TRAP: I’ve been doing this for 28 years!

This is one of those really strange posts of mine, but a good lesson to be learned by some. I was one of those people that learned this lesson about 15 years ago. I am grateful I did.

So…I’m in this training class and this guy keeps trying to correct the instructor. Each time the know-it-all student would start out saying, “I’ve been doing this for 28 years and…” After the first couple of times it got really annoying and a number of the students, myself included, were getting irritated with him. The instructor was being patient and then it happened…

After about the tenth time of this guy do that…the instructor said the following, “Have you ever considered that you did it wrong the first year and then repeated it 27 more times?”

Yeah, the offending student was not happy with the instructor’s comeback. But, the point was simple…maybe you’ve been doing it wrong all along. Or, another way of putting it was…maybe there is a better way of doing it.

The point of this “Trap” article is simple…Just because a person has a lot of experience doing something doesn’t mean that the way they do something is right.

Solution? Whenever you hear someone state how to do something…question it!

Maybe not question it out loud to that person, but in your mind. Run through it and see first if it makes sense based on what you already know. Then ask yourself if it goes against common knowledge. then start asking more questions…Is what they are saying verifiable through your own research? And here is a big one…Are they going to make a bunch of money off what they suggest? Yes, that means will they make a lot of money if you do what they suggest? Do they gain power over you or someone else by doing what they say? Have they actually done what they claim? Do they “walk the walk not just talk the talk” is a great question to ask yourself.

Bottom line…just because someone has a lot of experience doesn’t make they are automatically right.

 

 

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TIP: Eating during emergencies, disasters, and grid-down.

When in any kind of emergency, disaster or “grid-down” situation you need to change your eating habits. During these high-stress times you are likely to be working harder than normal by a fairly large margin. Your body will need extra calories. A man performing heavy labor outside exposed to the elements can easily  burn 4000 – 7000 calories a day. Yup!!! That is no typo…7000 calories!

And on top of needing a bunch of calories when expending a large amount of calories, how those calories are ingested is also important. First, starting eating early in the day. Eat something nutritious within 30 minutes of waking up. Then eat every 90 – 120 minutes thereafter. You don’t have to eat anything big, but granola  bars, cheese sticks, crackers, fruit, nuts, etc. will keep your energy up. A decent sized lunch and dinner is a good thing, but plenty of in-between snacking is both important and required.

Foods to avoid would be anything with a large amount of sugar in it. Any  caffeinated drinks…other than a “wake-up” jolt if needed (think Pepsi).

Mainly try to avoid a lot of anyone food item. The key is variety and moderation in portions.

Your body is a machine in many aspects. And machines take fuel to stay running. And the better the fuel, the better the performance.

Running out of fuel can cause problems in any machine or in the human body when trying to get a “restart.” Avoid putting yourself in that position of needing a restart to begin with. You avoid that situation and many other problems by eating a  variety of the right foods in moderate amounts throughout the day.

Stay healthy, stay strong, stay alive, and eat right.

And don’t short yourself on calorie intake!

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FAQ – 2/18/2019

  • Who is the #1 threat to preppers before and after SHTF?

Dang…tough question. I think that basically the primary answer is “ourselves” in both cases. Yeah, I know…lame answer. It would be easy to say things like; politicians, LEOs, Democrats, etc. While they may be threats/risks to some degree I don’t think they are anywhere near the top of the list let alone #1. But, there may be a little more depth to the answer than a simple ourselves.

Pre-SHTF: This I think is fully and completely ourselves…for a number of reasons. I think we may suffer from complacency, Normalcy Bias, Competency Bias, poor Situational Awareness, etc. This will cloud our ability to properly see, understand, and act in a timely manner to what is happening. But, I still think that is not the #1. I think the #1 “who” threat are people who masquerade as experts in emergency preparedness. The ones who claim (or intimate) a level of expertise and then give out bad information to preppers who are simply trying to learn. I tend to call them “posers” overall. Some are well-intentioned to be sure. Others are after the attention, admiration, and cult-like worship that preppers heap upon them. By-in-large they are manipulators seeking to satisfy their own goals/needs. Example: Someone who talks about Situational Awareness and has little experience in high-stress emergency situations where good SA is essential to completing an actual task/mission. These folks are unproven, untried, and posing as experts…they are dangerous…some of their poor advice is bound to get folks killed…or mislead into following the wrong leaders.

