Snow day

There’s some pretty nice snow coming down at the moment. When I first moved to Montana I assumed that we’d get three or four feet of snow every time it snowed. Nope. Turned out I had moved to the warmest part of the state. The snowfall in this region is absolutely pathetic. But…once in a while Ma Nature decides to remind us who wears the meteorological pants in this region.

I have fuel, generator, food, blankets, four-wheel drive, and communications. I’m…unconcerned. Which, naturally, frees my mind to wander in other directions.

I am ready for this political season to come to an end. Sorta. Part of me says we should elect Bernie Sanders, skip the foreplay, and just head right into the revolution. On the other hand, I can use the next nine months to get more mags and stripped lowers put back. Given the ‘screw freedom, gimme safety’ mentality of some of the candidates, it might not be a bad idea to start laying back unregistered drones, pay-as-you-go cellphones, laptops and phones bought at a distance second-hand for anonymous communications, etc, etc.

Personally, I’m throwing what meager resources I have into gun stuff. It’s a field I’m very intimate with and have enough connections to get good deals. AR and Glock mags are where I’d put my resources. While some of the exotic stuff will command more in the next ban, it makes more sense to play to the commonly available stuff. For every $300 Valmet magazine I’ll sell, I could move a hundred AR mags or a hundred 9/40 Glock mags. Or 10/22 mags.

Ammo score

There’s a shop near mine that takes in used guns and, on occasion, ammo. That is to say, when someone comes in and wants to sell a gun they often throw in a few boxes of ammo as well. After all, they get a few bucks more on the deal and since htey’re selling the gun they no longer have a use for it. But, more often than not, the boxes are ‘broken’…they are partials. A box of 50 with only 48 still in it. That sort of thing. Can’t really put it on the shelf so, so I make stupid lowball offers on it. Picked up these today:

wp-1454020038050.jpgThere’s two rounds missing from each of the  .357, and none from the .45. But, for $7.50 a box, who wouldn’t?

Also picked up some .44 Special ammo, which is ironic. I used to have a very nice .44 Special, and someday I will again, but the ammo will remind me of it.



Magpul magazine followup

Hmmm…MGE Wholesale is showing the Magpul Glock mags at $11.53, and the OEM Glocks are showing at CDNN for $19.99. Now, I really hate to get into math but thats..uh..around 40% cheaper. Or, put another way, for five Glock mags you could get eight Magpuls and darn close to nine if you had an extra couple ‘a ones in your pocket.

But..if they’re not reliable then they’re no bargain even if free…so I still need to go shoot them a bit. But the economics is pretty promising. I’m very much looking forward to the Magpul happysticks for the Glock. Those will sell amazingly well, I think.

Glock 9mm mags

There was a local gun show this weekend, and it seemed like a decent opportunity to go ahead and pick up a Magpul Glock mag or two to try out.

I have reservations about all-pastic mags for a couple reasons…I’m concerned about the mag body swelling when loaded to capacity and therefore not dropping free, and I’m worried about plastic feedlips losing their rigidity/tension. (Interestingly, this is the same qualms I have with plastic AR mags. However, virtually every aluminum AR mag I’ve ever met has been cheaper than a Pmag, so I have no problem sticking with aluminum AR mags.)

The Magpul mags are going for about $15 which puts them at least five bucks below OEM Glock mags. They do advertise themselves as being easier to disassemble than the Glock-made mags and, yup, the baseplates come off much easier. High visibility follower is a nice touch. Only one witness hole though…

Stuffing a buncha 9mm into one and sliding it in and outt my G19 showed that, for now, the loaded mag seems to drop free just fine. The empty mag locks the slide back like it’s supposed to as well. I need to grab a couple hundred rounds of ammo and head to the range and see how the mag performs. It’d be nice if there were a just-as-good Golck mag out there that was 25% cheaper. We’ll see.

I’ll let you know how it goes after I fire a buncha rounds from it.

