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Campfire Time, Or, Shootin’ the Shit…

April 8, 2019

(I’ve decided, since these seem to be pretty popular with readers, and are pretty cake to write anyway, that I’m going to try and include these stream-of-conscious articles about stuff I’ve been thinking about over the week, that didn’t warrant a full-blown article….)

1) I’ve never liked “button” compasses, but I’ve kept one on my watchband for most—not all—of the last thirty years. As a guy who learned land navigation as a RIP candidate, and later as a Ranger private, when our GPS were shoebox sized “Pluggers” the batteries of which last about five fucking minutes, I’ve always had pretty set views on what constituted valid land navigation.

I wore a button compass on my watchband in high school, because it seemed like the cool, outdoors-guy, survivalist thing to do, but I didn’t actually know fuck-all about using a compass for navigation (I once got lost as fuck, despite having a compass in hand, less than a mile from my house, and ended up coming out of the woods behind a neighbor’s house, and had to walk like six miles to get home, because of the way the roads went….). After RIP, and in the Ranger Regiment, I could find a goddamned t-post stuck in the ground, no matter what, because I understood declination, intersection and resection, azimuths, and all the other cool-guy stuff. It wasn’t until I spent time in the mountains that I suddenly realized, 90% of the time, I don’t need my goddamned compass for land nav, because I finally learned how to REALLY terrain associate, and USE the map.

So, I still didn’t really need a button compass. If I had a map, I could terrain associate or dead reckon, and get pretty much anywhere I would ever need to go.

Then, I started doing long-distance travel, via car, with my family, for training classes. While I can pack a lot of shit into a vehicle, if we ever had to dismount and walk home, it quickly occurred to me, I wasn’t going to carry enough topo maps, of a useful scale, to navigate across a state, let along across multiple states. BUT….if I thought back to my land nav classes, and the “cheats” we used in Ranger School and Selection, and after both, there was a solution…

With a bound Highway Atlas, I had plenty of waypoints and hand rails, already laid out for me.

So, I need to go from a suburb on the outskirts of Nashville, TN, to say, Republic, Missouri. I generally use 1:25,000 scale maps with the Military Grid Reference (MGRS) overlaid on them. I can’t even imagine how many maps that would require me to carry. But, I know, from Nashville, if I walk in a generally westerly direction, which is simple to do with a button compass, I am going to eventually reach the Mississippi River. Assuming I cannot beg, steal, or borrow a boat, somewhere along the river, eventually walking northward, I’m going to hit a bridge that I may be able to sneak across. I will also be able to determine specifically where I am along the river, by determining what town I am in.

Okay, so I end up all the way at Cairo, Illinois, before I find a bridge that I manage to sneak across, instead of being able to cross on the I-155 bridge west of Dyersburg, TN (I would be deliberately trending northward anyway, to avoid/bypass Mogadishu on the Mississippi). So, I cross the bridge, and get into Missouri, now, I’m going to cut due South, until I hit the River again, to get south of I-57, and then I cut due West until I hit I-55. Now, I’m going to walk West, trending slightly towards the NW. I’m going to eventually run into one of two waypoints: I-44, or Branson, MO. If I hit Branson, guess what? I know how to get to Republic from Branson, without needing a map. If I hit I-44, I handrail it westward until I hit Springfield, then I go due South to Branson, and then…again…I can walk the rest of the trip in the dark.

But, what about danger areas, like cities, and roads, and farms, and villages, along the way? That’s easy…go around them. If I’m moving West by Northwest, and I need to go around a town, I go around the north side. If the obstacle is along my handrail, I go around on the South side, and then go back to where I can maintain my handrail. It’s really pretty simple.

The same applies in my general area as well. I live close to—not adjoining—a National Forest. I can go through the woods on my neighbors’ property, and make it to the National Forest. If I get out there, and I get turned around, I KNOW there is a state highway to my West. At any given point, it’s not going to be more than 30 miles away, and chances are, given my farm’s location, it’ll probably be within five or six miles. To the East, there is a major Interstate not far away. The North, there is a paved county road and a US Highway, and to the South, there is another Interstate, although it’s at least twenty miles. So, worst case scenario, and I’m completely bugfucked addled and lost, I line up the button compass, and walk until I hit one of those, then hand rail it home, or until I reach a house where I know people, and hitch a ride home.

