Article – Liberal Preppers Stock Up On Guns, Food As Trumpocalypse Looms

Oh merciful Crom, the irony is so hard….

Colin Waugh bought a shotgun four weeks before November’s election.

An unapologetic liberal, he was no fan of firearms. He had never owned one before. But Waugh, a 31-year-old from Independence, Missouri, couldn’t shake his fears of a Donald Trump presidency — and all of the chaos it could bring. He imagined hate crimes and violence waged by extremists emboldened by the Republican nominee’s brash, divisive rhetoric. He pictured state-sanctioned roundups of Muslims, gays, and outspoken critics.

“I kept asking myself, ‘Do I want to live under tyranny?’” said Waugh, who supported Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary and later backed Hillary Clinton. “The answer was absolutely not.”

With Trump now days away from assuming the White House, Waugh’s preparing for the worst. He’s made “bug-out bags” stuffed with ammo, energy bars, and assorted survival gear for his wife and their three cats. He’s begun stowing water and browsing real estate listings in Gunnison County, Colorado, which he’s determined to be a “liberal safe-haven.” Last month, Waugh added a 9mm handgun to his arsenal.

Ok, help me out here….a guy gets elected president, and a percentage of the population reacts by buying guns, food, and cabins in the woods. If they’re conservatives they are deplorable bitter clingers, but if they’re lefties they’re just sensible? Is that how that works?

New stubby non-NFA shotgun from Mossberg

These things really are wildly impractical, unless you’re expecting trouble in a long narrow hallway, but the fact that .gov restricts them is all i need to want one.

Anyway, apparently as long as the shotgun receiver never had stock on it, and the overall length is 26″, it doesn’t fit the federal description of ‘shotgun’. Without a handy category to pigeonhole it into, it is simply a ‘firearm’. Whats this mean? It means you can have a 14″ barrel on a little shotgun that doesn’t require the $200 song-and-dance.

Yes, I’ll get one. Because.

Some video of it from TFB:

I must say, between ‘arm brace’ workarounds on SBR’s, and this little quirk to get sub-18″ shotguns, it’s an interesting time to be alive. Perhaps this sort of thing will convince the powers that be to scrap the whole nonsense….but I doubt it.

Vacuum packaging clothes

A few posts back, I mentioned that I carry some spare clothes in the vehicle winter gear box. I vacuum pack them for two reasons – first, it keeps them clean and dry; second, it helps to compact items to conserve space. But, a picture is worth a thousand words.

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For this example, we’ll use this Carrhart Face Mask..a bulky, thick, warm head/face covering that is well suited for spending the night in a cold vehicle. For the purpose of size comparison, note the beer-can sized object next to it.

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We fold it into thirds so it’ll fit in the bag, slide it in and set it down for comparison. Note the amount of loft/bulk…it’s about half as tall as the Coke can. The coke can is about 4.75″. The folded face mask is about 3″ thick. Let’s draw the air out of it and see what it compresses down to.

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Finished product. Not only is it now going to stay dry and clean, two very important features for a piece of gear that might be called upon in an emergency, but the thickness is a fraction of what it was before. When space is at a premium, this is an exceptionally good way of making the most of what you have.

Sure, buying yourself a vacuum sealer is a very(!) good way to maximize your savings on bulk purchases of meats and whatnot, but it also comes in very handy for protecting and storing items that absolutely must be stay in good condition. A buddy of mine just bought one the other day and when I talked to him a few days later he’d already had a good time experimenting with it and sealing up all sortsa stuff.

By the by, I actually do use the stupid thing for kitchen purposes. The absolute most useful thing I’ve done with it, in regards to food, is using it to store extra spaghetti sauce. See, I’ll make a huge batch of meat sauce with beef and sausage. Then I’ll put a couple ladles of sauce into a bag, let it freeze solid in the freezer, and once it’s solid I’ll vacuum seal the bag. (Because vacuum sealing a bag of liquids is messy. So..freeze solid.) Then, months (or years) down the road when I want a quick and easy meal, I’ll throw on a big pot of water for pasta. As the water comes to a boil I drop the bag of frozen spaghetti sauce in there. It thaws as the water comes to a boil. Remove bag, add pasta to water and cook. Put the thawed bag in the microwave for a couple minutes and when the pasta is done I just cut the edge of the bag and add sauce to the pasta. One pot cooking. I’m tellin’ ya, if you’re an imaginative dude you can come up with a lot of great ideas on how to exploit a vacuum sealer.

