he word “survive” can have different meanings to all of us. At one end of the spectrum we’ve all had to “survive” some boring mandatory training — 5 hours on how to not offend the copy machine by calling it names or hitting it when it doesn’t work. At the complete opposite end of the spectrum some of us have had to ﬁnd a way to stay alive/survive during a disaster or physical attack. Same word is used, but totally different circumstances. For the Survive Special Edition my cadre of writers are trying to put some ideas out there you might not have thought of for you and your family’s personal survival. After all, those are the most important things. All the rest is just stuff! The goal is get those without a plan to start planning, and those with a plan some new ideas to help ensure success when the chips are down. We can’t cover every possible situation, but the topics covered in this Survive SE are a good start. Keep an open mind and keep ﬁlling your survival “tool box” so when “it” happens you react from a place of preparedness and don’t panic. If you have ideas for future topics you would like to see covered please drop me a note and I’ll do my best to get it in the next Survive SE. Stay safe,
Did You Find cogburn?
BOARD OF DIRECTORS Thomas von Rosen, CEO; Thomas Hollander, Randy Moldé, Marjorie Young PUBLISHER Roy Huntington
Sammy Reese BCP
Jade Moldé Sara Cardoza, Holly Parker
Editorial Assistants Art Director
Jennifer Lewis Anita Carson
Advertising Sales Director Advertising Sales Assistant
Here I am! Were you able to ﬁnd Cogburn in the Fall/Winter issue of GUNS Combat? He was hidden in this photo on page 75. Don’t forget to look for him in this issue. 6
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SURVIVE • FALL/WINTER 2014 SPECIAL EDITION
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he white fury fell upon the mountain with maniacal intensity. Three feet of snow obliterated trails so quickly hunters in black timber — some several miles from camp — had no chance to make cover. They were on their own, and rescuers knew it. Helicopters, ﬁxed-wing aircraft and a ﬂeet of snowmobiles penetrated over 18,000 square miles of rugged terrain, rushing to beat the forecast of another storm. The mercury fell to well below freezing that night. Fifty men were rescued, some contacted by authorities using cell phones. Sixteen remained unaccounted for, but were later located.
One hunter fell victim to a falling tree, which cracked to earth by blizzard winds just under 80 miles an hour. But a much larger disaster was averted. How? Hunters who made it to their camps were prepared with adequate shelter and food, plus generators, propane bottles, ATV’s, UTV’s and other 4WD vehicles. But most important, they were wearing proper clothing when the storm struck. Clothing, after all, is the number-one defense against the elements. A naked man starts shivering at under 70 degrees F. Homo sapiens are the most vulnerable creatures on the planet without tools. No fur, no claws and no true speed — almost every animal in creation can outrun, out climb or rend asunder those standing on two legs instead of four. A wild creature can always ﬁnd cover against the ravages
Learn the elementary essentials for dealing with the elements.
SURVIVE • FALL/WINTER 2014 SPECIAL EDITION
A wild creature can always find cover against the ravages of nature. But it takes tools for man to survive the bleakest conditions. Storm survival is a matter of equipment.
of nature. But it takes tools for man to survive the bleakest conditions. Storm survival is a matter of equipment — from coats, hats and boots, to cell phones. It’s also a matter of proper shelter — from hasty hatchetmade brush lean-to’s and carry-tents to cabin walls. Those who have suffered — even succumbed to — bleak weather conditions were usually without the essentials, especially in black timber, which is any wooded area with a canopy. The storm that struck out high-mountain hunters could just as well have fallen upon squirrel chasers in Arkansas.
First Line Of Defense
small carry bag. If you get stuck for an overnighter, put them on. On top, consider a “convertible” hat, a prime example being the Woolrich Shearling Trapper Hat with fold-down earﬂaps. Shearling is the key to warmth. And losing heat off an uncovered head is something to be avoided. Dan’l Boone may have scoffed at cell phones, handheld radios, GPS units, perhaps even a compass. He had a “compass” in his brain. Most of us do not. For us, there are even aerial locators to signal planes over-
head should we suffer injury or get lost. All of these tools are available and should be considered, not only as conveniences, but also potential lifesavers. Being a chap who wears a belt with suspenders, I carry all of the above, save the locator, which I have not yet invested in. GPS units can fail. That’s why I carry two.
The Eternal Flame Listing all items in my hunting pack would consume too much white space in this magazine. But most important for survival is ﬁre-starting Bare bones cold-weather survival: gloves, emergency poncho and survival matches.
Watching Mount Everest climbers on television (which is as close as I want to get to that 29,000-foot snowball) shows how modern clothing can protect against the most savage elements. I keep a sharp eye out for outdoor clothing, and recently had the chance to investigate some “new rags” from Wellington, New Zealand — Icebreaker Merino Wool — base layers, mid-layers, jackets and socks. I personally tested four items: socks, Men’s Quantum LS Hood Monsoon and two undergarments. I am no salesman for any company, but the smooth merino wool performed as advertised. On a January Wyoming depredation deer hunt, parka, pants and proper base clothing and boots kept me going at minus 52 degrees F wind chill. Did I collect my thre e deer in com fort? No. But I wasn’t a victim of hypothermia either. Take special care of the bottom and the top — feet and head. For the bottom, pack along a pair of ThermaCELL Heated Insoles. They come in a WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM
gear. I believe if you can get a good blaze going — even under the worst weather conditions — you’ll make it. My ﬂame-making kit consists of commercial starters including a cigarette lighter, but also a metal ﬂask ﬁlled with charcoal lighter ﬂuid. Lifeboat matches — always! Anyone who has read Jack London’s “To Build a Fire” will empathize with the man who failed to make ﬂame. Lifeboat matches ﬂare hot, even in the wind. Buy a bunch of them.
Gimme Shelter A small hatchet comes in handy to thatch together cut li mbs for an overhang to keep snow — and most rain — out. I recently tested the Hunters Hatchet from Knives of Alaska. This stout tool divided limbs quickly and efﬁciently. Some big “survival knives” are also ﬁt for building what is known as a “tomahawk shelter.” Being prepared to make some form of shelter is wise. But carrying a small, one-man “bivvy” may be even wiser. Mine is a Cabela’s Hunter Bivouac. As I carry it, weight is 3.5 pounds, providing 39"x84.5" of setup space. It is impervious to three deadly black timber threats: wind, rain and snow. Plus, when the bivvy is closed, it’ll keep out the deadliest creature on earth — the mosquito. Mountain tents also create secure shelters. If the pack-in is not too long or arduous, consider the larger mountain tent. Warning: While they can look enticing, never camp i nside longabandoned pioneer cabins, they’re good places to contract Hantavirus.
The Survival Kit Something’s brewing: Walking into a storm means being prepared to tough it out in a blizzard, perhaps for a few days or more.
Pocket-size kits are better than nothing. But investment in a serious
On a smaller scale, it’s amazing what can be installed in a fanny pack (right). Fire-starting material, light sticks, water puriﬁcation items — all potential lifesavers. Fuel yourself and forestall foraging: These food items (below) can be eaten right out of the can or reconstituted with a little water and a backpack stove.
SURVIVE • FALL/WINTER 2014 SPECIAL EDITION
Kimber Solo 9mm Pistols. Small. Powerful. Dependable.
The Solo® CDP (LG) and Solo® DC (top) weigh only 17 ounces. Just over 1 inch wide and with a barrel length of 2.75 inches, they establish a new benchmark for concealed carry pe rformance.
Solo pistols have a single action striker-ﬁred trigger with a smooth, consistent pull that breaks clean at 6.5-7.5 pounds for fast and accurate shooting.
Steel sights are securely mounted in machined dovetails. CDP and DC models have night sights. Other versions have sights with large white dots.
A manual ambidextrous thumb safety, checkered slide release and ambidextrous magazine release button enable intuitive, fast and safe operation.
Solo® pistols combine unequaled Kimber® quality and 9mm power in a package that weighs just 17 ounces. Borrowing proven 1911 ergonomics, they have a natural pointability that improves both speed and accuracy while making them surprisingly comfortable to shoot. Solo slides and barrels are machined from stainless steel, and frames are cut from the finest aluminum. Five models are offered, including 2 with Crimson Trace Lasergrips. No other micro-compact pistol can match the performance of a Solo. Not even close. Visit a Kimber Master Dealer and see for yourself.
The Cabela’s one-person bivvy folds to only 5.5"x16". The door can be tied open to form a sort-of lean-to for an open ﬁre out front, or closed against the elements.
package is much better, and it need not be weighty. Automobile survival kits, of course, can go several pounds, but are gist for another mill. Contents of the new SOKOA kit include weatherproof ﬁre tinder and windproof matches, a high-decibel whistle, heat
reﬂecting blanket, water ﬁlter straw and puriﬁcation tablets, 4X magniﬁer, day/night signaling mirror & reﬂector, luminous compass, mini multi-tool, ﬁshing kit, waterproof bag and more. Be prepared to burn a hundred dollar bill for this kit, but
as Bart Combs, CEO of the company says, “You wouldn’t buy a cheap parachute.” For years I have carried an Outdoor Safe Survival Kit from the Outdoor Safe Company. One of the best features of this kit is a large, bright orange trash bag. Get fully Packed to prevail. This is a fairly complete selection of what Sam likes to have on hand should things go sour!
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RUGER 10/22 TAKEDOWN ®
The Ruger ® 10/22 Takedown ® combines all of the features and functionality of the 10/22 ® riﬂe, with the ability to easily separate the barrel/ forend and action/buttstock for convenient storage and transportation. The simple reassembly of the barrel and action yields a rock-solid return to zero f or consistent, reliable performance. Packed in a rugged, ballistic nylon case (included), the Ruger ® 10/22 Takedown ® makes it easy to keep America’s favorite rimﬁre riﬂe by your side.
Barrel and Action Easily Separated and Reassembled for Ease of Transportation and Storage
Packed in a Rugged, Ballistic Nylon Case (Included with Riﬂe)
From scenic and sunny to snowy and socked-in, high-country weather conditions can change in a heartbeat. Don’t ever assume things will stay the way they were when you arrived at camp.
inside. Cut a s mall hole for your nose and thwart wind and moisture.
First Aid Always No way can every contingency of outdoor bodily trespass ﬁt into the fanny pack or backpack. However, a basic kit need not be large. Sometimes a dab of triple antibiotic for a cut and a Band-Aid is good enough.
As a PH in Africa with a total time now of about three years, I remind all clients — bring your medications! (And don’t forget a spare set of eyeglasses.) Meds, ointment, bandages and eyeglasses are all p art of a healthmaintenance plan in black timber. I carry pain pills, not only should I have to trudge to camp injured, but for my companions. Don’t forget the
moleskin for blisters, plus elastic bandages for wrapping a tweaked ankle.
Let There Be Light I rank light above food and water, because lost outdoorsmen face darkness far more than starvation or dehydration. If you stay put and signal with gun and whistle, chances are you’ll survive just ﬁne for several
HARD LESSONS* Backtracking Through The Mistakes Made By Others Shows What Not To Do.
he match struck and he mumbled, ‘Thank God.’ The twigs caught and the ﬁre licked up around his hand. When the whole bundle was blazing, he laid it carefully on the ground and reached for more twigs. But in that instance, the handful of twigs fell apart and the wind snuffed out the tiny blaze. Bob Fisher looked off into the snowy woods around him, where trees and stumps were turning indistinct in the gathering dark and where snow swirled in clouds, driven by a bitter wind.” — Ben East, Survival. * Let’s backtrack a bit and examine what went wrong here with Bob Fisher. ° He had no bivvy, or even big plastic trash bag to keep off the snow, his effort at a branch lean-to proved inadequate. ° Although he was able to start a few ﬁres, his match supply was inadequate and the tips of his regular, kitchen-type matches were getting damp and soft.” ° He had no ﬁre-starting materials. ° He forgot to leave word with others as to where he was headed.
° He found a logging road but decided to look directly for his camp rather than following it. ° He had decent clothing, but not sufﬁcient for the frigid overnight conditions. ° Bob had a .300 Savage riﬂe, but only six rounds of ammunition, which he quickly used for signaling, after which he abandoned his useless riﬂe. At one point, he heard a three-shot signal a few hundred yards out, but had no riﬂe or ammo to respond with. Bob learned later his partners were ﬁring shots and blowing horns all afternoon, but he was too far away to hear the horns and could not pinpoint the shots. Had he another dozen or so rounds of ammo, he may have been located. ° He had a compass, but didn’t know the area well enough to effectively use it. ° He had no food, not even a candy bar. He did have access to creek water, however. ° Rather than staying put, he wandered back and forth hoping to ﬁnd camp. Good fortune eventually saved Bob from death in the black timber. By pure chance he walked into a sawmill and was saved. *
*Modiﬁed from the original. 14
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days without food and, yes, even without water. But the blackness of night is to be resp ected. Even without werewolves, zombies and vampires — or some ravenous clawed beas beastt — there’s always the prospe ct of an ankle-wrenching obstacle, or a wild ride off the edge of a dropoff. Light also serves to signal others. APALS are modern chemical lights, they can be seen afar in the ink that comes after sundown. Running time after pulling the starter tab is 80-plus hours. Modern “super ﬂashlights” prevail today. There are many, and they eclipse the “electric torch” of yesteryear. I recently added an Apollo Cyclops to my kit. It’s called a “HiOutput Lantern/Flashlight” because the aviation-grade aluminum body houses a pull-out that exposes a lantern mode. At 200 lumens, the Cyclops will put out a magniﬁer beam be am to 600'. The light can be seen in a hillto-hill situation for miles. It works on three AAA batteries, and one thing my backpack or fanny pack wil l never be without is plenty of batteries. My pack, incidentally, always also conBlack timber protein: A .22 pistol, like Sam’s Sam’s 1911 rimﬁre conversion, can be used for blue grouse (where legal) and squirrel (inset).
tains a Browning mini-light and a headlamp backup.
Life is Liquid Our bodies require life-sustaining water to function. Non-leaking pint military canteens are my favorite. As for making ﬁeld water potable, there are ﬁlters available from simple straws to reﬁned units un its capable of blocking those little organisms causing giardia and other maladies (not viruses, though). There are also simple pills, such as Potable Aqua water puriﬁcation germicidal tablets. A little bottle puriﬁes 20 or more quarts of water. Taste is of no consequence when thirst strikes. Drop the pill in as directed and drink. Cold weather can mask dehydration, and dehydration is a potential ki ller.
Survival Shooting Television’s “North Woods Law” features Maine game wardens in action. Lost hunters are often the subject, with shots ﬁred as a main means of locating them. A compact .22 pistol on the belt, along with a 50-round box of ammo tucked into the pack translates
The only thing worse than cold is “dark and cold.” Today’s ﬂashlights are brighter than ever. This Cyclops Apollo has its sleeve withdrawn withdrawn so it will serve as a camp light.
to a lot of “communication “commun ication power. p ower.” ” My little rimﬁre rimﬁ re pistols have also provided quantities of excellent high-protein trail meat over time in areas that hold “rimﬁre-legal” small game and birds. As a young hunter ful l of bravado, I prided myself in loadi ng my big-game big-game riﬂe’s magazine and setting out with no extra ammo in pocket or pack. Now I somehow ﬁnd the room to ﬁt in at least a dozen or so emergency rounds. It only makes sense. A riﬂe can be a survival tool against anything from a rabid skunk to larger threat. I respect my holstered Smith & Wesson Scandium .44 Magnum. However, for a riﬂe I chose the Ruger American .308 with 30mm Leupold VX-R 2-7x33mm — with a FireDot reticule for black timber. This light — but not ridi ridiculous culously ly ultra-l ultra-light ight — combination is perfect. The black, all-business American is uncanny for reliability in a survival situation. But twice I have had to call on a backup riﬂe on import ant hunts, once when a very old riﬂe broke apart, once when a hunter waltzed into my camp with a sad story — a broken riﬂe. I loaned him my extra — an Italian-made, near-bombproof Explorer 11413 double riﬂe that I pulled out of the airtight, waterproof, shockproof case which also held my main riﬂe.
The Shape You’re In Getting in shape, of course, pays off should you get lost or get caught in a storm. Do some serious walking with a modestly loaded pack before backpacking into the hinterlands. If the venture includes high country, do stairs (your local high-school stadium has plenty). Get to the high country WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM
a couple days ahead of time to acclimate yourself. And test all your clothing and gear before striking out on a trip. And don’t forget to break in your boots — make it part of your exercise program — using the clothes and gear that wil l be relied on later. If you’ve packed on a few extra pounds, think about shedding them. A nd have a physical before you go. Of course, there are always situations even the best preparation can’t deter. No matter how good your gear is, use your common sense. Check the weather report. Sometimes postponing a trip is the smart thing to do. * A big-game riﬂe can be used for emergency signaling as well well as for its intended purpose. Okay, Okay, a Pancho Villa bandolier is overkill, but the point is, carry enough ammo to attract attention.