Snowmageddon in the east

The media is full of panic over this east coast snow threat thats been announced. There’s all sorts of footage of people stripping supermarkets of bread, eggs and milk (because, apparently, blizzards are prime French Toast occasions). Then, naturally, the video cuts to footage of people in the south playing bumper cars when the heavens drop a staggering 3/4 inch of snow. Im pretty sure they don’t even plow the streets here until there’s about 4″ on the ground.

These snowstorms arent exactly uncommon, either. Isn’t there one every three or four years over there? And why doesn’t anyone remember from the last time to have supplies in place?

There are times I genuinely wish that we would have that big event that reads like something out of a bad novel…just so these short-sighted, stupid, dimwits would experience some natural selection and clean up the gene pool a tad.

It’s snow. It’s not radioactive anthrax falling from the skies. Stay home for two or three days and then go back to living a normal life.

MagPul announces Glock happysticks

The PMAG 27 GL9 is a 27-round Glock 9mm handgun magazine featuring a new proprietary all-polymer construction for flawless reliability and durability over thousands of rounds. Meeting the overall length requirements for a 170MM competition magazine, the PMAG 21 GL9 offers additional capacity without the need for expensive extensions.

I haven’t tried Magpul’s new Glock magazines yet. I’m always reluctant to go anywhere for a pistol magazine except the OEM source. I’m especially concerned about Magpul’s magazines not being metal-lined like Glock’s. Way back in the dinosaur days, Glocks mags were all plastic with no metal liner. When loaded, the mags would swell a bit and as a result, many more-than-empty magazines would not drop-free. It’s my understanding that the European methods of mag swapping involve stripping the mag rather than letting it drop free, so perhaps that wasn’t an issue. However, for the American market…us crazy Yank cowboys like our drop-free magazine changes.

An original 33-round Glock happystick is always going to be my first choice for this sort of thing. However, from an investment standpoint, if the Magpul offering is less than $20@ it might make sense to throw a few dozen back. If I ever get around to getting the 9mm Glock-compatible AR that I want, a couple dozen might be just what the doctor ordered.

Methods to the madness

Is Preparedness Category based, Linear or All Over The Place?
Such is the question asked by Ryan over at his blog. Succinctly, it is this:

Of the three approaches to establishing a level of preparedness – category based, linear based, or scattershot – which seems to be the way to go?

For me, it’s a balanced approach. My thinking has always been to imagine that I’m dropped naked, in the middle of a winter night, into an empty field. What do I need? And then I work it out from there. I’d want, immediately, a small amount of everything….rather than a huge amount of one thing and no supply of anything else.

Lots of people ‘go long’ in some way…they drop a couple grand on guns and get the sexy part of survivalism out of the way and then go to the mundane things like toilet paper and socks. There is some merit to that, but you leave yourself open to being caught short if you’re still working on that gun/ammo thing when some big event happens and you still haven’t gotten around to buying that water purifier.

Some folks go with a more ‘balanced’ approach and buy everything they need for, say, three days. Then they simply repeat this process over and over until they have their year (or whatever timeframe) supply. I rather like this approach.

And some just keep their eyes open an when they come across something that could be useful, they snag it. In the long run that might work, but it’s a great way to wind up sitting on a pallet of 500 MagLites and absolutely no batteries.

I’ve been doing some form of preparedness (or survivalism) for over 25 years. My experience has been that the most sensible way to do things is to get everything you need for ‘x’ amount of time, and then when you have that do it again…and again…and again. Once you’ve put your ‘weeks supply’ together, do it three more times…and now its a months supply. Do that twelve more times and it’s a years supply. That sort of thing. The alternative is that you shoot your wad and buy a years supply of food up front and get caught with only two weeks worth of toilet paper or gasoline.

