone is able to make their own decisions.

Gauge Community Climate

Absolutely and emphatically, yes.  

Heaven help me, I recently found myself agreeing with Nancy Pelosi. A group of students approached her in her office to express their displeasure in her lack of support for an AOC environmental bill. Her reply was essentially that stupid to waste time on something with absolutely zero chance of passing.

That was a fair enough point on its own, and speaks directly to taking the pulse of a population.

Even more so was a nugget that made fewer news sites in the following days: The belief that trying to push too-extreme an agenda – however much she personally might agree with it – was worse than doing nothing at all. It would only further ruffle feathers, making things harder to achieve the next time around.

I’m no more fan of politicians than the next, but the ability to accurately predict and read the masses is something that we do need to be aware of if we have any interest whatsoever in being a citizen soldier.

What the community will stand and what they won’t is the bedrock of insurgency and resistance movements.

What they will and won’t stand in good times, versus crux moments and tragedy, historically makes or breaks those movements, as well as the hold over a community by a commanding force – whether that’s a large, visible government with policing agents and military, or the behind-the-scenes types large and small. 

It applies to anticipating and either preventing or responding to something like a riot or demonstration, as well as guerrilla actions against occupations and undermining strongholds of loyalists for either/any faction.

Large scale, long-term or single-event short-term, we have to be able to gauge the mood of the mob and the climate of our communities, and our reactions have to come from a complete tool set – not just picking today’s hammer.

If we can’t, our chances of success are downright nil.

Denial & Disruption

Most emphatically, yes.

Riot control on sidewalks or countering the jackboot takeover, we want to be able to deny our enemy intel and assets, and disrupt their way of doing business (and ability to relax).

That can take all sorts of forms – and has, throughout history.

Interdiction and harassment take so many forms, it really rates its own set of articles even to nutshell the tactics and techniques employed by insurgency and resistance in guerrilla operations, community and large-force counters to guerilla operations, and even law enforcement and IT deterrents large and small, and internal policing by law enforcement and militaries and even lowly little small-business operations, as well as force-on-force operations from pre-tech eras to modern times.

On the larger scales, it involves all sorts of supply and travel disruptions, misinformation/counter-intel, harassing fire, false flags, etc.

Many of those can also be applied on the smallest of scales – even interpersonal conflict and self-defense situations – employing different techniques to the same theories, or adapting techniques to fit conditions.

Again, though, we really want to mind the effects on and reactions of our internal and closest-ties allies (family, coworkers, partners), the near neighbors, and the community at large, as well as our opposition and the reactions of their varying rings of influence.

Wilderness & Military Camp Setup

Yes, absolutely – anywhere.

Site development and placement of elements – modern or long past – have a lot of aspects that apply to preparedness in general, even “just” getting through a hurricane and “just” setting up our homes for everyday functional efficiency and security.

The same aspects keep them relevant to a modern minuteman intending to defend storefronts or residential communities from riots as well as the prepper who anticipates infantry-like service defending freedom.  

Positioning for ready communication, rapid responses, protection of key elements, LOS, external observation points, latrines/sanitation, deployment outside the wire and-or green zones, individual safety and incoming-fire cover, fire safety, supply distribution, and awareness of known effective ranges by position and armament all factor in.

They apply equally to both the able-bodied foot soldier and to the physically limited watchman or rear-echelon non-combatant, whatever the situation, however big or small the location.

*Think that one through, and consider our daily nothing-wrong lifestyles – It really does resonate everywhere, from where our smoke detectors and fire extinguishers are, to aggravations or eases when we grocery shop, bathe dogs, do laundry, file and maintain paperwork, coordinate with family and coworkers, get to and from our chores and recreations, etc. We don’t have to be totally paranoid or OCD to start seeing typical trends in non-prepper, non-minuteman sources for safety/protection and efficiency.

Camo & Concealment

Meh.

Really, it’s situationally dependent.