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HANDS MOVE SLOWER THAN MACHINES . WHICH IS EXACTLY WHY WE USE THEM . For a moment, we cradle each round in our hands. For decades, we’ve honed this sk ill: sensing the slightest inconsistencies with our palms. Feeling for ﬂaws machines can’t ﬁnd. Accepting only perfection. We want this done right. So we do it ourselves—for every las t round. www.black-hills.com l 605.348.5150 605.348.5150
SURVIVE • FALL/WINTER 2014 SPECIAL EDITION
URBAN SURVIVA L W
hen the subject of survival comes up, people often spend their time discussing how to survive huge natural disasters or long periods alone in the wilderness. There is nothing wrong with this type of thinking, except as more and more Americans live in cities and suburbs there is a growing likelihood a person’s survival emergency will also occur in or near a familiar environment, such as work or home, and the episode may last minutes or hours rather than days or weeks. It doesn’t make much difference because dead is still dead, injured is still injured and your friends will “Monday-morning-quarterback” your actions long after your body is cold. 18
When I present surv ival options to people I often ask them, “What is our most important goal?” Most of the answers are about self-improvement: They want a better job, better health and they want to look after their family. While these are all important, I think our most i mportant goal should be to end each day in the same or better condition than when the day began. If we don’t achieve this every day, it means we risk not being able to achieve all the other goals that are important to us.
Proper Mindset We must begin by developing the correct mindset, which can be summed up in three words: prepared, aware and decisive. Being prepared SURVIVE • FALL/WINTER 2014 SPECIAL EDITION
The streets look peaceful in broad daylight. When the lights go out it may be a totally different place — are you prepared?
means we have various simple plans for speciﬁc situations. It also means we have the ability to execute the appropriate plan when needed and we know when to act. Awareness means we are actually using our ﬁve senses: see, hear, touch, taste, smell and the sixth sense — when you just know something is wrong. Our radar is running and when we get a blip on the screen we focus on it and make a decision to either take act ion or ignore it. Founder of Gunsite, Colonel Jeff Cooper promoted a color code system of a human being’s four conditions of mental awareness. Condition White: Unaware of our surroundings or physically asleep. Condition Yellow: Aware of our surroundings, our radar is running. Condition Orange: Alert! Focus on a speciﬁc thing and evaluate potential danger. Condition Red: Take action! Run or ﬁght. In the same way ships and aircraft use radar to scan in a 360-degree sweep to detect other ships and aircraft, we can also develop our own form of awareness radar to detect potential problems before we get a nasty surprise. Being decisive means when we detect a potential threat or problem we already know what to do and when to do it. Plans should be short and simple. The good news is most of us are already conditioned to doing this WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM
when we are dr iving. On the highway, we are watching for trafﬁc and road hazards (Condition Yellow: Aware). When we see another vehicle getting too close (Condition Orange: Prepared) we execute a plan (Condition Red: Action) change our speed or direction to avoid a collision. We can take those same principles and apply them to other aspects of our lives. For example, I’m walking along the street (Condition Yellow). I see a bunch of gang bangers walking toward me on the other side of the street. I focus on them (Condition Orange). I decide if they stay on their side of the street and I stay on mine, we can just pass each other. However, if they cross the street toward me, I will step into one of the stores or businesses on my side to avoid them (Condition Red). If they start somethi ng, then it’s game on and I’m already in Condition Red. If they ignore me and keep walking, I can go back to Condition Yellow and be on my way. Some might criticize me for not standing my ground: “Man up! Face those guys down.” If there is more at stake than my pride, then I’ll ﬁght. I’ve taught the NR A Personal Protection class for more than two decades and I’ve carried a ﬁrearm for most of that time. I believe honest, upstanding law-abiding citizens have one get-outof-jail-free card. One ch ance the legal
system could give them the beneﬁt of the doubt based on their good reputation and spotless record. I’m not going to waste my one card on an incident I could easily have avoided if I hadn’t let my ego get in the way of common sense. There is an old saying when you shoot someone you have two problems to deal with: First, survive the gunﬁght and second, survive the court cas e. Let’s look at some ways we can avoid both and still end e ach day in the same or better condition than when the day began.
Parking Lot Security Parking lots can present some security challenges for law-abiding people. Large, open-air lots with background noise from passing trafﬁc make it difﬁcult to attract attention by shouting for help. Background noise may also rob us of our ability to hear warning sounds like screams, angry shouting and glass breaking. Underground parking lots typically have poor lighting, which creates shadowy places for criminals to hide. The law-abiding person parks their car and gets out and leaves. They come back to their car and get i n and drive away. We have to assume anyone loitering inside a parking lot is either dealing with a car problem or they have criminal intent. People waiting 19
Imagine if they all reversed at once. Take the time to back in so you can drive out quickly if you need to.
for a ride from a friend will likely wait at the main entrance. Anyone else hanging around a parking lot should be treated with c aution. There are some simple things we can do to increase our safety. When I dr ive into the parking lot I’m looking around to see if anyone is loitering there. If it looks safe I will choose a parking space. I prefer to spend an extra few moments backing into a space so I can drive away quickly if there is an emergency. Once I have parked, I get out immediately, looking and listening for potential problems. If I hear glass breaking or people screaming I will
get back in the car and le ave. If everything seems normal, I will walk out of the parking lot quickly. I will look and listen for any signs of trouble. I will walk wide of any corners, dumpsters and other potential ambush areas. I never take short cuts between rows of parked cars and I never walk next to a van. People have been dragged into vans in a n instant and it usually doesn’t end well. I constantly look around me and listen. I don’t get distracted by talk ing or texting on my phone. If the lighting is dim, I will carry a small ﬂashlight in my hand. It helps to guide my way and if someone confronts me, I can give them a quick
ﬂash in the eyes and move off the line of attack. When I return to my vehicle I continue to look and listen for trouble. If possible, I will circle my car at a distance to be sure it’s safe to approach. If I’m carrying bags or groceries I load them into the vehicle as quickly as possible, get in, lock all the doors and then I drive away immediately. I don’t sit in my car with the motor turned off while I check voice mail. Locked doors in a vehicle are an important safety feature. If a stra nger tries to open my car door without me inviting them to do so, I will interpret this to be an aggres sive action.
Never take shortcuts between rows of parked cars and never walk next to a van. People have been dragged into vans in an instant and it usually doesn’t end well.
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Consider the case of Reginald Denny. He was driving a large truck through a Los Angeles neighborhood in 1992 during the infamous Rodney King riots when a gang of youths dragged him out of the cab and beat him badly. Of course, car windows can be smashed, but a locked door will provide the occupants a few moments delay in an attack, which may be enough time to drive away or access a weapon. Faced with a violent mob blocking the street, the average car with locked doors and windows and a steel roof wil l provide some level of protection while the drivers lays on the horn and moves slowly through the crowd without causing injury.
Micro Bug-out Kit The concept of a bug-out or go bag is quite well known. It’s the bag people carry when they have to leave their home in an emergency. A typical bug-out bag will hold items such as important personal papers, a change of clothing, energy bars and other comfort food, prescription medication, a ﬁrst aid kit and any other personal items to help a person survive away from home for 72 hours. A large duffel bag or backpack standing ready in the hall closet to be thrown in the trunk of the family car is a good thing to have for bug-out situations such as imminent heavy ﬂooding or a local chemical spill. Bug-out bags are a smart idea, but they are not the complete s olution to the problem of being forced to bug out. People are often forced to leave other buildings such as their workplace and hotels. I’ve spent a lot of my career in an ofﬁce environment and I always carried some form of a briefcase. Inside I
This micro bugout kit can help a person to exit a darkened, smoke-filled building, summon help, buy food and if needed, buy a ticket home.
of my situation, ﬁnd my way out of a building where the power has failed and signal for help, pay for transportation, lodging, food and water.
Wallet, car keys, passport and anything else you need to get home goes in a small nylon bag on the hotel bedside table. Flashlight stays outside the bag.
kept some spare cash, car keys, pencil and notepad, a mini ﬁrst aid kit and a multi-tool with a blade, pliers or tweezers, screwdriver etc. Whenever our ofﬁce conducted a ﬁre drill I always grabbed my briefcase on my way out the door. I was surprised at the number of people who evacuated their ofﬁce for the drill, but left their personal belongings behind because it was “only a drill.” There is an old saying, “under pressure, training takes over.” In a real ﬁre I was conﬁdent I would grab my bag on the way out because I trai ned to do it that way and I’d have the means to get home.
There are times when even a small bag isn’t practical, so I developed my own micro bug-out kit for everyday carry to give me the bare minimum of items to escape and survive: cell phone, a pocket ﬂashlight, a credit or debit card and at least $20 in small bills. All the items except the cell phone are stored in a small Ziploc bag to keep them dry and together. Also, keeping the cash separate from cash in my wallet prevents me from spending it and insures I always have some emergency money on hand. With these four items I can summon help and notify relatives and friends
Typically, people who are staying in a hotel are a long way from home. They may even be in a foreign country. People get evacuated from hotels mostly because the ﬁre alarm has sounded. In some ca ses, it’s a false alarm, but even if it is, my objective is the same: Get outside quickly and with the items I need to get home. I don’t want to evacuate wearing only what I was sleeping in and I don’t want to waste time in a smoke-ﬁlled room trying to ﬁnd my wallet and airline ticket. Before I go to sleep in a hotel I assemble all the items I need to sur vive and to get home: Wallet, passport, cash and credit cards, check book, car keys, some extra batteries, hotel key (in case it’s a false alarm) and cel l phone. I put them all i n a small nylon shoe bag with a drawstring top and put the bag on the nightstand next to the bed. I put a small, powerful ﬂashlight next to the bag. There is generally a chair in the room and I lay out a pair of jeans, shirt and shoes on the chair. Next, I check the hotel layout diagram on the back of the door or I walk down the hallway to establish where the emergency stairs and ﬁre escape is located. If the alarm sounds in the night I can grab the ﬂashlight, get dressed, grab the bag and be out the door in about a minute. I know where the ﬁre escape is and I can use the ﬂashlight to ﬁnd my way if the hallway is dark.
Bug-out Planning It’s not uncommon for people to get evacuated from their homes for various reasons. A chemical spill on
A typical bug-out bag will hold items that will help a person survive away from home for 72 hours.
SURVIVE • FALL/WINTER 2014 SPECIAL EDITION
a nearby road may force an evacuation of a few hours. Flooding or forest ﬁres may cause entire neighborhoods to be shut down for days. This is where the full-si ze, bug-out bag we packed at the beginning of ﬁre or ﬂood season gets deployed. Where do we go and how do we get there? Have a route and an alternate route. In my subdivision there is one road in and out, plus one bike trail as an alternate exit. The road you choose to evacuate on may be blocked. In some circumstances it may be possible to follow a railroad line rather than sit in a miles-long trafﬁc jam. Be careful to avoid trains. When travelling on foot, be aware of entering areas such as tunnels, alleys, bridges and riverside pathways where there is only one way in and one way out. These are choke points where as few as two muggers or assailants (one at each end) can block your entrance and exit. This applies not only to bugging out, but also to our everyday activities. When people take the same route to work or some other frequent destination they become complacent about their personal security. They also become predictable, which means they may become an easy target for muggers, rapists and even kidnappers. I think it’s great so many people are prepping for catastrophic disasters like 100-year ﬂoods, summer forest ﬁres and the annual hurricane season, but let’s not forget the little, mundane things like texting while crossing the street — it’s far more likely to kill us than a giant asteroid. * John Higgs is the author of Dealing With Danger. Find him at www.junkyard-dog.net.
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rnold Schwarzenegger emerges around the corner of the heartless dictator’s security wall, square ﬂattop haircut complimenting a comparably square jaw and preternaturally ripped physique. His chiseled pecs and abs are highlighted by a rather comical application of camouﬂage body paint. The M60E4 he ﬁres onehanded stitches a line of destruction across a row of houseplants, dropping the anonymous, intervening faceless
Viggo Mortensen once observed he had killed every stuntman on the set of the Lord of the Rings movies 50 times over. Right, wrong or other24
terrorist minions by the bushel. Disposable Bad Guys fall motionless to the ground and the Commando in the movie of the same name tosses the empty, smoking light machine gun aside before indexing to his Uzi for yet more of the same. We all know before the movie is done he will have dispatched the dictator amidst a fusillade of trademark corny one-liners and laid some serious hand-to-hand smackdown on him in the progress.
wise, American entertainment is neck deep in blood and stylized death. Additionally, what was once the sole purview of R-rated action movies is
now standard fare on televi sion shows like “The Walking Dead.” Add to this a similar treatment by the countless ﬁrst-person shooter video games SURVIVE • FALL/WINTER 2014 SPECIAL EDITION
The U.S. Military invests tremendous resources to medically evacuate injured soldiers to a trauma treatment facility in a timely fashion. Countless lives have been saved as a result of this investment. DOD photo.
occupying today’s generation and you have an inevitable mental image in the minds of most Americ ans as to the nature of gunshot wounds, close combat and death. As with other such stuff as issue s of the heart, life in a big city, or car chases, the real world is never much like the movies.
Guns Bullets and gunshot wounds (GSW’s) are notoriously unpredictable. Even the best artiﬁcial tissue simulants are homogeneous and designed to facilitate apples-toapples comparisons between various ﬁrearms and cartridges. Ballistic gelatin is designed to compare bullet performance between designs, not necessarily predict bullet performance in a living target. Live humans are an unpredictable amalgam of hard bone, wet blood, friable liver and encapsulated kidneys. There is nothing predictable about WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM
the track of a bullet through living ﬂesh. The results can be surprising. One of my ﬁrst GSW cases was a young man who, I’m not making this up, was standing on a doorstep holding a package of Pampers to present to his baby’s momma (his words, not mine). Some jerk came up behind him and demanded his money at gunpoint. The unfortunate young man had just spent his last few dollars on the diapers and was penniless as a result. The assailant shot him in the leg in frustration before running away to ply his nefarious trade elsewhere. In my experience thugs always seem to use cheap ammo. This typically means FMJ hardball, most commonly in 9mm Parabellum or .380 ACP. The round in this case entered the thick part of our hero’s thigh and punched a simple in-andout hole. I ordered some X-rays, cleaned and dressed the entrance and exit wounds, did a meticulous phys-
ical exam to verify the integrity of his nerves and vessels, and streeted him with some pain medicine, antibiotics and a tetanus shot. He did ﬁne and the woman in question got to keep the diapers. The Bad Guy got away to ruin somebody else’s life another day. One young lass walked into the ER with a classic contact GSW to her left temple. There was powder stippling around the wound that occurs when unburned gunpowder particles imbed in the skin at very close range. Her boyfriend hovered nearby attentive and affectionate. The bullet transected her left optic nerve, bounced along her skull base, and came to rest behind her top right molar. When I met her she was fairly impressive to look upon but was conscious and lucid. Both she and her shifty-looking boyfriend adamantly attested that he had set the gun down on a dresser across the room only to have it go off accidentally and strike 25
In the movies a handgun can shoot forever and blow up a car. In the real world a handgun is at best a compromise. In practical application most any riﬂe is preferable to any handgun. At appropriate ranges most any shotgun is preferable to any riﬂe.
her inadvertently. As both the patient and the boyfriend vehemently swore the scenario unfolded as described, he was not investigated for what was obviously a case of attempted murder. The girl lost the use of her left eye but never lost consciousness and was actually discharged from the hospital under her own steam the following day.
Then there was the poor thug executed over some forgotten disagreement. The ﬁrst round entered his left eye and exited the back of his skull. The insurance shot entered the top of his head and stopped in his neck after he was on the ground. From the CT scan the retained bullet looked to be a 9mm. Despite obviously catastrophic damage to his
central nervous system, it took his body nearly half an hour to get the memo that thi s ﬁght was over, replete with spontaneous respirations and a fair amount of random movement. In short, it just wasn’t much like the movies. So what difference does that make to us American Rugged Individualists who work with and a round
SURVIVE • FALL/WINTER 2014 SPECIAL EDITION
ﬁrearms regularly? It behooves us to have a realistic appreciation of what gunshot wounds are and aren’t. That awareness facilitates success in the face of a range accident or the unfortunate circumstance of having to use our tools for real under dire circumstances.