The one argument I’ve come across for going ‘all in’ and buying as much of one thing as possible to the exclusion of other things you need (other than a spectacular sale) is when the thing you want may not be available in normal channels later. No one is trying to ban Ivory soap….but it’s entirely possible that in three weeks we’ll never have another ‘high capacity’ magazine available to us. And while gun stuff is the easy answer to ‘what might those soon-to-be-unavailable items be’, there’s other things too. Burner phones, cryptography software, electronic devices without ‘for your safety’ GPS tracking, etc, etc….all things you can have now but very possibly might be on the verboten list next year. If something you feel you need is possibly going to be unavailable later, then it makes sense to get it, in the quantity you want, while you can.

If you haven’t already got your supplies and gear socked away, and are still in the stages of acquisition, the best method…in my humble opinion….is the balanced approach. An increase across the board, on a regular basis, with occasional ‘spurts’ of increase in some categories as finances allow. I’d rather have six months of  food, fuel, power, clothes, medicines, and the like, rather than three years of food and one month of everything else. .

What you do, is of course, is your prerogative. For me, I try to raise the level of preparedness evenly across all categories if I can.

Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s PowerBall for?

$1.6 billion dollars is a lot of money. In fact, it is more than the gross domestic product of a dozen different countries. (To be fair, those countries are mostly small island nations that have virtually no real economy outside of tourism and offshore banking.)

The fact that I’m still here typing should tell you how well my foray into PowerBall-stoked billionaireism went.’s so delightfully decadent to imagine what you could do with that kind of money. According to my very bad public school math, taking the lump sum would have dropped me to around $800m. Then, after I generously buy Uncle Sam a couple jet fighters with the ~40% tax hit, I’m down to around $560m. Now it becomes interesting. Assuming some investments that yield a mere 5%, I could, in theory, get $28m/year just in interest without touching the principal. That, my friends, comes down to $2.3m every month to simply screw around with. Or, if you really want to go nuts, thats about $76,000 to spend every day. Do better than 5% and, naturally, you have more to piss away….and never touch the principal.

First thing: new phone number.

After that, it’s gifts for those I love. Nothing fancy. Everyone gets their house paid off.

Then it’s time to indulge fantasies. I’d imagine that when you order enough of a particular gun the gun companies are more than happy to cater to your bizarre needs. As a result, the guys at Ruger, PTR, Smith & Wesson, and Stag Arms, are going to be busy for a while. Federal can just unhook the trailers in my yard..I’ll take it from there. The ammo can go in the garage next to my new armored vehicle collection. Try not ding my new helicopter.

After that, it’s time to go shopping for real estate. Perhaps a small county in South Dakota or Utah. Something on the order of several square miles. Remember that scene in Quigley Down Under when, after days of traveling by wagon, Quigley asks “When are we getting to Marston’s ranch?” and the hand replies “We’ve been on his land for the last three days.” Yeah, it’d be like that.

And then I quietly retire to my lair to enjoy my enormous gun collection, fabulous shooting range, amazingly secure house, and other toys. When I’m not busy manipulating politicians with briefcases of ‘campaign contributions’, or making the lives of people who have wronged me miserable, I’ll spread a little joy to the world…repair a few decrepit schools, sponsor some scholarships, finance some animal shelters, build a few public shooting ranges, that sort of thing.

Perhaps buy a small gun company. Or start one from scratch using the latest and greatest manufacturing technology. Build my own company town with factory, R&D center, employee housing, etc.

You can have a lot of fun, do a lot of good, and screw over a lot of people, on $76 grand a day. A permanent suite..heck, an entire top floor…at some Las Vegas high-end hotel would be nice.

Alas….fun to fantasize but the reality is with 1:292,000,00 odds it’s just daydreaming. But, it’s those happy little vacations from reality that make life bearable, eh?


