CZ magic, IQ Switch, gas rotation

Love my CZ550. It seems that when I concentrate and try to let the break of the trigger be a ‘surprise’ I get okay groups. However, when I hurry and consciously pull the trigger I get outstanding groups. Go figure. Today was another 5-shot, 100-yard group that I could cover with a quarter. And thats using a plain Jane 3-9x Leupold VXII hunting scope so if I drop some better glass…who knows. The thing is, the gun has proven that it is quite capable of excellent groups. I am teh pleasedzor.
Bought one of these:

for my MiniMag lite and I am thus far finding it to be an excellent addition. This thing is a tailcap press-to-operate switch that also gives five different functions. Plus it has a little ‘locator’ blink every few seconds. Check out the product spec page. Pluks, it’ll work with the LED conversion so when running the light at 25% power you get even more life out of your batteries. Looks like a very cool gadget. Price? I think mine was about eight bucks. Made in China, unfortunately.

Im telling you, folks…LED flashlights are going to relegate the old incandescent flashlights to the ‘specialty’ categories. You’ll see them for big X-Files style searchlights and maybe for the uber high-intensity lights but for typical day-to-day stuff its going to be LED’s from here on in.
Gas has dropped below $2.50/gallon locally so I’ll rotate out some gasoline this week. Two cents cheaper up at CostCo.

Popular Mechanics

There used to be a handful of magazines of interest to folks like us….Robert Brown, over at Soldier Of Fortune, had the remarkably shortlived ‘Survive’ magazine (famous for the cover photo of a cow in a gas mask), American Survival Guide which got neutered to the point where it was more merciful to pull the plug (although one of their staffers keeps a version of it alive online), and a few others. Backwoods Home Journal has taken up some of the slack but it isnt exactly the same. Now, one magazine doesnt really cover everything…like much in life, it takes several sources to fill the need.

I mention this because I recently got a subscription to Popular Mechanics. Good stuff. The advertisements alone are worth the asking price. Plus theres gobs o’ stuff in there that are useful to me…new tools on the market, lighting and plumbing developments, new technologies, etc, etc. Good stuff. Current issue has some articles on new breeds of nuclear reactors (esp. the pebble-bed style that Im interested in), the development of new military dirigibles, tons of cool advertisements, Tesla sports cars, etc, etc, etc. A subscription to Make, Mother Earth, Backwoods Home, Popular Mechanics, Guns & Ammo and Shotgun News would probably round out the well-informed periodicals list handily.

So, if you had the resources and were limited to , say, five magazines or periodicals for your preparedness needs, what would they be? (No smart ass answers like: “Hustler. So I have a reson to live”)

The role of fiction, book, Leatherman, gas prices

CBS premiered ‘Jericho’ the other night. Its basically “Alas Babylon: The Series”. Reviews, as seen across the various preparedness discussion groups and forums is mixed. I liked it but then again there isn’t much to compare it to…which makes sense, I suppose…theres not much drama (read: marketability) in a show where a huge crisis occurs and the population is…just fine. No, the drama sells…the people stuck in elevators, the homeowners huddled in the living room hearing strange footsteps on their porch as the camera closes in on the image of the doorknob slowly turning…that sort of thing. A show where the lights go out and someone simply fires ou the 5kw and enjoys a cup of coffee just doesn’t have much watchability. I think I gave my impressions of the show a few posts back. It seems it is trying to use the formula that has made ‘Lost’ (or as I call it ‘Gilligans Island Of Dr Morreau’) so successful…complex mysterious characters and events that are introduced but not explained until later, long story arcs, backstories shrouded in mystery, etc… Theres certainly entertainment potential here, its just a matter of how waiting to see how its used.