To be sure, from a TACTICAL perspective, I need the ability to determine and adhere to, strict azimuths, in order to get to a very specific spot, in time to make a difference, so a quality orienteering compass or a USGI lensatic compass (still my preference, because I do a lot of shit in the woods at night), is still necessary, but if I’m down to just my survival load (the gear in your pockets and on your person…what today we call your “EDC” load), I can still get home, no matter where I am.

There are a lot of button and wrist compasses out there. I’d really like to get a Suunto M-9 wrist compass, and at $20-30, they’re not expensive. Other than lacking tritium for lowlight visibility, it would actually work for basically ALL of my land nav needs. Instead though, I’ve got the Cammenga tritium illuminated wrist compass, because it fits on the same band as my watch (Although, now that I write this, that Suunto might need to happen after all…).

2) Everybody gets hung up on combat knives. We’ve got one of our local guys that carries a bayonet for his AR as his combat knife (and yes, it’s the piece of shit M9). I keep trying to talk him into replacing it with something more practical, since he can’t even mount a bayonet on his rifle, but… Another of our guys has a kerambit on his chest rig. I….just….well…..never mind…

I have a really, really nice Ban Tang Clinch Pick. It sits in my gun safe. That’s horrible, but I realized, especially living on a farm, that it just wasn’t practical. I use my belt knife, every single day, at least a dozen times a day, for cutting shit. I cut twine and rope. I cut packages open. I cut pieces of brush to fabricate shit out of brush for my kids. You know what I don’t do very often? I don’t cut or stab people very often (except myself. I cut myself all the fucking time, unfortunately). So, my EDC knife is a small ESEE Izula, or it is one of the small puukko knives that I’ve collected over the years. Neither is a “fighting knife,” but you know what? All of them are sharp enough to shave with, so they WILL cut a motherfucker, and they all have a point, so they will all stab a motherfucker.

One of my mentors told me once, as a very young enlisted man, and I’ve repeated it on this blog, a lot: “It’s a lot easier to shank a fucker with a Swiss Army Knife, than it is to cut brush to camouflage a hide site with a dagger.” My chest rig has an Ontario RAT-5 on it. It’s not a “fighting knife.” It’s a utility knife, but if I needed to, I can cut a dude off me.

Other than the Ban Tang CP, I don’t own a lot of “expensive” knives. I’m not a knife collector, although I have a collection of well used knives. Just pick a decent knife from a decent manufacturer, and use it. If you want a bad ass, high speed, custom knife from your maker of choice? Go for it. If you’re happy with the Kabar you were issued at Parris Island 50 years ago? Go with it. If you’re happy with the USAF “Pilot’s Survival Knife” that you filched from the supply room when you were a private, stuck on a detail (don’t ask…)? Go for it. It’s just a fucking knife.

3) Greg Ellifritz posted a link on FB today, to an article about tourniquets being overrated. While I think that article title was probably hyperbole, I do think it is important for people to make the distinction between being a cop or soldier, who is wearing body armor, operationally, and being Joe CCW, who is probably not. To be sure, I keep a tourniquet on me at all times. It goes in my pocket in the morning, along with my wallet, keys, knife, gun, and can of Copenhagen. I keep a tourniquet Ranger-banded to the stock of all of my using rifles. I keep one on my war belt, and another on my plate carrier.

But…tucked into my pocket along with that tourniquet is a set of chest seals. Why? Because I’m just as likely to take an upper thoracic cavity hit in any shooting I am likely to be involved in these days, as I am to take an extremity hit. Why? Because I’m not a douche that wears body armor to the fucking grocery store. I keep a plate carrier in the back seat of my truck, but am I going to have time to throw it on if some shithead decides to try and carjack me? Is it going to do me a fuck-all bit of good if I’m standing at the counter of the Stop-N-Rob when some dude decides to walk in with a sawed off shotty under his jacket?