Post-SHTF: Strange, I think there are two completely different categories to this one; 1) application to me personally, 2) application to most everyone else.

For me personally I think I am the #1 threat to myself as a prepper post-SHTF. I think my ego and pride will make me try to act like a “know-it-all” and either run over people who don’t agree with me, or I will alienate them ruining any chance of cooperation/coordination. So I believe I will antagonize a lot of people I shouldn’t. Heck, I do that now 🙂

As for most everyone else…I think the “who” will be “herding dogs.” There is a lot of discussion about people being “sheepdogs.” That’s all well and good…but do people really understand the difference between a sheepdog and a herding dog. A sheepdog is a protector but treats the sheep even better than themselves. A herding dog is just short of a predator…well trained, but a predator all the same. A herding dog is trained to control the herd/flock and force them to do its will. They nip at, growl at, and generally show aggression towards the flock/herd to make them obey. There is a HUGE difference between a sheepdog and a herding dog. I think many sheepdogs are actually herding dogs. And some sheepdogs may be wolves in sheepdog clothing. The key is to know the difference.

Also…just a thought…If a herding dog (or pack of them) comes along, a couple questions for you:

  • How much “herding” are you willing to tolerate? And if you won’t tolerate it, what are willing to do about it?
  • How will you know the difference between a sheepdog and a herding dog?
  • How do you explain to someone else that you recognize a person as a herding dog?
  • Can you identify herding dogs in today’s society?

There is a close #2 threat/risk…posers. These are the “pretty boys” of preppers. Those folks who talk pretty, look pretty, have pretty gear, have pretty ideas…but are there only to manipulate people, they like the attention that they get from their followers. Unfortunately, their followers are not their equals…at least according to the way posers view their followers.Politicians are a sub-group of “pretty boys” if you haven’t already guessed that.

  • What is the #1 threat to preppers before and after SHTF?

Again, it would be easy to make real blanket statements and hold them up to be the ultimate answer. But, I think a true answer will depend on each person’s (or group’s) specific situation. A group dealing with the imposition of martial law by the local/county/state LEOs will have a far different view than a group that is out of food and/or water. But, let me take a stab at it and make an overall blanket statement…you take it into consideration for your situation.

Pre-SHTF: I think the “what” here is not a tangible. What I mean by that is it is not something like lack of food storage, not enough ammo, or no bug out location. I believe it to be an intangible. Why? Because I am a student of history. When you look at countries and states that have experienced large scale disasters or grid-down events there is an underlying message…after the fact. And that tends to be something along the lines of “I should have left sooner”, “I should have tried to buy gas before…”, “I should have…” You look at the last world-wide event in history…WWII. Listen to the stories of Jews that got trapped in areas conquered by and then occupied by the Germans. Those that were in fact trapped had wished they had left for safety sooner. Look at hurricanes in Florida, Texas, and other states. The folks there all talk about not having prepared, or left, sooner. Some say they should have bought more food, water, fuel, ice, generators, etc. way sooner before the storm actually hit. And the primary reasons they didn’t act sooner are complacency and Normalcy Bias.Those are the two biggest “what” threats.

Post-SHTF: This one is the easiest…Violence! Yes, unequivocally the #1 threat/risk to all folks after the SHTF will be violence. Why? Because it can be fatal and fast. All your preps in the world can’t protect you if you are not prepared to deal with violence first. Ten years of food storage, the biggest 100 gal a day water purification system, the perfect bug out location, the most awesome Jeep mean absolutely nothing if someone puts a bullet between your eyes…they just take your cool stuff. And no, all the guns and ammo in your gun safe mean nothing if you are not properly trained to use them. And all the best training in the world means nothing if you are not willing to defend yourself and your family. And all the willingness in the world means absolutely nothing if your Situational Awareness sucks. Yup, the risk/threat of violence will be #1 !