For most of the scenarios we can list off, from protecting our corner of Baltimore or Koreatown to taking our turn as the insurgents – or countering them, or splinter cells of a larger force – unless you’re a sniper operating from the woods, mostly, “meh” leaning “well, nah”.

Flip side: Oh hell yeah, because camo and concealment isn’t always green and tan splotches of paint or fabric.

Camo and concealment is a suit or slacks and a briefcase in a courthouse, yoga pants and a light bag at the park, a “normal” passenger vehicle instead of an off-road rock-climbing mudder or Humvee on the average street, high-vis vests with dirty pants on a road crew with their bucket or tool box/bag, and scuffed up boots on a farm hand.

That camo and concealment extends to mixing up travel patterns to avoid breaking foliage and creating “deer trails”, being able to slip out of a location without observation, and presenting the appearance of following habitual movements and activities while deviating from the norm.

It’s also developing the control to watch our mouths and non-verbals rather than fight every battle that comes our way and picking every hill as our hill to die on. (Return to Nancy Pelosi above to make that an even uglier pill to swallow.)

And, yeah, in a few situations, it’s being able to become a rock on the hill or another tuft of brush, but unless we’re evading birds or sniper hunters, mostly breaking up our outlines isn’t too hard and doesn’t always require paint or cammies.

Hand-to-Hand Combat

Yes and no.

Don’t get me wrong. Self-defense capabilities are great to have, period. It’s not like this world has ever been totally safe, or like it’s getting any crazier.

However you want to apply it, keep in mind how often we see 2-5 cops or foreign militias trying to wrestle a bad guy into cuffs or move them after arrest, and weigh how much training and daily practice they get, versus our ability to invest time and money into training.

Our expectations of the bad guy we’ll be encountering, and how we’re deploying also factor in pretty hugely.

If we’re countering a significant force, whether it’s widespread jackboots and organized invaders or forces that have the benefit of protective gear, our chances of success are much lower.

Similarly, our chances against servicemen from one of the nations that focus significant continuing training time on some pretty gnarly martial arts, knife work, and batons … not so hot.

There are exploits for hand-to-hand combat even against somebody wearing body armor groin to neck, face shields and helmets, and knee pads. We just have to be realistic about whether we’re going to personally stand a chance with our available investment capabilities, or if we want to focus instead on something else.

Learn some basics that fit your physical condition for everyday encounters, but don’t break the bank on this one.

Instead, for minuteman purposes develop awareness, de-escalation, and evasion skills as well as Gray Man presentation.

Also work reflex drills, ankle-knee lateral and start-stop strength (or chair skills), and balance exercises – especially for people who are limited in some way by age, injury, or genetic luck of the draw.

Urban or rural, footing can be iffy. The better able we are to compensate for shifting terrain, curbs, bumps, and slips, and the better able we are to change direction on a dime, the better chance we stand of staying in the fight, whatever the scenario we imagine.

Modern Minuteman Skillsets

Most likely, the term “Modern Minuteman” brings a certain image to our heads. And, most likely, any 2-20 of us would describe very different images – particularly as the most likely and most common potential for a modern minuteman to deploy.

Because we have very different situations and needs, with very different scenarios in mind and very different capabilities due to our physical shape and local environment, the skills we are most likely to need are going to vary.

Some, though, are pretty universal. We can sometimes assign a value across the board, regardless of situation or scenario.

With any luck, somebody disagrees with these, or the matrix I apply at large, and presents points for discussion.

If not and until then, go find somebody who thinks “bah, PC community-pulse nonsense” or “moron, every soldier should fight with sticks”. Weigh the argument presented for those situations, and decide what does actually make sense for you. It’s only having multiple perspectives that really lets us prioritize, whether we’re picking out groceries or putting together our minuteman to-do list.

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The post Modern Minuteman – Yes-No-Maybe Skillsets Vol. 2 appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

The Value of Sleep

19 Jun

Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

The Prepper Journal has posted in the past on the importance of sleep, like when it is your turn on guard duty. But in general sleep is a real need and knowing how to get quality sleep will go a long way in keeping your healthy and on your game, a requirement in dealing with disasters and emergencies big and small in the real world.

