Skip to content

Aristotle Thinks You’re An Asshole

We spend a lot of time on this blog, discussing the importance of building what John Robb terms a “resilient community,” while I turn back to the more traditional “tribe.” One of the recurring themes that arises in the commentary to these articles is the inability of people to find and befriend “like-minded people” to band together with for protection and security.

If this is your problem, rest assured, Aristotle thinks you’re an asshole. In his Nichomean Ethics, after pointing out that friendships are essential to the human experience (another example of classical antiquity being smarter than the ‘retreat survivalist.’), Aristotle went on to describe friendships as having three fundamental bases.

The first type of friendship that Aristotle described is the friendship wherein we like someone because they’re simply enjoyable to be around. This is the college buddy that you still hang around with because he’s good for laughs, or because he throws great parties. Aristotle explained that this was among the lowest forms of friendship, and they seldom last any great length of time. They’re not what most mature people would describe as “real” friendships.

This friendship—whether you are the guy who enjoys hanging out with someone, or you’re the guy who people enjoy hanging out with—stops, the minute shit gets tough. It’s entertaining to point out that “laughter is the best medicine,” and we need court jesters, especially in times of stress, but if that’s the only value someone is bringing to a relationship? Meh.

The second type of friendship that Aristotle mentioned, was also a “lower” form of friendship. Today, most of us generally view this type of relationship as only being valued by people who are inherently pieces-of-shit. These are the relationships where one party (or both), find utility in the friendship.

Aristotle wrote, “Those who pursue utility….sometimes….do not even find each other pleasant; there they do not need such companionship unless they are useful to each other; for they are pleasant to each other only in so far as they rouse in each other hopes of something good to come.” It’s not necessary that either party to the friendship is being mercenary per se. It’s simply a matter that the motivation for being friends is “what’s in it for me.”

This is ultimately the issue for most survivalists and preppers trying to build tribe among other preppers. We look for “well, what kind of preps does this person have? Do they share the same political values as me? Will they help me fight the good fight, politically?” Again, there’s nothing inherently wrong with this; it’s a reason for developing a friendship, it’s just not the highest form of friendship, and when we’re building a tribe—from scratch, mind you—we need the highest levels of friendship, trust, and frith.

I repeatedly suggest a thorough, annual reading of Dale Carnegies’ “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” and I stand by that. It’s important for people to recognize however, that Carnegie was writing for the businessman who needed to develop rapid, ultimately relatively shallow, business friendships of a utilitarian nature. You need to use those tactics, when meeting people, but you also need to go far, far past that step.

Aristotle also described the highest form of friendship. Considering that much of what we understand as modern, liberal (in the Classical sense, not the contemporary political sense) Western values are largely derived from Aristotle’s writing, it should be no real surprise that most people’s concept of what “real” friendship, at the highest level is, coincides pretty closely with Aristotle’s definition.

“Perfect friendship is of those who are good, and alike in virtue; for these wish each other well alike to each other…” Different from pleasure- or utility-based friendships, true friendships…the type of friendships that tribes must be based on (after all, remember, we’re talking about building a group of people that meets the definition of “kith and kin”) involve genuine care for the well-being of the other person/people, not mere ego issues.

This is not—as many anarchists would like to believe—a matter of radical self-sacrifice. It’s simply a matter of genuine concern for the well-being of the other party, regardless of the benefits to the self. This is the guy who stands up and teaches classes to his local survival group, not for his ego, but because he genuinely wants to pass on good information for the well-being of his friends, not because he’s getting paid, or because he needs to stroke his ego. This is the guy who shows up at 0600, on his day off, to help a neighbor get his crop in, and doesn’t ask anything in return, because he knows he doesn’t need to ask: the neighbor will be there next weekend, when HE needs a hand moving some furniture.

The problem that I see too often in the preparedness community is the “John, how do I find like-minded people to build tribe with?” questions we constantly get.

You don’t “find” like-minded people to become your friends. If that happens, it just happens, because you happen to meet like-minded people that you express a genuine interest in. The most important lesson of Aristotle’s discussion of friends is, looking in on-line communities for “prepper groups” to join is, how are you going to have a legitimate interest in the well-being of someone you don’t know?

You don’t know if those people in that group share your values. You don’t know if they share your work ethic. You don’t know anything about them. Oh, wait…you know what they said on the Internet, or on the telephone? You met them for beers once, and they said all the right things? Shit, I’ve charmed a girl out of her pants over a beer, by knowing “all the right things” to say…didn’t mean she got a long-term relationship out of it!

Ultimately, as was once said on the second best show on television, “Big Bang Theory,” (the best is undoubtedly “Vikings,” duh….), “There is no algorithm for making friends!”

You’ve already got friends. If you don’t, well, the problem is you, not other people. Cherish the friends you have, continue developing those friendships. If your friendships are pleasure-based, or are strictly utility-based, start trying to find greater interest in your friends’ well-being. Perhaps a little self-sacrifice, for THEIR good, would do YOU good?

Build your tribe by strengthening the friendships and relationships you have.

Laying Foundations: Building Auxiliary Cells

“John, can you write an article on how to get started building the auxiliary? For the people that don’t see themselves as combatants.” –Question from a reader.

We’ve spent a lot of time discussing the roles of the auxiliary, over the course of this blog. From providing logistics, communications, and intelligence collection services, to providing transportation to the underground and the guerrilla force; from developing and running safe house and underground hospital facilities, to acting as a “plug-a-hole” reserve fighting forces for underground and guerrilla operations, there’s a wide variety of possible roles for members of the auxiliary to fulfill.

Within each of those roles, there is also a broad variety of sub-categories for auxiliary personnel to fulfill. Looking at the wide range of “duties” of the auxiliary, it readily becomes obvious that we need an idea of where to start. There’s an old cliché, of course, that says “the best place to begin is the beginning.”

Contrary to the popular misconception of too many in the tough-guy “prepper/survivalist/III%” culture, a guerrilla force or underground “living off the land” does not mean they’re out there gathering roots and berries, and catching rabbits with 550 cord snares. That MAY play a role in logistics, but the guerrilla force that ends up in those dire of straits, is pretty well fucked. They’ll spend more time trying to keep from starving than they will in achieving their strategic end goals.

Similarly, “living off the land,” is not simply a matter of stealing chickens and cows from the local civilian populace, and damn the consequences. If you want an idea of how well that works out, I would heartily suggest studying the efforts of Napoleon’s army in the Peninsular War. They weren’t guerrillas, they were foreign invaders, but the principles still apply. All you’re going to do is piss off friend and foe alike.

The purpose of the auxiliary is to provide both logistical an intelligence support to the underground and guerrilla force. They achieve this by coordinating the support efforts, ensuring that the local civilian populace that is supportive of the force is protected, and helping provide support for the guerrilla and underground, while any “let’s steal some cows” efforts are targeted only at those hostile to the efforts, and who cannot be converted to supporting them.

The auxiliary in traditional Maoist insurgency conducts clandestine support functions by organizing people on a regional, district, or sector basis, depending on the degree to which guerrilla forces are organized.” –US Army FM 3-05.201 Special Forces Unconventional Warfare Operations, APR 2003

Therein lies the crux of the “how do I develop an auxiliary?” question.

Who is the guerrilla force or the underground that you are supporting? It need not be formed and active yet—in fact, generally should not be—but you need to know who they are, in order to support them. What is their strategic goal, and what tactics will they be using to achieve those goals? Without this knowledge, you’re not part of the auxiliary, you’re just a dude with a bunch of shit hoarded in your basement, jerking off to Internet pictures of fat guys in camouflage.

The problem of course, is that—unless you belong to an organized group, like your local militia—there’s no way to know, for sure, the critical answers.

If you don’t know what unit(s) you’ll be supporting, you don’t know what their strategic goals are going to be. The militia/III% “movement” in this country is—sadly—a joke of disjointed, divergent polarities, most of them “led” by somebody on a power trip that wants to be the king-shit, and refuses to even consider working together with nearby groups because they might “take over” or something.

One militia group might have decided, their only purpose is to protect their county, while another is gung-ho to go anywhere within their state that they feel requires their presence. A third group, meanwhile, is running across state borders, completely ignoring their claims of “constitutional authority.” They are, in fact, conducting an armed invasion of a neighboring, sovereign state…

Finally, a fourth group may be trying to position itself for a federal-level power struggle, trying to draw in “true believers” to support its efforts to back a coup of some sort.

I have, since long before I started writing the Mountain Guerrilla blog, posited that “we don’t need a revolution. We ARE a revolution.” So, what the FUCK does that mean?

It means, you need to ask yourself, “why do I care about ‘survival?’ Why do I care about ‘liberty?’”

