Article – New Yorkers in fuel scramble as storm-hit pumps dry up

Originally published at Notes From The Bunker. You can comment here or there.

New Yorkers in fuel scramble as storm-hit pumps dry up

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Drivers and homeowners scrambled to secure fuel for their cars and generators in the U.S. Northeast on Wednesday as storm-hit gasoline stations started to run dry.

More than half of all gasoline service stations in the New York City area and New Jersey were shut because of depleted fuel supplies and power outages, frustrating attempts to restore normal life, industry officials said.

Reports of long lines, dark stations and empty tanks circulated across the region. Some station owners were unable to pump fuel due to a lack of power, while others quickly ran their tanks dry because of increased demand and logistical problems in delivering fresh supplies.

No sympathy. If youre smart enough to buy a generator but dumb enough to not think about where the next tank of gas is coming from then you probably deserve what happens to you. Some of the best money I ever spent was on these babies:

Wish like hell I’d bought more but I did what i could with what I had. That and a nice jug of PRI-G and I’ve got enough gas stored for most emergencies.

Right on schedule….

Originally published at Notes From The Bunker. You can comment here or there.

Hurricane Sandy Looting, Fights Plague South Brooklyn

Water that had risen six feet high hadn’t completely drained away from the streets of Coney Island in Brooklyn, N.Y., yet looters had already rifled through the remains of vulnerable shops on Mermaid Avenue.

At about 8 a.m. on Tuesday, workers arrived at Mega Aid Pharmacy to find that not only had Hurricane Sandy obliterated the building’s interior the night before, but thieves had broken in and gone through more than 10,000 pharmaceutical items. Most of the stolen goods were prescription meds.

“The water went away and these people started walking down the streets and just robbed stores,” a frustrated worker at the pharmacy, who wished to remain anonymous, told HuffPost Crime.

I grew up in Brooklyn and I am shocked..shocked I say! find there is looting going on here. Especially in that neighborhood. </sarcasm>

Naturally, in that environment, anyone who prepares against this sort of thing is considered a paranoid survivalist and, more importantly, is now a target for their generator and fuel. I fully expect some interesting stories and after action reports to start popping up on arfcom, Glocktalk, etc, etc.

Also, since it’s NYC, the good guys are usually without guns which makes fending off a bunch of looters a tricky exercise in melee tactics. Bouncing some rubber buckshot off the ground and into their legs would probably dissuade everyone real fast and keep the paperwork to a minimum.

The REI zombie class

Originally published at Notes From The Bunker. You can comment here or there.

Well, let’s cut to the chase: it wasnt really so much about zombies as much as it was an intro into urging people to be prepared. Although, I must say, it was funny when the instructor said that preparing for zombies was good since it meant you would be prepared for other disasters like hurricanes, at which point someone called out “Hurricanes don’t exist!”

The gal instructing the class, who was pretty cute, was probably way overqualified. She has a degree in Emergency Management and the chops to teach it as well. She brought some of her own gear along to show what a BOB would look like, so she apparently walks it as she talks it.

The content of the presentation itself was your usual stuff about having water, food, duct tape and plastic sheeting, etc, with some zombie themes thrown in to keep it on topic. Really, for someone like yours truly there wasnt anything new but I wasnt there for the content, I was more interested in the demographics.

Including myself there were 14 people. Of that, one had the serious tinfoil-hat vibe, three looked like living-in-basement comic-book nerds, and the rest looked about average…although not like your usual REI customer (trendy Patagonia-wearing snowboarder or runner). At least one guy there was ahead of the curve since I heard him talking about his #10 cans of wheat.

I chit-chatted with the gal afterwards to get more info about the class itself. She said that it was one of the most well-attended of any class REI offered. The impetus for the class came from higher up the corporate chain. Although she was grossly overqualified, the classes at other REI’s are put on by regular staff. (She’s got the degree in EM but works at REI because she doesn’t want to move out of town.)

All in all, it was fun. Not terribly informative to someone like you and I who have been into preparedness for a while, but fun to see the presentation and to people watch.


