From time to time I get emails asking about rifle optics. It’s a great question I enjoy discussing. To answer that question, there are several different factors that need to go into the decision-making process. I thought I’d take a look 6 factors that you need to consider when purchasing an optic for your rifle.
1. What type of rifle do you have? What’s the purpose of the rifle?
Because there are so many rifles out there that can serve multiple functions, you need to decide what the primary purpose of your rifle is. Is it for hunting? For self-defense? Truck gun?
Having the right optic on the right rifle for the right mission will be critical. A 1x reflex site won’t be very effective for hunting. Hence you won’t ever see one on a bolt-action rifle. On the flip side, a 3×15 scope is not your best choice for home defense and close quarter combat situations (CQB). Once you decide what your rifle’s primary function will be, then deciding what sort of optic you need becomes easier.
2. What reticle is right for you?
There are a wide range of reticles on the market these days. So when shopping for an optic, you should think about what reticle will best serve your needs.
Optics have grown from simple crosshairs to much more complex designs to meet user demands. Some optics will still have fairly simple patterns. Others offer more complex options to help with windage and elevation. Some of the higher end optics will have reticles that will aid with things such as bullet drop. (See video below)
You’ll need to consider whether you want hash marks for holdover or illumination in your reticle as well. A lot of this comes down to personal preference. So certainly review and test the various reticles on the market. Find the one you like and fits your needs before dropping your hard-earned cash on an optic.
When it comes to being prepared, you will find so many great articles on things like bugging out, food and water storage, 72 hour kits, etc. All of it is very pertinent information. But often times, I see the little, everyday things that people can do to be more prepared get overlooked. While these things may not be as “sexy” as bug out bags and ammo storage, they can be just as crucial (if not more so).
So with that in mind, here are 6 things you can do every day to make you more prepared.
Always keep your phone charged.
In my 8 Lessons Learned from Disaster article, I mentioned an officer whose battery died while working in Moore, Oklahoma after a tornado, and was unable to communicate with anyone.
Imagine if you are caught in a quickly developing emergency, and your primary source of communication and up to the minute information is dying because your battery is not charged. Not smart!
Having knowledge about what is going on around you is vital to your ability to survive a disaster. Being able to communicate is equally important. With today’s technology, a smart phone allows you to do both.
When a tornado recently hit my area, I used my cell phone to live stream the weather, and to text my family to keep them apprised of the situation. During that storm, my phone battery had plenty of life in it should I have had to make a speedy exit. I stayed up to the minute with news and information during the entire storm.
Not only do I keep my cell phone charged, I have several ways of ensuring it stays charged. I keep a car charger in my truck and an extra wall charger in my EDC bag. I also have a Goal Zero solar panel charger and a hand crank emergency radio that will charge cell phones.
With today’s smart phones, a lot of the old myths about battery life no longer apply. You no longer need to let batteries drain all the way to zero before charging them. In fact, experts now say that if you let your lithium-ion batteries continually drain to 0%, they could become unstable.
When it comes to prepper equipment, the absolute most important tool every prepper owns is the one between their ears! However, that soft, squishy grey matter is very fragile, and MUST be protected at all times! Fortunately, we have a self propelled, self repairing protective cover for our brain.
Capable of great feats, our bodies are very adaptable to many different situations and environments. The bounds of human endurance have been pushed beyond measure. For example, the name Aron Ralston may not be familiar with you. But I’m pretty sure his story is. The movie 127 Hours starting James Franco is based upon his story.
Google the name Colin Armstrong (of the SAS) and read his (and his team’s) story of endurance. It is an amazing story. The book Bravo Two Zero is based upon his story. (It’s a good read!)
Despite our body’s ability to adapt and persevere in times of danger and turmoil, we must still take care of it. And unfortunately, that is something that so many preppers do not do. Too many of us lead a sedentary lifestyle. It has become so bad that according to the CDC, 1 out of 3 Americans are now considered obese. Not just overweight, but obese!
