Best Air Rifles And Pellet Guns For Survival (+ 5 Reasons Why)

If you are seriously into your guns and take your prepping seriously, you may have overlooked the humble air rifle. If you are anything like me, it’s likely you haven’t shot one since you were a kid, and don’t really regard them as a serious weapon, especially in a survival situation.

This is a shame, because I’ve recently realized that no bug-out bag is complete without a decent air rifle (or three). I’ve got plenty of friends, serious preppers themselves, who swear by their air rifles.

I know what you’re thinking. Air rifles are for kids, right? Well, no.

It’s true, of course, that no air rifle is ever going to deliver the power of a “proper” hunting rifle. In a survival situation, you are never going to be able to take down a deer, a moose, or a bear with a .22, and trying to do so is likely to get you killed. But I’d like to point out that in a survival situation you are not going to be shooting at large game very often, or at least you shouldn’t be.

In reality, the majority of the food for you and your family is going to come from much smaller game – squirrels, rabbits, etc. If you manage to hit a small animal with your AK (no mean feat given the recoil) you are not going to have much animal left to eat. Hitting small game with an air rifle is easier, and means you don’t end up with squirrel mush.

Hunting With Air Rifle, Image Credit

Beyond this, there are several other reasons why you should get an air rifle for survival situations. Today, I’ll take you through some of them, outline a few options you have when choosing an air rifle for survival, and then take you through what I would recommend.

Why An Air Rifle?

#1: More Effective

Why should you get an air rifle for a survival situation? Well, let me quickly say again what I said above – that for hunting small game, they are simply more effective. You can hit a squirrel more easily with an air rifle than with a full hunting rifle.

#2: Relatively Powerful

And don’t think that just because you used one when you were a kid, that air rifles are not powerful. Nowadays, the best air rifles deliver huge power. Though they usually shoot a .177 or a .22 pellet, modern air rifles achieve fairly high muzzle velocities and can kill most small game stone dead.

#3: Size and Weight

Air rifles have a number of other big advantages in survival situations. First and foremost, they are much lighter than a full-sized rifle. This is true not just for the rifle itself, but also in terms of the ammunition you need to carry. Going out hunting with even a dozen rounds of full-sized rifle ammunition makes you slow, and limits the number of shots you are going to get. In comparison, a coffee tin full of .22 pellets is lightweight, easy to carry, costs less than $50, and will last for years as long as you are careful with it.

#4: Usable by Anyone

Lastly, one factor that is often overlooked when thinking about guns for survival is that your kids (and perhaps your wife) are not going to be able to handle a full-sized hunting rifle. I would recommend getting your son or daughter an air rifle in any case because I had so much fun with mine when I was a kid, and this is a great way of getting them into firearms young.

#5: Teaches Shooting Skills (and adds another hunter)

Teaching your kids how to shoot an air rifle is not only a great bonding activity, but will also have huge advantages when the SHTF. Think about it as adding another hunter to your group – with a bit of practice, your son or daughter will easily be able to go out an bag a few rabbits and this could make all the difference.

Types Of Air Rifles

If you haven’t used one since you were a kid, it’s worth reminding yourself that air rifles come in a variety of different designs.

Caliber

The first factor to consider is the caliber. Air rifles generally come in two calibers – .177 and the larger .22 pellets. In my opinion, if you are buying an air rifle for a survival situation, only the larger caliber is a real option. .177 pellets can be used for killing small game, and are great for teaching your kids the basics of shooting, but in truth they are a little under-powered for survival situations. The .22 pellets deliver their energy to your target much more effectively, and will improve your hunting performance.

That said, caliber is not the only factor that affects the power of an air rifle. As you will see below, one of my choices for today is actually a .177, but one that has a huge muzzle velocity. The most powerful, and unfortunately most expensive, .177s produce a good deal of stopping power, but I think that for most people the .22 is best.

Design

Then we come to the design of air rifles. A lot of the most popular air rifles available today are CO2 -powered guns, a relatively recent invention. I think these are the most popular because they essentially take out all the work from using an air rifle – using a compressed gas for power, you simply load the rifle and pull the trigger. That’s great right now, but this type of rifle will have a huge disadvantage in a survival situation: getting those CO2 canisters. They are likely to run out pretty quick when the SHTF. In addition, carrying around a load of bulky canisters essentially eliminates one of the other advantages of air rifles in a survival situation – their light weight.

