“Bad news”..or is it just “news”, meat

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

It was pointed out at TSLRF that “people are starting to get shell-shocked out of blogging because of the large amounts of bad news which seems to be the world nowadays.” Theres a bit of truth to that…but on the other hand, being aware of the bad news is far more important than being aware of good news.

However, ‘good’ and ‘bad’ are subjective. For example, I see nothing but ‘news’:

  • People are going to be scraping to put food on the table, but we’re going to have no problem feeding ourselves.
  • Folks are going to be dreading their mortgages becoming millstones around their necks, but we’ll be okay with our small fixed rate mortgage.
  • People will have to choose between heating and lighting or having food on the table, but we’ll have both.
  • Crime will increase and some people will be afraid to walk out of their homes, but we’ll be going on with our heavily armed and armored lives without interuption.
  • People are going to have to face the consequences of their suffocating debt load; we’ll have no debt at all except the small mortgage.
  • Inflation, deflation, recession and depression will be weighing heavily on peoples minds; we’ll look at our almost non-existent debt load, cash reserve, paid-for vehicle, small stash of precious metals, and our mountain of food and ammo and think that we’ll be okay.
  • When the stresses of unemployment, worrying about the future, and the crushing sense of doom cause people to start snapping at their loved ones and sabotage their relationships we’ll be  pulling together for our common and shared future.

So, you see, for us it really is pretty much just ‘news’…it isnt ‘bad news’ because we’re situated so it won’t affect us in a majorly negative way. And, not to sound like a motivational speaker or anything, if youre willing to sell the jet ski, stop buying $25,000 cars and think strategically (and enforce some self-discipline) you can feel just as secure.


Speaking of securing our future, a late night trip to Albertson’s caught the meat counter at that magical time of day when they put out the remaindered meat. Mmmmm…meat. Ground beef at $1.69/#….darn well better believe we picked up a bunch. Brought it home, divvied it up into smaller units and they are in the freezer now in preparation for vacuum sealing and then the great cryo-nap…see you in three years.

As an aside, they had individual 1#~ units of this stuff for $1.99/# but if you bought the ‘bulk’ ( a giant snowball of meat weighing around 6#) it was $1.69/#…save thirty cents a pound for just repackaging it at homeinto smaller units? You bet! Thats about a 15% savings and thats the same as one free pound for every seven.

Obama to seek new assault weapons ban

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

I told you so.

Im going through everything Ive read in the last four months where the Obama apologists said “He’s not going to take your guns!”.

Although, technically, the 1994 ban didnt take anyones guns from them. It just made it so you couldnt get another one, couldnt get a new magazine for it, etc, etc.

Helena Gun Show

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

The Helena gun show was last weekend. My needs were small…I saw the handwriting on the bunker wall quite a while ago…but I go anyway since gun shows are a wonderful barometer of public mood.

First of all, the lowest price for a stripped lower was $185. A few were in the $275 range. Various manufacturers. AR stocks, like Magpul and Vltor stocks, were in abundance as were parts. The AR’s that were there were all in the $950 and up range with some going for over $2000 for a lousy Colt HBAR Sporter. A lot of ‘no name’ and smaller brand AR’s. I saw no Stag, a handful of Bushmasters and only two Colts.

What was interesting, though, was that magazine prices seemed to flatten and even retreat a bit. Most mags were $20 with a few in the $16-18 range. BetaMags were back up over $350. I think the market has hit a point where everyone who wants ‘em has ‘em and as a result the prices have to come down a bit to make sales. However, that can change, literally, in an instant…all it takes is an AP or Reuters headline saying ‘Obama team ponders new gun laws’ or something similar to cause another run on mags and guns. I would almost say that we’re in a lull right now and this might be a good time to find a ‘baragin’ on mags.