Location, Location... GSW’s in the real world are not unlike real estate. Caliber, velocity and bullet design are certain ly imporimportant, but shot placement trumps everything. A round to the central nervous system — the brain or spina l cord — will usually instantly incapacitate, though the ﬁnal demise of the recipient may yet, as previously discussed, discusse d, still take a while. While the dimensions of the brain are obvious, the spinal cord itself is about the diameter of your little ﬁnger. A chest shot with a proper round will usually, u sually, but not not all the time, stop an assailant in a timely fashion. In this case the equation gets muddled and incapacitation is a function of factors like physiological shock, blood loss and exogenous stimulants. One of the Bad Guys in the i nfamous Miami-Dade County FBI shootout took a 9mm Winchester Silvertip to the chest that performed as well as could be expected. Shot placement was excellent and the resulting wound was unsurvivable with 1.3 liters of blood ﬁlling the right side of his chest at the time of death. However, after receiving this wound the perpetrator went on to shoot six FBI agents, two of whom he killed, before ﬁnally calling calli ng it a day. day. In this case there was no evidence of any exogenous drugs beyond good old-fashioned adrenaline. This was just a very bad man who was exceptionally motivated. Wounds to the belly can range from inconvenient to awful. I recall one young man who walked into the ER to report that he had been shot in the lower abdomen during a dispute over the affections of a fair lass. In his case the 9mm bullet ﬂattened on his pelvis and did wretched things to his intestines. However, this robust young gladiator could have continued to foment mischief for hours and, barring treatment, likely would not have succumbed to s epsis for another couple of days. High-velocity riﬂe rounds to peripheral bones can be explosive. Sometimes in this case the visceral effect of such a wound can be both disabling and breathtaking. I have seen exit wounds from high-velocity riﬂe rounds that would accommodate an adolescent grapefruit. WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM
Destruction of even a modest peripheral blood vessel can result in exsanguination and death if not addressed quickly. One of the young Rangers injured in Somalia during the events depicted in the book “Blackhawk Down” died from blood loss secondary to just such a wound. The bottom line is sometimes innocuous-looking gunshot wounds are devastating and sometimes horrid-looking damage is actual ly not terribly serious. In the case of accidents or Good Guys who have been hurt, remember, timely treatment can be everything.
Blades Nothing will induce the vapors in a committed Leftist faster than a tableful of conﬁscated black riﬂes, but when I worked worked in an inner i nner city ER I saw about as many stabbings as I did gunshots. Little else bleeds quite like a generous peripheral knife wound. I
recall with nostalgia the intoxicated, young white supremacist sporting a liberal array of swastika tattoos who I was presented with after a disagreement of some sort escalated into an exchange of steel. His opponent got a nice slice across the side of his shaved head that severed his right temporal arter y. His heart appeared to be pumping crystal meth when I met the gentleman so we had to tie him down before we could get a dec ent look at his wound. After removing the man’s dressing, blood shot across the wall and ceiling like the proverbial ﬁre hose, spraying rhythmically to the cadence of his accelerated heartbeat. The circumstances would not allow for anesthesia so we just sat on the guy and stapled his head wound closed with a robust line of surgical staples. I checked on him about half an hour later and will never forget the image he cut. He was shirtless and heavily muscled A tricked-out black riﬂe and a trench coat can make anybody seem fairly cool by Hollywood standards, even an old guy like Will. In reality,, ﬁrearm per formance reality and gunshot wounds bear little semblance to their depictions in ﬁlm. If nothing else, that single 20-round magazine would not last very long in a ﬁreﬁght.
Sometimes innocuous wounds are profoundly dangerous while some of the most ghastly are little more than an inconvenience. This Skillsaw injury is the stuff of nightmares yet would not be life-threatening unless it was left unattended for days or weeks.
The typical healthy adult human carriess about ﬁve carrie ﬁve liters of blood. Lose a liter of that in 20 mi nutes and you get dizzy. dizz y. Lose two liters in the same ti me frame and it is life threatening. The rub is you can lose volumes of blood into your lungs or abdomen without it showing much on the outside. I once met an unfortunate gentleman who had suffered a severe pelvic fracture in a car wreck and bled to death into his scrotum before he got to the hospital. He had no obvious open external wounds yet his injuries were sufﬁcient to claim his life.
So, What’s the Point?
straining against his restraints and glaring at me menacingly through a drug-induced haze, too angry to speak. The line of surgical staples tracking across the side of his head would do Dr. Frankenstein proud. Though he clearly was not given to frivolous displays of gratitude, I’m certain he would have thanked us for saving his life that evening had the moment been right. Then there was the pair of rotund young ladies who decided to settle their differences with a pair of box cutters while sitting on the front seat of a car. The aggregate length of the
resulting lacerations was measured in feet. I was a medical student at the time and spent literally hours that evening repairing their faces, breasts, and bellies while they visited amiably, their disagreement apparently forgotten. By contrast to these gruesome encounters sometimes someone can suffer a fatal stab wound with so little external evidence of injur y it can be difﬁcult to ﬁnd the defect. I once saw a ﬁt young construction worker very nearly bleed to death from a laceration less than an inch long to the inside of his right elbow inﬂict ed by a piece of brick strap on a job site.
We live in a scary world that gets scarier every day. Even in the absence of a global cataclysm, crime can touch us any time and any place. It behooves the typical armed American to develop an appreciation for what gunshot wounds are and aren’t in order to best facilitate survival in a crisis. 28
Aside from convincing our readers medicine is not a particularly glamorous profession what is the point to relating all this gore? Human bodies are simply extremely complex yet remarkably resilient machines. There are certain functions critical to the continued existence of the organism and there are mechanisms built into our design on scales both large and small serving to help keep us alive in the face of i njury. In the case of a survival situation it behooves the realistic survival prepper to develop a basic understanding of how these machines react to trauma and how best to assist their efforts at self-preservation. Whether the scenario be a massive storm overwhelming the infrastructure, a disruption in social order and common services, a terrorist attack, or an invasion by zombies from the planet Znuton, chances are somebody within your sphere of inﬂuence will wil l be injured. When this happens it likely won’t look much like the movies. Much has been made of the Golden Hour — the ﬁrst critical 60 minutes after penetrating trauma that is not immediately catastrophic. The US military invests enormous resources to extract injured soldiers and move them to appropriate medical care within this window. Statistical analysis of military conﬂicts ranging from World War II to the Global War on Terror has shown survival rates go up astronomically when injuries are professionally addressed in a timely fashion. 60 minutes is not a magic number. What is more important is simply folks with severe traumatic injuries do much, much better if they can get IV ﬂuids and surgical attention quickly when compared to those who do not. Do a little homework beforehand when you have the luxury of time so you can remain calm in the face of injury. Many locales offer EMT SURVIVE • FALL/WINTER 2014 SPECIAL EDITION
training through junior colleges and the like that can do a simply splendid job of preparing you to handle medical emergencies. In some cases these training programs can be pursued after hours and on a schedule working around a day job. Some of these new skills can even be marketable in scenarios not necessarily involving zombies.
Musings Saving Private Ryan came close. Of all the movies I have seen this ﬁlm seemed to do an exceptionally good job of depicting violent military-grade trauma. However, the intensity and emotion of such situations are essentially impossible to replicate. If nothing else, the unique smell of fresh blood in signiﬁcant volumes adds a dimension to a crisis obviously does not translate well to the big screen. Major trauma like GSW’s and stabbings are inevitably terrifying for all involved. Time compresses and your heart feels li ke it is going to leap out of your chest. At the moment it frequently may not even seem real. In a few cases I have had to ask myself afterwards if what I just experienced had really just happ ened. Research has shown 60 percent of those shot with any ﬁrearm in any spot will fall to the ground. It is the other 40 percent you have to worry about. Some innocuous-looking knife wounds are terrifying and some breathtaking variants are little more than inconvenience. Genuine hand-to-hand exchanges seldom go for very long before somebody breaks a bone, smashes a face or delivers a kick to the crotch that wins the ﬁght. In short, out here in the real world it just isn’t much like the movies. If you are clutching this magazine you are serious enough about prepping for unpleasant eventualities to spend your hard-earned money toward this end. Recent history has shown us survival prepping is not conﬁned to the insecure or paranoid. Rather, most typical Americans comfortable in their daily lives might reasonably expect at some point to have to persevere for a time without basic servic es or even ﬁght for their very lives. When the time comes a little reliable information from a source other than Hollywood can make you much better prepared to survive and prevail. * WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM
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t has often been said survival is more about skills than equipment. While I wholeheartedly agree, I also think many people who want to be better prepared focus on the wrong skill sets. For example, if you live in a city or When I teach personal-protection skills, one of my mottos is “If you prepare for what is most likely to happen, when something happens, you’ll most likely be prepared.” The same thing applies to survival. You are best served by focusing on the relevant stuff. One of the easiest ways to deﬁne a good survival skill set is to look back a few decades to the ways people did things before we became obsessed with conveniences and high-tech gadgets. For most of us, a “survival” situation is probably going to be a matter of coping with a temporary disruption of normal, ever yday life. A big part of this disruption will be the loss of many modern conveniences we’ve come to rely upon. When this happens, our job is to know how to 30
suburban area, taking a desert survival course might be lots of fun and a fulﬁlling personal challenge, but the skills you learn may not translate well to the environment in which you’ll probably be surviving.
stay hydrated, fed, warm and safe by using the more “primitive” resources that are still working. With these thoughts in mind, I’ve deﬁned 10 skills every savvy prepper should have if society poops the bed. If you don’t have one of these skills, you might consider working on developing it before you drop your hard-earned dollars on an Arctic survival course.
Hydration Water Acquisition and Puriﬁcation: Staying hydrated is the top priority in any survival situation. Although many people think they have an emergency water plan, very few have ever validated thei rs by actually doing it and drinking the result. Don’t be that guy.
A detailed discussion of survival water plans is beyond the scope of this article, but to illustrate the point let’s take a representative example: For whatever reason, your tap water supply is interrupted. When you turn the faucet, nothing comes out. The plan in your head for this situation is to use your water heater as a built in reserve of drinking water and simply drain it to get what you need. That makes sense, but do you know how to turn off the supply line to the water heater? Do you know how to turn off the heat source so it doesn’t overheat and create an overpressure situation? Do you have a clean piece of hose to attach to the drain spigot? In short, have you actually done it and proved to yourself you have the knowledge and skill necessary, or are you operSURVIVE • FALL/WINTER 2014 SPECIAL EDITION
ating on theory? Real skill is based on real experience.
Chow Time Cooking: If your idea of preparing a meal is navigating through a fastfood drive-thru or pushing buttons on a microwave, you are not a cook. Some of the best and most economical long-term survival foods — like rice and beans — require actual cooking skill to end up qualifying as food. And the time to learn that skill is now — when the drive-thr u is an easy back-up plan — not when eating your mistakes is your only option. You don’t have to be a chef to cook survival meals, but even something as seemingly simple as cooking a pot of rice requires skill and experience. Start now and begin developing unconventional cooking skills. Try dif ferent recipes and cooking styles to determine which ones are easiest for you and most suitable for survival situations. Very importantly, validate your recipe s and cooking skills with the cooking tools you’ll actually have available during an emergency — like a backyard grill, a camp stove or a ﬁreplace. If you don’t get the results you want now, learn the necessary skills or adjust your recipes until your survival cuisine tastes the way you want it to.
No ER To Go To First Aid: If you were to be injured today, you could easily go to an emergency room or clinic and get the care you need. However, during a major natural disaster or other emergency situation, medical facilities will probably be overloaded and just getting to them may be difﬁcult or impossible. Having the skills and knowledge to effectively deal with minor or even moderately serious medical emergencies is therefore critically important. The Red Cross regularly offers a wide variety of training courses all over the country. Their basic courses include ﬁrst aid/CPR, wilderness and remote ﬁrst aid and even pet ﬁrst aid. Visit their web site at www.redcross. org, plug in your location and the typ e of training you’d like to get and you’ll get a list of all the available courses in your area. In addition to learning important skills, these courses are also an excellent way of meeting like-minded people in your area and doing some networking. Having skills is good; having reliable friends with skil ls is even better.
loss of core skills everyone used to have — like reading a map. Many people — especially younger folks — have become almost completely dependent upon smartphones and GPS. Hand them an actual map and ask them to ﬁnd where you are and you’ll invariably get the pig-lookingat-a-wristwatch confu sed look. Map reading is a core skill enabling you to do a lot more than just ﬁnd the nearest Starbucks. It allows you to truly understand the geographical details in your area and both the advantages and potential threats they present. If your survival strategy includes a bug-out plan, you need to remember “out” is not a place. You need to be going somewhere speciﬁc and, depending upon the status of the supporting infrastructure, you may have to get there without the beneﬁt of a GPS or smartphone. The skill to read a map enables you to plan routes, navigate effectively and adapt your travel to road closures and detours. Land Navigation: Reading a map and navigating in a populated area is pretty easy because there are plenty of reference points. Finding where you are can be as simple as ﬁnding the intersection of two streets, and “navigating” is just a matter of following the right streets to the desired location. In a rural or wilderness area, however, things aren’t this easy. Determining your location may require orienting the map to major landmarks and using a compass to determine azimuths to those landmarks. Wherever the back azimuths drawn from those landmarks cross is where you are. If that’s not where you want to be, you have to know how to
In a survival situation, water is the top priority. Developing your water puriﬁcation skills now will ensure you don’t go thirsty in an emergency.
use your map, your compass and your knowledge of terrain features to plan a safe route to someplace better. You also need to know how to navigate the route, determine the distance you’ve traveled and maneuver around obstacles on your way.
Navigation Map Reading: One of the greatest disservices of modern technology has been the deterioration or complete WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM
The better you can cook, the more food options you’ll have in an emergency. Make sure you validate your skills on the cooking methods you’ll actually be using if things get crazy — like a gas grill. 31
Your GPS or smart phone is handy, but not infallible. Map reading skills don’t require batteries — just practice.
Land navigation combines map reading skills with the effective use of a compass, distance calculation and many other practical skills to get you from point A to point B without a GPS.
Land navigation is a serious skill requiring a thorough knowledge of map reading, the ability to use a magnetic compass in conjunction with a map and the capability to translate the conceptual representation of the terrain into well directed boot prints on the ground. If you’re stuck traveling on foot for any reason, land navigation skills will be critically important to your sur vival. It’s also a
Knowledge of a few basic knots and how and why to use them for different purposes goes a long way in an emergency.
great way to get some exercise and get to experience the outdoors.
MacGyver It Fixing Stuff: When I was a kid, if something broke around our house my dad would pop it open, ﬁgure out how it worked, determine what went wrong and nine times out of ten, bring it back to life. While his ability to ﬁx things was amazing, he wasn’t alone. People of his generation knew how to ﬁx things out of necessity because ﬁxing them was usually cheaper than buying new stuff. Granted, the world has changed. Many products manufactured today are designed and made to be expendable — when they break, you’re expected to buy a new one. Some products also rely on complicated electronics beyond the reach of ordinary handyman skills. However, there are still a lot of things capable of either be fully repaired or at least jury rigged to extend their useful lifespan. In a disaster, survival, or other emergency situation, this can be critically important because running down to the mall to buy a new one may not be possible. I’m not recommending you start breaking your stuff on purpose, but the next time something does break don’t be so quick to throw it away. If
Don’t just blow smoke; validate your actual ﬁre- starting skills now and you’ll be much better off later. 32
it’s something mechanical, ﬁgure out how to take it apart and study its guts to discover how it works. If you can’t ﬁx it, at least determine the cause of the problem and go through the mental exercise to know what you would need to do to make it work. YouTube videos, DIY books and TV shows, and your public library are also great sources of information on simple repairs. Use them to tackle a few simple ﬁxes now so you’ll have the skill and c onﬁdence you may need later.