  • You wrote a series of articles about “personalities” before and after SHTF, will you resurrect them?

Yes, I will be resurrecting them. I already have a long list of posts/articles that are on the calendar for resurrection. If I am remembering right I am thinking the calendar is already full into April. But, I will get on it and get those articles found and brought back to life. I am actually glad you brought them up. Lately I am seeing an uncomfortable trend developing. I am seeing some folks getting…well, kind of weird. And they are showing signs of being people that you would not want to associate with post-SHTF…or maybe not even during an emergency or disaster. I also mentioned sheepdogs vs. herding dogs in another question. I want to make sure I touch on that as well. I am noticing that a couple of men that I thought were sheepdogs are actually showing signs of being herding dogs. And that makes them very dangerous.

 

 

 

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TRAP: Do you honestly know how to use all your gear?

Be honest, do you really know how to use all of that equipment and gear you have stored for emergencies, disasters or “grid-down”?

Prepper Geek with equipment and gear

That’s OK if you don’t.  At least you have the “stuff’ going into the calamity.  I just hope you don’t have a whole lot of very cool gear but very little food.  What I would suggest is:

  1. Identify the “events” for which you wish to be prepared for.
  2. Set realistic priorities for your prepper budget dollars to meet the events identified in #1 above.
  3. Make sure you have training on how to use the gear you have. Then periodically review and test those acquired skills.
  4. Maybe annually review where you are in your prepping and fill in the gaps in both gear and training.
  5. And remember that for virtually all disasters, emergencies and especially during a “grid-down” you will face the same basic survival needs –
  • Defense – Protect yourself and your family from violent threats
  • First Aid – Provide basic medical care to yourself and your family
  • Water – Acquire a water source and then provide filtered and purified water
  • Communications – Be able to communicate with the outside world and among your family
  • Shelter – Protect yourself and your family from the weather and environment
  • Fire – Provide warmth for food preparation and comfort
  • Food – Provide basic nutrition to yourself and your family
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“Reloading!”…”Reload!”

Remember the #1 rule of a gun fight? Kill the enemy. #2 rule is…Don’t get killed killing the enemy. And a good guideline, either fixed position or patrol, is always have a full mag in your weapon. I want to take a minute and talk about removing an empty magazine from your weapon and replacing it with a full magazine…reloading. That gives you a higher degree of ability to kill the enemy before they kill you.

For this conversation I am referring to a “reload” as a magazine swap…empty one in your gun swapped for full one from your mag pouch. While some folks can talk about four kinds of reloads, I have narrowed it down to just two. There are two basic “reloads” in combat; 1) tactical, 2) speed. A tactical reload is slower and generally used where you have cover and time. A speed reload is very fast in a firefight where you have to put rounds down range quickly. So the situation you are in dictates which reload you do…fast or faster.

Tactical Reload

Tactical reloads give you the opportunity to swap a magazine while cover protects you and you have a little more time to get he swap done. This would normally occur when you have others around you to keep rounds going down range. The standard “reloading” yell should be used to make sure that someone is still throwing lead while one or more people reload. Tactical reloading can occur when you are completely empty or partially empty. The idea is to get a full magazine in your weapon and return to the fight.

Speed Reload

Speed reloads give you the opportunity to get ammo back in the gun and rounds headed down range as absolutely quickly a possible. Additionally, the shooter’s eyes never leave the target. Hence, you don’t lose track of the enemy who is trying to kill you. And the mag swap is done completely by muscle memory and feel. If your unit has trained to do so, you implement the standard “reloading” yell to make sure that someone is still throwing lead while you reload. This reload is commonly done only you’re your weapon is empty. Since you have no cover to protect you…your rounds heading down range become your cover. The goal should be…Get your cover headed back down range as fast as possible!

Speed reload can get you shooting again in under 3 seconds!

