7 Things You Should Never Burn in Your Fireplace (and why)

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I have a bunch of old papers that I need to get rid of and it occurred to me that I could just burn them in my fireplace one day, but I got to wondering if that was really a good idea as I’d never done so before (I’d always done this outdoors).

Well, it turns out that “it depends” on precisely what I’m burning, but I did find this article on several items I should never burn in the fireplace and wanted to share it with you, too, so you’re aware as well…

“The fireplace looks like a handy place to dispose of unwanted combustibles, but it’s safest to burn only dry, seasoned firewood.  Many items you might innocently pop into the fireplace create serious hazards.

  1.  Don’t burn colored paper.  The inks used in wrapping paper, newspaper inserts, and magazines contain metals that can give off toxic fumes when burned.  Paper burns very quickly, so there is also a danger that flames may enter the chimney and ignite the creosote deposits in the flue.  Balls of paper can ‘float’ up the chimney on the hot air that is rising through the chimney and ignite flammable materials outside the home.

  2. Never burn painted, stained, or treated wood or manufactured wood such as plywood and particle board.  Chemicals in ‘salt treated’ wood, paint, or stains can produce toxic fumes when burned.  Likewise, burning manufactured wood products produces toxins and carcinogens…”

Read the full article here

What If We Regulated Driving Like We Do Guns?

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Yesterday I shared a brief video about Washington’s I-1639 passing that seriously restricts gun ownership, and I clearly wasn’t happy about it. I’m still not happy about it passing and, like the guy said in the video, most of the law won’t directly impact me whatsoever. Regardless, it’s still the wrong way to go but first…

Today I woke up at about 3 am still thinking about it… and still upset. Then, this morning I turn on the news to hear about another shooting, this time in a California bar.

What a shame. I simply don’t understand what these shooters hope to gain by doing this; it must be the infamy of going out in a blaze of glory. Odds are this guy had mental problems that weren’t properly dealt with, but only time will tell.

The thing is that we always seem to blame the gun for such deaths, but that’s just not the case. Now, I’m hesitant to use the saying, “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” but it’s true.

Saying that guns kill people because they exist would be like saying that cars kill people because they exist. Literally. But we both know that’s not true. Cars don’t actually kill people… it’s the driver’s behind the wheel who do. There may be extenuating circumstances (such as poor road conditions) but it’s still up to the driver to drive safely.

The statistics are staggering

According to these CDC stats, America averages between 30-40 thousand deaths by firearm (homicides and suicides combined) each year, give or take a few thousand, and it appears to be rising. I’ll certainly agree that’s a lot and the trend is moving in the wrong direction.

And if firearms didn’t actually exist then, yes, these deaths in this manner would not have occurred. Would they have occurred in another way, say, with suicides? Well, Japan has very strict gun laws and a relatively high suicide rate… you do the math.

What about deaths on the road? Although motor vehicle fatalities were trending lower over the past decade, the trend seems to be on the rise again, totaling as many or more deaths per year as firearms at about 37,000 per year, according to Wikipedia.

Clearly, firearm deaths and motor vehicle deaths are not equal. People certainly use a vehicle in their daily lives far more than a firearm. I get that. But the fact still remains that as many or more people die from vehicle-related deaths as they do with guns.

And if we’re truly interested in reducing preventable fatalities then we should consider all major causes of preventable death, including firearms, vehicles, drug overdoes (many of which are prescriptions and cause more deaths than either firearms or vehicles), and so on… but only firearms get vilified day in and day out.

Initiative 1639 highlights

So, what would it be like if we treated your car just like Washington state want’s to treat guns?

Let’s find out…

Washington Initiative 1639 includes quite a bit. Once enacted, the law would:

  • Raise age limits for purchasing certain firearms
  • Require waiting periods after purchasing a firearm
  • Impose additional fees when purchasing a firearm
  • Require proof of firearms safety training
  • Increase background checks before purchasing a firearm
  • Require firearms to be securely stored or disabled by use of trigger-locks
  • Require approval from local police or sheriff to own a firearm

I’m sure there’s more in there that I missed, but these are the biggest problems I see. Now, on the surface, they sound reasonable enough. But, let’s substitute the word “firearm” for the word “vehicle” and see how reasonable it would be if this were your car and your lifestyle that we’re legislating…

Raise age limits for purchasing certain vehicles

One thing the initiative does is to raise the age limit on purchasing certain firearms from age 18 to 21: “This initiative would make it illegal for a person under 21 years of age to buy a pistol or semiautomatic assault rifle. It would make it illegal for any person to sell or transfer a semiautomatic assault rifle to a person under age 21.”

What if we applied this same logic to a car? What if we said that a legal adult at age 18 couldn’t buy a sports car, such as Ford Mustang, until they were age 21 because of the perceived risk a sports car brings? Would that be acceptable?

Or, better yet, why not say they can’t buy a sports car until age 25 when insurance rates tend to drop even more? After all, young male drivers are known to be most at risk for making poor decisions behind the wheel, especially when speed is involved. A sports car surely makes it easier to speed, I can attest to that.

Why not apply the same logic to motorcycle purchases? After all, most motorcyclists I’ve seen on the road tend to speed or weave in and out of traffic, and they’re certainly more at risk of dying from an accident than the driver of a vehicle.

Let’s target SUV’s while we’re at it… most of “those people” drive poorly too, particularly in bad weather.

And if I kept trying I’m sure I could figure out how to target almost every car or group of drivers out there. Eventually nobody will be driving!

What about upper age limits?

Here’s another take that’s just going to upset quite a few people: what if we had an upper age limit on who can purchase–or even drive–certain vehicles?

What if, for instance, we said anyone who was retirement age couldn’t purchase specific vehicles or, worse, once you hit age 70 (an arbitrary number I just made up) that you couldn’t drive anymore?

Would you be fine with that? After all, older drivers may be just as much of a hazard on the road as the younger ones. Don’t get mad at me, though, we’re just trying to do everything we can to stay safe on the road!

Require waiting periods after purchasing a vehicle

Another requirement of I-1639 is to “…require a dealer to wait at least 10 days before delivering a semiautomatic assault rifle to a buyer.” Of course, this could take much longer due to background check backlogs, lost paperwork, or who knows why.

What if we did the same thing with vehicles?

What if, instead of being able to drive off the new car lot with your shiny new sports car (now at age 25) you had to wait? Possibly for weeks? You wouldn’t be very happy at all!