Why do I care about ‘survival?’”
Are you interested in survival, no matter what? I’ll let you in on a secret? It’s not going to work. We’re all going to die. The only choices we have are how we live in the meantime, and—hopefully—how we die (well or poorly, not the mechanism of lethality, necessarily). So, what’s the real reason you stockpile guns, ammunition, and food?

I would argue that, from an evolutionary biology standpoint—and from a moral standpoint for most people—the reason we are interested in “survival,” is because we want to ensure that our children/grandchildren/loved ones survive. We tend to believe the best way to ensure that is by preparing for bad shit, and surviving ourselves. Right?

That’s a pretty solid reason, actually. It also ties into the “tribal/community autarky” strategic goals I discussed in Volume Two of The Reluctant Partisan (and in even greater detail in the forthcoming third book). That is simply a strategy of not worrying about what the fuckwits in DC are doing, and focusing on your local community of friends and family. Of course, this also drastically impacts the fund-raising and recruiting efforts of any “national ‘militia’ organizations,” but really, fuck them. Local, local, local; always. If every liberty-advocate in the USA would quit worrying about what the federal government is saying/doing/trying, and focus on teaching a dozen of their closest family and friends what living independently means, and convince those 12 people to live that life, and do the same? As the guys at Action Figure Therapy say, “problem solved. Problem staying solved.”

Why do you care about ‘liberty?’ What does that word actually mean, to you? The Oxford English Dictionary (and for any thinking person, that is really, the authoritative arbiter of word definition in the English language), liberty has two basic definitions that are applicable when most people discuss it.

1) the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views.

2) the power or scope to act as one pleases.
What if I told you—and brace yourself, this is one of those Matrix-shattering moments in life—that the only people that can have a negative impact on your Liberty, using those two definitions, are members of your local community?

Oh, sure, the federal beast can pass laws. They can tell you “you’re not allowed to do XXX!” They can say, “you MUST do YYY!” But really? They cannot enforce those edicts. Even if they had the physical capability for doing so, it’s someone local to you that would have to tell them you either were or were not doing what you were told. It’s going to take someone local to you to actually come investigate and find out that “Yes, in fact, Mr. Liberty Advocate IS actually daring to do XXX!”

So, if you can either a) keep your local friends, family, and neighbors from knowing that you’re actually daring to do XXX, or you can convince them that you doing XXX is really, not that big a deal, and the federal government overlords are full of shit, then you really have nothing to fear about infringements on your Liberty, do you?

Want a couple of examples?

1) Colorado
2) Washington
3) Alaska
4) Oregon

Every one of those states has said, “Go fuck yourself with a crowbar!” and legalized recreational marijuana within their states. What has the federal government done? How many arrests and trials of residents of those states, in federal court, have we seen?

Now, that’s one thing. That involved combined efforts from small, local groups, combining to exert their influence on a state government. What about at the local level? What about tribal?

Do you believe that, on the day marijuana was legalized, all those people that are smoking pot in Colorado suddenly decided, “Oh, hey, I’ve ALWAYS wanted to try getting high! I don’t have to worry about going to jail now, so I’m gonna go smoke out, bitches!”

There may very well have been a few. The vast majority however, had been smoking pot, despite it being illegal, prior to that. Yet, they weren’t ALL in jail or prison, were they? They just focused on their local community, buying pot from people they trusted, or who were vetted to them by people they trusted…and for the vast majority of them, they got away with it, for a very lengthy period of time, even though we’ve been in a “War on Drugs!” for decades.

Of course, many readers have their hackles up right now, because I seem to be supportive of marijuana legalization, and that ol’ demon weed is BAD! It’s gonna cause niggers and spics to rape white women! It’s gonna cause white women of virtue to lose their restraint and throw themselves at Darkie! Oh no!

Fuckwits, every one of them.

A far more useful task would be, instead of worrying about what other people put in their bodies, to look at how they’re getting away with it, in those states that don’t have legalization, and learn from them. Here’s the deal, regardless of what you think about marijuana: there had to be someone growing it. There had to be someone buying it from the people growing it. There had to be others buying it, in turn, from them, and then ingesting it. Despite the fact it was/is ILLEGAL, and has had a concerted effort from federal, state, and local law enforcement, to stop it from being grown, harvested, sold, and ingested. That, ladies and gentlemen, is what you’re trying to do!

Not with marijuana, necessarily—although, can you think of a better way to finance your local tribe’s efforts? Whether you’re focused on short-sighted concerns like guns and the Second Amendment, or invasively high taxation, or any number of other issues that we need to take into consideration, due to undue federal influence.

If you could develop the same types of LOCAL networks that pot-smokers have, you’d have Liberty, in your lifetime…right-fucking-now. Today.


Let’s look at guns. Everybody loves guns, right? Well, except liberals, and even they love guns, they just don’t love that you have guns. So, how do you start building your networks around guns? Well, how many of your close friends have guns and love to shoot? 4-5? 12-20? It doesn’t matter if they agree with you on religion. It doesn’t matter if they agree with you on taxes. It doesn’t matter if they agree with you on prostitution. We’re focused on ONE aspect now. We’re focused on guns.

So, let’s say you’re like me, and are kind of an asshole, so you only have 4-5 people you consider “friends.” By that, I mean, they are close enough that you would—literally—step in front of a moving train and die, facing the danger, to save their lives…and vice-versa. Of those, only 3 are serious gun guys. Now, within those 5 people, you have the nucleus of a tribe. Even though the other two aren’t gun guys, they’re loyal to you, unto death. You have frith with them. They may have other close friends who are gun guys too, but let’s focus on the three of your kinsmen that ARE gun guys. You’ve decided that you really, REALLY, REALLY, need a .338 Lapua Mag, but the fed has outlawed them. What are you going to do? You’re going to go to your gun guy friends and ask if they know anyone they trust, who has one they’d part with. In turn, they’ll go to their other gun guy friends, and ask if they know anyone that they trust, who has one. Eventually, down the trail a little bit, someone actually has one, and has decided—for whatever reason—he doesn’t need it anymore. Granted, it’s “only” a Savage 110 BA, but it IS a .338 Lapua Mag. He’ll sell it, but he wants $3500 for it.

Then, the guy down the line of friends of friends, who actually found the .338, well, he wants $500 for a finder’s fee. So, you’re going to pay $4000 for a rifle that originally cost less than $1500. That’s fucked up, isn’t it? Guess what….it’s not at all fucked up. It’s not a breach of frith, and it’s not an insult to the “cause.” It’s called the real world.

So, you pony up $4000, and hand it to your friend that you trust. He hands it to his friend, etc, all the way down the line. Two weeks later, your friend hands you a beat-to-shit Savage 110BA. You inspect it, and realize, the barrel is damned near shot out. Did you get fucked? Nope. Your auxiliary found you what you said you needed. Now, you’re going to have to replace the barrel. You can either restrict that conversation to your gun guy friends, or you can ask any of your friends that you trust, if they know a machinist or old gunsmith that can build you a barrel. It ends up costing you another $2000 to get a barrel built. You’ve now dropped $6000 on a rifle, and you don’t even have ammunition for it yet….

Newsflash, THAT’S how the underground and auxiliary work.

What The Fuck?

So, what does THAT have to do with the original question? You want to help the fight for liberty, dammit, John! You’re not worried about how you’re going to buy guns on the black market!

Patience, young Padwan. It has EVERYTHING to do with the auxiliary you want to start building.

Logistics Auxiliary Cell
1) Cellular Construction

Your cell consists of the people you know, personally, and trust—even unto Death. How many people do you know that you would trust to die—or go to Federal Pound Me In The Ass Prison for a decade—before they would rat you out? One? Two? Three, if you’re really, really blessed? That’s your cell. In turn, of the two people you trust, who trust you to the same level, they each have another one or two friends. Those people DO NOT need to meet you, or even know about you. They can know their friend has another friend he trusts as implicitly as he trusts them, but nothing else. Now, you’ve got—within the network of multiple tribal bonds—the beginning of a network.

2) Supporting the Warfighters
So, within your three-man cell, none of you are “spring chickens,” and you have recognized that you’re not going to be leading any raids or fighting off hordes of Cannibalistic San Franciscans. What you want to be able to do is provide a level of support to those that need it, who CAN fight off those hordes. How do you do that? You ask your tribesmen, “what do your friends that are young enough to fight, need to do so?” They ask their younger, fitter friends, “Hey, buddy, what gear/equipment/supplies are you short on? What do you have, but recognize is perishable/expendable, and WILL need to be replaced/resupplied in the future?”

The reply comes back, through the intermediaries, “Ammo. Gun parts. Body armor. Medical supplies. Food.”