It would help if you prepared yourself well before bedtime to ensure that you get a good night’s sleep. There are many ways of achieving this. You can do exercise, have a comfortable mattress, control your caffeine intake, avoid foods that you know will be harder for your system to digest, switch off any electronic devices, and take a shower before sleeping.

While these are for creating a restful night’s sleep, your health will also be better. Take for example doing exercise; numerous health benefits come with them. So, let’s see, in details, the things that will prepare you for a good night’s sleep.

Control Intake Of Caffeine

Caffeine, the foundation of so many “energy” drinks, is your enemy here. While it re-energizes your body and makes you more active by spiking  blood sugar levels, it takes time to be disposed of by your body which will make your ability to sleep difficult at best. Therefore, take control of the amount of caffeine you take per day. Consider cutting off it’s intake in the early afternoon.

Exercise Daily

Many people think that they should only do exercise to lose weight. Well, that is not the only reason that should make you walk 30 minutes a day or visit the gym regularly. However, avoid doing exercise at night. You should consider exercising in the early mornings before going to work, during lunch or the early evening – a real beneficial happy hour.

Manage Your Environment

The right bed and mattress and a controlled environment are conducive to restful sleep. A bad mattress, get something better, or just add a comfortable topper. Too much light, fix that. Too much ambient noise – eliminate it. Soft lighting, scented candles, lavender especially.

Switching Off Your Electronics

Have you noticed that you lose track of time when dealing with the electronics that overwhelm our lives? Do you notice when it is getting late when you are on your phone chatting with friends? The same applies to when you are using your computer. You see, the ambient light from these electronic devices disrupts your bodies rhythm, schedule. .

Dr. Michael Terman who is the author of “Reset Your Inner Clock” says that installing F.lux, which is a free App, helps in changing the color of your computer so that it looks the same as that time of the day. You can, therefore, know when bedtime is drawing near and switch off your computer ready for bed.

Try to mute or turn off your computer, mobile phone or any other electronic device at least one hour before you sleep.

Cooling Before Sleeping

Do you know that the food you eat as well as the lights in your bedroom can make the temperatures in your bedroom go up? The way to deal with this is by cooling your body. Taking a shower helps control the temperatures outside your body as well as giving you a cooling effect that allows you to fall asleep faster.

The Exit

A restful night’s sleep will affect your health, productivity, and self-esteem positively. It may be difficult to part with your computer or phone one hour before bedtime the first day, but with time you will get used to it. Exercising is not anything anyone who has not been doing would want to hear. However, at least 30 minutes a day for exercise is really a miracle drug. And that old “cool down” period can’t be over-stressed. 

The Prepper Journal has posted often that your person, your being, and your mental state are the best preps you can make to deal with any situation (as long as the Glock is close and pantry is full.) Look inward Prepper!

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Run-n-Gun: Lights, Camera, Action

18 Jun

Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

Whatever our primary shooting type and needs, there are a few things we can do to make sure we’re a little more ready when we pull the trigger on a real, live target.  This time around, it’s looking at low-light considerations and options.

This focuses mostly on defensive shooting. It can readily be applied to both LTL defense, though, and to training for paramilitary engagements.

I Don’t Need No Light

Yes, you do. Particularly for home and property defense.

One, yes, there is typically ambient light. However, it is not always sufficient for locating something that’s not moving or that is hugging shadows. Even if it is…

Two, depending on where that ambient light is – like, outside from the moon especially, but the light source is on the far side of something, it creates a silhouette.

Back-lit, pitch-black figures are hard to identify.

So are shadowy, dark figures.

Maybe you’re okay with shooting some packer or stray dog that’s just cutting through, or some neighbor who’s coming to beg a ride to the hospital.

Or, the cop creeping on the violent criminal while his/her partner is running to the house to ask/warn you about them.