Ammo, however, was going out about as fast as it could be brought in. Obviously .223 and 7.62×39 were the big movers. Even the grossly overpriced and underperforming Wolf stuff was in short supply. Ditto for components…a lot of overpriced .223 55 gr. FMJ bullets. Come on, ten cents apiece for a .22 bullet that isn’t even a hollowpoint? Insane. Might as well get used to it though…I don’t see it changing for quite a while.

I did get to see one of the new ‘fourth gen’ Glock pistols with the new slide serrations and sharkskin-texture grips. Looks a little too pretty for my tastes. I like the industrial-destructionalist look of the third gen ones. It appears mags will interchange just fine, so that’s all I was worried about. Speaking of, the average Glock mag was around $20-$25. I saw none of the 33-rd Glock mags, although there were a few of the Scherer-brand versions that suck. The Taiwanese Glock mags were there as well…haven’t tried them but I haven’t heard anyting bad about them either. Still and all, I stick with OEM whenever I can.

So what did I pick up for myself? Well, I toddled over to John Trochman’s table since he always has stuff that is of interest to us LMI. John, by the way, was the voice of the Militia Of Montana back in the day when that sort of thing was newsworthy. He pegs the needle on the Tinfoil-Hat-O-Meter but as long as you don’t engage him in discussions about Trilateral Bilderberger Illuminati UN conspiracies he’s a pretty decent guy. He wants his customers to buy his books, bandages, ammo, and gear not only because it makes him a little money but because he genuinely believes that by buying that stuff he’s helping you to secure your safety. He is what we would call a True Believer.

Anyway, I picked up a couple packages of QuickClot and a handful of the Israeli combat bandages because, you know, sometimes bad things happen to good people. Good compress bandages are always a welcome addition to any first aid gear.

All in all, a decent show. Managed to not buy any guns although there was a roundbutt S&W 4″ 686 in the ‘midnight stainless’ finish. A bit spendy for my tastes though – $540.

Castle Rock Tactical Discreet Case

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

For a while I’ve been wanting a softside case for my AR. Something that would hold the gun and a decent amount of gear to go with it. I was using the Blackhawk Homeland Security case which worked really quite well but still looked somewhat like a gun case (although slapping some ‘Yamaha’ patches on it would have made it look more like the carrying case for a digital keyboard).

As i was cruising the interweb I found a takedown AR case. You break the gun into its two major assemblies and they store securely in the bag along with some mags and ammo. The case is from Castle Rock Tactical and is, at the moment, 20% off according ot the website. My cost, soup to nuts, was $108. One interesting thing about this case is its potential to be free of any suggestion of gunny-ness. The bags have no MOLLE webbing on the exterior to ‘tacticalize’ it, and the colors offered include some pretty non-tactical colors that would make anyone think that the bag contains nothing more than a folding lawn chair, diapers and formula, or some type of tools.

The interior compartment has a divider velcroed to the floor of the bag. The divider keeps the two halves of the AR from banging against each other. Tie downs inside the bag help hold the assemblies in place and keep them from sliding around in the bag. On the interior of each side of the bag is a row of 3 mag pockets and a large utility pocket. My Bushmaster Dissipator, a SpecOps 6 magazine pouch, a couple 20-rders, and a half dozen boxes of 20 rd. .223 fit inside handily.

The case has D rings to attach backpack straps (included) for ease of carrying. Please view the pictures at the link above for more detail.

The advantage to a case like this, in my opinion, is that you can transport your rifle in a compact package that is less likely to draw attention to yourself. If you can afford to stash a rifle somewhere this case would be an excellent way to do it…you could carry it into an office building, past the reception area and put it under your desk and no one would know its there.

Made in USA, on sale, and seems pretty well made. To be fair, I just got the case today so it hasn’t had the chance for the abusive testing I like to give gear, but it looks like it’ll hold up pretty well. Check ‘em out.