“Great, you fucking knuckle-draggers. What kind of ammo? Parts for what guns? What type of body armor? What medical supplies?”

“Oh. Sorry. Yeah, my guy says he and six of his friends are all running M4 carbines, and SIG Sauer P226 pistols. They’ve got Level III ceramic plates for their body armor, size large, and they’re worried about basic TC3 medical supplies. Can we help?”

“Sure. Now, I know what specifically to stockpile. I’ll get on it.”

Let’s assume for a moment, that you’re an older guy, you grew up with an M14, and .45ACP, and you think 5.56 and 9mm are fucking jokes. You also know though, that you’re beyond an age where you’re interested in looking for trouble. Does it make sense to only stock 7.62×51 and .45 ACP, or would it make more sense, in order to support those guys, for you to stockpile some 5.56 and 9mm, besides?


But, you’ve never taken a TC3 class, so you don’t know what medical supplies you need. You can either ask, or even better, you can take a TC3 class somewhere, and find out what medical supplies are needed, and why, in order to know what supplies will be in the greatest demand, in relation to the others.

You’ve got AR500 steel plate body armor. It’s cheap, and you’re not planning on running combat missions, so why bother blowing the extra money on ceramics? They can have steel, God Damn It!

Go take a motherfucking patrolling or SUT class, and where your steel plates for it, then come talk to me about how steel plates are “just as good.”

Do steel plates have advantages? Arguably. They’ll theoretically survive longer than ceramics. Ceramics are single-use items, right? How much does a steel plate weigh? According to the website, their Level III plates (which are actually, probably NOT Level III, legally> I can’t count the number of steel plates I’ve seen tested that M855 zipped straight through), weigh 7.5 pounds. So, 15 pounds for a set.

According to the Shellback Tactical website, my Banshee plate carrier weighs 2lbs, 5oz. So, now, I’m at 17 pounds, before I start adding ammunition.

My plate carrier, with my ceramic plates, weighs less than 12#. That’s FIVE loaded magazines I can carry, before the weight even equals the steel plate body armor alone. More importantly, I can run a lot further, faster, than I can with the additional five pounds of marginal protection.

Does it cost more? Of course it does. It’s a fucking better product.

Can I afford six or seven or eight sets of ceramic plates? No. If I’ve got ten people in my “auxiliary” however, who are smart enough to set aside a set of ceramics though, I will be able to replace mine, should I need to, down the line.

Buying up supplies, to support the warfighters, without finding out what they need, and WHY they need it, is fucking retarded. You might think you’re an “expert,” but the dude at the tip of the spear is whose opinion on the subject matters. Ask.

3) But, Money!

As we pointed out above, there’s no necessity that you’ll be “giving shit away.” You MIGHT. It might turn out to be worthwhile to you, when the wolves are at your door, to say, “Hey, Joey, I know you’re gonna be out there on the line, and I can see you’re lacking body armor. I’ve got a rig set up in my basement. Let me go get it for you!” In return of course, Joey is “paying” you for the armor, by the very minor task of potentially getting shot in the face, to protect your fucking home and life!

Alternatively, if it’s some dude you don’t know, in a cell three towns away, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with telling your trusted friend, who will pass it down the line of friends to the end-user. “Hey, yeah, I’ve got a spare set of ceramic plates stashed away. I need $500 for the set.” The end-user dude, who is not part of your tribe, after all, will either pony up the $500 or he won’t. That’s not your problem.

If it’s GOING to be your problem. If they get over-run the bad guys are coming to your town next, then maybe you’ll decide to give them away after all, in the hope that he’ll stop them first. Or, maybe your friend will ask you to give them away, as a favor to his kinsman. That’s your decision to make, at the moment, based on circumstances.

In a Nutshell
So, what does it mean, to start a logistics cell? It means identifying who your guerrilla and underground force are—at least in a general sense—and finding out what they need. It means stockpiling the shit THEY will need, not what you think they will need.
It means asking your friends—whom you trust, even unto Death—to ask THEIR friends, whom they trust, even unto Death, what exactly they feel like they’re going to need. Then, it’s a matter of stockpiling it.

Intelligence Cells

Developing an intelligence cell requires that you begin by defining your area. What area are you going to conduct an IPB for? Your town? The County? The State? Once you’ve one that, you need to look at developing a complete intelligence picture, of that area. Hostile threat groups, potential allies, behavior and beliefs of non-aligned people in the area.

At the risk of sounding like a dick, I’m going to suggest two things, if you believe you want to begin developing an intel cell. 1) Take Sam Culper’s class. 2) Get Volume Two of The Reluctant Partisan, and study the two entire chapters I did on Intel Collection and Intel Analysis. Between those two activities, you’ll have a really, really solid idea on how to start developing an intel picture of your area.

When it comes to actually collecting information, most of your efforts will—necessarily—focus on open-source collection from sources like newspapers, the Internet, etc. There’s no reason however, that you can’t teach your two or three friends how to conduct tactical questioning (NOT the same thing as an interrogation), and have them teach two or three of their friends, and then ask them for specific intel product, to be gained through TQ from others that they might know.

The Role of Responsibility in a Tribe
We had friends over for supper the other night, and we sat around playing a strategy board game. As we were finishing up, the conversation turned to the efforts of the Liberty movement. Our friends are well versed in my views on neo-tribalism as the strategy of choice for survival and restoration of Liberty.

As we were talking, I brought up the fact that most of the “rights” we believe are “natural” or “God-given,” did not originate in antiquity in Greco-Roman culture, but in fact were derived from the cultures of the Celtic and Germanic language-group tribes of Northern Europe. One of those is the “right to bear arms.”

Unfortunately, in today’s world, too many have been brain-washed into the belief that this is a “god-given right,” and thus is subject to nothing. The fact is, in the culture from which the recognition of that right was derived, the “right” to bear arms was more accurately, the “responsibility” to bear arms. No free man could be righteously robbed of his right to bear arms, within his tribe. Not by chief or king, even.

In return however, in order to maintain his status as a free man, and member of the tribe, he knew he was expected, when called upon, to move towards the (extremely metaphorical in this case) sound of the guns, weapon in hand, to protect the tribe. Refusal to do so would result in “outlawry.” This didn’t mean you went to jail. This meant—basically—excommunication from the tribe.

In that time and place in history—well, prehistory, technically—not having a tribe was pretty much the same as a death sentence. You were no longer protected by the reputation and fame of your tribe’s ferocity and honor. You were fair game for any dick with a bow or spear, who decided to kill you and take your shit. Sure, you might be lucky enough to fight off one attacker. If you were a particular bad-ass, you might manage two or three (of course, if you were that much of a bad-ass, you wouldn’t have been outlawed for being a pussy in the first place, right?).

So, what does THIS have to do with being the auxiliary?

A lot of people have taken the discussion of being the auxiliary as having meant they don’t need to do PT, train with their weapons, and learn the basics of small-unit tactics. They’re the support guys, and support guys don’t fight, right?

Bullshit. You are still responsible for your own safety, ultimately. You may still be called upon, in extremis, to grab your rifle, and go help protect hearth and home.

You STILL need to learn to fight. You STILL need to do PT. You may not ever be “elite infantry” or “special operations” fit again in your life, but you still need to be as dangerous as you can be, and being fit and well-trained is a critical part of that.


So, how then, do we go about building an auxiliary cell?

1) Do PT and train. It is part of the task, AND it will help you understand what the end-users need.

2) Talk to your closest friends and determine if they will be fighters or not. If so, find out what they and their group of fighters feel they will need. If not, find out if they know anyone, that they trust, who will a fighter. Somewhere down the line, you will find someone. If they’re out there training, find out what they feel like they will need, or even DO need. There’s nothing saying that, just because your local network isn’t fighting RIGHT NOW, that you can’t be the auxiliary, right now, and equip some young guy with the gear he needs. Even if it’s only loaned out—through friends—when he’s training, it’s supporting their efforts.

Send one of the young studs to a class with someone. So what if you need to finance it? That’s what the auxiliary does. They provide logistical support to the warfighters. Even if the “kid” you send to a class turns out to be a flake, or he ends up moving six states away, so what? You’ll still—through your connections, and with anonymity—built connections of trust and loyalty with the group he was with when you financed it.

3) Start developing an intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB) of your local area.

4) Of the friends that you hold closest, maintain those relationships, and do what you can to strengthen them. Not just with the individual friends, but between spouses and children as well. Do things together, as families, even separate from “prepper” activities. Build the bonds of frith.

5) If you have some acquaintances or “friends” of a lesser bond, who you think are like-minded, spend the effort and time to make those bonds tighter.

Open-Enrollment Classes, and Why There Are Not More Of Them.

