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Friday, October 8, 2010

My Family Preparing for TEOTWAWKI, by Peter B.

Mosin–NagantsImage via Wikipedia
Five years ago I really started watching the economy and the way the whole world was going. I started preparing then. I recently purchased two of JWR’s books. Both are great resources for those who have no idea of how to do things in a back to basic scenario. Being a former Eagle Scout, military man and a current Law Enforcement Officer (LEO), I already have skills to rely on. I never thought that being high tech was good, so I have centered on a low tech plan. “KISS” (keep it simple, stupid) is my motto. The easier the better and most unskilled people can learn quickly. My budget is not huge so I have to really think about what are important and needed verses wanting to have. Here is what we did to prepare for TEOTWAWKI.
First have a plan. If you have other like minded people talk about it, then decide on what you will do, stay or bug out. I prefer the bug out as there will likely be a lot of panicked people out there. Second have a set point to meet, preferably way outside the urban setting. A lot of states have a gazetteer map of you state. These are good because they offer both topographical, city, and land maps with easy to find reference points along top and bottom. Make sure each one of your groups has one and has the area remarked so it is easy to find in the chaos. If you have a retreat that’s the best. Make sure its rural and away from the big cities. If your like me because money is tight, have an area picked out where you can build something and regroup. Someplace to hold up that is defensible until other plans can be made or you meet someone willing to let you stay and hold up. Good field defenses can be made out of logs and dirt. Its inexpensive and easy to find. A good book on making field defensive fortifications can be found in most US armed forces manuals and can be found at most guns shows, half price book stores etc. Earthen retreats are also naturally camouflaged. Even with that said be prepared to move if its compromised. Have an alternate spot picked out and ready to move into.
Second is food. MREs are good because they don’t need water. Have a good supply (we personally have a three month freeze dried emergency food supply outside our normal stocked pantry) of bug out food. I used a company called “Daily Bread”. They had here three-month supply based on a family of five instead of the usual 1 person supply. The price was comparable and they took split payments making it affordable for a public servant's salary like mine. Water is also a must as much as you can stock. We have a small two burner propane stove with a small stock of propane (we live in the desert and it gets hot so we don’t store a lot) for it. I also bought two folding metal back pack stoves. They are easy to use and can burn anything, wood, coal heat tabs etc. Water also can be gotten from outside sources, creeks, streams etc. These can be boiled and clarified for human use. There are several good books on this and other skills so I won’t suggest any. Having said that I also got each one in my family two (cause two is one and one is none) US military canteens with cups. They fit on a belt easily and take up less space than a mess kit. So with freeze dried food I can use the folding stove to heat the water from a canteen or other source and in some cases boil it to kill bacteria in the metal canteen cups. Then add the food and in 10 minutes your meal is done. Afterward, you have one cup to clean, fold up the small stove and your off. I also found a three piece interlocking silverware set sold as a four pack. So each member has silverware. All easily compact and easy to carry.
Three is a good vehicle. I currently own a 1994 Chevrolet 1500 4x4 Suburban. It was a former Forestry Vehicle (cost me just $2,000) so it was well maintained. It has 82,000 miles on it now. Its our only vehicle at this time (went through some hard times lately with wife being sick). I keep up the maintenance on it so it’s ready to go. I don’t leave the tank under 3\4 full (We are currently looking to secure a diesel crew cab pickup truck. With dual tanks and possibly a third. Keeping those tanks full and having a lot of non-perishable stuff pre-loaded in the bed, better choice of fuel and range with three tanks). It’s a good tough vehicle and has been around a long time and is reliable. If you don’t own a good SUV or truck I would suggest highly securing one. Trucks and SUVs are a lot tougher than cars and most have four wheel drive and can go anywhere. And if you need to push through something you have a lot more weight than a car. With my Suburban I have a 42 gallon tank and with the third seat removed I can reliably store all our G.O.O.D. gear. My vehicle is a pretty simple 350 4 bolt main Chevy engine. I bought the Haynes manual for the whole vehicle and the engine and electronics manual. Most repairs on this can be made from the top of the hood. I do most of the maintenance myself so I learn how to work on it. When I was younger I hung around my grandfather a lot. He was a self educated man having grown up in the depression. He had a natural skill at figuring things out and knowing how to fix them. So I got a good hands on education at fixing stuff. When I don’t know how to do something I call a good friend of mine who was a mechanic by trade . He comes over and helps me, shows me what to do. In trade my wife usually feeds him well. As far as tools go I usually go to Harbor Freight. They are decent tools at lower cost.