Now, what if we made everyone wait before they could take possession of any new car they buy, even from a private seller?

Dealerships wouldn’t be very pleased, that’s for sure. It kind of ruins their whole sales pitch and there may be a few “buyer’s remorse” returns too. That may hurt the economy a bit.

Insurance companies may not be very happy either, especially if there’s damage to a vehicle during the interim period where the dealer still holds a car due to the waiting period and when the owner takes possession. Though I’m sure they’re figure out a way around that or, more likely, they’ll charge you a “new vehicle holding” fee.

And, of course, new car owners won’t be very happy either.

Impose additional fees when purchasing a vehicle

The initiative would also “…allow the state to impose a fee of up to $25 on each purchaser of a semiautomatic assault rifle. This fee would be used to offset certain costs of implementing the initiative. The fee would be adjusted for inflation.”

Wait, we already impose new car fees, lol.

That’s just more money for the state to grab and do whatever they want with. Granted, the fees probably wouldn’t amount to very much, but it’s still YOUR money that they’re taking.

Require proof of vehicle safety training

The initiative states that: “Buyers would be required to provide proof that they have completed a recognized firearm safety training program within the past five years.”

What if we made anyone who wants to purchase a new car show proof that they completed a vehicle safety course within the past five years? Would you want to take a safety course every five years? How quickly would this become redundant? After a handful of these safety courses you could probably teach the course yourself.

Firearms are no different; once you understand the basics of firearms safety and familiarize yourself with the firearm (assuming it’s new to you) there really isn’t much else you need to reeducate yourself about. Requiring proof of training every five years is just silly.

Increase background checks before purchasing a vehicle

Continuing their intrusive behavior: “Background check and record keeping requirements that currently apply only to the purchase of pistols would also apply to the purchase of semiautomatic assault rifles. The same requirements for collecting and maintaining information on purchases of pistols would apply to purchases of semiautomatic assault rifles.”

What if dealerships were now required to pull your DMV record to determine if you were fit to drive? Would you be fine with that?

Granted, I know we have laws in place to revoke your driver’s license if you’ve had too many violations (or specific ones such as a DUI) but what if we did the same thing before purchasing your next car? Who gets to decide precisely what makes you a bad driver? And how far back to they get to look? I know I’m a very different driver today than I was in my youth; I’d suspect you were too.

Require vehicles to be securely stored or disabled by use of trigger-locks

I-1639 continues: “The initiative would create new criminal offenses for the unsafe storage of a firearm if a person who cannot legally possess a firearm gets it and uses it in specified ways. These crimes would apply to a person who stores or leaves a firearm in a place where the person knows, or reasonably should know, that a prohibited person may gain access to the firearm.”

Basically, it’s saying that you, as a legal gun owner, are now responsible for the actions of another should your firearm be stolen (or taken without permission, such as by your child) and then commits a crime with your stolen gun if you failed to “reasonably” secure it.

So, what if we make the same requirement of your car? Should you be required to not only lock up your car each day at home, but to securely store it in some fashion? What about at work or while you’re at the grocery store?

Maybe you’re only required to “lock up” your keys. Would you be willing and able to do that each and every day, every time you use your car? And if you didn’t, you could be charged with a felony in some cases!

In fact, just yesterday I heard about this 11 year old kid who stole his parent’s car and led police on a high-speed chase. Fortunately, nobody was seriously injured and, while they’re filing felony charges against the child in juvenile court, according to this law they may also be able to file felony charges against you in some cases when you had nothing to do with it. Is that fair to you?

What if, for instance, you locked up your keys in a gun safe like you’re supposed to, but a thief stole the safe, eventually broke into it, subsequently stole your car, and ended up getting into a fatal accident? Are you responsible then? What’s reasonable in this situation?

That said, the initiative does state that: “Those crimes would not apply if the firearm was in secure gun storage, meaning a locked box, gun safe, or other locked storage space that is designed to prevent unauthorized use or discharge of a firearm.”

We’ll see how long that wording stays in or how much wiggle room a prosecutor wants to apply to the law.

The initiative does attempt to clarify: “The crimes would not apply if the person who gets the firearm is ineligible to possess it because of age… [or] in cases of self-defense… [or] if the person who is ineligible to possess a firearm obtains it through unlawful entry, if the unauthorized access or theft is reported to law enforcement within five days of the time the victim knew or should have known that the firearm had been taken.”

Right. Like I said, we’ll see how judiciously such wording gets used and abused when there’s an overzealous prosecutor or judge involved.

Require approval from local police or sheriff to own a vehicle

“Finally, the initiative would require [law enforcement] to verify that people who have acquired pistols or semiautomatic assault rifles remain eligible to possess a firearm under state and federal law… [and] to take steps to ensure that persons legally ineligible to possess firearms are not illegally in possession of firearms.”

What if we did this with your car? What if authorities went so far as to track what car your’re driving and were able to revoke your driver’s license if they found out you were driving the wrong type of car for whatever reason?

Think this can’t happen? Nearly everything can be tracked these days, especially with the use of smartphones, GPS, and other smart devices. If they wanted to track which car you’re driving, they can figure it out.

Then it’s just a matter of tracking you down physically and revoking your license… or maybe they’ll just send you a text, lol.

Concluding thoughts

I get the purpose behind the law. I do. And on the surface it sounds like a good step towards solving the problem, but we always have to remember that criminals don’t care about the law. Initiatives such as this really only hinder law-abiding citizens.

We also need to recognize that we already have laws in place to prevent or remove access to firearms from those who are most likely to harm themselves or others, specifically the mentally ill.

Of course, there’s also the duty of gun owners to recognize situations where easy access to your firearms may be a bad idea. If, for instance, you have a teenager (especially a male teen) who is showing signs of depression, lock up your guns!

Statistics consistently show that suicides are the primary cause of death by firearms, year over year, and that firearms are the chosen tool here in America. We cannot ignore this fact. But it shouldn’t be up to the government to tell us responsible gun owners how to act.

It’s up to us to take the initiative (no pun intended) and to do the right thing where we can, and if that means locking up your firearms when you never have before because your teenage son is now moody little shit, then do it.

Bad things do happen, but they can happen a lot less if we, as law-abiding and responsible gun owners, take the initiative on our own… pun intended.

Washington Passes I-1639…Time to Move

I woke up this morning and watched this video about I-1639 passing which immediately ruined my day since I also live in Washington state.

