CCW Insurance: Protecting Yourself on Paper

BANG, CRASH, BOOM! You live in a gated community in, let’s say, St. Louis, Missouri. You’re outside enjoying a Sunday family barbecue in the late afternoon, early evening. The crash is followed by a chant of sorts: “No justice, no peace!” This mantra is loudly repeated as a massive crowd approaches your residence. Your wife looks at you and she is scared. You’re scared too. Now’s not the time to wish you had CCW insurance.  You run into your house and grab your AR-15. Your state allows the lethal force defense of an occupied structure. You come around to the front of your residence and notice a large group of young people. A few members of the crowd appear to be armed with rifles, but you cannot tell if they’re airsoft replicas or real firearms. The crowd is enraged. You and your wife call 9-1-1, only to hear a prerecorded …

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Gear Up: New Survival Gear for January 2021

Arc’teryx Mantis 32 CAPACITY: 32 Liters (1,963 Cubic Inches) MSRP: $169 URL: www.arcteryx.com We’re fond of gear that looks commonplace in an urban setting but also excels in the backwoods or when SHTF. The Mantis 32 is one such pack. It works great as a commuter bag. It has a large main compartment, an internal sleeve to carry your laptop, two external sleeves for a travel mug or beanie, an admin section for your pens, keys, phone, multi-tool, and more. But it’s also ideal as a hiking daypack. The laptop sleeve can hold a hydration bladder while its padded back, frame sheet, and aluminum stay provide a comfortable chassis for hauling gear on treks that are longer than your daily commute. It’s a versatile pack with subdued good looks.   Gerber Compleat COLOR: Burnt Bronze, Flat Sage, Onyx, Silver MSRP: $29 URL: www.gerbergear.com When camping, we’ll save cargo weight and …

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O2 Tactical TR2 Tactical Mask Respirator Review

Before wearing “masks” was cool and going out in public without one was considered rebellious, there were plenty of professions that required protecting one’s lungs from the operating environment. While mask wearing used to suggest catastrophic disasters like nuclear fallout, or chemical warfare, things like mold, lead, and more every-day hazards have long persisted as mankind remains breathing. Just as some are interested in tactical theater, so others choose to take their training and development seriously, and where both meet might be respirators. Recent short films like SCP: Overlord or full features such as Tenet have used tactical masks as both a plot point, and a narrative tool, and for years there has been a challenge regarding wearing a mask: how are you supposed to shoulder a rifle with something attached to your face? The O2 Tactical TR2 answers the question of the tactical mask problem. Above: Don’t be mistaken, …

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Best AK47 for Prepared Citizens

There are a nearly infinite number of opinions on what makes the best weapon for the worst-case scenario. While it could be argued that the AR is one of the most common weapons owned by citizens in the United States, the AK platform has a not-unsubstantial following as well. At the end of the day, everyone wants a rifle that’s easy to manipulate, maintain, and use effectively. All of these points are intrinsic to the AK platform. While there are some things left to be desired by the Soviet Union’s greatest export, the Kalashnikov is a proven platform that has seen combat the world over. It’s simple, reliable, and easy to maintain. The controls are very easy to use. It can be stripped down and reassembled in a flash, and it’s accurate enough to hit a man-size target reliably out to 300 yards while not being excessively large or heavy. …

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What If You Become a Target of Road Rage

James Madison once sagely conveyed, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” Had Madison ever driven a car on a gridlocked freeway he’d likely have concluded the same about the necessity of this article. Neither men nor women are angels. When behind the wheel of a 4,000-pound rolling ego-inflator, they sometimes become quite the opposite. According to a 2019 survey of Americans by The Zebra, an insurance comparison website, 82 percent of respondents admitted to having road rage or driving aggressively at least once in the last year. Further, 42 percent claimed they yelled or cursed at fellow drivers. Thirty-eight percent indicated they used obscene gestures toward others on the road. That’s a lot of anger, but unless these signs of frustration escalate, they’re relatively harmless. Our primary concern is what happens when yelling and honking goes too far. The 2019 survey also reports that 7 percent of …

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Reconnaissance: Training with Guerrilla Mentor

Many of you will recognize this timeless quote. Its lesson is simple and profound: Every prepared individual should be acutely aware of his or her own strengths and weaknesses, as well as those of opponents. Self-awareness can be earned through training and feedback from peers, but accurate intel on the enemy isn’t always so easy to come by, especially if that enemy is wise enough to play his cards close to the chest. This is why military strategists throughout history have placed such a heavy emphasis on reconnaissance — the search for information in unknown or hostile territory. “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat.” —Sun Tzu, The Art of War Whether you’re fighting a war or simply trying to pass …

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Editor’s Letter: Chumming the Waters

I don’t know if any of us have been more ready for a year to be over than we are now. Unfortunately, all signs seem to indicate that the ripple effects of 2020’s various crises will spill over into at least the first quarter of next year. As I’ve said before, this year has set some unsettling precedents about how quickly, and how aggressively, our entire lives can be put on hold because people are afraid of the unknown. Or because people don’t want to tolerate opposing ideologies. There’s a very good chance that the widespread acceptance of, and lack of consequences for, nonstop months of riots, vandalism, theft, assault, and general disregard for civility will only serve to embolden malicious actors going forward. The idea that large groups of people can commit crimes with impunity, as long as they do so simultaneously on a large scale, will be a …

