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From the Library

Today’s book is one I read two decades ago (or close to it), and made my wife read two weeks after we started dating. It’s arguably one of the most important books published in my lifetime, when it comes to personal protection. I’m not sure how I’ve never reviewed it for this blog, but one of our guys texted me a couple weeks ago, and insisted I needed to, post-haste.

The Gift of Fear by Gavin DeBecker

Let me preface this by pointing out that, while I don’t know him personally, I suspect DeBecker is a hypocritical piece of shit. I suspect that, because he’s made a veritable fortune by providing armed security to celebrities, but he’s opposed to private gun ownership.

That having been said, while I don’t “understand” it, I get his reason (you’ll have to read the book).

All of that aside, this is the single best book out there, that I know of, to get women to pay the fuck attention to what’s going on around them, and to get them to pay attention to their gut instinct about shady situations, instead of rationalizing them. It’s equally true for men, of course.

My daughters will be required to read this, and write a report on it, before they are allowed to date.

In essence, it focuses on the physiology of WHY we have “bad feelings” or “gut instincts” about people and situations, and explains not just why we have them, but why we should trust them, and heed them.

If you haven’t read this, go get a copy, right now, and read it. If you have read it, and haven’t made your spouse and/or children (of appropriate age) read it, shame on you.

DeBecker not only explains the whats and whys, but he provides real world examples of both successes and failures, based on case studies from his clients, both celebrity and otherwise.

If you’re opposed to spending money on a book by an author who is decidedly anti-gun, I can understand and appreciate that. So, don’t give him any money. I’ve NEVER failed to find copies of this book at used bookstores and Goodwill. Go to your local Goodwill or used bookstore, and find a copy there. But seriously….read the fucking book.

Campfire Chat

What is your opinion of foreward assist on an AR? I have occasionally had to use mine to close a bolt on some random piece of ammo over the last 20 years, usually due to a grain of sand, or a reload with a large base.

But after the front pawl broke loose, and immediately jammed the carrier into the upper with the pawl between the groove and gouged into the aluminum, I am rethinking having one on my rifle. I eventually used a dremel tool to cut the upper apart and tried to salvage the carrier. Without the forward assist in there in the first place, I could probably solve any bolt closures with a brass punch and a hammer.

BTW, since I’ve stopped using RCBS X-dies and a progressive press, and have gone back to single stage reloading, my need for the FA has decreased significantly.

I use my forward assist all the time. Mostly, upon completion of a press check, to make sure the bolt has locked back into battery. I don’t know that I’ve used it more than a handful of times because of fouling, but then, I keep my guns pretty wet.

I can see where if you’ve had the problem you describe, it would be concerning, but without knowing the round count and resultant levels of fatigue on the metal, I can’t say that it wasn’t simply a matter of metal fatigue and stress on the FA that caused the issue.

I will say, in almost thirty years of running M16s, CAR15s, M4s, and AR15s, I’ve never had that happen. I don’t know that I’ve ever even seen it happen. Certainly not to that level of catastrophic failure. I’d be a lot more worried about things like staked carrier keys shearing off (I’ve had it happen on two different BCGs, or the locking keys on bolts themselves shearing off (I’ve had it happen a couple of times over the years), than about the FA causing a catastrophic failure….


Have you found any good radios for your group?  Not the big HAM ones, but the individual carry ones like you would have used in the army.

I’m no commo expert, but I’m very fond of the Yaesu FT-60R. I’ve got a couple of them, and we get really good service out of them, in all sorts of weather, and mine have had me fall on them on numerous occasions, during IMT (and general just falling ass-over-teakettle), and have been dropped from varying heights onto varying surfaces, with little or no damage. I did have to have one of our commo guys do some minor clean-up work on the one that I keep in my truck, as a combination radio/scanner. It slipped between the seats, and ended up forgotten there for about a week and a half, and ended up with lots of debris lodged into the keypad. It was a pretty quick and painless clean up fix though, according to him.

Perhaps—I couldn’t say for sure, of course, since I would never do, or suggest, such a thing—best of all, I’m informed that it’s a fairly simple process of severing one resistor, to allow them to not only receive FRS, GMRS, and MURS band frequencies, but also to transmit on those bands, which they are not supposed to do. I suspect such an ability would be handy to have, if some of your people only had handie-talkies out of the Cabela’s or Wal-Mart bubble pack….


Have you ever worked up a ‘bump in the night’ chest rig, plate carrier, etc. for your wife?  Do they even make plate carriers for women?

My wife does have a plate carrier. It’s an old lightweight LBT one with medium size plates in it, and her Tactical Tailor MAV slips right over the top of it, should she need that. More commonly though, if she’s putting a plate carrier on, she’s just tucking a spare rifle mag in her back pocket, although she does also have a very nice warbelt set up, much like mine.

I THINK they make anatomically appropriate body armor plates for women. It seems like I’ve read that they do. She just has standard ESAPI plates in hers though, and the PC was a gimme from a (male) buddy of mine, when his department required them to switch from Ranger Green to black, so hers are not “female specific.” They don’t seem to cause her too much trouble.


Do you still use the VG2 ‘holster’ at all?

Not really. I keep it in my range bag to show to students during classes, but I really don’t have any use for it. There are so many better options available now.


I read your response to the night vision question with interest.  I was thinking of getting a PVS-14 when funds allow, but put it down the list of priorities after reading in GG v2 that learning to shoot with a NOD was no easy task (probably requiring expert training).  And I’m still coming-up-to-speed learning to shoot in day light 🙂

I was wondering, however, if it might be prudent to have a night observation device, possibly hand-held, that could be used to identify potential threats at reasonable distance (say 100 ft on a moonless night).  Threats could then be lit up by white light if needed.  Does such a device exist?  If such a device were available at a reasonable cost, they could be distributed to the whole clan.  Or would it be best to conserve resources to purchase a full PVS-14 set up for key clan members, and leave the rest of the clan in the dark, so to speak?

Right now, with the grid up, there is a lot of ambient light (especially in the city!), and one could put up flood lighting around one’s property, I suppose.  But with the grid down . . . man, it’s dark out here in the country.

On a somewhat-related note, do you have a brand of lightweight binoculars you like to take on patrols?

The hand-held NOD you’re looking for? It’s still a PVS-14. If that’s just not in the cards, for financial reasons, a set of PVS-7s will work as a fallback, but you’ll have to remove the NODs in order to switch to white light.

One of the methods we used, back in the day, before everybody had NODs, was for key leaders (Team Leaders and above) to have night vision devices. They would load either alternating rounds of ball and tracer, or 3:1 ball:tracer. They could then use the tracer rounds to mark target zones for their subordinates and crew-served weapons to target. It’s far from ideal, but…

Yeah, few people in urban and suburban areas really understand what a moonless night, with no electrical lighting really means…

I use a small pair of Steiners. I love Steiners. They’re a little on the spendy side, but they’re great glass, great internals, and really, really robust.


Seriously asking since you use them; What’s the point of AR pistols? The only advantage I see is a high round count, at the expense of quite a lot of muzzle velocity? It never seemed worth it to me, asking in case I’m missing something.

