Thursday, March 01, 2007


News and Press Releases

PRODUCT WARNING AND RECALL NOTICE: WINCHESTER® Dynapoint® Magnum 22 Win. Mag. 45 Grain Dynapoint


Olin Corporation, through its Winchester Division, is recalling several lots of Dynapoint® Magnum 22 Win. Mag. 45 grain Dynapoint rimfire ammunition (Symbol Number USA22M).

Lot Numbers (first three characters): 1WN and 1XA

Through extensive evaluation Winchester has determined the above lots of Dynapoint® Magnum 22 Win. Mag. ammunition may contain double powder charges. Double powder charge weight ammunition may cause firearm damage, rendering the firearm inoperable, and subject the shooter to a risk of personal injury when fired.

DO NOT USE WINCHESTER® Dynapoint® Magnum 22 Win. Mag. 45 Grain Dynapoint AMMUNITION WITH A LOT NUMBER STARTING WITH 1WN or 1XA. The ammunition Lot Number is imprinted (stamped without ink) on the outside of the right tuck flap of the 50-round box, as indicated here:

To determine if your ammunition is subject to this notice, review the Lot Number. If the first three characters of the Lot Number are 1WN or 1XA, return the ammunition to Winchester via United Parcel Service (UPS). Securely pack the ammunition into a corrugated cardboard box, write “CARTRIDGES, SMALL ARMS ORM-D” on the outside, and ship to:

Olin Corporation – Winchester Division
Tile Warehouse
Powder Mill Road, Gate 4A
East Alton, IL 62024
Attention: USA22M Recall

Please include your name, address, and phone number. Winchester will send you coupons good for replacement ammunition from your local Winchester dealer.

Print Label Here

This notice applies only to Dynapoint® Magnum 22 Win. Mag. 45 Grain Dynapoint® rimfire ammunition with lot numbers starting with 1WN or 1XA. Other Symbol Numbers or Lot Numbers are not subject to this recall and should not be returned to Winchester.

If you have any questions concerning this Dynapoint® Magnum ammunition recall please call toll-free 866-423-5224 (U.S. & Canada), write to the above address, or visit our website at

We apologize for this inconvenience.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Are you new to this blog? Be advised that you are jumping in to extant threads. Read "About" first. Then it is best to the start at the beginning of the archives and work your way up. Thanks! - JWR

Wednesday February 28 2007

Notes from JWR:

Hooray! The Best of the Blog, Volume 1 is now orderable! Thanks for your patience, folks. This volume covers the first six months of SurvivalBlog posts, from August, 2005 to January, 2006. This period included some of the most important SurvivalBlog posts that spell out all of the crucial steps for family preparedness. Also included in this volume is The SurvivalBlog Glossary. In all, a whopping 295 pages of useful, no-nonsense "how-to" information. Fully indexed! Wire-o bound. (Lays flat for easy reference.) To make it easy to find what you need, the book is organized by subject area, rather than chronologically. Available as a print-on-demand book from Cafe Press. (The same folks that publish Rawles on Retreats and Relocation.) Someday the power grid may be down, but you can still have all the crucial SurvivalBlog material at your fingertips! Order your copy today!

Here is the Table of Contents for The Best of the Blog, Volume 1:

Introduction 7
Part 1: The “Worst Case” and the Survival Mindset 9
Part 2: Retreat Logistics: Beans, Bullets, and Band-Aids 25
Part 3: Gardening and Livestock 49
Part 4: Retreat Security and Self Defense 71
Part 5: Retreat Locales 105
Part 6: Communications and Monitoring 111
Part 7: Food Storage and Cooking 121
Part 8: Fuel Storage 133
Part 9: Vehicles 143
Part 10: G.O.O.D. and Bug Out Considerations 153
Part 11: First Aid, Medical, Sanitation, and Physical Fitness 163
Part 12: Recent Experiences and Emerging Threats 187
Part 13: Self-Sufficiency and Home-Based Businesses 197
Part 14: Investing, Economics, and Barter 215
Part 15: Gleanings from the Odds ‘n Sods 235
Appendix A: Sources, Suppliers, and Consultants 239
Appendix B: References 241
Appendix C: The SurvivalBlog Glossary 243
Index 281

Now back to what you were expecting to see in SurvivalBlog today...

The large volume of letters that I've received (about half of which are posted below) illustrate that I must have stepped on some toes when I bad-mouthed .223 Remington as a defense rifle cartridge. My apologies if I offended anyone's sensibilities. (My comment ""I consider an AR-15 equipped with a Beta magazine as the ultimate defense weapon for a retreat under attack by a human wave of palsied, midget, and/or wheelchair-bound looters" was meant to be humorous.) All kidding aside, I stand by my statement that .223 is not a sure man-stopper especially at long range. In contrast, .308 Winchester/7.62mm NATO is a well-proven stopper, from zero meters to out beyond 400. As a survivalist, I strive for versatility in all aspects of my planning, and .308 clearly provides greater versatility than .223. Nuff said.

