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Gear

What you NEED to know about body armor for preppers

Upon occasion, I have received questions asking about body armor for a SHTF scenario. That got me to thinking that the topic of body armor might make an interesting article for the site. So I decided that I would break down the different types of body armor (bullet resistant) and their ratings. I also thought I’d give a little insight into my thoughts on having some as a prepper.

Body Armor Rating

Body armor is rated based upon its effectiveness against different types of ammo. These ratings are compiled by the NIJ (National Institute of Justice.) The NIJ frequently tests armor against the type of rounds listed below. These standards are the only nationally accepted standards for body armor worn by law enforcement. For this reason, I am most familiar with them and will be using them in this article.

There are a few things that you should be aware of when it comes to the NIJ standard. I will go into this in more detail in just a moment.

Bullet resistant armor breaks down into 5 categories according to the NIJ:

  • Level IIA – Designed to stop 9mm (124 grn FMJ) at a velocity up to 1225 fps and 40 S&W (180 grn FMJ) at a velocity up to 1155 fps
  • Level II – Designed to stop 9mm (up to and including from a sub gun) and .357 mag (158 grn JSP) at a velocity up to 1340 fps
  • Level IIIA- Designed to stop .357 Sig (125 FMJ) at a velocity up to 1410 fps and .44 mag (240 grn) at a velocity up to 1340 fps
  • Level III – Designed to stop 7.62mm FMJ lead core rifle ammunition – hard armor
  • Level IV – Designed to stop .30cal steel core armor-piercing rifle ammunition – hard armor

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AR Wheeler Trigger Guard Install Tool Review

Wheeler Trigger Guard Tool

Editor’s note: Please welcome Evail Juan to Planandprepared.com. He will be a regular here, providing reviews on firearms, firearm accessories and tools, as well as other prepper related gear.

I recently received a Magpul Enhanced Trigger Guard as a gift (Thanks Sis). But upon reading how to change it out from the Mil Spec guard, I was shocked to learn the suggested method was to get an armorers block, roll pin punch, and a mallet to hammer the pins out. That being said, there is a disclaimer that should read “If you break the tab off, your lower will be JUNK!”

In this day and age why wouldn’t there be an easier way to change this out without the chance of destroying the lower receiver? Enter the Wheeler Trigger Guard Installation Tool. This tool is basically a specialized C-Clamp with 2 rods included. The long rod is for the removal, while the short rod is for the install. I actually read the directions carefully, which were precise and to the point.

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The removal and install took about 30 minutes to complete. The only reason that took a little longer than expected was because I aligning the pin and install tool to start the pin into the hole. Seems like a third hand would be nice here for this process. But with a little tongue waggling, a few choice words, and a bit of patience I was able to get it to fit.

Once I was able to get it aligned into the hole, then it was just a simple matter of making sure the pin was flush with the receiver. Then voila, the change was complete!

All in all I would give the Wheeler Trigger Guard Install Tool a 4.75 stars. And the only reason I’m not giving 5 stars is due to the fact that holding all the components and trying to get it aligned was not an easy task.
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Priorities for prepping on a tight budget

A while back, I wrote an article for folks that are brand new to prepping. If you missed it, click here to read it. Anyway, I got some positive feedback on that article, but I also received a few emails asking me to be a bit more specific. They wanted to know where and what they should start with first.

In particular, one email from a lady told me she was on a fixed, very tight income. She had very limited resources, and was asking me what should be the priorities for her, even more so than in the above listed article. I could tell from her email she was feeling a bit overwhelmed. She wanted to be more prepared, but could not spend very much each month.

That’s understandable. Beginning preparedness can feel like a daunting task. You can also look at everything you might potentially need, and feel concerned because your funds are limited. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

I have decided to break down that beginning prepping article a bit more, and go into detail as to what I believe should be your top priorities if you are on a budget. Keep in mind that these are the top priorities in almost every disaster scenario, NOT just a huge SHTF event. As always, I stress that you need to start with the most probable scenarios, and work your way outward.

