Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Training We Hate Part 3- Determination

: a quality that makes you continue trying to do or achieve something that is difficult
: the act of finding out or calculating something
: the act of officially deciding something

Determination is one of the major deciding factors in success. Yes, opportunity and intelligent decisions can create success, but without the determination to follow through with your plan can lead to disastrous failures. About now you're thinking- How do you "Train" for determination? The answer is pretty simple, you just consider the consequences of failure. Better yet, consider the consequences of never trying at all. 

You may dislike Sam Walton of Wal Mart fame, but the man was industrious, intelligent and most of all, determined to succeed. Influential people throughout history, both good and evil, have made history with determination and grit. Our founding fathers were men of incredible fortitude and determination. They created a nation founded on freedom and personal independence of choice. 

What about me, you ask? What does determination have to do past getting your house cleaned up? Well, I'm getting to that right now. 2 people of equal intelligence, strength and armament are engaged in combat. Which one wins? Let's just say that they are equally trained, of approximately the same age and stature. Which of these two will overcome the other? More than likely the one most determined to win. The one that hits the range more often, who hits the gym just a couple more times a month. Maybe it's even less than that. It can come down to the person being more determined to live than the other. 

It's not always that simple. Being mentally prepared to overcome any challenge thrown at you, from chosen challenges to a man threatening to take your life, can be the mitigating factor that allows you to succeed in your endeavors. If that endeavor is taking another breath, consider your motivation. Your kids need you, your parents may rely on you, your fellow citizen's lives may depend on your actions at a later date. If you read this Blog, I'm sure you have a mindset similar to mine. I'd prefer it if you did survive every adversity so you are here when our beloved republic goes off the rails. We will need to stick together and be determined to remain free citizens. Without patriots, despots will rule and freedom will be lost.

Choose to do something you don't think you can accomplish, and just to steel your resolve, do it. Once determination overcomes your school taught ability to compromise on everything, you can do whatever you put your mind to. Many have proven that we can overcome huge obstacles in order to  achieve their goals. Many successful people enjoy challenging hobbies such as climbing, aviation, extreme sports and combat sports. These actions embody the spirit of a determined person. 

Where did determination take you today? Pick a goal, achieve it, pick another harder one. Rinse and repeat.

Finally sourced the rifle for the Grey Man Cache.

I've been on the lookout for a takedown 10/22 for a while now. I wanted a specific model that was stainless and had a threaded barrel. For a while, there was a distributor specific model that had those attributes, but they were gobbled up fairly quickly when they arrived. A recent trip to the shop had me staring straight at a 50th anniversary model 10/22 with a camo stock, all stainless and a threaded barrel.

I was also very happy to see several thousand rounds of 22 cal standard velocity ammo sitting on the shelf. I grabbed a couple bricks of that as well. Overall, it was a very productive trip to the gun shop. The place was pretty swamped, so I assisted a few customers as well. Ended up selling 3 guns for them so I believe it was fortuitous that I was able to get there.

At my first opportunity, I was able to pull the unit out and get a better look. It came with a nice bag, one BX25 magazine and some funky locking system. I searched through my stock of mags only to find that I only have a couple BX25's for my existing 10/22 race rifle. Looks like I need to grab a few more of those in the future.

My plan is to put this rifle into the Grey man cache if it doesn't push the weight over the 28lb threshold I've set for that pack. I'd like to install some type of sling set up and a low power scope for it with quick release rings. Once it's open sights and scope are zeroed, I'd put 3 mags with it and 300 or so rounds of standard velocity ammo. I *might* happen to throw a solvent trap adapter and "solvent trap" into the bag.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Great Read!

This goes along perfectly with today's entry.

Knock Knock, Reaper's Here

That Nagging Feeling- The Extreme Cold

The last few winters here in the midwest have been brutal to say the least. The last 3 years have seen enough extreme cold weather that most of the people I know with ponds on their property have had to restock due to all the fish dying when the water was covered in ice too deep for too long. Last night was one of those nights that makes you want to curl up by the fire and not move. -17 for a low with -26 wind chill. We only have about 4 inches of snow, luckily.