Two different reader responses, I’m going to share, before I answer the question, addressing the answers provided.

1. Good for short to intermediate ranges
2. Easier to shoot accurately beyond point blank range compared to a standard handgun / pistol.
3. 556 has more power than 9mm in same barrel lengths


You still will need a red dot optic and maybe a 3x magnifier, but based on barrel length this isn’t going to be the long distance shooter.

The point of AR “pistols” is, legitimately, the same point of a 10.5” or other SBR, without the $200 tax and permission slip from The Crown, honestly.

You are losing some muzzle velocity, but you’re making up for it with handiness and light weight.

So, let’s address the muzzle velocity issue, while we address the reader answers:

The obvious issue with muzzle velocity is two-fold: a) reduced range, potentially, and b) reduced lethality of mil-spec ball ammunition. As both readers pointed out, this seems to make it a limited-range weapon, good only for short-to-intermediate ranges. SOCOM has been using the MK18 with it’s 10.5” barrel for well over a decade and a half now. In Iraq alone, there are AARs of dozens of one-shot stops on hostiles, at ranges in excess of 700 meters (and these are from sniper team spotters, in most cases, so it’s safe to assume the stated ranges are pretty damned accurate).

I’ve personally made shots (on steel, the MK18 came into use after my time) with a 10.5” in excess of 500 meters, on reduced silhouette targets. So, it’s really not limited to just short and intermediate ranges. It can—in the hands of a competent shooter—reach reliably out past any sort of common engagement distance with rifles, as seen in modern combat situations. Of course, the MK18 was specifically a CQB module for the SOPMOD system, so it really is going to excel at close ranges, within the 100 meter common engagement distance of most modern combat engagements (even in Afghanistan, where, at least for awhile, there was a trend by Hajj to use crew served weapons to stand-off from US forces, the majority of fights have actually occurred well within that 100M envelope).

The biggest advantage of the weapon, which is essentially a submachinegun, in a rifle caliber, is the same as submachineguns have always offered: as the reader mentioned, it’s a lot easier to shoot accurately, and fast, even at room distances, than a pistol. It’s damned sure a lot easier to shoot accurately and fast, at 100 yards, than a pistol! That makes it ideal for both a personal defense weapon (PDW) like the M1 carbine’s original purpose, and for CQB, whether in a building, dense forest, or even trenches/dugout compounds (as someone once told me, “The purpose of a SMG is to assassinate rooms full of very surprised colonels!”). It’s more powerful than a pistol, and handier than a rifle or carbine.

As far as the optic recommendation goes, a red dot, if that’s your preference, does work really well on an AR pistol, just like it does on a SMG. On the other hand, we have three AR pistols in the safe. One is mine, one is my wife’s, and the third is the oldest daughter’s (she’s eight). Mine has a 1-4x LPVO on it. My wife’s has a 1-8x LPVO on it. Only my daughter’s has a red dot on it, in the form of an EoTech. The LPVO offers the same benefits on the AR pistol that it offers on my 14.5” or my wife’s 16”: it allows us to extend the range dramatically, as well as offering us to ability to see better, into shadows and tight spaces, at shorter ranges.

In fact, oldest daughter’s AR pistol has an EoTech on it for two simple reasons: 1) I have found it is easier to teach her to shoot it, well, with the simpler EoTech reticle. Since it still has a .22LR conversion in it, she’s not really shooting it past 50 yards anyway, so the simplicity of telling her to put the dot in the center of the target, hold the gun still, and break the trigger, is just simpler for her to process. Combined with the less visible movement from wobble, as her positions aren’t as stable yet as they will be, simply makes it less confusing for her. 2) It weighs less. She’s a stout, strong girl, but she’s eight. She’s got some growing to do yet, and a lighter weapon, that she can hold more steadily, makes the shooting/training experience more tolerable for her, when she’d rather be playing with horses.

I use my 14.5” a lot more than I use my 10.5”, but I absolutely trust my 10.5” “pistol” to do anything I will ever ask it to do, out to at least 400 meters. I wouldn’t not have one.

In fact, I’d rather have the pistol than the registered SBR, because transportation is a lot less of a headache.


Got to spend a great weekend at Old Salem in Winston Salem, NC. Couldn’t help but think about an application of the Moravian’s methodology in a smaller scale for the upcoming spiciness. The community owned the basic property, while families could own their own homes. Skills and trades were encouraged, and the educational system supported them. Common worldview, mutual support for families and individuals, interactions with “strangers” on their terms are just some of the takeaways.

Careful, people might start calling you a socialist, spouting ideas like that.

To be honest though, if I was going to start any sort of “retreat community” or other “intentional community,” that’s basically how I’d do it. I’d incorporate and purchase the land and major tools as community property, of the corporation. Written into the by-laws would be that shareholders own their homes, and those homes are inviolate, and may be passed on to heirs, as long as the original owner, or the heir, remains part of the community, but cannot be sold or transferred outside of the community.

We’d have a community school, and all the rest. It’s the only way to “force” form a community that has tribal-level ties and commitments (this is also why I will probably never be able to form any sort of intentional community….)


NVG or Thermals?
The price on thermals has dropped quite a bit over the last few years.
Now IIRC, thermals can’t see through glass (windows, ect) or be used to read maps, but they do make people “pop” out of the background, unlike NV where a good job of camouflage by daylight does just as well by night when viewed through NV.
Of course a set up that merged the two would be best, but DARPA isn’t funding my purchases.

NODs first, followed by thermals down the road. Positive ID of targets is a real concern, and important. It’s much easier to ID targets with NODs than it is with thermals….


American Nations is a good read but the authors near pathological anti Southern bias as well as his complete ignorance of the Southwest flaw the work.

Meh. 1) I’ve yet to read a book that wasn’t flawed somehow (including the ones I wrote, for what it’s worth). It’s the nature of the beast. 2) Hell, I have biases against the South too, and I’m a damned Southerner. Of course, a lot of that depends on which part(s) of the South you’re discussing. Were all the author’s criticisms of the South valid? Probably not. In my experience though—again, as a Southerner—the majority of them were, even if some of those were exaggerated.

I’m not in the loop enough about the SW myself, to comment with validity, but, overall, I still found it an important book, and well worth reading and digesting, even with his biases.

I generally accept that everyone has biases, many of which I may or may not agree with. I don’t accept the criticisms anyone offers against anything as articles of faith, but, if they are well argued, I can certainly consider them in formulating my own opinions on the subject. On the other hand, if they’re poorly argued, that also allows me to consider, and weigh, them, in formulating my own opinions.

Ultimately, I feel like accepting an author’s opinions on a region he’s not from himself, is much akin to listening to a musician or actor pontificate on politics and current affairs. If you lack expertise on the specific area, I can choose to ignore that portion of your presentation. I can watch a movie starring an actor whose politics or other public statements I dislike, and still appreciate the movie. I’m watching the movie to be entertained, not because of the actor’s politics. If the movie incorporates those politics, well, that’s another issue, but that rides more on the screenwriter and director than on the actors themselves, in that case.