For this reason, my advice would be to stay old-school when getting an air rifle or pellet rifle for a survival situation. The best air rifles, in my opinion, are the ones that use a ‘pump-action’ design. The simplest form of this–and the air rifles you are likely familiar with from your youth–are those that use a spring mechanism. By pumping the stock on these rifles, the spring inside is compressed, and when you pull the trigger the spring is released, shooting the pellet. As the simplest design of air rifle, this type is easily maintained in the field, and is really reliable.

That said, one disadvantage of spring-based air rifles is that the spring has a tendency to wear out after a while. It will being to lose power and may eventually fail. There are two solutions to this. One is to make sure you have a few spare springs and make sure you know how to fix your rifle. The second is to take advantage of an advance in the design of these rifles, and get a ‘gas-ram’ gun.

This type of rifle works on the same pump-action principle but instead of compressing a spring it uses a canister of gas, most often nitrogen. Unlike CO2 powered air rifles, because the gas stays inside the canister, it does not get consumed, so the only consumable is still your pellets.

Our Choices

There are a huge number of great air rifles available, but the most important features in an air rifle for survival is reliability, specifically a rifle that has built up a great reputation in the field.

For a truly old-school air rifle that has built up a great reputation for both accuracy and reliability, look no further than the Diana RWS 34. This is one of the simplest designs of air rifle you can get, and in a survival situation the ability to maintain your weapon easily is going to make all the difference.

If you’re looking for an air rifle that almost anyone can use, take a look at the Gamo Varmint Air Rifle. This is a .177, and whilst I said above that this caliber is not powerful enough for most survival situations, the muzzle velocity produced by this rifle more than makes up for the smaller pellets. It will produce 1250 fps, and because it uses a smaller pellet the recoil is lighter on this rifle than some others.

If you’ve got a but more cash to spend, consider having a look at gas-piston air rifles. Though they cost a little more, they are more reliable. A good choice here would be the Gamo Whisper Silent Cat, which offers huge power in a compact design. The skeleton stock on this rifle make it even more portable than your average pellet gun, and when out hunting it feels like a full-sized rifle. In addition, the incorporated scope makes it an even more accurate hunting weapon for small game. Another good option is the Crosman CFRNP17SX Nitro, which develops a serious amount of power and is a great choice for hunting small game.

Lastly, I want to mention the Black Ops Tactical Sniper air rifle. This is one of the most powerful air rifles around at the moment, and has been designed to replicate military-style sniper rifles. While the heavy pump-action and larger frame means it takes some getting used to, if you’re looking for an air rifle with huge stopping power, this is the one.

Author Bio

“Sam Bocetta is a retired engineer and writer at Gun News Daily. He’s is an avid hunter with over 30 years experience.”

Image Credit

Inflatable, Reusable Sandbag?

Inflatable Sandbag, Image Credit

Ok, inflatable might be the wrong word to describe this sandbag as inflation implies air is involved, but it is certainly different than the traditional “fill your own” sandbags we’ve all come to despise, lol.

Anyway, I just recently ran into this SoSaveBag.com which perked my interest as it’s apparently a sandbag that actually swells when contacted with water:

“SOSAVE sandbag is an innovative instant sandbag sandbag. It is a jute bag with another inner bag as a special double layer structure bag. When it is dipped in the water, the functional material contained in the bag swells and increases its starting weight up to 50 times.In this way its volume becomes a flood defense barrier in case of water overflow.”

Interesting. I do wonder what the inner water absorbing material is… I can’t seem to find that out.

Regardless, it’s apparently reusable, biodegradable, lightweight, easily packed, etc., etc.

Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find a price for these either as ordering is via email which I didn’t have the patience for, plus I tried downloading some catalog but that failed too.

Hmmm…

Seems there’s some work to be done on the website so I haven’t a clue how “above board” these folks are, especially since it’s all in China. Hopefully, these “sandless” sandbags are the real deal and something people can start to make use of.

Let me know if you have any experience with them or a similar product. Thanks.

17 Apps Every Survivalist Needs

17 Survival Apps, Background Image Credit

These days, most of us have smartphones, and this gives us the ability to download apps for just about any purpose. But have you considered what apps might be useful when SHTF? In a truly large-scale disaster, cell phone service might not be available, but many apps can store information and be accessed even without cellular data.

Since most of us have our phones with us at all times, having a library of survival apps ready to go on your phone is one more weapon you need for your prepping arsenal.

Here are the 17 apps every survivalist needs to have downloaded and ready to go.