Or, a neighbor running up to it with a gun because they just saw a yote chasing your calves or somebody creeping your property on foot or in a vehicle without the lights on, or that the smell is not from the last fire, but a new one about to hit the roadway/horizon.

Be real nice to light them up instead of automatically shooting them, for most of us.

Then there’s ID’g live-in’s, family/friends who have keys and-or alarm codes, or guests or a teen who could be raiding the fridge, any of whom might be potentially stepping outside because they want something from a porch or vehicle.

Or, hey, they heard something.

And, hey, if you live where a gun-toting relative, partner, or neighbor who sees/hears something odd might be sidling along checking that you’re okay, that silhouette might be armed.

Be nice if it was household-property SOP to go ahead and wreck somebody’s night vision instead of automatically putting holes in our own people.

*This is also where having flash-thunder type identification cue and learning to not jump the trigger is super-duper useful, too; ‘Cause, it’d be nice if our family/partner didn’t have to live with having automatically put holes in us when we lit them up.

Doesn’t being prepared for anything mean we should actually be preparing for anything? To include not shooting indiscriminately?

Let There Be Light

I prefer a handheld light and unsupported hold to a gun-mounted light and bracing my wrist. Some prefer to keep their hands on their gun.

Some hate the idea of using a light at all.

Hey, not having a skinny cone pointing to my center of mass is one of the reasons I like that offset handheld, so I’ll give them that one. However, I think how they envision lights getting used has a lot to do with the reluctance.

We do not leave that light on nonstop.

In fact, ideally we have a light that readily allows us to flicker it on and off, and we make free and full use of that function.

*If you have bad hands, consider a tac light with a wider, softer on-off tab than the common rear or side thumb pad or button. We just fix it straight to the light. If our fingers are aggravating, we can even practice holding it with the on-off key against our palm or the pad of our thumb, so we’re squeezing the whole hand, not one thumb or finger.

Loitering With Lights…

…is a good way to give any bad guys a really good idea where we are and provide a nice, visible aim point for them.

That’s where flickering helps. Light on, light off. Light on, light off.

There’s a super-duper important step in there that regularly ends up missed, though: Move.

Anytime we’ve availed ourselves of our light, we relocate.  

If we’re super-duper restricted (hallways, thick brush we’d rather not snag, etc.) a free-hand light becomes even more useful, because we can change where it’s shining from instead of always having that puppy right there inside dessert-plate and copy-paper accuracy ranges of our face and chest.

Even with it gun-mounted, though, or needing to keep two hands on a long gun, move.

Move it, move us, as much as possible.  

As much as we can without losing our footing, as far as we can without risk, even if all we can do is tip a gun and go to tiptoes, then crouch or take a knee, do it.

In a tight hallway, we can lean to use it, and move back 1-2 paces pretty easily, even working with a partner (we train so they know that’s what we’re going to do).

Do not linger where the light was.

Wheelers, hop-alongs, & cane bearers: There is even more argument for you to practice not only one-handed shooting, but also off-hand shooting. With limited mobility, the advantage of moving gun and light back and forth by space and cover is huge.

Seriously think about gluing/taping/tying a tooled 1×1 to your creak-in-the-night gun if it’s not mount-ready, so you can mount a rifle/shotgun tac light with an extended softie-pad control to it (mounted within reach of your thumb for off-hand shooting) or shell out for an ambi that works with your dexterity.

Wheelers: Leave one hand on whichever wheel needs to spin to change your profile and location immediately.

Stick Walkers: By type, you’re even less immediately mobile than wheelers and may have to holster/bag a gun to relocate. It’s even more important that you’re training to do a hand-to-hand gun/light swap at a height where you can be holding cane/crutch against your body or in position to make a hop aside as quickly as possible.

Anyone of Limited Mobility: You must practice awareness of leaning in, light it up, light off, and then leaning away (rather than the light tracking your initial movement away from “there”) because it’s going to take a little longer to move further away from your X.

Don’t Linger Applies Post-Shooting, Too

Even if your target dropped, they may be down and out, or they may have instinctively dropped and now be coming. Don’t count on them being alone, either.

