Wednesday, March 12, 2008








Remember: You can't eat gold! There may come a day when you need to barter for day-to-day essentials. In such times, barter goods like common caliber ammunition or one-gallon cans of kerosene will be more sought-after than gold. Recognize precious metals for what they are: storehouses of wealth and hedges on the dollar. Think of them as a "time machine". They can be trusted to preserve your wealth from one side of an economic collapse to the other.But do not expect them to keep your family fed in the midst of a socioeconomic collapse.

Charles Jacobson from


יד וְאִם-לֹא תִשְׁמְעוּ, לִי; וְלֹא תַעֲשׂוּ, אֵת כָּל-הַמִּצְו‍ֹת הָאֵלֶּה. 14 But if ye will not hearken unto Me, and will not do all these commandments;
טו וְאִם-בְּחֻקֹּתַי תִּמְאָסוּ, וְאִם אֶת-מִשְׁפָּטַי תִּגְעַל נַפְשְׁכֶם, לְבִלְתִּי עֲשׂוֹת אֶת-כָּל-מִצְו‍ֹתַי, לְהַפְרְכֶם אֶת-בְּרִיתִי. 15 and if ye shall reject My statutes, and if your soul abhor Mine ordinances, so that ye will not do all My commandments, but break My covenant;
טז אַף-אֲנִי אֶעֱשֶׂה-זֹּאת לָכֶם, וְהִפְקַדְתִּי עֲלֵיכֶם בֶּהָלָה אֶת-הַשַּׁחֶפֶת וְאֶת-הַקַּדַּחַת, מְכַלּוֹת עֵינַיִם, וּמְדִיבֹת נָפֶשׁ; וּזְרַעְתֶּם לָרִיק זַרְעֲכֶם, וַאֲכָלֻהוּ אֹיְבֵיכֶם. 16 I also will do this unto you: I will appoint terror over you, even consumption and fever, that shall make the eyes to fail, and the soul to languish; and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it.
יז וְנָתַתִּי פָנַי בָּכֶם, וְנִגַּפְתֶּם לִפְנֵי אֹיְבֵיכֶם; וְרָדוּ בָכֶם שֹׂנְאֵיכֶם, וְנַסְתֶּם וְאֵין-רֹדֵף אֶתְכֶם. 17 And I will set My face against you, and ye shall be smitten before your enemies; they that hate you shall rule over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you.
יח וְאִם-עַד-אֵלֶּה--לֹא תִשְׁמְעוּ, לִי: וְיָסַפְתִּי לְיַסְּרָה אֶתְכֶם, שֶׁבַע עַל-חַטֹּאתֵיכֶם. 18 And if ye will not yet for these things hearken unto Me, then I will chastise you seven times more for your sins.
יט וְשָׁבַרְתִּי, אֶת-גְּאוֹן עֻזְּכֶם; וְנָתַתִּי אֶת-שְׁמֵיכֶם כַּבַּרְזֶל, וְאֶת-אַרְצְכֶם כַּנְּחֻשָׁה. 19 And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass.
כ וְתַם לָרִיק, כֹּחֲכֶם; וְלֹא-תִתֵּן אַרְצְכֶם, אֶת-יְבוּלָהּ, וְעֵץ הָאָרֶץ, לֹא יִתֵּן פִּרְיוֹ. 20 And your strength shall be spent in vain; for your land shall not yield her produce, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruit.
כא וְאִם-תֵּלְכוּ עִמִּי קֶרִי, וְלֹא תֹאבוּ לִשְׁמֹעַ לִי--וְיָסַפְתִּי עֲלֵיכֶם מַכָּה, שֶׁבַע כְּחַטֹּאתֵיכֶם. 21 And if ye walk contrary unto Me, and will not hearken unto Me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins.
כב וְהִשְׁלַחְתִּי בָכֶם אֶת-חַיַּת הַשָּׂדֶה, וְשִׁכְּלָה אֶתְכֶם, וְהִכְרִיתָה אֶת-בְּהֶמְתְּכֶם, וְהִמְעִיטָה אֶתְכֶם; וְנָשַׁמּוּ, דַּרְכֵיכֶם. 22 And I will send the beast of the field among you, which shall rob you of your children, and destroy your cattle, and make you few in number; and your ways shall become desolate.
כג וְאִם-בְּאֵלֶּה--לֹא תִוָּסְרוּ, לִי; וַהֲלַכְתֶּם עִמִּי, קֶרִי. 23 And if in spite of these things ye will not be corrected unto Me, but will walk contrary unto Me;
כד וְהָלַכְתִּי אַף-אֲנִי עִמָּכֶם, בְּקֶרִי; וְהִכֵּיתִי אֶתְכֶם גַּם-אָנִי, שֶׁבַע עַל-חַטֹּאתֵיכֶם. 24 then will I also walk contrary unto you; and I will smite you, even I, seven times for your sins.
כה וְהֵבֵאתִי עֲלֵיכֶם חֶרֶב, נֹקֶמֶת נְקַם-בְּרִית, וְנֶאֱסַפְתֶּם, אֶל-עָרֵיכֶם; וְשִׁלַּחְתִּי דֶבֶר בְּתוֹכְכֶם, וְנִתַּתֶּם בְּיַד-אוֹיֵב. 25 And I will bring a sword upon you, that shall execute the vengeance of the covenant; and ye shall be gathered together within your cities; and I will send the pestilence among you; and ye shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy.



Fabrique Nationale (FN) Five-seveN (Belgium)


Five-seveN Tactical (note safety switch above the trigger)

Five-seveN stripped into main parts

Buy FN Five-seven pistols and accessories at ImpactGuns online store

Type: Double Action Only or Single Action (in Tactical model)
Chambering: 5.7x28mm SS190
Length: 208 mm
Barrel length : 122.5 mm
Weight: ca. 620 g with empty magazine; ca. 760 g loaded
Magazine: 20 rounds

The Five-seveN pistol was designed by FN company (Belgium) as a complimentary sidearm for the P90 submachine-gun. The P90 and Five-seveN share the same ammunition, the 5.7x28mm SS190 cartridge. The SS190 ammunition looks like scaled down 5.56mm NATO round and boosts the 2.02 gramm (31 grains) pointed steel and alluminium core bullet to the muzzle velocity of 650 meters per second (ca. 2130 fps) from the pistol barrel. The key idea behind that ammunition and weapons is to provide good penetration against personnel, protected by modern body armour, while keeping weapons' weight, dimensions and recoil at the reasonable levels.

The Five-seveN is a delayed blowback operated, semi-automatic firearm. It featured polymer frame with underbarrel acessory rail. The gun is available in two versions: Five-seveN standard, intended mostly for military users, and Five-seveN Tactical, intended mostly for Law Enforcement users who carry handguns as a primary weapons. The only difference between Standart and Tactical models is in the trigger type: the Five-seveN standard features Double Action Only trigger with long trigger pull and no external safeties; The Five-seveN Tactical featured Single Action trigger with short and light trigger pull and ambidextrous safety switch, located on the frame above the trigger. Both variants are striker fired, with internal firing pin safety. The sights are fixed, with optional night sights (with luminous dots inserts) available.