Five Letters Re: An Opinion on .223 Remington/5.56mm NATO

I'd like to make a few points regarding the .223 cartridge. I am not as enthusiastic about it as Stephen D. seems to be, but I think it's good for more than defense against, "a human wave of palsied, midget, and/or wheelchair-bound looters." The .223/5.56 produces its nasty wounds through fragmentation, rather than tumbling. Any spitzer projectile, including the .308, is going to tumble when it hits a dense medium like water or human flesh. A bullet will generally flip around 180 degrees and continue it's travel through the body backwards (for a body that's pointed on one end and
blunt on the other, blunt end first is the most stable configuration).
Simply getting a .223 bullet to do a 180 doesn't increase it's wounding potential much, since it flips over rather quickly and then makes the same size hole going backwards as it did going forward. Fragmentation, on the other hand, is what causes truly devastating wounds. While fragmentation is rather inconsistent, it is not random. There are a lot of variables that determine whether or not a .223 round is going to fragment (including bullet construction, what part of the body it hits, etc.), but by far the most important one is velocity.
The cutoff seems to be around 2500-2700 feet per second. Faster than 2700 fps, fragmentation is practically certain, below 2500 fps, you have a .22 caliber ice pick. So anyone who wants to inflict serious wounds with their .223 rifle needs to ensure that the bullet arrives with sufficient velocity.
There are the big things that affect the velocity of the bullet when it hits the target: barrel length, bullet weight, and range. To give an idea of how the first three can interact, consider this example. A
55 grain M193 bullet (the old U.S. military standard issue round) fired from a 20-inch barrel will stay above 2700 feet per second out to almost 200 meters. On the other hand, a 62 grain M855 bullet (the current U.S. standard issue) fired from a 11.5-inch barrel will drop below 2700 fps in less than fifteen meters! Many of the recent 'failure to stop' incidents reported from Iraq and Afghanistan (and
even as far back as Somalia) involve soldiers firing the M855 bullet through M4 carbines with 14.5 inch barrels. This combination will only produce fragmentation out to about 50 meters or so. Beyond that, the odds of doing the target a lethal injury go way down. Soldiers with longer barreled weapons (like the 20-inch barrel of the M16 rifle and 18-inch barrel of the M249 SAW) tend not to have as many problems.
The other big obstacle to fragmentation is cover. This is perhaps the .223 round's greatest weakness, it's inability to penetrate barriers. The little 55 grain round just doesn't have the mass to punch through even fairly light cover and retain enough velocity to fragment. So, anyone who wants to employ the .223 round for personal defense should keep these factors in mind: Use a fairly long barrel. 20-inches is best, but it means you give up some of the handiness that's an advantage of a .223 rifle in the first place. 16-inches (the longest easily available to civilians in the U.S.) is a good compromise. Use a fairly light bullet. A 55-grain bullet like the old M193 round is probably best. Lighter 'varmint' bullets are available, but though they will fragment readily, they may not have sufficient penetration to reach the vitals. They may also break apart in flight if fired through a gun with a fast twist (1 in 7 or 1 in 9) designed to stabilize the heavier 62 grain round. Don't rely on a .223 for extreme ranges. A 16-inch barrel with a 55 grain bullet will stay above 2700fps (fast enough to fragment) out to about 150 meters. Beyond that, lethality is going to drop off quite a bit.
Don't shoot through stuff. If an opponent is behind cover, a heavier caliber is going to be necessary to dig them out.
So how does the .223 stack up as a defensive round? In a true SHTF situation, not all that well. It's perfectly possible to use 55 grain bullets and a longer barrel to get pretty good performance from a .223
rifle. The limited effective range is a disadvantage, but just how big of a disadvantage depends on the terrain to be defended. In wooded or urban areas, long shots are rare and the extra reach of a
round like the .308 may not be necessary. The really serious disadvantage is the inability to penetrate cover. Potential opponents probably aren't going to charge across and open field to be mowed
down. Having a rifle that can penetrate through a substantial tree or the bodywork of a car and still have enough punch left to inflict a lethal wound is a big advantage.
On the other hand, if the Schumer has not yet hit the fan, the .223 is a much more appealing choice. In a situation where authorities will be investigating claims of self defense, a truly long range rifle
isn't necessary. If a target is beyond the effective range of a .223 rifle, it is going to be very difficult to justify using deadly force.
Similarly, for those of us who live in urban areas, the .223's anemic penetration is actually an advantage. A .308 round has enormous penetrating power, particularly through wood frame construction. Fire
it in self defense and miss and it could pass through every house on the block before coming to a rest. A .223 allows the greater effectiveness of a rifle while decreasing the damage an errant round
might do.
If you can only have one rifle, a .308 is probably the best all-around choice. However, if you are worried about home defense right now, rather than just in case of TEOTWAWKI, a .223 rifle is very appealing. If funds allow, it might be useful to get a rifle in each caliber. To avoid the need to learn two completely different rifles, the best
option may be to purchase the same design in both calibers. Several weapon systems [allowing commonality of training] are available for both rounds, including the AR-10/AR-15 and the HK91/HK93.
Most of the technical information given above comes from For those who are interested in the subject, this site has an extremely thorough discussion of the ballistics and
wounding potential of the .223 round. - Chris

I would have to agree with Stephen on the 5.56 ammo. If you are shooting either the m193 55gr. or the SS109 62gr. as long as the bullet velocity is maintained above 2700fps then there is dramatic fragmentation. This is due to the military cannelure, when the bullet enters flesh it starts to yaw (tumble) once the bullet reaches 90 degrees the jacket comes apart causing massive wound injuries. This is only true of military style ammo, not plinking ammo or wolf. I feel that the 5.56 is more effective then 308 at 200 yards or less, but after 200 yards I would only recommend the 308. I do not expect you to believe just me so go to or there is a link on also. Another thing we must all take into consideration that the supply of surplus 308 is getting scarce and no major military is using it in mass quantities (that I am aware of) 5.56 is here to stay for a while and is readily available. In the event of a NATO or military invasion of US soil it is what the troops will be carrying so it would be nice to know that the enemies ammo can be used in our guns. Just a little food for thought. Great blog - Brian in Wyoming

I thought you, and the readers might find this link interesting The same site offers a daily e-mail with all their stories. Some good stuff as to the internal workings of government and the defense industry.
Also, as far as cartridges go, while you may think the .223 a bit anemic, I think it's ideal for CQB, provided you are wearing ear protection, and your adversary is not. However, one thing that constantly seems to get overlooked in all firearm technology (especially when it comes to the .223 vs anything debate) are some of the newer bullet technologies out there.
Specifically frangible ammunition offers some advantages over your standard military ball ammo. For the most part, humans are relatively thin. I'm sure even the largest of people are no more than 1-2 feet thick. Which means, any bullet striking the body has to do whatever it is that it does in that distance. While I am in total agreement that M193's fragmentation capability is arbitrary and not something to count on, explosive varmint bullets (like the Hornady VMAX and AMAX), and frangible bullets are more likely to increase the lethal effects of these "mouse gun" cartridges.
One thing that the .308 has in it's favor these days is availability. There is still a substantial amount of "on the shelf" stock in .308 as well as surplus 7.62mm. As opposed to .223 which seems to be in incredibly short supply. The other day my friend stopped by, he was on his way to the range, and was only able to find 2 boxes of .223 and for $10 each! I gave him 100 rounds
with the agreement that they were to be replaced with 100 rounds of .308 ammo, and on the way back from the range he dropped off 5 boxes of American Eagle .308. Once again, it really pays to be prepared! Sincerely, - Drew