Intruder Alert – Part II

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

Have you ever read about someone who robs a bank or steals a car and, somehow, they leave a critical piece of ID behind? Seems pretty stupid, doesn’t it? I mean, if youre going to commit a crime, or do something equally dumb, don’t you think you’d maybe want to NOT leave your name and address at the scene? I’ve always wondered how someone could be so stupid as to do something like that. Fortunately, I dont have to wonder any more. I can simply ask Mr. MMB of Billings MT.

Mr MMB, whom we first met a couple posts back, had the amazing misfortune to leave his drivers license on my front porch after trying to hammer down my door last week. Yes, thats right….the 6′0″, 175#, 21 year old, formerly of Billings Montana, executed the facepalm-worthy feat of leaving his most personal data at the scene of his drunken moronitude.


Im sure you can think of a multitude of ways this development could open the door to some interesting times. I’ve thought of a bunch…but the one thats probably going to be the winner is to simply have the missus go return the young mans ID to him while she’s on her lunch break at work.


Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

Went along to help a friend pick up a small trailer today. The trailer had been sitting since the summer and was surrounded by about a foot of snow on all sides. The problem this presented was pretty easy to see – the hitch was going to be at least a foot lower than the ball since the tow vehicle was on top of the foot of packed snow. The obvious solution was to get the trailer on top of the packed snow and hook it up that way. First thing was to shovel out some snow from around the wheels so that the trailer could ramp up to the top of the snow. Problem was, how do you pull it? Fortunately the tow vehicle had a winch on the front of it. We managed to winch it out partially but still had some disparity in ball/hitch height. Enter the Hi-Lift jack.

I’ve been wanting one of these lovely devices for a while now. I’ve read quite a bit about them, explored the wonderful accessories for them and given some thought to some of the non-standard uses they lend themselves to. In addition to being used to lift heavy objects, the jack can also be used to spread objects apart. The attraction there is that while you con certainly use it in a ‘jaws of life’ type capacity, it seems it would be the ideal tool for spreading apart a door jamb to ‘pop’ a door open. That has some mighty appeal to me right there. The jack can also be used as a comealong to pull object around like a winch would. Very versatile tool. Must. Get.

The folks who do a lot of off-road recreational driving carry these things and there are a few websites that review this tool’s use. In addition, doing a search for ‘Hi-Lift’ on YouTube brings up plenty of videos that describe this piece of gear better than I ever could.

Lets start off with a link to the company’s website. In addition to the jacks themselves, they offer some very nice accessories to make them even more versatile.

You dont have to be a visionary to see that a tool like this (or, really, a pair of them) would be outstanding for getting wrecked/disabled/abandoned vehicles out of the way, extricating your vehicle from problems (actually lift the entire wheel off the ground to put some traction aid underneath),  pulling obstacles from your path, etc, etc, etc. Oh…and you could probably use it for changing a tire.

Like any decent and useful tool, there are risks. Yes, you can pinch a finger if youre careless. Yes you can drop a huge weight on your feet if you dont pay attention to where your feet are. Thats the price we pay for self-reliance. Also, there are Chinese knockoffs of this thing out there. I am fully willing to pay a bit more to know that the product wasnt made from melted down aluminum pots and pans and whatever junk metal Factory Number 7 in China happened to have laying around.  Additionally, while Im not that nationalistic, I do try to avoid buying Chinese whenever I can..not only for quality and economic issues but also because I just don’t like them. If I ever do have to buy made in China stuff, I try to at least get it from Taiwan. Enough about that.

So…as I said, Ive been aware of these jacks for a few years but today was my first chance to get to ‘play’ with one and I very much like it and am going to have to start putting together a shopping list of accessories, spare parts, etc, for when I do acquire one. In the meantime, if youre not familiar with them I suggest you do some looking around…they appear to be an excellent item to have on hand for those unexpected situations that call for more force than one person can deliver without mechanical leverage.