The Five-seveN is advertised as being capable to penetrate standart PAGST vest at 300 meters and standart CRISAT (kevlar + titanium) vest at 100 meters.

The Five-seveN is available from FN for government or law enforcement sales only.



A Critical Look at the Walther PP Pistol


The Walther Polezei Pistole was introduced in 1929 and originally chambered in .32 ACP. It's also available in .380 ACP and has been made in other calibers such as .22 long rifle and .25 ACP. Without question the design was successful and it remains a popular pistol today. It spawned the shorter PPK a couple of years later which is merely the same platform having a shorter barrel/slide assembly and a shorter butt. This sacrifices 1 round from the PP's 7-round capacity in .380 ACP. In .32 ACP, the count similarly drops by one from the larger pistol's 8-round magazine.

The top pistol is in .380 while the lower one is chambered for .32 ACP. The .380 was purchased new. The .32 was bought used from a friend needing money. The older .32 has the better double-action and is much more pleasant to shoot. I find the sights much better regulated for POA = POI on the .32 than the .380.

The Walther PP-series are conventional DA/SA semiautomatic pistols. They have the slide-mounted decocking system that's been emulated on so many other pistols. When a round is chambered a small pin protrudes at the rear of the slide above the hammer indicating such. Some have reported that this can break or cause possible feeding problems. I have not seen it in using perhaps half-a-dozen of the PP's and PPK/S guns over the years, nor with the two US-made PPK pistols I owned.

Here you can see the single-side decocker that also prevents the hammer being moved rearward and dropping. It acts as a safety in that regard. Above an in front of the ring hammer you can see the loaded chamber indicator pin exposed. This is how it looks with a round chambered. Just in front of the Sile checkered wood grip is the magazine release.

The Walther PP in any caliber is straight blowback. In other words when the gun's fired the barrel does not move rearward with the slide until chamber pressure diminishes. The only thing retarding the slide is its weight, the recoil spring and the mainspring.


Action: blowback with conventional double/single action

Weight: 23.5 ounces

Construction: all steel

Length: 6.7"

Width: 0.851" across the slide

Barrel Length: 3.86"

Magazine Safety: no

Magazine Capacity: 7 rounds in .380 ACP, 8 in .22 and .32 ACP

Safeties: decocker, hammer block until the trigger is pressed completely rearward, loaded chamber indicator and inertial firing pin

Sights: fixed with the front sight integral to the slide and the rear sight mounted via conventional dovetail. Newer versions have a white dot in a slightly wider front sight and a single white bar below the notch in the rear sight. The older guns have plain black front sights with the "U" notch in the rear.

Trigger: grooved on newer pistols and smooth on the older ones

Stocks: black checkered plastic in most versions

Finish: usually bright blue. None of the PP's were offered in stainless steel and none of the European-made Walthers were made in it. Those manufactured in the US have been offered in stainless steel as well as chrome-moly.

This is the front sight on the .380 Walther PP. It represents the newer guns. Note also that the top of the slide has a knurled rib running the full length.

Several other makers in other countries have copied Walther PP-series handguns. This attests to the popularity of this genre of "pocket pistol." Most served in police holsters and were replaced in the 1970's as terrorist acts increased. Police simply wanted more potent sidearms. The .32 or .380 that was as much for show, as use simply wasn't all that self-assuring when possibly facing people intent on your death. That said, they were easy to tote and the Walther PP, PPK, and PPK/S were the "Cadillac's" for pocket autos to those preferring the double-action first shot. In America, the Mauser HSc just never reached the same level of popularity.

Chronograph Data for .32 ACP: All data is based on 10 shots fired approximately 10' from the chronograph screens.


Average Velocity:


Extreme Spread:


Standard Deviation:


PMC 71-gr. FMJ




Speer 60-gr. Gold Dot




Hornady 60-gr. XTP




As you can see, I don't do much shooting with this caliber. In my particular pistol, the Speer Gold Dot JHP's jammed tightly in the magazine. I had to disassemble the magazine to get these rounds out. The XTP's worked fine and grouped quite well.

Opinions vary on the best defensive load in this caliber. Some prefer FMJ as adequate penetration is there. Others cast their lot with expanding bullets in an effort to make a wider wound channel. I personally don't trust this caliber for self-protection, but would probably go with the XTP. It has been a reliable expander for me in informal tests and feeds reliably in my gun. Not as aggressive in expansion, the XTP usually goes to about 1.5 times original caliber. Thus, you get some expansion and penetration will probably be a little deeper than with some other JHP ammo.

Here you can see the Speer Gold Dot for .32 ACP. I didn't have good luck with them and this one didn't expand when fired into water.

Chronograph Data for .380 ACP: This information was gathered in the same manner as for the .32 ACP.


Average Velocity:


Extreme Spread:


Standard Deviation:


Glaser 70-gr. Silver +P




Magtech 85-gr. GG +P




Remington 88-gr. JHP




Federal 90-gr. JHP




Federal 90-gr. HS




Corbon 90-gr. JHP +P




Magtech 95-gr. FMJ




Win USA 95-gr. FMJ




S. Barbara 95-gr. JSP*




Win Ranger 95-gr. JHP




Rem 102-gr. GS




*The Santa Barbara 95-gr. JSP is made by Empresa Nacional in Spain. I can find no designation as to its being standard pressure or +P. Frankly I think it is TOO hot for use in anything but an all-steel pistol and would limit its use there. I will not fire anymore of it in my lightweight Bersa and probably none in my steel .380's.

From left to right: Hornady .380 XTP, Magtech Guardian Gold JHP, and Remington Golden Saber after being fired into water.

Winchester RA380T (Ranger SXT and law enforcement only) is a very good standard velocity load for the .380 ACP. In my informal tests, Remington's 102-gr. Golden Saber is its equivalent.

Here's the Walther with Federal 90-gr. Classic JHP. This standard pressure load feeds very well and has performed well for me in a number of .380 pistols. I believe that in this caliber, placement will count for much, much more than expanding bullet performance. The .380 ACP is right on the line and maybe just a little under it for my minimal requirements in a defensive caliber.

Not intended as a pure target round, all of the .32 and .380 ammunition I've tried has been more than sufficiently accurate for its defensive role.

This 8-shot group using Winchester .380 95-gr. ball was fired off-hand in slow-fire at 10 yards. Note that the POA is quite a bit lower than the POI and that the first shot (DA) was approximately 2" out of the main group.

Fired at 7 yards off-hand, two 5-shot groups were fired with the Walther .32 ACP. I was aiming dead-on on the white spot in the center of the target. Had I used a 6 O'clock hold, the group would be right at the dot. It's been my continued experience that the 32-caliber PP's hit almost dead-on while the .380's hit considerably higher. I think both have their sights regulated for the lighter caliber.

