Tuesday, April 24, 2018

SHTF Rifle Selection


Hey FerFAL,

So I've read the book and blog and first of all thanks for helping me to start prepping realistically and focusing my training on my defensive handgun that I CCW anywhere I can, and I understand that it's what I'm goin to use 95 percent of the time.
But I have questions on what rifle.

I currently have an AK that I have had for awhile and it has been nothing but perfectly reliable. I know you recommend the AK but you also state all types of importation stops or gets expensive and the vast majority of ammo in 7.62x39 is imported from Russia and things are not good between the US and Russia right now so I get worried about a lack of imports. American made 7.62x39 is so expensive I might as well go 308 which I have been considering.

Basically I don't have a very good stock of ammo for the AK and I might be able to get a thousand rounds or two in the near future (maybe) but then after importation issues after an economic collapse means I couldn't get anymore or it would be expensive. Do you think I should switch to an AR in 5.56 or maybe another rifle in 308? And start stocking up on either of those or should I just keep stocking up as much 7.62x39 before the crisis? Does all types of ammo get pretty hard to get?
There is just a significant amount of domestically produced 5.56 and 308 as well and I wanted your opinion as I know the rifle is the least likely thing to use in defense but I try to keep it near when I can.
I also have a friend that lives 30 miles outside the city in a small sub division that is becoming my bug out spot and I've considered stashing the rifles there as well as they would be more needed I feel, and it is fairly open spaces but I know I won't be picking them off from afar. But most likely I will be at my house for the crisis.

I apologize for the long message this has just been bugging me and although I prefer the AK and enjoy it the most out of any weapon I've ever used I want to be as prepared as I can be and I trust your advice on this. I also have a wife that has her own handgun that she keeps with here and she doesn't mind using the rifle she just prefers her handgun and because of her size she much prefers AR15s when it comes to rifles so if I had one she would be more inclined to use it but I don't know how important that consideration is.

Thank you again for hearing me out and helping me with this.
Connor-
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Hi Connor,

Thanks for your email and sorry for the delay in replying.

The AK47 has several advantages from a survival and preparedness point of view. Its tough as nails, reliable as they come, simple, easy to maintain and fires cheap powerful 7.62 caliber ammo. 7.62x39mm is somewhat similar to 30-30, which means its good enough for deer size game hunting as well. The Ak74 is a similar platform but fires smaller 5.45 ammo which is even cheaper. 7.62x39mm is still cheap to buy in bulk and one of the best bang per buck deals.
Having said this every American should own an AR15 platform gun as well. Granted, no they cant be made in some dirt hut with a hammer and some scrap metal, but given the enormous popularity they enjoy it makes sense to have one too.

I’m not much of a fan of the direct gas impingement system it uses but they have their attributes too. Light, great ergonomics, customizable, easy to put optics, easy to handle and very accurate. Not my first choice as the last, end of the world gun and if I did go with an AR, I’d go for a Short Stroke Piston model. But the truth is that knowing your gun well and servicing it properly your AR will do everything you need it to do. 223 ammo is a bit more expensive but it is very common, used by police and military.

I would certainly keep your AK and throw in a couple cases more of ammo for a rainy day. But the way the market is right now with very good prices and given that your wife likes the AR as well, I’d grab a couple ARs too, as funds allow. You don’t have to buy the fanciest gun either. The S&W M&P15 Sport II retails for around $600 NIB. Throw a Vortex Sparc AR Red Dot or better yet, an Aimpoint Micro and you’re good to go.


Colt M4 Magpul carbine with Aimpoint Micro and rear backup iron sights (BUIS). The front sight is a JP Adjustable Gas System.