Dear Jim:
I second your opinion on the .308. Besides the ability to stop an attacker much faster and more consistently, another big factor is that the .308 has the huge advantage of penetrating much more cover than the .223.
Tactically, most often after the first few rounds, all will be hit, behind cover, or moving to it. Do you want to keep their heads down with a.223, or shoot through that tree or wall they are hiding behind?
Sometimes you just have to lug the weight, if you want the right tool for the job. Half measures don't cut it. The .223s are great for small game, training, youngsters and petite folks, but if you have the upper body strength carry a .308, then do so. And if you don't, then hit the gym!
Also you can modify .308s to make them more balanced, ergonomic and easier to handle:
-- retrofit more ergonomic pistol grips, e.g.,, or file down your grips to get a better grip angle
--cover grip surfaces with 3M Safety Walk grip tape (the stuff used on steps to prevent slipping - in the paint department at Home Depot)
-- shorten the barrel (the weight at the end of the barrel is harder to hold up) and lose the bipod
-- take off the buttstock pad to shorten the buttstock and bring the weapon in closer
-- put a mag in a SpecOps buttstock mag holder to balance out muzzle-heaviness
-- add a vertical foregrip, etc., etc.
Any other suggestions to make heavier .308s more ergonomic? Regards, - OSOM

Dear Jim,
As any readers of mine know, I'm a tremendous fan of the AR-15 platform. However, it would not be my first choice of a survival weapon.
For survival over a long period, one should not be shooting large amounts of ammo. One should be in a secure position, preferably with neighbors for backup, and hunting occasional game, fighting occasional intruders. If things are bad enough you need a military type weapon, you've picked the wrong location in which to survive. (Assuming you're not in a retreat community where such weapons are a good choice, with good logistical support, in addition to basic weapons.) However, it could be a very good choice for getting to a retreat.
I've tried the Beta C-Mag, and I concur with the US Army: Unacceptable Mean Time Between Failures (UMTBF). I've had it double feed, jam with both feed mechanisms at the bottom of the tower, and if you slam or drop it loaded on concrete, it will break. It's adequate when pre-lubed, pre-loaded and ready to go for one time use before cleaning and re-lubing. That limits its utility. Add in the price tag, and there are better accessories to get.
For a long term survival rifle, a bolt action rifle chambered in 7.62x54R, .30-06, .308, or 8x57 Mauser is my recommendation. Easy to get ammo for, reliable, and if you have to reload with improvised propellant, bolt actions will fire it. (A self loader will not.)
I do recommend the AR-15 for bugout scenarios, based on the fact that parts are readily available, the ammo is the most common in the US, and doctrine for bugging out is to make holes in mobs--wounded or dead is the same, the military term being "Mission kill." Someone not able to attack you is an effective kill for the duration of the engagement.
While I don't think the 62 gr round was a wise change, I recently spoke to a Navy medic who is on a second tour in Iraq. His feedback was that any good hit with an M16 or M4 was almost always an effective hit. Most of the "I hit him three times center mass and he didn't stop" stories are because soldiers didn't hit. Stress can do funny things to one's shooting. (Witness Peter Hathaway Capstick's ["live rounds on the ground"] story of a hunter who cycled every round from the magazine [of a bolt action rifle] and ejected them, without pulling the trigger, and swore he'd hit the elephant four times.)
The military uses small caliber almost universally across the world, because militaries win wars through logistics and resupply--running out of ammo is always bad, so a larger volume of ammo is more militarily effective than a smaller volume of heavier ammo. A prepared individual in a retreat is only going to have what is on hand, and must make it count. One good rifle that will work out to 500 yards is the better choice. Obviously, funds permitting, you can do as I have--compromise and have both.:) - Michael Z. Williamson

Tuesday, February 27, 2007




August 31, 2006
Bill Thrush

Imagine that the world has suddenly turned upside down. With what little gasoline you have left in your car, you're driving around looking for someplace to buy food. Everything is closed. Even the convenience stores that are normally open round the clock are closed. Some of them have broken windows and people are dashing out with whatever food they can carry. The grocery stores have armed guards and the doors are locked. Gas stations are closed and abandoned. Just yesterday everything was normal. You got $200.00 out of the ATM at the mall. Today, the ATMs that have not been destroyed and emptied of all cash are not working.

Deciding to give up any hope of finding food, you turn down a side street to turn around and go home. As you come around a bend, there is a small group of men with guns….all pointed at you. Before you know what's happening, you are dragged from your car and relieved of your watch, wallet and all jewelry. Your car is searched and your flashlight is taken, as is all the loose change in the ash tray. You are kicked a few times and sent on your way, unhurt but terrified. You drive straight home, only to find your front door kicked in and a few of your neighbors in your house. Once again you are held at gunpoint while every morsel of edible food in your house is loaded into trash bags and carried off. Your one means of protection, a 38 caliber pistol that you've had for years, is tucked into the waist band of the guy that used to lend you his lawnmower. He is very apologetic, telling you that it's now the survival of the fittest. People that you do not know are walking freely through your house as you sit on the floor with a man pointing a rifle at your head. You are helpless to stop them. Eventually, they finish searching and carry off anything and everything they feel will be of value in the future. As soon as they leave, you run to the phone to call 911, only to find out the phone is dead. You suddenly realize that you are on your own, with no help, with no means to protect yourself or your family……and you have nothing to eat and no way to get something to eat.

This scenario, or one like it, will be played out for millions of Americans in the not-so-distant future. The world is poised for a financial collapse that will occur overnight and without warning for the vast majority of the population. Oh sure, there were people talking about it. Business failures were at an all-time high, but they say the economy is good. Even General Motors was in trouble, but they say the economy is good. “But this is America. The government will figure out something. They always have”……they say. Not this time. This collapse will be global, impacting all countries in about a 30 hour window of time. It has been planned for years and is quite easy to achieve if you're in control of the stock markets. It will most likely start in Japan, sweep through the European stock market within hours and probably prevent the U.S. stock markets from opening the following day. All banks will be closed. You will be left with what you have on hand, both in cash and goods. Your credit cards and debit cards will be worthless, as will any dollar bills you may have. Nothing will be open. Looting and pillaging will be the only means to obtain goods. Gun shots will be frequent. Men will prey on their neighbors. Rape and murder will become the national pass-time. Sounds impossible? It's much closer than you think.

