But seas between us broad have roared

Year end wrapups are kinda the low-hanging fruit of the blogging world, but I’m not proud.

2017 didn’t result in any global disasters that would send good folks scurrying to their bomb shelters. And while there may have been regional, or even national, disasters elsewhere, my little chunk of the planet seems to have made it okay.

It was, though, not without some weirdness. For one thing, I walked around for a few days with a ruptured appendix before thinking “Hmm, maybe I should see a doctor about that.” (And came *this* close to earning a trip to Stovokor.) Then, while flat on my back with three different hoses and tubes running outta my abdomen, Montana decides to shimmy with the most powerful earthquake we’ve had in a long while. I was not amused.

Picked up a couple P95s over the year and that was about it for gun purchases, I think.

Didnt have to use any stored fuel, emergency food, or war reserve ammo….so, all in all, a nice neutral year. And I didn’t have to use my AK.

From a preparedness standpoint, it’d be nice if 2018 was gun-heavy. I would really like that new Ruger carbine, a tricked out Savage .338 Lapua, and a Glock 10mm. Be nice to get a vehicle upgrade this year too. But…gotta be a grownup. There’s some loose ends I’d like to get tied up financially and it really makes more sense to do that then to spend money on what is at this point a quinary level of firearms redundancy.




Battery failure

So, with the forecasted bad weather a-coming, I decided to stage a few things in case the power went out. Grabbed the trusty Streamlight Siege and hit the switch. Fluttering, flickering light. What the heck? Opened it up and found, oddly, wetness/moisture on the bottom of the interior of the light. Apparently one of the batteries had sprung a leak and I caught it way early. As you can see in the image, the lower edge of the battery split open. I’ve had batteries go bad in MagLites and corrode in there, but I’ve never caught a battery issue right as it happened. Interesting. There appears to be no damage to the Siege…just wiped up the moisture and swapped out the batteries. The batteries in question, BTW, were some Duracells that had an expiration date of 2016.

Normally, I am loathe to leave batteries in something for an extended amount of time, but you can’t really leave critical gear un-batteried. The next best thing would be to regularly inspect the device for damage at a scheduled interval. Clearly I need to check on this sort of thing once every couple of months.

It’s a pain in the rear, but part of being prepared means having gear; and having gear means you have to maintain that gear, and that means regular inspections/function tests. I’ve no doubt that if I hadn’t caught this, I’d be looking at having to replace this lantern in a month or two after the innards corroded.

Winter weather advisory/warning/cataclysm

The forecast is for some heavy snow in my particular region. I have a four-wheel-drive vehicle with spare fuel, a radio, an extensive emergency kit, and a host of other survival related goodies.

And I’m gonna leave it parked the next few days. Why? Because the secret to becoming an old survivalist is to avoid being in a survival situation to begin with. Rule #1 of surviving a disaster: Dont Be There.

Sure, I could drive around over the weekend, take my time, drive slowly, brake early, signal often, etc. and I’d be fine…until Bob-from-Carolina who cant drive on snow t-bones me at an intersection. Not my fault, Im doing everything right….and you’re at the mercy of every other idiot out there who may be doing everything wrong.

So why buy trouble? I have a house full off food, fuel, internet porn, dry clothes, extra Coke, and some spreadsheets to catch up on. I can stay here and let the world slip-n-slide into wet, cold chaos. There’s very little I can think of thats worth me risking my vehicle, my health, and my limited financial resources to an accident.

Survivalism (or preparedness, if you prefer) is about values and choices. Which is more important..me not having a wrecked car or me having a quart of milk from the store? Sometimes you have to take chances, but if you don’t have to why would you? Gotta pick your battles, man.

But..for those times when you can’t pick your battles and you gotta go to war anyway, be prepared. I don’t want to leave the house in this weather….but if I have to, I can…and I can do it in a way that reduces the risks and reduces the consequences if those risks go the wrong way. But, again, why buy trouble?

In the meantime, one side effect of staying in is that I get time to sit in front of the keyboard and work on these ‘brain droppings’, as Geo. Carlin called writing.

Be safe out there, gang.

Return of the Ruger 9mm carbine

What the hell, Ruger!

“Interchangeable magazine wells for use of common Ruger® and Glock® magazines. Ships with SR-Series Pistol and Security-9® magazine well installed and an additional magazine well accepting Glock® magazines is included. Ruger American Pistol® magazine well is available at ShopRuger.com.”