Move.

Light on. Fire and kill it, kill it and fire, whichever, and move.

Re-check target with light, light off. Move again. Check flanks and rear with light, light off, move. Sweep original contact front with light, light off, move.

It’s constant, indoors or out.

Don’t Break the Bank

We’re looking for reliable, but it doesn’t have to be run-over-by-a-tank sturdy, and we only need it to at most illuminate the distances that are realistic for us based on our range of sight – not be seen from Mars.

*Range of sight = how far we can see before stuff’s in the way, not necessarily the effective range of our gun or personal shooting capabilities.

Camera

Mirrors can help us refine clearing skills, but cameras have added benefits. Even old flip phones usually let us record video, and can be connected to computers directly for reasonable review screen sizes. Many affordable little pocket digital cameras have video capabilities, too.

Use them to help identify how exposed we are as we practice house clearing, and to get a real count of how long we’re taking to do things like look, how risky that light is to us in varying deployments, and if we’re modifying our trigger speed to meet our accuracy needs in challenging conditions or letting trigger fingers run wild.  

Action

If you have a gun for defense of any kind, particularly grid-down disasters without power and with greater delays or nonexistent 9-1-1 services, you must be practicing. Crazy as it seems, there is actually a difference between shooting one-handed, shooting one-handed with a light at a well-lit range, and actually using that light to identify and then engage a threat target whether it’s gun-mounted or hand-held.

Doing it well one way and in one setting does not necessarily translate.

We also want to practice our light maneuvers at home, in the dark, with little cues, because it’s easy to miss spots and how we angle that light can actually create big shadows for things to hide in, increasing the amount of time we leave it on and delaying identifications.

Go ahead and get a light and a stick some lovely evening and rush out into the yard, too, to save your crops/garden/pet/livestock from a pest or to fill pan and pantry even if you insist you would never risk leaving the house to check an odd noise.

Work fixes for the risk factors – to include turning yourself into a silhouette – and make sure it’s as feasible with your eyes, yard, household, and body as the ones who insist, oh, psh, nah, you don’t need no lights.

Form your own opinion, but make it an informed one, and then act on that.

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Are We Spinning Out of Control?

12 Jun

Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

I posted last week on having a positive outlook at our current world so now, for the flip side.  I have often wondered if we as a people really appreciate what our founders went through.

In 1776 our forefathers and sisters had to come to grips with actually taking a stand, possibly shooting their neighbors, culling the loyalists and shoring up their circles of trust. This stand was a choice between life and death for not only themselves but for their families as well. The British Crown did not become the masters of an Empire Upon Which the Sun Never Set by being flexible, accommodating and accepting and executing without question anything other than the dictates of their monarchy.

Fast forward to now and the sun indeed sets on the remnants of that empire (as it does of colonial Spain).

For us as the first to break away, through the implementation of organized violence (I love people who say “violence solves nothing” – besides ours and others revolutions I always point to World War II and to the fact that policemen are armed and may indeed use violence to obtain peace). I fear the same forces that have destroyed every great society, forces from within are hard at work to accomplish the same goal for their selfish wants.

Our founders suffered greatly, under conditions so harsh I doubt any currently living human could endure. It is not the British to fear but the state of medical treatments available and the hygiene associated with food and disease.

Even after their hardships the resulting constitution was not ratified until 1788, so it took almost 12 years to come up with a document that the 13 original colonies representatives could agree upon. Talk about a “sigh of relief” moment. 

In the words of John Adams ““Posterity! you will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom! I hope you will make a good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven that I never took half the pains to preserve it.”

Only the child and the fool think that politics and government were ever pure in purpose, strictly for the benefit of others and benevolent. And of the two only the fool not taught history continues in that belief. What we see today was around long before there was an America, was there at our settlement and founding and has been there through our history, as it has in the histories of all countries. We are, after all, not perfect. Every generation has had to deal with the internal strife of political dissension. Have the margins changed? Were we always close to a 49% vs 49% split? 