I have never had any overwhelming desire to be a mainstream “tactical trainer.” When I started the blog, I was asked repeatedly by readers to start teaching classes, so I did. I still do.

What I won’t do….can’t do….is invest my family’s money in a piece of land somewhere, dedicated to teaching classes. That would require me to a) start targeting my articles on the blog to draw potential clients/students, including watering down my content, and b) have the foresight and intelligence to choose a spot that was centralized enough to allow me to draw from a large population base, to ensure I could get enough students to make the mortgage payments on that land, pay my rent, and feed my wife and kids.

In any case, that would require me to do things I’m just not willing to do.

I continue teaching classes, on the side, when I can. As it stands currently, I have a metric shit-ton of private, closed training classes coming up, ranging from Idaho to Tennessee, and a host of places in-between. I don’t list those classes on the blog, because, well…for whatever reasons, they are private.

I keep getting emails though, asking me where my list of upcoming open-enrollment classes are.

Folks, I don’t have a list. I have exactly one upcoming open-enrollment class, in southern Idaho, coming up the beginning of next month. Assuming all who have emailed that they are coming to that class actually get their deposits in, and show up, we have a VERY limited number of slots left in that class. Beyond that, I have zero open-enrollment classes coming up.

The only way for there to be more open-enrollment classes, is for there to be people who are willing to host those classes.

We offer combat rifle, clandestine carry pistol, patrolling/small-unit tactics, Tactical Combat Casualty Care and Grid-Down Medicine, vehicle-based patrolling operations, and CQB/Fighting in Structures. If you are interested in hosting one of these classes, as an open-enrollment class, email me, and I will forward you the information on what that involves. It’s actually, generally, a pretty painless experience, according to the past hosts I’ve discussed it with.

As I mentioned in the post about the Idaho Falls class that is coming up, because of some changes in our personal/professional life, separate from the blog and books, we are actually able now, to offer classes further east than we were previously willing/able to do, in the same cost ranges that we have previously offered them in the West.

I’m still not interested in dragging my family into hostile states. I’m not doing classes in New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Maryland (see my Mid-Atlantic comment below), or Massachusetts.

As far as the Mid-Atlantic States (i.e. Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, etc)….Guys, Max Velocity is doing classes regularly at his location. There is just no reason to duplicate efforts there. If you need a combat rifle class, or a small-unit tactics/patrolling type class, I’d suggest talking to him. It’s infantry 101. We may have some minor variations in execution, but the fundamentals are going to be basically the same.

The only classes I would consider going to the Mid-Atlantic to teach are Support and Auxiliary Functions classes (two-day lecture course), and some private enrollment classes–and those only with a significant reason as to why Max won’t suffice for teaching them to your group.

Skull-Stomping Sacred Cows: Quit Being a Bitch

I came across a conversation on Facebook the other night. As I read through the comments on this conversation, I was both chastened and appalled. I’m going to address two specific comments, because they are the issue, ultimately. Either these people are worrying about something that others have already figured out, or I’m wasting my fucking time writing this blog.

…I think people should make the effort to learn, but I wish someone would consolidate and organize the information in one place. I mean this elitist former military mindset is getting old, we weren’t all in the military, weren’t special ops, and weren’t military intelligence. This is one reason I liked A Failure of Civility, they recognized the elitism most former military trainers put off and recognizes the average citizen has never been expose to most of it and wouldn’t even know where to begin.

To begin with, I find it ironic that someone claims they think people should make the effort to learn, but then expect everything to be handed to them on a silver-fucking-platter. If you are sitting back, reading the vast quantities of available free content, written by subject-matter experts, and doing your own thing, that’s awesome! That’s WHY we do what we do. For you to then bitch that we don’t cover every single subject—including the ones we’re not subject-matter experts on—is pathetic. If you want the information compiled, here’s a suggestion…look at the sites that have legitimate subject-matter experts putting out information on a given subject, then compile a list of the URL addresses for the different sites you get value out of. Voila! You now have a consolidated list of valid material.

Oh, but that means you need to put effort out! Damn…..

Well, guess what, America didn’t become America because people sat on their asses, back in Europe, and accepted the status quo. They DID shit to improve their situations.

Quit being a bitch.

“…this elitist former military mindset is getting old, we all weren’t in the military, weren’t special ops, and weren’t military intelligence. This is one reason I liked A Failure of Civility, they recognized the elitism most former military trainers put off and recognized the average citizen has never been expose to most of it an wouldn’t even know where to being.

You poor, simpering, whining fuck. I am an elitist. Absolutely.

Let’s look at the definition of elitist.

From the Oxford English Dictionary: “demonstrating a superior attitude or behavior associated with an elite.
So, let’s look at the definition of “elite,” in order to get a better grasp of what an elitist is:

A select part of a group that is superior to the rest in terms of ability or qualities.

You know what? I believe, to the depths of my soul, that America, the Idea, is superior to the rest of the world, in terms of quality. So, that makes Americans, who believe in America, the Idea, an elite. I am part of that, so yeah, I’m an elitist. Don’t like it? Fuck yourself with a crow-bar, and join the Leftists who openly avow that America is nothing special.
I get what the commenter meant, of course. We keep talking about physical abilities—from PT standards, to weapons qualifications—that seem hard. Well, guess, what? They ARE FUCKING HARD!

I find it disgusting—and I mean that literally—that we have people who consider themselves “patriots,” but want “easy” answers. The men who froze their dicks off at Valley Forge, are cursing you from the afterlife, you fucking pussies.

“Oh, but I’m just a regular guy! I can’t do what you young guys do! I was never in the military!”

Boo-Fucking-Hoo. You know what? You’ve got time. You’ve got opportunity. You’ve got an entire world’s worth of knowledge to get you in shape, teach you how to run your gun, and perform medical aid to keep your loved ones alive…and all you whiny bitches want to do is bitch and moan because we keep telling you to do hard shit? Go fuck yourself with a crow-bar.

It’s obvious you’ve never been exposed to this shit. That’s why we’re giving you the information! So you get the information, in time to actually start learning and training. We’re making it readily digestible bites, if you’ll actually apply it. You CANNOT learn it all from reading shit on the Internet, any more than you can learn it from reading the books. You HAVE to actually get up, off your lazy fucking asses, and DO THE WORK!

Quit being a bitch.

And the next comment, where the poster makes some valid points, but still overlooks the obvious (in fact, I know he gets it, because we discussed it via private message on Facebook…)

….There’s great stuff out there about sustainment and tactical loadouts for the warfighter. I’m more concerned with average Joe American. The reason for the focus away from the warfighter guys is because there’s not gap to fill there—the guys who are following Mosby or Max Velocity (add your own equivalent here) and doing that level of tactical training are going to find this stuff because they have to in order to perform their chosen skill set. But what about the patriot/prepper who is much more likely to be in the auxiliary? What about the guy who is just concerned about his family? What should they be getting in terms of gear? Your wife and your kids aren’t going to hump a 60 pound ruck or carry 500 rounds of ammo—they’re not going to be a warfighter.

It’s a given that not everyone is going to be a warfighter. I’ve addressed this, ad nauseum, over the history of this blog. There’s a role for the auxiliary, and there’s a role for the underground. In fact, as I THOUGHT I had made plainly clear, those are MORE important than the meat-eating gunslinger role.

So, if you see yourself in the auxiliary role, what should you be doing as far as equipment? If you’re going to fight at all, you’d better be getting your ass in shape and trained up, or some meat-eating motherfucker like me—without a conscience though—is going to come, kill you, take your shit, fuck your wife, geld your sons, and sell them and your daughters into slavery. I don’t care if you’re “just concerned about your family.” Your family, by yourself ain’t gonna last ten fucking minutes. You’d better quit being an asshole, and start making friends and building a tribe that you can rely on.

Guess what, though? They’re going to want to know what you can contribute to the effort, to make them willing to risk their ass saving you and your family. If you can’t fight, you’d damned sure better have an idea of what you can do to help!
You see yourself as part of the auxiliary? Great, then everything you think you need to survive? Buy double or triple that, and then you’ve become part of the logistics network of the auxiliary. If you want to buy guns and ammo? Great, buy multiple guns and all of the ammunition you can manage to put together the change to buy.

“But, I’m not going to buy a gun for someone who didn’t have the foresight to buy his own! He might take my other shit!”

There are a metric shit ton of young, aggressive, fit, experienced veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq that believe just like you do. They may not have the funds to purchase all the gear they need, but they bring something far more valuable to the table—experience that you, Mr. White-Bread, Suburban, Soccer Van-driving Accountant, don’t fucking have. While you were making money, and stockpiling it away, they were shooting motherfuckers in the face. You build rapport, and then frith with them, and then you make sure they know that you have the things they need, in return for their help. It’s this strange concept, that we’ve been programmed to forget in America…it’s called “community.”