So, thanks Washington voters, from the bottom of my heart, for making my life–and that of other law-abiding gun owners–that much more difficult because you’re a bunch of idiots!

Apparently, however, “The Yankee Marshall” is taking the news better than I am, lol…

7 Overlooked Everyday Items In Your House You Can Use For Survival

Any survival or disaster situation is naturally going to require you to get a little creative.  

This is because resources in any survival situation are going to be rather thin, and you’re going to have to learn how to make the best with what you have.

Fortunately, finding yourself in a survival situation doesn’t just mean that you are limited to survival tools that you may not even have on hand at the time.

This is because you can easily take everyday household items that you probably already have an abundance of and use those items to make surviving significantly easier.  

Here are the top seven overlooked everyday items in your house that you can use for survival, presented in alphabetical order:

1. ALUMINUM FOIL

Aluminum foil already has a great many uses around the house, and it likewise will for if and when you find yourself in a survival situation as well.  

One of the best uses for aluminum foil will be to use it to help cook food in a survival situation.  If all you have available is a fire rather than your stove or oven, you can wrap food in the aluminum foil and then place it next to the fire.

Another valuable use for aluminum foil will be to use it as a signal, since it can reflect the light of the sun.  Additionally, you can also use aluminum foil will be to use pieces of it as a fishing lure, as fish are naturally attracted to bright objects.

2. BAKING SODA

If there’s only one personal hygiene item that you can have on hand in a disaster scenario, it should without question be baking soda.

This is simply because you can use baking soda to make virtually any other kind of personal hygiene item in existence, from soap to shampoo to deodorant to toothpaste to floor cleaner to dishwashing soap to laundry detergent.

All you really need to do is mix the baking soda with water in order to create a paste, and you can create any of those listed above.

3. COFFEE FILTERS

Another highly versatile but overlooked survival item is just an ordinary coffee filter.  Besides the obvious use of using it to help make your morning cup of coffee, you can also use a coffee filter to filter through water, as fire tinder (mix with grease for the best effect), to wrap food, or as emergency toilet paper.

4. DENTAL FLOSS

Obviously dental floss can be used for oral hygiene in a survival situation, but you can use it for a great multitude of other purposes as well.

For example, you can use dental floss as fishing line, as a clothesline, to help build shelter, to make matches burn longer (simple wrap the floss around the matches), to set snares, for sewing, or as a tripwire.

NOTE: attach tin cans filled with a few pebbles to the tripwire, and you’ve created an emergency alert system.  U.S. troops used this strategy to great effect to alert them to nearby Japanese troop movements in the Pacific campaign during World War II.

5. GARBAGE BAGS

It’s surprising that garbage bags don’t show up as often as they should in other lists of the best everyday items to use for survival, because they truly are among the most versatile items that you can possibly use for survival.

One of the best uses for a garbage bag will be to use it as a poncho, since you simply need to cut a few holes through it for your head and arms.  You can also use a garbage bag as a makeshift tarp, as a mattress (simple stuff it full with leaves, grass, and pine needles), or as a wall or ceiling for an emergency shelter.

6. HAND SANITIZER

In addition to using hand sanitizer as a personal hygiene item in a survival situation, you can also use it to sanitize surfaces such as tables or knife blades, to help get fires going (sanitizer is very flammable), for treating mosquito bites (simply apply it directly to the site of the bite), or to remove stains from clothing.

7. PAPER CLIPS

In a survival situation, an ordinary paper clip will be one of the best alternatives to a normal fishing hook.  Beyond that use, you can also use a paper clip to replace zipper tabs on a jacket, or as a toe or finger splint in the event of an injury.

BONUS: SODA CAN

Throwing a soda can away is the last thing you should do with it in a disaster situation.  You can use the tab as a makeshift fishing hook (much as you could with an ordinary paper clip like we just mentioned), and you can also polish the bottom of the can with chocolate to help it reflect the sunlight for signaling. Alternatively, you can also clean out the inside of the can to use it for storage.

CONCLUSION

If there’s anything that you learn from this article, it’s that you shouldn’t neglect any ordinary items you have laying around the house. Chances are good that you can find at least one or two ways to use that item for survival in a disaster scenario.

The Survival Toolbox Book Currently FREE on Amazon

Survival Toolbox BookI wanted to quickly let you know that my latest book, The Survival Toolbox: 67 Practical Tools and Supplies to Fix or Maintain Your Home After Disaster Strikes, is currently on Amazon and, best of all, the Kindle version is FREE today through November 5.

Please take a moment to download your copy while you can, after which I would very much appreciate you leaving a quick review when finished as doing so helps boost the book’s popularity and let’s Amazon know it’s good.

Thank you very much, Damian

The Mors Kochanski Super Shelter

Here’s Mors himself discussing his “super shelter” design (based off the igloo) for wilderness survival. Inside the video he shows you a few different shelter, including one really BIG one! You can get the book he recommends to explain the idea even more, if you like…

7 Steps to Building Your First Bug Out Bag

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Whether in the event of natural disaster or an invasion, city-wide dangers or anarchy, there are many uses and times in which a bug out bag’s existence and necessity may very well become a reality.

A very familiar element to those that have volunteered alongside of or worked in the military, terms like “go bag” is a common name used, or “overnight bag” which we identify the BOB bag as in the Air Force. However, this is of course designed to be much more than just an “overnight bag” in most instances – while the name may not allude to such.

In this article, we will cover a range of topics and key focus areas for building your first bug out bag, which based on field experience, knowledge, and hobby-like interest combined with a DIY attitude will cover the following topics:

  • Observation of the environment
  • Health hygiene review and modifications, preparations
  • Signals and communications
  • Visualization and planning
  • Movement and cover, evasion and distress
  • Recovery and repair
  • Creation, and angling for long-term survival as-needed

To understand how to build the most efficient, meaningful, light-weight, productive, and effective bug out bag (BOB) it is first critical to know how your settings or environment, personal strengths and weaknesses, environmental changes, and how they interact with the situation. This is the most practical approach to maximize both survival and application of your bug-out-bag.

(1) Observing and understanding your environment:

To get the most out of your bug out bag (BOB) it is worth investing substantial time, consideration, efforts and even funding in choosing the most durable, efficient, lightweight, practical backpack for your last-minute adventures or escape!