All Tied Up Knots: Tying and untying knots is another lost skill common a few decades ago. Other than tying our shoes, most of us don’t work with rope or cord on a daily basis, however, in an emergency situation, this can change drastically. You might ﬁnd yourself tying down the ends of a tarp to create a temporary shelter or lashing a load of supplies to a veh icle or trailer. You might also be throwing a rope to someone caug ht in a ﬂash ﬂood so you can pull him to safety. Knowing which knots to tie for which application and having the skill to tie them properly can make a huge difference. Most public libraries have a wealth of old-school books on knot tying. If you have trouble learning from a book, there are also plenty of YouTube videos teaching individual knots very effectively. You don’t have to learn every knot, but a good arsenal of the most useful ones and the ability to tie them quickly and reﬂexively can go a long way. Fire Making: When most people think of making fire, they tend to focus on the initial spark, ember and ﬂame and often obsess over learning multiple primitive methods. While that’s useful, it’s just as important to have the skill to use that initial ﬂame to create a true ﬁre that’s suitable for SURVIVE • FALL/WINTER 2014 SPECIAL EDITION
How far out can you actually bug with your bug-out bag? There’s only one way to ﬁnd out: Strap it on and go for a hike. The stronger and ﬁtter you are, the more prepared you are to survive.
cooking and keeping war m. Doing this involves selecting and collecting proper tinder, kindling and fuel and arranging them into a structure that ignites and bur ns efﬁciently. Doing this well takes skill and practice, and the time for that is now. Practical Practi cal Shooting: There’s a big difference between marksmanship and practical shooting. While they are closely related, marksmanship emphasizes the mechanics of shooting under favorable circumstances. A survival situation is, by deﬁnition, a less-than-ideal situation. To shoot effectively in this context, you need to train and practice your skills i n that context, ideally focusing on the situations most relevant to your needs and environment. If you live in an apartment, train ing for 1,000-yard riﬂe shots may be fun, fun , but probably not the most relevant skill to your survival needs. Assess the problems you may face and train accordingly. ac cordingly. Functional Fitness: Many people separate skill from ﬁtness, but when it comes to potential emergency scenarios, they can be very closely related. One simple, but often overlooked example is the bug-out bag (BOB). Most of us have them, but when was the last time you strapped yours on and walked any signiﬁcant distance with it? Have you ever tried to climb over a fence with it? These actions involve ﬁtness, balance and dexterity and are deﬁnitely necessary skills in a real survival situation. The best time to start getting into shape was 10 years ago… or today tod ay.. In an emergency situation, skills trump toys. Focus on developing usable skills now so you’ll know how to do what you need, when you need it most. Get Ge t to work! * WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM
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een reading a lot of articles and gun-forum posts lately regarding do-it-all riﬂes — usually with a survival-type spin. You know, what would be the “ideal riﬂe” to take t ake along if heading out when law and order breaks down, or moving up into the high country if things go sideways — like when the zombies attack, or the black-helicopter guys arrive arr ive and take over. I won’t get into the discussion, but I will say I own a neat AR and I have a sentimental attachment to the AK-47, having carried one in Iraq. But what I’m talking about here is a riﬂe any serious riﬂeman would ﬁnd practical and versatile. One capable of taking any game you might run across (at least, in North America to include two-legged critters). It shouldn’t be a semi-auto riﬂe. Every serious shooter should have one good bolt-action riﬂe, in a common caliber. A do-all riﬂe that’s fun to shoot, accurate and able to take whatever game the riﬂeman may come across. It would ﬁt the bill as the “one-gun” hunting riﬂe largely immune to the elements, but still 34
if things go downhill economically, or howling mobs of bikers attack my little town, I’ll stay put — and ﬁght it out on my home turf. Getting caught out on the open road with your family ain’t the best place to be if you need to make a stand. No, I’ll be at my casa, with a couple of former Army buddies to back me up. Lots of water, MRE’s, MRE’s, ammo and the friends I know and trust would make our place easily defendable defendable..
looks like, well, a riﬂe. It would wear a low-mounted quality telescopic sight. I’m dating myself here, but I’d want a classic wood stock on my ri ﬂe. A modern urethane-type ﬁ nish would protect the wood. Glass-bedding, along with a free-ﬂoated barrel and sealed barrel cha nnel, would make an excellent all-weather, no-warp choice. And if I needed a long gun to protect my family, I wouldn’t feel sorry for myself if all I had was an accurate, hard-hitting bolt riﬂe. The Marine Corps used Springﬁeld bolt-actions to great effect in the Paciﬁc before they reluctantly switched to the Garand early in WWII. My bolt riﬂe would be a go-to
long gun, used mostly for practice and hunting but capable of defending my family if called upon. Now, I’ve thought about this a lot… not the usual “if I could only have one gun” stuff, but having a riﬂe with all the features I want based on a lifetime of shooting and hunting. Not a custom riﬂe really real ly,, but certainly certain ly one that was purpose-bui lt for my my use.
Features And Options I like classic-styled riﬂe s. I also like walnut on my guns. I have several synthetic-stocked riﬂes, and they’re my preferred guns when the weather gets ugly. On this riﬂe I wanted walnut, with a corrosion-resistant stainless SURVIVE • FALL/WINTER 2014 SPECIAL EDITION
steel barreled action. It combines the best of looks (wood) and practicality (stainless steel). I also wanted a steel triggerguard and bottom metal for durability. I dislike the aluminum alloys some gun companies use for their ﬂoorplates and triggerguards. Steel, though slightly heavier and more expensive, is the way to go. Most new factory sporter barrels in standard calibers (.243, .270, .3006, etc.) are now 22". I prefer a full, 24" barrel on a standard caliber bolt riﬂe. With the efﬁciency of modern propellants used today, barrel length isn’t really a big issue anymore as far as velocity goes, but I’m somewhat of a traditionalist and like longer barrels. A 24" barrel with the right .30-06 loads wil l get you close to .300 H&H velocities velocities without the rec oil and barrel wear of a magnum cartridge. Caliber isn’t in dispute — I’m a big fan of the .30-06. Every riﬂe maker makes a .30-06 and every ammo maker makes .30-06 ammo. No boring history lesson here, except to s ay a .30-06 works (and works well) on anything living in the lower 48. Literally dozens of different loads and bullet weights are available, along with components to handload for anything you may desire to pursue. It’s truly the do-all centerﬁre round and is the most popular cartridge car tridge sold in the US. And it’s pretty much available anywhere. It’s a big seller in Europe, Africa and even Russia. Something to think about is ammo availability and cost. During the recent ammo shortage, I found .30-06 and .270 ammo in every gunshop I went into. The “survival” calibers, like .308, .223, 7.62x 39mm and even .22 were gone from every gunstore shelf in the country, with long lines of shooters waiting for new deliveries. And most of the ammo was marked up in price when available, sometimes to ridiculous r idiculous levels. Not the old ’06. Nobody wanted it. And that’s ﬁne with me. I bought .30-06 ammo (at normal prices) and continued shooting.
Savage 114 I’ve always liked Savage bolt riﬂes — probably because I’m a lefty. Savage has made portside bolt guns for many years. Very strong and simple, the Savage 110 series has gotten a well-deserved reputation for trouble-free operation and affordability. Lots of calibers and options are offered, in both wood and synthetic stocks. And Savage is also known for making extremely accurate barrels, something the Savage people are rightfully rightful ly proud of. WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM
No more Mr. Ugly. The latest version of the Savage bolt riﬂe is a handsome riﬂe. It’s still the same rugged hunting riﬂe that’ll get the job done, like previous generations of the now-classic Savage 110 series bolt gun. 35
Bob’s riﬂe came with a pretty piece of dark walnut in the classic style and was well ﬁnished, with all the pores properly ﬁlled. The thin recoil pad was a nice touch.
I had a couple of issue s with Savage riﬂes, though. I couldn’t get exactly the riﬂe I wanted (ﬁnish, barrel length, stock, etc.), and the Savage bolt gun has traditionally been considered, to put it kindly, not attractive. It’s always been a purpose-driven machine built to shoot small groups and survive the rigors of riding in a pick-up. Savage riﬂes are also loved by a large segment of hard-core riﬂe fanatics who dare to be different. Wild fusion colors on strange synthetic stocks prevail on many owner-built Savages, I was looking for something a bit more traditional.
Savage has what they call their “Special Order Department.” After reading about it in their catalog, I gave them a call, c urious about what I could get. I wasn’t too optimistic. The idea of a large gun company willing to build me a riﬂe with all the features I wanted — without the “custom” price tag — d idn’t seem possible. Any concerns I had quickly vanished. A fr iendly (and very knowledgeable) lady answered the phone in the Savage Special Order Department and told me what I wanted was doable. Not only doable, but an easy build that would be completed
and shipped within 4-5 weeks. Not your usual custom shop time frame. I wasted no time putting in my order and the riﬂe arr ived at my FFL in one month, as promised. My Savage came with the re quested 24" sporter-weight barrel, bedded i n a very nice piec e of dark walnut. Barrel was free-ﬂoated without any contact in front of the action. In talking with the Savage Special Order Dept. folks, I learned my riﬂe was bedded by one of their veteran gunsmiths. Nice to know. The Accu-Trigger was set for a clean break of 2 lbs, from the box. I asked for the detachable box-magazine version, which isn’t offered as a catalog item for lefty wood-stocked riﬂes. I was told, “No problem.” This wasn’t a discount store riﬂe with a few extra features thrown in. I got a high-quality, hand-assembled factory riﬂe i n my favorite caliber, with the options I wanted. The big question you’re probably wondering about is the cost… it was very affordable, like any Savage. My riﬂe, as ordered, would cost just over $1,000.00. Some things you won’t be able to get. Savage won’t do any stock alterations or woodwork going beyond bedding a Savage barreled action into a standard, catalogued wood or
SCOPING MY 114 tried three different variable scopes on my Savage, ﬁnally settling feature of the “Game Reaper” DNZ mount is the mount and rings are on a Leupold 2-7 VARI-X II. It has perfect eye relief and an excellent 1-piece; the rings are integral to the base. It’s a very strong, simple and power range for the cartridge and ranges I’d be shooting. I eventulightweight mount. ally intend to mount a Leupold or Zeiss ﬁxed 4X with a heavy duplex Another good choice, if you want a 2-piece mount, is the Talley reticle. I’m getting to like the idea of ﬁxed scopes on my working riﬂes; lightweights. Like the DNZ mount, Talleys are also 1-piece; the ring a ﬁxed power scope is optically superior to a comparable (quality-wise) bottom half is integral to the base, so it’s incredibly strong. No screws or variable and is more durable and simple. Eye relief is less critical and clamps are needed to secure the rings to the base. Talleys are well made ﬁeld of view is larger. For now, though, the little 2-7X Leupold works ﬁne and beautifully ﬁnished. * on my new Savage. One thing to be aware of on the Savage long action is really long. Some scopes may be too short; using some mounts and rings, to work properly. The solution here is to use extension rings (offered by most manufacturers), or a scope with a tube long enough to ﬁt the rings you have. Fixed power scopes usually don’t have this problem (due to the lack of an adjustable power ring), which gives more versatility in positioning the scope in the mount. I used a set of DNZ “Game Reaper” mounts on my Savage. I’ve used these before (on another long-action Savage) and like them. My Leupold 2-7X had no issues on the Savage action because Another Savage stainless bolt riﬂe with the DNZ rings are positioned closer to each other. the DNZ 1-piece aluminum mounts. An The DNZ mount also places the scope very low excellent, rugged and lightweight mount over the bore, which is what you want. One neat that works well with the long Savage action.
SURVIVE • FALL/WINTER 2014 SPECIAL EDITION
Fellow gunwriter and sometimes-lefty John Buol shooting some rapid-ﬁre strings with the Savage. Pie-plates at 75 yards were in serious trouble.
synthetic stock. No hand-checkering, rust-bluing or custom safari sights. The Special Order Department is not a custom shop and doesn’t have the capability to do specialized metal or stock work. What Savage does offer the consumer is a mix-and-match option, letting the shooter choose most any feature Savage catalogs, and then a riﬂe is factory-assembled with those features at an additional, reasonable c ost. Any caliber Savage has offered in the past is available, if they have the tooling. Awhile back, quite a few .250 Savage riﬂes were requested and assembled. And left-handed riﬂes are very popular builds in the spec ial order shop.
Worth The Wait I’ve had my “custom” Savage for several months now, and it’s growing on me. Because it’s exactly what I wanted, there isn’t much I want to change. I may replace the scope with a ﬁxed 4X at a later date, but that’s about
Bob wanted a detachable box magazine; the Savage has one of the best-designed ones he’s tried. The magazine release is accessible, fast and very positive. All bottom metal is stainless steel, not plastic or alloy. WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM
At the range, bench-testing different brands of factory .30-06. This Savage likes Federal factory 165-grain loads using the Sierra GameKing, which shot the best 3-shot group from the bench. Nothing went over 2" during several range sessions.
Some of the different loads tested. Best results were obtained with Federal 165-grain Sierra GameKings, followed by Nosler 165-grain AccuBonds.
Best group was this 0.75" 3-shot string, ﬁred with Federal 165-grain GameKings. Most groups hovered around 1" or slightly over. 37
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it. One thing I have done is glassbed the recoil lug and seal the barrel channel to guard against warpage. Not a bad idea for most any boltaction riﬂe. Because the channel is ﬂoated with a fairly large gap on either side of the barrel (seems to be common with a lot of bolt ri ﬂes made today), all manner of debris and moisture can ﬁnd its way underneath, which could b e bad for your point of impact or your barrel ﬁnish. When I’m hunting, I usually tape the sides of the barrel with electrician’s tape to prevent anything from getting inside. My riﬂe, as expected, is an excellent shooter. A good barrel and proper bedding, along with premium factory ammo, brings out the potential of any riﬂe. Mine hovers around 1 MOA groups with most loads. It occasionally will shoot under one MOA, depending on the conditions, the load, my bench position and trigger control. My worst group so far (2.2") was ﬁred with some old LC (Lake City) GI ball. Just over 2" isn’t bad for issue ammo never noted nor designed for match accuracy. Looks like the favored ammo for this riﬂe will be Federal’s factory 165-grain load, using the Sierra GameKing bullet. My best group using Federals went into .75" at 100 yards. Not an average, but pretty good, demonstrating this riﬂe’s potential accuracy. Second best were Nosler’s 180-grain AccuBonds, which averaged 1.2". I bought this riﬂe fully intending to use it — a lot. I have an Axis deer hunt in Texas scheduled in the near future, and a wild boar or two will be slain before then. If I get the chance, a moose hunt in Canada will be a possibility in a year or two. This will be the riﬂe of choice. Weather in eastern Canada can be very wet. And while I doubt I’ll ever use my new Savage for prairie dogs, the semi-custom ’06 will be my go-to riﬂe for most everything else. *
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e it protection from wild animals, preparing for a bug-out scenario or the impending destruction from the zombie apocalypse, the winner of the Survive Special Edition Gun Giveaway will have his or her survival stores well-stocked with the headliner of this months package — the PTR GI from PTR Industries. A modified version of the HK G3 rifle popularized in the ’90’s, the PTR GI comes in .308 or 7.62 NATO and features a delayed blowback roller-lock system and comes with a 20-round magazine. The OD green, parkerized-only finish and slimline handguard lends this modern incarnation a classic, ruggedized appeal. Spyderco’s Street Bowie fixed-blade knife, designed by Fred Perrin, one of Europe’s most sought-after close-combat and self-defense instructors, will ensure you stay combat-ready with its 9" steel blade, textured grooves and functional simplicity. Additionally, the
blade is coated with a durable black ceramic finish and features a redesigned sheath with versatile G-Clip attachment for various types of carry. The M10 Tactical Kit from Olight not only features the M10 Maverick — a 350-lumen, 1.92-ounce LED tactical flashlight — but also includes an offset weapon mount and tactical remote switch to help customize your newly minted PTR GI. It will also help to shed some light on any emergency situation. If you’re bunkered down without power, in the thick of a storm or trekking in the wilderness, the MEALSPEC meal heater not only reheats provisions, but can also cook raw foods and boil water. The military-grade, flameless appliance reaches 220º Fahrenheit in 12 seconds and runs for up to 12 minutes. You can’t win if you don’t enter! Get on over to americanhandgunner.com/giveaway or send in a postcard to make sure your name’s in. — Sara Cardoza
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PRACTICAL PREP FOR A MERICANS S ERIOUS A BOUT STAYING A LIVE
ecent history has shown us survival preparedness is not the ethereal stuff of deluded miscreants in tinfoil hats. In the last two decades we have seen American cities brought to their knees by terrorism and a major metropolis driven primal by a hurricane. There have been massive tornadoes that serve to remind us the folly of underestimating the power of God as well as one particularly remarkable storm that paralyzed the entire Eastern seaboard. I have a relative who got out of New Orleans during Katrina literally as the mob came around the corner. The magnitude of these crises has served to make most Americans at least consider preparing for unpleasant eventualities. Prepper gear, training and supplies are big
business. This mindset has even spawned some top-ﬂight reading material, some of which you appear to be clutching at present. While the latest guns, shelters and kit make for
sexy recreational reading, if you are serious about weathering the coming apocalypse it might behoove you to wax a bit more introspective. I once saw a tee shirt that opined, “The Older I Get, the Better I Was.” There is such truth there. When confronting the challenges of preparedness and survival I like to imagine myself as a strapping 22-year-old who is ﬁt, sharp and hard. Unfortunately, out here in the real world I am soft, creaky and aging by the day. When dealing with life’s little challenges it’s a good idea to think of things as they actually are rather than as we imagine them to be. Reality is, our senses dull with age and living in a society awash in fast food, reﬁned sugar, saturated fats and salt can conspire to lessen our chances of survival in a crisis by a signiﬁcant margin. While keeping ﬁt and hard can make us more competitive survivors,
Presbyopia is the medical condition wherein people over 40 begin to lose the ability to focus up close. The EOTech Holosight projects a holographic reticle to inﬁnity and negates this problem.
SURVIVE • FALL/WINTER 2014 SPECIAL EDITION
For most Americans being healthy is a choice. Avoid alcohol, cigarettes and fast food and cultivate a lifelong passion for pushups and running. If you’re concerned enough about survival to invest in gear you should also expend a little effort on physical ﬁtness.
it can also extend our lifespans in the absence of catastrophe and keep us more comfortable in the process. Along these lines we will discuss some gear as well as some lifestyle issues designed to increase your chances of survival come what may.
Long Guns While it beats the alternative, I do despise getting old. My back creaks and my knees remind me with every step that I was in my youth an Army Paratrooper. Of all the little reminders of the seasoned nature of my ﬁfth decade of life few are more annoying than my deteriorating eyesight. I have plenty of company. Presbyopia is the medical term and it affects most everybody over 40. As most of us really didn’t mature enough ﬁnancially to afford a proper gun collection until we were in our 40’s, this means about half the shooters in America really don’t do so well with iron sights. The lens in your eye is a remarkable design that stretches to become thinner or relaxes to become thicker and in so doing allows you to focus on objects up close or far away. As we age the lens gets stiff and loses its elasticity. This typically manifests as an inability to focus up close. This is the reason most folks of my generation wander about sporting reading glasses. It also makes it progressively more difﬁcult to focus on the front sight of a ﬁrearm. The world is awash in electronic sighting solutions for tactical guns. Most of these are little more than a light-emitting diode that projects a red dot onto a piece of glass. With one of these sights properly zeroed a shooter can index on a target with WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM
We can spend a fortune on guns and gear to prepare for difﬁcult times and that is impor tant. However, it behooves us to spend a little effort on keeping ﬁt.
both eyes open and the red dot seems to project over the dominant eye such that the weapon follows his gaze. What makes the EOTech Holosight unique is the sighting reticle is actually a laser-etched hologram.