Kindle

The Kindle app is a great way to build your library of survival books without taking up a lot of physical space. Plus, ebooks are often much cheaper than hard copy books, and you can store thousands of them on your phone or tablet. The Kindle app allows you to save pdf files in the app so that you can store all of your emergency preparedness information and survival guides in one place. You can also choose to store documents and ebooks directly on your device—instead of in the cloud—so that they can be accessed whether or not you have cell service or internet access. The app is available for free for iOS and Android devices.

First Aid by American Red Cross

During an emergency, knowing how to perform first aid accurately can save lives. The First Aid app by the American Red Cross has step-by-step instructions to guide you through different first aid situations, and the content is preloaded, so you don’t need cell service or a wireless connection to use it. If you do have cell service and the situation turns out to require more than simple first aid, the app is also fully integrated with emergency services so that you can call for help at any time, directly from the app. The app is available for free for iOS and Android devices.

Pet First Aid by American Red Cross

Your human family members aren’t the only ones who might require medical attention in an emergency situation. But administering first aid to a dog or cat is very different than helping an injured person. So, the American Red Cross has created a Pet First Aid app to help with that. The app includes content on both dogs and cats and offers information about how to respond to more than 25 of the most common emergencies involving our four-legged friends.

PepperPlate

The PepperPlate app is perfect for storing all of those recipes you’ve been accumulating for your dutch oven or solar cooker. The app also allows you to create and edit your own recipes and organize everything in whatever categories you choose. PepperPlate is another app that allows you to store your information directly on your device, so you can access it even if you don’t have cell service or internet. The app is available for iOS, Android, Windows, Nook and Amazon devices for free.

Google Drive

Google Drive offers users 15 GB of free storage space, which makes it a great option for backing up your important documents, such as identity papers, passports, insurance policies, financial information and medical information. It will give you the benefit of being able to prove your identity and access your resources in the event of an emergency away from home, or if your hard copies are lost or destroyed in a disaster. Google Drive gives you the option to store files in the cloud, or locally on your device. The Google Drive app is free for iOS and Android devices.

Storing and accessing all of your personal identification information online does come with some risk. If you are accessing the information from the cloud, you should consider using a secure connection, like a virtual private network, to ensure your information is protected from other parties who might attempt to steal your personal data.

5-0 Radio Police Scanner

In an emergency, many people’s first reaction is to call for help from police, firefighters or other first responders. So, knowing what the first responders know about a situation is the best way to understand what’s happening in a large-scale emergency. An app such as 5-0 Radio Police Scanner gives you access to live police and emergency radio feeds all over the world. You can listen in to radio broadcasts based on your location and listen to feeds no matter where you are. The app is available for free for iOS and Android devices. There is also a paid version called 5-0 Radio PRO that includes 50,000 additional feeds not available on the free version. The paid version is $3.99.

SnipSnap

As a survivalist and a prepper, you probably know storing supplies for emergencies isn’t cheap. While the SnipSnap app won’t be of any use after SHTF, it will come in handy while you’re prepping. This app allows you to store all of those coupons you’ve clipped in your smartphone and redeem them directly from your screen. Even more amazingly, the app even reminds you to use the coupons when you’re in the store, or if they’re about to expire. You can also search the app’s massive database to find other coupons and savings at checkout for major retailers. While prepping is never going to be considered a cheap endeavor, the SnipSnap app will help make it more affordable.

MAPS.ME

MAPS.ME is possibly the most detailed offline map app in the world. It offers directions, points of interest and navigation for everywhere, from the world’s largest cities to tiny hiking trails. Once you download the app, the information is available completely offline, so you never need an internet connection to access map information, which can be critical in an emergency. You can use it to navigate both on the road and through the backcountry. The app is available for Android, iOS, Amazon and Blackberry devices for free.

Bug Out Bag Survival Guide

The Bug Out Bag Survival Guide app is great for those new to prepping who aren’t sure what to pack in their go bags. It’s got a complete checklist with everything you need to have packed and ready to go for an emergency. It does have useful features for more experienced preppers, too. In addition to keeping track of exactly what’s in your go bag, it can also remind you when your items in the bag have expired and need to be replaced. All of the checklists are completely editable, so you can customize it to work for your prep style. The app is free for iOS and Android devices.

Home Remedies+: Natural Cures

In a true SHTF situation, you might not have access to doctors and medication, so it’s possible you’d have to rely on alternative methods of treating illnesses. The Home Remedies+: Natural Cures app gives you natural ways to replace many over-the-counter medications to treat hundreds of common ailments. The remedies in the app are primarily made from herbs, spices, fruits and vegetables, which you are more likely to be able to scavenge in a large-scale disaster. The app is available for free on iOS, Amazon and Android devices.