Here is a great example of speed reloading from a professional…

My Gear/Equipment

I normally, almost always, wear tactical gloves while shooting. Also, I use only double magazine pouches (see note below). They have the stretch/snugging material on them to keep a single mag from moving around or dropping out. I use covered mag pouches due to the dirt and sand where I live. I primarily use only Pmags. I only load each mag with 28-rounds (see note below). I place them into my mag pouch with the front mag slightly taller than the rear mag. The lip on the bottom of the Pmag is the guide for keeping the front mag taller. I am right-handed so I reload with my left hand manipulating magazines. Since I wanted to use a consistent system I use my mags from left to right on my vest. I also use the front mag first.

When my mag is empty I either drop it to the ground (for speed reloading) or I place the mag in my drop pouch (for tactical reloading). I’ve been known to occasionally shove an empty in my back pocket or the lower left knee level cargo pocket on my pants. Speed and convenience requirements determines if I break my routine. I try not to break my routine.

Drop Pouch

Now for the question of “drop pouch” usage. There is a case for both using a drop pouch and not. The US military uses drop pouches. Not that they can’t afford to buy more magazines, it’s just a good idea for individual soldiers to maintain their own supply of magazines without depending on resupply. This is especially true while engaging the enemy and a resupply would put others at unwarranted risk. The case against using a drop pouch is fairly simple…no time to put your mag in the pouch. This means you have to get more rounds on target faster. Taking the time to place a mag in the drop pouch would eat up a second or two…that’s 3 – 10 rounds not heading at the enemy. This means that using a drop pouch during a speed reload shouldn’t happen…it just takes too much time.

As a prepper after the SHTF you really want to maintain your supply of magazines if at all possible! Otherwise…where are you going to go buy replacements.

No Drop Pouch – Mag Pouch Only

Now, there is a line of thought against using a drop pouch at all. It calls for you to put your empty magazine back into the mag pouch that it came out of. I think that is a sure way to die, or at least give the enemy an upper hand, when it is totally uncalled for. Think about it…if your life is on the line, you have no cover (other than your own rounds), do you really want to take the time to put a mag back into your vest pouch? Notice I haven’t even touched on whether it is even possible to do or not.

Let’s think this through…You have three double magazine pouches on the front of your vest and you have one mag in the gun. Time for a reload!

You pull the new mag out of your vest pouch, you grab the empty pouch that is in the gun with the same hand you are holding the new mag, you press the mag release, you remove the mag from the gun, and manipulate the new mag into the gun, place the empty mag in the mag pouch, hit your bolt release, and continue the fight. Does that sound like something you want to do?

OK, try this…

While your left hand is retrieving your new mag, (your right hand index finger is already indexed and the mag release is at your finger tip) you push the mag release button with your right index finger while giving the gun a counter-clockwise flick, you place the new mag in the gun, hit your bolt release, and continue the fight. It is all one seamless motion.

That’s right…you got the empty mag out of the gun while you were retrieving the full mag. You also have full control of your full mag since it is the only mag in your hand. And you are not fumbling around trying to put an empty mag back into your vest pouch.

I know the second method (drop the mag) can be done in about 2 – 3 seconds. What about the first method? I can’t even imagine how much longer it would take. My guess…”a lot, too much!”

So now here is a monkey wrench in that whole thing…I don’t know many folks who don’t wear tactical gloves. Using the “return empty mag to mag pouch” method with the empty mag in your hand, can you find the empty mag pouch with your glove covered fingers? What if you can’t? Do you have to look down to see where the empty mag pouch is? Now…as you looked down you just lost track of the guy(s) that were shooting at you.

OK, try this…Using the “return empty mag to mag pouch” method you are prone, you pull out the new mag, and now you are trying to put an empty mag back into a pouch while lying on the pouch. How’s that going to work for you?

And here is the worst scenario using the “return empty mag to mag pouch” method …You are doing a reload and you reach to your mag pouches on your vest, you grab a mag that you are going to place into your gun…and the mag is empty!!!  That is the fatal flaw with that methodology…knowing for sure which mag has ammo in it and which do not. Don’t fall into those traps. Only use systems/processes that make sense and actually work in the field under extreme stress.