Posted in Fun

Link – Survivor Library

In the survivalist classic, Lucifers Hammer, a nerdy scientist realizes that the most valuable thing to save for the rebuilding of civilization will be knowledge. The information on how to build generators, grow food, treat injuries, prevent disease, build shelters, etc, etc,. To that end, he starts preserving all sorts of useful books and eventually he is proved right in his prediction of their utility.

Someone appears to have taken that idea and ran with it. A collection of .PDFs of various texts, going back quite a ways, on subjects that would be useful if you believe in the ‘we start over with 19th century technology’ scenarios.

I love reading this sort of stuff. While I have no intention of making penicillin from scratch, but I’d be interested in reading how it was done nonetheless.

Burner phones

Before I throw my two cents in, here’s a few other articles worth reading:
4 Good Reasons To Get an Emergency Burner Phone
Sick of the NSA Tracking You? Burn Them with a Burner Phone
How NSA breakthrough may allow tracking of “burner” cell phones
Burner phone? There’s an app for that, and it’s earning millions of dollars

It’s not that I’m doing anything wrong, it’s just that I really value my privacy. Sometimes, you really don’t want some stranger knowing your ‘real’ phone number. For example, if you were posting a car for sale on Craigslist, you really don’t want people calling you at 2am for the next six months after the ad runs. Or getting the slew of robocalls and unsolicited sales calls that come with it. So..the solution is a disposable ‘burner’ phone.

These things are normally associated with criminal activities, and there is some merit to that, but if you think about it, it makes sense…who has the most to lose by having their privacy and relative anonymity compromised? People who are facing jail if they get caught. And since I’m the kind of guy who feels that who I communicate with is no ones business but me, I want to be able to keep my privacy and the best way to do that so far are those stupid ‘pay-as-you-go’ overpriced phones. But, hey, what’s your privacy worth?

So, first step, you go into a WalMart or other venue and buy a phone. At the moment, no ID is required to buy one of these things so your name isn’t attached to it. (Although I fully expect this to change pretty soon.) Pay cash..don’t be an idiot. Where’s the liability in this exchange? I suppose if The Powers That Be really want to, they could come into the WalMart (or wherever) and demand video surveillance of all purchases during a particular time frame. Lets say you buy your phone on February 1. You activate the phone on May 2. The feds track the phone by the manufacturer to the wholesaler to a particular store, and then they ask for the weeks worth of video prior to that activation. can either shop where you don’t think there’ll be a video record, or, do your activation so far after the purchase date that the surveillance video is long overwritten. It might also be a good idea not to buy your phone at the store thats three blocks from where you live. Think about that.

Next up, you have to activate the phone. This usually requires you to call from another phone. Obviously you don’t want to use your own phone, nor do you want to get any of your friends involved, so you need an ‘arms reach’ phone. Fortunately many places (banks, hotels, etc.) have a phone sitting on their counter for customers to use. The same cautions about surveillance video apply. And, again, try to do it far from where you sleep. If someone wants to tie you to a particular phone number, it’s gonna look pretty bad if the activation call came from a bank four blocks from your house, and the phone was purchased at the Walmart five blocks from your house. Think.

Next up, you have to power up the phone. If you’re smart, you’ll never power this thing up anywhere near where you sleep. The idea is that if the phone sends signals to the towers, you don’t want that signal giving away your location. In short, charging up your phone by your bedside will compromise your privacy. If you really want to be cautious, buy a battery phone charger, charge the charger up at home (or get a disposable-battery-powered one), take it and your phone somewhere on the other side of town, plug the phone into your battery-powered charger, and hide it somewhere secure until its fully charged. After that, pop the battery out of the phone and only put the battery in when you are actually making/taking a call and when you are nowhere near anyplace you’d feel uncomfortable with people tracking your location to. In other words, don’t call from your bathroom.

Eventually, your time on the card expires. Renew it? You could, but realistically you’re better off, from a privacy standpoint, to toss it and start a new one. The longer you use the same phone, the more likely noticeable patterns will emerge and the people digging into the phone records will notice those patterns.