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Review: Pro Eagle Jack (Off Road)

In my job as a firefighter and rescue technician, there are times when I need to venture off the beaten path to suppress forest fires or rescue injured hikers. While my crew and I can certainly hike, carrying loads of 50 pounds, it’s faster, safer, and more efficient if we can drive ourselves and our equipment up the mountains and through the hiking trails. But rough unpaved terrain has its challenges, and flat tires happen far more often than we’d like. When the inevitable flat tire happens, having the right tools available can not only make life easier, it can literally save the day. One great device I’ve added to my arsenal of professional tools is a Pro Eagle Jack, specifically the Big Wheel Off Road model. At first glance, this jack looks like an ordinary mechanic’s tool with a simple pump mechanism that slides easily under a car. I’m …

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CPR Mask: Pocket Preps

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is now being taught in schools and offered readily in even the most rural areas. Most people don’t have an issue doing chest compressions; however, when it came to mouth-to-mouth breathing, that was always going to be “somebody else’s job.” Beyond the uncomfortable idea of putting your lips against a stranger’s, there’s always a risk of that stranger coughing up fluids or vomiting while you’re performing the task. Fortunately, two things have made that less of a hindrance for people. First, in 2008, the American Heart Association approved Hands Only CPR (cpr.heart.org/en/cpr-courses-and-kits/hands-only-cpr) to increase involvement of bystanders who might be unwilling to provide rescue breathing. The Second Option is to use a CPR mask when performing rescue breathing.  Most shields or CPR masks are lightweight, but can be difficult to keep track of on scene. Most people found the pocket masks to be cumbersome, and they weren’t …

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Train Like an Athlete

From the time I was a young soldier, I was determined to master my craft — especially shooting. I spent countless hours of my own time shooting, dry-firing, and researching in my quest to get better. And I did get better. I became a good enough shooter to more than hold my own among my peers. But it wasn’t until many years later, when I started competing in shooting sports, that I started to understand what good actually was, and found my skill level increasing exponentially. The reason for my “leveling up” after so many years was that I was now training my shooting less like a soldier and more like an athlete. I wasn’t satisfied though. So, I started researching again. I trained with as many top competitors as I could, read up on athletic performance and sports psychology, on current research into learning and mastery, and over time …

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Book Review: “Choose Adventure: Safe Travels in a Dangerous Place” by Greg Ellifritz

Premise: Initially living a sedentary life in the United States, Greg Ellifritz got the travel bug late in life and couldn’t get enough of it. When he isn’t working in law enforcement or teaching self-defense skills, he’s racking up new globe-trotting experiences. His first book, Choose Adventure, details all the travel safety tips and tricks he picked up along the way. 411: Choose Adventure begins by pointing out its target audience. Ellifritz quotes a fellow traveler friend at the beginning, “If I was going to write this book, it would only have one page. In fact, it would only have one sentence … ‘Don’t do stupid stuff.’” This is completely true, but Ellifritz realizes that there can be a number of intricacies along the way. Maybe you’ve been to Mexico a couple times and want to expand your horizons. Or you’ve lived overseas your entire life, but want to see …

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Gear Up: New Survival Gear for December 2020

Walls Outdoor Goods | Angus Worn-In Stretch Light Work Jacket SIZING: Medium through XXL MSRP: $90 URL: www.walls.com With the temperature dropping in most of the Northern Hemisphere, it’s time to keep an outer layer nearby. Aside from its unnecessarily long and overly descriptive name, we’re quite fond of the Angus Worn-In Stretch Light Work Jacket because … well, it’s worn in, it’s stretchy, and it’s a light jacket that you can wear while doing field work. The exterior’s 9-ounce cotton-spandex blend is flexible enough to provide mobility but tough enough for daily duty on a ranch or worksite, thanks to double and triple needle stitching. Plus, it has two snap-closed chest pockets, two handwarmer pockets, one discreet zipper pocket, and one internal zipper pocket. Just note, medium is the smallest size, and it runs kinda large. The Angus straddles the line between workweek attire and weekend relaxing, and we …

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The Secluded Strength Program

Imagine, if you will, there’s an outbreak of a virus threatening the lives of millions of people, and the only way to stop the spread is to stay indoors and not interact with the general public. “Stay in your homes,” we’re told. Well, not being able to leave your home for much besides essentials will make a lot of us stir-crazy. Not only that, but it’ll also make many people sedentary and out of shape. Without a gym to visit, it’s difficult to know how to approach a fitness program to stay in shape for whatever is in store for us down the line. The good news? Bands are a readily available and versatile piece of exercise equipment you can take full advantage of in a home exercise setting. Sit tight, and we’ll show you exactly what you can do to stay fit and healthy and, most of all, prepared. …

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A Pelican Case for Rescue Operations: The iM2950 Pelican Storm Case