It should go without saying that all the gear and supplies in the world won’t be of much good if you are so out of shape and overweight that you cannot use them.
Why preppers need to be in shape
So many preppers plan for a long-term, grid down scenario and do not realize just how hard and strenuous on their bodies it would be. At the beginning of this year, I took a part-time job as a mail carrier. There were days that I walked 16 to 18 miles in weather conditions that were less than ideal…ie cold, icy, and rainy. I did this while carrying a mail sack that was probably 25 to 30 pounds.
I’m here to tell you, it was an eye opening experience for me. I thought I was in ok shape, but I learned I have a ways to go. The first few days I came home completely exhausted and went straight to bed. My feet would be killing me! My arms and shoulders ached. But after a few days my body was beginning to adapt. And I was happy that I was pushing myself physically.
PlanandPrepared.com welcomes Ben Ayad to the site. Ben is an IT project manager and founder of a newbie blog called outdoorstime.com. Ben loves outdoors activities and the nature that God has created, as any human being does. He shares what he knows about outdoors and the passion of other outdoors’ lovers who pride themselves in living off the land for extended periods of time in wilderness settings across the US.
Stockpiling food will not do you any good if you are forced away from your home in sudden SHTF situation. So you better have thought of other ways to provide food for you and your party.
Many people assume that in the case of a natural disaster, all-out war or rampant spread of disease that they will just get their gun and automatically turn into good hunters to provide for themselves. For some that is true but for the majority of others it’s not realistic and there are better ways of providing for you and the other survivors in your group.
Why is a not a good idea to assume you can provide for yourself by hunting? First of all it’s not easy even for experienced hunters to consistently bag game. Also, in a SHTF situation the game may become just as scarce as people. Not only that but you will probably not have a limitless supply of ammo for your firearm and you may need it for personal security.
So how do you provide for the sustenance of your group members? Here are a few suggestions.
One of the quickest ways to gather food in a survival scenario is by foraging. Mother Nature does a nice job of providing you with an abundance of food just about any place you go or get stranded.
Foraging fruits and vegetables may not be as tasty and filling as a big slab of venison cooked up just right but it’s healthy for you and there is plenty of stuff around if you know where to look.
The big problem with foraging is knowing where to look for food. Even when you think it’s not there it usually is. Sure some foods will jump out at you like vegetables that you see growing and fruit’ hanging on trees but a lot of edible stuff is much less obvious. That is why you need to educate yourself in order to survive better in a SHTF scenario.
How to better educate yourself about foraging?
You may not want to put the effort into this but quite frankly the only way you will be able to find the abundance of not so obvious food sources that are out there is to educate yourself. If nothing else, at least take the time to throw a paperback book on identifying food sources into your survival preparedness pack.
Editor’s note: Please welcome Patrick Morrow to the site! Patrick is a freelance outdoor writer. His main focus is on fishing, but he also covers survival, prepping topics, and completes several survival challenges each year.
When you find yourself in a survival situation, water should be one of your top priorities. The human body can only survive on an average of three days without water.
However, the issue is not finding water. There are streams, rivers, ponds, lakes, oceans, and swamps all over the world. The difficult part is finding water that is safe to drink.
Most of the world’s freshwater is contaminated with dangerous bacteria and parasites. Drinking this makes you more dehydrated, or worse make you very ill. In the worst case scenario, drinking contaminated water can kill you!
In this article, we will cover ways to purify water to make sure that you can safely drink it and avoid dehydration. We will also look at a few methods of finding fresh drinking water.
Methods to Obtain Safe Drinking Water
Take Water with You
How do you make sure that you can have clean water to drink in a survival situation?
Take some with you. These days, I am a big fan of hydration so I take a bottle of water with me almost everywhere I go.
If I were ever to be thrust in a survival scenario, I would have at least one bottle of clean water with me. If I were to head out with my bug out bag, I may even have two or three bottles of water with me in my pack. So no matter what happens, I have clean water with me.
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.