Similarly, I can read the author’s work, and appreciate it—and the valid points—while ignoring or discounting obvious biases that are irrelevant to the conclusions.

Campfire Chat

Do you have a recommendation for an AR pistol, off the shelf?

I don’t, sorry. All of ours are custom builds, and all but one were built by me, from various parts. Sorry. I would say though, a mil-spec trigger, 1:7 barrel twist, chrome-lined (1st choice), or chrome-moly (2nd choice). Not stainless. A lot of guys like stainless, but they seem to wear a lot faster. If you’re a trainer, and that’s part of your business expenses, that’s fine, but if you don’t know when—or if—if you’ll be able to replace the barrel, getting maximal usage life out of a barrel is important. If you’re not running full-auto, a chrome-lined barrel is going to last, basically forever, and almost certainly outlast you. I’ve burned out one barrel, on a private owned gun, and it was one I bought used, with no idea of the original owner’s round count. We put well over 15K rounds through it, in addition to handing it to students to use during classes, when their guns went down for whatever reason, and a simple immediate action wouldn’t solve the problem.

Beyond that? Whatever your heart desires, within reason…

All of ours are 10.5” barrels. All but one have variable optics on them (two have 1-8x, one has 1-6x). My nine-year old daughter’s AR pistol has an EoTech on it, because it’s easier for her to grasp how to aim with it thus far, and she’s not really shooting much beyond 200 yards, so….Hers is also the only one without a white light mounted on it. Mine also has an IR laser. When I finally manage to afford NODs for my wife, hers will get one as well.


Hi I love the Patreon channel.  I was reading your article on “Drones”.  Great points on drones but I agree with you on your assertion you would get night vision first.  What is your opinion on affordable night vision?  Never had the opportunity to “appropriate”/ liberate some NV.  What is your opinion?

My PVS-14a were almost $5K, several years ago (like, the better part of a decade now…). They were also hand select, and have crystal clarity.

I’ve looked at a lot of NVG options since then, for an alternate/back-up pair/pair for the wife. I’ve looked at a pair of PVS-7s. -7s are really almost obsolete, CONUS, but….they’re far, far better than getting kicked in the dick, and with effort, you can find a good pair for around $1K. I’ve seen -14s for $1500, but every pair like that I’ve seen has had major blemishes, to the point of visual distraction.

So, my opinion is, cut out the Starbucks habit, drop Netflix, and set aside whatever you can afford each month, hidden from your spouse and yourself, until you can afford to buy a decent set of -14s….


I’ve noticed some ranch properties building family compounds in our area. You’ll see a small cleared patch of land with several homes, spaced about a 100 yards apart in a semi-circle. Near the center, a hay / farm building with a small corral adjacent to it. I’m sure it is parents with their children located nearby to save on cost of property purchasing and helping each other out. Each home has an outdoor sodium pole light mounted high, providing security – task lighting. Pretty neat set up, as long as everybody gets along with each other. A good way to keep an eye on Grandpa / Grandma without having to pay for a home or convenience apartment and everybody gets their privacy..

Thanks for the post – you are missed, but we know Life gets in the way, you keep putting the foot in front of the other.

I suspect you are going to see an increasing return to the village model, especially in rural settings. In urban settings, it can be tougher, because of cost. In suburban settings, it can be damned tough as well, but in rural settings, especially places with no or lax code enforcement, building good housing close together like that, with multiple households on the same “lot,” is absolutely doable. It’s a great idea. You get the benefits of cohousing, without the drawbacks of being underneath each other in your personal private spaces.

A Pattern Language discusses this in depth, with numerous entries on how to layout and develop this type of village arrangement.


Patreon articles today:

1st Tier, a look into a new book recommendation, with notes from Chapter One, on living and rebuilding after emergencies.

2nd Tier, a discussion of the use of range cards and sector sketches for a training aid. These get mentioned a lot in “tactical” prepper circles, but most people who mention them seem to understand neither the doctrinal applications of these tools, nor how they can be utilized, in our context, as a specific training aid for terrain appreciation.

Also, in the 2nd Tier, the Training Journals entries.


Doctor Bailey (if he sees this, he’ll know who he is). The email you have provided me is apparently not allowing me to return emails to you, from any source. You need to check your SPAM folders, and probably go ahead and email me with an alternate address. Sorry for the inconvenience, Doc.

From the Library

Today’s first book is one I read when it first came out. I saw it on my shelf the other day, and decided to re-read it. I’m glad I did, for several reasons, as we’ll see.

Today’s second book is a reader recommendation. I don’t know how I didn’t know about this book before he recommended it, but I appreciate the recommendation more than I can describe. It’s like carrying an 18C (Special Forces Engineer NCO) around in your pocket, in a lot of ways. When I texted photos of the table of contents, and some of the illustrations and diagrams, to a former 18C buddy, and told him it was 700 pages, he was stoked, and his comment was, “It looks really comprehensive!”

American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America by Colin Woodard

Like many people, much smarter than me, I’ve discussed, numerous times, that the idea of a homogenous “WASP” “American” culture is a politically expedient imaginary thing. The United States specifically, and North America generally, was conquered and settled by a variety of cultural colonists, many of whom despised one another, for various legitimate and illegitimate reasons.

For a number of decades, starting in roughly 1900, and through the end of World War Two, a couple of those cultural groups had managed to amass enough power and influence to appear to be the cultural norm in the US, and thus became the default imperial culture. A large portion of what we’ve seen in recent decades as “Balkanization” has been exactly that: a fracturing of the imperial culture, back into the component cultures that have struggled with one another for the last 300+ years, to determine whose would be the dominant one, determining how we defined “American” culture.

Mr. Woodard is a contemporary journalist, and his political biases do come through in some places in this book. However—and this is an important however—he does a really good job of citing his sources, as one would expect, and his sources, thus far, support what he claims they support (which is not necessarily to be expected, in this day and age…).

This treatise goes a long way towards explaining a lot of the cultural phenomena we see occurring in America today, if you read it as more than “on the shitter” reading. From the increasing urge among Americans, among various social classes, for “nannyism,” to the ongoing spiritual battle between the Puritanical urge to inflict one’s moral constraints on others and the individualist urge to tell busy-bodies to “go fuck yourself,” and more. (Want to know why Boston and Massachusetts, the birthplace of the American Revolution, is okay with encompassing gun control? There’s a cultural reason for it, and Mr. Woodward explains it, even though I doubt that was what he was trying to do…)

Unlike Haskett’s Seeds of Albion (which I’ve discussed here before, and also heartily recommend), this doesn’t focus solely on the British cultural groups, but covers the impact of German immigration, French immigration, and the influence that slave and post-slavery cultural accomodations have had on American cultural norms. As such, no cultural group is covered as in-depth as they are in Seeds of Albion, but there’s a much broader coverage that occurs.

Highly Recommended.

Engineering in Emergencies: A Practical Guide for Relief Workers by Jan Davis and Robert Lambert

Before I say anything else, let me say this: Stop reading, go get on Amazon, and order a copy of this book. Right now. Do it. Seriously. New copies are expensive as fuck. Used copies are still kind of pricey. It’s worth every penny.

