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June 11th, 2020 by AmSJ Staff

First Steps To Prepping

Story and photographs by John Wood

Do you recall how you became interested in prepping? Was it a personal experience from a localized disaster that you were not prepared for, or perhaps watching a catastrophic event on television? Maybe you fear the economic crisis in Greece or exodus of thousands of people from troubled countries who might reach the shores of America? Maybe it was triggered by a stock market shutdown due to a computer glitch?

Whatever the reason or motivation that started you into prepping, the good news is these are all issues you are thinking about. You might be eager to carry this concern forward to the next logical phase. Here are some initial planning steps to get you pointed in the right direction.


Establish a Knowledge Base

PHOTO 2 John Cockrell water well-minIf you wanted to learn how to change the oil in your car, shoot a gun or know how to do yoga, what would you do first? You might buy a book on the subject, look up information on the Internet, watch a YouTube video or possibly sign up for a class to learn how-to, firsthand.

These are all reasonable approaches, but the core element here is to learn. This is the first step with prepping, too. It can be accomplished in a host of ways, including tasks as simple as visiting the local library or bookstore. Maybe it would help to seek out a few survivalist Internet sites like Alloutdoor.com or SurvivalCache.com. These sources can open many doors to education and planning.

Knowing what to do first, then second and so forth is crucial, because with prepping you really cannot afford to make too many mistakes. Also know that prepping is a lifelong learning process..


Develop an OnGoing Plan

PHOTO 3 John Cockrell woodcutting-minGet a big notebook! In this prepping journal you will want to start jotting down copious thoughts,
ideas, concepts, basic planning lists, evaluation of gear or prepping assets, to-buy gear lists, and a rudimentary budget to carry it all out over time. While prepping is an expedient activity, hopefully the disaster won’t happen tomorrow. Unfortunately, it might be next week.

Start by asking yourself basic questions that relate to your situation: What kinds of problems are you likely to encounter? Will you bug in or out, meaning will you stay put in your fortress or take off? If you leave home, where will you go, and what will you need to take with you?

These kinds of thoughts help to get the mental juices flowing and face the realities of prepping.
In your journal start with topic or headline pages. These might include:

1. bug-in and/or bug-out plans
2. supplies
3. transportation routes
4. water and food resources
5. medical issues and first-aid supplies
6. self-defense
7. family security
8. weapons, ammo and supplies
9. clothing
10. hardware and tools
11. vehicle readiness
12. skill attainment and execution.

As you can imagine, these lists can become endless the more you consider the possibilities. Keep learning and keep planning.


Learn and Earn Skills

PHOTO 5 Security-min

Area security is critical for preppers who have escaped to a hideout location.

You may be an experienced outdoors person or have completed Delta Force training in the Army, which certainly would have provided some background skills, but more than likely you’re an accountant, an elementary school teacher or mechanic at the local garage. You need to assess the skills you possess and those of your team, which can include family, friends or like-minded individuals. Everyone has a role. This will help you determine what other skills you need to acquire.

Can you shoot firearms and reload them without blinking? Can you put up a tent in a windstormor light a campfire in a downpour? Can you pry open a can of beans without a can opener? Do you know how to set a broken bone or sew up a deep laceration? Can you find your campsite in the pitch dark? What happens when the power and water goes off at home? Just think of the scenarios you might face during a severe event like a tornado, forest fire or widespread economic collapse.

Begin to seek out local sources for skills training. Look at potential courses taught at local community colleges, or outdoors groups. Look on bulletin boards at supplier stores to see if related events are scheduled. You will likely be surprised at all of the prepper activities going on right in your own hometown. Avail yourself to as many of these training opportunities as you can. Send one person, then execute train-the-trainer.


Gear Up

PHOTO 4 Zyon Pack-min

This is a typical bug-out bag that is well-stocked with supplies for the first 48 hours of an emergency. Every prepper should build one.

Now comes the fun part. What stuff do you need to prep? First, look at what you already have. Undoubtedly you will find a ton of stuff suitable for a bug-out or stay-home plan. This could include kitchen utensils, sleeping bags or blankets, camping gear (tents, stoves, lanterns, etc.), a hunting shotgun or rifle, backpacks or tote bags, extra sets of suitable clothing, shoes and boots.