Article – Storm sets off frantic rush for supplies across East Coast

Originally published at Notes From The Bunker. You can comment here or there.

Anyone NOT see this coming?:

Storm sets off frantic rush for supplies across East Coast

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – Good luck buying lanterns, generators, propane, or – if you are really unprepared – rain boots and batteries in areas in the path of Hurricane Sandy as it bears down on the U.S. East Coast.

The approach of the gigantic storm, which is expected to come ashore on Monday night set off a weekend scramble for supplies from Virginia to New England, causing long lines at gas stations, bare shelves at hardware and home-supply shops, and a run on bread, bottled water and canned foods.

“It’s been crazy. We’re the only one open who still has gas,” said Karen Tripodi, a customer service representative at Cumberland Farms, a gas station and market in Newington, Connecticut. “They’re coming in for propane, ice, water, milk and cigarettes.”


My wife, a former resident of North Carolina, pointed out that when hurricanes would approach people would rush out for bread, milk and eggs. “It’s like they all suddenly want French toast!”, she observed.

As Ryan over at TSLRF pointed out regarding the ideal level of preparedness , “Somewhere between getting ready for a short term natural disaster and Red Dawn is about the right place.”

Our own level of preparedness has been steadily marching along. So much so, in fact, that a trip to CostCo was called for yesterday for yet another set of steel wire shelving. We have, for now, plenty of shelf space for more stuff. Do we need more stuff? Eh…some yes, some no. I took advantage of the opportunity to re-inventory things. 95% of the spreadsheet was accurate…there were a few items that were off by one or two. I also switched at least a half-dozen items from DNI (Do Not Inventory) to ‘inventory item’ status. DNI’s are things that we bought a bunch of but don’t plan on buying more of or replacing. For example, the missus finds a product she likes, and buys a case of it….halfway through the case she discovers a better product. The remains of that case go into storage as a DNI and the new product she likes becomes an inventory item. Hey, it works for us.

I have at least one friend whose house is, I believe, sitting right in the muzzle of Hurricane Sandy and Im interested to find out how he fares. Anyone from the east coast with interesting stories, feel free to tell ‘em in comments.


ETA: Gangs Plan Hurricane Looting Spree Via Twitter

It appears Rule #870 may be in effect ;)

Ka-Bar version of BK&T and a Spec-Ops sheath

Originally published at Notes From The Bunker. You can comment here or there.

So I likes me some Glock knives. For sheath knives they are cheap, great quality, well-built and take abuse like a Clinton wedding vow. They’re only drawback, to me, is that they are a bit light…they don’t have a lot of weight behind them. When it comes to chopping and cleaving they might leave a little to be desired.

After the Glock knives, I really like the BK&T line of knives. They were eventually picked up by Ka-Bar and that who currently offers them. Designs are the same and theyre still made in America. My biggest complaint about the particular BK&T (“Becker”) knives that I like (the Ka-Bar Becker BK7) is that the sheaths are utter nylon crap. I used to harp on this until someone explained to me that the reason the sheaths were crap was because BK&T knew that you were just going to go get some kydex number for a sheath anyway, so they sank all the money into the knife itself and threw on the cheesiest sheath that would still protect the knife (and user). It’s kinda like those lame-ass plastic gunlocks that come with some gun purchases – purely disposable.

For the longest time I’ve been wanting to get the sheaths offered by Spec-Ops. These sheaths seemed to have many of the features I was looking for in a sheath – multiple attachment points, pocket for a stone/sharpened, subdued color, made in USA, etc, etc. Well, I had a few bucks sitting around in an Amazon gift card and decided I’d pick up a spare BK-7 and see how they differ under Ka-Bar, and also a Spec-Ops sheath. Both arrived today.

First and most obvious difference is that Ka-Bar sure likes their packaging. A sleeved box with lotsa shiny graphics. My older, original, BK&T came in a simple cardboard lift-top box.