Winter Vehicle Stuff – Pt VI – Everything else

So I’ve pretty much hit the highlights, but there’s still a dozen or so small items that aren’t really worth their own post but they are worth mentioning since they may nudge your thinking in a direction it hadn’t previously gone.

So what else? Well…entrenching tool, esbit stove/cup with tabs, spare batteries in a case, Maglite w/ spare batts, pocket AM/FM radio (with battery commonality with the flashlight), a few ration bars, water pouches, first aid kit, TP, a good book, space blanket (for use as a ground sheet in case you have to kneel out there on the wet snow to change a tire or something), sheath knife, notepad and pen, and a few other items. It’s not hard to imagine…just think, if you were sitting in the dark and cold overnight what would you want to have with you while youre tucked away in your sleeping bag? Go from there.

Depending on your preferences and tastes, this can be as much or as little stuff as you think you need. And it can be as expensive or as inexpensive as you’re comfortable with. Me, I’ve got no problem paying extra $$$ for the name-brand quality stuff. When it’s -10 and I’m huddled in a sleeping bag trying to make it through the night I doubt I will be patting myself on the back for saving a few bucks by buying the Walmart-brand batteries and flashlight. You can buy the Made In China bargain parachute, not me.

But, as we all know, the first rule of disaster survival is: don’t be there. If it’s calling for 10″ of snow and high winds….stay home. Open a can of chicken soup, sit on the couch under a blanket, and watch Big Bang Theory reruns.

The sub $400 AR

Part of me thought I’d never see it, and part of me thought that it would eventually happen: the sub-$400 AR. Let me put this i perspective..a new AR for the price of a used Glock.

AND76874-1-11-17I probably wouldn’t have it as my primary gun for the zombie apocalypse, but I’d have no problem sticking a couple in a closet and reselling them to people who were too shortsighted to think that the ‘assault weapons’ hooplah wasn’t gone for good.

From MGE Wholesale.

Winter Vehicle Stuff – Pt V – Clothes

I know, you’re thinking “Dude, unless you’re driving naked why would you need to pack clothes. You’re already wearing clothes!” True, but think of the circumstances…maybe youre on your way to/from the office Christmas party..you’re in your nice slacks, dorky sweater, loafers, and a too-light coat…after all, you only were going to be outside for the time it took to go from the parking lot to the restaurant. Annnnnnd..Murphy happens: you get stuck and you’re out there trying to shovel your stuck vehicle out while youre wearing loafers, thin socks, slacks, a light jacket, and probably no hat and gloves. Owie. Or you tried to shovel your way out of your situation..now your shoes and socks are soaked, pants are wet, and youre missing a glove. Wouldn’t dry clean clothes feel good right about now?

So: pack extra clothes. You’re smart, you know what you need. But, if not, imagine this: you’re dropped naked into an abandoned car in the middle of winter. What do you need? Footwear, warm socks, long underwear, winter undershirt, long pants, heavyweight shirt, coat, gloves, scarf, hat..at least. You might add extra socks and extra mitts to swap out as they get wet.

20161227_120212I pack a complete change of clothes, plus winter coat, plus ‘accoutrements’ (scarf, hat, mitts). Everything that can, gets vacuum sealed. This serves two purposes: it keeps everything dry and clean, and it helps to keep things compact to fit in the Box O’ Gear. If you have them, and I highly recommend these, pack a set of insulated Carhart bibs. Wear these under your heavy coat you will not know cold. Theyre bulky, so they don’t fit in my Box O’ Gear, but I just roll ’em up and throw ’em in the back. I have worn them while working in -15 weather and they kept my legs, thighs, and abdomen just toasty as can be.

Don’t just go to your closet and pull out some old clothes and throw them in your vehicle. Use some common sense and think about the circumstances you’ll be using those clothes under. Don’t pull out those old hunting boots with the torn eyelets, the wool pants that ‘shrank’ in the waistline, and the mittens grandma knitted for you. You’re in a car trying not to freeze to death…wear clothes that fit, are well made, and made for cold weather. Good boots, wool socks, polypro undergarments, heavy shirt, heavy coat, thick hat, several pairs of warm liners for your mitts, etc.  Vacuum seal as much of it as you can to save space.

Wool, polypro, whatever…just make sure you’ve got a couple layers. And while I always recommend staying with the vehicle, it’s a good idea to pack clothing as if you weren’t going to stay with the vehicle.