My introduction to Pelican cases came decades ago when I first started doing rescue work. I was arriving to a training class and spotted a pile of black, hard-sided boxes sitting outside, but there was a problem — it was starting to rain. Thinking that whatever was inside the cases must be valuable and could possibly be damaged by the rain, I quickly found one of the instructors and proclaimed that we needed to get the boxes moved to a dry location. The instructor came outside and chuckled a little, realizing the equipment I was concerned about was already stored inside Pelican cases. He calmly explained that they were waterproof. When I asked if he was sure the contents would be OK, the instructor said that everything would be fine. He proceeded to grab one of the cases, and deliberately threw it on the ground from chest height, very roughly. …

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Vintage Electric Bikes Scrambler S: A Survival Ebike Review

While I was writing this article, strong Santa Ana winds had caused catastrophic fires in several regions of California. In the name of public safety, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) — California’s largest utility company — intentionally shut down power to hundreds of thousands of people. The idea was simple: If there’s no power running through utility lines, the risk of fire goes down. Unfortunately, the most recent fire started when a tree fell on a power line in an area where power hadn’t been turned off yet. These events are yet another reminder that our world is changing rapidly. The evolution and progression of technology has anchored our dependence on the power grid, and this is making us more vulnerable. I want you to ask yourself this question: What would I do if a catastrophe disabled and destroyed the infrastructure that my family is dependent on? No more cell …

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Dark Angel Medical: No Excuse for Ignorance

As you cruise along the highway listening to your favorite podcast, you watch in disbelief and horror as a car a few lengths in front of you swerves violently, knocking a biker clear across three lanes of traffic. You pull over immediately and feel that natural desire to help. But what are you going to do? Do you have the knowledge and willingness to become part of the scene? Are you a bystander or a “by-doer?” Never at a loss for a smile or a Southern phrase that will keep you grinning from ear-to-ear like a mule eatin’ saw briars, Kerry Davis of Dark Angel Medical wants to create a vast army of “by-doers” — regular people with the ability and willingness to help save a human life. Effortlessly blending complex medical information with an easy to understand trauma care curriculum, Davis provides training for everyone, as well as a …

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Dynamic Combative Solutions: The Recipe for Precision

Over the last few months, I’ve taken several handgun classes that incorporated intermediate and advanced concepts. These skills have made me more well-rounded, but it’s critical to periodically check and strengthen the foundation they’re built upon. With this in mind, I signed up for a one-day pistol fundamentals class taught by David Laird of Dynamic Combative Solutions (DCS) in Phoenix, Arizona. This class was split into two four-hour segments taught back-to-back. The first half, Precision Pistol, was intended as an introductory class, covering basic shooting technique and accuracy. The second half, Holster Fundamentals, focused on drawing the gun from a holster quickly while maintaining accuracy. If you’re an experienced shooter, this may sound painfully simple, but don’t underestimate the value of these core skills. As Ernest Emerson told students at the Surviving Inside the Kill Zone class I covered last issue, “An expert is one who has mastered the basics.” …

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Nutrient Survival: A Fresh Take on Survival Food

Survival food harkens from two distinct histories. On the one hand you have the timeless foods that call back to historical societies, and on the other hand you have the result of sending people to the moon. From the outside, it looks like a choice between home-made granola bars versus freeze dried astronaut food. Somewhere in the middle we might find MRE’s or Military rations: what our grandparents lovingly called shit-on-a-shingle. Survival food, from Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, ranks high in a must-have, but are all survival foods created equal? Nutrient Survival says no. The market of Survival Foods lives in two extremes: most of the time only a few people are interested in it, but in rare moments, such as every four years in the United States, suddenly millions are interested in stowing away whatever supplies they can gather in the event of possible, if not now likely, unrest …

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Boot Laces: Pocket Preps

Let’s face it — the quality and versatility of shoe and boot laces tends to get overlooked. We’re wondering why footwear companies tend not to put as much effort into this component as they do sole construction, padding, and breathability. It has created a misconception that all laces are the same. When the laces on your sneakers or boots break, you usually replace them with some store-bought boot laces of questionable composition, or a generic piece of cord, right? That being said, we felt this oft-neglected product deserves closer inspection. Here, we’ll show you some options you probably never knew existed before. We discovered some brands out there that’ve put the time and research into creating laces far superior to what you’re used to seeing. Whether it’s using your boot laces as a SERE tool or survival cordage, we decided to take a look at some brands offering laces that …

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Covert Carry versus Concealed Carry

What do you think of when you hear the term “concealed carry?” Your first thought might be the legal definition of carrying a concealed gun or knife, and the accompanying guidelines in your home state and city. Perhaps you think of skills you’ve practiced in self-defense classes, or you think of the equipment you’ve accumulated for the purpose of concealment — there are a nearly infinite number of handguns and holsters you can keep hidden on your person. No matter which subtopic crossed your mind first, there are many variables to carefully consider and research. This is compounded by the amount of information available through internet forums, gun-store counter jockeys, and local “gun guys,” which is both immense and rife with inaccuracies.   Above: Drawing from concealment while moving or changing position is a vital skill to responding with a covertly carried weapon. In order to clear the air and …

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