So, this book was first published in 1995, as a handbook/training tool for NGO Aid workers, in disaster struck areas. It is, as the title suggests, a hands-on working guide, for developing recovery plans, at the local village level, of what we would consider basic infrastructure: clean water, sewage disposal, electrification, etc. All the stuff covered by the SWEAT-MSS acronym (for the most part), of TACFAC development.

This book is 700+ pages, including the appendices. I can’t even describe all the stuff it covers, in detail: an overview of emergencies and different principles and standards of international humanitarian relief efforts (yawn), a chapter on “personal effectiveness,” discussing things like “what are you bringing to the table that will be helpful, personal planning, cultural awareness and how to deal with cross-cultural differences, personal security issues, including accepting that bad shit can happen, protecting yourself from that bad shit, and deterring threats, as well as development of SOP, and planning for contingencies, and more. It has a lengthy chapter on assessment and planning, effort management, including how to deal with local government forces and labor, including recruitment of locals and motivating them…a chapter on finance and budgeting (because, contrary to popular mythology, most funding and donations to NGO Aid organizations never actually makes it to the field, so the aid workers themselves are working with peanuts), and logistics. Telecommunications, environmental sanitation, emergency water supply, and permanent water source development, water storage, treatment and distribution, generators and other “off-grid” (no grid) electrical generation methods, including shit like “how the internal combustion engine works in a generator,” and “how to fix it.” A lengthy chapter on vehicle selection, management, and maintenance. Building and improving roads, bridges and fords, and airstrips, shelter and built infrastructure, and temporary settlements.

Seriously. Go get a copy of this book. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

From the Library

Narratives of America by Allen Eckert

This is, of course, a series of books by the late author, focused on the opening of the early American West. Specifically, these books cover the advancement of Europeans into the areas of the Ohio River Valley, and what would become the Ohio Territory, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Billed by the author as “Narrative Nonfiction,” the cast of characters is filled solely with documented actual historical figures. The problem with that arises because the author filled the stories with conversations based on journal records, and put thoughts into the characers’ heads based on the same journal entries.

As a historian, I understand why this drove historians absolutely fucking bonkers, and why today, both professional historians and living historian reenactors alike begin frothing at the mouth at the mention of the author’s name. As a man who understands the importance of mythology to a culture, I could give two fucks if he “stretched the truth” a little bit, in the manner he did. How close are his recreated conversations to the actual conversations mentioned in original source journals and diaries? We can never know. Does that matter? If you’re trying to write a historical study, yes, absolutely. In that case, it needs to be very Joe Friday: “The facts, ma’am. Just the facts.”

If you’re trying to tell a true story to help people learn and appreciate their historical culture? It doesn’t hurt a damned thing.

I first read this series in grade school (Yes, I was—am—a nerd). I had heard of Daniel Boone, of course, but these books opened my eyes to the even more interesting people surrounding Boone’s life. People like Simon Kenton and Simon Girty, and Lewis Wetzel. I would read the stories, late at night, after I was supposed to be asleep in bed. Then, on the weekends, I’d grab my wooden “rifle,” or—more often, a simple fiberglass recurve bow and a handful of arrows, and a satchel with some snacks in it, and I’d leave at first light, once chores were done, and disappear for the day, not returning til well after nightfall (and supper), to get yelled at for worrying my mother. Then, I’d get up the next morning and repeat the process. By the time I started junior high, on longer breaks from school, including Christmas break, spring break, and summer vacation, I’d go to the woods for days at a time, staying alone, overnight, imaging myself as a ranger, searching out sign of impending attack by Seneca and Iroquois and Shawnee.

I’ve re-read the series several times as an adult. Even knowing some of the liberties Mr. Eckert took, I still love this series of books. It still drives me to take off for the woods for weeks at a time, living out of a pack, or off the land. The problem of course, is that the repercussions for getting caught, living off the land, nowadays, is a lot more detrimental than getting captured by the Shawnee. Simon Kenton had to run the gauntlet at Chillicothe, and get adopted by the tribe. If I got caught living off the land, running through the woods, shooting deer for meat when I needed it, I’d end up in prison. I’ll take running the gauntlet, any day.

For general preparedness, if you’re not the sort to think running off to the forest, and stalking hostile Indians and redcoats in small units, or even by yourself, sounds appealing, there’s a far more useful aspect of these stories. That is, what happened when the Indians, French, and later, the English attacked. Those who had established independent farms, separated from their neighbors, almost invariably fled to the nearest “station,” or fort, at the first word of Indian trouble. Those who didn’t, ended up dead or captive. Most people—especially in the early days—simply lived in the stations, and ventured out only to work in their nearby fields. Even then, a lot of times, the stations would be overrun by attacking hostiles and their European allies.

That’s really the biggest benefit for prepper types, in reading these books. If you’re theorizing about the risk of “bands” or “tribes” of Cannibalistic San Fransiscans roaming the countryside, looting, raping, and pillaging, you need to look at what worked for survival options in the past when similar occurrences were going on. Well, here’s your opportunity. I’ll let you in on a secret: it wasn’t being a “rugged individualist” that got you through. It was being part of a community—even if that community was spread out a bit.

One of the arguments I’ve heard against this view of course, is the presence of modern, magazine-fed, semi-auto weapons in the hands of defenders, versus the flintlocks that the settlers and frontiersmen had. Well, there’s two ways to approach that. First of all: they had commensurate arms with their opposition, just like you do. You may have AR15s and AK47s, but so do your “Indians.” Second: in a lot of cases, at the stations, they even had small cannons and mortars, and it still didn’t stop them from getting overrun.

Highly Recommended.

Campfire Chats

I didn’t get a chance to post articles here on the blog site last week. Patreon readers got theirs. That may seem like a dick move on my part, but….well, they ARE paying for it.

So, back to regularly scheduled programming:


After reading GG v1, I purchased a Glock 19 MOS and a Trijicon RDS.  After a LOT of dry fire practice, I’m getting pretty good at seeing the dot at presentation.

But the other day, I tried something different.  With the weapon unloaded, I went into a completely dark room – so dark, I could barely see the pistol.  I found it very hard to find the dot under that condition.  Have you experienced this issue?

Nope. Of course, if the room is that dark, I’m illuminating it with white light before I start pointing my gun at noises….or, I’m looking at the room through night-vision.

I suspect your problem is an inconsistency in your grip during presentation. It may not be as noticeable during visible hours, because you are subconciously adjusting the gun as it moves out to extension. I have a tendency to do that with iron sights (it doesn’t work nearly as well for me with RDS). In total black though, that’s not going to be an option, so you’re stuck hunting for it once the gun is at extension.


Could just as easily talk about the NSA’s mighty Eye of Providence, but then none of the local media outlets would touch it. As it is, several people have advised me to abandon any hope of ever traveling to mainland China.