Wild Plant Survival Guide

In an emergency situation, safe shelter, food and water are top priorities. If you’re in a rural setting, you could very likely be surrounded by edible plants, but knowing which plants are edible and which plants are poisonous is key. The Wild Plant Survival Guide app provides details about more than 100 plants to help you identify what is edible. The app includes color photos and even provides information on the medicinal properties of different plants that can be used for first aid. The app is available on iOS and Android devices for $1.99.

Weatherbug

In a weather-related emergency, it may not always be obvious when the danger has passed. The Weatherbug app offers real-time, up-to-the-minute weather information, including Doppler radar, forecast information, interactive maps and traffic conditions. The app will alert you to any unusual weather-related events in the area. The app is available to download for free on Android and iOS devices.

Storm Shield Severe Weather

Depending on the area where you live, you may have days to prepare for severe weather, such as a hurricane, or only seconds, as in the case of tornadoes. Either way, the Storm Shield Severe Weather app provides severe weather updates for your location for tornado, hurricane, flood, thunderstorm, winter storms and other life-threatening weather events. You can receive alerts via voice or push notification. Best of all, the app alerts you to danger based on your exact location and the weather pattern, not based only on your county, as is the case with most alert systems. The app is available for iOS and Android devices for $2.99.

Army Survival

The Army Survival app is based on the United States Army’s field survival manual and includes information on almost any topic related to survival, including the psychology of survival, basic survival medicine, building shelters, procuring and filtering water, signaling techniques, and more. It includes information on surviving a variety of climates as well, such as desert, tropical, cold weather and coastal. The Army Survival app is one that every survivalist should have for reference, and you should spend time studying it before you actually need it. The app is available for Android and iOS devices for $1.99.

Prepper

The Prepper app helps you manage and track your food stores. You can scan the barcode of your food as you buy it and keep a log of exactly what foods you have, where they’re stored and how much you have of everything. You can track dry stores, canned goods, and refrigerated and frozen foods. The app will even remind you about stores that need to be used before they expire. It will take all the guesswork out of long-term food storage and eliminate any problems you have with food waste. The app is available for free on iOS devices.

Knots 3D

Knots can be used for everything from climbing and hunting to fishing and boating. In a survival situation, knowing how to tie knots can truly be a lifesaver. The Knots 3D app shows you how to tie more than 120 knots in three-dimensional detail. You can play a video of the knot being tied and vary the speed to help you learn any part you’re struggling with. It’s the best way to learn to tie any knot you might need for any situation. The app is available for Android, Amazon and iOS devices for $1.99.

Disaster Alert

The Disaster Alert app provides real-time monitoring and alerts about potential hazards around the globe. The app is part of the Pacific Disaster Center, which monitors hazards around the globe that have the potential to cause harm to people or property. Monitored events include natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods and volcanoes; weather-related hazards such as droughts and wildfires; human-made problems such as nuclear hazards; and biomedical hazards such as disease outbreaks. You can receive push notifications for specific types of hazards or those that occur within a certain distance. The app is available for free on iOS and Android devices.

Other apps you probably already have on your phone that might come in handy in an emergency include the compass app and a flashlight app. Though some disasters may make technology useless, in other cases, using technology to your advantage might save you valuable time. Being prepared for any and every possible scenario is what prepping is all about. Installing and using these 17 apps is one more way you can be ready to face whatever disaster is eventually headed our way.

Did we miss any must-have emergency or survival prepping apps? What else do you think should be on the list?

About the Author: Sandra is a freelance writer and emergency preparedness expert. She’s passionate about teaching others how to be ready for anything, from a severe weather warning to a major natural disaster. She regularly contributes to The Right Side of Truth and several other sites.

Survival Hax Tactical LED Pen with Glass Breaker and Fire Starter Review

I was sent this Survival Hax Tactical LED Pen for review and I can say that I was pleasantly surprised at the quality.

For starters, it came well protected in a foam case:

And here’s the pen outside the package for a better view:

I can say that when I first grabbed the pen it felt a bit heavy and bulky (as compared to a regular pen) but, honestly, it only took a minute or two and I actually preferred the tactical pen. Here it is as compared to a regular Bic pen:

The first thing I tried was the light. It’s a simple twist on / twist off deal, similar to a pen light or maybe a keychain light:

I took it into a dark bathroom and was able to use the light to see around quite well. Granted, it’s no Maglite but definitely as good as my LED keychain light, plus the Survival Hax light doesn’t have a focal point which I like quite well. Overall, the light will work great in confined quarters.