Yes, government has a purpose, a limited purpose, such as providing for the common defense, and other things but the list of “other things” has not only grown out of control but in fact, has been used as weapon to enforce control. How does one balance “my body, my choice” with being penalized for not purchasing government mandated health care (at great expense)? 

In the Now

We could review history ad infinitum and find example after example of how this same circle has repeatedly brought about the end of societies. We would merely see the same forces at work, cloaked differently perhaps due to their period in time, but with the same underlying purposes.

I Blame My Generation

I am a tail-end baby-boomer, an outsider to the madness of the 1960’s, the drug-fueled hysteria, and the corruption that financed politicians then. It was a time of social upheaval, political assassinations (ones with still more unanswered questions than facts), never-ending wars, and a press that sent it all into your home in full-color every night. But we were naive enough to trust the press then. 

I for one claim outsider status because I never was interested in the loss of control that drugs offered, just maintaining control with hormones raging, the pressure of college entrance being the only way to avoid being drafted and sent off to war, was challenging enough. I did not avoid the draft, extended my enlistment for a better MOS, and ended up spending 14 months in Vietnam anyway. I was not alone, there were others like me but it was then that my illusions of control were shattered.

But those with an agenda in the 1960’s became masters of the long-game. They patiently sought to infiltrate the education system at every level, to gain positions in politics at the local levels and to work those into careers. They were all representative at a lesser success level than the Senators from Vermont and Delaware that never worked a day in their lives, never earned a paycheck for their labors, and their success were on smaller stages.

But these became the most influential of all the political class because they targeted the very foundation of society – the education system. They ascended to the School Boards who decided what textbooks were to be used, what subjects were to be taught and what the very syllabus of those classes would contain. They now decide that Dr. Seuss is politically incorrect,  self- anointed demigods, working from the underbelly of society up, planting their seeds. 

The Magic Fertilizer

What has brought all this to a head (almost) – what magic? It started as the ARPNET (I had an account on the original implementation). That was the seed, and the rest we have all seen blossom to today’s Internet. The speed and shear size of this parallel to the universe (ever-expanding in every direction) is a double edged sword. No, I am not a Luddite, and I am a frequent user, but for the price of convenience has come the cost of control, there are no checks and balances other than uncontrolled “experts” claiming they do checks and balances. This brave new world is still unfolding as media giants become mega-corporations and who dictate policy from their secret chambers. This monster breeds the need for control, and who better to control them than “the government” and thus these two feed other.

Obscure Examples

In the ongoing trial of Navy Seal Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher the military Judge in the case, Navy Capt. Arron Rugh, dismissed the Prosecutor. Rugh chided Navy investigators who refused to testify about putting spyware in an image sent to all principals in the on-going proceedings. He asked who authorized the tracking scheme, saying the “lack of candor or cooperation in this process, I think, could be huge as a sign of culpability.” The defense discovered the tracking code hidden in a suspicious logo of an American flag with a bald eagle perched on the scales of justice beneath Czaplak’s (the prosecutor) signature. 

The official excuse given – they were looking to find the source of a leak. Such is the power of the internet. As a prepper I find this troublesome, and I have known about such things for decades.

We have institutionalized “accepting less” in everything, from academics to acceptable social behavior to integrity and it is now corrupting every facet of our lives. When my nephew graduated for a high school with a 3,000 plus student body he was Valedictorian, well actually one of 72 valedictorians, with One Scholar of Scholar’s (the real singular valedictorian.)  72 students who failed to reach the top rung, but had demonstrated academic excellence but not the maturity to accept reality.

Enough Already

With all the advances of our world I would surmise that out founders would find our current world nightmarish.

Unbelievable in the diseases that have been conquered, mystified as to why they have been permitted to again fester and spread in the name of political correctness and globalism.

They would marvel at our machines and question our loss of community, our “parade-wave” at neighbors only seen, not known.