I was offered a job, for an international company, in the middle part of the last decade, that would have required me to travel to the PRC on a regular, on-going basis. I was willing to take the job (I was married to my ex-wife, who probably wouldn’t have noticed I was gone…and the pay was spectacular), but the offer was contingent on my getting a visa successfully. I got refused, so I traveled to the Consulate to see if that would work. The girl there laughed at me, and informed me, the only way I would ever be allowed to enter the PRC was if I re-enlisted in the American Army, and they invaded China….

I went to school with a kid—of Chinese descent, but like 6 generations back—who went to China as a missionary (I’m not entirely sure how that was managed, all things considered, but that’s the story I’ve gotten). Apparently the government found out what he was doing, because his family here hasn’t heard from him since, and can’t get any information from the PRC about him either.

I can’t think of a single thing in China I’m missing by not going.


I’m getting more exercise than ever since my move to the mountains, but I still sit all day for my work.  Appendix carry is really uncomfortable.  And wearing 3’oclock winds up banging the handle against the chair a lot.  Do you have a holster reccomendation for guys that sit a lot?

Nope. I’ve been sitting here for several hours, with a G17, with a TLR-1 attached, in an Integrated Survival Systems Cimmerian A-IWB holster. My right leg is asleep, and I’m pretty sure it’s gone through a couple of REM cycles, it’s been asleep for so long. Normally, if I know I’m going to be sitting still for this long, I’ll take the holster off. I’ll either tuck it in my laptop case, or a desk drawer. If I’m in the truck, I’ll tuck it into the seat, where it’s secure, but easily accessible.


I’ve read over your shotgun piece on Patreon a few times, and was wondering if you could answer a few follow up questions.

1. Have you tried any of the flite control stuff from Federal?
2. What brand of slugs have you tried, and what is your typical group at, say, 100 yards (i.e. what is realistically obtainable with a smoothbore)?
3. Have you tried any semi auto shotguns?  You favor semi-auto handguns and rifles – why a pump shotgun?  Cost?

1) I haven’t. I’ve heard nothing but stellar reviews, but Saturday, I was getting hits on a 6” steel, at 50 yards, with military OO buck. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. (That having been said, I’ve been meaning to purchase some to test it out, but….)

2) Normally, I’m running whatever rifled slugs are on sale at Wal-Mart or Cabelas. Mostly Winchester, but I’ve run some others too. I haven’t shot to measure tight groups. I “zeroed” the slugs at 50 yards, with a red dot, and then I worked on getting consistent hits on an 8” steel plate at 100 yards. For me, as I mentioned in the original article, the shotgun is never going to be my go-to gun. I get that it’s super lethal and etc, it’s just not my preference. I’ve got one, because a) I suspect it will be the last weapon I’ll ever have trouble finding ammunition for, and if I do, I can roll my own, without even needing reloading gear, and using blackpowder. b) Because, well, who the fuck doesn’t own a scattergun?

I end up keeping it loaded with slugs, with a couple of small game loads on the side saddle. If I need to shoot a raccoon or something, I can do a “slug changeover,” just changing to a small game load, instead of vice versa. Ultimately though, my front gate is 100 yards from my front door, and I’ve got 100-200 yards of field-of-fire in every direction from my house (fuck yes, by design!).

3) I’ve actually got a semi-auto Franchi. It’s got like a 28” barrel on it, with changeable chokes, the whole nine yards. I’ve just never bothered buying a semi-auto combat shotgun, because, well….why? It’s not my go to gun, and I’ve GOT plenty of semi-auto rifles (granted, none of them are .72 caliber, but….)


Thanks for the recommendation of “Some Thoughts on Scouts and Spies”. I picked it up and it definitely got my gears turning. We have a la lot of open ground here, I’ve heard it best described as the Corn Desert and movement unseen at parts of the year would be channeled to natural depressions that are typically scrubby/overgrown. The great forests of the east must have been a hell of an experience. The one thing that stuck with me through the book was the emphasis on silent movement , it takes me back to being taught how to stalk squirrels by my uncle ( yes, squirrels). The fox squirrels we have here in the older growth areas are wary little bastards and creeping up to range on them through dry, deciduous litter was tough. As mentioned in the book, balance and a focus on quiet as opposed to speed meant success.
My two cents for you folks with kids, make them stalk small game in your area with a low powered kit, they’ll learn plenty.

I learned to stalk, hunting squirrels with a slingshot, and later a pellet gun. You’re spot on. I’ve been giving the book a lot of thought too, including re-reading it, again. I actually put together ANOTHER war belt, as a sort of “solo scout” belt kit. Super lightweight, with just two mag pouches, a knife, and a compass pouch. It’s rapidly becoming my “I’m gonna go hike around the mountain for a bit” belt. With some rockahominy in my pocket, I’m set.


Mr. Mosby, what are your thoughts about the effect of debt, specifically student loan debt, on younger folks attempting to become more prepared? I find that it’s far easier to inspire interest in becoming prepared for any kind of hardship, or just hitting the trail and gym, in twenty- and thirty-somethings than it is in older generations.

The major obstacle that slows younger people down is that they tend to have a lot more debt that chokes their ability to buy a piece of land/property. I lucked out and became a tradesman with a good job and no debt, but it really kills me to see a lot of my friends hurting when they know they should be doing something else. Would it be a good idea for like 15 men and women to buy a plot of land in the woods to “colonize” and live Lord of the Flies style?


Well, I don’t know about Lord of the Flies style…I haven’t read Golding’s book in decades, but doesn’t it go to shit pretty quick? I’m really ambivalent about the idea of communal land purchase. If it’s a group of lifelong friends, it might be doable, but until adequate frith had been built, I’d be worried about someone deciding to pull up stakes and go elsewhere, and want something back for their investment. Enter lawsuits, etc.

That having been said, I’ve heard of a number of groups of young people doing basically that. They’ll start a corporation or LLC, with $XXX for a buy-in share, and then you get a piece of the ground, and help from everyone else in building a house, etc. There’s a pile of information on these intentional communities in the Permaculture world.

As far as student loan debt? Man, I get what you’re saying, but I don’t have any easy answers. I don’t have any, and neither does my wife. On the other hand—while this will piss off some of the older readers, probably—if one of my cousins came to me, or one of the members of our clan came to me, and asked, I’d probably tell them to look for owner-financed land to buy, build themselves, even if it’s a really small structure, and fuck off the student loans.

That sounds horrible, perhaps, but these kids have been spoon-fed a line of bullshit about college being the path to a better life and the American Dream, their whole lives. They were forced into a system that basically brainwashed them into believing they HAD to go into hock for their future, or they’d be failures, and life would suck. Fuck that.


I got a copy of “Highland Folk Ways” by Dr. Grant. Good book, and thank you for recommending it!
Awesome! Glad you liked it!


Welcome back John, you were missed. if you would indulge I’d like to direct your attention to an online publication entitled first things. An article published quite recently entitled all you need is Jesus has a great many philosophical points which I find worthy of discussion. and since you are probably the only individual with whom I have any relationship whatsoever that I would consider having the depth of mind required to have such a discussion. I would ask that you would find a little bit of time to perhaps consider such an exchange of information . I personally do not prescribe to any specific philosophy mentioned. The points discussed should present themselves adequately enough.