Observations: The .380 pistol remains popular today, albeit with more and more models that are both lighter and smaller than these classic designs. Something sometimes overlooked is the velocity loss inherent to the shorter barrels of such guns. They do not provide the full "power" of the .380 as with more traditional 3.5 to 3.9" barrel lengths. Of course another way to look at that is that some of these really tiny .380 pistols are not much bigger than .25 autos so they are providing at least more punch in that light. I do not trust the .32 and am none too sure of the .380 ACP, but that doesn't necessarily make me "right." There is more to choosing a defensive pistol/caliber than "power". I personally set my lower limit at .38 Special from a 2" barrel with heavier bullets than are available in .380 ACP. Some are not comfortable with but 5 shots and much prefer the automatic's increased ammo capacity. Other folks don't like the somewhat sharp recoil of the little thirty-eight's and some simply do not care for revolvers. Ballistically, the .380 really doesn't make much sense anymore. There are many very compact 9mm's that offer performance well above it. Much of the time, so is the cost of the gun. Here lies one of the .380's advantages. Being straight blowback, a gun of comparable quality to a locked breech pistol will usually cost less. It's simply less complicated to make. Visually, the .380 ACP doesn't look that much smaller than the 9x19mm; the "problem" is that it operates at significantly lower pressures and simply cannot approach the 9mm's delivery with the same weight bullets.

For whatever reasons we find the John M. Browning's .380 cartridge thriving.

We also find that despite there being smaller, lighter, and less-costly pistols available, some folks simply want the old classic Walther, be it in PP, PPK, or PPK/S. I prefer the more traditional size .380's as I want all the velocity I can get for a given load and the longer barrels better provide it.

While these European-manufactured Walthers have proven reliable with a wide variety of ammo, there have been complaints from some using the American-made versions. I've owned a few of the American guns and my results were mixed. Some were absolutely reliable and others would work only with ball or a very limited number of JHP loads. (Federal 90-gr. JHP worked in all.) If you opt for a Walther PP-series pistol, you must be sure it is reliable with whatever ammunition you intend to use in it.

I've noted that more times than not, the DA trigger pulls on the .32's are both lighter and smoother than on the .380's. This is just a guess, but could it be that Walther is using an increased power mainspring in the .380 to retard the slide in addition to the recoil spring? In any event the double-action on my .380 is not nearly so nice as that on the .32 ACP.

The main complaint I have with the Walther PP is that it bites the hand that shoots it. The slide is mounted so low that it's very easy to get the shooting hand nipped by the edges of the slide. This seems to be a curse for folks with larger hands. Others get by unscathed. I've never been lucky in that regard and have never considered the Walther a particularly "comfortable" pistol to hold, much less, shoot. This is subjective and others will disagree.

Though some examples of the Walther PP are extremely nice, it is not my first choice for a "carry .380". I much prefer the Bersa Thunder. I do not believe it to be as robust as the Walther, but it is very easy to shoot well and the sights are "on". It also has a very usable DA trigger pull. My choice is not necessarily yours. If you prefer the Walther, go for it. Unless it just has to be the smallest Walther, I'd opt for the PP with its extra shot and longer barrel.

Monday, March 10, 2008



Aubie Baltin CFP. CTA, CFA, Phd. (retired)

Both the Economy and Stock Markets are unfolding, almost as if on cue to the play I have been writing during the last year or so. I am not sure whether to be happy or sad as more and more analysts begin to see the dangers that lie beneath the surface and recognize the far reaching effects of the problems You may recall that I was always kind of hoping that this time I would be completely wrong. While it’s nice to get a little company after standing alone; I am sure we would all rather be wrong than have to bear witness to what’s coming.

Why did Bernanke cut the Fed Funds rate by an unprecedented inter-meeting 75bps, followed two weeks later by another 50bps? The flow of bad news in December to mid-January did not, by itself, justify such radical action. In order to understand these moves, one has to read between the lines and ignore the Pollyannish babbling of our Media, Politicians and Financial pundits and look instead at the rising probability of a "Catastrophic" financial and economic collapse (1930’s type depression). It now looks like the Fed is seriously worried about the risks, the likes of which have not been seen since the 1930’s. After a year in which the FED and the Treasury were underplaying the economic and financial risks – The FED has been pressured into taking a very aggressive, wrong headed, Keynesian(Socialist) approach to risk management. To understand the risks that the financial system is facing, let us examine the "nightmare" scenario that financial officials around the world have suddenly become aware of and which can no longer be swept under the rug. To begin with let us assume that the recession, which we will soon discover, started in the last quarter of 2007, will be much worse than those that occurred in 1990-91 and 2001-02 for several reasons. First, we have the biggest housing bubble/bust in US history with some home prices likely to eventually fall 30% to 50% or more. Second, because of deregulation and the elimination of Glass Steagall and a host of other protections put in place (after the last financial debacle) by the Securities Act of 1933-34, a massive credit bubble/crunch was created that has now gone far beyond just sub-prime mortgages. Third, deregulation has caused reckless financial innovation and securitization, causing the FED to lose complete control of the money supply, leading to the worst credit crunches in American history. Fourth, US household consumption which now accounts for more than 70% of GDP have spent well beyond their means for 15 years, piling up massive amounts of debt. Now that home prices are falling and a severe credit crunch is emerging, the retrenchment of private consumption will be serious, longer lasting and far reaching.

The Ten Steps to Financial Armageddon

1. The worst housing recession in US history and there is no sign that it will bottom out any time soon. US home prices will fall between 30% and 50% from their blow-off peaks which would wipe out between $5 and $10 trillion of equity, making the 1987 and 2001-2002 equity destruction look like chump change. While a 20% home price drop will translate into a sub-prime meltdown of about 2.2 million foreclosures, a 50% fall in home values will result in over 13 to 18 million households ending up with negative equity in their homes. What will that do to consumer spending? It won’t be long before a few large home builders go bankrupt, leading to another free fall in home builders' banks and related stock prices. The perennial Bulls, looking at last years earnings began bottom fishing and rallied these stocks in spite of the worsening housing recession, thus giving us a perfect opportunity to short the Home Builders and Banks.

2. The financial system losses from the sub-prime disaster are now estimated to be as high as $250 to $300 billion. But the financial losses will not be restricted to sub-prime mortgages and their related CMOs and CDOs. They are now spreading to near prime and prime mortgages as the same reckless lending practices, i.e. LIAR loans (no down-payment, no income verification interest rate only, negative amortization, teaser rates), were occurring across the entire spectrum of mortgages. All of which were being pushed by Greenspan and the Government promoting the American Dream. Instead, what they have created will be the Great American Nightmare. 60% of all mortgage origination between 2005-2007 had these suicidal features. What happened to risk underwriting? Goldman Sachs now estimates total mortgage credit losses of about $400 billion, but that is based on home prices falling only 20%. The markets for securitization of mortgages - already dead for sub-prime and practically frozen for other mortgages – further reduces the ability of banks to originate mortgages and as their risk tolerance is ever increasing, so are the minimum down-payments and credit score requirements. The huge losses have forced banks to bring back on to their balance sheet all types of toxic off-balance sheet investments and loans turning them into financial Time Bombs. Because of securitization, the toxic waste has spread from the major banks and brokers to their Investors, Pension Funds, Insurance Companies and Money Market Funds in both the US and abroad; increasing rather than reducing systemic risk as well as globalizing the credit crunch. The rest of the world will not be growing fast enough to pull the US out of recession.