Unfortunately, I was tasked with my regular scheduled class at a site 20 miles from my home. Normally this wouldn't have bothered me, but I've been remodeling a few rooms in my house and had my bags removed from my truck in order to carry fragile items inside the cab. They are still in the truck due to ice in my driveway. So there I was, 20.6 miles from home, no bags, not much cold weather gear, and the only survival gear I had were the tools in my tool box and a flex fuel stove.

On the drive home, I was fixated with my unprepared situation. It really bugged me that I wasn't ready in case of an accident or incident. The extreme cold would generally suppress civil unrest or a possible car jacking, but an EMP or car accident would have really ruined my day. My nearest Cache (Grey Man) is about 9 miles from the class location and about 5 from the current location. In -7 degree weather, nearly impossible to walk to without injury. It would also take me further from my  home. It would add 4.5/5 miles to my walk home to go there first. It's also not outfitted for this situation. It has no food or water. Quite the conundrum I had myself in had something happened.

I challenged myself to determine what I would do if an EMP had hit and disabled my truck about a mile from where I was at the time, right in the heart of a major city. Shelter would have been my biggest issue. The stretch of interstate I was on had high banks and a large fence surrounding it. I could get through it, but the residential neighborhood in that area is a crap shoot. I'm sure I could have found an abandoned house somewhere in the mix and built a fire from the structural wood with the tools I have available. One of my favorite tools is the Dead On wrecking bar. Dead-On-AN18-Annihilator This and a few hand tools (11in 1 screwdriver, channel lock pliers, side cuts) would have gotten me into a house and to obtain enough wood to heat a small room, as well as bust an opening for smoke to exit. I would have used a bathtub or sink as the fire pit. My small propane torch would have done a great job lighting the fire. A refrigerator door or any metal appliance door or panel can be used to contain the fire. I could make a sleeping system from insulation batts and the contractor trash bags from the truck. I would have been ok for the night.

The next morning, long after sunrise, I would have headed back tot he truck to grab a few more personal items and headed out to my next closest Cache location, right about 6 miles from my truck at that point. 4 miles would have been walking down the highway and the rest would be side roads. Once I was at that location, I would fuel up with some mountain house meals and coffee/water. My kit there has everything I need to melt the ice or snow for a needed drink. I'd have used small amounts of snow in my mouth to minimally hydrate. The walking/jogging would allow enough heat to do this without lowering my body temp substantially. After assessing the condition of the situation at that location, I could decide to either take those people to my house for refuge, or strike out for home alone, 6.6 miles away.

On the way home, I'd hit the grocery stores that area adjacent to the road. There are 3 of them and one is a member only store. This comfort Cache that I have access to is relatively small and only has a couple hundred dollars in it and no weapon. My good old LCP in my pocket would have to do. I'd grab any groceries I could and would roll a cart right towards home. I'd wrap the groceries in a black contractor bag to disguise them as much as possible. Once home, I'd put my plan into action and batten down the hatches for a rough ride. The bad thing about this situation is that I'm in the middle of cycling my fuel. I have 1/2 my regular fuel load for my generator. It might last 2 weeks. Unprepared because my dumb self decided it was too cold to pump gas into the containers.

The point of this exercise was to challenge myself to overcome a situation with what I had at hand. Had my regular kit been in the truck, things would have been much easier. Not all situations are ideal. I'm sure there are times when you've had to leave your kit at home to fit large items into your vehicle for transport. Maybe you take a ride with a friend who's not prepared. Life is full of choices and situations that we cannot always dictate or prepare for.

The fact that my kit wasn't in the truck unnerved me, and changed my mindset a bit. I was more cautious than normal and didn't deviate from my course until I was near my neighborhood. I then grabbed a few groceries and headed home, less than a mile away. I might have also spent a few more dollars than I normally would have.

I've also decide to keep a few extra things in my truck from now on. I'll be keeping a stainless bottle in it all the time. I'm also considering keeping a burner phone in there as well.

Challenge yourself in order to keep yourself from becoming complacent. When that little voice in the back of your head speaks, listen. Something needs to be addressed if your subconscious mind notices there is a problem. Complacency can make it hard to recognize the issues you may run into until the incident happens. I read a lot of survival fiction (about 50 books last year) and constantly put myself in the shoes of the characters to see the different choices I would make, or what different gear I would have to help me deal with the situation. Your imagination can be your biggest asset while planning for trouble.