For this article, I’m assuming that you already have developed emergency plans. That to me is your obvious #1 priority. Failing to plan is planning to fail, and hope is not a plan. Instead, this article will focus on what resources you should be collecting first. (For more info on preparedness planning, click here.)

These categories are listed in order of importance (in my opinion). For each category I list the basics for that category that you should work on first. Once you have the basics in that category covered, move on to the next. Or if you can, try to cover more than one category at a time! For example, I list water storage over food storage. (3 days without water/3 weeks without food.) But if you can cover both categories at the same time, you are that much further ahead.

At the end of each category I will list “additional” items. These are items that while I feel are important, they are areas/items that you can come back to once you have all of your basics covered.
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EDC Gun Review – Glock Compact

Glock 23, prepper firearms

Glock 23 with Streamlight TLR-2 tactical light. Click pic for more details

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.
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How to start prepping in 5 easy steps

I receive emails quite often from people who are new to prepping. A few says they have thought about it for a while, but haven’t really got started. I’m sure it can feel like a daunting and overwhelming process to the beginner. But it does not have to be.

Being prepared is really not hard if you approach it the right way. If you are brand new to prepping, or just aren’t sure where to begin, here are 5 easy steps to help get you started.

There are plenty of links throughout this article dealing with many various prepper topics. These are a great source of information, so please be sure to check them out.

#1 Begin with a Plan

Start off by sitting down and figuring out what your plans would be if you have an emergency or disaster. Making plans now will help you to not feel lost or overwhelmed should a catastrophe strike. Failing to plan is planning to fail. And hope is not a plan!

In the beginning, I would not plan for worst case scenario. Instead, start off with the more realistic and probable scenarios. (The more extreme the event, the less likely it is to occur.) These scenarios should be based upon your location, situation, and the conditions you are in or could realistically be in.

For example, if you live along the Gulf Coast, hurricanes are a realistic possibility. So having hurricane plans makes sense. I know states like Montana and Idaho are subject to winter storms. I live in “tornado alley”, and have planned accordingly. Many large metropolitan cities are seeing an increase of violence, and riots are now something (click the link for more details) that urban city dwellers might consider planning for.

Most emergencies don’t have to be regional or even local. Job loss, medical emergencies, house fire, car wrecks, etc are all things you should be prepared for that are specific to you and your family.
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Off-grid cooking method – Here is one we recommend

off grid cooking

Adding rabbit meat to the oil and seasoning

Editor’s note: I want to welcome Cheryl L (my mom) to the site with her first article! Enjoy!

No matter what you are prepping for, at some point in time food preparation must enter into your preps. I am always trying to find ways to cook using a minimum amount of time, energy, effort, and fuel. So I plan my preps accordingly.

I prefer to keep my life simple and that includes getting everything done in the morning and taking it easy after all the work is done.  This is one of the reasons that I decided to purchase a thermal cooker.

Another reason I thought a thermal cooker would be a wonderful idea is for the ease of cooking a meal whether on a regular stove, a rocket stove, an open campfire, or in any emergency situation.  We live in tornado territory and I can take a thermal cooker down into the shelter along with the already stored dehydrated meals and water, etc. so that I can prepare them for my family if the need arises.  Be it a rabbit dinner or emergency food storage, I feel secure in having the means to take care of them.

I looked and researched on the internet, reading about several different thermal cookers. After some study I finally settled on the Saratoga Jack 7L thermal cooker.

I went with the Saratoga because it received a lot of positive feedback on Amazon, and because it comes with two heavy-duty pans that nestle together for cooking, (cook two separate pots at once) a lid, a cook book and of course the vacuüm cooker.

Saratoga Jack 7L thermal cooker

The Saratoga Jack thermal cooker is simple to use. You follow your regular recipes, bring the temperature to a rolling boil for a few minutes, and then seal the pot in the cooker.  And depending on the recipe your food is ready and waiting for you in the evening when you are ready to sit down to dinner.
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