Far from being a superﬂuous trade gimmick, EOTech’s Holosights are staples for the most high-speed “tactical operators” on the planet. I have it on reliable information the last thing Osama bi n Laden saw before he
queued up for his 70 dark-eyed virgins was the angry end of a riﬂe equipped with an EOTech Holosight. The neat thing about the Holosight is the targeting reticle is actually somehow projected out to inﬁnity. This means those of us seasoned shooter types who might otherwise struggle to focus on a targeting reticle projected an inch in front of our eyes can easily perceive the Holosight’s version pro jected out onto our target. Just how might a gunsight oriented an inch from my cornea be perceived by my high-mileage eyeballs as being overlaid on a target at 50 meters? I haven’t a clue. Pixie dust maybe. I just know it works great. With a Holosight on my riﬂe I can engage targets like I was 20 years old. The other cool widget EOTech recently brought to market is a replacement battery cap for their long-nosed Holosights that incorporates a 5 mw red visible laser. This device drinks from the same batteries, as does the parent sight to project a red visible laser dot. When combined with their remote activation switch, the EOTech laser battery cap opens up gra nd new vistas for aging shooters like me. It also frees up some of that limited real estate on the rail system of my riﬂe.
Practical Tactical The EOTech Micro Red Dot Sight can rejuvenate an aging shooter with focus issues. The red LED dot projected on the device is easy to see and makes for fast target acquisition. 44
To put the theory to the test I mounted an EOTech 512 Holosight with a Laser Battery Cap atop my trusty M4 Carbine and hit the range. I zeroed the laser at 7 meters and the Holosight reticle at 50. Given the SURVIVE • FALL/WINTER 2014 SPECIAL EDITION
The new Laser Battery Cap by EOTech replaces the battery cover on long-nosed Holosights and incorporates a 5 mw red laser. This device uses the same batteries as the parent sight and frees up some of the Real Estate on your rail system.
The EOTech Micro Red Dot Sight has idiot-proof controls and a lightweight aluminum shroud to guard against damage from rough handling.
predictable trajectory of a 5.56mm round takes it through the same point at 200 hundred meters as it c rosses 50 this opens up the entire effective battlespace to an shooter so equipped. Tack on a swing-out magniﬁer, and the same sight brings distant targets up close for long-range work. With a little practice I can now engage targets from bad-breath distances all the way out to the maximum effective range of my weapon system without taking my gaze out of the sight. All the while, the Holosight tricks my brain in such a way as to negate the deleterious effects of the aforementioned Presbyopia. Now how cool is that? Serendipity taught me such. I just picked up a Holosight one day and was delighted to ﬁnd that the laser-etched holographic reticle perfectly accom-
modated my high-mi leage far-sighted just as dangerous as I was when I was eyeballs. Now the same gunsight tech- a young stud wearing a uniform. nology accompanying our country’s hardest special operators into battle Handguns can be put to a wholly unexpected Having cracked the code on runuse to help older shooters remain ning an better riﬂe shooting in my competitive in the tactical arena. It’s ﬁfth decade I turned my attention to like Viagra for your eyeballs, to use a my handgun colle ction. Try as I may I potentially unsettling analogy. When simply can’t get the front sight to focus combined with EOTech’s new laser crisply any more with the weapon battery cap the Holosight makes me held at arm’s length. I can shoot okay The Micro Red Dot Sight from EOTech is small and lightweight enough to replace the rear sight on a tactical handgun. In our testing, reliability of the parent weapon was unaffected.
The holographic reticle on the EOTech Holosight is a genuine hologram that is perceived by your brain as being overlaid on the target no matter the range. I haven’t a clue how it works. WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM
at modest distances with iron sights on a handgun, but my precision is just gone. EOTech came through in this instance as well. Practical shooting champions have long ago established the utility of electronic sights on handguns. The uncluttered sight picture combined with the bright red dot aiming point allow your brain to index targets faster and more accurately than was the case with the old-fashioned iron versions. Nowadays EOTech offers an absolutely tiny red dot sight small enough to perch atop a tactical handgun. The device has the tidy title MRDS or Micro Red Dot Sight. In a crisis, if you have to move you will have to carry something. If the roads are clogged or if there is no gas you may have to carry a lot. It does not take long for a burden to grow problematic if the basic load includes a weapon and ammo. A little practice in advance makes the problem manageable.
The MRDS is a conventional red dot sight suitable for standard adapter mounts available for most tactical handguns. These mounts subsequently slide into the rear sight dovetail on the slide of your pistol. The sight is sufﬁciently lightweight as not to impede the fu nction of the weapon. The sight activates via a back-mounted button and the battery is replaceable from the top. Windage and elevation adjustments are easily accessible and intuitive. I mounted mine on a highcapacity 1911 and revolutionized my facility with a handgun. The MRDS provides an uncluttered sight picture free from any of the focus
problems we discussed earlie r. With a little practice this device restored my facility with a handgun and, as with all EOTech products, in my testing appears to be about indestructible.
Human Physiology There are times I feel 50-percent of my professional day as a physician is spent treating self-inﬂicted wounds. Were it not for cigarettes, alcohol and fatty foods most of us medical doc tors would have to take a second job just to make ends meet. Thank goodne ss for Budweiser, Twinkies and Marlboros. Most men are reticent to visit a physician because we would sooner ignore bad news than hear about it. I have seen more than a few alpha males die at home because they did not want to talk to anybody about their worsening chest pain. Though you likely did not see it coming, you are going to get preached at a bit today. There is a consumer product in our country that kills 478,000 Americans per year — one fourth of the total deaths per an num. That is more carnage than results from murder, suicide, HIV, alcohol and car wrecks put together. This product is available in every community in the country and, aside from some trivial age restrictions, can be bought over-thecounter without a background check or waiting period. This particularly lethal weapon is cigarettes. Any smoker older than 35 will be suffering performance problems of some sort. Even if a smoker is fortunate enough to avoid the lung cancer and heart disease that seems to ensnare most, there will be an inevitable and predictable decrease in strength and stamina. The only thing worse than struggling desperately to keep your family alive in a survival situation is trying to do the same thing while short of breath and withdrawing from nicotine. If you are a smoker and astute enough to be reading this magazine you need to quit. There are several over-thecounter options to help and your doctor can take it to the next level if the OTC stuff doesn’t work.
It’s Bad For You One tenth of the adult American population currently has diabetes. If current trends continue, half of all African-American kids born after the year 2000 will have diabetes. If you have any ideas as to how we are going to pay for that I’d love to hear it. Lifestyle-induced diabetes is one of the most serious contemporary threats to Western Civilization. 46
SURVIVE • FALL/WINTER 2014 SPECIAL EDITION
What is the difference between these two consumer items? One is a re markably efficient killing machine available over- the-counter in every community in the country without a background check or waiting period that kills 478,000 Americans per year. The other is a machine gun.
Diabetes, the disease state wherein we can no longer regulate blood sugar consistently, comes in two ﬂavors. Type I is the sort typically developed in childhood wherein your pancreas just sort of sputters out. Type I diabetics require exogenous insulin to live. There is not anythi ng anyone can do to affect whether or not a person develops this dise ase. We are not even completely sure what triggers it. By contrast, Type II diabetes is more typically associated with lifestyle. In this case your pancreas still produces insulin but a complex series of factors prevents you from using it to regulate blood sugar properly. Type II diabetes can, at least initially, be treated with oral medicines. With a few exceptions, Americans develop Type II diabetes because we are fat and we eat garbage. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America and also stems predominantly from our lousy diets and aversion to exercise. Atherosclerotic heart disease is the condition wherein fatty plaques build up in the lining of our arteries. Eventually these plaques can build up enough to choke off the blood supply over time or even rupture suddenly and create an instant blockage. This is the classic heart attack or stroke. The best way to treat diabetes and heart disease is not to develop diabetes and heart disease. Nothing wrecks the credibility of some seasoned old warrior teaching a class on weapons handling or close quarters combat than the inclusion of a pendulous beer belly. 48
The guy can whiz through BUD/S, Ranger school or the Special Forces Q Course, but lacks the discipline to push back from the table and do a little regular joggi ng — don’t be that guy.
your cigarettes are steadily killing you, in a crisis you will be a liability to the people you care about if you are wheezing when you walk and freaking out from nicotine withdrawal. Ask your mirror if you are fat and Musings you will get an honest answer. If you The bottom line is if you are are overweight then Google can tell serious about surviving something you anything you want to know about unpleasant a little attention to your a sensible diet and exercise. A quick own physiology is a logical ﬁrst step trip to the local family doctor can before you drop the kids’ college answer any questions Google might fund on the latest tricked-out black not. Survival in a hostile environment riﬂe. You may have a Unimog vehicle requires planning, dedication and diswith an Infantry Platoon’s worth of cipline. If you can’t discipline yourself ﬁrepower and a year’s worth of shelf to eat right, exercise and avoid booze stable food and that’s great. How- and cigarettes now, what makes you ever, if you can’t catch your breath or think you will wake up the morning you are too fat to move you will just after a catastrophe suddenly ready to donate all that cool prep gear to some be John Rambo? ﬁt young parasite with a crowbar and So, look over your gear with a crita cheap handgun. ical eye and optimi ze it to support the Some well-reasoned gear can person you are rather than who you indeed help. As I serendipitously dis- might wish to be. Then get serious covered, the same attributes making about eating right and getting tough. EOTech’s Holosights the go-to tools Quit smoking, drin king and fast food for the hardest operators on the planet and, if you’re able, reacquaint youralso make them just crazy effective self with the ﬁne art of pushups and for seasoned American Rugged Indi- running. You’ll be in a much better vidualists over 40 with presbyopia position to survive The “End of the and reading glasses. Gear is just part World as We Know It” and you’ll of the equation, however. live longer and feel better if the world If we are going to be serious enough just keeps on spinning without a about survival prepping to invest zombie apocalypse. * money in weapons, gear and food we need to include a sensible program of diet and exercise so we aren’t waddling around the post-apocalyptic nuclear FOR MORE INFO wasteland checking our blood sugar EOTECH four times a day. If you smoke you need www.eotech-inc.com to quit — now. Beside the si mple fact SURVIVE • FALL/WINTER 2014 SPECIAL EDITION
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hanks to some of the sensationalistic “reality” shows aired in recent years, the word “prepper” often conjures up visions of eccentric isolationists stockpiling mountains of supplies in remote compounds or underground bunkers. While those folks do exist, intelligent people — like those who invested in this publication — know better and understand preparedness and self-sufﬁciency don’t require such extreme measures. In fact, they don’t even require you to own a home at all. In its simplest form, prepping means having the resources necessary to ensure you and your family can maintain a safe, healthy lifestyle during disruptions in the normal function of society. Whether those disruptions are caused by a weather event, a power outage, civil unrest or any other reason, you and your loved ones should have the supplies and the skills to stay safe, warm, well-fed and hydrated until things return to normal. This basic concept applies to everyone, including those who live in apartments, condos or other types of housing offering less space and fewer options than a typical single-family home. Fortunately, with a little research and creativity, everyone can be better prepared — no matter where you call home.
What You’ve Got If you live in an apartment or condo, your ﬁrst step in assessing your situation should be to determine where your basic resources are, how they work and who controls them. To be more speciﬁc, you need to understand how your water, your hot water, your heat and your electricity get to your apartment and what elements — if any — you can access or control. For example, if your unit has a dedicated water heater, you should know where it is located, how it is powered and whether you — or anyone else — has access to it. Why? Because if there is a disruption in the supply of tap water, your water heater represents an important reserve of potable water you can potentially use to survive. All you need is a short section of garden hose with a female ﬁtting and the knowledge to drain the tank. If the water heater is located in a lockable service room, you may also have extra storage space for other survival supplies. WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM
Understanding how your heat, oven and range work enables you to know which resources are affected during different types of situations. For example, if you have electric heat and a gas stove, a power outage caused by a winter ice storm means your heat and lights are out, but you can still cook easily and boost your morale by maintaining a degree of normalcy during a crisis situation. The ability to boil water is not only useful for cooking and sanitizing drinking water, it also means you can ﬁll a few old-fashioned hot water bottles to tuck into beds or sleeping bags to help stay warm. Although an oven isn’t recommended a s a primar y source of heat, using it for cooking during the emergency can certainly help take the chill out of the apartment. You can also extend the heat it generates to other areas of the apartment by placing a few bricks into the oven while you cook. They absorb heat and can then be carefully removed to serve as sources of radiant heat elsewhere. Make sure
Know where your utilities are located and whether you have access to them or not. Access to your water heater — and a little knowledge — means you have a signiﬁcant cache of potable survival water.
you handle the hot bricks with oven mitts or heavy gloves and place them on properly insulated surfaces to ensure safety. Again, the key to making use of these strategies is understanding how
Two-liter bottles of water frozen in your freezer turn it into an old-school icebox when the power goes out. When the ice melts, it also provides clean drinking water.
your utilities work and what is really affected duri ng different types of outages. As simple as this may sound, many apartment and condo dwellers don’t have a clue. Don’t let that be you.
Back-Up Plans Once you have a clear understanding of how your utilities work and which resources (l ike the water heater) you have access to, the next step is to develop back-up plans or alternatives to them. If, for example, both your heat and kitchen stove are electric powered, a winter power outage can leave you in a desperate situation. At the most basic level, you’ll need a supply of foods that do not require cooking and some extra blankets and
sleeping bags to help you stay warm. If storage space is tight, the blankets can be compressed in vacuum-style storage bags or replaced by inexpensive Mylar “space blankets.” Although it might be tempting to use kerosene or propane space heaters to generate heat, th is isn’t a good idea because of the dangers of carbon monoxide — especially in a conﬁned space. In fact, two important components of any apartment “kit” should be a battery-powered smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarm. They will warn you of smoke or carbon monoxide threats even if they don’t originate from your dwelling. If your neighbors are doing something stupid to stay warm, you’re still protected.
If you have a balcony or patio, invest in a good gas grill — especially if you have an electric stove. In addition to cooking food and boiling water, it can be used to heat bricks that can be brought inside for r adiant heat.
If you have a balcony, patio or other controlled area suitable for grilling, a gas grill is an excellent investment. In addition to its obvious function during non-emergencies, it can easily become a full-service cooking station in times of crisis. Like an oven, it can also be used to heat bricks during the cooking process. To make sure it’s ready when you need it, invest in an extra propane canister and always keep a full one on hand. Without electricity, you’ll also need light sources of some sort. LEDstyle ﬂashlights are inexpensive and last almost forever, but must be supported by a good supply of batteries. For emergency use, common, easily available batteries are a better choice than the expensive, exotic ones used in high-speed tactical ﬂashlights. The traditional solution to emergency light — candles — is also a good choice; however, they should be enclosed in glass containers to minimize the ﬁre hazard. My favorite source of emergency lighting is a solar lawn light. These LED lights are battery powered and charge during daylight. When it gets dark, built-in photocells automatically turn them on and they emit a low, but very useful level of light. They can b e bought individually for a few dollars each and stored on a windowsill or balcony so they charge every day. If the power goes out, bring them inside and you’ve got safe, passive utility lighting.
Water As all prepp ers know, water is your most critical surv ival resource. We all need roughly a gallon a day just to Have multiple sources of emer gency lighting, from headlamps for hands-free work to safe candles. One unorthodox but practical option is to use solar lawn lights for ambient lighting.
If you think your supply of tap water might be affected, put a few 5-gallon buckets in the tub or shower and ﬁll them. Separate buckets are portable and allow you to use water for different purposes without cross-contamination.