How do you prevent this from happening to yourself and your family? It takes planning. It takes knowledge. It takes preparation. Leave out any of these three items and you will find yourself a victim of something like has been described in the opening paragraphs. We won't get into the how's and why's of all this. From this point on we will discuss preparation.

The most important commodity will be food. You have it, you live……it's that simple. People will kill for it. Think about it for a second. If your family is starving and you have a gun…..and you know that the guy next door has food and does not have a gun, how long will you allow your family to starve before you walk next door and get some food? Sure, you'll try the friendly approach at first and ask for some food. What if he says no…..and you have a gun in your pocket……and crying children a few feet away? Could you do it? Would you do it? Eventually you would, hopefully without violence, but you would. And it wouldn't take that long to get there. Scary thought, huh? If you're honest with yourself, you know you would take his food……at gun point, if necessary. Acquisition of food will be the number one cause of death. People will kill you over a can of tuna. Plan on providing one meal a day for each member of your group for a minimum of a year. You can also farm, fish and hunt to provide additional food. Don't forget that bartering will become very popular and that some people have been preparing for years and will be able to trade goods that you need for goods that they need.

Remember, the most basic of life's simple pleasures will not be available. Unless you prepare, electricity will be non-existent, hot water will be found only on camp fires. Batteries for flashlights, radios, etc. will not be found at all. Consider solar power. Consider rechargeable batteries (from solar power). Forget about running a generator. Where would you get the fuel? What about the noise?

Next on the list of items to have is guns and ammunition. They are pretty much worthless unless you have both. Most gun owners have a pistol, a shotgun and maybe a hunting rifle. They will have less than 100 rounds of ammunition between all three weapons. This will get them through the first week…..if they have food, that is. By the way, ammunition will become money. You will be able to barter for items you need with just a few bullets or shotgun shells. Those that prepare and have ammo to trade will be alright. Just make sure that you trade with people looking to protect their property rather than those that plan to prey on others. If you do not have guns, soon you will have nothing. If you have the means to protect yourself, chances are good that you'll be far better off once the collapse occurs.

What guns will you need? That's mainly a question of economics. If you are financially able to have a hand gun for all members of your family capable of using one, plus a spare or two, that would be excellent. They should be of the same caliber or maybe two different calibers at most. The best would be 9mm since it packs a good wallop, but can be managed by women without a problem. You may want to have a .40 Smith & Wesson (.40S&W) on hand for the men. While .22 caliber ammo will be very valuable for trading, it is of very little use to hold off the bad guys. As of the writing of this (January 1, 2006), a box of 500 .22 bullets can be purchased anywhere for under $15.00……so buy several thousand rounds. You'll be very glad you did later. The 9mm ammo will be about $100.00 per 500, but that is still a bargain. You'll need several thousand rounds of this as well…….for shooting and trading. Remember, there will be lots of good people out there that will need a little help. Maybe they'll have plenty of canned vegetables but be short on ammo. You can help each other by trading.

There is no better weapon for home defense than a 12-gauge shotgun. Get a good one. Get more than one if you can afford it. I'd recommend the Mossberg 590, which holds 8 shells, has excellent sights, holds up well and has a quite frightening appearance. The Mossberg 500 would also be a good choice (holds 5 shells). Outfit it with a good 3-point sling, a shell holder for extra shells, night sights…….and make sure it has a rifled slug barrel. With practice, you can hit a target with a 12-gauge slug (and a good scope) at 120 yards. For close in, use 00 buck shot. Bad guys are very afraid of shotguns. Shotgun shells are also cheap, so buy plenty. These will also be highly sought after for bartering……especially slugs and 00 buck shot, although game shot and general loads will be needed as well for hunting.

Rifles will come in very handy to discourage bad guys from a distance and for hunting. In general, they should have scopes and bipods to greatly improve your marksmanship. Make sure they are magazine fed and semi-automatic (sometimes called “auto re-loaders”).

The most common rifle will be the .223 caliber (NATO 5.56mm….same thing). This is a very capable round, but has limited knock-down power past 300 yards or so. It is easily managed by women, lighter to carry and cheaper to feed. Lots of people will have them, so bullets will be available and those that plan ahead will have an outstanding bartering commodity. The best .223 rifle for the money is the Ruger Mini-14. With a good scope, they can be had new for roughly $800 and used in the $500 range. Have plenty of high capacity magazines on hand (20-rounds works best, but 30-round models of good quality are great as well). Have about 2,000 rounds of ammo on hand. This is an excellent choice for the females in your clan. For upscale .223 rifles, look at the AR-15. This is made by many manufacturers and prices vary greatly. Get the A4 (flat top) version for the best scope mounting (the A2 puts the scope very high and is not as easy to properly aim). Look at products by Armalite, Colt, Rock River and others. This is an assault style rifle. You can find these used with incredible accessories in your local trading post newspaper. Expect a properly outfitted AR-15 to cost $2,000 new and roughly half that amount used…….with nice accessories like bipod already mounted, good scopes, flash suppressors, special stocks, etc. Buy it used if possible.

Next in the rifle hierarchy is the 7.62mm…..excellent accuracy and performance. More expensive….and worth it. The same outfitting and manufacturers can be found for the 7.62. You can't tell them apart from the .223 from a distance, but when you shoot it you'll know. After that comes the .308……much more expensive to feed…..much greater accuracy at distance……much heavier to carry…….not for the average woman. Get a good scope and hits out to 600 yards and beyond are not out of the question. Some people prefer the 30-06 over the .308. Both are excellent. It's a matter of personal preference. The .308 is generally considered as more of an assault caliber and they have better accessories for the .308 rifle.

There are numerous other calibers….243, 270, 7mm, 300……all hunting calibers. All very accurate, but will not be as common. Many rifles that use these calibers are bolt-action……not adequate to meet the need if a semi-auto rifle can be had, but certainly better than nothing.