3. The recession will cause a sharp increase in defaults in all other forms of unsecured consumer debt such as credit cards, auto loans, student loans, etc. As the Fed Loan Officers Survey suggests, the credit crunch is spreading from mortgages to consumer credit, and from large banks to smaller banks, it is becoming clear that the losses are much higher than the $10-$15 billion rescue package that regulators are trying to put together. The Monolines are actually borderline insolvent if not out and out bankrupt and none of them deserves a AAA rating regardless of how much recapitalization is provided. Any business that requires an AAA rating just to stay in business is a business that does not warrant an AAA rating. However, any downgrade of the Monolines will lead to another $150 to $250 billion of write-downs since it will also lead to huge losses on their portfolio of Muni Bonds. Just their downgrade will spillover into large losses and potential runs on the Money Market Funds that have relied on those AAA ratings. The Money Market Funds that are backed by banks or that bought liquidity protection from banks against the risk of a fall in the NAV may avoid a run, but such a rescue will exacerbate the capital and liquidity problems of their underwriters. Any Monolines' downgrade would lead to another sharp drop in US equity markets already shaken by the risk of a severe recession and large losses in the financial system but worst of all, to a general loss in overall CONFIDENCE. NOTE: The current Monoline rescue talk and/or plans is providing yet another short selling opportunity.

5. As I have been warning you, the commercial real estate loan market will sooner or later enter into a meltdown similar to that of the sub-prime one. Lending practices in commercial real estate were as reckless as those in residential real estate. The recession led by the housing crisis will lead, with a lag, to a bust in non-residential construction. The CMBX index is already pricing in massive increases in credit spreads for non-residential mortgages/loans.

6. It is highly probable that some large regional or even national banks will go bankrupt in the near future. This, like in the case of Northern Rock, will lead to a depositors' panic and concerns about deposit insurance. The Fed will have to reaffirm the implicit doctrine that some banks as well as Fannie and Freddie are too big to fail as well as the FDIC’s Deposit Guarantees. The bank’s losses on their portfolio of leveraged loans are already large and growing. The ability of financial institutions to syndicate and securitize their leveraged loans - a good chunk of which were issued to finance very risky and reckless LBOs - is now or soon will be frozen as another prop to the stock market goes into the DEEP FREEZE. Hundreds of billions of dollars of leveraged loans are now stuck on the balance sheet of financial institutions at values well below par (currently about 90 cents on the dollar, but soon to be much lower). Add to this the many reckless LBOs (as senseless LBOs with debt to earnings ratio of seven or eight had become the norm during the go-go days of the LBO, Pvt. equity bubble) have now been postponed, restructured or cancelled. The problem worsens by the fact that some large LBOs will end up in bankruptcy as some of those corporations that were taken private will go bankrupt in a recession and given the re-pricing of risk, convenant-lite and PIK toggles may only postpone - not avoid - such bankruptcies and make them uglier when they do eventually occur. The leveraged loan mess has already frozen the LBO market leading not only to growing losses, but the elimination of a very lucrative source of income for financial institutions.

7. Once a severe recession is underway, a wave of corporate defaults will take place. In a typical year, US corporate default rates average about 3.8% (for 1971-2006); in 2006 and 2007 this figure was a puny 0.6%. This was due to the lax lending requirements and ultra low interest rates. In a typical US recession, such default rates surge above 10%. Also, during such distressed periods, the recovery given default (RGD) rates are much lower, adding to the total losses from a default. Default rates were very low in the last two years because of a slosh of liquidity, easy credit conditions and very low spreads (with Junk Bond yields being only 260bps above Treasuries until mid June 2007). But now the re-pricing of risk has been massive and Junk Bond spreads are close to 700bps, while the Junk Bond market is now practically frozen.

While on average the US and European corporations are in better shape in terms of profitability and debt burden than in 2001, there is a great many corporations with very low profitability that have piled up a mass of Junk Bond debt that will soon require refinancing at much higher spreads: Corporate default rates will then surge well above the recession average of 10%. Once both defaults and credit spreads are higher, massive losses will occur among the credit default swaps (CDS) that provided protection against corporate defaults. Losses on CDS’s do not represent only a transfer of wealth from those who sold protection to those who bought it. If some of the counterparties selling protection, i.e. banks, hedge funds and large broker dealers go bankrupt, even greater systemic risk results as those who bought protection face counterparties who cannot pay.

8. Unlike banks, non-bank financial institutions such as GE Credit and GMAC etc. don't have direct or even indirect access to the central bank's lender of last resort facility, as they are not depository institutions. In the event of financial distress, they may go bankrupt not because of insolvency, but for lack of liquidity and their inability to roll over or refinance their short term debt, especially since they cannot be directly rescued by the central banks in the same way banks can.

9. Soon, perhaps after one last wishful thinking, short-covering rally, stock markets around the world will begin pricing in a severe US recession as well as a global economic slowdown. The drop in stock markets around the world will then resume with a vengeance as investors begin to realize that the economic downturn is much worse than they ever imagined. Long equity hedge funds will go belly up as large margin calls are triggered leading to a cascading fall in equity prices as a Bear Market is recognized. While a typical US recession causes the S&P 500 to fall by about 28%, this Recession/Depression will not be typical and I am looking for losses in the 50% plus range.

10. Using Economics 101, $200 billion in losses in the Banking system, given a reserve requirement of 10%, leads to a contraction of credit of $2 trillion. Even the recapitalization of banks by sovereign wealth funds (SWF) - about $80 billion so far - will be unable to stop this credit (money supply) contraction. A contagious and cascading spiral of credit contraction, sharp fall in asset prices and widening credit spreads will then be transmitted to most parts of the financial system. This massive credit crunch will make the economic contraction even more severe and the economic recession will become deeper and more protracted. A global economic recession will follow as the credit crunch spreads around the world. A cascading fall in asset prices will cause panic, fire sales and exacerbate the real economic distress as a number of financial institutions go bankrupt. A 1987 style stock market crash could occur leading to further panic. Monetary and fiscal easing, as I have previously explained, will no longer work and will not be able to prevent a systemic financial meltdown. The lack of trust in counterparties driven by the lack of transparency in financial markets and uncertainty about the size of the losses and exactly who is holding the toxic waste securities, will add to the impotence of monetary policy and lead to massive hoarding of liquidity. In this meltdown scenario, the US and global financial markets will experience their worst crisis since the 1930’s.


The great false hope.

Ambac had, at one time, a capitalization of $US 5.7 billion, with which it guaranteed bonds of $US 550 billion! REALLY! A 1% misstep wipes out its entire capital. How safe will we be even after some back room engineered re-capitalized bail-out designed primarily to help maintain the dubious AAA ratings. And we call this insurance?

What about the general and much broader US Insurance System which covers

everything from life insurance to fire and accident all the way to hurricanes, tornados and floods? All the US insurance companies will be reporting their financial status by the end of February, but only as of the end of 2007. Being so big, they hold enormous investments in all forms of US financial paper from stocks to commercial bonds, CDOs, CMOs etc. and US Treasuries. Their losses on these investments are certain to be huge, but their report will not reflect their true status because the realization of the damage took place in 2008. Since they do not have to mark to the market every day, their true losses will be even bigger after the market falls further, later this year. The issue now becomes: How “safe” are they?