However, depending on the nature of your potential scenario may it be a natural disaster or possible foreign invasion, zombie apocalypse or total anarchy, choosing one of the following backpack types for your B.O.B. makes sense!

  • A Kevlar-made bag for resilience, durability, and reliability which will keep you and your belongings safe.
  • A premium grade backpack with high-ratings, reliability, and trust from military agencies that optionally will include a BALLISTIC SHIELD is also preferable, as seen with those bags made to include Tuffy Packs ballistic shield.
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  • An assault pack style backpack, or Mojo Tactical for those fonder of the over-the-shoulder design, an item like the KIFARU EMR II for the long-distance journey and escape, or survival in the wilderness.
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Consider the importance of lightweight solutions for your Bug Out Bag, and research which of these models make the most sense for you, your strengths, personality, and priorities with packing and preparing your bag.

Also, consider the importance of getting a nature-colored bag for both camouflage to protect yourself from predators, and also to prevent or avoid unnecessary and unwanted attention. Depending on where you live, different variations of materials make sense more than others per the regular or average temperature, and typically expected maximum highs and lows of the environments which you’ll be traveling or living in.

To make the most of your ability to observe and report your environment to yourself, loved ones, or authorities make sure you pack the following critical items:

  • Reliable, durable binoculars that are lightweight in design and prepared for the outdoors
  • A compass for direction and measuring distance
  • Durable, reliable waterproof work-shoes or work-boots that are durable but not uncomfortably heavy for long-distance trekking and prevention of injury stainless steel highly recommended and cleats are an option
  • A pair of trusted clear eyewear protection for visibility and eye injury prevention both during the daytime and night time
  • UV proof sunglasses to protect your eyes from sunrays during the day
  • A small, waterproof notebook to record movements, observations, goals, and to leave behind notes or other measures of communicating with emergency personnel or friends and family
  • Fluorescent bodywear ranging from gloves to shirt, hat, or pants, which can be altered or used at different points during your journey to communicate different signals or even use as a flag for gaining attention at some point

This list is extensive, but not conclusive. Also consider the sort of environment, dangers, and expectations you have for your journey this way you can make the best decision with what backpack design, model, weight, capacity, style, and features make the most sense.

(2) Health Hygiene Review – Body Care and Repairs

From duct-tape to tampons, we have compiled a list that makes sense and is sure to be useful when it comes to maintaining the necessary health hygiene, “body repairs,” maintenance (like refueling), and both preventing as well as treating sickness and illness.

Every bug-out bag at a minimum should have a reliable roll of industrial-grade duct tape. From small injuries to severe gashes, broken or disconnected limbs and more, duct-tape has been trusted in the field by soldiers at home and abroad for decades.

Hand sanitizer, a basic medical kit, iodine for destroying bacteria and preventing infection, medical gauze for stopping bleeding or promoting clotting, Q-tips, and even a small package of tampons will go all the way in helping you to prepare for nearly any essential to medium-level injury and beyond. Gel energy packs, salt, water filters, a natural water purifier, and pan, bottle, cup, tweezers, and small necessary splints are also a MUST! Also, consider investing in water filtration tabs to filter and consume water while on the go quickly.

Also, do NOT forget necessary vitamin packs or powders to lighten your load, surgical or a RESPRO allergy mask to preserve and protect your face, lungs, the air you are breathing in, and breathing back out. It is not necessary to purchase and pack a gas-mask or other sophisticated survivalist masks because fitting and carrying one will be a severe inconvenience, weigh you down, and likely deplete both space and time in your bug-out bag!

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(3) Signaling and Communications – Equipment Preparation

It is critical you find yourself at any times able to effectively signal for help, “friendlies,” and also identify others, which is why reliable, efficient, and practical signalizing and communications equipment is a MUST.

Pack your next Bug Out Bag with the necessary light sticks to show your position or lead the way through dark roads and brush; any brand will do barring it has good reviews and is reliable. This should not cost you more than around $10.00 for a pack.

Also, consider adding the following signaling and communications equipment to your bug-out bag:

  • Hand-crank flashlight for constant reliability for lighting the way
  • LED headlamp to light the path in front of you with adjustable settings
  • Solar powered LED flashlight
  • Hand-crank LED flashlight
  • Tinderbox for manually fire-starting when necessary
  • Matches as a backup resource
  • Fire-safe and waterproof lighters to both preserve and create fire at most critical times or weather
  • Firestarter kit

DO NOT neglect the following critical hygiene items:

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste with cases for each to keep dirt out
  • Soap bars that are well packaged

It is critical that you keep your teeth, ears, and mouth as clean as possible wild adventuring in the wild or on the road for days or more at a time. This is because bacteria grows most frequently and enters the body in these places, and can pose a severe threat to your immune system which in turn risks you become weaker, unable to function competently, lethargy, a lack of energy, and an inability to focus as well as other common flu and virus symptoms.

An essential Morse-code guide is also suggested, for communicating with other emergency personnel and military as needed.

A FLINTSTRIKE fire-starter kit like the one below is recommended, convenient, practical, and lightweight for your BOB:

(4) Visualization and Planning – Tactical Tools and Supplies

To increase your chances for survival, both planning a route to your destination, the progress you’ve made, and being able to visualize where you are and where you’re going adequately are critical to making the most of your survival in the wild, during a national emergency, or total anarchy! So, do not take this opportunity and advice lightly, and only go with the most reliable, durable, trusted tools and equipment for this section when creating your BOB:

  • Reliable, lightweight binoculars (night vision preferred but costly)
  • A basic notepad, pencils, and a pencil sharpener
  • Local and county maps, districts, and state-wide maps
  • Emergency GPS signaling device
  • Trusted outdoors GPS device

The GARMIN eTrex 20x is a good, affordable and efficient GPS tracking system, but the eTrex ten will also do just fine, and both are lightweight, reliable, and very durable.

(5) Movement and cover, communications and evasion

From equipment to clothing, charges, traps, bungees and more

Pack your BOB with a waterproof raincoat, rain pants, lightweight and preferably foldable rain-boots or covers. Also be sure to pack a waterproof hat, and some of the other following items to preserve your strength, health, agility, and speed:

-Fluorescent gloves and vest for both signaling and being seen as-needed

-2 Bandanas which have a wide range of multi-purpose that are sure to come in handy including for first-aid

-A sewing kit for easy repairs and modifications to clothing and armor or equipment, and if you have enough space, perhaps a small hacksaw as well.