Ideally, you'll need a place of refuge, way out in the country. Make no mistake, you cannot stay in an urban or suburban area (think back to what happened in New Orleans in 2005). Some rural areas will be OK, but what you want is wilderness. The further out in the wilderness, the better. Paved roads are not the answer. Tree-less areas should be avoided. Mountains are preferred. Water in the area would be very helpful. If you have a place of refuge, it completely changes your preparation requirements. You should have secure storage where you can store your food and weapons at the refuge. You won't be able to haul everything there on short notice…..and short notice will be all you get. It should be relatively close by. If you'll need more than one tank of gas to get there, make sure you have gasoline on hand. You won't be able to get it on the way once the bubble bursts (always keep your gas tank nearly full).

A place of refuge gives you a place to go, a place to store and a peace of mind. It's a nice place to spend the weekend until the bubble bursts. You can make your preparations calmly. Keep buying food, weapons and ammo until you can no longer get them. It has to be a place that you can defend…..not a valley where the bad guys can get above you and shoot you at a distance so they can have all you've prepared for. Make it so they have to walk in. Block all approaching roads and fire warning shots. Remember, there will be others looking for a place of refuge. They will need some assistance. Have a few tents on hand and some food you can give out. Approach any situation concerning desperate strangers with caution. There will be well organized groups that will use women and children to deceive people and gain their confidence, only to report to the bad guys where the weaknesses are and how best to attack. The best thing to do is to provide them with a meal or two (that they can take with them) and any other urgent need and tell them to move on. You will not be able to provide continual support for all refugees that pass your way. Do not let them inside your camp. Do not let them see what you have stored. Give out very little information. Let them know that if they come back you will consider them hostile. It won't be easy to turn people away that have nothing, but you have provided them with some assistance and bought them time to figure out a plan for themselves.

If a permanent place of refuge with adequate storage and shelter is financially out of the question, consider burying some of your supplies in a remote area and making your way there as required. You should know the area well……maybe go camping there once a month or so. Have camping gear on hand……maybe even a camping trailer. A trailer will provide excellent shelter for the long term. A shelter can also be built from trees and other items found in the woods. Tarps would help. Think ahead. Know what you need on hand. Know what you want on hand. Make your preparations. Plan for the worst. Help those you can. Expect help from nobody. Prepare for the long haul, because things will never be the same. You will not ever get to go back to your house. You will live on food that you have stored, grow, hunt or trade for.

Another important (and expensive) consideration is having night vision equipment. Without it, you can see the bad guys only half the time at best. A night vision scope on a rifle can greatly increase your chances of overcoming a night attack, which is when the smart bad guys will be showing up. Once they figure out that you can see them….they'll move on……minus a few members of their group, no doubt. Basic night vision costs about $750.00, and the upper end units can cost thousands. In general, a generation 2+ scope will be sufficient to see 150 yards in nearly complete darkness and will cost about $1,500.00. This will allow you to place the bad guys on notice that you have night vision capability and to proceed would not be in their best interest. The most successful looters will be a small group (3 at the most) and will move about and attack only at night. They may or may not have night vision of their own. Assume that they will. If they are approaching your camp at night and moving cautiously in a military manner, make every shot count. This type of looter does not rate a warning shot. Keep shooting as long as they are visible. They are likely long time friends and will not take kindly to your “group reduction” activities. Get them all and they can't come back the next night with more friends. They will also have some pretty good weapons and equipment with them that will become yours by default (you're still alive). Another good reason to invest in a night vision scope is for hunting. A deer that happens by at 2 A.M. while you're watching for bad guys would be a nice addition to your food supply. You should consider a night vision scope as indispensable and a night vision monocular as a great asset.

As your finances allow, buy precious metals. This will be the only real money around. While you can partially depend on ammunition for bartering, it would be nice to eventually return to some form of a normal life. The only way this is going to happen is to have purchasing power…..silver and gold……on hand to buy that country house with solar power and a well. A house that sells for $150,000 today could probably be bought for $10,000 in silver at some point. Precious metals will greatly increase in value when it's the only money around. Silver that can be bought today for less than $9.00 per ounce will be worth $200.00 or more. So….silver that can be bought now for $450.00 will buy you a (present day value) $150,000 house in the future. Not a bad investment.

You also need to plan for getting over-run……forced out of your place of refuge……by military organizations or well-trained groups of looters. Have some supplies buried a good distance away. Hide a shovel under a fallen tree so you'll be able to get your buried supplies out of hiding. Have a rifle with ammo, tent, food, sleeping bags, silver or gold, change of clothes, etc. Triple bag it in trash bags with insect spray between the outer and second bags to keep the bugs out. This will buy you some time to get re-established elsewhere.

Basically, you need to make a plan and carry it out. Don't listen to the nay-Sayers that will tell you that you're crazy if you think this could really happen. It will happen. Let them worry about where their next meal is coming from as they walk around and think about your warnings to prepare. You'll be in warm clothes sitting on a bench watching over your property with plenty of ammo and snacks within your reach. You'll be a victor, rather than a victim. Your family will be safe while theirs is in peril.

Remember…….you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him think!!!

SOME PRACTICAL ADVICE FROM TJ ( I do not necessarily agree with the article above on the choice of calibers but I felt it was a good article overall and it was important to let you read another opinion)

Go to Walmart and buy an inexpensive microwave oven, this is not to be plugged in but to use as a "FARADAY" cage to store your small electronic survival items such as walkie talkies and night vision equipment and a shortwave radio.

Midland now makes walkie talkies that are 5 watts and have an 18 mile range, two (2) cost $59.00 at walmart or you can buy them off the internet. You must protect your small electronic devices from an "EMP" device which will COOK all electronic circuits unless they are in this faraday cage.

I suggest that you take this advice seriously as we are getting close to chaos, we are not going to be fighting a country but a radical religion and there is no defined target of opportunity as the world is turning against us. I go by the scriptures and have known this was coming all my life.

All we can do is to prepare for the day after. Get all your family members 120 decibel whistles to carry. One company is called "FOX 40" another is "STORM WHISTLES" you can do a search on google and locate these, they may save your life.