As preppers, the continued growth of government, their ability to peek into every corner of our lives, is troublesome. Actually scary on a level that would even make George Orwell step back. The message here is vigilance. My years in the defense industry taught me many things, but since leaving that two decades ago the advances are beyond my imagination and keeping up is important.

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What’s Your Trigger Finger Doing?

11 Jun

Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

If our accuracy has plateaued or backslid, we may have picked up one of several finger habits. Two we can check for are resigning pacing to our fingers – versus eyes and brains – and the reset portion of our trigger pull. There are some self-check tests we can run for either, and drills that can help restore or engrain better control.

Some of those drills also have benefit for moving-target and stimulus-reaction training, solo or with a partner.

*Disclaimer now: While some of the following images display legitimate problems (particularly grip/finger placement issues), others may have just been caught mid-action. I do not mean to imply they have runaway or slap-happy fingers, I just needed to demonstrate the ideas.   

Coming Off the Trigger Between Shots

Sometimes shooters immediately, entirely and preemptively release the trigger.

Sometimes they only fling it all the way forward or break contact with the trigger in reset, leaving a gap. Sometimes they slide and contact the side of the trigger. Sometimes they immediately straighten the finger when they’re finished shooting.

We should absolutely be cognizant of breaking the magnetic attraction between fingers and the inside of the trigger guard. However, it needs to be a conditional, situationally aware, deliberate selection – not muscle memory.

One, if it’s jerky and too fast, it’s impacting our follow-through and shot placement. 

Two, sometimes we’re not actually done.

When we need those next shots, we can end up rushed and trigger pull suffers for it, with experienced shooters actually losing some of their longtime fundamentals and accuracy as a result.

Just like beginners who come off the trigger and real routinely slap it from the rush, far wider patterns and more chaotic patterns result.

Back up and return to some fundamentals drills now and again.

To combat it, here and there, run drills where you work each stage of trigger pull separately and distinctly. Choose when to break the shot, and when to reset, and when to disengage the trigger; don’t let the finger do it automatically.

(A lot of hunters – including archery – have no idea why that’s going to be a challenge for other types of shooters. Those make excellent finger-watching partners.)

Painfully slowly, ease that trigger back. Break the shot and pull through.

Stop, right there, trigger to the rear. Hold it. Count to random one-up numbers. “Now, I reset.”

Return to slack trigger just as deliberately.

* Dry fire and airsoft/BB gun practice is great if it’s good practice, but diagnose and work maintenance live fire, too.

Add-On: With the pull reinforced, randomly or in cycles, choose whether you’re taking another shot, or whether you’re coming off the trigger. Don’t only work mag-lock or single-shot drills.

(Choose if/when we’re returning to ready, too; don’t let arms decide when it’s time to chest cradle a gun or what ready position is safest – use the brain that makes us more than meat puppets.)

Some other time or later, go through the trigger press and reset in a smooth continuation, but slowly and deliberately and with distractions that engage the brain.

Count backwards from 97, mentally fill in a Sudoku box in some pattern, run through the alphabet backwards, work exponentials of 2, come up with synonyms or rhyming words… The distraction slows us down, engages multiple brain pathways, and helps embed the actions as synonymous with deliberate thought, not just muscle memory that may not actually serve us well.

Also practice taking a beat to actually assessing what’s around.  

A partner can hold a strong light or a laser on a target (and move it between targets) for variable amounts of time and a variable number of shots.

Or, use a cell phone/timer to create random, variable shot counts before we enter assessment and disengagement phases.

Not knowing exactly how many shot’s we’re firing, we stay ready to shoot after each. With a partner, we’re also watching to see if we’re actually clear, and if it stays clear.

That help train us to control our finger and hands/arms, not let them take over.

Problem 2: Shot Pacing Never Changes

For most practical shooting, we need to find a balance between “a lot to the everywhere” and “one shot, one kill” level of precision (“precision” in this case meaning “grow gray and die of old age between shots”).

Sure, sometimes close is enough to wing them, slow them down, make them duck – covering fire, right?

(Uhh …bystanders? …other responders? …flammable/explosives near the target?)