Don’t discard or discount anything. An extra bicycle could be used to pedal around your bug-out camp. Those plastic storage boxes can be used to collect emergency gear for a grab and go. Pack up some extra personal hygiene products, first-aid supplies, hardware, garden tools, make up a mechanics tool box, save that old battery-powered radio, those sports binoculars and fold-out chairs. Any of these kinds of things can be used to set up a bug-out camp elsewhere.

Prepping is a process, and not something you can accomplish overnight. You have to take small bites, but chew thoroughly. Practice with your gear ahead of time. Forever add to your journal pages, revise them and replan accordingly. Study, plan, learn, train and execute are all the means to becoming a proficient prepper. It all starts with that first step. AmSJ

French Camp 9-min

Many preppers are building “bug-out” cabins as a secondary safety shelter.



Posted in Miscellaneous Tagged with: , , , , ,

August 27th, 2019 by AmSJ Staff

The AK family of weapons is reliable and rugged.

It was designed to be operated by illiterate teenage conscripts with little to no training. It was never intended to protect a family after a natural disaster and is ill suited to that purpose. If the answer comes down to supportability and simplicity, you need a shotgun.

Everybody has their own ideas about guns, that is part of their charm. There are near-infinite combinations of precision, wounding potential, and magazine capacity. There is much opinion on this. I will give you mine. You are welcome to violently disagree; it is your God-given right.

I have been to some bad places around the world and have seen bad things happen. When I lived on the Gulf Coast, I went through the aftermath of several major hurricanes. I now live in a rural area and maintain a wide selection of weapons. When I hear a noise in the night, I grab the shotgun.

Simplicity
The AK was designed for wartime production. The elimination of a bolt hold-open feature saved three parts. In Soviet Russia, magazines are scarce and valuable, so you are driven to hold the magazine to work the flapper magazine release. This is meant to make you hold on to magazines rather than let them drop free, since it’ll be in your hand before you insert the next magazine. The sights require a tool to adjust. This keeps recruits from messing up the fine zero the factory armorers put on it.

Semiautomatic rifles have their place. In the proper hands, with quality ammo and parts, they can shoot a lot of rounds a long way. There is also a place for bolt guns, but the relatively slow rate of fire demands that they be employed with some stand-off. At distance, even a Lee-Enfield or Mosin-Nagant could be effective.

My vote for home protection? The all-American choice is the Remington 870. The pump shotgun is incredibly simple. The controls? A safety button and a pump. Work the pump and shoot. Got a jam? Work the pump and shoot. Repeat as necessary and reload.

It is funny the way people take to a certain gun. My God-father used the Remington 870 in Vietnam. He told me to buy one. The 870 always felt right to me. I am not knocking the Mossberg or other pumps, but I like the 870. If my God-father had been issued a Mossberg, I would probably have one.

The 870 has great ergonomics and a Magpul stock makes them even better. The shotgun itself has a modern, modular design with many aftermarket upgrades available. I recommend a flashlight and Tritium sights for home-defense use.

Without a magazine or available ammo, the AK is a pretty ineffective club. If you are planning on serious use, you’d better have extra magazines and more ammo than you think you need.

Pump shotguns are dead-simple and rugged. There is no magazine to lose, and with minimal care, your grand-kids will still be able to use it. They should be cleaned and lubricated every 10,000 rounds or so, but even that is not necessary.

Sustainability
The AK doesn’t fail often, but it can fail. I have broken trigger springs and had ruptured cartridges that required a special tool to clear. The parts are not designed to be replaced or interchangeable. Ever changed the barrel in an AK? The Russians would laugh at you. They never figured any Russian soldier would survive long enough to shoot out a barrel.

In spite of loose tolerances, every country that made an AK added a little flair. I have seen guns where parts were hand-fitted with files to go together. Better to have a spare gun than spare parts.

The AK has a rough trigger and poor sights. If it ever gets dark where you live, you might consider how hard it is to see those sights at night.

The AK comes in two main calibers: 7.62×39mm and 5.45×39mm. If you are serious about using an AK for SHTF in America, there are some variants around that shoot .223; this would be very handy.

Shotguns can use an astounding variety of readily available ammo. Even during the great ammo famine I could still find 12 gauge.

Potency
Because of its caliber, the 12 gauge shotgun is considered a Destructive Device by federal law. There is a specific exemption for “sporting purposes” which permits this powerful weapon to be sold without a tax stamp. The famous 12 gauge “Street Sweeper” was removed from the exemption and declared a Destructive Device after the fact by ATF.