Next, I looked at the “business end” of the tool where the glass breaking tip is:

Granted, I didn’t try it as I didn’t have any glass I wanted broken, lol, but I can say that the tip comes to a nice point and I’m fairly confident that it would crack glass fairly quickly. Besides that, this tactical pen would double as a nice Kubotan for self-defense if needed. In fact, I occasionally carry one (a Kubotan) but I’ll just carry this instead.

To actually use this as a pen you would need to unscrew the glass breaking tip which is a bit annoying but understandable since if there’s anything you’d want quick access to in an emergency situation it would be the tip and not the pen:

Regardless, the pen writes well and as expected. If you further unscrew the pen by gripping the threads above the pen tip you will expose the pen cartridge which can apparently be refilled, though, I don’t know where to find refills (I’ll have to look into that):

After putting it all back together, if you instead unscrew the tactical pen from the middle you will expose the fire starter as shown here:

I did try it (but don’t have a photo) and, though not a Sweedish Firesteel, it worked well enough and certainly better than other fire starters I’ve used in the past.

Ultimately, I’m pleased with the Survival Hax Tactical Pen for the price. It’s fairly well put together, works as expected, and will make a decent addition to your EDC… I know I’m adding it to mine.

Survival Hax Tactical Pen

Legacy Food Storage 72 Hour Food Kit: Enchilada Beans And Rice Review

This week we’re taking a look at another Legacy Foods 72-Hour Kit option which I introduced last week here, specifically the Enchilada Beans and Rice meal:

And the backside of the package:

I should point out that last week I said that I wasn’t sure if any of the meals in the 72-hour kit were gluten free, well, it turns out that four of them are, including this one. The Classic Chili, Cheese & Broccoli Bake, and Cheese and Broccoli Soup are as well. Here’s their gluten-free selection if that’s of interest to you (and their verification letter if you’re the paranoid type, lol).

Just like with the previous meal, you need to bring about six cups of water to a boil, add contents of the freeze-dried pouch (remembering to remove the oxygen absorber which I forgot to do) and then cook over medium heat for 12-15 minutes… and remembering to stir it on occasion which I tend to forget as well. 😉

Once finished you end up with a nice beans and rice meal:

This particular meal made at least three large bowls of food, enough for me, my wife, and both of my kids to have their fill. In fact, my kids honestly thought there would be an enchilada inside because of the title and so, when the found out there wasn’t, they added the beans and rice to a flour tortilla and topped that with cheese like so:

It seems my oldest liked it well enough to have seconds. And, overall, everyone liked the taste and seasonings and so didn’t bother to add anything to it.

Personally, I felt it was seasoned quite well and I was also pleased with the quantity. It was enough for all of us to eat and have full tummies plus it’s easy to cook and lasts a long time in storage. That works for me.

Until next week. Enjoy.

Is Your Nightstand Ready For Survival? (link)

Your Nightstand Could Save Your Life, Image Credit

Well all love our bug out bags, firearms safes, and hidden caches, but is your nightstand ready to help you survive an emergency in the middle of the night? If not, you’d better think twice because there are plenty of items you can and should include at your bedside so you can grab them at a moments notice.

Items like a quality flashlight and self-defense items come to mind, but there are plenty of others. In fact, I wrote an article on this quite a while back which includes some similar items to the below-referenced article and a few differences too.

Remember, of course, that disasters strike at all times of the day and night and certainly when you’re least ready for them… in the middle of the night is when most of us are least ready for them, lol. Here’s some good thoughts on getting your nightstand ready for YOUR survival:

“Some folks keep their nightstand minimalist, with just a lamp and a clock. Others clutter it with pretty decorative items, sentimental pictures, and the latest book they’re reading.

Then there’s the prepper’s nightstand, which is equipped for a wide variety of middle-of-the-night emergencies.

Imagine this: You awaken in the middle of the night and something just isn’t right. Maybe you hear someone fumbling at your front door. Maybe the dog is barking his normally lazy head off at the back of the house and you know something is awry. Maybe you awaken to the sound of the smoke alarms and the smell of smoke…”

Read the full article here

Forget An Inverter, Use These For Most Efficient DC Power Conversion (video)

These buck and boost converters he’s talking about might be a great investment considering they’re relatively inexpensive, especially if you’re needing to power low-voltage DC powered devices. And considering that you’d be running your DC equipment as efficiently as possible (because you wouldn’t be using an inverter to convert battery power to AC and then back to DC) this makes some sense. Last, like he says there are many options available, just do a search but here’s one he recommends