SURVIVE • FALL/WINTER 2014 SPECIAL EDITION
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In an apartment or condo, storage space is always at a premium. Plastic containers designed for under-bed storage can be packed with food and other survival items and tucked under beds, couches and similar areas. They are also portable and a great way to keep your supplies well organized.
drinking water for one person — an easy reference. They should be stored in a cool, dark place and can e asily be tucked into unused space in closets or other out-of-the-way locations. Another double-duty method of storing water is to place a couple of two-liter plastic soda bottles in your freezer. Clean them and ﬁll them slightly less than full with tap water, then freeze them. If the power goes out, they and your frozen foods can be moved into your refrigerator or a camping cooler to turn it into an old-fashioned icebox. They help keep your refrigerated food cold and al low you to eat it ﬁrst before digging into your other food supplies. Buy a thermometer to monitor the temperature in the fridge or cooler and keep it below 40 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent spoiling. When your ice bottles melt, you’ve got an additional supply of drinki ng water. In addition to drinking water, you should also think about water for washing dishes, bathing and manually ﬂushing your toilet. If you have some advanced warning of a crisis — like a pending weather event — you can simply ﬁll your bathtub with water. The disadvantage of this is all the water is in the same container. A smarter approach is to put a clean plastic trash can and/or several clean ﬁve-gallon buckets in your tub or stay hydrated and healthy, and this shower and ﬁll them. This way you can doesn’t include water for cooking, maintain separate containers of soapy washing dishes, bathing or sanitation. water, rinse water and clean water Water can be a cr itical concern for and make them last longer. When apartment dwellers. If the tap water the water in one becomes dirty, use it supply to your building is cut off, to manually ﬂush your toilet by just alternative supplies of water may be pouring a quart or so into the bowl. very limited. As noted previously, if you have a dedicated water heater Creative Storage and access to it, you’ve got a head One of the greatest challenges start on a reserve supply. If you don’t, apartment and condo-based preppers it’s a good idea to plan ahead. One face is ﬁnding adequate room to store simple option is to buy a few ﬂats of their supplies in the limited space bottled water and rotate them into available. If your apartment has an your normal consumption every few external storage area or garage, it months. If storage space is a concern, helps a lot — provided it’s secure buy risers for your bed to elevate it a and convenient. few inches and use the area under the If you don’t have a dedicated bed for survival storage (more on this storage area, you need to get creative. in a bit). As mentioned earlier, placing risers A cheaper alternative is to buy under your bed to elevate it a few one or more 5-gallon water cooler inches can create a signiﬁc ant amount bottles. You can buy these pre-ﬁlled, of storage space. A 6" storage space but I prefer the empty ones because under a queen bed creates more than they are resealable. Fill them up with 16 cubic feet of storage area — enough fresh tap water and add one teaspoon for a signiﬁcant cache of survival supof unscented chlorine bleach to each plies. Plastic bins speciﬁcally designed 5-gallon bottle. Mark the date on for under-bed storage can help you the bottle and repeat the process organize your supplies, make them with fresh water every six months. easier to access selectively and keep Although heavy (about 40 pounds the weight of each manageable. each), these bottles are convenient Another space-saving approach to and represent a ﬁve-day supply of survival storage is to use plastic milk 54
Milk crates are a convenient, extremely space-efﬁcient storage method. Designed for stacking, they enable you to store a lot of supplies in a very small area. They’re ideal for corners, closets and other out- of-the-way spaces. They are also portable and a good part of a modular bug-out plan.
crates, which are readily available from most big-box stores for a few dollars each. These crates are available in various sizes, but in their most common form are about one square foot. Because of their interlocking design, they can be st acked several layers high and are very space efﬁcient. They are therefore an excellent way of turning an empty corner, a hall closet, or any other small sec tion of ﬂoor space into an extremely practical freestanding storage system. The sturdy construction of these crates allows them to hold considerable weight, making them ideal for storing and organizing canned goods, bul k foods like bags of rice or beans, and many other supplies. For stability and convenience, place the heavier crates on the bottom of the stack and lighter items — like powdered milk and dry goods — on the top of the stack. Top it off with a few ﬁve-gallon buckets stuffed with rolled blankets and you’ve got a formidable “pillar” of survival supplies in a single square foot of ﬂoor space. Being prepared doesn’t have to mean living off the grid. With a little planning and creativity, even apartment and condo dwellers can ensure that they’re ready to cope with almost any emergency. * SURVIVE • FALL/WINTER 2014 SPECIAL EDITION
Black Hills Ammunition
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NRA HOME DEFENSE CABINET
aving witnessed the afterThe sliding mirror design is well math of home invasion built and passes inspection as being robberies, I can tell you just a mirror. The cabinet will take with conviction, if you are some construction experience to not within arms reach of a install. If you can’t do it yourself, weapon when the “boogey-men” hit I’m sure you have a buddy who is so your door, you won’t have time to versed and can be paid off in pizza run to the gun safe and dial up the and beer for helping out. combo to retrieve a weapon. For more info on cabinet options If you are saying to yourself, “It go to www. gojotto.com * can’t happen to me, I live in a nice neighborhood,” I can only say this: The worst home invasion I’ve ever seen was in the high rent area of the town I worked. The only reason the homeowners survived was because of the wife’s quick thinking and the decision to bail out the back of the house to call 911 from a neighbor’s house. The husband lived, but I’m sure he’s a very different man from the experience. Keeping the tools to defend your family within arms reach has just gotten a little bit easier thanks to the innovative design team at Jotto Gear. The NRA Home Defense Cabinet works on the “hidden in plain sight” concept with the added biometric security system to make sure the ﬁrearms don’t get into the wrong hands but are instantly available to an authorized user.
SURVIVE • FALL/WINTER 2014 SPECIAL EDITION
BROWNELLS EMERGENCY & SURVIVAL GEAR
’ve been buying gun parts and accessories from Brownells for over 20 years. “The great big book of everyth ing,” AKA the Brownells catalog, has been a critical part of my toolbox. Being able to one-stopshop for gun parts and accessories saves time and resources. The only thing better than the “Big Book” is being able to shop online. The Brownells crew is constantly working on ways to make our lives as easy as possible. They are now offering a humongous selection of emergency and surv ival gear. Sure you can surf the web to stock your survival kit, but you don’t have to anymore. The Brownells Emergency & Survival catalog has all the best gear in one convenient place and you get the world-renowned customer serv ice Brownells is k now for. Smart folks are working on ways of becoming more self-sufﬁcient and capable of taking care of their families in the face of all kinds of disasters. Reminds me of my old Gunny saying, “If you fail to prepare, pr epare to fail. Don’t be that guy. Go to www.brownells.com and get stocked up. *
The family resemblance is clear (centerﬁre Ruger American Riﬂe is at top). This trio would meet the needs of anyone requiring a stout centerﬁre riﬂe for deer or other bigger game, while using the .22 LR and .22 Mag. for other chores.
moved to the country six years ago from heavily populated Southern California. Prior to moving I had played the “What’s going to be my perfect gun for the land?” game. I kept playing the possibilities over and over, like a continuous loop video, never quite happy with any “ﬁnal” decisions. So like many of you, I took my best guesses — and bought accordingly.
Now, living on acreage in Missouri with woods and pasture surrounding our home, I found I was almost exactly 100 percent wrong about my choices. The guns (and gear) I thought would be most-used here, usually sit in the rack. While a good defensive centerﬁre 58
riﬂe is always handy to have on hand (and can be used to take a deer, hog or solve a bad guy problem with equal aplomb), I found those were chores that simply didn’t crop up too often. I have defensive riﬂes handy, but they aren’t in high demand dai ly.
What I found was a reliable, handy .22 LR riﬂe (usually accompanied by some sort of revolver with CCI snake loads ﬁrst-up) quickly turned into my “must-have-it-at-hand” long gun. And I realized this remained true as my cadre of .22’s grew until the ATV, my E-Z-Go, tractor and all our vehicles soon had their own versions stowed in a handy spot. Far from having to wrestle with wild boar, bears or roaming bands of thugs, I found my daily grind often consisted of dealing with raccoons in the trash, coyotes around the barn, feral dogs running amuck or grey squirrels stealing the chicken food. Having a quiet, handy .22 riﬂe at-hand was critical since most of the SURVIVE • FALL/WINTER 2014 SPECIAL EDITION
RIMFIRE RIFLES A .22 LR/.22 Mag Survival Duo critters tend to be skittish and your chances of a shot come and go in a blink. I also learned those coyotes and raccoons are a bit much for a .22 LR, so I added a .22 Magnum to my rack. This one tends to be my go-to riﬂe if I have time to get it. The .22 Magnum is several levels more effective than a .22 LR, even for smaller game, and can reach out reliably on cal m days to around 150 yards or even a bit more if you practice some. Because of my surprising discovery about what’s useful on the land, when Ruger announced their new .22 LR/.22 Magnum American Rimﬁre riﬂes, I was very interested. I cut my teeth on Ruger’s American Riﬂe (the
centerﬁre version) and have owned a .30-06 version for a couple of years now. Their innovative bedding system (called “Power Bedding”) using steel V-blocks buried in the synthetic stock, matched to mating surfaces in the receiver bottom to free-ﬂoat the barrel, means repeatable, reliable accuracy is attainable. During a test at an industry event I attended, an even dozen Ruger American Riﬂes in .30-06 all delivered solid 1" groups at 100 yards using Hornady factory ammo. This was a group of stock riﬂes taken right off the production line. It has amazing performance, and allowed us to make ﬁrst-round hits out to 700 yards. This accuracy has remained true to form; all done with
a $450 sporting riﬂe and almost any ammunition I have since tried in it. I was very curious to see if this same tradition of affordability and accuracy was carried into the new rimﬁre line-up. Among the innovative ideas Ruger incorporated into the American Rimﬁre Riﬂe series, is the use of their standard “10-22” type magazines. Why change what works? Each model comes in a “Standard” and a “Compact” version, and you can get four different modular comb additions. Each riﬂe comes with two, one to help ﬁt when using i ron sights, and one when using a scope. By changing combs, you can extend the reach on the Compact version, so the “little” 59
Ruger’s innovative bedding system (called “Power Bedding”) using steel V-Blocks buried in the synthetic stock to free-ﬂoat the barrel, means repeatable, reliable accuracy. Cut-outs (A) on the underside of the receiver ﬁt snugly around raised blocks (B) embedded in the synthetic stock. It’s repeatable and nothing moves! (left) The “comb” is offered in four sizes and each riﬂe comes with two, a “high” one to help when using a scope and a low or “standard” one for iron sights. Roy found the standard low version worked just ﬁne for his scope mounting solution. Perhaps a smaller statured person or child would need the high mount. It also allows you to change over-all pull length to meet a growing child’s needs (above).
The rotary magazines are classic 10- 22 style and look right at home. You can also use extended magazines if you like. Note the extended maga- zine release offered on each riﬂe.
riﬂe you bought for a child can “grow” with them. It takes 15 seconds to change a comb and it’s simply a brilliant idea, done beautifully. Barrel lengths are 22" for the Standard model and 18" for the Compact version. Interestingly enough, according to tests we ran with another set (Standard and Compact lengths in .22 LR) there were virtually no differences in velocities when loads were chrongraphed from either barrel length. With .22 performance, most velocity is reached by 16" or so. All you’re really getting with the longer barrels are sight radius enhancements and a bit of weight to help steady the riﬂe. I’d go with the compact versions, especially if you’ll be using them around and in vehicles or if you have young people who will be shooting them. You can always add a longer comb for around $20.
The .22 Magnum version is virtually identical to the .22 LR version, other than chambering. Safeties, bolt operation, trigger (adjustable, with Ruger’s “Marksman” safety system), modular comb feature, even the bedding system, are identical. That keeps things simple, and, since the guns function virtually the same as the full-sized Ruger American Riﬂe, you can also train with the .22 versions and your ﬁngers and hands will be able to use the same muscle memory when you transition to your centerﬁre version.
Hammer Forging For being basically “price-point” riﬂes (MSRP is about $329 for either .22 riﬂe), it’s noteworthy the Ruger’s feature genuine hammer-forge barrels. This means the barrel is essentially beaten around a mandrel
The front sight is a bold ﬁber optic. Note the nicely-crowned muzzle helping to enhance accuracy and protect the critical muzzle should it get dinged (left). The rear sight (looking like a stock Ruger 10-22 sight) can be folded down to clear a scope. Roy had to remove the one on the .22 LR to clear the exit bell of the Redﬁeld scope (right).
SURVIVE • FALL/WINTER 2014 SPECIAL EDITION
The adjust- able trigger is called Ruger’s “Marksman” trigger, featur- ing a passive safety lever. Pressing the trigger moves the lever al- lowing the sear to trip. The triggers were about 3 pounds on our test riﬂes and are user- adjustable if needed. The safety is 2-position, allowing the riﬂes to be loaded or unloaded with the safety on. It falls comfort- ably under the thumb.
with a special system of hydraulic hammers. It happens fast, but what you get is a barrel relieved of stress and uniformly riﬂed. Chances are good if my Ruger American Rimﬁre riﬂe shoots a certain way (and they do shoot), yours will likely shoot just as well. Since we’re not talking centerﬁre power here, there are no locking lugs on the bolt, and the bolt is held in place by the bolt handle locking into a recess. All the “bits” on the riﬂe are typical Ruger, over-built for their job and likely to last several lifetimes. The Ruger Marksman Trigger has a passive safety system built in. The ﬁnal trigger pull (hovering around the 3-pound mark on our test riﬂes) is safe because the se ar can’t trip until the center trigger lever is depressed as you pull the trigger. It works great. The trigger pull is user-adjustable too, but we found the factory setting to be just ﬁne.
Winning the award for sheer accu- racy in the .22 Magnum riﬂe, Speer’s Gold Dot “Short Barrel Personal Protection” .22 Mag which delivered groups between 0.5" to 0.75" at 50 yards. However, some compromise in terminal performance at riﬂe veloci- ties will occur with this fragile bullet, made to expand at lower handgun velocities. It’s still perfect for squir- rels, rabbits or serious targeting — even out to 100 yards or a bit more.
accurate, affordable, American made and reliable. Good lord, what else can you ask for? In all honesty, if you bought a centerﬁre version and the two rimﬁres, you have, in one fell swoop, pretty much ﬁlled your riﬂe needs when
CCI’s Mini Mag Silhouette ammo proved “most accurate” in the .22 LR version. Groups hovering around 0.75" at 50 yards were reliable and consistent with this ammo. Yet, al- most any of the .22 LR ammo tested delivered adequate accuracy for most chores.
Ergonomics Do the .22’s feel right? Absolutely. I noticed right from the start the c enterﬁre Ruger American R iﬂe not only looked great (check out the picture of all three), those same sleek lines and design touches felt just right in-hand. The rimﬁre versions mirror the other, with “family” inﬂuenced design elements and style. Th is .22 duo is handy, light (6 pounds for the full-size, 5 pounds, 5 ounces for the Compact), WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM
Ruger’s American Rimﬁre Riﬂes use tried-and-true Ruger rotary magazines from the 10-22. The .22 LR (Top) holds 10, while the .22 Mag (Bottom) holds nine. They are easy to load and ran per fectly.
CCI’s “Maxi Mag” .22 Magnum ammo, a classic load, showed good working accuracy at 50 yards. The heavy bullet and proven hunting performance would make this perfect for bigger critters like raccoons or coyotes. 61
The Ruger American Rimﬁre Riﬂes beg to be scoped. We used two Redﬁelds in our tests, the “Revolution” (top, on the .22 Magnum) and the “Battlezone Tac .22” on the .22 LR version (lower). Both were good matches for these accurate riﬂes.
it comes to bolt action versatility, those target turrets to good use on the at the coop? He’s yours with the accuracy and reliability. Not that .22 Magnum riﬂe. Magnum. Groundhog at 125 digging you should only own three riﬂes, in your pasture? Take him with the Accuracy/Velocities mind you… .22 Magnum. Buy cheap ammo, and The safety is two-position, allowing I think too many people get too enjoy shooting your new ri ﬂes. you to load and unload the riﬂe with wrapped up arguing about velocity But, if you’re really particular, the safety on. The magazine release is when it comes to rimﬁre rounds. We then it pays to shop around a bit extended (handy when fussing with averaged around 1,200 fps to about and try different ammo. We found the 10-round Ruger magazines), and 1,450 (with the lightweight, ﬂeet-of- the .22 LR American Riﬂe to be a the bolt comes out easily with a press foot rounds) in .22 LR and from about touch more ammo sensitive than the on the portside bolt release. 1,900 to about 2,20 0 fps from var ious Magnum. After running through Sights are a very basic adjustable .22 Magnum loads. Any load, from about a dozen makes of .22 LR, the rear that ﬂips down (looks like the any maker will easily take whatever clear winner was CCI .22 LR Mini standard 10-22 sight) but the front game or do whatever chore you need Mag Silhouette ammo. It delivered is a nifty green ﬁber-optic, really doing, from either riﬂe, especially if .75" or a bit less every ti me, time aft er standing out in a bit of light. I did ﬁ nd you’re talking 50 yards or le ss. Which time, at 50 yards. I have a European when mounting scopes you may need is, honestly, where you’ll be likely target .22 costing about ﬁve times as to remove the rear sight completely using riﬂes like this. much as the Ruger, which will shoot depending on the bell diameter of So, put the pocket ca lculator away just a tad smal ler groups at 50 with your chosen scope. Neither of my test and concentrate on what’s actually the same ammo. I’d call the Ruger scopes (a Redﬁeld Revolution on the important, at least to a certain degree great value. .22 Mag and Redﬁeld Battlezone Tac — accuracy. A blistering 2,300 fps Go ﬁgure. .22 on the .22 LR) had overly large from a .22 Magnum doesn’t do you The .22 Magnum seemed more exit bells, but I did have to remove the a bit of good if you miss the crow at tolerant of ammo variables but two rear sight on the .22 LR to clear. 125 yards. An accurate .22 Magnum winners delivered consistent perforI really liked the rear focus on the load going 1,500 fps at that distance mance. Again, CCI came through Battlezone and the target turrets. I will bring home the bacon … er … um with their classic .22 WMR Maxi Mag mounted the scopes on the riﬂes as … crow. load, with groups hovering around 1", they all arrived, so the Battlezone But again, if we’re talking less than which makes this a great go-to daily went onto the .22 LR by chance. If 50 or so yards, any load we tested, in load. It’s affordable, reliable and well I were keeping these riﬂes, I’d likely either riﬂe was accurate enough to proven in the ﬁeld. The HP version is swap scopes, putting the Revolution take virtually any game we can think a real killing machine when it comes on the .22 LR version and putting of. Squirrel at 50? He’s yours. Coyote to pests. 62
SURVIVE • FALL/WINTER 2014 SPECIAL EDITION
Made in America, the Ruger American Rimﬁre Riﬂes say it proudly right on the receiver. Note the bolt release button just to the right of the name.
