5 Best Tactical Knife Edge Grinds For Survival

Today I would like to talk about the most common tactical knife edge grind types that you are likely to see and encounter when buying a knife.

The knife edge grinds types depicted above are the most common on the market today and you are likely to have seen some or most of them and maybe not have know it. Regardless, I will explain each one so that you will have a good foundation of best tactical knife blade grind types when we’re done.

1. The Scandinavian Tactical Knife Grind

The Scandinavian tactical knife grind is just about the simplest knife grind there is to understand and also, in my opinion, the easiest blade type to sharpen, especially for those who do not have a lot of sharpening experience or knowledge.

In the world of knife sharpening there are lots of confusing terms like primary edge and secondary edge, or primary and secondary grinds or even the infamous back bevel and then primary edge. This terminology can get confusing for many people. Hence, the Scandinavian tactical knife grinds.

It is the simplest of knife grinds because there is no primary edge and then a secondary edge, or back bevel and primary edge as some would say. A knife produced with the Scandinavian grind only has one grind. Take a look at the image shown below:

 The Scandinavian tactical blade grind is generally set at around twenty-five degrees or twelve points five degrees per side of the blade although this can vary slightly depending on the maker/producer of the Scandinavian grind type knife. Many American makers are starting to produce “Scandi” ground blades these days for ease of use and re-sharpening.

The Scandinavian ground blade is a great blade that I highly recommend for beginning and intermediate woodsmen and campers alike. One of the best features of this type of knife grind is the width of the grind itself which lends itself to being easily re-sharpened. Other types of knife grinds with a thinner profile can actually be harder to sharpen/re-sharpen in the field as it might be difficult to determine the correct angle to reshape the knife with.

Being that it is so wide of an angle you just take the Scandi-ground knife and lay it flat on the stone or sharpening medium of your choice and then take your finger and press the blade (the primary cutting edge) down against the stone which will elevate the spine of the blade and… there you have it the correct angle in which to re-sharpen a Scandinavian ground knife!

If you look at a Scandinavian ground knife you will see that it looks very much like the edge of a samurai sword or even like the grind of a Japanese sushi knife. Both the samurai sword and the sushi knife are what is known as “zero grind” knives. By this, I mean that there is no secondary bevel that has been created on the Scandi grind. So for all intents and purposes, the Scandinavian ground knife is a “zero ground” blade.

The idea of the Scandinavian knife grind, therefore, is to avoid creating a “secondary bevel” or secondary grind. The Scandinavian knife grind is an excellent grind for all kinds of chores, it stays sharp a good long time and is easy to re-sharpen.

Now, there are times where one might hear this argument about the Scandi ground knife and it goes like this: Some people may tell you that over time and over many sharpenings that the grind itself may become convex in nature. This has never happened to me and I have carried and used Martini and Isaaki Finnish Puukko knives in the field for years and have never had the problem of the blade going convex on mine.

Any “convexation” or form of “wire edge” above the main grind that would occur should and would be “lopped” off of the blade when properly resharpened. Take my word for it, the Scandinavian ground knife is a must have for any  outdoorsman at any skill level.

2. The Tactical Knife Hollow Grind

The tactical hollow ground knife blade style is one that many people have seen and may not have realized that it is a hollow ground knife. It is one of the most common types of knife grinds available today. You may have seen it on a standard Buck 110 folding hunter as this knife is very popular and has been around for years and years.

The hollow grind utilizes a profile that is concave in nature for the main grind of the knife blade (see image below). In my humble life and experience with knives, most if not all hollow ground tactical knives that I have seen have a secondary bevel that leads to a primary cutting edge. This is commonly referred to as a V grind.

Now, in many eyes the hollow grind style of blade making is considered to be a “weak” knife grind because of the fact that as you follow the grind from the beginning of the following process to the cutting edge of the blade it gets thinner and thinner the closer you get to the primary cutting edge.

Well, this is a good thing in my humble opinion as this type of blade grind lends itself to excellent skinning capabilities and if sharpened correctly is just a good all around cutting edge type of grind.

Now, like I said some people might find that a hollow ground knife is weak as there is less metal toward the primary cutting edge, but that is preferable in some cases. In my opinion, the hollow grind, if done right, is excellent blade geometry for cutting chores of all types and because the blade is thinner towards the primary cutting edge, if you utilize the proper sharpening stone or other sharpening apparatus then re-sharpening should be a breeze too.