Fourth are firearms. I have heard a lot of people talking about whether to have or not to have. I am a firm believer in the “right to bear arms”, but I also have a lot of training with guns. So if you have never used one get trained on safe handling and use of them first. Don’t just go out and buy one and think you can shoot. Having a gun is serious business and requires a lot maturity, safety and practice. Over the past five years I have tried to minimize having too many different calibers. I suggest finding out what you are comfortable shooting and what works for you. Go to the local indoor shooting range and spend a little money and time renting different guns to try. This way you can figure out what works for you before you dump a ton of cash on something you can’t shoot. Secondly again “KISS”, don’t go out and buy the most expensive gun with all the toys. Nothing makes up for the skill of being able to hit what you are shooting at. Example…Mr. Weekend Warrior with money to blow has never shot a gun but he goes out and buys an AR-15 for lets say $2000 that has all the latest and greatest gadgets. He rarely shoots it and has it for just in case. Now Mr. Middle Class has let’s say a Russian Mosin Nagant M-44 bolt action rifle that he purchased at Big 5 Sporting goods for $99. He goes out and shoots regularly and knows his gun. He doesn’t have all the bells and whistles on it but he knows how to shoot it and can really reach out and touch whatever he wants if he needs to. It severs dual purposes, defensive and hunting. Ammo is inexpensive for most old military rifles and there is a large surplus on the market. Whatever you choose to do make sure you know how to use the tool you are carrying. I personally have two Mosin’s and they are quite accurate. Ammo is inexpensive. I can buy 440 rounds [of corrosively-primed ammunition] in a sealed tin for roughly $85. I also suggest a good .22 handgun or rifle. They are inexpensive and you can carry a lot of rounds on you. A good caliber pistol is essential as a secondary weapon (Most LEOs carry two on them for this reason). I would suggest also a good shotgun, pump action preferred. You can hunt and defend yourself at the same time. With so many rounds for these guns it is so multipurpose. I would suggest if you decide on a shotgun get one with a turkey barrel. They are usually a little heavier barrel and are straighter than a smooth bore. I personally have made accurate body shots at the target range with slugs at 100 yards. So if I had one long gun to choose from it would be a pump action shotgun with a turkey barrel and rifle sights. You can hunt small game, large game, have close in protection with buckshot or reach out and touch something if you had to. Over the past two years I have tried really hard not to have to many calibers. I have three Glock 9mms. All have interchangeable parts and can use the same ammo and magazines. I have two Hungarian PA-63s in 9x18 Makarov. I got these in trade but they have turned out to be a simple robust pistol. Again they use the same mags, interchangeable parts and ammo. I have two Mosin Nagants. These are simple robust bolt rifles. Again, interchangeable parts, and commonality of ammo. I also used the "buy in pairs" .22 caliber pistols, rifles, shotguns and AK-47s. Do you see a trend here? Most Eastern European weapons where built with more loose tolerances than US made weapons. They are simple to use, very robust and less expensive than a lot of US made weapons. They work, and keep on working.