It does bring up an interesting topic, though. What role, if any, does fiction play in an individuals plans and perperations? Some would say that reading books like ‘Lucifers Hammer’, ‘Alas Babylon’, or even Aherns pulp series ‘The Survivalist’ do absolutely nothing except provide ‘action hero’-style entertainment. I agree somewhat but I think that it is important to have read some of the ‘classic’ fiction on the subject (and Im counting LH and AB as amongst those classics). Why? Because even if the situations are outdated, unrealistic or, in Aherns case, just plain over-the-top they encourage you to think about those situations. After all, in order to say ‘that scene with the [fill in the blank] was so unrealistic!’ means you had to think about how you’d manage in a similar scene ‘in reality’ and thus you are made to think about situations and predicaments you may not have thought about in the past. Example: in Alas Babylon the residents of the small Florida town suffer an intensely hot summer and realize that they don’t have enough salt to replace what theyre sweating away daily…and upon further investigation realize that it also has myriads of other uses that would have made having a large quantity of it handy. Many people, Im sure, hadn’t thought about just how much salt they might need to sock away and even if there was a real need for it. So, in this example, reading fiction opens your mind to things you may not have considered.

Another example: In Lucifers Hammer one of the characters has no useful skills, no great talents, and has a couple strikes against him in terms of his physical condition…but he becomes a crucial member of a local outfit because while he has very little skills and talents he does have a very large collection of very, very useful and relevant books. And while Im sure you and I have thought of this sort of thing before, it may have opened the eyes of others to the need for some very good reference material.

My point here isn’t to cite examples or to garner comments about what you’ve learned from fiction. Nah, my point is that fiction has a place in the preparedness lifestyle and that this series, which may very well turn out to be very short lived and somewhat technically inaccurate, could have some value for making a person think about situations or problems that they hadn’t thought about previously.
Finished ‘World War Z’ the other night. Its okay. Definitely better than Stephen Kings hackneyed ‘Cell’. The book very much would fly as a movie. It could be told in narrative with all sorts of neat flashback scenes to various conflicts and events. Hard to believe the guy writing it is the son of Mel ‘Blazing Saddles’ Brooks. Who knew?
I continue to be very pleased with the Leatherman Wave multitool. I heartily recommend it to anyone looking for a good pocket tool. In fact, I may be getting an extra or two. I use the knife blades more than anything else but the screwdrivers and scissors come in quite handy too. Good ergonomics and a generally well thought out design. Me recommend.
Local gas prices dropped another six cents overnight. Its now hovering around $2.56/gallon. When it gets below $2.50 I’ll rotate out the stored gas. Might pick up an extra can or two and increase the storage as bit while Im at it.

MRE’s, Gas prices, trailer link

Well, either Im going ot have to
a) get a larger bunker
b) stop acquiring MRE’s
c) improve my box-stacking and arranging skills.

Picked up another 15 cases of MRE’s today. That pretty much puts me at the point that on 2 MRE’s a day I could keep me and the girlfriend going for..lets see….good grief, six months. Thats alot of tiny bottles of Tobasco sauce. I’d hate to think of the geological curiousity that one’s colon would turn into if forced to subsist on MRE’s for 6 months. Still and all, beats the crap out of being hungry. Coupled with the FD and other stored food I think we’re looking at about a years worth o’ munchies. Sweet.

Speaking of..I called Mountain House yesterday and they tell me that their #10 cans are back in stock and ready for delivery. Apparently theyre all caught up over there.
Gas dropped fifteen cents in the last few days to $2.70/gallon here. Doesnt seem like that long ago it was a buck a gallon…..
I especially find the ‘teardrop’ trailers to be interesting. Minimalism at its most inventive.
Small trailers for bugout
Fall approaches…time to put the cold weather gear on standby, change out batteries, get hunting gear ready and dig out the Flectar…….

Emergency seizure

Just when you thought it was safe to stockpile food, fuel, ammo and meds:
Seizure law riles Cooper City residents
COOPER CITY · The city has given itself the right to seize its residents’ personal property for public use in an emergency.

And although commissioners say it would use its new law only in “an exceptional disaster,” some residents are furious.

Some highlights:

“There’s always the possibility of abuse of power,” Commissioner Elliot Kleiman said, “but it’s not going to happen here.”