So, if you don’t like what I say? If you don’t think it’s relevant to you? You think I’m an elitist prick?

AWESOME! Quit reading. I’ll stop writing, and then I’ll go hang out with my own people, and keep doing my PT, and training to keep my skills sharp. You can go fuck yourself with a crowbar.


Quit being a bitch.

I’m Gonna Shank a Fucker!!!

(On the Mountain Guerrilla FB page, I posted a question, asking what articles readers would like to see. I got a lot of great suggestions, but the one below already had the notes collated, since I’ve written in passing on the subject before, and it is relevant to another project I’m working on, namely Book Three.

So, while the other article subjects will follow, this one was an easy, quick piece to write. –JM)

There is a lot of fantasy that floats through the preparedness, survivalist, and Liberty movements disguised as fact and Truth. Some of it is pretty harmless, but some of it is so completely erroneous that it puts the lives of well-meaning, but ignorant, innocents, in jeopardy.

Combatives in general—and knife-biased combatives particularly—are one of the most nefarious of the topics that fall into the camp of the fantastic.

Two of the most famous combatives instructors in American history are often held up as exemplars of this particular discipline of training: William Fairbairn and Rex Applegate.

William Fairbairn
Fairbairn joined the Royal Marines as an underage teenager in 1901, and found himself stationed in Korea, before leaving the service to join the Shanghai Municipal Police force, in 1907. Most of Fairbairn’s notoriety is derived from his—admittedly awesome—exploits during service with SMP. One of the most important claims, regarding the legitimacy of his methods, is that Fairbairn was involved in “over 600 street fights” during his tenure with SMP. There is, of course, a great deal of argument among martial arts historians as to whether Fairbairn was himself involved in 600+ streetfights, or whether it was his units in general involved in that number of fights. I tend towards believing it was his units in general that were involved, not Fairbairn specifically. I also willingly concede however, that it is entirely possible that—given the nature of Shanghai specifically, and seaports like Shanghai generally, at that point in history—Fairbairn was personally involved in a metric shit ton of street fights.

That having been said, using those 600+ street fights as the sine qua non of the perfection of his unarmed and knife-based combatives methods is fatally flawed. We modern Americans tend to view the term “street fight” through the prism of three decades of indoctrination of Asian martial arts influence as synonymous with “unarmed” fights. The reality is significantly different.

A “street fight” especially in Shanghai at that point, was more likely to involve the use of firearms like Mauser Broomhandle pistols, rifles, and even machine guns and artillery pieces (the Boxer Rebellion is an interesting piece of history to read about when it comes to the history of Shanghai and the development of combatives techniques from that city).

The first street fight that Fairbairn was reportedly involved in while in the employ of SMP happened about four months after he arrived in the city. He was attacked by a Chinese gang and stabbed at least a dozen times, before being left for dead, to bleed out in the alley. He didn’t die, which leads one, logically, to question to “extreme lethality” of the knife in close-quarters combatives. I mean, fuck me, a dude was attacked by 12+ people, stabbed repeatedly, and then left to bleed out, AND HE DID NOT DIE…….

Fairbairn would go on to study numerous martial arts, ranging from boxing and wrestling to jujutsu and Kodokan judo. When World War Two began, he was recalled to England, and commissioned in 1941, for service with the British Secret Service. He trained British, Canadian, and Dutch Commandos, as well as the original US “Darby’s” Rangers. Perhaps most famously, he co-developed with Eric Sykes, the Fairbairn-Sykes dagger, and exquisitely designed killing tool, with some significant weaknesses (which would be somewhat overcome in a later redesign when he partnered with American Rex Applegate, that led to the Applegate-Fairbairn dagger).

By the time he arrived back in England, Fairbairn was “reportedly covered in scars across his arms, legs, chest, and abdomen,” leading one to question exactly how lethal the knives that purportedly caused those wounds, actually were.

Rex Applegate
Oregon-born and raised Rex Applegate was originally commissioned as a Lieutenant of Military Police, before being grabbed up by William “Wild Bill” Donovan for service in the OSS, teaching combatives and CQB to prospective OSS agents. He was sent to study under Fairbairn for some time, before returning to the States in his new post.

The colonel went on to write the seminal American work on unarmed combatives and CQB, “Kill or Get Killed,” in 1943. It was revised and republished in the 1970s, and has been a USMC manual for years.

Having grown up hearing tales of the greatness of both men from my grandfather, who had trained under them, I would not, in ten lifetimes, lower myself to questioning their expertise or their credentials as gentlemen and scholars. However, as important as myth and legend is—and both are, or should be, sacred—there are some serious shortcomings in basing your training on the teachings and tools of these particular legends.

As even Fairbairn so famously wrote, “Get tough. Get down in the gutter, win at all costs…There’s no fair play, no rules except one: kill or be killed!” If there are shortcomings to the systems these men taught, that decades of more recent experience and research and study can overcome, I would argue that they—of all people—would want us to discover and eradicate those shortcomings, to make winning so much more of a sure bet.

The Knife as a Fighting Weapon

The Fairbairn-Sykes makes a pretty decent assassination knife, by all accounts. The Applegate-Fairbairn, with it’s broader, stronger tip, and oval-shaped handle that lets the wielder know the blade orientation by feel, is reportedly even better. I’ve owned both. I still have a F-S clone on my office desk, as part of a shelf of “nostalgia” items. Having carried a Gerber MKII—like, I suspect, most SOF veterans of a certain age—for some time, until I realized it’s utter uselessness for anything else, I never bothered carrying any other dagger.

The problem with daggers as combat knives is that, while they ARE the ultimate expression of the killing knife, that’s all they are good for. Considering the slim chance that even a moderately prepared person will ever need to shank a motherfucker, and considering the actual inefficiency of the knife as a killing weapon, carrying a sole-purpose tool of that particular nature just doesn’t make a lick of sense. As I’ve said in articles before—and in The Reluctant Partisan, Volume One, to take the opportunity to pimp my books—it’s a lot easier to kill somebody with a Swiss Army knife than it is to cut 550 cord or brush with a dagger.

The use of a knife as a weapon is fundamentally simple. Put the pointy parts in the soft spots. Even the ancient Romans knew that shanking someone was more effective than slicing and dicing and “biomechanical cutting.” As Vegetius wrote, in De ReMilitari, “They were likewise taught not to cut but to thrust with their swords. For the Romans not only made a jest of those who fought with the edge of that weapon, but always found them an easy conquest. A stroke with the edges, though made with ever so much force, seldom kills, as the vital parts of the body are defended both by the bones and armor. On the contrary, a stab, though it penetrates but two inches, is generally fatal….this was the method of fighting principally used by the Romans…

The problem that arises is that, even for the Romans, with their Gladius short sword, so much longer and heavier than a dagger, the fatal wound was not particularly quick. The “death time table” is, in words that Fairbairn himself would understand…”utter, bloody poppycock.” It was hypothetical, at best. It had as much bearing on reality as the “death point meridians” taught by “Dim Mak” masters.

The problem with using a knife as a weapon isn’t the specific techniques used. After all, Fairbairn, Sykes, and Applegate all posited the same stance as the Romans, “stab a fucker!” The problem is that the knife is NOT, contrary to mythology, a particularly effective weapon, outside of the psychological benefits of scaring the ever-loving-shit out of people (see the notes about Fairbairn’s experiences, above….)

The problem with THAT particular theory however, is that it’s a sucker’s bet. If you count on your enemy being a pussy or a coward, you’re kind of retarded yourself. There is a myth in American lore that “bad guys…bullies…are cowards.” While it makes us feel good, it’s complete bullshit. Are there bullies who are bullies because they are cowards? Sure. Are all bullies then, by definition, cowards? Absolutely not. Thinking that is the case, is a good way to get your own shank shoved up your ass. This leads to the theory that showing your enemy your weapon, in an effort to “scare him off” is a pretty goddamned stupid idea.

Experiential training, analysis of historical (even recent historical) examples, and the logic of UW strategy and tactics (surprise, speed, and violence of action, anyone?), tells us that “knife fights,” are fantasy. If you’re in a fair fight, your tactics suck, and your strategy is fatally flawed. If you whip out a knife and brandish it to scare me off, I’m going to shoot you in the dick. Not to kill you, because you’re obviously too stupid to bother killing, but to keep you from breeding and continuing the bad flawed genetic material.
There is another fundamental truth that needs to be considered, in the modern context. While Fairbairn fabricated a homemade, expedient plate carrier, by sewing a sheet of plate steel in to a leather harness—reportedly capable of stopping a Mauser pistol round at point-blank range—neither he nor his men, nor their foes, were facing men regularly equipped with body armor, helmets, and protective “gas” masks, or Kevlar “cut proof” gloves and gauntlets.