3. The Tactical Knife Full Convex Grind

The full convex knife grind is the opposite of the hollow grind tactical knife type. If you look at a knife blade that is ground in the convex style you will be hard pressed to find a level of any type of the blade. In many cases you could even say that it looks like a “zero grind” or even a fat “Scandinavian grind” but it is a convex grind. (see image below):

The convex knife grind utilizes a continuous curve that starts at the spine of the blade and goes all the way down to the primary cutting edge of this blade grind type.

If you look closely, you will find that there is no flat area or secondary grind to this blade type and that is why many people might confuse this blade grind type with a “zero” grind or even a “Scandi” grind type. I personally do not find this type of blade grind useful for most cutting chores that I might need to accomplish, as I do prefer the ease of use of a “Scandi” blade grind or even a hollow ground blade.

4. The High Flat Tactical Knife Grind

The high flat tactical knife grind style is a grind style where the primary grind of the blade is flat (see image below). This type of grind starts closer to the spine of the knife and works its way down to the primary cutting edge of the blade:

Now, there are times when things can get a bit confusing with it comes to flat ground knives. The issue of confusion is the secondary bevel of the flat ground knife. The secondary bevel can be a “V” grind or a convex grind or even some form of a compound knife grind which is merely a grind of multiple angles of a “V” grind that looks a lot like a convex grind and is a grind type that most people who carry knives on a daily basis will not use or see in most production and custom folders or tactical fixed blade knife.

There are issues with this type of blade grind as lots of folks will get confused when some guy will say that they have put a convex edge on the blade that they are using at the time. Well, this is just a matter of proper knife grind education as it is just about impossible to put a convex grind on a high flat ground tactical knife. It would take a miracle to accomplish and I have not seen miracles of this kind in thirty years of being in the cutlery business.

What many of these guys are talking about is actually putting a secondary bevel on a convex blade grind which, in my humble opinion and to be nice, is not what you are supposed to do with a convex grind. It is convex, so leave it convex.

5. The Tactical Knife Full Flat Grind

The full flat tactical knife grind is similar to a high flat knife grind type and the only difference is that the flat ground knife blade type has a grind that is ground all the way to the top of the spine of the blade (see image below). This knife grind type has no flat portion of the blade nearest to the spine. The full flat ground tactical blade type utilizes a grind that is a single linear point from the spine of the blade all the way down to the secondary bevel of the knife. This secondary beveling can be of many types, such as “V” grinds and convex or compound just as with the high flat grind:

So there you have it, folks, the basic knife grinds employed today by most production and custom knife makers alike.

There are even more types of knife grinds available out there and many of them I will not detail here as they are employed in industrial uses and some others are used in certain types of arts and crafts.

What we have covered, however, should clear up knife edges for the everyday guy or gal who carries a pocket knife or fixed blade knife, or perhaps for the average knife collector. Please feel free to leave a comment.

Author Bio:

I am Lyle E. Holmes, knife enthusiast and geologist, co-founder of The Tactical Knives blog. Follow me here with world’s best tactical knives review, tips and tricks.

Seriously, Why Are We Still Having Runs On Water Prior To Hurricanes?

Hurricane Irma Water Shortage, Image Credit

Recently, due to the onslaught of Hurricane Irma I read an article titled Is Hurricane Irma causing too much panic over water, and other preparedness supplies?

Of course, it’s not just water that people rush out to buy at the last minute, people buy batteries, gasoline, and apparently pop tarts to name a few items that “fly” off the shelves whenever news of an impending disaster looms large. And it’s not like this is new behavior, people have done this since forever and apparently will continue to do so because we just won’t learn from the past.

Anyway, I thought to myself: why on earth are we still having runs on water prior to hurricanes or major storms? Can people NOT make even the slightest effort to prepare in advance and have at least a little bit put away for needs like this? Can people NOT see what happened to folks in Hurricane Katrina or Hurricane Sandy?

I mean, how damn hard is it to keep a few cases of bottled water shoved in the back of a closet or under a bed or wherever works? Sure, the water won’t stay perfect forever in disposable plastic bottles, but it will certainly last for years and you’d surely be happy to have it when the water stops flowing or you can’t buy any at the store because they’re out.