You can even make a game of it. Write down all the places you regularly go, then write down all the possible scenarios that can cause you trouble. Be sure to include every day issues like flat tires, broken down vehicle, sickness and any other inconveniences. Write down your Caches and kits on slips of paper. Fold all the slips of paper and put the places in one pile, major issues in a second pile and regular issues in another pile. Draw one of each and consider how you would deal with them. It would be like- Aunt Mae's house/80 miles from home, Civil unrest, Engine trouble, Get home bag. Make a plan to deal with those issues. If your family can get involved, this is a great game to help them understand the mindset and get them started in doing their own thinking on the subject of preparedness.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Training We Hate Part 2

Vigilance is the second item we need to keep at the front of our discipline altar.  We all love to go out and train to shoot and scoot, quick draw, dump ammo and do suppressing fire on the square range. In all reality, if you have to resort to those actions, your tactics have failed or you have just won the suck lottery. Most of us will never have to draw and fire a weapon to save our lives. Military and Police are more likely to, but as a regular citizen, the odds are against the need unless you go looking for it.

The idea is to never have to resort to that use of force. Civilians don't have a team of lawyers on staff for free to them, nor do they work for the same person who would be prosecuting their case. In our litigious society, you have to think like each bullet you carry has a $10,000 minimum fee once discharged in public. You can lose everything you have at 1200 FPS in a suspect shooting situation. That includes your freedom, your wealth, your family and the right to ever own a firearm again. Very few wives will still be there for you if you catch a 20 year prison term. If you enjoy the thought of your wife/girlfriend with another man, go out looking for trouble.

Being aware of your environment and situation, keeping your thoughts unclouded and be keen to the disposition of the people around you and can keep things from going off the rails quickly.

The first part has the footage, the last part is instructional, I can't speak to it's validity.

These attacks were preventable. Vigilance and common sense tell us what we should do to avoid conflict and analyze our situation. Is going to the ATM at night on a busy city street a good idea? No. But you feel like you should be able to you say? Too bad. The world doesn't work that way. The world doesn't conform to your preconceived ideal lifestyle. That gun on your hip doesn't guarantee you;ll be able to stop a threat. It enabled you to stop most threats at a proper distance, but there are no guarantees in life. You must make your own luck and deviate from your perfect world at time to keep yourself out of harm's way.

Caution is the better part of Valor. A questionable environment that you must enter should be entered and left during hours of lowest crime. Mornings after 6am til 10am are generally best due to the criminal element (for the most part) being asleep during those hours. Research your intended areas of operation before you must spend time there. In my job, I'm at a new location every few months. In order to evaluate that area, I may drive by the location to find the best parking, as well as decide the most favorable time to enter the area outside of heavy traffic. Heavy traffic is your enemy, movement is restricted and your egress will be blocked. Modern traffic cam systems can save you a trip. Most modern cities have traffic cams streamed 24/7. Refrain from making last minute lane changes to reach your objective.

Fast forward to 1:00 for the result of a last minute lane change.

Jailers keep jails cold for a reason. The cooler the temperature, the less likely a person is prone to fight. Hot people get upset easier and are more willing to get into a confrontation. Ask any cop and they will tell you, extra units are needed on hot nights and during full moons. That would be another time to stay out of urban environments as well as areas where heavy drinkers are located.

Clothing can also make you a target. Rival team fans can be a danger to your personal security. I don't wear sports team attire for this reason. Anything that can draw attention to you makes you a target. A flashy watch, high dollar kicks, jewelry and high fashion clothes can be your undoing. Even that fancy phone can cause you to be accosted. Put the phone away, it's just a distraction unless you are using its reflection to watch your surroundings.

