What is Opsec? Well, let me give you a brief example. I bought that shirt (left pic) because I thought it was funny. But I don’t wear it outside of my house. Why? Well, what does that shirt tell you? Other than I have a sense of humor, it says that maybe I really do have a plan for the Apocalypse. And if I have a plan….then I have supplies and gear.
While this is true, I don’t want everyone out there knowing it.
That is, in a nutshell, opsec for preppers. But that example is a bit over simplistic. There is more to opsec than that.
Opsec, short for Operational Security, means that you are keeping information from one or more potential adversaries. This includes people that may you not even consider to be adversaries right now, but could become so in a long-term SHTF situation. This could be your neighbors, co-workers, or distant relatives etc. It could also be thugs and criminals in everyday life.
This information you want to keep under wraps can include details about you, your family or group, your gear and supplies, your home, your SHTF plans, etc. This is information that you do NOT want others to know because it could potentially be used against you if everything were to ever go to hell in a hand-basket.
For example, what happens if friends, neighbors, distant family, etc visit you in your home, and see shelves lined with row after row of food, water, medical supplies, etc? You can imagine what will be the first thing they remember in a SHTF scenario. This is especially true if they have gone a day or two without food.
Suddenly, they could be looking to you for help. Help that you may not be able to give. And in a worse case scenario, they could decide to simply take it from you if they are desperate enough.
Another example is purchasing a new, big screen TV and then leaving the box it came in out by the curb for the garbage truck. This tells everyone who happens by your house that you have a new, huge, valuable TV inside your house. Is this something you would want potential burglars to know? Your house could suddenly become a target for thieves. A target that you were not before they saw the TV box.
So with these ideas in mind, I wanted to give you some “food for thought” about keeping and maintaining a low profile with any pre-disaster prepping. And I’ll also talk a little about what to do in situations where you may not be able to keep a low profile.
I have always believed that when it comes to bugging out, (click the link to learn about when it’s time to bug out) speed is your friend. I have written articles in the past stressing the need to keep your Bug out bag/Get home bag, light weight. The faster you get to your destination, the safer you will be.
When it comes to bags, you may have heard of the old adage, ounces = pounds, pounds = pain. Because of this, I tell folks to strip away a lot of the unnecessary accessories they have packed in their BOB. This includes bulk ammunition. Sometimes this notion has be met with a little opposition.
Many preppers out there believe that being prepared also means being able to adequately defend themselves. They argue that it stands to reason that they may find themselves in a situation where they need to be armed with the ability to adequately fight back. Hence they need plenty of ammo. And in some cases, I certainly agree.
But I also believe that bugging out with an ammo stockpile could, in many situations, cause you more harm than good.
Let me explain.
The main purpose of your bag, be it a Go bag, Get Home bag, Bug Out Bag, etc is to be able to move safely and efficiently out of a danger zone. In a SHTF situation, you are most vulnerable while on the move. And I’m not talking about roving bands of marauders that so many people envision. I’m talking about being susceptible to the elements, to fatigue, to stress; being vulnerable to the unknown. Those will most likely be your enemies early on.
At home (or bug out location) you are not as exposed. You will hopefully feel safer and more secure in familiar surroundings. The more rapidly you can get there, the better off (and safer) you will be. And the less you are packing around, the faster and further you can move. (On foot.) Hence carrying less ammo makes for much easier travel.
A bullet by itself does not weigh much. But the more you carry, the heavier and bulkier it becomes. Below is a chart giving you an idea of how much bulk ammo weighs. As you can see, carrying 300 plus rounds of 12 gauge or 5.56 ammo could easily add 10-28 pounds of weight to your bag. (Magazines add weight too!) Carrying bulk ammo isn’t exactly quiet, isn’t always easy to transport, and is going to slow you down. In my opinion, it is totally unnecessary.
With the elections just weeks away, I wanted to give some resources for those of you who might be preparing for the results of this year’s election. I also wanted to give you something to think about if you have not yet thought about preparing for it.
When I first put this site together, I told myself that I would not delve into politics. To me, preparedness transcends political and ideological belief. But I cannot hold my tongue any longer when I see our country’s freedoms being stripped away. I feel like if I don’t say/do something and instead remain silent, I am complicit with it happening.
So I have begun to speak out.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you who you should vote for. I truly believe that most people already know who they plan on voting for. If you are an informed voter, then you should already know where the candidates stand on issues like the 2nd Amendment.
I had a discussion with a more left leaning co-worker the other day. He told me that every time a Democratic president gets elected, gun sales spike. Then it calms down and then nothing really happens. Hence gun owners have nothing to panic over.