I am not trying to alarm you, I am trying to prepare you. Be sure to buy mechanical can openers and if you do not listen now it may be too late. Every house hold should have anti radiation tablets. I can see clearly where some ammunition is drying up and the wholesalers are out of stock. If you see what you need, do not wait, buy the calibers you need when you can.

I have lived a long time and this is not the same country that I grew up in, I can not explain it, we seem to be imploding from within. If the "WEST" hits Iran they surely will retaliate against us and thanks to our open borders our enemies are living here and among us. You can not ever have a secure country with open borders like our politicians have done.

ITS TO LATE, THE HORSES HAVE LEFT THE BARN AND CLOSING THE DOORS NOW WILL NOT GET THE HORSES BACK IN THE BARN. What do we do, I do not know. Prepare to be able to survive the day after.

Monday, February 26, 2007


Lesson of the Hurricanes – Emergency Lighting

April 30, 2005
Bruce Mandelblit
News Max

For years I have written about the critical importance of having the proper flashlights and emergency lighting available at all times. You never know when the next disaster, natural or manmade, might strike.

Almost all of us have gone through minor blackouts and other short-term power outages, but unless you experience firsthand the impact of a major disaster, it is extremely difficult to fully appreciate the impact on one's life.

Unfortunately, this past summer I, along with millions of others, experienced the powerful force of three major hurricanes during a six-week period. I was sitting in an interior room of our house with my family when Hurricane Charlie hit us at night. We took a direct whack with estimated winds of about 90 mph!

What surprised me the most was that almost an hour before Charlie was directly overhead, its outer rain and wind bands knocked out our power for days to come. Thankfully, I had taken my own good advice, and we were well stocked with various high-quality and dependable flashlights and other emergency lighting products.

In 2005, we are fortunate to have many fine manufacturers of quality flashlights and emergency lighting. They offer a wide array of items to fit virtually every lighting need, from a powerful tactical flashlight to a long-lasting LED keychain light.

Here are some of the flashlights and emergency lighting products you may want to contemplate adding to your emergency preparedness kits for your home, vehicle and business, as well as carrying on your person.

(Note: Thanks to all the companies that provided information and/or samples of their products. In future columns, I plan to give more detailed reviews of some of these flashlights.)

NIGHT OPS GLADIUS ( The Gladius is one of the best tactical flashlights I have ever seen or used. The Gladius flashlight comes from the folks at BlackHawk Products. Gladius' features include a high-intensity LED with multiple functions such as constant on, adjustable light levels and even a strobe mode. Simply put, the Gladius is a quality tactical flashlight made for and by professionals. Anyone in law enforcement, the military or security should strongly consider this exceptional new flashlight.

HDS EDC ULTIMATE ( The HDS EDC Ultimate just might be the "ultimate" in an everyday-carry flashlight. With its pocket clip, the HDS EDC Ultimate is super easy to carry on your person while offering a variety of amazing and useful features. Imagine a flashlight about 3 inches long that has the following functions (to name just a few): A powerful LED light source, an emergency strobe, an SOS signal and a locator flash, as well as multiple power settings. You don't have to imagine anymore with the remarkable HDS EDC Ultimate flashlight.

SUREFIRE ( SureFire is known worldwide for its line of quality flashlights. A favorite of both law enforcement and the military for years, SureFire offers a multitude of flashlights for a variety of uses. For instance, the SureFire L1 LumaMax would be an excellent addition to your emergency preparedness plan.

This quality mil-spec flashlight uses a single lithium battery, but still offers the option of a low-output beam for close-up activities, or a high-output beam for use as needed. In the low-output mode, the SureFire L1 offers usable light for about 50 hours. One of my SureFire favorites is its L4 LumaMax model. The SureFire L4 is a compact powerhouse that features a five-watt LED and a stainless steel pocket clip for ease of "on-person" carry.

C. CRANE COMPANY ( The C. Crane Company Web site is like a virtual emergency kit. Almost anything you might need during a disaster is available. For instance, its Freeplay Plus not only offers a detectable three-LED light source, it is also an AM/FM and shortwave radio. And don't worry about electricity with the C. Crane Freeplay Plus, as you can charge it using either its wind-up generator or its solar cells.

The Freeplay Summit is another wind-up/solar power AM/FM/shortwave radio you may want to consider. Also, I really like the "Made in the USA" CC Expedition 600 flashlight. On just one set of three C alkaline batteries, it will produce about 40 hours of bright light, and after that it will give off about 100 hours of additional useful light.

ASP ( I have used ASP products for years, and I really like two of its latest lights. The ASP Elite takes the LED keychain light to new heights of innovation. The ASP Elite has three modes (constant on, alert strobe and international SOS). All this in a light under 3 inches in length and under 1 inch in width. The new water-resistant ASP Triad is just over 5 inches in length, made of aerospace aluminum, and its dual contacts provide both intermittent and contact on/off activation modes.

LIGHTWAVE ( The Lightwave Tec3000 features seven LEDs and has about 700 hours of battery life on only three C batteries, and has a "floodlight" type light beam. The Lightwave Infiniton C1 has a single powerful Hi-Fux LED and offers a "spotlight" type light beam. The high-tech Lightwave series of "floodlight" and "spotlight" LED flashlights would be a super addition to anyone's emergency preparedness plans.

PRINCETON TEC ( Just about any lighting products you might need for your disaster kit, Princeton Tec makes it. During an emergency, you might need to have both your hands accessible, so it is imperative to have an LED headlamp available. I like both the Princeton Tec Corona and the Aurora headlamps. The Corona features eight LEDs and has four levels of brightness available, while the lightweight Aurora has three LEDs that offer about 160 hours of use on one set of batteries. Princeton Tec also makes the practical Pulsar II and the advanced Impulse keychain LED lights.

DAKOTA SOS TORCH WATCH ( For those folks who don't want to carry an extra flashlight on their person, there is a new product from Dakota Watch which combines a quality quartz watch with powerful LED lights. It is called the Dakota SOS Torch, and it features a dial light, a flashlight and even an SOS signal – all built into an attractive wristwatch. This amazing timepiece and LED lighting system uses a unique charger that allows an eight-hour charge to operate the watch for about a month.