If you want a true battle rifle then yes, a 308W is what you want. In my mind that’s an FAL. A lot of that depends on the location and situations you plan on using it in, but in general intermediate caliber carbines are lighter, faster and just more handy and make more sense.
Aimpoint 200170 Micro, T-2 2 MOA W/Standard Mount
Aimpoint 200170 Micro, T-2 2 MOA W/Standard Mount

As you said, your CCW, your handgun, that’s the gun you are far more likely to ever use. If you ever need a rifle and you happen to have it with you, then an AR or AK will both serve you well.
So, answering your questions: I’d sure keep the AK and calmly shop around for extra ammo, try to put 500 -1,000 rounds away for a “rainy day”. This could be the rifle you eventually keep stashed at your friend’s location as a backup.

I would also keep an eye out for a good deal on an AR. Eventually, as funds allow, get one for each of you. Having two of the same means you have a backup since you both will know how to operate it, and in a hurry either one of you can use either rifle, share mags, ammo, parts.

I know all of this sounds expensive (and it is) but don’t hurry. You already have the important part which is your CCW and you also have the AK, so there’s no rush. Take your time, buy slowly and invest in quality gear. My Colt M4 isnt the most fancy AR but its a solid gun that can be trusted, same for the Aimpoint Red Dot (which is worth every cent). Having said that if it goes beyond your budget the M&P15 Sport II combined with a Vortex red dot is also a solid combo.
The AR is a good platform to learn on and use for practical shooting competition. If your wife likes AR15 more then go with that as your main long arm. Yes, I’d say this is an important consideration. Worst case scenario if something happens it’s an extremely popular platform and ammo will always be available for it, even if the supply of cheap import ammo dries up.

Hope that helps.
Kind regards,

FerFAL
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”

Friday, April 20, 2018

Reply: 9mm cylinder for revolvers

Hi,
In regard to your recent article about some of the advantages of revolvers it is worth mentioning that Ruger and other manufacturers have 9mm revolvers in their lineup. Most, if not all, 9mm revolvers utilize moon clips to hold the rounds. Moon clips are easier to use than speed loaders or speed strips. Nine millimeter ammunition is more commonly available than .38 special and there are dozens of different loads. Maybe the greatest advantage to a 9mm revolver is the ability to have ammunition commonality with those Glock 9mms you recommend. Revolvers in 9mm are worth considering.
Best regards, K in Texas
...


Thanks. Yes, that's a great point. Even better, with a 9mm cylinder you cover  9mm, and of course 38 special and 357 magnum.

9mm is cheap and the most likely handgun ammo to come across so it makes perfect sense for a SHTF gun.

FerFAL
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

5 Times when a Revolver is Better than an Auto Pistol


Auto pistols are without a doubt king of the hill when it comes to defensive shooting. Weight, capacity, reliability and accuracy. In the hands of a well-trained shooter there’s no doubt the auto pistol is the way to go.
But that’s not always the case and here are a few examples as of when you may want to go for a trusty wheelgun.

1)Lack of training
This is maybe the #1 reason to get a revolver over an auto pistol. How simple the manual of arms is with them. As long as the gun is loaded all you have to do is pull the trigger for it to fire a round, something that comes pretty instinctively to a person when attacked. During such a stressful event fine motor skills are compromised and its easy for someone without a good amount of firearms training to mess up. Either forget to put a round in the chamber, remove or mistakenly engage the manual safety, even press the magazine release or jamming the gun by nervously checking to see if its loaded.
All of this is far less likely to happen when manipulating a revolver if you don’t have a lot of training. Therefore I recommend revolvers for people that will just buy a gun “for defense”, take it to the range and fire a couple dozen shots to try it out,  then leave the gun next to a half empty box hidden somewhere in case they need it.

2)Physical impairments
Sometimes people struggle badly or just don’t have the strength, due to age or some medical condition, to effectively chamber a round. In that case not only is it impossible for them to chamber a round, but also to clear any malfunctions.
Revolvers don’t have this problem. In the case of 357 magnum revolver they can be loaded with lighter 38 special loads if recoil is too much as well.