The same can be said for other items like batteries and flashlights as both of them will stay good for many years without worry… heck, lithium batteries will last for a decade or longer with minimal loss of capacity.

Gasoline may be a slightly different story but even untreated gasoline doesn’t go bad in a week or even a month. In all honesty it will probably still be good in storage for up to a year without much concern and if you add preservatives such as PRI-G (which you should be) then the gasoline will surely be viable for at least a year or longer. How hard is it to do THAT? I can assure you it’s not very hard as I’ve done it for many years now myself.

None of these actions take but a few minutes of planning and forethought and maybe a few minutes to actually accomplish.

Regardless of how easy any of this stuff is, there’s now worry about people buying up more cases of bottled water than they actually need thereby not leaving enough water for everyone else who didn’t bother to prepare beforehand. Worse, there’s concern that these very people are either (1) going to sell this very water at an exorbitant markup or (2) hoard it. Gasp! None of this is newfound suggestion or behavior either.

I say hoard it… hoard it all if you were at least smart enough to beat everyone else to the punch, if you will. This isn’t socialist China after all… well, maybe… never mind.

Really, if you’re still living life by failing to have even the minimal of necessary supplies to keep yourself alive then shame on you. Don’t blame the folks who beat you to it. And don’t blame the government for not forcing them to do what you failed to do, though, I am a bit surprised officials haven’t at least set limits on what you can purchase.

If, however, you were smart enough to prepare ahead and, better yet, get out of harm’s way then kudos to you, count yourself as one of the 1%… the 1% smart enough to prepare before disaster strikes.

Live Near Water But Not Sure Where To Evacuate To? Try This…

How To Evacuate Near Water

The recent flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey got me to thinking about flooding where I live because, after all, we live very near the water’s edge along the Puget Sound. And, while we’re likely high enough that any minor flooding wouldn’t be a problem… what if something BIG happened? Where would we go?

Well, as planning would have it, I do have evacuation routes to get us well away from the area but I’ve come to realize that some of those involve driving (or maybe walking) very near likely flood-prone areas which obviously wouldn’t work out too well if the flooding occurred in relatively short order.

The other major problem I had with planning a quick evacuation due to flooding is that we’re surrounded by tall trees which makes it a bit more difficult to merely step out of my front door, take a gander, and decide which way is uphill. Where we used to live in Missouri it was no problem to look for miles on end in any direction… here that just isn’t possible.

So, I did what any good under-the-age-of-80 person would do: I turned to Google Maps. And, as it turns out, they have a handy little terrain feature which shows contour lines and elevation.

Just go to Google Maps, click the “Menu” button on the top left corner of the screen, and select “Terrain.” The map will transform into something resembling a topographical map with a bit shading denoting elevation and a few contour lines. Yes, there’s plenty still to be desired but it’s better than nothing.

What I don’t like about the Terrain feature of Google Maps is that if you either zoom too far in or too far out the contour lines and elevation markers disappear which makes it a tad difficult to use but still easy enough that I can look at where I live and figure out fairly quickly where I can go to get to higher ground in a few minutes drive… and I actually wouldn’t have thought about the particular spot I have in mind.

Anyway, I tried a few other interactive maps such as elevationmap.net which might actually be a better tool because it seems to include the same information as Google Maps but with the added benefit that you can click on a specific point on the map and click “Get informations” (yes, I spelled that correctly according to the tool) and you’ll see an altitude shown whereas Google Maps doesn’t seem to do so.

Last, if you’d like to see a more traditional interactive topographic map then try US Topo Map tool. Click on “Download Maps” on the left sidebar then you can search for your address, for example, and you’ll get a good map to make use of with contour lines, elevation, and more. The best part is that it’s all overlaid with streets so you can plan a route easily.

Hope this helps you figure out where best to evacuate to if flooding is a concern for you. Stay safe out there. 🙂

Beginner’s Guide To Concealed Carry: Choosing Your Holster

CCW Holsters, Image Credit

Once you make the decision to carry a concealed weapon, you should make sure that how you choose to conceal your weapon is both safe and comfortable for you.

This means looking at a variety of different types of concealed weapons holsters and making a decision on what type best suits your style and your weapon of choice.