I can improvise wound packing. I can improvise a field dressing. Technically, I can improvise a tourniquet and a chest seal…but…of all of those, the last two are the two that improvised versions of don’t work worth a shit in the real world, and they’re also the two that, conveniently, can be tucked into a small space in a pocket, and disappear. If I’m wearing Carhartts or Dickies work pants? They fit into the cellphone pocket on the leg. If I’m wearing BDU type cargo pocket pants? They fit in the cargo pocket. If I’m wearing straight leg blue jeans? I tuck them in my back pocket, next to my wallet.

I really like the FoxSeal chest seals for EDC. They’re not anything special, but the package folds in half easily, and it takes up less real estate than the tourniquet does.

4) Everyone should own chickens. Seriously. I get it, you live in an apartment, and can’t have chickens. Get A chicken, and call it your pet bird. Better, get two hens, and call them your pet birds.

We have 32 laying hens and a rooster. Everyone told me, “Start with five or six laying hens. You’ll get plenty of eggs.” Being me though, I wanted to make sure I was gonna get PLENTY of eggs, and Hell, six eggs is barely an omelet for me. What are the wife and kids gonna do? So, I got 33 chickens (we had one die last fall) and a rooster. All winter long, we averaged between 6 and 12 eggs. Awesome! Scrambled eggs for breakfast! Next day it’s fried eggs. Next day, it’s hardboiled eggs for lunch. After a week, I was fed the fuck up. “Babe, seriously. We can do eggs every other day, but if you don’t cook a couple meals without eggs in them, I’m going to lose my shit!”

The problem with that was, pretty soon, out countertop egg basket was full…and then, overflowing. Oh shit….

For the last month, we’ve been averaging one to two dozen eggs…per day. For the last two weeks, we’ve been averaging 26-30 eggs a day. One day we got 38 eggs (I still haven’t figured that one out…).

We’re—literally—giving away flats of fresh eggs, daily. Today, I delivered eight dozen eggs to folks, on my way to town.

We COULD sell them. Call it two dollars a dozen, at two dozen a day, and that’s almost $30 a week! That’s ALMOST my Copenhagen budget weekly…more importantly, that’s more than our feed bill…and our feed bill is actually lower in the summer than in the winter, despite the increased production, because we feed them garden scraps and grass cuttings, and they eat bugs all day.

We COULD sell them, but we don’t. Instead, we give eggs away to members of the clan, and to neighbors. It’s a small gesture, but it builds frith within the clan, and rapport with the neighbors.

Seriously…get chickens. Even if you only get a dozen, and you only sell a couple dozen eggs a week, to cover their feed bills. Now, you’re getting free eggs, and when they get too old to lay anymore, or you just decide to replace them, you’ve got free meat to put in the stewpot. A whole hen, put in the cast iron pot, and put on the woodstove, on a winter morning, right after breakfast? An hour before supper, you toss in some cubed up potatoes and carrots, and then, ten minutes before supper, add some celery?

AMAZING…and it’s not even much effort.

It used to take me five minutes to feed the chickens. I would toss a bucket of scratch grains to them, check their water, and check their laying mash. In the winter, I refill the laying mash about once a week. In the summer, since we add grass clippings when we mow, and we toss them garden scraps anytime someone is in the garden working, I refill the laying mash about once a month. A bag of scratch grain, at our local co-op, is $5, and they don’t really need it. I just do it to keep them out from underfoot while I’m in the henhouse. A 50# bag lasts us four or five months.

It no longer takes me five minutes. It takes me ZERO minutes, because my seven year old gets up in the morning, gets dressed, and goes to take care of the chickens and the rabbits…not because we told her to, but because she enjoys doing it (although, if the weather is really shitty, I end up doing it still).

Seriously…get some fucking chickens.

One of the arguments we hear is, “I live in town, and we’re not allowed livestock.” The common argument in the other direction is, “Most towns have exceptions if you only have hens, and even if they don’t, as long as you don’t have a rooster crowing, nobody will know.”