But Speer’s Gold Dot “Short Barrel Personal Protection” load once again proves its inherent accuracy. At the same 50 yards, average group size was a solid 0.75", but most hovered around the 0.50" to 0.75". That’s easily squirrel noggin-sized at 50 yards. Keep in mind this bullet is made to expand a nd perform at around the 1,250 to 1,300 fps window (in short barrels, as a defensive load). I have chronographed it from a riﬂe (the 22" Ruger) and it can go as high as 2,000 fps. At that velocity, the lightly constructed bullet will underpenetrate. I don’t recommend it for bigger varmints like coyote or even raccoons. But for small fry like pe sky squirrels, jacks, possums or anything rendering your country life a pain, this is your go-to accuracy load. For other chores, I’d recommend the CCI load, or another .22 Magnum load speciﬁcally designed for ter-
minal performance at higher velocity. Make sense? Load up on the CCI Maxi Mag ammo, then ﬁnd whatever load your particular riﬂe delivers the best accuracy with, and buy a bit of that for fun.
On The Cheap These two add up to a lot of value for the money. For likely less than $600 at street prices, you could have two very accurate, dead-nuts reliable .22 riﬂes, sure to serve you for decades. You could teach kids how to shoot, keep the farm safe from pests, enjoy countless hours aﬁeld, have loads of fun plinking or discovering what loads your particular riﬂes like — and otherwise have a roaring good time. Zeus, the big cheese Greek god, was famous for his ability to point his ﬁnger and “smite” at a distance, tossing lightning b olts hither and yon.
We mere mortals have always envied that little bit of talent. But that’s exactly why the new Ruger Rimﬁre American Riﬂe s are such a kick. Now you too can point your ﬁnger and do some smiting of your own while not breaking your bank account buying expensive riﬂes or am mo. If you’re serious about being independent, a student of self-reliance, and want to be as prepare d as you can be for what lies ahead in our future, a pair of .22 riﬂes li ke these should rank high on your “must-have” list. I found out by ﬂoundering around for a while. You can pay attention and learn now. *
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Mike shooting his DIY Montagnard crossbow.
ne of my passions as a kid was watching war movies. Every time John Wayne’s “The Green Berets” would air (this was before the age of videos and instant gratiﬁcation), I was literally glued to the TV. One of my favorite parts of the movie was when the Montagnards, accompanying the Green Beret unit, used crossbows to take out North Vietnamese sentries. Since seeing that scene, I have been fascinated with crossbows — especially traditional Southeast Asian versions. 64
Years later, as a member of the US government’s POW/MIA search mission, I had the opportunity to work in remote areas of Southeast Asia where Montagnard crossbows were still made and used. I acquired several authentic bows and still marvel at the simple genius of their construction. The simplicity and functionality makes them worthy of study by all survival enthusiasts. The fact you can make one in a weekend for about $20 in materials also makes them too cool to ignore.
The Basics “Montagnard” is a French word meaning “mountain people,” and was used primari ly to describe the indigenous people of Vietnam’s Central Highlands. The crossbows they used, however, were not restricted to one area and can be found in various forms throughout Indochina, Thailand and Myanmar. Their basic components include a stock, a prod
SURVIVE • FALL/WINTER 2014 SPECIAL EDITION
(bow), a bowstring and a simple trigger mechanism. Prods are typically made of a single piece of bamboo or springy hardwood and the strings are handwoven from bamboo or other natural ﬁbers. Trigger mechanisms vary, but typically consist of a simple notch in the stock to hold the string and a lever of some sort, when squeezed, lifts the string out of the notch to ﬁre. My DIY crossbow project is a hybrid using the basic de sign of an authentic bow I bought in Central Vietnam and the lever-style trigger of one I got from Northern Laos, which is easier to make and offers a lighter trigger pull.
Materials The materials required for this project are pretty simple. The stock is made from a piece of 1x3 red oak that can be bought at any Home Depot. You’ll need about a 3-foot length. The prod is also made from oak — speciﬁcally two four-foot pieces of 1/4 x 1-1/2" hobby stock,” also from Home Depot. In this design, they are glued together to form a 1/2" thick composite bow. However, you can also us e a single 1/4" piece for a less powerful bow or, if you can ﬁnd solid 1/2" stock, use it instead. The trigger is a simple pivoting lever made from a piece of 1/4" stock about 6-8" long. For a uniform look, I used the same oak material as the prod. To keep it traditional, the trigger pivot is made from a bamboo peg made from a chopstick. The most challenging component of the crossbow is the string. Traditional strings were made from natural ﬁbers like strands of bamboo or hemp. They were plaited into cordage and eyes woven at each end to allow them to ﬁt matching grooves in the tips of the prod. Although it’s possible to replicate this with natural materials, it’s easier and safer to use modern bowstring thread that can be purchased from archery supply shops. Even then, it’s a tedious process, the complete details of which are beyond the scope of this ar ticle. More on strings later. Authentic bolts (arrows) were typically made from carefully shaved pieces of bamboo and ﬂetched with natural material-like leaves. An easy modern substitute is to use bamboo chopsticks and either natural or synthetic ﬂetching material.
quite short compared to the length of the prod. I prefer a longer stock so I can brace it against my shoulder, so mine started as a 30" piece of 1x3 red oak. The exact proﬁle isn’t critically important; just make sure the forward end that will house the prod remains near the full width of the board (which is actually 2-1/2"). This area should be about 5" back from the front of the stock. Sketch your outline with a pencil and then cut it out with a band saw or coping saw. Finish shaping and smoothing it as desired with ﬁles and s andpaper.
end. At each end, measure in 3/4" from the edge and make a mark. The space between the marks should be 1/2". Draw lines from those marks to the other marks to deﬁne the tapers you’ll cut on the prod limbs. Then carefully cut along those lines to remove the excess wood. File or sand the sawn edges smooth and radius al l the edges.
2 . To make the prod, take two pieces of 1/4x2 red oak and cut them to 42". Coat one side of one piece with carpenter’s glue and carefully mate it with the other side to ensure c omplete glue coverage. Clamp the pieces to the top of a workbench using bar clamps and scrap board on top to ensure un iform pressure. Let dry overnight.
4 . The bowstring is held in place by “nocks” (grooves) in the ends of the prod. Measure in one inch from each tip and mark a line on what will become the front face of the prod. Then draw a 60-degree angle from that line across the edge of the prod to the other face. Repeat this on the other edge and other tip. Then, using a narrow rattail ﬁle, carefully ﬁle grooves on all the lines you drew. Connect the grooves to form smooth notches about 1/8" deep as shown in the sequence photos.
3 . When the glue is dry, it’s time to taper the ends of the prod. Make a mark across the board 12" from each
5 . Mark the halfway point of the prod with a pencil and measure its width as compared to the height of
Sketch the outline of the stock on a piece of 1X3 red oak (above). Cut the stock out with a bandsaw or coping saw (left). Used ﬁles and sandpaper to smooth the stock to ﬁnished form (below).
Step by Step
1 . The ﬁrst step in the process is to design and shape your stock. Most Montagnard crossbows don’t have true shoulder stocks and some are WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM
Ste p 2
The prod (bow) is made from two pieces of 1/4x2-1/2 red oak “hobby stock” glued together to create a composite (above). Once the glue is applied to the prod halves, clamp them to a bench and let them dr y overnight (below).
S te p 4
Draw the outlines for the nock grooves at both ends of the prod (above). Use a round ﬁle to ﬁle the grooves for the nocks (below). The completed nock grooves, ﬁled and sanded smooth (right).
Ste p 3
Draw lines to deﬁne the taper of the prod ends (above). Cut the tapers with a saw (left). The prod, cut to ﬁnal form and sanded (below).
the stock where it will be mounted. If necessary, reduce the width of the prod by sanding so it’s about 1/2" narrower than the height of the stock where it will be mounted.
6 . Place the middle of the prod over the spot where it will be mounted in the stock and center it vertically. Mark above and below it with a pencil. Using thickness of the prod as a guide, mark vertical lines on the stock to deﬁne the boundaries of the hole for the prod. 7. Carefully drill several holes in the marked area to begin creating the hole for the prod. Remove the remaining wood with a coping saw
SURVIVE • FALL/WINTER 2014 SPECIAL EDITION
Step 5 & 6
Make sure the prod is about 1/2" narrower than the height of the stock where it will be mounted. Use it to mark the top and bottom of the prod hole and use its thickness measurement to mark vertical lines.
Use a carpenter’s square and pencil to mark a centerline on the top of the stock for the bolt track groove for the bolt track (above). Use the edge of a triangular ﬁle to start the bolt track groove (center). Use a round ﬁle about 1/4" in diameter to continue to shape the bolt track groove. Then sand it and the top of the stock smooth (left below).
and ﬁles, testing the ﬁt of the prod frequently to achieve a snug ﬁt.
8 . Using a carpenter’s square and pencil, mark a centerline on the top of the stock from its front edge 11" back. This line will be a guide for making the groove for the bolt track. Use one edge of a triangular ﬁle to start the groove, then switch to a round ﬁle about 1/4" in diameter to shape the groove. When you’ve achieved the ﬁnal shape, sand the groove and the top of the stock smooth. 9. As noted earlier, making the bowstring is a detailed process that could easily be an art icle in itself. Due to space limitations, I’ll describe it WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM
Carefully drill several holes in the marked area to begin creating the hole for the prod (above). Remove the remaining wood with a coping saw and ﬁles, testing the ﬁt of the prod frequently to achieve a snug ﬁt (left).
S te p 9
Use the distance between the prod nocks to determine the size for the string jig. This jig is used to make the bowstring.
brieﬂy. Check YouTube and the archery section of your local library for more complete instructions. First, measure the distance between the nock grooves on your prod. Get a scrap piece of 2x4 or similar wood longer than that measurement and dr ill two 1/4" holes exactly that distance apart. Place dowel pins in those holes to create a simple string jig. Tie the string to one of the pins and wrap it around both pins eight times to create a continuous loop with 16 strands. Secure the loose end, then to wrap the “serving” around opposite ends of the loop to create the eyes to ﬁt the nocks at the ends of the prod. You also need to wrap serving on the center of the string to protect it from abrasion against the stock. If this sounds too
complicated, you can shop around for pre-made commercial crossbow strings and adjust the size of your prod as necessary to accept them.
1 0 . To string the prod, slip one eye over one end and then anchor the other end into the nocks in the prod. With the nocked end on the ﬂoor, support the other end on a stair and push on the center of the prod to ﬂex it until you can nock the top end. The goal should be a brace height (distance between the prod and string) of about an 1". If the string is too long, progressively twist it and repeat the process until it’s the right length. Apply beeswax to the center serving to lubricate it and keep it from fraying. 67
1 1 . Remove the bowstring and
S te p 1 0 & 1 1
insert the prod into the stock. If it doesn’t ﬁt snugly, tap a small wedge of hardwood under it to cinch it in place. Now restring the prod. Braci ng the butt of the stock against your hip, pull the string back to ﬂex the prod. Don’t go too far, but make sure the string will reach about 1-1/2" past the end of the track.
1 2 . Measure 12-1/2" from the front
Mount the prod in the stock. If the ﬁt is loose, use a hardwood wedge to snug it up (left). String the prod after it is mounted in the stock. The brace height (distance between prod and string) should be about an inch. Twisting the string a few turns will shor ten it and increase the brace height (right).
Ste p 12
Using ﬂat ﬁles, carefully ﬁle a notch about 3/16-inch deep in the top of the stock. This notch holds the string when the crossbow is cocked.
Ste p 1 3
Make the trigger pivot pin from a bamboo chopstick by ﬁling it round, but leaving a shoulder and a larger head to hold the trigger in place. Here an electric drill is used like an improvised lathe.
of the stock and mark a spot for the string notch. Using ﬂat ﬁles, carefully ﬁle a notch about 3/16" deep. Cock the prod and make sure the notch is de ep enough to hold the stri ng securely.
1 3 . Make the trigger pivot pin from a bamboo chopstick by ﬁling it round, but leaving a shoulder and a larger head to hold the trigger in place.
1 4 . Cut a piece of 1/4" thick oak 7" long and shape it into a long teardrop shape for the trigger. Mark a point 1-1/2" from the wide end and drill a hole for the trigger pivot the same diameter as the pivot pin. Position the trigger so the front end extends 1/4" in front of the string notch and the pivot location allows the front of the trigger to rise above the top of the stock. Mark and drill the pivot hole. Insert the pin through the trigger and seat it in the stock. 15 . Bolts for the crossbow are made from heavy bamboo chopsticks. Sand them round, cut a 1" slot into the back
Cut a piece of 1/4" thick oak 7 inches long and sketch a long teardrop shape on it for the trigger. Mark the trigger pivot hole location 1-1/2" from the front end (upper left). Position the trigger on the stock and use it to mark the pivot hole location on the stock (upper right). Drill the pivot hole all the way through the stock (lower left). Install the trigger pivot pin, then trim of f the excess from both ends and sand smooth (lower right).
Bolts for the crossbow are made from heavy bamboo chopsticks. Cut a 1" slot into the back end and ﬁle a point on the front end. Sand a paint stirring stick to thin it and glue it into the slot. Mark the ﬂetching outline and shape to size. Cardboard can also be used. 68
SURVIVE • FALL/WINTER 2014 SPECIAL EDITION
At 10 yards the Montagnard crossbow easily achieves 6" groups.
The Montagnard crossbow in the cocked position. Depressing the trigger lever with the thumb raises the front end, pushing the string up out of the notch and firing the bow.
end and ﬁle a point on the front end. Cut a piece of ﬂetching from wood (like a thinned paint-stirring stick) or cardboard and glue it into the slot with white glue. Then taper the ﬂetching evenly on each side. The butt end of the bolt should be sanded ﬂat.
Take a Shot To shoot your crossbow, ﬁrst make sure you have an appropriate target. I made one from stacked corrugated cardboard about 2" thick. Brace the
butt of the stock against your hip, pull the string back and seat it in the string notch. Pointing the crossbow toward the target, place a bolt in the groove in the stock all the way to the rear of the groove. Aim the crossbow by sighting over the bolt and slowly depress the end of the trigger lever with your thumb. When the front of the trigger raises the string out of the notch, it will snap forward, hit the end of the bolt and launch it toward the target.
The crossbow I made for this article has a 30-pound pull and shoots chopstick bolts at a consistent velocity of 120 fps. At 10 yards I can easi ly stay within the 7 ring (6" circle) on a typical pistol target. Will I be taking out VC sentries anytime soon? No. But the result of this project was deﬁnitely an authentic replica of a Montagnard crossbow that is every bit as functional as the traditional versions. And if the Montagnards can us e them to achieve their survival goals, so c an you. *
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The Freedom Arms Model 83 is a high quality, well-built single action revolver. It handles the .44 Mag. cartridge with ease.
f for whatever reason I spent a considerable time away from the comforts of home, deep in the wilderness, a .22 LR would certainly be an asset. Small game and birds could easily be dispatched with the rimﬁre. You could surely dine on squirrels and rabbits, perhaps the odd grouse or quail if needed. The weight factor alone would be a beneﬁt — allowing you to 72
carry a lot of ammo for minimal packing consideration. Yes, there are many advantages of a .22 LR in the backcountry. It would certainly be difﬁcult to argue with the merits of packing a rimﬁre for any extended periods of time in a given survival situation. Agreeing totally with this line of thinking, I must confess there are other options and considerations. SURVIVE • FALL/WINTER 2014 SPECIAL EDITION
In situations where two- or fourlegged attackers lurk, the rimﬁre may not be the best or most logical choice. Bears, wolves and mountain lions are occasionally encountered in north and western locale s. These four-legged critters can be recognize d and considered as potential problems in some areas. With the drug culture embedded into the fabric of our society, here remains another potential dilemma that may loiter in remote areas. You never know where you will bump in to growers or other drug related activities. Of course you may want or ﬁnd it necessary to eat venison or other wild game at some point. Taking a deer with one well-placed shot provides a lot food for several days or several people while not requiring a bunch of ammo. Although deer are prevalent in many areas, antelope or elk could be another food source. Under these conceivable circumstances, the .22 LR is not necessarily the best alternative.