Utterly brilliant if it works. That stock is the most bizarre looking thing I’ve seen on a gun in a lnog time, but being able to interchange mags with my Glock 9mms is a supermegawesome feature. And takedown!? And threaded? Ruger is going to sell a metric buttload of these to people who want a carbine for their bugout bags.

And MSRP is below what a used older PC9 carbine is running at.

Trouble is, since this thing takes Glock mags, what the heck am I gonna do with all these P95’s? (Unless Ruger makes a magwell for them…but I suspect the aftermarket may take care of that little detail.)

As soon as Ruger gets the obligatory new-product-recall out of the way, I am so down for a few of these.

Speed loading and speedloaders

If you can divorce yourself from nostalgia, sentimentality, and a desire to appear ‘old-school’, it’s hard to argue that for most cases of defense against things with two legs, the automatic pistol has nudged the revolver into a distant second place. That isn’t to say that people still don’t carry revolvers for defense against people (and this is an important distinction I’ll touch on later), but rather that objectively the auto trumps the revolver for self-defense in most ways.

The revolver’s strength? Cartridge selection, simplicity of use. It’s drawbacks? Everything else. For defense against more-than-two-legged things (think claws and teeth) revolvers have the advantage of being able to throw out stuff that generates a buttload of ft/lbs. that most automatics can’t. (Yes, you can carry a Desert Eagle or a Wildey in the woods and be just as well heeled as any .44 Mag toter, but you’re doing it at a sizable weight/size disadvantage.)

Having said that, there are still days I tuck a revolver into my pocket, or sli\ip one into a belt holster, when I go about my day. But I always make sure to carry spare ammo.

The NYPD (Motto: “Ahright, Shows Over, Shows over..let’s go.”) used to, believe it or not, issue revolvers to it’s troops right up until the 1990’s. And as if that wasn’t archaic enough, they had you carry your reloads in what were called ‘dump pouches’. These were little leather boxes on your belt that held six cartridges. The opening flap was on the bottom of the box. You’d pop the flap and the cartridges would fall into your palm where you would then reload your revolver one round at a time. In 1986. Sonny Crockett had a 10mm auto but NYPD cops were still loading like they were in Mayberry.

Why didn’t they NYPD issue speedloaders? Good question. Inertia and training seems to be the answer. My cursory research shows that it came down to these reasons: too complicated, too fragile, we’ve always done it this way.

And then, one day, a cop got into a bullet party with a bad guy and while reloading his revolver the cop caught a round in his melon. The subsequent outrage pushed the NYPD into allowing the use of speedloaders. (Honestly, I’d be surprised if there weren’t a whole bunch of guys already carrying them in their pockets or on their belts when they thought no one was looking.)

Brand of choice? HKS. For the most part, thats the big name in speedloaders although there have always been smaller shops making specialty ones. After HKS the next biggest name is Safariland. Once you get past the speedloaders, your next option for loading your revolver faster is two load by twosies rather than onesies – the Speed Strip. When Bianchi brought these things out, back in the days of aviator sunglasses and porn ‘staches, their advertising said that they would be offered in other calibers as well. That never happened. Fast forward a few decades and another outfit picked up the slack to give us Speed Strips (under a different name to, no doubt, avoid trademark issues) in other calibers.

When I’m carrying a revolver for protection against the two-legged, it’s usually a .38 or .357. (A J-frame or K-frame of some brand.) My personal preference is the Speed Strip if I’m just tossing the snubbie in my pocket as I walk out the the door. The Speed Strips lay flat in a pocket and are handy to use. While a tad slower than a speedloader, they are still light years ahead of the old dump pouch.

When I carry the larger framed guns (K-frame, like a Model 10 or Security Six) I carry a couple speedloaders. I used to carry the HKS speedloaders and they work fine. They’re quite reliable, well made, and can usually be found at gun shows for $10 or less for each one. The speedloader has a knob at the back that needs to be turned to release the cartridges. Drop the speedloader into the cylinder, grip the cylinder to keep it from turning, twist the knob on the back of the speedloader, discard speedloader, close gun. Shoot, rinse, repeat.

I kinda prefer the Safariland Comp I & II speedloaders. Instead of a knob to twist, the speedloader releases its cartridges when the cylinder pin contacts the release on the speedloader, Basically, you drop the speedloader into the cylinder, shove it home, and the cartridges automagically release into the cylinder. It’s not that the twist motion of the HKS speedloader is a big deal, but I find the Comp I speedloader to be wonderfully compact since it doesnt have a big knob protruding from the back.

My next revolver is going to be one of the new 8-shot Ruger Redhawks. Fortunately 8-shot speed strips exist for it, and I’ve no doubt that speedloaders will follow.