-Kevlar gloves for fast, safe, and active movement through dense brush, rough environments, and terrains

-At least two pairs or waterproof socks so that one may be used while the other dried in the sun before the next use. QUIK-DRY brand highly recommended, especially for cloudy or cold days that make it difficult for clothing to dry.

These waterproof, durable, sports-styled socks are the perfect choice for anyone serious about keeping warm and dry – because without dry socks injuries, rashes, and pain are certain.

EXTRA TIP: An EMERGENCY RADIO is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED (Solar Power is your best bet) so finding and adding a lightweight, compact emergency radio can make all the difference in your chances of survival, and identifying to reach your objective.

This EMERGENCY WEATHER SOLAR CRANK RADIO is a good choice, but there are many options available online:

(6) Recover, repair, and create!

Industrial tools, building, demolitions, self-repair and equipment repairs

Maximize your strength, building and survival abilities, and preserve energy where possible by packing the following must-have items and supplies into your bug-out bag:

  • Multipurpose knife for fitting, cutting, preparing food, and first aid
  • Nylon Rope for climbing, grappling, and evasion – also consider investing in a reliable and durable 550 Parachute Cord (50?)
  • Multipurpose multitool for stretching, cutting, and repairing survival materials
  • Zip ties
  • Fishing Line

– A Versatile AXE for preparing food, chopping wood, and creating shelter

A multipurpose camping ax like the one below will mean between life and death when it comes to preparing firewood, cooking, hunting, and even defending yourself.

The added tools and versatility of a screwdriver, combined with duct tape, zip ties, and a plastic tarp will work miracles when it comes to making a water-proof shelter that’s likely to keep you warm and alive at night – and safe from PESTS and PREDATORS!

(7) Resistance and Survival, Existence and Maneuverability

Self Defense and Enhancing Speed

To protect yourself and your assets are sure to invest in the following items, tools, or multi-use weapons that will promote resistance, survival, and maneuverability!

-A durable, static and waterproof tarp to quickly set up a fort or tent soon in all weather and climates

-Bug spray and repellent to protect yourself and prevent serious infections or illness and diseases

-Pepper spray as a choice non-lethal weapon to defend yourself against bears, and other dangerous animals or persons. This is a compact solution and most practical for a bug-out bag but does not exclude the possibility of carrying a handgun and ammunition if possible.

Remember…

Observe, Signal, Visualize, Move, Cover, Escape, Recover, Repair, Create, and Survive!

NOTE: THIS WAS A GUEST POST

20 Survival Gift Ideas for Any Budget

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For the sharpshooter looking for the best “bang for their buck” to preppers who want to find a great deal on their next knife, we’ve compiled a list of high-quality, affordable gear that anyone can purchase — either for themselves or a gift for their ever-diligent friends and family members… but, let’s be honest, we both know it’s for you, lol.

In this list, we’ll cover knives, firearm attachments and accessories, survival watches and camping supplies. Let’s start with the basics:

Knives Under $100

Whether out in the wild or deep in a city, you may have to navigate many obstacles that require the use of a knife. A such, it should be something dependable that won’t break or quickly dull, and you need something relatively inexpensive that meets their expectations.

Here are some quality blades that are under $100.

1. KA-BAR USMC Knife ~$75

With a recognizable design that continued to dominate for decades after its debut, the KA-BAR USMC Knife deserves its good reputation. At a length of 11.875 inches and a weight of 11.2 ounces, this classic model feels good in the hand and works well in the field. For those who want utility as well as an attractive aesthetic, buyers can choose between a Kraton and leather handle.

2. Gerber LMF II ~$80

The Gerber LMF II is a smart choice for those who want to stay within their budget without sacrificing quality. With a total length of 10.6 inches and a weight of 11.7 ounces, this is a small and lightweight knife made of 420H stainless steel, a robust material that’s rust-resistant and durable. Designed by a former member of the military, who could expect anything less?

3. KA-BAR Becker BK22 Companion ~$80

Another excellent contribution from KA-BAR, the Becker BK22 Companion is a favorite among both new and experienced preppers. At an overall length of 10.5 inches and a weight of one pound, this knife is on the heavier side. But its ergonomic design accounts for this, offering easy handling of a dependable carbon steel blade with strong wear and corrosion resistance.

Knives Over $100

For those who are willing to spend a little more for their knives, here are additional options above $100.

1. ESEE 6P ~$120

Of all the knives in ESEE’s inventory, the 6P is one of the finest, an excellent addition to any belt. At 11.75 inches long with a weight of 12 ounces, the 6P has considerable size and heft for those who are expecting heavy use. And with a wide selection of different color options, buyers can customize the knife to fit the style of the prepper they’re purchasing for.

2. Tom Brown Tracker T-3 ~$250

Though this model is on the pricier end of the scale, users of the Tom Brown Tracker T-3 will find that the cost is well within reason. At 10.75 inches long with a weight of 13.26 ounces, it’s not as lightweight as the other options in this list. That said, those who enjoy a truly unique design will find the appearance of the T-3 appealing, and its serrated back edge provides extra utility.

Firearm Attachments and Accessories Under $100

A reliable firearm is an absolute necessity for anyone serious about prepping. If the prepper in your life has a license and a weapon but lacks a good attachment, consider one of the products below as a potential gift. There’s something for everyone with all of the choices available.

We’ll start on the lower end of the spectrum with attachments and accessories under $100, then work our way up.

1. XS Sight Systems Standard Dot Tritium Night Sight ~$60

For those who prefer handguns as their weapon of choice, those with an S&W or Ruger model will benefit from the Standard Dot Tritium Night Sight. No batteries necessary, this attachment uses well-balanced luminescence to make targeting easy and intuitive, doing away with sights that are overly bright and counter-intuitive.

2. VGS Precision Gamma 556 Muzzle Brake ~$60

With a simple attachment, owners of an AR-15 can reduce recoil and muzzle rise. The VGS Precision Gamma 556 Muzzle Brake has a dual function, classified as a brake with the attributes of a compensator. Offering the best of both worlds, this product is an excellent addition that enhances the user’s accuracy while improving the look and feel of the weapon.

3. VLTOR IMOD Improved Modular Stock ~$80

To say this stock is “improved” is something of an understatement. From its utility on the battlefield to practical applications, the VLTOR IMOD Improved Modular Stock goes one step beyond. Waterproof side battery compartments, multiple sling attachments and a rolled/angled butt-pad with a wide traction area make this a must-have product for any AR-15 owner.