The knives themselves are virtually identical . Small differences in the stampings on the blade, and the finish is a bit duller on the Ka-Bar…otherwise they appear identical. The big difference, however, is the sheaths.


The original sheath from BK&T was just plain embarrassing. It was a cheesy nylon job that looked like it came out of Peoples Revolutionary Factory #29 – flimsy and about as stylish as a leisure suit. The sheath from Ka-Bar isn’t anything to jump up and down about but it is a distinct improvement with no-need-to-undo-your-belt belt hangar, MOLLE attachments, black color, etc, etc. But while it was an improvement it wasnt as nice as the Spec-Ops.

The Spec-Ops sheath, like most Spec-Ops products I’ve had, was a good solid piece of kit. However, there were some problems not related to the Spec-Ops sheath but rather to it’s interaction with the BK-7.

First problem is that the sheaths come in 6″ or 8″ blade lengths. Beckers come in odd lengths – 5″, 7″, 9″. So, right off the bat, the sheath is an inch longer for this knife than it needs to be. Niggling detail but there it is.

The big problems was that the plastic liner in the sheath was wide enough to accommodate the blade…up to a point. The BK-7, and a few other BK models, have a raised thumb rest atop the spine of the blade. That means that section of the blade is wider than the rest…that wide section was too wide for the plastic liner in the sheath.

The simple solution was to remove a short length of the spine of the liner. Once that was done we were good to go.

There’s a pocket on the front of the sheath for holding various ‘survival’ items but realistically it would be best served with a sharpening stone of some type. I need to measure the pouch and see what stones are available in that size.

All in all, I like this sheath with this knife. I get scads of attachment/mounting options and the quality seems up to the challenges of the zombie apocalypse. While I still love the Glock knives, I like this setup for when I need something with a bit more heft and chopping ability.

Speaking of armour….destructive testing

Originally published at Notes From The Bunker. You can comment here or there.

A few years ago (and it must have been quite a few years ago because I can’t find it in my almost ten years of blog posts) the LMI and I were in a surplus store and found a size extra-small flak jacket. You know, one of those Vietnam/Nation Guard vests that look like an olive life preserver. (Technically, I guess thats exactly what it is, come to think of it.) Anyway, being an oddball size it was an easy thing to figure let’s spend $15 on it, take it to the range, and see what happens.

If youre the TL;DR type, here it is succinctly: all pistol except super-fast bullets were stopped. No .45 ACP, no 9mm, no .40 S&W, no .38 Special penetrated the vest. The handgun bullets that did penetrate were lightweight (180 gr.) .44 bullets driven at ‘dont try this at home’ velocities and uber-light (95 gr.) JHP’s out of a .357 with similar speeds. Both those bullets were approaching low-end rifle velocities so no surprise there since penetration in conventional firearms is almost always more about velocity than bullet construction. You push a gumball fast enough, it’ll penetrate.

Once we’d exhausted the gamut of pistol calibers and various loadings it was time to move onto the rifles. No surprises there. Shredded kevlar was everywhere. Nothing was stopped.

None of this is going to be a surprise to anyone with a logical mind. Flak jackets were designed to stop irregular shaped pieces of metal at moderate velocities. A .451″ piece of lead traveling at 950 fps is pretty close to that demographic. Higher velocity stuff will just whip through it.

So, in a nutshell, yes they’ll stop most non-magnum pistol rounds and .22. They will not stop anything from a rifle (unless its a rifle that shoots pistol cartridges). Better than nothing, and cheap enough (usually) that almost everyone can at least afford one, but there are better choices if you can swing it.

ETA: It would be criminally negligent of me to forget to mention that if you want real-world info on what will and will not stop a bullet, not armchair theory, then you need to head over to The Box O’ Truth. Shooting bullet proof glass, kevlar vests, sheetrock, car doors….these guys do it all and the information is priceless.

And here’s where they shot a flak jacket and chronicled the results.

Gerber Downrange Tomahawk

Originally published at Notes From The Bunker. You can comment here or there.