But, getting back to the first two paragraphs, my G17 without a spare magazine carries as much ammo as my GP100 with two speedloaders. So..there’s that. On the the other hand, my N-frame drops heavier and faster lead than the Glock does, which is why I carry the G17 in town and the N-frame in the boonies. (Although at some point I’ll go full Nugent and get a Glock 10mm as my woods gun.)

I know it was dropped at least once…………

Scene: Gun Shop

Me: “Hey, you didn’t tell me you got a 686 in.”
Him: “You don’t want it.”
Me: “Why? Whats wrong with it?”
Him: “It’s got bad juju.”
Me: “Really? How bad?”
Him: “Guy killed himself with it.”

And THAT right there is how you bring a conversation to a screeching halt. I’m not majorly superstitious…but it did give me pause. I’ve owned Mauser 98’s that, no doubt, killed someone way back during the war, Mosin Nagants that probably also perforated people, and other military guns that almost certainly had been blooded. So why would this one be any different? But….still…….

So I made a lowball offer. Maybe a good price makes up for the bad juju. I dunno.

So what say you? If someone offered you a decent price on such a gun, and you knew that a year or two ago someone used it to spackle the ceiling with their cerebellum would you buy it? Would you have the least bit of trepidation about it?

The deals are still out there

This rolled across my email from CDNN.

The sub-$400 AR’s are still out there. I’m kind of a snob and would be a tad apprehensive to run out the door with The Cheapest AR I Could Buy, but given a choice between this and a Mosin Nagant………..

I’ve seen a few YouTube videos where people melt down a few budget AR’s like this, but they seem to mostly run pretty well. The notion that AR’s are for ‘rich yuppie survivalists’ whereas  the Mosin is a good choice for ‘working folks’ kinda falls apart at this point. Give up beer-n-cigs for six weeks and any WalMart greeter in a doublewide can have one.


Although we’ve had a bit of snow here and there, we haven’t really had any cold weather to speak. That apparently changed today. It is -1 out there right now. (For those of you in countries that never put a man on the moon, thats -18c.)

Not the coldest I’ve ever seen. (That would be the couple days when it was -26 [-65 with wind chill] back in the 80’s.) The part of Montana that Im in is the warmest part. You head east, across the divide, and those flat parts of Montana (I’m looking at you, Billings and Great Falls) get brain-numbingly cold.

What is the secret to living in such an environment? What arcane time-tested secret allow people to endure such climate? What trick allows us to survive in this condition?

Don’t go outside. Duh.

I’ve got a ton of things to do this week and will be using the holiday to capitalize on the free time. Being a rather secular fellow, this holiday provides me with the perfect opportunity to get things done.

Of course, tomorrow this town will be a ghost town. No businesses open (except mine), no mail, no banking, no UPS, no one on the roads. It’ll be like they neutron bombed this place. It’ll look alot like the opening city montage from ‘The Omega Man’…but with snow.

Still, staying indoors is great when you have that option. When you have to go outside..well…then it’s time for the N3B parka or a couple sheep’s worth of wool.

So , thats my plan for the weekend… stay indoors as much as possible and work on some organizational projects.

Stay warm amigos!


A week of light

It occurred to me, as I was wondering when this jump pack was finally going to give up, that I have a cheap little battery voltage meter sitting in the box with some gear. Let’s see what we have:

Yeah…it seems that thing is running on the battery equivalent of fumes. But…it’s been running 24-hours for the last seven days. Or, put another way, if you used it eight hours per day, youd get three weeks of use. Six hours a day (or night, really) and you’d get a month of use. Personally, I’ve seen enough. Time to unplug and recharge. I have the info I need.

I’ll plug this thing in and let it charge, and then leave it alone to await the day the power goes out and that long, cold, winter night starts looking grim.

I should also like to point out that this setup is wonderful for task lighting or whatnot, for rummaging around a darkened bunker and illuminating various rooms in an outage, I really do like the Streamlight Siege. In fact, I really need to get two or three more to round things out.




Article – Red Dawn in Lapland

Interesting article on how there’s been a bit of resurgence in the desire, among some small countries, to renew their military preparations against invasion.

Finland shares an 833-mile border with an aggressive and unpredictable neighbor. That proximity led to a major conflict during World War II—the horrific Winter War—and even now it keeps Finns nervous about Russia’s intentions. David Wolman suited up to train with the elite soldiers who will be on the front lines if this cold feud ever gets hot.

The Finns arent the only ones keeping eye on how the wind is blowing. The Estonians, too, are doing similar things.