Firearm Attachments and Accessories Over $100

If there’s extra room in your budget, consider these options in the $100 range.

1. Bushnell TRS-25 Hi-Rise AR Optics ~$100

An optics component for an AR-15 can greatly enhance a shooter’s accuracy, you will appreciate this attachment. With several power settings, a 3 MOA red dot, multi-coated optics and a high contrast, amber-bright lens coating, you’ll get more than your money’s worth. Regardless of ambient light, the optics self-adjust, letting the user focus on what’s important, like the target.

2. LUTH-AR Modular Buttstock Assembly ~$130

The LUTH-AR Modular Buttstock Assembly allows users to customize their weapon, adjusting the stock’s pull length and weld height for maximum comfort. The ambidextrous nature of the stock makes it an excellent gift for both new and experienced shooters looking to improve their arsenal, helping their accuracy and performance on the range. At only 1.26 pounds, this item is a small addition that can make a big difference.

Survival Watches Under $200

Knives and firearms are great, but there are additional necessities that no prepper should do without. One of these standard items is a survival watch, something functional and durable that can take a beating in any weather or circumstance.

Here are several quality options for under $200.

1. Timex T49612 Expedition Trail Series ~$110

Though the quality is what you would expect from a watch that’s a little over $100, the Timex T49612 is an excellent choice for those on a very strict budget. With good shock resistance and a waterproof design, you can take the watch anywhere without fear of damage. And the Indiglo lighting feature, unique to the Timex brand, uses different electro-luminescent lamps for multiple levels of lighting.

2. Casio Gw7900b-1 G-Shock Black Solar Sport Watch ~$90-$150

A classic brand, Casio has a commitment to value. The Sport Watch model doesn’t stray from this commitment at an affordable price point, carrying many of the same features as its competitors. With excellent reliability, the solar-charged batteries can last up to nine months without needing a charge, and the waterproof design allows you to traverse any kind of environment.

3. Casio Pathfinder Triple Sensor Multi-Function Sport Watch ~$150

A large name in electronics, it’s no surprise that Casio has more than one item on this list. Similar to their Gw7900b-1 model, the multi-function model comes with a barometer and altimeter as well as a feature that displays the temperature. Users of this model also have access to a fully automated calendar pre-programmed until 2099, making this a truly dynamic gadget.

Survival Watches Over $200

If you’re willing to stretch your budget, here’s a few quality watches over $200.

1. Seiko Sun007 Kinetic Wrist Watch ~$250

The kinetic design of the model charges it without the need for sun or batteries, using the movement of the user’s wrist to draw energy. This is an attractive bonus for those who live in areas that see very little sunlight and can’t rely on it to power their equipment. That said, this product has fewer features than many less expensive models, but depending on location, its kinetic function has significant value.

2. Citizen Nighthawk Eco-Drive Watch Bj7000-52e ~$300-$400

Though the price may prove a barrier to entry for some, for those with flexibility in their budget, the Citizen Nighthawk Eco-Drive Watch Bj7000-52e provides both impressive functionality and incredible durability. With the inclusion of a slide rule, users can perform complex calculations and convert different units of measurement, which can prove useful in situations where precision is necessary.

Camping Supplies Under $50

You may have to endure prolonged periods of time in the wilderness, away from the dangers of a collapsed society. To help stock up on all of the proper supplies, take a look at the items below to see if any would catch the interest of the prepper in your life.

Here are several inexpensive options available for under $50.

1. Coghlan’s Tinder ~$6

Small enough that they add virtually nothing to the cumulative weight of a prepper’s gear, Coghlan’s Tinder is an excellent alternative to trying to start a fire with the friction from a stick. Place this in your pocket or a side compartment of your bag until needed and, at such a low cost, this product is an excellent secondary gift to a larger item.

2. S.O.L. Emergency Bivvy ~$14

The S.O.L. Emergency Bivvy acts as a lightweight personal shelter for those who find themselves deep in the forest during inclement weather. Composed of tear-resistant polyethylene, the bag reflects body heat to maintain temperature and keep the occupant warm and safe from wind, rain and snow. With a SOL Emergency Bivvy anyone can weather the elements with little trouble.

3. Gregory Mountain Products Hydration 3L Reservoir ~$36

Without a reserve of fresh water or access to a natural spring, those who wander into the woods or across an arid desert won’t last long. The Hydration 3L Reservoir accounts for this issue with a product that’s easy to carry from place to place, making short trips across the desert a far less frightening proposition. It also opens like a water bottle for no-hassle cleaning.

Camping Supplies Over $50

For those who have don’t have a problem spending more, here’s two more good options above $50.

1. Suunto MC-2 Compass ~$57

Laymen and prepper alike understand the necessity of a reliable compass. It can determine whether you make it through a sketchy location alive and intact or not. The Suunto MC-2 Compass is one of the best available today, with a globally balanced needle, a liquid-filled capsule for stability, declination correction and a mirror for covert signaling, among other features.

2. Solo Stove Lite ~$70

Recommended by Backpacker Magazine, the Solo Stove Lite fits neatly in any backpack. Small and lightweight, the stove is easy to transport and won’t overburden a prepper as they cross long distances of difficult terrain. In addition to that, the device doesn’t depend on canister fuel, but twigs, sticks, pinecones and other organic material that’s easy to find.

There’s Something Here for Everyone!

From knives to attachments and accessories for firearms, to watches and camping supplies, make sure that you do a thorough search to find the best product at the best price point. There’s no need to sacrifice quality as long as you put the time into finding affordable alternatives within your range.

And, remember, this isn’t just a simple gift that you’re giving: you’re giving a gift that may just save someones life!

NOTE: THIS WAS A GUEST POST.

7 Reasons To Add Thermal Optics In Your Preps

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Are Thermal Imaging Scopes Useful?

Having seen the movie Predator with Arnold Schwarzenegger when I was young landed me with a fascination for thermal optics. That fascination is not what led me to start considering their use today. Not only as an aid to hunting but as an option for a variety of tasks that we, as preppers, may deem important.

Recently in Search and Rescue training, we used a thermal optic to scan for lost hikers. It was amazingly powerful and successful. Even through rather dense foliage, we were able to clearly make out any presence with body heat.