One thing for sure, obfuscation, misinformation and politicizing every problem, large or small, will only make it worse. A recession is inevitable, a depression is not. If Bernanke and the Government can work together to control the recession but allow the economy and the securities markets to heal themselves, while mitigating the harmful effects of the recession, then we may avoid a depression. But if an all out effort is undertaken to stop the recession from running its course, as Wall St is demanding, then matters will get a lot worse instead of better. Can our politicians, the Fed and other financial officials come together and avoid this nightmare scenario? Probably not, unless they all hand in their Keynesian credentials and suddenly read and adopt Austrian Economics, recognize the real problems and are able to differentiate cause from effect. Nevertheless, the answer to this question will depend on whether the policy responses (monetary, fiscal, regulatory and financial) are coherent, timely and credible.

I would not bet on it! My philosophy always remains the same regardless of the situation: “HOPE FOR THE BEST, EXPECT AND PREPARE FOR THE WORST, YOU WILL NEVER BE DISAPOINTED”.


SELL, SELL, SELL: We are in a BEAR MARKET for BONDS and STOCKS. Get out of all your bonds and money markets NOW! Short Term Treasuries and CDs are ok. Although the FED may try to continue to cut rates, because of our weak dollar they may not be able to. But regardless if they do or not, long term rates will be increasing as sanity finally returns to the marketplace and risk once again becomes part of the cost of borrowing.

The 64.2 % reading was high enough to set the stage for the substantial Pull-Back rally into the Bernanke trip to Washington.

Sell and go short into any 450 to 750 point (38%) DJII retrenchment rally. You can now buy Puts on the ETF’s that you think are the most vulnerable such as the XLF (Financials) or you can buy the pro ETF’s that go up when their related indexes go down (i.e QID represents double down the QQQ’s) AND/OR you can just accumulate more GOLD and SILVER stocks and Bullion.

NOTE: This is not a handholding Day Trading Letter, so don’t expect specific option or stock trading recommendations. I only name buy and hold LT positions.


The Selling Of IMF Gold: Calls Attention To The REAL Problems.

Ever since its beginnings in the late 1940s, IMF Gold sales have always coincided with a last ditch emergency act in response to a global monetary crisis. Only Gold stands as a valid alternative to failing Fiat monetary systems. IS IT CRISIS TIME AGAIN? Every time the IMF has sold “official” Gold, it soared. In the late 1970s, as US consumer prices were soaring, both the IMF and US Treasury were selling Gold out of their respective inventories. The response to that was Gold gapped up $20 to $40 at every auction. So instead of with dread or fear, I welcome IMF Gold sales.


The early 1970’s saw Gold go from $35/oz to $200/oz., a 570% increase in less than three years which, at the time, marked the end of Wave I only. A similar move today since we are now in the final stages of Wave I , just like we were back in 1975, would give us a target of ($250 X 5.7) $1425 and that would only complete a 7 year Wave I of an ongoing 5 wave, 16 to 20 year Bull Market for Gold. Do I have to spell it out for you what you should be investing in?


Both the Juniors and to a lesser extent the Seniors and Mid Caps have been lagging the rise in the Gold price, instead of leading it as they usually do. Let us now all complain and keep looking a gift horse in the mouth instead of slowly and quietly doing our homework and accumulating the once in a lifetime bargains that are staring us all in the face.

Usually it is “hurry up and buy before the bargains run away”. My crystal ball is a little cloudy, but I am convinced that in the not to distant future, they will catch up and surpass Gold and Silver Bullion. I am running out of time and space, so if you want to know why this abnormal occurrence is happening, you will have to wait for my next letter or go to where you will find a good number of knowledgeable Gold and Silver people. In the meantime, my TUNE has not changed for the last SIX years: BUY - DO NOT TRADE. Buy more on dips and retrenchments and hang on for dear life as the GOLDEN BULL will definitely try its best to buck you off.


Bought Miranda Gold (MRDDF) at $0.58 and looking to Buy March in the money Puts today on C, JPM, LEN and LOW


February 27, 2008,

MY SUBSCRIPTION LETTER, “UNCOMMON COMMON SENSE” was started Feb. 1st. We are now living in the type of times in which you will definitely want to be kept abreast as to what is really happening on a regular bi-weekly basis. A 3 month trial subscription is only $55. One Year $199: Call for more info.

Aubie Baltin CFA, CTA, CFP, PhD.

2078 Bonisle Circle

Palm Beach Gardens FL. 33418


Please Note: This article is for education purposes only and is designed to help clarify your thinking, not lead it. Only you can decide the best places to invest your money and the degree of risk that you are prepared to take. The Information or data included here has been gleaned from sources deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed by me and may have already been overtaken by events. Nothing is stated here should be taken as a recommendation to buy or sell securities. Consult with your own financial advisor before making any investment decisions.

.38 Special LSWCHP +P: Still a Top Load?

By Stephen Camp

Despite improvements in popular defense calibers like 9mm and .45 ACP as well as some new ones such as .40 S&W, .357 SIG, and .45 GAP, the .38 Special continues to sell as a self-protection round. With the police move to autos in the '80's, the "shakers and movers" in this caliber are now the snub revolvers. This is probably due to the concealed handgun licensing laws allowing private citizens to legally carry. In police circles, the .38 Special fills but a few duty holsters these days, just the opposite of a few decades ago. It still serves in the role of back up for more than a few lawmen.

Just as was the case 30 years ago, the .38 Special just didn't "shine" as a top "stopper" in any barrel length. The traditional 158-gr. LRN bullet loped along at some 800 ft/sec from the usual 4" barrel and the picture grew bleaker when using short-barreled revolvers.

Super Vel sought to change this with a hot 110-gr. JHP and eventually other ammunition manufacturers began doing the same. Commercial ammo used bullets from 90 to 158 grains with the most popular seeming to be in the 110 to 125-gr. weight range. It seems that some improvement in "stopping power" was observed over the old 158-gr. solids as well as the pitifully slow 200-gr. "Super Police" round nose load that was becoming almost nonexistent.

A popular defense load for the .38 Special appeared during this same time frame. It has been referred to as "The FBI Load" or "The Chicago Load" and I've seen it called "The Dallas Load" a few times. Whatever it was called, the round consisted of a lead SWC with a deep hollow cavity loaded to +P pressure.

It seemed to hit closer to point of aim in the fixed sight revolvers common at that time and field reports indicated that it was fairly effective. It is a safe statement that this load became quite popular whether offered from Remington, Federal, or Winchester. I do not recall which came out with it first.

Today, it still remains the top choice for some people, but is being challenged by some "new technology" bullets said to work more reliably over more varied conditions. Corbon has a light-for-caliber X-bullet, which penetrates more deeply than might be expected, and Speer is offering a mid-weight 135-gr. Gold Dot designed especially for use in shorter barrel lengths. Both are also loaded to SAAMI +P pressure levels and a myriad of 110 and 125-gr. JHP's are available as well.

Here are three cartridges for the .38 Special. From left to right: 130-gr. FMJFP, standard velocity 125-gr. Federal Nyclad hollow point, and a Remington 158-gr. LSWCHP +P. The FMJ is almost always used for practice while the other two were designed to expand in soft targets. The Nyclad was originally a SWC design intended for indoor target work. They were offered in both standard and +P loads, but neither is available from Federal today for use by private citizens. Both these hollow points would be considered "old technology."