A typical OO Buckshot 12-gauge buckshot round has nine 30-caliber pellets and will keep a man-sized pattern out to 25 yards. The creation of multiple wound channels is devastating. Even birdshot hits like a slug at room distances. A 1-ounce slug will reach out accurately at 100 yards if you know what you are doing. Think about how far you can see from your yard. Science demands the insertion of a ballistic gelatin video here.

Not surprisingly, Buckshot was so named for killing deer. My favorite is the Remington Reduced Recoil 8-pellet. They eliminated one of the pellets and did some kind of vodoo with seemingly defies Newtonian Physics by maintaining good penetration and patterns good while producing much less recoil.

shotgun-wound

A shotgun with an 18-inch Cylinder Bore or Improved Cylinder barrels will fire buck shot in a cone shaped pattern which spreads from the barrel of the gun at a rate of about one inch for each yard traveled. Knowing your pattern and using loads with tight shot patterns keep all the rounds in the target and out of your neighbors and family.

Shotgun buckshot and slugs will go through eight or ten layers of sheet rock in walls, so you can’t just spray it around. If shot up in the air it will fall out of the sky in a few hundred yards.

FUN HISTORY FACT: The Imperial German Army in WW1 knew a few things about effective weapons. They had deployed flame throwers, poison gas, machine guns and high explosives. In 1918, the German’s ran into Americans carrying the Model 97 Trench Guns (a 12 gauge pump shotgun) shooting 00 buckshot. They filed a diplomatic complaint that the shotgun was cruel and illegal because the 1907 Hague Convention said “it is especially forbidden to employ arms, projections, or materials calculated to cause unnecessary suffering”. When the Americans laughed at this, the German Army threatened to execute soldiers caught with shotguns. Challenge accepted! American General Pershing replied that Germans caught with flamethrowers or saw-bladed bayonets would be shot.

Pump shotguns are reliable and fast, but hold relatively few rounds and are slow to reload once empty. My 870 holds nine rounds. If there are more than nine people I need to kill all at once, I will call a friend with a shotgun and/or transition to a handgun as I run away.

United States former Vice President Joe Biden is a big shotgun fan. He has recommended shotguns as the best choice for home defense. As he famously said “You don’t need an AR, you don’t need thirty rounds to protect yourself. Buy a shotgun. Buy a shotgun. If you want to protect yourself, get a double barreled shotgun.”

I would give almost the same advice, “Jill, if there’s ever a man who is trying to rape and kill you and the kids, just walk out on the balcony here…and fire two blasts into his chest. Then reload and call the neighbors for help.”

Whether you are trained on the AK or you just have a lot in common with an illiterate teenage conscript, you may want to consider a shotgun for around the house. They are legal in all 50 states, will run under filthy conditions, and tolerate inexcusable abuse. High-quality shotguns and 12-gauge ammo are cheap and plentiful; after a disaster, availability may vary. Buy a couple of them and make some friends.

(Featured image courtesy of gandermountain.com)

by Mark Miller loudoutroom.com
Mark Miller is a Green Beret who served in Afghanistan and a number of other live fire locations. He’s a poet-warrior in the classic sense, a casual hero and a student of science.

Posted in Shotgun Tagged with: ,

April 12th, 2017 by jhines

Some preppers talk about the versatility of Glock 17 magazines being able to fit with the Glock 19. This feature is highly desirable for most prepper with survival and limited resources in mind.

The standardization Glock put into place is what makes it a perfect prepper handgun. When it comes to handguns, very few companies have adopted magazine standardization. Glock on the other hand has embraced standardization. This makes Glock ideal for groups.

Take Beretta for example. Beretta is a great handgun, I can not say they follow the same level of standardization as Glock. For example, the Beretta APX will not use 92F magazines. This creates an issue of stockpiling magazines for the same brand name, but different models.

Standardization
A while back some of my prepper buddies and I were trying to agree on a standardized riffle. We talked about the Ruger mini-14 and mini-30, AR-15, AK-47… and a few other rifles. We agreed to purchase an SKS as a handout and “if all else fails” rifle.

Some of us tried out the Ruger mini-30 and put a folding stock on it. It was a great rifle but after market magazines were unreliable. Keep in mind this was more than 20 years ago.

Today, AR-15 and Glocks lead the way for preppers with their standardized firearms.

What do you think?, What’s your prepper handgun and why?, tell us below in the comment section.

Sources: Glocks, Berettas, Kevin Felts

Posted in Handguns Tagged with: , ,

February 16th, 2017 by AmSJ Staff

zZz Custom Works is proud to introduce our latest conception, The Czech Pack.