First, here are some basics to consider when carrying a concealed firearm:

What To Consider Before Carrying a Concealed Weapon

Do Your Research

If you are a true beginner, then you may feel overwhelmed by all the choices in concealed holsters.

The best way to combat this is to research each type of holster a few at a time, then expand your research to a variety within each category that includes shoulder, waist, ankle, leg, pocket, and pouch holsters.

This includes knowing which holsters are best for which types of firearms. If you are unsure, always consult an expert either online or at a local gun shop for advice.

Your goal is to find a gun and holster system that best fits your physicality and needs.

Take your New Holster for a Trial Run

Once you’ve made the choice in a holster, the worst thing you can do is immediately strap it on and go out in a crowd or other social environment without really knowing how it will feel over a period of time.

You want to get a feel for the holster on your body and how it moves with you with the firearm intact. The best way to do this is to wear the system around the house a few times while sitting, standing, and generally walking around with it on.

You can then adjust it accordingly, keeping in mind that all holsters have a tight fit initially before they are worn over a period of times.

Drawing Attention is a Deal breaker

The whole purpose of concealing a firearm is so that no one has an idea you are carrying a weapon.

If your gun and holster system is uncomfortable, then you will naturally pull at it, adjust it, and generally draw attention to it.

If this occurs, go someplace private and make adjustments and then return to a public area. This includes generally acting as natural as possible while you have it on.

Remove the Bells and Whistles

Sometimes a new item is like a new toy; we want all the add-ons that go along with it and we want to use them all at once.

This is not a good idea with a concealed weapon. The more stock you keep your concealed weapon the more natural it will look. The only extra should possibly be sights.

Practice, Practice, Practice

There is nothing more dangerous to you and to others than to have a gun and holster system concealed on your person and not be able to skillfully remove the weapon if you need to use it.

This could lead to an errant discharge of the firearm that could harm you or someone else.

The only remedy for this is to practice firing the weapon at the range with the holster on.

This also means wearing different styles of clothing including overcoats and zipped jackets. Practice drawing the weapon directly from the concealed holster for as long as it takes you to become sufficiently skilled to do it safely and with relative ease of motion.

Leave Social Media Out of the Equation

You may be proud of your new gun and holster, but letting the whole word know on social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and any other social media sites defeats the purpose of a concealed weapon.

Because so many strangers have access to our social media through other friends’ threads and phones, it is never a good idea to brag on social media about how you carry a concealed weapon or the type of weapon that you carry.

Keep this information only between a few close friends privately.

Here are several types of holsters to consider in a variety of styles from IWB, belt pouch/pocket, shoulder and ankle holsters that are available:

Different Types of Holsters, and Where To Find Them

IWB (Inside the waistband) Holster

A comfortable IWB holster is the Leather Canted Tuckable Concealed Carry Holster, designed for total concealment.

This IWB holster has a design which lets shooters conceal the weapon inside their shirt, or inside their waist and over the weapon itself.

The leather belt loops which are part of the design are integral to the concealment of the firearm. It also is very easy to draw from this holster, especially for beginners, and it can be carried on your back as well.

Leg Holster

A popular leg holster is the Tactical Drop Leg Holster With Extra Magazine Pouch, owing to its comfort, durability and space for extra mags.

This concealed holster for the leg is manufactured with durable plastic that has a fabric liner.

Its best feature is a thumb break that can be either removed or adjusted to custom fit each user. There are two straps for the leg, and each has an anti-slipping exterior so that there is no need to overtighten the straps.

These straps also include elastic components that will expand when you sit. It also comes with an additional magazine pouch and both right and left-handed designs.

Ankle Holster

When ankle-carrying, I use the Elastic Ankle Holster For Concealed Carry. It has special calf straps so that the holster doesn’t slip down, no matter what pistol it holds. The liner is also soft and doesn’t chafe my skin.

This holster is a very basic design and made of all elastic. It is best used with smaller revolvers and pistols and comes with a small pocket for carrying papers or small documents.

It comes in left and right-handed models, making it a solid option for ambidextrous shooters. I like to use the Falco Elastic Holster when carrying my little Glock 43, one of my favorite pistols for CCW.

Shoulder Holsters

My go-to shoulder horizontal holster is the Horizontal Leather Shoulder Gun Holster.