3)Long-term storage
If a gun is stashed somewhere for emergencies, maybe somewhere around the house or in a safe, then it’s a good idea to go with a revolver if you don’t want to check that it is in proper working order with certain frequency. Some law enforcement recommend rotating magazines every 3 months. And there’s also the chance of it rusting or the rounds tarnishing and getting stuck and not feeding properly.
While modern magazines are incredibly reliable, and I have kept Glock and 1911 magazines loaded for years without a problem, they are still the component most prone to failure in an auto pistol. Time flies and before you know it several years can go by without that gun being touched. While high quality magazine springs aren’t supposed to set or cause problems, if the gun will be stored for long periods of time then a revolver is a good idea.

4)Hunting and other Outdoors activities.
Revolvers tend to come in bigger, more powerful calibers. Even a 357 magnum can be loaded with much heavier, hotter loads than what you would usually use against two legged predators. Of course you have 44 magnum, 454 Casull, 500 S&W and so on. These bigger calibers are usually preferred when you have to pack for large dangerous game.  This same reason makes them better suited for hunting.
Revolvers are also practical for when you need different kind of reloads. A 357 magnum revolver can fire hot magnums for defense or very light 38 special reloads for hunting smaller game depending on what you need, giving you a versatility you don’t have in auto pistols. Revolvers can be loaded with special birdshot shells for snakes or birds. Revolvers don’t eject the empty case, which is also something reloaders appreciate.

5)22LR and SHTF ammo
When it comes to 22LR, the problem is that it’s not always as reliable as we wish it was. Especially the cheaper ammo bought in bulk, you sometimes get a dud, underpowered loads or a round that takes a few strikes to fire. In an auto pistol this means clearing a failure. The light recoil means frequent failure to eject or stovepipes, which also have to be cleared.  Because of this revolvers are good choices when looking for 22LR handguns you need to depend on when you pull the trigger.
This same logic applies to ammo of questionable quality and less than ideal reloads with mystery powders and homemade cast bullets. Auto pistols require perfectly good ammo to run reliably, while a revolver is more forgiving and you can feed it any 38 special or 357 magnum load you come across.
FerFAL
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”

Monday, April 16, 2018

10 things I learned in 10 years of Modern Survivalism


It is now ten years since I first published my first book The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse.

About the same time I started with my website and adopted modern survivalism not as a hobby but a way of life. In my case it wasn’t the cold war or Y2k that got me into this. It was the economic collapse of 2001 in Argentina were I saw first-hand how things change, many of them fast, some much slower and what happens to people and the society they live in.
I guess I always had an interest in survival and preparedness but just didn’t call it that way. I’ve had a knife in my pocket from a very early age. Broke my first one when was about seven.
I found a little pocket knife in drawer and made it my own. After a few days no one seemed to notice so in my pocket it stayed. I can see now how to everyone around me it must have been a completely forgettable object, maybe something my grandfather brought from Spain during one of his trips and left it there. For me on the other hand… man! That little slipjoint pocket knife was as good as Excalibur for my young eyes.

I used it to cut everything I came across. Spent entire afternoons in the back yard, seeing what was inside everything. One day chasing after a particularly quick ant which I intended to chop with light taps of the blade the knife snapped in half. Today I understand that little knife was very hard carbon steel. Too hard and brittle to go around chopping ants with but probably perfect for years of use, used just for cutting as it was intended for.
So a knife lived in my pocket ever since. I started reading everything I could and jumped at every chance I got to be outdoors. But for me it wasn’t just that, my knife was indeed with me at all times, even in school. Some liberals may squeal at the idea, but back in the day… lets just say that if my teacher needed to cut something he just shouted out my name and I would proudly hand over whatever knife I had with me. The school itself had a .22 rifle target shooting range… next the playground. My, how the world has “moved” since then.

Back in those days a pitiful Maglite Solitaire was the best you could do for a pocket flashlight. The larger 2XAA Mini Maglite was a bit too big for pocket daily carry. The Maglite Solitare, how pathetic. Maybe 5 lumens top? About the same amount of minutes worth of runtime mind you. And the light bulb would burn itself out every few batteries worth of runtime so you had to keep spare lightbulbs around. Eventually I got a large 3xD Maglite which became my “big” light.
I still remember thinking even then: “one day technology will advance so much they’ll manage to make a flashlight that is brighter or has much better runtime. Maybe a new type of battery”. I would have been thrilled to even find a battery that gave me just one hour of good runtime in my Solitiare rather than dimming visible in front of my eyes by the minute.