The Czech Pack is a unique design innovation that resulted from collaboration with Lucky Dragon Industries and zZz Custom works.

 

Inspired by a vintage travel tote from the former Czechoslovakia, we approached Lucky Dragon Industries to redesign this timeless classic with a modern edgy flare.

Utilizing the most contemporaneous materials The Czech Pack easily transforms from a shoulder slung travel bag to a frameless backpack in seconds.

 

The Czech pack in the shoulder slung configuration has two outer pockets that are secured by industrial quality zippers and has external hardware for adding various accessories such as water bottles and key chains. As a backpack, the Czech Pack has a protective weather flap for the top enclosure, two shoulder straps, and access to the two outer pockets.

 

The Czech Pack is made with the highest quality materials available including nylon webbing, packcloth, ripstop, and various top quality fasteners. Assembled in the United States by experienced craftsmen utilizing contemporary techniques.

 

 

Originally intended for military applications as a sensitive site exploitation and data collection bag we have adopted a civilian version that has audacious fabrics and colorful accents.

 

 

The Czech Pack is ready for order and we are offering a limited time introductory price. Please check out our website for more details.

 

Features

Subtle in appearance: The Czech Pack does not look overly tactical; however, it will serve you well in a wooded or urban environment without attracting too much unwanted attention.

 

MOLLE webbing is provided on one of the storage compartments. You can attach the bag to your gear or belt with the two zZz Clips, which are provided.

As a sling bag:
Height: 7″
Width: 6″
Depth: 4.5″

As a backpack:
Height: 17″
Width: 17″
Depth: 4″

 

Handmade in the USA

Posted in Product Reviews Tagged with: , , , ,

November 4th, 2016 by jhines

[su_heading size=”30″]What if you’re in an emergency situation?[/su_heading]

And you’re out of shotgun slugs the only shells available are cheap birdshot shells. Here’s a quick survival hack that allows you to turn that bird shot shell into a slug capable of taking down bigger game.

The hack is quite simple all you need to do is use a pocket knife and cut around the wadding area, but don’t cut all the way through. What happens is when the shell is fired, the full frontal portion of the shotgun shell hull, shot and the wad becomes a fearsome projectile.

Last thing is, this can be very dangerous due to the pressure spikes from forcing the whole chunk of shot shell down your barrel. So only use this hack in only survival situation.

By Eric Nestor

Source: EatalltheBirds Youtube


Posted in Shotgun Tagged with: ,

September 3rd, 2016 by AmSJ Staff

The Sun-power Technology We Have Been Waiting For

Review by Danielle Breteau

[su_dropcap style=”light” size=”5″]S[/su_dropcap]olar chargers and gadgets that run on solar can be found all over the place, and like many I have tried almost all of them disappoint. Some never fully charge, lose their charge too quickly, fall apart, short out if they get wet or any number of things that render it useless after just a couple tries. These are all the reasons I fell in love with Sunjack.

First: The basic specs for the 14-watt version (also comes in 20-watt)

– Four solar panels that come in an easy-to-carry and pack case

– Fast-charge battery pack

– Fast charge cable

– Carabiners

– One-year warranty

Second: The dimensions

– Folded 9″ x 6.5″ x 1.75″ (23cm x 16.5cm x 4.5cm)

– Fully unfolded 9″ x 31″ x 1″ (23cm x 79cm x 2.5cm)

– Weight 1.75 lbs (0.8 kg)

The good stuff

My first impression of the Sunjack after taking it out of the package was wow! The quality of the case, stitching and construction was exceptional – good sign. Then I expanded the case and was impressed to find four full solar panels. Surprising for such a thin case, but the test was yet to come, and test it I would.

Sunjack 1

Sunjack 2

Sunjack 3

Sunjack 4

114812_239166cffd404631b768c2e577b92596-mv2_d_2448_3264_s_4_2

The Sunjack was clearly designed by those who need and use these devices. It comes with a carabiner and multiple attachment points around the case, so that you can hang, attach, suspend and clip onto almost anything and any angle. Nice touch.

On the back of the case – non solar-panel side – there is a mesh compartment which neatly stores the Sunjack portable battery (more on that in a minute) and cable as well as the solar plug-in with dual USB ports. This is actually attached to the case, so you cannot lose it. I would lose it.

Some solar chargers only offer the ability to either charge a portable battery or charge directly to a device – not both. Sunjack offers both.