ETERNALIGHT ( EternaLight makes some of the most distinctive lights on the market today. For example, the EternaLight ErgoMarine is only about the size of a pager yet can continuously provide light for about 30 days on one set of three AA alkaline batteries! In addition, it offers many modes of use, including constant on, flash, strobe and SOS.

EternaLight also makes the Derringer model, which features an LED light visible for about a mile, 14 modes of operation, selectable white or red LED, and it is still small enough to fit in your pocket, purse, glove compartment or backpack.

INOVA ( INOVA flashlights, made by the Emissive Energy Corp., offer a wide range of lighting products, from keychain lights to high-intensity LED flashlights. For example, the INOVA T1 and INOVA T3 are powerful tactical "Made in the USA" flashlights that may be used by police, security or anyone wanting a compact flashlight that packs a potent lighting punch.

SAFE-LIGHT INDUSTRIES ( The PALight's SAFE-LIGHT is one of the most unusual lights I have ever seen. It fits in the "palm of your hand" yet it offers a powerful LED light with multiple lighting modes including night light, high beam and even an emergency flashing signal. A 9-volt battery and magnetic clip are included. This light would be a great idea for hikers, campers and everyone's' emergency kit.

COAST ( Coast offers an extensive line of LED light products. For instance, it makes the TekTorches Personal Emergency Light, which is small enough to use on a keychain. It also includes a "reflector tube" that can be used as an emergency flasher. Another Coast item is the LED Lenser Tac Torch, which features a high-intensity LED light that can operate for up to 50 hours on one set of batteries.

NIGHTSTAR ( The NightStar is one of the most amazing flashlights I have ever seen. It uses no batteries, yet it produces a strong LED light beam. How does it work? Just shake the Night Star for 30 seconds, and it will provide about 20 minutes of light. Consider the NightStar for your home, car and emergency kit.

OMNIGLOW ( OmniGlow is the maker of a complete line of light sticks. First used by the military and law enforcement, OmniGlow Light Sticks are simply a "must have" in every emergency kit. They use no batteries, produce no flame, heat or sparks, are non-toxic and non-flammable, are very easy to use – and they are an excellent source of emergency light for up to 12 hours.

LONGBOW GEAR ( If you are looking for a very powerful flashlight in a very small package, then you may want to take a look at the Longbow Micra LED flashlight. With a single 1-watt LED and a single 3-volt Lithium battery, the Longbow Micra flashlight is rated to produce about 21 lumens of light to a range of about 130 feet. The Longbow Micra is small enough to keep almost anywhere, so you are never without access to a bright flashlight.

TERRALUX ( TerraLUX makes a flashlight enhancement to convert a traditional bulb to an LED. This upgrade is available for different types of flashlights, including the popular MiniMag model. Converting a flashlight from a regular bulb to an LED light source may offer advantages such as an increased battery life, a nearly indestructible LED with an approximate 100,000-hour lifetime, and a bright white light beam.

NICABOYNE ( Nicaboyne makes a distinctive product that integrates dual LED lights with a usable pen. This LED light pen has many uses, such as the ability to write and take notes in low-light conditions. People who work at night, including those in law enforcement, security and the military, might want to take a close look at the Nicaboyne LED Light Pen.

PHOTON MICRO-LIGHT ( The Photon Micro-Light by LRI is a basic lighting tool for everyday life, as well as emergencies. The Photon Micro-Light simply clips onto your keychain, zipper or backpack and is ready for use. It is about the size of a quarter, yet it will provide a strong LED light beam for about 12 hours of continuous use.

MAGLITE ( Year ago, when I was a law enforcement rookie, the first "real" flashlight I purchased for duty use was a MagLite. Even today, MagLite is a leading maker of flashlights including the MagLite 2-Cell D, the Mini MagLite and the pocket-sized MagLite Solitaire. These reasonably priced "Made in the USA" flashlights provide a quality source of lighting in virtually any emergency situation.

FOXFURY ( FoxFury makes a line of high-tech LED headlamps. For example, the FoxFury Safety Edition model features an amazing 24 LEDs that can illuminate an area of up to 200 feet in front and up to 60 feed in width. With batteries, this headlamp weighs less than 12 ounces including the batteries.

COLEMAN ( Coleman, a well-known name in outdoor living products, has a new line of flashlights. They are quality products available at reasonable prices. Their Compact 3 LED Light would be ideal to pop in the glove compartment of your car or to take with you when walking the dog at night (it has an integrated belt clip). The Coleman Widebeam Flashlights feature a new technology that provides a 50 percent broader beam of light than traditional flashlights.

For more information on these flashlights and emergency lighting items, log on to the Web sites for each company.

My Final Thoughts: Take it firsthand from me: The right selection of quality flashlights during any catastrophe is an unquestionable "must have." Along with the availability of proper food and water supplies, appropriate emergency lighting is the basic foundation of any prudent emergency plan. Don't wait until disaster strikes; take action now to acquire the appropriate emergency lighting supplies for your home, car and business, and to carry on your person.

(Note: If you manufacture or distribute any Security, Safety, Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Defense or Crime Prevention related products, please send information on your product line for possible future reference in this column to:

Copyright 2005 by Bruce Mandelblit

* * * * * *

"Staying Safe" with Bruce Mandelblit is a regular column for the readers of and Magazine.

Bruce welcomes your thoughts. His e-mail address is:

Bruce is a nationally known security journalist, as well as a recently retired, highly decorated reserve Law Enforcement Officer. Bruce writes Staying Safe, a weekly syndicated column covering the topics of security, safety and crime prevention.

Bruce was commissioned as a Kentucky Colonel – the state's highest honor – for his public service.] This column is provided for general information purposes only. Please check with your local law enforcement agency and legal professional for information specific to you and your jurisdiction.


1) Types of scanners

There are basically two types of scanners.

1. Plain frequency scanners simply monitor frequencies within their given frequency ranges (more on that below). They usually scan either a frequency range or memory locations that have stored frequencies. These scanners are great for non-trunked systems, airport, rail and business monitoring.