Our henhouse is 75 meters from the house. My house has 8” thick walls, and my door is 3” thick, triple ply timber. When one of those hens lays an egg? We hear it. They are SO damned proud of what they’ve accomplished! Hell, I can hear my neighbors chickens celebrating occasionally…and their henhouse is between a quarter and a half-mile from our house (I can’t hear theirs from in the house, but I can from the front step). So, get chickens, but be aware ahead of time…they are not the silent ninja birds that everyone likes to portray them as.

5) I’ve got the carbine book almost done. I’ve had a few people ask me about doing a pre-sale again. I gotta tell you, after the debacle that the last book turned into—through nobody’s fault but my own—I’m really hesitant to do so. It’d be simpler, on my end, to wait and release it from Lulu. On the other hand, a couple people have said they like the pre-sale, even with the wait and mishaps, because it feels like they’re directly supporting the blog. I’m still sorting out shipping issues with books (NOT pre-orders anymore, as far as I can tell). So, my question for readers is? Is there any interest in the pre-sale again? Through the Warhammer Six Press site?

6) Since he has done a couple of reviews of my books, to my stunning benefit, I’ve conversed with Pastor Joe Fox, of Viking Preparedness a bit (I feel okay revealing this, because he’s mentioned me several times, with the caveat of “I won’t reveal who, unless he chooses to do so”). Between visiting with him, and recently discovering that my wife is, apparently, a subscriber to a half-dozen or so Patreon pages, we’ve been discussing broadening the blog a little bit, by doing a Patreon page, in addition to the blog. Before I bother with ANOTHER Internet commitment though, now that I seem to have a handle on being regular with posts here, I need to know how much interest there would be. The Subscription Drills are okay, but not any sort of “knock it out of the park” on my end, although they seem to be popular with subscribers. I’m not even sure what we would do specifically, for a Patreon page (don’t bother suggesting videos), but I’m not going to waste time looking into it too deeply, if there’s not even any interest (on the other hand, the blog currently has over 3,100 subscribers. If every one did a dollar a month, that would not hurt my feelings—or my farm infrastructure—in the slightest little bit….)

7) The guys at Gadsden Dynamics got ahold of me recently, and told me they had a new “improved” version of the Underground Partisan chest rig, and they wanted to run it by me, before putting it out for sale, since my nom de guerre is attached to it (although, I don’t make a penny of sales. It’s just a really good chest rig, and I happened to give them the design parameters for it.).

They sent me one. It IS an improvement on the original, with one of the major fixes being the only complaint I had about the original, which is a removable lower back strap. The original lacked this, and I had a few times where I would go to jerk a magazine out, and it would get stuck, as the bottom of the rig moved out from my body.

The cooler change though, is that the whole chest rig can come apart, and be velcroed to the front of a plate carrier. Now, I have, over the years, managed to accrue a pretty impressive collection of gear, including pouches, chest rigs, pouches, plate carriers, pouches, holsters, pouches, IFAKs, pouches….did I mention pouches? But, I realize that not everyone has, and a lot of people are on a budget, and nylon gear is fucking expensive. So, the two-fer-one option in the new and improved UP chest rig is awesome. It’s not ideal, perhaps…If I’m in a situation bad enough that I’m wearing body armor, I probably want more than three or four magazines on my person, but, if a dude is getting started in gearing up, and is limited in funding, this is a solid option.

From → Uncategorized

  1. KJE permalink

    I’d shell out for a pre-order.

    …And I was just about to order the chest rig when I saw they changed the design. But now that you explain it, the change makes a lot more sense to me. I was looking at the chest rig and some old ALICE LBE as a waypoint towards a plate setup.

    • KJE permalink

      The updated chest rig arrived on a Saturday. I ordered it early in the morning on a Wednesday. 3 days, including the shipping.

      It’s amazing. I seldom have things exceed my expectations but that rig did it.

  2. jason scobbie permalink

    I’m in for Patreon and Pre sales on the new book… don’t care if the communists in MA steal it the first time again either.