Let the testing begin – Mwahahhahaa!

I can be pretty tough on things, so I expect my gear to take a beating. I put the Sunjack through some pretty impressive paces to include purposely leaving it out in the rain, dropping it and the battery pack numerous times and basically using it as it was intended – to provide power for the earth-wandering explorer/survivor. Almost to my dismay, it continued to work flawlessly.

Charging directly

Using my iPhone 6 Plus, I ran down my battery to just five percent and plugged it directly into the solar charger. It took about three hours to fully charge my phone. It also charged my Ipad in about 3.2 hours from a 10 percent starting point.

Charging the battery pack

Charging the battery pack that was included with the kit took about two full hours. Not a bad rate of charge considering the time it took to charge a phone and tablet.

Charging the iPhone from the battery pack

This is where this little device excels. Charging directly from the already charged battery pack, I was able to charge my iPhone from eight percent to fully charged in 32 minutes … twice! On a single battery pack. This means that if I left my house with a fully charged Iphone and battery pack, I could get three full iPhone-battery cycles without plugging into a wall – SOLD!

No other solar charger or solar battery pack has ever provided this kind of speed, and the battery pack is tiny – about the size of a standard iPhone.

Another great feature is the battery-pack charging port. Because the port is not one of the two USBs on the pack, you can charge the battery pack and an iPhone simultaneously.

I love this little device, and am happy someone in the solar world finally got it right. Thanks, Sunjack

This article originally appeared on SailingwithJODA

Posted in Product Reviews Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,

August 26th, 2016 by jhines

How to make a mini flamethrower with household supplies! Yes, you too can make one to build a fire at your next camp outing or just to bring it up at a cocktail party. Here are the items that you will need to get started watch the video to see instructions on setup and assembling:

  • BBQ starter
  • Bic lighter
  • Syringe
  • Glue Gun

Video Transcript:
Mini Flamethrower

Inventor719: Hello everyone, Inventor 719 here, and today I have a VERY cool how-to video, where I’m going to be showing you guys how to make your very own simple flamethrower. Let’s get started.

[Intro sequence]

All you’re gonna need for this project is four simple household items: You’re gonna need a barbecue lighter that you can take apart, it will have to have gas in it. A little lighter like this cigarette lighter, mine’s basically capped but it doesn’t matter. You’re gonna need a little syringe or needle, size is kind of irrelevant, I have one this size, it works perfectly. And you’re gonna need a hot-glue gun.

bbq_inside

First grab your barbecue lighter, and what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna remove the gas tank part right here. So you may have seen in my other videos, but all you’re gonna do is remove the screws, take off the little cap part right here, break the lighter open, and simply take the clear square part out, and what you’ll be left with is this right here, and by pulling up on the valve here you can get gas to come out, so this is what we’re going to use for the fuel for our flame thrower.

mount_it

To make the actual flame thrower, grab your needle and take off the safety cap, and CAREFULLY –depends on the model, but on mine you can just– unscrew the top and the actual pointy part will come off. So you’re gonna SAFELY dispose of this in a Sharps container or something, and of course use an unused needle, because if not that would be very unsanitary and quite gross. So, now what we have to do is mount it just like so on the top of your lighter, plunger at the back, and so the opening to the flame of your cigarette lighter is close to the nozzle as you see there. And we’re gonna use the hot-glue gun for that.

There is the completed flamethrower, and a bit of tape for extra support, aside from the hot glue. There you have it, now let’s do some shooting tests. So I’ve turned the lights down, and we’re gonna pull the plunger all the way back. We’re gonna fill this part here with gas right here, tip it upside-down since the butane is heavier than air, for about five seconds (three, four, five), now before it all runs out, light the lighter and press the plunger. [thwip]

full_flame_on

I’ll go it again for you, a side view in the dark. [Thwip]

That might’ve been a bit too close, here’s a bit farther away. [Thwip]

[instant replay]

Make_a_Mini_Flamethrower
Here’s another the Point of View

Pretty cool.

Alright everyone, thanks for watching! Hope you enjoyed this simple but very cool project, I hope you like it, let me know what you think in the comments below. As always, help me reach the fifty-thousand subscriber mark, I’m getting up there, and I’m going to be doing a givaway, so look forward to that, and if you’re not subscribed, please subscribe, I promise you’ll like my channel. So thanks for watching, and as always, like, comment, and subscribe.

Source: Inventor719 Youtube

Posted in Just Plinking Tagged with: , , ,