Hmmm. Gerber has a new product out…Gerber Downrange Tomahawk. I suppose it’s only a matter of time before product-placement puts it on ‘The Walking Dead’.

Kinda interesting. Specs say weighs less than 2# which makes it many times lighter than my FuBarForcible Entry Tool. Unlike a lot of Gerber’s offerings these days, this product is being made in the US. I’m curious as to how durable this thing is for prying…to small and lightweight and it’ll bend like pretzel, too rigid and sturdy and it’ll be too heavy to carry. And, of course, theres always the tacitly implied usage about being suitable for…’other’…uses.

Looks interesting and I’d like to play with one, but not sure I have a need for it at the moment. I do expect it to turn up on the Walking Dead at some point though.

Zombie e-cards, zombie classes, zombie programming

Originally published at Notes From The Bunker. You can comment here or there.

It’s been a zombie-themed day.

First off, someone texted me this:

I won’t say that when I got married there was a checkbox for ‘can kill zombies’, but there was a checkbox for ‘will not impede or hinder preparedness’.

Then, for giggles I head over to Rosauers to see how their 25% off sale on storage food was going. Quite well, apparently…there were some major gaps on the shelves. I like to think I’, kinda responsible for that by letting the local LMI’s know.

And finally, I watched E2S3 of ‘The Walking Dead’ yesterday. One thing I enjoy about this show is that afterwards my wife usually gets thoughtful and makes supportive comments about our lifestyle or recommends that we buy more food/gear/ammo. Thumbs up, either way.

And finally , this amazing email from REI shows up:

Missoula REI — Zombie Preparedness – Surviving a Zombie Apocalypse

Description: Imagine a viral outbreak has occurred wiping out a majority of the local population and other major cities throughout the globe. The fatal virus is to be considered highly contagious and dangerous. Nicknamed the “Zombie Disease,” because those killed by the disease seem to be returning to life and prey upon the living. We are now facing a full fledged attack. Those of us left alive must now ask ourselves, “Where do we go from here? How will we survive and maintain the existence of the human race?” You are invited to attend the Zombie Preparedness Class at REI, where you will learn valuable survival techniques that could save your life. These same techniques could be invaluable in the event of any natural disaster in an urban environment.

My first thought was not “Are they serious?”, my first thought was not “Awesome!”, first thought was “REI has a zombie specialist?”. I must attend this…if for no other reason than to see who shows up. I mean, really…what’s the crowd for this gonna look like? I expect a mix of casual college-age ‘this sounds like fun’ types, a few tinfoil hatters, and some ‘maybe this is really about preparedness’ types. I wonder what the pitch at REI management was like when this came up ..”Steve! I’ve got an idea for a class!….”

Armour musings

Originally published at Notes From The Bunker. You can comment here or there.

Dammit. Lost one of my gloves today. The irony is that this glove was not one of the 40 or so pairs of surplus wool gloves I picked up last year, but rather one half of a unique set. I can console myself, I guess, by knowing I’ve got several dozen pairs of other gloves but still…annoying. Nice to not be too inconvenienced by it though. Swore at myself for being careless, and then pulled a pair outta storage.


I get so wrapped up, from time to time, in the guns-n-mags aspect of proposed legislation that I sometimes overlook some of the ancillary stuff. There was a link on Drudge to an article about a fella who, apparently, shot up a home, set it ablaze, and then offed himself. When he was found, it was noted, and played up a bit, that he was wearing body armour.

From time to time, legislation is proposed (or passed) to limit the availability of body armour to ‘civilians’. (Quick semantic argument: cops are civilians, too.) In some localities, these types of rules are already in place. Most folks would say if you arent a cop or security guard, why would you need body armour? Isn’t that just a wee bit over-the-top?

Some folks in ‘high risk’ businesses wear body armour. I know there are jewelry shops and diamond vendors in NYC who wear the stuff. There’s probably more than one pharmacist somewhere who wears it under their smock. And there are probably plenty more industries and businesses, some in ‘high crime’ areas, that have folks wearing it.