Intruder alert

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

So there I am, minding own business. Clock says 2:10 am. Im playing Warcraft and, so far, everything is nice and quiet. Then I hear thumping of heavy footsteps coming onto my porch. Okay, thats a bit odd. Then I hear the screen door being pulled open. Definitely not the average unwanted solicitor or door-to-door Jesus salesman. Then, and here is where the heart rate starts amping up, the door starts rattling as someone tries the doorknob and attempts to open the door.

This is what we in the biz call ‘not good’.

Shotgun is a little unwieldy for this situation but the Glock 19 with tactical light seems to fit the bill nicely.  I block the door with my foot, unlock it, open it up and theres a drunk college kid swaying on his feet. Not a word.

“Whaddya want?”

Sway, sway, sway.

“Get off this porch and away from this house.”, I say in my best ‘command voice’. Its unlikely that the missus will awaken from the noise but you never know.

The light from the Glock is making our boy squint. I have the pistol tucked back against my side and my left arm out in a blocking position in case the distance gets closed in a hurry. However, Im also starting to see that this is going to need to de-escalate in a hurry. This guy is a drunk moron of a college student and while not 100% harmless the needle on the threat meter has dropped from red to green. Nothing here that cant be resolved with, at worst, a kick in the ass and maybe a little blunt force impact.

Drunkboy suddenly seems cognizant that theres a handgun attached to the flashlight that is making him squint. I kid you not, he says “Duuuuude!”

“Get off the porch and get outta here.”

“‘K, man.” and he starts to stagger off the porch. I lock the door, put the Glock away and go back to Warcraft. Then, not more than 45 seconds later, theres that thumping as feet run up the porch, the screen door is opened and theres a loud and more aggressive rattling of the doorknob and then some hard banging against the door. Not a loud knock, more like the heavy pounding that is usually, but not in this case, accompanied by something like “Open the door, bitch!”.


Ok, no more kidding around. I go into the bedroom and wake the missus. “Get dressed. We’ve got trouble. Drunk outside trying to get in.” She gets dressed and I ponder the options. Meanwhile, more bagning on the door.

“Get out of here or youre going to get Tased!”, I yell though the door.

“Im lost!”, comes the reply. Gotta be freaking kidding me. Theres only three ways this can end – he staggers away under his own power, he gets hauled out of here in handcuffs, I drag him bleeding and bruised into the gutter and leave him there to freeze. Option #1 has alot of appeal. I dont care if he gets drunk and falls to the curb, smashing his teeth and skull in the process…I just want him off my porch and out of my personal space.

The missus makes her appearance. I ask her for her heavy duty MagLite. I take it and open the door. Drunkboy is now sitting on my porch railing like he owns the place. I light him up with the lovely police-issue MagLite. “Get out of here or I’m going to hurt you very badly.”, I tell him. He gets up and starts ambling towards the steps leading off the porch. At this point the missus pops out the door with Taser in hand and introduces herself while enunciating her professional credentials..the ones that start with “Im Officer…” and end with “..of the Police Department”. Who says there isnt a cop around when you need one? She tells him to get out of here and that if he comes back he’s going to be arrested. He shambles off the porch and, hopefuly, wanders off to get hit by a car.

Naturally, she can fall right back to sleep. She’s used to alot more exciting stuff than this. Me, Im a little amped up and will probably be awake for another few hours.

Things to do differently? Probably should have woken up the missus initially just in case things did in fact go south. I had a few less-than-lethal options available between my computer desk and the door including a sap, Taser, baseball bat and 870 with rubber buckshot. However, when someone is rattling your doorknob at 2am I think there is nothing terribly imprudent about answering the door in a fashion that allows for an immediate armed response.

I did think about pepper spraying him the second time but I didnt want him standing on the sidewalk in front of my house screaming at the top of his lungs, waking the neighbors and drawing attention. Really, I could have called the cops and said “Someone is trying to break into my house” which is what he was trying to do. I know the local gendarmes love catching someone in the act on these things. However, once they found out who lived at the house they would probably have given the missus a huge ration of crap for not dealing with it herself.