A thumb break made of reinforced steel acts as an added measure of security in this conceal shoulder holster model, and the entire barrel is covered and has an open muzzle.

It also has a horizontal configuration with a cross-shoulder type harness. It is available as a right or left-handed model.

My favorite vertical shoulder holster is the Leather Vertical Shoulder Gun Holster.

This concealed gun holster is virtually the same as the horizontal version except it has a vertical holster at the shoulder as well as a vertical harness. It also has the steel thumb break for added security.

Many people think that using a vertical shoulder holster is only for police or active duty military. The truth is, that is usually the case, but there’s no reason the average civilian can’t do it too. I often carry my Glock 26 in a shoulder holster, which makes for a super fast draw.

Pouch/Bag Holsters

Probably the best belt pouch holster on the market today is the Falco Belt Pouch For Concealed Gun Carry.

This model has two front pouches—one for the gun itself and another for other carry items of your choosing. It is a zipped compartment that is easily opened and can hold a gun with dimensions of up to 220 x 140 mm.

You can see it at

If you’re looking for a leg carry option, you should try the Leg Bag For Concealed Gun Carry.

This model is worn on the thigh area and has a generous-sized pocket in the back for the firearm itself (up to a 220 x 175mm) and two smaller pouches for other items. Because the pocket is so large, a tactical light could be included with the firearm of your choice.

There is a non-slip material on the back of the bag and for added securing, a belt and leg straps are included in the design.

Conclusion

Following the prescribed considerations for carrying concealed weapon as well as taking the time to look at the suggested models should give you a secure and skilled start at being a concealed weapons carrier.

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.

EDC Kit: Back To Basics (Guest Post)

EDC Kit, Image Credit

When becoming involved in survival and prepping, there are many different ways to get started. For instance, some people start by learning about specific survival skills, while others start by buying supplies. Some people buy a few survival tools and learn how to use them, while others just spend time becoming more self-sufficient.

There is no right or wrong way to get started. Just making an effort puts you miles ahead of the average person. However, there are some misconceptions about putting together packs and gear…

3 Types of Kits

Which one of these is right for you depends on your goals and your situation, read on…

Bug Out Bag (BOB)

One of the first types of kits that you will encounter is the Bug Out Bag (BOB). It seems like every survivalist has either put together a BOB, has purchased a pre-made one, or at least knows what it is.

This bag is designed to give you the supplies needed to survive if you packed up and left your home in a hurry, often being gone for days to weeks. However, the likelihood of needing to pack up and leave your home is relatively small. [Editor’s note: It totally depends on where you live and the situation you’re in… please be prepared to bug out if need be.]

Do not misunderstand me. Having a bug out bag is important and an excellent idea. It is just that the list of scenarios in which you must abandon your home is just small.

Get Home Bag (GHB)

The get home bag is designed to be kept at work or in your car with just enough supplies to get you home. Even if you end up on foot, most people would only be traveling for a couple of hours or a day or two at most. This makes a get home bag typically smaller.

It also makes the items more focused on urban survival. Most people spend their time walking the city streets, not trudging through the woods and is a more likely scenario as most people spend their days at work several miles from home. [Editor’s note: Yes! Most of us need to think about being able to get around city streets, not the woods.]

With the majority of your supplies at home, the end goal should typically be to make your way back home. Unfortunately, you could find yourself unable to get to a bag in your car or desk which brings us to…

The Everyday Carry (EDC) Kit

By far the most important and most undervalued kit you can put together is an Everyday Carry kit (EDC) which is an assembly of tools that you can carry with you at all times. That does not mean leaving it in the car or storing it in a locker at work. You have to keep these items with you.

This is the survival kit you are most likely to use, the least expensive to assemble, and has the most valuable tools. However, most new survivalists end up focusing on extreme bug-out scenarios instead of an emphasis on the everyday scenarios that are most common.

Most people work in an environment where they want to hide their survival background. Keep in mind that when SHTF, human nature is to take what is needed from the people who have it. That is, co-workers may be inclined to take your kit if they know it is on you.

As such, for the items in your EDC kit to be effective they either need to be hidden or be able to hide in plain view.

Bag or No Bag?

One of the easiest ways to conceal your EDC kit is in a small bag of some kind. Of course, this poses some problems as it must be a bag that you can take with you everywhere — to the bathroom, to meetings, to lunch, literally everywhere.