If you are engaged in a fight with a dude kitted out in protective gear, where exactly do you think you’re going to stab him? Kevlar soft-armor may or may not stop a knife stab. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t. Rifle plates WILL stop a knife. Kevlar helmets will stop a knife stab, more often than not. Most of the parts of a protective mask will stop a stab (Book Three includes photos of tests I’ve conducted with various knives against these mediums, for your educational benefit….). So, we find that we have to resort to the same techniques used in the late medieval period, of trying to thread a point into the “chinks” in the foes’ armor.

There’s a myth that ALL cops, DHS, and other government agents, as the “bad guys,” are fat, lazy fucks that “FreeFor” will easily defeat in valor and fitness. It is—of course—nonsense. There are more fit cops than there are fit “Three Percenters.” There are damned sure more “criminal gang” members who are fit than there are “FreeFor” that are fit. Do you genuinely believe you are going to manage to thread your dagger tip into a tiny chink in the other dude’s armor, before he smokes you in the grape hard enough to knock you the fuck out? That’s okay if you do. I like to masturbate occasionally too.

Historically, we know it’s bullshit. Even the fit, trained, experienced warriors of old couldn’t pull it off reliably. When medieval armor reached a point of development that required such precision, two developments occurred in the arms race. Guns were developed to a level of power and effectiveness that they’d punch through plate armor, of course. Previous to that however, fighting men stopped trying to thread the needle, so to speak, and went back to using clubs, maces, and war hammers, that had enough ass behind them to literally CRUSH the armor, doing lethal damage to the dude underneath.

The simple reality is that, for most purposes, the use of edged weapons to kill people is utter, complete, total fucking masturbatory fantasy. Sure, there are uses. For EDC carry for the underground and auxiliary, a small, concealed knife offers a decent tool to easily access—with training—and cut your way to your concealed pistol, to then shoot a dude. Of course, if you possess the physical and technical ability to fight your way to the knife in the first place, you probably possess the same ability to fight your way to your pistol instead. Mountain Guerrilla combatives tip o’ the day? Guns—even “pop guns” like .22 and .25 caliber pocket guns—are better than knives at killing people. As SFOD-D veteran, SGM (retired) John “Shrek” McPhee likes to point out to people, “I’ve got a pistol, why the Hell would I want to use a knife?”

It’s a popular fantasy, of course, to discuss the use of edged weapons for “sentry neutralization.” If you’re using a Scottish Claymore, like old-school badass “Mad” Jack Churchill, who carried a longbow and a basket-hilted Claymore across Europe with the British Expeditionary Force (and is reputed as carrying out the last longbow wartime kill, when he smoked a German NCO in 1940, with a cloth-yard shaft), and lived by the motto that “any officer who goes into action without his sword is improperly dressed,” or if you’re carrying a Kukri, then yes, perhaps, cleaving a skull in half, or separating the head from the cervical spine is a pretty damned effective way of smoking a dude with a “knife.” Maybe.

Cutting a throat, or even stabbing someone in the carotid artery or jugular vein, is neither fast, nor silent, by all accounts. Have you ever been elbow deep in someone else’s blood, with more of it spraying in your face, eyes, and mouth, and up your nose? Speaking experientially, from providing medical aid to casualties, it’s not a particularly pleasant experience. There’s nothing romantic or heroic about it.

I’ve had students in TRAINING classes, who were hesitant to get too much FAKE blood on them. In a world where we’re conditioned—somewhat justifiably—to be paranoid about blood-borne pathogens like HIV/AIDS, syphilis, and Hep C (or, as I prefer, HepasyphilgonorheAIDS), this makes sense. The problem arises when people disconnect this from the fantasy about slicing a motherfucker from eyeball to asshole. “I’m not comfortable getting drenched in someone else’s blood” does not translate well to “I’m gonna stab a motherfucker!”

This further ignores the fact that, someone who gets stabbed or cut does not just fall over and die. There’s nothing quiet or stealthy about it.

The Better Alternative

There is another, better alternative however. Smacking a fucker in the brain box, with a ball peen hammer—or better yet, a 2.5# sledge hammer, results in only two sounds: The wet “smack” of the hammer cracking through the skull and into the brain, and then the sound of 150-200+ pounds of unconscious—probably dead—meat falling to the ground. I’ve never killed anyone with a knife. I’ve also never killed anyone with a hammer. I have smoked a dude in the grape with a big fucking rock. I was a teenager at the time, and was in serious danger of getting my ass stomped—I was being a mouthy little shit, and probably had it coming—by a group of guys. The dude I hit fell instantly, doing the “kickin’ chicken,” and, while he didn’t die, he was done with the fight in less than a second. It also served to discourage the rest.

There are anecdotal reports of SF and SOF guys carrying ball peen hammers in Afghanistan and Iraq carrying ball peen hammers—and even using them—for the anti-personnel role. I cannot confirm or deny these reports. I certainly never saw it, but I wish I had thought of it back then.

The Final Solution

(Yeah, I know…tasteless….)

So, in answer to the original question, on Facebook, the selection of functional knives is contingent upon context. My choices may not even be relevant to your needs, within the specific contexts I will describe here.

1) General field knife.
For a general field knife, I prefer a relatively small, light, but effective, bushcraft knife. I’ve carried everything from a Swedish Mora knife to a Kabar to my current choice, the Becker BK16 Buschcraft knife. I like the Becker, a lot. It’s significantly lighter than the Kabar, it’s got a thinner, narrower blade, which makes pretty much every cutting chore significantly easier. It’s only potential drawback is that it’s a very, very light knife. That’s not a drawback to me. If I need to chop or cut something to big to cut with the bushcraft knife, I can use a saw or an ax. The best “big chopper” knife out there is significantly less effective for chopping than even a shitty, Wal-Mart camping hatchet. I don’t own a Wal-Mart camping hatchet. Like all of my gear, when I invest in gear, I invest in good gear. The axes I carry on my kit include hand-made hand axes and a Swedish Gransfor-Bruchs Scandinativan Forest Ax.

My folding saw is the Bahco Laplander saw. It’s a small, super-lightweight piece of kit that you could—theoretically at least—use to perform a fucking amputation if necessary. They’re relatively inexpensive, but worth every dime.

2) EDC knives.
I tend to follow the reverse-grip, edge-in mode of use that Craig Douglas re-popularized with his ECQC program. Not out of blind loyalty to the methods, but because, through experiential testing during FoF training, combined with logical, rational, critical thinking, it makes sense in the delivery system.

If I’m forced to use a knife in self-defense, it will likely be in the process of trying to escape an overwhelming physical attack, in the process of either escaping the grappling match that Craig refers to as the “Fucked Up Tangle (FUT),” or to gain access to my pistol. I think his Clinch Pick design is probably the essence of that application. Of course, Clinch Picks can be a pain-in-the-ass to get your hands on. Triple Aught Design ( carries a Made In China version occasionally, available on a “first come, first serve” basis. They go quick when they come in though, so you’ll have to watch them closely.

The premier custom maker that produces Clinch Picks—and the ONLY one currently authorized to produce Craig’s design—is Ban Tang, out of California ( Do me a solid, if you decide to look at his? Tell him I sent you. Maybe someday, it will get me a good deal on one.

I don’t own a Clinch Pick. Part of that is because I’m poor white trash from Idaho. Partly it’s because the knife, even in EDC is such a remotely tertiary weapon for me, that I can feel comfortable carrying something less optimal for the anti-personnel role, while being significantly more multi-functional. I understand the “spiritual” appeal of a dedicated “fighting” knife, but for me, I’m far more likely to need to cut a box open or cut some rope, or even kindling for a fire, than I am to need to shank someone.

In light of these considerations, I am currently running an ESEE Izula II, carried in the left-side Appendix position, mirroring where I carry my pistol. It’s small, unobtrusive, serves the purpose for combative applications, but more importantly, is an eminently useful little tool for every day use.

Editorial Note: Since posting this on the Forward Observer site (, I’ve managed to actually get one of Ban Tang’s Clinch Picks. I’m still not 100% sold on the knife as a combative weapon of first, or even second choice. That having been said, this has got to be one of the nicest, most well-built little EDC knives I’ve ever had my hands on. It’s worth twice the price. I THOUGHT–until I got one–that my little Izula II was filling the gap well as an alternative. I was wrong.