And then one day reading a local gun magazine in Argentina I read about this revolutionary technology. A keychain light with a bulb that emitted a light visible two miles away, and it never needed to have its battery replaced. I guess that back in those days to have 10 hours of runtime must as well have meant a lifetime worth of light, which in some ways it was compared to the technology of the day. It emitted a blue light (LED technology wasn’t quite there yet) but who cared? For someone used to a Solitaire it might as well have been magic, better even. I convinced my folks to let me travel alone while in my early teens (a different, safer time) and went downtown to get myself one of these revolutionary flashlights directly from the importer.  Since then I never stopped I guess. Then came the Tikkas,  the shower of cheap Chinese (and poorly made) lights and a few years later here we are today.
What I’m saying is that I’ve always been a bit like this in one way or another, carrying certain tools, stashing food and water around the house like some lunatic, reading and learning about survivalism as much as I could.

2001 was the big wakeup call. There I got to see how a lot of what I had been doing had little practical use on a day to day basis. I kept doing the things that worked for me with the “Be prepared” mentality but also changing what needed to be changed and incorporating more skills. I had already started shooting by then but I got a lot more serious about it when crime became more of a problem and people around me got targeted, hurt or killed. I was lucky in having received realistic defensive shooting training by the time I was 15. I convinced my mother that if I got good enough grades she’d sign me up for the shooting classes this new range that had just opened in our town was offering. It was run my former military men and they had some pretty good idea of what they were doing, considering the time and place.

It has been an interesting decade so far. Now looking in retrospective, in a much safer place and living a much different life I can look back and see the road travelled so far.

Here’s ten tips, maybe the 10 most important lessons I learned:

1)Get yourself a Glock 9mm, Glock 17 or 19, and shoot it until you master it. If you can, get a carry permit and carry that same gun. Take defensive shooting classes, train as often as realistically possible and sign up for IPSC competitions to stay fast and accurate.
2)Rice and beans. Better yet rice and lentils. Buy them, stock plenty of them and learn to cook them in as many ways as possible. Its one of the best survival foods to stockpile and one of the healthiest too. Shelf life is outstanding when stored properly and bang per buck its hard to beat too.

3)Stay fit. Eat well, keep those portion size reasonable and stay as healthy as you can. Is this important for survival? You bet. Your body is your most important tool and keeping it in shape is crucial. Is this important if the end of the world never happens, if you don’t even have to suffer a serious short or long term disaster? Again, you bet. Purely talking about survival rates here nothing influences both your survival rate and quality of life as taking care of yourself, eat well, work out and basically staying as healthy as possible.

4)Stay happy/positive. Otherwise, what’s the point?
Don’t let the doom and gloom take over your life. I know of people that couldn’t keep it under control and ended up losing loved ones, ended up alone. Prepare to live, don’t live to prepare. If your life IS preparedness, then make damn sure you and the people around you are enjoying it. Besides, enjoying life is essential to preparedness itself. The sad, depressing mood is what gets most people in one way or another when times get tough. You have to be a pretty positive, cheerful SOB to survive when SHTF because there’s already too much negative to go around. When things get tough for real there’s not much to hold on to in terms of hope, but you better find it or else you’re done.