I haven’t heard of the online journal or the article, so I haven’t read it. I can say, not having Jesus, I don’t personally feel like I’m missing much. Sorry.


Finally got around to making a lead weighted club. Ended up being 18″ baton of red oak with a 4″ plug of lead epoxied in on the business end and a hole for a loop of paracord about 6″ up from the bottom of the grip. I know you mentioned that you train with clubs, where’s a good place to get started?

I watched some old police training videos which seemed to be a good start, especially using two handed retention and jabs, as well as wrapping the cord/thong around the thumb and hand, not wrist, to allow retention but allow the user to let go and not get bound up if over powered. However, police training emphasized use of the club for less lethal uses with the end goal of making an arrest. Not sure if there are similar training that speaks to using a club as lethal force.

Absolutely, the proper way to use a short baton is as a bayonet. It’s more efficient, and less prone to being countered successfully. Check out Applegate’s stuff and John Steyer’s Cold Steel.


Pimping the Patreon site again.

Tonight, we’ve got another article on Survival Retreat Considerations (I promise, we’re going to move on to other topics soon!) on the first tier subscription. We’ve also got TWO guest contributions from the same SF NCO that wrote the TACFAC AAR. For now, we’re going to refer to him as SFC Papa, unless he offers a pseudonym he’d prefer. One is on the drone subject, from a guy who has USED drones (obviously), but has also been on the downrange side of COTS drones, pressed into service by Daesh. It’s an awesome article, with lots of links to relevant videos.

The second article from SFC Papa is a rehash, discussing the Dies the Fire novel and it’s sequels in the original trilogy, and why preppers SHOULD be reading it, in lieu of the latest prepper porn.

For second tier subscribers, we’ve got a training specific article, about an exercise you SHOULD be incorporating into your preparedness—and most of you probably aren’t—and why it’s so critically important. We’ve also got the From the Journals, Council Fire article for the week. I’m working on an article for you guys for next week also, that may even include photographs…


If you’re not subscribing to the Patreon channel, why not?

From the Library

Some Thoughts on Scouts and Spies by Gerry Barker

I found this little booklet, while looking for references for pre-Revolutionary re-enacting… It was written by a former SF soldier, who is also a historical reenactor, so it obviously piqued my curiosity. It’s a short, simple little booklet. It offers a good introduction to the modern fundamental skills of reconnaissance patrolling, through the vehicle of historical trekking. The emphasis on solo scouting missions—which were a very real thing, once upon a time—and ultralight weight trekking, with minimal equipment, to cover more ground, faster, with improved stealth, is a useful one even for a lot of modern SOF soldiers to re-learn. For the typical prepper with his 98lb bug out bag? It’s probably critical.

This book is highly recommended.

Simple and Sinister by Pavel Tsatsouline

Like a lot of Pavel’s stuff, this book enjoys a lot of overblown hyperbole. The program is billed as a minimalist conditioning program, and it is. It’s also probably pretty complete for most people. I’ve used it for my conditioning programming, a couple of different times, and been very satisfied with it. Best of all, from your perspective, it starts out really easy, and advances at your own rate.

If you’re looking for a minimalist conditioning program, or a change of pace, or an introductory kettlebell conditioning program, I recommend this book.

If you want a closer look before buying it, I did a review for it in one of this week’s second tier Patreon articles. It wouldn’t be particularly fair to them for me to rewrite the review here, but it’s worth it.

100 Edible Mushrooms by Michael Kuo

Mushrooms, especially wild foraged mushrooms, are a delicate subject. While there are only a very few wild mushrooms in this country that are actually lethal, compared to hundreds that are perfectly edible. Unfortunately, as the old proverb says, “You can eat any mushroom….once.”

This book is a good look at 100 different edible mushrooms. Including quality color photographs and instructions for safely identifying the chosen mushrooms, as well as where to locate them, he also includes a number of recipes for actually cooking them.

In recommending this however, I would be remiss to not point out that, while some edible mushrooms may have medicinal properties that make them worthwhile, as a source of calories, mushrooms don’t offer much benefit, compared to the inherent risk of eating one of the few bad ones. On the other hand, I really like mushrooms, and the minerals and flavor added by incorporating them into meals, is worthwhile, in my mind.

Campfire Chats

I’ve been on the road for most of the last 2+ weeks. We went out West to see family, and to do some private training. On the return trip last week, I drove 22.5 hours, straight, through one night and day, slept for about six hours, and then drove 12+ hours straight through the rest of the trip. I had limited Internet on the trip. I managed to get the Patreon articles up the first week, but last week they didn’t get them until today, along with today’s articles. I’ve also not checked emails. As soon as these articles are up, I will start digging through emails.

If you have an email you’re waiting for a response to, please have patience. It will probably take me a bit to get through them.


Enjoying your website. Lots if good info from a fresh perspective. I also hold onto my 30-30. I am old and nostalgic. Anyway I have been following Mark Rippetoe and Jim Wendler for a long time. You may want to check out Dan John and a Russian guy named Pavel (kettlebell guy). They have quite a lot of good info on fitness. Andy Baker and Jonathan Sullivan also extend Rippetoe’s work but for older guys.

I’ve been reading Dan John longer than Rippetoe, and I’ve been reading Dan, Ripp, and Pavel longer than I’ve been reading Wendler. I just discussed Pavel in a couple of articles on Patreon today, in fact. While his presentation is pretty over-the-top, his science makes sense, to me (but then, I’m not a physiologist. I’ve read a lot, but ultimately, my knowledge is “Bro-Science”), and everything he’s written that I’ve tried has worked out really well for me.


In reply to comments on the Patreon section:

Yes, we as humans aren’t hardwired to look to the sky for predators. However, in my very limited personal experience, drones are less than subtle. One of my wife’s friends had a three day long wedding. Part of this overly elaborate wedding involved drone photography.

Imagine for a moment that a flying weed whacker is trying to sneak up on you to take your photo. How close do you think it would get before you looked up and saw it? I think in the future, humans might spot drones before drones spot the humans. I don’t picture a drone getting very close to a hostile armed force before someone takes a successful potshot at it.

Would I send a drone with a normal camera to do surveillance? Maybe, but the surveillance would not be covert by any stretch of the imagination, and the drone would be disposable (even if I didn’t want it to be). Maybe if you have 100 acres of wooded land, then knowing precisely where your low flying patrol drone was shot down is exactly what you want.

If on the other hand, you wanted to be covert about the drone surveillance then you’d need a camera with optical zoom. The purpose of the drone would not be to help get your camera close to a target, only to get your camera high enough to have a line of sight to the target.

The Z30 Camera by DJI is probably good enough to do this. If I add the price of the camera and the drone together, it looks like slightly less than the price of a new car. If information is that important to you, it might be more cost-effective to invest in a network of paid informants first (like Lord Varys from Game of Thrones)

The research I’ve done so far tends to correlate with this. I’ve seen drones that went high enough, and were quiet enough to not be noticed with magnification and/or magnified hearing, but they tend to cost multiple thousands of dollars. If Uncle Sugar was paying my bills still, I might not have a problem with that, but thousands of dollars on something that has limited applications…..(fair weather, low or no winds, limited range, etc) is probably not going to pencil out for me. I like the IDEA of an unmanned, aerial FO, but…..what’s my threat matrix look like, and is it worth the cost/benefit payoff? So far, as far as I can tell, the answer to that is no.