  3. Dave Miles permalink

    Your books are expensive, (not a complaint, they’re worth it, I’m down for a pre order) and you give away 1000 times the info for free on your blog. I would definitely support your patreon

  4. Michael Jones permalink

    I am definitely interested in the pre-order for the carbine book and will subscribe to your Patreon page sight-unseen.

  5. SharpsShtr permalink

    I’d be up for a pre-order.

    • SharpsShtr permalink

      I forgot to mention that I’d jump on the Patreon thing as well.

  6. kammy1717 permalink

    Now that I understand how the system works, I would like in on a pre-order. I subscribe to two Patreon pages, I don’t like to waste $ on BS, I will gladly support a channel if you start one.


  7. Koldsteel permalink

    Like the Campfire chats, keep em coming !

  8. Havenseeker permalink

    I would pre-order again, and I would support you on Patreon, as I do PJF.

  9. jim rock permalink

    I was one of the pre-order debacle victims.
    I would pre-order again.
    We are only a few hours away, in south central Mo. Have taken what MVT now calls HEAT 1&2.
    If you decide to have local carbine class, i’ll be front n center.
    Thank you, for all you do.

  10. n2382 permalink

    Like you, I had long mastered land navigation. On my first trip to Tokyo, I had a local produced excellent chart and Brunton compass. I set out one morning heading to Mt. Fuji. Upon leaving the city, the signs became as chickens walking in ink. No problem, I could terrain associate. Second problem, no matter how hard I tried, the terrain never matched. A long frustrating day later, I arrived at the mount. Upon returning to the embassy and relating my experience, a peer laughed at me saying, “in the land of the Rising Sun, east is up.” Of course the map had no compass legend because everyone (but me) understood east was up. Now I carefully peruse the legends with attention to more than declination and scale. PR

  11. Chad Peterson permalink

    I would definitely sub to your patreon account.

  12. Jay permalink

    “Is there any interest in the pre-sale again? Through the Warhammer Six Press site?”

    Fuck yes absolutely. “Oh shit, Mosby has a pre-order out; let’s order and forget about it, get surprised when it’s in my mail box. Motherfucking early Christmas, yo”

    (regarding patreon) “but I’m not going to waste time looking into it too deeply, if there’s not even any interest”

    Yes, do it. I’ll be a supporter.

  13. Berglander permalink

    I’m happy to buy a book pre-sale. I know it’ll get here eventually, and I have plenty to do and read in the meantime.

  14. Boba O'Really permalink

    I’m on board for a pre-order.

  15. kammy1717 permalink

    JM-How about you get your shit on a handle and start a Patreon page before the NAME gets fucking retarded…at this point I am asking someone to do something that will likely cost me money every month to their benefit…but I am not the ghost…JM get to it.


  16. Gary Southerland permalink

    I’d be interested in either version for the next book as I’ve purchased all of your books, including the last one as a presale. I will say that previously when I was purchasing the books through Mike, I often wondered why you weren’t using Lulu already if for no other reason than to reduce your headache and probably even reduce customer costs in the long run.

    I remember a couple of years ago when I purchased Sparks31 commo book that he did through Lulu and immediately thought of you and your books being done by them. I have no idea of their costs or “their cut”, but I do suspect it would simplify a lot of pains in your butt by switching over to them and also moving your previous books over to them. Just reducing your inventory and shipping pains would likely return a lot more family/clan/training time to you, not to mention probably create a larger audience for you and your books.

    But either way, I’ll be getting your next book and recommending it to my friends, group and some family.


    Sent from my iPhone


  17. Diz permalink

    Sometimes the best things are not easy to get. The guy who writes the best books on survivalism (yes I will use the old term) actually practices what he preaches, so his books take a long time to get and are expensive. Mosby ain’t bad either. Fuck the naysayers and let us know when we can sign up for preorder.

    If there was ever a blog/website/whatever that I would pay for, it would be from JM. Out of all the boolshit I’ve plowed through on line, nothing hits you right in the nuts like Mosby. Not that I pay anyone to do that to me. Anymore.