2. Trunk tracking scanners differ from plain frequency scanners in that they can track "trunked" radio systems. Trunked radio systems are used primarily in metropolitan areas by everyone from police/fire/EMS to utility companies with fleet vehicles. Trunked radio systems are used because a large number of users (radios) need to be packed into a limited number of frequencies. The frequencies assigned to the system are shared by a number of logical channel ID's that rotate through the frequencies. Individual user radios are set to a given channel ID. The central radio system transmits a data signal over a data frequency (that may or may not change over time) that tells all radios the current frequency for all channel ID's. The individual radios monitor the data signal and change frequency for their channel ID according to the central system data. Trunk tracking scanners monitor the data signal and follow the channel ID's across the frequencies. A person trying to listen to a trunked radio system with a plain scanner would be able to hear the transmissions on the frequencies, but because the channel ID's move across frequencies, following a conversation (say the north side police dispatcher) would be difficult at best. They also would not be able to limit the channel ID's that are heard, for example the trash truck crew. Trunk tracking radios monitor only the channel ID's that are programmed into their ID scan lists. They can also be used as a plain frequency scanner.

2) Trunk radio systems

There are a number of different trunked radio system manufacturers. The primary types used by police/fire/EMS are Motorola (Type I, Type II, Hybrid, SMARTNET and PrivacyPlus sub-types), GE/Ericsson EDACS, or E.F. Johnson LTR. The most prevelant type seems to be Motorola Type II. Each type uses a different trunking/data scheme. Most trunk tracking radios will cover most of these types. There are other types of trunking systems, but they do not seem to be widely used. There are also two types of trunking within these trunk types, analog and digitally encoded (APCO-25). Traditional scanning is analog, like your FM radio. You tune to the frequency and listen to the transmission. APCO-25 systems use digital encoding in the transmission. If a person were to try to listen to a digital transmission wtih an analog scanner, all they would hear is a data stream, similar to what a person hears when they use a dial-up modem or fax machine. Since 9/11, there has been a concerted move for agencies to go to APCO-25 digital radio systems. At this time, not all major metro areas have gone digital. The best thing to do is check to see if your local system is digital. If it is, you will probably have to purchase a digital trunk tracking scanner to listen in. Also, ask around local electronics stores and see what they recommend. A Google search for trunk radio and APCO-25 will bring up a great deal of information.

3) Some things to look for in a scanner

  • Frequency coverage - Not all scanners cover the same frequency ranges. Make sure the scanner you are looking at covers the frequencies you need.

  • Sensitivity vs. selectivity - These refer to the scanners ability to pull in weak signals and to separate signals. For the average person in a metro area sensitivity is not a concern. Selectivity becomes the issue because the FCC is splitting the frequency spectrum into smaller segments, i.e., cramming more usable frequencies into a given frequency range. In scanning this is referred to as step size, i.e., the number of kilohertz between selectable frequencies. Scanners with lower selectivity have a larger step size and will pick up transmissions over a broader range, possibly resulting in transmission interference if two transmissions fall within the scanner's step size. Programmable selectivity is usually available in the newer scanners.

  • Scan rate - This is the number of memory locations and/or frequencies that are scanned per second. Slow units will do only 20 memory locations

  • Number of memory locations - Older scanners may only have 100 memory locations. Newer scanners will have 1000 to 5500. The newest scanners simply have a memory pool that stores all items, similar to a PC.

  • Frequency search/auto store - Automatically storing frequencies is real handy when you are in a strange area and do not have the frequency list.

  • Desktop vs. handheld - Obviously a handheld will be much more usable while on the move regardless of the mode of transportation.

  • Antenna connection type - Traditionally BNC-type connectors are used. Recently Uniden used an SMA-type connector for their new scanner. This is important if you need to build a cable to connect to an external antenna.

  • Power consumption/battery type - Watch for what type of batteries the scanner uses. Uniden used to use battery packs that cost about $50 to replace. Their newest scanner uses AA's. Radio Shack scanners most often use AA's.

  • Terrain and foliage of the area - If you are planning on sheltering in place, what does your terrain and foliage look like? If you are in the mountains up in the pines, you probably won't need a trunk tracking scanner. The radio systems used in metro areas need line-of-site and mountains get in their way. Also, the frequency the trunked systems use is usually sucked up by pine needles that act as little antennas and take the radio frequency (RF) energy and put it right into the ground making it go absolutely nowhere (Funny Story - When Michigan deployed their state-wide APCO-25 digital trunked system, they found them virtually unusable in the Upper Peninsula where pine trees are dominant. They had to go back to non-trunked lower frequencies that were not affected).

4) Manufacturers/Approximate prices (no guarantee on the price here - just an idea of the price you may pay)

Radio Shack:
Plan scanners range in price from $99 to $150.
Non-Digital Trunk Tracking scanners range in price from $150 to $230
Digital Trunk Tracking scanners are $500.

Plain scanners will cost anywhere from $100 to $200 range.
Non-Digital Trunk Tracking scanners range in price from $180 to $300 range.
Digital Trunk Tracking scanners consistently run from $475 to $550. The prices have not dropped over the years they have been available. STAY AWAY FROM THE DISCONTINUED BC250 MODEL!! It only tracks an earlier version of APCO-25 that is not widely used. Stick with the BC296 or the new BC 396 or their tabletop equivalents.

5) Sources for scanners

Uniden scanners are available from a number of different retailers. Prices can vary, so check for the best deals. This list contains the dealers I've used most often. Radio Shack scanners can only be purchased from Radio Shack. - Usually the lowest prices for Uniden scanners. - A ham radio dealer that also sells Uniden scanners. Also sells Unisolar flexible solar panels. - Another ham radio dealer with Uniden scanners - For Radio Shack scanners - High prices on the scanner but has some good scanner antennas - Lists all of their scanner models and has downloadable owners manuals so a person can review the manual before buying. - Yes, there are good deals out there. You just have to look for them.

6) Sources for police, utility and other frequencies - This is the first stop I make when wanting to look things up. They not only have a great frequency database but they have discussion forums based around manufacturer, trunking, specific topics (rail, air, etc) and each state specifically. Look here for information on your area before buying a scanner for the first time. - This site is geared around Uniden scanners but has a bunch of good info.