I’ve no desire to freeze to death or lose some fingers/toes to frostbite. I pack the warmest clothes I can find and then I add one or two extra pieces ‘just in case’. It’s a bit of work fitting all that in the Box O’ Gear but on some late night on the side of the road when it’s blowing -10 (much like it is outside right now) that little bit of extra might mean the difference between an uncomfortable nights sleep and physical therapy for the nubs where my fingers used to be.

Steel ammo quirks

Friend Of The Blog, Tam, over at View From The Porch is doing one of her revealing 2000-round handgun torture tests. Succinctly, over time shoot 2000 rounds of a variety of ammo through the chosen gun, with no additional cleaning or lube, and chronicle the results. What has been fascinating, to me, is that as of late she has been noticing that steel-cased ammo, in certain magazines, is having issues where the rounds bind up and rattle around in the mags. As best I can tell from reading her posts, this is a problem that doesn’t seem to happen with brass-cased ammo..at least, not nearly as often as with the steel stuff.

Why is this interesting? Two reasons. First, steel-cased stuff is often a tad cheaper and when you’re laying back a lot of ammo every dime matters. Secondly, same rule for mags…sometimes the non-OEM mags are cheaper than the factory ones. Combine those two statements with a crisis where you may or may not have any choice but to use whatever magazine and ammo you can scrounge up and you have a potential for a pretty significant failure point.

As I’ve been reading the posts, it appears that the problems have been in the non-Glock mags. Of the non-Glock mags, the Magpuls perform best but are susceptible to an infrequent issue with the steel cased ammo. The factory Glock mags seem to do just fine.

The obvious lessons would seem to be: don’t shoot steel cased ammo if you can avoid it, and use factory Glock mags. But, as we know, here in the real world we’re faced with ugly choices.

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I’m a snob. For my autopistols, the preference is: US brass ammo, quality European brass ammo (S&B, Fiocchi, Norma, etc.), and at the bottom…this stuff. But…if it’s all you can get…….

My own policy with steel cased ammo is to shoot it only in guns designed for it…basically Commie calibers in Commie guns. I’ll shoot steel 7.62×39 out of an AK with no reservations at all…but I’ll only shoot brass 5.56 out of my AR’s. (Yes, I know, I know…everyone says it’s fine to shoot steel cased ammo out of your AR.) For me, between reloading my own ammo, and having career goals that are a bit higher than WalMart shopping cart wrangler, I can afford to lay in a few cases of brass-cased ammo. But…as I said…sometimes ya gotta shoot what’s available. So, from that standpoint, it looks like the only reliable way to have the best of both worlds, brass and steel, is to use the factory Glock mags. Fortunately, we’re past these days and you can get a nice, shiny, factory Glock mag for about $20. So…go get a dozen.

I hope Tam explores this sort of failure further in her shooting adventures. As far as I can tell, it’s not something I’ve seen mentioned anywhere else. Some US manufacturers like Hornady are offering steel-cased ammo these days and I’d be curious to see if the problem persists with their offerings.

Winter vehicle stuff – Pt. IV- Sleeping bag(s)

They are bulky and eat up a lot of space, but when you’re stuck in an unheated vehicle for any length of time they will be your Best Friend. I keep a military Modular Sleep System in the Box O’ Gear but it really doesn’t end there. Rolling around in the back of the vehicle is also one of the older style GI extreme cold weather sleeping bags. Both bags are bulky but since they are pretty much not going anywhere except in the vehicle, who cares? And, broadly speaking, bulk equals warmth.

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Get comfortable. You’re going to be here a while.

The MSS is nice and very handy, but for some reason I really prefer the older GI extreme cold weather bag. Don’t know why. I’ve tested both bags in 0-5 degree weather by stripping down to shorts, t-shirt, and socks, climbing inside one of the bags, and trying them out. Both function well and while you may not be comfortable in the 0-degree weather, you will be warm enough to keep your toes and not die. I keep both bags in the vehicle because I can and I like to be prepared. Plus, if you get stuck with more than one person in your vehicle it would be nice to not have to listen to them complain. The MSS has one very nice feature…since it is a bag-within-a-bag system, it lends itself to summer emergency kits as well. Using just the patrol bag will be more comfortable in the summer than using the whole system. (But, obviously, keep the whole system together in the vehicle.)

I also keep a surplus wool blanket in the vehicle as well. It’s a distant choice for when  you get stuck, but for those long roadtrips where someone is cold and want’s something less involved than unrolling a sleeping bag, it’s a good choice.