Aside from maybe a purse or laptop bag, this can be difficult. Another problem with keeping your whole kit in a bag means that someone can steal it or you can lose it and now you are completely vulnerable. Besides, keeping your whole kit inside a bag makes it more difficult to access the items you need quickly.

For example, you can keep a tactical pen in the bag for self-defense. But do you prefer to dig through the bag looking for it or just pull it out of a pocket? For most people, I feel that doing without the bag is a better option but the decision is up to you.

Main Items to Consider

To some degree, the items that you choose for your EDC should reflect where you spend most of your time. If you work in a large city, they should reflect urban survival. If you work in the country, they should reflect wilderness survival.

Regardless, you should always first consider the four pillars of survival: food, water, fire, and shelter. Then consider self-defense, first aid, navigation, and signaling for help.

You can carry as many items as you like as long as you are comfortable with their weight, size, and appearance.

Knife

For any survival scenario, many people consider this to be the most valuable tool to have because it is incredibly difficult to replicate its capability with natural materials.

Sure, you can sharpen a stone or hone a piece of glass but it can never be as strong or as capable as a steel blade. A good knife helps with self-defense, cleaning food, cutting cordage, building a shelter, starting a fire, hunting and dozens of other tasks.

Full Tang or Not?

The tang of a knife is how long the blade extends to the handle.

In a full tang knife, the blade extends all the way to the end of the handle, this makes it incredibly strong. However, the average full tang knife is quite long since it cannot be folded.

There are three primary ways to carry a full tang knife for your EDC kit. If you can carry a knife on your belt, that is my suggestion. It allows you to take a larger blade that is better for chopping and self-defense.

If that is not an option, you can carry a boot knife or a neck knife. A boot knife is hidden in a sheath inside the ankle of a boot, while a neck knife is carried on a chain around your neck. Both can stay completely hidden under your clothing.

Folding Knives

A folding knife is commonly known as a pocket knife because that is where it is intended to stay. While the hinge makes the knife a bit weaker, you can still find quality options.

It is important for it to be a locking blade knife as this prevents the blade from folding in on your hand. You can buy folding knives with several other tools included.

My suggestion is that you stick with a single or double blade knife and save the other instruments for a multi-tool if needed.

Fire

Many people think that you only need to start a fire in wilderness survival situations. This is simply not the case. There are plenty of scenarios in which the heat could be cut off from an urban building or you could be forced to venture out into the cold winter streets.

You should always have one or two reliable ways to build a fire in your EDC kit as you can die from exposure in just a few hours.

[Editor’s Note: I prefer to keep a mini Bic lighter on my keychain for this very purpose.]

Lighters

Normally, you are going to use your EDC kit for short term survival. This means that lighters are ideal for starting a fire. A Zippo lighter is reliable, durable, windproof, and can even be refilled with any flammable liquid. If you do not want to spend the money on a Zippo lighter, a couple of Bic lighters are a good alternative. They are still reliable and cost nearly nothing.

Ferro Rods

A ferro rod is small, windproof, waterproof, and requires no fuel. I like to keep a ferro rod with me along with a fire assistance product such as Wetfire cubes. In many cases, I can build a better fire with this combination of tools than I can with a lighter. [Editor’s note: lighters are pretty darn easy to use so I would encourage you to have one on your person if possible.]

You need a striker which can be any piece of high carbon steel including your knife. By striking the steel on the ferro rod, you create super-hot sparks that ignite many types of tinder.

Water Purification

Again, assuming that you can find clean water because you are in the city is not smart. Many buildings are supplied with water through pumps that can shut down without power. You should always have at least one method to purify water.

Filter Bottle

This is the method I prefer for my EDC kit. It is a commonplace to see people carrying a bottle of water with them everywhere they go.

The difference is that my bottle has a filter built into the lid that removes 99.999% of harmful contaminants. It even makes “safe” tap water taste better. Nobody knows the difference.

Straw Filter

This filter accomplishes the same thing but is small enough to keep in your pocket. If you do not want to carry a bottle everywhere, this is a good option. The only downside is that you must get down on the ground to sip from the straw in most cases.