Now, in all fairness the guy that I watch demonstrate this particular reload methodology (all empty/full mags in mag pouches on the vest) sells a product that keeps a mag pouch mouth open. I’ve never used the device he is selling so I can’t comment on how effective it is. But, I can tell you that only using single mag pouches is NOT a good idea in my opinion. And even with his product that he is selling…this methodology is still a very poor idea…at best.

So please, stick with what has proven over and over again to work…use double mag pouches, use a drop pouch to place your discarded mags in, unless you are doing a speed reload. Stick with what the gunfighters do…anything else is a recipe for disaster!

Here is another great example of speed reloading from someone who knows what they are talking about…

Restocking your magazines from your drop pouch

So now…what about those partially empty mags in your drop pouch? Dah…get them back into the action!

I learned to handle those drop pouch magazines. It is a simple process. When you have the time, it is safe, and your buddies are aware of what you are doing, do the following:

  1. Move your full mags to the left most mag pouches.
  2. Retrieve your partially full mags from the drop pouch one at a time pulling the heaviest out first.
  3. Place the mag in the left most empty pouch.
  4. Repeat until all the mags in your drop pouch that have ammo in them are now in your mag pouches on your vest.

There is an alternative to the above process…the “lunch.” I call it that because it does take some more time and you need to be in a safe location to do it (i.e. safe enough to be eating your lunch):

  1. Move your full mags to the left most mag pouches.
  2. Retrieve a partially full mag from your drop pouch. Make sure it is usable.
  3. Retrieve another partially full mag from your drop pouch.
  4. Whichever has the least amount of ammo in it, remove the rounds and place those rounds into the mag with the most rounds in it (the other one that you retrieved from the drop pouch).
  5. Continue to do so until you have topped off a mag (28-rounds, see note below).
  6. Place the topped-off magazine in the left most empty mag pouch on your vest.
  7. Repeat until all mags in your drop pouch no longer have rounds in them.
Fixed position magazine usage

I want you to think of something for a minute…

If you have a fixed fighting position that presents itself as being suitable…Does it make sense to have a cache of full magazines there? Think about it for a second…Would it be nice to have more magazines available during a firefight…without having to stop and reload those magazines while rounds are coming at you?

In my opinion…If you are in a suitable fixed fighting position (foxhole, guard house, etc.) there should be a cache of loaded ammo magazines there. They should in a safe, readily available location, in a container that keeps the mags and ammo clean and dry. In a firefight you should try to use those mags first before you start taking them out of your vest pouches.

Why?

Example #1: You are in a fixed fighting position in a firefight. You have been using your mags from your vest pouches. You are forced out of your fixed fighting position. How much ammo do you have left on your person?

Answer: Who knows…maybe some, maybe none.

Example #2: You are in a fixed fighting position in a firefight. You have been using the mags from the cache in your fixed fighting position. You are forced out of your fixed fighting position. How much ammo do you have left?

Answer: Your full battle load, on your vest.

You may or may not want to drop magazines while in a fixed fighting position. Remember, it is about the presence of cover and how much time you have to get back into the fight and start shooting. If you need to get rounds down range…drop the mag and get shooting. If you have cover and time…drop the empty mags into a protected, easy to use container.

Summary:

Take enough ammo into the fight. Running out of ammo is a real downer when the other guy is still shooting at you. Be fast in reloading your weapon. Speed matters, micro-seconds count. Train, train, train…your muscles will learn what to do with enough training. When the stress goes through the roof and it is hard to think…your mind/muscles will remember what they need to do if you have trained enough. That frees your mind up to pay attention to your SA…and good SA helps keep you alive.

I am very serious…practice both the tactical and speed reloading methods. Of course you would do it with dry (unloaded) mags unless you are in a safe location. Practice reloading your magazines from your drop pouch. Let your fingers learn what it feels like. Find flaws in what you are doing while you are training…not while you are fighting for your life.

Your mind is a powerful tool that runs your weapon systems. But your mind will only do what it has been trained to do. Train your mind!

Let me know if you have great ideas you want to share!

