Article – A Brief History Of American Survival Guide Magazine

Ah, I remember the heyday of ASG. Sadly, I also remember the neutered “No guns on the cover” version that was it’s final incarnation. But, for those of us who remember ASG fondly, here’s an interesting link:

When American Survival Guide magazine was resurrected from its ashes four years ago, the publishers could have only hoped it would become as popular and widely read as it is today.

One of their objectives was to produce a “new” magazine that feeds the core interests of its readers, whatever their personal goals of survival preparedness happened to be. However, it may be surprising to some that its roots were firmly planted 37 years ago by an eccentric motorsports enthusiast who wore cowboy boots and white suits and kept a pet cougar in his office.

A real live cougar. In his office. To promote his motorcycle parts supply house, AEE Choppers, Tom McMullen started a magazine for motorcycles in 1969 called Street Chopper, which found a successful niche with enough of a toehold start a publishing empire with his wife. In 1974 they were divorced, and in the settlement she got the parts company and he got the publishing company.


10 thoughts on “Article – A Brief History Of American Survival Guide Magazine

  1. I thought the old magazine was worthless, except the ads. Those rocked. The new magazine has no reason to exist, as the Internet has pretty much killed off mags you read for the ads. And the articles are just as bad if not worse than before. And the darn thing is expensive. If it went all ads, little obscure companies you can’t find ( like Backwoodsman mag has ), it MIGHT be worth something. But generic ads and bad articles? Please.

    • +1 for the mention of the ASG advertisements. Knives, military surplus (Major Surplus & Survival – I still remember the street address from heart), book stores, NBC gear. Yeah – I remember the old magazine well. Subscriber from 1992 to when it dissolved into SRJ. I think I still have a few issues of it, just for old times sake.

      Mr. Dakin is correct, so much more information with reader feedback available on internet, very hard to compete with it. About $10 an issue with the recent magazines, about six months of issues of the old ASG. Very sad indeed.

      Thanks for the memories sir.

    • I disagree. I think there is lots of _pieces_ of information on the internet, but it’s rare that I see a complete and concise article. I think a good editor (Jim Benson was an OK editor) does a lot to raise the standards of quality. I learned a lot from ASG and Survive.

      I have read a couple issues of the new ASG. It’s essentially a catalog and “buyers guide.” The articles are brief and rarely informative.

      By the way Gunkid, it’s a surprise to see your thoughts again. They were always entertaining.

  2. Wow, what a blast from the past. I still have my first issue from 1984 when it was Survival Guide and was hooked ever since, well except when it went away and came back as what it is today. Just can’t get into the new look of it and cost of the mags for articles that are constantly being rehashed. Seems as if it’s directed only at people who only buy gear to sit on the shelf and brag to others ‘they’re a prepper’. I call them yuppie preppers. Just about a month ago I was going through the box of old Survival Guide and ASG and a few Gung Ho’s, it’s the same stuff people worry about today, same techniques but the technology is Star Trek-ish compared to the stuff back in the 80’s.

  3. Just discovered the yuppie prepper magazine Recoil Offgrid at the supermarket. $10! I impulse bought it ‘cuz Les Stroud was on the cover. Turns out he was hawking his grand plan to conquer the internet. The other big article was advice on using insect repellent. I am underwhelmed.

  4. Thanks for that!

    I used to write for ASG, back in the 90s and early 2000s, under editor Jim Benson. My first article was a review of James Wesley Rawles’ shareware novel, “The Gray Nineties,” before it became TEOTWAWKI and then became his first published novel “Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse.” I think I was his first published reviewer.

    Anyway, I really enjoyed writing and sending off the occasional article. Mr. Benson taught me a lot about getting published and how to put together a better article. I also learned to better appreciate the efforts of all my favorite authors, from Skeeter Skelton to Jerry Ahern.

    I wish the new folks all the best. Publishing a paper-and-ink magazine is tough, these days.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.