5) 'Don't let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner.' Neil McCauley, Heat (1995)
Besides being a great movie quote, it also happens to be the ultimate survival tip. The ability to move when you have to and the courage to do so.
You read about bugging out all the time… but who actually does it? Well, sometimes you do because of storms or other short terms disasters, but the idea of leaving everything behind and leaving your country for good freaks people out. Yet when that’s what you have to do, staying when you should be going makes all the difference in the world. Millions throughout history have escaped their countries from various disasters. The difference between being a refugee and expat or immigrant is in how well prepared you are.
I suppose for me its natural since my grandparents emigrated and my family travelled and lived in different countries too, but when shit really hits the fan, and I mean when it does BAD and everything gets splattered… yes, the ability to move. Having the resources and above all the mindset to do so.
This is one of the least favourite topics because it puts people out of their comfort zone. People know what they know, have a home with all their stuff and the idea of leaving it all behind and starting over elsewhere freaks them out. But when Venezuela happens, when east Ukraine happens, South Africa, Argentina and countless countries that have been torn by war or tyrannical governments, even natural/manmade disasters like the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Chernobyl or Katrina, bugging out and relocating is the only smart thing to do.
I like my stuff, my toys, but I do understand that stuff if just that and I can get rid of it, and just as easily get new guns and gear and various “junk” later on. Material things are easily replaceable. Loved ones not so much.

6)You don’t need a ton of gear or a ton of guns. Know what you need and keep it simple and well organized. Some folks think they are survivalists when they are actually hoarders just piling junk. Keep it simple, keep it organized and even if I often don’t follow my own advice ask yourself if you really need something before spending money on “preps”. Believe me when I tell you that in roughly 70% of the cases, you’re better off just putting that money aside for when you need it. It will be more useful than whatever you thought you desperately needed.
Learn the difference between “need” and “want”. You need a basic firearms battery for self defense. Buth that 9th pistol you bought, chances are you don’t really need it that much and falls more into the “want/like” category. And that’s just perfect, but do know the difference.

7)Savings are one of the most important preps. Cash is king and when SHTF that rainy day cushion saves the day. Cash, bank accounts and precious metals. Try keeping your eggs in a few different baskets. I find money to be, by far, the most valuable tool or physical asset people have in some of the worst situations. What if there’s a large scale disaster and you need to move to another state or another country entirely? Sure I want a nice knife if stranded on some tropical island… but what about getting fired, getting hurt or sick and needing expensive medical treatment? I know which one sounds more fun, but I also know which one is more likely to happen.
8)Make a realistic risk assessment. Be honest about it and make a contingency plan accordingly. If A happens, the what is step B, what do we do? Are you too fat? That will kill you faster than any zombie or looter, SHTF or not and probably sooner than you think. Step B should be eating healthy, working out and getting in shape ASAP. Are floods a risk in your area? Wild fires, social unrest? What do you do in that case?
9)Don’t treasure stuff, treasure the people in your life, treasure the skills and knowhow you acquire over the years and expand on it. That’s what matters the most.

10)Start with your EDC, this is your most important first line of defence, the tools you will actually have with you when you need them. Then work on your car kit, your home away from home and finally the supplies kept home so as to deal with different situations, from power outages, storms, home invaders, looters, etc. Keep in mind the basics and remember the Rule of Three (you can’t live three minutes without air, three hours of exposure, three days without water and three weeks without food).
FerFAL
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Gulf Stream Shutdown making headlines around the world

Image result for the day after tomorrow 


We’ve talked about this before. A shutdown or slowdown of the thermohaline circulation. I remember posting about it a few years ago and it is indeed serious business.
You can debate all day about why this is happening, what everyone agrees on is that it is indeed happening and the consequences are serious.  In a nutshell the sea currents on the north atlantic is slowing down… a lot. These current move heat around, keeping a temperature balance. Without it expect something as in cold places getting colder, hot areas getting hotter, floods, draughts, etc.  The film “The day after tomorrow” has been mentioned in various articles but scientists say its not quite like that, but bad enough non the less. It’s highly unlikely, but that does not mean the film is a complete fabrication. “The Day After Tomorrow is clearly a very extreme version,” Dr David Thornalley.
The warm Atlantic current linked to severe and abrupt changes in the climate in the past is now at its weakest in at least 1,600 years, new research shows. The findings, based on multiple lines of scientific evidence, throw into question previous predictions that a catastrophic collapse of the Gulf Stream would take centuries to occur.


Is the Gulf Stream about to collapse and is the new ice age coming sooner than scientists think?

FerFAL

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”