First Open-Enrollment Class of the Year

The guys down up in Idaho Falls are doing people who want to get into a class with us, but can’t work out how to host one themselves, a solid. They’ve decided to do a small-unit patrolling class, and have a few slots they can fill that they’re willing to let people in on.

It’s a little short notice, but the class just got finalized.

8-10 (Fri-Sat-Sun) May 2015, I will be doing  a small-unit, irregular security patrolling class in the vicinity of Idaho Falls, ID. Cost for the class is $500/shooter.

Small-Unit Security Patrolling Operations—3-Day

May 8-10(Friday-Sunday)
In the vicinity of Idaho Falls, Idaho

This is a three-day class that serves as a practical and theoretical introduction to the individual and collective common task skills and small-unit tactics applied by irregular light-infantry forces in an unconventional warfare environment in both rural and urban environments. It uses a solid focus on basic battle drills to teach the underlying concepts that can be adapted to all situations.

The focus of this class is on the hard skills necessary to effectively conduct small unit security patrols in order to protect a retreat location or neighborhood.

Equipment Requirements

(students should arrive with a minimum of 500 rounds of ammunition for their weapon.)

-Fighting Rifle

-Fighting load-out

-Sustainment ruck or “Bug-Out Bag” (this is a field environment class. Expect to live out of your rucksack for the duration of the course. It’s also May in Idaho. Weather may range from near tropical to blizzard conditions, although this year, tropical seems more likely. Pack accordingly.)

-note pad and pen or pencil

-clothing suitable to strenuous activity in the local environment.

-rain gear/cold weather gear as required by seasonal climactic conditions.

-hearing and eye protection are required.

-hydration (Camelback-type system, canteens, or water bottles)

-an open mind, especially if you’ve previously received a great deal of traditional, competition-based marksmanship training.

Three-Day SUP Class ($500/shooter) May.8-10. 2015(Friday-Sunday), Idaho (vicinity of Idaho Falls) The course tuition is due May 1. or before.

To enroll in this class, please contact HH6 at

or the host of the class at


In addition to this, we’re working on setting up some potential open enrollment classes in the SE and upper Midwest of the USA this summer and fall. I also have a number of closed/private classes scheduled for further east this summer and fall. If you’re interested in hosting a course East of the Mississippi, but have been previously discouraged by the challenges of scheduling us to get back East, contact HH6 at the above email address. We’ve had some changes come up that are allowing us to bring Mountain Guerrilla training further east.



Auxiliary Functions Within The Tribe

(One of the topics I still get a lot of reader queries about is the doctrinal Auxiliary. These range from people who are “too old” or have “too many old injuries,” to be a door-kicking, badass gunslinger, to those that just don’t see themselves in that role, regardless of why.)

Doctrinally speaking, in Maoist-influenced UW, the auxiliary includes—or may include—all those individuals who are not full-time, active participants in the paramilitary guerrilla force or the underground, but who are sympathetic to the resistance and actively support its efforts. Traditionally, the activities of the auxiliary have been directed and controlled by the area command authority.

The coordination that arises from this allows the assistance from the auxiliary to be leveraged in the most efficient way, offering maximum benefit from limited personnel and material assets. Otherwise, the auxiliary would see its efforts wasted as some assets were overused by local buddies, and other assets that might be sorely needed elsewhere, would go to waste, due to their inapplicability to the local effort.

While a resistance effort is necessarily localized at the tactical level, its important to remember that tactical applications exist solely to facilitate strategic end-game goals. Anything else is futile for anything except feeling good about yourself because “at least you made a statement.” A bunch of guys with similar views, committing acts of violence are not a resistance movement. They MIGHT coalesce into an organized resistance, but history has repeatedly demonstrated that, more often that not, they end up labeled as nothing more than brigands, are run individually to ground, and end up exterminated. Since the victors write the history books….

Within the context of a tribal-based resistance that adheres to the “Heinlein Doctrine,” there is still a role to be played by individual members of a local tribe, in the traditional duties of the auxiliary however. By fulfilling those roles that the auxiliary has historically fulfilled in a resistance, that do not require the fitness or physical capabilities of the guerrilla force or underground, members of a tribe can still contribute worthwhile efforts to the security of their tribe, thus “earning their keep.”

An individual’s specific contribution to the efforts has—and will—depend largely on their socio-economic status, roles, and their occupation. A stripper or bartender may provide crucial intelligence-gathering and collection roles that end up facilitating actions by the guerrilla force or underground, or they may set up a hit on members of a rival organization by dropping “roofies” in their drinks, a farmer or homesteader may “only” provide assistance by providing extra harvest to feed the guerrilla force or underground, or to sell on the local black or gray market, in order to help finance tribal operations. On the other hand, the farmer may end up providing barn space for a way-station on an evasion corridor, or for use as a guerrilla hospital.

Regardless of the specific role the auxiliary tribesman plays in the effort, it is critical to understand that the success of their efforts depends on their participation in such operations remains clandestine. The secret must not be kept only from rival organizations, but even from apparently friendly or supportive neighbors who do not enjoy the trust of being part of the closed circle—innangard—that is the tribe. Even other members of the tribe, outside the leadership, may not know exactly what the auxiliary offers the tribe. Keeping this information compartmentalized, even within the innangard, can reduce the chances that someone will inadvertently reveal it to someone that does not “need to know.”

Auxiliary Tasks

While there is really no task that the auxiliary might be able to perform, to support the tribe’s efforts, there are a number of roles the auxiliary has traditionally played that still offer a significant role for members of your tribe to contribute to your efforts of autonomy.

Security and Warning

One of the best efforts your auxiliary tribesmen can offer is the same that the elderly and young children, not ready to be warriors yet, have always provided a tribe. They can act as a physical security and warning system for the tribe. From simply standing watch during training exercises and meetings, to organizing and directing sympathizers into networks to observe, record, and report on the activities of other organizations—rival or not—in the area. Do you know who your local constabulary is? Which ones are sincerely carrying out their oaths, and which are too enthusiastic about federal handouts and “gifts?” Do you know the names, faces, and addresses of the local, federal LEO who will be organizing and directing State efforts against autonomy and self-reliance in your local area?

Who is going to be more effective at gathering useful, functional information of that nature, that the end-users need? The big, muscle-bound dude with tattoos, that looks like he just came back from skull-stomping ISIS, or the little grandmother that is just concerned about how well “protected” her community is from those “scary bad guys?” While this technically falls into intelligence collection, it’s also relevant to security/early warning specifically.

Grandma can sit on her porch, next door to the National Guard armory, count vehicles, and take notes on activity levels, so that when there is a significant uptick or change in activity, she can share that information with the tribe. If she’s sitting on her porch, shelling peas or watching “grandchildren” play in the yard, who’s going to think twice?

If my big, ugly ass is sitting on my porch all day, everybody in the damned neighborhood just assumes I’m some sort of drug dealer (no shit, it happened once, when a landlord asked a mutual friend if I was a drug dealer, since I worked nights, and was home all day).


Are you a farmer who can sow an extra acre of crop ground, or set aside a portion of your harvest to help feed the tribe? Are you a gun dealer or pawn shop owner who can buy a couple of guns from private party sellers and “forget” to record them so they can be sold to members of your tribe, without a paper trail? Hell, even a case of ammunition a month set aside and stored for the future might be a critical contribution in the future.

Are you a machinist or gunsmith, that can manufacture firearms, suppressors, or other necessary accouterments, if the need arises? Or, are you the manager or employee of a grocery store that can set aside some of the discarded staples that are still edible, but have damaged packaging that precludes their sale to the public? Are you just someone that has a spare outbuilding or basement that can be used by the tribe to warehouse “extra” goods for later disbursement?

Medical Support

The auxiliary has traditionally provided medical supplies and support, arranging for doctors and other medical personnel to provide care for the sick and wounded? Are you a doctor or nurse? EMT or paramedic? Veterinarian? CNA?

Hell, can you afford to purchase an extra roll or two of bandage each time you go to the grocery store, and set it aside for later use? Can you take an EMT course? Can you afford to pay for someone else in the tribe to take an EMT course? Even a CNA certification course? We sometimes forget that doctors and nurses get a little busy, and will need help caring for wounded and injured tribesmen, and “even” a CNA can have a useful role to play (and hell, I’ve met some really FAT chicks that were CNA….)


The auxiliary identifies and screens potential recruits for active resistance units. Who do you know that is in the right place politically to become a probationary member of your tribe, but doesn’t know the right people to actively train with like-minded people? Are you a gunsmith or gun store owner or employee who is in the position to meet the dude who just bought his first AR15 or AKM? Did he buy it because he’s concerned about the socio-political environment? Does he want to get some quality training in how to run the gun? You probably know “someone” that can be “convinced” to provide some lessons in the correct, efficient use of the weapon, both technically and philosophically, don’t you?