Though most attempted to up the .38 snub's "stopping power" with higher velocities and better bullet design, one school suggests using the old 148-gr. full wadcutter, citing that many expanding designs simply don't after passing through 4-layers of denim before striking 10% ballistic gelatin. They cite sufficient penetration and low recoil being characteristic of this load. After all, if the expanding bullets don't after passing through the denim, why not go with the lighter, easier to shoot wadcutter?

Here we see the LSWCHP next to one of the latest entries, the homogeneous copper alloy Corbon DPX. At the bottom is the aggressive expanding JHP loaded to +P+ pressures. All are above standard pressure levels and approach enhancing "stopping power" differently. The "old technology" LSWCHP might be thought of as a homogeneous bullet like the DPX. It has no copper or jacket while the DPX has no lead. The LSWCHP is in the traditional weight and moves between 800 and about 900 ft/sec depending upon barrel length. The DPX is lighter and averages just under 1100 ft/sec from my snubs. The hot Corbon 115-gr. +P+ is no longer sold. This one exceeds 1180 ft/sec from a 1 7/8" barrel! Frankly, I'm hesitant to shoot it in my personal revolvers for fear of possibly cracking the thin forcing cone walls.

Thus, we see different approaches to a common problem and different criteria by which to judge effectiveness. Though kinetic energy figures were very commonly used to describe stopping power in the past, it is considered almost sacrilege to do so today. Some continue to go for higher than normal velocities with superbly designed expanding bullets while others go with a lighter recoiling flat solid, but the LSWCHP +P continues to sell and remains a very popular choice.

Why is this so?

  • My own reasons for sticking with this "old technology" load are several.

  • It has had time to develop a "history." It has been used against human opponents enough to actually see that it "works" more than it "fails."
  • Because it is in the traditional bullet weight, POI is usually quite close to POA in fixed sight revolvers.
  • In the lightweight revolvers, recoil is present to be sure, but it doesn't seem as sharp as with the fast, light-for-caliber bullets. (An example would be Corbon's 110-gr. JHP +P, not DPX.)

  • This load can be found at more places than many of the newest loads, but it too can sometimes be elusive.
  • It performs well in 3 and 4" barrels and allows for a single, reasonably effective load in all my 38-caliber revolvers.

Where the 158-gr. LSWCHP seems to fall from favor is when it is fired from 2" revolvers through 4-layers of denim before impacting 10% ballistic gelatin. This protocol is described by its supporters as a "worst case scenario" and not necessarily realistic. They opine that if a bullet will expand after punching the denim, it will usually do so for real and under most circumstances. (Note: This doesn't seem to be a problem when the LSWCHP is fired from 3" or longer barrels.) For this reason, the group supporting the denim test usually suggests using the 148-gr. wadcutter in the snub .38 revolver. They cite that it gets plenty of penetration, has low recoil, and does as good as an expanding bullet that doesn't expand.

Some of this makes sense to me. The wadcutter does kick less. It does penetrate sufficiently, at least in gelatin, but having chronographed some from an S&W snub at a "blazing" 541 ft/sec, I somehow don't think that this is quite as wise a choice as some might imply. Before I retired as a police officer, I spoke with a young man who'd been shot but a moment before with a .38 Special snub. He was sitting on the curb and looked like he wasn't feeling very good, but he could easily have pulled a trigger had he a gun and the inclination. It turns out that he died four minutes later in the ambulance I called.

He'd been shot through the heart with a .38 Special 148-gr. wadcutter.

I spoke with two officers from other agencies that had been forced to use their snubs against felons. Each was using the 158-gr. LSWCHP +P, but I don't remember which brand. Each decked an opponent with a single shot each to the chest. If memory serves, one of the crooks died, but both stopped and dropped when shot. I'm sure that there have been failures as well, but often wonder how much of this might be due to less than good shot placement because the little snubs can be difficult to shoot accurately if one is not practiced with them.

These bullets were fired into water from 2" .38 Special revolvers. The bullet at the left is from Remington and is softer than the deformed, flattened one on the right, which is from Winchester. (I am not sure where the Federal version falls in lead composition.) To me, the Remington is the better choice if a snub is being used. The Winchester sort of morphed into a wadcutter, but is traveling significantly faster so I'd pick either before I'd go with a target wadcutter as is sometimes suggested. When fired through the dreaded 4-layers of denim, the Remington acts about like the Winchester when the latter is fired directly into water. To me this still beats the wadcutter.

Again we see the expanded Remington (left) and Winchester 158-gr. LSWCHP +P's after being fired into water. This time there is less dramatic differences in expansion. That's because they were fired from 4" barrels. If my revolvers had barrels no shorter than 3", it wouldn't make me a lick of difference which was used. I'd probably go with whichever grouped best or cost less. In the snub, I definitely prefer Remington.

Though I've not tested them yet, the Speer 135-gr. Gold Dot "Short Barrel Load" appears to be very promising. It has a soft jacket with more copper content than traditional gilding metal and the bullet is reportedly designed to expand well at .38 snub velocities and to do so after passing through 4-layers of denim. (The DPX is said to do this as well.)

From a 2" vented test barrel, Speer reports that the 135-gr. Gold Dot +P averages 860 ft/sec. From my "slowest" barrel Model 642, Remington's 158-gr. LSWCHP +P hits 800 ft/sec with monotonous regularity.

With the Speer we have 7.5% more velocity, but trade 14.6% bullet weight to get it. Until I get a chance to really look at how this stuff performs, I believe I'll just stick with the old style LSWCHP.

From left to right we have an unfired 45-caliber 200-gr. SWC, an expanded Remington 158-gr. LSWCHP +P, and an unfired 38-caliber 158-gr. SWC. At reasonably similar velocities which appears to be capable of leaving the largest diameter permanent cavity? The LSWCHP normally penetrates between 14 and 16" of 10% ballistic gelatin. The one I saw recovered from a previously wounded deer expanded in a fashion similar to the one in the picture, but was more uneven. It was fired from a 1 7/8" S&W Model 60.

Can we make the .38 Special a more potent load? Yes, I think we can, assuming that bullet placement remains in the equation, but I just don't think that it will ever be the "stopper" that some other calibers are. I try and pick what I believe to be a "good" load and then concentrate on practice. The 158-gr. LSWCHP +P from a snub S&W revolver is about as low on the ballistic totem pole as I care to go.

Here we see the Remington 158-gr. LSWCHP +P (center) compared to some other popular defense loads in other calibers. All were fired into water. Top Left: 9mm 127-gr. Winchester Ranger fired from a Browning Hi Power. Top Right: .45 ACP 230-gr. Ranger fired from 5" Kimber. Bottom Left: Hornady 90-gr. XTP fired from a Bersa. Bottom Right: Corbon .357 Magnum 125-gr. DPX fired from 2 1/2" S&W Model 19. I suspect that the 9mm, .357, and .45 loads are more likely to incapacitate quicker than the .38 LSWCHP +P, but still submit that this load is worthy of consideration in a snub. Its effectiveness is no doubt better in a 3 or 4" barrel revolver.

Some report problems with leading, but I've not seen this in any S&W, Colt, or Ruger revolver that I've fired this ammunition through. I have seldom fired more than 50 shots at a time, however, and I reckon it is possible if firing more than that between cleanings or in a rough bore.