Your vehicle can be a juicy target for a car jacker. Make it hard for them, tint your windows to ensure your car is least attractive to them. If they can't see who and how many people are inside, they will generally move on. Those fancy wheels might as well be bait for criminals. Please steal me! The exception to that rule is lifted trucks. Most rural trucks that are lifted seem to have an NRA sticker on them. That same sticker might tell a thief there is a gun in the car, so don't rely on that as a deterrent. Stickers that expose your political alliances and sports affiliations can lead to stereotyping and certain traffic behaviors. Your goal is to be as vanilla as possible. Blend in and drive defensively. Be courteous to even the worst drivers. The object is to arrive at your location and get back home safely.

There are many instances where not standing out is vital to remaining safe. All you have to do is make everyone else around you an easier target than yourself. Most thieves look for the low hanging fruit, as long as you do your part and be vigilant by keeping your valuables out of view and harder to get to than most other people, you should remain safe and whole.

More Personal security tips will be forthcoming. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Training We Hate Series Part 1

So many professional trainers are quick to remind us that our conditioning is generally the weakest link in the chain. Proper fitness levels will ensure our survival and retain the capabilities required to defend yourself and provide for your family or Tribe. Your self worth and mental clarity can also be improved with proper nutrition and exercise.

For myself this rule is excruciatingly relevant. My youth was spent in high velocity sports and heavy contact exercise. Once I reached 40, my body started to break down rapidly. It took a few surgeries to get some things worked out to the point and can begin to work out and retain some body mass without damaging myself further.

 I first tried Crossfit as an option and it really did improve my capabilities quickly. The down side was when I changed instructors I found that the new instructor didn't warm up as well as the fist gal that started my class. I hurt my neck and back, which required a very long healing process to get the damaged vertebrae joints to reduce in size and not get agitated with use. When I took the Vehicle Operations course, I couldn't feel my left leg very well and fell a few times trying to double time into cover. The only saving grace was the fact that all my youth training taught me to fall well (into grass burrs).

Fast forward to December 2014 and I have surgery to release some trapped and damaged nerves in an extremity. I get released 1 1/2 months later and immediately begin trying to get back in shape. Regular exercises are very tough due to the cuts I had in very sensitive areas. Luckily Rucking is not hampered once I get everything strapped up. I'm signed up for some VERY rugged long term training in mid March and I'm expected to be capable of rucking my kit several miles as a requirement for the scenario.

It's so much easier to keep a handle on your physical condition than it is to build it back up. I'm seriously struggling to get it back into gear. 40+ year old dudes don't quite get ramped up as fast as we used to. It sucks to hit the treadmill instead of the trail, but in the winter we must choose to do the right thing.

Embrace the suck. No matter what happens, I will be in fighting shape by the time prescribed. Failure isn't an option.

Trades To Learn for The Modern Survivalist.

Many folks out there have some food, a sustainable garden plot, a water source and no clue. They refuse to consider the position they will be in if they are forced to use their resources in an environment where there is no rule of law or modern convenience. Sometimes the best laid plans can be thwarted by a seemingly innocuous incident or situation. The skills discussed will help hedge your bets and make you a more rounded and valuable person.

Medical training is my #1 skill set to have training in. Without 911 or modern surgery procedures, even a modest education in the medical field can save you a lot of heartache later. Dentistry is included in this skill. There are many resources that you can purchase to help you along and get you up to speed if we face a severe breakdown in society. You may ask yourself why you would need this skill, because ambulances didn't run to the riots in Fergadishu.

Agriculture/forestry- Learn how to spot problems and how to care for our natural bounty.

Animal husbandry- Because healthy animals are tasty.

Blacksmithing- Without modern machining techniques, parts will have to be hand made and this is the least expensive and easiest way to make parts.

Electrical/electronics/comms/solar- Information is key. Weather can be predicted by outlying broadcasters. Threats and conditions can be broadcast. Solar power is useless without the knowledge on it's use and delivery systems.

Plumbing/sanitation- Disease and poor sanitation killed more people than bullets did during the last civil war.

Mechanical skills/ light machine work/gunsmithing- Fixing your own stuff becomes more important when you can't call someone to fix it for you.

Carpentry/roofing- Keeping your home dry and being able to modify it to fit your needs will be important during a crisis.

Textiles/sewing. Clothes won't come from India or Bangladesh anymore. You'll need to make/repair what you have.

This list isn't comprehensive, but it's a start. Learned skills and education are 2 things that can never be stolen from you.