Maybe you’re “just” a regular guy customer at the gun shop, but have had some serious, quality firearms training, and want to help teach some others? Print some decent business cards up, and let the employees know that you’re offering training. Since it’s not about making a living off the training, who cares if you only get a half-dozen students a year. If you can develop even one of them to the point that they become a trusted tribesman, you’ve more than recompensed your costs for the business cards, never mind the fact that you’ll make at least a little bit of money from the other students, as well.

The best thing that “auxiliary” members can do is stop being afraid of the big bad Fed “bogeyman” and start networking more actively. Be…gee…”guerrilla”….about your networking. Look at everyone you meet as a potential member of your tribe. If you’re shy about declaring your values to people you just met, think about the fact that others might be just as shy. Someone saying something stupid the first time you meet them might be a result of ignorance (lack of knowledge), brainwashing, or it may be a “cover.”

Intelligence Collection and Counter-Intelligence

The auxiliary is in a unique position to collect and collate information to support its own operations—who can or cannot be trusted as part of the auxiliary—as well as other operations of the tribe. The auxiliary can also act as a counterintelligence asset both by maintaining watch over transient people in the area, screening potential members, and reporting known or suspected attempts by hostile organizations to infiltrate the tribe or area. They can also act as a “Red Cell” team, trying to gather information on the tribe, in an effort to discover and negate weaknesses in the tribe’s overall efforts.

You can, as we mentioned above, get to know your local LEO, as well as some of them local criminal elements that can be leveraged to find out who the local CI are. Remember, before you immediately discard the idea of being on conversational terms with “criminals,” that it’s unavoidable for each of s to commit at least one “crime” per day. Really, is a gun smuggler such a bad guy? If a local boy is busted for selling pot, who has he really hurt, if in fact, he actually sold the pot? Do you really understand the difference between “mala se” and “mala prohibida” offenses? There really is a difference between a crime and a victimless “crime.”

It is important that auxiliary members get training in intelligence collection and assessment. Understanding the strategic intelligence picture is important, but we also need people who can get a handle on the end-user, tactical intelligence needs.

Psychological Operations

The auxiliary may be able to provide it’s single greatest contribution by making an organized, concerted effort to spread word amongst the community outside of the tribe, about the value of armed citizen’s defense groups. Whether it’s a whispered word of support in the right ear, or simply pointing out that the difference between a Neighborhood Watch and a “militia” is that the militia actually has the ability to do something about the criminal activity that the police ignore, the spoken word, by respected, upstanding members of the society can be far more effective as positive public relations than a bunch of hillbillies running around with guns, wearing BDU, in the local park.

Maybe the PSYOP effort is as simple as making fliers that point out what a lying bag of leftist dicks the SPLC is, or teaching an adult education class on Constitutional Law and/or American History 101 at the local community center. Are you a CCW instructor? Or, can you teach a class on canning and food preservation? Can yo incorporate some political tidbits into your curriculum so that Suzy Homemaker, just waking up to the need for preparedness, can start looking deeper?

Can you drop a few bucks to print up fliers or bumper stickers and hand them out at the local gun show or preparedness fair?


The auxiliary can provide a secure, compartmentalized communications network for your tribe. Whether you are paying attention to Sparks and Dan Morgan’s lessons, and joining AMRRON, or studying and practicing computer/Internet encryption and historical tradecraft methods, or are simply setting up a phone tree for notifying members of the tribe in emergencies, you can play a vital role. Do you own a vehicle and drive? Do you take public transportation? You can still act as a courier between members of the tribe. My grandmother is a conduit of information in my family. I may not know what one of my cousins has been doing. I may not have seen him in a year, but I guarantee, if I go see Granny, I’ll know, in five minutes, what anyone in the family is doing. It doesn’t matter that she doesn’t leave her house, because we all stop and see her when we’re in town, and if we’re not in town, we call her and visit with her on the phone. It doesn’t take a high degree of physical prowess, it just takes a sharp mind and a willingness to pass on important information.

Reserve Forces

One traditional role that the auxiliary often plays is overlooked by those who look at the auxiliary as an excuse to not be bothered with training, is that of providing an active reserve component for the guerrilla or underground forces during operations. Whether it’s part of a security element, in a blocking position during a raid, or a “sniper” shot intended to elicit a quick-reaction force (QRF) reaction, so they walk into an ambush, being part of the “auxiliary” within your tribe is NOT an excuse to ignore training, from gunhandling and SUT to PT. Even if you simply observe most of the training, or do walk-throughs while those around you are running and gunning, it will provide a better grasp of the skillsets than just reading about it in a manual. Whether that understanding is needed so you don’t shoot a friendly when someone sticks your fat ass into a fighting position to serve as part of a blocking force, or because you’re going to be helping teach the fundamentals to potential recruits to the tribe, is irrelevant…you need to be able to explain and demonstrate the skills, and the only way to gain that ability is to DO them.

I’ve told at least one participant in every single SUT class I’ve taught in the last four years, I’d rather see them walk through the class and be able to teach it later, than permanently cripple themselves in my class, and be useless afterwards.

Organization of the Auxiliary

Doctrinally, auxiliary elements are typically organized to coincide with, or parallel, the existing political and administrative divisions of the government of the operational area. Doing so means that each community, county, state, province, etc, are provided with an auxiliary force that can provide support to the local resistance.

Organization can be either centralized or decentralized, but the basic organization of each level usually takes the form of a command committee organization that controls and coordinates the activities of the auxiliary within its area of responsibility. At the tribal level, this may be as simple as members of the tribe who cannot perform as part of the auxiliary or underground, offering whatever services they can provide to the leadership of the tribe, or being specifically tasked with a set of auxiliary-related tasks by the leadership.

The level of compartmentalization needed will depend on the threat levels presented by various hostile organizations in the tribe’s operational area, and may range from “do not discuss the service you provide the tribe with anyone except me!” to “meh, everyone knows you’re a farmer. Maybe don’t tell them exactly how much food you’re providing, but as long as they’re a member of the tribe, they probably know you’re delivering a couple of steers every month to help keep people fed.”

Ultimately the greatest benefits for both the tribe and the individual member of the tribe who is acting as the auxiliary come with an organized command approach towards the efforts. It prevents the wasteful and unnecessary duplication of efforts, while reducing the chances that key needed efforts will be overlooked and neglected (really, who wants to be the guy that stockpiles toilet paper and bathroom cleaner, instead of ammunition?). It reduces the chances that members of the auxiliary will interfere with other auxiliary efforts. I’ve seen this happen when three guys—all part of the same network—are unwittingly bidding against each other for a key piece of equipment, thus driving the price up, unnecessarily. Wouldn’t it make a shit ton more sense for everyone who needed to buy ammunition, to buy it from one guy in the group who does bulk purchases of ammunition at a lower price, and then divvies the ammunition up into smaller lots for members of the tribe, who then get the ammunition at the lower price?

Successful Auxiliary Planning and Organization

We can tell we’re on the right path to organizing an effective auxiliary when you can honestly say that you’ve managed to:

  • Organized those members of the tribe who are not, or will not, be part of the active security efforts of the tribe, into an effort that can provide autonomous, internal support to the tribe.
  • Can provide security and clandestine operations in the auxiliary taskings for your tribe.
  • Begun to develop organized plans for the establishment of E&E/bug-out plans and networks, safehouses, and supply caches for the tribe.
  • Developed a command-and-control structure within the auxiliary of the tribe including a call-chain that allows for rapid contact with any member of the tribe, especially the auxiliary members who may have access to immediate logistics needs and/or transportation and E&E.
  • Begun the development of a compartmented communications system, ranging from the use of call chains, open-source encryption and Internet-based communications, and HAM radio options.
  • Have developed an organized, tribal “shadow government” that provides the necessary functions to build autonomy within the innangard of the tribe. This doesn’t mean you need to overthrow the local government. It means you should—within the tribe—have an established authority, that means you don’t need to go outside the tribe for most needs, from security to supplies, to helping someone in emergencies.

The reality is, while I spend a lot of time, justifiably, focusing on the needs of personal excellence in the fundamental warrior tasks and traits within the preparedness community, it’s a given that not everyone is a “powerlifting gunslinger,” nor need they be. Many—perhaps most—will fill the roles of the auxiliary. We can see this reflected in the 10:1 tail-to-teeth ratio of the military. That doesn’t mean—just like the support and service element personnel of the military—that you can completely foregoe training and PT, but it does still provide a useful, critical role for the “elderly, infirm, and frail,” to play within their tribes.

You don’t need to wander into the woods and start singing your death song, as you starve to death, just yet.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,598 other followers