Until I get the chance to personally try more of the latest loads for the .38 Special and see how they are performing in the real world, I'll just stay with this old load.

For those interested, here are some average 10-shot velocities for this Remington round:

S&W Model 642 with 1 7/8" bbl: 800 ft/sec

S&W Model 19 with 2 1/2" bbl: 860 ft/sec

S&W Model 64 with 3" bbl: 883 ft/sec

Ruger GP100 with 3" bbl: 894 ft/sec

Ruger SP101 with 3 1/16" bbl: 906 ft/sec

S&W Model 10 with 4" bbl: 888 ft/sec

I cannot say if the newer attempts to increase the .38 revolver's "stopping power" are better, worse, or about the same as the old lead hollow point; they just have not had time to produce a track record. In the meantime, I'll stay with the LSWCHP +P in my .38 Special revolvers…but I'll be looking at the new stuff, too!



Like many issues, the choice to have guns among your survival gear is up to the individual. Both Stan and I grew up in families that had firearms. My dad was a Marksman in the Army and Stan was captain of his school small-bore rifle team and also beat the NRA National Champion in an unofficial match while attending the US Air Force Academy. If gun laws were such in Australia, we would include them in our survival gear. As it is, they are permissible only under certain circumstances.

Many folks have written saying the weapons issue should be addressed whether for personal protection or hunting game. As a self-professed gun illiterate, a knowledgeable friend in law enforcement, wrote this concise and informative primer on useful firearms.

Different people's experience can produce different findings and weapons is no different. Shortly after the Firearms page was uploaded, another law enforcement officer, Erik, offered his analysis based on his experience. Erik is a professional law enforcement officer and firearms instructor full-time. He's also a 10-year veteran of active and reserve military. If you would like to contact him, Erik's email is

Our third contributor is also a law enforcement officer in Western Australia with a total of 18 years to his credit. Six of the 18 years were spent with Special Forces in the Australian government. He has also studied various martial arts including Judo, Ju-Jitsu, Ti-Chi and Karate for over 30 years. Below you'll find valuable information regarding personal protection applicable for most countries.

Overall the three men have similar takes on guns, but it's always valuable to discuss some of the finer points. The original text is in blue, Erik's contribution is in green and our Australian law enforcement officer's expertise is in purple:

Primer on Personal Security

Firearms are merely a means to an end. First and foremost, it must be remembered that a firearm in the hands of an inexperienced person will do as much damage to them or their family as it will to the object that they wish to shoot.

There are countless examples of children being seriously injured or killed because the weapons were not secured or the various parts, i.e. stock, bolt and ammunition etc. were not stored separately.

There are also many stories of persons having had their firearm taken from them and the offender turning the weapon on the owner.

What I am alluding to is that there is no substitute for proper training . Remember, shooting is a skill which needs to be kept current as does your first aid skills. If you are going to have firearms, learn how to deal with firearm-related injuries.

In relation to the type of firearm required, it is important to decide what the firearm is intended for, i.e. the procurement of food or for personal protection. There are three basic types of firearms to be consider and each has a particular killing zone. The killing zones are as follows:

1. Personal killing zone - distance to target 0 to 10 meters (0 to 33 feet)
2. Middle killing zone - distance to target 10 to 100 meters (33 to 328 feet)
3. Long range killing zone - distance to target 100 to 1000 meters (328 to 3280 feet)

A further point to consider is where am I going to carry the firearm.

Special Forces training indelibly imprints on the mind of its members the three areas that items are kept. They are :

1. On the person: These items are on you at all times, and include:

  • Personal Survival
  • Medical
  • Protection Items (A K-Bar knife is recommended which is a Marine solid core, straight blade, survival knife.)

2. On webbing: These items are within arms reach all the time, and include:

  • Emergency Water
  • Shelter
  • Warmth
  • Food Items
  • Personal Protection Items

(An Emergi-Pak from TECFEN Corporation is recommended along with 1 litre of water, a hand gun and ammunition.)

3. In pack: These packs should be stored "ready to go" in an area that can be accessed very quickly, i.e. keep one in the house, one in your vehicle etc. and include:

  • 5 litres of Water
  • Small Tent
  • Change of Clothing and Footwear
  • Food for 5 days
  • Personal Medical Supplies
  • Fold Down Survival Weapon

One weapon will not satisfy all of your requirements so consider your choice carefully.

For a hand gun, Special Forces carry a revolver. Revolvers require less maintenance than pistols. Pistols have many moving parts and if you are unfamiliar with the weapon they are prone to jam. The United States Air Force has what I consider to be one of the ultimate survival hand guns. The revolver has 3 barrels and 3 cylinders enabling a rapid change from a 22 caliber, to a 38 special to a 44 magnum.

The 22 caliber is used for hunting small game; hollow point rounds are recommended. Sub-sonic rounds can be purchased to lessen the sound if noise is a consideration. "Stinger" ammunition (also 22 caliber) is recommended for larger game up to the size of a medium sized dog. It has a higher velocity than the standard 22 round and with a pentagonal hole in the projectile rather than a "Hollow Point". The projectile fractures evenly on 5 points resulting in increased trauma to the game.

The 38 special can be used for larger game as well as being a formidable caliber for personal protection. Finally, the 44 magnum is capable of inflicting huge traumas to everything it hits.

My recommendation for personal security in the home would be a 12 gauge or 20 gauge shotgun with an 18 or 20 inch barrel. The 20 gauge has a lot less kick and performs almost as well as the 12 gauge. 00 buck (buckshot) ammo is the equivalent of firing a dozen rounds from a 9mm handgun all at once, and is the most deadly gun made. The short barrel is good for large game under 100 yards with slug ammo, and with a longer barrel and different ammo you can hunt any kind of bird, rabbits, etc. Barrels are interchangeable. A Remington 12 gauge with a 28 inch barrel can be had in the US for about $210 new. A .410 shotgun is good for rabbits, but not for protection unless you can hit someone in the eyes with it.

Most of this is true, except for two points:

1. The recoil of a shotgun is so severe as to be difficult for most women, small men, or younger children. For these people, I would recommend a pistol-caliber carbine, such as the US M1, Marlin Camp, or Ruger. These guns are available (US) in the same price ranges as a shotgun.

2. The lethality of the shotgun is often overestimated. In many shotgun patterns, close to 50% of the pellets may miss or hit non-vital areas, even at close range. Follow-up shots are difficult because of the recoil. Accuracy is a MUST, so you have to practice with this or any other firearm.

For protection, a good semi-auto rifle in 7.62x39 or .223 (5.56mm) is, in my opinion, the best choice. It has low recoil, high capacity, and is very accurate, even out to up to 400 meters. It can also be used for hunting small game, or, in the case of the heavier 7.62 round, even deer. Examples include the Ruger Mini-14, Colt AR-15, AK47 or MAK-90, SKS, or M1 Garand.

Lever-action rifles in .30-30 are also a good alternative to a semi-auto. Winchester Model 94 or Marlin 336 or 30AW.