Anyway, no muss, no fuss, no official police involvement. Just some 2am excitement and a little self-validation for keeping the a dedicated nighttime gun with tactical light on the nightstand.

Glock parts, money/debt

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

Glock spare parts showed up the other day. Money is tight so I only ordered half of what was on my wish list. For the curious, here’s what came in:

  • Glock connector, 5#
  • Glock Extractor Depressor Plunger
  • Glock Firing Pin Spring
  • Glock Magazine Catch
  • Glock Recoil Spring Assembly, G19
  • Glock Recoil Spring Assembly, G17
  • Glock Triger Spring, 5#

Ordered enough so I’d have about a half dozen of each. Total? $120.

Historically, the only parts we’ve had fail were the trigger spring and the recoil spring assembly. Both failures didn’t keep the gun from shooting, but did require extra manipulation (manually pushing the trigger forward after each shot) to keep the gun shooting. Now, across a half dozen Glocks and thousands of rounds of ammo, that’s 2 non-critical failures…a very decent MTBF (mean time between failure).

One more order of parts will put the finishing touches on our ‘support package’ for our Glocks. We’ve already got plenty of spare parts for the AR’s, and the AK’s don’t exactly call for much in the way of spares. Ditto for the HKlones although I do have some spares for them anyway.


I was wondering if you have such an interest in preparedness, and such a … practical…view of the rest of the world, as we do does that make you an optimist (because you believe you can handle the worst) or a pessimist (because youre expecting the worst)? Glass half empty or half full? I’m leaning towards neither optimist or pessimist, but more of a pragmatist…something Microsoft Word defines as ‘practical person’. Not sure about practical, since the definition of practical is open to some interpretation. Regardless, I don’t think that any particular term fills the bill.


Tomorrow, it seems, once the tax refunds (such as they are) arrive we will be out of debt save for the mortgage. That means we next start socking money into our emergency fund so that when something does go terribly wrong (like a transmission imploding, refrigerator dying, or quick trip for family emergency) we can do what needs doing without cutting our financial throats. How much? Good question. The goal isn’t to replace income, the goal is to replace expenses. That is to say, whatever you normally spend in a month is your expenses…mortgage, food, utilities, etc. If the rug were yanked out from under you how much would you need to survive on without incurring debt or letting current debt grow? That’s the amount of expenses per month. Ideally, we’d like to have six months of expenses tucked away. It is hoped that six months is long enough to get back on top of things. Of course, heaven forefend, should we wind up having to live off of an emergency fund like that we would, naturally, cut as much fat and luxury as we could and that would certainly go towards stretching out our ‘margin of safety’.

Personal history has shown me that long before TSHTF in a cataclysmic, biblical, Mad Max, zombierific way there’ll be plenty of small scale ‘personal SHTF’ moments….job losses, broken limbs, faulty transmissions, clogged pipes, broken furnaces, uncovered medical treatments, and that sort of thing. The sorts of situations that cant be fixed with an AK47, solar panels and a case of MRE’s. So…being pragmatic….we prepare for those ‘minor’ emergencies as well.

It follows, naturally, that if we’re not plunking down several hundred dollars a month to service debt then we’ve freed up that money to do other things…things we want to do rather than have to do. So…yeah, minimizing debt may definitely open up a few doors.

At this point theres a couple of you saying “Hey…paying off debt, emergency fund…this sound familiar from somewhere.” Yup, the missus and I read the Dave Ramsey book and listen to the radio show when we can. I am the last person in the world to drink self-help koolaid but I can appreciate and exploit a workable plan as much as the next guy. While the book (“The Total Money Makeover”) gives instructions and plans for getting your financial act together, the more powerful effect is that , for me anyway, it makes you think about money and debt in a different way and, like any other change in your life, once you start thinking differently about something your behavior changes as well. So, if you get a chance, listen to the show or read the book.