I’ve had several sets of body armour over the years. I could probably count the times I’ve worn it on one hand. Almost always those times were at the range when teaching newbies to shoot. I think the only time I ever actually wore it ‘for reals’ was one time when I was accompanying someone on a ‘large(!!) amount of cash’ transaction. (Also the only time I ever carried two pistols. I figured if I needed the armour I’d need the guns, and vice versa.)

Given that very, very low usage rate, is there a place for body armour in preparing for the uncertain future? Arguable, I think. Certainly I’d rather have it and not need it blah, blah…. But on the other hand, it’s fairly expensive for something that you’ll probably never use and those resources can be best used elsewhere. It’s a choice between dumping several hudrred dollars on something you may never use versus dumping it on something you may be more likely to use (like food.)

I suppose the degree of practicality depends on the particular flavor of apocalypse that you see coming. If youre convinced that the end of the world looks a lot like ‘The Stand’ you probably don’t have as urgent a need as if the end of the world looked like ‘Jericho’. While pretty much every permutation of the apocalypse will have gunfire in it’s soundtrack at some point, you never know if it’ll be the refrain or just a few opening notes. Take the LA Riots for example:

Korean store employees/owners ca. 1992. +20 for friend-or-foe identifying headbands, -100 for ballistic resistance.

No one really planned on an impromptu re-enactment of Rio Bravo that day, and I’m sure that a nice set of plates in a good carrier would have been quite welcome. (Although there are pictures from the riots that do show some merchants wearing body armour.) The point being that although this was hardly an end-of-the-world event it was certainly an event that would have called for some serious ballistic protection.

As the economy declines, people start queuing up for food, and robberies become more common it would be nice to have some concealable body armour to wear on those trips to the barely-stocked supermarket or no-more-than-three-people-in-the-store-at-once convenience stores. When the gloves come off and it’s Katrina-ville where subtlety is uncalled for, then it’s time for the less discrete armour systems.

Personally, I doubt there’s much in my future that requires a high level of personal ballistic resistance. My goal in life is to leave ugly armed encounters to others and keep openings in my body limited to the ones I came with from the factory. But, you never know what’s gonna happen. So….there’s armour in storage.

My point, though, is that eventually this is another product that is going to get nudged out of the ‘readily available’ market and tucked away into the ‘Mil/LE only’ market. If not by legislative shenanigans then by economic ones as the manufacturers and distributors are ‘encouraged’ to restrict the availability to ‘legitimate end users’.

If you don’t think youre going to need either concealable armour or plates in a carrier then don’t worry about it. But if you think it’s something youre going to want down the line, you may want to consider acquiring some before it stops being overlooked by the ‘ban it for the children’ crowd.

Shelf abuse

Originally published at Notes From The Bunker. You can comment here or there.

Picked up another rack of steel wire shelving the other day. At the rate things are going, in terms of us stocking up on more and more items in larger and larger quantities, it was necessary. Unfortunately, CostCo must have moved to a different supplier of these made-in-China wonders because when I tried to combine the uprights with my older shelves the adjustements didnt line up properly. Spent about three hours last night assembling, dis-assembling, and then re-assembling shelves to try to get them to line up right. Finally had to get out a level and some shims but I finally got it. Major pain in the ass though. After finally giving up for the evening I plopped down in front of the computer to play Warcraft for a few horus and said “You know, sometimes being a survivalist is a major pain in the ass.” “Yeah, but think about how happy you’ll be when youre warm and fed”, was her reply. True. Still a pain, though.

Since I was moving shelving around I had to move the contents of the shelves around as well. Many of the items on the shelves have their date, purchase price and place of purchase marked on them. In this way, I can keep track of things. I noticed that on items where a price had been noted a year or so ago, and a new version had been purchased recently, prices were around10% higher. For example, ziploc bags from Costco were $9.99 a year ago and were $10.75 yesterday. About 7.5% increase from last time an amount was purchased.

So, unless you’re making 10% more than you did a year ago you are getting less value for your money these days. :::shrug::: Not much you or I can do about it except shop carefully and strategically.