This has been true in the past. This time however, I think things are different.
I chuckled a bit, and mentioned that in July, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey banned “Assault Weapons” in her state. No congressional debate. No vote of the people. She simply banned them. So don’t think for a second that it could not happen in your state, or worse on a national level.
He asked me the question so typical of anti-gun folks, “Why do you need an AR? All it is good for is killing people.”
Having a cell phone during an emergency is EXTREMELY handy, and in my opinion one of the best things you can have on you during an emergency. Being able to contact others for help during an emergency situation is one of the fastest ways to resolve your crisis.
As more and more people move away from landlines, (the CDC studies find that almost half of all US households no longer have a landline), the technology needed for contacting emergency services with cell phones has been slow to catch up. So there are some things you need to be aware of when it comes to using your cell phone during a disaster.
Everyone knows that for an emergency, you simply dial 911. (The number is 112 in other parts of the world.) Smart phones today now have a feature allowing you to use that phone to dial 911 even when the screen and other features are locked.
But what happens if you are in a situation where you cannot get a cell signal? Or worse, your battery is about to die? Here are some hints and tips to help you out if you ever find yourself in this position.
The 411 on 911 and cell phones
Despite what you see on TV and in the movies, calling 911 on your cell phone does NOT give the dispatchers your exact location. According to a 2015 article in USA Today:
Today’s cellphone system does not automatically send location data when you dial 911. After the call comes in, the dispatcher’s computer transmits a digital request to the cellphone network seeking the phone’s location. The data exchange can take seconds or even minutes. Sometimes, it doesn’t return a location at all.
I had someone email me the other day, asking why I didn’t do a review of the Glock I carry as an EDC firearm. While I don’t carry a Glock off duty, I am sure there are plenty of folks out there who might carry it as their EDC gun.
And since I carry the Glock 23 on duty and have for over a decade, I figured I am somewhat qualified to review it. So, here you go! My review of a Glock as an EDC.
I will actually be looking at two compact (mid-sized) Glocks. I will look at the Glock 23 (.40 S&W) and the Glock 32 (.357 Sig.) The Glock 23 is a Gen 4, while the Glock 32 is a Gen 3.
The first Glocks were produced in 1982, and started arriving in the US by 1988. There was a lot of doubt in the “gun world” about whether a plastic (polymer) firearm was worth anything. The huge success of Glock has answered it’s critics. It is now one of the most popular handguns in America today. According to Glock’s website, 65% of police departments in the US issue/carry Glock pistols.
This success was partly due to the clever and effective marketing of Glock, who sold their pistols to the police at a discount. When police departments saw how effective and well-built the Glocks were, plus the fact that Glock 17s could hold 17 rounds of 9mm, they began carrying them en-mass. This gave credence to Glock with the general public, and the rest as they say is history.
The Glock 23/32 is a polymer framed pistol and almost 7 inches in length. (5 inches high.) Its 4 inch barrel is made of ordnance grade steel, and has a nitrate finish. The pistol (Glock 23) weighs about 23.5 oz or so (unloaded). The 32 weighs 21.5 oz unloaded.
I receive emails from time to time asking about how you will know when it is time to bug out. This is not always an easy question to answer, as many emergencies strike without warning, and typically the situation remains fluid.
I am a big proponent of riding out most emergency scenarios at home. (Click the link for more details.) I believe that if you are properly prepared and have adequate plans in place, you should be able to make it through most disasters and emergencies by staying at home.
But as I have said before, you need to have bug out plans in place as well. There may come a time when you need to get the hell outta Dodge.
“But James, how will I know when it is time to bug out?” you might ask.
If you bug out too soon, you may find that the emergency was not really as bad as you first though. Hence you end up wasting time and resources.
But if you bug out too late, you could find yourself in a worse position than you were in had you stayed.
Well, here is an old adage I have used before. I wish I knew who to give credit for it. I heard it years ago and honestly do not remember who I heard it from. But I like it and want to pass it on to you. When it comes to bugging out, I use the acronym R.E.D.O.U.T to help me know when that time has come. Hopefully this will give you some ideas as to when it is time to carry out your bug out plans.
R – Resources are almost gone
If things get truly dire, and the resources you have stockpiled are almost gone, you might think about moving on to greener pastures. I say almost gone, and not completely gone because if you find yourself on the road, you will need some resources (things like water, food, etc) to help you in your journey.
For example, I have about a 5 day supply of food and water (for me and my family) stored at home. If a SHTF event happens and those supplies begin to run low, I will start making preparations to move on to my bug out location. Depending upon the scenario and my situation, I might leave even before that. But if not, once those supplies are running low, it’s time for me to move on.