For me, at least, lots of LP/OP along expected, or likely avenues of approach, combined with patrols covering possible avenues seems to pencil out a lot better.


Is there an AK equivalent to Colt AR ( not too expensive, not too cheap)?

Windham Weaponry in Maine makes a fine 7.62×39 AR style rifle.

I’ve heard Windham makes decent AR15s, and I know the history of the company, which I dig, but I will point out two issues with this response:

An AR in 7.62×39 is NOT an AK equivalent. While I know people who swear “mine works great for me! I’ve never had a misfire!” I’ve never actually seen one that would fire reliably without massive, repeated malfunctions. It’s a feed angle issue, generally. Look at the shape of an AK magazine, and then look at the shape of an AR magazine….Now, if Windham is doing what a couple other companies are doing, and removing the magazine well of the AR, so the AK-type magazine/shape will feed reliably, that’s fine, but that’s also NOT an AR. It’s not an AR or an AK. It’s some post-Cold War bastard love child.


When I was a private, my team leader fixed my flinch with the Ball and Dummy Drill. The shooter remains on the firing line while his assistant loads the gun, one bullet at a time. He loads the gun with either a live round or a snap cap (fake bullet used for training). Obviously the assistant varies and does not set a pattern.

It’s so embarrassing to flinch, you fix it quickly. If you have no assistant, dry-fire to build the muscle memory of not flinching.


Obviously, I’m intimately familiar with ball-and-dummy. It CAN work, but I’ve seen it not fix anything as many times as I’ve seen it fix flinching and jerking. Ultimately, even with ball-and-dummy, the fix is in just having the willpower to force yourself not to flinch anymore.

Dry-fire can help. It’s why we do dry-fire, but it’s also naive to think that your brain doesn’t know the difference between “I loaded this magazine with live rounds,” and “I have an empty gun, because I’m doing dry-fire.”

Ultimately, I stand by my previous suggestions, that the best way to cure a “flinch” is to will yourself to quit being a bitch about it, and to grip the gun tight enough that even if you do flinch, the gun can’t move.


Where is the link to your Patreon sign up ?


The reason I no longer have the Ted Benson house is divorce. I have a lesser house now, but a better home(stead)!

I’ve been through a divorce. I get it. I’d have given up a Ted Benson house to get rid of the bitch too.


Dies The Fire was refreshing after indulging in more recent survival/prepper fiction.

I remember this, every single time I re-read Dies the Fire.


If you’re wanting to build a log structure I’d recommend NOT hewing the logs. I’ve take a log home building course, and one thing pointed out is that squaring a log off exposes all the layers to decay.
Overall I’d suggest the Butt and Pass method, with rebar pins driven through the log and halfway into the one below every 3 ft. Use a Milwaukee Hole Hog to drill a 1/2 in hole through the top log, then drive the rebar pin (length equal to dia of top log + 1/2 dia bottom log) through with an electric demolition hammer. Do not try to keep the pins perfectly plumb, you want them to be at a slight angle. This technique eliminates issues with settling as the logs dry out (yes, use green logs) as logs shrink to center and will “grip” the rebar pins, and due to the slight angle of the rebar the log will be held in place.
Check out LHBA (Log Home Builders Association).

On the hewing thing…..we discussed this in one of today’s Patreon articles, actually, but I’ve been inside buildings, built with hew timbers, that have stood for 500-1000 years, in daily public use. If you’re using new growth, plantation raised pine, that might be an issue, but good oak or other hardwoods? Meh. I think it’s way less of a problem than supposed. Hell, we’ve got a house, down the mountain from us, that is the original homestead of the fella that started the village. It’s been there since like 1814. They just re-roofed it, and the old couple that own it are getting ready to move into it (it was in daily household use until about 20 years ago, when the last old lady that lived there passed).

I wouldn’t do butt-and-pass on any house my name was attached to. First of all, there’s a lot of extra gaps for water to get in between the logs. Second, normal shrinkage, of anything other than kiln-dried and sealed timbers, is going to open those gaps up. I’d also stay far away from anything except absolutely necessary metal-to-wood contact. As the metal changes temperatures, any ambient moisture is going to condense on the metal, and then get absorbed into the wood, leading to rot issues.

Check out Charles McRaven’s work, and Ted Benson’s (both of whom I think I’ve recommended before on this blog…and I KNOW I’ve recommended Benson’s work).


Campfire Chat

I’m posting early this week, because I will be tied up tomorrow. Also, I will be on the road next weekend, probably including Monday, so next week’s articles will be delayed.

Patreon folks: articles are going up right now.

First tier subscribers, there is a continuation of the Survival Retreat/TACFAC article series. There’s an added bonus for you guys this week as well. A reader, who is an active duty SF soldier, sent an AAR of his experiences in actually building a TACFAC on one deployment, and the returning to the same TACFAC, later, after it had been used by multiple other ODA. I’m hoping if you guys ask questions about it, he’ll find the time to respond either on the Patreon page, or via email to me, and I’ll post them.

Second tier subscribers, it was a slow week, but you’ve got the next article in the combatives series, answering the knife question that someone asked, and the journals entry, including my personal training from last week, as promised.

If you’re not on Patreon, you’re missing out….seriously.


If you are religious, joining the local church and especially the ladies auxiliary is the surest way to acclimate and be accepted into a new community..

Absolutely, 110% solid, good advice.


I can vouch for the “go skydiving” advice. I did and promise you’ll be a different person when you return to earth. I’d skip the kind where you’re strapped to the front of a real skydiver and pay more for the version where you leave the plane with two dudes hanging on to you. They’ll make sure you’re OK and not too terror-stricken before turning you loose before you pull the cord. The training for that experience is longer and better and it’s as close to solo as you’ll get the first time. Plus you’ll hang with some seriously experienced jumpers and learn that way. It’s worth far more than the extra cost.

As far as the experience itself, the dreaded feeling of falling ends in less than one second. Seriously, it’s over that fast. Then it’s just really REALLY windy. The chute opening is surprisingly gentle then you’re basically on a carnival ride. The parachutes have steering controls and brakes and are a lot of fun – find the wind sock to gauge direction, figure a reasonable approach course and steer it to touchdown. Then urinate.


The only skydiving route I recommend is static-line progression. Do it the right way, from the beginning.


And, experiences vary. I was never not scared jumping, from standing in the aircraft, waiting to exit, until I was on the ground, unhooked, and still intact.


For the grizzly, hard cast rounds are definitely the way to go. Buffalo Bore sells them in almost every caliber, and the 9mm page has a story of an Alaskan guide (with pictures of the skinned bear) which killed a grizzly with it! But a rifle is always better. I don’t have much grizzly in my area (Utah) but I do have extremely long ranges, would that warrant moving up in caliber (308) for a general preparedness rifle? I can make hits at a fair distance with the AR and 55gr but in that west desert 1000 yards happens fast, and I was planning on just moving up to 77gr TMK. But then again, with target discrimination issues you’ve brought up, should I even worry about it? Also, going to convince the wife I need to go skydiving now! Thanks again for all you do.