For a personal protection handgun, the most deadly is the .357 magnum revolver with a 125 grain hollow point bullet. It far surpasses Clint Eastwood's movie .44 magnum for one shot kills. However, the .44 magnum with a 6 inch barrel or longer, is the best hunting handgun available without going to some of the more exotic calibers. A revolver is simple to use and trouble free. I recommend a Smith and Wesson .357 for ease of use and cleaning, or a Ruger .357 for durability if you are going to drag it through the desert, swamp, jungle, drop it from an airplane, etc. Tarus makes a very good and inexpensive gun too.

I concur with this, except remember again the .357 recoil is tough to get used to.

For a semi-automatic handgun, where I work, new Deputies are required to carry a Glock .40 caliber. It is the most efficient and deadly available and an excellent gun. It's one of the new "plastic guns".

I don't have a quarrel with the Glock in a survival situation, but the .40 is not a good idea. 9mm is just as effective when shot accurately and is much easier to obtain in large quantities.

Everyone should have a .22 rifle. It is good for target practice and is more deadly than some of the larger caliber guns due to the high velocity of the bullet causing deep penetration. I know people who illegally shot an elk and a trophy deer at close range with a .22. I get a lot of disagreement from people, but if I had to choose one all-around gun to have it would be the .22.

I agree wholeheartedly with this.

For hunting, a .270 rifle or larger with a scope for big game is best. Smaller calibers are used, but most hunting articles I have read say the 30-06 is the best hunting rifle for North American big game. I use a 30-06 but prefer my sons .270 since it has so much less kick. Shoot what you are comfortable with. For smaller game such as varmints, a 22-250 is very good.

Your semi-auto 7.62x39 I mentioned earlier should be adequate for deer. .30-06 and .270 are excellent calibers, but I would suggest .308 (7.62x51mm) because, again, it is easy to obtain in large quantities.

Again with rifles, there are many to choose from the 177 air rifle to the 50 caliber. With a 50 caliber Browning sniper rifle with telescopic mounts, a kill shoot in excess of 3000 meters (10,000 feet) is possible. The longest confirmed kill by a 7.62 x 59mm round was 2,800 meters.

My personal choice in rifles would consist of 2 weapons. The first would be what is known as an over and under. What this means is that a 22 caliber rifle sits on top of a 12 gauge shot gun. Remember in survival, everything needs to have more than one use.

My second rifle would be in 5.56 mm (223) caliber. This is a standard military round preferred by the United States and Australian Defence Forces. The temptation is to go for a weapon like the AR15, M16 or Styeir rifle. All of these rifles are military weapons capable of single shot, semi-automatic or fully automatic fire. Once the testosterone levels have subsided, a bolt action rifle should be your choice. Handled correctly a bolt action is almost as fast as a semi-auto and there are less things to go wrong. Remember, the simpler it is, the better in a survival situation.

Remember, to stockpile ammo, you need a lot of it. I recommend military calibers, because the surplus market allows you to buy in quantity.

Revolver: .38 Special Auto-Pistol: 9mm NATO (aka 9mm Parabellum) Rifle: 5.56mm, 7.62x39mm (Soviet), 7.62x51mm (NATO)

It would seem inappropriate to use a 7.62 x 59mm (standard NATO round) to hunt rabbit, but it may be very appropriate to hunt predators such as bear or man.

Eventually we would run out of ammo, so reloading becomes a necessity. Reloading is expensive to get started in, but once the initial investment is made the ammo is cheap to make.

A good sources of reloading supplies is:

5875-D W. Van Horn Tavern Rd.
Columbia, MO65203-9979
FAX 573-446-1018

I have read both Erik and the other officer's comments and I agree with a lot of what they have said, but in the end it comes down to personal choice and reasons for purchase.

Stay with weapons that have a common caliber, have minimal moving parts and learn the associated skills that go with hunting. Those associated skills are tracking by sight and sent, snares construction, animal butchering, camouflage and concealment. In addition to these skills, you will need to know the animals habits and movements. Also, learn what defenses the animal possesses; nothing should come as a surprise in a survival situation - surprises kill.

If you intend to use modern methods to hunt at night such as Night Vision Goggles, infrared red or thermal imaging, sound or movement detectors, learn there capabilities and limitations.

For purchasing and licensing of firearms, it is recommended that you attend your local Police station to obtain your state's current legislative requirements. Some states require you to belong to a gun club before purchasing firearms. This is a common sense approach as it allows you to try several types, makes and models of firearms before purchasing your own. It also means that you are trained correctly in the use, care and safety of you firearm.

A final note, remember experience is the only true teacher.

Equipment, Supplies, How-to Books

Wideners Reloading & Shooting Supplies
P.O. BOX 3009 CRS
Johnson City, TN 37602
Phone: 423-282-6786
Fax: 423-282-6651
Order Line Only: 800-615-3006

Reloading supplies are normally easy to come by. HOWEVER, when HCI (Handgun Control Inc.) and President Clinton attempted their gun grab several years ago, it was almost impossible to get primer caps (ignites the powder) at any price due to so many gun owners stocking up in case they were successful in their hair-brained scheme. Things are back to normal now, but shortages will occur again with the next gun grab attempt. Now is the time to get all you can get.

I am not an expert about guns and didn't own one until I was in my early 30's long before I became a Deputy Sheriff. As for a crash course in self defense, the best defense is to practice, practice, practice with the weapons you have. I have put 30,000 rounds through my S&W .357 and still practice. I have put 10,000 rounds through my .22 rifle just for fun since the ammo is cheap and easily available. I recommend a supply of 10,000 rounds be kept for when the crunch comes.

Practicing with a hunting rifle like a 30-06 is expensive so reloading is the only option. I recommend as much ammo for it as you can afford since this is going to put food on the table for a time, as well as for a "reach out and touch someone" defense at long range. Premium bullets run about $1 a round or a little more.

In America joining the NRA or Gun Owners of America is critical if we want to keep our guns. I am a life member of NRA, and a member of GOA. Both have web sites. The NRA has 39,000 gun safety teachers and can be reached at

Gun Owners of America:
8001 Forbes Place, Suite 102
Springfield VA 22151
Phone: 703-321-8585
Fax: 703-321-8408

For an organization in Australia comparable to the NRA check:

Sporting Shooters Association of Australia Inc.
P.O. Box 906
St. Marys, NWS 1790
Phone: 02-9623-4900
Fax: 02-9623-5900


Requirements for owning weapons are now severely restricted in Australia. The official gun recall for semi-automatics and pump action shotguns went into effect 30 September 1997. There are a few circumstances which allow citizens to own a weapon. The general law states you must belong to a gun club and have proof of actively practicing. In some states, you must attend at least twice each year, other states require monthly attendance and in still others, just being a member is enough. Another circumstance where having a weapon is permitted is if you own at least 100 acres and need the weapon for varmint control. A third option is if you hunt or target shoot on a farmer’s property who has at least 100 acres. The farmer must write a letter stating this is your purpose which is submitted with the application. Since laws vary from state to state, check the requirements for your area.

This information does not cover everything there is to know about owning and operating a firearm, but it is a good place to start. Oftentimes when we are very new to a topic, it helps to understand the basics so we can at least ask intelligent questions. This primer and the links should be enough to get you started; however, the choice to keep firearms and ammunition is up to the individual.

Additional Links and Information
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