We’re looking for the marriage of speed and accuracy at varying distances, using our slow-fire and near-target groups as a baseline – not the bulls-eye or group size itself.

There are a lot of legitimate reasons that our patterns loosen up at “distance” – distance being variable platform to platform, shooter to shooter.

Sights/optics cover more of the “smaller” target resulting from distance, creating fundamental limits. Tiny and acceptable movements create angles, which get wider apart the further from us they go.

However, we can maintain our level of accuracy at distances, particularly “near” ranges (3-7 to 25-30 yards, or out to 50-75 for shotgun and 75-100 yards for reasonable base-level defensive rifle). It just requires more control, which typically translates to a slower rate of fire.

And that’s what we need to check: That our aim is off because of our inherent and real limitations, not due to runaway trigger finger.

Again, we want to remain in control. Our trigger finger doesn’t get to operate on autopilot.

Without a shot timer or editing software, determining the time between shots at different distances is difficult, particularly working at close range or with dot optics or lasers.

The better and faster a shooter is, the more difficult it gets. Regularly, though, if we record even just the sounds with a cell phone in our pockets, we can hear that there is a difference in the times between sets of shots.

Just like when we take a beat for that one perfect shot at the T or face or drop-dead triangle.

And that’s exactly how we test and practice it if we’re restricted to single-lane and-or single-depth ranges.

Create or buy targets with lollipops, boxes, bulls-eyes, silhouette or even animal shapes of different sizes. Or, for fence rail shooting, set up different sizes and shapes of boxes.

If you have multiple depths/lanes/targets available, by all means set up targets with 8.5”x11” paper stapled to them at reasonable distances for your engagements – handguns ranging 3-7, 10-15, 15-25+ yards; rifle from the same 5-7 yards or start at 15-25 yards going out to 50-100+.  

The further/smaller our target, the more perfectly aligned our sights need to be to avoid deviations.

Getting that alignment takes juuuuuust a little longer, and then juuuuuust a little longer still the tighter we need that shot to be.

If our finger is in control, working off a count timer, instead of our brains registering “now” as our sights align, it’s likely we won’t see a consistent pattern grouping for diagnostics.

But we can hear it, usually.

Review, and if all you’re hearing is a consistent pattern at the first 2-3 distances (past that, if you’re not hearing slowed pacing there, too, but usually it’s the next-closest and the one after that that really sees rushed shots), check the targets to see if your spread is acceptable and still in that letter paper or dessert plate we need.

If not, concentrate on making those clean shots, not just quick ones.

The goal is to engage the bad guy as quickly as possible (or shoot as much dinner as possible; I’m easy).

“Engage” means hit him. “As quickly as possible” means “only as fast as we can land solid hits”.

Sometimes just blanketing an area in lead is okay. Mostly, our target is not the only thing downrange, and we really need our target to drop before they get closer/further.

Too, we need to be able to make that hip-neck-T/triangle/disconnect shot when we’ve determined center mass is not working.

If our finger is used to being in charge, running as fast as it can regardless of our sight picture because we got used to shooting at a certain speed, we can’t make those shots when we need them. We need to know if that’s a problem, so we can correct it.

(The first issue’s fix-it drills can help there, too.)

Habit vs. Control

Muscle memory is great, until it’s not. When training for practical scenarios, whether it’s hunting, self- and home-defense, or some kind of combat, we have to be especially cognizant of what we’re embedding.

Especially if we also shoot sports, with the habits they can instill, we need to spend time on practical practice and engage our brains to avoid having those habits become life threatening to us or others.

Taking control from a trigger finger both in when and how we get off the trigger, and when certain levels of accuracy is required – and slowing down or speeding back up, deliberately, target by target – is a huge part of that. It’s something many shooters either never develop, or actually lose as they fall into the rhythms and ruts of habit.  

A little practice here and there is all it takes, but work them live fire as well as dry. These are both cases where our actual habits tell most at the range, with actual bangs and projectiles punching patterns that don’t lie.

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