I mentioned in Guerrilla Gunfighter 2, if I was still in the intermountain West, I’d probably consider an AR10/XM110 in .308 as a general purpose rifle, for sure. I also lived rural, while I was there. If I had lived in town, or in the city, I’d probably have stuck with 5.56. I’ve been working on moving to MK262 as my primary round, but they’re expensive to buy, even in bulk, and I don’t have room to set up a reloading area yet.


I’m in the middle of “A Pattern Language” right now, which my psych-major wife also loves. Thanks for recommending both. I’m also trying to turn bits from “Speed Power Endurance” into a routine, because I don’t have one.

I’m pretty stoked for building my own house in a couple years, and while it’ll be brutal to balance a graveyard shift and a home construction project at the same time, it’s really the only way to afford a house on a spread out here without a big mortgage. A few years of hard work, or a few decades of payments? Not a hard equation to solve.


Awesome! I’m glad you’re getting benefit out of the From the Library articles. I really do love A Pattern Language, and wish I had time to read it more often. There’s a number of lessons I’ve learned from it that I wish I had discovered before I built our house. Ah well, hopefully the next one will be better.


I can’t recommend building your own house enough. I know it’s not for everyone, and that’s okay, since there’s too many fucking houses and buildings in this country anyway, but if you’re on bare ground, doing it yourself is totally the way to go, even if it takes longer.


I used to own a Ted Benson house, that place was some kind of crazy stout built home! Never had a worry about snow load, or anything else. Much better than stick built.

Dude, that’s awesome. Why’d you move? I love my house, but if I wasn’t going to build, now I can’t imagine buying a house that wasn’t a legit timber frame or a real log house (not a kit built). I’m actually going to build a range shed this fall, and am leaning towards a hewn log building. Initially, I was going to do it out of earthbags, as a trial piece, but I really like the idea of a hewn log building on the place, and an 8×12 range shed seems about the right size, and achievable by myself, or a couple occasional helpers, for building out of hewn logs from the trees we have on the place.


Is there an AK equivalent to Colt AR ( not too expensive, not too cheap)?

I honestly don’t know, so I’m going to let readers who may be AK guys, chime in. We have three Kalashnikovs. Two are -47s that I was given or traded for, for teaching purposes. One if a -74 that belonged to my late stepdad, that he built from a kit and a receiver flat (and that I’ve actually never fired, and don’t know if he ever did, truthfully).

Both of the -47s are WASR-10 Century guns. Those have a—deservedly—poor reputation for QC issues. I will say, I’ve had zero issues with either of mine, other than I bent the fuck out of the oprod on one, causing it to malfunction until I beat it straight again with a hammer (one point for the Commie Peasant gun!). So, while I’m not comfortable recommending them, I do have to admit, I have zero complaints about my WASR-10s…..

I am hoping to sight in my new DD very soon, and have been reading the ‘How to zero’ section of GG v2 with great interest.  I appreciated you adding that section, as I really had no good idea of how to zero a rifle beyond spraying the target with rounds and guesstimating the necessary adjustments.  And I also appreciated you breaking down the approach based on the type of sights (irons, RDS, or scope with BDC).

How does one determine the center of a 5 group shot, unless the target used has X/Y coordinates?  If the target does have those coordinates, each shot could be assigned an X/Y location on the target, and the centroid of those 5 shots determined.  The X/Y coordinates of the centroid would then provide the MOA adjustments after a little trigonometry.  But I don’t see how one could do this with a plain white target with a black dot in the center.  Does anyone make a target with ‘coordinates?’

Also, what does one do if the sighting system is WAY off?  I’m not sure if this is a realistic scenario, but what if one can’t make it on paper at 100m?  Move the target in until consistent contact with the paper is made?

I use a piece of 3×5 index card usually, or, I just draw a black dot on an IDPA silhouette. There are a number of different zero targets available though.

So, I thought I made it clear in the book, but to determine the geometric center of the group, it helps to start by having a very small group. If you’re not shooting sub-4MOA (1 inch at 25 yards), you need to work on grouping before you worry about zeroing, because any zero is going to be too dispersed to be valuable anyway.

Then, I draw a line around the outside of the group, from center-to-center of all rounds that aren’t obvious flyers. Then, I guess what the exact center is, and measure from there. If your group is small enough, even if you aren’t exactly in the center, you should be within an eighth of an inch or less, and that will be close enough to get you zeroed.

I generally zero at 50 or 100, but even if I zero at 50, if my first shot isn’t at least on cardboard, I move close. I’ve had rifles that someone handed me that I had to get within 10 yards of, but generally 25 will be close enough. Once I can get my shot group on the cardboard, I can start making adjustments. If my first group is WAY off, I’ll make really aggressive adjustments, even if I overshoot the bull, and have to adjust back.


Any tips/tricks for fixing an involuntary flinch when shooting? It happens more often with pistol than rifle. I dry fire daily and fire live 2 or 3 times a month. The flinch doesn’t happen on the first few rounds but later on, usually during the middle of a drill where I’m focusing on the timer vs accuracy. I always realize the flinch after the fact but never before. Thanks in advance.

Only answer I have is pure will. I had a bad flinch for a few years, and nothing seemed to fix it. Then, one day, I was zeroing a 12 gauge, with a shifty red dot. It ended up taking me like 40 rounds of full power slugs. By the end of it, I was literally crying. In order to get it over with, I would will myself, despite the pain, to not flinch, and it worked. After that, willing myself to not flinch with a rifle or pistol, was cake.…

From the Library

This week’s selection is a trilogy of novels by SM Stirling, the author of the Dies The Fire/Emberverse series that I’ve mentioned a number of times on this blog. This alternate series starts with Island in the Sea of Time.

In it, the island of Nantucket is shipped back to 1250BC. Conveniently, a USCG training ship, the Eagle, is sent back as well, since it was inside the boundary that was transported back.

The value of the series, is it discusses the experiences of the Nantucketers, as they discover they’ve been tossed back into a world they can barely imagine, and have to figure out how to make use of the different personalities, skill sets, and limited materials and equipment they have available to them. Over the course of the three books, they manage to rebuild Nantucket’s historical fishing and shipping industry, go from a small hobby-level engineering setup in one dude’s garage, to an international manufacturing capability, fight several international conflicts with the powers of the era, deal with traitors-turned-emperors in Mycenae (Greece), and more.

From their initial visit to Alba (Britain), to sailing expeditions around the globe for discovery, the series does a good job of exploring some of the possibilities that we may be facing as the hegemony continues to degrade, and things collapse around us, even as other parts of the world maintain some semblance of civilization.

I recommend the series, both for a great preparedness thought exercise (what issues did the Islanders have to deal with that you’ve not even considered?), and because it’s an entertaining read. Stirling really is a phenomenal storyteller.