Cooper City businessowner John Sims owns two trucks, a 7,500-watt generator and chain saws.He said that despite the law, “I intend to not allow anyone on myproperty without a warrant. I’m going to use my equipment to protect myfamily prior to allowing the city to [take my equipment].”

Kleiman said Cooper City residents should be happy because their city has taken preventative steps to ensure their well-being.

Right at the top of the Things-Us-Paranoid-Survivalist-Types-Worry-About List is the idea that after exhaustively, expensively, and devotedly assembling everything you need to get through a crisis someone is going to come along and take it for themselves and leave you out in the cold, so to speak. The notion that its going to be .gov, with the law on their side, is just anathema. Imagine the scene as your house is an isolated oasis of light, heat, food and comfort. Then the clattering of boots on the doorstep and a knock on the door. Highway patrol cops in slickers say theyre there to take your generator and fuel because the local shelter needs it. What can you do? Anything involving shooting them wouldnt work out well since they firmly believe theyre in the right and that taking stuff from that nutball survivalist down the road is perfectly within ‘their rights’.

The obvious answers are:
a) be somewhere else completely with your gear when the Bad Thing happens
b) be so discrete and low profile no one knows you have these coveted items

This actually happened, from what Ive read, during Katrina … folks that threw a genset in the back of their truck and drove down to help Cousin Billy would get stopped at the various roadblocks and have their gear or even their vehicles taken for the use of the Powers That Be. Im of the salted earth school of resource denial. If I cant have it, youre gonna take it, and theres no way Im gonna change that then you better move fast ’cause I’ll torch the whole stack of Mountain House and cut holes in the water barrels before being forced to give it up to a bunch of .gov-sponsored looters.

Excellent reason to have redundant backups, offsite caches, and to be far away from the crowds when Bad Stuff happens.

Return of the Saiga?

Interesting to note that the recent Shotgun News mentions that theres a new importer for the Saiga shotguns and that 3-, 5-, 8-, 10-shot mags will be available. Same issue has an add from a distributor putting them at around $370~. Of course, some folks just aint happy with whats available and gotta tinker. Wouldnt mind getting one of the Saiga 12 ga. and a buncha ten round mags…make an outstanding self-defense weapon for close range.

Summer hats. MHFD, books

They may have lost the war, conducted Mengele-ish medical experiments, pressed wome into service for ‘comforting’ their troops and generally have been as bad as the Nazis but they did have a nice hat.
Observe the Japanese soldiers hat for tropical wear:

While most Japanese military gear was outdated or inadequate (relying on a soldiers fanatical loyalty to make up the difference) this hat must have made an impression because its so damn ubiquitous in most outdoor catalogs:

LL Bean makes one
As does REI
Patagucci Patagonia too
And here’s the Columbia version I was generously gifted with last week

So I’ll be trying it out in the summer Montana sun and will let you know how it works out. I’ve usually just used a boonie hat andhave been overall satisified with it so we’ll see how this fares. For the record, this type of cap is referred to as a ‘bimini cap’ in many places.
The Mountain House ‘three day emergency kit’ of food I ordered from Amazon arrived the other day. They were closing them out at 1/3 off regular price. Its basically just a cardboard box with the standard foil pouches inside. I didnt really need it but I figured I might as well get it since there wasnt much at Amazon I wanted at the moment.

Still, you cant really have too much stored food.
Hey, speaking of…Im reading a new TEOTWAWKI book…“Dies The Fire”…part, apparently, of a trilogy of books. Sure, its no ‘Survivalist’ series 😉 but it reminds me very much of Lucifers Hammer which I think we can all agree was a pretty good read.

The one thing harped on in this book over and over and over is that when you have food and others dont, those normally peaceful civilized soccer moms and golfing dads become real dangerous, real fast. All the more reason to make sure that those kitchen shelves stay full. Im about 70% through the first book and I like it very much. The reason for the EOTW in this book is insanely stupid, but the resultant situations and scenarios are not and thats making it worth reading.