Fifth is gear. You can buy so many different types of gear. There is so many to choose from. And the prices range from cheap to I wouldn’t pay $2,000 for a backpack. If you have a family like me and a civil servants pay, you got to get the most from your dollar (not that it will be worth anything anytime soon). I personally bought good quality used ALICE packs and frames for my family. They are tough, roomy and work. I have carried one before and you can’t kill them. There are a lot of sites that have wholesale bargain prices like my personal favorite the sportsman’s guide. I have found a lot of things there that were discounted and if you’re a club member you usually get 5-10 dollars off the price and discounted shipping. The products I have ordered are good quality surplus items that are battle tested and work. Again learn your gear, try it out cause if you don’t know how to use it its worthless. Also look around your house first, you can find a lot of useful stuff to put in your gear before you go spend a lot of money (have personally went out and bought stuff then found something similar at home I could have used and saved money) so check first then go out and buy. You can find good quality new and used BDUs and sometimes you can find deals like 5 sets for $25. They are durable and have lots of pockets. Good quality boots are essential so here you will spend a little money. I like Bates LEO boots. Lace up fronts with side zippers. I have a pair that I bought five years ago. I still wear them for kick’in around in. I also had a pair that I was wearing at work and had to get real wet to save a family from drowning. I let them dry for a day. I still use them for duty use and they have shown no ill effects from getting wet. Socks are also essential you can find 12 packs at Costco for a low price. Good folding knives and sheath knives also a must. Again you can find them a most sporting goods stores like Big 5 when they have sales. Medical kits are important. I put together my own in a back pack that has a portable stretcher inside. Has two side zip detachable pouches that hold medicines, surgical tools, bandages etc. I also like the Medic M17 bag. You can get them for around $150 to $200, depending on which site you go to. One kit has pretty much everything you need. Dental temporary fillings and picks are important too. You can find temporary dental filling at Wal-mart for about $2.50. Most surgical tools and Dental picks you can find inexpensively at your local gun shows. You can also find a wide array of medical supplies there also, trauma bandages, sutures etc., that you can’t find in the local drug store. Costco is a great place to find big packs of pain relievers, vitamins etc. So finding good discount gear is affordable, you just have to look. 
The most single important thing you can do in my opinion though is learn. Train to survive. Take classes on firearms, self defense and living on little to nothing. No one can prepare for every scenario. I live everyday life not knowing what I am going to walk into being a LEO. So because of that I have taken every course I could, first aid, dealing with stressful situation, self defense, combat handgun, rifle and shotgun etc. In the end your mind is the most dangerous and best weapon you could ever have. I believe in being a jack of all trades master of none, so I am well rounded. Be prepared for stress it’s going to happen. There are a couple of good books on the psychology of combat and killing by a great man, Lt. Colonel Dave Grossman. I have personally attended his seminars and read his books they have great insight on what to expect and how to deal with it. Any good books you can get your hands on, and I mean good reputable authors not some fly by night writer, read them and then read it again. It’s not necessarily the ability to remember but rather the ability to recall what you learned when you are presented with a situation. When it happens it’s like a file in the back of your head that surfaces and you go, wow I remember reading this somewhere and I can do this. Believe me there are so many things that I do day to day that people ask me how do you remember all that stuff, how can you multitask without thinking about it. Well for one I read a lot, two I train all the time so it is instinctive, three I have a mindset that I am going to get through this and survive. It becomes instinctive. Think about it everyday you do things without having to think about it. So add survival skills, combat skills and mental preparation to your every day life. Before long you won’t even have to think about it, you will just react. You have to believe in yourself and be confident that you can do this. If you panic your no good. Be a sheep dog… a warrior." Be a leader, not a herd animal. There’s an old saying amongst warrior types…"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I shall fear no evil….For I am the biggest baddest guy in this valley”. Usually there are some colorful metaphors added but I will keep it clean. Having a winning survival mindset is imperative. If you believe it, it will happen. If you believe you can do it you will. Just remember to temper it will common sense. Get your spouse and children involved too. You can teach your kids valuable skills without making it look gloomy. Take them camping, learn to build fires, pitch a tent, cook over a fire. Take them to a shooting range, my kids love to go as a family and learn the skills to shoot while having fun. Changing the oil in the car, etc. Anything you can do together is valuable and good family time.
Oh and don’t forget to buy silver, probably the only currency we will have to fall back on. Be safe, prepare, be a good Christian, help others when you can because in the end we will rebuild and carry on!

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