Both bags get rolled up and crammed into protective stuff sacks. If your vehicle goes sliding off the road at any speed there’s a good chance you’re going to come to rest, suddenly, against an object that’ll bust out a window or two. If that happens, you’ve got all sortsa weather suddenly coming into your vehicle and it’d be nice if your critical gear was protected. (Thats why the Pelican case.) Even just stuffing the rolled sleeping bag into a couple layers of heavy duty garbage bags and wrapping them in duct tape will do the trick.

You can use whatever sleeping bag you think works best. I went with the uber-bulky military bags because they’re cheap, durable, really warm, and I’m not worried about their portability. All that matters is you want the warmest sleeping bag you can come up with. Sure, maybe you’ll get too warm…big deal, open the zipper a little. Ten below zero, the rear window on your vehicle is shattered, you’re in the barrow pit, and the road is a skating rink….at times like that there is no such thing as a ‘too warm’ sleeping bag.

Years ago me and a buddy had to drive to Helena, a couple hours drive, in the middle of January, in his vehicle that did not have a working heater. I was amazed..astounded, really…at just how cold an unheated vehicle can get when you have to sit still in it for a couple hours. I had assumed that having the engine going would provide at least some level of warmth. Nope. And that was with the windows rolled up and us bundled up. No lie, man….it gets downright cold in a vehicle when it’s the long, dark, night of winter and there’s no heat.

As I said, I go for overkill. Two sleeping bags and a good heavy wool blanket. Do not carry just a blanket. Whatever you get, wrap them in some sort of protective material or container to keep them dry and clean. (As pointed out in comments, stuffing a seeping bag into a five-gallon bucket and sealing it up makes an outstanding sleeping bag protective container.) If you have to spend two days huddled in your sleeping bag in the back of your Subaru the last thing you want is that bag soaked in old Pepsi, motor oil, and any other fluid that exploded out of the containers you keep in the back of your vehicle.

 

Winter vehicle stuff – Pt. III – Visual signals

Dude, getting stuck in the cold is no joke. The weather here in Montana changes so fast you would not believe it. In the time it takes you to go pretty much anywhere out here the weather can go from clear, sunny, and above freezing (in winter) to blinding, blowing, and scrotum-shriveling cold in less time than it takes you to pass a few exits on the interstate. Getting stuck is some serious business. Death is the second worst thing that can happen to you, IMHO…first worst is losing your feet, hands, ears, and perhaps nose to frostbite.

198xby559e9sojpgI tend to err on the side of overkill. Hey, why not? I’m pretty big on looking out for Numbah One. I keep a few of the following in the Box O’ Gear:

  • Road flares – Just the usual variety. I vacuum seal them to keep them dry.
  • Parachute flares – Just two oughtta do it.
  • Hand flares – And two of these
  • Smoke device – And one of these. For when you’re really stuck and they’ve got helicopters locating stranded folks.

(Signal mirror? Uhm..no. There’s at least three or four mirrors already monted on the vehicle. Why use a playing-card sized ‘survival mirror’ when I can just yank a larger one off the windshield?)

20161227_120308And those are great for signalling and whatnot but they are rather ‘active’…you need to be waving them around or actively using them. For ‘passive’ signalling, the Streamlight Siege or any other battery-powered LED light with a blinking or strobe function will do. Make sure you’ve got batteries for it, secure it with some paracord so it doesn’t get lost, and set it on the roof of the car as you sit there patiently waiting for the highway patrol or a snowplow to come by.

If you’re just tooling along I-90 you’ll probably not even be out overnight. Someone in some sort of 6-wheel automotive T-rex will come along and ask if you need a ride. (Accept graciously, offer to pay for their gas, and come back and get your vehicle in a day or two.) If you’re traveling on some of the smaller roads or byways of Montana, well, you better err on the side of overkill. You’re going to want road flares, high-intensity strobes, lotsa batteries and anything else thats going to draw attention.

Cell phones are awesome but we all know that there are places where, sometimes, there just isn’t a signal. Don’t count on your cell phone. Let folks know where you’re going and what route you are taking to get there. That last part is a huge deal. And, most importantly, if it looks like icy weather, blowing snow, deathly cold, and that sort of thing – stay home. Why buy trouble? First rule of surviving any disaster: Don’t be there.

(By the way, while looking for images for this post I discovered that Rule 34 applies to cars getting stuck. NSFW here. I..I..have no words.)