    On chest rigs, I think those dudes make excellent kit. To associate it with Mosby is smart, and what I’d do. But I also think you should get something out of it. Even if it’s chickenfeed. Maybe supply you with some to give away at classes for “Top Ranger” or whatever. Those “big name” trainers pimp out shit from those “big name” suppliers all the time. Maybe “we” should do the same.

    Bottom line, I have gotten more out of Mosby’s writings, musings, rants, and streams of conchushness, than any other source out there. And the thing is, he doesn’t make a living from this shit; he is merely sharing his knowledge of living a self-sufficient lifestyle (with a more “ranger” outlook than some hippie potato head), and encouraging others to do likewise. There are very few authentic guys like this, and the mainstream gov’t/economy/culture/whatever, does not support this. So we should.

  18. CDG permalink

    I don’t get Patreon personally. It seems like a lot of work for the content creator with all the different tiers.

  19. TeddyBear permalink

    Patreon: you provide a lot of value, both through your books and this site. I would participate.

    Pre-order: don’t really care where I order your next book, as long I know when and where. The fire-and-forget option sure is nice though. Agree with Jay on the pleasant surprise.

    UP rig: thanks for the insight on the upgrade as I was confused a bit as well. I like GDs’ approach to product development, especially their new gym shorts with belt loops. Up to this point I’ve had to rely on a clipdraw and cinching my drawstring when I carry at the gym. Your story from guerilla gunfighter about being in the store with just your knife was a cautionary tale.

    Cheers. Keep on keeping on.

  20. Yes on pre sale and later on.

  21. Chad permalink

    Patreon has been shunning conservatives and I no longer support them.

    There has to be an alternative (not paypal) that allows easy payments?

  22. Rusty permalink

    I’d be down for a preorder of the carbine book. I waited too long before finally buying the first Reluctant Partisan book, so I’ll jump on any future preorders that are offered.

    As for other outlets or Patreon rewards, have you considered doing a weekly or bi-weekly podcast? The format is more popular by the day, and almost every youngish dude I know gets their news, information, and entertainment via podcast while working, driving, or exercising.

    Whatever you do in the future, we appreciate it.

  23. Excellent wrist compass. I’ve broken many. Not this one. So far

  24. Justin Mace permalink

    Hey I personally liked the pre-order option. Just my 2 cents

  25. Ha! Be careful. My youngest son (the former Marine) got into chickens, now has a whole lot of them, has gates motorized to close at night running on solar power (important in the winter), automated water so he can be gone for a few days without having to worry about them, and so on. But he told me that getting into chickens was the first step to the real thing, which is bees. He’s now a beekeeper. If you take the progression, you will be too. He now sells the hives he makes. Between bees, chickens and deer meat, he doesn’t need much if the world goes to hell.

    • We’ve had bees for a few years now. I love having bees. I’ve gotten to the point that I’ll go help the wife do “bee stuff” without bothering to put a hood or suit on (I do still wear gloves though!).

      I’ve found out, what they say is true: if you stay cool, calm, and collected, the bees will too. It’s a good exercise in stoicism, for me, because when they start buzzing around, I WANT to get excited, and freak the fuck out.

      Our bees are pretty much self-sustaining, too. We only collect honey in spring, using whatever is left of their winter stores, so we don’t have to worry about supplemental feeding in the winter. Pigs, chickens, rabbits, bees, and a 3500sf garden….

      • I used to be a beekeeper, only to discover after getting stung several times in a row that i’m allergic to bee stings. lol. I also found out that the queens we had bought from Texas were africanized (if that’s a word), therefore making our bees have incredibly feisty attitudes. They unfortunately ended up dying from foulbrood that was working its way around our area, but man it was an amazing experience. Bees are amazing creatures.

  26. anonymous permalink

    TruNord is another company worth looking at. Can even pre-set declination if you know your area’s coordinates.

  27. the email guy permalink

    My dad grew up during the depression. He said they would keep enough chickens to eat through the winter until a piglet was big enough to butcher. Without a freezer they would keep the chickens as living food supply. Dad said he got tired of fried chicken in the winter. Each spring they would order new chicks from the feed store.

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