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This is a very powerful utility and one that is now within the grasp of most people. Back in the 90s, even an affordable thermal optic could quickly exceed $10,000.00. I recall reading the ads for these units in several of the gun catalogs that arrived at our house and knew it was out of reach.

That has changed. Now you can get a high-quality thermal sight that is quite cost-effective.  The entire industry of thermal optics went through some growing pains early on.  This combined with their high cost has seen them mostly employed for hog hunting.

I think it’s well past time we take a hard look at thermal optics as the potential tool they could be.

A Brief Primer on Thermal Optics

To correct any possible misunderstanding, I think it’s important we spend a few brief words on what exactly a thermal optic is. It is not night vision and has a number of benefits over a standard night vision scope. I do believe night vision is a useful technology but not the equal of thermal optics.

Night vision relies on some form of illumination from an external source. That can be ambient light for some types or an IR illuminator for others. In order for something to show on night vision it has to reflect that illumination. It can not work in complete darkness and has a very limited range.

Thermal optics detect the radiation, in the form of body heat, that is emitted from a target. They can be used day or night and even in complete darkness. The range of thermal is often much farther and can easily exceed 1000 meters on some units.

All night vision is monochrome. Usually, you can pick out your target with night vision with little difficulty.  But if your target is near other reflective surfaces, it will just blend in. This is especially true of very small animals.

There is no blending in with thermal. The rainbow hues will stand out and be instantly recognizable. Even the quickest scan will show you if anything is near. From my home, I can clearly watch rats run around my barn over 200 yards from my window.

I believe the versatility and power of a thermal optic make it a far better technology than night vision for many uses.

Why a Thermal Scope?

So far, I have referred to this technology as thermal optics. So, why would I write this article about thermal scopes specifically instead of monoculars, goggles, or any of the other devices? That comes down to choosing a tool that is capable of multiple tasks.

Firstly, this is because a scope can serve as a hunting tool where other forms of thermal optics cannot. But that is just scratching the surface.

I am sure that most readers have a weapon mounted light. When there is something to investigate near our homes, many of us will reach for that weapon with its light rather than just picking up a flashlight.

The weapon mounted light serves the same purposes of a flashlight but with defensive capability.  A weapon mounted thermal optic serves the same purpose.

Because of the way that thermal works, using goggles or a monocular in conjunction with a weapon would be impossible. You would never be able to see your sights. A scope will do everything any other type of thermal will but has a weapon attached should you need it.

If you are not comfortable with carrying a gun, a scope can be detached, often with just a throw lever, and used as a monocular. A thermal scope is just the most useful format for this technology.

Thermal Optics for Hunting

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I am sure most of us are aware of the use of thermal optics in hunting. While it is worth covering briefly, it should not be the focus of this article.

Most game animals cannot be hunted after dark in many states. In my home state, only hog and coyote can be hunted after sundown. This will make hunting uses more limited for some than others.

Where and when it is permissible, hunting at night with a thermal scope is highly effective. Coyote are overpopulated in many areas, mine seems especially prone. I hunted coyote with a spotlight for several years but that method pales in comparison to the effectiveness of a thermal scope.

A bright light will scatter coyote immediately, often faster than you can get a bead on one. Thermal gives them no warning until your fire your first shot. Occasionally, that moment of panic from a loud noise can even give you time to get off a second shot.

My experience with hogs is much more limited but from my understanding, it works much the same.

Though I would hesitate to call it hunting, most of the use I get from my thermal scope is with the local vermin that like to raid my farm. I get coons, coyote, rats, and opossums regularly as they come searching for food. They are all easy prey with a thermal optic.

The one downside I have found is that the snakes they like to prey on my chickens are invisible.

Thermal Optics for Home Security

This is the one place that I feel thermal is most neglected. I have a rather large property with trees and a number of sheds and outbuildings. There are no street lights and on a new moon, it is pitch black. Thanks to the drug epidemic, home invasions and theft are prominent and a very frightening reality.

When I have an indication that something may be on my property, I want to be able to scan quickly. Sure, you can do that with a light but you give away your location. If you happen to start in the wrong spot, any troublemakers are given at least some warning to hide. This is an imperfect solution.

Night vision is a little better. You avoid giving any warning and don’t give away your location. But as we talked about with hunting, targets may not stand out, especially if they are hiding. Night vision also has a smaller field of view and limited range. I think it’s a solid tool but not one that can do everything I want.

Thermal optics give no warning, do not give you away, and make target location and identification easy. I can see to the far end of my property about 400 yards away and make out deer, dogs, and even small animals.

Even if someone were hiding with just a head poking out, it would light up in vibrant hues. Seeing through vegetation is a breeze so a person would have to be completely out of sight for them not to show up. This is by far the quickest way to scan your property with the least chance of missing anything out of place.

I could explain most of this all day but you can not experience how easy spotting through a thermal optic is until you try it for yourself. This video shows a couple of different modes available on Thermal optics.  It does not show the typical rainbow color scheme that most people are familiar with. For scanning, I prefer the rainbow mode but the white heat mode does work very well.

You could do all of this with any thermal optic. I choose a rifle scope over a spotting scope for several reasons. As I mentioned, I like having the option to attach it to a weapon. Additionally, thermal scopes often have superior run times and a greater range of magnification. This is a huge benefit, especially when trying to spot at a distance or to identify a smaller target.

The optic I have attaches with a throw lever and holds zero pretty well. Probably most of my use is ridding the farm of varmints using a .22 rifle. The remainder of the time it gets mounted on an AR-15 for larger targets. I rarely ever use it without it mounted on a gun but it could be used as just a spotter.

I would not trust it to hold a zero well enough for a 100-yard shot but most of my shots are 20 yards or less and I am within an inch or so. This is acceptable for any use I normally have. When I take it out to hunt, I do an actual zero on the rifle before I go.

The peace of mind this has brought for scanning my property has been well worth the cost!

Other Uses for Thermal Optics

As I mentioned above, I use a thermal optic for search and rescue. This is not a weapon mounted scope but a dedicated unit. I do not take a rifle with me on search and rescue. This application works well in the woods, water, and most any other environment and is the most important use I have for thermal.

I also use my thermal to keep track of my dogs after dark when they go out. It works much better than a flashlight and is good practice. But outside of the use on living things, a Thermal scope has a variety of uses. The more innovative you are, the more uses you are likely to find.