Versatile For me, the .44 Magnum is a legitimate option for a wide variety of applications. It’s a compromise for sure but one I can live with and feel comfortable doing so. From defending my family to providing necessary food, the .44 Mag offers a lot of ﬂexibility. With a plethora of quality bullets ranging from 180-grain all the way through 320-grain hard cast bullets for really large game, the double four suggests plenty of versatility. Over the years, the .44 Mag has be en a workhorse for handgun hunters. I’ve taken black bear, bison, mountain lion, antelope, deer, African game and a bunch of big mean hogs with the .44 Mag and it has never let me down. I am conﬁdent the cartridge could handle any survival situation providing I did my part. This big-bore cartr idge has proven itself in the ﬁeld punching big game tags and ﬁlling freezers. And it was doing so long before the iconic “Dirty Harry” movie hit the screen, which inﬂuenced and enhanced sales of .44 Magnum handguns. Handloaders can especially take advantage of the variety of qua lity bullets. Sierra’s 180-
The FA rides comfortably in a Simply Rugged Holster, allowing you to accomplish other tasks. 73
grain JHC or Hornady’s 180-grain XTP, both are ideal for smaller game and varmints. For all-around whitetail hunting, the 240-grain bullets are ideal. Hornady’s 240-grain XTP, Nosler’s 240-grain JHP and Sierra’s 240-grain JHC for example, are all excellent choices. I frequently shoot these three bullets and always have found them to be accurate. If larger game is expected, such as black bear or elk, those 300-grain bullets are effective. The heavy hard cast bullets can, and have, tackled grizzly bear and larger critters — not to mention big stuff in Africa. Not only is there an assortment of bullet weights for the .44 Mag,
but also handloaders can tailor their loads for almost any speciﬁc purpose including .44 Special-type loads for small game. Yes, you can load the .44 Mag down to relatively mild, suitable for punching bunny rabbits for the pot. Heck, you can even use shot shells for those pesky snakes.
Factory Options Galore If for some reason you didn’t handload, no worries; there is an array of factory ammo available. I tested over 15 loads from nine different manufacturers and this by no means covers all of them. Black Hills offers the 240- and 300-grain XTP I have been shooting for years. I have
always found their ammo accurate, reliable and consistent. Plus, I’ve taken a lot of game with this factory ammo. Hornady utilizes their 240grain XTP bullet and many whitetail hunters enjoy this offering. The ﬁne folks in Nebraska also provide several other options. Buffalo Bore supports shooters with several options including one of my favorites, the deer grenade. This 240-grain soft cast +P load is one of the most accurate factory rounds I’ve shot. They also offer some light loads or if Cape buffalo are giving you problems, they have you covered. Buffalo Bore makes an anti-personnel load consisting of a 180-grain
The .44 Mag. is a great round for a variety of hunting applications. The FA revolver provides an ideal platform.
SURVIVE • FALL/WINTER 2014 SPECIAL EDITION
Accuracy with the Model 83 was impressive. The single- action was not ﬁnicky about ammo as it consistently grouped acceptable clusters with all brands tested.
medium cast hollow point ideal for life-threatening attacks from twolegged varmints. Winchester also offers a dandy 240-grain round. Plus, their Razor Back 225-grain HP was designed for boar hunters but is obviously wellsuited for other chores. This ammo shot exceptionally well at the range. Federal and American Eagle offer .44 Mag fans excellent ammo for hunting, recreational shooting or self-defense. After shooting Cor-Bon ammo for three decades, I have conﬁdence when the hammer drops on one of their loads. They offer several choices of high-octane, high-quality ammo. DoubleTap is another company with many possibilities including some heavy hitters. A last count, they offer eight different loads for a variety of chores. Remington manufactures several quality loads in .44 Mag. These are just a few examples of excellent factory ammo available.
FA Model 83 Without any doubt, the .44 Mag has a ton of versatility for me there is no better platform than Freedom Arms Model 83. It’s a marriage made in heaven. This is probably the strongest, most well-built single-action revolver ever made. It’s a ﬁve-shooter so the cylinder is massive without six holes. It can handle any .44 Mag load — reasonably or unreasonably sane. I have always found the revolver to be extremely reliable and dependable. And this is one attribute you’ll appreciate when the chips are down. The craftsmanship in this revolver is nothing short of meticulous. The barrel/cylinder/frame alignment exhibits extremely tight tolerance. You would be hard-pressed to slide a zig-zag cigarette paper in the barrel/cylinder gap — now that’s tight! Overall, ﬁt and ﬁnish on any Freedom Arms revolver is immaculate. Depending on your desires or intended purpose, there are four different barrel lengths available: 4.75, 6, 7.5 and 10-inch versions. If I were looking at strictly a packing iron the shorter version would sufﬁce. Since I intend to hunt with this .44 Mag with a scope mounted, I elected to go with the 7.5-inch model. My test gun, a Premier Grade Model 83, came with a honed action and trigger pull set at 3 pounds. There was absolutely no creep or gritty pull rather a clean, crisp break. The trigger pull was smooth which is critical when striving for superb accuracy. This gun also came with an over-travel screw or trigger stop. The black micarta grips are not only eye pleasing, contrasting well with
the brushed stainless ﬁnish, but very comfortable. Other options available include octagonal bar rels. They don’t shoot any better but tends to enrich the cool factor. Several sight options are available including premier grade hunting sights — express sights which consist of a V-notch rear with brass bead front, silhouette and ﬁber optic. The ﬁber optic comes in your choice of red, orange, or green.
Optics At this stage of my life, I need optics to ensure proper shot placement when hunting any game. A quality Bushnell Elite 2-6X scope was ﬁtted in a 2-ring Lovell mount. This is a nice s etup for a hunting revolver. Place the scope on the 2X setting for close range shots, such as you will likely encounter in hunting woods or heavy timber. Adjust all the way to the opposite 6X power for longer-range opportunities or accuracy testing at 100 yards. The Bushnell Elite will digest all the punishment magnum rounds will generate. An added bonus with this Bushnell Elite is the eye relief remains constant regardless of power setting. It’s a bright, clear scope ideal for a hunting revolver. I have also reached the stage in life where accuracy is no longer a luxury, but a necessity. That’s where the Model 83 shines. It’s one of the most accurate revolvers ever manufactured. Scoped with the Bushnell Elite, my test gun tips the scales at 4
pounds, 3 ounces. The weight helps manage recoil well a nd it’s a pleasure to shoot even at lengthy range sessions. Another design feature making magnum rounds manageable is the grip conﬁguration. The Model 83 was originally desig ned for the 454 Casull and the grip angle handles recoil nicely. Shooting factory .44 Mag loads in the Model 83, I have found the perceived recoil to be much less compared to other revolvers. My wife frequently shoots the gun during range sessions or at our farm whacking steel plates. She handles the recoil with zero problems and shoots the gun very well. Five-shot, 50-yard groups will commonly ﬁnd less than 2-inch groups with just about any factory load. I’ve seen 1-inch groups when the right combination is found. When the range is stretched out to 100 yards, 3-inch groups are not uncommon. Once the right load is discovered, less than 3-inch groups emerge. Folks, that’s a darn accurate revolver.
Handloading The versatility of the cartridge is apparent when handloading. Loading the .44 Magnum is easy and straightforward. The light 180-grain Sierra and Hornady bullets can be loaded to mild levels, making them suitable for small game or a pleasant plinking cartridge. My ﬁrst Wyoming antelope fell to Sierra’s 180-grain JHC at a distance pushing the cartridges 75
limitations. Unless I’m anticipating large critters like elk or big bear I tend to stay with 240-grain bullets. The Sierra Reloading Manual lists H 110 powder for a hunting load and AA #9 as their accuracy load. Magnum primers are recommended especially for powders such as H 100 or W 296. Ditto on a ﬁrm crimp as recoil can actually pull bullets. I refer to the Hornady Reloading Manual when the company’s 240 XTP bullet is loaded. H 110 is a solid choice for maximum hunting rounds and Nosler’s Manual list this powder as the most accurate of those tested in
their data. These reloading manuals provide a vast amount of reliable information for handloaders. I refer to the respective bullet manufacturer’s manual when loading that company’s particular bullet. If elk, bear or African game is on the agenda, those heavier 300-grain bullets are effective. Many hunters use heavy hard cast bullets especially on critters with large bones, tough hide and the potential to hurt people. Clearly the .44 Mag offers a tremendous amount of possibilities when it comes to bullet choice for a wide variety of tasks. I assembled test loads
using Redding’s T-7 turret press. Redding’s dual ring carbide die set along with their competition bullet seating die and proﬁle crimp die provides the tools necessary for consistent and reliable loading techniques. For components I procured quality Starline brass, Hodgdon 110 powder, CCI 350 primers, along with bullets from Nosler, Hornady and Sierra. The initial loads were loaded for hunting. For light recoiling loads designed for practice and pleasure, powders like Unique or 2400 are better suited. Whatever the intended purpose, handloading opens a lot of doors.
Packing A Big Revolver
Factory ammo can be found almost anywhere in a variety of bullet weights and styles.
Handloaders can take advantage of the .44 Magnum’s versatility. The Redding T-7 turret system, Starline brass, Nosler, Hornady, Sierra bullets, CCI primers and Hodgdon powders are an asset.
Carrying the Model 83 in the backcountry is a piece of cake with a Simply Rugged holster. Their Chesty Puller system is very comfortable as the gun rides in a cross-chest manner. This is not a fancy, basketwoven, tooled, overpriced piece of leather. It is a practical, very efﬁcient carrying system designed to keep the gu n safe and protected, yet easy to access. The belt strap keeps the gun close to your body and al lows you to crawl or sneak through the woods without worrying about the gun ﬂopping around. I like wearing t he Simply Rugged design as it allows both hands free for other chores without compromise. It also works great when I’m climbing tree stands or ridi ng around on the Polaris Ranger. When you ﬁnd yourself spending time in the wilderness for whatever reason, there are a lot of options regarding ﬁrearms to pack around. The .44 Magnum packs a powerful piece of mind. It is one cartridge capable of addressing both two-or four-legged attackers with authority. So, if you see an old guy roaming around in the wilds packing a Freedom Arms Model 83, .44 Magnum in a Simply Rugged holster, please invite me over for a cup of coffee. *
FOR MORE INFO FREEDOM ARMS
www.hornady.com BUFFALO BORE
SURVIVE • FALL/WINTER 2014 SPECIAL EDITION
STAYING SAFE AWAY FROM HOME
Always lock all the available door locks every time you enter your room. Good security habits and making the most of all your resources go a long way toward keeping you safe.
f you’re reading this magazine, your head is already in the game when it comes to survival — including personal- and home-defense. Odds are you’ve taken substantial steps to fortify your home’s physical security and 78
you’ve trained to develop the skills to defend yourself and your family both inside and outside your home. Given the context of your normal daily routine and environment, you’re well equipped and well prepared to protect yourself. SURVIVE • FALL/WINTER 2014 SPECIAL EDITION
Unfortunately, when you have to travel outside your home turf, things change. Staying in hotels, working in unfamiliar areas and operating in jurisdictions that may have vastly different weapon laws all make staying safe signiﬁcantly more challenging. Survival on the road can be tough. However, by learning and following a few simple guidelines and developing some sound traveler “trade craft,” you can drastically reduce your chances of being victimized.
Plan Ahead One of the most important things you can do before you travel is to research the area or area s you’ll be visiting. If you’re traveling on business, ask your business contacts at your destination for recommendations for good hotels in safe areas. At the same time, ask them if there are any areas you should avoid. If you don’t have any contacts to rely upon (or the ones you do have aren’t much help), visit some Internet travel sites a nd look for reviews of the speciﬁc areas and the hotels you’re considering. Focus on comments relating to security and the overall safety of the surrounding area and use them to nar row your choices. To further reﬁne your options — and to assess the safety of the neighborhood surrounding your hotel or ofﬁce — check out web sites like mylocalcrime.com, which allow you to enter an address or zip code and instantly see a map of the crimes recently committed in that area. The “street view” available on Google maps also allows you to remotely recon an area before you commit. Choosing hotels part of a national chain has a number of advantages. Because higher-end hotels have a reputation to maintain, they tend to be located in better areas and have higher security standards. In most cases, they are laid out so their rooms can only be accessed through interior hallways. This limits public access to room doors and ensures the a rea outside your door is well lit. If you travel often, sticking with the same chain also means consistent room conﬁgurations. If something does happen and you need to react quickly, familiarity can give you a deﬁnite edge. If you plan to travel with weapons — especially ﬁrearms — research and planning are critical. In addition to state laws governing the legal possession and carry of ﬁrearms, you also need to be aware of any applicable municipal laws that might be even more restrictive. The NRA’s web site and those of concealed carry organizations provide useful guides on
Respond to knocks at the door by looking through the peephole and talking to the person through the door. Verify the identity and purpose of hotel staff members visiting your room by calling the front desk. It’s also a good habit to look through the peephole before you open the door to leave.
state gun laws, CCW reciprocity and protocols for legally transporting ﬁrearms. You should also plan your travel to avoid driving or connecting ﬂights through cities with draconian gun laws. Non-ﬁrearm weapons like knives and pepper spray are much easier to travel with and, from a practical standpoint, are probably better suited to use in a hotel room because they don’t pose the danger of collateral damage due to over penetration or missed shots.
Getting Settled Checking into a hotel is often a metaphorical sigh of relief at the end of a long journey; however, don’t let this be a reason to let your guard down. Protect yourself from prying eyes and ears while checking in and be aware for any potential causes for concern.
First of all, maintain control over your bags during the check-in process. Keep the m in front of you where they are always in view and keep your briefcase or laptop bag between your feet. Have your ID and credit card ready and maintain c onscious control over them so they go back in your wallet as soon as they’re returned. When you receive your room keys, the clerk should not announce your room number verbally. If he does, don’t be shy about asking for a different room and asking him not to say the room number out loud. If at all possible, travel light and manage your luggage yourself. This way you can avoid being separated from it or having to use bellmen. If you must use a bellman, show him your room number — don’t announce it to the world. When you get to your room, unlock the door, open it and then 79
Check the integrity and function of your window locks — especially if your room is on the ground ﬂoor. Then close the drapes to avoid pr ying eyes.
close it again to test the proper function of the lock. If it’s not working properly you won’t be staying in that room anyway, so get that test over with right away. If the lock is healthy, open the door and prop it open with your bag while you do a quick sweep of the room. Speciﬁcally, look in the closet, the shower and anywhere else a person might be able to hide to make
Never let your guard down! Propping your door open “just for a second” to get some ice or go to the vending machine is all a criminal needs. If you’re lucky, you’ll just lose your wallet or purse. If you’re not, he’ll be waiting to take more — a lot more — when you get back.
sure you’re alone. Then, bring your bag inside, close the door and consciously engage the secondary lock and the door guard or chain. The idea is to make this a well-trained habit every time you enter your room. While you’re there, take a moment to look at the escape plan diagram on the back of the door to ﬁgure out where you are in relationship to the stairways. You should also look through the peephole to make sure it’s working properly and hasn’t been altered (some dirtbags have actually reversed peepholes so they provide a view from the outside). After ensuring that the door will do its job properly, it’s time to take a look at the physical security of the rest of the room. If your room has a door that adjoins the room next door, check it out carefully to ensure it locks properly and won’t allow acces s if your neighbor happens to open the door on his side. To be absolutely sure, it’s a good idea to secu re it with a good doorstop. More on those later. Check out the security of your windows as well — especially if you happen to get a room on the ﬁrst ﬂoor. If they can be opened, make sure the locks operate properly. If you have a balcony, ensure the acc ess door has a substantial lock a nd it also operates properly. While you’re at it, take a moment to check out your balcony and assess the possibility of accessing it from adjacent balconies on either side and those above and below your room. Obviously, if any aspect of your room’s physical security isn’t func-
Look for se- curity cam- eras and pay attention to both where they are and where they aren’t. Ask the hotel staff what type of security force they have and ﬁnd out who — if anyone — is monitoring those cameras.
tioning properly, grab your bags, head down to the front desk and demand another room. Don’t settle for the “we’ll send someone up to ﬁx it” excuse. Who knows how long that will take and whether they’ll actually be able to ﬁx it to your satisfaction. Get a new room.
Take The Stairs Once I’ve settled in to my room, I like to ﬁnd the stairwells and ﬁgure out where they go. Some allow access to other ﬂoors and exit directly to the street at the ground level. Others allow access to the lobby or interior hallways on the ground level. If there’s a ﬁre, either one wil l do. If I’m trying to escape a violent attack, I’d rather have the option to head to the front desk and hotel staff rather than be ing stranded on the street. While you’re out and about, take the time to look up and se e if the hotel has security cameras. Take note of where they’re located and what areas they cover. More importantly, look for any critica l areas not covered. You should also ask the front desk what type of security staff they have — if any — and who’s on the monitoring end of those cameras.
Avoiding Company When you head back to your room, pay attention to anyone else who might be in the hallway and have your key ready to go. This will help you avoid a “push-in” attack during which a criminal times his movement with your entrance into your room. As you open the door, he shoves you