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Warning! : Don’t let someone sucker you into thinking incorrectly about when to speed reload or not. Speed reloading is done when you have to get back into shooting as quickly as possible. That is when you drop your mag to the ground and not waste time putting it into a pouch of any kind. You might be out in the open or you might be in a fixed fighting position…it doesn’t matter where you are! What is important…and the only important thing…is the presence of cover and the amount of time you have to get back into the fight.

Note #1: I only load my mags to 28 rounds. Why? I don’t want to stress the lips for one. But…WAY more importantly I learned a lesson the hard way during a very stressful training session. I had a mag with 30 rounds in it. I tried to place it into my weapon with the bolt carrier group closed. It wouldn’t seat correctly. It would fall out. I just couldn’t get the top round in the magazine to depress enough to allow the mag to seat correctly. Bummer! Never again, I go with 28 rounds giving magazine plenty of room to depress and seat…and it is easier on the lips as well. Yes, I finally flipped the top round out of the full mag with my thumb and the mag seated and I was back at it.

Note#2: For long term storage of my Pmags that have ammo in them I use the Pmag Impact/Dust Cover Gen M2 MOE. It keeps the top round off the lips relieving the stress. It also keeps dirt, sand, and junk out of the mag. When needed I remove the cover from the mags before going operational. But, should you forget and go into action with the covers on, not to worry…they flick off easily with your thumb as you take them out of the mag pouch.

Note #3: Here are the mag pouches that I like:

Condor SINGLE M4 MAG POUCH WITH MULTICAM (MA5-008)

Condor M4 single Magazine Pouch

 

 

Condor DOUBLE M4 MAG POUCH WITH MULTICAM (MA4-008)

Condor M4 double Magazine Pouch

 

 

Condor TRIPLE M4 MAG POUCH WITH MULTICAM (MA58-008)

Condor M4 double Magazine Pouch

 

I tend to go with the individual single pouches, three on my vest. I think using individual pouches gives  your vest a little more flexibility than a double or triple pouch set-up. But that is only my preference.

Note #4: The magazine drop pouch that I prefer is the Condor roll-up mag drop pouch (MA36-008 : Roll – Up Utility Pouch – MultiCam).

Condor MA36-008 : Roll – Up Utility Pouch

 

Condor MA36-008 : Roll – Up Utility Pouch

 

Note #5: In any fixed fighting position you have control of make sure that you maintain a cache of loaded magazines. The mags should be fully functional and loaded with quality ammo. The mags should be stored in such a way that they stay dry and clean and readily accessible. Periodically swap them out with other mags. That way they will allow the springs to relax and you can inspect them for damage…good idea to clean them periodically as well. I would also seriously consider using the Pmag Impact/Dust Cover Gen M2 MOE for cache mags.

Note #6: Should the last two or three rounds in a mag are tracers? Well, I have no opinion of if that is a good idea or not. There is a case to be made either way. If you are in a gunfight and you see tracers headed down range that is a clue to reload vs. waiting for the bolt to lock open. On the other hand…if the bad guy doesn’t know exactly where you are and they see your tracers…well, they now probably know exactly where you are. So it is a personal preference thing. I personally don’t use them that way.

 

 

 

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TRAP: Socks, never ever….

#1 – Never ever wear cotton socks for any kind of serious emergency, disaster or especially “grid-down” situations. Cotton socks may be great for sports, keep it that way. They will tear your feet up under the conditions you will be subjected to during emergency, disaster or “grid-down” situations. Then wet, cotton socks will destroy the skin on your feet.

#2 – Never ever wear any polypropylene socks. First off, your feet will really, really stink. Second, your feet will get wet, your skin will break down and your feet will get cold once the sun goes down.

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Hey…read my on-line book Escape from Tucson!

Well, it seems as if a lot of folks can’t seem to find my book Escape from Tucson on the website. At least according to the poll I took a couple of weeks ago. And that is just not right! So I am going to post this article to make sure you can find that book and hopefully enjoy reading it.

So click here to read the book series or click on the book cover below…