I use a thermal to check for hotspots on my wood burning chimney. This can help avoid fires and tell you when you may have a potential blockage in your chimney. While you are at it, you can use a good thermal to check your home insulation by looking for cold spots. Heating is expensive, why waste it?

I do a similar check on my HVAC system. You can easily see leaks and blockages in your system and avoid costly checks that involve taking your ductwork down. You don’t need a sensitive, purpose made unit to do this. Any thermal optic should work well enough to detect these issues.

You can check electrical problems in the same way. Check your breaker box to make sure none of your fuses are running hot before it becomes a problem. You can even check your household outlets and surge protectors to make sure they aren’t running hotter than they should be.

Hot water pipes can also be scanned to look for places that may benefit from more insulation. Check your windows to make sure you aren’t losing heat. There are a variety of uses thermal can be applied to for measuring heat loss. You should probably take it off your rifle first though.

This may somewhat piggyback off other uses but I also take my smaller thermal optic with me when camping. I like to be able to spot wildlife and watch the activities of nocturnal critters that you usually never see. You could even use it to search for Bigfoot or the Yeti if you were so inclined.

Conclusion

Hopefully, this does an adequate job of addressing some of the many uses of thermal technology. For those who seek to be truly prepared, a thermal optic is an amazing tool with so many applications in our world. For prepper types, so many of these uses are important to the way we conduct our daily lives.

The longer I have had my thermal optics, the more I have found I use them. Of course, you should match your thermal to your intended uses. That said, when it comes down to it a mountable rifle scope provides the most utility for me.

I can use it for security, safety, providing food, and even some leisure activities. They may not be a perfect technology but they are a very useful one.

BIO: Eric Patton from Scopesman

Eric grew up hunting, fishing, and roaming the hills of the Easter U.S. and has dedicated himself to becoming a well-rounded outdoorsman.  Anytime there is an opportunity for a little fishing or a morning spent hunting, you will find him in the woods.  In his off time, he teaches a variety of outdoor skills including land navigation and basic survival.  Recently a Search and Rescue member, he has begun learning the ancient art of human tracking in a variety of terrains.

How To Build A High Quality Survival Armory For Just $500

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If you feel that you need a personal armory of firearms but are extremely limited in your budget to only around $500 or so, you may feel that your best course of action will either be to wait and save up for a single high quality firearm later, or to go ahead and buy a collection of cheaply made ‘budget’ firearms to get you by.

But truth be told, neither of these options are ones that you have to pursue. This is because it is possible to build a complete armory of firearms for disaster and SHTF purposes on a shoestring budget of only around five hundred dollars.  

The reason this is possible is because there are a large number of high quality firearms that are also easily affordable. You see, there’s actually a difference between ‘cheap guns’ and ‘budget guns.’

In an SHTF or disaster scenario, there will be three basic types of firearms that you need to have in your collection:

  • Rifle: for big game hunting and long distance shooting
  • Shotgun: for personal/home defense and bird/small game hunting
  • Handgun: for defense and concealment

In this article, we’re going to outline and discuss three specific makes and models of firearms that you can buy in order to put together on a high quality survival armory for just $500 or less.

Rifle – Mosin Nagant 7.62x54r ($200)

The Mosin Nagant is one of the most popular budget rifles in existence.  While admittedly crudely made, the Mosin Nagant also has a well-earned reputation for being a very durable and accurate firearm.  It’s a rifle that you can beat to death, and it will

The Mosin Nagant served as the standard issue infantry rifle of the Red Army in World War I and World War II. Afterwards, when the Soviet Union upgraded to the AK-47 and SKS, tens of millions of surplus Mosin Nagant rifles hit the surplus market and found their way to the United States.

Originally, Mosin Nagants were so cheap that a bundle of three could be purchased for less than a hundred bucks.  Today, prices have been rising, but finding a Mosin Nagant in good condition for $200 or less either online or at pawn shops should not be a major challenge.

The Mosin is also chambered for the 7.62x54r round, which is very cheap and has ballistics very similar to a .30-06 Springfield.  This means that it will be more than capable in bringing down virtually any kind of North American big game.

Shotgun – Breech Loading 12 Gauge ($100)

Shotguns are among the most versatile firearms in existence, and if your gun safe doesn’t have one in it already, you need to change that.

What makes shotguns so versatile? The answer is simple: other than concealed carry and long distance shooting, there’s preciously little that they can’t do.

It’s all because of the ammo: when loaded with birdshot, a shotgun can be used for clay pigeon shooting and small game or bird hunting.  With buckshot, it’s one of the most devastatingly effective home defense weapons in existence. With slugs, it can even be used for big game hunting within reasonable distances.

Easily the cheapest choice for a dependable 12 gauge shotgun will be a breech loading single shot model.  These shotguns are so simple and rugged in operation that you won’t have to worry about one breaking down when the going gets tough.

No, a breech loading single shot shotgun is nothing fancy.  It’s no Mossberg 500 or Remington 870. But if you’re on a very shoestring budget, a simple breech loading shotgun will still be a perfectly doable option, and you should encounter no problems finding one in good shape in the $100 range.

Handgun – Taurus G2C 9mm Luger ($200)

At this point, we’ve spent $200 on our rifle and $100 on our shotgun. That leaves just another $200 to spend on our handgun.

The best handgun to have in an SHTF disaster would quite arguably be a mid-sized 9mm pistol with a relatively large capacity.  Such a handgun would be suitable for defending yourself against multiple attackers, while also being small and light enough to conceal carry.  While the ideal handgun for this criteria may be something like a Glock 19, that’s also going to be too much outside of our budget range.

One of the best pistols to fulfill this criteria for that $200 or so budget will be the Taurus G2C 9mm pistol.  This is a compact sized pistol with a capacity of 12+1 rounds, and offers you enough room for a full firing grip so it’s easily controllable.

The G2C also has an impressive number of features for a budget pistol, including a manual thumb safety, a Glock-style trigger safety, and a loaded chamber indicator.  The pistol has also gained a strong reputation for reliability, with many users reporting having thousands of rounds through their G2C pistols without any hiccups.

Conclusion

Having a personal armory of firearms is one of the most important things you can as you prepare for disaster as it can help keep your family safe while also enabling you to put food on the table.

If you only have $500 to spend on guns right now, the above three choices will definitely serve you well in any SHTF or disaster scenario.

NOTE: THIS WAS A GUEST POST.