Iodine Tablets

I also carry these little lifesavers everywhere I go. The vial is about the size of my car key and holds dozens of tablets. Each one can purify a bottle of water. I had situations where my filter clogs beyond repair and these tablets saved my life. The only downside is that they must dissolve for 30 minutes before you can drink the water.

Cordage

This is another one of those items that are difficult to replicate with natural materials. Cordage is vital for anything from climbing to building a shelter. It can be used for cooking, self-defense, trapping, or fishing if you do not have a regular fishing rod. The key is finding an easy way to carry it with you.

Paracord is by far the most functional type of cordage. It is thin but has seven internal strands that can be pulled out and used separately. The most common option is 550 paracord which can hold a 550-pound load.

The easiest ways to carry a paracord are as boot laces, bracelets or lanyards. I always replace my shoe and boot laces with appropriately colored paracord. This way, I have about 50 feet of cordage available at all times.

I can also remove the inner strands and reuse the outer sheath for laces. You can weave paracord into lanyards and bracelets for additional options. I typically keep one of each on me at all times.

Recently, certain companies have started making survival style paracord that has additional functions, such as a flammable cord with a Ferro rod and striker for the tips of the laces.

Another has the typical seven interior strands along with a strand of copper wire, a strand of fishing line, and a strand of flammable material. These can add even more function to an already needed item.

Other Items to Consider

You can go on and on listing out potential items for your EDC kit. Here are some of the most popular we have not yet mentioned.

Weapons – I have seen survivalists carry handguns, tactical pens, ball bearings on a cord, or even brass knuckles. A tactical pen is ideal for an office setting because it just looks like a nice pen.

Before you choose a weapon, know what your local regulations are. These are especially important in urban areas.

Emergency blankets – These are small enough to fit in your pocket and reflect 90% of your body heat back to you. They are suitable for wrapping up or for building a shelter.

Multi-tools – You can often see people carry these handy tools on their belt in a leather pouch. I even have one small enough to fit on my keychain. They have dozens of functions and are perfect for projects in which you are away from your tool box.

Wallet tools – In my wallet, I carry a folding knife, a multi tool, a survival card, and a lock pick set. There are all kinds of gadgets that are designed to be shaped like a credit card.

Small fishing kit – This includes line, hooks, sinkers, floats, and sometimes lures. You can make these small enough to fit in a mint tin.

LED light – These bright flashlights are small enough to fit in your pocket, on your keychain, or in your wallet.

Checked Your Fire Extinguishers Lately? I Haven’t And That Was A Mistake…

Fire Extinguisher,

Just the other day I’d decided to check on my smoke alarms and fire extinguishers and while I was at it have my youngest son try to put out a very small (and controlled) fire in our driveway just so he had an opportunity to hold and use a fire extinguisher which I don’t think I’ve ever had him do.

Well, as it turns out the first fire extinguisher I grabbed indicated “red” meaning it needed replaced; I gave it a try anyway… it was dead as a door nail. So I grabbed another one that indicated “green” and with a quick test THAT one didn’t work either!

I thought, “Uh oh… when’s the last time I checked these?” Believe it or not, I used to keep a good list of all the prepping tasks I needed to check on and when but, sadly, I can’t find the list anymore let alone remember the last time I even looked at it.

As it turns out it’s probably been a LONG time since I’ve actually looked at one of my fire extinguishers and, sadly, I found another one that needed replaced too. Surprisingly, the extinguishers I have in our vehicles still worked even though I would have assumed they–if any of them–would be bad since they’ve been exposed to both extreme hot and cold for many years… go figure.

The good news is that this has caused me to create a new prepping tasks list and, of course, to replace my fire extinguishers too.

I did briefly look into trying to refill them but apparently the type I have can’t (or shouldn’t) be refilled because they have plastic heads as opposed to metal ones and are prone to leaks… perhaps that’s why they don’t work any longer.

Anyway, just last night my wife was cooking dinner when the kitchen smoke alarm went off which isn’t unusual and so I didn’t bother to move from the basement couch as my wife was sort of yelling something incoherent which I did my best to ignore. As it turns out one of the burners had something stuck to it and caught fire. It wasn’t a big deal but I’ll take that as a sign I need to replace my fire extinguishers sooner rather than later, lol.

My suggestion: go check on your fire extinguishers and while you’re at it your smoke alarms just to be sure they’re still in working order.

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