A while back, I received an email from a guy asking me my opinions on various firearms. The guy had some money to spend, and wanted to know what sort of rifle he should buy. He said he was new to rifles and was asking for my insight. His budget was on the higher end, between $1500 to $2000 according to his email. My response may have caught him off guard.
I told the man NOT to spend more than $1000 on the rifle. I talked about a few solid rifles that were under $1000. Then I told him to take the rest of the money, and spend it on training. (Getting several magazines and ammo as well is something I stressed.) I explained that a $1000 (or less) rifle in the hands of a trained shooter is head and shoulders better than a $2000 rifle in the hands of a novice. The shooter makes the rifle, the rifle doesn’t make the shooter!
When it comes to firearm training, there are many reputable instructors out there. They can give you a one day, two-day, or even longer classes to teach you more than just the fundamentals of shooting. However, many of these classes can be pretty pricey….costing hundreds of dollars or more. (That doesn’t include any travel expenses, the cost of providing your own ammo, etc.) So for many people, the ability to take classes like these may be cost prohibitive.
However, that does not mean you cannot train on your own. I have advocated multiple times on this site the importance of firearm training. Unlike riding a bike, firearms skills can go rusty if you do not do it regularly. In addition, simply shooting at paper targets 3 to 7 yards away is great for beginners. But just like any other skill, you need to push yourself for that skill to improve.
So with that in mind, I thought I would take a look at some training tips that can help you be more prepared should you ever have an encounter where you have to use lethal force to protect yourself/your family.
One of the things less talked about in bug out scenarios is the things you will take with you. For some reason, many don’t put a lot of thought into this, even though leaving one’s valuables behind is hard to understand.
Sure, when you need to evacuate, you’ll have plenty of other things to worry about… but the things you pack with you should also be a priority.
Just to be clear, I’m not talking about your bug out vehicle’s supplies that are there every day. I’m referring to the things you can throw into the extra space left in your trunk (or on the backseat), at the moment of evacuation (if there’s time, of course).
So, right now you may have items such as water, a flashlight and jumper cables, but, as you’re about to see, the things in the list below are well worth packing when the big one hits. Again, if there’s time, as speed is of the essence when bugging out.
#1. Documents (in Original)
Ok, so you probably have copies of your birth certificate and other documents stored on your phone and printed and laminated in your BOB, but what about the originals? These will still be more important than the copies you have, so taking them with you is important. You can’t keep them inside your car at all times, of course, which is why they have to be one of the first things you grab and throw in your BOV as you’re about to leave.
For more information on what type of documents you need, click the link here!
#2. Your Portable Garden
What’s a portable garden, you may ask? It sounds fancy but it’s nothing more than a collection of pots where you grow veggies such as potatoes and tomatoes. These are great because you can move them around in an emergency so, if you have to bug in, you can bring them inside.
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
Just about every prepper has stored some food and water in case of a major disaster. That’s one of the first things you began to stockpile right? But did you ever stop to consider ways and means of cooking your food in a serious SHTF scenario? Unless you have a month’s (or more) worth of MREs, food preparation is going to become a very important part of your survival.
In a long-term, grid down situation, your ability to cook will be restricted. No more microwaves or electric stoves. Even with something like a gas grill, your fuel source won’t be infinite. And as such, you might need to consider what you would do in that type of situation.
So when making your contingency cooking plans, here are some things you might want to consider:
Be careful what you burn as a heat source
I think that if we experience a long-term, grid down situation there are going to be A LOT of people who are going to have all kinds of problems because they do not know what they can and cannot burn for fuel. There is a long list of things you absolutely should NOT burn. (This is even more important if you are using something like a fireplace or wood stove inside your home.)
Treated wood should not be burned. Doing so will release chemicals like chromium and arsenic into the air that you breath and into the food you are cooking. Treated wood is typically green, though as it ages it turns grey. But wooden structures such as decks, exterior trim, siding, railings, etc are almost always treated. So don’t use them!
Things like particle board and plywood are also no good. The chemicals used to make these produces can be very toxic when burned. Other things in it like glues can cause the fire to burn a lot hotter…which might exceed the temperature setting of your wood stove or fireplace.
Don’t burn wood that has been painted or stained. Until the late 1970s, paint contained lead. And until 1990, most paints contained mercury. ‘Nuff said! Even with paint or stain from today, burning this wood will release toxic chemicals into the air. This is of course NO BUENO!
Burning things like colored paper can also be dangerous. The same goes for items that have colored ink on them. Things like magazines, empty pizza boxes, styrofoam cups etc can release harmful carcinogens.
A majority of wood pallets today have been treated with a flame retardant chemical. Burning this will release these chemicals, and could cause problems. So I’d skip wooden pallets as well.
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.
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.
Editor’s note: Please welcome Dave from the archery site Targetcrazy.com. Dave has generously contributed an article on why skill with archery and bows should be a part of your preps!
James has kindly let me guest post on his site because I’d like to get you to think about archery. I love the sport and have since is was young, but even though the bow has been surpassed in many respects by the firearm, I think there are still a few compelling reasons to consider learning the skill and keeping a bow around your home.
Strength and Focus of Mind
Practicing archery requires a measure of physical strength. After all, even though the bow does a lot of the work, the bow gets its force from the draw of the archer. Draw weights in modern hunting bows can range up to 60 lbs. and a recurve bow requires you to HOLD that amount of force and aim. With no strength that is an impossible task.
You can certainly get a lighter draw weight bow, modern recurves such as the Samick Sage (click link for more details) come in a wide range of draw weights from 25lbs upto 60lbs and that weight can be changed by simply swapping out the limbs of the bow, but remember a lighter draw gives a less powerful shot.
In order to really develop skill as an archer requires training and strength in your back, arms and core. Couple strength with focus under the strain of aiming and you’ll see why an archer also needs a solid ability to tune out everything going on around him or her and really focus on a shot.
Neither of those skills, strength and focus of mind are a bad thing to have in your arsenal!